These streets are yours, you can keep them
I don't want them
They pull me back, and I surrender
To the memories I run from
Oh, we have paved these streets
With moments of defeat
But even if we won't admit it to ourselves
We'll walk upon these streets and think of little else
So I won't show my face here anymore
I won't show my face here anymore
On his first day back to work in four months it feels like he never left. He wakes up to an alarm that was never turned off, works out at the gym across the street from his apartment, showers while his coffee brews, eats a bowl of oatmeal while scanning through the news channels and then leaves his house by 7. He drives the same route as he always did, just with a little more caution to keep his eyes on the road along that stretch of I-15 that still makes his stomach twist and his heart beat faster. He wipes his palms on his thighs as he glances in his rear view mirror, wondering if Cora had been right about moving, but instead vows to take a different route to work the next morning. It would make what was a 20 minute drive longer but a chance to avoid seeing the few miles that make him sick. He pulls into the parking garage, flashing his badge at the gate attendant without rolling his window down and tightens his tie as the gate lifts. He parks in the space marked 32 and takes the stairs, huffing at the smell - something he had forgotten.
There's someone new at the front desk which he remembers Isaac mentioning briefly last month.
"How can I help you?" She asks, holding her finger in place in a book.
He just shakes his head as he passes her, eager to get back to his office. He flips his badge at her when she calls after him and doesn't wait to hear the apology.
He takes the elevator to the second floor after quick deliberation - Greenburg has someone stopped on the stairs and he doesn't want to get caught in conversation.
Erica and Boyd are waiting at his door and Isaac cheers from the coffee maker when he steps out of the elevator. A few other people greet him from their desks and some don't even look up from their computers. Good.
"Briefing in the conference room in ten minutes," Boyd announces. "Have your reports ready for Agent Hale."
Erica has some sort of candle or wax melt burning in his room. He scrunches his nose at it as he shuts the door behind him.
"It's lavender," she tells him. "It helps keep you calm."
"It stinks," he tells her, rolling his eyes. "And I'm already calm."
"Oh please," she says, rolling her eyes. "I can practically smell the nerves radiating off of you."
Isaac comes in and offers a mug to Derek. "God, I forgot how much you terrify them. The place was almost cheery while you were gone."
"Glad to see Boyd kept order," Derek says, fidgeting with his tie.
"Of course I did," Boyd says, too seriously for how lightly Derek made the comment. "I think my more relaxed methods were good for morale."
Derek nods. "I don't really care as long as our success rates have stayed high.”
Erica rolls her eyes. "Did you relax at all?" She pushes. "You fall back so easily here."
"This is my job," Derek says, powering on his computer. "And it wasn't my choice to leave."
She sighs. "Right. Well, welcome back then. Boyd wouldn't let me make a banner."
Derek narrows his eyes. "Well, thank god for Boyd then."
Derek moves to the conference room instead.
When people shuffle in shortly after, he notices that only a few bother to even look his direction and even then, none look him in the eye. It doesn't bother him.
They've done alright without him in charge, a couple people got away with shorter sentences than Derek would have hoped for, but on the opposite side, his team managed to close some high-profile cases that weren't on the news. He'll want to look over all the case files after the meeting to check performance levels and make sure it wasn't just Isaac, Erica and Boyd carrying everyone in his absence, but he's content with what he's heard.
At the end of the report, Greenburg talks about the three new cases that came in over the weekend and passes files out. It's easy for Derek to break the team up into groups of 5 to tackle them. He tries to ignore Garcia's eye roll when he assigns a Ponzi scheme case to her, but ends up raising his eyebrows at her instead. Her cheeks turn red and she quickly leaves the office, an apology whispered behind her.
Derek straightens up when his boss, Finstock, enters the conference room. He's followed by Gerard Argent. Derek narrows his eyes. Isaac clears his throat to get Erica's attention away from her laptop. She glances between Derek and Argent nervously.
"Hale, can we talk privately?" Finstock asks, glancing at Isaac, Erica and Boyd. Boyd stands quickly, helping Erica collect the files between them. Isaac pats Derek's shoulder as he exits the room.
"Welcome back," Argent comments as Boyd closes the door behind them.
Derek doesn't look at him. "Finstock. What can I do for you?"
"I talked to your therapist this morning, Derek. She had a lot to say."
Derek narrows his eyes. "I was cleared."
"Despite agreeing to stay off work for six months, and it only lasting four months, yes.” Finstock says.
"I'm fine, sir." Derek says, standing.
"If you were fine, you would look me in the eye." Argent comments.
Derek glares in his direction, anger rising in his chest.
"Enough." Finstock says quickly. "Your therapist did clear you, but she had some concerns. I will be keeping a close eye on you to ensure your safety as well as everyone else's."
Derek nods. He's fine.
"When I made this deal with the court, it was when I thought you would be returning next year. Unfortunately, it's not something I can change."
Derek raises his eyebrows. "You made a deal with the court?"
"A felon will be working as a criminal consultant for the White Collar division and will be under your supervision. He will have an anklet tracker that you will have access to at any time."
Derek sighs. He knows that criminal consultants have done great things for the bureau in the past but isn't exactly thrilled to have one on his team. "Why is Argent here?"
Finstock rubs his neck and glances between them. "Gerard is actually the one that brought up the idea to me."
"And how does he know this felon?" Derek asks, though he's already sure of the answer. There's a red hot anger in his throat and his fingernails are digging into his palms. He tries to flex his hands and relax his fists but can't.
"He worked with Kate early on." Gerard says, shrugging. "Whatever differences created there don't involve him. They cut ties long before the incident."
"Incident." Derek repeats, almost snarling at him.
Finstock raises a hand. "We don't need to discuss that - what's important is that he is free of all connection to Kate after 2012 and will be especially helpful to the division as we move into the holiday season."
Derek swallows. "I don't have a choice, right?" He doesn't wait for an answer. "When does he start?"
"He's downstairs now. We will bring him up and set up some ground rules. I'll check in at the end of the week."
Derek nods. "I'll be in my office. I have a lot to catch up on."
He’s halfway out of the conference room when Finstock clears his throat. “Derek, you’re still under review. This going well will look good for you.”
Derek ignores the almost-threat with a roll of his shoulders, moving to his office without looking back.
He loosens and then tightens his tie for what seems like the fifteenth time this morning - the one thing he didn’t miss about work - restrictive clothing. He straightens his desk up even though it’s cleaner than it ever was before - Erica’s work, probably.
Speak of the devil. She enters his office without knocking, eyes searching his face for a clue about the meeting.
“What’s Argent doing here?”
“Making my life hell,” Derek says, as if it’s obvious. “I think Finstock threatened me.”
Erica raises her eyebrows. “How so?”
“If my new assignment fails, I do too, sounds like.” He moves to look out at the office. Erica follows.
“New assignment? High profile cases are your speciality, Derek. I don’t think you have much to worry about there.
“A criminal consultant,” He corrects. “Thanks to Argent.” He nods at Finstock exiting the elevator, his hand held tight to the elbow of Derek’s new project. Argent follows with a box behind them, looking smug. Derek knows they can’t see him watching them, but Argent’s face tells him that he doesn’t care - he knows Derek’s watching and that’s enough.
The hand cuffs are a stark difference against the pale wrists they loop around. He looks young - no more than 18, if Derek had to guess. It makes him more annoyed.
“Wow.” Erica says. “That’s…well, welcome back, boss man.” She exits his office as Finstock and Argent make their way up the stairs. Derek tightens his tie.
“Derek, this is…” Finstock frowns and looks at the kid.
“Stiles is good.” He says, smirking.
“Stiles, this is Agent Hale. He will be your handler. You report to him each morning and cannot leave without his permission. He will report your activity and success to us directly. You have a four week trial period before we agree on something more long term. It is then that we will discuss pay. For now, we’ve gotten you a hotel. You will receive a government card for meals and necessities, all itemized receipts must be turned in promptly. You will also receive a cell phone, which we will check and track calls whenever we see fit. If Agent Hale calls, you answer. You have a five mile radius. Your anklet will vibrate slightly at four and a half and will begin to beep as you get closer. If you are to pass out of the perimeter, police will be dispatched and you will be brought into questioning pending return to prison. Agent Hale has a key and can remove the device if needed, but any tampering or removal without the key will result in immediate dispatch. Do you agree to these terms?"
"Can you listen to my conversations?"
Derek raises an eyebrow. Finstock shakes his head. "Should that be necessary, we can arrange for that."
"It's not." He says, rolling his shoulders. "Yeah, I agree."
Argent opens the box and pulls a small anklet out. He pats the couch and Stiles puts his leg up. He doesn't watch as Argent snaps the monitor on. He notices Stiles moves away quickly once Argent releases his hold on Stiles' leg.
Finstock hands a tablet to Derek. There's a small blinking dot on the map where they're standing. He then turns to unlock the handcuffs.
Stiles is staring at Derek, seemingly not noticing that Argent has a hand on his neck.
Argent squeezes his neck as Finstock places the cuffs in his pocket. "You be good, Stiles." Argent says, grinning. "Wouldn't want to give this all up for those four walls again."
"Yep," Stiles says, barely interested. Derek notices that he seems to relax minutely as Argent drops his hold on his neck.
"Take advantage of his thought process," Finstock says. Stiles chuckles softly. "He's...he's got a gift for this sort of thing."
Derek narrows his eye. "Crime?"
Finstock shrugs. "And solving it. He solved over thirty cases while in prison."
"Forty two," Stiles says, rubbing his wrists.
Finstock nods. "Alright. Any questions, you call me, Derek. Remember what we talked about."
Derek nods. Remember my threat, is what he's really saying.
With that, the two of them are alone.
"What kind of name is Stiles?" Derek asks.
"The kind where no one can pronounce my real one," he says, glancing around the room. "First day back in a while, huh?"
"They tell you that?"
He shakes his head.
"How'd you know then?"
He taps his temple twice and winks. "Psychic."