Let Go

Summary: The team searches for a missing man (or is he?) in Jack's absence.

Spoilers: Always up until the most recent episode.

Rating: PG, may be a little more graphic later.

A/N As always, this goes out to Maple St. Welcome to my crazy, mixed up, messed up, distorted world.

She sat quietly in his office, watching his world walk past. Her organized files lay in front of her as she scanned her notes one more time. Never give them a reason to doubt, never let the fear take hold. Even though she was less than thrilled to be there, she was prepared for a difficult week.
With a deep breath she exited Agent Malone's office and walked towards the table where his agents were lost in their world, the one where those who were missing were not lost, only waiting to be found.
Agent Johnson was the first to note her presence and with a look of surprise she exclaimed, "Rebecca? What are you doing here?" she asked as she stood to greet the woman.
"Nice to see you too, Viv," she smiled back as they hugged.
"I didn't mean it like that, it's just, wow. It's been a while. You here for a few days? Jack should be in soon if you want to wait around."
"Actually, he won't," said Rebecca quickly as the smile on the agent's face in front of her turned to a frown.
"What do you mean?" asked Danny, his curiosity taking over.
"You would be Agent Danny Taylor," said Rebecca as she pointed at him knowingly. She scanned the rest of the table where the other two agents met her look with doubt and confusion. "And Agent Martin Fitzgerald and Agent Samantha Spade."
"As you might have guessed, my name is Rebecca, Agent Rebecca Evans. I am going to be taking over for a while as Agent Malone has been placed on temporary probation."
"Whoa, wait," said Martin as he began to object, but was silenced by Vivian's gesture.
"Uh, Rebecca, could I speak with you privately please?"
"Sure, just let me hand out the files; we got hot case guys, just phoned in about an hour ago. Look over the files and we'll be right back." She passed out the manila folders to each agent and turned to follow Vivian.
"Okay, so what's going on?"
"You really don't know?" The void of silence pushed her forward.
"Your unit alone has had four investigations from OPR within the last year. With the latest incident, it was called into question whether or not Agent Malone was the best person to be supervising this unit. As a result of an internal review investigation, he is currently in D.C. undergoing intense questioning and will probably be facing severe reprimands and a few seminars as well. Your team is very near being broken up as more positions have become available for transfer. All I am here for is to substitute while he gets his butt whipped back into shape, that's it."
"Let me get this straight. Because we have supposedly screwed up so many times, Jack has to clean up our mess and face the consequences?"
"He is your supervisor, responsible for all that you do. Part of it is his mess too."
"And why is it that you have to be here?"
"Vivian, with all due respect, as capable as you are for taking over his position, you are part of the reason he's in Washington. All of you are, actually. I have my own unit in San Diego, one that I enjoy very much. The only reason I why I was called here is that I am the highest ranking agent with the most knowledge of the tri-state area next to Jack."
Vivian stood quietly, eyeing her former colleague directly. She did not like the looks of this, but right now, office politics would have to take a back seat to the real reason why they were there. She nodded in acquiescence and walked back to the table. She watched Rebecca closely as she presented the watered down version as to why she was there.
"He will return within a week and the sooner the better, because I want to be here no more than you all want me here. So please, understand that I am not here to spy, or take Jack's job. I am simply a replacement who is here to do my job and that is to find a missing man."
The agents took in her case and in some way or another, each looked to Vivian, the agent they deemed to be their senior, for confirmation. None of the younger agents dared to betray their leader, nor did they suspend all disbelief and suspicion as they observed the agent before them. She was tall and slender, dark brown hair pulled back half way, and looked to be of Mediterranean descent with an olive complexion. Evidently, she was the same age as Jack, yet she retained an air of youthfulness that he had long since left behind.
"Jacob Bradley, aged 32, has been missing for anywhere up to 16 hours. He is currently living with his younger sister and her husband. He was noted missing after he didn't come home after work this morning at 6 a.m. The sister's car is missing as well as 400 dollars."
"With a car and 400 dollars, it sounds like he had a plan though. Why do we need to get involved?" asked Danny, weary of following a dead end.
"Because, Agent Taylor, blood was found in the parking garage beside the sister's parking spot. The uniforms believe some foul play was afoot. So, Danny, I may call you all by your first names, yes?" each nodded as she began to hand out assignments. "Danny and Samantha, go to the apartment he was sharing with his sister. Viv, check all the hospitals in a 50 mile radius for an injured John Doe, and Martin I need you to track down Jacob's account activities over the last month. If anyone needs me, this is my cell number. I'll be ironing out some problems with the PD. Get to work." She pushed off from the table with a firm smile, and walked back to Jack's office a little shakier than she would have liked.
The agents remained around the table, confused and suspicious.
"Does this have to do with all the OPR investigations?" asked Sam as she broke the silence.
"Yes. Jack is under review right now. He might lose his badge, so all of you, tread lightly, we can't afford any more mistakes," said Vivian as she gathered her files and prepared to begin her phone call marathon.
"I don't like this at all," said Danny defiantly. "Something's not right about this."
"Yeah well, she's a good agent, at least as good as Jack. Right now, that's all we need to worry about," said Vivian.
"Still, what happens to Jack in the end?" asked Martin eagerly, more than willing to fix this problem.
"Guys, get to work. I don't know what is going to happen, but wasting time isn't going to find Jacob Bradley any faster."
The agents split up and went their separate ways.

"Jennifer Kidd? I'm Agent Taylor and this is Agent Spade, we're here about Jacob."
"Yes, please come in," said Jennifer. She was petite, with auburn hair and fair skin and looked to be in her late twenties. Her eyes, however, were those of someone much older.
"You discovered that Jacob was missing this morning correct?" asked Danny as they took a seat in her small, overcrowded living area.
"Yes, I normally get up so we can have breakfast together before he goes to bed. He works at the Bank on 3rd and 71st as a nightshift security guard. I called the police after I checked with his supervisor and found out he had not been there for three nights. I was going to call his cell phone, but his number was stored on my cell, which was in the car. I went down to the car park and discovered that he'd taken it along with the money in my cookie jar on the fridge." She smiled sheepishly, "I know it's childish, but it worked for my mom. The money was going toward a vacation when my husband gets back."
"Back?" asked Sam, puzzled. "Where is he?"
"Oh, sorry. My husband Thomas is in Iraq. He was with the reserves and they called him up. He's been gone for about seven months. Only five left," she offered a feeble smile that mirrored the blond agent's in front of her. "He's the one that got Jacob the job at the bank actually. Thomas is a loan officer."
"Not to be rude, but why is your brother living with you?" said Sam, her pen moving furiously in her notepad.
"My brother got a divorce about nine months ago. He moved in with me when my husband left to keep me company."
"Do they have any children?"
"She, or Ashley, has a boy from a previous marriage, but Jacob never adopted him. She's about is five years older than Jacob."
"Is she still in the city?"
"Oh no, they both lived in Maine. I doubt she knows where he could be."
"Was the split amicable?"
"Yes, from what I know."
She was cut short by the phone ringing in the kitchen.
"Excuse me, I'll be right back."
The agents nodded and continued their notes.
"What do you think?" asked Danny, giving Samantha a sidelong glance.
"Beats me. There are too many directions this could go," she said as she looked around the room. "It looks like somebody was an artist."
"Yeah did you see that room right off the entry? Covered with canvas and paint," said Danny as Sam picked up a dry brush laid carelessly aside on an end table.
"No, Mr. Sutton I have no idea who took your newspaper. Are you sure it was delivered this morning?" said Jennifer in a frustrated voice. "Alright, you do that."
"Sorry, my next door neighbor is very protective of his periodicals."
"That's fine, now can you tell us if Jacob's been acting strange lately, an evidence that might give reason for him to just take off like this?"
"Uh, no, I mean he hasn't been sleeping much lately but that's all I can think of."
"Nothing else? No unusual behavior or anything?"
"No, he's always been pretty calm. Any frustration or anger is acted out through his work."
"So he's the painter?"
"Actually, I am, he just dabbles in it a bit. Wait. The other day he did say something strange while he was showing me his most recent experiment the other day."
"How do you like it?" said Jacob proudly. He stood beside his latest work while he waited for his sister's reaction. Jacob was a tall, broad man, well built and somewhat childish in his features and countenance.
"Wow. It's a lot different from what you normally do."
"Yeah, well I think I've finally let go of the beaches in Maine. Time to move on you know? Leave my heart in the sand."
The painting was in acrylic, showing a solitary figure leaning against a shadowy doorframe, hand clenched to his chest while looking to a bright and sunny outside.
"It's wonderful. Really, I'm proud of you. But it's not finished yet, you didn't sign it."
"You're right; an artist always signs his work." Jacob went over to the shelf where he kept a red ink pad. He returned to the easel, pushed his thumb firmly on the inkpad, and placed it in the bottom right hand corner of the canvas.
"There, finito." He stood back up a returned to the shelf and froze.
"Hey Jen?" he said holding up a newspaper close to his face.
"Yeah babe?" she said distractedly, examining the piece a little more closely.
"How old is this paper?"
"Which one?"
"The one on the top of this stack over here."
"Well, it's at least a few days old, Mr. Sutton brought it over yesterday."
"That lying bastard."
"What?" said Jennifer curiously.
"Oh, sorry. Not Mr. Sutton. I uh, just saw something in the paper. Never mind. I'm going to go fix some dinner before I take off."
"And, he was fine after that?" asked Sam, as she pulled away from looking at Jacob's piece.
"Uh, yeah. He didn't mention anything else. He usually doesn't read the paper, so I just let it slip."
"Do you still have that paper?" asked Danny, gazing around the disheveled mess.
"I think so, but it may be a little mussed up," said Jennifer as she searched on the floor of the small room.
"That's fine," said Danny as she handed it to him. "It might help us to figure out where he's gone."

"This guy hasn't gone anywhere for months. No bars, no movies, nothing. He goes to work, comes home and sleeps or does whatever it is that he does. He has one credit card with less than 250 charged on it, all of his bills are paid directly out of his account," said Martin as he leaned against Vivian's desk.
"Yeah well, there isn't anyone matching his description anywhere. Forensics traced the blood at the scene to him though. I guess whatever it was that happened to him, wasn't bad enough to go to the hospital. Is he doing okay financially?"
"I didn't see anything unusual. His ex is a lawyer and she definitely makes more than he does, he has no outstanding debts, nothing."
"He sounds like your average Joe, post-divorce."
"Yeah no kidding," said Martin as he took a seat in the chair opposite Vivian. "What motivates a man to take off, and with only four hundred? That won't get him very far at all."
"Well, either way, keep an eye on his accounts. He doesn't have a cell phone?"
"Yes, but he doesn't use it. It hasn't been in service for about five weeks."
At that, Vivian's phone rang. She picked it up and began conversing with Samantha on the other line.
Martin swiveled around in the chair and scanned the files in front of him at the large wooden table. They'd have to wait until Sam and Danny got back to see if any headway had been made.
"That was Sam. Both she and Danny went to go check out the bank where Jacob worked at, and to pick up some surveillance tapes. She said Danny thought you might have fun looking at those."
"Ha, ha."
"What's so funny?" asked Rebecca genuinely as she came to a halt right behind Martin.
"Nothing," said Martin dismally.

He didn't know what to make of this woman. His own sense of loyalty to Jack told him to stay away from her, yet there was something about her that prevented it. Vivian mentioned that Rebecca was one of the most intelligent agents she'd worked with. She seemed to be very capable, and was a charming woman to be sure. Still, he couldn't quite shrug off the feeling that her presence there wasn't entirely as innocent as she pretended it was.

All he knew is that it couldn't be good for him if Jack was in Washington. Although it sounded selfish on his part, the last thing he wanted was for someone else to be taking the blame for his actions.

"What've you got for us?" asked Martin as he glanced at Rebecca over his files.
"Well as soon as Danny and Sam get back, we can regroup and figure out where to take this."
"Oh I just got off the phone with them, they went to go check out the bank. They didn't come up with much at the apartment so they figured they'd try else where," said Vivian quickly.
"I see," Rebecca said curtly. It was obvious she was a very temperamental woman, and Martin feared that Danny and Sam had already started out on the wrong foot. "I know you all are used to working differently, and maybe in the past you might not have checked in with Jack, but I'd appreciate being filled in before any of you decide to go anywhere. The last thing we need to do is step on toes around here," she said in a stern voice.
"Rebecca, they didn't mean anything by it, they just figured since they were out there, they might as well make a trip over to the bank. I'll let them know in the future what's going on though," said Vivian as she returned to the table and sat beside Martin.
"It's fine, really," said Rebecca in a completely different voice. She let out a forced laugh and sat down opposite the two agents.
"Have you found anything on him?"
"No, he's a normal guy. He has a flair for painting, from what Sam said, but other than that, nothing too exciting. He got a divorce not too long ago and from what we can tell has not kept in contact with his ex. Sam and Danny are following their lead, so something should turn up."
"Did he have internet access?"
"I don't know," Vivian shook her head in doubt.
"We need to check to see if he has a computer and if so, what his online activities were. Martin, call the sister and find out. If so, go and pick up his computer. Vivian, we need to track down any friends he may have and talk with them. Moreover, if he was planning on leaving, we need to know what he's been doing for the past month, down to what he ate for breakfast eight days ago. Keep it up guys," she said kindly then walked back towards Jack's office, pulling out her cell phone.
"I'm on it," Vivian said under her breath as Martin went back to his desk.
Just then, her phone rang again. She picked it up and answered. Martin's ears perked up as Vivian's voice portrayed a sense of shock.
"You're kidding!" said Vivian in disbelief.

A/N I love pulling that whole suspense ploy. It always worked with alias. Anyway, I've been concocting parts of this for weeks now, I figured now was better than never to get it all out. Hope it's interesting enough. If not, well it should get better.