Chapter 1- First Case- The Brautton's
"Victims are Jordan, Lisa and Kyle Brautton, 11, 14 and 8," Officer Brent said robotically, pointing at each body, listing their ages. "The children were found early this morning, the neighbours called it in after they found their dog in the back alley covered in blood."
Lisbon grimaced as she took in the lifeless bodies of the three children on the kitchen floor. Blood from the eldest of the three was streaked across the floor. Flashes of the girl struggling against her attacker burst into her mind as her eyes travelled over the young girl's corpse.
"I can see bruises on all three of the bodies," she pointed out, tentatively reaching for the youngest boy's shirt. She lifted the sleeve carefully, as if he was breakable, still alive, to reveal his shoulder spotted with bruises. Some of them were a harsh purple, others a faded brown as she exposed more skin.
"Yeah, the father has a … coloured past of battery and domestic violence charges. His first wife left him after 3 domestic violence calls and the current wife, mother of these kids died a year ago. Car accident." The officer explained, shaking her head as she spoke.
"Who could do this to such beautiful children?" Whispered Grace, who was silent up until this point. Her voice was slightly shaky, though her face was taut. "What can I do boss," Grace spoke again, clearing her throat.
Lisbon lifted her un-gloved hand to brush her arm briefly, "get the traffic camera footage from last night between the hours of 11 PM and 2AM and call me if you get anything."
Grace appreciated the uncharacteristic gesture and hurried out of the kitchen.
Lisbon looked back to the floor at each of the bodies and then shifted her gaze to Officer Brent. "So where's the father?"
"Uh he's MIA. Some of the neighbours say he's famous for disappearing for days at a time, none of them are too sure where he goes. All of the surrounding house owners claim they hear loud yelling from the house at least 3 times a week. They've gotten 6 noise complaints in the last year."
Lisbon's face fixed into a frown, her brows creasing downward feeling as she felt a familiar pang, like she already knew how this case would turn out. She fished her cell phone out of her pocket, "Okay, let me get my guys on this. Despite the fact that this guy sounds like an abusive son of a bitch, he deserves to know his kids are dead. Yeah, Cho, I need you and Rigsby to locate the father. David Brautton, I'll text you a physical description and-"
Jane followed Lisbon and Grace up the wooden steps of the small, faded green house, through the dusty porch. Upon entry Jane was assaulted by the smell of cigarette smoke, dirty socks and wet dog. Now though, the smell of blood intermingled, salt and iron, greeted him as they rounded the corner into the kitchen.
He felt the tensing of both Grace and Lisbon as they entered, Grace pausing at the doorway as she took in the scene. He could faintly hear the first Officer beginning to list details of the incident as he took in each feature of the picture before him.
Three bodies laying across the floor, all children. He grimaced taking in the appearance of each face, each piece of clothing they were wearing. Most of the damage had been done to the girl, her blood splattered on the bodies of her brothers. All of them, he noticed, were covered in bruises and scrapes, marks that looked to fierce to manifest from clumsy games on the sidewalk. He watched as Lisbon lifted the sleeve of the youngest boy's green and blue shirt to reveal more injuries.
He shook his head in disgust and shoved his hands into his pockets.. No matter how many deaths he saw, the deaths of children would always be the most difficult to bear. He focused in on the pictures of the children hung on the wall of the entry to the kitchen. Each child had a successive line of school pictures, their own spot on the wall, save for a missing photo. The spot for each child's line of photos, in which "2009" was scrawled, was empty.
His gazed moved again to the walls of the kitchen, careful not to catch another glance at the floor. The kitchen looked like it had been an airy white at one point, though now it looked dingy, covered in a thin layer of dirt making it an unpleasing beige colour. A small door was obstructed by the kitchen table, which looked curiously out of place, even considering the struggles from the children.
He slid the table away from the door and ran a hand over the painted white wood. His gut twisted in anticipation as his hand moved to the doorknob. He hoped to god he was wrong, though he found himself saying what he didn't want to be true, "Foundem'."
He felt each pair of eyes move towards him, heard the shifting of fabric of each body as they turned in the now silent room , before the successive clicks of the old doorknob finally gave way and opened to reveal another body.
Jane looked over at Lisbon, her eyes wide, while the rest of her face was stony, emotions concealed. Though subtle, Jane detected that was what she was horrified at that very moment, horrified as if she had expected the strong smell of alcohol to rush out of the closet only to reveal is source, the cold, hung body of David Brautton.
The smell confirmed in everyone's minds what all of the neighbour's testimonies had implied; the father was an abusive drunk. Scratches and dried blood were on the worn hands of the body, which they could only assume were from his children, trying to defend themselves from his abuse. A small piece of paper covered in bloody smeared finger prints stuck out of his right pocket.
Jane heard Lisbon swallow as she stepped forward, removing a white envelope from the pocket of the hanging body with her gloved hand. She opened it carefully and read, "I did it. I'm sorry". He leaned over and noticed the words were scribbled shakily at the top of the page, while a long streak of blood ran down the length of the bottom on the only clean part of the paper.
"Let's get this to forensics just in case," said Lisbon, handing the paper off to another officer. She removed her gloves and turned towards the first Officer. "Guess you won't need our help after all," he detected the slightest note of relief in her voice as he felt it himself. This case would've been hard on the whole team, especially Lisbon, though he would never let her know he knew that.
He followed her out of the house as she reached for her phone for the second time that night. "Yeah van Pelt, we're off the case. Jane found the father in a closet with a suicide note confessing the killings," she kept it professional, her voice detached; temperate.
He could hear Grace's voice faintly on the other line, "Gosh boss, I'm sorry. Are you okay?"
She paused, letting out an irritated breath. "It's fine. Call Rigsby and Cho and tell them please." She snapped the phone shut, returning it to its place in her pocket.
She hated these cases. Apart from the fact that three kids had to die because their father was an inconsiderate drunk, each time a case like this would present itself, she had to deal with the tip toeing of those that knew about her past and the veiled attempts of sympathy.
The familiar case details she could deal with, the reactions of people that were supposed to respect her as a Senior Agent however, irked her beyond belief. It irked her that this bullshit seemed to follow her everywhere she went.
She liked Grace, but this was out of line. She let her know it in her tone and slapped the phone shut.
"Jane, it's fine," she reiterated, an added tone of bitter annoyance in her voice.
"I was just going to ask if you wanted to get some coffee. It's quite early," he forced a small smile at her and winked. "I'll drive?"
Her shoulders relaxed slightly. "Jane," she breathed a small breath of relief and fought a smile, as she often did at his outrageous statements. "You know I'm not going to let you drive."
"You have before," he reminded her.
"In a moment of weakness," she added immediately.
"I thought you didn't have those," he prodded.
Her head cocked to the side, and she shook her head choosing to end the vicious cycle of banter before it got any further. "I'm driving, we'll hit the drive thru …we've got three open cases to get back to."
A/N- I made some muffins from a box today. You can have one if you review ;).