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Summary: Doctor Isabella Swan is partnered with Special Agent Edward Masen in connection with the solving of a case about a serial killer that murders women with a specific profile. After two unsuccessful years, Bella and Edward are still not close to catching the Tracker or to being friends. What happens when Bella turns 27 and it turns out she fits his profile perfectly? Is she his next victim? And can all of this lead to something more than partnership?
Attention: This fiction is re-written and re-posted under the same name. The plot is property of b. krumova. ©2010-2012
Death on Stephenson Street
Prologue: Happy Birthday
It was a peaceful and quiet night. Outside was silent apart from the wind making its way through the trees. One would think that it's impossible for such amazing peace to be disturbed. However, this was not the case for a certain apartment in town—Apartment 3-A on Jackson Street. A chocolate brown-haired woman was staring at a note, hoping that it would tell her more than the typed address. Nervously, she looked at the clock on the wall before moving her gaze toward the date on the calendar. Her heart was beating faster than ever. It was 11:59 p.m. The woman's pulse kept on rising. The clock hit 12 a.m., on the 13th of September 2010. Right on schedule, the woman's phone rang. Her heart skipped a beat, but then she composed herself and answered.
"Swan, we have another one," a concerned velvety voice said in the speaker before she could even mumble a "hello."
"Stay there—I'm on my way," she said, standing up from the chair she was occupying and looking around for her coat. She was fully dressed, despite the late hour. She knew there would be a reason for her to go to Stephenson Street. Every month on the 13th, she had to been there.
Isabella Swan was a forensic coroner—one of the best in her field in the United States, certainly the best one in Seattle. She was only twenty-seven years old, but she made a name of herself the moment she was out of college. She was working in the most prestigious lab in Seattle: the Smithson Institution.
Isabella – Bella to her close friends – was very good at her job. She looked at the whole picture, while many of her colleagues only look at pieces of the puzzle. She never questioned how the victim felt or how the family would cope with the loss of a loved one. She simply did her job, and that's what made her the best.
She wasn't heartless; she just knew that she wouldn't be able to do her job at all if she made it personal.
With the case of the Tracker, however, Bella Swan made the biggest mistake a coroner could make.
She made it personal.
Two years ago, Bella was partnered with Special Agent Edward Masen, one of the best FBI agents in the field of homicides and who also happened to be the boy she grew up with in her hometown of Forks.
Edward and Bella have known each other since the day they were born. They had been to the same school, the same college, and now they were working together.
The most ironic thing was that, despite their obvious closeness, Edward and Bella have always disliked each other. He always shared his mind with her, saying that she was too cocky about her degrees, and he couldn't stand her smart mouth. She always shot back by pointing out the fact that he was a brainless womanizer who needed to settle down.
The case of the Tracker brought them together for the first time since Edward had been recruited by the FBI four years ago. It had been two years ago, on the same day when Edward summarily walked into Doctor Swan's apartment in the middle of the night (catching her in between the sheets with her boyfriend-at-the-time, Ian) with a case file of a murdered woman—twenty-seven years old, brown hair and eyes, unmarried.
The day before, the Seattle Police Department received an anonymous note on square, white paper. The only thing written on it was 13thof September 2008, 12 a.m., Stephenson Street. Nobody took the note seriously, but that didn't stop the Tracker from tossing the woman's body on the street. She was twenty-seven years old, unmarried, dark hair and eyes. Her name was Jessica Stanley, and she was raped before being strangled.
Edward Masen investigated the case with Doctor Swan, but they couldn't find the murderer.
The month after that, October 12, 2008, another note appeared in at the Police Department. The same message was typed on the note as the first one—13thof October 2008, 12 a.m., Stephenson Street.This time, several FBI agents—along with Doctor Swan and Agent Masen—waited on the street, but nobody saw how a body appeared in the middle of the sidewalk. Another twenty-seven-year-old woman, brown hair and eyes, unmarried, raped and beaten to death.
This was the horror Bella and Edward went through every month for the past two years.
This night was no exception, and she knew it. There was a note, and there would be a body. Her eyes stung with the tears that wanted to flow down her cheeks, but she didn't let them. She had cried too much since she started working on this case.
"Bella," Edward's voice said in her ear. He rarely used her first name, but when he did, it always made her heart skip a beat. "I have to warn you. This is worse than any before."
She knew it. Every month, the victims of the Tracker suffered though worse and worse torture. He had no mercy.
"I know that, Masen. Wait for me at the scene. I'll be there in about fifteen minutes," she said and hung up on her partner, grabbing her keys and locking the door after her.
She pressed the button of the elevator and waited for the doors to open. Bella was still holding the white piece of paper like her life depended on it. Once she reached the bottom floor of her apartment building, she waved at the doorman and asked him to hail her a cab.
Bella slid into the backseat after telling the driver the address written on the paper. Stephenson Street. Oh, how she hated that street.
The unwanted tears overflowed her eyes and slid down her peach-colored cheeks. Bella Swan was a beautiful woman, a fact she was well aware of. She never praised with her attractiveness, though, which made her even more appealing for the men's eyes. Her long chocolate brown hair matched the color of her doe eyes and framed her heart-shaped face perfectly. She had pouty lips and flawless skin. Bella wasn't very tall, but she wasn't short either—five foot six inches. Her height was perfect for her slim form.
"Are you all right, ma'am?" asked the cabbie, looking in the rear-view mirror at the crying woman in the back seat of the cab.
Bella looked at the reflection of his worried eyes and forced a smile, but she was sure it looked like a grimace.
"Oh, I'm fine sir. The bad thing is that it's only me that's all right," she answered, looking through the passenger's window and ignoring the worried glances of the cab driver.
He pulled over into the parking lot on Stephenson Street. Bella paid him and wished him a good night before she climbed out of the car.
Immediately at her side was Edward Masen. He was wearing a black designer suit with a pale green shirt showing underneath that matched the color of his beautiful, jade orbs. He was tall, at least six foot two inches, and he was well-build. Edward was a strong man, inside and out. His jaw could cut glass, his nose was straight, and he had a five o'clock shadow covering his jaw and chin that made his tough appearance even more intimidating. The messy locks on his head were the color of a melted honey. He ran his fingers through it, trying to tame his hair, but unsuccessfully.
Edward Masen was just a few months older than Bella. He was twenty-seven years old, and he had a twin sister, Alice. Alice and his mother, Esme, were the most important women in Edward's life, but although he'd never admit it, Bella was the third woman in his life that he would give his life for.
Edward didn't really like Bella. All their lives they have been like a cat and mouse, but ever since that September evening two years ago, Edward has made a promise to himself that he would protect Bella, no matter what. He was her guardian angel, without her knowing it.
"Hey, Swan. How you doing?" he asked, looking at her big, brown eyes. He could see that they were still watery from crying, but he made no comment. Bella didn't like showing weakness, and he wasn't going to push her.
"I'm better than her, Masen. Let's go," she said, pointing toward the victim lying on the ground before putting her hands in the pockets of her black trench coat. Even though it was the middle of September, it was a chilly night.
Bella and Edward reached the long yellow Crime Scene Do Not Cross tape, which Bella was very familiar with. In front of the tape was stood a young police officer, talking on his walkie-talkie. He glanced in the direction of Bella and Edward as he saw them approaching.
Edward lifted the tape with one of his hands for Bella to pass, but the officer stopped him. Edward threw a death glare at the rookie's direction. Who did he think he was? Edward was FBI, not some small town cop.
A flaw in Edward's personality was that it didn't take much for his to get furious. He had some anger management problems dating from high school.
Well, he had them still, but according to him, he was recovering.
"Excuse me, sir, ma'am. You have to show me some ID if you want to cross," the officer said.
Edward was livid at the boy standing in front of him, but after a glance in Bella's direction, he saw that she was in no condition to handle his temper right now.
"My name is Special Agent Edward Masen, and this is my partner, Doctor Isabella Swan, a coroner with the Smithson Institution," Edward said, giving his ID to the cop. Bella reached into her pocket and placed her own ID in the open palm of the guard.
"Okay, you're good to go," the cop said and lifted the tape for Bella, keeping his eyes on her for longer than necessary – a gesture Edward didn't approve of. He placed his hand on the small of Bella's back and guided her to the body's location, shooting a warning glare at the perverted cop.
Once they were close enough for Bella to see the body, she quickly made a gagging sound before she turned around, her back facing the corpse. She was ashamed of her reaction. She had seen corpses in far worse condition, and she had never reacted like this. Bella knew she was feeling empathy for the victims, and she hated herself for this.
The most important rule—check your emotions at the door.
"I know she must be twenty-seven, dark hair and eyes, unmarried or single. The cause of death is always different; the only repeating pattern is the fact that he rapes them," Bella said to no one in particular, like she was being tested on an exam. She then looked at Edward, who looked back at her with furrowed eyebrows, and his mouth pressed in a hard line.
"What am I going to find this time, Masen?" she asked him, losing herself into the pool of green his eyes were.
"I don't know, Swan," he said, putting his hand on her shoulder.
Bella looked at the hand resting on her shoulder in a comforting way, but she wanted none of it. She wanted Masen to do his job, not babysit her.
"Tell me, Masen." Bella raised her voice and jerked from his touch. "Where was your team when the body was tossed? Huh? You're always bragging about them."
Edward wasn't stupid. He knew Bella was trying to pick a fight over nothing. He could read every single one of her expressions and capture even the slightest changes in her timbre as she spoke. "It's not my team's fault this bastard is still at large. You are also in charge of the case. Use your degrees to figure it out!"
In that instant, Bella's anger had finally reached its limit. She drew her tiny hand backward, her fingers curled up in a fist, and connected her knuckles with Edward's jaw. Bella might be tiny, but she had some power in herself. His head turned to the side, and Bella hugged her hand close to her chest, because she without a doubt hurt herself more than she hurt him.
"What the hell are you doing?" Edward asked, confused, rubbing his jaw. "Do you want me to arrest you for attacking a federal agent?"
"You want to arrest me? Okay then—do it. If this will make you feel more of a man, then go for it." Bella was gritting her teeth together as she spoke. "Get off your high horse, Masen. I'm not one of your women that get easily impressed with the badge and the gun."
Edward raised his eyebrows. "Isabella," he said, "If I wanted to impress you, your panties would already be in my pocket. Don't act like as if I hadn't already had your legs wrapped around me." He leaned forward and whispered in her ear, "Twice."
He turned his back on her and looked at the body that was being placed in one of the black bodybag. They had just pulled the zipper, covering the last inch of the victim.
It wasn't long later when Bella stood next to him, handing him a handkerchief. The war was over, just like that. Their bickering has been going a long way back, since kindergarten. They rarely stayed angry with one another longer than ten minutes.
Edward looked down at her and lifted the handkerchief, silently asking why she was giving it to him.
"For your lip. I broke the skin with my ring—you're bleeding," she explained, her cheeks flashing rosy as she looked down at the family ring on her right finger. She was embarrassed with her less than feminine way of handling the tension.
"Thanks," Edward murmured, taking the handkerchief and pressing it to his lower lip, effectively removing the blood from it. It stung a little, but it was nothing he couldn't handle.
"Sure, no problem. Sorry I hit you," she said, without looking at him.
"It's fine. However, if you do it again, you'll be spending the night with a manly woman named Helga in the worst jail cell there is, got it?"
"And you just had to ruin it, right?" Bella said, shaking her head. Sometimes she really wondered why was she bothering being nice to him.
"No more talking about my team. They saw the body being thrown from this roof." Edward pointed to the highest building's roof. It was an office building, the owner of which was selling office supplies. "I'm not sure if you should go up there, though. The height made me sick and I know just how much you hate tall buildings."
Bella raised an eyebrow. When it came down to her job, her phobias and fears didn't get in the way. "Shall we, milady?" Bella gestured for him to move, making a little reverence.
"You know, you're lucky you're a woman. Had you been a man your smart-ass comments would have placed you in a wheelchair by now."
"Well, you're known to be a gentlemen," was all she said before they stopped talking.
Edward helped Bella up the ladder and to the roof. It was being examined by FBI agents and Bella's colleagues from Smithson's.
If it weren't for the awful reason she was up there, she would've enjoyed the sight surrounding her, but not with the agents and criminologists trying to looking for clues Bella knew they wouldn't find. She raised her head slightly, her eyes travelling to the cloudless sky covered with millions of sparkling dots.
They were pretty high up. The office building had thirty-seven floors, so technically the roof was the thirty-eighth. Bella tried not to look down as she made her way to the middle of the roof. The moon looked so much bigger from up there than it did from the street. She would have preferred if the moonlight was the only source of light, bathing her with its soft shine, but her ogling of nature was disturbed when a flashlight blinded her eyes.
"Hey, rookie, watch where you point the light," Edward yelled at one of the FBI junior agents, chastising him for pointing the flashlight at Bella.
The agent looked very flushed at Edward's outburst, and with a mumbled apology, he walked toward the other end of the roof.
"Was that really necessary?" Bella asked, feeling a bit guilty for the boy who got Edward's wrath because of her.
Edward rolled his eyes and gently placed his palm on Bella's shoulder, urging her to walk around, trying to examine the canopy.
What made Bella stop dead in her tracks was a big pool of blood in the middle of the roof. She looked at the blood and then at Edward, who had the same confused expression on his face.
The Tracker never left any leads. He was very good. He never left a fingerprint, a hair sample, tissue sample—nothing. However, now he left a huge pool of blood? Something was not right; both Bella and Edward could feel it.
Bella walked slowly to the blood and looked at it. The wind had picked up and swirled her trench coat behind her back. Edward wasn't far behind her and kneeled next to the blood, his eyes focused on the square, white paper in the middle. He furrowed his brows, trying to read what was written, but he couldn't. Bella turned on her flashlight, and Edward smiled at her. She couldn't help but smile back at him. Edward had one of the best smiles she ever had the chance to be the receiving end of. Especially his crooked grin.
Edward's smile quickly left his face, and his expression was replaced with one of horror. Bella read the note, and her blood ran cold. She felt lightheaded from the lack of breathing. She felt like she was being strangled, and she couldn't get enough air. Bella felt the chill running up and down her body, making her shake, but not from the cold, but from pure and unstoppable fear.
Edward jumped to his feet and grabbed Bella's hand, making her stand up. He then took her heart-shaped face in between his palms, cupping her cheeks like she was breakable, expensive porcelain. Her fearful eyes made his heart break into a million pieces, but he knew that the horror and the terror he was feeling was visible in his own eyes as well.
"You are not leaving my side, you hear me, Bella? Not. Leaving. My. Side." Edward almost yelled it, but not at her. He couldn't be angry at her, but he was lethal in this moment. He could kill someone.
Bella nodded her head, because all of the words left her body and she couldn't form a sentence. Hell, she couldn't even pronounce a word.
Edward grabbed her hand and started yelling at the agents to examine the blood and the note, to leave no inch of the roof uncovered. He couldn't even think about staying at the crime scene. All he wanted was to grab Bella and carry her away from there, away from everything.
Once they were back on the street, Edward hugged Bella close to his body and put her on in the passenger's seat of his silver Volvo. Entering the car, he started the engine and drove off. He didn't even ask Bella where she wanted to go. He knew where he was taking her.
His apartment. His bed. Where he could protect her from The Tracker.
Edward knew what he put his victims through and there was no way he was letting Bella out of sight. He may dislike her sometimes, but she was his partner and he was guarding her back.
The drive to Edward's apartment was short, due to his maniacal driving. Normally, Bella would be commenting on how dangerous his actions were, but not that night. She looked as if all the life was drained out of her. The usual spark that was dancing into her orbs was gone, making her lose the radiant beauty that her eyes had.
Once they were in front of his apartment building, Edward climbed out of the car, circling it and opening the door for Bella, but she made no movement. She was just staring into space with a deathly look on her face. The street lamp was making her watery cheeks shine. Edward couldn't help but notice that she was exceptionally beautiful, even with puffy eyes and a runny nose.
Seeing that Bella was in no condition to walk on her own, carried her in his arms, her head resting on his shoulder, up to his apartment, ignoring the strange looks of his neighbors as he held a crying woman in his arms.
Once inside, he only closed the door behind him, not bothering to lock it. Everyone knew he was an FBI agent with a gun. No one was going to break into the apartment or do something to him or Bella, at least for tonight.
The second Edward put her to bed, Bella felt his loss immediately. She grabbed his tie and silently begged him to stay with her. He nodded his head and lay down on the bed next to her. Bella put her head on his sternum as his hands circled her waist, keeping her close to his body, keeping her close to him.
"Shh…it's okay, Bella. I'm not going to let him hurt you. You're safe with me. Nothing is going to harm you here, baby," Edward whispered to her, kissing her forehead, trying to calm her shaking form.
But Bella couldn't hear a word he was saying. All she saw in front of her was that note, written in the pool of blood.
Her birthday wish…
Her death certificate…
"Happy 27thBirthday, Doctor Swan."
This fanfiction was originally based on the TV show "Bones." No copyright infringements intended!
Please be aware that this story deals with a lot of sensitive topics that might be offending for some readers. I will not be spoiling for everyone, but if you fear that a situation may be disturbing for you, please write to me a personal message and I'll disclose the sensitive aspects of the story with you.
Next update: Friday; May 4th, 2012.