Category: Crossover (CSI:NY, Criminal Minds)
Summary: When a serial killer brings the BAU team to New York, an old acquaintance is renewed and a new relationship emerges.
"Is that a hickey?" Don said incredulously, slamming his beer down on the granite counter. "Is that a fucking hickey? I don't believe you!"
Sheldon calmly turned and reached for a dishcloth. He tossed it to Don, who sheepishly wiped up the spill. He handed the cloth back to Sheldon and picked up his beer. Sheldon shook his head as he rinsed out the cloth.
"Are you done?" he asked wryly. "You've been at it for twenty minutes now and it's getting really old."
"You didn't see Stella's face when you said that," Don persisted.
"No, but you've already described it in agonizing detail," Sheldon replied as he reached for an onion and began to dice it expertly. "Twice. Move on."
"You can take this lightly, I can't."
"Don, it was a joke."
"What joke? You made everyone in that room think I got laid last night."
"You did get laid last night. Is that such a bad thing?"
"I--." Don paused, stumped by Sheldon's question. He sipped his beer in silence for several minutes as Sheldon puttered around the kitchen.
"I wasn't the only one to notice the hickey. I just said what everyone else was thinking. You want to make the salad?"
"No," Don said with a pout. But he rose and went to the refrigerator anyway. Sheldon smiled and resumed stirring his sauce. "Your old boyfriend got a good laugh out of it."
"Don--." Sheldon paused to carefully choose his words. "What's gotten into you? You've always been the jealous type, but I've never known you to be insecure."
"I've never been confronted by one of your old lovers before," Don admitted, unable to look Sheldon in the eye.
"Don, Derek and I were never lovers."
"But you wanted to be, right?"
Sheldon sighed and pulled the frying pan off the fire. He turned off the stove and walked over to his sullen partner. He reached out to caress Don's face as he spoke.
"Nine years ago--in another time, in another place, under different circumstances…in a world where you didn't exist--yes. I wanted him. But that was then. This," he said, leaning in closer, "this is now."
Sheldon brought their mouths together in a slow, passionate kiss that extinguished Don's anger. He caressed Sheldon's face and deepened the kiss, entangling their tongues and pressing their bodies together against the counter. But Sheldon abruptly broke the kiss and gently pushed Don away.
"I'm trying to cook here."
"And we were up to a gentle simmer," Don replied with a wink.
"Later. I'm hungry." Sheldon turned back to the stove and Don wrapped his arms around his waist as he resumed sautéing the onions.
"So am I, Doc," he murmured as he nibbled Sheldon's throat. "You know, I ought to give you a hickey."
"Yeah, Stella would love that," Sheldon replied archly. He shrugged lightly and Don released him.
"You're no fun when you're right, you know that, Doc?"
Sheldon laughed and sent Don into the living room to put on some music.
"Hey, did you talk to Danny like I asked?" he inquired when he returned to the kitchen.
"I tried. I don't know why he's so pissed off at the feds, but I did convince him to try to tone it down."
"Good," Don replied. "It's really unprofessional and frankly a little embarrassing to see a law enforcement official stomping around like a huffy two-year old." Sheldon looked up at him and stared incredulously. "I know, I know," Don said with a sigh. "But I--." He paused to answer his phone. "Yeah, Flack. Yeah…" He grabbed the notepad at the end of the counter and pulled a pen from his pocket. "Lafayette; I got it."
"You've got to go," Sheldon said flatly as Don shut his phone and reached for his jacket.
"Duty calls," he replied with a shrug. "Sorry, Doc."
"I thought you weren't supposed to be assigned any new cases?"
"Apparently no one told the dispatcher. I'll check it out and pass it off to another detective." He gave Sheldon a slow, lingering kiss. "Save me some dinner. I'll be back."
Don left Sheldon's apartment smiling, but when he arrived at the scene he'd been called to, his mood changed abruptly. A uniformed officer was waiting for him at the curb.
"We think we've found the scene of a murder," he said without preamble. "Looks like it was a real bloodbath." He led Don into the building and up the stairs. "A call came in from a guy who was showing the space to a potential tenant. It had been unoccupied for about three months. When he opened the door he smelled something funky. He took a look around and found this."
"This?" Don repeated as they entered the loft space. He smelled the fetid scent of death.
"Back there," the officer said grimly. He strode across the large room to a dark corner where several officers were staring at a scene right out of a horror movie.
"We think someone may have been killed here," another officer said when he spotted Don.
"You think?" he snapped. "Has anyone called the Crime Scene Unit?"
"They're on their way," the first officer replied.
"Good. The first thing they'll want is for you to clear the scene. You're probably trampling on vital evidence. I only want the first officers on scene and the people who discovered the blood. The rest of you, wait outside."
"You don't have to ask me twice," the first officer said, turning to leave. All but two of them followed him out. Mac had come through the door in time to catch Don's little speech and crossed the room to speak with the tall detective.
"Thanks, Don," Mac said as he approached. "What have we got?"
"An abattoir," he replied. "Something very nasty happened in this room."
"I'll say," Mac replied as he did a slow circle, taking in all of his surroundings. He set down his bag and walked toward to the far corner. Don frowned in confusion.
"Just a minute," he said, examining the floor with his flashlight. "Did the uniforms come over this way?"
"I don't know," Don said, turning to the two officers remaining in the loft. They shook their heads.
"When we arrived at the scene the leasing agent directed us over here," one of them said, gesturing at the bloodstained walls in the opposite corner. "There's nothing over there."
"I beg to differ," Mac replied, squatting to get a better look. Don told the officers to stay put and walked over to join him.
"What do you see?" he asked, squatting beside him.
"Look at the dust. No one's been in here for ages. Whatever happened over there took place months ago."
"The leasing agent said no one's been here--legally, anyway--for three months," Don affirmed.
"Yet these trails here," Mac said, pointing, "and those drag marks there are more recent."
"So whoever did the dirty deed over there came back. A body dump, maybe?"
"I don't know," Mac said thoughtfully, rising to walk over to the bloody corner of the room. "There's no trail to indicate that the body was moved from one area of the loft to the other. And why bother? Why not take it directly to the door?"
"Or bring whatever he used to wrap the body to this area," Don added, nodding. "What do you think he was up to, then?"
"I don't know but I intend to find out," Mac said. He looked up and saw Lindsay and Stella at the door. "Call Hawkes," he said softly. "We're going to need more hands here."
"Isn't that your job?" Don replied as he reached for the phone.
"I'm not going to be the one to tell him his dinner plans are ruined." Mac walked away smiling. Don knew that Sheldon had told Mac about their relationship but this was the first time Mac had ever acknowledged it to Don, who smiled and made the call.
Sheldon was surprised when Don called him in to work a scene but he showed up twenty minutes later and gloved up. He took in the scene from a distance before joining Mac near the huge blood splatter.
"That's a lot of blood," he said, his voice reflecting his awe.
"More than one body, in your professional opinion?" Mac asked.
"Hard to say. The blood volume of an average adult male is roughly five liters, but even if you cut a major artery, it's unlikely that he'd completely bleed out." Sheldon looked around grimly. "It's more than likely one person's blood."
"Agreed. I want you to evaluate the samples personally," Mac declared. "You take them back to the lab and oversee all the testing." A few feet away, Lindsay looked up. She exchanged a glance with Stella and shook her head.
"How come he gets put in charge? We've been on our hands and knees in blood for twenty minutes," she groused. "And he's the least senior member of the unit."
"Lindsay, he may be the newest member of the team but he's far from the least experienced. We both know that Sheldon's got more knowledge of blood than the two of us combined," Stella replied sternly. "He became an expert in blood analysis long before he became a CSI. We're going to have a hell of a time making sense of all of this as it is. We may as well get our best people on it."
"I guess," Lindsay replied sullenly. Stella rolled her eyes.
"Don't tell me this case is getting to you, too?" She shook her head and went to give her samples to Sheldon. As she approached him she noticed Don, who appeared to be staring at him. "Damn," she muttered, looking from one man to the other. Sheldon was busy with Mac and totally ignorant of the attention. Stella smiled and walked over to Don, who reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, his eyes still fixed on his target.
"You know, if you want him, you're going to have to do more than look," she said archly when she reached his side.
"I'm not--," Don began, but his caller picked up and he switched gears. "Yeah, Agent Hotchner? Detective Flack. I'm at a loft on Lafayette Street. Someone was apparently killed here. There's a lot of blood. According to Detective Taylor it occurred some time ago. There's also been recent activity on the premises. I think you may want to come down here and take a look at this." Mac and Sheldon turned to look at him curiously. "Yeah, 440 Lafayette. Okay." He closed and pocketed his phone before he acknowledged the stares of Stella, Mac and Sheldon.
"Flack?" Mac said, his confusion apparent.
"Yeah, Flack," Stella added. "What makes you think this scene has anything to do with the FBI case? Those victims were all strangled, not stabbed."
"I know," Don replied confidently. "I didn't call them because of what's in here. I called them because of what's out there." He nodded toward the huge window behind Sheldon and Mac. "That's what I've been staring at, Stella," he said wryly.
Mac walked over to Don and turned to look at the view. Sheldon shrugged.
"I don't get it," he said. Don beckoned him over and he looked for himself. "So?"
"It's the sign," Mac said, nodding. "Good job, Flack."
"Hey, you want to let the rest of us in on the big secret?"
"Sure, Stell," Don replied, walking over to the window. "That sign is in the picture of our four murder victims."
"There's no sign in that picture," she said insistently. "It's just four women at a club or a bar--." She walked over to the window and looked down at the street. She shook her head and turned around to frown at Flack, who smiled.
"I rarely get the jump on you lab rats," he said smugly. "I kind of like the feeling." There was a small commotion at the door and he turned to see Hotch and Derek enter the loft.
"How did they get here, teleportation?" Stella said sotto voce.
"FBI headquarters is about four blocks from here," Sheldon replied with a smile.
"What's shaking?" Derek said as he strode over to Sheldon. Flack huffed and tapped him on the shoulder. Derek turned. Only Don saw the flicker of fear in Sheldon's eyes as he gestured for Derek to follow him.
"Mac, Agent Morgan and I are going to take a walk," he said as the two men passed Mac and Hotch. Derek shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket and followed Don down the stairs, out into the crisp evening air. They crossed the street and put some distance between themselves and the crowd of police officers still on the scene. Don turned and looked back at the building. Derek waited expectantly for a few seconds before he spoke.
"You got something to say to me, detective?" he prompted. "Whatever it is, go ahead and get it off your chest. We've both got work to do." Don looked at him oddly.
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about the reason you brought me out here," Derek replied exasperatedly.
"I brought you out here to do a little recon. It's that way." Don turned and started to walk up the block.
"Come on," Don said. He started walking again and Derek threw up his hands and followed him. They reached the corner and Don pointed. "There." He crossed the street and Derek rushed to catch up.
"Where are we going?"
"Spider Bar. Didn't you see the sign?"
"Oh, yes; you were too busy flirting with Dr. Hawkes this afternoon to pay attention to the discussion about the case," Don said in full snark mode. "I'll bring you up to speed. Detective Taylor and Agent Hotchner told the rest of us that they were trying to blow up that photo of the four victims. They weren't able to get a clear enough image to read the name on the drink card on the table, but they did manage to get a good look at the logo. And if you hadn't been so distracted when you entered the loft back there, you might have noticed that," he said pointing upward.
Derek followed Don's finger and saw the sign over the restaurant. Its main feature was a lime green spider. Don smiled and Derek begrudgingly returned it. He had to hand it to the young detective. He clearly on top of his game and Derek resolved to be better focused henceforth.
"Shall we go in?" Don asked. Derek nodded and led the way. They entered the dimly lit establishment, where a happy hour crowd was enjoying the hip, funky atmosphere. The wait staff--all female--wore tight-fitting black tops with glowing spider pins on their lapels.
"Kooky," Don said as he went up to the bar.
"Hi, there," the bartender said, eyeing the two men. "God's gift to women and a spare," she said, leaning forward to reveal a bit of eye-catching cleavage. "You two made my day. How can I improve yours?"
"Save the sales pitch," Don said, flashing his badge. "Do you recognize any of the women in this photo?" He pulled out a copy of the photo and passed it to her.
"Honey, I only pay attention to the men in this club," she replied flirtatiously. Don ignored the tease.
"Well then, can you tell me where this is?"
"It's in the back room," the bartender replied.
"Show us," Derek said. She walked to the end of the bar and pointed to a second room at the back of the bar.
"It's on the right," she said. "Why do you want to know?"
Neither man answered her question. They went into the back room, a larger space for parties and overflow crowd. Don held up the picture and pointed. Derek nodded.
"That's it," he said. "Everything is exactly the same." He walked over to the corner banquette and pulled the table away to get a better look at the scene. "The table was over to the side like this, but everything else--the poster, the wall color--that's it."
"Is there a problem?" someone said from behind them. Derek turned and saw the manager hovering. In spite of his recent humiliation at the hands of the younger detective, Derek decided to defer to him and gestured for him to lead the ensuing interview.
Back at the loft, Stella and Sheldon were still confused. Mac enlightened them along with Hotch. Sheldon went to the window and peered out at the street. He saw Don and Derek walking up the block. Relieved that his earlier fear was apparently unfounded, he rejoined the discussion.
"Do you think this case is related to the other murders?" Stella was asking.
"It's too soon to tell," Hotch said before Mac could say the same thing.
"I suppose it's possible," Mac agreed, turning to look around as he began to speculate. "Maybe our suspect was caught in the act. Suppose he murdered someone here, wrapped up and attempted to dispose of the body and was seen by four young women leaving that bar?"
"I don't know, Mac," Sheldon replied. "Why wouldn't they have gone to the police? And how would the guy be able to track all four women down?"
"Who said he had to?" Mac countered. "Suppose he was able to herd them in here and tie them up?"
"Four women?" Stella said dubiously.
"Four women, late at night, possibly a bit drunk," Mac replied. "Maybe he had a gun."
"I don't know, Mac. Nothing we've got in evidence suggests the presence of a gun," Sheldon said. Lindsay rose and joined the fray.
"I've seen no gunshot residue here. I think you're fishing, Mac," she volunteered.
"And if our murderer was able to capture the four women that night, how did that card get into Caroline Jeffers' apartment?" Sheldon challenged. "That suggests prior knowledge of the unsub. Of course, if she'd encountered him before, she might have recognized him and that would prompt him to abduct her--assuming he feared she could identify him to the authorities."
"It doesn't work," Stella said, shaking her head. "I mean it's possible that one or more of these women had some connection to the guy who did this, but this blood is old. The dust on the floor tells us that it's been months since whoever died was killed on these premises."
"Flack did say that the place hadn't been occupied for some time," Lindsay argued. "Maybe the murderer left the body here and came back for it at a later date."
"For how long?" Sheldon replied. "You know how fast the odor of decomp sets in."
"Christine Jeffers said that she hadn't heard from her sister in three weeks," Hotch offered, entering the fray.
"But that doesn't mean she'd been missing for that long," Lindsay said. "She'd been trying to contact her sister, but we have no way of telling whether Caroline was missing then or just hadn't answered her sister's calls." Mac nodded.
"Let's get this evidence back to the lab and see if it can answer any of our questions," he said. Sheldon, Lindsay and Stella went back to evidence gathering and Hotch watched them go.
"This is Special Agent Morgan of the FBI and I'm Detective Flack, local heat," Don said flashing his badge. "And you are--?"
"Ronald Dawson, the manager. What can I do for you?"
"We're investigating the deaths of four women," Derek began, but Dawson cut him off.
"Here?" he blurted out incredulously.
"Actually, we don't know where they were killed. But we do know that they were here sometime before they were killed."
"Wait--are you talking about those girls on the news last night?" Dawson said. "They weren't found anywhere near here."
"But they were patrons of this establishment," Don replied. The manager blanched. "And at this point in our investigation that's the only known connection between the victims."
"No, no; I'm sure you've got the wrong place."
"This picture says different," Don said, producing the photograph. "They were in this club and sat on that banquette."
"So you're trying to pin these murders on me?" Dawson cried.
"We aren't trying to pin anything on anyone," Derek said calmly. "We're just trying to find out when they were here and whatever else you can tell us."
"I can't tell you anything," Dawson said hastily. Don and Derek exchanged a glance. "I'm just the day manager. This room is never used before the late crowd comes in. You should be talking to the night manager."
"The room is never used during the day?" Don asked warily. "Not even for parties, say a bridal shower or a retirement party?"
"Well, yeah," the manager conceded. "Once in a while the room might be booked for a special event."
"How long have you been working here?" Derek asked.
"About six months."
"And you're the day manager," Don mused. "What hours do you work?"
"I work from eleven until about seven o'clock and the night manager takes over until we close at two," Dawson replied. "He's the one you should be talking to."
"And what time does the bar open?" Derek asked, knowing that their rapid-fire questions were rattling the nervous man.
"We open at two in the afternoon. I do the ordering and take deliveries and handle the day to day business management of the club."
"So if my friend and I wanted to get a group of friends together and throw a party we'd book this room through you, right?" Don concluded.
"Yes," Dawson answered unthinkingly. "You'd have to call me and schedule a--."
"See?" Don said, grinning at Derek. "I knew talking to this guy wouldn't be a waste of our time. Sit down, Mr. Dawson."
"Does your team always become so involved in their cases?" Hotch asked as he observed the photographers carefully setting up lights to capture the dust trails on camera.
"Of course we're involved," Mac replied defensively. "We wouldn't be good investigators if we weren't."
"I meant no offense," Hotch said hastily. "My experience of forensic investigators is that they focus on the evidence and leave all the puzzle piecing to the detectives."
"We are detectives," Mac said with a wry smile. "And we have a rather high solve rate because we become engaged with the investigation."
"And the other detectives don't mind?"
"You saw Flack; most of the homicide detectives we work with are used to collaborating with us," Mac replied. "Working together, we get cases closed and murderers put behind bars where they belong."
"Your Detective Flack is a very astute young man," Hotch said, turning to look out the window at the Spider Bar sign.
"That he is," Mac agreed.
"He has a natural gift for investigation. He'd be a good candidate for the FBI."
"He won't go," Mac said, laughing off the suggestion. "Don Flack is NYPD all the way."
"Are you sure of that?" Hotch asked, surprised by Mac's confident answer.
"Trust me; it's in his blood," Mac said proudly. "Four generations of Flacks have served on the force. Cut him and he bleeds NYPD blue."
Hotch didn't push the point, but he continued to think about Flack as he examined the loft with Mac. They speculated about possible connections to their unsolved murders, but found nothing readily discernible to connect the two cases.
Derek and Don left the Spider Bar ten minutes later with enough information to convince them that they'd found a major lead. Don paused at the curb to make a final note in his book as Derek looked on.
"You write down everything?" he observed.
"Yeah, we're big on documentation in the NYPD. That way when we get into a cross-jurisdictional scrape we can cover our asses," Don replied archly. "Of course, if the FBI is involved we're going to take the fall, anyway, but at least I'll be able to know exactly when, where and how we were screwed."
Derek knew that Don was teasing and was able to laugh at his remarks. They began to walk as Derek was forced to admit to himself that he respected the young detective in spite of himself. They crossed the street, headed back toward the loft, discussing what they'd learned. They were about ten yards from the building when Don abruptly stopped and turned to him.
"You said something earlier about getting something off my chest. Before we head back in there, would you care to elaborate because I've been thinking about that for fifteen minutes now and I've got nothing."
Derek opened and closed his mouth, completely blindsided by the sudden confrontation. He'd misread things earlier and now he was being called to account for it.
"Maybe you're the one who's got something to get off his chest," Don suggested, his blue eyes glittering with intensity.
"Flack!" a uniformed officer called. "The chief's up there and he's looking for you." Don glanced up at the loft and then at Derek. He left him on the street to stew over what he'd said and went in to speak to his superior.
As it happened, Sinclair had grown tired of waiting and was leaving. Don spoke with him briefly inside the building lobby, updating him on the investigation, before returning to the loft. Derek accompanied him and they walked up the steps together as though nothing had transpired a few minutes earlier. As they entered the loft, Hotch spotted them and demanded a report.
"We found it," Don announced. "That picture was taken in that bar."
"Good work," Mac said as he took the picture from his hand.
"No one on the premises recognized the women," Derek volunteered. "We could go back and try asking the rest of the staff at another time."
"Good," Hotch agreed. "Speak to every member of the staff and maybe find a few regulars to see if they can identify any of the victims.
"What have you found here?" Derek asked, looking around. His eyes briefly came to rest on Sheldon, but he quickly moved on to Stella and Lindsay, who were packing up their kits.
"Nothing that links directly to our case," Hotch replied. "It could be a complete coincidence, but we’ll see what the forensic evidence tells us."
"Mac?" Sheldon called. "We're heading back to the lab now."
"Okay," he replied, walking over to speak with him. "Look, this is obviously not a hot case. Log in the samples, but that blood analysis can wait until morning."
"Got it." Sheldon replied. He turned to Stella and Lindsay. "You two ready?"
"Mac," Lindsay said stepping past Sheldon to speak with her supervisor. "I don't have any plans tonight. I'd be happy to get started on that blood analysis."
"Leave that to Hawkes," he replied. "I want you on those photos of the dust. You're good at solving puzzles. It's fairly obvious what happened over here. I want to know what happened on that side of the loft." Lindsay started to protest but he quickly cut her off. "I appreciate the offer, but if we're going to solve this mystery we need everyone playing to his or her strengths. Sheldon's is biologicals; yours is figuring out puzzles. Go back to the lab and help log in the evidence. Then go home and get some rest. We need you at your best when you attack that riddle. I have the feeling that if these cases are related, the connections going to be found on that side of the room."
Lindsay nodded and followed Sheldon out of the loft. Stella tarried long enough to give him a knowing look and a wink. Then she, too, disappeared, leaving the others to finish up. Don and Derek were giving Hotch the details of their visit to the Spider Bar. Together, they worked out a plan to follow up on their findings before they went their separate ways.
Hotch and Derek got into their car and headed north toward their hotel. Derek yawned and stretched like a cat and Hotch smiled.
"If that's a hint, your point is taken," he said. "There's nothing more we can do tonight. Get some rest and we'll start on our agenda in the morning."
"I'm for that," Derek said, slouching a little in his seat. He looked out at the East River as the car headed up the FDR Drive.
"What do you think of Detective Flack?" Hotch asked after a minute or two. Derek turned to look at him, wondering, not for the first time, if Hotch was reading his mind.
"Smart guy," he replied neutrally.
"I agree. He has the makings of a good profiler."
"Are you serious?" Derek asked, barely able to keep the skepticism out of his voice.
"Well, I'd have to look at his qualifications, of course," Hotch said as he moved toward the exit. "But everything I've seen of him has impressed me." Derek couldn't suppress the snort that the comment elicited. "You don't agree?"
"Oh, I agree," Derek said. "But we've been here, what, three, four days? That's hardly enough time to judge."
"Why not?" Hotch argued lightly. "I deemed you suitable after a half hour interview." Derek didn't have a ready answer for that so he switched gears.
"Has he expressed an interest in becoming a fed?"
"No, and according to Detective Taylor he wouldn't be interested. That doesn't mean it's not worth asking him."
"Why don't we see how he handles the rest of the case before we decide that?" Derek said shutting his eyes. Hotch silently agreed and drove on to their hotel. When they arrived and parked they found JJ and Emily on their way out to dinner.
"I take it you didn't find anything substantive, since you didn't call us," JJ said.
"On the contrary--Morgan and Flack found the club where the picture was taken," Hotch informed her. "No one recognized the women from the photograph, but we have a starting point. What did you two come up with?"
"Well, we were able to track down the next of kin for the two victims we identified today," Emily replied. "One is local and we spoke to the family. The other victim's parents are flying in from Texas tomorrow."
"Good. Where's Spencer?" Hotch asked, looking around.
"In his room," JJ replied. "He declined our dinner invitation."
"I'll check up on him," Derek volunteered before Hotch could respond. He said goodbye to the others and made his way to the elevator. He knocked on Spencer's door a few minutes later. Spencer opened the door and walked away. Derek smiled and followed him into the room.
"So what was the call about?" he asked as he clambered onto the bed, where he'd been reading case files.
"They found a crime scene. We're not sure it's related to our case, but the bar where that photograph of the four women was taken was located right around the corner. In fact, you could see the sign for the bar from the window."
"And what was the crime scene?"
"That was something," Derek said, moving a few files over so he could sit on the edge of the bed. "Huge amount of blood spatter, probably from more than one victim. According to Hotch, the CSIs think the blood was at least a couple of months old. And there were signs of more recent activity--trails of footsteps and drag marks in the dust. Something hinky was going down in that loft. And I have to believe that it's somehow related to our case."
"But the victims were all strangled," Spencer said, sitting up. "It sounds very curious. I'd like to see it."
"We'll be going back tomorrow," Derek assured him. "We'll return to the Spider Bar, too--with a warrant." He stretched and leaned back on his elbows. "So what have you been up to?"
"I've been reading everything the NYPD has on the case. Prentiss and Bonasera spoke with the families of two of the victims today. I've got the transcripts of those interviews and am trying to see if I can figure out how and where these four women's lives intersect one another. Three of them met in college, but the fourth is still a mystery."
"Maybe she's --." Derek paused and scratched his head.
"What?" Spencer prompted.
"Never mind. I'm tired and I want a shower," he said rising.
"I was considering ordering room service," Spencer said absently, his eyes on the page in front of him.
"Sounds like a good idea," Derek said, headed for the door as two files fell to the floor. "Maybe I'll order in, too."
"I can order for two as easily as one," Spencer said hopefully, reaching for the menu.
"Thanks, but I think I'll just take my shower and then see if I'm hungry," Derek said after a few seconds of awkward silence. He reached behind his back for the door. "I'll see you in the morning, Spence." He departed quickly and walked a few doors down the hall to his own room. He felt bad about abandoning Spencer but he wasn't up to another night of troubling questions he wasn't ready to answer.
"You know, on second thought, Mac might be right," Sheldon said as he poured his beer into a tall glass. "Let's say our suspect committed a brutal murder in the loft. He probably used that spot because it was convenient, he had access, it's a fairly quiet area at night; he never imagined he'd be spotted. But he leaves the building, probably dripping with blood, possibly toting a body--and he's seen. Or at least he thinks he's been seen by four women coming out of the club."
Don shifted on the sofa so that Sheldon could sit down. He wasn't the slightest bit interested in discussing the case but he knew better than to try to stop his lover when he was thinking out loud.
"He makes his getaway and waits. Reads the news, watches television--hears nothing about a man being seen carrying the body. But suppose he works in the area and he sees those women again. Maybe one or more of them work downtown, maybe it's where they like to meet up for a girls' night out… He sees them again and again and he even meets Caroline Jeffers one night at a party or at the Spider Bar. He begins to worry that she'll remember him. Maybe he becomes obsessed with the idea--."
"All right, Doc, I got it," Don said impatiently. He wrapped an arm around Sheldon's shoulders. "The guy's a nut case. He gets away with murder but he's too stupid to let it go and he ends up offing four women. Tell it to the feds in the morning."
Sheldon gave him a look that spoke volumes, but he smiled and slumped down into a more comfortable position and rested his head on Don's shoulder. They watched the game on television for a few minutes. Sheldon knew better than to interrupt his lover when the Mets were on the screen, so he waited until the commercial before he spoke again.
"So you and Derek worked together tonight," he began, allowing Don to take the hint.
"What did you think, I was taking him outside to kick his sorry butt?"
"The thought did enter my mind," Sheldon admitted.
"I noticed that," Don replied with a wicked smile. "Don't worry, I was the consummate professional."
"You're a class act, Flack."
"I know; what more could you want in a man?"
Don laughed at the tease and the two settled in to watch the remainder of the game.
End Part 4
On to Part 5