A/N: Sorry for the wait, I've been trying to catch up on all my old fics and been having fun with one new one. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! Also yes, I know Sanchez isn't Paulina's canonical name but I needed something and I figured that would work.
"That is disgusting" Emily Prentiss of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, made a face at a picture her team leader had handed her. It was the work of the serial killer they were flying across the country to investigate. Two people in Amity Park, Indiana had important organs pulled out of their body and the first suffered strange burns all over their face. The rest of her team was crowded around a table on a private airplane.
"What I want to know," Dr. Spencer Reid said pointing to another one of the pictures, "is how the unsub managed to pull out the organs with only one small hole in the body. They would have to be nearly impossibly precise."
"Or be able to reach through solid objects." Another member of the team snarked.
"Any connection between the victims?" Prentiss asked.
"Dashel Baxter, age 16, was a student at Caspar High School. He was a quarterback on the football team and the ringleader of the popular crowd" Aaron Hotchner, also known as Hotch, said.
"Giving more than half the school a reason to hate him" David Rossi said.
"William Lancer, age 57, was an English teacher. Seemed to care about his students but gave preferential treatment to the jocks." Hotch continued.
"Well we have 450 possible suspects then."
"A little less than that. Why would the jocks want to kill a teacher who favored them?" Prentiss pointed out.
"Wait, how can we be so sure this guy is a kid?" Morgan asked, "I mean it's like Reid said he's gotta be really good at this."
"He could be strong but very lean. The smaller your hands are the easier it is to be precise." Rossi said.
"I really don't like to think a student did this" JJ said.
"Well it's a very real possibility" Hotch said, "We'll need to talk to the students. Anybody in Dash's grade who might have had Lancer's class is a suspect. Anybody who had any kind of grudge against the popular crowd."
"I still think we should at least talk to the football team," Morgan said.
High school junior Danny Fenton was in shock. Two people he had known, one for years, had been murdered. Not only that, but from the description of how they were killed a ghost had to have done it. How could this have happened? How could he let it?
"Look, Danny" Sam said, "It's not your fault."
"Who says it's even a ghost?" Tucker added, "Maybe there's just some sicko out there who-"
"Didn't you see how they died? Their organs were pulled out." Danny said, "Who else can do that?" The three of them went silent again. They were sitting with the rest of their classmates in the cafeteria, since Lancer was found nobody was able to focus on a lesson. Danny shuddered to think what his sister would be like when they got home. As if the Spectra incident wasn't bad enough.
He turned his attention to the front of the cafeteria as the principal walked in with a bunch of grief counselors (great , bring on the shrinks) and some people in uniform. Tucker gasped and Sam ribbed Danny sharply in the stomach.
"ow hey what was that-"
"Dude, it's the FBI." Danny looked up and stared at the strangers. One of them was talking to the principal and Danny just made out what he was saying.
"-you don't mind, we'd like to talk to some of the students and see if they know anything." He said.
"Of course, you have our full cooperation" Principal Ishiyama said She was devoid of her usual perkiness, understandably. Lancer was a good friend as well as a colleague.
"We would like to look at students who might have been in Baxter's class or students of Mr. Lancer" the man said.
"Well all of the junior class is here on the left side of the cafeteria" Ishiyama gestured to their side, "Most of them knew Dash. He was one of our best football players. Paulina Sanchez was Dash's on-again –off-again girlfriend, I'm not sure whether they were together at the time, but I imagine she could tell you something helpful." She gestured to a girl who was doing her makeup. There were noticeable streaks on her face and her eyeliner seemed to be running.
"Thank you" he turned to the other agents, "Prentiss, JJ, you talk to Ms. Sanchez , Morgan ask around Dash's friends, Reid, talk to other students, see if you can find out if Dash had any enemies, Rossi and I will talk to other teachers."
Danny exchanged looks with Sam and Tucker, most of their class knew that Dash always singled him out for bullying. That and being the weird son of professional ghost hunters would make him suspicious.
"We were just about to get together" Paulina said between sobs, "we had some stupid fight , and just when I was going to go talk to him, he's dead" She accepted a tissue from one of the staff. They had brought her into a classroom for privacy and because it might be easier to talk.
"Was there anybody who Dash had any trouble with?" Prentiss asked, "Did anyone give him a hard time."
"Well" Paulina said after blowing her nose, "There's this one geeky kid who Dash kind of gave a hard time. Danny Fenton, his parents are a couple of ghost hunting weirdoes and he always really liked me. He tried to ask me out once…it was really kind of pathetic. Dash got jealous and beat on him more."
"Dash beat him up?" Prentiss asked.
"Well a little, they fought and Fenton played pranks on him." Paulina said, "and then Dash got pissed and messed with him more." She sighed. "I always thought Fenton was a pathetic little weed. It was a little creepy that he liked me so much, but I sort of felt sorry for him. You think he did this?"
"We don't know yet " JJ said.
"His best friend probably helped. She's a goth freak you know, into all this creepy stuff. She wears skull earrings and stuff. She hates the popular crowd and Fenton kind of has a thing for her. I wouldn't be surprised if she got him to do it. "
"What's her name" Prentiss and JJ exchanged looks unsure of how much of Paulina's story they were buying.
"Sam Manson. She's really rude to us all the time, even though we tried to be nice to her. Dash says she kissed him once to make Danny jealous- and then said something rude to him right to his face. She's a crazy bitch."
Morgan wasn't making much progress with the popular crowd. The most he got out of them is that they sometimes messed around with the nerds –but they couldn't have done this. Jocks like these guys gave athletes everywhere a bad name. There were a few decent ones –Dash's best friend Kwan, and some of the other guys on the team, but the rest were useless.
"Oh my God what if they're picking us off one by one like in that movie?" a blonde girl said. That got people talking. Morgan sighed, this was not good.
"We don't know what's going on yet. "He said.
"We need protection; they're going to kill us. If I die because you did nothing than my Dad will sue you all!" Not able to stand much more of this he went back to report to Hotch. He wondered if they probably should order a protective detail on the houses on the popular crowd just in case.
"They weren't much help were they" said a voice behind him. One of the junior class girls stood behind him, having stopped for a drink of water.
"Not really" Morgan admitted, He noticed by the way she carried herself that she might have been one of them at one point. She could be some help. "You sound like you're familiar with them. Did you know Dash Baxter?"
"Knew him? He was one of my friends all throughout middle school." She said.
"Was?" Morgan asked, "did something happen?"
"In the first semester of my freshman year my Dad lost his job. Then they decided they couldn't be seen with me." The girl shrugged.
"That's rough," he said. Here was another person who had a reason to hate one of the victims, but he doubted that she did this.
"It happens" she said with a resigned shrug. "Looking back I suppose I should thank them. If I had kept going the way I was going I wouldn't be able to cope when I hit hard times."
Reid had gone around the junior class talking to people. So far he had learned that there was a silent raging battle between the meat eaters and vegetarians since three years ago, this town was supposedly a hot spot for paranormal activity and that Nathan Lester had a persistent and sometimes disturbing obsession with Valerie Grey. But they all agreed on one thing, Dash Baxter was a bully. But the school was over focused on the athletic department so he often got a pass on his behavior.
"Is there anyone that Dash picks on more than other people?" he asked, "Bullies tend to have victims that they focus on more than others. Favorite victims so to speak. Sometimes because they have a grudge with them or sometimes because they see themselves or their worst qualities in that person."
The two boys answered without missing a beat. "Danny Fenton. Dash has been wailing on Danny since sixth grade."
"I'm sorry…wailing on?" Reid asked.
"Beating up." The red haired boy, Mikey clarified, "He beats on him for everything to a failing grade to a bad game."
"Danny used to be really shy, but since freshman year he got sick of it and started fighting back." Mikey's friend said.
"How?" Reid asked.
"Usually pranks and the occasional bet. Rumor is once he beat up Dash until he couldn't see straight" Mikey said. "Wish I could have caught that on tape."
"Does Danny get along well with Mr. Lancer?" Reid asked.
"Sometimes, I guess" Mikey said. His friend seemed to realize what was going on.
"You think Danny did this? No way, dude. He only did stuff like that when he was pushed too far. There is no way he'd do something like this."
Rossi and Hotch talked to at least five teachers and while they may not have known anyone who wanted to hurt William Lancer they did have some interesting secrets, not to speak of the unproportional amount of money that went to staff benefits. The two agents discovered that there had been numerous lockdowns in the last three years but no intruders had been arrested. Many of the teachers were tight lipped about what the cause was, but the final one gave them a bizarre explanation. Ghosts.
The town had been unofficially dubbed the "Most Haunted Town in America" and was home to a number of strange phenomena over the years. Two and a half years ago witnesses claimed that the entire town disappeared. The last mayor supposedly held hostage by a ghost boy.
"I don't see how any of these legends have anything to do with Lancer," Rossi said.
"It may have had to do with one of his students" the teacher said, "Danny Fenton, the son of a couple of inventors in town who are interested in the paranormal. He's been at the scene, or somehow involved at almost every ghost incident we've had. I'll be the first to tell you I used to think the Fentons were nuts too but with all the evidence now…"
The team got together again after the school day was over to talk about what they had managed to gather.
"This is probably the most stereotypical high school I've seen since Spiderman." Morgan said, "The jocks are bullies, the cheerleaders date them, and the teachers favor them. "
"I guess they didn't tell you the ghost stories then," Rossi said, "They've had more than ten lockdowns in three years but not a single person arrested as a result."
"Are you serious?" Prentiss stared at him for a second, "Paulina and her friends mentioned some things like that. I figured it was urban legend."
"Did anybody else hear about a Danny Fenton?" Reid asked. The rest of the team looked at him surprised.
"Paulina mentioned that he tried to ask her out and Dash got jealous. " Prentiss said, "She also mentioned he had a best friend who had a grudge against the popular crowd. "
"Some of the jocks mentioned that Dash picked on a kid named Fenton" Morgan said, "It only got worse in freshman year when Fenton had a thing for Dash's girl."
"That makes sense, the other students said that too" Reid said, "They said that he started fighting back in ninth grade and that he was the type to only resort to violence if he was pushed."
" The teachers say that Danny Fenton has present or involved somehow at almost all of the strange incidents " Hotch said. "Has anyone actually talked to him?"
"No, there were at least one hundred students in the junior year alone." Reid said.
"Well now we know he's a good place to start." Hotch said.