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.
"Shouldn’t there be someone standing guard at the door?" Spencer asked as he reached the top of the steps.
"Yes, there should," Mac replied. He noticed that the door to the stairs leading to the roof was ajar. "Maybe he slipped out for a smoke." Mac peered through the doorway, and seeing no one, he headed up the steps as Sheldon and Spencer approached the door to the loft.
"It's not locked," Spencer observed, placing his hand on the door before Sheldon could stop him.
"So we've separated out all the charge receipts on the four nights that we knew Regina Brown, Misty Brandon and Caroline Jeffers to be at the Spider Bar. We found two receipts with the name Kathleen Williamson on them," Stella announced when Derek entered Mac's office with lunch for the assembled group. He'd volunteered to go for it--surprising himself as much as his companions--but he felt that it was a much-needed gesture of goodwill. He placed the bag on the table and leaned across the desk to look at the receipts.
"Have you contacted the credit card company?" he asked.
"First things first," Don said crisply as he rose to his feet. "Let's eat."
"What?" Derek asked in confusion. "What about this lead?"
"We can't act on it without a warrant," Stella replied. "We're waiting for a call back from the judge."
Derek nodded sheepishly and followed the two detectives to the break room, where Danny and Lindsay were already having lunch. Don claimed a table at the far end of the room and sat down. The others joined him and they ate as they discussed the case.
"So have you run the name through any of the databases?" Derek asked around a mouth full of turkey wrap. Don shot him a peevish look, but answered civilly.
"We figured we'd start simple," he said with just a hint of impishness. "We opened a phone book and found five people by the name of Williamson. Two of them are 'K Williamson,' and the other three are 'Kevin,' 'Kenneth' and 'Kyle.' We decided to let the nice people at MasterCard provide the right address."
Derek nodded. Stella grinned and bit into her sandwich as Don turned the discussion to other aspects of the case. Just as he finished eating his phone rang. He rose and deposited his trash as he took the call. Stella glanced up and saw his face go pale. After a moment, Don shut the phone and started moving toward the door.
"That was Mac. Something just went down at the loft."
No one bothered pressing him for details. Everyone, including Danny and Lindsay, took off after him.
Sheldon lifted his head and winced. He had no idea what had hit him, but he'd banged his head on the floor so hard when he fell he was sure he was concussed. He rolled over, fighting a mild wave of nausea and blinked a few times. He spotted Spencer on the floor nearby, apparently unconscious. Sheldon took a deep breath and slowly sat up, his sense of professional obligation overwhelming his desire to lie still and wait for help.
He carefully probed Spencer's head and found a wet spot at the back of his skull. Sheldon's hand came away bloody. He moved gingerly, getting up onto his knees to better assess his companion's condition. There was a commotion outside the loft, but he ignored it as he carefully checked Spencer's vital signs. Relieved to find that the young man's pulse and breathing were strong, Sheldon slowly and deliberately checked for signs of other injuries, knowing that he wasn't in full control of his faculties. When he was done, he sat back on his heels and sighed, wincing at the pain in his head. He looked around for his case and was about to reach for it when Mac came through the door, gun in hand.
"Hawkes!" he cried, dropping to his knees.
"I'm okay," he lied. "Reid's unconscious but stable. What's going on out there?"
"We chased whoever did this to you, but he got away," Mac said as he holstered his gun. He pulled out his radio and called for an ambulance. "Was he inside the loft when you came in?"
"To be honest, Mac, I don't know," Sheldon replied. "I--." He licked his lips and hesitated a moment before coming clean. "I was knocked out as well. I don't remember." Mac put his hand to Sheldon's head and peered into his eyes. He patted him on the shoulder and rose to his feet.
"Stay put until the ambulance gets here," he said. "I want you both looked at." He pulled out his flashlight and began looking around.
The wail of an ambulance siren pierced through the squawk of radio noise coming from all the police on scene, but it was Don who burst into the loft a few moments later, with Stella, Derek, Danny, and Lindsay on his heels. Don and Derek went straight over to Sheldon, who was applying a compress to staunch the bleeding on Spencer's wound.
"How bad is he?" Don asked before Derek could speak.
"I can't really tell," Sheldon said slowly. "He's unconscious, but without a CT scan I can only--." He paused when the paramedics entered the loft. Don and Derek rose and backed away to give them room to work. Sheldon remained with the paramedics, working with them to get a more definitive sense of Spencer's condition. Derek made a quick call to Hotch as Spencer was placed on a gurney and wheeled out.
"I'm going with him," Derek said, snapping his phone shut.
"Let us know how he's doing," Don said soberly as Sheldon slowly got to his feet. Derek nodded and left with the paramedics.
"Sheldon? I told you to get checked out," Mac said reproachfully, coming over to scold him. "Don, get him down to that ambulance." Don then turned to Sheldon, who sheepishly averted his eyes.
"You were hurt, Doc? Come on," Don said, gently taking him by the arm. Although his tone was gentle, he clearly brooked no argument, not that Sheldon was in any condition to put up a fight. "Were you even planning to tell me?" Don asked, letting fear for his lover's well-being dominate his emotions.
"Don, I'm okay. It's just a mild concussion, at best."
"And at worst it's something worse, right?"
Sheldon managed a wry smile as Don guided him down the steps and took him over to the paramedics. They corroborated Sheldon's finding and recommended that he be transported to the hospital for further assessment.
"Come on, Doc," Don said. "Don't be one of those doctors who makes a terrible patient." Sheldon smiled and shook his head, wincing at the pain it elicited. He grabbed Don's arm and held it for a moment until the throbbing stopped.
"No ambulance," he said softly.
"Promise not to throw up in my car and I'll drive you to the hospital," Don replied puckishly. Sheldon managed another smile and Don led him to his car. They followed the ambulance to the hospital, siren blaring. Sheldon shut his eyes and tightly gripped the door handle. He felt Don's warm hand on his thigh and hazarded a quick glance down. "You okay, Doc?"
"No," Sheldon said bluntly. Don patted his knee and reached over to turn off the siren. "Bless you," he said hoarsely.
"Hang in there, Doc."
"How's our boy?" Hotch asked when he, Emily and JJ arrived at the emergency room. Derek forced himself to stop pacing and cleared his throat before answering.
"They've got him back there now," he said evenly. "He's unconscious and stable, but beyond that, I don't know."
"What happened back there?" Emily asked. Derek shrugged.
"From what I heard, when they arrived at the loft, there was no officer outside. Mac saw that the door leading to the roof was open and started to go up to look for the officer. He found her unconscious in the stairwell. Mac immediately called for backup and went back to warn Reid and Hawkes, but someone came barreling out of the loft and knocked him down. He and the responding officers gave chase, but they lost him a few blocks away. When Mac went back to the loft he found Hawkes and Reid on the floor. They'd both been knocked unconscious as well. Hawkes came to, but Spencer--." Derek shrugged and turned away, pain and anger writ plain on his face. He saw Don coming down the hall and schooled his features.
"And word on Dr. Reid?" he asked. Derek shook his head. "They're checking out Hawkes now. The preliminary diagnosis is a concussion."
"Any word on the other officer?" JJ asked. Don nodded grimly.
"She'll be okay; she's already giving a statement to our people. I just spoke to Mac," Don said shifting gears. "They're checking the loft now to figure out what this loser was up to."
"I doubt if it was just a botched robbery," Emily stated, folding her arms. "Why attack a cop to get into an empty loft?"
"Something's very hinky," Don agreed. "But I've got to believe that this proves that there's a connection between the two cases."
"How so?" Hotch asked.
"Officer Donner was strangled by her assailant. Fortunately for her, he was lazy. He stopped as soon as she lost consciousness."
"Did she get a good look at the unsub?" JJ asked. Don shook his head.
"I haven't spoken with her personally, but according to Mac, our guy's was a white male, dark hair, medium height and build."
"In other words, anyone," Emily replied, shaking her head.
"Hopefully the uniform got a better look at him," Don agreed. He looked up and Derek turned to see Spencer's doctor emerging from an examination room.
"How is he?" Derek demanded impatiently.
"Mr. Reid is a very lucky man. He suffered a blunt force trauma to the back of his head, which might have done some serious damage. He's got a nasty laceration we closed with a few stitches and a grade three concussion. Now that's nothing to sneeze at, but given the alternative... A slightly harder blow and you might have been visiting him in the morgue."
"Can we see him?" JJ asked.
"He's in and out of consciousness," the doctor replied. "I'd rather you wait a while until he's--.
"We won't disturb him," JJ promised. "One of us should be with him in case he wakes up."
"He's in no condition to be questioned," the doctor warned.
"Someone just made an attempt on his life," she persisted. "He may wake up confused and disoriented. It would be better if he saw a familiar face--."
"All right, all right," the doctor conceded with a smile, mistakenly ascribing her reasons to personal rather than professional motives. "You can go in. But he's not to be disturbed. And only two of you at a time." Emily and JJ took off for Spencer's room immediately. Derek watched them go helplessly as the doctor spoke again. "By the way, if it means anything to your investigation, he kept mumbling something about a hawk when he came to earlier."
"Hawkes," Hotch replied crisply. "That's the name of the man who was with him when he was attacked. Reid was probably worried about his welfare." The doctor nodded and walked away. Derek would have gone to Spencer's room then, but Hotch detained him to ask what he and Don found at the Spider Bar.
Don answered his questions, noting as he did so Derek's obvious discomfort. In spite of his issues with the man, Don understood Derek's concern for his colleague. So when Hotch instructed the two men to return to their investigation, Don spoke up on Derek's behalf as much as his own.
"With all due respect, special agent, I'm not leaving this hospital until I've seen both our guys and know they're okay," he said. "It's kind of a New York thing." Hotch nodded, silently conceding the point, and Don and Derek went to Spencer's room. JJ and Emily looked up as they entered; Don gave a tiny gesture of his head and the two of them left the dimly lit room.
Spencer was awake, although he was rather groggy. He smiled weakly when he saw Derek approaching the bed. Don felt like an intruder, so he briefly wished Spencer a speedy recovery and then quietly slipped out so that Derek and Spencer could speak privately.
"You gave us all quite a scare," Derek said softly, emotion thickening his speech.
"Sorry about that," Spencer replied slowly, letting his eyes fall shut. It was less painful that way. "It wasn't my idea; I didn't have any say in the matter." Derek reached out and laid a warm hand on his arm. "I've got all the classic symptoms of concussion: pupils uneven, lack of motor coordination, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light, blurred and double vision, mild Tinnitus, and no memory of the event that precipitated the injury."
"The doc says you're going to be okay."
"Did he give any indication of how long I'll have to stay here?" he replied, suddenly sounding more like Spencer Reid and less like a recent victim of brain trauma. "Usually a concussion doesn't merit hospitalization beyond an initial period of observation to determine whether--."
"All right," Derek said, smiling. "Now I know for sure you're going to be okay."
"In other words, you doubted the doctor's prognosis?" Spencer opened his eyes. "Derek, you should have more faith in the--."
"Spencer, shut up."
"Be quiet. All that thinking has got to hurt," Derek said, reluctantly releasing Spencer's arm and pulling up the covers slightly. "I've got to go, but I'll come back later, all right?" Spencer looked up, and Derek could see the pain in his eyes as he struggled to focus. He swallowed hard.
"I'd like that," Spencer said softly, reaching out to grasp his hand briefly.
"See you later," Derek replied, hazarding a glance back for Don and noticing for the first time that the detective was gone. Derek quickly brushed his lips against Spencer's temple and gave his hand a squeeze. He schooled his features and left the room. He found Don waiting outside talking on the phone. Derek frowned and waited for him to finish. "The chief again?"
"That was the judge. He's reluctant to issue a warrant," Don explained. "I told him that it might be the only way to let a young woman's parents know for certain whether or not their daughter is dead."
"And that worked?"
"It seems to have gotten him off the fence," Don said as he began moving down the hall toward the emergency room. He entered the area, flashing his badge when a nurse started to protest. He went straight to Sheldon's cubicle and stepped inside, where the doctor was sitting up on a gurney. "Hey; you're supposed to be resting."
"And you're supposed to be out looking for the guy who did this to me," Sheldon shot back as he eased himself off of the bed. Don stepped forward to prevent him from leaving the cubicle, but Sheldon glared right back at him, albeit weakly. "Don, I have to pee."
Derek smiled as he watched Don step back sheepishly. Sheldon slowly walked over to a small lavatory and returned a minute later.
"How are you doing?" Derek asked.
"I've been better," Sheldon replied honestly. "Much better."
"Are they going to keep you here?" Don asked.
"No, I'm well enough to go home," Sheldon replied. "It's a mild concussion. I'll have to lie low for a few days and take it easy, but I'll be fine."
"You aren't supposed to be on your own with a concussion," Don said worriedly.
"You watch too much television," Sheldon replied dismissively.
"I'm just saying. Suppose you--?"
"Which one of us went to medical school again?" Sheldon asked exasperatedly, peering up into Don's eyes. Don sighed and threw up his hands.
"Sorry for caring, Doc," he said, turning away. He caught sight of Derek openly staring at the pair, but for once he didn't care.
"I'll wait for you outside," Derek said before walking out of the cubicle.
"Don…" Sheldon eased himself onto the gurney and laid back. He put an arm over his eyes.
"I thought you were going home," he said.
"I will, as soon as my ride gets here."
"Who's this ride?" Don demanded jealously.
"Me," Stella declared, sweeping into the cubicle. "Ready to go, handsome?"
"Yeah," Sheldon replied, although his movements belied his words. He sat up slowly and paused to get his bearings before he stood. Don watched him worriedly, but he held his tongue. "Can you give us a minute, Stella?" Surprised, but inwardly pleased, she stepped outside and went to the emergency room entrance. She saw Derek outside leaning on Don's car at the curb and went out to join him.
"I'm sorry, Doc," Don said softly. "I'm just worried about you being alone in your condition."
"I don't expect to be alone for long," Sheldon replied suggestively. Don returned the sly smile. "Stella will take me home. I promise to go straight to bed and stay there until my takeout arrives."
"Your takeout," Don repeated.
"I'm thinking Italian, but I'll take what I can get."
"I'll call if I'm delayed." Don said gently. "Rest up, Doc." He reluctantly left his lover and met Stella and Derek outside.
"Everything okay?" Stella asked.
"Yeah," Don said diffidently. She smiled and patted him on the shoulder before going back in to get her charge.
Derek and Don got into the car and headed back to court. They rode in silence. For once, Derek didn't feel up to tormenting his companion. He understood all too well what Don was feeling at the moment. He, too, was worried about his partner.
"He'll probably be out of commission for the remainder of your stay," Don said, breaking the silence.
"Reid. He's probably down for the count."
"Physically, perhaps, but as soon as the fog clears, he'll make his presence felt, even if it's all the way from the hospital," Derek said with a mixture of fondness and pride. Don echoed his smile.
"Sounds like someone I know."
"So we have now identified all four victims of our unsub," Hotch said to the assembled group. "Kathleen Williamson is the last of the four women in the photograph. We've also established that three of the four women attended college together. The fourth was a work associate of Misty Brandon's. The four women met up at the Spider Bar on a regular basis, approximately once a week.
The Spider Bar is located near the scene of another crime," he continued. "An apparent murder at a loft on Lafayette. According to our forensic specialists, there were three people present at the crime scene. One is obviously the victim--as yet unidentified. The blood of two other people was found on scene. One of them is very likely our murderer. We're in the process of trying to identify all three donors."
Don zoned out as Hotch went on talking about the tentative and as yet unproven connection between the two cases. He was already familiar with every detail of the case and he was more concerned at the moment about Sheldon. He rose to his feet and, with a curt nod of apology to Hotch, slipped out of the room. Outside, his eyes still on what was going on beyond the glass wall of Mac's office, he called Sheldon.
"Donnie," Sheldon sighed when he picked up the phone. "I'm supposed to be resting, remember?"
"I know, Doc. Just wanted to make sure you were okay. Stell's not here; I thought something might have happened."
"Like--I don't know--maybe she got stuck in traffic?"
Don could hear the combination of amusement and irritation in Sheldon's voice. He smiled guiltily and promised not to bother him again.
"I'll get back to work," Don whispered.
"Be careful out there," Sheldon said. "Oh, and Don?"
"I love you, too."
Don shut his phone, grinning from ear to ear until he saw that he was being observed.
"Hey, Stell. You're missing the meeting," he said, feeling his face grow hot as he spoke to the detective, who'd appeared at his side as if by magic.
"As are you, big guy," she shot back. "So how is he?"
"Who?" Don replied in perfect innocence as he opened and held the door for her. She rolled her eyes and entered the office. Don heaved a sigh of relief and followed her.
Derek slipped into Spencer's room and sat down in a chair near the window. The patient was asleep and Derek was content to let him rest. He opened the file he'd brought with him and began to read through the notes.
"You know, I've been giving some thought to what happened this afternoon. Detective Taylor, Dr. Hawkes and I were trying to find a link between our case and the murder that took place at the loft. We wanted to find out if the lock had been changed recently and look into who had painted the loft. Assuming that our attacker got into the loft after subduing the police officer standing guard, we just may have found the clue we needed."
Derek stared at Spencer, who finished his speech, swallowed painfully and then appeared for all the world to have fallen asleep once more. But Derek Morgan knew better. He set down his file and went over to the bed. Derek poured a cup of water and lifted it to Spencer's lips, carefully positioning the straw. Spencer sipped the cool liquid gratefully.
"Now would you care to say that again?" Derek said, setting down the cup. "And this time, give me the grade school edition." A few minutes later, Derek was digging through the case file. He pulled out a sheet of paper and read the notes. Spencer lifted an arm and weakly slapped at his bicep.
"Sorry," Derek apologized. "The NYPD checked out the locksmith after we found the business card in Caroline Jeffers' apartment. It turned out to be something of a dead end. The owner of the business died of a heart attack over three months ago and his wife dissolved the business."
"That doesn't preclude the possibility of--," Spencer began, but Derek cut him off.
"The owner's name was on the card--he was 75 years old at the time of his death, Spencer."
"Did he have any employees?" Spencer asked. Derek huffed exasperatedly before answering.
"You're supposed to be recovering from brain injury," Derek said fondly. "Now I know you can think rings around me with one lobe tied around your back, but now's not the time to show off, all right?"
"I can't help it if things just pop into my head," Spencer said defensively. "I'm lying here with nothing to do, I can't sleep and I--." Derek drew closer to the bed and bent to whisper in his ear.
"If I could be assured that we wouldn't be interrupted I'd--."
"Do something I'm probably not physically capable of withstanding in my current condition?"
"You know, you take all the fun out of being naughty," Derek replied, reaching out to lightly stroke Spencer's hair. Spencer's lips curled into a smile. "How are you feeling?"
"Like my brain's two sizes too large for my head," Spencer replied, his smile fading.
"I've always thought your brain was too big."
"Actually, being smart isn’t a function of brain size--it's the capacity of--. Anyhow, it's currently swollen," Spencer replied. "I can't sit up without swooning and I feel like hell."
"You kind of look like hell, too," Derek teased, lightly ruffling his hair. But he stopped abruptly when Spencer winced. "Hang in there, kid."
"It's not as though I have a choice."
"No," Derek replied glumly. He went to the window and looked out for a moment, trying to shake off the wave of melancholy that had suddenly overtaken him. When he'd composed himself, he carried the chair over to Spencer's bed and sat down. He opened the file and resumed reading, assuming that Spencer had fallen asleep. But once again he was mistaken.
"Are you ever going to tell me what happened to me?"
Derek looked up, completely caught off guard by the question.
"I don't know," he said simply.
"He doesn't remember, either. No one knows for sure exactly what happened in that loft," Derek said in a voice rough with emotion. Spencer reached out blindly and Derek grabbed hold of his hand. He held onto it, lightly running his thumb over the back of Spencer's hand as he opened the file again.
"You're supposed to be sleeping," Don said as he entered Sheldon's apartment. He put the bag he was carrying on the foyer table and turned to lock the door behind him.
"I can't sleep," Sheldon replied, his eyes on the television, though he wasn't at all engaged with what was on the screen.
"Why not? When I had a concussion it took everything I had to stay awake."
"It affects people differently. Some can't stay awake; some can't sleep. Some have no problems at all, some develop permanent sleep disorders."
"If you say so, Doc," Don said, taking up the bag as he made his way over to the sofa where Sheldon was reclining. He reached for the remote and turned off the television. "Daytime television will rot your brain faster than crack. Come on, Doc. It's dinner time."
Sheldon smiled and slowly sat up. Don assisted him with his free hand and led Sheldon to the dining area, where he held Sheldon's chair before going into the kitchen to get plates and flatware.
"What did you get?" Sheldon asked, peering into the bag.
"Italian--from Giuseppe's in Little Italy," Don called from the kitchen. "I even stopped at a bakery and got dessert."
"Eat all gone and find out, Doc," Don said smugly as he returned to the table. He tore open the bag and pulled out a chunk of focaccia and then doled out generous portions of pasta. "Here you go, Doc--Bucatini all’Amatriciana. Enjoy. Oh, almost forgot," Don said, rising again and heading back to the kitchen. He came back with two wine glasses and dug into the bag.
"Don, you know I can't drink alcohol in my condition," Sheldon warned.
"I can," Don said with a wink. "But it wouldn't be fair." He pulled a bottle of Italian sparkling water out of the bag and poured for the two of them.
"You thought of everything."
"I'm good," Don said with a wink.
"Is there any word on Dr. Reid's condition?"
"Resting comfortably, as the saying goes."
"Have they found the guy or figured out how he--. What?" Sheldon asked frowning as Don pulled the fork out of his hand and fed Sheldon some pasta.
"Don't talk. Eat."
"It's how good little doctors get all better," Don said in a parental tone. Sheldon rolled his eyes and immediately regretted it. "Hey, you're not feeling nauseous, are you Doc?"
"Not from the food or the concussion, no," Sheldon deadpanned. Don winked at him and they continued to eat, but Sheldon wasn't satisfied. "Do you ever intend to answer my question?"
"No. I intend to pamper you shamelessly and make sure you get to bed early."
"Where I'll lie awake and stare at the ceiling."
"I'll tell you a story," Don promised. "Pass the salad."
"You can tell me a story now."
"All right," Don conceded. "God's honest truth, Doc. We haven’t found anything to tell us what, who, how or why you two were attacked."
"Well, obviously we interrupted whoever was in the loft," Sheldon said reasonably.
"Yeah, but as to why anyone would want to go into an empty loft--."
"A crime scene prominently labeled as such, with a police officer guarding the door, just in case anyone missed the obvious."
"You think he left something behind?" Don asked, reaching for a napkin.
"After two or three months? Why would he be worried about it now? Why risk it? Besides, there wasn't anything in the loft that we hadn't seen yesterday." Sheldon squeezed his eyes shut and started to rub his hand over them. Don gently pulled it away.
"Eat up, Doc. Then it's to bed with you."
"And my story," Sheldon said with a wry smile. Don returned it. "And the gelato."
"How did you know?"
"I saw you put it in the fridge. It had better be pistachio."
"Be good or you won't get any cookies to go with it," Don teased.
Derek had only a second to withdraw his hand before Hotch slipped into Spencer's room. He smiled faintly when he saw Derek, who rose and went to speak with him.
"How is he?"
"He's Spencer Reid," Derek replied. "Half the time he's in a lot of pain and sleeping fitfully and the other half he's trying to solve the case from his bed."
"That is Spencer Reid," Hotch said fondly. "Want me to relieve you for a while?"
"No, I'm good," Derek said. "I'm not doing anything tonight except studying these notes, anyway."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah; I'll hang out a bit longer and then head back to the hotel when visiting hours end."
"All right, then," Hotch said. "I guess I'll see you back at the hotel." He loitered for a few seconds longer, staring at the still figure in the bed before he left. By the time he was gone, Derek was bristling with jealousy. He gathered his wits about him and went back to his seat.
"Was that Hotch?" Spencer said softly.
"Yeah," Derek said, clearing his throat when his voice cracked slightly. Spencer opened his eyes and turned his head.
Derek could only nod, not trusting himself to speak again. Spencer shut his eyes once more and Derek reached for the folder, determinedly ignoring the unaccustomed feeling that continued to gnaw at him for the next hour.
"Hey, Mac," Don said into the phone, glancing toward the bedroom to make sure he wasn't disturbing his partner.
"How's Sheldon doing?"
"He's good. A little out of it, but that's to be expected. Look, he said something a little earlier that I thought we should follow up on."
"Did he remember something?"
"No; but he was speculating as to why our suspect would go back to the loft after all this time."
"Assuming that our suspect is in any way connected to the murder at the loft," Mac replied.
"Why else would someone risk going in there? I've heard of reporters pulling crazy stunts to get behind the tape, but this is beyond the beyond, Mac! This was no simple stunt. This guy tried to kill a New York City cop! Why on earth would a random stranger attack a police officer and break the tape to get into an empty loft?"
"He entered the building from the roof," Mac argued speculatively. "Maybe he didn't even know about the crime scene."
"So he stumbles upon it accidentally. Why go after the cop? He could have bullshitted his way out of there without any violence. And after attacking the cop he went into the loft."
"We don't know that for certain, although it does appear to be the case."
"Mac, the guy stuck around long enough to--."
"Maybe he heard us coming and just ducked inside," Mac suggested, playing devil's advocate.
"All right, so this guy breaks into the building from the roof and finds a cop who challenges his presence. He takes her on, subdues her, drags her into the stairwell. Then when he hears you coming, he goes back to the cop, finds the keys, breaks the tape, enters the loft and hides? Why not just go out the way he came?"
"He went there deliberately, Mac," Don said passionately. "And I agree with Sheldon--this guy's presence in the loft implies that he knew we were snooping around in there. That suggests that he's aware of our investigation."
"It made the news, Don. Anyone who watched TV or reads the paper knows what we found in the loft."
"Yeah, but only one guy cared enough to go to the loft looking for something," Don persisted.
"I don't know, Mac! Maybe he took it with him. Maybe it's the murder weapon."
"There was no weapon found on the premises when we were there yesterday."
"Maybe it was hidden," Don argued. "Maybe he'd put it in a hidey hole and was making sure your people didn't get it."
"It's a long shot, Don," Mac conceded. "But--."
"Mac, I bet you dollars to doughnuts that our suspect is connected to the Spider Bar. Two of the staff didn’t show up to be interviewed this morning. Want to guess what one of them was doing this afternoon?"
"Don, I agree with you. But you're making leaps of logic that we can't support with the evidence."
"I'll get you that evidence," Don promised.
"Tomorrow morning; tonight, Sheldon needs you."
"Yeah," Don said, calming considerably at the mention of his lover's name. "I'll see you tomorrow, Mac."
Don closed the phone and leaned back in his seat for a moment, replaying his discussion with Mac in his head. He sipped his tea as he pondered all the angles. When the mug was empty he set it down and rose to his feet. He went to check on Sheldon before he slipped out of the apartment. As he walked to his car he pulled out his phone again and punched in a number he'd scribbled into his notebook a week earlier, never intending to use it.
"Morgan, this is Flack. Got a few minutes?"
"Talk to me."
End of Part 6
Onto Part 7