Pairings: Flack/Hawkes, Morgan/Reid
Summary: Don Flack finds himself working with the BAU once again after Sheldon Hawkes becomes the target of a serial killer. (Sequel to Crossed Jurisdictions)
Don Flack rolled over and blindly reached for his cell phone in the dark of his bedroom.
"Speak," he said groggily.
"Detective Flack? This is Derek Morgan. We met last year when--."
"From the FBI; yeah, I remember." Don looked over at his clock radio. "It's 2:38 in the morning. Couldn't we reminisce about the good old days at a more reasonable hour?"
"I'm afraid this isn't a social call," Derek replied soberly. "I'm calling about Sheldon Hawkes."
"Then you've definitely got the wrong number. If you're looking for the doc, you'll have to call--."
"Listen to me, Flack! Sheldon Hawkes was found badly beaten and apparently left for dead in an alley an hour ago." Derek continued to give information about Sheldon's condition as Don sat up, now fully alert and all ears. "He's lucky to be alive, but I won't lie to you. He's in a bad way."
"Did you contact Mac Taylor?" Don asked, getting to his feet and fumbling in the dark for the lamp.
"No, I thought--. Your number was still in my phone," Derek replied awkwardly.
"Where is he?" Don asked, reaching for a pad. He took down the information and ended the call. He made a few phone calls before he got dressed and headed out.
"There don't seem to be any apparent commonalities between the four victims other than the color of their skin," Emily said, frowning at the images before him. Derek sat back in his seat and pointed at the pictures.
"Not even the color," he protested. "All of their physical characteristics vary--Charles Dunston was light-skinned, thin, 6'3" and 30 years old. Shaunte Harris was 17, had a medium complexion and build, and he was only 5'8". Our John Doe is considerably darker, older and much heavier than either man, and Sheldon Hawkes--."
"So we're looking for someone who's attacking seemingly random African American males," David concluded bluntly. "We knew that a week ago."
"I'm still not convinced they're random," Hotch said. "We need more evidence. Spencer, what have you been able to come up with?"
"I'm not finding anything in their backgrounds, either," Spencer admitted. "They lived in different parts of town and apparently led very different lives. I've been going over the information the Philly police have been able to come up with--."
"There isn't enough there to fill a teacup," Derek sneered.
"It's scant, to be sure, but I've augmented it with information Garcia's been able to dig up and that hasn't gotten me much further. As far as I can determine these men have never met, they never crossed paths. Sheldon Hawkes isn't even a local, which leads me to think--."
"Hold that thought," Hotch said, rising to his feet as JJ led Don into the room. "Detective Flack," he said, extending his hand. "I'm sorry we have to meet again under the current circumstances."
"Agent Hotchner," Don said, acknowledging the others with a curt nod. "I bring greetings from Detective Taylor, who's asked me to get a full briefing on Sheldon Hawkes' attack."
"Of course," Hotch replied, gesturing for him to sit. "I'm afraid we haven't got much to go on as yet. We were only called in on the case a day ago when the evidence began to point to a single unsub in three unsolved murders. We're operating on the assumption that the attack on Dr. Hawkes was committed by the same unsub."
"On what basis?" Don asked. Behind him, Derek smiled faintly; Don Flack hadn't changed a bit. He never met an assumption he didn't question. As Spencer launched into an explanation--punctuated by inputs from other members of the team, Derek sat back and observed Don. He looked uncharacteristically rumpled, which wasn't surprising, given the fact that he'd been roused from his bed hours before dawn and had to make the two-hour drive from New York. The tension in his features spoke volumes about Don's emotional state as well. JJ brought him some coffee and Don spoke with members of the BAU and the local FBI task force working the case. When the group dispersed, Derek approached him for the first time.
"Mind if I ask you a few questions?" he began, setting down his cup of coffee and pulling up a seat opposite the detective. "Can you tell me what Sheldon was doing in Philadelphia?" Don shook his head.
"I had no idea he was here."
"Does he have family here? Friends that you know of?" Derek continued. Don shrugged and once again shook his head. "Well, then--."
"Agent Hotchner just asked all these questions," Don said tiredly.
"I realize that," Derek replied, "but sometimes it helps to ask again. You know rethinking something often--."
"I've answered all their questions," Don repeated. "There isn't anything else I can tell you. Look, Mac wanted me to give him a call as soon as I'd spoken with your people. I'll ask him if he can shed any light on this," Don said, rising to his feet. Derek sat back and watched him walk a short distance away and make a phone call to New York. He frowned at the scene in front of him, confused by Don's behavior.
"What's wrong?" Spencer asked, noting Derek's expression. Derek glanced up and shook his head.
"What do you mean?"
"Flack's being very cagey about this whole thing."
"What makes you say that?" Spencer asked as he, too, began to study the tall detective.
"I'm not sure. When I called him this morning and mentioned Hawkes, he told me I'd gotten the wrong number."
"He was probably half asleep," Spencer reasoned. "In that state one is naturally disoriented and easily confused. It's possible he misunderstood you."
"Yeah," Derek replied thoughtfully. "Still…"
"I don't know." Derek rose and went to get a fresh cup of coffee. He poured out a cup for Don as well and carried it over to the table. When Don finished his call and returned Derek pushed the cup across to him.
"Thanks, but I've already had three cups of that stuff since I got up this morning," Don said, eyeing the mug. He ran a hand through his hair and sighed before reaching for it anyway. "I spoke to Mac. He said that Sheldon asked for a few days off. That was two days ago. And when Mac called Stella with the news she said that Sheldon mentioned something to her about needing to take care of a personal matter."
"And he never mentioned it to you?" Derek asked incredulously. Don glowered at him.
"No," he returned flatly, rubbing a hand over his eyes.
"Have you been to the hospital?" Derek asked gently. Don averted his eyes and shook his head.
"He looked really bad," he reported, "but the duty nurse said Sheldon's holding his own."
"I don't understand," Don spat, his composure finally beginning to crack. "Why would anyone want to hurt the doc? And what the hell was he doing in some alley in Philadelphia in the middle of the night?"
"We're going to find out," Derek assured him.
"Well, I'm not going anywhere until you do," Don promised.
"You found a place to stay yet?"
Don looked up blankly. Derek rose to his feet.
"Why don't you let me take you over to our hotel," he suggested. "You can get a room, shower and shave, and maybe get a little shut eye."
"Thanks, but I'm heading back to the hospital," Don said resolutely.
"You look like you're about ready to drop where you stand."
"Derek's right," JJ said as she drew closer to the pair. "You won't be in any shape to help Dr. Hawkes in your current state. Let Derek take you to the hotel. I'm headed back to the hospital and I'll call you if there's any change."
Don reluctantly conceded and allowed Derek to drive his car over to the hotel. JJ followed in her own vehicle and waited for Derek out front while he got Don settled in. He joined her a few minutes later.
"All set?" she asked as Derek strapped himself into the passenger seat.
"He was practically asleep before he made it to the elevator," Derek replied.
"Poor guy. It must have been awful getting a call like that in the middle of the night."
"It always is," Derek said pensively.
"I heard a rumor about Flack and Dr. Hawkes back in New York," JJ said tentatively. "Is it true?"
"What did you hear?"
"That they were an item."
"Where did you hear that?"
"A little birdie told me."
"What 'little birdie' was that?" Derek persisted.
"Well, okay, the birdie didn't actually tell me. I over heard her talking to someone else."
"Okay, it was Detective Bonasera. I overheard her say that she went to visit Dr. Hawkes at his apartment and Flack showed up as she was leaving. He apparently had a key."
"I have the key to your place. So?"
"You also have the key to Spence's place," she replied smugly.
"So?" Derek replied evasively.
"You never use the key to my place, but I have it on pretty good authority that you use Spence's key all the time."
Derek cleared his throat.
"What does this have to do with Flack and Hawkes?"
"I saw how Flack behaved toward you the whole time we were in New York, especially whenever you were within twenty feet of Dr. Hawkes. And that day we all had lunch together I saw you deliberately trying to make him jealous."
"So are they an item or not?"
"I don't know."
"I don't know! Neither of them ever gave me a straight answer when I asked."
"Well, if you weren't sure they were together, why did you call Detective Flack as soon as you recognized Dr. Hawkes back at the hospital?" she persisted. Derek rolled his eyes.
"Flack's number came up first in my list of contacts, all right?" Derek said defensively. "I was looking for Detective Taylor. Stop trying to make something out of it."
"Couple or not, they're obviously close," she said soberly. "It has to be tough seeing someone you care about in that condition."
"Hawkes is lucky to be alive."
"I hope he stays that way."
When Don arrived at the hospital four hours later, freshly showered and shaved, he found Mac Taylor talking with JJ. Don was only interested in seeing Sheldon. But since they were blocking his access to the Intensive Care Unit, he straightened his jacket and joined them.
"Don," Mac said as he drew near.
"Mac," Don replied. "How's he doing?"
"No change. You remember Agent Jarreau."
"Yeah," Don said, anxious to get past the small talk so he could be with Sheldon. A seemingly interminable three minutes later, the FBI agent excused herself so that he and Mac could speak privately. "I'm glad to see you got some rest. I came down here intending to drag you to the nearest hotel personally."
"I'm good," Don replied sheepishly.
"Are you up for this, Don? The BAU has extended us a professional courtesy because Sheldon's one of our own, but I'm not leaving you here if--."
"Mac, I'm not going anywhere until Sheldon Hawkes is ready to get up out of that bed and return to New York with me," Don spat, pointing at the doors of the ICU for emphasis.
"Look, I know how you feel about him, Don. But this is a federal investigation. I need you to have your head on straight."
"You telling me I can't do my job?" Don challenged.
"I just don't want you to lose your perspective. If you can't keep your head straight I'll yank you from this investigation and send someone else."
"Over my dead body."
Mac stared into Don's eyes for a moment, and then nodded.
"Okay," he said lightly cuffing him on the arm. "Go see Sheldon. I'm going to see Agent Hotchner before I catch a train back to New York."
"Thanks, Mac," Don said softly.
"Take care of him." Mac turned and went down the hall. Don watched him meet JJ at the elevator before entering the ICU.
"Are there any new leads?" Mac asked.
"Nothing more since our conversation this morning," Hotch replied. "I wish I had more to tell you. We're looking into the backgrounds of each victim to see if they have anything in common other than the color of their skin. Aside from that we haven't got enough on the unsub to even begin to develop a profile." Mac nodded and rose to his feet, extending his hand.
"Detective Flack will keep me informed."
"I'll call you myself if something breaks," Hotch promised. He escorted Mac to the elevator and returned to the team's makeshift workspace. Looking around, he frowned. "I thought Detective Flack would be here."
"He's probably still at the hospital," JJ replied. "He arrived just before we left."
"I'm going to check in with headquarters. Let me know when he gets here." Hotch left the room and David looked up from his files.
"Detective Flack? Have the local police come up with something?" he asked curiously.
"Flack's not a local," she explained. "He's a New York City police detective."
"Why's the NYPD getting involved with our investigation?"
"Sheldon Hawkes is a member of the NYPD crime lab. We worked with him on a case last year," Spencer answered. "The man who just left is Lieutenant Mac Taylor, head of the lab."
"Hotch invited Detective Flack to stay on as an observer in the case as a professional courtesy," JJ added. "We're hoping he'll be able to figure out what brought Dr. Hawkes to Philadelphia and what he was doing before he was attacked."
"Well, if he can fill in any of the blanks he'll be worth his weight in gold because right now we've got zip," David concluded.
"He's here," Spencer said, alerting the others as Don stepped off the elevator. David turned to examine the new arrival.
He noted right away that female heads turned as Don made his way to the conference room. Even Emily, who'd ignored their conversation, looked up from her work and smiled as he approached. David bristled imperceptibly and folded his arms as Derek rose to greet him and make the introduction.
"Detective Flack," he said, "this is Senior Special Agent Rossi. I think you know everyone else."
"Yes," Don replied, acknowledging the others in the room.
"How's Dr. Hawkes?" Spencer asked.
"The doctors said there's been some improvement, but for the life of me I couldn't see it," Don admitted. "But I'm not a doctor, so I'll just take their word for it."
"Have you been able to learn anything about what Dr. Hawkes was doing prior to his attack?" David asked, getting right down to business. Don shot him a look Derek had only ever seen directed at himself.
"I've made a few calls between here and the hospital," Don said evenly. "As soon as I hear anything, I'll let you know." He eyed David coolly until the senior agent blinked. Derek stepped in, suppressing a grin.
"I'm afraid you'll have to squeeze in here with the rest of us."
"Not a problem," Don replied. JJ and Emily moved a few boxes and made a space for him to sit between them.
"I'll let Hotch know you're here," JJ said with a smile before leaving the room.
"I just spoke with Stella," Don reported, pausing to swallow the last of his burger. "She's asked around the lab and found out that Sheldon has a cousin in Philadelphia." He pulled out a notebook and flipped a few pages. "Her name is Cecilia Harris."
"One of our victims is named Shaunte Harris," Spencer replied. "He was in his teens. Could she he be his mother or another close relative?" Don shrugged.
"I have no idea. I'll ask if anyone back at the ME's office knows. He was tight with a lot of people down there."
"I'll call Mrs. Harris and ask if she's related to Sheldon Hawkes," Emily volunteered. She picked up the remains of her sandwich and left the conference room.
"He's never spoken to you about his family?" Derek asked curiously. Don turned his familiar piercing glare on him. But when he spoke, his tone was mild.
"We've talked about his family, but he's never mentioned having relatives in Philadelphia."
"Have you contacted his next of kin?" David asked impatiently.
"His mother is on her way," Don replied. He turned his attention to Derek. "Who's your contact in the local police?"
"Her name is Talia Fontana; she's a detective sergeant in homicide."
"Why do you ask?" David asked as he watched Don write her name into his book.
"She might be able to tell you if Sheldon made any inquiries into Shaunte Harris's murder," Don explained. Derek and Spencer exchanged a look. "Or have you asked already?"
"No," Spencer replied frowning as he rose to go and make the call.
"It could explain why he came down here," Don continued. "If the timeline fits, that is."
"Shaunte Harris was found a week ago," Derek recalled, "so it's about right."
"Assuming you're right and Hawkes is related to Harris, that still doesn't explain how he came to be in that alley," David ventured.
"What would you do if someone you cared about had been murdered and the police hadn't made any progress in finding his killer?" Don replied, bluntly challenging him.
"Are you suggesting Hawkes planned on taking the law into his own hands?" David replied.
"I'm suggesting that was looking into an unexplained death," Don answered tersely.
"But is that something he would really do? Would he come to Philadelphia and start digging around on his own?" David asked. "Everything I've heard about him suggests that Hawkes was just a lab rat, a geek," David persisted. "Why would someone like that venture into in an area of town where three other African American males were attacked and killed?"
"Dr. Hawkes is no lab rat. He's a board certified pathologist and crime scene investigator. He goes into places like that on a daily basis, Senior Special Agent Rossi," Don said fiercely. "He's also still among the living so I'd appreciate it if you didn't speak of him in the past tense."
"I think we should hold off on any speculation until we're in possession of some actual facts," Hotch interjected before Rossi could form a reply. "When is Mrs. Hawkes expected to arrive?"
"Four o'clock," Don replied, checking his watch. "I'm going to pick her up at the airport." Hotch nodded as Spencer returned.
"Detective Fontana said that there was someone making inquiries into the murder of Shaunte Harris. She didn't speak to him herself, but one of the detectives in her unit recalls getting a call from someone asking for details about the murder. It could have been Sheldon Hawkes. They're checking the phone records to see if he made the call."
"They ought to check with the local ME's office, as well," Don suggested. "He would have reached out to them, too."
"Good idea," Hotch said, rolling up the paper that held his burger. "Derek, why don't you pay Detective Fontana a visit and follow up on that angle."
"I'd like to go with him," Don offered. "There's not much I can do just sitting on my ass here." Hotch agreed to the scheme and the two men left the regional FBI office and rode over to the police precinct in Derek's car.
"Ever work with the Philly police?" Derek asked conversationally. Don stared at the view of traffic outside the passenger window.
"I had to transport a murder suspect being extradited back to New York to stand trial once," he replied. "I was treated pretty well."
"You must have caught them on a good day. The team we're working with on this case is a joke. It took them nearly a month to make the connection between the three murders. A bright eleven-year-old should have been able to see that the same person committed them."
"Hey, I thought they paid the boys and girls of the BAU big bucks to make all the connections," Don quipped wryly.
"Figures you'd side with them," Derek shot back. "You local types always want the feds to do all the work while you grab all the credit."
"Damn right," Don said with his first genuine grin of the day. "If you come into our jurisdiction and trample all over our cases, the least you could do is dot all the i's and cross all the t's for us." Derek returned the smile.
"I don't mind that so much. But when I've got to kiss their asses and wipe them--." Derek pulled up in front of the precinct and switched off the engine. "At least when you busted my chops you actually had something to valuable to contribute."
"And I didn't even want you to kiss my ass," Don said, undoing his seatbelt. He followed Derek into the precinct and into the detective's unit. A woman in a plum-colored pantsuit rose and came forward to greet them.
"Agent Morgan," she said cordially. "Dr. Reid called and said you were coming. I have a few answers for you."
"I'm glad to hear that," Derek replied. "This is Detective Don Flack of the New York City Police Department. He's here looking into Sheldon Hawke's movements prior to his attack."
"Welcome to the madness, detective," she replied, leading the two men to an interview room. "As I said, I have a few answers, but I don't know if they'll tell you much." She gestured for the men to sit down and disappeared, returning a minute later with a folder. "According to our phone logs, we had three calls from a phone number in New York, one on the eleventh and the second and third a day later from the same number. Were checking it now to see if--."
"What's the number?" Don interrupted. Detective Fontana frowned and read it to him. Don began nodding impatiently before she halfway done. "That's his number." She blinked at him for a moment and then continued.
"I also contacted the ME's office. He wasn't in but the woman I spoke to remembered that two days ago the ME told her about going to medical school with someone named Hawkes, although she couldn't recall the first name."
"Sheldon," Don and Derek concluded in unison.
"Would either of you care to share?" Detective Fontana asked.
"We're working on the assumption that Dr. Hawkes was here looking into the death of Shaunte Harris. We have reason to believe that they may have been related."
"Maybe we can confirm that when you've spoken with your ME," Don suggested.
"In the meantime, have you found out anything more from the families of the other victims?" Derek asked. Fontana turned a few pages in her file as Don checked his watch. He gave Derek a curt nod and slipped out of the room to make a quick phone call. He returned two minutes later as the others finished their discussion. "What's up?" Derek asked, taking in Don's frown.
"Mrs. Hawkes' flight is on schedule. I've got to get to the airport," Don replied. "If we're done here, I'd appreciate it if you'd drop me back at the hotel so I can pick up my car."
"Why don't we just head to the airport?" Derek suggested. "Let's go."
"So what could she tell you?" Don asked when they were back on the road.
"Not much. You'd think if someone was making inquiries about a high profile case they'd take down a name."
"Maybe they thought it was a reporter," Don said. "We get hassled with inquiries all the time."
"Reporters usually identify themselves," Derek said. "And Fontana mentioned that she'd been fielding calls from reporters since the second attack. She's the detective of record." Don shook his head.
"A good reporter wouldn't go through official channels. Neither would Sheldon; he knows he'd just get the party line. "
"So he'd call the precinct hoping to luck into a loose-lipped cop who'd give him the goods. It probably took a few tries."
"And then he called his old buddy the ME and learned something that made him pack a bag and come down here."
"And he didn’t tell you anything?" Derek asked yet again. Don shook his head. "When's the last time you two spoke?"
"Before he left," Don said flatly. Derek frowned, but he didn't press the issue. Don turned the discussion back to the investigation and they continued to discuss it until they reached the airport. When they arrived, Derek took full advantage of his FBI badge and parked at the ground transportation entrance. They'd made excellent time and arrived just minutes before the plane landed.
Don recognized her immediately. He'd only seen one picture of her; the smiling Loretta Hawkes with her arms wrapped around her eighteen-year-old pride and joy was prominently displayed on Sheldon's bookshelf. Time hadn't altered her significantly, Don noted as he closed the distance between them.
"Mrs. Hawkes? I'm Don Flack; we spoke on the phone this morning," he said, displaying his badge and ID more out of habit than necessity. "This is Senior Special Agent Derek Morgan of the FBI."
"Has there been any change?" she replied bluntly. She'd meant to be polite, but first and foremost, she needed to hear about her son. She knew they would understand.
"He's holding his own," Don replied with equal candor. "The doctors were optimistic when I spoke to them earlier this afternoon." He bent to reach for her bag, but she grasped his arm and they're eyes met.
"Thank you," she said softly. "Thank you for being here for Sheldon. I know how much it means to him that you're here. And whatever happens, we'll get through this together." Don nodded solemnly, realizing that she knew the true nature of his relationship with Sheldon. Until that moment he hadn't been sure; he'd been wondering ever since they'd spoken that morning. Don took her bag and placed his free hand at the small of her back to steer her outside to the car. Derek opened the backseat door for her.
"The FBI has graciously allowed me to tag along with them on this case."
"The FBI?" Mrs. Hawkes said with a curious frown. "Why are they involved in this case?" Her escorts waited until they were all in the car and on the road again before offering an explanation. Mrs. Hawkes listened soberly to every detail. "Cecilia Harris is my late husband's cousin," she supplied when asked if Sheldon was related to the latest murder victim. "She had a son, but to be honest, I haven't kept up with that side of the family. We've never been close. My husband's family was very straight-laced and religious. They didn't approve of him leaving the nest and moving to Detroit for work and they didn't approve of him marrying me. We only saw them once or twice a year, mainly for formality's sake. I haven't spoken to any of them since Lemuel's death and that was nine years ago. But Sheldon might have; family has always been important to him."
"Then it's possible that he was in touch with his Philadelphia relations," Derek concluded.
"It wouldn't surprise me," Mrs. Hawkes said. An uncomfortable silence fell over them and it remained unbroken for several minutes until Derek pulled off the highway and Don turned to speak to Mrs. Hawkes.
"We'll take you to the hospital to see your son first and then I'll take you to the hotel. I've reserved a room in your name."
"Thank you," she said softly. The silence resumed and lasted until they arrived at the hospital. Don's heart nearly stopped when he saw JJ waiting for them outside the ICU. But her smile was reassuring.
"Hello, Mrs. Hawkes," she said coming forward, not waiting for an introduction. "I'm Jennifer Jarreau from the FBI. Your timing is perfect; your son just came out of his coma and his condition has just been upgraded from critical to guarded. He hasn't regained consciousness yet, but I'm sure he'd love to see a friendly face when he does." She wrapped an arm around Mrs. Hawkes' shoulder and led her into the ICU, leaving Derek gaping and Don struggling with his emotions.
"Why don't you go on in and see him," Derek suggested. "I'll follow up on this new information."
"I've got to call Mac," Don said quickly turning away. Derek watched him walk a few feet down the corridor and pullout his phone, but it was several moments before he regained enough composure to make the call. Derek leaned against the wall and tried to reconcile Don's behavior. When his own phone rang, he straightened up and spoke briefly with Hotch.
To be continued