I know the feeling
Of finding yourself stuck out on the ledge
And there ain't no healing
From cuttin' yourself with the jagged edge
I'm tellin' you that it's never that bad
And take it from someone who's been where your at
You're laid out on the floor and you're not sure
You can take this anymore
So just give it one more try
With a lullaby
And turn this up on the radio
If you can hear me now
I'm reachin' out to let you know
That you're not alone
It had started out as the perfect girl’s day out. Ellie and Jack had planned to do something together which developed in a full-time trip. They started out in a cafe outside of Washington, afterwards they had a nice walk through the still wintery park since it had been snowing the night before. Midday they ate at a chinese take-away which had the best spring rolls Ellie had ever tasted, and at four Jack steered her mini into the city-mall’s car park.
Ellie adored Jack more than ever, they had crossed the line from being good working colleages to friends weeks ago, but that was the first time they were actually doing something together apart from talking about fears or anxieties from work.
It happened all of a sudden, to fast for anyone to react. It was around five – thirdy, they had just finished buying some clothes in Ellie‘s favorite shop, when it happened. All of a sudden they heard someone scream.
„Nobody moves!“ It was a man – no, a young man, still almost a teenager. He was standing in the middle of the shop’s center, holding a gun and screaming. Shaking and with tears in his eyes. The young agent frowned. She didn’t dare move.
„Down! On the ground!“
Jack grabbed her arm and carefully pulled her on the ground. Her eyes were moving around, trying to take everything in.
„We need to do something“, Ellie wispered to her while seeing out of the corner of her eye how the young man was forcing the other customers to slough together. Jack just shot her a glare and put her finger on her lips. Ellie closed her mouth, trusting the older woman in her experience. After all she had experience in being held hostage …
And then Jack slowly lifted her hand. Ellie stared at her, confused. The guy turned over, pointing the gun at her.
„I said don’t move!“, he screamed, his hands shaking.
„I’m sorry“, Jack said. She sounded calm – more calm than anyone of them, calm and not scared, Ellie was sure about that. „I just … I want to know why you’re doing this.“
He squinted, then stared at her in disbelieve. „Don’t make me shoot you, lady!“ He stepped closer, but his voice was trembeling. As afraid as Ellie was, she saw the tears in his eyes.
This was definitaly the first time he had done this. He was unexperienced, he probably didn’t even know what – or why excactly – he was doing this.
„What’s your name?“, Jack asked in her softest voice. Now, Ellie understood what she was doing. Of course she as a psychologist had made out his emotional state way earlier.
„I doesn’t concern you!“, he barked back – but somehow not sounding aggressive anymore. More like … stubborn.
„I’m Jacqueline“, Jack continued in this calming voice. Ellie bit her lip, wondering what would happen next.
It was silent. The other customers just stared back and forth between their predator and this woman who, Ellie was sure, most of them thought was crazy. She probably would have thought the same.
„I’m Corey.“ Ellies heart jumped. Wow. That was easy.
A smile was spreading on Jack’s lips as she was clearly taking this as a step forward. „Okay, Corey. Hi. I’m not forcing you into telling me your motives, but if you wanna talk, about anything, just talk, okay?“
Ellie watched him react. He seemed taken aback, also unsure what this strange woman was doing.
„No one here is going to judge you. And if you don’t want anyone else to know, you can whisper.“
His hand was shaking. Ellie saw Jack’s eyes lingering on the weapon, staring at it like a hawk at his prey.
„Don’t you wanna put that gun down?“ She nodded towards it. „I promise, no one is gonna move.“
He looked at her as if he were trying to figure out what game she was playing, or if she was lying. „How can I be sure about that?“
Jack shrugged her shoulders. „You can’t“, she said in soothing honesty. „I suppose you just need to trust us. Trust me. But …“ She smiled. „You clearly are the major one of us in here. No one will dare to face you.“
„How can you say that?“, an older woman almost screamed at Jack.
Corey’s head turned around.
„Shut up!“, he barked.
The woman fell silent, some kids started crying.
„It’s okay“, Jack tried to them calm down.
„It is not!“ A woman sitting next to them cried in a british accent. „He’s going to kill us!“
„He’s not!“ Jack’s voice became more confident. She stared back at Corey. „You’re not a killer, Corey. I can see it in your eyes.“
Corey’s eyes glared back into hers. Ellie saw the blue dots getting glazy. Slowly, he let his arm sink, his finger letting to of the trigger. The young agent relaxed a little more … but just a little. He was still dangerous, even if Jack seemed to have gotten somewhere with her attemps to calm him down.
„What happened to you?“, she then asked. Ellie was surprised how comforting she sounded – there wasn’t even a hint of false friendlyness, not a tiny bit of disgust. Corey whiped his arm over his eyes. He was crying. „Can we help you?“ Jack’s eyes grew even more sympathetic and now she was whispering. „Can I help you?“
„I don’t know.“ Corey’s answer came back immediately.
Jack took it as an encouragement. She went on. „Tell me what happened. Maybe we can work out a solution.“ She nodded in encouragement. „Can you do that?“
He curled his lips. „You don’t know anything about me“, he said, again whiping his eyes. Now he didn’t sound angry at all, more like scared and confused.
Jack smiled, but it was a sad smile. The same smile she gave the team whenever she was consulting them. That smile that made Ellie prove that she either was an empath or she mysteriously knew every single human emotion or had went through it personally.
„That’s right. That’s why I’d like to understand you.“
He didn’t answer, but his menacing bodystatue seemed to crumble down more with every passing moment.
„I suppose youre angry.“ Jack’s soft, whispering voice was growing cautious. „But that’s no reason to hold a grudge against all of us, okay?“
„How do you know about that?“
Ellie bet he would brake down in a second. But then suddenly he lifted his arm and fired two shots up into the air. She jumped and some screamed.
„Corey, please, listen to me!“ Jack waited until he was looking at her again. „I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have gone that far.“ Ellie couldn’t tell if her almost panicking and apologizing voice was real or if she just played it to gain his trust back. Jack didn’t have a pokerface like Gibbs at all, but on the same time she was an astonishing good actress.
Three little kids started crying, two young girl hugged themselves, two teenagers seemed like they’d run every second.
„Fuck, I said shut up!“ Corey, clearly annoyed turned around, the gun pointed at the crying kids and their mum.
Her instincts took over. „No!“ Ellie cried before she could even realize. Corey shot around again, pointing the gun at her. She frowned again. The same moment she felt Jack’s hand slipping into hers. All of a sudden, there was panik and pure fear in her eyes. And her voice, too.
„Corey, listen to me, please.“ Even her voice started to break. Ellie wasn’t sure what scared her more – the gun pointed at her or her friend suddenly being scared. „You don’t have to do this, okay? Think about it.“ Jack sounded desperate, as if she’d cry every moment. And now Ellie was sure – THIS was real.
She was confused. Jack wasn’t one to just care about her, she cared about every single person in this room, she probably even cared about Corey, and it wasn’t as if he had done something different than before. What just happened that made her freak out?
Corey stared at her, then back to Ellie, and again back to Jack.
A single nod, a clenched jaw. Ellie saw tears in Jack‘s eyes.
„Okay.“ Corey swallowed. „I tell you, Jacqueline. Let her come here, I wanna have her here by my side.“ He paused for a second. „Then the kids and their mums can go.“
Jack’s grip around her hand grew tighter.
„Why her?“, she asked, finally sounding a little stubborn again.
„Because I wanna know if you hold your word!“, Corey shot back.
Jack blinked. „What did I promise you, Corey?“ Now she was clearly trying to gain the controle back. „I told you we can work out a solution together. But I didn’t promise anything to you. And I can’t …“ She stopped for a moment, clearing her throat. „I can’t trust you if you keep pointing that gun at my friend.“
From one second to another, Ellie saw his face getting read. „You liar!“ He was screaming again. „You’re just like the rest!“
Ellie saw his finger moving. A quick, little movement. And then she heard the loud noise. A deafening sound she knew so well but still got her to jolt everytime she heard it. People were screaming, there was one mixed into the voices who didn’t sound scared, it was a cryout in pain.
But it wasn’t her. She didn’t feel anything. No burning pain, no blood drenching. She wasn’t hurt – it was Corey who was falling on his knees, crying in agony.
Just in the exact same moment Jack got up, her gun still in her hands. It took Ellie two seconds to realize SHE had been the one who shot him. His arm was bleeding, but it wasn’t dangerous. Jack just wanted to get the control out of him, not shoot him.
Everything happened in a blink oft he eye. Just as Jack was near Corey to get his gun, he grabbed it again. Another shot, some anew screams. Ellie saw Jack tumbeling back, but this time her own training as an agent finally took over. She got up, almost sliding over the floor, and grabbed Coreys hand even before he could move himself. He cried out again, this time it wasn’t just pain, more anger, especially as she finally got the gun.
„Don’t move!“, she called out, pointing it at him. „We’re federal agents!“ Her hands were shaking, her heart still pounding against her ribs, but she wasn’t scared anymore. Just angry.
But that changed in the moment she turned her eyes towards her friend. Ellie frowned. Her heart missed a beat. Jack was on the ground, upright but not sitting straight, staring into nowhere like she was in shook. Her left hand was put on her collarbone.
There was blood. Blood everywhere. Some splashes on her face, in her hair, her left shoulder drained in red color.
Ellie, still holding Corey’s gun, Corey who was just crying and not causing anymore problems, felt like the ground she was standing on was shaking. She couldn’t make out where the origin of the blood was coming from, it covered Jack’s throat up to her shoulder.
Then Ellie saw her brown eyes getting glazy, like coated with fog. Her eyelids started vibrating, then closing. And she passed out.
This was the moment Agent Ellie Bishop started screaming too.