“Uh... What the fuck...?” Mike asked, stunned by Bobby's abrupt and unexpected exit.

“He couldn't possibly be upset at seeing that place destroyed, could he?” Margaret wondered incredulously.

“Stockholm Syndrome,” Carolyn murmured worriedly, and George nodded his agreement with her tentative assessment.

“More than likely. He hated the place, but there was a strong attachment there, as well.”

Frowning, Alex started to get up.

“Stockholm my ass. I'm going to go and talk to him.”

She was stopped, though, when George rose up and laid a hand on her shoulder.

“Let me, Alex. I'll talk to him.”

For a brief moment, it looked as though she was going to disregard him, and go anyway. But then, slowly and with visible reluctance, she dropped back onto the sofa, next to Mike. Nodding with gratitude at her apparent trust, George hurried from the room to find Bobby.

Bobby fled to the only safe haven he knew now – his bedroom. Shaking, and sick to his stomach with distress, he sank to the floor in the same corner of the room where Alex had found him the previous morning. And it was there that George found him, trembling uncontrollably and struggling to hold back sobs.

George paused in the doorway, watching Bobby thoughtfully. He knew that after nine months in captivity, it was entirely likely that Bobby was suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, but somehow he didn't think that was the reason behind Bobby's reaction to the footage they'd just seen. It wasn't anger that Bobby had displayed at seeing the destruction of the Centre; it was fear. Despite seeing the Centre blown up and left in ruins, Bobby was still acutely afraid.

He didn't yet understand why, but if he was going to begin to help Bobby, he needed to find out as soon as possible. He only hoped that Bobby would be willing to talk to him.

Making a snap decision, George walked over and sat down on the floor opposite the big detective, making certain to allow Bobby plenty of space. He sat up straight, ensuring they were eye to eye, and saying nothing while he waited to be sure Bobby was aware of his presence.

For his part, Bobby said nothing, but peered disconcertedly at George, as though uncertain of what he wanted.

“I think your friends were expecting a somewhat different reaction from you.”

Still Bobby stayed silent, and he looked away in misery. George considered his next words carefully before continuing on.

“You're not sorry to see that place destroyed.”

It was a statement of fact, not a question. Bobby glanced at him briefly, but still stayed silent. George wasn't surprised. He knew Bobby Goren's reputation where psychiatrists were concerned. He'd heard many a story from Emil Skoda of Bobby's infamous ability to run rings around Departmental psychiatrists. It was no surprise to him here and now that he was going to have to work to get his newest patient to open up. His only consolation was that in his current state of mind, Bobby was hopefully not up to playing those mind games.

“What is it that you're afraid of, Bobby?” George asked softly. The look on Bobby's face turned incredulous.

“Did they tell you anything?” he asked hoarsely. George didn't flinch away from the hostility in Bobby's eyes and voice.

“I know the basics.”

He made no effort to suggest that Bobby tell him anything. He either would, or he wouldn't, and no amount of prodding was going to draw the grim tale out of Bobby if he didn't want to share it.

Bobby looked away again, his body shuddering as he cried silent tears. George also sat in silence, trying to decide what to say next. A good few minutes passed when Bobby suddenly spoke.

“He's wrong.”

“Who is?” George asked, pleased that Bobby had found his voice without having to be prompted.

“Jarod,” Bobby whispered. “He said I'd be safe, but he's wrong.”

“Why do you think that?” George asked, genuinely confused.

“The Centre,” Bobby whispered shakily, sounding as though every word he spoke was causing him actual, physical pain. “It... It's not just a building. And there... there are other Centre bases, anyway. It... It's the people, too... And the people all escaped.”

And then George understood.

“You're afraid they'll still come after you, even though the base is gone.”

A bitter, guttural laugh erupted from deep within Bobby's throat, and that sound of it was chilling to George's ears.

“I'm not a fool. I know they will.” He paused, still shedding tears. “I'll never be safe. As long as Raines, Lyle, Sydney... As long as all of them are alive, I'll never be safe.”

George watched him intently, trying to determine what he could possibly say to assuage Bobby's fear and distress, but the truth was that he didn't yet have anything to offer. After a long moment's thoughtful consideration, he decided to opt for a temporary measure.

“Bobby, I have a question for you, and I want you, and I want you to think about it before you answer me.”

“What?” Bobby asked hoarsely.

“Do you feel safe here?”

Bobby shut his eyes, and George waited in patient silence for him to think about it. The minutes ticked by, but still George didn't interrupt, or try to rush a response from him. Patience was a virtue, but in this case it was also absolutely vital.

When Bobby looked at George again, his eyes were wet with fresh tears, and he seemed almost on the verge of a complete breakdown. He spoke in a whisper that George had to strain to hear.

“Y... Yes.”

“Can you bring yourself to completely trust at least one person here?”

Bobby didn't need to think about that.

“Alex,” he whispered and George nodded, not the least bit surprised.

“If you trust Alex, then can you accept that she trusts everyone else that's here?”

Even in his state of mind, it didn't take Bobby much effort to see where George was taking this.

“If I trust Alex... and she trusts everyone else... then I can trust them too.”

George had to smile.

“Yes,” he said simply.

Bobby stared at him, and the exhaustion in his eyes was all too visible.

“Was... Was that our first s... session?”

“I guess so,” George conceded.

“You didn't a... ask how I was f... feeling.”

It took a monumental effort on George's part not to laugh out loud at that.

“Bobby, I'd be a pretty poor psychiatrist if I couldn't figure that out just by looking at you. I promise you now that I'm not going to ask you idiot questions like that without having a specific intent. All right?”

Bobby nodded, too shaken and too exhausted to be able to show the relief he felt.

“And... what's your intent n... now?”

George considered that for a moment before replying.

“You need to be able to focus now and concentrate on recovering... physically, mentally and emotionally. You're only going to be able to do that if you feel safe, and in order to feel safe here, you need to be able to trust the people around you now. We've established that you trust us, haven't we?”

Bobby let his breath out in a shuddering sigh as he finally realised where George was taking this.

“Yes,” he agreed softly.

“Okay. Then, can you accept that you're safe?”

Another shuddering sigh, and George watched the tension and fear begin to bleed out of Bobby's abused body.


When George returned to the family room, he wasn't surprised to find none of them had moved. Nor was he surprised that when he walked back in, the first person to get up was Alex.

“Is he all right?” she asked anxiously. George mused with quiet interest that Alex's concern was for Bobby's state of mind and wellbeing, and that she seemed to have no immediate interest in what had triggered his reaction in the first place.

“For now,” George answered. “He's still in his room. You can go to him...”

He barely finished the sentence before Alex literally bolted from the room.

“You know,” he mused, “I'd need a bit longer observing them, but I'd almost be inclined to think that they're...”

“Don't go there, Doctor,” Deakins cut him off quickly. George raised an eyebrow in bemusement.

“You don't think they are...?”

“I didn't say that, but what I am saying is that while we're here, and the situation is what it is, I am not going to speculate. We've already had to do things that none of us would have otherwise considered doing... things that ordinarily would have been unprofessional. But that's what circumstances at the moment are dictating, and so that's just how it is. How it has to be.” He frowned slightly as his own perceived inability to express himself properly. “I'm sorry, I don't think I'm making much sense.”

“On the contrary, Captain Deakins, you're making perfect sense,” George reassured him.

“So, are you going to tell us what happened?” Mike asked, starting to sound irritable. “Or does that fall under doctor-patient confidentiality?”

George smiled and chuckled softly, not taking Mike's attitude to heart.

“No, it doesn't, Detective Logan. Basically, Bobby's reaction stemmed from the fact that he sees the Centre as more than just a building. That place may have been destroyed, but the people who were responsible for his captivity are still free. He doesn't believe he'll be safe as long as they're still out there.” George looked across at Jarod. “He took exception to you telling him that he'd be safe now, when he can't bring himself to believe that. Tell me, do you believe it?”

Jarod sighed softly.

“While Bobby's here, yes. He's safe here. Beyond that? I don't know. I wish I could say yes...”

“But you can't.”

“No,” Jarod conceded.

“He gave names,” George went on. “People that he's specifically afraid of. Raines...”

“No surprise,” Charles muttered. George nodded.

“He also named someone called Lyle, and Sydney.”

Jarod started a little in shock.

“He named Sydney? Are you sure?”

“I'm sure,” George answered. “He's starkly afraid that all three of them will actively try to get him back. I couldn't tell him he was wrong about that. I don't know enough about this situation yet to be able to say anything like that. You all know more than I do. Is he wrong?”

All eyes turned to Jarod, who seemed to wilt under the attention.

“No,” he said finally, grimly. “He's not wrong.”

“I didn't think so,” George murmured.

Jarod looked as though he wanted to say something more, but couldn't quite bring himself to, and George didn't push it with him. Instead, he made a mental note to catch up with Jarod at a later point, and talk with him indepth... if the man would allow it.

“Is he okay for now?” Deakins asked, and there was a hint of desperation in his voice.

“For now?” George said. “He's all right. He was able to accept that he trusts everyone here, and that he's safe at the moment. It's actually a pretty big step for him to come to that conclusion, and he did it with minimal prompting.”

“You know his reputation for leading psychiatrists in circles, don't you?” Deakins asked wryly, and George chuckled.

“Yes, I know, but believe me when I say that he is not mentally strong enough right now to even consider employing those sorts of tactics. I'm hoping that by the time he is, he'll trust me enough not to want to do it.”

“That's a slim hope, Doc,” Mike retorted. “He doesn't trust shrinks. He never has.”

George smiled knowingly.

“Maybe. We'll see.”

Alex was surprised to get to Bobby's room, and find him not huddled in the corner, but standing at the sliding glass partition that led out onto the little patio area outside. He had one hand resting on the glass, as though he longed to go outside but didn't dare try.


She spoke from the doorway, not wanting to come up behind him and startle him. His head turned fractionally in acknowledgement of her presence, and she then ventured into the room and over to his side.

“It's a beautiful day outside,” she said softly. “Not too cold... You know you just have to open these doors, and you could feel the breeze on your face?”

She watched as a single tear rolled down his cheek.

“I want to,” he whispered. “But, I can't. I... I'm afraid.”

“It's okay,” she said, not surprised by his admission, and not disappointed, either. “Maybe another day. But at least you can see outside now.”

“The only time I saw daylight was when Angelo helped me escape,” he told her softly. “That was the only time. I was underground for so long... Alex, how long did they have me for?”

At that, Alex baulked. Bobby obviously had no clear idea of just how long he had been gone for. To him, it was just 'a long time'. She dreaded his reaction upon learning that he had been a prisoner for nearly nine months.

“Bobby, you don't need to know that,” she told him, hoping he would accept her words. She should have known better.

“Please tell me, Alex,” he begged her. “I need to know how long I was kept there for.”

“Nine months,” she answered softly. He answered that revelation with silence. Alex watched him worriedly, not quite sure what to expect from him.

“Funny,” he whispered, his voice taking on a telltale tremor. “It f...felt a lot longer...”

The tears came in a sudden flood, and he sank to the floor where he stood, finally breaking down completely. Alex went down with him, putting her arms around him without hesitation and hugging him fiercely in silent comfort.

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