Road Trip Psychology
Summary: Can Jason Gideon help Faith break old habits?
Note: This story takes place after Jason left the BAU to travel the country and re-connect with people.
Pairings: Jason Gideon/Faith (non-romantic pairing)
Disclaimer: I definitely don’t own any of these characters. Criminal Minds is owned by Jeff Davis/The Mark Gordon Company and BtVS is owned by Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy.
Jason watched as the young woman lashed out with her foot and connected with the vampire’s head. Well, he was assuming it was a vampire, given that the woman called it a ‘vamp’ and the piece of wood she brandished in her hand. The vampire turned to run and the woman hurled the stake end-over-end at his retreating figure. He watched in amazement as the creature exploded into a cloud of dust. He had never considered the existence of vampires before, but he was very certain that what he had just seen was, in fact, a vampire.
They were in the side alley of a small diner in a Connecticut suburb. It was packed in between a coin-and-hobby shop on one side and a tax advisor office on the other side. Both businesses were closed at this late hour and the 24-hour diner used their parking lots for the overflow from their own packed parking lot. That was why Jason was passing the alley in the first place. The diner’s sign had boasted twelve different kinds of pie daily and he had been driving for hours without a break, so he decided to stop. His car was parked in front of the hobby shop and he was just making his way to the door of the diner when he heard the scuffle.
The woman whirled around and her long, wild hair followed a moment later. He watched as she scanned the area for any threats. Her eyes landed on him, studied him quickly and then moved on, dismissing him immediately. He followed her gaze as she focused on a pile of crates that partially obscured something behind them. That something moved at the same time that the woman kicked one of the crates out of the way.
At first glance, a small child was standing there. She was young, maybe six or seven, and the lights from the diner showed that she had curly blond hair and a pink frilly dress. She stamped her foot on the ground and declared to the older woman, “You took away my daddy.”
Then, the little girl shrugged and her face morphed into something very grotesque as she turned toward Jason. The smirk on her face did not match her curls as she sneered, “That’s okay. I’ll just make myself another one.”
The older woman rolled her eyes and declared, “Sorry, Little Miss Muffet. Here, I’ve got your tuffet.”
The woman moved in a blur that Jason couldn’t even see and the little girl exploded into ash just as the larger vampire had. The dark-haired woman met his eyes and he saw the moment that her demeanor cracked and the world split apart. He had only a moment to decide on a course of action, but before he even consciously made the decision, he was already walking toward her. She shrunk away from him, pulling her arms around herself and backing up against the wall of the hobby shop. She was shaking as she sunk down to the ground. The red tank top she wore did little to ward off the chilly November evening air and Gideon cast a cursory glance to see if he could find her jacket. She didn’t seem to have one, so he shrugged off his jacket as he walked over to her. He draped the jacket over her unresponsive body and saw that it seemed to swallow her from the neck down. His middle aged bones protested at the thought of sitting down on the ground with her, so he pulled over one of the sturdier-looking crates and sat down next to her.
It took a few minutes, but eventually his calming presence began to put her at ease and he saw her sniff at the collar of his jacket before pulling it closer to her body.
Softly, he spoke to her in his calm, patient way, “I won’t pretend to know everything that just happened here, but I do have quite a bit of experience in reading people and I am fairly confident in saying that you had no other option.”
It took a few minutes before she finally answered him, but when she did, he expected the question.
“You know about vampires?” she asked.
“Only as of fifteen minutes ago, but I adapt quickly,” he replied with a gentle smile.
“Apparently,” she responded wryly.
She made no effort to move, though, which Jason took as a sign that she was willing to listen to him. He could see the fear in her eyes and in the way she huddled down into herself, her grip on the jacket tightening visibly; he would have to tread carefully. She flinched when he stood up and the light above him cast a shadow onto her and he backed away slightly until the skittish look left her eyes. He had seen her fight; he knew she could easily overpower him, but something about him seemed to render her unable to fight back. In that instant, he knew he had to do whatever he could to help her.
“Are you hungry?” he asked. “Sign says they have twelve different kinds of pie. I won’t feel as guilty ordering a slice of each if you help me eat them.”
She looked up at him and he could taste her fear. It would take a lot more than pie to help this young woman, but he had nothing if not time and it felt good to be helping someone again. This woman protected the public from dangers they never knew about, something the BAU often did as well. The least he could do was protect this fractured woman from the world.
“What do you want?” she asked in a small voice that did not match the powerful brunette he had seen fighting with the male vampire and he suddenly knew why she was afraid of him when she was clearly stronger and more than able to defend herself against someone of his age and body type.
He held out his hand, palm up, and told her kindly, “You saved my life today and it seems to have cost you a good chunk of your soul in the process. It’s not much, but I’d like to buy you a piece of pie. And, if there is anything you want to talk about, I’m a good listener.”
She snorted and seemed to regain some of her composure. She pushed up from the wall and stood, turning the jacket around and shoving her arms into the sleeves. She walked past him toward the door and called over her shoulder, “You can keep the head-shrinking, but pie sounds good. Name’s Faith. I’ll just call you Pops and make everyone in the diner think you’re my sugar daddy.”
Jason watched her and felt a smile spread across his face. One thing was for sure: He would probably never complain about the tedium of the open road again.#