Rated: M for language, adult situations
Spoilers: None (unless you haven't seen Blind Spot)
Summary: This takes place after Blind Spot. Alex's healing after her kidnapping ordeal.
B/A shippiness and plenty of angst.
Disclaimer: I don't own CI, I don't make money from this, all the characters belong to Dick Wolf and his writers, yadda yadda yadda. You know the score.
A/N: this is my first CI story, so if I get any of the canon wrong, let me know!
my heart pounds and I struggle against the bindings again, but my feet are too far off the ground and there's not enough purchase.
the screams have dwindled to broken, desperate whimpers
the sound of a curtain being drawn back, metal rings sliding on metal
fear explodes in my stomach- it's dark behind the blindfold, but I can feel my captor's presence like the shadow cast by a cloud moving over the sun
no coherent thought now, just the reek of blood and damp and fear- is it my turn to suffer?
cold metal touches my cheek…
I scream and struggle up from tangled sheets. At first I confuse the dark of my bedroom with the darkness of the blindfold in my dream, but a moment later the steady display of the digital clock on the dresser comes into focus: 4:04am
Choking back a sob, I disengage myself from the sweaty bedsheets. My hands shake as I flip the switch in the bathroom and turn on the faucet to splash cool water on my face until my breath and heart have slowed. Finally I shut off the water and return to the bedroom.
I'm exhausted, but the bed doesn't look at all inviting to me. If I lay down again, there's no guarantee that I won't have another nightmare. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror over the dresser- I look like shit: pale, tired, eyes ringed with dark circles.
It's been nearly a month since Jo kidnapped me and the marks on my wrists have faded. I still have headaches once in a while from being knocked upside the head, but physically I'm almost back to normal (whatever that is). Emotionally, though….I've been a cop long enough to know that a traumatic experience like mine takes a long time to heal. If it ever heals. My department-issued shrink seems to think I'll be ok eventually.
Am I fooling her? Myself?
It's been nearly a month and I'm still waking up at night shaking, slick with sweat and reeling out of horrifying dreams.
Nearly a month and I can't shake the image of the poor video store clerk Jo tortured to death while I hung from my wrists, blindfolded and gagged only a few feet away.
Nausea grips my stomach and I barely make it to the toilet in time to lose the remnants of my meager dinner. Afterward I lay on coolness of the tile floor, hugging my knees to my chest. Hot tears are sliding down my cheeks.
Nearly a month….
I'd stayed in the hospital only a few days. The docs wanted me to stay longer but I was done with them. I didn't take any phone calls after I got home, especially not from anyone at the precinct. Of course I reassured my sister that I was fine….but I ducked the calls from the captain, my new shrink and even from Bobby.
The first night I spent at home didn't go well. Truth be told, most of the nights since then haven't gone well either. My shrink keeps asking me how I'm sleeping- do you think it would raise eyebrows if I admitted that the only way I can fall asleep is with my gun under my pillow?
Going back to my squad after the department-imposed 10 day leave was harder than I thought. Everyone was so concerned about how I was feeling…After hearing "Are you ok?" for what had to be the 50th time before I even reached my desk, the only thing I could do down to the shooting range and empty clip after clip into the targets.
That's where Bobby had found me.
I turned, taking off my ear protection and putting the gun down. He was looking at me with a strange expression on his face, one I couldn't quite read. The firing cubicle was so tight that he was standing practically on top of me and I had a moment of claustrophobia that made my stomach roil.
Ever perceptive, he saw my discomfort and backed up to give me more room. "Eames," he said again. Softer this time but with that same look on his face- the one I'd seen every time I opened my eyes at the hospital.
I couldn't meet his gaze anymore and turned back to retrieve my target. Distantly I noted that I hadn't lost my touch- there were multiple holes nicely clustered in the chest and head zones. "You don't need to say anything. You've said everything already."
A chuff of air, halfway between a snort and a sigh, "I haven't said much to you since you checked yourself out of the hospital AMA and won't return my calls."
I whirled on him, "You and I both know it's not your fault that Jo kidnapped me. You don't need to apologize for that crazy bitch. She was just another perp who got her jollies by hurting and killing…whether it was me or one of the other victims…I was just convenient."
He shifted his weight, "She picked you because she was trying to hurt me. I should have seen it."
"No, she picked me because I was convenient. A means to an end. She wanted to get even with her father for ignoring her all her life. Declan paid more attention to psychotic murderers than to his own daughter. It's all so obvious," I realized my voice was getting louder and forced myself to lower my tone. The range was quiet- no one else was shooting this early in the day. "Jo knew that if she killed me, she not only hurt her father, she also got the bonus of hurting you….and you were like a son to Declan. She could get even with both of you in one stroke.
"But if it hadn't been me, she would have settled for just torturing someone else to make Declan look stupid." I holstered my gun and faced him once again. "We're partners, right?"
"Do you still trust me?" I'm not sure what he expected me to say, but I doubted it was that. "Do you?"
It was a legitimate question; our lives depended on each other every day. Up until now I had always been the stable one…the one who held him back when he got too wrapped up in a case. Now I had my own problems.
He didn't even hesitate, "You're my partner. I don't need anyone else."
"Then leave the apologies alone and let's get back on the job." I said, brushing by him.
And that had been the last time I'd allowed him to talk to me about the whole thing.
In the past month, I had gotten very good at acting like everything was normal. I was so good at it, I was nearly fooling myself….at least during the day. The nights were another matter.
And then today, a new case had come across our desks that had cracked my façade of normalcy. It had been the crime scene photos that had done it: page after page of the victim, bound and gagged (like I had been), her body a mass of bruises and cuts. She'd been savagely beaten and tortured by the perp or perps, then left to die. It wasn't the absolute worst case I'd seen, but gazing at the photos made my whole body go numb.
It must have showed because the captain came over, "Eames, you gonna be okay with this one?"
Bobby was eyeing me, "Maybe we can pass this one along to Jensen and Ruscinski, Cap?"
"I'm fine!" I had snapped angrily. "I'm better than okay. Let's just get on this case and catch whoever did this." Turning my back on them, I had begun working on the computer. Neither man had said anything else and the rest of the day passed in a blur.
Now here I was, twelve hours later, lying on my bathroom floor with the taste of bile in my mouth and tears in my eyes.
Who am I fooling? I don't feel safe anymore…I carry a gun and I'm supposed to be protecting everyone but I don't even feel safe in my own home. Christ, what I'd give to feel safe again.
My cell phone rings and I jump to my feet, startled. Picking it up off the nightstand, I see Bobby's number on the display. A call at 4am?
"Eames," I say into the phone. My voice is husky and cracked.
"It's me," he says unnecessarily. "Were you asleep?"
"Yeah," I lie, "What's up?"
"I- uh- I need to talk to you." Now he sounds….nervous? Sometimes it's hard to tell with him, despite the fact that we've been partners for years now. "Can I come over?"
"Now?" I'm a little surprised but then realize that if he came over, I wouldn't have to worry about going back to sleep. "What is it?"
"Just…" he pauses and I have a mental image of him cocking his head as he speaks into the phone. "Please, Alex. It's about you." Another pause, longer this time. "It's about us."
I'm too tired and too wound up to argue. I'm tired of feeling scared and I'm tired of being angry with him. I want to feel safe tonight and I know that he would die to protect me. I also know that he's right: there are things we need to say to each other. The silence between us stretches out till finally I say, "The front door will be unlocked."