Rating: PG13 for language
Word Count: 1,134
Characters: Alan Eppes, Carl McGowan
Summary: Alan always knew his past might come back to haunt him. He never thought it would haunt his boys.
Spoilers: Protest, High Exposure, The Decoy Effect, Blowback, Jack Of All Trades
Notes: I've had this running around my head for a while but finally typed it up last night. I was never satisfied with Carl McGowan's motivation in his episodes. To me it always felt like he was being the villain because they needed a villain for the sake of drama. So this is my take on what could be McGowan's real motivation. Your thoughts on this would be most welcome.
Beta: None. Just wanted to get this up and out.
Alan rested his back against the cement pillar. The cold of it seeped through his sweater and he could feel his back already complaining. It had been a long time since he'd had clandestine meetings with anyone and if his memory served they never did it in parking garages. City parks were more the style of the great revolution.
Alan heard footsteps and hoped they belonged to the person he was waiting for. Don had left hours before so he wasn't sure how he would justify hanging out in the FBI parking lot should anyone ask.
Agent Carl McGowan walked right past him without noticing. No wonder he wasn't a field agent anymore. Not that he was the brightest crayon in the box to begin with, at least in Alan's opinion.
McGowan whipped around. “Alan Eppes. I'd wondered when I'd see you. Still scurrying around in the dark I see.”
Alan didn't move out of his shadow. He could already feel his stomach knotting and the bile rising and he didn't want McGowan to see any distress on his face.
“Leave my boys alone, Carl.”
McGowan barked. Alan remembered that laugh. “I am conducting and official investigation...”
“Bullshit.” Alan snapped. “I figured the Bureau would investigate and poke around and what would happen would happen, then I heard Charlie say your name and I knew it would be nothing but a witch hunt.”
McGowan took a few steps towards Alan's shadow. “You know the first time I saw Eppes’ name on a piece of paper I thought 'No. No the Bureau wouldn't do this to me. Wouldn't give a badge and a gun to the son of a terrorist.”
Alan pushed away from the pillar and stepped into the pool of cold light coming from a dingy bulb in the ceiling. “I had nothing to do with those bombings. I had nothing to do with any bombing or act of violence and I knew no one responsible. I am a pacifist and always have been.”
“So you say.”
Alan felt his fist try to ball up, a low rage building at McGowan's sneer that hadn't changed in the decades since their last meeting. Alan took a deep breath and remembered he was there for his boys.
“How many hours were we in that interrogation room?” Alan asked. “Three day, how many hours before they made you cut me loose, twenty five, twenty six?”
Alan nodded. He'd spent years trying to blur out the memory of Carl McGowan and those twenty seven hours he'd spent silent. “When Donnie told me he was joining the FBI my first thought was 'Where did I go wrong?' I didn't tell him. Didn't tell him about you and me. All those hours of you yammering away and me staring at a little point over you left shoulder. Still haven't told him. Figured he didn't need to know.”
“I'm touched you remember our time so fondly.”
“I remember that trumped up confession you waved in my face. Told me I just had to sign it and name names and you'd cut me a deal, what was it five years? Piece of cake.”
“A fraction of what you deserved.”
Alan took a deep breath. “I'll sign it. I'm sure you've still got it in a file somewhere. Leave my boys alone and I'll sign it here and now.”
McGowan laughed a low sick laugh and stepped in close. Alan could feel his breath and it took all he had not to lean away. “Why would I want an old washed up hippy who sold out his glorious revolution for a 401k and a house in Pasadena?”
“Your fight is with me. Leave my boys out of it.” Alan hissed barely able to hear his own voice of the furious pounding of his heart.
“Or you'll do what? Blow up my house?” Alan's hands clenched into fists. Then a rage settled in behind his eyes the likes of which he hadn't felt in years. “Your boys are a menace. Your little Donnie is a loose cannon who can't control his trigger finger and thinks the badge means he can get away with murder and if I had my way Doctor Eppes would not only be out of his clearance but out of a job lest he infect another generation with his self righteous, academic, liberal elitism that lets him believe he can flaunt the laws of this nation during a time of war. Of course he probably got that from you.”
‘No, that was mainly his mother.’ Alan thought suddenly feeling quite calm.
“You know Carl, the walls of that interrogation room weren't that thick and your voice caries. I could hear you screaming. 'I'm close, I'm close. He's about to break. I just need another hour.” Alan smiled a little as he saw the muscles in McGowan's jaw twitch. “That must have pissed you off. You were, what, five minutes out of Quantico? Your shoes still squeaked on the floor when you walked and your suit jacket didn't fit quite right. You couldn't afford better.” Alan leaned in until he could see the grey hairs of McGowan's beard just appearing. “Twenty seven hours? I wasn't close to breaking. I could have gone another twenty seven with you, or anther. How bad did it hurt getting yanked out of that room by your boss 'cause you couldn't break the hippy and had no evidence to hold me?”
The silence stretched between them. In the distance a car drove away and the filaments in the bulb above them rattled.
“I'm recommending that Doctor Eppes lose his clearance permanently and that Agent Eppes be immediately suspended pending a full investigation.”
Alan nodded. He hadn't really been expecting anything better. Carl McGowan had been an intractable idiot in '71 and age had apparently not mellowed him.
McGowan smiled. “You can answer me one thing though. Who is Crito?”
“Excuse me?” Alan tried to remember if there was anyone in the old group named Crito or if it was a code word or something.
“Something Doctor Eppes said. Crito we owe a rooster to... somebody.”
Alan snorted. Leave it to Charlie to quote something twenty five hundred years old when most people would have just told McGowan to fuck off. “You never studied the classics did you? Too liberal or too elitist?” McGowan didn't answer. “Crito we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Please do not forget to pay the debt. Socrates final words to his student Crito before death.”
McGowan looked confused. Alan took a second to relish the look.
“But what does it mean?”
“It means Charlie would sooner drink hemlock than betray his brother. And thank you.” Alan smiled. “Maybe I didn't go so wrong raising my boys after all.”