DISCLAIMER: I only borrowed them for a while. Dick Wolf and whoever can have them back whenever they want.
WRITTEN FOR: the Femslash Today Guns & Microscopes ficathon.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Ask Her
By Celievamp


The sultry feminine voice impinged on her consciousness, running through and between the words on the witness statement she was trying to read. Barek's habit of talking to herself had grated with her at first but now the soft voice was almost comforting. The woman could probably make the phone directory sound interesting. She found herself missing it when it wasn't there when Barek and Logan were out on a case. Eames glanced up, Barek was at her desk. The light from the window behind her brought out the warm, olive tones of her skin, the hollows and planes of her attractive face and the glossiness of her long wavy hair which was loose today. She was wearing a sleeveless top, pale lemon, her toned arms and shoulders making Eames realise with a guilty start just how long it was since she'd been to the gym. Or caught some sun.

Her mind wandered as it often did these days when contemplating her new colleague. 'Carolyn. I think that's become my new favourite word. I love the sound of it, love the way my mouth moves when I say it (and usually it's whispered because at work I call her Detective Barek or just Barek). I doubt I'll ever have the occasion or the nerve to call her by her first name to her face unless she specifically asks me to and even then... She's a good detective, she's got some of the same flair as Goren, she sees patterns, makes leaps of logic much like he does. Me and Logan, we're the plodders, but it's working out better than expected. She's worked with the best of the best at the FBI but then, I've worked with Goren three years now give or take so I suppose we're equal…'

"Ask her…"

Inky black curls danced in her vision. Gradually it impinged on her consciousness that her partner had spoken to her. "Sorry… what?"

Detective Bobby Goren smiled almost shyly at her. "Just ask her."

"Ask who?" Detective Alexandra Eames could stoneface with the best of them. No way had she been that obvious.

"Barek. Ask her. You might be surprised."

He could not be suggesting what she thought he was suggesting. Not Goren. Yes, he might be the best of the best as far as instinct and criminal profiling went, but he could be surprisingly clueless sometimes. And at this stage in her career Eames had no desire to be hit with a sexual harassment suit from a fellow officer. Especially a fellow female officer. Then again, this was Goren talking. Maybe he had seen something she had missed. In Alex's experience, Bobby Goren's hunches are usually worth a thousand psych profiles. Maybe Barek…

"But I'm not… she's not – is she?" Perhaps Barek had said something to him. They talked quite often after all and not just about cases. He liked the way her mind worked. Like him she doesn't always take the direct or obvious route. And like him she usually gets results.

"No idea. But I can tell you that she's open minded and bright, that her favourite flowers are tulips she prefers a home-cooked meal to a fancy restaurant and that she loves opera but she thinks the acoustics at the Met are over-rated. And that she liked you in that pant-suit you wore last week for court – the charcoal grey one. With the electric blue shirt. I can also refer you to a dozen different studies that say that human sexuality is rarely ever 100% one way or the other. Sometimes it's the individual, not the gender, that you see first, Alex. Ask her."

She glanced up and her gaze met Barek's dark eyes, and she saw that Logan was watching Barek watching her. She wondered if there was some side-betting going on here. Which of them would break first?

'She's a good catholic girl… there's no chance. Or is there – she doesn't really fit that profile. She's done things… been places… And… why am I thinking of this? How many ways can I change my life? Last year I had a child… this year I get a girlfriend? I thought I was too young for a midlife crisis. Or maybe I'm not too old to see the possibilities of change…'

That last thought was in his voice. Her partner had rubbed off on her more than she cared to admit. Eames glared across at him and it was as if he had followed every one of her thought processes in the last couple of minutes. That knowing smirk made her want to hit him, a familiar feeling, but she realised that she also wanted to thank him. Her mind had been playing around with this for longer than she cared to admit. He knows me too well, she reflected, knows me better than I know myself.

'Ask her, he says. Okay…' She stands up, pulls on her jacket. "I'm taking an early lunch," she tells him. Barek was following her every move whilst still outwardly reading through her reports – but now in a telling silence. Eames walked across to their area. "Want to get some lunch?" she asks.

Before she has the chance to tell him this is ladies only, Logan excuses himself with a grin. For a moment she sees panic in Barek's dark eyes and then she smiles and Eames feels as if she's been bathed in a bright warm light. Carolyn Barek smiled at her. 'God, I have it bad.'

"Sure," she says. "There's a deli on the corner of James Street… they have the best pastrami on rye."

Eames knew it well. Their Danish pastries were one of her favourite comfort foods . "Sounds good," she smiled. "You guys want us to bring you anything back?"

"I'm good," Goren says.

'Yes, you are,' she thought, sending him her silent thanks. It was hard not to touch Barek as she followed her out to the lobby. The lift was half full and Eames knew she was not imagining the heat of her skin as Barek stood close to her in the lift or the touch of Barek's fingers on the back of her hand. She glanced up at her and something about the look of quiet pleasure in her eyes makes Eames believe that asking her would not be that painful after all.

The End

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