Authors Note: Oops, got distracted again...I thought these two could make excellent partners.
Title: When The Bullet Hits The Bone
Main Characters: Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast(Prestone/Child Novels), CIA Officer Sheldon Jeffrey Sands(Once Upon A Time In Mexico)
Rating: M; Language, Violence, and Adult Situations
Time Frame: Preludes Once Upon A Time In Mexico. Preludes 'Still Life of Crows'
DisClaimer: I do not own Sheldon Jeffrey Sands or any events to Once Upon A Time In Mexico. I do not own Special Agent Pendergast. They both belong to their respected creators.
It was an unbearably hot night. Muggy and still. The only thing that moved in the air was the tension that drifted through it, climbing the brick and steel siding of the building in the small city down town.
The building had long ago been abandon, an old hotel no one had the money to buy and renovate. So it stood empty, echoing the ghosts of it's glory days in the 20s and 30s. Shadows drifted through the corridors. Words escaping at the locks of doors in the silence of the night.
A rat prowled the upper floors, searching out long lost crumbs. It paused, nose twitching in the stale air. It's ears twitched. There was movement in one room. Cautiously, it to took steps in the direction. An old state room, sheets covering the antique furniture. Still, the air was stale and silent. The rat sniffed the door frame.
The scream rent the air in the most horrific way, echoing through out the building, scaring up the pigeons. The rat scampered off into the darkness. There was the sound of cracking glass and another scream. The body hit the pavement outside the building with a sickening thud.
From the room it had fallen from, a shadow moved from the balcony, disappearing. It paused, lingering at the door and scanned the room, before disappearing into the hall and from the building.
Special Agent Pendergast exited the rental car and looked up at the tall, old brick hotel. Pale eyes scanned the facade, before looking back at street level. The street had been blocked off on all four ends by local and county officers, but still people had managed to get through to gawk at the site.
Pendergast had the feeling this was as much excitement as this little town had had in a long time. Across from the hotel was a flurry of small shops, moving off down the street in either direction. The entrance to a bank lay next to the hotel, down the street a block. Across the way in the other direction, the library and public auditorium.
Pendergast approached the throng of officers, he could see a body under the green sheet on the ground. As expected, a officer moved to intercept him. He was a tall young man with sandy blonde hair and a boyish handsome face. "That's far enough, this is a crime scene." The young man said, holding out a hand to stop Pendergast.
Pendergast slid his ID from his pocket with long slender fingers and held it open for the young officer. "Special Agent Pendergast, FBI." He said calmly, in the melodious southern accent.
The young man peered at the ID and stuttered. "FBI...w-w-we weren't aware you guys would be..uh here..."
"We like to keep a low profile." Pendergast answered with a charming smile.
The young man faulted, with a nervous smile, but was, perhaps saved from further comment. "Thorton! Who the hell are you gabbing on with?" Came a fierce voice. The man was tall, thinning hair and the uniform he wore, was stretched to tight over his bulking frame.
"This is...uh..." Young Thorton struggled to get out in light of his superior's appearance. Then again, this probably wasn't a good save.
Pendergast came to the boy's rescue, "Special Agent Pendergast, FBI." The ID was out again, quicker then Thorton had seen it the first time.
The bulking man snorted and snatched up the ID with out comment. "FBI...New Orleans division...you boys know something we don't?" He eyed the man in front of him. From the blonde, nearly white hair, to the paper pale skin, down to the black suit. How the hell this guy could be wearing a black suit in this dry heat was beyond me. The guy looked like and undertaker.
"That's Sheriff McNeely." The man grunted, shoving the id back at Pendergast and waving him through. "The body was found about 3 am last night. Seems to have jumped from that window," the sheriff pointed up at the face of the building, indicating the balcony.
Pendergast paused at the body and crouched, pulling back the sheet. It was the body of an older man, in his sixties, but fit and trim. Something about the face tugged at something in the back of Pendergast's mind. He frowned. "I don't know why the FBI is here, probably just a suicide." McNeely muttered.
Pendergast's daft fingers searched the body and removed a piece of paper the examiner's obviously missed. "Do you get a lot of suicides around here, Sheriff?" He asked the man, pocketing the paper before anyone was the wiser.
"Not really. As you can see, its drawn a crowd." The man said, indicating to the people milling around.
"Naturally." Pendergast said, standing. "Any id found on the body?"
"Just a driver's license, from Maine. We've got some one callin' up there." The sheriff said, handing Pendergast the card. Pendergast frowned at the lack of evidence preservation. It wasn't even in a baggy. His pale blue eyes scanned the card. Arthur Mitchem. The name provoked something on the reaches of Pendergast's memory.
Handing the card back to the sheriff, he said. "I suggest that be placed in a bag." Pendergast said, starting for the door of the building. The sheriff glared at Pendergast's back. Pendergast went to open the door of the building, when it was opened for him by a deputy. Stepping back, Pendergast watched the man hurry through.
"Sheriff! We've got another one!" The deputy announced excited.
"Hell!" Sheriff McNeely growled. "Where?"
"Sixth floor, in the room." The deputy told him as McNeely made his way past the lower ranking man and into the foyer of the old hotel.
"Another suicide, Sheriff?" Came Pendergast's honeyed tones as he followed the lumbering man towards the stair well. McNeely frowned and shot the FBI agent a glare. He already didn't like the prick. With a huff, he began climbing the stairs, with Pendergast following easily behind him.
Several officers were lingering around the state room where the balcony was. Pendergast followed the sheriff in and his pale eyes swept over the room. In the corner, something was leaning against the wall and had the appearance of a mannequin.
As McNeely began questioning his officers, Pendergast moved around the side of the large bed towards the corner. As he came with in better sight of it, he stopped, staring hard at the body.
It was nailed to the wall with railroad spikes, old and rusty. The head dropped, another spike in the forehead. Blood had dripped off it's end, pooling on the wood floor beneath, staining it almost black.
But that was hardly what was holding Pendergast in his tracks. The body had pale skin, close to his own and black hair. It was tall, but with enough muscle. And a creepy psychotic smile on it's face that suggested he'd enjoyed being nailed to a wall and left for dead.
But the problem was, Pendergast KNEW the man. He knew him to be DEAD. For it had been Pendergast who had done it, almost fifteen years ago. He'd even attended the man's funeral. But yet, here he was again, looking to have been alive... At least alive before the spike had entered his head. René Bellefontaine. A man who had caused enough trouble for Pendergast in the past.
He didn't understand it. He KNEW he had killed Bellefontaine. And yet, the man was here, a long way from New Orleans and the cemetery he'd been buried in. And now, because of this, Pendergast had lost his train of thought on this very case. At least for the moment.
His thoughts were interrupted by McNeely approaching. "The room was locked." The man said. Pendergast tore his gaze away from the body and looked at the sheriff.
"Locked? No sign of forced entry?"
"Not until my boys broke in here." McNeely replied tartly.
Pendergast moved towards the body, removing a latex glove from his pocket. He pushed the head up and was welcomed with looking into the man's black eyes, still sparkling with malice. Letting go of the head, he probed at the spike in the body's left shoulder. It was embedded in the wall far enough to hold the man up. It couldn't have been an easy job. It took a lot of force to shove them through the bone of the shoulder into the wall. "God this is a mess." He heard the sheriff muttered.
"Was any id found on this guy!" McNeely demanded from the collective group of officers milling around.
"No sir." Some one answered.
"His name is Rene Bellefontaine." Pendergast said, taking a step back from the body.
"You find some id on him?" McNeely asked.
Pendergast shook his head. "No," He paused, considering how best to explain this, and decided to leave out as much detail from the sheriff as he could, for now. "He's supposed to be dead. If you search for records, you'll come up with his death certificate."
McNeely frowned, obviously not able to deal with that kind of detail. "Now what the hell..."
"If you'll excuse me." Pendergast said, heading towards the door, his mind spinning.
"Where ya goin'!" McNeely demanded.
Pendergast didn't stop or look back. "To file a report." He answered monotone, leaving the room. He couldn't stay in the room and think. He had to get out, clear his mind. Try and think more clearly.
He slid into the drivers seat of the rental car and closed the door, staring at the scene in front of him, with out much thought. Raising his hands to his face, he pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes with slight pressure, before running his fingers through his hair. Bellefontaine was dead. It had been a nearly point blank shot. It would have cost Pendergast his own life, he hadn't pulled the trigger. And yet, it seemed that Bellefontaine had lived, had even escaped his coffin. He'd been hard enough to catch fourteen years ago, Pendergast hated to imagine how hard it would be to retrace the man's steps now. But it would have to be done if he intended on solving the case.
He pulled the piece of paper from his pocket and unfolded it gingerly. An address was written on it. 1208 East D. Pendergast memorized the address and pulled the city map on the seat next to him over, locating D street. With that, he pulled away from the curb and began driving towards the address.
He was cruising down D street, looking for the address, when his cellphone rang. With a sigh, he fished out of his pocket, before pulling up on a curb next to 1115 East D and answered.
"Pendergast, again, you're messing around on a case we didn't authorize you to." Came the voice of his superior, Dominic 'Hal' Lewis. Pendergast wondered briefly at why Hal's tone didn't sound all that angry.
"A sheriff McNeely just called us, wanting to know why WE, the New Orleans division sent one of our boys there to that small Texas town. Upon hearing that, I didn't even need to know the name of said FBI agent. You're the only one who does this, Pendergast. Now would you care to tell me WHY?"
Pendergast couldn't surpress the tight smile. "With all do respect Director Lewis, it was a case of some interest and,"
"Has gotten more interesting, not to mention PERSONAL. Sheriff McNeely gave us the name of the deceased found in the room." Hal sighed. "Pendergast, I know the case between you and Bellefontaine. I also know that as of this bit of information, ordering you back to New Orleans will not work. So I have a compromise for you."
Pendergast raised an eyebrow, as he watched the street around him. "Director Lewis, by all accounts, Rene Bellefontaine should be buried in the Bourbon Street Cemetery. Yet his body has turned up again, three hundred miles from his last place of rest."
"Yes, I know, Pendergast." Came Hal's slightly annoyed reply. "Now I'll let you work on this case, provided you don't get to personally involved. And to assure that, I'm partnering you up."
Pendergast groaned silently and shifted in his seat. "Director Lewis, you know I distaste working with a partner, it'll only slow me down..."
"Neither does this guy. But I owe a favor to a friend, who needs to get one of his boys out of the way for a while and this is the only way I'll let you continue to investigate the case. And now for the really unpleasant part. CIA officer Sands will be landing at the regional airport at 3:30 this afternoon. I want you there and picking him up. And I want you to share with him what ever information you find. Do this one by the book, Pendergast. I don't want to have to defend you in yet ANOTHER inquiry for you're habit of disregarding the rules. And I will be calling to check in regularly, do you understand me, Agent Pendergast?"
Pendergast bared his teeth in irritation and disgust to his reflection in the mirror, but answered serenely. "Of course, Director Lewis."
"I mean it Pendergast, do not go off the deep end with this one." With that, Hal hung up.
Pendergast gave his cellphone an sneer and stashed it back in his pocket. Receiving the order to work with a CIA agent had just worsened his day. He looked at his watch and saw it was a quater to two. That would leave him with enough time to find the house, but not enough to investigate it before having to get to the airport.
With a sigh, he pulled away from the curb and began cruising down the street again, looking for 1208. It didn't take long to find it. 1208 was a large old southern style mansion, that seemed to have been converted into tenants, most which seemed to be empty. There were a few broken windows and the entire place looked like it needed a good remolding. Pendergast sat for a long time, watching the place, but no movement was made inside or around it. As he watched, he pulled up some information on the crime scene down town on his laptop.
Closing the top, he glanced at his watch and decided it was best to get to the airport. With a resigned sigh, he pulled away from the curb and headed out of town towards the small regional airport.
As he approached, he saw the plane beginning to land. He pulled to a stop next to the landstrip and got out, leaning against the rental car and watched the small plane land. It wasn't really an airport. It had a hanger and a small building for checking in and out, but that was about it. The plane touched down, bouncing once or twice and came to a complete stop.
Pendergast watched as a couple of business type people got off, heading for the small building. None of them looked like a CIA agent. Or even a goverment agent at that. In fact, all of them looked happy to get off the plane. Pendergast glanced at his watch, to make sure it was 3:30pm, when he heard a rant coming from the plane.
"Get your hands off me! I can get off the plane on my own. Bloody hell, the No Smoking Sign was off!"
"Sir, you stuck your cigarette butt in the arm of the man next to you..." Came an exasperated reply.
"Well, yeah! But it's not like he didn't deserve it." Came the reply as the pilot appeared, holding onto a man's arm, all but dragging him off the plane.
"Do you mind! I can walk!" The man snapped. He was dressed from head to toe in black, including the black sunglasses. He was tall, nearly the same height as Pendergast and his hair was shoulder length and nearly as black as his ensemble. Pendergast had a sinking feeling and he watched as the man jerked his arm free of the pilot's grip and started down the stairs.
"Make no mistake, I'll complain about this!" He shouted back at the man, before hoisting his bag up over his shoulder and walking with a causal grace in the direction of Pendergast and the rental car. Pendergast noted that the man was lean, but fast, and cat like, not unlike Pendergast himself.
The man stopped half way and sit his bag at his feet, before digging something out of his pocket and Pendergast watched as the man ran his hands through his pair, before putting it in a pony tail. Then he picked up his bag and continued walking towards him. There was no mistake now. This was the CIA agent. Pendergast looked heavenward with a irritable sigh. "Fantastic..." He muttered sarcastically
When he looked back, the man was standing a few feet in front of him, lighting a cigarette. He raised a hand to the sunglasses and lowered them a fraction, looking at Pendergast with a raised eyebrow.
"Ah fuck..." Sands muttered under his breath and shaking his head, before pushing sunglasses up. He drew a long drag from the cigarette, before saying softly. "Agent SJ Sands. Central Intelligence Agency." The ID was before Pendergast and gone before the man had time to blink.
Pendergast took a moment to study the man up close. His accent was caught somewhere between a southern accent and a northeaster accent, suggesting the man had lived in the south for awhile. There was something about him the warranted that what ever had happened on the plane was more or less and act. But a convincing one.
Pendergast removed his own ID and showed it. "Special Agent Pendergast. Federal Bureau of Investigation."
"Yes I know what FBI stands for..." The man muttered, glancing around.
Pendergast raised an eyebrow. "And I know what CIA stands for as well."
"Well that's a first. Most often you boys don't care to acknowledge our existence. We're the dregs of society," Sands said, looking back at Pendergast.
Pendergast sighed. "I'm aware of the lack of amenity between our two agencies."
"Shall we go? Before they send the big dogs out to deal with me?" Sands asked, a slight grin tugging at the corner of his mouth.
Pendergast raised an eyebrow, but moved away from the car and went back around to the drivers side.
Sands got into the passengers seat, after chunking his cigarette butt and throwing his bag in the back. He picked up the lap top and lifted the top and as he suspected, found a report of the crime scene at hand. Pendergast said nothing, confirming Sands suspensions had been typed up for him. He had to commend the man on his effort to keep progress up to date. He probably felt like Sands, that the sooner they got this case over with, the sooner they'd get away from each other and back to their real jobs.
Sands read through the report, absorbing it and closed the computer. "I'd like to see the crime scene." He said to Pendergast, eyes forward. Pendergast said nothing and turned down the street leading to downtown.