Title: Weak in the Knees
Rating: NC-17Please see previous posts for disclaimer/summary/notes. As always, thanks to celievamp for the beta!
Morgan went through the victim’s home taking note of small details: family pictures, perfumes on her dresser, frozen dinners in her freezer, appointments in her organizer, etc. She had a feeling something important was to be found, some vital clue... if only she would recognize it. After a couple of hours she finally left Sheila Cousins’ house.
A Bureau car had been left for her so she drove to the victim’s place of work. It was a small but clearly upscale real estate office.
“May I help you?” the receptionist/office manager asked when Morgan entered.
“Yes. I was wondering if I could speak with someone about Sheila Cousins. I’m Special Agent Jessica Morgan with the FBI.”
“Oh.” The woman was clearly thrown. “I can’t believe she’s dead. Sheila was such a sweet person. Everyone loved her.”
“Did you know her well?”
“About as well as anyone here, I guess.”
“Can I get your name?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Monica Reed.”
“Thank you. Was Sheila seeing anyone, Monica, or did she get any personal visitors here?”
“I don’t think she was seeing anyone, and Sheila was very, very professional. She only had clients come in to see her. Most of the time, though, she would meet with clients at the properties she was showing.”
“Was she a busy agent?”
“Oh, yes. Sheila is– was our top agent.” She gestured to some plaques on the wall behind Morgan.
Several of the accomplishment plaques had Sheila Cousins’ name engraved on them. “Would it be possible for me to take a look at her desk and computer?”
“Of course. Let me show you her office.”
Monica led Morgan to Sheila’s office and then left her alone. Sheila Cousins was apparently very organized. Everything seemed to have a place and be in its place. She turned on Sheila’s computer and opened up the calendar and other files. The victim was very meticulous and organized; it appeared that every appointment she ever had with a prospective client was listed and cross-referenced. Almost every minute of each day was accounted for. Something caught her eye. It appeared Sheila had had several meetings with a new client over the last week. Even more interesting was that the same name had showed up in her personal calendar at home.
It had been 11 days since the murder in Miami, so the Reaper had the time to come to Boston and pose as Russell Schiff... if it was him. Either way, Russell Schiff needed to be checked out.
“Agents Morgan, Casper, Scully?”
“I’m Agent Casper.” He gestured to Scully who was just coming back after having changed back into her clothes after finishing the autopsy. “This is Agent Scully. What can we do for you?”
“I’m Agent Lessing. The ASAC sent me to take you to your accommodations for while you’re here in Boston. Where’s Agent Morgan?”
“She’s not here right now. She’ll join us later,” Casper answered.
The young agent nodded and took Casper and Scully out to the car. Lessing drove them to the Holiday Inn Express on Boston St. Lessing flashed his badge and spoke to the front desk manager. The manager, Melissa O’Rourke, started to check them into the rooms reserved by the local field office.
Lessing turned to Casper and Scully and held out the car keys. “Here you go. If you need anything don’t hesitate to call the field office.”
“Thank you,” Casper said as he took the car keys from Lessing.
“Have good evening, Agent Casper, Agent Scully.” He turned and left.
“Agent Scully?” Miss O’Rourke asked.
“I have something for you.” She retrieved an envelope and handed it to Scully.
“What’s that?” Casper asked.
“I don’t know.” Scully opened the envelope and took out the note contained within.
Sorry I missed you. Perhaps we’ll connect in Boston. R.
Casper saw the expression on Scully’s face. “What’s wrong?”
She turned the note so he could read it.
“Damn,” he breathed. “Who the hell knew we were going to be at this hotel?”
“Obviously someone at the Boston field office made the arrangements, but it should not have been general knowledge under the circumstances. You and I didn’t even know where we’d be staying.”
“Well, somehow our suspect does.” Casper opened his phone and called Morgan. “Jessica, it’s me. We’ve got a problem... The local office made arrangements for us to stay at a hotel. There was a note waiting for Scully when we got here. He knows we’re here... Alright... We’ll wait for your call.” He hung up and looked at Scully. “Jessica didn’t know about the arrangements either. She’s going to make some calls and get back to us. In the meantime, we’re not going to check in here.” He spoke to Miss O’Rourke and canceled their rooms.
When Morgan left the real estate office she called the Boston field office and gave them Russell Schiff’s name so they could start checking him out. She made a second call and then drove to Darren Lenihan’s home.
Dr. Darren Lenihan was a Psychology professor at Harvard and Morgan had been his T.A. (teaching assistant). She knew of no one better than Dr. Lenihan at delving into a mind, especially a disturbed mind. She knocked on his front door and smiled when he answered.
“Hi, Dr. Lenihan.”
“Now, now, you know to call me Darren, unless you want me to call you Dr. Morgan,” the grey-haired man said as they shook hands. “Come in, come in.”
Morgan followed the older man into the house. They sat down in the living room.
“Can I get you something to drink, Jessica?”
“No thank you.”
“So what can I do for you? You were a bit mysterious on the phone.”
“I want to pick your brain,” she replied with a smile.
They hadn’t been talking very long when Morgan’s phone rang.
“Excuse me.” She opened her phone. It was Casper calling to let her know about the problem at the hotel. She looked at her old professor when she hung up. “The suspect left a note at the hotel the FBI made arrangements with for our stay.”
“You’ve got a leak.”
She nodded. “I didn’t even know where we were going to be staying. Please excuse me while I make a couple of phone calls.”
“Take your time. I’ll put on a pot of tea.” Dr. Lenihan got up and retreated to the kitchen.
Morgan called the local field office and asked to speak to the SAC, the Special Agent in Charge. She questioned him about the arrangements. He indicated it was his ASAC who had handled them, so she spoke to the ASAC. Agent Cooper said he’d received a call from AD Taylor about making arrangements for secure accommodations for them. So he contacted the hotel and arranged for Morgan and the other two agents to stay without having to use their names. That was the reason Agent Lessing had taken them to the hotel and spoke with the desk manager.
“Well, we won’t be staying at the hotel since our UNSUB already knows about it.”
“What can I do to help, Agent Morgan? AD Taylor made it clear you were to be afforded every courtesy and that the safety of you and the other agents was a high priority.”
“Just make sure everyone keeps their mouths shut and there aren’t leaks about the case. I’ll make other arrangements for our stay here. Thank you.” Morgan hung up and called Taylor. It was then she discovered he had never contacted the Boston field office. Something was definitely wrong.
“Why don’t you stay at my place, Jessica?” Dr. Lenihan proposed.
“We wouldn’t want to impose.”
“Nonsense. Besides, I’m talking about my condo. I’ve lived here in this house less than a month. The townhouse is unoccupied.”
“Where is it?”
“It’s on Concord Ave. I bought it when they were built in ‘87. It’s actually Harvard faculty housing. Since I’m retiring after this year I’m putting it up for sale. Consider it yours for however long you’re here in Boston.”
“That’s very kind of you, Doc– Darren. Thank you.” Morgan called Casper back and let him know where they’d be staying. He assured her that he would get Scully and himself there without any problems.
After Morgan was done with her phone calls, she and Dr. Lenihan continued discussing her profile of the UNSUB.
At the hotel Casper and Scully made their way out a service entrance in the back. From there they took a cab to the address Morgan had given them. Just as promised, a key was hidden away in a compartment of a brick, one of several bricks that lined the small walkway to the door. Casper ushered Scully in after unlocking the door. He followed her in.
Casper and Scully changed into casual clothes and then at sat the kitchen table going over the results of the autopsy and the information they’d received from the local agents about the victim.
But Scully wasn’t happy with the situation. She all but slammed a folder down on the table, stood up, and started to pace in the kitchen. “Doesn’t it bother you that Jess is out there alone while we’re holed up in this townhouse like a couple of timid mice?”
Casper leaned back in his chair. “First off, I trust Jessica – implicitly. She was my partner for six years and she never once let me down. She saved my life more than once because of her exceptional observational skills and insightfulness. She’s gone above and beyond more times than I can count. She’s more than earned my respect, trust and loyalty. And second, I don’t consider being prudent acting like a timid mouse. There have been direct threats made against you and it’s obvious the Reaper knows you’re here in Boston, as evidenced by the note at the hotel.”
“I don’t need to be babysat and coddled!”
“Perhaps not. But Jessica does need to know you’re safe. Look at this from her point of view for a minute. Her entire career at the Bureau has been about going after the worst of the worst, the real monsters. She’s taken them on and won a hell of a lot more times than any other profiler. She never let them intimidate her or scare her off. She almost lost her life to one, but even that didn’t stop her. The only thing that got to her was the murder of someone she loved. It broke her and it made her run. She resigned from the Bureau, cut off contact with everyone in her life, and went to medical school. She could have chosen to withdraw completely from life; it’s not as if she ever has to work another day in her life. But even after everything she’d been through, she still wanted to help people and make a difference, so she went to medical school. But instead of becoming a doctor she came back to the Bureau. She’s worked alone ever since; not getting too close to anyone, not allowing anyone close to her, not letting herself care too much about anyone except the victims.” Casper paused and waited until Scully returned his gaze. “Not until you.”
Scully started to say something but Casper held up a hand stopping her.
“I don’t know exactly what has and hasn’t happened between the two of you, and I don’t need to. But I do know that she let you get close and that she cares a great deal about you. Having someone hurt, or worse, because of her, or her work, is Jessica’s greatest fear and nightmare. One she’s already had to live through once. It nearly destroyed her. Imagine what it would do to her to have to go through it again.”
Scully sat back down with a silent sigh. “I talked to her on the island like you asked, but she still hasn’t been very open with me. I’m beginning to think there isn’t a way to make things right between us.”
“I doubt that – it’s obvious she still cares – or else it wouldn’t be affecting her as much as it is.” He paused for a moment. “Let me offer you a piece of unsolicited, friendly advice. When it comes to Jessica, patience and persistence pays off.” At Scully’s confused look Casper continued. “Toni had to ask her out several times before she finally agreed, and several more times before she did so a second time.”