Bobby glanced sideways at Alex as they sat in the SUV not too far from the courthouse. He could easily have pretended he didn’t know what she was talking about, but he did know, and he knew damned well that now was not the time to play those sorts of mind games.

“I… didn’t think you’d want me to… you know… in front of everyone.”

She smiled. It was a ghostly smile, and it gave him chills. He hated seeing that haunted look in her eyes. He remembered seeing it only twice before in the entire time he’d known her. Twelve months previous, when he’d finally emerged from within the prison walls with Mike Logan, and approximately two years ago, immediately after handing over to her sister the precious life she’d given birth to.

“I would have decked you if you’d tried any of that warm fuzzy bullshit in front of everyone,” she said bluntly, and Bobby had to chuckle. The sound of his soft laughter chased away some of the shadows that had been gathering around her, and this time her responsive smile seemed more genuine… less forced.

“I know it doesn’t make it any easier,” he said tentatively. “But he didn’t give us… you… He didn’t give you any choice.”

“You’re right,” she agreed, and her voice took on a hard edge. “It doesn’t make it any easier.”

He knew that tone only too well. It was the same tone she had used when he’d argued with Carver over whether John Tagman deserved the death penalty. It was the tone she used whenever he said or did something that grated on her, or was manifestly inappropriate.

He sighed softly.

“I’m sorry, Eames. I want to say the right thing… but I don’t know what that is.”

“Did you think that maybe the right thing was to say nothing?” she asked. He looked at her, perplexed, and she returned his gaze with a reassuring smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.

“Just… be here for me. As long as I know I’ve got your support, I’ll be fine.”

Her hand rested on the gear stick, and after a moment’s consideration he covered her petite hand with his own big bear paw.

“You’ve always had that, Eames. You always will.”

She nodded, satisfied.

“That’s all I’m asking. Now, let’s get back. We have to report to Deakins.”

He withdrew his hand, but not too quickly. She smiled at him again, and this time it did reach her eyes. She started the engine, and headed back out into the mid-morning traffic, so they could get back to One Police Plaza, and get on with their day.


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