A/N: Finally! Wow this chapter was long, I saw a few spots where I could end it but didn't think it fit properly into the story line...so it ended up like this, I'm sure you'll spot those places where I was going to end the chapter but continued anyway, some I erased though. Anyway, here it is...enjoy
Chapter 3- A Little Schooling in Psychology
"Hey, Zürich police are looking for an American man carrying a red bank bag, he just tore up the embassy and put two cops in the hospital last night," Danny Zorn, Conklin's assistant, said holding a telephone.
Conklin paused from doing anything. Abbey knew, if that picture hadn't been enough, the description of the commotion in Zürich sure was. It sounded like something she would do, but there was also a few things she would have thought Bourne would have done differently -being Bourne and all. Something wasn't right, her mind told her this, and apparently Conklin hadn't noticed the same.
"Get everybody up, do it now, I want them all activated," Conklin resumed.
His grim orders hit Abbey like a freight train.
"Wait-" she started.
"Wait, all of them?" Danny said putting the phone face-down on his desk. "At the same time?"
"You heard me, I want Bourne in a body bag by sundown," Conklin replied.
"Sir!" Abbey exclaimed.
Conklin turned to face her, "What?"
Abbey quickly tried to think how she was going to say this without seeming insane.
"Shouldn't we try to make contact with him first? What if something's wrong? I saw the live stream, sir, Bourne doesn't seem like himself. I've read through and processed his files, and many others like his, for years, this just doesn't seem in character of him," she said treading lightly.
"You also know that changing characters is very common in work like his," Conklin replied.
"I do, but killing him without even trying to speak with him probably isn't the best idea. He's one of our best assets-"
"I don't care who he is, if he's turned he could be very dangerous to Treadstone, to all of us. He could expose secrets not even you know about," Conklin said harshly.
Abbey was taken aback by the ferocity of his words, the mere idea of them. She calmed her rising anger for the incompetence of Treadstone before answering Conklin.
"He's still a human being, sir," she replied simply.
"He's much, much more than that, Miss Woods."
The same tape of the Gemeinschaft bank incident played over and over on the computer screen. Abbey was trying to find out just what seemed odd to her that Bourne was doing. She had to convince Conklin that Bourne hadn't turned, and by God, she had to do it fast. Two days later Conklin had been digging into the woman that Bourne had gotten to drive them to Paris. They were getting closer to the Treadstone safe house and that would not be good for Bourne or the poor woman. Abbey had gotten nowhere that would help her case against Conklin's death order. She was also driven by her own safety; if the other contacts failed to take out Bourne -and she had no doubt they would, Bourne knew what he was doing- she was next in line. She did not want to die, though, she probably wouldn't try to kill Bourne in the first place. This is where those long years in med school came into good use, if she couldn't have a career in the field she could still safe a life.
She had enhanced the image as much as she could before she finally realized something.
His eyes, oh my God, his eyes! Abbey thought.
She had seen eyes like those before, once before, when she had attended med school. They had worked with the poor man who had remembered nothing of his past, not even his name. This man, the way he did thinks mechanically but didn't really know how he was doing them, just doing by instinct. This is what Abbey saw when she looked at the man on her computer screen: Jason Bourne, one of the most valuable assets of Treadstone, was an amnesiac. Presenting this case to Conklin, however, would been even harder than what she'd just done. She had no rock-hard evidence and Conklin seemed intent on killing Bourne no matter what evidence pointed away from it. Abbey sighed, sitting back in the chair. She was screwed, Bourne was dead if she couldn't prove that he was innocent of turning. He had no damn clue what he was doing! Probably not even who he was! He was being hunted for a crime he most likely couldn't even fathom, and so was the woman with him. The stakes rose as the realization hit her; two lives, not one, two, hung in the balance. Two innocent people would die if she couldn't get Conklin to realize what she had. The stress was killing her inside and it hadn't even been half an hour.
"Let me give you a little lesson in psychology, sir," Abbey's voice was raised now.
She had been arguing with Conklin for at least five minutes now, giving him every bit of evidence she had found and having it thrown right back in her face by the Treadstone field director.
"I know that you know my credentials to school you in psychology, so you need to listen to me. That man out there is lost, he's probably confused and sending assassins after him will just make him reach to that deep instinct. An instinct that we put in him, we created, and now you are trying to destroy him. My God, he doesn't know what he's doing, but he's dangerous. You don't need to be pushing him away, you need to bring him in, you need to talk to him. I remember that you used to work with Bourne before Treadstone, you two were teammates in some super-classified operation and now you want to peg him as 'beyond-salvage' without even considering other options?" to say Abbey had had it with Treadstone would have been an understatement.
Conklin paused, not saying anything for a few seconds before proceeding cautiously, "First of all your 'psychology' has a little hole in it, Miss Woods, how exactly do you think Bourne got amnesia in the first place?"
"Extreme stress to the body mixed with a traumatizing event could lead the brain to exclude all memory of the pain. It's a coping strategy of the body, very common with survivors of events like a severe stabbing or getting shot and almost dying. Your body is wired not to remember the pain, it could also lead to forgetting things even further back than that, resulting in the amnesia," Abbey said.
Now she saw she had Conklin's attention, finally, she'd given him viable information that he could process in that mind of his. She hoped it was enough for him to believe her, to make him call off the manhunt for Bourne. Above all things, she saw that Conklin knew she had beaten his mindset, she had uncovered the truth he had not been able to see. She had found the good in someone where he had thought none existed, she had showed Bourne had no bad intentions toward them when Conklin had believed he was to be their ruin. The room resumed its normal volume from the previous silence when one of the analysts like Abbey walked in, Nikki.
"Sir, he killed our man," Nikki said.
Abbey looked at Conklin and he at her, her heart sank with Nikki's words, this wasn't going to help her case.
"That doesn't sound like an amnesiac, Miss Woods," Conklin said to her walking away after Nikki.
She buried her face in her hands as they walked away, Nikki couldn't have picked any worse a time to reveal that. Conklin and Nikki stopped near the exit to the safe house, Abbey catching up with them. Nikki continued out of the door, but Conklin stood there waiting for Abbey.
"Sir, I want to talk to you about something that happened two nights ago, I was going to tell you but then Bourne resurfaced and it didn't seem important anymore," Abbey said.
"An assassin infiltrated the safe house you sent me to. I took him out, but the fact he even found me leads me to wonder-"
"You think we had something to do with it? Well, I hate to tell you, Miss Woods, we didn't, no one even knew where that safe house was besides you. Hell, I didn't even know. You're very valuable to Treadstone, none of us would ever think of killing you," Conklin replied.
"Well, apparently someone with information wanted me dead," Abbey replied walking away.
Almost, she had almost had Conklin right where she wanted him, but now the stakes had risen, now they were playing a whole new game.
There was no doubt, Jason Bourne had no clue what he was or why people were after him or even who was after him. That was the dangerous part, otherwise, Abbey believed he wouldn't kill unless he was threatened by the unknown. That's what Conklin couldn't get, Bourne needed help, not people trying to kill him. Now that she knew Conklin wouldn't listen to her, she had to take it to the next level, she had to use her knowledge and skills to help Bourne directly, she had to find him.
The first step for Abbey was getting out of Treadstone without being noticed. She knew she would have to wait until things died down to leave, right now things were too hyped up. Nikki had called Conklin from the scene and told him everything Bourne had done at the house. The asset had gone out of the window of the two-story apartment complex, but with injuries that were not consistent with the fall. She wandered around, pulling files on Bourne and reading them trying to find any information she didn't have on him. She would have to revisit life rules and codes she had buried in her mind to do what she was about to attempt. Those rules and codes she had buried for a reason, and it was a damn good reason, too. They were necessary, however, if she wanted to find Bourne or stop Conklin from killing him it would be nearly impossible without them.
Two hours later, Abbey pulled on her black jacket, and, using those suppressed skills, snuck out of the Treadstone safe house. It hadn't been easy with everyone running around sporadically unlike the usual structured schedules. Walking down the sidewalk of the French street she considered her options, all of which lead to Bourne. The first thing she needed to do was change her look, she left that building with people who were unsuspecting about what she was going to do, but in a few hours they would be hunting her. Conklin would not like this at all, he would be the main one hunting her and hopefully that would pull his full-focus away from Bourne. She went in a small boutique off to the side of the walkway where she saw many options of clothes, however, she would have to blend with any crowd she may have to use for cover. She went for a casual-but-classy look, dropping her jacket for a wool trench coat and black leggings with knee-high boots.
The Paris streets were not familiar to her, yet she managed not to get lost. Thinking back on all those years she had spent at Treadstone she realized relying solely on her instincts wouldn't be necessary. Though, she had to find Bourne first and the house wasn't a very good place to start considering he would probably be hundreds of miles away from there by now. Right now, Abbey had to get as far away as she could from the Treadstone safehouse, that was the second step, she had to get lost. The third step was be to let Conklin know how she really felt, but that would come much later after she was sure he wouldn't be able to track her. He wouldn't be expecting anything at the moment because he didn't even know she was getting ready to become his second biggest threat to his perfect little operation. She had always liked Conklin as the field director, he was constant in making sure his decisions were logical and safe for everyone they effected. Lately though, after they had lost Bourne, his head wasn't on his shoulders, which had led to this mess. She wondered what had snapped in him for this to happen, she assumed it had something to do with the fact that Bourne and Conklin had once been allies in war, almost friends. Abbey knew how strong a bond like that was, how it was almost like friendship but with different terms, and she knew what it was like for that to be broken by unexpected events. Abbey soon found herself at a train station scoping out the security cameras and working to avoid them on her way to purchase a ticket. Walking away from the ticket counter, Abbey looked up from her ticket into the crowd surrounding her. In seconds she froze, her eyes fixed on one figure in the massive crowd. It was a man who didn't stand out from everyone else, to anyone else but Abbey. He had no defining features that could be used to pick him out among twenty other people standing near him. Abbey quickly cast her glance away from him in an attempt to avoid him seeing her. It wasn't that he knew her, because he didn't, it was that she knew he was feeling threatened and he would run from anyone that looked like they were following him. Who she was looking at was a hunted man, it was Jason Bourne. Her train didn't come for a while so she decided to walk around while still keeping an eye on him. She watched him curiously, but he didn't do anything, he watched the train boards for a while before going over to the bag lockers and storing a red bag in one of them. When Abbey was watching her train arrive she was also watching Bourne leave the station, he hadn't purchased a ticket, talked to any contacts, nothing. As the doors to the train slid shut so did her chance of ever talking to Bourne, the one person she was fighting so hard to protect.
An hour later two women sat across from each other at a small café table to the inside of a busy sidewalk. The people rushing around them would help conceal their faces from the small amount of scattered traffic cameras, both knew this.
"Why, with all your contacts, do you need my help?" the woman with shining, blond hair asked forcibly.
"I need someone I can trust, you're the only one I could reach before-" the other woman said.
"Before they come after me."
"Damn it, Abigail! They'll kill me for even looking atyou! I'm dead," the blond said in an angered whisper.
"No, or I wouldn't have come to you. I wouldn't put you at risk like that, I promise. I left, alright? I left and they don't even know it yet. I have an hour before they figure it out and start searching, anything I did between these two hours they'll never look at because they don't know when exactly I left," Abbey said.
"How did you leave anyway?" the blond asked.
"I literally just walked out the front door."
"No, and that's why they don't know, Charlie, because I'm good at covering my trails and time-lines. When I call them, for all they know, I just left their organization and I'll make it seem that way to keep you safe."
The two sat for a few minutes, looking past each other's shoulders for any sign of people following them. They engaged in regular conversation after they decided there were no threats, enjoying the ordinary pastries on the plates in front of them. When they got up to leave they used their knowledge of the security cameras in the area, or lack thereof, to walk separate ways without making anymore contact.
The small, bland motel on the outskirts of Paris was the very definition of untraceable. There was one pay-phone, the guests paid cash only and the guest books were handwritten. Abbey had no doubts Treadstone would trace her to this place, but by then she would be long gone, on another continent possibly. They would send people after her like they had before and, once again, she would take down every person they sent for her until they got tired of chasing her to no avail. With Bourne in their sights as well, she had no doubt they would get tired very quickly. Risking this, what she was in the process of doing, was dangerous, however it was highly necessary. She was going to deviate from her original plan and stay most of the night at this motel. That had always been her flaw in her abilities, she would fall back in her old habits and forget she was still human, a human who needed to sleep to function.
Sleep is the most important thing you can have in your arsenal.
Those twelve words of hers would become golden rule while she worked to track down Bourne and keep herself off of Treadstone's radar. She rigged the room with simple traps and warnings similar to those she had used with the safehouse before she situated her small amount of belongings and took a shower. She was not stupid, though, to go in a confined space such as a bathroom with a single way out without protection or a spotter outside the door, so she put her gun on the sink just beside the shower. When she finished she felt even more alert and awake with no bad feelings about being found. Early next morning she would call Conklin and give him a piece of her mind, but she had to be cautious not to stay on the line too long, a rookie mistake. Luckily, for her, there was a clock on the wall across from the phone she could easily keep her eye on while she was talking. Right now, though, she lay flat on the bed in a complete change in clothing style, one that still remained ordinary, but was far more casual than her last choice. Only when her gun lay within arm's reach of her bed did she finally feel like she could sleep. Around the middle of the night a shrill car alarm made Abby bolt upright in the bed and grab her gun quicker than even she expected. She sat with her back against the headboard, gun in hand, for an hour to make sure no one was coming to get her before she fell back asleep because of pure exhaustion.
"What is your name?"
"Eliza Groves," she answered.
She looked around the small, square room only to find nothing of interest in it except for the man sitting across from her. Her head still buzzed from the accident a few days ago, but no one had told her anything else that she wanted to know, the fate of her team, the mission, or why the hell she was even here. Thinking slightly harder she did know why she was here: she wanted this, she wanted to become a ghost.
The next morning, before the sun had risen and when the moon was still high in the sky, Abbey was down at the motel pay-phone watching the clock as she picked up the phone. She knew Conklin would be there because of the entire Bourne situation that had to be monitored twenty-four-seven. The number stored by her impeccable memory flew from her thoughts onto the phone in her hand. She waited patiently for the ringing while someone at the Treadstone safehouse would be puzzled trying to figure out who it was.
"Who is this and how did you get this number?" the angered voice of Conklin answered.
"My mistake, I believe I have the wrong number," Abbey replied in a light tone.
"Woods, what the hell are you doing? Where the hell are you?"
"I believe I should ask you the same question, sir, have you reconsidered my theory?"
"No, because it's wrong. Now come back in right away and you can go find Bourne yourself," Conklin said.
"Why? So I can attempt to kill him and be killed myself? Maybe you'll get rid of two agents that way so you can have room for the newer agents I've heard about. No need for the extra months of training, just rely on a few pills and a week of training. Conklin, you're wrong about Bourne, you won't even try to help him! Not just him either, many other people who are going to die in this personal war of yours, innocent people. I refuse to tolerate it anymore," Abbey said still keeping an eye on the clock, she had to go in less than a minute.
"What are you saying, Miss Woods?"
"I'm done. Send whoever you want after me, but, I promise, they'll never get close enough. Good luck dealing with Bourne on your own, I sure hope he doesn't put you all into ruin," she said sarcastically, hanging up the phone just in time.
She grabbed up her bag, stowing her gun inside, and leaving the motel as quick as possible. Now she would disappear as she had before, for good.
A/N: This was fresh off my document so sorry for any typos/ errors. Hope you enjoyed, I dont know how long it will be until next chapter cause school is starting up again x.x I will try to make next chapter shorter so I can get it out faster...alright hope everyone had a good holiday and a good New Year's Eve tomorrow.