Chapter 6: Blindsided
Twilight descends so blue, so brown
And longing begins in this longing town.
-Duncan Sheik, "Longing Town"
“You’re kidding me, right?” Elliot Jackson demanded, her voice rising an octave as anger swept over her in a red wave.
He just stared at her, sphinx-like.
“Come on, Jason,” she cried. “This is bullshit and you know it.” The two agents were in his office, the place where she’d come six months before to essentially beg him to give her a chance at the BAU. Now, after working closely together, after helping solve dozens of cases, he was telling her that he planned to put in a request for her transfer back to the CIA. Apparently the semi-permanent loan was over, at least as far as Jason Gideon was concerned.
He shrugged, raising his hands in a helpless gesture. “There’s nothing I can do.”
“You’re making the request; you just told me so. How can there be nothing you can do? Just don’t do it.” She stopped to catch her breath; ran a shaking hand through her short hair.
“I don’t understand,” she continued in a small voice. “Why are you being like this?”
His penetrating gaze was stony, bleak. “You didn’t trust me, Jack. You knew Reid was in trouble, you suspected it was drugs, and you didn’t come to me. If you can’t trust me with something like that, why should I trust you?”
She pulled back, feeling like she’d been blindsided. “This is why I didn’t trust you, Gideon! I came to you six months ago; I showed you my file; I put all my cards on the table. You held out on me. What was I supposed to do? I’m not a tattletale. Reid has some responsibility in this, too.”
“The past is the past. You can’t change it now.”
A line appeared between her brows as she frowned. “You sound like a fortune cookie.”
He flashed a thin, brief smile of appreciation. “I just want the truth, Elliot. You know that. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
The younger agent turned away, arms crossed over her chest. “I don’t know it.”
“You know something.”
“Nothing…that matters,” she murmured, her glass-green gaze trained on the view from his office window.
“You’ve been doing this job long enough to know that everything matters,” he said patiently.
“Taj could not have been involved with what happened at Silar Creek, Gideon.”
“How do you know that?”
“I just do, ok?” she cried, whipping around to face him. “He would have told me, or I would have seen it. One way or the other, I would’ve known.”
“He was a spy, Jack, a professional secret keeper. You told me yourself spies are hard to read; they keep secrets too well. He might have kept this one even from you.”
She rubbed her face with shaking hands. “If you think I could have been so close to the Silar Creek Slayer for so long without knowing it, why the hell did you let me on your damn team? Was it just so you could find out what I know, solve the case? And now when you think you’re close, you’re holding the BAU over my head? Tell you what you want and I get to stay; don’t, and I’m shipped back to the Agency.”
He sighed and perched on the edge of the desk. “Your opinion of me must not be very high if you think that.”
“I don’t know what to think at this point.”
The silence stretched taut as he stared at her. Finally he said, “I’m not saying your friend killed anyone; I’m saying he knew something about it, and that’s why he’s dead now.”
“And the other victims?”
“Alyssa Horton was connected to the Agency. We both know McCall worked the Silar Creek case. You tell me.”
She shook her head. “Have you talked to Hotch about this, Gideon? Doesn’t he have to approve transfers in or out of the team?”
“I have approval, too. I only went to him about you out of courtesy.”
“And you don’t think it would be courteous to tell him that now you’ve changed your mind?”
“He doesn’t understand the situation as fully as I do.”
She stared at him with hurt and betrayal like a storm in her normally clear green eyes. “I can’t believe this, Gideon. I can’t believe it. I got you the files; what more information can I give you?”
“How did you get them so fast, Jack? I know how hard those files are to access; I’ve tried. You got a promise for them in forty-five minutes.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m concerned, that’s all. Concerned that your ties to the Agency might be stronger than you’ve led us to believe.”
“You think I’m a mole? Jason, why the hell would the Agency put a mole in the BAU, of all the damn places?”
“I have no idea. You’ve become awfully close to Spencer, and you said yourself the Agency loves his type of super-genius. Or maybe it’s to get close to me.”
“Spencer and I have grown close because we relate. We’re the same age, and we’ve both lived unorthodox lives due to natural abilities that set us apart from our peers. And if I were sent to get close to you, well I’ve certainly dropped the ball on that one, haven’t I?”
He waved it away. “I don’t really think you’re a mole, Elliot.” He sighed, face set in somber lines. “I’ll hold the request for now, but I need to know that you’re truly a member of this team.”
“How can I prove that to you, Jason? Do I need to get kidnapped with every member of the team before you believe me?”
“I just need your full cooperation on this case. I need everything you know about Silar Creek.”
Her temper reached the breaking point. “Fuck you, Jason,” she whispered in a small, choked voice. “You have it. You know perfectly well you have it.” His silence was like a wave at its crest, all bottled energy set to explode, and she slammed out of his office without waiting for his next pithy comment.
Reid was nearly bowled over coming off the elevator as Jack stormed past him. He pressed his hand against the sliding panel to keep it from closing and studied her with worried hazel eyes. Her fury was obvious, and he hadn’t seen her looking so hurt and angry the entire time he’d known her – and he’d recently pissed her off pretty thoroughly. “What’s wrong?” he asked quietly.
She shook her head in wordless ire. “Can’t talk now. Let go; I need air.”
He did let go, but he stepped into the elevator beside her. She shot him a glare. “I need air alone, Spencer.”
“Not a chance. I’ve got a lot of ground to make up, and I guess I can start by letting you vent on me.” He pushed the button, and they both watched as the doors slid closed. “J.J. told me about your friend; I’m sorry,” he offered after a moment.
She softened a fraction. “Thank you,” she murmured. “I am, too.” They got off on the first floor and left through the lobby to wander the sprawling grounds. The spring day she’d been so looking forward to that morning had lived up to its promise: the sun was high and bright in a blindingly blue sky, and the daffodils and crocuses were blooming in colorful profusion. It was all lost on her, and her pace was so fueled by her anger that he, with his much longer legs, struggled a little to keep up.
“What happened up there?” he finally asked.
“I can’t…it’s so…Gideon wants to transfer me back to the Agency,” she told him in a rush.
He stopped cold. “What? Why would he do that?”
She had blown past him, and now she, too, paused; turned to face him. “He says he doesn’t trust me. Partly because I didn’t tell him about my suspicions about you, but also…how much did J.J. tell you about this case?”
He shrugged. “She filled me in on the shooting victims, and then she told me it might be connected to an old case of yours.”
Sighing, she gestured to a nearby bench. They settled, and she took a moment to organize her thoughts. “Gideon thinks I know more about the old case than I’m telling him. It’s sort of his…his Moby Dick, this case. The Agency refused his offers of assistance, and it’s always burned him.”
“Do you? Know more, I mean,” he asked as he absorbed her explanation.
“Honestly?” She let out a little breath; wouldn’t meet his deep gaze. “I don’t know. It was…it was a strange time. I wanted to put that case down so damn bad, but it just wasn’t happening. We were almost relieved when we were shut down.”
“It sounds like it haunts you as much as it does Gideon,” he observed.
“I—” She hesitated; considered. “I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Maybe,” he agreed mildly, mouth quirking.
She huffed out a small chuckle, but sobered quickly. “I don’t want to go back,” she whispered.
He reached over and, after a brief hesitation, took her small hand in his larger one. “You won’t have to, Jack. We’ll mutiny.” He kept his mind clear and focused on how much she’d meant to the team – and to him – in just the short time they’d known each other.
She squeezed his fingers in silent thanks, and the two young agents sat quietly enjoying the beautiful Virginia day. The case was like a shadowed specter hovering over them, but for a few moments at least, they were able to ignore it. Together.
Ok, like I said, a plea. After this, I only have one more chapter written - not counting the last one of the story - and I'm a bit stalled. I could really, really use some nice reviews for this chapter to help my muse get back on track. I have a rough outline written for the rest of the story, and I just need the inspiration to sit down and write it. So, if you're enjoying and you want to read more, please let me know!!Thanks for reading. :)