|One Eighty By Summer
Author: Kaylin Tesla PM
A new lead to the man responsible for the murder of five fellow agents months before directs the team to a newly found assassin working for Rais. Unfortunately the man has connections to Mick that none had ever imagined. When Gina and Mick are forced to attend ten days in Florida for a LaSalle wedding, Cooper contacts an old friend to take their place on the case.Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Drama - Gina L. & Mick R. - Chapters: 22 - Words: 165,209 - Reviews: 60 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 13 - Updated: 05-13-13 - Published: 07-13-12 - id: 8316041
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior Fan Fiction Number Nine
One-Eighty By Summer
Summary- A new lead to the man responsible for the murder of five fellow agents months before directs the team to a newly found assassin working for Rais. Unfortunately the man has connections to Mick that none had ever imagined. When Gina and Mick are forced to attend ten days in Florida for a LaSalle wedding, Cooper contacts an old friend to take their place on the case.
Rated high teen for themes. Nothing explicit though. Pairings are Mick/Gina, but not necessarily together yet. They're getting there. Major spoilers for my previous stories. There may be some for the first season of the show too.
I don't own anything involving Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior. Unfortunately. If I did, the show would air every Wednesday and it would focus a lot on Mick. Because really, how could his character not be interesting and fun to play with? Such a shame that I don't, so, yeah… Anyways, the only things I do own are my creations. Rais, Surkov, Flores, Nikola, Liam, etcetera. Everything else is just for my own entertainment and practice.
I'm trying something different with this. Because Mick and Gina won't necessarily be working a Red Cell case but there still has to be one otherwise things would get stale, the perspectives will be alternated between chapters. The case itself plays a lot into the Rais arc and that will be from the standard perspective. Most likely centering on Beth though. The first is focused on Surkov. Adventures with Mick and Gina will be told from my usual perspective. So, the standard exclaimers apply. I've only been to Florida twice for vacation so personal experience is used to make that aspect of the story more believable. Google and Wikipedia are still my lifeline and they help with everything else that I don't have experience in. Any grammar and spelling mistakes are my own. No one beta reads this, so please don't verbally kill me for a typo.
Now, on to the story. Enjoy!
Chapter 12 Tell Me The Whole Truth
Mick Rawson claimed to be a changed man because of Gina LaSalle. He declared himself as better and honest in comparison to his previous ways of life, all due to the fact that he had people who cared for his existence and well-being. Lies to his teammates had been minute and only necessary, at least in his views, and virtually nonexistent over the past year of living with Gina. Independence was an impossible trait to suppress completely, but it appeared to have dwindled into something more bearable. Attitude had subsided quite a bit, and he admittedly looked and felt better with her than he had in eight years. Sleep came more naturally, trouble was beginning to find him less and less appealing, and the smiles on his face when talking to her were genuine.
However, the events of late contradicted such a claim.
He lied to Gina and his teammates directly, mislead them with half truths because he deemed it safer for them and himself, and purposefully withheld important information pertaining to the Rais case weeks before the truth finally slipped. Excuses were made, ones that Gina didn't honestly believe for one second, and time was bided for as long as possible. He tried to solve the case independently again. With the assistance of his old partner in Interpol, he learned so much more than the team had gathered because he didn't have to worry about politics of the FBI. Instead of sharing the information, he kept it a secret for weeks or months at a time until it came back to bite him in the ass.
That wasn't the characteristics of a changed man. Those lies told to protect his teammates, to protect family from the dangers linked to the case, showed that some part of his lone-wolf personality was still intact. The nights Gina had spent talking with him, the comforts that seemed to be a lost cause at this point, the unexplainable bond they shared, none of it appeared to matter anymore. He was no better than the other men who claimed change, and Gina was willing to admit how distraught she felt by the lies if it brought realization to him.
She knew he had been hiding things from her for the past several weeks. It spanned the course of months, actually. When he began to spend his time in the spare room of her apartment for hours in intervals during the day, when they weren't in the office or Cooper's loft together as a team, talking on his cell phone with people she couldn't understand because he spoke Welsh to some and whispered to others, and redirecting conversation when questioned about it. She knew by his actions that his mind was captivated by something important. Yet, she didn't know how to approach the subject in a manner that would have gotten answers.
Vacation in Florida did seem like the perfect excuse. While she was a bit uncertain about his presence with her family, mostly because her family could be odd at times but always inviting, she felt more confident with him. The same reaction seemed to befall him as well. Her hopes were to convince him to trust her with the information. Trust between the two had never been a problem before, and she guessed it wasn't necessarily the problem now either. Whatever it could be labeled as didn't matter. The only significant issue at that point was convincing him to share the details he had hidden.
After the incident with Lucas Baines at the department store hours ago, all she had to do was find a quiet section of beach and remind him of his promise. Thankfully he always kept his promises, especially to those he cared for.
The private section of Jacksonville Beach was only private in the sense that it didn't often attract a large number of tourists at one given time so it was never excessively crowded. There were plenty of vacation homes within a five mile radius. Families that had lived in the area for the past several years tended to flock to the beach on the days where the weather was perfect. Owners and renters of the nearby vacation homes did the same. Despite the number of people, the beach was spacious enough to be comfortable. There were no worries of someone overhearing conversation, or intruding on privacy.
It had been too many years since she stepped foot on the sands of the beach. The sand itself was warm beneath her bare toes, beautiful off-white speckled with people and beach necessities spreading as far as the eye could see along the coast, sporting various sized seashells of different shapes and colors in an even mix. The ocean swelled to create large rolling waves that were perfect for those who surfed, crashing onto the sands with a corpus amount of white that reflected blindingly in the evening sunlight before drawing back into the ocean. Against what Gina recalled from her youth, the water was not as clear as she imagined. It was a sort of green-blue and tan in places, not entirely transparent but stunning all the same.
They had set their beach chairs and umbrella away from the surf by a considerable amount. Lifeguards in their towers, families enjoying the sands and surf with sandcastles crafted by the children, surfers daring the ocean current for excitement, couples and friends enjoying their time together as they chatted under umbrellas in beach chairs, no one paid Mick and Gina too much attention. Gina couldn't find motivation to complain about such, especially when Mick brought his tan tattered bag containing the thick case files he had compiled over the past few months.
He had changed into a pair of long black shorts just above his knees and a short sleeved gray tee shirt, new black sandals kicked off onto the sand. As he opened the case files on the end of the green beach chair and hunched on the edge of the seat beside her, she watched him attentively. His bare feet dug into the sand for a few unspoken moments, seemingly testing the grains and shells in fascination. A few minutes were spent picking shells from the sand, finding a few he liked and pocketing them for later use. Supposedly he hadn't stepped foot on a beach since his days in Wales before the death of his parents. Naturally, the fascination and awe on his features was understandable.
It was a method to bide time, Gina knew, and it was working exceptionally well.
Gina knew they only had an hour to themselves before their presence was requested for a family meeting. Sleeping arrangements had already been dictated as well as a schedule for when they were going to travel south to Downtown Disney together, but there was still quite a bit of work to be done for Ariel's upcoming wedding. Suits had to be tailored, dresses chosen by last minute family, guests to confirm, legal information filed, and a rehearsal was undoubtedly not something Gina could be excited for. Despite the illusion that they were on vacation, they were going to be busy over the next several days just in preparations alone.
She felt as though her patience was wearing thin as the silence between them carried on. With a sigh, she swung her bare legs over the side of her own beach chair and leaned her elbows on her knees.
She had no intentions of swimming at the moment. There was plenty of time for that later. Therefore she dressed in new denim shorts and purple sleeveless tee, hair left to drape over one shoulders carelessly. The sand beneath her toes, after she unbuttoned her own sandals and placed them beneath the seat, was reminiscent of her past experience as a young teenager. She pushed the feeling aside to reach for a file perched precariously on the edge of his seat, fully aware when Mick retracted minutely as she invaded his personal space. He attempted to stop her, but the warning in her glare must have been enough to advice him not to.
His movements were tender from the new bruises caused by his collision with a car earlier that afternoon. The scrapes were less of a bother, although they were still forming unappealing scabs beneath the liquid bandages, and would probably stay that way unless he took a swim in the ocean within the next few hours. While Helen's professional suggestions to help ease the discomfort in his muscles worked tremendously, it didn't fix the problem entirely. Nothing was going to help the bruises fade any faster, and both Mick and Gina understood that. But Gina couldn't help the wince on her face when she witnessed his cautious movements. Somehow trouble found him, even during a seemingly harmless vacation, and Gina silently feared those new bruises were just the start of their troubles.
Once the file was propped in her lap, she began to decipher the barely legible shorthand notes stapled and taped to official documents. First glances were indicative of Interpol and Scotland Yard redacted files. Gina knew Mick still had leverage in Interpol, but not enough to get his hands on highly classified information alone. His old partner must have gotten the information, although obviously unable to get the original files, which suggested he told her the bare basics of why he needed it. Probably not the situation with Rais in its entirety, but just enough to mask his reasons incase she could detect when he was lying. The only viable information on the documents was dates, names, and places. Everything else that may have been useful was covered in jet black ink.
Marc Rawson 1980-1991. Awstin Baines 1982-1987. Michael (Mick) O'Byrne 1952-1959. Sofia Baines 1989-1991. Alis Lloyd 1983-1992. Lucas Baines 1993-Unknown. Neil and Maura Fergusson 1980-1990. William Fergusson 1991-Unknown.
Those names and years weren't consistent with possible years of birth and death. The names themselves baffled Gina, regardless of how many times she read them. There were no other indications as to who or what the documents were referring to, no hint as to why everything else was redacted so severely. Gina recognized Marc Rawson as Mick's father. The man died in 1991, at the age of thirty six. Mick was born in 1983, not 1980. What that meant, Gina hadn't been able to wrap her mind around plausible theories yet. Alis Lloyd was a family friend. Mick mentioned her once before months ago, stating over dinner that he was trying to find where she lived so he could contact her. Lastly, Lucas Baines was supposedly the man stalking them. He was certainly over the age of thirty, so the date didn't quite mean anything to the idea of birth.
The places listed were just as troubling to understand. Barmouth, Harlech, Belfast, Dolgellau, Penarth, Cardiff, London, and Edinburgh. Lack of order was not helpful, and Gina recognized the majority as cities or towns overseas. Of course, she had no way of knowing what any of it meant without more of an explanation.
"It's different." Mick whispered, seemingly to himself, as he fumbled a twisted tan shell between his fingers. She jumped at the sound of his voice, having not expected him to break the grueling silence between them. A brief glance at the ocean clarified what he was referring to, and Gina felt a sudden ping of sadness as he continued with a solemn tone to his Welsh accent. "In Penarth, the ocean was less clear, and there were more shells and fossils than this. The sand was good enough to make castles, but my mum always made a point for me to wear sandals so I didn't hurt myself with a shark tooth or something. And it was always a bit colder than this during the spring. Most times, I wasn't even allowed to go swimming until the summer weather hit, and never without a chaperone." He paused to look up at her, a smirk ghosting his face. "Different in a good way, darling. Ya know, I may be able to make the best damned castle you've ever seen. I'll even engrave your name on it."
Gina released a deflating breath as he held her gaze, feeling the tension slide off her shoulders as an affectionate grin forced itself on her features. He was flirting with her again, the same typical routine he did when only around her explicitly, and the normalcy was greatly appreciated. "This is beginning to feel like a very cheesy romantic comedy movie line." She replied, nudging his foot gently with her own. "I'm not going to make-out with you one the beach."
He shrugged, clearly taken back by the response and leaned back to pocket the shell he had been fumbling with. "How do you know that wasn't my intention? And for the record, that's disappointing."
"Because you're biding time so you don't have to explain all of this." She answered sincerely, tapping her fingers against the file in emphasis. His expression changed in a heartbeat; the smile faded into a thin frown and his eyes fell on the files beside him. Gina understood his desire to avoid the subject. But they were a team, partners, and she expected him to be open with her just as she was with him. After an uneasy audible swallow from him, she nudged his foot again to recapture his attention. "You promised, and you never break your promises. At least not to me."
Mick appeared to give her words a moment of thought, staring at the file in her lap intensely. Then he pulled his eyes away and shuffled through the files beside him for one in particular. It was quickly recognized as his own personal notes for the entire Rais case. Pieces of scrap paper or napkins littered with his usual shorthanded scrawl and even several pieces of printer paper taped and folded together in a kind of timeline. He drew a heavy packet of notebook paper stapled and clamped together from the mix and handed it to her, silently urging her to read it.
"That's everything I've recorded so far." He stated, flipping it to a specific page and jabbing a finger at the first sentence. "When I found that piece to my dragon, I made a lot of calls to my old partner, Katie. Out of everyone else in Interpol, she's the only one I trust won't sell me out to the directors. I didn't tell her everything. The only thing I did tell her was that I'm working a classified case and the less who know about it, the better."
"She didn't ask questions?" Gina asked, surprised as she looked up from the records. So far, all she read was an abbreviated transcript of their conversation concerning the Penarth Cemetery.
Mick shook his head as he answered. "We used to have a very impressive record together. We were responsible for solving the worst serial murder cases Interpol was involved in. Therefore we were granted a lot of leniency, just like Red Cells, and a lot of my methods to gather information were less…politically correct than what was normally allowed. After a while, she just stopped asking questions and started covering for me."
"You thought that wing to your dragon was taken from your mother's coffin…" Gina paraphrased from his notes.
"I did, but it actually wasn't." He replied before she could finish. "According to records Katie pulled from Penarth Cemetery, the graves have never been touched. Once they were put in the ground and buried, they have never been tampered with in any fashion. Which means the wing was never in the coffin to begin with. That leads to two possibilities."
"Someone removed it before it was buried at the service, or the person that was supposed to put it in the coffin never actually did." Gina deduced almost in unison with him, scaling her eyes down the page as a frown knit her brow together.
"Exactly. There was only a large handful of family at the service who had the opportunity to do such a thing. Alis and Owen, my grandmother Sofia, aunt Gwyneth and her children, aunt Elaine and her kids, and uncle Morris with his family. I've been able to exclude most of everyone based on travel records." He paused to draw a breath, his hand actions portraying the story in time with his words just as they always did when he was excited about something. "Rais wouldn't have someone steal the wing and just allow someone else to place it as bait. Everything he's done is a psychological manipulation. He wanted me to find the wing, find who stole it, find that it was probably someone related to me in some way, and then find the person he sent to break into our flat. That person is supposed to be such a surprise that I take the hint and back off."
Gina contemplated that for a moment. It sounded as though was grasping at straws unintentionally. There was no way of knowing what Rais intended. The man was a psychopath who never did anything predictable. Hence why he was never caught. For Mick to assume so much meant that he was desperate, and Gina was beginning to fear that he came to the assessment because it was something he wanted. Basically, he could have seen what he wanted to see, and not what was directly in front of him. He had to be careful not to let his desire for revenge overcome his judgment and rationality.
"So you're betting that the same person who stole the wing is also the same person who broke into our apartment. That's risky. How do you know the guy who was supposed to put it in the coffin actually did?" Gina questioned, scanning the written information more carefully as she tried to summarize everything said into one central point. The smaller details were equally crucial, but took away from the main answers he was giving. In order to better understand everything for both her and Mick, she began to question everything.
Mick nodded in agreement, turning his attention to the record in Gina's hands. He flipped through the page hastily, almost excited that he had someone to discuss the new findings with, until he came to another transcript. "Because I talked to him and had Katie confirm it. The man was responsible for preparing the coffins and their bodies for the service. He swears on his mother's grave that he put that cloth in that coffin. Katie confirmed it with his assistant at the time." Another pause had him twisting his fingers together and his eyes on the sand between them as his tone dropped an octave. "It was a closed coffin service because there were children involved and they were too badly burned. So I only know it was in there because Sofia took me to the funeral home with her to say one last goodbye. I saw him put the wing in her coffin before he snapped it shut."
"And how did you rule out the others? What if Sofia removed it then? How did you find that Lucas Baines was behind it?" She knew asking such questions were hard for both of them. Appearances were misleading, and despite her sharp tone, she was more curious than anything else.
Mick hesitated by scooping another small handful of sand to gather the seashells. It was another subconscious measure to avoid answering, and Gina could read the reluctance on his features as clear as his written scribbles. There was something else to the avoidance of his eyes and the slumped shoulders, something he wasn't quite ready to discuss in great lengths yet. Gina vaguely recognized it as disappointment. Not in the same fashion as if he had lost a piece of his pride, but more in the sense that he knew someone he was once close with was dead.
Gina had seen the same expression on her father's face when she was younger, and he had found that one of his old teammates had died in a car accident.
"Process of elimination through travel records, as well as basic historic records. Of course, all of that is based off the theory that Rais used the same person as a method of intimidation." He answered with a sigh, dumping the sand back on the beach and propping his elbows on his knees once more.
"Owen died in a hiking accident six years ago. His wife confirmed it with the morgue when they found his body. Alis moved back to Cardiff shortly after they passed away. Rumor has it that she has been touring the world in search of the next big archeological discovery. Funny thing is she got to do what she always wanted after all. It seems like the only thing that held her back was our family. To be honest, that's a bit hard to swallow. Both the fact that she carried on with her life like none of it ever happened, and Owen's death. I had no idea what had happened until Katie pulled the death certificate."
The pause between them lasted too long. Sounds of the crashing waves and distant undefined chatter of people became more pressing. But Gina sympathized with Mick in those few moments of silence. Under normal circumstances, she knew he despised any act of sympathy so she did her best to hide it from him. However, it was an emotion she couldn't deny.
Mick rarely ever talked about Owen and Alis, and only once by name before. He had told her of the days Alis spent with him along the beach collecting shells and fossils, and how Alis wanted so desperately to be the next world famous archeologist or paleontologist. She taught him everything he knew about the history of the dinosaurs and the ancient cultures that used to reside in Wales at such a young age and it was something he never forgot. Owen supposedly played football with him in the field behind their home when his father was working in Cardiff. He was a sports fanatic, much like Gina's grandfather on her mother's side, and narrated the games he had seen on the field in hopes to teach Mick how to play better. They were just as important as his parents. Meaning the death of Owen and the abandonment from Alis must have struck him hard.
"Baines is, or was, my mother's maiden name. " Mick continued with a flash of an anxious smile. "After some digging, I found that my granddad was actually an Irishman who moved to Barmouth and changed his name so he could marry Sofia. He turned traitor from the army he was involved in and gave information to the British government. In exchange, they allowed him to move from his home in Belfast and start a new life in Wales with Sofia. He only spent five years in prison and was released with a new name that couldn't be traced to his old life at the time. Unfortunately he died when my mother was about ten years old. No one ever found what killed him, but the doctors thought it was some kind of disease they didn't have the technology to test for at the time."
He appeared contemplative as he resumed after a brief second. "His actual name was Michael O'Byrne, but everyone always called him Mick. I honestly think my mother started calling me Mick in his honor, because our birthdays were only a week apart. It's strange that I never questioned that until I found the records. I mean, she never talked about him or even mentioned him. And she was definitely Welsh…" He stopped abruptly to glance at her anxiously, looking as though he was embarrassed by his explanations. "Can it still be said that I'm Welsh? If my granddad on my mum's side was Irish and my grandmother on my father's was Scottish…"
Gina nodded in understand, reaching forward to grasp his hand for a brief second to signify that it wasn't a subject to work himself into nervousness over. "Of course you can. And I'm not just saying that to be nice." She interrupted. "You were born in Wales to two Welsh parents. Therefore, you have every right to call yourself Welsh. For instance, my great-grandparents were undeniably French. But the LaSalle family, at least mine, has called themselves American for the last eighty years."
He studied her for a minute second before an appreciative and understanding smile crossed his face. With a quick pat of her hand on his own he nodded his agreement and pulled away to shuffle through the stack of files again.
"Sofia has been in a psychiatric institution since late June of 1991. I lived with her for two months after the funeral, and during that time she was grieving so heavily that it drove her mad. There's no way she would have stolen anything from her dead daughter. She couldn't even look at a picture of her or look Jenna and I in the eyes without bursting into tears." Mick stopped his rustling through the pile as he defended his grandmother's name, his eyes dropping away from Gina once more to hide the emotion climbing to the surface. Gina could only imagine how difficult that must have been considering both were young children. Sofia probably didn't mean to show such an attitude towards them. But grieving had a way of bringing the truth to light.
"Gwyneth and her children moved out of the country after a nasty divorce with her husband, who drank himself into an early grave two years ago. Her children have been cleared as well based on travel records because they've never been outside of England. On my father's side, Morris still lives in Harlech with his family. They haven't been outside of Wales for the past twenty five years. Dad did have two other sisters, twins, but they died at the age of fifteen. Some psychopath kidnapped them a week before Christmas. Police found their bodies in pieces on the coast of Harlech two months later. He was found and executed a year after that. So that leads us to uncle Awstin and his wife Elaine."
A file was pulled from the center of the rest, scanning the contents momentarily before he placed it on the notes already perched on Gina's lap. The file itself was nothing more than a direct photo copy of the original Scotland Yard case records. Crime scene photos were grainy from the low resolution of the camera, handwriting fading in places until it was almost unreadable, and even the insignia at the top of every page was depicted as degrading. All of which implied that the original case file had been kept in a dusty box to rot for more than twenty years. There were clippings from a newspaper attached with staples to one paper. A quick glance at the date and heading acknowledged that it originated from a newspaper in Northern Wales and was printed throughout the summer, fall, and winter of 1987.
"Scotland Yard was called in after Awstin Baines died from a fall out of a window during a family reunion in Barmouth. His son, my cousin Lucas, accused my father of pushing him out of the window. Scotland Yard didn't agree because there was no evidence to support the claim. Awstin had been fighting with my dad about something during the reunion, and I don't remember what about because I was only about five years old at the time, but the inspectors didn't find a viable motive for such a thing. It was ruled as an accident. The house was being remodeled and that section wasn't finished yet. Supposedly he went up there for some reason, got his feet caught in the plastic on the floor near the window, and slipped out of the open hole in the wall."
"So Lucas Baines is your cousin. How does he fit into Rais' operations?" Gina pondered aloud as she read the file, or rather, what wasn't redacted. Thankfully the original only had a few details closed to curious eyes. That was a large improvement from everything else they had gathered in terms of official records.
"After Awstin died, Elaine took it really hard. She started drinking and moved her family away from Barmouth. She refused to talk with family anymore, blamed my father for the death of her husband, turned into a right hag if I do say so myself, and drove her children to hate her. She still lives in Northern Wales, as does her other children. One, Braden, actually joined the army when he turned nineteen. He works as a communications officer stationed in Camp Bastion. Oddly enough, I've never even met him and I lived in that camp for almost five years between cases for Interpol. Well, all except Lucas. In 1993, he was fifteen years old. He ran away from home and was never seen or heard from again. Police had no leads and it seemed like he just vanished. They suspected he had enough of his mother and found his own way out of the situation. Either he found a new life somewhere, or he died and his body was never found."
"If he vanished, how does he work into the organization?"
Mick flipped to the next page in the file for her and withdrew a single photo copy. The fifteen year old boy grinned from ear to ear in front of a freshly painted black bicycle; dark brunette hair cut short just above his ears, deep chocolate colored eyes that were strikingly familiar to Mick, yet a mischievous and unsettling mixture to his features. There was a certain aura about him that Gina grimaced at, maliciousness in his eyes that Gina had never seen before with Mick, and Gina couldn't place an accurate word to describe it aloud. She did admit that he carried some of the features of the Baines family like Mick and Jenna and their mother, but there was a visible lack of morality that sent a shiver down her spine.
"This was taken on his fifteenth birthday, two months before he disappeared. It was the photo used to search for him." Mick clarified as he pulled another photo from his stack of notes beneath the file. The next photo was far less clear. It was taken from a distance with what appeared to be a professional surveillance camera. However, the photo was speckled with what looked to be dust or water. Edges were ripped, stained and indescribable in places, and discerning when it was taken was challenging. It looked to be a backdrop of a busy ancient cobble stoned street, one that Gina couldn't name the basic location of despite the brick and stone buildings. Mick held it in front of her, tapping a finger against a grainy lone figure on the left.
"This was taken by Interpol agents in France five years ago. They were trying to find a link between a ring of art thieves planning to rob the largest museums across France, and a rumor that they were being paid to do so by a mysterious man no one could give a description of. The agents were found in their hotel room a day after this photo was taken. There was no evidence save for three hand carved carbon hunting arrows which were embedded into each man's right eye. They estimated that the shots came from the building across the street. The window was left open while they went over the data they caught that day, and they never had a chance to even draw their weapons. The shooter then entered the hotel room and stole all photos they had taken with the exception of a few."
"So he missed this one. How? And what's so important about it? You sound like you worked that case."
Mick nodded as he continued, "I did for about two months before SAS called me back for another mission. It was one I've never been able to solve. As for how he missed it, it was hidden with another smaller stack of photos that were going to be sent to command. We found them in a sealed bag in a hollowed section of wall in the bedroom. One of the agents kept a written log of everything they did that was in the bag too. He described the man in the photo as a Welshman far from home, with unknown ties to the investigation, but seems to know the leader well. The leader of the thieves was a woman once convicted of art theft and forgery and spent ten years in prison for it, with a nasty reputation of killing her accomplices after the job is complete so she doesn't have to pay them. Unfortunately we couldn't prove that she did kill them. She was questioned by another group of agents after I was taken off the case. Katie got me the transcript of the interrogation. Luckily for us, the leader didn't trust anyone and she always ran background checks on the people she hired and worked with. She found that Lucas Kyne was actually Lucas Baines. How she found out, I don't know. Lucas Kyne is an alias of a man who showed up out of nowhere in 2008 and lived in southern Germany until November of last year. The Interpol team in charge of watching him for the past few years lost him. He hasn't been seen since."
Gina took the photo from him and studied it carefully. She gnawed on her bottom lip in thought, posing the next question with hesitance and uncertainty to her voice. "How long have known about all of this?" She couldn't help but feel a bit betrayed. He had gone to such great lengths to find answers and he didn't even bother to tell her until pressed. It seemed as though he had everything solved in terms of who Lucas Baines was, but not in the necessary question of why it connected to Rais. Gathering that much information had to take months, not weeks. That meant he was already putting the pieces together when they came home from Alaska at the end of December. It also implied that he lied to her back in their shared apartment the night before.
That piece of his dragon led to the information. It was the first piece of the trail, meaning he didn't find it a few weeks ago like he said. It also meant that he had been lying to her for months, and she was too blinded by her explicit trust in him to see it.
Mick swallowed convulsively, avoiding eye contact and fumbling with the edge of the photo of Lucas Baines in hand nervously. He dug his toes into the sand deeper and drew his knees closer to himself protectively. "I've only known about Lucas for a week. Katie is still searching for confirmation. She created an aged model of what he would look like now based on the photo taken when he was fifteen. That's how I recognized him…"
"And the rest?" Gina interrupted sharply, flipping through the pages of documents exaggeratedly as she continued in the same brisk and offended tone. "Mick, this is months worth of data collected, not weeks. You lied to me last night." His response was nothing more than a pinch of his finger against the bridge of his nose and a sincere apologetic expression. "All of this, there's so many damned holes that I don't even know where to begin. If you're right and the man we encountered earlier is Lucas, then why is he here? How did he even get involved with Rais? At the time of when the wing was stolen, he would have been thirteen years old. How the hell does a thirteen year old from Wales get involved with an international terrorist organization?"
"It's a work in progress, darling." Mick muttered with a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry for lying…"
"Which I should have been a part of from the start. Sorry really doesn't cut it at this point." She stated as she closed the files in her lap and tossed them on his chair beside him. "You waited to tell me all of this until the very last minute and I can't figure out why the hell you would do something like that. We're partners, friends, and you act like you trust Katie more than me." She stopped her rant instantly and mentally smacked herself for her tongue. Normally, she always picked on him for his jealousy when other men talked to her. But in that instance, the jealousy rolling off her tongue was enough to warrant the same reaction from him. She braced herself for it; running her hand through her hair and leaning back to fold her legs beside her. Admitting such jealousy wasn't going to happen, even if it was true.
Thankfully the immature behavior never came.
He began to put the files back in his bag hanging off the edge of the headrest, keeping his hands busy while his eyes focused on everything else except her. "I did it because I had to, because I didn't want you to get caught up in this mess too. None of what happened was ever supposed to be brought to the surface again. It's too dangerous and I thought that if I could solve another key portion on my own, you and the rest of our team won't be put in harms way again." That was the honest truth, and Gina read it clearly as he finally looked at her with raw sincerity on the surface. "I did it to protect you. Just like I agreed to come with you on this trip. Not because I had plans to work the case between enjoying the beach, but because I wanted to make sure you were safe and happy."
Gina had no way to argue with that. He was being honest in a manner that she had never seen before, in a way that had her mind buzzing with sympathy and appreciation and frustration in a jumbled mix she couldn't organize or distinguish from. It took courage for him to admit the unspoken innuendoes, to be so sincere that was it almost uncharacteristic, and that did portray an attitude of a changed man. But he still lied to her and kept information hidden. She simply couldn't forgive him less than a day after the act.
In a way, the prospect of protecting each other was mutual. They kept each other safe because it was more than just a job as partners. However, they had never really taken the time to analyze why. It seemed as though Mick had an epiphany sometime over the last few months, hence his blatant desire to stay by her side more frequently, and Gina didn't think she could do the same.
Essentially, she came to realize by his words and actions of late that he thought of her as more than a partner and friend or even family. He adored her unconditionally, felt the indescribably need to always place himself in front of the dangers to protect her, and the feeling was mutual for her. But she didn't know how to acknowledge that in any appropriate fashion without destroying their friendship.
Gina pulled her sandals from under the chair and slid them back over her feet, hesitating with the last one as she caught Mick's eyes on her. She pushed herself out of the beach chair without a word and gathered her sunglasses. Once they were perched on the bridge of her nose and over her eyes, she held a hand to Mick's shoulder to stop him from following her. "I'm just going for a walk to process everything. Preferably alone."
Mick tried to argue, attempted to stand despite the little room she gave him to do so, and finally settled for a dejected posture that pulled at Gina's heart.
In her defense, it was an extravagant amount of data to process. The fact that he had been lying to her for months, keeping information from her in the name of protection, was just a small portion of her stress. It didn't feel like so initially, but as the realization sank in with time, the facts Mick had explained and his sudden willingness to be uncharacteristically sincere as far as emotions were more troubling.
If he was correct, and he was rarely ever wrong, than Lucas Baines was a cousin with orders to watch both of them. The why and how was always the hardest to determine.
Mick was unpredictable at his best, a contradiction to normalcy on a regular basis, and Gina found that trait fascinating. It was one of the many things she admired about his personality. Expectations simply didn't occur to him. Whether that was intentional or not, she had no way of knowing. His tendency to be unique and different from the world at large always struck her as odd and interesting. It took quite a while to become familiar and understandable to her throughout their relationship as partners. However, after three years, she believed she could predict his movements within a reasonable degree.
Naturally, Mick had to challenge her estimates.
Gina had only traveled two miles along the shore in one hour. There was roughly ten miles of beach along the coast and she had no intentions of traveling the entire distance. An hour was all it took to wrap her mind around the fine details of the previous conversation with Mick.
She had a plan devised by the time she found her way back to their beach chairs and umbrella. Over the past sixty minutes, she came to realize that she may have overreacted. Understandably, the fact that he had kept information and came to his old partner in Interpol for assistance rather than her had upset her. In hindsight, the conversation didn't warrant her to walk away from him in such a manner as she had done. She came to the conclusion, as she watched a content couple on beach chairs a mile down the shore chatting happily with each other, that she ran because it was necessary at that moment. It was a response to the fact that he had almost admitted something both were going to regret, and she didn't have the courage to verbally agree.
Relationships had never been her forte.
Gina was going to apologize for her reaction and hope that he didn't hold it over her head. It sounded simple, but she couldn't fight the nervousness twisting in her stomach as she played the scenario through her mind repeatedly. Mick wasn't the type to hold a grudge, at least not on those he cared for, so she was fairly certain he would accept the apology.
By the time she reached the area they had once occupied, the sun was setting beyond the horizon along the ocean. Dinner was probably already being prepared at the beach home and she knew she was going to get an earful for being later than promised when she returned. The waves were closing inland as the tide began to rise. People were still enjoying the surf, but there were far less than an hour before. The temperature was beginning to drop in slow intervals and the breeze nipped at her bare legs and arms sharply.
She stopped in front of the chairs with a tight frown and folded her arms over her chest, looking down each end of the beach in search of Mick. He wasn't on the chair like she expected, and she knew he didn't follow her during the walk. For a long minute, she felt dread growing as she didn't see him. It was possible that he already returned to the beach home. He would have taken the chairs and the umbrella with him though. It was also possible that he found some kind of trouble again, and that was what really scared her.
His bag containing the case files was no longer propped against the back of the chair, and his sandals were removed from beneath. There were footsteps, roughly size ten which was consistent with his typical shoe size, leading from his chair towards the pier in the distance. She didn't know if he had his cell phone with him, seeing as she had kept hers in her bedroom back at the house for fear that it would somehow meet the ocean, and she was tempted to retrieve it just to call him. On the chair, a folded piece of scrap paper torn from the files was left to be weighted by two thumb-sized beautiful tan and white shells, and Gina took some comfort in the fact that Mick had more than likely left it for her. They were still damp enough to wet the paper slightly, therefore Gina assumed Mick had gotten them from closer to the shore less than thirty minutes ago.
She removed the shells and observed them in her hands attentively, sinking onto one end of the chair as she sighed in relief. The rough lines against her fingers were mesmerizing and the color and shape alone was stunningly picture perfect for two shells washed ashore. Her unoccupied hand snatched the note as she clutched them and peeled the paper open with her fingers. The handwriting was unmistakable, and the words were honest even scribbled hastily and crooked on the page. It was such a short note, but it portrayed so much in so few words.
'Meet me beneath the pier at nine. I've got a surprise planned that I hope will make up for my mistake. Please send my deepest apologies to your parents, seeing as I won't be attending dinner. Don't worry about me. If something happens, I'll ring your phone. Hope to see you beneath the pier in a few hours.'
Of course, every time Mick said don't worry, Gina couldn't help the exact opposite.
Note- I'm back people! Hello! It's been a while since I've updated anything, hasn't it. I apologize for that.
I wanted to try something a little different. Lately I have been working on some other one-shots and stories that are not written in first person perspective. So this just kind of wrote itself in that same view. Rather than changing it to first person like I was originally going to do, it seemed like a better idea to leave it as is. It's still focused on Gina so it didn't necessarily break the pattern of the story too much. Hopefully you'll like it.
First, I wanted Gina to be brought into the loop as to who Lucas Baines was. It became a bit silly that I'm already more than ten chapters in and she hadn't been read into the situation yet. Now that everyone is on the same page, the story will progress a bit faster. Second, there are a few crucial points that I want to make concerning the details of the case. Mick's grandfather from Ireland that no one ever talked about is important. It explains why his mother chose a name like Mick rather than Mike for a shortened version of his birth given name. Actually, everything I write pertaining to the case has meaning in some fashion. Maybe not immediately, but as the storyline progresses. Also, the incident in France Mick mentioned shows what Lucas may have been up to five years ago. That's important too. Lastly, Gina's reaction was somewhat warranted given how close her and Mick have become. The next segment with them picks up where the end of this leaves us. It's fairly obvious what Mick has planned for Gina, and no, I don't plan to make the scene into some cheesy romance thing. There is a little, but it's in moderation so it doesn't get too thick.
So I think that covers it for now. You know what to do, right? Reviews are loved and appreciated. A huge thanks to those who have read, reviewed, subscribed, and have been supportive of my work so far. It really does mean a lot.