(A/N- Thanks to everyone who's been following this one. So many ideas changed with this that it went places I didn't know it would. This is the final chapter, wrapping up a long process. Sorry for the absence and hope you enjoy. Also, thank you for the reviews. I know I've slacked in answering them personally, but I do appreciate the comments!)
9:00 A.M. Monday: Case 24 days cold-
"It's a confession." Kevin was pacing in front of the table where Beckett, Castle, and Javier were sitting with the details of the case. "Doesn't do us any good since we can't find the creep."
Castle shifted in his chair, leaning forward over the table. "He wants to end this, he said. Shouldn't this be easy then?"
Beckett sighed, "He's a psychopath; just because he says he'll end it doesn't mean it's going to work out cleanly. We won't have results on that blood for hours, our lead to his apartment turned up empty, and Marcus is now missing."
Kevin scoffed. "Let's not down play it. That blood is Marcus's and he's dead." Kevin flopped in a seat and stared at everything in front of him. "I think I know who it is. There's something toying with me, like I've seen him before."
Javier pushed himself back uncomfortably in the chair, watching Kevin closely.
"There was a blond man out front today and I can't get him out of my mind. Where are the crowd photos of the crime scenes?" Kevin flipped through some files to locate them. Kate handed them over from a pile near her.
"Right here, little help it will do." She sat back in her chair and thrummed her fingers on the table. "We have all of the pieces but we can't find him. We know everything, a man who had someone close to them murdered by a cop, Vincent Alundro, serial murderer. We have a confession and evidence from his apartment…"
Kevin slapped a photo down, one from his sister's crime scene. "There, him in the blue jacket and blonde hair." He put another down, and another, from each crime scene pointing out the same man. "That's him, and I know where else I've seen him." His heart was suddenly in his throat and he looked at Javier. "He lives in the apartment building with Jenny. Three apartments down."
"Shit…" the word was cursed in unison by Beckett and Castle.
Javier sat quietly, chewing at the inside of his cheek. Of course this complicated things, of course he didn't want to see Jenny hurt, but Javier didn't want Kevin having the opportunity to go back to her. "Let's go then. Let's end this once and for all."
Kevin watched his partner briefly then nodded. "We'll need back-up."
Beckett was to her feet and headed for the door. "Already on it, get suited up."
Kevin, Javier and Castle went to the lockers and grabbed vests, guns, ammo, making sure that they were ready for anything. If this case had taught them anything it was to expect the worst.
11:35 A.M. Monday-
The team was set around the corner of the apartment, having run in silent. They could not afford to let this guy get away. Javier and Kevin were behind the others, placed there specifically by Beckett. While she didn't have the heart to pull them off the interception team, she also didn't want them at the forefront of the takedown. There had been enough false leads and empty apartments that if this one held Vincent Alundro, she feared Kevin would shoot before they could make the actual arrest.
Kevin wasn't dull-witted; he knew why she put him where he was and he nearly agreed with her. While he reasoned with himself that he wanted the man put behind bars where he belonged, an itchy fore-finger danced along the metal of the trigger. Kevin didn't waste time with high hopes, deep breaths, or settling thoughts this time around. He was nearly expecting to walk in on an apartment void of actual human life. Perhaps Marcus would be lying in there, a pool of blood dried around him and rose petals tossed carelessly across his body. His mind thrummed almost emptily and his heart beat was sullenly even.
Stepping up behind Beckett and couple other vested officers, Kevin's eyes wandered lazily around the hallway. It was quiet but for the static hum of a television in the apartment across the hall. Jenny's apartment had been empty- she at work he assumed. Now there was only Vincent's supposed apartment and them. Beckett was at the door and glanced back at the team, silently motioning them into their respected positions. She knocked hard on the door and the sound was dull to Kevin's ears, like it was traveling through water to get to him. There were no footsteps, just a voice.
"Come in, Detectives. I am unarmed."
The voice was nothing to Kevin- not familiar, not sinister and dark like Darth Vader or Voldemort. It was a normal baritone wrapped in the slink of tiredness, sounding like any other Blue-collar voice after a long day, inviting a friend to relieve some monotony in an otherwise boring life.
Kevin held his gun at a low angle while officers still remained in front of him. He watched with them, the door swinging open easily and everyone taking precise, cautious steps into the abode of a madman. Beckett's gun was up, her stance was predatory, and her eyes were eating up the distance between her and the rest of the apartment. Kevin could barely glimpse the scene inside-
The hallway was ragged, wallpaper tearing and fraying where it met the ceiling. There was a table not far from the door with a set of keys and a little flashlight on its top. The hallway opened to a main room with older looking couches, hiding a joke about road-kill beneath the man who sat on one of them. He was the blonde from the picture and everything about him was so plain. His hair was dull blonde, curled just so in a forgettable manner. His skin was light, not overly pale or too tanned. His face was angled in soft curves like so many other men at fifty or so.
As Kevin and the others moved in, looking around carefully, and standing about the killer, Kevin got a look at his eyes. The color was a dreary blue- like a stormy day, but normal none-the-less. It wasn't the color; it was the look they held. The way he watched, eyelids pulled back a bit too wide, very directly staring at Kevin. The crinkles around the corners tightened the gaze into something wild, animalistic.
"Kevin Ryan, how very nice to meet you in person." Vincent smiled in a slow curl of his lips.
His voice, so dull and so natural, grated on Kevin's ears. "I cannot say the say the same."
Everything and everyone was frozen in a moment's embrace, each officer's gun directed at Vincent and no one daring to interrupt the two in their gnashing of words. The world stopped in an instant.
"I am a victim, Kevin," Vincent said easing forward on the couch. It creaked, a sound of iron pounding their eardrums.
Kevin scoffed, "You're nothing but a murderer."
And Vincent laughed, pushing up off of the couch and standing up in a popping of joints. The guns moved with him, following as he drew up taller. Beckett made the move in, tucking her gun back in the holster and snapping the top on it. Kevin watched Kate grab him, spin him around, and take his hands behind his back. "Vincent Alundro, you have the right to remain silent-"
The click of the handcuffs had ended it for Kevin. A rushing sound invaded his ears and his vision was fading at the edges. His gun was lowered and he watched Vincent being escorted out, a sick smile pin-pricked on Vincent's face. Once Vincent was out of Kevin's sight, Kevin eased slowly back against the wall behind him. Kevin's breathing was even, his sight focused on only the carpet at his feet, and his body felt heavy. He could sleep.
Javier stepped over when the room was cleared and put a hand on Kevin's shoulder. "You alright?" he asked lowly.
Kevin looked up into deep brown eyes and his vision widened once again. "Yeah, I think so. I just can't believe we got him."
The tick of a smile played at Javier's lips and he glanced around the room briefly before bringing his lips down to Kevin's. It was light, fleeting, and gentle. Kevin felt like he was sinking. "I could use some time off. A week at least."
"I think the whole team could. Perhaps Castle could hook us up at the Hamptons?" Javier's eyebrows rose suggestively and he looked quite happy with the idea.
Kevin reached up, wrapping his arms around Javier's neck, and kissed him more fully. He was getting quite involved with the man's mouth when he heard a cough from the hallway. The two men lurched back away from each other and their eyes landed on something that made Kevin's heart stop.
"I can't believe I was going to apologize. I was going to say I was wrong…I was right though, it damn well could be Javier in my place." Jenny was there out of nowhere and suddenly Beckett was at her arm, taking her by the elbow. Jenny shook her grip off though and marched in further. "Kevin Ryan, I am glad we're through."
Blinking a few times, a blush creeping over Kevin's face, he had to admit it still stung. While his feelings for her were admittedly not that deep, he'd never really thought terribly of her. Not truly. Watching her now, he saw it, the light hearted love that he'd had tending a school-boy crush. There was nothing for them but ghostly memories and broken sentences that would never be finished. "Good bye, Jenny."
This time when Beckett grabbed her, Jenny was dragged along. Partially it was shock that allowed her to and partially it was Beckett's harsher tug.
Javier and Kevin emerged from the house breathing lightly and smiles on their faces.
7:00 A.M. Friday: Case Closed 3 days
Kevin pushed the satin white sheets from himself and sat up on his elbow, looking down at the male in bed with him. The window was open and a sunrise draped long strands of pink and yellow across them both, curtains drifting lazily inwards with a breeze. The taste of salt-air was on Kevin's lips, spreading the smile smoothly. Easing his lips downwards he found the hollow of Javier's throat and woke him with a kiss.
"It's too early…" Javier murmured in a half-sleep and attempted to push Kevin away.
Kevin laughed and nipped at Javier's ear. "I'm awake, though." Sliding on top of Javier, Kevin lay his arms over Javier's chest, resting his chin atop his arms and watching his partner slowly waking up.
"I can feel that. I guess I'm awake now, too. There had better some pancakes involved bro, or I'll be pissed." Javier pulled his arms from under the blanket and stuffed them under his head.
"Yeah, sure. Pancakes, syrup, whipped cream…sex." He grinned like a boy, little lines squinting his eyes brightly.
"Sex first then," Javier said wrapping his arms around Kevin and flipping him over. "It sure was nice of Castle to take us to the Hamptons."
"Mm, stop talking." Kevin smiled up at Javier, not noticing the single red rose lying on the balcony's railing.