A/N: This is an episode tag for 'Want' in season four because I found the story of John Tagman too depressing to leave it like that ... so I made it even more depressing. Enjoy.
"Goren, Eames, my office," Deakins said.
Alex Eames frowned, unsure why they were being called into the Captain's office. Then she saw the very pregnant woman waiting inside. She had a worried look on her beautiful, tan face; her hair done up in twin braids right beneath her ears.
"Detectives, this is Emma Pierce – John Tagman's ex-fiancée," Deakins said, his voice low and quiet, "Ms. Pierce, these are the detectives who handled John's case."
Emma turned to look at the two detectives. "Where's John?" she asked, her voice thick with an Arabic accent.
Eames looked at her partner, wanting to know what he thought of the woman before them, wondering how Emma didn't know that John Tagman was dead. She seemed like a nice woman and Alex wondered how she had ever gotten involved with Tagman.
Goren was shocked at the news of Tagman's ex-lover. The man had been in such a dark, lonely place it was hard for Goren to imagine that he'd ever had a serious relationship. The very pregnant woman sitting in front of him said otherwise.
"John was … killed yesterday," Bobby finally said, watching Emma's reaction carefully.
The news hit Emma like a Mack truck. One hand unconsciously sought out the life in her stomach while the other clutched the necklace she wore: it was a plain gold chain with a diamond engagement ring on it. Dead. Her Johnny was dead? She started shaking her head, tears overflowing in her eyes as she kept on saying, "It's all my fault. Oh, Johnny. It's all my fault."
Bobby knelt down beside the weeping woman and tried to put his hand on her arm. She jerked away from him with a shake of her head. "How is it your fault?" he asked softly.
Emma's tears slowed as she looked into the eyes of the big detective in front of her. "I left him," she whispered, her voice cracking with emotion. "I … We argued about where to live, of all things … I called him a selfish pig when he said he wanted to stay in the city … Then my aunt called … from Cairo …" her tears came back in full force as she remembered what had happened all those months ago. "I left."
"How long ago?" Bobby asked, his eyes traveling to her swelled stomach.
She glared at him, "The baby's his. A little boy. I didn't find out I was pregnant until I was in Cairo."
"Did you ever tell him?"
She shook her head, "No. I tried … but you must understand. My family … they're not anti-American … but they didn't like John. 'Too quiet', they said. No humor. They wouldn't let me tell him."
Goren was angry. He was angry with this woman for letting her family keep her and her baby away from John Tagman. He was angry at Tagman for not holding on to what he had in this woman. He was angry with himself for not finding out about this woman sooner. "You're last name: Pierce?"
"I changed it," Emma said. "British first name, Egyptian surname. People always looked at me funny … so I changed it. Then I met John." She shook her head, wiping the tears from her eyes with a handkerchief she had pulled from her purse, "We were so happy together. I loved him so much."
"How long were you two together?" this time it was Alex who wanted to know.
"Four years," Emma whispered. "The best time of my life. He was such a good man."
"Even good men can do evil things," Alex whispered in reply.
Emma shook her head again, "You can't understand, Detective. What am I supposed to tell my baby about his father? I … I came back because John called me and told me what he'd done. I came back because he asked me to … and now I'll never be able to see him again; and our baby will never be able to have a relationship with his father."
She got up from the chair with some difficulty. "Thank you for telling me, Detectives," she said softly as she opened the door to Deakins' office and left.
None of them said anything as they stared at where Emma Pierce had disappeared from sight. None of them were sure what to think, let alone say after the disturbing revelation that Tagman had been drawn to murder not just because he was lonely, but because he hurt so damn much after the woman he loved had left him.
Three weeks later, Bobby arrived to work to find a card waiting for him, written in an unfamiliar scrawl. He opened the envelope and was a little surprised when a picture dropped out, along with a greeting card. He picked up the picture and found it was of Emma Pierce in a hospital bed, holding a little baby boy in her arms with a warm smile on her face.
Turning his attention to the card he opened it and read:
Detective Goren –
I wanted you to have a picture of the son I share with John. His name is Jonathan Robert Tagman, in honor of his father, and the man who tried to save him. You may not feel that you did enough, but knowing John and knowing the world we live in, I have faith that you did all that you could to save him. Thank you.
- Emma Tagman
Bobby furrowed his brow as he read and reread the words Emma had written to him. His gaze shot back to the signature signing the card: Emma Tagman. She had changed her name to the one she would have had if …
"What's that?" Eames asked as she walked up behind her partner.
He showed her the card and the picture, "John Tagman's little boy. Emma wrote me a … a thank-you card."
Alex read the card before handing it back to Bobby wordlessly. She didn't know what to say. They had just wrapped up a murder case involving one of the most prominent atheists in the United States and her granddaughter … what the hell was she supposed to say about a card essentially absolving Bobby Goren from guilt in the case of one John Tagman, beaten to death while folding laundry in a prison?
Mike Logan slowed down as he took a closer look at the picture adorning Bobby Goren's desk. It was in the far right corner, partially hidden by the stacks of paperwork and books that also adorned the big detective's desk. The picture was of a woman in her early thirties and a small boy. They were sitting in front of an easy chair, the little boy playing with a toy truck while his mother laughed at him and some unknown person snapped the candid shot.
"What are you doing, Mike?" Bobby asked a little coldly when he saw the other detective looking at the most recent photo he had of baby Johnny. After the child had been born, it had become routine for Bobby to visit the single mother and the child at least once a week to check in on them. He felt it was the least he could do since John Tagman had died before Johnny had even been born. Bobby didn't go out of love for Emma, not at all. Their relationship was strictly platonic, and focused primarily on giving Johnny a father figure that wasn't dead.
Mike jumped back, dropping the picture back onto Goren's desk, "Nothin'."
Goren glared at him, "That didn't look like 'nothing', Logan."
"Who is that?" Mike asked, motioning toward the picture as Bobby replaced it in the proper place on his desk.
Eames walked up to her desk, a recently stirred cup of coffee in her hands. She noticed the look on Bobby's face and answered the overly curious detective before her partner had a chance to get a reign on his temper: "That would be Emma and Johnny. Is Johnny over his bought with bronchitis, Bobby?"
Bobby nodded, "Yeah. Just in time for his birthday, too." He smirked slightly, "Emma's really taken with his pediatrician, though. Wouldn't be surprised if he starts doing home check-ups for Johnny."
Alex nodded, her eyes studying her partner as he studied the picture of mother and child. "That's good for her. She deserves some happiness."
"So does Johnny," Goren muttered under his breath.
Mike furrowed his brow as he looked between both detectives, "Okay. Who are Emma and Johnny?"
Alex looked up, as if just remembering that Logan was there, "Oh. Emma's a … friend and Johnny's her son."
Goren rolled his eyes at his partner's obtuse answer, knowing that Logan wouldn't settle down until he got more than that, "Remember last year the case about John Tagman?"
Logan's frown deepened, "The guy who killed a girl and ate her calf muscle?"
At Mike's nod, Bobby said, "Emma is his ex-fiancée and Johnny is their son."
Mike's eyes widened at the revelation, "And you keep their picture on your desk because …"
Bobby's glare intensified. He was having a terrible month and seeing Johnny was the only reason he was still moving. He knew that Eames understood that, and had accepted his fondness for the child – hell, even she couldn't help but like the boy! Finally, Goren came up with an answer that would mystify and shut Logan up once and for all: "Because they remind me that no one is hopeless."
As Logan walked silently back to his desk, confusion still evident, Alex turned to her partner, sorrow evident as they looked at one another. Finally she said, "I'll never let you fall that low, Goren. To do what he did … I'll never give you the chance."
Goren's mouth quirked into a slight smile that didn't reach his eyes. "I'm counting on it, Eames."
A/N: Please review and tell me if my very twisted view makes any sense at all. And I know there's really no picture on Bobby's desk.