"Conversations"

Copyright 2008 Penn O'Hara

T

Usual disclaimers apply.

LOCI Timeline: During Season Seven, post "Amends".

MY LOCI Timeline: Post "No Going Back" and "Queen of Spades".

A/N: My next project. I'm going to tackle the ongoing relationships of Bobby and Alex, Logan and Carolyn, as they battle through LOCI Season 7 — how they handle the cases, new partners (poor Mikey … again) and each other. How they interact during the day and what they do at the end of the day — well, Logan and Carolyn'll always end up in bed, so Bobby and Alex will be the ones to watch. When? If? ;-)

Having read "Queen of Spades" is a must for the Bobby/Alex chapters, but the BA shippers are pardoned from reading Logan.

As with my "Oceans Two", each chapter will be from a specific detective's POV only. And I'm aiming for them to be short and sweet.

oOo

Number One: Based on a conversation Logan and Eames had in my LOCI Universe, "No Going Back" (Chapter Nine, if you want to skip all the Logan Stuff.)

Alex' POV.

The outdoor café shielded them from the steady stream of New York commuters and wasn't crowded, but there were enough patrons that you had to pick your table carefully, else a conversation would be overhead. The clientele were mostly women; friends sharing coffee; mothers accompanying daughters on shopping trips, judging from the amount of shopping bags deposited beside their chairs; and the woman near her was conducting a job interview with an over-eager, painfully thin girl with anxious eyes.

And then there was her. With Bobby.

Their relationship had become more strained, Bobby now choosing to shoulder the blame for Alex' blip on the Chief of Detectives' radar. No amount of assurances had convinced him otherwise, so Alex resigned herself to tolerating his martyrdom.

She had wanted a breather from the office and Bobby offered to accompany her, so she'd given him the choice of venue. What he didn't know was that Alex decided it was time they had a chat and made amends.

"What made you pick here?" she asked, eyeing his bulk on the small chair.

He looked around, a mixture of surprise and anxiety, and the chair creaked in protest. "You don't like it?"

"If it's got good coffee, I don't care." Lifting her cup, she tasted it. It was good. She studied him as he meticulously stirred the sugar into his coffee. He rarely drank the beverage, but Alex guessed he was making an effort to be social.

It was obvious in the lines on his face, the dullness in his eyes and the shadows under them that he wasn't sleeping well. Her heart went out to him, knowing the cause of his distress but helpless to sweep away his dilemma. Particularly while she suspected he hadn't told her everything.

"Seen Captain Chase lately?" she asked. Bobby never talked about Rebecca but Alex couldn't believe the other woman had given up so easily.

Bobby's hands slipped from the sides of his cup and fluttered back again. "Now and then," he mumbled.

"Only now and then?" Alex couldn't accuse him of hiding the fact from her — their personal lives were still deliberately separate — but her heart dropped to her stomach that he hadn't chosen to mention it.

"What? You use her when it suits you?" she blurted out her hurt.

Bobby's jaw jerked and Alex caught the flash of fire before it was banked.

That's one each, Bobby.

"That's not fair," Alex said, lashing out at him, unable to stop.

"Unfair to Rebecca or unfair to me?" Bobby demanded, and Alex' jaw dropped.

"Whaddya mean, Bobby?"

Shaking his head, he lifted his cup and gulped a mouthful. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he wouldn't look at her. "Let's not… get into this…"

Surprised their conversation had turned so volatile, so soon, Alex had to at least try to defend herself. "You promised you would give me time."

"I will and I have." Alex watched in awe as the battle-light came on in Bobby's eyes. "I'm yours when you give the word, Eames. Until that time…if Rebecca's willing…"

Alex swallowed down her… disgust? Disgust was too strong a word. She couldn't tell if he was accusing her of being a dog in the manger or simply scoring another round for himself. Unable to contemplate the thought of him with Rebecca, Alex searched for something else to talk about, reminding herself that this had been her idea.

"Falacci and Logan seem to be working out okay," she said, going for neutral territory.

Battle-light extinguished, Bobby's attention wandered to the other patrons, glancing at each, his mind, no doubt, processing who and what they were and why they were there — one of his little mental exercises that he used to stretch his profiling skills.

"I wouldn't know," he murmured.

Why not, Bobby? Don't you see anything outside of your private little hell anymore?

Alex blew a sigh through her teeth, dialing it back. "I took a case of his while you were…on leave. Worked with Wheeler before she left."

Bobby's interest sharpened, his gaze sliding to hers. "What happened to Logan?"

"He had a personal issue. Some neighbor of his died. He wanted to follow it up."

Bobby nodded and turned away, zoning out.

Alex' stomach tightened, sensing he'd lost interest in the whole 'talk over coffee' thing as well.

Whether to shock him or merely test his concentration, Alex decided to let him in on a little secret. "Carolyn was away at the time. On business. For a week. She said Logan kept the relationship alive by having phone sex with her. I've never tried it—"

Bobby's head snapped around, his eyes widening. "What are you saying? You wanna have phone sex?"

"No! I just thought… Logan and Carolyn are getting along so well. I'm…happy for them."

"And we're getting along like…?"

Alex baulked, wearying of dodging the land mines. "We're still working well together, but I feel…I'm the one…makin' all the compromises. Giving you your head…then pickin' up the pieces."

Slamming his cup onto the table, Bobby pushed himself to his feet, leaning on his hands as he came in close.

"You wanna have phone sex with someone?" he said, his voice rising. "Call me. You wanna go to bed with someone? Call me. Got it? Right now…I'm done talkin'."

Pulling out his wallet, he tossed a greenback onto the table and pushed through the tables to disappear into the pedestrian stream.

Alex caught the look of shock from the skinny girl and sympathy from the woman interviewing her.

Thumping her elbow onto the table for support, she dropped her chin into her palm.

That didn't go well.

oOo