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Angel Slayer

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Monday, September 16, 2013 

Jensen opened his eyes.

Across the room he saw that the IKEA dresser definitely did slant a little to the left.  He moved his eyes to his bedside table.  His alarm clock glowed a green 5:29 back at him.  There was the barely audible click of the device turning on and the radio played a slow beat rock song softly.  The morning radio host wouldn't be on for another twenty minutes with his braying hyena-donkey hybrid laugh.  He moved his eyes back to the dresser.

Why hadn't he been able to see that it was slanted before now?  She'd kept telling him it was.  Why had he argued with her about it?  Why had he picked on her packrat tendencies?  Why had he not liked her cooking?  Why had he asked her to move in with him after only six months?  It had been too soon.  Way too soon.  And yet, the six months since she moved out had felt like an eternity.  Was that because he really missed her?  Or did he just miss the pretty decent, fairly regular sex?  He felt like six months shouldn't seem like a long time to go without sex, but he hadn't had this kind of dry spell since—fuck, since before he lost his virginity.  He might have considered himself a slut if it weren't for the fact that he'd realized a long time ago he didn't have one night stands but one year stands.  He'd date people for prolonged periods, but never tried or even wanted to develop close relationships with any of them.  So why had he tried with her?

The radio switched to a hard, driving Red Hot Chili Peppers song and Jensen rolled onto his back.  He was not going to have another one of those maudlin self-reflection mornings.  He realized the only reason he was tempted to was because of the phone call from his parents last night.  His brothers were all happily married with children (his little sister was exempt since she was only twenty-four though their mother worried about her too), but apparently being thirty-two and having nothing to show for it except a successful career that he enjoyed and was damn good at was not enough to make him really happy.  Only a spouse and children could give a person complete fulfillment in life.  Jensen frowned.  He wondered how many more centuries it would take before that bullshit philosophy was completely debunked.  Well, that took care of the "What am I doing with my life?" portion of the day.

Jensen sought solace in his routine.  Routine was his very best friend in the whole wide world.  Coffee, brush teeth, shower, get dressed, clip handcuffs in holder to belt, check safety on service weapon, holster gun, holster Blackberry, recheck safety on weapon, re-holster gun, put credentials in left suit jacket pocket, put lanyard with work badge around neck, pour leftover coffee into travel mug, lock door, unlock door, retrieve gym bag since he had brought it home over the weekend to wash his smelly gym clothes, lock door, go to parking garage, go back upstairs, unlock door, check already turned off coffee machine, lock door, check that door is locked, back to parking garage, bang head on roof of car as realize forgot car keys upstairs.

If only he could say that this was just one of "those" days—this was every fucking day. 

Jensen made the turn onto 3rd Street to access the garage on the backside of the Washington Field Office building.  He smiled at the guards and waved his badge in front of the scanner to activate the barrier in front of the ramp to drop.  He drove slowly down the ramp and around the sharp, blind corners having to go to the third level before finding a parking space that wouldn't require double parking.  He still left the doors unlocked and the keys on the dash just in case.

By the time he was on the elevator on his way to the fourth floor, he'd mostly forgotten about the crappy start to his morning and was running down a mental list of the cases he needed to do progress checks on.  He also needed to make a final attempt to contact a source that had been reluctant as of late to continue his duties.

The elevator stopped on the ground floor to pick up a rather bedraggled looking woman who was struggling to keep her hands on her badge, her bag, her coffee cup, and her dripping umbrella.  The metro was only a short walk from the building, but if the rain was heavy enough it could seem like a much longer one, especially if one was wearing heels.  The woman shuffled onto the elevator and cursed quietly as her coffee sloshed out of the broken plastic lid and onto her shirt.  Jensen tried to stand as inconspicuously as possible in the back corner of the elevator and the woman punched the button for the seventh floor like it had murdered her entire family.  She was probably an analyst and since only agents were allowed to park in the garage, that left poor creatures like her to juggle their possessions on the metro and combat the weather conditions with what looked like a very small, mostly bent out of shape purple polka dotted umbrella—and then keep the ungainly armfuls out of the way as she had to badge through three sets of doors.  She didn't look like she was enjoying her morning exercises.

The elevator stopped on the fourth floor and Jensen scooted off quickly so as not to hold up the woman any longer on her harrowing journey to her desk.  He took the exit out of the elevator bank to his left and walked past the cubicles of the other criminal squads before reaching the back corner where CR-2 made their home.  He was the first to arrive and the overhead lights flickered on when the motion detectors picked him up.  He set his gym bag on the floor next to his chair and bent over his desk to jiggle the mouse on his computer to wake it up.  As he was typing in his password a chair rolled into his space and a voice said, "Morning, Jensen!"

"Jesus Christ!"

Jensen started violently, his finger hitting the enter key too early and the computer beeped at him that he entered the wrong password.  Jensen turned around and saw the newest agent on their squad grinning at him.

"Jared," Jensen said calmly.  "Where the fuck did you come from?"

"I just got back from the gym."

Jensen noticed his wet hair for the first time.  He probably should have noticed it earlier; it made it look longer than it was when it was dry—which was already on the longish side considering he was an agent, but appearance rules were rarely enforced.  Jensen glanced at his watch: 6:51.

"What time did you get here this morning?"

Jared shrugged a shoulder.  "Five-thirty."

Jensen blinked at him.  "You know, fit time is built into our work schedules.  You don't have to work out before or after hours."

"I know.  And sometimes I do that too."

Jensen made a disgusted face and tuned back to try his password again.  Even wearing a suit it was pretty obvious that Jared was built like every clichéd comparison to Greek gods that existed.  And Jensen had seen him out of that suit and in his gym clothes—sweaty and extra toned from his workout.  If he didn't have such a puppy-like personality Jensen might have been tempted to do something about it, but as it was the kid was just too much like a little brother.  He was only four years younger, but he'd been in the Bureau for two years compared to Jensen's nine and that just made him seem like he was much younger.  Plus Jared had only transferred to CR-2 from the Cyber Division three months ago.  He was a total noob, not completely jaded yet, and still eager to please his seniors.  Fortunately his intelligence wasn't limited to all things technical and Jensen was already impressed with his sharp intuition.

Jensen was so wrapped up in his warring inappropriate thoughts about someone he viewed more like a brother than a potential hook-up and typed in his old password.  The computer beeped at him.


One more try and he'd be locked out and have to call stupid computer services to reset his password.

"So, Jensen—"

"Hush, hush, hush," Jensen murmured and concentrated on his password.  Finally his desktop began to load.  He turned back to Jared who was waiting patiently and not at all offended at being shushed.  "Yes?"

"I've got requalification coming up next month, so I was wondering if you'd want to go to the range with me sometime this week."

Jensen took a moment to think about his completely open social calendar.  "Yeah, I could do that.  I'm free this weekend."

Jared grinned.  "Great.  Oh, yeah.  After you left on Friday, we got an e-mail about the DNI briefing that's coming up—apparently it's our squad's turn or something.  And the deadline for the threat assessment reports got pushed up a week."

Jensen frowned at Jared with all the displeasure he could muster.  Not because he knew he was going to get stuck with preparing the briefing.  And not because the IAs on his squad were going to kick his ass later if he didn't get them the info they needed to complete their reports on time.  He frowned because this little shit had left after him on Friday and still showed up before him on Monday.

"Jared, you need a girlfriend."

Jared laughed.  "Don't I know it, man.  You know anyone you could set me up with?"

Jensen crossed his arms and looked up as he went through the list of females he knew.  He was halfway through his never-slept-with-acquaintances when Jared cleared his throat.

"Is it really that in depth of a decision?"

"Yes.  I know a lot of people.  What are you looking for?  Date material or a hook-up?"

"At this point?  Either."

Jensen harrumphed and narrowed his eyes.  "So, you're saying I shouldn't set you up with my sister?"

"Definitely not.  Not that I would treat her poorly or disrespect her, but no way am I dating a colleague's sister.  Let alone yours."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I've heard the rumors, Jensen."

"What rumor—" Jensen scoffed in annoyance.  "I swear, you punch—are rumored to have punched—one SSA for ogling your baby sister and all of sudden you have a reputation as an overprotective big brother."

Jared laughed and used his feet to twist his chair back and forth.  "Mm-hmm.  Is that the reason you transferred to counterintelligence?"

Jensen's growing good mood dissipated just like that.  He kept his smile in place though.

"No.  I just transferred because I'd been in criminal for three years and thought I needed a change."

"What made you decide to come back?"

Jensen laughed softly.  "Do you have any idea of how unsatisfying counterintelligence is?  You can't arrest anybody.  Most of your time is spent trying to figure out their little cat and mouse games and who're they're playing them with.  At most you get a PNG, but then that country just PNG's one of our own in retaliation.  I like criminal because I like getting the bad guys and making them go to jail."

"You didn't want to do counterterrorism?"

Jensen shrugged.  "There weren't any openings when I decided to transfer out a couple years ago.  I also prefer criminal to counterterrorism.  Is that where you wanted to go?"

"Honestly I just took the first opening there was.  Turns out I can't compartmentalize as well as I thought."

Jensen nodded sympathetically recalling which squad specifically Jared had come from.

"Well," Jared said, "I'll let you get caught up on your e-mails.  Don't forget we've got a squad meeting at ten."

Jensen made a face.  "Who schedules squad meetings for Mondays?"

"I do, Ackles," his SSA griped as he walked past him.

"Morning, Bob."


Their SSA disappeared behind his cubicle wall and Jared and Jensen grinned at each other.

"Whoops," Jensen mouthed silently.

Jared laughed and rolled his chair back to his own space.

"It is too early for giggling, ladies!" Bob snapped from his corner of grumpiness.

Jensen heard Jared's matching sniggering as he dropped his head to his desk to muffle his own laughs.  He kept a hand over his mouth as he clicked on the Outlook icon in the Taskbar to access his e-mail.  While that loaded he pushed the button on the switch that connected his monitor to both his classified and unclassified computers.  The monitor flashed to the username prompt for the unclassified computer and Jensen entered his password.  While that one loaded he shrugged off his suit jacket and hung it on the hanger he kept hooked on his cubicle wall.

The next three hours passed by quietly.  His other squad members greeted him as they trickled in and Jensen worked on an EC he had promised their analyst, Osric, would be finished last Wednesday.  He hadn't received any e-mails from his source, again, and he was about to compose one to him when Jared tapped his shoulder.

"It's ten," he said.

"Oh, crap," Jensen muttered as he checked the time and then locked his computer.  He stood up and grinned at Jared.  "You're like my very own OST, you know?"

"More like his secretary," Brad giggled as he passed them on his way to the conference room.

"That is an OST," Jared called after him in confusion.

"Shhh!" Jensen shushed him quickly and glanced around, making sure Loretta, CR-2's OST wasn't around.  "Technically, yes, OST's are secretaries, but some object to that particular moniker.  And if you ever want your ECs and mail to not get lost, I suggest you never mention that to Loretta, okay?"

Jared nodded, wide-eyed.  He'd already been subjected to one of Loretta's verbal ribbings his first week on the squad and he was not eager for a repeat performance.  Jensen patted him on the back in solidarity and picked up a notebook and pen to take to the squad meeting.  They hadn't taken two steps when they saw SAC Kripke walking toward them.  They both smiled and nodded in greeting, and only took two more steps before they realized the SAC was actually heading toward them.  They stopped in their tracks and waited for Eric to get to them.

"Good morning, Jensen."

"Eric," Jensen replied with a genuine smile.  Eric was one of the few executive level managers who wasn't a total dick.  "Have you met Jared Padalecki?  He just transferred to criminal from cyber about three months ago."

Eric and Jared shook hands.

"Yes, the name is familiar.  I'm sorry I haven't had the chance to get around to having those one on squad meetings I keep claiming I'm going to do."

Jensen shrugged.  "SACs are busy."

Eric repressed a grimace.  "More than I realized actually."

Jensen smiled and looked at Jared who was standing almost at attention.  He was so cute sometimes.

"Eric was my SSA when I first started working at the Bureau," he explained, hoping to convey to Jared that this meeting didn't need to be so formal.

"I still remember the first time I met you," Eric laughed.  "I was genuinely wondering if the Bureau had changed its age requirements for special agents.  I thought there was no way this kid was twenty-three."

Jensen's lips twitched down.  "I was almost twenty-four."

Eric laughed and patted him on the shoulder.  "I know, but you didn't look it.  Seriously, Jared, is it?  You should see some pictures of him back then.  Total baby face."

Jared bit his lip to keep his smile in check, but his eyes were lit up like Christmas trees.

"Okay, thanks, Eric," Jensen grumbled.  "Just don't be surprised when you're notified about an OPR complaint."

Eric just laughed at that empty threat.  "You know, I'm still curious why you're not an ASAC yet.  Or at least an SSA."

Jensen shifted his weight uncomfortably and cleared his throat.  "Well, after I switched to counterintelligence, I just kept my head down for a few years.  And I need to put the time in again now that I'm back in criminal.  I'm probably not cut out for a supervisory role anyway."

"You are," Eric said assuredly, but he had also sobered considerably.

There was a moment of uneasy tension in the air.  Jensen saw Jared take a breath as if to speak, but then decided to remain quiet.

"Actually, that's why I've come to see you today," Eric finally said.

Jensen raised his eyebrows.  "About my lack of ambition?"

Eric smiled wryly.  "No, not that.  About what maybe caused your lack of ambition."

Jensen swallowed and slowly curled his fingers up into his palms.

"What—" Jensen couldn't think of the rest of the question he wanted to ask, so just left it at that.

"I received some information regarding a mutilated body found in Elton, New Hampshire."

"New Hampshire?  Why would that come to the attention of WFO?  Shouldn't—who handles New Hampshire?"


"Shouldn't the Boston field office be handling it?"

Eric nodded.  "They are sending a couple of agents from the Portsmouth RA to help out the local PD.  It came to my attention because I've got a request for certain leads to be brought to my attention.  Specifically, unique details regarding murder cases."

Jensen swallowed again.  "What kind of details?"

"Well, this body in Elton was found in a coffin."  Jensen felt a chill begin to settle on his skin.  "The victim had been tortured and mutilated, both pre- and post-mortem."  Jensen felt pain and only belatedly realized he was clenching his fists so hard his hands were shaking.  "There was a word carved onto her chest: a word that looked like the name of an angel.  A pretty obscure name though.  They haven't figured out its significance yet."  Jensen was actually feeling ill from the spread of cold dread that clashed with the wave of hot anticipation building in his gut.

"What was her crime?" he asked hoarsely.

"That we don't have," Eric said, holding Jensen's gaze steadily.  "They didn't report it.  So, maybe they didn't find it.  Maybe it's a copycat who doesn't know."  Eric shrugged.  "Maybe it's a coincidence."

"It's not a coincidence," Jensen said with more force than he meant to.

"I don't think it is either.  I thought you'd want to know about it.  And I thought you wouldn't mind that I told the Portsmouth RA to be expecting you to come up to help with the investigation."

Jensen let out a rush of air he hadn't realized he'd been holding.

"Yes.  I mean, no.  I don't mind.  Thank you, Eric, really.  I'll be on a plane this afternoon."

Jensen turned to walk back to his desk, but Eric called him back.

"Settle down, Jensen.  I understand how important this is to you, but the case is under federal jurisdiction.  We've got a claim on it and the body isn't going anywhere.  You've got a travel voucher to fill out and cases to brief to others to take over while you're gone.  You can fly out first thing in the morning."


"Ackles!  Paladecki!"

All three men jumped at the loud, irate shout from the man leaning out of the door of the conference room.  "What's the hold up?"

When Bob saw their SAC he immediately switched to a neutral face and approached the group.

"Sir, good morning."

"Good morning, Bob," Eric said pleasantly.  "I'm sorry for holding up your agents, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to co-opt your best agent for an indefinite amount of time.  We've got an emergency TDY to New Hampshire that Jensen personally needs to attend to."

Bob raised his eyebrows but only said, "If that's where he is needed then that's where he'll go.  Will he have back up?"

"Of course, the Boston field office is cooperating with our efforts."

Bob looked at Jensen.  "Is this—about that case?"

Jensen nodded minutely.

"But how—"

"We're not sure yet," Eric answered.  "It may not be him.  That's why we're sending Jensen."

"Do they know this was our case first?"

"They're aware of the circumstances surrounding the request for Jensen's presence."

Bob frowned.  "I don't want Jensen sidelined on this."

Jensen tried to keep his eyebrow from quirking too much in surprise.  Bob was a good enough guy, but he never would have pegged him for being so defensive of his agents.

"I think they'll welcome his insight on this particular case."

"Maybe it would be better to send someone else with him.  Someone else acquainted with the case."

"Mitch is retired," Jensen said softly.  "Whitfield is an ASAC now.  Brown is an SSA in Houston.  And no one else knew the details.  Not like we did."

"Jensen is very capable," Eric assured Bob, and maybe Jensen too.  "Besides, this case could go on for quite some time; I don't know if we can spare two senior agents or keep an ASAC away from his duties for an indefinite amount of time."

Bob frowned harder.  "I still don't like sending him alone.  Not that I don't think he can't handle it, but it would be better to have a greater WFO presence so he won't be pushed aside."

Jensen opened his mouth to tell Bob he would be fine alone when Bob's eyes snapped to Jared like he'd just realized he was there.


"Yes, sir?"

"How would you like to go on a TDY to exotic New Hampshire?"

Jared's jaw dropped for a moment and then he nodded.  "Yes, of course, I'd love to help Jensen with..." he trailed off as he realized he had no idea what case the other three were talking about.

"Great.  It's settled.  Not sure if this is a good case to break you in on, but I've always found the deep end is the best place to learn how to swim."

Jared gulped nervously.

"Jensen," Eric drew his attention.  "Weekly updates, even if there's nothing to report."

"Yes, sir."

"And make sure your travel voucher is turned in before you leave, okay?"

"Will do."

Eric shook hands with all of them and took his leave.  Bob's face soured when he was gone.

"All right.  I guess you're leaving tomorrow?  You can start making arrangements after the squad meeting."  Jensen started to protest but Bob cut him off.  "You need to hand your cases off, so it's best to do it while we're all together and can figure out who can work on what."

Jensen conceded and the three of them walked to the conference room, but his mind was five hundred miles and eight years away.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013 

Jared strummed his fingers on the desk of the Enterprise car rental counter and glanced back where Jensen stood by the sliding glass doors, fidgeting with the clasp on his expensive looking watch.  Of course it could have been a knockoff from Chinatown for all Jared knew about brand name jewelry.  He thought his Fossil watch was pretty fancy himself.  He studied its slightly scratched face since he didn't have much of anything else to think about.

Yesterday had gone by faster than he could have imagined, mainly because trying to book travel arrangements to small towns while still staying within the government's requirements regarding lodging per diems and which airlines happened to be acceptable on any given day ate up four hours easily.  And Jensen had left early using some comp time he had leftover from the last wiretap he worked helping out another squad.  So, the most Jared had learned about the case was that it involved three unsolved murders that took place in the DC area back in the spring/summer of 2005 and that the murder in Elton had too many similarities to the cold case to be mere coincidence.  They were either looking at a copycat or the killer that had eluded capture eight years ago.  But that's all he knew.  He had no details or any knowledge of exactly what Jensen's involvement in the case had been.  It seemed unlikely he had been lead on the case since from the timing he wouldn't have even finished his one year probationary period as a new agent when the first murder happened.  And Jared had had no chance today to ask more about it as the public venue of an airport was not the appropriate place for an in depth discussion regarding, from what little he'd heard, a very gruesome case.  Plus he and Jensen had been seated four rows apart on the plane.

The flight had been uneventful and they'd both brought only hanging garment bags and a small backpack as luggage so they wouldn't have to check any bags.  Jared had left Jensen behind when he went to check in for the rental car because Jensen had been grumbling non-stop about not being able to fly to a closer airport the moment they'd landed at Logan.  Jared didn't want someone being grumpy to ruin their possible chance at getting a free upgrade on their car; the government only let them go as high as intermediate size.  Neither he nor Jensen were intermediate sized.

Unfortunately most of their fleet was booked for that weekend (or so they claimed) and Jared was handed the paperwork for a Hyundai Accent.  He grimaced, already feeling sorry for his legs, and walked over to Jensen.

"We set?" Jensen asked and walked out through the doors without waiting for an answer.

They traded their paperwork for a set of keys and Jensen loaded their luggage into the trunk while Jared went over the exterior inspection with the agent.  At last they were on their way, trying their best to navigate the streets of Boston and figure out how to use the GPS device they'd paid an extra twelve dollars a day for.

"This is ridiculous," Jensen griped as they had to make a trip around a second traffic circle to the fourth main road they had to take before getting to I-95.  "They should have let us fly somewhere closer than this.  If not Laconia than at least Portsmouth.  I mean, it's a freaking international airport.  How is that not big enough to accommodate government approved carriers?"

Jared assumed the question was rhetorical, but answered him anyway.  "It's not that far of a drive, actually.  Only a couple of hours.  And we could use the time."

"To do what?" Jensen groused.

"Well, you could fill me in on this case for one thing.  I'd like to show up and have some inkling of what's going on."

When Jensen didn't answer Jared glanced at him.  He was leaning an arm on the door's armrest and gnawing on his lower lip with a scowl furrowing his pretty face.  No, better go with handsome.  Jared wasn't the kind of man who couldn't own up to noticing another's man attractive qualities, but Jensen didn't seem like the type to be amenable to being called pretty.

Jared looked back to the road, a little peeved that he was being ignored.  He was technically a junior agent, but he wasn't incompetent.  And despite their SSA implying he was only being sent to take up space, he had no intention of watching this from the bleachers.

"When I first started in the Bureau," Jensen began, "they actually didn't have a place for me after I graduated.  I spent the first six months kinda floating from squad to squad doing mostly OST work actually.  Then I was sent permanently to the Criminal Division and was assigned to violent gangs.  Then there was some internal shuffling and some internal bickering.  You know how it goes," Jensen said dryly.

"Yeah," Jared huffed out a laugh.  "Don't have to be long in the Bureau to see that nonsense."

"Yeah.  So, I was finally assigned to CR-4 and had only been working there for a couple months, really finally settled down and learning the routine, when a case came in involving a priest that had been kidnapped in Maryland and driven into Virginia."

"It became a federal case."

"Yep.  So, one of the senior agents, a really great agent named Mitch Pileggi, was going to help out the local PDs and said he'd take me along to help get my feet wet.  It was just supposed to be—I mean, you know they teach us that there's no such thing as a routine investigation, but this was supposed to be—pretty routine."

“I take it that it didn’t turn out to be quite so routine.”

Jensen’s jaw clenched as the memory flashed in his mind as fresh as the day he first saw it.  “We found the priest because the killer wanted us to find him.”

Jared waited for Jensen to speak again, but his eyes were looking out the front windshield, unseeing.  At least, his eyes weren’t seeing anything that was currently in front of him.  Jared was grateful he’d managed to convince Jensen to let him drive because Jensen simply was not there.  He decided to wait Jensen out; he’d speak when he was ready.  After ten minutes of silence and the urban gradually melting into the suburban, Jared wondered if Jensen had forgotten he was there.  He adjusted his grip on the wheel, hearing the tacky sounds of his skin peeling off the leather.  When had he gripped the wheel so tight?

“Jensen, I realize this—”

“He had hand carved a coffin.”

“Wh-what?”  Jared was a little startled by Jensen’s sudden return to the vehicle.

“The killer,” Jensen said, the faraway look gone from his eyes as he glanced at Jared.  “He’d been planning the killing for a while.  He’d made a coffin out of white pine.  It was beautifully crafted.  Every piece fit perfectly together; it was perfectly level; perfectly smooth.  But unlined, undecorated, no hardware.  Just the pine.  And the priest was in it.  He was stripped except for his collar.”  Jensen shook his head.  “You couldn’t even see the color of his skin it was so mottled with bruising.  I mean, literally, every inch of skin, front and back, had been beaten.  The ME said it was probably a rubber mallet, among other things.  All done while he was still alive.  His wrists and hands were broken.  His fingernails had been pulled off.  Wooden splinters shoved under his toenails.”

Jared shifted in his seat as he felt that weird squirmy feeling in his stomach people got when thinking about having things shoved under their nails.

“His eardrums were punctured pre-mortem, his eyes carved out postmortem.  He’d taken them out almost surgically and then placed them back in.  When we were at the scene we had no idea.  He had a brand burned into his skin pre-mortem.  A word on his penis actually.”

Jared raised his eyebrows and glanced at Jensen before looking back to the road.


“Molester?” Jared sucked in a breath.  “This story is probably going to get a whole lot greyer, huh?”

“I guess that depends on what you feel is cruel and unusual punishment.  The violence perpetrated on the body was the result of uncontrolled anger: it was sloppy and wild and personal.  And, I mean, I can understand that, in a way, if you know what I mean.  But it was all the postmortem stuff.  Not just the eyes, but there were cuts on the body: methodical, exploratory, curious.  As much as I find it reprehensible, I can understand beating someone you feel wronged you.  But.  He was playing with the body, Jay.  It became a game.”  Jensen clenched his jaw again.  Sometimes he found it difficult to reconcile that he was a member of the same species as some of the sick fucks out there.

Jared watched the emotions flicker across Jensen’s face: anger, repulsion, grief, a brief glimpse of fear, determination, and then despair.  The despair lingered.  Jared cleared his throat to draw his attention.

“So, I thought I heard Kripke say something about angels?”

“Oh, yeah.  He’d carved the word ‘Gabrael’ onto his chest.”


“Close to it.  At first we thought the killer had misspelled Gabriel, but after a little Googling we found there is an angel named Gabrael, spelled G-A-B-R-A-E-L.  He’s associated with a few things, but predominantly he’s a protector of children.”

“Ah.  So the, uh, accusation on his genitals…?”

“We were never able to get an official confirmation, but he had been moved from diocese to diocese over the years.  We contacted some, heard the rumors.  A grown man did tell us he was abused by Father Dolan.  He was in his 40’s.  We had decades worth of potential victims—and suspects.  We made the mistake of assuming this was just a revenge killing.  We should have known better—the joy he took mutilating the body should have clued us in that he was just getting warmed up.  Or maybe he had inadvertently gotten a taste for it.  I mean, we didn’t stop investigating—didn’t assume the priest got what he deserved and moved on to other cases.”

“Of course not.”

Jensen chuckled humorlessly and he looked out his window.  There was nothing but forest on both sides of the highway.

“We were actually surprised when the next body turned up.  Two months later, another pine coffin showed up with a woman's body.  Jeannine Tirro.  She was tortured before she was killed.  I mean, Spanish Inquisition shit, man.  She was sodomized with… ME's best guess, a wooden spatula.”

Jared winced and made a face.

“She'd been branded on the back of her neck with the word 'abuser.'  And had the word 'Kael' carved onto her chest.  Another obscure angel name.  And then he killed her by suffocating her with chloroform.  And then he really started to play with her."

"What did Kael represent?" Jared asked, trying to pull Jensen away from that memory.

"Another guardian of children.  But, she had no connection with the Catholic Church.  Or any church for that matter.  She was just a woman who drove a city bus for a living.  And only had grown children.  When we called her children in to tell them about her death, neither of them were particularly upset by it.  In fact, the daughter just walked out as soon as we told her we had nothing else.  The son admitted their mother used to abuse them when she was frustrated.  She'd fill the bathtub with scalding water and hold them in it.  It wasn't hot enough to scar them, so there was never any evidence that other people saw—but it was enough to cause second degree burns.

"Anyway, we thought we’d really get him now.  The crossover of people who know the priest and this woman, it couldn’t be that many.  We even investigated Tirro’s son because he used to date a girl who attended Dolan’s church, but it didn’t pan out.  He had an alibi for Dolan.  We were baffled.  Every lead was a dead end and we weren’t getting any new ones.  Then two months later, right on schedule actually, Walter Feldman showed up in a box.  And we were scrambling now.  It’s so rare for a serial killer to kill that often.  I mean, twice a year is kind of considered frequent, you know?”

Jared nodded.  He did know.  He’d loved the behavioral science unit of their classes and the case studies they’d reviewed at the academy, but he didn’t interrupt to share that tidbit of information about himself.

“Three bodies in less than six months.  All of them violently abused and tortured and then played with after death.  Feldman was sodomized so brutally his colon was ruptured and leaked into his body cavity.  The ME actually thinks he got lucky with that.”

“Lucky?!” Jared blurted out, shocked.

“It killed him.  Slowly yes, but probably quicker than the killer intended.  Most of his damage was done postmortem.  Including the angel name carved on his chest: Raguel.  The brand was pre-mortem.  We think it’s the first thing the killer does: brand the victim with their ‘crime.’  Feldman’s was the word ‘depraved’ across his lips.”

“What’d he do?  Does Raguel protect children too?”

“Raguel is associated with justice.  Feldman was a lawyer who apparently specialized in finding technicalities that kept pedophiles out of prison.”

“Hn.  I get that that’s despicable, but he didn’t abuse anyone himself?”

“Not that we could find.”

“Seems like the killer was just looking for an excuse at that point to satisfy his own twisted desires.”

“Yeah, pretty much,” the words escaped on a tired sigh.  “And we couldn’t access the list of the victims of the people he’d gotten off to cross reference them with our previous pitiful list of suspects.  Sometimes client privilege really is a bitch.”

“Yeah,” Jared laughed softly.  “Until you want it yourself.”

“Exactly,” Jensen groused.

Jared smiled at his pout.  “So, what happened then?”

Jensen grunted.  “Nothing.  We panicked as the next two month time limit seemed to tick down, but there was no body.  Not then, and never again.  We poured over and over our three vics and re-interviewed witnesses and followed any leads we had ignored before because we thought they weren’t leads at all—and as it turns out, they weren’t.  There was no new evidence.  What we had told us nothing.”

“What about the forensics?”

“Zilch.  The crime scenes were spotless.  The wood of the coffins was untraceable to a specific store or lumber yard.  Or, hell, even a forest.  We got ‘white pine is common in the northeast.’  We found one hair at one scene, but it was a dog hair.  The victim didn’t own a dog, but we had no way of knowing if it was brought in by the victim or the killer.”

“What kind of dog?”

Jensen gave Jared a look.  “A brown one.”

“What?  Can’t they do DNA analysis on dogs too?”

“Come on, Jay.  You know that hair itself can’t be tested for DNA.  There needs to be a follicle with cells attached to it.  It was just a hair.”

“Okay, okay,” Jared replied, chastised by his own sense of I-should-have-known-better and oddly pleased with the nickname Jensen seemed to have assigned him.  “So what happened with the case?”

Jensen half-shrugged. 

"It went cold.  Frigid actually.  He didn’t kill again.  We couldn’t progress any further with what we had.  Poor Mitch stayed past his scheduled retirement an entire year.  But…just…nothing.  I don’t know if he ever really let it go, but he eventually retired.  And I passed the case on to others on my squad to see if fresh eyes would help.  I mean, they had helped all along of course, but maybe if someone else took point they might take a different approach.  But it got buried under more pressing cases, and I transferred to CI to take a break.  That case was all I had worked on the criminal side and I was ready for something completely different.  So I followed around Chinese IOs for the next five years.”

Jared nodded thoughtfully.  He knew Jensen had transferred from criminal to counterintelligence and back again, but he hadn't known any of the reasons for the transfers.  It wasn’t uncommon for agents to change divisions every now and then; his own transfer from the Cyber Division hadn't been a shock to anyone.

Jensen shifted in the bucket seat.  They both had their seats pushed all the way back, but leg room was still a little scarce for Jensen’s 6’1” and Jared’s 6’4” frames in their little Hyundai.  They drove in companionable silence for a few miles and crossed the state border from Massachusetts to New Hampshire.  There was a sign that said they were two miles from Seabrook.  Jared smiled at the name.

“Seabrook,” he said.

“Hm?” Jensen murmured the half-question.

“Seabrook.  It’s just such a New England town kind of name, isn’t it?” he chuckled.

Jensen just frowned.  Jared was worried for a moment that he had offended him or something, but he was pretty sure Jensen had been born and raised in the DC area.

“It is,” Jensen said.  “I can’t believe we’re going to work a case in some tiny New England town.  It has like five thousand people.  And it’s on a lake.  I’m sure it’s quaint and positively charming.”

His scowl deepened and Jared laughed at him.

“Do you have a problem with quaint and charming New England towns?”

“They’re creepy!  The weirdest shit always happens there.  There are psychotic groundskeepers and murderous little children and ghosts and demon possessions.”

Jared laughed harder and had to refocus on his driving quickly.  “Please don’t tell me you believe in the last two.  Or all four, really.”

“You’ve seen the movies.  All these small towns have secrets.  And they don’t like outsiders.  One of us isn’t going to make it out of this alive.  Mark my words.”

Jared shook his head, still smiling.  “As long as it’s not me.”

Jensen made a face and Jared checked the GPS on the dash.

“So, we’re going to be passing Portsmouth soon.  Do you want to swing by the RA and get in contact with the ASAC first?”

“What time is it now?” Jensen asked, answering his own question by looking at the car’s dashboard clock: 1:31pm.  “Nah.  Let’s head straight to Elton.  I want to get checked into the motel and get over to see the police chief as soon as possible.  I want to be able to see the body today if possible.  I’ll call and let them know our plan and they can meet us there.”

Jensen pulled his Blackberry out of the holster on his hip (enviously eyeing Jared’s new issue Android phone) and began to search through the directory for Jim Beaver’s phone number.  Jensen chuckled to himself.  Beaver.

“Hey, Jensen?”


“Do you think it’s him?”

Jensen stopped his search and repressed a sigh as he looked out the windshield at the oncoming road.

“I don’t know.  The coffin wasn’t handmade.  And they haven’t found a brand.  Both of those facts were kept from the press.  So, a copycat wouldn’t know to do them.”

Jared nodded.  “That’s what your head is telling you.  What’s your gut say?”

Jensen gnawed on his lower lip for a long minute.  Then he said quietly, “I think it’s him.”


Jared looked around the motel room.  There weren’t a whole lot of options in Elton, especially when the government rate was factored in.  They were at the Lakeside Motor Lodge, and it wasn’t actually as fancy as it sounded.  They’d gotten rooms next door to each other, but where Jensen had a king size bed, Jared had a room with two queens.  If anyone needed more room to stretch out it was him, but the mattresses were soft so at least he wouldn’t need a chiropractor by the end of the week.  He took in the dull maroon carpet, worn paisley bedspread, chipped furniture, and sad, drab artwork on the walls.  He wondered how long they would be here for.  They had filled out their travel vouchers for the maximum thirty days allowed, and he had a feeling they would be filling out an extension.  There were no extended stay hotels in Elton proper and Jensen hadn’t wanted to stay even a short drive away.  Jared supposed he understood, but not having a kitchenette or even a mini fridge for the foreseeable future was not exciting.

Jared had just finished hanging up his other two suits in the closet when there was a knock at the door.

“It’s open!” Jared called, still marveling at the concept of a motel in the modern age that still used actual metal keys and locks instead of a card key system.  Jensen opened the door but didn’t enter.

“You ready to go?” he asked.

Jared didn’t think they’d been in their rooms a full ten minutes.  He hadn’t even put his toiletries in the bathroom yet.  Jared wondered if Jensen had unpacked anything or had just dropped his luggage on the bed, taken a leak, and come to get him.  He really didn’t want his dress shirts to wrinkle in the too small garment bag they were currently squished in, but he supposed there was a semi-functioning iron hidden away in the closet.

“Yeah, I’m ready,” Jared replied as he quickly dug out the lockbox from his backpack that had housed his firearm during the flight.  He worked the combination open and then attached the holster to his right hip, hiding it under his suit jacket.  He considered taking his overcoat, but even this far north mid-September was still balmy and pleasant.  Which was a departure from the hot and humid miasma that was currently smothering DC; it was enough to give anyone a wicked case of swamp ass if they weren’t vigilant with their hygiene.

Jared hurried outside as Jensen had already walked to the car, but had to turn back when he remembered he had to actually lock the motel room door.  Jensen was waiting patiently by the passenger side door.  He wondered if Jensen was trying to be nice by letting him drive or if he just didn’t want to be seen driving an Accent.  Of course, it wasn’t like their Bu cars were anything to brag about, and he didn’t know what Jensen’s personal vehicle might be.

The drive to the police station was short, only about ten minutes, but by the time they got there Jared’s nerves were on edge.  They hadn’t spoken a word, but he could feel the tension build in Jensen and saw his shoulders stiffen in increments.  He also chewed on a thumb and bounced a leg all the way there.

The police station was pretty small, even for a small town in Jared’s opinion, but he supposed the Elton Police Department probably didn’t have that high of a crime rate to battle.  The parking lot was empty except for a couple of unmarked cars and a marked SUV that touted the K9 unit.  Well, maybe the Elton PD was not as small town as he’d thought.  Jared had to drive past several spots before he found one that wasn’t marked as reserved.  He’d barely put the car in park before Jensen whipped his seatbelt off and was out the door.  He wondered if Jensen realized all those empty spaces, including the one marked for the police chief, meant that there probably wasn’t anyone to talk to inside.

Jared got out of the car and locked it (at least the Accent had a key fob), and then buttoned his suit coat as he walked down the sidewalk to the station entrance.  Inside it was quiet like a library: no people milling or rushing around, no rumble of conversations, no ringing phones.  Jared found Jensen being mostly politely informed by the receptionist of what Jared already knew: no one was there.

“Do you have a way of contacting the police chief?” Jensen asked the woman.

According to the name plate on her desk, the woman’s name was Rachel.  She was a pretty brunette with a smile that made Jared wonder what exactly it was she knew that they didn’t because there had to be something with that smirk.  She returned her attention to the paint job she was applying to her blood red nails.

“Yes, of course,” she replied, “but he won’t come back unless it’s an emergency.  And you, even being a fed, is not an emergency.”

“He’s expecting me though,” Jensen insisted.

“I’m sure he is.  He told me to expect you.  And that if you arrived while he was out that I should tell you to go have lunch at Nell’s Diner, and he’ll finish with his call as soon as he can.  So, go have lunch at Nell’s Diner.  His wife runs it, so he’ll be expecting your rave reviews when he gets back.”  She smiled prettily, but Jared was glad that it wasn’t directed at him.  Even still he shivered a little at her expression.

Jensen seemed unfazed by it.  “Would it be a problem if I waited here?”

"No," Rachel said slowly, though clearly she did think it would be a problem.  "But Nell's is literally a five minute walk from here, a ninety second drive.  If you leave your number, I'll let you know the second he's back.  And you know, the body's not going to wander off."  She blew daintily on her drying nails.

"I still think—"

Jared’s traitorous stomach took the opportunity to grumble loudly in the relative silence of the station.  Jensen turned to look at him and Jared smiled embarrassedly and waved a hand.

“I’m fine.  Let’s wait here.”

He thought he saw a small smile quirk the edges of Jensen’s mouth, but then he turned to look at Rachel with a grim expression.

“Let me leave you my contact information; please call as soon as the chief gets back.”

“Good decision,” Rachel said, her voice drawling and smoky.  “You won’t regret it.  They have great pie.”

Jensen raised an eyebrow.  “Pie you say?”


“I prefer cake,” he deadpanned back.  He handed her one of his business cards and she pinched it carefully between her fingers.

“In that case I recommend the devil’s food cake.  It’s very… moist.”  She gave him a wink.

Jensen cleared his throat and turned on his heel.  Jared followed, repressing his chuckle.

“Take a left out of the parking lot,” Rachel called after them.  “You can’t miss it.” 


True to her word, Nell’s was a ninety second drive away and Jensen insisted they take the car.  Bells jangled lightly as they entered the diner, and only one patron who sat at the counter glanced up at them, gave them a once over, and then returned to his bowl of white—Jensen was going to assume chowder.  Other than him they were the only customers at 3:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, which he supposed made sense since they were in between the lunch and dinner crowds.  Or maybe in a town as small as Elton, there were no crowds.

He and Jared stood awkwardly at the vacant hostess stand since there was no “seat yourself” sign.  They looked around for a moment and Jensen considered opening the door to trigger the bells again.  Before he could enact his plan, a very nice pair of legs strode through a swinging door that he presumed lead to the kitchen.  Jensen forced his eyes up and saw the short pink dress and white apron next and noted the distinct hourglass shape under the dress.

Further up he chided himself.

Eventually he saw a face that was more cute than pretty, but hey, redhead.  The waitress beamed at them.

“Hi,” she said cheerfully as she approached them.  “Two?”

“Yes,” Jared responded, grinning.

Jensen side-eyed him, but refrained from commenting with either words or facial expression.

“Follow me,” she said, turning with a wink for them both.

“Gladly,” Jared murmured and this time Jensen did raise an amused eyebrow at him.

The pink skirt—waitress—led them to a booth by a window.  They sat down across from each other and placed their folded hands on the table.  They looked up at the waitress.  She smiled brightly back at them.

“Um,” Jensen started, “do you have menus?”

“Oh!”  The waitress laughed and looked a little embarrassed.  “I’m sorry about that.  Most people who come in here already know what they want.  Heck, most people who come in here I already know what they want.  We don’t get many strangers.”

“I guess that’s why you don’t have a nametag?” Jared asked.  “Everybody knows everybody.”

“Pretty much,” the waitress agreed as she rocked on her heels.

Jared waited and then glanced at Jensen who was biting the inside of his cheek to keep from grinning.  Jared returned his attention to the waitress.  He opened his mouth to speak, but then the waitress started so violently she startled the both of them.

“Oh!  The menus!”  She started to turn away, but Jared called out, “I’m Jared…”

“Oh.  Well, hi, Jared.”  She smiled, and then realization finally dawned over her features.  “Feliciaday!  I’m Feliciaday.”

She stuck out her hand and Jared shook it.  They smiled at each other and Jensen wondered if he should excuse himself to the bathroom or something.  Then the waitress pulled her hand from Jared’s grasp and thrust it at Jensen.  He started slightly, but then shook her hand.

“I’m Jensen.”

“Jensen?  That’s a unique name.”

“No more so than Feliciaday.”

She looked confused a moment, and then amused, and then flushed pink with embarrassment.  “Oh, no.  It’s just Felicia.  My name is Felicia.  Day.”

Jensen smiled, letting her know he was teasing her.  She playfully narrowed her eyes at him and then turned on her heel and walked away, presumably to get their menus.  Jared and Jensen leaned forward a little to get a better view of her departure.  Then they sat up and smiled at each other, acknowledging their mutual pathetic male stereotype.

“Wow,” Jared said.  “That is nice.”

Jensen gave a half-shrug.  “I do like redheads.”

“Oh, come on.”  Jared dropped his voice and leaned forward.  “Do not tell me you wouldn’t hit that.”

“Not under these circumstances.”

Jared immediately sobered and sat up straight.  “Right.  Sorry.  I mean, we’re here on business.  Terrible business and it would be—really inappropriate?”

Jensen smiled, easing some of Jared’s discomfort.  “It’s not like that.  I just meant I wouldn’t cockblock my adorable little protégé.”  He gave him a shit-eating grin.

Jared sat back with a huff and a laugh saying, “Oh, fuck you, Ackles.”

Felicia returned a moment later with two glasses of water and set them on the table.

“So, what can I get for you?”

Jensen and Jared exchanged a look and then smiled up at Felicia.  Her smile disappeared and she used a hand to partially hide her face.

“Oh my God.  Menus.”  She fled and returned very quickly with two single sheet laminated menus.  “I’ll give you a couple of minutes to look them over.”

She turned and walked away, still looking embarrassed.  Jared smiled after her.

“She’s so cute.”

“Mm,” Jensen agreed mildly, checking his watch as he eyed the pretty limited menu.  His Blackberry buzzed and he answered with half his mind still deciding between “chicken sandwich” and “hamburger.”  That was literally all the description the menu gave.  “This is Ackles.”

“Agent Jensen Ackles?”  The voice was gruff with a slight accent that Jensen couldn’t place right away.

“Yes, sir?” Jensen responded to the authoritative tone.

“This is Beaver.  I got your message.  I guess you’re in Elton by now?”

“Yes, sir.  We’re waiting on the police chief to return from a call.  I wanted to take a look at the body today if possible.”

“Hn.  Well, we won’t make it out today.  We’ll come tomorrow, but you go ahead and look at the body if you can.”

“Yes, sir.  Pardon, sir, you said we?  I thought an agent named Cortese was coming out.”

“She is.”


“That a problem, son?”

“No, sir.”

“We should be in Elton around nine a.m. tomorrow.”

“I look forward to meeting you both, sir.  But if you don’t mind me asking, are you coming because…this case is so high profile?”

“Ah, I know you boys at your big field offices are used to your ASACs just running around holding their dicks, but out here we still do real work.”

Jensen swallowed a laugh and said, “Glad to hear it, sir.”

Beaver grunted and hung up.  Jensen raised his eyebrows.  Well, tomorrow should be interesting.

“Who’s the 'she?'” Jared asked.

“Agent Cortese.  She and Beaver are coming tomorrow around nine.”

“The ASAC is coming?”

Jensen shrugged.

“Well, that should be interesting,” Jared echoed his thoughts.

Felicia returned and took their orders, the “chicken sandwich” for Jensen and the “hamburger” for Jared.  After she left, Jensen gave Jared hell for ordering a Diet Coke.

“Well, hell, I guess if you’re going to ruin your own chances with her then I’ll step in.”

“Shut-up, man.  There’s nothing wrong with a man ordering a Diet Coke.  In fact, I’d say a man very secure with his masculinity can order a Diet Coke with no shame.”

“Yeah.  You keep telling yourself that.”

After a short wait Felicia returned with their sandwiches (and Jared’s Diet Coke) and flirted with both of them for a couple of minutes before being called away by Chowder Guy.

Jared made a slightly frustrated face.  “She can only be into one of us, right?  How can we tell which?”

“Who says a person can only like one person at a time?  Besides, it doesn’t matter.  Just ask her out.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not?  I thought you had balls made of Diet Coke.”

Jared made a face at him.  “But seriously though.  It she’s interested in you, you don’t have to step aside for me or anything.”

Jensen laughed.  “Jared, we’ve been here for half a day.  How much sex are you used to getting that you’re already staking out your TDY booty call?”

Jared flushed.  “I’m not—I don’t—I am taking this job seriously.”

Jensen let his smile fade a little.  He could tell Jared probably wasn’t as ready for a case this gruesome as he pretended to be and Felicia was a welcome distraction.  “I know, Jay,” he said, using the nickname that for some reason he already felt comfortable using.  “I think I’m just a jealous old man.”

Jared rolled his eyes.  “Oh, yes, I should’ve known better.  Never trust anyone over thirty.”

Jensen smiled.  “You’ll be there soon though, won’t you?”

“The better part of two years,” Jared sniffed haughtily.  “What’s it like on the other side?”

“Sore joints and enlarged prostates.”

“Shut-up.”  Jared took a bite of his hamburger.  “Ohmuhgahd,” he managed around the large bite.

“What?  What?  Is it bad?”

“Nuh.  If’s gud.”

Jensen eyed his own plain looking sandwich.  He took a bite and flavor exploded in his mouth.  He moaned and chewed slowly not able to identify the seasoning as anything other than “yum.”

“This is awesome.  ‘Chicken sandwich’ indeed.”

“I know, right?  Wanna try a bite of mine?”

“That’s okay.  I’ll just order it tomorrow.”

“Or tonight.”

Jensen nodded in tacit agreement to the plan of Eat-Every-Meal-At-Nell’s since his mouth was full again.

“As much as I’d like to pocket some of our per diem by buying some groceries,” Jared said, “I really wouldn’t mind eating every meal here.”

“And not just for the scenery,” Jensen managed to get out around another bite as the two of them watched Felicia lean over the counter, her skirt riding higher.

“Mm-hm.  Hey, though.  You really don’t mind if I take a shot at that?”

“Nah.  I’m sure I’ll have other opportunities.”

“In a town full of nothing but psychotic groundskeepers, murderous children, and ghosts?”

“Hn.”  Jensen paused in his chewing to make a concerned face.  Then he swallowed.  “You forgot the demons.”

Jared took a sip of his Diet Coke.  Through a straw.  Geez.  “Well, maybe you can find an angel then.”

Jensen put his sandwich down and sat back into the stiff cushion of the booth.

“The only angels we’re going to find here are dead ones.”

Jared paused in his eating as well, and they sat in a silence that was only broken by the sound of clanging bells as the door to the diner opened.  Felicia turned around and smiled softly at the new customer.

“You’re late,” she said gently.

“Yeah.  I forgot,” the man replied.

Jensen couldn’t see his face as he leaned against the counter, but he could tell that he had a lithe figure under the police blues that showcased him better than most police officers looked in uniform.  Felicia patted his clasped hands and then disappeared into the kitchen.  Jensen took a few more moments to take in the man’s dark hair, tan skin, and heck—couldn’t deny it was there—nice ass.    He took a sideways bite of his sandwich as he allowed his eyes to linger, hoping it might improve his mood.  He also couldn’t help but to wonder if the guy’s face matched that ass.  Or wait… that didn’t come out right.

Jared made a choking sound and that finally drew his attention away.  Jared’s hazel eyes were wide with surprise.

“What?” Jensen asked.

Jared glanced at the officer and then back at him.  “Really?”

Jensen shrugged.  “I take my EEO training to heart.”

Jared laughed.  “And to bed apparently.”

Jensen just chewed, nonplused.

Felicia returned from the kitchen with a brown paper bag and handed it to the officer.  He pulled out his wallet to pay.

“How are you doing?” Felicia asked concernedly.

“I’m fine.  Thanks, Fee.”

The officer didn’t wait for change and turned to leave.  He glanced briefly at Jared and Jensen, but Jensen couldn’t even see if his face was as pretty as his ass.  All he saw was blue eyes.  And then they were gone.  Before he could dwell on the hard look he caught in those eyes, Felicia was in front of them.

“How is everything here, gentlemen?”

Jared and Jensen couldn’t answer; their mouths were once again full and their cheeks were doing fairly decent impressions of hamsters.

“Excellent.  So.  Pie or cake?” 


Even after a lengthy debate of pie versus cake, Jared and Jensen still made it back to the police station before the police chief.  They sat on hard plastic chairs in the moderately noisier room watching Rachel put a top coat on her nails.  At least Jensen was watching her (or glaring at her), Jared was playing World Champion Poker on his cell phone.  He was up nearly twenty thousand dollars, which was the highest he'd ever gotten, but his thumb was hurting and he wished they'd stayed longer at the diner.

Jared looked up as the front door to the police station opened, but it was only a uniformed officer.  The guy was the scrawniest thing Jared had ever seen in his life and was surprised his utility belt wasn't unbalancing him and sending him swaying into walls.  He spotted the agents and grinned at them, giving them a little salute that on anyone else would have seemed mocking, but coming from him was just kind of cute.  Jared turned to see what scathing expression Jensen was giving this officer, as he had done to every single person who had walked in and out of the front office who wasn't the police chief, but Jensen didn't see the newest arrival.  His eyes were tracking the dark haired officer they'd seen in the diner as he disappeared around a corner.  Even from only two brief glimpses, the man had made an impression on Jared.  He was attractive, in an odd way really, but attractive nonetheless.  But what stood out was the barely controlled rage that tightened his shoulders, his lips, his eyes.  There was a lot of anger in that man and Jared hoped they'd be able to avoid working with him if at all possible.

Jensen pushed back in his chair, a grating screech invading the quiet of the room as the metal feet caught on the tile.  The back hit the wall, and Jensen grunted and scooted forward again.  Then he settled heavily back in the chair, thumping the plastic back against the plaster.  Jared watched him and Jensen, feeling eyes on him, glanced at Jared.  He frowned and looked away, but stopped fussing with his seat.  Jared returned to his game.  They had another maybe fifteen seconds of calm silence before the front doors of the station burst open with clomping boots and shouting voices.  At first Jared wasn't sure if the voices were angry or just excited or if any of the people coming in were in custody.  It seemed with that amount of noise, someone should be under arrest, but everyone appeared to be free of handcuffs.  Two were uniformed officers, two appeared to be plain clothes detectives, and one just looked like he'd rolled off a two week hangover on the beach.

After some more raucous yelling of insults and jokes, the Beachcomber peeled off from the group as they disappeared into the bullpen.  Beachcomber approached Rachel and spoke with a drawl that wasn't southern in origin, nor anywhere else Jared could identify.

“Afternoon, Rachel.  Anything interesting to report?”

Rachel carefully screwed the top back on her nail polish and set the bottle down next to the impressive set of manicure tools that took up a large portion of her desk.

“Not especially.  There was another drunken domestic dispute between the Fieldings about an hour ago, but I sent Bradley out on that.  And… oh yes!  I finally got a hold of the cable guy and he says he’ll come replace the box in the bullpen tomorrow.”

“Well, thank God for small favors.”

Rachel smirked at the mention of God.  Jared suspected she somehow knew for a fact whether He existed or not.

“And, of course, you-know-who has been slamming doors all day.”

Beachcomber’s pleasantly mellow face dissolved into the kind of blankness people get when they try not to let their feelings show.

“Well.  I think it’s still recent enough that we can put up with it,” he replied sharply, coolly.

Rachel lost her smirk.  “I just meant, he’s not okay.  And maybe we should start being concerned that he’s not.”

“It hasn’t even been a week yet, Rachel.”

“I know.  But he’s not even trying to deal with it.”

“Look, you don’t know him as well as you think you do.  He’s going to need some time to process before he can even begin to deal with it.”

Rachel put her hands up in a displeased surrender.  “I’m only saying it because I’m worried and contrary to popular belief, I do care about someone other than myself.”

Jared dropped his eyes back to his phone.  He didn’t want to get caught listening in on this conversation.  Jensen didn’t appear to have that qualm as he stared at them.

“I know, Rachel.  I didn’t mean it like that.  Look.  I’ll talk to him.  Eventually.  Maybe we should sic Traci on him or something.”

Rachel made a face.  “I don’t think it’s that bad yet.”

Beachcomber let out an honest to God guffaw.  “Yeah, does seem like it might be cruel and unusual.  Especially for him.”  He rapped his knuckles on her desk twice.  “Keep up the good work.”

Beachcomber started to walk away and Rachel’s eyes landed on Jared and Jensen.

“Oh, right.  One more thing,” she called out getting Beachcomber’s attention.  “The feds are here,” she indicated with a tilt of her head in their direction.

Beachcomber turned and spotted them as they shifted awkwardly on their plastic chairs.  He let out another loud laugh.

“How on earth did I miss these two?  Stick out more than a virgin in a whorehouse.”  Beachcomber walked up to them and Jared and Jensen stood on autopilot.  “Gentlemen.”  He offered a hand to both in turn.  “I’m Ty Olsson.”

Out of habit, Jensen pulled out his credentials and flashed them briefly after shaking the police chief’s hand.  Then he introduced himself and Jared.

“I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow though.”

“Clearly,” Jensen said shortly.

His tone wasn’t lost on the otherwise jovial police chief and he turned fully to face Jensen.

“Now I hope we don’t get off to the wrong foot here, Agent.  I’ve got a whole town that needs protecting, and that means I can’t just sit around guarding a corpse all day.  I know that this case is going to wind our nut sacks up and then just let ‘em fly—”  Jared and Jensen blinked at the analogy.  “—and it’ll only get worse if it turns into what you boys think it is.  That’s why I’m prepared to work this thing 24/7 with you until we get it solved and the motherfucker who did it is put in the clink.  Or the ground.  I’m not picky which.  But I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow, today was my day off, and I still got called in to pull in some crazy squirrel-licker who was threatening to shoot a pickerel in the head for looking at his girlfriend funny.  And just so you know—‘squirrel-licker’ is not some crazy colloquialism.”

Jared wanted to glance at Jensen, just to get some guidance on what kind of response to give to that burst of information, but he didn’t want to appear to be the junior agent that he technically was.  He saw Jensen shift in his peripheral vision.

“Please excuse my brusque tone,” Jensen said, sounding like he was sorry, but with no less brusqueness is his tone.  “It has been a long day for us, and I’m afraid this case has brought back some very bad memories.”

“Understandable,” Chief Olsson said and gave Jensen’s shoulder a manly, commiserating slap, which almost knocked him into Jared.  “Now, follow me.  I’ll drop you off at the morgue and Dr. Rhodes can show you the body and discuss her findings with you.  I’ll change, take care of few other things, and then we can discuss what you think about the case before we call it day.  Sound like a plan?”

“Yes, thank you, Chief,” Jensen replied.

“Ty.  Call me Ty.  I might punch you if you call me chief again.”

The man laughed and walked away from them down a corridor to the left.  Jared and Jensen exchanged looks before hurrying after the man.  Jared was fairly certain the police chief—Ty—actually would punch one of them if they didn’t call him by his given name.  The man led them to a stairwell and went down a long flight of stairs and into the basement.  The place was windowless and lit by fluorescents, casting the dreary grey concrete walls and floor in sickly green light.  They passed by the evidence locker, where a uniformed officer dozed in his chair, and came to a set of double doors at the end of the hall.  Ty pushed them open and when they stepped inside they were hit with the smell of a morgue.

Morgues were peculiar things.  They didn’t smell like rotting bodies or death—but they did have a chemical and alcohol smell that was altered into a completely unique smell by the decaying organic matter, excrement, and fungal growth that was just masked underneath it.  It wasn’t the smell of death, but it was a smell one learned to associate with death.  And Jared had on occasion gotten a whiff of this strange odor in places like grocery stores—and that was disturbing in ways he didn’t let himself think about.

“Dr. Rhodes?” Ty called out.

The space was neither small nor large, but serviceable with two examination tables attached to large sinks in one corner with a small section of refrigerated storage directly across.  On the other side of the room was a desk with a computer and pile of folders, and across from that was a lab bench with a light microscope and what looked like a comparison microscope.  The walls were lined with glass front cabinets and all of them were stuffed to capacity with various tools of the medical examiner’s trade.  Jared wondered if Dr. Rhodes was a true medical examiner or just a coroner.  Based on the title, he was probably the former.

Ty crossed the room and stuck his head through a door and bellowed, “Dr. Rhodes!”

“Jesus, Ty.  I’m right here.”

Jared and Jensen started and spun around, hands instinctively going to their waists for their service weapons, but not drawing them when they saw the woman who had entered the door at their backs.

She was tall, with short brown hair, and wore a tight pair of jeans and an even tighter T-shirt that rode up high enough to reveal an intricate tattoo across her midriff.  She smiled at them, her eyes flicking back and forth (and up and down Jared didn’t fail to notice) before sticking out her hand.

“Hi.  I’m Dr. Rhodes.  You can call me Kim.  I take it you’re the ones from the FBI?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Jensen responded, giving her a firm handshake.

Jared did the same as Ty approached them.  “Well, I’ll leave you two in her very capable hands.  Just come upstairs when you’re ready and Rachel can direct you to my office.”

“Dr. Rhodes,” Ty said with a bit of snark in his voice as he departed.

“Chief,” Kim responded in kind.

Once again, Jared and Jensen exchanged glances.  Maybe Jensen was right about small New England towns.  This whole thing was going to turn into some freaky Twin Peaks shit before too long.

Kim walked over to her desk and Jared could feel his eyes lingering on her ass and just couldn’t do anything about it.  Jensen elbowed him hard and his eyes snapped up just in time for Kim to turn around and only see hard eye contact from the two agents.  She had a folder in her hand and brought it over to them, handing it to Jensen as he had stuck out his hand first.  Jensen opened the folder to the page that contained a line drawing of a female body.  These were used to quickly reference where any injuries or marks on the bodies were.  The page was covered in ink.

“Tell me your impressions,” Jensen said, not looking up.  “And anything you found of note.”

“Well, of note, I noticed that this woman was abused.  Terribly.  Both before and after death.  She was raped with a foreign object, but I’m not sure what.  Probably something made out of rubber, or even glass, as I didn’t find any trace evidence left behind in the vagina or anus like I would have if it had been made of wood, and no tearing like if it had been metal.”

Jensen frowned at this information.

“There was a lot of bruising and cuts.  Of note, a piece of her thigh was cut out and then sewed back in.  Upside down.”

Jensen glanced up at Kim with a raised eyebrow.  She shrugged and pointed to the left thigh on the picture.

“The most prominent thing was the word carved on her chest, of course.  'Akael.'  We’re not sure what it means.  We’re consulting the local clergy, but we might have better luck just Googling the damn thing.”

“It might not be a bad idea to do that,” Jensen said.  “Killers have access to the same Internet research we do.  Now, the coffin she was found in—it was commercial?  Not handmade?”

“No, not handmade for sure.  Definitely something mass produced.  It actually came from Costco.”

“Costco?” Jared finally joined the conversation.  “Were you able to track the purchase?”

“Sort of.  It was sold to a funeral home in Missouri, and they can’t find any record of it going missing.  We’ve requested a list of employee names who have access to the inventory, but the owner is fighting it.  Says he wants a warrant, and we have to go through the court system here to request a judge in Missouri to grant us access.  That will probably take a few weeks to be honest.”

“Yeah, not like it’s important or anything,” Jensen grumbled as he flipped through the report, reading Kim’s notes.

Jared cleared his throat, “Dr. Rhodes—”

“Kim, please.”  She smiled warmly and Jared blushed.  She was probably only ten years or so older than him, but she reminded him a little bit of a maternal figure.  Though a super-hot crazy one with tattoos on her abdomen.  Her self-assuredness was a little intimidating.

“K-Kim.  Were there any other strange, surgical-like injuries, or…” Jared trailed off, feeling a little stupid.  He’d never done this before, but Jensen wasn’t giving him funny looks so he assumed his question was okay.

“Well, there were some deep cuts made to her throat.  I’m not sure if they were surgical, but it did seem like he was trying to, I don’t know, get to something inside.  Of course, that’s all speculation on my part.”

“Did you do a tox screen on her?”

“Of course.  Negative for alcohol or narcotics or recreational drugs.  But, she had been missing for several days, so it’s possible if the attacker did use something to incapacitate her it would have been flushed from her system by then.”

“Dr. Rhodes,” Jensen spoke, looking up.  “Did you find a brand?  We were told one wasn’t reported, but did you find one?  A word, burned onto her body anywhere?”

Kim looked like she was going to respond immediately, but then stopped to think.  Finally she said, “No, there were definitely no burn marks of any kind.  The only word I found was the angel name on her chest.  I did a very thorough examination of her entire body, but I didn’t see anything like that.”

“It may have been hidden,” Jensen pressed.  “On her scalp under her hair.  Armpits.  Toe pits.  On the inside of her labia…”

Kim shook her head.  “I promise you, Agent Ackles.  I was very thorough and I found nothing like that.”

“I absolutely do believe you were thorough in your examination.  Your notes prove as much.  But, I hope you’ll understand and not be offended by my desire to check for myself.”

“I’m not offended at all.  But, I’m afraid you can’t.”

Jensen snapped the folder closed in one hand, anger darkening his face.  “I was told we would have the full cooperation of the Elton Police Department.”

Kim put up her hands soothingly.  “Whoa, hey.  I’m not telling you ‘no.'  I’m telling you, ‘you can’t.’  The body isn’t here anymore.  I had finished with my examination and collected and recorded and photographed all the evidence.  So, I released the body to the family to be cremated.”


Kim started at Jensen’s outburst.  “I can give you full access to the pictures and lab reports—”

“I was told they were going to hold the body for us!”

“I—I wasn’t aware of your need to see the body in person.  Besides, this—”

Jensen spun on his heel and stormed out through the double doors.  Jared turned to follow him, but Kim grabbed his elbow.

“Look, I’m getting that this case is kind of personal for him, but you’ve got to rein him in.  This was in-house.”

Jared tilted his head for a moment in confusion, and then it hit him.  This woman had either been a cop or the family member of a cop.

“Shit,” Jared breathed and took off running after Jensen. 


Jensen took the stairs two at a time, seething in the closest thing he’d felt to fury since he was twenty-one years old.  What the fuck was wrong with these people?  You didn’t burn fucking evidence.  Of course you couldn’t keep the bodies around forever and families deserved some closure, but not before people had the chance to find out what happened.  Before he had the chance.  He had to know if this was him.  Everything in his body screamed that it was despite the missing pieces.  But he had to know for sure.  He had to see for himself.

Jensen burst into the front office.

“Where is he?” Jensen yelled, louder than he meant to, but he was just grateful he wasn’t shaking Rachel at this point.

Rachel immediately dropped her smarmy, apathetic routine when she saw him.  Smart girl.

“Who?” she asked carefully.

“The police chief.  Ty,” Jensen spat.

Rachel pointed toward the bullpen.  “In the back, last door on the left.”

Jensen stormed past her desk and pushed at the swinging panel that connected the two counters that separated the bullpen from the front office.  He spotted Ty, not yet changed, and laughing with a bunch of stereotypes who were actually munching on donuts and drinking coffee out of Styrofoam cups.  Ty spotted him, and peeled away from the group, concern on his face.

“Is there a problem, agent?”

“Is there a problem?!  You fucking burned the body?!”

The noise in the bullpen died immediately and all focus was on them.


Jensen heard Jared call him as he entered the room, but didn’t acknowledge him.

“You didn’t think it was worth mentioning that you’d already gotten rid of the only evidence we have against this guy?!”

Ty kept his voice calm, but Jensen could see he was furious.  “We didn’t throw out any evidence.  I’m not sure what you’re referring to.”

“Well maybe you shouldn’t have been chasing squirrel-licking, fish-threatening lunatics and been here guarding the body after all.”

“Agent Ackles, you need to calm the fuck down, right the fuck now, and explain to me why you think it’s okay to disrespect me in my house.”  Ty’s voice hadn’t gotten much louder, but the threat was clear and it gave Jensen pause.  Which was all the time Jared needed to clamp a firm hand onto his shoulder and speak first.

“We were expecting to be able to examine the body for ourselves,” Jared said calmly.  “We were told it was being held for us.  And K-k-Dr. Rhodes just informed us that it has already been released to the family for cremation.”

Jensen shook Jared’s hand off, and then forced in a deep breath.  He felt his anger subside from the boiling point.  From Ty’s raised eyebrows, he clearly knew nothing about this.  And with the red gone from his vision, Jensen was able to acknowledge that he had made a serious misstep.  Not only had he misrepresented the Bureau, but he might very well have destroyed any cooperation between the two law enforcement entities before it had even begun.

Ty’s eyes traveled to the front of the room.  “Dr. Rhodes.  Care to explain what happened to the body?”

Jared and Jensen turned to see Kim standing at the entrance to the bullpen, looking pale and her face drawn tight.

“He asked if I was finished.  I told him I was.  He just wanted to give her—some peace.  He said he had your permission,” she finished miserably.

Ty let out a soft grunt and turned slightly away from Jensen and Jared.  And then he roared, “COLLINS!”

The others in the room broke into hushed whisperings and shuffled things around on their desks, but no one returned to work.  A dark head stood up from the back of the room and slowly, almost casually, approached the trio.  It was the officer from the diner but the last thing on Jensen’s mind was finally checking out his face.  This asshole was the one responsible for this clusterfuck.  However, even with his thoughts mostly preoccupied with anger, embarrassment, and some despair at losing evidence, he still noticed the grace with which the man walked.  And fuck him, those blue eyes.

“Yes, Chief Olsson?” the officer addressed Ty formally, but kept his cold eyes on Jensen.

“I’m quite certain you knew the FBI was coming to look into this case.  You knew we were holding the body.  And you went behind my back.  Lied to Kim.  What is going on in your head?”

The man finally looked away from Jensen to Ty.  Jensen felt like a weight had been removed from his chest with that glare gone.

“I have a right to bury my family, Ty.  She’d already been down on that slab for a week.  Kim is excellent at her job.  A professional.  She didn’t miss anything.  Everything had been recorded.  She deserves to not just be some naked refrigerated corpse in the basement!”

“She didn’t find everything!” Jensen cut in, grabbing the officer’s attention again.  “She didn’t find the brand.  I need to see for myself.”

“She didn’t find it because it’s not there!  I know what case you’re working, Agent, they informed us.  This isn’t the same guy.  Too many details are different.  You just want it to be.  And there’s no reason why my sister has to suffer because you want to poke and prod at her some more!  She’s been through enough!”

“You don’t—” Jensen took a step forward and checked himself sharply when he heard the growl.  He looked down and Jensen started back a step at the ferocious snarl being directed at him by a very large, very unhappy dog.  How had he not seen that monster before now?  Probably because he couldn’t remember seeing much other than the bluest eyes he’d ever seen in his life for the last few minutes.  What he saw now was a dog that was big even for a German Shepherd, and had a shiny link chain around its neck.  Attached to the chain was a gold police shield.  Jensen wasn’t terribly familiar with police badge designs, but he was fairly certain this dog outranked some of its human counterparts.  He kept a wary eye on the dog but returned his attention to the uniformed cop who was quickly ruining his whole life.

“You don’t know that that’s true.  You can’t.  And if it is him, this is the fourth kill we know of.  And it won’t be the last!  Catching this guy has got to take priority!  Hell, catching this guy has got to take priority to a funeral even if it isn’t him!”

The dog barked and snapped its teeth at his tone, growl getting louder.

“Collins,” Ty snapped.  “Get that mutt under control.  Now.”

The officer, Collins, reached a hand down to brush his fingers against the back of its head.  It stopped bristling and licked its lips, but a low rumble still spilled from its throat.

“Down, Bunny,” Collins said softly, and at last the dog sat back on its haunches and ceased its growling.

Jensen opened his mouth to speak again, but then glanced from the officer to the fearsome dog, and back to those eyes.

“Its name is Bunny?” he heard himself asking before he could stop himself.

The question caught the officer off guard and the hard lines of his face softened just a touch, and if Jensen wasn’t mistaken, the corners of his lips twitched up just slightly.  They eyed each other for a long moment.  Probably longer than was socially acceptable, and then Collins’ face was a mask of stone again though some of the anger was gone.

“I’ll accept any discipline, sir,” he said addressing Ty but still locked eyes with Jensen.  “But there’s nothing to be done about it now.”

“Actually, there is.  You are going to take Agent Ackles and Agent Pasa-Palla—”

“Padalecki,” Jared murmured softly.

“—to the funeral home and you are going to tell Andrew that he’s going to stay open late tonight and let these two do their examination.”

Jensen felt a spark of hope.  Was the body not destroyed yet?

Collins opened his mouth but was cut off by Ty.

“And don’t even try to tell me she’s already been cremated.  I know the body didn’t leave here until today and Andrew is the slowest fuck with paperwork I’ve ever had the misfortune of dealing with.”

Jensen could tell that Collins was biting the inside of his cheek painfully hard, but it kept him from saying anything stupid and possibly from letting the glassy look that was now in his eyes turn into full blown tears.

“Fine.  They can go do whatever they want to do.  But there’s no reason for me to—”

“There’s every reason, Collins, not the least of which you are the only one who can give permission for them to see the body.  And believe me.  You and I will have a conversation about this tomorrow.  Right now, you are taking these agents to the funeral home.  And when I say ‘right now’ I mean ‘right the fuck now.’  Are we clear?”

The man swallowed thickly.  “Yes, sir.”

Collins spun on his heel and walked stiffly back to his desk to collect a set of keys.  Ty looked Jensen square in the eye.

“I apologize for the misunderstanding, Agent Ackles.  I hope you will find this resolution acceptable.”

Jensen swallowed uneasily at the police chief’s cool tone.  “Y-yes.  It’s fine.”

“Good.  And you and I will also have a conversation tomorrow.”

Jensen felt a wave of heated mortification roll through his body.  The sensation almost made him physically ill.

“I think that would be best,” he replied.  He needed to get this business sorted out before the ASAC from Portsmouth arrived.  The last thing he needed was this incident getting back to his SSA or Kripke or anyone else at WFO.  Though it probably would.  That’s how the Bureau worked.  It was a vicious gossip mill hidden under the guise of chain of command.

Collins strode past them without a word, Bunny hard on his heels.  Jensen considered shaking Ty’s hand again, but now probably wasn’t the time.  He nodded to Jared and they started to leave the bullpen, following the quickly disappearing back of the officer.  Jensen kept his eyes down; he didn’t want to see the looks he was sure to be getting from the other officers and detectives.  He did glance up to make sure he wouldn’t walk into anything on his way out and saw a plain clothes detective leaning on one of the counters.  One hand clasped his wrist, keeping his other hand in front of his groin.  The curve of his hand made it seem like he was cupping an erection.  He looked to the man’s face, finding it unremarkable with a sharply trimmed beard, but with glittering brown eyes.  The detective wasn’t smiling, but he was on the edge of one.  Jensen looked away.

Outside the sun was still fairly high in the sky even though it was after five o’clock.  Collins was opening the backseat to the police vehicle marked K9 and Bunny hopped right in.  He shut the door after her and got into the driver’s seat without so much as a glance at the agents and only a muttered, “Follow me.”

Jensen heard the SUV start up and he uttered a curse under his breath as he jogged over to their stupid Accent.  Jared was right behind him and they managed to turn out of the parking lot only a few seconds after Collins.  The funeral home was a fifteen minute drive away, which meant it was on the complete opposite side of town.  DC and Elton actually had pretty much the same square mileage, but the thought of getting across DC in fifteen minutes was laughable.

When they parked and got out, Collins and Bunny were already halfway inside the door, and allowed it to slam shut behind them.  Jensen slammed his car door in his aggravation.  He realized the guy was going through some shit—knowing what had been done to his sister couldn’t be easy—but for fuck’s sake they were all on the same side here.

“At least since he’s personally involved we won’t have to work with him on this case,” Jensen muttered as they approached the door.

Jared glanced at him but didn’t respond.  Jensen wasn’t sure if it was because he had nothing to say or because he thought Jensen’s sentiment was a little callous.  He couldn’t be bothered to care at the moment.

Inside there was the quiet murmur of voices going back and forth.  The few words he caught made it clear that Andrew was not thrilled about staying late and Collins was not thrilled with the FBI’s presence in general.  Jared and Jensen entered the room and Collins glanced back at them before returning his attention to Andrew.  Bunny kept her sharp focus on Jensen.

“Look, you don’t have to stay.  I can lock up for you.”

“No way, Misha.  You can’t stay here while they—you can’t see her.  Not like that.”

“I’ve already seen the reports.  And I’m not going to watch them do the exam.  I’ll just sit out here and wait.  It’s my fault anyway.  I didn’t have permission to release the body.  You shouldn’t have to miss your shows because of my—my mistake.”

Andrew snorted.  “Miss my shows?  It’s September.  And those bastard studios keep pushing back the fall premiere dates every year.  I swear, one year, they’ll debut the week before they go on holiday hiatus after Thanksgiving.”

Collins gave the smallest of smiles, but it was enough for Jensen to see how beautiful he could be.

“Well, fuck.”

“What?” Jared asked.

Jensen started.  Had he said that out loud?  He looked at Jared and shook his head.  “Nothing.”

“I guess you two are the agents?” the funeral director called out.  He was short, stocky, redheaded, and covered in freckles.  He felt bad for thinking it, but Jensen was pretty sure this guy’s high school life hadn’t been the easiest.  “Come with me.  I’ll get—her—out and show you where you can work.  You stay here,” he added with a pointed finger at Bunny.

Bunny tilted her head at him like he was saying something funny.  When Collins gave her a hand signal, she lay down and put her chin on her paws dejectedly and watched the humans move down a dimly lit hallway.  Jared followed the funeral director toward a white door, and Jensen paused to catch Collins’ eye and say, “Misha?”

Collins’ lips did that twitch again like he was fighting a smile.  “Jensen?” he replied in the same tone.

This wasn’t the first time Jensen had been touché-ed for making fun of someone else’s name, so he followed Jared without further comment.  Though he did wonder when Collins—Misha—Collins, fuck—had learned his name.

Once again they were led downstairs into a basement.  Jensen thought that maybe they should put morgues in big open rooms above ground with a lot of windows for natural sunlight.  If a person had to work with death all day, at least they would still be able to see life around them.  The same smell from the police department’s morgue wafted up the stairs as they descended, but once they hit the main floor the sharp mixture of embalming chemicals hit them full on.  Jensen parted his lips to breathe through his mouth for a minute until his nose got used to the malodorous intrusion.

“You haven’t embalmed her yet, have you?” Jensen asked.

“No,” Andrew replied, short and clipped.  “We don’t embalm those slated for cremation.  Do you really think it would be a good idea to send all those chemical into the air?  Not to mention about forty percent of my mixture is ethanol.  It would as likely explode.”

Jensen ran his tongue over his teeth to keep from commenting.  One, no, ethanol would not cause a corpse to explode, just burn quicker.  And two, he got that the dude was defending his fellow town person or whatever (or maybe they were friends), but Jensen was fed up with the population of Elton and didn’t want to deal with anyone else’s snarky bullshit.

“If you would just get the body set up for us and tell us where we can find some gloves, we’ll handle it from there.”

Andrew gave him a playground stink eye, but walked over to the stacked storage unit that presumably held any number of dead bodies.  Misha—Collins—Misha, fuck—was leaning against the wall next to the door, not speaking, just watching.  He closed his eyes when Andrew pulled out the tray that held his sister.  She was covered in a white cloth and Jensen helped lift the tray and place it on one of the work tables.

Andrew spoke softly so Jensen could barely hear him, and for certain Misha couldn’t, “She’s been with only refrigeration for close to six days now, so she’s actually in pretty bad shape.  They also used an antifungal disinfectant on her with mixed results.  Be careful not to get any on your skin or in your eyes.  And try not to breathe it in.”

Jensen nodded in acknowledgement and Andrew showed them where the heavy duty aprons and gloves were, along with some simple tools that might help them.  He went into great detail about the locking mechanism on the refrigerated storage unit and made sure both Jensen and Jared could do it themselves before he was willing to leave.  He surveyed his space for a moment with hands on hips and a nervous eye.  Jensen was worried the guy might elect to stay, but he checked his watch and turned to Misha.

“Come on, Misha.  Walk me out so I can show you how to lock the front door.”

“No,” Misha murmured, eyes on the white cloth-covered figure.  “I’ll stay here.”

“Misha, I don’t think—”

“No, you’re not,” Jensen said firmly.  “Go upstairs.”

Misha’s cold blue eyes turned to him.  “I’m not leaving her al—Relax, Agent, I’m not saying I don’t trust you and think you will plant evidence.  But I’m going to stay down here as witness.  Chain of custody and all that.”

“Chain of custody is already shot to hell, Officer.  Even if we find anything here, it won’t be admissible in court.  At best we’re going to try to confirm it’s the same guy who killed in DC eight years ago.”

“My being here won’t hinder you in that goal.”

“You’re not staying here.”

“You have no authority—”

Jensen took two steps which put him squarely in Misha’s personal space and effectively trapped him between Jensen’s body and the wall.  Misha was only a couple of inches shorter, but Jensen was broader through both the shoulders and hips, making him appear much larger than the other man.  But Misha didn't flinch or seem the least intimidated.

Emotional manipulation it is then, Jensen thought.

“You’re not staying here—while we search through every crevice of your sister’s body.”

Misha inhaled sharply and kept his glare going as best he could, but clearly Jensen’s words had affected him.  Perhaps the mental image was enough to convince him to go before he saw something he couldn’t un-see.

“Misha,” Andrew said softly.

Misha moved forward, and rationally Jensen knew he was simply moving to shoulder him out of the way, but for a moment all Jensen could see was a sea of blue and lips so pink and full they were just begging to be abused.  Then Misha was roughly shoving past him and marching up the stairs.  Andrew gave the agents one last hard look before following him up.

Jensen took a couple of short breaths and licked his lips.  He kind of hoped he never saw Misha Collins again.  Even if that meant the guy left right now and locked him and Jared in a funeral home overnight.


Jensen turned around and saw that Jared had already put on a thick apron and had just barely managed to squeeze his giant paws into a pair of XL size latex gloves.  Jensen put on an apron as well and had a bitch of a time trying to squeeze his hands into size medium gloves.  Medium was the only size Andrew had in nitrile.  Jensen was allergic to latex and that was an allergy that made shopping for condoms unpleasant and expensive.

Jared stood on one side of the body and looked at him.  Jensen could see the discomfort and mounting anxiousness in his eyes.

“You ever worked with a body before?”

Jared shook his head.

“You ever seen a body before?”

“Just the ones at The Farm.”

“Well, this should be worse than TV, but better than The Farm.”

Jared nodded.  Jensen gingerly grasped the top of the sheet and pulled it all the way down to the corpse’s feet.  They froze for a moment, staring at the killer’s handiwork.

The body was misshapen from a lot more than just decay.  The eyes were sunk into the skull, the skin pulled back from the hairline and the fingernails.  There was a general sense of flatness that came from gravity’s pull on the remains that had lost its vitality.  But that was common at six days out.  Even with the blood removed from the body, and the large hole stitched up in her chest with a large gauge needle that housed the plastic bag that held her internal organs, it was clear that the body had been absolutely mutilated.  Bruises, cuts, tears, rips…Jensen shuddered and looked away from one gash in her right arm.  Dr. Rhodes hadn’t lied: her throat had been cut into ribbons, still connected on either end to the body.  Everywhere he looked there was some violation, some sadistic experiment, some sick curiosity satisfied.

Jensen forced his brain to stop seeing the whole.  To only focus on one part at a time.  He looked up at Jared.

“Heads or tails?”

Jared gulped and looked down at the body.  He looked at her feet, and then her head.

“Heads, I guess.”

“Check everywhere.  Scalp.  Inside her ears.  Inside her mouth.  Look in her throat; see if he branded her inside.  Those cuts he made are something new.”

Jared nodded, visibly steeled his resolve, and moved to stand at the top of the table.  He tentatively began to comb through her once blonde hair.  Jensen moved to her feet and picked one up.  He carefully looked over the bruised skin, making sure nothing was hidden in the discoloration.  Then he pulled her toes apart one by one to check the skin hidden in between.  Finding nothing, he began the slow process of inspecting the splotchy skin of the tops of her feet, her soles, her ankles, her shins and calves.  Jensen had reached her knees and had counted no less than three hundred individual cuts and slices into her body.  He stood up, wincing as his back protested the movement and twisted gently side to side to stretch out the cramp that had formed over the last half hour.  Jared stopped his work on her throat when he saw Jensen stand and stretched out his kinks as well.

"Anything?" Jensen asked, already knowing the answer.

"Not yet."

"Did you check her mouth?"

"Yeah.  I looked at her tongue and the insides of her cheeks, but I didn't see anything."  Jared chewed on the corner of his lip, but didn't speak again.

"What, Jay?"  Jensen hoped the nickname would soften his question since his exhaustion was coloring his tone.

"Do you really think if it were him, he would hide the brand so carefully?"

No, Jensen's internal voice told him.  "I don't know," he said aloud.  "I mean, he did blatantly display their crimes as a way of proving they deserved his punishment.  It doesn't make sense that he would hide the crime—unless he was trying to mask that it was him.  But this guy is a narcissist.  He wants to be noticed.  He'd love nothing more than for everyone to know that he is killing again.  If he ever stopped.  I wonder if we should comb through the unsolved murders in whatever town in Missouri that coffin went missing from."

"But, why would he switch to premade coffins?  The care he took in the original three—it just doesn't—" Jared trailed off, not finishing his thought.

So Jensen finished it for him, "Seem like this is our guy."

Jared started to speak, perhaps to refute what they were both thinking, but then decided not to bother.

"Alright," Jensen said, "let's just finish checking over the body and maybe we can get a flight back to DC in the morning."

They continued their search in less detail, and it was with great reservation that Jensen pushed the corpse's thighs apart and began to inspect the labia.  It seemed kind of disrespectful to do this to her if he wasn't really expecting to find anything.

"You think it's possible to even get something to settle flatly on the roof of the mouth?" Jared muttered, Jensen assumed, to himself.

Jensen heard the disturbing resistance of the stiff jaw as Jared pried it open again.  The body shifted a little as he tilted the head back and Jensen leaned down to inspect the flesh in between the opening to the vagina and the anus.  He should probably turn the body completely over to inspect the skin around the anus.  He looked up to tell Jared to help him flip the body—and froze.  Jared was pulling the tongue up and out of the mouth to look at the skin of the mouth underneath.  On the underside of the tongue were sharp black marks.  Jensen walked forward, not taking his eyes from the marks.

"I don't see anything under here," Jared said, disappointment evident in his voice as he released the tongue.  Jensen's hand darted out and grabbed the muscle and Jared started in surprise, not having noticed Jensen's approach.  Jensen pulled the tongue out as far as he could and bent it back.

There, burned into the graying flesh, was the word WITCH.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013 

Jensen was pacing the small room with his Blackberry to his ear and his personal cell phone in his other hand, thumb roving the touch screen.  Jared couldn’t tell which cell phone was causing him to make such an annoyed face; possibly it was both.  It was only mid-morning but Jensen’s coat was already discarded in a chair, his tie loosened, and shirt sleeves rolled up.  Jared wanted to feel excited for his first real field case, but he was just nervous.  With the discovery of the brand last night, shit suddenly got real.

He decided not to think about the stormy scene that had taken place between Jensen and Officer Collins after they’d come barreling up the stairs with their news.  Jensen hadn’t been the most tactful in explaining what he’d found and Collins had looked to be about three seconds away from punching him in the face.  Instead he considered how impressive and efficient the Elton Police Department was.  The next morning a room had been cleared for the FBI’s use.  Two desks had been placed against one wall, leaving space for both Jensen and Jared to work and to set up the field laptops the agents from the Portsmouth RA were bringing.  Three whiteboards had been crammed against the opposite wall, and one was set up with the DC victims.

Father Isaac Dolan, Jeanine Tirro, and Walter Feldman.  Each had a headshot as they appeared in life taped to the board and underneath were written the facts of their individual cases.  Next to Feldman's, Jensen had left a space and written “Missouri?” in blue marker.  The second whiteboard had a single picture on it: a stunningly beautiful blonde with the name Natalia Smith.  The details of her case were listed beneath her picture.  Jared looked at the empty space to the right of her picture.  And the completely blank third board.  He prayed to God that those boards wouldn’t fill up with more pictures and that they could solve this with the information they already had.

Jensen passed in front of him one more time and it cleared Jared’s blurred vision.  He focused on the victims again.  Above each photo was written a pair of words:  Molester: Gabrael, Abuser: Kael, Depraved: Raguel, Witch: Akael.  They were still waiting to hear back from the local clergy and religious scholars if there was any significance to these names individually or in combination.  Jared had gone ahead and conducted a Google search on Akael, but so far had only turned up Facebook and blog pages and a user name on YouTube with no videos associated with the account.  He’d done a Bing search afterwards just to compare, but all Bing had done was provide him pages that had information on things that were spelled similarly, but not the same.  He’d dig a little deeper later, but right now he was rereading the case notes from the three DC murders so he’d appear knowledgeable when the Portsmouth agents showed up.

After another half hour, Jensen had stopped pacing and was sitting at his new desk away from home.  His Blackberry was set aside and he was poking at his personal phone’s screen.  Jared leaned forward in his chair just a bit to see if he was playing a game or something.


Jared jumped to his feet and could see Jensen’s face go from surprise at his swift action, to unhidden amusement at his puppy-like nature.  Jared hated to acknowledge other people’s assessment of his personality being doglike, but there it was.

They turned to face the entrance to the room and Ty stood in the door with two people in dark suits.  Feds.  There were a lot of incorrect stereotypes about the FBI and the suits were kind of one of them.  A lot of agents took advantage of the “business casual” policy most field offices had if they were expecting to be riding the desk all day with paperwork.  But out in public: ugly, ill-fitting suits and bland ties were almost a required uniform.

“I found these two out wandering the halls,” Ty said pleasantly, “thought they might belong to you.”

The man and woman behind him sent glares at the back of his head.

“I’ll see if I can get a hold of our IT guy and send him over here to hookup your equipment.  I’ll let you all get acquainted, but then I’d like to have a joint meeting so we can discuss how you would like to proceed with the case and what resources you’ll need from us.”

“That sounds about right,” said the male agent who was average height with a small bald spot, but with beard enough to make up for it.  “Probably aim for after lunch.”

Ty nodded.  “It’s a date.  If you’ll excuse me now, I’ve got a squirrel-licker to book.”

Ty looked at Jensen and Jared thought he might have flushed a little at the reminder of the disturbance from yesterday.   When they’d arrived that morning Jensen had been shanghaied into the chief’s office with a closed door for a solid hour.  Jared had worried the entire time.  He wasn’t that familiar with Jensen yet even though he felt they’d clicked pretty instantly in terms of personality, but he did think Jensen had a bit of temper and had a hard time keeping it to himself.  Fortunately he’d had the distraction of setting up the whiteboards per Jensen’s instructions, and a thoughtful officer had stopped by with coffee for both of them.  The officer had been friendly, though Jared sensed he was a little disappointed he didn’t get to meet Jensen as well.  He even stayed and talked for a good thirty minutes, but eventually had to return to his duties before Jensen came back from his meeting with Ty.  When he did come back, he didn’t seem to be upset or embarrassed, so Jared assumed it had been a good talk and had wisely decided not to ask about specifics.

Ty gave Jared a nod as well and then left the new agents.  The man stepped forward and introduced himself as ASAC Jim Beaver.  From knowing him for all of thirty seconds Jared could tell he was gruff and a man of few words.  He was also clearly someone who wouldn’t put up with anyone's shit.  The woman was pretty with long dark hair in a high ponytail and a petite figure displayed rather nicely in a well tailored black pantsuit.  These thoughts zipped in and right out of Jared’s head as she stepped forward and gave them both a strong, confident handshake.  She introduced herself as SA Genevieve Cortese, and the intelligent glint in her eye and no-nonsense attitude immediately incurred respect.

“I read over the cases in the database,” she began, “but of course I’d like to hear your impressions as the original investigator.  Also, I haven’t seen any of the material for the case that happened here.  Do you have copies?”

“Well, I have a copy,” Jensen answered.  “The locals haven’t been too interested in making copies for us, but you’re welcome to read over all the notes I have.  Also, I would like to ask if you, or ASAC Beaver, are taking point on the case.  I have no problem with that since this is your jurisdiction.”

His face and voice were calm and professional, but Jared saw the way his fingers were twitching at his side.  He would not be okay if he was reduced to a secondary on this case.

“No,” Cortese responded.  “This is your case.  I’m here to assist you in any way I can.  Jim is here to get the lay of the land and a firsthand account of the case, but I’ll be your primary liaison to the Portsmouth RA.”

Beaver had meandered over to the whiteboards and was looking over the victim summaries.

“So, tell me again what it was that made you so sure this is the same guy?  Aside from the obvious?”

Jensen, Jared, and Cortese moved to stand in a small semi-circle near Beaver.

“I’ll start with the least important reason first, sir,” Jensen began, “but quite frankly it’s because—I just knew it was him.”

Beaver raised an eyebrow but made no comment.  If anything, he looked a little pleased with that reason.

“Secondly, the violence and the torture and the exploration of the corpse have similar signatures.  I’ve spoken with some of the people in Martinsburg and asked if handwriting similarities are restricted to what a person does with pen and paper, and they said no.  So, I’ve sent pictures of the angel name carvings down to them for a comparison, but they look identical to me.  What really clinched it for me was the brand we found on the latest victim.  The fact that the killer was carving angel names into the victims’ chests was released to the public—”

“I guess that’s why the ridiculous moniker ‘Angel Slayer’ was adopted,” Beaver grunted.

Jensen made a face acknowledging how stupid he thought the name was too, and then continued, “But the branding of the victims ‘crimes’ was kept out of the paper.  So we had something to identify copycats with and to make sure any confessions we got were real ones.

“The brands appear to be carved out of a single piece of metal specifically for use on each victim depending on their crime.  It’s speculation mostly, but we thought at the time that the brand is the first thing he does to the victims.  He lets them know what crime they are guilty of and that is why they are being punished.  He sees himself as punishing the wicked and giving them what they deserve.

“Now, we were never able to prove it definitively, but I believe that all three DC victims were somehow linked.  That they knew each other or had some common connection amongst them.  The second victim’s son’s girlfriend attended the same church that Father Dolan preached at.  I just can’t accept that that’s a coincidence.”

Cortese shrugged a dubious shoulder.  “Seems like a stretch to be honest.”

“I know it is.  And unfortunately we couldn’t find a link with either of them to the third victim, but we also never got access to the list of people who were victims of his clients.  But I feel that since they all somehow involved children that there was one common link, or a chain, that led him to his new victims.  He identifies his targets by whatever their sin is.  And if we can figure how he’s determining or finding out what these people’s crimes are, we might—”

“Stop saying that!” someone shouted from behind them.  The small group turned to see Officer Collins fuming in the doorway.  “She didn’t commit a crime!  She’s not guilty of anything!  She didn’t deserve this!”

Jared saw Jensen’s eye twitch in annoyance and he almost reached out a hand to stop him from approaching the other man.  The last thing they needed was to cause another scene.

“I’m not saying she did,” Jensen said sharply, “all I’m saying is that he thinks she did.  And there has to be some reason why he does.”

“Yeah, he’s a crazy fucking serial killer!”

“He doesn’t pick his targets arbitrarily!  Something draws them to him.  He has a God complex; he thinks he’s doing God’s work.  He’s punishing the wicked.  He can’t just punish innocent people.  He has to believe there’s something that they did—”

“And I’m telling you, you shit, Natalia has done nothing to draw this killer’s eye!  I can’t believe you’re fucking blaming the victim!”

Collins started to turn like he was going to leave them with that as his last words, but Jensen’s hand shot out and clamped tightly around his wrist.  Jared raised his eyebrows.  He could have gone for the shoulder or upper arm, and if there was anything his lessons at the Behavioral Science Unit had taught him about body language, it was that touching another person’s wrist was an oddly intimate way of getting their attention.  Whatever his reasons for reaching for Collins’ wrist, he then used his grip to drag Collins across the room.  Jensen stood him in front of the DC board.

“Look at this,” Jensen said, voice a little softer, a little calmer.  “Molester.  A priest who abused children.  He was wildly beaten.  A lot of the damage was done before death and it was sloppy.”  Jensen pulled Collins slightly to the right.

“This woman abused her children.  She was tortured while she was still alive, and only after death were precision cuts made.”  Once more to the right.  “This one helped set pedophiles back loose on the streets.  He died too fast, so everything was more carefully done; his body became a playground.”  Jensen pointed to the word Missouri.

“He disappeared for over eight years, but he didn’t stop killing.  He couldn’t have.  In these eight years he’s learned to enjoy his kills.  He takes more pleasure in them.”  Jensen stepped to his right again, placing himself in front of Natalia’s picture and description so Collins couldn’t see it and was forced to meet Jensen’s eyes.  “Now…now he’s truly found his niche.  He…was experimenting on her.  Enjoying his handiwork.  Able to conduct it calmly while they’re still alive.  Something he hadn’t done previously.  The torture is the thrill now…not the punishment.  But he can’t just torture for fun.  In his head they have to deserve it.  He has to have some reason, no matter how big a pile of bullshit it may be, to do what he does.  So he finds them ‘guilty’ of a crime.  And he may grasp at straws to do it, but there has to be something that makes him see it.”

Jensen drew breath to speak again, but then stopped, and just looked at Collins.  They stared for a moment, and then Collins dropped his eyes to the corner of the whiteboard’s marker ledge.  Jensen dropped his eyes too, but not to the floor.  Jared could have sworn he was staring at Collins’ lips.  Which, that was both good and bad.  Good in that he clearly didn’t have competition for Felicia’s attention now, and very, very bad because Jared couldn’t think of a worse person for Jensen to crush on than an angry, volatile cop who was the brother of one of the victims of the case they were working.

“Misha,” Jensen said softly, and their eyes met again.  “It would help us catch him if we could figure out how he’s choosing his victims.  There has to be…something…”

He trailed off and Collins’ jaw muscles ticked in anger, annoyance, grief—it was hard to tell.  Then his features softened as a realization washed over him.

“She—she was into that new age crap.  Crystals and oils and incense and little tiny gongs.  She was a huge environmental advocate.  An almost literal tree-hugger.”

Jensen nodded thoughtfully.  “And new age crap and nature is often associated with the Wiccan religion.  And by extension, witches and witchcraft.”

The room was quiet for a moment.  And then Collins let out a soft, bitter laugh.

“Well, glad I could be of help,” he said harshly before walking out of the room abruptly.

Jensen raised a hand and opened his mouth, but didn’t go after him and didn’t speak.  He shook his head slightly and looked at the small group of agents.

“Well, that does help.  Someone who does new age practices was enough to trigger his sense of heavenly justice, so—”

“Do you really think that’s what it is?” Beaver interrupted.  “I mean, do you really think this angel fruitcake believes he’s doing God’s work?”

“I don’t think he thinks he’s talking to God or anything, but I think he truly feels righteous.”

“As if he wasn’t dangerous enough,” Cortese said dryly.

“Exactly,” Jensen agreed with a brisk nod.  “In fact, I think the best way we can deal with this is not to release to the public that this in fact the—” Jensen let out a small annoyed sigh “—Angel Slayer.  Right now he’s trying to keep a low profile.  I think he has for over eight years now.  If he finds out the police, or the FBI, are onto him again, he’ll escalate.  Quickly.”

Jared chuckled as he had a Ron Burgundy flashback.  Beaver, Cortese, and Jensen glanced at him.  Jared cleared his throat and tried to look pensive as he crossed his arms and asked what he hoped was an intelligent enough question to distract them from his lapse in professionalism.

“So, do you think he’s been traveling around the country this whole time?  Do you think he’s already left the area?”

Jensen made a face.  “I’ve been trying not to consider that possibility.  We don’t have an extended pattern, but maybe he kills in threes.  But this is such a small town; it wouldn’t make sense to stay here where a stranger would stick out like a sore thumb.  Especially if the locals keep turning up dead.”

Cortese tilted her head slightly.  “Maybe he’s not a stranger.  Have you talked to the police chief about new people in town?  And I mean, I know it’s a small town, but it still has a population of five thousand.  I wouldn’t expect for everyone to literally know everyone else.”

Jensen looked hard at Cortese, but Jared didn’t think he was really seeing her.  “Not a stranger…” he mused softly.  Then he gave a slight shake of his head.  “We shouldn’t rule it out, but I’m disinclined to believe that he’s from here.  Or any of the places where he’s killed.”

“How about the town where that priest had his first assignment?” Beaver suggested.

“Springdale, Arkansas.  Maybe.  But I don’t think he was personally abused by the priest.”

“But I thought you said these beatings and torturing were personal,” Cortese said.  “Why would he do that to a priest that didn’t personally hurt him or at least someone he knew?”

Jensen deflated a little.  “I’ll be honest; we just don’t understand this guy’s motivations well enough yet.  It could be that he finds their crimes personally offensive.  Could just be he’s a sick fuck.”

“I think that’s the one thing we can declare to be fact in this case,” Beaver said crustily.

Jensen’s eyes flicked to Beaver, but he didn’t say anything.  Cortese stepped around them and began examining the whiteboards.

“I think you’re right, Agent Ackles.”

“Jensen,” Jensen said softly.

“Jensen.  I think he really is constrained by finding victims that have—to his mind—done something wrong.  He needs victims that are deserving of their punishment.  I think it’s the crime that he’s fixating on.  The victim—who they are as a person—is not really important at all.”  She turned around, ponytail swishing.  “This will make it so much harder to catch him if we can’t identify his victims.  Not without knowing his thought process.  Is there a common thread to the crimes at all?”

“Well, the first three involved children.  This last one?” He shrugged a shoulder.  “If new age crystal crap makes her a witch, I don’t see how that could really affect children.”

Jared twitched as he had an epiphany.  Everyone caught the movement and looked at him.

“She’s a teacher,” Jared said, turning away to grab her file from Jensen’s desk.  He thumbed through it until he found the page recording her personal details including her occupation.  “She was an elementary school teacher.  Maybe he thought she was teaching her new age stuff to them.  Corrupting the children with witchcraft.”

Jensen snapped a finger and then pointed it at Jared.  “Yes, Jay!  Good catch.”

Jensen walked over to the third whiteboard and on the far right side wrote “children” in green marker.  Then under it in black he wrote smaller “failed protector” followed by two question marks.

“I think we should—”

“Before we get too embroiled in all that,” Beaver interrupted, “is there anywhere around here I can get some decent lunch?”

“Nell’s,” Jensen and Jared said in unison.

They shared a smile.  Then Jensen told Beaver and Cortese they would take them to a local place for lunch while he rolled down his shirt sleeves and collected his suit jacket.  Jared organized the files neatly on the trays on Jensen’s desk.  The man had a system and he already dreaded what would happen to him if he messed it up.

The four of them had lunch at Nell’s, and Jared decided to branch out and try the “chowder” though there was no indication if it was clam, crab, or other.  It was delicious, but he couldn’t taste out the source of the meat either.  He kept his flirting with Felicia to a minimum since ASAC Beaver was present, but he did hand her one of his cards with his Blackberry number on it when he covered the bill on his government credit card.

Back at the station they had a lengthy meeting with Chief Olsson and Detective Russell Little who had been assigned the case before the feds were called in.  He was average height, average looks, with brown hair and eyes, and a neatly trimmed beard.  Jared recognized him as the detective who had brought him and Jensen coffee that morning.  Now it made sense why he’d been interested in meeting them—they were the federal dicks that had snaked his case.  Jared didn’t think Jensen was particularly thrilled about it, but he had agreed to Little working the case with them.

A large portion of their planning session was discussing whether the Elton PD forensic team would handle any future crime scenes or if the FBI’s ERT should be brought in.  Jensen had stopped the unending circle of the argument by saying they shouldn’t anticipate another crime scene.  They should be working with what they had now to catch the guy before another crime scene could be made.  They all agreed with this point, though none of them spoke aloud what they were all thinking: they had no suspects and no evidence that pointed to one.  They actually needed another crime scene.

It was after six o’clock when they finally called it a day; Beaver and Cortese had to drive an hour back to Portsmouth and Jared and Jensen had been at the station since seven in the morning.  They still agreed to meet back in Elton at seven thirty the next morning.  Beaver said more than likely he wouldn’t return the rest of the week as he had meetings to attend, but he’d try to get out next week.  Cortese shook their hands firmly and Jared found that he really liked her.  She was smart, unafraid to jump into a case feet first, and thus far unflappable; those were traits he admired in an agent and aspired to himself.

He and Jensen were leaving their appointed office space when he remembered his overcoat was hanging in the corner.  He thought it was supposed to be colder today.  It wasn’t.

“Oh, hey, Jensen, hold up.  I need to get my coat.  I’ll lock the door.  Here.”  Jared tossed him the keys to the Accent.

Jensen frowned at them and Jared just smiled at his utter distaste for their rental car.  He said goodnight to the swing shift crew in the bull pen and was less than a minute behind Jensen as he exited the building, so he saw him change his direction abruptly.

“Misha!” Jensen called out and approached Collins as he was unlocking the K9 vehicle's backdoor for Bunny.  Jensen jogged up to him and then, good for him, didn’t stand too awkwardly beside him.  “Hey.  Look, I really am sorry about this afternoon.  I hope you know that I understand how difficult—”

“Agent Ackles,” Collins cut him off sharply.  “I don’t think you really understand anything of what I’m feeling, to be honest.  And I don’t think we’ve reached a level of intimacy in our relationship that warrants us being on a first name basis.”

Jared sucked some air through his teeth.  Ouch.  Jensen looked just as taken aback.

“Apologies, Officer Collins,” Jensen said completely blandly.  That was even worse than if he’d been cold or angry about it.

Jensen turned and walked to their rental car.  Jared saw the mental kick Collins gave himself as he watched Jensen walk away.  Bunny let out a soft, grunting whine and the officer looked down at her.  Based on Collins’ abashed reaction to her, Jared didn’t feel crazy for thinking Bunny was disappointed with him.

“I know, I know,” Collins muttered and opened the backdoor for Bunny to hop in.

Jared walked across the parking lot, acting like he hadn’t witnessed anything.  Because he hadn’t, right?  That certainly hadn’t been proof that K9 Officer Misha Collins may very well reciprocate Jensen’s interest.  Right?  Because, while cerebrally interesting, that could be the worst possible thing to happen.

Chapter Text

Thursday, September 19, 2013 

“Worst possible thing that could happen,” Jared muttered.  “Why do people even have thoughts like that?”

“What?” Jensen asked as he glanced at Jared.

“Nothing,” the younger agent grunted and stepped around the two small, yellow placards that read seven and eight and marked where chunks of flesh had been flung from the body on the plush, white carpet.

Jensen allowed his eyes to wander the scene again.  The house they were in was large and opulent and probably only used as a vacation home in the warmer months.  The furniture was light colored birch or pine, the carpeting white, and the upholstery, curtains, and décor were all varying shades of ivory, beige, and ecru.  It made it much easier to see all the splashes of rusty brown around the room.

The nude body was balanced lengthwise on the side of a knocked over coffee table, arms spread out in a mockery of crucifixion.  Or maybe that’s just the way they naturally fell.  Fist size chunks of muscle, skin, and fat had been cut or ripped from the body and flung in all directions.  Some of the fingers and toes had been cut off with varying degrees of meticulousness—and Jensen was sure the ME would tell him that some were before and some were after death.  Bloody bald patches dotted the skull where hair had been torn from the roots.  The face was beaten in beyond recognition.  They were going to need to conduct dental or DNA identification to verify that the victim was the owner of the house, Davis Thompson.  His chest bore the name Damael.  And brazenly branded onto his forehead—no pretense at hiding now—was his crime: Blasphemer.

Jensen rubbed his eyes for the fifth time that morning.  It was 5:47; the sun was barely making its presence known on the horizon visible through the open front door.  Gingerly stepping over the threshold into the house, Dr. Rhodes made her appearance.  Jensen waved her over.  He hadn’t decided yet whether he wanted the local PD or the FBI to handle the evidence collection, but he’d been impressed enough with Dr. Rhodes’ report on Natalia Smith that he wanted her to conduct any further autopsies.  Dr. Rhodes reached his side and made hard eye contact, and wouldn’t look anywhere else.  Odd behavior for a medical examiner actually.

“Don’t often go to the crime scenes?” Jensen asked gently.

Dr. Rhodes shook her head.  “No.  I usually don’t see them until they’re on my table.  Makes it easier to not see them.  Which sounds really callous.”

“No, I get it.  Thank you for coming out.  I want you to a do a once over before we move him to make sure a shift in position doesn’t alter or mask anything.”

She bobbed her head determinedly.  “That makes sense.”

Jensen put a reassuring hand to her elbow.  “You’ll be fine, Dr. Rhodes, I promise.”

“Kim,” she said a little forcefully.

Jensen smiled tightly.  “Kim.  I’ll be right here.  Just focus on the details for now, not the whole.  That’s my job.”

Kim nodded and moved closer to the body to begin her preliminary examination.  Jared completed his third circuit of the room that morning and stood by Jensen.  Jensen crossed his arms over his chest, allowing his eyes to sweep slowly over the room.



“Tell me, what do you see?”

“No sign of forced entry.  The victim either left the door open or knew the attacker and invited him in.  That is when pleasantries ceased.  The struggle was wild, violent.  The assailant was definitely not significantly stronger or bigger than the victim.  By the time the torture began and the brand was applied to the forehead, the victim was either subdued or unconscious, but still alive.”

“Very good.  Now, think about the whiteboards.  Think about the crime scenes themselves, not just the victims.  What do you see here?”

Jared looked around the room.  Furniture was upended, glass shattered, stains that weren’t just blood covered both horizontal and vertical surfaces.  This was his first live crime scene regarding this case.  He’d seen the pictures, but he wasn’t sure what he wasn’t seeing.  He knew Jensen was trying to lead him somewhere.

“What is it?”

Jensen dragged his teeth across his lower lip, his eyes jumping as they darted around the room.

“Well, first off, all of the previous crime scenes haven been dump sites.  This is the kill location.  So it’s possible that the initial struggle with the other victims was this violent as well.  But what I’m seeing here is a loss of control.  All of those crime scenes were spotless.  This one—I don’t know what it will be or where we’ll find it—but something is turning up from here.”  Jensen made a clicking sound with his tongue.  “Why the loss of control?  He was getting better at it.  He was perfecting it.  Why the step back?”

“Excitement maybe,” Jared said with a sour taste in his mouth.  “I think he knows it’s not a secret anymore.  This is a message for us.  Maybe even a challenge.”  Jared took a step forward and turned enough to catch Jensen’s eye.  “Do you think it could be laid out like this for you?  Would he know you worked the cases in DC?”

Jensen startled at the suggestion and felt his jaw drop slightly.  Was that possible?  Would the killer actually know who he was personally?  He felt a chill run down his spine and shuddered with it.

“Maybe.  That might explain why he decided to kill again so soon after the last one.  And why he didn’t bother to try to hide his signatures.  The Elton PD was very good about keeping the information about the angel name out of the press.  And we only just found out that it is him when we found the brand.  So, he didn’t get pulled back into the spotlight.  No…he shined it on himself.”

Jared turned even closer toward him and murmured softly, “So do you think that means we can narrow down the list of suspects to people who have seen us in town?”

Jensen gave Jared a wry smile.  “That’d be nice if we could.  And while we haven’t been all over the place, we could never know who was standing across the street at any given moment.  Also, while the details of the murder have been kept under wraps, I think FBI involvement made the news.  He may just think it’s fun the FBI is involved at all and has no clue of who I am.”

Jared dropped his gaze and stepped back, looking a little embarrassed.  It hadn’t been a terrible theory, just not thought out to completion.  Jared was learning, and trying to think around the edges of the box at least.  Jensen was becoming more and more convinced that the "place holder" that had been sent with him had been grossly underestimated by their SSA.


Jensen turned and saw Detective Little escorting Agent Cortese, Gen as they’d come to know her, into the room.  Even though four was definitely a crowd, Jensen would gladly keep Jared on the case.  Gen had already proven herself to be a valuable asset and remarkably gracious in her willingness to act as secondary investigator.  So, that left Little.  Jensen didn’t know enough about him yet to know if he was going to be a help or a hindrance, but in the spirit of cooperation (and the fact that he’d already pissed off the police chief) Jensen was going to make an effort to include the detective in the investigation.  He greeted both with a nod.

“Good morning, Gen.  Detective Little.”

“You can just call me, Russ.  I’m not sure if you noticed, but the formality is a little absent in the Elton Police Department.”

Jensen smiled at the detective.  “I guess it depends on the person,” he said wryly.

Russ tilted his head in thought and then let out a little “ah” of understanding.  “Collins.  Yeah.  He’s more proper than most of us, but I promise you, he’s usually not that much of dick.  He… he and his sister were close.”

Jensen felt his face warm up.  Had people seen that little exchange in the parking lot yesterday?    “I didn’t mean—” He cleared his throat.  “At any rate, as long as we have an understanding amongst each other.  I think it’s more important to focus on the case and not have to worry about formality and tiptoeing around each other’s sensibilities.  And to that end,” Jensen turned slightly apologetic eyes on Gen, “I know you don’t want to hear this, but my squad back in DC is all men.  And I just know I’m going to say something stupid at some point—” Jensen cut off at the pointed look Gen gave him.

“Jensen, I have five brothers.  I’m certain there’s not much you could do that would offend me.”

He grinned at her.  “Famous last words before I get my ass OPR-ed.”

Jensen, Gen, and Jared laughed, and Russ blinked at the unfamiliar acronym.  Then the trio immediately cut off their laughter and put on stern faces as the other people in the gruesome crime scene turned to see who was laughing.

“Uh, Gen and Russ, if you want to take a look around the crime scene, Jared and I have already been here a while.”

Gen and Russ nodded and moved further into the room.  Jensen looked at Jared and said under his breath, “Quick lesson from your mentor: try not to laugh at crime scenes.”

Jared ran his tongue over his teeth, and it kind of masked his attempt not to smile.

“Agent Ackles, Jared,” Kim got their attention as she approached them, snapping off a pair of latex gloves.

“Why am I ‘Agent’ and he’s ‘Jared?’”

Kim thought for a moment.  “I don’t know.  Your name seems more intimate somehow.  Probably because it’s weird.”

“It’s not weird.”

“It is a little.  Anyway, Jensen, Jared.  I think I’ve seen what I need to here.  The photographers have gotten every angle and the forensics team wants to examine the table now.  So, I think we’re ready to move the body.  There are definitely some things I need my lab for to get a better picture of what happened.  For one thing, his fingertips are discolored.  I have a suspicion of what that might be from, but I need to verify it before I start throwing out theories.”

“What’s your best estimate for time of death?” Jared asked.

“Well, that’s a little tricky you know.  There’s no rigor, but that could mean it’s already passed or it hasn’t set in yet.  The lividity patterns suggest he died in the position he’s in now.  There is a wide variety of coloration in the bruising and some scabbing, so I think it’s possible he was kept alive and tortured for several days before he was killed.  My guess is that death happened sometime last night.  But, I couldn’t swear to that.  Not right now anyway.”

“But wait a minute,” Jared said, “We’re pretty certain this is not a dump site.  If he was kept alive and tortured here for days—how come no one noticed?”

“Davis is a snow bird.  Florida in the winter, summers up here.  Being September, it’s possible people thought he’d already headed back down south.  He’s a widower, so he lived here alone.”

“I don’t suppose you’d know why he would have been branded as a blasphemer, do you?” Jensen asked.

“Very vocal atheist.”

“Ah.  Well, that explains that.”

“Any connection to children?” Jared asked.

“Not that I know of.  And I don’t think he has any of his own.”

Gen and Russell returned from their circuit of the room.

“They’re getting ready to move the body now,” Russ said.  “Unless there’s something more you’d like to do here, I suggest we reconvene at the station and discuss what we’d like to do there.  I already have several officers canvassing the neighbors to find out if they saw or heard anything.  I think Thompson had a maid service, but we’ll need his credit card records to verify which one so we can identify who to speak with.”

Jensen gave Russ a pleased nod of agreement.  He was starting to think the local detective would fit in nicely on this team.

“I picked Gen up at the station when she arrived this morning, so she doesn’t have a car.  Jensen, you can ride back with me if you like.”

Jensen just kept his eyebrows down and only briefly glanced at Jared.

“Yeah, sure.”  He looked at Jared and Gen.  “I’ll see you two back at the station.” 


Jared finished writing the word “chunks” on the last line of detail under Davis Thompson’s picture on the whiteboard.  He stepped back to compare this latest addition to the others.  Jared definitely didn’t have OCD nor was he a slut for uniformity, but he was observant.  And Jensen was a little bit of both of those things.  He turned around and saw Gen sitting at his desk, studying and using a marker to make notes on a printed set of the crime scene photos.  Jensen was leaning back heavily in his chair, his head falling all the way back, fingers rubbing his eyes.  On the computer the Elton PD had provided them for Internet access was a webpage that had naked cherub gifs floating around the mystical meanings of angel names.  It didn’t look like Jensen had had any Eureka! moments regarding the names Akael or Damael.

“Okay, I got it,” Russ announced as he appeared in the doorway.  “Marvelous Maids of Maine.”

Jensen sat up and half turned, hanging an arm over the back of the chair.  “Is that just a name?  Or are we really that close to Maine?”

“Well, I think they’re incorporated out of Maine.  And we’re about half an hour from the border.”


“Anyway, they gave us the name of the maid who normally cleans for Thompson and she lives in the next town over.  I’ve called and set up an interview for 10:30.  Do you want me to take it?”

Before Jensen could reply, Kim came up behind Russ and put a hand on his shoulder.  He stepped aside so she could come into the small taskforce center as well.

“Do you have something for us, Kim?”

“Yes, I do.  I mean, I still have a lot of work to do and I’m still not confident about a time of death right now except that I’d say there’s a more than average chance that it happened very late Tuesday night or very early Wednesday morning.  And if a neighbor hadn’t seen the open door, he may have sat there for quite some time.”

“Well, we can all be thankful that didn’t happen,” Gen said.

“Thankful,” Jensen muttered.  “He left the door open on purpose.  He was done.  It was time to show off his work.  He’s such a child.”

“I don’t think this is the work of someone immature or unintelligent,” Russ said softly.

“Unintelligent?  No, not at all.  But immature?  Definitely.  Juvenile.  Puerile.  Asinine.”

“Okay, Word-a-Day,” Russ chuckled.  “Got it.  Kim, you had some information for us?”

“Yes.  I verified that the discoloration on his fingertips, even the ones that were no longer attached, was from being soaked in bleach.”

“Why would he do that?” Jared asked.

“Because I think Davis got a piece of him.  There was tissue under his nails, but none of it was salvageable.”

“This doesn’t make sense,” Jensen sighed.  “Why is he getting sloppier?”

Russ opened his mouth to speak, and then scratched behind his ear as he glanced at Jared.  Jared returned his silent shrug.  If they didn’t have a plausible answer, Jensen probably didn’t want them to tell him they didn’t know.

“Well,” Gen said, “this did come right on the heels of the previous kill.  They’re barely a week apart.  Maybe he had a time crunch.  But why would he rush his next kill like this?”

Jared answered, “Jensen and I have considered that maybe he’s heard the FBI is now involved.  And it made him giddy.”

Gen made a face.  “God.  He is a child.”

“Okay,” Russ cut in.  “Maid.  The interview is in less than an hour and it will take at least twenty or thirty minutes to get there.  Who wants to go?”

“Um,” Jensen pondered and then spotted Kim still in the room.  “Kim, thank you for the update.  Keep them coming.”

“Will do.”

Kim left the room and Jensen continued with his assignments.

“Jared and Gen, will the two of you go talk to the maid?  Gen, I know you know what to ask, and Jared, I’d like you to get some interviewing experience in.”

Jared nodded, not offended.  He knew he was still green when it came to criminal cases.

“Russ, I’m going to need you to take care of something a little sensitive for me.”


“We need to see if there’s a connection between the victims at all.  And it would be best to start with family, then friends, and then coworkers.  And regarding the first victim’s family, I know you probably know the answer anyway, but I still feel like we should ask him directly rather than make it seem like we’re doing it behind his back.”

Russ nodded.  “You want me to talk to Misha.”

“Yeah.  Could you?”

Russ grinned.  “You’re not scared of Collins, are you?”

“No.  But I am a little of Bunny.”

Russ laughed.  “Trust me, Agent.  The name matches the personality of that one.  But, I gotta say, I know the statistics say if you’re going to get murdered it’s most likely going to be by your nearest and dearest, but this really seems like the wrong tree here.  I don’t think Misha has even been outside of New Hampshire let alone been to DC.  Heck, the only time I think he’s been outside of Elton is when he went to Dartmouth.”

“Oh, I’m not suggesting—he went to Dartmouth?”

“Yeah.  Every three years or so our little town produces an Ivy Leaguer.”


Jared barely stopped himself from rolling his eyes.  Jensen was getting even more enamored with his crush.  Geez.

“Anyway, I’m not suggesting you treat Mi—Officer Collins as a suspect.  I’m just curious to know if the victims have any connections to each other.  Of course, if he’s one of those connections, well, then we might need to pursue that if necessary.”

“Understood.  I think he’s off today.  So, I’ll start with Natalia’s coworkers and see if any of them know if she had dealings with Thompson.  They’re teachers as well, so maybe that might be a connection to children.  Are we still looking for that?”

“No,” Jensen said swiftly.  “Not looking.  Never look for a clue you want to find because more than likely you’ll find it.   Let the evidence come in and sift it out to where it belongs.”

Russ smiled, looking impressed.  “They teach you that at the Academy?” he asked.

“Not in so many words,” Jensen said.  “But, it’s always important to make sure the theory fits the facts and that you don’t try to make the facts fit your theory.”

“What are you gonna do, Jensen?” Jared asked.

Jensen groaned.  “I’m going to keep looking into the angel names.  I have to get in touch with the local librarian again; he’s been pulling volumes that might be of interest and I need to swing by and pick them up at some point.  I’ve also got a couple of appointments with a local priest and a rabbi.  I know these names mean something.  They’re not remotely arbitrary.  I know it.”

“Are you sure you’re not fitting the facts to your theory?” Russ asked with a challengingly arched eyebrow.

Jensen frowned at him.  “No, I’m not sure,” he said, exaggerating the annoyance in his voice so that everyone knew he was joking.

Russ just chuckled.  “Good luck with your research, Agent.”

Jensen grunted as Russ handed Gen a folded piece of paper from his pocket.

“This is the address of the maid.”

“Thanks," Gen said and Russ nodded and left the room.  Gen looked at Jared.  “Ready to go?”

“Yeah,” Jared responded.  He looked at Jensen.  “You need anything before we go?”

“Nah, I’m good.”

Jared put his suit jacket on and followed Gen out into the bullpen.  It had actually gotten warmer and the jacket was a little stuffy, but he needed it to cover his weapon.  He glanced at Gen’s hips.  Her suit jacket was past her waist, but it seemed too tailored to be hiding a gun, handcuffs, and a cell phone.

The station was as quiet as it had been the first day he’d been there and Rachel had been replaced at the desk by Katie, a pretty blonde who was way overdo to have her roots done.  Normally Jared couldn’t tell a real blonde apart from a bottled one, but two inches of dark brown hair growing out of the top of her head was a good clue.  He’d make a crack agent yet with observations like that.

Outside, Gen stopped on the sidewalk and turned to him.

“Do you think we can take your car?  I couldn’t get our squad car today and had to drive my POV.”

“We can, but Jensen and I only have one—what do you mean your squad car?  You don’t have your own Bu car?”

Gen gave him a snarky smile.  “Excuse me Mr. Big Field Office Agent, sir.  We can’t all have the funds to give every agent their own car.”

“Oh, well,” Jared flushed and looked at his toes.  “I mean, they’ll reimburse you for mileage, won’t they?”

“It’s not that…” Gen trailed off, a little embarrassed.

She led them over to a rusted piece of dull yellow scrap metal.

“Good lord.  What the hell is that?”

“It’s a 2001 Pontiac Aztec.”

“A what?”

“Exactly.  My dad said I could pick what car I wanted for my sixteenth birthday, within reason of course, and I don’t know what happened—it was yellow and sporty and cute and I—have never lived it down.”

“Or been able to afford a new car?  I mean, I know we’re government employees here, but we do get law enforcement pay on top of our salaries.”

“I know,” Gen said testily.  “I’ve just had—other expenses.”

“Like what?”

“None of your beeswax.  Can we take your rental so the Bureau doesn't roll up to an interviewee’s home in that?”

“God, yes.  Right this way.”

Jared led them toward the, truthfully, only marginally better looking Accent and unlocked the doors with the key fob.  As they slid in and buckled up Gen asked, “You said you only have one car between the two of you?  Should I go back in and give Jensen my keys?”

Jared laughed.  “I doubt he’d be willing to get into that thing.  He can walk to Nell’s for lunch.  Besides, I imagine we’ll be back before he’s ready to call it a day.”

“Good points all.  Let’s roll.”

The first several minutes after departure were spent navigating out of town and entering the maid’s home address into the GPS device.  Once they hit the open highway though, a slightly awkward silence descended.  Jared watched the trees rush past and strummed his fingers on the wheel.  He heard Gen inhale deeply and then let it out slowly.  More silence followed.

“So,” Jared said, trying to sound conversational and not desperate for the silence to end.  “How did you find your way to the FBI?”

Gen smiled wryly.  “Nepotism.”

Jared glanced at her with a smile.  “Really?”

She shrugged a shoulder.  "You know, I took the usual route.  College, BS office job for two years, applied to be an agent when I turned twenty-three, got in on the first try because I’m a third generation legacy.”

“Really?  Third generation?  How old are you?  Oh, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t—”

“It’s okay.  I’m twenty-eight.  My grandfather was in the Bureau from the 40s to the 60s.  My dad joined in 1977.  He still works at the Boston field office.  He’s an ASAC.”

“Are your brothers in the Bureau too?”

“One is.  Two are Marines and one is in the Navy.  I have a sister who works for the CIA and one for NSA.  And our littlest brother is still in college.”

“Shit—I’m mean, shoot—that’s a large family.”

Gen chuckled.  “It certainly was for me.  I was smack dab in the middle, so I never got to experience what it was like to have only one or two siblings in the house like the oldest and the youngest did.”

“Are you—Catholic or something?”

Gen shook her head, but thankfully she was still smiling.  “Just had two very lovey-dovey parents.  What about you?  Siblings?  Parental legacies to live up to?”

“Nope.  Only child raised by a single mother.  She was a teacher, so she always told me not to become one because you get paid shit to do a hard job with no gratitude.  So, I thought I’d do something that would make a lot of money and I got into computers.  I got a job as a software designer and did computer programming for five very long years.  On a whim I applied to become an agent—and fortunately kept my job while I did because that was a long ass process.”

“Tell me about it.  Being a legacy does not let you skip any of the steps.”

They both laughed, glanced at each other, and then away.  Silence fell again.  Fortunately before too much time passed, the GPS chimed and informed them of their exit.  A few minutes later they were pulling into the shared parking lot for a row of townhouses.  They made their way up the stairs for the one that was almost dead center and the reek of cigarette smoke permeated through the gaps in the doorframe.  Gen rang the doorbell.

The door opened a crack, revealing a pair of narrowed, suspicious eye.  Jared and Gen flashed their credentials and the woman opened the door wider and invited them inside.  She was wringing her hands and looked like she hadn’t gotten much sleep lately.  The front room of the townhouse was sparsely furnished with old 80s era pieces and the carpet was stained in several places.  The woman, Belinda Brighton, didn’t offer them any refreshments and when she sat down on an arm chair, they took that as an invitation to sit on the couch.

“Ms. Brighton,” Gen began.  “You’ve heard about Davis Thompson, correct?”

“Yes,” she whispered, twirling a piece of dingy blonde hair in her fingers.  “Can you imagine?  If I had walked in on the killer?  He might have done that to me!”

Both Jared and Gen made sympathetic faces, but Jared was wondering how much detail had made it into the papers.

“When is the last time you saw Mr. Thompson?” Gen asked.

“I double checked with my employer's records for you.  I was in Elton on September 10th, a Tuesday.  And I remember it myself because I usually clean for Mr. Thompson on Mondays.  But I took a job here on Monday to cover for—my friend.  She also works for the maid service.”

“What is her name?”

“Candice Guzdowski.”

“Thank you," Gen scribbled down the name on small notepad.  "Did you actually see Mr. Thompson on that Tuesday, or did you just clean that day?”

“No, I spoke with him.  He was getting ready to head back down to Florida soon, so he wanted to arrange a cleaning of the fireplaces and the heating ducts.  He sometimes rents the house out in the winter.  Which is what made the following Monday so odd.  My boss had said he hadn’t contacted him regarding the extra cleaning, and when I got there, there was a note on the door telling me I wasn’t needed.  Usually he calls to cancel so I don’t have to drive all the way out there.  I should have known something was wrong then.  If I had gone to the police, he might still be alive!”

Ms. Brighton wrung her hands even tighter and let out a wheezing sound that Jared wasn't sure if it was a sob or a very dry cough.  The smoky air couldn't be helping matters.

“Ms. Brighton," Gen said gently, "there was nothing you could have done.  You know the police wouldn’t check on a man because he left a note on his door.  You’re doing excellent by remembering all of this.  Can you tell me, did you recognize the handwriting?  Did it look like his?”

Ms. Brighton shook her head, looking distressed.  “I’m not sure.  He’d left a note a couple times asking for something to be cleaned that wasn't usually done.  And he wrote out checks for the service.  But—it didn’t strike me as being different.”

“Did you keep the note?”

Jared tried not to tense with excitement.  That note could be the only break they needed.  It could tell them where the paper came from.  If the handwriting was that of the killer.  Fingerprints.

Ms. Brighton shook her head.  “No.  I took it off the door and left.  I know I crumpled it up and dropped it in the cup holder of my car, but then I threw it out with the trash at another client’s house.”

“Which client?”

“The Seecotts.  They live in Farmington.  But, that was their trash day.  It was collected by the garbage men I’m sure.”

Gen nodded.  “Probably.  But, we’ll still follow up with them just in case.  Can you tell me anything else that you noticed?  When you spoke with Mr. Thompson was he acting strangely?  When you found the note on Monday, were any doors or windows open?”

Ms. Brighton took the time to search her memories.  “He was definitely himself the last time I saw him.  And… I’m sorry.  I don’t remember anything being out of place.  Nothing major was or I would have noticed.  The house looked like it did any other day I cleaned it.  Except for the note on the door.”

“Thank you very much, Ms. Brighton, you've been a tremendous help.”

Jared and Gen stood up and Ms. Brighton did as well.  Gen handed the woman her card.

"If you think of anything else, please feel free to call or e-mail me.”

The women turned the card over and over in her hands.  “I should have kept that note.  I should have done something.”

“Ms. Brighton,” Jared said, stepping forward and laying a hand on her shoulder, “you did what anybody else would have done.  And you really have been a huge help today.”

He gave her an encouraging smile and turned on the puppy dog eyes.  The woman relaxed a little and gave him a small smile.  They said their goodbyes again and exited the townhouse.  They were barely in the car when Gen said, “You practice that look?”

Jared chuckled and backed out of the parking space.  “Innate talent.”

Gen laughed and this time they fell into easy chatter on the drive back, which was a good thing when they found themselves slowing down to a complete halt  as the highway backed up in both lanes for as far as they could see.

“Oh, geez, look at that,” Gen murmured as she leaned forward in her seat to look around the giant SUV directly in her view.

“It’s okay,” Jared said.  “Even if it moves slowly, our exit is only half a mile away.  We’ll be out of it soon.” 


Jensen checked his watch again.  Neither Jared and Gen nor Detective Little were back from their interviews.  It’d been over three hours and he’d already gone to lunch and back.  Felicia had tried to convince him to try the meatloaf.  He told her he would next month.

Both the priest and the rabbi had come down to the station as they didn’t want to disturb their parishioners by having the feds clomp around, but neither had been helpful.  Neither was familiar with any of the angel names except Raguel, who was apparently an archangel, but not necessarily a seraph which is the highest order of angel.  The priest was both the most and least helpful.  Apparently all of two angels are actually named in the Bible, but Catholics have a whole list of angels and saints (that are not the same thing apparently) that have varying roles in heaven and on earth.  Jensen had politely listened to personal accounts of angel interactions by people from his church and he’d learned a great deal about the classification and ordering of angels, but since he couldn’t apply any of this to the specific angels he was looking for it all seemed rather pointless.

He couldn’t believe he was having such a difficult time identifying these angels.  The killer had to learn them from somewhere.  He would have started to believe he was just making them up, but they had found the DC angels, so Jensen believed that other two were real as well.  Or at least, someone somewhere had written about them and the killer hadn’t just made them up.  Unless, of course, Russ was right and he was just trying to make the facts fit his theory.  But how could that be the case?  He didn’t have a fucking theory.  He didn’t have a suspect.  He didn’t even have a shifty eyed dude lurking about at crime scenes.  Jensen threw a pen against the wall and it bounced back onto his desk.  His Blackberry rang.

“Ackles speaking,” he answered, rubbing his eyes.

“Agent Ackles?” a very quiet voice said in his ear.

“Yes, this is Jensen Ackles.”

There was some whispering.

“Hello?” he asked.

Just barely audible enough to be heard a woman said, “Hi.  It’s Emily.  From the library.  You called asking about texts on angels?”

“Oh, yes.  Someone—Daniel, David—I’m sorry I didn’t catch his name said he could get some materials for me and would let me take them out of the library.  Without checking them out,” he added, just in case she had grand plans of getting him a spanking new library card.

“Darren,” he just managed to hear if he held his breath.  “Yes, it’s all ready.  You can pick it up today, but we close early on Thursdays.  At three o’clock.”

Jensen checked his watch again since he hadn’t even noticed the time the last time he did.  It was a quarter past two.  He grunted softly.

“Yeah, okay.  I can come get it now.  The library is on the same street as the police station, right?”


“Emily, can you speak up and say that again, please?”

Jensen had to strain to hear, “Yes, on Main Street.  Next to the Dairy Freeze.  It’s not far at all.”

“Excellent.  I’ll be there shortly.”

Jensen ended the call and grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair.  He was halfway out of the station before he realized Jared had the rental car keys.  He slowed his walk and stepped outside in the warm September afternoon.  The Accent was missing from its parking spot.  Why hadn’t they taking Gen’s car?  He was about to head back in to beg a ride off someone when cattycorner to the police station he saw a Dairy Freeze.  Just to the right of that there was a sign for the Elton City Public Library.


Jensen jogged across the street and down the half block to the library.  The tiny parking lot to the side of the building had one car in it.  He pulled open the glass door and walked past a glass foyer covered in children's drawing of their favorite books.  He caught a glimpse of a picture hidden toward the top that said, "My favorite book is Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea because inanimate objects like books take away my spiritual freedom and make me nauseated."  It was written in crayon, but clearly some smartass librarian or college kid home on break had created it.

Inside the library proper, Jensen was stunned by the utter silence.  He saw now how wrong he was in thinking the police station was like a library.  In Elton, that quiet shuffling of papers and hushed voices was apparently the equivalent of high-paced chaos.  Jensen actually found himself starting to tiptoe toward the circulation desk.

"Hello?" he called out in a voice barely above a whisper.

A girl popped up from behind the desk and Jensen jumped back three feet in alarm.  She had a wild look about her face and wide eyes.  She was definitely in fight or flight mode and he wasn't sure which one was going to win.

"Em-Emily?" Jensen asked carefully.

"Agent Ackles?"


The girl relaxed and Jensen wondered momentarily if she were high.  He didn't see a glaze over her eyes nor were they bloodshot, but she looked strung out all the same.  Maybe she was just a nervous, anxious person who lived in a perpetual stressed out state.  One of his brothers was like that.

"I'm, uh, here to pick up the materials Dan—Dave—"


"Darren set aside for me."

Emily's eyes darted to the left and back again.  "It's right there."

Jensen started to turn his head, but kept his eyes on Emily.  "Right... there?"

Emily's eyes darted again and Jensen looked over to the four very thin books stacked on the edge of the circulation desk.  Jensen completely forgot his unease at the antsy librarian with his disappointment.  He walked over and picked up the stack to glance at the four titles.  The books were very thin and one looked like a children's book.  Jensen looked at Emily.

"This is it?"

"And that one," she said, pointing at a fifth book.

It was the Bible.  And it looked like a Gideon's version.  Jensen repressed a sigh.

"I think I already have that one in my motel," he said.  "Well, thanks for these.  Can I take them?  I'll probably bring them back tomorrow."

Emily nodded.  Jensen turned to leave but a soft whisper caught his ear.

"We didn't have anything here really, so Darren called the Rochester branch.  Brian says he has a whole bunch of stuff for you.  But, it's in Rochester."

"Where's Rochester?"

"On the border of New Hampshire and Maine.  It's only a half hour drive."

"Can the books be sent here?"

"Yes.  But, they would have to be entered into the system and be transferred, and the library truck only makes intersystem deliveries bi-weekly.  And he just came two days ago.  But if you pick them up yourself, they'll let you take them without checking them out.  Because you're FBI."

Jensen actually didn't hear the last sentence and a half of what she said because her voice tapered off, but he caught the gist of it.

"So, they'll hold the books for me?"

Emily nodded.  "They stay open until six o'clock tonight."

"Thank you, Emily.  You've been a big help."

She smiled awkwardly and then ducked back down behind the counter.  Jensen blinked.  And looked around.  He was almost certain he was alone in the building and Emily had somehow jumped dimensions.  Perhaps she'd gone back to her home world.  He shook his head and walked back to the police station.  He didn't even bother to look through the four books in his hands and tossed them onto his desk.  He sat in his chair and picked one up, but then tossed it aside.  Instead he pulled over the preliminary report on Thompson that Kim had brought upstairs and began to read through it again.  He knew the full report was probably one or two days off still, but he couldn't shake his impatience.

A couple of hours later he was scratching through his seventh profile of the killer.  There were too many pieces.  He wasn't even using the "missing pieces of the puzzle" analogy; he felt like there were pieces from a different puzzle thrown into the mix.  He looked around the empty taskforce center.  Where the hell was everyone?  What was taking Jared and Gen so long?  He pulled out his Blackberry to see if he'd called or sent an e-mail.  The screen was dark.  He pushed some buttons and then held the power button down.  Nothing.

"Damn it."

His charger was back at the motel.  He checked his watch.  It was 4:37.  If he was going to get those materials from Rochester tonight, he was going to have to leave soon.  He would go to Rochester by himself, but he didn't have a car.  Maybe Ty would let him borrow a squad car?  Or take one from the impound yard?

Jensen made his way into the bullpen and headed for Ty's office when he spotted the police chief glaring at a young teen girl who had her hands on her hips and was glaring back just as hard.  He slowed his pace and stopped a few inconspicuous feet away.  The staring match continued until at last the girl threw her hands in the air.

"Fine!" she said.  "I'll tell her!"

Then the girl turned and stomped out of the police station.  Jensen was worried this might put Ty in a bad mood, but he was smiling as he watched the girl go.  He turned and saw Jensen standing nearby, clearly spying and eavesdropping, and approached him.

"My daughter," he explained, though Jensen had assumed as much.  "She and two of her friends got picked up for truancy.  It's only the second week of school.  I mean, I never liked school much either, but at least I made it to October before I started skipping."

"Who does she have to tell?" Jensen asked.

"Her mother."

Jensen grinned.  "Let me guess.  You're actually the least scary parent?"

Ty tapped the side of his nose with his finger.  Then he sighed.  "I don't get it.  When she was twelve she was still sweet and obedient.  She turned thirteen over the summer and I got...that."

Jensen smiled a little malevolently at the thought that his oldest brother was only two years away from "that" himself.  It would be hilarious watching his brother deal with a teenage daughter.

"Can I do something for you, Jensen?"

"Oh, yes, actually, I was wondering if I could ask a favor.  The library in Rochester pulled some research material on angels for me, but Jared seems to have disappeared with our rental car.  Would it be possible for me to borrow a car out of the impound yard to go pick them up?"

Ty rubbed at the scruff on his chin.  "Well, I think our 'impound yard' is empty at the moment."

Jensen made a hopeful face.  "Could I borrow one of the squad cars?"

Ty saw something over Jensen's shoulder and grinned wickedly.  "I got a better idea.  I'll get you a guide and chauffeur."

"I don't think—"

"Collins!" Ty bellowed.

Jensen stiffened and didn't bother to turn around.  Oh, Jesus, no.  Jensen still didn't turn to look at him, but he could feel when he arrived beside them.

"Yes, Chief?" Misha asked evenly.

Ty was still grinning.  "You have the worst timing of anyone I've ever met in my life, Misha."

"Sir?"  His voice sounded confused, but Jensen still wasn't looking at him.

"Agent Ackles here needs a ride to the library."

There was a long pause.  "He can't walk a block and a half?  Or can he not cross the street by himself?"

Jensen whipped his head around to glare at Misha.  And oh God he wished he hadn't.  Misha wasn't in uniform.  He was wearing faded jeans and a stretched out black AC/DC T-shirt, but that did nothing to hide exactly how lean and strong his body was.  Jensen was also fairly certain he hadn't touched a brush all day as his hair was an unruly mass of waves on his head.  Jensen just barely stopped himself from licking his lips.  It had been years since he'd been this attracted to a man.  Misha flicked his eyes to Jensen and frowned at his scrutiny.  Fortunately Ty drew his attention when he started speaking again.

"The library in Rochester.  You're going to drive him there so he can pick up some books, and then you will also drive him back here."

Jensen was grateful Ty had included that last bit.  He wouldn't put it past Misha to drive him to Rochester and then strand him there saying all Ty said he'd had to do was drive him there, not bring him back.

"Ty, I don't have to run errands for the FBI."

"You're off duty today, Misha."

"I know.  Which is exactly why you shouldn't ask me to do this."

"Misha, we ain't exactly the NYPD here.  Our resources are stretched thin in the best of times.  I'm not pulling an on duty officer for this task.  I'm asking you to do it.  And besides, don't think that I don't know why that mutt is not glued to your heels right now."

Misha crossed his arms over his chest.  "I don't know what you mean."

"I know she is at her little doggy day spa getting her quarterly 'check up' and grooming that costs this department a hundred fifty dollars a pop."

Jensen raised an eyebrow and Misha ignored the look.

"Not like she doesn't earn it," Misha mumbled.

"Well, we'll agree to disagree on that, but she is a valuable asset.  More so than you're proving to be at the moment.  So.  You're going to drive Agent Ackles to the Rochester library, let him get his books, and then you're going to bring him back.  Understood?"

"Fine," Misha relented grudgingly.  "Let me just get my stupid gym bag."

He stalked off toward his desk and Jensen felt a twinge of empathy.  He had definitely gotten drawn into last minute work at the office by going back for something he'd forgotten.  And he probably should have told Ty that he didn't think it was a good idea.  That he really wanted someone else to take him.  Or shoot, there was no reason he couldn't wait until tomorrow and pick them up with Jared.  But, fuck him; he wanted to spend some time with Misha.  For some reason he wanted to try to clear the bad blood between them.  He knew he'd been kind of a dick to the officer when they'd first arrived, and Misha was clearly still in the anger phase of his grieving process, but there was no reason why they couldn't find some common ground.  And yeah, that was the only reason he wanted to spend time with him.  Just to clear the air.  So it wouldn't make any future interactions awkward for others around them.  Yeah, that was it.  So he turned to Ty.

"Thanks, Chief," he said dryly.  "I've always wondered what a drive through hell might be like."

Ty just grinned at him and slapped him on the back as he walked away.

"Let's go, Ackles!" Misha called as he pushed through the swinging panel on his way out of the station.

Jensen had everything on him he needed, but he took the time to go back to the taskforce office and lock the door.  Then he moseyed slowly out of the bullpen.  One officer who was at his desk noticed his slow gait and tried to hide a smile as he returned to his phone call that sort of sounded like he was trying to talk a woman out of using a lighter and Aquanet hairspray to kill a wasp in her bedroom.

Misha had pulled up to the front of the station in a red 1968 Dodge Charger.  Jensen gave a low whistle.  That was a pretty nice classic car, and it looked like it was in perfect condition.  He walked around to the passenger side and opened the door.  Before he got in he brushed his hand over the upholstery.

"The dog's never been in here," Misha griped.

Jensen smirked and got into the car.  He barely had the door shut before the car was moving.

"You know, Officer, I'm pretty sure New Hampshire has seatbelt laws."

"Then you better put your seatbelt on before I have to arrest you."

Jensen tried really hard not to smile at the thought of Misha cuffing him.  He failed.

"And actually, New Hampshire doesn't have seatbelt laws for adults."

"It doesn't?  That seems weird."

"More like evolution."

"What do you mean?"

"If you're stupid enough not to wear a seatbelt, then it's best if you don't pass your genes on to future generations by getting smeared across the pavement."

Jensen nodded his head and then gave it a little shake.  "Okay then."

They rode in silence until Misha merged onto the highway.  The officer leaned his left elbow on the side of the car and ran his fingers over his lips as he stared straight ahead.  Jensen cleared his throat, and he saw the slight eye roll Misha made.

"Look, Officer Collins.  Saying we got off on the wrong foot is a gross understatement and I—"

Misha sighed dramatically.  "Yes, I know.  You were just doing your job.  You're compartmentalizing.  It's what we're taught to do.  It's a job, it's not personal.  That's the best way to focus in order to get the job done.  I'm overreacting to a lot of things because I'm still pissed and distraught and disgusted about what happened to my sister.  She was missing for at least three days and nobody even fucking noticed.  Not even me.  So, I'm still just a big ball of fucked up asshole who doesn't want to listen to people who are just trying to help because I'm still in big ball of fucking asshole mode.  So, I treated you unfairly and poorly.  You weren't wrong and I wasn't right, but you know, you weren't right and I'm not wrong.  So, we just have to accept that and move on.  Water under the bridge.  You work your case and I'll stay out of your way.  And we'll be fine.  Can we just leave it at that?"

Jensen swallowed thickly.  He didn't really want to just leave it at "stay out of each other's hair," but it wasn't his decision to make apparently.  So, he finally nodded.

"Yeah.  We can.  I just, I do want to say I'm sorry.  I was out of line on Tuesday.  Not just with you, but with Ty also, and I misrepresented myself and the Bureau.  And I—"

"Water, bridge, Ackles."

Jensen deflated and sat back in his seat.  Well, all right then.  An awkward silence filled the car, pulling and tugging at them both as they tried to only look straight ahead or out of their own windows.  Jensen got fed up.  This was ridiculous.  So their first encounter was water under the bridge.  Fine.  No sense in rehashing it.  But that didn't mean they needed to act like old, fussy white ladies attending a black Baptist church service around each other.

"You know," Jensen started, "this car is really something.  I heard the engine before I got in, she was purring beautifully but I can feel the power in her too.  It's always nice to find other people who appreciate classic cars, but who also aren't afraid to use them.  I actually have a '67 Im—"

"It's not my car," Misha snapped.  "It was my sister's.  I actually couldn't give two shits about cars, classic or otherwise."

A strained silence fell between them.  Jensen didn't try to fill it again.

When they arrived at the Rochester Public Library it was a quarter past five and only a few cars were in the parking lot.  Misha pulled into a space close to the door, but left the engine running.  Jensen got out and said, "You still going to be here when I get back?"

He didn't wait for an answer and slammed the door shut.

The Rochester library was a little more familiar to him: brightly lit with a circulation desk that had a person already standing behind it instead of beneath it.  There was some light chatter coming from amongst the shelves of books and to the left was a brightly colored corner furnished with large pillows and a rocking chair.  Jensen waited for a mother and daughter to finish checking out their books before approached the young man behind the counter.  He had sandy colored hair, acne scars on his cheeks, and a nametag that said, "Brian."

Jensen pulled out his credentials and displayed them as he introduced himself to Brian.  Brian's eyes went wide and he broke out into a giddy smile that told Jensen that this encounter was going to be a little awkward.

"Oh, wow.  Special Agent Ackles.  Hi.  You're here.  I almost thought maybe you wouldn't come today.  Emily said you were, so I got everything ready, but it was getting late.  And I was all like, he's an FBI agent.  He's got so much more important things to do.  But, you're here."

Jensen gave him his best stoic agent face.  "I am.  You have the materials ready?"

"Yeah!  Yeah, follow me!"

Brian scampered out from behind the counter and walked over to a room with a sign on the door indicating only employees were allowed in.

"So, this is for a case, right?  I mean, duh, obviously.  Like, I heard about that woman's death in Elton.  But they weren't saying anything about it.  Then I get a call and they're all like the FBI wants books on angels and I was all like—this is the Angel Slayer!  Isn't it!"

"Brian," Jensen said firmly.  "Lower your voice."

"Oh, right!" he whispered.  "I'm sorry!"

"It's fine.  Just, what made you think this is the Angel Slayer case?  And how have you even heard of it?  How old were you when those murders happened?"

"I was fifteen!  And I read about them online.  Such as the Internet was back then.  You know?  But, like, I've always been interested in serial killers.  I've read every book about and by the infamous American ones.  And I'm in community college now.  Getting my associate degree in criminal justice.  But, then I'll transfer to a four year.  Because you need to have a Bachelor's degree to be an agent, right?  And that's my goal.  I want to be a profiler for the FBI."

Jensen could feel that he was staring and blinked his eyes to get some moisture back in them.  "Um, you know, we don't really profile like they do on TV."

"Oh, I know!  TV is full of shit.  I know.  I've done my research.  Oh!  Speaking of research!  Here!  I found all this for you!"

Brian opened the employee lounge door and Jensen saw five large Rubbermaid storage bins stacked by the door.  Jensen gaped.

"Are those all full?"

"Yes."  Brian was practically glowing with pride.

"There's this much information on angels?"

"There's probably more than that.  I mean, our library is small.  I actually drove to Sanford to raid their shelves, but it's in Maine so we don't share the same library system.  So, it would be awesome if those could definitely get back to me because they don't really know that I took them and transported them across state lines."

Jensen wondered briefly if interstate library book theft was a felony.  He rubbed his forehead, partly amused and partly concerned by Brian's enthusiasm.

"Okay, well, thank you very much.  I will definitely take care of them and get them back to you as soon as I can."  He surveyed the boxes.  "Do you think you could help me carry them out to the car?"

"Yes!  Of course!"

Jensen put out a hand in a calming gesture.  "Take it easy, Brian."

"Yes, yes.  Sorry."

He was still grinning ear to ear.  It took two trips, some griping at a scowling Misha, and unloading two of the bins in order to get all the material to fit in the small trunk of the Charger since there was no backseat.  At last the trunk closed completely and Jensen turned to shake Brian's hand in thanks.

"It's no trouble at all, Special Agent!  I actually don't work weekends, so if you need me to come out and help sort through and organize all this I would love to help!"

"Yeah, Special Agent Ackles," Misha said from where he leaned on the roof of the car looking obnoxious and fuckable all at once.  "Why don't you let Brian come out and help?"

Jensen gave Misha the best glare he could muster when being faced with those blue eyes, a smirk on those lips, and that damn sex hair he had going on today.  He turned to Brian.

"I am grateful for the offer, Brian.  You have really outdone yourself with your research.  I'm certain this will yield positive results for the case.  Unfortunately, with chain of custody and discoverability—" out of the corner of his eye he saw Misha roll his eyes, but Brian didn't see it because he was fixated on Jensen. "—we can't have a civilian help out because if—when—we catch this guy we don't want the defense to be able to throw out any evidence."

"Oh, yes.  Right!  I understand."

Jensen wondered what sort of grades Brian was making in his criminal justice associate's degree program.  He gave him another firm handshake and a nod of the head.  Brian returned the same solemn gesture.

"We'll be in touch if there's anything you can help us with."

"Yes, sir!"

Jensen got into the car and Misha immediately peeled out of the parking lot.

Jensen rubbed his forehead and laughed softly.  "Geez, I wonder if we should put him on the suspect list."

"Do you even have a suspect list?" Misha asked dubiously.

Jensen shot him a dirty look.  "It's a work in progress."

"Hn.  Yes, I can see how your list of living suspects would be hard to assemble when you're still working your way through the dead ones."

Jensen cocked his head sharply to get out a crick in his neck.  He ran his tongue over his teeth.  Okay, so he was going to be a passive-aggressive little shit.  Fine.

"Well, I understand how it might be difficult for a cop who spends his days busting kids for smoking pot in stairwells might have trouble understanding the criminal investigation process even after it's already been explained to him."

Misha let out a humorless laugh.  "Oh, yes, yes, you're right.  All I know how to do is tell my dog to stick her nose up people's butts."

"Isn't that what she is?"

"Well, since you're clearly so curious about Bunny and our duties together, she has been trained in drug identification and locating.  But she's actually a cadaver dog."

"How much use does a town of five thousand people have for a cadaver dog?" Jensen sneered and then immediately regretted how harshly that had come out.  But Misha was getting on his last nerve.

"She's trained to be available for national emergencies.  For instance, her predecessor and I went to New York the day after 9/11."

Jensen stared at Misha.  "What was that like?" he asked quietly.

"What do you think?  It was awful.  And I'm done talking about it."

Jensen looked out the windshield, watching the highway roll away beneath them as the sun moved closer to the horizon.

"So you have been out of New Hampshire," Jensen murmured, mostly to himself.

"Of course I have," Misha snapped.

Jensen leaned against his side of the car and checked his watch.  They still had at least twenty-five minutes of driving to do.  Awesome.

Thirty-one excruciatingly silent minutes later, they arrived in Elton.

"Turn onto Pine," Jensen said, startling them both as he broke the tenuous silence.

"Pine heads in the opposite direction.  Do you think I don't know my way around my own town?"

Jensen gripped the door handle to keep his temper in check.  "Yes, I'm sure you do.  But I don't want to go back to the station; I want to go to the motel."

"Why?" Misha challenged, but still hung a sharp right onto Pine as he almost missed the turn.

"Because I'm certain most of that stuff is worthless and I want sort through it there and only bring in the pertinent materials so I don't clutter up our already cramped taskforce center."

He heard Misha snort derisively.  Probably at his use of the term "taskforce center" for the "spare office" they were using at the station.

"Which motel?" he asked.

"The Lakeside Motor Lodge."

Misha's laugh actually sounded a little genuine.  "Classy," he murmured.

Jensen didn't speak again except to direct Misha around the side of the building to the parking spots closest to his room.  He didn't see the Accent anywhere.  Where the hell was Jared?  They got out of the car and Misha unlocked the trunk with the keys.  They frowned at the mess of loose books that was clogging the space.  Jensen reached in and began to shimmy a storage bin out the trunk, having to adjust it to several awkward angles before it slipped free.  He used his knee to support the bottom while he got a better grip on the handles, and then started walking toward his room.  He noticed Misha was leaning against the side of the car.

"You gonna help?" he griped.

"Hauling books was not in the task description."

Jensen narrowed his eyes.  He'd just known Misha would be a loophole aficionado.

"Well, look at it this way.  The sooner all these books get into the motel room, the sooner you can leave my company."

Misha immediately turned and began to pull a bin out of the trunk.  Jensen grumbled to himself as he balanced the bin on one leg and struggled to get the key to the room in the lock with his free hand.  It took several trips to hand carry the pile of books scattered on the trunk floor inside, but at last they dropped off the last couple of stacks on the already overflowing desk that was next to the dresser the old fashioned tube TV sat on.

"Thanks for the help," Jensen said.

Misha muttered something under his breath which Jensen didn't catch but he was certain it wasn't flattering.  Jensen followed him to the door and slammed it shut, almost hitting Misha's face.

"What the f—"

"What happened to water under the bridge, huh?  Is this how it's going to be the entire time I'm here?  Because this is bullshit, pal.  I'm here to help solve this case.  I'm here to catch a murderer.  I'm here because I did nothing but eat, drink, sleep, and breathe this guy's carnage for two years.  I've spent eight years never being able to shake it off.  And now I have a chance to get him.  And I am doing everything within my power to stop him.  You should show me—"

"Well if you had done your fucking job eight years ago, my sister would still be alive, wouldn't she?!"

Jensen took a step back like he'd been slapped.  He had no rejoinder for that; Misha was right.  Jensen knew it.  Had always known it.  But no one had ever said it to his face.


"But no.  He got away then to come here and murder people like the sick fuck he is.  And you doing 'everything in your power' is trying to figure out why the victims deserved what they got!"

"I never said that!  I explained to you—"

"Fuck you, Ackles!  Your explanations are shit!  You can't figure fuck all out so you're willing to try any crackpot theory that will keep people from seeing what an incompetent ass you are!"

Jensen was feeling that blinding rage again, red clouding around his vision.  He wasn't mad at Misha.  No, he was just speaking the truth of Jensen's inadequacies, but he took it out on Misha anyway.

"You know, it's funny how you seem to think that everything we're doing is to the detriment of the case—so much so that you're trying to get us to stop working on it.  That's strange, don't you think?"

Misha drew breath to speak, but Jensen pushed him back against the door.

"But you know what's stranger?  You knew we were coming to see the body.  But you went to Kim and lied about having permission to release it.  Were you trying to get rid of the evidence?!"

The unvoiced accusation hung heavy in the air and Jensen knew he'd stepped way too fucking far over the line.  Misha's whole body went rigid, his eyes widened, and the twitch in his arm was all the warning Jensen needed to know what was about to happen.  He dodged just in time to keep Misha's fist from cracking against his jaw and pushed hard against his shoulder to slam him against the door again.  He couldn't let Misha punch him for his own sake.  Even if there weren't witnesses, if it came out, he might have to arrest him for assaulting a federal agent.  Jensen started to straighten, but he'd underestimated Misha's level of rage.  The smaller man brought his arms to his chest and then pushed them out, dislodging Jensen's hold on him.  Then he turned slightly and punched both palms against Jensen's chest, shoving him into the wall adjacent to the door.  Jensen gasped as the air was knocked out of him with the force.  Pain squeezed tightly around the back of his rib cage and distracted him enough that he barely managed to catch Misha's wrist as he swung for his face again.  Jensen turned and pushed Misha back into the small bit of wall between the door and the wall his back had recently become acquainted with.

"Misha!" Jensen grunted, trying to get control of the man.

Misha used the wall as leverage to throw his whole weight onto Jensen.  He stumbled back, still holding Misha's wrist and turned, used Misha's forward momentum to throw him off balance.  The guy had catlike reflexes and turned to grab a hold of Jensen's jacket lapel.  Their feet tangled and their momentum sent them staggering several steps as they tried to stay on their feet.  They crashed onto the bed, missing the floor by about three inches, and Jensen landed squarely on top of Misha.  He pushed up with one arm on the mattress to look down and saw Misha's chest heaving quickly both with exertion and his anger.  His cheeks were flushed and his eyes were shining with anger, bitterness, and... grief.  Such overwhelming grief.

Jensen only had time to think, Don't do—before he leaned down and pressed himself again Misha fully, lips to knees.  He must have caught Misha off guard because his lips parted, and Jensen swallowed the groan that fought to get out as their mouths sealed with deep, muffled inhalations through their noses.  He felt Misha shift below him, realized he'd done something monumentally stupid, and was about to get kneed in the groin if not shot with his own weapon.  He started to sit up, but stopped moving when he realized Misha had a very firm grip on the hair at the top of his head and he was working his thigh in between Jensen's legs.  Was he really—?

Jensen's thought process short-circuited when Misha's tongue thrust into his mouth, curling around his own.  They both shifted their hips at the same time causing their groins to collide.  The friction, their mirroring moans, caused Jensen to get hard so fast it actually hurt.  They writhed against each other, the hard lines of their cocks fitting snugly together between their legs.  Jensen still had one hand pinning Misha's wrist to the bed, so he used his other to cup Misha's jaw and then slide his fingers up into his hair.  It was soft and smooth as the locks tingled between his fingers and the sensation shot down through his whole body.

Their kiss had yet to lessen in intensity, and Jensen was in some desperate need of air.  He was also getting just clearheaded enough to be embarrassed by the mewling grunts and whimpers they were both making as they devoured each other.  Misha moved the hand that was in his hair and started pushing at his shoulder.  Jensen thought he was trying to get him to stop, so he pulled back and let go of Misha's wrist.  All the other man did was use both hands to shove Jensen's jacket off his shoulders.  Jensen shrugged out of the garment and let out a noise of surprise as Misha pulled him back down to kiss his lips again.  His hands slid over the smooth material of his dress shirt, and Jensen took that as permission.  He put his hands to the hem of Misha's T-shirt and groaned as he felt his palms drink in the smooth skin and hard muscle of Misha's abdomen and sides as he moved his hands up his body.

Misha bucked his hips up and Jensen was painfully reminded that he was making quite a wet patch on the material of his boxers.  Jensen reluctantly removed one hand from Misha's chest and rolled to the side just enough that he could reach down and grip Misha's erection.  Misha moaned into his mouth at the contact and rolled his hips up into Jensen's hand—and damn was the guy hung.

Jensen pulled himself away from Misha's lips, and was mollified slightly by the fact that he too was panting just as hard, and used both hands to quickly pop the button and pull down the zipper of Misha's jeans.  Misha bit his lip and muffled a cry that made Jensen's dick throb lustily.  He pushed the man's pants and briefs down just a couple of inches so that he could pull out Misha's cock and get a good grip on it.  He pumped it fast, but loose, denying Misha any real stimulation.  Then he gripped Misha's upper arm and slid him up the bed a few inches before bending over and angling his cock toward his lips.

For one moment he panicked as he remembered it had been a very long time since he'd been on the giving end of a blow job and he worried he might not be able to do it.  He parted his lips and felt the heat of Misha invade his mouth before he leaned down more and closed his lips around it.  As soon as the weight hit his tongue, Jensen hummed excitedly.  The heated skin sent a pulse of arousal through him, the bitter salt flavor actually tasted good to him, and the girth made his mouth water.  Jensen hummed again, sending the vibrations down the shaft and Misha's hips thrust up, causing the head to hit Jensen's palate.  It had been awhile since he had done this, but even the first time he'd never had much of a gag reflex.  Jensen took in more, loving the feeling in his mouth so much he could practically feel it on his own cock.

There had been a reason the guy he'd dated for six months sophomore year of college had called him a cockslut.  And it wasn't because he'd slept around.

Jensen wrapped his hand around the base of Misha's cock, giving it quick little pulls as he hollowed his cheeks and swallowed Misha down.  The only warning he got was Misha's body going completely rigid and his thighs pulling against his jeans to spread his legs further apart.  Jensen sat up quickly and turned his head to avoid the spurts of come that almost hit him in the eye.  As it was he still had some in his mouth and he debated what to do about it as he stroked Misha through his orgasm.  Aw hell, the guy probably didn't have anything, and he could gargle with some bourbon later.  Jensen swallowed.

He looked at Misha where he lay boneless, his head lolling back and forth in dissipating ecstasy as Jensen eased his grip a little but kept stroking.  The fact that Misha spread his legs when he came was something he would love to explore more.  A lot of people's natural instinct was to lock their body up in order to prevent overstimulation.  He'd definitely had his ears thwacked by more than one woman's thighs.

Jensen waited anxiously for Misha to come down from his high.  He knew what would happen as soon as he did.  He'd freak out, possibly punch him, leave him harder than frozen snot in the arctic, and then drive down to the station to file sexual assault charges.

He stopped moving his hand at the same time Misha heaved one last deep breath and returned to normal respiration.  Misha raised his head and Jensen braced himself for whatever came next.

Misha sat up and grabbed Jensen's tie, yanking him forward, and bringing their lips together.  Jensen raised his hands to hold Misha's face, trying to focus on the kiss now.  To really feel the soft, now wet, drag of his chapped lips, the faintest hint of cinnamon gum flavor, the odd nostalgic feeling of stubble scraping against his own.  He let out a startled "mmph" noise when Misha's hands found his fly and liberated him roughly.  Before he knew what was happening, his world swirled around him as a gun calloused hand began working his shaft and another one gripped the back of his neck and pulled him down.  Jensen struggled a little from the sudden loss of orientation and the pleasure literally gripping him.  He attempted to pull up from the overwhelming kiss, but Misha's hand kept him firmly in place, fucking relentlessly into his mouth with his tongue without allowing the seal of their lips to break.  The pace increased on his cock and Jensen again tried to pull slightly away as lack of air became an issue.  Jensen felt his body spasm as his mind warred between wanting more pleasure and needing air.  He let out a small desperate sound into Misha's mouth as he felt his lungs protest the energy his hips were using to rut at the same bruising pace Misha's hand was using to jack him.  Even though his eyes were closed, he could sense a white fog beginning to form around the edges of his vision.  His orgasm suddenly sprang out of its holding pattern and Jensen used every bit of strength he had left to pull himself free of the kiss and expelled the stale air in his lungs as an actual scream as he came all over Misha's hand.

Jensen raked in a breath and gasped and panted his way around several whimpers and moans.  His hips still pumped minutely, his orgasm not even close to being finished yet.  He turned his head and buried his face in Misha's hair, almost sobbing with the intensity of the pleasure he'd just been given.  He had no idea he'd be into breath play.

"Oh, fuck, Mish," he moaned, still struggling to breathe.  "I—fuck.  Mish..."

He felt Misha shift under him.

"Sha," Misha said sternly.


Misha sat up and pushed Jensen off him.  Mi-sha.  My name is Mi-sha."

Jensen flopped onto his back, brain still hazy, but managing to at least understand that Misha was now doing his freak the fuck out thing as he walked into the bathroom.  Jensen put a hand to his head and focused on getting his breathing back under control.  He heard the faucet turn on and run for several seconds.  There was an aggravated curse and then the sound of cloth being furiously scrubbed.  More cursing.  The faucet turned off with a loud thump.  Misha emerged from the bathroom with a scowl on his face and a large damp spot on his jeans where Jensen assumed some semen must have landed.  The scowl turned into a hard glare when he saw Jensen.

"You say one word about this to anyone—"

"Who the fuck am I gonna tell without getting fired?"

Misha thought about that for a moment.  "Good point."

"Can we at least stop snipping at each other in public now?"

"Only if you can stop being an arrogant asshat."

Jensen didn't even have it in him to be insulted by that.  He was too worn out.

"Have we at least reached a level of intimacy in our relationship that allows for me to call you by your first name?"

Misha turned a withering look on him.  "You think this was intimacy?"

Jensen sighed and looked away.  "I guess not.  Good night, Officer Collins.  Thanks for the ride.  To the library, I mean," he added hastily.

There was a moment of quiet and Jensen didn't know what Misha was doing.

"I should be furious with you, you fuck," he said calmly.

Jensen turned to look at him.

"That was not the kind of fight you resolve with sex."

Jensen sat up and tucked his dick back into his underwear so that his seriousness wasn't detracted from by rogue genitalia.  "You're right.  Absolutely.  I don't know what I was thinking.  I just—I just—"

"You just wanted to do that from the moment you saw me in the diner."

Jensen felt heat creep under cheeks, but he tried not to react to those words.  "Maybe.  Look, I'm really sorry I took advantage of you like that.  Shit, I wasn't even sure if you liked guys."

"I don't."

Jensen raised an eyebrow.

"Usually."  Misha scrubbed a hand over his face.  "Look, it was inappropriate for you to kiss me at that moment in that fight.  Which, I'm not sure we're actually finished with it yet since you kind of accused me of murdering my sister."

Jensen felt a wave of shame wash over him followed by a spike of nausea.

"But, I know—I think—you would have stopped.  You started to pull away, and I didn't let you.  Because I needed to stop thinking.  Even if only for ten minutes.  So, yeah, shame on you for taking advantage, but shame on me for using you."

Jensen shrugged a shoulder.  "At least you reciprocated."

"Shut-up," Misha responded, but there was no venom in the words.  "Just—just find my sister's killer, okay?  Can you do that for me?"

Jensen nodded solemnly.  "He's not getting away this time."

"Promise me."

Jensen stood up and moved to put himself directly in front of Misha, their faces a scant couple of inches apart, their eyes almost crossing from the proximity as they stared at each other.

"I promise," he vowed, knowing only his death would keep him from solving this case.

Jensen stared into that wide expanse of blue and felt himself sway forward.  He kissed Misha and put a hand to his waist.  Misha allowed it for a moment and then pushed him away.

"Jesus, Jensen, you really have no sense of timing, do you?"

"Sorry," he murmured and licked his lips, his eyes still closed.

"Don't lose focus."

Jensen opened his eyes.  Misha's hand was on the doorknob.

"I won't."

Misha's eyes roamed over him for several moments, and then he shook himself and opened the door.

"What the fuck just happened?" he asked himself as he left the room.

Jensen shuffled back until he felt the bed at his knees and sat down heavily.  He stared at the closed door.

"What the fuck did just happen?"


Friday, September 20, 2013 

 Jensen checked the safety on his weapon for the third time before sliding it back in the holster.  Then he checked that his credentials, his phone, and wallet were all in their assigned pockets for the second time.  Finally he pulled the door of the motel shut behind him and triple checked the lock on the door.  Jared strummed his fingers on the steering wheel and knew better than to comment on the morning ritual.  He only had a couple months worth of observations to draw his conclusion, but he was pretty sure Jensen's OCD was directly correlative to his level of stress.

Jensen squeezed his legs into the front seat of the Accent, and they were off.  Jared glanced at Jensen and saw him roll his head back and forth on his neck a bit, but he somehow in counterpoint to his stress-induced habits already looked pretty relaxed.

“How did the interview go yesterday?” Jensen asked, watching the group of power walking grannies round the corner of King and Pine as he checked his watch.  Jared wondered if Jensen was tracking their routine.

“Good," he said, remembering to respond.  "I think we got some useful information, and unfortunately some evidence that would have been very helpful got thrown away.  We’ll fill you in together at the station.  Gen has an amazing memory.  And she kept all the notes.”  Jared let out a small laugh.  He glanced at Jensen.  “So, um, sorry for stranding you like that last night.  We got stuck in traffic on the highway.  An accident completely blocked the road for like five hours.”

“Man that sucks.”

“Yeah.  So…how did you get back to the motel?  I swung by the station but you’d already left.  You didn’t walk, did you?”

“No, no.  I had to go by the library to pick up some materials.  I thought it’d be just a few books that I could read before going to bed, you know?  But this guy had pulled like five boxes worth of source material.  It was crazy.  I probably should have just brought it all to the station rather than taking it back to my room.”

“How’d you get it there?”

Jensen didn't so much as blink at the question, but his laugh sounded forced.  “Officer Collins drove me.”

Really.”  Jared bit down on his lip to keep from saying more.

“Yeah, I think Ty is still punishing him for the whole releasing the body early thing.  He wasn’t even on duty; he just had bad timing by being at the station.  So, Ty told him he had to play my chauffeur.”

Really.  How did that go?”  Keep it together, Jared told himself.

“Well.  You know.  He’s still projecting his anger for his sister’s death onto me.”


Jensen looked at Jared and he realized he was staring.  He quickly whipped his head forward and was glad no one had been on the road because he had definitely drifted.  Now, how should he phrase his next question?

“So, what was the big epiphany you had last night?” Jared asked, pointedly looking out the driver's side window to check for non-existent traffic.

Jensen didn't answer right away, but finally he said, “What epiphany?”

Jared fought against the grin that was dying to get out of him.  “It had to be something you learned from the library books, right?  Something to do with the angel names?”

Jensen’s brow creased in confusion.  “I don’t understand.  Why do you think I figured something out?”

Jared could feel his battle against smiling ending in defeat.  “Well, that was some shout you let out last night.”

Jensen's jaw almost hit the floor.  And then his whole head flushed an alarming shade of pink right up to the tips of his ears.  He groped for words.  Found none.  Jared’s hands were clenching the wheel and he didn’t dare look at Jensen.

“Or maybe Officer Collins had the epiphany?”

“Ohmygod,” Jensen uttered and turned his head.  There was a dull thud as his forehead hit the glass of the window and he used his left hand to hide the other half of his beet red face.

“I’m not sure if I should give you a reproachful look or a high five.”

“Stop talking, Jared.”

“Like how did it even happen?  I knew you were crushing on him, but I really thought he might hate you.”

“He does not—what do you mean you knew I was crushing on him?”

“I’m very observant, Jensen.  And you’re not very subtle.  At anything you do.”

“Jared, please, no one can know that that happened.  I mean, it was a onetime thing.  It was pretty much an accident.  Just an ill-thought act of desperation on both our parts, okay?”

“I would never gossip about something like this.  But come on, you can’t expect me not to bust your balls over it.”  He grinned at Jensen and there was nothing malicious about it.

Jensen groaned again, but a smile tugged at the corners of his lips.  “It’s not funny and you’re being really unprofessional.”

“I’m unprofessional?  Dude, I now know what you sound like when you come—”


“—we have already broken past the unprofessional barrier.”

Jensen ran a hand down his face, but he was smiling.

“I hate you.”

“Well, I don’t hate you.  And I can say, ‘Good on ya, son.’  I may score a zero on the Kinsey scale, but even I can see Collins is a hot piece of ass.”

Jensen made a face at him.  "You shut your mouth.  You must just be jealous then.  Felicia been ignoring you when I’m not around?”

“Not exactly.  After I couldn’t find you yesterday, I went to Nell’s for dinner.  Felicia was very friendly.  And when I told her I’d see her tomorrow for dinner, she said not if I go to Nell’s because it’s her night off.  But, if I come over to her place, I could still see her for dinner.”

Jared beamed, very proud of himself.

“Dude.  We’ve been here for four days and you’re already in with your TDY booty call?”

“Dude.  We were here only three days before you were gettin’ it with a guy who hates your guts.”


They rode in silence for a couple of minutes, in which short time got them to the police station.  Jared parked and turned off the car, but before Jensen could get out, he asked a question.

“Look, I know it’s none of my business…but how exactly did it happen?”

Jensen laughed harshly.  “What, you want positions?  Pitcher and catcher stats?”

“What?  No!  Sorry.  I meant how did it happen at all—wait, you know what?  It’s none of my business.”

Jared could tell Jensen was trying to soften his expression, but he wasn't too successful.  “You’re right, it isn’t your business.  And I do appreciate that you were able to figure that out for yourself.”

“Jensen, seriously, I mean no harm.  I—”

“I know, Jay,” Jensen cut him off.  “I just—I can’t joke about it because I’m not proud of what happened last night.  It was unprofessional, completely out of line—and I took advantage of…of a victim.  That’s not—right.”

“Jensen, I don’t know what happened last night, obviously, and maybe a professional line was crossed, but I don’t think you—” Jared searched for a word.  “Hurt him?” he finally settled on.

Jensen shook his head.  “Oh, no, I just accused him of murdering his sister.  That’s all.”

Jensen got out of the car and ignored Jared’s exclamation of “You what?!”

Jared stared dumbly after Jensen for a few moments before he got his act together and got out of the car.

Friday mornings at the Elton police station were actually a little busier than normal.  Rachel was answering a phone call, so she didn't see Jared’s nod, and two uniformed officers and a plain clothes detective were in a small conference around the coffee machine.  Ty was visible at his desk through the open door of his office, phone to his ear, frown on his face, but he waved an acknowledgement to him.  Jensen had already unlocked the door to their makeshift command post and flipped on the lights.  When Jared came up behind him he saw Jensen's eyes trained on the photo of Natalia Smith.  He sensed Jared behind him and immediately looked away from the whiteboards and walked over to his desk to deposit his motel room key and jacket.  Jared did the same; it was probably going to be a very long day.

Jensen was working the combination on the heavy duty safe that had been transported from the Portsmouth RA for them to store the FBI laptops as Jared crossed back to the door and shut it firmly.  He left his fingers on the knob as he watched Jensen for a moment.  He didn't want to ask his next question, but it had to be asked.

" he a suspect?"

Jensen was concentrating too hard on watching the digital numbers change to the one he wanted to really pay attention to Jared.  "Is who a what?"

"Off-Officer Collins.  Are we investigating him?"

The final number popped up and Jensen turned to look at Jared as he turned the knob to the right until it clicked.  "What are you talking about?"

"You said you—do you really suspect him?"

Jensen groaned softly and opened the safe.  "No, that's not what I—shit."  Jensen took his laptop out and carried to his desk.  "Last night—some things were said.  By both of us.  And that resulted in us saying even more things.  And I—I questioned why he lied to Kim about getting the body released to the mortician when he knew we were coming to look at it."

Jared tilted his head as he pulled his laptop out of the safe.  "Well, that is a fair question.  One he never answered.  Though I'm not sure we ever asked."

"Yeah, well, I followed it up with if it was because he was trying to get rid of evidence."

Jared sucked in air though his teeth and made a face.  "Ooo.  Yeah.  That may not have been so tactful."

"Understatement, dude."

"So, what happened then?"

"Well, let's just say it led to a physical altercation."

Jared let out a laugh as he put his laptop on his desk.  He grinned at Jensen.  "I'll say."

"Wha—?" Jensen blushed.  "That's not what I meant!"

Jared laughed and sat in his chair.  "So, he punched you?"

"Almost.  I blocked it.  And we grappled and—end of story."

Jared shook his head as he logged on to his computer.  "Dude hates your guts, you accuse him of killing his sister, and you still got laid.  How is that even possible?"

Jensen plopped down in his chair and covered his eyes with his hand.  "Normally this would be my cue to boast of my awesomeness—but last night was so fucked up."

"Would you do it again?"

Jensen removed his hand to look at Jared.  "What?"

"If you had to do it all over again, would you?"

"Of course not!"

"Not the accusation.  The sex."

Jensen stammered around his reply, "Wh-what does that have to do with—Jared!  Shut it!  Not at work!"

Jared shrugged a shoulder.  "I'm just saying, how it happened may not have been ideal circumstances, but you don't regret that it did happen, right?  I mean, you like him, don't you?  So, it's a good thing, right?"

Jensen gaped at him.  "Far from it!"

Jared opened his mouth to speak but the door opened and Gen entered the room.

“Good morning,” Gen greeted them.

Russ was right behind her carrying a cardboard tray with four coffees in one hand and a box of donuts in the other.

“Morning, team,” Russ grinned.

Gen raised her eyebrows as she placed her bag on Jared’s desk.  “You’re in a good mood,” she observed.

Russ whistled three notes as he placed the coffee and donuts on Jensen’s desk.  He stood beside the agent and put a hand on his shoulder.

“Good mood is actually my default.  It’s just harder to see buried under a five a.m. call to a crime scene.  But, today is a new day, and we’ve got some leads, right?  How did the interview with the maid go?”

“It was okay,” Jared replied.  “We need to follow up with another family and a garbage collection company, but we’re pretty sure we won’t be able to find the note the killer left on the door.”

“The killer left a note on the door?” Jensen asked, and Jared could tell he was trying very hard not to squirm under the pressure of Russ’ hand on his shoulder.

“Maybe,” Gen said.  “It’s possible Thompson did leave the note himself.  Or he could have been forced to write it by the killer.  It would be nice if we could get some fingerprints off it, but we’ve no guarantee it was touched by the killer.  Plus, it’s buried in literal tons of garbage by now.”

Jared felt a little heat creep under his cheeks.  He should know better than to make assumptions like that.  He cleared his throat and said, “But, the maid did say that nothing appeared out of the ordinary.  Based on what the forensic team said, I think we should really consider that this wasn’t a break in.  I think the killer was known to the victim or at least represented someone that a person would willingly invite into their home.”

“What about you, Russ?” Jensen said, swiveling in his chair to face the detective and effectively dislodging his hand.  “How did your interviews go?  And where did you disappear to yesterday?”

“Two of the teachers live a couple towns over from Elton.  I got stuck in a terrible traffic jam on my way back.  Didn’t even make it to Elton until after eight o’clock.  Everyone had left the station by then.”

“We were stuck in the same traffic,” Jared bemoaned.  “Half a mile away from our exit for five hours.”

Russ chuckled.  “I hope the two of you find each other’s company stimulating, then.”

Jared and Gen shrugged a shoulder and said, “Eh.”  Then they glanced at each other with a grin of amusement at their uncoordinated though matching reactions.

“Well, unfortunately I was stuck by myself with nothing but a pop station available on the radio.  I didn’t even have many notes to review.  I spoke to two of Natalia’s coworkers and neither had much to say.  She was new to the job.  This was going to be her first year teaching and they’d only met her in July when the teachers came back to prep for the upcoming year.  Natalia had been living in Flagstaff for the last seven years.  She came back after her divorce.”

Gen lean-sat on the desk and crossed her arms over her stomach.  “Do you think the killer followed her here?”

Jensen groaned.  “Let’s not add another city just yet.  Let’s assume she came back to town and for some reason that sparked his desire to kill again.”

“I thought you said he’s been killing all these years; that he hasn’t stopped,” Jared said.

“And that you didn’t think he was a local,” Russ reminded him.

Jensen glared at all three of them and turned in his chair to boot up his laptop.  “I’m going to choke the life out of this guy when I find him.”

Russ laughed and gave a couple squeezes to Jensen’s tense shoulders.  “Unfortunately he just might like that.”  He patted Jensen’s arm and only chuckled more at the disgusted look Jensen threw over his shoulder.

“I’m going to go find Kim and see if she has an official report on Thompson yet.”

“Yeah, you do that,” Jensen grumbled.  He took one of the coffees from the tray and took a sip, screwing up his face as the liquid hit his tongue.  “What is with you New Englanders and Dunkin’ Donuts?  This stuff is rank.”

He stood up and started to leave the room with his cup while Gen narrowed her eyes at him.  Jared assumed Jensen was going to doctor the coffee with the cream and sugar kept in the station kitchenette and picked up his own cup to follow him.  He liked his coffee so creamy and sugary it didn’t taste like coffee anymore.

“Gen, you need to fix your coffee?” he asked.

“Nope.  We New Englanders have balls enough to take it black.”

Jared laughed and Jensen returned her narrowed eyes, but he was smiling.  The two of them made their way across the bullpen to the small kitchenette at the far side.  Jared was about to speak when both of their attentions were drawn to Officer Collins and Bunny as they entered the building.  He saw them, gave them a nod, and continued on his way to his desk.  Jared twisted his lips to the side to keep from saying anything as he looked at Jensen.  He didn’t react, not really, but Jared could tell he’d realized the same thing Jared had.

If Collins had made a point to blatantly ignore him that would have at least been acknowledgement that something had happened.  If he had gotten a little flustered or even shot eye daggers at him that would be something.  Getting nothing but a perfunctory nod acknowledging he existed in time and space, which was the same thing he’d essentially given Jared, it pretty much made it clear that he’d completely dismissed what had happened between them last night.

Jared watched Jensen violently shake some imitation sweetener packets to get the grains to the bottom before ripping off the tops.

“Well,” Jared said as he removed the lid from his coffee, “now you really don’t need to feel guilty about it or anything.  It obviously didn’t bother him that much—”

Jared stopped talking at the look Jensen shot him.

He poured some half and half into his cup.  “Right.  None of my business.”

Chapter Text

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 

Jensen sipped his coffee, enjoying having breakfast for lunch and a cup of Nell’s brew for the first time in several days.  He’d been drinking a lot of motel swill over the last week and a half, even on the weekend, due to spending his mornings rooting through the piles of angel-based research material stacked in his motel room.  He wasn’t even going through it in depth; just dividing it into “read further,” “probably useless,” and “definitely useless.”  Brian had almost done his job too well.  It had been two weeks of angel this and angel that and status reports for Beaver and phones calls from Eric that always ended in Jensen basically saying they had nothing.

Kim had been right about Thompson getting a hold of his attacker—the material under his nails had been human flesh, but it had been so damaged by the bleach it was all but useless.  They’d exhausted every possible witness who lived in Thompson’s neighborhood and interviewed all of Smith’s coworkers and acquaintances she’d reconnected with since moving back to town.  There didn’t seem to be any common thread between the two victims.  Except for the fact that Smith was technically new in town and Thompson was only a part-time residence which made it less likely that their absence would be noticed as soon.  Their paths had never crossed inasmuch as they could ascertain, and Jensen took Russ’ word for it when he said his conversation with Misha regarding a potential connection had gone both better and worse than expected, but still resulted in the same information.

Jensen poked at his scrambled eggs as he thought of Misha.  It had become pretty apparent they were going to keep their relationship in a strictly professional capacity (not that Jensen had really expected anything more) and since Misha wasn’t working the case, they never crossed paths and rarely even saw each other since Misha worked more swing and overnight shifts than day shifts.  But that wasn’t what really bothered Jensen.

That night had been one of the stupidest things he’d ever done in his life, and he was more than grateful that Misha was willing to pretend it didn’t happen, but he couldn’t forget the promise he’d made to the man.  He’d vowed to find his sister’s killer, and their investigation was stalled.  The only consolation was that the higher ups hadn’t started leaning on them and demanding answers—yet.  But he knew it was coming.  Especially if another body turned up—and Jensen just couldn’t shake the gnawing unease that he’d woken up with this morning.  Maybe it was just the trembling tension from the approaching storm hanging heavy and close in the air.  The clouds were so thick and grey that it was quite dark outside and electricity danced along his skin even inside the diner.


Jensen looked up from the design he’d traced in his eggs.  Jared was smiling bemusedly at him.

“You okay?” the younger man asked.

“Yeah, sorry.  Just got lost in my thoughts.  Having an off day, I guess.”

“That’s understandable.  This is the kind of weather that puts people on edge because you can like—feel it coming.  If that makes sense.”

“Perfect sense.  If you’re a rabbit.”

“Shut up,” Jared huffed at him, but he could tell he was being teased.

“Is there anything else I can get for you this afternoon?”  Felicia smiled at them as she refilled their coffee cups and set down another bowl full of individual creamer containers.  “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you here in the afternoons.”

Jensen opened his mouth to ask for some catsup for his hash browns, but was condiment-blocked by Jared.

“Yeah,” Jared said disappointedly.  “We’ve been on the go pretty much non-stop.  I guess you don’t usually work the dinner shift?”

“No, not usually.  But Rosemary is going to start a pottery or poetry class or something in a couple weeks that meets at nights, so I agreed to switch shifts with her.”

“Oh, that’ll be good.  We’re always here for dinner.”

“So I’ve heard.  She never fails to mention it.”

“Well, can you blame her?” Jared grinned.

Felicia gave him a saucy look and lightly slapped his arm as she walked away.  Jared watched until she was around the other side of the counter, and then turned back to face Jensen.  He toned down his grin at the pointed look and raised eyebrow Jensen was giving him.

“Every time she comes over to ask if we need anything, she flirts with you, forgets, and leaves before I can ask for my catsup.”

Jared shrugged a shoulder.

“Seriously, I think you two can stand the deprivation.  Don’t you see her first thing in the morning anyway?”

Jared shook his head.  “Never have.  Not once.”

Jensen was surprised.  “Really?  Even after dinner—when was that—?”

“Couple of weeks ago.  And, nope.  I went over to her place, she made me dinner.  We ate it, it was good.  We talked a bit, and then I was shown the door.”


“I thought at first that meant something had happened and I’d blown it somehow, but the next day she was all smiles and flirty and acted like everything was fine.”

“Maybe she follows the three date rule.”

Jared rubbed the back of his head.  “Yeah…that’s the thing though, right?  If we wait until the third date, won’t we be, you know…dating?”

“Ah.”  Jensen speared a cube of potato and glared at its delightfully brown and crispy skin.  What kind of diner didn’t keep catsup on the table?  “Well, when it comes to picking a booty call,” Jensen glanced up at Jared and quirked an eyebrow, “You have chosen…poorly.”

Jared threw a piece of toast crust at him.  “Don’t quote Indiana Jones at me.  You really think your choice was chosen wisely?”

Jensen scowled.  He really didn’t like Jared knowing about one of the two things about himself he was actually ashamed of.

Jared kind of froze and then said, “Sorry, dude.  Low blow.”

Jensen shrugged.  “But still fair.”

“Not really.  Let’s head out now.  Aren't we supposed to get that fax from Missouri today?”

“Oh, yeah.”  Jensen had nearly forgotten that the court order for the sales receipts at the funeral home that had sold the casket Smith had been found in finally went through.  The inventory, purchase orders, and list of employees who had access to the stock were set to be faxed over today.  Granted they had only been gone for thirty minutes tops, but Jensen wanted to be there the moment it came through.

Jensen took a final slug of his coffee and shoveled in a forkful of eggs for the road while Jared crammed his last piece of bacon into his mouth and squirreled away two napkin wrapped sausages into his coat pocket.  They waved to Felicia on their way out.  They’d set up a system where they basically kept an open tab all day and paid after their last meal or coffee break of the night.

Jensen felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end as they exited the diner.  The storm had to be practically on top of them.  He wished they’d driven the car rather than leaving it at the station.  It may only be a five minute walk, but they might only have thirty more seconds of dry weather.  Thunder rumbled in the distance and they quickened their pace as the wind picked up.  The streets were empty as most people were wisely staying in with the promise of a wicked storm in the air, so the sound of a car coming up behind them and then slowing down was noticeable.  They kept walking but glanced over to see the K9 marked patrol SUV rolling beside them.  The passenger side window rolled down and Misha looked at them.

“You do realize it’s about to pour down rain, right?”

“Yes,” Jensen said, a little ticked that these were the first words Misha had said to him in almost a week.

“Okay, then.”

Misha rolled up his window and drove off.  Jared turned a glare on Jensen.

“What?  I didn’t do anything.”

Behind them they heard the approaching drone of a heavy rain as it crept up on them.

“Fuck,” Jensen muttered, and they took off running.

They were only in the rain for thirty or forty-five seconds, but it was so heavy they were pretty drenched by the time they burst into the police station.  Rachel looked up from filing her nails as they stood dripping on the entryway carpet.

“Towels in the locker room,” she said, pointing to a hallway to the right with her file.  Then she returned to fixing her pinky nail.

Jared and Jensen squelched in their shoes down the hall until they came across a swinging door that indicated it was the men’s locker room.  The funk of two decades of sweat and mildew and piss accosted them as they entered and the towels were very stiff and abrasive as they dried off their hair, faces, and necks.

“Wishing you had shorter hair now, huh hippie?” Jensen asked.

“Shut up.  If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be wet.”

“How do you figure?”

“Well, he probably would have offered me a ride.”

“I doubt it.  He’s an ass.”

“Hmm.  You know, I might side with you on this one.  You were short with your answer, but that was no reason to leave us.”

“I wasn’t short with him.”

“Jensen, you were so clearly miffed about something.  Did you two have some sort of encounter lately I don’t know about?”

“No, not at all.  We haven’t even spoken in a week.”

Jared chuckled and ran the towel over his suit, not that it did him much good.  “Maybe that’s the problem.  He’s feeling neglected.”

“That’s not—that logic doesn’t even make sense.”

“It does if he, you know, has a crush on you too.”

“I don’t have a crush on him.  We’re not in middle school.”

“Alright, you’re hot for him.”

“Jared,” Jensen said sharply and glanced down the empty row of lockers.  Jared winced as he realized they might not be alone in the locker room.  At least they hadn’t used any names.  Though pronouns could be just as damning in small towns.

“Okay.  I know a way to get back at him.”

Jensen tossed his wadded up towel at Jared’s head and walked out of the locker room.  Jared wasn’t far behind and they got a few snickers sent in their direction as they crossed the bullpen.  The thunder was still sporadic enough that every squishy step was heard as they made their way to their office.  Jensen felt Jared tap his shoulder and he turned to look at him, but the tall man was bent over at the waist and looking toward Misha’s desk.

“Bunny!” Jared called out.  “Come see me!”

The police dog yelped excitedly and dashed across the room to jump on Jared.  She completely ignored Misha’s shouted command to return.  The officer crossed the room, his eyebrow twitching in irritation and Jensen couldn’t keep the smirk off his face.  Jared grinned at Misha as he scratched the side of Bunny’s head where she’d laid it against his leg.

“This is the most disciplined dog I’ve ever trained, Agent Padalecki.  When she’s on duty she obeys all commands and ignores all distractions.  And then you came along.”

Jared’s reply was to bend over and kiss Bunny on the head.  She whined and wiggled under him, trying to kiss him in return.

“Really?  Just because I let you two get a little wet?”

“A little?” Jensen griped.

Misha looked at him, a small smile on his face, and Jensen could see his eyes sweep over his body.  And that absolutely did not make him feel all tingly.  Misha shrugged a graceful shoulder.

“You done with my dog?” Misha asked.

“I guess,” Jared sighed.  “I can’t have dogs in my apartment.  It sucks.”

“Did the fax from Missouri come in yet?” Misha asked, apropos of nothing.

Jensen raised an eyebrow at him.  “How do you know about that?”

“Your business isn’t really that secret around here.”

“No, it hasn't come yet.  But, can I ask you who I need to talk to about getting into the evidence locker?”

Misha crossed his arms over his chest, but still allowed Jared to pet Bunny.  “Depends.  What do you need?”

“I did a search of old police records the other day with certain keys words to see if there had been any unsolved murders here in the past that could indicate he got his start here but hadn’t developed his technique yet.”

“Did you find anything?”

“Not murders, per se.  There was something about animal mutilations, but the culprit was a minor so the records are sealed.  But, I thought if the photos or reports of the type of damage were still available, that could be something to consider.  A lot of serial killers start with animals when they’re young.”

“I think, Dan could—hey Dan!” Misha turned and addressed a man who had to be three days away from retirement.  “Can you help Agent Ackles with—?”

“Nope.  Squirrel licker got loose.”

“Fuck me, again?”

Dan shrugged and Misha’s sigh was closer to a groan.

“Agent Padalecki?”


“Will you keep an eye on Bunny for me?”


Jensen and Misha stared at Bunny and Jared.  It was hard to tell which one was the bigger puppy.  Misha turned and waved a hand indicating for Jensen to follow him.

“Do you remember the case file number?” Misha asked.

“I wrote it down.  I’ll be right back.”

Jensen jogged over to their office and unlocked the door.  Fortunately his notepad was sitting on his desk and not in the safe with the laptops.  Jensen shrugged out of his waterlogged jacket, plucking his credential from the breast pocket, and draped it over the back of his desk chair to dry.  He slid the leather rectangle into his pants pocket and pulled at his dress shirt to keep it from sticking to his body.  Some of it was still dry, but half of the front was wet and he wished he'd worn an undershirt since his nipple was pretty visible whenever the thin fabric plastered itself to his skin.

He walked back into the bullpen and came up behind Misha just as he’d pulled up a DOS-based looking query search.  Jensen read off the file number and Misha typed it in.  Like yesterday, the records had been scrubbed of any personally identifying information.  Misha scrolled down and then tapped the screen with his finger.

“So, we still have some pictures of the mutilated bodies of the animals.  But, this record is from 1992.  More than likely we don’t store that in this building anymore.  You can check down in the evidence locker, but they’ve been moving the old records around for long term storage and stuff that’s twenty years old, probably isn’t there anymore.”

“Well, can I get in there?  Without an Elton officer escort?”

Misha made a face.  “Probably not.  Hey, Reggie—”

“Hey, Misha, can it wait?” a young officer in uniform replied as she passed by the desk.  “Got a domestic call.”

Misha turned in his chair and looked at the man in the desk across the aisle from him.

“Nope.  I got a mountain of paperwork to do because your dog just had to find fifty kilos of coke in the trunk of a tourist’s car.”

Misha frowned at the back of the man’s head.

“Come on, Officer Collins,” Jensen said, drawing his attention.  “I’m sure the potheads aren’t coming out in this storm.”

“Is that really all you think I do?  Bust kids for smoking up?”

Jensen didn’t smile, but he was pretty sure Misha could tell that he wanted to.  Then the officer huffed in defeat.

“Is the idea of escorting me to the evidence locker really that repellent?”

Lightning flashed outside the windows followed by a loud crack of thunder.  The bullpen went silent for a moment as everyone held their breath, but then the low level buzz resumed as people returned to work.

Jensen laughed uneasily, “Is that a yes?”

Misha cracked a smile, but then stifled it.  “Just come on.”

They traipsed down the hallway that led to the basement stairs and out of the corner of his eye Jensen saw Jared giving Bunny a sausage link as he coaxed her into the FBI office space.  The storm was so miserable that there was virtually no difference between upstairs and the basement with its complete lack of windows.  They headed toward Kim’s laboratory, a route Jensen was very familiar with now, but peeled off to the left at the entrance to the evidence locker.  A young officer sat ramrod straight in his chair and diligently made sure Misha and Jensen were very thorough when they filled out the sign-in sheet.  He unlocked the floor to ceiling chain link cage door and let them in, locking it behind them.  Misha led Jensen through and around several shelves stuffed floor to ceiling with boxes and even a row of refrigerators on one side.  In the back was a door that led into a room that was easily a thousand square feet and completely filled with oversized file cabinets that were as tall as he was.  Jensen let out a low whistle.

“How much crime do you guys have in Elton?”

Misha smiled and flicked on a light switch.  A couple of fluorescent lights flickered on, but left most of the room in dim shadows.

“When the new station was built twenty years ago the idea was to be able to store all of Elton’s records.  Dating back from the mid eighteen hundreds.  The plan has since been reevaluated.”

Jensen snorted as they walked along the rows, checking the labels for the beginning of the file number they were looking for.

“A lot of the records were moved to the new city hall.  Old census and birth and death records.  Stuff like that.”

“Why was that ever stored in the police station anyway?”

“This room is lined with steel.”


“You got it."

Jensen snorted.  "And Superman proof."

Misha shot him a derisory expression.  "It's not made out of kryptonite."

Jensen opened his mouth to retort something clever, but then realized he had nothing to counter that.

"Anyway, most of these file cabinets are empty.”

“Why?  If you have the space?”

“They’ve been moved to another facility for electronic conversion.  I can’t remember if we asked for the hardcopies back or not.  Seems like we should have though.  Oh, here we are.”

Misha turned down a narrow row and followed it halfway down before turning to the right, skimming his fingers over cabinet labels as he walked a few more paces.  Jensen was transfixed.  His fingers were long and thin and deceptively delicate looking.  He could think of few things to do with those fingers.  He shook himself and focused on Misha’s face again.  It didn’t really help.  He was clean shaven today, which was not always the case, and even in the shadows his eyes were ridiculously fucking blue.

“It should be in this one,” Misha said as he stopped in front of a cabinet, slim fingers hooking inside the handle.

Jensen stepped forward and slid his fingers through Misha’s hair and around to grasp the side of his jaw so he could turn his head to face him.  Misha's startled expression almost matched Jensen's surprise at his own actions.

So much for propriety, Jensen thought as he held Misha in a half embrace and leaned forward.  He kissed him, barely repressing a moan as the feeling of Misha’s soft, full lips was even better than he remembered.  And he had been trying to remember almost daily.

Misha pushed him back slightly.  “Ackles!  Seriously, you and your timing.”

Jensen pulled him back in, running his hand up and down Misha’s arm while the other held the back of his head.

“Not my fault,” he murmured around a kiss.  “I think it’s yours.”  Kiss.  “Remember Ty said you have terrible timing?”  Kiss.  “I can’t help it.”  A longer kiss.

“I bet you could if you tried…nm.”  Tongues brushed together.  “Damn it, Ackles.”  Kiss.  “I am not—” kiss “going to make out—” a longer kiss “with you in the—oh, fuck.”

They both stopped talking for several long minutes.  They kept their hands above the waist (mostly because their guns and other belt attachments made an effective barrier to all points south), and just allowed their lips and tongues and occasionally teeth to explore the other now that they had the wherewithal to do so.

A thud outside the file room made them startle apart, but Jensen kept an arm around Misha’s waist, not letting him go far.  They stood silent, panting slightly, as they listened to see if the person was coming into the file room.  There were a few more bangs and then the distant sound of the chain link door shutting.  Misha sighed in relief and gave Jensen the stink eye, which just made him smile, which made Misha scowl harder.  Jensen leaned forward and kissed a wandering trail down Misha’s jaw line.

“Okay, this time the timing will be your fault.  Get off me.”

Jensen might have considered listening to him if he’d had the slightest bit of conviction in his voice.  And if his arm wasn’t locked around the back of Jensen’s neck.

“No, it’s all you, Mish,” Jensen breathed in deeply as he buried his nose just behind Misha’s ear.

Misha gripped one of his shoulders and the arm around his neck moved enough for Misha to slide his fingers through Jensen’s hair.

“For fuck’s sake—Ack-Acklesss…”

Misha hissed in a sharp breath as Jensen sucked his earlobe into his mouth and worried it with his teeth gently.

“Misha, Misha, my name is Misha…Jensen.”


Jensen let go of the earlobe and licked the nearby skin.  Misha shifted against him and Jensen tightened his arm around his waist and pulled him closer.

“Come on, Jensen, we can control ourselves.”

“Speak for yourself.  You’re not the one under a timing curse.”  Jensen’s hand strayed lower.  Fuck, he really needed to stop.

“Oh, so you believe in curses and hexes, huh?”  Jensen was surprised to hear the suddenly hard, bitter edge to Misha’s voice.  “Maybe we should broadcast that and use you as bait for the Angel Slayer.”

Jensen straightened and pulled back.  He felt a sick roll of nausea through his gut.  He’d fucking done it again.  Misha immediately looked contrite, but it didn’t register.  There was something wrong with him.  He’d never been turned on by power dynamics before—why couldn’t he leave this particular victim alone?

“Jensen, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to—”

Jensen cut him off and pulled on the cabinet drawer Misha had been about to open earlier.  Even before it was all the way out, Jensen could tell it was empty.  Misha sighed softly, either at the situation or the empty drawer, and pushed it closed again.

“I guess it’s been moved.  I’ll put in a request to have it sent back here.  Shouldn’t take more than a week if it's still in our possession.”

“Okay.  Thanks.”

Jensen turned on his heel and began to weave his way out of the labyrinth of file cabinets.


Fortunately he had the rectangle of light from the door leading back to the main room of the evidence locker to guide him.  Just as he reached the door, a hand shot out, slamming it shut and almost hitting him in the face.  He started to turn around but was stopped as Misha crowded him against the door.  He turned his head slightly and his cheek brushed Misha’s nose.

“Jensen,” he said softly, voice curling around his ear.  “I’m not going to say there wasn’t real anger and a very large desire to turn your face into pulp at one point, but from the moment we hit that bed—you haven’t done anything to me I haven’t also wanted.  Okay?”

Jensen licked his lips and turned his head just a bit more, feeling Misha’s lips on his skin—his breath warm and smelling of cinnamon.  If he craned his neck just a bit more…their lips just brushed together and the door in front of him pushed open, smacking his head and sending him and Misha stumbling back.  The person trying to open the door paused, and then tried again.  Jensen moved his hand from rubbing his throbbing temple to his forehead, which would be a more plausible place for him to get hit if they were exiting like two normal people.

Russ peeked around the door.  “You okay?”

Jensen nodded.  “Yeah, just tried to be in the same place as the door at the same time.”

Russ smiled.  “Newtonian physics are a bitch, huh?”

“Little bit.  You need something from the file room of doom?”

“No, I came looking for you.  Misha, you’re helping him look for a file?”

“Yes,” Misha replied.

“Well, you can keep looking, but I’ve got to steal Jensen away.  We got a call.”

Jensen felt his stomach drop. 


Jared walked the circuit again.  Head, shoulders, knees, and toes.  All the other parts were set end to end in the shape of a coffin around the main focus.  The sternum had been clipped from the rib cage and lay by the left shoulder with the word "Apofael" cut into the skin.  Next to the right shoulder was a bit of flesh Kim had identified as the victim's labia.  It had lost its shape, but it didn't take much imagination to read the brand: adulterer.

Jared stopped by the bottom of the coffin, closest to the toes.  He scrubbed a hand over his face.  This was the worst kind of killer to deal with.  He wasn’t doing this in response to some deep seeded emotional issue.  He wasn’t lashing out in response to some childhood trauma.  He wasn’t being told to do it by God or his dog or the alien overlords.  And he wasn’t crazy.  He was doing this because it was a fun game.  It was a joke.  It had nothing to do with the victims, and everything to do with the investigators.  He liked the attention and he liked seeing them work; that last part is what worried Jared the most.  The only way this could be fun for him was if he was seeing them run around in circles trying to figure everything out.  So, the question was is he watching from afar or does he have insider access?  He intended to talk to Jensen about that later in private; no sense getting people riled up or upset by sharing controversial theories too soon.

Jensen was up by the head with Russ, but they weren’t looking at that.  They were crouching down and appeared to be looking at the placement of the coffin-shaped body parts and gauging the distance between each piece.  Gen was in the front hallway, trying to get some sense out of the man that had found the body.  He’d been sobbing non-stop since as long as Jared had been there, and they’d been at the scene for over an hour now.

Jared walked back around the body to the top of the coffin and Jensen and Russ stood up.  Jared raised his eyebrows in silent question.

Jensen barely suppressed an eye roll, but Jared knew it wasn’t directed at him.  “Do you have any idea how long it would take to get this lined up this perfectly?  I’m pretty sure he used a fucking ruler.”

“I don’t understand why these particular parts were placed inside the coffin though,” Russ said.

“The song?” Jared suggested.

“What do you mean?”

“You know, that kid’s song: Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes…” Jared sang softly.

Russ made a face.  “Seriously?”

“It’s a game,” Jared replied.  “This whole thing.  But why is this one so…perfectly planned?”

“And the last one was a clusterfuck?” Jensen asked.  He rubbed his eyes with his fingers.  “Something isn’t right, here,” he murmured.  “Smith was meticulous.  Thompson was a mess.  And now we’re back to this?”

Jared shrugged.  “Like I said—”

“It’s a game, sure, but all games have rules.”

“Do they?” Russ interjected.  “We have rules we follow, but does this guy?  I understand some killers like to think of playing with the police as a game—and they do follow certain rules to make it fun and interesting.  But—maybe we’re not really understanding this guy’s motives.”

“Well, if he’s not doing God’s work and he’s not fucking with us, then what is it?”

Russ swallowed and looked down.  “I don’t know, Jensen.  Maybe he’s just bored.”

“That’s not—”

“Hey, guys,” Gen said as she came up to them.  “So, I think the forensic team is ready to start bagging the pieces, and we’ve kept Mr. Hannigan here long enough.  I think any further questioning needs to be done in a neutral location like the station because I can barely get a coherent word out of him here.”

“Did he identify the victim?”

“He says it’s Sarah Vanderpool.”

“Anybody here could tell you that,” Russ said.  “She’s pretty well known in town.  Very vocal at town hall meetings and the like.  Ran for mayor a couple times, but always on a platform that was a little too conservative to get any real numbers behind her.”

“Is he her husband?” Jensen asked.

“No,” Russ shook his head.  “Gilbert, Mr. Hannigan, is a heating and cooling technician and definitely runs in different circles than Sarah.  To be honest, I’m not sure what he’s doing here.”

Jared glanced down at the branded body part.  “Could it have something to do with the supposed crime she was punished for?”

Russ raised his eyebrows and bobbed his head to the side.  “I suppose it could.  But, honestly, I just don’t see Sarah being willing to slum it that hard.”

Jensen let out a soft huff that may have been a laugh and glanced at Russ.  The man gave him a half smile and shrugged in return.

“Hannigan said he was here on a service call,” Gen said.  “We’re obviously going to need to check on that with his employer.”

“All right.  Let’s let forensics do their job here and reconvene at the station,” Jensen said.  “We’ve obviously got some questions to answer here.  Like, how long was Sarah missing and did anyone know that she was?”

“And why is Hannigan here?” Russ asked.

“And who is she having an affair with if the brand is true?” Jared chimed in.

“And…” Gen said, looking around, “where’s all the blood?”

The other three looked at her for a moment and then turned to look at the body.  There were no stains under the carpet and no bloody trail leading from another room.

Jensen let out an aggravated noise.  “And we’re back to a dump site.  Does this fucker have schizophrenia or something?” 


Jensen sat patiently, waiting for Gilbert Hannigan to blow his nose—for what had to be the twentieth time.  The man was small in stature and in constitution.  He had a strangely angular face that’s looks were not improved by bloodshot eyes and the glaringly red nose he was rubbing raw with the cheap tissues the police kept on hand.

“I don’t understand why,” Hannigan said miserably as he shifted in the hard plastic chair he sat on.  “Why her?”

It wasn’t the first time Hannigan had muttered that question and Jensen was all but convinced that Hannigan hadn’t shown up to the Vanderpool house just to service her heating system.  They had managed to work out that he hadn’t spoken to Vanderpool recently.  The appointment actually had been set up through his company about a week and a half ago, by Vanderpool herself, during a week when her husband was out of town on business.  As far as Jensen knew they hadn’t managed to get a hold of Mr. Vanderpool yet to tell him about his wife’s murder, but his company had been the one to provide the information that he was away on business.  Sarah Vanderpool didn’t have a job and had no regular meetings or appointments to keep in the previous week.  She could have been missing for days and no one would have noticed.  In fact, no one had noticed.  Jensen was now convinced the killer was taking the time to stalk his victims to know which ones would not be reported missing for several days—or he knew them well enough to already know that.

“Mr. Hannigan,” Jensen said.  “Can you remember if anything seemed strange or out of place when you approached the house?”

Hannigan shook his head.  “No, nothing.  I already answered these questions at the house.  Why am I here?  Can I leave?  Am I a suspect?  Are you charging me with anything?”

Jensen gave a small shake of his head and pretended to write something down on his notepad, noting the way Hannigan’s eyes tracked the movement.  “No.  Not yet anyway.  We’ve confirmed that you did have an appointment to be at the house and you’ve showed up to work regularly the last week.  And you were with friends in Boston last night to attend the Bruins home opener.  It seems unlikely you would have had the time to show her such attention.”

“And I wouldn’t!” Hannigan shouted, finally showing an emotion other than weepiness.  “I wouldn’t hurt her!  I lov—”

Hannigan clamped his mouth shut and blew into his tissue again.  Jensen nodded and closed his notepad.

“Thank you for answering our questions, Mr. Hannigan.  We’ll contact you again if we need anything.”  Hannigan glanced up and Jensen made hard eye contact with him.  “I suggest you stay in the area for the indefinite future.”

Hannigan sagged and his eyes clouded.  “I’m not going anywhere.  You can be certain of that.”

Jensen stood up and so did Hannigan.  They walked to the door of the interrogation room and Jensen couldn’t stop himself from glancing at the two way mirror.  All he saw was his reflection and Hannigan’s, but he knew there were at least five people on the other side of it.

Jensen escorted Hannigan through the halls of the station until they reached the bullpen.  He was going to walk him all the way to the door when a man shouted, “You son of a bitch!”

There was a flurry of activity and some more shouting and Jensen found himself trying to pull a large, heaving man off the diminutive Hannigan.  Hannigan was cowering near a cabinet and it took three people to pull his attacker away from him.  The man wasn’t athletic or particularly strong, but he must have outweighed Jensen by at least a hundred pounds.  When he was more or less under control he was panting harshly, the gasping breaths of a man terribly out of shape.

“What did you do to her?” the man yelled at Hannigan.  “They won’t even let me see her body!”

“I didn’t kill her!” Hannigan sniveled.  “I just found her.”

“Oh, ‘just found her.’  You lowlife piece of shit!  You were fucking her!  You put your filthy hands on her and then you killed her!”

Hannigan pulled himself up in a surprising display of courage.  “I only touched her because the thought of you touching her made her sick!”

Mr. Vanderpool, Jensen assumed because really, who else could it be, screamed and lunged forward again.

Hannigan shrank back and hid behind a nearby officer, while another uniformed officer, Russ, and Jensen kept Mr. Vanderpool from wringing his scrawny neck.  It took less effort to get Mr. Vanderpool under control this time as the man was rapidly running out of steam.

“Mr. Vanderpool, why don’t you come sit with me?” Russ suggested.  “We’ll get some coffee and I’ll explain what we know.  And then I will check with the medical examiner about getting you in to see her, okay?”

Mr. Vanderpool nodded acquiescence because he was wheezing too hard to answer properly.  Russ clapped him on the back and began to lead him back to a secluded investigation room.  Jensen shot him a grateful look and Russ nodded in acknowledgement.  Jared came into the bullpen just as the two men were escorted in opposite directions.  He raised his eyebrows at Jensen.

“So, what’d I miss?”

“Well, we pretty much got confirmation that Sarah Vanderpool was committing adultery with Gilbert Hannigan.”

Jared’s brow creased in thought.  “So, the crimes are real then.  Maybe that’s the rule.”

“What do you mean?”

“Can we…” Jared trailed off and nodded his head toward their office.

Jensen nodded in return and they crossed the bullpen to enter their office and shut the door behind them.

“What’s up, Jared?” Jensen asked, crossing his arms over his chest and giving him his undivided attention.

“Something doesn’t feel right about this whole thing,” Jared started.  He winced and said, “Well, of course it’s not right—”

“I know what you mean, Jared.  Keep talking.  Tell me your thoughts.”

“Well, this last crime scene was—it was a joke, Jensen.  I’m sorry, but it was.  We can try to read meaning into the placement of the body parts and how it was cut and why certain pieces were placed where—but I think it’s meaningless.  He was poking fun at us.  Maybe because we said his last work was so sloppy—but you heard Kim, this scene so far has been immaculate!  Why be careful this time and not the last?  You wondered if he’s schizophrenic—maybe he is!  Maybe he has a copycat.  Maybe there are two.  Maybe he’s deliberately making these scenes so confusing and different because he likes us trying to figure them out.  Jensen—” Jared stopped.  Even in privacy with just Jensen around, he felt uncomfortable speaking his next thought.  “I think he has an inside view of what we’re doing.  Police, forensics, maybe even media.  He’s hearing things…”

Jared heaved in a breath and let it out harshly.  Jensen uncrossed his arms and placed a comforting hand on Jared’s shoulder.

“That’s a lot of thoughts.”

“I know, I’m sorry—”

"No, that’s a good thing.  It’s better to be open to all possibilities.  And you’re right.  He’s absolutely playing with us.  That’s why I don’t think it’s a copycat or that there are two separate killers.  He’s going from organized to disorganized killing and back again.  And I think it may be his frame of mind that dictates how each kill turns out.  When he’s organized, he plays a game with us, but when he’s disorganized, he’s out of control.  And that will make him slip up.  He already has once—when Thompson got a hold of him.

“Now, I don’t want to wait for him kill again so we can get another mistake out of him.  Let’s concentrate on what we have, figure out his game, and nail his ass to the wall, okay?”

He gave Jared’s shoulder a couple of pats and Jared nodded.  Jensen glanced at the window, surprised to see it was full dark.  He checked his watch; it was almost eight o’clock.

“Well, I think we still have some work to do here tonight, so why don’t you run over to Nell’s and get us a couple of hamburgers to tide—”

“Jensen!  Jared!”

The agents turned in mild surprise when the office door flung open and Gen burst in.

“Gen, what’s up?” Jensen asked, taking a step toward her.

She shut the door behind her and held up a plastic bag with a yellow strip across the top indicating it was an evidence container.  In the bag was an index card.

“The forensic team found this at the Vanderpool house.  They did a search of the whole premises, looking for the room where she might have been held captive or tortured or…drained.”

Jensen took the baggy and looked at the note card.  In neat handwriting with what looked like a Sharpie marker, the word ‘Apofael’ was written in the middle of the page.  Jensen looked up at Gen.

“Did one of the technicians write this down when they saw the body?”

“No.  It was in her office.  In a pile of junk mail.”

Jared took the bag from Jensen and looked at it.  “She had it before she was killed?”

Gen nodded, not able to stop the smile pulling at the corner of her mouth.  “I think he sent it to her before he ever captured her.  I think he was marking her as his next victim.  Guys, we have got to figure out what the angel names mean.  If he’s actually warning them beforehand, we’ll know who the victim is and—”

“Wait, Gen,” Jensen interrupted her.  “This is crucial evidence, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.  We have no indication that the other two victims received something similar.  The killer could have brought it as a reminder of sorts.

“You’re right though; we need to get on these angel names.  Jared and I will bring in the best materials we have tomorrow and we’ll all start sorting through and reading it.  We also need to determine if the other victims did receive these notes.  First and foremost though, we need to know what the forensics says about it.”

“Kim’s technicians are working on that now,” Gen said.  “Unfortunately there are no fingerprints, but she’s analyzing the paper and the ink now.  Should have the results in a day or two.”

Jensen nodded.  “Good.  This is good.  It’s something at least.  Does Kim have any other word on the body?”

“Not much right now.  They’re still going over everything.  But, she did say that the blood they found in the containers in the kitchen—"

“Let me guess, it was hers?” Jared muttered.

“Yes.  It’s definitely hers.  And while Kim can’t say anything definitively yet, she thinks based on the state of the blood when they originally found it—Sarah was killed today.  Possibly within an hour or two of Hannigan finding her.”

“Do you think he knew when Hannigan was coming over?”

“I’m positive he knew,” Jensen said.  “You’re absolutely right, Jared.  He’s baiting us.  He wants us to discover his projects and play along with him.”

“Does that rule Hannigan out then?” Gen asked.  “The last call he was on took up the entire morning and the customer stayed with him the whole time.”

Jensen half-shrugged.  “Not one hundred percent, but I don’t think we need to focus on him.  For one thing, gauging time of death based on blood congealment is probably not an exact science which I’m sure Kim will tell us.  But, I also don’t think Hannigan did this.  He was having a true emotional response to her death.  I don’t think our killer could fake it like that.  I don’t think he’d even bother to try.”

The three stood in little circle together, arms all crossed over their chests as they thought.  Finally Jared broke the silence.

“So, three hamburgers from Nell’s then—?”

Jensen hummed a pondering noise.  “No, maybe not.  There’s nothing more we can do tonight I don’t think.  It will take some time for the forensics to tell us something, Hannigan has been released, Vanderpool won’t be ready to talk tonight, I’m sure about that, and all our angel research is in my motel room.  We should break for tonight and get a good’s night sleep for a lot of reading tomorrow.  Plus I’m sure interviewing Vanderpool won’t be pleasant.  Moreover, Gen, I don’t like you having to drive an hour home too late at night.”


“It’s every day and night though, Gen.  And we’re working over twelve hours as it is.  Maybe you should ask Beaver about getting a motel room here too.”

“I don’t think I can.  Portsmouth is actually less than forty miles away, so it falls into the ‘under fifty miles it’s a normal daily commute’ zone.”

Jensen frowned.

“It’s okay, Jensen.  It’s not a bad drive.  We don’t have traffic like you do down in DC.  It’s less than an hour both ways.”


“Would you be this concerned if I were a man?”

Jensen narrowed his eyes playfully at her.  “Yes.”

She laughed and patted his arm.  “Well, thanks for the concern.  I’ll see you guys bright and early tomorrow.  Seven right?”

Jensen nodded.  “You got an umbrella?”

“Is it still raining?  Geez, I’ve been in the basement so long I didn’t even notice.  Yeah, I got one.”

“Drive safe, Gen,” Jared said.

Gen smiled, her eyes brightening with amusement.  “Wow.  I really don’t know what to do with the attention of two such handsome men.”

“Get your ass OPR-ed for sexual harassment, that’s what,” Jensen said.  “Get out of here.”

Gen laughed and waved goodnight.  Jensen turned to walk over to his desk to shut down his laptop, and he noticed that Jared was standing still, looking at the door Gen had passed through on her way out.


Jared’s head snapped to Jensen.  “Yeah?”

“You okay?”

“Yeah.  Just, thinking.”

“Well, try to turn it off.  Let your subconscious do a little work for now.”

Jared began shutting down his computer as well.  “What do you mean?”

“You know, the brain is a funny thing.  Sometimes it observes things you don’t consciously record.  And sometimes it can make connections for you that you would otherwise never see.”

“And what good does it do if it’s stuck in our heads?” Jared asked, slipping his computer into the safe for overnight storage.

“You don’t remember your dreams?” Jensen asked, curious.

“Very rarely.”


Jared laughed incredulously.  “Please don’t tell me you solved a case once by dreaming the answer.”

“Not solved…”

Jared laughed again and shook his head.  “I’m teamed up with a psychic.  Awesome.”

“I’m not a psychic.  Just…go get the car and pull it around, huh?”  Jensen tossed him the sole umbrella they had between them.  “I’ll finish locking up here and meet you at the front door.”

“Okay,” Jared said as he left, still chuckling.

“Asshole,” Jensen murmured fondly and finished securing their sensitive materials in the safe and locked it.  He was pulling on his dried out but wrinkly mess of a suit jacket when there was a soft knock at the open door.  Jensen looked up and felt his heart take an extra hard beat as his eyes landed on Misha.

“Hey,” he said softly.  “Um, I mean, hi,” he amended in a more professional tone.  “What are you still doing here?”

“I’m on the swing shift.  I’m here until ten.”

“Oh.  So.  Um…”

“I found this in the copy room,” Misha said, holding out a thin stack of papers.  “It must have come while you all were out and someone just set it aside in the inbox rather than bringing it here.”

“Oh, the fax from Missouri!”  Jensen walked over and took the stack of papers from Misha.  “I completely forgot these were coming today.  We locked the office when we left, so I guess they couldn’t have been dropped off even if someone did think to bring them over.  Thank you, for bringing it.”

Misha shrugged.  He looked like he was about to speak, but Jensen was too busy glancing over the pages to really pay attention to him.

“Okay, then.  I’ll see you later.”

Jensen scanned a few more lines before Misha’s words registered.  He looked up and said, “Yeah, we—” to Misha’s retreating back.

Jensen groaned softly to himself.  He hadn’t meant to blow him off, but he shouldn’t exactly be thinking he needed to use every opportunity to—to what?  Flirt?  Win him over?  Maybe it was better when they stayed out of each other’s way—

Jensen sucked in a breath when he read one of the receipts.  “Misha!”  He reread it several times to make sure he wasn’t seeing things.

“What is it?”

Jensen was startled by Misha’s return.  Then he realized he had called out for him.

“This receipt, for a coffin purchased from the funeral home in Missouri…”

“What about it?”

Jensen handed him the paper.  Misha frowned at him, but took the paper and read it over.  His face turned to shock and he looked up at Jensen.

“Natalia.  Natalia ordered the coffin?”

Jensen put out a hand, showing he had no answers.  “What reason would she have to order a coffin?”

Misha looked over the receipt again.  “The dates are wrong.”

“What dates are wrong for what?”

“Nothing.  She ordered this a month before she was killed.  I wonder…if this was what she was talking about?”

“What do you mean?”

“All the teachers in the school are put in charge of certain school activities, like the autumn festival, Christmas parties, stuff like that.  Natalia was on the Halloween party team.  She was actually pretty excited about it and told me she had plans to go all out.  Maybe she ordered a real coffin for authenticity.”

“So early?  And why from Missouri?”

Misha shook his head.  “I don’t know.”

“Would anyone have had access to her accounts or credit cards?”

“It seems unlikely, they were all new accounts she’d opened after divorcing her husband and reverting back to her maiden name.”

“Did she—Smith is her maiden name?”


“Oh.  But.  Your name is…”

Jensen trailed off.  It was none of his business, so he didn’t ask.  But maybe Misha wouldn’t mind telling him.  He could see the man repress a sigh, but he answered.

“We’re actually stepsiblings.  My father married her mother when I was seven and she was three.  But, she’s always been my sister.”

Jensen nodded.  “I see.”

Their eyes met for a moment and they just stared for what was probably not a socially acceptable amount of time.  Jensen shook himself.

“So, um, new accounts.  So her ex-husband didn’t have access to them.  And they were new enough they she probably couldn’t have run into identity theft.  Did she report her cards stolen or were her bank records checked for any strange purchases?  I guess not otherwise that would be in the file.  And we would have noticed her making a purchase at an out of state funeral home.  Why weren’t her bank records or credit cards run?”

“I think they were.  Only it was a thirty day check.”

“Maybe we should request to have a full financial background check run,” Jensen said as he flipped through the other receipts.  “See if there are any more unusual purchases.”

“Yeah,” Misha scoffed softly.  “And we’re back to investigating the victims.”

Jensen looked up sharply.

Misha dropped his eyes immediately.  “I’m sor—”

“No, you know what?  Fuck you, Misha.  We’ll let you know if we find anything.”

Misha eyes flashed with anger as he looked back up.  Then he shook his head with a smile that was anything but amused.

“I’m allowed to have my doubts regarding your investigating abilities.  We’re at three murders now and you don’t have a single lead.  Zero suspects.  You’re just chasing your tails!”

“Actually, Officer Collins, since you’re not working this case you don’t know what evidence we have, what leads we’re following, or who we have an active interest in.  So, you can keep your opinions to yourself.”

“Who you have an active interest in?  Natalia?  Me?  How are those leads panning out?” Misha sneered.

Jensen stepped forward without thinking and grasped Misha’s forearm.  Misha jerked back, but Jensen kept his grip, and suddenly they were staring at each other with a dangerous energy charging the air around them.  But, it wasn’t anger and accusation and hatred.  The moment they’d touched the atmosphere had taken a distinct turn.  Jensen took in a shallow breath and licked his lips.  Misha’s eyes followed the movement, and then he gave a slight shake of his head.

“We’ve got to do something about this,” Misha said, his eyes still on Jensen’s lips.

“I can think of a few things,” Jensen murmured, feeling only marginally like a cheesy idiot.

Misha’s eyes flicked up to meet his.  “I meant we need to figure out how to talk to each other without getting worked up like dogs in heat.”

Jensen released Misha’s arm and some of the tension drained away.  He looked at the tile floor.  “Yeah, I knew what you meant.”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t want what you meant.”

Jensen looked at him with a small shake of his head.  “Misha, don’t—”

“Hey, Jensen—oh, hi, Misha.”

Jensen and Misha tried to hide their startled reactions to the voice and both took an inconspicuous step away from each other as they turned to face Russ.

“Hi, Russ,” Jensen said.  “You got something?”

Russ’ eyes lingered on Misha for a moment, and then Misha looked like he realized something.

“Oh, right.  Official business.  I was just dropping off the fax.  I’ll get out of your way.”

“Not in the way,” Russ said.  “Thanks, though, for getting the fax for us.”


Misha walked out of the room and Jensen felt a ridiculous urge to stomp the floor in frustration, but he refrained and looked at Russ.

“Um, actually, it’s not a big deal at all.  I just had Mr. Vanderpool driven home, and set up an interview with him tomorrow morning.  Hopefully he’ll cool off—a little bit at least—in the meantime.”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea.  And thanks again, Russ, for handling the situation.”

Russ smiled broadly.  “No problem.  And, um,” he hesitated and toned down his smile, “I know you and Misha had some issues when you first got here.  Are you two still having problems?  I know him pretty well.  I mean, I could talk to him for you—”

“No,” Jensen said quickly.  “Thank you, but no.  That won’t be necessary.  We’ve—well, I wouldn’t say we’ve reached an understanding, but we’re dealing with it.  Sort of.”

“Is he being a problem?” Russ asked, suddenly serious.

“No.  Not at all.  Um, you know what?  It’s late and Jared is actually waiting for me outside.  We’ll pick up tomorrow.  Hopefully Kim will have something for us, and these receipts need to be sorted through.  Plus all the angel research and the Vanderpool interview.  Big day tomorrow.  Be sure to get some rest.”

Russ smiled again.  “Right.  See you in the morning.”

Jensen locked the door behind them and said goodnight to Russ.  He didn’t look to see if Misha was at his desk.  He walked out of the station and jogged the five feet in the rain to where the Accent was parked against the curb.  He hopped in and Jared put the car in gear.

“What took you so long?”

“The fax from Missouri came in after you left.  I couldn’t help glancing through it.”

“Anything interesting?”

“Well, Natalia Smith bought a coffin from them.”

Jared made a face.  “That’s weird.”

“I know.”

“Hunh.  Should we stay and look into to it?”

“No.  I need a shower and I need sleep.  We’ve got all day tomorrow.”

“Okay.”  Jared drove out of the parking lot.  “So you just swung by the copy room on your way out, or…?”

“Oh, no.  An officer saw it in the tray and dropped it off.”


They drove for a couple minutes and then Jared cocked his head.  “An officer?”

Jensen sighed.  “Misha brought it over.”

“Oh, now it makes sense.  You made me wait in the car for nearly ten minutes because you were ‘glancing through the fax.’  You’ve got some weird euphemisms, dude.”

Jensen shot him a disgusted look and Jared just chuckled.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013  

Jared took down a note regarding angel hierarchy from the book he was reading and then glanced around the room.  Jensen was leaning on his desk, finger stuck on the open page of a book as he skimmed through it.  Gen sat in an office chair, gently twisting back and forth as she perused a copy of Angels in the Occult.  Russ sat on the floor with his back against the wall by the door, squeezing a stress-relief squishy ball in one hand as he turned the pages of his book with the other.

Jared returned to reading.  Then all four started violently as their quiet research atmosphere was shattered when the door flung open and banged against the wall.  They all looked up to see ASAC Jim Beaver.  He scowled at them.

“Sorry to disrupt your book club, ladies, but do you mind if we have a little progress update meeting?”


Jared watched Jensen shut the door to the conference room.  He’d already spent most of his morning on the phone with Eric—and hadn’t spoken more than three words as he’d had to listen about how this case was now national news and they had better have some sort of statement if not answers to give the press.  It was times like those when being the junior agent with less responsibility was definitely a good thing.

Jensen walked away from the door and took a seat next to Jared.  Sitting at the round conference table were himself, Jensen, Gen, Russ, Ty, Jim Beaver, and Jim Beaver’s surly scowl.

Jim opened with a succinct message to the group.  “Whose ass do I need to start chewing on to get some movement on this case?”

“I’m the lead investigator,” Jensen said.  “That would be my ass.”

Jared saw Russ bite his lip to hide a smile.

“Three murders.  In one month.  No suspects.  Zero evidence—”

“We don’t have zero evidence, Jim,” Gen spoke up.  Jared hoped she was familiar enough with him to know whether or not that was a career ending move.  “But it does take time to process.  The same amount of time that it takes to process evidence when the kills are six months apart.  We have to bear in mind that this guy is a pro.  He has a lot of experience.  Possibly over nine years.

"You know me, Jim, and if I thought these DC agents were dragging their butts on the carpet, I would have taken over.  We’re doing everything we can.  We’re seeing this from a lot of different angles.  We have a lot of leads that we are doing our best to cover.  But, you know it takes time.  And this guy—he’s not giving us that.  But that will make him sloppy.”

“What kind of leads, Agent Cortese?”

Jared saw Gen’s shoulders tense slightly.  Clearly being addressed formally unnerved her.

“Well, for one thing, we’re pretty certain he’s marking his victims and even notifying them of that fact.  He sends the name of the angel he carves onto their chests to them before he kidnaps them.  We found a note in Vanderpool’s home, and we sent a team back in to search Thompson’s house.  We found a note card with the name of the angel on it in one of the trash cans.  That tells us he received it after the last time his home was cleaned, which means he received it a week or less before he was discovered.  So, more than likely the kidnapping and torture doesn’t last more than a few days and the killer takes them shortly after delivering the note.  One wasn’t found in Smith’s home or desk at work, but one of her coworkers did remember hearing Smith mention something about a strange note.  She’d assumed it had been a secret admirer type of thing at the time, but said that Smith never said that.  Just that it was—”

“Okay,” Jim interrupted her.  “I got the picture.  He’s warning them ahead of time.  What do the angel names mean?”

Everyone shifted in their chairs.

“We’re working on that, sir,” Jensen said.

“So, even if another victim gets a card, we won’t know what it means.”

“We’ll know to put them in protective custody at least.”

“Will we?  We didn’t know about the other notes beforehand.”

“The victims didn’t know what they were,” Ty interjected smoothly.  “If we inform the public, they’ll be able to come forward and ask for protection.”

“Is that such a good idea?” Russ asked.  “We let this news out, and I’m pretty sure the killer will stop sending the cards.”

“Maybe,” Jensen agreed.  “Depends on how arrogant he is.  Another thing to consider is that if we announce this to the public it’s going to generate a lot of false leads and panicky people.”

“People are already panicking, Agent Ackles," Jim said.  "People three states over are flipping out.”

Everyone was quiet for a moment as they considered their options.

“I think…” Russ said hesitantly, like he wasn’t sure if he could speak, “…that we should not inform the public for now.”

Everyone looked at him and he looked nervous.  Jensen gave him an encouraging nod and he spoke again.

“I mean, it will create panic every time someone gets an unmarked letter or has a note slipped under the door.  Stupid teenagers may do it to prank each other.  And now that the case is out there—that people are aware of the killer marking their victims with the names of angels—I think that if someone did receive a card it would seem unusual enough to make them question it.  Hopefully they would bring it to our attention.”

Jensen nodded.  “That makes sense.  But if we have some way of warning the populace, and we don’t do it, forget the fall out we’ll receive from it.  It’s our ethical duty to do what we can to protect people.  I just don’t know on this one.”

No one else volunteered an opinion.

“How sure are we that this is the killer warning them ahead of time?  We’ve got, two out of three?”

“Yes, sir.  Possibly three," Gen confirmed.

“But we don’t know three.  In fact, we don’t know that the killer isn’t planting these at the crime scenes after the fact.”

“And that’s a possibility,” Jared said.  “This guy is all about the game.  Everything he does could have a specific meaning or it could just be a decoy to get us off chasing a lure.”

“Allure?” Ty asked.

“Like, the things dog chase at dog tracks.”

“Oh.  A lure.”

“Alright,” Jim said.  “We don’t know if the notes are given to the victims before they are kidnapped.  We do know that the angel name is left on the body and that based on the murders in DC, they probably have some sort of meaning.  Let’s work on that angle since that’s what we know.  We won’t make any announcements about the cards just yet and keep that information in-house.  What else do we have?”

“Well,” Jensen said, “despite my earlier reservations, I’m starting to become convinced that this guy is local.  And that he’s not new to the area.  He knows these victims too well.  Knows their routines, their habits.  Knows when they’ll go long stretches without being expected by people.  None of these victims have been reported missing—and they have been held and tortured for at least two or three days before their deaths.

“He is also someone who could somehow have access to personal information like credit card purchases.  The first victim actually bought the coffin she was found in.  A coworker confirmed that she’d had the idea to use one in the school’s Halloween festival even though she hadn’t known she’d already purchased it.  The funeral home is a chain, so when she ordered it online, the order got placed in the Kansas City, Missouri branch’s account.”

“So, we’re looking at people with access to financial records or good hacking skills.”

“Not necessarily,” Jared said.  “It’s not like a package that big wouldn’t go unnoticed.  At the very least people at the post office saw it.”

“So now we’re thinking our guy is a mailman?” Jim asked crustily.

Jensen shrugged a shoulder.  “Even serial killers have day jobs.”

“Or, the killer could have come across it in her basement when he attacked her,” Russ suggested.

“I guess.  But there’s not a lot of evidence to support that she was kidnapped from her home or held there while he tortured her.  But what I don’t get is why he stopped making the coffins by hand.  Smith was in a premade coffin, Thompson had none, Vanderpool had one made of her own body parts.  Why the switch?  He put such care in the craftsmanship of those coffins in DC.”

“They probably take a long time to make,” Gen said.  “He’s stepped up his game with the frequency of the kills.  He doesn’t have the time.”

Jensen made a face but didn’t respond as he chewed on his thumbnail.  Jared knew the look hadn’t been directed at Gen but at the situation.  He hoped she knew that.

"Regardless," Jensen said sitting up.  "He's local.  And he's been to DC.  I was wondering if we could—"

"Access the private information of every citizen in my city?" Ty said with a disapproving look.

"That's not what I was going to say."

Ty chuckled humorlessly.  "Trust me, Agent, whatever you were about to say was going to violate a lot of people's right to privacy, so just get it out of your head."

Jensen's eyes flicked to the side, but he did manage to not actually roll them.  They were all saved from further discussion (or argument) on that topic when someone rapped on the door and opened it.  Kim was halfway through the doorway before she noticed the large party gathered.

"Oh.  Oh, I'm sorry.  Dan said the agents were in here but he failed to mention you were all having a big powwow.  I'm sorry to interrupt."

"It's okay," Ty said.  "Jim, this is Dr. Kim Rhodes, our medical examiner."

"Pleasure," Jim grunted and somehow sounded like he meant it.  "I've been impressed with the thoroughness of your work on this case."

"Well, thank you."

"Did you have something for us, Kim?" Jensen asked.

"Well, yes and no.  Just some more details of the kill, but nothing that will identify a suspect I don't think."

"Please share it with us," Jim said.

"Okay.  Um.  The first thing is that based on the injuries and clotting and healing of the body parts, I'm fairly certain she was kept alive and tortured for over five days before being bled out."

Everyone in the room shifted in their seats.

"And despite being cut into separate pieces, I was able to determine that both the vagina and anus suffered from sexual trauma.  I also found traces of phthalates on those tissues."

Jared's brow creased.  "He's using dildos," he said.  "And old fashioned ones at that."

"Do we want to know why you know that?" Russ asked.

Jared opened his mouth to respond, but Beaver spoke up.

"Is that true?"

"Well," Kim answered, "phthalates are found in PVC rubber and that used to be the standard for making dildos.  Until it was discovered phthalates are carcinogens.  I think the killer has used other devices as well, both traditional and non-traditional, but the point I'm trying to hit on—and I think Jared was as well—is that he's not raping them with his own member."

"Typical," Jensen snorted.  "A psycho with mommy issues can't get it up so he takes it out on innocent people."

"He may not be impotent," Russ said.  "He might just know about forensics and not want to risk leaving the DNA."

"Yeah, sure."

"And what do you mean mommy issues?  What evidence do we have of that?"

"They all have mommy issues."

Russ opened his mouth to argue, but Jim stood up.  "All right, well, I think this meeting has run its course.  Ty and I are going to discuss the statement we're going to release to the press.  I want the four of you back in that room figuring out these damn angel names.  And Dr. Rhodes, do you have any other results to share before we break?"

"The analysis of the paper and ink of the cards with the angel names on them should be in by today as well as the results of the trace evidence gathered at Thompson's crime scene.  Vanderpool's is still being sorted through.  There were a lot of rooms in the house and we vacuumed and dusted for prints in all of them."

"All right then.  Always report immediately with new findings.  Don't worry about if we're in meetings or not."

"Yes, sir."

Everyone stayed seated and Kim stood awkwardly at the door.

"Didn't I just give you all assignments?  Get!"

The three agents and one detective stood up swiftly and exited the room.  As they entered the bullpen, Russ grasped Jensen's elbow and made him stop.  Jared slowed down too, not sure if the conversation was meant to be private or not.  Jensen glanced down at Russ' hand when the man didn't let go, but didn't try to shake him off.

"Jensen, I really hope you didn't mean what you said in there."

"What do you mean?"

"About those clichés about the killer.  We can't put this guy in a box.  I didn't think you'd be swayed by that pop psychology profiling bullshit."

Jensen shifted his weight and it put his body at an angle that made Russ either let go or have to reach out to keep a hand on him.  He let go.

"Believe me, Russ, I'm not underestimating him.  But I'm not above ridiculing him.  I'm only a man."

Russ' face took on a strange expression and he opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted when Misha came up and said, "Agent Ackles, I was wondering if I could have a word?  Unless, I'm sorry, am I interrupting?"

"No," Jensen said at the same time Russ said, "Yes."

They looked at each other and Jensen patted Russ' shoulder.  "We can discuss this further if you'd like.  I don't want you thinking I'm not taking this case seriously."

"No, no of course not.  I know this case is—everything to you."

"Um, well, it's everything right now, definitely.  We should get back to our research.  I'll join you all shortly."

Russ nodded and walked toward the FBI office.  Jared raised an eyebrow at Jensen and he half shrugged one shoulder and waved a dismissive hand in the air.  Jared and Gen left Jensen to talk with Misha and joined Russ in the office.  He was staring at the latest entry to the whiteboard: Sarah Vanderpool, forty-two years old, married, no children, adulterer.  He turned around when he heard the agents enter.

"So, are we ready for more angelic knowledge?"

"No," Gen griped.   "But I guess that's not really an option."

Russ smiled.  "No, ASAC Beaver seemed pretty clear.  I think I am going to go grab my desk chair though.  The floor is starting to get a little old."

Russ left and Gen turned to face Jared.  She smiled at him.  It made her look very cute, but it just made Jared's blood run cold.

"W-what?" he asked.

"Oh, relax.  It's nothing bad.  But—"

"But what?"

"Will you go over to Nell's and get me some loaded french fries?  I need carbs and cheese if I'm going to spend all afternoon reading about Zippity Do-Dah-el."

Jared laughed.  "I haven't come across that angel yet."

"Oh, he protects against racial insensitivity."

Jared laughed again and felt his smile just grow wider as he looked at Gen.  "You're kind of funny."

"And you're kind of tall.  Fries?"

"Right.  Fries."

Jared checked to make sure he had his wallet and then left the office.  Jensen was on his way in and Jared raised an eyebrow at him and gave him what he knew was an obnoxious grin.

"So, did Misha help you 'go over anymore faxes?'"

Jensen narrowed his eyes.  "Jay."

"What?  Okay, I'm sorry.  But, did he apologize for being a dick on Monday?"

"No, he didn't.  He was letting me know the animal mutilation file I'm looking for is at the contracting company's office that's doing the electronic conversion.  He said it'll be here in a couple of weeks."

"Ah.  Do you think it will really help?"

Jensen's whole body sagged a little.  "Honestly?  No.  But we're flapping in the breeze here.  This asshole has our pants around our ankles and I don't want to just bend over without a fight."

"Thank you for the vivid mental picture."

"You're welcome.   Where were you going?"


"Gen wants loaded cheese fries?"


"Cool.  Get me a chicken sandwich and some fried pickle chips."

"Really?  Haven't seen you up jogging in the mornings lately."

"Bite me, Jared.  And if it takes you longer than twenty minutes to get back, we'll all know you were 'looking over some faxes' with Felicia."

Jared laughed and discreetly flicked him off as he walked out of the bullpen.


Thursday, October 24, 2013 

Jensen flipped through the stack of photos again.  They depicted two cats and a squirrel dissected in such a precise manner that Jensen wondered at the term "mutilation" being used to describe them.  In fact, it was the clinical, scientific manner of the act that had gotten the offender off with nothing more than a warning.  The court deemed that there was nothing malicious about the act, just a healthy scientific curiosity.  Jensen definitely disagreed with that.  It was not normal for a fourteen year old to surgically dissect their neighbor's cat for any reason.

He wished he could have the kid's name.  Then there'd be only one of Ty's fine citizens whose privacy he wanted to invade.  As it was he was sorely tempted to run a search in the police records for all thirty-five to thirty-six years old males.  And if he thought he could do it without word of it getting back to Ty, he would have done it by now.  It was a terrible violation and would break his oath of rigorous obedience to the Constitution, but they were at the end of their rope.

Fortunately, there hadn't been another murder nor were there any missing person reports filed.  Everyone in town seemed to be accounted for, but Jensen wouldn't put it past the killer to select a victim from the neighboring towns.  And that killer was still just as big a mystery as ever.  The trace evidence from the Smith and Vanderpool scenes had yielded nothing.  The Thompson scene revealed some fibers made of cheap, low quality cotton which didn't match any of Thompson's clothing, but those fibers were found in just about every kind of garment made for every Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target and other affordable retailers.  There was also some dirt that matched the soil around Lake Winnipesaukee (no, don't ask him to spell or pronounce that), but Thompson's house was on the lake.  The note cards with the angel names on them were index cards that could be bought in any store that sold office supplies and the ink was from a mass produced Sharpie marker.  They could hardly ask the local stores for records indicating those people who had bought those items.  People didn't understand why they couldn't stop terrorists like the Boston Marathon Bombers, but they couldn't arrest someone or even investigate them for simply buying a pressure cooker and ball bearings.  What the hell were they supposed to do about people buying index cards and markers?

At least the tension and commotion from two weeks ago had eased some.  After the surge of media and reporters had been given some scraps, they had analyzed it on twenty-four hour news programs to ridiculous conclusions.  However, after several days with no information, no new body, and some political scandal in Washington, the story had been all but dropped.  He didn't know if the short American attention span was a good thing or a bad thing.

Then tension in the office had also relaxed as Eric called less often, Jim visited for progress reports less often, and Jensen and Misha crossed paths less often.  So there'd been a moment a week back when Misha and Jensen had somehow found themselves alone in the FBI office.  And somehow the door had gotten shut.  And somehow Misha had wound up with his back against the door with Jensen attempting to give him a tonsillectomy with his tongue.  They'd been interrupted by a loud commotion out in the bullpen as the Squirrel Licker was brought in shouting about a striped bass plotting an assassination on the President.  No one had caught them, but they'd suddenly realized how stupid they were being by getting too carried away in places where it would be very easy to get caught.

They'd taken great pains to make sure they were never anywhere alone together since then.  And it had helped keep them out of trouble and certainly it had made their tenuous relationship become less antagonistic though they still sniped at each other on occasion.  Misha really did have a snarky sense of humor and genuinely seemed to enjoy watching people squirm.  And that was fine.   And they were good.  Really.  Of course, three days ago Jensen had woken up for the first time in nearly twenty years with a mess in his underwear.  But he could blame that on his eight month dry spell more than any fixation on Misha.  Well, when he could get himself to believe that anyway.

Jensen checked his watch.  It was nearly ten o'clock and he hadn't eaten dinner.  Fortunately Nell's stayed open until two in the morning.  Jensen looked at his watch again to check the date and felt a cold, squirming worm of unease roll in his stomach.  There had been about a week between Smith and Thompson.  Two weeks between Thompson and Vanderpool.  Now it had been over three weeks with no new body. And that was a good thing; Jensen didn't want another person to die so he could have more evidence—but this was starting to feel like DC all over again.  They'd been so certain there would be a fourth kill, and then he'd disappeared for eight years.  Jensen would go insane if he lost him again.

"Hey," Jared said as he popped his head into the office and rapped on the frame.

Jensen was too tired to even be startled.  He just turned to face the younger agent.  His hair was getting long.  It really was longer than regulations allowed for, but he looked cute with the floppy bang thing going on.

"Where you been?" Jensen mumbled, rubbing a hand over his face.

"Talking with Kim."

"Given up on Felicia?"

"What?  It's not like that at all."

"Jared, the two of you flirt like it's a competition."

Jared laughed.  "I think it is.  Kim and I just have fun trying to one up each other."


"You awake?"

"Yeah.  I'm just tired.  But I'm not tired for sleep.  Just—I need a break."

"But you feel guilty for thinking that let alone actually taking one."

Jensen wouldn't meet his eyes.  "I just feel like I'm missing something.  And if I stop looking—it'll slip through the cracks and be lost."

"Hey, not 'I,' 'we' okay?  We are in this together.  You, me, Gen, Russ, even Ty and Jim.  Hell the whole Elton PD.  We'll figure it out."

"Yeah," Jensen didn't sound convinced.

"Come on.  Close up.  We're getting dinner at Nell's and then going to Home sweet Motor Lodge."

Jensen looked at Jared for a moment, and then slapped his already hibernating laptop closed.  "Yeah.  I can get on board with that plan."

They drove the Accent to Nell's since they wouldn't be returning to the station.  When they got out Jared was still giving Jensen hell for running over the curb on the way out of the police station parking lot.

"Run along," Jensen waved him off as he bent over to inspect the bottom of the car.  "Put our name on the wait list," he said wryly.

They had been to Nell's at every possible time of day and discovered the busiest time was eight a.m.—and even then only half the tables were full.  There might be a cop or two picking up coffee for the start of their shift, but they'd probably be the only ones eating this late at night.  He just wanted Jared gone in case he discovered he had actually screwed up the stupid car.  It was hard to see much in the dim light from street lamps but Jensen didn't think he'd done any damage cosmetic or otherwise.  He stood up and walked toward the diner entrance.  He saw Jared talking to Felicia who had evidently just come off her shift and was on her way home.  He heard them laugh and almost gagged at the sweet smile they shared.

As he stepped up onto the sidewalk he heard Felicia say, "So, since you’re here, I guess that means you can give me a ride back to my place.”

Felicia smiled brightly and Jared returned the gesture until he saw Jensen nearing the door.

“Oh, no, I can’t,” Jared said.

Felicia’s smile wavered and she flushed with a little embarrassment.  “Oh, of course not.  I mean, I wasn’t trying to imply—”

“No, it’s not—” Jared talked over her, just as flustered.

“It’s my fault,” Jensen said as he shut them both up.  “He thinks he can’t because he’s technically my ride.  But, I can find my own way back.  This isn’t a big town.  Jared, don’t keep a lady waiting.”

“But,” they both started to protest but had to stop and move out of the way of the diner door opening.  Misha took a step outside and stopped upon seeing the small gathering.  He raised an eyebrow as he shifted a white paper bag to one hand, probably to free up his gun hand.

“Is there a problem?”

“No,” Felicia said.  “Not at all.  Um, Misha, can you give me a ride home?”

Jensen sucked on the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing at Jared’s dismayed expression.

“Yeah, of course, Fee,” Misha replied.

“Or,” Jensen said, “Officer Collins can give me a ride back to the motel and Jared can drop you off at your place.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Jared asked.

Jensen widened his eyes at Jared and did his best to telepathically tell him to shut up.  Fortunately Misha seemed to take the comment to refer to their still somewhat strained rapport at the station.

“Oh, we’ll be fine.  It’s a short enough trip that I’m sure we’ll be able to refrain from saying something stupid to each other.”

“Might be best if we don’t talk at all then,” Jensen mused.

Misha flicked his eyes to him, but didn’t comment.

“Are you sure?” Felicia asked.  “The motel is the opposite direction of where you live.”

“Fee,” Misha sighed.  “This whole awkward conversation is only going to get more awkward if you don’t just take your agent and go.  We all know what’s going on.  Don’t make us say it out loud.”

Felicia went scarlet.  “Misha!”  She grabbed Jared’s hand and stomped away toward the Accent with him in tow.  Jensen slapped the key of the car into Jared's palm and grinned as he watched the sight of a 6’4” man get manhandled by a 5’5” woman.  The sex should be interesting.  He turned back to face Misha and saw the man scowling as he looked after them.

“Jared’s a good guy, right?” Misha asked.

Jensen shrugged.  “Good enough.”

Misha turned the scowl on him, and then realized Jensen was teasing him.  His did a quick roll of his eyes and started walking toward his patrol car.

“Let’s go, Ackles.”

“Ah, wait, actually, I need to get some dinner first.  That’s why we were here.”

Misha stopped and glanced at Nell’s Diner.  Then he looked at Jensen with what looked like actual concern on his face.

“Do you guys eat all your meals here?”

“A solid eighty percent, I’d say.”

“Yeah—you know, the food is good, but if you’ve eaten here every meal for the last two months—it’s only a matter of time before you have a cardiac event.”

Jensen let out a small laugh.  “So, what are you suggesting?  I drive to the mall and get a salad at Chop't?”

“Well, actually, that’s a better idea than the one I was going to suggest.”

Jensen ran a tongue over an incisor.  “And what exactly were you going to suggest?” he asked dryly.

Misha suddenly found the bag in his hand interesting.  “I was going to suggest that I could cook for you, but—” he trailed off and raised his eyes to look at Jensen.


“But that would be a bad idea.”

Jensen nodded and licked his lips.  “A terrible idea.”

Jensen could see Misha’s eyes move as they flicked over his body and then back to his face.  Misha ran his teeth over his bottom lip, and then swallowed.

“Oh, fuck it.  Come on.”

Misha began to walk toward his car and Jensen followed after him, watching his backside more closely than he needed to.  When he got into the passenger side of the K9 patrol car, he found Misha placing the white paper bag on the middle console and giving the strict command of “Leave it” to Bunny who was lying in the backseat and eyeing the bag with, well, dogged concentration.  Misha started the car and they both took Jensen’s earlier advice and didn’t speak on the drive out to Misha’s home.  No sense in ruining the chance for mutual gratification by potentially ticking each other off.

Misha lived just outside the Elton city limits in a well kept neighborhood with large houses, landscaped lawns, and honest to God white picket fences.  Misha’s house was the largest one at the end of a cul-de-sac with a frickin’ fountain in the front yard that was lit up and spouting away.  Jensen took in the—shit, mansion—and then looked at Misha.


“Shut up.”

Jensen grinned as he got out, wondering if he had found himself a sugar daddy.  He walked around to Misha’s side of the car and watched him open the door for Bunny who bounded out with quivering energy, but still sat down and waited for orders.

“So, how much time do we have until your parents get home, Mish?”

“Shut—sha, Jensen.  My name is Mi-sha.  Here, hold this.”

He handed Jensen the white paper bag and then bent over to unclip Bunny’s badge from around her neck.  She shuffled her feet and let out a small whine, but remained sitting.  Misha gave Jensen a malicious smile.

“Bunny.  Off duty.”

Bunny barked and jumped on Jensen.  If the car hadn’t been behind him, he would have been on the ground.  He let out an undignified squeak when the dog initially pounced, legitimately worried she was going for his throat, but she was alternating between licking his face and sniffing the white bag.

“What the fuck is in here?”

“Some raw meat scraps Nell had left over.  Bunny’s a good girl and deserves a treat every now and then, don’t you?”

He baby voiced the dog, which only excited her more, which made her try to climb Jensen like a tree.  He sputtered around her tongue and tried to get the white bag open.

“You suck, Misha!”

Misha just laughed and headed for his front door.  “Be sure she does her business before you come in.  Use the command ‘potty time.’”

“Potty time?” Jensen called out, finally getting a piece of meat into the dog’s mouth.  Upon hearing the command, Bunny immediately dashed away into the yard and squatted.  She really was a well trained dog.

“Stay out until she does number two.  Thanks, Jen!”

Jensen made a disgusted face at Misha’s retreating back, but was still prepared when Bunny came back for bit of meat.  He fed the dog and scratched her behind the ears.  It took three passes of checking his hands with nose and tongue to believe the meat was really gone, and then she padded out into the yard to sniff around.  Jensen waited for what he felt like must be long enough to mean the dog didn’t really need to go, and then finally she performed that awkward walking squat dogs do when working out their business.  Then she bounded back across the yard and headed for the front door completely bypassing Jensen.

Jensen grumbled and walked up the rest of the driveway.  He was not picking that up.

Inside the house several lights were on, and from the back he could faintly hear the sound of running water and a knife hitting a cutting board.  Bunny had already disappeared, so Jensen shut the door behind him and took the time to examine the house Misha lived in.  He was a little taken aback by the large foyer and the double grand staircase that swept gracefully up from both sides to a landing at the second level that turned into a hall disappearing to either side.  It took him a moment to pull his eyes away from the black and white marble foyer, and when he did the rest of the house was just as startling.  To say it didn’t fit the police officer he vaguely knew was an understatement.

To the left was the living room and dining room, done in pastels so pastel it made Jensen’s teeth ache.  The furniture looked like real antiques being large heavy pieces made of dark colored wood, which clashed pretty terribly with the pink, baby blue, and yellow walls, curtains, and generally tacky décor.  To the right was a study that led into an observatory.  Its color palette consisted of burgundy, hunter green, and brown.  The furniture on this side matched a little better, but was clearly cheap IKEA home builds and there were at least three different species’ heads stuffed and mounted on the walls.

Maybe Misha really did live with his parents.

Jensen walked across the marble floor and under the arch of the staircase.  He passed through a small dark passageway, and the room immediately opened into a large space with a casual dining area set up on the right, a door to a screened back porch directly in front, and a large, open professional grade kitchen to the left.  Misha was standing at the center island, which was as large as the counter in his kitchen in his apartment, washing, peeling, and then dicing potatoes.  He looked up as Jensen entered, dropping off a handful of white cubes into a large pot.

“What took you so long?”

“She wouldn’t go.”

“I told you to use the command.”

“I don’t know.  It just seems wrong to make something poo on command.”

One side of Misha’s mouth curved into an amused smile.  He waved Jensen over with the knife, and then handed him the implement.

“I’m going to go change.  Can you finish peeling these last two potatoes and cut them up?”

“Um…yeah.  Probably.”

“Probably?  Please tell me a self-sufficient man in his thirties knows how to cut a potato.”

Jensen made a face and mumbled high pitched noises in mock imitation of him.

“Don’t cut off a finger.  That’s very sharp.  And try to make the pieces all the same size.  And don’t leave too much peel on.”

“Why don’t you just do it, then?” Jensen groused.

Misha didn’t answer as he left the kitchen by another stairway tucked into the back wall.  It was a servant’s staircase.  What the hell kind of house did Misha live in?  Jensen concentrated hard on getting the skin off in as thin a layer as possible, and then dicing the tuber into cubes that looked about the same size as the ones in the pot.  He was so meticulous he had only just finished washing the knife in the sink when Misha returned.  Jensen’s eyes caught on him and tracked him as he crossed the floor barefooted.  The jeans were faded and extremely well worn in all the right places and the heather grey T-shirt fit him like a glove.  Jensen just let himself stare.  He wasn’t allowed to drool at work, but he certainly could here.

Misha walked right up to him and Jensen turned enough that their arms just barely brushed, sending a shiver through his whole body.

“Take a load off, Agent.  Stay a while.”

Misha turned to pick up the pot of potatoes and walked away to set them on the stove.  As he was adjusting the gas burner to a high heat to get the water boiling, Jensen realized he was still wearing his full suit.  He decided to take Misha’s advice and shrugged out of the coat as he walked over toward the table and chairs on the other side of the room.  He folded and neatly laid the jacket on the back of one of the chairs and tilted his head as he looked at the table.  It was a vibrant, natural red brown wood made of several planks slatted together to form a flawless unbroken surface.  Jensen was certain it was handmade; he’d unfortunately become overly acquainted with carpentry techniques about eight years back.  He could tell the chairs were part of the same handcrafted set.  He unbuttoned the cuffs of his dress shirt and rolled the sleeves up past his elbow.  This dining set would probably easily sell for thousands of dollars.  He reached for his tie to loosen it, debating whether or not to take it off, and just settled for unbuttoning the top two buttons of his shirt and leaving it on.

“Hey, Misha?”


“You live alone?  There aren’t any kids here, right?”

“No, of course not,” came the reply a little sharply.  “Why?”

Jensen looked at him and tried not to smile at his miffed expression.  He pulled the gun and holster from his belt and displayed it to Misha before setting it down lightly on the table.

“Oh, right,” Misha mumbled, looking a little embarrassed.

Ordinarily Jensen would never just leave a gun lying about anywhere, but the only two people in the house were trained in firearms, so he took the risk.  Jensen ran a hand along the top of the table; it was perfectly smooth—he could barely feel where the planks began and ended.

“Hey, where did you get this table set?  This is amazing craftsmanship.”

Misha approached wiping his hands on a towel, his cheeks a little flushed.

“You like it?”

“Yeah.  I mean, I’m not an expert or anything, but even I can tell this is pretty flawless.”

“Oh, not flawless.  See that crooked plank right smack in the middle?”

Jensen searched for an imperfection.  “No,” he said.

“Ah, well, I guess you see your own flaws easier than other people do.”

Jensen turned to face him, astonished.  “You made this?”

Misha shrugged a shoulder.  “I dabbled in carpentry.  Just as a hobby.  This probably is the best thing I’ve ever made.”  He laughed.  “Which, of course, isn’t saying much.”

“It’s saying a lot,” Jensen murmured and ran his hand over the smooth top again.

Misha tried to hide his blush by turning to scold Bunny who was sniffing her nose along the top of a counter.  The dog ignored him and continued her exploration.

“Hey, uh, this isn’t white pine, is it?” Jensen asked.

Misha cocked his head as he looked at him.  “Did you really just ask me if a dark red wood is made out of white pine?”  He chucked Jensen under the chin.  “At least you have your looks.”

Jensen scoffed in indignation as Misha turned and walked back into the kitchen.

“I just meant it could be stained!  I was wondering if wood can be disguised like that.”

Misha shook his head.  “White pine could never be stained to that color.  There is a bit of sealant on it, which altered the color a little, but that’s the natural color of cherry wood.”

“It’s nice.”

“Unh-hunh.  Now forget about the table and tell me how you like your steak cooked.”

“We’re having steak?” Jensen asked as he walked toward Misha.  “How exactly is steak and mashed potatoes a healthier alternative to Nell’s?”

“It’s not, dumbass,” Misha replied with a smug smile as he doctored the steaks.

Jensen took the admission of his ruse as an invitation.  He placed the back of his hand at Misha’s neck and lightly ran two knuckles down his spine.  The man shivered and flexed his neck, like he was trying to get away from the sensation.  Jensen wasn’t about to let that happen.  He moved to stand directly behind him, running his hands down the sides of Misha’s soft T-shirt, before grasping his hips firmly.  He stepped closer again and pulled Misha back forcing them to come in full contact from where Jensen’s lips pressed into Misha’s hair right down to where their ankles bumped awkwardly with the proximity.  Misha continued his work with seasoning the steaks, but Jensen could see his hands trembling when he flipped one over to do the other side.

Jensen smiled and inhaled, enjoying the spicy scent of Misha’s shampoo mixed in faintly with his natural essence.  This wasn’t exactly the standard operating procedure for a TDY fling, but he couldn’t help it.  The guy smelled good.   He tilted his head a little to press his lips to the nape of his neck and ran his hands up, this time over Misha’s hard abdomen and flat stomach.  He reached his chest and used his wide hands to cover his pectoral muscles and squeeze gently.  Misha let out a soft sound and shifted against him, drawing attention to Jensen’s rapidly growing erection as the soft denim offered little barrier to the cleft of his ass.  Jensen was fairly certain he wasn’t wearing underwear.

To check his theory he moved his hands down again and slid them to the sides of Misha’s erection, which must be uncomfortably jammed against the cabinets.  Jensen ran his thumbs up and down the length, absolutely positive that there was nothing between them except a thin layer of worn out cotton.

Misha grunted and slapped his hands to the counter to give him the leverage he needed to grind back against Jensen.  Jensen obliged him and let their hips roll together for several long moments, encouraging Misha to spread his legs a little wider with a gentle nudge to his thigh with his knee.  He managed to press in a little further to Misha’s ass and the man dropped his head back onto Jensen’s shoulder with a softly spoken obscenity.  Jensen moved his hands from Misha’s groin and reached up to grab his pectorals again, thumbing rapidly and repeatedly over his nipples.  Misha tried to arch away from the sudden and excruciating stimulation, but found himself trapped by the counter and Jensen’s body.  This made him struggle more and groan out Jensen’s name.

Jensen gasped softly, his hot breath coursing down Misha’s neck.  Hearing Misha say his name like that…it had sent a spike of pleasure and lust straight to his dick.  His cock continued to feel throbbing aftershocks with each desperate inhalation from the man who was causing it all.  He needed to hear more.

He dropped slowly to his knees, placing kisses along Misha’s clothed back, his hands trailing down until they found hips again.  He turned Misha around and then pressed him back against the counter, holding him still.  Jensen would have felt ridiculous rubbing the side of his face against Misha’s dick, but it felt too good to be this close to having that hot, salty weight on his tongue again.  God he hadn’t realized how much he missed sucking cock until Misha had reminded him.

“J-Jensen,” Misha said shakily, “we have to finish making dinner.”

Jensen popped the button on his jeans and closed his teeth gently around the thick bulge he could feel twitching through the denim.  Misha bit off a moan and one hand found Jensen’s shoulder and the other grabbed onto his hair for dear life.

“The—the steaks—”

“We have time,” Jensen mumbled, drunk on the dark, heady scent he was breathing in greedily as he nuzzled the apex of Misha’s thighs.  His hands slid around to grab his ass, pulling the man closer, and he opened his mouth again to catch the warm, soft weight of Misha’s balls through his jeans.

Misha’s grip on his shoulder and hair increased to the point of pain.


Jensen loved how he kept biting off the noises he was making.  It just challenged him to work him over so hard he wouldn’t be able to censor himself.  Jensen took the tab of the zipper in his teeth and started to pull it down.  He squeezed Misha’s ass again and the man cut off another groan and jerked so violently he banged the cabinets with a thigh creating a loud echoing thump.

Two seconds later Jensen heard a threatening growl right beside his ear.  He froze and turned his head, letting go of the zipper tab, and saw Bunny about six inches from his face, teeth bared, muzzle wrinkled in anger, and a continuous, unhappy growl rolling out of her throat.

“Bun-Bunny, down,” Misha breathed distractedly.

One of Bunny’s ears flicked toward his voice, but she didn’t move from her crouched and ready to attack and kill position.

“Bunny,” Misha said sharply, coming back to himself fully.  “Down.”

Bunny stopped growling and glanced up once before she sat down, glaring at Jensen.

“Go away,” Misha said, waving a hand at her.  “Back up.”

The dog kept her eyes trained on Jensen, but shuffled back a few steps before sitting down again.

“Stand up, Jensen.”

Jensen immediately moved to stand, but Misha put pressure on his shoulder.

“Slowly, Jensen,” Misha said and snapped his fingers to draw Bunny’s attention to him and away from Jensen.  However, when Jensen started moving, slowly, her eyes were back on him.  Once he got to his feet he was pressed pretty firmly to Misha’s side, but he didn’t try to move away while the dog seemed so edgy.

“Bunny, up,” Misha gave the command in a friendly voice.  She got to her feet at once.  “Lay down.”  She flopped to the floor immediately, ears looking much more perky and friendly.  Misha pointed a finger gun at her.  “Bang!” he said softly.  Bunny flopped to her side and put her paws in the air.  She didn’t look very dead though as her tail was wagging and her eyes were carefully watching Misha.

“Good girl!  Up!”

Bunny jumped to her feet with a bark, tail wagging, and tongue hanging out happily.

“Jensen, make a loose fist and hold it out.”

Jensen was mildly amused as he obeyed Misha’s command as readily as Bunny.

“C’mere, Bunny,” Misha called the dog over and scratched behind her ears.  “Good girl.  Now, give him a sniff.”  Misha guided Bunny’s head so that she could sniff Jensen’s hand and scratched her head and praised her as she did so.

“Now, we like Jensen, don’t we?  Well, at least we like his body.”


Misha smirked at him and then clapped his hands and shooed the dog off.  She wandered to the edge of the kitchen and lay down to continue to watch them.  Jensen finally began to breathe normally again.

“Well, damn.  I think that actually completely killed my boner,” Jensen said as he glanced down at his crotch and saw that his penis had indeed gone into hiding.

Misha, the little shit, actually laughed.  “Yeah, she does have that effect.”

“I was going to suggest we pick up where we left off, but I don’t think I like having an audience.”

“It’s better that we don’t anyway.”

Jensen at last took his eyes completely off the dog to look at Misha.  Misha just smiled and patted his cheek.

“Not permanently.  I just meant until after dinner.  I fully intend on putting those pretty cock-sucking lips to the use God intended.”

Jensen frowned at him.  He’d been told he had cock-sucking lips all his life and he’d never really appreciated it.  And besides, who the hell was Misha to talk?  His eyes and thoughts were caught on those lips now, and before Misha could turn away to do whatever he thought he needed to do that wasn’t kissing him, Jensen put a hand to the back of his neck and brought their lips together.  Misha opened up easily, lazily massaging Jensen’s tongue as it swept eagerly into his mouth over and over again.  Jensen tilted his head, sealing their lips and sucked Misha’s tongue into his mouth.  His arms snaked around the man pulling him close and sending them slightly off balance.  Misha put out a hand behind himself to steady them and knocked the lid of a pot across the counter.  It clattered loudly and Bunny was back on her feet with a bark.

Jensen pulled away muttering, “For fuck’s sake.”

Misha chuckled and reprimanded the dog again.  He looked at Jensen and wiped the spit-shiny corner of his mouth with a thumb before sucking the pad clean.  Jensen gritted his teeth.  His erection was back and the dog wasn’t going to make it go away this time.

“In the bottom crisper drawer of the refrigerator is some broccoli.  Will you get that for me please, Agent?”

Of course, who needed an overprotective dog to harsh his boner when Misha could do it quite handily with cooking duty assignments?

“Fine,” Jensen tried not to sigh dramatically.  “But we’re shutting that dog up somewhere, later.”

Misha smiled.  “Don’t worry.  She won’t stop you or me from getting what we want out of this evening.”

Jensen disguised his aroused deep breath by walking away toward the refrigerator.  He was a little surprised to find mixed with the arousal was…disappointment?  That they were on the same page about wanting sex tonight was fantastic, but…Misha made it sound so matter of fact and perfunctory.  Like they were just going to—service each other and be on their way.  And that’s all this was, right?  Jensen pulled the bag of broccoli florets out of the crisper drawer.  Was he expecting anything more?  No, of course not.  Misha was, technically, his TDY booty call.  Or, perhaps he was Misha’s.  Either way it was just a little reciprocal stress relief that happened to end with mind numbing orgasms.  No big deal.

Except…why was it that even with the groping and grinding and delicious moaning sounds he’d pulled out of Misha, what had gotten him the most worked up had been the kiss?  Misha was a good kisser.  It just felt good.  But how could that feel better than rubbing his cock against his firm—


“Yeah?”  Jensen whipped around to look at Misha; he was poking at the potatoes in the now boiling pot with a fork.

“Can you rinse those off and then put them in the steamer?  It’s in that cabinet,” he indicated which one with a jab of his fork.

Jensen tried to speak, failed, swallowed, and tried again.  “Sure.”

They moved around each other comfortably while they prepared dinner, conversation mostly restricted to ingredients and preparation.  There'd been a playful battle over the cooking of the steaks.  Misha kept trying to fend off Jensen's attempt to pull his off the stovetop grill before Misha overcooked the thing, and Jensen flat out told Misha he'd never speak to him again if he actually ate his steak well done.  In the end Jensen had to sigh in dismay at his medium cooked steak while Misha pretended to gag at the bloody mess that was his medium well cooked steak.  The seasoning was good enough that neither really could complain about the flavor and the Cabernet Misha had produced from the wine cellar (yes, the literal wine cellar downstairs) complimented it perfectly.  The mashed potatoes were decadent with butter and sour cream and the broccoli was still crisp.  He was used to his mother's version of cooking vegetables which was to steam them to a pile of mush.  He did have to admit Misha was a fantastic cook and he wouldn't mind sharing another meal with him.  Except...the conversation definitely stalled almost immediately.

They enjoyed their meal in a half-awkward silence until Jensen couldn't stand it anymore.  He took a large gulp of some dry, fruity liquid courage and looked at Misha.

"So, we can talk, right?"

Misha raised his eyebrows as he chewed slowly.  "Yes?"


Jensen speared a piece of broccoli and crunched into it.  Smooth, he thought sarcastically.

"What would you like to talk about?" Misha asked before taking a sip of his wine.

How blue your eyes are.

Jensen actually recoiled at his own stupid thought.

"I don't know.  Honestly, I tend to know a little bit more about the people I almost have oral sex with in their kitchen."

Misha's mouth quirked at one corner and he cut a piece of steak.  He placed his knife down on the edge of his plate, switched the fork to his other hand, and raised the piece of steak to his mouth.

"Well, I'm a Leo.  I'm a long distance runner.  I hate the Red Sox.  And I like the green of your eyes."

He ate the bite on his fork and kept a completely neutral face as he looked at Jensen across the table.  Jensen blushed and pushed his mashed potatoes around his plate.  That was so unfair.  How could he say such a stupid, cheesy line about his eyes with such a bland expression?

"Do we need to get more personal than that?" Misha asked.

Jensen looked up, ignoring the small, sharp stab he'd felt in his chest.  "I guess we don't need to.  What do you consider too personal?  Can I ask about work?"

Misha's brows creased in what could have been a little anger or possibly mild annoyance.

"You think the case is good dinner conversation?"

"No, not the case.  I meant your job.  How did you get into the canine unit?  Or is that too personal?" he asked a little cheekily.

Misha inhaled and put down his utensil.  "My father was chief before Ty.  He never pressured me into joining the force, but it just seemed like the best thing for me."

"But you went to Dartmouth, right?"

Misha tilted his head.  "How do you know that?  Did you run me through one of your FBI databases?"

"No.  Russ told me.  It came up for some reason."

"Unh-huh."  He eyed Jensen suspiciously, but continued.  "Yeah, I went to Dartmouth and majored in political philosophy.  And I realized I liked the theory very much, but the practical application is a nightmare.  I had no real aspiration to become a politician and I knew I didn't want to teach.  Plus, my—my girlfriend at the time wanted to move back home to Elton.  I knew I could get a job since I had an in with the police chief.  I volunteered to join the canine unit and stayed with it until I became the canine unit.  We don't have a lot need for search dogs here, it's true, so one or two officers is usually enough to suffice.  I did take the detective's exam, and passed, but I didn't want to give up working with police dogs.  I like being able to help when people need it.  After 9/11, I went to New Orleans after Katrina, and I spent three months in Haiti after the earthquake."

Misha inhaled a breath to speak again, but then seemed to become self-conscious and started eating instead.  Jensen stared at the man, more than impressed.  Not only had Misha spoken more than he probably had in the totality of their acquaintanceship, but it turned out he was an amazing human being.  And that was so bad.  So very, very bad.  Misha wanted to keep this impersonal.  Being in awe of him would not help Jensen separate his feelings from the inevitable turn this night was going to take.  Maybe if he already liked him this much, he shouldn't sleep with him.

Jensen laughed to himself.  Fuck that.

"What?" Misha asked with a small smile.

"What?" Jensen asked.

"You just laughed."

"Oh.  Oh, uh.  Nothing.  You just kind of made me realize that my own grand 'serve the people' mentality isn't quite so noble.  I get paid."

Misha shrugged.  "So do I."

"Not for volunteering to go on humanitarian missions."

"No, guess is you aren't going to be getting overtime for working twelve to fourteen hour days seven days a week while you're here, are you?"

Jensen scoffed.  "With the budget cuts and sequestration?  Fat chance."

Misha grinned.  "Well, we'll see if we can't find you some other perks to make up for it."

Jensen laughed at the ridiculous eyebrow wiggle he gave him, but did notice they both ate a little faster.  Jensen actually felt a nervous flutter in his stomach when he swallowed the last of his wine.  He'd never been nervous before sex; not even his first time.  But, they were both done eating and now they were just supposed to—what, lunge at each other over the table?

Misha stood up with his dishes and walked to the sink.  Jensen took in a calming breath.  That at least was something he could do.  Help clean up.  And his nerves disappeared as Misha actually made them wash all the dishes, put away the left over mashed potatoes, and wipe down the table and counters.  The tasks would have gone faster if Jensen had kept his hands to himself, but he found that now that he had the go ahead it was very difficult to pass by Misha and not run his fingers through his hair, or put a hand to his hip and nuzzle behind his ear.  He had his arms wrapped around Misha's waist from behind him and was doing his best not to leave a hickey as he sucked and kissed Misha's neck while the man wiped the last crumbs off the granite counter top and into the sink.

"Alright, already!" Misha cried out in faux-exasperation.  He turned in Jensen's grip and they kissed non-stop as they stumbled across the kitchen to the back stairway.  Halfway up, Jensen couldn't stop himself from grabbing Misha's ass and pulling him close.  They lost their balance and fell up the stairs.  Jensen knelt with one knee between Misha's legs on a stair and Misha used one hand to push an excited Bunny away.

"We're not playing, Bunny!" he said, before moaning and pulling Jensen closer to deepen the kiss.  They stayed on the stairs a minute, enjoying the kiss, but when Jensen shifted forward and his thigh pressed against Misha's groin, they both groaned and forced themselves to stand up.  They made it to the top of the stairs and only ran into the wall twice before Misha pulled them into a room.  He used his foot to keep Bunny on the other side of the threshold and shut the door in her face.  She immediately began to whine and scratch at the door.

"That going to bother you?" Misha asked as he bit gently on Jensen's lower lip.


Misha flicked on the lights and Jensen could tell they weren't in the master bedroom, but other than that all he noticed was that the room contained a king size bed.  He kicked off his shoes and barely got his socks off before Misha pulled him onto the bed.  Jensen didn't think anyone had ever felt better under him than Misha.  And then Misha rolled them over and he didn't think he'd ever felt anyone over him better than Misha.  Misha's knees fell to either side of Jensen's legs and their groins rubbed together just enough to encourage the heated lust throbbing in his lower body.  Misha grasped Jensen's face in both hands and sat up just a little to lick and bite at Jensen's lips.

"Fuck, you're a good kisser," Misha sighed and dove back in for more.

Jensen actually felt himself blush with the compliment.  Mainly because he felt like he was just lying there like a slug letting Misha do all the work.  He ran his hands up under Misha's T-shirt, humming at the feel of his muscles moving powerfully as he rocked back and forth on him.  Jensen did his best to contribute to the rhythm by thrusting his hips up to meet Misha's and they both had to stop kissing for a moment as they rutted against each other—too distracted with pleasure to do anything more than pant into each other's mouths.

Misha sat up with an aggrieved whine and stilled his movements just long enough to work the buttons of Jensen's dress shirt open.  While he did that, Jensen removed his tie and then sat up slightly to help Misha push the garment off his shoulders and down his arms.  It got flung to the left somewhere and Misha's T-shirt quickly chased after it.  Their lips came back together as with spontaneous coordination they reached for the fastener of the other's pants.  The sounds of their gasping breaths and smacking lips filled their ears and only heightened the driving need to get naked immediately.  Misha got there first as his loose jeans slid down his legs easily and he was, now unquestionably, going commando.  Jensen reached out a hand to grasp his already fully erect member, but the man sat back on his heels and yanked Jensen's pants down his legs.  He pulled up swiftly and Jensen's feet went up in the air as the pants were yanked off.  He fell back onto the mattress trying to laugh and not giggle.  He wasn't sure if he was successful.  Then he felt Misha's hands on the waistband of his underwear and he stopped laughing.  They were gone in a flash and he raised his head, and then started laughing again at Misha's saucer sized eyes.

"Jesus Christ you're fucking huge."

Jensen didn't blush at that compliment.  He knew he was bigger than average and it wasn't the first time someone had told him so.

"Didn't notice that the first time?" he said cockily.

"Well, I could tell it was more than a handful but...seeing it is something else altogether."

Jensen laughed again and put a hand to the back of Misha's neck to drag him forward into a kiss.  And to break his trance since his eyes hadn't left the sight of Jensen's enthusiastic erection.  Misha hummed happily when they kissed again.  He pushed on Jensen's shoulders and got him to lie back down, settling on top of him again.  This time when they moved, nothing could keep them from holding back the overwhelmed moans and breathy grunts.  Their cocks slotted next to each other, trapped in the warm friction of their hard torsos.  Their hands roamed through each other's hair and held each other's faces as they kissed.  Jensen had the passing thought that if Misha wanted to keep things impersonal...this wasn't the way to do it.

Misha reached a hand down and pushed at the inside of one of Jensen's thighs; his legs parted and Misha settled between them, thrusting up so that they rutted against each other from balls to cockheads.  Misha braced himself above Jensen, working his hips, and tipped his head back—eyes closed, mouth slack with bliss.  Seeing him so gone on lust made Jensen bite his lip to hold back a whimper and he arched his back to grind up into Misha's body.  The movement threw off Misha's rhythm, and that seemed to remind him someone else was in the room.  He stopped moving and sat back on his heels, breathing hard.

"Wait, wait.  Shit.  Sorry.  We keep that up and I'm going to embarrass myself."

"Heck, you've already lasted longer than last time.  So, it's all uphill really."

Misha opened his eyes and shot Jensen an annoyed grin.  "You fucker.  Last time doesn't count towards anything!"

"Sure it does."  Jensen reached for him.  "C'mere."

"Hang on."

Misha leaned way to the left and had to stretch his whole body to grab the drawer of his nightstand.  He grunted in annoyance as he had to stretch even farther to reach inside it, leaning halfway off the bed.  Jensen put one hand behind his head and used the other to give his cock a few firm pulls as he was entertained by Misha's flailing leg as he attempted to not fall off the bed.  With a final grunt he pushed himself back onto the bed and ripped the back off a new box of condoms.  Most of the contents fell onto the bed and then the floor, but Misha did manage to grab a string, ripping one off along the perforated edge.  He dropped it beside Jensen's hip and then began to struggle with the protective plastic around the lube cap.  He sat back on his heels and cursed as he picked at it with a nail.

"Should have opened these beforehand."

Jensen laughed and reached for the ripped box, already knowing what it would tell him.  He was distracted from reading it when Misha leaned down and captured his lips again, his perfect tongue giving his mouth a good, slow fuck.  Jensen groaned and clenched the box in his hand.  He could only imagine what that tongue would feel like fucking in and out of his hole.  Then he wondered if he was going to be the bottom tonight.

The sudden press of a finger with not quite warmed up lube at his entrance told him that he was indeed bottoming tonight.  It had been even longer since he'd done that than the last blow job before Misha.  Not that it really mattered because they actually couldn't do that tonight.

"Misha," Jensen said, regretfully pulling his lips away from the pleasurable kiss.  Misha just started to kiss down his jaw line instead.  He raised the condom box and looked at the crumpled cardboard.  He'd never felt so disappointed in his life—not even when Santa Claus hadn't brought him that dirt bike when he was ten.

"Misha, we can't—ah!"

Jensen's whole body started as Misha's finger slid completely into him.  His finger was slim enough and he had enough lube on it that it hadn't hurt, but it had been surprising.  Misha started pumping his finger in and out and Jensen rolled his hips into the movement.  Why had he ever stopped sleeping with men?  He bottomed so fucking well.

"Oh, fuck yes, Mish."  He raised one knee, opening himself wider, encouraging the second finger that was already starting to push in.  This one stretched with a little pain this time, but Misha kept working his hand and soon it just felt good and so far from being enough.

Jensen scraped together what few brain cells he could and said, "Misha, wait, I'm sorry, we can't."

"Why the fuck not?" Misha grumbled, sucking a bruise onto his neck, but below the line of a dress shirt collar.

"I'm allergic to latex."


Jensen bonked him on the head with the box of condoms.  He sat up with an irritated, disapproving look.

"What?" he asked grumpily.

Jensen waved the box in front of his face.  "These are latex condoms.  And as good as it might be at the time, I'm not going to spend the next couple of days with a literal itch I can't scratch if you know what I mean."

"So, do you have something we can use?"

Jensen tried to process that sentence, but Misha hadn't removed, or stopped moving, his fingers inside of him.

"No, not on me."

"Jesus, Jensen, why did you come over if you weren't expecting sex tonight?"

"I wasn't expecting sex tonight when I left the motel room this morning!  And when you invited me for dinner, I thought I'd be lucky if we exchanged blow jobs."

Misha frowned at him and rubbed his thumb against Jensen's rim with every inward thrust of his middle and index fingers.  Jensen tried to stop the twitch his body made every time it happened, but it was fucking sensitive down there.

Misha sat up so he could lean over and suck the tip of Jensen's dick into his mouth.  He tongued relentlessly at the glans nearly wrenching a premature orgasm out of him.  Jensen cried out in alarm as the pleasure built and almost spilled out of him, but it was counterbalanced by the sharp pain of a third finger stretching him wide open.  Jensen choked back a shout and gripped the sheets desperately.  The orgasm faded, but the pleasure was still great enough that he forgot about the pain almost as soon as it happened.  Now he was just floating in a sea of ecstasy that was spiraling dizzyingly toward the edge again.  That was some good fucking technique.  Jensen pushed back onto Misha's fingers.  God it was going to be so disappointing to not feel a cock in him tonight.

Misha pulled off Jensen's dick and gave it a kiss.  "I can pull out," he said.

"What?" Jensen said, fighting against delirium.

"I can pull out.  Before I come."

Jensen opened his eyes and made a face at Misha.  "I'm not worried about getting pregnant."

"Well, you won't get anything else.  I've only slept with two people in my life.  And with no one in the last four and a half years."

Jensen stopped moving his hips and sat up on his elbows.  "Four and a half years?"

"Not since my wife and I separated."

"You're married?!"

"Divorced."  Misha lowered his head and gave a little lick to Jensen's leaking cockhead with each thrust of his hand.  He looked up at Jensen from beneath his eyelashes.  "Please, can I?"

Jensen knew he was fucked.  He'd already given in, but he was still going to put up a token resistance.

"You're not worried about me?  I'm kind of a slut."  Not entirely true, but in the interest of full disclosure, some people might call him one.

Misha shrugged and put his lips around the engorged head of Jensen's penis, sucking once—hard.  Jensen's hips bucked off the bed and Misha pulled off, but allowed his fingers to get buried practically past the knuckles in Jensen's aching hole.

Jensen could barely understand Misha when he said, "The penetrating partner has a much lower risk."

When all those words made sense in the right order, Jensen chuckled weakly and murmured, "Asshole."

"Please," Misha pleaded, leaning forward to kiss Jensen's lips.  "I need to be in you."

Jensen had already capitulated.  He might as well let Misha know.

"Do it," he breathed.

Misha sat up and continued to work his fingers in and out of Jensen as he used his other hand to get the lube open and squirted some onto his dick.  He slicked up his shaft and then circled his palm over the head, biting his lips at the sensation.  He moved in between Jensen's legs as he spread them wider.  Then he spread his fingers out, stretching Jensen's entrance so that the ring of muscle circled the tip of his cock  when he pulled his hand away.  He put a hand behind Jensen's right knee and pushed the leg up.  Jensen raised his hips a little and bit his lip as Misha pushed in.

Jensen keened as Misha slid into him.  He had never once in his life had sex without a condom either on the giving or receiving end.  The difference was unfathomable.  Even with the lube he could feel the drag of Misha's skin against his as they connected.  His cock was hot and hard, but the skin itself was so soft and—fuck him—velvety.  It was full on trashy romance novel velvety.  Then the fucker was pulling out.  Jensen lifted his head, about to voice some very salty protests, when Misha thrust back into him.  Jensen groaned and dropped his head back.  Oh, yeah.  That's how this worked.

Jensen went pliant underneath Misha, letting his legs splay open as much as possible as Misha fucked into him.  It felt so unbelievably good and he hadn't even gotten a solid hit on his prostate yet.  A steady stream of nonsense spilled from Jensen's lips and he threw his arms above his head, finding and grabbing onto the wooden slats of the headboard as Misha picked up the pace.  Misha leaned down and tried to kiss him but couldn't since his mouth was otherwise occupied trying to breathe around his own grunting moans.  The movement did result in Jensen's cock getting rubbed six ways to Sunday in between their bodies.  And then Misha shifted, lifted his hips or something, and suddenly that was all she wrote for Jensen.  With the sudden pounding on his prostate and the frenetic friction on his cock, his balls tightened and all the pleasure centered in his groin and then exploded out of him.

Jensen was vaguely aware that he'd screamed and that the headboard had creaked loudly and that his hands kind of hurt with how tightly he was gripping it, but all that was submerged under a tidal wave of euphoria that retreated and then crashed back on him again and again.  He cried out when his cock—his whole body—clenched with oversensitivity.

Misha stopped moving and kissed the tears from the corners of Jensen's eyes as he gasped for air and carefully unfurled his fingers from the wooden slats.  They were stiff and it hurt to straighten them, but the pain made it easier to come to his senses.  The first thing he thought was that he was amazed he'd come untouched.  Well, not untouched, but it had been the first time that had happened without something around it.

Misha had moved his hands to brace himself on the mattress and straightened his arms so that he was high enough that he wasn't touching Jensen's tender penis anymore, but his hips were rocking gently into him.  He was still very hard if Jensen's ass had anything to say about it.

"Go on, Mish," Jensen panted.

He shook his head.  "Can't.  Gotta let go of me."


Jensen, now more aware of his body, realized that the leg Misha had been holding up was now wrapped around Misha's back, heel actually pressing between his ass cheeks.

"Let go so I can pull out."

Jensen hesitated.

"Seriously, Jensen," Misha's movements quickened.  "I can't—"

"No," Jensen said, and fortunately Misha knew what he meant by that.

He almost sobbed with joy and started drilling Jensen's ass.  Jensen's sore fingers curled around the headboard again.  He couldn't believe it could still feel this good even after coming.

"Oh, shit—fuck, Misha—so good, so good.  Your cock feels so fucking good in me.  Come on, come onnnn..." Jensen was not one to talk in bed and he would have been embarrassed by the dirty encouragement he was letting tumble out of his mouth, but he felt too damn good to care.  Misha's thrusts intensified and Jensen pulled at the headboard as a new wave of pleasure rolled through him and his dick actually tried to fill again.  The wood squeaked violently and Misha swiftly moved a hand from the mattress to brace against Jensen's forearm.

"Don't break my bed, babe," he ground out distractedly.

Jensen felt a thrill shoot through his body at the use of the endearment.  Which was stupid because Jensen was not a sap.  Misha plunged into his body one final time and froze.  His mouth dropped open in a silent cry, his thighs trembled, and Jensen could feel his member pulse and shudder inside him as a warmth he'd never felt before flooded his body.  Then Jensen realized that was Misha's spend being rubbed into his flesh as Misha moved his hips in little figure eights as he worked through his orgasm.  The thought should have grossed him out; instead it made him reach a hand up to Misha's face and pull him down into a kiss.  Their tongues tangled lazily as finally, their hips slowed and ceased moving.  Misha started to pull out, but Jensen tightened the leg that was wrapped around him.

"Not yet," he said quietly so maybe Misha wouldn't hear him.

He did hear, however, if his pleased groan and sudden kiss were anything to go by.  Misha kissed his lips several times and then his cheek.  Jensen turned his head letting Misha kiss a trail to his ear.

"I could spend the rest of my life buried in you," he murmured hotly.

Jensen let out a small sound and put his hand to the back of Misha's head.  And those words should not have been a turn on.  Because that hadn't been dirty talk so much as sweet talk—and weren't they supposed to be keeping this thing impersonal?  Well, he supposed letting Misha come inside him had blown that plan to hell, but they shouldn't do anything more than what they were ready for tonight.  So, even though he didn't want to, he pushed gently at Misha's shoulder and joked, "Well, that's a change in attitude from the first time we did this."

"Shut-up," Misha responded, but after only a couple more moments of breathing together, he sat up and slapped Jensen's thigh lightly.

Jensen gingerly unhooked his leg, feeling the tight muscles protest the movement.  Misha pulled out carefully and Jensen hated it.  Misha sat back and leaned on his elbows, still between Jensen's legs.  Jensen pushed himself up on his elbows too and looked at the other man.  He put a foot behind Jensen's knee and lifted his leg up and to the side, exposing him enough that Jensen could feel Misha's come dribble out of his ass.  He suspected that was exactly why Misha had done it and found that equally demeaning and arousing.

"Like the view?" Jensen asked dryly.

Misha hummed and lowered Jensen's leg.  Then he let his head fall back and said, "God I needed that."  Then he lifted his head and looked Jensen straight in the eyes.  "I wanted that."

Jensen, to his chagrined embarrassment and utter horror, blushed.

Misha smiled at him and Jensen had to look away.  Misha pushed off the bed and crawled over Jensen to kiss his flushed cheek.

"Come on, let's shower.  As much as I would love to do this all night, we both have to work tomorrow and I need to get you back to your motel."

Jensen grunted.  "It's not that late—" he looked at the watch that was still on his wrist.  "Oh."  It was almost one in the morning.  He was due at the office in six hours.  "Fuck."

Misha kissed his cheek again and slid off the bed.  He let out a yelp as he slipped on the condom packages on the floor.  He fell against the bed and started laughing.  It was such a natural, happy sound that Jensen immediately joined in.  They continued to laugh as they struggled out of bed and as they made their way to the bathroom.  By the time Misha got the shower going they had settled into chuckles and the occasional giggle.  Jensen stopped laughing, but he was still smiling broadly as he watched Misha check the temperature of the water.  It was a ridiculously fancy shower with multiple water spouts set on three walls at varying heights.  Misha turned back to him to say something, but Jensen cupped his face with a hand.  He smoothed his thumb along Misha's cheekbone and drew him close.  Misha paused just before kissing him, their lips almost touching, breath being shared.

"We can't," Misha said weakly.  "Please, Jensen, you know we can't let this..." he trailed off and Jensen nodded, nuzzling their noses together.

"I know," he replied, and leaned forward to kiss him.

Just like earlier, Jensen knew he was fucked.  This was the sweetest kiss of his life and he knew nothing would ever live up to it.  Not unless it was another kiss from this man.

Misha pulled back and shook his head.  "You idiot."

He stepped into the shower, pulling Jensen with him.  Their arms went around each other, lips seeking each other like a cold-blooded animal craving the sun.  The water fell on them like a warm summer rain.

Jensen ran his hands over and over Misha's body, mapping it, memorizing it.  Misha in turn skimmed his nails up and down Jensen's back, making him shiver and yearn for more contact.  He surged forward, pressing Misha into the wall of the shower, got a thigh between his legs, and began rubbing against his groin.  Misha clutched at his shoulders and jerked his head away to gasp in a breath.

"Do-do we—" Misha panted.  "Think we have time for—"

He stopped talking when Jensen kissed him again and rolled his hips.  Then Misha pulled back and gently said, "Ah, ah!"  He dropped his eyes to watch his fingertip trace Jensen's wet lips.  "I made a promise to myself earlier this evening regarding these lips."

He raised his eyes to meet Jensen's and arched an eyebrow.  Jensen kissed his finger, and then sank to his knees. 


Instead of falling asleep on the couch before the end of the movie like Jared thought would happen, he and Felicia were necking like teenagers and well past second base.  Felicia had been impressed with his ability to not only get her bra undone blind, but also his ability to get it off with her shirt still on.

"That a skill they taught you at the Academy, G-man?" she giggled.

Jared laughed.  "More like—" he cut off as he thought that maybe mentioning the cheerleading squad had often enlisted the basketball team to hone their skills on them wouldn't be the most romantic thing to say.  "Among other things," he said instead and scooped her up into his arms as he stood up from the couch.

Felicia squealed and threw her arms around his shoulders.  She twisted her fingers in the hair at the nape of his neck and put her lips to his ear as he carried her back toward her bedroom, which in her tiny apartment was about five steps.

"I hope your partner won't mind me keeping you up so late," Felicia said and followed it up with a nibble to his earlobe.  Jared bit back a noise and dropped Felicia's legs but still held her upper half.  Then he pushed between her legs as he laid them on the bed.  He gave her pretty, pink lips a long kiss and then pulled back.

"He's actually not my partner."

Felicia laughed as he bent down to kiss along her neck, fingers working on the button of the jeans she had changed into when they got to her place.

"I know he's not your partner.  Otherwise this would be really awkward."

Jared stood up to slide the jeans off her slender legs.  "No, I know what you meant.  I mean, he's not my work partner.  That's kind of a Hollywood thing.  We work on squads with several agents and we work with different people depending on the case."

"Oh.  That's a little disappointing.  No Mulder and Scully bonding?"

Jared slid his hands slowly up her smooth legs enjoying the way she bit her lip and squirmed a little the closer he got to the flimsy pink cloth at the apex of her thighs.

"If Jensen and I bonded the way Mulder and Scully did..." he dipped his head and mouthed at the cotton, feeling it start to dampen, "you and Misha would be SOL this evening."

Felicia giggled, and then sat up.  "Wait, what do you mean about Misha?"

"Uh...nothing," Jared said and kissed her mouth, dipping his tongue inside and forgetting his blunder in the sweet warmth.

He put his hands to the hem of her shirt and broke the kiss long enough to pull it over her head.  His hands felt massive on her small breasts, and she arched into the sweep of his thumb over her nipples.  Jared began to kiss his way down Felicia's neck, loving the mewling gasps he pulled out of her as she tossed her head back and forth on the bed.  His lips moved down to her chest and he flicked his tongue against a peaked nipple before pulling it into his mouth.  Felicia moaned louder and tangled her fingers in his hair.  One of his hands went lower and he stroked her with one finger through the panties.  She was warm and already sopping wet and Jared groaned as he pressed his finger forward, the fabric doing nothing to keep the digit from sinking into her heat.  He kissed down her stomach and over her abdomen as he raised both hands to hook his fingers into the sides of her panties so he could slide them over her hips and down her legs.  He kissed and licked feverishly as he moved closer to his goal and put both hands on her thighs, pushing them apart.  Felicia cried out when he spread her and just before he dipped his tongue inside her, Jared opened his eyes.

He sat up with a start, and then turned away—his eyes fell to his groin.  He groaned as he realized his erection had completely and utterly disappeared.


"Jared?"  Felicia sounded worried and sat up.  "Jared, is something wrong?"

Jared laughed humorlessly and covered his face with a hand.  "You are absolutely going to hate me."

Felicia scooted back and drew her comforter up to her side to partially hide her nakedness.

"What do you mean, what's wrong?"

Jared shook his head.  "Nothing.  Just my own hang ups.  I'm sorry.  I should go."

"Go?" Felicia said sounding more surprised than angry.  "Why?  Did I do something?"

Jared turned to her and took her hand.  "No, of course not.  Well, not in the way you're thinking."

Felicia looked to the side and then back to him.  "So, it is me."

"No, not you—just."  Jared groaned again.  "You are going to hate me if I tell you."

"Maybe.  But I will definitely hate you if you don't."

Jared drew in a breath and then sighed heavily.

"Jared."  Felicia crossed her arms over her chest and pursed her lips.  She looked more cute than intimidating, but he decided not to share that with her.

"Okay.  You know that I've been with the Bureau for a little over two years, right?"


"Well, I'm actually new to the criminal investigation part.  This is my first case."  Jared's eyes unfocused as he thought about the case.

"Hey," Felicia said gently and leaned forward to rub his arm.  "It's okay.  I don't know the details, but I know these murders are really bad."

Jared shook himself and put his hand over Felicia's.  "Yes, it is, but that's not the—problem.  Before I worked the criminal side of the house, I was in the Cyber Division.  And we do a lot of things in that unit like track criminal hackers and prevent foreign government intrusions into our system.  But the squad I worked on for two's called innocent images."

"Innocent images?" Felicia asked with a look that said she hoped that didn't mean what she thought it meant.

"Child pornography," Jared clarified.  "I spent about two years looking at some really disturbing material in the hopes of identifying victims, offenders, and locations.  And it also made me—uncomfortable with some things.  Especially in a sexual situation."

He tried to meet her eyes and she cocked her head as she looked at him.  And then she blushed as a realization hit her.  She pulled the comforter back a bit and looked down at her Brazilian styled crotch.

"Oh, balls," she said.

"Yeah," Jared agreed.

They fidgeted awkwardly for a moment.  Then Felicia said, "So, uh, this probably isn't going to happen, huh?"

Jared looked at the floor and rubbed the back of his neck.  He blushed furiously as he said, "How long would it take to grow back?"

"Well.  I didn't shave it.  I got waxed."


They picked at the nits on Felicia's comforter to keep from looking at each other.  Then Jared stood up.

"So, I should go," he said hooking a thumb over his shoulder.

"Yeah," Felicia bobbed her head.  "Okay.  See you tomorrow at dinner."

Jared laughed so he wouldn't sob with embarrassment.  "Yeah.  See ya." 


Jensen put on his other shoe and waited for the guilt or regret to start poking at him.  He sat up and watched Misha brush his teeth in the bathroom.  He felt only a pleasant warmth gliding just under his skin, and that wasn't an appropriate reaction.  He'd known Misha for not quite two months, barely had a handful of conversations with the guy, and a lot of those had not been pleasant.  And he'd just had unprotected sex with him.  Not smart.  Not responsible.  Not safe.  Misha flicked the light off in the bathroom and leaned against the frame as he looked at Jensen.

"Ready to go?"

Jensen nodded and despised the thin T-shirt and jeans that kept him away from Misha.  It may have been stupid, but he now knew he would never be able to have sex with Misha with any kind barrier between them.  It wouldn't be...right.

Jensen felt a wave of panic at that irrational thought and stood up quickly.  "My jacket and gun are still in the kitchen."

"Okay.  It's on the way to the garage.  I think I shouldn't drop you off in the patrol car this late."

Jensen smiled nervously and swallowed.  And then he had a thought that cheered him right up.

"Can we take the Charger?"

Misha rolled his eyes but smiled as he crossed the room.  "It's the only other car I have."

"Awesome.  Hey," he snagged Misha's wrist and pulled him close.  "Can I drive?" he asked suggestively.

"What will you do for me?"

Jensen dipped his head and placed a chaste, closed lipped kiss against Misha's parted ones.  Misha's eyes snapped open, irritated Jensen hadn't given him more.

"Let me drive and you'll find out."

Misha huffed and pulled out of his grip.  He opened the door and Bunny raised her head from her paws.  Her body was blocking the whole doorway.

"You were here this whole time?" Misha scolded gently.  "I don't know if you're pathetic or a perv."

Jensen laughed and waited for Misha to get the dog to move before following him into the hallway.  They fumbled around in the darkness and laughed at how stupid they were for attempting to navigate the stairs in the dark.  Fortunately they'd left the lights on in the kitchen and Jensen grabbed his jacket and gun from the handcrafted table while Misha retrieved the car keys from somewhere in the front of the house.  Jensen ran his hand over the table again.  It really was beautiful work, and now Jensen knew quite intimately just how talented Misha's hands were.

"Let's go, Ackles!"


It was just shy of two thirty in the morning when Jensen pulled into a parking spot at the Lakeside Motor Lodge.  He put the car in park, but let the engine idle.  He ran his hands over the real leather steering wheel.

"This car is beautiful, Mish.  Really."

Misha laughed softly and shook his head.  "Why do you keep calling me 'Mish?'"

"Why does it bother you?"

"Because.  Misha is already a nickname.  You can't shorten a nickname."

"Sure you can.  It just becomes a pet name."  He grinned at him.

Misha made a disgusted face, but then smiled softly.  "No pet names.  We're—"

"Keeping this impersonal.  Yeah, I got it."

Misha rubbed his forehead.  "Yeah.  Impersonal."  He glanced over, almost shyly, at Jensen.

"What is Misha short for?  Are you Russian or something?  Collins sounds a little—white bread."

"Yeah, it is.  My father is American of English descent.  My mother was Russian and lost the fight with my Dad over what to name me.  So she just always called me Misha and that's what everyone learned to call me."

"So, what, your dad wanted to name you Bob or something?"

"No.  My name is Dmitri."

Jensen couldn't stop the smile that spread over his face.  "Dmitri?  I thought your dad won the fight."

"He did.  The Russian diminutive for Dmitri is Dima."

"Dima.  That's cute."

Misha shook his head warningly.  "Please don't.  I would prefer Mish to Dima."

Jensen laughed and nodded.  "You got it, Mish."

Misha groaned.  "Fuck.  That's not what I meant."  He scowled at Jensen's growing grin.  "Hey, aren't you supposed to be doing something for me for letting you drive?"

"Oh, yeah."

Jensen leaned forward, pulling Misha in with a hand to the back of his neck.  They kissed mostly closed mouth, trying to keep the heat from rising again—like it had in the shower.  Twice.  Jensen put his other hand to Misha's face and held him as he flicked his tongue along the seam of Misha's lips.

"No," Misha said.  "No..." then he pushed forward and thrust his tongue into Jensen's eager mouth.  The sound of a seatbelt unbuckling startled Jensen for a moment, but then he had a lapful of Misha to distract him.  He reached a hand down to pull on the mechanism that moved the seat back as far as possible, and then he reclined it back a bit.  He pulled Misha close to keep him away from the wheel.  He could just picture them scaring the living daylights out of themselves if Misha bumped into the horn.

Misha managed to get his knees on the seat just outside Jensen's legs and settled squarely in his lap.  Jensen wrapped his arms around his waist and rolled his hips up into the warm invitation of Misha's body.  They never once broke the kiss, instead taking in breaths when they needed it by kissing full upper lips and nibbling on plush lower lips.

"Fucking hell," Misha moaned softly against Jensen's lips as his hands ran wildly though his hair, nails scraping lightly along his scalp.  "I can't believe I'm doing this.  You're like a fucking incubus or something."

Jensen chuckled and sucked Misha's lower lip into his mouth, and then he pulled back letting it slide slowly back out through the pull of his teeth.

"And here I thought it was just my winning personality."

Misha sighed and petted Jensen's hair as his eyes roamed over his face.

"Jensen—we can't..."

"I know," Jensen said.  "Believe me, I know."

They looked at each other for another long moment, and then Misha leaned forward hesitantly.  Jensen tilted his head up, encouraging Misha to bring their lips together again.  They startled apart when something rapped sharply on the window.  They looked around and noticed the whole car was fogged up.

"Shit," Misha said as he slid awkwardly back into his seat.  Jensen used the hand crank to roll down the window.  Jared was bent over at the waist, grinning at them.

"Excuse me, kids," he said, "I think it's way past your curfew."

"Funny," Jensen said flatly.  He turned off the car and he and Misha got out so that Misha could get in the driver's side.  Though he hadn't had much trouble maneuvering into it before.

He looked away from Misha as he walked around the car so it wouldn't be quite so obvious how pathetic he was, and then he noticed Jared was wearing his running clothes, which consisted only of a pair of nylon shorts and a T-shirt.  It was way too cold this late in October in New England to go running around in the dead of night in so little.  It was crazy to go running in the middle of the night period, but he was definitely returning from a run as his shirt had sweat stains and his headphones dangled from one hand.

"What the hell were you doing out running at this time of night?"

"Uh...just...working off some excess energy."

"Felicia didn't take care of that?" Misha asked like he didn't really want to know the answer.

"Oh, yeah.  That uh, didn't really pan out."

Misha looked at him sharply.  "What did you do to her?"

"Nothing!  Like, literally nothing.  There was...a landscaping issue."

"Landscaping?" Misha and Jensen asked together.

Jared made a discomfited expression.  "She had a Brazilian."

"Ohhh," Jensen said in sympathetic understanding.

"I didn't need to know that," Misha griped, "but so what?"

"He used to work kiddie porn," Jensen said.

"Ohhh," Misha said in sympathetic understanding.  "Well, them's the breaks, kid."

Jensen laughed and Jared made a face at them.  "You guys suck.  Each other's dicks.  Literally."

Jensen laughed harder but Misha didn't look too amused, so he tempered his laughter and ran a hand over his mouth to hide his smile.

"Hey, Jared, turn around for a second."


Jensen gave him a look and the younger man put his hands in the air and turned around.  Jensen took Misha' face in his hands and kissed him.


Jensen couldn't see it, but he felt the warmth of Misha's blush under his fingers.

"Yeah, goodnight," he mumbled and slid into the car.

Jared and Jensen watched him drive out of the parking lot and then turned to face each other.

"So, we're going to get about three and a half hours sleep tonight?" Jensen guesstimated.

"Yeah, tomorrow is going to be a great day."

Chapter Text

Friday, October 25, 2013 

Today is not a great day, Jared thought to himself as his senses were barraged with the horror of another crime scene.

They were in the woods about two hundred yards from the lake shore.  Forensic technicians and police officers were working out from the body in a circle grid pattern.  Jensen and Russ were examining the damaged bark on a large oak tree three feet from the body.  Gen was talking to Misha.

A call had come into the office around four in the afternoon.  Two frantic teenagers experiencing a very bad reenactment of Stand By Me had called to report seeing a body in the woods by the lake when they took a shortcut on the way home from school.  They had run from the scene and had a hard time describing or remembering where exactly they had seen it.  Misha and Bunny had been dispatched to investigate since they would have the best chance of finding the body (if there was one) in the nearly ten square miles of woods the boys had done their best to narrow the search area down to.  An hour and a half later, Misha had called the station requesting for back-up, the forensics team, and the federal agents.

According to the identification in his wallet, the man was Daniel Hernandez, twenty-nine years old, resident of Elton, New Hampshire.  They'd already put out feelers to try to find the last person who had seen him alive.  Because he had been killed and left in the woods, Kim had informed them they would be able to get a very accurate determination for time of death via insect activity—or lack thereof.  Kim was already certain the kill had been pretty recent, especially since the dried blood and exposed innards had a freshness that indicated Hernandez had died within several hours of discovery.

Jared was very certain they were at the scene of the kill and not a dump site.  The fallen autumn leaves and underbrush were in disarray leading up to and around the tree Jensen and Russ were examining.  The bark had been scraped off in a line that would be about chest height if a man were kneeling.  It was probably damage from rope.  There were abrasions on the body's face, torso, and genitalia.  It seemed like he had been tied facing the tree and had struggled against his bonds.  Very large, dark bruises covered his back and buttocks and surrounded breaks in his skin.  His chest cavity had dents in it and his hips were at a strange angle.  He'd definitely been beaten with something heavy enough to break and dislocate bone.  He'd been beaten—hammered—with something large and heavy; Jared's first thought had been a sledge hammer.

There was also blood streaking his inner thighs and his throat was distended.  They'd thought it was just broken at first until Kim confirmed that something was lodged down his trachea, but she would wait until she got the body to the lab to try to extract it.

Everything about the scene screamed a lack of control, even a lack of experience.  This was nothing like Smith's or Vanderpool's scenes.  Heck, even Thompson's was better organized than this.  The only thing that kept this from being a random killing in the woods, other than the extreme brutality and sexual component, was the name "Gathouel" carved into his chest and the word "wrathful" branded across his knuckles like a gang tattoo.

None of it added up.  Killers tended to be organized or disorganized; they didn't switch back and forth depending on their mood or the day of the week.  It couldn't be a copycat—too many things that weren't public knowledge were the same.  Things were the same, things were different—one and one just didn't equal one.  Jared tilted his head as he let his eyes sweep over the broken body of Daniel Hernandez.  One and one may not equal one—but it did equal two.  Two killers...?  The master and the student?


Jared turned and saw Jensen waving him over from a few meters away from the damaged oak.  Jared picked his way carefully over the ground, not wanting to disturb anything even though the scene had been photographed from about seventy different angles.  Jensen, Russ, and three forensic technicians were gathered around a patch of forest floor that had been cleared of leaves and debris.

"What is it?" he asked.

Jensen pointed at the dirt.  "Look at that."

Clear as day, as if someone had made the mark for forensic students to use as a study tool, was a boot print.  It was the full boot, tread pattern completely intact.

"Is this?" Jared asked, barely daring to hope.

Jensen grinned.  "It is."

One of the technicians piped up.  "We can tell just by looking that this is way too small to belong to the victim.  And the boys that found the body were wearing tennis shoes.  We found their tracks on the east side of the body."

"This is real evidence," Jared said with a disbelieving laugh.

"At last," Jensen muttered.

"Yeah," Jared murmured softly.  "I need to talk to you about that."

Jensen tilted his head curiously.  "Okay.  We'll talk at the station.  We're about done here.  We need to get out of these amazing science-y tech-y people's way anyway."  He gave the youngest technician a wink and she turned bright pink.

"We'll get this processed right away!" she burst out.  "We'll be able to tell you height and weight of the guy and the brand of the shoe!"

The other two technicians made grumbling, amused noises behind her and the pink started to turn red.

Jared turned so he could grin discreetly at Jensen and saw Russ calling to another officer as he took a step back, not looking where he was going.

"Look out!" Jared shouted.

Jensen whipped around with remarkable reflexes and grabbed Russ as he stumbled into him.  Jared lunged forward against Jensen's back and all three of them went sprawling to ground—but away from the impression in the dry dirt.  They lay unmoving on the ground for a moment, stunned because none of them had braced for the impact.  Jensen had taken the brunt of the crash as he'd been spun by Jared's push and had landed on his back with Russ lying over his head and Jared across his legs.  Jared started as something licked worriedly at his cheek.  He pushed onto his hands and Bunny licked his face in earnest.  He sat back sputtering and pushed the dog away, wondering where the hell Misha was.  Then he spotted the officer, running his tongue over his teeth as he watched Russ and Jensen disentangle themselves as they sat up.  He couldn't wait to tease Jensen later about his jealous, possessive boyfriend.

"Are you okay?" Russ asked Jensen as he apologetically brushed some dirt off his shoulder.  "I have no idea what happened.  Jared, did you tackle us?"

"Yeah, sorry, I didn't really think.  I was worried you might stumble into the print."

Russ whipped around to look at the spot on the ground.  "Oh, shit.  Please tell me I didn't just—!"

"It's fine," one of the technicians replied quickly.  "You completely missed it.  And we've got pictures, so we still have that even if we couldn't get a good cast out of it."

Russ' shoulders sagged in relief.  "Thank goodness," he said flatly.  He got to his feet and held out a hand to help Jensen up.

Jensen brushed off his backside and hunched his back in a stretch.  He winced a little and Jared hoped he hadn't injured something.

"Alright," Jensen said.  "Let's just, get back to the station.  We've got work to do."

Everyone shuffled as they either prepared to leave the scene or returned to work.  Jared turned and saw Gen beside him.

"What I'd miss?"

"Not much.  Just my amazing quick thinking that saved the evidence."

Gen gave him an amused smiled and then punched his shoulder.  He nudged her back and they repressed their smiles as they started to follow Russ out of the forest.  Jared glanced back and saw Jensen petting Bunny's head while Misha pulled a leaf out of his hair.  It put a smile on his face that lasted all the way to the station—where it promptly disappeared as they were confronted with a grim-faced Jim Beaver.


Sunday, October 27, 2013 

Fifty-nine hours.  They'd been at the station, with the one exception of the trip to the Hernandez crime scene, for fifty-nine hours.  The agents had managed to snatch a couple hours of sleep in shifts on one of the cots in the station's on call room, but they'd been told under no uncertain terms that they were going to need to have some sort of answers to provide when the media came raging back.  And not just because of the media.  The public was demanding answers and the FBI executives that were taking a personal interest in the case were climbing higher and higher up the chain of command.  The last thing they needed or wanted was that kind of attention.

They'd decided to stay at the station around the clock so that as the forensic evidence trickled in they would be ready for it.  Their case had been put at the top of the queue and prioritized over every other case and many technicians had volunteered to stay overtime to work through the night.

The boot print had yielded the information that the wearer had been most likely male, about 5'6"-5'7" and 120 to 135 pounds.  Kim had discovered that the bulge in Hernandez's throat had been from his own boxer shorts being lodged down his windpipe.  She'd been pretty certain that they'd been stuffed down with a foreign object.  Hernandez's house had been searched and a crumpled card had been found in the trash.  Gathouel had been written on one side and the directions to a bar in Concord on the other.  Hernandez's live-in girlfriend had confirmed that the trip to Concord had taken place the previous weekend, and he had returned from it.  So, the card had been delivered to him prior to his kidnapping.  His girlfriend hadn't seen him in several days, but that wasn't unusual.  He would often disappear on drinking binges—usually after beating her.  Hernandez had a police record as long as Jensen's leg and the last incident dated from no longer than three weeks ago.

Even still, he hadn't deserved to die the way he did.  Kim was almost positive every wound had been sustained while he was still alive.  Only the angel name carved into his chest had been postmortem.  They also knew that he had been killed in the early hours of Friday morning; an expert from the Boston PD had been dispatched on an emergency assignment and come in on Saturday morning to examine the insects found on the body.  Based on the kinds of insects and the eggs and larval stages and other gross things Jensen didn't want to think about, the technician had given them a 95% certainty for his estimated time of death.

It seemed like a lot of evidence, and it was, but it brought them no closer to identifying a suspect.  Taking the usual route of looking into the victim's loved ones and enemies would not give them a useful suspect pool unlike eighty percent of all homicides.  Murders committed by strangers were always the hardest to solve—and they generally did go unsolved.  Serial killers got caught when they got sloppy or arrogant and began leaving clues.  It was happening to the Angel Slayer—but the pieces he was leaving behind were not interlocking.  Not yet.  But Jensen knew they would.  If he could just line them up right.  If he could just see them from the right angle.  If he wasn't just a pathetic, desperate idiot who made puzzle analogies rather than actually solving the damn case.

Jensen slammed the stack of books he'd been carrying into a plastic container and put a hand to his face and the other on his hip.

"Jensen?" Jared asked carefully.  "You okay?"

"Yeah.  Fine."

They were picking up the piles of books scattered around the office and putting them in bins to take back to the Rochester library.  Brian would be so disappointed to learn his meticulously gathered materials had given them fuck all to go on.  They were alone in the office.  They had sent Gen home to get some sleep and agreed to meet back tomorrow morning at six.  She had made them promise that they would leave by five o'clock.  It was now ten minutes after seven.

"We should just call it a night," Jensen said.  "The announcement about the killer sending cards to his victims is airing on tonight's and tomorrow morning's news broadcasts.  By noon tomorrow I'm sure we'll be flooded with calls and we're going to have to look into all of them."

Jared picked up the last stack of books Russ had piled by the door and walked over to Jensen.

"Hey.  We have made progress, Jensen.  And now that the public knows and can warn us ahead of time...we've got a fighting chance."

"I doubt he's going to continue sending the cards once the announcement is made.  It's going to be all false leads.  Or fucking decoys."

"Maybe.  Even you said it depends on how arrogant he is."

"Yeah, but, I don't know what to think about what I used to think.  There're too many anomalies.  This just doesn't add up."

"Oh!" Jared said suddenly, startling Jensen.  "I meant to talk to you about this sooner."  He dropped his pile of books into the bin.

Jensen noticed a thin book sitting on top.  The colored barcode on its top didn't match the others.  He bent over and picked it up.

"This one belongs to the Elton library," he said.  He turned and tossed it onto his desk and then gave his attention to Jared.  "What's on your mind?"

Jared snapped the lid onto the last bin and gathered his thoughts.  He knew Jensen would never ridicule him for spit-balling a theory, but he still wanted his words to be succinct.

"I was thinking at the crime scene on Friday that we've gotten a second disorganized kill.  Two organized, two disorganized.  We've got two kills where the killer played more when the victims were dead and two kills when the damage was done mostly while they were alive.  The type of instruments used and how the cuts were made and where—there are differences, but also similarities.  But the similarities and the differences are with the same victims."  Jared let out a frustrated noise.  "Do you understand what I mean?"

Jensen crossed his arms over his chest and licked his lips.  He actually did understand what Jared meant.  The whole case was confusing because there was no consistency.  Except Jared had seen where the inconsistencies were consistent.

"I understand what you mean, what are you suggesting?"

Jared straightened and tried to stop clenching and unclenching his fingers.  "There are two of them, Jensen."

For one moment, Jensen saw it.  It made perfect sense.  Two killing styles, two killers.  Then he shook his head.  "No, I don't—I mean the angel names—they're being carved by the same person."

Jared nodded, undeterred.  "Yes.  By the teacher.  He starts the kills with the brands, and he ends them with the carvings.  But the rest is sometimes him, and sometimes his student."

It made sense, but he wasn't sure if thinking there were two killers followed Occam's razor or not.  He ran a hand down his face and cursed softly.


Jared shrugged.  "It's a theory."

"A theory we need to seriously consider."  He gave Jared a small smile.  "Did you dream it?" he asked.

Jared laughed softly.  "No.  I did the math."

Jensen turned and faced the whiteboards.  He looked over the victims one at a time.  He heard Jared sit down in a chair giving him the time and space to think.  He appreciated it, but his mind was a little fuzzy.  He needed some real sleep.  They really should just get dinner at Nell's and go to bed.  He turned to face Jared about to suggest they close up the room, when Jared sprang out the chair, his eyes glued to the thin little book Jensen had tossed onto his desk for return to the Elton library.  Jensen put out a hand, concerned.

"Jared, are you okay?"

"Natalia Smith," Jared said.  "What is her estimated time of death?"

"What?  Why—"

"Natalia Smith's estimated time of death, Jensen!  I know you have it all memorized!"

Jensen swallowed and took a step back.  "Um.  Late September 10th to early September 12th."

Jared walked to the whiteboards and snatched up a red marker.  "Get a calendar.  Tell me the days.  The days of the week."

Jensen knew better than to question the demand.  Whether or not an epiphany was nonsense should be sorted out after it had come to fruition.  Jensen sat at his desk and wiggled a finger on the mouse pad on his laptop.  The computer woke up and he clicked on the time in the bottom right corner and opened the calendar.  He clicked back to September.

"Tuesday to Thursday," he said.  He turned around and saw that beside "Akael" underneath Natalia's picture Jared had written "20th hour of Wednesday."

"Davis Thompson," Jared said.

Jensen pulled up the dates in his memory and looked back at the calendar.  "Saturday to Wednesday morning when we found him."

Back on the whiteboard next to Damael, Jared had written "Tuesday."

"Sarah Vanderpool," Jensen said.  "Monday morning to Tuesday night."

Next to Apofael Jared wrote "17th hour of Monday."

"And the bug guy said Hernandez was killed on the day we found him," Jared said.  He wrote "Friday" next to Gathouel.

Jensen stared—more shocked than he had been by anything else in the case so far.  "He's—he's telling the victims when he's going to kill them."

Jared shook his head, feeling a strange, disconcerting smile pull at his lips.  "He's not going to stop sending those cards."

"No, no he's not.  What the fuck do you have?"

Jared turned the book over.  "It's a listing of all major and minor angels.  The entries in the book itself are about what they protect or what they represent.  And it's only a selection.  But the index has a complete listing that also says when each angel can be summoned.  Some are linked to days, but some are linked to a specific hour of a day."

Jensen looked at the boards.  "And look—the hour specific ones are with the organized kills.  The general days are with the disorganized one.  The master can plan it to the hour and the student has more leeway."

Jensen laughed a little hysterically.  "Fuck me.  There are two."  A sudden rage blinded him and he felt pain somewhere on his body but he didn't register it as he screamed, "He's training someone to follow him!"

Jensen felt like he couldn't breathe.  His chest constricted and his vision started to go black around the edges.  He needed to sit down.  Maybe lie down.  He felt cool hands on him and they guided him to the floor.  The tile felt cold against his back and he turned his face to press his cheek against it.  It felt good, cool, soothing.  He opened his eyes and Jared was kneeling next to him with a bottle of water, but Jensen didn't reach for it.

"What if it's not him?" he asked weakly.  "What if the DC killer trained someone.  What if this is just his student teaching a new student?"

"Hey, hey, don't think like that," Jared said calmly.  "Come on, sit up and drink some water."

Jensen obeyed and felt the beginnings of humiliation tickle the fuzzy edges of his brain, but he probably wouldn't feel the whole of it until tomorrow morning.

"There were no disorganized killings in DC," Jared reminded him.  "It was him.  And he came here.  He came home.  To train someone new."

Jensen nodded.  "Home.  He is from here, isn't he?"

"He knows everyone's secrets."

Jensen cleared his throat and got to his feet.  "I'm sorry, I don't know what happened."  Oh wait, actually there was some humiliation coming tonight.

"No way.  Don't apologize to me.  We need sleep.  And we need food.  I'm not sure about the order, but that's what's happening tonight."

Jensen nodded.  "No arguments from me."

They closed up the office and put on their coats.  If anyone in the bullpen had heard Jensen's breakdown, no one gave him funny looks—at least not so he could see them.  On their way out, Jensen spotted Misha in the break room.

"Uh, Jared, can you hang on for just a minute?"

Jared tried not to make it obvious that he glanced over at Misha.  "Yeah, sure.  I'll wait outside."

He gave Jensen's arm a pat and walked out of the bullpen.  Jensen walked over to the break room and glanced around when he entered.  Misha was alone.  He turned when Jensen entered, and watched as he moved to lean against the cabinets on the opposite side of the small room.

"Hey," Jensen said softly.

Misha closed the refrigerator and leaned against the counter.  For some reason, the space between them felt like a chasm.

"Hi," Misha said.  "How are you?  You've been going non-stop all weekend."

"Yeah, it's been—a little rough.  But, we've had a breakthrough."

Misha opened his mouth and then immediately snapped it shut.  Jensen could tell he was desperate to ask about it, but he refrained with a strength of will Jensen wasn't sure he himself possessed.

"That's good to hear," Misha said quietly.

"So, um," Jensen glanced to the door; they were still alone.  "I don't know if this is completely out of line...but I need..." He looked up and met Misha's eyes.  He saw the man's jaw clench and his chest expand as he drew in a deep breath.  Jensen lowered his voice more and said, "I was wondering if you could cook dinner for me tonight."  Misha closed his eyes and Jensen added, "If you want."

Misha opened his eyes with a pained laugh.  "Jensen, what—" he paused and glanced at the door.  "What I want—and what I need to happen—are light years apart."

Jensen felt a strange sinking feeling in his chest.  "What do you mean?"

"Thursday night," his voice had dropped so low Jensen could barely hear him, "was a mistake.  Everything about that night was a mistake.  And it can't happen again."

Jensen felt liked he'd been punched in the gut.  He was feeling dizzy again.  He needed to leave.

"I understand," he said quickly and walked out of the room.


Jensen walked quickly through the bullpen and out of the station.  The cold night air was a welcome shock to his senses.  He breathed deeply and saw Jared standing by the Accent.

"So, uh, are we going to Nell's?"

Jensen walked slowly toward Jared.  "Actually, I'm not really that hungry.  Can you drop me off at the motel?  I mean, we can swing by Nell's if you want to pick something up—"

"No, don't worry about it.  I can take you there and come back.  You look like you need sleep more than food."

Jensen tried to smile.  "Thanks."

Jared's eyes were soft with concern.  "It's no problem."

Chapter Text

Saturday, November 2, 2013 

Jensen vigorously toweled off his head and then looked at the mirror.  It was completely fogged up from his long shower.  He was pretty certain he'd used up about half of Elton's hot water supply, but he'd needed it.  It had been a very long week.  Russ, Jim, and even Gen had been hesitant to accept Jared's theory that there were two killers, even with Jensen's complete agreement.  They had been more accepting of the meaning behind the angel names, but the point had still been debated for days.  And on top of all that the station's tip line had been flooded with calls from as far away as New York with people saying they had received an Angel of Death Card—and Jensen hated that term even more than Angel Slayer.

There had only been a handful that they had considered even remotely legitimate.  Those people had been asked to bring the notes to the station.  None had been black marker on an index card, but they had agreed to analyze the handwriting just to be on the safe side.  Jensen could tell just by glancing at the notes that they weren't the same handwriting, but they had an obligation to the public.  The Elton PD didn't have enough manpower to keep them all under surveillance, so they instructed each to check in every day and to not go anywhere alone.  All five had checked in today and they'd verified that the handwriting did not match the Angel Slayer's.

Jensen wrapped the towel around his waist and brushed his teeth.  He turned out the bathroom lights and the lamp by the  desk.  He noticed that it was 12:07, and then scowled; he'd intended to be in bed before midnight.  He walked over to the drawer that housed his last pair of clean underwear.  He didn't know if he would have time to do laundry even though it was the weekend.  He might have to just buy some.

He looked up and raised an eyebrow when he heard a knock at the door.  He double checked the time.  It couldn't be another body—they would have called.  It must be Jared.  Jensen walked barefoot across the floor even though he tried not to as much as possible.  The carpet was actually pretty gross.  Jensen opened the door.

Misha stood on the other side in khakis and a pale blue button down shirt that brought out the blue of his eyes even through the dark of night outside and the dim orange lighting of the motel lamps.  They stared at each other for several very long moments.  Misha drew in a breath to speak, looking contrite.  Then he exhaled sharply and just sort of looked annoyed.

"Not a fucking word," he muttered and stepped forward to take Jensen's face in his hands.

Even though he saw what he was doing, Jensen was still surprised by the press of his lips: warm, a little chapped, fucking plush as sin.  Jensen kissed him back without thinking and they stumbled inside, Misha slamming the door shut with his foot.  They broke apart and Misha pulled back to look at him like he was actually seeing him for the first time that night.  A wicked smile curved one corner of his mouth as he ran his hands down Jensen's bare, muscular chest.

"And Ty says I have the worst timing," he murmured.

He curled his fingers in the towel and Jensen snapped out of his trance.  He grabbed Misha's wrists.

"Hey.  I will say a fucking word.  I think I might say several."

"Fine," Misha said, pulling his wrists from Jensen's grasp.  He yanked the towel off and Jensen tried to catch it, failed.  Misha pushed him toward the bed.  "Talk all you like.  Just do it on the bed."

"You're an asshole, Misha.  You treated me like shit."

"You're the one who walked away before I finished," Misha said.  Jensen's legs hit the bed and he fell back onto it; Misha crawled on top of him and hooked his hands under Jensen's knees to slide him completely on the mattress.  "All I said was that what happened Thursday couldn't happen again.  None of the personal stuff.  But the sex—that we can do."

Misha leaned down to kiss him, but Jensen turned his head.  That didn't change Misha's plans, however, as he just kissed his cheek, his jaw, and then a warm line down his neck.  Jensen was still pissed at him, so it wasn't nearly as distracting as it could have been.

"Actually.  You said that everything about that night was a mistake.  Everything includes the sex.  And secondly.  Maybe I don't want sex without the intimacy."

Misha repressed a sigh and sat up to look down at him.  But he didn't speak, and they just stared.  The light was harsh and unforgiving, but Misha's face shone golden, the angles of his cheek bones were sharp yet delicate, his nose a straight line that he wanted to run his fingertip down, his lips so full they cast a shadow onto his chin.  He was preternaturally beautiful, but not perfect: there were crow's feet at the corners of his eyes and bags underneath them.  The imperfections showed that he was human, that he could make mistakes.  Jensen felt himself lifting his head off the bed, but then he forced it back down.

"And thirdly!" he said, embarrassed by the near shrill tone to his voice.  "You were a total asshole that night!"

"No," Misha said softly, combing a hand through Jensen's hair.  "That night I was vulnerable and being honest about how scared I was."  His fingers curled in Jensen's hair, and pulled, inciting a little pain and tilting his head back.  "Tonight, I'm being a colossal douche bag."

They played another game of "You Blink First."

Jensen lost so he said, "I hope you're not waiting for me to disagree."



Misha's grip loosened slightly.  "I have been living in my messed up head for weeks now.  You are working yourself to an early grave.  Can't we just..." he carded his fingers through Jensen's drying hair again.  "...get lost in each other for a little while?"  He used his other hand to run a finger slowly down Jensen's chest.  "Can't I just...suck your brains out through your dick so that they can take a breather on the floor?"

Jensen wrinkled his nose at the mental image that presented.  Because he ignored the first part of it.

"And afterwards," Misha continued, "you can tell me what a huge King of Mixed Signals asshole I am."

Misha removed his hands from Jensen's body, which made Jensen frown.  He was still ticked off at him, but that didn't mean he wanted him to stop touching him.  Until he noticed Misha's fingers were working the buttons on his shirt open.  Misha getting naked was an acceptable alternate use of his hands.  Misha shifted and the fabric of the khakis rubbed uncomfortably on his skin, but Jensen's dick was about halfway full and cradled pleasantly between Misha's thighs.  Jensen wondered if he was wearing underwear.  He figured he was about to find out, but that didn't mean Misha should think that he'd already won the battle.

"You know, I'm not really in a fair position to make an argument against that logic."

Misha's hands swept his shirt tails back, revealing his chiseled torso.  Jensen felt his eyes widen.  It wasn't like he hadn't seen the guy naked before, but damn.  Then he noticed the smirk on Misha's face.  He was well aware that Jensen would not be able to form any sort of coherent argument when faced with the onslaught of his utter hotness.

Jensen narrowed his eyes.  "Fuck you, Misha."

Misha smiled and leaned down.  "That's the idea, Agent.  I think it's your turn, is it not?"

Jensen's breath caught in his throat and Misha sucked his lower lip into his mouth and suckled it gently.  He nibbled on the plump flesh, making it become tender and swollen.  Jensen was completely focused on his oversensitive lip, a low, moaning surrender escaping his throat as Misha's tongue soothed over it.  Misha pulled back and it took a moment for Jensen's awareness to float back down to his body.  His cock was now fully erect, pressing into Misha's bare ass.  Jensen's eyes flew open.  When had he gotten naked?

He slid his hands over Misha's thighs and fit his thumbs against his wicked hip bones.  "Do you ever wear underwear?"

"Only when I'm on duty."

"Is that a true statement?"

Misha laughed and raised three fingers on his right hand, holding his pinky down with the thumb.  "Scout's honor."

"Were you a boy scout?"

"I was.  Are you really asking me that when I'm..."  Misha stopped using his words and rocked in Jensen's lap.  They both let out porn worthy groans—and then laughed when they met each other's eyes.

Misha leaned down, fingers threading through Jensen's hair, and kissed his lips.  He pulled back a little and looked him in the eyes.

"Are you okay with this, really?"

"What, meaningless, impersonal sex?  It's not really my style."

"You said you were a slut," Misha accused him gently.

"Well, I've slept with my fair share of people, but I don't do one night stands."

"Hmm."  Misha sat up and bit his lip as Jensen slipped further between his cheeks.  "So, do you have your super whatever condoms?"

"My what?"  Jensen asked distractedly as he traced a finger along a vein in Misha's cock.

"Your no-latex condoms," Misha said a little breathlessly.  "What do you use anyway?" he asked as he circled his thumbs over Jensen's cute, pert nipples.

"Well, I used to use polyurethane..."  Jensen's hips bucked up when Misha flicked his finger over the already sensitive bud. "...but lately I've been using polyisoprene."

"Those sound like big science-y words for plastic."


Misha put his palms flat on Jensen's chest and used the leverage to push himself down hard enough that as he began to rock back and forth Jensen's balls connected with his ass with little slapping sounds.  "All right let's see 'em," he forced out between short, grunting moans.

Jensen closed his eyes, grasped Misha's hips, and just went along for the ride.  "I don't have any."

Misha stopped moving.  "What?"

It was a struggle, but Jensen opened his eyes.  "I don't have any."

"Why not?!"

Jensen almost laughed at Misha's childlike dismay.  "Because, I didn't come here expecting to get laid and after last week I figured sex with you was off table.  And I wasn't planning on having sex with anyone else in town."

"Really?  That's kind of sweet."

"Is it?  I mean, what are my other choices?"

Misha didn't seem particularly amused with that answer.  "Alright, well, we'll just have to go without."

"Misha...are you sure?  Going without that was..."

"Stupid, irresponsible, unsafe, blah, blah, blah."  Misha tilted his head back and a little to the side as he looked down at Jensen.  "Would you really be willing to wear one with me anyway?"

Jensen blushed remembering his idiotic thoughts a week ago—about how he knew he'd never be satisfied if there was ever a barrier between them.

"It's a moot point at this juncture."

"You're damn right it is.  And I didn't drive an hour and a half to another town so I could go to a drugstore where no one would know me."

Jensen propped himself up on his elbows and grinned.  "What'd you buy on your secret trip?"

Misha's skin was dark enough that it was hard to see a blush on him, but at the moment he was clearly radiating some serious heat.


"Come on, Mish," Jensen whined as he bounced Misha in his lap.  "Tell me."

"I—" Misha covered his face partially with a hand.  "I thought I would offer to...bottom tonight.  But I've never done it before.  So, I thought I should...Oh god I feel so ridiculous."

Jensen reached up and gently grasped his wrist.  He pulled Misha's hand away from his face.  Misha opened one eye and Jensen rubbed the soft skin of his inner wrist with a thumb.

Misha groaned embarrassedly.  "I bought an enema."

Jensen refrained from reacting just yet because there was a very important question he needed an answer to before he potentially pissed Misha off.

"Did you use it?"

Misha nodded.

"Shit, baby."

Misha laugh-groaned.  "Poor choice of words there, stud."

Jensen laughed.  He studied Misha for a moment and then bent his knees to buck Misha off.  The man was completely unprepared for it, so he went flying with a yelp.  The only thing that prevented him from sailing clear off the bed was Jensen keeping a hold on him and putting him on his stomach.

"What are you—?"  Misha's question ended in a squeak when Jensen lifted his hips and made him get his knees under him.  Then he spread his legs so that Misha's ass was up and exposed in the air.


"Did you like it?" Jensen asked palming Misha's cheeks and pulling them apart gently.

Misha clutched at the sheets and kept his head down even though he glanced back over his shoulder.

"It-it was an experience."

"I bet," Jensen murmured, running a thumb around the pink, puckered ring.  It fluttered when he flicked his index finger back and forth over it.  Misha jerked under him.

"Jensen!  The fuck are you doing back there?"

"You want me to stop?"

The blush on Misha's cheeks traveled down his neck.  "Didn't say that," he mumbled.

Jensen leaned forward and kissed him squarely on his entrance.  Misha bit off a noise and jerked forward.  Jensen grabbed his hips and pulled him back onto his tongue.  Misha let out a keening whine and dragged his hands down the sheets and then slapped them onto the mattress again for a better hold.  He rocked back onto Jensen's face as he kissed and licked him, flicking his tongue and pointing it enough to just breach the tight ring.  Misha let out a noise that sounded suspiciously like a sob.

"Why does it—oh God, how does it feel like that?" he whispered into the sheets.

Jensen pulled back to say, "Lot of nerve endings right there," and used the opportunity to work the tip of a finger inside.  Misha inhaled sharply and Jensen slipped a second tip in, spreading him slightly.  This time Misha winced, but Jensen soothed the hurt by plunging his tongue into the small opening.  Misha staved off a shout by biting a pillow and his whole body rocked back and forth as Jensen fucked his tongue into his sweet, delicious heat.  He had a salty, musky flavor—one he actually recognized as Misha.  Jensen groaned at the feeling of Misha clamping around his tongue and Misha gasped when the vibrations went through his body.

Misha started talking, but Jensen couldn't discern any words other than his name.  He loved pulling Misha apart like this, and knew that it really was something he needed.  He slipped a hand between Misha's legs intending to give his cock a few quick pulls to make sure the pleasure was stimulating his erection, and was surprised to find it rock hard, heavy, and quivering tremulously.  Jensen pulled back a little and replaced his tongue with a finger.

"You doin' okay, Mish?"



Jensen slid his finger in easily, Misha's cavern wet with his saliva.  He found Misha's prostate and gave it a couple of nudges.  And suddenly Misha was screaming into the mattress and the cock in Jensen's hand trembled violently as he came all over the sheets.  Jensen sat up, a little startled by the intensity of Misha's orgasm, but dutifully worked his cock until he sagged against the bed, still babbling incoherently.

"Hunh.  I wonder if that's what I was like when I had my man cherry popped," Jensen mused aloud.

"Sh-shut-huh-up," Misha panted.

Jensen rubbed his hand through the sheen of sweat on the warm muscles of his back comfortingly until the man flipped himself over.

"Fuck.  I am so sorry.   You were supposed to—"

"Don't worry, I will.  And don't get stressed over it.  This is your first time, so we're going to work you open nice and slow.  And by the time you're ready, you'll probably be hard again."


"And even if you're not, that won't really prevent me from enjoying it."

Misha scowled.  "Thank the heavens I didn't ruin our special night," he said in a faux Southern belle accent.

Jensen grinned and leaned over to place sucking kisses on Misha's still slightly heaving chest.

"Pants pocket," Misha said languidly.

"Hmm?"  Jensen was much too busy kissing and sucking and biting a mark onto the skin below Misha's left pectoral to pay him much attention.

"In my pants pocket is some lubricant.  Unless you have an allergy to whatever."

Jensen moved to lean over the side of the bed and stretched out, just barely snagging the cuff of one of the legs with two fingers.  He pulled the garment closer and dug into the pockets until he produced the partially full tube they had used before.

"Couldn't spring for a new bottle, hmm?"

"I thought it would be okay!  Does it go bad if not refrigerated or something?"

Jensen would have laughed but he felt a grown man shouldn't ask that question with such a straight face.

"No, Mish, it's fine.  I'm just yanking your chain."

"Oh.  Right."

Misha turned his face away from Jensen, but bent his knees a little so he could spread his legs.  Jensen felt a warm pulse of affection in his chest for the man in his bed.  He was clearly nervous, but wanting to do what he could for Jensen.  Jensen scooted close to sit by him and rubbed his thigh soothingly.

"Hey, Mish.  You don't have to do this for me.  I had my feelings hurt a little, but I don't hate you for it."

Misha shook his head.  "I'm not doing this because I think I owe you.  I want it."  Misha pushed up on the balls of his feet a little and rolled his pelvis.  "I wanna...feel...fuck, Jen, you.  I wanna feel you in me."

He turned his head further way and put his hips back on the bed.  His knees came together and Jensen pushed them back open.

"Ah, ah," he intoned, planting a kiss on one knee.  "None of that.  You want me, you're gonna have to open up."

"Don't make it embarrassing."

"That's half the fun with you, Mish."

Misha huffed out a breath and turned a look on Jensen.  Jensen just laughed at his expression and popped the cap on the tube of lubricant.

"All right then, how about if we distract you from what's going on?"

"How are we going to manage that?"  Misha's whole body jerked when Jensen circled a wet, warm digit around his hole.

"Well, you're going to tell me how you've only slept with two people in your life and how on earth you went four and half years without sex."

"Really, Jensen?  Sexual histories?  Is that really the best way to get in the mood?"

Jensen kissed his knee again and pulled down slightly on the edge of his rim, eliciting a surprised, though pleasure-filled hiss.

"Don't worry, you leave the mood to me.  You just talk."

"I—I cannot talk about my ex-wife while you're doing...that!"

Misha sat up to try to look between his legs where Jensen's finger was slipping easily in and out of him.  Jensen put his hand on Misha's chest and pushed him back flat on the bed.  He was eager to slide another finger inside, Misha was loose from his orgasm and the lube was certainly doing its job, but Jensen didn't want to rush him through the process.  Besides, his body was tightening up a little bit with his anxiousness.

"Just tell me who was first," Jensen said, rolling the underside of Misha's balls with his thumb.

Misha's legs jerked up and a little wider at the touch, and he groaned when Jensen's finger slid completely inside him.

"W-wife," Misha panted.

Jensen repressed a laugh.  It was wrong that he was finding this to be arousing and funny.  He was sure Misha would do him some serious bodily harm if he realized exactly how much Jensen was enjoying watching him fall apart at the simple touch of his hands.

"Your wife got you first?  Oh, Misha," he said disappointedly.  "You cheated on her?"

"What?  No.  Don't stop moving your fucking finger."

Jensen smiled and resumed moving his right hand again, teasing his entrance with a second finger.  "Well, if the first person you ever had sex with was your wife, how did you have sex with two people if you didn't cheat?"  Jensen gasped in an exaggerated, scandalized way.  "Unless your wife was present when it happened.  You guys into kinky three ways?"

Misha made some sort of noise that could have been pleasure, but was probably annoyance.  Jensen used the opportunity to slide his middle finger in alongside his index finger, and then shallowly pumped the digits in and out.

"We actually discussed a threesome once, but it never panned out.  Jesus, fuck, Jensen, your fingers are so hot."

Jensen laughed.  "I had no idea my hands were such a turn on for you, Mish."

"No, you ass, they're temperature hot."

"Oh."  Jensen laughed again and pushed them deep inside causing Misha to keen and writhe on the sheets.  He leaned forward and put his lips near Misha's ear.  "Trust me, baby, you're hotter."

Misha squirmed some more and Jensen began working his hand, loving the way Misha kept pulling him deeper every time he plunged his fingers back in.  He was deliberately avoiding his prostate for now; he still needed some answers.

"So, Misha.  How did you not cheat on your wife?"

Misha didn't respond, he just kept rolling his hips gently in time with Jensen's thrusting hand.  So Jensen gave him a light slap on the thigh.  Misha let out a disgruntled noise and spread his legs wider, letting his knees fall sideways onto the bed.  Jensen was impressed with his flexibility.

"I grew up with Andrea.  We knew each other since elementary school and started dating in middle school.  We dated throughout high school and decided to take a break when we got to college.  I dated Mary Ann in sophomore and junior year and then got back together with Andrea my senior year.  And that was it."

Misha delivered all of this in a rush and one of his hands moved unconsciously to pull on his cock.  Jensen was pleased to see it was already showing signs of life again, so he upped his game and began massaging Misha's prostate.  The man groaned loudly and arched his back.  Jensen kept working the bundle of nerves mercilessly, enthralled by Misha's thrashing.

"Shit, shit, Jensen!  Stop!  I can't take it!"

Jensen split his fingers and let them slide around the sides of the nub.  "Yeah, you can.  You're taking it beautifully."

"Sh-shut-up."  Misha worked his hips.  "Fuck, it's—something's not—I can feel—it's so stupid I know you have two fingers in me, but it feels...empty."

Jensen licked his lips and prodded Misha's entrance with a third finger.  "You need more, baby?"

Misha closed his eyes and gave one jerky, embarrassed nod of his head.  Jensen took over coaxing Misha's cock back to hardness with one hand and leaned down to nuzzle and mouth at his balls.  Misha sighed shakily and relaxed.  Jensen pushed a third finger all the way in.  All of Misha's muscles clenched tightly and he choked back a noise of pain, but Jensen kept his right hand still and continued to tease his growing erection.  He waited until he felt Misha's body unlock and his breathing even out.  He licked a long stripe up the length of Misha's cock and this time the noise Misha made was pleasurably happy.

"How ya doin', Mish?"

"Good," he breathed.  "Really good actually."

"Yeah?"  Jensen began moving his right hand again and Misha moved with him.  The cock in his hand was getting hard fast now.  "But, we're missing a part of the story."

"What?  Seriously why are you still talking?" Misha complained.

Jensen chuckled and spread his fingers on the backstroke before pushing them back in.  Misha jerked and tossed his head around on the mattress.

"Close, right?" he gasped.

Jensen let go of Misha's cock and stopped moving his hand.  "Are you about to come again?"

"No, no.  I meant, I'm close to being ready, right?"

"Well, I'm kind of big."

"Don't care.  Hurry up.  I can still feel the spaces between yours fingers.  I need—fuck, Jensen, if you actually make me say that I need to feel your cock filling my ass I will never forgive you."

Jensen couldn't stop his laughter.  He leaned forward and kissed Misha's stomach.  "You know, I don't think I've ever laughed this much during sex.  I like it."

"Well, good for you."

"Alright, baby, just let me spread you a little bit more, and you can tell me about the third person you had sex with that you're not telling me about."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I may be an insensitive jerk for making assumptions based on the other two's names, but there has to be a third person in this story.  Last week was not the first time you had ever fingered someone's ass."

"How do you know Andrea or Mary Ann didn't like anal sex?"

"I don't.  But...last week also wasn't the first time you've had a cock in your mouth."

Misha rolled his hips and gripped his own dick and began to stroke it firmly.

"Freshman year I may or may not have decided that I wanted to explore my attraction to men."

"Unh-hunh.  Keep going."

"And there was this guy who I flirted with and made out with a couple of times, but I didn't know what to do beyond that.  So, I asked my roommate, who was gay, if he could give me some pointers."

Jensen made a slightly pained face.  "You did what?"

"He didn't seem to mind.  In fact, he seemed eager to teach me."

"Oh, no."

"Stop.  Pull your hand out."


"Hand.  Out."

Jensen immediately complied and Misha took in a couple deep breaths as his body recovered from the stimulation.  Then he sat up and guided Jensen to lie on his back.  He poured some lube onto his hand and then began to slick up Jensen's slightly flagging erection.  It was at full attention again in no time under Misha's talented hand.

"Did your roommate teach you this too?"

"Yeah, actually he did.  It was the only thing I let him show me through practical application."



"You do realize that your roommate had a crush on you, right?"

"Oh, I figured that out when he caught me in the middle of fingering and sucking off the guy I'd been taking lessons for.  It was a very unpleasant scene.  And it was a very awkward three weeks until we switched roommates with two other guys on our hall who weren't getting along either."

"So, what happened with the other guy?"

"I felt so bad about what had happened with David that I couldn't see him anymore without thinking about the whole thing.  So, we stopped seeing each other and I never really had sex with him.  Then I decided to stick with what I knew and dated Mary Ann."

Misha threw a leg over Jensen's body and knelt over him.  "Can we dispense with the chatter now?"

Jensen ran his hands up Misha's thighs and grasped his hips.  "If you're sure you're ready."

"What's the line?  'Guess we'll find out.'  Or something."

"Misha, we don't..."

Misha grasped Jensen's cock and guided it by feel to his stretched hole.  He lowered himself slowly, carefully, and when Jensen felt the first drag of tight muscle on his cockhead he promptly told himself to shut-up.  Misha continued to push down slowly, stopping when it became too much, but Jensen had done his job well and in no time Misha was seated in Jensen's lap, lips parted on an unvoiced moan, eyes closed in bliss.

"You okay?" Jensen asked, desperately trying to ignore the clenching heat around his member that was telling his brain to push up, to fuck, to take.

"So good, Jen," Misha said on an exhalation of air.  "You don't even know how good.  I feel..." he trailed off and didn't finish the thought.  He started moving, just grinding figure eights and moving forward and back, not up and down, but they didn't need that yet.  Jensen tightened his hold on Misha's hips, not even caring when the man winced a little at the pressure.  He helped Misha's movements, and then began to lift him on every other movement.  And then every movement.  And then Misha began to use his thighs to lift himself up and before they knew it Misha was riding Jensen hard and fast, their panting grunts coinciding each time their bodies reconnected.

Jensen was lost in a cloud of pleasure and lust.  He'd felt a bare hand on his cock before, but it just hadn't prepared him for what being inside someone bare would be like.  It was so much warmer and felt tighter because of the increased friction.  He could feel the contours of Misha's body and it felt like he fit into it perfectly.  Every move up and down felt like he was sliding in and out of a heaven that had been made just for him.

"M-Misha..."  Jensen stopped and swallowed quickly because he couldn't spare the air the motion took away from him.

"Yeah, babe?" Misha moaned, head tilted all the way back, clutching Jensen's forearms as he increased his pace.

"I-I—"  Jensen cut off and found he couldn't speak.  His whole body was buzzing with adrenaline, riding a fine line between enjoyment and a desperate need for release.  He felt pressure in his chest and then gasped for air as he realized he was holding his breath in anticipation.

"Misha, baby, I need it...are you...?"

He started to reach out a hand to grab Misha's cock, when he felt a hand at his throat.  His eyes flew open and he saw Misha looking down at him, one arm outstretched with the space between thumb and index finger pressed against his windpipe.  They hadn't stopped the motion of their hips, and Jensen dropped his hand to his side.  He met Misha's eyes and gave the tiniest of nods.  Misha pressed down.

Jensen knew a thing or two about choking.  Choke holds were actually designed to cut off the flow of blood to a person's brain.  Without blood, the brain shut down fast, actually encouraging passing out so that the body would fall down and go horizontal, and as a result put less pressure on the heart to pump blood up to where it needed to be.  It was why there was minimal struggle and people often passed out quickly when choked.  Strangulation and suffocation on the other hand were entirely different beasts.  There were three things humans as a whole had an evolutionary imperative to fight and even kill for.  Food and water was one, sex was unfortunately another, and air above all.  When a person's air supply was cut off, they fought like mad and it could take a good two minutes, or even longer, to get a person to succumb.

Jensen assumed Misha knew all this too because he didn't press on the arteries in his neck, he pushed on his windpipe, cutting off his air.  Jensen's first instinct was to fight, but a split second later, Misha's hips came down and a wave of ecstasy spiked in his groin and then washed over his whole body.  It made him forget he couldn't breathe for a moment, but then when he tried to draw in air he couldn't.  He didn't feel the need to fight it this time—he just gripped the sheets and concentrated on the pleasure.  His chest grew tight, his lungs frantically tried to dispel the air trapped in them, and his whole body jerked and grew tight with desperation—but not with the need for air.  All he could feel was rapidly approaching rapture threatening to consume everything he was—and above him his vision was filled with a pair of intense blue eyes.  Then an orgasm hit him so violently he arched almost completely off the bed.  The sudden rush of sweet oxygen into his lungs made the orgasm punch through him a second time.  He could scream now and found that he was doing so loudly as well as sobbing and digging his hands so hard into Misha's hips he had actually forced the other man to stop moving.

Jensen gasped in breath after breath, reeling in endorphin soaked pleasure as his consciousness floated somewhere above where his body lay twitching in abject satiation.  He became vaguely aware of his physical self again when he felt a coolness on the lower portion of his softening cock.  He opened his eyes and found Misha braced above him on one hand, just the tip of Jensen's dick still in his body, and a truly beautiful expression of ecstasy on his face.  His other hand was working furiously on his cock and it was only a couple of seconds before he let out a shout and shot his load all over Jensen's stomach and chest, one spurt so strong a bit of come caught on Jensen's chin.  Misha moaned and worked his cock until he was spent and then slumped forward onto Jensen.

He panted harshly and then managed to ask, "You okay?  Should I move?"

"You're fine for now," Jensen said, circling an arm around his waist and holding him close.  After a couple of minutes though, he became a little too heavy for Jensen to breathe easily.  He tilted his body slightly and Misha slipped to the side.  He kept an arm and a leg over Jensen's body and laid his head on his shoulder.  They lay quietly together for a long time, though neither knew exactly how long.

Jensen was in the process of dozing off when he felt Misha's fingertips trailing softly over his throat.

"You're okay?" Misha murmured.

Jensen flushed.  "Uh, yeah...Um.  I'm sorry about that."

Misha propped himself up on his elbow and forced Jensen to meet his eyes.  "Sorry for what?"

"Making you—making you think I needed that—or—I don't know.  That was weird, right?  I've never...done anything like that before."

"Shit.  You haven't?  I thought you were into it otherwise I never would have done it.  I thought you nodded...I should have heard you say yes!"

Misha started to struggle to sit up and move away, but Jensen wrapped a weak arm around his waist and pulled him back.  Fortunately Misha was as spent as he was so he gave in and collapsed back at Jensen's side.  Jensen pulled him close with the arm that was around his waist and used his other hand to grasp his elbow where it lay across his body just in case he got any more ideas about trying to get away.

"I did give you permission to do it...I just didn't know until right that moment that I wanted to.  And I certainly didn't know until it was happening how much I would like it.  I—I'm apologizing because that's a really weird fucking kink to spring on someone.  Especially one I didn't even know I had.  I mean, God, that's weird, right?  Breath play?  I mean, I don't do autoerotic asphyxiation or anything.  I'm not like—"

"Jensen.  Shh."  Jensen hushed.  "For one thing, of course you've never done autoerotic asphyxiation because you're still alive."

Jensen let out a huff.  "I meant the act not the sometimes unfortunate end result."

"I know what you meant.  And it's not that strange."

"It's not?"

"No.  Hypoxia causes a kind of hallucinogenic state on its own.  Combine that with the endorphin rush of an orgasm and it can be like a chemical high."

Jensen let out a small laugh.  "Yeah?  Explains why it felt so damn good.  Doesn't make it any less weird."

"Well, at least there's a physiological explanation for why you liked it.  Now me on the other hand—the fact that I got off on doing it—that's psychosomatic."  Misha propped himself up on his elbow again and traced the curve of Jensen's strong jaw with a finger.  "I'm the one who's messed up.  I liked watching you struggle under me.  I liked holding your life in my hands."  Jensen swallowed.  "And I liked that it made you lose control.  You keep yourself so put together—it felt like I was..."

He trailed off and shrugged, looking away from Jensen's gaze.  "Anyway, sorry.  It's not something we should have done on the fly."

In response, Jensen pulled Misha down and tucked him into his side.  He gave him a kiss above his brow and buried a hand in his hair.

"Way too tired to talk now, Mish.  Can we save our regrets for later?"

He felt Misha's head nod.  His thumb brushed over his chest soothingly, though Jensen wasn't sure which one he was trying to soothe.

"Do you have regrets about tonight, Jensen?"

"Not one," he said without hesitation.

"Yeah, that's what I'm worried about."

"Are you really going to kill our afterglow by being all rational and realistic about what's going on between us?"

"I have to.  It's too easy to forget around you."

"Forget what?"

Misha just shook his head.  "Doesn't matter.  Shouldn't we get up anyway?"

"Why?" Jensen whined.

"To get cleaned up?"

"I feel fine."

"Really?"  Misha reached up and swiped off the clump of semen on his chin.  "This is all over you."

"Eh.  Give it another ten minutes.  It'll liquefy and then look like it's gone."

Misha turned his head to hide his laugh in Jensen's body, probably because it was more giggle than laugh.

"That is so sexy," he said when he returned to his place on Jensen's shoulder.

"Yeah, well, so are you."

"Ucghh...I'm not sure that comparison is a compliment."

"Just hush already.  Didn't we agree to talk later?"

"How later?"

"Whenever it's not now."

"We can't fall asleep, Jensen.  I can't stay here."

"I know."  Jensen yawned.  "Just a ten minute cuddle."

"A ten minute cuddle.  We're not supposed to cuddle at all."

"Says the man snuggling into me like—ow!"  Jensen scowled and rubbed his pinched side.

"Stop talking, Jensen," Misha murmured sleepily.


Jensen woke up four hours later when his cell phone started ringing at the same time someone started pounding on the door.  He struggled for a moment to orient himself, reaching out for Misha.  His hand felt open space and he turned to look at the bed and found it empty.  The ringing and pounding sounded again and Jensen forced himself to get up and wrap the discarded towel around his waist.  Misha's clothing was gone from the floor so either he had taken it into the bathroom with him or he had left while Jensen had been sleeping.  He was pretty sure he knew which one was the correct assumption.  He picked up his cell phone and brought it to his ear as he crossed the room to the door.  As he reached for the knob he felt the itchy pull of dried semen on his chest.  He hoped whoever was at the door would be too preoccupied to really notice any odd flaking of his skin.  As he opened the door his ear was accosted with Russ shouting something through his cell phone.  Jared stood outside the door in the sweatpants and T-shirt he slept in.

Both Jared and Russ were talking urgently, and Jensen got the idea that he needed to get dressed as soon as possible because some shit had gone down overnight.  He knew he didn't have time, but Jensen couldn't go to a crime scene with crusted come on him, so he took a quick shower and dressed in dress pants and shirt, but forwent the jacket and tie.  He did make sure to attach his gun and handcuffs to his belt, and then slipped his credentials into his pocket.  He met Jared outside and followed him around to the far side of the motel and across the parking lot to the second building of units. 


The Lakeside Motor Lodge consisted of three single story buildings that contained ten rooms each.  There was a single uniformed cop, who looked like a scared kid, standing in front of the partway open door of the second room from the east end of the building.  A few guests stood in their pajamas in their doorways, hugging themselves and whispering intently.  The night manager for the building was sitting on the pavement being propped up and fanned despite the chill night air by one of the staff.  Distantly Jared and Jensen could hear sirens approaching rapidly.

The young officer was visibly shaken and jumped forward to block them from getting too close to the door.

"I'm sorry gentlemen, this is a crime scene.  You need to return to your rooms and we'll let you know when everything is safe."

Jared and Jensen exchanged looks, and then produced their badges.

"Do you recognize us, Chris?" Jared ask.

They weren't familiar with every officer at the Elton PD, but they had interacted with Officer Chris Benet on more than occasion.

"Oh.  Oh!  Agent Ackles!  Agent Padaleski!  My God, I'm so sorry.  I'm just—I'm actually grateful you're here.  I cannot.  There's—" he stopped abruptly and shook his head.  "Why are you here already?  Did they call you first?"

"We're staying here," Jensen said.  "We're in that building over there."

"Oh, God.  This is just.  You should."  Chris cut off and crossed his arms over his chest tightly.  "You can go in."

"Well, why don't you tell us how you came to be here first," Jared suggested in a soothing voice.

Chris nodded and loosened his arms a little.  "We got a 911 call in and it was one of the staff here.  It sounded like he was reporting a break in.  So, dispatch called me since I was out on patrol, and I came.  When I got here, the manager was passed out on the ground and the guy over there doesn't really speak English.  So I called for an ambulance and went inside the room to see what the fuss was all about..."  His arms tightened again.  "And I—I came back out and..." he glanced at a spot on the pavement that was gleaming in the street lamps.  Chris had apparently vomited in reaction to what he had seen.  "Then I called the station and told them to send—everybody.  I guess they called you too."

"Russ called me," Jared said.  "He says he doesn't know for sure it's our case, but that he figured it probably was because of the...nature of the call put in."

Chris looked a little embarrassed.  The sirens were on top of them now, and they turned off as the ambulance turned into the parking lot of the motel.  The cops and fire trucks couldn't be too far behind.  Jensen nudged Jared with his elbow.

"Let's go check it out before the cavalry gets here."


Jensen gave Chris a pat on the shoulder and walked toward the open motel room door.  A thin rectangle of light spilled out onto the sidewalk.  Sunrise was about thirty or forty minutes away so all they had in the way of light when they entered the room was the overhead bulb in the entryway.  One of them would have to walk further into the room to turn on the lamps by the bed, but they hesitated in the frame, worried about stepping on evidence.  And definitely not because of what they could just make out on the bed.

There was an obese body trussed on the stripped mattress.  Her arms were yanked at an unnatural angle behind her back; her legs were spread to be perfectly perpendicular with her torso and held in place by something Jared couldn’t see.  He could see shadows on her body that he didn’t think was from the lighting or the rolls of fat.  It looked like there were craters in her body—scooped out bits of skin and muscle and fat pockmarked her torso and legs.

Jared swallowed a feeling of queasiness and felt the need to say something, anything to clear the buzz starting in his head.

“Ten bucks says her crime is gluttony,” he said.

Jensen looked at him with a bit of shocked disappointment, and Jared’s stomach turned.  Then Jensen’s face softened to sympathy and he stuck out his hand.

“Nah, our guy’s more creative than that.”

Jared shook Jensen’s outstretched hand and they turned back to face the body.  Jensen took a few careful steps into the room and managed to turn on a bedside lamp by tucking his fingers up into his sleeve.  The light revealed the body in more detail—and Jared wished he hadn’t been right about the scooped out flesh.  He could now see that her legs were being held out so far by fishing wire that was strung from the corners of the headboard and dug into her ankles so deeply the line was actually covered by the rolled, puckered flesh.  Her face was a wreck.  Her eyelids were missing, her nostrils had been cut open and peeled back, her lips had been…filed down…was his best guess.  But there wasn’t a lot of blood.  So, either the killer had cleaned her up afterwards, or she had been dead when he’d started to play.

They heard the wail of sirens again as more vehicles rapidly approached the scene.  An EMT from the ambulance stuck his head in the room.

“Does anyone in here—Oh, God.”

“No, you’re not needed in here,” Jensen said.

The EMT was gone in a flash.  Jared looked at the floor to watch where he was stepping as he moved closer to the bed.  The woman’s large breasts had been sliced on the underside and pulled away from the body to leave plenty of room on her chest for the carving “Keriam.”  Across her stomach her alleged crime had been branded so deeply into her flesh the skin had cooked and curled in on itself, making it difficult to read the word.  But he could still make it out: “Gluttonous.”

“Damn it,” Jensen grumbled.  “I don’t have my wallet on me now.”

“Pay me later,” Jared, said, breathing through his mouth.  This close the release of her bowels was more evident.  “She died here,” Jared said.

“Yes,” Jensen agreed.

“This is different.  Killer One uses dump sites, not kill sites.”

“That’s true.  But look at this kill site.  It’s under our fucking noses, Jared.  He knows we’re here and he did this to throw it in our faces.  I swear to God this man will not see the inside of a prison cell; I will cut out his heart.”

“Jensen,” Jared said softly, but didn’t know what else to say.

The barrage of sirens got intensely louder as several emergency response vehicles pulled into the motel parking lot.  The room filled with flashing red, white, and blue lights.  Thankfully after a few moments the sirens were turned off though the lights continued to bounce colors and shadows off the walls.  The sounds of equipment being gathered and soft conversations filtered through the door.  Jensen was leaning over the head of the bed, so Jared walked to the foot.  He got a clear shot of the damage between her legs.

“Oh, fuck,” Jared said, and turned away.  He was thankful he hadn’t eaten for several hours, as it was he felt the acrid sting of bile in the back of his throat.

“Jay, you okay?”

Jared started to say yes, but then shook his head.

“Jesus fuck what happened here?”

Jared and Jensen turned to face the door.  Russ stood at the entrance eyes wide and glued to the body.

“Is the forensic team coming?” Jensen asked.

Russ tried to tear his gaze away to look at Jensen, his head actually turned even though his eyes wouldn’t move.  “Yeah, they should be.”  Russ let out a small hysterical laugh.  “I think everybody got called in.”

Someone tapped Russ on the shoulder and he jumped about a foot as he turned to look at the person.  One of the forensic evidence recovery team members stood behind him, hand frozen in place where she’d touched him.

“Sorry, Russ.”

“It’s okay, Alyssa.  Um.  Maybe you should wait for your other team members to get here.  I don’t think you should start by yourself.”

Alyssa saw half of the body on the bed.  “Okay.  I can wait.”

“Alyssa, wait,” Jensen said.  “Do you have any gloves on you?”

“Yes, sir, right here.”

She pulled some latex gloves out of a pouch on her belt.  Jensen looked at Jared and nodded toward the gloves.  Jared remembered Jensen’s latex allergy—and against his will had to wonder what he and Misha were using for protection since he’d gotten some unfortunate evidence that their fling wasn’t over in the middle of the night—and walked over to retrieve the gloves.  He slipped one on and moved to stand closer to Jensen where he still stood by the head of the bed.

“Did you find something, Jensen?” Russ asked anxiously.

“I don’t know.”  Jensen shuffled back so Jared could take his place.  “Jay, do you see that…is there something wedged between the wall and the bed?  Or am I seeing things?”

Jared leaned over and looked between the headboard and the bed.  He couldn’t lean too far because of the fishing wire.

“You’re in my light, can you—that’s better.  Um.  What am I looking for?”

“Like a beige colored thing.”

“A beige colored thing,” he repeated to distract himself from the glimpse he got of the top of the woman’s head; she was missing skin and hair right on the crown—he could see her skull.  Then he saw what Jensen was talking about.  It was a beige—thing.  It looked to be about the length of his forearm but the thickness was hard to tell because it was partially covered by the mattress.  Jared straightened and then crouched down so he could bend under the wire.  He felt Jensen place a steadying hand on his shoulder so he wouldn’t fall into the crime scene.  Jared turned sideways to maximize his reach and felt the object—firm though pliable rubber.  He curled his fingers around it to get a good hold on it and already knew what he was going to pull out.

Jared stood up and presented the large, flesh tone dildo to Jensen.  Jensen almost reached out for it, but then stopped at the last moment.  He rubbed his hand off on his pants even though he hadn’t actually touched it.

“Fuck,” Russ said from his position by the door.  Jared and Jensen turned to look at him.  “So he is using dildos.  So much for DNA.”

“Unless it’s on this,” Jared said.  “Or has fingerprints.  If he didn’t intend to leave this here, maybe he doesn’t wear gloves when he holds it.”

Jensen half shrugged.  “Maybe, but I doubt it.  But even if he did, does this surface hold fingerprints well?”

Jared shrugged and they turned to look at Alyssa.

“It depends,” she said without needing to be asked.  “Plastic is often a good surface for making clear, full prints.  But, not if it’s porous.  I’ll be honest here—I’m not terribly familiar with dildos.”

“Just vibrators,” Russ said.

Alyssa made a shocked, annoyed face and hit his arm.  “Russ!  Gross!”

“What’s going on in here?” Ty asked as he arrived behind Alyssa in the door.

“Jesus, Russ, did you actually call everybody?” Jensen asked with a small laugh.

Russ shrugged a shoulder and Ty said, “I think so.  Danny’s out there and he’s a damn traffic cop.  We’ve got the blood spatter and ballistics guys out here.  Misha and Bunny are outside playing fetch.”

“They’re what?” Jensen asked.

“I think the only people not here are Agent Cortese and the guy who brings our muffins to the station every morning.”

“Ooo,” Jared said.  “Did we call Gen?”  He knew she would be pissed if she were left out of the loop.

“I called her, after you two,” Russ said.


Jensen looked at the dildo in Jared’s hand.  Something lit up behind his eyes.

“What’cha thinking over there, Jensen?” 


Jensen stepped outside the motel, waving for Jared to follow him.  The forensic team and photographers were moving in to begin their work.  He knew he should probably spend more time looking at the crime scene in person—he would regret it later when all he had was photographs to look at—but maybe he wouldn’t need to look at them at all if he could get a beat on the killer.  He spotted Misha leaning against his police SUV in a parking spot that was out of the way of the other police and emergency vehicles.  He was wearing his uniform, so he must have gone home after leaving Jensen alone in the motel.  He shook himself.  Don’t have stupid thoughts like that.  Of course he went home.  Bunny was sitting beside him, shifting excitedly on her paws with all the commotion going on.

“Misha!” Jensen called out getting the officer’s attention.

He started to smile, but then saw Jensen wasn’t alone and just gave him a nod in greeting.  Jensen rolled his eyes at him while Jared was still behind him and couldn’t see it.  Misha’s lips twitched, but he still didn’t smile.

“Can I help you, Agent?” Misha asked.  “And please tell me it doesn’t have anything to do with your partner and that massive dildo.”

Jensen turned and saw that Jared and Russ were both right behind him.  He turned back and faced Misha.

“Um, actually it does.”

“Good Lord.  What do you want?”

“We think the killer touched this.  Can Bunny sniff it and then maybe follow his trail out of here?”

“What?” Russ asked around a strange laugh.

“Jensen, how exactly do you think dogs’ noses work?” Misha asked dryly.

“Besides, she’s a drug dog,” Russ said.

“She’s a cadaver dog, right Misha?”

Misha gave Jensen a strange look.  “Yes, but…I’m assuming that thing was used on the victim.”


“The victim…whose body is in that motel room.  Where do you think Bunny will lead you?”


“Can I stop holding this now?” Jared asked.

“Here,” Russ said, snapping on a glove.  “I can take it over to Alyssa and get it bagged up.”

“Shouldn’t have walked out of the crime scene with it in the first place,” Misha said.

Jensen frowned at him.  “I was trying to catch a killer.”

“And now I wonder how stringent the requirements are for becoming a federal agent.”

Jared laughed.  “We’re mostly accountants.”

Russ waved the dildo around in one hand.  “Not so familiar with these then.”

“More than I’d like to be,” Jared replied.

Russ and Jared began a conversation about whether or not accountants should be more or less familiar with monster dildos and Jensen turned to Misha.

“Can we, uh, can we talk?  For a second.  In private.”

Misha raised his eyebrows slightly.  “Sure.”

Jared and Russ didn’t look like they were rushing to Alyssa’s side any time soon, so Misha gave Bunny an order to stay and walked around the side of his car.  Jensen followed.  He wished they could move somewhere farther away, but that might look strange.  Misha waited for Jensen to start, which seemed fair since he was the one who had asked to speak with him.  Suddenly Jensen felt a little stupid and crossed his arms over his chest.  He couldn’t look Misha in the eye when he spoke.

“You left,” he mumbled.

“Well, yeah, of course I left.  I told you I couldn’t stay.  I couldn’t risk people seeing me leave in the morning.  And it’s a very good thing I didn’t because I’m not sure how we could explain why I was already at the crime scene in civilian clothing.”

“No, I knew you had to leave.  But.  You didn’t say anything.”

“You were asleep.”

“You could have woken me up.  You should have woken me up.  It sucks just waking up alone, you know?”

Now Misha suddenly looked uncomfortable.  He crossed his arms too and looked at something on the ground.

“I didn’t want to wake you up.  You’ve been working so hard and such long hours, I could tell you needed the sleep.  And it was a deep sleep, Jensen.  It would have made you dead tired to have it disrupted.”


“And you know what else?” Misha said as he looked defiantly up at him, finally meeting his eyes.  “Not only did I not want to wake you up, I turned off your alarm!”

Jensen blinked at him.  “You did what?”

“That’s right,” he said a little defensively, “I turned off the clock alarm and the one on your cell phone.  You needed sleep and I was going to let you be late to work so you could get it.  That’s why I didn’t wake you up.  That and I was concerned that if I did you would convince me to stay for a round three and neither of us had time for that.”

Jensen’s face broke out into a smile.

“Don’t do that,” Misha said, irritated.

“You’re mad at me?  I could kill you right now for being so sweet.”

“Shut-up, I am not sweet.”

“You are.  And I want to kiss you.  And I can’t.”

“No, you can’t.  And don’t think it either.  Don’t get—attached.”

Jensen opened his mouth to respond when there was a sudden burst of shouting and the pounding of running feet and scuffling noises.  Jensen and Misha were already running around the car, hands on their weapons.  Barking began in earnest, and then there was a sharp whimpering noise as Bunny cried out in pain.  They rounded the car and saw a couple of officers threateningly forcing Bunny away from where Russ was bending over to pick up the dildo from the ground.

“What the fuck happened?” Jensen yelled.

“What happened?” Russ asked.  “That fucking dog thought this was a chew toy and almost destroyed the evidence!”

Misha balked.  “That’s crazy!  Paul!  You lay another hand on my dog and you will lose it!  Bunny!  Here.”

The German Shepherd slunk along the ground away from the officers to Misha’s side.

“How did she get a hold of it?” Jensen asked, taking a closer look and grimacing when he saw the teeth marks in the rubber.

“She grabbed it out of my hand!” Russ raged.

“She would never do that!” Misha shouted, laying a comforting hand on Bunny’s head.  “Were you still waving it around like a jackass?!”

“What happened?” Jared asked as he jogged up to the group.

“Where were you?” Jensen snapped.


“You always act like she’s smarter than half the force, Collins.  She’s just a fucking dog!”

“A very well trained dog, Little, who wouldn’t just grab something out of someone’s hand!”

“You know, this isn’t the first time that mutt has destroyed evidence,” Russ sneered.

“She was four months old when that happened!  And besides, weren’t you supposed to be taking that to Alyssa for proper storage?!”

“What’s going on here?” Ty’s voice boomed across the full parking lot, drawing even more attention to the group.

“Fat lot of good it will do us now!” Russ threw back at him.

“That’s on you, buddy,” Misha snarled.  And then he turned on Jensen.  “Why the fuck did you take it out of the crime scene in the first place?!”

Jensen’s jaw dropped.  He had no response.  Misha was right.

“This isn’t Jensen’s fault,” Russ growled, taking a step toward Misha.  Misha stepped forward as well and the tension in the circle suddenly jumped up several notches.

“Hey, hey, hey!” Ty shouted, stepping between the two men and placing a meaty hand on their chests.  “Back off.  And calm the fuck down.  What happened here?”

Misha’s eyes were glaring long, sharp daggers at Russ, who drew a breath to speak, but Jensen beat him to it.

“It’s my fault,” Jensen said.

“It’s not—” Russ started, but Jensen held up a hand to silence him.

“I removed evidence from a crime scene without properly documenting it—”

“I’m the one who did actually,” Jared said.  “You should blame me.”

Jensen shot him a look telling him to shut up.  “I authorized the removal of evidence because I thought Bunny might be able to pick up a scent outside the motel—it was a long shot, and a crazy, not thought through one at that—but that’s why it was outside.  And Bunny somehow got a hold of it—”

“That’s the problem I’m having here,” Ty said.  “Agent Ackles we can discuss proper crime scene handling later when I make my decision about letting you back into any of them.”

Jensen flushed so suddenly and furiously he felt dizzy.  Ty couldn’t actually keep him out of future crime scenes because the case was technically federal and not local, but the publicly announced lack of trust was humiliating.

“What I want to know is how Bunny ‘somehow got a hold of it.’  Collins, what happened?”

“I—”  The man cleared his throat.  “I wasn’t present.  I gave Bunny an order to sit and I walked a few feet away to discuss a private matter with Agent Ackles.  But she wouldn’t grab something to play with it.  She knew she was on duty.  She knows she doesn’t play when she’s on duty.  He did something to her.”

Russ’ jaw dropped.  “I did something to her?  Like I was playing fetch with the evidence?”

“No, like you antagonized her with it.”

“What?!  Why would I hit your dog with a dildo?”

“I don’t know!  You’re the one holding the dildo with teeth marks on it!”

“Did no one else see it happen?” Ty interjected.

“I left to go get the evidence bag,” Jared said, holding it up weakly.

“Why didn’t you go with him, Russ?” Ty asked.

“I thought Jensen and Misha would be right back.  And Jared said he would be back too.  I actually thought it would safer not to walk around with it more.  What were you two discussing anyway?” Russ said with a hard look at Misha.  “Why are you even here?”

“I was in my vehicle on the way to work when we got an all hands call to come to the Lakeside Motor Lodge.  Apparently, that call came from you, right, Russ?”

Russ’ eyes narrowed and Misha gave him a challenging look.

“All right, enough!” Ty shouted.  “This is a big enough clusterfuck as it is.  Collins.  Take Bunny and go to the station.  Your shift started thirty minutes ago.  Little.  You’re going to canvass the guests of the motel and see if any of them heard or saw anything.  Paul, go with him.”

“Yes, sir,” Paul said, the only one of Ty’s employees to respond verbally.

“Agent Ackles, Agent Padalecki.  Take that fucking thing over to someone and bag it up.  And the two of you get to explain to Kim what happened to it when she shows up.  I’m going to follow the fire engine over to Euclid to deal with a body found tied up in the living room of a burned out apartment.”

“Another body?” Jensen asked sharply.

“Yeah,” Ty sighed.  “But not one of yours.  Probably.  It’s the Squirrel Licker’s apartment.  I think he finally snapped and hurt his girlfriend.”

“Oh, Jesus,” one of the officers said.  “I told her not to stay with him.”

“Who hasn’t?” Ty grumbled.  “When I get to the station later today, I want a report of the findings from this scene.  And I don’t want it covered in anymore bullshit.  Is that clear?!” he roared the last question and everyone jumped.

There were despondent murmurings as everyone agreed to do has Ty bade them, but he didn’t stay to listen as he marched over to his unmarked vehicle.  Jensen glanced at Misha and all he got was a fleeting glance in his direction, and then Misha took Bunny by the collar and led her to the backseat of the K9 SUV.  Russ looked at Paul and then jerked his head toward the group of people clustered in a gossiping group behind the police tape that had gone up.  They walked in that direction and Russ dumped the dildo in the evidence bag Jared held up as he passed him.  Jared turned slowly to look at Jensen.

Jensen rubbed a hand over his eye until he saw golden crackling lights under his eyelid.  He released it and watched the world slowly come back into view in his right eye.  Jared was looking at him, judgment free, and with a large dildo in a plastic bag in his hand.  Jensen almost laughed, but his head was pounding.

“Let’s—call Gen and get an ETA from her.  And we’ll let the professionals handle this,” he said bitterly.

“Jensen—” Jared started, but Jensen waved a tired hand and he stopped.  Then he said, “I’ll call Gen.” 


“Well, do you want the bad news or the disgusting news?” Kim announced herself as she stood in the doorway of the FBI temporary office in the police station.

Jared turned to look at her, a smile halfway to being formed, and then he saw that Kim was pale and tense and wasn’t offering any sort of humor at all.  Russ started to get up to offer Kim his chair, but she declined, so Russ sat back down in it wearily.  Gen had her legs crossed and held her face up by a hand and propping her elbow on the armrest of the chair.  Jensen was slumped low in his chair tapping the thin booklet that contained the information regarding angel names on his leg.  They’d discovered “Keriam” could be summoned at the fourth hour of Saturday.  The victim, Ms. Marissa Mueller, was probably killed at four in the morning, not a hundred yards from where Jensen and Jared slept.  It was six in the evening and the early wakeup call this morning combined with severe sleep deprivation was taking its toll on all of them.

“Let’s go with bad news,” Jensen mumbled softly.

“Well, the bad news is that the dildo was useless; no DNA, no fingerprints, no manufacturer information.”

Jensen closed his eyes and breathed like it was an effort.

“Well, I suppose the good news is that Bunny had nothing to do with that.  It had been bleached clean.  Possibly he set it on the bed while he mutilated her postmortem and when it fell behind the bed he forgot it.  Either that or he thought it was funny to leave a useless clue.”

Jensen opened his eyes again and Jared felt relief for them both that evidence hadn’t been destroyed by their overzealous and unprofessional actions.  Kim tapped the edge of a folder against her palm and gnawed on her lower lip thoughtfully before speaking again.

“More bad news includes that there doesn’t appear to be any other evidence we’re going to be able to use.  The team is going over the room with a fine tooth comb, but you know hotels are notoriously difficult to glean trace evidence from because of the hundreds of previous occupants.  And I got nothing off the body which could be linked directly to the killer.  She was clean, wiped down with disinfectant.”

Everyone was quiet as they absorbed that soul crushing, though not wholly unexpected, news.

“I know I’m going to regret this,” Russ said.  “What’s the disgusting news?”

“You told us her friends said she was meant to be gone this week on an extended spa trip…”

“And the spa confirms she never checked in,” Gen said.

“So, if we assume that she’s been missing since Sunday, I think based on the tissue damage—and healing—that she was raped repeatedly and brutally for five days.”

Jared clenched the pen in his hand.

“The other injuries didn’t occur until late last night or early this morning.  The—wounds on her torso and legs were made by—shit, guys, it looked like he used a giant sharpened melon baller on her.”

“Oh, God,” Gen said and turned partially away from Kim as if that would help.

“Does such a thing exist?” Jared asked.

Russ shrugged a shoulder.  “Maybe it was an ice cream scooper?”

“That’s way too dull,” Jensen said, moving his mouth like he had a bad taste in it.

“It could be sharpened.”

“I still haven’t reached the disgusting part yet,” Kim said.

Everyone practically held their breath as they waited.

“Those wounds were done while she was still alive.  And—he punished her for being gluttonous.  He—he made her—”

Kim cut off and slapped the file into her hand, startling them.

“What is it, Kim?” Jensen asked sharply.

“There was material in her stomach.  Partially digested.  But—it was her own flesh.  He made her eat her own flesh.”

“Oh, fuck,” Gen moaned bending over slightly to put a hand on her stomach.

“Jesus,” Jensen breathed and lost all the color in his face.

Jared felt a little lightheaded—and let the feeling linger.  He didn’t want to think about what he’d just heard.  He was done.

Jensen’s chair squeaked deafeningly in the quiet room as he turned around to face his desk.  Jared didn’t have to look at him to know he was looking at the small evidence bag on his desk that contained a photograph.  After leaving the motel crime scene, they had obtained permission from the courts to enter Mueller’s house since she lived alone and no one could grant them access.  They had begun a thorough search of the house namely looking for signs of a struggle or a note card from the killer.  What they had found brazenly left on the kitchen counter was the photograph.

It showed Mueller standing in her kitchen and the shot was obviously taken from quite some distance away with a telescopic lens through the open blinds on a window.  In her hand was a white note card that plainly showed black marker bleeding onto the back.  Mueller had a confused look on her face.

They hadn’t found a note card in her house and they were left to wonder if she had received it before the public announcement was made or if she just didn’t recognize “Keriam” as an angel name.  They had reviewed the tips and calls they had received the prior week—none of them came from Mueller.  But the killer had clearly wanted them to know she had received a card and he hadn’t stopped sending them.

“Is there really no good news at all?” Jensen asked, hand on his forehead.

“Well, we are able to definitively link two crime scenes now, but the information still isn’t identifying.”

“What is it?”

“We found a partial boot print out back of Mueller’s house.  It matches the size and tread of the print we found in the woods at the Hernandez scene.”

Jensen sat up straight and looked at Kim.  “Good match?”

“Pretty solid.”

“And this is the print that gave us the 5’6”-5’7” 120-135 pound description, correct?”


Jensen looked at Russ and Gen.  “Don’t you see?  There has to be two of them.  I mean no disrespect to Ms. Mueller, but she weighed nearly 350 pounds.  There is no way a man that small could have lifted and maneuvered her around by himself.”

“He’s not necessarily small,” Gen said.  “That could be 135 pounds of pure muscle.  And if he had a cart or something to wheel her around on…”

Jensen shook his head, but didn’t try to argue with her.  Jared definitely still believed there were two killers, but everyone else was still holding out.  Occam’s razor told them that the simplest answer was most likely the correct one, and two serial killers working together was very rare.  But with all the evidence piling up, Jared firmly believed the simplest explanation was two killers.  It was the only way the gross differences in the kills made any sense.

The seconds ticked by in silence, and Jared was grateful there wasn’t a clock on the wall for them to actually hear the clack of a second hand.  They all looked around the room at each other.  No one had anything to say.  No one had any grand epiphanies.

“Kim,” Gen said softly, barely daring to disturb the room, “that’s all you’ve got for us today, right?  The rest of the tests won’t be done until tomorrow?”

“Probably not until Monday honestly.”  She stepped into the room and handed the green folder in her hand to Jensen.  “I was just dropping off a quick write up of my preliminary findings.  The official report will come after we finish the chemical analysis of the disinfectant he used.  It had some strange properties, but I won’t have access to a gas spectrometer until Monday morning at the earliest.”

“Thank you, Kim,” Jensen said, opening the file out of politeness, but clearly not seeing much as he flipped through it.

“In that case,” Gen said, “is it okay if I go home?  I—my brain is mush right now.  I’m afraid I’d be more of hindrance than a help.”

“No, of course,” Jensen said.  “You should go home and get some sleep.  Actually, I think we all ought to take a break this weekend.  Take the time to rest.  To think.  Write some notes, make some profiles.  Make some theories.  Anything.  We’ll regroup on Monday and brainstorm while we wait for the forensics.”

No one voiced their agreement, but the fact that no one said “No, we must keep working!” was a clear sign that they were all burned out.  Gen made the first move to start shutting down her computer and Jared and Jensen followed her lead.

“Hey, Kim, Russ,” Jared said, “Do you want to join us for dinner at Nell’s?  Give us all a chance to unwind?  You too, Gen, unless you really need to get on the road.”

“No, it’s still--relatively--early for us.  I think I would rather eat first.”

“Great.”  Jared turned to Russ and Kim.

Kim shrugged a shoulder.  “Yeah, sure, I could eat.  I actually haven’t been to Nell’s in while.  I always go in there intending to order a salad and wind up with a bacon cheeseburger instead.”

“You can put bacon and cheese on the hamburger?” Jensen asked.

“Well, I can.  I don’t know how strong your cred is with the establishment yet.”  She gave him a wink.

“I wish I could join you,” Russ said, “but I’ve got some personal matters I need to attend to that I’ve been putting off for too long.”

“Are you sure?” Jensen said turning to him.  “Team Drowning in Our Own Frustrated Tears wouldn’t be the same without you.”

“Jensen!” Gen shot him a half-hearted scowl.

Russ laughed.   “No, I know.  But, I’ll have to take a rain check.”  He stepped closer to Jensen.  “And hey, um, I am sorry about what went down this morning, at the crime scene—”

Jensen put a hand on his arm.  “It was completely my fault.  And Ty and I had a discussion about it and we are still on good terms.  Hopefully this is all just water under the bridge.  Especially now that we know Bunny didn’t do any damage.”

Russ gave a shake of his head and an irritated smile.  “I kind of hate that dog,” he muttered.  “I mean, I know she’s a good dog and does her job well, but—I don’t know.  Dogs in general.”

“I understand,” Jensen said quietly, straightening up the neat mess on his desk.  “I’m not really a dog person either.  My ex-girlfriend really wanted one, so I appeased her by telling her about this program you can adopt retired army dogs from and it’s great to rehabilitate them and help them through their PTSD and everything.  Just didn’t tell her it has a one or two year waitlist.”

Russ chuckled and slapped his back.  “I like the way you think, Jensen.”  Louder he said, “I’ll see you guys Monday,” and walked out the door.

Jared leaned close to Jensen.  “You better not let Misha hear you say that.”

“Shut your mouth, Jared.”

The tone was snarky, but the blush didn’t escape Jared’s notice.  He grinned and Jensen punched him lightly in the shoulder.

“You ready?” he asked Jared and the two women.

Gen nodded as she gave a pull on the safe drawer, ensuring it was locked.

"I need to run downstairs and lock up the lab," Kim said.  "Give me five minutes?"

The quartet exited the office and Jared locked it behind them.  The three agents passed through the bullpen to the front waiting room while Kim made for the basement.  The bullpen was quiet—even more so than usual.  Everyone had been affected by Leanne Woliczak’s untimely death; she was the Squirrel Licker’s long time on again off again girlfriend and she had not had a pleasant end.  The Squirrel Licker had been arrested and brought in for questioning, screaming the whole time about conspiracy theories and that he was being framed.

Jensen and Gen were absorbed with their phones, thumbs moving on the screens, eyes half unfocused.  Jared thought about checking his for messages, but he was too hungry to think.  He leaned against the wall and then flinched away with a silent, "Ow."  He turned to look behind him, rubbing his shoulder.  There was a small corkboard hanging on the wall covered with dozens of overlapping pictures: old, faded ones buried under brighter, crisper photos held in place by colorful pushpins.  Jared let his eyes roam over the board; the pictures seemed to be mostly from department picnics and barbeques with the occasional solo photo of a person with a large fish on a hook or a family standing in front of a famous landmark.  Jared grinned when he saw a picture pinned down near the bottom.

"Hey, Jensen, take a look at this."

Jensen moved closer and looked at the picture he was pointing to.  A very young, baby-faced Misha was kneeling on the ground next to a black lab.  He held a certificate in his hand that indicated "Bailey" and Officer Collins had passed the K9 Police Dog Handler training program.  The picture had been taken in a large green grassed yard on a sunny day.  In the background was a fancy, two colored wood dog house.  Jensen smiled and Jared did his best not to comment on the sappy expression on his face.

"I wonder if he built that," Jensen murmured.

"Built what?" Gen asked, coming up to see what had their attention.  She gasped and then giggled.  "Is that Misha?"

"Yeah," Jared said.

"The dog house," Jensen said.  "He does carpentry as a hobby."

"Carpentry is a hobby?" Gen asked.

Jensen laughed.  "I guess for some people.  He made an amazing table and chair set by hand.  And he actually uses them in his kitchen."

"When were you at his house?"

Jared was impressed by Jensen's total non-reaction to the question.

"Oh, one night Jared was trying to put the moves on Felicia and I volunteered to make myself scarce.  Misha offered me a ride back to the motel but then took pity on me when I said I hadn't eaten and swung by his house on the way to let me have some leftover Chinese."

Jared bit on his cheek to keep from smiling.  All of that was one giant pile of bullshit.  He wondered if Jensen had ever lied that easily to him about anything.  To distract Gen from asking another question he pointed to a picture about halfway up the board.

"Is that Ty?" he asked.

Jensen and Gen leaned forward to squint at the photo.  There was a man, who certainly resembled Police Chief Ty Olsson, wearing what looked like a too small Minnie Mouse outfit and very heavy makeup.  They were still snickering when Kim came up behind them.

"Ah, I see you've found our bulletin board," she said.  "Well we should really move along before you see anything else."

"Are you on here?" Jared asked, turning to her with a grin.

"Nope.  Not a single picture of me.  Are you hungry?  I'm hungry."

Jared was hungry.  Otherwise he would have stayed and searched though all the photographs until he found the one of Kim he was sure was on there.  Jensen and Gen were also pulled away from the board with the promise of food and the four of them left the station.  Outside the air was brisk, but not too cold yet.  The sun had set about half an hour ago but the day had been warmer than usual and that rise in temperature lingered now.  They decided to make the short walk to Nell’s and Jared paused as he felt around his jacket and pants pockets.

“Oh, hang on, I forgot my wallet in the car,” he said.

The other three paused on the sidewalk and Jensen called after him, “We can put it on mine tonight.”

“I know,” he said over his shoulder, “but I don’t want to just leave it out.”

“It’s been there all day!” Gen pointed out.

“And who would break into a car at the police station?!” Kim chimed in.

Jared grumbled and told himself that they would go back for their purses.  At the far end of the lot the Accent was parked slightly askew.  And parked next to it was an awesome red car with a hot cop in jeans and a T-shirt leaning on it.  Misha straightened when he saw Jared and then fidgeted nervously when he noticed he was alone.

“Oh.  Um.  Hi, Agent Padalecki.”

“Jared, Misha.  I think we’ve become suitably intimate to use first names.”

Misha gave him an odd look, but didn’t comment on that.  “Jared.  Is…Jensen staying late?”

“Nope,” Jared said, bending inside the car to retrieve his wallet.  “Hey Jensen!” he shouted and Misha started and put out an alarmed hand.  “Come over here!  You have the keys!”

“No I don’t!” Jensen’s voice floated from down the sidewalk.

Yes, you do.  Get over here.”

They heard Jensen’s feet jog on the pavement, and he was checking his pockets as he got closer, so he didn’t see Misha right away.

“Jared, I’m telling you, I don’t—”  He looked up and froze when he saw Misha in his casual clothing, clearly waiting for him.

Jared patted Jensen’s chest by his shoulder.  “I think Misha wants to take you to dinner tonight.”

It was too dark to see but both men clearly blushed and Jared got a kick out of it.

“And after dinner, please go back to Misha’s.  I can’t take another night of listening to Jensen scream like a howler monkey.”

“Fucking—” Jensen went completely rigid.  “Jared!”

“He is a screamer,” Misha agreed musingly.


“So are you, Officer Collins,” Jared said dryly.  “Have a nice night.”

Jared left the two men to do whatever awkward mating dance it was that they did around each other and returned to the two quite attractive ladies he had the honor of escorting to dinner.  He continued walking toward the diner and they fell into step with him.

“Where’s Jensen?” Kim asked.

“He got a better offer.”

“From who?” Gen asked, eyes sparkling.

“Who said it was with somebody?”

“You did by using speech indicating he was offered something by a person,” Kim said.

“Could have meant he found a coupon for a personal pan pizza on the ground.”

“Something’s going on,” Gen said with a smile sliding up the side of her face.

Jared just shrugged. 


Jensen had waited as long as he could, knowing he couldn’t touch Misha in the police station parking lot or even on the well lit streets of Elton proper.  But once they were on the dark back roads that led to Misha’s neighborhood, Jensen slid a hand onto his leg.  He dipped his fingers onto his inner thigh and squeezed lightly.  He wasn’t even trying to instigate anything sexual; it just felt good to be able to touch him like he had a right to touch him in such an intimate place.  Misha put his hand on Jensen’s and pushed it away.  He started to feel a little disappointment, but the man hadn’t completely removed the straying hand, just pushed it farther down his leg to safer territory.  And he left his hand near Jensen’s, a couple of fingertips overlapping.  Jensen turned his head to look out the passenger side window to hide his smile.

They didn’t speak a word on the trip, just watched the tiny sliver of waxing quarter moon appear and disappear through the forest lining the road, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” playing softly from the radio.  Jensen almost didn’t want the trip to end when they pulled up into Misha’s driveway.  Misha parked the Charger in the garage and when the engine cut out they sat in silence, listening to the car settle and cool down.  They sat long enough that the overhead light in the garage went out and plunged them into darkness.  Misha opened the car door and the interior lights turned on, enabling Jensen to see enough to get his door open and make his way around the car.  Misha waited until Jensen had the door leading to the utility room open, and thereby providing another light source, before he shut the car door.  Jensen waited until he was mostly through the door before slamming it shut and pushing him up against it.

Jensen swallowed Misha’s urgent groan and thrust his tongue into his mouth, feeling a throb of arousal in his groin every time their tongues slid together, circling, massaging, stroking.  Jensen pulled back for air and felt his erection come to full attention when his lower lip pulled slowly through the gentle drag of Misha’s teeth.

“Fuck,” Jensen said.  Pretty much the first word he’d spoken to him all night.

Misha let his head fall back against the door, and raised a hand to pet the side of Jensen’s head.  His eyes roamed over Jensen’s face for a moment.

“I think Russ has a thing for you.”

Jensen blinked.  “What?”

Misha shrugged.

“Are you sure…what do you mean?  A thing?”

“Like, he’s got a thing for you.”

Jensen smiled and leaned down to kiss Misha’s beautiful lips.  “I have pretty good gaydar and I don’t think he plays on both sides of the field.”

“I’ve known him all my life and I wouldn’t say he did either.  But he’s…just got a thing for you.”

“Maybe he wants to be an agent.”


Jensen leaned forward and kissed Misha again, lingering on the soft, warm feel of lips made plump from his attentions.  He kissed those lips again.  And once more before pulling back slightly.

“You jealous, baby?”

“No.”  Misha kissed him.  “And don’t call me baby.”

Chapter Text

Friday, November 8, 2013 

“Holy fuck, baby,” Misha panted.  “Th-that was good.”

Jensen tried to chuckle but was breathing too hard to manage it.  “Just.  Good?”

“Stop fishing,” Misha muttered and pulled Jensen toward him so that he laid his head on Misha’s shoulder and settled down flush along the length of their bodies.  He lightly drew a finger over the skin of Jensen’s back in a repetitive motion, and Jensen allowed himself to snake an arm around Misha’s waist—instigating a true cuddle session.

"Clingy, aren't you?" Misha murmured, running his fingers up Jensen's neck and into his hair.

Jensen didn't comment on the hand in his hair, the one on his forearm, or the ankle hooked over his.  He drew in a deep breath and let it out, finally back to normal respiration.  They lay together in amicable silence, but Jensen wanted to talk.  He was just afraid that if he said anything Misha would freak at the intimacy and kick him out.

Misha had been on day shifts all week, so he had lingered at the station most evenings, taking Jensen home with him every night but one.  On those nights Misha had cooked for him, they had had sex, and then Misha had driven him back to the motel.  Usually their time together didn't last more than three or four hours.  And Jensen could tell that that was the way Misha, maybe not liked it, but wanted it.  Keeping each other at arm's length seemed to be the only rule they had.  In any other situation Jensen would have had too much self-respect to get used like this, but he couldn't bring himself to ask Misha for more.  He knew that if he did he would lose him.  And however temporary this thing between them might be, he wasn't ready to let it go just yet.

Misha's fingers traveled back down to his neck, and then gingerly dipped around to his throat, lightly playing over his Adam's apple.

"How's your throat?" Misha asked softly.

"It's fine," Jensen said, giving his side a reassuring squeeze.

Misha brushed his knuckles on the underside of Jensen's jaw.  "I'm still not sure about this."

Jensen made an attempt to shrug.  "Then don't do it if it makes you uncomfortable."

Misha let out an exaggerated sigh.  "That's the problem: I do like it.  A lot."

Jensen smiled.  "Then do it, baby."

Misha let out a noise that sounded like he was trying to cover an amused one with an annoyed one.  His fingers danced along Jensen's throat again.

"But what if I...what if I do it wrong?  What if I damage something?  Or do it too long and your heart stops?"

"Misha, you haven't even come close to that.  And it's only the second time we've done it, so you can only get better."

"Or I'll get over confident and keep pushing the envelope and then—"  Misha cut off and then dislodged Jensen from his comfortable spot as he suddenly sat up.  He propped himself on one elbow and looked down at him.  "Jensen.  I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I hurt you."

Jensen looked up at his worried eyes and scared expression.  He reached a hand up and cupped his face, stroking his cheekbone with his thumb.

"Misha, my throat is fine."  He gave him a long, solemn look.  Then he smirked.  "My ass on the other hand feels like I sat on the business end of a baseball bat."

Misha laughed, and then scowled and brushed his arm aside.  "Don't make me laugh when I'm trying to show serious concern for your wellbeing."

"Okay.  Then we need a topic that you don't enjoy.  Suggestions?"

"Red Sox baseball stats."

"I don't know any."


"I took Media Studies to fill my philosophy requirement."

"Okay then, you pick a topic."

Misha placed his hand over Jensen's heart and pressed his fingers against his sternum.  Jensen covered his hand with his own, and then moved it to circle his wrist.  Just in case his suggestion made Misha bolt, he'd be able to keep a hold on him and make him stay.

"Why did you get divorced?"

Misha didn't try to bolt, but he did make an abortive movement to roll his eyes.

"Picked a winner, didn't you?" he said with a humorless laugh.

"Never mind.  It's none of my business.  So.  Fatalism.  Guess the Red Sox breaking the Babe's curse shot that theory to shit.  Or did it support it?"  Jensen was confused; he really hadn't taken any philosophy courses in college.

Misha smiled fondly at him and reached out a hand.  He stopped just short of combing his fingers through Jensen's hair.  He pulled his hand back and Jensen closed his eyes, cursing himself for ruining their night.  Then to his surprise Misha tucked himself against his side and put his forehead to the bolt of Jensen's jaw.

"It's probably easier to understand why we divorced if you know why we got married.  Andrea and I dated all through middle and high school, and decided to take a break in college."

"Yes.  Your experimental phase."

"Shut-up.  It was one guy.  And then I dated Mary Ann for two years, but we didn't really have much in common.  Andrea and I got back together senior year and stayed together because we were both doing five year programs to get our Masters when we graduated.  I got an MBA and she got one in Education."

"You have an MBA?"


"What were you going to do with it?"

Misha shrugged.  "Start a non-profit think tank in DC."

"No shit."


"But, you figured out you hated politics."

"But I figured out I hated politics.  And since I had no clue what to do with myself, I moved back to Elton with Andrea.  And we moved in together.  She got a job teaching at the high school.  I got a job with the police.  And we went on like that for several years.  And people would ask us, 'When are you going to get married?'  And then they started asking us, 'When are you going to get married?'  So, we got married.

"We were together for nine years after college, married for five.  And we were never on the same page about where our lives were going.  She wanted kids, but I thought we were too young.  She didn't like that I constantly traveled to aid in disaster relief, and I didn't like that she hosted an endless number of those parties where you help a representative sell kitchen supplies or candles or jewelry or whatever."  Misha growled softly at the memory.

"A little bitter?" Jensen asked.

"We had a cookie press, a citrus press, a garlic press.  I think one press was specifically for key limes."

Jensen smiled only because he knew Misha couldn't see it.

"And don't even get me started on the candles.  I can't even pass a Yankee Candle in a mall without getting flashbacks of walking through the rooms of our house from pine needles to fresh linen to berry delight.  Ugh."

Jensen repressed a laugh and turned his head a little to press his lips into Misha's hair.

"To distract her from the constant product parties, I suggested we think about having kids.  She said she wasn't ready anymore.  She was thinking about going back to school to get her doctorate.  I encouraged her.  She got accepted to UC Berkley.  We discussed moving out there.  And we decided it would be best for her to move out there first so as not to delay her starting her program while I stayed here to get our affairs settled, sell the house.  After a year, I hadn't moved, and she hadn't asked me what was keeping me.  Six months later the divorce was finalized.

"No one cheated, no one grew to hate or resent the other.  I don't think we even fell out of love.  I think we realized that—we were never in love.  Not really.  We were just comfortable with each other.  So, that was that."

Jensen angled his head so he could lean his cheek against the top of Misha's head.  He placed a hand on Misha's arm where it rested across his stomach.  He allowed the story to sink in for a few moments, but then he couldn't help but ask his next question.

"So, I understand you not having sex while you were separated and then not until the divorce was finalized.  But it's been three years since the divorce.  How have you not—hooked up with anybody?  Am I just oversexed?  I mean, I get that not everyone has the same sex drive, but three years?  Technically four and a half?"

Misha sat up and threw a leg over Jensen's body.  He settled in his lap and Jensen splayed his hands over Misha's hips.

"Are you oversexed, Jensen?  You go back and forth on your own history you know.  You're a slut, you're not really a slut.  What are you?"

"Well, let's just say prior to coming up here I was in the middle of a six month dry spell—and that was by far the longest I'd ever gone without sex since I was...oh, fifteen I guess."

Misha raised an eyebrow.  "Maybe we should find some of those poly-whatever condoms after all."

Jensen slapped his hip and he hissed his displeasure, but stayed right where he was.

"I'm not that bad.  I've slept with...definitely less than twenty people.  Less than one a year."

"Jesus, Jensen."

"Well!  I never got close with anyone and after a while people want commitments.  And I always wore condoms with every single one of them every single time.  So.  Plus, I get tested annually at my physicals.  I've never even had a case of the clap."

"Congratulations," Misha said dryly.

"And don't change the subject.  How did you not have sex for four years?"

"I knew everyone in town.  And they all knew me.  It made dating awkward.  It made random hookups impossible.  I wasn't about to drive to another town to pick up somebody in a sleazy bar."

"So that's it?"

Misha shrugged.  "That's it."

"Aw, come on, I'm sure you touched yourself, right?"

Jensen gave him an obnoxious grin and quirked an eyebrow.  Misha stared him down, but there seemed to be a little color in cheeks.

"Of course.  Most people do."

"How'd you do it?"


"Show me, Mish.  Let me see how you touch yourself."

"N-no!"  Misha was definitely blushing now.

"Come on, baby."  Jensen ran his hands up and down Misha's thighs.  "Do it...for me?"

"I don't think I could.  It hasn't been that long since we finished and I'm getting on in years."

Jensen used his left hand to circle Misha's cock in a weak grip.  He gave it a few pulls and Misha bit his lip and watched.  Jensen slid his thumb along the underside of the head and Misha's hips rocked forward a little.  Jensen let his fingers play lightly along the length in a teasing run up and down, up and down, up and...

"Mmn, fuck," Misha gasped, reaching down to grasp his dick firmly in his right hand.

Jensen let his hand fall away and watched as Misha worked himself slowly into an erection.  By the time he was fully hard Jensen's own dick had sprung to life and was pressing up against Misha's ass.  Misha rocked back and forth on it, doing his best to suppress his moans and grunts and only succeeded in making them come out as desperate whimpers.

"Oh, fuck yes, baby," Jensen murmured.  "You look so hot, Mish.  Show me how you like it."

"Nn, stop taking."

"Why?  You don't like it?"

Misha rocked faster in Jensen's lap and looked away.  "Didn't say that," he muttered under his breath.

Jensen laughed and used his grip on Misha's hips to pull him down harder on each downward movement.

"You know, I've noticed something about you, Misha."

"And what's that?  Oh, yeah...there...harder, babe..."

Jensen swallowed thickly and tried to collect his thoughts.  "You always complain about the things you like the most."

"I do not."

"You do—shitshitshit, Misha, Misha!"

Misha leaned forward and planted his hands on Jensen's shoulders.  He kept up the movement of his hips, now sliding their achingly hard and wet cocks together, their balls dragging and catching together, intensifying the throb of pleasure in their connected groins.

"Fuck me, why does this feel so good?" Misha moaned brokenly.  His swirled his hips down hard and Jensen's whole body shuddered with a violent frisson.

"C-cause it's sex?" Jensen hazarded to guess.

"No.  I mean this," Misha ground their cocks together and they both groaned deep in the back of their throats.  "Why does another man's—his—um—"

"Cock?  Dick.  Schlong.  Tube steak.  Pork sword—"

"Pork sword?" Misha laughed and impossibly moved his hips faster.

"—Dong.  Tally Whacker.  Johnson.  One Eyed Trouser Snake..."

Misha was laughing so hard he partially lost his rhythm.  "Shut-up, Jensen!"

"Thought you said you liked it when I talked."

"I lied," Misha said, leaning down and kissing him.

They worked their hips together, not breaking the kiss, and could feel the other getting closer and closer until they both moaned into each other's mouths and reveled in the slick glide of their pulsing members through the warm come coating their bellies.  Jensen stopped moving first and fucked his tongue slowly into Misha's mouth as he continued to rut against him weakly.  At last they both stilled and came apart for air.  Misha put a hand in Jensen's hair and pressed his nose just under Jensen's ear.

"Penis," Jensen said.

"What?" Misha murmured, still halfway gone.

"I forgot penis.  You could say 'Why does another man's penis feel so good rubbing in between my cute little ass cheeks?'"

Misha sat up and gave him a glare.  Then he looked down at the sticky mess they had made.

"So.  Shower here or..." Misha trailed off and looked at Jensen.

"What time is it?"

Misha leaned a little to the left to look at the clock on the nightstand.


"Is it really that late?"

"Yeah.  I guess, we kind of, took our time with the foreplay this evening."

Jensen hummed at the pleasant memory.  "Well, I guess I should shower back at the motel because the last time we showered together it did not go quickly."

Misha grinned.  "No, it did not.  We should do that again sometime."

"I agree.  Your shower is awesome."

"Just the shower?"

"Who's fishing now?" Jensen said, giving Misha's butt a firm slap.


Jensen soothed the sting by massaging his hand over it.  "Although, tomorrow is Saturday.  No one is expecting me first thing in the morning.  You could drop me off later."

Misha raised an eyebrow at him.  "Are you asking to spend the night?"

Jensen had an internal oh shit moment.  Would Misha take that the wrong way and freak out?  Would he take it the right way and realize that Jensen wasn't just talking about staying to have more sex but wanting to curl up next to him in bed and actually sleep?

"Maybe you should stay," Misha said hesitantly.  "I need to stay awake tonight anyway since I go back to overnight shifts starting tomorrow night."

"What?" Jensen whined.  "Are you on overnights all next week too?"

"Afraid so."

"Fuck my life."

"Mine too."

Jensen tilted his head on the mattress and sighed softly.  Then he lifted an arm and wrapped his hand as far as he could around Misha's bicep and stroked his thumb over the mostly relaxed bulge of muscle.

"So, you're saying you need me to keep you awake tonight?"

Misha chuckled and rolled off the bed.  As soon as his feet hit the floor, Bunny began whining and scratching at the door.

"Oh, good Lord," Jensen groaned.  "That mutt is so codependent."

"Abandonment issues," Misha said from the bathroom.  "She and her litter mates were abandoned by their mother in a rundown house in a neighborhood just outside Miami."

"What were you doing there?"

"Staging site for the relief effort heading into Haiti.  It was in 2010 after the earthquake.  I found the puppies and took them to a shelter.  And when I returned from my tour in Haiti I took one home with me."

Misha walked back into the room, stomach a little shiny from cleaning it off.  He carried a damp washcloth and used it to wipe Jensen down.

"You're, like, some sort of do-gooder humanitarian save the world too good to be real kind of person, aren't you?"

"Hardly," Misha said with a smile and gave Jensen's cock a more thorough cleaning than it needed.

Jensen hissed as his flesh protested the stimulation, but there was also the undercurrent of lust sparking underneath.

"So, am I going back to the motel after all?" Jensen asked as Misha walked over to the bedroom door.

"You should," he said.

"That's not an answer."

"I know," Misha replied and opened the door.  He walked back to the bathroom with the washcloth and Bunny bounded into the room.  She didn't even go after Misha but made straight for the bed, jumping up on the rumpled sheets and lying beside Jensen.  She placed her chin on his stomach, wagged her tail, and stared at him with brown, glass bead eyes.  Jensen made a face and raised his arm to prevent her from suddenly lunging forward to his face.  But she didn't move, other than her shifting tail.

"You don't like dogs, do you?" Misha said as he sat on the bed beside Jensen and scratched Bunny behind the ears.

"It's not that I don't like them.  I mean, I grew up with dogs.  Sort of.  My mom had Yorkies.  We always had at least two, for a few years we had four.  But they're not really dogs.  They're like overgrown hamsters.  Or guinea pigs.  My friend actually had a guinea pig that was bigger than one of our dogs.  Her name was Princess and she was three and a half pounds."

Misha leaned down to kiss Jensen's cheek.  "So, why don't you like Bunny?"

"Who said I didn't like Bunny?"

Bunny raised her head and wiggled closer when he said her name.  Jensen cringed.

"Yeah, no one said anything.  I just figured it out."

"Well!  She's hasn't been the friendliest of dogs, Misha.  First time we met she growled at me.  Every time I kiss you she tries to go for my throat.  Though I notice she doesn't mind when you kiss me."

"That's because I'm the alpha," Misha growled playfully as he leaned down and kissed Jensen's lips, flicking his tongue inside his mouth with teasing licks.  Jensen hummed and grabbed a fistful of Misha's hair to pull him closer.  Bunny barked in alarm and Jensen let him go.

"Seriously?" he asked in exasperation.

Misha let out a small laugh and then licked Jensen's lips.  He pulled back when Jensen tried to kiss him and flicked his tongue out again.  The next time Jensen met his tongue with his.  They let their tongues play together, barely coming close enough for their lips to touch.  Jensen dared to put his hand on Misha's shoulder.  The next time their tongues came together, they were joined by a third.

Misha and Jensen pulled apart spluttering and grumbling and wiping their tongues with their fingers.

"Misha!" Jensen yelled.

Misha just laughed.  "What do you want me to do?  She felt left out."

"I'm about to shut her outside that door and make her feel really left out."

Misha laughed some more and rubbed Bunny's head, letting her lick his face.

"Okay, I'm done tonight," Jensen said.  "I'm not going to kiss you with dog slobber all over—"

Jensen cut off as his cell phone started vibrating and ringing.  He struggled out from between Bunny and Misha and rolled off the bed cursing harshly.  He searched on the floor until he found his pants and fought to disentangle the phone and holster from the fabric.

"What's the matter?" Misha asked.

"Why else do you think I'd be getting a call this late on a Friday night?  There's another fucking body.  I can't—!"  Jensen looked up and met Misha's clear blue eyes.  He took a modicum of calm from them.  He got the phone free and answered it.

"Jensen, this is Ty," the police chief said in his slight drawl.  He didn't sound angry or upset.  But there was no way this was good news, right?

"Hello, Ty.  What's happened?"

"We've got a lead."

Jensen clenched the phone tightly in his hand.  He saw Misha stiffen at his reaction, clearly expecting the worst.

"What kind of lead?"

"We had someone come into the station about fifteen minutes ago.  He has a note card with an angel name written on it.  It looks legit, Jensen.  I think we've identified a victim before he's been taken."

"Is he still at the station?"

"Of course.  Get Jared and get your asses over here now."

"I'm on my way."

"Good.  I'll see you in ten."

"Oh, um, it might be a little longer than that."

Jensen made a face and hoped Ty wouldn't ask why.

"Okay.  Just get here as fast as you can."

"Will do."

Jensen hung up and began searching for his underwear.

"What happened?" Misha asked anxiously.

"Baby, I want to tell you, but..."

"I know.  Just.  Is it another body?"

"No."  Jensen pulled his underwear up and then stepped close to Misha and took his face in his hands.  "Not a body.  A fucking break in the case."  He kissed Misha passionately and Bunny stood up and barked.  Jensen ignored her and kissed Misha until they were both slightly out of breath.

"And I'm sorry I can't stay tonight, but I've gotta go."

"Yeah.  Yeah.  Of course.  I'll get dressed and drive you to the motel."

Jensen smiled and brushed his thumb over Misha's lips.  "You don't have to get dressed." 


Jared pulled the door open to the police station, but didn't slow down his forward momentum to allow it the space to open.  He bumped into it and Jensen crashed into him.  He grunted when the edge of the door jammed into his chest.


Jared tossed him a disgusted look over his shoulder.  "You're the one who's right on my ass.  Back up."

"Just get the door open."

They struggled with the door and then put themselves back in order in the lobby before walking into reception.  Katie was at the desk and her hair was now fully chestnut in color.

"Ty told me to tell you they have him in interview room one," Katie said as soon as she saw them.

"Where is that again?" Jared asked.

"On the left side of the building.  Down the hall past the stairs to the basement.  It has a big sign on it."

"Thank you, Katie," Jensen said.  "Have they already started interviewing him?"

"I'm sorry, I don't know."

"That's alright."  He gave her a tight smile and started through the bullpen toward the interview rooms.  "They better not have asked anything past the basics," Jensen grumbled quietly.

"Well, he has been here for a while.  It would be odd if they just stared at him the whole time."

"It hasn't been that long."

"Longer than it would have been if you'd been at the motel."

Jensen gave him a glare.  "Just because Kim's apartment is a full five miles closer than Misha's house doesn't give you any high ground here, buddy."

Jared smiled and nudged his shoulder into Jensen's.  Jensen gave him a quick smile back, but they quickly schooled their features and Jensen gave a sharp rap of his knuckles on the door of interview room one and opened it without waiting for an invitation.

Inside Ty was sitting on one side of a simple, cheaply made table in a hard wooden chair.  A man in his late twenties sat on the other side.  He was lanky and probably at least as tall as Jensen with a dark fringe of hair falling into his eyes and very light colored hazel eyes.  He was quite pale, but Jared couldn't tell if that was his natural complexion or if the circumstances had drained him.

"Thank you for coming in so late, agents," Ty said standing up.  "This is Brendan Foley.  Mr. Foley this is Special Agent Jensen Ackles, and Special Agent Jared Padalecki.  Will you please share with them what you told us about receiving the card and answer any of their questions."

Foley stood up to shake their hands and Jensen sat in Ty's vacated chair while Jared took the one next to him across from Foley.  Ty took his leave and said he would tell Gen where to go when she arrived.  They turned their attention to Foley and he leaned tiredly against the table.

"I'm sorry," he said.  "I just got off a double shift and closed my coffee shop.  I own it, The Daily Grind on Latimer?"

Jensen and Jared stared politely.  They hadn't ventured much farther than Nell's.

"Anyway.  I lost one of my managers when she went to college and I haven't found a replacement yet so I've been picking up a lot of the slack.  I would be willing to come in tomorrow, or today I guess, to answer your questions.  I'm just really out of it right now, you know?"

Jensen let out a short, sharp laugh.  "Come back?  As in, go home?  I don't recommend that.  I think you need to remain in protective custody."

Foley stared.  And then blinked.  He looked back and forth between the two agents.

"For how long?"

"The foreseeable future."

Foley opened his mouth to protest, but Jared interrupted, laying a calming hand on the table.

"Before we discuss any of that, can you please tell us when and where you received or found the note card?"

Brendan looked like he was about to stay on the subject of the future custody of his person, but then let out a short huff of air and sat back in his chair.

"I'm not sure exactly when it arrived.  I guess sometime between Tuesday and tonight.  I had been spending the last few days at my—at a friend's house because it's closer to the shop and I'm working so many hours.  I went home tonight and was sorting through the mail and found it mixed in with all the other junk mail and bills.

"Any envelope?" Jared asked while Jensen asked, "Is it a locked mailbox?"

Brendan looked between them again.  "No and no.  Just the card.  I have a mail slot on my door."

“Are there security cameras in your building?” Jensen asked.

“It’s a row of townhouses actually, so, no I don’t think so.”

“We’ll check anyway.  Are your neighbors familiar with you and your frequent visitors?  Do you think they would notice if a stranger was hanging around?”

Brendan shrugged his shoulders.  “Probably not.  I only know the name of one of my neighbors.  And we have a shared parking lot with the townhomes across the street.  I wouldn’t be able to tell if one person walking around belonged there or not.  I mean, no one even looks up anymore.  Cell phones.”

Jensen grunted softly and wrote something down on the notepad Ty had left behind.  Jared looked Brendan over.  He didn’t seem terribly concerned with possibly being the next victim of a serial killer.

“Brendan,” Jared said, “can you tell me if anything lately has seemed strange or unusual?  Does something stick out in your mind?”

Brendan’s eyes looked up as he thought, but he shook his head pretty quickly.  “No.  I mean.  It’s all been life as usual.  I’m really busy, but it’s all been normal.  The only thing that wasn’t was this card in the mail.  I didn’t even know it was something to do with the Angel Slayer.  My—friend is the one who heard about it on the news and insisted I come down to the station.”

“Your friend is a smart man,” Jensen said.

Brendan didn’t seem impressed.

“So, nothing stands out at all?  Not even having just a moment of, ‘Huh, that’s odd.’  Nothing like that?”

“No, not really.”  Brendan cocked his head.  “Well, actually, the other day I did think it was odd that Gilbert Hannigan was in my coffee shop.”

“Why was that odd?”

Brendan hesitated and then said, “Because he hates fags.”  He sat back in his chair with a defiant expression.  He looked like he was waiting for Jared or Jensen to make some sort of negative reaction or comment.

“Have you had an altercation with him before?” Jared asked.

“An altercation?  No, not exactly.  Last year he was a regular customer.  And he would talk to me sometimes at the register.  Then one morning he saw me kissing my boyfriend goodbye and he slammed his coffee down and said he wasn’t going to help me support my immoral, unnatural lifestyle.  And he never came back.  Until last week he came in.  I didn’t say anything to him and I sent another barista to help him at the register.  I thought it was strange he came back after that speech, but the only Starbucks in town closed a couple months back.  I just figured he was desperate.  And his need for coffee outweighed his disgust for me.”

“And you served him?” Jensen asked.

“Money is fickle.  Its opinions and views change depending on who’s holding it.”

Jared let out a small laugh.  “I like that.  That’s true.”

Brendan gave him a small smile.  Then he leaned forward on the table, looking at them both intently.

“So, seriously, what’s up with this?  Is this card real?  Or just a hoax?  And what exactly do you mean by ‘protective custody.’”

“Brendan,” Jensen started, “this isn't a criticism, but you seem to not be up to date on the latest news.  Are you aware of what the Angel Slayer does?”

“No, not the particulars, but I figure being dead is bad enough.  I mean, I’m just asking if you think the card is legit.  Why would he pick me?”

Jared and Jensen exchanged looks.  Jared cleared his throat and answered because he was pretty certain Jensen would tell him the truth.

“Honestly, the logic that happens in a serial killer’s brain is often times inscrutable to even psychiatrists who specialize in psychopathy.  It’s all about finding some small detail and twisting it to fit their needs.  Sometimes looks play a role in it, but all the victims so far have had all kinds of hair and eye colors, ethnicities, body types.  He doesn’t discriminate based on gender.”

“Equal opportunity killer, then.”

“It seems like.  That’s why we’ve been—” Jared paused.  He didn’t want to reveal to a civilian that they were struggling with the case.  “—unsure of who might fit his target profile because he doesn’t have one.  When we discovered that he was warning his victims in advance, we knew this would be the opportunity we needed to get him.  He’s very dogged.  He will be determined to—come after you if he’s set his sights on you.  And if you’re under our protection, he won’t be able to get to you.  But that won’t prevent him from trying and that’s how we’ll get him.”

Brendan sat up straight.  “So, what, I’m bait?”

“No,” Jensen stepped in quickly.  “Of course not.  You’re a target.  And we want to protect you.”

Brendan fidgeted.  “I get that.  But, I mean, are you serious?  Do you really think this is real?”

“We haven’t seen the card for ourselves yet,” Jared said, “but the preliminary analysis is that it is very similar to the others.  We are performing an analysis on the handwriting and paper and the ink now to determine if it matches the others."

Jensen added, “I know it feels surreal or unbelievable to hear that a serial killer is targeting you, but we take the threat seriously enough that we want to put a protective detail on you.  Or even keep you here.”

“At the station?  No way!  I’m not sleeping in a jail cell.  And I’ve got a business to run.”

“You wouldn’t be in a jail cell.  There are beds in the on call room and there’s a shower and gym here.  And we will send a police detail with you to work, and they will bring you here at night.”

Brendan chewed on his lip.  “I don’t know.  And I'd have to get some things from home.”

“Of course you can get some personal items,” said Jared.

Brendan sighed.  “Alright.  And I know this is a stupid question, but, for how long?”

Jared and Jensen exchanged looks again.  Then Jensen said, “Until we catch him.”

“Awesome.  So, any time from tomorrow to a decade from now.”

“He’s not getting away,” Jensen said firmly.  “He doesn’t think it, but we are closing in on him.  He’s arrogant.  He thinks he can give the police a warning and still manage to get his kill in.  You’ll be safe with us and he’ll get caught.”

Brendan was looking a little more scared now, but his eyes were latched onto Jensen’s face like he was his own personal savior.  Figures he would pick Jensen.  Jared tried to hide his smile at his own ridiculousness.  Since high school he had been obsessed with whether or not gay men found him attractive.  He knew there had to be some sort of term for this kind of bizarre insecurity.  It probably stemmed from when his best friend told him he was gay in the ninth grade and then quickly followed that up with, “Don’t worry, I’m not attracted to you.”  Jared wondered if he’d be able to take back his decline on the RSVP he’d sent in response to his wedding invitation…if they caught the Angel Slayer this weekend, they might be home by next week.  The wedding was on…the 16th?


Jared looked up and saw that Jensen and Brendan were standing by the open interview room door.  Jensen was giving him a look that said, Are you seriously spacing out right now?  He got to his feet.

“Yes,” he said trying to sound like he knew exactly what he was agreeing to.  He also noticed Russ was standing just out in the hall.

“Hi, Russ.”

“Agent Padalecki.”

Jared winced internally.  He should have called him Detective Little.

“So, you’re okay with the swing shift?” Jensen asked.


Jared nodded his head and he could see laughter in Jensen’s eyes.  Clearly he wasn’t buying Jared’s bullshit.

“All right then.  Brendan, Detective Little will you escort you to the on call room and get you set up there.  And then I’ll drive you to your home to pack an overnight bag.  That way you can go home and get some sleep tonight, Russ.”

“Thanks, Jensen.”  Russ smiled at him and then turned to Brendan, indicating a direction for him to walk with his hand.  Jared wondered why Jensen and Russ could call each by their first names in front of the…witness?  Victim?  Jensen stepped back into the room and shut the door.  He smiled at Jared.

“You have no clue what is going on, do you?”

“No.  Well, yes.  I’m guessing we all signed up for round the clock babysitting duty on Brendan and I got the swing shift?”

Jensen laughed and walked to retrieve his notepad from the table.  “What were you thinking about?”

“Gay weddings.”

Jensen opened his mouth, closed it.  And then said, “You know what?  I’m not going to ask.”

“So are you on the overnight if Russ is going home?”


“I can take that one if you want.”

“No I’m cool with it.”

“Yeah, but, I thought you and Misha liked ‘having dinner' together.”

Jensen glanced around the room.  It was an interview room, so there was no two way mirror, but there could be recording equipment.  It shouldn’t be on, but he really needed to learn not to open his big mouth when they were in the police station.

“We do eat dinner,” Jensen said.  “And he’s switching to the nightshift starting tomorrow anyway.”

Jared grinned.  “Really.”

Jensen realized his slip and blushed slightly.  “Shut-up, Jay.”

“Man, you’ve got it bad, don’t you?”

Jensen sat down heavily in a chair.  He gnawed on his lower lip and kind of nodded.

Jared sobered a little.  Oh.  He really did have it bad.  “What are you going to do when this is over?  It could be any day now.”

Jensen shrugged.  Then he looked at his notepad.  “Anyway, at least we have a good guess as to why Brendan was picked.  My assumption is his crime will be sodomy or the like.”

“Would be, Jensen.  It won’t happen.  We’ve got him.”

Jensen nodded.  “You’re right, I’m sorry.  Thank you for correcting me.  Although...something is bothering me.  Hannigan, Hannigan...why do I know that name?"

"Um...oh!  Gilbert Hannigan.  He's the one who found Vanderpool's body.  And was having an affair with her."

"Two victim connections," Jensen said, his eyes flashing back and forth as he thought.  "That can't be a coincidence."

"Well, there are only two places to get coffee to go in this town.  Half the population has been to Brendan's shop."

"Yeah, but how many of those openly spoke against the proprietor?"

Jared strummed his fingers once on the table in thought.  "That's true.  But Hannigan had an alibi for Vanderpool."

"So?  We think there's two killers, don't we?"

Jared conceded the point with a bob of his head.  "Yes, but as arrogant and brazen as these two are, would they draw that kind of attention to a connection with a victim?"

"Probably not.  Not the leader anyway.  But the follower, he could be an idiot."

"Would the Angel Slayer be willing to work with an idiot?"

Jensen shrugged a shoulder.  "Stupid people are easier to control."

Jared pretended to be examining a spot on the floor as he said, "Is that why Misha leads you around by the nose?"

"You shut your mouth, Padalecki, or I will tell Kim how much you love a Brazilian on a woman."


"Shit.  What are we doing sitting here?  We need to look at the card and get the name so we can look up when to expect the kill.”

“Should be a day and no hour.”

“Think so?”

Jared shrugged.  “It has consistently switched back and forth for all the victims.  Always more precise with the females, less with the males.”

“Good point.  But do you think he also kidnaps on the day indicated on the card, or only kills them on the day.”

“I think the latter.  None of the victims were ever missing for over a week.  So…only the kill happened on the right day.”

“That’s true.  It does leave a large window for the snatching to occur though.”

“Well, we’ve got Brendan safe here with us, so unless he can figure out how to access this building without drawing suspicion—he’s got no choice but to make a dumb move and get caught."

“Unless he waits us out.  We can’t keep Brendan under twenty-four hour surveillance forever.”


Jensen made a disgusted a face.  “I hate this fucker.  Alright, never mind that for now.  Let’s go see this angel name.”


Sunday, November 10, 2013  

Jensen stood looking outwardly patient even though internally he was just about done stapling Brendan's Foley's lips together.  He understood the kid was probably transferring his fear of being targeted by the Angel Slayer (which he was now aware that he definitely was and had a better idea of what the sadist did to his victims) into anxiety for his shop, but if Jensen had to hear one more time how sensitive the espresso machine was and how Brendan was the only person who could properly start it up, he was certain he would blow a fuse.

"Morning!" Russ chirped as he popped his head in the on call room door, effectively getting Brendan to stop talking—temporarily.

Jensen had never been so relieved to see someone in his life.  Russ ducked away and Jensen faced Brendan and patted him on the shoulder, encouraging his lapse into silence.

"Detective Little is here now.  He'll make arrangements for you to get a police escort to your shop if he feels it's safe.  There are a lot of factors to consider though.  Officer availability, the layout of the building—"

"I know, you told me," Brendan griped.  "But—"

"Detective Little will take care of you," Jensen cut him off with another pat to his shoulder.  He walked out of the on call room before Brendan could tell him again how important it was for an owner to manage his business personally.

He found Russ in the kitchenette smearing cream cheese onto a bagel.  The detective gave Jensen a displeased look as he came in the room.

"Are you really considering letting him out of here?"

"Of course not," Jensen replied.  "But I figured I would let you play bad cop."

He grinned at him and Russ threw a wadded up napkin at him.

"Screw you, Ackles."

"Some other time, Little.  I'm whipped."

Russ quirked an eyebrow.  "If you're into that sort of thing."

He gave him a mild smile that made Jensen feel unease as Russ' even stare stayed on him.  For some reason he suddenly felt naked, exposed.  He nodded at Russ and nearly ran into the doorjamb as he exited the room.  He crossed the bullpen and wondered if Misha was right about Russ having a thing for him.  But it hadn't felt like it was sexual interest.  Not exactly.

He immediately forgot the feeling as he noticed the door to the FBI office was open.  Jared he knew was at the motel getting a few more hours of sleep before he came in around noon.  He wondered if Gen had come in or maybe if he'd left the door unlocked.  But even if he had, he knew he had shut the door the last time he'd left the room.

Inside he found Misha standing in front of the third whiteboard.  It contained a picture of Brendan Foley with the words, "Chariel: Monday" written above it.  Underneath the picture they had written the word potato and a question mark, which was their code for homosexuality since potato was the first word Jared had thought of for some reason.  But Misha wasn't looking at that.  He was reading the mini profile of the Angel Slayer they had compiled at the other end of the board.

"Misha," Jensen said softly, "you shouldn't be in here."

Misha didn't react.  Either he had heard Jensen come in or he was so focused on the red colored words that he couldn't be bothered.

"This is interesting," Misha said.  "White male, thirties, Elton native, college educated, working knowledge of police procedures and basic knowledge of forensics, arrogance, contempt of general populace, easily irritated but extreme control of outward expressions and actions, skill in woodworking,  job that explains out of town trips or prolonged absences, self-righteous, intelligent, possible OCD tendencies."  Misha turned to look at Jensen.  "That sounds a lot like me."

"It sounds like ninety-five percent of all serial killers.  And even I fit a lot of those characteristics.  Misha, you shouldn't be in here."

"I know.  I was looking for you and the door was open.  I saw it and couldn't help myself."

Jensen frowned at him.  There really was no harm done reading the profile: it was almost useless and the two killer theory was still floating in the ether and not written down anywhere yet.  But all the other officers knew they were not permitted into FBI space unless they were expressly invited inside.  And certainly not someone who was as close to the case as Misha was.

Misha took in Jensen's frown and apologized.  "It's hard to do nothing, Jensen.  It's my sister.  And I'm a police officer.  I hate sitting back and doing nothing."

Jensen relaxed his features.  "I know."  He reached out and gave his hand a brief squeeze before dropping it.  "But, you need to get."

Misha gave him a small smile.  "Consider me gone."  As they walked out of the office he asked, "You're off duty now, right?"

"Yes, but I was going to stay for a few more hours and work on something.  Why?"

"Oh.  I was just wondering if you wanted to get breakfast."

"I thought breakfast was the one meal you refused to cook."

"Oh, I won't.  I was going over to Nell's."

"Ah, I see.  You sure know how to tempt a man, Officer Collins."

Misha went a little rigid and dropped his eyes to the floor.

"I was just referring to the allure of Nell's," Jensen murmured softly as he shut and locked the office door.

"I–I know," Misha stammered quietly.

"Did you?"

"Shut-up.  Do you want to go or not?"

"What about Bunny?"

"I left her at home last night because I needed to do some paperwork catch up."

"I see."

"And after breakfast I can drive you back to the motel."

Jensen hesitated even though all he wanted to do was say yes.  But he should stay in the office and review the traffic camera feed taken two blocks from Foley's neighborhood.  There were a multitude of paths that didn't lead to Foley's home from that intersection, but it was possible something would stand out and help connect two seemingly unrelated clues.  Jensen gnawed on his lip and ran his fingers over the knob of the office door.  He did have to watch Brendan again tonight, so he couldn't stay in the office all day and not get any sleep.  And he could always watch the footage tonight while Brendan slept.

Misha could see Jensen's resolve crumbling and casually threw out, "Since I left Bunny at home I drove the Charger."

"Let's go," Jensen said.

Misha smiled and brushed past him a little closer than the space around them dictated was necessary.

"I need to swing by my desk first.  Be right back."

Jensen groaned inwardly.  Misha was such a distraction.  And he could not afford distractions with a case of this magnitude on the line.  But he couldn't turn down a chance to spend time with Misha.  Well, he could, but he didn't want to.  He knew his feelings for the officer were approaching dangerous territory, and their constant talk about keeping things impersonal was a joke.  Jensen suspected Misha was probably holding himself back better than he, but honestly, Jensen wasn't even trying anymore.

"God, I don't think I'll ever be able to drink an espresso again."

Jensen turned and saw Russ looking supremely annoyed as he stroked his trim beard with a hand.  He laughed at the detective's expression.

"Is he still going on about that machine?"

"When I told him he had to stay here he immediately called his employee and began walking him step by step on how to turn the machine on.  I think it boiled down to pushing the power button."

Jensen smirked.  "I do not envy you having him during his waking hours."

"Ass," Russ retorted.

Jensen caught movement out of the corner of his eye and turned toward Misha as he approached them.

"You ready?" Misha asked.

"Yeah, I have everything."

Russ was giving them a strange look.  Right.  Everyone thought they were still not on the best terms.  Jensen shifted his weight and awkwardly put a hand out toward Misha.

"Misha also worked the overnight shift last night, and Jared has our car, so he volunteered, very kindly I might add, to drop me back off at the motel."

Jensen wondered if that sounded rehearsed even though it wasn't.

"Ty also hasn't relieved me of chauffeur duty yet," Misha added dryly.

Jensen chuckled.  "Good thing I don't mind getting help from someone who was volun-told to help me."

"Not that it should be like that," Russ said, giving Misha a hard look.  "Jensen has earned his place here."

Misha turned to face Russ fully.  "Has he?"

Russ tensed.

"I never said he hadn't.  I acknowledge Agent Ackles has done a lot of work here.  I'm doing my best to mend fences with him.  Do you have a problem with that?"

Jensen watched as Russ and Misha stared each other down.  He felt a little like...he was being fought over?  Maybe Misha was even farther away from the impersonal fuck buddy zone than he was.

"Well," Jensen said, breaking up the staring match, "part of that fence mending involves breakfast and I'm starving.  Russ, good luck with Brendan.  Misha, are we walking or driving to Nell's?"

Misha looked away from Russ.  "Drive.  I get the blue plate special when I get breakfast there and walking is generally not an option afterwards."

Jensen saw Russ force a smile.  "That's true.  It is a dangerous amount of food."

Misha nodded back, acknowledging Russ' attempt to smooth things over.  "It's why I can only visit Nell's for lunch."

"What is the blue plate special?" Jensen asked.  "That's not on the menu."

Russ grinned.  "There's a secret menu only for those in the know."

Jensen frowned.  "How does one get in the know?"

Misha patted his shoulder.  "You just did.  Let's go."

Jensen gave a smile and a nod to Russ and followed Misha out of the bullpen.  As the officer opened the external door of the station, he looked back over his shoulder.  The blue of his uniform made his eyes bluer by comparison.  The weak autumn morning sun haloed the back of his head and blocked all else from Jensen's vision but this beautiful, snarky, reserved, slightly insane man.

Jensen felt a moment of pure terror—until he realized it wasn't fear he was feeling.  He wasn't afraid at all.

He was so fucked.


Jensen picked up another piece of bacon from the "meat platter" and surveyed the seven plates piled high with food.  They'd been working on one order of the blue plate special for over half an hour now and had barely made a dent in it.  Misha was using his fork to scoop up some oatmeal and then speared some scrambled eggs.  Jensen made a face as he put the combination in his mouth.

"Don't knock it until you try it," Misha said around the food.

"I didn't say anything."  Jensen took a bite of the extra crispy bacon and crunched on it.  "Hey, Misha?"


"There's something I've been meaning to ask you for a while now."

Misha swallowed uncomfortably.  "Yeah...?"

"What is up with that house?"

Misha tried to cover his relief with a laugh.  What had he been expecting?  For Jensen to declare his love and ask for Misha's exchange of faithful vow?  Not that he had any love to confess or anything.  Right?  Shit.

"It's my parents' house.  Or, was.  My mother and stepfather had differing opinions on interior design, so they claimed rooms in the house and did what they wanted.  The result, as you've seen, is a nightmare.  It makes trying to sell the place nearly impossible."

"So...that's not the house you lived in with..."

"My ex-wife?  No.  I sold that house during the divorce and we split the money.  My parents offered to let me stay with them until I found a new place.  But I could never find a place I liked.  Or maybe I was just lazy.  So, I just stayed with my parents."

"No wonder you couldn't get laid for four years."

Misha smiled and threw a hash brown cube at him.  "Shut it."

Jensen cut another triangle from the massive stack of pancakes on the "breads platter."  He looked at Misha before he put the bite in his mouth and said, "Do I need to ask?"

Misha inhaled and then exhaled slowly, but it wasn't exactly a sigh.

"They died in a car accident in February.  Hit some black ice and went off the road.  Natalia came home for the arrangements and to get away from the stress of her divorce.  That's what I thought the casket receipt was for at first, but she ordered it several months after they were already in the ground."

Misha ran his fingers through the condensation on his water glass.  His eyes stared unseeing at the floating ovals of ice inside it.  Jensen felt a cold pressure squeezing his chest.  Misha had lost his parents and his sister in less than a year.  Jensen knew he wouldn't be so well put together if he had lost so much at once.  But then he realized Misha wasn't holding it together very well at all.  He didn't know Misha's hours exactly, but it hadn't been hard to figure out he was doing a lot of overtime.  He was still quick to respond with bitterness and anger when anything reminded him of the Angel Slayer.  He had started having unprotected, casual sex with a virtual stranger after over four years of celibacy and self-control.  Yeah, he was a paragon of mental health.

"I'm the one that convinced her to move back here," Misha said dully.  "With our parents gone, both of us divorced, I told her we should be near each other.  I got her the interview with the school board."  He took in a shaky breath.  "If I hadn't...if...she would still be safe in Arizona."

Without thinking Jensen reached across the table and took Misha's hand in his.

"Hey.  You can't think like that.  What happened to your sister is in no way your fault."

"I know," Misha said softly.

"Do you?" he questioned, squeezing his hand.

Misha looked up and met his eyes.  Then his thumb brushed across the back of Jensen's hand.  For another few moments they held each other's gaze and kept the connection between them tangible as they turned their hands palm to palm.  Then someone cleared their throat and they blinked and snatched their hands apart.  They looked up and saw Felicia standing at their table.  She had her eyes averted, a faint blush on her cheeks, and a smile tugging at her lips.

"I came to see if you needed anything, but I guess you just want the check, huh?"

"You can just put it on today's tab.  Thanks, Felicia."

"No, I was treating you," Misha said.

"Misha, I'm not paying for it.  The federal government is."

"So, in a way, I am paying for it since I pay taxes."

"Good point."

"I'm not!" Felicia laughed.  "I never report my cash tips."

She smiled at the police officer and the FBI agent.  Then she stopped smiling.

"I never said that.  I'll go get you some take away boxes."

She turned and walked away.  Jensen smiled as he watched her leave.  She still did have nice legs.  Then he looked back at Misha.

"Think that's true?"

"I think that's hardly the worst thing she's done."

Jensen smiled.  He took a moment to examine Misha's face.  He was smiling too, but sorrow and guilt still haunted his eyes.  Jensen realized that that look had always been there; he just hadn't known what it was until now.  He could also tell that Misha was done being vulnerable for the day and if he tried to reinitiate their interrupted conversation he would be walking to the motel.  He searched his brain, looking for a topic of conversation that Misha wouldn't interpret as too personal.  Fortunately Felicia arrived and saved him from blurting out something stupid.

"I put it on your tab, Jensen.  Here's some boxes.  Take this all with you.  If Nell sees food come back on blue plate special orders, she forbids anyone from ordering it again for another six months."

"Is that true?"

Both Felicia and Misha nodded.  Felicia left them and Jensen and Misha began to fill the boxes with the leftover food.  The quiet between them wasn't tense or awkward, but Jensen did finally think of something to say.

"Hey, Mish."

"Yes, Jen."

"You said...that night we night we picked up the books from the library in Rochester..."

Misha closed the lid on one of the boxes and gave Jensen a smug smile.  "I have a pretty strong recollection of that night."

"Right.  Um.  You said that you'd known I'd wanted  Since the moment I first laid eyes on you here.  And it was true, so I didn't refute it.  But, how did you know?  You saw me for all of two seconds as you walked out the door."

Misha laughed and stacked their Styrofoam boxes together.  He slid out of the booth and indicated for Jensen to follow him.  He walked over to the part of the counter he had been leaning on the first day Jensen and Jared had eaten at Nell's.  In a corner of the diner was a mirror that the staff used to see around the blind turn that led to the kitchen.  From the counter it showed the row of booths lining the front windows, one of which was the booth he and Jared had been sitting in.  From where he'd been leaning that day, Misha would have had a clear view of Jensen...staring at his ass.

Jensen cleared his throat and turned to walk out the door.  Misha followed, chuckling softly.

"I'm now really surprised you didn't deck me when we met in the police station," Jensen muttered as he took the to-go boxes from Misha and opened the passenger side door of the Charger.

Misha slid into the driver's side and replied, "Well, honestly, by that point I'd kind of forgotten it.  And I also didn't want to admit to myself that the first thing I thought when I noticed you were checking me out was, 'I wonder if he's free tonight.'  So, I blocked the memory."

Jensen smiled at him.  "Hot for me from day one, huh?"

Misha pulled out onto Main Street and said, "Desperate for a distraction anyway."

Jensen felt that sharp stabbing pain in his chest again.  His stomach churned with nausea as the heavy breakfast soured in it.  He set the boxes of food down on the floor to get the smell away from him.  He closed his eyes and hated himself for what he'd done to Misha.  Because he couldn't respect Misha as a human being or leave the victim of a brutal crime alone, he'd given him all the distraction he needed.

"Jesus, Jensen, I'm so sorry," Misha said quickly.  "I didn't mean for that to come out the way it did.  Please...don't...don't take it that way.  I—you're not a distraction.  You're not some way for me to punish myself or something if that's what you're thinking.  You're—the best fucking thing that's happened to me in a long time."

Jensen turned his head slowly to look at Misha.  He was gripping the wheel tightly with both hands and his eyes were intently fixed on the road.  They turned onto Pine.  Jensen kept staring.  Misha glanced at him, and then did a double take.

"What?" he asked defensively.

Jensen smiled and looked away.  "Nothing."

"You are going to throw that back at me at some point, aren't you?"

"Don't worry.  I'll save it for a special occasion."

Misha laughed softly.  "Fuck you, Ackles."

"Hey, Mish."


"Let's not go to the motel right away."


Misha passed the turn onto King and kept driving.  They drove a little ways out of town and passed into a light wood.  Then Misha made a turn onto what barely passed as a road with only two wheel ruts indicating cars had traveled here before.  Jensen winced every time he heard a rock or stick kick up against the car, but he didn't comment.  Then the path split into several paths where the trees lined the "road" very closely.  One was so bad that Jensen did break his silence to tell Misha that if he let those branches scratch the car he wouldn't blow him for a month.  Misha took the clearest path, the one straight ahead, and after another couple minutes of driving, they arrived at the end of the woods.  Misha stopped at the tree line and Jensen could see Lake Winnipesaukee in front of them.

Misha turned off the car and cracked the window on his side.  Cold air trickled in, but it wasn't unpleasant.  Jensen looked out over the lake.  It was dark colored and just a little ominous, but the sun was bright so it made the surface glitter.  Then he looked around the place they were parked.  It was fairly open up by the lake, but the trees were dense about a hundred yards back from the shore where they were parked.  There were several pathways leading to the area, and trees partially shielded the ends of these paths from each other.  In fact, he could just make out the flash of sunlight on another car about three spokes away through the dense line of trees; it was impossible to see anybody in the car though.  Jensen laughed.

“Oh my God, is this the local teen ‘hang out’ spot?”

Misha strummed his fingers on the bottom of the steering wheel.  “It might be.”

He laughed again.  “I guess you had to learn about it when you were stuck on Buzz Kill duty during your early years on the force?”

Misha smiled.  “I knew about this place long before I joined the police.”

Jensen gasped in faux-shock.  “Misha Collins, did you bring me to your teenage make out spot?”

“No,” he said in a tone that clearly meant “yes.”

Jensen smiled as he looked out at the lake again.  And then he shrugged his lips, whipped off his seatbelt, and pulled on the mechanism that got his seat to slide all the way back.

“Okay,” he said.  “I can take a hint.”  He spread his legs and patted his thighs, inviting Misha over.

“What!” Misha looked at him with huge blue eyes.  “Don’t be stupid, Jensen.”

“I’m not.  C’mere.”

“No way.”

Jensen leaned his head back against the head rest and just stared at Misha.  And then he licked his lips.

“Fuck you, Ackles,” Misha muttered as he unbuckled his seatbelt and crawled into Jensen’s lap.

Jensen grabbed his face and kissed him immediately, not even waiting for Misha to get himself situated.  By the time he was sitting squarely and comfortably in his lap, Jensen’s tongue was fucking the hell out of his mouth.  Misha hummed and rocked his hips.

“Fuck, yes,” Misha whispered, rocking harder and sliding his hands through Jensen’s hair.

Jensen moved his hands to Misha’s back and spread his fingers over the rough cotton of his uniform shirt.  He claimed Misha’s lips again and ran one hand up the back of his neck into his hair to hold him in place.  As hot as listening to Misha swear in the throes of passion was, he wanted those lips on him, that tongue playing with his, the heat and wetness of his mouth panting into his.

Jensen let out a noise of surprise that Misha swallowed neatly when he felt the cop’s hands on his belt.  He didn’t think Misha would be the one to initiate more, but apparently once he got past his preliminary reservations he was up for anything.  They continued to kiss, sloppy, lingering smacks, as they both worked the other’s belt off and got their flies open.  Jensen leaned forward and kissed and bit Misha’s jaw while he was distracted with pulling their cocks out of their underwear.  Jensen groaned when he felt Misha’s hand on him, trying, with some difficulty, to circle both of their above average in size penises.  Jensen helped him out by grabbing the other side with his hand.  They let out low moans and quiet gasps of appreciation as they felt their hands working their erections in tandem—relishing the ecstasy of the countermotion on either side of their trapped flesh.

Jensen forced Misha’s face back to him and kissed him deeply.  Misha leaned into it, swiping his thumb across their cockheads to smear the precome down their shafts.  Jensen got a hold of Misha’s upper lip and sucked on it before going for the bottom lip.  Misha retaliated by rubbing Jensen’s nipple through his shirts mercilessly.  He kept it up until Jensen had to let go of Misha’s lips and cry uncle.  Misha worked his hand on their cocks, rolled his thumb around (a little more gently) on Jensen’s nipple, and kissed him in an endless string of bites and licks that were barely kisses at all.

“Jesus Christ, Jensen.”  Kiss.  “I have never, mmm…” he went in for a long kiss and tongue fuck.  “Wanted anyone the way I want you.”

Jensen smiled and met Misha’s tongue with his in a playful duel outside their mouths.  “How about that?  Number one—” They kissed greedily.  “On a list of four.”

“Fuck you, Ackles.”  Misha’s hand pumped faster and Jensen’s followed suit.  “Where do I rank on your list of ‘less than twenty?’”

Jensen pulled him in and kissed him hungrily, again holding the back of his head with a hand so he couldn’t even think about pulling away before Jensen was satisfied.  Jensen still wasn’t ready when he let him go, but they did need air.  He looked Misha in the eyes and rubbed his thumb along the glans of Misha’s cock.  Misha’s mouth dropped open and his eyes slid partway shut.

“You’re not even on the list, baby.  I had to make a brand new one just for you.”

Misha closed his mouth and opened his eyes.  He looked at Jensen for a long moment, rolling their balls together while his hand increased the pace even more.

“That was so cheesy.”

Jensen grinned.  “Yeah,” he agreed.

“Stop it, Ackles.  I mean it.”


He pulled Misha back down for another kiss, and Misha went at him like he was desperate to have him.  And Jensen didn’t think it was because they were both close to the edge.

Their hands worked faster and Misha pulled back with a reluctant groan.  “Wait, we need to find something.  I can’t get this uniform dirty.”

“Why not?” Jensen asked indignantly and licked the underside of his chin.

“Because.  I only have three—heee—fuck, baby, easy!  Oh fuck, oh fuck—I’m right fucking there!”

Jensen sat back and stared in utter amazement at the sheer beauty of Misha Collins falling apart in front of his eyes.  He did at least angle their dicks so that their bursts of come drenched his thin dress shirt and soaked into his undershirt.

Misha groaned anew with each gentle stroke of their hands and roll of his hips.  It was a good long while before their motions stilled.  Jensen raised his hand to his lips and sucked off a bit of come from the heel of his hand.  He had no idea whose it was.  Misha looked down at Jensen’s shirt like he was mesmerized.

“I have no idea why seeing you covered in my jizz is such a huge fucking turn on,” he muttered.

“Evolutionary hold over.  You’re claiming a mate.”

“Hnn.  I don’t know about that.  But, at least it is all on you.”

“Yeah, you’re welcome by the way.  And if you have three, why can’t this one get a little dirty,” he said as he plucked at a sleeve.

“Because you already got one dirty a couple nights ago as you may or may not recall.”

“Oh, yeah,” Jensen mused, a smile curling his lips at the memory.  “Well, at least we matched my erotic asphyxia kink with your role play kink.”

“I do not have a role play kink.”

Jensen gave Misha a look that made him blush, so he didn’t argue the point.

"Still not as weird as yours though," he muttered indignantly and buried his face in Jensen's neck.

"Careful.  You'll get your uniform dirty."

Misha sat up with a pout.  "Take it off then."

Jensen ran his hand through Misha's hair.  "I would.  But you should probably take me back to the motel.  We both have to work tonight and I need to call Gen before I go to sleep.  And—"

Jensen stopped talking when Misha kissed him.  It wasn't heated or lustful, but pleasant and almost friendly.  Like they were long time lovers who had all the time in world for other things and for now just wanted to enjoy the presence of each other.  Jensen put his hands on Misha's stomach to keep him from leaning too far in and brushing up against Jensen's wet shirt, but he kissed him with the thought in mind that Misha was going to have to be the one to pull away.  Misha must have had the same idea because Jensen lost all sense of time.  Their lips became numb with the near abuse they were putting them through.  And even though the kisses were slow and easy they had gone on so long they were gasping for air.  Jensen's resolve failed and he pulled back and leaned his head against the seat.  Misha chased after him and pressed their lips together.

"Don't stop, don't stop," he panted and wrapped his arms around Jensen's neck.  "Don't stop."

Jensen couldn't respond when Misha slipped his tongue in his mouth.  All he could do was lean back and take it.  He was willing to be a distraction for Misha if that's what he needed.  It hurt, to be sure, but he knew Misha was a grown man who could make his own decisions.  He wasn't worried that he was taking advantage of him or using him anymore, but he did yearn to be more than just something that allowed Misha to stop thinking about his grief filled life for an hour or two.

Misha moaned into his mouth and whispered against his lips, "Fuck me, you feel so good."

Jensen felt like he had no strength when he gripped Misha's arm in his hand.  He couldn't speak, so he didn't try.

"I mean it," Misha gasped, "Fuck me.  Right now.  I want you in me."

Jensen sucked in air around Misha's lips as best he could—the man wouldn't let up at all.  Jensen felt weak and dizzy and he didn't know why but tears gathered at the corners of his eyes.  Misha took his face in his hands and kissed the teardrops away—and Jensen found that he was sobbing.

"I'm sorry," Misha said.  "I'm sorry.  Are you okay?  What did I do?"

Jensen felt embarrassed and brutally forced his breathing back under control and his tears to stop.  He shook his head and tried to look away from Misha, but he held him still.

"I'm sorry," Jensen said and was mortified to hear his voice thick with tears.  "I'm just so sorry that you hurt this much."

Misha sat back like he'd been slapped.  "I told you I'm not using you like that."

Jensen stared at his collar and wouldn't meet his eyes.  "We both know that's not entirely true."

Misha let his hands drop to his lap.  He put his limp penis back into his pants and then clinically did the same for Jensen before sliding back into the driver's seat.  They sat in silence for a long time.  The cold November air filled the car and chilled them both, but still they sat.  At last, Misha rolled up the window and started the car.  He pulled forward to turn around and then drove back down the path.

The drive back to the motel was only fifteen minutes, but it was one of the worst experiences of Jensen's life.  He knew this was the end of everything.  It was for the best that it was because he had reached the point where the thought had crossed his mind about asking Gen if working at the Portsmouth RA was really so bad.  Misha pulled into the motel parking lot and parked on the side of the building closest to Jensen's room, but that was also not visible from the main road.  He turned off the car, so Jensen wasn't sure if he should get out or not.  Clearly Misha wasn't intending on just driving away as soon as he dropped him off.  But, Jensen didn't have anything to say that would help the situation, so he stayed quiet.

"Jensen.  You're not wrong.  I do use you to make the world go away for a little while.  And that's not fair to you.  But, you should know that you can make me forget everything.  You're not just a warm body.  You're fucking you, okay?"

Jensen glanced at Misha.  He was twisting his hands on the steering wheel and staring out the windshield.  Then he whipped his head around and Jensen started slightly as they were forced to make eye contact.

"And I'm so sorry, Jensen, but I'm going to be selfish.  And I'm going to ask you to—not walk away from me right now.  I need you.  And the circumstances suck.  But.  I can't think beyond Bunny's next walk right now.  I know I'm barely hanging onto my sanity by a thread here, but you're like—a rope—that I can grab onto and if I really need it, tie it around my waist—and if you don't stop me from making one more ridiculous analogy—"

Jensen was surprised into a laugh and placed his fingers on Misha's lips to stop whatever he was going to say next.  Then he turned his hand and curled his fingers around his jaw so he could brush his thumb over Misha's very chapped lips.

"I don't want to stop either, but I do have to ask one thing of you."

Misha nodded.

"This thing can stay impersonal if you need it to, but please stop reminding me of that."

Misha's brow furrowed a little, but not like he was angry or displeased—perhaps curious.  But he nodded slowly in acquiescence.  He pressed a kiss to Jensen's thumb and then raised his hand to take Jensen's.  He pulled it away from his face and into his lap where he used his other hand to play with Jensen's fingers.

"I know it's getting late, but I meant what I said at the lake.  I need you now.  I need to feel connected to someone—no, not someone, you.  So, please, I'm begging you: invite me inside, take me to your bed, and—"

He cut off abruptly and focused on Jensen's hand.  Jensen figured he had not finished the thought because while attempting to prove to someone that they were more than just a warm body telling them "fuck me" might be a little crass.  Though there was a masochistic part of Jensen's brain that wondered if he'd stopped himself from saying, "make love to me."

"Come inside, Misha.  It's about time Jared woke up anyway."

Misha let out a bark of laughter.  And then he looked up and saw the actual glee in Jensen's eyes at the thought of making Jared wake up yet again with his "O-shout" as Jared called it.  He laughed again for real and Jensen felt happy knowing he'd managed to brighten Misha's day with something other than sex.  Well, sort of.

"I would love to rattle the headboard with you and make Jared rue the day he ever complained about all the pretty noises you make."

"Oh, Jesus," Jensen muttered and pulled his hand away from Misha as he opened the car door and stepped out.  He reached back inside and picked up the Styrofoam containers that had miraculously survived their impromptu sex romp with only one corner getting crushed in a bit.

"I'm keeping all the food," Jensen announced as he rounded the corner of the building to walk toward his room door.

"Where are you going to keep it?  You don't have a mini fridge in there, do you?"

"No.  But it'll keep until this afternoon when I'll be ready to eat again.  Heck, I'll probably be hungry again after I'm through with you."

"Mm, that sounds promising."

Jensen looked over his shoulder to smile at him as he unlocked the door to his motel room.  Misha walked inside and Jensen looked out at the street when he heard a squeal of tires.  A blur of silver flashed at the intersection before disappearing behind a building that sat closer to the road.  He might have wondered about the erratic driver, but he had more pressing matters on his mind.  He shut the door behind him.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013 

Jared walked into the station ready for another day of playing cards with Brendan and was immediately concerned when he heard raised voices coming from the on call room.  He carefully approached the room, getting closer to the wall so he wouldn’t be visible from the door right away.  He wasn’t being a coward, or an eavesdropper, he was investigating.  Yeah, investigating.  He could recognize both Russ’ and Gen’s voices, but he couldn’t understand what they were saying since they kept talking over each other.  He peeked around the door and saw Russ practically cornered by Gen.  Her eyes were bright and her face was terrifying in its rage—and it made her look beautiful.  Jared swallowed and knew he’d never want that look directed at him.  Based on what he was hearing though, the argument didn’t sound productive, so Jared decided to insert himself.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Jared asked as he stepped into the room.  Russ and Gen were the only two people in it.  The spot Brendan had been camping out in looked suspiciously empty.

“Russ sent Brendan home,” Gen said.


“I did not at all, Agent Cortese!”

Gen sucked in a breath at the formal address and faced Russ.  “Then what happened?”

“I’m trying to tell you.  Brendan made the decision to leave.  I told him no.  He threatened to file a complaint against us and was citing false imprisonment.  We can’t hold someone against their will!”

“But, he still believes us, right?  Why would he choose to leave our protection?” Jared asked, utterly confused.

“Russ told him he didn’t need to worry unless it was a Monday,” Gen said with an angry glare.

“I did not!  And I organized an escort and a surveillance duty as soon as I could.  They followed him home.  Or at least, have gone to his home and are watching the townhouse.  His car is still in the parking lot.”

“Wait, I don’t understand, why did he know about the Monday time frame?”

Gen crossed her arms and didn’t say anything, but she did an arch an eyebrow at Russ.  He sighed in a defeated manner and leaned on the metal bar at the head of one of the beds.  He rubbed his forehead with a hand.

“It is my fault,” he said, his voice breaking with stress.  “We were just talking.  And he asked me why the killer is called the Angel Slayer.  And I didn’t even tell him about carving the names on the victims.  Just the names on the calling cards.  And he wondered if the names meant anything specific or if they were random.  And I did tell him we had a theory about it.  But I didn’t tell him what, but he kept asking and he kept looking it up on his phone and the things he found on the Internet were worse than what it really is, so I just told him it meant the timing of the murder.  He asked what his meant and I didn’t think there would be any harm in just saying Monday.  I tried to explain to him that that doesn’t mean that’s the only day he isn’t safe, but he just said that since Monday was past he needed to leave the station and go home for a couple of days, and then he would come back before next Monday.  I—Jared, I did everything I could short of handcuff the kid to a bed.”

“You should have handcuffed him,” Gen muttered.

“I told you!  We have no right to force him to stay.  Free country we’re all so proud of and all that.  What was I really supposed to do?  I couldn’t give out details of the case.  But I did tell him that he was at the most risk when it wasn’t Monday.  But that didn’t seem to get through to him.”

“But, there’s an officer on him now, right?”

“Yes, they’re watching his home.”

“Does Jensen know yet?”

“No.  He only left a couple of hours ago.  I was hoping he just wanted to shower in his own bathroom and get a change of clothes and would come back.”

“We should notify Jensen now,” Gen said.

“He will have just gotten into bed,” Jared pointed out.

“So?  If Brendan doesn’t come back he won’t have to watch him tonight anyway.”

“Good point.  But if I call him and he can’t get here he’s going to be pissed.  I’ll just drive back to the motel and get him.”

“No,” Russ said, “let me go.  I’m the one who lost Brendan, so I should be the one to tell him what happened in person.  I’ll pick him up and ask if he wants to come back here or go straight to Brendan’s.”

“Okay,” Jared said.  “Um, knock hard and tell him who you are.  He’s a really heavy sleeper.”

“Alright, hopefully we’ll be back with Brendan.”

Jared watched him leave and really hoped that Jensen was in fact at the motel and not at Misha’s, and that if Misha was with him at the motel, Russ’ knocking and announcing his presence would give them enough time to get Misha hidden in the bathroom.  Not that they deserved any help from him after the stunt they pulled on Sunday morning.  It was bad enough to have to listen to a coworker have sex through very thin walls, but how was he supposed to function when those sounds had—well—they’d sort of—he’d felt—a little bit—arou—


“Yeah?” Jared whipped around toward Gen, forever grateful to her for disrupting that line of thought.

“Do you think I was too harsh?” she asked, fidgeting slightly.  “I really laid into Russ, but he’s right.  If Brendan wanted to leave there’s no way we could have stopped him.  Short of doing something illegal I mean.  I hope I didn’t damage our working relationship.”

“Oh, no, I’m sure Russ understands.  It’s a tense situation.  He seemed really upset with himself as well and you were just pointing out what he already was thinking.  I think he was trying to convince himself more than you.  Poor guy.”

Gen frowned at him.  “I wasn’t that mean to him.”

Jared laughed softly.  “Not you.  Well, kind of you.  But I’m curious how badly Jensen is going to take this.  You’ll notice I didn’t argue with him having to be the one to break the news to him.”

Gen made a sympathetic face.  “Yeah, I can’t imagine how that conversation is going to go.”

Jared turned to leave the on call room and Gen followed him.  They picked up some coffee in the break room and took it with them to their office.  Jared asked Gen for any new information she’d gotten from Kim or the forensics team lately, though Jared’s private conversations with Dr. Rhodes generally kept him up to date on what was happening.  Gen only added that more tips and leads had come in regarding note cards, but all been ruled out as legitimate possibilities.

Jared opened his laptop and began going through the timeline he’d made in Excel again.  After talking with Jensen, he was itching to ask Gilbert Hannigan some more questions regarding his whereabouts of the other murders.  Especially after they’d realized that Hannigan fit the physical description of the person who left the boot print in the woods at the Hernandez crime scene.  They had asked for Hannigan’s full schedule for the past three months from his employer, even though asking for anything beyond the Vanderpool time frame without a warrant may have been slightly on the illegal side.  But it had also proven that he’d had an alibi for a good part of Thompson’s disappearance, and could not have been present at Mueller’s death as he had been on an emergency call fixing someone’s heat.

Jared’s head snapped up as Gen cursed when she tried to keep her coffee from spilling all over her desk.  Jared took out some leftover napkins from a Nell’s take away dinner in a desk drawer and handed them over to her.

“Thanks,” she said, sounding embarrassed and weary.  Maybe he and Jensen should find her someone to have a little TDY fun with—it seemed to be helping relieve some of the daily stress and tension he and Jensen were dealing with.  At least, he had noticed a change in Jensen’s enthusiasm levels when he’d started getting regular action from a certain K9 cop.  And he himself had been able to focus on the case better when he was given the opportunity to check out for a couple of hours with Kim.  He wondered who would be good for her?  Russ would be too weird since they worked on the case together.  Ty was married.  Who else did they know?  Maybe they should have made more of an effort to get to know the people they’d been seeing everyday for the past two months.

“I’m sorry, I’m spazzing out,” Gen said.  “I just—it feels wrong for Brendan to be out there, you know?”

Jared nodded.  She looked up at him and her dark eyes were anxious and her bottom lip was red and swollen from worrying it between her teeth.  Jared decided getting Gen some action on the side wasn’t a good idea.  He didn’t think anyone in Elton was good enough for her anyway.

“Do you know if anyone has checked in with the officers sitting on Brendan’s house yet?” Jared asked.

“I’m not sure.”  Gen suddenly got excited.  “We can check with dispatch.”

Jared and Gen left the office and made their way to the front lobby.  Rachel, Katie, and the overnight secretary, Dylan, actually doubled as dispatch for the Elton PD.  They kept track of the officers in and out of the office and passed on the information of incoming calls to whatever senior officer was on duty who decided who should be sent.  When calls came in from 911, they immediately assigned whoever was closest to the scene without consulting the senior management.  They had a computer dedicated to tracking the GPS installed in all the police cruisers and could reach them all via radio.  There was just so little criminal activity in Elton that it had taken Jared a couple of weeks before he figured all this out.

Rachel was on duty and she raised an eyebrow at Jared and Gen as they approached her.  “What can I do for the G Couple?” she asked in her sultry voice.

“Do you know who has been assigned to sit on Brendan Foley’s house?” Gen asked.

“Yeah.  Russ caught Mike on his way out and told him to follow Brendan home.  He’s still there as far as I know.”

“Can you check?” Jared asked.  “If he’s still there.”


Rachel picked up the handheld radio and turned the volume up on the device.  A low crackle of static came out of the speaker.  She pushed the button on the side and spoke, “Home Base calling Unit 81.”  She released the button and waited for an answer.

“This is Unit 81.”

“Yeah, can you give me your twenty?”

“Still outside Foley’s house on Beech Street.”

Rachel looked at the agents.

“Can you ask if there’s been any movement?” Jared asked Rachel.

“Unit 81, have you seen the subject exit the house?”

“No.  Not by the front door.”

“Is anyone watching the back?” Jared asked and Rachel repeated the question.

“Not that I know of.  But, there are high fences in the back yards of these townhomes.  And woods behind that.  It seems unlikely he would try to leave that way.”

“But what if someone tries to get in that way,” Gen murmured.

“And you’re certain he’s there?” Jared asked.

Rachel looked back and forth between Gen and Jared and asked Jared’s question.

“Uh, yeah, Home Base.  I followed his car through the back side of town, away from the lake, and I did lose sight of him by the light in front of the rail road tracks.  But, when I pulled into the parking lot I saw his car parked in front of his address, and I saw him opening the door to the house with a key.  I’ve been parked here ever since.  No one in or out by the front door.”

Jared turned to look at Gen and shrugged.  At least they knew he had made it safely to his townhouse.  Gen pulled on the hem of her jacket with one hand.

“Can you ask him if he will get out the car and go knock on the door?  Just get a visual on him again?”

Rachel shrugged.  “Sure.  I guess knocking once can’t be considered harassment.  But we’ll have to be careful about how much we bother him.  He definitely let everyone in the office know on his way out that he was not going to put up with ‘false imprisonment’ or some such nonsense.  Personally, if it was me, I would have you lovely agents sleeping in a fort around me in a locked jail cell.”

Jared smiled as he pictured that in his head.  He had a feeling Rachel was seeing it differently.

“Home Base to Unit 81.”

“Go ahead, Home Base.”

“Could you go knock on the door and see if you can get an answer out of him.  We’d like visual confirmation that he’s still in his home.”

“Ten-four.  Standby.”

Jared and Gen waited by the desk as Rachel checked her nails.  A couple of minutes passed and Unit 81 didn’t respond.  Jensen and Russ came in the front station doors.  Russ didn’t look like he had a new asshole torn anywhere on his body, but Jensen’s expression was dark and, most frighteningly, unreadable.

“What’s going on?” Jensen asked, alarmed at seeing Jared and Gen by the front desk.

“We had Rachel call the officer sitting on Brendan to ask him to knock on his door.  He saw him go inside and hasn’t seen him come out, but no one’s watching the back.  So, we wanted another visual.”

Jensen nodded and he and Russ waited by the desk as well.  Three minutes later a crackle came over the radio.

“Home Base, this is Unit 81.”

“Go ahead, 81.”

“Yeah, I went to the door and knocked several times, but he didn’t answer.”  As one, the agents and detective tensed.  “But, I did see movement at a window.  A curtain was pulled back and then pulled shut more tightly.  I guess he saw it was the police and decided not to answer the door.”

“Can he confirm that it was Brendan in the window?” Jensen asked.

Rachel relayed the message.

“I didn’t see his face, no.”

“We need to go over there.  Now,” Jensen said.

“Let’s call him,” Russ suggested.  “Before we go and break down his door and then he’ll definitely not come back with us.”

Jensen frowned but Jared had already pulled out his cell phone and was dialing the number he had saved for Brendan.  It rang four times before going to voicemail.  He tried again with the same result.

“Can we go now?” Jensen asked.

“Hold on, let me try his landline,” Russ said and pulled out his phone.  He dialed the number and put the phone on speaker and held it out so they could all hear.  It rang two times and then was picked up halfway through the third ring.

“Hey,” Brendan’s voice answered.

“Brendan.  This is Detective Little.  Have we reached you at your home?”

“It’s me.  I made it home.”

“Good.  We were worried when you left.”

“I’ll be back soon.”

“You will?  We think it’s best you stay at the station.”

“I know.”  He paused.  “Tomorrow night.”

“I think tonight would be best, Brendan,” Russ said firmly.

“Okay.  Whatever you like.”  He paused again.  “Can you pick me up at—”

Russ waited for him to continue.  “Brendan?  You want us to pick you up?  Now?”

“Around eight.”

“Okay.  We can do that.  But stay inside and stay vigilant.  If anything seems unusual, call us right away.  We are also going to leave the officer posted outside if you need help.”

“Okay.  Thanks.  Bye.”

“It’s not a problem but—” Russ pulled the phone close to look at it.  “The little shit hung up on me.  Well, there’s some gratitude.”

Jensen was scowling.  “I don’t like it.  Why can’t he come now?  Why is he making us wait until tonight?”

“Maybe he just wants to spend some time watching TV in his underwear,” Rachel suggested.

“Home Base, this is Unit 81.  Do you want me to try again?”

Rachel raised her eyebrows at the small group.  Everyone deferred to Jensen.  He sighed in aggravation.

“No.  Just leave him alone.  But we’re picking his ass up at 7:30.”

“You want the keys to the Accent?” Jared asked.

“What for?”

“To go back to the motel.  We can pick you up before we go get Brendan.”

“No, I’m awake now.  I’ll just stay here.”


“If I need a nap I’ll go crash in the on call room.  But like I said, I’m awake now.  So, let’s go over some more witness statements from the Mueller scene.”

The quartet left Rachel to her nails and to inform the officer to sit tight.  Jared peeled off the group as they got close to the office and walked to the stairs that led down to the basement.  His nose still wrinkled the first moment he was hit with the formaldehyde smell of the morgue, but it took him less and less time to get used to it.  He knocked lightly on the metal door and entered without waiting for a response.  Kim sat at a bench, wearing a white lab coat, and peering through a microscope.

“Hey, Kim,” Jared said.

She turned around on her stool and smiled at him.  “Hey.  The report on the trace evidence from both the Mueller and the Hernandez scenes didn’t yield anything significant.  That’s why I didn’t bother to come up and report on nothing.”

“Yeah, that’s what we expected,” he said as he moved closer to her.  “A motel room and a forest aren’t the best places to look for that kind of evidence.”

Jared bent at the waist to kiss her, but also to keep himself from touching anything else.  Her hands were gloved so she didn’t touch him either, but kissed him back.

“Oh!”  She sat back.  “There is one thing.  There was some bark from an ash tree nearby at the Hernandez scene.  Now, that’s not too much to cause a stir—ash trees are common around here.  But that section of forest is predominantly spruce and white pine.  I sent an intern out to check and the closest ash was at least a quarter of a mile away.  So, I figured we would check to see if there’s a place where ash grows and the soil composition we got from the dirt specimen found at the Thompson house have any crossover.”

“Oh, wow.  You can do that?”

“Not us.  But the regional geologic society has that kind of info in their databases.  We’re waiting to hear back from them.  It might give you a place to look into.  Or if it’s populated, a potential pool of suspects.”

“That would be amazing.  Thank you, Kim.”

She shrugged and feigned modesty.  “Eh.  It’s what I do.”

She grinned and Jared smiled back.  As anxious as he was about Brendan being holed up alone in his house, it was nice to have a moment of positivity.  And Kim was always positive.

“Alright.  I’ve got some work to do for another case, so scoot.  But kiss me first.”

“You’re working on a case other than ours?” Jared teased as he complied with her wish for another kiss.

“I would that I was done with yours.”

Jared sighed.  “Yeah.  Me too.” 


Jensen looked up from the notes he was taking and cross-referencing with witness statements when Jared came back into the room with a large paper shopping bag.  The smell of Nell’s mouthwatering food wafted into the air and made his stomach growl.

“You can bring that right over here,” Jensen said.

“Ladies first,” Jared said, stopping where Gen was sitting.

“What ladies?” Jensen grumbled and scratched a dark line in the margin of his notes.

“I heard that.”

“You were meant to.”

Jensen glared at the mark on his page.  He was going to have to rewrite this whole page or continue the mark until it made a complete border.  One or the other.

“You sure are grouchy when you’re hungry,” Gen said.

“And sleepy,” Jared chimed in.

Jensen turned a glare on them and they looked away.  He looked at Russ.  “You got anything to add?”

Russ put his hands in the air and shook his head.

Because he was being ornery, Jared came last to him with the food.  He barely managed a thank you.  He was tired and hungry.  And he was definitely going to have to go to sleep after installing Brendan in the bed next to him in the on call room.  And possibly handcuffing them together.  So that meant he wouldn’t see Misha.  And he realized that was why he was really upset.  His subconscious had already figured out that he wouldn’t see Misha tonight or in the morning, and possibly not for the rest of the week.

“Um, hey guys?” a voice asked from the door at the same time someone knocked on the frame.  The group turned to see Katie at the door.  “So, I just got a radio call from Henry, who took over for Mike at the Foley house, and he says there’s a man who walked up to the door and entered with a set of keys.  He’s got him detained and wanted to know if—” she stopped talking as the four people sprang to action grabbing coats and keys and ran for the door.  “You guys wanted to come talk to him,” she said to the empty room.

It was 7:03 when Russ’ unmarked vehicle careened into the parking lot of Brendan’s neighborhood.  He cut off the siren when he stopped but left the lights flashing.  Jensen and Russ had to open the backdoors so Jared and Gen could get out, but then they were all sprinting for the townhouse.  The door was open and they pushed inside, walking down a narrow hallway and out into a kitchen.  Next to it was a tiny den where a scared looking young man was handcuffed to an end table.  Footsteps sounded on the stairs at the back of the kitchen and four guns were drawn, which made the man on the couch squeak.  A uniformed police officer stepped into the kitchen and started when he saw the barrels trained on his head.

“Whoa!  I’m Officer Henry Nossett, badge number—”

“I know you who you are, Hank,” Russ said, a little disgusted.

Everyone put their guns away.

“What’s going on?” Jensen asked.

“Well, I was watching the house, and Foley never came out, but I see this guy approach the door.  And he didn’t knock.  He entered with keys.  I thought it was possible he had taken them from Foley or something.  So I ran up to confront him and he said he was looking for Brendan.  He said he didn’t think he was home.  So, I handcuffed him, called it in, and searched the premises.  I don’t think Foley is here.”

“Did you search every room?” Russ asked.

“Well, this floor and the upper one.  I guess he could be on the lower level.”

“I’ll go check,” Gen said and walked back to the front of the house where a set of stairs led down into a basement.

Jensen turned to the man on the couch.  “Who are you?”

“My n-name is—Alex Burton.  I’m Brendan’s boyfriend.  Is he okay?  Is he missing?”

Jensen didn’t know what answer to give just yet.  Russ nodded to the officer and he took the hint and un-cuffed him from the table.  Alex rubbed his wrist and looked around at the agents.  Gen came back into the room.

“I didn’t find anyone downstairs.”

“Oh, God,” Alex breathed and put his hands to his mouth.  “What’s going on?  I thought he was staying with the police!  Then he calls me and says he’s going to stay with me a few days and he never showed up—”

“Alex,” Jared said soothingly and put a hand on his shoulder.  “Sit down.  Tell us what you know.”

Alex sat and Jared sat beside him on the couch.  Alex took in a deep breath and then choked on it and tried again.  Tears were forming in the corners of his eyes.  “I, um, I got a call this morning.  Brendan said he was going to stay with me because the police said it was okay.”

Russ drew a breath, but Jensen discreetly put out a hand to stop him from protesting that fact.  What Brendan had told his boyfriend about what the police had okayed wasn’t relevant at the moment.

“He said he was going to swing by his place to pick up a few things and then he would come to mine.  When he didn’t show up right away I just figured he was showering or had decided to take a nap.  Then I realized he’d probably gone to The Daily Grind to check up on everything.  He’s been so worried about it the past few days.  But, then it got late.  And I tried his cell phone and he didn’t answer.  And I stopped by the Grind, but he wasn’t there and Meredith said he hadn’t been there all day.  So, I decided to come here to check to see if he was sleeping and his cell phone battery had died or something.  And I had barely gotten in the door when the officer came in.”  Alex drew in another shuddering breath.  “Is he—was he—where is Brendan?!”  He covered his face with his hands and sobbed.  Jared rubbed his back and looked up at Jensen.

Jensen could feel his brain screaming in confusion and fear and guilt and terror that the Angel Slayer had somehow gotten the drop on them.  But outwardly he remained cool.  He was even impressed that his voice didn’t shake when he asked, “What time did you speak with Brendan on the phone?”

Alex wiped his nose with his hand and Gen brought him a paper towel from the kitchen.  He thanked her and blew his nose.

“Um.  It was at ten.  I remember because I was baking muffins for the shop, and I was watching the clock so I knew when they needed to come out.”  He nodded as if reassuring himself of that fact.

“When did we talk to him on the phone?” Jared asked.

“Around eleven,” Jensen replied.

“And the officer said he’d arrived at the townhouse just behind Brendan at five past ten,” Gen reminded them.  “So, that fits.  He was here in the house until at least eleven.  And you didn’t receive any other messages from him, Alex?  He didn’t answer any further calls?  When was the next time you called him?”

“I called him sometime after two, I think, when he hadn’t shown up.  He didn’t answer his cell phone so I tried his home phone.”

“What time was that exactly?”

“I’m not sure exactly, but I left a message on his answering machine.  The time would be recorded with that.”

Alex turned to the table beside the couch and pulled a base unit for a cordless phone closer to him.  The phone itself was missing, but there was a blinking red light on the machine.  Alex pushed a button and the machine asked that if he wanted to delete all messages to press the button again.  “Oh, shit, no.”  He quickly pushed another button and the machine declared it was doing an all message playback.  An old message started playing.  “Crap.  How do I go back…?”

“Hey.  It’s me.  I made it home.  Parents are thrilled.  Thanks for staying at my place and taking care of Mr. Fuzzy Pants.  I know you and he don’t get along very well.  But, I’ll be back soon.  And don’t forget tomorrow night is Fancy Feast night.  It doesn’t matter what flavor, whatever you like.  Okay, so on Friday can you pick me up at the airport?  I get in around eight.  Thanks.  Love you!  Bye.”

“Sorry, sorry,” Alex said, “it should play mine now—”

“Wait,” Jensen said and stepped forward to hit the back button on the machine.  The message played again.  And they all heard it.

“Hey.  It’s me.  I made it home.  Parents are thrilled.  Thanks for staying at my place and taking care of Mr. Fuzzy Pants.  I know you and he don’t get along very well.  But, I’ll be back soon.  And don’t forget tomorrow night is Fancy Feast night.  It doesn’t matter what flavor, whatever you likeOkay, so on Friday can you pick me up at the airport?  I get in around eightThanks.  Love you!  Bye.”

It was the same words, tone, and inflection Brendan had used when he’d spoken to them on the phone earlier.  Or rather, when someone had played bits of the message back to them to convince them Brendan was safe at home.  They were all silent for several moments.  Alex looked around at them.

“Um.  Do you need hear the time of my message?”

“Officer Nossett,” Jensen said quietly.

“Yes, Agent Ackles?”

“Can you put in a call for backup and the forensics team?  This is a crime scene.”

“Oh God!” Alex cried.

“And make sure to request Officer Collins and Bunny are sent here.  We might need to search the woods.”


Alex had been taken back to the station.  Gen had volunteered to go with him and get an official statement.  The townhouse was now roped off and crawling with police and forensic technicians.  What made it worse was that they didn’t even know what they were looking for.  Jensen had them concentrate on the windows and doors that led to the back of the house.  He trusted that the officers on duty had not seen anyone enter or exit the front, but now he wondered if Brendan had ever actually made it to his home at all.  The first officer did admit that he’d been separated from him on the drive from the station and by the time he caught up he just saw someone wearing the same clothes as Brendan enter the house.

Russ was leaning against the kitchen counter, his hand over his mouth.  Ever since the discovery that the phone call had been faked, he had been all but mute.  Jensen watched a technician dust the backdoor knob for prints.  The Angel Slayer wouldn’t be that careless.

“Hey,” Jared said coming into the kitchen with Misha behind him.  “Misha’s here.”

Jensen felt a weird sensation tug inside his chest when he saw his—Misha.  He didn’t want to bring him to another Angel Slayer crime scene.  He pushed those thoughts aside and asked, “Where’s Bunny?”

“I left her in the car.  There’s too much activity going on in here right now.  I didn’t want to bring her in until we’re ready for her.”  His eyes flicked to Russ but the detective just looked away.  “Are we searching the house for a body?”

“No.  Well, I hope not.  I don’t think Brendan’s here.  I think he’s been kidnapped.  And if he was taken from here, he would have been taken out the back.  Either by a window or the door and probably walked or dragged through the woods some distance.  I wanted to see if Bunny could follow his scent.  If we get a shirt out of the dirty clothes maybe she can pick up a trail in the woods.”

Misha bobbed his head to the side and made a slight face.  “We can try, but that’s not what she’s trained for, you know?  She’s not a bloodhound.  She’s been trained to recognize certain smells and then signal to me where she finds those smells.  She’s not really a tracker.  That’s an entirely different set of skills.  It’s possible that if we give her the scent on the shirt and let her wander the woods, she could wind up leading us to some kids smoking pot.  That’s what she’s trained to do.”

“Who the fuck cares what she’s trained to do, Collins,” Russ snapped.  “We need to know what she can do.  So can the bitch help us or not?”

“I have had enough—!” Misha started and stepped forward.  Russ stepped away from the counter and Jensen put himself between them.  He put one hand flat in the middle of Russ’ chest and the other he used to push Misha back by the shoulder.

“Jared.  Will you take Misha upstairs to Brendan’s bedroom and find one of his shirts?  Try to make sure it’s his and not Alex’s.  Then get Bunny and take her around back to the woods.  I’ll be there shortly.”

“Yeah, sure.”  Jared started up the stairs in the back and Misha glared at Russ as he followed him.

The technician by the doorknob gathered up her supplies and beat a hasty retreat to the living room.  Jensen turned to Russ and saw the man leaning on the counter and squeezing the edge with both hands, his eyes tightly shut.

“Hey, Russ, what’s going on, man?”

Russ opened his eyes and looked at Jensen.  He shook his head and looked like he was two seconds away from a total breakdown.  “This is on me, Jensen.”


“If Brendan is—I’m the one who let him out of the station.  It was on my watch.  If the Angel Slayer has him—”  Russ shook his head with a bitter, self-hating smile.  “I may as well have killed him myself.”

“Hey, hey,” Jensen stepped close to him and put a hand to his shoulder.  Then he raised it to his face and made him look up and meet his eyes.  “This is not on you.  Brendan made the decision to leave.  There’s nothing you could have done—”

“But I shouldn’t have told him what the angel name meant—!”

“Maybe not.  Hey.  Listen, Russ.  We know Chariel means Monday.  We’ve got over five days to find him.  We can get him back alive.”

“Even if we find him and get him back alive—he’s probably already torturing him!”

“Russ.  This man’s evil is not yours.  Don’t take that on.”

Russ stared into Jensen’s eyes like he was desperate to believe him.  He nodded minutely.  Noise alerted them that someone had come down the back stairs.  Jensen dropped his hand and took a step back.  Misha was staring at them.  Jared came in a moment later holding a green polo shirt with “Brendan” embroidered on the upper left part of the chest.

“We’re going to go take Bunny around back now,” Jared said.

Jensen nodded and tried not to be annoyed, and pleased, with the jealous look Misha threw his way as he left the kitchen.  Jensen turned to Russ.

“Okay.  We’ve got to reason through this.  If you were the Angel Slayer, would you be more concerned about getting him somewhere you could do your work?  Or somewhere close by just to hide him until there was a better opportunity to move him without being seen?”

“Well, if it were me,” Russ said, “I would look for a place where I could do both of those.”

Jensen chewed on his thumb.  Then he snapped his head up.  “There’s a townhouse in foreclosure at the end of this row.  It should be empty and it has a basement.”

“Let’s go see who the realtor is so we can get a hold of them to bring the keys.”

“Or we could just break down the door,” Jensen suggested.

“I like the way you think, Agent Ackles.”


Wednesday, November 13, 2013 

Jensen stared at the body.

From the angle of his head, his neck clearly had to be broken.  His face was sideways on the floor, but his neck and body were straight up and down.  Two clothes racks had been emptied of their Red Sox and Patriots T-shirts and used to hold his legs splayed open in a straight line with shoelaces tied around his ankles.  Burned across his perineum and anus was the word, “sodomite.”

Jensen was biting his cheek so hard he tasted blood.  His fingers dug into his shirt and his arms felt weak from being clenched tightly where they crossed his chest.  Brendan Foley had suffered less mutilation than most of the other victims, but the damage to his mouth and lips spoke of cruel torture before the end.  An end that came too soon.  Much too soon.  The Angel Slayer had rules—he wouldn’t break them.  Even though he knew the police would catch on to him sooner rather than later, he couldn’t kill Brendan before Monday; Chariel was his angel.  The first thing Jensen had checked was to see if a different name had been carved on his chest.  But Chariel was there in dark red marks, rust colored stains striping his chest.  It had probably been done postmortem like the others, but the blood flow suggested it had been within minutes of his death.  Maybe less.

The owner of the store had called the police in hysterics at nine o’clock when he came in to open up for the day.  Brendan had been missing less than twenty-four hours, but the result was still the same.  Jensen stiffly moved an arm to rub his forehead with a hand.  He felt an overwhelming weariness sweep over him.  He hadn’t had real sleep in over thirty-six hours and he hadn’t eaten in about twenty.  He felt helpless.  Useless.  He wasn’t doing anything to save the people of Elton.  A killer walked amongst them and laughed as he watched Jensen struggle.  Howled in amusement at his failings.  Plotted his next victim’s death and the dance he would do on Jensen’s grave when he was finally done.


Jensen jumped a foot when the hand landed on his shoulder.  Jared stood beside him and put out a calming hand.

“Hey, it’s okay.  It’s just me.  Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

“Maybe you should take a break until they get the scene processed—”

“I’m fine,” Jensen repeated harshly.

Jared nodded.  He glanced at the body and then away.  He swallowed thickly.  This was the first victim they had both known personally.  It made it more difficult to just see him as another body.

“Why did he do it so soon?” Jensen asked, mostly to himself.

Jared shrugged.  “He knew the longer he kept him alive the more likely he would be caught.”

“But, he’s been so meticulous about these names and the days and times.  There’s no way we got that wrong.  The angel names are when they will be killed.  He can’t break that rule.”

Jared licked his lips and tilted his head.  “Jensen, did you not see the name of this store?”

Jensen finally looked away from the body and met Jared’s tired hazel eyes.

“It’s called Monday Morning Quarterback.” 


"This is total bullshit!" Jensen yelled for the sixth time.  "He can't just decide he's going to throw his rule book out the window!"  He threw the book with the angel listings at the first whiteboard, but it was so thin it fluttered open and fell ineffectually to the floor.  Jensen cursed and kicked the board.  It slammed against the wall with a bang and a clatter.

"Of course he can," Gen said, her own voice raised.  "There is no rule book for serial killers.  They do what they want because they're playing a game of their own invention which means they can change the rules, break the rules, or stop playing altogether!"

"No."  Jensen turned on her.  "Not this guy.  Not the one from DC.  I am telling you.  There are two of them.  The original would never have cheated like this."

"So what if you two are right?" Russ cut in, indicating Jared as one of the "two" with an angry flick of his hand.  "There are two of them.  A student and a teacher.  It doesn't change the fact that an innocent kid under our protection died today!"

"Of course it doesn't but it does mean we need to change the way we're going about this!" Jensen countered.

"Like what?" Gen asked.

"For one, we need to reinvestigate Gilbert Hannigan."

"Hannigan?" Russ asked.  "He was cleared for Vanderpool's murder."

"For Vanderpool, yes.  And Mueller's too.  But no one else's.  He doesn't have an alibi for any of the other kills.  If he's the second one, he could have killed them."

"But why Hannigan?" Gen asked.

"He's the best lead we have, Gen!" Jensen was shouting again.

Jared glanced at the door to the office.  It was shut, but there was no way everyone in the bullpen wasn't aware that a shit-storm was taking place in here.

"He has connections to two of the victims.  He had an affair with Vanderpool and he openly threatened Foley."

"He was also genuinely upset and surprised by Vanderpool's death.  Even as a student, wouldn't he know who his master's targets are?"

"Not necessarily."

"And he never threatened Foley.  He denounced his lifestyle, but no one has said that he ever made threats against his life or about trying to ruin his business."

"He fits the description of the size of man who would wear the boots found at the Hernandez scene.  He's five-seven and a hundred and thirty pounds."

"That is all circumstantial, Jensen.  There's no way a judge would issue a warrant based on that."

"I know!"  Jensen turned away from her and ran his hands through his hair.  He turned back.  "But that doesn't mean we can't put a tail on him."

"Actually, it does," Russ said.  "We can't put an official one on him without at least reasonable suspicion."

"We have fucking reasonable suspicion!  And I'll tail him myself if I have to."

"Jensen," Gen said, trying to stay calm, "I know you're upset about Brendan.  But we can't just start doing illegal investigations because we're desperate."

"Illegal—?!"  Jensen turned to Jared.  "You want jump in here, buddy?"

Jared opened his mouth and froze.  He didn't know what to do.  He forced himself to start talking and hoped he'd figure out what he was saying by the end.

"I fully support the notion of two killers.  We can't make the assumption that being cleared of one murder absolves him of all of them.  But we can't go off half-cocked either.  Kim is trying to narrow down an area where the be picking up certain kinds of natural trace evidence.  If she can narrow it down to a region, we might have a suspect pool.  And names might start standing out."

"Well, that'll be great when we have that info, but we do we do until then?  There were no security cameras at the store.  But that store is two and a half miles from Foley's house!  How did he get Brendan from his house to the store with no one seeing fucking anything?!"

Jensen grabbed onto the back of his desk chair and squeezed his eyes shut.  His knuckles turned white with the strength of his grip.

"What's more disturbing than any of that is how tech savvy this guy has to be," Russ said.

"What do you mean?" Gen asked.

"That phone conversation we had with 'Brendan.'  Those words weren't in order on the recording.  He had to play them back in pieces that fit with our conversation.  He couldn't just skip forward and ahead like that even if he had put the audio file on his computer.  He had to have had a program that he could type in the words so it would play the ones he wanted.  There were barely any pauses in the responses he gave us."

"Well, fan-fucking-tastic.  We'll put out an APB for Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates.  They seem just as likely as anybody else."

Jared gave Jensen a look after that tirade.  Jensen just turned his back on him and walked over to the third whiteboard.  He picked up the red marker and added to the profile: computer nerd.  He stayed at the board with his back to the room.  Gen flopped down in an empty chair and glared at the floor.  Russ had a hollowness in his eyes that had seeped in with the news of Brendan's death.  Jared knew he held himself personally responsible for the kid's death.  Really, his death was on all of them.  They'd had him, known he was the next target, and yet they couldn't protect him.  Jared knew that if—when—they solved this case, he was going carry Brendan Foley around with him for the rest of his life.  And anyone else the Angel Slayer got before they got him.  If they ever got him.  Jared clenched his hand into a fist and berated himself for the thought.  They were going to get him.

There was a knock on the door and everyone jumped at the sudden disruption.  The door opened and Ty stood in the frame.  He had his thumbs hooked in his belt and the expression on his face informed them that everyone in the bullpen had been privy to the shouting and fighting that had been going on for at least an hour.  This two minute silence had probably been the first window of opportunity Ty had had to barge in on them.  No one said anything; there was nothing to say regarding their behavior or their investigation or their frame of mind.

"Go home," Ty said.  "It's after ten.  Most of you have been up way too long to still have objective and rational thoughts crawling around in your brain.  Get some food, get some rest.  Get some sleep.  None of you are allowed to come in tomorrow."

"Are you kidding me?" Jensen growled menacingly.

"I have no authority over you, Agent Ackles, or the other agents.  But none of you are thinking clearly right now.  We have a shit ton of evidence to be sorted through and the forensics team is working on it.  If any of it yields a breakthrough, you will of course be called in.  But there is nothing for you to do tomorrow other than be in the way.  I'll have a team transcribe the witness statements, gather whatever footage is available from Foley's neighborhood to the strip mall where he was found, and I will see if I can call in a favor to a judge to get a surveillance detail approved for Hannigan.  When you come in Friday, all of this will be ready for you to review, Kim's autopsy and tests should be complete, and we'll know how much leeway we have with Hannigan."  He waited to see if anyone would contradict his reasoning.  "So, we're in agreement?  I won't see any of you back here until Friday."

"If anything—" Jensen started but Ty interrupted him.

"You, Agent Ackles, will be the first one I call."

Jensen threw a hand in the air in defeat and turned to gather his coat from the desk.  "Whatever," he mumbled.

He walked out of the office and Jared looked after him, not sure what to do.

"Go ahead," Gen said.  "I'll lock up."

"Thanks, Gen.  See you guys on Friday."

He grabbed his suit coat and overcoat and checked his pants pocket for the key to the Accent as he left the office.  He hurried outside and then paused to put on his overcoat; it had gotten ten degrees colder in the last day or so and the temperature was flirting with the thirties at night.  He walked down the sidewalk to where they'd parked the car after returning from the crime scene.  Parked next to it was the K9 vehicle.  Jared slowed down as he saw Misha and Jensen standing in between the cars.  He was too close to avoid hearing them talk and didn't know if he should turn back or not.

"You coming in to work?" Jensen asked flatly.

"Called in sick today actually."


"Yeah.  I've got the whole night and tomorrow off."

Jensen stepped forward into Misha's space and spoke in a voice laced with pain and guilt.

"Misha, please, I'm begging you: invite me to your home, take me to your bed, and—"

Jared couldn't tell if Jensen stopped talking or if by turning his head close to Misha he had masked his words.  Misha reached up and took his face in his hands.  Then he kissed him, and Jensen responded, standing right underneath the conspicuous spotlight of a streetlamp.

"Hey, do you guys remember where you are?" Jared called out quietly.

They pulled apart and Jensen let out a harsh laugh.  "I really don't fucking care," Jensen muttered and stepped around Misha to open the police car door.  Bunny whined from the backseat and Jared could hear Jensen greeting her before he shut the door.  Misha looked at Jared.

"Take care of him tonight," Jared said, quite on impulse.

Misha nodded.  "I will."

He walked around the car and got in the driver's side.  The car started and backed out of the space.  Jared remained standing on the sidewalk as he watched the SUV's tail lights disappear into the night.

Jared rubbed his forehead with a hand.  He wasn't sure if he was cut out for this.  He'd thought working criminal cases would be bagging corporate douche bags committing white collar crimes.  He'd been prepared for boring when he'd transferred.  But boring just wasn't going to happen anytime soon.  Ty might not want them at work tomorrow, but he had little doubt that Jensen, if not all of them, would be getting phone calls from Beaver, Kripke, and God knows who else in the morning.  He better get back to the motel and get what sleep he could tonight.


Friday, November 15, 2013 

Jared strummed his fingers on the table in the conference room.  The four principles on the Angel Slayer case, Ty, and ASAC Beaver were all present for Kim's report.  He was quite certain he wasn't the only one who wished he'd decided to sit this one out.

"His tongue had been cut out of his mouth and his teeth were all pushed inward.  Something—very large—was shoved down his throat and is what broke his teeth, damaged his mouth, and disfigured his throat.  Inside his throat we found three bull testicles."

"Jesus," Gen said and sat back in her chair.

"Bull testicles," Jensen said, his voice dull and flat.  "Is that a common item around here?"

"There are a lot of farms in the area; cattle are raised on several of them.  But these were removed with precision.  Probably a butcher."

"So, I guess we'll go ask the local butchers if they sold any testicles recently.  Seems like that would be a purchase one would remember."

It was true and it was possibly a good lead, but Jensen's tone indicated that he didn't think this evidence would pan out better than any of the rest had.

"He didn't die of a broken neck," Kim continued.  "That was done postmortem.  Probably as just an amusement to the killer.  What killed him—are any of you familiar with some of the more colorful theories regarding King Edward II's demise?"

"Hot poker up the ass?" Beaver asked.

Everyone turned to look at him.

"What?  I majored in history."

Everyone looked back at Kim.

"Something like that.  I'm not sure if the injuries did it or the shock to his system, but it wasn't an easy death.  Though perhaps he may not have been fully aware of it.  I found traces of Telazol in his blood.  It's an animal tranquilizer and would explain how they were able to get him from his house to the store quietly and unnoticed.  It might also explain how they were able to subdue other victims when they were first kidnapped.  The drug wasn't in any of their systems by the time the bodies got to us, so my guess is they were only tranquilized when they were first taken and not during the subsequent torture."

"I take it this drug is not available over the counter?" Russ asked.

"No.  It's a controlled substance like ketamine.  Most veterinarians have access to it."

Jared sat up straighter.  "Well, there's two links to animals right there.  The testicles and the drugs.  Maybe one of the killers has a day job as a large animal veterinarian."

"That's possible," Jensen said, showing a little more life in his eyes.  "That would certainly give us a manageable list of names to look into."

"It would be a small number," Kim agreed.  "But most large animal vets in this area specialize in equine care.  They also mostly live in the countryside and none in Elton proper."  Kim folded her hands over her report and smiled uneasily.  "I may have already looked into it."

"No, that's good," Jensen said.  "Can you provide us with the list of names?"

"Yes.  I included it in with the report."

"Is there anything else you have for us?" Beaver asked Kim.

"There's not much except I think he was killed sometime early Tuesday afternoon and only brought to the store for staging."

"Early Tuesday afternoon," Jensen muttered.  "While we all just sat here, he was already dead."

No one had anything to say to that.

"Thank you, Dr. Rhodes," Jim said.  Kim nodded and stood up from the table.  She gave Jared a tight, reassuring smile as she left the room.  "So.  Where do we go from here?  And what do we tell the press?"

"I suggest we not release that we had Brendan in our custody, knew he was a target, and then let him go," Russ said.  Ty looked at him disapprovingly.  "What?  It's not lying.  It's just not exposing to the world what incompetent asses we are."

"Speak for yourself," Gen muttered under her breath.

"All right," Jim said.  "We've got witness statements to corroborate, butchers and veterinarians to interview, parking lot security footage to review, and a whole hotline full of tips that need to be sorted through.  Agent Ackles, I leave you to delegate as you see you fit.  I'm going to take Ty here and have a conference call with Kripke and the Deputy Director and try to figure out what we're going to say to the media."

Everyone stayed seated, waiting to see if they were going to get the ass chewing they had been waiting for all day yesterday that had never come.

"Well, don't just sit there mesmerized by my beauty.  Git."

Everyone except Jim and Ty got up from the table.  They filed out of the room, Jensen taking Kim's report with him.  They paused in the bullpen and he looked at his team.  The day off had done wonders for them physically, but mentally they were about to reach a breaking point.  Jared wanted to be strong for Jensen, but he wasn't sure how much more of this he could take.

"I'll take the parking lot footage," Jensen said.

Gen raised a hand.  "Witness statements," she sighed.

"I'll get some of the junior officers to start making calls to vets on this list to set up interviews," Russ said.

"Guess that leaves me with the hotline," Jared said.

Jensen handed the list of vets to Russ and he called over a uniformed officer.

"Bradley, can you make some calls to the people on this list, see if the numbers are still current, and if they'd be willing to come to the station for an interview?  I'd rather not have to drive all over the great state of New Hampshire for these interviews."

"Yeah, sure.  Should I tell them what it's in regard to?"

"Absolutely not," Jensen said as Jared and Gen said, "No," and Russ replied eloquently, "Are you stupid?"

"Okay, okay.  Geez." The officer took the list and started to look over it as he walked away.

Russ looked at the group.  "I'll start compiling a list of butchers and farmers in the area."

"Hey, Collins!" the officer with the list called out.

Misha carefully pushed his chair back from his desk so he wouldn't run over Bunny's tail.  "What?"

"Didn't you date Rina Nelson in high school?"

"Everybody dated Rina Nelson in high school," someone said from the back of the room.  Everyone sniggered.

"No, Brad, I dated Andrea," Misha said with a small frown.

"No, no, I remember it.  It was that Sadie Hawkins dance.  She asked you to go before Andrea did—and man was she pissed.  Especially since you wound up taking Rina."

Misha shook his head.  "No, that was Danielle.  Rina was a couple grades behind us."

"Oh.  Well.  That was hilarious.  Andrea went with, who was it?  Someone to really piss you off for not taking her."

Misha eyes flicked to the group of agents and then back to the officer.  "Don't you have some work you need to do?"

"Yeah, yeah...oh!"  The officer spun back to look at the agents.  "It was you, Russ, wasn't it?"

Russ shrugged a shoulder.  "I honestly don't remember who I took to all the dances in high school, Brad.  I never took the same girl twice."

The bullpen broke out into laughter and catcalls and even a "Russ, you dog!"

Russ shook his head and turned to the agents.  "I'm sorry for this nonsense."

Jensen shook his head.  "It's been tense in here for the last couple of days.  It's probably best for them to joke while they still can.  The media is going to be back on this case worse than ever."

Jared knew that was the truth.  They had managed to suppress the sensationalism around Mueller's death as much as possible, but the media had actually beat the police to the scene in Foley's death and one blurry photo of his strangely positioned body had been circulated on the Internet and all the twenty-four hour news channels.  It especially gained notoriety as it was the second death since the news that the victims were receiving notification of their selection beforehand.  There had been some rather unpleasant charges leveled at the Elton PD and the FBI.  Russ was probably right about not confirming that they had had Brendan in custody before his death.  They wouldn't be able to hide it, Alex obviously knew, and soon so would Brendan's family.  Jared was worried there might be a wrongful death suit in all their futures.

The group split up to do their assigned tasks and Jared holed himself up in interview room two with an Elton PD borrowed laptop and a set of headphones.  He spent the entire morning and the better part of the afternoon reading e-mails, opening attachments of pictures of supposed Angel of Death Cards, and listening to messages left on the tip line.  Some were hysterical and nearly impossible to understand.  Some were clearly prank calls.  A lot left too little description to determine whether or not it was worth returning the call to ask for more details.  Some had enough detail to know they were fakes—the wrong kind of paper and writing utensil were mentioned and more often than not the person mentioned the name of a very common, well-known angel.  The Angel Slayer hadn't even used those back in DC.  There were also a lot of anonymous calls regarding suspicious neighbor activity, sounds in the night, and even a sketchy husband or two.

Jared was getting a headache from staring at the computer screen for so long.  He wondered how Jensen was fairing with hours and hours of blurred surveillance camera footage.  Maybe Gen would want to switch with him.  He felt like if he could print out the witness statements and read them on paper it might actually give his eyes a rest.  He played another tip line call and picked up his Blackberry to type out a message to Gen.

"Um, hello.  My name is Tameka Brown," a woman's voice spoke through the headphones.  "I heard about this case.  And some cards with angel names on it.  And that we should call the police if we found one.  I found an index card in my mailbox this afternoon.  It just had one word written on it.  I can't even pronounce it.  Tartar—tartar-oh-el.  It don't sound like no angel I've ever heard of.  Unless it's the angel of tartar sauce."  Jared laughed against his will at the joke because he was pretty certain Tameka Brown had been marked by the Angel Slayer.  "I guess if you want to know more you can call me at home."  She left her number and Jared wrote it down quickly.  He checked the date and time the call had been made: yesterday evening.

Jared leapt out of his chair and sprinted down the hall toward the FBI office.  Jensen was alone in the room scanning through footage that was only displayed on a tiny window on his laptop.  He looked like he was much further along in his headache cultivation that Jared had been.


Jensen looked up and watched as Jared ran for the book with the angel summoning rituals in it.  He skimmed the index and found the name Tartaroel.  Well, Tameka hadn't been too far off with the name after all.

"Jared," Jensen said.  "What's going on?"

"We've got another one.  We need to find Tameka Brown now.  She's scheduled for Sunday."

Chapter Text

Saturday, November 16, 2013 

Jensen leaned back in his chair, his elbow propped on the armrest, his thumb under his chin, middle and index fingers against his cheek.  His eyes flicked from person to person as they spoke.

"There is very little question that the FBI will be handling this," Jim opened gruffly.

"The FBI technically handled the last target," Ty pointed out tactlessly.

Gen countered with, "We weren't the ones who released him."

Jared tried to play peacemaker and said, "Gen, no one released him.  It wasn't anyone's fault, but—"

"No," Russ interrupted him, "it was mine, which is why it does make sense for the FBI to take this target into their custody."

"And we will," Jim said in a matter of fact tone, "but the short notice on the weekend will make it impossible to transport her until tomorrow."

"But her day is tomorrow," Jared said with alarm.  "And it is the teacher's turn, so he won't cheat like the last one."

"It doesn't matter," Gen said coolly.  "We have her now.  She can stay here and be transported tomorrow."

"We could transport her to Portsmouth at least," Russ suggested.  "Just to get her out of Elton tonight."

"And put her where?" Gen asked.  "Some random hotel room?"

"Why not?" Ty broke in.  "You could stay in the room with her."

"That is a possibility," Jim mused, "but we need to make a decision soon.  It's getting late."

"How many cars should be in the convoy?" Russ asked.

"Only the agents would need to go back to with her," Gen said.

General arguments broke out after that.

"Agent Ackles," Jim bellowed over the ruckus.  "Do you have anything to contribute?"

Everyone quieted down and turned to look at him.  Jensen straightened and dropped his arm down to his lap.

"Well, I think we should send a couple cars out immediately.  And then two more later this evening.  And then tomorrow morning we should send a large group of cars.  And a little after that send a single car."

"And what will that accomplish?" Ty asked.

"Tameka will only be in one," Jared said.  "And there's no way the Angel Slayer will know which."

Jensen smiled and nodded at Jared.  "Even with two of them, they won't be able to track them all and we'll send them by different routes.  We'll probably need to send a couple of actual decoys so that there is someone who looks like her in the cars."

"Which grouping do you think Tameka should be sent in?" Jim asked.

"The large group tomorrow morning."

"I disagree," Ty said.  "She should be in the first car.  We should get her out of here immediately.  Today."

"Not the first car for sure," Russ said.  "Because if he goes chasing after the first one, it won't be a decoy—it will be her."

"Good, then we'll catch him."

"Maybe.  That's risky though.  That's using her as bait almost.  I think she should be sent in the last, single car tomorrow.  When the first two come out today they may figure out they're decoys.  And when the large convoy leaves in the morning, that will make them think that is the real one and they will follow that.  Then after that group is out of the area, we send the single car, which doesn't seem like it's an convoy at all, and it goes straight to Boston, bypassing Portsmouth altogether so we can get her directly to the safe house."

"I don't know," Jensen said, "it seems risky to send her with only one or two of us."

"Exactly.  And we," Russ circled his finger around the room, "certainly can't be with her.  I think it's safe to say that he—they—somehow know us by sight if not by name.  If any one of us is visible in a car, it will be like a beacon that she is with us—even if we are spread out in three different trips.  But, if we send one single officer who has nothing to do with the case, in an unmarked car no less, he'll just seem like somebody driving up to Boston for dinner or to go to the airport or something.  We can load her inside the car in the garage, and then she can lay down on the back seat until they hit the highway.  No one will know she's there."

"That seems like something out of a bad movie," Ty said.

Jensen laughed softly.  "Believe it or not modern IOs still use that maneuver."

"So, Tameka will go in the fourth car?" Jim asked.

"I say no," Jensen said, "but, we can take a vote."

"Okay," Jim said, "show of hands for the first car?"  No raised their hands.  "Second car?"  Ty raised his hand.  "Third?" Jensen and Jared raised their hands.  "Fourth car?"  Jim, Gen, and Russ raised their hands.  "Alright then.  We need to decide who is going in which group.  And we'll need to recruit some other officers to drive some of the cars.  And I need to make sure that the Boston field office is prepared to receive her."

“So what should we do with her tonight?” Ty asked.

“Just keep her at the station,” Jensen said.  “She’s already packed a bag, so she can sleep in the on call room.  We can’t very well take her home if we want the two decoys going out tonight to have any chance at seeming legitimate.”

“Who should go out in the first two convoys?” Gen asked.

“I’d say you and Jim.  That way you can get to Portsmouth and make arrangements with your team there and get in contact with Boston to make sure they’re ready to receive her.  Jared and I will go in the morning, and Russ, you’ll stay here.  And make yourself visible.  That way it can also seem like all the convoys are potentially decoys.  Now, what officers will we be able to take with us, and who would you trust to take Tameka tomorrow afternoon?”  Jensen directed his last question at Ty.

“Well, either Kevin Bates or Peter McCormick.  They’re my other two detectives and have plenty of experience.  And maybe we should send Reggie.  She’s not a rookie, but is still fairly new to the force and would seem an unlikely choice for such an important detail.”

“Yes, but sending a senior detective and a young officer out together to Boston, that could seem strange.”

“Well,” Russ said, looking at the table, “we could send her with Bradley.  And while he’s not a detective, he has a lot of years on the force.”

“And why would that be better?” Ty asked.

“Because Brad and Reggie—have taken trips to Boston together before.”

Ty stared at him.  “How do you know that?”

Russ half-smiled and shrugged a shoulder.  “Everyone knows that, Chief.”

“Why don’t I know that?!”

Russ shrugged a shoulder again.

Ty grumbled under his breath and Jim looked around the table.  “All right then.  We’ve got a plan.  Do we feel confident with it?”

No, Jensen wanted to say, but he didn’t want to disrupt their plans; they still had a lot of work to do arranging officers and vehicles to be used in the convoys.

“Okay, then.  How many officers are on duty right now?”

“Not enough,” said Ty.  “Russ, go out front and tell Katie to call in all the off duty officers.  We’ll need who we don’t send to cover their shifts.  Tell them there’s an emergency meeting in thirty minutes and if they don’t already have anything at the station, to bring in an overnight bag.”

“I’m on it.”  Russ stood up and left the conference room.

"Jensen, exactly how much has Tameka been briefed on?" Jim asked.

"Enough that she won't be asking to leave protective custody anytime soon.  I think she was also freaked out by the fact that we showed up at her sister's house in the middle of the night last night looking for her."

"Well, I don't want her scared out of her wits, but maybe a little fear will inspire a lot of cooperation.  All right, I also want to set up a phone...tree...or whatever.  I want everyone checking in with everyone every hour on the hour.  Or, every thirty or even fifteen minutes—whatever doesn't tie up the phones.  Gen, I want you to create a chart and we'll fill it in as we get the names of the officers.  Jared and Jensen, I'm going to need you two to prepare a quick presentation to get the recruited officers briefed and up to speed on what's happening.  Hopefully we can get the first convoy out in two hours."

Everyone murmured agreement and Jensen nodded to Jared as he stood up.  Jared followed him out of the conference room and they headed for their office.

"Do you think Jim wants PowerPoint?" Jared asked.

Jensen half laughed.  "God, I hope not."

They stopped just before entering the office when a ruckus broke out in the front lobby as a couple of officers tried to wrestle a man down the hallway that led to booking.  Misha and Bunny weren't far behind.

"I am suing!" the man in handcuffs yelled.  "I am suing the whole damn police department!  And you in particular," he spat at Misha.  "And your little dog too!"

Misha didn't look impressed.  "Yeah, that's original."

"Do you see my arm?!"

Jensen noticed for the first time that a towel had been wrapped on the man's arm and was covered in bloodstains.

Misha shrugged.  "I told you not to run."

The man started cursing, rather creatively, and the other officers once again started hauling him off.

"I'll be right there," Misha told them, "I'll put Bunny in the yard."

Jensen patted Jared on the shoulder, "Uh, can you start without me?  I just need to—"

Jared rolled his eyes.  "Go ahead."

"It'll be quick, I promise."

Jensen ignored Jared's mumbled disbelief and followed Misha down a hall that led to the back of the building.  At the end of the hall was a door that opened out into a courtyard that contained some outdoor exercise equipment set up over wood chips.  There were also a couple of strips of grass which Bunny made a beeline for when Misha gave her the "potty time" command.

"Hey, Mish..."

Misha turned around and smiled when he saw Jensen, and then his expression fell.

"What's wrong?  Did something happen?"

Jensen stopped moving.  What was showing on his face?  He tried to relax his features.

"There's not another body, I think I would have heard, right?"

Jensen shook his head.

"Um.  I probably shouldn't have, but I did hear that another person received a card—can you not find them?"

"No, we found her.  And we're going to get her to a safe house prepared by the FBI."

Misha nodded.  "That's good.  That's...good...right?"

"Yes, it is."

"Then, why do you look upset?"

Jensen racked his brain.  Was he upset?  A little.  About what?

"I'm—going to be leaving.  For a little while.  I'll be back once Ta—the target is safely installed.  But.  It might take a few days."


"And—um.  Nothing."

Misha allowed himself a small smile.  "Gonna miss me, Agent?"

Jensen knew that was his cue to act offended or make a joke, but he couldn't.  "Yeah, I will."

Misha deflated with the confession, but he was still half-smiling.  "Jensen."


Misha pulled one corner of his bottom lip into his mouth and glanced over Jensen's shoulder.  Then he stepped close and used Jensen's tie to pull him in for a kiss.  He pulled back sooner than Jensen would have liked and smoothed his tie down with a hand.

"Be careful, okay?  If you have the target, he'll be after you too."

Jensen nodded and dipped his head for one more kiss.

"I'll see you in a couple of days.  Probably."


Monday, November 18, 2013 

The silence was maddening.  It was tangible, it was heavy, and it was suffocating them all.  Every muscle in Jensen's body was clenched so tight he was practically vibrating with the strain.  Jared was hunched over in his chair, face white, eyes blank.  Gen was curled up in a ball on her chair, shoes discarded on the floor; she had a hand on her head, eyes closed.  Russ stood in front of the third whiteboard, possibly staring at Tameka Brown's picture, marked with her angel: Tartaroel, 21st hour of Sunday; and her crime: prideful, which had been burned onto her throat.  Or maybe he had his eyes shut.  Jim stood in the middle of the room, not moving, not speaking, barely breathing in the ominous stillness.

"One more time," Jim's voice was dry and weary.  "Walk me through it."

Jensen swallowed and tried to get his arms at least to relax.  They refused.  So he spoke, trying to ignore the ache in his body.

"After you left with Bates and Daniels, we prepped the second team.  Gen was going in one car and taking Officer Freeman as a decoy passenger and Hinkle and Johnson drove the car behind her.  They departed at eight p.m. and arrived in Portsmouth at five to nine.  We verified this with you and Gen via our phone tree.  Overnight, Jared and I stayed here with Tameka in the on call room.  At ten o'clock the next morning, we reviewed the plan and discussed how she would get into the car and that she needed to stay out of sight.  She understood.  At eleven o'clock, Jared and I were in the second car of three that left via a back road and stayed off the highway all the way to Portsmouth.  We had one of the forensic techs, Alyssa Anderson, as a decoy in our vehicle.  We checked in with you and Gen when we got to Portsmouth and verified that Boston was ready to receive Tameka.  We sent word back to Elton, and Russ escorted Tameka to the garage."

Jensen stopped talking and looked at Russ.  He turned around and crossed his arms over his chest.

"I escorted Tameka to the garage.  We got her arranged in the back seat of the SUV.  The windows were tinted and she was below the level of the window.  Reggie and Brad were in civilian clothing and had written instructions of the route they were to take and were directed to make contact every fifteen minutes with either myself or one of the federal agents.  They departed at exactly two o'clock, heading northbound on Main Street toward the highway.  That's the last I saw of them, but I did receive a check in from them at 2:45pm."

"I received the first check in 2:15," Jensen said.

"I got the 2:30," Gen said.

"And I got the 3:00," Jim finished.

"I never received the 3:15," Jared said hoarsely.

"So what happened in between me speaking with Officer Thompson at three and when we got the call at midnight?  Are we making the assumption that she was killed at exactly 9pm?  So where were they for six hours?  What were Thompson and Yamamoto doing?  Did they ever even make it out of Elton?  Were they accosted on the road and driven back into town and taken to the motel?  The desk clerk claims Officer Thompson checked them in, but he has no recollection of what happened.  Neither does Yamamoto.  Kim confirmed there was Telazol in both their systems.  Are they still sticking to their story that they were driving and just got sleepy and when they woke up they were tied in the bathtub of the motel room with the body?"

"They haven't wavered on a single detail," Jared said.

"Has anyone found the SUV they were driving?"

"No," Jensen replied.  "It was Thompson's POV, not a police car; it didn't have GPS.  But all three—Brad, Reggie, and Tameka, had bruises in a diagonal line across their chests, which is consistent with seatbelt injuries when in a high speed car accident."

"Okay, so they were in a car accident, and what?  The Angel Slayer just happened to be behind them and took them all back to Elton to complete his work?  Why didn't he kill the officers?  We searched up and down that stretch of highway and there was no sign of an accident.  There was no sign of them anywhere until the motel manager was tipped off to go check in the room.  They couldn't have just vanished into thin air!"

Everyone was quiet, and then Jensen stood up slowly, wincing as his tight muscles protested the movement.

"We're ignoring the most important piece of information we have here."

"And what is that, Agent Ackles?" Jim snapped.

"Either the Angel Slayer or his accomplice works for the Elton PD in some capacity."

There were no shocked gasps, and even the wide eyes were a token gesture of surprise.  Everyone had already been thinking the same thing.

"Or they have an inside man, but I can't imagine there's three of them.  This was too orchestrated, too perfect.  They knew in advance what the plan was.  They knew which convoy Tameka would be in and what route they would take to get to Boston.  And we have a large number of people who work here who were privy to the information."  He walked over to the whiteboard.  "I hate to say it, but our top suspects should be Bradley Martin and Reggie Yamamoto.  They could have faked the whole abduction and drugged themselves."

He wrote their names on the whiteboard.  Gen uncurled from her chair.

"Let's not rule it out, but the way they were tied up and put in the tub, it seems unlikely they could have gotten themselves into that position.  Besides that, the dose of Telazol in their systems was high enough to knock them out for several hours.  That would have severely limited the time they would have had to torture Tameka, and we know that they took the time.  She wasn't just killed."

Jensen wrote those facts next to their names but also wrote, "last ones to see Tameka alive; alone together when they left with her."  Below their names he started writing down the names of all the officers present at the briefing.  He crossed off several names as they were verified to have still been with the FBI agents all Sunday afternoon.  Two had left early to return to Elton, and their names stayed up.

"You'll need to put the forensic technicians on there," Jared said.  "A lot of the scenes were too clean for someone not to have good knowledge of forensics."

Jensen wrote down all the names he could remember, and Jared and Russ helped fill him in on the rest.  Three were half-crossed off because they had not been at the station when the plans were being made and in theory would not know about the convoys.

"You'll have to put Dr. Rhodes up there," Jim said.  "She is by far the most knowledgeable of forensic techniques and how to surgically dismember bodies.  We also always took her at her word when there was no information to be gleaned from the evidence we collected."

"Ty should be up here," Jensen murmured softly.  He added the police chief's name to the much too long list.

"Wasn't he here at the station the entire time?" Gen asked.

"Most people said yes, but they can't account for him every minute of every hour," Jensen replied.

"My name should be on there," Russ said dourly.

Jensen looked at him and hesitated for a moment, and then wrote Russ' name on the board.  He capped the marker and turned to him.

"Where were you today?" he asked, almost casually.

"I was here in the station until four when the call came in that the convoy was missing and Brad had missed his check in.  I took my vehicle and went east.  It's why I was so late getting to the crime scene.  We can check the GPS records of the tracker on my vehicle."

"We'll do that," Jensen said flatly.

Jared opened his mouth and then closed it.  Jensen turned to look at him.

"What is it, Jay?"

"I think...M...Officer Collins needs to be on the list."

Jensen reacted.  He knew he did due to the raised eyebrows and cocked heads aimed in his general direction.  He wasn’t sure exactly what he'd done, but everyone had noticed.  He knew he couldn’t discount Misha outright even though he knew it was impossible for him to be the killer.

“On what grounds?” Jensen asked calmly.  “He wasn’t privy to the plans nor did he attend the briefing.”

Jared wouldn’t meet his eyes and Jensen couldn’t tell if it was because he felt bad for naming Misha or if he couldn’t look at Jensen knowing he probably would be too biased to listen to him.

“There was a lot of talk around the station, honestly,” Russ said.  “We’re a small station and with so many of us involved in the operation, it probably got out just for people explaining what was going on to people who were having to cover for the missing officers.”

“Well, that’s great,” Jensen said.  “So now we have to put every single name of every single employee of the Elton PD on our suspect list?”

Russ shrugged.  “Maybe not the guy who brings the muffins in."

“No, him too, I would think,” said Gen.  “He could probably walk around and hear anything and no one would even notice him because he’s always just there.”

Russ made a strange face.  “God, do we talk that much?  I suppose he could have—”

“No,” Jensen said.  “This guy is police.  Possibly forensics, but I’m leaning more towards an actual cop.”

“So, do you want me to get a roster of all the employees?”

“That could—”

“That’s not the only reason why I suggested Misha,” Jared said.

Jensen turned to look at him.  “What other reasons?”

“Well, let’s be honest.  Killers, even serial killers, do tend to kill those they are familiar with.  Or those that trigger their killing tendencies.  Misha’s sister is our first victim.  This wouldn’t be the first time a killer has staged serial killings in order to cover up a personal murder.  Like the DC Sniper.”

Jensen clenched his teeth together and felt his jaw expand, but then relaxed when he spoke again.  “So, he staged an elaborate plan, almost ten years in the making, just to kill off his sister?”

“He could have copycatted the original killer,” Gen suggested.

“No.  Those details were not public knowledge.  They weren’t something even someone in law enforcement would have access to.  The DC killer and the Elton one are the same person.”

“So maybe he was in DC too," Jared said.  "He goes on humanitarian aid trips all the time.  If he disappeared from Elton for six months eight years ago, who would have noticed or thought it was unusual?”

“There wasn’t a disaster in DC eight years ago.”

“Well, he might not have been truthful about where he was going.”

“And eight years ago, those bodies were put in handcrafted wooden coffins, weren’t they?” Gen asked.  “Didn’t you say Misha does carpentry as a hobby?”

“He’s the right age,” Jared piled on.  “You suspect that the Angel Slayer is the same kid who dissected those animals when he was fourteen or fifteen back in 1992.”

Jensen’s eyes shot over to Jared.  He hadn’t shared that theory with anyone but Jared, but he couldn’t deny it was true.

“He did find Hernandez’s body pretty easily,” Russ said.

“What?” Jensen said, more sharply than he meant to.

“Hernandez.  Misha found his body in like an hour after he was sent out.  To look in the middle of the woods.”

“He had a cadaver dog with him.”

“And over ten square miles to search.  Maybe he already knew where to look.”

“And Bunny did conveniently destroy evidence at the Mueller scene,” Gen added softly.

“That was more Russ’ fault than anybody else’s,” Jensen said.

Russ laughed a little incredulously.  “What happened to it was all your fault for taking it out in the first place?  And I’m telling you, she just grabbed it out of my hand.  He has that dog well trained.  He could have signaled her even from the other side of the vehicle.”

“At the very least we should look into his alibis for the murders,” said Jared.  “After all, we know he was in the vicinity of the Lakeside Motor Lodge the night Mueller was killed.”

“We do?” Jim asked.

Jensen felt something twisting in his gut, but he wasn’t sure if it was guilt or panic.  Either way it was nauseating.

“We saw him there,” Jared said.

Which was a lie because Jared had probably only heard him.  Jensen knew he should speak up, say something to clear Jared from having to make false statements, but his brain wasn’t functioning.

“He also did try to have his sister’s body cremated before we were able to examine it,” Jim grunted in semi-thought.

“That was—" Jensen started, but he had no argument for that other than he had been a grieving brother.

“I think,” Russ said, “that he might also have access to Telazol.  I know the vet that Bunny goes to has given him drugs before on the condition that he might need it on hand in the event one of the police dogs is injured while on duty.  It’s possible he may have stockpiled some over the years.”

Jensen could feel a cold sweat break out on his brow.  He didn’t want to hear this.

“But…”  Jensen cleared his throat and tried again.  “Do you, any of you, really think Misha has the temperament…or the capacity to do these sorts of heinous acts?”

Everyone was quiet.

“Everyone has it in them to kill,” Gen said.

“And most people are surprised when they learn the identity of a serial killer,” Jim said.  “They learn to hide it.  Otherwise people would come forward and say, ‘Hey, my neighbor likes to chop people up and eat them.  You might want to look into that.’”

Jensen frowned at Jim’s flippant comment.

“Do you think he has it in him?” Jared asked softly, finally looking up and making eye contact.

Jensen opened his mouth to respond with a firm negative, but then he pictured Misha on top of him.  Pictured him holding him down, choking him, his eyes shiny with lust and excitement.

I'm the one who's messed up.  I liked watching you struggle under me.  I liked holding your life in my hands.

Jensen clenched the marker in his hand.  “I guess it’s not impossible.”

His voice didn’t even sound like his own it was so empty.  Everyone was staring at him.  He could feel his eyes stinging.  He turned away from them all and carefully wrote Misha’s name on the whiteboard.  He took two seconds to compose himself and then turned back around.

“Do we have anyone else we should add to the list?” he asked.

“I’ll go get the roster,” Russ said, and left the office.

Jim looked at the agents.  “While he’s gone, I think we should discuss moving this whole operation to Portsmouth.  We’re going to have to cut the Elton PD out of this investigation entirely.  We’ll need to put in a request for all the forensic evidence to be moved to one of our facilities and future evidence needs to be collected by our own people.  I’ll get another agent to set up an interview with Officer Collins.  We should probably interview all the staff here, but none of us should be in charge of them.  We can sit in, but we should let someone else do the questioning."

“I think we also have enough reasonable suspicion to get a warrant for Martin's and Yamamoto’s cell phone records," Jensen said.

“Do we?” Gen asked.

“They were the last ones to have custody of Tameka.  They were found in the motel room with her.”

“Trussed up like a Christmas pig.”

Jensen shrugged.  “I know the positioning was weird, but it wasn’t impossible for them to do that to themselves.  Brad is also the same age as—Misha.  So, he fits the age profile.  Reggie is young, but she could be his protégé.  We already know they have an intimate relationship; they could easily be partners.”

“That’s true,” Jared said.  “They do fit the teacher/student paradigm.”

For some reason Jensen felt irritated by the comment.  It was true, but he wondered if Jared was just saying it because he felt bad for pointing out how well Misha fit the profile and the facts.

“I’ll speak with Ty about this,” Jim said.  “It’s not going to go over well that we’re investigating his people.  Especially since we’ve got him on the list too.  I’ll arrange for some transport to Portsmouth for all of our materials.  Unless, we think we can move it in our cars.”

“We’ve got to move the safe,” Gen said.  “We’ll need a heavy duty van and lifting equipment to get it out of here.”

“Okay then.  It’s late.  We’re—shit, demoralized,” Jim grumbled.  “Everyone go home and shower.  Sleep—if you can.  We’ll pack this all up tomorrow and until then, no talking with the staff.  That includes Russ.”

“We’re not the only ones who have keys to this office,” Jensen said.  “Should we leave our notes here overnight?  I can’t imagine that our suspicions aren’t going to leak before tomorrow.  Hell, half the station has to have figured out by now that there’s an inside man at the very least.”

“Well, we can put our most important notes in the safe,” said Jared.  “But the evidence is stored downstairs with forensics or in the evidence locker.  We can’t just move it up here and break chain of custody.  So, we’ll have to wait for the evidence team to come tomorrow anyway.”

“They probably won’t make it out until the early afternoon,” Jim said.  “I’ll get the ball rolling tonight if I can, but this late at night, it probably won’t happen until tomorrow anyway.  So, lock up what you can in the safe and we’ll meet back here at nine to start packing up and sanitizing.  I’ll ask Ty to put a lockdown on the evidence locker overnight.”

Everyone nodded vaguely in answer.  Jim stroked a hand down his beard.

“I know this is hard,” he said, his gravelly voice as gentle as it could get.  “But we did the right thing with Tameka.  And even with Brendan.  We just didn’t know we were being played the whole time.  There’s no fault in trusting the police and the people we have come to know.  It’s a shame to find out that was a grave error.”

“A grave error,” Jensen repeated coldly.  “Yeah.  You could say that.”

“I just did,” Jim said, a little warning in his tone.

Jensen flicked his eyes over to Jim, but didn’t apologize.

When the agents walked out of the office and locked it behind them, they were faced with a quiet, solemn bullpen.  The entire station had been hushed all day, but now it was silent.  And all eyes were on them.  They hadn’t even announced that they were closing up shop yet and beginning an in depth investigation into the Elton PD, but the seed of such a possibility had already been planted in all of their minds.  Some were glaring resentfully while others stared blankly, too shocked to comprehend the awful truth.  Jensen made a conscious effort not to make eye contact with any of them.  And God did he try not to, but he raised his eyes and caught sight of Misha.  He sat in his chair and watched with a neutral expression as the agents left the station.

Jensen felt sick again.  He didn’t believe Misha was the Angel Slayer.  But he was going to have to catch the real one in order to prove that to everyone else.  He drew in a shaky breath.  Maybe even prove it to himself.

Chapter Text

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 

Jared peeled Marissa Mueller’s picture off the whiteboard and folded the tape to stick onto the back rather than try to peel it off and damage the photo like he had done on Natalia Smith’s and Davis Thompson’s pictures.  He was doing so very meticulously and keeping his eyes focused on his task with his back to the room.  Ty and Jim were not having a very pleasant nor private conversation just behind him in the office.  The door was even ajar, so he was certain everyone outside was listening.

“This is insane, Jim,” Ty said, doing his best to keep his voice at a normal volume.  “This is how desperate the FBI has become?”

“Desperate?  We’re following the evidence,” Jim replied gruffly.  “Don’t turn a blind eye to this because it’s something you don’t want to see."

“I’m not—”

“Tameka’s abduction wasn’t by chance.  He didn’t just happen to come across her.  He knew exactly where she would be and when.  He brought her back to Elton knowing that half the force was out in Portsmouth and would be checking along those highways.  You have two officers that claim they just fell asleep at the wheel and can’t remember anything until they woke up hogtied in the bathtub.  You have over a dozen officers and forensic technicians who have been privy to this information, had access to evidence, and in some cases, control of the information that was reported to us.”

“That doesn’t mean any of them are involved with this!”

“But it does mean they need to be investigated!  It seems to me that you would be eager to have your people cleared.  Why would you try to block this?”

“Because Brad and Reggie didn’t do this!  Kim is not a murderer!  You’re wasting your time investigating innocent people when you could be looking at other scenarios.  For instance, the one common thread we have between the DC murders and the Elton ones is one of your own.  Why aren’t you investigating Ackles?”

Jared turned his head at that.  Jensen was still organizing his files on his desk and didn’t bother to acknowledge the fight.

“I’ll tell you why,” Ty continued, “it’s because it’s stupid.  Jensen isn’t the Angel Slayer even though he knows the most about the case and has links to both ends of it.  You’re not investigating him because it would be a waste of time and resources.  Not to mention just outright idiotic.  The same goes for a large number of my people.  You can rule a lot of them out with simple common sense.”

“And we are working on doing that, Ty, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore any possibilities no matter how much we don’t want to acknowledge them.  Will it make you feel better to know that Dr. Rhodes is lower down on the list than Martin and Yamamoto?  We’re not doing this arbitrarily.”

“And I am telling you, it is not Brad or Reggie, no matter what kind of sick relationship you’re pretending they have in your head.”

“You know your own people well,” Jim said.  “I’m not refuting that.  But someone has been fooling you, the Elton PD, and us this entire time.  You can’t ignore that.  You can’t ignore that at the very least there is a leak coming from the Elton PD.”

Ty drew breath to speak, but didn’t say anything.  Jared could see his mind working furiously to come up with a counterargument.

“And just so you know, Martin and Yamamoto are going to be investigated heavily, but the top spot on our list is actually taken by Officer Collins.  How well do you know him?”

“Very well,” Ty snapped.  “His father was chief before me.”

“So, he’s been familiar with police procedure all his life then.”

Ty clenched his hand into a fist.  He looked around the room.  “Are you seriously considering Misha Collins as a prime suspect in the Angel Slayer case?”

No one would meet his eyes.  A silence stretched out around them.  It was broken by a very tentative knock at the door.  Everyone turned to see Misha standing in the doorway, looking pale and drawn.  Ty blanched.

“Misha…did you hear…”  Ty trailed off as it became apparent he had heard everything.

“Um, yeah, I did,” Misha said, voice thin and listless.  “So, this is going to make this really awkward.”

“What?” Gen asked tentatively.

“I, um, I…was leaving to take Bunny to our training site, and I found this on my car’s windshield.”

He raised his hand and held up a white rectangle.  The room went still; hardly anyone dared to breathe.  Jared glanced at Jensen—he looked stricken, his knuckles bloodless as he dug his fingers into his palms.  Nobody moved or spoke.  Unable to take the oppressive tension anymore, Jared crossed the room and held out his hand.  Misha handed over the note card and Jared flipped it over, confirming there was a single word written in black marker on it.  He walked over to his desk and dug out the angel summoning book from the box he had packed earlier.  He flipped through the index until he found the name written on the card.

Jared faced the room and everyone’s eyes were trained on him.

“Castiel, angel of Thursday.” 


“Well, I guess this takes Misha off the suspect list,” Jared said.

“Does it?” Gen asked.  “He could have sent the card to himself for that exact purpose.  We weren’t exactly making it a secret that we were going to start investigating the PD employees.  Besides, it seems awfully convenient that Misha just happened to be parked right where the station’s security cameras have a blind spot so that it’s impossible to see if someone put a card there or not.”

Jensen was barely following the conversation.  From the moment he’d seen Misha hold up the note card, he’d been burning hot and then suddenly chilled.  His mind couldn’t stop repeating over and over again that the last two people who had cards and came to them for help had wound up viciously tortured and brutally murdered.

Misha was at his desk working, as far as they knew, because they had been holed up in the office discussing what to do for the last couple of hours.  Misha had been given strict instructions not to leave without informing the agents, and Ty and Russ and been instructed to make sure he obeyed.

“Why don’t we just put him in a cell?” Jensen had snapped.

No one had answered him, but no one had reprimanded him either.  It was now unavoidably obvious that Jensen had developed an attachment to Officer Collins, though he hoped everyone but Jared thought it was just friendship.  If they knew they had been sleeping together, he would get yanked off the case so fast he’d be back in DC before he could protest.  And he was not leaving Misha alone now.  Not after he had been marked.  Though Gen and Jim still refused to take him off the suspect list, which Jensen couldn’t blame them for.  Marking yourself as victim would be a clever way to slither out of suspicion.  But the fact that it seemed like an obvious move made him wonder if the Angel Slayer would do it—would Misha do it?

Jensen covered his eyes and shook his head.  He couldn’t imagine Misha doing any of it.  But maybe he was too close.  Maybe he wouldn’t be willing to see what was right in front of his face because he had feelings for the man.  Then again, maybe since he knew him so well, he was right to believe he was innocent.

“So what do we do?” Jim asked.  “It seems like we can kill two birds with one stone: we need to keep him protected and we need to interview him.  If he stays at the station, we can ask his whereabouts on the days of the murders and then keep him in custody while we vet his alibis—if he has any.  That way he’ll be safe if he isn’t our guy—and inactive if he is.”

“Unless he knows he’s going to get caught now,” Gen said, “and he plans to commit suicide on Thursday.”

“He’s not going to kill himself,” Jensen said, glaring at her.

Gen didn’t respond with anger.  She just dropped her eyes to the floor.  “It’s a possibility, Jensen.”

“Either way, we agree that keeping him here is the best course of action,” Jim said.  Then he growled in frustration.  “So what do we do?” he repeated.  “Do we keep our operation here or continue with plans to move to Portsmouth?”

“We could take Misha with us to Portsmouth,” Jared said.

“Yeah because the last time we tried to get a target out of Elton worked so well,” Jensen grumbled.

“Well, we would travel with him this time, of course.”

“Maybe it would be best to stay here,” Jim said.  “Especially since we have some folks who are coming down from Boston to assist us.”

“You mean take over for us,” Gen muttered.

“Assist,” Jim said firmly.  “And honestly it wouldn’t hurt to have fresh eyes on the case.”

“Is it alright with you if I ask Misha some questions, Jim?”

Jensen almost surprised himself when he spoke, but Jim didn’t seem to think it was an odd request.

“Sure.”  Jensen started to stand up.  “I’ll go with you.”

Jensen only paused for a moment, but he had been hoping to talk one on one with him.  He didn’t think Jim was coming along with the direct intention of keeping them from having a private conversation.  Well, probably not.

“So, should we unpack?” Gen asked.  “The moving team is slated to be here in another hour or so.  They said they would leave Portsmouth around one o’clock.”

“Try to get a hold of them and tell them to postpone the trip until Friday.  We’ll decide whether to continue our operations here or to relocate to the RA after we get through Thursday.  Jensen.”

Jim nodded his head and Jensen followed him out of the office.  They found Misha at his desk doing his best to ignore the whispers surrounding him.  Russ was sitting with him, hopefully keeping him company and not just staring at him so he wouldn’t just suddenly disappear or something.  Russ nodded to them when they approached.

“Officer Collins, would you come with Agent Ackles and myself and answer some questions?”

Misha put down the pen he had been using to doodle cartoon dogs on a notepad with.  “Of course.”

He stood up and directed Jim to the hallway with the interview rooms.  Russ stood up and put a hand on Jensen’s arm to make him stay back.

“Hey, look, I know things are—God, is it impossible for me to continue working the case?  This fucker has threatened one of our own.”

Jensen couldn’t lift his head it felt like such a heavy weight was hanging from it.  “One of our own is this fucker,” he said miserably.

Russ shook his head.  “Look, I know I was onboard with the idea last night—but—in the light of day it’s ridiculous.  None of us could do this.  I mean.  We’re more than just coworkers or a team—we’re all family here.  And this guy has targeted—”

“I know, Russ,” Jensen cut him off.  “The whole idea is sickening.  But, someone has to be feeding him information at the very least.”

“Maybe it’s not intentional.  Maybe this person doesn’t know.  Maybe they’re just sharing details of their day over dinner or something.”

“I’d like to believe that too, but we can’t just ignore evidence because we don’t like it.”

“Well, if you’re not ignoring evidence, why is Misha still under suspicion?  He’s a target now!”

“Maybe.  What if he sent the card to himself?”

Russ looked shocked.  “You don’t really believe that, do you?”

“We have to be open to all possibilities.”

Russ’ jaw flapped for a moment and then his eyes hardened.  “If you’re staying open to all possibilities, shouldn’t you be interviewing me?  Aren’t I still on your list?” he asked harshly.

Jensen gave him a wan smile.  “Yeah, you are.  We’ll probably be along to question you before too long.  I would use this time to firm up your alibis.”

“That’s not funny, Jensen.”

“I’m not laughing, Russ.”

Jensen gave Russ’ arm a pat and walked away.  He found Misha and Jim sitting in interview room one.  He shut the door behind him and took a seat next to Jim.  Misha sat across from them in the center of the table.  He had his fingers laced together and his hands resting on the table.  He waited expectantly—not volunteering any information.  Smart man.

“Well, Officer Collins,” Jim began, “I just want to get some information from you regarding where you were on certain dates.  Try to recall to the best of your knowledge and it would be best if you could provide us with the name of someone who would be able to corroborate your statement.”

Misha nodded.

“Do you recall your whereabouts from September 10th to 12th?”

Misha stiffened.  “I was on duty those days working nights.  I was in the station all night on the tenth and I made an arrest on the eleventh.  I’m recorded as the booking officer on that day.  The 12th I’m not sure of.  That day is a little hazy because I was notified of my sister’s murder.”

Jim nodded and wrote these details down in the notepad he’d produced from his coat’s breast pocket.

“And where were you during the days?”

“At my house.  Alone.  Either sleeping or watching TV.  On the eleventh I went for a run from approximately 2:00 to 4:00.  I passed a neighbor on one of the trails.  He might recall seeing me since we don’t often cross paths on that trail.”

“Can I get a name?”

Misha told him and let his eyes slide over to Jensen while Jim wrote in his book.  They continued in the same vein through all the dates of every murder.  Unfortunately after his sister’s murder, Misha spent a lot of time at home alone where no one saw him or could vouch for him.  But, a good chunk of that time was also spent at work where he had plenty of witnesses.  When he wasn’t out on patrol by himself.  Jensen made a mental note to gather the GPS data from the secretaries.  At the very least they could corroborate the placement of the K9 vehicle with Misha’s memories.  Of course, just because the car was there didn’t mean the officer was.

“Now, one thing I need to ask you about in particular,” Jim said.  He’d been asking all the questions.  Jensen hadn’t said a word.  “You were seen at the Lakeside Motor Lodge on the night of one of the murders.”  Misha’s eyes whipped to Jensen and then back to Jim’s face.  His fingers tightened slightly, but otherwise he kept his composure.  “What were you doing there?”

“I guess this was night before Hernandez was found, correct?”

Jensen’s eyes widened and Jim looked up sharply.  Misha immediately realized he’d said something wrong, but stayed quiet.

“Actually I was referring to the night Marissa Mueller was found at the Lakeside Motor Lodge.  Were you there multiple nights?”

“Oh.  Um.”

“Don’t start lying now, son.  Both Jensen and Jared saw you there.”

Misha looked at Jensen.  He knew that Jared had only seen him on one of those nights.  But Jim seemed to be under the impression that Jared had seen him in person both nights.  Jensen gave a slight shake of his head with the message, Don’t lie.

“Honestly, sir, I’ve been to the Lakeside Motor Lodge several nights since Agent Ackles and Agent Padalecki’s arrival.”

“Is that so?”  Jim shifted and Jensen could tell he just barely refrained from looking at him.

“Yes, sir.  The first time I was helping Jen—Agent Ackles –”

“Son, don’t try to fool me with any formality bullshit.”

Misha slumped a little.  Not in defeat, it actually looked a little like relief.

“I was helping Jensen with the research material he gathered from the Rochester Library.  I had driven him there that night since Jared and Gen got stuck in traffic on the highway.  A couple weeks after that, I drove Jensen to the motel after—we had dinner together.  Jared had their rental car and I was off duty.  And after that Jensen and I shared a few more meals together and I would drop him off afterwards.  I guess two of those nights happened to be nights before bodies were found.”

“And where was Jared so often?” Jim demanded, turning his sharp focus on Jensen.

Jensen knew he couldn’t throw Jared under the bus.  And revealing that he was hooking up with Kim wouldn’t be any better than him sleeping with Misha.  But he couldn’t lie.  He couldn’t keep the whole story from an ASAC.  It might hurt the case if any of them weren’t working with full knowledge of what was going on.  But he sure as fuck could stall on the way to getting there.

“Jared and one of the waitresses at Nell’s—became friendly.  And—”

“That’s enough,” Jim grunted.  “I don’t need any sordid details.  We could say Misha was a saint for being willing to chauffeur your ass around town while Jared was chasing tail.”

“That’s not exactly—”

Jim held up a hand.  “I said I didn’t want to know more.”

“But you can’t let this reflect poorly on Jared,” Jensen said quickly, “He never neglected his duties.  He was never distracted by—”

“Agent Ackles, I have been pleased with both your and Jared’s work.  I don’t think that Jared having a lady friend in town would jeopardize his judgment or the case.”

“Ye-ah,” Jensen sat back in his seat.  He looked up at Misha who was clearly giving him a look that said, You told me not to lie but now you’re lying by omission.  Jensen shrugged a shoulder at him.

“So, it wasn’t uncommon for Officer Collins to be seen at the Lakeside Motor Lodge.  The night of Mueller’s death, were you there between the hours of one and five thirty in the morning?”

Jensen could tell Jim was expecting an immediate no, so he looked up when Misha didn’t answer right away.  He was looking up and to the right—remembering, not fabricating—and then he said, “No.  I was not.”

Jensen frowned.  That meant Misha had left almost immediately after they’d had sex.  Well, he supposed that meant he’d fallen asleep almost immediately after they'd had sex, so there wasn’t any real reason for Misha to stick around longer.

“Can anyone vouch for your whereabouts between the hours of 1:00 and 5:30am on October 25th?”

Misha shook his head.  "I was at home.  And then I got up early for an extended twelve hour shift.  I was driving to the station when we got a call over the radio requesting all available units to report to the Lakeside Motor Lodge.”

Misha’s eyes flicked to Jensen and away, but in that instant Jensen had seen the memory of the fear that had gripped him when that call had come.  He’d been terrified something had happened to Jensen.  Jensen wanted to reach across the table and take his hand, but all he did was shift his weight in his seat to the other ass cheek.  These chairs were ridiculously hard.

“Just a couple more questions, Officer,” Jim said.  “You are familiar with this case, correct?”

Misha shifted uncomfortably in his chair, but Jensen didn’t think it had anything to with being physically uncomfortable.

“I am.  Most of us in the station are.”

“Relax, I just want to make sure my next question makes sense.  Do you know why the Angel Slayer might be targeting you?”

Misha’s brows drew together.  “I don’t under—Oh.  You mean what could be my crime?”

Jim nodded.

Don’t look at me, Jensen thought fervently as Misha spread his hands on the table and kept his eyes on his fingers.

“Well, I guess that would depend on if he ever repeats any of his crimes.”

“He hasn’t so far,” Jensen said.

Misha glanced at him briefly and then looked back at Jim.  “Well, I don’t know all the crimes that have been used.  I know about—Natalia’s—and I saw Hernandez’s body.  I could probably guess at Vanderpool and Mueller’s, but the others I don’t know.  Are they all biblical?”

“Maybe,” Jim said.  “What do you think would draw the killer’s attention to you?”

Misha shook his head.  “I don’t know.  I sometimes wear shirts that are a cotton/polyester blend.  Doesn’t that violate Leviticus somewhere?”

“Everything violates Leviticus somewhere,” Jensen muttered.

“I don’t always pick up after Bunny when I take her on walks.”

Jensen let out a small laugh and then frowned at Misha.  He shrugged in return.

“What?  Have any of his kills been for legitimate reasons?”

Jensen shook his head, conceding the point.

“Would you be willing to submit a DNA sample?” Jim asked out of the blue.

There was zero evidence to compare it to, but in theory Misha shouldn’t know that.  Jim was looking for a reaction.

“Of course.  But, I’m pretty sure I’m already in the database.  All of the Elton PD staff are in there.  It’s a requirement when we join the force, just like providing fingerprints.”

Jim grunted and scribbled something in his notepad.

“Ackles, do you have any additional questions?”

“Where were you in the spring of 2005?”

Misha raised an eyebrow.  Then he looked at the table and thought for a minute.  “Well, that year was the year the earthquake and tsunami happened in the Indian Ocean.  I remember because…”

“You traveled there to help out?”

Misha shrugged and nodded.  “And…that was the only trip I took that year.  So.  I guess I was probably in Elton somewhere.  My ex-wife would remember.  I could contact her—”

“That won’t be necessary.”

Misha’s lips twitched and Jensen knew he was fighting a smile.

“That’s all I have, Jim.”

“All right then.  I’m going to make a few phone calls to get some bodies here to help canvass the people you’ve listed as potential alibis, Officer Collins.  We’d like you stay at the station tonight.”

Misha repressed a sigh.   “I understand.”

Jim stood up and left the room.  He didn’t wait for Jensen and he closed the door behind him.  Maybe it was foolish to believe he didn’t know there was something going on between him and Misha.  He couldn’t be bothered to care about that now and leaned forward and put his hands on the table.  Misha withdrew.


“What way are you leaning?”


“What seems more likely?  I’m a target or a suspect?”

“Are you asking my personal belief or what the team has been discussing?”

“Well, I can’t very well be told what the team is discussing.”

“Misha, I don’t believe it at all.”

Misha looked up, his blue eyes dark with worry and fear.  He sucked in a deep breath.

“Do you mean it?”

Jensen tilted his head.  “Of course.  I’m not gonna lie, there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that points to you as a possibility, so I can’t refuse to allow the team to investigate.  But as far as I’m concerned this fucker has marked my—” he cut off abruptly and Misha’s eyes widened slightly and his lips parted.  “You’re a target of the Angel Slayer, and I swear on my life I will protect you.”

Misha nodded, still staring.  Jensen stood up suddenly.

“I’ll stop him.”

“Please do,” Misha said dazedly.

Jensen turned for the door, and then growled at the rational part of his brain to shut the fuck up.  He turned around and walked over to Misha.  He leaned down and Misha titled his face up to meet him in a brief kiss.  Then Jensen left the interview room.  He checked his watch: 1:00pm.  It was fifty-nine hours until the clock struck midnight on Friday.  There was no guarantee the Angel Slayer couldn’t—or wouldn’t—attempt to kill Misha on any Thursday from now until eternity, but he had a feeling the deadline was this Thursday.  And that the student would not be handling this one despite the target’s gender and lack of hour associated with the angel name.  Going after Misha was a personal vendetta.  He wondered who in the Elton PD had it out for him.  Everyone seemed to like him, though no one seemed particularly close to him.  He hadn’t preempted anyone’s promotion since he’d turned down the chance to become a detective.  As far as he knew he and his K9 dogs hadn’t sniffed out any dirty cops.

“Now there’s a thought,” Jensen murmured to himself.  He needed to find out if any police had been fired or dismissed sometime this year—possibly as the result of Misha’s work.  Perhaps the killer had started killing in his hometown because he had a grudge and was unemployed.  Jensen hurried through the bullpen to find Ty.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013 

“Where do we stand?” Jim asked, pacing around the small room.  They were still using the office the Elton PD had allotted for them, but it was much more crowded as now there were an additional agent from Gen’s squad and two from the Boston field office.  Jared couldn’t remember any of their names.  Jim had introduced them briefly when they first came in the room in the morning and the rest of the day had been spent catching the agents up on the case and the evidence they had.  Which, when it was all laid out at once was simultaneously a lot and yet nothing at all.

The new agents had been asking a lot of questions, mostly ones that they had been asking themselves for over two months now and still had no answers for.  After they finally reached the part involving Tameka’s disappearance and death, the other three agents were convinced that someone in the Elton PD was involved and two were ready to arrest Martin and Yamamoto.  The third argued a strong case for the primary suspect—Misha Collins.

Jared had been watching Jensen for any sort of reaction, but he’d been withdrawn and tense from the moment they had confirmation that the convoy with Tameka was missing.  Now there was a discussion starting up on sending all the forensic evidence to Quantico to have it reexamined.  Jared didn’t bother to argue against it, but it would take such a long time before they got any results back—and he doubted they would be any different.  Kim was good at her job and all the technicians were really well trained.  For such a small town, Elton was really up to date with the latest cutting edge technology.  Of course, all it would take is one person to be able to sneak in and change results or swap out samples.  That was an argument against Misha—it seemed more likely that if evidence was being tampered with, a technician was behind it.  The problem was that there barely was any evidence.  Why would the Angel Slayer worry about changing any of it?  None of it led to him anyway.

The agents’ discussion—argument—was disrupted when someone knocked at the door.  Jared was closest to it so he opened it.  Kim stood outside holding a large manila envelope.

“Hi,” he said, feeling a little better just seeing her.  They had stopped their little trysts together about a week ago, but she made it easy to believe there was still hope no matter how desperate the situation.

“Who is it?” Jim called out.

Jared stepped back and opened the door.  Kim stayed outside but leaned in a little to see Jim.

“Hi.  I know everyone in Elton has been banned from helping, but I thought I should drop this off.  It’s the report from the regional geologic society.  It didn’t come from us.”

“Does this have the information about the crossover between the dirt found on the boot prints and the ash tree bark?” Jared asked.

“It does.”

"What did it say?"

"I didn't open it," Kim replied with a bright smile.  "Completely un-tampered with evidence."

The new agents didn't seem to understand why everyone else suddenly looked at their toes.  Jared took the envelope from her.

"Thank you, Kim."

"Sure.  I'll, uh, get out of your way now."

She gave him a friendly smile and then turned and left.  Jared shut the door and started to open the envelope.  The group began discussing which suspects they wanted to set as the highest priority and whether or not they had any grounds for arresting anyone.  One agent in particular was adamant that they had reasonable suspicion of Martin and Yamamoto to make an arrest and get warrants to search their houses.  Everyone else disagreed and didn't want to reach too far too fast in the event they were wrong.  Jared listened with one ear and read the report.

At first it was disappointing.  There were no areas where the soil composition and ash trees had any significant crossover.  Then came an analysis of the ash bark which indicated it was a tree common all over New Hampshire and the northeast in general; essentially useless information.  Then there was a blurb on the specific composition of the soil found at the Thompson crime scene.  Though it corresponded with the previous analysis that it was from the Lake Winnipesaukee shore, it further specified that it was Monadnock-Becket-Skerry complex, eight to fifteen percent slopes, very stony—which of course meant fuck all to Jared.  Except for the fact that it stated only 1.5% of the shoreline in Belknap County was composed of this particular soil.  Also included was a map of that area.

"Hey Jensen," Jared said, not even noticing he was interrupting one of the Boston agents.

"What's up, Jay?"

"Do you remember the name of the street that was Hannigan's home address?  It was something weird, wasn't it?"

"Um.  Hold on."  Jensen looked at the floor and his eyes jumped back and forth as he thought.  Jared wondered if he was actually going through Gilbert Hannigan's statement in his head and reading through the personal information at the top of the page.  His memory was phenomenal.  "Um, Spokies Way."

Jared slapped the back of his fingers against the paper.  "Guess who lives right in the middle of the tiny section of lake shore that has the exact composition of the soil we found in Thompson's home."

Jensen stared at him for long enough that Jared wondered if maybe he was waiting for him to answer his own guess who question.  Then he suddenly turned to the whiteboard and snatched up a marker.  He wrote at the top of the suspect list, "Gilbert Hannigan."

"I fucking knew it," he said.

"Now, wait, hold on," Jim said.  "This doesn't prove anything.  There's probably several miles in that area and dozens of people who live there."

"Plus, I thought we agreed that his reaction to Vanderpool's death was too genuine to be faked," Gen said.  "At least I think so.  I talked with him for an hour."

"He's not the teacher," Jensen said.  "He's the student.  And Vanderpool was one of his lessons."

"Well, what can we do with this information?" Jim said.  "It won't get us a warrant."

"No, but we can talk to him," Jensen said.  "Believe me, he's not bright.  It we bring up that we did some science and analyzed the dirt we found and knew it was from where he lived, he might crack."

"You seriously think he'll just confess to everything?" the Portsmouth agent asked skeptically.

"Probably not, though it's not impossible.  What I'm willing to bet will happen is that he'll panic.  He doesn't make any of the decisions in this arrangement.  He'll try to contact the teacher.  More than likely he'll go to meet with him.  We can follow him straight to the Angel Slayer."

The new agents looked skeptical as all hell, but the others, the ones that had been working this case with virtually no leads for two and a half months—there was a gleam of hope in everyone's eyes.  It was the closest they'd ever gotten to potentially identifying a suspect.

"This really seems like a long shot," the Portsmouth agent said.

Jensen looked at him, keeping his irritation in check better than Jared would have.  "Do you have any other ideas or plans that we should be working on?"

He put an empty hand in the air.  "Nope."

"Well, then.  Jared and I will go have a chat with Mr. Hannigan—"

"I want to come too," Gen said.

"I don't know.  We don't want to spook him."

"I thought that was exactly what we wanted to do."

"Not before we can talk with him though.  If he doesn't answer the door we'll get nothing out of him.  And seeing three agents coming to his house—he might think we're there to storm the place or something.  But, what you can do, if you're willing, is set up at a choke point.  That way if he's paying attention when he leaves, he won't see our car following him.  And we can trade off so he won't see one car for too long."

Gen didn't look particularly thrilled with the assignment, but she nodded her head.  "Okay.  But, my car is kind of conspicuous."

"Kind of?" Jared snorted.

She narrowed her eyes at him.

"You can take mine," Jim said.  "I assume you want to leave now?"

"The sooner the better."

"All right.  You three go handle Hannigan.  You other three, you're going to be on interview duty.  We've got several officers and technicians in the station now, and we'll pull them aside and start interviewing them three at a time."

Jared, Jensen, and Gen gathered up their coats and checked their holsters to ensure their guns and handcuffs were secure.

"I want you all to check in every half hour," Jim ordered on the way out.

"Yes, sir!" all three replied.

They were halfway through the bullpen when Ty approached them.

"We've got a problem," he said, and it brought all three up short.

"It's not a problem," Misha said testily.  He stood with Bunny and Russ a little behind Ty.  "I'm just going home to feed Bunny.  I don't have any more treats here and she needs real food anyway."

Jensen looked at him like he'd just sprouted a second head.  "You want to go home?  Alone?"

"Well, I'll be—"

"No fucking way," Jensen stated loudly.

Misha looked shocked for a moment, and then his features hardened.  "I won't be gone long and I'll come straight back here.  I—"

Jensen cut him off again.  "I'm sure Brendan thought the same thing."

"This is different."


"Well, for one thing, I'm a trained police officer with a firearm.  Secondly, I have a trained police dog that would smell or hear an intruder long before he was anywhere near me."

Jensen crossed his arms over his chest.  "You're not going anywhere alone, Misha."

"There's not really much you or anyone else can do to stop me."

"We can hold you here—not in protective custody but under reasonable suspicion.  We could also consider you a flight risk."

A couple people sucked in sharp breaths.  Jared ran a hand over his jaw and looked back and forth between the two glaring men.  He hoped Jensen knew what he was doing.

"You've had your twenty-four hours then," Misha stated calmly though his eyes were burning cold.  "Are you going to charge me with anything?  Because if you're not charging me, I'm free to leave at any time."

Jensen closed his eyes and said wearily, "Misha, don't."

"Don't what?  I'm talking about a few hours.  Just to let the dog out and feed her and pick up some more supplies if I'm going to have to stay at the station indefinitely."

"And someone else can't go?  No one else can take care of Bunny?"

"Yeah they probably can, but I want to get out of here for a few hours."




Misha looked a little surprised.  "Okay then.  Not that I need your or anyone else's permission."

"I'll go with you."


"Jensen," Jared said.  "We've got some place else we need to be."

"You and Gen can handle it."


"I don't need a babysitter," Misha growled.

"I could go with him," Russ said.

"Or a police escort!  Are you two serious?"

"Misha!" Jensen burst out, utterly exasperated.  "Two people have died while under police protection and technically you still are a suspect in the case.  Humor us, will you?"

Jensen looked at him with pleading eyes and Jared felt a little embarrassed watching them stare at each other.  Maybe they no longer did give a fuck who knew their relationship was well beyond the scope of work colleagues or casual acquaintances.

"Fine," Misha relented.  "But you were heading somewhere.  You've got something to work on for the case, right?"

"Yes, but—"

"Then you go do that.  You promised me you would catch my sister's killer.  Do that.  Russ can go with me."

"I still think this is a very bad idea," Ty griped loudly.

"Everybody does," Jensen muttered.

"But it's settled, right?" Misha said, clearly still aggravated.  "Russ, do you have everything you need to leave now?"

"Um, just let me swing by desk to grab my keys.  Don't leave without me," he called over his shoulder and jogged for his office.

"He won't," Jensen said darkly, eyes trained on Misha.

Misha's expression wasn't any more pleasant.  Not that it was likely to happen under the current circumstances anyway, but Jared didn't think Jensen was going to be getting laid anytime soon.

Jared and Ty glanced at each other and then at the floor.  Apparently Jensen and Misha were going to stare each other down until Russ returned.  Thankfully the detective didn’t drag his feet.

“Let’s go,” Russ said as he walked in between the two men, breaking their eye contact.

Misha turned to follow him, calling Bunny to heel.  Jared whispered "hi" to her and she gave a little tail wag, but could sense her master’s temperament well enough not to get out of line.  Jared turned to Jensen.

“You ready to go now?”

Jensen’s scowl lasted the entire length of the drive to Hannigan’s residence.  Not even discussing their strategy for talking to him could do much to push Misha from his thoughts.  Jared hoped he wouldn’t be too distracted to do what he needed to do.

The neighborhood wasn’t exactly run down, but it was rural.  Neighbors had a good bit of trees and land between each other and the driveways were long and unpaved.  They had to circle around the streets for a while until they found an intersection Hannigan would have to pass if he drove out of the area.  Gen was stationed there and Jared and Jensen drove on to his house.  As they pulled up the drive and parked behind the large van marked with the logo of the company Hannigan worked for, they saw movement in one of the windows.

The two agents got out of the car, buttoning their suit coats.  They glanced at each other over the roof.

“I swear to God if he’s running out the backdoor right now,” Jensen mumbled as he started toward the door.

Jared smiled and then bit his lip to get his expression under control as he caught up with him.

“Twenty says he’s already making a swim for it in the lake,” Jared said.

“You’re on,” Jensen replied and held out his fist for Jared to bump it in a gentleman’s agreement.

They stepped onto the porch and knocked on the door.  They waited about twenty seconds during which time Jared looked for but didn’t find a doorbell.  Jensen knocked again and announced who they were in a loud voice.  They waited; still there was no movement.

“God damn it,” Jensen sighed.  “Don’t tell me I’m going to owe you forty bucks now.”


“How do you figure that?”

“Well, twenty for this, twenty for Mueller, and twenty because I knew Misha would come crawling back to you.”

“When did we bet on that?” Jensen asked, slightly scandalized.

“Oh.  Maybe that was a bet I made with myself.”

“You can’t collect on…internal bets.”

“Sure I can.  Misha admitting he was a total douche and letting you fuck the bejeezus out of him isn’t worth twenty bucks?”

“Jesus Christ, Jared.”

“What?  How many times have I told you—those walls are really fucking thin.”

“Put on your headphones then.”


The door suddenly opened and they put on their stern, federal agent faces.

“Mr. Hannigan,” Jensen said, all business.  “I’m Special Agent Jensen Ackles and this Special Agent Jared Padalecki.”  They both produced their credentials for his inspection.

Hannigan rubbed an arm and his eyes darted back and forth between them.  “Yeah, I remember you.”

“We have just a couple of questions for you, if you wouldn’t mind helping us out.”

“Um, I—” Hannigan paused, clearly caught off guard by the word choice.  “You need my help?”

“Yes.  Would it be possible for us to come inside?”

Hannigan pulled the door tight against his side.  “The place is a mess.  Um.  I can answer a couple of questions, but I was actually on my way out so…”

“This won’t take long at all.”

“I already told you everything I know about what happened to…Sarah.”

“Yes, we have just a couple of follow up questions.  We know you were out of town on the night of the murder.”

Hannigan visibly relaxed a little.

“But when we asked you about the last time you saw Sarah, I don’t believe anyone asked if she was acting strangely.”

Hannigan’s eyes darted around again.  “What do you mean?”

“Did her behavior seem odd to you?” Jared clarified.  “We’re trying to ascertain if she had any strange encounters before her abduction.  It could help us identify a potential pattern of behavior.”

Jared saw Jensen eye him sideways; that had been a slightly nonsensical conclusion.  But Hannigan didn’t notice—he was just shaking his head.

“No, no, I’m afraid I can’t help you with that.  She seemed fine.  Her normal self.  And like I said, I hadn’t seen her for over a week so…”

“Of course,” Jensen said, placating him.  “We also needed to know if Sarah had connections to any of the other victims.  Natalia Smith, Davis Thompson, Daniel Hernandez—”

Hannigan flinched at Hernandez’s name.  “No.  Why would I know?  I wasn’t that close with her.”

“Well, that’s not exactly true, is it?  You had quite an intimate relationship with her.”

“But that doesn’t mean I knew her friends or whatever.”

Hannigan was getting agitated.

“Fair enough.”

“You know, I really do have to go—”

“Just one more thing, Mr. Hannigan,” Jared said, giving his best I’m a perfectly harmless puppy smile.  “Then we’ll let you go.”

Those were the magic words.  Hannigan nodded.

“You see, we found some soil at one of the crime scenes and we had it analyzed.  It is a very unique composition and specific to a certain area—to this area in fact.”

Hannigan tensed again and slid one foot back.  “Is that so?”

“It is,” Jensen said.  “And since you lived in the area, we were wondering if you’d noticed any suspicious activity.  Anyone walking along your property, or someone who doesn’t belong in the neighborhood.”

Hannigan relaxed a hair.  “Y-you think the killer has been around here?  That’s—scary,” he said awkwardly.

“It is,” Jensen replied gravely.  “Do you know all of your neighbors?  Are there any empty houses around here?  Perhaps gone into foreclosure or only used as vacation homes?”

“No.  All up and down this street are people who have lived here for years.  How big is the area?”

“Pretty small.”

Jared looked at Hannigan.  He had calmed down considerably.  That wasn’t good.

“Well, I guess that means he must have just passed through, then,” Hannigan said.

Jared glanced at Jensen.  They didn’t want him scared into flight out of the country, but he needed to be a little unnerved.

“Oh, no,” Jensen said.  “We found the soil at more than one scene.  He would have to frequent this place.  It seems unfortunate, but we’re probably going to need to investigate everyone on this street.  It may be hard for you to fathom anyone you know doing these things, but how well do any of us really know our neighbors?”

Jensen smiled blankly and even Jared was a little creeped out by it.

“So.  You’ll be around here a lot then.”

“Daily,” Jensen replied without missing a beat.  “I hope we’ll be able to count on your help.  If you’ll keep a vigilant eye and let us know if anything seems out of place.”

“Y-yeah.  I-I can do that.”

“Excellent.”  Jensen pulled a business card out of his pocket.  “I know you already have Special Agent Cortese’s information, but don’t hesitate to contact me if you see or think of anything.”

Hannigan took the card reluctantly.  “Sure.”

“Thank you for your time, Mr. Hannigan.  We won’t hold you up any longer.”

“What?  Oh, right.  I’m, uh.  I have an errand.”

Jensen and Jared smiled at him and then turned around and left the porch.  They heard the door shut behind them.  Jared was itching to talk but he waited until they were in the car and he had started up the engine.

“Did you see the way he reacted to Hernandez’s name?” Jared asked as he backed out of the driveway.

“Did you notice his boots?” Jensen said.  “John Deere logo on the tongue.”

“Fucking hell,” Jared muttered.  “I can’t stand leaving him behind.  He’s—I mean he’s—!”

“Whoa, Jared!”

Jared braked hard as he almost ran through a stop sign.  Fortunately no one was around.  He remembered to take a left so they could park partially around a bend and wait to see if Hannigan left.

“Sorry,” Jared said.

“No, it’s okay.  I understand, believe me.  But he’s the small fry here.  If we haul him in, the real killer might bolt.  We’ve got him though.  He’s not going anywhere.  And maybe he’ll take us to where we really need to be.”

Jared nodded.  He parked the car and turned the engine off.

“How long do you think it will take?”

Jensen cocked his head to the side.  “Well, either he’ll leave immediately, or he’ll stew and think about it for a few hours until he can’t stand it anymore.”

“Twenty says he stews.”

“No way.  Of course he’s going to stew.  We’re going to be stuck in this car for hours.”

Jared laughed.  “Then you might want to crack a window.”


“I had chili for lunch.” 


Jensen ran his thumb over the screen of his phone.  The pad hovered over Misha’s name, and then moved away.  He looked out the windshield and sighed.  They’d been sitting for almost four hours with no movement from Hannigan.  He was about to have to step out and pee in the woods.  He wondered how Gen was holding up.

“Don’t do it,” Jared said.

“What?”  Jensen looked left.  He thought Jared had been snoozing.

“You’ll just piss him off if he knows you’re checking up on him.”

Jensen frowned.  “So?  I’d rather have him mad and alive than screaming for help and no one there to hear him.”

“Russ is there.”

“I know.  Ah ha!  I’ll call Russ.”

Jensen scrolled to Russ’ name.  Jared let out another little sigh.

“What?  You would check up on Kim.  Or Felicia.  Or whoever.”

“Well, that’s different.”


“Because.  They’re…not trained police officers.”

“And they’re women?”

“I did not say that.  I said they weren’t trained police officers.”

“What about Gen?  Would you check on her?  She’s a trained agent.”



“But that’s not a fair comparison anyway.  I don’t have that kind of relationship with her.”


Jensen looked at his phone.  Russ’ number was glowing back at him.

“Do you think you would?” Jensen asked to distract himself from touching the screen.

“Would I what?”

“Want that kind of relationship with Gen?”

Jensen could see a blush spread over Jared’s cheeks even in the fading evening light.

“What?  Why would you even ask that?”

Jensen shrugged.  “I don’t know.  You two get along really well.  And you flirt all the time.”

Jared shook his head.  “We do not.”

“Sure you do.  It’s not the way you flirt with Kim and Felicia, when you’re trying to be suave and clever.  It’s more like…playground antics.  Slapping and shoving at each other.”

“We do not—”  Jared stopped and looked like he was thinking very hard.  “Do we?”

“Lil’ bit.”


Jensen’s hand shot out and slapped Jared’s chest.

“Ow!  What—”

He cut off as he caught sight of Hannigan’s van rumbling down the road.  The dusk and the distance was enough to hide them and Jensen quickly called Gen.


“Gen, it’s us.  Hannigan just left in his vehicle.  White van with Elton Heating and Cooling written on the sides.  The first three numbers of the license plate are three zero five.”

“I’ve got him.  He’s at the intersection now.  I’ll give him a few car lengths and then follow.”

“We’ll be behind you.  Stay on the phone.  Let us know if he takes any main roads that have parallels.”

Jared started the car and pulled out onto the road while Jensen unfolded the map of New Hampshire the rental car company had given them.  It wasn’t quite detailed enough of Elton to be particularly useful, but hopefully it would keep them from taking a completely wrong turn into a dead end neighborhood.

“Okay, I’ve got him on Graff.  He’s not heading back into downtown Elton.  It seems like he’s heading further out.”

“Any cars between you and him?”


“Good.  Do your best to—Jared turn here—to keep at least one or even two cars between you.  If you get on a rural road and no one else is around give him a lot of room.  And keep your lights off for as long as possible."

“Got it.  He’s turning onto East Side Road, following the lake.”

“Okay.  Jared, right up there, take that to get on 28.  Don’t drive too fast though or we’ll get ahead of them.”

They rode for several minutes in silence and Jensen wished Gen would update where they were, but he assumed they must still be on East Side Road.

“Okay, the road is coming up on a T-section.”

“That’s 28,” Jensen murmured.  “We’re close.  Slow down Jared.”

The car behind them honked and drove around them.  They slowed at a yellow light at the intersection of East Side and 28.  There was fortunately one other safety conscious driver on the road as he braked for the yellow light too.  The light turned red.

“I see him Gen.  He’s the first at the light, right?”

“Yes.  But I lost my cover.  I’m right behind him.”

“Okay.  Is he turning left?”

“No signal, but he’s in that lane—and yes, there he goes left.”

“If you can, turn right so he won’t think you’re a tail.  We can pick him up from here.”


“Make a U-turn when you can and try to catch up.”

“Got it.”

They watched the van drive off down the road and Jensen clenched the map in his hands.  This shouldn’t be a long light, but it felt like forever.  At last it changed to green and they inched forward behind the cautious driver.  Jared changed lanes and sped up.

“Do you think he’ll recognize our car?” Jared asked.

“Maybe.  But it is pretty dark now.”

“Should I turn on my lights?  It might be suspicious if we leave them off.”

Jensen noticed another car from the opposite direction with their lights still off.  “No, not yet.  Give it a little bit longer.”

They caught sight of the van and there was a grey Toyota behind him.  Jared changed lanes and got behind the Toyota.  They drove another couple of miles.

“Hey guys,” Gen said over the phone.  “I just reached a point I can turn around.  I’m heading back your way.”

“We’re still on 28—”

“No, look, there he goes.  He’s turning onto—can you read that sign?”

Jensen read the street sign as they followed Hannigan.  Jared stayed back because they had lost their cover.

“Fuck,” Jensen said.

“What?  What is it?”

“Gen, he turned onto Little Rock Run.  Did you get that name?”

“Little Rock Run.  Got it.”

“Jensen, what’s the matter?” Jared pressed.

Jensen rubbed his forehead and tried to tamp down the nausea that was slowly starting spread through his whole body.

“We’re heading towards Misha’s house.”

Jared stared at him for long enough that Jensen worried they were going to drift off the road, but he didn’t try to get him to pay attention to his driving.  Part of him didn’t want to make it to their destination.  Of course there were still a few roads between here and there Hannigan could turn onto, but he was pretty sure he knew where they were being led.  Jared faced forward again and reached out to turn on the lights, but then stopped.  The neighborhood was secluded enough that a car following him through a few turns might scare Hannigan off.

“Hang back, hang back,” Jensen said as Hannigan made the turn onto Misha’s cul-de-sac.  “We’ll be trapped in there behind him.  Give him time to park if necessary.”

“Should we…call Ty?  Or Jim?”

“Not yet.”


“Not yet.  We don’t know what he’s doing here.  Hell, he could be here to go after Misha.  He is the next target after all.”

"Then why—"

Jared stopped talking and Jensen really wondered what he'd been going to say.  Then from around the bend they could see that the van's lights cut out.  Jared pulled onto the street, but didn't drive to the end.  He parked the car and he and Jensen sprang from their seats, running silently down the sidewalk, hands drawn up by their right hips.  A dog started barking.

"Is that Bunny?" Jared asked.

"I don't know."

"It sounds like it's outside."

"He has a fence in the backyard.  She could be trapped there."

They rounded the bend of the street and saw that Hannigan at least had enough sense not to park in Misha's driveway, but the van was along the curb only one house away.

"Which one is Misha's?" Jared asked as they ran out into the middle of the cul-de-sac.

But Jensen didn't answer.  He burst into a sprint when he saw the door to Misha's house wide open.  He heard Jared pick up speed behind him and trusted him to follow.  They ran up the driveway and into the house.

"What the fuck—?" Jared said.

"What, what?" Jensen asked, turning around, looking for—he didn't even know.

"What the hell is this place?"

Jensen turned to look at Jared.  "Can we look at the foyer later?"

"Why is there a salmon colored bunny in a dress on the left and a boar's head on the right?"

"Not the time, Jared!"

Though Jensen did have to glance inside the living room—he hadn't noticed the bunny before.  It was creepy as fuck.  He'd have to talk to Misha about "staging" when it came to trying to sell this place.

Shouting broke out somewhere in the house.  The barking got more intense, but definitely was not inside the house.  Jared and Jensen took off through the foyer, plunging into the darkness of the tunnel under the stairs.  Two voices shouted warnings at each other.  Jared and Jensen burst into the kitchen, temporarily blinded by the sudden bright light.  Two gunshots fired.

Both agents had their guns out and up, not even sure where they needed to be pointing them.  In the kitchen, Russ stood with his weapon drawn in a two armed stance.  Partially behind the island, a body lay on the floor, but Jensen could recognize him by the back of his head.


Jensen dashed forward and slid to his knees next to Misha.  He dropped his gun to the floor and turned Misha over, looking for a wound.

"Watch his head!" someone said.



Jensen looked up and saw Russ standing beside him, shaking visibly.  "His head.  He hit him on the head."

Jensen followed where his hand was pointing and saw a frying pan on the floor a couple feet away.  Jensen pulled Misha's head and shoulders into his lap and ran his hands through his hair.  Almost immediately he found a knot on the back of his head.  He pulled his fingers back: no blood.  That could be good, or it could just mean the pressure was building up in his skull and damaging his brain.

"We need an ambulance!  What happened?!"

"G-Gilbert...Hannigan came in.  He attacked Misha.  I don't think he even knew I was here."

Jensen turned and saw across the kitchen near the dining area another body on the floor.  Jared knelt beside it, checking for a pulse.  He looked up.

"He's dead," Jared reported.

Jensen stared in shock for a moment, and then he shouted, "Ambulance!  Jared, please—"

"I'm on it."  Jared pulled out his phone and called 911.  "Russ, call Ty and get everyone out here."

"Right," Russ said, looking dazed.  He pulled out his phone and drew in a shaky breath as he tried to steady his hands to make the call.

Jensen returned his attention to Misha.  He cradled his shoulders and pulled him closer, running the back of his knuckles down Misha's cheek.

"Come on, baby.  Wake up and let me know you're okay.  I mean, I know you'll have a bitch of headache, but...come on, baby...please."

Jensen bowed his head and hugged Misha tightly.  A soft groan made him snap upright.


Misha groaned again.  "Not so loud."

"Baby, open your eyes."

"No," Misha whined.

"Misha, please, look at me."

"Wha—who?  Baby?  Jensen!" Misha's eyes flew open.  "There's danger!  Don't—!"

"Shh, shh, we got him."


"Hannigan.  Did he attack you?"

Misha raised a hand to his head and then winced when he made contact.  "Fucker hit me with something."

"A frying pan."

"A frying pan?  That's—so—who does that?"

"Crazy fucking serial killer, that's who."

"Did you save me?"

Jensen let out a small laugh that was almost a sob.  "No, baby.  I wish I'd been here for you."  Misha raised a hand to cup Jensen's face.  "Russ saved you."

Misha snatched his hand back and turned his head to look around the room.  He winced at the movement and saw Jared and Russ standing nearby.  Jared had already made his call and Russ was just finishing his, having to explain as much as possible to Ty before he was allowed to hang up.

"Well, this is awkward," Misha muttered.

"Who fucking cares?  You're okay.  You need to go to the hospital to get your head—"

"Where's Bunny?  What's wrong with her?"

Only now did Bunny's crazed barking return to his ears.  He could hear her scrabbling at the glass door at the back of the room.  She must have busted through the screen door of the enclosed porch.

"I'll get her," Jared said.

"Do you want to try sitting up?" Jensen asked.

"Um, okay, we can try if we move slowly—wait, wait, nope, nope."

Misha leaned back into his arms and groaned in pain.  He turned into Jensen's body and buried his face in his chest.  Jensen wrapped his arms around him, careful not to jostle his head.  Jared came back in and Bunny's nails clicked frantically on the tile floor.  Jared kept a hold of her collar so she wouldn't jump on Misha, but he brought her close enough that she could snuffle at his cheek.  Misha turned his face toward her.

"Hey, girl," he said weakly.  "Fat lot of good you did as a guard dog."

Bunny merely whined happily at hearing her master's voice.

"Jared, Jensen!"

Gen's voice echoed faintly from the foyer.  Jared walked toward the hallway.

"In here, Gen," he called out.

Gen ran into the kitchen and looked around.

"What happened?" she asked.

"Misha and I were just talking," Russ said.  "We were going to make shrimp scampi for dinner—"

"So not planning on going back to the station anytime soon then," Jensen said disapprovingly.

"Scold me later," Misha mumbled, still turned mostly into Jensen's body, hand petting Bunny's head where it rested on his stomach.

"Misha asked me to get a bottle of white wine from the basement to cook the shrimp in.  I was halfway down the stairs when I heard a scuffle.  I ran back upstairs and Hannigan hit Misha on the head.  I drew my weapon and told him to surrender.  He backed up and moved a hand to his waist.  I thought he might have a gun, so I just fired."  Russ closed his eyes.  "He doesn't have a gun, does he?"

"I didn't see one," Jared said softly.

"Shit," Russ whispered.

"Hey," Jensen said sharply.  "You're not going down for shooting that fucker.  I'll plant a gun on him."

"Jensen," Misha admonished softly.

"What?" he grumbled.

The faint wail of sirens reached their ears.  The tightness in Jensen's chest eased a little.  Help was coming for Misha, but his eyes had slipped closed again.

"Hey, Mish, are you sleepy?  How are you doing?"

"Well, my head hurts, Jensen, but other than that my day's been peachy."

"I mean it, you smart ass.  You probably have a concussion.  You need to stay awake."

A smile tugged at the corner of Misha's mouth.  "Well, then keep me awake.  You're good at that."


Jensen looked up and saw Gen staring at them wide-eyed.

"Oh."  She turned to Jared.  "That explains so much."  Then she noticed Jared wasn't shocked.  "You knew?"

Jared smiled and shrugged a shoulder.  Gen frowned at him.  And then punched him on the shoulder.  He shoved her back, and then froze.  He looked at Jensen.  Jensen raised an eyebrow at him.

A few minutes later the kitchen was filled with EMTs and police.  Cameras were clicking around Hannigan's body.  Misha was loaded onto a gurney and getting his blood pressure checked and his eyes assaulted with a mini flashlight.

"Pupils are even and reactive," one of the EMTs said.

Jensen breathed deeply.  That was a good sign and Misha had stayed fully lucid since he'd woken up.  There was a good chance he was going to be okay but they needed to get him to the hospital for an MRI as fast as possible.  Russ had surrendered his weapon to one of the detectives and was giving his statement again.  Jensen looked around.

"Where's Ty?" he asked.

Gen wiggled her hand where she held her cell phone to her ear.  "He went straight to a judge to get a warrant for Hannigan's house.  He'll get it signed and meet us there in twenty minutes."

"Great."  He looked at Misha.  The EMTs were unlocking the wheels so they could cart him out of the house.  "Or, can I meet you there later?  I want to go with Misha—"

"Please don't," Misha said.  "You're just going to be sitting in a waiting room going nuts.  Go be productive.  You know you'll feel better doing that."

"I know, but—"

"Jensen.  I promise not to die before the next time you see me."

Jensen had given his last fuck of caring if people knew about their relationship about half an hour ago, so he threaded his fingers through Misha's hair.

"I'll hold you that."

Misha nodded, his eyes a brilliant blue in the clean white light of the overhead lamps.  The EMTs began to push the gurney away and Misha reached a hand up at the last moment, their fingers brushing together.  Bunny whined where she was tied up against the island.

"Shit, Bunny—"

"I got her," Russ said.  "I'll pack some food and take her to the station."

"Thank you," Misha said tiredly and finally relaxed against the thin mattress of the gurney.  Jensen turned to Gen and tried to focus all his energy and thoughts on the task at hand.

"Okay," Gen said.  "Detective Bates said he will run the investigation here.  If we leave now, we should arrive at Hannigan's at the same time as Ty."

"Okay.  Let's go then.  Jared?"

Jensen turned around and saw Jared standing behind the kitchen island.  He had his arms crossed and a very serious, pensive look on his face.



"You ready to go?"

"Yeah, yeah..."  Jared looked around the kitchen once more, and then moved to follow Gen and Jensen out of the house.

Jensen checked the safety on his weapon and holstered it.  He was still feeling very uneasy.  Hannigan was dead—but that was only half their problem.  Their only hope was that there would be a clue to the Angel Slayer's identity in Hannigan's house.


Thursday, November 21, 2013 

Jared sighed and put his hands to the small of his back and arched his back until he heard two pops.  He groaned and straightened, checking his watch on the downward sweep from a large yawn.  It was ten minutes past midnight.  They had been searching Hannigan's home for—geez—seven hours now.  So far they hadn't found anything significant.  An Evidence Recovery Team from the Boston field office had come out and taken away Hannigan's computer and bagged up several articles of clothing that had suspicious stains.

Jared looked up when he heard feet tromping down the stairs.  Jensen appeared, looking remarkably awake and alert.

“Did you find something?” Jared asked.

“No, why, did you?”


“Oh.  So why did you seem so excited?”

“I don’t know.  I guess because you don’t look tired and zombie-like like the rest of us I thought something good had happened.”

“I see.  Well, something good has happened.  We got one half of our murdering duo.  Granted, it’s the weaker half, but I know this place is going to reveal something.”

“You know it?” Jared asked, trying to sound optimistic as well.

Jensen’s jaw clenched as he swallowed thickly.  “It has to, Jay, or…”

Jensen never finished his thought.  A commotion broke out in the yard.  Everyone on the main level of the house poured out the backdoor and rushed over to the technician who was waving his flashlight in a far corner of Hannigan’s property.

“What do you have?” Jensen asked, being the first to reach him with Jared only a step behind.

“It’s a storm cellar.  Or an underground bunker.  I found the door underneath this shed; it’s on a track so it can be pushed forward and back.”

Jensen smiled.  “Hannigan wouldn’t have thought of that.”

“Is it locked?”

“Yes.  But nothing these bolt cutters from the handy-dandy shed won’t fix.”

The technician grinned and bent over to cut the combination lock off the metal clasp of the hatch door.  In less than thirty seconds the door was open, revealing wooden steps descending into the dark maw of the earth.  The technician started to step down, but Jensen stopped him.

“Let me go first,” he said pulling out his gun.  “Can I use your flashlight?”


“Jared, behind me.  Gen, cover the exit.”

Jared drew his weapon and got another flashlight from one of the nearby ERT members.  He walked two steps behind Jensen, gun held pointed down so his flashlight illuminated the stairs for Jensen while he kept his gun and flashlight at chest height.  There were about ten steps leading to a dirt floor.  None of them creaked; it must be a fairly new construction.  Jensen stepped onto the ground and swung left and right quickly, and then moved further into the space.  Jared paused at the bottom of the stairs, looking left and right with his flashlight and seeing only dirt walls.

“Clear,” Jensen called out.

“Clear,” Jared called back up the stairs.  Then he shielded his eyes when light filled the room.  A long fluorescent light fixture hung only a couple of inches above Jared’s head from the ceiling which was reinforced with wooden planks.  The room was only about five feet by seven feet with a narrow path between two shelves that lined the longer walls.  On the shelves were clear jars containing what looked like a piece of tissue suspended in preservative fluid.  Next to each jar was a piece of clothing or jewelry.  The right side had nearly all of its six shelves filled while the left side only had four on the top shelf.  The back wall was plastered with newspaper clippings with anything pertaining to the Angel Slayer case.  Some were old and yellowed from the Washington Post and must have dated back to the original killings.  The obituaries of several victims were scattered throughout the articles.

Jensen was examining the shelves on the right side, his eyes sweeping over each item and going down shelf by shelf.

“There’s more than ten,” Jensen said.  “A lot more.  He did kill in between DC and Elton.”

Jared looked at the shelves on the left side.  In one of the jars he saw what looked like a small piece of skin that had a Chinese character tattooed on it.  Brendan had had that mark on his neck.

“I think these must be Hannigan’s shelves,” Jared said.  “It seems like he was relatively new to the game.”

“Oh my God.”  Jared and Jensen turned see Gen at the bottom of the stairs.  She gathered herself quickly and then said, “Well, at least this makes linking the cases much easier.”

“Can you send down a fingerprint person?” Jensen asked.  “I’m not going to hold my breath, but maybe he got careless when handling his trophies.  We need someone to pull prints first and foremost.  And then the rest of us get to bag and catalogue.”

“Party in the serial killer’s creepy underground trophy case,” Jared murmured.

Jensen and Gen smiled at him.

“So, who’s going to make the coffee run?” Jensen asked.


Six hours later the cellar was photographed and emptied.  Everyone who had been working the scene was dragging their feet and rubbing their eyes like children that had been kept up too late.  Jared leaned against the Accent with Gen close by while Jensen finished talking with the ERT team lead.  It was that strange time of early morning when the sun hasn’t risen yet, but the world is no longer completely dark.  Just off to the east Jared could make out the first tendrils of sunlight creeping over the horizon.  Jensen shook the team lead’s hand and then walked over to the Accent.

“Okay.  So, they’re going to take the evidence over to Portsmouth for processing except for the fingerprints.  They managed to pull some full and partial prints off the jars, so they’re going to take those to the Elton PD facilities in order to process them right away.  Then we can run them through the system immediately.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be there when they do.”

“Yeah,” Jared said as Gen said, “I want to be there.”

“Okay.  I’m going to drive to the station now.  Unless you want to swing by the motel to freshen up first.”

“No way,” Gen said grouchily.  “If I don’t get to shower neither do you.”

“You could use my shower,” Jared offered.

Jensen laughed softly to himself and Jared shot him a look.  He wasn’t sure if Gen noticed or not, but she didn’t respond to it.  She just said, “Thanks for the offer, but I can’t stand to put dirty underwear back on after I get clean.”

“You can wash them in the sink,” Jensen said.


“Yeah.  Haven’t you had lost luggage before?  Just wash them in the sink.”

“And how long do you think it will take them to dry?”

“That’s true,” Jared said.  “The Lakeside Motor Lodge is not that fancy.  It didn’t come with blow dryers.”

“I think you just have to request one,” Jensen said.

“Jensen, stop defending that hell hole.  If we ever TDY together again, I’m picking the motel.”

Jensen laughed.  “Fair enough.  Shall we?”  He indicated the car.

“Can I catch a ride with you guys?” Gen asked.  “I left Jim’s car behind at Misha’s.  I hope someone brought it back to the station for him.”

The ride back to the station wasn’t that long, but Gen did manage to fall asleep in the passenger seat and Jensen was halfway there in the backseat.  Why hadn’t he made Jensen drive?

The trio shuffled into the station and were suddenly wide awake as they saw a large group of people in the main lobby, some in the process of leaving the station.  It was the three new agents, Jim and Ty, and a few other officers.

“What’s happened?” Jensen asked.

“We’ve got a situation,” Jim said.

“Yeah, we’ve got a situation,” one of the Boston agents said.  “We’ve let a fucking serial killer slip through our fingers.”

Jared felt his jaw drop.  “What are you talking about?”

“That cop!  I told you we should arrest him and now he’s in the wind.”

“What are you talking about?” Jensen said sharply but kept his voice under control.  “What cop?”

“The K9 one!  Whatever Collins. “

“Why do you think he’s a killer?  He was attacked and hospitalized.”

“Yeah, kind of convenient.  And the only witness wasn’t actually present to see it happen.  And now he’s gone.”

“What do you mean gone?”  Jensen looked at Jim and Ty.  “What the fuck is going on?”

Jim took in a deep breath.  “It’s true, son,” Jim said.  “Officer Collins checked himself out of the hospital around 3:30am this morning against doctor’s orders.  No one has seen him since and he’s not answering any calls on his cell phone or at home.”

“Can we stop discussing this?” the agent interrupted impatiently.  “He’s already got a three hour head start on us, but maybe he’s still at his house.  Ames and I are going to drive out there with some officers and search the place.”

“How would he even get there?” Jensen asked.  “He didn’t have a vehicle.”

“I don’t know, maybe he took a cab or called someone to pick him up.  He could have stolen a car from the hospital parking lot.”

“I think you’re jumping to conclusions here.”

“Maybe,” the officer conceded.  “But I think having him in our custody is better than not, right?”

“Yes, but only because he’s still a target.  Today is Thursday.”

“Look.  All the other cops on our suspect list are present and accounted for.  He’s the only one missing.  ASAC Beaver, do I have your permission to leave now to go to the house?”

“Yes, Lawson.  You and Ames check the house.”  The agents and two officers walked quickly out the door.  “Pierson, take an officer with you and go the hospital.  Try to find a witness who saw Officer Collins leaving and get security to show you any camera footage they have.”

“Yes, sir,” the Portsmouth agent said.  He and another officer left the building.

“Padalecki, Cortese, the two of you are going to stay here and interview his work colleagues and look through his financial records to see if you can identify any other properties he might own and seek temporary sanctuary.”

“But, can we—” Gen started.

“We got a warrant issued an hour ago,” Jim said.  “There’s also one for an arrest if anyone comes across him.”

“On what grounds?” Jensen demanded.  “Since when is it illegal for a person to be missing?”

“On the grounds that he had a fucking arsenal in his wine cellar.  The warrant is actually for illegal possession of weapons to buy us time on finding evidence against him as the Angel Slayer.”

Jared could tell Jensen was about one more accusation away from losing his shit.

“Those guns are probably his father’s!”

“His deceased father’s,” Jim corrected him.  “And when he didn’t apply for licenses for himself, he was illegally possessing firearms.”

“That’s fucking low, Jim.”

“Jensen, we have got to entertain the possibility that Misha has been playing us all along.  That the fight with Hannigan was staged.  Why else would he just disappear in the middle of the night and not contact anyone?  Did he contact you?”

Jensen’s jaw clenched and he shook his head.  Then he closed his eyes and took in a deep breath.  When he opened his eyes again he was visibly calmer.  Jared was amazed by his patience; it actually wasn’t his strongest virtue.

“Okay.  We’ll consider the possibility.  While Gen and Jared look through his financials, I’ll—”

“You’ll not have anything further to do with this case,” Jim said.

Everyone’s eyes widened slightly.

“You’re going to go back to the motel and sit tight for now.”

“What?!  Why—?!”

“Because, Agent Ackles,” Jim said gruffly.  “It has come to my unavoidable attention that you and Officer Collins have been engaging in a less than professional relationship with each other.”  All the color drained from Jensen’s face.  “Your judgment has been compromised in this case and quite frankly regardless of how this turns out, I don’t see you escaping this without a formal inquiry into your behavior here.”

Jensen struggled to draw air into his lungs.  Jared felt his chest constrict with sympathy and empathetic pain, and a little unreasonable hatred directed toward Jim.  Jim’s features softened.

“Jensen, I’m sorry.  But my hands are tied on this.”

Jensen nodded.

“Go back to your motel.  We’ll keep you apprised of what’s going on.  I’m giving official permission for you to know since I’m sure these two,” he nodded his head in Jared and Gen’s direction, “will be doing so anyway.”

Jensen maintained eye contact with Jim for a couple more seconds and then looked away.  He looked to Jared and Jared tried to show unfair he thought this all was on his face.  Jensen held out his hand and for a moment he thought he was asking for Jared to take his hand in solidarity.  Then he remembered he had the key to the Accent.  He handed it over and Jensen turned and left without a word.

Jim looked at Gen and Jared.  “We should be getting an e-mail shortly that will have the information we need to access his records online.  I’ll let you know when it arrives.”

He and Ty walked further into the station, nodding at Rachel where she sat at her desk.  For once she wasn’t filing or painting her nails; she was biting them.  Jared cursed softly and then leaned back on the wall.  He cursed again, louder, as he leaned on the corkboard and its multitude of pushpins.  He turned around and glared at the pictures of happy, smiling people.

“This is so messed up,” Jared said.  “Misha gets knocked unconscious and that’s proof that he’s a serial killer?”

Gen moved closer so he could see her even as he kept his eyes roaming over the board.

“I mean, it’s not a solid case, but it is true there aren’t any witnesses that can corroborate that Hannigan just attacked him.  He could have faked it and tricked Russ into shooting Hannigan.”

“Well, there’s your witness right there, Russ.  He said he heard a scuffle.”

“But, it could have been an act.”

“Okay, well, if Misha could have set up that scenario, the same logic says Russ could have done the same.”

Gen’s brows drew together.  “Do you really suspect Russ?”

“Do you really suspect Misha?”

Gen shrugged and gave a little shake of her head.  “No, I don’t.”

“Yeah, me neither.  But here’s the thing.  Think about the layout of that kitchen.  Hannigan had to come in through the hallway that leads to the foyer.  Jensen and I weren’t far behind him.  He wouldn’t have had time to go around the back, plus the front door was open.  That means that Hannigan came in the door that is right in between the kitchen and the dining area.  There was a bowl of partly peeled shrimp on the kitchen island.  Misha was standing at the island peeling and deveining shrimp when Hannigan came in, which means he was facing the doorway.  How could Hannigan catch him by surprise?  How could he rush in, get around the other side of the island, grab a frying pan, knock Misha out, and then run back to the other side in the space of time it takes to go up and down half a flight of stairs?

“And Hannigan was found near the table.  He was past the doors leading to the porch and the foyer, which meant after he knocked Misha out, he walked to the far side of the room and trapped himself without a way out.  Why would he do that?”

“Maybe he panicked when he heard Russ coming up the stairs.  Maybe he didn’t know there wasn’t another way out.”

“Yeah, the stairs to the basement that are directly behind the kitchen island.  Misha would have had his back to Russ.  And Hannigan would have come in the room and seen Russ.  If Russ pulled a gun on him, he would have backed up, passing the doors.”

Gen’s eyes jumped around as they looked at his face.

“So…you’re saying Russ orchestrated the whole thing?”

“Maybe.  And now Hannigan is dead.  Russ shot him and tied up that messy, loose end.”

Gen’s eyes lowered as she continued to think.

“And what evidence is there against Misha that doesn’t also fit Russ?  He’s a cop.  Heck, he’s a cop who had much more knowledge and access to the progression of this case than Misha ever did.”

“He’s also the one who was holding the dildo when it got damaged.”

“And he made a big show of turning his attention to another direction when he fell into Jensen at the Hernandez scene—nearly destroying the boot print impression in the dirt.”

“He also knew which convoy Tameka would be in.”

“He’s the one who suggested she be in the fourth one—with a minimal detail.”

“Both Jim and I voted for that too.”

“I know, but he’s the one who planned it.”

Gen put a hand to her head.  “Holy fuck.  Do you think…” she trailed off, unable—or unwilling—to finish her thought.

“I don’t know, Gen.  I mean, it’s certainly no worse than the evidence they’re using to convict Misha.  I just think—” Jared cut off as a picture caught his eye.  He’d noticed it before on a few occasions because he was familiar with the scene.  It was the tidal basin in DC, surrounded by beautiful pink blossoms on a bright sunny day, with the Jefferson Memorial gleaming white in the background.  Jared had been down there many times himself when the cherry blossoms were out; it was one of the most beautiful places in DC at that time of year.  He hadn’t recognized the man in the photo before—because he didn’t have a beard.  But now that Jared looked closer, he knew those dark brown eyes.

Jared pulled the picture off the board and studied it.  There in the corner was the edge of a banner.  Most of it was cut off, but he could tell the sign proclaimed that is was the National Cherry Blossom Festival with the dates just legible at the end.  The picture was taken in 2005.  Russ had been in DC in the spring of 2005—right in the middle of the DC Angel Slayer murders.


Gen started when Jared ran around her.  Rachel looked up from gnawing off another nail.

“Do you know where Russ is?  Have you seen him?  He said he was going to bring Bunny to the station last night.”

“Yeah, he did,” Rachel confirmed.  Jared felt a modicum of relief.  “But he left again early this morning.  He said he was going to go check on Misha at the hospital.  He was the one who reported that he’d gone missing.”

Jared tried to process that.  Was he reading this situation all wrong?

“Rachel, can you look to see where he is?  Please, I know it’s not procedure, but—”

“No, it’s okay.  One moment.”

Rachel accessed her computer and Jared and Gen fidgeted while she worked.


“What?” Jared asked anxiously.

“His squad car is showing as being here at the station.  Maybe he came back.”

“I’ll go check his office,” Gen said.

“Wait.  Rachel, where is the K9 vehicle?”

Rachel clicked her mouse a couple of times.  She raised an eyebrow.

“It’s showing to be in the general vicinity of King and Pine.  I’m sorry; it doesn’t get more accurate than that.”

“That’s fine,” Jared said, body tense with fear and adrenaline soaking his brain in nauseating panic.  “I know where he is.  He’s at the Lakeside Motor Lodge.”

“Jensen!” Gen said in alarm.

“Gen, get Jim and Ty, tell them what we’ve found out and show them this.”  He thrust the picture into her hands.  “Make them send a unit out there.  And give me the keys to your car.  I’m going out there now and hopefully Jensen isn’t so pissed that he turned off his cell phone.”

Jared grabbed the keys from Gen’s hand and she darted toward the bullpen, calling out for Jim.  Jared had his phone to his ear and prayed as he listened to it ring. 


Jensen took the long way around the back of the motel as he’d been accustomed to do whenever he and Misha came to drop him off at the motel.  They could park at the back of the building, which was close to his room but not visible from the main road, and get in a few more kisses before they parted.  He dragged his hand across his eyes for what had to be the hundredth time on his short trip, but he wasn’t going to let any tears hit his cheeks.  He was certain Misha was innocent, but he couldn’t explain why he’d run.  Or why he hadn’t contacted him.

Jensen slowed to crawl as he spotted the Elton Police K9 SUV parked in one of the spaces by the corner of the building.  His first inclination was joy and relief: Misha had come to him.  Then he felt wariness—why had he not called Jensen when he’d found that he wasn’t there?  Surely he wasn’t just hanging out by the door; he didn’t have a key to get inside.

Jensen parked beside Misha’s vehicle and got out.  He put a hand to his weapon to reassure himself and then walked closer to look inside the vehicle.  The driver’s and passenger’s seats were empty.  There appeared to be some bloody gauze on the floor on the passenger side.  He cupped his hands around his eyes to peer in the tinted windows of the backseat.  He saw Bunny lying on her side, unmoving.  He grabbed the handle, but the door was locked.  He knocked on the window, but the dog didn’t respond.

With cold dread filling his stomach, Jensen drew his gun and walked carefully to the corner of the building.  He looked around and didn’t see anyone in front of his or Jared’s doors nor did he see anyone in the parking lot.  To be sure, Jensen dropped to his knees to scan underneath the parked vehicles to see if anyone was hiding behind them.  It looked clear.  He edged cautiously closer to his room door.  In his pocket, his cell phone vibrated with an incoming call.  He reached for it, knowing it was probably Jared and he needed to report seeing Misha’s vehicle.

Then he heard a muffled cry come from inside the room.  All other thoughts were abandoned.  His foot came up of its own accord and slammed into the motel room door.  The cheap lock snapped right out of the wooden frame as it splintered and the door flung open.  Jensen stepped forward with his gun up to keep the door from swinging back shut.

Misha was face down on the bed, stripped and bound.  His arms were pulled up at a painful slant with fishing wire attached from the headboard to his wrists; one of his wrists was definitely bent in an awkward position.  The angle of his arms was so severe that his shoulder blades stood out starkly on his back, almost touching.  His mouth was spread wide on a large ball gag and he was blindfolded.  His back was bowed in an extreme curve because his hips were raised from the bed with his knees planted firmly on the mattress directly beneath them.  His legs were splayed wide and held in place with a spreader bar buckled onto his ankles.

All this Jensen saw in a split second, and when Russ moved to duck behind Misha’s body Jensen just reacted.  He couldn’t fire his weapon without hitting Misha and he didn’t even see the large knife in Russ’ hand.  Not that it would have mattered.  He would have done the same thing.  He lunged into the room and threw himself across the bed and over Misha’s body until he collided with Russ at full force.  His almost instantaneous attack must have caught Russ off guard because he raised his hands to defend himself rather than threaten Misha or attack Jensen.

The two men crashed to the floor and Russ lost a hold his knife immediately, but in the struggle he grabbed Jensen’s wrist and slammed his hand into the nightstand, making him grunt with pain and drop the weapon.  Russ got in one punch to his jaw, and it was a hard hit, but Jensen barely registered it.  He fought back and used the advantage of being mostly on top to position his knees over Russ’ stomach and dig in.  The man gasped as he lost his breath and Jensen punched him.  He grabbed him by his uniform shirt and held him in place as he punched him again and again.  He continued to hit him even after the man went limp under him.  He only stopped because he lost his balance when Russ’ stomach unclenched and his knees wobbled.

Russ’ face was bloody and already swelling, but he was still conscious.  Jensen quickly pulled his handcuffs out and closed one around Russ’ left wrist.  He dragged his body over to the heavy dresser that housed the ancient forty pound TV and slipped the second cuff behind one of the legs and secured it on Russ’ right wrist.  His arms were pulled down awkwardly behind him and he wouldn’t be able to generate enough leverage to lift the piece of furniture and slip free.  Jensen quickly frisked him, doing his best to ignore the way Russ’ not swollen eye stayed focused on his face, and removed a pocket knife, a lock pick set, and a thin piece of wire with wooden pegs twisted onto the ends—a handmade garrote.

Then Jensen quickly stood and retrieved his gun, securing it in the holster and snapping the cover into place.  As he did so he noticed the spread on the desk: a black piece of velvet covered most of the surface and laid upon it were scalpels, knives of all sizes, ice picks, pliers, hammers, mallets, cruel looking metal instruments he didn't have names for, and on the far end was a wide variety of glass, metal, and plastic dildos—some that were much too large to use without resulting in permanent damage and one that had metal spikes lining it.  He felt his stomach lurch and was grateful he hadn't eaten in several hours.  He turned his back on the desk.  He knelt on the bed and Misha flinched and screamed behind the gag when he felt the mattress shift.

“Shh, Misha, it’s me.  It’s Jensen.  It’s okay.  I’ve got you.”

Misha stopped trying to move away, though he really couldn’t move, and tilted his head toward Jensen’s voice.  Jensen didn’t know where to start, but his arms looked to be in the worst shape.  He used the pocket knife he’d taken off Russ to cut the fishing wire holding his wrists up.  He carefully held his arms so that when the tension disappeared the limbs wouldn’t just crash to the bed.  Misha pulled his arms under his chest while Jensen unbuckled the gag.  He moaned when the too large ball was pulled free and a large quantity of saliva dribbled onto the sheets.  He let out a small sobbing noise and sucked air in through his mouth, getting a large lungful.  When Jensen pulled the blindfold off, he kept his eyes closed and rested his head on the bed and just concentrated on breathing.  Jensen wanted to look into his eyes and know that he was okay, but he didn’t want to force him to do anything, so he moved to his feet and unbuckled the spreader bar and let it fall to the floor.  Misha flinched at the sound.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Jensen tried to calm him.  “You’re safe.  I’m here.”  Jensen was nervous to touch him, but when he put his hands to his legs to help draw them together so he could lie more comfortably on the bed, he didn’t recoil.  Jensen sat next to him and rubbed soothing circles on Misha’s back with one hand while he used his phone to call 911 with the other.  When he was assured help was on the way, he hung up and looked at Russ.  He hadn’t moved, and just kept staring.

Jensen immediately turned to Misha when he felt him stirring.  He helped the man turn over and sit up, and then pulled him tightly to his chest when Misha leaned into his body.  Jensen put a hand to the back of his head, threading his fingers through greasy, sweat soaked hair and felt utterly thankful for the feeling.  His other arm circled him and pulled him even tighter.  Misha winced and made a small sound of protest in the back of his throat.  Jensen immediately loosened his hold and pulled back to see if he had done any damage.  The Angel Slayer did like to beat his victims before the more creative torture began.  Jensen felt sick at the thought and swallowed back a sudden rush of bile.  Anger flared through him hot and blinding.  He focused his attention on looking at Misha’s body just so he wouldn’t turn around and shoot Russ in the face.  Or the balls.

Then his eyes caught on it.  The very first thing the Angel Slayer did to his targets was brand them with their crime.  Directly over Misha’s heart, in letters no bigger than necessary to cross the organ, seared red and black into his skin was a single word: Thief.

Jensen lifted a hand and just at the last moment remembered himself and didn’t touch.  He gathered Misha close again, careful this time not to make his chest push together and aggravate the wound.  He placed his chin on top of Misha’s head and murmured more nonsense that was meant to be reassuring but just sounded hollow and obnoxious to his ears.  And then he couldn’t keep it in anymore.  He turned to look at Russ, keeping Misha shielded from his view with his body.

“Why thief?” Jensen asked.

Russ wasn’t even surprised that he’d been spoken to.  He’d been watching them unwaveringly, just waiting to be acknowledged.

“Because he’s a thief, Jensen.  He stole something very precious.”

Jensen clenched his teeth, trying to keep his cool.  “And what was that?”

“Your attention,” Russ said, his tone dangerous.  Jensen felt Misha begin to shiver in his arms.  “He took your attention from me.”

Jensen let go of Misha and pulled away slightly so he could remove his suit jacket, but Misha leaned into him and began babbling.  An incessant stream of “No, no, don’t leave me,” fell from his lips.  Jensen shucked out of his coat quickly and wrapped it around Misha’s shoulders.  Then he pulled the man close again and kissed the top of his head.

“It’s alright, baby.  I won’t leave you.  Help is coming.  I promise you’re safe now.”

“See, he’s still doing it,” Russ said from behind him.

Jensen turned a glare on him.

“So needy,” Russ murmured.  “So greedy.  I couldn’t figure out why you gave so much of your attention to him.  He’s not that clever, you know.  He’s not very interesting.  Leads a dull, meaningless life that he tries to pretend isn’t by traveling to see other people who have just suffered the worst moments of their lives.  To make himself feel better about his own pathetic existence.  I just didn’t understand why you were drawn to him.  Until I realized you were fucking him.”  Russ sighed.  “Always with the sex.  So disappointing.  I thought you would be above that, Jensen, I really did.”

Jensen gnashed his teeth together so he wouldn’t point out all the sick sexual acts he had inflicted on his victims.  He wouldn’t argue with him.

“You’re so beautiful, Jensen.  Not your body, I could care less about that, but your mind.  Your reasoning.  Your intelligence.  Your flaws.  Your neurosis.  Your determination.  I saw you once.  In DC.  At the third scene.  God, I almost didn’t leave when I saw you.  I wanted to stay there and have you hunt me down.  It’s all I wanted.  You were perfect.  But, self-preservation is a strong motivator.  And I left you.”

Russ smiled and leaned his head back.  “You have no idea how happy I was to see you in the station that day.”

Jensen remembered thinking Russ was hiding an erection the first time he saw him at the station; he had an inkling how happy he'd been.

“You were here.  In my hometown.  Looking for me.  But, I wasn’t going to do anything to make you stay.  No, you had to figure it out on your own.  And you did.  I never doubted you.  You knew it was me.  You felt it was me.  You said so.

“It was glorious, Jensen, watching you work.  I didn’t even mind Jared all that much.  He’s cute, huh?  Like a puppy.  Thought about slitting Gen from throat to cunt a few times.”

Jensen tightened his hold on Misha and didn’t respond.  Misha’s trembling had grown worse.  He should make Russ stop talking, but short of letting Misha go and knocking him unconscious he didn’t think anything would work.  And letting go of Misha was not an option.

“Oh, God, I almost got away with it too, you know?  Hubris.  That’s what I thought it was.  I was just going to kill Misha and sink his body in the lake.  His disappearance would all but convict him.  But then, I thought, no he’s been marked.  He has to be done proper.  Self-preservation should be strong enough to overcome hubris.  Like it did in DC.  But I couldn’t let this one go.  And now I know why.  I didn’t care about keeping the Angel Slayer’s record intact—I just wanted to torture and gut that fucker for taking away what was mine!

Jensen leaned forward into Misha, his heart pounding, actually horrified by the scream that had ripped its way from Russ’ throat.  His eyes were wild and he started straining at his restraints.  The bureau tipped forward.  Jensen had one moment of paralyzing terror when he just knew Russ was going to get free and kill them both—and then Jared burst into the room, gun drawn.

“Jensen!  Are you okay?  What happened?  Where’s Russ?”

Russ slumped back to the floor and the dresser settled back on its legs.  Jensen clutched at Misha’s shoulders and looked at Jared.  Jared was torn between keeping his eyes on Russ and his curiosity and concern of Misha’s condition.

“Is he okay?” Jared asked.

“I-I—” Jensen let out a shuddering breath.  He was shaking almost as violently as Misha.  “S-sorry.  You okay, Mish?”

Misha didn’t move at first, but then he shook his head.  Jensen felt his heart seize up.

“Jared, we can’t wait for an ambulance.  Can you stay with Russ while I get Misha to the hospital?”

“Of course—” He stopped talking as sirens began to sound in the distance.  “Wait, that’s not a police cruiser.  That’s an ambulance.  Did you call 911?”


“Okay.  Then stay here.  It will be best if he’s transported in the ambulance.”

A moment later the ambulance siren became muddled with the wail of police cruisers.  Jensen shifted so he could pull the sheet free and wrapped it around Misha’s lower body.

“No, not like that, Jensen,” Russ laughed from behind him.  “He was meant to be a present, but not all wrapped up.  Can you imagine it—coming here and finding him in your bed—but fixed up all pretty by me?”

“Shut-up!” Jared shouted.  "You think if I shoot you in the face anyone is going to give a damn?"

"Jensen will.  He's got questions.  Don't you, angel?"

Russ started giggling and then he started laughing.  By the time the ambulance and police arrived he was in hysterics and Jensen had picked Misha up in his arms and carried him outside.  He nearly threw up when he had to surrender Misha to the paramedics.  For the second time in twenty-four hours he saw—his lover—strapped onto a gurney and taken away in an ambulance.

Ty and Jim were on the scene, looking utterly shell-shocked.  One officer had broken down when he found out about Russ and had to be sedated.  Jensen had been given the privilege of making the official arrest.  He and Jared made him lay face down and then stood on his limbs as they removed the bureau so he wouldn't try to make a break for it or attack them.  It also helped that there were six guns trained on him by very antsy and emotionally distraught Elton police officers.

Once he was on his feet, Jensen told him his Miranda rights and tried to ignore the way Russ just kept staring at him.  He led him outside and saw that the other federal agents had been called to the scene.  Lawson, the agent from Boston who had been the most vocal and adamant about Misha's guilt took a step forward.  Jensen paused on the way to Ty's squad car.  Lawson looked at him, a distressed expression on his face.  He struggled for a moment to find words, and then looked like he was going to give up.  Finally he said, "For what it's worth, I'm sorry."

Jensen nodded.  "You were just doing your job.  You don't need to apologize for that."

Lawson bowed his head.  Jensen led Russ over to Ty's vehicle and deposited him into the back of the vehicle.

"You know where to find me, Jensen," Russ said, almost dreamily.  "Don't keep me waiting."

Jensen slammed the door shut in his face.

Chapter Text

Friday, November 22, 2013 

Jensen wrinkled his nose at the strong antiseptic smell of the hospital and read the numbers on the doors as he passed them.  He hadn't been able to see Misha last night because he'd developed a high fever due to the stress his body had undergone and been placed in critical care.  Only family members were allowed to see those patients.  He wondered if anyone cared that this particular patient didn't have any family anymore.

Fortunately his fever had come down overnight and he had been moved to a standard room.  No one would tell Jensen the extent of his injuries, so he had no idea what to expect when he reached room 3014.  The door was slightly ajar and it was a private room, but Jensen knocked tentatively anyway.  He didn't get a response, so he stood awkwardly outside and glanced up and down the hallway.  He tried knocking a little louder.  This time he heard some sort of vocal noise from inside the room, so he pushed the door open and looked inside.

He didn't know why he'd been expecting Misha to look small and pale and battered; he was still strong and tan and beautiful, though the bags under his eyes were dark and his lips were more chapped than usual.  There was surprisingly little bruising on what skin was visible.  Perhaps Russ had literally just gotten started and not managed to hurt Misha at all.  Then he saw the short cast on Misha's left wrist that covered part of his hand as well.  His eyes scanned up Misha's body, but too much of him was covered by blankets and an ugly sea foam green polka dotted hospital gown for him to get a true assessment of Misha's condition.  There was a small bruise with an inflamed red center on the side of his neck, but other than that he was unmarked.  He looked further up and was met with the stunning clarity of Misha's deep ocean eyes.

He smiled softly.  "Hey, Mish."

Misha looked away from him and Jensen felt that sharp stabbing pain in his chest which was an all too familiar sensation when he was around him.  Then he looked back and squirmed up in the bed to sit a little bit higher.

"Hi, Jensen."

Jensen took a deep breath and considered that to be an invitation to come in.  He walked over to the side of the bed and pulled a chair close.  He sat down on the edge of the chair to be closer to the bed.  Misha watched him the whole time.

"So," Jensen said with an apologetic smile, "I'm going to ask the stupid question everybody asks.  How are you feeling?"

Misha laughed softly and Jensen felt his spirits lift.  He was thankful Misha could still smile and even laugh.  He had no doubt the psychological wounds would be the worst damage he suffered, but maybe he would come out of this relatively unscathed.

"I'm alright.  A little sore.  I definitely had some muscles stretched and body parts bent in ways they haven't been in years.  In some cases, never had been before.  I think I should actually thank you."

"Yeah?" he asked, tilting his head with a confused smile.

"Yeah.  You definitely got me loose and more flexible these past two months than I had been in, oh, four and a half years."

Jensen laughed and then felt a sob welling up.  He covered his eyes with a hand and took in a deep breath to compose himself.  It was only a moment, but he could tell when he looked back up that he hadn't fooled Misha a bit.

"So.  Um."  Jensen didn't know how to ask his next question.  "I know it's none of my business, so you don't have to tell me anything at all...I mean, maybe I shouldn't ask—"

"Broken wrist," Misha said.  "He smashed it with a rubber mallet.  I think he was actually aiming for my hand and missed.  It was how he got me to finally wake up.  I think he dosed me with too much Telazol and I was out for a long time.  I don't think he touched me except to strip me and tie me up while I was out.  It's no fun when the victim isn't awake, right?"

Jensen shifted in his seat and wanted to reach out and take Misha's hand, but he waited.

"So, I guess I was very lucky that he didn't have a lot of time to work with.  When I first came to, I could tell I was tied spread eagle on a bed, face up, but I was too groggy to understand what was happening.  That's when he smashed my wrist.  It woke me up.  Then he sat on the bed next to me and used a lighter to heat up the metal brand in his hand.  Talked the whole time about how he'd shaped the metal himself.  God does he love the sound of his own voice."

Jensen nodded agreement.

"So, then he branded me.  It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would.  I mean, it hurt, but it cauterizes the wound too, so.  But anyway.  Then he told me what it said.  And as he—repositioned—me, he just kept talking about my crime.  On and on about what an obnoxious worm I was for stealing you away from him.  And how I was lower than scum for resorting to sex to do it.  Never mind that it was you who kept coming on to me."

Jensen cleared his throat and ducked his head.

"Not that I minded, but still.  And then he just kept talking about how amazing and wonderful you are and blah, blah, blah."

Jensen looked up at that and fought the twitch of his lips to form a smile.  Misha was giving him a quirked eyebrow.

"Don't get a big head.  Obsession leads to hyperbole.  And he was—is—obsessed with you.  He kept track of you, you know?  Talked about how he followed your career at the Bureau.  He was angry that you worked counterintelligence for so long."

Jensen felt his heart stop momentarily.  Russ had been stalking him for eight years?  What if he'd found out about his family or had done something to them in secret.  He thought about the time his brother's car had been damaged in a hit and run.  And the time his sister had been made uncomfortable by a guy who had kept bothering her at the Starbucks she always went to until she found a new place to get her coffee.  Had that been Russ?

"Anyway.  That was it.  Just positioning me.  Talking about you.  Nothing happened."

Jensen opened his mouth and then closed it.  Misha was lying.  But if he didn't want to talk about it yet, he certainly wasn't going to try to force anything out of him.  Misha met his eyes, realized Jensen knew he was lying, and then looked away.  An awkward silence fell.

"So," Jensen said, clearing his throat yet again.  "How did Russ find you, or..."

Misha laughed bitterly.  "Oh, he was very kind.  Offered me a ride home.  He came by the hospital and—Jesus—he played me like a fucking fiddle.  Fed into my annoyance that I was being babied because of a little knot on the back of my head.  Pointed out how I'd be much more comfortable sleeping in my own bed.  Said Bunny missed me and was outside in the car.  He was clever enough to disappear while I signed myself out of the hospital.  And then we started driving back to Elton.  I wasn't even paying attention that we were heading the wrong way completely.  And then suddenly something stabbed me in the neck.  I had no idea what had happened—it didn't really hurt that much and I went foggy right away.  I heard Bunny barking, but then I slipped under.  And...well."

Misha twisted the worn out cotton blanket in his hand.

"Um.  Jen..."  Misha's voice had grown quite thick and he was suddenly fighting back a wash of tears.  "Where's Bunny?"

Jensen put a hand to his mouth and looked away for a moment.  He pulled himself together and reached out and took Misha's hand.

"Um.  Russ drugged her.  But.  He gave her too much."  Misha closed his eyes and sucked in a sharp breath through his teeth.  "I'm so sorry, Mish.  She didn't make it.  I—"

"Don't," Misha said and pulled his hand away.

Jensen looked up, shocked by Misha's sudden withdrawal.

"Don't what?"

"Don't care.  Don't come in here and tell me my dog is dead and try to comfort me.  It's probably best if you just left."

Jensen sat back, his mind reeling in denial.  He was hearing things wrong.

"I'm sorry, I don't understand—"

"Jensen.  I live here.  You live in DC.  You're not going to give up your job or transfer to frickin' Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  My life is here.  This isn't going to be anything.  It was always going to be temporary.  It was supposed to be impersonal.  Let's not draw it out, okay?  We're not going to do some long distance relationship.  Those never work.  I mean, you weren't thinking that, were you?"

"I—" Jensen's brain wasn't functioning properly and he felt an odd pressure in his chest that wasn't making it any easier to absorb Misha' words.  "I hadn't really thought that far ahead," he answered honestly.

"Exactly.  So.  Don't make it worse, okay?  We should just part ways while we can still do it without being—you know, just..."

"Misha, this isn't something we need to talk about now."

"No, it's something we don't need to talk about at all.  I'm not going to try to do some ridiculous back and forth bullshit—" His voice cracked and he had to stop.  His chin quivered and he fought to draw in a breath.  Tears fell silently from Jensen's eyes as he watched Misha completely break down.

"I can't, Jensen," he said, sobbing and gasping between words.  "I can't...have you and then have it taken away.  I don't want to go through that.  To try and have it all fall apart—and it will—would hurt too much.  I'd rather just not try at all."


"Please leave.  Don't make me ask again."

Jensen withdrew and clasped his hands together to keep them from shaking.  He stood up and felt dizzy, but he forced himself to walk to the door.  He paused at the threshold and said, "If there's ever anything you need, you can always...ask.  Okay?"

He got no response but Misha's muffled crying.  Jensen walked into the hallway and quickly located a bathroom.  He shut the door to the single toilet room and ran some water in the sink.  After a minute of splashing cold water on his face, he blotted himself dry with paper towels and then looked at himself in the mirror.  For the life of him he couldn't see anything reflected back.

Jensen left the restroom and then left the hospital.  He was more than ready to leave Elton for good.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013 

"Morning," Russ said with a bright smile when he was led into the interview room in shackles.  "Do you have any plans for Thanksgiving?"

The corrections officer escorting him in chained his wrists to the table and his ankles to the floor.  Then he stood in the corner of the room.

Jensen kept his casual pose, leaning back in the chair with his legs crossed, and one wrist resting on the table.  Russ scooted his chair closer to the table.

"Where's your lawyer, Russ?"

"I told him not to come.  I'd prefer if he was gone too," he said with a nod toward the prison guard.  "But, c'est la vie."


"I'm a little upset with you, Jensen."

"Are you?" Jensen said in a tone that indicated exactly how many fucks, flying or otherwise, he gave about that.

"You haven't been to see me.  I've had a parade of assholes coming in here trying to talk to me like they're my friends.  Trying to scare me.  Trying to flatter me.  Trying to intimidate me.  Morons.  They don't get it.  They don't get me.  Not like you do."

Jensen shifted in his seat, but didn't respond.

"You said you'd visit me.  Why didn't you come sooner?"

Jensen shrugged a shoulder.  "I don't recall ever telling you I would come see you."

The chains rattled as Russ pulled at both his wrists and his ankles.

"Don't try to play coy.  It's beneath you."

"Apparently you have this perfect ideal of what I am constructed in your head.  Maybe you need to face the reality.  I pee in the shower.  I love Shark Week.  I antagonize serial killers.  I—bang K9 cops for fun while on a job."  Russ inhaled slowly, his eyes turning hard.  "And speaking of that," Jensen said leaning forward.  "Why'd you kill the dog, Russ?  I mean, you've decided you're going to waste the tax payers' dollars by actually forcing this thing to go to trial.  How much sympathy will you garner from the jury?  I mean, your daddy didn't hug you when you were a child so you kidnap, torture, rape, and kill people.  Sure, that makes sense.  But dogs?  People don't like it when you hurt animals."  Jensen shook his head and tsked at him.

Russ sat back in his chair, looking very annoyed.

Good, Jensen thought pettily.

"Believe it or not, the dog was an accident.  I didn't like the mutt, but I wasn't going to kill her.  If for no other reason than it would be strange if both he and the dog went missing and I knew nothing about it when she was in my care.  But after I stabbed him in the neck with the needle, she started attacking me from the backseat.  I almost crashed the car, but fortunately had the Telazol handy.  I was just in a hurry to get her off me so I just drew some up in the syringe and then stuck it in her.  I didn't know how much I had given her."  He shrugged.  "Shit happens, angel."

"Yeah.  Speaking of shit, we're going to figure out who all those jars belong to.  How many states are going to be clamoring for your blood?  Please say Texas.  They always treat serial killers so well."  Jensen smiled beatifically at him.

Russ smiled back and leaned forward again.  He reached his hands forward, but was drawn up short by the chains.

"If you can find them, I'll confirm it."

Jensen sat back.  "Not interested.  We've got enough on you.  But, something tells me you didn't kill the same after DC.  What changed?"

"I killed differently before DC.  They were all different.  Similar when they were together, but different in different cities."

Jensen swallowed and tried not to show a reaction to those words though he felt disgusted, horrified, and involuntarily impressed.

"So.  What made you go back to the angel names?"

"Pure chance.  I was in Natalia's house, just killing time while Gilbert fucked her whore mouth," Jensen clenched his hand into a fist under the table, "and I wandered into her basement.  And guess what I found?  A coffin.  It brought on such a nostalgic feeling.  And it made me think of you.  I couldn't help myself.  It was right there.  So, I decided to pull out an oldie but a goodie.  I knew I didn't want to do anything too similar so I needed a more obscure angel name.  I gave Gilbert a little more time and did some research.  I found that book at the library."  Russ laughed and Jensen cringed at the sound.  "Why didn't you look at the checkout record for that book, Agent?  Only four people had ever checked it out.  And I was one of them.  You could have wrapped this thing up three kills earlier."

Jensen closed his eyes and counted to ten.  He'd known it would be a mistake to come here.  He only felt nauseated around this man.  He opened his eyes.

"So why hide the brand?"

"I always hide the brands.  Those three in DC—I don't know.  I was experimenting.  But I always hid the brands under the tongues.  No one ever looked there.  Not once was it ever reported.  Or if they were found, no one ever linked them together."  Russ reached forward again, but again was stopped by his shackles.  "The crime is the important part, Jensen.  It's the only thing that matters."

Jensen bobbed his head.  "Okay then.  I guess you're totally right.  They all had it coming."

"They did.  You see it.   You just don't want to admit it.  Or can't admit it aloud in front of other people."

Jensen shook his head in disbelief.  "Why do you think you know anything about me?  Wait.  You know what?  Don't answer that.  I don't care."

"You do care."

"I really don't," Jensen said as he stood up.

"You'll come see me again," Russ said smugly.

"Well, the next time I see you, it'll be in Virginia."

Russ grinned.  "You're going to bring me closer to you."

"Well, we're submitting paperwork to get you extradited to Virginia.  You see, Russ, while New Hampshire does have the death penalty, they very rarely sentence anyone with it.  And even more rarely carry it out.  Virginia on the other hand—they're a bit more like Texas."

Russ' expression grew dark and Jensen smiled unpleasantly at him.

"See you in Virginia, Russ."

Jensen started for the door and the prison guard stepped forward to undo Russ' chains.

"You're going to take the death penalty off the table, Jensen."

Jensen whipped around.  "Am I?  Now, you're so smart, Russ, why the fuck would I do that?"

"Because I won't talk otherwise.  You wanna know what the other cities are, who the others are—I won't say a word if you try to kill me."

"We don't need you for that.  You catalogued everything so well for us.  I'm sure we'll be able to figure it out."

"Not the victims."  Russ' smile made Jensen's blood curdle in his veins.  "Do you really think Gilbert was my only disciple?  My first disciple?  I have literally dozens of accomplices out there.  I had three in DC alone."

Jensen stared at him and then shook his head.

"You're bluffing."

"Nick Tirro.  He helped me kill his mother.  You investigated him, remember?  But let him go because he had an alibi for Father Dolan.  Just like Gilbert had an alibi for Sarah Vanderpool.  They're all over the country, Jensen.  Some of them may have continued my work without me."

Jensen ran a hand down his face.  "Fuck," he whispered.

"Take the death penalty off the table.  Bring me close to you.  And we'll talk."

Jensen met Russ' eyes and stared him down.  He knew he couldn't break eye contact first, but he also knew Russ wasn't going to lose this.  Finally he looked away.

"We'll talk," is all Jensen would concede and walked out the door.


Friday, December 6, 2013 

The key turned smoothly in the lock and the door swung open.  Jensen stood momentarily surprised.  He'd gotten used to the rusted lock and sticking door of the Lakeside Motor Lodge.  He looked inside his apartment, waiting for a sense of disconnection or like he didn't belong to come over him.  Nothing happened.  He had spent three months away from home, tracking a killer he hadn't been able to forget about for eight years, witnessing acts more heinous than he'd ever been willing to believe a human was capable of...and making a connection with someone who had somehow made the experience bearable only to have his feelings flung back into his face and summarily dismissed.  He felt different.  He didn't think who he was at his core had changed, but his experiences in Elton were something that he would always carry around with him.  He thought that it would be reflected in other aspects of his life.

However, his living room with its blue and grey decor still had two pillows stuck at perfect ninety degree angles in the corners and the TV remote sat squarely on the ottoman.  His bedroom wasn't even musty when he walked in to hang his garment bag in the closet and set his backpack on the queen size bed.  He did notice that the top left corner of his green bedspread was flipped back revealing the striped under side.  He thought it would bother him knowing it had been like that for three months, but he found that he was able to push past that feeling—though he still fixed it before he left the room.

His kitchen looked small and inadequate compared to the only other one he'd been in lately, but it was familiar and everything was in its place.  He opened the refrigerator vaguely remembering that there should be four bottles of Dogfish Head IPA in the door.  It wasn't noon yet, but he really didn't care.  He'd spent two weeks in New Hampshire trying to get Little's extradition papers in order, but the fucking mayor of Elton—who hadn't made a peep the entire time the case had been ongoing—had put up a stink about the citizens of Elton not getting their day in court or some sort of bullshit.  After it pretty much became apparent Little would never receive a fair trial in Elton, Boston had stepped in a tried to make a claim on him, but the state of Massachusetts had no standing since he'd never committed a crime there—as far anyone knew.  It had been a long, obnoxious two weeks, but eventually Jensen had won his battle.  It wasn't a done deal yet; he still had some details to hammer out, but he felt confident enough that he would get his extradition that he packed his shit and headed home.  He'd been looking forward to sleeping in his bed on his journey home, but now he wondered if it would even make a difference.

With those maudlin thoughts and a roll of his eyes he picked up a bottle of beer and then reached onto the top shelf to pull out a plastic container.  The lid said it was extra garlic hummus.  He turned it sideways and grimaced at the green and white fur colony that had exploded inside the container.  Well, letting it get to room temperature in the trash wouldn't help anything, so he put it back in the fridge to wait until he knew he'd be taking the garbage out.

Jensen walked over to the drawer that housed his bottle opener and saw the base unit for his landline phone blinking on the counter.  The number four blinked at him as he took his first swig of beer.  He didn't think he'd even given this number out to four people.  He pressed the play button and the machine went through its spiel to announce the date and time of his first caller.

"Jenny, it's mom.  I thought you left tomorrow.  But I guess you left today.  I hope you remembered to get someone to come over and water your fichus.  They're hardy, but they still need regular water and sunlight.  Okay, love you.  Don't wait forever to call me back."

Jensen took a longer draught of his beer.  What good did leaving a message on his machine after he'd already left do?  Besides, that fichus had disappeared when the live-in girlfriend had.

The machine beeped.  "Jenny, it's mom.  You father needs new underwear.  What was that kind you bought?  Without the tags?"  Jensen's brow creased in confusion.   "Oh, wait, Hollis had those.  Never mind.  Love you."

Jensen wondered why his mother still knew what kind of underwear his brother wore.  Seemed like someone needed to start doing his own laundry.

"Jenny, it's mom."  Jensen laughed and walked away from the machine.  Of course, all four were probably from her.  This message was informing him of a dinner party she was planning with their lovely neighbors the McKennas and that she would wait until he was back to plan it so he could come.  He knew for a fact that his mother didn't particularly like the McKennas, but they did have a single daughter his age who was a doctor and a son who was a little younger who was a lawyer.  He wondered which one would also be showing up to dinner.

Real subtle, Mom, he thought as he waited for the fourth message.

"Hi, I'm trying to reach Jensen Ackles.  My name is Tyler and I'm calling from the Four Legged Warriors Adoption Program."  Jensen turned to look at the machine.  The what?  "You submitted an application to us a little over a year ago expressing an interest in adopting a veteran, and after approval you were placed on the waitlist.  We now have a six year old Weimaraner who returned from a tour in Afghanistan who needs a forever home.  If you're still interested, can you please give us a call back?"

Jensen sought out a packet of Post-It notes and a pen to write down the number.  He was a little stunned by the call.  He did remember putting in the application but he never knew it had been approved.  He thought a home inspection was required.  Maybe Lauren had brought them out.  Regardless, now that she was gone, getting a dog was no longer on his list of priorities.  The least he could do though was call the guy back and tell them he wasn't interested in case they were waiting on him.  The message was only two days old.

He called the number and got put on hold a couple of times until he reached the person who had called him.  Before Jensen could say anything the man started talking about how wonderful this dog was and how he'd seen quite a few military dogs in his day and this one was something special.  Before Jensen could interrupt him, the "but" came that he hadn't even been waiting for.  Apparently this dog was suffering from pretty severe PTSD, but that's why they had selected him because he had experience in law enforcement and training in victim assistance.  Yeah, human victim assistance.  He couldn't imagine there was much crossover in human and dog therapy.  The man was still talking, telling him he didn't have to make a decision over the phone, but he was welcome to drive out to the facility to meet her first.  The man asked if he could make it out today even though he knew Jensen was about a two and a half hour drive away.  This would be time to tell him that his situation had changed and he was therefore no longer interested, but he found himself agreeing to drive out and meet her first before making a decision.

Even though Jensen had just spent over an hour in a car, two hours on a plane, and forty-five minutes in a taxi cab, he found himself getting ready for a two and a half hour drive out to the fucking countryside.  He hadn't even unpacked yet or picked up his mail from the post office, but at least this trip would help him to assess if over three months of inactivity had done any damage to his personal vehicle.  Classic cars were beautiful, but they couldn't just sit around for long stretches of time and still be expected to function properly.  He forgot to take the hummus mold out of the fridge when he left.


The "facility" was actually the large acreage of some guy's backyard.  There was a lot of open space for the dogs to run around in and a portion of the yard not too far from the house had been sectioned into large kennels.  Jensen was greeted by Tyler and as he shook his hand he knew he should just tell him that he couldn't take in a dog after all, but then he figured he had driven all the way out here so he might as well see it.  Tyler was excited, but also a little nervous.

"Is something wrong?" Jensen asked him, too tired to try to find a less direct way to ask his question.

"N-no.  Not really.  Well, kind of.  We've had Charlie for about six months now.  She was a bomb sniffer in Afghanistan for three years.  It was a long time to be there, but her handler stayed that long and she seemed well suited to the task.  Then one day her unit was hit with a roadside bomb.  She was thrown from the vehicle, but she'd been wearing body armor and came out relatively unharmed, physically.  But her handler died.  And the blast terrified her.  She's suffering from severe posttraumatic stress disorder and is nervous around people, especially crowds, and loud noises scare her.  She's not a good companion dog for households with children.  And lot of the people who were on the waitlist were willing to come out and meet her, but she's just so withdrawn and shy that no one's wanted to take her in."

Jensen looked at Tyler blankly.

"I'm not trying to guilt you into taking her.  She is a special case and would need a lot of attention and special care.  It won't be easy.  I just want you to know up front what you'd be getting yourself into.  That's all."

"Okay, I understand."

This was a good thing.  Now he could say no and it wouldn't come off like someone who had simply changed his mind about adopting a dog and would just be another in a long line of people who didn't want to deal with a traumatized animal.

When they reached her kennel, Jensen didn't even see her at first.  Then he noticed the scrunched up ball of silver-grey fur in the far corner of the four by eight foot cage.  Tyler opened the door and let Jensen step inside.  He shut the door behind him, but didn't lock it.

"I'll give you a few minutes.  Here." He handed him a brown squishy ball with a less than pleasant odor through the chain links.  "That's her favorite treat.  Or at least it's the one thing she'll always eat."

"Thanks," Jensen said, way past the point of wondering why he as even here.

He took a step toward the dog and she scrunched up even tighter and whined softly—frightened.  Jensen sighed and stepped back.  What the hell was he supposed to do?  He stared at the dog that stared warily back at him.  Then he sat down on the ground, not concerned with getting his jeans or T-shirt dirty, and leaned against one of the fence walls stretching his feet out.  He could just barely get his legs straight with his feet flat against the other side.  He glanced at the dog and then looked forward.

"I kinda sorta know how you feel," Jensen said.  "Never been blown up, but, wanting to curl up and hide?  Make everything go away?  That's a feeling I can relate to.  And maybe I shouldn't.  I've never had anything truly terrible happen to me.  I've just been there to see the worst things inflicted on other people.  So, really, what right do I have to be upset by it?  It didn't happen to me.  I'm fine.  I'm perfectly fucking fine."

He glanced at the dog.  She hadn't moved, but perhaps one ear was canted forward a little.

"Sorry.  I cuss a lot.  Bad habit."  He looked away from the dog again.  "I have a lot of bad habits.  You'd probably hate living with me.  Or maybe you'd only like me temporarily in an impersonal capacity."  He slumped back against the fence and ignored how the metal dug into his skin.  "Do I sound bitter?" he asked the dog.  "I am.  It's pathetic.  I think this is actually what a broken heart feels like.  No wonder I never tried to get close to anybody.  This sucks."

Jensen was rambling, he knew he was, but he couldn't stop talking.  He wasn't even sure what he was talking about most of the time.  He talked a little about his family and a little about his work.  And he knew every now and then the mention of a blue-eyed asshole slipped in.  It felt good to say some of his problems out loud; to actually hear them said.  Perhaps there was some credence to the whole psychiatry bullshit after all.  Not that he thought he needed a shrink.  Maybe he should get another fichus.  The last one had been an excellent listener.

Jensen realized he must have been talking for some time, but Tyler hadn't come back yet.  He checked his watch but didn't note the time.  How long would be long enough for him to be able to just say he tried but he didn't think it was going to work out so he could leave?  He glanced at the dog again and raised his eyebrows in surprise.  She'd left her corner and was now a couple of feet away, laying down with her chin on her paws, watching him.  For a moment he thought the dog liked him, and then he remembered the treat in his hand.

"Oh, you just want this, huh?" he asked her.  He held out the ball of—whatever—and she slowly inched forward on her belly.  When she got close enough he lowered the treat so she could take it.  He let her finish chewing before he stretched out a hand for her to sniff.  Then he gingerly petted the very top of her head with just his fingers.  The slightest movement of her tail was the only indication that she was okay with the contact.

"That's amazing."

Jensen turned and looked up to see Tyler standing at the kennel door.

"She's never come up to anyone on her own before.  I think this is a good match."

"You think so?" Jensen murmured, wondering how he could break the bad news to Tyler that he wasn't going to take her.

He contemplated how to say it all through signing paperwork and listening to instructions on how to deal with a PTSD dog while she was traumatized further when she was given a bath.  He wondered if there was a certain etiquette behind backing out of an adoption application as he helped load a large dog bed and a starter bag of food with a couple of food and water bowls into his trunk.  He wondered if he was going to have to get home before he admitted to himself that he'd just adopted a fricken dog as he took the leash from Tyler.  Charlie was hunched and shivering from all the activity, her tail tucked between her legs, but at least she wasn't trying to get away.

"That's a...unique car," Tyler said.  "What is it?"

"It's a '67 Chevy Impala.  I got it as a gift from a cranky old man when I was a teenager.  Which, isn't as creepy as it sounds.  I know it's not the typical vintage car most people covet, but for some reason—I saw this and just—fell in love."

Tyler nodded but Jensen could tell he didn't get it.

"Well, it does have a wide back seat, but I don't think I'll be able to get the crate in there.  At least not without damaging something."

"I don't need the crate."

"A lot of dogs find them comforting, especially when their owners are away at work for long hours."

"I'm not going to use a crate.  I just need the blanket."

Tyler shrugged and retrieved a soft, thick blanket to lay on the backseat.  Jensen led Charlie to the car and wondered how he was going to get her inside without freaking her out, but then she hopped right in.  Jensen shut the door behind her and then shook Tyler's hand.

"Not to be pessimistic, but if it turns out she's too much to take on, you can always bring her back here."  Jensen nodded and Tyler smiled.  "But, for someone reason, I don't think I'm ever going to see Charlie again."

Jensen grunted in response and got into his car.  He started the engine and began the long drive back to DC.  He glanced in the rearview mirror and saw Charlie laying down, but shivering as she kept her eyes on him.

"Don't worry.  I won't fuck this up," he said.  "I kind of know someone who might know a thing or two about dogs."  He glanced back at her again.  "Don't judge.  I'm not using you as an excuse to talk to him."

Jensen leaned an arm on the side of the door and laughed softly to himself as he concentrated on his driving.  He hadn't just adopted a military dog for the sole purpose of having an excuse to contact Misha, had he?  He laughed sadly and looked in his rearview mirror to see Charlie still watching him.

"I wish this was the most pathetic thing I've done in my life.  But it's really not."


Friday, December 13, 2013 

Jensen navigated to his personal e-mail account on the Internet as he tried to tune out the staticky drone of elevator music buzzing in his ear.  He was still dealing with the bureaucratic bullshit that accompanied getting Little extradited and he really wished the New Hampshire State Attorney's Office had more than one song to play when putting people on hold.

Jensen logged into his e-mail and tried not to be disappointed as he saw that his only new e-mail was a forwarded post from his mother full pictures of amazing sculptures carved out of fruits and vegetables.  It had been one week since he'd sent his e-mail to Misha, and he hadn't even received a token link to some website that might have advice for him.

He thought back to the message he had sent.  Had it been too desperate?  Too pathetic?  Perhaps it been too casual.  Too aloof.  He'd spent three hours writing and rewriting that damn e-mail.  Then he'd finally realized that rather than trying to justify contacting him with questions about the dog, he should just admit that he wanted to know how he was doing first.  And then ask about the dog.  He'd tried to keep it short, but he filled in Charlie's back story and told a little bit about their first night together.  It hadn't gone well.  An ambulance had gone by on the street outside and Charlie had huddled petrified in a corner and peed on the floor.  He was pretty certain he'd made a mistake taking her in.  She kept her distance from him and cringed when he tried to pet her.  She would do her business as soon as they stepped out on the sidewalk in front of his apartment and then would shrink down and refuse to budge and go for a proper walk.  He actually really did need help with her.

But Misha hadn't responded.  The first day he thought that maybe Misha just hadn't checked his e-mail yet.  The second he wondered if maybe Misha was trying to figure out what to say to him.  The third day he'd panicked and wondered if Misha had pushed him away because he'd known something had been damaged so badly that he was actually dying as he lay in the hospital bed and had expired shortly after.  He'd nearly called Ty to ask after him, but then he'd overheard Jared talking on the phone to Gen and wondering if it was a good thing Misha had already returned to work.  So, not dead and not incapacitated.  Three days later Jensen realized he needed to accept that he was being ignored or perhaps no response was the message Misha wanted to send.  He had been pretty clear at the hospital; Jensen should accept his decision.  Didn't mean it didn't hurt like a bitch though.

"Agent Ackles?"

"Yes?" Jensen returned his attention to the phone and closed the browser on the monitor.

"I can confirm that the Attorney General did sign the extradition order."

"That's good to hear."

"Yes.  So, as soon as we get it notarized and copied, we can fax it to the necessary parties and arrangements can be made for transportation."

"Fantastic.  Do you think you could get that fax out tonight?"

"Well, our notary has actually gone home already.  But, we'll be sure to get it done first thing next week."

Jensen closed his eyes and counted to five.  "Great," he said, hoping he didn't sound too manic.  "I appreciate all your help."



Jensen hung up.


He looked at the time.  It was barely past 4:30.  Well, if the notary for the New Hampshire State Attorney's Office could go home this early, so could he.  He logged off his computers and put his winter coat on over his polo shirt and jeans.  Casual Fridays were awesome.  He unzipped his gym bag and took a sniff.  It could probably go another week.  He zipped it closed and dropped it on the floor taking only his briefcase with him.  The briefcase he'd only started carrying so as to always have Little's paperwork on hand should he ever need to find a nearby fax machine in case something went missing.

Before leaving he walked to the other side of his cubicle to say goodnight to Jared.  He saw his squad mate—and now, good friend—sitting back in his chair and talking to a woman with long dark hair.

"Oh, hey, Jay.  I don't want to disturb you, I just want to say—" Jensen stopped talking when the woman turned around.  He broke out into a smile.  "Gen!"

"Hi, Jensen."

Jensen took a step forward, but then paused.  They hadn't hugged when they'd said goodbye in Portsmouth, but then she took the two steps necessary to get close enough to hug him.  He laughed at his own awkwardness and she smiled at him.

"It's good to see you.  What are you doing here?"

"TDY at headquarters."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah, I heard it's good for your career."

"Though not your health," Jensen laughed.  "Good luck with that."

She shrugged a shoulder.  "It's only ninety days.  So, maybe it won't be too bad."

"Well, we'll have to go out some time.  In fact, the buildings are close enough we could meet for lunch."

"I would like that."

"Gen is also considering transferring down here," Jared said.

Jensen flicked his eyes to Jared's grin and then looked back at Gen.  "Is that so?  What spurred that decision?"

Gen shrugged.  "I don't know.  I just think a change would be nice.  And you two seemed to think that the mid Atlantic is the be all and end all of places to live.  I thought I'd check it out."

"Well, that's great.  We'll definitely have to arrange a trip to the museums and the monuments to lure you in."

Gen laughed.  "There are probably other things that would make me want to stay more."

Jensen gave a slight nod of his head and tried not to laugh out loud.

"Okay then.  I guess I'll leave one of those other things to work his magic then."

Gen tilted her head and then followed Jensen's eye line back to Jared.  She stiffened.

"That's not—I meant like the climate and the career opportunities!"

"Oh.  Of course.  Well, if you have the time on Monday, we'll have to show you the best places to get lunch around here."

She crossed her arms and gave him a little glare.  "I'd like that."


Jensen looked at Jared again and he put his hands out in an "I don't know" gesture behind Gen's back.

"Well, goodnight," Jensen said.

"What, you're leaving?  It's not even five o'clock," Jared accused good-naturedly.

"Yeah, well, I've got some under the table comp time from the work we did up north."

"Are you just going to go home?" Gen asked.  "Jared and I were going to grab something to eat later.  Would you like to meet us?"

"I would, but I've got to go home and feed Charlie and work and getting her not to pee in front of my building door."

Gen titled her head in question.

"Right.  I got a dog.  She's an army veteran and is having some troubles adjusting to civilian life I guess.  It's a work in progress."

"That's really nice."


Jensen could see that Gen was dying to ask if he'd asked for any help of the dark-haired, blue-eyed, gorgeous variety, but she refrained.

"Goodnight, Jensen," Jared said.  "We'll see you Monday."

"Yeah.  See you then."

Jensen left the office and felt a little improvement in his mood.  He was happy for his friend.  Granted there was no guarantee anything would come of Gen's TDY, but at the very least it would be fun to rag on Jared and tease him mercilessly for the next three months.

Charlie didn't greet him at the door when he got home.  She never did.  And it took a full fifteen minutes to coax her from her bed in the corner of the living room even though he knew she needed to relieve herself after being inside for over eight hours.  She refused to go more than three feet past the door to the hydrant and did double duty quickly.  She pulled on the leash to go back inside as Jensen struggled to bag up her business and drop it off in a curbside garbage can.

"Alright, alright," Jensen grumbled, letting her pull him inside and away from the moderately noisy street traffic outside his building.  It was cold enough that he didn't even want to try getting her to walk a little.  As soon as the leash was off her collar, she darted for her bed and curled up on it.  Jensen gave her a scoop of dry food in her bowl, but she didn't show the least interest in it.  Maybe he could get her to eat a treat or he could try bribing her with some wet food.  She liked wet food enough that he could usually get a hand on her and pet her while she was eating.

He was getting a can out of the pantry when there was a knock at his door.  He raised his eyebrow in curiosity as he made his way across the kitchen.  It wasn't impossible to get into his building without a key, but generally people buzzed his apartment in order to be let in.  Perhaps it was the building manager coming to tell him he couldn't have a dog.  Wouldn't that be awkward?  He looked through the peep hole and couldn't see much as the person had his head bowed down.  Well, he was an FBI agent.  He wasn't really afraid of home invasions.

Jensen opened the door and Misha looked up at him.  They stared at each other.  For a really long time.  Even Jensen thought it was a bit excessive for what the drama of the situation warranted.  After he considered if he should say hi or kiss him and then slap him, he settled on doing what he really wanted to do.  He reached out and grabbed his shoulder, hauling him forward into a bone crushing embrace.  Misha hugged him back, arms going high around his shoulders, almost around his neck.  Jensen bent his head and put his lips on Misha's T-shirt where shoulder met neck.  He inhaled deeply and immediately felt high with the sweet masculine scent that was uniquely Misha.  And cinnamon.  Of course, just a hint of cinnamon.

"Hey, Misha," he said, words muffled by Misha's body.

"Hey, Jensen.  I got your e-mail."


"Yeah.  I tried to answer it a couple of times, but then just figured it would be easier to explain things in person."

"I see."

They were quiet for a few more moments, not ready to let go of each other.  Jensen wanted to know what this meant, what was going through his mind.  If he still felt as hopeless about their situation as he had that day in the hospital.  But he couldn't ask.  He didn't want to know that Misha really had come just to help with Charlie and then he was planning on leaving.  He didn't want to have to tell Misha he was going to tie him up and lock him in the closet because considering recent events that would just be in poor taste.

Jensen opened his eyes.  Behind Misha in the hallway were two rolling suitcases, a large duffle bag, and a backpack.  He pulled back and felt Misha very reluctantly let him go.  He nodded his head indicating the bags in the hall and smiled at Misha and his messy hair and his annoyed expression at being let go.

"You planning on staying a while, Mish?"

"Yep," he said, almost defiantly.

Jensen laughed.  "I can get behind that."

Misha tried to hide his shaky sigh of relief.  "I'm glad to hear that.  Frankly, I was expecting a door in my face."

Jensen reached a hand up and brushed his knuckles down Misha's cheek.  The man sighed and closed his eyes at the touch.  He opened them again when Jensen dropped his hand back to his side.

"What changed?" Jensen asked.

Misha licked his lips.  "Nothing.  I just realized I'm not the kind of person who would rather not try something because I'm afraid it might not work.  I would much rather try and fail than to give up what I want."

Jensen nodded and felt a little perverse satisfaction in watching Misha shift nervously under his mild gaze.

"This would be the part when you say something cheesy like, 'We're not gonna fail, Mish.'  Right?"

Jensen let him squirm a little longer, and then he grinned and leaned forward.  He stopped just short of kissing him and loved the small gasp Misha made when their lips brushed together.

"We're not gonna fail, Mish."

Misha surged forward and kissed him hard, wrapping his arms around his neck and pulling him close.  Jensen let his hands slide slowly around his waist, letting Misha have complete control of the kiss.  At one point Misha began talking in the kiss, and Jensen thought he may have been apologizing for something, but he certainly didn't have enough cognitive ability at the moment to understand any of it.  He was aware enough to feel Misha's hands sliding over his shoulders, down his back, and over his hips.  He moaned softly into the kiss, sliding his own hands down to grab Misha's ass.

Then Misha stopped kissing him and pulled back.  Jensen opened his eyes and could feel the frown tugging at his lips.

"Why'd you stop?" he asked petulantly, but Misha wasn't looking at him.

"Hey," Misha said softly, sweetly, looking down.  "You must be Charlie."

Jensen looked down and saw that Charlie had left her safe corner and had come over to see Misha.  He gently petted the backs of his fingers on the top of her head.

"You've got to be fucking kidding me.  She only lets me pet her if I feed her," Jensen grumbled.

Misha smiled and leaned into Jensen's warmth, keeping up the gentle, soothing movement of his hand on Charlie's head.  Jensen wrapped his arms around Misha and rubbed his back.  He settled his cheek on the top of Misha's head and tried not to be jealous of a dog.


Saturday, December 14, 2013 

Jensen opened his eyes.

Across the room he saw that IKEA dresser with its slant to the left.  He really needed to get rid of that stupid thing.  Then his chest tightened.  He realized the only reason he could see the dresser was because of the wide open expanse of mattress in front of him.  Had he dreamed Misha had come to him yesterday?  Had Misha decided he'd made a mistake and left him?  He turned and sat up, and promptly heard a grunt and a thump as something hit the floor.  Jensen turned to investigate and saw Misha scowling at him from an undignified position beside the bed.

"Jesus, Jensen, why didn't you just tell me you prefer the left side of the bed."

Jensen laughed, never having been so happy to see a naked man sprawled on the carpet.  He reached a hand down and helped Misha back up onto the mattress, sliding over just enough to give him room to sit on the bed, but forcing them to remain pressed tightly together.  Jensen immediately began kissing and sucking on the spot just below his left ear.  Misha hummed in the back of his throat and threaded his fingers through Jensen's hair to hold him in place.  Hands began to roam and their legs entwined, seeking to bring their awakening groins together.  Misha turned and pushed his hands flat on Jensen's chest, making him lie flat.  He stayed above him for a moment, just looking at him, and Jensen dropped his eyes feeling almost shy.  His gaze landed on Misha's chest.

Jensen raised a hand and traced the mostly healed brand over his heart.  He'd ignored it last night, but in the light of day he couldn't pretend it wasn't there.  It had just passed the scabbing phase and the reddish-pink marks were fading into white.  Jensen could feel the raised texture of the skin as he ran his finger over it.  This was his fault.  If he had gone with Misha to the hospital the first time, Russ would never have gotten him.

"Hey," Misha said softly, catching Jensen's finger in his hand.  "We might never have caught Russ otherwise."

Jensen frowned at him.  He didn't like nor did he believe in psychics.

"It's okay," Misha said, leaning down.  "I'm okay."

He kissed Jensen's lips lightly, and then kissed a trail over his chin and down his throat.

"Wait a sec, Mish."

"What?"  Misha murmured around a mouthful of Jensen's neck.

"There's something we need to talk about."

Misha immediately stopped what he was doing and sat up.  He gave Jensen his full attention.  Well, mostly.  His right hand was circling a finger around and around his hip bone.

"What is it?"

"You should know something up front about me.  I kind of told you before, but I've never really been in a serious relationship.  The closest I came was a ten month relationship.  I don't know what came over me, but I asked her to move in with me after only dating for six months.  And four months later we broke up.  I don't—trust people easily.  And I don't open up to them.  And I don't want to let them in because I'm afraid I'll just get hurt.  There's a reason for it.  A bad experience I had when I was younger, but that's a story for another time."

Misha nodded solemnly.

"The point is, I don't move fast and I put 'walls up,'" he said, rolling his eyes at the term his last girlfriend had used.  "I've been accused of intentionally keeping people guessing at what my true feelings for them are.  I guess because it keeps them at a distance.  I like distance."

Misha took in a deep breath and let it out slowly.  "I understand.  I can get my own place.  And I'm sure I can find a hotel to keep my stuff in tonight..."  Misha trailed off and cocked his head as he looked at Jensen's expression.  "But, that's not why you're telling me all this, is it?"

"No.  I just need you to understand what I'm like."


"So that you understand what it means when I say I love you."

Misha's jaw dropped.  And then he snapped it closed.

"I'm in love with you, Misha.  And I can't even contemplate living the rest of my life without you in it."

Misha stared.

"I needed you to know how serious I am.  So that you can make a decision about staying with me based on knowing that for me this isn't a 'let's date and see how things go' thing.  This is it—no, this is everything for me."

Misha only looked slightly scared for a moment longer.  Then he smiled and combed his fingers through Jensen's hair.

"Okay.  Sounds perfect."

Jensen blinked, startled.  He hadn't known what he'd been expecting after that ill-planned speech, but this wasn't it.

"I quit my job.  Just closed on my parents' house.  I've moved everything I own—or least wanted to keep—down here.  Got a ticket for speeding in a red car down 95 and couldn't use professional courtesy to get out of it since I don't have my badge anymore.  So...I came here with the expectation that you would be everything I needed to start over.  Which, is not quite as romantic a declaration as yours was, but I don't want to date you either.  I just want to be with you.  And I'm crossing my fingers that you're not a Steelers fan because that would be a deal breaker."


Misha made a sympathetic face.  "Well, that's just embarrassing.  But I guess I can live with that."

He started to lean down to kiss him but Jensen put a hand to his face and pushed him back.

"Did you leave the Charger parked outside on the street?"

"Yeah.  It said there was no parking limit on the weekends."

Jensen groaned.  "Man, you have got to learn how to respect that car.  That is my deal breaker."

"Okay.  I'll make you a deal.  You can have the fucking car if you will just shut up and kiss me."


Misha leaned down and Jensen pushed his face away again.


"Fuck, what?"

"How did you sell the house so fast?"

"Jensen, seriously?"


"It was already on the market.  I'd turned down the last offer.  And after everything happened, I asked the realtor to call them and see if they were still interested.  They were.  We expedited the appraisal and the home inspection by doing an 'as is' sale.  Three weeks and done.  I was starting to get worried about where I would stay since everything was moving so quickly and I would have to move out almost immediately, but then I got your e-mail and figured I was set."

"What?  So you weren't really nervous at all that I would turn you away?"

Misha smiled cheekily.  "No, not really."


Misha shrugged a shoulder.  "Moot point now.  So.  Can we kiss?  And hopefully hump our way to an orgasm if not outright fuck before breakfast?"

"So, you just came down here, homeless and jobless and just expected that I would take care of everything?"

"Uh...yeah.  Though you're clearly not taking care of everything."  He rubbed his erection against Jensen's thigh.

"I'm not going to be your sugar daddy.  I don't want a kept man."

"So, I'll find a job.  Pretty sure Washington, DC has a police department."

Jensen made a face.  "Ooo, you don't want to work for the MPD."

"Well, then what's a better option?  Should I look in Virginia or Maryland?"

Jensen's eyes lit up.  Misha sat back a little.

"Oh, God, what?"

"We got an e-mail the other day telling us they were going to open up agent applications again in the next month or so.  Even with the budget cuts they still have to fill a certain number of positions.  I'm sure you'd have a shot.  A good shot even.  You've got pull with someone on the inside."  He smiled lewdly and rubbed his thigh against Misha's erection.

Misha laughed and leaned down, holding Jensen's hands to the bed so he could get his kiss.  Despite the arousal simmering just under their skin, they kept the kisses slow and lazy, tongues entwining playfully.  Misha moved to settle more fully on top of him, so Jensen took what he knew would be his last opportunity for lucid thought for a while to say, "So, will you apply?  To be an agent?"

Misha brushed his fingers down Jensen's cheek reverently, and then bent down to kiss him.

"We'll see."

Chapter Text

10-4 - Message received and understood; one of many radio code abbreviations to expedite messages and reduce erroneous tranmissions.  Another well known code is 10-20, which is asking for a location.  So when someone says, "What's your twenty?" they're essentially asking, "Where are you?"

ADIC – Assistant Director in Charge; oversees entire field office, only found in extra large field offices: DC, LA, New York, Miami, and Chicago—and yes, it's not said letter by letter, it's said the way it's spelled

ASAC – Assistant Special Agent in Charge; oversees a group of squads—and yes, it's not said letter by letter, it's said the way it's spelled

CR-2 – Divisions are given two letter designations, Criminal = CR, Counterterrorism = CT, Cyber = CY, Counterintelligence = CI, Intelligence = ID   The number is merely a counter and not specific to any particular country or threat or investigation

DNI – Director of National Intelligence; a presidential appointee in charge of overseeing the sixteen agencies of the United States Intelligence Community (USIC)

EC – Electronic Communication; official reports

EEO – Equal Employment Opportunity

ERT – Evidence Recovery Team

IA – Intelligence Analyst

IO – Intelligence Officer; a spy

OPR – Office of Professional Responsibility; basically if you do something stupid enough that it requires a formal inquiry; also covers complaints of discrimination and harassment

OST – Operations Support Technician; fancy term for secretary

POV - Personally Owned Vehicle

PNG – Persona Non Grata; the political term used for kicking someone with diplomatic immunity out of the country

RA – Resident Agency; a branch of the FBI underneath a larger Field Office

SA – Special Agent

SAC – Special Agent in Charge; oversees the field office or resident agency of assignment except in extra large field offices: DC, LA, New York, Miami, and Chicago in which case they oversee one division

SSA – Supervisory Special Agent; in charge of a squad of agents and analysts

TDY – Temporary Duty (Assignment); short or long-term but temporary assignment to a different office/division

WFO – Washington Field Office; not to be confused with HQ (headquarters) which is also located in DC