"Goren! Eames! My office, now!"

She sighed inwardly, not glancing across the desk at her partner , knowing she just didn't want to actually see if there would be guilt written across his face. Because if there was guilt – that meant she had to face the thought of once again extracting her partner from whatever the hell he had done. She could feel his gaze on her, and practically hear the words crawling up into his throat – rumbling from the large chest as his hands gesticulated in front of him, a preview of the upcoming speech.

"No Bobby." Her voice was tight as she cut him off before he had even opened his mouth, her eyes scanning his face once, twice, quickly – and not seeing anything other than confusion. Great. Now I get to feel guilty for assuming - she watched the slight hurt look come into his eyes as he finally latched onto what she had thought. This time she sighed out loud, and gestured at the pile of paperwork in front of them. "I'm sorry - I'm just- today- ugh." She finished on a half groan, and he nodded, the hurt expression receding and understanding taking it's place. And just like that – she smiled at the thought – they were fine. One half mangled sentence and a sigh and he understood why she had thought it in the first place.

"Do I pay you to stare at each other when you should be in my office Detectives?!" The voice – the irritated voice – of their Captain shook her out of her thoughts.

"Shit." she muttered, pushing her chair back and standing, while Bobby did the same, but with more of a bounce. She smiled wryly, he couldn't do anything without his over excessive personal energy pouring into it. Idly, as the strode towards Ross' office she wondered if Bobby really carried it through to everything he did-

"Sit." Ross snapped at them as they entered the office and sat. Even Bobby sat – which was unusual, in this office at any rate – but they were both adjusting. To the new Captain, to the stricter rules – Ross had come in and suddenly they found themselves at the end of a very short leash – a leash to which they were unaccustomed. Which was why she had assumed they were in here because Bobby had the awful tendency to tug and pull that leash as much as possible. A file was tossed across the desk by Ross, and before she could blink Bobby had snatched it up and opened it, reading the call out sheet inside. She glared at him, but he took no notice – it was just one of those things. Their partner things. Bobby was a bit of a control freak- to say the least – he needed to know everything first- and while, five years later, it still grated her nerves, she never spoke up. There was no point in starting arguments that could result in more arguments that could result in revelations about their relationship. And no one wanted that.

"Chief of D's just called – it's a homicide, but the victim is Det. Mark Collier – he's with CCS. He and his partner have been there for almost ten years now – and the Chief wants us to look into this."

"We don't usually-" Bobby started, his brow furrowed, but she cut him off with a glare that clearly said shut the hell up.

"Thanks Capt. We'll let you know what we find." Her voice cut in smoothly, as she stood, grabbing the shoulder of Bobby's jacket and effectively hauling him up with her. Ross just watched with a slight amused expression and waved them out the door.

Outside, she strode to their desks, grabbing her coat and turning around to the confused expression she knew was following her. "Not now." Her voice was terse as she strode over to the elevator, relishing in the fact that she was the leader and he the follower for a brief moment until he caught up with her at the elevator. They entered, and descended to the parking garage in silence, but she could feel his eyes on her, and hear how his hands flicked the folder, back and forth until the elevator interrupted with it's soft ding, and the doors slid open before them.

Once they were in the SUV she turned to him and waited for it. He glanced down at the call out sheet in his hands, a thin piece of paper in an even thinner file – until they filled it. "Bobby- you were about to do it – again." she stressed the last word. "I know we don't normally work straight up homicides – but the Chief of D's asked for us and you don't sit there and say no. Now what's in the file about Det. Collier?"

He nodded absently, running a hand through his hair as he read the sheet of paper before him. To the untrained eye, one would think that he hadn't even heard her, but Alex knew better. She knew that he had filed the reprimand away for future use, and had turned his attention to the case before him before she had even stopped speaking.

"He – uh – transferred in eleven years ago – military background – moved up fairly quickly – within a year and a half he was moved to the Cold Case Squad. Partnered with a Det. Theresita Casas – she was senior partner. Solve rate was high – no flags in his file – he was shot five years ago in the line of duty, but survived."

"Yeah, until now."

The scene was crowded, which wasn't unusual when it was one of their own- but she could see Bobby's skin practically crawling at the sight of so many officers contaminating the scene. She heard the familiar snapping sound of his gloves, and he strode over to the body – hanging over the ME's shoulder, waiting for her to finish with the body so that he could get a good look. As usual, with unspoken agreement, she was left to interview the officers milling about the scene. Not that she entirely minded- Det. Collier's body was spread out on his bed, assembled in a rather grotesque fashion. He had been shot, twice in the chest, and then the killer had decided to have some fun with a knife, carving up practically every inch of the body except the face. The knife had been left behind – stuck three inches deep into Collier's chest. Whoever had done this had clearly been leaving a message. She glanced away as she saw Bobby leaning over the body , inspecting the length and depth of each cut.

"Wh- what is the hair?" Bobby pointed at tufts of fur on the chest wounds, looking quizzically up at the ME. She pointed across the room to an animal control officer standing with a cage.

"Cat. Thing sat on his chest and bit two officers who tried to grab him. Had to call animal control."

Bobby nodded, bending closer still and grasping the victim's forearms in his hands, inspecting them carefully. Not looking over his shoulder, he spoke in a distracted tone. "Eames.." She nodded, even though he couldn't see her, and glanced at the officer with the cat.

"We're going to need the cat processed."She spoke dryly, and the officer nodded and took the carrier out to the CSU techs.

"There are no – no defensive wounds I can see." Bobby spoke softly, holding out an arm for her to inspect. Despite the several large jagged cuts on his forearm, she saw that he was right – there didn't appear to be anything other than precise cuts. "I mean I can't be sure-"

"He knew whoever attacked him. He must have. Maybe he was drugged?" Alex wondered aloud in a low voice, but as usual Bobby heard her.

"We'll need a tox screen done right away." He spoke to the ME in a polite tone. Turning back to the body, he began measuring the various cuts, and making notes every so often. Knowing that he would get her when he was finished with the body, she left the room.

Walking over to a shaken older man sitting in the living room, she sat next to him, taking out her note pad and activating the recorder she kept in her coat pocket at the same time. "Det- uh – Frances?" She questioned tentatively. The older man looked up, staring at her blankly for a moment before his face cleared and he nodded his head. "You found the d-" she paused a moment, rethinking her vocabulary and switching mid word. "Detective this morning?"

"Yeah." He glanced at the bedroom, paled a bit more and then glanced at her in agitation. "I was uh- Davis and I-" he gestured to a large man in the corner, speaking into a cell phone swiftly with an impassive face. "Mark was late- we would have sent MJ to check- but oh God- if we had.." he trailed off, his voice losing strength as his eyes widened in horror. "Captain sent us in to see if he was sick- or just passed out – or something.. Anyway, we got here around eleven this morning? And that's when we- we saw the door was ajar- so we came in, guns drawn and we found him." His voice grew thick towards the end of the statement, and she winced in sympathy. No one wanted to find a friend like this.

"And his partner? Wouldn't she be sent normally? Det. Casas, was it?" Frances nodded his head numbly as he adjusted his tie, pulling at it in agitation.

"Yeah MJ. But she had a half day off- some doctor's appointment or something? God- she's going to- she's going to-" He couldn't seem to finish the sentence, blinking rapidly to staunch the flow of tears. Just then there was an almost unnatural cry – low and high all at once , and they turned towards the sound. A woman, who was slight in stature was being restrained by Frances' partner. Her long dark hair was in a ponytail, and tears were streaming down her face as she clutched the arm of the man before her. Alex decided to get up and go closer. When she got within earshot, she could hear Frances' partner speaking in a low harsh tone. "He wouldn't want you to see MJ. You're not going in. He wouldn't want it." The woman's hands flexed against the arm holding her back, her nails biting into the fabric of his coat.

"No!" She snapped, her voice angry and strained and thick with the tears. "No – he's my- he's my- I have to- oh god, Mark!"All at once the fight seemed to go out of her body, and she collapsed into the mans arms, sobbing jaggedly. He took her gently by the arms pushing her out, back into the street. She followed, aware that the other detective – Frances had followed her. Once on the sidewalk, the man turned and went up the second set of stairs – the other half of the duplex.

"She lived next door. Mark loved his place – but he hated the neighbors- when they moved he talked MJ into buying the place. It works for them- they're closer- I mean they're just really great partners, you know?" She made a note in her notepad, looking up skeptically.

"Detective – had you noticed anything – anything unusual at all in the past few days?"

He wiped a hand over his brow, his eyes still on the door that David had taken her through. "No – nothing outside of work anyway. They were working a few tough cases lately – but nothing unusual. I'm sure our Captain will let you access the files." His eyes darted from her to the door, her to the door again.

"Do you mind if I-" Frances waved towards the second townhouse with a limp hand. Nodding in understanding she waved him onwards with a warning they'd need to interview all of them at a later point. With a sigh, she turned back towards the house to find her partner and finish speaking to the officers.

She rubbed her face, glancing across the desk at her partner, who was currently buried in a stack of crime scene photos, and mapping out a diagram of the crime scene. She had just finished transcribing the interviews she had conducted this morning, and stood, stretching her back out, and smiling when she saw that he didn't even look up. Shaking her head, she headed off to get them both coffee from the break room. Halfway there, their Captain stepped up to her, raising a brow in a silent inquisition. Why do you always have to come bug me about case updates? Jesus – like I wasn't enough of a go between with Deakins and Bobby – now I'm practically passing your guys notes. With a slight eye roll, she shrugged back at him. "We don't have much yet Captain. ME's not done with the body- and CCS is sending over the cases Det. Collier was working on. I'm just about to schedule interviews with his Captain and co workers."

"Good- what about his partner?" Ross' voice was distracted as he trailed her into the break room.

She hesitated at the question. She was a good cop – a very good cop and she knew it. Usually it was her riding Bobby for being too empathetic, getting too involved. Somehow though, she felt a strange sort of sympathy for Det. Casas – she shivered lightly, thinking of the look of absolute horror on the woman's face today. A woman who she assumed was normally tough as nails and strong – you had to be to work in the department and be a woman- screaming and sobbing in pain at the thought of her partner of ten years – dead. She sighed softly as she stirred the coffee in front of her. Black with six sugar for her, and cream with one sugar for Bobby. He constantly teased her about having some coffee with her sugar. She bit her lip – aware that Ross was waiting for a response. Turning, she stared at him with a neutral expression. "I thought we might give his partner a day or so , sir. She was extremely distraught at the scene, and had to be sedated. She's over at Mercy now."

"Mmm hmm." Ross spoke without looking up from the file he was scanning. "Alright then – do the other detectives in his unit first, and his Captain – but Eames-" he looked up with an unreadable expression. "She does have to be interviewed. Soon." She heard the censure in his tone, and mentally kicked herself for sympathizing in any way with the woman. He nodded once, and exited the room, file still in hand. She turned back, picking up the coffee mugs in both hands, and headed back out to her desk , her preoccupied partner, and the list of phone calls she would have to make.