The Square Root of Negative Numbers
by Jessica (la_belle_dame)
A Deakins/Eames Fanfic in Several Parts
He’s married, Alex tells herself the first time she catches herself checking out the captain during a meeting with ADA Carver. He’s got a ring on his finger and Alex may be a lot of things, but she’s not a home-wrecker, and that’s the end of it. At least, it should have been. But Alex keeps looking. Half the time she doesn’t even know why. He’s old, older than any of the men she’s ever dated. He’s entirely grey, for one thing, and he wears the most stereotypical old man glasses she’s ever seen. But he’s well-spoken in a quiet kind of way. And wears sharp, tailored suits. And looks at her eyes when she’s talking. And, Alex chuckles to herself, she knows for a fact that he has a steady job. That puts him head and shoulders in front of any she’s dated in the last few years. Which is really, really depressing. And so it goes; Alex keeps dating losers and watching her captain and solving cases with Detective Bobby Goren faster than any other team in Major Case.
There’s a certain rhythm to her days that she enjoys. She likes living on her own. She went from her parents’ house crawling with relatives straight to living with her husband. As much as she loves all of them, after all those people and their noise and laundry and problems, she likes having some privacy. She likes the space. She misses touching, though. Not sex, per se, although it’s been a damn long time. Just the familiarity of someone’s hand on her arm. The unspoken permission to hold someone’s hand. A man’s fingers in her hair. Little things like that.
So when the captain occasionally touches the small of her back lightly when she leaves the interrogation room through the door he’s holding, she may shiver a bit, but it’s just the loneliness talking. Nothing more. Her sister says she just needs to get laid, but Alex can’t bring herself to bring some random schmuck from a bar back to her place. She was never one for casual sex and she wasn’t about to start now just to get her superior officer out of her system. If her superior officer had gotten into her system. Which he hadn’t. He does have good hands, though.
She almost manages to forget about the captain by simply refusing to think of him as a man. She’d done it before with good-looking co-workers. She had a hot young trainee her last year in Vice and decided the first time she saw him that he was a cop and nothing more, if only to keep her personal and professional lives separate in her own head. She stops calling him Deakins and refers to him only as "the Captain," as in "Goren, the Captain said if you do that again, you will get suspended, I don’t care how important this interview is."
It works for a while and everything is fine and dandy until one evening when she’s staying late to hack away at her backlogged paperwork pile. She’s trying to remember if she needs to file Form B14 or B16 with this request when he comes out of his office and hits the light. "Eames," he says and she looks up just in time to see him shrug on his dark overcoat. "Do you want to grab a cup of coffee with me? I’m buying," he says and he looks so handsome that she just nods even as her conscience screams bad idea over and over. She ignores it. It’s just coffee.
The coffee becomes a regular evening thing. They talk about the work, then about their lives. Deakins shows her pictures of his three daughters. She quips that the eldest is just about old enough to date Bobby and is forced to buy him another cup of dark roast to shake him out of his bad mood. He asks about her nephew and Alex repeats her standard line that she’d surrogate again in a heartbeat, because she would, but adds that a lot of time, she wishes she could have kept her sister’s son because sometimes he feels like hers. Deakins nods and squeezes her hand over the top of the table. Alex lets him because he’s a father and he knows what it’s like to have a piece of yourself living outside your body. Plus, did she mention the hand thing? Because it’s as true now as it was when she first started working Major Case.
At first she worries about his wife finding out, not because she feels guilty but because she’s afraid he’ll stop coming out with her if she knows. Alex has come to depend a little too much on these coffee evenings (she refuses to think of them as dates) and if she lets herself, she might need this and for God’s sake, Alex, you knew he was married, what did you think was going to happen here?
She’s so embarrassed she misses two consults the next week at work and Deakins tracks her down to the copy room. The room’s little more than a closet with an antique Xerox machine that whirs so loudly it blocks any noise from the outside office. Logan once joked it was the perfect place for a workplace tryst and that's all Alex can think of when Deakins closes the door behind him and flips on the copier. "What’s going on, Alex?" he asks, all soft eyes and warm voice and that shiny gold band mocking her.
"You’re married," she blurts out and Deakins says nothing. She doesn’t know what she’s waiting for. Part of her wants a denial, which is ridiculous and only makes her ashamed of herself. Deakins sighs and Alex braces herself for the "we can’t see each other, it’s wrong, I love my wife" speech she’d promised herself she’d never hear. Instead, Deakins tucks a piece of hair back from her face and lets his finger slide down the line of her jaw and come to rest under her chin. Alex waits for something to happen, for him to say anything, for the stars to fall, but Deakins only chuckles and leaves the room. Thankfully the sound of the machine masks Alex’s breathing.
Later at her desk, Alex thinks, as well as she can with her stomach in knots and her face flushed, and can’t remember the last time a man touched her with that much tenderness. This shouldn’t be happening. This shouldn’t even be crossing Alex’s mind. This should be the square root of negative numbers, completely undoable, but it’s happening all the same and Alex doesn’t care if her moral calculator is broken, it’s not like they’re doing anything wrong.
Slowly over months, coffee turns into the occasional dinner, then more than occasional. Soon Alex is lying to her sister to get out of family dinner night because the week just isn’t over without Deakins smiling at her over dessert and handing her into a cab. He’s the consummate gentleman, always taking her fingers in his strong grip to help Alex into the taxi. He’s seen her at the firing range and under cover as a hooker. Hell, he knows her entire record with Vice. He’s seen her after pulling forty hours straight on a kidnapping case, keeping up with all the boys, and he still helps her into each cab like she’s made of porcelain.
Alex loves it. It makes her feel the good kind of small, which isn’t exactly unfamiliar when you’re her size, and delicate, which is when you’re a lady cop. He’s only ever touched her hand, really, Alex realized on one taxi ride home. He’d ghost his palm over her back, but never enough for her to feel it. It’s nice, she tells herself. It’s not a physical thing. Not at all. Then one night he brushes her thigh by accident and it all goes to hell.
She’s wearing a wrap. It’s too warm for a coat, but the night air has an edge to it, so she tucks a silky brown scarf around her shoulders to guard against the chill. Deakins has been teasing her about it all night and Alex has to laugh along with him. It’s snagged on everything and is constantly in her way, and that’s what she gets for trying to show her shoulders to her boss. Outside the restaurant as she steps into the yellow cab, her wrap catches on the car door. Deakins gathers it up and drapes it across Alex’s lap. It should be completely innocent, but his fingers graze her leg and she can’t help it, Alex gasps a little.
Alex hopes, prays he didn’t notice, but one look at his face says yes, yes he did and oh God, she’s gone and ruined everything. Except he’s not leaving. Except he’s going around to the other side of the car and folding himself into the backseat with her. She’s so shocked that Deakins has to give the driver her address and Alex shakes all the way downtown. His hand feels even better helping her out of the cab.
He doesn’t ask to come up, just steps into the elevator and waits for her to press her floor’s number. He hasn’t even broken a sweat as far as Alex can tell. He doesn’t look nervous at all, damn him. He’s cool and calm and so in control Alex gets absolutely giddy with the idea of finding out what makes him lose it.
They leave the lights on. It’s slow and patient, and Alex marvels at how improbably sexy it is to be kissed so sweetly. Half the men she’s been with attacked her like they might never have sex again and the other half bored her to death. Not Deakins. There are elbows and knees out of place, as tends to be, but he laughs and she laughs and it’s funny, not awkward. His hands are all Alex hoped for and afterwards he holds her gently. She tries to turn her face away so he doesn’t see the tears coming up. But he does, and catches her chin with his thumb and kisses each one until they stop.
Alex watches him sleep, his mouth fallen open with soft snores and thinks please God, for however long you’ll let me have this, have him, I’ll take it. Please, she thinks, please. Let me have him. And Alexandra Eames falls asleep in her married captain’s arms and sleeps through until dawn.
(Marisa, your turn! Prompt? Shopping for new clothes, but can’t wear them…but then does…to work…and it’s awesome!)