A/N: Why? Because Pamela Landy is the awesomest female protagonist ever. And because I was pondering what would've happened to her after she shipped the files out.
And largely just because I can.
Disclaimer: Do not own. Property of Universal Studios, brainchild of Tony Gilroy.
Your hands shook when you fed that file through the scanner.
A small part of you asked when the job started getting scary for you. When it got to the point where you gave the chain of command the Finger and did what you felt needed to be done, but at that point you weren't quite sure; the scanner had inhaled the title page of Blackbriar and, terrified you were going to rip the thing into shreds, you punched 'Cancel' in an attempt to save it.
The question came back later.
You responded with bland "I don't know", and then stopped.
Well...that was a lie. Maybe you did. You told David why when he gave you the files, but for some reason, you knew that it wasn't the whole picture.
The sad truth was that the CIA was just what you had said it was–an agency that had been making screw-ups its middle name since its birth as the OSS. Was there reason or rhyme to the murder and the mayhem?
Sometimes. Knowledge is power, and power is an incredible thing that one can (seemingly) never have enough of, but there were limits, places you weren't willing to go to get the job done and get information.
Or so you thought.
Why did you help him? You wonder that now after your cell phone rings and you automatically whip your head over to the window, expecting him to be there.
Maybe it was guilt.
Maybe it was conscience.
Maybe it was just...the right thing to do.
Of course, you know that's bullshit. You stop yourself from even thinking that it was the right thing to do because you know that that's too blissfully simple to be the answer. In this world nothing can be that basic to the point of "goodness" and "justice." That's bullshit. Period.
Your phone rings again and you glance down at it, irritated and refusing to give into the bait. If it's him, he's going to have to wait. You're busy angsting and God be damned if you don't have enough time to sit around and ponder life.
Tom came in an hour ago, handing you his resignation with a look in his eyes that said how tired he was. It was more than his apologies and that awkward smile as he reached the door and turned around, telling you good luck.
Maybe it was why you actually stood up from your seat, came around and gave him a hug and he hugged back.
You were good friends, he was a good man and he had a good family. Tom deserved an occupation that wasn't as rife with bureaucracy as this one. He deserved peace and stability and coming home to his little twins and lovely wife more than twice a month.
You yourself are considering resignation–a CIA whistle-blower doesn't get very far after they unleash hell on their superiors–but something (maybe this pondering) is preventing you from giving in.
The phone stops ringing. A mixture of relief and disappointment flood through the system and you pointedly nudge the cell over to a side of your desk where you're not glaring down at it expectantly. If he's watching, he'll know that this is a sign that you're not in the mood.
You regard that peculiar blurb as well, but only briefly.
What is he to you, Pam?
He's someone who has had the chance to blow your head off countless times and hasn't taken it.
He's someone who nearly has outsmarted you a couple of times.
And he's someone who's suffered–a lot.
You know suffering. Maybe not the same as that poor bastard, but you know pain and sacrifice.
Valuable operations down the toilet, valuable people–human beings, ones that you met and talked with and swore to protect come hell or hellfire–murdered, tortured, vanished off the face of the earth. Your own mother, plagued with schizophrenia and your father, a once brilliant math genius nothing but an old drunk sitting in his chair and staring blearily at the television.
You know sacrifice, and you know suffering. Not the same as his, but in some aspects pretty damn close.
But why help? Empathy is certainly a good thing, but it doesn't explain your behavior; you know that the CIA is full of sons of bitches, and that's no reason to simply cough up dirty files about dirty people and dirty activities
Maybe it's your way of really apologizing–if not to him, than to yourself, your country and your friends and family.
Because the truth is this: the phone call was nice, but you both knew that it wouldn't be the end. Somehow, someone would find a way to pin something inane on him, and then (because you almost caught him, you clever girl) they'd drag you in, too.
The phone is ringing again. You shoot it an aggravated look, and then look down and start tapping your pen against the desk.
The ring melds in nicely with the clicks. Shame you're not a musician.
New question: do you answer the phone and go back to playing these games, playing the CIA paddy-cake of pin-the-screw-up-on-that-smuck? Do you stay at your desk job and continuously fight to remain sensible and intelligent amid a sea of men with too much power and not enough supervision? Do you resign? Give in to bureaucratic bullshit?
What do you do, Pam?
That little voice is a bitch sometimes, but she's asking a good question.
What do you do?
It's a minute longer of hmming and hawing and glaring at your phone and tapping your pen irritably against the desk before you make a move.
You reach forward (third time the phone's ringing, third ring) and you pick up the cell.
You flip it open.
"Trying to send me a message?"
The voice is cool, but you can hear the amusement in it and instantaneously you're seething.
You knew he wasn't dead. He never dies. He's like a goddamn cockroach (without the kitchen-light-turning-on-scuttling-under-the-counter thing and the gross factor); nothing can kill him, and what tries to do so and fails only makes him stronger.
"Third time's the charm," you respond, reining back on the sarcasm.
Pause on both sides of the line. You're both good at speaking in silences. Whole conversations could go like that and the person you'd be talking to would still have a good idea what you were saying.
You finally make the move.
"What do you want?" voice stable, calm and clear as a bell. That is the question here, and you both know it.
Deja vu for a moment at his response.
"I wanted to thank you," he says, and the amusement is gone, replaced by sincerity,"for doing what you did. It's all in the open, now, like it should be."
That's a lie. The world had a right to know what Blackbriar was but nothing in the CIA will ever be completely open. There will always be a switch turning the light on or off, even if right now that dim bulb is showing people the ugliness of the room.
But he's right–it's a start. People can see something now that they should've known about a long time ago, and they're trying to make change because of it.
Progress–but it's going to come at a price.
You consider answering as he had to you almost a year ago, but realize that that's dumb. There's no reason to act anymore, because you're going to lose your job soon, anyway.
So you start asking questions.
"Do you remember?"
Longer beat of silence from him, and for a minute you're terrified he hung up.
But then he answers.
That would explain the tone–the inflection and how he seems to seem slightly more human.
Are you happy for him?
Yes and no. Memory is a great thing, but now he's carrying baggage with him that will make walking a helluva lot more difficult than before.
But now he doesn't have to search. Now he doesn't have to get dragged into bullshit that has absolutely nothing to do with him because he remembers what happened, and they can't change that for him.
"Congratulations," you tell him after a second, honestly.
"Thank you," he responds, and then, at the silence that sits between you: "Considering resignation?"
No need to bother asking him how he knows. Omnipresent bastard.
"It's a possibility," you say after a moment, because that's the truth.
"Hmm." is his reply.
He must be different.
"There's an opening," he says suddenly, breaking into your thoughts, "for a new deputy director."
"I know," you say, keeping your voice level. "We received paperwork about it yesterday."
"And you're not interested in the job?"
Since when did he start asking questions? Annoyed, you reach for the pen and absentmindedly begin to tap the side with a thumb.
"No," you say finally. "I'm not. Whistle-blowers don't get far after they let loose."
Silence from him. Silence because he knows that it's the truth.
It had been his job, after all, to eliminate rats.
Rats like you.
He clears his throat, and for some reason that sound makes you stop dead in your tracks, thumb frozen over the pen.
"The agency needs someone like you, Pam." he says.
Are you dumbfounded? Mute? You sit there for seconds, trying to force words out but it gets to the point where you try to speak and nothing happens.
"Thank. You." You don't sound forced but you sure as hell sound confused, and chances are he knows that.
But he doesn't care. Instead, he waits a moment to let you collect your thoughts before speaking again. And this time, amusement is back, though just barely floating beneath the surface.
"Enjoy the coffee, Pam." A pause, then: "It's decaffeinated."
You sit there for a moment, looking around your room and trying to figure out what the catch is, and then realize that it's beyond your office.
You avoid spinning around to stare at the window, instead gently putting the phone on the table (shooting a very discreet glance behind you) and carefully walking around your desk towards the door.
You reach it, rest your hand on the cold steel and wait before turning.
Click of the inner knob falling. Cautiously, you pull open the door and peer out, looking up and down the hallway.
It's then that something tells you to look down.
A to-go mug sits on the carpet.
You're hit with shock, and then, when that's all finished, you bend down and gently pick it up, turning it around to examine.
The design is simple enough. You think it's all black but then, slowly turning it around to examine it more carefully, notice the words Ich Bin Ein Berliner etched into one of the sides, and a small sticky, the handwriting quick and tiny.
Hopefully you'll stop clicking that pen.
Decaffeinated coffee, "I am a Berliner" etched into the side...
You slowly retreat back into the room and close the door with a quiet click. The walk back to your desk is a short one, but it seems much longer than usual.
You sit down into the chair, set the mug in front of you and wait a long moment before doing anything.
The cup is warm, your hands are cold, but when you take that cautious sip some part of you smiles.
You stop clicking the pen after that.