"The infamous masked killer has once again been spotted as we get closer to the spookiest time of the year - Halloween. Just last night, pictures of the much-feared figure standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial holding up a sign that said '10' circulated across Twitter, following which, there have been numerous reports claiming to have been followed by 'a shadowy figure'. Dubbed the 'Halloween Ripper', the first sightings were reported in October 2010 where a family lost their lives during a series of attacks. With every passing year, the number of victims that have fallen to the hands of the masked killer on Halloween night has only been increasing. As we approach Halloween, the Metropolitan Police Department would like to urge everyone to stay off the streets as much as possible and only travel in groups if necessary. The police has neither confirmed nor denied that this will be the 10th year Washington has been terrorised by this serial killer, but the clear number 10 on the picture seems to say otherwise. With that, there are speculations that it might be the most brutal -"
The room fell into silence as the tv programme was muted. The reporter's mouth moved but no words came out. Her face kept a calm expression but he watched as her eyes danced around, the discomfort was quite evident as gruesome images appeared on screen. He didn't need to hear her voice to know how scared she was. Her throat was quivering and small beads of perspiration was gleaming on her skin.
Exactly how he likes it.
A silvery collection of knives sat at the edge of his desk in a patterned steel box. He leant back against his chair, swirling a butterfly knife in his fingers before slamming the box shut. This year, this year it would be different. It would be something spectacular, something unexpected, something that will make him the most memorable and infamous serial killers in history. People would be talking about him for years, there would be movies, he would finally get the reputation and attention he wanted, unlike the other fella within him that has miserably failed all those years.
As the news channel switched to a review of the most recent thriller movies, a knock on the door rattled him out of his thoughts. Standing outside the door was a young teen that seemed barely 20, a package in his hands.
"Uh, a box for you, sir?"
He smiled politely and signed the papers, "Thank you, have a nice day."
The teen scurried away immediately while he settled the box on the coffee table. He cut it open with his knife, reaching in for the prize, the very thing he had been eyeing since he first saw it. Inside the box was a pair of golden scissors, unusually large and especially sharp.
"Snip snip, happy halloween, Americans."
She knocked on the heavy wooden door before smoothing out her uniform and standing at attention.
"Come in," an unfamiliar gruff voice called out to her and she pulled the handle, stepping into the captain's office.
"Captain Kane, I'm Detective Woods, I was informed that you wanted to see me?"
A tall, buff man stood up from behind his computer screen, walking up to shake her hand. "Ah Alexandria Woods, a pleasure to meet you. Please take a seat, this might take a while."
"Lexa," she corrected as she sat on the couch that was probably way too soft to offer any form of comfort.
"Lexa Woods or Detective Woods, not Alexandria Woods, I don't really like people calling me by that name."
"Alright then, Detective Lexa Woods , let's get straight into business." He passed her a thick file with pieces of paper jutting out. "How familiar are you with the case of the 'Halloween Ripper'?"
Lexa flipped open the file, disturbing pictures and statements of various cases were squashed into this one tiny file that seemed to be bursting at its seams.
"They're really calling him that?" She chuckled, focusing her attention on the reports and not really paying attention to the captain.
"Unfortunately so, it seems childish, yet also eerily similar to 'Jack the Ripper', who if you remembered was one of the most mysterious serial killers in history with over 100 suspects, but recently they seemed to have identified -"
"Yes Captain," she interrupted him, "I am very familiar with who 'Jack the Ripper' is. I have solved countless similar crimes inspired by him."
"Which is exactly why I asked for you to be transferred here."
Lexa finally gave the man her full attention at the mention of transfer. There were a lot of details hidden from her, until last week she didn't even know where she was being transferred to. Her previous captain refused to tell her anything, at some point she assumed she was being fired or demoted to probably a job in HR or something.
"You are one of the greatest detectives ever in America. I've heard of you solving that Ohio murder case without even actually visiting Ohio. Lexa, you have immeasurable talent, and I want you to solve this case. This guy, this 'Halloween Ripper', whoever he or she is, we are being laughed at, mocked. Civilians think we are weak, we can't even be trusted anymore. And do you know what will happen if the people lose faith in the police? Riots, crimes, complete utter chaos. We can't have that. I already have some of my best detectives trying to work this case but we are coming up with nothing. There's less than 13 days left, the killer claims this year is the 10th year, and frankly we were only able to find out the connecting cases because of a recent discovery of a calling card. This sign, which the Zodiac Killer once used. But other than that, we can't find a pattern, maybe there isn't even a pattern. Maybe he just kills whoever he wants to, random name generator? But long story short, we need your help. I know I'm placing a lot of expectations on you but seriously, we have to catch this guy before Halloween, or risk losing the MPD's reputation."
Lexa sighed, truthfully, she had always wanted to be on this case. It had always been a dream job for her, get on the case, solve the murder, be the best detective the world has ever seen. She already knew of the calling signs, it barely took her much research to figure that out. She also knew of certain conspiracies of possible patterns or structures and how the murders were all related. And maybe now, she could finally do all her research legally, with much better resources, and not at night scrutinising every forum and website with her IP address blocked.
"I'll do it, I mean, I'm here already, aren't I? And I've seen the files, I can't say no to becoming either the greatest detective or the biggest joke in the world, can I?"
Kane chuckled nervously, before grabbing the file and leading her out. "You can meet the other detectives in the apartment opposite the station." Noticing the suspicious look on her face, he quickly added, "There's not enough space down here, the apartment belongs to one of the detectives on the team, so all work on the case will be conducted there instead, but any findings will still have to be reported to me immediately."
They got out of the building and crossed the street. It was a pretty well-maintained block with walls that were recently painted. The smell of fresh paint still lingered in the air and she scrunched her nose as she stepped into the building. They got off the lift at the 7th floor before moving to the door that sat at the leftmost corner. Kane knocked on the door and a dishevelled and clearly sleep-deprived woman unlocked the door.
"Oh, it's you," she grumbled and let them both in.
Lexa took in the state of the apartment as Kane started berating the woman for not opening the door armed with a gun. She heard a "I'm too tired to care if someone shoots me, maybe that would be for the better" and couldn't stop a smile from creeping up her face. Truthfully, she was all too familiar with that feeling. At least she knew the people she was going to be working with were not slackers.
"This is Anya," Kane introduced them, "And Anya, this is Lexa."
"Detective Woods," Lexa reached out her hand for a handshake.
Anya grasped onto her hand, her grip a little sloppy and less firm than what Lexa expected. Then again, she must be exhausted, Lexa reasoned.
"Detective-Sergeant Anya, or whatever title this guy is giving me." She pointed at Kane, "I'm just here to solve an ordinary serial killer mystery, nothing special."
A couple more detectives appeared by her side and introduced themselves. Lincoln, a former army special operatives, Raven, the IT specialist and qualified government hacker, Bellamy, a Sergeant that was mostly just here to keep them safe and Luna, their psychopath expert ("we suspect the killer is most likely a psychopath,'' she had later reasoned). Right from the start, she knew she would get along with most of them, other than Bellamy, who had only grunted in reply to her friendly "hello" and did nothing but sit in a corner and grouch or flatter himself for the most part. Raven had nearly geeked out upon seeing her, apparently she was a celebrity in the girl's books and had trapped her in an avalanche of questions regarding her older cases. Thankfully, Kane saved her from it, getting Anya to show her the files and the evidence before he left to return to the station.
"These 2 boxes are the cases with the calling signs, from 2010 to 2018. This box are the cases without the calling signs but are equally absurd and still unsolved. We are not sure if there is actually a link but we are not taking any chances. Right now, we are trying to find a pattern, or any hint or clue as to what might happen this year so that we can you know, stop it in time, especially if it's mass genocide or letting all the prisoners out to wreck havoc."
Anya pointed at a huge board that rested against the side of the wall.
"That is us trying to link everything together. It's too random, I'm quite baffled and Luna claims that she can only analyse each case individually but that would not be useful either ways. I'm going to take a nap right now so you can spend time looking through it. If there are any questions, you can just ask Lincoln, he pretty much knows whatever I know. Have fun."
Lexa stared at the heaps of papers before her and the untouched case files in the boxes. Well, time to start, I guess.
Anya woke up 5 hours later, just as when the doorbell rang. Someone outside had yelled "dinner!", which had immediately prompted Lexa to get up from the piles of papers surrounding her and head for the dining room. It had been a while since she even moved and sitting on the floor reading through disturbing recounts of the murders was not a great way to spend her afternoon. Anya had followed behind her, motioning they should talk after and share their findings and Lexa nodded.
The dining room seemed to be the only place unaffected by the extensive digging into the mind of a possibly psychotic serial killer. It was all neat and tidy, prim and proper, whatever other adjectives her fried brain could conjure. A stranger stood in the kitchen adjacent to the dining room (yes, the kitchen was a mess too, somehow), grabbing some plates and utensils and setting the table. Lexa couldn't help but stare at her beautiful blonde hair and her attractive physique. The blonde turned around and almost instantly, cliche as it seemed, Lexa got lost in those sea blue eyes.
"Oh!" The blonde let out a small gasp, "I wasn't aware we had visitors, I'll grab another set for you, it's ok."
Lexa watched as she scrambled to get another plate and set of utensils, and set them on the table where Bellamy and Luna were already seated. After setting the table and unpacking the food, she turned around to introduce herself.
"I'm Clarke Griffin, uh Raven's friend. This is her apartment, I come here for dinner every day and ever since she opened her apartment for the detective guys to solve the halloween case, we have dinner together!"
"Oh uh," Lexa found herself stumbling over her words as she tried to introduce herself while also ignoring Anya's sniggering. "I'm Lexa, Lexa Woods, one of the detectives. I just joined today so I guessed we haven't met before."
Clarke flashed a radiant smile and invited her to sit next to her at the table. Lexa had not expected such a warm and nearly family-like dinner from people she barely knew. Jokes were passed around and they were talking about literally anything and for once, Lexa didn't feel left out or the weird kid at lunch who was left alone because she was unnatural. Even Bellamy seemed to finally be more civil and friendly with her, but she suspected it was mostly because Clarke was here. And the tension between them was probably unbearable, or rather, the tension she thinks that is only within Bellamy's head. She laughed to herself at that thought. It was really clear to her that he had been friend-zoned by Clarke, but still didn't seem to be giving up. Lincoln told stories about his intensive war days, Luna shared about a psychopath she worked with that really only cared about food and fashion, other than killing people in an extremely dramatic manner with undeniable flair, while Anya just talked about this woman she met who in the end turned out to be one of the most wanted child-eating cannibal. Lexa nearly choked on her food at the mention of that while the rest chortled. Clarke later explained to her that Anya loved to do that to 'new people' and possibly scar them forever. She did however say that everything in that unbelievable tale was true and Lexa couldn't tell which was more terrifying - Anya laughing about it or a child-eating cannibal. Honestly.
After dinner, Anya went back to reading through the files while Lincoln, Bellamy and Luna headed home for the night. Raven retreated back to her room after spending some time with Clarke, leaving Lexa alone with Clarke in the dining room. Awkward.
"I'll uh, clean the dishes." Lexa got up but Clarke immediately rested her palm and Lexa's hand.
"You don't have to, besides it's Raven's turn to wash the dishes. If she doesn't do it she owes me lunch, again, so don't worry about it."
"O-kay," Lexa sat back down and tried her best not to stare at Clarke's gorgeous face. She thought the blonde was beautiful from afar, but up close, Clarke had ethereal beauty that was short-circuiting every part of Lexa's mind.
"Why don't you tell me more about yourself, Lexa. Really, all I know about you are the cases you solved. Raven is quite a fan, she was pretty much ogling you the entire time during dinner, in case you didn't notice. You're like a top tier specimen to her. But she did the same to Anya too, so. Raven's weird, but we love her."
Lexa grinned at that before letting out a sigh. "About me, where to begin?"
"How about your favourite color?"
"Blue," Lexa replied almost instantly. (No, it was not due to the fact that she was staring at Clarke's eyes just a few seconds ago. Absolutely not.)
"Well, mine is green. Green like the trees in a forest and the grass in a field. Green like your eyes," Clarke finished and Lexa swore she winked at her. "It makes me feel refreshed. But blue looks good on you, I think. Why do you like the color blue?"
"It's uh, important to me. In one of my older cases, the color blue helped me solve the case and find the culprit. It was at a time where I was losing faith in myself because it was unsolved for months. But one day we noticed a slight difference, one of the initial blue decorations was missing. The guys I worked with told me maybe I was just imagining things but I knew I clearly remember that because it stuck out to me the first time I saw it. We then revisited the entire case, using that clue, found a couple more evidence, future targets and cracked it. So, blue is really important than me and it might have helped me a lot more than I ever expected it to."
"Wow," Clarke breathed and Lexa quickly looked away.
"It's a weird answer I know but that's really the only reason-"
"No no, I think that's incredibly interesting. You're an interesting person, Lexa."
Lexa blushed while Clarke reached out to grab her hand, rubbing her thumb along the back of Lexa's hand. It was electric, fiery, Lexa could feel explosions going off in her, and it had been a long time since she was this close to anyone, not since...
"WOODS!" Someone yelled from the other room and Lexa immediately scrambled to her feet.
"I guess that's your cue, Lexa. Better not keep Anya waiting, she can be terrifying."
Clarke's words were immediately followed by another loud bark of her name and Lexa scurried off. "It's been nice talking to you!" She heard Clarke call out and smiled to herself. Yes, it certainly was nice and an extremely welcoming break from the hectic and chaos of her job.
Lexa stepped into the study and closed the door before her. Anya was hunched over a few reports and Lexa noticed how a couple pictures were added to their board.
"I think I might have found a pattern," Anya muttered and Lexa took a step back, looking at the lines connecting the cases, listening as Anya rambled on, making references to cult psychology and satanic rituals. It sounded plausible, it did give off some clue as to what the killer might do next, but it didn't seem right.
"That's not it," she huffed after a long while, ignoring the pointed look Anya was giving her. "It's too far-fetched. This is a 10 year project, yes a cult can last for about a decade, maybe even more, but this isn't a work of a cult. It doesn't give me demonic or satanic vibes. This is too, too neatly planned out but also intentionally random." Lexa repositioned the photographs in chronological order. "Let's start with the first 5 years. Family murder, corpses on trees, carvings on victims, a series of axe murders and a shower stabbing. All victims bearing the same mark of the Zodiac symbol. Other cases include strangulation, hit and run and more murders."
"Using a gun," Anya added, "One of the most obvious patterns is that the killer likes using knives. Victims are always stabbed, except for that one year of axe murders, and the other with a chainsaw. Still kind of stabbing. Regardless, it's always close-range attacks, which means the victims have probably seen him, or maybe his mask if he wants to hide his face."
"Pity they're all dead," Lexa commented while glossing through the reports again. There was definitely something they had missed. "What makes you so sure it's a man?"
"Most serial killers are men, and those pictures circulating every year, the figure looks like a guy."
"Female serial killers are deadly, I've worked on one case before, they are much more dangerous than men. And those pictures are so blurry you can barely make out anything. It's nothing but a taunt, it might not even be the killer themselves."
"The figure is definitely the killer, Luna mentioned, a serial killer is always proud of their work. If they want to taunt the police or whoever, they themselves would be the one to do it. Why kill all these people and then just hide when you can be the one to laugh at the police? But does it really matter?"
"It does, it changes the motivation. Female and male serial killers have different kinds of motivations. Even if we find a pattern in all these, we need to find the motivation. Why is this person doing this? What is going to be their reason for killing people again this year? Is it political? It is pure personal? Are the victims connected in any way? We need to start looking at this right from the beginning. I want to know everything about the victims, their family background, their financial status, their relationships, everything. Get Raven on this, that is if she isn't asleep?"
"That woman never sleeps, I'll let her know. In the meantime, I'll grab us coffee, it's going to be a hell of a night."
"Ok, based on all the digging I managed to do, legally, of course, in 2013, all those severely stabbed by uh, an axe. Stabbed by an axe, is that a thing? Axed is a verb, right?" Raven noticed the unamused look on Anya's face while Lexa tried to hide a smile and quickly carried on. "They all have a disturbing history with alcohol and all kinds of addictions. But they were all alcoholics, some of them in rehab but none of them were successful in that anyways. And in 2015, all the victims were uh..."
"LGBT teens. It's kind of disgusting really, they are not hurting anyone being who they are, society is the one doing all the hurting! Sorry, I'm just, very, I uh..."
"It's okay Raven, I get it." Lexa placed a reassuring hand on Raven's shoulder, calming her down.
"You're gay," Anya's lips curled into a smirk and Lexa narrowed her eyes at her.
"For a critically acclaimed detective, you took a long time figuring that out. I don't think I could have been anymore obvious, could I?"
Anya just snarled, muttering something about 'heart-eyes at dinner' but Lexa ignored her, instead focusing her attention on the case report from 2015.
"Was there anything unusual about the 6th killings? Other than the fact that the target group was clearly LGBT teens, it seems quite standard."
"Yeah..." Anya trailed off before snapping to attention and pulling out an incredibly ancient looking piece of paper. "I just remembered, apparently one of the police at the crime scene claimed that there were a lot of moths flying around the bodies. They seemed to all be attracted to the light, but it was quite unusual because there usually weren't that many moths in that area. That might give us something. Why on earth would there be moths there, I mean I would expect flies or cockroaches but moths? At a crime scene with dead bodies?"
"Moths flying around dead bodies? That's gross," Someone spoke just as Lexa opened her mouth and they all spun around.
"Clarkey?! What are you doing here, isn't it 3am?"
"Seriously Raven, stop calling me Clarkey. Besides its already 7am, did you guys not sleep at all? Wait, don't tell me, I don't want to know. The less I know the better. Anyways, you are all in luck, I have an off day today and I was just on my way to get breakfast. Which all of you are welcomed to join, and it's on me anyways. You guys look like you need food and a break from... moths and dead bodies."
Lexa immediately perked up at the sound of having breakfast with Clarke. She knew she was lying to herself if she said she didn't want to spend more time with Clarke. Clarke was intriguing and definitely special. She agreed probably too quickly but they all grabbed a change of clothes and headed out for breakfast. Clarke and Raven led the way while Lexa and Anya followed behind.
"You have a thing for Clarke," Anya teased.
"You have a thing for Raven," Lexa retorted almost immediately.
"Of course, you would figure that out. I guess you probably realised too that Raven does have a thing for Luna. But does Luna fancy Raven? Who knows, I can't read the psychopath expert, I probably don't want to anyways. I absolutely have no chance, you however, my dear youngling, Clarke clearly fancies you. All that flirting is for nothing."
"Yeah well, I don't date, not anymore. So, not going to happen."
Anya turned to look at her and Lexa stared back at her with a deadpan face. She refused to let the swirling emotions within her betray her facial expressions. Too much has happened in the past for her to ever want to be romantically involved with another person again. But no one needed to know that. Not yet, anyways.
They stopped in front of a homely looking cafe, which Clarke claimed had the best coffee and pastries in Washington. Lexa soon realised the owner was Bellamy's mother, so imagine her surprise when the Sergeant was the one serving their breakfast. He seemed clearly displeased that he was not invited to the breakfast hangout.
"Don't mind Bellamy, he's always grumpy, but he's especially bitter today. No idea why. Anyways Clarkey, Mother Griffin finally gave you a day off?"
"More like my mum forced me to, 'Clarke, you are overworking yourself!' 'Clarke, you need to get a social life!' 'Clarke, you should start dating again!' She threatened to send me on a vacation if I didn't take a day off! What was I supposed to do?"
"Sorry, you work for your mum?" Lexa couldn't help but ask as she listened to Clarke continue complaining about her mum.
"Kinda? Technically? I'm a resident at Arkadia. One of the best hospitals in the nation. I'm a resident, so I'm halfway through training to specialise in pediatrics. My mum is the chief of medicine, she also recently bought over Arkadia and her company owns a couple other hospitals in America. So technically, she's my boss, which can be weird at times. But it also gives her the power to force me to take breaks and off days every few weeks."
"Wow," Lexa was breathless. Could Clarke be even more phenomenal? A resident, at her age?
"It's nowhere as impressive as what you do, honestly, some people say I'm too young to be a resident. Honestly, if not for my mum, I would still be an intern. Not that she has been biased and promoted me early. Rather, I've been exposed to medicine since really young so I finished Med school earlier than the rest and being an intern was not entirely difficult because I used to follow my mum around the hospital when I was a med student. It's nothing much, really. But I must say, Detective Woods , you make our jobs much harder. Until you figure out who the culprit is, we are left to patch up the many more victims left behind. It can be overwhelming!"
Lexa chuckled and added teasingly, "Well I guess I'll have to thank you for keeping my eyewitnesses alive, if not for you, more people will end up dead."
Just as they were finishing up breakfast, (Lexa had to admit, the coffee served was truly of another level and just exceptional) Lexa's phone rang with the captain's number, the rest prompting her to pick it up.
"Lexa, have you made any progress on the case?"
"Not yet, sir."
"That's not ideal. Have you checked the news or social media? There is a new image, it's... abnormal. I thought you might want to check it out and have Raven analyse it. Or maybe get Luna involved too. Get back to me as soon as you figure anything out."
With that, Kane hung up and Lexa quickly checked her news updates. There it was, every headline screaming the return of the 'Halloween Ripper'. This time, it was a picture of a figure standing by a wall, with 6 words written across it.
Lexa froze, it was not possible. Costia was, Costia was a long time ago. What was this for, to taunt her? Did the killer know that she was tracking him down? Was her life in danger? Was Costia’s life in danger now? How on earth is Costia related to all of this?
She quickly snapped out of her own thoughts as she heard Raven approach.
"You alright there? Did the captain give you a hard time?"
"Not really, he told me to check the news," She showed the tech genius the image, "New image was released, he wants you and maybe Luna to analyse it. Perhaps it could give us a clue."
"Costia? Isn't that a parasite? I could be wrong but I know I read about this before somewhere."
"Maybe they are implying that the police are a parasite to society. They are clearly laughing at us."
"We're heading back, Anya and Clarke paid for breakfast. Luna and I will look through the picture, see if there are any hidden clues since this one is much more clearer than the previous ones. And Clarke said she can join the investigation a bit, if you are fine with it. Anya doesn't care and besides, Clarke probably knows as much as we do, since she pretty much lives at my place and so do all of you. You are welcomed to live here, by the way, Anya does because she gave up going on. Lincoln doesn't because he lives with his girlfriend, which is ironically Bellamy's sister. Maybe that's why he's been so bitter and grumpy. Anyways, Bellamy lives somewhere else, and Luna stays at my apartment too. Clarke sleeps here like 95% of the time and if you want to stay here, you and Anya can share a bed or something. Kinda ran out of spare beds and guest rooms."
"Oh no, that's fine, I live a short walk away from here anyways. I wouldn't want to impose."
"Whatever suits you, Lexa. Also, will you finally tell me how you solved that cow murder case 2 years ago?"
Lexa chuckled, "Out of all cases, that one? Of course."
The next few days were a blur. Raven and Luna found nothing from the image, other than it was definitely real and not photoshopped and 'Costia' meant whatever 'Costia' could possibly mean. Lexa tried not to let that affect her work but it couldn't help but evade her memories at times and force her to relive possibly the worst moments of her life. They had yet to make much headway on the case. Everything was just dead-ends, illogical explanations and unrealistic patterns. But they never gave up, they still tried everything they possibly could, but with only 5 days left before it was Halloween, solving the case in time suddenly seemed impossible.
Clarke could sense that they were all losing their morale (and their minds. God, Lexa felt like she was going insane at certain points) and forced everyone to go back home and spend the day relaxing. "Do something that will take your mind off this, maybe you will get a new perspective that will help you solve this case."
The rest had already took their leave and Raven had headed to a friend's place to 'play competitive video games, it's a thing, Lexa'. As Lexa grabbed her coat, Clarke stopped her. "Do you want to hangout and go bowling or something? It doesn't have to be bowling, ice-skating? Or we can go watch a movie?"
"I don't really mind," Lexa smiled and whispered softly, "As long as I get to spend time with you."
It was clear by now that they both had feelings for each other. The accidental touches, the soft gazes, by now Clarke was even trying to be subtle when flirting with Lexa. The only thing stopping Lexa from acting on it was her promise to herself to never date anyone again and she feared now might be a terrible time to break that promise.
"We could always just stay here and watch Netflix. I was thinking we could watch a comedy, take our mind off the gruesome murders."
"Yeah, that’s probably for the better, I’m in."
"Great, you can set it up, I'll go get popcorn."
Lexa eyes lit up at the sound of popcorn. Clarke noticed and shook her head, if there was one thing Lexa was always excited about, it was food. She couldn't comprehend how Lexa would eat so much food (usually unhealthy) and still remain so fit and muscular. And her abs, she didn't mean to see them but she accidentally caught Lexa changing, her magnificent abs on display. Clarke was never the same after that. Lexa was everything she wanted, beautiful, smart, cocky but extremely kind-hearted. Lexa was the epitome of perfection in Clarke's eyes and she couldn't wait to cuddle up in Lexa's arms while wolfing down bowls of popcorn.
In Lexa’s arms. In those soft, muscular arms that Clarke knew would protect her, forever. In those arms where all her worries would go away and she would be safe.
Clarke could feel her heart swelling up and quickly ended the thought there. She returned with 2 bowls of popcorn while the all too familiar theme song of Brooklyn Nine-Nine started playing out.
“I chose one of my favourite comedy series, I hope you don’t mind,” Lexa blushed as she settled on the far end of the couch.
Clarke grinned, sitting right beside Lexa, passing her the bowl of popcorn.”
“You do know it’s technically still about murder and crime, right?” Clarke teased.
Lexa placed a finger on Clarke’s lips, silencing her effectively. “Let me enjoy my 99th precinct comedy.”
Clarke would have replied, if not for the fact that she froze the moment Lexa’s finger touched her lips. Oh god. This was NOT good. Lexa let out a soft chortle as Jake made another joke and Clarke could feel her insides exploding. At some point, Lexa’s arm was wrapped around Clarke and they had resorted to sharing a single bowl of popcorn. The occasional brush of their fingers and the very evident sparks that flew was not helping Clarke at all. When Lexa’s head collapsed on her shoulder, Clarke realised they had watched at least 2 hours worth of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, yet she could barely remember what happened. She decided to let the brunette rest on her shoulder, the poor woman clearly looked like she needed a much deserved nap. Soon after, they both fell asleep on the couch, in each other’s arms, and Clarke never felt happier.
She awoke to the sound of someone’s phone ringing in the background. Blurry eyed, she realised they forgot to turn the TV off and an entire season had played through. It took Lexa a while to realise the situation she had found herself in - Clarke and her had been cuddling, on the couch, the bowl of popcorn long forgotten and sitting on the coffee table. Their limbs were entangled together, her leg a little numb from the awkward positioning. Clarke shifted slightly, snuggling closer to Lexa, so close that Lexa’s senses were overpowered by the flowery smell of Clarke’s hair. Her phone chimed to live again and she awkward stretched her arm to reach for the annoying device in her pocket.
It was Raven.
Lexa gently shook Clarke awake, and slowly got up, only for Clarke to fall onto the couch. Lexa shook her head, retreating to a corner to answer the call.
“Lexa Woods, how can I help you.”
“Jesus, that’s so formal. Did you not save my number? It’s Raven, by the way, your go to for all technology related problems. I am incredibly efficient and can crack any database in -”
“Yes, yes, I know it’s you. What’s up, did you find out about something?”
“Geez… someone’s cranky. Wait, did I disturb you and Clarke? Were you two in the middle of something? You know what, I don’t want to know.”
“Get to the point, Raven.”
“Right, ok, so I did some digging on the whole Costia thing, and um -”
“I thought you said you didn’t manage to find anything.”
“Legally, there’s nothing, but I did some snooping, anonymously, of course, and I pulled up some files from the police database and um, well, so, I guess that’s the reason you transferred.”
Lexa rubbed her forehead, “Not entirely, but yes, it was a factor. Look, you have to keep this to yourself, I don’t need more people knowing about it.”
“It’s not just a small thing, Lexa! A famous businessman, was murdered, in cold blood -”
“No, I have my reasons, now please, get off it.”
“Shouldn’t we look into it? It’s a huge, unsolved case. It’s far from a regular murder. It could help us with whatever we are working on now.”
“Raven. Please, I’m actually begging you, don’t look further. It’s not good, at all, it would be much easier if you just pretended that you never saw the file. It’s not related to this, whatever, and I know that for a fact. I don’t want to sound like an asshole, but instead of researching this, can you just look into the Halloween murders in greater detail? That’s what needs to be worked on now, not some cold case from years ago.”
There was silence on the other line for a while.
“Okay, fine, I will say nothing.”
“You owe me one, Lexa.”
“Right, yes, thank you, again.”
The call ended and Lexa sighed, pocketing her phone and turning around to find Clarke still asleep on the couch. Her heart melted at the sight of the blonde snuggling behind a cushion. It reminded her a lot about Costia and to a certain extent, they both looked similar, even if their personalities were strikingly different. Lexa made her way to the couch, softly tapping on Clarke’s shoulders in an attempt to wake her up.
“Clarke, I’m gonna head by now. I think you’ll be more comfortable sleeping on your own bed.”
Clarke immediately shot up at that.
“It’s nearly 11pm, I should head home, we’re starting early tomorrow.”
“Ok then,” Clarke got up, walking Lexa to the door. Lexa rested her hand on the door knob, before turning around to face Clarke.
"Thank you for tonight. I had a lot of fun."
"You had fun sitting on a couch with me and watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Your standard of fun is really low, Detective Woods ."
Lexa laughed, grabbing Clarke's hands and squeezing it with her own. She had a genuine smile on her face as she pulled Clarke into a tight embrace. They remained in that position for a long time before Clarke broke the silence.
"Was this a date?" Clarke asked tentatively. Lexa froze slightly but then relaxed, slowly pulling away so that she could rest her hand on Clarke's cheek while the other laced their fingers together.
"I would certainly hope so."
Lexa’s voice was deep and low and incredibly alluring. They were so close their foreheads were touching and their breaths were short yet heavy. Clarke leaned in and immediately, Lexa claimed her lips, bring her hands to Clarke’s waist and pulling her closer. It was a soft, passionate kiss and Lexa loved every second of it. As they pulled away to gasp for air, she couldn’t help but smile, genuinely, before pulling Clarke back for another kiss. This time, it was more heated and Clarke had Lexa pinned against the wall.
“Stay the night?” Clarke whispered, “We don’t have to do anything, we can just cuddle.”
Lexa hesitated for a moment before nodding, it had been a long while since she did anything like this, and boy, did it feel good. It was inevitable, that past memories were forcing their way back into her, but somehow being with Clarke was keeping them at bay. For the time being.
They were lying in Clarke’s bed, which was big enough to fit the both of them if they lay close to each other, not that either of them mattered, and for Lexa, she welcomed the feeling of Clarke’s breath against her neck.
Lexa hummed a reply, turning around to face Clarke.
“Who’s Costia?” Clarke mumbled, resting her palm on Lexa’s cheek softly.
“Costia? Raven said it was a kind of parasite? They could be mocking us for utterly ruining the city, it’s not really important.”
“If I wanted to know what Raven thought, I would have asked her. But I’m asking you, who’s Costia?”
“Why?” Lexa croaked and tried to turn away but Clarke firmly gripped onto her shoulder.
“Because every time Costia is mentioned, you look away. I know it means something to you, and I don’t want to pry, but maybe talking about it well help you feel better, or something. You don’t have to really, I’m just worried about you. I care for you, Lexa, I don’t like seeing you troubled and all that. We met at an especially awkward and tough time, but now that we’re here, I want to help you.”
Lexa sat up on the bed, curling her knees to her chest.
“I don’t like thinking about it, it brings back a lot of painful memories, it makes my heart burn. Costia was my ex, we met when I was back in Idaho, doing detective work there. I’ve been there for about a year or so, and managed to be part of the team that solved a couple huge cases. At the end of the year, there was a party, which was where I met Costia. She was the daughter of this famously rich businessman that we work with. And we kind of just hit it off, it was a good relationship, we both had seriously busy lives, she worked under her father’s company as one of the lead researchers there, but we always made time for each other. Her father wasn’t really a big fan of me, but after I helped him catch the guy who kept sending him death threats, I guess he warmed up to me and didn’t really glare at me every time he saw me with Costia.
Just 3 months later, he was murdered, in his own home. At first, everything was under incredibly tight wraps. I didn’t see Costia for a whole week, I tried calling her, texting her, I even turned up at the various houses her father owned across the state, but she wasn’t there. Then, one day she just turns up at my doorstep, covered in blood. She wouldn’t say anything, she just sat in the same chair for most of the day. I had to convince the captain to let me in on the case, and that’s when everything just fell apart.
He was in a cult, basically. A couple of guys from the cult broke into their home, to kill him. Apparently he had betrayed them and shared some secrets. They tied him up to the center pillar in their mansion, and stabbed in. Death by a thousand cuts. He didn’t make it to a thousand, but we could tell from the body that they stabbed him anywhere they could. And the worst part was, they made Costia watch everything unfold. She watched as each of them took turns pressing a bloodied knife into her father. Once he died, they took her, and we don’t know what happened after because Costia refused to say anything. Everyone was frustrated, really, because apparently Costia knew the identities of the men, what cult they were from, what they did to her and all that. They tried to force her into talking but it was just making everything worse, so I pleaded with the captain to just close it. It was doing more harm than good. From there, Costia and I fell out. I tried to help her, I really did, but she refused to go to therapy, she wouldn’t talk to anyone about it. She ran away eventually, sent me a letter one month later that just said she was safe and, I haven’t heard from her since.
Up till now, I don’t even know if she’s still alive now, and I’m a detective and it would be easy to find out but I can’t bring myself to. I don’t know what to do if I learn that she took her life or someone murdered her in a similar fashion weeks later. The whole cult thing destroyed her and us. One day, we were perfectly happy, celebrating our 2 year anniversary, then the next day, her father was murdered and she completely changed. And I know it’s not my fault, I didn’t know he was in a cult, but just a week prior, we had relaxed his security and reassured him that he was safe. That day, Costia and I was supposed to spend the night at my place, but I decided to stay in the station and do some last minute work. Maybe if I had chosen to stick with my plan, it wouldn’t have ended so badly. A lot of ‘what ifs’, a lot of regrets, but after that, I guess I just never really dated anymore. I’m scared it will all happen again, and I don’t want to lose you, Clarke. I don’t want you to lose your family or your friends. The whole Costia thing wrecked me, I don’t think I could go through that again.”
“You won’t, I won’t let that happen to you again, come here,” Clarke wrapped her arms around Lexa and pulled the woman in for a hug, resting her head on Lexa’s shoulder and rubbing her back. “You’ll be fine, you won’t lose me.”
“I know it’s early, but I think I love you, Clarke. From tomorrow onwards, it’s going to be chaotic, and in case anything happens to you or to me, I need you to know.” Clarke pressed a soft, chaste kiss on Lexa’s lips.
“And I love you too, not just because you said it, but I do love you, Lexa.”
Lexa relaxed into Clarke’s arms, burying her nose into Clarke’s shoulder. They lay in silence for a while, simply enjoying each other’s company in the tiny single bed.
“You know, that reminds me, I really want to see the IT Chapter 2 movie, horror movies seem to be finally getting you know, accurately scary. Like no offense, the movies in the horror genre in recent years are just laughable, they feel more like a comedy. Yes, there are good jump scares, but the plot is always either overly complicated or the characters are too stupid. The classics were way better, a couple scared the shit out of me which is kind of why I don’t really like horror movies. And they made a The Shining sequel, which sounds epic?” Clarke continued rambling on and on until Lexa realised something.
“Horror movies are getting more and more trendy, is that right?”
“Yeah, I guess so, Birdbox was pretty cool. Still find the entire supernatural genre kinda weird and off putting, but slasher films? Getting popular, probably?”
“So what if, our killer is inspired by horror movies. You said it, horror movies are getting popular, slasher films are getting popular. Most of the kills are clearly slasher based, with all the knives and stabbing motions. Plus, I have an odd feeling some of the murders are loosely based on some famous slasher film. Like the poor woman who was killed in the shower? What if it was a reenactment, or maybe inspired by, Psycho, the 1960 movie? That’s the first one I can think of, but I think we might have found a pattern!”
“Why would the killer murder the woman though? Was she an ex-lover? Current lover? Childhood enemies?”
“I don’t know, all Raven managed to find out was that she is a rich businesswoman, possibly one of the major game changers in the Automotive Industry. We couldn’t find anything about her past relationships, other than she’s probably gay because there was an image of her making out with a woman in a club. They were never seen together ever again though, so might be a one-night stand, who knows.”
“But that woman could be a suspect?”
“Possibly, we’ve identified her and she has definitely never killed anyone in her life. She doesn’t fit the profile of a serial killer, 2 kids, kindergarten school teacher, well liked by her entire neighbourhood. She doesn’t even live here but a while back she came here for a job interview as a teacher at a high school. So, not killer material. Besides, she doesn’t fit the height and size of the killer in the pictures.”
“Well, it was worth a short. I suppose this is the point you abandon sleep and work the pattern out?”
Lexa smiled sheepishly and Clarke was all but angry.
“It’s okay, I get it, I’ll make you some coffee, go get your gruesome pictures, Detective Woods .”
“Thank you,” Lexa captured Clarke’s lips on hers before pulling away, “Would you like to join me?”
“No thanks, I prefer to have my mind blown tomorrow when you announce it to everyone.”
"ANYA, I FIGURED IT OUT!" Lexa yelled as soon as Anya and the rest stepped into the apartment.
"Jesus, isn't it morning, tone down, lady."
“Well, actually Clarke and I figured it out, but well, anyways,” Lexa continued when she saw the amused expression on Anya’s face. "Firstly, it's afternoon, I think you are living in the wrong time zone. Secondly, I found a pattern that might be of help."
Raven walked out of her room, she had not been entirely pleased when Lexa called her for her help at 4 in the morning, but hearing the excitement and enthusiasm in Lexa’s voice, she just couldn’t say no. They had spent most of the morning doing research, digging up specific details of the victims that would fit Lexa’s theory. They were not completely done, but Raven was confident that Lexa had a point.
Anya, Luna, Raven, Clarke and Lincoln gathered around the dining table where Lexa had laid the pictures down. "Okay, what do you guys know about slasher movies?"
"Psychopaths in terrifying masks with deadly weapons, no thanks," Raven snorted.
"The Shining was pretty fucked up," Lincoln added helpfully, "Gave me nightmares for a long time."
"Ok, then we'll start with The Shining first. My theory, the kills are all inspired by famous slasher films, and the motivation is all jealousy. In The Shining, the killer, Jack Torrance, murdered people with an axe. He was also a recovering alcoholic. And our victims? All alcoholics who were axed. Another key point, room 237 in The Shining. Our victims were murdered at a club that was 2 streets down and 37 blocks away from the station. It's quite a distance but I went to count the number of blocks but it tallied up. But why kill them? Apparently, they all frequently went to that exact same bar, as confirmed by the bartender when I asked him. Because these people kept coming, it increased the bar's business by a lot. And even though some of them were in rehab, the owner supposedly told all bartenders to continue serving them drinks since they bring about better business.”
“And when did you find time to do all this, physical research?”
“This morning, while waiting for all of you to turn up. The bar was open so I just went in.”
“Now let's go back to the beginning. 2010, an entire family murdered in their sleep, with only one surviving victim but has been since diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses. All we know is there were severe claw marks and the one surviving mental claimed she saw her brother 'float in the air as blood came out everywhere'. Back then the police thought it was a case of demonic possession. I'm not entirely sure if an exorcism was performed but either way, it was kind of ditched until they rediscovered the symbols. If it sounds familiar, it's similar to a scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Freddy Krueger with knives instead of fingers. That scene is so gruesome I don't even want to describe it but it matches.
2011, corpses hanging from trees. The opening scene of the movie Scream. This morning, I had Raven check the call logs of all the victims, the same unknown number asking the same question "What's your favourite scary movie?", right before hanging up. We can't ID the voice because it has clearly been altered. The victims are all random, the only thing we can link them to is they all went to the same high school and were in the same Chemistry class."
Everyone stared back in awe at her, they were all beyond impressed. After all, there was a reason Kane did claim Lexa was possible the best detective in America, ever.
"Question, how do you know so much about horror movies?"
"I had a suspicion, then I did a bit of research, I'm a bit scarred right now after everything I read, but if you go down the years, the movie that inspired the murder was trending around that same period. More or less."
"And thus," Anya added, "Going by your logic, the 7 people murdered in 2012 would represent the 7 deadly sins and thus the movie se7en; 2013 was The Shining; 2014, stabbed in the shower... Psycho, of course, iconic moment. And 2015 is -"
"The silence of the lambs." Clarke shudders and Lexa instinctively grabbed her hand, giving it a warm squeeze. Clarke glanced at her with a soft smile for a moment. "I watched that, it was horrifying. But Anthony Hopkins delivered. It makes sense, the moths, the LGBT teens since the guy in the movie felt he was a woman and they found moths in the bodies."
"So that's 6 years settled, assuming any of the other unsolved cases have no correlation to this. What about motivations or the reasons why they are all dead?" Lincoln chimed in.
“Jealousy?” Luna reasoned, “Revenge? Except it would be way too many kills for just taking revenge. I once hypothesised in the early days, that this was for a political reason, getting rid of political competitors, or maybe companies that support them. In the past 10 years, however, no prominent political figure has been murdered, and politics is a truly messy topic, so it’s too hard to completely identify a motivation from that. Other than that, we are left with business based competition or pure psychopathic tendencies.”
They launched into a discussion until Clarke suddenly spoke up, “It’s possible, maybe all of this was to get rid of business competitors, knock them out of the game and dominate the stock market. But doesn’t everyone hate everyone, how do we even pinpoint who to blame it on then?”
"Why don’t we figure out what happened 2 years ago first? 12 people were stabbed, and they were living in different parts of Washington. We have yet to find any connection between them. Anya, could you update the captain while Raven and I research on this? Luna and Lincoln, could the two of you work on identifying the possible companies involved, victim or not?"
"Speaking of which, I found a connection,” Raven interrupted while the rest retreated back into the living room, “They were all related to Jaha. Thelonious Jaha, one of the most important businessmen in the Engineering sector. Most of them worked for him.”
"Murder on the Orient Express." Lexa interjected and watched as realisation dawned on Raven.
"Right yes, I'm assuming the 1974 film since it was obviously the better one. Weirdest plot I must add, 12 people that were magically related to one another killed this guy who kidnapped and then murdered a child. But it is justified in a way, I don't understand why so many people don't like the ending. It's a classic!"
"Raven, let's not argue about the ethics of the film. Do the characters and victims match?"
"I'm checking. It matches, the butler, secretary, retired colonel friend, geez he must be a tough one, it's like going up against a machine gun, but uhhhh yes, surprisingly, they all matched up. Wow, I'm impressed. Though it's quite strange, why Thelonious Jaha? That guy is incredibly controversial but he also couldn't hurt a fly. He might be one of the few wealthy people who are not corrupted.
"He has a son, yes?"
"Yep, but he died. Not in this, but 2 years ago there was a car crash that killed his son. Nowhere near Halloween so it should not be related. In that same year, he fired all the people that worked for him. But coincidentally, his business grew by a lot, and I mean a huge amount, in the next few years after that."
"And maybe that's why the killer targeted all the people close to him and his son. They were either threatened or jealous by the sudden growth of this company. They wanted him to be haunted by the death of his son, and maybe that will lead him to sell his company and completely retiring or something. It may sound illogical and weird but... I've seen this happen, a couple of times."
"That seems like a legitimate motivation. Throw him into depression, sounds about right."
“That leaves us with one more. 9 people killed? That’s mental, and I can’t see a connection…”
“It’s obvious isn’t it,” Anya commented and Lexa turned around to see the older woman and her girlfriend (wait, no, not her girlfriend, they haven’t even talked about that yet, but maybe, they kinda are?) each leaning against each side of the door frame.
“You start with Freddy Krueger, you end with Michael Myers. Halloween, 1978. The movie kind of surrounded sexual politics, and all your victims are prostitutes. Cruel, but makes sense.”
“Yes, that, absolutely. So what’s the connection then? Prostitution… business?” She quivered her eyebrow while Raven’s hands flew around the keyboard.
“I think so, I’ve evidence that they’ve all been in contact with this same guy, who seems to be the one hiring and managing them. It could be a lead. We know for a fact he can’t be the one killing them, he honestly seems too dumb to do so but killing those who work for him would only bring him terrible losses.”
“I’ll get Lincoln on it. Clarke, I think Bellamy is looking for you and your mum has kinda been calling your cell so you should probably pick it up.”
Clarke let out an audible groan and they both left the room. Lexa watched as she left and only realised she had been staring for too long when Raven started sniggering.
"Raven,” she grumbled, “Could you help me pull up all companies, businesses and charity organisations that had some rivalry or tensions with all the companies the victims were involved with?"
“Sure thing, boss.” Raven saluted with a mocking grin before getting back to her work.
“You know, about the thing we talked about yesterday…”
“It’s okay, I didn’t tell anyone. Your secret’s safe with me.”
“It must have been horrible to go through that.”
Lexa started pacing around the room. “Yeah, but Costia had it worse. I just hope she’s doing fine.”
“About that…” Raven trailed off and Lexa glanced up at home. “I did some digging. She’s doing fine, if that’s what you were wondering. She seems to be coping.”
“Oh, that’s, that’s great,” Her voice was strangled and her brain was seizing, but at the same time she felt as if a huge load was lifted off her shoulders, “Good to know.”
The room was instantly enveloped in silence and Lexa continued running through possible theories and suspects. She had the pieces, she just couldn’t fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle.
“So are you and Clarke dating or is this just some elaborate foreplay?”
“Does it matter?”
“Of course it does,” Raven looked up from her screen and looked at Lexa with a serious expression on her face. “I’ve known Clarke since high school, it was always the 3 of us, me, Clarke and Octavia. Octavia is Bellmay’s brother and Linconln’s girlfriend. She prefers distancing herself from all of this even though she’s literally a taekwondo instructor. You would have met her but she’s overseas at an international competition. My point is, they are my closest friends and I love them. We look out for each other, we always had. So if you ever hurt Clarke, you should know that I will hunt you down and destroy you.”
Lexa gulped nervously and nodded, she knew those were not just empty threats. Raven had more than proved herself capable of completely ruining someone’s life.
“Anyways that was my ‘hurt her and I’ll kill you’ speech, I don’t have anything against the two of you, you’re sickenly cute and it hurts my eyes to see the two of you constantly have eye sex but Clarke has genuinely been better and happier since she met you. You’re good for her, she’s good for you, it’s like a match made in heaven.”
“Okay, yes, Raven, I get it. I will try my absolute best not to hurt her and if I do, I’ll fix it immediately.” Lexa replied, sincerely.
“Anyways, I will only be done in a few hours, so until then, you should take a nap. You look like you need rest.”
“I’m gonna go to the cafe nearby and order takeout, do you want anything?”
“Some pastries and coffee will do, thanks!”
Lexa slipped on her coat and grabbed the house keys before making her way out. The street was eerily dark even with the street lamps along the way. Now that she thought about it, it was pretty stupid going out alone in this darkness at this time. Luckily, she made it to the cafe in one piece and got her order pretty quickly.
A gruff voice called her as she exited the cafe, pastry and coffee in hand. She quickened her steps and sent a quick text to Anya. Ever since they started unravelling more and more strings, they knew their lives were also likely in danger, forcing them to develop a code and shorthand in case trouble struck. It would only be a few more minutes before she reached the building, lesser if Anya has seen her message and was rushing down.
“Stop walking,” the man commanded and she refused to listen to him, focusing ahead and taking larger and faster strides.
“I said stop,” he grabbed her shoulder to turn her around and that’s when Lexa noticed the knife gleaming in the dark. He went in for her and she duck, sinking a punch in his face. He fell on the ground but not before tripping her and forcing her on the ground as well and backing her into a corner against a wall. She lay on the ground helpless and defenceless as he approached her. She could feel his presence but she could not respond to it. Her limbs would not cooperate with her.
“You really should have listened.” He flashed an ominous smile before sinking the knife into her. Lexa moved just in time to have the knife hit her in the stomach rather than her heart but she yelped in pain all the same. With her last ounce of energy, she kicked him the groin, forcing him to drop the knife and take off. She pressed her hand over her wound and tried her best to stay conscious as she dragged herself along the pavement. In the distance, she could hear someone calling out her name before warm hands surrounded her and the sound of an angel was instructing her to stay awake. It was chaotic, her vision was getting blurry and before she knew it, it all went dark.
“Where is she!” Clarke yelled hysterically and Raven had to physically restrain her. Anya was by her side, clearly panicking and at a loss.
“She’s in surgery, she has lost a lot of blood, they are trying to save her.” Raven grabbed Clarke’s hands and held them in her own. “Look, she’ll be fine. Lexa is strong, she’ll make it through. At worst she’ll just get a badass scar and I know you dig that.”
“She can’t die, not like this, it’s too soon. We haven’t even gone a real date! I don’t know what to do without her!”
“Ok Clarke, let’s take it easy, alright? Follow my breathing, in, out, in out. Have faith in Lexa. She’s tough. She’s tougher than the coward who stabbed her in a dark street.
“Ok,” Clarke breathed, gripping Raven’s arms tightly as they waited for the surgeon to deliver the news. Minutes later, Luna and Lincoln arrived, along with Kane. Her mother came out to comfort them and made arrangements for food to be brought to them. “You need to eat to have strength to see her when she gets out, Clarke.” Abby had said and it was only then did Clarke agree to eat.
They waited for a few more hours before a tall, blonde woman walked out. Clarke immediately shot up from her seat.
“Is she okay? Lexa?”
“Clarke Griffin, I’m Doctor Cormier. I was the surgeon that performed surgery on Alexandria Woods. Yes, she made it out alive, she’s suffered a lot of blood loss and a mild concussion, but other than that, she’s fine. Thankfully, she did not break or fracture any bones, which would have made the situation much worse. She’s currently resting in her room, I can bring you there right now. She’s quite weak so I wouldn’t recommend all of you visiting her at once.” The group got up and followed the doctor to Lexa’s room. “She’ll have to stay here for a while so that we can keep an eye on her, that’s just protocol. Here she is, I’ll be over in around an hour to do a check up on her. Until then, she’s all yours.”
“Thank you,” Clarke mumbled as she gave the doctor a hug before rushing into Lexa’s room and to her bedside.
“Oh god, Lexa,” She took Lexa’s hand and placed a soft kiss on it, “I was so worried.”
“... Clarke…” Lexa groaned, trying to sit up but Clarke immediately pressed her softly back against the bed.
“Don’t do that, you’ll reopen your wound. I’m a qualified resident, I would know.”
“Mhm…? I guess if Doctor Griffin says so, I should listen to her.” Lexa slurred, her eyes dreamily staring at Clarke.
“Right, I forgot you’ll be pumped with morphine. That’s cool, I’ve always wondered what drugged Lexa is like,” Clarke teased. Lexa only hummed in response, trying to get closer to Clarke. Clarke quickly got to the other side of the bed and climbed in, putting her arm around Lexa’s waist. “You’re safe, I’ve got you.” Lexa whined as Clarke softly stroked her hair before the brunette fell asleep.
When Lexa woke up, Clarke was smiling right back at her, before gingerly getting off the bed as a blonde doctor walked in.
“I’m Doctor Cormier, glad to see that you’re awake. I’ll perform some quick tests on you, just to make sure you’re fine. Your girlfriend can wait here, it’ll only take a short while. You suffered nothing major, give it a couple weeks and it will all heal alright. It will hurt for quite some time so we’ll give you painkillers to help with the pain. The police will want a statement from you, but I told them you would still be resting. Figured you wanted some time alone first.” Lexa nodded and mumbled a ‘thank you’, cooperating with the doctor and letting her perform tests on her. Her mind was still reeling from the doctor calling Clarke her girlfriend. Were they girlfriends? Would Clarke still even want to be with her after realising how dangerous her job could actually be? Who’s to say some crazy psycho in the dark wouldn’t stab her again?
The doctor politely left and thanked Lexa for her cooperation and it was just Clarke and her in the room again.
“Uh, the rest of the team are on their way. They stopped for lunch and to get some food for you.”
“Clarke, will you be my girlfriend?” Lexa asked and Clarke froze for a while. “I mean it’s okay if you don’t want to, I get it, I could die any moment, kinda sucks-”
“No,” Clarke cut her off, “I want to be your girlfriend. I don’t care, I know you and I will make it through together. I want you,” She caressed Lexa’s cheek and pecked her lips, “All of you.”
“And I want you too,” Lexa felt Clarke’s lips touch hers and grabbed the back of Clarke’s head to pull her closer. Clarke’s hands were wandering around her waist and hiking up her nightgown. Lexa let out a soft moan just as Raven burst in.
“You too better not be having sex right now!”
They sprung apart and blushed as Raven marched in. “Oh god, you two were,” She sighed before setting the food down on the table. “Well, we got you some food that Anya claimed you love. Abby cleared it so don’t worry about getting into trouble.”
“Thank you guys,” Lexa chuckled and reached out for the food.
“Oh yeah, one more thing, Clarke said you are a serious workaholic and even though you should be resting, you’ll want to work on the case, so we brought the files. I got my research, it doesn’t seem conclusive but maybe you’ll be able to make sense out of it. I suck as business and politics. Anyways, Clarkey and I have a lunch date, so you and Anya can work on the case together. If you need anything just call me, now let’s go Clarkey!” Raven chirped and looped her arm around Clarke’s, dragging the blonde out.
“Well, I looked through Raven’s data and, I mean, there are a lot of companies and there’s quite a number that carry across each case. There really isn’t a company that covers all 9 years but there are some that are close enough.”
“I’ll look at those first, I kinda have a hunch on something,” Lexa hummed as she sank her teeth into a generous portion of fried chicken. She had no idea how Doctor Griffin would ever clear it and consider this as food an injured patient could consume, which meant Raven was probably lying but oh well. Anya was on the phone with the captain, likely to update him on Lexa’s condition. Meanwhile, Lexa reread the timeline, before googling a couple of things and furrowed her eyebrows at the results.
Lexa looked up from her notes, a worried expression across her face. "I think I know who the culprit is, and who the next targets are."
“Who?” Anya demanded and Lexa slipped her the papers and showed her the news articles.
“Cage Wallace. The past 10 years has been a mess for him and his company. Or his father’s company, really. I matched up the timelines to important things Cage was involved in to the year the murders were conducted, and it matches perfectly.”
“What about this year? We have to make sure they are safe, do you have any idea?”
“I have a theory which I’m quite confident in. Earlier this year, Doctor Griffin announced her plan to conduct human trials for pancreatic cancer. Given the pattern, I think he will be going after the 14 patients participating in the trial. If they are killed, it will force her to have to find new patients and postpone her trials. Raven printed out the names and their personal details for me. Seeing as they had all planned to gather and meet today, it would be easy for Cage to just kill them all at once.
Anya pondered for a moment. “Are you absolutely sure? I believe you, and I trust your gut, but we can’t afford to make any mistakes.”
“Yes, I’m sure Anya, I had more than enough time to think about it. I know, he’s going to come after them. Besides, he was the one who stabbed me, I will recognise that smile anywhere. If he wants to kill me, it means I’m close to exposing him. So it has to be Cage Wallace and no one else.”
“Alright then, I’m calling Kane, we’re going to get those people safe and get that son of a bitch in jail.”
“You should be in the hospital bed,” Anya grumbled but Lexa shrugged it off. She had to be here for the arrest. She had to see the cuffs slapped on Cage’s wrists. And nothing was going to keep her away from being here, not even a throbbing stomach wound. Besides, Doctor Griffin had made sure one of her nurses came along with her in case she ever got wounded again. That had been one of the conditions before agreeing to let Lexa leave the hospital for the time being.
Kane had already ensured that the 14 patients that were Cage’s targets were safe and in a secure location. They would remain under protection for the following week, until Cage was safely behind bars and all threats to their lives were eliminated. But right now, they were going to arrest the sick man behind all the unfortunate murders.
They were gathered in front of Cage’s hotel door, the staff members at the hotel desk had confirmed that Cage was in his room. They also had the hotel surrounded and officers were stationed everywhere within a 5 mile radius. There was no way Cage was going to escape. The officer with a battering ram signalled and everyone got into position. Lexa, Anya and Lincoln stood in the empty room directly opposite while Bellamy guarded the front of the room.
At one, they struck the door down and officers rushed in with their guns raised. Groups of officer combed every room until they finally found Cage Wallace with his hands raised standing in the middle of his study.
Lexa jumped to her feet and rushed into the room. Cage was being restrained and forced to his knees while the captain went over to handcuff him. Lexa swelled with pride as she saw the smug little grin on Cage Wallace’s face being wiped off and replaced with displeasure and hatred. Anya rummaged through the drawers, finding an entire stack of papers in a locked cabinet, images and documents of each victim over the years, plans written out in detail. It was sickening, but they finally got him. This poor excuse for a man was finally going behind bars and Lexa would do everything in her power to make sure he stays there, for life.
They drove back to the precinct, which had erupted into cheers as Lexa stepped in. It was a celebration, they had solved the unsolvable case and restored peace in the city. Clarke ran over to greet her, pulling her in for a sweet kiss before lacing their fingers together.
“You’re incredible, Detective Alexandria Woods ,” Clarke said her full name teasingly and Lexa groaned.
“I really hate it when people call me that.” Clarke pouted and Lexa immediately changed her statement, “But I’ll make an exception for you, Doctor Clarke Griffin .”
Anya walked over with 2 beer bottles in her hand and passed Lexa one before settling next to her. “Solved it with one day to spare, no one could pull this off but you, Lexa. You’re phenomenal, they should make a movie about you. Imagine the reactions, and the money, you’re going to be rich. You should become a private detective!”
“And maybe I’ll star in my own movie too, since no one could possibly be as good looking as I am,” Lexa smirked and Anya rolled her eyes.
“But thank you, Anya, you’re the best partner I could ever ask for. And I don’t give that title to anyone that easily.”
“I’m honored,” Anya mockingly bowed to her before clinking their bottles together. “See you soon!” She waved before making her way to the center of the party.
Lexa heaved a sigh of relief as she watched everyone celebrate their success. Numerous officers went over to congratulate her, to which she graciously thanked all of them. Her team was partying as hard as they could (they deserved it, so much) while Lexa chose to sit in a corner and entertain any individual that floated her way. Everything was finally over. Thank goodness.
“Admit it, you tried to kill me.” Lexa spat out the moment she stepped into the room. It was the day after and Kane had accepted her request to speak to Cage before they transferred him to prison.
“Yes, why wouldn’t I? I had to take you out of the equation before you would expose me. It’s a wonder how you managed to figure out so much in such a short amount of time, truly the finest detective out there, aren’t you? It’s a pity you didn’t die from that fatal stab. I thought bringing up Costia would force you to drop out but you are a tough one, incredibly hard to mess with. Either way, congratulations, Alexandria Woods. You caught me, much better than I thought. Yes, I did kill all those people 9 years ago. It's a shame that no one would be murdered on Halloween this year. 10th year, kinda a big thing, don't you think? Heard the news mention what an important milestone it would be. I may be caught, but I've managed to fool the police for 9 years. Biggest joke of the decade."
"No thanks to you," Lexa scoffed, "You'll be locked in here tonight with heavily armed guards stationed everywhere within the state on the lookout in case you decide to escape, which I suggest you don't, unless you have a death wish. The world would be much more peaceful without you though, so maybe escaping isn't a bad idea. We're done here." She got up but Cage reached out to grab her hand.
"Sit back down Detective Woods, we're not done here. I want to know, how did you figure it out?"
Lexa leaned back against her chair, crossing her arms across her chest. "It's really easy, once I started putting together all the signs. Well, first things first, you left calling cards, pieces of paper with the cross-hair symbol the infamous Zodiac Killer used to sign his letters with. That made it easier to put all the murders together. 10 years and you never even thought about switching things up a bit. And I have to say, you have referenced the Zodiac Killer multiple times in interviews and press conferences, it's like you're obsessed with him, aren't you? You want to be like him, the unidentified serial killer that went down in history.
At first the murders seemed random, all kinds of people fell victim, the rich, the poor, men, women, children, white people, black people, people of color, straight people, gay people. It's a really strange way of saying you don't discriminate, isn't it? We couldn't find a pattern, really, we didn't know who the killer was targeting exactly.
"There's a much simpler reason though, Mount Weather, your father's hospital has had numerous controversies for that infamous bone marrow incident, causing the ranking to drop by a lot. Not to mention, your company is close to being in debt, we've checked the files, the amount of funding and number of benefactors has dropped since 2009. The murders started in 2010? Coincidence, maybe, but why would you lose funding? Because of Abigail Griffin. Griffin Corporation is becoming one of the best companies in the healthcare industry, the Ark is one of the top hospitals in the country. In 2009, Dr Griffin revolutionised medicine with her new discovery in treatment of contagious diseases. Even companies who didn't like how open and forthcoming she was turned to support her instead of you. Since then, she's been at the top of her game, snatching every award possible, climbing higher to the top while you on the other hand, are sinking deeper, and deeper into the ground. And so you decided to murder those who support her, starting with CEOs of the companies that turned, poor people who were part of groups that worked with the Ark, and then you dismembered 7 LGBT+ teens because she called you a 'homophobic asshole' 2 months prior. Everything starts lining up, whatever political drama you two have, the timeline, the murders. This year she announced her plans to combat pancreatic cancer and rolled out human trials, which would change the face of medicine completely and save multiple lives, if successful. The poor 14 people who you targeted tonight, were members of the trials. 2 of them are in critical condition because of you."
"You're sick, you're disgusting and I'm glad you're going to jail for it. And I'll do everything in my power to make sure you stay there forever, maybe you'll even get a death sentence because if this were anyone else, you would be hanged tomorrow."
Lexa slammed her palm on the table and stared Cage straight in the eye, watching warily as his frown turned into a smirk.
"But I'm not like anyone else. Tell me, Alexandria Woods , how much sleep have you been getting? Certainly not enough, I assume, because you missed out one crucial point. People are going to die tonight, whether or not I'm stuck in this cell or not." His tone dropped into a sinister curl as he leaned forward, "Halloween's not over yet, after all."
“What’s the theme this year?”
“There’s no theme really, just killing off whoever I want to. It’s the joy of killing that matter, doesn’t it? Even if I’m not the one doing it.”
An evil gleam sparked in his eyes as the haunting realisation dawned upon Lexa. "You're not working alone. The previous 9 years you worked alone, but this year... you knew, you knew you were going to be caught. You knew so you had someone else do the job for you. Who is your accomplice, tell me and maybe you won't be stuck here forever."
"Let's just say, how else do you think I got a hold of the information of these 14 people, huh? I won't supposed hacking into the wide, vast database of the Ark is entirely feasible, or is it? Or perhaps, I paid off a nurse there to get me the data but most personnel are unaware of the happenings of the trials. Unless... the one person other than Abigail Griffin who knows about everything... actually works for me." He paused before barking out in laughter, "But that's completely insane, right? No one else likes me anymore, everyone has left me. I have no one to work with, no accomplice maybe, but there will still be murder."
"They are all individually guarded by the finest and most trusted military personnel. No one will be murdered."
Cage only hummed a reply, the wicked smile never leaving his face. A chill crept down her spine as he drummed his fingers against the cold, hard surface of the table.
“There's something else."
"Indeed there is. After all, there isn't only 14 people part of the human trials. Those are just collateral damage, honestly. You see, there are actually 15 people and the last one, is the one I truly want dead."
"Surprise Alexandria Woods, your dearest girlfriend's mother has cancer."
"You're lying, she doesn't. She's the healthiest person I've ever met."
"Maybe, but pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest to detect, to an experienced surgeon like her however, perhaps there are signs she has noticed which would lead to her, ah, starting off a project that could save her life. And if she died before, it would only give the medical community more reason to combat pancreatic disease. If she saves herself in time, she'll be hailed a hero. It's a win-win situation."
"It's my 10th year, I was really gunning for the one person that has completely ruined my life. Abigail Griffin must die, even if I can't be the one to kill her. She will die, and no one will know about her cancer. Think about it, detective. I'm not working alone, after all."
Cage Wallace sneered at her as he watched the cogs in her mind finally start turning.
"Better run detective, clock's ticking."
Lexa sped out of the room, running into the captain’s office. He was currently busy, talking to other officers of another precinct.
“Detective Woods, I’m in the middle of something, as you can see.”
“Sir, this can’t wait. Abigail Griffin is in danger. Cage Wallace just confessed to me, yes he did kill all those people all those years, yes he did try to kill the 14 people, and he’s going to get Doctor Griffin murdered. She’s the target, the other 14 was just ‘collateral damage’, according to him. Please sir, we have to locate her and get her somewhere safe, now.”
Kane put his papers down and dismissed the officers in his office, much to their annoyance.
“I believe you Lexa, I will get the army and the police force on this right now. It’s a matter of national security if they are coming after Abigail Griffin. She’s planning to run for Senator anyways. Do you have any idea where she could be?”
“Uh, I think Clarke mentioned she was going to be at the hospital, something about Halloween keeping the ER constantly full with stupid accidents even though there’s a killer roaming the streets.”
“And that threat is now contained because of you. You did good, Lexa, phenomenal job, you and your whole team. The hospital will be going into lockdown, I’m sending all my men to search every floor until we find her and make sure she is safe. Let me make a few more phone calls before we go. Try and get ahold of Clarke too, I’m sure she wants to make sure her mother is fine. I’ll see you at the lobby in 3 minutes.
“Yes, sir!” She quickly left the office and pulled out her phone, pressing onto Clarke’s contact and waiting impatiently for her to pick up.
“Clarke!” Lexa nearly screamed when the line connected.
“Lexa? Did something happen? What’s going on?”
“Wait first, are you fine? Did anyone come after you? Where are you?”
“No, I’m perfectly fine. I’m at the cafe near the hospital. What happened? Did you get hurt?”
“No no no, your mum’s in danger. She’s the target. Ok, calm down, Clarke, breathe.” She could hear the increased and panicked breathing coming from her girlfriend. “The captain has already sent his men to secure the hospital. She’ll be fine. Just stay there, don’t move. If anyone tries to get you, run and try to get help from any officers around. They should be reaching there now.”
“Yeah, there’s an entire fleet of police cars and trucks turning up. They are ushering out of the cafe.”
“Okay good, stay there, do not go anyway. The captain and I will be right over.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll see you right?”
“Yes, Clarke, I’ll be there.”
She hung up as she saw Kane approach. “Clarke was at the cafe near the hospital. The police have ushered her out. I told her to remain near the hospital.”
“Good, let’s go.” She followed him into a waiting van, where an officer passed her a bulletproof vest.
“Just in case,” Kane said and Lexa nodded, knowing the danger of the threat. She had been stabbed before, she didn’t need to experience that again. It completely sucked and Clarke would never forgive her if another knife made its way into her.
They arrived in record time, (Lexa was positive a lot of streets were being closed for this) and she ran to find Clarke while Kane headed into the building. She saw a blonde ran towards her and nearly fell over when Clarke jumped into her arms.
“Oh thank goodness you’re okay, I would have stabbed you myself if you ended up injured again.”
“I’m alright, but you mum isn’t. I have to go in and make sure she’s fine.” She let go of Clarke apologetically. She could see Clarke open her mouth in an attempt to rebut or convince Lexa to let her go too but she nodded, a pleading look in her eyes. Lexa placed a soft kiss on Clarke’s forehead before entering the building.
She caught up with Kane in time and followed him to one of the higher levels in the building. “They found Doctor Griffin, she’s being held at gunpoint, it’s not good. None of my men dare to intervene, we’re positioning snipers wherever we can but we can’t risk that either.”
Kane pushed open the door, “Maybe you’ll be able to convince whoever it is to not kill Doctor Griffin. She’s very important.”
Lexa’s heart was racing as she walked into the office. Just as Kane had described, she saw Doctor Griffin sitting at her desk, a woman pointing a gun at her head. She couldn’t see the woman’s head but as she turned her head, Lexa was rooted to the ground.
Costia stared right back at her.
“You two know each other?” Abby sighed helplessly before turning to look at Lexa.
“Costia, put the gun down, you don’t have to do this.”
“Except I do, Lexa, they will kill me the same way they killed my father if I don’t. Mr Wallace, he, he will do, terrible things to me. I have to kill her.”
“Cage Wallace is in jail,” Lexa raised her hands slowly as she took a step closer, “He can’t hurt you. His people can’t hurt you either. If you come with me, we can make sure you are protected and you will never be hurt again.” She continued walking closer and closer with every word until she was an arms length away from Costia.
“You can’t promise me that, I know that, Lexa. You promised my father the same thing, look how that ended up.”
“Right, but this time it’s different. Come with me, tell us everyone you know who’s involved, we’ll make sure you will be safe, forever. You can go back to your normal life, you can continue with your research, it’ll all be fine. And I promise you this time, I will never let anyone hurt you, not again.” She took another step until they were side by side and grabbed her arm softly, pulling it away from Abby’s head and onto the floor instead. Lexa gently pried the gun off Costia’s fingers and let it clatter to the ground.
“Doctor Griffin, please leave us.”
Abby scrambled to her feet, thanking Lexa and pushing through her door. Lexa kept a close eye on Costia, making sure she wouldn’t do anything rash or impulsive. As the door clicked shut, it was finally the two of them alone in the room.
“I’ve missed you,” Costia croaked, “Every night when I’m there , after they do things to me, I always think of you , you are the reason I manage to get through every day. I’m sorry for ever hurting you. I didn’t mean to, but they told me if I told anyone, they would know and they would come for me.”
“Look, everything’s over. We can free you from this, you will never have to suffer ever again.”
“That’s the problem, Lexa. There’s no escaping them. They’re everywhere. There’s only one way to end it all.” She cried before lunging for the gun.
“No!” Lexa yelled and reached out to stop her but she was too late, a bullet was released from the gun pressed to her temple, as the gun fell out of Costia’s hand and she collapsed on the ground.
“Oh god, Costia, please, you shouldn’t have done this.” Lexa whimpered, pressing Costia close to her. She had worked on enough cases to know no one survives a bullet to their brain.
“It was the only way. I love you,” Costia smiled before her body stiffened and her eyes rolled back. Lexa cried as officers rushed into the room, trying to make sure that she was fine. Eventually, they managed to pry Costia’s body from Lexa as Clarke rushed over to comfort her. She curled up into a ball as Clarke hugged her tightly, rubbing her back gently and whispering comforting words into her ear.
They were ushered out of the office and the duo made their way to a waiting car when Abby stopped them.
“Lexa, could I um, I know it’s a bad timing but could I speak to you, privately?”
Clarke tightened her grip around Lexa’s arm but Lexa nodded weakly. She knew what Abby was concerned about. Abby pulled her into a consultation room and Lexa sat on the bed.
“I’m sorry that happened to you,” She said and Lexa just shook her head.
“It was going to happen, sooner or later, at least she’ll be put out of her misery earlier.”
“I presume that you know that I… have cancer… It’s just suspected, but I’ve been a surgeon long enough to know the symptoms, even if they are hard to identify.” Abby mumbled quietly.
“Don’t worry, I haven’t told Clarke. No one knows. I thought it would be better if you told her yourself.”
They stood around awkwardly for a moment before Abby quickly opened the door. “I should let you get back to Clarke. Let her take care of you, she’s very good at that. If you need anything, just let me know, I’ll always be ready to help you.”
Lexa nodded and made her way to where she left Clarke, who was pacing along the corridor and muttering to herself.
“Lexa!” Clarke ran to her, “Did my mum say anything offensive? I’m really sorry, she can be mean sometimes.”
“It’s fine, Clarke. She said nothing offensive, I’m fine. Can we go to your apartment now?”
“Of course,” Clarke grabbed her hand as they walked to the car, “Besides, I’m never going to leave your side from now.”
3 months later.
Lexa Woods was hailed a hero. The press loves her, the police department loves her, every citizen in America loves her. She had even received a medal from the chief commissioner AND the president for her success. Of course, it wasn’t just her effort. She made sure her team received equal recognition and the same accolades as she did. She couldn’t have possibly done it without them, after all.
Most of them had gone their separate ways but seeing as their lives were still crazily entangled with each other, they met often to discuss what they were currently working on. Lincoln and Octavia got engaged, (Lexa met Octavia for the first time after the Blake sibling had won her 13th international goal and she made a mental note never to mess with her. For someone incredibly intense and terrifying, Octavia yet somehow managed to be comedic, quick-witted and entertaining. They had quickly become friends, much to the disappointment of Clarke.), Anya, Raven and Luna were dating each other (Lexa didn’t really understand how it worked but they all seemed happy so she didn’t really care), and Clarke and her finally managed to go on their first real date. It was simple and cliche, dinner at a high-class restaurant, before ditching that and buying hotdogs that tasted otherworldly from Clarke’s favourite food truck. They had spent the remainder of the night at a beach by the shore, lying in each other’s arms and enjoying the view (Lexa had argued that it was weird to stargaze on the beach but she shut up the moment Clarke had pressed a kiss on her lips).
She had fallen into a simple routine, slaving away at work trying to put away crime, but always coming home every night to her lovely girlfriend and spending the night with her. It was a promise they made, to always keep their nights free so that they could sit together and catch up on shows they missed on Netflix. Costia still haunted her, every now and then, and she was working on a case to destroy the cult, but with Clarke by her side, and with the weekly therapy session she went to, she felt safe and protected, but most importantly, peaceful.
Finally, the world felt right to her.