A/N This is the last chapter of my story. I'd like to thank you all for sticking it out with me, it's been a long time coming. Very special thanks to my very good friends, Roadrunner and blucougar, for all their help and suggestions along the way.

Counterplay Chapter 33

Bobby was back on the job. The first case Alex and he caught sent them on a downright scavenger hunt through all five boroughs. Both were glad when they finally could find the murderer of Ariel Power. Relying on their well-tried interrogation tactics they needed only twenty-three minutes to get her adopted brother to confess.

Once more Bobby invited his partner to dinner to celebrate their first solved case after his forced absence. Both enjoyed an Italian four-course dinner at their favorite restaurant and they were talking about God and the world but not once about their job or the ordeal he had gone through. One of their subjects was the car Bobby wanted to work on together with Lewis. He had talked about it all week, and he was very excited. It was a '72 Chevelle Malibu Convertible. He enthused over its body and 454 engine they were rebuilding, and how they were going to paint it to its original red and white color. He was still talking about it for about half of the time they were at the restaurant; Alex was happy for him that he could focus on something else besides the threat McFadden cast over him. Besides, Alex knew a lot about cars, so the subject intrigued her.

"Lewis does pretty good with his business, doesn't he?" she asked.

"Yeah," Bobby said, "his dream job. When his dad died, he left him and his mom in pretty good shape, more than enough to get started in the business."

"That must be nice," Alex replied glibly, and immediately regretted it as a dark cloud came over Bobby's face.

He didn't say anything, but deep down it had always bothered him that not only had his own father neglected to provide even a dime for them, but drank, gambled, and whored his way through every bit of his money, leaving his family virtually destitute. Years later, Bobby had even had to pay for his funeral. It wasn't the money, Bobby never cared whether he was "left" anything or not, what bothered him was his father's complete disregard for his family in general, and him in particular. But that was a matter for another day and another session. Bobby refused to let it bring him down, and Alex quickly changed the subject.

"Kinda wish I was joining you guys tomorrow," she said, "but I'll settle for bringing you two lunch. What would you like?"

Bobby grinned. "Surprise us."

XXX

The next day saw Bobby rise early, slip into jeans and a t-shirt and drive out to Lewis' body shop right after a light breakfast. His long-time friend greeted him exuberantly and they started right away with their work, joking and talking, mostly about the car itself. There was nothing Bobby enjoyed more or put him more at ease than time spent with Lewis restoring cars, something they'd started in their teens.

Hours later, Bobby and Lewis were so engrossed in the restoration of the '72 Chevelle Convertible that neither of them noticed the man entering the garage. He walked up behind Bobby, intent on remaining unheard. For a moment he towered over the tall detective who still didn't notice him as he worked on the engine. The man reveled in the fact that he managed to sneak up on the cop and looked forward to his reaction once he made his presence known.

"What's it take to get a little service around here?" the man said easily.

Lewis' head shot up as he heard the would-be customer ask for his services. He never noticed how Bobby froze and hurried to say, "Sorry man, sorry to keep you waiting."

Still being clueless Lewis approached the man. Bobby on the other hand immediately recognized the voice.

"That's alright, it was worth the wait." As James McFadden spoke, both garage doors began lowering, manned by Micks and Wilson, then closing in on the men beside the car threateningly.

Chills shot down Bobby's spine as he felt a gun press in his side.

"Hey…" Lewis started, but was backhanded across the mouth so hard that it made him tumble aside.

"Shut up!" McFadden snarled.

Intent on protecting Lewis, Bobby stepped between him and his arch enemy. "You son of a bitch!" he growled as he made the move… right into the blade of a hunting knife. A searing pain blinded him as his forearm was sliced open.

Bobby had not expected the knife. He had sensed the gun and knowing that McFadden wanted to take him alive he had felt confident that he had a chance to subdue him.

"That looks bad, Bobby," McFadden sneered, grinning at him viciously, totally enjoying their final confrontation. Indicating the profusely bleeding wound he taunted, "You really should get that taken care of."

"Keep this up," Bobby said, breathing heavily, "and you'll just be having fun with a dead body."

"Don't you worry that big brain of yours," McFadden chuckled. "If I wanted to just kill you you'd already be dead. That little pain won't snuff you out. But I promise you that you'll have a long time of suffering ahead while I show you what I can do with this knife."

Waving the gun back in forth in front of Bobby, he gestured to Bobby to get down on his knees. Bobby made no move to comply, and he suddenly found himself kissing the concrete floor hard. Then his arms were painfully twisted behind his back, and the metal cuffs snapped into place, binding him effectively.

Bobby groaned as the rough treatment made his recently healed shoulders burn; his joints felt like they were on fire. Squinting up Bobby had to watch helplessly as his friend Lewis was cuffed, too. In seconds both men were rendered helpless.

Lewis glanced at Bobby who lay prone on the ground, breathing heavily with suppressed panic. His insides churned with the sight. Remembering what McFadden had done to him before, he was more scared for Bobby than for his own life.

"Wondering what's next?" McFadden sneered. "Well, we're going on a field trip!"

xXx

Meanwhile, Alex was just arriving with the sandwiches she wanted to surprise the boys with, cheesesteak hoagies, which she knew Bobby loved. She knew how they forgot to eat when they were tinkering with their cars. Approaching the garage she noticed that the doors were down.

Shouldn't they still be up? Alex wondered. Were they breaking early or something? No, they wouldn't, they wanted to get as much done today as possible…no telling when Bobby would get another chance.

Alex went into the back of the house, which was connected to the garage, and started to open the door to the garage. Catching a quick glimpse she stopped immediately. A sharp gasp escaped her in the face of the deadly enemies cornering her partner. Hurrying back to the kitchen, she grabbed Bobby's off-duty piece and went back to the door, where she listened for one more moment.

Running back to her car, she grabbed her off-duty piece, getting out her cell phone with the other hand. She hit 911 and gave her position, "830 Trucker Avenue--10-13, officer down, 10-13. We need backup. And a bus." Then she hurried back into the house, checking on the suspects and their hostages.

Opening the door Alex was confronted with a horrifying sight. McFadden just pulled Bobby back up to his feet, dragging him toward the garage door. Bobby tried to plant his feet, tried to resist… but Lewis' groan kept him from any other attempts to fight. Micks had hit Lewis hard, making him stumble. Bobby's friend was bleeding from a laceration on his forehead.

"Police! Freeze!" Alex shouted, shoving the door open and raising her gun. In response Micks and Wilson pointed their guns at her.

Realizing that he had the element of surprise on his side Bobby threw himself at McFadden, going down together with him. Both men hit the ground hard and the gun was knocked out of the perp's grip.

"Bobby!" Alex hollered out as she saw McFadden scramble to his feet, going for the weapon.

Even though he was still cuffed behind his back Bobby pushed himself off the ground and against his torturer's legs, taking him down once again.

He had mere seconds, but Alex saw it like it was in slow motion.

Making some strange guttural sound McFadden fought for his advantage, pulling his knife out and lunging back at Bobby, who barely managed to twist out of the way.

Lewis screamed as Micks shoved the gun under his jaw, and Alex fired. Micks fell backwards, a third eye in his forehead.

Uniforms began surging into the garage, and Wilson immediately dropped his gun, surrendering to the first cop on him.

Bobby and McFadden were still grappling for the gun on the ground. Still holding his knife McFadden attacked Bobby, again missing him by inches.

Cop swarmed over the two fighting men and pulled McFadden off Bobby. Two uniforms helped Bobby to his feet. His clothes were disheveled, torn and dirty, his hair matted with blood; the blood from his arm wound covering him.

Putting her gun into her waistband Alex hurried over to Bobby, hurrying to free his hands and pulling him into a tight hug.

"Alex," he just murmured, returning the embrace. Shudders passed through her petite form as she nestled into the crook of his arm. Neither of them paid attention to the perps being led away to a patrol car. They were way too glad to just have survived this confrontation.

"Look out!" someone screamed.

Alex whipped around, spotting McFadden who had wrestled himself out of the grip of two cops and with cuffed hands grabbed one of their weapons. He was aiming for one last shot at Bobby.

In the blink of an eye it was over.

A shot thundered.

McFadden bucked.

For a second he stood, stunned, before he dropped to the ground screaming.

Spinning around Alex saw her partner, still standing in shooting position, the back-up piece he had pulled from her waistband in his hands. He seemed dazed, his eyes glazed over and she wondered if he even knew what happened.

"Bobby?" she said.

Only slowly did he focus on her. When she had his attention she reached out and he put the secured weapon in her hand.

McFadden was still screaming and thrashing around on the floor. Holding his crotch he kept screaming, "You did this on purpose! You bastard! You mother fucking bastard! You did this on purpose!"

Another cop had released Lewis, who seemed to be in shock with all that was happening. Unsteadily, he staggered over to Bobby and Alex. He looked shaken. Alex was reaching for him, steadying him.

Turning back to Bobby, she asked "You okay?"

"I'm gonna make it," he said, gritting his teeth as he held his arm tightly. His arm was still bleeding freely. He looked at Lewis. "How about you, you okay?"

"Yeah, this ain't nothing," Lewis was preoccupied, glancing over at the man who had caused his friend so much pain. "Holy shit! Look where you shot him!"

Bobby did. He went over, and looked down at McFadden, who was still holding his crotch in agony. "McFadden," he told the injured man, mimicking his words, "That looks bad. You really should get that taken care of." This only caused McFadden to scream more, death threats and other forms of retaliation. Bobby just smiled.

They could already hear the sirens, and as the ambulances pulled up and the paramedics hurried in, the police finally carted out Wilson, who managed to piss himself in fright.

It didn't take long before they had McFadden ready to go, and the late Steve Micks in the other ambulance.

Before leaving, one of the paramedics gave Bobby and Lewis a very quick once over, deciding Lewis' head laceration was superficial, but he should have it checked out to be sure. Bobby was alright except for his arm, which the medic declared needed stitching badly. He asked Bobby if he wanted to ride along, but Bobby refused.

"He'll get them," Alex promised. "We'll be following right behind you." With that the ambulance was gone.

"Wow, what a way to welcome yourself back to the NYPD," Lewis mumbled, still pretty upset.

"Yeah," Bobby agreed.

"Uh…one question?" Alex asked. "Um…where you shot him…that was one hell of a shot, partner. Was it a blind shot, or did you actually aim?"

Bobby just gave her his beautiful little half smile...

xXx

Two days later, back at the station, once again Bobby was on desk duty. "This is getting habit-forming," he grumbled, sitting at his desk across from Alex.

"Well, at least this time it's just temporary," Alex reminded him, "just until the stitches come out. You don't want to take a chance on ripping those out. How many did you get again?"

"Sixty six, inside and out." Bobby looked at his barely healing arm, displaying a nasty stitched cut running the length of his forearm, from elbow to wrist.

Alex gave a low whistle. "That's gonna leave one hell of a scar. But the good news is we women like that in a man."

Bobby just looked at her.

"Still hurt?" she asked.

"Not too bad, nothing I can't handle. I'll tell you one thing though," Bobby said, thinking back on his unfortunate encounters with McFadden. "When he does something, he does it right."

"I'll say," Alex agreed.

"But you know what, Eames?"

"No, what?"

"We did it right, too. If we didn't have this…great…and I really mean great, partnership, I might not be alive today."

Alex nodded again, very emotional now, as tears threatened to well up in her eyes. "Well, we do have our ups and downs…"

"Yeah we do. And we probably always will. But the thing is, at least we still have a partnership. And friendship, Alex. Even McFadden…he tried…but even he couldn't break this one up. And that we will always have."

Bobby's cell phone then started ringing. Looking at the caller ID, he answered it and listened intently, then closed his phone, looking very thoughtful, very far away.

Alex gave him a few seconds, wondering at the look on his face, and finally said, "Bobby? Something wrong?"

"That was my friend from the hospital ward at Rikers. I…uh…asked him to keep me updated on McFadden's condition…"

"And?"

"He said the bullet that hit McFadden in the crotch did so much damage that they couldn't save his…um, balls. It's already all over the prison. And long before he gets to Attica they'll know. He said that McFadden's life there will be hell on earth…"

A second before he ducked his head back into his paperwork, Alex once again saw that little half-smile that appeared on Bobby's face, and again she was tempted to ask him if that shot had been skill or blind luck.

But she never did ask. And he'd never tell.

End

Thank you so much for reading.