Blindsided part I
A/N BLIND SPOT SPOILERS! (Duh) In fact, I completely plagiarized the entire scene of Jo's confession. Okay, I added more to it, in the form of insights into Bobby's thoughts. Anyhow, thank you LOCI writers for writing such a shuddering awful bunch of characters (The Gage family), and the good ones, too (our heros)! Hopefully this story will be a fun diversion for us all, and slightly different than most of the other Blind Spot post-eps in FF.
A/N 2: This story has grown exponentially since I began working on it. I bow in deference to the writers, actors, and staff who worked on LOCI and I ask their forgiveness for borrowing so much of their work! I promise I am not making any money off this, and I have only written it for fun.
She was asleep again, and Bobby found now there were two things he couldn't stop doing: smiling and bouncing his leg.
His foot jumped completely off the floor and came down with a slap. He forced a halt to it, worried the noise might startle her.
She'd been tortured. Even the movement of the curtain had frightened her. The last thing Bobby wanted was to cause her any more distress. He made a concerted effort to keep his leg still, but as his thoughts began to churn, the movement began again, too.
He was still having a hard time sorting it out. The killer… Sebastian… something didn't sit right about it all. And no matter what Bobby had done throughout the investigation… Declan was right in the middle of everything, a suspect in the Captain's mind, mentor again to Bobby, another brain to pick for ideas, links, information.
And then there was Jo.
His foot was drifting farther away from his body with every jump. Bobby replaced it under him and stilled his leg momentarily. Jo was too close to this. And now that he thought it through, he knew her affect was off. She hadn't really been upset at the loss of her roommate.
Bobby knew Jo's childhood was like none other. He'd assumed growing up with Declan had just… inoculated her against the horror of such violence, immunized her from the emotional pain of it all. Now, though, without the crippling terror he'd experienced while Alex was missing, he was having an epiphany.
Jo hadn't been upset when her roommate was brutally killed.
Jo had never been first and foremost in Declan's eyes.
Jo had a million reasons to want to see her father embarrassed, inconvenienced… to want to see him squirm.
Bobby stilled his leg once more, smiled to see Alex in the flesh in front of him again, and then barreled out of the room. He was dialing the Captain before he was even down the hall.
They visited the crime scene, and Bobby still couldn't get the thoughts out of his head. Ross was convinced that Declan was the guilty party.
"You got your partner back. Time to let your mentor go."
That was what his Captain had to say. Bobby followed him out, the thoughts coming faster and faster. It was down to the wire.
"Captain!" Bobby shouted, a little too loud, considering he was only ten feet away.
Ross stopped in his tracks. The car door was open and poised around his midsection like a shark about to attack. He stared at Bobby as his detective walked closer.
"Jo's already there. You said that."
Captain Ross nodded.
"When I was with Dec… he said… he said… the killer was torturing Eames… and me… and humiliating him. Captain, it wasn't Dec. It was Jo."
As he watched Jo Gage bite her nails, Bobby listened to the lecture he'd first heard Declan give twenty years ago, in CID training. "Each one has its own arc. Even so, no matter what the killer has done, there is almost invariably one element they have in common: no one has ever listened to them, to their story. So I do, I sit with them, no matter how long it takes. But I don't ask them about the crime. I ask them about their life, their childhood, their first memories, their mother's touch. Uh… dreams they had when they were a kid…"
Bobby turned down the volume on the speaker. Jo had heard this speech before, too. She'd already chewed her thumbnail down to the quick. "Don't worry, Jo. He's not gonna confess 'cause he didn't do it."
She asked how he knew and he told her about the hairs. She smiled, seemingly in relief. The smile quickly faded, and she seemed almost at the verge of tears. She quickly retrieved her jacket and tossed it over her shoulders. Bobby turned the sound back up, just in time for Declan to explain how willingly he spent hours, even days listening unconditionally to serial killers. "In the end, they feel a relief at being understood."
Bobby repeated what Declan said, and Jo stopped in the doorway. "I envy you, having a Dad like him," Bobby said quietly. It wasn't a lie. It had once been true.
Jo's hand paused on the door handle, and she turned back to Bobby. "He was more of a father to you," she said definitively, then continued, "and his killers… than he ever was to me. He wanted a son."
"He raised you on his own," Bobby said, trying to sound sympathetic to the man in the interrogation room. "How old were you when your mom—"
"Killed herself? Seven." Jo bit her lip and then smiled.
"And that's tough," Bobby said.
Jo shrugged and gave him a smile. "So was yours. He told me… about your Mom, your Dad."
Bobby's confidence fell a little. He wasn't really surprised that Dec had shared his secrets with Jo, but that didn't make it any less painful.
"You could have gone either way," she added, and although he didn't flinch, he felt like he'd been punched in the gut.
"Either way?" he asked, boiling inside.
"Certain homes, he says, are like potential labs for serial killers… or… crusading profilers."
"You know, your father and I, we just talked about this. Add in the mix…lack of empathy, and early exposure to violence."
"You just talked about this?"
"Last night. I asked him if he thought there could ever really be a true woman serial killer." Bobby watched her expression and he knew he'd hit his mark.
Her excitement was bubbling over. "Some profilers think it's just a matter of time. Take a young girl at her sexual awakening. Link her arousals to… images of violence."
"To torture them. He kidnapped them. The killer had the worktables set…" Bobby spread his hands wide, miming the placement and dimensions of the table. "… low. And then this pulley system, to lift the lightweight victim. Also: the killer never spoke to Eames and I was wondering if she was trying to hide her gender."
"What did Declan say?" Jo asked.
"Well, he called me an imbecile," Bobby said with a smile, and she chuckled. "and in that tone," he added, grinning. Jo laughed and looked at her father with affection. Bobby prodded further, knowing just where to apply the pressure. "I asked him, you know. He, he doesn't think that a woman could…could achieve those heights… or those depths, that… that men do. I remember your home. I remember all these… gruesome stacks of photos everywhere."
"I organized them for him. I catalogued his whole library."
Bobby moved in closer. "I'm sorry about…uh… I was so wrapped up in Declan's world that… I never noticed you, so, I'm sorry about that. You know, he… treated you more like an assistant than he did a daughter. Soccer games… talking about boys, well, Dec never did that for you, did he?"
She shook her head, smiling at him as the tears welled up. She couldn't believe Bobby understood. "Dinners were… still. He'd sit at the table and read Coroner reports." She paused. "We finally started to play games, where he'd give me a mutilation technique and I'd guess the serial killer."
Bobby paused a moment. He had to find a way to keep it going. "And when you brought boys home?" he asked.
"I'd play them his tapes. Of women being tortured. If they didn't run, we'd make out. In his office." She laughed, and Bobby smiled too.
"Well… you could have gone either way," Bobby said. "When you went to Quantico, was that to please him?" he asked, suddenly serious again.
She thought a moment, then replied. "He didn't notice. Not until I dropped out."
Bobby's disgust was mounting. He tried to keep it from showing, from ruining the interrogation. He knew Stan was behind him, a witness to every word she spoke. He knew he was close. He tried to keep himself from picturing Jo with Eames, the torture she'd inflicted.
"He told me he knew all along that I couldn't cut it, that I was in over my head."
"So you went to New York."
"He never came to visit, did he?"
"Not unless it was a seminar." She thought a moment. "When this year's came up, I was ready."
Bobby nodded, thinking exactly how she'd prepared herself for her father's visit- by mimicking Sebastian, killing innocent women.
"He doesn't care about me. All he cares about is his reputation," Jo said. "About Sebastian." She watched her father talking to Ross in the next room.
"So you brought Sebastian back," Bobby prodded.
"I knew that if he thought it was Sebastian, we'd have something to talk about."
Bobby swallowed hard. He'd almost lost his best friend so this woman could have a conversation with her father. "You know the f-f—" His voice faltered slightly, but he recovered. "The first girl… there were hesitation marks."
"Were there?" Jo asked, surprised. Bobby nodded silently. She scoffed. "It happened so fast."
The disgust was showing on his face now, and Bobby fought to keep quiet, to let her continue to dig herself deeper.
"But it got his attention," she said.
He frowned and tilted his head the other way. Tears were welling in his eyes. Bobby's pain was for all of them: Eames, the other victims, himself, Dec, and even Jo.
"But then you were on the case and he… he totally lost interest in me." She paused a moment, remembering. "So that's when I decided… to kill Eames… and frame him."
Bobby pressed his lips together. He fought back his emotions again. She smiled at him, proud of herself for her cleverness. He damn near cried. "Jo," he said, his voice like gravel. "It's time."
She looked at her father through the glass and set her jaw. "Tell my Dad. Everything." The uniformed officer came closer, preparing the cuffs. Jo continued, speaking earnestly to Bobby. "'Cause he'll come to my cell now, and talk to me. Listen. For as long as it takes, he'll be there."
Bobby nodded as she was escorted away. A deep sigh escaped him and he only just managed to keep the tears from falling. He turned away from the Captain's gaze and stared through the glass at the man who'd taught him everything he knew.
Bobby spent the night in the chair by Alex's side. He'd gone straight to the hospital once the paperwork was done, needing desperately to tell her, to get it off his chest.
Between the medications and the exhaustion, she was unable to help him. Bobby sat beside her, silent, feeling like he was coming apart at the seams.
Seeing her like this, head bandaged, bruised, scarred, seemingly held together by tubes and wires… he chastised himself for being so selfish. He had to be there for her now. He had to be the rock this time, and return the favor she'd so often done for him.
His own pain, his own despair… he'd have to find a way to bury it, to move past it.
As he sat listening to her heart monitor, he kept hearing those words in his head. "You could have gone either way."