Title: Better Than You

Author: Jacquie and Sassy

Rating: T

Summary: Mike and Bobby's friendly wager…get them more than they ever imagined possible b/a and m/c

Classifications/Genre: romance, drama

Spoilers: None

Archive: Anywhere just let us know

Disclaimer: We own nothing.

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Mike tossed a bag of M&M's on Carolyn's desk. "You looked like you could use something sweet."

She glanced up at him with raised eyebrows. "What'd you do?"

Propping on her desk, he smiled down at her. "What makes you think I did anything?"

"Because the only time you try kissing up to me is when you've done something, and you want me to cover for you with Deakins," Carolyn replied. "Now what'd you do?"

He laughed. "Go out with me tonight?"

"You're really gonna ask me that, right here, in the middle of the squad room?" she asked skeptically. When he didn't answer, she sighed. "I suppose it can't hurt."

"I'll pick you up at eight. Wear something flashy." He winked and walked to his desk, giving Bobby the thumbs up sign.

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Alex looked up in time to see the little thumbs up exchange. "Bobby, just what are you up to?"

"Nothing important," Bobby replied. He paused for a moment and then went on. "Want to see if we can beat Mike and Carolyn at dancing?"

She chuckled. "What do I get if we win?"

"I haven't figured that part out yet. Any suggestions?"

"Nice, quiet dinner at your place." Alex said with a smile.

"Works for me," Bobby replied absently. "I have no idea where we're going, though. I kinda left that up to Mike."

Alex just stared at him until he looked up at her. "You did what?"

"I left it up to Mike," he said. "Why?"

Alex shook her head. "It had better be some place good."

"I have the feeling he knows what he's doing."

Alex just shook her head and went back to her file. "I think I have something here."

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Mike knocked on Carolyn's door. "I said eight, Barek...not ten minutes after."

"I'm coming, I'm coming..." Carolyn trailed off and slid on the shoes that were waiting right inside the door. Glancing at the entryway mirror, she sighed, pushing her hair out of her eyes so she could examine herself more closely. Maybe this won't be so bad after all, she thought, looking at her reflection.

With this in mind, she pulled the door open, and reached back for her coat, stopping only when noticing the look that had crossed her partner's face. "What?"

"Damn!" He said taking her hand and turning her around in a circle. "I bet you out do Eames with this dress..." He whistled.

"Where did that come from?" Carolyn asked, glancing down at her outfit. It certainly didn't look that bad, for something she hadn't worn in a while, she mused. The dark blue dress came down to just above her knees, the skirt flaring out slightly. She'd put a silver necklace on to offset the neckline, which was rather low, but still worked all the same. "I could go change..."

"Why? You look hot." He leaned down and whispered in her ear, "Really, really hot."

She blushed and swatted at him in an effort to hide her sudden embarrassment. "Bite your tongue," she said, stepping out of the apartment and locking the door behind her. "Where are we going?"

"The Night Owl, down by the docks." He said helping her on with her coat.

"The docks," she said, glancing over at him. "Why am I not surprised that that's where you'd go?"

"They have a good live band and not a lot of the kids hang out there. It's good." He pushed the down button on the elevator.

"It's not a cop bar or anything, is it?" Carolyn asked. "I'm not exactly in the mood to put up with any of our so-called brothers-in-arms tonight."

He chucked and shook his head. "No, it's not a cop bar."

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Alex had refused to remove her jacket so that Bobby could see her dress before they arrived. "It's a surprise, Bobby."

"Why? It's never been one before."

She glared at him. "Because I say so, Goren."

He knew better than to argue with that logic and instead nodded, wondering again why he'd let her drive tonight. "You're not still annoyed with me over the whole letting Mike choose where we go thing, are you?"

"The Night Owl isn't my idea of a good place to go for a stiff drink." Alex said as she turned into the lot and killed the engine.

"You've been here before?" Bobby asked, startled, glancing at her as they got out of the car.

"One of those disasters I like to call dates." She said sliding out.

"You like to call dates, or you just do, because that's actually what they were?" Bobby asked, smiling faintly as they walked inside.

Alex rolled her eyes. "Are you looking for a beat down, Bobby?"

"Not really." He trailed off and eyed the crowd. "You see the other two yet?"

She shook her head and slid her jacket off her shoulders. Her dress was almost pure silk and almost nonexistent. It grazed her leg a little lower than mid thigh and had a no back and tied around her neck, all in a lovely shade of pale pink.

"You trying to kill me?" he asked her quietly.

She looked up at him. "Trying to get some kind of reaction is more like it...is it working?" She didn't wait for his answer as she walked to the bar and slid onto a stool.

He followed her, leaning down so that his mouth was next to her ear. "It's working."

She smiled as she ordered a shot of whiskey. "Good."

He wondered what she was up to, and then decided that it was better not to ask at the present moment. Instead, he sat down beside her and sighed. "I'm starting to wonder what I've gotten us into."

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Mike pulled the car into the lot. "Damn. They beat us here." He pointed at Eames' car.

"That bothers you?" Carolyn asked. "What'd you talk 'em into?"

"I know I can dance...I just wanted to practice a little before they got here." Mike said as he killed the engine and opened his door.

"Don't tell me you tried to talk 'em into some sort of contest," said Carolyn. She moved to open her door, but he was already there and doing it for her. She smirked up at him. "Never figured you for much of a gentleman."

He smiled at her. "Yeah. Me and you are gonna out dance those two."

"Have you been drinking already, or did I really just hear you say that?" she asked, taking his hand and getting out of the car. "What exactly have you gotten us into?"

He didn't let go of her hand as he led her to the door. "Dance contest with Eames and Goren."

"Great. I'm sure this'll make for good locker room stories." Carolyn said dryly, stepping inside as he held the door open. She missed the look that crossed his face as she continued on. "What is it with guys always feeling like they have to compete with each other?"

"Me and Bobby went out drinking...and he got a little drunk and said he and Eames could dance circles around you and I. Was I supposed to let him get away with that?" He asked stopping her and making her look at him.

"No, but you're also not supposed to use your partners to prove points to each other," Carolyn said lightly. "And I highly doubt you two only got a little drunk."

"I wasn't drinking," Mike told her quickly. Truth was he hardly ever drank.

"I'll take your word for it." Carolyn cut herself off and then nodded across the room. "They're over there."

Mike watched her walk toward them. He loved the way she looked in that dress when she was walking away.

"You coming or not?" she called over her shoulder.

He nodded and followed. "Hey, Bobby...Eames." He nodded at her.

Alex shook her head. "Alex..."

Mike smiled. "Alex..." He waggled his eyebrows at her. "Looking good."

"Thought you brought a date?" said Bobby, eyeing the other man intently for a moment.

He certainly did, Carolyn thought, without saying anything, suddenly uncomfortable. What was he doing? He'd asked her out and now he was hitting on Eames? What was that? She slid an arm around his waist, and waited for him to push her away; when he didn't, she spoke. "He did."

Alex eyed them both and looked at Bobby. "Damn shame you didn't bring a date." She drank her shot in one gulp and stood.

Mike watched as Alex walked away. "Damn, Bobby. You didn't ask her out?"

"Maybe not the way she wanted to be asked..." Bobby trailed off for a moment and shook his head. "I don't think I'll ever understand her."

Mike shook his head and looked at Carolyn. "You have to butter her up." He winked at Carolyn. "M&M's worked for me...I think she likes Skittles."

Bobby glanced over at him, almost suspiciously, wondering how he knew that. Then again, he mused, it wasn't really surprising; Alex had been seen around the squad room eating Skittles numerous times. Anyone could've noticed.

Mike looked over at him when he still hadn't moved. "You won't win this thing if she's pissed at you. You'd better go fix it...and quick." He pointed at Alex as she was being led out onto the dance floor by a tall blonde.

Bobby glanced towards where Mike was pointing and was surprised to find himself jealous at the thought of Alex dancing with someone else. Well. That was something. He hadn't even had anything to drink yet. "Yeah..." he said absently, rising to his feet. "I think you're right."

Mike smiled to himself as Bobby made his way across the floor to where she was dancing, dancing a little too close, with the blonde guy. He looked down at Carolyn. "Think he'll ever figure it out?" He asked as he nuzzled her cheek with his nose.

Carolyn bit back the desire to laugh and instead smiled faintly as she looked over at him. "It'll take him a while, but he'll get it sooner or later."

Mike lowered his lips to her ear. "I wanna take you out on a proper date..."

"Then why didn't you tonight?" she asked in reply, shivering involuntarily, and hoping that he hadn't noticed.

"I didn't think you'd say yes." He said as he pulled her closer.

"But I did tonight..."

"I know...I just...are you mad at me for this? Because I'll call off the whole dance thing..." Mike stroked her cheek with his thumb.

"No," she replied, her voice barely audible.

"Dance with me?" His lips were almost touching hers.

She nodded wordlessly, and allowed him to take her hand as she rose to her feet, following him out to the dance floor.

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Alex was going to let herself have fun if it killed her. She smiled and laughed at all the right moments as Greg twirled her around the dance floor and pulled her closer. She smiled up at him. She really wanted Bobby's attention, not this guys...who if he lowered his hand any lower he'd be wearing the imprint of her knee for a week. She smiled and chided, "Now...keep your hands up here." She moved them from her ass to her waist.

"Mind if I cut in?"

"No way, buddy...she's dancing with me." Greg said as he twirled her out of Bobby's reach.

Alex pushed him away. "No, I'm dancing with him." She slid easily in to Bobby's arms. "Thank you," she whispered as she watched Greg stalk off the dance floor.

"What was that all about?"

"What was what about?" She asked looking up at him.

"That," he said, nodding off in the direction in which Alex's first dance partner had gone.

"Me dancing with him? Or actually having someone ask me to dance?" Alex asked as she stopped dancing.

"You dancing with him."

"Well, someone else didn't bother to ask." She started to walk away.

He reached for her hand. "Alex." She turned to face him, and he went on. "I'm asking you now. Will you dance with me?"

She cocked her head at him. "Why?" she asked softly.

"Because I want to hold on to you for a little while," he admitted, without looking her in the eye.

She moved closer to him and touched his face so he'd look at her. When he did, she whispered, "Just for a little while?"

"Forever," he said, half hoping that she wouldn't hear, and at the same time hoping that she did.

She slid her arms around his waist. "Sounds good to me."

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Mike turned her around and said softly, "Well, look at that." He was referring to Alex being wrapped in Bobby's arms and oblivious to those around them.

"And here I was thinking I'd never see the day," Carolyn quipped, leaning forward and resting her head against Mike's chest. This was comfortable, she mused...something she could definitely get used to.

"So we gonna wipe the floor with them?" he asked as he ran his fingers along her spine.

She shivered again and moved closer to him. "Yeah."

"Want to go get something to eat after?" He brushed his lips against her forehead.

"Sounds good."

"Anywhere you wanna go...even to the moon, beautiful." He tilted up her chin and kissed her gently on the lips.

Her eyes widened for a split second; the move was unexpected, but certainly not unwelcome. She leaned closer, slowly deepening the kiss. What felt like forever passed before they pulled apart...but it still wasn't long enough. "Wow."

He smiled against her hair. "Yeah."

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"Will you look at that?" Alex murmured as she watched Mike lean down and kiss Carolyn on the dance floor. "How long has that been going on?"

"Couldn't tell you," Bobby replied. "I have the feeling that it's recent."

Alex laid her head on his chest and sighed. "That's nice."

"I'm starting to think Mike's forgotten about that dancing thing," Bobby remarked. "What do you think?"

"I like this kind of dancing." She said softly running her hand under his suit jacket and trailing them along his lower back.

He stiffened visibly for a moment, but then relaxed, content to let her hand wander. "Me, too."

Silence fell between them and lingered for a long moment before he spoke again. "I have the feeling this is going to be a long night...not in a bad way...just...long."

Alex pulled back and looked up at him. "So long as you aren't complaining."

"I'm not," said Bobby. "I...I could probably stay like this all night and not get tired of it."

"I don't know...I kinda hoped to go back to my place...and..." She looked up at him then and let his own mind finish the statement.

"You think they'll notice if we've gone?"

"It means you forfeit...does that bother you?"

"No."

"Then do you care if they notice we're gone or not?" She stepped away and took his hand. "Lets go."

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Mike was lost in her eyes when he remembered why they were there in the first place. Tearing his eyes from hers he looked around. "I don't believe it...They are leaving." He saw the back of Bobby as they left the bar.

"That bothers you?" Carolyn asked, shifting so that she could hide her face in his neck. "You can't tell me you really actually wanted to go through with that...contest...?"

He shook his head. "No...I didn't. But I didn't think Eames...er...Alex would back down from it either."

"Well, maybe they really did manage to figure it out after all."

"Well, whose place you think they went? Hers or his?" Mike said nipping dipping her low as the song ended.

"Probably hers." Carolyn remarked. Mike glanced at her for a moment, and she went on. "Makes it easier to look like nothing happened in the morning."

"So you think he'll be gone?" Mike asked as he righted her and took her hand in his.

"Probably not."

"Well...in that case, you're coming to my place. I don't want it to look like nothing happened."

He kissed her hand. "Because something is going to happen."

"And what would that be?"

"Just holding you if that's all you want to happen tonight. I'm patient." He said softly.

Never would've figured, Carolyn mused wryly, and instantly felt guilty. She'd heard the rumors about her partner time and time again, and had been determined not to become his latest conquest, but here she was, halfway to melting into his embrace, and all she could think about was how much she wanted him...wanted to be with him.

"Or I can drive you home, kiss you goodbye at the door, and do it all over and over until you are ready." He stroked her cheek gently with his free hand.

"Let's go."

Mike pulled her close. "Where do you want to go?"

"Your place," she admitted, without looking at him. "Don't want it to look like nothing happened, right?" He tone was light, to the point of being teasing, which set him at ease, and he nodded.

"We got to your place and I hold you." He whispered. "I don't want people getting the wrong idea about us. You're special...I want to keep it that way."

He certainly made her feel that way. Carolyn nodded wordlessly, and allowed him to lead her off of the dance floor, and out of the bar.

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Alex had changed out of the dress and had emerged back in her kitchen,where Bobby was making coffee, wearing a tank top and a pair of running shorts.

"Figured we could use something without alcohol," he said.

She took her finger and waved it back and forth. "I only had one shot of whiskey."

"Doesn't take that much to impair someone's judgment," Bobby said, and then, "Not that I don't think you know what you're doing...getting into...but..."

She rolled her eyes. "You don't have to stay if you don't want to...I understand." He was retreating on her. She turned away and walked out of the kitchen.

He followed her, silently wishing that he'd never spoken at all, but as it was, his words hung between them, and there was no taking them back. "That's not what I meant. I just...I need to know that this is what you want. That...that I'm what you want."

Alex shook her head. "You know what? I already answered that once tonight. You figure it out." She then brushed past him on her way to the bedroom.

He watched her go, and silently debated for a moment as to whether or not he was going to follow her. After a few minutes had gone by, he did. "This isn't exactly easy, you know."

"But it doesn't have to be hard either," she whispered from under the covers in the darkness.

I should live to see the day someone calls love anything less than complicated, Bobby mused as he stood there in the doorway. "Maybe not for you."

"I'm tired, Bobby...either get your ass over her and hold me or get out." She was tired of this game he seemed to want to play. Either he loved her and wanted her or he didn't. She was done.

Startled by this remark, he stood there for a moment longer before walking slowly over to the bed and sliding in, reaching out for her with tentative arms. "You gonna let me hold you or not?"

She slid into his arms and sighed. "Don't make this bigger than you and me, Bobby...or we'll lose in the end."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You let what the brass thinks about us and our relationship come between us, we both lose. Don't you see?" She stroked his chest gently.

"Who said anything about the brass?" Bobby asked, and then paused. "You know, most departments aren't even really holding with their old fraternization rules anymore. They're more worried about the sexual harassment thing."

"Then what are you worried about?" She asked pulling back and looking him in the eyes.

"Nothing, now."

"Then what the hell was all that out there in the living room?"

"I don't...this...this is new. I just...I want to know that it'll last."

Alex turned away from him. "You think I'm playing with you? Don't you know me better than that." She hid her face in her pillow so he wouldn't see her tears.

"What? No! Of course I don't...It's just..." He trailed off and sighed. "Why do I have the feeling that no matter what I say, I'll just be digging myself into a bigger hole?"

She began to shake with unshed tears. "Don't you see...don't you get it? I've been waiting on this forever...waiting on you...waiting for you forever. I need you. Just be you."

Silence fell between them and lingered when he didn't answer. After a while, he nodded. "I'll try."

When an answer didn't come, he fell silent, and waited for one. She still didn't answer. He reached out again, and slid his arms around her waist, slowly, hoping that she wouldn't push him away, and she didn't.

"Bobby...I don't want to lose you." She whispered.

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Mike took Carolyn's keys from her and slid them into the lock after her failed third attempt. "I got it."

"Thanks," she replied, blushing as she looked over at him. "That...that's never happened before."

He turned to face her. "Could've been because my lips were doing this..." He kissed her neck and slowly made his way to her ear.

She moaned softly. "God...you keep doing that, you might just end up with something happening after all."

He chuckled. "Nope. I meant what I said. I'm holding you tonight...nothing more, nothing less."

She pushed the apartment door open and stepped inside, slipping off her shoes and sighing in relief. "God, that feels good," she muttered, "Those shoes are murder on my feet."

"But they make your legs look good." He said softly as he ran his finger up her arm.

She swatted at him, laughing. "Quit that."

He dropped his hand to his side. "Okay."

She eyed him for a moment, and shook her head. "So what happens now?"

"You go change into your pajamas and we hit the sack." He said as he toed off his shoes.

"You don't have anything to change into," she pointed out, as she started down the hall towards her bedroom.

"I'll leave on my pants...don't worry." He smiled at her.

She laughed. "You're awful," she said. "But thanks."

He was seated on the bed when she emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later. "Pink...you look good in pink."

"Not really something I normally wear, but it works," she replied. "Keeps me warm, in any case."

He removed his shirt and pulled her between his legs. "Looks good on you." He repeated and laid his head upon her stomach as he held her close.

She glanced down at him as she ran an idle hand through his hair, smiling faintly. "I could get used to this, you know."

He sighed. "That's gonna be a problem..."

"Why?" She shifted slightly so that she could see his face, a hurt look flitting across her face for a second before disappearing as she went on. "You know what, never mind. Should've figured."

He grabbed her hand before she could walk away. "I'm already used to this..." He stood and placed his hand on the nape of her neck as he drew her close and kissed her long and deep.

The End