Summary: When a really creepy serial murder hits his desk, Detective Joe Kavanaugh finds himself calling on Will Zimmerman for his unique insights. And promptly finds himself in a very unsettling new world.
Rating: T for subject-matter including cannibalism and free love (just not at the same time). And I think Joe drops an f-bomb or two.
Author's Note: The term "abby" was first applied to an abnormal by James Watson in "Revelations, Part 1" ("What she means is 'the abby went psycho and then got shot to bloody hell.'")
Author's Note: The team from the Jeffersonian is mentioned a couple of times but at no point does this fic turn into an actual crossover. I don't have the technical knowledge to do a forensic anthropology subplot justice. Besides, my working title on this was "Joe!fic" for a reason.
Author's Note: Oh, yes, and bonus geek-points to anyone who gets Will's middle name, lol.
Mahalo as always to Kameka for the beta (quack, my love). All remaining errors are my own.
"Hey, Joe," Will greeted him, standing at the door of the office. "I hear you need my 'unique' insights again?"
Joe looked up from the file in his hand, nodding and gesturing for Will to enter. "Close the door. Captain doesn't want any of the details on this one circulating."
Will raised an eyebrow but closed and locked the door before approaching Joe's desk.
"How bad does this stand to make the Department look, exactly?"
Joe shook his head. "It's not that. It's just that the details, when they hit, are going to freak a lot of people out," he explained. "You eaten yet?"
Will shook his head. "That bad?"
"Worse," Joe answered, making a face and handing Will the folder. "You're going to want to sit down for this one."
He frowned and did as directed. Joe knew Will well enough to know that it took a lot to shake him. They had worked some pretty terrible scenes together. When Joe told Will something was 'bad' what he actually meant was that it was 'horrible beyond words'.
He opened the folder and, as promised, his stomach gave a lurch at the crime-scene photo before him. 'Carnage' was putting it lightly. It took him a moment to positively identify the victim (no, from the look of it, victims plural) as human, the remains were so fragmented, scattered, and in some cases decayed.
"Jesus," he whispered, tilting his head at the photo.
"It gets worse," Joe told him.
Will held up a finger. "Just give me a second to get my head around the photos first."
"You got it," Joe agreed. He knew Will's drill.
"Two victims? Three?"
"At least three and probably more like five. The forensic anthropologist is still working on that."
"This is, what, an abandoned warehouse?" he asked, leafing through the other photos. "Anything ritualistic at the scene? Evidence of candles or strange writing, things like that?"
Joe shook his head. "As much as your mind wants to go 'cult', there's absolutely no evidence of ritualized activity of any kind. Besides, who would go back there for the next ritual? These killings did not take place at the same time."
"I noticed. Hard to say from the photos, but I'm going to place the time frame on this thing as months?"
Joe nodded. "Four to six of them, yeah. You ready for more?"
Will quickly flipped through the photos again. "Based on the manner in which some of this dismemberment is occurring, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess there was at least some cannibalism involved."
"You haven't lost your touch. All the victims display prominent evidence of having been cannibalized. And it gets weirder."
"I'm starting to see why you called me," Will told him.
"Yeah. There are tooth-marks on some of the bones. They aren't all post-mortem."
He looked up, eyes wide. "Peri-mortem?"
"Pre-mortem, Will. Considerably pre-mortem in at least a few cases."
Will swallowed hard, glad he had opted to skip breakfast so he could get to the Station faster.
"Someone started chewing on them while they were still alive?" he whispered, horrified.
Joe nodded. "Yeah, and here's why I decided to give you a call. It's just too strange for me to wrap my head around. In spite of the fact that the toxicology was completely negative, we can't find a single sign of a struggle. Nothing consistent with flailing or thrashing in the blood-spatter, let alone indications that anyone actively tried to flee. No bruises we can see on the still-intact tissue, no defensive injuries of the bone or muscle."
"Well, given the shape the remains are in," he began, clearing his throat uneasily. This was not good…
Joe shook his head. "The brass brought the Jeffersonian in on this one. If there had been a struggle, that team would have found signs of it."
"They are supposed to be the best," Will agreed. "But, seriously, no sign of a struggle? They weren't drugged yet they didn't resist being eaten alive?"
Joe shrugged. "That's how it looks."
"I'm going need to see the crime-scene and the remains, Joe."
"Well, they've already been de-fleshed, so I'm not sure what they'll tell you but, yeah, whatever you need." He regarded Will thoughtfully. "I know that look. What's on your mind?"
"Don't know. Hypnosis, maybe."
Joe shook his head, expression accusing. "You know something!"
"No," Will answered honestly. "But I have some suspicions that I'd like to check out."
"Enough, Will," Joe said firmly, rising. "I can't keep trusting you on blind faith. That Russian family, the two dead cops. You insisted that there was a kid involved! The very next day you quit the Force and completely cut ties with your own life. We were never able to establish a murder weapon and you never once called in to check on the progress of the investigation. And the only reason Will fucking Zimmerman wouldn't ask about a case he was interested in is if he already knew how it had turned out!"
"Joe," Will began, but the cop ignored him and plowed on.
"And then there was that 'suicide' I steered your way, the weird shit that went down afterwards…" He shook his head in disgust. "No more lies or half-truths, Zimmerman. I'll throw your ass in a cell for Obstruction!"
"Joe," he murmured, raising both hands in a placating manner. "I absolutely want to catch this killer or killers, but we both know that isn't going to happen on the strength of Standard Procedure."
Joe walked over to the door and locked it. "What have you gotten yourself involved in? Your boss doesn't exist!"
Will frowned and stood up. "You ran a background check on Magnus?" he asked, irritated by that level of invasiveness.
"You bet your ass I did when one approach from her made you walk away from your entire life. I was fairly confident you were still one of the good guys, but now I'm starting to wonder. Your boss having her thugs show up and confiscating that body was not appreciated!"
"That wasn't us," he answered, shaking his head. "Yes, that family had secrets that we wanted to protect, but we don't do strong-arm intimidation. If it had been Magnus behind it, the body and the family both would have vanished in the middle of the night without any fuss and, eventually, people would have forgotten there was anything different about them. No harm, no foul."
"What do you do? I don't care how X-Filey it is. I need to know if I'm going to keep trusting you. Because, honestly, you haven't given me any reason to recently. You walked out on us, remember? Turned your back on the whole Force! Completely severed contact."
"You wanted me gone," he countered. "You thought I was crazy."
"Still not convinced you aren't. But obviously something is going on, so let's start with the boss who doesn't exist on paper and go from there."
"Oh, she exists on paper. You just aren't looking in the right place. I'll even give you a hint, Joe," he added, mad enough that he wanted Joe to find out the truth just for the amusement-factor of the look that would be on his face when he did. "She got her medical degree at Oxford. Hell, I'll give you another hint. Don't stop digging when you don't find her where you expected to. If you look hard enough, you will find her."
He shook his head in disgust. "This isn't a game, Will."
"No, but Magnus' secrets aren't mine to tell, either. You want them, you work for them, same as I did. And, when you have learned what there is to know about her, a lot of the rest of the things about us will suddenly be a lot easier for you to accept."
Joe stared at him for a moment, then demanded, "What does the Sanctuary do?"
"We're a private hospital and research facility. We are!" he added at Joe's look. "The only thing that makes us different is the nature of our patients and the scope of our research."
"Mostly pertains to matters of evolution."
"Evolution?" he repeated, looking dubious.
"Complicated because I never got any farther than my Bachelor's Degree?"
"No." Will shook his head. "Complicated because I'm not sure an educated guy like you would even believe half of what I've seen and done in the past year."
"Then why don't you tell me about your patients?"
"So simplify it, Will! I've got several dead bodies and you have an inkling of what's going on. Now tell me about your patients!"
He sighed. This was one of those moods where Joe was not going to back down. He was pissed that his case had hit a roadblock and he was ready to gun the accelerator and smash through the damned thing, no matter what.
"None of my patients look good for this, but I'm pretty sure Magnus is probably aware of one or two people who fit the general profile."
"The general profile being?"
He sighed. "An individual capable of exerting an abnormal hypnotic influence over his or her victim."
"A hypnotist?" he scoffed.
"No, Joe." He shook his head. "Probably some flavor of psychic."
The cop's jaw dropped. He stared at Will, expression incredulous.
"I'm serious, Joe."
"Yeah, I got that," the other man whispered, shifting uncomfortably. The Detective was pale and shaking.
"Sit down," Will directed gently. "I know it's a lot to absorb."
"Your patients are psychic?"
"Some of them," Will agreed, steering Joe back to his chair. "Like I said, it's complicated."
"Jesus," the cop whispered, sitting down heavily. "So some nut-job is using mind-control to get people to consent to being eaten alive?"
"That's the shape I'm getting from what I've seen, yeah." Will grabbed Joe's water-bottle and passed it to him.
"How do I bring this to my superiors?"
"You can't, Joe. You're smart enough to know that." He shook his head. "You look a little shocky. You want me to get you something with some sugar in it?"
Joe shook his head and pulled out the roll of Life Savers he always kept in his pocket.
"That how you do it?" Joe asked, crunching on two. "Your knack with crime-scenes and witnesses?"
"I'm not psychic, no." Will shook his head. "My gifts aren't along those lines."
"But you do have some kind of superpower?"
Will smiled and shook his head. "It's not a superpower. It's just a slight difference in brain-function. I see things and make connections that normal human beings can't, that's all."
"'That's all'? Still sounds like a lot to me. I know a lot of Detectives who would kill to be able to learn how to do what you do."
"It's not something that can be learned."
"So that's what you do? You work with people whose brains are superior to those of a regular human being?"
"Not necessarily superior, just different. And it's not always their brains." He hesitated. "The variations are… pretty extensive in nature."
Joe stared at him uncomprehendingly.
"There are a lot of different possibilities. As a general rule, no two abnormals are going to have identical problems and abilities."
He nodded. "It's what we call anyone who either isn't strictly a homo sapiens sapiens or…"
He trailed off. Magnus was going to be pissed but there was no way Will could help Joe without bringing him into the loop at least a little. And, it went without saying, the Sanctuary needed to be involved in this particular case, which Joe could make pretty difficult for them if he took it into his head.
"Joe, can you hang on for one second? I need to make a phone call."
Still looking staggered, the detective shrugged and gestured for him to go ahead. Will pulled out his phone and hit the speed-dial.
"Yes, Will?" Magnus answered.
"I'm at the police station right now, looking at a case-file that I think you should probably take a look at."
"Certainly, Will. I'll be in my office all morning."
"Great. Um, I'm also going to need permission to give Joe Kavanaugh the grand tour."
There was a long pause, followed by a cautious, "Has he become a problem?"
"No, no. In fact, I think he stands to become a valuable ally. He's a good cop, Magnus, and a decent human being."
Another long pause. Then, "Very well. I'll trust to your judgment in the matter."
"Thanks. I'll bring him and the case-file to your office after I've shown him around."
"Mmm. How many casualties, Will?"
"Three to five that we know about, Magnus, but I'm guessing more that they just haven't found yet."
"Very well. I'll alert Ashley and Henry we have a priority case on our hands. Ashley is in the field at present, but she should be back in a few hours. Why don't you have Detective Kavanaugh email Henry the case files so I can get started on reviewing them?"
"Will do. See you in a little bit." He hung up and grabbed a piece of paper, writing Henry's email address on it and passing it to Joe. "Email everything on the case here. Magnus'll start going over it."
"You've got it," Joe agreed, turning to his computer. "What's this about a grand tour?"
"There are things you need to know, possibilities you won't be able to accept unless you see the truth of them with your own eyes."
Joe hit the send button and looked up at Will, his expression wary. "I'm not going to like this one bit, am I, Will?"
He shook his head apologetically. "Probably not. But I also know you're a man who'll do anything to solve the case. And, right now, this is what needs to be done."
Joe hesitated for a moment, then climbed to his feet and grabbed his coat.