Rating: very mild R
Description: “Alex didn’t think of Tates when she tucked her handcuffs underneath the corner of her mattress.”
Disclaimer: The characters and universe of Law & Order: Criminal Intent belong to Dick Wolf, NBC, USA, etc. No copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author’s Notes: Post-Season-7-ish. Hmmm . . . I began with the intention of writing a smutty drabble, but a bit of a transmogrification occurred between there and here.
Alex didn’t think of Tates when she tucked her handcuffs underneath the corner of her mattress. Instead, she was thinking of their first collar as partners--how the blustering, wildly gesticulating, entirely overpowering Detective Robert Goren stumbled over his own feet and the perp’s Miranda rights when she clicked the metal bracelets closed.
She wasn’t thinking of much at all except the broad arc of his body moving restlessly beneath her and his fingernails digging into the crest of her hip when she slipped them out and cuffed him neatly and efficiently to her headboard.
She didn’t have time to think before he heaved himself upright, and she tumbled onto the rug beside her bed to the splintering sound of a bar being wrenched from the headboard. When the room stopped sloshing back and forth like a dinghy at sea, she looked up to see Bobby on the edge of the bed, practically vibrating in agitation and stammering apologies with the incoherence of the well and truly freaked-out.
Alex dug the heels of her palms into her eyes. She’d screwed up royally, and she was the one who should be apologizing. She was the one who was supposed to be rational and logical; she was the one who thought things through, considered the ramifications of their actions, and made sure Bobby didn’t go off the deep end. And now she’d pushed him. One stupid, selfish, thoughtless mistake, and she was back in that narrow cell where they’d found him, an ache descending through her chest as he cringed sightlessly away from her, his hands flexing and curling around each raw wrist in turn.
If Alex hadn’t thought of Tates when she tucked her handcuffs underneath the corner of her mattress, she certainly hadn’t considered Jo Gage. Bobby’s panting, blank-eyed panic was like a firing pin striking the primer she thought she’d learned to tuck away in the deep, dark recesses of her psyche. Once ignited, there was nothing she could do to stop the flare of terror that flashed through her senses. She could hear the unrelenting screams and feel the sticky residue of duct tape and blood that lingered long after soap and water had dissolved the physical evidence, and his prison cell dissolved into a dank basement as her hands slipped around the phantom ache in her shoulders.
An involuntary whimper high in the back of her throat began to dispel that awful vacuity from his face, and he looked at her with eyes so sorrowful she couldn’t keep his gaze. With a grunt, he dropped heavily to the floor beside her, his bad knee awkwardly stretched out in front of him and the other long leg folded beneath. He made no further move except to lean against her side, his warm, solid bulk becoming the anchor that tugged her out of the past’s fragmented wreckage and tethered her safely to the present.
“We’re a mess,” escaped her mouth as she tried to gulp back laughter verging on the hysterical.
“Yeah,” he agreed, his fingers flicking in and out of his palms--a bit spasmodically, perhaps, but beginning to settle into the familiar pattern. “But at least, at least we’re a mess together.”