A/N... I've loved reading all of the stories everyone submits here and This is my first LOCI fanfic. I love LOCI and B/A!

Very big thanks to JamiW for being my sounding board, and to both JamiW and Hargiteam_42 for your awesome support and encouragement. You both rock!

This is yet another "how will it end" fic to add to the lot.

Spoilers for Puntland

Pairing: B/A

Rating: T

Disclaimer: If I owned them, I wouldn't be letting them go!


February 8, 2010 - 5:16am

Bobby pulls up in front of Alex's building and pauses, using the time to collect his thoughts.

It's very early on a Monday morning, the sun hasn't even peaked on the horizon. But he wants to be there before she leaves for work. After another minute, he gets out of his car and trudges up the walkway toward her apartment.

It's a cold, damp morning and the air escapes his mouth in tiny condensation puffs. A couple of morning commuters make their way out to start their cars. One of them recognizes him as Alex's partner and greets him, extending the door open so he could enter her building without having to buzz her room. He is grateful for this.

His hand slips inside the pocket of his coat and removes the small white envelope containing the reason for his visit. As he walks gingerly toward her front door he thinks about the note inside.

A few hours ago, he sat down and wrote out a letter. It contains all the things he needs to say. Things he never thought he'd have the opportunity nor the courage to tell her.


Yes, things change. They've changed.
But even that thought doesn't entirely settle his nerves.

Finally, he glances at the front of the envelope where he wrote her name.


Eames.

He mulls it over another minute or two and then decides.


Yes, he needs to do this.

Bobby slips the envelope under her door, holding onto the edge for a second or two longer to reassure himself before pushing it just a little further inside her apartment. He hopes she is still sleeping.


He hopes she's slept at all.

It's been one of the worst weeks either one of them has seen in a long time.


~ Past ~


It took Eames, Captain Ross and himself to finally track down their latest suspect.


Maxwell Leery, Caucasian male, mid-thirties, had been on the run for two months. He was the prime suspect in the shooting deaths of four police officers. After the first officer was killed and Leery was connected with the incident, he reportedly disappeared.


The detectives soon learned that Max's father was shot and killed by a police officer during a demonstration while Max was a teenager. Family members reported that Max was never the same again. He was particularly anxious whenever he heard of an incident in the news that somehow implied police brutality.


One month after his disappearance, Max was spotted in Brooklyn by two officers who recognized him. He quickly shot and killed both arresting officers before they had the chance to take him into custody.


~ Past ~

February 3, 2010 – 4:15pm

Officers responded to the sound of gunfire at a warehouse in West New York, NJ. One witness described the shooter as someone matching Leery's profile and the responding officer called Major Case. Eames and Goren arrived and given the history of this case, Captain Ross wanted to be there as back-up.

The warehouse was large and poorly lit, with plenty of places for Max to hide. Eames, Goren and Ross approached the warehouse with vests on and weapons drawn.

Upon first inspection of the area, they found nothing. Ross advised his detectives to check the rest of the warehouse, while he kept watch on the back. They both nodded their assent and headed in opposite directions.

The second the detectives turned away, they heard a crash off to the right of where Ross stood. All three turned in the direction of the sound.

In a matter of seconds, Max surfaced from behind a row of barrels. He aimed his revolver at Ross and quickly fired off six shots. A few shots deflected off of Ross' vest, one hit just below the vest and another at his left temple. Bobby and Alex watched in horror as their Captain fell to the ground.

Next, Max pointed his weapon at Eames.

Bobby saw the revolver pointed at her and that was all it took. He fired four shots at the suspect, and Max collapsed to the floor about ten feet away from where their Captain lay.


~ Last night ~

February 8th, 2010 - 1:33am

Bobby lay awake on his couch for most of the night, dozing off here and there, but never for very long. Finally giving up on the notion of a full-night's sleep he gets up, puts on a pot of coffee and then sits down at the table. His mind is continually racing with thoughts, however at some point during the night he actually came up with a few options to address some of the more pressing matters. He grabs a pen and notepad and begins to entertain one of his thoughts.

He doesn't use a computer. Never really cared to. Eames has her laptop at work and that is sufficient enough for what they have to accomplish on the job. He prefers to write out his thoughts on paper.

Dear Eames, he begins.

He scratches his head. Now where in the hell had all those thoughts gone? If he could have transcribed them directly from his thoughts to paper two hours ago while he lay awake and everything sounded like pure poetry, he'd have this letter done already.

He starts over with a fresh sheet. For some reason, he can't call her Eames now. This is about much more than just their partnership. Bobby laughs to himself. Okay, so he'd write her last name on the envelope and that way she'll never mistake who wrote it.

Dear Alex, he begins again.

So he'll have a draft or two. It's not like he has anywhere to be.


~ Past ~

February 4th, 2010 -- 9:12 am

Bobby paces outside the office, while the IAB talk to Eames in private about what happened at the warehouse.

This isn't going to play out very well and he knows it.

He had blown it. This was his last straw. After his suspension, and given everything that transpired with Declan, Frank and Nicole, IAB would not be lenient. It's not that Max was a saint. But any defense attorney acting on Max's behalf could have easily argued mental disease and defect, and probably won. Open and shut.

Max's revolver was empty after he killed Ross, and Bobby knew this. But he had lost perspective the second that revolver was pointed at his partner. Only considering Max's track record and accuracy, Bobby completely blocked out the size of the clip or how many shots he heard.

If there were any bullets left at all, if he had so much as miscounted, he would have been a fraction of a second away from losing his partner.


Dear Alex,

It's almost 2:00 am and I couldn't sleep. I hope you're having better luck with sleep lately, but I doubt it. There are a few reasons why I'm writing you this letter. I'll start with the first.


Thank you for all you've done in supporting me throughout this mess. I know that you really stuck your neck out there for me, (just as you've done countless times before), and it means a lot. But I also know how important this job is to you and I need you not to worry about what happens to me from here on. Although I'm grateful for having you on my side, it's probably best if you back out at this point. You know how they feel about me, and you know how this system works. I don't want you to ever lose out on any opportunities down the road because of what I've done.


Next, I know I told you that I only reacted to Ross getting hit when I fired those shots. That was only partially true. You've been up front with me in the past, so here's the rest of that answer.


Alex, the second Max aimed his revolver at you, it was over. I panicked. If it had been you that died instead of Ross, I don't know what I would have done. I've suffered so much lately, but I can't think of anything that would hurt worse right now than losing you.


You've always been there for me, (and lately that's almost a full-time job). You've stood up for me to Deakins and Ross, the Chief of Ds, and anyone else who objected to the way I did my job. You accept me (even as an acquired taste) and you've seen my faults, (God knows how many and how often) and while I wouldn't blame you for transferring during our partnership, I'm more than relieved that you haven't. Most days, I don't think I could do this job without you.


What I've done here has cost me my job, our partnership and countless other things. I messed up and I'm not proud of that. But I'd still rather have overreacted to save your life than to have lost you completely.


And finally… I'm not perfect and there's a lot about me I wish I could change. But I'm a better person just for knowing you. I love you, Alex. More than I thought I was capable of, in all honesty. I'm not trying to change things between us, but whatever the outcome of this investigation is and wherever it leads me, I can't walk away from all of this without letting you know the truth.


I wish you nothing but the best.


Bobby


By the time she finishes the letter, Alex is in tears. After all he'd been through with his mom, Declan, Frank, Donny and Nicole, she had serious doubts Bobby would ever open up to anyone again.

Much less like this.

She wipes her eyes with a damp tissue and tries to compose herself. She now has 20 minutes to get to work and that's not nearly enough time, even on a good day. She quickly calls over to Captain Greta Dixon, who is filling in until they find a permanent replacement, to let her know she'd be late that morning.

First, she has a stop to make.


Alex walks up to his apartment. Nervousness settles in as she knocks on his door and waits. She still isn't quite sure what she's going to say to him.

After waiting a few minutes longer than she would expect, she gets a horrible feeling in the pit of her stomach.


Something is wrong.

She taps three more times and calls to him through the door. Still no answer. Wanting to rule out anything unforeseen, she pulls out the key to his place and opens the apartment door.

She walks through the apartment and calls his name a few more times. There's evidence he had been there last night and she knew he came by at some point last night or this morning to leave the note under her door.

Alex tries calling his phone but it just goes to voice mail. She leaves a basic message, stating that she's worried and asks him to call.

She looks once more, making sure she hadn't missed anything, and then decides to head to Major Case.

A few minutes later, she walks into the bullpen. Captain Dixon spots her and flashes a look of concern. "Everything okay, Detective Eames?" she asks.

Alex shakes her head. "Do you know where Detective Goren is?"

"No I don't," she replies, and walks toward the office that had once belonged to Captain Ross. "I'll need your paperwork on Max Leery, promptly," she says without turning around.


With their captain getting killed and a detective facing the loss of his badge, they have too many other things going on to even think about the DD5s.

Alex watches her walk away. She knows something.

"Captain?"

She stops before she gets to the office, folds her arms and looks at her sternly. "I know this is a bad time for you right now, but they're pushing me just as hard. Don't worry about your partner. It's out of your hands and mine."

She walks into the office and allows the door to close behind her. Alex ignores the brush off and decides to follow her. "Please, Captain. He's really been through a lot lately. I just need to know something." Alex's eyes show signs of tears but she fights it.

Dixon pretends to browse through a file on her desk in order to avoid eye contact. "Detective, you're pushing your luck. Let it go."

Reluctant, she shakes her head. "Does IAB have him?"

Without looking up, she sighs heavily.

Alex has her answer and starts for the door.


A few minutes later, she's waiting a safe distance away from the entrance to IAB. After she confirms Bobby is in a meeting with the brass and isnot expected to be much longer, she decides to grab a bench and wait. She doesn't want to interfere, but she's not ready to give up on her partner.

She further refuses to let him believe he's got no one.

After 30 minutes pass, Alex checks her phone to make sure it is still on. No missed calls either.

Another 30 minutes pass and she starts to get depressed. Bobby's life has been hell for years, and now he could lose his badge.

She knows she can't sit out here all day, however she can continue trying to contact him.

She pulls out her cell phone again, locates his number, and begins a text message. Once she's satisfied with what she has, she hits send and returns to Major Case.


Bobby exits the building and releases a heavy sigh.

It's over. Nothing he didn't expect.

Surprisingly, he feels a little relieved. He knows the relief is probably short-lived but whatever lessens the reality of it all, for now at least, is very much welcomed.

He removes his cell phone and sees the missed call and text message from Alex.

After listening to the call, he smiles. He's thrilled just to hear her voice.

Next, he checks the text message.


You can't push me away, Bobby.

I won't let you. Please call me.

I love you too.

Alex

His heartbeat begins to escalate as he reads her message. He reads it several more times to make sure he's not hallucinating. He gave her an out, but she's made her choice.


Damned, stubborn woman. God, he loves her. He has to call her.


At 1:30pm she's at least making progress. Captain Dixon will get her mound of paperwork before she leaves, Eames thinks bitterly.

But she can't steer her attention away from him for too long. Her thoughts go from one extent to the next. She's thrilled that he was open with her and yet, he more or less implies he's not expecting her to be there anymore.

She takes a bite of a sandwich, sets it down and opens up a file on her laptop.

A minute later, her cell phone rings. She scoops it up quickly from the desk and is never happier to see this caller's name.

She answers on the first ring. "Bobby!"

"Hey, Eames," he replies. "Did I catch you at bad time?"

Alex notes contentment in his tone and she's not sure where it's coming from. "Ah, no. Just paperwork. Um… How are you?" She's not sure where to even begin this conversation so she decides to keep it simple. She can tell he's outside somewhere from the traffic sounds in the background.

"Okay," he replies.


Not great, but okay,
she reads."So…?" she begins, just for clarification.

"Yeah, I'm done."

The conversation almost comes to a halt after this. Some point after they begin to wonder if the call had dropped, Alex speaks up. Her voice is shaky. "Bobby, if you need…"

"I know. Thanks," he replies warmly.

"Where are you?"

"I'm headed to Major Case. I have some things to pick up," he replies.

She's too nervous to sit any longer and finally hops up out of her seat, walking briskly toward the door. Soon she's standing just inside the entrance of the building, and for some reason, she can't help but look for him among the late lunch crowd that mobs the sidewalks in front of the building.

He anticipates what he believes her next question will be. "I do have some temporary work I can pick up. Consulting and such. It'll work out."

She doesn't reply. She's been worrying mostly for him and his badge, so the idea of Bobby working anywhere else hasn't really sunk in yet.

"It'll be fine," he adds a minute later, because he can always sense her concern.

"No it won't," she argues. "I don't want another partner."

"Well, after working with me all this time, anyone else should be a piece of cake," he tells her, trying to make light of the situation. "Although..." He pauses as a courier zips past him. "I'll probably need to make a list, you know, just general dos and don'ts, for the next detective who works with you," he laughs. "Have to prepare the poor, unsuspecting,…"

"Bobby!" She snaps, clearly not in a joking mood.

"Alex, it'll be okay."

"How? How exactly is it going to be okay?"

"I- I don't know," he mumbles. He approaches the front of building, looks up and spots her just inside the door. He pauses when he sees her running out the door toward him. His heartbeat escalates further when he realizes what she's intending. Bobby opens his arms to embrace her.

He notices that she's still very upset. "I'm sorry," he says, while relishing the feeling of holding her so close. It's definitely not something he's not used to. "I'm really sorry, Eames. Trust me, I hate this too," he says. He attempts to sooth her with words, waiting until she settles down or decides to move out of the embrace.

"I really want to hate you right now," she states, while her forehead rests against his chest.

He smiles because he gets her. "I know. I screwed up."

Alex stills, releases him and steps back. "You screwed up?" she looks at him, puzzled. "Oh hell yes, I'd say you screwed up!" she asserts. Her gaze locks with his. "You—You're leaving me to break in a new captain? You've left me without a partner and dammit, I don't want to work with anyone else!"

She smacks his arm forcefully, but it's not intended to cause harm. He knows his partner. She's just hurt and very pissed off. He'd have broken bones if she truly meant to cause harm.

She may not have wanted to believe he'd actually leave. He can't fault her for having hope.


In fact, even he's starting to have some hope.

She smacks him in the arm again. "Dammit, Goren!"

He accepts it. Her anger is completely justified. He couldn't imagine working in Major Case without her there, either. It was difficult enough while she was out on maternity leave. He never realized there were so many reminders of her there.

He'll make it up to her, somehow. Although seeing her reaction to IAB's decision, knowing that she cares so deeply is actually doing him a world of good.

He's happy again. And maybe some of this is due to the letter he wrote her and everything it brought out into the open. Maybe it was the thought that there could be something better for him out there.


And maybe it would still involve her.

Watching his partner take out her frustrations on him was very sweet and endearing. In some ways, it was even a little humorous. He can't help it, and soon he even starts laugh.


And really, it just feels good to laugh again.

"What? Why the hell are you laughing?"

"You're so adorable when you're pissed," he says, candidly.

She shakes her head at him, perplexed. "What? What do you want, Goren?"

He smiles affectionately. "Can I take you to dinner?"

She rolls her eyes. "You're unemployed!"

"So… Is that a maybe?" he asks, hopeful.


Damn him for being so smug.
"Bobby! What the--? I don't understand! Why are you-?"

He places a hand on each of her shoulders to still her. "Eames, I'm trying to ask you out."

She doesn't move when he leans in closer to her, and for a moment he wonders if she stopped breathing.

"You see, I wrote this letter recently where I told you that I love you. Remember that one?"

She nods suspiciously.

"But if you're not up for this right now, I understand," he says honestly. He's giving her ample space to back out, while hoping she accepts. "I just thought, from your text message… Anyway, I don't know. I just thought I'd give it a try," he explains.

"Bobby…"

"Yeah?"

"Shut up." She wraps her arms around his neck and guides him into a tender kiss.

~~~The End~~~