A/N: Still don't own 'em. Thanks Mr. Wolf
We're All Right
Bobby sat on his sofa, next to his uneaten take-out container of chicken and broccoli and fried rice.
The events of the day gnawed at him. Worries about his partner --about them as a team, consumed and devoured him. When he finally admitted to himself that he wouldn't get a wink of sleep later, he arose from the sofa, walked to the kitchen to put his meal in the fridge and grabbed his coat and keys.
X X X
Alex sat in her living room, legs curled beneath her on the couch. She had skipped dinner and settled, now, for a cup of tea and a package of Pepperidge Farm Chocolate Chunk(r) cookies. She reached for the remote and clicked past channel after channel, not paying attention to any of them.
She didn't feel normal -like herself. Her therapist advised her it would take a while. She'd been through too much the past year, he had told her. She hadn't slept well in weeks. Every slumber was disturbed by nightmares or by a strange noise --usually a cat or raccoon picking at the garbage cans --that jarred her from her sleep. And once awakened, her mind would begin its endless journey, like a hamster spinning on a wheel but getting nowhere, trying to figure out what went wrong -why things just weren't "right" between her and Bobby.
She clicked off the television and sat in silence. It was at quiet times like this that her mind wandered. It was times like this, when she was alone, that she could drop her defenses, be honest with herself and face the reality: she hadn't really felt "normal" -that things were right between them -ever since that day on the witness stand. She knew her words had stung him badly.
Everything that happened after that only compounded the uneasiness she felt around him.
There was her kidnapping, and his self-blaming and guilt.
There was that disastrous Thanksgiving Day, capped off by his tantrum/meltdown.
She took a sip of her tea, a bite of her third cookie, and sighed. She nearly jumped out of her skin when the doorbell rang, coming dangerously close to splashing hot tea all over the couch and herself.
She looked through the windowpanes and saw her partner, looking somber, nervously shifting his weight from foot to foot as he waited for her to answer the door.
X X X
"Bobby. What are you doing here?" She didn't' mean for it to sound like an unfriendly greeting.
"C-c-can I come in?" he stammered, as he eyes darted back and forth between Alex and her living room.
Alex stepped aside. "Sure," she said as she followed him back to the living room. "I was just having some tea. Can I get you something?"
Bobby tugged off his coat and threw it over the back of a chair.
"Tea is good," he answered softly.
As Alex went to the kitchen to get him a mug, Bobby surveyed the room. It was the first time he'd been there since that night.
He looked at the floor, noticing, thankfully, that the bloodstain was gone. His eyes raised, looking across the room, to where the birdcage used to be.
"She hasn't replaced her parakeet. She's here all alone," he thought to himself. It made him feel sad.
X X X
Alex returned with his tea and reclaimed her spot on the sofa as she placed the mug down on the coffee table.
"Thanks," he said, as he sat down next to her and reached for the steaming cup.
"So, is there a reason for your visit?" she asked.
He fidgeted. "I- I've been thinking about what you said before."
"You'll have to refresh my memory, Bobby. I'm too tired for guessing games."
"Wh-when I asked you if we were all right, you said 'I hope so.' Th-that's not good enough."
She sighed. "I don't know what you want me to say, Bobby."
"I- I don't think that you're okay. Are you eating? Getting enough sleep? Maybe you should continue with therapy," he blurted out rapid-fire.
"I eat enough," she lied, hoping that he wouldn't notice her chocolate-chips dinner. "I haven't slept well in weeks -the therapist said I probably wouldn't," she said matter-of-factly.
"You told me you got a prescription for Ambien. You're not taking it?" he asked, concerned.
Alex merely shrugged and flung up her hand in response, in a "so what" gesture.
"You're afraid to take it," he accused, wagging his index finger as usual. "Y-you're afraid it'll make you sleep too deeply -that you won't hear an intruder..."
Alex cut him off, snapping, "That's right, Bobby! That's exactly what I'm afraid of! I'm afraid of sleeping and reliving everything in my nightmares - I'm afraid of being alone in my own house. I'm..." her voice trailed off. Her eyes shifted downwards, unable to meet his gaze.
"I'm...afraid." Her voice was meek, wavering on the verge of tears.
He moved closer on the couch and put his arm around her shoulders.
She hated being weak -and at the same time, she wanted nothing more than to be weak and just collapse into his embrace.
He held her, petting her hair and telling her that it was okay.
X X X
When she finally attained composure to speak, she asked, "How did you know something was wrong?"
He smiled, still clenching her tight. "I told you I didn't like you answer earlier," he mumbled into her hair. "You said 'I hope so' with your mouth, your lips -your voice. But your eyes -they told me the truth."
Alex pulled away from him and sat up, so she could see his face.
"Not only that," Bobby continued, now teasing her with his explanation. "It was your drink. If you were okay, you would've ordered a beer. But a double martini?" He chuckled.
"I'm gonna take the couch tonight if you don't mind," Bobby said as he began kicking off his shoes, not giving her a say in the matter.
Alex smiled again. She knew what he was up to -hoping that knowing he was there would enable her to finally get a good night's sleep.
She carried their mugs of tea to the kitchen sink and, before heading for her bedroom, paused by the doorway to the living room. She smiled as she watched him -modestly beneath the afghan for privacy, squirming out of his jeans.
"I'll bring ya a pillow," Alex smiled and turned to go to her bedroom.
"Alex!" Bobby called.
"Yeah," she mumbled as she tugged a spare pillow from her linen closet
She went back to the living room and placed the pillow under his head.
He smiled up at her. "Are we all right?"
She switched off the lamp on the end table, then bent and kissed his forehead.
"Yes, Bobby. We're all right," she assured him, with a smile.