"So, uh, how'd I do?" Agent Howard asked Cheryl eagerly, and a bit nervously.
"23 minutes before subject commit suicide, how do you think you did, Howard?" She demanded annoyed. She, Emily and Matt were testing Emily's class in practical exams, and they were all dreadful. There were 43 people in the class, Matt took 14, she took 14, and Emily took the remaining 15 agents. Cheryl didn't know how they'd done, but she was aggravated after the first five; these people hadn't learned anything. She snapped her notebook shut, and headed toward Emily's classroom, hopefully the others had done better.
"Cheryl, please tell me your group did well?" Emily asked, clearly pleading.
"Sorry, they were awful, the longest one kept the gun out of my mouth was 57 minutes, the rest were mostly under 45 minutes."
"Oh god," Emily sighed exasperatedly, laying her head on her arms, which were on the desk.
"I guess, the rest did about as well?" Cheryl asked, not really wanting the know the answer.
Emily nodded into her arms, not bringing her head up, how were they this bad?
"Alright, I'm sending them all back to you for and impromptu class."
"Don't bother, I think it's pretty clear I can't teach for shit."
"Your other classes have all done just fine, I don't believe it's you, Emily."
"I agree, Lia and Duff said they learned a lot in their class," Matt offered, he been sitting next to her, unsuccessfully trying to make her feel better. It isn't easy to find out that the class you'd been teaching for six months didn't get anything out of it.
"You can stay and help her Matt. If these people can't learn from two of the FBI's top five, then they just can't learn." Cheryl offered the instruction before turning and leaving, determined to get that class back to Emily, for one last desperate attempt to teach them something.
Forty-Five minutes later, Emily was standing in front of her class once again, trying to figure out why they didn't seem to be picking up anything. She was growing more and more aggravated with them, and Matt had disappeared moments ago, with a promise to return soon.
She couldn't figure it out, it was as if they hadn't heard a word she said the last six months, and it was so…. so bloody infuriating. She was about to let her anger show, when her partner popped back in, coming to stand behind her, looking slightly nervous about something.
"Please don't hate me for this," Matt whispered to Emily, before thrusting his arm around her throat and yanking her to his chest, while at the same time, whipping out his gun and pressing it into her temple.
Emily nearly fell in to him, startled by his actions, and whispered a harsh warning, "That gun better not be loaded."
"Of course it's not!" he whispered back, before turning toward the room, and demanding of Emily's students, "Alright, I've got her at gun point, and I have every intention of killing her."
They class stared at him, unsure if they should play along, laugh, or get help, because he clearly lost his mind.
"What about the round in the chamber?" She whispered to him, too fond of her head to take any chances.
"I emptied it, do you really think I'd put a loaded gun to your head?" he asked insulted.
"Just checking," she said, flashing him a quick smile.
"Uh, Flannery, maybe you should just put the gun down and release Lehman before she gets pissed," Agent Fred Struthers suggested.
"I don't care if I pissed her off, I want her dead!" he spit in fake anger.
"Okay, so what did Emily do to make you want to kill her?" Agent Skylar Marks asked.
"Yeah, what did I do?" Emily demanded, struggling to hide a smile.
"I saw you with him, I know that you're sleeping with him," Matt lied.
"Really, you cheated on him?" Struthers blurted out.
Emily pretended to look sheepish, "Uh, how did you find out?"
"I went to your apartment yesterday, you were there in bed with him."
"I, I…I just don't know what to say," Emily told him defeated, before turning her mouth toward him and whispering, "you couldn't come up with anything better?" Matt shrugged.
"You can't say anything, just answer something for me, how could you do that, how you could hurt me like that?" Matt performed his best, struggling a little now, having expected them to have started a negotiation by now. He whispered to Emily, "Your class is terrible."
"I never meant to hurt you Matt. It just, it kind of just happened," she rolled her eyes at him, she already knew her class had learned nothing, that's how they'd gotten here.
"Oh, shut up! You told me what we had was special, that we really had something, that it would last. It was all lies, wasn't it? Wasn't it?!" he demanded holding her tighter, trying not to cut off the flow of oxygen to her brain.
"I swear Matt, I meant it-" Emily pleaded with him, glaring slightly after he'd tightened his grip.
"Shut up! Just shut up! If all you're going to say is lies, then just shut up!" Matt managed to yell at her while simultaneously giving her and 'I'm sorry' look.
"Uh, Lehman, you might want to consider doing what he says," Agent Ben Cafferty suggested, getting nervous as Matt started to really appear deranged.
"Okay, Matt," Marks picked up after Cafferty, "don't talk to her. Talk to us, just let it out, tell us what you're feeling."
"I'm devastated you idiot!" He bit, now pleased that they'd finally gotten him talking to them, but annoyed that they were doing it badly.
Emily, meanwhile, struggled not to laugh at his comment.
"Okay, how can we help you then?" she asked.
"Oh I don't know, how about you turn around a minute while I put bullets in both of us?" He asked, both his personas exasperated.
"Come on Matt, that's not the kind of solution that we like, you know that," Struthers told him.
"Do I care?" He chamber the gun, it clicking even without a round, and shoved it back, roughly against Emily's head.
"Easy," she hissed quietly, "that hurts!"
"Sorry," he whispered and offered a promise, "I'll make it up to you later."
"Oh, you better." She told him.
"Easy Matt, we just want to help you, but you have to talk to us. Please, just talk to us, ignore Emily, she doesn't matter anymore, just you." Cafferty tried.
"What do you mean she doesn't matter? I wouldn't be standing here with my gun out if it weren't for her!" He shook her roughly in demonstration, and Emily whimpered in effect.
"You're right, I'm sorry. What I meant was just that what you're going through right now must be very hard, but if she'd hurt you like that is she really worth all the trouble?"
"She's worth everything," Matt answered softly, now being completely honest, though Emily was the only one that could detect the subtle change, which unnerved her slightly. That was a strong statement, and that it was true, frightened her.
The door suddenly opened to the side, and Cheryl entered, shoving her phone back in her pocket, and looking curiously at the situation in the room.
"Okay, what the hell is going on here?"
"Stay back Cheryl, I don't want to shoot you too," Matt told her, his eyes betraying the false nature of his hostage taking.
"Is that weapon loaded?"
"Of course it's loaded, why would I try to take a hostage with an empty gun?" He demanded impatiently. Emily shot him a look that told him he better be lying, and gave her shoulder a slight squeeze to let her know he was, not that she really doubted it.
"Alright, then Matt, would you like to tell me why you have a gun pointed at your partner?" She asked playing along.
"Just walk back out the door Cheryl, I'm happy with just one hostage."
"Isn't that sweet," Emily whispered to him, quickly growing bored, as Matt tried to keep a straight, angry face.
"Okay then, would one of you like to tell me what's going on?" Nice training exercise Matt.
"Lehman cheated on him, and he lost it," Struthers told her. Cheryl raised an eyebrow at the pair, who gave the tiniest little shrug.
She shook her head and promptly adopted teacher mode, "So, how do you get him to let her go?"
"We've been talking to him, he calmed down a little," Marks answered.
"Alright, then continue." She instructed them, seemingly unconcerned.
"Listen Matt," Cafferty began, "It's obvious you care about Emily quite a bit, and that what she did hurt you a lot, but this isn't the way to deal with it."
"Have you ever been betrayed by someone you love?" Matt demanded.
"Yeah, my brother is married to one of my exes. It was more a betrayal by him than her though," Cafferty seemed to lose what he was saying, adopting a puzzled look by the end of his sentence.
Emily hung her head. 12 weeks of classes and this is what they took from it? This was undeniably the worst class she'd ever had. She desperately wished to have her class with Lia and Duff back, not only was their class better, but the pair's banter was an endless source of entertainment.
"Well, when you fall completely in love with someone and they smash your heart into a million pieces, you can talk to me about how I should be handling this."
Cafferty tried to sink into the floor, as Marks tried talking. "Matt, you say you love her right?
"Yes, with everything in my being," he answered, loosening his grip on Emily slightly.
"Then do you really want to hurt her, more importantly do you think you even could?"
"You'd be surprised what having your heart ripped out will make you capable of." He told her, impressed that they seemed to actually be getting somewhere. To push her harder, Matt made a point of looking at her as he clicked the safety off.
She took a breath, before asking "Did all that love really turn to hate, murderous hate that easily?"
"What, have you never had a bad relationship?" Matt asked amused for a moment.
"We aren't talking about me Matt, we're talking about you. Do you really think you can put one of those bullets in her head? Do you really think you can end the life of a woman that you love?" She asked him, still holding her own.
"I don't know, maybe." Again, his grip on Emily loosened a bit.
"Can you humor me for a moment, Matt?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Alright, I want you to picture Emily in your head, picture her the first time you realized you loved her," she paused, "you got that?"
Matt nodded, curious as to what she had in store. Cheryl and Emily looked at each other, also wondering, but seeing that the other hadn't a clue.
"Okay, now I want you to picture her in that same place, same outfit, same hair style, except this time her face pale and tinged blue, her eyes lifeless, blood splattered everywhere, and a giant hole is in the side of her head. Now, do you really want to see that?" She asked, holding her breath for his response.
Truthfully chilled by the image, Matt let his armed hand fall to his side, and released Emily. It was over; at least one person in Emily's incompetent class might have had potential.
"Alright, great job Agent Marks," Emily announced, unfazed by her experience as a hostage, "the rest of you need way more practice than we can give you. Though kudos to Agents Cafferty and Struthers for at least trying."
She began shuffling papers, gathering her things, while Matt talked with Cheryl. Her class meanwhile, didn't move, not an inch, when normally they would have taken off as she was speaking. The three CNU agents all seemed to notice this at the same time.
"You guys can go now," Emily told them.
"That's it?" Cafferty asked.
"What do you mean?"
"That was all just acting to get us to negotiate?" he demanded.
"What, you guys didn't actually think Matt would shoot me, did you?"
"No, of course not, but…I don't know, that felt real."
"That's good then, you guys got to see what it's really like, and try to talk someone down. But that's all," she told them with a shrug.
She went back to her papers, as he shell-shocked class began milling out the door.
"So would one of you like to tell me what prompted this…training exercise?" Cheryl finally asked them.
"Ask Matt, it was his idea."
"They're terrible Cheryl, the only way to get them to learn was to throw them in head first."
"That's it, you aren't going to ream us out for this?" Matt asked, not believing.
"No. You did well, it was unorthodox to say the least, but it seemed to have worked. You might want to be less convincing the next time, I think you freaked them out."
Duff and Lia chose that moment to show up, Lia calling as they walked in, "Emily, what's wrong with your class?"
"What do you mean? Are they angry?"
"No, they look…well, they look…" Lia couldn't seem to find the word.
"Traumatized," Duff blurted out the word to finish her sentence.
"Yeah, see, next time don't act so well," Cheryl told him with an amused smile. Matt and Emily started to feel a little guilty.
"What?" Lia asked.
"Matt took Emily hostage at gun point, and they made the class negotiate her release."
"Really?" Lia asked surprised.
"Not fair, we never got to do that," Duff said pouting.
Lia gave him a light smack.
"What?" he demanded, "That would have been cool."
"Yeah, I'd rather not have to do that again," Matt muttered, clearly bothered by something.
"What's wrong?" Emily asked, sensing something was off.
"I don't enjoy pressing a gun to your temple."
Emily studied him a moment, there was more, she could tell. "That isn't it, you were fine for most of it, there's something else."
"It's nothing," he shrugged, not wanting to admit his problem.
"Yes, I can tell when something's bothering you, Matt."
"Alright, I'm going back to my office," Cheryl announced, leaving the couple before their discussion became an argument.
"Yeah, we're going too," Lia sensing the same approaching fight, began to leave too.
"We are? I want to see the fireworks," Duff whined.
Lia gave him a stern look.
"Fine, I'm coming. I can't wait to tell Frank about this anyway," he said eagerly following her out.
Matt and Emily watched them leave, reluctant to get back to their own conversation.
"Nothing's bothering me, I'm fine." Matt chose to break their silence to reassure her.
"I don't believe you, just talk to me, okay?" she coaxed, looking into his eyes.
Matt sighed and ran a hand through his hair, "fine, that image she had me picture at the end, of you…uh, you know, well, that's going to give me nightmares for a while."
Emily was taken aback by his confession, and went quiet again.
"She also managed to destroy that first image for me," he tried to joke.
"What did you picture then?"
"When she said to picture the first time you realized you loved me, what did you picture?"
"The last time we were together before I blurted our secret, I woke up just before you. That's what I pictured," he was staring at his shoes now.
"You knew then?"
"Yeah, I guess I did."
"That blurting, that wasn't entirely accidental, was it?" She asked quietly.
"I don't know, at the time I thought so, but maybe not," he admitted.
Emily stopped biting her lip for the moment, and leaned in and planted a very passionate kiss on Matt, surprising him and backing him into the podium.
"What was that for?" he asked breaking the kiss and smiling.
"For talking to me. Do that more in the future." She smiled at him, and turned to walk out of her classroom.
"I'm going to have to," Matt said, still gathering himself from that kiss, and going to follow her out.
This is another in the "started it months ago, didn't like it, forgot about it, and now decided to finish it" collection. I know it's a little odd, but I just love that scene where they fake negotiate in front of her class, and this just came out. Hope you like it, thanks for reading and reviewing yet another story from me.