Title: Weak in the Knees
Rating: NC-17Please see previous posts for disclaimer/summary/notes. As always, thanks to celievamp for the beta!
“So how long have you been back with the Bureau?” John asked.
“About three years.”
His green eyes widened.
“I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch with you, John.” She paused half a beat. “I haven’t been in touch with anyone from back then. And I’m never in one place too long since I work on a case by case basis for the Director.”
“Where did you go, Jessica? It was like you dropped off the face of the earth after we arrested Conrad.”
She let out a sigh. “I went back to England, stayed at my grandfather’s place and basically had an emotional meltdown,” she said with a rueful half-smirk. “Finally, with the help of an old friend, I got off my ass and decided to go to medical school.”
“Really? So you’re a doctor now?”
“I’ve never practiced. Before graduation the Director came to me and asked me to come back to the Bureau. It took some serious negotiating, but I eventually agreed. So instead of taking a residency I came back to the Bureau. Been hopping all over the country ever since.” She got up and retrieved a couple of bottles of cold water from the small refrigerator. “So what about you, John? How are Jennie and Jeremy?” she asked as she retook her seat and handed him one of the bottles.
“Uh, Jennie and I finally divorced.”
“Oh, John, I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”
The sandy-haired man shrugged. “You know things were rocky between us for a long time. She had a hard time dealing with the job.” His green eyes twinkled when he smiled, “I’ve got Jeremy’s latest school picture.” He pulled out his wallet and handed it to his former partner.
“My God! He’s gotten so big!”
“Well, he was only five years old the last time you saw him. He’s 11 now.”
“He looks like he’s 14.”
“And he’s as tall as a 14 year old. He keeps growing the way he has been and he’ll be taller than me in no time.”
Morgan shook her head. “I remember holding him the day he was born.” She smiled at her good friend and former partner. “I also remember the look on your face when you finally got to the hospital and walked into Jennie’s room. It’s the first time I saw you cry... The only other time was when Toni was killed.”
“You know I loved Toni, Jessica. You two were family. I’ve really missed you.”
She nodded. “I’ve missed you, too. So, where have you been keeping yourself?”
“San Diego. I took a posting there, working narcotics, after you left. And I was supposed to report to the Cyber Crime Division in Norfolk today, but I was tapped for this taskforce. They said I wouldn’t start with them until after this case was solved. I heard a couple of the other new agents mention similar stories this morning.”
Morgan and Casper were interrupted by a knock on her door. She got up and answered it. One of the mailroom interns was standing there with a bouquet of flowers in a vase.
“This arrived for you, Agent Morgan. It’s been cleared by security.”
Morgan carefully took the vase so as not to leave any undue fingerprints on it. “Thank you.” The intern left as Morgan set the flowers on her desk.
John Casper smiled. “So whose heart have you captured and sent you flowers?”
She frowned. “I don’t know.” But she had a suspicion. She pulled out some gloves and put them on before removing the attached envelope. She carefully lifted the flap of the envelope and removed the card within.
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I enjoyed Atlanta. How about you?
With a scowl, Morgan dropped the envelope and note into an evidence bag. She walked to the door and called for Taylor who was talking to an agent in the bullpen. He knew something was wrong as soon as he saw her face. He walked into her office.
Morgan handed him the note. “He’s toying with us again. This just arrived with these flowers,” she said with a nod at the vase on her desk. “I highly doubt he wrote the note, the handwriting is feminine. But we may be able to trace something through the florist.” She wrote down the florist information from the card stock on a piece of paper and handed it to Taylor. “I’ll take the note and flowers down to the lab so they can check for fingerprints.”
“Alright.” Taylor followed her out of the office. “Barker, Scully, check this out,” he instructed as he handed the information to Scully.
“Yes, sir.” Scully felt a frisson of anxiety as she watched Morgan carry a vase of flowers and an evidence bag in gloved hands to the elevators.
Taylor turned to Casper who was also watching Morgan walk away. “I understand you used to be partners with Morgan.”
“Almost six years.”
The assistant director nodded. “Then you won’t mind keeping an eye on her. This son of a bitch has made things personal with her. Since there seems to be some friction between her and Scully, you’re her backup, Casper.”
“Yes, sir.” Casper clenched his jaw in consternation. He’d been there the last time a suspect made things personal with Jessica. It had nearly destroyed her. And despite not hearing from her during the last six years, he still cared about her just as much as ever.
Casper was waiting for Morgan when she returned to her office. She opened a file and pulled out pictures of the messages written in blood on her wall and Scully’s wall. Along with those she set a photocopy of the note from the flowers on the table. “So tell me, what do you think about this guy, John? Because I’ve been struggling with the profile.”
Casper took his time looking over the notes. “Let me see your profile.”
She gave him a printout of her original profile, and the revised profile after the notes and phone calls started.
Casper carefully read the profiles. When he was done he looked up at her. “He’s definitely changed the rules of the game. But I don’t know why the sudden taunting. You’re right, it does not fit with your original profile. Of course, that may be the very reason for it – an effort to throw you off your game.” He paused. “What kind of flowers did he send you?”
“According to one of the lab techs they were rhododendrons.”
Casper went to the computer on Morgan’s desk and did a quick online search. He turned back to her. “The symbolization of rhododendrons is ‘beware’ or ‘caution.’”
Morgan let out a snort. “Like hiring a couple of guys to beat me up and teach me a lesson isn’t enough of a warning?”
The two agents spent the day discussing and dissecting the case. Morgan enjoyed the easy give and take she and her old partner always had. John Casper was a great agent, and she loved him like a big brother. He had been her partner, dearest friend, and staunchest ally back when they were both in the Violent Crimes Unit.
But the truth was... she missed Scully. But she couldn’t dwell on what she couldn’t have.
Scully and Agent Barker tracked down the florist shop that delivered the flowers to Morgan. They spoke to the owner and verified that the order had been placed in person by someone who’d paid cash. They went to the shop to obtain the security camera video tape. Back at headquarters they reviewed the tape. The person who’d placed the order was just a teenager, probably not even out of high school yet – obviously not the Reaper himself.
On a hunch, Scully called the cell phone company to see if any more calls had been placed on the account they were interested in. But Alan Stillwell verified there hadn’t been any more activity on the account since the call placed from Atlanta several days earlier.
She sat at the desk and stared at the closed door of Morgan’s office. One new addition to the taskforce had been in there all day with the brunette. And, quite frankly, it hurt that it wasn’t her in there. Being closed out by Morgan hurt more than all the times Mulder ditched her, because Mulder would always turn around and need her to do something for him later. It was inevitable. And like a fool, she’d jump to his rescue or to do his bidding, yet again. It was a repetitious pattern.
But with Morgan... she knew Jess wouldn’t turn around and play with her like a yo-yo the way Mulder did. If they were going to talk about things again, it was going to be up to her to initiate the discussion. Scully had done a lot of thinking since leaving Miami. Just as the thought of remaining Mulder’s partner had become overwhelmingly unbearable, so had the thought of not clearing the air with Jess.
Morgan and Casper finally decided to call it a day. He was going to get checked into his hotel, and then they were going to meet for dinner. She opened the door and they both stepped out of the office.
“Thanks for your help, John.”
“My pleasure. I’ll see you later, Jessica.”
They shared an easy smile, then he turned and left. Morgan turned to reenter her office.
Scully decided to take the bull by the horns. She stood and approached Morgan. “Jess.”
Morgan looked over her shoulder.
“Would you have dinner with me?”
“I already have plans,” she replied and retreated into her office, closing the door.
Scully was angry at Morgan’s dismissive attitude. So much for it being easy. She silently counted to ten, took a deep breath and pushed open Morgan’s office door without knocking. She quickly closed it behind herself and spoke before the brunette could react to her intrusion. “Look, I get that you don’t want to work with me, but I’ll be damned if I’ll let you simply dismiss me as if nothing ever happened between us. I thought we were friends, Jess,” she said accusatorily.
Morgan sat at her desk, trying to get a hold of her emotions. She responded when she was sure she could keep her voice steady. “I’m not dismissing you. I do have plans tonight. I’m meeting John for dinner. It’s been six years since I’ve seen him – we have a lot to catch up on.”
“John Casper? Your old partner?”
“Yes. I may be a number of things, but I’m not a liar.” She stood and picked up her briefcase and coat. “Now, I have to go and meet John. I’ll see you tomorrow.” She left. Alone in the elevator she punched the wall. She knew damn well she had lied to Scully in Miami when she’d said, ‘It was fun while it lasted,’ insinuating that what was between them was nothing more than a cheap thrill. Seeing Dana everyday was going to be hell.
Morgan and Casper met at a restaurant they used to frequent several years earlier. They spent a pleasant night talking and filling each other in about the last six years. Morgan’s phone chirped. She reached down and pulled it off her waist. She had a text message.
I have him in my sights. If you let on it’s me i’ll kill him.
Morgan kept her face impassive.
“What is it, Jessica? Something about the case?”
“Uh, no. Just a friend,” she replied, looking around. Another chirp.
Don’t try to look for me. Excuse yourself so we can talk.
Morgan looked up at her companion. “John, could you excuse me, please? I need to make a personal phone call.”
Morgan got up from the table and as soon as she stepped into the hallway leading to the bathrooms, her phone rang. “What do you want?” she growled.
“Did you like the flowers?”
“I repeat, what do you want?”
“I see you aren’t too much worse for wear after Atlanta.”
“You didn’t hire very competent people. One is dead and the other is in custody. I would have expected better from you. I would think someone like you could find someone actually capable of carrying out simple orders.”
“Don’t test me!”
“Or what? You’ll have someone try to beat me up again?”
“Or I could decide to take your dinner companion out right now!”
“You aren’t that stupid.”
“Perhaps you’re right. I could always pay a visit to the lovely Agent Scully. After all, she must be lonely in the house all by herself.”
“What house?” she asked, dread filling her.
“Even you are that stupid. I’m talking about the house at 703 Tribeca Ave. The house Agent Scully is in. The house I can see... right now. She looks quite lovely in her blue silk pajamas.”
“You s–” She was cut off when he hung up on her. Morgan slammed her phone shut and marched back into the dining room. “John, we have to go. Now.”
Casper recognized her tone of voice and didn’t question her. They rushed out to her car. Morgan wanted to drive since she knew where the house was.
“Call Taylor and tell him we may have a problem. Have him contact Scully and the agents watching the safe house. Tell them our UNSUB might be there.”
As Morgan sped through the streets of DC, Casper called AD Taylor. They were almost at the house when his phone rang. He wasn’t on the phone long.
“Taylor says all he gets is Scully’s voicemail and the house phone is busy.”
“What about the agents watching the house?”
“No answer, from any of them. He said backup’s on the way.”
“Fuck! We’re almost there.”