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Title: I Was A Ghost Before You Came
Author: Bigsciencybrain
Fandom: The Bourne Movies Series
Rating: R
Summary: Unable to trust the CIA, Bourne and Landy go into hiding after he escapes from the training facility.
Spoilers: Post-Ultimatum
Pairings: Bourne/Landy
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine. Bourne belongs to the Ludlum Estate and Universal Pictures. Landy, Vosen, Hirsch, Kramer, Paz, etc. belong to Frank Marshall, Tony Gilroy, and the rest of the series writers.
Notes: Written as a back-up gift for [livejournal.com profile] ficangel, who requested... Jason Bourne/Pam Landy, or even gen featuring the two of them.



Missed Part 1? Click here

There’s blood on the backseat of the silver sedan, smeared out in a morbid inkblot over the smooth leather. Pamela Landy leaves it untouched. There’s no point in a false trail if she doesn’t give them a breadcrumb or two. The highway patrol will be looking for Tom Cronin’s car; they’ll simply find it a hundred miles in the wrong direction.

She hesitates for a moment before walking away, internally at war over what she believes and what she dares hope for. It could be days, even weeks, for the Justice Department to cut through the lies and stonewalling and it would be naïve to believe Vosen won’t issue a kill order on her just as easily, and carelessly, as he issued the order on Nicky Parsons. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, knowing firsthand how quickly he would justify her death as vital to national security. After all, she disseminated stolen Top Secret documents to an organization outside the Agency. She aided and abetted an Agency priority target. She committed treason. He would order her death and not lose a minute of sleep over it.

She wants to believe that sanity will prevail, but until Vosen is arrested live on CNN she’s not going to take any chances.

It’s only a quarter mile walk to the Allentown Bus Station, but once inside, it takes a few minutes for her hands and face to regain feeling, turned numb from the bitterly cold night outside. The contents of the locker have been there less than twenty-four hours, thrown together hastily somewhere between hours she spent pouring over David’s file and the hours she spent pacing back and forth across her office waiting for dawn. An overstuffed duffle bag comes loose in her hands; she leaves the key in the locker door and hurries to the restroom. Inside is a dark brunette wig to cover her blonde hair and it’s better than nothing. At five foot ten, she’s never blended well into any crowd.

Not even Tom knew about this and she’d hoped it was a backup plan she wouldn’t have to use. But after realizing what Blackbriar really was and how willing Vosen was to go after the Agency’s own, this contingency plan might be the smartest decision she’s made. The rest of the contents of the bag: cash, a prepaid cell phone, and minimal first aid supplies stay in the bag. There’s no one to notice the change in hair color; it’s after midnight; there’s only one, easily avoidable security camera, and the heavyset woman behind the ticket counter is focused on her small television screen.

They’ll need transportation; she didn’t have time to plan that far ahead. But it can wait for now and walking back to the small motel gives her time to consider the options. There aren’t many she’s particularly happy with; Deputy Directors don’t usually commit auto theft.

Desperate times.

She raps softly on the room door before unlocking it and slipping inside. It’s not a surprise to see David standing in the corner shadows, her gun in his hands. She pretends that the sight isn’t unnerving, that the chills running down her spine aren’t because she’s not sure which one she’s dealing with: Jason or David.

“Let me take a look at your back.” Pulling the first aid supplies out of the duffle bag first, she strips off her coat and wig as he settles down onto the bed.

The t-shirt he’s wearing is still wet and clinging to his skin; he smells like the East River. She has to peal the cotton away from his skin to get a look at the wound, feeling for the bullet beneath torn skin. Blood spills out from the wound, turning her fingers a gruesome rust color. What is one more bullet to a man already riddled with holes?

“You’re lucky,” she tells him after deciding that the bullet is buried in muscle and probably hasn’t done any permanent damage. “You have at least one cracked rib and it’s going to bruise like hell. But I’m no doctor.”

“Can you get it out?” he asks, trying to look over his shoulder at the wound.

“Hold still.” Rummaging through the duffle bag, she digs out the bottle of painkillers she’d thrown in on a whim and hands it over. “They’ll help a little.”

Her first step is to press a gauze patch over his wound, soaking up the fresh bleeding caused by examining the wound. She tugs her hair back into a tightly knotted bun to keep it out of the way. The thinnest blade of her Swiss Army knife gets a good scrubbing and wipe down with an alcohol soaked cloth. More alcohol wipes and more gauze are laid out on what is hopefully a clean towel from the bathroom. Once her hands and arms are scrubbed clean with disinfectant, she takes a deep breath and braces herself for what’s coming.

He meets her gaze unflinchingly. There’s a sense of stubbornness in his expression, as though he doesn’t want to trust her enough to help him. The moment passes and he’s stoic again. He lies down on his stomach without prompting.

“Here.” She slides her purse within his reach. “The strap is leather. I don’t mind a few bite marks.”

“Don’t try to be gentle,” he says before setting the strap between his teeth.

“No one’s ever accused me of being gentle.” It’s a poor attempt at a joke and an even poorer attempt at settling her nerves.

Her hands shake just slightly as she pulls away the gauze. She prods as little as possible, just enough to be sure about the location. Blood spills out over his skin with each shift of her fingers. Armed with gauze in one hand to soak up the blood and the knife in the other, she kneels down on the bed beside him.

It’s not a scalpel, but the blade is sharp enough to dig into skin and muscle. It’s enough for her to catch the blunted end of the bullet and pry it up to the surface. She prays she’s not doing more damage in the process. With it removed, she cleans out the wound as quickly as possible with the disinfectant solution; deliberately ignoring the muffled groans of pain. With another layer of gauze taped solidly to his skin, she can breathe normally again.

“We’ll have to watch for infection.”

There are deep teeth marks in the strap of her purse when he pulls it out of his mouth. Sweat glistens over his face and neck, but the look of determination is unchanged. “I need to keep moving.”

She doesn’t question or second-guess him; she’s never been the maternal type. “We need a car. And you need a change of clothes. It’s a five, maybe six, hour drive.” She wraps up the bloody bits of gauze and her scarf, now stiff with blood and irreparable, to dispose of before they leave.

He looks wary, watching her every move. “I can’t run with you. What you’ve done…I can’t…”

“You’ve got the wrong idea,” she stops him smoothly. “You’re running with me, not the other way around. You’re evidence, you’re proof that Blackbriar existed.” That doesn’t get a response; he remains stoic and silent on the end of the bed. If she expected any feedback from him, she would have been disappointed, but she’s already determined that he’s not one to talk about his feelings.

“Do you know where you’re going?” He sounds a little uneasy, as though he’s on unfamiliar ground.

“It’s out of the way and can’t be connected to me unless Vosen can communicate with the dead. Once this blows over, you’re on your own.” She refrains from asking him to come back. The Agency needs him, but she’s certain she already knows his answer to that request. “If I’m not indicted for treason, I’ll do whatever I can to help you.”

“Is that on the record?” he asks, the barest hint of humor showing through.

She almost tells him there is no record, not anymore, but she knows that’s the point of his question. They’re on the same level now, both running from the same people and the same Agency who betrayed them. She wishes she’d met Alex Conklin in the flesh, wishes that she’d been able to ask him the questions burning inside her. Whatever answers might be locked in David’s head are beyond her reach.

There’s something in the inhuman stillness of him that catches her attention, reminding her of what he is. It’s then, in that moment with him sitting on the edge of the bed, that she truly realizes the magnitude of the scars over his arms and shoulders. This is the real thing, the final product of decades of unethical behavior modification. She’s staring at a weapon the CIA spent thirty million dollars to create and, at the same time, she’s staring at a human being who was stripped of all humanity.

It’s terrifying and incredible in the same moment.

The reminder of the black backpack, still lurking in the shadows with its secrets tucked inside, pulls her away from the moment. She needs time to go through the files that she didn’t have time to fax to the Justice Department. There will be questions she’ll need to answer and those files contain the information she needs.

“Pam…Landy,” he speaks softly and, strangely, hesitantly.

“Pam,” she answers before he can finish the question. “What about you? What should I call you?” He looks down at his hands; she’s surprised they’re as steady as they are. The color in his face is fading and he’s paler than she thinks he should be. “If Jason is more familiar--”

“No,” he interrupts adamantly. “I’m not Jason Bourne. Not anymore.”

It’s as simple as a name and as complex as an identity. She’s out of her league here, unsure of what he needs and what she can do to help. Should she reach out to him? Is that what he needs? Or would human contact simply drive him further into self-imposed isolation. She doesn’t know how to reach out to him and he has no idea of how to reach out to anyone. That leaves them in the same motel room with the same enemies but very little they can do to help each other.

“We should go,” she tells him because everything else feels inadequate.

It only takes seconds to pack up everything they brought with them, but more time to wipe the room clean of any traces of them. The dark wig slides back over her hair, making her scalp and neck itch. She tries to pay attention to every wince and grimace, monitoring his health the way she would monitor a field operation. He motions for her follow, only the tightness in his breathing giving away his injury. They find a rundown, and unlocked, Honda Civic at the far end of the parking lot.

“You know I can’t condone this,” she mutters, more as a reminder to herself than rebuking him.

“I can get it started, but you’ll have to drive,” he tells her as he climbs behind the wheel. “Give me the knife.”

She looks away as he digs into the wall of the steering column, telling herself that she’s keeping watch for any indication the owner is bearing down on them. The car engine sputters once, twice, and then stumbles its way to a rattling purr. Once he’s moved to the passenger seat, she tosses the duffle bag into the backseat and gingerly gets behind the wheel, avoiding the bare wires inches above her legs. It looks so easy in the movies.

Once they’re on their way, they’re silent. She knows he’s checking the mirrors and anticipating the worst. She wishes she could reassure him but, at the same time, she’s grateful that she’s not the one having to scan the road behind them. For the moment, she can focus on the road and trust that what makes him Jason will also keep them alive.

“Could you talk?” he asks, still sounding uncomfortable and awkward. “About anything. It doesn’t matter.”

“What do you mean?”

“I get these headaches,” he pauses, looking back over his shoulder at a passing car. “Marie used to talk while we drove. It helped.”

She can’t help but ask what happened in the time between meeting him outside the building and watching him falling from the building. “Did you find what you were looking for?”

He looks away. “I remember coming in.” The answer isn’t a yes or a no.

“Anything before that? Home, family?” He shakes his head. If he’s disappointed or afraid, it doesn’t show on his face. Of course, he’s had three years to cope with his lost past, perhaps it’s better if those memories never return. “And after you became Jason Bourne? How much of that has come back to you?”

He shakes his head again, this time grimacing with either physical or mental pain. “I remember the people I killed. I can see their faces.”

Uncomfortable with the obvious struggle he’s in and noticing the sweat beading on his forehead, she drops the subject and turns her attention back to the road. There’s at least five hours of driving ahead of her and she doesn’t want it to be five hours of hell for either of them.

“I knew Abbott was hiding something from the beginning,” she says, changing the subject. “I could see how terrified he was that you weren’t dead. Vosen was the same way. At first, I thought it was just Blackbriar he was hiding. He wanted the source of the leak, but he wanted you dead even more than he wanted Daniels. That’s what doesn’t make sense to me. There’s something more, I just can’t put my finger on it.”

He turns toward her, focusing on her intently. “Why did you join the CIA?”

He’s asking her something that no one else has ever asked; what no one else has cared to know. Where she came from, how hard she’d fought to get to a Deputy Director position; none of that was information that anyone else needed or wanted to know. She glances over again and sees a new expression in his eyes. It means they’re not as different as she thought, each of them swallowed up by the Agency to the point that nothing else is left. Seeing the comparison, hearing it in his voice, she tries again.

“When I was in high school, I tried out for cheerleading.”

***

“Have they found Bourne’s body?” Ezra Kramer asks tightly, angry and frustrated both with the turn of events and Vosen’s incompetence. Assume the worst. They can’t count Bourne out until they have his body in the morgue.

“Not yet. If he managed to survive, he may have had help escaping. Landy’s assistant reported his car stolen late last night less than a block from the training facility and no one has seen or heard from Landy since yesterday.” There’s furtiveness in Vosen’s voice, which is usually slick and plying; as though he’s holding back details of what’s happening. “Is there still a chance?”

Ezra Kramer swallows down his disgust at the pleading desperation in Vosen’s voice. Noah Vosen is a coward; easily manipulated with the promise of power.

“Can we still pin this on Landy?”

He signed off on Blackbriar without looking at the details. He didn’t, and still doesn’t, want to know how they created Jason Bourne; he knows it involved pharmaceuticals ungoverned by the FDA and behavior modification techniques ungoverned by anyone at all. That’s more than enough knowledge to burn him. The Blackbriar Operations file isn’t enough to tie it to him unquestionably, but he always plans for the worst-case scenario. He has to find a way to keep the rest of the files Jason Bourne stole from Vosen’s office from getting out.

“Ezra?” Vosen asks, still cowering.

“If she testifies, we’re dead in the water and so is Blackbriar.” Kramer already knows it will be years before another program can be restarted and that they’re going to lose ground they can’t afford to cede. What the suits in Washington will never understand is that programs like Blackbriar, and the sniveling worms that run them, are just as necessary as all the civil liberties Congress is so fond of mentioning during elections.

“My office will be crawling with oversight investigators in less than twenty four hours.”

Always making excuses for everything is Vosen’s trademark. Kramer resists the urge to simply hang up the phone right then, but since he has a limited window before every call he makes is recorded, he keeps the receiver against his ear. “Do what you have to do. I’ll see what I can do to discredit Landy as the source.”

He places the phone back into the cradle without waiting for a response and begins his own preparations. In order to survive the coming scandal, he has to isolate himself from both Vosen and Landy. There’s always a way to shift the responsibility to someone else, he merely has to find the right buttons to push and the right opinions to sway. He has support in the Justice Department, men who understand the whys and the hows behind what really keeps the country safe. If he plays his cards right, he’ll come out tarnished but intact.

Of course, his job would be easier if Vosen was competent enough to eliminate Landy on his own. Since he can’t count on that, he’ll have to make his own preparations. As long as she’s out there, she’s a loose end.

A loose end that could cost him everything he’s accomplished.

Vosen will send an asset to track her down, the quick and linear method. It won’t work, of course. Pamela Landy isn’t an idiot and she’ll anticipate anything Vosen might do. She’ll go underground and she’ll go deep.

Tapping the personnel file lying on his desk, he focuses intently on her name as if that alone had the power to dig up her secrets. Even someone as squeaky clean as Landy has to have a few skeletons he can exploit to turn the tide in his favor. All he has to do is muddy the waters and leave the Justice Department to sort it out. With the process bogged down in complicated hearings and oversight committee meetings, he can silently dismantle Blackbriar and rebuild once public attention is turned elsewhere.

He knows just the person for the job.

It’s not a conversation he can have over the phone. He leaves an innocuous voicemail about a round of golf for the upcoming weekend and tells his assistant he’s going out to get some fresh air. She should get some too, he says with a smile. She’s the one fielding calls from the press; she looks close to overwhelmed already and it’s barely dawn. He’s taken great care to treat her well, to earn her loyalty.

Once out of the main building, he walks to the nearest park, purchasing up a cup of coffee along the way. To a casual observer, he’s merely headed to work early. Twenty minutes later, he sees a man jogging toward him in dark gray sweat pants and hooded sweater. Coincidentally, the man stops to drink from his water bottle and takes the opportunity to stretch his calves against the park bench Kramer is sitting on. The man’s face is shadowed and mostly hidden by the hood, his voice low and unremarkable.

“It’s been a long time, Ez,” the man says mildly.

“Too long. How’s the family?”

“Doing well.” The casual tone and lazy stretching are deceptive, hiding the fact that Mark Reynolds has already scanned the park several times in search of anyone who shouldn’t be part of their conversation. “What can I do for you?”

“I’ve got a pest problem.”

Reynolds nods before taking another long swallow from his water bottle. “You need a clean-up crew?”

“I’ve got a crew but their level of containment hasn’t been what I would’ve liked.”

“Pest control can be tricky that way. My team can handle the extermination if that’s what you’re looking for.”

Kramer nods once, sipping at his coffee and savoring the rich flavor. “I’m going to need full sanitation. The works. And you might want to warn them there’s a particularly nasty breed of cockroach in the mix. I’d say the creature was born to make things difficult. Might be a problem, might not.” For a brief moment, piercing blue eyes are staring out of the shadowed hood and there’s enough light for Kramer to see the distinctive scar cutting over the bridge of Reynolds’ nose. He’s never asked where the scar came from; it’s one of the few things in this world that Ezra Kramer does not want to know.

Reynolds steps away from the bench, eyeing the jogging path. “Heard about that too. Might just take this job myself.”

“I’ll get you whatever access and equipment you need,” Kramer offers. It’s an unnecessary offer left unheeded, no answer but the sound of shoes striking pavement as Reynolds jogs away.

There is something to be said about the outfit Reynolds maintains out in the free market, away from the constraints of government. Men like Reynolds understand that they have a job to fill, an ancient and timeless job as natural to the human race as teacher or prison guard. This country needs men who are willing to cross those lines and get the real work done rather than cower behind vague ideals of justice and nobility. Those lofty ideals mean nothing when the threat comes from zealots lurking in innumerable crevices. Nobility isn’t going to prevent further terrorist attacks against the United States.

Kramer takes a deep breath before getting back to his feet and starting the return trip to his office. This isn’t about his career; it’s about keeping the country safe against an amorphous, shifting enemy. If that means sacrificing a few chess pieces along the way, he’s willing to make that call.

Onward to Pt. 3

Date: 2008-02-24 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lazaefair.livejournal.com
Ooh. *shiver* The sucker-punch in this chapter is definitely the closing paragraphs. When I started reading about the way Kramer was justifying his actions - following up his plans for saving his own ass and assassinating the threats to his career, he puts it all in the category of "protecting the country against terrorists." Excellently managed tone, and I like how you're fleshing out a character that was barely in the movies.

Great story

Date: 2008-02-29 04:51 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi, Just read both chapters of "I was a Ghost..." and loved it. Really interesting set-up. I liked that Pam is thinking that she wants Bourne alive as "evidence" and that there isn't a romance between them. Very much enjoyed her assessments of Jason/David as they travel together. Also liked the scenes with Kramer to set up what's happening with the "bad guys". Hope you continue with this story! -- take care, MoonCrow

Re: Great story

Date: 2008-02-29 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bigsciencybrain.livejournal.com
Well, you might want to stop reading here...

This was written for a ficathon and the request was for Bourne and Landy as a pairing. So that's what I wrote. It won't be happy fluffy romance by any stretch of the imagination, but it will be there. Just a heads up.

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