Title: Field Numb3rs
Pairing(s): Don/Colby (in later chapters, just referenced in this one), Charlie, Amita,David, OCs, Bill Coop
Rating: PG-13 currently
Notes/Warnings: References to potential toture/BSMD.
Summary: Charlie Eppes, FBI Agent. AU, basically what if Don had never stopped playing baseball and Charlie joins the FBI. Takes place, roughly at the end of season 3 in canon (Megan's back from her secret mission, kinda). I'm still new at this, so if I get anything majorly wrong, let me know and I'll try and fix it (one at a time, please).
“Coop.” He watched as the girl put the bottle down, screwing the cap back on. “Thought you left.”
Coop shrugged, looking at the label on her bottle. “Thought you’d have gone home?”
Caroline shrugged. “It’s my life.” She took a small sip. “What you doing here? Eppes not got the guts to tell me to go?”
At Coop’s expression, she snorted. “I’m not an idiot Coop; I know you suggested me to Eppes, that he didn’t really want me.”
“Charlie doesn’t want anyone,” Coop replied. “How much do you know about the girl you replaced, Megan Reeves?”
He watched as Caroline swirled the glass around. “I didn’t know that was her name. All I’ve ever heard her referred to as is Megan.” She looked at him, her green eyes meeting his own. “That’s all I know, except that she was a profiler and she left the team under mysterious circumstances.”
Coop nodded. “She was a profiler. Probably one of the best the FBI had.” He sighed. “Certainly good enough that she caught the government’s eye.”
He didn’t need to expand. They both knew what that meant.
“I don’t know specifics. Just know she couldn’t cope.” He took a swig of the beer he’d ordered when he entered. “Major dissociative state. That’s the fancy term for it. What it means is lights are on, but nobody’s home.”
“I know what it means,” Caroline interrupted. “What I don’t get is what that has to do with me. I’m not a profiler.”
Billy stared into his beer for a moment. “Can I ask you something? Do you want to stay?”
She gave him a look as though he’d suddenly started speaking Chinese. “Of Course I do. Why do you think I acted like a jerk at the crime scene? It’s...” she turned her attention back to her drink, shaking her head. “It’s the first time I’ve felt alive, felt like a cop, felt like I was valued since Baltimore.”
Billy nodded. “So show him that. He doesn’t want rid of you, but he thinks you’re just riding this till you get something better.”
Caroline’s eyes bored into him. “He’s not trying to replace me?”
“Swear to god, the chick with him comes from Cal Sci. Having failed to convince the FBI of the wonders of math, I think he’s trying to convince mathematicians of the wonders of the FBI.”
Caroline laughed and then smiled an unexpected smile, like the first crocus of spring.
“Think I can get us a lead on that club,” she said. “See you.”
She paused by the door. “Coop?”
“How did you get so…wise?”
He shrugged. “On the road, you’ve got a lot of time to think.”
Charlie made his way into the office and over to the desks. He smiled to himself, as he noticed Caroline at hers, her head resting on her arms and her eyes closed.
Slowly, he undid the lid of the coffee. The effect was funny. Caroline sat bolt upright as though someone had set off a firecracker in her ear. There was a post-it note attached to her cheek.
“Tell me you weren’t here all night.” Charlie said, grinning as he handed over the coffee.
“I wasn’t here all night.” Caroline replied, draining what looked like half the cup at once.
Caroline shrugged. “You asked me to tell you, you didn’t say it had to be true.” She smiled over the edge of her cup. “And technically it is. I got dinner at a bar, then I drove to the labs before coming back here.” She shook herself. “And I took Coop to the airport this morning.”
“He’s gone?” Charlie asked, feeling sad in spite of him. Caroline smiled.
“I said I took him there. Little what’s it grabbed his car and followed me back here. Not that I’m complaining mind you,” she took another sip. “I was glad of an extra pair of eyes. See,” she sprung around and pulled up a screen on her computer. “I remembered back in Baltimore, this tech, who’d nagged all of us in Vice for pictures of our hands after we’d been to the clubs.”
“Thought you were in homicide,” Charlie questioned as he leaned over to look at the screen.
“Started on patrol, moved up to Vice, then into homicide. Quickly showed I was good at undercover stuff.” Caroline said. “Anyway, at first me and several of the girls were a bit freaked out, thinking this was some kind of sex thing. Turns out he and a couple of buddies from college were trying to make a website of all the hand stamps in the country. Seems it started on a road trip and kinda grew from that.”
A purple webpage popped into view. Charlie read the title, “A Great Night Out.”
“The clubs pretty soon cottoned on to it as a way to advertise, and it’s quite popular out here.” She shook her head. “Anyway I knew there was a section on LA, so I started looking through, seeing if I could find our stamp.” She pointed to the crime scene picture she’d pinned up on the board above her desk.
Charlie squinted at it. It looked even less clear up there, and he had to admire Caroline’s determination.
“I got six clubs that are possibles- if we assume he stayed in the city. If he stayed in the state, it’s nearly 20.”
Straightening up, he could see Billy standing by the break room, coffee cup in hand. “Don’t screw this up, kid,” his eyes seemed to say.
He nodded. “Alright. Let’s see that list.”
“Two of the bars don’t open on a Thursday night, so it’s unlikely Mr. Escape was there.”
Caroline moved around the war room, pinning up the snap shot of the hand, and the clubs information.
“A third was raided by Vice last week, and closed down so…”
“Again not likely,” Charlie supplied. “The fourth is a pop up bar - different venue each week, no way to track it.”
“What we thought.” Caroline agreed, with a quick glance at Coop. “Except at two am this morning, when I finally managed to speak to someone, he was highly offended we even suggested he might have let Wyoming Jack in. As he points out, the place is small, few people know about it, so it’s easy to recall faces.”
“So that leaves two.”
Caroline nodded. “The Bent Whisker and,” she finished pinning up the picture and turned to face the group. “X in the City.”
Colby nodded, but David’s face looked less certain the longer he looked at the photo of the club. Caroline remembered hearing somewhere that he, like her, had worked in Vice, before joining the FBI. If he had, the warning signs where there. He knew what sort of place it was and the trouble they were facing.
“Jay.” She slipped her arms around the young man with dark hair and an earring in his right ear and grinned at him. “You find here O.K.?”
Jay rolled his eyes. “Yet to be a bar made that I can’t find my way to blindfolded, sweets. What we waiting for?”
“My partner. He should be here any moment…shit!” she watches the Bureau car pulled up and Colby Granger clambered out. “Thought Sinclair was supposed to be my back up on this.”
Colby shrugged. “Said he didn’t feel so good.”
“Before or after he told you about this mission.”
“It’s asking questions of patrons in a bar. What’s the big deal?”
Caroline’s mouth was open, to inform Colby of the exact nature of the bar, when Jason gave a small cough beside her.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?” Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the position Jason had adopted- leaning against the wall, arms folded. It was the same position he’d adopted when she and McCoy had first picked him up for solicitation, a position that always meant trouble.
“Jason, Colby Granger, my partner for the night. FBI” So you’d better behave, was the underlying warning. “Colby, Jason Todd, one of my snitches from Baltimore, these days working for LAPD.”
She watched as Jason shook Colby’s hand, giving his most disarming smile, the one Caroline had learnt the hard way meant he was going to kiss you, slip out of the cuffs, kick you and run off. These days, or so rumour had it, it was a warning that Jason was planning to drag the unsuspecting guy into the nearest private space and have sex with him. She hoped that wasn’t true.
Colby’s orientation was pretty oblivious, but inflicting Jason on him would scare him further into the closet than he already was and that wasn’t fair. Thankfully, Colby seemed oblivious as they shook hands.
“O.K.” Jason said, apparently becoming aware of the looks Caroline was shooting him. “You guys ready, everything stashed.”
Colby nodded. Caroline shot a nervous glance at Colby, but apparently decided that there wasn’t really much she could about the situation, and nodded.
Jason grinned, blue eyes promising mischief. “Then let’s go find your Dom.”