letsallchant: (Default)
letsallchant ([personal profile] letsallchant) wrote2011-10-30 11:38 pm

Afterlife: Reunited and it feels so good...

Note: Was written for the Valentines Day '11 Challenge for ci_fans_unite. Possible beginning to PWP if you so choose. Or just friends fic. Just like the series finale, really. : D

He thinks about her, imagines her in his head. He vaguely tries to remember what the exact shade of honey her hair is nowadays, but he can't quite remember. The details are already getting hazy, his mental portrait of her becoming more ephemeral and delicate as glass by the day.

Her does remember her smile, which consisted of small teeth, turning up at the corners of her mouth, her lips becoming thinner, something between a smirk and a leer. There was something about her that unsettled him back then, a question of whether or not he could trust her. As time went on, cases were moved, loyalties were made, habits were created and a routine was perfected, her eyes seemed warmer to him, and more open, as if to say "You're in on the joke too."

On the 3rd week he tried to call her.

He was about half-way into the automated voice system when he remembered that after a decade and 5 months of knowing her, he only had her work number. A decade and this was as far as personal relations had progressed with them. He knew better.... he'd thought anyway.

He took tried not to think about her, and tried to focus on the Spanish film he was watching. He watched as the man recounted the story of how he lost his lover, his muse, and in the process, all of the the life and vitality inside of him. When she died, the man died, but there's life in an afterlife. At the end, there's the sense that the man will continue on, former shell of himself or not. Credits roll, and he feels sicker than he did earlier.

On the fifth week, he reads a little, shamefully, yet dutifully collects his unemployment check, and watches porn. He focuses on the woman, carefully studying her expressions, searching for signs of pleasure and arousal on her face, yet feeling none himself. He blames it in on the fact that he's pushing 50, has seen it all and bored with the fact. He fancies himself a vampire, drinking cognac in his den of ancient books, elite decadence surrounding him, instead of his current dreary reality. The only thing he has in common with his fantastical counterpart is the empty hours turning into days, turning into weeks turning to months that lie ahead of and behind him.

He's at the store, buying his usual 2 lbs of meat, and various arrays of Hungry Man tv-dinners when he spots them in impulse buy section in the checkout aisle: bright tropical blue plastic hearts with a skittles label, and a purple bow tied onto them in honor of Valentines Day. They stand out amongst the display, looking out of season, not exactly fitting in next to their dwindling red cousins. He supposes they were really never a popular flavor. In fact, Eames is the only one he knew who liked them, preferring them over the original, and something about this seems symbolic to him.

He ends up nearly buying out the tiny display. He figures there's probably a lot more where that came from.

There's wasn't much he could do with Skittles, he thought to himself later on. He cracked open a heart and tried to eat a few, but he hated the sugery sour taste, the acidic artificial colors melting onto his tongue. He asked himself what he was thinking, buying all this candy he didn't want or need, but he knew exactly what he was thinking at the time.

He rubs his finger against the steering wheel. He thought about leaving them at the cyber crimes unit, where Nichols says she's stationed now. Once he worked up the nerve and went over there, he saw a display of lush variety of roses and perfectly arranged balloons, his white plastic grocery sack just looked sad and almost pathetic. As not to insult the arrangements sitting over by the lobby, he left without notice.

He didn't want to go in. He tried to ration out why the thought of approaching Eames seemed so scary to him, why he was now parked across from her apartment like a paparazzo stalking a starlet. It's not that he's so scared of her, but more of what he wants to say to her. Communication never came easy to him at the times when he needs it the most.

He could just go in right now. He could see her, see how she's doing. This was an option right now. He could do it.

As he shuts the car door, he figures at the very worst, she might not be home, and he won't be able to look at her, talk to her, or watch the surprise spread across her face.

He can't help but smile as he watches her mouth gape open involuntarily. No words are exchanged, not even a simple"Hi" or "Eames" or "Bobby," and he can't stop himself from bending down and wrapping his arms around her. They stay like that for a what feels like a long time. Afterward, she gestures him into her apartment which is tiny, warm, cozy and smelling of vanilla.

"Now, WHO are you again?" she says smiling before she finally sits down next to him.

He laughs, and things feel right and normal, like they haven't missed a beat, their chemistry restored to it's usual order.

"I'm shocked, but I can't say I'm entirely unsurprised. You know, the receptionist over at the station said that a man came by and dropped something off for me yesterday, but when she hung-up the phone and turned around, he was gone. She thought I either had a stalker or a secret admirer."

"Oh," he said, "You probably had to narrow down the list, huh?"

"Yeah, I have a stable full of them just throwing themselves at me. A man-harem. It gets annoying."

They smile and lock eyes for longer than is comfortable for either of them before she speaks again.

"So...are you going to let loose of the goods in that sack or not?"

They talk about everything, and yet nothing. He learns she's working on a case involving ebay fraud; he's been getting by on the state of New York and William Brady's dime.

They've both been existing and dying at the same time.

She doesn't mention the receptionist also thought he might have been a ghost. She wouldn't have been entirely wrong, she thinks, as she looks him over, all pale gray and thinner than she remembered.

Later on, they eat candy and watch and watch rich housewives fight amongst themselves.

"How can you stand to watch this?" he asks her incredulously.

He looks over at her just in time to see her scoff at him, "Would you like it better if I told you it was a documentary about human behavior?"

"Point taken," he concedes. He watches her pop a orange skittle in her mouth and she pretends not to notice.

The question dawns on him:"Why do you like those? The originals are better."

She raises her brow and sighs, "First you put down my entertainment, and now you come for the skittles. What's with the insults and interrogation?"

"Don't avoid the question Eames." He ducks as she throws a candy wrapper at him.

After a pause, she finally answers "No, I don't know. I just do....they're the best, you know."

He feels both content and out of place here on her little couch, amongst the earnest Americana decorating scheme, the baby pictures, and the shabby comfort that was her essence. When she smiles at him it's like she's confirming and returning his feelings, he feels the urge to hold her tight, to kiss her. To make love to her. Anything bigger and grander that he's what he's capable of, he wants to do. Everything he's knows that will never be.

"Bobby....Bobby. Bobby."

He wakes up to her gently nudging him.

"Sorry Alex, I just...what time is it?"

"It's 2:30. I fell asleep too. It's just that I wanted to wake you because this couch folds out into a bed. If you want to say, I mean. You don't have to, but it'd be okay with me........what?"

He can't help his smile. His way of words seemed to have rubbed off on her. She feels just as conflicted and awkward as he does, and that gives him comfort.

"You want me to stay?" he says, and it feels like it carries many different meanings and the weight of too many years.

Her small lips go inward a bit and she scratches a non-existent itch on her forehead before he's able to get a good look into her hazel.

"Sure, yeah." He sees hears her swallow. "It's so cold out...you know?"

He stands up, and they never once break eye contact.