A/N So, this is the story that has been in my head for oh, 2 years! It has taken me that long to figure out how to make everything fit and to muster up the courage to write it all down. I have 5 chapters (13 pages) complete already and I have the rest outlined.
Just as a FYI, the Jane/Other is not a pairing but simply the two main characters of my story. Gasp, I know, Lisbon isn't a main character in this one (That's all I'm saying).
To all my faithful readers, yes this is very different for me which is probably one of the reasons it took me so long to 'get er done' but If you'll take the time to read this, start to finish, I think you'll find that maybe, it's not so different after all.
A lot of research went into this but even so, all my information is from the internet and as we all know, everything on the internet is automatically true (note the sarcasm). I try to maintain as much accuracy as possibly when writing but as I've said before, I have a degree in education, not law, chemistry, criminology, etc.
Summary: Eventually, everyone has to face the consequences of his/her own actions.
Rating: T for non-descript violence.
Warnings: For the first time ever… Character Death(s)? (Insert dramatic music)
Dedicated to all those readers out there (I know you're there), who are itching to write but are too afraid to give it a shot. Hey, if I can write, than so can you. Pick up a pen, keyboard, whatever and just start :D
On to the fic…
Ashes to Ashes
Melody Cartwell jolted awake in her bed at quarter till five in the morning. She combed her hands through her scalp as her breathing and heart rate slowly began to decline. Note to self, never again read case files before going to bed. She took a moment to gather the scattered papers that were haphazardly strewn across the bed, shuffled them until they were neat, and then placed them back in the folder she had taken them from the previous evening.
Her fist case as a criminal defense attorney began today and Melody had done everything in her power to prepare for it both mentally and physically. Four months shy of 30, and she had snagged the biggest case in town. Yes, it helped that her mother held a high position in the district attorney's office. It was Mrs. Cartwell, in fact, who had sent this particular case Melody's way in the first place. Her mother had said it was 'exactly what she needed to jump-start her career; a case that was not only open and shut but also in the spotlight, covered by every local and state-wide media outlet.'
Her client was a cop killer, plain and simple, or, not so simple. To be accurate, he was more than just a cop killer. He was a sick man who presumably raped and tortured the local agent before burning her to a crisp minutes later. The young lawyer had yet to set eyes on the crime scene photos but from what others were telling her, they were not pretty.
Melody figured they guy had to be someone like her father, who used women to their heart's content and then threw them out like yesterday's trash. An animal, more or less. Needless to say, Melody didn't typically hold a high view of the male half of the human species and her client was no different. She hated the man already. She couldn't help it. It was not the best way to begin a client/lawyer relationship, but hey, just because she worked for the guy, it didn't mean she had to fall in love with him. No, Melody would do her job to the best of her ability and maybe her client would spend the rest of his miserable existence rotting away in some prison cell instead of getting the needle, but that was about it.
The evidence was unquestionable, or so she heard through the grapevine. Word on the street was the prosecution had finger prints, hair samples, bodily fluids, you name it, all the way to the plastic can used to spread the gas accelerant about the woman's bedroom as well as the video. Oh yeah, the sicko had videotaped it, or at least the parts he wanted to rewatch at a later time. Melody had yet to see the videotape (or the rest of the evidence for that matter) as it was still in the hands of the prosecution but it would be released soon. Today, Melody had other plans, like meeting her client for the first time.
Ideally, as a lawyer, Melody would have liked to be involved in the case from the very start but this one was different. For one thing, her client had never really asked for representation. The real problem was he hadn't said anything at all, not a single word since his arrest. It wasn't as simple as an accused man using his first-amendment right to remain silent either. No, her client hadn't even responded when the arresting officer had asked if he needed to use the restroom. How was she to represent her client if the guy wouldn't even communicate? Replacing the file into her briefcase, Melody made her way over to the bathroom for a long, hot shower. Forty-five minutes later, she was ready to go, coffee and briefcase in hand.
The California Department of Corrections had many facilities including the State prison in Sacramento, where Melody had her first appointment scheduled with her client. The Sacramento facility alone could house close to three thousand inmates at a time. It was a male-only facility which housed four levels of inmates, including those still awaiting trial. That percentage of the population, like her client were kept separate from the general population. The prison itself was made up of three, 180-degree half-circle levels, the most secure design as far as prisons were concerned.
The first thing Melody noticed as she was led down the grey and white corridors to the interview room was how warm it was inside the complex. When she asked the guard about the temperature, he replied a simple "less laundry". She figured that made sense since there would be less need for blankets and short sleeves must take up less room in the wash than long ones. Eventually, the guard stopped in front of a grey door.
"I'll be right out here ma'am. Knock whenever you're ready." He said, unlocking the door and holding it open for her.
Her client was sitting at a metal table on the far side of the room. His hands and feet were chained, for her protection she assumed. The man was not facing her and did not move when she entered. He was wearing the classic light-blue uniform of those not yet convicted of a crime. She noted his posture: hunched over and closed off. This is going to be interesting, Melody decided.
Slowly, she made her way over to the metal table and sat down across from her client on a matching metal stool. He was still staring at a point on the far wall as if Melody didn't exist at all. She made a mental note to schedule a phych eval as there was clearly something strange about the man in front of her. Maybe an insanity plea wasn't out of the question.
"Hello," She Began. "My name is Melody Cartwell and I will be representing you."
Ok, she thought Let's try something else.
"They tell me you aren't up to talking as of recently so how about we try something different? I'll ask you some questions and you can answer with a simple yes or no. A head nod would work too."
Her client made no reaction to even hint that he was hearing her.
"Let's start out easy. Do you know why you're in here?"
Melody was beginning to get frustrated with the non-progress so she stood and positioned herself between her client and the wall he was so interested in.
"Look," She said. "I'm here to help you as best as I can but I can't do anything unless you talk to me."
His eyes remained unfocused.
"Fine, I'm apparently wasting my time here." Melody moved to retrieve her briefcase and began towards the door.
She startled at the unexpected plea, quiet and reserved. It was barely even a whisper. Melody turned. Her client's eyes had shifted to meet hers, finally.
"You represent me correct?" His voice was a little stronger, but hoarse.
Sam nodded, confused. Was this guy 'slow' or something?
"Which means you fight for my wishes?"
Definitely slow, Melody thought. "My job is to advise you through this process and yes, achieve your wishes to the best of my ability." She took a step forward. At least we're finally getting somewhere.
The man stared down at his clasped hands on top of the table and then looked up again at Melody. The force of his gaze hit her like a tidal wave and something inside, told her he was about to say something serious.
"I…" He hesitated momentarily. "I want to plead guilty."
That surprised Melody. No one accused of first-degree murder pleads guilty. That phych evaluation was definitely a must.
"I really wouldn't advise that." Melody insisted. "I haven't yet seen all the evidence but I'm sure we can…"
"No," He cut her off forcefully.
She stopped and held his stare. Who was the lawyer here? She wanted to ask.
"Please," He begged less harshly, like a small child pleading for his mother.
"Alright Mr. Jane," Melody sighed, and sat again, realizing she had voiced her client's name for the first time. "Please enlighten me then. Why do you want to plead guilty?"
He gave her a slight, sad grin. "And here you were thinking I was the slow one."
How did he…? Melody wondered
"To answer your first question, yes I'm all to aware of why I'm in here. I'm here because I murdered a cop, not just any cop, an agent with the California Bureau of Investigation. And to answer your second question, I want to plead guilty because that cop was my best friend. I, killed Teresa Lisbon."
And so it begins...