This is the prequel to "Chesapeake Mafia" and can stand alone. You don't need to read that in order to get this.
Will looked away as the body was uncovered and brought his hand up to cover his nose.
"Oh God," he heard Beverly mutter behind him, but he didn't look.
"It's hard to tell how long the victim has been dead," the medical examiner explained. "But I would guess about five days, a week tops."
Will's superior grunted and motioned for the beta to cover the body once more. Only when it was hidden away did Will turn his head to focus on the scene at hand. The victim, an omega, had been found dumped in a construction site with his neck lacerated and practically detached from the rest of the body. It was the third victim found over the course of two months in the same fashion but no one had any leads as to who the culprit was.
"Do you think it's the work of the Ripper?" Beverly asked, but Will shook his head.
"No, the Mafia doesn't work like this." Will answered. "They like to string up their victims to show who crossed them. This isn't like them."
"Maybe they're changing up their MO." Beverly suggested but she dropped it. She cast a look around to see who was all in ear shot before leaning close to Will's ear. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I had to switch pills recently and they're messing with my sense of smell." Will took out a tissue from his pocket and blew his nose. "I should be adjusted to them by the end of the week."
"Will, you need to get off those pills," the beta warned, looking around again. "I know the chief is letting you do this, but do you think this is good for your health?"
Will remained silent. Beverly sighed before linking her arm through his. "Is it truly that terrible?"
"I don't remember." Will admitted before shaking his head. "This isn't the time or the place to have this conversation, Bev. We have work to do."
He shook the beta off before shuffling to where their superior stood. The alpha gave out orders and took notes. He glanced up when the officers approached and stopped what he was doing.
"Any ideas, Graham?"
"It's not the work of the Mafia, that much is clear. This is someone completely new. He's trying to make a name for himself and gain attention, but at a slow pace. He doesn't want to be discovered too quickly, but I'm not sure why."
"Well, if neither the Mafia nor the Ripper are involved then I want you both on the case."
"Sir, I don't think-" Beverly stared, but their chief shook his head.
"If it's not them then you should be fine." He gave Will a hard look. "You are fine, right?"
"Yes, sir. Just a change of medications, but nothing's wrong."
The alpha pinched the bridge of his nose before looking up at the graying sky.
"Get as much info as you can and then meet me back at the station." he ordered, dismissing them with a wave of his hand. Will and Beverly made their way back to the medical examiner, and Beverly shook her head.
"You know what that means."
Will sighed. "Yeah. He wants to talk."
Will stood in front of the desk as the chief put away files on the latest case. The alpha gave him a long, searching look before taking a deep breath.
"How are you, for real this time. I'll know if you're lying."
Will kept his eyes focused on the paintings behind the chief's head.
"... I'm handling it."
"This is the third change of suppressants in two months, Graham. Obviously something isn't working." The alpha sighed and stood from his chair. Will flinched, but he knew his superior wasn't going to come near him. The alpha paced by his desk before turning to him once more. "What has Dr. Bloom said? Does she even know you changed prescriptions?"
"She does," Will said after awhile. "She didn't approve, but we can't find any reason why I couldn't-"
"These visions of yours are getting worse and worse, Graham." the alpha interrupted. "The changes you are making with your body are probably not helping. You should have stuck with the second set before jumping to a new one. This is probably why you're having hallucinations."
Will remained silent, twitching as he resisted the urge to run. Even with his suppressants helping his body think it was a beta, his omegan mind whimpered silently in the background.
"William, I know you are a great officer. Probably the best I've ever had." The alpha began, and Will's eyes widened in fright.
"Please don't fire me! I-I won't change my pills again. I'll see if this-"
"Let me finish." the chief interrupted, letting out his pheromones just enough to quiet him. "You are a great officer, but I'm concerned for your health. I'm aware you were having these visions before you came to us, but this is getting out of hand. I think you should take a break from the pills."
"But, sir, then everyone will know." Will argued. "And beside, you were the one who encouraged me to be on them."
"I know, I know." the chief sighed and rubbed his forehead. Will's omegan status was not a problem. The problem was with the alphas. He knew none of his men would dare treat Will badly under his watch, but many of the criminals brought in were alphas. It was too risky. "How about this: take a break from the suppressants for a month. See how it goes. I'll let you take leave for Red Week should you have it. If the hallucinations improve then we'll make some adjustments. If they don't, then we'll think of something."
"Red Week doesn't happen until the spring and fall." Will reminded him, uncomfortable at the mention of it.
"You've been on suppressants since you became an officer. We don't know what your body is going to do." The alpha sat back down and gave Will a look. "Please think about it. Maybe talk with Officer Katz if you need an additional opinion."
Will bit back the growl that threatened to come out and instead gave the chief a nod before leaving the office.
Will studied the pictures of the three victims, trying to find some way to connect them. They went in order from first found: alpha, beta, omega. All had been strangled with piano wire and their vocal chords were found outside of the body. Otherwise they had no connection to one another. Will growled as he went over the pictures again and again. He raked his mind over them. There was something familiar about them, something he was missing. He stood from his chair and opened the filing cabinet. He checked over his shoulder before selecting all of the cases dealing with the Chesapeake Mafia.
Will wasn't allowed to look at anything dealing with the Mafia because of his "condition". If he looked into the case long enough there was a possibility of him figuring out who the Ripper was. In most cases that would be a good thing and he would have been pushed to the limit to find the crime lord. However, as soon as the police tried to capture him the Ripper would send an all out war against them, and the police would lose. That's why the police and the Mafia were in an uneasy truce. The police stayed out of everything dealing with the Mafia and the Mafia wouldn't pick off the officers.
Will remembered when he first started working as an officer, his suppressants just starting out so his omegian nose was still super sensitive to alpha pheromones. He and Beverly were on a scene when he caught the powerful smell of an alpha. It was like nothing he had ever smelled before, and it made him fall over. The chief had been there at the time and he and Beverly quickly got him out of there, and once it was determined it was a Mafia killing then he was banned from all cases involving them. Will knew the scent he caught was the Ripper's. If the alpha's scent was that strong, Will never wanted to cross lines with him.
Opening the case files, Will flipped through the images. He didn't want to linger on any of them just in case. He continued to flip before stopping on one. There.
Will pulled out two images of political victims of the Chesapeake Mafia, both having their throats lacerated similar to the ones from the unknown killer. Will was trying to sort them out when the door slammed open.
"William Graham, what are you doing?" Beverly scolded when she saw the Mafia case files open on the desk.
"I almost figured it out, Bev." Will said as he rearranged the photos. "I think our killer works for the Chesapeake Mafia."
"Then we better tell the chief we can't take the case."
"Wait," Will held up one hand. "Something's different about them though. I just... don't know yet."
"Will, you know we aren't allowed to work Mafia cases."
"But this isn't Mafia work, or at lease this one isn't," he said as he gestured to the newest kills. "He... this killer is angry and acting out. I...think he used to be part of the Mafia, but something went wrong. He's on his own now."
He stood silently, examining the photos again before Beverly grabbed them.
"We need to show the chief."
Everything fell into place over the past couple days. With little to no sleep the police were able to gather enough information to pinpoint their killer. Suspected right hand of the Chesapeake Ripper, Tobias Budge had been on the most wanted list in many States. However, because he worked for the Chesapeake Mafia he was untouchable. Those who tried were found strangled to death with is weapon of choice: cello wire. However, it appeared that he was no longer working for the Mafia any more for his method of killing, while the same, changed from cello to piano wires.
"We suspect Budge is now acting on his own and is now free game for the police. The Mafia have not given us any reason not to go after him, but until I think it is safe for us to hunt Budge down." the chief said as he pulled up Budge's face on the projector. "He has not been seen for months and we speculate he's gathering his own following. He has a history of violence against police officers, so I want everyone to be on their toes. You are always with your partner, you are never alone. Is that clear?"
There was a murmur throughout the room and nods, and the alpha dismissed them. Beverly whispered to Will, "Do you want to stay at my place until this blows over?"
"I think I'll be fine, Bev," Will answered. "I've given no reason to bring his attention to me."
"Doesn't matter, Will. You're still a cop. Think of it this way: we'll make a sleep over out of it. We can watch bad movies and eat junk food and look at cute dog videos on the internet."
Will laughed. "What about your roommates?"
"Jimmy is out of town and Brian will probably be at his girlfriend's all night. So, what do you say?"
Will shook his head in amusement, but he relented.
Days turned to weeks which turned into months and there still weren't any leads. Bodies soon began to appear faster and faster, and there were more killers. At first it was just Budge, but now there was evidence to show there were more than one. Soon word spread of a new organization terrorizing Baltimore: The Catgut Gang. They made their home along the coast where most of their kills were found. It got to the point where people were too scared to leave their homes or go to work. Even with the Mafia controlling most of the city they only made themselves known if you crossed them. The Catguts attacked anyone at random and without reason.
Will and Beverly combed over maps and victim locations, trying to find the Catguts' base. If they could cut off the headquarters then they could maybe catch Budge. Even if Budge managed to escape, if he was thrust into the open the Mafia might do their dirty work for them.
Finally, they and their other colleagues found a warehouse where several of the bodies seemed to appear the most around. The chief gave it a few more days, sending out scouts and making absolute sure it was the correct place before making his attack.