A/N: This is a thing that has been written since spring. It had not been posted because it's the very first part of yet another long ass fic that has been plotted out extensively (many thanks, once again, to Chichuri). I'm putting it up here now, not knowing if I'll ever finish it, but hoping that having it somewhere other than my hard drive will remind me to get back to it with a little more regularity. Also, because the show is going to end soon, and this might reduce the pain for you guys and me both. Let me know what you thought of it! :D
They bring him in for questioning. He knew they would, eventually.
They come for him soon after his capture, soon enough that they haven't had a chance to move him out of the holding cell in the Division and into more permanent quarters, somewhere in the dungeon of a supermax prison, he imagines. Their quickness is an unexpected kindness, an unplanned one, but present nonetheless. There is really no point in delaying the inevitable.
Perhaps, he thinks, they never mean to put him there. It would be far simpler, he supposes, to drive him somewhere out of the way and put a bullet in the back of his skull to give a swift end to their troubles. He's not a naturalized citizen, after all, and procuring him a cell would mean heaps of fabricated paperwork, covered in as many miles of red tape as everything he is, everything he's done. It would mean time they do not have, time that trickles down the hourglass above all their heads, turning endlessly towards the end.
It's morning when the door opens, the crisp, bright light outlining the shapes of the armed guards that flank the entrance and, of course, his escort's. He does not expect to see Lincoln Lee, but then again he doesn't know what to expect of anything anymore. Peter squints, then resumes his position against the wall, looking down at a spot on the floor riddled with hairline fissures that he's traced into maps, filled with silver thread and defined with the blood on his hands.
Lincoln – Agent Lee would be more appropriate, he supposes – has him handcuffed with his hands behind his back. Lincoln gives the order, doesn't do it himself, and glares with his bespectacled eyes from ten paces away with what might have been badly concealed contempt as the other agent shoves him out the door.
Peter can't blame the man.
He feels numb, slow. Like the world has sped up around him and left him behind to follow a cold trail on a twisting path. When had things gotten so out of hand?
The military, his military, teaches soldiers to analyze a situation by looking backwards at the facts. Start by the end and follow the thread to its conclusion and you might get closer to the perp. Find a motive, when you have the facts, and the guilty party will emerge like invisible ink when put to flame. It's nothing but a game, one with people as pieces and infinite stakes. In the small hours he's spent with himself inside that room he's replayed it all in every direction he knows, every word and gesture and order given, every omission, backwards and forwards and upside-down, and still the reasons escape him. It's the facts that remain, engraved in every fictional point of his supposed IQ.
He'd sworn an oath to serve and protect, and he's done nothing but render it to ashes in the name of…what, exactly? Survival? His father would be proud.
The trail of his thoughts halts as the agent yanks him to a stop, Lincoln stepping ahead to swipe his security card on the door to the interrogation aisle, the one with rooms specifically designated for maximum security suspects in the far back of the Division quarters, to the right of the situation room, right behind Broyles' raised office. He's been in here before, many times.
It's just been a long time since he was on the wrong side of the table.
"I'll take it from here, Agent," he hears Lincoln say, and the other man releases him immediately, stepping back but remaining in the background. He wonders what these men have been told about him, to keep them so alert in his presence. He doubts "aiming for the destruction of the universe" was a part of it.
The moment the heavy-set door closes after them, leaving the agent behind, he asks, "How is she?"
It's the only question he can't keep himself from asking, and what that might say of him he doesn't bother to decipher. Lincoln looks at him squarely, what warmth might have remained in his ice-blue eyes gone like ashes in the wind.
He answers, and Peter is thankful for that small kindness. "Hurt…Angry."
The man pauses, searches for something in his face that he can't find, "How did you expect her to be?"
Another question without an answer in the pool of their misfortune, he supposes. He looks away, and Lincoln pushes him into the room without preamble.
Lincoln bids him sit, his chair pushed close to the table's edge, and attaches the handcuffs to a small steel loop on the top surface, limiting his movement. Like he's got somewhere else to go this side of the rabbit hole, Peter thinks absently. Lincoln Lee leaves the room without looking back.
An indeterminate amount of time later, the door clicks open. His interrogator is here. He doesn't need to look up to know who it's going to be, the only person fit for the job, in this universe and the next: