-1Hey Guys,

I own nothing to do with The Inside. If I did, do you think it would have been cancelled?

Title is taken from a song by Gov't Mule.

Hope you all enjoy.

Chapter One

"What have you got for me, people?" Webb leaned back in his chair, resting his chin on his folded hands

Melody gulped, paging quickly through the folder in front of her. "Series of home invasions in West Hollywood. No apparent connection between the victims, but LAPD are pretty sure it's the same gang carrying out the attacks."

"Pass." His eyes flicked from her to Danny.

"But, Webb…"

"I said 'Pass', Mel. Let LAPD handle it. It's a police matter anyway. It doesn't need our expertise. Danny?"

"There's a group, taking money to smuggle people across the Mexican border and then…"

"No Danny."

"It's a good case, Webb…"

"You're not growing a beard for any reason." Webb sighed theatrically. "Rebecca?"

She looked at the folder in front of her, the case she had painstakingly prepared to pitch to him. Then she closed it, shaking her head.

He sighed again. "Then we're done here." He stood up and was halfway to the door of the briefing room when Paul's voice stopped him.

"I got something for you."

xxxXXXxxx

I can taste the alcohol on her lips as she kisses me, the warmth of her body as she presses herself against me.

God, she's beautiful.

We break apart as I try to open the door of the room. She's swaying on her feet, her eyes glazed, lips swollen, her lipstick smeared. She leans against me and I can smell her perfume, mingling with sweat and cigarettes.

I close my eyes, struggling with the lock as her hand slips inside my shirt, cool against my flushed skin, running down my chest, nerves burning, tingling after her touch.

Maybe this time…

The door opens so suddenly it catches us both by surprise. We stumble inside the room, the stale smell of the room greeting us, greeting me like an old friend.

Why do all hotel rooms smell the same?

I manage to kick the door closed behind us, kissing her again. Her eyes closing as my hands roam across her body.

The heat of her body, the feel of her skin, the smell of her perfume, the taste of her mouth. She fills my senses, consuming my brain.

God, she's beautiful. She's beautiful and she wants me.

I should be on fire. I should want her.

Why do I feel nothing?

xxxXXXxxx

Webb stopped, his hand stretching out towards the door. "What have you got, Paul?"

"Series of murders. I know how you like a series, Webb." Paul pushed a number of crime scene photos across the table as Webb stalked back to it, snatching one of them up with greedy hands. "Three girls in the last six weeks, found strangled in hotel rooms across Los Angeles."

Webb smirked, dropping the photo. "Sex game gone wrong?"

Paul shook his head. "I don't think so. There's no evidence of sexual assault. LAPD's collected some hair and fibres but there's no match to anything that's in the system yet."

Webb nodded, leaning over the table, drumming his fingers against the photographs. "Any connection between the victims?"

"None that we can find." Paul closed the folder, resting his arms across it, his sardonic smile an almost perfect match for Webb's. "I didn't want to do dig any deeper until I found out if you were interested."

Webb held his gaze for a second longer, then his eyes snapped onto Rebecca. "What do you think?"

"Me?"

"Yes." He gestured impatiently. "Why should we take Paul's serial strangler case?"

"Well, strangulation is the most personal way to kill." She raised her small hands, fingers angled into claws. "It's a loss of control, the UNSUB actually has to put his hands on the victim. He has to want to kill…"

xxxXXXxxx

"What's wrong, baby?"

I can't feel anything.

I can't feel anything.

I can hear her though. I can hear her, laughing at me, mocking me. Just like all the others.

I stumble away from her, the high edge of the bed pressing against the backs of my legs. I sit on the bed, almost falling onto the mattress. I rest my aching head in my heads, trying to block out the sound of her laughter.

I'm just a fucking joke to her. Just like all the others, all they want to do is laugh at me.

I hear her careful step across the room, then her slight weight settling across my lap, the too short skirt riding up, her skin milky white, pure.

"Poor baby." She leans in to kiss me, her long hair tickling the side of my face as it hangs loose around us, curtaining us off from the world. "Maybe I can make it all better."

I cant feel anything.

I hear her startled gasp as my hands close around her throat. Fingers tightening, digging into the tender skin.

She's not fucking laughing anymore. Bitch.

She's not fucking laughing at me now. Writhing on my lap, small fingers clawing at mine, my hands closing tighter around her throat, struggling for every breath.

I watch her face, her eyes, as the life slowly fades from her body. Her last breath is nothing more than a whisper, a gasp.

And then I can feel everything, my head thrown back in the ecstasy of the moment.

Just like before.

Except better. It gets better every time.

xxxXXXxxx

"I know this, Rebecca." Webb made no attempt to hide the impatience in his voice. "I want to know why we should take this case."

Rebecca hesitated, feeling the eyes of the rest of the team on her, the unruly student being lectured by the headmaster. She shrugged, reluctant to meet Paul's eyes. "I don't know."

Webb looked back at Paul, smiling triumphantly. "Not interested." He turned his back on the team, dismissing them.

"There's something else, Webb." Paul pulled another photo from the folder. "A fourth victim." He pushed it down the table towards Webb. "She was killed last night."

"Last night." Danny frowned, trying to sneak a peak at the photo before Webb lifted it. "How come you got them so quick?"

"I got a buddy in LAPD CSI. He emailed them to me as soon as he realised it matched the MO of the other killings." Paul fell silent, angry with himself when he realised he was waiting, hanging on Webb's approval.

Just like the rest of them.

Webb sighed heavily. "Mel and Danny go to the LAPD Crime Lab. Get what they evidence they have collected and start going through witness statements. Someone had to see our UNSUB. Paul, you and Rebecca, go to the crime scene, see what you can pick up there."

"I thought you weren't interested."

"I wasn't." Webb's eyes glinted with dark, grim amusement. "But I am now."

End of Chapter One

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