Again, many thanks for the kind reviews. FUGUE, by the way, refers to a condition similar to amnesia. Bobby's case doesn't follow all of the guidelines for this very rare condition, but some. This is the final chapter, and it's explicit. Now I have my Nicole fic out of my system and I solemnly swear I will never write another such thing again.
"Yes, it's over," Deakins said gently. "Do you need some time?"
Alex felt strangely giddy. "I'd…I'd like to get back to work." She glanced at her partner; Bobby apparently was studying the view from the Captain's window.
"Bobby," Deakins said gently. "You ok?"
Bobby turned suddenly to them. "Uh…yea…I…I have a PT session this afternoon…" He stood up, his eyes on the floor; Alex thought she had never known a man so big who could look so small and alone. "I'm sorry, Captain…I keep….missing so much…"
"Bobby…it's all right…I'm more upset when you don't do what you need to take care of yourself." Deakins' voice was gentle and firm. "And your work is terrific…take the time you need."
They headed back into the office; Alex caught the glances of other officers as they moved to their desks. Bobby picked up his binder and coat.
"I'm sorry," he said softly. "I have to go…I'll be late…"
Alex knew he had plenty of time to make it to his session. He was running away.
"Bobby…" She leaned towards him.
"Please…" His voice was a rough whisper. "I…I…I'm sorry…I just need a little time…and space…I promise…I'll see you tonight…ok?" His eyes couldn't meet hers.
"I've got to trust him," Alex thought. "I have to let him have his own time…he lets me…I've got to trust…hope…there's enough…"
"Ok," Alex said. "Tonight…no matter how late…"
"Yes." His eyes finally met hers. "I promise."
She spent the rest of the day in a fog, filling out paperwork, filing and reviewing evidence, making certain that form A met the requirements so that form B could go on its way and no bad guy would walk through any loopholes. Around five Carolyn Barek took pity on Alex and dragged her away to dinner. To Alex's relief, Barek didn't attempt to ignore the elephant in the room.
"I'm just glad it's over," Alex said as she viciously speared a tomato.
Barek jabbed at some lettuce. "Look, Alex…if I'm sticking my nose in…just tell me…but I like you…and I like Bobby…"
Alex studied the tomato for a moment. "Don't worry…I won't go ballistic…"
"It's just…" Barek sat down her fork. "That it'll never be over for Bobby…it'll get better, but it strikes me that he doesn't easily get over most things…and all of this definitely doesn't fit under most things…and I'm not sure you should completely get over something like this…it'd indicate there's something wrong with you…"
Alex ceased tormenting the tomato. "Yea," she said. "I've been trying to figure out what I'm feeling…let alone trying to figure what Bobby's going through…I keep expecting…to feel something…good…she's gone now…"
"What do you feel?" Barek asked gently.
Alex smiled. "It's not bad enough I've got Bobby in my head," she said wryly.
Barek returned the smile.
"Really," Alex said. "I don't feel anything…except…"
"You're worried about Bobby," Carolyn said, and the tone of her voice told Alex that she and Bobby were safe with the other detective.
"Yea…he wanted to investigate her killing…funny, I guess, that I can't call it a murder…he said he had to…that if he didn't…he'd be like her…"
"Well," Barek said thoughtfully. "From what I've seen Bobby Goren has a highly developed if somewhat individualistic sense of morality…and trying to save your enemies seems to be part of it."
Her apartment's silence struck Alex when she entered it. "I miss him," she thought. "I miss Bobby." She fought the urge to call him. "No…I have to let him work things out…I can't hover over him…I have to let him come to me…for him to know that he can come to me…he knows I'm here…I have to trust him…" She brushed her teeth and shed her clothes and fell on her bed. She clutched what had become his pillow and realized how much she missed him. Bobby was not, for all of his size, a particularly noisy or annoying presence. They spent most of their evenings quietly reading (Alex had rediscovered her affection for Jane Austen) or watching movies (Bobby had introduced her to vibrant black and white movies that tended to end badly). But Bobby electrified the atmosphere of any room he entered.
Alex spun on her back. "Oh, Bobby," she cried, "I love you so much…but why does it have to be so complicated?"
She heard a faint click, and Alex's senses went on full alert. Her right hand instinctively felt for the small revolver she kept beneath the mattress, a legacy of her father's recommendation that a good cop always had a backup. Even as she fingered the metal, Alex knew the sound held no real threat. It was the sound of her key—or at least the key she gave to Bobby. She heard the sound of Bobby Goren trying not to make a sound. He performed a decent job of remaining silent as he approached her bedroom; Alex thought that if she had been asleep he probably wouldn't have awakened her. As he opened the door Alex huddled beneath the covers. She sensed a large bulk hovering over her and then felt his lips brush against her hair. The presence left, and Alex nearly cried out, but she heard the sounds of Bobby in the bathroom. Several moments later the bulk returned to the bedroom and Alex's heart left her throat and returned to a steady beat in her chest. Bobby shed his clothes, and, clad in his boxers, sat wearily on the bed. Alex rose slightly; Bobby immediately sensed her movement and tilted his head towards her.
"I'm sorry," he whispered. "I didn't mean to wake you up."
He smelled of toothpaste, soap and faintly of whiskey and beer. It was not an unpleasant combination.
"You didn't wake me up," Alex said gently. She rested a hand against his back and could feel his exhaustion and pain. "I wasn't asleep."
He rubbed a large paw across the back of his neck. "I'm sorry if I was in any way responsible for keeping you awake."
He swung his legs up and into the bed and fell back on the pillows. She gently placed a hand on his chest and one of his came to rest over it.
His thumb moved softly over the back of her hand.
"Please…could we…make love?" The need and gentleness in the request shook Alex to her soul.
"Yes…yes…" she answered as soon as she could trust her voice.
He didn't move towards her, and a puzzled Alex was about to speak again when Bobby, his voice shaking, said, "Could you…would you…could you drive?"
Alex smiled. "Sure," she responded and kissed his chest.
"It's just," he whispered as his hands began weaving in and out of her hair. "I…I can't think…no…that's not it…I'm thinking too much…things are buzzing in my head…I can't get them to stop…Alex…please…"
Alex gently took his face in her hands and turned it to her.
"I'm glad…thrilled that you're here…that you came to me…that you trust me…I'll do whatever I can…whatever you need…I love you."
He raised his head slightly so that his forehead touched hers.
"Please," he said, his voice dripping with need and want. "Please…Alex…help me…make it stop…"
Alex kissed him deeply, and it calmed him. As her tongue gently opened his mouth she heard and felt his deep moan. She kissed his nose and brushed her lips across his eyes, pausing to feel the flutter of his lashes against her lips.
"I love your eyes," she murmured. "They're so beautiful…like chocolate…and your lashes…lashes that long are wasted on a man…"
She kissed his cheek and, nibbling and licking the soft skin beneath the stubble, moved down his neck.
"Oh," Bobby cried in pleasure as she reached the point where his collarbone met his chest.
Alex smiled. "That's one of your spots too…" She sat up and pulled her shirt over her head. Bobby hesitantly raised his hands to her breasts; Alex covered his hands with hers.
"I love your hands, too," she whispered. For a brief, awful moment she remembered what those hands had been doing earlier, but she banished the thought. "After all," Alex thought, "my hands go to equally terrible places."
"Alex?" His voice betrayed his alarm at her silence and stillness.
She languidly stretched across his body.
"It's ok," she said. "Like you…too many thoughts…"
She rested in his arms for a few moments, thrilling to the feel of his skin and hair against her breasts. She moved slowly back and forth across his body, and Bobby uttered a strange sound halfway between a purr and a growl. Alex smiled at him.
"Hey, tiger," she said.
Bobby, the thoughts in his mind beginning to ease, smiled back at her. "Not the animal it suggests to me," he said. "Maybe a bear…big old bear…"
Alex's hands played with his chest hair. "No…big, beautiful, brave bear," she whispered. She reached down to pull down his boxers; Bobby lifted his hips to help her remove them. Alex took a deep breath.
"I…I love this part, too." Cautiously, deliberately, tenderly, Alex touched the back of Bobby's shoulder. Her fingertips connected with just enough pressure to feel the scar there. Bobby stiffened, and for a moment Alex could see the struggle in his eyes. He swallowed, and then slowly turned on his stomach. Alex released a breath she wasn't aware she was holding and gently glided a hand down Bobby's back. He shivered slightly, but didn't pull away from the touch. She kissed the back of his neck and rained kisses down his neck and back, occasionally stopping to lave some of the scars with her tongue and to massage the muscles with her fingers. Bobby's muscles loosened beneath her hands and his breathing eased. She reached the small of his back, where his hips started and his back ended, and where all of his tension and fear nested.
"This is a nice spot, too," she whispered, and she kissed and rubbed it until Bobby's pain seeped away.
"You know," Alex said as she finally pulled away from Bobby's body and shed her panties, "it's a struggle…but I can usually keep my mind on work at work…but sometimes…when I see you from the back…and I think of what's under that suit…" her hands lovingly glided over Bobby's hips, and joy filled her when he didn't flinch "…especially these…" She kissed his shoulders.
Bobby trembled slightly.
"All right?" Alex's hands hovered over him.
"Yes…it's wonderful…" His voice was low and rough and muffled by the pillow.
"Here…I'll be your blanket…" Alex crawled over him and draped her body over his back, her small frame covering as much of his large one as it could.
"Alex…I love you so much." She could barely hear him; his voice was coarse with emotion. "I…I trust you…" His body shook, and Alex felt tear on her cheeks. "I've never trusted anyone like this…" She heard the tears in his voice. "I've always trusted you with my life…but now…I…I trust you with my heart…my soul." Bobby's voice broke, and Alex clung to him. She wanted to merge with him, to blend with him and disappear inside him.
"Oh, Bobby," she cried softly and buried her face in his neck. A desperate need to see his eyes seized her. Alex rose and pushed gently on one of his shoulders. He turned on his back and blinked at her; she softly touched his tear streaked cheek. She kissed him and cautiously and tenderly touched his cock.
"And this," she said, "of course is one of my favorite parts."
Bobby smiled. "I'm pretty fond of that part, too."
Alex's hands played up and down Bobby's cock, letting her fingers glide up and down the silky shaft and cup his balls. Bobby groaned and thrust into her hand; he was fully erect and his eyes glazed. She pulled her hand away, and he moaned at the loss of contact.
"Hey, you said I could drive…" Alex kissed the tip of his cock, and his moans grew deeper.
"Please…Alex…inside…I want to be inside you…"
"I…I want you inside me, too," Alex whispered, and slowly and deliberately kissed her way up his body until she was draped over Bobby's chest. She sat up, her legs on either side of him, and began to slide down his body until she reached his cock.
"We're safe," she answered, and carefully lowered her body on Bobby's cock. He cried in pleasure and started to thrust inside her, but her hand on his chest stopped him.
"Please…wait…a little…Bobby," she gasped.
His hands grasped her breasts. "Alex…please…oh…"
She caught one of his hands and guided it down to the soft curls between her legs. Both she and Bobby cried out as she brought their fingers inside her along side his cock. Alex nearly screamed in pleasure as she pressed Bobby's fingers against her clit and his cock; inspired by Alex's cries and expressions of joy, Bobby thrust inside her. Waves of pleasure hit them both. Alex's orgasm hit her first, and it shattered her. She fell forward just as Bobby shouted out and drove into her; she collapsed on his chest as he fell into a blissful, blessed oblivion.
Alex slowly came back; surrounded by a wonderful haze, she rested on Bobby's heaving chest. She became aware of an annoying cramp in her right arm, which was pressed along with Bobby's left arm between their bodies. She rose shakily and pulled their arms, their fingers intertwined, away. She took several tissues from the box near the bed and wiped off their hands. Bobby's eyes were open but unclear. Alex tossed the tissues in the wastebasket and began to trace a gentle path around Bobby's jaw and chin. He blinked and looked at her; his trembling arms came around her.
"Thank you," he whispered.
"Better?" she asked.
"Much…that was…I should let you drive more often…"
Alex chuckled and rolled off Bobby's chest. "Damn straight," she said.
A wicked smile crossed Bobby's face. "Did it get crowded down there?" One of his hands strayed between Alex's legs.
Alex grinned at him. "I think I had control of the situation."
"C'mon," Bobby said. "Join me in the shower."
Roughly a half hour later a very clean Alex rested in Bobby's arms. "I'm going to have to talk my landlord into getting me a bigger hot water heater," she murmured. She looked at Bobby. "Ok?"
She sensed the "but" in his voice.
"You can tell me…or not…whatever you need Bobby…"
"I know." He stared at the ceiling as his hands wove in and out of her slightly damp hair. "I…I need to talk…think out loud…about…her…Nicole…I'm sorry, Alex…I…"
She touched his cheek. "It's ok." She took a deep breath. "I think I need to hear you."
A long pause followed, and Alex half feared, half hoped that Bobby had changed his mind.
"In spite of what she thought…said…I was never attracted to her…at least not to Nicole Wallace…maybe for a moment when I first met her…when I thought she was Elizabeth Hitchens…that sparkling little girl…" He choked for a moment. "But once I knew what she was…what she did…never…when I knew what had been done to her…I felt pity…but I never…I know you thought I got too wrapped up in hear head…"
"Yea," Alex said quietly.
"I didn't excuse her…but I did underestimate her malevolence…her damage…her intelligence…I thought I had my mom protected…and the idea someone would use her to hurt me…it just didn't…she knocked me off balance…and if it wasn't for you…" His hands briefly ceased roaming through her hair. "I…I don't know what I would have done."
Alex held him tightly.
"She didn't realize…how important you are to me…until you testified…you were off her radar until then…but then…I saw it in the courtroom…she saw how lost I was without you…the next time we brought her in…and she attacked you…I knew…" Bobby brushed his lips against Alex's hair. "I was so afraid…she hated you so much, Alex…because she saw you as some rival…because you were close to me…because you're good…" He shivered. "When she had me…she wanted to get you, too…to hurt you…I was so afraid…that I'd break…that she'd get her hands on you…they…if they had…" Alex could hear the terror in Bobby's voice.
"But it didn't happen," she said gently. "You were strong…much stronger than she thought."
There was a pause. "I don't know how strong," Bobby said finally. "But you're right…it didn't happen…Thank God…" He clung to her. "I never sought her out…you know that…"
"Yes," Alex said. "She's the one who kept coming back…even when she could've gotten away…even when she was happy…or at least as happy as she could be."
"Part of that," Bobby said, "was that I saw what she really was…and why she was the way she was…and…I think she also underestimated me…she certainly underestimated you…" There was a note of pride in his voice. "But…the main reason…" Bobby swallowed. "She hated me because…because she couldn't understand…"
"Why you weren't like her," Alex said gently.
"Yea," Bobby said softly. "And the truth is…I'm not sure…" His voice was low and rough. "I'm not sure…I understand why…I'm not like her…"
Alex sat up suddenly. "Robert Goren," she said firmly and furiously, "You are nothing like…"
Bobby pulled away from her. "Alex…please…listen… please…I gotta work this out…I have to think…" He rose from the bed and began pacing beside it. "This haunts me…not just Nicole…but others…" He stopped and stared down at Alex, his mind racing. "I can't tell her this…" he thought. "She'll leave…even as good as she is…but I have to tell her the truth…I have to…if this is going to work, I have to be honest…"
"Bobby…" Alex struggled to control her voice. "You not like them…you are a good man…"
He resumed pacing by the bed. "But…why…why did I survive…and they didn't…what if I become…like them…"
A straggled cry of protest came from Alex.
"Please…Alex…you don't know…I could…" There was pain in his voice and posture. "I could have been any of them…that rage…hatred…I almost…"
"But you didn't," Alex said. "You aren't…you won't."
"Look," he said. He resigned to accept his fate. "I…when I was a kid…it…I don't think it was as bad as what happened to Nicole…" His voice shook and he couldn't look at Alex. "I…I…was never sexually abused…but…but…"
"Oh, help me," Alex thought. "Help me to do the right thing here…"
The words boiled out of Bobby. "My mom…as sick as she was…she never hit me…sometimes…she yelled at me…when I didn't see or hear the things she saw and heard…she'd lock me in a closet now and then…but it wasn't too bad, really…"
"Not too bad!" Alex couldn't contain her thoughts.
Bobby scarcely heard her; he was lost in memories. "But my dad…when he didn't ignore me…there were a few moments…when…he could be charming and great…but…when he was drunk…or angry…" The long buried words tumbled from him. "And more and more of the time he was drunk and angry more and more…he'd hit me…my brother sometimes, but me mostly…his belt was his favorite weapon…with the belt buckle…and my brother…he…he imitated him…"
Bobby swallowed. "I started hoping…praying…that they'd just ignore me…"
"Bobby." Whatever anger Alex felt was gone. She reached for him, but he jerked away.
"There were times…when mom was really sick and dad wasn't around…I was in protective care…I guess it says something that I was glad to be there…at least I got fed and could get some sleep…"
Alex felt tears forming in her eyes; she knew Bobby's childhood had been rough, but not this horrible. The Eames household was not without its shouting matches, but Alex always knew she was loved and she was always fed.
"I got in trouble when I was a kid…nothing really horrible…the Army…it saved me…I…it was the first time in a long time someone really cared about where I was and when I got there…" Bobby ceased his wild march across her carpet and leaned over a chair. "I stayed away for a long time…didn't take any leaves…my mom…" His shoulder heaved. "My mom was institutionalized…I didn't…couldn't deal with it…I…I just didn't want to deal with her…or my dad…or my brother…I'd enlisted when I was 17…my dad signed the papers…I think he was glad to get rid of me…It was three years before I came back…" He resumed his restless pacing. "I'd gotten my diploma…started studying languages…the Army found out I had a brain…and they wanted it and they trained it…I was starting to take college level courses…I was a sergeant…I was still a kid in a lot of ways…but I was stronger…I'd been trained…I came home…tried to help my mom…and ran into my brother…he was trying to get money from my mom…" Bobby laughed bitterly. "Like my mom had anything…he turned to me…gave me some story…the first of a lot…so I lent him some…he turned up later that evening with my dad in tow…so we went out…and I thought…maybe things had changed…it'd been three year…and maybe they'd see that…that I wasn't worthless."
He stopped pacing and stared out the window.
"Bobby," Alex whispered. "You're…you're not worthless…it was them…"
"We went to a bar, of course…several, actually…I didn't drink that much…we'd left one…we were in the alley behind it…and they were both riding me because I wasn't drinking…I said something pretty mild about not liking it…and my dad said I was still a disrespectful bastard and he was going to teach me a lesson…and he took his belt off and started to hit me…" Bobby shook violently. "It all…all the times…all the times I smelled women on him and he hit me and yelled at me and told me my mom's illness was my fault and the times he didn't come to the games and told me I was a mama's boy…all of it came to me…and I hit him…and he went down…just right down on the ground…and my brother slugged me and then I hit him and either I hit him really hard or he was really drunk but he didn't get up. I think they were both surprised that I had turned on them and could hit them that hard. And then I was on my father, screaming at him and just hitting him over and over again. I could have killed him…with my bare hands…I wanted to kill him…"
Alex sat stunned.
Bobby turned to her. "I…I'm not that different, Alex…I understand how…what can happen…"
His dark eyes glistened from his terribly white face.
"But you didn't, Bobby…you didn't kill him…that's the difference…Nicole…all the others…they gave in…they surrendered." Alex believed the words as she spoke them; she only hope she could convince Bobby to share in her belief. "You…you took the horrible things to help you understand…to help you to fight…to make things better for others."
"Nicole…" he whispered. "She saw it…she…"
Alex rose from the bed and strode to Bobby. She grabbed his face. "She would…because she was incapable of good…so she couldn't see it in another…I won't lie to you, Bobby…I've seen that darkness in you…and it scares me…but not because I think you'll use it against me or anyone else but because I'm afraid you'll let it destroy you. But I also see your goodness…your bravery…"
The shadows began to lift from his eyes. "You…you're not afraid…you're not running away…"
"Bobby," Alex said firmly. "You love me…"
"Why do you love me?"
"I…I…because you're good and smart and tough and beautiful and funny…because you're…you're you…"
"I love you. And, strangely enough," she risked a smile, "I love you for the same reasons. So, if I'm good and smart that must mean you're good, right?"
Bobby's head spun. "Uh…I'm not sure I follow the logic, Alex…"
She pulled him to the bed. "Don't worry about it…just let it go…let it go…"
Exhausted and grateful, Bobby let go and fell into bed with her. He clung to her until he fell asleep.
Faint music and sunshine streaking across their faces woke them.
"What's that?" Bobby asked groggily.
"New neighbor…she plays the cello…it must be late…she doesn't practice until after nine or so…" Alex yawned. "Good thing we have the day off."
Bobby listened intently. "She's good…and she's playing Bach…I like Bach…I like the way he takes individual strands and puts them together…He turns chaos into music…Bach makes sense."
Alex smiled at him. "Sorta like us."