Title: Blue-eyed Angel, 1/?
Author: Goddess Evie
Date: December 12, 2011
Category: JJHR, Angst
Summary: The Quests deal with the direct aftermath of the events from Red Headed Goddess at the Rockport police station.
Disclaimer: I do not own JQ. I make no money off this story. I am only using the characters for my own unique story. I also do not own "Fidelity", Regina Spektor does or "Sally's Song" (Amy Lee version, of course) which is owned by Danny Elfman or Tim Burton or they have joint custody. I merely use them to enhance my humble writing and pay a little homage to such talented musicians.
Author's Notes: I'm not sure how many years ago it was that I finished Red Headed Goddess, and I'm not even going to bother to check. Nor can I say why inspiration to start the sequel suddenly hit when I have an unpublished alt-verse JQ WIP to work on and original fiction that needs my attention. But inspiration has indeed struck and I would not fight it (nor, I suspect, could I have). So, here is the first chapter of Blue-eyed Angel, the sequel to Red Headed Goddess. I make no promises as to the writing and release of successive chapters.
Prologue: Suppose I never ever met you…
She felt like she'd known him all her life even though they hadn't met until they were twelve. Instantly she liked him despite being prepared to hate him. At the first sight of his sapphire eyes and lopsided smile she instantly forgave him for being the reason she'd gone without her father for eight years. She could never be jealous of this seraphim boy with sunshine hair.
He was her best friend from the beginning, her partner in crime, her sharer of laughter and tears, her equal in everything. He believed she could do anything even when everyone else doubted her and she doubted herself. She never felt looked down upon, inferior, or less when she was around him, even when other people tried to make her feel so. One glimpse of his confident smile and she felt ready to take on the world and come off conqueror.
When she thought of him she felt safe, important, special. His mop of blonde hair always falling in his blue eyes. His strong, well-maintained 6'5" body that she knew the other girls noticed though he never seemed to have any clue about them. The extra sparkle in his smile and his eyes when he gazed upon her that were absent when he looked at anyone else.
He shined brightly in the dark world, but he shined best and most brilliantly for his own family, the most important people in his life. The loss of his mother at a young age made him fiercely loyal to those he called family, and she held in reverence the privilege of being one of those people to him. Though he had many he called friends spanning every continent on the planet, he let few in close enough to see the pain and darkness he carried within him. Despite the darkness, he met each day with an optimistic smile and daring laughter. She didn't understand how he did it but she thanked God for him every day that he did.
He was overprotective of her which she fought him over at every turn, but she couldn't deny the many times he'd saved her life because of it. He did everything with passion, including fight, whether it was to save a loved one, right a wrong, or brawl with her. But he never let his own pride get in the way of their friendship and he had the never-ending patience to wait for her own stubbornness to subside until they could laugh at themselves for another stupid quarrel.
For lack of a better word, he was her soul-mate, though she rarely let herself dwell on that thought. She was not ready for the ramifications of what they meant. For now she would be satisfied with knowing that he'd never fail to surprise or amaze in some new way. And she'd never get tired of proclaiming to everyone that he was her best friend without question forever, no matter what…
Chapter 1: I sense there's something in the wind that seems like tragedies at hand.
Benton rushed with his son Hadji into the Rockport police station amidst reporters and journalists from every news station and newspaper in Rockport shouting questions at him; questions he didn't fully understand or pay attention to. Flash bulbs blazed all around them almost blinding Benton and he kept his elder son close with a hand on his back. Apparently the news outlets had already heard the story of what had happened even before Benton and had arrived on scene ahead of him to get their story. Benton issued one curt and forceful "No comment". It effectively shut them up and they backed off enough for Benton and Hadji to get through the crowding digital recorders, camera men and microphones. A group of officers were just coming out of the front entrance to the department to greet him as he jogged up the front steps while the journalists and reporters started up their questioning once more.
Race had not offered much information when he'd called, merely commented that things were bad-which Benton knew meant worse than anything else he could've said-and urged Benton to meet them at the police station as soon as possible. Though not one to break a law under any circumstances, Benton had driven at the highest speeds he felt safe at and was only slightly surprised that Hadji made no comment, though his son had ridden in the passenger seat clenching the door handle. Benton wondered whether it was worry for his driving or for his friends, but didn't ask.
The police station did not feel any different. Benton's mouth drew into a line as he looked around while he and Hadji were escorted past the front desk and through a non-descript entrance to the booking station which was no less busy even if Benton thought it should be. He had been initially relieved when Race had told him to come to the police station instead of the hospital, but as the officers led him and Hadji deeper into the station, Benton's apprehension grew.
Benton and Hadji moved with the officers through a locked door, into a quieter hallway and finally into a private room where Race sat at a table watching his daughter. Jessie sat in her chair hugging her knees to her chest, hiding must of her face behind her legs and staring at the table with unfocused eyes. Her red hair curtained around her, hiding even more of her face. She didn't look up when Benton and Hadji entered and Benton noted with alarm that she was wearing his son's black shirt.
Jonny was nowhere in sight.
Race rose when Benton and Hadji entered and Benton turned to him with the dread that had been growing internally plain on his face. Hadji moved around Race to go to Jessie but Race turned and caught Hadji by his arm before he got too close to his daughter. Hadji looked at Race with question in his eyes. Race responded with a solemn look and shake of his head. He released Hadji's arm and Benton watched his son circle cautiously around Jessie to take the seat next to her. He didn't lean in and attempt to touch or engage her in way. He clasped his hands together, one elbow on the back of the chair, the other on the edge of the table, and watched her with brotherly concern. Still she didn't look up or acknowledge him in any way.
"Race, what's going on?" Benton asked in a hushed tone. "And where's Jonny?"
Hadji perked up at that question. Race glanced over his shoulder at his daughter then gestured for Benton to exit back out into the hall. Race ushered all of the police officers out of the room as well. Race trusted Hadji alone to sit with the traumatized Jessie.
Out in the hall, once the door was firmly closed and Race chased away the officers with one of his famous looks, he rubbed tiredly at his eyes and let his exhaustion show as he leaned against the two way mirror. Benton looked behind his bodyguard at Hadji and Jessie sitting at the table like two statues.
Benton squared his gaze on Race. "What happened? Are they okay?"
"They aren't physically hurt beyond some irritation of the eyes and breathing passages due to pepper spray. We're not exactly sure what happened. Detective Dougan and I have been trying to piece together the evidence, but it's a slow process and we're still gathering information."
"What about Jonny and Jessie? What have they said?"
Race shook his head. "We can't get the story out of either of them. Jessie can't say anything without breaking down and Jonny…"
Benton's heart raced. "What about him? Race, tell me."
"He hasn't said a word since Dougan and I arrived on the scene. He won't speak for anyone or anything."
"Where is he? Let me see him. Let me see my son," Benton demanded.
Race held up his hands with the palms out. "Calm down, Benton. There's more you need to know."
Had he been conversing with anybody else, Benton would have run them down to get to Jonny. As things stood, it was only Benton's deep trust of Race that kept him from tearing the police station apart to find his missing son.
"Do you remember a kid named Zach Ellis?"
"He went to school with the kids. Graduated last year with Hadji. A pleasant young man, shy, gifted photographer…" Benton's eyebrows climbed his forehead as a piece clicked into place. He thought of the picture of Jessie in her athletic uniform shooting the basketball during a game and remembered where he'd seen it. "You mean he was…"
Race nodded. Benton looked at Hadji and Jessie wearing lost in her thoughts and wearing Jonny's shirt and another piece clicked into place.
"Oh my…he got to her. Race, how bad? What did he do to Jessie?"
Race closed his eyes and leaned his head against the glass. He exhaled loudly a sigh filled with worry and fear and fatigue.
Race answered without moving. His jaw was tight as he spoke with effort. "I don't know. He tried something, that's for sure, most likely exactly what we'd feared from reading his letters. The evidence certainly corroborates that theory. From the little Jessie has been able to tell, he surprised them at the park with pepper spray and chloroform. Otherwise he'd never have been taken either one of them, let alone the both of them together."
Race paused and Benton waited silently and patiently for his friend to continue. Retelling the afternoon's events regarding their children had to be at least as hard as hearing them.
"Jonny must have pursued. He got there before Dougan and me. When we arrived they were waiting outside for us. Whatever happened was already over."
"And what happened, or at least what's your best guess?"
Race let his head drop and opened his eyes to look Benton straight on.
"My best guess? Jonny dropped in on Zach and Jessie in the middle of…and a fight occurred. Benton, Zach's dead. Knife to the gut. I don't know how. There's not a lot of evidence to figure out events exactly and with neither Jonny nor Jessie speaking…"
Race looked like he could collapse at any moment and Benton held his hands out in case he did. "They did a rape kit on Jessie," Race began to ramble. "She let them even though she hasn't let even me touch her since we found them. She wouldn't let me go in with her. I had to stand outside that door and listen to her sob as they…"
Benton reached out and supported Race by his shoulders. "She's safe," he whispered assurances. "She's right there. He can't harm her anymore. You said so yourself. He can't hurt her."
"Benton…Jonny-Dougan and I are only guessing," Race lifted his head and looked at Benton with such torture in his steel blue eyes that Benton backed off and had to lean against the wall himself.
"What about my son? What aren't you telling me?"
"We think he killed Zach. Not intentionally, but to save Jessie. It's the only explanation that makes sense. He hasn't said a word Benton."
The iron in Benton showed in his features. His dangerous side didn't come out often, usually only when it came to his sons, Race knew, and Jessie since she had joined become a member of their family. He recognized it in Benton now.
"He's been taken into custody. Benton, they had to."
"Take me to him."
Benton's voice left no room for argument and Race didn't even try. With one last glance into the room at Jessie and Hadji, he motioned for Benton to follow with his head and started down the hall. In the booking room he paused to give instructions to have guards posted outside the room where Hadji sat with Jessie, but with express instructions for no one to enter the room without him there. Even though he was no policeman, the officers obeyed him without question. As soon as they orders were given, Race took Benton through a different door marked for interrogation rooms.
Detective Dougan turned and approached the men wearing an expression of apology.
"Benton, I'm glad you're here," Dougan greeted.
"Why did you arrest my son? He obviously acted in self-defense, which is perfectly legal."
"I can't make that call. He's going to have to be tried in court," Dougan replied with more grit than Race had previously thought him possessed of. "The only people who've been allowed in the room with him are myself, Race and the psychologist in there with him now."
At the word "psychologist" Benton deflated. Dougan turned and motioned for Benton to approach the two-way mirror through which his son, already wearing prison orange, sat in a barren room at a metal table staring at the woman holding a legal pad and pencil but obviously not seeing her. The tech adjusted the volume as the psychologist addressed his son and Benton leaned heavily on the ledge of the window feeling exactly how Race looked standing outside of the room where his daughter sat as still as stone and describing her examination.
"Jonathon, can you tell me what you're thinking about right at this moment?"
The psychologist's tone was soothing enough, non-threatening nor aggressive, but Benton couldn't bare being separated from Jonny when his son was so obviously in distress. He needed to be the one in there with his son, not some stranger.
"Let me see him. Please, detective, let me see my son."
Dougan nodded and turned toward the tech to speak into the microphone. It was attached to an ear piece the psychologist wore and she was professional enough not to reach for it and respond in any obvious way when Dougan spoke to her through the device.
"Jonathon, I have to leave for now, but I hope that you will find the strength to speak with me when I return."
She reached out to touch his hand, but he pulled it away although his eyes never moved. She pursed her lips as she rose and exited. Benton kept his expression neutral as she joined the group standing outside the room and silently appraised the new comers. Benton refused an ear piece from Dougan and exchanged a quick look with Race before slipping through the door and softly shutting it behind himself.
"Jonny?" Benton spoke gently to his son.
He was rewarded by seeing Jonny respond to anything for the first time since Race had brought him to his son. Jonny's gaze moved to Benton. He registered his father and his mouth moved as if to speak but he made no sound. Benton crossed to the only other chair in the room, the one vacated by the psychologist, and sat in it under Jonny's gaze. Benton moved the chair closer to his son and reached out for him. Jonny allowed his father to take him by the shoulders.
"Are you okay son?"
Jonny looked around the small room as if the answer would be found written on the walls somewhere. He moved his mouth again with the intention to speak but still could not find his voice. Benton moved one of his hands to the back of Jonny's neck and pulled him close so his son's forehead rested on his shoulder. Jonny's body shook as if with sobs, but no tears fell from his eyes.
Benton rested his cheek against Jonny's hair and looked at his own reflection in the two way mirror with utter hopelessness.
"Post bail immediately and call the best lawyer you know," Dougan advised as he led Benton and Race away from the interrogation rooms and to his own desk. "I really don't think you should have much problem convincing a jury that Jonny was acting in self-defense on behalf of himself and Jessie, but it won't hurt to have the best. Sometimes these trials don't go as expected even when they seem clear cut."
"This is a criminal suit?" Benton asked with surprise.
"The city has to charge him with murder. It's how they handle such cases. In court you can prove it was self-defense. And though bail could be set pretty high, your family is well-known and respected in the community so I don't think any of the judges will try to block you from getting Jonny released. They know you won't allow him to skip out of town or miss his court dates. They might insist putting him on house arrest, but I'm really just speculating."
"Bail won't be a problem," Benton responded absently.
"Then my only other advice is to get those two talking. I guarantee that's the first thing whatever lawyer you hire will tell you. The only other person who could testify about what actually happened in that room is dead. The evidence should be enough but it would be a lot stronger with Jonny and Jessie's testimony."
"Thank you, detective."
"You take care of Jonny's bail. I'm gonna go check on Jessie and Hadji," Race said.
The men parted ways, Benton following Detective Dougan to the bail office while Race jogged back through the booking station and down the hall to the room where Hadji and Jessie waited. Two officers stood stoically on either side of the door. Race glanced in to make sure his orders about not entering the room had been followed. Hadji and Jessie were still alone. Neither of them had moved.
Race pushed in through the door. "Everything okay in here?"
Jessie glanced at her father but otherwise said nothing and didn't make any move. Hadji met Race's gaze but merely shrugged.
"How about we get out of here? Benton's posting Jonny's bail right now and then we can go home."
Jessie's chair hit the floor with a bang as she pushed away from the table and her father, screaming the entire time.
"How dare you! How dare you let them do that to him! You should have stopped them! You let them arrest him. You let them just take him and you didn't do anything."
The way Race pinched the bridge of his nose proved that he'd already been through this with his daughter. He let his hand drop and moved cautiously to her crooning, "Jessie, you know it was out of my control."
Jessie didn't let him get any further. She started screaming at him again as she pressed herself to the wall behind her. "That's a lie. Where are you special privileges when we really need them? He shouldn't have been arrested. He-"
An involuntary shudder rippled visibly through her body and she twisted her hands up in the excess fabric of Jonny's shirt. She slid down the wall to sit huddled on the floor while her sobs from her hysterical crying wracked her body.
Race couldn't fight the urge to go to Jessie when she so obviously needed him, even if he knew he'd just be pushed away again, but Hadji stepped into his path before he could get far with an anger in his deep brown eyes that was so uncharacteristic of him Race stepped back again out of surprise.
"Jonny has been arrested?" he asked incredulously and though Hadji didn't raise his voice Race felt exactly the same way as when Jessie had screamed at him.
By the way he stood in a defensive position, Race could see that Hadji was also trying to protect Jessie and wouldn't let Race near her so long as Jessie didn't want him close. He held Race's gaze as he waited for an answer to his question. Race forced his tense muscles to relax as he backed further away.
"Yes," he answered honestly, knowing Hadji would see through any attempt at a lie. Race paused to decide how best to tell the story without upsetting Jessie. No doubt asking Hadji to step outside for a private conversation as he had with Benton was out of the question. Hadji made it clear through his body language that he would not be persuaded to leave Jessie. Nor did Race want to leave her alone.
Race spoke quickly to explain what he could in Jessie's hearing that wouldn't send her even more over the edge. "Jonny's being accused of murder. We're going to plead self-defense but he'll be tried for murder. He was taken into custody at the scene and they're holding him in an interrogation room."
Race watched Hadji's reaction as he spoke. He didn't back down, but Race could see pain and anxiety cross the young man's usually reserved face.
"And who is dead?"
Race's jaw clenched so tightly it hurt his teeth. That identity was not one he wanted to speak in Jessie's presence, but the look in Hadji's eyes said he would be a mountain until his inquiries were satisfactorily answered.
"Zachary Ellis," Race ground out so that the name was barely audible.
Hadji looked noticeably shocked. Jessie flinched and whimpered. Race didn't know if it was because she'd actually heard him despite his efforts to be discreet or if she'd known the name he'd spoken without having to hear it. Either way, Hadji immediately turned and crouched down to her level without approaching her. Race took it as permission to draw nearer, though he gave the pair their space.
Hadji soothed Jessie with his calm voice. "Shhh, Jessie. It is alright. I am sure Jonny is fine. We will see him soon."
Jessie turned her head to look at Hadji with green eyes wide and glittering with fear, though she didn't unbundle herself.
"We need to go, Jessie," Race added gently. "Benton's probably waiting with Jonny right now."
Hadji held out his hand to Jessie. She looked at it a moment then stood with the help of the wall, pressing herself against it as Hadji rose with her. Hadji stepped back when they had both gained their feet to allow her room. Hesitantly she moved forward to follow her father.
Race opened the door and dismissed the officers standing guard. Jessie was skittish around her own family. She was on the edge of hysteria around everyone else.
The guards moved down the hall ahead of Race to clear as much of a path as they could through the booking station while Jessie followed him and Hadji brought up the rear. Getting Jessie through its absolute chaos the first time had been nearly impossible. Hopefully having Hadji there would help with the return trip. Race paused in front of the doorway out of the hall held open by one of the officers. Every police officer in the room was making the effort to make a clear path for Jessie. Race would have to remember to find a way to thank them.
He stepped out of the hallway and moved to one side. Jessie took a very long time to join him, but he waited patiently until she could come to stand next to him. Hadji stepped out last and took the spot on her other side. Jessie shuddered as she took in all the people in the room, but she managed not to run like she had the last time. Race watched her out of the corner of her eye until she nodded and only then did he begin to move forward.
Jessie stayed near without actually touching and Hadji walked along equidistant on the other side. Jessie's eyes flickered around the room madly. Race found himself scanning the room like Zach Ellis wasn't lying on a slab down in the morgue and could jump out of the crowd at any moment. It made the five minute walk through the booking station feel like it took an hour, but they eventually made it to the other side and through the entrance to the front lobby.
The crowd of reporters out front perked up when they saw the three come out from behind the secretary's station. They leaned over the saw horse barricade and rubber-necked around the stationed officers while cameramen brought their equipment to their shoulders and began checking settings and journalists tested their recorders. Jessie turned away from them towards Hadji.
"We cannot leave this way," Hadji commented.
Race addressed the nearest officer, "Is there a back way out of here?"
"Of course. You can use the squad garage. There's a separate entrance from there."
"Who is going through them to get to the car?" Hadji asked.
"I'll distract them if you want to go for it, Race," Benton volunteered as he joined them from down a hallway to their left.
"Where's Jonny?" Race asked when it was apparent the blonde teen wasn't with his father.
Benton sighed. "They won't release him until a judge sets his bail. He'll go to court for it tomorrow."
"You are not planning on just leaving him here alone," Hadji stepped toward his father.
"Of course not Hadji," Benton assured.
"I will stay with you," Hadji said, displaying the same iron as his father in a sign that he would not be deterred.
"I would like that very much."
Race addressed the same officer a second time. "You can take us to that back entrance?"
"I'll use all the back halls so we're less likely to come across many people."
"Then here's the plan. Benton, you and I will go out to address the reporters and once you have their attention I'll get the car and bring it around back. Once you see I'm in the clear you and Hadji can bring Jessie there to meet me."
Race, Benton and Hadji all three shared a look and then Hadji automatically went back to stand guard by Jessie while Benton and Race headed for the door.