"It is not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind."
"No, no, no… Fuck!" Sara groaned as her phone continued buzzing on her nightstand. The bright screen stated that the caller was none other than Amaya which mean only one thing. A case in 3 freaking o' clock in the morning. "Good morning or should I say good night, Amaya."
"Sorry to interrupt your sleep but the Captain needs us all. New case and this one is bad."
"Aren't they all?"
"And could you reach Leonard cause his cell is turned off and he isn't answering his home phone." Sara glanced at Leonard who had stirred next to her and was now staring with furrowed eyebrows. She bit her lip; both wanting and not wanting Amaya to realize that she and Leonard were involved.
"Yeah, of course. His apartment is on my way, so we'll see you in a bit." She placed her phone back on the nightstand before climbing out of the bed and turning the lights on.
"First they ruin out get away weekend and now we can't even sleep." He muttered as he stood up and started putting on his discarded clothes.
"They don't know we're dating and plus, unsubs don't usually ask for our schedules when they kill or kidnap someone." Leonard tossed Sara her bra; him fastening his belt. Thank god for leaving some spare clothes on each other apartments. "Have you seen my earring? I swear I left it here."
"I'm sure Rip will let you off the hook for not being 100% perfect for once." He said as he grabbed his credentials and gun and Sara did the same; following him outside of her apartment.
"Hey guys! Amaya is about to start the briefing in a bit." Said Ray, who ran towards then and joined them on the elevator. He had his briefcase in his hand and somehow his hair was perfect as always.
"How can you be so cheerful in the middle of the night?" Leonard questioned as the elevator's doors opened and revealed the mayhem that was the B.A.U. Agents were running back and forth and didn't even spare them a glance as the three of them headed towards the conference room where the rest of the team was- minus Jax.
Gideon sat next to Rip, her head leaning back and Sara notice that she somehow had her sleep mask in her auburn hair.
"Good night everybody." Sara stated as she slumped on the chair and he grabbed her tablet from the table. "Do we know where Jax is?"
"Right here! Sorry for being late. My mom and I were having our weekly movie night and then I got stuck in traff-."
"We're just glad you're here now." Amaya said with a small smile. She pointed the remote at the oversized flat-screen TV that was on the wall across the round meeting table, making a photo of a young woman with bright blonde hair appear; followed by those of her dead body. "This is Ashleigh Cavanaugh, age 21 and a college student on UCLA on Los Angeles California. She was found dead and naked two hours ago on the alley behind her apartment building. She had bite marks on the inside of her thighs, but the flesh was disfigured so they couldn't match the bit marks to dental records. Cause of death is strangulation and the Medical Examiner is checking for signs of sexual abuse as we speak. This case is linked to two other murders of murders that have happened last month. I'll tell you the rest on the plane. We've been invited by the local P.D and they are expecting us as soon as possible."
"We have a lengthy flight ahead of us, so I suggest we head over to the airport right now if we want to be in L.A by early morning."
"So, Ashleigh was found by two other women who lived in the same apartment building and were coming back from a bar, who later called the police from a pay phone a few feet away. Other than the bite marks, it was reported that pieces of her hair were ripped out. There were no signs of rape even though they found traces of semen in her. Also, Ashleigh, she was a model student all throughout high school and same can be said for college. There were no signs of struggle either, even though she did have bruises on her forearm and on her ribs, which were a bit older and faded."
"So this could be some sort of fight between lovers? Ashleigh could have told him something or he saw something and it set him off and he killed her." Leonard suggested from his seat.
"From her being naked, to the strangling and bite marks, major overkill and no sign of remorse it could very well indicate that the victim knew her killer." Mick added before looking at the open file in front of him. "And the other murders?"
"Yeah of course, we have Isabelle Capeman a 22 year old college student from Ohio who enrolled in California State in Los Angeles last spring. She was found dead a week ago with the same M.O in the alley next to her apartment building. And the first one was Charlotte Adams who is also 22 and went to Loyola Marymount University also in L.A."
"So all three victims went to different universities?"
"Exactly." Amaya told Sara and turned back to the TV-screen on the jet. "The M.O is the same and she was killed a month ago."
"His cooling off period is getting smaller. It went from two weeks to one and we have no idea when he is gonna strike again…"
"Okay, Snart you with head over to the first victim's apartment and the crime scene with Sara. Jax and Mick go talk to Ashleigh's parents. Me, Amaya and Ray will go to the station and study the previous casts as soon as we land."
"Hello Mr. Cavanaugh. I'm agent Rory and this is agent Jackson and we are from the F.B.I's Behavioral Analysis Unit. We would like to ask you a few questions about your daughter Ashleigh. If you don't mind of course." The older man looked at the two agents; his eyes stained with tears.
"We… we told the police all we knew…"
"These are different kinds of questions, Mr. Cavanaugh." He hesitated for a moment before stepping aside and allowing Jax and Mick to walk inside his house.
After settling on the couch and being informed that Ashleigh's mother was asleep upstairs, the man pulled out their notepads.
"So, was Ashleigh an introvert or an extrovert?"
"Ash had tons of friends. Someone was always either calling her or texting her to invite her to a party. People loved my baby girl."
"Any boyfriends?" Mick asked; almost certain that most probably the unsub wasn't a friend of the girl.
Uhm I think there was a guy… John… Jake? I think so. I think he went on UCLA too but the boy was bad news. Both me and her mother, Susan, knew that he wasn't treating her right."
"Mr. Cavanaugh… did he physically or emotionally abuse your daughter during their relationship?" The man paled; pain crossing his face and Jax smiled at him sympathetically.
"She… one time… she had come for dinner a Sunday and… she had bruises on her chest and a nasty scar from a wound just above her elbow. We told her to break it off but she said that it was an accident."
Jax looked at Mick and gave him a small nod; making him stand up and get his phone out.
"All ears." Gideon said with her usual steady voice.
"I want you to check if Ashleigh had gone to the E.R in the past year."
"Checking…" She mumbled and Mick could hear the frantic typing on the woman on the other end of the line. "Good call. Mrs. Cavanaugh was reported on the E.R two months ago with heavy bruising on her upper body and a bleeding wound on her arm. She claimed that she tripped and fell down the stairs; convenient."
"Now check her phone for any contact with someone named John or Jake."
"I found numerous phone calls and conversation between her and one Jake Davidson. The older ones seemed rather flirtatious but the most recent ones… they varied from 'you are a whore' to 'I'll kill you if you dare to screw anyone else'."
"So what if she did?" Mick questioned.
"I'll go through her other texts and fill Rip in. I'll give you a call as soon as I get anything else that looks suspicious."
"If I was the unsub how would I get inside with no forced entry…" Leonard wondered out loud with a scowl as he looked around the living room and kitchen of the girl's apartment.
"Maybe he didn't. Maybe Ashley let him inside willingly. She knew the man who killed her." Sara suggested and Leonard nodded as they started moving towards the bedroom. She leaned down next to the bed. "These sheets are brand new and the bed is made perfectly. He changed them."
"Looks like she and the unsub were having sex and then something happened and it caused him to go berserk."
"Yeah but whatever that was, it couldn't make an emotionally stable person do that… The unsub probably has concealed anger issues." Sara told him as she stood up and looked at the bed again.
"The making of the bed suggests that he is well-organized but then he just dumps the body on the alley…" It was very unusual for an unsub who took such care of details to leave the body like that so that was a weird thing for the two agents to see.
"Maybe he was in shock once he realized what he had done again. He cleans up the body and then he realizes that the bedroom is a mess and even a stand of hair or a drop of sweat could incriminate him. So he changed the sheets and took off her clothes before dumping her just like he did to the other victims."
"So the unsub knew the victims. He kills in the heat of the moment and then takes care of the proof so he wouldn't get caught."
"Which means that he is a fairly smart person." Sara added before looking outside the open door of the woman's apartment, noticing the elevator and stairs.
"He carried her all the way to the elevator and then he managed to dump her from the back door."
"He is physically active and from the overkill and M.O it's almost certainly a man."
Leonard looked at towards the kitchen counter where everything was clean and neat.
"Wait… If he cleaned up he used the shower or kitchen…"
"Call Hunter and tell him to send someone to check the drains. We have to check if he left his DNA behind. Good job, babe."
"They are on the way. Stay put." Rip said on the phone before he turned to Ray and Amaya. "What did Mick and Jax say?"
"Ashleigh was loved by everyone and she had many friends, although it was said by her father that she had a couple of bad bruises and a wound on her arm. She went to the E.R a month ago and claimed that she had accidentally fallen down the stairs. Gideon found that she was having a very heated argument with a man named Jake Davidson who also goes in UCLA."
"Bring him in for questioning." He told her and she lifted her eyebrows as the police officers hauled in a man. He was fairly short and slender-looking and his dark brown hair fell in front of his green eyes, because he struggled in the officers grips. "You are a life-saver, Amaya. Oh, Sara, Snart."
Sara and Leonard walked inside the police station; briefcases in hand and Sara glaring at Jake Davidson in disgust.
"You and Amaya start talking to him. It's better to have two women with power interrogate an abuser. Show him that you have control over him."
"Hello Jim. I'm agent Lance and this is agent Jiwe and with are with the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the F.B.I. We would like to talk to you about your ex-girlfriend Ashleigh Cavanaugh."
His face immediately drained of color as he started taping his fingers on the steel table. An obvious sign of nervousness, as both women knew.
"What happened?" He questioned and Sara exchanged a look with Amaya.
"She was found dead last night in the alley behind her apartment building." Amaya stated and started spreading the pictures on the table. The man looked at the pictures in disgust before trying to flip them over so he wouldn't look at them.
"Oh wow, you're appalled? Because these…" Sara threw him pictures of Ashleigh's forearm bruises and older ones that were taken on the E.R. "…these are all you."
"Look, Ashleigh and I might have fought but…"
"But you loved her?... I have heard that pathetic excuse hundreds of times before. And you might even have, but this… no one who really loves someone is capable of doing this to them."
"I love her! I did this because I love her!" He yelled at Sara who snorted. "Don't you have someone you love?" She thought of Leonard; his smirk and his bright eyes, the loving looks he gave her and how her life somehow was made more complete whenever she was with him."
"What I do in my life is none of your business. What matters is the young woman you abused broke up with you and then when she got a new boyfriend, you fought and your killed her."
"Nah, nah, nah you got it all wrong. Ash and I… we never broke up." Jake explained and Rip sighed on the other side of the wall. "I went over to her house at noon after she finished classes. You can check, I didn't show up for my shift at the coffee shop close to the campus and that's why I was gone all night long. I worked another job as a security guard at the mall. I didn't even call her that night."
"Check his alibi and Mr. Davidson we'll need you to give a semen sample to see if it matches the one found on Ashley's body."
"So, can I go now?" He asked with a groan. "I'll give you your stupid sample."
"No. You are gonna give us your sample and then we'll keep you here for additional questions."
"You can't keep me locked up in here!"
"Watch us." Sara told him as she turned away and walked out of the room with Amaya following her.
"His alibi checks out; which means that it isn't him." Ray said with a scowl.
"If it isn't him then who the hell could it be?" Leonard questioned as he pressed 8 on the keyboard; speed-dialing Gideon.
"Cross-reference the three women. See if they had common places they hang out or went with their friends."
"Are we fairly certain that Ray is the genius?" Gideon asked good-heartedly and Leonard snorted. "All three of them had payed with credit cards at the same bar, which surprisingly was in an almost identical distance from all three universities."
"So this unsub probably met all of the girls at the bar." Rip stated and Gideon hummed.
"Call Mick and Jax and tell them to ask Ashleigh's father about any new guys or if they saw her with anyone new."
"Sara and Ray head over to the bar and start asking around if anyone had seen the girls and who they were with."
"The Scarecrow" was a decent-looking bar from what they saw as they walked inside. Going to bars or similar places like that wasn't really Ray's scene; his higher IQ making it harder for him to socialize than others. They usually sent Mick, Leonard or Sara, or even Jax at times but now it was time for Ray to practice his social skills.
The two of them spotted a bearded man who was behind the bar counter; wiping glasses and lining them up.
"I'm Agent Lance, this is Dr. Palmer and we are with the F.B.I. We would like to ask you some questions."
"I have nothin' to say." He said and kept wiping the same glass; avoiding looking at them.
"You either talk or we arrest you of obstruction of justice. Take your pick." Ray looked at Sara; worried.
"Sara…" He knew that Sara was well aware of what obstruction of justice was, but she was using his against him, so the bartender would talk.
"Not now Boy Wonder." She said to him and glared at the bartender who sighed. "I'll take that as a yes. Have you seen any of these women here these past two months, Mr..?" Sara pulled out photos of the three victims; placing them on the counter.
"Mike. And I saw only her. These are the only ones I've seen around. But I haven't worked here long. If these two came here Joe would probably know them. Hey Joe!" He called out, and after a bit another man appeared who was also in his mid-20s. He glared at the agents. "These agents are wondering if we've seen these women."
"Yeah, yeah I know these two." He said; pointing at the two other girls' photos. "That one…" He tapped on the picture of Charlotte Adams. "She came around a couple of times too and she always sat alone. She always… She looked sad. Now that I think about it, the other one did the same thing."
"And the one I saw too." Mike piped in and the two agents nodded.
"Could you please close your eyes for a moment?" Ray asked the man who was called Joe by the other bartender and he did as he was told. "Good, now I want you to think back to the first girl. The one with the blue eyes that was always sad. She is sitting alone. Did anyone approach her?"
"Uhm… a couple of guys but she didn't want to talk to them and then there was… uhm… that guy… he was… tall and he looked buff and he… he had dark hair and his eyes were dark… very dark… he was smiling at her but he wasn't nice… something felt off…"
"How old was he, Joe?" Asked Ray softly; careful not to disturb the calmness of the man's mind as he tapped into his memories.
"He looks older than her… like 26-27… I don't know."
"Good… good… You are doing great… Now tell me about the other girl…"
Half an hour and a lot of questions later they finally had a description and they were ready to give the profile to the police officers.
"This unsub is a man in his late twenties, 26 or 27 years old, who may appear normal and charming but whose violent nature surfaces and causes him to kill the women he beds. It looks like he met all three of the victims in the same location; a bar. We estimate that the first woman he killed, Charlotte Adams, was probably the one who helped him discover his need for killing. Our technical analyst is looking for any connections between the two." Rip said at the police officers who observed the team.
"We believe that he hadn't shown any violent behavior in the past and is now the only time that he is finally free." Added Mick; as he stood up from his chair to stand beside Ray who spoke next.
"He chooses women who were in abusive relationships and in all three cases semen samples found on the victims match those of the ex-boyfriend."
"So why does he kill them?" A police officer asked; confused.
"When he realizes that they are still sleeping with their abusers like the first victim did, he kills them, showing them how weak they are by establishing dominance over them with the biting on the inside of their thighs."
"He is deeply disturbed and even though women enjoy his company he always thinks that he isn't their first choice. The unsub goes into full rage during the kill but then he starts to think rationally again and he cleans up the mess he made." Sara added to Leonard's statement; leaning next to the board where they had compiled the evidence.
"We believe that he was either raised by a single mother or had a very strict father. He is also an only child and he probably comes from money, so look for people who hold themselves with confidence and appear bachelors. This is what makes his victims feel safe and they don't see as a threat." Jax elaborated and the officers nodded.
"But tonight we are focusing on the bar. He most probably doesn't know that we are onto him, so my team and some of your officers will go there posing as regular people having drinks and SSA Lance will be playing the role of victim no4."
"You look gorgeous, you know that?" Leonard whispered in Sara's ear as he came up behind her in front of the mirror on her hotel room. She has dressed as if she was going to have a casual drink; wavy hair free and falling on her shoulders and her lips painted crimson. She had wore a pair of black leather fitting pants and while Leonard knew that Sara preferred fitting tops to flowy ones, she had opted for a flowy burgundy top with spaghetti straps that formed and 'x' on the freckled skin of her upper back. So he suspected that the top had a second purpose, other than her good looks.
"Uhm… I do." She answered and pulled him in for a kiss; thankful for the smudge-proof lipstick. "First we close this case… and sleep. And then…" She winked and walked away; lifting her top and concealing her gun and a couple of knifes- just in case.
"Anyone shady?" asked Mick from the far left side of the bar. He had ordered a drink; as had all the others, but didn't make a move to touch it.
"No. Maybe he realized that we found his comfort zone and we're just waiting here for nothing." Ray said and Jax, who sat next to him, nodded.
"Maybe Mick will get drunk and jump on a table and start yelling for the unsub." Amaya whispered from her chair across Rip's. Leonard wheezed from his seat on the bar counter. He sat the closest to Sara than all the others, who was sitting alone too with a bug placed underneath her top so the team could hear everything; right in the spot where Joe the bartender said the other victims sat. She was the only blonde of the team and her age was the one that was closer to these of the victims. Rip requested that Leonard was the one who kept an eye on Sara; being one of the most patient members of the team.
"Here you go, Nikita." Joe told her and gave her a tall glass filled with an orange beverage and ice cubes. "Don't worry, it's just orange juice."
"Thanks." She answered and sipped her drink, waiting for someone to approach her patiently.
After Sara had drunk two cartons of orange juice and Mick was sweating from not being able to drink the beer that was in front of him. Rip looked more annoyed than usual and the officers from L.A P.D weren't looking too pleased either.
"Seat taken?" Sara heard a voice behind her. The man took a step closer to her, smiling and showing his pearly with teeth. He wore a pair of black jeans and a button-up shirt, and in his left wrist a golden Rolex was placed. Show of wealth? Check. Charming? Check.
"Uhm… no." Said Sara with a small smile and the man sat on the stool next to hers.
"I'm Nikita Cole." What could she say? She appreciated an ass-kicking assassin.
"That's a strange name. I'm Bob Barnes." The man answered with a smile. Sara debated for a moment on whether that was his real name. It would be sloppy of him to say anything that might link him to the kills, but again he wouldn't come off as threatening before it was late.
"Gideon find us everything you can on Bob Barnes." Rip mumbled at his phone and Gideon hummed from the other end of the line.
"Robert 'Bob' Barnes, 27 years old from Texas. He was born to Mitch and Laura Barnes, a very successful realtor and an heiress who ended up giving her husband full control of her family's money. Unfortunately his father died of cancer when he was fourteen but it was reported that he abused Laura and poor Bob had to pretend his family was perfect. He studied economics in the Department of Economics of UT College of Liberal Arts in Texas and came to L.A a year ago. All is well and no run-ins with the Law until he got a DUI last month when his mother was killed in an alley behind her office, a month ago."
"That was the stressor." Amaya noted and he nodded.
"That's our unsub." Rip muttered and the other agreed.
"We gotta arrest him." Mick said; putting his hand on his concealed gun.
Sara saw Leonard from the corner of her eye; his face pissed as he was muttering something, probably talking to Rip. She tapped on the counter three times, her indicator that they shouldn't make a move towards them and that she had the situation under control.
"So what's a girl like you doing here all alone?" He questioned and Sara knew the exact answer he wanted.
"I just got out of a very toxic relationship and I guess I wanted to be out of the house for a bit." He smiled and while most people would perceive this as a sympathetic smile, Sara knew better. "How 'bout you?"
"Oh I'm just… looking for a good time... Interested?" He offered with a smirk.
"Like you did with Charlotte Adams, Isabelle Capeman and Ashleigh Cavanaugh?" She asked him and the man's smile fell from his face as he stumbled and stood up from the bar stool. Sara had her hand on her lip, ready to grab her gun. "Now either you sit tight and I arrest you or you start running and I'll have to do this the hard wa-."
Bob reacted; pushing her off of the stool and sprinting off; the whole team had pulled out their guns and the exit was blocked and Sara got to him first, jumping up again and jumping on a table to reach him; falling on him and causing him to land with his face on the floor. She put her heeled boot on his back as she stood up and kept him in place as Leonard handed her a pair of handcuffs and she restrained the man easily.
"You had to make me do it the hard way, didn't you?" She said with a growl; appalled even by the sight of that asshole. "Robert Barnes you're under arrest for the muders of Charlotte Adams, Isabelle Capeman and Ashleigh Cavanaugh. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to any attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand your rights?" She pulled him by the collar of his shirt; forcing him to stand up. "You better nod." The man grunted but nodded anyway. The others tried to calm the other people on the bar down; Amaya called for backup and Mick followed Sara who ushered the man outside and in the police car.
"Good job today." Rip told Sara as they excited the B.A.U; him, her and Leonard being the last ones to leave because they had to deal with the paperwork.
"Thanks. It's just… did you wonder if he had done it before?" She asked as the elevator went down. "When he was he in Texas."
"The profile doesn't indicate otherwise, so no. I try not to think about it since he was connected to only these three women and the stressor happened a month ago, Sara." He turned to Leonard. "Take care of her, Snart."
The two agents, who could very well control their emotions and reactions when needed, blushed at their Unit Chief's comment.
"I'm a profiler. And just because you are too it doesn't mean that I don't notice certain things between the two of you…" Rip pointed out as the elevator stopped the steel doors slid open. "Good night."
Sara pretended not to see the ginger-haired man smiling proudly at the two of them as he headed out of the B.A.U headquarters and towards his car.
"Think dad is gonna give you a hard time about being with me?" Leonard asked her as she climbed on the driver's seat of the car. He knew how much Sara liked driving at night (when they weren't on a chase that is), so he happily gave her the wheel whenever she wanted to.
"I don't think so. I think after all these years; you have started to grow on him, Len." Answered Sara with a smile before she bit her lip. "Can I ask for a favor?"
"Depends…" He gave his girlfriend a wary look. "Does it include you, me and a bed? Because I'm sorry but I'm exhausted after that flight back."
"Tonight we're gonna sleep, but tomorrow though…" Sara winked; making Leonard smirk. "Can we drop by and get some sandwiches from Potbelly? Pleaseee?"
"Okay, but remember the rules. You made the arrest, you're treating."
Sara smiled as she kept driving; eager to get food and then go home and curl under the covers with the man she loved… her mind finally at ease because they had all saved many other young girls from Barnes by arresting him, but still Sara could help but wonder… were there other girls out there that he had hurt? Girls that would never get justice..?
"The very essence of instinct is that it's followed independently of reason."