Author's note: I'm going to try to post weekly, or, if worse comes to worse, monthly. School is keeping me pretty busy, and I won't apologize for that, but while I am having the time of my life this semester I am not getting as much time to write as I would like. We'll see what happens.
"Not another one."
The words were out of Lestrade's mouth before he even realized he was thinking them.
Travers gave him a look and he pulled himself together and opted to deal with the bloody mess that had once been a human being, leaving Travers to deal with the hysterical woman-child, really-that had come home to find what was left of her mother after her killer had finished with her.
Lestrade sighed and resigned himself to another long night. He'd be lucky to make it home at all tonight-he would probably end up stealing a few hours of sleep on a battered couch at the station before morning came and it all started over again whenever it eventually became obvious that there was no point in going home just to return a couple hours later.
He needed a break. The usual horror that one person could do something like this to another had dulled, leaving in its wake weary acceptance that these things happened. This woman was dead-had died terribly. She had been found by her daughter, a girl who would never see her mother again, not alive, not well, not whole. The girl would probably be haunted by this for the rest of her life, and here Lestrade's first concern was that this was going to make an already long day even longer.
The realization would have shamed him, had he not been simply too tired to recognize the change in his thought process. As it was, he could not bring himself to even care, let alone feel any shame. He had seen too much bloodshed and death on this job and it was finally threatening to overwhelm him.
Closer examination of the corpse left no doubt that this was the work of the same person that had raped and murdered three other women in just these last two weeks.
For the first time since he had started at the Yard he wished he were somewhere else-anywhere else, so long as it was far away from London and its depravity. He had had enough of the bloodshed and the hatred, the death and destruction that came with this job.
It was hard to keep believing that people were, at heart, decent and good when he was constantly surrounded by evidence to the contrary.
He finished his examination and retreated from this house of death with its room filled with blood. He could still smell it, even now, outside in the rain, as he ducked into an alley and out of sight of the press and curious onlookers.
He lit a cigarette-cutting back did not mean he could not smoke at all-and raised it to his lips.
"You all right?" He started; he had not realized he was being followed. Travers was standing there, hands in his coat pockets, studying Lestrade intently. Yes, the man was actually worried.
"Why wouldn't I be?" Lestrade asked instead of screaming no at his partner. He manage a weary half-smile that convinced neither of them.
Travers shrugged, and for a second Lestrade thought he was going to let it go at that. Then the man grimaced, and it was all Lestrade could do to stifle a groan.
"You don't seem yourself." Travers said.
"I'm tired." Lestrade replied with a shrug of his own. "So are you." He added pointedly.
Travers was not fooled. "It's more than that." He insisted.
Lestrade did not answer right away. He considered his shoes, worn almost to the point of needing replaced, and at the filthy ground beneath them. His eyes wandered to graffiti covered walls-brick mostly-and led his gaze skyward. Wet droplets landed on his face as he stared up into the darkness.
"It never stops, does it?" He asked, not expecting an answer. He did not get one from Travers.
He did receive an answer to a completely different question.
His phone went off: a text message, not something he used, really. Anyone who knew him at all knew that. He opened it anyway, without any idea of what to expect.
A name came up on the screen, followed by an address, followed by a signature. Sort of.
Initials, Lestrade guessed, but as to what they stood for-
The second message left Lestrade staring.
Your serial rapist/killer. Idiot.