Disclaimer: If you recognize it, it's not mine. This story is on an AU track.
This story is rated T for violence and a few references to sexual assault. Don't like it, don't read it.
This story is a sequel to my stories Eyes Wide Open and Little Girl Lost, which in turn are both sequels to other stories. You don't need to have read the earlier stories to understand this one, but I really recommend reading the entire series in order for context.
Chapter 1: Long-Distance Call
Some small part of Alex, some part buried deep down, realized how fruitless her pursuit was likely to be, but she simply couldn't stop. She had to do something, and right now, this was the only something she could do. Ever since the terrifying call she'd received two days earlier, since Mike Logan had told her that Carolyn Barek had never made it home, she'd been in near-constant action. Following the brushoffs she'd gotten from both local and federal authorities, she'd sat down with Carolyn's contact list, dialing number after number in hopes that someone might listen.
She glanced over at the next number on the list, punching it into the phone, holding her breath as it rang. One, two, three times...then an annoyed-sounding voice. "Eppes."
"Mr. Eppes? My name is Alex Eames. We've never met -"
"You don't say," he replied sarcastically. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"
Alex glanced over at her clock."It's after eight-thirty." Now she was annoyed.
There was a momentary pause. "Eight-thirty? Where the hell are you?"
"What?" She glanced back at the phone display, only then noticing the unfamiliar area code that she had punched in on autopilot. "New York," she said more gently. "Where are you?"
"LA, where it's currently five-thirty in the morning," he groused.
"Damn," she hissed. "I am so sorry. I wasn't thinking about the time zone issue. I can call back in a few hours..."
"Wait," he said, his annoyance now tinged with amusement. "If you're going to wake me up at this hour, you might at least tell me what it's about."
"Carolyn Barek." She almost whispered her partner's name. "You know her?"
"Yeah, I know Agent Barek." Now he sounded concerned. "Has something happened?"
"She's missing," Alex said bluntly, "and I can't get local authorities to do anything about it."
"What?" All trace of irritation was gone from his voice now. "How long?"
"Thirty-eight hours, give or take. I watched her get in her car, but she never made it home."
There was a brief pause. "What can I do?"
"I - I don't know," she admitted. It was the first time she'd gotten that far. "I guess I'm kind of grasping at straws here. I just - I don't believe there's a benign explanation here, but no one will take it seriously. The local PD is insisting on treating it like a missing woman case, not a missing agent. My supervisor says to give it a few days and see if she turns up."
"Let me make some calls," he said after a moment. "I know a lot of people who know a lot of people. Maybe I can get someone to take some kind of action. What's her assignment?"
"Joint Terrorism Task Force, New York office," Alex said, feeling like she was letting out a breath she'd been holding for a day and a half.
"And can you remind me of your name? I'm afraid I was kind of...not awake when you told me."
She chuckled a bit. "Alex Eames. Lieutenant Alex Eames. I'm Carolyn's partner."
"Lucky you," he said lightly, a smile evident in his voice. "I'll be in touch, Lieutenant. I promise."
Alex was smiling slightly as she hung up the phone, but she couldn't keep it up for long. Carolyn's empty desk seemed to stare over at her. She was grateful beyond words for the man's help, but it still didn't answer the fundamental question. What the hell happened to Carolyn?
And it's the start of a new adventure! I've listed this as a Law and Order:CI story but it's actually something of a three-way crossover with Numb3rs (those who know the series will recognize that the agent on the other end of Alex's phone call is a Numb3rs character)and The Mentalist. CI is the "primary" universe if you will, and I'll do my best to explain the characters from the other two universes, but it's not straight CI. It's going to be a fun ride, so stick around.