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Cold Case

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The team returned to Quantico on Monday afternoon and Therese immediately went to see Garcia in her technological wonder of an office.  “Hi, newbie.  You lost?” Penelope asked with a smile.

“No. I just wanted to follow up…see what you found out about the people at the bar and see if you could tap into some surveillance video?” 

“Yes, and possibly yes.” She handed a sheet of paper with the information on the four other bar patrons to Therese.  “Where is the video from?”

Therese looked at the names on the paper and the information Garcia had dug up on each one.  Nothing was flashing red to her. “There were cameras on the street corners down the back alley of the club.  I know it’s a long shot, but there was a parking lot back there.” 

“I see where you are going with this…Good catch!” Garcia turned and pulled up the club address and then began typing furiously.  Therese just stood there amazed at her speed and ability as she saw a map pull up on one screen and then there were numbers and IP addresses and three screens were moving a lightning speed.  “Ok- looks like one camera was private and I can’t access that feed, but the other belongs to the grocery store next door to the club and it is not closed circuit, and viola! I can access their feed and it looks like they keep their footage stored in the cloud…and 3,2,1…we have Sunday night's footage.”

Therese’s brain barely had time to process what just happened.  “You already pulled it up? Oh my god!”

“You doubt my abilities, newbie?” Penelope cocked her head.

“I mean I’ve heard stories…I knew you were good…but Jesus!”

“Yes, be amazed by the wonder that is me. Now, shall we take a look and see if your hunch is right?”

Garcia and Therese watched the video in fast forward.  Therese was starting to doubt that there was anything useful until she saw it.  “There!” Therese told her to stop.  “That car, blue sedan.”

“How…what?” Garcia asked, confusion crossing her face.

“I’ve seen that car before! Sunday afternoon at Carol’s.”

Penelope turned from her computer screen and tilted her head again, “You were at Carol’s?  Like alone? Explain please.”

Therese’s face flushed, realizing she had revealed too much.  “Yeah, we were working…on the case. But I saw that car…and I had this feeling all weekend that I was being followed…and it cannot be a coincidence!”

Penelope turned back to the screen.  “I can’t see a tag, but I’ll see what I can find, but Therese, did you tell anyone about being followed?”

“No.” Therese shook her head.  “The feeling went away and then I just thought it was all in my head.”

“Not even Carol? When you were alone? At her house?" Penelope tried again.

“No, and after today…it was probably better that way.” Therese looked at the floor dejected. 

Penelope looked at Therese and a sudden wave of empathy washed through her.  “Hey, I know you’re new and you don’t really know me, but I’m really cool and I’m a really good listener, so if you ever need someone to talk to…ok?”

Therese looked up into Garcia’s warm eyes.  “Thank you.”

There was a knock on the office door and as it opened and the air was sucked out of the room as Carol Aird walked in.  She was staring down at her phone and hadn’t realized Therese was there as she started speaking.  “Pen, were you able to check his phone?”

Carol looked up to see Therese standing beside Penelope.  “Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“I was just leaving.” Therese looked down and quickly moved to exit the office, sidestepping Carol in the process.  She closed the office door behind her a little harder than necessary. 

“Fuck.” Carol let out a deep, frustrated sigh. 

“Ok, so it wasn’t just me.  That was awkward, right?” Penelope looked at Carol with concern in her eyes. “And I know by the way, so don’t try to hide it from me.”

“I just…I can’t…did you find out about his cell phone?” Carol avoided Penelope’s question and accusation.

Penelope had always been a very empathic person.  It was the primary reason she surrounded herself with positive vibes and bright colors.  The world on the other side of that door was scary and dark, and she needed to be a light, not only for herself, but for her friends.  “I did, and his phone never left Virginia. But Carol, you know that doesn’t mean anything. If you really think…I mean you were married to him…you know?”

Carol wanted to scream. Everything depended on this.  If it was Harge, if she was right, she had to pull away.  But if she was wrong, they could be…maybe…it was all just too much to process, so Carol focused on dealing with one problem at a time and right now that had to be her ex-husband.  “I couldn’t see his face.  It was just something in the way he moved.  Maybe I’m just chasing shadows. I don't know!” She ran her fingers through her blonde waves. 

“I’ve known you for a long time, Carol.  You should always trust your instincts. I’ll keep looking.”

“Thank you, Pen…and please don’t--”

“Stop. You know I will never tell a soul until you say it’s okay…about either thing.” Garcia smirked. A notification pinged on one of Garcia’s computers. “Oh, medical examiners report is in!” The bubbly technical analyst ran over and pulled up the report.  “No DNA on the body and no signs of sexual assault. That’s good, right?”

“Maybe.” Carol sighed as she read over her shoulder.  “Can you call everyone together again?”

Penelope turned and clicked a few buttons on her keyboard.  “Done.”

 

<><><><><>

 

Carol walked into the conference room to find everyone waiting.  “The medical report just came in and there was no DNA and she was not sexually assaulted.  That being said, there is no way to definitively prove that it was the same unsub, but I want us to go under the assumption that it was, so for now we will actively explore Therese’s theory of two unsubs.”

Therese did not look up from the table or acknowledge Carol’s statement, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the others in the room. 

“So, uh, why did he act alone, then? That has to mean something.” Phil started when he realized Therese wasn’t going to be the first to speak. 

“It wasn’t his first time acting alone.” Therese replied without looking up from the table. “Abby’s murder was his first. He did that one alone and then the second unsub came in at some point after.”

Gen thought about this for a few seconds.  “So you think they bonded over Abby?”

“Yes.” Therese said simply.

Dannie felt like he was missing something. “So what made him kill Abby? I mean, that's the key, right? We are back to Abby?”

Therese looked up for the first time, and her eyes met Carol’s before she quickly diverted them to look out the window.  “We know that he hated that she was a lesbian.  It could be something as simple as she rejected his advance, or it could be something bigger,” she looked back at Carol, “jealousy or revenge.”

Carol didn't react to the last part, but she knew what Therese was insinuating.  If Harge had found out about Abby, would he have blamed her for breaking up their marriage?  

“But why work alone again after working with a partner?” Phil wasn’t letting go of his point.

“A bond between to sociopaths would be tenuous at best.” Carol explained.  “They would already struggle to trust each other, so if our unsub did this without his partner, that trust may now be broken.”

Gen’s face lit up, “But that’s good! The partnership will fall apart now! They’ll turn on each other or make a mistake.”

Carol nodded. “Yes.”

“Except if we profile this as a sociopathic partnership, one would have to be dominant and the other subordinate, right?” Phil interjected. “What are the chances that the subordinate would turn on his dominant?”

“Wouldn’t that depend on who did this crime?” Dannie asked everyone.

“The dominant.” Therese answered.

“How do you know?” he asked.

Therese stood and walked over the window she had been staring out of so intently.  “The subordinate is the one that leaves DNA.  He’s not as smart and the dominant has been taking advantage of that, setting him up to take the fall.  We need to find him first and he’ll lead us to the other.”

“Very good.” Carol finally spoke again, her eyes tracking Therese’s every movement around the room and wishing she could go back in time and change how she reacted at the bar. “I think we’re done for today.” Everyone stood to leave. “Therese, can I speak with you for one moment?” Carol waited for everyone else to leave and she closed the conference room door. “I just wanted to apologize…for earlier…at the bar.”

“You don’t need to explain.” Therese said defensively. 

“Clearly, I do.” Carol crossed her arms across her chest.

“No, you don’t."  Therese replied with an icy tone. "I’m a big girl and we have a job to do and obviously that comes first. I crossed a line and I won’t make that mistake again, ma’am.”   

The ma’am was a purposeful insult and slap in the face and Carol did not take it well.  She locked her jaw and narrowed her eyes.  “I guess you’re right.  That will be all Agent Belivet.”

 

<><><><><> 

 

Carol left the office at 4 to pick up Rindy from her after-school program.  It was going to be a busy night as Rindy had a dance class and between getting her ready, class, and dinner, there would be little time for self-reflection and for once Carol was grateful for being a single mother.  She didn’t want to think about Therese.

Therese sat at her desk and completed her paperwork for the day.  At 5pm, she left, speaking to no one.  She was hurt, she was confused, and she was angry.  Last night at Carol’s had meant something, and Therese thought this morning had confirmed it, but to suddenly be cast aside and rejected, was too much.  She didn’t know what had changed for Carol so suddenly. Therese didn’t want to care, but she did, and she hated the fact that she did.

One Tuesday, Rindy woke with a fever.  Carol sent the team a message that she would be out of work for a few days until her daughter could go back to school and Therese was grateful for the reprieve and yet she worried for Rindy.  At least she would be able focus and work without looking over her shoulder for Carol all day.  She poured over photos and analyzed the medical reports and data records, but everything led to a dead end.  Even the car was proving impossible to track. Garcia was able to determine it was a 2015 Toyota Camry, but there were thousands of them on the road.  By Thursday, Therese was at her wits end…they all were.  They were no closer to solving this case and the overall frustration was wearing on the team.  

The A-team returned from their latest case Thursday afternoon, exhausted but feeling celebratory after having saved a young boy from a sexual predator. It wasn’t difficult for a room full of profilers to sense the growing tension on B-team, however.  Feeling the palpable tension in the office, David Rossi, the eldest agent on A-team, decided that everyone needed a break.  “Tomorrow night, we’ll all go out for drinks after work.  I think it is past time for both teams to get to know one another.  We can toast to our case and maybe we can even offer some insights into yours, while we have a few drinks in the process.”  The plans were made and everyone was expected to attend.