Title: Weak in the Knees
Rating: NC-17Please see previous posts for disclaimer/summary/notes. As always, thanks to celievamp for the beta!
When Morgan got up in the morning she turned her cell phone on and checked her messages. There were a number of messages from the suspect – all full of angry ranting. Part of her felt pleased she had ruffled his feathers by refusing to talk to him. But the other part of her was concerned about what his response would be.
Morgan joined Casper and Scully for breakfast.
“How are things going with tracking down this Russell Schiff?” she asked.
John answered. “He doesn’t have a Massachusetts driver’s license. No address, no accounts, nothing that can be traced to him.”
“Have you tried neighboring states?”
He nodded. “New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island. I also checked Maine and New Jersey. There’s a Russell Schiff in New York, but he’s 87 years old and has been in a nursing home for four years.”
“Is there any reason for us to stay here in Boston?”
“I’m afraid not. We can continue to work the case via computer and phone. The local agents are handling any local interviews. They’ll report if they come across anything.”
Morgan nodded. “I spoke to Taylor. He’s sending a couple of agents to follow up our investigations here.”
After breakfast the agents packed up and made their way to the airport. They had an hour and half layover in Atlanta. While waiting for their flight from Atlanta to Key West to board, Morgan turned her cell phone on. She wasn’t surprised to have a few more messages by the UNSUB. He was clearly still angry. Then she got to the last message he left. He actually asked her to call him.
Morgan moved away a few steps to place the call. “What do you want?” she asked as soon as he answered.
“You really shouldn’t ignore me!”
She hung up. She wasn’t surprised when her phone almost immediately rang. “What?”
She again hung up. Once again her phone rang. “If you can’t keep a civil tongue in your head we have nothing to discuss.” She hung up and turned off her phone as she followed Casper and Scully up the jetway to the plane.
After landing in Key West the helicopter took the agents back out to Pecuniary Key. After changing into casual clothes, all three agents quietly worked. When Morgan didn’t answer her ringing phone, Scully picked it up from the coffee table.
“Aren’t you going to answer it?”
“Nope. I already told him at 3:00 this morning, and again while we were in Atlanta, that I wasn’t going to play his game and he needed to keep a civil tongue in his head. He can wait until I’m ready to talk to him.”
John looked up and caught her eye. He smiled. “Good girl.”
“I don’t understand. Don’t we want to talk to him?” Scully asked.
“By refusing to talk to him on his schedule Jessica has changed the game. The UNSUB is now reacting to her instead of the other way around. She’s taken some of the control away from him.”
“But doesn’t that risk he’ll kill sooner rather than later?”
Morgan nodded. “It’s a possibility. But as long as he pissed at me, and thinking about me, he’s more likely to make a mistake if he’s emotional. I’ve got to keep him off balance.”
It was only an hour later when Scully received a call from the cell phone company. The calls were originating in Boston. For once, they were ahead of him and he was the one playing catch up.
Morgan took a break late in the afternoon and went for a walk. She ended up down at the pier again. For the first time in a long time, she felt better about their chances of catching the killer. She always knew they’d eventually catch him, but somehow it felt as if the odds were finally on their side. And all it took was changing the game. She wondered why the hell she hadn’t thought of it herself. She shook her head. Well, what mattered is that someone thought of it. She could feel it in her bones – something in the case was going to break... and soon.
It felt so good in the warmth of the sunshine and the water looked so blue, Morgan gave into temptation. She took off her clothes and lowered herself into the water. She began swimming. It felt good to stretch her muscles and push her body. The private key didn’t really have much room to allow for running. And there wasn’t any workout equipment. So swimming was the best way to exercise. She felt her body respond positively to the exercise and her mind clear as she concentrated on her strong strokes.
After Scully signed off the internet at the workstation she walked out onto the verandah off the great room. She leaned on her hands on the railing and took a deep breath. She’d almost forgotten how much she enjoyed the water. Even though both of her brothers had followed Captain William Scully Sr. into the Navy, it was Dana who had shared a real love of the sea with her father. It started with her favorite childhood book, Moby Dick. She dubbed him Ahab, and in return he called her Starbuck.
Even though the Navy kept her father away for long periods, they were close. Of course, that didn’t mean they didn’t ever have any conflict. Her father did not approve of her decision to join the FBI after graduating from medical school. She was glad they had reconciled before he died a few years ago.
Scully took another deep breath, taking in the salt air. “I could definitely get used to this.”
“The ocean or the private island?”
Scully turned to see John Casper standing in the doorway. She smiled. “In truth, both.”
Casper stepped out onto the verandah and joined Scully at the railing. “I shouldn’t be surprised Jessica chose this location as a safe house. She’s always liked the water.”
“She did say a tropical beach was her preference for vacation.”
“Yep. Every vacation she took when we were partners was to beach somewhere – the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific. Toni even taught her how to sail and SCUBA dive.”
Scully couldn’t help but mentally smirk at the idea of a half-breed vampire who relished the beach and other sunny activities.
Casper looked over at Scully. “Jessica took a break a few minutes ago. Why don’t you go see what she’s up to?” he said with a nod to the tree line. He smiled to himself a minute later when Scully silently turned and left. He watched as she exited the house and walked toward the path that led to the pier.
When Scully got to the pier she stopped and simply observed the woman who had turned her life upside-down. Morgan was sitting on the end of the pier, knees drawn up and her arms around her knees. Her face was turned upward toward the sun. She looked peaceful.
Scully was about to walk out onto the pier when Morgan stood up. She was transfixed as the beautiful brunette started undressing. Then Morgan gracefully dove into the water. She should have left and given Morgan her privacy, but she couldn’t take her eyes off her athletic body as it cut through clear, blue water. Dana knew that body intimately... but not as well as she’d like.
Watching Jess, without her knowledge, made Dana feel like a voyeur, but she still hid behind a tree as the brunette finished her swim and returned to the pier. She watched as Jess pulled herself up out of the water and then lie down on her back to dry off in the sun. Eventually she pulled herself away and returned to the house.
While Morgan was drying in the sun her mind was busy. She was reviewing every detail of the case. Changing the game and making the UNSUB react to her was good thing. But what could she do to take further control?
Once she was dry, Morgan put her clothes back on and returned to the house. She ate a quiet, late dinner with Scully and Casper. Then she retreated to her bedroom.
Sleep evaded Morgan for hours. She couldn’t shut her brain off. She kept going over all the messages and calls from the UNSUB. Instead of worrying about how they didn’t fit with the killer’s profile, she focused on just that aspect of his personality. It was his weakness. This facet of the UNSUB was much more emotional and less rational, though still organized and manipulative. It was only this part of him that she’d been able to throw off balance. The brilliant and cunning part of him had made no mistakes, or at least none that they’d found. But the emotional part of him had made more than one.
So, what could she do to take advantage of his weakness? She needed to throw him off his game; she needed to do something unexpected. She reached over and snagged her cell phone from the nightstand. She dialed and left a short message.
“Let’s talk. Face to face, no tricks.”
After hanging up she was finally able to go to sleep.
Surprisingly, Morgan’s phone rang only a couple of hours later. “Morgan.”
“The warehouse district; one hour.”
“No. Tomorrow night.”
“Fine,” came the irritated agreement.
“I’ll contact you when you’re in the area. Midnight – don’t be late.”
Morgan was up early. She made herself some breakfast before showering and changing into a business suit. She was sitting at the kitchen table writing a note when Casper came in.
“Why are you so dressed up this morning?” he asked.
“I have to go back to DC – I have a meeting I have to attend. I was just writing you a note to let you know.”
The sound of the helicopter could be heard as it approached the island.
“Why is the helicopter coming?” Scully asked as she entered the kitchen.
“I have to go to DC for a meeting. I’m not sure when I’ll be back.” Morgan handed the piece of paper to Casper. “If you need anything while I’m gone, just call Greg Titan – his number is there.” She smiled. “Want me to pick up anything while I’m in DC?” she asked lightheartedly to keep them from suspecting the truth. “Pizza with everything, maybe?”
“Just be careful, Jessica.”
“I can’t get in too much trouble at headquarters.” She picked up her briefcase and headed to the stairs. “I’ll see you when I get back.”
Scully had an uneasy feeling. “Do you think one of us should go with her?” she asked Casper.
“For a meeting? We should probably thank her for not making us go,” he replied with a smirk. They heard the helicopter land and then take off again.
Once in DC, Morgan did go to the Hoover building, but only to pick up a vest. She may be willing to meet with the UNSUB at midnight in the warehouse district, but she wasn’t an idiot.
Morgan changed into the clothes she’d packed in her briefcase. After getting something to eat, she headed to the warehouse district. She wanted a chance to look around while it was still afternoon. Besides, he had told her not to be late – he didn’t say anything about her being early.
Casper’s cell phone rang around 2:45 that afternoon.
“Let me talk to Morgan,” ordered AD Ben Taylor.
“What do you mean? She’s not here. She left this morning to go back to DC for a meeting at headquarters.”
Casper felt his stomach tighten with worry. “I don’t know. She simply said she had a meeting. Since she didn’t take any of her bags with her, I assumed she’d be back sometime tonight.”
“Well, there was no meeting. No one’s seen or heard from her and I’ve been trying to get a hold of her for a couple of hours. We’ve got a possible lead on this Russell Schiff guy from Boston.”
“Scully and I will be there as soon as possible.”
“Fine. And try to contact Morgan. I want her here.”
“Yes, sir.” Casper hung up and went onto the verandah where Scully was working. “We’ve got a problem.”
“No one’s seen or heard from Jessica. According to AD Taylor there was no meeting. Taylor wants us back at headquarters – there’s a possible lead on Russell Schiff.”
Scully was up and moving in an instant. “Call for the chopper. I’ll call the airport and get us a flight back,” she said as she opened her phone and entered the house.