A/N: And yeah, my muse just had to find a way to pull Deakins into all of this. Stupid thing...ah, well. At least it gave me something I'm actually happy with. Any CI's not mine, but after that premiere last night...to put it shortly, it was awesome.
Five years with the Major Case Squad, and it had taken my leaving for this to happen. I felt guilty, even though I probably shouldn't have. But the fact remained that one of mine (for I couldn't help but still think of them that way) had been hurt, and I hadn't been there. The fact that I'd been left without a choice in the matter didn't really help make the guilty go away; if anything it made it worse…
To the point where when I showed up at the hospital after being told by a friend of mine what had happened, I wanted to turn around and leave. It felt like I didn't belong there, and in truth, it should've been, and was, Bobby that was present, sitting there, just watching Alex sleep. I knew he wouldn't go home until she woke up, and was halfway to walking in and telling him to go, and then it hit me. I wasn't their commanding officer anymore.
Suddenly, the hallway I was in seemed a lot smaller than it really was. I wanted to leave, and had actually turned to do so when I felt a hand on my shoulder.
I turned again to find Bobby standing there, looking split between surprise and relief. I wondered what he was thinking and knew that it was pointless; I could never figure him out while we worked together, and knew I could never hope to do so now.
"Did you think I wouldn't?" I asked in reply. He eyed me for a moment, and then shook his head; I knew better, but said nothing about it. "How is she?"
Bobby sighed. "She's fine, according to what the doctors have to say, but…"
"You aren't so sure," I said, finishing the statement.
"It isn't that I think she won't be, it's just…" Bobby trailed off and sighed again. "When the nurse pulled that curtain around us, I saw…It scared her."
'Scared' was never a word I'd have willingly associated with Alexandra Eames, but from what I had heard…
"She'll pull through all right," I said finally, "You know she will."
Bobby nodded absently, and then glanced back into the room. Alex was still fast asleep.
"She'll want to see you," he said quietly after a while. "This new guy…I don't think she likes him much."
Well, there went any hopes I might've had as to them being able to get along with whoever had come to take my place. I hadn't bothered to find out, knowing that it would hurt too much, but knew that if Alex didn't like him, he'd have a hard time getting the rest of the squad to like him.
"I'll stay, then," I said, "But you should get some sleep."
Bobby shook his head, a wry smile crossing his face as he did.
"I don't want to leave her," he said, and then, "I've been drinking coffee."
That explained a lot. I shook my head, biting back the impulse to laugh. I knew all too well what it was like to sit, waiting for a partner to wake up. If he wanted to stay, he could; I was no longer in any position to tell him otherwise.
He was already walking back into the room. I hesitated, and then realized that the door was being held open for me. I walked in, and when I did, Bobby let it go, and it swung closed behind us.
We sat in silence after that, on opposite sides of the bed, both of us looking in annoyance at the machines that beeped every now and then. Alex continued to sleep, oblivious to everything around her, to her partner's exhaustion, to my presence…to the fact that she was being watched, and would be until she opened her eyes again.
"So what happens now?" Bobby asked finally, his voice breaking through our silence. I looked over at him and sighed, ignoring the fat that somehow one of Alex's hands had found its way between both of his.
"I don't know," I said. "I don't think she'll walk out of Major Case because of it, but this sort of thing…"
He nodded as I trailed off, knowing exactly what I meant, and silence fell until he spoke again.
"You know, I never really thought about what I'd do if I lost her before now," he admitted quietly, "And…and then she got taken, and I didn't have any choice but to."
"It's not something a person would think about on a regular basis."
"Maybe it should be. I just…when she was gone…the only thing that really kept me out there was the thought that she would…still be alive when we found her."
"And she was."
"But what would've happened if she hadn't managed to get away?"
That was something I did not want to think about, and I didn't want Bobby thinking about it, either.
"Don't worry about it," I told him. "All that matters is that she's here, she's safe, and she's going to be fine, other than maybe needing you around a little more often."
But even as I said this, I knew he would be the last one on Earth to object to Alex needing him around. I kept this thought to myself, however, and glanced over at him, only to find that he'd fallen asleep, still holding her hand.
I watched them for a long moment before allowing myself to lean back in the chair I'd sat down in, closing my eyes, but only for a minute.
Five years, and only when I had gone had this happened. The guilt returned, but it wasn't as bad as the first time. Alex was alive, she had made it and would be fine, the way we all wanted her to be. Things were about as normal as they ever were, if only for the moment.
It was late. But I couldn't for the life of me make myself get up and move. Not that I wanted to, I mused, even if I was suddenly the one in serious need of coffee. No, I would wait, as much as I hated to, for Alex to open her eyes and say something to me before swatting at her partner, calling him an idiot, and telling him to go home, when all three of us knew he wouldn't even think of doing until she could come along.
But that was just the way it was. Absently, I took her other hand in mine and offered up a silent prayer for her, the way I did for all of my detectives, every night, even now. No movement came. Whatever the doctors had given her had really knocked her out. So I continued to sit there, her hand still in mine, staring out the nearby window as I waited for morning to come.