Title: The End
Summary: Letting go had never been so hard.
Notes: We've all heard the rumours and know how it will probably play out, but in my little universe Eames gets transferred and Goren goes to work for Deakins' private security company.
The journey to her car was silent; they were both aware that it was the last time they'd ever take this walk, and each was lost in their own memories.
"So," Goren said, interrupting the peace as her car came into view, "this is it."
"I feel like there should be speeches or something."
"And fanfare," Eames agreed.
"Maybe even a little popcorn stand."
"With one of those drumming monkey's in a cute little hat."
"That would be nice," he chuckled.
Eames sighed. "Too bad it's not gonna happen. I think we were lucky to get out of there without being tarred and feathered."
"I think we were lucky to get out of there, period," he replied, thinking about the series of events that had led them to this moment. "And now that it's all over, I don't know how I'm going to get up on Monday, knowing that I won't be seeing you."
"I know what you mean," she replied softly.
"I don't think you – "
"Goren, I said I know what you mean. Don't think you're the only one who's going to feel disorientated and . . ."
"Lost," he finished for her.
"We had some run, huh?"
"We sure did."
"We were quite the team."
"Yes, we were."
They arrived at her car and Goren leaned back against the driver's side door. "So . . . "
"So," she echoed.
"I don't like this," he suddenly exploded. "This wasn't our fault and we shouldn't be punished for it."
"It's a little too late for that. It's done. My transfer starts Monday, your retirement is official and the brass doesn't give a crap about what we want or how good we were."
"I know that. But it . . . it burns. You should be moving forward now that you're not lumbered with me, not backwards."
"Goren, I was never 'lumbered' with you, so stop wallowing and get over yourself. And the transfer was about as good as I could expect considering the circumstances."
"The circumstances suck!"
She nodded. "They do, but we can't change it. We may as well accept it because there's no fighting it."
He knew that. When the brass wanted a scapegoat, they got their scapegoat. "I probably would have got out a long time ago if it wasn't for you," he admitted quietly. "I just wanted you to know that before . . . before you leave."
"I'm not dying, Goren. I'm just transferring to another department. We'll stay in touch."
"People say that, and they have all the best intentions, but in the end they drift away. It's inevitable."
She settled beside him against the car. "That won't happen to us. You've been a part of my life for too long for me to let you drift anywhere without me."
He smiled. "I like that. The thought of you as my anchor. It's . . . comforting."
"Just don't call me your ball and chain, or I'll have to shoot you."
"I wouldn't dream of it."
They lapsed into silence before Eames broke it. "So."
Goren shuffled uncomfortably. "I should let you go."
"I don't want to."
"I'm not going to kidnap you or anything, but we both know that as soon as we leave this parking lot that nothing will be the same. I just . . . I want to hold onto this . . . onto you . . . for a little while longer."
She didn't say anything, but she didn't tell him to get away from her either.
"Now I sound pathetic."
"No you don't."
"C'mon, Eames, you know I do. Does it scare you?"
"Why should it?"
"Because . . . because it's me. Because you know my history. You know that I can latch onto an idea . . . a person, and form . . . attachments, and . . . and have trouble letting go."
"So you think I should be scared that you care about me? Is that what you're trying to say?"
"No. You shouldn't; I would never hurt you. But I could understand if you were . . . wary . . . about what I'm trying to say."
"Goren, I get it. But for you to think that I'd ever be afraid of you, or see you in any other way than I always have, well, then maybe this partnership hasn't been as good as we thought it was."
"Don't say that."
"Then don't say stupid things that make me say that," she retorted.
"Sorry. I'm just . . . off kilter. Everything I want to say to you is coming out wrong and I don't know how to . . . I don't want to cross any lines but I need you to know that I . . ."
"That you what?"
"That I'll miss you."
The smile that lit her face made his day. But then she said, "I won't miss you at all," and his stomach dropped.
"No. I'll be seeing you too often to miss you."
He grinned, because everything was alright again. "Can I take it back?"
"Nope. You said you'd miss me. It's out there now."
"Well, then, if it's out there. . ." he trailed off, not knowing what else to say.
Eames looked at her watch. "We should go," she said. "Prolonging it won't make it any easier."
"Like a band-aid?" Goren said cryptically, knowing that she'd understand him, because she always did.
"Like a band-aid," she confirmed.
He moved away from the car and she opened the door. "I'll see you around, Bobby," she said, getting into the car.
"Eames, wait. Would you . . . would you like to have dinner with me sometime?"
She eyed him up and down. "I don't think so."
He thought she'd at least try and sugar coat it, but he wasn't surprised at the rejection.
"It's Alex. If you can't even say my name then you've got no business asking me out."
"Alex ." Her name felt good on his lips; right. "Will you have dinner with me?"
She started the engine. "I'd like that."
"Okay then." He was grinning like an idiot but he didn't care. "So. Tomorrow?"
"I'll pick you up at seven."
"I'll be ready."
"Me too," he said as she pulled away. For every end there was a new beginning. He'd lost sight of that, but now he was ready for the next chapter to begin.