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This is an old story from back in 2005, but it hasn't been posted here yet. So I'm starting in belated honor of doctorsgirl26's birthday - since she's a CI fan as well as a Who fan. :) Happy Belated Birthday, my friend. :D

Also, when I started writing this series, a lot of information hadn't yet been disclosed about the families of the characters. At this point, it's too much hassle to correct them, so I'll work around them or outright ignore them. FYI. Also, LJ is making my break it up more than it is on FF.N.

SeriesMetamorphosis

Authortkel_paris
Rating: T for all but a few parts
Summary: Every relationship develops and grows/evolves because pivotal moments. Never was this more true than for Alex Eames and Bobby Goren. Inspired by my first version of the story “Shattered.”
Classifications: G&E leading into G/E, A/U
Series Spoilers: Late season 2 eps, the season 3 arc, all Bishop eps, and “Great Barrier.”
Archive: Amorous Intent. Anywhere else, please ask.
Disclaimer: Only the idea is mine. That and the DVD copies I own of Years 1 & 3. Plus recordings of the season 4 eps, all the season 5 eps aired so far, and all but one of the season 2 eps.
Overall Acknowledgments: Susan G.; without her, “Shattered” wouldn’t exist, and neither would this. Lara, for being an excellent beta. Tres Mechante, for giving me a go to put my own take on a possibility she used, and for saying that the original version had her hooked.
Author’s note: Since those at Amorous Intent insisted on knowing more about the events that led to “Shattered,” I have fulfilled that desire. However, this series is gonna diverge from the outcome of “Shattered” since I've realized that their reactions would've had different results. I'll be presenting a new outcome due to the events alluded to in “Shattered.”

StoryPhoenix
Rating: T for emotional angst, except for a M+ part (for the adult version only)
Summary: As Alex prepares to become a surrogate, Bobby learns his long-absent father has died. Ashes, a symbol of devastation, have been part of Bobby’s life since childhood, and the pile seems to endlessly grow... Will anything come to life from those ashes?
Classifications: strong G&E friendship, G/E
Note: I didn’t know the Year 2 time line when I first wrote this, but after seeing all but one of the episodes – not to mention S5's two-hour episode – I had to go back and make changes. I originally had set this a month before Year 3’s “Undaunted Mettle,” but looking at the time line based on about when Alex gave birth told me that UM is probably set after “A Person of Interest.” For part of part 1, I took inspiration from Kyllikki’s “Signifying Nothing.” Thanks, Kyllikki, for writing that collection of missing scenes from “Phantom.” It helped fuel my imagination.

Spoilers (in no particular order): “The Insider” (1-13), “Anti-Thesis” (2-3), “The Faithful” (1-4), “The Good Doctor” (1-9), “Phantom” (1-16), “The Third Horseman” (1-11), “Chinoserie” (2-5), “Badge” ((1-20) I noticed how Alex commented over Bobby’s failure to notice from papers that Terry Randolph was a woman, and guessed that – given her nickname – something like that happened when Bobby first heard about her), “My Good Name” (4-22), “Legion” (2-18), “A Person of Interest” (2-23), “Cherry Red” (2-19), “The Pilgrim” (2-8), “Jones” (1-5), “Faith” (1-21), and “In the Wee Small Hours” (5-6 & 5-7).




Part One



PART TWO

Alex walks up as he answers, “Goren.” He’s having another worrying fit. Alex noted that over thirty minutes earlier. She’s noticed the big man – who intimidates almost everyone except her – looking at her with worry in his dark eyes lately. And she knows why; all her doctor’s appointments. They’ve hard to hide, after all. She hasn’t explained the reason behind them yet because she’s still figuring out how to tell him.

First that she’s going to be a surrogate. Then she’ll deal with the fact that she won’t be able to actively work cases with him for the last two months or so of her pregnancy. I can make calls and do some research, but I’ll be tied to a desk while he has to walk around with someone new...

She knows Bobby fears abandonment; he’s had it dealt to him all his life. First his mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, then his father walked out on the whole family, the slow estrangement from his older brother, and watching his mother slipping away into the cancer of mental disorders. No one has ever stayed for him, guided him. Once she had to explain to her family why she became so protective of him, especially since she'd told her father about that letter... He had wanted to know what made Alex decide to stick with someone she'd wanted away from weeks before. After giving a condensed version of what she knew – at the time – of her partner's life story, her father remarked that it was amazing that Bobby Goren managed to become a responsible adult by basically teaching himself.

Alex releases a silent sigh as she sits, watching him answer the phone. Somehow, she has never thought much about that, though she knows that he has beaten a lot of odds to become who he is. That became especially clear after the Nicole disaster last year, when it seemed that the Devil’s Sister wanted to lure Bobby to the “dark side.” Alex varies almost daily – since there are merciful days when the subject escapes her conscious mind altogether – on which adjective she uses for the woman she wants to see dead on a gurney, and she usually has a hard time caring about how harsh that sounds despite her dislike of the aftermath of firing a weapon. In the aftermath of Nicole, Alex started making more of an effort to make him feel like a normal, good person who’s worth something.

I hope he doesn’t handle it badly when I finally tell him, she thinks as she looks at the paperwork she wants to get through quickly. With all those abandonment issues... She's never let slip a hint about that letter. How can I, she's felt for well over a year, without hurting him? I wish I could take it back... She actually hadn't thought about it since late '01, until the preparations started. Now making him deal with someone else – even if it's because she's doing something good – highlights what she sees as her failure of discernment. Praying that the call isn’t about a case – cause it’s just not kosher to wish a major crime to happen so you and your partner can get a temporary respite from the never-ending paperwork pile for a few hours or days or weeks, although Alex will make an exception if the dead person is Nicole – she starts writing, keeping an ear on his responses.

Who’s this?” Those words, combined with the guarded tone, draw her head up to look at him. His face is scrunched, eyes staring at the page in front of him as he listens intently to the caller. This cannot be good...

Yes, that’s me. What’s this about?” He’s getting that “you’re wasting my time” look. When Bobby gets that look, she often will need to calm him down or help him find some way to relax after it’s over. She looks back to the paper she’s working on.

A quiet thud pops Alex’s gaze up, and she notices that the pen has dropped out of his hand. Her eyes fly to his face, and her heart sinks into her stomach as she registers the glassy, dazed look that she hasn’t seen since Nicole left the interrogation room with the lawyer that Dr. Fellows hired.

His mother died? But she dismisses the thought as quickly as it comes; the person would’ve said that they were from Carmel Ridge if that was the case... And his responses would've told me so...

Bobby works his mouth up and down, needing several seconds to force words out. “Um... no, I hadn’t heard.” A slight pause, “W-when...?”

Alex puts down her pen, forgetting all about the paperwork. Whatever has happened, Bobby’s going to need company later. Her company. Whether he thinks so or not, she decides.

The person must have answered the unspoken question enough for Bobby’s taste; he swallows, picks back up his pen, drags over his binder and manages, “It’s okay, I... I can come by. How late are you...?”

Oh, this is bad if he can barely force out complete sentences. Alex’s only comfort is that it’s not likely to involve Nicole Wallace. At least not ending with her being arrested and jailed for good, the voice of cold reality reminds her. Or dead and only able to hurt him through memories.

Bobby finishes writing. “Okay. Thank you.” His hand takes several seconds to hang up the phone, moving very slowly. As though he doesn’t think he can do it any faster without dropping it. He stares at the paper on which he wrote the information, not looking like he actually sees the words.

Alex can’t take it anymore, and whispers, “Bobby?” She waits several seconds for her voice to register, and just as she opens her mouth to repeat his name, his eyes sluggishly lift themselves up to meet hers. The light in them is almost completely gone, and her heart feels like someone’s rolling and twisting it into a pretzel. “What happened?”

He swallows, looking like the action costs him a lot of energy. “Not here. Not now. I... I-I, uh, have s-something to do after I finish here.”

Something you’re not looking forward to. “I’m going with you.”

The simple declaration brings more life to his face. Shock counts as animation compared to the glassy look. “Eames, you... you don’t have to.” Like he didn’t expect that I’d make such an offer, she sadly realizes.

But I want to.” Her quiet yet determined words bring a little more light into his eyes, and she sees the gratitude he doesn’t know how to express. His face also becomes less drawn. Definite improvement, Alex thinks as she watches him push himself back into the paperwork as a distraction to pass the time. She returns to hers, keeping an eye on him to make sure he’s doing okay. When it comes to Bobby Goren, there’s really only three general states he’s ever in: fine, questionable, or shaky. And he’s leaning towards shaky...

Though only two hours pass, it seems much longer to Alex when Bobby puts down his pen and starts organizing his binder in preparation to leave. She finished her pile of paperwork forty minutes ago, handed them to Deakins, and has been reading another report while waiting for him to finish. That Bobby managed to complete his pile within such a short time – without complaint, no less – is unheard of, and all the more reason to worry.

When he stands to take his paperwork to Deakins, she starts gathering her things into a small briefcase she decided to bring that morning. Her eyes glance over to their boss’s office, and note the puzzlement and concern on Deakins’s face. He doesn’t look like he’s asking questions; he knows by now that he’s not going to get answers, and that asking them isn’t necessarily a good thing. However, Alex detects their captain watching out of the corner of his eye as Bobby comes back over.

Alex stands, closing the briefcase. “You ready?”

Bobby blinks, like he’s forgotten her stated intention. “Um, you sure you want to...?” His left hand distractedly grabs his binder, and his eyes won’t look up from the desk.

Squashing the urge to sigh, she nods even though he won’t see it. “Yes.” It always works. That quiet, I’m-not-changing-my-mind-so-live-with-it tone that lets him know she’s serious. And he’s always taken it seriously.

Alex remains silent as they take their coats, scarves, knit caps, and gloves. She doesn’t remark on how his steps are hitting the floor harder than normal, even though he’s not walking any faster or slower than usual. She says nothing during the elevator ride down about how he stares at the buttons, but isn’t seeing them. She bites back an urge to make an observation on how listlessly he puts on the protection from the cold, or how oddly vulnerable he looks in that cap tonight. She holds her tongue till they get in the SUV, and only then breaks the silence. “What’s the address?”

He remains silent, merely unzips the binder slowly – like someone who doesn’t want to touch what’s inside – and gently tugs a sheet off of the notepad. Alex takes it, careful not to touch his fingers. He’s never been comfortable with touching except during undercover work when they often pretend to be married, where they can pull off any appearance of closeness or intimacy they wish. She has wondered about it but never worked up the nerve to ask him. Probably because you don’t wanna scare him? She ignores the knowing voice in her head and reads the name. Hemmerick Brothers Funeral Home, on Clayton Powell.

Yeah, someone died. Someone Bobby wasn’t expecting to hear about. Alex swallows another sigh, and starts the car. She drives it out of the garage, and takes them to the address.

Since Bobby’s not talking, there’s no point in her talking about anything. Silences between her and Bobby aren’t necessarily a bad thing; he often needs quiet to think about details of a case, something none of his past partners ever figured out. Alex isn’t the type to talk without reason; her wisecracks are always meant to lighten the mood or to just draw out one of Bobby’s snorts. Simple chatting is something she only does if it fits the undercover character she’s playing.

They went for a few years without him telling her how grateful he was for her quiet acceptance of his need for occasional silences. After several weeks of her spending extra time with him following Nicole’s flight from justice, it slipped out that no one else ever accepted – let alone without questioning – that he sometimes need silence to think. He didn’t actually say the word, but it was in his eyes and tone. He’s said a lot of things to her tacitly. That was one of the details of his expressive face and sometimes telling body language, which she’s realized is both one of his greatest strengths and one of his greatest weaknesses.

But it’s only a weakness if he’s dealing with someone who pays careful attention to facial expressions, and body language. After the painful realization that there is someone else out there who’s as good an expert at reading people as Bobby is, and who uses it for their own selfish interests... She’s made a point of carefully watching him to learn to read his quirks, the subtle differences between his moods, and figuring out what he needs from her at any given moment.

She’s only had a little over four months to become better at it, but she has. Of course, to use an expression meant for men regarding women, you gotta give a little to get a little. So she slowly began to tell him more about herself, based on what she thought of by looking around his apartment. Some things were so easy to tell him, and he seemed delighted that she trusted him enough to relate those events.

Bobby’s still holding back a lot. Personal history, family secrets... Nicole Wallace, through her surprise revelation in the interrogation room, taught Alex that she still has a lot to learn about Bobby, and while she knew that already, it stung sharply to have the knowledge re-enforced in that way.

And the struggle to figure out how to heal Bobby from the emotional pain... Rough. But definitely worth it. She’s learned that she can draw outright laughs from him if she can find the right punch-line or joke. Not the little – but genuine – closed-mouth laughs that one of her smart-ass comments about a case or a weird detail about her youth draws from him.

I can still hear his snort over my admitting to having had an ABBA fan club card, she silently groans. Someday, he's gonna explain why it was so amusing. I wasn't even trying to be funny...

Not those little laughs, but big, side-splitting laughs. The kind that sometimes force you to wipe the tears from your eyes so you can see. Both kinds make him more animated. The latter makes his eyes and face literally light up, and relaxes his whole being. He’s much happier after such moments, and it’s a shame those are few and far between; there’s been so little happiness in his life, and even the smallest joys – she’s noticed – seem to bring him a lot more pleasure than they would to the average person.

Just when she became so protective of him, so worried about his well-being, she’s not sure. Alex first noticed it when they were investigating the murder of a paroled felon, Frank Caspari, and had realized that his murderer – who’d also tried to kill Caspari’s sister – was pretending to be a United Nations economist. That man, Gerry Rankin, was sliding over the edge; he had kept so many secrets from his family, and the pressure seemed to be getting to him. Bobby had grown concerned about the Rankin children when the depths of Gerry’s desperation to keep the secret safe became more clear. Mrs. Rankin’s attempt to talk with him revealed that he had his children with him, and it looked like he might kill them rather than let them see who he really was. Bobby rushed out, calling Deakins to get people to the hotel immediately, and he’d driven down there himself, which showed how urgent he considered the situation.

She’d hitched a ride with a NYPD patrol car, and arrived to see her partner nowhere in sight. Their SUV was there, so he was, too...

She races over to the SUV, needing to dump her overcoat. The adrenaline is making her hot, even though it’s cold. She unlocks the driver’s door, and finds Bobby’s coat dumped over both front seats. His binder is peaking out from underneath his coat on the passenger seat, where he’d left it before. Well, that’s Bobby for you, Alex thinks as she yanks her coat off and tosses it in.

Just as she’s about to close the door, something metallic on the floor catches her eye. It shouldn’t be there. She reaches over, pulling it more into the light, and freezes. Bobby’s pocket knife. Why isn’t he carrying it? But it clinks against something else, also metallic. She releases the knife, lightly drags the other object forward, and gasps.

Bobby’s service piece...

Alex bursts out of the car, using her remote to lock it – out of habit – as her eyes scan for whoever’s in charge. A senior-looking New Jersey trooper is standing at the bottom of the stairs, giving orders to some SWAT officers who are moving into position on the second floor. She runs over, and flashes her badge, managing to not pant. “Sir, are you in charge?”

He turns to face her, and nods. “Captain Blundell. You must be Detective Eames.”

She nods. “Where’s Detective Goren?”

He gets a little uncomfortable. “He went in to try to get the weapon away from the guy and save the two children.”

Alex freezes. “You sent him in there?”

Mr. Rankin wasn’t responding to the phone, and we were afraid to get too close after we heard from the officers at his house that there was a rifle missing. Your partner argued that to get the children safely out, Rankin needed to be defused. He was convinced that he could do it, and since it felt like we were running out of options, I let him after we talked with a maid to get a passkey.”

He’s in there. Without his weapon... Without his knife... “Tell me he’s wearing a damn Kevlar vest,” Alex demands as she heads up the stairs, needing to do something.

Blundell squirms as he follows her. “He refused one.” He halts when Alex nearly spins around on the steps, flashing a shocked expression. “Rankin seems unstable, and Goren argued that the very hint of a vest might send him over the edge. I tried to talk him into wearing one, but he was adamant. In the end, I felt we had no other choice, and he didn’t seem worried for himself.”

Alex’s heart starts doing rapid-fire somersaults and twists and spins. She can’t even feel her lungs breathing as she races up the stairs, stopping only when she encounters the SWAT team. She can see the slightly open door the team’s eying, but she can’t hear anything. No voices, no sounds of a struggle. Is that good or bad? Blundell whispers to the nearest SWAT officer, “Heard anything?”

An almost shrug. Confusion? “Their voices were raised for a moment, mostly Goren’s, but it calmed down pretty quick.”

Okay, no shots. No violence. He must still be okay. Please, God, keep him that way...

Suddenly the guys right by the door flinch, and Alex tenses. “Clear!” Bobby’s bellow makes Alex’s heart leap against her throat.

The SWAT team bursts in. The leader shouts, “Get down! Down! Get him down! Get him down! Let me see your hands behind your back. Now!” Two officers without protective gear rush in, for the children. After a moment, she hears a shaky unknown voice. “I didn’t hurt them. I would never hurt them.” Two of them drag out a haggard version of the man in the pictures at the Rankin house.

She briskly walks in after the geared officers come out, putting away her weapon only when she sees Bobby is unharmed physically. Relieved to have the chance to see him rubbing the corners of his eyes on either side of his nose as he tries to digest what happened. The gymnast that had been her heart not log ago finally quits its routine when Bobby drops his free hand and raises his tired eyes to her. While she scans him for psychological damage, the unconscious children are carried out. Thank you, God, for protecting him.

But her heart does one last air twist when Bobby pumps the rifle and keeps pumping even when only two bullets pop out. The sick bastard... “Only two shells,” Bobby whispers, his eyes slowly turning to her, aching from horror, and looking away every few seconds, his other hand gesturing at nothing. “One for each child. He was planning to walk away.” Those details are hitting Bobby harder than the risk to his own life.

Alex can only shake her head at the denial Rankin exhibited. “Charlotte Fielding’s lucky.” The rage seeping in surprises her. “She’ll never know what a worm her white knight turned out to be.” I need to get him out of here, before this weighs him down more. So she turns without another word, glad when she hears his footsteps behind her, stopping only to grab the jacket he discarded on the floor.

She has to resist another urge to sigh. God, that had been too close. He hadn’t given a single thought to his own safety. He didn’t attempt to justify his actions. Probably couldn’t even if she’d asked him to. He was absolutely silent on the walk to the car, when she had to help him buckle in, and on the drive back to One Police Plaza. Silent like he is now, she notes as her eyes dart over, seeing him still dazedly staring ahead.

Bobby has been sitting in the Captain’s office for thirty minutes already. Deakins and Carver are both there, giving him an earful for disregarding more rules than any of them care to think about. Alex sits in her chair, half-watching as she thinks about her reaction to the last few hours of the case. Trying desperately to make sense of the intensity of her thoughts and actions.

Nearly an hour later, she’s run through several scenarios and is no closer to an answer. What the hell was I thinking? No question Bobby’s a friend, but I’ve seen cop friends put themselves into much more obvious danger and didn’t react anywhere near as strongly as I did. Why did I panic? The last time I reacted that strongly I was waiting to hear on a bust that went horribly wrong.

That bust ended Toby’s life.

Alex’s eyelids and eyebrows go wide when that memory pops into her consciousness. She reacted to her partner putting himself into a dangerous situation with the same intensity that she had while she was waiting to learn whether her husband had been one of the injured or killed cops...? She sits up straighter, losing all awareness of the rest of the world. I got that worried about Bobby Goren? My eccentric, brilliant, intense, eclectic, extremely observant, gentlemanly, cares-deeply-about-children, empathetic, vulnerable, looks-threatening-but-is-really-a-big-teddy-bear partner?

Then I’ve... Oh, my God... How...? It's only been about 18 months since I wrote that new partner request, and now I-

The sound of Deakins’s door opening snaps her to reality, and to the fact that several people are staring at her, though trying to hide it. The onlookers turn their complete attention back to either their conversations or paperwork. She hears her partner’s footsteps, and it’s all she can do to not fidget. But Bobby, much to her relief, looks totally oblivious to her thoughts as he sits down. Being lectured isn’t anything new to him, so that probably explains why he doesn’t have any clue.

That took over ninety minutes,” she drawls, making sure to control her tone. “I expect Carver to give you lectures, but it looked like the Captain was giving you his own tirade.”

Bobby sighs. “They both wanted to make sure I knew how many regs I broke.” His hands fiddle with the top contents of his open binder. “I spared them a lot of time by reciting them off the top of my head. Remembered almost every one.” He’s still thinking about those shells, and how close those children came to dying at their father’s hand...

Alex sighs. I suppose I can’t really complain about his dwelling on it right now; it gives me enough time to recover. But I need to distract him before he spends too much time on it... “Bobby.” The complete sentence tone draws his eyes up. She’s managed to pull her face together. “I don’t want to have to break in a new partner. Promise me you won’t do anything like that again.”

He stares at her, slightly puzzled. You don’t realize that anyone might care about what happens to you, Bobby? She waits for an answer. Finally, his shoulders sag in defeat. “I’ll try.”

Another sigh escapes Alex. I guess that’s all I’ll can ask... “I think you owe me a margarita.” That at least gets that soft grin he gave her when she nearly pleaded with him earlier that year to “promise me a margarita” after they finally caught the murderer of an abortion doctor. His “done” smile, as she calls it. Okay, he’ll be fine.

Her eyes dart over to him, checking whether he has the slightest clue as to the direction of her thoughts. But he’s still staring straight ahead, oblivious to the rest of the world. Alex swallows another sigh of relief; her secret is safe for now.

As highly as he clearly respects me, as well as he treats me, and even though I may be the closest thing he has to family... There’s no way to know how Bobby Goren would react to learning that I, Alexandra “Alex” Millicent Eames, his partner and best friend, have fallen in love with him. Especially given how poorly he thinks of his own worth... and given his apparent insecurities about his ability to handle relationships... And that letter... He thinks so highly of me... How could I ever tell him...? What would he do...?

She’s roused from her thoughts by sighting the funeral home. Bobby comes back to the world as she pulls into a parking spot. It’s starts raining as he forces himself out of the car, walking numbly – yet quickly – to the front door. Alex has to sprint after closing the door and pressing the remote to lock the car so she can catch up.

He’s already inside and has asked for someone; the secretary has already called for the person. Alex reaches his side just as a black guy a few inches shorter than Bobby opens a door. “Detective Goren?”

Bobby nods, and walks forward when the man motions him to come in. Alex follows, and the man finally notices her. His puzzlement registers on Bobby’s awareness, and he quietly explains, “Oh, this is my partner, Detective Eames. She insisted on coming.”

The man just nods, and urges them both to follow him. No words are said. Neither bothers to remove their hats or gloves. Alex’s worry increases as she notices Bobby’s entire being tense with every step. She’s the last to reach the room, and she almost opens her mouth to ask what’s going on when Bobby stops.

Then she sees the body. An old man, face drawn and the wrinkles suggesting a lack of joy in his life. At least in the last years. Who...?

Alex glances at Bobby’s drawn and confused face. And then something clicks in her head. She turns back to the old man’s face, and sees a few features that are oh-so familiar...

It’s my father,” Bobby whispers.


PART THREE

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
doctorsgirl26
Nov. 5th, 2012 02:16 am (UTC)
THANK YOU!!!!! It's amazing!!! I love how Alex can read Bobby like an open book. This made my shippy Goren/Eames heart very happy. I can't wait for part 3. That cliffhanger is killing me! :D
tkel_paris
Nov. 7th, 2012 12:28 am (UTC)
Gah! I forgot I hadn't finished posting this! Will do so soon! Am SO glad you're pleased. :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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