New Orleans, LA
Sunday, June 22nd, 1997
Nicole and Monica had coordinated their outfits for the night because of the dance contest. Nicole was dressed all in white. She was wearing white, form fitting jeans; a very snug, low scoop neck, white tank top under a crisp starched white oxford, and white boots. Monica was dressed identically, except her clothes were black and her pants were leather.
The result was a striking study of contrasts. Light and dark, blonde and brunette, yin and yang. They looked so different yet they completed a perfect picture, complimented each other, belonged together. There was an aura about them as they entered the club – heads turned as they moved through the crowd.
“Damn…” Sgt. Laffite said.
Scully turned to her. “What?” Then she saw her partner and the brunette agent.
“Well if our suspect didn’t notice her before, he will tonight!” Laffite said. “If we weren’t working a case I’d ask her out,” she added.
They heard muted agreements from both Larry and Ben over their ear pieces. Scully kept her thoughts to herself. But there was definitely something about Logan, something different, an air about her that she hadn’t seen before. Several words came to mind: animal magnetism, charisma, sensuality, nobility. It wasn’t that she didn’t think Logan was an attractive woman before, it was just… Her partner just seemed to be projecting an aura of all these things and it made… Scully couldn’t really put it into words, but the effect was obvious. Heads were turning everywhere.
Nicole and Monica found a table and it was as if they were royalty holding court. They received excellent service from the staff and many people came and went from their company.
Once again, a nagging hint of irritation gnawed at Scully when she saw the ‘loving’ looks Logan and Reyes were exchanging. She shoved it to the back of her mind, telling herself she needed to be on alert. She needed to keep her eyes open for any possible suspects.
About an hour before the dance contest was to begin Monica and Nicole made their way to the dance floor. They wanted to warm up and prepare for the contest. While they were dancing Scully went to the bar to get refills for herself and Laffite. By the time she got back to the table, Det. Moore had arrived. Laffite’s arm was around the detective’s shoulders, keeping up their cover as a couple.
Suddenly Moore’s jaw dropped. She was looking toward the dance floor and she had just gotten a look at Monica and Nicole dancing together on the floor. “Um,” she shook her head absently and sort of pointed toward the dance floor. “Damn…” she whispered as Monica and Nicole gracefully moved toward their table.
“Tell me about it,” Laffite commiserated.
“What the hell did she do? Jump into a vat of ‘look at me, I’m hot’ pheromones or something?” Moore asked incredulously. “Damn, I’m tempted to go over and ask her for a date.”
Laffite made an amused noise and bumped her shoulder against Scully’s. “Well, your partner just got the straight girl vote. So it’s official – she’s hot.”
Moore let out a chuckle. “It’s not going to be a problem finding someone watching her tonight. It’s going to be hard to find someone that isn’t,” she said, grinning.
The detective’s comment made Laffite and Scully exchange a look.
The dance contest was fun to watch. It started with several couples on the floor at the same time while the judges pared them down. Nicole and Monica seemed to move well together as if they were quite accustomed to dancing together. When the large number of couples was pared down to a dozen, they were still standing. There were four couples each of female/female, male/male and male/female. There would be a first, second and third place picked in each category, and then an overall champion couple picked.
It was the overall competition that everyone was really looking forward to, because that’s when the couples really went all out and also got to do freestyle routines of their own choosing in addition to the required dances.
During the finals for the women Monica and Nicole had to dance the Swing, the Cha-Cha, and the Salsa.
“They look like they’ve been dance partners for years,” Moore said.
“I know they practiced all this afternoon,” Scully replied.
“Well, your partner is a hell of dancer,” Laffite chipped in.
“They’ve both got some great moves,” Moore added.
After all 12 couples were done dancing the results were announced. Nicole and Monica took first in their group. They would now compete against the other two first place couples for the overall competition. There was going to be a break, however before the competition resumed, giving everyone a chance to rest.
Nicole and Monica sat at their table and rested. Since several people were stopping by and congratulating the couple, the law enforcement women decided to do so as well. It gave them the chance to move around the crowd and to touch base with the couple.
Scully and Laffite were first to go by their table.
“You were great!” said the sergeant.
“Thanks,” replied Monica.
Scully put her hand on Logan’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “You’ve got some hidden talents there, Logan,” she said with an amused smile and a sparkle in her eyes. “Who would have thought?”
“Gee thanks, Scully,” the blonde replied with a smirk.
Scully and Laffite returned to their own table. Other well-wishers stopped by their table to compliment the couple and wish them luck.
Nicole and Monica were finally alone at their table. They were holding hands and sitting close. They continued to play their roles as lovers. In truth, it wasn’t very hard. Even though Nicole was in a different state of mind – on the hunt – she was not immune to the beauty and allure that was Monica Reyes. Especially while dancing, holding her body, feeling her move in perfect rhythm with her own. She leaned in and spoke softly in Monica’s ear.
“In case I haven’t told you tonight, you’re beautiful.”
Monica pulled back to she could look in Nicole’s eyes. She tenderly caressed Nicole’s cheek and then leaned in and kissed the blonde. She pulled back and smiled at Nicole. “I want you to know, regardless of the circumstances, I’m glad our paths crossed again. I’ll always be your friend.”
Nicole returned her smile. “Same here.” She leaned in and they kissed once again.
The final three couples took the floor.
The emcee took the microphone. “Ladies and gentleman, as our finalists in the overall competition take the floor I’d like to go over the rules for this part of the competition. We will be doing things a little differently than we did in the earlier portions. Rather than having prearranged dance selections, our couples will now be judged on their knowledge and ability perform without preparation. Our couples have no idea what dances they will be asked to perform, and you, our audience, will be the ones to decide.”
A murmur went through the audience.
“Then we will finish up with a freestyle performance by each couple. And now, let me once again introduce our judges for this evening’s competition.” The judges stood as he reintroduced them.
An audience member was chosen at random to pick the first dance.
“How about the Bolero?”
Not only was the Bolero a bit slower than the earlier dances, but it was a bit more suggestive since the partners held each other much closer. It was also clear that one couple, the male/male couple, was not as familiar with the Bolero.
For the next dance someone chose the Tango. The emcee continued to pick people from the audience. Rumba, Mambo, Waltz, even Dirty Dancing were requested.
When it came to the final performances, the freestyles, it was pretty clear it was going to be between Nicole and Monica, and the male/female couple. They drew numbers to see in what order they would go. Monica and Nicole would be last.
The crowd absolutely loved the freestyle dances. The couples got to show off their best moves. Both the male/male couple and the female/male couple showed off their best steps and seemed to have fun.
Finally it was Nicole and Monica’s turn. Their number had humor in it. It started with Nicole trying to instruct Monica in textbook, stiff, formal dance steps. Correcting her posture, arm position, etc. as they danced. And for her part, the brunette was having trouble with the steps and keeping time with the formal metered music. Then Monica appeared to throw up her hands in aggravation. She marched over to the DJ to request different music. The music changed to something very sensual and romantic.
Monica went back to Nicole who tried to start over with her ‘dance lesson’. Monica shook her head though, and took over the lesson. She moved behind Nicole, put her hands on the blonde’s hips, and by moving her own hips while pressed against Nicole, got the blonde to slowly loosen up and get into the new music. From there she eased her ‘instructor’ into loosening up more and more. It was a dance of pure seduction. It was full of sensuality, romance, and eroticism. During their dance the only sound in the whole club was the music they danced to. Not a single drink was poured or served – not that one was ordered. All eyes were on them.
Once they finished there were a couple of seconds of complete silence. Then the whole place burst out in applause. Nicole and Monica kissed tenderly, then retrieved their oxford over-shirts which had been discarded during the dance.
My god, that was… Scully searched for the right word.
“That was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,” Moore said in awe.
“It was pretty amazing,” Scully agreed.
“Incredible? I’d say that was hottest thing I’ve ever seen,” Laffite said in no uncertain terms.
Hot… yeah, that’s one word for it. Hot, sexy… erotic.
“If that didn’t get the suspect’s attention nothing will,” Moore added softly.
It wasn’t long before the judges were ready with the results. The male/male couple came in third; the female/male couple second. And, not surprisingly, Nicole and Monica came in first.
The emcee called them up to the stage. “And what are your names?”
“What do you do for a living?”
“I’m on sabbatical from teaching, writing a book.” Nicole gave Monica a glance and tightened her arm around the brunette’s waist. “And I’m so very glad I’m here.”
“What do you do, Ms. Reyes?”
“I’m a post grad student at Tulane,” she answered.
“Well, congratulations to both of you.” He handed the trophy to them.
Nicole and Monica opted to go out for something light to eat after leaving the club. It was also a way to see if they were being followed. They played up their roles and were very obvious about being a couple – holding hands, kissing, whispering in each other’s ear, etc.
They then drove to the condo building. Upon entering the bait condo Nicole pointed out the hidden surveillance equipment. “At least there’s privacy in the bathroom,” she said with a smirk.
She poured them both a drink and they stepped out onto the small balcony. It was a move specifically designed to let anyone watching the building know which condo was Nicole’s. Once they finished their drinks, Monica left and drove home.
Monday, June 23rd, 1997
Only a few short hours later, despite being out so late, Logan got up in the morning, dressed, and headed out for a run. Det. Ben Corbin discreetly shadowed her on a bike on her run. They were both cataloging who they saw on her run so they could hopefully recognize someone from the club, or determine if she was being followed by someone.
When she returned to the condo Scully was waiting for her. She tossed Logan a cold bottle of water. “I can’t believe you went for run so early this morning.”
The blonde smiled. “Have to make myself a choice target – make our boy take the bait,” she replied.
“Were you followed?”
“I didn’t see him, but he was there – I could feel his eyes.” She started for the bathroom. “I need a shower. I’ll just be a couple of minutes.”
Logan took a fast shower and changed into some clean clothes. She then joined Scully and they had some breakfast and mapped out the day.
The French Quarter
Logan decided on a little bit of window shopping. While she was browsing she ran into a familiar face – Brian Monroe. Brian was one of the doormen/bouncers from Dreams. He was a nice guy that everyone at the club knew and liked. He was always protective of the patrons, ensuring their safety both inside and outside the doors. If someone, male or female, didn’t want to walk to their car alone, Brian was always there to escort them. If someone got out of hand inside the club Brian had a way of calming people down and convincing them to behave. And if they got out of hand he had the size, strength, and will to enforce their good behavior, or if necessary, compel their departure.
They decided to have a cup of coffee. At the coffee shop Brian offered to get their drinks while Nicole got a table. She indicated she’d prefer tea to coffee. While Brian got their drinks Logan got a table next to the window. She was trying to keep an eye out for anyone following her. She spotted Det. North and Sgt. Laffite, though they were inconspicuous.
Nicole and Brian had a nice visit over tea and coffee. Afterwards they prepared to go their separate ways. Brian walked with Logan to her car and then bade her farewell. As the blonde opened her car door she suddenly felt lightheaded.
She heard concern in the voice. She looked up and saw Brian looking at her from several yards away.
“Are you alright?” He started coming back towards her.
She took a deep breath and held up a hand in the universal gesture for stop. “Yeah, I’m okay. Just a little lightheaded.”
Brian stopped in his tracks. “Are you sure?”
She nodded. “Yeah. I’m headed home. I think I just need some rest.”
“If you’re sure…” he replied, but stood his ground and watched her, presumably to make sure she got away alright.
As Nicole bent to get into the driver’s seat she wavered and almost nosedived into the parking lot.
Brian raced to her side and helped to steady her. “I’ve got you. Nicole, I don’t think you should be driving. Let me drive you home.”
She groggily nodded and handed him her keys. He helped her around to the passenger’s side, then got her settled into the seat and even put her seatbelt on for her. She fought to stay conscious. Brian got behind the wheel of the car and started it up. She managed to look in his eyes – he either hid, or controlled, the evil within very well – she had never sensed it in him… until now. She fought the substance within her but before he got out of the parking lot Logan was out cold. He pulled out of the lot, but did not go in the direction of the condo.
At first, Laffite and North weren’t sure what was going on. The equipment they had allowed them to hear what Logan and Brian had said. And they knew Logan had not slept but a couple of hours the night before. But when Brian drove by, they saw Logan’s slumped form in the passenger seat. They rushed to their car and called for backup. They had no idea what condition the blonde was in.
Logan came to as a flashlight was shined in her eyes. She swatted at it. The blonde tried to sit up but was pushed back against the car seat by a firm hand on her shoulder.
“Take it easy, Nicole. You’ve been drugged,” Scully’s concerned voice soothed. She gave Logan’s shoulder a gentle squeeze.
Logan swallowed. “I’m fine. I just need a couple minutes.” She took a few deep breaths, trying to clear her head and get her system going again. She felt Scully’s hand on her wrist, checking her pulse.
The redhead gently lifted the blonde’s eyelids so she could get a better look in her eyes. “Follow my finger,” she said holding her index finger up in front her partner’s face. She moved it around and watched Logan’s eyes as they tracked the movement of her finger. “Do you remember what happened?”
She nodded. “I ran into Brian window shopping. Agreed to have coffee with him. He must have put it in my tea. I didn’t smell or taste it because I had spiced tea.” Logan sat up again. She took a couple of slow, deep breaths before pushing herself to her feet, forcing Scully to back out the way. She held onto the car door to steady herself.
“You should wait for an ambulance, Logan. You need to be checked out.”
She shook her head. “I’m fine, Scully.” She looked around. “Where’s Brian?”
“They took him in. Reyes is heading up a team to go through his apartment.”
Logan lowered her head and rubbed her temples. “They won’t find anything, not at his apartment. He would have to have somewhere more private. Let’s get back. If they don’t find anything on him, he’s going to walk.”
“We can at least hold him for drugging you.”
The blonde shook her head. “No proof if they don’t find anything at his apartment. He’ll say he knows nothing about it. A lawyer would say I could have been drugged at lunch, and that he was just being nice and helpful, taking me home since I got sick. And he’ll be able to produce over a hundred character witnesses to say it would have been out of character for Brian not to do so.”
“That’s just another reason to get you checked out. We need to find out what he gave you.”
“You can draw my blood back at the station and have it analyzed.” Logan got back into the car, a bit unsteady but completely on her own. “You can drive,” she added a touch sarcastically.
Scully drove car to the police station, keeping a discreet eye on her partner as she did so. She was still concerned about Logan, despite the fact that the blonde seemed to have come to only a few minutes after she’d passed out.
New Orleans Police Department
Logan was still a little lightheaded as she and Scully walked into the police station. Scully led her partner to the lab and pointed at a stool.
“Sit,” Scully ordered.
Logan didn’t argue. She sat down and leaned against the counter. Scully opened a couple of cabinets looking for a blood collection kit.
One of the techs entered. His name was Eddie. “Can I help you find something?” he asked.
“I need to draw Logan’s blood. Where do you keep the kits?” Scully asked.
“I’ll get it for you.” He was only gone a minute.
Scully drew a couple of vials of blood from Logan. “Could you have a complete tox screen run for us?”
“Sure. Is there anything in particular you’re looking for?”
Scully shook her head. “We don’t know what he gave her. Test for as many things as you can think of.”
“Alright.” Eddie left with the vials.
Logan and Scully then sought out Lt. Grant Scipio. The three of them stood outside the interview room and observed their suspect.
“Has he asked for a lawyer yet?” Logan asked.
“No. He says he doesn’t need one. That he doesn’t understand what’s going on. He says he was helping you because you seemed to get sick, and he’s expressed concern for you. He’s asked if you’re alright.” Scipio looked over at Logan. “Are you sure he’s the one? That he drugged you? Even Sgt. Laffite reported he didn’t say anything to indicate he was anything but a nice guy helping someone he knew.”
“It’s him,” Logan said confidently, remembering the taint of his soul.
Lt. Scipio nodded. He looked at her again. “Are you alright, Agent Logan?”
“I’m fine. Whatever he gave me seems to have worn off quickly. I don’t think I got a full dose,” she stated with a touch of humor coloring her tone.
“What was it?”
“We don’t know yet. I drew her blood and asked your people to analyze it for us,” Scully supplied.
“Well it wasn’t Rohypnol – I remember everything. And I seriously doubt it was GHB, ketamine, or MDMA.”
“You want to interview him?” he asked.
“Yes. But I want to know everything we can about him first. And I want to wait to see what Monica and the others turn up at his place. If they don’t find anything the only way we’ll get him is through a confession.”
Logan suddenly turned and made her way to the break room where she made herself a cup of hot tea. She then went into the bathroom. She was doing a fairly good job of fighting whatever he’d slipped into her drink, but she needed to clear her system. She locked the door to the bathroom long enough to extend her wings and pluck a feather. After snapping open the quill and mixing the liquid into her tea, she retracted her wings and unlocked the bathroom door. She returned to the break room and made herself comfortable on the couch, drinking her tea.
Once Logan finished her tea she settled herself, closed her eyes, and turned her mind inward. After a few deep, cleansing breaths her entire being stilled. Her heart slowed to a slow but steady 20 beats per minute, and her respiration to a slow and deep four breaths per minute.
Scully walked into the break room and found Logan with her eyes closed and head down a bit. She was so still Scully thought she may be asleep, or possibly unconscious again – a real concern since she didn’t know what Brian had dosed her partner with yet. Even though Logan seemed to shake the effects of whatever she’d ingested rather quickly, Scully didn’t like that the blonde wouldn’t go get checked out.
She was just about to call Logan’s name when she realized Logan’s back was perfectly straight and she was basically sitting in a classic lotus position. Scully simply observed her. Although slow, the blonde’s respirations were steady.
Logan’s mind had turned inward to assist her body. However, she immediately sensed Scully’s presence. She allowed part of her mind to linger there.
“Do you need me, Scully?” she asked softly.
Scully startled at the sound of Logan’s voice. The blonde hadn’t opened her eyes or given any sign she was at all aware of her presence. “We’ll need a urine sample when you go to the bathroom. I brought you a specimen jar.”
Scully lingered for a several more moments before she left.
Since Logan had upped her preventative steps that morning, the additional dose she drank in the break room was enough to aid her in cleansing the foreign substances from her system. It didn’t take as long as it could have. When she opened her eyes she felt good and her mind was perfectly clear. She picked up the specimen jar Scully had left and went to the bathroom. She took the jar to the lab where her blood was being analyzed. She found both Scully and the lab tech Eddie working. She set the sample on the counter.
“Found anything yet?” Logan asked.
Scully looked up. “Not yet. But it may not have been long enough for whatever drug it was to get into your bloodstream. We’ll take another sample in a few hours.”
“He’s too smart to use a drug you’d normally test for. Certainly nothing synthetic or artificial. I’d look at organics – possibly biological, probably botanical.”
“Do you have any idea how many drugs and toxins are of biological or botanical origin?” Eddie asked.
Logan shook her head. “That’s not what I mean.”
“I think I understand,” Scully replied. “You’re talking about something that’s not too difficult to obtain and can be used by an informed lay person. You’re thinking homeopathic and herbal substances.”
“Alright. We’ll get started on it. Sgt. Laffite has been doing some background work on Brian. You might want to see what she has so far.”
Logan found Laffite working at a computer. “Hey, Sergeant.”
The police sergeant popped her head up. “Agent Logan! How are you?”
“I’m okay. Scully says you’ve been digging into Brian’s background.”
She nodded. “I haven’t found much. He’s coming up clean. No record, no arrests, not even any traffic tickets. Checked his past employers, all of them say the same thing – couldn’t ask for a nicer person or a better employee; would hire him back in a second. I still can’t believe it’s him myself.” She shook her head. “Anyway,” she took a deep breath, “no college or other higher education on his record.”
“Where did he go to high school?”
“He was tutored overseas. His mother was with the consulate in Hong Kong.”
Logan’s eyes lit up as a piece of the puzzle fell into place. “Alright. Keep digging.”
Logan stepped out into the hallway and pulled out her phone.
“Nicole, are you alright?” she asked clearly concerned.
“Yeah. I’m alright.”
“They told me you were unconscious when they stopped Brian Monroe in your car.”
“I’m okay, Monica, really. I was only out for a few minutes. I may not have gotten a full dose.”
“A dose of what?”
“Still working on that. Are you finding anything at his apartment?”
The brunette let out a sigh. “Nothing out of the ordinary. There’s no blood to be found anywhere, no drugs – not even aspirin. They’ve dusted only a few places so far, but there’s no indication anyone but Brian was ever here.”
“I’m not surprised. Listen, can you do me favor?”
“Take pictures of everything, every room, every book shelf, everything. And bring them back as soon as you’re done.”
“Alright. I’ll get right on it.”
“Thanks, Monica. I’ll see you when you get here.”
Logan was on a computer doing some research when Reyes entered. She walked up to Nicole and put a hand on her shoulder. “Hey there.”
Nicole turned on the stool to face her. “Hi.”
Monica just looked at her for a few moments.
The blonde gave her a small smile. “I’m alright, Monica. Really.”
The brunette lightly touched Nicole’s cheek. “I was worried about you,” she said softly.
Nicole stood and they embraced. Once they released each other Logan sat back down. Monica pulled the digital storage disk out of the camera.
“Your pictures,” she said with a smile.
They got to work.
Logan stared at pictures of the kitchen.
“Do you want to see inside the cabinets?” Monica asked.
“You got pictures of that?”
“You said you wanted everything, every detail,” she replied with a hint of a smirk.
“Yes, please,” Nicole said, pleasantly surprised. She then addressed Scully who had just entered. “Hey, Scully.”
Scully held up a folder. “We have some results. Kava-lactones and valeric acid.”
Logan nodded. “Kava and valerian. Not surprising.”
“There are some other things in smaller concentrations that we haven’t nailed down yet.”
“I think I know what they are,” Logan replied cryptically and looked at the image on the computer screen with the open kitchen cabinets. She took a breath and let it out. “It’s time to talk to him.”
“But we don’t have anything to tie him to any of the crime scenes and the only prints we recovered from his apartment are his,” Monica said. “We didn’t find anything that indicated he owns, rents, or leases any property, dwelling, or storage locker anywhere – except for his apartment. And no clean suits or any paper trail showing he procured any. We can’t even prove he was the one who drugged you. Basically, we have nothing.”
Logan took another breath. “Then he’ll have to confess.” With that the blonde turned and left the room.
New Orleans Police Department
Monday, June 23rd, 1997
A video camera was set up and sound was recording. The camera was focused on Brian Monroe where he sat at the table. A uniformed officer stood near the door to the room with his arms crossed. He’d been waiting literally for hours. Finally the door opened and Agent Nicole Logan entered. She indicated for the uniformed officer to leave.
Brian got up. “Nicole, are you alright? They wouldn’t tell me what happened to you.”
“I’m fine. Please, sit down, Brian.”
He sat down but looked at her a bit puzzled as she sat across from him.
“Have you been read your rights, Brian?”
“Yes. But I don’t know what’s going on, why I’m here.”
“Are you willing to talk to me without a lawyer present?”
“Yes, yes. But tell me what’s going on, Nicole.”
“Brian, the police have arrested you because they believe you drugged me.”
“What?! You were drugged? Is that why you got sick?”
Monitoring the interview from the observation room were Scully, Reyes, Laffite, and Scipio.
“He’s sticking to his story,” Scipio needlessly observed.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d believe him,” Laffite commented.
“Don’t worry, she’ll get him,” Monica replied quietly.
Scully remained silent, keeping her own thoughts to herself.
“I didn’t get sick, Brian, I was sedated. And I think you know that.”
The door opened and the uniformed officer handed Logan a folder. “Here you go, Agent Logan.”
Brian’s expression was one of disbelief and confusion. “Agent? Y-You’re not a teacher?”
Logan shook her head. “I’m a special agent with the FBI.” She paused. “Are you still willing to speak with me without a lawyer?”
“Of course. I don’t know what this is all about, but I haven’t done anything.”
The blonde took a deep breath and let it out. “Would you care for something to drink, Brian? I know I would.”
“I don’t like most teas. Coffee would be fine.”
Logan got up, opened the door, and asked someone to retrieve the items she’d prepared. “The coffee here is atrocious. I prefer tea. I think you’ll like this tea, Brian.”
He looked at her unsure.
“Trust me,” she said.
“Alright,” he acquiesced. His eyes lit up as the tray of prepared items were brought in.
Logan stood. Using chopsticks she filled a Chinese teapot approximately one third full with tea leaves. She then poured very hot water into the pot, holding the teapot over a large bowl and letting the overflow run into the bowl. She gave the tea leaves a rinse by filling the pot half full with hot water, then drained the water out immediately, leaving only the soaked tea leaves. She then filled the teapot to the top with more hot water, covered it, and poured additional water over the teapot resting in the tea bowl.
Though she did not take her eyes off her task the genuine smile on Brian’s face was not missed by the observers.
After half a minute, Logan poured the tea into the cups by moving the teapot around in a continual motion over the cups so that they were filled together. She then poured the remaining tea into a second teapot. She placed a cup in front of Brian and retook her seat.
“Tie Guan Yin?” he asked.
She graced him with a small smile and shook her head. “Da Hong Pao.”
He smile conveyed his pleasure. He took a sip. “Yeun may,” [Perfect,] he said softly, respectfully.
“Douh cheh,” [Thank you,] she replied with a nod of acknowledgment.
They drank the first pot of tea without further comment from either. After Logan prepared a second pot in the same manner as the first she finally broke the silence as she once again poured the tea.
“Did you enjoy living in China?” she asked.
“Hong Kong… it’s hard to call it China – it’s been so westernized. But there are things I miss.”
“Like good tea?” she asked lightly.
He smiled. “Yes. But I benefited greatly growing up there.”
“Undoubtedly. Did you attend the western school with the British and other American children?”
“No. I was taught privately.”
They spoke a little about his Oxford educated Chinese teacher.
“But he wasn’t your only teacher. Not even the one you most respected. Tell me about Zhi Cao.”
Brian was obviously surprised she knew about his true teacher, but he talked about Zhi Cao. It was obvious Brian loved his teacher. He was the one who actually inspired Brian, encouraged him and instilled a thirst for knowledge. A thirst that ‘George’, his Oxford educated teacher, undoubtedly took credit for. Either way, Brian’s thirst was fed. He excelled in his studies far beyond any of his peers. He had working knowledge of several languages, which Logan was able to get him to demonstrate by conversing in them – Italian, Latin, Greek, German, Japanese, Spanish, and of course Chinese – which was his best.
He also learned ancient Chinese medicine – acupuncture and herbal remedies. During their talk, Logan continued to periodically prepare more tea which they sipped. She even sent out for a replacement set up when she had steeped the tea leaves in the first pot for the final time.
“Nay ho ming hein hai yat gor ho huwok shang. Nay de chee sick wing yi nay sheen shang.” [You were obviously a good student. Your knowledge honors your teacher,] she said. “Yat gor yuk pui may gah gong hay mo yung, yat gor yun may yau huwok shek hay mo yung gah,” [A Jade stone is useless before it is processed; a man is good-for-nothing until he is educated,] she added the ancient Chinese proverb to make her point.
He couldn’t help but smile. “Douh cheh,” [Thank you,] he replied. “Yu gwouh nay shai gwouh ng low leek dook shui, nay dai gwouh chi how wuy how fui,” [If you do not study hard when young you’ll end up bewailing your failures as you grow up,] he quoted another proverb that his teacher favored.
Logan nodded in agreement. “Brian, my knowledge of Chinese medicine is limited. Perhaps you can help me with something.”
“If I can.” Brian seemed genuinely eager to help.
“According to the lab reports, I was given a mixture of kava and valerian. But there were other ingredients that they haven’t identified yet. There had to be something mixed in to accelerate the effects of the kava and valerian. With your knowledge, can you tell me what that might have been?”
“Possibly another sedative/pain reliever, like dong quai.” He knit his eyebrows and shook his head. “But to mix not two but three such sedatives would be very difficult. It would be too easy to obtain a toxic affect rather than sedation. It would take an exceptionally skilled herbalist,” he concluded.
Logan nodded. “I also believe there was something included to lower my blood pressure – I’m thinking qu mai.” Her inflection made her statement sound like a question.
Uncertainty may have passed behind his eyes. “Qu mai would do that,” he replied slowly.
“Alright. Can you solve another puzzle for me, Brian?”
He gave a nod indicating for her to continue.
“Such a concoction, a mixture of kava, valerian, don quai, and qu mai would be very difficult to blend properly for the desired effect. As you said, it would take an exceptionally skilled herbalist. But even if such a skilled person did make this mixture, he would still have a remedy with a distinctive taste. Even mixed with soda or coffee or tea,” she held up her teacup, “the flavor would not go unnoticed.”
Eddie, the forensic tech that had been working with Scully came rushing in. “I have the other substances identified. It took some research and I had to consult with an herbalist. Her drink was spiked with, besides the kava and valerian we already identified, three other herbs – don quai, a sedative and pain reliever–”
“Qu mai?” Scully asked knowing her partner was right.
“Yes,” Eddie answered surprised. “It’s a diuretic.”
“Which lowers the blood pressure,” Dana added.
“Yes. And the final ingredient was–”
“Gan cao,” they all heard Brian’s voice say.
Eddie looked at the screen. “Gan cao, which cleanses toxins from the body,” he said, a little disappointed to have his thunder stolen.
“But gan cao has a distinctive flavor, Brian.”
“If taken alone, certainly. However if used in correct balance it mutes the taste and smell of less palatable herbs. Again, great skill would be required to avoid overpowering whatever it’s added to with its own flavor. Having achieved that, the remedy you describe would likely be undetected in a strong beverage such as cola, coffee, and many teas. It also has the added benefit of cleansing toxins from the body. Since mixing three sedatives and not crossing the line from sedation to toxicity is so difficult, it would be a wise precaution to add gan cao for that reason alone, even if masking flavor was not an issue,” he concluded.
Logan nodded thoughtfully. “I see, thank you, Brian. Your teacher would be proud of your knowledge.” She laconically poured them some more tea.
The blonde then took their conversation off on a completely different tangent. She asked him about his life in the States. She asked about his previous jobs, places he’d lived, things he’d done, people he’d gotten to know. All things he readily supplied without hesitation. She even answered a few questions about herself.
“Yes. I may not be a teacher, but I have resided in the United Kingdom. I have a family home in Wales and I had a flat just off campus while I was at university.”
“Oxford?” he asked genuinely interested.
She smirked and replied with a chuckle. “Don’t be insulting. I went to Cambridge.”
He laughed at her lighthearted jab at the rival sister university. “George would have challenged you to a duel for that.”
“Well, that’s only proper.” She paused. “You had an extraordinary education, informal though it was. Have you ever considered continuing your education – going to graduate school?”
His disposition seemed to change a little to disappointment. “I don’t think that’s possible. I don’t officially have a high school diploma, much less an undergraduate degree.”
“All of which is merely a technicality. Brian, you would have no problem passing the GED. But I don’t know of a single university that would require one after you demonstrated your comprehensive knowledge. You studied at the feet of a master teacher, Zhi Cao. And with George’s instruction you’ve learned the Italian, Latin, Greek, German, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese languages.”
Brian seemed to cheer up as Logan pointed out his accomplishments and learning.
“If you did go on with your formal education, have you thought about where you’d like to go?”
His smile was almost an embarrassed one. “I’d love to go to Oxford. No disrespect intended,” he added quickly.
“Nothing wrong with wanting to go the second best school in the world,” she said with a smile.
He returned her smile knowingly.
“What would you like to study there?”
“I’d like to study in depth the differences between Eastern and Western philosophies. Zhi Cao said that all of man is the same, yet we fight over different ways of expressing the same ideals. We’ve forgotten our common ground, our common ancestry. If man could only see that we’re the same then there would be peace.” He paused. “Man’s ideals are expressed in our religions and philosophies. I want to study them and see where we are the same, even if we are different peoples. If we are all part of this creation then Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Paganism, and others, must all come from the same seeds, the same roots, the same soil.”
You are more right than you know. It’s a shame you wasted such a mind on killing, Logan thought.
“I think he’s actually sincere,” observed Laffite. She shook her head. “I still can’t believe it’s him.” She glanced at her watch. “She’s been in there a long time and we still don’t have enough to convict him.”
“Be patient. Nicole knows what she’s doing. She’ll get him,” Monica said quietly, remaining attentive to things as they played out before them.
“If you really want to do an in depth comparison like that, then you would want to visit the library at the Vatican. They have a very extensive collection of religious texts – many of which are first editions in their original languages. They have a Talmud which has been proven to being from the seventh century. Of course it’s written in Aramaic, so you’d have to have someone translate it for you. The same goes for their Korans. And unless you read Hebrew you wouldn’t be able to read their oldest bibles without a translator either.”
“George didn’t teach me those languages. But I have tried to study them on my own. I wanted to be able to read the holy texts in their original languages, to read the words as they were written – not rely on someone else’s biased translation.”
Logan nodded. “Good, so you realize a translation often becomes an interpretation.”
“Yes! That was one of the first things I realized when I was learning Chinese! Chinese proverbs that have made it into the English language are worded so differently that many times the meaning itself is completely twisted. ‘Yu gwouh nay shai gwouh ng low leek dook shui, nay dai gwouh chi how wuy how fui,’ [‘All warfare is deception,’] is not ‘All’s fair in love and war.'”
“Indeed. Sun Tzu must roll over in his grave often.”
“Sun Tzu?” Laffite asked.
“The Art of War,” Scully explained softly. She smiled to herself. Her partner was obviously well read. The Art of War was one of her father’s favorites, although he never read it in the original Chinese. Well, she did say she had to have a basic knowledge of several languages, but I think she downplayed her abilities. At least she’s gotten him to admit knowledge of the herbs used to drug her and of the languages used in the notes. Keep it up, Logan.
Scully had observed and participated in quite a number of interviews and interrogations over the years. She felt Logan was on the right track with their suspect. The blonde continued her conversation with Brian. Scully could tell Sgt. Laffite was getting antsy, but Lt. Scipio and Agent Reyes seemed to understand that getting someone like Brian to confess sometimes took time. One had to tread lightly.
Logan and Brian continued to talk for a while, going off on a number of tangents. Finally Logan felt it was time to press. She’d built the relationship she needed with Brian and, more importantly, Brian was ready. He had finally started to let go of the control he kept over the darkness within.
“Brian, why did you do it?”
“Spike my tea.”
“But I didn’t.”
Her eyes bored into his. “Ting ah! Nay ching hai geen ngor jung chong tong,” [Stop it! I have shown you nothing but respect and hospitality,] she growled and gestured to the tea. “Nay gor gah mien yi ging mo yuk jorh ngor. Ng ho jour gwang dai wah lay mo yuk ngor!” [You insult me with your pretense and false face. Do not insult me further by lying!]
After a couple of moments of silence Brian’s expression hardened and his whole demeanor changed. He hadn’t expected such an outburst from the blonde. His control slipped.
“Would you have come with me otherwise?” he asked.
“Right. None of you would.” He went on to point out his ‘positive attributes’ and bemoan how women like her wouldn’t give him the time of day. It angered him how a woman would prefer to be with another woman instead of him.
“Women like me. You mean like Melody Spearman?”
He just glared at her. Logan didn’t let up.
“Why did you wash her body afterwards?”
“I washed her before – to remove the stink from her. To make her clean.”
“You washed her when you were done with her. Why bother washing her since you just dumped her, threw her away like yesterday’s trash?”
“I didn’t dump her! She was cleansed, purified, she wasn’t trash. She was clean. I left her in a clean place.”
Logan continued pressing Brian. Once she had locked eyes with him and got his control to slip, she knew she’d get it all from him. She got him to admit to the other killings and rapes.
For his part, Brian, was angry, defiant, arrogant, and somewhat confused. He knew the police couldn’t prove anything. He knew if he just kept to the plan, played his part, they couldn’t touch him. Yet somehow, something he didn’t understand was compelling him to tell all. He couldn’t look away from her eyes. Her eyes saw his soul… and he couldn’t look away. He knew he should stop talking, but he couldn’t. Her eyes were compelling him to tell all. He couldn’t look away… not from those eyes… those eyes…
Logan wrung every last detail from Brian. Names, places, deeds, everything. Often times, perps, once relieved of their secrets, their burdens, the darkness in their souls eased. Some were even completely freed of it. But not this one. The darkness was too deeply rooted. He would tell her all, but it would not help his soul.
Finally finished, Logan stood. She picked up the tea tray. “Goodbye, Brian.” She opened the door.
Two uniformed officers came in and cuffed Brian. Logan was walking down the corridor away from them when the officers brought him out of the room. He looked at her receding back. He had to know. Even as the officers led him in a different direction he called out.
“Dim yurng? Ngor ho yuen may gah. Mo yuen chi gah. Dim yurng gah?” [How? I was perfect. No one knew. How?] he called out.
Logan stopped, turned to look at him, and quoted Sun Tzu, “‘Xi zhi shan zhan zhe, xian wei bu ke sheng, yi dai di zhi ke sheng.'” [‘The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.’] She paused for a beat. “I waited.” She then resumed her journey to the break room.
They took him away and locked him up.
When Scully found Logan in the break room, the blonde was standing at a window gazing out. The tea set she’d used was washed and drying near the sink. It had been a long day… a long interview. Scully could easily sense the weariness in her partner as she neared.
Logan took a sip of water, let out a deep breath, and closed her eyes.
“They’re never easy,” Scully said softly.
“No, they’re not.”
“You did a great job in there, Logan.”
“Thank you,” she replied quietly.
“Look, it’s been a long day for you. Why don’t you go on? Go to the hotel, or take a walk, or whatever. I’ll stay and finish things up here. I’ll see you at the hotel later. The case is over and we can go home tomorrow.”
Logan took another deep breath and slowly let it out. She looked at Scully. “Alright. Thank you.”
“Do you want me to arrange for our flight out tomorrow?”
Scully shook her head. “No. I’ll take care of it.”
Logan nodded and then left.
When Logan found her, she grabbed her by the throat and slammed her up against a wall. “I told you that I would know if you broke the rules!”
Logan didn’t. She slammed the stake into Val’s chest. “You already had your second chance,” she growled as the vampire turned to dust.
She had wanted to do that as soon as she found out Val had been feeding again, but she couldn’t because of the case. Now, she felt all the loose ends in New Orleans were taken care of. The blonde headed to the hotel.
Red Roof Inn
Once Scully had finalized things with the NOPD she went to the hotel. It had been a long day. She slipped out of her heels and let out a silent sigh. She was surprised to see a file folder sitting on her bed. She picked it up and opened it. Inside was a copy of Logan’s finished case report. Well no one can accuse her of being a slacker.
After Scully changed clothes she tapped on the adjoining door which was slightly ajar. There was no response. She slowly opened the door. It was mostly dark in the room, except for a weak table light. Logan wasn’t in the room, but the sliding door to the balcony was open a few inches. She approached and finally saw her partner. The blonde was slouched down in the chair with her head laying back on the top of the chair back, seemingly looking up into the sky. Her long legs were stretched out in front her with her feet up on the railing. It was a pose of relaxation, but Scully could tell her partner was anything but relaxed.
“Logan?” she said softly as she slid the door open further so she wouldn’t startle her.
Logan took a deep breath and let it out. “Come on out, Scully. Take in the night air.” Her voice was flat.
The redhead stepped out and stood to the side of the chair. “You alright?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” she replied with no inflection whatsoever.
Scully wasn’t sure what to say to her partner. She could tell something was bothering her – probably the case. But she had no way to know for sure. And Logan didn’t seem very willing to offer up any hints. Considering her own reticence to open up she couldn’t really condemn the blonde for it now. She then realized that after almost a month of working with this woman, she had already come to expect openness and selflessness from her new partner. And now that Logan seemed to be closed off to her, she missed it.
The question was whether to let things go for now, giving her partner some space; or press forward, taking the risk of really caring about the woman. Oh, who the hell do you think you’re fooling, Dana. You do care how she’s doing. Not even a month and she’s already gotten through some of your walls. And she’s gone out of her way to be there for you on more than one occasion. The least you can do is show her some support now.
She put her hand on Logan’s shoulder and gave it a light squeeze. “I know today wasn’t easy, Nicole. I’m here if you want to talk about it… and even if you don’t.”
The blonde opened her eyes and looked up at Scully. “Thanks.”
“Have you eaten dinner yet?”
She shook her head a little.
“Come on then. Let’s go get some dinner. I’m buying.”
Logan carefully lifted her feet off the railing and set them down on the floor. She then unfolded herself from the chair. “Alright.”
Logan wasn’t very talkative at first. Scully moved the conversation along, finding herself talking much more than she usually did in such circumstances. But she felt more at ease than she had in quite some time. As dinner progressed the blonde’s spirits seemed to lift. By the time they had their second after dinner drink both women were smiling and sharing a few laughs.
It was rather late when they made their way back to their rooms. Fortunately their flight home was not an early one.
Red Roof Inn
In the morning Logan found Scully dressed and sitting at the small table in her room, typing on her laptop. She set a cup of hot tea on the table for the redhead as she leaned her hip against it, which elicited a smile.
“You know, I’ll never give up coffee,” Scully quipped lightly.
“Or the occasional cigarette, right?” Logan smirked affectionately.
Scully stopped and stared at her partner. “How the…”
Logan just smiled knowingly.
“If you say it was just a hunch, I’m going to smack you.”
“No. I just have a good sense of smell.” She patted Scully’s shoulder and chuckled. “Just know you don’t have to hide it from me. We all have our peccadilloes, Agent Scully.”
A fine, auburn brow arched as Scully sipped the delicious morning tea. “And what are yours, Agent Logan?”
The blonde just smiled. “I guess time will tell,” she said as she stood straight and returned to her own room.
Scully smiled into her mug and gave a slight shake of her head. You are indeed a bit of a mystery, Nicole Logan.
Wednesday, June 25th, 1997
When Scully and Logan arrived home Tuesday afternoon they filed their report with AD Skinner. They then went their separate ways, each to their own apartment.
Wednesday morning they returned to their office. Logan arrived a few minutes before Scully, so when the redhead arrived a fresh mug of hot tea was handed to her as she entered the door. She smiled and took a sip before putting it down to remove her blazer. She was amazed at the difference four weeks had made. Four weeks ago she felt dread at the thought of sharing the office with the woman who had been thrust into her life. Now she looked forward to time spent with Logan.
They each set about going through mail, email, and filing reports. Just before lunch Kimberly called down to let them know Skinner was ready to meet with them.
Their meeting went well as they went over the report from their latest case. He expressed his pleasure at the results and commended them both on a job well done. He then informed them he had received a request for Scully’s assistance on an autopsy for the local authorities. Scully took the information and the meeting was ended.
“Go ahead and look through the IN basket and see if anything catches your fancy. If you find something interesting you can start the background while I’m at the ME’s,” Scully said on the way back down to the basement.
Logan gave her a smirk. “You’re going to let me pick our next case?” she said with humorous shock in her tone.
Scully smirked. “Shut up.”
It was late afternoon when Scully returned from the autopsy. She found her partner typing away at her computer.
“Hey, Scully. How did it go?”
“Fine. How about you? Did you find anything interesting for us?”
“Depends on your definition of interesting,” Logan replied with a chuckle. “But we do have a case.”
“What is it?” the redhead asked as she rested her hip against the desk. Logan handed her a folder and she opened it. “Bigfoot?”
“Well, that’s what the locals are calling it. You feel up to a trek in the woods?”
“Well, I did say you could pick the next case,” Scully replied resignedly.
“Just say the word and we can drop it in the circular file,” the blonde said with a smile.
“Do I want to know what the other choices were?” Scully asked, but shook her head when Logan laughed in reply. “Never mind. When do we have to be there?”
“It’s not exactly an emergency,” Nicole said with another chuckle. “I made flight reservations for tomorrow, so you have the evening to relax before we head to the big sky country of beautiful Montana.”
“Guess I better dig my Timberlines out of the back of the closet.”
Black Bear Lodge
Thursday, June 26th, 1997
After ten and half hours, and two plane changes, Scully and Logan landed at the Spokane International Airport at 4:15 pm local time. From there they rented an SUV and drove over 100 miles across the Idaho panhandle into Montana. When they arrived at the Black Bear Inn it was almost 7:00.
Scully took a look around and then pinned her partner with a quirked eyebrow. “And why are we staying at this… rustic inn?”
Logan smiled. “Because when I called and spoke to Sheriff Whitmore he said this was the only place within 30 miles of the sightings that had an opening. Let’s go check in,” she said turning the truck off.
As soon as they entered the inn they were greeted by a man in uniform. “Hi, I’m Sheriff Whitmore – Cody. You must be Agent Logan and Agent Scully.”
Logan took his outstretched hand and shook it. “How did you know?”
“Because all of my other guests have already checked in,” replied a grey-haired woman that walked up. “I’m Lydia Worrell and I own this lodge.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Ms. Worrell.”
“It’s Lydia if you don’t want to be kicked to the curb,” the older woman quipped cheerfully. She then looked at the sheriff. “Cody, don’t just stand there; take these nice ladies’ bags to the cabin.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied as he scrambled to do as she asked as quickly as possible.
Scully and Logan exchanged a look of amusement.
Catching their look as Cody scampered away with their luggage, Lydia winked. “He used to work for me before he became the sheriff. Now, let’s get you checked in.” She had them sign the register. “Breakfast is included and served from 8:00 to 9:00. We’re on a 400-acre wildlife reserve, and are adjacent to the Kootenai National Forest, so we do have wild animals. That means you should not leave your windows open if you have food of any kind in your rooms.”
“What kind of wildlife do you have around here?” Logan asked.
“Bears, moose, elks, deer, lynxes, and bobcats are frequently seen outside the lodge. I’m sorry I don’t have separate rooms for you – we’re full up – but the cabin does have two bedrooms, although one bedroom is in the loft. It also has a kitchenette so if you want to buy and cook some food you have that ability. If you don’t feel like cooking, we do serve lunch and dinner in the lodge, the cost of which varies with what’s being served.” They arrived at the log cabin which was set back in the woods. “Here we are.”
Scully and Logan followed Lydia into the cabin where they found the sheriff waiting. Their bags were sitting against a side wall.
“I didn’t know which bedroom either of you wanted so I just put your bags there.”
“That’s fine. Thank you, Sheriff,” replied Scully.
“Cody, ma’am,” he corrected with a smile.
Lydia handed a key to each woman. “Well, I know the three of you have business to discuss, so I’ll let you get on with it. If you girls need anything just let me know.” With that Lydia left.
It didn’t take long for the sheriff to brief them, but it was then they found out that the sightings were in the interior of the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness – a protected wilderness area in the heart of the Kootenai National Forest. No motorized or mechanized vehicles were allowed, not even bicycles. Camping and fishing was allowed but only with special permits. They were in for some horseback travel in the morning.
After the sheriff left, Logan picked up her suitcase. “I’ll take the loft bedroom,” she said and headed up the stairs to the loft that overlooked the living room.
Since it had been a long day of travel, both women called it a night.
Cabinet Mountains Wilderness
Friday, June 27th, 1997
In the morning Scully and Logan were met by Cody who introduced them to a park ranger, Karen Desoto. After the introductions they discussed their game plan. It was finally decided that since the sightings were so spread out that it would be easiest to camp out instead of going back and forth each day.
Within an hour and a half Scully and Logan were packed with the appropriate accouterments – thanks to Lydia’s assistance. The lodge loaned them a tent, sleeping bags, and some other accessories. Fortunately both women had packed appropriate clothing for the climate and venue. Karen helped them make sure everything was properly packed and tied down on their horses.
“Do you need a hand up, Scully?”
“I’ve ridden before, Logan.”
The blonde gave her a smirk. “I wasn’t implying otherwise.”
Scully managed to get her foot in the stirrup and then heave herself up and onto the horse. She looked at her partner, arching an eyebrow. Logan gathered the reins of her horse in her hand and easily swung herself atop hers as well.
It was late afternoon before they reached their first destination. Karen pointed out the path ‘Bigfoot’ supposedly took and where the people who reported it had been when they spotted it. Logan went with the forest ranger over the path. There weren’t any tracks, but they did find a small tuft of fur that apparently snagged in some brush. There was no way to know if it was from the creature they were looking for or not.
Logan showed it to Scully. “No tracks because of the thick underbrush. Found this, but there’s no way to know if it’s from our friend or not. Karen says it could be from a number of animals indigenous to the area.”
“We’ll have to have it analyzed after we get back,” Scully replied. “Sheriff Whitmore says we can make the next site and still have time to set up camp before dark if we get moving.”
After checking out the second site and speaking with the ‘eye witnesses’ there, the troupe made their way a few miles towards the next site before stopping in a clearing near a lake and setting up camp. Logan helped the ranger fix dinner over the campfire.
After dinner Scully grabbed some toilet paper and headed into the bushes.
“Don’t go too far, Agent Scully,” Karen warned her. “There are predators in these woods.”
The redhead nodded in acknowledgment.
Logan helped Karen make sure the horses were fed and watered and settled for the night before retreating to the tent she and her partner would be sharing for the night.
Scully was already changed and lying down, though she wasn’t really sleepy. She couldn’t help but notice the blonde’s athletic body as she shamelessly stripped and changed into a tank top and shorts to sleep in. Logan then sat down on her own sleeping bag and pulled out her laptop. She quickly updated her case notes and then shut the computer off again.
“That didn’t take long,” Scully commented.
Logan gave her a small smile. “There’s really not a whole lot to say. ‘Went riding. Found some fur. Camping out. Will continue tomorrow.'” She shrugged. “That’s unless you have something to add?”
The redhead let out a soft chuckle. “No, I think that about covers it.”
“Right. I didn’t think Skinner would appreciate ‘ass hurts’ so I left that out.”
Scully arched an eyebrow at Logan as the blonde crawled into her sleeping bag.
“Well, I don’t know about you, but it’s been a while since I’ve spent any real time on horseback. So yeah, my butt’s a little sore.”
Scully let out a small chuckle. “Well you picked the case.”
“Ouch. That decidedly sounds like a lack of sympathy, partner.”
“Are you seriously saying you want sympathy? You? The one who refuses to take time off for a severe concussion when her doctor tells her to?” she challenged.
“No, no. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I heal quickly. I’ll be just fine and ready to go bright and early in the morning.”
Scully decided not to tease her partner any further since, if she was honest with herself, she was feeling a few uncomfortable twinges herself.
Saturday, June 28th, 1997
When Scully woke up in the morning she found herself alone in the tent, and it was clear that her partner had already packed up her stuff. She got dressed and packed her stuff as well. As soon as she exited the tent she was handed a steaming mug by Logan.
“Morning,” she replied rubbing one of her eyes. She took a sip from her mug and somehow wasn’t surprised to find it was tea instead of coffee. “You mean to tell me you brought your tea with you out here in the woods?”
Logan gave her a full smile that seemed a little too cheery for so early in the morning. “You shouldn’t knock it, Scully. You could go a long time without food as long you had that tea to drink. It doesn’t just settle the stomach. It’s very good for the body and the spirit.”
Scully rolled her eyes but didn’t say anything as she drank the tea.
Their day wasn’t very eventful until late in the afternoon. All of them actually startled a little when the sheriff’s radio squawked to life. There had been a break-in at a home off Hwy 2 between the towns of Troy and Libby. It sounded like the perpetrator was their ‘Bigfoot.’ The house was north of their location, and it was quicker to continue by horseback than to go back to the resort. So the four of them picked up the pace and covered the miles.
When they arrived at the scene the sheriff’s deputy was waiting in the driveway. Cody dismounted and walked up to the young man, though the others couldn’t hear what they were saying.
Logan dismounted her horse and slowly started walking towards the house. She stopped, cocked her head a bit, and then suddenly burst into a run, heading for the front door. It was only a couple of seconds before she stuck her head out of a small window of what had to be the attic. “Scully, we’ve got bodies in here.”
How the hell does she do that? Scully and Karen dismounted and rushed to the house. Cody and his deputy were right behind them. Everyone was careful not to disturb any evidence as they entered the house and went up the pull-down ladder to the attic where they met Logan and found the two bodies. They were an elderly couple.
“There’s no sign of trauma, but from their expressions, they didn’t die peacefully,” Scully stated. “I won’t know more until I can do an autopsy.”
By the time arrangements were made to get the bodies transported and the sheriff was done chewing out Deputy Davie, it was rather late. Karen agreed to take care of the horses while the sheriff took the agents to the facility where the bodies were. Scully and Logan retrieved their packs and tossed them in the back of the deputy’s jeep.
“Do you mind if I stay here and look around a little bit, and then catch up with you, Scully?”
“I’ll send someone back to pick you up,” the sheriff said.
Logan quietly entered the mortuary where Scully was performing the autopsies. She cleared her throat so she didn’t startle her partner. “How’s it going?”
Scully looked up. “Not bad. Did you find anything?”
“I took some pictures of some scratches on the outside of the door and inside the house. They look like claw marks of some kind. I thought I’d check online and see if I can match them up with anything.”
“How about you? Do you know the cause of death yet?”
“I don’t know about Mrs. McKinney yet, but Mr. McKinney here died of an acute myocardial infarction.”
“Heart attack.” Logan grabbed a pair of gloves and approached the body of Mrs. McKinney. She started to reach out to touch the face but abruptly stopped herself. She looked at Scully. “May I?”
The redhead nodded her assent. She smiled mentally. Mulder would have never asked her permission. And she had already come to trust in Logan’s exceptional observational skills. If there was something the blonde wanted to check Scully saw no reason not to let her. She finished with the last stitch. Pulling off her gloves, she moved to stand next to her partner.
Logan once again reached out and respectfully raised the eyelids of Mrs. McKinney.
“Dilated,” Scully observed.
The blonde sucked in a sharp breath and jerked her hand back. Her eyes were closed and Scully could see her facial muscles flex as she clenched her jaw. Scully reached out a hand but Logan moved away before the redhead could make contact.
“Are you alright?” Scully asked.
“Yeah.” She paused for a beat. “Can you check her adrenaline level?”
“Not here. I’ve taken samples to be sent off to the lab.” Scully glanced back down at the body. “Why? What are you thinking?”
The blonde removed her gloves, threw them away, and started for the door. “From her expression, dilated eyes, and I’m betting elevated adrenaline level, I’d say she was frightened to death… unless you find an underlying coronary disease or other cause of death. I’m going to research those pictures I took.”
Logan needed a few seconds to center herself again. She had expected the fear – she’d smelled it. It was, after all, what led her into the house. And the smell of it still clung to the body hours later in the mortuary. But she hadn’t been prepared for the stark terror that slammed into her when she looked into Mrs. McKinney’s eyes.
What the hell was that all about? Scully looked at the door that closed behind her partner, debating whether to follow her. Logan’s departure had been abrupt and left Scully with the feeling that something was wrong. And there was the way she had jerked away from the body. A lot of people didn’t react well to dead bodies, but she knew that wasn’t the case with the blonde. If it wasn’t the body, then it was something else. That made up Scully’s mind. She went out the door just in time to see her partner slip into the bathroom. She waited in the hallway until she heard the unmistakable sound of someone getting sick.
The blonde flushed the toilet and exited the stall. She went to the sink, bent over, and splashed cold water on her face. Scully grabbed some paper towels from the dispenser and handed them to her partner while she rubbed Logan’s back between her shoulder blades.
“Are you okay?” she asked gently.
Logan nodded as she rinsed her mouth out with water and spit it out in the sink. She dried her face and hands with the paper towels the redhead had given her.
“What happened? You jerked away from the body like it burned you.”
“Suddenly I didn’t feel so well.” Logan straightened up and gave Scully a smirk in the mirror. “Guess I should make myself some of my own tea.”
“Is there anything I can do?”
The blonde shook her head. “No. I’m okay, really. I’ll have some tea and do that research while you finish up.”
“If you’re sure.”
Scully returned to the prep room to perform the second autopsy.
Logan shook her head. She’d had her barriers down when she looked into Mrs. McKinney’s eyes. As a result, she had been vulnerable to the sheer, heart-stopping terror the woman had experienced. Something had triggered the most visceral kind of terror a person could feel. Whatever Mrs. McKinney had seen had literally scared the woman to death.
The autopsy was straight forward with no surprises, so Scully was done rather quickly. Logan was waiting for her when she came out. She handed the redhead a hot cup of tea.
“Do you want to go out to get something to eat, or pick something up and take it back to the lodge?”
“It’s been a long day and I really need a shower. Let’s pick something up… if we can find something open,” Scully replied
“If we don’t find something on the way I’ll go out and get something while you take your shower.”
Black Bear Lodge
Fortunately they did find something on the way. When Logan pulled the jeep up at the lodge she retrieved their packs while Scully carried their food. They headed inside.
“I’ll just be a couple of minutes,” Scully said as she headed into the bathroom for her shower.
When she came back out in her robe Logan noticed the redhead was moving a bit stiffly. “Are you okay, Dana? You don’t seem to be moving too well.”
The redhead sat down carefully. “I admit it – I’m sore. Two days on horseback followed by two back to back autopsies has taken its toll.”
The blonde smirked. “So your ass hurts, huh?”
She sighed. “Actually my lower back and legs hurt more.”
They were both hungry so they ate with little talking. However, Logan’s phone did ring.
“Logan… Oh, hello, Thea… No, no, you’re not interrupting; we were just finishing up a late dinner… Yeah, we were camping out in the woods last night and didn’t have much of a signal so I didn’t even bother.”
Scully gestured to the remnants in front of Logan who indicated she was done eating, so the redhead cleaned up and threw everything out.
“Tell me, Thea, what do you know about Bigfoot?” Logan chuckled, “Well, we’re looking for Chewbacca in the mountains of Montana.” She shot her partner a grin. “Alright, Thea, thank you… Bye.”
“What else would you call an eight-foot, furry creature that looks like a Wookie?” the blonde chuckled.
Scully gave her partner a look. “Do you really think what we’re looking for is Bigfoot?”
Logan shrugged. “Doesn’t really matter what I think; only matters what we can prove. And the only way the legend of Bigfoot will ever be settled once and for all is if its existence is verified with scientific proof. Since you can’t really prove the negative there will always be those who will believe in Bigfoot’s existence no matter what. Ask me if it’s theoretically possible for a large, hairy, bipedal creature to exist and not have been captured to date…” Nicole shrugged, “Yeah, I think it’s within the realm of possibility. Do I think the creature you and I are tracking and was in the McKinneys’ home is Bigfoot? Highly doubtful.”
“Then what do you think it is?”
“That’s what we’re here to find out.”
“Did you find out anything in your search?”
“Not much. I’ll go over it with you after my shower, if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all, go ahead.”
Logan grabbed her stuff from the loft and went into the bathroom. While the blonde was showering Scully worked on her report on her laptop. It wasn’t long before Logan was back with her laptop. She was in her pajama bottoms and a tank top. Scully had changed into her pajamas as well. Logan set her laptop down and took out the pictures she’d taken.
“Whatever it is, it’s got claws. From the markings on the door I’d say it didn’t have any trouble getting in. The doorjamb had minimal damage. I don’t think the door was locked. I can’t say for sure how many claws on each paw, so there’s no way to accurately measure the spread. But if we assume these marks are made by adjacent claws then the size eliminates all but the largest predators such as the mountain lion and the bear… or something else entirely, like a sasquatch. Unfortunately, the only area around the house that would have retained any tracks was disturbed before we got there. But I still think we should start our search there. We know it was there last night and if we start looking tomorrow in the daylight, we may find its trail and be able to track it.”
Scully let out a disgruntled noise. “More horseback riding.”
Logan closed her laptop and stood up. “Where does your back hurt?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”
“That’s not what I asked. You said your lower back was sore – show me where.”
Scully looked up at the blonde and arched her brow. “Why?”
“Just trust me. Now where in your lower back does it hurt?”
The redhead reached around and touched the sorest area of her back.
Logan placed one hand on the redhead’s shoulder to keep her still. “Now just sit still and–”
Scully jumped when the blonde’s other hand slipped under her pajama top and touched her skin on her lower back near her spine.
“Relax. Trust me, Dana.” Logan closed her eyes and concentrated. She sought out and felt the energy flows and blockages with her fingertips, finding the correct pressure points. “Take a slow, deep breath and then slowly let it out,” she quietly instructed her partner.
By the time Scully had fully exhaled the blonde had released the pressure of her fingertips and the energy flows were once again unblocked. Logan slipped her hand back out from under the redhead’s pajama top. “How’s that?” she asked as she straightened up.
Scully cautiously moved around a bit. “It doesn’t hurt anymore,” she said sounding quite surprised. “How did you…”
“Pressure points. It’ll get you through tomorrow, but it’s not a real fix. Your body’s too out of whack for that.” That statement earned her a deadly arched eyebrow. Logan smiled. “No need to look daggers at me. It’s not my fault your chi is off kilter.”
“My chi?” Scully’s tone was dubious with a hard edge to it.
“Your chi, your chakras, your life force, your aura, your spirit, your soul, or your whatever… whichever makes you comfortable. Either way, things just aren’t feeling right for you because the energy in your body isn’t flowing the way it should. And as a physician you know the human body does indeed have a number of systems that do ‘flow’ through it – the circulatory system, the endocrine system, the lymphatic system, the nervous system, etc. So you know I’m not just talking some hippy-dippy, new age, mumbo jumbo. And it’s precisely why things like acupressure and acupuncture work.”
Logan picked up her laptop and headed to the staircase leading to the loft, but paused before ascending. “Oh, here.” She tossed the redhead a small jar. “Rub a little of this on your glutes and thighs. It’ll take away the saddle soreness. In the morning you’ll be good as new.” With that she disappeared up to the loft.
Damn, I didn’t mean to make her so defensive. I do know there’s more to the way the human body works than is taught in medical school. Scully opened the jar that Logan had tossed to her. She sniffed at it. It had a light, pleasant smell she couldn’t pin down. She shrugged and decided she had nothing to lose. After rubbing some of the balm into her butt and thighs she turned in.
Before Logan went to sleep she checked in with the sheriff and with the park ranger. They agreed to meet up at the McKinney house in the morning.
Black Bear Lodge
Sunday, June 29th, 1997
When Scully got up in the morning she stretched and ran a hand through her hair. Then it hit her – she wasn’t sore at all. Her back, butt, and legs felt fine. She couldn’t keep from smiling. She quickly got dressed and made sure her pack was ready. She didn’t know if they would make it back to their room that night or not.
She went out to the living room and moved to the bottom of the steps to the loft. “Logan?” When she didn’t get an answer she called out again and walked up the steps. “Logan?”
The blonde wasn’t there and her bed was made. Scully went back down to the living room. That was when she saw her partner’s pack sitting by the door, ready to go. She looked around and noted a pot of tea in the coffeemaker. There was a note next to it.
Scully went ahead and poured herself a cup of tea and sat down on the sofa. She uncharacteristically propped her feet up on the coffee table, crossed at the ankles. She smiled to herself as she sipped at the tea. She knew she could never completely kick her coffee habit, but she had to admit after only a few weeks she already looked forward to the tea Logan always handed her every morning. And whether it was physiological or psychological, or both, it did indeed always leave her feeling better.
It wasn’t long before she heard Logan’s key in the lock. The blonde came in and it was all Scully could do to keep her jaw from hitting the floor. Logan had obviously been out running. She was wearing a pair of very short shorts, and a skin tight, half-length tank top. She had obviously pushed herself hard physically because her entire body was covered in a sheen of perspiration. Scully couldn’t help but notice that despite Logan’s sweaty appearance the blonde didn’t smell bad; she gave off more of a ‘salty ocean air’ scent than a ‘sweaty’ odor.
“Just give me a few minutes and I’ll be ready,” Logan said after grabbing a change of clothes from her pack.
It was only a few short minutes later when Logan emerged from the bathroom, freshly showered. She was wearing her jeans and bra, and was towel drying her short hair.
“Did you have a good run?” Scully asked.
“Yeah. I needed it. If I don’t get a good run or workout in regularly I start to go a bit stir-crazy.”
“I trust you feel better now. Wouldn’t want you to go crazy – too much paperwork,” Scully replied with a small smile over the rim of her cup.
Logan looked at her and returned her smile. “No, we definitely wouldn’t want that. How about you? How do you feel?”
“Great actually.” She paused slightly. “Thanks to you. My back doesn’t hurt and that balm worked like you said it would.”
“Glad it helped.” She placed a brown paper bag on the table. “If you want a hot breakfast we can stop at that place we found last night. Of if you want, there’s a nice selection of fresh fruit in there.”
“Actually, fresh fruit sounds perfect.”
“Then here.” Logan took out a six-inch lock-blade and flicked it open. She set it down on the table along with a clean hand towel. “Go ahead.”
Scully was slightly taken aback at the apparent ease and skill with which her partner handled the knife. But then she reminded herself about the blonde’s undercover background. She opened the bag and was surprised to see the wide variety of fruit available. There were peaches, pears, apples, oranges, bananas, plums, kiwis, and grapes.
Logan put on her socks and boots, and then opted to slide on a body hugging tank top. She ran her fingers through her damp hair and then joined the redhead on the couch with another clean hand towel and cup of tea for herself.
“So how did you manage to score such a nice assortment of fresh fruit?” Scully asked.
Logan smiled, “I made nice with the lodge’s chef this morning when I spotted a delivery being made.”
“I don’t suppose the skimpy running outfit had anything to do with it,” Scully replied.
The blonde shrugged her shoulders. “Could have. But then so could’ve my winning personality… especially since the chef’s name is Melinda and she’s straight.” Logan’s response was a bit clipped. She picked up an apple, bit into it and got up from the couch. She moved around the room finishing up the final touches of preparing for their day.
Dammit. I’ve gone and done it again. I’ve insulted her. First last night when she helped me and now implying that… What is it with me? Why am I pushing her? She’s been nothing but kind and supportive and wonderful to me. And I like her.
Logan slid her gun into a shoulder holster and put the holster on. She then added a flannel shirt to her outfit. She left it unbuttoned and rolled the sleeves up her forearms. She threw the core of the apple away she’d eaten and grabbed a banana. She ate the banana in a few bites as she refilled her cup with tea.
“More?” she asked Scully indicating her own cup.
Logan poured the last of the tea into the redhead’s cup. She then handed her partner a plastic lid like the one Logan had put on her own cup. She shouldered her pack. “Are you ready?”
“Yes. My pack’s in my room.” Scully got up and headed into the bedroom where she grabbed her pack, sunglasses, hat, and key to the cabin.
She met Logan outside at the jeep. The blonde stowed both of their packs in the back. Scully found the bag of fruit in the front seat when she got in. As soon as she was settled Logan put on her sunglasses, slipped the jeep into gear, and pulled out. After several minutes Scully finally broke the silence.
“May I ask you a question?”
“When we arrived at the McKinneys’ house yesterday, how did you know?”
“How did I know what?”
“How did you know to look in the attic? How did you know there were bodies inside?”
Logan took a measured breath and let it out before responding. Her eyes never left the road so Scully couldn’t see them. “I thought I smelled something – I wasn’t sure what though.”
“How could you? From that distance…”
“I think the wind shifted just right. And like I told you, I’ve got a strong sense of smell. It’s the same way I can tell you had a cigarette last night.”
Scully shot Logan a very surprised look. She had decided to have a rare cigarette after she laid in bed not able to sleep at first. But she’d brushed her teeth afterwards and again when she got up in the morning.
Logan glanced at her, giving her a quick smile. “I told you, Scully, you don’t have to hide it from me.”
“I wasn’t hiding it. You just surprised me.”
They were silent the rest of the way to the McKinneys’ house.
Home of Mr. and Mrs. McKinney
When they arrived at the McKinneys’ house they pulled up at the same time as the sheriff did. Karen was already there with the horses.
“I’m going to talk to Karen,” Logan said as they exited the jeep.
She spoke with the park ranger about the claw marks and her thoughts about trying to find any tracks in the vicinity. Karen was thinking along the same lines. They approached the others and proposed that the two of them do a sweep of the area on foot first, to see if they could find some tracks. Knowing how sharp Logan’s skills of observation were, Scully agreed with the plan. While her partner and the park ranger were doing that, Scully took the opportunity to take a closer look inside the house for herself. Cody was kind enough to secure everyone’s packs on their horses.
“Karen! Over here.”
Karen joined Logan where she knelt looking at something on the ground. They spoke quietly a few moments then moved together into the forest. It was almost 20 minutes before they returned and rejoined the others.
They said they found faint tracks to follow, so everyone mounted up and took off. Since the tracks were faint it was slower going than their previous days’ traveling. Between Karen and Logan they followed the tracks which led them to a lake. With the evidence they found – paw prints, fur, and scat – the park ranger was ready to declare their quarry a grizzly bear rather than a sasquatch. Since it had ventured into someone’s home, it was still imperative to find it.
“What’s wrong?” Scully asked her partner.
“Did either of you know the McKinneys very well?” the blonde asked Cody and Karen.
“Oh. I dated their daughter Beth for a little while,” answered the sheriff.
“Was Mrs. McKinney afraid of anything?”
“What do you mean?”
“Did she have any phobias that you know about?”
The young man took a few seconds to think. “Come to think of it, Mrs. McKinney hated bears. She got really upset one time when I gave Beth a stuffed bear. She made Beth give it back, said she couldn’t stand to have it in the house.”
That explains it. Mrs. McKinney’s worst fear, her phobia, walked right in her front door. No wonder; she was literally scared to death. Logan exchanged a meaningful look with her partner.
Scully nodded in understanding. It made sense.
Cabinet Mountains Wilderness
It was almost dusk before anyone got a look at the animal they were tracking.
“There!” Cody spotted the animal through his binoculars.
“Where?” Karen asked.
“Up there, about 500 feet below the ridgeline,” he replied, pointing.
Karen handed her binoculars to Logan while Cody handed his to Scully.
“It’s big,” observed Scully.
Logan spotted something shiny under its chin. “Could he be tagged, Karen?” Logan asked.
“How do you know it’s a he?” asked Cody.
“Just an expression. We won’t know for sure until we get him.”
“A radio tag would be yellow, not shiny,” Karen replied looking through the binoculars again. “But you’re right, there is something…” she added as she dismounted and readied her rifle.
“Do you have to kill him?” asked Scully.
“I’m going to tranq him. Then we’ll tag him and drop him somewhere he won’t be a problem.”
Karen loaded the tranq dart into her rifle.
“Can you hit him from here?” Scully asked as the ranger took aim.
Cody smiled. “Karen is the best shot in six states. She’s got the trophies to prove it,” he said as Karen meticulously set up her shot.
The park ranger did indeed hit her target. The bear let out a bellow when the dart struck and imbedded in its flank.
Once the bear succumbed to the tranquilizer the foursome cautiously approached.
“Be careful, Logan,” Scully said as her partner dismounted and knelt next to the somnolent beast.
“He’s wearing a collar.” She looked up at the others. “His name is Baloo.”
An auburn eyebrow arched. “The bear from Kipling’s Jungle Book.”
Karen smiled and looked at Cody. “And he is a he.”
Since Baloo had been someone’s pet, arrangements were made for Baloo to be transported to ZooMontana, the wildlife park located in Billings, instead of being relocated to another area. Sheriff Whitmore and Park Ranger Desoto, in cooperation with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, were going to handle dealing with Baloo’s owner – who did not have a permit to own the animal.
For Scully and Logan the case was closed except for the paperwork.
Spokane International Airport
Monday, June 30th, 1997
Scully and Logan left Heron, MT Monday morning and drove to Spokane, WA. They had a little bit of a wait for their flight, so they both worked on their case reports. While they did so, Scully received an email from the lab with the tests results from the autopsies.
“I just got the email with the tests results from the lab. You were right about Mrs. McKinney’s adrenaline level. It was almost off the charts. Not surprising since she saw her worst nightmare come to life.”
The blonde nodded in acknowledgement. “A hell of a way to die.”
Both of them had time to finish their reports by the time their flight was called.
Since it was late when they arrived back home, they agreed to a late start Tuesday morning.
FBI Violent Crimes Unit
Friday, October 24th, 1997
Scully and Logan continued to work together over the next few months, clearing each case that came their way while building on their working relationship and even spending some time together outside of work. Once Maggie Scully met her daughter’s new partner she insisted on having the blonde join them for dinner. After that, Maggie made a point of inviting Logan to dinner with her and her daughter on a regular basis, and the women grew accustomed to having dinner together fairly frequently.
Thea’s hacker friend continued to analyze the agent found in Scully’s blood. Since he had no frame of reference and nothing even remotely similar to compare it to, it continued to elude him. However, he was quite gifted and refused to give up. He was determined to unlock its secrets.
Scully’s health continued to follow a pattern of improvement when they were out of town and decline when they were home. Despite Logan’s efforts to determine the mode by which Scully was being made sick the answer eluded her. In the meantime, the blonde did what she could to bolster her partner’s health by providing Scully with a hot cup of her specially prepared tea every morning… and additional cups whenever possible. Unfortunately, Scully’s health overall continued to decline. Logan knew they needed to find an answer.
Scully had surprisingly given up even wanting a cup of coffee in the morning. She no longer made any at home or stopped for a cup on the way into work. There was something comforting about knowing the moment she walked into their basement office that her partner would hand her a steaming cup of the soothing tea. And invariably, the blonde did indeed beat her into the office so the cup of tea was always waiting for her. She didn’t even object when the coffeemaker in the office stopped being used to make coffee but was kept full of the soothing tea.
When they were in Washington, Scully and Logan worked separately almost as much as they worked together. Scully was often called on to perform autopsies at Quantico or for other law enforcement agencies.
Logan’s reputation as an exceptional interrogator spread like wildfire and she was often requested not only by other departments within the Bureau, but by other agencies as well. Her interviews were often long and seemed to wander off on unrelated tangents, but she almost always got a full confession. The few times she didn’t get a confession she elicited some vital piece to information that broke the case.
Scully had, of course, seen the blonde interview suspects and witnesses in their cases. However, that was different from the cases she helped with for other departments and local agencies. In X-Files cases Scully and Logan were intimately involved for the duration of the investigation. The interviews Logan did for other departments and agencies were cases where the blonde was coming in cold.
So when Scully returned to their office one day after performing an autopsy in Annapolis, and found a note from Logan saying she had gone to Quantico to do an interrogation, Scully decided to check things out. When she arrived at Quantico, she was directed to the observation room where she met the agent in charge of the case.
“Can I help you?” asked a burly man with salt and pepper hair. His ID badge identified him as Special Agent Harry Walzcek.
“I’m Special Agent Scully. Special Agent Logan is my partner.”
He turned back to the two-way mirror that allowed observation of the interrogation room. “Then maybe you can tell your partner to get on with it and nail this bastard,” he growled.
Taken aback by the man’s attitude, a fine, auburn brow arched as Scully felt rankled. “Just what do you mean by that?”
“I mean she’s been in there all god damn day and all they’ve talked about is the weather, music, and his mother! She supposed to interrogate him, not shoot the shit! If we don’t get his confession he’s going to get off scot-free,” he groused.
“I assure you, Agent Walzcek, that Agent Logan is a very capable interrogator. She has a reason for everything she does in the interview room. Just trust her.”
Scully turned to the window to watch. The two occupants of the room were sitting so that the observers could see their profiles. There was a camera in the room that was set up to record the interview. It was behind Logan’s shoulder so it could capture the suspect’s every reaction.
“Tell her to call me if she ever comes out of there,” growled Walzcek. He slammed the door on the way out of the observation room.
Scully shook her head at the man’s antics, then returned her attention to the interview room and her partner, taking the opportunity to closely observe her partner in private.
Logan was the vision of relaxation. She was leaning back in her chair, her legs were extended and crossed at the ankles, her hands were loosely entwined and resting on her stomach, and her elbows were propped on the arms of the chair. However, appearances could be deceiving. On the inside she was alert and ready to take advantage of any opening that presented itself. She had already been talking with the suspect, Gerald Hitchman, for a number of hours.
The suspected arsonist was keeping a very tight hold on his inner self, but Logan was finally starting to sense a crack in his façade. He was finally ready.
“Tell me, Gerald, when was the first time you realized fire made you hard?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about. When you watch the flames dance and move, you get excited… your heart pounds, your respiration increases, you feel lightheaded, euphoric.” She leaned forward, resting her arms on the table. “And your dick gets hard, so hard it almost hurts as you jack off while watching the flames burn and consume.”
Gerald’s expression was a combination of embarrassment, surprise, and anger.
Knowing she had finally broken through, that she had reached him, she gentled her tone and manner. “Who did this to you, Gerald? Who hurt you?”
Tears welled in his eyes… and then his chin began to tremble as he tried to regain control. An errant tear defied his will and slowly trailed down an unshaven cheek.
“Gerald, look at me.” Logan waited until the man looked at her before continuing. Her voice was soft but insistent. “Look in my eyes, Gerald, look in my eyes and talk to me. Tell me when your father started hurting you. Tell me when he burned you.”
Through eyes blurred by tears, Gerald looked at the woman across the table from him. He didn’t understand what was happening to him. He didn’t want to talk about the things his father did to him or the way fire made him feel. He’d never told anyone about that stuff. But the pretty blonde was looking at him in a way that made him think about all that bad stuff. She saw him. She saw him for who and what he was, and yet her eyes still said she cared. How was that possible?
With tears rolling down his face, Gerald told her what she wanted to know. He told her about how his father had hurt him and made him do bad things… how his father had molested him. Unconsciously rubbing the scar hidden by his jeans on his thigh, he told her about how his father had held a candle to his leg, burning him and warning him how badly he’d get burned if he ever told anyone.
When his voice cracked and then failed him, he felt a soft hand take his and squeeze it. Gerald wiped his eyes with the other hand and looked into her eyes. Beautiful eyes that saw the real him, eyes that compelled him to go on, eyes that told him he wasn’t a monster… well, at least not only a monster – he was still a person inside, a person that had been hurt.
Logan listened to everything Gerald had to say. She took his tearful confession for starting the fires that had killed seven people and injured many more, and for several other fires that hadn’t hurt anyone. By the end, she was sitting next to him, her arm around his hunched shoulders and holding his trembling hand.
Gerald looked up at the woman who had listened to him in a way no one ever had before. “What now?” he asked, sounding lost.
“Now you’re going to talk to some doctors who are going to try to help you. And, Gerald, you know you have to take responsibility for what you’ve done.”
He nodded. “Can you…”
“Can I what?” she prompted when he trailed off.
“Can you ever forgive me?” New tears welled in his eyes at the thought she might not.
Logan gently took his face in her hands and locked eyes with him. “Look in my eyes, Gerald, and you’ll find the answer,” she said softly.
Gerald looked in her eyes, and then broke down crying. Logan sat with him for a minute as he cried. Finally, she stood and exited the room. She told the agents just outside the door that she was done and that they could take him away and to let Agent Walzcek know the suspect had confessed.
Emotionally and physically drained, the blonde slumped in a chair in the hallway.
“So what are you, the Pied Piper?”
Had she not been so worn out, Logan might have jumped at the sound of Scully’s voice. Internally she winced at the bite in her partner’s tone. Weary, she looked up at the redhead. “No.”
Seeing the fatigue in Logan’s eyes, Scully regretted the harshness of her tone of voice. “Come on, I’ll drive you back to the office,” she said more gently.
Both women were silent on the drive back to the office. Logan was trying to regain her center of balance and deal with the effects of the interview.
Scully, on the other hand, was trying to figure out just what had happened. She knew something was not right with the interview she’d witnessed. What had happened in that room just wasn’t normal. Criminals didn’t break down and tearfully beg for forgiveness from the interrogator – especially for crimes against strangers.
Gerald Hitchman was not the first person she’d seen ‘transform’ in the presence of her partner. Erin Collins, the rape victim in New Orleans, immediately came to mind. And there were others. Scully remembered how Logan had made her feel when they talked later at the hotel, how a heaviness had been lifted from her own heart and soul. She knew then that there was more to the blonde than what met the eye. But what was that ‘more’?
It’s time to find out, Scully decided.
When they arrived back at the office, Scully made it a point to close the door. She didn’t want anyone to overhear the coming conversation. She wanted answers, and she was going to get them.
“What the hell happened during that interview?”
“What do you mean?” Logan asked as she tiredly dropped into her chair.
“Don’t play games with me, Logan. You know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the same thing that happened with Erin Collins. You change people. What do you do, hypnotize them?”
“No, I don’t. No one has the power to change other people. They simply make choices.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
The blonde sighed. “It means everyone has free will. Our choices are our own.”
Thinking about her cancer, Scully suddenly found herself full of anger. “Not always!”
“We may not always be in control of our circumstances, but we always have choices.”
The redhead’s whole body was practically vibrating with tension and frustration. She wanted a straight answer from Logan and she was going get to it.
“Look, I’m not sure why you’re so upset, Dana, but I’m tired. I’ve spent all day trying to take a sick and dangerous arsonist off the street. If you want to continue to discuss it we can, but not here. I’m going home; if you want to come with me that’s fine.”
With that Logan stood, collected her briefcase and keys, and headed out the door.
Driving her own car, Scully followed the blonde to her apartment.