The city never sleeps, he pondered. And neither do I. Not really.
He couldn't remember the last time he slept, really slept. Haunted by the past, tormented by the future, he had no idea what peace was any more. He trudged along the city streets, hands thrust deeply into his pockets, oblivious to his surroundings.
You're free... Free...
Frank was dead. Nicole was dead. Victims of a once brilliant man, a shining star whose light had fizzled and gone out, driven mad by his biggest failure, by the one that got away. Was that a fate that awaited him? After all, he was the product of a pair of sick individuals. Was that the reason he understood the criminal mind so well, because he was the product of one?
When a hand grabbed his arm and pulled, he dropped back into a defensive position, his back against the building he was passing. Eames backed off, hands raised, as he glared at her. He closed his eyes, now slumping against the cement of the wall behind him, defeated. He heard her shoes click on the sidewalk, three steps and she was in front of him again. "Let me take you home," she said.
"Did you...finish the booking?"
"Yes. He'll take a plea. No trial."
He wasn't sure how he felt about that, finally deciding that sparing him the ordeal of testifying against a man he once admired was not a bad thing. "How far he fell..." he murmured, finally looking at his partner. "Is that the fate that awaits me, Eames?"
"Come on," she encouraged. "My car is around the corner."
He didn't move, and she knew he was waiting for an answer. "No, Bobby. I don't believe that's the fate that awaits you. You are made of much stronger stuff than Declan Gage ever was. You are a survivor."
He gave that some thought. "You think so?"
She nodded. "Yes. I really do."
He moved away from the building and fell into step beside her. He stuffed his hands back into his pockets, chin on his chest, and shuffled along at her side, until they got to the car.
She watched him open the passenger door and slide into the car. She was worried about him, about his state of mind, to the point that she did not feel comfortable leaving him home alone. He didn't need her to leave him alone tonight. God only knew what bottle he would crawl into if she did. So she drove to Queens instead of Brooklyn, and he never noticed, not until she turned off the motor and he saw where they were.
"Uh, Eames? This isn't my apartment."
"Really? Silly me. Get out of the car and come inside. You are going to eat a good meal and sleep in my spare room. Tomorrow, I am going to go with you to your brother's funeral. Now come on."
He hesitated for a moment, until she leaned down and looked back into the car at him. "Sitting out here in my car all night is not an option and neither is calling a cab. You're stuck with my company for the night. Now don't make me tell you again."
Slowly, he pulled himself out of the car, drowning under the burden of a guilt he could not shake. Frank was dead, because of him. Nicole was dead, because of him. Declan was lost, destined to end his life in an eight by eight room surrounded by bars and guards who would regiment every minute of his day.
Once inside, he sat heavily in the recliner near the sliding glass door that led into the small yard. His thoughts wandered again, taking him once more down that dark path to his inner self, where his demons lurked, ready to ambush him at every turn.
Eames disappeared into the kitchen, setting a pot of water on to boil for pasta. She returned to the living room and sat on the edge of the coffee table facing him. She knew he would not want to discuss what had transpired, but she was convinced that he needed to discuss it in order to finally put it all behind him.
She reached toward him and gently took his hand in both of hers, drawing his attention back to her. He looked at their joined hands, surprised by the physical contact. He looked at her face, searching, but he could not bring himself to speak.
Sensing his reticence, she spoke first. "This has been so hard for you."
He sensed her sympathy; he saw the caring in her eyes. "I'm free," he said bitterly, recounting Gage's words. "But...what price freedom?"
She leaned closer, watching him struggle with himself. "Bobby," she said softly. "Let go. You can trust me."
She watched as his eyes got moist. Trust did not come easy to this man, but it was something she had earned over the years. Their partnership had deepened into friendship and Gage, she acknowledged, was right about one thing. She did care deeply about Goren. She held out one hand. Trust me...
He touched her hand, closing his long fingers around it. Trust... Everyone in his life let him down. It was a well-repeated pattern broken only by her. Even though he kept her at arms' length, she continued to offer her friendship. Trust me...
He stood, and she stood with him. Silent, he guided her to the couch and sat beside her. Let go. You can trust me.