Approximately three months later
Mike Logan paused in the doorway of the captain's office, mildly surprised to find Ross not behind his desk, but rather standing at the glass wall and peering out at the squad room through the Venetian blinds. It wasn't the first time that Mike had caught Ross in such a pose. Multiple times, especially over the last few weeks, he'd glanced in the direction of Ross's office to see the captain standing there like that, watching the occupants of the squad room with a frown.
"Captain?" he asked tentatively, wondering at the same time whether it wouldn't be best to just turn around and leave Ross to his brooding. "Everything okay?"
Still frowning, Ross stepped away from the wall, and returned to his desk with visible reluctance.
"Come in, Logan. Shut the door and have a seat. I want to talk to you."
This can't be good, Mike thought ruefully, but he did as Ross asked. Once he was seated, Ross spoke quietly.
"Tell me, have you noticed anything odd recently about Goren and Eames?"
Mike's eyebrows shot up.
"You mean, more than usual?"
Ross said nothing, but merely waited patiently. It was Mike's turn to frown as he contemplated the question.
"Well… not really. Nothing that's especially out of the ordinary. Except…"
"What?" Ross pressed, and Mike shrugged helplessly.
"I don't know that it's worth mentioning. Just… they've both cleaned their desks off. No photos left, not trinkets, nothing. Goren's cleared most of those psyche books he usually has lying around… It just seems a little weird, but I don't know. It's probably nothing to worry about."
Ross's gaze flickered past Mike, through the glass to where Bobby and Alex were currently engrossed in paperwork from one of their current cases.
"They haven't been quite the same with the business with Torchwood three months ago," Ross admitted. "Goren especially. "Harkness is gone, thank God… But ever since, it's like they've been waiting for something, and I don't know what."
Mike said nothing in reply to that, although he quietly agreed. What he hadn't told Ross was that the clearing of personal effects had not been a sudden thing, but rather that it had happened slowly, bit by bit over the last three months. It was as if the two had gone to great trouble to avoid anyone taking any real notice of what they were doing.
Mike hadn't asked them about it, but he still wondered more and more what they were up to.
"On the bright side," he said, deciding it was time to try and put a positive spin on the discussion, "Goren has been a lot happier. A lot more settled."
If anything, Ross's frown deepened, triggering a feeling of irritation in Mike on Bobby's behalf. Maybe the other detective hadn't been so far off the mark when he'd commented that Ross would never be satisfied with him.
"I suppose so," Ross conceded with very visible reluctance. Mike clenched his jaw, no longer able to keep quiet.
"Captain, do you want Goren gone from Major Case?"
Ross looked genuinely startled by the unexpected question.
"What? No! Of course not!"
"Really? Well, you're sure as hell acting like it."
Ross stared at Mike, taken completely aback by the aggression in the other man's voice.
"Logan, you're out of line…"
Mike stood up abruptly, nearly sending the chair over backwards with the violent movement.
"No, Captain, you are. Ever since you took over Major Case, you're treated Bobby like some sort of freak. It's all good while he's solving the cases, but on the other hand you keep using him like he's some sort of friggin' whipping boy! It's not good enough, Captain. It's not enough to just give him an occasional pat on the head, when the rest of the time you're kicking him in the proverbial balls!"
Ross reddened with anger at the comment, but Mike was on a roll and had no intention of stopping.
"You say you don't want to lose Bobby from the squad, and yet everything you say and do is just pushing him further away! Right now, I wouldn't blame him if he did quit, regardless of where he planned on going. Because you made it pretty damned clear right from the start that the only thing he's good for in your eyes is a scapegoat for whenever the shit hits the fan!"
Ross pointed to the door, fuming.
"Out, Logan. Now. Go get yourself a coffee and chase up a witness, or something… Just get the hell out of this building. I do not want to see your face again for the rest of the day."
Mike went, but paused in the doorway to focus a dark look at the captain.
"If we lose them, it'll be your fault, Captain. Just remember that."
Then, he was gone. Ross sat back down and rubbed his hands over his face. The worst part of the whole damn thing was that Logan was right. He was treating Goren badly, and he didn't really know why. Sure, they had clashed to begin with, but he understood where a lot of Goren's anxiety and trauma came from.
He hadn't been telling a lie when he told Logan that he didn't want to lose Goren from the squad. He knew how detrimental it would be to Major Case if Goren were to leave, and it churned in his gut to think of another department benefiting from the man's genius. It cut especially deep to think of Goren being lured away by the likes of Jack Harkness, and he again thanked the deities that the brash leader of Torchwood was long gone.
The bottom line was that despite knowing the dangers, he simply couldn't stop himself from treating Goren so badly. It was an utter contradiction, to tell himself that he wanted him in his squad and then treat him like dirt, and Ross was ashamed of himself over it, but he just couldn't help himself.
Part of him, deep down, suspected a reason, and that reason went by the name of Jack Harkness. Yes, the Torchwood Captain was well and truly out of the picture now, and nor could he be blamed for the conflict that had gone on prior to Torchwood's encroachment on their turf. However, Ross did firmly blame Jack for giving Bobby a chance to see something better than what he currently had.
And, if he was being completely honest with himself, he was perhaps just a little bit jealous, as well. After all, he knew he was smart as Goren, but it was Goren that the enigmatic Torchwood leader had shown interest in.
He swallowed a sigh. As much as he hated to admit it, Logan was right. If he lost Goren now, it would only be his own fault – purely for sheer pig-headedness in not making the effort to let the unconventional detective know just how much he really was appreciated.
"I don't know what just happened," Alex murmured, "but Logan just stormed out of Ross's office."
Bobby huffed softly, not raising his eyes from his paperwork.
"That could mean anything. Is Ross still watching us?"
"Not at the moment. You think he suspects something?"
Bobby appeared to contemplate that before shrugging.
"Maybe. Doesn't really matter, though, does it?"
"No, I guess not." She paused for a moment before voicing the question that was dancing around in her mind. "Have you heard from him at all?"
Bobby glanced up at her and smiled reassuringly, sensing her anxiety clearly.
"No, but I'm not worried, either. He said it would take at least three months to set up. And besides… did you check your bank balance?"
Alex nodded, and her voice dropped to a low, subtle murmur, though her eyes betrayed her astonishment.
"I know we never discussed salaries, but if that's what we're going to be getting paid… even if it's only once a month… then we definitely made the right choice."
"What right choice would that be, Eames?" a voice asked abruptly, and both detectives looked up to find Ross standing there, watching them both piercingly. Alex didn't miss a beat, speaking calmly and maintaining eye contact.
"The design of my new bathroom, Captain. I'm planning to renovate. My tub just isn't big enough for two when I have company over."
Ross blanched, and muttered something under his breath about fresh coffee before beating a hasty retreat. Only once he was back in his office did the two detectives allow themselves a quiet chuckle.
"Now that was a line that Jack would be proud of," Bobby remarked, and Alex grinned.
"Got rid of him, didn't it?" She paused to glance across the room, before groaning. "And now he's back to watching us again."
"So let him watch."
Abruptly, Alex's phone buzzed to signal an incoming message. As she picked it up, Bobby's cell phone also started to vibrate.
"If that's my idiot brother calling to remind me of Nathan's birthday again…" she muttered threateningly, only to trail off into startled silence. There was just one word lit up on the screen of her phone, and it told them everything they'd been waiting for.
When she spoke again, it was in a considerably subdued tone. "Bobby? Does your phone say the same thing mine does?"
He didn't say anything, and nor did he need to. The look on his face said it for him. Struggling to suppress a shudder, Alex quietly unbuckled her gun holster and laid it carefully on the desk. She then unclipped her badge, and set it beside the weapon. Bobby, she noted, had done exactly the same thing.
She watched as he reached into the top drawer of his desk and withdrew a plain white envelope that had first been placed there near enough on three months ago. Then, his eyes lifted to meet hers, and concern flashed across his face.
She could hear the unspoken question as clearly as if he'd said it aloud.
You haven't changed your mind, have you?
In answer, she pulled out a similar white envelope and indicated towards Ross's office with a slight incline of her head, her mind well made up despite the nerves that her churning her gut.
"Let's do this."
Ross started a little, suddenly realising that Bobby and Alex were headed towards his office. He was acutely aware that they had both removed their guns and... He frowned in growing concern, recognising the golden glints on their desks as their detective's shields.
He wheeled around just as they walked into his office, and felt the blood run cold in his veins as his gaze went to the envelope in their hands.
"Goren," he said aloud, keeping his voice as calm as possible. "Eames. What can I do for you both?"
The two detectives exchanged amused glances that sent fresh chills down Ross's spine. Bobby stepped closer, taking the envelope Alex was holding and handing both to Ross.
"You can accept these, sir."
Ross took them in numb fingers, and though deep down he already knew what they were, he still had to ask.
"What are these, Goren?"
Part of him hoped they were just transfer requests. Those could be denied, even for the flimsiest reasons. But he knew better, and Bobby's next words shattered his illusion of control.
"Our resignations, Captain."
Ross felt the bottom drop out of his stomach, Logan's words already coming back to haunt him.
"Detectives, do you really think..."
"Stop," Bobby cut him off in a tone that rang with authority, and clearly told Ross that the big detective no longer recognised his. "We're not negotiating with you, Captain, and we're not giving notice. We're leaving, right now."
Ross stared, utterly disbelieving.
"You're just walking out?"
"That's right," Alex confirmed flatly. And then, as they both turned to move, Ross suddenly seemed to come to his senses enough to put up a cohesive argument.
"Stop right there, both of you! The hell you are! You can't just turn around and walk out. For starters, you have open cases. Four of them, not to mention two upcoming trials! You cannot just leave like this! And... your contracts..."
If anything, Bobby actually smiled in reaction to Ross's rant.
"We'll still testify in court if the ADA needs us to, but other than that, we're done. Our contracts are irrelevant now, Captain. I think you'll find that if you try to hold us to them, you're just going to fall flat."
By then, Ross looked very much like he was about to go into apoplexy.
"You can't do this..." he stammered, torn between hating Bobby for reducing him to a babbling mess and wanting to beg him to stay. Alex spoke, a tiny smile on her face that infuriated the captain.
"Yes, actually we can. Now, if you'll excuse us, Captain Ross... and I say that only as a matter of courtesy, because frankly we don't care if you do or not. We're leaving now. We have somewhere much more important to be."
"Our guns and badges are on our desks," Bobby told him, trying hard not to take a very real pleasure in the shell-shocked look on the captain's face. With that, he turned on his heel and followed Alex out.
By that time, every detective in the squad room had given up all pretence of working, and were either sitting or standing around, looking on in open-mouthed shock. Bobby and Alex detoured only to collect their coats before heading for the exit, and the elevators beyond. They made brief eye contact with their fellow detectives as they went, trying to convey their appreciation for their colleagues without speaking.
In the end, when the story later circulated around the NYPD like wildfire, there was just one consistent fact in the many variations that were told. Bobby Goren and Alex Eames left the Major Case Squad, and the NYPD, with their heads held high.
Mike stalked out into the daylight, still fuming. As much as he personally liked Ross, with his hands-on approach and no-nonsense manner, right now he was seriously pissed off with the man. That, ad he was deeply unsettled at what he saw as a very real prospect of Bobby leaving. There was, in his opinion, only one good thing that might possibly emerge from Bobby's departure, and that was the likelihood that he would be partnered with Alex.
He shook his head roughly. It wasn't worth losing a cop of Bobby's calibre for that; not at all. And oh, how the irony of that amused him no end. He vividly remembered his first encounter with Bobby, and of his first impression that the guy was just another head case. If someone had told him the 'head case' would become one of his closest friends, he probably would have punched them out.
As it was, he was still astounded by the depth of the friendship he now had with Bobby, and the thought of him leaving Major Case almost physically hurt.
He started across the square, intending to go for that coffee – all the while imagining throwing it in Ross's face – when an unexpected sight brought him up short. Across the way, standing in front of a hulking black SUV and looking as enigmatic as ever in his ankle length RAAF coat, was Captain Jack Harkness.
Mike felt a chill race through him that was entirely unpleasant. Jack had seen him and was definitely watching him, but had made no effort to acknowledge him. He simply stood there, watching... No, Mike realised. Not just watching. He was waiting for something... or someone.
For a long minute, Mike found it extraordinarily hard to breathe. He had thought the man had gone back to England, or wherever the hell it was that he'd come from, and he really didn't like the fact that he was standing here now. He was about to approach Jack – no idea what he'd say, but he'd think of something – when movement off to his side caught his attention, and he looked to see Bobby and Alex had emerged and were standing nearby.
He looked from them back to Jack, and felt the unease grow when Jack finally moved, and a wide grin lit up his face. Mike looked back to Bobby and Alex, and felt the first twinges of panic as they started to move forward.
"Hey!" he burst out. "What the hell are you two doing? Where are you going?"
Bobby stopped, and regarded Mike seriously.
"I wouldn't go back up to the squad room for a while, Mike. Ross isn't going to be in a good mood... to say the least."
"Okay... But where are you going?"
Alex spoke quietly, while still watching Jack out of the corner of her eye.
"We're moving on, Mike, but we'll still see you around. Friday nights at Murphy's, okay?"
Mike nodded, too confused to put up any sort of cohesive argument.
"Yeah, sure, but..."
"Take care, Mike," Bobby told him sincerely. "We'll see you around."
And with that, they headed across the square to where Jack was waiting.
Jack came forward to meet them, not hesitating a second in throwing his arms around each of them in a welcoming hug.
"Did he give you any trouble?" he asked, and they both knew he meant Ross and not Mike.
"We didn't give him a chance to," Bobby answered. "He looked like he was about to bust an artery when we walked out, but no. No problems."
Jack nodded, satisfied.
"Good. Okay, ready to go?"
"As ready as we're ever going to be," Alex admitted, and Jack's grin softened a little.
"It's a big leap, I understand that. But it's going to be fine. Now, c'mon. I want to show you where you'll be working from."
"This isn't your SUV," Bobby commented as Jack ushered them into the vehicle.
"Nope," he agreed cheerfully. "It's yours."
Bobby and Alex could only stare wide-eyed round them at the technology with which the SUV had been fitted out.
"This is incredible," Alex murmured as she took a closer look at the computer gear.
"Top of the line equipment," Ianto told them as he steered the SUV through the New York traffic, "boosted by a bit of safe alien tech. There's nothing else like it."
"He's not kidding about that, either," Jack said with a chuckle. "Owen and Tosh were both jealous as hell when they got a look at the schematics. This thing leaves our SUV back home for dead."
Alex whistled softly.
"Well, if this is what we get to drive around in, then I can't wait to see where we'll be working."
Jack and Ianto traded knowing grins.
"You're gonna love it," Jack enthused. "You really are."
"Now, unfortunately, there wasn't a water tower with a perception filter to construct a base underneath," Jack said wryly. "So, we looked for the next best thing. Now, keep in mind that it's not going to look like much on the outside, but that's what we want. We don't want it to attract attention."
"As long as it doesn't look too crappy," Alex remarked dryly. "We don't need it being broken into by drug addicts looking for somewhere to shoot up."
"Alex, the person who can break into this place deserves everything they get."
"Which will be one hell of a shock," Jack added with a satisfied smirk, "followed by severe memory loss. Here we are…"
They pulled up in a restricted parking zone outside a shop front that, at outward appearances, seemed to be selling some sort of insurance, but the drawn blinds and dark interior gave it a less than reputable look.
"Oh, good," Alex remarked dryly. "We'll be getting raided by the Feds for having mob connections."
Jack grinned widely.
"If they can get past the front door."
"What do you mean?" Bobby queried. Jack stepped forward and flattened his palm against an incongruous strip of metal on the wall beside the door. Initially, nothing happened, but after a few seconds the metal glowed faintly and there was a soft click as the door unlocked and swung open.
"It's a DNA-encoded strip," Jack explained. "Another useful bit of alien tech that we've picked up over the years. Touching that strip is the only way to get the door open. Ordinarily if someone touches it, nothing will happen. It will only react to those whose DNA has been keyed in. We'll do that for you both before we leave here tonight."
Explanation offered, Jack motioned for them to enter.
The inside looks as mundane as the exterior, with just a desk and a few chairs, a few slightly tattered taxation posters and a fake potted plant in the corner. It looked as uninteresting as it could possibly be.
"If someone does manage to get inside…" Jack said.
"Which is extremely unlikely," Ianto added. Jack nodded.
"Like I said, if they do, this is all they'll find. Now, it's that door over there that leads you to where you want to be."
Bobby and Alex looked in the direction that he indicated, but neither of them noticed anything. It wasn't until Jack walked to the other side of the pseudo-office and laid his hand on a door that they even realised the door was there. Alex blinked hard, baffled by the door's apparent sudden appearance.
"That wasn't there before… was it?"
"It was there, but you didn't notice it until I brought your attention to it because it has a built in perception filter. All it does is shift your perception just a little… like seeing something just out of the corner of your eye. You know it's there, but it doesn't really register consciously." He motioned to the metal plate fixed to the wall beside the door. "It's the same as outside, a DNA reader to unlock the door."
He released the door, and held it open for them.
"If you will…?"
Exchanging bemused looks, Bobby and Alex stepped through the door, with Jack and Ianto right behind them.
They walked along a short hallway to an elevator, which took them up a couple of floors. When the doors slid open, Jack made a broad, sweeping motion with his hand.
"Welcome to Torchwood Five."
Bobby and Alex stepped out into an enormous space that was comfortably cluttered with all sorts of technology – some of which they recognised, and others they didn't. There were two large desks within close proximity to each other; each one fitted out with state of the art computer equipment. Behind one desk, there was an enormous bookshelf that ran nearly ten metres in width, and was crammed with books.
Unable to resist, Bobby gravitated to the shelves and pulled a book out to look at it properly.
"You've got all the books you'll need on alien languages, customs, planets, galaxies," Jack told him with a grin, delighting in Bobby's obvious enthusiasm. "There are even some books there in alien languages. The Doctor helped compile this collection for you. He thought it'd be a good idea for you to have some clue about alien culture."
"A whole bookcase load of books he's never read? You just made his year," Alex commented wryly, and Jack laughed softly.
"It's just to help you both understand that not all alien life is bad. You're likely to have a lot of incidental contact, and it's important that you know when to just smile and wave, as opposed to when to pull out the big guns."
"Proverbially speaking?" Alex queried, recalling the Doctor's vehement objection to guns. Jack smiled wryly.
"No, not proverbially, Alex. You have an extremely well-equipped armoury at your disposal… all of which we'll show you how to use. And again, it's going to be a case of knowing what to use, and when. I don't want you to get trigger happy, or I'll have the Doctor after me, and not in a good way."
Ianto rolled his eyes, and took over before Jack got carried away with his own innuendo.
"You have your workstations here, on the main level, along with all the general equipment that you're likely to be using on a regular basis, including the rift monitor. And, of course, the kitchen is over there with a brand new coffee machine, which I will show you both how to use."
"Living quarters are on the next floor up," Jack went on after firing a wry look at his lover. "There are cells one level down, and below that you have your own archives. You have a general weapons locker on this level, but the armoury and shooting range is on the bottom level."
"How many levels are there?" Bobby wondered.
"You have the whole building," Jack told them. "A total of seven levels. The top two levels have been set up for storage and recreation. You've got everything here that you'll need."
"You really think we can handle this?" Alex asked. "Just the two of us?"
It was a slyly put question, and though Bobby knew what she meant, Jack didn't seem to realise where the question was really intended to lead.
"For now, yes. Although, it might not be too long before I'll need to look at hiring someone else to help you. I could always recruit someone from UNIT… unless you two have someone in mind who might be suitable? But then, that is why you asked, isn't it? Because you do have someone specific in mind."
Alex and Bobby exchanged wry looks. Not so oblivious after all, then.
"We do," Bobby confirmed. "When you're ready to consider it, we were thinking of our former captain, Jimmy Deakins."
Jack nodded, quietly pleased that Bobby deferred to him.
"I'll look into it, but right now we have other business to deal with. Come over here, and we'll show you how to use the rift monitor system works…"
Some hours later found them sitting in a corner booth in a little restaurant that was not far from the new base. Bobby spoke haltingly, struggling for one of the few times in his life to express himself.
Jack regarded Bobby with bright eyes and a knowing smile.
"For what, Bobby?"
Bobby made a slightly flustered gesture with his hands.
"For everything. For what you've given us today. For being willing to give us a second chance, when you didn't have to…"
"Yes," Jack interrupted, his voice suddenly sober. "I did. If I wasn't willing to do that, then I'd be the worst kind of hypocrite."
"Is that what the Doctor did for you?" Alex asked. "Give you a second chance? Is that why you love him so much?"
Jack smiled, this time a little sadly.
"The Doctor took a chance on me when he had every right and reason to leave me to die. so yeah, I'm big on giving people second chances."
"And sometimes third, fourth and fifth ones, as well," Ianto added, smiling lovingly at Jack. The Captain returned the smile briefly before returning his focus to Bobby and Alex.
"You're going to screw up. Take it as a given. I might even be angry at you over it, depending on the scale f the screw-up, but it will pass. And believe me when I say I can forgive a hell of a lot."
Ianto said nothing to that, but nodded soberly in agreement. Jack went on quietly.
"Just promise me that you'll never hesitate to let me know when the crap hits the fan, and whatever happens, do not waste valuable time telling me how sorry you are about it. I guarantee, that will piss me off more than the screw-up."
Bobby and Alex both nodded, and then Bobby spoke tentatively.
A grin finally lit up Jack's face.
"Gwen. On her first day, she tried to be clever and accidentally released an alien gas that... well, let's just say that some people got killed. That didn't bother me so much. Eveyone screws up, and I'm the last person who should stand in judgement there. But she has no idea just how close I came to retconning her that day, because she wouldn't quit saying she was sorry! All the way back to the Hub, it was nothing but 'I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm really really sorry'! And let me tell you, she doesn't make the Welsh accent sound anywhere near as sexy as Ianto does."
Ianto smiled amusedly.
"It's not the words, it's all in the tone."
"She has a crush on you," Alex pointed out, and Jack frowned.
"I never encouraged her..."
Ianto coughed loudly, catching Jack's gaze and raising an eyebrow. The Captain winced visibly.
"Okay, so maybe I did a little, just to start with. But she's engaged to her boyfriend now, and I really wish she'd quit trying to play me off against Rhys."
"She's still hoping that you'll come charging in and sweep her off her feet," Bobby mused and Jack snorted.
"There's only one person that I'd like to sweep off their feet, and it isn't her."
He then leered good-naturedly at Ianto who blushed an adorable shade of red, while Bobby and Alex both grinned into their coffees.
Alex dropped Bobby off at his apartment building before heading out to her parents' home. She'd come to the decision that the best way to deal with her parents was to face them head on. Sooner rather than later, too, because her father had left five messages for her throughout the afternoon demanding to know what was going on.
She grimaced at the memory as she finally pulled up outside her parents' home. Word really did travel fast through the ranks of the NYPD. Climbing out, she wasn't the least bit surprised when her father came hurrying out to meet her.
"Alex? What the hell is going on? The calls I've had today... They're all saying you quit the Force! It's not true, is it?"
She sucked in a fortifying breath. Here went everything.
"Yeah, Dad, it is true. Bobby and I handed in our resignations today, effective immediately. We're not cops anymore."
John Eames looked like he'd been slapped.
"The Chief..." he stammered, looking dazed. "I'll call the Chief... or better yet, the Commissioner. He can get it reversed."
Alex stepped in close and laid her hands on his shoulders, silencing him.
"I don't want it to be reversed, Dad. It wasn't a mistake, and it wasn't a decision made in the heat of the moment, either. We've been planning it for three months."
Again, he looked shell-shocked, and she took the opportunity to guide him back inside the house. Her mother was waiting there, looking only marginally less anxious that John.
"Alex, honey, what's going on?"
"Come and sit down," she urged them both. "I'll tell you what I can."
They all sat down in the family room, and Alex slowly, choosing her words with care.
"Bobby and I were approached by an... independent, private agency that was looking at setting up an office in New York."
"This was three months ago?" John queried, and Alex nodded.
"Yes. We were asked to run it together, and we decided to accept."
John got back up and started pacing in agitation.
"An independent agency? Doing what?"
That was where it got tricky, Alex mused. There was no easy answer to that, particularly one that would deter her father from looking any deeper into it.
"I can't discuss it," she said carefully. "It's classified, Dad."
His eyebrows shot up.
"Classified? As in, government classified?"
She saw an opening, and pounced on it.
"We're sanctioned directly by the President, Dad," she told him.
"CIA...?" he asked with a hint of disbelief in his voice.
"No. I said it was an independent agency. It's sanctioned by the President, but we don't answer to the Government."
"Alex, you haven't stumbled into something... bad, have you?" he asked anxiously, and her mother let out a huff of annoyance.
"For God's sake, John, she said it's sanctioned by the President."
He didn't look convinced.
"The CIA is sanctioned by the President, and there's nothing good about them."
Alex sighed and shook her head.
"You're just going to have to trust me, Dad. It's okay, it really is."
John conceded with visible reluctance.
"Okay, honey. I can't say I understand what this is all about, or why you've decided to take this path, but it's your life. If this is what you want, then so be it. Just promise us that you'll try to stay out of danger?"
Alex smiled, then, quietly amused by the irony of that request, while at the same time grateful for her parents' understanding.
"I'm in no more danger than if I'd stayed with the NYPD," she told them, silently noting that they were looking less than convinced.
"I can't say that makes me feel any better," John said ruefully. "And what about Bobby? Did he quit to join this mysterious agency, too?"
"Yes, he did. We went together."
"Well, I suppose now he'll at least get the brass off his back. And I know he'll do his best to protect you."
"That goes both ways, Dad," Alex told him quietly.
John sighed, then, and Alex saw resignation in his eyes, along with a glimmer of acceptance.
"All right, Alex. Okay. If this is what you want..."
"Then we won't fight with you over it. It's your life. We trust you not to waste it."
Alex's face lit up in a broad smile as she thought briefly of her and Bobby's amazing new workplace.
"Trust me, Dad, I'm not wasting it. And thankyou."
It was nothing unusual for Bobby to find himself unable to sleep when he returned home. He was well-used to the insomnia that plagued him. What he wasn't used to was the sheer sense of contentment and satisfaction that engulfed him. There was no guilt over walking out of Major Case – he'd given that squad over seven years, and had nothing to show for it except a handful of reprimands and a headful of grey hairs. He didn't feel like he owed the squad anything at all.
More to the point, though, his mind wasn't brimming with case information. He wasn't stuck inside the head of some perp. It was a pretty good feeling, he mused as he lay in bed.
When they parted company that evening, Jack had told them to be prepared the next day for what he had called a 'short trip'. The New York base would be locked down, and they would all be travelling to Cardiff via Jack's vortex manipulator. The best way to learn the job, the Captain had decided, was to learn by experience alongside those with the experience.
And so they would spend the next two weeks in Cardiff, training for their new positions under Jack and his team. And hadn't that innocent little statement from Ianto been twisted into all sorts of innuendo by Jack.
Bobby chuckled softly to himself at the thought of the ennigmatic Captain, and couldn't help comparing him to Ross. There was a world of difference between the two men – just as there had been a world of difference between Ross and Deakins. Perhaps if circumstances had been different, he might have eventually been able to adjust to Ross's style of command, Bobby mused, but the end of it was that now he didn't have to.
He was no longer NYPD, he was Torchwood. Torchwood...
He rolled the thought over in his mind, liking it better every time. He was Torchwood, and nothing would change that now.
Bobby smiled into the darkness. It had been a long time since he'd really had something to look towards, something new to really believe in, and Jack had given that to him. He would always be grateful to the Captain for that. He felt as though his life was starting over anew, and it was a damned good feeling. And better still, Alex would be right there with him, ensuring the change was nowhere near as jarring as it could have been. He liked to think that he did the same for her, as well, making the transition from NYPD to Secret Alien Catchers much smoother.
He laughed again, enjoying the sound of his own laughter. It had been a long time since there had been anything worth laughing over, and he couldn't get over the new feeling of freedom that he had.
His mind went slowly back over the events of the day, from walking out of Major Case for the last time, to walking into the new base for the first time, and all the delight and wonder that experience had given him and Alex both. They had much to look forward to, and he couldn't wait to start.
As Jack had said, yes they would probably screw up. But it was a whole new learning curve, and they had a support base now that hadn't existed previously in the NYPD. There, their so-called support base had been waiting for them to screw up. This time, it was going to be so much different.
Bobby smiled contentedly as he finally settled down in bed. Everything was good, he told himself with fresh confidence. He had a new job with a new boss, whose experiences were a world away from those of his former captains, and he had a whole new life to look forward to living. The smile remained on his lips even as sleep finally took him.
He couldn't wait.