I Can Explain . . . . Really
A/N This chapter has been the bane of my existance. I had hesitated because I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to take the story and when I finally figured it out, my muse had headed off to Bora Bora along with any drive I had. She finally came back, so there won't be nearly the gap between now and the next chapter. As always, I have no proprietary claim on BTVS, Criminal Minds or anything else recognizable.
I CAN EXPLAIN . . . . REALLY
Kevin once more looked at the flow chart in despair. He had called Alexander for help after talking to Penelope and now all he could do was wait. In order to distract himself he looked back at his current project; tracking how cases moved through the FBI. It wasn’t as clear cut as one would imagine. In fact his current flow chart, which had been cleaned up a lot; yet still looked like something you’d need a spaghetti chef to untangle, but it had yielded one nugget of information. The problem was that Kevin wasn’t sure just how valuable this nugget was. It was the office of Asset Evaluation and Deployment, a name which struck Kevin as doublespeak bullshit; and he had absolutely no idea what it did. It was buried deep in the bureaucracy, but it reported only to the director; that was what had alerted Kevin originally. There had only been four agents at that desk since the FBI had been founded; the current holder was Frank Black. What Kevin could find about Black made the man sound almost too good to be true, but if he was so great, how did he end up in such a dead end spot. That was one of the other things that caught Kevin’s eye, once you sat in the AED desk, you didn’t leave until you retired. Black had left for a while around the millennium, but had come back to the Bureau and gone right back to his prior spot. His one field agent; and that reminded Kevin of the Sith Lords, there were always only two, was an agent named John Myers. This guy made Kevin’s antennae twitch even more than Black because it was clear, to Kevin at least, that his file had been sanitized. Kevin had no idea why, but he was certain that something was being covered up.
He could trace what happened in that office, but he still wasn’t sure of its significance. What happened was that cases crossed that desk and then were routed to wherever it was determined that they needed to be. In some cases, it went right back to the initial agent; but there were cases that were sent down to the X files where Spooky Mulder was making a name for himself as a pain in the ass, others were routed to the BAU or other specialty units and some just disappeared. That was what bugged Kevin the most, cases weren’t supposed to just disappear, but it was clear that they were. The only thing that made sense to Kevin was that they were being sent to some outside agency because, for whatever reason, the case was beyond the Bureau’s capacity to deal with. Kevin was guessing now, but he was willing to bet that there was an agency out there that dealt with the same kind of stuff that Alex and the Council did and that’s where those missing cases ended up. As he was considering what to do, his phone rang. He picked it up and listened for almost a minute. The relaxing of his body that had occurred early in the call was steadily replaced by increasing muscle tension and a look of terror on his face. Audibly he gulped and then speaking quickly, he passed on what he had found to Alexander. He hung up the phone and closed his eyes. He had settled his brother’s question, now all he had to do was get ready for hurricane Penelope to land on him. This wasn’t going to be easy.
“She’s gonna be pissed, isn’t she?”
“Without a doubt, you think we should help him?”
“He is my brother after all.”
“We probably ought to get there pretty quickly then.”
A pause. “No, you can’t drive us there Buffy.”
Derek Morgan knew that he should be scared, knew that he’d look back on this night as a near death experience; but right now all he could do was smile. It wasn’t a smile of joy, but rather one of awe, because Penelope Garcia was simply a force of nature at the moment. Ever since she’d put the pieces together on his front porch, Garcia had been in a roaring temper and had dragged him along with her to confront Kevin. He wasn’t really sure why she needed him, the way she was, Penelope could have handled anything the world threw at her, but it looked like it was gonna be a hell of a show so he came along for the ride. Now he was smiling in awe as she wove in and out of traffic like a formula one racer and all the time colorfully describing what she was going to do to her secret keeping boyfriend.
Kevin managed to not jump as his front door slammed open and hurricane Penelope charged in, he hadn’t been looking forward to this, but it was expected. Kevin turned in silence and tried to make sense of the words she was yelling at him even as he saw Derek come in quietly and shut the door. It took over three minutes for her to wind down to the point that Kevin could get a word in edge wise.
“OK Penelope, I understand that you’re upset and freaked out and everything. But before I answer anything, I’ve got to tell you that there will be some things that I won’t answer.” Kevin saw Penelope begin to protest and he quickly raised his hand. “Some of these things are not my secrets to give out. People trust me, and I’m not going to betray that trust. Now as long as you’re OK with that, ask away; but if that’s a deal breaker then I’m sorry, but that’s the way things have to be.” He could see Penelope was briefly at war with herself, but she understood about trust and keeping other people’s secrets so it wasn’t too surprising that she stayed.
“What the hell did I stumble across?” she finally asked.
“There are groups that have existed for millennia; thriving in the fringes and shadows of civilizations. They have maintained a great degree of their secrecy because the deal ruthlessly with anyone who betrays them or with anyone who inadvertently comes close to exposing them. They have branched out over the years, but their one consistent activity has been trafficking in humans. Tonight, you didn’t kick over one of the many rocks that they hide under, but you did find out enough to realize that a rock was there.”
“How do you know this?” she asked, appalled at the implications of what he’d told her. “If these groups are as secret and as ruthless as you maintain, how do you know any of this.”
“Despite your best efforts, you can’t keep a secret for thousands of years. People talk and hint and leave clues with their lives, stories and hints that others can use to at least realize that something is there. As for tonight, well to quote Garth Brooks, I’ve got friends in low places. I got a call that warned me that you’d accidentally stumbled over something that could get you killed. So I warned you and then called in the most reliable help I could get my hands on.”
“Why do you keep emphasizing that what Baby Girl did was accidental?” Derek asked.
“Because it’s important,” Kevin replied. “If they thought that Penelope finding them was some sort of concerted effort then your whole team would have been targeted, and in all likelihood; killed.”
“You do realize we work for the FBI, that gives us a little bit of protection,” Derek said sarcastically.
“Not nearly enough,” Kevin answered seriously.
“You serious,” Derek asked, incredulous.
“As a heart attack,” Kevin replied. “You remember Oklahoma City don’t you?”
“Are you telling me that the Oklahoma City bombing was all because some government office had stumbled across these ‘hidden’ bad guys and was conducting an investigation?”
“Pretty much,” Kevin replied. “But don’t take my word for it, look into the matter yourself. Look at where McVey parked, why there when there were so many better places that would have done more damage? Look at what offices were completely destroyed, why were they targeted and not the offices that would have more appeal to an anti-government nut like McVey?” Kevin backed off a bit; they were straying from the topic. “Trust me; these people are nothing like you’ve ever dealt with before.”
“Okay, so who are they,” Penelope asked. “Who was it that came after me, who was it that tried to kill me?”
Kevin hesitated, he had promised to answer their questions, but he knew that some answers brought no comfort. Kevin could see that Penelope was getting angry at what she thought was him going back on his word, so he held his hand up to forestall any outbursts. “I can answer that, but I’m going to ask if you’re sure that you want me to? There are some answers that bring no comfort, which will keep you up nights for weeks or even months.” He leaned forward, “there are some secrets that have teeth.” He leaned back and looked at them both, “just tell yourselves that it was guys in Halloween masks or facial deformities, or convince yourself that it was just muggers and the long hours that you put in made you think it was something else. I’ve seen it work, and you’ll sleep better, I guarantee it.”
Penelope and Derek exchanged looks and seemed to have a conversation without saying a word; when they finally turned back to Kevin, he knew what their answer was. “We want the truth,” Penelope said quietly.
“Okay then,” Kevin replied and turned to his computer. He had known what their decision would be, but he’d held out hope that they would just repress and forget; it would have been easier. He opened an application that Penelope had never seen before and after a few key strokes said, “describe your attackers.” He listened and made entries as Garcia and Morgan tried to describe what they’d seen. When they finished, he hit search and within a few seconds, the computer signaled that there was a match. He turned to the computer, wincing as he did so because now the shit would well and truly hit the fan. “Your attackers were Slaazarks, a low level mercenary demon that are used as enforcers for more powerful beings. They’re tough but not particularly bright.”
“Did you just say demons,” Morgan burst out.
“Yep, Demons, Monsters, or Hostile Sub-Terrestrials if you prefer the official government label.”
“Demons don’t exist,” Penelope said vehemently at the same time that Derek burst out with, “the government knows about these things?”
Garcia whipped around and faced Derek. “How can you even ask that, how can you even accept the possibility that he’s not lying,” she asked.
“I’m trying to keep an open mind,” he shot back. “You know Kevin better than I do, but I know him well enough to believe that he wouldn’t bullshit about something like this.” He leaned in close, “think of what you’ve seen on this job Baby-girl, are demons that big of a leap?”
Garcia sighed and shook her head, then they both turned back to face Kevin.
Kevin looked at Penelope first and said, “No, I don’t expect you to accept the whole ‘demons’ thing right off the bat, but explain what you saw tonight. Neither of you are stupid or blind, explain the way those things looked, the fact that they dissolved when they were dead; can you honestly come up with any rational explanation for what you experienced tonight?” Then he turned to Derek, “The United States government has been actively involved with the ‘hidden world’ for over sixty years that we know of. If there was anything going on before that, I don’t know about it.” Kevin’s answers had struck both of his guests dumb. He sat there and watched as they tried to process what he’d just told them. He knew that they’d adapt their way of thinking and come back with more questions; he was just hoping he could answer them all. Because if he couldn’t then he knew that both of them would start looking elsewhere, and as he had said earlier; some secrets had teeth. Eventually they came back with more questions and fortunately they were ones that he could answer; that is until Penelope asked him about the guy with the eye patch.
Kevin had promised to tell the truth, so he told all that he could, “He’s someone I’ve known for a few years and I trust him completely.”
“But who is he,” Penelope insisted.
“I can’t tell you any more than I have,” Kevin replied reluctantly.
“Did he threaten you,” Penelope gasped out, concerned for Kevin’s safety.
“No, nothing like that,” Kevin said quickly. “It’s just that it’s safer for everyone if some things are not known.”
“But why,” Garcia persisted; clearly reluctant to let the matter drop.
“Because if people found out that he was my brother, then he would become a constant target, and so would you and everyone he works with,” a voice spoke from the darkened kitchen.