Author's e-mail/website: email@example.com
Summary: They had to explain the photos somehow.
Type / Pairings: Jack/Erica
Main characters: Erica Evans, Jack Landry
Spoilers: Up through 2x04
Disclaimer: Don’t own any of the recognizable character, just taking them out to play!
That folder hadn’t been on her desk when she’d left the night before.
Erica Evans entered her office and took a seat, eyeing the innocuous looking folder. It was early and most of the agents that worked in her office had yet to arrive. She’d decided to come in early, as sleep was proving elusive. Understandable, considering she had just found out that her son had decided to vandalize and desecrate St. Josephine’s church in response to the murder of several V Peace Ambassadors.
Tyler hadn’t even seemed the least bit ashamed of what he had done when she confronted him. He’d had the nerve to tell her she should be careful who she chose to be friends with and then had a veritable tantrum when she produced his phone. He knew where he had dropped it and realized she’d been to the church and seen Jack. Despite ordering him to his room, he stomped out, shouting that she couldn’t ground him.
So, coming in a few hours early seemed a better idea than sitting around and brooding.
Flipping open the folder, she stared down at the contents and felt a cold dread in her stomach.
Bolling watching you.
Need plausible excuse.
Damn it. A picture of Jack and herself outside St. Josephine’s, taken very recently. Chris knew she had lied to him. This was bad.
On the other hand, there seemed to be someone else on their side within the FBI.
Reaching for her phone she paused. If Chris was trailing her, then the line might be tapped. She could try to find a payphone…but that would look suspicious. No one used payphones anymore.
No, best to just be cryptic.
She hit speed dial as she stuffed the picture into her jacket and rose. He answered on the third ring, sounding slightly out of breath. “Hello?”
“Hey, Jack,” she greeted him, trying to sound as casual as possible. “You okay?”
He chuckled. “Fine. Just taking my morning run.”
The sun hadn’t even come up and he was running. Erica had never been a morning person. “Sounds fun,” she quipped. “Can you meet me for coffee? That diner would be good.”
There was a diner they sometimes grabbed coffee at after a late meeting with Hobbes and Ryan. Jack agreed easily and they hung up.
Twenty minutes later, Erica was sipping a coffee when Jack arrived, clad in sweats, clearly having come directly from wherever he had been running. He smiled, slipping into the other side of the booth and wrapping a hand around the coffee she’d ordered for him. His eyes were warm and slightly concerned as he asked, “Is everything…all right?”
He of course knew about Tyler’s foray into juvenile delinquency. Still juvenile for a couple of months, but that wouldn’t stop him from being charged as an adult if he kept up his current behavior. Next time, people might be less reluctant to call the police than Father Travis and Jack.
Something brushed her wrist and Erica jumped. She’d let herself go off on a mental tangent of maternal worry over Tyler and, when she hadn’t answered him, Jack had reached across the table, wrapping warm fingers around her hand. Giving his fingers a squeeze, she smiled, hoping to reassure him.
“I talked to Tyler last night,” she said, letting her hand rest on the tabletop beside his. Their pinkies were touching and, though she knew she was being silly, it made her feel less…stressed. “He refused to take any responsibility for what he’d done, other than to defend it. Then he accused me of letting myself be taken in by “a bad guy disguised as a good guy”, his words, and then he stomped off to spend the night on the mother ship.”
Jack blinked as he absorbed the information and then grimaced. “If it weren’t so horrible, the irony of his assessment would be really funny.”
She’d thought the same thing, so she agreed with a nod before continuing. “After that, I couldn’t sleep, so I loaded up on coffee and went to work. There was something waiting for me.”
Sliding the picture, still with the post-it attached, to Jack, she watched as his expression grew grim. “This isn’t good.”
“Not at all. Before we came to talk to you, I told Chris that I hadn’t seen you for weeks. This was taken five days ago. He knows I lied and so does Kendrick…and he’s keeping things from me, investigating me, even as he’s telling me I could trust him…What is it with my partners?” she asked in rhetorical exasperation and jack smiled, bumping her hand gently.
“You’ve still got me,” he offered and the honesty in his voice made her return his smile. He was her partner in this, had been since that fateful night in the warehouse. “So, any ideas for a ‘plausible explanation’? I don’t suppose the counseling a parishioner excuse will work again?”
She shook her head, taking the photo back and tucking it into her jacket. The image had captured Jack smiling fondly at her and, though she was turned away, the curve of her cheek showed that she was as well. But most damning was the fact that they appeared to be holding hands.
Not that they were. Not really. She’d simply run a hand down his arm and given his hand a reassuring squeeze…okay, so maybe they’d held on a moment longer than necessary, but it was nothing untoward.
It just looked that way.
There was, of course, the obvious non-Fifth Column reason for her to be secretly spending time with Jack. He was a good looking man and she’d admit to an attraction…to herself, at least, because he was a freaking priest! Meaning the sex excuse wasn’t viable.
Then again, the fact that it was forbidden would provide a good reason for lying to Chris. But she wasn’t sure she could bring herself to voice it as a serious option to Jack.
“I suppose I could say we struck up a friendship and I lied because it’s frowned upon for an agent to get involved with someone who’s a person of interest in an ongoing case.” Even as she said it, the words registered as weak to her ears.
Jack tried to look supportive, but eventually admitted that no one would buy it. “They know you’re too smart to do a thing like that,” he said kindly, then sighed and glanced out the window. “Maybe you can say you were trying to talk me down from my anti-V stance?”
The idea had merit, but wouldn’t explain the lie. The cameras that oh so conveniently never captured footage of the V’s doing something nasty were proving damning for them, the good guys in this fight. “Well,” she began, trying to phrase things as…inoffensively as possible, “There is always…I mean, we’re two healthy adults, but it would be, uh…a bit….”
“Yeah,” he agreed and she could see he knew where she was going with her roundabout statement. “That could work…probably better than any of our other options.”
There was a faint blush on his cheeks, but her quirked another smile at her, as she knew she was probably a bit red too. Discussing a make believe affair to use as a cover story for your quasi-terrorist activities was not a normal conversation to have with a priest.
Especially not one who looked like Jack. In the back of her mind, she wondered how many of his female parishioners sat in the pews and entertained impure thoughts as he stood before them, giving a heartfelt sermon.
The number was probably very large.
“Are you sure?” she asked as he took a sip of his coffee, clearly to have something to do. “I may not be a Catholic, but I do know that some things are a pretty big no-no for you priests.”
His expression was rueful as he said, “It’s fine. I’m giving a sermon at mass tomorrow that the Vatican will not approve of. I’ll just be waiting for censure.”
At the FBI, censure would mean a reprimand, probation, a note in their file…even termination over a major offense. She wasn’t sure what the church would do. So she asked, “What will that mean?”
Looking down into his cup, he replied, “Well, considering my record of late, I don’t think Father Travis will ask for leniency on my behalf.”
“Not really and answer,” she said, realizing Jack was very good at not talking about himself. He was more of a listener.
“I can’t be certain, but what I’m thinking…I may need to find a new career path,” he admitted without looking her in the eye.
Erica couldn’t imagine what he must be feeling. His avocation was a large part of how Jack defined himself. He honestly seemed to love his faith and, even if she didn’t always understand that, she admired him for the strength of his convictions.
Losing his job meant losing a large part of his life. That had to be very hard for him to think about. In a reversal of their roles from the previous night, she wrapped her hand around his and said, “I’m here for you. You know that, right?”
“I know.” His smile was sad, but he seemed oddly at peace things, like he’d known this was coming. Maybe he had. “Whatever happens, happens. I’m going to speak my mind.”
Though they were few in numbers, the Fifth Column seemed to have more than it’s fair share of stubbornness.
That could end up being a deciding factor in this war. The sheer refusal of the human race to bow down to a foe possessing vastly superior numbers and technology.
Of course it would be helpful if they didn’t have to hide their actions from their fellow humans.
But such was the life of an underground resistance fighter.
During their conversation, her hand had linked with Jack’s again and his thumb was moving slowly across her knuckles. He didn’t seem to notice that he was doing it.
At least it wasn’t going to be hard to convince Chris that they were having an affair. If he had them under observation…well, it would probably be harder to convince him that nothing was going on.
Considering she couldn’t even tell herself nothing was happening between them, their cover story was probably going to be pretty effective.
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