Title: That Nice Young Man
Author: Kuria Dalmatia
Rating/Warnings: R/FRM, future!fic (Profanity. Adult content. Suicide. The evolution of a serial killer including rape, torture and murder. Unexpected!UnSub)
Characters/Pairing: UnSub, Hotch
Summary: He was told since childhood that Bad Things happened to Good People. He made sure that Bad Things happened to Bad People, too.
Word Count: ~3200
ARCHIVING: my LJ, AO3 and FFNet account... anyone else? Please ask first.
COMMENTS: Unbetaed! It's also an experimental fic in that I don't use the UnSub's name until the very in. And, yes, there's a twist at the end. Additional A/N at the end.
Written May 2012 on a few hours sleep after a marathon hospital weekend visit and a long drive home. It scares me that this is what I come up alone in a car for two and half hours.
I'm working on Keep the Suit and my CMBB project, I swear! It was just really nice to knock out a story in one evening.
Feedback always welcome.
DISCLAIMER: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. Salut! I just took them out to play and I promise put them back when I'm done. I'm not making any profit just trying to get these images out of my head.
When he was a little boy, people told him, "Bad things happen to good people."
He heard it a lot actually. So it was only natural for him to ask, "Do bad things happen to bad people?"
"Yes, of course," they reassured him. "Bad people go to jail."
"Or they die," he replied sagely.
"Sometimes," they quickly said, "but you know those bad people deserved it, right?"
He was known as That Nice Young Boy by his teachers, by his friends' parents, by his parents' friends, by those they sat next to in church … he was known as That Nice Young Boy to everyone.
Sure, he got beaten up for it, called all sorts of names, but he learned early on never to let his parents know what really happened at school (although later in life, he realized they knew). He learned if he couldn't befriend the bullies, how to build a network of allies so he (and sometimes his allies) wouldn't be targeted.
Bad things still happened to good people.
And people still told him that Bad People went to jail.
He knew otherwise.
He knew they died, too.
Soon, he became That Nice Young Man.
Bad things still happened to good people.
And people still told him that Bad People go to jail.
He knew otherwise.
He knew they died, too.
He wanted to know more about the Bad People, but knew his parents didn't want him to do research. They didn't want him reading any of the books he found or watching those documentaries on TV or the 'net.
That was okay. His friends wanted to know about the Bad People, so they got the books and downloaded the videos. If he just happened to see them?
Well. That had to be okay, right?
Because he wasn't actually researching.
When he was sixteen, Aimee Garrison called him at two in the morning. She was his "friend-swear-to-God-not-girlfriend-geez!" and she begged him to pick her up. His parents were away for the weekend, and since he was That Nice Young Man, he was allowed to stay at home by himself. It took forty minutes to get to the address Aimee gave him. When he picked her up, her makeup was messy, her wrists were bruised, her blouse was buttoned wrong, and there was dried blood on her right inner thigh.
Aimee made him swear on his parents' lives that he wouldn't tell anyone what happened. He agreed only after she told him exactly what Jay Schmetzer had done.
Bad things happened to good people.
And it made him mad.
But he kept his oath, because he swore on his parents' lives and he loved them too much to jinx them by breaking Aimee's confidence.
He helped clean her up—those first-aid courses his parents insisted on came in handy—and got her back home before her parents woke up. Twenty-three days later, he sat next to her in the abortion clinic. They lived in DC, which didn't require parental consent. He gave Aimee the money because she didn't have enough cash, and when she tried to pay him back a month later, he refused.
"Maybe I'll need it," he told her.
Aimee laughed through her tears. "You're the Nice Young Man. You'll never get into trouble."
He just shrugged and said, "Just hold on to it."
Aimee committed suicide a month later.
It was easy to lure Jay Schmetzer away from the party. All The Nice Young Man had to do was send a text from the phone of Schmetzer's best friend, Drew Palley. The partygoers were already drunk and/or stoned, so no one noticed Schmetzer stumbling his way to his car.
That was where The Nice Young Man hit Schmertzer hard enough to stun but not to render him unconscious. The Nice Young Man had parked his own car next to Schmertzer, so he shuffled them over to it before binding and gagging Schmertzer. Then, he pushed him into the trunk and closed it. Sure, it was a cliché, but it worked. He also disabled the interior trunk release, so even if Schmertzer was coordinated enough to attempt to escape, it would be much more difficult.
The Nice Young Man didn't bother hiding his identity from Schmertzer because it wouldn't matter in the end.
The Nice Young Man then drove to his selected remote location. Again, it was a stereotypical cabin in the woods, but why mess with what had worked for so many others? What was nice about this place was that the previous owner had a paranoia streak in him, building an underground, concrete bunker with its own generator.
Yes, The Nice Young Man was nervous. Doubt made him fumble getting the Bad Person's clothing off. Uncertainty made him pause before tightening the straps that held the Bad Person down. Compassion made him briefly consider letting the Bad Person go or make the Bad Person sign a confession about what he did to Aimee. Nausea made him keep the Bad Person gagged and to put a hood over the Bad Person's face.
Anger made The Nice Young Man complete his mission.
The Bad Person now understood "non-consensual." The Nice Young Man used a sawed-off broomstick handle that he covered with plastic wrap. While the broom handle was inserted, The Nice Young Man delivered blows to the Bad Person's back, buttocks and thighs using a standard police baton. He was careful not to draw blood; he understood about blood spatter.
Remorse made The Nice Young Man end the Bad Person's life quickly. It was messy, but the floor covered in plastic. Dragging the Bad Person up the stairs and a quarter-mile to the pre-dug grave was harder than The Nice Young Man expected.
He added that fact to his list.
Satisfaction made him want to do it again, because he had delivered justice the way it was supposed to be dealt. It also made him sleep soundly for the first time since Aimee called him those months ago. His parents even noticed how much calmer and focused he was afterwards.
They were relieved.
The search for Jay Schmertzer lasted two months before the police designated it a cold case.
The second Bad Person that The Nice Young Man took to the cabin was also a rapist. This time, The Nice Young Man was not as nervous or uncertain or nauseous.
He had confidence. He was able to do to the Second Bad Person what he had wanted to do to the First Bad Person, but was too chicken at the time to do it.
Transportation to the pre-dug grave was done via a wheelbarrow. It was more efficient than dragging but still required effort. However, The Nice Young Man was surprised how invigorated he was after ending the Second Bad Person's life, how it gave him the energy needed to dispose of the body.
The police stopped searching after three months, and didn't connect it to the First Bad Person.
The Nice Young Man was courted by universities from all over the country. His parents were thrilled at the scholarship offers, and were supportive when he decided he wanted to stay close to home. The Clery Act required schools to report annual crime statistics, and The Nice Young Man selected the university with the higher rates.
During his freshman year, he pledged a fraternity and developed his network of friends. Because he was The Nice Young Man, he never had a shortage of girls to bring for social activities. He was always kind and courteous, stopping when his date said stop. He rescued drunk girls before they got "trained" and got into three fights that resulted in him being arrested. His parents bailed him out after he explained what had happened.
They were proud of him.
The Nice Young Man dispatched Bad Persons Three, Four, Five and Six during his freshman year.
Three didn't attend the university, just preyed upon college girls. No one missed those three, and they thought the fourth Bad Person had dropped out.
These Bad People confessed before they were executed.
It was, however, The Nice Young Man's first mistake. He executed his plan too quickly and it had drawn a little too much attention.
The Nice Young Man's earned a 4.0 GPA the first year.
During his sophomore year, The Nice Young Man volunteered to help new freshman get their footing on campus. This was in addition to his duties with the frat. While his frat brothers weren't exactly supportive of it—they believed he should be rushing pledges and nothing else—he argued that the frat had taken a PR hit last year because Daughtry was arrested for a DUI and drug possession. This community service would help. So they relented.
The Nice Young Man knew no one else would select Danny DiPietro, who had ALS and used a motorized wheelchair to get around campus. DiPietro had a passion for criminal justice and because he tested out of so many of the basic course requirements, he was in the second-year criminal justice track. Although it wasn't The Nice Young Man's major (that would be chemistry, because he had a talent for it), he didn't mind attending the classes.
Because he was helping DiPietro, he wasn't listed on the student roster for the class. It was an unexpected bonus.
He learned a lot.
He realized where he needed to improve.
The Seventh Bad Person was the recipient of this newfound knowledge. That Bad Person lasted longer than the others.
When The Nice Young Man came to DiPietro's dorm room one morning, he was shocked by what he found. DiPietro had been assaulted—what kind of loser fucked up a guy in a wheelchair?—but he made The Nice Young Man swear on his parents' lives that he wouldn't tell anyone.
"If my parents find out, they'll make me come home," Danny pleaded. "My mother will never let me out of her sight and I'll hear 24-7 about how this whole 'experiment' in me living on my own was a mistake."
And just like he had done with Aimee, The Nice Young Man only swore until after Danny told him the whole story, including how to identify Danny's attacker.
It took three Bad Persons for The Nice Young Man to find the right one (not that the other two were saints. It was interesting what they confessed to).
It was also the second time he made a mistake.
He told Danny that he would never have to worry about his attacker again.
He hadn't done that with Aimee or any of the other victims he'd gotten justice for.
He wondered why he had for Danny.
Four weeks later, Danny almost ran over his foot with the chair. "You won't believe this," Danny enthused, "but they're saying we have a serial killer on campus!"
The Nice Young Man waved dismissively. "C'mon. Is that the school's excuse for their dropout rate last semester?"
"The BAU is here!" Danny shoved the campus paper at him. "They're giving a lecture this afternoon. We gotta go!"
He read the short article, noting the time when the presentation was going to be given, and inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. The last thing he wanted was to be in a room full of profilers. He knew better than to tempt Fate. He shrugged as he handed the paper back. "Chem lab," he explained apologetically. "I can't miss it."
"But this is the BAU! Dude!"
"If I screw up my grades, I lose my scholarship," he added tersely. Danny looked crestfallen, probably because The Nice Young Man was the only person who tolerated his ramblings about serial killers. So he softened his tone and said, "Tell me about what they said over dinner."
Danny perked up. "You're paying."
"I'm paying," he agreed.
The third mistake The Nice Young Man made was his ego taking control of his mouth. Danny prattled on about the BAU and the profile they had given about the eight missing persons in the area—ten total if they counted the two missings from two years earlier.
"Late twenties to early thirties," Danny rambled for the umpteenth time as he scribbled in his stupid Serial Killer notebook. "Cog in the machine. Can't hold down a steady job. High school drop out."
The Nice Young Man said derisively, "Seriously? Eight missing people over a thirteen month period …"
"Don't forget the set from two years earlier," Danny corrected, obviously thrilled that he was finally participating in the conversation again.
"Okay, ten. Whatever. They're saying the guy's uneducated but he pulled off these abductions without a hitch."
"Drop out doesn't mean stupid," Danny informed him. "They're just saying …"
"That the guy …"
"Will you let me finish?" The Nice Young Man demanded. Danny nodded, chastened, and then The Nice Young Man's Ego blurted, "What if the guy was actually an upstanding student?"
"Like you?" Danny suddenly laughed. "Yeah, right. Mister Perfect."
"Well, if it were me …"
The fourth mistake The Nice Young Man made was impromptu choosing of his next victim instead of going from his list. However, he had panicked once he realized he'd given Danny too much information. It made Danny a liability.
At least he was smart enough to vary his MO and make it look like Danny was experimenting and OD'd. While he was interrogated by campus police and even threated by the lawyer retained by Danny's parents, his parents came to his defense.
They believed his innocence.
That was the worst part.
But they believed him.
The fifth mistake he made … it wasn't really a mistake. It was someone finally being smart enough to play "connect the dots." Oh, and Danny apparently sending an anonymous tip to the FBI hotline.
And when his father took the seat across from him in the interrogation room, camera off and the assurance that they were speaking privately, the first question Jack Hotchner asked was, "Who am I talking to? Section Chief Hotchner, my dad or my lawyer?"
His father blanched. "Jack …"
"You can represent me," he said flatly. "Because you're a federal employee, you're only allowed to represent yourself and family member only. Pro se, right?"
His father pressed his lips together before asking, "Do I need to represent you?"
"Who am I talking to?" because raised by gifted profiler and former prosecutor, growing up with the BAU as honorary aunts and uncles, Jack Hotchner was anything but stupid. His ego may have gotten him into trouble, but his intellect was in charge of self-preservation. Even though the conversation wasn't being recorded, it didn't mean his father wouldn't testify against him. There was no such thing as father-son confidentiality.
"I went to the cabin."
Jack remained silent.
"I haven't been there in years, but we were thinking about selling it so I went there to take some photos." His father said the words slowly, as if in disbelief. He met Jack's gaze as he said, "I was in the bunker." His father leaned forward. "Jack, I want to help you. We want to help you, but we can't help you unless you talk to us."
"Then tell me who I'm talking to."
"I'm your Dad. I can help you, but you just have to tell me what's going on. Please," his father pleaded. When Jack didn't answer, his father's face contorted as he whispered, "I'm not a defense attorney. I won't be able to represent you properly, not the way you need."
Jack shrugged and looked away. "Then, I want to speak to a defense attorney."
He could hear his father's breathing, slow and steady that meant he was centering himself. Jack wondered why both his parents weren't here. Maybe they would tag team in a few minutes? If Jack's father couldn't break him, then his other parent might?
Finally, Jack's father let out a long sigh. His voice was soft yet cracked. "I'll be your attorney."
Jack couldn't help but smile, ignoring the alarm in his father's … no … his lawyer's eyes. He extended his hand, because he wanted to make this formal. Attorney-client privilege was a hell of a thing. It took a few seconds before his father reached out with his hand, and when they shook, Jack was surprised at how weak his father's grip was.
After a few moments, Jack turned serious. "All my life, I've been told that Bad Things happen to Good People. When I asked if bad things happen to bad people, I was told that they go to jail, but that's not true. Bad people die. George died. You killed him. You killed him because he was a Bad Person. He was a Bad Person who killed Mom."
"Those people died because they were Bad People."
His father closed his eyes briefly. He then leaned forward. Softly, he said, "Danny wasn't."
Jack looked away. He looked down. Then, he met his father's gaze. "Well, Bad Things happen to Good people, don't they?"
~~~~~ Finis ~~~~~
AUTHOR'S NOTES – I deliberately tried to keep Jack's other parent ambiguous, so it could be anyone the reader wants it to be. However, I had Reid in mind when writing this (hence the chemistry reference) because I think of the wealth of books that Reid would bring into the house and how Jack would sneak one out of the library to read.
The cabin in question is, in fact, Gideon's old place that was bequeathed to Reid upon Gideon's death.
Finally, some readers may feel that Hotch is portrayed as being too weak, but I think it's the shock of discovery and denial that his little boy could commit such crimes. I do think that this would be Hotch's ultimate breaking point.