|Return to Tenderloin
Author: april468 PM
Jesse Hawkes Series. 22 Year old Cody is working as detective in San Francisco tracking a dangerous killer. Can He and Matt prevent Robin from becoming his next victim?Rated: Fiction T - English - Crime - Chapters: 22 - Words: 53,101 - Reviews: 45 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 12-28-12 - Published: 12-26-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7675757
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Return to Tenderloin
Rating: PG-13/M-14 Mild Language, Violence. Nothing more than what you would see on CSI
Setting: San Francisco 1993.
Plot: What if the Hawkes family stayed in San Francisco and never returned to the mountain? It's been 3 years since Matt's accident and 22 year old Cody Hawkes is working as a detective for Captain Mead tracking a dangerous killer. Can he and Matt prevent Robin from becoming the next victim? Matt struggles with survivor's guilt as he debates returning to Tahoe.
A little AU ish given the fact Cody is a detective but follows the events of JH/HMR. This story is complete.
Cody Hawkes 22, Homicide Inspector
Matt Hawkes 29, Bounty Hunter
Jesse Hawkes Bounty Hunter
Dr. Elizabeth Denny (JH Pilot)
Capt. Liam Mead (from the Tenderloin strangler eppy)
Wendy Phelps. RN (JH Pilot)
OC: Megan Alvarez, 23 Forensic Specialist
Disclaimer: I am making no profit. HMR/Jesse Hawkes are property of CBS and A Shane Co/Sibling Rivalries. Feedback is appreciated but not required. The characters of Megan and Danny Alvaraz and Casperia Morningstar are a product of my imagination and belong to me
Cold, the young woman felt cold as she clawed her away along the hardwood floor of an old apartment building, tearing off her fingernails as she went along. Blood trailed down her leg leaving behind a crimson stain.
"Somebody help me please!"
Tears of terror streamed down her face as heavy footsteps pounded the floor behind her. Closer, he was getting closer, she shuddered. Cloaked in black with a white facial mask, Death himself was nearly upon her.
"You can't run!"
"No!" the woman whimpered, squeezing her eyes shut, and allowing the salty tears of her impending death streak her face. That was when her strength gave out, forcing her to give into the demands of her attacker. He was now upon her draining her last bits of conscious life from her system.
Twenty-two year old, Inspector Cody Hawkes trotted up the stairs, swearing as the cups of coffee he was holding in his hands began to spew over onto his hands. "Crap!" he swore lightly under his breath as some of the hot steamy liquid fell to his dark beige colored trench coat.
Just steps ahead of Cody stood Captain Liam Mead, head investigator of San Francisco's homicide division and Cody's boss.
Ironic, that had been the only word to cross young Cody's mind when he'd been assigned to Mead immediately after he'd passed his written portion of the detective's board. Now working for Mead as a junior grade Inspector, Cody was certain the older man was out to get him over the fact that Jesse had once bested him over a case the two had been working down in the Tenderloin area of Frisco.
"You're three minutes late!" Mead grumbled in the only the way he could.
"Sorry, long line at Starbucks." Cody extended his arm, handing the middle-aged captain his frothy drink of whipped espresso. "Who do we have today?" It didn't take Cody long to figure out that he'd just stepped into the middle of murder scene. Not ten feet away from him lay a crumpled body draped in the yellow coroner's sheet.
"Renee Wilkes, 25. She's from the Greater Bay Area."
"The greater Bay Area? What's she doing way out here?" Mead asked. Not that he should be surprised, over the years the Tenderloin area had become a typical dumping ground.
"That's what we're about to find out." Mead took a long pull from his coffee and made a face, "If I told you a thousand times Hawkes, mild, I like my coffee mild!"
"Sorry, Capt," Cody could only grin as he watched Mead toss the contents of his paper cup into the street. The old man was tough on him but deep down he hoped Mead had a soft spot despite his connection with Jesse.
"She's has the same MO as all the rest, raped, strangled," Mead growled.
Cody peered closely at the body as a uniformed officer pulled away the sheet to display her face. It had fear written all over it.
Cody felt himself shudder at the sight of her eyes. They were still wide open, frozen and fixed. Feeling a lump gather in his throat Cody turned his head away for a moment and swallowed hard. Death and dead bodies, somehow it just never got any easier.
"Excuse me," he told Mead. Crossing to the other side of the platform, Cody took in a deep breath sighed at the sound of his department issued mobile phone.
"Hawkes," he answered calmly fishing it from his pocket with one hand.
"Hey Handsome." A sweet voice boomed. "Do you know what I'm thinking about right now?"
"What?" A wide grin crossed Cody's face. It his was girlfriend, Wendy Phelps. The two had met in the hospital while his brother Matt was recovering from the injuries that had forced him to leave the Rangers. Like Cody, Wendy was just seventeen then and gave him someone his own age to talk to. The two had connected instantly so striking up a friendship that eventually lead to intimacy seemed like the natural thing to do.
"You, and me alone..."
"Sounds tempting," Cody returned feeling his face flush. "But unfortunately I need to put that thought on hold right now. Can I call you later tonight?"
"Sure, maybe we can grab bite after my shift at the hospital." A full time RN, Wendy often worked long hours opposite of Cody's which made finding time for intimacy a chore.
"I'll meet you at around ten," he grinned.
Cody flipped his cell phone shut and stuffed it back into his pocket.
"Girlfriend, Hawkes? And I thought you were saving yourself for a real woman." Forensics specialist, Megan Alvarez grinned as she held up her Minolta zoom lens and snapped a quick set of pictures of victim. Like Cody, Megan was just starting out in her career and had been assigned to work in the forensic's lab that served Mead's team. The two of them got along famously constantly playing a game of tit for a tat.
"Watch it, Brooklyn." Cody teased making fun of her East Coast accent.
Megan lowered her elbows pushing the camera to her waist. "Have you ever been with anyone else?"
Cody blushed watching her amber eyes light up in disbelief.
"As I said, mountain boy, you don't know what you're missing."
"Can we get back to work please?" Mead approached them. "Hawkes, accompany the body to the morgue, don't let it out of your sight. Alvarez get your samples to the lab, ASAP. I don't want this to turn into a cold case on us because the evidence expired."
"Evidence doesn't expire," Megan grumbled rolling her eyes over the fact that Mead was old school. He didn't understand how the new and upcoming field of forensic science was about to change the world of crime solving. He was skeptical of her job at best and relied mostly on instinct to prove his findings.
"Not a problem Capt," Cody answered dutifully watching Megan's face change. For three months, he and Mead had been tracking the copy cat killer that mimicked one they had faced years earlier: The Tenderloin Strangler. The killer had been a vicious ex-con who preyed on middle aged woman, simply because he thought they were old.
Funny, he thought the Tenderloin Strangler had first introduced he and Jesse to Mead, back when Mead was brash Luetinent bent on using what ever means he had to capture the strangler. He had even used Matt and Cody as a means to get at Jesse, prompting Matt to take a beating from a pair of thugs looking to lift a wallet.
This killer was a little different Cody assessed, curious as to what the evidence would bring. Already Cody could tell this guy was a professional, the opposite of the uneducated, hot-headed killer they had faced three years ago.
Gathering post mortem notes was always a pleasure. Cody stood several feet back while the body of Renee Wilkes was placed on a long steel slab.
"The end of life," Cody muttered. Somehow ending up on a cold slab, naked made it seem so impersonal.
Renée Wilkes had been a beautiful woman, 5'7 in height, dazzling hazel eyes and bright sunny smile. At least that's what Cody had been able to assess from the I.D. photo in her wallet. To look at her now, she was nothing more than a beaten and bloody mess of swollen flesh.
Renee Wilkes was more than this he thought as he stepped closer to examine her defensive wounds.
"Did you see her fingernails?" Megan asked coming up behind him. She was dressed in a white lab coat and a pair of protective goggles. Words weren't necessary as Megan turned Renee's hand so that Cody could get a close up.
"Torn clean off." Cody could only hope that had happened after she died.
"We've got a real piece of work here," Megan sighed placing Renee's hand back down to her side with dignity. "This whack job is working several different areas of the city targeting women with the same physical features and backgrounds. All young with light brown to dark blonde hair, all woman who have overcome extreme hardships."
"Poverty, illness of a loved one, divorce, recent death in the family: In short he picks on women who are in pain."
"What a guy," Cody smiled sadly.
"He's also methodical." Megan added. "He profiles each and every one of them right down to the last detail and then stalks them for sport."
Cody nodded, "any evidence of forcible sexual activity?"
"She was eight weeks pregnant." Megan just looked at him and instantly he knew it was a given.
Raking a hand through his light brown hair, he let out a sigh. He wouldn't say anything but he felt like he'd just been sucker punched in the gut.
"So you are going to be at McMurphy's later?" Megan asked sensing his change in emotion. Though she professed to have an iron stomach, scenes like this got to her too.
Cody shook his head, "Not tonight, Brooklyn. I gotta meet my Dad and then..."
"Hang out with Wendy?" Megan made a face. For some unknown reason she didn't like Wendy and wasn't particularly shy about letting Cody know about it. There was just something about the woman that grated on her nerves but she couldn't quite place her finger on it.
Cody nodded. "We're going to grab a late dinner. You can join us if you like."
"No thanks. I'm working tonight." Being the third wheel wasn't her style.
Cody turned around and grabbed his coat. "I'll swing by later and see if you've changed your mind"
"You just said you weren't coming!" Megan blustered watching him as he slung it over his broad shoulders.
"I gotta you keep you guessin' don't I?"
Cody sat on the deck of Jesse's boat, taking a long pull from a bottled water.
"Something bothering you son?" Jesse Hawkes sat next to his youngest, his hands clasped in front of him.
"We found another body at Wharf," Cody started slowly rocking his water bottle so that the liquid inside swished like waves sloshing up against the shore.
"And…" Jesse prodded eyeing his youngest.
Cody pushed to his feet and wandered towards the stern, looking out at the water. "She was eight weeks pregnant."
Jesse hung his head, offering a silent prayer while Cody collected his thoughts.
"So where's Matt?" he asked.
"Tahoe," Jesse replied stepping up behind him. "Robin called a few days ago and asked him to do a consult for the station".
"Think he'll stay this time?" Cody asked. It had now been three years since Matt's accident and he'd still yet been able to face his fears of returning to the rangers. Although his physical wounds had healed the guilt of losing Cutler and Hart still plagued his heart.
Jesse hand clamped down tightly onto Cody's shoulder, "Memories like the ones your brother has can be a powerful prison. They have a way of holding the mind and heart hostage without ransom."
"That the way it is for you and Mom?" Cody tossed out another grin.
"Leave your Mother out of this. She's started a new life in Atlanta. We're both moved on."
"One of you has moved on," Cody corrected glancing at his watch. "I gotta go. I told Megan I'd meet her at McMuphy's before I meet Wendy for dinner."
Jesse rubbed his chin. "The detective who talks funny?" Raised by a Cuban father and an Italian Grandmother, Megan spoke a unique dialect that was solely her own. She was also a little more brash than most woman; a quality which Cody actually liked. She was one of the boys only better looking.
"She's from Brooklyn." Cody defended throwing his hands up in defense.
"I know where's she's from." Jesse shoved his hands into his pockets. He'd met the perky detective a handful of times and liked her cultured spirit. Megan called things like she saw them and didn't care about political correctness.
"Her parents worked missing persons in the Bronx for several years until her mother was killed. They never found the guy who did it." Megan's Mother had gone out for ice cream one evening and ended up in the Hudson River with a bullet in her head.
Cody looked at his father. "And you know this because..."
Jesse shook his head. "I remember reading about it in the papers". It was one of those cases that had captured national headlines.
Cody cocked his head. "Megan told me she was four when her Mother died. That was almost twenty years ago. How do you remember that?"
Jessed clamped his hand down on Cody's shoulder. "There are some cases you just don't forget. Kind of like our friend, The Tenderloin Strangler"
"I'm beginning to believe that. In fact, I'm beginning to believe he's back from the grave." Cody answered thinking of Renee Wilkes.
Mountain Lawn Cemetery
Matt Hawkes stood in front of the memorial created for his two fallen friends, Jim Cutler and Tim Hart. Both had been respectively buried in their hometowns but were honored in Tahoe as heroes in a special section of the cemetery dedicated to fallen military services members and civil servants. A large marble monument with their names and the HMR symbol served as a constant reminder to Matt of what he had lost, more correctly how he had failed as commander.
With a shaky hand, Matt reached out and touched the beveled lettering, tears gathering in his eyes. He had heard it said that time healed all wounds but for Matt, time had been nothing but large pressure cooker of building emotions and guilt. Three years of counseling and family support had done nothing to curb his pain.
Cutler and Hart were his responsibility. Their families had counted on him to keep them safe and he'd let them down. He'd let them all down.
Deep down in his heart he wished that everyone else could understand that. He wished that they could understand that the rangers were apart of his past. Like Cody, San Francisco was his future. Granted, hunting bounties with his father wasn't his lifelong dream but it kept him active and paid the bills.
Maybe the accident was God's way of telling him that the rangers weren't for him. Maybe he should go back to school and pursue, Jackie's dream of him becoming a lawyer. Maybe if he stopped coming back to Tahoe he would eventually forget.
Not. Regardless of his location he still dreamed of their last conversation, the three of them tentatively waiting to make the jump from the plane followed by the vision of their twisted and mangled bodies lying lifeless in the dirt. No matter how hard he tried the vision was always there waiting unforgiving like a wife who had been scorned by relentless cheating husband refusing to allow him peace. Even when he was happy the pain of their memory was still there holding him hostage, refusing to let him move on...
Retracting his hand, Matt shifted his weight so that he was standing erect. His mouth agape words tumbled from his lips, each one cutting biting through an emotion filled soul.
"I wish it had been me." The thought of suicide had danced through his mind before, pulling, begging, hovering like a killer waiting for the perfect moment, but somehow he always managed to spring back. He could never hurt Jesse and Cody like that. The thought of their disappointment was the one thing that kept him alive, waging the battle that kept him going day after day. If it hadn't been for them he would have pulled the trigger a long time ago and never looked back.
From the corner of his eye he saw a ranger vehicle pull up alongside his rental car. Robin was sitting in the driver's seat, her long platinum hair spilling over her shoulders.
Matt would make this visit short he vowed giving her a wave. Nothing could make him stay. Not even her