Just Give Me a Reason

This is a little prequel for my upcoming NaNo.  Ilya is getting the news that he’ll be part of the team.  I’m already fond of Wolfie.  The poor guy wants to be out in the field so badly and I’m not sure how he’d react if that actually happened for him.  Anyway, this was inspired by a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth: listen.

**

Ilya stepped into the conference room and then froze.  The woman he knew as Carpenter was leaning against the wall near the window.  She was staring outside.  Her arms were crossed over her chest.  Miner, Dr. Wolfgang Schneider, was sitting at the table fussing with some kind of mechanical device that had knobs and dials.  Beside him – watching over his shoulder – was Tarrant Jefferson.

Sighing, Ilya stepped into the room.  He knew why he’d been called there, which meant that the other three were there for the same purpose.  He was all right with working with Carpenter and Miner.  Jefferson was another story.  The man hated him and Ilya wasn’t very fond him either.

There was a light touch on his shoulder and he tensed.  “Are you going to take a seat, Tanner?” a gentle voice said.

Ilya flushed and glanced over his shoulder.  The woman known as Marker was standing just behind him.  She was, he knew, now his superior.  “Yes, ma’am,” he said, his voice faint.  He strode over to the table and sat as far from Jefferson as he could get.

When Carpenter sat down beside Dr. Schneider, he bit his lip.  He’d ended up separating himself from the other three agents.  He wasn’t sure how he felt about that.  He glanced over at Marker and then sighed.  He could tell that she’d noticed the division, but he couldn’t tell how she felt about it.

“Agent Braginki,” she said.  Her voice wasn’t loud, but it was firm and confident.  He looked up, but she was already looking at the others.  “Agent Jefferson, Agent Abrams and Dr. Schneider: do you know why you’ve been called here?”

“Dr. Schneider,” Jefferson started, then he laughed and waved at the man seated beside him.  “That is to say, his brother – not himself – said something about my training being completed and this being me transferred back to actual fieldwork.  He said all the Chorus Members were getting positions in the Agency.”

“And we’ve been recalled from Veligrad,” Carpenter said, nodding.  She smiled and glanced at Ilya.  “Does that mean the four of us will be working together?”

“In the new Behavioral Sciences Division,” Ilya said, his own voice faint.  He felt his cheeks warm when they all turned to look at him.  “Agent Earth mentioned it when… I was training with him.”

“Quite correct, Agent Braginski,” Marker said, nodding slowly.  “The other directors have determined, for various reasons, that the four of you would be best suited for this assignment.”

“Ac-actual fieldwork?” Dr. Schneider said, his eyes were bright and it was clear that he was excited by the prospect.  Marker grimaced and he seemed to deflate a little.  “For them,” he said, slumping back in his seat.

“We feel that your talents are best suited to coordinating the efforts of those agents in the field,” Marker said, her tone was gentle.

Dr. Schneider crossed his arms over his chest and he sighed.  “Yes, ma’am,” he said.

Marker looked at him for a moment longer.  Then, she looked at Carpenter.  “You will be the team’s obsessional crime’s expert and Agent Jefferson will act as the forensics’ expert for the team.”

“What’s that one going to do?” Jefferson said, jerking a thumb at Ilya.  “He’s a titch that’s afraid of his own shadow.  He can’t fight and he’s just as like to run as he is to do anything else.”

Ilya flushed.  “That’s a lie,” he said, his voice cracking.  He caught a glance and a raised eyebrow from Marker and sank back in his seat.  Adjusting his glasses, he sighed.  “I’m going to be the linguistics expert for the team.”

“Quite correct,” Marker said.  She leveled a firm look at Jefferson.  “In the case that there are letters from the person you are investigating or recordings, Agent Braginski’s expertise in that field will be invaluable.  In the case that there is not, he’s had training in psychological analysis of crimes.”

Marker stood.  “You leave for Krakenin tomorrow at noon,” she said.  “Don’t be late.”  Then, she turned and left the room.

Ilya stood and moved to follow her, but Jefferson was suddenly in front of him.  “Excuse me,” he said, his voice faint.  However, the man didn’t budge.  Finally, Ilya looked at him.  “What is it, Hatter?  Just… get it out of your system.”

“I don’t trust you,” Jefferson said, shaking his head, “not a mite!”  He sidestepped and added, “I just wanted you to know that I have my eye on you, Braginski.  We all know where you’ve come from.  You’re Petrov’s man – always have been.  Always will be.”

Flushing, Ilya shoved Jefferson.  “I hated Ivan Petrov,” he rasped.  Tears sprang to his eyes and he whirled away.  “I’ll see you tomorrow, Dr. Schneider, Agent Abrams.”  Then, he strode out of the room as quickly as he could.

He stopped after he had left the room and the other agents behind.  He sank back against the wall, but tensed when Dr. Schneider peered around the corner.  “I don’t know what Hatter’s problem is,” he said, his voice soft.

“Jealousy,” Ilya breathed.  He rubbed a hand over his face and shook his head.  “He’s jealous because… I have my body back and he knows that can never be so for him.”  He looked up at Dr. Schneider and shrugged.  “It’s sort of like… reverse survivor’s guilt.  He’s angry with me because I did survive and, in a way, he didn’t.”

Ilya shrugged and added, “At the same time, he’s also angry because, in a way, he did survive when the rest of his team perished and… I remind him of that.”

Dr. Schneider nodded slowly.  “That makes sense,” he said.  Then, he gave Ilya a weak smile.  “You are very perceptive, Agent Braginski.”

“I listen,” Ilya said, shrugging.

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