It´s been less than a month now, and he´s already feeling the strain. He´s tired, not just physically but emotionally.
With Barbara, he had never been sure what to talk about. The crimes were too gruesome, the paperwork too boring, the gossip meaningless. In the end, he had nothing to say and Barbara didn´t ask. They sat in the living room, drinking, in silence. Maybe he should have seen the signs of a failing relationship sooner.
He doesn´t have this problem now. Strictly speaking, Jim´s not even in a relationship right now, because he´s still not sure what the hell he and Oswald are doing, let alone what they are. They are talking, they have dinner, he´s still fascinated.
And Oswald tries. Jim knows he does. He tries so hard to not say anything of interest, or GCPD related, or crime related. But Jim notices the slightly too long pauses, the careful turns in conversation. Oswald is a skilled talker, under all his pretending, and still he´s slipping ever so slightly.
“Is that blood?”, he asks, against his better judgement. What else could it be? He doubts Oswald´s shirt decided to get close and nasty with a glass of jam.
Oswald glances at his shirt cuff. “Oh. I´m sorry. Seems like I missed a spot.” The smudge disappears under his jacket.
“A spot? There was more?”
“You don´t want me to answer that.” Oswald answers with an almost sad smile. He´s right. Jim doesn´t.
“Is the other one dead?” He can´t help but ask.
“Was Zsasz with you?”
“He´s supposed to protect you, isn´t he? So you don´t have to do things like this?!”
“I won´t lie to you and I can´t tell you what happened. I won´t incriminate anyone, not even in front of you. There was a situation and I handled it.”
“I will not endanger you.”
“So I´m a damsel in distress?” Jim starts pacing. He really doesn´t want to fight, but he can´t seem to help himself. They are dancing around each other, keeping everything close to their chests. He knows that Oswald keeps him safe and simultaneously makes him more of a target. He knows. He´s just feeling too restless at the moment, unable to stop.
“We both know you´re not.” Oswald´s patience drives Jim up the wall. If they weren´t in his own apartment he would long have stormed out.
“James, look at me.”
Jim stops and does as he´s told. Oswald hasn´t moved from where he sits on a chair in Jim´s kitchen, looking smaller and still more confident than Jim feels.
“You´re tired. I understand, so I won´t keep you. Eat something and go to bed. We can talk tomorrow.” Oswald stands and gathers his umbrella, straightening his cufflinks.
“You don´t want to stay?” Jim almost hits himself as soon as the words leave his mouth.
“You don´t want me to stay. Not today.”
Jim stares at the ground. He doesn´t want to be alone, dreads the silence and the feeling of abandonment. He hears Oswald move, but only looks up when there´s a hand on the side of his neck.
“Sleep well, James.” With a kiss to Jim´s cheek Oswald leaves the apartment.
And Jim feels lost.
“Trouble in paradise?”
“Shut up, Harvey.”
“Uh, that bad? What happened? Did he bring some work home and left him in the bathtub? I thought you appreciated enthusiasm for one´s work?”
“I mean it , Harvey. I´m not in the mood.”
“Couldn´t get you in the mood, could he?” Harvey winks at him. Jim narrowly resists the impulse to strangle him.
“We fought, okay?! Are you happy now?”, Jim bursts out. He doesn´t have the patience to keep himself in check.
“Do I have to murder him?”, Harvey asks. Jim can´t tell if he´s joking or not. Harvey can be surprisingly scary when he wants to.
“A damn shame.”
“He´s – he´s just himself. He won´t stop, he won´t show remorse, he´s not giving me anything on him. And even if he did- I´m not sure I would use it against him.”
Jim glares at his partner. Harvey shrugs.
“I don´t have to tell you that you´re compromised. You already know that. Hell, you´ve been compromised since that damn day at the docks. What do you want me to say?”
“I don´t know.” Jim rakes a hand through his hair.
“And what are you gonna do?”
“I don´t know.”
They get coffee because Harvey´s not good with words and thinks cheap coffee is a cure for all of the feelings related evils in the world.
Needless to say, it´s only a short term solution. Whatever the taste in Jim´s mouth is supposed to be, it doesn´t resemble the bitter, strong, reliable nature of a good brew. It does, however, keep his thoughts occupied. Should he call the colleagues from the DEA? What poisonous ingredients are normal civilians capable of getting their hands on and in their coffee which they are then serving to unsuspecting police officers? Jim scowls at his cup, willing it to spill it´s secrets. He almost succeeds and instead spills the liquid. What a shame.
Harvey rolls his eyes.
Then there´s a gunshot.