Disclaimer : Buffy and the gang belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Jack Malone and Without A Trace belong to CBS.
Special Agent Jack Malone was not a happy agent.
Not at all.
“So, Mister… Giles?” he said, pretending to flip through the files before him. “I wonder if you might be able to help us with this little matter we have.”
The English guy across the table from him just smiled and pushed his glasses back up his nose. “Why, certainly Mr. Malone. Anything that I can do to help.”
Jack almost snarled, but controlled himself. He was not going to let this British bastard make him lose his temper. He tossed a sheaf of photographs onto the interview room table. “Recognize anybody?” he asked mildly.
Giles obligingly leaned forward and looked at them. After a moment’s gaze, he looked back up at Jack. “Apart from myself, you mean?” he asked in a dry tone.
Jack smiled back tightly. “We’re more interested in the lady next to you. The security camera in the lift shows you clearly talking to her.”
“Ah… Miss Bass. I’m afraid I don’t know that much about her, Agent Malone” Giles said, taking his glasses off and cleaning them with a handkerchief. Jack made a mental note that the first omission of his title had probably been deliberate. Giles continued, “I’d only met her for the first time a couple of days ago. She seemed like a nice young lady, so when she invited me up to her apartment, I was fairly flattered, and accepted with alacrity.”
Jack’s eyes narrowed. His bullshit detector was going off big time, but he had no idea what particular things to hone in on. There had to be a crack somewhere in this guy’s story. “Well, Mister Giles,” he said emphasizing the mister, “We’ve been looking for this young lady for a week now. Ever since the kidnapping and disappearance of several young girls.”
“Miss Bass? I am very surprised to hear that,” observed Giles, placing his glasses back on, and gazing innocently at Jack.
“Someone bearing a strong resemblance to Charlotte Bass then,” Jack conceded. “Quite apart from the fact that she also bears a striking similarity to a Julie Carter in our reported missing files too, we’re more interested in where she is now, and more to the point – where those missing girls are!”
“I’m afraid I can’t help you that much, Agent Malone,” repeated Giles for what felt like the tenth time. “When your task force burst into her apartment and so brutesquely manhandled me, she’d left me there for a few minutes by herself. I have no idea what happened to her at all.”
“Indeed,” commented Jack flicking back through his notes. “The strike force reported finding you in the living room with a vacuum cleaner in your hand. Care to explain that?”
Giles just smiled tightly. “Why, I’d just accidentally knocked one of Miss Bass’s ornaments to the floor and caused a lot of dust. I was simply cleaning up after leaving a mess.”
Jack studied him intently. The field reports had mentioned a particularly dusty area, true enough, but his Bullshit detector was still going off. Some of it felt true, some of it didn’t. But dammit! There was no way in hell that Charlotte Bass had got through his people surrounding the place, so where on earth was she?
“I… see,” he managed to get out in a normal tone. Opening the case beside him, he took out and threw a sharpened piece of wood onto the interview room table. “And that, Mister Giles?”
Giles picked it up and looked it over. “It’s a tent peg,” he said in a matter of fact voice, and put it back down between them.
Jack’s eyes narrowed and his nostrils almost flared. This guy was really starting to annoy him. Really, really annoy him. But all he needed was one little crack in his story. Just one little crack, please god. “And do you normally make a habit of carrying around tent pegs, Mister Giles?”
He smiled. The English bastard smiled at him! “I help run a summer training camp for young ladies around Cleveland,” Giles beamed, “It must have been left in my coat pocket from the last time I was down there.”
Jack smiled grimly, trying not to let the guy get to him. Grinding his teeth was not going to help him locate four missing teenagers. This guy knew something about where his prime suspect had gone, and he was going to find out.
Giles leaned forward on the table, and just looked at Jack seriously. “I’m afraid that I cannot help you with Miss Bass’ current location, Agent Malone. The last time I saw her was in the apartment’s main room.” He settled back, and smiled. “Now, would there be any chance of a cup of tea?”
There was a knock on the door. Just in time to stop Jack from saying something that he’d regret. “If you’d excuse me one moment?” he asked, and escaped from the suddenly stifling interview room. Through the one way glass, he saw Giles calmly lean back and adjust his tie. Jack was starting to get an idea why his ancestors had kicked the English out in 1777.
He turned to Sam, who was practically hopping from side to side in excitement. “Yes, Sam?” he enquired.
“You will not believe this, Jack!” she almost squealed. “We found the missing girls! They’re all safe and unharmed!”
“What? How the hell did we find them?” exclaimed Jack. “Dammit! I’m supposed to be kept up to date on everything! Which of those two idiots did this without telling me?!?”
Samantha eyed the irate Jack Malone, and stepped back a touch. “Neither of them, Jack – the girls just turned up at a police station downtown! Some passing young women heard their cries for help and got them out of where they’d been locked up!” she beamed.
“I want to talk to these rescuers now!” snapped Jack. “And is there any sign of Bass?”
“Umm… you can’t, Jack,” stammered Samantha. ”Their rescuers just dropped them off at the police station and drove off – something about having to get back to their summer camp.”
Summer camp? His head spun round, and Jack Malone found himself staring through the one-way glass at Rupert Giles. As if sensing him, Giles turned his head slightly and smiled in Jack’s direction.
Gah! He knew something was not right with his story. He knew Rupert Giles was lying about something. But he also knew that he couldn’t prove a thing. And now that the teenagers were back unharmed, he didn’t even have the excuse to hang onto that English bastard.
Finally snarling in frustration, he turned on his heels and stormed off down the corridor, almost flattening Samantha as he passed. He still had no real idea what had happened tonight, but someone, somewhere in the office was doing something they could be yelled at for.
And in the FBI interview room, Giles grinned broadly. Nice to see the old Ripper anti-authority reflexes were still in good working order. Perhaps if they’d been a bit more reasonable and polite when bringing him in, he’d have co-operated a bit more. Maybe.
Giles settled himself comfortably down into the chair, and waited happily for round two.