She's talking now, husky voice slipping effortlessly into a tone of command, though he knows this is the second week of searching and she's done with hope, fulfilling her duties with rigid diligence.
She gets drunk that night, alone in her office and the secrets are no longer few and far between. She tells him about her marriage-he listens uncomfortably until she mentions the angry words muttered in a dark kitchen thirty years ago that make his blood boil. It's not that she can't protect herself-she's done a damn good job of it for the last twenty years, he reminds himself, but he wants to protect her.
And that thought scares him too-because he hasn't felt that way about a women for years, not since he was first falling in love.
He rests his eyes on her, a little afraid, because she's always inspired a little fear in him. It's a thrill for him, to be afraid, at both times of her and for her, because he knows even she acts recklessly sometimes-sometimes something deep with in her breaks and a gaping hole appears, filled with a lifetime of living her life by the book, never stopping for emotion. Sentimentality can not impair her judgement, because emotion will sap away at you-not that she doesn't feel it, but she compresses it deep down inside her, hoping feverishly it will disappear. He's proud that he's seen that side of her. Prouder than he was of fourteen years, of a badge that washes away his sins
So he cleans her up and takes her home. He pretends he doesn't imagine briefly, their life together. He sees her cooking in the kitchen, blazer off, hanging haphazardly from the back of a chair, the delicious smells of something warm and comforting filling the room. And then she sags against him, her feet slipping in her heels, reminding him of a reality in which a serial tango is danced, careful not to stumble into anything that seems like a fantasy, where feelings don't need to be spoken, because life has already explained them.
He tucks her in, wraps her up in blankets and pillows, letting her drunk mind slip into a comforting world where everything is soft and warm and there is no heartache.
And then he walks wearily into the kitchen, wishing there was a way to escape without the dizzying loss of control that came with the bottle.
She wears sunglasses the next day, and she reminds herself that he's the only one who knows the reason. The only one she wouldn't have fought. The only one she would have whispered secrets to in the blinded comfort of her sadness.
And there in the office she comes to the startling realization that the emotions are no longer compressed deep within her stomach.
He watches her, desperately hoping for some sign that she knows it was him, put her face is strategically blank. He ignores the sudden tug in his chest, the sudden crush of pain.
They solve the case, late in the night, and unlike the others, there is no hot rush of euphoria. No glistening sense of triumph.
For some reason they feel like they've lost.