Numb3rs/Supernatural - Trick
Disclaimer – I don't own them, I just borrowed them. Numb3rs, Supernatural and associated characters are the property of those that created them. No copyright infringement intended. No financial reward gained. All real organisations are used in a fictional sense. Anything you don't recognise is a product of my imagination.
Spoilers - Numb3rs: nil. - Supernatural: nil.
"Here," Sam said as he turned in his seat.
Don looked towards the younger brother's outstretched hand and recognised the silver object dangling from a ring, a handcuff key. Not questioning the offer, Don managed to twist around sufficiently that Sam was able to drop the key into his hand. Some more awkward manoeuvring and he managed to unlock the first cuff with the second one following in short order.
"You think they'll give you a hard time again, Fed?" Dean asked somewhat conversationally.
"Probably," Don grumbled. The day he'd spent being debriefed by two agents from the Behavioural Analysis Unit had been gruelling. He remembered it more as an interrogation where he'd had to be careful of his every word and gesture. Another encounter with the fugitive brothers was just going to lead to more of the same as it was already recognised he was the agent with the most experience with them. There had been another agent, a somebody-or-other Henricksen if he remembered correctly, who'd once had that distinction but he'd been killed a number of years back leaving him the current 'expert'.
"Well, at least they'll think you were forced into helping us like you wanted."
"I was forced," Don stated to make the point clear. After a long pause he continued, "But after what I saw back there I understand you had to get in and do whatever it was you did. Doesn't mean I'll roll over next time you come calling."
"Yeah, I was getting that impression," Dean said wryly. "But at least you're not actually against us anymore. It's nice to have friends in the FBI."
"Hmpf," Don snorted. Whatever their relationship was, it wasn't 'friends'. Their world was totally confusing to him and whilst he could accept they seemed to have the real world's best interest in mind their methods left something to be desired. He'd already accepted that he had somehow along the line decided he would help them where he could, but he still had his own ass to cover.
"So what now?" Don asked as they continued on into the night with Dean taking what seemed to be random turns. "How long you plan on keeping this up?"
"Keeping you, you mean," Dean said.
"I don't know," Dean drawled. "You're kinda fun to have around."
"And you wonder why I don't welcome you when turn up," Don muttered at the deliberate tease. He looked around as they continued down the street thinking on Dean's stated reason for taking him along as a hostage. The sooner they got far enough away from the Field Office to feel safe the sooner they could be on their way and out of his hair. "You want to get away from the cameras, right?"
"Take a right two blocks down," Don suggested.
Dean glanced back at him, "Why?"
"I know LA. I know where the bulk of the surveillance cameras are and where you need to head to get away from them."
"That I get, what I don't get is why you're suddenly all helpful again," Dean said even as he took the turn. "One minute you're on side, the next I gotta put a gun to your head. What gives?"
Don gave voice to his earlier thoughts, "Look, I get that you have a job to do, even if I don't believe half the crazy stuff you talk about. I don't much like how you do it, but I get it."
"Taken you long enough," Dean complained. "Does this mean maybe you will listen next time instead of being all stubborn again?"
"Probably not," Don admitted. "Look, I'm not so much 'on side' as prepared to do what is best for the greater good. Last time that meant treating you like a CI while we went after The Hunter even if I should have arrested you. I will help where I can but if it doesn't make sense or puts me or anyone else at risk, I won't."
"I guess that's fair," Dean said.
"Dean, that's more than fair," Sam put in. "The way you push him it's a wonder he doesn't shoot you on sight."
"I've been tempted," Don put in.
"See now, you and me? I just knew we were gonna be friends," Dean smirked.
Don bit back his first response at that. He might get some of what the brothers were about but he was certainly less than impressed about the idea of Dean thinking him a personal friend. He got back to business, "I'll get you around the areas with the most surveillance so they can't track you and then you can let me out somewhere I can get to a phone. Deal?"
"I guess we can live with that."
"Good, left at the gas station."
"So they let you go?" Assistant Director Wright asked somewhat doubtfully as Don finished his tale. "Just like that?"
It was over two hours later and Don was back at the Field Office, having only a few minutes before being delivered to the building by an LAPD black & white. Half an hour before that he'd been climbing out of Dean's Impala near a payphone with a few parting words, "I did mean what I said earlier, if you feel the need to come back to LA, don't feel you have to look me up."
"See ya round, Fed," had been Dean's infuriating reply.
Arriving back at the building he'd found himself being ushered straight to Wright's twelfth floor office and his superior's suspicious questioning.
"Yes, sir. Just like that." He had naturally left the final exchange with Dean out of his dot point highlights.
He frowned at the question, his initial thought to wonder if Wright would have preferred they hadn't simply released him. "I gave them no reason not to."
Wright's suspicious glare deepened, "What do you mean by that?"
Treading carefully and trying not to sound defensive he explained, "They let Agent Clement go when they no longer needed him. He hadn't resisted them. I'd done everything they'd demanded so I felt the same would go for me."
"So you just let them take you?"
"Hardly," Don countered. "I tried to talk Dean out of it but he wasn't listening."
"You expected him to?"
"No, not really. But I would have preferred they left me behind rather than get driven halfway across town."
"Hmmm," Wright didn't sound convinced but his expression eased slightly. "So, they let you go. Again."
Standing in the office under his boss' scrutiny Don had to allow that if he were on the other side of the desk facing an agent that had had as many run ins with felons that were fairly high on the wanted lists as he had, he would be suspicious too. It didn't make it any easier to be standing there but he could understand Wright's position.
"Sir, the Behavioural Analysis Unit agents thought Dean might be feeling he has developed some sort of relationship with me based on our previous encounters. Perhaps that is why he has let me go unharmed again. Plus their records don't suggest they have anything against law enforcement, they just impersonate us constantly."
"Perhaps," the ADIC allowed even as he still sounded doubtful. "It is curious the number of times they have managed to come across you out of all the agents in this office. Perhaps they are targeting you or perhaps this 'relationship' has developed both ways."
Despite expecting the accusation he still felt a jolt. Managing to keep the surge of guilt from his face he managed an indignant, "No, sir. You know what they did to me."
Wright waved his hand across in front of him before raising it palm upwards, "I know. I had thought it unlikely, regardless of what the BAU report concluded. But after this latest encounter I'm not sure what to think, especially given your normal arrest record."
"Have I done any worse than anyone else that has had dealings with them?" Don demanded.
The ADIC thought on that for a moment, "I guess not."
"And I'd be more than happy if I never saw them again," Don said, relieved that he'd won the point even as he worried what else might have been in the BAU report. There had been no obvious fall out after it had been submitted but clearly there had been some doubts raised. He dearly wanted to get a copy but knew there was no chance of that.
"Unless you were arresting them."
"Unless I was arresting them," he repeated. "And whilst I don't want them targeting me I would hardly feel happy if they went after anyone else in this office instead. If the BAU is correct I have the best chance of getting out of it unscathed. And maybe the best chance of taking them down if they relax their guard around me."
"You sound as though you expect them to come back," Wright said.
Don ran his hand down his face, it had been a very long day and he was more than ready for it to end. This dance was more than he felt up to but he pressed on, the truth the safest option. "Let's face it sir, I've had far too many encounters for it to be pure chance. Much as I don't want it to be the case I have to allow they may well come back and based on events to date I'll end up mixed up in whatever they're doing again."
Wright regarded him a long moment. Finally he stood, pushing his chair back, "Well, let's hope that doesn't happen."
"Absolutely," Don agreed fervently, not needing to fake the emotion.
"Alright Eppes, it's been a hell of a night for you so you're dismissed."
Wright's voice stopped him as he reached the door, "But I expect you back first thing and a detailed report on my desk by lunch. You can also expect a call from Agent Rush."
"Sir," Don acknowledged before making his escape.
He wasn't surprised, BAU agents Rush and Hansen had flown in to interview him personally after his last encounter. That he would have to deal with them again was a given. He just hoped the phone call wasn't a precursor to another visit as dealing with them was more stressful in many ways than dealing with the Winchesters.