mya_rofki: (kingsblkdragon)
[personal profile] mya_rofki


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Jared was in normal teenage boy clothes when Jensen and Charles reached him: blue jeans and a bulky grey sweatshirt. Jensen found it weird to see him in them. He was used to what Jared wore to the office. He’d never seen him in jeans. Under the cold lights of the interrogation room he looked pale and young. He was slumped way down in his chair, and his hands didn’t even seem to have the energy to close. They curled palm up in his lap liked dead insects. Jensen had expected him to be frightened, but he didn’t look frightened. He looked too exhausted for fear, and that was worse.
Jensen was glad Charles was there, that the duty fell to him to break the silence.

“Jared,” Charles began. “Are you alright, son?” Jared looked at him in silence for a minute and nodded before returning his gaze to the wall.

“Jared,” Charles said, a little louder. “If you need to call your lawyer, or anybody else, now’s the time to speak up.”

“Thank you sir. I’m fine.” Jared said. It was obviously not true, and Charles frowned.

“We’d like to ask you some questions about what just happened...” Before Charles had finished talking, Jared was already shaking his head slightly.

“I’m sorry, sir. I don’t want to talk. I’m sorry.”

“I certainly understand that, and we won’t, of course, force you into anything. But what if we start with some easier questions, just simple stuff, and then see how we feel from there? It might not be as bad as you think, to get things out in the open. Would you like a soda or something before we start?”

Jared nodded slowly. “Please, I’d like a Pepsi, sir.”

Charles nudged Jensen to go get it, though he was sure one of the men behind the one-way mirror had already sent someone for it. With the amount of time Jared had spent around investigations in the last six months, he probably knew that too.

Jared looked at him when he stood and headed for the door. He smiled and Jared looked down at his hands.

When he came back in, sodas for each of them clutched to his chest, there was absolute silence, no release of the tension in sight. Jensen was sure Charles had tried to start up a conversation, break the ice a little while Jensen was gone. The fact that there was no talking, or even eye contact, by the time Jensen returned, meant either that Jared was really digging his heels in, or that Charles was more shaken up by the arrest of one of his team than he was letting on.

“Thank you, sir.” Jared took the can from him without meeting his eyes. Jensen resettled himself, and every crack and creak of his chair sounded about as loud as a gunshot in the close little room. In succession they opened their sodas, Charles, Jensen, Jared, one two three. Charles and Jensen took a gulp of theirs, and Jared took a small sip of his.

As soon as the can was back on the table he started fiddling with it, turning it in circles so the tin scraped on the metal tabletop. It made Jensen cringe, and a line appeared between Charles’ eyebrows. Jared kept doing it until he glanced up at them through his lashes, and then he suddenly stopped. His hands disappeared into his lap and stayed there.

“Why don’t we get started?” Charles said calmly.

Jared stared at the table and didn’t say anything.

“Could you state your name and age, for the record?”

“Jared Tristan Padalecki, sir. I’m fourteen.”

“Thank you, Jared. Do you know why you’re here tonight?”

“Because my guardian was arrested, sir.”

“Your guardian...”

“GIS Agent Richard Speight. My guardian in the Youthful Offenders Apprenticeship Program.”

“How long since you entered this program?”

“Six months, sir.”

“And you’ve been living and going to work with Agent Speight for that whole time?”

“Yes, sir.”

“So I guess you spend a lot of time with Agent Speight each day.”

Jared shrugged.

“I’m sorry. You need to answer verbally, Jared.”

“Sorry, sir. Um. Yes, I spend almost all day every day with Agent Speight.”

“Do you know anything about his arrest, Jared? I mean, why he was arrested? What the charges might be against him?”

Jared bit his lip and shrugged.

“Verbal answer, Jared. Is that a ‘no, you do not know anything about Agent Speight’s arrest’ or a ‘you have a guess but you’re not willing to swear to anything’ shrug?”

“Sorry, sir. I...” The seconds ticked by. Jensen watched Jared bite his lip some more, watched his fingertips creep back over the edge of the table. Furtively he picked up his soda and took a few swallows, set it back down and started fiddling with it again.

“Why do you think Agent Speight was arrested, Jared?” Charles repeated grimly. “It’s fine if you just guess. You’re not going to get in trouble for a wrong guess.”

Jared shrugged and didn’t look at them. “I’m sorry, sir, I don’t want to talk right now.”

Jared ducked his face down, but not before Jensen caught his expression of absolute misery. He wondered if Speight had brought Jared in on it somehow, or if Jared felt some kind of misguided loyalty to the man, or if he was afraid that he’d get in trouble for knowing something and not telling. Or maybe Speight had threatened him. There were a lot of reasons Jared might not be talking, and Jensen itched to know which one it was.

“How long have you been in here? You need a trip to the men’s room, Jared?” Charles asked suddenly. Jared nodded and actually smiled at him, small and relieved. Jensen wondered how long he’d had to go, and been afraid to ask. “Ackles, why don’t you take him?”

“Yes, sir,” Jensen answered, immediately understanding that Charles thought it was worth a shot to give Jensen some time alone with Jared.

He waited until they were washing their hands side by side to make a move.

“What’s going on here, Jared?” he asked quietly. “Just between you and me, as friends, right now.” Jared was frozen stiff next to him, but in the mirror his eyes were meeting Jensen’s eyes unblinkingly. “Explain to me what you’re so afraid of. Whatever it is, please, don’t assume I won’t understand, not until you’ve tried me.”

For one of the longest minutes of his life, the only sound was the rushing of the two sinks, and in his nose hung the delightful pink plastic flower smell of cheap handsoap. Jared didn’t look exhausted anymore, but his eyes were flooded with fear. It was painful to see, but it gave Jensen hope. Jared wouldn’t look that frightened if he weren’t torn between keeping quiet and telling. Jensen said, low, “Jared, please. I promise I will help you... even if that means keeping a secret for you from Whitfield himself. I promise.”

Jared took a deep breath, and Jensen held his own. “I-” Jared said shakily. “I helped get Speight arrested, sir. I, uh, did things like... I copied his hardrives onto thumbdrives and handed them over.”

“You did?” Jensen asked, dumbstruck. “Handed them over to who?”

Jared spoke slowly, hesitantly. “I passed on the information at my liaison meetings. And they gave them to the FBI.”

“How’d you... So, the liaison office got the FBI involved? I mean, you told your liaison you thought Speight was breaking the law, and they called the FBI? When?

“No it wasn’t- I didn’t get them involved, sir. An agent got me involved. I mean, I didn’t just decide to spy on Speight after I got here and discovered, uh, that- well, that he was a dirty agent. Um, I already knew, and you know, that’s why I came here. To do this. That’s why I entered the program in the first place, sir.”

Jensen frowned. The idea that an FBI agent would put a kid in such a dangerous position on purpose was so appalling he almost couldn’t believe it. GIS had kind of a rivalry with the FBI, and he’d certainly met some agents he thought were jerks and was glad not to work with, but they were law enforcement, at the end of the day. Law enforcement didn’t use children to do their dirty work.

“So the FBI recruited you to bring down Speight?” he asked carefully.

“Yes, sir. This agent came to the detention center and asked me if I was interested, and I was, so...”

“This agent have a name?”

“Uh. Pellegrino. Mark Pellegrino?” Jared bit his lip. “I’m not sure I was supposed to tell you that- I mean, that’s something that maybe you could keep secret, please sir? I- he told me last time that the arrest would be soon and that I should keep my mouth shut until he came for me at the station. That’s why I couldn’t say anything in the room. I wanted to, sir.”

Jensen nodded absently.

“Just- I don’t want to mess it up now. He’s going to get my case overturned, or appealed to a more impartial judge or something.” Jared shook his head and smiled faintly, like it was unbelievable. “He’s going to get me free.” Jared brought a hand up to his collar and ran a finger slowly along the edge.

It was a depressing testament to Jared’s acting skills, that Jensen would’ve sworn that he and Whitfield and Cassidy and Hodge were more bothered by it than Jared ever was. It was stupid to think so, when they could go home at the end of the day and forget about it, and Jared went to bed every night with that thing still wrapped around his throat like a python.

The thought made his stomach twinge, and Jensen almost hoped Jared wasn’t telling the truth. The kind of agent who could send a kid into that situation seemed like the kind of agent who wouldn’t go out of his way to keep up his end of the bargain unless he had to.

After they’d loaded up at the snack machines, Jensen left Jared in the room while he drew Charles aside to explain the situation.

From their position halfway down the hall, they could keep an eye on the door of the room Jared was in, while still staying well out of earshot of anyone who might decide to eavesdrop on their conversation around a corner.

Jared turned Speight in,” Charles repeated, when Jensen had finished going over the basics. “Jared’s been working for the FBI.”

“That’s what he said.”

“Jesus,” Charles mused. “S’never boring, is it?”

Jensen snorted in response.

Over Charles’ shoulder, he saw a tall man with intent blue eyes stride around the corner, on a beeline for the interrogation room. He was already at the door by the time Jensen and Charles reached him.

“Hey,” Charles said. “Who the hell are you?”

“Special Agent Pellegrino, FBI.” Jensen and Charles exchanged a glance. The likelihood that Jared had told the truth had just jumped up into the stratosphere. "And you’re Special Agent Whitfield and Agent Ackles.” The guy gave them each a cool look. “Thank you for your help. But I’ll be taking it from here.”

“And how is it you know who we are, again?” Charles asked. The ‘asshole’ was implied.

“Well,” Pellegrino said. “I’ve been working my ass off to build a case against your dirty agent, and on the way I might have picked up a few things. Now, if you’ll excuse me, that prisoner in there has a lot of information of interest to me, and I’m taking custody of him.”

“There’s no way I’m letting you in there til we’ve had a little chat about this investigation you’ve been running,” Charles said.

“I’m sorry you feel that way,” Pellegrino bit back, “Because I have papers remanding him to my custody right here, and I’m in kind of a hurry.” The man waved the papers in their faces dismissively and startled when Jensen snatched them out of his hand.

He scoured them quickly for any inconsistencies, but they seemed legit, and would probably explain why it had taken Pellegrino a few hours to come for Jared. Jensen was sure if the guy had had his way, he would’ve whisked Jared off the second the bust went down. He wondered if he or Charles would’ve seen the kid again before the trial. The thought was surprisingly distressing.

“You want a look at these?” he asked Whitfield. “I’ll go in and say goodbye to Jared while you check through them.”

“You’ll what?” asked Pellegrino incredulously. “No, absolutely-”

“I’ll say goodbye to Jared while Special Agent Whitfield checks through them,” Jensen snapped, “because until we’ve ascertained the legitimacy of these papers he’s in our custody, and that’s not a responsibility I take lightly.” He was satisfied to see Pellegrino scowl and subside at his bluff.

Truthfully, Jared was probably in custody of the police department. It was a hollow victory anyway, since those papers wouldn’t take long to check, and there was no way for Jensen and Whitfield to deny Pellegrino what he wanted in the end.

Jared’s head popped up when the door opened, and he smiled, then immediately got serious at Jensen’s expression.

Jensen hurried over and bent to speak directly in his ear, hoping like hell the mikes metro had weren’t as high-tech as the ones at GIS. Fortunately, it was a good bet they weren’t.

“Agent Pellegrino’s come for you. Whitfield’s stalling him, but we’ve only got a minute, so listen close. How good are you at remembering phone numbers?”

Jared shrugged tightly. “Tell it to me, sir. I’ll make sure I don’t forget.”

“Alright. This is my personal cell phone number.” Jensen handed him a card, trying to keep his action blocked from the mirror and the observation window cut in the door. “Memorize it as soon as you can, because if you get put back inside to await trial they’ll probably take it from you, and I want to know you can reach me at any time. If anything and I mean anything happens; if you get hurt, if you get scared, if you stub your toe, or if you even get a bad feeling you’re about to stub your toe, no matter how stupid it seems, you call me. You got it?” He pulled back to meet Jared’s eyes and found them shining.

“Thank you, sir, I- uh, I got it- I- thank you,” Jared darted his eyes back down to the card and Jensen could see his lips moving to immediately work on memorizing the number. Despite the fact that he probably shouldn’t, Jensen couldn’t resist putting a comforting hand on Jared’s shoulder as he leaned back in to whisper some more. Jared leaned into the touch.

“Protect yourself, okay? Don’t do anything stupid, and do not let Pellegrino talk you into doing anything stupid. Whitfield and I, and Cassidy and Hodge too, we’re all gonna be out here working for you, so whatever happens next, you just take care of yourself, keep making the smart decisions, like I know you-”

The door ripped open and Pellegrino strided in, eyes zeroing in on Jensen like Jared wasn’t even in the room.

“Okay, you’ve had your fun,” Pellegrino snapped. “Now can I proceed, or are you going to give me cause to lodge a complaint?”

“Jared,” Jensen gave his shoulder a firm squeeze, “it’s gonna be okay. Alright?” Jared looked up at him with wide eyes and nodded.

“It’s been a real pleasure, Agent Ackles,” Pellegrino said from behind him, voice dripping with sarcasm. “C’mon let’s go,” he snapped to Jared, jerking his head toward the door.

Jared stood and took a few steps towards the door, then stopped. He walked back to Jensen and suddenly threw his arms around Jensen’s waist. Jensen brought his hands up and cradled the kid’s narrow back. He had the barest second to register the hot, damp press of his face, the bony strength of his arms, then Jared pulled free and turned away, following Pellegrino out the door with a muffled, “Goodbye, sir.”

Jensen heard him tell Charles goodbye, out in the hall, then the sound of two sets of receding footsteps.
He was taking a minute to pull himself together when he noticed his card, abandoned on the table next to the half-empty bag of Cheetos. Jensen hoped like hell that Jared had managed to memorize that number before he left.


The elevator doors closed. Jared blinked at his own reflection, trying his best not to break down and beg to be returned to Jensen and Whitfield.

Pellegrino suddenly grinned wide and murmured, “Speight’s going down so hard his own mother won’t come to his sentencing. We’ve really got him.”

“His mother won’t, sir?” Jared asked feebly. He hadn’t much liked Speight’s mother the few times he’d met her, but she’d certainly seemed to dote on her son, at the same time as she rolled right over him.

“That was a figure of speech,” Pellegrino snorted. “I’m sure the old bitch will be right there crying in the first row. I meant his case is nailed down tight. You have no idea how hard I’ve worked to see this day, how fucking long I’ve waited to see that arrogant bastard get what he deserved. And now he’s finally going down like he deserves, and I don’t just get to watch, I’m the one who did it.” Pellegrino snorted again and looked at Jared oddly. “You know that, after me, you’re the one who’s been working on this the longest?” He shook his head. “This guy should’ve been stopped years ago, well before he transferred out of the FBI to GIS. Hell, he never should’ve been hired by either agency. Five minutes after meeting him I could smell a rat, but try saying something and suddenly your friends are giving you the cold shoulder, and the boss is telling you to keep your nose in your own business and out of Richie Rich’s.”

The disdain for Speight reminded Jared strongly of Jensen, and he tried to imagine Jensen and Pellegrino getting together and having a few and bitching out Richard Speight with freewheeling abandon. In a way, he could see it perfectly; Jensen and Pellegrino in matching suits, slouched on side by side barstools running their mouths, volleying back and forth about the scummy things Speight had done. But thinking about them side by side was fundamentally wrong. Under the surface, Pellegrino was nothing like Jensen.

He was suddenly, ridiculously frightened. He worked to tamp it down. Judging by Pellegrino’s words, Jared had just given him everything he ever wanted on a silver platter. There was no reason he shouldn’t keep up his end of the bargain, so there wasn't anything to be scared of. Jared should feel like celebrating.

The elevator dinged open and they exited into an underground parking garage. He had the insane thought that he could just duck between a couple cars and be gone. Pellegrino was striding well ahead of him without looking back, and he hadn’t seen the collar remote since the cops had deactivated the perimeter shock to remove him from Speight’s. He could get a few blocks away, find a phone, and call Jensen, beg to be picked up. Jensen would say ‘What the hell are you thinking?’ but he’d come anyway. Jared could hide out at his apartment until the search died down, then Jensen would drive him out to his family. He’d see his parents and sisters again. Things would go back as they were and they’d all live happily ever after. Right.

“Let’s go,” Pellegrino called, holding open the door of a sleek black sedan ten feet away. Jared squared his shoulders and trotted over.

Pellegrino was gloating about Speight again as he started up the car, about how corrupt he was and how he’d been the only one to see it. Jared leaned his head against the cold glass of the window and repeated Jensen’s number to himself.

At the FBI, Pellegrino deposited him in a seat in an empty conference room with nothing but a bored ‘Wait here.’

After an hour and ten minutes, he put his head down on the table, cradled in his arms, and tried to clear his mind completely. There was nothing he really wanted to think about. After a little while, he fell asleep like that.

When he woke up, his cheek was wet with drool and his hands had fallen asleep. He wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his sweatshirt and twisted around to check the clock behind him. He’d been asleep for five hours. He wondered if anybody had come in to check on him in that time, or whether he’d been completely forgotten.

There was nothing to look at but chairs, the table, and windows with all the blinds closed. He thought about opening the blinds, just for something new to look at. Pellegrino didn’t seem like he’d care if Jared wanted to look out the window. But six months with Speight had taught him that taking the initiative for even the most insignificant of actions could lead to trouble. It didn’t seem worth it.

He shifted, trying to find a comfortable position with his butt so numb. His hands gradually tingled back to life. He eyed the grayish-mauve carpeting. If he just lay down on it he could probably get back to sleep. It was two o’clock in the morning. He doubted anyone would barge in on him and demand to know what he was doing sleeping on the floor. He leaned his head back on the headrest and thought about how nice it would feel to stretch out full-length on the floor and just shut his eyes... just breathe.... Thinking about it, he fell asleep again.

The next time he opened his eyes, it was to the click of the lock. The door swung open, and Jared blinked fuzzily at the woman standing there, a young woman with big dark eyes and a full mouth, black hair pulled back tightly from her face. She was wearing a dark suit, and immediately turned back over her shoulder to yell “Yeah, Mark, he’s still here,” in an amused tone. Jared used the opportunity to swipe quickly at his mouth.

“Make yourself at home,” she smirked, walking the rest of the way in. Jared realized he was carelessly sprawled in the chair and scrambled to sit up straight. She left the door open behind her, and Jared peered out to see a half-full office streaming with early morning light. Pellegrino was at one of the desks closest to the door. He checked the clock. 8:30 in the morning.

It had only been about twelve hours since the arrest. He wondered if he’d ever see Richard Speight again. He couldn’t decide if he wanted to see him again or not. Speight would probably never want to see him again, if he’d already been told that Jared had betrayed him. He tried to pretend the thought didn’t hurt.

“Hi Jared, I’m Agent Cortese,” the woman began, plopping herself into the seat across from him and laying out a pen and legal pad in front of him. A strong wave of floral perfume washed over Jared, and he wondered how fresh he smelled. Whatever she had to say, he hoped it went quickly and he got a shower afterwards. “Big night last night, huh?”

He stared at her. Her blank black eyes gave little away, though her mouth was definitely curling at the corners. “Don’t you talk?” she prodded.

“Uh, yes, ma’am. Sorry, ma’am. I... just woke up...” he shrugged sheepishly.

“Yeah. I saw that, Sleeping Beauty. Now, focus,” she snapped her fingers in front of his face a few times, smirking like it was hilarious. “I need you awake now, Jared. This is a big case, a careermaker. Pellegrino and I won’t be the only ones pissed if you mess this up, but we will be the most pissed, got it?”

“Yes, ma’am. Sorry, ma’am. What is it you need me to do?” Jared was grateful for his long months of practice keeping his irritation on the inside.

“Alright. I’m gonna ask you some questions. You’re gonna answer them. That’s to get all the facts straight, get your thoughts in order. Then, using that pad I gave you, you’re gonna write out your witness statement. It’s gonna include everything we go over that I tell you to include, and if I tell you to leave something out, then that fucking thing will not be in the report, you get me?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Alright so, you’ll start it out with the basic information. Name, age, yadda yadda. We’ll go over it together when the time comes.” Jared felt a presence behind him and looked back to see Pellgrino leaning in the doorway, watching and listening.

“Pretend I’m not here,” he said when he caught Jared’s gaze.

Jared stared at him.

“Hey, focus, we’re jumping right in,” the woman called, snapping her fingers at him again. He turned back to her. “First question: did Agent Richard Speight commit illegal acts in your presence at any time during your apprenticeship to him?”

"I... I'm not sure, ma'am. I couldn't always tell if he... He made phone calls, but I don't know what they meant really..."

She frowned. "Alright. We'll go over the phone calls later. That wasn't really what I meant. Agent Pellegrino informed me about an incident with your collar. How about you tell me what happened there?"

Jared told her about it as blandly as he could manage. She nodded and took notes. When he finished she leaned forward and said, "But that wasn't the only time he hurt you, was it?"

"I... Yes, it was, ma’am. That was the only time with the collar, ma'am. And he never hit me."


"No, ma'am."

"Do you realize how hard that is to believe?"

"I- I'm not lying, ma'am."

"Okay, so you say he never hit you. But he mistreated you in other ways, didn't he?"

"I don't know what you mean, ma'am."

She scowled, then smoothed out her face and asked blandly,"Did Speight ever have a girlfriend, that you saw?"

Jared blinked at the sudden change in her demeanor. He had a new sympathy for every suspect he'd ever seen interrogated. His heart was thumping and his head was pounding, and he’d only been talking to her for fifteen minutes.

"No, ma'am,” he mumbled.

"How about a boyfriend, then?"

"No, ma'am."

"Did he ever go on a date? Even one?"

"No, ma'am."

"You were there for six months, and you never saw him display any interest in anybody romantically."

"No, ma'am.”.

"Why do you think that is?"

He shook his head helplessly.

"Was it because he already had what he was interested in?"

Jared swallowed and worked to keep his face neutral.

"I don't know what you mean, ma'am," he said.

"Jared, I don't know what good you think you're doing, covering up for him. We're on your side. Why are you protecting this scumbag?"

Jared looked from her to Pellegrino, but there was no help there. Pellegrino was watching him with the same half-pitying, half-irritated expression as Agent Cortese.

"I don't know what you mean," he repeated, looking down at his hands.

“There have been accusations before,” she said.

Jared’s head snapped up and he gaped at her.

“-so whatever you tell us, we’ll believe you. All you gotta do is tell us-”

Jared shook his head, mind working furiously.

"Come back to it later," Pellegrino broke in. Jared turned and tried to catch his eye, but Pellegrino wouldn’t look at him.

"Fine,” Cortese said. “We’ll talk about the phone calls first then."

He turned back to her, still trying to understand what it meant that there had been ‘accusations’ before. He couldn’t think of any explanation that fit as well as the worst one, but it wasn’t the time to think about it. He needed to focus on answering her phone questions in as much detail as possible, so she wouldn’t decide to switch back to her other line of questioning.

An hour later, his throat was dry and he could feel a headache starting up at the base of his skull. Pellegrino’d given up his space in the doorway for a seat next to Cortese, and yet another agent had wandered in to join them 15 minutes in, a small man with a round friendly face and a coffee that Jared would’ve killed to get his hands on.

Jared was just working up the courage to ask about a possible bathroom break when a new agent poked his head in the door.

“Pellegrino. Phone call. You’re gonna wanna take this one,” he said.

Pellegrino left without a word.

“Ma’am, I need to use the restroom,” Jared said quickly.

She eyed him closely, like she thought he might be making it up. He tried to look as sincere as possible, though inside he was seething. He was tired, hungry, thirsty, and he'd been stuck in this chair for hours. She sighed and rolled her eyes.

“Tigerman, you wanna take him?”

“Uh. Sure,” said the agent with the coffee. “Lemme just- I guess I’ll leave this here.” He put his coffee
on the table and stood.

“You’ll leave that on your desk, which you’ll return to after escorting the prisoner to the bathroom. This isn’t your interrogation, asshole. I don’t know why Pellegrino even let your lazy ass in on the bust.”

“Uh, cause he couldn’t do it by himself?” the guy, Tigerman, muttered under his breath, but he wheeled back around and grabbed his coffee before leading Jared out of the room.

Jared took his time at the sink, drinking cold water from his cupped hands, washing his face and arms, scrubbing at his neck with rough brown sheets of paper towel. Tigerman didn’t accompany him in, and when he was finished all that, he took a minute to stare into the mirror and try to pull himself together. There wasn’t any reason to be nervous, was there? Maybe Pellegrino and Cortese weren’t very warm and fuzzy, but they were on his side. Even if they kind of didn’t act like it. It was probably just like when his team was rough during an interrogation, even when they thought the person was innocent. It was better to err on the side of caution. Or maybe they were testing him, to see if he would be good at testifying in court.

He didn’t know what Cortese had meant for sure, when she said there’d been accusations against Speight. But it was crazy to think Pellegrino would’ve sent him to Speight’s if he’d known exactly how Speight was, so Jared had to be misinterpreting something there. Once he’d eaten and rested and had a shower things would look better. He was almost free, wasn’t he?

Pellegrino hadn’t come back by the time Tigerman dropped him back into Cortese’s clutches. Tigerman didn’t hang around, and Cortese followed his retreating back with an intense glare before she turned to Jared and started right back in with the questions. The bickering on his own team at GIS was nothing like the infighting between the FBI agents, and it only made him more uneasy.

An hour later Pellegrino still hadn’t come back, and Jared had been answering the same questions for the third time through. Even Cortese had lost her little smirk and settled into weary indifference.

“I’ll be back,” she said suddenly, interrupting Jared mid-sentence. “Hang tight. Do NOT go anywhere.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

He wondered what his team were doing. He thought about Jensen assuring him that he shouldn’t worry because they’d be working to help him. At the time he’d been comforted, but that had drained away. What did Jensen mean? Did he mean just in their time off, after work at night?

He wondered if the team were getting their asses handed to them for having a dirty agent on board for a year and not realizing it. He wondered if Whitfield’s boss was coming down hard on him, and if Whitfield was asking for time to work on Jared’s behalf, and his boss was scoffing and saying ‘A favor? After this thing with Speight? The only favor you’re getting is that I haven’t fired your ass.’

What if there were nothing they could do for him without risking their own jobs? Would they keep trying? Probably not. They all loved working at GIS. He wasn’t really their responsibility anyway. He fisted his hands in his lap and his head pounded, and his stomach roiled in hunger and anger and unease.

Sometime in the past six months, he’d forgotten that he was actually on his own. But he was alone; it was the reason he’d agreed to Pellegrino’s plan in the first place. He was always alone in the end, and just like always, his best efforts didn’t get him anywhere but back where he started.

He guessed it shouldn’t have been surprising that when Pellegrino and Cortese returned, everything went straight from bad to nightmare.

Pellegrino’s eyes were lit up with excitement, and he sat himself quickly at Jared’s side. Cortese resumed her seat across the table, but this time she was the silent observer.

“Jared,” Pellegrino began, “I know we said that once you’d gotten me what you could on Speight, we’d work on getting you your freedom, and don’t worry, that will happen. You are going to be free. I promise. But before we can get there, I’m afraid there’s one more thing you need to do.”

He sat, stunned, as Pellegrino explained what he wanted.

“Just for a few weeks, Jared.” Pellegrino finished. “This won’t be anything like the Speight operation.”

He looked at Jared in expectation.

“You’re not my boss, sir.” Jared said shakily. “You can’t make me to do this.”

Pellegrino’s face darkened. “You think I can’t make you do this?”

“No, sir. I- the apprenticeship program is voluntary and I- I won’t sign this time. I won’t.”

“Hmm.” Pellegrino said. “You don’t have to sign. You say I can’t make you sign, and I can’t, that’s true. But how about this then: you agree to sign, or you go back to the detention center, do not pass go, do not get so much as a day knocked off your sentence. I can’t make you sign, but maybe I can make you want to sign. You think that’ll make you want to?”

“Sir, please I- You promised me-”

“Shut. Your. Mouth. The only word I want to hear from you is ‘yes.’ If you’re not saying ‘yes’ then your mouth is closed... Are you going to do this?”

Jared set his jaw and stared at the table through blurring eyes.

“You’ll go back, Jared.” Pellegrino pulled up his chin so he couldn’t look away. “You remember what it was like there, don’t you? I think all your old friends will be really pleased to see you back again.”

Jared tasted blood in his mouth as he bit into his tongue.

“Or maybe you’re ready for real jail, Jared. You think you’re ready for real jail?” Pellegrino sounded serious. “If I say you were helping Speight with his illegal dealings, who’s to say I’m wrong? And then I’m sure I can find plenty of judges who’d be willing to move you up to the big house. I know some guys in the county prison who I’m sure would love to make your acquaintance. By the time they finish you off you’ll be begging to die. You think I wouldn’t do that? Look at me Jared,” Jared tried to jerk his head free, but Pellegrino’s grip was too strong.

“I got a chance- I got a chance here to bring down Lehne. Do you get that?” Jared smelled coffee on his breath, strong and bitter. For the first time Pellegrino had real passion in his voice. “Frederic fucking Lehne just dropped himself right into my lap, and all I need from you is just a few more weeks, a few more weeks of doing exactly what you’ve been doing. You’ve been doing this for months and you can’t give me a few more weeks? No. Fuck that. Fuck that. And if you screw this up for me then fuck you, you will be fucked harder then you’ve ever been fucked in your miserable pathetic little life. You understand?”

He let Jared’s aching jaw go, and almost instantly grabbed Jared’s hair with his other hand, hard enough to rip a few hairs free. Jared gasped and tears stung his eyes at the pain. “You will say yes,” Pellegrino hissed. “You will say yes. You don’t know how bad I can make it for you. You wanna try dying in a prison shower? Huh, Jared? Say ‘no’ and that’s it. That happens to you tomorrow. I can make that happen. And it won’t be an easy death. They’re animals in there, Jared. They take their time with snitches, too.” His manic eyes bored into Jared’s, his grip tightened, pulling more hair free. “This is your only choice Jared.” He leaned in close and his breath brushed across Jared’s ear. “Say. Yes,” he whispered.

Jared gave up. All he wanted was for the moment to be over, so he could bury it where all the other most shameful memories were buried. He had to have a whole graveyard full already.

“Okay,” he sobbed pitifully. “Yes, okay? I'll do it. I'll do it.”

With a grunt, Pellegrino released his hair and stalked from the room.

Cortese slid from her chair and followed him out, glancing furtively at Jared as she went. She had a dazed look in her eye. He had the sudden wild hope that maybe she’d go to her boss and tell them that Pellegrino had crossed the line, and maybe he wouldn’t have to go through with it after all.

Pellegrino came back alone with the custody papers, and Jared knew it was over and silently signed them, tears still trickling down his face. One splattered on the top paper and it seemed too fitting for words, made him want to ask if he should just sign the papers in his life’s blood and get it over with. Instead, he swallowed it down and wiped his eyes on his sleeves.

Chapters Seven & Eight

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Date: 2011-11-29 05:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is so unfair,they can't treat Jared like this.
You have to help him soon or their will be nothing left of the poor kid.
This is to much hell for him.
Your making me cry with this story.
Well on with the next chapter.


mya_rofki: (Default)

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