Fandom/Pairing: LOCI, Goren/Eames
Word Count: 1,930
Spoilers: for season 7
Summary: Past and present mourning, past and present Eames and her feelings, present temporary solutions...
Thanks To: anxietygrrl for advice, once again...and to kirbyfest for the general idea that kicked this off
Alex invites herself over to Bobby's on the third day of his personal leave. Declan Gage has been remanded into the custody of the State of New York and, rumor has it, is preparing to enter a plea of not guilty by temporary insanity. It is her usual scheduled Wednesday off. When Bobby opens the door, his face is freshly shaved, his shirt is crisp, and his apartment smells like lemon.
She looks over at the pan bubbling on the stovetop as she hands over her jacket. "What's going on in here?"
"Lunch. I told you."
"I was thinking take-out, not..." she hovers over the pan and squints at the chicken.
"I don't recognize it if it's not in a Weight Watchers box."
They eat and converse lightly. She can see he wants to ask about work, but he doesn't, so she doesn't offer. Instead, they talk about something he watched on PBS, a bulldog she saw outside his building.
As he's rinsing dishes off at the sink, he says, "Thanks."
She's eating the M&Ms he bought her for dessert. "For what?"
"For stopping by today. I know that it's your day for..." And he pauses, hung up on the words "your nephew."
He hangs his head. Over the running water, Eames hears him make a choked noise. She rises, crosses the kitchen, puts a hand between his shoulder blades, and presses her head to his shoulder.
They stand this way until Goren finishes washing the dishes.
She is standing on the other side of the glass when Declan Gage says, "When I saw you at your mother's funeral, you broke my heart."
It makes something inside her tear apart. She actually feels a stitch in her side.
How dare he, she thinks to herself. How dare he.
They sit on the couch together, almost like courting teenagers--close enough to touch, yet chastely looking forward. Bobby is leaning on his knees, hunched over; she is stretched back against the cushions.
After a while, he leans back too. Then he looks at her. "The day's almost over. You should go."
"I figure if I hold out, you'll make dinner too."
He chuckles dryly.
"You want to kick me out, kick me out."
“No, it’s not... I don’t want you to go. I wouldn’t...” He begins to falter again, and Alex puts her hand on his knee.
He covers that hand with his own, which stops her from her purpose. After 20 seconds or so have passed, she slips her hand out from under his and moves it higher on his thigh.
She remembered what it was like to be surrounded by people this way. Lost in a sea of arm-patting, unsolicited hugging, and sorrow.
At least she had been with family, with people who loved her.
His mother’s funeral service was over, and Frank was still absent. Even though several people had pressed Bobby to get himself some lunch from the serving line, he hadn’t moved from his position in the center of the church basement. Just standing, hands in pockets, looking at his feet if he wasn’t acknowledging the contact or words of people as they passed by him with a faint lift of his eyes.
She’d tried to give him a little space since the service--or give herself a little space, since the dissolution of Bobby’s ramrod posture into a nearly prostrate position in the pew had made it hard for her to breathe for nearly 25 minutes. But now she could see that it was time to intervene again.
She touched his wrist lightly. "Let’s take a walk."
Without question or sound, he followed.
She has to admit that nine years of knowing her male partner means that she also knows to which side he dresses. Even someone with Goren’s general classiness has to adjust himself from time to time. This makes it easier to indicate to Bobby that the hand on his inner thigh, caressing the outline of him, is no mistake.
He sucks in a bit of air through his teeth and, in a startled voice she rarely hears him use, says, "Hey."
She looks at him. Gently squeezes, then moves her palm in a circle.
The arm he had laid across the back of the couch agitates. "Eames, this..."
She doesn’t stop. Changes direction of the circle she is making with her palm, then strokes up against his rapidly defining outline with the heel of her hand.
She isn’t sure what to say, so she does’t say anything.
His eyelashes flutter, then lock together as his eyes close. He makes a sound that is throaty like a moan, but also has a bit of gravel in it. Distracted for a moment, Alex pinches her knees together, thinks of arrest reports and Goren’s opinion about Kurosawa films, then continues.
After minutes have passed and his pants seem to be causing him more discomfort than pleasure, she undoes his belt and zipper. He opens his eyes to fix her with a dazed stare as she digs around in her purse for a small bottle of unscented lotion. A blush blooms when she remembers the last time she used it--applying it to her nephew’s chapped nose-- so she hangs her hair over her face for a moment.
"Sorry," she says, "I don’t like to spit."
Bobby says nothing. It seems as though witty banter is eluding him.
She puts her slick palm to the bottom of his shaft and curls her fingers. Again, he inhales through his teeth, but this time he also pushes his back against the couch with so much force, it scoots.
She smiles. Then frowns a bit. Then exhales and begins to move her hand.
She led him to the church nursery and closed the door. He shambled in after her, then found himself a place to lean against a shelf filled with assorted toys. He still wasn’t looking at her, but at least he began to speak.
"He didn’t even...show up to ask for some of the take. There are a whole bunch of cards with cash in them. You’d think..."
Eames wasn’t sure what to say to that. "Good riddance" came to mind, or "Bobby..." But neither seemed appropriate or truly comforting.
Instead, she stood by him at the counter. He picked up a toy train and spun the wheels. "I’m sorry, Eames."
She couldn’t help but crinkle her nose at him. "Jesus, Bobby, why?"
In spite of the tears creeping into his lower lids, he smiled at her.
Feeling an uncomfortable surge of love, she scoffed, "Well, seriously..."
He began to say something to her about her, something that had the word "difficult" in it. But he was crying again, and the words were lost.
She hugged him, and he pressed the toy train into her back as he sobbed.
It wasn’t the first time she’d thought of her partner and sex at the same time, but it was the first time she’d almost acted on it. There, in the nursery of a Catholic church, she’d considered offering sex. It wouldn’t heal him--she knew that, sadly, from personal experience--but it would be a release, a temporary comfort, a way of saying "Bobby..." or other words she couldn’t say.
But she resisted. Even when she dropped him at his apartment, and he looked at her with a frankness that brought her back to their first days on the job together and said, "Thanks, Alex."
For a few days after that, they seemed to be considering each other, weighing the potential of a decision every time they spoke on the phone or she dropped by his apartment to check on him.
Then Joe’s partner was killed. And things changed again.
His hand is on her shoulder. It is strange to be so intimate with him and yet have him maintain a sense of decorum or distance. Most guys would grab for a breast or put their hands below deck. But Bobby keeps his hand on her shoulder, his considerable thumb resting on her collarbone. He hasn’t said much, limiting himself to those throaty-growly moans and the occasional hard swallow of what sounds like a gallon of saliva.
He seems to be holding back or hesitating, no matter how ready he is (judging by the distressing redness that is creeping out from under his collar, the pressure of his thumb into her skin, and the feel of him in her hand), so she finally speaks: "Bobby."
And that is all it takes.
She is ready with tissue. Has her nephew’s cold to thank for that too.
He breaths deeply as though he’s waking up (and once, inhales with a shudder that makes her own body rattle with craving), then opens his eyes. With the back of her hand, she touches his face.
"You feel a little better?"
He is, for lack of a better word, gobsmacked. He seems to start several sentences but abandons each one with a uniquely Goren furrow-and-blink.
"I’m going to go wash up. I’ll be right back, okay?" She pats him, then rises from the couch. She figures he can use the privacy too.
While soaping her hands, she can’t stop thinking about the way he shuddered. She feels a momentary burst of happiness; he had been feeling something other than overwhelming guilt and grief.
When she opens the bathroom door, he is waiting in the hall a few steps away. He appears to be concerned, though he also looks her once over in a way that makes her press her back against the wall.
She gestures in a way that she hopes doesn’t look futile. "I probably should get going."
"I think you can wait one minute." He doesn’t add anything beyond that for a moment or two. Then he runs his hand across his brow and says, "I’m a little confused. About what just happened."
She clutches her purse. "I thought it might help."
He raises his eyebrows, which makes her suppress a smile.
"Eames, I’m serious."
"I am too." And then it is her turn to be at a lost for words. Honestly, she wasn’t sure why she had done what she did. And it was up to him to explain why he’d let her. "I thought it would help," she repeats.
He gazes at her silently for several moments. Crosses his arms against his chest. "We’ve never...been like this."
"We’ve been every other way, Bobby. And we’re both adults. Increasingly old adults."
"It seems abrupt. I guess."
She feels a burst of stubborn pride. "You could’ve stopped me."
He clears his throat, then looks at his shoes. "I was afraid that would be your position."
The silence grows more mutual and comfortable. Then he says, "Want to come over for dinner tomorrow night?"
"Sure. Barring a disaster, I should be off by six."
As they walked into work, he said to her, “It’s...was...my mother’s birthday. Today."
After all that had gone on over the past few months, Alex felt guilt for the first time in a long time. "I’m sorry."
She stops in front of the main doors. "Let’s go get a coffee. We don’t have to be at our desks for at least another half hour."
She was surprised when she caught him looking at her with warmth and fondness. "You don’t have to...to help. I…I know you’ve given a lot more than you..."
She grabbed his forearm with more vehemence than she intended. "Hey."
Then her phone rang.
As she answered, she thought to herself, "I guess there’ll be time later to tell him. Or show him."