A/N: Not quite sure I'm happy with this- but they're stubborn and refused to go much deeper. Go figure. Anyway, this really is the end. Seriously this time. Got to get back to my regularly scheduled fic, lol.
I had finished the paperwork- gone back to my parents and watched the kids do their pageant again – a day late but just for me this time. And still- even though I was exhausted, even though I wanted nothing more to curl up somewhere safe and warm and just pass out, not that it was an option for me anyway- I found myself in front of his apartment, cradling the damn thing in my hands like an infant. Gently. Several times today I had found myself staring at it. Bobby took this thing everywhere with him – I had wanted to just.. just look inside so many times. But I hadn't – I couldn't. There had been enough betrayals today without adding another to the list. Raising my hand I knocked, two short raps. He'd know it was me, but I wasn't about to give him the option of not answering. Everything was silent and still for a moment, but soon enough he opened the door. He looked like crap.
"You look like crap." I pushed past his large frame, even though he didn't invite me in. He should know well enough by now, opening the door was enough.
"Thanks." His voice was flat, and listless and I glanced back in concern. There were shadows under his eyes, and he looked haggard. Just worn down. I know he had gone back- sat with his mother, listened to her delusions, reassured her, lied to her and sat beside her bed until she slept. He was a good son. It was almost synonymous with Bobby Goren. I bit my lip, standing there, still clutching the portfolio, unsure what to say next. He stood, staring at the floor, running a hand along the side of his head, back and forth. Clearly he didn't have a clue either.
"I brought this back for you." I indicated the leather baby in my arms, and after a hesitant moment, held it out to him reluctantly. I didn't want to give it back to him, I wanted to keep it- hold it hostage until he talked to me. Worked this- whatever the hell it was- out. He glanced up, his eyes slightly red rimmed and his brow pinched. Taking it from my hands, he muttered his thanks as I dealt with the loss of something I had next to me all day. It had become a small comfort item in a few short hours. Maybe I needed to get myself one. Of course, the sole reason it had been comforting was because it was his. We stood in his hall , awkward silence falling over us. I simply stood there, watching him clutch the leather in his hands and shift his weight from left foot to right foot. Sighing, I decided that once again – it was up to me.
"Do you want me to leave?" My question was blunt and harsh, slicing through the silence with all the grace of a pirouetting hippopotamus. His head shot up and his eyes met mine – not the usual look, but anything was an improvement at this point.
"I- no, unless you have somewhere to be. Your family..." He trailed off uncertainly, and I could see the wheels turning, the slight downward pull on his large frame as he spoke.
"We're good. I just saw them. The kids did the whole pilgrims and indians bit for me again. Bobby-" I paused there, trying to think of what to say that didn't involve the words idiot, childish or petulant. Instead, I turned , walking towards his living room and his sofa, where a book lay opened on the coffee table and a small lamp was lit – the only source of light in the apartment right now. I sat down – feeling suddenly exhausted, and felt his weight sink into the sofa next to me.
"Just- just say it, Eames." His voice was quiet , it was hard to be anything but in a room where the hush fell so thickly, with not even a clock ticking in the silence. I turned toward him with a frown knitting across my brow.
"Say what?" The confusion was evident in my tone and he turned to me, his eyes shuttered and his face a granite mask.
"Say it. I'm an idiot- and I put my job at risk today. I threw a fit because I thought my stuff should come first- and that put you in a horrible position. And then I didn't even bother to thank you for being in that position, I just snapped at you for trying." He rattled off the list of things I was sure he'd been thinking about for the last few hours, and for once I couldn't really blame him, since the same thoughts hadn't been too far from my mind either. I sank back into the sofa, and put my feet up on the coffee table – which I knew he hated, but always allowed me to do anyway.
"Bobby- I won't lie. I was pissed. Beyond pissed. I wanted to hurt you today- and I think I did a pretty damn good job. You're not infallible Bobby- you're not perfect. You're human. And you allowed personal issues to intrude on your work. And I let you – let you bait me, and get to me. But when you left- I sat at your desk, and thought. And I was horrible to you-" My hands were shoved in my coat pockets as I spoke, my voice clear and steady. I had spent the better part of my day planning this, so I knew my lines.
"No Eames- you.. you weren't. You went out of your way to help. Even Ross- but it just- it just-"
"I get it Bobby. I get that you hate having everyone at work know what's going on with you personally. Especially Ross- he doesn't know you. But no one- no one there is judging you Bobby. They want to help- and you may just have to let them." I turned my head as I spoke, only to see him staring straight ahead, defiance written in his posture. "At the very least, let me help. We're partners right? It doesn't just apply to work." His posture relaxed and he slouched back into the sofa with me, surprising me by propping his own feet on the coffee table- well his legs anyway, his feet hung over the other side.
"I'm sorry I hurt you- I didn't want to. I just didn't want to think, I wanted to escape, but I hated the way you were looking at me, Eames. Like I had just punched you- and I- I'm sorry about that." He looked over at me, his chin touching his shoulder and his eyes finally not clouded. And there it was. The look. I felt the urge to laugh and cry all at once, so relieved that it was there- that we weren't irreparable. Unable to be reassembled. Instead I smiled, the crooked half smile that let him know that it was alright. That we would be fine. The tension thick and heavy in the air seemed to dissipate with a sigh, and we both visibly relaxed, settled down a little deeper into the cushions. I spoke, despite the small voice whispering to leave it be.
"I'm sorry too- I acted like we were in high school, with the cold shoulder and everything. It felt horrible, Bobby. I don't like when we're disconnected like that. So just- please, I want you to try to share this with me, alright Bobby? It's alot for you to carry- just let me help you if I can?" My voice was soft, and strangely plaintive, but he didn't call me on it, merely smiled and nodded as I spoke. He would try, I know. Even in an unspoken agreement – he wouldn't take it lightly or throw it away, he would adhere to it. Releasing a sigh, I stared ahead once again, glad it was over- glad that we could move forward. We had a strange relationship – one that almost no one understood but it hardly mattered to us, as we understood it, and we were all that mattered. After a silent moment, I tilted my head, glancing at the table at our feet – or knees in his case. "What were you reading?"
"Crime and Punishment." He smiled wryly as he spoke, and she rolled her eyes.
"Russian literature to relax Bobby. Lucky for you I came over." He tuned his head towards me, and I could feel his eyes watching me, as I began looking around, searching for the television remote.