A.N. - This is something that's been rattling around in my head for quite awhile, but work has gotten in the way of my actually getting something down on paper. I wasn't going to publish anything until I had more written, but decided to put the first chapter up to keep myself motivated, as nothing annoys me more than reading a good story on FF only to find it's been abandoned half-way through (Rindy, darling, where is Holding Court?). This is just my imagination running overtime again in Goren's World - a "what if" scenario. Since I'm on vacation this week, I hope to get another chapter or two down before Monday, and right now, I'm not sure how long this will turn out to be. All of my mistakes are my own. As always, I own nothing but my own desire to see Bobby and Alex have a "happliy ever after".
Sunday, a dreary, gray and misty day. Goren lay sprawled on his oversized sofa, drifting in that out of focus, twilight world preceding a drop into exhausted sleep - a state that had eluded him over the several days following Declan Gage's revelation that he had first prodded Nicole Wallace into killing Goren's brother, and then, unbelievably, unimaginably, had managed to somehow take Nicole's life in turn.
After Gage confessed, Ross had marched into interrogation with two uniformed officers, proceeding none too gently to hoist him from his seat, snapping the cuffs on and advising him of his Miranda rights. Gage had started laughing after announcing to Goren that he was now "free", and continued to do so, almost hysterically, while Ross gave him over to the other two officers to walk him through the bullpen back to the holding cells to await arraignment. As the laughter faded into the distance, all Goren could do was stare, wide-eyed, into the space where Gage had been sitting, rubbing his hands over and over the leather of his binder, totally unheeding of the tears streaming down his face, a series of fine tremors running through his body. He didn't notice or respond as Eames, who had followed Ross into the room, gently lay a hand on his arm, softly repeating his name, over and over, "Bobby? Bobby - " His next true awareness came several hours later, when he woke to find himself lying in his own bed and his partner sleeping in the oversized armchair next to it, wrapped in a blanket and sound asleep herself.
His restless movement woke her, and she moved from the chair to sit beside him on the bed. After asking him how he felt, she explained when he didn't respond to anyone and just kept staring and crying, they had called Dr. Olivett, who after hearing what had happened, determined Goren was suffering from a severe emotional shock and had administered a mild sedative. Ross, returning after getting Gage started through the booking process, had rounded up a couple of burly patrol officers, who had gotten Goren downstairs and into a patrol vehicle, following Eames in the SUV to his apartment, where they helped her put him to bed. Fueled by nights of little to no sleep, devastated by the effects of the events of the past several weeks and especially the past day, the medication served to put him out for nearly eighteen hours.
Although he was still somewhat shaky, Eames had coaxed him into the shower and then into eating a slice of toast and drinking a cup of tea. While he was in the shower, she called Dr. Olivett, who arrived while they were still sitting at the table. Too tired and drained to protest, Goren had accepted Dr. Olivett's presence, and they talked quietly for an hour while Eames left to go home to shower, change and pack a bag. She had stayed with him several days, talking, seeing that he ate something, taking him for long walks and to his appointments with Olivett, being with him while he slept and when he just wanted to be quiet. She had returned to her own home that afternoon, after he finally managed to assure her that he would be all right alone and he would call her in the evening, which he had done. And tomorrow, they would go back to work, and life would go on -
She stood on the other side of interrogation, watching and listening in horrified silence as Declan Gage admitted to having manipulated Nicole Wallace into killing Bobby's brother, and then had himself murdered Wallace, disposing of the remainder of her body only God knew where. Even though she and Bobby had pieced together most of what must have happened, it was still an enormous shock to watch and hear the ease with which Gage admitted to the conspiracy. After a protracted late-night-to-early-morning discussion punctuated by long periods of silence during which she could do nothing but be there with him, offering her presence as prop for him to lean on, trying to help him hold his shattered psyche together until they could get Gage in to 1PP to confront him with what they knew, it was all up to Bobby now, and how he had found enough strength to keep himself together to finish the nightmare they were living was something she could only admire from this distance. At some point, she had stepped as closely as she could to the mirror, hoping that Bobby could feel her support flowing through the concrete and glass separating them; and when the tears started running unheeded down Bobby's face and his composure, already fragile, nearly broke when Gage admitted he had egged Wallace on to murder Frank, she had had to press both hands over her mouth to keep from crying out in rage and punching her fist into the barrier between them. She remained like that, seemingly unaware of her own tears on Bobby's behalf and Ross's presence behind her until he gently laid a hand on her shoulder and said, "That's enough of this - torment. I'm going in there and put the cuffs on him." Only then did she let her hands drop to her sides, drawing in a shuddering breath as she nodded, then watched as Ross entered the room next door and took Gage away with the help of two uniformed officers. Quickly wiping her face, she followed Ross out of the room. During the entire course of the ordeal she had just witnessed, Gage's words kept playing over and over in the back of her mind – "You care for your partner. Deeply" -
Two weeks later, Goren and Eames were leaving a robbery scene at one of the city's more "posh" residential buildings, already discussing a theory that there really was no robbery, but an attempt to collect insurance monies for the supposed theft of the wife's jewel box, their skepticism based on recent rumors that the husband had lost huge amounts of money in the real estate market and during the on-going credit crunch.
Nearly all of the unease that previously existed between them, mainly due to outside influences and interference beyond their control and the resulting misunderstandings had dissipated, and things were better than they had been for quite some time. For his part, Goren was both awed and humbled by Eames' steadfast loyalty during the time when it seemed he might be responsible for the deaths of his brother and Nicole Wallace; not only was he grateful for her support and insistence he had nothing to do with their deaths, but even more for the fact that it made no difference to her whatever that his biological father had been a serial rapist and murderer. He was indebted to her in so many ways, for so many reasons; he had known since her maternity leave that he was in love with her; but he would never be able to offer her anything that she deserved, especially now that he was barely able to make ends meet himself. More than the dread he experienced when he had the DNA test done, and his loathing at the confirmation that his suspicion was fact, was the fear that one day she would go, and never come back. However, despite his conviction that it would be in her best interests to run, not walk away, and never look back, he couldn't bring himself to make her go, and consequently spent a lot of time berating himself for his selfishness in holding on to her.
Arriving back at 1PP, they had just walked into the bullpen when Ross, seeing them enter, rose from his desk and called to them from his office, beckoning them to enter. Looking at each other with "what now" expressions, they dropped their coats onto their desks and headed over to obey the summons, wondering at Ross's implied urgency in not giving them a chance to settle in first.
Walking in, they found Ross leaning against his desk, arms folded across his chest. "Shut the door behind you, Goren," he said as he gestured to Eames to sit down. Indicating to Goren that he should also have a seat, Ross looked from one to the other for a minute before continuing. "I honestly don't know how to say what I have to tell you - "
Quickly glancing at each other with some apprehension, Eames looked back at Ross and said, "Just tell us, Captain." Goren waved his hand, palm upward, indicating Ross should continue. Ross sighed deeply, looking at Eames as though trying to warn her to be prepared for something. She held Ross's gaze for a few seconds before giving him a slight nod, once again glancing at her partner from the corner of her eye. Taking another deep breath, Ross went on, "You know they've been holding Dr. Gage in protective custody at Riker's, because of his background in law enforcement." Looking from one to the other, but not giving either of them a chance to say anything, he said, "They found him in his cell this morning - " A low, gasping moan interrupted him as Goren covered his face with his hands, elbows resting on his knees. Eames immediately rose from her seat, crouching in front of Goren, wrapping a small, strong hand around each of his wrists. "Bobby -" Turning to Ross, she asked, quietly, "How?"
"Apparently the guards didn't do too good of a job searching him, probably because of his age and health. He managed to smuggle a cyanide capsule in with him."