A/N: This is all a bit fanciful, but I had this idea and ... well, I wrote it.
Warning: Mention of past character death.
SAC Hank Schrader rocks slightly on the balls of his feet as he looks out into the classroom of preteen faces. He's not totally thrilled with the idea of taking a break in his duties to play PR man again – in this case, an anti-drug talk to some high school kids in suburban Chicago that really, any subordinate could do – but at least it's something to get his mind off the anniversary.
Or maybe not. Hell, if only he'd chased his realization about who Heisenberg was faster and harder and sooner, maybe that day would have never come. But he knew that day all too well, the blood-red mark on his mental calendar where he'd bow his heads and be somewhere between praying and just trying to figure out how the hell it had even ended up that bad. To the point in which he'd gotten the call that his in-laws had been found murdered in their homes, killed with axes cartel-style. He had chased a few leads here and there, but it wasn't as if he was going to get anything out of the cartel and he couldn't tell Marie the real reason this had happened.
Not when they still had had to pack up Junior and ship him away to college, off to University of Central Florida. Far away and safe, except from his own trauma, his own knowledge of this and the inkling he had to have had that there was more beneath the surface than the "wrong house" theory Hank had managed to float.
And they hadn't found Holly. They had searched high and low, rescue teams everywhere, hoping to find her abandoned in some brush, by the side of the road unharmed. Other than a swatch of blood at some rest stop off the interstate, they hadn't found anything. The only conclusion they could come to is that she'd been buried in the desert somewhere.
That has been thirteen years back, but still it rages in Hank's temple as he begins the talk. He says the usual things. He doesn't want to tell them that story. He can't; it's not a story he's really even supposed to know.
She'd be as old as them now if she was alive. She'd be…
Hank rears himself back on track. He finishes his speech and begins to step away, answers a few pat questions.
"Cynthia and Holly!" the teacher barked, cutting through Hank's thought process. "That had better note be notes I see going back and forth."
Hank curls his foot at the name, twitches almost. But he doesn't show it. He does, however, let his eyes wander to the subjects of the teacher's chastisement. There's a pretty, dark-skinned girl with black hair in a braid, hunched over the desk of a much lighter-skinned girl with blonde hair and what looks to be green eyes.
"It wasn't," the blonde girl pipes up.
"It had better not be, Miss Pinkman. We talked about this." Both girls slink back into their seats, looking rather embarrassed.
The name echoes in Hank's mind. He's a man who doesn't believe in coincidence.
He waits. The class dismisses.
"Hey," he mentions to the teacher – she's an attractive, kind of buxom brunette with a permanent smile affixed to her face, "That girl… Holly?"
"Oh, I'm sorry about her. She's a sweetheart but sometimes she can be a little… overeager."
"Oh, no, it's fine. I just… what did you say her last name was?"
"Pinkman," the teacher replies. Same smile.
"I just… it's odd, I knew a Pinkman back in… college, so… it's not that common a name, is it? I wondered if it could be one and the same."
The teacher laughs.
"Oh, no. I don't think you'd have known this one. He's pretty young. Late thirties, I think."
"What's his name?" Hank presses, putting on the same disarming smile. "I just feel like I know…"
"Well, his name's Jesse. Jesse Pinkman. Ring any bells?"
It rings a lot of bells.
Why the hell would Pinkman have decided to name his child the same thing as Walt and Skyler's kid? Their presumably dead kid?
Unless… Unless the Whites had been wilier than he'd expected.
Hank nods his thanks and pushes his way out the door, following the blonde girl at as far a pace as possible to keep sight of her but not to seem like a creepy old man.
He watches as she walks with her friend, laughing and swinging her head back. He tries to remember her eyes – could they have been the same ones? Is this even seriously a possibility? Surveillance training comes back to him as he continues to keep an eye out. The girl waits outside the school, not looking back, until a car horn beeps in the distance.
Hank quickens his pace. He's able to catch the briefest glimpse of the driver of the car. He's older, no doubt, but he recognizes the look anywhere. Why hadn't he changed his name?
Maybe he hadn't figured it'd be necessary. After all, Hank has only just stumbled upon them.
Somehow he knows Pinkman didn't snatch her – and that it must, indeed, be her.
Skyler had known.
She had known what was coming for them and she hadn't asked Hank for help. Why? Why had she simply gotten her son out of the house and placed her infant daughter in the arms of a meth-head for safekeeping?
Hank should go tell her the truth.
She deserves to know who her real parents were. That she had real parents.
But as the car drives away, Hank can see the girl smiling, chatting mutely with Pinkman, lost in a sea of teenage-girl cares.
And he can't. Even if he could prove it, he won't.
He turns and heads back towards his own car. The worst thing of it all is that he can't even tell Marie. Somehow it would be better for her to still think the little girl dead in a random act of violence. Somehow.