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.
Author's Note: It's been more than a month since my last post and for that I apologize. The remaining parts of the story will be posted more regularly. Enjoy!
The following morning the FBI team assembled at the crime lab for a briefing. Hotch handed out assignments, sending Derek and Don back to the Spider Bar, armed with a warrant that gave them access to all the restaurant's records. Stella and Danny were to accompany them to do a sweep of the premises and collect DNA and other samples from the staff. Hotch, Spencer, Emily and JJ would continue to collect information on the newly identified victims and work on developing a victim profile. Mac would stay at the lab and work with Lindsay to figure out what the dust trails on the loft floor meant while Sheldon analyzed the blood samples. When the meeting broke up, Don followed Mac out into the hall. Derek followed him, a short distance behind.
"Hey, Mac; got a second?" Don called. "The Doc said you came up with a theory connecting the two cases."
"Did he tell you that he and Stella punched a million holes in it?" Mac replied wryly.
"Yeah, well he's changed his mind and come up with a wrinkle or two that might make it work--or so he says."
"What theory is this?" Derek asked, coming closer. Don flashed a look of annoyance.
"Some idea Dr. Hawkes was throwing around," he said dismissively. "You may want to talk to him about it, Mac," Don said as he stopped at the elevator doors and turned to Derek. "Let's go. We've got a warrant to serve."
"So?" Derek asked as soon as the elevator doors were shut. Don looked at him innocently.
"Special agent?" he said evenly.
"You mentioned a theory. Care to share?" Derek said with his last ounce of patience.
"Hey, it's not my theory. You need to speak with Dr. Hawkes. Try not to drool on his shoes when you do." Don shut his mouth just as the doors opened and three women got in. Derek held his tongue for the remainder of the ride down, but lashed into Don the moment they were outside.
"You know, detective, I get that you don't like having the FBI involved in your case. I get that you don't like me personally," he said, invading Don's space. "I even get that you don't appreciate the fact that I'm friendly with one of your colleagues in the department. But what I don't get is why that's any business of yours."
"And here I thought you profilers were good at figuring things out," Don replied, not the least bit intimidated by Derek's menacing glare.
"I could hazard a guess," he replied angrily. "But why don't you spell it out for me. Get it off your chest." Don glared at Derek for a moment before turning to walk to his car.
"Judge Bannister doesn't like to be kept waiting," he said tersely. "Let's pick up that warrant." Derek fumed as he got into the car, unwilling to let the matter lie.
"You're together, is that it?" he persisted. Don ignored him and started the car. "You're not together and growling at anything that threatens your chances? Hey, I get it," Derek said boldly. "If I were in your shoes I'd be marking my territory, too. The thing is--."
His words were cut off abruptly when Don brought the car to a sudden stop at a light. He gulped air when the seatbelt dug into his chest and turned to gape at Don.
"Fuck you, Morgan!" the detective spat though gritted teeth. Derek grinned smugly and sat back. The rest of the trip was made in silence.
When they reached the courthouse, Don got out of the car without a word, leaving Derek behind. Derek was content to remain where he was and he used the time to think about what he'd just learned. But he didn't let his thoughts wander too far. By the time Don returned, his mind was back on the case.
"We should have the manager call in the entire staff," he said as Don pulled away from the curb and headed downtown.
"Already done," Don answered begrudgingly. "It'll be voluntary at this point, so they might not all show, but we may get lucky and find what we need without having to talk to all the employees."
"You get lucky often?" Derek asked casually, his eyes on the traffic before him. He amended his question even before Don was able to form a snarl. "With your cases, I mean. How often are you people able to make a case without a decent amount of cooperation?"
"According to people I've spoken to, you manage quite well."
Don glanced over at Derek, intrigued in spite of himself.
"We reviewed your service record. We were curious," Derek continued with a shrug.
"What does my service record have to do with anything?"
"You've got to admit you're an unusual choice to head this case."
"I don't have to admit squat," Don replied with a hint of a smirk.
"In our experience, the detective serving as a liaison to our team is usually a senior officer. But in this case, you've got a decorated lieutenant, the head of the NYPD Crime Scene Unit, answering to you."
"Mac doesn't answer to me. I'm just the officer of record. I'm not the one in charge."
"That's not what Sinclair said," Derek insisted. "You're his boy." Don looked slightly uncomfortable, but he covered it with typical humor.
"What can I say; I'm good at what I do."
"Apparently, Sinclair thinks so," Derek said as Don brought the car to a stop in front of the Spider Bar. Danny was leaning against a car just ahead of Don's. He straightened up and greeted the new arrivals.
"What did you two do, stop for donuts?" he asked. Don rolled his eyes and brandished the warrant in his hand. He strode past Danny and joined Stella at the Spider Bar's entrance.
"Morning, Stell," he said pleasantly. "Gentlemen," Don said with a nod to the officers at her back. "Is the manager here?"
"On his way," she replied. "He's stuck in traffic."
"The guy called twice begging us not to break down the door," Danny added. "Must have watched too many bad cop shows on television."
Derek pointedly checked his watch at frequent intervals, but the New York contingent waited patiently for sixteen minutes until Dawson showed up. He hastily opened the door, apologizing for his tardiness. Stella and Danny were amused, but Don was all business.
"Have a seat, Mr. Dawson," he said, directing the nervous man to the bar.
"Don't you want me to show you--?"
"We brought our smartest cops with us," Don replied. "They'll find what they need. Did you call the staff?"
"Yeah; I called a few of them and the night manager called the others. They should all be here shortly."
"Good," Don said, as he headed for the office to join the others. "You stay put."
"Hey, detective!" one of the uniformed officers called. Don paused and turned back to the door. "There's a guy here with a delivery."
"Let him in," Don said with a sigh.
"I have to sign for it," Dawson said. "And it has to be put away."
"These nice officers will keep you company," Don said, nodding to two of the officers in uniform. Don sighed and headed for the office, where Derek and Stella had already begun examining the bar's records. "Where's Danny?"
"He's in the other room taking pictures," Stella replied absently as she pored over a file. "Exactly what are we looking for here?"
"We'll know what we're looking for when we find it," Don replied cagily. "If we find it."
"You're channeling Mac today," she teased. Don shrugged impishly and dug into the stack of papers, paying particular attention to the charge card receipts. About twenty minutes in, Derek called out.
"Bingo!" he shouted triumphantly.
"What have you got?" Stella asked, abandoning her pile to look at the slip of paper in his hand.
"Regina Brown paid a $63 tab with a credit card on April 9th."
"How many drinks?" Stella asked. Derek frowned briefly but scanned the attached receipt.
"Five beers, three mixed drinks and an order of nachos."
"Bar food," Don said. "Stell, could you and three of your lady friends put away that much booze in an evening?"
"Four women, eight drinks? Easily," she replied. "Is there a time on that receipt?" She took it from Derek and read the time. "A little before eight--kind of early to call it a night."
"Happy hour," Derek said.
"They either moved on to something else after a couple of drinks or they started a new tab," Don suggested.
"If they did, Regina Brown didn't pay it," Derek said, flipping through the other slips from that evening.
"Maybe one of the others did," Don and Stella replied in unison.
"Well, it wasn't Misty Brandon or Caroline Jeffers," Derek said. "So either they paid cash--."
"Or our Jane Doe used her card," Don finished for him as he walked over to the door of the office. "Pull out any tab that looks similar and is signed by a female cardholder. We may be able to narrow down a name. Dawson, get in here." Stella and Derek exchanged a glance as they waited for the manager to appear. "Who worked the evening of April 9th?" Don asked without preamble as soon as Dawson reached the threshold.
"How the hell should I know?" he replied exasperatedly. "I'm the day manager."
"Wrong answer!" Don spat back. "Find out," he demanded, pointing Dawson toward the desk.
"You've made a mess of everything," the smaller man protested. "I'll be lucky if I can find anything in this pile."
"Yes, you will," Don replied, sitting on the edge of the desk. Dawson swallowed hard and began to look for the schedule. He found it after a brief search and handed it over. Don read the list aloud. "Where are these people?" he asked, tossing the calendar back onto the desk.
"We called them. They should all be here by now," Dawson responded. Don rose to his feet and glanced over at Derek.
"Let's go see."
Spencer squirmed slightly as he listened to Mr. and Ms. Brandon speak lovingly of their late daughter. He was frustrated; he always was in such situations. While he deeply empathized with the grieving family, he was powerless to ease their pain. Neither he nor Hotch had any answers to their questions. By the time the Brandons asked the inevitable question, Spencer was ready to bolt. As if sensing his colleague's mood, Hotch sent Spencer to check in with the other members of the team before he told the Brandons when they could take their daughter's body home to San Antonio for burial.
Spencer stepped outside of the room and put in a call to Derek and another to JJ before he decided to stretch his legs in lieu of calling Mac and Sheldon. He strode through the corridors at a brisk pace, determined to exert as much of his pent-up energy as possible. He found Sheldon's lab and paused at the entrance to knock on the doorjamb and ask permission to enter.
"No need to stand on ceremony," Sheldon answered amiably. "Come on in."
"We're nearly done with the Brandons. Agent Hotchner wanted to know if you needed anything from them before they left," Spencer said. "They brought pictures of their daughter, writing samples and one of her toothbrushes in case you need a DNA sample."
"Did they ID the body?" Sheldon asked. "Christine Jeffers identified Misty Brandon from the photograph, but a parental ID is preferable in such cases."
"They identified her from the crime scene photo," Spencer replied.
"Then we don't need anything else."
Spencer nodded and turned to leave, but he hesitated at the door.
"How's it going with the blood analysis?" he asked curiously.
"Slow," Sheldon replied. "I doubt if it's possible to get DNA off the samples we collected. They're very old and compromised by exposure. But I have learned a few things."
"How many victims?" Spencer returned to Sheldon's bench as he spoke, peering at the equipment laid out before him.
"That's the most interesting thing I've learned so far. There were three donors in that blood pool."
"I'm not surprised. I saw the crime scene pictures this morning. There was blood everywhere."
"Blood spatter of that type is not unusual," Sheldon explained. "It's consistent with arterial spray. Most of the blood came from one victim. The others received only minor injuries, or at the very least, didn't bleed much on scene. My guess is that they walked out of there. As for the one who didn't, I have to imagine that the victim was pretty well gutted because I estimate that he or she lost almost all of the blood in his or her body."
Spencer leaned against the bench and folded his arms, deep in thought.
"The unsub would have had to wrap the body very carefully," he surmised.
"Not only that; he'd have to have changed his clothes. Otherwise, he would have been dripping with blood after all that carnage."
"That speaks to a very deliberate, methodical killer," Spencer concluded.
"Unless he just happened to have something on hand to change into." Sheldon suddenly smiled and wagged a finger as he turned and walked out of the lab. "Or out of." Spencer followed him to Mac's office, nearly running to keep up.
"What are you thinking, Dr. Hawkes?"
"I'm thinking…" Sheldon pulled out the photos taken at the loft and spread them out across the desk. "Yes; there. See them?"
"Suppose this guy was painting the loft? Or someone else--either way, my point is that if the loft was in the process of being worked on…" Sheldon turned and started digging through another file. He pulled out a copy of the notes Don had taken the previous night. "Here," he said, laying it on the table and pointing. "They found the blood when the loft was being shown by the leasing agent. Suppose the agent had some work done on the loft prior to putting it on the market? Maybe it was painted and cleaned up after the previous tenant left?"
"I see what you're getting at," Spencer said. "But--."
"And," Sheldon continued, cutting him off. "Suppose they changed the locks?" Spencer's eyes opened wide. He reached for his phone and called his supervisor.
"Hotch? If you're done with the Brandons, will you come up to Mac's office? I think Dr. Hawkes might have found a possible link between the four murders and the blood at the loft."
"I'll get Mac," Sheldon said. Spencer sat down and began to study the materials on the desk.
"What's this all about?" a young Latino man demanded as soon as Derek came out of the office. "I got shit to do today. I don't have time for this."
"You," Don said, pointing to him. The man stepped forward. "Is your name Rafael Hernandez?"
"Sit down." Don barked. He scanned the group and frowned. "Where's Rafael Hernandez?"
"He's not here," a woman replied. Derek recognized her as the bartender they'd met the previous night. "Is this about those murders?"
"What murders?" the Latino man demanded. Don rolled his eyes.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Anthony Perez," Don repeated, taking out his book to make a note of it. "Where do you work?"
"In the kitchen. I'm a cook."
"Good for you. Sit down." Don turned and looked around. "Which of you is George Martin?"
"He isn't here, either," the woman said. "Will I do?"
"Did you wait tables on the night of April 11th?"
"I don't wait tables," she answered with a flirtatious pout. "I tend bar."
"All right," Don continued with a glance at Derek. "Did you tend bar on the night of April 11th?"
"What night of the week was it?"
"A Wednesday. Around eight o'clock," Derek said calmly.
"Then I was probably here," she replied.
"But you don't have any recollection of any of the four women who were murdered."
"Sorry; I only pay attention to the men," she said provocatively. Derek turned away, shaking his head. Don had crossed the room and was speaking with the manager, so Derek went into the back room and summoned Danny.
"Would you take your samples from the staff now?" he asked deferentially. "We don't want to keep them here any longer than necessary."
"Sure," Danny said, picking up his case. He set it up on the bar and reached for a pair of gloves.
"Do the women first so they can leave as soon as we've interviewed them," Derek suggested. "We're more interested in the male staff."
"Too bad," the bartender said archly. Danny chuckled at the remark and beckoned her over. Derek joined Don in questioning the employees, but most of the people who worked that evening had not appeared.
"We may have to make a few more calls, knock on a few doors," Derek said as he and Don returned to the office. Stella looked up as they entered.
"Yeah," Don replied dully as he noted the smile on her face. "Stell? What have you got?"
"Four more bar tabs; two earlier and two after the 11th of April. I bet if I went back another month I'd find more. It seems that the Spider Bar was a regular haunt for our ladies." She picked up the small stack of receipts and handed them to Don. "Regina Brown picked up one other tab. One is from Misty Brandon and another is from Caroline Jeffers."
"And there may be more," Don said as he flipped through the tabs.
"If they came here regularly, someone on the staff should be able to recall seeing the four victims," Derek said.
"And so far, no one's talking?" Stella asked.
"Not yet," he replied.
"So far, they're just pissing me off," Don said grimly.
"Good job, Sheldon," Mac said, beaming like a proud father.
"Well, so far, this is just speculation," he replied. "But I've got to believe that this is the link we're looking for."
"It still doesn't tell us why he killed those four women," Hotch said, putting a damper on the general mood in the office. A brief silence ensued before Sheldon spoke up.
"I'm hoping we can tie this all to Mac's theory," he said. "I gave it some thought last night. I think our suspect committed some foul deed in the loft, after which he accidentally encountered the four ladies somewhere in the general vicinity. Later, he walks into the Spider Bar and sees them again. Or they see him--either way, he fears that they might recognize him and sets in motion a plan to silence them. In fact, I'd bet that our suspect encountered Caroline Jeffers somewhere and chatted her up. Maybe they even hit it off and had drinks or something before he realized that she's one of the women he saw that night and begins to worry that she'll remember him."
"I guess that's possible," Mac said thoughtfully.
"Our unsub's a sexual sadist," Spencer said. "They usually have a particular mode of behavior. He's not likely to change. There are probably exceptions," he added quickly, sensing Mac's protest, "but they rarely go from bludgeoning people to death to rape and torture."
"How do we know the victim of that bloodbath wasn't raped and tortured?" Mac asked, playing devil's advocate. "All we know is that there was a lot of bleeding."
"If a victim was tortured by a sexual sadist there wouldn't be high velocity blood spatter," Spencer replied confidently. "The unsub would opt for death by a thousand tiny cuts, as opposed to just slashing his victim's throat."
"Suppose he was rushed?" Mac persisted. "Suppose he wasn't trying to torture the victims? Or suppose that, after a period of torture he decided to go for the quick and easy kill for some reason? In fact, since there's no way to definitively prove otherwise at this point, couldn't we argue that the victims were butchered after their death?"
"Not with that arterial spray. I wish we had a body to examine," Sheldon said frustratedly. He frowned and looked up. "But I do think I know why there's very little blood from the other two donors."
"They're the killers," Mac concluded. Sheldon nodded.
"Killers?" Spencer repeated.
"It's safe to assume that at least one of them is, anyway," Sheldon replied. "Stabbing someone with a knife usually exacts a toll on the knife wielder. So we should work from the assumption that the blood of at least one of the donors is our killer."
"The second donor might be his accomplice," Hotch volunteered. "He might have been wounded accidentally, say if he held the victim as he or she was being slashed."
"It's likely that the third donor wasn't a victim," Spencer agreed. "If so, wouldn't there have been blood on the ground from when he fled?"
"If he was attempting to flee," Sheldon replied. "There wasn't any blood between the crime scene and the door of the loft and no directionality to the second and third donor's blood drops. They just fell."
"Was all of the blood spilled at the same time?" Hotch asked out of the blue. "It's an obvious question, I know, but--."
"We checked," Sheldon replied, nodding. "It was. It's even intermingled in spots."
"Then your scenario makes perfect sense," Hotch acknowledged. "I'm not completely convinced of the connection to our case, though. We need more evidence."
"I'll call the leasing agent," Mac said. "Hawkes, you and I are going back at that loft."
"I'd like to go with you," Spencer said, looking to Hotch for approval. He got it in the form of a curt nod.
The team at the Spider Bar spent hours digging through receipts and interviewing employees. Stella got a call from Mac and brought the others up to speed on what they'd learned at the lab. Both she and Derek caught a glimpse of Don's expression before he managed to suppress the grin that escaped at the mention of Sheldon's name.
"Sounds like your resident genius is outthinking ours," Derek quipped. "Can't say I've seen that happen often." Don didn't take the bait. Instead he set down the box of folders they compiled and went back out to the bar. He sought out the bartender, who was preparing the bar for opening.
"I owe you," she said warmly. "I'm going to get a few hours of extra pay out of this. Thanks for dragging me in early."
"Didn't the day bartender show?" Don asked.
"No; neither of them did." She smiled as he pulled out his notebook. "My number is--."
"I believe we've already got your information," he said with a tinge of annoyance. "What are their names?"
"Michael Sparks and Ed Bingley. My name is Donna."
"And the other evening bartenders didn't show up, either. Curious."
"Maybe they're allergic to police," Donna teased. "Luckily for you, I'm not." Don shot her a look before he continued.
"How many of you are likely to be behind the bar on a Wednesday evening during happy hour?"
"There are usually three of us from five to nine for the happy hour crowd. After that, we drop down to two until closing," she said growing serious.
"And the two shifts overlap?"
"Yeah, we've got a total of four bartenders on payroll. One of the managers steps in if we get into a real bind."
"Thanks," Don said. He shut his book and went to help Derek move the boxes of materials they'd gathered to his car. His phone rang before he reached it and he stopped to answer it. "Detective Flack." He spoke for several minutes with the chief of detectives who'd called seeking an update. When he was done, Donna placed a pint of Guinness on the bar in front of him. He frowned at her. "What's this? I'm working."
"I know, but they insisted," she said, nodding toward the far end of the bar. The place was open to customers, and a pair of giggling women waved back at him.
"Regulars?" Don asked, picking up the glass.
"Yeah, I've seen them in here often, usually after work. They're always on the make."
"You would recognize such behavior," Don said archly before walking to the other end of the bar. "Ladies," he said pleasantly, setting down the drink. "That was naughty. Didn't the bartender tell you I was a cop?"
"Cops get thirsty," one of the women replied flirtatiously.
"Cops also get into trouble for drinking on the job, not to mention accepting gifts from strangers."
"Well, if you introduce yourself, we won't be strangers," the second woman said. Don sighed patiently and pulled out the picture of the four women.
"I have a better idea. You two introduce yourselves and answer a few questions and I wont card you."
Derek came out of the office and saw Don chatting up two women and froze in his tracks. Stella nearly collided with him as she, too, paused to stare.
"What's he up to?" Derek asked.
"He's questioning two women who frequent the bar during happy hour," Donna replied helpfully. "Don't worry, sugar; he's not doing anything wrong. I've been keeping an eye on him."
"Thank you." Stella replied, amused by Derek's responding smirk. They walked toward Don, just as he ended the interview.
"I think we may have something," he said.
"What?" Derek asked bluntly.
"A possible name for the fourth vic. The ladies back there, not only recognized the four victims as regulars, they have a partial name for our Jane Doe. It's Kathy."
"Let's get back to the lab and see if we can put a last name to it," Stella said, lightly patting the box in Derek's arms.
End Part 5
Onto Part 6