Three POV's in this one, each at a line break.
I could tell by the rigidity of his muscles that he was awake, but he wasn't talking. He was lying perfectly still with one arm wrapped around me, but I could almost hear his brain working overtime.
"What is it?" I asked him finally, my voice cutting through the darkness. It wasn't quite five a.m.
"Nothing," he replied immediately, his tone indicating his surprise that I was awake.
"Danny," I coaxed. "It's okay to admit that you're thinking about them."
"It's ridiculous to admit that I'm thinking about them," he countered. But I smiled, since he essentially just had confessed. He knew it, too, because he sighed heavily.
"I need them in my department."
"I know you do."
"How could they do this to me?"
"Do what? Fall in love?" I asked on a laugh. "I don't think they took you into consideration at all."
"How could they get married? I could've kept their secret. But not now."
"I don't think they wanted it to stay a secret. They're too honest for that."
"Honest. Huh. They didn't mind sneaking around all these years. Why suddenly grow a conscience?"
"It wasn't years. They've only been together a few months," I told him, deciding that they wouldn't mind me sharing that bit of information.
"A few months?" he asked, his voice booming through the quiet room.
"I don't know exactly when, but it was after his brother was killed."
Danny was silent for a while as he pondered that information. I knew he couldn't comprehend what those two felt for each other.
Me, I was happy for them. Maybe it was my romantic side trying to fight its way through, but something about being witness to that ceremony on Saturday…I couldn't get it out of my head. It had without a doubt been the most moving and touching thing I had ever been privy to.
And if I'm honest with myself, I was a little jealous. The depths of their emotion was something that everyone dreams of, but very few people attain. And while I knew that Danny loved me, it didn't seem quite the same.
"You truly like them, don't you?" he asked after several minutes.
"They're likeable people," I replied. I decided not to mention how uncharacteristically slow he was being if he was only just now realizing that. I knew Danny was a smart man. A very smart man, actually. But he had blinders on when it came to those two. Goren mostly, but Eames as well for not understanding her commitment to him.
Eames. Huh. I guess she was Goren now as well. That would take some getting used to. And then I smiled again thinking about how much Danny was going to hate that.
"Moran won't go for leaving them as partners. In fact, I got my ass handed to me for not calling them out on their relationship."
"How hard did you push?"
"I didn't mention the picture, no," he said, knowing exactly where my mind was going. "I don't like the idea of blackmail."
"You did it when it helped us."
"That was different," he insisted.
"Okay," I conceded, backing off. I couldn't make him fight for them if he didn't want to. And I knew he felt bad about his misconception of Goren all these years, but I guess not bad enough to pull out the big guns.
"But you know they'll quit."
"I'm hoping we can reach some sort of compromise."
I laughed out loud at the notion. No, he didn't understand them at all. I rolled over and climbed out of bed. The alarm was going to go off in a few minutes anyway. I figured it was time to get the day started.
Four hours of sleep each night was all I'd been getting for weeks, so it didn't surprise me that I was awake before five a.m. After all, it had been nearly one o'clock when we finally went to sleep last night. I certainly wouldn't want to overdo it.
Carolyn was still breathing evenly, so I wrapped myself around her and enjoyed her warmth. She snuggled back against me, even in sleep. She always seemed so tough and aloof in her waking hours, but once we were in the bed, she thrived on contact. Lucky me.
I would love to be a fly on the wall in a few hours to check out that meeting between Ross and the Gorens. I also would've liked to know what went on between Moran and Ross, but that wasn't going to happen. Ross would never tell. But if I were Ross, I would've wanted to beat the crap out of that prick.
Of course, I guess that's why he was the MCS captain and I was…now a private consultant. That didn't sound so bad. I would take my job over Ross' any day.
I had a feeling that unless Ross got down on his hands and knees and begged them to stay, then it wasn't going to happen. And I didn't blame them. It had gone beyond just leaving to avoid being assigned new partners. It had been a slap in the face for them to find out about Moran's lie and Ross' belief of it.
And in Ross' defense…huh, I have a hard time even thinking those words. But still, in Ross' defense, he began believing the lie before he really knew Goren. And he was wrong on a couple of levels. Not only to never discuss it with him, but also to hold it against him. But Ross was a man, a husband who had been wronged, and he thought he knew the guy responsible. It was a stupid mistake, but it happens. He should grow a set and approach Goren about it now, but as his boss, he probably didn't want to put them on an even playing field. Again, it was wrong, but…
Now Moran was another story altogether. He intentionally sent Ross down the wrong path just to screw Goren over. And for no damn reason other than that he doesn't like him. A lot of people don't like Goren because he's so smart. What kind of a reason is that? Moran probably can't spell intelligence, so it's likely what had him stirred up. You would think a good chief would want smart detectives working for him. But that would assume that Moran was a good chief…me, I would just love to find a way to get back at Moran. To expose him for the incompetent moron that he is.
"I can hear you plotting," Carolyn mumbled.
"Plotting? How do you know I'm plotting something? I could just be thinking."
"Because I know how your mind works."
"Okay, smart lady," I teased, pulling her tighter against me. "Tell me."
"You started off thinking about the meeting this morning. Then you half-way let Ross off the hook in your mind because he was a pawn in Moran's game. Then you started analyzing why Moran would have it in for Goren. And you want to get back at him."
I don't know why she rendered me speechless. I mean, I know she's smart. Scary smart. And she knows the workings of the human mind better than just about anybody. But damn.
She chuckled and turned over in my arms so that we were nose to nose.
"I take it I'm right?"
"Don't be so smug about it. What else would I be thinking about this morning?" I asked casually.
"Maybe your new job?" she replied. "I heard your new colleague is a real bitch. You might want to think about sweet-talking her a little. You know, get on her good side."
"I don't think she'll fall for one-liners. She's much too smart for that."
"Give it a shot. She might surprise you," she countered, running her hands down my back.
I closed my eyes, enjoying the sensation, while my brain ran through the possibilities. Somehow I knew that what's your sign in any one of the fifteen different languages wouldn't quite cut it. Especially after being witness to all of that freakin' romance at the wedding on Saturday.
"I'm…um…I'm not Goren. I don't have flowery words at my disposal," I admitted, flustered that I was letting it get to me.
"It wasn't a test, sweetie," she said, giving me a kiss and then slipping out of the bed. "I was just teasing you."
And maybe she was, but damn…I wanted to make her feel good. She always said the sweetest things to me, like calling me her super hero. But I couldn't come up with anything good at all?
"Hey Carolyn," I called to her.
"Yeah?" she asked, sticking her head out of the bathroom doorway.
I felt like an idiot, but I wanted to say it. I had read it somewhere years ago, back when we were still partners at MCS, and it had stuck in my head because it made me think of her.
"I could conquer the world with just one hand, as long as you were holding the other."
I was still on cloud nine, so much so that I couldn't sleep. It was crazy, really, because things weren't really any different.
Except that they were.
I turned over in the bed to find Alex staring at me.
"You can't sleep either?" I asked as I found her hand and knotted my fingers together with hers.
"No. I'm playing out scenarios in my head of how this meeting is going to go. We should've scheduled it for six o'clock."
"You think Ross doesn't sleep like a baby at night?" I asked dubiously.
"I think he's worried. I don't think he ever really considered that we would leave, even if we got split up. He doesn't want to lose us."
"I hope he didn't give Moran the farm to keep us partnered together, since we're leaving either way."
"I don't really care what he went through," she replied angrily. "It's his own fault that he's in this situation. If he had been honest with you…"
"Don't let his feelings for me make up your mind, Alex. Don't leave just because of me."
"You'd better be kidding me," she said. "Because Bobby…"
"I was just making sure," I interrupted, a smile playing across my face. "Don't get yourself all riled up."
She swatted at me and went to get out of the bed, but I pulled her back down on top of me.
"Where do you think you're going?" I teased. "Don't you have some wifely duties to perform this morning?"
She choked out a laugh and looked at me incredulously.
"You're full of yourself today, aren't you?" she asked, her smile matching mine. She rubbed her hand along the side of my face gently.
"I'm just feeling great. We'll take care of this thing with Ross and then everyone can breathe easier. It won't be hanging over our heads. We can work out our notice and in our off-time, we can use some of our contacts to help Mike and Carolyn get the business built up enough so that by the time we start, things should be rolling enough for four of us."
"You've got it all planned out, don't you?"
"Except the honeymoon. I haven't figured that one out yet."
Three hours later, we arrived at 1PP. We were a little early, but Ross was already in his office.
"Come on in, Detectives," he said when he saw us. I followed Alex into his office and he closed the door behind us.
"I heard it was a lovely ceremony," he began, catching me off guard. Of course, I knew Liz would tell him about it, but I was surprised to hear him acknowledge it.
"Yes it was, thank you," Alex replied.
"So, let's cut to the chase. I met with the chief. He wanted me to fire both of you," he said, and then he turned to me. "And then he wanted me to just fire you because clearly you must have persuaded Eames into this illicit affair."
"Goren," Alex interrupted. I couldn't stop from smirking, so I looked down quickly to hide my face.
"I'm sorry?" Ross questioned.
"It's Goren now. Detective Alex Goren."
I looked back up in time to see Ross' astonished stare. Alex kept a straight face, but I had to fight off the insane urge to laugh out loud. This moment, right here, was almost worth all of the shit he'd put us through over the past several years.
"Oh. Okay. My apologies. Anyway…um…so I told the chief that no matter what he thought, two detectives having a relationship was not grounds for dismissal."
"Of course it's not," Alex chided. "You shouldn't have had to tell him that."
"No…um…that's right. But it is cause for a transfer."
"Captain, with all due respect, we've stated our position," I reminded him. "A transfer is unacceptable."
"I know. But I was able to get him to allow for you both to stay in this department. But not as partners."
"That's fine," Alex said, standing up.
"I mean, it doesn't matter," she clarified as she reached in her jacket pocket. She pulled out a sealed envelope and laid it on his desk. "It's my letter of resignation. I'll work out a thirty-day notice."
I stood up, too, but I didn't have a letter to turn in. Ross looked at me carefully.
"I'm not resigning," I began. "I'm eligible for retirement. I'll fill out the paperwork today. It should receive approval within thirty days, so we'll consider that my last day as well."
"Eames," he said and then caught himself. "Detective. You don't want to do this. You're three years away from a pension."
"You're concerned about my financial well-being?" she asked him.
"No..I…well, yes. You've worked too hard to throw it all away."
"I'm not throwing anything away, and if you can't see that…" she let her words hang there for a moment, but then didn't finish. She turned to leave, but then she stopped and turned back around to face the captain again.
"You know what? No. I wasn't going to say anything, but…you know, there was a time when I thought I wanted this job, your job. I wanted to be a captain. But I'm so glad that wasn't in the cards for me because if it had turned me into someone like you…I don't know how I would sleep at night. I don't know how you do."
"Detective," he said sharply, clearly offended by her words. I just stood still and made sure I was out of the line of fire.
"You spent five years punishing a man for something he didn't do," she accused, her eyes flashing hotly. "You didn't have the guts to ask him about it, so instead you berated him and second-guessed him…how'd that work for you, Captain?"
She didn't wait for his response, which was probably a good thing, because I'm not sure he was capable. He was simply stunned. However, Alex was on a roll.
"I'll tell you how it worked. Piss-poor. And now you're losing the best team this department has ever seen. And you have only yourself to blame. You and that ass-kisser Moran. So next time, maybe you shouldn't be so quick to judge someone. Because it'll always come back to bite you in the ass."
With that, she flung his office door open and left the room. I looked from her retreating form and then back to Ross, who was still completely taken aback. I opened my mouth, but Ross held up a hand.
"Please, not now Detective. Just give me a minute."
I found Alex in a conference room, still vibrating with anger.
"I didn't know you were going to get into all of that," I told her softly.
"I didn't either. But I couldn't leave this place without saying it."
"You don't have to fight my battles for me."
"Bobby," she sighed. "You are such a kind-hearted man that sometimes you are too forgiving. It needed to be said, and I have no problem being the one to say it."
I thought about it for a minute while she took a few deep breaths and calmed herself down. I wanted to hold her, but of course we couldn't. Even though everyone now knew about us, it didn't mean we were going to start acting unprofessional.
"You did say it rather well," I told her with a smile. She looked up at me and slowly began to smile.
"We just quit our jobs," she said in awe. And I knew what she meant. It was one thing to plan to do it, but another thing entirely to actually say the words.
"Regrets?" I asked. I touched her sleeve gently, just needing to make that physical connection.
"Not a one."