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The Longest Step; Criminal Minds/CSI NY X-Over
Topic Started: Jan 18 2010, 09:47 PM (470 Views)
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Criminal Minds/ CSI New York
Also posted at HLBB.

Warning: This story is set in the "Criminal Minds" Universe (With a tasty smattering of CSI NY). While rated PG-13 at the worst, it may deal with subject matter that some readers may find disturbing. Please read with caution. May contain language, violence, and situations of abuse.

Disclaimer: "Criminal Minds" and "CSI New York" belong to CBS and Paramount. I own nothing and make no profit, except to expand my already vividly twisted imagination.

Summary: At the request of Detective Mac Tayler, Agent Hochner and his team are brought in to help resolve a human trafficking ring. With a desperately broken escapee their only lead, and time running out for a group of kidnapped women, the team must obtain their only witness' cooperation while skirting two governments on the verge of political melt-down.

Those of you familiar with The BigDamnVerse might find a core of familiarity - I wanted to prove that the characters we write there are relevent to other times and places and universes. This is intended to be told in six short chapters. As I rewrite the later chapters it may grow in length, but I promise it will be worth it!


The Longest Step


The young woman walked straight ahead, looking neither left nor right, nor upwards at the spectacular and famous Sky Ceiling above. Her long blond hair swept down her back, swaying around her face and her perfectly trim figure as she walked through the train station, just another face in a busy day, with Grand Central Station pouring past on every side: straining luggage, crying babies, harried men in suits, gawking tourists- No one might have noticed her at all save for her beauty.

With delicate features set in a perfectly oval face, peach and cream complexion, flowing golden hair, and crystal blue eyes, the woman was beautiful; beautiful enough to warrant second, and even third, glances from male passers-by, but there was something closed about her stance: a shift of her slightly lowered head and squared shoulders that made them quickly look away again. Her clothing, plain blue cotton shorts, white t-shirt and plain blue cotton sneakers drew attention only because it was autumn and the New York city air was brisk with the first rains of the season.

Past the Information booth with it's four-faced brass clock framed by the high barred windows she moved, going with the flow of the crowds towards the main doors. Breaking out, to the top of the steps, she stood bewildered, blinking in the harsh New York sunlight. Glancing back at the doors and the crowds, she locked her arms around her body for warmth and hastened towards the street, with its cacaphony of horns, roaring motors, backfiring exhausts and yelling patrons.

Staggering slightly, she sped up, hastening down the sidewalk, deeper into the heart of Manhattan until she was forced to stop, heaving for breath. Tears worked their way down her cheeks and her exposed skin was goosebumped and reddened with cold. People bumped into her, rushed around her. She was surrounded by humanity. And all alone.

"Lady? Hey, lady?" The beat cop in a blue uniform, his shock of black hair stark against the grey sky, seemed to appear from nowhere and she startled back. "You okay? You're gonna get run over out ..."

His words disappeared behind her as she spun away from him and started to run, ignoring the startled, "What the hell..." that echoed after her. Any other day, maybe, the representative of New York's finest wouldn't have bothered. Plenty of girls on the street had a beef up with the cops, for a variety of reasons, but she seemed disoriented and confused, and it was early in his shift, not a lot of trouble this early in the day.

His hand caught her shoulder at the end of the block, his partner only a few steps behind. Bringing her to a halt, he skidded on the pavement as she spun to face him, "Police! Stop! Just calm down now!"

To his surprise the girl dropped to her bare knees on the cold wet pavement, head lowered, hands raised to the back of her neck. Under his gloved hand, she was trembling so violently that her flowing hair shivered whispily, and there was gasping as her gagging mouth gulped in air. "Charlie?" He addressed his partner, "Call a bus. I think she's sick or somethin."

"Lütfen," Pink lips shivered the words out, tiny whimpers against the background of chaos, "Lütfen, yardim emtek!"

The everpresent sirens of New York City grew louder, echoing in the concrete jungle, and the world around her shimmered and spun before fading to black...
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Mac Taylor, lead detective of NYPD's major crime lab, sat at his desk, dark haired head bent over the paperwork on his desk, sleepy-lidded pale brown eyes refusing to meet his fellow detective's gaze, "It's the damn budget, Stella. We just don't have the money to pull in extra investigators right now."

His second-in-command, Stella Bonasera, her full head of auburn curls waved around her face in ebullient chaos at odds with her controlled personality, shrugged her slender shoulders, "I hear ya, Mac, I hear ya. But what do we do? If that girl is who we think..."

Now Taylor couldn't help himself. The jaded homicide detective had seen nearly everything in his day, had hunted killers in the wildest corners of the concrete jungle that was New York City. He wasn't an easy man to shake off. "You think I'm going to give up?" His hand reached for the phone, one eye flashing in a devilish wink, "Whatd'ya do when you drop your knife?"

Stella shrugged, tilting her head with a humoring smile, "Get a stick?"

"A big stick." Taylor confirmed, phone to his ear, "This is Detective Mac Taylor with the NYPD. I'd like to speak to Agent Aaron Hotchner, please."


FBI: Behavioral Analysis Unit Jet Transport
Enroute to New York

Politician Coleman Young said in his biography that "Courage is one step ahead of fear."

Agent Aaron Hotchner was guardedly optimistic as he boarded the comfortable federal jet with the rest of his team for the short hop to New York City. He was a tall athletic man, with a full head of thick black hair and dark piercing eyes. His black suit was formal, freshly dry cleaned and pressed.

He watched his team with unreadable scrutiny, studying them one by one. They were looking a bit lost and confused, but hopeful, and he hoped that he wasn't leading them all on a wild goose chase. This was the kind of case that every agent hoped to run across: The old cold case with a triumphant ending.

Doctor Spencer Reid, the youngest member of the team, a child prodigy with an eidetic memory and more degrees to his name than Hotch could remember all at once, was at ease, leaning back in his seat as he caught up on the history of a case that would have happened while he was still learning his multiplication tables. Scratch that, Hotch thought with the barest hint of a wry smile. Reid probably would have been learning Einstein's equations by the time he was eight. Dr. Reid was thin and lanky, as though he hadn't quite finished growing into his body, and his hair, as usual, was too long and occasionally flopped over his face as he read.

Special Agent Derek Morgan, too, was scanning through the cold case file on the missing girls. Of the entire team, Morgan was a power-house. A former Chicago cop and current Judo black belt, he wore his brown pate shaved clean and kept his clothing closer to the casual side of business. As their outgoing and energetic technician Penelope Garcia would say, with much avaristic glee, Morgan moved like a cat and talked like sweet molasses. And there was no one else Hotchner of that he'd rather have watching his backside.

Emily Prentiss was resting, dark hair splayed over her shoulders, eyes closed, feet tucked underneath her. It was an unusually relaxed pose for the newer agent on the team who still felt she had to prove herself to them all. Normally such relaxation was reserved for the trip home, when it was all over, one way or another, and Hotch took an extra moment to swallow in extra details about the keen politicians daughter.

The oldest and most experienced member of the team, Agent David Rossi, his dark hair and mustache shot through with grey that dimmed to blue in the running lights, was sitting tense and cross-armed near Emily. His sturdy gaze was focused out the window, his thoughts inscrutable. Hotch half smiled to himself: Rossi had been doing this too long to give up many clues to his state of mind.

Supervisory Special Agent Jennifer Jareau, more comfortingly called JJ, (Something Hotch approved of, since the proper pronunciation of her last name often eluded him) was frowning, her pale blond hair sweeping down to touch the table before her as she poured over the pictures of the case. Her slender body was curved to the images, her blue eyes shuttered.

Hotchner wondered what she was thinking as she looked at the images of those children; those young girls in their floral print dresses and pigtails, in their blue-jeans and bicycle helmets. It wasn't until he unfastened his seat-belt and moved over to start the briefing that he realized that it wasn't those long-ago stolen girls who held her attention.

It was the photos of the woman they had found in New York that she was looking at. The young woman with the blond hair and blue eyes and oval face. The woman who could have been JJ's sister for all the similarities between them.

Reid glanced up at Hotch as he approached, sliding over to make more room on the table-side, "Do you really think this woman is one of the missing girls?"

It was the question they were all asking. "Evidence says that it could be." Hotch suggested broodily, "She's the right age, right ethnicity. Unfortunately, almost no one was obtaining DNA evidence in missing children cases back then, so we don't have anything to compare it to."

"What about the woman? What does she say?"

"Nothing." Rossi filled in, frowning. "They've determined that the few words she said when the police found her were Arabic or Turkish, maybe. But she's refused to speak since. Medical report says she seems confused, disoriented. They've had to sedate her."

"Why does NYPD think she's one of these girls?" Morgan spoke up, his rich voice reassuring in the confines of the plane, "I mean, she could be anybody. How many blond haired blue eyed little girls get kidnapped in the US every year? And how many grown women might fit the description of someone who disappeared ten years ago?"

"Statistically, about one-hundred fifteen children are victims of stereotypical 'child' kidnapping per year in the US. Of course, chances that each of them has an identical doppelganger would be astronomical, but if we figure in..."

"Thank you, Reid." Hotch cut off the prodigy with a half-smile that he couldn't have prevented should he have tried, exchanging amused glances with Rossi over his head, "I think Morgan was being rhetorical."

"Oh." Reid's pallid face broke into a embarrassed smile and he scooted back in his seat, awkwardly crossing his arms over his thin chest.

"I've known Detective Taylor a long time. He wouldn't call us in if there wasn't something behind it."

"I investigated the original kidnappings." Rossi spoke up quietly, "I recognize most of these girls. Twenty-two girls all between the ages of eight and ten went missing around New York and New Jersey over the span of about a year. All pretty, all blond. A couple years later, we realized that eighteen girls were reported missing over the span of eight months in LA, all similar in appearance to the first twenty-two."

"There were no leads?" Emily Prentiss spoke up, her dark eyes widened in confusion, making her narrow nose seem even sharper.

Rossi glanced at her, answering her question directly, almost privately, with a sharp shake of his head, "Ah. No. Most of them were in the foster care systems, or were from estranged parents. Hard to track. In some cases, they were missing for days before they were reported. Even then, it often looked like they were with the estranged parent until we could track them down. It was only the high number that tipped us off that anything was wrong. There were no leads, no trace. Polygraphs came back clean. We were staring right at the patterns but we could never figure it out. Final conclusion was, well, inconclusive."

"And now one just shows up on the streets of New York?" Morgan shook his head, glancing around the team, "I'm not buying it."

Hotch looked down at the picture on the table. The young woman was lying in a hospital bed, long blonde hair swept down to her shoulders, staring at the camera lense with watery blue eyes. "I may not be buying it," He told his team with quiet confidence, "But I'm not ready to let it go to another buyer just yet."

Rossi smirked, a soft chuckle slipping from his throat.

The plane began it's descent through the misty clouds that hovered over the Big Apple, the night lights of the great city turning the sky to orange rain.


Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan

The great glass edifice rose up over the belt of cars and pedestrians below, a bastion of solace in a cold city. It didn't appear inviting or warm or healing as the taxi wound it's way to the front entrance and disgorged three members of the BAU team. Dr. Reid paused, lowering the small orange book he was reading from his nose to lean his lanky form back and stared up the far reaching bank of steel and glass. Nose returning to his book, he muttered to Emily, "Hope it's friendlier on the inside."

"They're here to fix you, not be friendly." Detective Taylor stepped forward as they entered the lobby, hand outstretched, "But they're one of the best. Been patched up here enough times to know. Good to see you, Agent Hotchner."

"Thanks for meeting me here, Detective Taylor." Hotch extended his hand for the detectives firm shake. He'd always liked the Lower East Side Irishman. And he knew, not by something quantifiable, but something deep in his senses, that Taylor hadn't brought him here on a goose chase. There was nothing, however, to say that it wouldn't be a wild one.

"Thank you for coming." Mac Taylor replied, with more than a touch of gratitude ladening his warm voice, "I was afraid you'd think I'm crazy."

"Still might be the case." Hotch teased his old friend lightly, "Detective, I'd like you to meet Agent Emily Prentiss and Doctor Spencer Reid."

Mac gave them both cursory nods. Reid barely lowered his book long enough to return it. "Stella is getting the rest of your team settled at our offices. You'll have whatever you need. Since your team investigated the original disappearances, we're just your back-up on this one."

"We're the fall guys, you mean?" Hotchner filled in, but there was no real accusation in his words. It's just how things went in a world where crime outweighed the resources to fight it. Federal level could accomplish so much more than the local police departments. His mind turned towards the subject, "How is she?"

"I haven't seen her yet today. I've asked to have her put in a private room. The doctors tell me that they've had to keep her sedated, but I'm hoping we'll have better luck today." But there was something in Taylor's tone that alerted Hotch that it was a vague hope.

As they reached the door, they could they see her through the glass window. Her head was turned towards the window, as though she was watching them back but it quickly became obvious that her stare was looking at something beyond them, something perhaps she couldn't even see.

Hotch paused a nurse with a raised hand and a tilted badge, "Has she said anything?"

"No, the poor thing." The nurse, an overweight middle-aged white woman with a sympathetic demeanor gave a motherly sigh, "If we don't see any improvement soon, we'll have to move her to psych. We just don't have room up here if there's nothing physically wrong with her."

"I'll need to see her charts." Dr. Reid piped up, and the nurse nodded, hastening away.

"Do we have a name for her?" Agent Prentiss asked quickly, her eyes dark with sympathy. And more. She was gauging the entire scene- the rumpled bed, the half-glazed eyes, the still body-language.

Detective Taylor shook his head, "My partner started calling her honey and it stuck. She's listed as Honey Doe."

"Detective! " A female doctor approached, her manner brisk and efficient, a chart held in her hands. She was of middle-age, short, perhaps five feet tall, with almond shaped eyes and silver-shot black hair twisted into a bun, "I'm glad I caught you. I'm off rotation in an hour. There's something you need to see."

"Go on," Emily already had her phone to her ear, "I'm going to have Garcia start artificial aging on the photos of the girls, see if we've got a match..."

"I doubt it will help." The doctor interupted crisply, waving them to follow her.

Hotchner stood back, letting Taylor take the lead with the physician who was introduced as Dr. April Chee. She bustled them down a corridor to the side, speaking quickly, " I noticed scars on her wrists, and matching ones on her ankles. Old scars. So I ordered X-rays. She gave the techs a hell of a time, but we got our pictures."

"Help me out here, Doc," Hotch looked over the set of X-rays, covering Honey Doe's entire body, hearing Reid's quiet gasp behind him. "My specialty is the mind, not the body."

"Wrists and ankles show old stress fractures, and some of her ribs have been broken," Dr. Chee started, but Taylor interupted.

"Most of the stolen girls were from broken homes or in foster care. Any and all of them could have been abused long before they were taken."

"That's possible, but here, here, and here..." Dr. Chee pointed to relevent spots, "She's had surgery, and a lot of it. Facial reconstruction, breast reconstruction. Her stomach has been stapled... She's a plastic factory."

"It could be voluntary." Reid suggested, "Girls are getting cosmetic alteration younger and younger now."

"No doctor with a practicing license would have gone this far," Dr. Chee barked, flipping to another image. "If she consented to it, she didn't know what they were doing."

"She was made beautiful?" Hotchner didn't like where this was leading. "If the unsub went through that much trouble..."

"He's going to want her back." Emily finished his sentence, her eyes darkening.

"And that's not all." Dr. Chee pointed to a tiny fleck on the chest X-ray.

Hotchner stared at it, but it didn't mean much to him except that there was, well, a fleck on the X-ray.

"What is that? Some kind of foreign object? A bullet?" Reid was pondering out loud, turning the image to better see it against the illuminated background.

"A chip." Emily Prentiss whispered, her finger reaching up to touch it, "My father has dogs. One got hit by a car last year, and I took it to the vet... That's a pet microchip for identification." Emily's voice was rising slightly in indignation, and Hotchner caught her gaze and held it, sharing her anger.

"I think," Hotch said in as soft a voice as he could manage, "That we're ready to see the patient now."

(tbc - cue major key chord.... daaaaaa ;)
Edited by Ertia, Jan 19 2010, 12:16 AM.
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"Our resources are your resources." Stella Bonasera reassured Agent Rossi as she lead the rest of the BAU team off the elevator and into the NYPD crime lab. "Detectives Messer and Monroe, " She gestured Danny Messer and Lindsay Monroe through the glass partition, their heads bent inches apart as they bent over a pile of files, "are trying to track down whatever we can of the missing girls families."

"I think we can help with that." Derek Morgan, dark eyes dancing with the intensity of the hunt, had his phone already pressed to his head.

The following conversation could have been misconstrued any number of ways by any listeners, but the BAU team had long since become inured to the quirks of their technician, the amazing Penelope Garcia, back in her small computer filled room back at Quantico.

"Speak and be recognized!" She chimed, her bleach-blond hair falling over her round cheeks as she leaned forward to brace her elbows on her desk.

"Tell me you're my angel." Derek answered, ignoring a hardfast look from Stella Bonasera.

"You know it, oh hunk-o-burnin' Agent!"

Derek could just imagine the brightening of her eyes, the raising of her head as she heard his voice, knowing there was a challenge coming, "I need everything you've got. Track down as much of the missing children's families as you can.."

"Oh, already on it. Two so far," Garcia answered in her usual terse detailing manner, "A brother of one girl and the father of another. Already sent them to NYPD, but it's slow going, Derek." Penelope's voice fell a little bit, "These kids were in the foster care system for a reason. The father I finally tracked down in prison. He's doing life at Rykers, for killing his wife- that missing girls mother."

"Just do the best you can. When you've got it, send it directly to Detectives Messer and Monroe here at NYPD."

"I'm also running aging software on all of the faces. Maybe we'll come up with a match.." Penelope signed off with a swift, "I'll call as soon as I've got something."

"I'm scheduling a press conference," JJ pitched in, holding up her notebook, "An appeal to the families of the missing girls, to anyone who might have known them or remember details of the cases. Maybe more family will come forward voluntarily."

"Is that a good idea?" Stella asked concernedly, shifting her tall form in front JJ, "I mean, it's been over ten years. These people have moved on with their lives. If we're wrong..."

"But if we're right?" JJ shook her blonde head, ponytail swaying, her blue eyes bright with sympathy for Stella's point of view and with determination for her own, "We have to do everything to identify who she is."

Lenox Hill Hospital, Manhattan

Through the thick polished glass they observed her for a long moment. Pale and peach, her golden-blonde hair draped over her face as she lay listlessly, her blue eyes pale and foreign, as though they saw nothing beyond the falling strands of gold that laced her pillow. The room itself was the faceless nameless room of every hospital- white sheets, pale yellow walls, a framed picture of flowers on the wall, a small television mounted over the foot of the bed.

Finally, Hotch opened the door, coming to the bedside with slow measured steps. She watched him with wary eyes, body language not closed, but not open, either.

"Hi." He began cautiously, keeping his voice low and soft, "I'm Aaron Hotchner. These are my friends Spencer Reid and Emily Prentiss. We're with the FBI."

It was an old tactic. To seem less intimidating, try to address the subject familiarly, drop titles that may be percieved as intimidating. Oh, Hotch reminded himself swiftly, and smile. When his words recieved no response, the woman's eyes not moving above his chest, Emily stepped up, her voice soft under the tick of the IV machine.

"We'd like to ask you a few questions. Is that all right?"

Her response echoed with the intensity of it's silence. Watery blue eyes trailed from one to the other without seeming to see them.

"Is she sedated?" Emily whispered to Dr. Chee, who had arrived behind them, but the physician glanced at the chart and shook her head.

"Her last dose was six hours ago. It should cleared her system by now."

"May I?" Reid slipped forward before they could stop him, and Hotch supressed a grimace. The youngest agent was frighteningly intelligent, but his people skills were sometimes limited by his very brilliance. Hotch didn't move to restrain the him: his youth, in this case, might be something the victim, if that is indeed what she was, could identify with.

The young woman's tremulous blue eyes flickered to him first, then away again, body tensing slightly as Reid approached her slowly.

"I'm Spencer. What's your name?"

The quiet generous tone was typical of Spencer, but the body posture, standing straight and erect, head high, was so out of the norm for the usually very socially conscious and rather stilted Doctor Reid. Hotch was careful not to register any sign of surprise, or curiosity, at the tactic the usually subdued agent was taking.

The woman turned her head to look at Reid, but not really at him. Her gaze never raised to his face, staying focused on his narrow cardigan-clad chest. There was no sign of comprehension in her expression, no sign that his words penetrated her consciousness and she remained silent, but there was an alertness in her frame, a response that hadn't been there before."

"Can you tell us your name?" Spencer paused for a moment, his warm sympathetic gaze shifting to Emily before focusing back on the girl in the bed. His voice cooled even further, "Adin ne?"

The girl startled, her gaze remaining focused on Reid's chest. Hotch could feel the tension in the air raise by degrees as Mac Taylor's eyebrows shot up and Emily Prentiss leaned forward.

Spencer repeated himself, a little more loudly, "Adin ne?"

"Adim Leela, afedersiniz." The words came barely more loudly than a whisper.

"Tesekkur ederim." Reid answered softly before turning to Hotchner, "She says her name is Leela. And... she's sorry."

"Sorry for what?" Hotch asked in a low voice, aware that Honey Doe, aka Leela, had never moved her eyes from Spencer. He had become her primary contact. Emily and Mac were staring at Reid with bounding curiosity, and Hotch held up a hand, warning them to hold their questions until they were out of the room.

"Anlamiyorum," Spencer turned back to Leela, continuing to speak in the language that, for the moment, seemed a secret code between them.

Her answer came hesitantly, her blonde head bowed low.

"She's sorry for not answering me the first time." Reid returned to his low conversation, but in time her answers turned to a few words mumbled over and over, until the strange syllables were etched in Hotchner's mind and it was obvious that she was becoming upset.

"Enough." Dr. Chee broke in. "Let her rest now."

"Agreed." Hotch answered, gesturing to the door, "Reid, tell her we'd like to talk to her again later. Ask if that's all right?"

A few more words were exchanged, and as Hotchner watched, it was as though something had struck Reid. His bright eyes darkened, narrowed to wince back tears. He spoke no more, but nodded, lips moving with words he couldn't express.

Breaking from the room, the team moved down the corridor. In the waiting area of the hospital, on plain orange vinyl benches, they convened to review.

"I didn't get much out of her." Reid admitted. "She's afraid of something, or someone. Maybe us. All she would tell me is that her name is Leela and she got on the wrong train. She wants to leave. No last name, not where she came from or what train she was supposed to be on."

"What was she saying over and over?" Hotch was leaned against the wall, arms crossed, where he could see the entire hallway, any coming or going.

Reid raised his head to meet Hotch's gaze, "She said she hasn't done anything wrong."

"What else?" And Hotchner held Reid's gaze hard, as though clenched in his fist, gently pressing for the answer to what had shaken him in that room.

Reid shook his head, his too-long hair falling over his face, hiding his expression once more, but his tone said all that he could not hold in his eyes, "She said if I wanted to help her, let her go."

"Technically, we can't hold her." Dr. Chee sighed, "If she's lucid, and we've got a translator to speak for her… Well, if she wants to leave, there's no medical reason to keep her."

Hotch sighed, " She was disoriented when she was found. Hold her on a psychiatric watch. Give us twenty-four hours. Reid, stay here to translate. Maybe she'll open up if she gets bored enough."

"I don't think she will." The youngest member of the team answered warily, "She's too scared."

"What language was that?" Mac Taylor asked suddenly, "I didn't recognize it."

"Turkish." Reid answered, "I guessed based on the police report of her pick-up."

"You're just full of surprises," Emily grinned at Reid, "I didn't know you spoke Turkish."

"I don't really." He reached into his shoulder satchel and withdrew the small orange-covered book he'd been reading when they'd arrived. With a half-smile he handed Emily Prentiss the 'Lonely Planet Turkish Phrasebook', "I picked it up at the airport and read it on the way over."

Washington DC:
Fairfax Hotel: Grande Suite

"I don't know, sir. I lost her in the station." The man standing in the doorway announced. The messenger wore a plain black suit, his broad shoulders slightly slumped. His greying hair was sandy brown and the skin beneath his eyes wide and saggy, as though they had seen too much in his forty-odd years. Now they were seeing his boss, waiting for the other man's reaction to the news.

The other man, younger but seeping self-assured power from his entire form rested at the table, snifter of brandy open before him. His black suit was tailor-cut to his tall fit frame, but his tie hung loose around his neck, a counterpart of red silk to his white pressed shirt and the shock of dark hair that brushed his ears. The hand gently swirling the glass of brandy tensed suddenly, tendons standing out stark and white against the smooth tanned skin. Slowly, almost gently, the brandy returned to the table-top and the other man rose to face the first, "You lost her?"

"She might have taken the wrong train, Gedick. Don’t worry," The first man said hopefully, "She's traveled alone before, and she knows to call if something goes wrong."

"Not in the US, she hasn’t. And she has not called." Gedick Forista answered, his accent cool and heavy between them. "She has not arrived. Find her, Ozcar."

"Yes, of course, sir." Pyter Ozcar turned to go, swiftly, but Gedick's voice called him back.

"Oz,” Gedick Forista’s voice lowered, darkening the room with empty shadows of promises half-fullfilled, “if you don't find her by tomorrow midnight, we initiate damage control."

Ozcar did not answer except to nod crisply. If it was possible, his face became even more weary than it had first appeared. “I’ll find her.”

As the door clicked closed behind him, he heard the splash and shattering of crystal as the brandy glass ended its luxurious life against the wood panelling.

To be Continued...
Edited by Ertia, Jul 29 2010, 09:16 AM.
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