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.



The edges of Marie’s face are soft in the moonlight, her hair falling in waves down over her shoulders; waves in the distance lap against beach in a soothing, asymmetrical rhythm.

“But that’s why we write them down. Because sooner or later you’re going to remember something good.” She believes it, believes he’s going to get better if they only keep trying.

“I do remember something good.”

The dream stutters, hiccups, and he’s once again alone on the porch. He hears footsteps and turns, expecting Marie.

It’s Pamela Landy standing next to him this time, blonde hair falling down around her face in waves. Not as soft, her edges are sharper than Marie’s; pale skin is warm silver in the moonlight. “Sooner or later you’re going to remember.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You have to remember.”

The dream is veering away from what he knows, away from memory, away from the solace of pretense, and there’s a new sense of urgency beneath the surface. He’s missing something important. “What? What am I supposed to remember?”

“Jason. You have to remember.”

“Tell me...tell me what I’m supposed to remember.”

The dream version of Landy smiles, crooked and eerie, and a pale scar line gradually seeps out of the shadows on her face. Blue eyes bore into him, setting the inside of his skull on fire. He doesn’t understand, he doesn’t remember.

“You fit the profile.”


His eyes open, pain radiating out from the bullet wound in his back as he bolts upright. The tightness in his chest gives way as he breathes, pulling in air with desperate gulps. His surroundings clear, revealing the familiarity of the cabin. The lamp, the painting of the lighthouse; he can see bright blue sky – how long has he been asleep? – through the window.

Pamela is beside him instantly, pressing a cool hand against his forehead. “David?”

“Nightmare,” he tells her hoarsely. This time it’s true. It wasn’t a memory, wasn’t his past; it was just a nightmare. A normal, human nightmare that doesn’t mean anything sinister is lurking in the darkness.

He feels the bed shift as she moves away, averting his eyes as she pulls the flannel shirt around her bare body. The pain in his head lessens as the dream fades and the fragments that remain in his consciousness are bizarre, nonsensical. It was Marie, then Pamela, yet somehow he knows the creature in his dream was neither of them, it simply borrowed their faces and their voices to torment him.

The mattress shifts again as she returns with a glass of water and painkillers. “Here.”

He swallows down all of the pills at once. The cool water soothes the heat beneath his skin. “Thank you.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Rubbing circles into his temples, he tries to sort out what was memory and what wasn’t. “Just faces, voices. A scar. I remember the scar. The man who brought me to Treadstone had a scar across the left side of his face.” He traces a line across his cheek as demonstration but doesn’t mention that it was her face bearing the mark in his dream. It isn’t useful information, just a bizarre creation of his shattered mind.

“There are people who can help you, David.”

“No one can fix what I’ve done.”

“You don’t have to do this alone.”

He turns to face her, meeting her gaze directly. “Yes, I do. It’s the only way I can do this.”

His place is in the shadows; away from everything and everyone he might unintentionally destroy. There is nothing for him to go back to. No family, no job, no white picket fence around the American dream. They might leave him alone; they might turn him into a lab rat and dig around his brain trying to determine what went wrong. After all, to the men of Treadstone and Blackbriar, the amnesia wasn’t the problem. He stood behind Wombozi and didn’t pull the trigger; that was his malfunction.

“Let me help you.”

“You’ve done enough,” he says simply. She believed him when all the evidence made him a liar, pulled him out the river and out of harm’s way. She will be the one who walks into the inferno with the fate of the CIA - his fate - in her hands. Blackbriar is her dragon to slay, not his. And all he can give her are words, breath given form but not meaning.

The determined expression returns and he doubts there’s a power on earth that can stand between Pamela Landy and her goal. “If you stay here, just for a few more days, I’ll come back with an offer. If it’s not what you want, I’ll help you disappear for good. We’ll never bother you again.”

We.

Part of him desperately wants to understand her devotion in the face of all that’s happened. He looked into the heart of darkness and only saw evil. Somehow, she sees more than that. What would have become of him if he’d found his way to her sooner? If she’d discovered Treadstone years ago, would he have been on the yacht that night? Against every instinct he has, he nods. Rationally, he knows that he’s not ready to run again. Not yet.

Maybe it’s time to stop running.

Her hand glides lightly over his shoulder and down his back, her fingers searching out each cut, each bruise. She’s focused and analytical as she inspects each of his wounds. “It’ll be a few more days before you’ll feel human again.”

The smile is unbidden, stretching muscles he hasn’t used in months. “No one’s ever accused me of being human,” he says, echoing her own words.

“Was that a joke? There was no mention of a sense of humor in your file.”

“Laughter doesn’t kill people.” Stiff and sore, he pushes back until he can lean against the headboard of the bed. Even that small movement leaves him exhausted and wincing against the aching that seems to extend deep into his bones. It will be weeks before he’ll be able to breath without pain.

Long legs unfurl from the blankets as she leaves the bed. “I need to get those files into the right hands. It’s been...” she trails off, searching through her clothes for her watch. “Almost three days.”

It feels longer than that. A lifetime has passed since he was plunging through the dark into the icy water below. He should stop her – they can’t let her live - but he keeps quiet. There is no dissuading her, just as Marie could never convince him to let go, and his own future depends on what happens with those files. Either he’ll be allowed to disappear or he’ll be hunted for the rest of his life. Whether or not his freedom is worth Pamela’s life, he can’t answer.

He’ll be alone again.

The realization is unsettling. In a very short time, he’s become used to her presence and his hunger for companionship, for someone to fill the silence and stop the ghosts from swallowing him whole. But it makes him vulnerable and puts her at risk. Closing his eyes – watching Marie die was enough, too much – he tries to distance himself from the sounds of her preparations.

Pamela’s voice breaks his reverie. “Coffee?” She hands him a mug, steam rising lazily and filling the room with the thick aroma.

Awkwardly, he motions to the room around them as if that explains everything he wants to tell her. “You should find him. Rick. Before it’s too late.”

“Believe me, I owe him...for this. For possibly saving both of our lives.” There’s more she wants to say, he can see the hesitation in the subtle way she bites at her lower lip, but she simply smiles before leaving him to his thoughts.

Maybe it’s the lessening of the pain or receding fever; time seems to stand still in this place, pushing the reality of tomorrow into the distance. He always took shelter in the bustle of crowds – they trained him to disappear – and the isolation of the woods offers a vastly different kind of protection. The unbroken silence appeals to him. His mind is quieter here, the tattered edges of his sanity no longer as sharp and painful.

When she returns again, she’s wearing her coat and the dark wig that makes her almost a stranger. The backpack strap is clutched tightly in her fist. She places her gun on the chair beside the bed. “If they’ve decided to shoot me on sight...this won’t stop them. But it might help you. There’s a full clip and one in the chamber.” She hesitates, biting at her lower lip as she sits down on the bed beside him. “If I’m not back in three or four days...if I can’t come back myself, I’ll send someone I know you can trust. I’ll find a way if I can, but if I can’t.” She doesn’t need to finish the sentence; they both know this isn’t a social gathering she’s attending and there’s no guarantee she’ll survive.

“Be careful,” he manages to say. It’s trite and useless. Once she’s gone, he has to assume that she won’t return.

“David.” She looks down, the long wig falling down like a curtain and concealing much of her face. “About last night.”

“No one will know--”

“I’m not worried about the ethics committee.”

“It wasn’t...I shouldn’t have,” he stops because he doesn’t know what to say.

“I understand.” The sad smile returns and he finally realizes what it means. This is the mask she wears, the barrier she puts up to keep the rest of the world at bay. She lives her life with eyes wide open and only a sad, barely-there smile hinting at possible regrets or shattered dreams.

“Good luck,” he says finally.

She readjusts her grip on the backpack as she stands. “Try to rest. You’ll need your strength.” She pauses at the doorway, looking back for a moment before she turns around. The envelope of pictures is what caught her attention and called her back. She searches through them for a moment before selecting one, pulling it out and tucking it into her purse.

One photograph.

As if reading his mind, she smiles. “It’s on the kitchen counter. The picture of you and Marie.”

He hadn’t even allowed himself the hope that it was still safely stowed in the pockets of the backpack. Once she’s gone, the sound of the engine faded completely away, he’s left with only the crackle of the fire to keep him company. He feels strangely at peace. For the first time since meeting Marie, he allows cautious optimism to seep into his view of the world.

Maybe it’s finally over; maybe this time, he’s free.

***

“Martin, listen to me,” Tom Cronin argues, refusing to let the FBI agent drag him out of his home. “This is Pam we’re talking about. I’m not leaving.”

Marshall seems unfazed by the protest. “It’s for your own protection, Tom.”

“Take Carla and Mary and get them as far away as possible. Please. But let me stay here. Pam isn’t going to trust anyone else, sir. Not even you.” He waits for that to sink in, unsure if he’s stepped into more dangerous territory and made the situation worse. Out of the corner of his eye, he can see Carla and knows from her expression that she isn’t going to stop him.

“Alright. But you’re coming with me.”

“Thank you, sir.” Trading one form of anxiety for another, he reaches for the suitcase Carla hurriedly packed. When he opens to his mouth to speak, she shakes her head, her eyes bright with tears.

“Don’t. Don’t try to explain why you’re choosing your job over your family. I don’t want to hear it. I can’t.” Her voice is uneven and furious, her hands clenched tightly around the straps of her purse.

“Carla, please.”

Tears spill out onto her cheeks, breaking his heart into pieces with each one. “What if they kill you, Tom? What do I do if you’re gone? What do I tell Mary? That her father loved his job more than he loved her?”

It’s not the first time they’ve had this argument and he hasn’t yet found a way to salve her fears. “It’s not that simple.”

“Yes, it is, Tom.” She wipes at her cheeks angrily before pushing past him.

He follows her out of the house to the waiting car and makes sure she and Mary are safely inside. Torn by the decision he has to make, he tries to smile and prays she’ll come to understand. “I love you.” She looks up through the open window, her dark brown eyes the same as the day he fell in love with them, but she doesn’t speak, merely pulls Mary tighter and turns her face away.

The engine starts, forcing him to back away from the car. He watches the dark sedan until it disappears around the corner, doubting his choice, doubting himself. Is he making a mistake?

“It never gets easier,” Marshall says quietly as he waves the next car forward.

Tom climbs into the car; there’s little he can say that will make it easier to watch his wife and child disappear when it could be the last time he sees them.

Marshall slides into the seat next to him, watching carefully, as though trying to peer directly into his brain and determine if he’s lied about his involvement in Landy’s disappearance. “The Justice Department set up temporary headquarters at CRI. We’ll join them there. We’ve haven’t made any progress in finding Landy. Which means the people after her probably haven’t either.”

“I don’t know where she is.” He’s weary of repeating those six words over and over again. “But she said she’d find a way to contact me.”

Marshall raises an eyebrow. “You failed to mention that earlier.”

“Must’ve slipped my mind.”

“We have no doubt that if she does make contact, it will be with you. That’s why we’re trying to keep you alive,” Marshall explains dryly.

“And Vosen?”

Glancing at his watch, Marshall shrugs. “He should be in handcuffs as we speak. They arrested Dr. Albert Hirsch almost an hour ago. The Justice Department already has a fairly lengthy list of charges against them even without Landy’s testimony.”

“Then why all this?” He motions to the car and what it means; the necessity of sending his family to a safe house. “If you’ve got Vosen and Hirsch already, why are you still after Pam?”

“We’re not,” Marshall answers, almost impatiently. “But someone is. We need to get to her before they do. Pam’s smart, we both know that, but she can’t outsmart the entire Agency.”

“Hasn’t seemed to be a problem for Bourne.”

A muscle in Marshall’s jaw twitches and Tom can almost hear the sound of his teeth grinding together. “They’re searching the river for his body. Will they find it, Agent Cronin?”

“Depends on who’s looking.”

Eyes narrowing, Marshall leans his chin against a closed fist and waits several long minutes before speaking again. This time, the tone of his voice is conciliatory. “His name is Mark Reynolds. The man who approached you this morning. I doubt that I need to tell you that he’s dangerous.”

“Who’s he with? NSA?”

“The highest bidder. He’s a contract killer, plain and simple.”

Tom wants to trust Marshall. More than anything, he wants to believe that the Agency contains more people like Pam than people like Vosen. He hesitates, fully aware of the risk of revealing what he thinks he knows. It’s not just his future that he’s gambling with; it’s Pam and his family that he could put in danger with one wrong word. After a moment’s temptation, he bites his tongue and looks away.

The car comes to a stop outside CRI and Marshall climbs out without further discussion, waiting for Tom to join him and their armed escort before entering the building. It’s the quickest, and possibly the most frightening, entrance to work that Tom has ever had; they’re waved past all of the usual security precautions by fully armed Marines. Obediently trailing after his escort, he follows them through the familiar building. It’s amazing how different everything, and everyone, looks. There’s fear in the eyes of the coworkers he passes and outright terror on the faces of the mail interns, who seem like frightened rabbits even on the best of days. He tries to smile at the faces he knows, but they quickly look the other way. One of the Marines motions them into Pam’s office.

“Take a seat, Agent Cronin.” Marshall stays in the doorway, one hand on the doorknob. “I am going to strongly suggest that you not leave this office without an escort. Even more strongly, that you alert one of the investigators the moment she contacts you.”

“If she contacts me.”

Closing the door behind him, Marshall leaves Tom alone in Landy’s office. Whether they’re leaving him to stew and pace or if they’ve bugged every square inch of the office, he doesn’t know. He moves to Pam’s chair and tries not to feel out of place sitting behind her desk. All of her files have been cleared away and the only remnants of her computer are a few lonely, disconnected cables. He sets his cell phone carefully and deliberately in the center of the desk, willing it to ring.

He has no doubt that Reynolds, whoever he really is, will eventually find her. It’s only a matter of time.

It’s also likely that Marshall is fully aware of where Reynolds comes from, of the connection to Kramer and the Medusa Project. They wouldn’t be sending Carla and Mary to a safehouse outside the jurisdiction of the CIA if they didn’t know what kind of man Reynolds was. What kind of monster.

The fact that he was right – programs like that don’t disappear, they just change names – is small consolation. On the surface, Blackbriar is a far cry from Medusa; sophisticated and slick, with more technology and computing power than they even dreamed of nearly forty years ago. But underneath, they’re the same. Death and power; justified violence twisted for personal and political gain. He’s still trying to sort it out in his mind, preparing the bits and pieces so that he can hand them over to Pamela when she returns.

She needs to know what the darkness will look like when she forces it into the light.

***

The cup of coffee has long gone cold. Ezra Kramer grimaces at the bitter taste as he takes small sips. Fresh coffee would require leaving his desk and he does not have time to look away even for a second. There is too much damage control left to be done. Blackbriar is collapsing down around him, an avalanche of blood, sweat, and toil to succeed where others had failed. He’d finally done it – Frankenstein could only dream of this creation – only to watch it dismantled by the idiots at the Justice Department. The anger has passed and he’s approaching resignation. There will be no escape from this scandal, he can only try to salvage as much as he can.

“Sir?” the intercom buzzes with his besieged staff assistant’s voice. “Fred Knowles is here to see you, sir.”

“Send him in.” He sets the foul coffee aside and pulls off his reading glasses. The dull ache in his skull remains, heedless of the painkillers he’s taking.

“She’s coming in,” Knowles practically pants, his face splotched with red from whatever exertion he undertook to bring Kramer the news. “The call came in twenty minutes ago. There’s going to be a meet. Marshall is heading the retrieval team.”

It’s the best news he’s gotten in days. “Where?”

“Grand Central Station. Ten o’clock.”

“I want you there.” He ignores Knowles’ sputtered protest. “I don’t care how; I don’t care what you have to do to be part of that team. Just do it.”

“Sir--”

“You’d better get going,” he snaps impatiently, already picking up his phone and switching to a secure line as Knowles hastily retreats. Whether by the grace of God or a stroke of luck, he’s been handed a gift-wrapped window of opportunity and he is not about to let it slip through his fingers.

“How’s the weather, Ez?” Reynold’s asks as soon as the call connects.

“The wind just changed in our favor. Should hold until ten o’clock if you’re coming into Grand Central. There’ll be a cab waiting for you when you arrive. It’ll point you in the right direction. Let’s get this wrapped up.”

“Consider it done.”

Kramer settles the phone back into its cradle, pleased with the stroke of luck. It’s as good as over now. The simplicity of Reynolds and his team is what makes them so effective, so efficient. He’s a master of improvisation, using the very environment around him as a weapon and until the scar rendered him easily recognizable, he’d been able to disappear effortlessly into a crowd. Even now, as the hidden puppet master behind his team of mercenaries, he retains the skills that make him invaluable.

That made him Delta.
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