Author’s note: I really tried to get this to fit into Lonely Souls but it just won’t cooperate…sorry. A note from mother
Cecilia Ellis picked up the phone on the second ring. “Cecilia Ellis.”
“Ummm…Hello?” An uncertain voice replied.
Cecilia smiled affectionately even though she knew the woman on the other end could not see her. “Mom, Clarice…you can say it.”
“You want to come over this weekend?” Cecilia prompted.
“Can I?” Clarice’s hopeful voice almost broke Cecilia’s heart.
“Of course dear, but I do want to know a few things.”
“What?” the voice was suspicious and fearful.
“What would you like to eat?” Cecilia asked soothingly.
“Ummm…Apple pie?” Clarice had obviously not expected that question and her relief was palpable.
Cecilia laughed. “Clarice, I’m not just going to feed you apple pie! Do you like lamb?’
There was a sob and Cecilia suddenly heard the dial tone. She looked at the horn. She dialled Clarice’s number. There was no answer. She dialled directory inquiries and asked for the number of the FBI field office. She got it and asked for the special agent in charge. A polite secretary told her that Special Agent in Charge Starling was not available. Cecilia hmhped. Then she went to the car and checked the gas.
“Going somewhere dear?”
“Clarice hung up on me when I asked if he liked lamb and she sounded like she was having a problem, so San Diego.”
James blinked. “I see. Can I come along?”
Cecilia smirked. “I don’t see why not. Oh, and you can drive.”
“I thought the same thing.”
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Jason Gideon was not having a good day. He’d come to visit one of the world’s greatest profilers only to hear she was indisposed. His friend, who never seemed to be ill, indisposed, sick in her office… And considering that this was Clarice Starling that meant that the rumours were probably true: Post Traumatic stress syndrome was bringing her down and chances were that she would never recover her mental equilibrium.
He cursed the powers that be that had forced her to work so hard, without breaks, that had insisted so often that only Darlin’ Starlin’ could do the job.
He cursed himself for not convincing her to take a holiday, any time off, or even to seek out psychiatric help.
It was more than a pity, it was a crying shame. And not just for the country, for the Bureau, but especially for Clarice, who deserved so much more, so much better.
He sat despondently in the seat in the waiting room, bowed, elbows on his thighs hands between his knees. He sat here to let the problems of those who visited distract him from his own problems. And then he heard the footsteps. The waiting room was hardly empty but these sounded interesting… Like a predator moving. He looked up.
The woman he saw, followed by a taller man, was in her late fifties he thought. Blonde, but with greying hair. Straight of back and limb, but not very tall. *Ah, how dealing with Clarice has trained me,*
He smiled inwardly as he remembered Clarice’s rants about ‘tiny, petite and short’. He turned his attention back to the woman and studied her. Her face was determined and seemed familiar. She strode to the reception desk.
“I’m here to see Special agent Starling.” She addressed the young man behind the desk, who by now was quite used to people wanting to speak with his famous boss.
“Special Agent Starling is currently unavailable, ma’am. Perhaps I can help you-”
“I doubt it. Get her on the horn now, or take me to her.”
“Agent Starling is unavailable-”
“Agent Starling is not picking up her personal phone. She hung up on me in the middle of a conversation. And unless you want to be in grave trouble young man, you will call her and tell her her… Mrs. Ellis is here.”
Jason perked up. That was not what the woman had meant to say. ‘Tell her her’ what? Clarice had no living relatives, she was an orphan and a foundling before that, a fact that had been bruited about by the press on many occasions… was this woman delusional? Did she think the famous Clarice Starling was her daughter?
The man with the woman sat down beside him. He looked perfectly calm.
“Good afternoon,” the man offered.
“Good afternoon,” Jason returned.
“Err…Special Agent Jason Gideon.”
“Ah… You’re here because you’re worried about Clarice,” Mr. Ellis looked thoughtful.
“What?” Jason was astonished at this sudden conclusion.
“Your station is in Quantico, or so Clarice told us. She doesn’t have many friends,” James’ face tightened for a few split second before returning to its good humoured amusement. “You may be the last. So you being here and no major horrible crimes being committed… I’d say you’re worried about Clarice.”
Jason blinked. “Might I ask what you do for a living, sir?”
“I’m a family lawyer. I know what you do.” James Ellis seemed amused. “Bet you five dollars that the US Government will cave in before Cecilia.” He indicated the woman at he desk. The young man was looking decidedly harassed.
Jason eyed the young man. “No, I think I’d lose. Actually, I’m pretty sure I would. You know Clarice?”
“Yes…” James sounded hesitant and then asked. “Can you tell me what problems she has with lamb? The meat I mean?”
“Lamb?” Jason winced. “Well, there is an incident in her past…”
“We feared as much…” James sighed. “Its going to take a lot of time to get that girl back on track. I hope she’ll take the advice on taking that sabbatical.”
Jason shook his head. “If she goes now, she won’t have a job coming back…”
“Oh, but she will. Tell me Agent Gideon…what do you really know about the things that go bump in the night? You are a very good profiler, from what Clarice told us…”
“I’d say that, as a scientist, Clarice is suffering from…” James gave him a look. Jason shrugged. “Off the record…there’s things out there that I’d rather not know about.”
“Yes…You’re quite right. Fighting them runs in the family.”
“My wife’s, mostly. People look strangely when I come walking in dressed in a full shamanic get up.”
Jason grinned. “And you’re here to tell Clarice she’s right? How did she find you?”
“Oh, her data was on file with the Meier institute… I understand the DNA testing is being conducted as we speak.” James smiled as Jason gasped.
“I knew it! She looks like Clarice!”
“Yes, she does doesn’t she? We think ‘Ris had a panic attack and Cece went into bear mode.”
“Momma bear.” James winked.
“Heh. Right. I’ll go and get you in.” Jason smiled and rose; going to the desk where the young man was obviously very near to pushing his panic button.
“Mrs Ellis? I’m Special Agent Jason Gideon…”
“Clarice’s Jason? Her friend from Quantico?”
“Yes ma’am. She won’t open her door when I knock.”
“Hmph. Just take me to her.”
“Yes, Ma’am. This way please. Mr Ellis?” James rose to follow them
The agents in the room looked at him as if he was insane and Jason grinned. This was going to cause a ripple or two…
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The walk into the offices was short; San Diego was not a large office after all. Clarice’s office was off a small hall opposite a briefing room and next to a meeting room. Almost the entire staff present looked at the strange parade going through.
The door to the office had a simple black plaque with white lettering showing the words Special Agent in Charge Clarice Starling
. Cecilia walked up to the door and knocked.
“Go AWAY!!” Clarice nearly sobbed.
Cecilia squared her shoulders. “CLARICE BRIGID STARLING! OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW YOUNG LADY!!”
There was absolute silence from everyone in the office as they stood staring in the sheer disbelief at the tone of voice and the implications of the mode of address. Jason Gideon, one of three people in the world who knew of the letters C.B. embroidered on a blue blanket felt his heart swell with happiness as he realised this was in all likely hood Clarice’s mother.
The door very slowly opened to show a distraught looking Clarice. “M-Mom? What are you doing here?”
“Taking care of my daughter.” Cecilia turned around. “Who’s next in rank?”
Jason raised his hand. “Are you ‘Ris’ second in command?”
“No ma’am…that’s Agent Glover.” He pointed at the large man standing stunned behind his desk.
“Agent Glover? My daughter is ill, I’m taking her home. Please take over until she can resume her duties.”
Clarice almost laughed. “Mom, I can’t just-”
“Clarice, purse, coat, then into the car,” Cecilia cut her daughter off firmly.
“Mom!” Clarice faced her mother and gulped, then looked down. “Yes, Mom.”
Jason Gideon and Karl Glover, who’d seen her face down murderers without trepidation, felt their mouths falling open as Clarice scurried through her office gathering her belongings.
James leaned towards Jason. “Momma bear’s gonna lick her baby back into shape…”
Despite himself Jason Gideon had to laugh.
Cecilia turned round and faced the agents. “Well? I doubt your salaries include time for gawping like guppies!” She snapped. Her gaze landed on a lanky red-headed agent who flinched and immediately ducked down in a file he was working on.
“Anyone here have any smart remarks?” Cecilia inquired, her voice deceptively mild.
There was a murmur of ‘No ma’am’s’ as the agents went back to work. Karl Glover grinned and turned to James. “One helluva lady…”
“Young man, you have no idea.” James very firmly told him. He then took Jason and Glover aside. “Gentlemen, I hope you can make certain that Clarice doesn’t suffer from this…”
Glover shrugged. “Several people have told the boss she needs to take a vacation and get some help, We’ll just say she did. Everyone here respects Agent Starling. Did Mrs. Ellis call her ‘Ris, sir?”
“Clarice’s youngest sister made that one up.”
Jason Gideon grinned. “Youngest? Plural sisters?”
“Three…and four nieces and a nephew. Clarice is the eldest.”
Glover pulled his lip. “I don’t suppose you have baby pictures?”
“GLOVER!! I HEARD THAT !!!” Clarice strode up to him and glared. The agent towered over her petite form but Glover was the one who looked intimidated.
“Well…take care of things, I’ll be back soon.”
“Ehem.” Cecilia cleared her throat and looked pointedly at nothing in particular.
Clarice winced. “I mean, I’ll send a letter about leave.”
Jason felt a laugh twitching at his lips. “See that you do...otherwise we’ll get a note from mom…”
Clarice groaned and fled, waving to the staff. Cecilia smiled at them sweetly. Not a single agent doubted that if anything negative about her daughter emerged from the room, they would be in big trouble.
Jason followed Clarice. Just before she got into her parents’ car he leaned over. “Good luck…don’t forget your friends…”
“I’ll be sure to remember all three of you…” Clarice said bitterly.
“Clarice, there are many people who admire you. Get back to yourself and you’d be amazed how much support you’ll get.”
“Well…you always were an optimist Jason…”
“Be well Clarice.”
“Good bye Jason.” End note: Clarice Starling and Silence of the Lambs are the intellectual property of Thomas Harris Jason Gideon and Criminal minds are the creations of Jeff Davis