A/N: Firstly, I would like to congratulate Jordan and Woody for finally consummating whatever they share with one another. It took them five years but they made it. I'm not exactly a Jordan/Woody fan, but anything other than Charles Mesure is good for me. Go Jordan!
Thanks to those who reviewed (yeah, it's been a while) but please bear with me, it's not my fault I'm slow. Well, yeah it is but…
Previously on Only For The Truth…
Two people were slowly recovering from their night of passion together while attempting to save their relationship with a coffee date. But they failed miserably as the arguments set in about various things, like who worked where and did what and whether or not someone was out to get them. All of this of course was the result of their intimate encounter the previous night. But then, from the shadows of the late afternoon, bullets showered them. Luckily, neither of them were hurt. But someone was definitely out to get them…
Same thing goes, I don't own Crossing Jordan or the characters, and thinking about it now, this story is set way in the past. A whole season ago.
Only For The Truth
Chapter 6: Unintended
He winced again, scrunching up his face and managing to capture a drop of alcohol under his left eyelid. He let out a painful cry and stammered back, but that didn't exactly make the situation better as he stumbled over an extremely cluttered desk. He reached down a hand to rub the back of his shin before feeling the stab of a heeled shoe clamp down of his foot. Another cry escaped his parched lips and another frustrated sigh slipped out of hers. He shuddered at her glowering stare and straightened, readying himself as she applied more distilled alcohol to the small wound above his eye. The wound he ironically made for himself when he protected her from the shattering of glass above them as a bullet pierced his car window. He once again winced at the stinging.
"This is familiar, isn't it?" Woody managed to croak through the pain.
Devan stared at the wound, her concentration fading slightly. "Don't remind me."
Silence eased its way into the uncomfortable situation, making it difficult for the both of them to form words. Since their encounter on the street walking back from an unsuccessful coffee date, things had turned from bad to worse. One of them thought someone, a killer, was out to get them, while the other thought only he should be investigating because it was progressively growing dangerous for the other. And they still had to find the killer before he struck somewhere else.
The door to Devan's office was violently pulled open and a dishevelled Garret imposed himself on the two. "Everything okay in here?"
"If you call this," Woody pointed to his swollen eye, "okay, then we're just peachy."
Garret let out a quick breath. "Maybe you should go to the hospital."
"For what?" Devan asked almost incredulously. "It's a tiny cut. It will heal in a matter of days."
"Oh, it's a tiny cut…?" Woody began in a forceful whisper but was quickly silenced by Devan's searing look. "Feel's like a poisonous dart is sticking out of my eye."
"Good," Devan quipped while wiping away the last of the blood with a steady finger, making Woody jump slightly.
Garret gave them both serious looks before rubbing his forehead and sighing. "I don't want to see this happen again. I want you to let the FBI handle this from now on."
Woody cleared his throat. "Doctor Macy, with all due respect, this case is mine. I'm not letting a couple of ignorant agents take over and screw things up. If this guy was shooting at me, then it's personal."
Devan glared at him for not including her but Garret broke the momentary silence before she could. "You will only liase with the FBI, you will not do anything on your own. Talk to your Captain, he'll say the same thing."
When Macy left the room and was well out of earshot, Woody cursed under his breath. "Yeah, I bet he will."
Devan grabbed Woody's neck suddenly and pulled him down, plastering a green bandaid down on his wound. She released the grip she had on his neck and handed him a small hand mirror from her desk before winking slyly at him.
Raising an eyebrow, Woody gave a small, amused laugh. "Barney?"
She shrugged. "It was either that or Barbie."
"Guess I'll have to settle on the big, friendly, green dinosaur who loves everyone," Woody whispered quietly.
Devan threw the excess cotton buds in the bin behind her and flashed Woody a false smile. "Guess you will."
Woody watched as she left the room almost hurriedly and without a backwards glance. He couldn't help but think their relationship was damaged now because they had slept together in what had been a rash, spontaneous notion caused from severe stress and throbbing chest pain. And this day wasn't helping much, either, not with the arguing and the sniper shooting. And the Barnie bandaid. That was a new low for Devan, Woody decided. And he was the one being paying the expenses for this. Well, at least he thought so.
He winced once more to clear his mind and wandered out of the small enclosure only to run into a frazzled looking Jordan. Her hair was pulled back into a messy ponytail and Woody noted the small stains of sweat on her hairline and above her eyebrows.
Woody frowned his concern. "Jordan, what's wrong?"
Sighing in frustration, she swiped a quick hand across her forehead. "Another body. Victim of a sniper shooting. Ten minutes after you guys were shot at."
"What?" Woody immediately became anxious. "Is he here yet?"
Jordan raised a brow fleetingly. "She. And yes, she just came in. Paramedics tried to revive her but no pulse returned. She's fresh and she's mine."
Woody resisted shivering at Jordan's definitive tone of voice. "Who is she?"
"Her name is Amanda Cornwall," Jordan replied with another overdue sigh. "Twenty one years. Closest living relative is her mother, Joan. Lily's already onto that."
"Amanda Cornwall," Woody whispered the name, brows lined and trying to remember where he'd heard that name. "I know that name. Just don't know where from. Devan knows about this?"
Jordan flinched ever-so-slightly but not so much that Woody noticed it. "Yeah, I just told her."
There was a momentary silence that overwhelmed the two as if it had been summoned by a force of great power. There was so much unexplained and hidden between them that Woody almost felt the need to apologise to her. The idea was so strong that Woody opened his mouth to form the very words that would give Jordan the answer she so desperately wanted, when Nigel tapped his shoulder from behind. Woody flinched, closed his mouth and turned to face the tall Englishman.
Nigel flashed a white grin. "I have a ballistics match for the bullet I extracted from your car window, and Bug has security footage of the shooting."
Woody nodded and turned to Jordan with a near-apologetic gaze. "Keep me posted."
Jordan gave her own nod and disappeared, leaving Woody to sigh helplessly and follow Nigel to the forensic lab where they were met with an expressionless Bug, who brought up video footage on the big screen. Woody watched intensely as he saw footage of his car on a particular angle. He then saw Devan enter the range of the camera. She talked dramatically to a figure beside her, who of course Woody knew to be himself. The pair argued for a number of beats before Woody ducked, taking Devan down with him and covering her from a shower of shattered glass. The video then turned its attention to a masked figure, retracting parts of a sniper gun from a fair distance away. It looked to Woody like he was behind a tree. Then the footage fizzled out and Bug turned in his chair.
"Intense," he breathed with a calmness only he could possess.
Nigel offered a sly grin. "So what were you two talking about?"
Woody glared but managed to keep his composure. "Ballistics, Nigel. Give them to me."
Shrugging, Nigel plucked out a buried sheet of paper from one of the cluttered desks around him. "The bullets match an M21 Sniper Gun, only used by the U.S. Army. They were recently developed, as well."
Woody raised his eyebrows in surprise. "What's an average Joe doing with an Army issued weapon?"
Nigel shook his head. "Long way to go, Wood."
Filing her finger through the number of torn and tattered pages of the worn diary, Devan searched for the name that would cure her curiosity. There were vivid details of an emotional teenager's life, most importantly the shocking crime that inadvertently began all of this: Lesley Morgan's rape. Devan was sure the answer to solving this mystery was in these diaries but she had no idea where to even begin. So, one mystery at a time. She was looking for a mention of the name Amanda Cornwall, the girl she so intensely felt was connected to Lesley. As were all the murders these days. Her finger stopped trailing the page when she found her target.
"…thanks to the greatest friend in the world, Amanda Cornwall," the page read. "She is the one inspiration I have to keep going in this life. I know that it must be hard for her as well…"
Devan smiled at her success. Finally a break through. Albeit, a small one. But one all the same. She stood from her chair to find Jordan but was stopped by a voice.
"Doctor Maguire?" It was Sidney. "This came for you. It was left at the front desk."
Devan frowned and took the compact disk in her fingers and studied it. The case was a pale yellow and the disk read her name. "Thanks, Sidney. Did you see who left it?"
Sidney shook his head and gave a quick shrug. "It just came with the mail."
She waited until Sidney had left the room before turning to her computer and sliding the disk in. She frowned again and waited for the data to load, sighing impatiently.
Bug yawned in the absence of company. His mother had always remarked that it was rude to yawn in the presence of company. Not that it bothered him now, because he had been left alone to his own devices. And that suited him just fine. In his spare time at the morgue, he loved to study his array of varying bugs and spiders to find some connection to them and humans. Only this time his solitude was interrupted by a slight knock on the glass window surrounding his office space, that of which he shared with Nigel.
Devan rounded the small corner and handed him the disk. "Could you take a look at that, just for a minute. I need to know where it was taken."
Bug frowned but slipped in the disk anyway, taking the young Medical Examiner's word for it. "Why do you think I could help?"
A small smile tugged at the edge of Devan's lips. "Just watch."
The film loaded and Bug was exposed to a lush park, with mounds of green shrubbery and native trees overhanging a gentle pond that trickled along a paved path. It was obvious the film was homemade, although the camera must have been steadied on a tripod because it wasn't moving. A man came into view, seated on a camping chair. He wore a pair of baggy cargo capris with a red plaid shirt. His hair was a brilliant shade of fire-red, almost orange in the golden sun, and it was shaped almost like an afro, frizzy and all. His eyes were a hypnotic pale blue that reflected mischievously in the luscious surroundings. He wasn't built very large, his bare arms were relatively skinny and his pants were held up around his waist by a black, leather belt.
He began talking and his voice was like liquid gold flowing from him. "You were lucky you had your friend to protect you, Doctor Maguire. Or can I call you Devan? I think I'll call you Devan. He's very perceptive. He can hear a bullet whistle through the air on top of your arguing. That's impressive."
Bug turned his head to look at Devan with a raised brow, but she shook her and pointed to the screen. "Ignore what he's saying, think about where he is."
The man on the screen spoke again. "You're probably wondering who I am. Well, my name is Death. And I am everywhere. I'm hunting down victims one by one and unfortunately, you're next on my list. I'd think about the bare necessities for now, such as who you'd like to make amends with and what you'd like to apologise for."
"Devan…" Bug began in a subdued tone but Devan cut him off with a hand squeezing hard on his shoulder.
"I don't usually do this," Death continued, "but I thought I could make an exception. You've been working so hard to uncover the truth, but that's not what I'm about. Lesley died covering it up and it's my job to keep it that way. That's why the others had to die, because they were getting too close to the truth or they were going to expose it. I cannot let that happen."
The video faded to black suddenly and Devan sighed. "So?"
Bug paused, contemplating giving his answer when he knew what she was going to do. Finally he let out a breath and rubbed his forehead. "Black Ranger's Park, a couple of miles East. Hard to miss."
Devan smiled and squeezed Bug's shoulder again. "Thanks, Bug."
She turned to leave but was stopped by Bug's demanding voice. "Don't you have something else to say?"
Sighing, Devan gave him a quick, reassuring smile. "Don't worry, I'll be fine."
Bug watched her receding figure float away like a dead leaf. He sighed and slapped a hand onto his forehead. "Happy birthday, Bug!" Bug articulated in a high-pitched falsetto. "Thanks, Devan."
Sighing again, Bug pulled out a rubber spider from one of his draws. That had been the only birthday gift he had received all day. And it had been from the mailman. Bug shrugged decidedly and went back to his study of the insect anatomy.
Jordan tugged hard at the gaping bullet wound with a pair of surgical tweezers but she could not grasp the small lead object. It was buried so deep inside the hole that if it had not been for the lack of an exit wound, she would have assumed it had gone all the way through the young woman's body. Eventually though, Jordan felt the unmistakeable grind of metal on metal and she pulled viciously at the bullet, holding it in between her tweezers when it emerged from the depression it had made. Nine millimetre. She was sure it had been shot from the same sniper gun that had attacked Woody and Devan just minutes before focusing its crosshairs on the unfortunate victim laying before her.
Garret entered the room without a sound and looked towards Jordan, who studied the bullet intensely. "Same gun?"
Jordan jumped at the echoing voice and gave a sigh of relief when she saw who it was. "Sorry, I'm a bit on edge. Two of my friends could have died today. But, in answer to your thoughtful question, yes it is the same gun. At least it looks it."
Nodding, Garret stalked forward, glancing at the victim for a brief second. "Do you have a connection yet?"
Jordan raised her eyebrows. "Actually, Devan dropped in a couple of minutes ago and said there was a passage in Lesley's diary about the victim. It seemed as though they were best friends."
Furrowing his brow, Garret winced in frustration. "Okay, that's good. Now we have something to go on."
Jordan nodded with her tongue over her top lip in thought as she distantly dropped the bullet into a glass casing. "Do you want me to relay this to Woody?"
"No," Garret replied abruptly. "This is now a high-profile case. There's an FBI agent coming in later. Tell him everything you can."
Jordan watched Garret retreat from the room before letting out her abated breath. She had already made up her mind to tell Woody everything she knew.
Devan stopped walking, her feet aching numbingly. She had no idea how long she had been walking just to find this one tree in this huge, green sanctuary but she was sure it was a long time. She felt the blisters emerging on the soles of her feet and she cursed herself for not wearing more comfortable shoes. Actually, as fate would have it, she blamed Woody. She blamed him for everything, particularly because if she hadn't gone to the precinct on her day off to find some closure within their obscure relationship, then none of this would have happened. Or, more specifically, if he hadn't shown up at her apartment last night then it wouldn't be so awkward between them now. She hated that he was under her skin. And she didn't want to admit it, but she hated that he was doing that to spite somebody else.
She was snapped back to reality when she heard a twig break behind her. Whirling around, Devan prepared herself for the worst but all she saw was a curious bird, plucking around for some twigs for a nest. Devan let out an angry breath when she realised what time of the year it was. Breeding season.
"Go away," she spat angrily at the small bird. "I'm already annoyed as it is."
The bird flew away with a flutter of its wings but Devan froze when she heard a footstep. She heard another one and it was closer this time. The feet were definitely dragging closer and closer so Devan turned around skilfully and grabbed onto an arm, stepping down hard on the feet beneath her. She heard a familiar yell and pulled the person in closer, looking up to see their face.
"Woody?" she gasped incredulously. "What are you doing here?"
Woody winced and shook off Devan's grip. "What am I doing here? Following you if you really want an answer but I'm not the one who should be explaining."
"Right," Devan countered in a sarcastic whisper. "Are you aware that stalking is a crime?"
Opening his mouth, Woody thought before answering her. "I…hope that was a rhetorical question and I'm not stalking you. I was worried about you if you must know. Bug told me everything."
Devan exhaled slowly, capturing the day's cool air when she sucked another breath in. "So you know that he was after me and not you? That this is personal for me because I'm being pursued?"
Woody sighed reluctantly. "I understand that you feel like you need to find this guy, but you're not a cop. You don't need to hunt down the bad guys and put them away. That's my job."
"Like you ever let me forget that!" Devan shouted angrily, almost spitefully. "You have no right to tell me what I can and cannot do. It is none of your business."
Woody snaked out a hand to clasp onto her sleeve and pulled her close. "It is when I'm involved."
Devan stared hard at his neck as she could feel his warm, steady breath on her hair. "I'm not even going to ask how you meant that."
Holding onto her hand, Woody pulled away slightly to look into her green eyes that flashed a little bit of every emotion. "I can give you protection if you need it. Just say the word."
Devan's face hardened into one of dignified pride. "I don't need your protection, Woody. I need your support. You can't shrink me anymore or tell me how to do my job."
Woody watched as her blonde hair swept across her face in the light breeze. He took a few strands into his fingers and lightly tucked them behind her ear. "I won't. I promise."
Without meaning to, Devan laced her fingers with his and clasped his hand more tightly. Then she realised what she had done and cursed herself mentally for the umpteenth time since last night when they lay together, intertwined but still distanced from each other. It had been passionate and intense, but Devan couldn't help but think it was for all the wrong reasons. She remembered with a knot in her stomach how furiously he had kissed her and with a fiery passion like no other.
Her eyes trailed down his neck to the top of his chest, which was exposed through his partially opened shirt. She thought with a small smile how it had felt against her. She was quickly brought back to reality when warm fingers lightly flitted across her neck. She looked up to meet his deep blue eyes and tried to remain calm but the butterflies within her were too strong to stay grounded. The fire in his eyes from the previous night was still present and he seemed to know what she had been thinking about just by looking at her. His eyes didn't stray from hers but he leant down slowly, his lips closing in on hers.
When she felt the warmth almost drown her, she pulled back slightly but still held his gaze. "We need to talk…about everything."
Woody straightened and released his breath. "Okay, how about tonight? We could have dinner or something and…"
"Tonight's Bug's birthday," Devan replied, cutting him off.
Woody hung his head. "Oh, yeah. The surprise thing. Forgot. Well how about tomorrow night?"
Devan sighed and wondered if she could wait that long but agreed anyway. "You could come over and I could cook some dinner, or we could just order take-out or something. Is seven good?"
"Seven's perfect," Woody replied with a smile. "So, is this a…date?"
"No." Devan was quick to reply seriously, but a smirk tugged at the corner of her lips impulsively.
The two began walking away slowly, each sliding in occasional flirtations but one constant remained: it still seemed wrong for both of them, despite their growing relationship and eagerness to continue with it. Still, something just didn't feel right…
From the shadows of the gently swaying trees, a figure watched the retreating couple, deeply engrossed in the dynamics of their relationship. Despite the overbearing darkness, a glimmer of sunlight streamed through the branches and leaves, highlighting parts of a frizzy, red afro that glinted bright orange in the light. Pale blue eyes glimmered with a hint of amusement and a disquieting chuckle arose from the depths of the tranquil silence.
"Tomorrow night at seven," the liquid gold voice spoke with pure malice. "Sounds perfect."
A/N: Haha, I have a thing with Bug's birthday. Please review, I'm going to go eat something :)