DISCLAIMER: All herein belong to CBS and its affiliates, not me. Not profit was made, no disrespect intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I love Garcia. And since I don’t really write het stuff, I often feel that she gets short shrift from me. So this is my little testimonial to my favorite tech goddess. Un-beta’d, so all mistakes mine. No offense is intended in this story to anyone's faith or religion. Merely poetic license with Garcia's thoughts. If I have offended you in any way, my sincere apologies.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Secrets of the Dead
She was reading one of those inane quizzes online. The one that asks you who, living or dead, you would most like to invite to dinner. She'd always thought that dead people had to be a hell of a lot more interesting than most of the living people she knew. After all, they were dead. They had seen things, known things that no living soul could know. That had to be better than getting Martha Stewart's recipe for strudel or finding out how many women hit on her in prison.
Besides, she had a vested interest in the dead. They populated her computer screen, daily, hourly. Their vacant eyes stared out at her, accusing, beseeching, speaking a language whose vowels and consonants were as unfamiliar to her as the incantations and pleas for salvation offered to angry gods on the bloodied streets of Tenochtitlan.
She dreamt sometimes that she had learned the ancient dialect of the dead, the cadences as slow and mournful as the distant sound of the foghorns that had come from the Bay late at night as she lay in her childhood bed. They had called to her, too, beckoning her to find truths in the slipping rush of the water across the prow of a lone tugboat, in the harsh call of the gulls hanging high above the brown water, their wings pinned to a buffeting current only they could see.
But when she awoke, the knowledge was gone, and she was left with a sense of loss, like a limb had been amputated, leaving behind only a memory of feeling. Still, in the unfocused moments between sleep and reality, she knew that they had been speaking to her.
This time of year, with Christmas fast approaching, she always thought that it would be interesting to invite Jesus to dinner. A kosher one, of course. After all, he had been a practicing Jew, despite his posthumous conversion. She wanted to ask him so much. Not the usual inquiries about heaven and salvation and such.
But how he felt about the death and destruction wrought in his name, and why, if he had the power, that he didn't do anything to stop the spewing of hatred and mistrust that had become the accepted interpretation of his words of forgiveness and understanding and love. She just wasn't sure that she was ready for the answers. If he had any.
She'd invite Janis, too. Janis, whose rich, whiskey and cigarettes voice had been the soundtrack to much of her childhood. The questions had always swirled through her brain, mingling with the lyrics of "Bobbie McGee", questions about love and life and what happened when one wasn't quite enough to make the other one worthwhile.
Something in Janis' smile, staring down at her from a faded concert poster in the living room of her parents' house, had promised candor and wisdom and a huge belly-laugh. And some tears as well, all over a glass of Jack Daniels and some smokes. Maybe, if she asked nicely enough, there'd be a couple choruses of "Take a Piece of My Heart". Plus, she had a feeling that the conversation between Janis and Jesus would be amazing.
As for the rest of the dead, there were too many to choose from. The numbers overwhelmed her at times. Her daily brushes with evil had made her hyper aware of just how many people died with each passing day; mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, grandmothers, lovers, friends.
Their faces stayed with her long after the lighted pin on her map went dark. Each of them precious, each holding a truth only they knew. She mourned the loss of those realities, but not nearly as much as the radiance that existed once in the empty eyes that stared out of her computer screen.
Her parents would be there, of course, at her dinner party for the departed. Although, sometimes she wondered if they would be disappointed in her. She worked for a government they had spent their lives questioning, for an agency that was regularly accused of spying on people, of violating civil rights.
She feared that even the good that her team did, the evil they exposed and brought to justice, wouldn't be heavy enough to balance out the other side of the scale, the one holding secret Star Chambers and wire taps.
Still, she knew that her mom and dad would love her friends. She couldn't help but smile when she thought of them: Morgan, her sweet, sexy, funny, loveable Derek, with his flashing dark eyes and that smile that could melt the polar icecaps; Reid, still a kid in so many ways, his boyish face animated as he discussed his favorite Star Trek episode and how the Death Star couldn't possibly have been built in that limited amount of time; Hotch, firm, tough, yet caring, his expression somber but gentle, a sad, longing smile just touching his face as he thought about Jack and Haley.
Then there were her two girls, Emily and JJ; Emily, who hadn't been with the team long, but who had already secured a spot in her heart, the layer of tenderness and vulnerability under the tough FBI agent so apparent when she thought that no one saw her looking at JJ. And JJ, their rock; compassionate, warm, sensitive, JJ was the reason Garcia made it through some of the really bad cases. JJ, who took care of the rest of them, sometimes at a cost to herself and never let on, except in unguarded moments when she met Emily's eyes.
Garcia wondered if Emily and JJ knew that she could see the respect and the love growing between them. There were times that she wanted to tell them, to give them her blessing and thank them for reminding her that, even with the evil that she witnessed, that they witnessed, everyday, something beautiful was possible.
These people brought joy to her life in ways that she knew they had no idea about, making her feel loved and protected and cherished as she hadn't felt since her parents died. After she had been shot, they had been there to put her back together, to comfort her, to reassure her.
None of them had doubted her, not even when the restricted file had been found on her computer. They trusted her with who they were, with their truths, and she saw the unwavering loyalty in their eyes.
They had willing put their lives and careers on the line for her. And her sweet JJ had killed her would-be assassin, never blinking as she protected her family. She wasn't sure about her parents' scale of good and evil, but to Garcia, the affection and love and trust of her team far outweighed any wrongful deeds committed by the rest of the Bureau.
Turning away from the computer screen, she picked up the phone. She might not be able to sit down to dinner with her parents and Janis and Jesus, but she could invite a few good friends over for food and wine. And maybe, if she closed her eyes and listened really hard, she would be able to hear those words meant only for her, spoken in that language she was still trying to master, telling her that it really was the love that made the life worth living.
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