laniew1: (MCR - Meet the Killjoys)
[personal profile] laniew1
Title: Undercover
Author: Melanie
Fandom: Ringer
Characters/Pairings: Bridget/Victor, Bridget/Andrew
Rating/Category: R / Drama/Action
Warnings: Mentions of off-screen rape and violence against a main character.
Summary: The FBI's plan was simple, send one of their own agents undercover, bring Macawi to justice. Bridget should know that when it comes to simple, her life is anything but.




Undercover


These meetings start out the way most of the ones where someone is asking multiple agencies to actually cooperate like they’re comprised of grown ass adults do.

There’s a lot of fighting and bickering and there’s a few points where she thinks her director and the director the New Mexico field office are going to come to blows.

She keeps her head down, she’s sketching on her blank sheet of paper because no one has asked her input yet and honestly she’s 95% sure she’s not actually going to get any input.

She’s here because she’s Macawi’s type, but not enough of a match where she’ll actually be expected to spread her legs for him. Which is a good thing because while she can fake an amazing orgasm she doesn’t want to die because she did.

And Bodaway Macawi strikes her as the Macho Asshole type that would kill someone for doing that.

*****************************************************


“What do you think?” Victor asks her when they’re back in the office away from bickering directors and the actual pissing contest she’s sure is going to happen at some point.

“I think that maybe I should have taken that pole dancing exercise class that Bobbi was talking about,” Bridget muses. Her sister had always said that she was one drink away from stripping, but Siobhan is kind of a bitch and Bridget has been clean and sober for six years now.

“I was more thinking of Macawi.”

“I think he’s a murdering, drug dealing psychopath and if we can get him off the streets be it behind bars or in a morgue somewhere everyone will sleep easier at night,” Bridget taps her pen against the top of her desk. “And I really hope that the analysts are all right and I’m not his type because the thought of having to sleep with him,” she shudders and Victor just makes that expression that says he agrees with her but isn’t going to actually say the words.

“What are you going tell Andrew?”

“Business trip,” she says, because Andrew doesn’t have the first clue what she does and she’d kind of like to keep it that way.

“He’s going to threaten me again.”

“He hasn’t thought we were sleeping with each other for at least two years.”

She’d made the mistake of introducing them once and Victor had been Victor and Andrew had apparently been able to pick up on her moods and thoughts better then she thought he should have been able to six dates in because they’d had a huge, loud</> argument where Andrew accused her of sleeping with Victor and Bridget had to convince him that she had never, in the entire time that she’d known Victor thought about sleeping with him.

Which was not entirely true, for the entire first year that she’d known Victor she’d thought about sleeping with him, but they’d had the ‘we’re partners, but we’re not going to be that type of partner’ talk early on.

Besides at the time Victor had been married, albeit not happily and Bridget was a lot of things, but she was proud to say that a home wrecker was not one of them.

*****************************************************


She met Andrew because Siobhan had set up a date with him and then flaked out. Bridget could have done the twin thing that they’ve only done a handful of times and used her sisters’ name and clothes and charmed Andrew into falling in love with Siobhan so they could live happily ever after.

She could have.

But she didn’t, because Siobhan had been screwing around with a guy that Bridget had been seeing on and off for about nine months and Bridget hadn’t been feeling in any way generous or guilty enough to play Siobhan’s games.

So she’d met Andrew wearing black dress pants, a cream colored shirt and a heart shaped locket that reminded her that once upon a time she’d had a sister who loved her and a nephew she’d adored and that she’d lost both due to her problems.

She’d honestly been just going to tell him that Siobhan was a bitch and that maybe he should vet his dates better, but once he’d gotten over having the surprise twin thrust upon him he’d recovered nicely. He’d been the consummate gentleman; he’d asked if she wanted a drink and then asked if she wouldn’t mind staying for dinner and then had asked if he could see her again.

They hadn’t even fucked until the sixth date and that was mostly because Bridget had pushed him up against a wall, gripped his tie in one hand and told him that she had a sixth date rule that said if it ended without them getting to the good stuff that she was going to assume he couldn’t get it up and would drop him like a hot potato.

Andrew didn’t have any problems when it came to the bedroom, Bridget found this out after they spent three days in bed together and the only reason she staggered from his bed after that was because Victor had called and told her to get her ass to work they had a case.

Which honestly is probably where part of Andrew’s problem with Victor comes from.

*****************************************************


“Hello,” Andrew nuzzles the side of her neck, arms wrapping around her pulling her tight against him.

“If you keep that up we won’t get to dinner,” she bites her lip and tilts her head to the side so he can brush his lips against the skin there. It makes her shiver and she reaches back and holds him tight against her.

“I have to say that I find dinner to be a tedious affair and not at all worth the effort of leaving the penthouse,” Andrew murmurs against her skin.

Bridget would agree with him, has actually agreed with him and you would think after almost two years dating that eventually the driving need to have this man surrounding her in every way possible would dissipate some.

She would agree with him but all she’s had is stale cold bagel and FBI coffee and she’s hungry.

“I’m hungry,” she says, Andrew makes a noise that could sound like a growl. “Really hungry, for like food.”

*****************************************************


“So I’m going out of town for a bit,” Bridget says over her salad, Andrew stops cutting into his steak long enough to give her a look that speaks of disapproval. When he goes to say something she cuts him off at the path.

“We’re not having the argument again,” she says, she stabs her fork into a crouton a bit harder then she intended and it crumbles. Andrew narrows his eyes probably calculating how likely she is to just go home after dinner instead of coming home with him, she raises an eyebrow in challenge and he goes back to cutting his steak into bite size pieces.

The argument is one they’ve been having for a while, for months in fact, this current assignment not-withstanding, she likes and is good at her job.

She’s not giving it up.

*****************************************************


Victor doesn’t do worried, Bridget can take care of herself and she’ll get pissed off if she even gets whiff of the fact that he’s concerned.

He still doesn’t like the fact that she’s on this assignment alone, though he’s pleased that it only takes her a couple of weeks to get into that tight little circle of Macawi’s main girls.

It’s easy to set up a system after that, it’s one they’ve used in the past thankfully so it takes no time to get back into the swing of things, she wanders with a couple of other girls over to the nail and hair salon once a week; she gets a trim, some highlights and if her nails are painted a bright fire engine red they know everything is good.

It’s a good system, it works for almost seven months and during that time Victor doesn’t think about Andrew and what he does or doesn’t know because he’s more worried about what he’s going to do the first time Bridget gets her nails painted a muted pink or just doesn’t show up.

He’s even unhappier when he learns, along with everyone else that they’ve got a mole. And that mole has somehow managed to alert Macawi that one of his girls is a fed.

They’ve got no way to warn her, she went dark and off the grid when she went in, better to keep herself hidden and safe. Except she’s not safe now, not at all.

Then one of Macawi’s girls ends up dead on the side of a road, naked and beaten savagely enough that they only end up being able to identify her based on the fucking nail polish she’d had done on Tuesday he wonders what he’s supposed to say to Andrew if Bridget is next.

*****************************************************


There’s four of them that meet in a little dark office that he thinks might actually be a supply closet to discuss what to do about their mole situation.

None of Macawi’s girls had shown up for hair and nails on Tuesday, he wouldn’t put it past Macawi to kill off every single one of them instead of trying to figure out which one is the fed.

“We should just pull her out,” he says, he’s said the same thing for over two weeks. Bridget’s in there alone, with no back up.

He’s her partner; he, at the very least, should be there with her.

The director looks at him and shakes his head.

“She hasn’t raised an alarm, she hasn’t tried to contact anyone,” the director looks at him and Victor just stares back, “we’ll let her continue on for now.”

*****************************************************


A year after Bridget goes in Macawi’s club explodes, by the time they get there the entire place is up in flames and the fire crews have pulled back. Fighting more for containment then actually trying to put the blaze out.

Victor steels himself, tries to look at the fire as an uninterested observer.

They find six bodies, all female inside, any one of them could be Bridget but whoever had left them trapped in the building had also done enough damage to them prior that identification is going to be next to impossible.

*****************************************************


Bridget has a twin sister, Victor only knows this because when they were assigned to each other he’d done the cursory back ground check that all agents do when they’re assigned a new, absolutely green partner that they mostly don’t trust.

The twin is identical, though there’d been a falling when they were teenagers; from the little that Victor knows about Siobhan he knows that she hates Bridget.

But Bridget was her sister, so she deserves to know, he knows this. He’s her partner though, and he actually liked and cared about her and can’t handle being the one to actually say the words out loud; so he sends someone else to do the notification advising Siobhan that Bridget is missing and presumed dead.

It comes as absolutely no surprise to him that Siobhan has been tracked down to Andrew Martin’s penthouse and the two had been together when the agent appeared to make the notification.

Siobhan had probably moved in before Bridget’s side of the bed was even cold, Victor had always told her that those rich guys were no good.

*****************************************************


She feels like she’s walking on glass, her feet ache and she doesn’t look down at the bloody footprints that she knows she’s leaving.

She holds her arm close to her chest; she can’t move it without wanting to scream. In her other hand she has a tight grip on a gun.

She’s mostly numb now though, numb and tired and aching like she’s been beaten over and over and over again.

Wait…

That actually happened.

She swallows thickly, it hurts. Both because of the almost strangulation and the seemingly forever of screaming.

She’s oh so very tired, she just wants to sit down and sleep for a thousand years. But she’s not safe yet, when she doesn’t have a grip on a gun and there’s a badge in front of her maybe she’ll be safe again.

She sees the sign on the building and she almost bursts into tears, almost, but not quite. Not until she’s inside.

Her legs are shaking now and there’s one, two, three, four, five, six steps that she manages and she blinks back tears because they stretch at the burns and cuts on her legs and…

It takes her a moment to figure out how to open the door without using the arm she knows is broken or giving up her gun and when she pushes open the door the entire room seems to come to a complete stop. Everyone staring at her.

A young officer, barely out of his teen’s approaches, hands in front of him, eyes darting around the room for back up.

She straightens, swallows past the lump in her throat and the pain that radiates through her body at that simple movement.

“Special Agent Bridget Kelly,” she manages, she sways and the officer’s hands touch her and she doesn’t scream though her breath catches on it and her eyes roll back and then there’s nothing.

*****************************************************


“They found her,” Director Davis says, his voice is hushed like he’s whispering.

“What?”

“Agent Kelly walked into a police station in New Mexico at 9:27 am,” Director Davis says.

That feeling right there, that unbearable pressure, he’s fairly sure that’s relief and Victor assures him that he’s on his way and will be there.

He disconnects the call and he hangs his head and doesn’t pray or offer thanks because he doesn’t believe in god and hasn’t since he was a teenager and his mom was killed by a drunk driver.

*****************************************************


When Director Davis said that Bridget had walked into the 9th Precinct in New Mexico, he actually meant that she’d staggered in looking half dead and collapsed after saying her name.

Victor finds this out when he gets to the police station and finds it surrounded by FBI and DEA and police officers from half a dozen other stations.

He himself is directed toward the hospital because Bridget is his partner and he’s been advised that he’s not to investigate anything, that he’s been deemed too close to the subject matter to have any ability to be uncompromised.

“She’s in surgery,” Agent Valerie Calhoun is Bridget’s age, it had been a toss-up between her and Bridget for the Macawi undercover op. Bridget had won because she was a blonde or close enough to suffice and Valerie is not even close.

Valerie is probably mostly thankful for those differences now, back then she’d raised holy hell.

“Surgery?”

“Bullet wound, she’s got a broken arm and multiple lacerations,” Valerie talks and leads him down a maze of corridors. “Doctors are saying it’s mostly a miracle that she’s even alive.”

Victor just breathes, because he can’t think about that statement, not right now.

“We have security in place?” he asks instead, because Bridget is alive, now they need to keep her alive.

“Cameras, agents, whole kit and caboodle,” Valerie leads him into a private waiting area, closes the door behind them.

Victor looks at her with not a small amount of trepidation, whatever she’s going to say that needs to be said in private… it can’t be good.

“There’s signs of sexual assault,” she says.

“But that’s not why you look like that,” Victor says, he swallows past the lump in his throat.

“Macawi’s in the wind, whatever happened to her, it happened days ago and he’s had about that much time to get underground somewhere.”

“Have we found out where he was holding her?”

“Not yet, hopefully when she’s out of surgery and regains consciousness she’ll be able to shed some light on the situation.”

Victor nods.

“Does she have any family? Everyone was so intent on getting her to the hospital and under guard that no one checked employee records to see if there was anyone that needed to be notified.”

“She has a sister,” Victor says. “They don’t get along.”

*****************************************************


Apparently someone had done a notification. Victor finds this out when he sipping crappy hospital coffee and flipping through the Macawi case file in the hopes that something will jump out and tell him where the son-of-a-bitch is hiding.

Victor had never had the opportunity to meet Siobhan Kelly, had never wanted to. Bridget had told him enough by not saying anything to tell him that he probably didn’t want to.

The one thing she had mentioned was that Siobhan was her twin, so he manages to not jump out of his chair when she walks in. Looking cool and calm and exactly like Bridget and nothing like Bridget at the same time.

Andrew Martin is right behind her as is his daughter; Victor holds his crappy coffee in one hand and stands.

“Victor, I should have known you’d be involved in this somehow,” Andrew says, he looks shaken and Victor would feel something for him if he couldn’t see the ring on Siobhan’s finger and the way that Andrew is still touching her back.

“Nice to see you too,” Victor says, he raises an eyebrow.

“Siobhan Kelly,” she holds out her hand and he takes it, her skin is smooth and soft and utterly unlike Bridget’s.

“Victor Machado,” he says and Andrew makes a noise behind her, Juliet has already taken a seat, phone out, snapping her gum while she ignores them all.

“Do we know anything?” Siobhan asks, her voice is soft, cultured in a way that Bridget never sounds. She sounds like she’s come from money when Victor knows damn well that the girls grew up in a trailer park. Bridget used to joke about growing up white trailer trash.

“She’s been in and out of surgery,” Victor says, he retakes his seat, Siobhan perches on a seat next to him, Andrew on the other side of her.

“They didn’t give us a whole lot of details,” Andrew says, when Victor glances over he can see him sitting there, hands clenched into fists staring at the door. “Just that she had been found and that she was in the hospital being treated for injuries sustained.”

“Well you know Bridget,” Siobhan says, eyes narrowed and calculating, “she probably fell in with the wrong sort of people again.”

“Siobhan, enough,” Andrew says, though he sounds tired.

They, neither one, had any clue what Bridget does, they’d had a long discussion when Bridget had first started seeing Andrew and Victor knew that Bridget had hated not telling him, but she’d also not know how he would react to what she did.

I can’t do undercover if I have to worry about what the boyfriend back home will think.

Victor thinks she never had any intention of telling Andrew what she did for living.

Siobhan, her own sister, she had never trusted enough to actually tell.

“I can’t really say,” Victor says, he rubs a hand along his jeans; he’d changed into them two days prior, needing something that said ‘I’m not on duty’.

“Can’t or won’t?” Siobhan asks, her tone is coy, like she can coax the words out of him by being flirtatious.

She’d get more information out of him if she sounded, just a bit, like she cared what had happened to her twin.

*****************************************************


The doctor has been and gone, leaving Andrew and Siobhan pale and shaken. She’d pulled no punches, describing Bridget’s injuries in vivid detail; Victor didn’t know that Siobhan could look like that.

Like the fact that someone had raped and almost murdered her sister actually affects her emotionally in some way.

*****************************************************


He has his head tipped back, eyes closed, he’s not sleeping but if he looks like he is then Siobhan doesn’t try and talk to him, Andrew doesn’t ask him questions that he can’t answer.

The sound of a throat clearing causes him to open his eyes and he sees Valerie standing in the doorway, she’s got an ID badge clipped to the pocket of her shirt, she’s wearing her gun holster and her whole demeanor screams FBI in a way that isn’t subtle at all.

His own gun is in an ankle holster covered by his jeans; his ID badge is in the pocket of his coat.

Valerie has been on guard duty outside Bridget’s room as they wait for her to regain consciousness. A rotating group, of which Victor had been told that he could not be part of, to make sure that wherever Macawi is it isn’t in Bridget’s room making sure that their only surviving witness doesn’t live to speak.

He raises an eyebrow at her and her mouth quirks at him.

“Agent Machado?” she says, voice all stiff and by the books.

Siobhan and Andrew both visibly startle at the ‘agent’ preceding his name. Juliet doesn’t, but she also has headphones on at the moment.

Victor is as much of an asshole as Bridget has accused of being at times, he makes a big production of producing his ID badge from his pocket. He doesn’t smirk at them because honestly, at this moment in time, they are the least of his concerns.

“Agent Kelly is conscious and asking for you.”

*****************************************************


The world is hazy and she feels absolutely no pain at all.

This means she’s on the good drugs and the lack of pain means that she’s in a hospital somewhere, hopefully safe.

When she’d first opened her eyes Agent Calhoun had been there, talking in quiet soothing tones while a doctor in a white coat with a badge that indicated she had been vetted and approved by the bureau pushed and prodded, when she’d made noises that sounded like pain she had adjusted her medications.

“I need to talk to Victor,” she had mumbled. She’s not sure if anyone had heard her, and she’d been too tired to try again, so she’d just lain there in that hazy fog where nothing hurt, which meant that when the painkillers wore off that everything was going to hurt.

The door pushes open and Victor is there, looking pale and calm and like she could lean in him just a little bit and he wouldn’t buckle under her needs.

He exchanges quiet words with Valerie in the doorway and then the door shut and he’s there.

“Sorry,” she says quietly, softly. He smiles at her, that half-smile that she kind of adores because he doesn’t give that little smile to anyone but her.

“I thought we had an agreement,” he says, his tone is light and pushing towards joking, but he sits on the edge of her bed carefully and doesn’t touch her or jostle her in any way.

Like she’s made of fragile glass and the most sudden of movements is going to shatter her.

She huffs a laugh, then shift uncomfortably.

“I know where two of the bodies are,” she mumbles. Or where they were, Macawi is arrogant enough that he won’t try and move anything, he’ll just try and kill her in the hospital.

He pulls a small notebook and a pen out of his coat pocket, she looks at him and he looks at her and she takes a small breath and starts talking.

*****************************************************


She’s got names and addresses and he doesn’t think she realizes that she knows where more than two of the bodies are buried, she’s got at least 15 locations.

She rambles and he lets her, periodically the door will open and a nurse or doctor will come in, they’ll check her pulse and her IV’s and they’ll interrupt her talking to ask questions about her pain level and them make more adjustments based on the answers that she both verbally and non-verbally gives.

He fills the notebook up with her observations and wonders how quickly he can get everything on the record. They don’t have much time before Macawi goes underground, cutting his losses.

She tapers off into silence, tapping the fingers of the hand that’s not casted against his leg, he doesn’t think she realizes that she’s doing that and he doesn’t bring her attention to it.

She closes her eyes briefly and he thinks for a moment that she’s fallen asleep, when he shifts her eyes open and they’re glazed a little.

“I think we’ve got everything,” he says quietly and she just looks at him.

“Were you worried about me?” she asks, it sounds like surprise in her voice and he doesn’t know how it can still surprise her that he worries when they’re not on assignments together.

She’s his partner; it’s his prerogative as the senior partner to worry.

“I know you can take care of yourself,” he says and she frowns at him. “I do, present circumstances notwithstanding, typically you do a very good job of making sure you come back in one piece.”

“That doesn’t answer my question,” she mumbles, she pokes at his leg. He captures her hand with his own, squeezes.

“I always worry when we’re not on assignments together,” he says finally. “And it’s not because I don’t think you can handle yourself, I know you can so don’t even make that face at me,” her mouth is screwing up in that expression that says she’s going to go off on a diatribe about it. It would be familiar, and it would probably put them both at ease. To have that familiar lecture being spouted.

But he also doesn’t think she has the energy to actually get all the way through it.

It dawns on him when she’s fallen into a restless sleep that he never once mentioned that Andrew and Siobhan have taken up residence in the waiting room.

Next time she’s conscious, he decides. That’ll be soon enough.

*****************************************************


Next time she’s conscious she decides within minutes of waking that she wants to get everything on record, so Victor and Valerie pull some strings and get someone in to take her official statement and Victor hovers against a wall and the only reason that he doesn’t put a halt to the proceedings a half dozen times is because every time he even has the thought Bridget glares at him like she can read his mind.

She can’t, he knows this, she would have punched him long before now if she could actually tell what he was thinking at any given time.

*****************************************************


Andrew corners him on his way to the bathroom; he figures that he’s probably gotten off light in retrospect. It’s been almost three days since Bridget regained consciousness and Victor left him and Siobhan and Juliet in the waiting room.

“Do you plan on letting us see her at all?” Andrew asks, he’s very calm, Victor should probably care, but he doesn’t. “Or do you plan on using whatever influence you have to keep us away from her?”

“How long did it take you to fall into bed with her sister?” Victor asks. It’s none of his business, except Bridget had seemed to care about this guy and now Siobhan is hanging off him like a limpet.

“We are just friends, I’m not sleeping with Siobhan,” Andrew says, his tone breaks and Victor can hear the anger there at the insinuation that he would even think about doing so.

“You two seem awful cozy for ‘just friends’,” Victor says.

“She’s worried about her sister, as am I,” Andrew states, his voice firm. “We neither one of us knew what was occurring, all either one of us received was a phone call stating that she was missing. I certainly did not know if her affiliation with the FBI.”

There’s something in his voice that gives Victor pause, some little niggling jump in his gut that tells him that if Andrew had known that Bridget was with the bureau that he would most certainly have not gotten involved with her.

He wonders, idly, if he can use this as a reason to keep Andrew far, far away from Bridget.

*****************************************************


She should be out there with the others hunting for Macawi before he can hurt someone else; instead she’s confined to a bed that she’s beginning to loathe with every passing second.

She gives them every tiny scrap of information that she can remember, partial addresses, descriptions of houses and buildings that Macawi sent his girls to.

Descriptions of the men that they were supposed to be ‘nice’ to. She’ll need therapy, she’s sure of that, the box of things that she’s not thinking about his overflowing with ‘things she’s not thinking about’. She feels dirty and used even though she knows, mentally that she was doing her job. That everything she did, every horrible, awful, vile act she performed was for the greater good.

That greater good won’t mean anything if it doesn’t end with Bodaway Macawi off the streets and in a prison cell waiting for death.

“Your sister is here,” Victor says, he’s in and out of the room. Mostly in, mostly the chair next to her bed has a permanent impression of his ass because he doesn’t tend to stray very far unless he’s looking for shitty hospital coffee.

“What?” she couldn’t have heard him right, because Siobhan speaks to her but it’s mostly jabs at problems she hasn’t had for years… her mind shies away from the event that caused Siobhan’s anger. Because that anger is mostly justified.

“Your sister, Siobhan, is in the waiting room with Andrew and his daughter,” Victor says. He says Andrew’s name with that same tone that he always does.

Like it pains something within him to have to utter it out loud. The name, Andrew, would be stricken from everyone’s vocabularies if Victor had his way, she’s sure of this.

“Why?”

“Because some idiot in personnel has a bleeding heart and saw sibling in your file, so they notified her when you were missing, and then they notified her again when you were found.”

Bridget stares at the wall, there’s a spot there, it’s blue, slightly out of place among the white, sterile walls and beige blanks and sheets.

“What does she want?”

Siobhan probably hoped to find her on her deathbed so she could sneer that she was only getting what she deserved; Bridget carries a gun now and knows three different forms of self-defense to defend herself but Siobhan was always the one person that she wasn’t able to defend herself from.

Shouldn’t have had to defend herself from.

But Siobhan has always wanted more than they had, and had always been willing to walk over Bridget to get to it.

“Well considering that she’s taken up a spot in the waiting room since slightly after you were brought in, I imagine she wants to talk to you.”

Bridget can’t imagine any universe in which ‘talking to her’ is the reason that Siobhan is waiting.

*****************************************************


There’s always a moment, a brief one, that lasts about 15 seconds every morning where Siobhan has a son. He’s beautiful and smart and growing so fast.

There’s that inevitable reminder that she doesn’t have a son, not anymore. Because Bridget thought it would be a great idea to take him for ice cream and to the science center even though Siobhan had told her, multiple times, to not take him out.

She knows that Bridget always thought she was being over protective, but Siobhan knows the tragedies that can happen in a split second.

Bridget should know that as well. They went from a happy family to the twin sisters with an alcoholic, abusive father in 15 seconds.

“Bridget has agreed to see you,” the FBI agent, Victor, the one who sat in the waiting room with them for that time they were waiting at the beginning is standing in the door.

Siobhan had thought this was maybe another lover of Bridget’s, it would certainly have explained the animosity between Andrew and Victor.

But no, this one had to have been Bridget’s partner of all things.

Siobhan reaches for her bag, smoothing her coat down. Juliet is watching her with suspicious eyes and she has to wonder how Bridget had gotten around Juliet’s watchful, disapproving gaze and made the girl like her.

She certainly doesn’t like Siobhan.

Victor doesn’t say anything, just leads her down a maze of hallways, she’ll need an escort back she’s sure and she knows exactly which room they’re going to because there’s a guard in front of the door.

He certainly doesn’t warn her about what Bridget looks like and when he opens the door for her, stepping aside so she can enter first she barely manages to mask the gasp into a clearing of her throat.

Bridget looks like hell, cuts and bruises, a cast on one arm and an eye that might have been swollen shut at one time.

“Siobhan,” Bridget’s tone is wary, understandably so Siobhan knows. She’s made no secret of her feelings towards her sister.

But she is her sister, so she tries her hardest to look past her anger and remember that she’s not actually alone in the world.

“Hello Bridget.”

*****************************************************


Siobhan sits quietly in the chair that Victor had made his own. They don’t converse, periodically Siobhan will look up and Bridget will look at her and they’ll have a conversation with their eyes and shoulders and twitches of their fingers.

It used to drive their parents nuts, the silent conversations, but the first fourteen years of their lives they’d had each other and not needed anyone else.

Then Siobhan had found boys and Bridget had found other things and they’d drifted away from each other.

Away from silent conversations and knowing each other better then they knew themselves. Bridget had never missed Siobhan more than when they were in the same room and not speaking.

Victor comes in and out, Siobhan watching with narrowed eyes as he presses her on her locations. They found the one that Macawi took her to when he’d eliminated all the others and she was the only girl left standing and therefore had to be the one he was looking for.

Her mind darts away from the actual assault, she carriers the evidence on her body of the way that Macawi had tried to destroy her. She’s not sure if it was to send a message to the bureau or one to her.

Either way she knows that it was never his intent for her to be found alive. She should be dead, should have bled out on the floor of a tiny police station the fact that she didn’t the doctors are touting as a miracle.

“Why are you looking there?” she asks when Victor brings her an address and pictures off the list.

“Because we’ve exhausted all the others,” Victor says, “we’ve got a really narrow window and it’s getting narrower.”

“You think he’s going to try and go underground?”

“I’m hoping he’s going to be an idiot and try and make an attempt on you,” Victor sighs. “But yes, popular consensus is as soon as he feels comfortable doing so he’s going to flee.”

“You’ve got his picture plastered all over the news outlets and internet, how far do you really think he’s going to get?” Siobhan asks, Bridget looks over at her in surprise. She’s normally been largely silent when Victor comes into the room and the stark reminder of how different the paths of their lives took them is shoved directly into her face.

Bridget taps her hand against the edge of the bed, “I hate to say it, but Macawi is smart, smarter than us because he’s managed to stay out of prison despite the brutality that he carries out and has carried out in his name.”

“No,” Victor says. “Just… absolutely, positively not.”

Siobhan looks between them, confused and apparently not liking it one little bit.

“I feel like I missed part of the conversation,” she says. “And I’m fairly sure that I was sitting here the entire time so I know I didn’t.”

“Victor…”

“No,” Victor says firmly. “We’re not having this conversation and I’m certainly not going to sign off on anything that’s going to give Macawi the possibility of breaking your other arm and maybe the rest of you this time.”

“Someone tell me what’s going on, now,” Siobhan says.

“Bridget wants to set herself up as bait, try to lure Macawi out into the open; he’s only got a few people that he still trusts in his employ. But for something as important as this, as making sure that whatever Bridget knows, thinks she knows or saw is buried in the ground with her… he’ll make the sure he’s the one that puts her there.”

“You’ll be there,” Bridget says, “And I don’t trust anyone more than I trust you to protect me.”

*****************************************************


“You and your sister seem to be getting along,” Victor says, he rolls his shoulders trying to ease the knot in the middle of his back; he really thinks the chairs should be more comfortable it’s like they don’t want people setting up shop and hanging out.

“We don’t actually talk about anything, that’s probably why,” Bridget says, she looks over at him and stops his restless shifting by laying her hand over his and squeezing his fingers tight.

“Your boyfriend is still hanging around.”

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Bridget says. “We broke up,” she waves her good hand in the air, probably to signify ‘at some point prior to my going undercover and being presumed dead’.

At least that’s what he thinks she means, she could also just not remember when they broke up.

“He’s still waiting, along with his daughter; they go away each evening and come back in the morning with Siobhan.”

“He’s waiting for you to lower your guard enough and let him through the gates,” Bridget grins.

“You can tell the guards to let him in,” Victor says. “You don’t need my permission to see people… unless its Macawi then you need my permission.”

Bridget rolls her eyes at him.

“Maybe I’m just shallow enough to not want him seeing me look like road kill,” Bridget murmurs.

“But it’s okay for me to see you like this?”

Bridget looks at him, there’s an expression that he doesn’t think he’s ever seen in her eyes and he’s not sure if he should be worried or not.

“You’ve always seen me at my worst,” she says quietly, “you don’t seem to ever care.”

He huffs a laugh and clears his throat.

“Well because I don’t want to have to go through that sexual harassment seminar again I won’t tell you that you look beautiful and the bruises and cuts and the cast don’t do anything to deter that,” he clears his throat again and she squeezes his fingers again.

“Well good,” he glances at her out of the corner of his eye and can see her little smile. It’s sweet. “Then I won’t have to say thank you for looking past all that and not thinking I’m hideous.”

*****************************************************


“You know she has a boyfriend, right?” Siobhan asks him, they’re standing in line for the awful hospital coffee that Victor can’t believe they actually have to pay for considering how bad it is.

“Andrew’s not her boyfriend,” Victor says, Bridget has told him this, and he believes her.

“Semantics,” Siobhan waves her hand. “Bridget broke up with him because she was going away for work, granted she never mentioned the whole ‘undercover for the bureau’ thing but I’m fairly sure that Andrew still believes they have a chance to make things work.

Victor really hopes not, there’s all these small motions that Victor is trying really hard to not think mean that Bridget would be amenable to maybe going out sometime.

There’s still Macawi out there, they really need to focus on getting him off the street.

Then they can focus on building something new from the ashes.

*****************************************************


It’s not so much that he allows Andrew in as Andrew decides that he’s had enough of waiting and takes the bull by the horns. If he wasn’t a very real threat to the status quo that Victor has become accustomed he’d probably actually like him.

As it is Victor spends the thirty minutes he’s in Bridget’s room practicing deep breathing exercises and not thinking about the half dozen places that he could hide the body if Andrew even thinks about hurting her.

He obviously doesn’t need to worry about that because Andrew comes out of Bridget’s room looking fairly unhappy with whatever discussion actually took place within and glares at Victor like he holds him personally responsible.

*****************************************************


She loves Andrew, she really does. Besides Victor he was the first man she allowed into her life that could see her instead of a replica of her sister. But Victor is safe, can protect himself and more importantly he knows that she can protect herself.

She’s never been more aware of that fact then listening to Andrew tell her how worried he was about her and how scared he is for her.

How he wants her to come back to the city so he can hide her away in his penthouse.

She tells him no, tells him that though she appreciates the offer that she can protect herself.

The face that he makes, the disbelieving one makes her want to pull a gun and her marksmanship scores and self-defense criteria and shove them in his face. She knows that’s a gut reaction to having his face basically tell her that she’s a weak female that can’t possibly protect herself.

*****************************************************


“We’ve spotted a couple of Macawi’s guys around the hospital,” Valerie says, she says it in a conversational tone, like they’re discussing the weather.

“Guards?”

“Two on Bridget’s room, one at the main desk, two sharpshooters in the building across from her room. We’re ready if he makes an attempt.”

“This isn’t going to do anything if Macawi decides to send someone else in to do his dirty work,” Victor says.

“How likely do you think that is to happen? Bridget seems fairly certain that he’ll make the attempt himself.”

“She’s important, he gets rid of her then he’s got nothing to worry about, everything is mostly circumstantial, but the testimony of an undercover agent, that’ll put him away for long enough that he’ll either die in prison or die trying to escape from prison.”

*****************************************************


Andrew has gone back to New York, Bridget feels conflicted about his, because she still loves him. There’s a part of her that still wants him in her life, and wants the same things she wanted before she began this mission.

But the other part of her, the one that sounds like Siobhan’s voice in her head tells her that she wasn’t good enough for him.

That she would have ended up getting him hurt or worse and left Juliet without the father who her entire support structure is based around.

“He seemed nice enough,” Siobhan says, she’s idly flipping through a magazine; she’s dressed down for Siobhan which means no thousand dollar dress, but a pant suit in pale colors and heels that Bridget would probably kill herself in.

“He was,” Bridget says.

“Then what was wrong with him?” Siobhan asks, she tosses the magazine aside and looks at her; she has that conspiratorial look in her eyes that Bridget vaguely remembers from when they were kids and lived in each other’s pockets. “Small dick? Couldn’t figure out how to use it?”

“Not everything is about sex or the lack thereof. And he has a child, I think that’s evidence that he knows what he’s doing.”

“Pfft,” Siobhan says, it sounds ridiculous coming from her and Bridget laughs a little. “You can be bad in bed and still manage to knock someone up.”

“No,” Bridget shakes her head. “No, Andrew did everything right…”

“Well he had to do something wrong if you kicked him to the curb. Because you know what, he was yummy, if I’d known he was that yummy I would have never have stood him up.”

“He wanted to protect me,” Bridget says. It sounds stupid said out loud; from the look on Siobhan’s face she thinks it sounds stupid as well. “If he had his way he would bundle me up in cotton and bubble wrap and hide me away in some closet somewhere to only be taken out for special occasions.”

“Well not to be unfair to the guy but at this moment Bridget, you look pretty fragile.”

*****************************************************


Victor is down at the nurses’ station trying to argue unsuccessfully about putting cameras in Bridget’s room while she’s still confined there.

The hospital administrator keeps sighing loudly and reiterating, even more loudly that it’s an invasion of privacy.

“She’s a federal agent under a protective detail,” Victor says, it’s his calm voice. The last time they’d had this conversation, almost verbatim, he’d wanted to yell and his voice had gotten loud enough that it probably constituted yelling.

“And we’ve allowed the armed guards and whatever you’ve got happening in the next building even though it goes directly against hospital policy to allow the firearms within our walls.”

Victor is just opening his mouth to reiterate the federal agent and protective detail thing when Valeria comes around the corner. She looks calm, not a hair out of place, Victor couldn’t say with any amount of certainty later what had alerted him to the fact that there was something wrong.

She makes a motion with her hand and he mutters something at the hospital administrator who looks relieved at being interrupted which means that when Victor wants to have this argument again he’ll probably have to hunt him down.

“What’s wrong?” Victor asks, cutting right to the chase, he knows without her even saying a word that things have gone sideways and wrong.

“Macawi was spotted in the hospital and when I went to check…” Valerie draws a breath. “Bridget’s not in her room and her sister appears to be missing as well.”

*****************************************************


Siobhan is bleeding; she doesn’t need to press shaking fingers to the side of her head to know that, she can feel the dampness trickling down her temple. Her hands have been tied behind her back with plastic zip ties and her shoulder aches from where she landed when she was tossed in the room.

She can see Bridget struggling weakly against her own bonds, the man is holding her to him and laughing.

“Bridget, Bridget, Bridget,” the man is crooning, Bridget is snarling wordlessly, teeth snapping at him in anger. He looks over at her and Siobhan shrinks back.

“She’s not part of this, you let her go right fucking now,” Bridget snaps, she doesn’t sound scared, she sounds pissed off to extreme. Siobhan is not an idiot, she’s scared. She’s sure that she’s here solely to control Bridget; once they realize that Bridget can’t be controlled by her presence she’s probably dead.

“You never said anything about a sister,” the man says, Bridget stomps down hard on his foot but considering she’s barefoot it doesn’t do any amount of damage. “Do you know what I could have charged for sisters?” he asks, it’s a rhetorical question Siobhan is sure.

Or at least one she probably doesn’t want an answer to.

“I’m going to kill you,” Bridget states, she says it likes it’s a fact, the man laughs but Siobhan has seen that look on Bridget’s face before.

“That’s a nice fantasy, but what’s really going to happen is I’m going to kill your sister over there and you’re going to tell me everything you told the feds. Then if I’m convinced that you’ve told me the truth I’ll pump you up with some of the nice drugs, you know the ones, and maybe you’ll OD before I get to the fun stuff.”

“You’re a sick, sadistic bastard,” Bridget says, “and it’s been my complete honor in being involved in making sure that you don’t get to hurt anyone ever again.”

It happens fast, later Siobhan will try and figure out in her own self-defense classes how exactly Bridget does it and she’s never sure in what order things happened.

But all of a sudden the man is in the ground and Bridget, with her hands still bound behind her back is kneeling on him, one knee pressed against his neck and the other pressing down on his chest. He’s heaving his body around trying to dig his fingers into her skin to move her but Bridget just stays perched there like she’s made of stone.

There’s people and guns when the man makes a gasping breath, Siobhan’s not sure if Bridget just killed him or if he’s passed out.

Victor is there, helping Bridget up, cutting the ties around her wrists and someone else is helping Siobhan to her feet, pressing something to her forehead and cutting the ties on her wrists.

When she looks over as she’s being led out Bridget is sort of clinging to Victor and Victor has his arms wrapped around her but is glaring down at the man who apparently is not dead after all.

Someone drapes a blanket over her shoulders and she thinks that maybe it’s time that she and Bridget talk about forgiveness.

*****************************************************


Macawi goes to jail, there’s a trial in their future. Bridget will have to get up on a stand and talk about the brutality that she went through at Macawi’s hands. Will have to describe in detail the horror that she went through and the horrors that she witnessed.

Victor thinks that there’s therapy in their future as well, Bridget is on medical leave, pending doctor and psychiatric approval to return. There will probably be no undercover work in their future as both their faces have been splashed all over the TV.

“White collar,” Bridget says and Victor looks at her, she’s shifting uncomfortably on the bed. All the pillows from their shared hotel room are behind her, she’d probably be more comfortable in a hospital but she’d refused to go back.

“What?”

“I got an offer to move to white collar once,” she waves her hand and it’s a testament to how well they know each other that Victor knows that hand wave means the multiple doctors sign off on her ability to return to work.

“White collar would probably be less stressful,” Victor concedes.

Bridget looks at him.

“It’s not like I’m letting you make the move by yourself,” he says. “Look how much trouble you get into when I’m not there to back you up.”

They’ll be bored out of their minds he’s sure, but he’s also fairly sure that most white collar criminals aren’t mass murdering psychopaths.

*****************************************************


Bridget has to make another statement, still not quite sure how Macawi got past all the guards in the hospital but she’s fairly sure that whoever their mole is, that person is the reason that he did.

She and Siobhan may have their differences, their difficulties, but she at no time wanted to place her sister in a situation where she might be harmed.

“So have you decided where you’re going after this is all done?” Siobhan asks, she knows about the White Collar offer. She’s been pressing her to accept it though it would bring her to a city that Bridget knows Siobhan thinks of as hers.

“Victor and I have been talking about it,” Bridget says.

“And why does Victor have any say in this decision?”

“He’s my partner.”

And she would leave it at that but Siobhan gives her that look, the ones that screams ‘I know you better than that’ and ‘you’re not fooling anyone, least of all me.’

Bridget scowls, but doesn’t engage. She learned that lesson when she was a kid.

*****************************************************


When she gets her cell phone back its filled with missed calls, almost all of them from Andrew, and the messages that he’s left are basically just repeated versions of ‘I miss you’.

She’s never felt this conflicted about a relationship before, she loves Andrew, she does, but having Victor in close proximity reminds her that if Victor had given her the barest of signals that she would never have had space in her heart for Andrew to fill.

The time to deal with the situation will be when she’s back in the city, when she can speak in person instead of over a phone to Andrew, when she’s working alongside Victor again instead of separately.

*****************************************************


The time to trial goes quickly, the state rushing to get things settled before Macawi and his lawyers find a loophole for him to slip through.

There are multiple guilty verdicts, Macawi going away for a long time though Bridget is sure there will be mass appeals. Macawi stares at her in the courtroom as he’s taken away and when he mouths ‘I’ll get you’ and winks at her she really wished she was cleared to have a gun again. The last thing she wants is to spend the rest of her life waiting for Macawi to manage to turn a judge and walk.

*****************************************************


She takes the White Collar job but refuses to stay with Siobhan; they’re just starting to mend the rifts in their relationship. Living together would be an unnecessary strain.

Instead she rents a hotel room, covering it with her moving expenses while she looks for an apartment.

“You could just stay with me,” Victor offers, “I’ve got that extra bedroom.”

She thinks about sharing living space with Victor, about sharing breakfast in the morning and takeout at night and fighting over the bathroom and the TV.

“I’ll keep looking, if I don’t find something by the end of the month I might take you up on it.”

*****************************************************


She meets Andrew for lunch after she’s been in the city for a couple of weeks. Still trying to get her feet under her and find a happy medium. She has appointments four times a week with a bureau supplied therapist and she at least seems thrilled at how well and fast Bridget is adjusting and processing what happened to her.

Bridget wishes she was as thrilled. She still wakes up most night biting back a screams and struggling against her blankets. She hasn’t told the therapist that because the she’ll be the one to tell the bureau that she’s ready for more active duties then just riding a desk and Bridget is really tired of riding a desk.

“How are you feeling?” Andrew asks, they both have glasses of water in front of them, meals on order. She wishes that it didn’t feel so comfortable having him sitting across from her, feet touching under the table.

She misses him.

“I’m okay,” she says, she smiles softly at him, it should be easy. She’s not lying to him, telling him half-truths about what she does and who she is.

He knows now and part of her thinks that with all the other things she’s shared with this man, she should be able to talk through the things that happened to her with him.

Andrew nods like he believes her even though she’s sure he watched the news reports of Macawi’s trial; it had all been there, in stark black and white what Macawi had done to her and others.

“You know you can tell me anything, right?” he says, his voice is quiet and she nods, though she can’t actually lift her head to meet his eyes.

*****************************************************


She’s still looking for apartments, papers spread out over her desk during lunch circling places that sound interesting. She wasn’t this picky about her last apartment, the one she gave up when she went undercover.

It had been a few short months away from crumbling around the tenants ears, Victor’s fairly sure it was actually condemned.

“You know I still have the spare bedroom,” he says, he’s clicking through his e-mail and eating a hot pocket. When Bridget looks up she frowns, he’s not sure if it’s because of the hot pocket or the offer.

“You know those things are awful for you,” she says rolling her eyes. She doesn’t make a comment about the spare bedroom.

*****************************************************


She shows up at his door at 2 in the morning on a Sunday with three suitcases and a box. She gives him that look that says that she’ll stab him with his own pocket knife if he makes a comment so he wisely keeps his mouth shut.

She leaves two of the suitcases just inside the door and wheels the other one down the short hallway to his spare bedroom, box still under her arm.

“Can you bring those Victor?” she calls and he shakes his head, closes the door and grabs both bags by their handles.

“This is just because I can’t find anything that’s close enough to the city to make the price and commute worthwhile.”

Victor just nods and sets the bags in a line by the dresser.

“You still have furniture?” he asks instead.

Bridget bounces on the mattress and makes a dissatisfied noise. “In storage, I’ll have someone bring the bed out tomorrow, we can get rid of your couch and use mine instead.”

“I like my couch,” Victor says because better to focus on that then the apparent fact that Bridget has actually decided to move in with him instead of using his place as somewhere to crash.

“You found it on the street,” Bridget says and the expression on her face is priceless.

“Yes, and I had it cleaned and the tears fixed and remind me how many times you’ve crashed and drooled on it?”

“But now we can move my couch up and my couch is better and more comfortable,” Bridget beams at him.

And he does have to concede that her couch is far more comfortable than his is, but then his was free and hers cost almost a thousand bucks so hers should be more comfortable.

*****************************************************


“I’m seeing someone,” Siobhan says at their Tuesday lunch, it’s actually more dinner time then lunch time, Siobhan had called to reschedule due to some mix up with a client.

“That’s great,” Bridget says, she lays her menu aside, “what’s his name, what’s he do?” Her phone is in her purse, she gets a name she can call Victor from the bathroom and have him do a quick background search.

Siobhan shoots her a look that says she knows exactly what Bridget is considering doing.

“He’s married,” Siobhan says after taking a sip of her wine. Bridget just blinks at her, because she couldn’t have heard that correctly. “They’ve been separated for about four months.”

“That’s…” Bridget’s not sure if that’s actually good still or not, she taps a fingers against the rim of her water glass.

“They’ve filed for divorce,” Siobhan says, “and while we did start seeing each other prior to their official separation their marriage was already failing by that point. His name is Henry; I think you’ll like him when you meet him.”

“As long as you’re happy,” she says. And she mostly means it too.

Their waiter chooses that moment to come along to take their orders, collecting their menus and disappearing as quickly as he appeared. Bridget always worries when their orders don’t get written down that she’s going to end up with someone else’s order.

“I hear you moved in with your partner,” Siobhan says, she looks at her coyly, like she knows that Bridget is walking a fine line between partner and ‘partner’.

“Victor has been kind enough to offer up his spare bedroom for me to stay in,” Bridget says, she doesn’t ask where Siobhan had heard about that. She knows that Siobhan and Andrew still talk to one another.

To say that Andrew had been unhappy about her decision to move in with Victor would be putting it mildly.

“Hmm, I also heard that you moved in your bed and couch from storage, as well as some kitchen supplies.”

“The bed in Victor’s spare bedroom was not designed for comfort,” Bridget says, she hopes her voice doesn’t sound as defensive to Siobhan as it does to her.

From the look on Siobhan’s face that hope is in vain, but they’ve come a fraction of a way and Siobhan doesn’t call her on it.

Not yet anyway.

*****************************************************


They get a couple of quick no-brainer cases in a row. Victor thinks he should be worried that they keep getting tossed softballs, but he finds it hard to do that when Bridget is getting a solid eight hours of sleep at night and the bags under her eyes have started to fade and the spark that makes her Bridget has reappeared.

They argue about food and calorie content and she goads him into joining her on her morning runs which he’s still not sure how happened, except he vaguely remembers her poking him in the side, mouth twisting with humor.

“You’re getting a little…” she says, “soft from working the desk.”

He raises an eyebrow at her and she smirks at him.

*****************************************************


Andrew leaves town, Bridget finds out about this after he’s already left.

Siobhan mentions it in a random conversation that starts off with her poking at Bridget still living with Victor then casually mentions that Andrew has gone to England for 6 months, due back sometime after the New Year.

Bridget feels the lingering sadness; there had always been that brief hope that maybe they could work through things. That would have meant actually speaking though, and they’d kept missing each other in a way that had led Bridget to wonder if Andrew wasn’t dodging her calls and visits.

She has Victor still, and she periodically goes and looks at apartments and condos and one really small house that she’d absolutely loved but had totally been too big for one person, just so she can say she’s still looking and Victor can say that he’s making sure she doesn’t end up on the streets.

The few times they manage a night at the apartment they curl up on the couch, and watch TV shows they don’t know the storylines of and don’t really care about regardless.

They brush their teeth side by side, Victor’s walked in on her showering and she’s done the same. They’re comfortable together in a way that she’d never been with Andrew as much as she’d tried. They’d never gotten to the point where she could rock the bedhead in the kitchen while waiting for her tea or shoving him aside so she could get to the toilet.

The first time they kiss she’s standing in the kitchen trying to decide if she wants butter or cream cheese on her bagel and he busses her cheek as he hip checks her to get to the coffee mugs.

She looks at him and he grins at her and no matter what he says later, she kissed him first.

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