A/N This is sort of a follow up to By the Book, although it is a story by itself. It continues with Bobby's life after his incarceration . Warning: lots of angst, possibly an M rating in later chapters. Language
None of the C.I. characters belong to me

Counterplay

They were coming for him; he could hear them, he could feel them. Again he had nowhere to go. He was trapped. He tried the door again, trying to pull it open, but it was locked. Just like every other time. Still he pulled on the door, with everything he had, knowing it would never open. They were closer now, he could make out the malicious laughter. He was desperate, any second they would be here. And they would do it, over and over…

Bobby awoke with a start, dripping with perspiration, breathing rapidly, heart beating frantically. Lying back down, he tried to calm himself, but his heart seemed to beat even faster, till it seemed it would beat itself right out of his chest. For a second he thought he was having a heart attack, his chest hurt so bad, and his breathing wouldn't slow. He didn't move for a bit, just laid there, waiting. Eventually his breathing slowed, and the heart rate decreased. But his chest still hurt.

It was only four a.m., but Bobby already knew he was not going back to sleep. Even if he could, he didn't want to, not if it meant the possibility of more nightmares.

He finally got up, cursing his life. His dark curls weren't just damp, they were soaked, and his body just glistened with sweat. He padded his way out to the kitchen to put on some coffee, and while that was brewing headed for the shower. Ten minutes later the coffee was done, and so was he. He poured a cup for himself, and put some more in a disposable cup. Then he was on his way to 1 Police Plaza, and back to work, arriving about five a.m. At least there he could partially keep his mind off his own problems. The few overnighters were starting to get used to seeing him come in this early.

He sat wearily at his desk, exhausted, and pulled out a stack of folders, going through them listlessly. Lack of sleep was a killer. After all these years one would think he'd be used to it, but it just got harder and harder, and after a while he was no longer reading the words, just staring at them. Instead, his thoughts turned to an old enemy of his: James McFadden. That son of a bitch was the cause of all his misery, but hopefully that was going to change in a few weeks, when Bobby would testify against him in court. After that, when McFadden was locked away for good, maybe then the nightmares and everything associated with his stint in hell would go away.

Much later, a bleary eyed Alex Eames arrived, her own coffee in hand. It used to be that Bobby always had Starbucks coffee waiting for her. But ever since his release from his stay at Rikers, he'd been getting to work much too early to have hot Starbucks waiting for her. She missed that, but that was the least of her worries. She was very concerned about her partner; he just didn't seem to be getting better. Well, not entirely.

Bobby was slumped at his desk, his head resting on his arms, where he had drifted off after planning on just "resting his head for a minute." So far his minute had lasted a good half-hour.

"Bobby!" Alex whispered. "Wake up!" She shook his shoulder, immediately regretting it when he groaned softly, unconsciously reaching for and rubbing his shoulder.

"God, Bobby, I'm sorry! I didn't even think."

"It's okay," he mumbled.

"No, it's not, I should have remembered. And your shoulder should be better by now."

"It's okay, Eames. It's just a twinge. It's okay," he repeated. His tone suggested he didn't wish to discuss it any further.

He got up and headed for the break room. He opened his bottle of pain pills, and became aware of the fact there were only six left. Crap! How the hell did they get so low? He'd have to remember to call in for a refill. Getting himself a drink of water, he swallowed two, followed by the water. He was really hurting now, and he cursed himself for falling asleep and not taking his pills on time, thereby letting the pain get the upper hand.

Sitting back down at his desk, Bobby started in on the paperwork, which was one of the few things he could do while on restricted duty. He wasn't happy about that, either; he still wasn't totally cleared for full duty yet. But at least he was now back to work.

Bobby's problems all stemmed from Nicole Wallace, his nemesis. Or ex-nemesis, since she was now dead. He had been accused of murdering her, arrested and beaten by the police, and been incarcerated for the duration of his trial. During that period, he had been continually threatened by both guards and inmates alike, and finally seriously injured in a brutal attack. Now, he was finally cleared, but suffered nightmares and continual pain from his injuries, some of which had never healed properly. Not wishing to have his return to work delayed, Bobby had tried to keep his pain under control. Barring that, at least keep it to himself. He wasn't completely successful in hiding it, however, and when it became apparent he was hurting he tried to downplay it as much as possible. Now, however, it was too late.

He was really hurting now. Son of a bitch! Now that the pain had taken hold, there'd be no way of hiding it. His best bet now was to make some excuse to leave early.

Captain Deakins looked up from his own stack of papers. "Yes?"

"Uh…I got in early today. Paperwork is all done, there's no new cases. Think I could take off, maybe take care of some personal matters?"

Deakins frowned, not at all happy. He thought by now things would be back to normal, but Bobby was not acting normal, even for him. "Do you have a problem?" he asked.

"What? No. I just figured…"

"Listen Bobby, if you've got a problem, we can talk. We can make it unofficial—"

"There is NOTHING to talk about!"

"Bobby—"

"I need to take care of some business. That's all. Some…personal matters…"

Deakins stared at him for a moment. "Go. Go take care of your business."

Bobby nodded, and started for the door.

"Bobby?"

He stopped, closing his eyes for a moment, then turned back.

"Bobby…If you need me…. Well, you know that?"

Again Bobby nodded. Then he was out the door, only stopping at his desk long enough to pick up his binder.

Alex looked up at him. "So I guess you're leaving…?"

"Yeah. See ya tomorrow?"

"I'll be here."

Bobby started for the elevator as Alex watched. She was joined a moment later by Deakins.

"Whadda think?" Deakins asked.

Alex shook her head. "I…don't know, Captain. I just don't know…"

The minute Bobby made it inside his apartment he went into his bedroom, unbuttoned his shirt and removed it, very slowly, feeling the heat even through the shirt. He looked at his shoulder in the mirror. It was red and swollen. Right now he could hardly even move it. It was throbbing. Touching it gingerly with his left hand, he winced. Even merely touching the skin hurt. This is just fucking great, he thought. He pulled out the bottle of pills, and remembering, called the pharmacy for a refill. He thought about taking another, just one more to take the edge off the pain…

He laid down on his bed, taking care with his shoulder, and thought about how his life had taken such a turn for the worse since being in jail. Now he was facing another possible surgery. He'd already been told that there were no guarantees. If he had the surgery, and it was not successful, it could very well end his career as a detective with the Major Case Squad, a job he loved more than life itself. The last thing he wanted was permanent desk duty, or worse yet, retired on a disability. There was no way he could handle that. The only thing in his favor right now was that, being a lefty, it was his right shoulder that had not healed properly.

Soon he fell into a fitful sleep; his shoulder was aching, and once again the nightmares began.

tbc