"Good morning, Susan. AD Trevors wanted to see me?"
Susan Chan's head snapped up at the distinctive, soft-spoken voice and she smiled a welcome at its owner. The young man in front of her - well, young compared to her, she was staring fifty in the face after all - was one of her favourites.
"Good morning, Agent Heyes. He'll just be a few minutes. Please have a seat."
Agent Hannibal Heyes... he'd transferred to her boss's division a little over a year ago and quickly become its star and its enigma. He'd tried to fit in, he really had, but it had been like trying to hide one different coloured crayon amongst a box containing only one other colour.
He was one of the quietly intelligent ones, the ones that normally went by unnoticed and just got on with the job. It had been when she had been amending some information in his file at AD Trevors' request that she'd got her first hint of how intelligent he really was; this agent's IQ was of genius level. It had been the childhood information that had tugged at her heartstrings. Hannibal Heyes had had a relatively happy childhood up until he was ten years old. At age eight, he and his parents had moved from Wyoming to New York. They'd been killed in a car accident when he was ten.
Attempts had been made to find his aunt and her family but it was discovered that they'd been killed in a terrible train wreck within weeks of his parents' deaths. Fifteen passengers had died when the train collided with a freight train misrouted due to faulty signals. Heyes' only surviving relative had been a cousin two years younger than him; both boys had been placed in foster care in their respective states and apparently never allowed to communicate.
Heyes' time in foster care had not been pleasant. He had been one of the victims of an overworked system and had ended up placed with an abusive foster father. Mercifully, their neighbours had called in the authorities when they'd not heard or seen the boy for forty-eight hours; bruised, battered and traumatised, he'd been taken from that apartment in the arms of the police officer that would become his legal guardian.
It was following in his guardian's footsteps that had taken Hannibal Heyes into law enforcement. He'd caught enough eyes as a rookie detective in the NYPD to be approached by an old friend of his guardian's who suggested that he apply to the FBI. Hannibal Heyes had graduated top in his class at Quantico.
The phone buzzing on her desk brought Susan's attention back to the present, picking up the receiver she listened for a moment and said, "Agent Heyes, you may go in now. They're ready for you."
She saw the question in his eyes at the word 'they', but she just waved him through with a - she hoped - reassuring smile. A smile that disappeared that as soon as his back was to her; would this one be the right one?
In the two years that he'd been with this particular division of the FBI, Hannibal Heyes had proven to be a natural profiler. He could get into the minds of killers and kidnappers with frightening ease. The more puzzling a problem the better he liked it. If it wasn't for the fact that he took the crimes to heart so much, he could have become as scary as the people they hunted. His affinity with the victims of these crimes was the fact that humanized him for his colleagues. Nobody could fail to be affected by his gentle compassion or the understanding he showed them; it was the voice of experience talking and everyone knew it, even if they didn't know the details.
The problem was Heyes couldn't seem to keep a partner. He'd had two in the past twelve months alone, they just couldn't keep up. Heyes' leaps in logic sometimes befuddled fellow agents, and, when that was coupled with the instinctive and idiotic courage that the man showed under fire, his partners just couldn't seem to cope.
Heyes needed someone that could meet him half way. Not necessarily someone that could match him in intellect, not as long as they had the will to meet his flashes of brilliance with understanding and composure. More importantly, what Heyes needed was a partner that could keep up with him; someone that would watch his back with the dedication that Heyes would watch theirs.
AD Trevors' latest choice for Heyes' partner was waiting for him in that office. Would this be the partnership that worked?
AD Lom Trevors looked up as the door to his office opened and his most effective yet awkward agent entered. Heyes was not going to be happy about being assigned another partner... the last one had screamed at him in the middle of the office about his total lack of respect for orders.
One thing Hannibal Heyes hated was being made the centre of attention for a scene - that Wilson had chosen to do so in the middle of the open-plan office that the division shared had not sat well with him. In fact, the only thing that annoyed him more had been the fact that his partner was screaming at him for disobeying a stupid order from a normally desk-bound paper-pusher that should never have been the agent in charge of a field op, never mind the fact that by disobeying the order he'd managed to save the twelve year old girl from the psycho holding her for ransom.
Better to get this over with sooner rather than later, thought Lom. "Heyes, I'm glad you could get here so quickly. I apologise for calling you in on your day off but I thought you might like to meet your new partner and get some of the necessary paperwork out of the way today so that you can both just jump right into work tomorrow."
Lom fought to keep his expression calm in face of the glacial expression that his star agent graced him with, Heyes was not happy with him. Then again, he'd promised the last time that he wouldn't spring a new partner on him without warning and here he was doing just that. It was a gamble that much he knew. Still, his gut told him this time would be different. The new agent was very good, and, at twenty-eight, only two years younger than Heyes. Part of the problem with Wilson had been that at ten years Heyes' senior, he'd expected Heyes to treat him as his superior.
Also, like Heyes, this new agent had a past. Adopted son of a Texas Ranger, he'd been one of their up and coming officers by the time he was twenty-four. His skills with firearms were phenomenal and his record as an undercover agent was first rate. The problem had been when he'd gone in undercover to the equivalent of the Internal Affairs division of the Rangers and exposed the corrupt officers within it. The poor kid had done an amazing job and gotten the cold shoulder for it. He'd done the unforgivable in law enforcement; he'd brought in his own. That the officers in question had been involved in the biggest blackmail and smuggling ring the state of Texas had seen in years had seemingly been beside the point.
Law enforcement couldn't afford to lose him but Texas was no longer welcoming to him. He'd applied to the FBI, and, like Heyes before him, he'd graduated top of his class from Quantico. He'd been assigned to a veteran agent to show him the ropes of the Bureau, his mentor had retired last month and he'd been awaiting reassignment ever since.
"Heyes, meet your new partner, Agent Jedidiah Curry. Curry, this is Hannibal Heyes."
Something happened then that Lom Trevors did not fully understand. The two men - that had been looking anywhere but at each other - raised their eyes to each other's faces. The half smile that appeared on Heyes' face surprised Lom. According to all the information he'd seen, these two had never met.
The two men strode forward and shook hands briefly. Turning to AD Trevors, Heyes was scrupulously by the book as he said, "Well then, sir, if you'll excuse us, I'll take Agent Curry and show him around; get started on the paperwork and so on."
Too surprised by Heyes' seeming willingness to accept his new partner to say anything, Lom Trevors waved the new partners out of his office.
Heart racing, Heyes led his currently silent partner to the elevators. His face may have been calm but his heart was racing. The first name of the agent in the office had shaken him and it had taken all his self control not to betray his emotions on seeing his new partner. The vagaries of childhood memories aside, this Curry was the spitting image of his uncle Jed. When they'd shaken hands he'd got his next surprise, Curry had fleetingly moved his index finger to the pulse point on his wrist and double-tapped... the old code he'd made up with his little cousin one rainy afternoon when they'd been trapped inside by the bad weather.
They were the only two people in the elevator as it made its way to the third floor. Taking a deep breath, Heyes said one simple word. "Kid?" The longing in his voice as he used his old nickname for his cousin was apparent to them both.
Smiling nervously, Curry responded with, "Hiya, cousin." He had nearly died of shock when AD Trevors had introduced his new partner. The dark hair and twinkling eyes had been a poignant reminder of his uncle James, the name of Hannibal had literally called his heart to skip a beat. Two years in a Wyoming orphanage before being adopted by his late father and moved to Texas, the following happy years on the ranch and in the Texas Rangers; none of it had managed to wipe away the memory of his much-loved and much-missed cousin.
"Oh God, it is you," breathed Heyes in reply. Neither was even aware of moving, but suddenly, their arms were around each other as, bodies trembling, they reaffirmed a connection formed in childhood, a bond that was soul deep.
"I thought I'd never see you again," breathed Heyes, voice heavy with emotion.
"I prayed and prayed for a miracle," whispered Curry. "Took a little longer than I expected..."
Heyes chuckled at that. The Kid had always been good at making him laugh. Putting a more serious expression on his face, he said, "All right, we don't mention this to anyone. Not yet, anyway. We do whatever paperwork we need to and then we get the hell out of here. We have got a lot to catch up on before we make any further moves."
"Whatever you say, Heyes," said Curry with a smile.
Later that night, Heyes sat in his apartment and watched the sleeping form of his cousin as he crashed on his couch. They'd talked long into the night and there'd be many more such conversations. The major joys and woes of their childhoods had been covered though.
It was amazing how quickly they'd relaxed into their old behaviour; considering they hadn't seen each other in twenty years it was more like a miracle. Watching his sleeping cousin, Heyes instinctively knew that he'd found his partner, his true partner... the one he'd been unconsciously searching for. There was no way he was going to lose him now.
Somehow, the background checks had failed to spot the connection between them. The fact that the Kid, Jed, had taken his adoptive father's name had obviously helped. Coupled with the bureaucracy of an out of state adoption for Curry, legal guardianship as a ward of state for him and the records of two foster care systems it was hardly surprising that their blood connection had been overlooked... and that was the way they planned to keep it.
Family was not supposed to work together as partners, it was standard Bureau policy; a policy that they fully intended to ignore. They'd never actually worked in the field together but a single day in each other's presence was all that they needed to know that, in the other, they'd found the one person that they would trust implicitly to watch their backs.
The FBI was ready for the dawning of a new era, even if it didn't know it. As of tomorrow, it had one new partnership in its midst; Hannibal Heyes and Jedidiah Curry. A partnership that had been destined to be reunited.