Title: All About the Job
Rating: T for now
Archive: Anywhere – no need to ask – just attribute, and let me know if possible
Disclaimer: Not mine
Summary: Goren and Eames are back together, but Eames isn't pleased. Pre-season 10 WAFF, if you can believe it.
A/N 1: It's raining, I'm PMSing and reading angsty fics; maybe that's why I'm writing angsty. And I have soooooo many fics on the go (way more than I have posted), but this was the one that wanted to be written. BTW thank my biggest fan likeit for this fic; I was committed to not blowing my load by too quickly posting everything I have, but she said she needed a boost, so expect the rest of this fic by shabbes Vancouver time.
CHAPTER ONE: ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE
Robert Goren and Alex Eames returned to 1PP in time to bid farewell to Detective Nichols. All he said was goodbye and good luck, but the wounds in his eyes told the real story. The shake-up that had resulted in the resignations and dismissals of Moran and several other top Brass had taken its toll on a lot of personnel throughout the force, and the lanky detective – who was much more sensitive than his smart mouth let on – had decided to retire for good.
"Well, good luck with it," he drawled, schlepping a sparsely-furnished cardboard box towards the elevators.
"What, you aren't on today?" Alex said, doffing her jacket and hanging it on the chair at her new desk, Nichols's old one.
"Nah, I'm done. I just came in to, uh," he put the box down and walked back towards them, "Shake your hands and wish you well." He extended his hand first to Eames, who'd been reinstated as a Lieutenant, then to Goren. "I can't say I'm happy you're back – I wouldn't wish that on either of you – but I'm happy for the people of New York. Farewell, my friends," he murmured, sighing as he strolled away.
Bobby sat down where Detective Stevens used to sit. She'd transferred at the request of Lieutenant Maas to a Homicide division in the Bronx that had been hard-hit by the internal investigation, to help stabilize the squad.
In the end, Bobby hadn't worked with the FBI on the Hassan case – although they'd offered it to him. He'd gone to Quantico to work – not at Behavioral Sciences as many would have expected – but rather in their Cold Case division. If you'd asked him if he was just biding his time until he could come back to Major Case, he'd have denied it.
Alex had accepted a contract position as an instructor at the Academy. Her family tried to pretend that losing her job and her partner hadn't left her more drained and gutted than Jo Gage had, but in their hearts, they knew the truth. The shadow was darkest over her after she spoke to Nathan or Bobby.
The two ex-partners talked often, but not long or deeply. Alex took great care to hide her wounds from Bobby, and for his part, if he was pained at all about anything, it didn't show.
Two weeks passed. The year at Quantico had done Bobby good, because he was more than on his game. With Alex he was agitated, jumpy. He asked her a couple of times to let him buy her lunch or dinner, but she demurred, and whenever he called her when they weren't on duty, she begged off.
Alex was on the ball and professional, but there was a brittleness, a distance, that hadn't been there before. Even after Gage, she'd been a tiny bit vulnerable, reaching out. It wasn't exactly like when Bobby returned from suspension, but almost.
It was an innocent comment that set her off.
She'd returned from the photocopier to find Bobby chatting with Detective Jeffries.
"I can't believe you'd choose to come back here, Goren, when you had a chance to really fly at the FBI. Wasn't just clearing your jacket here enough?"
Bobby smiled and shook his head. "Nah. I was champing at the bit to get back here. This is where I've always wanted to be." As he spoke, he noticed Alex's approach, but at his words, she scowled and made a beeline for the washrooms. He never got a chance to answer Jeffries' next question.
"Would you have come back without Eames?"
When he barged into the ladies' room, he found she'd locked herself into a stall. If he felt like he was invading her privacy, he didn't care.
"Go away, Detective." Her voice was soft and husky.
"No. Listen, Eames…" He was breathing heavily, although he hadn't exerted himself.
The latch unhooked scratchily and the stall door swung to. Without looking at her partner, Alex marched to the sink and began rinsing her face.
"Eames, are you all right?" He had to speak loudly to be heard over the splashing water.
"Do I seem all right?" Her words were muffled in her cupped hands.
She abruptly swung up and turned to him. Her eyes were puffy and bloodshot. She pointed a finger at him viciously; her voice trembled with fury. "You went after Van Dekker to try to get fired. You purposely tried to get yourself fired."
Bobby stoically absorbed her anger, but at her words his face crumpled. He finally nodded. "Yeah, I did. But…"
"This was where you always wanted to be, Detective?" Alex laughed humorlessly. "What a joke. You were just going to – leave."
Bobby looked around the room as if he were trying to physically find the right words to say. "I… Is that all we had, Alex? Work? Is that all we are?"
She stared at him for a second before realization dawned. "You're doing this now, Detective," she hissed, "You're going to do this NOW?"
He stared at her for a long second, then started pacing. He punctuated his words with waves of his arms. "Are you saying I'm too late? Too early?" He punctuated his words with waves of his arms. "I just don't want to end up retired, alone, and you're alone too… or married to some – someone you don't… just to please your family… and we could have – been –" Seeming to shrink after his outburst, Bobby bent his head and closed his eyes.
She made a sound of derision. "I wouldn't marry someone just to please my family."
"You'd marry someone just to feel like part of your family."
He straightened up, glaring at her, daring her to contradict him. "I think… that people do a lot of kooky things when they've been alone too long." Their eyes locked. Her face softened an iota; she nodded in understanding. He continued, deflated, "I don't want things to just go back to the way they were before. I want…" He waved his arms around vaguely. "More, Eames."
Alex, who'd stared daggers at her partner since he began speaking, threw up her hands and started walking out. "I can't do this right now, I can't deal with this."
He grabbed her arm as she brushed past him.
"I didn't want to leave you, Alex. But I was just tired of failing. I was tired of trying, and failing, and all in front of you."
She stopped. And almost smiled. "I was afraid you were going to say you did it for my career."
He smiled back. "You didn't need me to crash and burn to help your career, Eames, you're a big girl. I believed you when you said you were where you wanted to be."
Her face closed and she pulled her arm out of his grasp. "I was."
A/N 2: Wheeee! Another WIPeeeee! Please review meeeeeee!
WORDS: 1348 UPLOADED Wednesday, October 20, 2010