This story has been haunting me day and night for almost three weeks now and I literally could no longer keep myself from writing it. Now, even though the plot of this story doesn't have anything to do with what's happened in the show, the idea was inspired by an event that took place in the first season. This story and the storyline from the show are two very different creatures, but there may be mentions of events that happened in the first season and most of the characters and their relationships will remain the same…for the most part. Capeesh?
Warnings - There will be violence and cursing, as well as mentions of drug use and, of course, adult content. If you watch the show, you should be able to handle this story!
Disclaimer: Own nothing related to SOA - story title inspired by Muse's "Undisclosed Desires", story itself inspired by badass characters and the growing need for legit, badass chicks.
AN IMPORTANT WORD FROM THE AUTHOR: As of September 18, 2016, I've made a significant change to the story. When I first began writing Undisclosed Desires, I included a real motorcycle club in the story and made the OC, Dana Bradshaw, connected to it. I can't explain why, but as time has gone on it's begun to feel weirder and weirder using said club in this story, simply because it IS real. So, for peace of mind, I've finally taken that club out and made up a fake club in its place, called Devils Vultures. I hope this does not cause any confusion for those who have been following the story since the beginning. If it does, I apologize!
So without further ado, enjoy!
Jackson Teller felt at ease for the first time that night as the roar of his Harley reverberated off the surrounding homes and echoed in his ears. The wind beat against his face and whipped through his hair, and while that might have been a nuisance to others, it was a comfort to him. Hell, it was moments like these that helped him keep some shred of sanity anymore these days – when it was just him, his bike, and a stretch of pavement, he could forget all of the shit that threatened to send him even further along this downward spiral he was already on. He could actually allow himself to be in his natural element and just enjoy the ride.
But as he had found to be the case time and time again, all good things must come to an end. A scowl worked its way onto his face without him really even knowing it when he pulled into his driveway a few minutes later, his eyes regarding his once cherished home with a blank, unfeeling look. The street became starkly quiet again once he'd turned off the ignition and the silence seemed almost deafening, closing in on him in an almost taunting preview of what surely awaited him inside. He heaved to himself and undid his helmet, dropping it carelessly onto the handle of his bike, then got to his feet as he started for the front door. Once he was inside, he took a moment to silently peer around the empty living room before dropping his keys onto a nearby table.
"I thought that might've been you," Neeta, the nanny, suddenly said, taking him by surprise when she walked out of the kitchen with her purse already hanging over her shoulder. She looked about as worn and tired as he currently felt, but he just couldn't find it in himself right then to feel guilty for having made her watch over Abel so late into the night. He couldn't find it in himself to feel much of anything these days "Abel's eaten, been changed, and fell asleep about a half hour ago," Neeta went on to update him. "He should be good for the night."
Jackson nodded in understanding. "Thanks, Neeta," he told her a bit flatly, fishing around in his pockets for a second before pulling out some extra cash. She tried to deny it when he handed it over, but he forced her to take it anyway. "Compensation for your extra time," he stated, leaving no room for argument as he stepped to the side to unblock the door. "Goodnight."
Neeta sighed in resignation, nodded, and stuck the extra money into her purse. "Thank you, Jax. Goodnight."
The first thing he did once Neeta was gone was head into the kitchen to pour himself a drink. He gulped down a generous helping of the strong whisky, wincing a bit as it burned its way to his stomach, then set the glass down to take off his kutte. Jackson pulled a face when he caught the strong smell of cheap perfume clinging to the leather and hung it over the back of the chair in hopes of airing it out. There was only a fleeting moment where he thought about the nameless, scantily-clad woman responsible for the strong scent now attacking his senses before he snatched up his drink and finished the rest with another large gulp, already wanting to forget about the quickie he'd had with the unimportant woman. Then once he'd refilled his glass, he began trudging towards Abel's room.
There had been a time in Jackson's life where coming home would have made him feel happy and contented, when being here with the people dearest to him was the best part of his day. But now, as he passed through the once cozy-feeling living room and headed for his son's bedroom, there was no happiness within him. He was just…numb to everything now, as had been the case ever since she had walked out of his life once and for all.
The seemingly permanent scowl finally only faded from his face once he had reached Abel's room and went to stand by the crib. The ten-month old looked angelic as he slept and it was impossible for Jackson to stop the warmth the filled him at the sight of his son, nor could he help the smile that tugged at the corner of his lips. His son was the best thing in his life now, the only thing that kept him from going completely insane. The blonde-haired man reached down to pat Abel's stomach affectionately, but then retracted it and took a step back when the baby stirred so as not to wake him. He took a seat in the rocking chair instead, not bothering to turn on the light as he relaxed and began enjoying his drink.
The brief moment of contentedness he'd felt at seeing Abel was gone as quickly as it had come. Because, as usual, with silence and solitude came the thoughts that he valiantly tried to fight down on a daily basis, the very ones that had been haunting him for the past three months – thoughts of her. He was bombarded by memories of coming home to her making dinner for him, of seeing her in this very chair as she tended to Abel and took on the role of mother so effortlessly. They were thoughts of happier times, when he would wake up to her each morning or pine for her on long trips, knowing that she was waiting for him in this very house. It had seemed like things might have actually been on the right track this time around, that everything might work out.
How completely and utterly wrong he had been.
Though Jackson understood what had motivated her decision to leave Charming again, he still didn't understand why she had left when she did. Honestly, it didn't make much sense to him. She had stuck around through the Kohn incident, had remained cool as a cucumber the entire time that the ATF had been investigating SAMCRO the previous year, but had walked out just when it felt like the dust was finally beginning to settle? Sure things had been a little hectic around Charming ever since the ATF had pulled out – with the lack of feds around to keep everyone on their best behavior, the rivalry between SAMCRO, the Nords, and the Mayans was beginning to make them feel as though they might be on the verge of an all-out war – but it was nothing that SAMCRO couldn't handle and certainly nothing that he would have ever allowed to pose a threat to her.
But in the end there was nothing he could do, nothing he could say that could convince her to stay in some place that she clearly wanted to be separated from. She had left him, left Abel, and run back to Chicago. I love you, Jax, you know I do, her voice echoed in his head for probably the thousandth time, But I can't live like this anymore. I tried, but I just…I can't do it. I'm sorry.
Had it been any other woman, Jackson knew he wouldn't have cared enough to become the weak, whimpering, and wounded dipshit that he now was. She was different. She wasn't some sweetbutt or crow-eater, she was something special. And everything that they'd built together – the home they'd made in this house, the bond they'd formed, the family they had begun talking about – had all been ripped away. For good. And he'd tried everything from throwing himself headfirst into the club's dealings to fucking countless women in an attempt to get her out of his system. Unfortunately, it seemed there wasn't enough danger, booze, or loose women in the world to cure the ache that had settled in the region of his heart. He was a damned pathetic mess…and it seemed that was something that was not about to change any time soon.
He was pulled from his dark thoughts when Abel started to whimper from his crib, as though the child could feel the ominous aura filling the room with his father's increasingly spiteful thoughts and was expressing his dislike of it. Jackson set his drink down and got to his feet again, feeling his mood lighten some once his son was in his arms – Abel seemed to be the only one capable of temporarily chasing his demons away nowadays. He cooed at the baby affectionately, his actions highly contradicting of the rough exterior he presented to the outside world, and within moments Abel had fallen back to sleep. Jackson didn't bother putting him back in his crib this time, choosing to hold him instead as he sat back in the rocking chair and cradled his son protectively to his chest.
At least there's still something good about this damn place, he thought to himself as he ran a calloused fingertip over Abel's delicate cheek. As his gaze shifted upward a bit to eye the Sons of Anarchy beanie atop Abel's head, he reached over to grab his drink again, feeling a little less bitter than he had just moment ago. He was better then this, Goddamnit. Was there really a point in sitting around and moping about a woman that wanted nothing to do with him anymore? Abel and SAMCRO, that was all he needed; not her. And as long as he still had his son and still had his brothers, then maybe things weren't really so bad.
Los Angeles, California - FBI Headquarters
Dana Bradshaw could hardly keep from fidgeting as the elevator slowly climbed upward, keeping her eyes trained intently on the red digital numbers as they ticked by, all-the-while impatiently tapping her fingers against her thigh. Once the metal box came to a standstill at floor number five, she took a moment to nervously smooth out the nonexistent wrinkles in her shirt before reminding herself, yet again, to be on her absolute best behavior. She was already in enough trouble as it was – there was to be no back-talking, no arguing, and she could not, repeat not, let her temper get the better of her. Not today, and certainly not in this meeting.
Upon exiting the elevator, Dana was faced with a long hallway. At the end sat three waiting chairs and a lone desk being manned by a mid-forties secretary named Judith. The secretary was in the middle of a phone conversation when Dana approached, while simultaneously typing away at her keyboard. She only took a brief moment to nod at her before motioning towards the double doors to the left. "He's ready for you," Judith whispered before immediately diverting her attention back to her conversation, not sparing Dana a second glance.
Dana nodded and headed for the door, feeling as awkward and anxious as a teenager about to ask someone out on a date for the first time. She hesitated only for a second before sucking in a deep breath and knocking twice on the solid wood. As she lowered her hand back to her side, she had to wipe her palm on her pant-leg to get rid of the nervous sweat that had accumulated there. Don't screw this up, Bradshaw. Do not screw this up.
"Come in," a deep voice called from the other side of the door.
Dana only poked her head into the office at first and was immediately greeted with the sight of her superior, an attractive, dark-skinned man in his early forties by the name of Carl Peters. He motioned for her to come in further once he saw that it was her at the door. She nodded before stepping in fully and closing the door behind her. "You wanted to see me, sir?" Dana asked in her most cordial tone, valiantly hiding how nervous she was as she walked up to his desk.
"Please, sit," he said, gesturing towards the chair sitting opposite from his. Once she was settled in, Peters leaned forward and rested his elbows on the desk between them. She almost fidgeted under his scrutinizing, unyielding stare but somehow managed not to. "Tell me, Bradshaw, how long have you been with the bureau – four years or five?"
His question immediately made a few warning flags go up in her mind. Dana began to feel a little wary of where this conversation might be headed. "It'll be four years in November," she answered steadily.
Peters nodded and brought his hands up, steepling them together against his lips as he regarded her. "And in that time period you and I have always worked together fairly well, wouldn't you agree?" Dana slowly nodded her head in agreement. "Why do you think that is?"
Dana frowned, having to take a moment to think of a proper response to such an off-the-wall question. "I would guess that's because we've always been straightforward with one another," she finally said. "Speaking frankly, neither one of us has time or patience for bullshit, sir."
Peters 'hmph'ed in response and nodded his head, seemingly agreeing with her assessment of their working relationship. "Then because I'm tired, because I have a mound of paperwork piling up on my desk, and because it's the end of the day and I can't be late to dinner one more time this week without my wife killing me, I'm going to be very straightforward with you now," he stated after a moment or two of pensiveness, making her immediately straighten up in her chair – Oh lord, here it comes. "You fucked up, Bradshaw."
She immediately turned her gaze away, knowing full well she should have expected there to be another lecture waiting for her but still unable to help feeling a bit annoyed that they were talking about this again. You see, Dana had recently been 'grounded', as was the popularly used term whenever an agent screwed up bad enough to get themselves taken out of the field but not quite so horrible as to get officially suspended. In her particular case, disobeying a few measly orders while working her most recent investigation (the now Infamous Gomez Case) and accidently getting other agents shot had apparently been more than enough to ensure that her rear end remained planted firmly at a desk for a minimum of at least a month. And after a long, and incredibly boring, sixteen days of never-ending paperwork, she'd been hoping that Peters had called her in today to show mercy end that punishment a little.
Apparently, Dana had thought wrong.
"Sir – " She started to defend herself.
"You disobeyed a direct command, Bradshaw," Peters interrupted, reminding her of her mistake for about the seventeenth time. "And because of your recklessness, not one, but two agents had to go to the hospital. You should count your blessings that you're even sitting where you are right now, because there were some debates about handing you termination papers. Do you even realize how lucky you were that no one was killed in that fiasco?" She knew from experience that his question was a rhetorical one, so she wisely kept her mouth shut and waited for him to continue with his rant. Her superior fixed her with a stern stare for a long moment before letting out a heavy heave. "Lucky for you," he continued, this time with a less abrasive tone, "you're still one of the best agents I've got. And even if you did have a…lapse in judgment on the Gomez case, in every other aspect you've done exceptional work here. And that isn't something to be overlooked."
Hoping that the worst of the storm had passed now - and that maybe she wasn't on the verge of losing her job - she met her superior's gaze again and nodded her head. "I take my job very seriously, sir. Sometimes a bit too seriously. I know I put fellow agents at risk and I'm sorry for that, it was never my intention to get anyone else hurt," she apologized, hoping her sincerity would help smooth things over even further.
Peters regarded her for a second, seemingly trying to gauge how sincere she was, before he shifted his attention and leaned over to open one of the drawers in his desk. He pulled out two file folders, one of which looked significantly fuller than the other, and handed the thinner of the two to her first. She accepted it with a curious look, not daring to open it until he told her to but unable to repress the growing hope that she might soon be back to doing real work.
"All bullshit aside," Peters started as she eyed the file in her hand, "I think if given the opportunity that you could go very far in this organization, Bradshaw," he admitted matter-of-factly. "And that opportunity for you to show your potential has just presented itself, but you're going to have to prove that you can play by the rules. No rash decisions, no arguing with me," That was said with a very stern look, "and no going rogue just because you 'have a hunch'. Do you understand me?"
"Yes, sir," Dana readily agreed, growing more and more excited with where this conversation was headed – was she reading into things too much, or was Peters actually hinting that there might be a promotion on the horizon for her if she played her cards right? It was unexpected, seeing as she'd more or less been in purgatory for the past two and a half weeks. But hell, she'd probably jump through hoops of fire right now if it meant getting back in the field or getting a promotion.
Peters nodded in approval of her response then waved towards the folder in her hand. "Tell me, what do you know about the Perry Wilson case?"
Dana's eyes widened in surprise and she immediately opened the file, her eyebrows coming together when she saw a picture of the politician in question smiling back at her.
Perry Wilson was the current Mayor of San Jose and had been for the past five years. Recently he had decided to go further with his political career and had begun early campaigning for Governor of California in light of the upcoming election year. And though his anti-crime movements were starting to gain him a good deal of notoriety both in his very supportive hometown and abroad, they had also earned him an increasingly long list of enemies within crime syndicates. That much had been made glaringly obvious over the past few weeks by the onslaught of threats piling up against him and, even more so, when the mayor himself had nearly been kidnapped four days previous.
"I don't know very much about the attempted kidnapping," Dana admitted, tearing her eyes away from the photo to look back at her superior. Seeing as this investigation had thus far been handled by higher-ups with more experience than her, she had to wonder why he was presenting such a high-profile case to her now.
"Well, four days ago we received a call from Mayor Wilson's head of security," Peter's began to explain, now filling her in on the details of the case. "They were passing through Charming, California on their way to Oakland when they decided to bunk up in a hotel for the night. They found a Motel 6 on the outskirts of town, got a few rooms, and settled in for the night." Dana turned her attention back to the file to flip through it, eyeing the notes inside as Peters talked. "Apparently the mayor then decided it'd be a good idea to visit the local dive-bar. You know, have a few drinks, mingle with the locals, so on and so forth."
Her eyes darted back up to his. "Surely he didn't go to a bar without his security team," Dana retorted incredulously, shutting the file and setting it back on the desk.
"Oh, they were with him alright," Peters told her matter-of-factly, the look on his face letting her know he was unhappy with the story he was recounting. "The head of security said they got 'caught off-guard', got jumped the second they walked out of the bar. One minute they're heading back to the car, the next they're getting their asses handed to them while Mayor Wilson starts getting hauled towards a big, black van. Lucky for them a backup team was nearby. They drove in, shot the men holding Wilson, and saved the day," he finished a bit dryly.
Dana shook her head in bemusement. "And no civilians saw any of this happen?"
Peters shook his head before leaning back into his seat with a long heave. "There were plenty of eyewitnesses, alright, but no one seems to want to talk," he explained, the lines on his forehead deepening as he frowned in disapproval.
"Of course they don't. That would be too easy," she chimed in a bit sarcastically. "So what happened to the kidnappers, then?"
"Aborted their plan as soon as back up rolled in. Guess they weren't ready to die for the cause after all," Peters revealed with a sour look on his face. "There were a few injuries on their part but no fatalities – clean getaway."
Dana shook her head in disbelief, wondering how men as inept as the ones on Perry Wilson's security unit managed to obtain their positions in the first place. The mayor could be dead right now if circumstance had panned out differently. But as Peters reached over and slid the other, thicker folder on the desk toward her, she pushed her disapproving thoughts away. There was an oddly guarded look on her superiors face now, one that made some of her excitement over the prospect of field work deflate and left her feeling a bit uncertain. Maybe it was just her paranoia rearing its ugly head, but suddenly she could not help but think that there might be some sort of catch to this whole 'redeeming' process. She took a moment to eye the folder a bit untrustingly before slowly picking it up.
"What's in this file, sir?"
"Open it and see," he answered simply.
Dana frowned at him for a moment then slowly opened up the file as instructed. As soon as she spotted the pictures inside, or rather mugshots, it felt as though her heart had launched itself into her throat. "Why am I looking at this?," she asked in as steady of a voice as she could, raising her eyebrows at her superior as she motioned towards the folder's contents.
"You're looking at this file because as of today, these men are our prime suspects."
"Clay Morrow? Alex Trager? Jackson Teller?" Dana listed off, thumbing through the photographs of the bikers. She remembered hearing about this particular motorcycle club in passing nearly a year ago, when the ATF had tried - and failed - to take them down. She didn't know them personally, but she'd known men like them before. And memories of her past experience with bikers were not ones she reflected on kindly. "SAMCRO?," she continued, her voice taking on a note of incredulity. When Peters raised his eyebrows at her in warning, Dana sucked in a deep breath to steady herself. "These guys are suspected gun-runners, not kidnappers. Besides, what would they want with someone like Perry Wilson, anyway?"
"The same thing every criminal in California wants with him, I'd guess," Peters shot back at her. "Listen, we don't know if they're kidnappers or gun-runners or what have you. But two of the guys were on motorcycles and Wilson's security unit swears up and down that they caught sight of a biker's kutte when the kidnappers started retreating."
"And it was this motorcycle club?" Dana asked skeptically. "It wasn't just someone playing dress up?"
"Head of security was ninety-nine-percent sure he saw a grim reaper on one of the attackers' back. And kuttes like that aren't exactly easy to get your hands on…as I'm sure you know," he added pointedly.
"Which means that there's a one-percent chance that he's mistaken," she pointed out with a quirk of her eyebrow, choosing to ignore the latter part of his previous statement.
"And that is why we sent Agent's Markum and Huff out to investigate all of the nearby clubs, not just SAMCRO," Peters immediately countered.
Dana watched Peters for a long moment before slowly nodding her understanding. "So what's changed?" She asked. "Why are we focusing on these men now?"
Peters heaved heavily at this and brought a hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose, now looking as though he had the weight of the world on his shoulder. "We've lost contact with our agents in the field," he revealed grimly. "It's been almost two days since we last heard from them, which means that by this point they've either been kidnapped or killed." He dropped his hand and raised his eyebrows at her. "Now I'll give you three guesses as to which town they were in before going missing."
Dana only needed one guess in the end. "Charming?," she asked knowingly.
When Peters nodding his head in confirmation, Dana sighed and shook her head. She wasn't entirely sure which part of this conversation bothered her more, though – the news of the missing agents, the glaring proof of how dangerous SAMCRO clearly was, or the fact that despite all of this, Peters apparently still planned to send her in to investigate them. "Sir, what makes you think I'll be any safer then those agents were if I go to Charming?" Dana asked skeptically. "Woman or not, I'm still a federal agent – hell, didn't that Stahl woman get her face bashed in by one of their guys last year? Clearly they aren't fans."
"Which is why we've decided to take a…different approach," he stated, staring her down unblinkingly. "Bradshaw, you know as well as I do that trying to get these guys to talk to a federal agent is as pointless as trying to predict the second coming of Christ." Dana scoffed at this – that was hands-down the understatement of the year. "But SAMCRO is smart. ATF has been all over these guys for years and still haven't been able to get any hard, convicting evidence on them. They know how to avoid a badge by now."
She had a feeling she already knew where this was going. "So what's the plan?," she asked steadily, setting down the SAMCRO file before crossing her arms over her chest.
"Undercover operation," Peters stated bluntly, making her stomach flip uneasily. "Infiltrate SAMCRO and bring them down from the inside."
Dana shook her head before heaving and reaching up to pinch the bridge of her nose. She would have to be an idiot not to know exactly why she had been picked for this job – her superior was one of the few people at the bureau who knew of her past connection to a motorcycle club just like SAMCRO. Of course he would recommend her for an operation like this. But Peters was also aware of the fact that she had done everything in her power to completely distance herself from anything related to her past life – family, old friends, and investigations included. Was this his way of continuing to punish her? That he was even presenting this case to her in the first place felt like a slap in the face, but the fact that he was bribing her with a promotion to get her to agree to taking it left Dana fighting down the urge to throw every nasty word she knew at her superior.
"Sir – " she started to say, trying to reign in her growing anger.
"I know what you're about to say, Bradshaw," he interrupted, holding up a hand to silence her. "And no, this is not my version of cruel and unusual punishment." She wasn't very convinced of that, but refrained from saying so. "We need someone on the inside, it's the only way. And like it or not, you're the one most qualified."
Dana had had a feeling that Peters might say something like that and immediately nodded her head, pressing her lips into a tight line. "I understand. Send in the MC brat because she'll blend in, right?," she couldn't help but shoot at him with a sardonic smile, feeling very unhappy with the direction this conversation had gone. "Is the fact that my outlaw biker father's spending the rest of his life in prison supposed to be my 'get in free' card with SAMCRO?"
"What do you want me to say? That you were chosen because of your past?," Peters countered in a clipped tone, making her fall silent again. "Yes, Bradshaw, your past has a lot to do with it. But you were also chosen because I know you can be the one to bring these guys down," he stressed determinedly. "You're smart, you're driven, and you're a damn good agent. You want to show your father that you've made something of yourself, don't you? Prove that you aren't like him? That you're better than that?," he asked. "I know you do because I know you, Bradshaw. Bringing down SAMCRO," he stated seriously, pushing the folder back in her direction, "is your opportunity to do just that."
Dana remained silent as she contemplated everything that Peters had just said to her.
She had never, and probably would never, admit it to anyone, but Peters had her pegged. She had chosen this career path with revenge in her mind. Because her father had been a member of the Devils Vultures MC, an outlaw biker gang based out of San Diego, and because he had chosen his brothers over his wife and children time and again, Dana's home-life had been unstable growing up and her family had virtually ended up being ripped apart. She had worked all of her adult life to overcome her past and prove that she was better than her upbringing, but now it felt as though it had jumped up and was vengefully consuming her. This case could be the opportunity of a life time, Dana knew that, and not only in terms of progressing in her career – if she succeeded, if she brought down the elusive SAMCRO organization, then maybe Dana could finally find the closure she'd been searching for. But, then again, that was assuming that being thrown back into the world that she had tried so hard to forget wouldn't end up destroying her first.
"How long would I be there?," she finally asked in an apprehensive voice.
"That, I'm afraid, is circumstantial," he answered a bit regretfully, making her dread worsen. "It could be weeks, it could be months. It all depends on how long it takes you to either find out if SAMCRO is behind these attacks, or to find Markum and Huff."
She slowly nodded in understanding. "I…" Dana shook her head, trying to form the correct words. "I need time to think about it. I hope you understand why."
Peters nodded, showing a brief hint of sympathy for the first time in weeks, and grabbed the folders before stacking them together and offering them to her. "I do. Take the files, read them over." Dana nodded and reached out to take the folders, feeling as though the large one dedicated to SAMCRO weighed as heavy as an anvil. "But I will need an answer by tomorrow. We can't afford to wait on this."
"Understood," Dana said, quickly getting to her feet and heading for the door. This decision was going to be a tough one to make and would undoubtedly leave her in a bad state for the rest of the day. This called for two things - Joel Matheson, a fellow agent and her go-to for advice, and a strong bottle of whiskey.
She was just opening the door and about to step out of the office when Peters spoke up again. "And Bradshaw?," he called out, making her pause and look back at him. "Remember, we might have lost two men because of these bastards. If those agents are dead, justice needs to be served," he told her with a no-nonsense look on his face.
"I won't forget, sir," she said with a quick nod of her head before stepping out and leaving Peters' office.
Two hours later found Dana and Joel sitting in the living room of her quaint, two bedroom apartment. The apartment itself only had the necessary furniture and was not overly decorated – only a few simple art pieces hung here or there to break up the otherwise plain, grey-colored room. Since Dana was rarely there and had never taken the time to make it more homely, it had an overall feeling of abandon. In fact, the only item in the apartment that looked to have been used recently was the sizeable cork-board hanging up on one wall of the living room; it was used during investigations, to keep her notes in order. The mugshots of the SAMCRO members were already pinned to this board and she had been staring at them sourly for at least a half hour now.
"I think it's a really good opportunity," Joel said matter-of-factly.
Dana scoffed and finished off the last bit of her whiskey, setting it down on the coffee table before leaning back and relaxing into her couch. She and Joel had been going back and forth about this for over an hour, but she was still no close to coming to a decision. "I think it involves a motorcycle club that's tried to kidnap a politician and might have killed two FBI agents," she shot at Joel dryly. "Who's to say I won't end up just like them?"
Joel threw back some of his own drink and then shook his head. He was scruffy and unshaven, in his mid-thirties, and had always been a good listener whenever she found herself in need of a good venting session. He was handsome in a man's-man sort of way. They had had a brief romantic relationship whenever she first joined the bureau, but that had been very short-lived. It hadn't taken long for them to decide that they were better of just being friends. "C'mon, Dana," Joel said with a pointed look. "You're not gonna be alone on this. Do you really think Peters would send you into the lion's den without protection?"
"After the shit he's put me through recently? Yeah, I do." Then she thought about his question for a moment before frowning over at him. "Wait…you already knew about this, didn't you?," she accused, narrowing her eyes.
Joel immediately pressed his lips together, then brought his drink up to his mouth again. "He might've mentioned it," he responded quickly before taking a hearty gulp of his drink.
Dana immediately leaned forward and swatted his shoulder, glaring at him in annoyance. "You could have warned me what the meeting was about. I thought I was gonna get fired, for God's sake."
She got up to go and fix herself another drink, shooting another glare in his direction as she walked past him, but Joel only pulled a face at her in response. "Okay, so would you have rather me said this?," he asked sarcastically as she poured whiskey back into her glass. "Hey, Dana? A new investigation on SAMCRO has been opened up and Peters is gonna assign you the case. I suggest you take it or you might end up suspended indefinitely," he told her, his tone on the mocking side. When she turned back to face him with a surprised look on her face, Joel raised his eyebrows. "Better?"
Dana gaped at him for a long moment. "Wait, is that part about the suspension true?"
Joel sighed and shrugged, the sarcasm on his features fading away. "I wouldn't rule it out if I were you," he suggested honestly.
Dana shook her head before turning back to the mini-bar and pouring more whiskey into her cup. She then ran a hand through her hair, working out some of the knots that had formed in her mid-length, copper-colored tresses, and went to sit back on the couch. "Goddamnit," she muttered to herself as she plopped onto the cushions ungracefully. "I'm damned if I take the case and damned if I don't."
"You know what I think?" Joel offered, turning in his seat to face her fully. "I think it shows how much faith Peters has in you." When Dana shot him a disbelieving look, he immediately rolled his eyes. "Do you think he would've handed you this case if he didn't think you could handle it?" Joel questioned her pointedly.
"That world is dangerous, Joel," she shot back with a frown. "I've been there, I've seen it – hell, I lost my family because of it." When Joel quirked a brow and started to speak again she knew, without a shadow of doubt, that he was about to say something to counter her statements about losing her family. Dana held a hand up to silence him, knowing he was going to tell her that she could easily get her family back if she just stopped ignoring them and let them back into her life. "Don't even bring it up," she warned him. "Not today."
Joel raised his hands in surrender. "Fine," he conceded. "But listen to me right now – you can't pass this up just because you're being a chicken-shit," he went on to argue. Dana threw a hand up in frustration, feeling utterly annoyed with Joel right then, and took a long gulp of her drink to keep from saying anything snarky. "Peters is right about proving something to your father, but this is about proving something to yourself too. If you really want to close the door on your past once and for all, you'll take this case. Stop playing the victim and actually do something about this, Dana."
Dana turned her eyes elsewhere, unable to meet Joel's pointed stare any longer, and instead scrutinized the mugshots hanging nearby. She'd be lying if she said that his words hadn't sparked some sort of determination deep within her – was the alcohol clouding her judgment, or he did he actually have a point? For all of these years she had been hunting down criminals and making sure they spent the rest of their pathetic lives in prison, but never once had she had the courage to try and actually absolve her past by bringing in men like her father. She had talked the talk for nearly eight years now - four years as a policewoman, four as a federal agent - but had never walked the walk. Maybe this was her golden opportunity to rise to the challenge and change that.
"So?" Joel finally asked after a long stretch of silent. "What are you gonna do, Bradshaw – be a coward or take charge?"
Dana turned and met his challenging stare for a long moment, knowing Joel was trying to fuel the fire in her, then extended a hand in his direction before she could have a chance to rethink her decision "Give me your phone," she commanded resolutely.
Joel pulled his phone from his pocket and handed it to her, keeping his gaze locked on her as she flipped it open and quickly dialed an all-too-familiar number. Dana sat up straighter as she waited for an answer, placing her drink on the coffee table in front of her, before running a hand through her hair. I sure hope I'm not making the biggest mistake of my life, she thought to herself. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, there was an answer.
"Peters," her superior greeted in a crisp, professional tone.
"It's Dana Bradshaw, sir," she said in response before closing her eyes and sucking in a deep, steadying breath. "I've come to a decision about SAMCRO."
There was a pause on the other end. "And?"
Dana nodded her head even though Peters couldn't see her – Joel could however, and he immediately flashed her an approving nod before beginning to sort through the papers in front of them, obviously intent on getting a plan underway as soon as this conversation was over. "I'll do it," she revealed to Peters. "I'll go to Charming."
"I'm glad to hear that, Bradshaw," Peters responded in obvious relief. "We'll have a team briefing in the morning, start getting this investigation underway. We'll need you in Charming by next week."
"Yes, sir," Dana answered shortly.
She almost immediately regretted her decision to go through with this insane - and probably suicidal - plan, but knew there was no backing out now. She, Dana Bradshaw, was going to Charming and would soon be face to face with her new greatest enemy. SAMCRO.
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