Someone's Watching

An unsolved case from Greg's past reappears. The chance to catch an elusive murderer returns, but this time, it's bloody personal. Molly/Lestrade

Rated M for sexual content, strong language, and scary/mature situations.


PROLOGUE

The boy cocked his head in confusion once the body stopped moving. He furrowed his brows, allowing the events to sink through his skull. Stuffing himself back into his trousers, he smoothed his hair back in consideration.

Well, that was the end of it then. She was gone.

She had been an awfully good shag though. At least before the seizure. Yet, something about that, the danger, the taboo of it, made him salivate and grow harder with the thought.

He eyed the lifeless body, unable to help but wonder. If the taboo of fucking a seizing woman became such a hard on, what if…

No. He stopped himself immediately. That potentially insulted Celeste's memory. And he didn't want to insult her – he loved her.

Their happiness thrived for so long. Why did she ruin it? He frowned, pondering the general sluttish nature of females, the whole lot of them. You let one in, he realised, and they soon fucked it all up. As it turned out, even Celeste failed the challenge of keeping her legs closed.

He only wanted a nice girl. Once upon a time, he had one. Susan. She'd been perfect. But then she died. He hadn't been able to find a perfect one since. Celeste had been so close.

A man as busy as him, with such rigorous studies, he hardly had time for a relationship. Celeste said she didn't care. She seemed so perfect, at least, at first. Quiet, lovely, shy. She never went out partying, always seemed keen for a night in. But then her weakness revealed itself– all girls' weaknesses – another boy. Some stupid chav from the East End. And she developed a second relationship.

He tried to be patient. He knew he was the perfect man for her—the only man for her. But, she ignored him. She fucking ignored him and kept on with that stupid chav. Well, he refused to take it sitting down. They were in love, damn it. They were always going to be together.

Well, not anymore. She was dead, after all.

He hadn't meant to kill her, of course. He'd just wanted to try something new – turn up the heat, make her realise how much she loved him back. Still, the drugs proved too strong for her delicate system. Granted, maybe he made a mistake in forcing her to drink vodka before.

But it wasn't supposed to kill her. That was the unpleasant side-effect, not the intention.

At least, he reminded himself softly, she never broke up with him. That would've been awful.

Now, they were only over because she was. No harm done.

He set to work in cleaning the room. Scrubbing his prints off, Hoovering away any traces of his hair or skin cells. Thoroughness, he thought, turning to his salvation: a bottle of bleach.

Thus, he cleaned everything in the abandoned house. Other than teenagers breaking in for their own drug fixes, people rarely entered the old building. Well, at least when the drugged kids broke in, no evidence possibly led back to him.

As he walked away, under the cover of the blackest night he'd ever known, he felt a twinge of regret over what happened with Celeste.

Why did she cheat on him? It left a horrible feeling pounding in his gut – after all, he was only human. He'd mustered up so much courage to talk to her in the first place. She seemed so nice at first. Well, that wound up completely wrong.

Really, were there no truly nice girls in the world? A nice girl, shy, subdued, and pretty in a quaint way, for his appreciation, without a stampede of other men trying to look at her. One whose libido didn't rival Catherine the Great. That's where the trick came in. He'd watch out though. He'd find someone, some sweet girl, for whom he'd be the only one. And he could love her.

And she'd love him, and only him, back.


Gregory Lestrade just turned thirty when he received a promotion from Sergeant to Detective Inspector. After working for the Yard for only five years, he was one of the youngest men to receive the position at the time, he reminded himself with a small smirk as he packed himself up and moved into a bigger office with people twice his age working under him.

He, rather naively, assumed this meant the Superintendent saw something in him – some sort of aptitude, that he was suited for the job. His first few cases supported the assumption by coming along rather quickly. Easily, even. The baddies were caught in a matter of days, and the family of the murdered wound up consoled with closure. Then, on 14, May 1998, Greg found himself facing the case of Celeste Paxton.

The caretaker, a bumbling sphere with sausages for limbs, found her, stuck in the centre of a brightly lit den, completely naked. The scene was absolutely clean. No fingerprints, no fallen hairs. The room which, according to the caretaker, was scarcely used, seemed dusted to perfection, and nothing in the crime scene helped any of the forensics pathologists with any leads at all. They couldn't even find blood in the room, only traces of bleach.

Celeste died from a slit throat, deep in two places. Blood caked on her face, stained red. Although none wound up on the floor, vomit attracted flies and bugs into her light hair. They found semen between her legs, and copious amounts of GHB in her blood. It came easily enough to figure how it went. Kidnapped, raped with the help of the drug, and then murdered.

Upon further investigation, Greg learned Celeste enrolled earlier in the year as an undergraduate student at Kings College. Her roommate told him she was extremely quiet, mostly keeping to herself and to Billy Morrison, her new boyfriend. When he turned his investigation to Billy, the boy had been in France the month before, and having just returned, could not stop bawling the whole time.

"Look, Billy," Greg said, gnawing on the side of his mouth, "You need to tell us what you know."

"Y'think it was me, don' ya?" Billy whimpered, nearly hyperventilating. "It ain'. I been abroad for school…"

"We know. You're not a suspect." Greg shook his head. The latter part of that statement wasn't exactly true, but he needed the boy to open up and talk. "But you're the only person anyone can link us to on Celeste, the only friend she had apparently. So you need to tell us everything you know."

Billy shook back and forth. "I dunno. Celes'e is really private, y'know? We talk an' shag an' fancy each other, but I really din't know 'er that well. I guess I won't ever now. But I dunno!"

"Rack your brain, then." Greg muttered, rubbing the back of his neck absentmindedly.

Shaking his head, and rubbing the bridge of his nose, Billy stammered. "I…I dunno. She did tell me 'bout some dodgy emails."

"Emails?" Greg asked, head shooting up.

"Yeah. She din't seem worried much, though. Told me she though' it was a prank or somethin', an' she ignored 'em."

This was all Greg needed. With some basic help from the server, they opened Celeste's email account, and found themselves greatly disturbed by its contents.

Several untraceable emails, sent from libraries and public computers from all over the United Kingdom, and even in Ireland, with no name attached. At first, these emails were short and curt, nothing dodgy about them at all.

You missed Biology today.

How goes the new vegetarian diet?

Try to get more sleep, Celeste, I'm worried about you.

It seemed as though a friend or concerned classmate sent her those emails to, perhaps, jumpstart her academic career. Then, the emails grew longer, and took a turn for the obsessive.

I miss you – when can we talk? I have so much to tell you. You won't believe what happened today. I won't write the details now – too funny – but you ought to prepare yourself for a great laugh.

Why are you doing this with Billy? I know you're cheating, but why? How could you do this? To me? We're soul-mates, Celeste. If you have to mess around on me – ok, ok. Some people are sluts like that. But you'll come back to me. You have to.

You're so beautiful, Celeste, don't do this to me. I've looked at your face for an hour straight and I can't contain it anymore. You're mine.

Why can't you love me? We've been together so long – why now? Stay with me. Stay. Stay. Stay. Stay. Stay. STAY.

Then, they became even worse.

I breathe for you – all my life depends on you. Why can't you fucking see it? We're meant to be together. You're my whole world, my sun, my stars, my sky. Any life without you is pointless. Pointless. Fucking pointless. I can't survive without you. You're in my heart. You are my heart. You have completely turned my world around, Celeste. My life is different since we got together. I love you so much, sweetheart. Colours are brighter – more powerful – more violent and vibrant. It's all because of you. You've changed my world, ever since you showed me first you loved me. We're together. We are together. Nothing changes that. Your life is nothing without me in the same way. You can't leave. You won't leave. Stay.

All I can think about is you. You're the only thing on my mind. I open my eyes and I think I see you. Whenever I exhale in the cold I see your face coming out of my mouth. Every time I go under you're all I see, all I'm with. I fell in love with you on accident – and you fell in love with me accidentally. You're the only thing keeping me here, keeping me at this shitty school. Nothing else matters. No one else matters. Seeing you is all that matters. Being with you. Fuck, Celeste, just see me. Stay.

I'll die if this ends. I'll fucking die. You're what matters to me – and I know I'm what matters to you. I know it. We're in love – we are, you know it. You can't leave me. You can't. But if you do, I fucking swear, I'll take a knife and choke it down, slice it through. Throw myself off the Tower of London. Make a noose from barbed wire. I'll die. And you'll fucking go down too. Don't leave me. I'm desperate. Love me. Stay.

I can't let go of you, you fucking cunt. You've trapped me and I have to have you. You left. I told you to fucking stay. I told you. I warned you. You didn't listen, bitch. Why didn't you just listen? Why couldn't you stay? This is all your fault. Bitch. Cunt.

Dozens of emails ended in this manner. One even came with an attached photo of her, walking down the lane, completely unsuspecting.

Celeste Paxton, who would have turned nineteen at the end of the week, had died at the hands of her biggest fan: a stalker.

These were the only clues, each one impossible to follow. The email address vanished, and tracing it took them too many places.

Greg sat down with her roommate again. "Had Ms Paxton ever mentioned to you anything uncomfortable that'd happened to her?"

"Sorry?" The young university student said. "What do you mean?"

"Just that. Did Ms Paxton complain of feeling uncomfortable or unsafe?"

"Not really." The girl said slowly, blinking away a few tears. "See, the thing is, Detective Inspector, Celeste and I don't…didn't really talk. She was really shy. Wouldn't talk within an inch of her life unless I pressed her. I'd come home late from a party, and she'd always be asleep on her four-poster. She'd be gone when I woke up. I was really surprised when she started dating Billy, to be honest. It was like rooming with a ghost."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes…" The girl said, and then in a moment, "Why?"

"Now, I'm only telling you this because you might be at risk now." Pressing his lips together, Greg said simply, "She's been getting emails for months, and it looks like she had a stalker."

"Oh, my God," She stammered in sudden horror. "There was one thing. It happened at the beginning of the term. One of the only conversations we had."

Greg nodded. "Well, go on."

"Well, she asked me what I'd do if some bloke fancied me who I didn't want. My first reaction was to just shag him and see if things get better." She paused. "Celeste wasn't exactly thrilled with that idea."

"I wonder why," Greg muttered dryly.

"Then…then…I told her to just ignore him. That he'd get the message. But, Christ, I thought it was just some prick from around campus wanting to take her on a date!"

Greg and his men searched and searched, looking over photograph upon photograph, trying to make sense of it all. They searched every Internet café, every connection.

He looked into her professors – almost none of them knew who she even was, and those who did described her as cut-off, shy, and probably lonely – but she wrote one hell of an essay.

She had written one essay of particular note, about the American short story, The Most Dangerous Game.

One line struck Greg in the pit of the stomach.

"And nothing," Celeste had written. "No simile or metaphor existing in the English language compares to the feeling of becoming living prey. At least, not quite like this. 'He lived a year in a minute' (Connell 12). For the feeling of having a character like Zoloft against a person, every minute becomes a year. Someone only eighteen feels one hundred, and waking up every morning unscathed turns into a victory in itself."

They looked things over, and then they double checked, and then they triple checked. Every last suspect they looked over came out clean. Billy, her roommate, her roommate's friends, her professors, students with mutual classes, students walking in her way on a daily basis. If any of them had a clue as to who Celeste Paxton was, they had an alibi or a lack of motive, or lacked the intelligence to keep a crime scene so pristine.

It drove them around the bend, the unsolved case, the stalker still on the loose, and (worst of all) young Celeste's family forced to realise she was gone, and it didn't look as though Detective Inspector Lestrade could ever deliver them justice.

After three months, the case closed. Unsolved, and stuck in the back of Greg's mind every May, with a few new wrinkles as a result, and the beginning tint of silver in his hair.


Author's Note: This story – gasp – is finally done. It's possessed me for weeks. I haven't been able to do, like, ANYTHING else since the idea entered my head. The writing process is complete on this story, and submissions will come every other day.

Special thanks to RLSchmid719 for being an uber babe, reading early versions of this, and proofreading my horrid syntax. You rock. And roll. And stuff.

Now, dear reader, did you like the chapter? Hate it? Feel utterly indifferent and are now horribly angry with me for wasting your time? Please review and let me know!