Coulda …

Disclaimer: Goren, Eames, Deakins and anyone else you recognise in this story doesn't belong to me, unfortunately. I'm only borrowing them for a little fun and certainly don't have any assets worth anyone trying to sue me for.

Summary: Alex's reflections on how she handled her growing affection for her partner during the course of their relationship and how things turned out in the end.

A/N: This is just my take on how Alex's feelings for Bobby have evolved during their relationship and a few little hints about her family (according to my own little BA universe). I know absolutely nothing about NYPD policy, on either fraternization or maternity leave, so where I'm wrong I apologise to those who know better than I.

I coulda told him when I first realised. It's not as if anything had to happen between us but maybe I could've told my partner of just under a year that I wasn't thinking of him simply as my partner anymore, nor even just as a friend. By then we were becoming pretty close, we'd go out to dinner at least once a month, usually after we'd wrapped up a case and could actually relax to some extent.

I know most people think he's a little odd, even weird, and at first so did I. I mean, who promises shocked grief stricken parents they'll catch their daughter's killer even before they've got a single solid lead. He did, the first case we worked together. I pulled him on that and he simply told me "You don't get to do this for a bunch of rocks." I would soon discover this was a typical Goren-esque response. He made good on his promise though. That's something else that I found out was typical of him, he never makes a promise the thinks he can't keep.

Maybe that's one of the things that changed how I felt about him. I mean after that first case, when he manipulated the killer's girlfriend by lying to her about her HIV status and did his weird "hinge" lean to unnerve another suspect during our interrogation, I really wanted to get away from him. I even wrote a letter to Captain Deakins requesting a new partner. I guess I really should have thanked Deakins more often for refusing that request and talking me into giving it more time.

"Just give it three month, Alex, that's all I'm asking." That was Deakins' response to my letter.

I gave it three months, thereby equalling my longest lasting predecessor as Goren's partner in Major Case, and by then I was more than ready to put up with Goren's quirks. I began to appreciate that although his style was definitely different he got excellent results with it.

Another three months after that and I knew how to handle him, we made a good team. We might have differing approaches but somehow we seemed to compliment each other. Outside of work we'd started heading to my favourite bar near to 1PP once every couple of weeks, just to grab a couple of quick drinks after work when we didn't have to be at work the next day.

Three more months and I really couldn't imagine working with another partner. By then we were friends, no longer just partners. Somewhere along the line a switch had been flipped, a connection made and somehow he'd gotten under my skin. I hadn't let anyone outside my own family get anywhere near close to me since my husband had been killed. I'd lost contact with 'our' friends since Joe's funeral and, before that, I'd lost contact with most of my old friends during my marriage. I guess I'd become pretty insular, Goren somehow got inside my walls and took up residence somewhere near my heart.

By the time we'd been partners for a year I knew I was done for. I'd broken the golden rule of mixed police partnerships. I'd fallen in love with my partner. There was no way I was going to compound that situation by telling him though.

I mean, I knew he wouldn't be a jerk about it, he'd probably be very understanding and gentlemanly about things and let me down gently. Yeah, I know, I coulda told him back then.

A/N: This is the first time I've had the nerve to actually post one of my stories so, if you do review, please be gentle. I have this entire story ready to post if anyone actually wants to know about when Alex "shoulda" and "woulda" told her partner how she feels about him.