You and Me (and the Blood We've Spilled)

Don't own a damn thing. I'm just borrowing characters and concepts for the time being but promise to return them soon(ish).

July 2014

It's a stark scene she finds.

There's an industrial hum and an unwavering tick. The second part would be easy to confuse with the sound of a wristwatch if it weren't for the pool of red beneath the solitary chair on the bare concrete. The blue-blond light that shines through the gloomy windows is almost as anemic as Raymond Reddington, tied to the chair and bleeding out.

When Elizabeth decides to give up her hiding spot, the rubber treads of her thick soled boots scrape across leftover bits of debris on the concrete; the noise hisses and echoes in the vast space. With slight delay, the seated man's eyes open, finding her before him. He acknowledges her by pressing his lips together.

If he is surprised when he finds himself staring at the barrel of her gun, he does not show it.

His eyes slide shut in understanding - he can't nod.

She fires.

Years Ago

The bang causes everyone to jump and then laugh nervously.

Professor Bartsen's podium continues to rattle after he steps away, leans against the table, and when he moves to perch, Elizabeth Scott seated in the front row, two seats right from the center, cannot help but notice that his socks match in pattern but not color and that his hand is still violent red from the slap.

She tries not to laugh, because it will make the next approximately 20 minutes hard to get through.

There is chest puffing and a glance around the room to ensure he has their attention before he starts his story. There's always a story. Every class starts on the right track, but it derails and the students are left to listen to a former CIA man relive his glory days.

"Half of the history of this country will never end up in your textbooks," he sighs and pauses for effect. "The steps that take place, the work we do every day behind the scenes, in the shadows, for your continued security, are incredible.

"Take for instance, the Gatz Project."

The class waits. If he is expecting any sort of comprehension - which is unrealistic, since he probably shouldn't even be sharing this story right now - he'll have to keep waiting.

Elizabeth's pen hovers over the edge of her notepad, trying to determine if the information they're about to hear is worth transcribing into the expansive notes she takes.

(It's a habit she'll carry with her into the future, when she'll do the same in the classroom parts of her time at Quantico. Writing it down makes it easier for her to recall later.)

"In the late eighties, we were successfully able to use a gradual propaganda campaign to embed American Intelligence officers with pre-developed histories within a number of criminal organizations. The project consulted heavily with a group of us," he takes a breath to chuckle and she wonders if he has director's notes in his mind, "lowly psychologists to assist with the right steps to take."

The student to Elizabeth's left sighs, just loudly enough for her to hear, and taps his pencil against his notepad. 'Boring' is scrawled in poor penmanship across the edge of the page. Elizabeth doesn't nod, but flashes him a small smile of acknowledgement because actually, this could be an interesting topic if someone other than Bartsen was giving this information.

It's important to try to fit in. She's more than earned her spot in this program, and she's not going to burn a bridge with a potential study partner over a difference of opinion.

This is the sort of practicality her dad's hammered into her, and it's stuck.

The class continues, but Elizabeth's mind is miles away. Her worries are focused on her dad and the fact that he hasn't checked in like he is supposed to. Promised to. Uncle Timmy had promised their fishing trip would be fine, but she worries, as she always does.

Her fingers run over the edge of her scar and she tries to focus on the man speaking in front of the group.