Peyton stalked down the hall, silently fuming. Project Hill? Project freaking Hill? This had to be some sort of punishment. She couldn't imagine any self respecting agent getting that assignment and not laughing in the face of whoever gave it to them. Project Hill was a joke, a non section. It had been buried so deep within the annals of J. Edger's depths that it was practically a ghost story at the academy.
And then there was being assigned to Special Agent Lucas Scott. She was actually looking forward to meeting him. His brilliance was not to be denied. He had only been twenty four, being recruited by the FBI early out of Yale, but he was one of the greatest minds at the FBI. People who worked with him said it was frightening to watch him get into the head of a killer. It was no wonder he walked the halls in the manner he did, as though he had the weight of the world on his shoulders.
There was much talk of why Lucas Scott did all he could to become a pariah. But, the funniest thing about the agent was that when he began his work at the FBI, he was as green and as straight laced as they came. He had begun his career as the golden boy of the Bureau, but two years later it was like he just got sick of being at the top.
Peyton didn't exactly like the idea of spying, let alone spying on a fellow agent, off his rocker or not. The section chief didn't call it spying in so many words, but she was a smart girl and in this business you had to learn how to read between the lines.
She stepped onto a floor that looked as though it hadn't been used in quite some time. A few agents scampered around here and there like cockroaches in their early stages of infestation. Walking to the very end of the hall she looked up to see the name plate on the door: Special Agent Lucas Scott.
She raised her hand to knock on the door and when she heard no reply she knocked again harder. She stood a moment at a loss as to whether or not she should just walk in or not. He was her senior agent after all.
"You lookin' for Scott?" An agent asked from halfway down the hall.
"Yes," Peyton replied. "Is he in?"
"I don't know, but if he is he might not be able to hear you. He usually has that frickin ipod jammed in his ears."
"Oh." Peyton turned back to the door. "Thank you," she called back, but the agent had already disappeared behind another door. Shrugging, Peyton gingerly turned the door handle and peeked her head inside. He was there, his feet propped up on a low bookcase, leaning dangerously far back in his chair with his back to her. He was indeed, listening to an ipod and she could hear the music from clear across the room. She smiled, recognizing the song as one of her favorite off a Van Halen album.
He was pouring over a file and if he sensed her presence, he chose to ignore it for the time being. Peyton wasn't sure how to alert him to her arrival. Mostly she was worried about scaring him and having him fall backwards out of his chair and cracking his head open. She could see it now: Yes, Section Chief Hartman, I thought a severe concussion would be the best way to solve your Lucas Scott problem. No need to thank me.
She glanced around the office. It was messy, but an organized messy and she knew that Agent Scott would know exactly where everything was. She saw some basketball paraphernalia on the walls, an old basketball in the corner, a poster of Bigfoot, and noted with a soft smile, a picture on his desk of a dark haired woman and man with a little blonde boy grinning between them. The boy she assumed was Agent Scott, as the man tilting in the chair in front of her was blonde as well.
His thick tawny strands were worn short and slightly spiky. Suddenly, her moment of snooping was interrupted, as he shut the file, righted himself in his chair, and took his ear buds out carefully, and one at a time.
He turned slowly in his chair to meet the visitor he sensed walk into his office earlier.
Neither of them spoke for quite some time and in the back of both their minds they realized how awkwardly long the silence had been. Peyton was embarrassed to find she hadn't taken a breath from the moment Agent Scott laid his piercing blue eyes on her. Well, the adjective Peyton used to describe them was smoldering.
She was only slightly shocked to find that Agent Lucas Scott was an extremely attractive man. There was talk at the academy of how handsome Agent Scott was. In fact she'd heard the word sexy thrown around as well, but Peyton didn't pay attention to that type of gossip. Now she knew that the rumors on that end were true….very, very true. She tried to inconspicuously take in a breath without looking as though she was gasping for much needed air.
Agent Scott was having different thoughts running through his head. He couldn't figure out why his usual witty first greeting wasn't forming. In fact, no thoughts were forming. His body's response to her was completely primordial. She was lovely. With those huge green eyes and long graceful limbs, he had to hand it to the section chief. He sure knew how to pick'em.
"Agent Scott," Peyton finally said, silently patting herself on the back for saying his name without stuttering. "My name is Peyton Sawyer. I've been assigned to work with you."
"So you're the new lion tamer, huh?" Lucas silently applauded himself for not saying something stupid and for not drooling. "You can come in a little closer Agent Sawyer. I'm not sure what they told you about me upstairs, but I don't bite."
Peyton smiled and took a few steps closer and put her hand out for him to shake. He took hold of it, his eyes never leaving her steady gaze, and pumped it firmly.
"I'm looking forward to working with you. I've heard quite a bit about you," Peyton said amiably, shaking off the tingling sensation she got when he shook her hand. At her words, Lucas's face suddenly changed, becoming more guarded.
There is a reason they sent a sexy woman to work with you, Luke, he cautioned himself. They had tried this tactic before, but he'd chased her off too with the rest. He hated being a jackass to a lady. His mother had raised him to be a gentleman. But, this woman, Agent Sawyer would be no different from the others. Lucas Scott worked alone.
"I'm sure you have," he replied. Peyton's brows furrowed a bit, hearing what she deciphered was a bit of sarcasm in his voice.
"Um, yes. I read your monograph on serial killers and mob mentality and found it fascinating,"
"Did you?" It was like running into a brick wall. Peyton reminded herself there was a reason he'd gone through several partners in only a few short months. He was being impossible.
"Yes, I did. Your reputation proceeds you Agent Scott-"
"Does it?" was his infuriatingly dry and monotone reply. Peyton's flaring nostrils were the only indication that she was annoyed. He scoffed lightly, and turned his back on her, walking back behind his desk, and picking up a file.
"Despite what you may think, you still remain highly regarded at the academy. We've studied your profiles and your method of wor-"
"I thought your field of expertise was slicing and dicing," Lucas interrupted. Peyton was momentarily taken aback.
"If you meant to ask if I am a pathologist then, yes. I'm a doctor. That is my field of expertise."
"Oh, I didn't ask you if you were a pathologist. I know you're a pathologist. You graduated at the top of your class at Stanford University. Recruited out of medical school. You wrote your senior thesis on the correlation between music and theories of Einstein. Impressive."
"So what are you profiling me now?"
Lucas paused, noting quickly her raised eyebrow and the slight transference of body weight to the left leg. She was feisty and he only allowed himself the slightest of smiles before replying, cockily,
"It's what I do."
By now Peyton was thoroughly pissed off. This guy was a dick! "If you have any qualms about my qualifications than-"
"No qualms. I'm sure you're very qualified Agent Sawyer. But some of these cases I deal with can't exactly be defined or quantified by scientific methods."
"Agent Scott, the world revolves on science. Everything that actually exists can be explained scientifically."
"Ah," he simpered, opening the file folder he held. "A non-believer."
"And you are?" Peyton asked, crossing her arms. She had her beliefs aside from science, but she wasn't about to share them with a douche bag.
"I've seen things," Lucas replied, vaguely.
"So what," Peyton began walking around his office pointing to posters. "things like ghosts, aliens, Bigfoot, God? Finding Jesus in a piece of toast?"
Lucas smiled indulgently, liking the fact that he was getting under her skin. "Actually, I'm kind of an atheist," he replied off handedly. Peyton spun and pinned him with an incredulous stare.
"Wu-wait, you don't believe in God, but…you believe in Bigfoot?"
"Well it sounds ridiculous when you say it, but yeah pretty much," Lucas responded dryly. Peyton couldn't keep herself from rolling her eyes.
"Okay," He stood and walked over to her. "Give me your expert medical opinion on this then." She took the file he handed her and opened it.
"Pretty standard series of kidnappings. Bodies of the victims are found a week later…." she summarized, clinically. The case was pretty brutal. The victims all seemed to be random, varying ages and both male and female, all of whom would turn up later spread eagle in a field, with their bodies bled. "It's seems like a cult killing. I see nothing supernatural about this," she concluded.
She glanced up at him with a frown, at his monotonous query and flipped the page, cringing internally at the crime scene photos. Female agents were expected to cry at the drop of a hat. And she'd known some fellow agents who couldn't walk away fast enough and ended up crying in front of a room full of male agents. No one wants to get partnered with a basket case crybaby.
Lucas was reading her face closely and saw her brows furrow. "It gets better," he said off handedly, walking back to his chair. She read through the file, shut it then looked up at Lucas who was once again playing the dare devil on his chair.
"Aliens?" she scoffed.
"How did you know?" He asked this quite innocently and it rankled her.
"Lucas any Star Trek nerd would equate unidentified objects in a human being that could just as easily be shrapnel, by the way, with implants and alien abductions."
"So you're saying…it's what a hoax?"
"No, not at all. I'm saying what was found in this man may have been many other things and not an implant."
"I didn't say it was an implant," Lucas said in a devil may care tone that made her want to strangle him and rip his shirt off at the same time.
"That autopsy you're reading-"
"Is incomplete," she finished looking it over more closely. "There's no Y-incision done, no plausible cause of death. Who the hell did this?"
"And that was the one Warshaw managed to wrangle away from the next town over. Oleander Wisconsin, the town these killing originally started in and the town that never asked the FBI for assistance. Warshaw, the town in these files, began loosing residents just three weeks ago. Their local law enforcement is stumped, but convinced all the answers lie where they believe the killings began."
"In Oleander Wisconsin. Agent Scott, what about Oleander's law enforcement. Why haven't they come forward if their own residents are dying?"
"Who knows. Fear, maybe they're even in on it. I don't know. But, I think you were right when you said we may be dealing with a cult."
"But, what makes this a Hill case?"
"Nobody else wanted it," Lucas shrugged. She stared at him for a moment in disbelief. He favored her with the faint lifting of one side of his mouth, a mouth she would be guiltily fantasizing about later.
He grabbed his ipod and picked up another file. "We leave tomorrow morning at seven." He turned his back on her and added over his shoulder "Oh, and bring a poncho. I hear it's a little rainy there this time of year."
Lucas stuck his earbuds back in his ears and began blasting Van Halen into his ear drums once more at such a decibel she was surprised he could still hear. And just like that she was dismissed from his presence. Confused, flustered, and a more than a bit furious, Peyton turned on her heels and walked out of the office, muttering "Poncho my ass."
In his chair Lucas watched her go through the reflection in a plaque he had on the wall. Even the reflection of her ass was hot. Damn. Once the door shut, Lucas allowed himself a smile, before wiping it from his features. Careful Scott, he warned himself. Don't form attachments. She was, after all there to spy on him.