A/N: Okay, this story took me a while to finish, and it is by far the longest one I've written so far. I also happen to think it's by best. I must also give heaps of credit to my AMAZING beta, Metisse, because not only did she find the time to correct my grammer, spelling and punctuation, she also gave me ideas. So, major thanks and credit to her!
Disclaimer: Yes. I own it. Dick Wolf finally caved and handed over the rights after the Emmys. I also won the lottery, and Vincent D'Onofrio is living in my closet. And I'm having an affair with Hugh Laurie. He swears he's going to leave his wife for me. My life is perfect.
"No. I get it. You're the genius and I just carry your water."
Bobby winced inwardly and took a breath, silently debating within himself. He didn't want to make things worse, but his pride wasn't going to let him just sit here, either.
"No." he shook his head vehemently. "No, Eames. It's not like that." She just glared at him, as if she was wondering how he had the audacity to cut her off. "I didn't want to drag you into this, and there wasn't much you could have done anyway. I'm sorry I didn't tell you, really, I am."
At his point, Eames looked like she was getting ready to cut him off, but he wouldn't let her. He had things to say and he was going to say them. "I'm sorry if you don't think you're important to this…this partnership, but you are. And 'My water carrier'? Really, Eames? Because that's…" he paused, trying to find the right words. "That's not how I feel about you."
"Then how do you feel about me, Goren?" Eames raged, "Because, right now, I can't tell!" The question was meant to be rhetorical; she wasn't looking for an answer, and she certainly didn't expect the one she got.
"You want to know how I feel about you?!" he asked without pausing for an answer. He was as upset as she was at this point. As a result, he didn't really stop to think about the implications and consequences of what he said next. "I love you, damn it! There! Now you can't say I never told you!"
Eames was stunned into silence by his rage induced declaration. Bobby was still angry, but in the back of his mind he knew that he had just made another huge mistake.
He spread his arms helplessly. "You want to be mad at me? You want to put in a request for a new partner? Go ahead! Just…" Now his voice seemed to finally fail him, "Whatever makes you happy." He mumbled. 'Because it's clearly not me.'
Then he lowered his head and headed towards the door, giving in to the sudden overwhelming need to get out of there immediately.
"Bobby." Eames said sharply, her voice cutting through him like a knife through butter. He stopped dead in his tracks, and slowly turned to face her. Closing his eyes, he held his breath and waited for the sting of a slap across the face, and harsh words. ...They never came.
"That's it?" He hears her ask instead. "You're just going to walk away?"
Without opening his eyes he nodded. "I-I don't know what else you want me to do." He replied.
Alex huffed in annoyance. "Well, you can't just say something like that and walk away like nothing happened!" she exclaimed.
"What do you want me to do then?" He asked, finally opening his eyes, but still avoiding eye contact.
"I want you to stop lying to me, stop pushing me away. And I'm sick of just finding out things at the last minute! I'm your partner; I need to be able to trust you to tell me things." She said angrily.
"I-I know." He mumbled. "I-I'm sorry. I'm going to stop. I'm not going to lie to you anymore. I know it won't make up for any of this, but… I hope it's a start as to getting back to where we were." With that, he turned to leave again, and again, the sound of Eames' voice stopped him.
"Bobby. Did… did you really mean what you said earlier? A-about how you feel about me?" She asked softly, seeming almost afraid of the answer.
Bobby nodded solemnly. "Yeah, Eames, I did." Then he left.
When Bobby got home, he lay on his bed staring blankly up at the ceiling. He was still fully dressed, knowing it was futile to try to sleep. There were too many thought running through his head. He had put a bad cop in jail, and gotten back his badge and gun, he should be happy. He was anything but. He kept hearing Eames' words playing over and over in his mind:
"No, I get it. You're the genius and I just carry your water."
No matter how many times he heard it, each repetition still seemed to hurt more than the last.
Eventually, he slipped into a light, fitful sleep riddled with nightmare. Nightmares about Tates, and Eames.
"No, I get it. You're the genius and I just carry your water. Well, not anymore. I'm putting in a request for a new partner."
Flash. He is back in Tates. Strapped to the cold metal table. No food. No water. 10, 9, 8… 10, 9…He is panicking. Panic is bad. Panic makes his heart beat faster, and it makes his breathing rapid. Each breath that he takes is a painful reminder of how thirsty he is.
He needs water. He needs Eames. But, this time, she isn't coming for him. Because she's not his partner, not anymore. 'I am going to die here' Panic grips at his chest as he realizes this. The panic slowly rises, filling his throat. He can't breath. He's choking. Dying. Need air. Need Eames. Can't -
He is jolted out of his horrendous nightmare by a sharp knock, followed closely by the chime of the doorbell.
Shaking off what is left of the dream, he rolls out of bed and went to answer the door, wary of who could possibly be calling on him the middle of the night.
When he opened the door he was stunned to find that, lo and behold, it was Eames who stood before him.
"E-Eames." He said, clearly stating the obvious. Why she was at his door in the middle of the night, especially after what had happened only a few hours before, was beyond him. "Do you, ah, want to come in?" He asked, stepping aside so she could enter.
She moved past him into the apartment without a word and took a seat on the sofa. He opted to keep a safe distance between them and sat on a chair across from her. The sat immersed in awkward silence for what seemed to be an eternity, which was something new to them. Silences between them, up until now, had always been fairly comfortable, that was just the way their relationship was.
Finally, Eames spoke. "Joe was undercover the night he died." She said in a voice that was just barely above a whisper. The words hit Bobby like a ton of bricks. Joe. Undercover. He had forgotten about that. Damn it. He should have known better. He had hurt her more than he had initially thought. This wasn't just about trust, or betrayal. This was far worse.
"When I was in that room," Eames went on, "I thought… I was just so afraid that… that you were somehow going to be killed. I couldn't… I don't think I could stand losing you, too." She said quietly. Her gaze was fixed on her hands folded in her lap, but he didn't need to see her eyes to tell that they were brimming with tears.
Damn. Look at what you've done now; Eames never cries. Never.
A slight heaving of her shoulders confirmed his suspicions; Eames was indeed crying. Bobby wasn't quite sure what he should do; after all, he was the reason for her tears.
"Eames…" He said gently, moving to her side. Hesitantly, he laid his hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry." He whispered, even though he knew that, regardless of how many times he said them, the words would not fix the problems in their partnership.
What she did then startled him. Maybe it was because she had been so worried about him, maybe it was because she wanted to make sure he was still there, or maybe it was because she knew that he wouldn't push her away. All reasoning aside, the next thing Bobby knew, Eames' arms were wrapped around him and her head resting against his shoulder.
As he wound his arms around her, he thought back to all the times he had longed to comfort her in this way, but hadn't for fear of crossing over some un-spoken line within their relationship. But now he made up his mind to let her stay like this for as long as she needed.
Eventually, she pulled away and when she did, he found that he desperately missed the feeling of her in his arms.
"It's late, I… I should go," she said, wiping her tears with her sleeve.
"Oh… uh, yeah." He agreed hesitantly. She moved to leave. "Well, uh… bye…"
Sleep somehow managed to elude him for the rest of the night.
Another day, another murder, another confession, another case closed. Part of Bobby felt for Ross, but the rest of him was slightly annoyed with him for letting his emotions cloud his judgment. Then again, everyone was guilty of that sometimes, even him.
All in all, however, he was rather pleased. They'd gotten their killer and what's more, Eames didn't seem quite so angry anymore. Naturally, she had started out upset, even going so far as to suggest that they not work on this case together, but as the investigation went on her anger dwindled and it felt like they were almost beginning to get their 'groove' back.
Still, as they stood there by the water, breathing in the tangy salty air, he couldn't help but shuffle his feat a little and ask, "So… are, uhm, do you think… are we going to be okay?"
She looked to him and for a moment he thought she had gone back to being mad again. But she just sighed and said, "Yeah, Bobby. I think we'll be okay."
He simply nodded. Inside however, he was grinning like an idiot. "You wanna maybe grab something to eat?" He asked, hoping that she wouldn't suddenly change her mind and decide that they were okay, but not that okay.
Then, for the first time in a long time, he smiled.
The Holiday case was the best case they had in a very long while. It was full of magic, smiles, and a special silent communication and connection that they both thought they might have lost. They were working together on a level that they hadn't for years. It was the return of the 'good times'. Or so they thought.
Declan and Nicole ruined it. It was almost like the last few weeks of progress had never even happened. Eames tried to be there for her partner, because she knew how hard this must be on him, but he and Ross weren't making it easy.
After it was over, she insisted on taking him home. They didn't talk; she just left him on his couch and set about fixing dinner. He ate, but only because he knew that if he didn't, she would make him anyway and he was too exhausted to argue. Then they sat on the couch, still remaining completely mute. The television was on, but more for the noise than anything else, as neither one of them was actually watching it.
Finally, Eames spoke. "You probably should get some sleep," she said, because they both knew that he had barely slept since the death of his brother. He nodded, but didn't move until she did. "Come on," she said, nodding her head toward his room.
Apparently, she intended to stay, because when he came out of the bathroom in his tee shirt and pajama pants, she was sitting on the edge of the bed wearing one of his shirts and a pair of his sweat pants.
"Sorry. Hope you don't mind," Eames said, motioning to her attire. He shook his head.
" 'S fine." he mumbled, crawling into bed. Right now, he just wanted to sleep. For a very, very long time. He was surprised when she climbed into bed herself and settled under the covers.
"Shh. Just go to sleep, Bobby."
He was woken by Eames' hand, of all things. More specifically, Eames' hand sliding under his. He glanced at their hands, then at her. She gave a small smile.
"How do you feel," she asked softly.
"O-okay I guess…" He paused. "I… I'll be okay. I'm just worried about Donny, you know?"
She nodded. "I'm sure he'll be okay. He probably knows how to take care of himself, and now that… well, he's safer now." She felt a bit awkward saying these things, but she hated seeing him worried, as he often was.
"Yeah…" he said quietly, then looked at their hands and back to her again.
He couldn't help thinking how wonderful she looked bathed in the morning sunlight that came from through the blinds. Eames bit her lip, and he wondered it there was something wrong… well, something apart from the obvious. He wanted to ask her about it, but she spoke before he had the chance.
"Bobby," she began softly. There was a hint of vulnerability in her voice that he was unaccustomed to. "I… I probably should have told you this a while ago, but I was upset and after that it never really seemed like the right time. Then again, I guess now might not really be 'the right time' either." She gave him a nervous smile.
"Eames, what is it?" he asked, he felt a small wave of anxiety hit him. Was she leaving him? Did commit some horrible breach of their relationship without realizing it? Or was… did she… No, most likely not.
"I, um…" she paused, and shifted uncomfortably. Usually he was the one stuttering, she wasn't used to tripping over her words. "I don't really know how to say this... Bobby, I-I have… feelings for you." She could no longer meet his eyes. "I…I love you." she said, her words barely audible.
"E-Eames." He murmured, not quite sure how to respond. He hesitated for a moment, then tentatively pulled her to him so that her forehead was resting against his chest. It was the second time in only a matter of months that he had her in his arms. And it still felt good. "I love you too." He said and took a deep breath and breathed in her scent, letting his eyes briefly flutter closed.
"Eames," he said after a few moments, "would it be alright if… um… can I kiss you?"
She pulled away to look up at him, and laughed. "Bobby, you don't need to ask."
So he did.
A/N: Okay, now you all must review. And after you review, you must go read some of Metisse's stories, because she's amazing and the bestest beta in the world.