Sorry this took so long to update! I had another fic to finish and then I wanted to update my Homestuck fic since it went almost two months between updates. Thanks for your patience!
Many thanks to IslanderBib, mykeyo10, tellmedarkie, JPS, Keefer, KitCat1995, and Kathrin J Pearl for your reviews to last chapter!
To say that Sam Wesson was having a bad day was the understatement of the year.
For one thing, his partner was being his usual obnoxious, chatty self. Pellegrino kept going on and on about their newest case which, make no mistake, Sam didn't mind rehashing with him, but there was only so many times they could run around the facts and draw the same conclusions before Sam wanted to drop his head on his desk—or crack his chair over Pellegrino's head. His partner was brilliant, too—he could pick up on details most people missed, he had an eidetic memory that meant he never forgot a person's name, he was able to form a map in his head of how people and events were interrelated. But the guy never shut up.
For another, this particular case they just picked up was one they'd been following for several years now. Pellegrino had badgered the detectives who had the case for any details he could squeeze out of them until finally Singer just handed the case over to them. Sam could sort of understand Pellegrino's fascination with it, too. It wasn't every day that a woman went on a homicidal rampage. Even if Sam could secretly sympathize with her reasoning, though, it still was twisted and fucked-up.
"Come on, Wesson," Pellegrino whined. "Pay attention to me! I'm bored!"
Sam rolled his eyes and checked his watch. "You know we have five minutes until the brief, right?" he asked.
"I've been ready for this for a year!"
That, Sam didn't doubt. So what if they'd be going over exactly the same information their department had had for the last three years? They had the case now—it was their job to go over every aspect again until their eyes bled or, as in Pellegrino's case, they completely shut down at their desks.
It was their eleventh case, but Sam could already tell this one was going to be different. Their last one had been a missing little girl named Missouri Moseley. Pellegrino had thrown himself into the case with such a reckless abandon that Sam thought he'd gone off the deep end—and maybe he had. But it became clearer later when Pellegrino's own daughter—Lilith Eve, although he called her Lily—spent the night with the two of them when her mother Meg was out of town, visiting her own parents. Sam had never known Pellegrino had a daughter. He'd known his partner was married, but the idea of him with a kid was bizarre on so many levels.
And seeing him actually interacting with her made it clear to Sam just now much Missouri's disappearance had hit home for him. He looked at Missouri's profile and just saw Lily. For his partner's sake, Sam hoped they'd find Missouri Moseley alive.
They didn't, though. They'd found her dead in the basement of a dilapidated house in the middle of the woods, chained up. She'd starved to death two weeks before, but there was evidence of physical and sexual assault everywhere. It was the first and only time Pellegrino looked visibly shaken by anything. He'd actually gone outside and emptied the contents of his stomach.
They never found the bastard who did it, and Pellegrino had taken a month off to get his head back on right.
He'd apparently put the case somewhere behind him (although not too far; sometimes he went quiet and Sam looked up and saw a faraway look in his eyes and he just knew that Pellegrino was thinking of Missouri Moseley and we were too late and he'd never be able to fully forgive himself for failing that little girl), far enough away where he was able to at least act like his usual obnoxious self for awhile. Sam was grateful for that, in a way. Quiet Pellegrino was Unnerving Pellegrino.
They rolled out to the conference room two minutes later, leaving just enough time for them to find seats as Speight and Barnes hooked up a laptop to the projector. As soon as the door closed behind the last person, Singer motioned for them to begin.
Speight nodded at Barnes to start the presentation, and the first picture was one they all recognized. It was Michael Cohen's mugshot from six years ago when he'd been arrested for grand theft auto. "Michael Matthew Cohen. Twenty-five years old. Brown hair, blue eyes, five-foot-eleven. Wanted for eleven counts of car theft, five counts of armed robbery, and nineteen counts of murder." Speight gave another tight nod in Barnes's direction. Behind him, the picture shifted to another familiar one. "Dean John Smith. Twenty-five years old. Brown hair, green eyes, six-foot-one. Wanted for fifteen counts of car theft, twenty-eight counts of credit card fraud, five counts of armed robbery, and nineteen counts of murder. Cohen and Smith were best friends as kids. They had the typical teenage rap sheet—underage drinking, a B&E, two car thefts, one indecent exposure," he added as an afterthought, the corner of his mouth twitching in amusement. "Then, when they were twenty-one, one of their neighbors, a young woman named Daphne Allen went missing. She was found a week later just outside of town, murdered. Cohen and Smith skipped town right after she was found, and the local police department determined them to be the prime suspects." As he spoke, Barnes kept tabbing through photos in the presentation, of Allen's senior yearbook photo, images from the murder scene, photos of the Sheriff's Department. "Best we can figure, they blow into town, pick a girl, kill her, and move on. No firm motive yet, but..."
"Pretty sure it's just for kicks," Barnes went on. He and Speight switched places. "Local LEOs said they interviewed the parents. They were inseparable as kids. Both of them apparently liked roasting ants with magnifying glasses—stupid kid stuff. In middle school, they moved up to squirrels and rabbits. In high school, there was allegedly a dog, but nothing was ever proven. But the history of torturing animals lends itself to the theory that these two are just cold-blooded killers.
"We've been tracking their movements for a few years now, but wherever they show up, it's... it's just random. They'll be in California one day and then three days later, they surface in New York. They've hit every state in the continental United States at least once, even if they don't actually commit a murder. Last place we have them seen is Illinois, just outside Peoria."
Something started buzzing at the back of Sam's head, and he glanced at Pellegrino to see if he felt it, too. His partner had fixed him with a quizzical look, raising his eyebrow.
Barnes began the litany of Cohen and Smith's alleged victims, beginning with Daphne Allen and ending with Bela Talbot just six weeks prior in Colorado. Then Speight concluded with the comment that, with how striking the two were—Understatement, thought Sam, who acknowledged that the two were incredibly handsome and should have stuck out in a crowd—they should be easy to locate, but they still kept managing to pull off their murders. He recommended alerting every major law enforcement branch—state troopers, police departments, sheriff departments—to have teams ready to go the moment they showed up, if they showed up somewhere, but Sam had no illusions about how well that would work. No matter how many small towns Cohen and Smith blew into, most cops just wouldn't believe it could happen in their small town until it was too late.
Sam and Pellegrino took Speight and Barnes's places, switching out the laptops and bringing up their own presentation. Sam settled himself behind his computer and Pellegrino went to the front of the room.
The first picture appeared on the projector screen behind Pellegrino, and the strawberry blond started speaking. "This is Anna Grace Milton. Twenty-six years old, red hair, blue eyes, five-foot-six. Wanted for twelve counts of murder. And then her accomplice..." Sam clicked over to the next slide, replacing Milton's high school photo with a man's face. "Castiel James Novak. Twenty-seven years old, brown hair, blue eyes, five-foot-eleven. Wanted for twelve counts of accessory to murder and one count of attempted murder. From the reports we've received, Milton is the mastermind, and Novak does what she orders.
"Milton's on a revenge bender. Four years ago, Milton was raped by a family friend, Zachariah Fuller. She went to the hospital and reported it. The information was passed to the local police department, who basically laughed it off. Her family disowned her. Three days later, Fuller was found murdered in his home, and Milton and Novak skipped town." Sam clicked to the next slide, and a man with blond curls and blue eyes fills the screen. "Another friend of Novak's, Balthazar Roché, spoke to police after the pair disappeared. He says he tried to convince Novak to have Milton just turn herself in, and that Novak essentially said 'Fuck you' and took off."
"Well, he didn't actually say 'Fuck you,'" Sam volunteered.
"Right. Novak actually stabbed him in the back. Just missed his kidney. Left him there to die, except Roché was able to call an ambulance. He reported the incident once he stabilized."
"Doesn't sound very friendly to me," Singer said gruffly.
"We think by then, Milton had already convinced Novak that she was right and everyone else would just try to hurt them. She has a powerful hold over him," Sam said.
"And where is Roché now?"
Sam started flipping through his notes, but Pellegrino was already answering. "Roché is French by birth. About two years after Milton and Novak left Paradise Hills, he went back to France."
"Balls," Singer muttered. "Didn't anyone tell him not to skip town?"
"It was two years after they left. There's no record from the Paradise Hills Police Department or any other law enforcement agency that anyone tried to contact him," Sam pointed out. "He must have thought that two years of nothing was enough time to go back if he wanted to. You can't really blame him for that."
"Well, it's about to make your job that much harder," Singer said. "I want you two to follow up with him ASAP."
Sam and Pellegrino both rolled their eyes, but Pellegrino said, "Yes, sir."
"Right. Well, best we can figure, their MO is pretty similar to Cohen and Smith's. They're not as well-traveled, but they head into town, pick a mark, and follow him for a couple of months. Corner him, kill him, disappear. The most notable part about their MO is that they only choose victims who have multiple counts of violence against women on their records. Rape, domestic and spousal abuse, that kind of thing." Sam rubbed the bridge of his nose. "They disappear for months at a time and reappear out of nowhere. It's hard to pinpoint where they'll pop up next, but their last known location was about a week ago at a gas station in Illinois." He pulled up the photo they had from the surveillance camera of Milton pumping gas into a nondescript '95 Honda Accord. In the passenger's seat sat a man who was clearly Castiel Novak, although a few years older than his high school yearbook photo.
Speight nearly jumped out of his seat and sprinted to the projector screen, but he didn't look at Milton or Novak. Instead, his gaze was fixed on the upper-left corner of the screen, where a dark-haired man stood with one arm up, as if he'd just thrown something. Next to him was the side of a black car that looked to be over forty years old.
"Wesson, you got any other photos from that camera?" Barnes asked, somehow following Speight's train of thought as the shorter agent spun around, a wild look in his eyes.
"Uh, yeah, I think so. Hang on. You looking at that guy up there?"
Sam scrolled through a few more and, frame by frame, the man lowered his arm, something shiny slowly flying into his hand, until he turned around and faced the camera. Speight nearly fell over.
"That's Michael Cohen," he murmured.
They all squinted closely, and there was no denying it: Michael Cohen and what looked to be Dean Smith's '67 Impala had been at the same gas station as Milton and Novak.
"Son of a bitch," Barnes breathed.
I think I may have revealed too much...this could only be 10 chapters long. I have no idea right now.
So. Pellegrino is Lucifer, Speight is Gabriel, Barnes is Raphael (and his wife's name is Pamela! I've been assigning last names based on the actors who play them, and Raphael is played by Demore Barnes), and Singer is obviously Bobby. Exciting, eh? *waggles eyebrows*