Author's Notes: Hey, readers! Sorry for the huge delay, been moving into college! It's all very exciting. Hopefully you'll get the next chapter soon, it should be fun to write… given that the next chapter will be the contents of the card you're about to find out about. Enjoy!
Bennett flips the pages of the personality description at the top of the pile. There are eleven of them. "Not a lot of information for a reconstruction," she says quietly. Returning to the first page, she finds a summary of the assignment and begins to read.
Her question is quickly answered-the client had only met the person briefly. A promising young student at Quantico the client had mentored for a few weeks, who had died four months back as a probationary agent in the violent crimes unit. It didn't matter whether the construction was accurate as long as the client got some closure on the intense but, surprisingly, totally platonic friendship they had had. It reads like a classic Hermes imprint, and she isn't surprised to see his name printed in the active request line.
"The client's from L.A., perhaps they can reminisce together," Lipman says, smiling coldly.
"Nonsense," she replies. "Danny Knight has never left the East Coast."
Danny gets out of the car and looks side to side-he spots Loomis at a table under a green striped umbrella and strides towards her. She's sitting straight as a pole and her eyes dart side to side; Loomis never really liked people much, she's more of a computer person, so he ignores that. Some intelligent conversation always put her at ease, and he has that to spare. Maneuvering around the crowded tables huddled in front of the glass windows of the café he notices that she's not alone; a man around Danny's own age, with close-cropped dark hair, sits with her. Boyfriend? Unlikely, Loomis is fairly rigid in her tastes and rarely goes above a few years' age difference. Student? Possible, maybe the man is younger than he looks; Danny is only a year out of training himself.
He reaches the table before he can draw a safe conclusion, so he ignores the newcomer for the moment and greets Loomis with a hug. "Haven't seen you in ages!" he says.
"Yeah, you too." Now that's odd. Loomis is always reserved, but for how close they had grown during training the greeting was practically frosty. She continues, "Danny, this is Tony, a friend of mine from L.A."
Danny extends a hand and Tony shakes it firmly. The taller man isn't looking any less grim, so Danny tries a wider smile and says, "Any friend of Loomis' is a friend of mine." No response. If anything, Tony looks a little sick.
Reaching some mutual unspoken agreement, the three of them sit down. "So," Danny starts, his strained smile becoming genuine as he turns to Loomis, "this windfall of yours! Didn't take you long to get out of the bureau once some money came your way."
"I felt overworked. Nice to have some time to myself."
"I can imagine."
Loomis' friend—Tony—interrupts suddenly. "How are you?" he says. Better late than never, Danny thinks.
"I'm well. Busy, of course, but that's something you get used to."
"And your health?" Loomis adds, as though Tony's question has reminded her to ask.
He decides that they probably don't want to hear about the massive bruise on his leg from moving his refrigerator—it looks way too much like a sex injury to be showing off to the general public—and says simply, "fine, as always. You?"
Loomis nods absently. "Oh, I'm all right."
"Good to hear it."
They sit in awkward silence for a while until the drinks come. This, Danny thinks, is going to be a very long lunch.
It's another hour of polite small talk and sandwiches before Danny is able to excuse himself—it's still two hours until his appointment, but they're done eating and he has no reason to stay. His stomach is just a little tight with disappointment; he had felt so close to Loomis, and now she seemed to have forgotten him completely, even if she did ask to meet up with him. He'd never bought into the idea of money changing people, but maybe he was wrong about that.
"It was wonderful to see you again, Loomis," he says, standing, after saying a few niceties about running errands.
"One thing," Tony says casually, reaching into a pocket. "Danny, you wouldn't be getting a treatment today, would you?"
Danny stares. "I don't see how that's any of your business."
"No, no, I'm sorry, I'm sure that sounded awfully personal. It's just, a friend of mine works there. A girl named Bennett Halverson."
"I've never met her."
"Ah. Well, if you see her, could you give her this from me?" He hands him a tiny box he had fished out of his pocket.
"It's not a ring, is it? This isn't one of those weird remote proposal things?"
Tony flinches. "Oh, god, not at all. It's an SD card, has some information she wanted on it." Loomis looks at him sharply. "It's ok," he says to her quietly. "I can say that much."
It's fishy, but really Danny just wants out of the awkwardness so he agrees to deliver the package and leaves.
It has been too long since his last treatment, at that. He had been planning to go in in the evening, but perhaps it would be more prudent to go now. The driver must be one of those ones who seems to have ESP, because she appears at his shoulder right as he thinks that. "Would you like a treatment, Danny?" she asks.
"Yes, I was just thinking of going in early." This is familiar ground, and he gladly clambers into the back of the car.
"Did lunch go well?"
"Not particularly. I suppose we've grown apart since Quantico. Maybe we've both changed."
"That's a shame." Thankfully, she's silent for the rest of the drive, leaving Danny alone with his nostalgia.
The driver gets out of the car with him and escorts him to the door. Danny walks in, subtly checking his watch. He hopes this won't take long. "You can take it from here?" she says, and he raises his head to answer in the affirmative, but the question was aimed at the young woman working the chair. She just nods, focused on her work.
He takes a closer look at the woman. She's got long brown hair, an arm in a sling (broken? Dead?), and a pair of glasses on a chain. She exudes prim and proper and, above all, geek. He's a man of more exuberant tastes. Bouncy hair, colorful clothes, someone he wouldn't find at the office; this waif of a technician is definitely not his type. Except.
There's a look about her. A sharpness to her eyes, a sense of tension in her limbs that he would love to see released. Something about her knocks him off balance, like a changed contact lens prescription does.
"I said, will you take a seat?"
"Oh, yes, thank you." He begins to sit, but thinks better of it and sticks out a hand. "Danny Knight," he says. She stares at the offered hand. After a moment, she gently reaches out to shake it.
"I'm Bennett Halverson."
Danny's face falls. So, this is Tony's mystery woman. He didn't figure the laconic militant for a geek, but then, maybe he noticed the same thing—whatever it is—that Danny did. "Ah," he says, and pulls the small off-white envelope from his pocket. "This is for you, then."
She unwraps the SD card and holds it up to the light. "Who is it from?"
"Your friend Tony. He had lunch with me and an old acquaintance earlier today."
Halverson's brown eyes grow wider. "Would you like a treatment, Mr. Knight?"
With a snap back to the real world, Danny remembers why he's here. "Yes. Thanks."
He sits back in the chair and hopes that this won't take long.
"Thank you for your assistance, Ms. Loomis."
"You're welcome. I did wonder what happened to Paul here—got kicked out of the bureau, disappeared completely, and a few years later all his wild theories come true. Thought for sure you were dead," Loomis aims the last sentence accusatorily at Paul, who's sitting next to Dewitt across from his old friend.
"I'm sorry. I didn't want to get anyone in trouble."
Dewitt smiles. "It's a little too late for that, now, isn't it?"
"I wouldn't count us out yet. Seems you have some friends in high places, Rossum's own technician?" Loomis quirks an eyebrow.
"Bad choice of words," Paul says as Dewitt's face darkens.
"We're hardly friends," she says shortly.
Loomis shifts in her seat. "He looked fine to me. You've seen the video." Dewitt had, three times so far. "I'm glad I could help."
"Yes, yes. I've made sure that some of that windfall has remained in your account—it probably won't be enough to buy another engagement," she jokes, "but we did have some money in private accounts to use after we split from Rossum."
Paul leans forward. "Loomis, we could use you here. Are you sure you don't want to stay?"
"The bureau needs real people right now, Paul. But call me up if you need me again."
They don't get a chance. Loomis is killed by a butcher five months later while evacuating refugees from a ruined suburb and wondering since when her job description included such things.