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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. Sorry I delayed in posting more.

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.

Series: Metamorphosis

Author: tkel_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.”

Story: Phoenix
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




PART THREE

Bobby doesn’t dare look in Alex’s direction. He doesn’t want to see her reaction. While she knows him well enough to not show pity, she’s never been privy to this part of his life before. The shock that he suspects is on her face – he can feel it, he’s often able to sense when she’s feeling something strongly – isn’t something he needs to actually see.

Alex pulls her gaze away from the dead father to the... surviving son. The myriad emotions on his face are slowly fading, giving way to the mask that he wears while they’re in a delicate situation on a case. Where the slightest hint of their true feelings could destroy any shot of uncovering the truth. How like him...

I’m sorry for your loss, Detective,” Mr. Hemmerick gently says. “And I’m sorry you had to find out the way you did.”

Bobby tightens the mask, making his posture as unreadable as humanly possible. Clearing his throat, he strives for a neutral tone. “Did he leave any instructions about what he wanted for his services?” He walks over, not feeling that Alex needs to hear any of this.

She is busy eying the similarities and cataloging the differences between father and son. She knows from the one time she accompanied him to Carmel – during the Christmas break, and Alex brought a small present – that Bobby’s hair and eyes come from his mother. His gentle, sensitive nature as well. The overall shape of the face, as well as the complexion, however, matches his father’s. The rest must come from recessive genes...

Alex runs through in her head what little she’s been able to piece together about Bobby’s father. She has to struggle to remember anything. He’s barely told me about his brother, let alone his father. I could tell that things were strained at best between them, but...

Her musings don’t keep her from overhearing the conversation. “He was looking into his options,” Mr. Hemmerick says, pulling out some forms. “He said he was going for our least expensive option, but he hadn’t actually signed the forms.”

Bobby suppresses a grimace. Cheapskate to the grave. Why am I not surprised? “He say why?” Same tone, tinged with the barest hint of bitterness.

Mr. Hemmerick acts like he doesn’t notice, although Alex suspects the man’s experience in dealing with families has given him a decent dose of perceptiveness. Probably good for business, she guesses. “He said he needed to check his finances. Make sure they were in order first. Told us it shouldn’t take long, and that he’d call back next day. That was about three days ago. When we didn’t hear back yesterday, I called him. His landlord answered, saying that Mr. Goren was dead, and that an ambulance was on the way. The ME looked at him and declared a heart attack the cause of death.”

Bobby pauses to absorb that, not noticing that Alex is paying attention. Inhaling deeply, he removes the bitter aspect from his voice. It won’t help him... “And I wasn’t informed sooner because...?”

Mr. Hemmerick sighs. “We had to dig – literally – through his papers to find contact information for any next-of-kin. Two names were listed. You were one of them. The other was a David J. Goren.” He looks inquisitively at Bobby, and Alex turns to face them.

Bobby releases a slow breath. He quietly, flatly, answers, “He’s my brother.” So my father remembered to list me in his final papers. Why?

So that’s his brother’s name, Alex thinks. What happened between them that makes it so hard for Bobby to even talk about him?

We attempted to contact the number written for him,” Mr. Hemmerick continues, apologetically, “but it was a company number in Tacoma. None of us could reach him.”

You tried that number before trying mine?” His flat tone conceals the mode of his thoughts, of how he’s not surprised that David would be listed as a contact, but he still can’t figure out why David isn’t the one handling this. He was Daddy's boy, Bobby remembers bitterly, after all...

Mr. Hemmerick clears his throat. “It was listed first, but your father didn’t have any personal contact information on either you or your brother. We had to look you up to find you.”

That makes Bobby blink. No contact data, not even for David? They were always close, even after... Dad left us. Apparently even after David left home after college. What happened to change that? “Last I heard, David was often traveling and could be difficult to reach.” His voice implies that no further questions should be attempted there. He doesn’t see a need to explain that his own lack of knowledge of his brother’s location is because he hasn’t spoken with or to him in years. Not nearly as long as the last time I... spoke to... our father... “I’ll try leaving a message for him.”

So, Alex notes, the task of settling the old man’s estate will fall entirely on Bobby. The younger son, who is filled with conflicting emotions about the whole deal. She stays put, but her eyes remain on Bobby, watching his decision-making process.

Mr. Hemmerick’s gentle tenor draws their focus back. “Mr. Goren mentioned that we shouldn’t wait long for his funeral. Apparently doubted that there’d be many who would come.”

It takes all of Bobby’s willpower to keep his eyes from bulging as he looks at the other man to check the truth of that statement. No sign of a lie. What the hell?

Alex is facing just the right angle to catch Bobby’s reaction. How to read it is another matter. Did his father knew lots of people when Bobby was young? I’m not sure whether he’s relieved or shocked.

A few seconds of thinking leads Bobby to decide to focus on that question later. Get everything else over with first. He maintains the neutral voice, needing to stay in total control of himself. “The signs up front said you can make arrangements with a local church on behalf of the family.”

Yes, and he did specify a church.” Mr. Hemmerick’s voice turns more professional as he hands Bobby a paper listing the Catholic church closest to the part of town where the apartment building is. “I have a list of dates and times right here.”

Bobby takes it and scans it. Get it over with as soon as possible... Pointing at the earliest date and time listed, he sighs, “Monday the 24th at 9a.m..”

Because his back is facing her, Bobby doesn’t see Alex flinch at the date and time. Dammit! I won’t be able to be there for him, to support him by just being there. Not when...

Alex tries to speak, but can’t make her vocal cords work. In the end, she realizes that she has no reason to give suggestions about when to hold the funeral. I’m not family, and this is the wrong time to tell him.

But she isn’t about to let him handle the rest of the arrangements on his own. Not for a nano-second.

One last thing. The landlord said that he’d appreciate it if Mr. Goren’s belongings were cleared out within a week,” Mr. Hemmerick says, hands and posture suggesting that they’re actually near the end of this conversation. He adds as a gentle afterthought, “He indicated that he might be able to assist if need be, and that he’ll have boxes ready whenever you come by.”

Bobby sighs, but Alex can’t read through the mask that’s settled on his face. She’s still not sure whether the calm that he’s exuding is a good sign or a bad one.

If Bobby could read her last thought, he wouldn’t be able to tell her which it is. His thoughts are too much of a mess, and he’s found that reading himself has never been a good idea. “Well, I appreciate the boxes and I’ll probably need them, but I’ll tell him that I’ll clean it out myself. I’ll check his financial papers tonight to see how the expenses will be covered.” He clears his throat, bracing himself for the task. “Thank you for all you’ve done.”

Alex holds her tongue as Mr. Hemmerick nods and shakes the hand Bobby extends. “You’re welcome, Detective. If there’s anything else, you have my card there,” he says, pointing to a business card held against the other papers with a paper clip. “If you want another few minutes here, I understand.”

Bobby nods, more out of courtesy than anything else, and turns back as Mr. Hemmerick walks out of the room. Bobby stops in front of the casket, and stares. What were you thinking in those last few minutes? What kind of a life were you living?

Alex watches him out of the corner of her eye; he doesn’t like being stared at on a good day, so she suspects he wouldn’t like being stared at now.

Bobby finally sighs. “I have to go check his finances, see how the funeral expenses will be covered, and I might as well start clearing the apartment. If you could drop me off, I’ll get a cab back home. I’ll get to work on time tomorrow.”

Bobby.” Her voice forces him to actually look at her. She’s not going to drop me off. She’s coming with me. He opens his mouth to protest, but she say simply, calmly, says, “I want to help, Bobby. You don’t have to be alone in dealing with this. Besides, the clearing out will go faster if two people do it.”

He sees the gentle offer, and cannot refuse. In any case, he knows better than to complain about expediency. Especially regarding matters that he would rather not be dealing with.

So he lets her lead the way back to the SUV. What she said bounces inside his brain. “You don’t have to be alone in dealing with this.” She wants to help, his mind struggles to absorb. Can I accept it? Help isn’t something Bobby can remember getting much of throughout his life. He had to learn to handle everything by himself. He found security in that solo reliance. Which is why it’s very hard to cooperate with partners. Sure, he can, but there seems to be a limit.

When they enter the vehicle and close the doors, Bobby glances at his partner. The one steady, calming force in his life. As they buckle in, the idea of having support next week becomes a beacon of hope. He manages to whisper, “E-Eames?”

Alex’s hand, ready to put the key into the ignition, stops. Her eyes dart over. “Yes?” Why that tone? He stammers a lot when he uses it. What’s making him so uncomfortable?

Bobby takes a few deep breaths, needing the time to prepare the question. He’s never asked her for anything that wasn’t even slightly connected to a case. God, this is harder than I thought. When he sees the concern in her eyes turning into alarm, he plows ahead, still whispering. “Do-Do you think... you could... come with me to the funeral?”

The keys nearly fall out of her hand as her eyes and mouth pop wide. Oh, my God. He’s asking me for a personal favor. He’s letting me into a very private part of his life... Maybe only a little bit, but a part I knew next to nothing about until now. Wait, I still know next to nothing about it. Any increase is measurable in fractions of a degree... Given that Bobby won’t mention him at all... The old man must’ve done something Bobby finds hard to forgive, and Bobby doesn’t seem to hold grudges, so it must be bad...

Eames?” Her silence worries him, making him raise his volume to the inside-the-car level. She’s stunned, he thinks, because she didn’t expect this from me... I’ve never asked anything from her... personally.

Alex pulls herself together, swallowing. This is it, she silently acknowledges. I have to come clean. Her eyes drop from his face, to help herself start. “Bobby, I...” She swallows again, willing her voice to steady. “I wish I could. I really do.”

He’s very glad he worked so hard on developing such through self-discipline; without it, his disappointment would radiate so much a blind man could’ve seen it. Alex – he can’t call her that, but that’s the name he uses whenever he thinks about her – would... Well, he’s not sure how she’d react to the intensity of his disappointment, but he can’t take the chance. A grimace crosses his face before he can stop it. “Another doctor’s appointment?” No rancor, no frustration is allowed into his voice. Just a flat tone.

He’s right, but he’s got no clue about the why, she thinks. He wanted my company, and asking took a lot of courage. I have to tell him. She clears her throat. “Um... Yeah, but it’s not for me.” When he frowns, eyes darting to hers, she hastily adds, “Well, I’m the one who’s having something done, but it’s a favor for my sister.”

Bobby’s confused. “What kind of favor? Is she still sick?”

No, Sheila is fully recovered, but the cancer and treatments had a serious consequence. Her ovaries are damaged. The eggs are useless, and her uterus...” Alex pauses, struggling for the right words as her eyes drift back to wheel. Her hands move aimlessly as her voice leaks her empathy. “The doctors’ don’t think she can safely carry another child, but she and Edward want another child. Badly. They thought about adoption, but they want the baby to be related to everyone.”

He blinks. What does this have to do with her...?

Feeling his confusion, Alex takes a deep breath before looking at him. He deserves eye contact for this part, she knows. “I’ve been getting hormone injections, and being regularly examined, because I’ve agreed to donate eggs to them and to carry the baby.” Her breath nearly catches, waiting for his response.

Bobby’s unable to move. A surrogate and egg donor? She’s okay, she’s always been fine, his mind races with relief. She’s fine...

So he’s absorbing that. Alex observes. Better add the other part now, while I have his attention. “I’m finishing the last of the injections this week, preparing for the retrieval.”

The tension of earlier falls to the wayside, allowing Bobby to focus on the reasons behind the past few weeks. Wow... “That’s... that’s incredibly generous. You really want to do this?”

A genuine smile slides onto her face. “They’re great parents, and I’d do a lot for my sister. Besides, I get to experience what it’s like to bring a life into the world without it interfering with my job too much.” This isn’t the best time to mention the necessity for a temporary partner...

A tiny smile crosses his face as the bounds of how far she’ll go expand in his mind. “There’s really nothing you can’t do, is there?”

Alex drops her head, feeling her cheeks warm. Don't look him in the eye, she cautions herself. You might see more than you want him to... “Thank you.” It feels inadequate, but what else is there to say?

His mind starts making connections, and he sighs. “So is that why you can’t come? The retrieval is at the same time?” The realization fails to pull his slightly lifted mood down; he can’t stay upset with her for long. Hasn’t been able to since about a year after they met.

She sighs, nodding. “But I want you to know that if you need company or someone to talk to, call me. Even on that day. I’ll be out by around noon and I’m having lunch with them, but after about one I should be free. Don’t worry about about infringing on my time with my family,” she adds at the reluctance on his face. “They know I’ll want time alone after the appointment, so we’re not planning anything after noon. You wouldn’t be imposing. If you just want to sit around and not talk, that’s fine. I’d be happy to help in any way I can.”

Bobby purses his lips. Does she mean that?

I mean it,” Alex stresses, spotting the hesitation. “Just keep it in mind, okay?”

He takes a few deep breaths, and sighs, “Okay.” I wonder if I’ll remember come Monday, if I’ll be too distracted... Those thoughts bring him back down to where he was before his opinion of her took a huge leap.

Alex nods, and starts the engine. Bobby swallows heavily, his mind already switching to the... task ahead.




Less than thirty minutes later, Bobby unlocks the door into his father’s apartment. He takes a deep breath before slowly entering the unknown territory.

Alex slowly follows. Casting her eyes about the pigsty, she’s reminded of visiting her brothers – the Terrible Twins, as the family called them – Chris and Elliot at college. This place looks worse than their rooms did, she grimaces. She wonders how long it’ll take them to find anything in this mess. None of my brothers at their worst, in college or not, were this messy...

He never was much of a housekeeper.” The quiet voice startles her, and her eyes dart to Bobby’s face. Unreadable expression, but his eyes... There’s a moist, distant look. Flash to the past...?

Bobby is reminded of how his mom was the one who kept the home clean and organized, and how his father couldn’t organize if his life had depended on it. He walks around, trying to get a feel for what life his father had led in his last years. Trying to gain an insight into a man he knows so little about, but cannot forget. The man whose approval he sought for so long... all for naught. Maybe Bobby would finally get answers to why his father did what he did. Then again, he realizes and not for the first time, maybe I don’t want to know...

The kitchen and living area are basically one room, divided by the island the sink is in. One table, overflowing with papers and books, stands in the middle of the room. An old oak desk rests against the wall opposite the bedroom area, also overflowing with papers. Bobby stops in the kitchen area, standing in front of the sink, staring at the number of TV dinner boxes and plastic utensils still on the counter top. His eyes take in the TV stationed across from the sink. He stood right here, Bobby thinks, eating over the sink while he watched TV. Apparently habitually, given the crumbs around the sink. Bobby’s eyes also notice the avocado pits in the glass of water on the raised part of the island. Dad never cared for having plants in the house. What are those doing here...? A little sign of life?

Alex scans the room, not finding anything that makes the room feel personal, including photos on the walls or tables or shelves. Her brain struggles for explanations. He wasn’t that type? What’s the deal...? Didn’t want reminders of what he’d thrown away?

Bobby’s eyes turn to the bedroom. He twitches at the idea of setting foot in there, but... it has to be done. I survived his words when we last spoke, he tells himself. I can survive this...

Alex hesitates about following him. Alex never likes setting foot inside her parents’ bedroom; she always feels like an intruder. Probably started when she became a preteen... Bobby almost certainly would rather be having root canals on all of his teeth at once – without proper meds – than be there, she’s positive, but with his thoroughness, he just has to walk through it. Though he might prefer that she not step in there, she follows, obeying her protective instinct.

Actually, maybe I should clear out this area myself, she thinks. Bobby can’t possibly want to touch his father’s really personal things; he’s probably already wondering where they’ve been and what they’ve touched. Or who’s touched them. It might spare his heart and mind a lot of grief if he doesn’t have to pack them, and spare his mind from thoughts that will only add to the pain.

Her eyes case the tiny room. Not much in the way of personal possessions. The bed’s on the floor, with simple dark blue sheets and a comforter. And one pillow. All unmade, but only looking like one person slept in it. A breath she didn’t realize she was holding escapes her, relief that the old man had been alone. Probably didn’t have time to make his bed before his heart gave out, if he made his bed on a regular basis, she speculates silently.

A dresser made out of light-colored wood, with three drawers and a rack that’s attached on top, in the corner next to the large window with dirty gray blinds covering the New York night-time view. A black nightstand with a small lamp, on the right of the bed. On the nightstand are a few books of Tolkien’s notes on “The Lord of the Rings,” published after his death by his son Christopher. “The Silmarillion” rests on top, with several bookmarks in it. Was he catching up to compare the movies to the books, Alex wonders, or just reading for pleasure...?

Clothes are all over the floor, like he didn’t have the energy or the urge to pick them up unless they needed to be washed. Pants, socks, shirts, sweats... Nothing nicer. Maybe some hanging in the closet. Folded clothes on the drawer were probably the only visible things that were clean.

No pictures on the walls, nor posters. No photos on the dresser or the nightstand. Aside from the mess on the floor, the room seems impersonal. Like anyone could’ve lived here. And no evidence of any girlfriends. Thank goodness for that, she thinks. In Bobby’s current state, Alex has no clue how he’d react to such evidence, and she doesn’t want to find out.

He turns around, sighing. “Let’s get this over with.” His bitterness, frustration, and other emotions he can’t be bothered to identify radiate off him, filling the room.

She nods, going for a helpful, quiet voice. “I’ll start the packing. You okay with going through the papers?”

Bobby looks hard at her. Part of him still wants to do all this by himself, but thinking about the extra time that would take makes him relent. May as well get that done, he thinks, and I know what to look for. “Okay,” he whispers, walking back into the living area.

Alex is surprised at how easily he agreed. Guess his preference to not touch his father’s things until he has to allowed him to accept my help... Or, she thinks, maybe he’s grateful I insisted on helping... If so, he’ll get around to showing it probably in a few weeks. If the past is any guide.

Within minutes she’s taping up boxes, preparing to pack everything she finds, while he’s sitting at the desk in the little living room, sorting through the papers to determine what financial state his father left behind. The analytical nature of the task was better for him than the more mindless one of packing things that he might not be ready to see right now.

Besides, packing allows Alex to let her mind safely wander and gives him the silence he certainly wants. Although she questions whether silence is the best thing for Bobby, she doesn’t know what she would talk about, and there’s too much she needs to sort through in her head. Also, he can’t stand sympathy, even from her. He’s never seemed capable of accepting sympathy or understanding from anyone, probably because he’s received so little of either throughout his life.

They’ve only been at their respective tasks for several minutes when Alex’s stomach starts to complain about the hour. A glance at Bobby says he didn’t hear it. She promises her stomach that when Bobby’s ready to leave – or when she decides that they’re ready to leave for the night, whichever comes first – she’s taking them to the first place she can find with decent, inexpensive food.

And if that place happens to be a pub... Well, going and getting drunk might look like an improvement on his current state to Bobby. Then again, when she stops to think about it, does she really want to deal with a drunk Bobby Goren...? Given all he has to deal with, all he’s been through in his life, he might not be a pleasant drunk... And I’m a lot smaller than he is... Oh, he wouldn’t hurt me, even under the influence, but he’d be awfully hard to drag around if his ability to move is impaired. I have a hard enough time dragging him around when he’s stone cold sober.

Alex starts by throwing every bit of obvious trash from the kitchen into bags. A few damp paper towels take care of the crumbs on the counter tops. Some of the food in the fridge, freezer, and pantry are still good, so she figures a stop by some shelter is in the queue in the next day or so. She can’t imagine that Bobby would take any of it home.

Opening one cabinet over a now bare counter top, she pauses. Well, I suppose that Bobby might consider taking some of this... Seems his father had a good and wide-ranging taste in alcohol, Alex observes. And if he doesn’t want any of it... I might take it off his hands. After all, one thing my wild college days taught me is that good booze should never be allowed to go to waste...

Suddenly, Alex recalls all the times she and Bobby had drinks. He always sticks to one drink, and rarely finishes what he orders. Even if she has more to drink, she rarely has to let him drive. Despite her size, she’s always had a high tolerance for alcohol.

Her breath catches in her throat as a possibility dawns on her. Daddy Dearest was an alcoholic. That’s why Bobby won’t let himself get drunk... He doesn’t want to know if he’s like the old man... Alex takes a moment to gather herself, to resume cleaning. Guess I’ll offer to take them off his hands.

The kitchen doesn’t take long to be cleared, aside from dishes that she puts in the sink to soak and the food that she’ll put into bags later. She moves on to the books in the living room, stored on a shelf right by the bedroom door. As she tapes the bottom of a U-Haul box, preparing to pack said books, she does a once-over on the titles. Paul Goren owned an abundance of books in various fiction genres and by many authors, mostly sci-fi and fantasy, but with some mystery mixed in.

Tolkien, Niven, Pournelle, Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Zelazny, Herburt... They’re all there, along with others Alex has heard of, and some she hasn’t. And every one of the books has been well-thumbed, Alex notes as she puts them into the box a few at a time. Finding her own thoughts too dicey to dwell on under the circumstances, she focuses on the books, recalling her experiences reading them. All of their best works, along with some she doesn’t remember.

Alex’s own collection of books runs all over the fiction arena. Oh, it leaks into non-fiction; some of her college textbooks, law enforcement manuals, and a couple of psychology books—among other subjects—grace her shelves. She wanted to be a cop for as long as she can remember, and she’s always had an interest in psychology; she knew it’d give her an edge in fighting crime. Her interest in the subject has increased since Bobby entered her life over four years ago.

The non-fiction isn’t more than a few books on horses. Nothing to suggest what the man did for a living...

She reaches for the next books without looking, and freezes when she sees a book on schizophrenia, published just last year – a huge deal was made over it, and Alex bought a copy during a sale – and it looks like the old man read it a lot; it still has the sticker from Barnes & Noble, and the middles of the page edges have been stained by oils from fingertips. A torn piece of paper serves as a bookmark, sticking out the top. Alex opens to that page, sees more evidence of frequent reading. Especially over the section that indicates that schizophrenia can manifest itself under serious stress.

Feeling remorseful at the end, were ya? Started to think if anyone could be blamed, maybe it was you? Too little, too late, you sorry old bastard. She clenches her teeth, imagining the pain and suffering his family went through because of him walking out. Alex stuffs that piles into the next box immediately; she can’t imagine that seeing it will do anything other than add to Bobby’s already conflicted emotions.

That he’s holding himself ramrod straight in the chair – unless he has to really reach for something – screams that he’s holding everything in, that he’s scared of what might happen if he lets it out. Frightened that he’ll scare her away?

Maybe that’s why he’s always so careful about what he says to her, around her, and about what he does when she’s nearby. Even when they first met – she still clearly pictures how startled he was to realize that “Alex Eames” was a woman—he was nothing but a gentleman. And once she showed a high tolerance for his quirks, he started sharing his theories and ideas more readily. The few times they’ve argued, it’s been about the current case, hypothesis, or plan.

Not for the first time, Alex ponders the extent of how careful he's become around her. He doesn’t want to risk doing anything that might drive me away, or even make me think about leaving him. Cringing at the memory of what nearly got her to leave, Alex needs a few seconds to shake off the mood. I'm not leaving him now. He doesn’t realize that it would take something horrendous to do that. And that would require an extreme that she’s convinced he’s incapable of. He’s not a violent person, and, while he’ll go quite the distance in capturing the bad guys, he keeps himself on a tight reign.

But his control can be shaken. If the correct buttons are pushed... Alex rapidly shrugs off that painful memory before it comes into full view. Focus on the present, detective.

She doesn’t know because she didn’t look back in time, but Bobby did see the book before he sat down. He froze, no idea what to make of it. Dad wouldn’t even hear anything about it after he was told, he recalls. Four years his behavior continued... then he was gone... Out of the house for good... Mom served him the papers soon after...

Seeing your mother basically clobbered in court isn’t good for any kid, let alone one as sensitive as Bobby Goren. Especially when he didn’t realize that being that wasn’t a bad thing. The glares David gave him, those silent accusations, all weighed heavily on Bobby. Hard for a child that young and that sensitive who was made to think he was worthless to not think that he was to blame for his father leaving. Or for his mother’s illness...

Bobby shakes his head, standing slowly. “I’m not sure if there’ll be enough to cover the funeral,” he informs Alex quietly. He stares at the papers, pushing out, “A few too many times at the horse races, it looks like.”

Alex contemplates what she could say, but draws blanks. Guess I should remain quiet on that, she decides, continuing the packing. “So what now?” Maybe if I keep him busy, he’ll be a little better off.

He sighs, not getting anything off his shoulders with it, and walks over to join her. Being here, Bobby knows, it’s like being back in childhood... The feelings that weighed you down come back full force, leaving you as confused as ever. He lifts a pile of papers off what looks like a stack of old newspapers to sort it, and sucks in a breath.

Alex whips around at Bobby’s gasp. “What is it?” She rushes to his side, putting down the books in her hands, to look over his shoulder. She blinks several times when she sees what stunned him. The top paper features a Ledger article from a month ago that mentioned Bobby. She grabs it, and finds an article from another paper about the same case.

What the hell...? Bobby’s brain is working overtime, scrapping for any idea why the man who never hid his dislike of him would have these... His hands grab the papers, uncovering more and more articles – going further back in his NYPD career – about very public cases.

Alex helps him, feeding off his shock. She’s positive that every time he made the papers is in here, the stack is so thick.

The whirlwind inside Bobby’s head quickly becomes too much for him. I’m gonna get a headache... He tosses the papers to the floor and pushes himself up. “Let’s get more of the packing done,” he grunts, moving to put together more boxes.

Alex stays put momentarily, noting the heightened tension in his shoulders and back. Oh, God... Her heart bleeds for his pain. What did he do and say to you, Bobby? She evaluates her options, hoping to think of something she can say or do to help. Nothing comes to mind, so she silently sighs and resumes packing the books. I need to stand by him till Sunday night, and then after the appointment. Even if he fights me...


Chapter 4


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
roseau
May. 4th, 2013 03:11 pm (UTC)
Phoenix Chapter 3
This is good....any more?
tkel_paris
May. 4th, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Phoenix Chapter 3
Yes, there is. Just need to get them up. So glad someone's reading my CI stuff! :D
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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