Title: Snapshots: A Brief History of a Life Less Ordinary
Word Count: ~20,500
Please see first part for disclaimer/summary/notes.
May 28th, 1988
Several agents, including Cavanaugh and AD Sharkey were impatiently waiting in the waiting room. Casper had been through surgery to repair the artery in his leg and was recovering. His wife was with him in his hospital room. However, nine hours after arriving at the hospital, Morgan was still in surgery.
Finally, the surgeon entered. Seeing all the badges and guns present, he acted out self-preservation and the knowledge that cops considered themselves family. He quickly made his announcement. “She’s alive... for now. But she is not out of the woods. The best thing you can do for her is pray.”
Sharkey and Cavanaugh approached the doctor and they spoke quietly.
“Does Agent Morgan have any family here?” the doctor asked.
“No,” answered Sharkey.
“I suggest you get them here.”
“You don’t understand, Doctor. She doesn’t have any family, period.”
“Doctor? Is there any chance... she’ll make it?” Cavanaugh asked.
He let out a heavy sigh. “I honestly don’t know. Quite frankly, I don’t know why she’s made it this far.” He shook his head. “There was extensive damage and she had massive blood loss. We had to repair her bladder and large intestine and we were forced to remove a third of her small intestine, her uterus, and one of her ovaries.” He paused as the men he was addressing absorbed the news.
“Does anyone know if she has a living will or not?”
“I think... I think she and her partner have an agreement,” Cavanaugh replied.
“Then I need to talk to him.”
“Casper. John Casper. He was brought in, too, with an injury to his leg.”
“Alright. I’ll speak with him.” He turned and left.
Cavanaugh couldn’t help but picture the disturbing crime scene, and the unbelievably large blood pool where Morgan had gone down. He pictured the dead suspect, Neil Croskey, and wished the bastard hadn’t gotten off so easy.
June 2nd, 1988
Pain. The closer she approached wakefulness the more pain she felt. She wanted to sink back into the darkness, but someone was calling her name, urging her to consciousness.
“Come on, Jessica. You can do it. Wake up, Jessica.”
It was a female voice she didn’t recognize. Suddenly a bright light was flashed in each of her eyes in turn as someone held open her eyelids. She felt a warm hand take hers.
“Squeeze my hand, Jessica.”
She managed a weak squeeze.
She sank back into the darkness.
June 3rd, 1988
“Come on now, let me see those eyes, Jessica.”
She managed to open her eyes halfway.
The nurse smiled down at her. “That’s it. My name is Elise Chambray and I’m your nurse. Don’t try to talk; you have a tube down your throat helping you breathe right now. We’ll see about getting it removed today depending on how well you do. Now, I’m going to ask you some questions. Since you can’t talk just give a slight nod or headshake to answer. Do you understand?”
Jessica gave a small nod.
“Are you experiencing pain right now?”
She again nodded.
“Okay. The doctor has signed an order for pain medication.” Elise pulled a syringe from her pocket and administered the medication via Jessica’s IV line. After disposing of the refuse she returned to the agent’s bedside. “You should be feeling the effects of the medication any second.”
Jessica gave a nod and the tension around her eyes eased.
“Good.” The nurse leaned down and spoke softly, “I know what you need, Jessica. What I need to know is, do you prefer human blood?”
Despite the pain medication and its mind-dulling properties, Jessica’s eyes widened and something akin to panic showed in her grey eyes.
Elise placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay. Your secret’s safe with me.” Elise’s brown eyes turned black and her canines elongated. After only a second they changed back. Elise smiled gently. “Now, do you want human blood?”
Jessica shook her head.
“Okay. I’ll bring you some pig’s blood then.” Elise stood back up and smiled. “Now get some sleep.” She stayed until Jessica drifted off.
June 4th, 1988
She opened her eyes. “You’ll get stiff sleeping like that,” she managed in a raspy voice.
John’s eyes popped open. “Jessica!” He rose from the chair in the corner and moved with a cane to her bedside. He smiled. “They told me you woke up yesterday, but you were out of it when I was here.” He took her hand in his and gave it a squeeze. “It’s so good to see you.”
She gave him a small smile. “Thanks. But go home, John. Spend time with your wife and son.”
“I’m your partner, Jessica.”
“I know. But your wife needs you to be with her right now. She had to have been terrified when you were hurt, John. Go.”
Casper took a deep breath and slowly let it out. He and Jennie had actually argued about that very thing before he’d left home to come visit his partner. “Call me if you need anything.”
She saw him as soon as she entered the waiting are from the jetway. As he took her carryon bag from her shoulder she kissed his cheek. “Hello, Edward.”
“Welcome home, Countess.” He offered his arm for support, which she took.
She smiled when they arrived at the car. It was her Austin Healey.
“I thought you might prefer the drive in this rather than the Rolls, my lady. I hope I haven’t been too presumptuous.”
“Not at all, Edward. Thank you.”
“Do you wish to drive?”
“No. You drive. It was a long flight.”
He placed her bag in the boot before getting into the driver’s seat.
There was a knock on her bedroom door. “Come in,” she called from where she sat in bed reading.
Edward opened the door and entered. He carried a silver salver with a large mug upon it.
She smiled. “I know my grandfather liked a hot toddy before bed, Edward, but I’ll pass.”
“It’s not a hot toddy, my lady.” He held the tray until the mug was within her reach.
She picked up the mug but then froze. The mug was filled with blood. “Edward... what is the meaning of this?” she asked in a flat tone.
“It’s pig’s blood, not human, my lady.” Jessica arched an eyebrow, which Edward correctly interpreted to mean he should explain. “I served your grandfather for many years, my lady, since before you were born. I dare say there were few secrets between us.”
She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. After a long moment she finally nodded. She drank the blood and placed the mug back on the tray. “Thank you, Edward.”
John watched as everyone in the unit welcomed his partner back. He shook his head. When Cavanaugh had told him that Jessica had passed her physical to return to duty he’d been amazed. That she was alive was a miracle, the doctors had said so repeatedly. To be back on duty a mere two months after what she’d been through was unbelievable. He watched her carefully as she moved through the room and several agents spoke to her. She would smile, thank them for their well wishes, and move on to the next. However, John could see her smile didn’t reach her eyes; not the way it used to.
She finally reached her desk. John stood and gave her a hug.
“Welcome back, Jessica,” he said softly.
They released each other and both took a seat at their desks.
“So how are you, really?” he asked.
“I’m fine, John.”
“Where did you go?”
“I went home to England.” She reached for her inbox to start getting up to speed. “How’s your leg?”
John smiled. “It’s good.”
“So, what did I miss?”
“Sharkey finally named his replacement.”
John smiled. “It’s Lou.”
She nodded. “Good for him,” she said and pulled a folder from her inbox.
As his partner opened a folder and started reading, he felt a little sad at the apparent change in her. She had always been an upbeat person, and had an easy smile. Now, she seemed so much more serious, not that she wasn’t ever serious about her work – she’d always had an outstanding work ethic. But a piece of her innocence had been taken away. The light in her eyes didn’t shine as brightly.
John silently sighed. Such was the price of their chosen profession. He had simply wished it had taken longer for the 22-year-old to reach that point.
Mulder couldn’t take his eyes off of her. She had great legs! Since he’d heard she was no longer seeing Agent Johnson, he’d been screwing up his courage to ask her out. Finally, he stood from the lunch table and walked over to hers.
She looked up. “Mulder.”
“Are you going to Sharkey’s retirement party?”
“I plan on it.”
“How ‘bout we ride together? Then there’ll be fewer cars in the parking lot and you won’t have to drive.”
“Sure. Why not?”
July 30th, 1988
It was Saturday at the park, and everyone was present to celebrate AD Vince Sharkey’s retirement. After everyone had a plateful of food, they sat at the picnic tables and many of the agents took turns roasting the Great White Shark. Sharkey then stood and took his turn. Not a single agent escaped his sharp wit.
After lunch, a softball game started up, some horseshoes were thrown, and a volleyball game started.
Toni Jeffers played volleyball until the second game was done. She then decided to take a break. She retrieved a beer from a cooler and took a long drink. She looked around and noticed Morgan sitting under a tree by herself. She watched for a few moments, trying to evaluate what she saw in the young woman’s eyes. Then she realized it was something she didn’t see the agent’s eyes.
She walked over and sat down next to woman. They sat in silence for a couple minutes. Toni finally spoke, “You did everything right, Jessica.”
Jessica sat watching the softball game, but soon wasn’t really seeing anything. Not for the first time, she reviewed everything that happened with Neil Croskey. She tried to figure out how the hell the man had so completely defeated her. It shouldn’t have happened, not with her superior strength. She had been able to pick up her six foot partner and carry him outside. She could out bench press any other agent. Yet faced with the killer Neil Croskey, she was all but helpless. He had a large knife, but she had a gun. In the end, that was the only thing that made a difference. By all rights, she should be dead.
She’d asked herself over and over again what she could have done differently. That’s all she did while on medical leave. Day after day she’d sat at her grandfather’s grave and asked herself what she’d done wrong.
“You did everything right, Jessica.”
The words startled her. She hadn’t even noticed the other agent even though she was sitting right next to her. “I’m sorry?”
Toni looked her in the eyes. “You did everything right. We talked to the woman you rescued, Erica Towne, reviewed your and Casper’s actions, and reenacted the events of the day. And, you did everything right, Jessica.”
The younger woman drew in a deep breath and slowly let it out. “He got the better of me.”
“But in the end you took him down, and saved Erica. You didn’t give up, Jessica, that’s what made the difference. You’re a good agent, an excellent agent. So don’t over-analyze what happened, don’t doubt your skill. If you do, it’ll only mess you up, keep you from acting when you need to.” She paused for a couple of beats. “Did they make you see the Bureau shrink?”
She let out a rueful huff. “Of course.”
“How did it go?”
Jessica looked at Toni. “I have three PhDs in psychology – I passed with flying colors,” she quipped with a smirk.
Toni was glad to see the spark in Jessica’s grey eyes, even if it was short-lived. It meant that her spirit hadn’t been broken – bruised perhaps – but not completely broken. She decided a change of topic was in order. “It’s going to be strange around here without Sharkey. He’s the one that recruited me for the VCU. Got me to transfer from Cyber Crimes.”
Jessica nodded. “He came to Oxford to recruit me.”
“So that’s how you got assigned to the Violent Crimes right out of the academy,” Toni said with a friendly smile.
“What do you mean? I was surprised when I got my assignment. As a profiler I expected to be assigned to Behavioral Science at Quantico.”
Toni looked at her appraisingly for a couple of moments. “You really don’t know, do you?”
“No one gets assigned to the VCU without at least two years of experience. Everyone wondered how you managed it right out of the academy.”
Jessica took a deep breath and let it out with a sigh. “I guess that explains some of the attitudes.”
“And your exceptional skill has turned most of those attitudes around. For example, look at Cavanaugh. He wasn’t pleased you were assigned to his section, but now you and Casper are his go-to team. You’ve more than earned the respect of your fellow agents. And Casper refused to go into the field with anyone while you were out.”
She looked at the older agent. “He did?”
Toni smiled. “Yes, he did.” The older woman bumped Jessica’s shoulder with her own and held up her beer bottle. “Come on, my beer’s empty. Let’s get something to drink.”
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