Author's Note – One more post-ep for "Blind Spot." (Um, hello? It was a fanfiction writer's dream come true!) Besides, I wanted to try writing the new captain to see if I could do it. Just remember, I clearly don't own these characters because if I did, we would have seen Goren holding Eames's hand like he should have at the end instead of just sitting there. But I digress. Read on…
Not even a month into his stint as captain of the Major Case Squad and already Danny Ross was making that phone call that every superior officer dreads having to make. Maybe his mother had known something when she told him not to become a cop. Maybe she'd known that he wasn't suited to telling the parents of police officers under his command that their children had been kidnapped by deranged serial killers.
But then, who was suited to such a task?
Johnny Eames's voice was easy and smooth when he answered the phone and Ross fought the urge to hang up. It was the voice of a father, of a grandfather and contented retiree. Department scuttlebutt said that he hadn't always been that way, but he'd mellowed in recent years and Ross could hear it in his tone. Ross's news would shatter that contentment and he dreaded sharing it - but then, the bliss of ignorance wouldn't protect the Eames family down the road if their daughter Alex proved to be dead, which was distinctly possible given the track record of her kidnapper.
"Officer Eames," Ross spoke gravely and referred to Eames as though he were still one of their own, which he was despite his long ago retirement, "it's Captain Danny Ross from Major Case."
"What happened to her?" Eames's tone immediately became concerned and his words were pointed. No beating around the bush would be tolerated at this point. Johnny Eames knew the drill.
Ross spoke formally, almost as though he were testifying in court. "Detective Eames has been abducted from her home. We believe she is being held by a serial killer who has recently resurfaced and whose case Detectives Goren and Eames were working this week. That's all the information I can give you at this time, Officer, save the fact that we are doing everything in our power to find her."
"You got Goren looking for her?" Eames demanded.
Ross swallowed. "Detective Goren is attempting to help us, yes, but his judgment is a bit clouded at this point. He's upset, as you can imagine. I will be running point on this investigation."
"No good," Eames was obviously not much for mincing words and as opinionated as his daughter. "You've got to get Goren on it. He'll find her."
"Officer," Ross frowned, hesitating to disagree with a man whom he'd just informed that his daughter was kidnapped and possibly murdered, "I don't know how well you know Detective Goren, but he's a little unorthodox in his methods and I don't think that…"
"Listen here," Eames cut him off with vehemence. "I'm going to tell you a story. I'll keep it short because you're busy trying to find my daughter. When Allie was ten or eleven, she came home with this dog. Ugliest thing I ever saw. Fur matted, horrible expression on its face, and used to bark at everything. Annoyed the hell out of me but Allie wouldn't let me get rid of it. She said I just couldn't see how good he was, that I just needed to give him a chance – and she was right. One night, about two years after she brought the thing home, he started barking in the middle of the night. I went downstairs and smelled gas – darn thing saved us from a gas leak that could have blown the house up. Three years after that he scared away a couple of petty thieves breaking into the garage. He took care of our family because Allie believed in him. We had that dog nine years; even I cried when he died."
"Officer, I…" Ross started to say.
"Hang on, I'm not done," Eames interrupted. "Five years ago, Allie came home from work with Bobby Goren. Now, I'm a cop's cop, Captain, and so's my daughter. Black and white; not gray, you know? When I met Goren, I felt the same way that I did when she brought the damn dog home and no doubt it's the way you feel too – the man's got all the makings of a crackpot. Weird as hell, sees only the gray, and thinks the book was written just so he could tear out all the pages. But Allie told me to give him a chance – like the dog – so I shut my trap and Allie proved me wrong again. He and my daughter are a great team, Captain. Goren will find her or die trying, so you put him on the job."
"I'll call you when I have more information," was all Ross could think of saying to that. Somehow the image of Detective Goren as some sort of overprotective terrier wasn't quite taking root in his head.
"Do that," Eames hung up sharply.
Ross sighed and looked across Alex Eames's squad-car filled driveway to where her partner Bobby Goren paced back and forth, an absent and worried hand running over his head and his expression indicating that his mind was somewhere else.
Same as the dog, my ass, Ross thought ruefully before he realized that, if Johnny Eames was right, Goren's mind was with Alex Eames - wherever she was. And if Goren's mind was there, he might just be able to get them to her.
It was worth a shot anyway.
"Is Johnny okay?" Goren ceased his pacing for a half a second to pause before his captain and inquire about the phone call. His dark eyes shifted nervously and his gaze eventually fell to the pavement.
"He wants us to keep him posted," Ross replied. He paused a moment before he added, "He seems to think that you'll be able to find her."
Goren's eyes lifted and Ross saw fear and then acceptance wash over the detective. "I, uh… I hope so."
"Me too," Ross told him pointedly and watched Goren's stilted frame weave away from him to approach and question one of the forensics team.
"Keep an eye on him," Ross had cautioned Eames about her partner when they'd begun their search for "Sebastian." He hadn't wanted his first weeks and months as captain of Major Case to be taken over by "The Goren Show" as Jimmy Deakins had once called it. Goren was reputed to be unpredictable and his antics in the interrogation room were legendary; none of the stories had missed Ross's ears when he'd received the post. And yet to be a cop and have your partner in danger was the worst fear of all who wore the uniform – especially if you felt powerless to help. Thus, the only way to keep Goren in check on this was to heed Johnny's advice and put him on the job.
Yup. Worth a shot – if only to give Goren something useful to do.
And yet when Alex Eames somehow managed to orchestrate her own rescue, turning up with a bump on the head, some major bruising and muscle tears, and a case of exhaustion, Ross had to wonder if her father had been wrong. No sixth sense had suddenly overcome Bobby Goren so that he could lead them to her location. No incredible, Sherlock Holmes-ian insight had taken root and led him to an infinitesimal clue that put the puzzle into clear relief. Nothing of the sort had occurred. Instead, Goren had ranted and raved and been rendered nearly ineffectual without the presence of his partner to streamline his thoughts into coherent and logical insight.
What good did that make him?
It wasn't until later that the pieces fell into place. It wasn't until the case had been solved and the daughter of Goren's mentor was booked and processed that Ross made his way to the hospital to check on his injured detective. It wasn't until he arrived and approached her room that he understood what Johnny Eames had been trying to tell him with the story about the family dog. It wasn't until then because that was the moment he discovered Goren sprawled out in a chair beside his partner's bed, gangly legs extended and upper body contorted to fill the contours of the rigid chair as he slept for the first time in over forty-eight hours, head barely supported by his right hand. That was the moment he saw Eames half awake, watching her partner's chest rise and fall, her head still bandaged and bruises only just beginning to fade.
That was the moment he first saw them – truly saw them. And he understood. Alex Eames believed in Bobby Goren and that was what made him great – what made them a great team. No doubt she had believed that Bobby could find her and, even though she had found her own way out in the end, that belief had bound them together. Her faith in him was unshakeable and because of that, he gave her two hundred percent of his time, energy, and loyalty. They were, as Johnny Eames said, a great team.
Maybe he does have some terrier-like qualities, Ross thought ruefully, a half-smile forming on his lips. He was turning to leave the pair to their rest when Eames nodded for him to come in.
"He wouldn't wake up now if you set off a bomb," she said in a low, wry voice that was still a bit hoarse from her ordeal.
"He's going to have a hell of a kink in his neck when he does," Ross observed.
"They don't really make Goren sized chairs," she shrugged and gave a small smile.
"He tell you what happened this afternoon?" Ross asked, already suspecting the answer.
"Yeah," Eames nodded, her face suddenly pale and her breath shaking a bit. "He's pretty upset. Declan and Jo, they meant a lot to him."
"Apparently you mean a lot to him too," the words were out before Ross could stop them and he couldn't decide whether or not he regretted saying them.
Eames looked down at her folded hands. With simplicity, she told him, "We're partners."
Ross decided it best to change the subject. "When are they saying you'll be out of here?"
"Probably the day after tomorrow," she replied. "Bobby says my dad and brothers are on repair duty at my house and his buddy Lewis is working on my car. Everything should be good as new."
"You take as much time as you need to come back," Ross told her firmly, knowing that "good as new" was all well and good, but when a person's home had been invaded and their life turned upside down, "good as new" was never enough to make it "like it was." The recovery process took far longer than a new door and a paint job.
"I'll be back soon," she told him firmly. She nodded to her sleeping partner, who stirred slightly, then settled. "You told me to keep an eye on him. I can't do that unless I'm working."
"You should get some rest," Ross said, choosing not to respond to her words. His tone lightened as he added, "Besides, I have a feeling he's not going anywhere at the moment."
She smiled and let her eyes fall back on her partner. "No, I'd say he's settled in for the night."
A nurse entered the room behind the captain and said with soft firmness, "Excuse me, sir, but visiting hours are over. You'll have to leave now."
"On my way," he smiled at her.
The nurse moved past him and approached Goren's chair. Ross reached out and caught her arm before she woke the detective.
"Can you let him stay where he is? Just for tonight?" the captain asked her, laying on as much charm as he could. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Eames peering at him curiously.
"I'm sorry sir, but it's not allowed," she shook her head. "He'll have to…"
"Look, ma'am," Ross cut her off as politely as he could. "I'm sorry to ask you to break the rules like this, but this is a very special case and I ask very humbly that you make a very special exception."
"And why should I?" the nurse frowned at him, unconvinced.
Ross's eyes flicked to Eames before he replied, noting that she was paying rapt attention.
"They're keeping an eye on each other," he told her. "It's their job."
The nurse opened her mouth as if to protest, then she stopped and shook her head. "Oh all right. It's already late and he's asleep; I don't see what harm it'll do."
"Thank you," the captain told her sincerely, walking out the door with her. He turned briefly before heading down the hall and saw Eames mouth a "thank you" of her own in his direction.
Ross nodded and strode to the elevator. Not even a month into his stint as captain of the Major Case Squad and he had already learned a lot.