Author's Notes: It's been…six months? Since the last update, really sorry guys, been busy… okay not in the 'don't have time to write kind of way' because I've been writing SG1 fictions obsessively and working on my original writing 'To the Bone' but I'm back, at least for now, so no worries?
Chapter 5: Mr. Jones
Ray's story had done little to given them more information, his face bore the lines of a man old beyond his time and his eyes were older than that. Every agent she had met had an odd expression that danced like a flame in their eyes; it was enticing, powerful and terrifying at the same time.
Cullen's were sharp and caught every detail without fault or pause and although they seemed cold, passion was a strong undercurrent in his usually stoic and disapproving expressions. Despite the impression he gave things got to him, more than most noticed and certainly more than she would have thought he would have been able to deal with.
The human body was an amazing communicator, constantly speaking without even having to open its mouth, no sound had to be made and yet to some one like her it was screaming every moment of every day.
Mack was restless, his fingers were twitching against his coffee mug with an alarming regularity, and every so often he would lick his lips contemplatively. His shoulders hunched over suggested towards a natural instinct he had to protect himself constantly whereas his back was relaxed and not 'ramrod' straight as one would assume it would be, which indicated he was at ease in his surroundings.
Ray was slouched in his chair, even when he had been speaking his jaw had been set and he had swallowed tensely every few minutes, a methodical necessity to it as opposed to a need to rid his mouth of saliva. He rotated his wrist slowly, clicking the joint every time it had been through three cycles.
It really had been as the authorities had suggested – she laughed mentally at that, she and Mack were 'the authorities' – it had quite literally been a case of him not showing for breakfast, Ray had gone to find out where 'the lazy git' – as he'd put it – had gotten to and Booth had simply not been there.
The kidnap hadn't been clean, far from it; the only thing left intact had been the door, every piece of furniture, of clothing had been shredded to splinters. Three bullet holes in the wall had sent plaster dust to the floor; the fact they had been from Booth's gun had been a small mercy. The blood, however, had sent spirals of sickness into everyone's stomachs.
The blood had not been splattered and the pattern of the smears on the carpet said that the victim – Booth - had been dragged across the floor, most likely unconscious, the trail had moved from the floor to the wall in random smudges until the door of the rented motel room where it seemed they had gotten into a, on later investigation, blue Mazda, and taken off.
No direct conclusion could be drawn as to where, with what, and how badly Booth had been injured. Speculation said that a sharp blade, such as a kitchen knife, had been plunged into the right had side of the sternum; major organs had most likely remained undamaged as the blood loss wasn't adequate enough to suggest otherwise. Despite her disapproval of jumping to conclusions the theory had been a vague comfort when her normally calm and collected mind turned the facts it had been given into torturous nightmares that plagued every sleeping second like a vicious disease.
"'m sorry I couldn't 'elp more," Ray said after what seemed like hours of silence.
"Don't be," Mack smiled gently "you did what you could,"
"Wa'nt enough," he stated gruffly, picking at the edge of the tatty folder, he handed it to Mack as if handing it over was a decision he was loathe to make.
Mack put his mug down and took the folder with raised eyebrow, opening it and tipping the contents onto the coffee table.
"Afta the mission was finished ah took some time off and 'eaded back up ta Madison," he pulled a face that looked remarkably like he was attempting to consume his own tongue "ah couldn't do much like, was only one o' me and God know 'ow many ah them there was,"
Temperance smiled tightly, unsure of what else to do but she'd spent enough time with Booth in situations remotely similar to have an idea of what was 'expected'.
Mack nodded and spread some of the photos out, studying them clinically.
Ray sniffed and took a deep breath before releasing it "that there," he tapped the third image "that's Gareth Jones. Been lock'd up on and off since he were a lad, not that he's much more than a boy now." He wrinkled his nose "last time he was arrested he worked for a company called New CoDahn Limited."
Mack's eyebrows raised and Temperance frowned, seeing her confusion through the corner of his eye Mack explained "the men we were after were part of a group responsible for smuggling stolen goods in and out of the country, murder on several accounts, drug dealing… the works. They managed to establish several minor 'footholds' as it were in a few of states, we managed to narrow down headquarters to three possible areas, Madison, Memphis and somewhere in South Carolina. Our sources indicated Madison to be the biggest of the three so we took that one," he gave a wry smile "we were right,"
Mack paused and when neither Ray nor Brennan continued he sighed "CoDahn was one of several names they used to cover their backs,"
Ray nodded, satisfied Mack had contributed enough "Jones had nothin' to do with the mission we were working, or so it had seemed at the time. See when I went diggin' stuff up I thought I was being followed."
"Jones." Mack intoned.
"Yup," Ray seemed oddly proud of the fact "tailed him back to Memphis; sneaky bastard though' he was following me," he grinned broadly.
"What's he doing?" Temperance picked up another photo of Jones and studied it.
"Jones made several transactions from a private account in Texas under the alias of Jamie Thomson, he was supposedly staying with a 'friend' but made daily trips to this building." He retrieved an image from near the bottom of the pile of a rather decrepit looking warehouse, a crooked 'To Let' sign was hammered into the gravel of the parking lot "every two or three days he'd take a bag of some sort with him,"
"Wasn't this investigated?" Mack sounded livid.
Mack laughed "o' course it was Mack!" he exclaimed "sneaky little shits 'ad left by the time I managed to get the Bureau to investigate it properly, completely wip'd the place."
"And this folder…" Temperance trailed off.
"Replicas o' the originals love, gave all tha real 'uns to the Bureau," his voice soft, then he turned back to Mack and his tone took on a once more cool air "after that," he sipped his coffee and shurgged "there was nothin' left to follow."
Dusk was falling and the sun was disappearing behind the even rows of houses opposite Ray's. There was neither a cloud in sight nor a breeze to lick at their skin as they got back in the car.
"What now?" Temperance asked as Mack started the engine and flicked on the heating.
Mack glanced at her "we head for Memphis."
Author's Notes: I don't know how much sense that made and I know it was kind of short but it was written quite literally off a whim at… well I finished at 01.32AM and considering I started it at just gone 01AM I don't think it was horrendous, if I spot errors I will correct them later - sorry for it being so short.
Review if you have nice things to say :P – that sounds really bad :S lol.