bigsciencybrain: (cheshire muse)
[personal profile] bigsciencybrain
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.




“Tom?” Carla looks worried, even terrified, and her voice has permanently settled into a higher octave. “There’s a man here to see you. He’s in the living room.”

Tom Cronin glances at his four-year-old daughter, held tight in Carla’s arms and obviously aware that something is very wrong with her mother. “Why don’t you take Mary upstairs? I’m sure this won’t take long.” He kisses Mary’s forehead and gives Carla’s shoulder what he hopes is a comforting squeeze.

He can’t tell her it will be all right; Justice Department investigators and internal Agency agents have been in and out of their home enough in the past twenty-four hours that she’ll know he’s lying. His security clearance stripped, firearm taken away; and every one of the Internal Affairs goons looks at him as though he’s committed treason. He follows a step behind his wife and daughter to the foot of the stairs, watching them retreat to the second floor. Once he’s sure they’re out of earshot, he heads into the living room.

“Can I help...” he tries to sound welcoming but his voice falters when he sees the man staring intently at the wall of family photos. He’s tall, broad shouldered, and smiling; but despite the Agency standard trench coat, Tom is immediately sure he’s not part of the Agency. The scar across his face is unusual enough to make his face unforgettable. If he were to guess, he would put the man in his fifties, but he moves with the fluidity of a much younger man.

“Agent Cronin.”

Extending his hand, he forces a smile. “And you are?”

“Curious.” His head tips to the side as he leans forward to shake hands. “I heard they found your car down near Allentown yesterday morning. That’s a relief.”

“I won’t be getting it back any time soon, but yes, I’m glad they found it.”

The man with no name reaches into his coat, pulling out a thick manila folder. He doesn’t open it, simply taps the edge against his palm as he wanders the room, appearing to be evaluating the decor. “You and Pam have worked together a long time.”

“Since I joined the Agency.” Bristling against the casual use of Pam’s name, he decides against offering the stranger a seat, but sits down on the sofa and tries to relax. “I’ve been through all of this with the investigators from the Justice Department.”

“I’m not with the Justice Department.”

“And Internal Affairs.”

He glances over his shoulder with an infuriating smile. “Not with them either.”

“So you’re what? NSA? DOD?” Tom waits a beat for an answer but doesn’t expect one.

The man pauses to sniff at the vase of fresh flowers Carla brought home before turning around, completely ignoring the deliberately pointed question. “You two probably spent a lot of time together over the years. Ever see each other outside of work? Socially.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” His temper is worn thin from the stress of never-ending questions. He’s given up trying to convince anyone that Pam isn’t a traitor and the tightrope walk of not giving them any reason to arrest him is getting more difficult by the hour.

“Just trying to get a feel for the players.”

“Let me save you the trouble, I don’t know where she is. That’s what I told the Justice Department and the Agency. They’ve tapped my phones, gone through my mail; I have a twenty-four hour detail parked outside my front door. Feel free to ask them.”

Unexpectedly, the man moves to take a seat across from Tom, still tapping the file into his palm as steady as a metronome. “Here’s the part I don’t understand. Pamela Landy spends twenty years of her life building her career. She’s driven, ambitious, smart as they come. No family, no pets, no life outside of work. Explain to me why the woman I just described would throw that all away for a man she barely knows. An assassin. Jason Bourne.”

“Maybe I should be asking you how well you know her.”

“She’s an interesting person. She fought her way to the top without so much as an audit. Never broke a rule, never even bent one.” The file stops, resting lightly against his hand. Strangely, the silence is more ominous than the tapping. “Until Berlin. Something happened in Berlin. She changed.”

“Watching a man blow his brains out will do that,” he answers sharply; wary of where the conversation is turning.

The man leans his head to the side once again, turning his scar askew and making it that much harder to ignore. “You’d take a bullet for her, wouldn’t you?” The silence is deafening and there is no answer to that question that will help Pam. “It would be nothing to give her your car and hold off reporting it stolen long enough to give her a head start.”

“I have nothing to tell you that I haven’t already told the investigators.”

The man leans forward, the smile suddenly gone from his face. “I don’t need your help to find her. What you tell me only changes what happens to her once I do. I want an explanation.”

Tom takes a deep breath before responding, refusing to look away from the man’s gaze. There must be mental damage behind that scar for him to be demanding an explanation for Pam’s actions. No one from the Agency has cared to ask why, they only care that she broke the rules. “Captain David Webb. How’s that for your explanation?”

“A ghost. Captain Webb’s family buried him on June 5,1999 after he was killed in action in Somalia.”

“Jason Bourne might disagree.”

“Also a ghost. Jason Charles Bourne was killed on March 25, 1968 in Vietnam.”

Tom is surprised by the fact that there ever was a Jason Bourne. He manages to keep his expression neutral, realizing that the stranger with the scar probably knows a great deal about Bourne and Blackbriar. It made a certain kind of sense that they would use names of soldiers long gone, with families who wouldn’t ask questions. Irrationally, he wonders if the real Jason Bourne’s family has a flag or a medal hanging on their wall as ironic tribute to the fallen soldier.

The man is still watching Tom with eerie focus; his expression not giving away any secrets, but still conveying the impression that everything Tom says will be vitally important to Pam’s survival. “Webb contacted her when he arrived in New York. She gave him the window to break into the deep cover office; she provided the security access card.”

“That’s ridiculous--”

He reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a staff clearance card, holding it between his index and middle fingers. “All identification cards have chips embedded in them and every time it’s used, that ID is stored in the system. This is the card that gave Webb access to Vosen’s office. It’s registered to Pamela Landy.”

Tom’s hope begins to fade; if true, this alone will be grounds to send Landy to prison and throw away the key. “She would have told me.”

“A canvas of motels in Allentown turned up one cashmere scarf, black, soaked with Webb’s blood. A Honda Civic was reported stolen from the motel parking lot. Do I need to keep going?”

He’s half tempted to refuse to answer without a lawyer present, but he doubts either the law or the Constitution will protect him against Blackbriar and any of its creations.

“Tell me why she’s helping him, tell me what she’s trying to accomplish.” He sounds genuinely confused by Pam’s choices.

“Because of what they did to him. To David Webb.”

The crooked, arrogant smile returns. “Captain Webb knew what he was signing up for, Agent Cronin. Don’t be fooled into believing he didn’t understand what it meant. He is not the maligned hero in this story and I’m not the villain with a disfiguring scar.”

It feels as though the temperature in the room has dropped ten degrees. He trusts Pam; trusts her with his life and his future. Does she know? With Bourne as fragmented as he is, it’s unlikely that his induction into the program came up as casual driving conversation. The answer he can’t be sure of is whether or not this knowledge would’ve changed Pam’s decision. Volunteer or not, Bourne hasn’t given any indication that he has warm and fuzzy feelings for Blackbriar. But what if David Webb wasn’t all that different from Jason Bourne? Did they make an assassin, or did they merely find one?

The man is still watching him, still waiting for an answer. He doesn’t know what answer to give, which one will keep Pam from harm and send this man off in the wrong direction. “Because the American people deserve to know about Blackbriar. Because government should always be accountable to its people.”

“So what’s her game plan, Agent Cronin? Expose Blackbriar and then leave you to hang as an accessory while she disappears with a thirty million dollar black ops weapon. Sounds like you put your life on the line for her and she repaid you by setting you up to take a fall.”

Furious, he stands up, clenching his fists tightly. “I’m going to ask you to leave.”

The man very deliberately lays the file down on the coffee table in front of the sofa before standing. “When she contacts you, and I know she will, I want you to think real hard about what could happen to you and that perfect little family of yours.”

Tom keeps rigid, barely containing his anger and fear over the threat toward his family. “Get out.” He doesn’t bother following the man out of his home, unable to relax until he hears the door close. The file folder has a malevolent presence; there’s no good reason the man would leave it behind. Whatever its contents are, they can only make the situation worse.

It feels as though the weight on his shoulders has increased; he’s carrying the fate of his wife and daughter as well. Sinking back down onto the couch, he reaches out to rest his fingertips against the folder. There is no audible ticking, but he can’t escape the feeling that it’s a time bomb.

“Tom? Honey?” Carla’s voice breaks through his focus. Her face is white, indicating that she’s been standing in the hallway for some time. “Who was that man?”

He’s tempted to lie but can’t find the words. “I don’t know. He...he was asking about Pam.”

“Is she going to be all right?” She moves to sit at his side, reaching out to take his hand.

“I hope so.”

“What now?”

Pressing a kiss against the back of her hand, he smiles as cheerfully as he can manage. “We wait. She’ll come forward as soon as she can.”

“It feels like you’re under house arrest. They won’t let you go to work; they followed me to the grocery store this morning. I’m afraid to even pick up the phone.” She lays her head against his shoulder, soft brown hair fluttering down around her face. He brushes it behind her ear, savoring the light floral scent of her shampoo. “I know I wanted you to spend more time with Mary, but a trip to Disneyland would have been fine.”

He can tell she’s trying to make light of it, to find the humor in a dark situation. The courage in her attempt at humor makes him that much more terrified of losing her and Mary. He knows Pam, but now he’s seen what she’s up against and he’s not convinced this is a fight she can win. If it was as simple as right versus wrong, he would breathe easier, but fighting men like that, buried so deep into covert organizations that they’re accountable to no one, is never simple. He doesn’t have a name or identifying organization to give her; he can’t warn her about spooks and shadows with scars.

“I need to check on a few things, it should only take an hour or so. Then the three of us can pretend we’re in Disneyland, we’ll build a castle out of pillows and couch cushions. How does that sound?”

Carla smiles and presses a kiss against his forehead as she gets up. “I’ll start lunch.”

Once she’s gone, he takes the file folder and heads into the den and his laptop. The investigators have already been through his computer and all of his files, but they didn’t take the actual machine. He’s convinced they installed all manner of programs to track his use of the machine instead; there’s no point in leaving it otherwise. They want Pamela enough to allow him the freedom to lead them straight to her.

Settling down at his laptop, he waits impatiently as it connects to the Internet. The blank file folder continues to haunt him, lurking at the edge of his vision, but he continues to ignore it. Whatever information they freely give him will be intended to intimidate or terrify him into giving up Pam’s location.

A location he doesn’t have.

“Thank you, Freedom of Information Act,” he mutters under his breath as the browser window finally opens. He searches for the two pieces of information that he does have: David Webb and Jason Charles Bourne. If he can verify either of the men ever existed, if the man was telling the truth, there will be at least two facts he has in a world of shifting reality.

Captain David Webb is easy. In a town of twelve thousand people, an Army Captain killed in action made headlines. According to the archived newspaper article and obituary, David Webb was laid to rest as a hero and small town favorite son. June 5, 1999. He wonders briefly if there is actually someone buried in Webb’s coffin.

Jason Bourne proves more difficult to find. Carefully navigating from page to page, he searches through as many public access databases as he can find without stumbling across any reference to a Jason Bourne killed in Vietnam. On a hunch, he moves into the missing in action databases. The name is listed under the year: Jason Charles Bourne. MIA.

The specificity of the date pricks at him, March 25, 1968. He can’t fathom a reason why the man would have deliberately given him an exact date. How did the man know the real Bourne was dead? Uneasy, and wary of prying eyes and ears at the Justice Department, he closes the web pages and shuts down his laptop.

His gaze falls to the folder and, once against, he’s troubled with the choice it presents. Is it meant to make him doubt his loyalty to Pam? Is it meant to trick him into sending her rushing into a trap? He has no way to determine if his family will be in greater danger if he knows what’s inside or if he doesn’t. The less he knows, the less he can give away and the less of a risk he is to Pam.

But can he risk not knowing?

With dread turning the pit of his stomach into ice, he slowly opens the folder. The first page is a blurred copy of an old enlistment record for Jason Charles Bourne. Birthdate, blood type, all of the basic details for the other Jason Bourne laid out in black and white. When he reaches the bottom of the page, his heart nearly skips a beat. Double agent. Terminated. The date is left conspicuously absent, lost to all but those who were directly involved.

“Why would he give this to me?” he asks the empty room, far too used to having Pam there and always two or three steps ahead of him.

Beneath the enlistment record is a black and white photograph of three men dressed in camouflage. The background is dense jungle, probably Vietnam. He immediately recognizes the man on the left, although the picture was taken before he obtained the distinctive scar. The angle of his stance obscures the name patch above his left breast pocket, but his companions’ patches are clearly visible. The man on the far right has a patch that reads Bourne. Standing between them, captured in the midst of laughter, is a much younger Ezra Kramer.

It doesn’t make any sense.

The last document in the folder is an old, archive style operations manual with the word MEDUSA stamped across the front in bold, black letters. He slowly flips through the pages, pouring over the entries in an effort to absorb all of the information he can. Much of it is coded in language he doesn’t understand, strings of numbers and lingo that may as well be another language. Familiar and unfamiliar names are peppered throughout the document: Kramer, Bourne, Conklin, Hirsch, Reynolds.

After the first dozen pages, and with increasing horror, he begins to comprehend the true purpose of the Bourne Identity.

***

“What?” Senator Carlisle asks, dumbfounded by the impossibility of what former CIA Director Marshall is telling him.

“It’s all gone. Whole sections of surveillance video...vanished. All records of the access cards used to get into Vosen’s office, gone. There is absolutely no evidence that Jason Bourne was ever in the building.” The lines in Marshall’s brow have become permanent, etched into his skin by the weight of the world.

“You’re telling me that someone has tampered with the entire system. How?”

“We don’t know. But they’ve left us with nothing. A ghost, a memory. We can’t prove Bourne was even there.”

“And Landy?”

“We have the audio copy of the phone call you received from CRI, but even that has now been erased from the mainframe. Anything and everything that could’ve been connected to Bourne or Landy is gone.”

“Vosen?”

“He tried to cover his own ass, that’s for sure. The forensics team is digging into his computer files and they’ve already found red flags. He was sloppy, overzealous.” The lines in Marshall’s brow seem to deepen by the second. “Whoever altered the mainframe was efficient and precise. And they didn’t destroy any evidence of the Blackbriar program itself. It wasn’t Vosen.”

Senator Carlisle reaches for the bottle of antacids that will be his permanent companion for the duration of the burgeoning scandal. “My God. This is unbelievable. There can’t be more than a handful of people on this planet who could do something like this. Waltzing into a CIA building is one thing, hacking into the mainframe is a completely different can of worms. Could Bourne have done this?”

“He had access to Vosen's computer and we’re investigating the theory that a virus could have been planted, but it’s doubtful that Bourne himself would have the know-how to do this. His specialization was languages, hand to hand, small arms, logistics.” Marshall closes the brief on his lap and passes it over the desk. “There is one more thing.”

“You’re telling me this gets worse?”

Reaching into his jacket pocket, he slides out a photograph and places it carefully on top of the brief. “This man visited Tom Cronin, Landy’s second in command, this morning.”

“He’s certainly not shy,” Carlisle comments as he squints at the photograph. The man in question is looking directly at the camera and smiling, although it would be impossible to know for sure if he’d been aware of the surveillance. A distinctive scar across his face is clearly visible. “Has he been identified? Shouldn’t be too hard.”

“His name is Mark Reynolds. Private contractor.”

“You mean he’s a mercenary.”

“According to the surveillance team, he questioned Cronin about Landy.”

“So has everyone else on the eastern seaboard.”

Marshall takes a deep breath, his expression troubled. “Reynolds is a ghost among ghosts, Senator. The very fact that he’s here, and that he obviously wants us to take notice, moves this investigation to an entirely different level.”

“I’m not following.”

“How well do you know your history? Particularly of covert Agency operations during the Vietnam War.”

“He hardly looks old enough to have served in Vietnam.” Squinting at the photograph again, he tries to guess the man’s age. “That would make him nearly sixty at the youngest.”

“With all due respect, Senator, how old are you?”

“Point taken. Continue.”

“It might interest you to know who he served with during Vietnam. Ezra Kramer.”

Senator Carlisle leans back into his chair, trying to wrestle the information into a manageable, coherent picture of the situation. That Marshall feels compelled to bring this information to his attention is enough to make him consider its importance. “What you’re telling me, however indirectly, is that although Ezra Kramer has denied all knowledge of the existence of Blackbriar, the appearance of this man would indicate otherwise. Have you discussed this with Fred?”

Marshall shakes his head quickly. “And have him run back to Kramer?”

“If we move on this, what happens?”

“Our first concern is Tom Cronin. I took the liberty of arranging transfer for him and his family to an FBI safe house. Then we’ve got to find a way to bring Landy in before Reynolds finds her. Kramer wouldn’t be after her if she couldn’t bring this back to him somehow.”

“And you’re sure no one else could have hired Reynolds?”

“No one else who would benefit from sending him after Landy.” He waits a beat, letting the words settle into silence. “We have to move on Vosen before it’s too late.”

“Very well.” Reaching for his phone, he dials in the number for the Attorney General’s office. “Pray that Garrison is in the mood to arrest a few senior CIA officers. And Martin? Do I want to know how exactly you know about Reynolds?”

To his surprise, Marshall smiles. “History must be remembered to be avoided, Senator.”

“That’s a polite way of telling me to mind my own business.” The female voice on the other end of the line tells him to hold. He doesn’t press the issue because the poor woman sounds positively frantic. “What are we going to find, Martin? When we lift up this rock and shine a flashlight under it; tell me what else is going to come crawling out of that darkness.”

Marshall’s smile falters ever so slightly and his answer is nearly inaudible. “Medusa.”
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