DODGING THE LIGHTNING
Lyle Francis Padilla
This is my first Criminal Minds fanfic. I would have written this sooner but I was waiting for the Ion or CW network to rerun Riding the Lightning so I could record it and get all the details right.
I've always thought that Gideon was just plain wrong in letting Sarah Jean Dawes go to the chair knowing what he knew, and that Hotch was complicit, in relaying to Morgan and Greenway that Byron Sheffield wasn't Sarah Jean's son, knowing what he knew.
But if you'll look at my other fanfics, you'll see that I like to bring fictional characters back from the dead to set things right. It's what I do best on ff dot net. I had to do this!
"Mr. Sheffield, I'm... I'm sorry," Derek Morgan said. "We have the wrong house. I'm sorry for any inconvenience." He and Elle Greenaway started back toward their SUV.
"Agent," Frank Sheffield said, glancing toward his wife and seventeen year old son still sitting in their own vehicle. The two BAU agents stopped.
"Yes, sir?" Morgan replied.
"Does this have anything to do with the execution of Sarah Jean Dawes?"
Morgan and Greenaway took a long look at each other, both nonverbally asking, What now? Greenaway started to speak into her phone.
"Well, sir," Morgan sighed as he held his hand up to Greenaway, "I believe that all depends on what you and Mrs. Sheffield are willing to share with us."
Frank turned slowly to his wife, avoiding eye contact with his son, then gave her a pained and frightened look and gave his head an almost imperceptible jerk.
"Stay in the car, Honey," Gayle Sheffield said softly to her son, then got out and joined her husband in front of the car, her apprehension matching his.
"Excuse us," Frank said to the two BAU agents. Morgan and Greenaway watched as the couple had a brief and tense whispered conversation.
Gayle stifled a sob into her husband's shoulder, then said aloud, "You're right. I can't live like this anymore, Frank! We should've never let it come to this. We should've come to them!"
The couple took an excruciatingly slow walk toward Morgan. Come on! Morgan thought. This is Life and Death here!
"Agent," Gayle said, "is there any way we can stop Sarah Jean's execution without my son knowing we're involved?"
Greenaway punched a speed dial button on her phone and paused. "Hotch," she continued into the phone, "the parents are talking to Morgan right now! They've come around and want to stop the execution!"
Morgan glanced at his watch as he said quietly but firmly, "Mrs. Sheffield, I don't know if we can stop the execution at this point. But at the very least, we'll need a DNA sample from your son to prove who he is."
"What do you need?" Gayle asked with continued nervousness. "A blood sample? A mouth swab?"
"A mouth swab will be enough," Morgan nodded.
"But he'll know what it's for!" Gayle replied.
Morgan paused before replying. "Maybe not! If you can give me his toothbrush and replace it with a new one before the next time he normally brushes..."
"Derek!" Greenaway interrupted him. She turned pale and moved her phone a few inches from her face. "Hotch says they've just taken her into the death chamber and the warden refuses to stall the execution any longer!" The others turned pale as well.
"Don't give up yet!" Morgan said to the other three adults as he grabbed his own phone and punched in a speed dial number. "This is Special Agent Derek Morgan of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit. Please put me through to the Governor. This is urgent. I understand he's standing by for information pertaining to Sarah Jean Dawes."
SSA Jason Gideon had fulfilled Sarah Jean Dawes's last request. She was strapped into the electric chair and, as he sat on the other side of the window, his was the last face she saw- and peacefully smiled at- before they lowered the hood.
She sat in the darkness, awaiting death. Would she "ride the lightning" as her husband Jacob, executed just an hour ago, said they would? Or would it just come as nothingness? But what came next was a frantic pounding almost directly in front of her.
Warden Diehl couldn't believe his own eyes and ears. For the first time in his career, his prison was executing two prisoners on the same day, and in both cases just before the switch was to be thrown, someone had rushed into the viewing gallery of the death chamber and slapped a piece of paper up against the thick plexiglas panel. For Jacob Dawes, it was Agent Hotchner showing a photo of the Daweses' now teenage son whom he had believed Sarah Jean had murdered as a toddler. Hotchner had yelled, "You lose!"
For Sarah Jean's execution, the interruptor was Diehl's own Senior Deputy Warden, and the piece of paper was for him: a fax or printout of a graphic EMail attachment with the letterhead of the Office of the Governor and signed by Governor Jeb Bush himself.
"Stop everything!" Diehl shouted at the executioner. "Lift up her hood."
Every muscle in Sarah Jean's body was taut. As the hood flap came up, she saw that she was still strapped to the chair and facing a now shocked and disbelieving audience in the gallery, including a particularly stupefied Jason Gideon. Either the execution had been given an interruption unwanted by her, or it had indeed taken place and she was now in Hell.
Diehl came up in front of her and said gently, "Sarah Jean, the Governor has granted a stay of execution as new information and evidence that have come to light are evaluated."
He rolled his eyes and sighed as he observed that Sarah Jean Dawes's reaction to the last minute intrusion was exactly the same that of as her now dead husband:
TO BE CONTINUED
Well, how am I doing so far in the Criminal Minds universe? Please let me know.
I know they never mention the Governor of Florida by name, but since they always have an official photo of the incumbent POTUS on a wall at the BAU office, since George W. Bush exists in the Criminal Minds universe, logically so does his brother.