Dana found Jess sitting on the end of the dock. Without waiting for an invitation, she sat down next to her. “You’ve been out here a long time.”
“Yeah. Same here,” she replied softly. “Look, Jess, you don’t have to talk to me, but I’d appreciate it if you’d hear me out.”
The brunette nodded.
“I’m sorry for the way I reacted. I was surprised and caught off guard. I’m a scientist; I need to be able to understand things and have them make sense. Finding out you’re… well, it threw me.”
“I can see how it would,” she conceded.
“Jess, I was thrown off balance, but I was never afraid of you. You may be half vampire, but I know you’re not a monster; I know you’re one of the good guys.”
Jess simply nodded.
After a few seconds of silence, Dana again spoke. “I want… I want things to be okay between us, Jess. I want to be friends again.”
Friends. Could she really be friends with Dana? Maybe… maybe not. But she could at least be civil to the woman. “I’m sorry for the way I handled things. I shouldn’t have taken off like I did. At the time I felt it was the right thing to do.”
“Why?” Dana asked without reproach, not wanting Jess to shut her out now that she was finally talking to her.
“Because I knew you wouldn’t be very happy about being lied to and misled – especially since we… got so close. I couldn’t imagine you wanting to work with me after that, so I got you released from having to do so.”
“What did you lie about?”
Jess looked at Dana in disbelief. “It was the lie of omission; I didn’t tell you what I am.” She looked away and back out over the dark water under the almost moonless night.
Dana thought about it. “How do you tell someone you’re half vampire?”
“As a rule, I don’t.” Jess smirked. “Although, I admit a few perps have seen my other half – it’s helped a few times during interrogations.”
Dana had a sudden insight. “That’s why you wanted the camera turned off when you were with Conrad!”
Jess smiled. “I confess it was rather satisfying to wipe that arrogant sneer off his face.”
Dana couldn’t help but smile at the image of the brutal serial killer suddenly finding himself alone with a pissed off vampire. She let out a chuckle. “I’ll bet.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes. Jess decided to open the door a little more, despite her feelings.
“I know you have questions, Dana. Ask them.”
Dana was silent. She wasn’t sure what to ask first. She had wanted answers, but now that she was getting them she wasn’t so sure.
Jess looked at the redhead. Dana had demanded answers, yet now she was silent. It was irritating the already troubled woman. “Ask.”
“And how old are you? 75? 100? 200?”
“Actually, I’m younger than you. I just turned 33.”
“When was your birthday?”
“That was my birthday! Why didn’t you say anything?”
Jess shrugged. After a few seconds she prompted Dana. “I know that’s not the question you really want to ask.”
“I’m not sure how to ask… or even if I should.”
“Well, I suggest you ask while I’m willing to answer,” she snapped. “This is not an experience I’m particularly looking forward to repeating.”
Dana took a deep breath and dived in. “What about blood?”
Jess took a slow breath. She knew it was inevitable that she’d be asked about it. “I’ve never taken human blood. And I don’t drink blood unless I need to.”
“How often… do you need blood?”
“Not often, but if I go too long without it I can get rundown and sick. I also need it to heal when I’m injured.”
Dana looked at Jess with realization. “That’s what was in the paper bag Det. Marinelli gave you on the way back from the hospital.”
Jess nodded. “Yes. It was a pint of pig’s blood.”
“You mean you can just go into a drug store and buy a pint of pig’s blood?!”
“Only businesses that cater to a certain clientele. And not just pig’s blood.”
“A certain clientele?”
“Vampires, and half-breeds like me, are in every part of society, Dana. From boardrooms to hospitals to law enforcement to skid row. In that sense we aren’t any different from everyone else.”
“How did Marinelli know?”
She looked at Dana. “Bobby is a vampire.”
Dana’s eyes widened. After a few moments she dared another question. “Do I want to know where the blood comes from?”
Jess pinned Dana with a hard look. “I don’t know. Do you?”
Dana hesitated. Did she really want to know? What would it change? But she was afraid that if she didn’t get the answer now, the opportunity would be forever lost. She gave a small nod.
“Cow and pig’s blood obviously come from livestock. Human blood is voluntarily donated. It’s available prepackaged or fresh from… a donor.”
“By donor you mean…” Dana felt a little queasy.
“I mean, there are some humans who volunteer to let vampires feed on them.” Jess shook her head. “Some of them get addicted to it.”
“Because of the way it makes them feel. They say it… feels good. Unfortunately, if they get together with an undisciplined or unscrupulous vampire, it can have a deadly cost. But most vampires are careful, particularly since feeding directly from a human can have consequences.”
“What do you mean?”
“They say human blood is like no other. For some it’s like a drug. For others is can become a physical life and death need which no other kind of blood can satisfy – they can literally starve to death on cow or pig’s blood. And for some, feeding directly from a human can create an unbreakable bond, affecting both human and vampire the rest of their lives. They all say nothing compares to human blood, especially for healing.”
“But you’ve never…”
“No. I’ve never had human blood.” Jess took a deep breath and let it out. She’d had enough. She’d never discussed these things with anyone than her grandfather. “I’m tired. I’m going to go to bed.” She stood up and walked back up the pier, leaving Dana alone.
After Morgan had left Scully sat on the end of the pier for several minutes. She had managed to get some answers from Jess, but she wasn’t sure what it had accomplished. At least Jess was talking to her again, even if it was clear the brunette had been uncomfortable with their conversation. She finally got up and made her way back to the house. After taking a long, hot bath she put on her pajamas and slipped into bed.
Morgan woke up early in the morning. Since she’d spent so much of the day before off by herself thinking she got busy working. She used the great room on the third floor. She put up the pictures of the victims and crime scenes on the walls. She also put up pictures of the messages in blood from the Reaper.
Morgan settled down with case files, pen, and notepad. She’d been too distracted lately. She needed to refocus and find the way back inside the killer’s head.
When Scully woke up in the morning she headed up to the third floor and started preparing breakfast. Casper soon joined her. They exchanged a few pleasantries while she fixed breakfast. When it was time to eat Scully called for Morgan to join them. Since Morgan didn’t reply, Scully left the kitchen and went into the great room.
Morgan was standing next to a wall, closely peering at crime scene pictures. Case files were scattered on and around the coffee table in front of the couch, as were several balled up pieces of paper.
Casper appeared by her side.
“Leave her be,” he said gently. “It’s best to just let her work when she gets like this.”
“She needs to eat. She hasn’t had anything since breakfast yesterday.”
“Trust me, she won’t starve… but she may break the case open.” Casper gently pulled Scully back to the kitchen.
After Scully and Casper finished breakfast they went into the great room. Even though Casper had spent a day with Morgan going over things he was still new to the case. So he and Scully went through the files as well and discussed details of each victim and crime scene.
The day passed uneventfully.
As did the next.
Morgan’s cell phone woke her up Friday morning, the 19th. “Morgan.”
“What is it?”
“We got another one.”
Morgan closed her eyes and clenched her jaw. “Where?”
“Alright. We’ll be there.” She ended the call and then called for the helicopter to take them to the airport. She then woke the other two agents.
By the time the three of them were dressed and ready the helicopter was arriving.
They landed in Boston at Logan International Airport at 1:37 in the afternoon. An agent from the local office was waiting for them as they disembarked.
Morgan stepped forward and took the agent’s hand. “Hi. This is Agent Scully and Agent Casper.”
“Agent Sean Travis. The ASAC sent me to take you to the crime scene.”
The crime scene was in a small, but well kept, house in a quiet neighborhood. The victim was Sheila Cousins, a 28-year-old real estate agent. Morgan slowly made her way through the victim’s house. She picked up a framed picture of a striking, green-eyed redhead.
“That’s the victim,” Agent Travis said, announcing his presence right behind Morgan.
“Where’s her family?”
Travis pulled out a note pad. “Parents are in Seattle; they’re flying in and should be here tomorrow. There’s also a twin sister who lives in Montpelier, Vermont.” He looked at his watch. “In fact, she’s due at the morgue in about half an hour.”
Morgan looked at Scully. “Why don’t you go on to the morgue so you can be there when the sister arrives, Dana?”
Scully nodded. “Alright.”
Less than half an hour into the autopsy Casper showed up at the morgue.
“How is it going?” he asked Scully.
She looked up. “No surprises so far. Where’s Jess?”
“She’s still at the crime scene.” Seeing Scully’s questioning eyebrow he added, “She wanted some time alone to look around and get a feel for the victim’s home.”
“You left her there alone?”
Casper nodded. “It’s not the first time she’s wanted some time alone to get the feel of a crime scene. And, as she pointed out, the threats haven’t been made against her; they’ve been made against you.”
Scully was angry. “But it was her that was set up in Atlanta!” She snapped her gloves off and walked over to retrieve her phone.
“She wasn’t hurt though because she arranged for backup. Jessica knows how to handle herself. She’s been working alone for three years.”
Scully merely glared at him as she dialed. It was obvious that Jess hadn’t told Casper about the severe beating she’d taken in Atlanta. As the phone rang in her ear she paused in thought. How could Jess tell anyone how severe the beating had been since she showed no signs of it? Scully figured that meant Casper didn’t know about Jess.
“Jess, it’s me. What are you doing?”
“Just taking a look around the victim’s place.”
“Why?! Jess, you promised me you wouldn’t take any unnecessary risks.”
“And I’m not.”
“You shouldn’t be there alone. Not after what happened in Atlanta.”
“You’re the one that was shot at the other night. Atlanta wasn’t about taking my life; it was about teaching me a lesson. I’m fine, Dana. Don’t go anywhere without John.”
Scully’s retort was cut off by Morgan hanging up on her. Scully put her phone down and returned to the autopsy table. She was too angry to attempt even minimal conversation with Casper.
Morgan went through the victim’s home taking note of small details: family pictures, perfumes on her dresser, frozen dinners in her freezer, appointments in her organizer, etc. She had a feeling something important was to be found, some vital clue… if only she would recognize it. After a couple of hours she finally left Sheila Cousins’ house.
A Bureau car had been left for her so she drove to the victim’s place of work. It was a small but clearly upscale real estate office.
“May I help you?” the receptionist/office manager asked when Morgan entered.
“Yes. I was wondering if I could speak with someone about Sheila Cousins. I’m Special Agent Jessica Morgan with the FBI.”
“Oh.” The woman was clearly thrown. “I can’t believe she’s dead. Sheila was such a sweet person. Everyone loved her.”
“Did you know her well?”
“About as well as anyone here, I guess.”
“Can I get your name?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Monica Reed.”
“Thank you. Was Sheila seeing anyone, Monica, or did she get any personal visitors here?”
“I don’t think she was seeing anyone, and Sheila was very, very professional. She only had clients come in to see her. Most of the time, though, she would meet with clients at the properties she was showing.”
“Was she a busy agent?”
“Oh, yes. Sheila is– was our top agent.” She gestured to some plaques on the wall behind Morgan.
Several of the accomplishment plaques had Sheila Cousins’ name engraved on them. “Would it be possible for me to take a look at her desk and computer?”
“Of course. Let me show you her office.”
Monica led Morgan to Sheila’s office and then left her alone. Sheila Cousins was apparently very organized. Everything seemed to have a place and be in its place. She turned on Sheila’s computer and opened up the calendar and other files. The victim was very meticulous and organized; it appeared that every appointment she ever had with a prospective client was listed and cross-referenced. Almost every minute of each day was accounted for. Something caught her eye. It appeared Sheila had had several meetings with a new client over the last week. Even more interesting was that the same name had showed up in her personal calendar at home.
It had been 11 days since the murder in Miami, so the Reaper had the time to come to Boston and pose as Russell Schiff… if it was him. Either way, Russell Schiff needed to be checked out.
“Agents Morgan, Casper, Scully?”
“I’m Agent Casper.” He gestured to Scully who was just coming back after having changed back into her clothes after finishing the autopsy. “This is Agent Scully. What can we do for you?”
“I’m Agent Lessing. The ASAC sent me to take you to your accommodations for while you’re here in Boston. Where’s Agent Morgan?”
“She’s not here right now. She’ll join us later,” Casper answered.
The young agent nodded and took Casper and Scully out to the car. Lessing drove them to the Holiday Inn Express on Boston St. Lessing flashed his badge and spoke to the front desk manager. The manager, Melissa O’Rourke, started to check them into the rooms reserved by the local field office.
Lessing turned to Casper and Scully and held out the car keys. “Here you go. If you need anything don’t hesitate to call the field office.”
“Thank you,” Casper said as he took the car keys from Lessing.
“Have good evening, Agent Casper, Agent Scully.” He turned and left.
“Agent Scully?” Miss O’Rourke asked.
“I have something for you.” She retrieved an envelope and handed it to Scully.
“What’s that?” Casper asked.
“I don’t know.” Scully opened the envelope and took out the note contained within.
Casper saw the expression on Scully’s face. “What’s wrong?”
She turned the note so he could read it.
“Damn,” he breathed. “Who the hell knew we were going to be at this hotel?”
“Obviously someone at the Boston field office made the arrangements, but it should not have been general knowledge under the circumstances. You and I didn’t even know where we’d be staying.”
“Well, somehow our suspect does.” Casper opened his phone and called Morgan. “Jessica, it’s me. We’ve got a problem… The local office made arrangements for us to stay at a hotel. There was a note waiting for Scully when we got here. He knows we’re here… Alright… We’ll wait for your call.” He hung up and looked at Scully. “Jessica didn’t know about the arrangements either. She’s going to make some calls and get back to us. In the meantime, we’re not going to check in here.” He spoke to Miss O’Rourke and canceled their rooms.
When Morgan left the real estate office she called the Boston field office and gave them Russell Schiff’s name so they could start checking him out. She made a second call and then drove to Darren Lenihan’s home.
Dr. Darren Lenihan was a Psychology professor at Harvard and Morgan had been his T.A. (teaching assistant). She knew of no one better than Dr. Lenihan at delving into a mind, especially a disturbed mind. She knocked on his front door and smiled when he answered.
“Hi, Dr. Lenihan.”
“Now, now, you know to call me Darren, unless you want me to call you Dr. Morgan,” the grey-haired man said as they shook hands. “Come in, come in.”
Morgan followed the older man into the house. They sat down in the living room.
“Can I get you something to drink, Jessica?”
“No thank you.”
“So what can I do for you? You were a bit mysterious on the phone.”
“I want to pick your brain,” she replied with a smile.
They hadn’t been talking very long when Morgan’s phone rang.
“Excuse me.” She opened her phone. It was Casper calling to let her know about the problem at the hotel. She looked at her old professor when she hung up. “The suspect left a note at the hotel the FBI made arrangements with for our stay.”
“You’ve got a leak.”
She nodded. “I didn’t even know where we were going to be staying. Please excuse me while I make a couple of phone calls.”
“Take your time. I’ll put on a pot of tea.” Dr. Lenihan got up and retreated to the kitchen.
Morgan called the local field office and asked to speak to the SAC, the Special Agent in Charge. She questioned him about the arrangements. He indicated it was his ASAC who had handled them, so she spoke to the ASAC. Agent Cooper said he’d received a call from AD Taylor about making arrangements for secure accommodations for them. So he contacted the hotel and arranged for Morgan and the other two agents to stay without having to use their names. That was the reason Agent Lessing had taken them to the hotel and spoke with the desk manager.
“Well, we won’t be staying at the hotel since our UNSUB already knows about it.”
“What can I do to help, Agent Morgan? AD Taylor made it clear you were to be afforded every courtesy and that the safety of you and the other agents was a high priority.”
“Just make sure everyone keeps their mouths shut and there aren’t leaks about the case. I’ll make other arrangements for our stay here. Thank you.” Morgan hung up and called Taylor. It was then she discovered he had never contacted the Boston field office. Something was definitely wrong.
“Why don’t you stay at my place, Jessica?” Dr. Lenihan proposed.
“We wouldn’t want to impose.”
“Nonsense. Besides, I’m talking about my condo. I’ve lived here in this house less than a month. The townhouse is unoccupied.”
“Where is it?”
“It’s on Concord Ave. I bought it when they were built in ‘87. It’s actually Harvard faculty housing. Since I’m retiring after this year I’m putting it up for sale. Consider it yours for however long you’re here in Boston.”
“That’s very kind of you, Doc– Darren. Thank you.” Morgan called Casper back and let him know where they’d be staying. He assured her that he would get Scully and himself there without any problems.
After Morgan was done with her phone calls, she and Dr. Lenihan continued discussing her profile of the UNSUB.
At the hotel Casper and Scully made their way out a service entrance in the back. From there they took a cab to the address Morgan had given them. Just as promised, a key was hidden away in a compartment of a brick, one of several bricks that lined the small walkway to the door. Casper ushered Scully in after unlocking the door. He followed her in.
Casper and Scully changed into casual clothes and then at sat the kitchen table going over the results of the autopsy and the information they’d received from the local agents about the victim.
But Scully wasn’t happy with the situation. She all but slammed a folder down on the table, stood up, and started to pace in the kitchen. “Doesn’t it bother you that Jess is out there alone while we’re holed up in this townhouse like a couple of timid mice?”
Casper leaned back in his chair. “First off, I trust Jessica – implicitly. She was my partner for six years and she never once let me down. She saved my life more than once because of her exceptional observational skills and insightfulness. She’s gone above and beyond more times than I can count. She’s more than earned my respect, trust and loyalty. And second, I don’t consider being prudent acting like a timid mouse. There have been direct threats made against you and it’s obvious the Reaper knows you’re here in Boston, as evidenced by the note at the hotel.”
“I don’t need to be babysat and coddled!”
“Perhaps not. But Jessica does need to know you’re safe. Look at this from her point of view for a minute. Her entire career at the Bureau has been about going after the worst of the worst, the real monsters. She’s taken them on and won a hell of a lot more times than any other profiler. She never let them intimidate her or scare her off. She almost lost her life to one, but even that didn’t stop her. The only thing that got to her was the murder of someone she loved. It broke her and it made her run. She resigned from the Bureau, cut off contact with everyone in her life, and went to medical school. She could have chosen to withdraw completely from life; it’s not as if she ever has to work another day in her life. But even after everything she’d been through, she still wanted to help people and make a difference, so she went to medical school. But instead of becoming a doctor she came back to the Bureau. She’s worked alone ever since; not getting too close to anyone, not allowing anyone close to her, not letting herself care too much about anyone except the victims.” Casper paused and waited until Scully returned his gaze. “Not until you.”
Scully started to say something but Casper held up a hand stopping her.
“I don’t know exactly what has and hasn’t happened between the two of you, and I don’t need to. But I do know that she let you get close and that she cares a great deal about you. Having someone hurt, or worse, because of her, or her work, is Jessica’s greatest fear and nightmare. One she’s already had to live through once. It nearly destroyed her. Imagine what it would do to her to have to go through it again.”
Scully sat back down with a silent sigh. “I talked to her on the island like you asked, but she still hasn’t been very open with me. I’m beginning to think there isn’t a way to make things right between us.”
“I doubt that – it’s obvious she still cares – or else it wouldn’t be affecting her as much as it is.” He paused for a moment. “Let me offer you a piece of unsolicited, friendly advice. When it comes to Jessica, patience and persistence pays off.” At Scully’s confused look Casper continued. “Toni had to ask her out several times before she finally agreed, and several more times before she did so a second time.”
Scully looked at Casper. “Why are you telling me this?”
“I obviously don’t know you very well, but Jessica has good instincts about people. If she let you get close it’s because she saw something special in you. If you want… it’ll be up to you to pursue what you want. Jessica won’t. She will deny what she wants if she believes it’s in the best interest of someone else that she do so.”
“So in other words–”
“It’s totally up to you. You’re the one who has to decide what you want and whether to pursue it or not.”
Scully let out a heavy sigh. Now she just had to decide what it was she really wanted with Jess… if anything. She jumped slightly when Casper’s phone rang.
“Hey, John. Have you guys eaten yet?”
“No, we haven’t.”
“Alright, I’ll pick something up on the way. We’ll be there shortly.”
“We?” Casper asked. The only response he got was silence since Morgan had already hung up.
The front door opened.
“Hey, guys. Food’s here!” Morgan called out. She appeared in the kitchen with a grey-haired man on her heels. “John, Dana, this is Dr. Darren Lenihan. Dr. Lenihan, this is Agent John Casper and Agent Dana Scully. We’re working the case together.”
“Please, call me Darren,” Lenihan said as he shook hands with the other agents.
Morgan emptied the bags and set out several different selections of Chinese food.
“There should be some plates in the cupboard to the right of the sink, Jessica,” Lenihan told her.
Soon dishes were filled with food and everyone was enjoying their meal.
“Darren’s the one who volunteered this place for us to stay. It’s his condo,” Morgan informed Scully and Casper.
“Thank you for your hospitality, Dr. Lenihan,” said Casper.
“I told you, call me Darren. I hear Dr. Lenihan and I think I’m in class,” he replied with a smile.
“What do you teach?” Scully asked.
He looked at Morgan. “You didn’t tell them?”
She shook her head.
“I teach Psychology here at Harvard. Jessica was my T.A. when she was here.” He grinned. “In a way I was sorry to see her graduate. She was the best T.A. I ever had.”
Morgan snorted. “That’s just because you had me grade all the papers from the grad students.”
He grinned. “I did enjoy watching them try to argue with you. You were never intimidated and rebutted their arguments point by point.”
Morgan shrugged, “Right was right and wrong was wrong.”
They finished up dinner and cleared away the dishes.
“Now, let me see this note from the hotel,” Lenihan said.
Scully arched an eyebrow in question and looked at Morgan.
“It’s okay, Dana. I asked for Darren’s help. He taught me everything I know about profiling and there’s no one better at getting inside someone’s mind than he is.”
Scully retrieved the note and handed it to the professor.
“Well, he didn’t actually write this,” Lenihan said almost immediately. “The handwriting is too neat. He either had someone else write it for him, or someone wrote this while taking a message.”
Casper nodded. “We spoke to the desk clerk at the hotel who took the message over the phone. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything else he could tell us.”
“What do you think about this message and the others, Doc–” Scully cut herself off at the corrective, but lighthearted, look she received. “I mean Darren,” she finished with a smile.
“The author of the messages is… puerile. He’s selfish, extremely egocentric and not happy unless he’s the center of attention. He’s the kind of person that would say, ‘If I can’t have you, no one can,’ and eventually follow through on that threat.”
“How does that fit with the murders?” Casper asked.
Lenihan shook his head. “It doesn’t. The killer is sophisticated, a true genius and possibly gifted as a child. He’s meticulous since he doesn’t leave behind clues unless he chooses to. He’s very socially adaptable since he’s engaged women of varying backgrounds and income levels.”
Scully jumped in. “Couldn’t he have targeted the women at random and not have any contact with them prior to the actual murder?”
“He most likely does pick them at random, but he definitely interacts with them before he kills them. He’s shown familiarity with their residences – meaning he’d been inside their homes at least once. And based on the frequency of the murders and the geographical distance between them, I’d say he earns their trust quite quickly. I’d say he’s quite charming and just about ‘sweeps them off their feet.’ Obviously money isn’t an issue for him. So he’s from money, either his family’s or his own. If he’s working it’s for himself.” Lenihan looked at Morgan. “I shouldn’t be telling you anything that you don’t already know, Jessica. You are exceptionally gifted at profiling, you always have been. I didn’t teach you all that much – you’re a natural.”
Morgan sighed. “There’s just something about this one that doesn’t feel right. Something that I can’t… figure out.”
“How do you reconcile the author of the messages with the killer?” Casper asked.
“They are two distinct personalities,” Lenihan said without hesitation.
“Are they two different people?”
“That is the question. I don’t know. It very well could be two different people, or simply two different personalities of one person. I don’t know. And you won’t know until you catch him.”
“What does your gut tell you, Darren?” Morgan asked.
The professor looked at his former student and felt concern. “He’s made this a personal thing between you. He’s taunting you. Sooner or later he’s going to make you pay, and I’m afraid he knows enough about you to know how to hurt you the most.”
After Dr. Lenihan left the townhouse Morgan changed out of her suit. She grabbed her laptop and settled down on the couch in the living room. She was joined by Casper.
“I can hear the gears turning in your head, Jessica. What are you thinking?”
She sighed. “I’m just wondering what would be the best move.”
“What do you mean?”
“This guy has focused on me personally, as his foil to test himself against, and as a target to be played with. It might be a good idea to remove myself from the equation. Walk away and let someone else get this guy.”
“What? You’ve never backed down or walked away from a case. Why start now?”
“Because I’ve never backed down or walked away. He may be counting on that. And I really don’t know how much good I’m doing since, as you pointed out, he knows my buttons and is pushing them. I’m not being proactive; I’m only reacting to him.”
“Well, you can be proactive without walking away, Jessica.”
“By changing the game; by not waiting to react to him; by making him react to you.” He paused. “When you figure out how to do that, you’ll be that much closer to catching him.”
“And what if it’s not just him? What if there are two of them?”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Just concentrate on what you know. Know what the game is and change it.” With that he patted her leg and left her alone.
Morgan stayed up late into the night. As a result she fell asleep on the couch. The smell of breakfast cooking woke her up. She went into the kitchen to find Casper making breakfast.
“Hey, John,” she said while yawning.
“Morning. What time did you finally fall asleep?”
“I don’t know. But I feel like I’ve gotten two or three hours of sleep.”
“Sit down.” Casper set a plate in front of her and poured some juice.
Morgan frowned. “Where the hell did this food come from?”
Casper smiled. “I went out and got it at the grocery story.”
“Because I felt like making breakfast.”
Morgan looked at him and frowned. “Who the hell are you and where’s the John Casper I know?”
He laughed. “After Jennie left me I had to fend for myself. I also like to cook for Jeremy when he’s with me.”
Scully soon joined them and they all enjoyed the breakfast Casper cooked.
Starting the workday, the three agents drove to the Boston field office. Morgan set Casper and Scully on the trail of Russell Schiff, the name in Sheila Cousins’ work and personal calendars. She then started making some phone calls.
Morgan quickly found out that the pizza delivery driver had finally been located. He was a 21-year-old named George Linz. He was found coming back into the country after having spent some time in Mexico. According to his statement, Linz was stopped by someone who flashed a badge and claimed to be an FBI agent, when he exited his vehicle. He demanded to inspect the pizza before Linz delivered it to the agents in the house. Afterwards, the man who stopped him gave him a big tip for his inconvenience.
After leaving work that night, Linz stopped at a convenience store and bought some scratch-off lottery tickets. He ended up winning several hundred dollars and, on a lark, decided to take off for some fun in the sun in Mexico. Which he did without telling anyone. Unfortunately, Linz was completely unable to provide a description of the alleged agent that stopped him, because the man had worn a coat with a hood that obscured his face.
She then called Alan Stillwell at the cell phone company. She had him check the account records and verify there hadn’t been any further activity on the account since the texts and call she received the past Monday.
Morgan then spent time interviewing the parents and sister of Sheila Cousins. The remainder of her day was spent interviewing her friends and coworkers.
It was 3:00 in the morning when her phone woke her. “Morgan.”
“How do you like Boston?”
Instead of replying, Morgan had decided to follow John’s advice and change the game. She hung up on the caller.
He called back. “Don’t do–”
She hung up again.
The phone rang again. “Listen! I’m not going to play your fucking game so you might as well quit calling,” she said before he could react. She hung up and turned off her phone.
Somewhere in Boston, a dark figure stared at his phone in dismay and anger. “You fucking bitch!”
When Morgan got up in the morning she turned her cell phone on and checked her messages. There were a number of messages from the suspect – all full of angry ranting. Part of her felt pleased she had ruffled his feathers by refusing to talk to him. But the other part of her was concerned about what his response would be.
Morgan joined Casper and Scully for breakfast.
“How are things going with tracking down this Russell Schiff?” she asked.
John answered. “He doesn’t have a Massachusetts driver’s license. No address, no accounts, nothing that can be traced to him.”
“Have you tried neighboring states?”
He nodded. “New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island. I also checked Maine and New Jersey. There’s a Russell Schiff in New York, but he’s 87 years old and has been in a nursing home for four years.”
“Is there any reason for us to stay here in Boston?”
“I’m afraid not. We can continue to work the case via computer and phone. The local agents are handling any local interviews. They’ll report if they come across anything.”
Morgan nodded. “I spoke to Taylor. He’s sending a couple of agents to follow up our investigations here.”
After breakfast the agents packed up and made their way to the airport. They had an hour and half layover in Atlanta. While waiting for their flight from Atlanta to Key West to board, Morgan turned her cell phone on. She wasn’t surprised to have a few more messages by the UNSUB. He was clearly still angry. Then she got to the last message he left. He actually asked her to call him.
Morgan moved away a few steps to place the call. “What do you want?” she asked as soon as he answered.
“You really shouldn’t ignore me!”
She hung up. She wasn’t surprised when her phone almost immediately rang. “What?”
She again hung up. Once again her phone rang. “If you can’t keep a civil tongue in your head we have nothing to discuss.” She hung up and turned off her phone as she followed Casper and Scully up the jetway to the plane.
After landing in Key West the helicopter took the agents back out to Pecuniary Key. After changing into casual clothes, all three agents quietly worked. When Morgan didn’t answer her ringing phone, Scully picked it up from the coffee table.
“Aren’t you going to answer it?”
“Nope. I already told him at 3:00 this morning, and again while we were in Atlanta, that I wasn’t going to play his game and he needed to keep a civil tongue in his head. He can wait until I’m ready to talk to him.”
John looked up and caught her eye. He smiled. “Good girl.”
“I don’t understand. Don’t we want to talk to him?” Scully asked.
“By refusing to talk to him on his schedule Jessica has changed the game. The UNSUB is now reacting to her instead of the other way around. She’s taken some of the control away from him.”
“But doesn’t that risk he’ll kill sooner rather than later?”
Morgan nodded. “It’s a possibility. But as long as he pissed at me, and thinking about me, he’s more likely to make a mistake if he’s emotional. I’ve got to keep him off balance.”
It was only an hour later when Scully received a call from the cell phone company. The calls were originating in Boston. For once, they were ahead of him and he was the one playing catch up.
Morgan took a break late in the afternoon and went for a walk. She ended up down at the pier again. For the first time in a long time, she felt better about their chances of catching the killer. She always knew they’d eventually catch him, but somehow it felt as if the odds were finally on their side. And all it took was changing the game. She wondered why the hell she hadn’t thought of it herself. She shook her head. Well, what mattered is that someone thought of it. She could feel it in her bones – something in the case was going to break… and soon.
It felt so good in the warmth of the sunshine and the water looked so blue, Morgan gave into temptation. She took off her clothes and lowered herself into the water. She began swimming. It felt good to stretch her muscles and push her body. The private key didn’t really have much room to allow for running. And there wasn’t any workout equipment. So swimming was the best way to exercise. She felt her body respond positively to the exercise and her mind clear as she concentrated on her strong strokes.
After Scully signed off the internet at the workstation she walked out onto the verandah off the great room. She leaned on her hands on the railing and took a deep breath. She’d almost forgotten how much she enjoyed the water. Even though both of her brothers had followed Captain William Scully Sr. into the Navy, it was Dana who had shared a real love of the sea with her father. It started with her favorite childhood book, Moby Dick. She dubbed him Ahab, and in return he called her Starbuck.
Even though the Navy kept her father away for long periods, they were close. Of course, that didn’t mean they didn’t ever have any conflict. Her father did not approve of her decision to join the FBI after graduating from medical school. She was glad they had reconciled before he died a few years ago.
Scully took another deep breath, taking in the salt air. “I could definitely get used to this.”
“The ocean or the private island?”
Scully turned to see John Casper standing in the doorway. She smiled. “In truth, both.”
Casper stepped out onto the verandah and joined Scully at the railing. “I shouldn’t be surprised Jessica chose this location as a safe house. She’s always liked the water.”
“She did say a tropical beach was her preference for vacation.”
“Yep. Every vacation she took when we were partners was to beach somewhere – the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific. Toni even taught her how to sail and SCUBA dive.”
Scully couldn’t help but mentally smirk at the idea of a half-breed vampire who relished the beach and other sunny activities.
Casper looked over at Scully. “Jessica took a break a few minutes ago. Why don’t you go see what she’s up to?” he said with a nod to the tree line. He smiled to himself a minute later when Scully silently turned and left. He watched as she exited the house and walked toward the path that led to the pier.
When Scully got to the pier she stopped and simply observed the woman who had turned her life upside-down. Morgan was sitting on the end of the pier, knees drawn up and her arms around her knees. Her face was turned upward toward the sun. She looked peaceful.
Scully was about to walk out onto the pier when Morgan stood up. She was transfixed as the beautiful brunette started undressing. Then Morgan gracefully dove into the water. She should have left and given Morgan her privacy, but she couldn’t take her eyes off her athletic body as it cut through clear, blue water. Dana knew that body intimately… but not as well as she’d like.
Watching Jess, without her knowledge, made Dana feel like a voyeur, but she still hid behind a tree as the brunette finished her swim and returned to the pier. She watched as Jess pulled herself up out of the water and then lie down on her back to dry off in the sun. Eventually she pulled herself away and returned to the house.
While Morgan was drying in the sun her mind was busy. She was reviewing every detail of the case. Changing the game and making the UNSUB react to her was good thing. But what could she do to take further control?
Once she was dry, Morgan put her clothes back on and returned to the house. She ate a quiet, late dinner with Scully and Casper. Then she retreated to her bedroom.
Sleep evaded Morgan for hours. She couldn’t shut her brain off. She kept going over all the messages and calls from the UNSUB. Instead of worrying about how they didn’t fit with the killer’s profile, she focused on just that aspect of his personality. It was his weakness. This facet of the UNSUB was much more emotional and less rational, though still organized and manipulative. It was only this part of him that she’d been able to throw off balance. The brilliant and cunning part of him had made no mistakes, or at least none that they’d found. But the emotional part of him had made more than one.
So, what could she do to take advantage of his weakness? She needed to throw him off his game; she needed to do something unexpected. She reached over and snagged her cell phone from the nightstand. She dialed and left a short message.
“Let’s talk. Face to face, no tricks.”
After hanging up she was finally able to go to sleep.
Surprisingly, Morgan’s phone rang only a couple of hours later. “Morgan.”
“The warehouse district; one hour.”
“No. Tomorrow night.”
“Fine,” came the irritated agreement.
“I’ll contact you when you’re in the area. Midnight – don’t be late.”
Morgan was up early. She made herself some breakfast before showering and changing into a business suit. She was sitting at the kitchen table writing a note when Casper came in.
“Why are you so dressed up this morning?” he asked.
“I have to go back to DC – I have a meeting I have to attend. I was just writing you a note to let you know.”
The sound of the helicopter could be heard as it approached the island.
“Why is the helicopter coming?” Scully asked as she entered the kitchen.
“I have to go to DC for a meeting. I’m not sure when I’ll be back.” Morgan handed the piece of paper to Casper. “If you need anything while I’m gone, just call Greg Titan – his number is there.” She smiled. “Want me to pick up anything while I’m in DC?” she asked lightheartedly to keep them from suspecting the truth. “Pizza with everything, maybe?”
“Just be careful, Jessica.”
“I can’t get in too much trouble at headquarters.” She picked up her briefcase and headed to the stairs. “I’ll see you when I get back.”
Scully had an uneasy feeling. “Do you think one of us should go with her?” she asked Casper.
“For a meeting? We should probably thank her for not making us go,” he replied with a smirk. They heard the helicopter land and then take off again.
Once in DC, Morgan did go to the Hoover building, but only to pick up a vest. She may be willing to meet with the UNSUB at midnight in the warehouse district, but she wasn’t an idiot.
Morgan changed into the clothes she’d packed in her briefcase. After getting something to eat, she headed to the warehouse district. She wanted a chance to look around while it was still afternoon. Besides, he had told her not to be late – he didn’t say anything about her being early.
Casper’s cell phone rang around 2:45 that afternoon.
“Let me talk to Morgan,” ordered AD Ben Taylor.
“What do you mean? She’s not here. She left this morning to go back to DC for a meeting at headquarters.”
Casper felt his stomach tighten with worry. “I don’t know. She simply said she had a meeting. Since she didn’t take any of her bags with her, I assumed she’d be back sometime tonight.”
“Well, there was no meeting. No one’s seen or heard from her and I’ve been trying to get a hold of her for a couple of hours. We’ve got a possible lead on this Russell Schiff guy from Boston.”
“Scully and I will be there as soon as possible.”
“Fine. And try to contact Morgan. I want her here.”
“Yes, sir.” Casper hung up and went onto the verandah where Scully was working. “We’ve got a problem.”
“No one’s seen or heard from Jessica. According to AD Taylor there was no meeting. Taylor wants us back at headquarters – there’s a possible lead on Russell Schiff.”
Scully was up and moving in an instant. “Call for the chopper. I’ll call the airport and get us a flight back,” she said as she opened her phone and entered the house.
Casper and Scully were able to catch the 4:30 flight to DC via Charlotte, NC. They landed at Reagan National at 8:50 and arrived at the Hoover building 15 minutes later.
Taylor met them as they entered the bullpen and brought them up to date on the new lead.
“We caught a break. Agents have been interviewing all of Sheila Cousins’ clients and coworkers. She was at an open house a couple of days before she was killed. We caught a lucky break because the owners had a nanny cam. It recorded everyone that was in the house that day. By reviewing the footage with Cousins’ clients and the other agents who were there, we’ve been able to put a name to all but three people who were there that day – three men.” He handed them pictures of the men. “These are the men. Based on interviews and information in Cousins’ computer and calendar, we’re pretty sure one of these three is Russell Schiff.”
Taylor’s phone suddenly rang. “Taylor… Great… Good job.” He hung up and pointed to the picture Casper was holding. “That guy is Ronald Blaine.” He tapped the one on his desktop. “And this one is David Yoro.”
“So that leaves us with this guy,” Scully said, indicating the photo she was holding. “How sure are we this is Schiff?”
“Everyone else has been accounted for and according to Cousins’ own calendar and notes, Schiff was there.”
“So, we possibly have a face to put to the crimes.” Scully tacked the photo up on one of the boards with pictures of the victims.
“We need to identify this guy. If he is the Reaper I’m sure Russell Schiff is not his real name. We need to find a name to go with this face,” Casper added with a tap to the picture.
“Right. We also need to find Morgan. The Director is all over me about her. No one has seen or heard from her. We verified she took a flight from Key West to here. But there’s no record of her renting a car.”
“Try running the name Essington,” Scully said.
“Just try it.”
“Alright, I’ll have it checked out.”
A couple of hours later Taylor told Scully and Morgan that there were no hits on the name Essington. He then returned to his office.
Scully pulled her phone out and tried to call Morgan yet again. Just like the previous half dozen times she reached Jess’s voicemail. She hung up her phone and looked at Casper. “Something’s wrong.”
“You don’t know that,” Casper said, trying to convince himself more than her.
Scully looked at him incredulously. “Jess left the island to supposedly go to a meeting. We know there was no meeting – at least not here. No one has seen her or heard from her since she left the island. And she’s not picking up her phone. We need to find her.”
Casper let out a sigh. “How?”
Not having an answer Scully shook her head in frustration. After a few moments she thought of something. She opened her phone and called the cell phone company that serviced the suspect’s disposable phone. She spoke to someone and verified there had been a call placed to Morgan’s phone the in the middle of the night and that it originated from DC. She hung up and looked at Casper. “She came here to meet with the UNSUB. In fact, she called him two hours before he called her. I think she initiated the meeting.” She felt her heart drop to her feet. “Why would she do that?”
“Damn it! I told her to change the game, but I didn’t know she’d pull something like this.”
“We need to have a trace put on her phone.” Scully turned and walked into Taylor’s office.
Taylor had the trace put on Morgan’s phone. Unfortunately they were unable to trace its location because it wasn’t turned on.
Morgan looked at her watch. It was almost time. She turned on her phone and waited. She noted the number of messages left, and the incoming call log revealed a Bureau number as well as Scully’s and Casper’s. She shook her head. Morgan knew she’d ruffle some feathers handling this the way she did, but she couldn’t risk anything happening to Dana or John.
She looked at her watch again. He should be calling her any minute. She didn’t have to wait long.
“Morgan… Yeah, I know it… I’ll be there in a few minutes.” She hung up and started walking to her destination.
Taylor’s phone rang shortly after midnight. “Taylor… You’re sure?… Alright, thanks.” He hung up and went to his office doorway. “Casper! Scully! Come in here.”
The two agents entered Taylor’s office.
“They traced Morgan’s cell phone. She’s down in the warehouse district. They’ll try to narrow it down a specific address if they can, but in the meantime–”
“We’re on it!” Casper cut him off as he turned to leave the office. Scully was on his heels.
“Wear vests,” Taylor called after them.
Scully and Casper slowly drove through warehouse district, looking for any sign of Morgan. They both jumped when Casper’s phone suddenly rang.
“They’ve narrowed her location to the 100 block of O Street.”
“Got it.” Casper hung up and told Scully the location.
“That’s just around the corner.”
Casper made the turn and turned off the car’s headlights. He coasted to a stop. They exchanged a look before slipping out of the car and into the night. With weapons drawn, they carefully moved to the nearest warehouse. It was mostly empty, but still took several minutes to verify no one was there. They made their way to the next warehouse.
Morgan stuck to the shadows. With the moon less than a quarter full, it wasn’t difficult. Her dark attire, and mood, helped her blend invisibly into the night. She arrived at the address she’d been given. Just as promised, the side door was unlocked. Morgan entered. There were crates piled all over the warehouse, but in the center was a cleared area. As instructed she moved to the center of the cleared area… and waited.
Finally she heard a voice. “How do I know you came alone?” She could tell the voice was coming from a radio somewhere in the stacks of crates. It was the same altered voice from the phone calls.
“Don’t be an ass,” she snapped with irritation. “You undoubtedly watched my approach to the building, and then you waited several minutes after I arrived to see if anyone followed me. Besides, this was your choice of location, so you obviously scouted it out in advance. So let’s say we get on with this.”
“What did you want to meet about?”
“I was hoping we could come to a resolution.”
“A resolution? A resolution to what?”
“I want to stop the killing. What will take to get you to stop killing young women?”
“What if I told you I don’t know why I kill them?”
“I’d say you’re a liar. I’m not here to play games. If that’s all you want to do I’m leaving.” Morgan turned and took a step to the exit.
An almost silent shot chipped the concrete a few inches from her feet.
“You don’t leave until I say so,” the disembodied voice growled.
Morgan let out an exaggerated sigh. “This is tedious. I wanted to meet with you so we could talk and find a way out of this.” She heard a derisive snort.
“You think you’re going play head-shrinker with me, Dr. Morgan? You think you can help me?” he replied mockingly. “You can’t even help yourself! You certainly couldn’t help Agent Jeffers and you won’t be able to help Agent Scully!”
Despite her desire not to, Morgan couldn’t hide her reaction to his baiting. The son of a bitch really did know how to push her buttons. Her hands curled into tight fists, her whole body began to tremble with anger and she clenched her jaw, grinding her teeth. “You sick bastard.”
Morgan suddenly burst into motion, running for the stacks of crates, bullets striking the floor in her footsteps, but not nearly as close as they could have been – he was still playing with her.
Scully was getting more and more frustrated. The second warehouse she and Casper entered took over 20 minutes to clear. As they exited the building she tried to call Morgan’s cell phone again. “Come on, Jess, pick up!”
“Still no answer?” Casper asked.
“No. It just goes straight to her voicemail.” She closed her phone.
“Come on, there are two more warehouses to check. If we don’t find her we’ll get some more people down here and expand the search area.”
They headed into the next building. They found themselves in a maze of stacked crates. They both heard something. With a nod they split and started working their way through the building along opposite sides. The closer they got the better they could hear.
It was Morgan. She was talking to someone. Scully’s heart did a little flip with the knowledge that Morgan was alive. Now she had to make sure Morgan stayed that way.
Scully and Casper both moved through the stacks, quietly approaching Morgan’s location.
From the sound of Morgan’s voice, Casper figured he was closer to her than Scully was since she was on the other side of the warehouse. He also heard a man’s voice, but not from the same location. It was coming from a radio.
A couple more turns in the stacks and he spotted his partner. “Morgan,” he whispered.
When Morgan turned her head to look at Casper anger burned in her glare. He was actually taken aback.
Morgan suddenly burst into motion, running towards him, bullets striking the floor in her footsteps, but not nearly as close as they could have been – the shooter wasn’t actually trying to hit her.
She marched past him, anger rolling off of her in waves.
“Morgan, what the hell is going on?” he whispered as he followed her.
She ignored him and retrieved a radio hidden in the stacks.
Morgan had been able to determine where the radio he was using was located. She glared at Casper then moved through the stacks to the radio. She picked it up. “If you have anything to say to me, come out of the shadows and face me. Or are you too much of coward to face a woman when she knows what you really are?”
“And what’s that?”
“Scared. Scared to be yourself, so you put on a fake personality like most people put on clothes. A fake personality you know a woman will like. But you don’t do it for her. No. Everything you do is for you, about you. You probably can only come when you masturbate. I bet you don’t even know how to make love to a woman. And you certainly don’t know how to please a woman, how to make her come. But then you don’t care about them enough to even try, do you?”
“Why? Hitting too close to home?” Morgan walked out of the stacks back into the cleared area. “I already know you don’t have sex with your victims. You do terrible things to them but you don’t have sex with them. Is that why you kill them? Because after you sweep them of their feet they want to take things to the next level, they want to have sex? But you can’t, can you? You’re impotent when you’re with a woman, aren’t you? How much porn do you watch? Jerking off to porn is the only way you can get off, isn’t it?”
Morgan smiled. The stress level in his voice was increasing. She was definitely getting to him. “You have your dick in your hand right now, don’t you? You’re trying to get your puny, flaccid dick hard right now – just to prove I’m wrong. But you can’t. You can’t get hard without watching some trashy porno movie. You can’t get it up with a real woman.”
“You don’t know what it’s like to be loved by a woman, do you? You don’t know what it’s like to be wanted by a woman, not as yourself. Only by playing a part can you get them interested in you. But you’re all talk and no action. You can’t deliver when it counts. You can’t give of yourself to anyone because you’re too selfish, too self-centered… because you’re an egomaniac.”
“That’s not true!”
“You’ll never know what it’s like to hold a woman and have her be open and vulnerable and passionate. You’ll never know what it’s like to look into her eyes and see love shining in them just for you. You’ll never know what it’s like to give her so much pleasure she cries out to God. You’ll never know what it’s like to touch her so deeply you touch her soul. You’ll never know what it’s like hear your name on her lips in passion. You’ll never know what it’s like to be loved by her.”
“She will love me!!”
“No she won’t. She’ll never love you, because you can’t be what she desires, what she needs, what she deserves.”
Morgan miscalculated – she’d found his most vulnerable button and pushed it… just a little too hard.
Morgan went down, a look of surprise on her face.
Scully eased her way through the stacks and towards the sound of Morgan’s voice. Scully could hear the voice of a man, but she couldn’t see him anywhere. His voice sounded like it was coming through a radio. She finally came to an area that had been cleared, and was relieved to see Morgan standing there. Then she heard the man’s voice coming over a radio on the other side of the area.
“You think you’re going play head-shrinker with me, Dr. Morgan? You think you can help me?” he replied mockingly. “You can’t even help yourself! You certainly couldn’t help Agent Jeffers and you won’t be able to help Agent Scully!”
“You sick bastard.”
It infuriated Scully to hear the suspect use Toni, and her, against Jess.
Morgan suddenly burst into motion, running for the stacks of crates, bullets striking the floor in her footsteps.
Scully tried to get a look in the direction the shots had come from without exposing herself. She listened as Morgan continued to talk to the suspect. A frisson of foreboding set her heart racing when Morgan stepped out of the stacks and back into the clear area – back into the field of fire. She also felt proud of how well Morgan was handling the suspect, pushing his buttons and keeping him off balance.
He knew Morgan and the other two had left Boston. That’s why he was back in DC. He was surprised she’d called and left the message asking him to call her, especially after she had refused to talk to him. He thought it was the perfect opportunity to go to the next step of his plan. But then she refused to meet him until the next night.
No matter. She would be showing up soon. He’d stayed in his spot all through the night, and the next day. No one was going to get anything past him or set him up. He was too smart for that. And that bitch would find out she wasn’t good enough.
He looked at his watch. It was time. He turned on his phone and called Morgan. He told her which warehouse to come to, then turned off his phone. He watched her enter, and made her wait several minutes. He wasn’t stupid. He waited to make sure she really was alone. Finally, he keyed his radio.
“How do I know you came alone?”
He definitely didn’t like her attitude. When she turned to go he let loose a few shots, letting her know he was in control. She wasn’t going to leave if he didn’t want her to – and he wasn’t done with her yet. He relished her visible reaction to his taunting, to the mention of Jeffers… and Scully. He had the upper hand. This was his game and she was going to have to play by his rules.
He was caught just a little off guard when Morgan made a sudden dash for the stacks. He was sure he could take her out, but he didn’t want to – at least not yet. She needed to be taught a few lessons first. So he simply followed her footsteps with his almost silent shots.
After a few moments he heard her voice again, coming directly over his radio. She had obviously found it and was now holding it. That was when she started. First she called him a coward. Then she accused of him not knowing how to love a woman, how to please a woman. How dare she?!
“Stop it!” he ordered.
She taunted him, even stepped back out into the clearing. He could take her out so easily. The fucking bitch deserved it! He wasn’t impotent! He unzipped his pants and took out his dick. He wasn’t impotent… he’d prove it. He started rubbing himself.
He realized he’d closed his eyes. He opened them to see that cunt smiling. Smiling! Fuck! How did she know he was jerking off? How could she know? His dick wasn’t puny. He could get hard without watching porn. Damn it! Why wasn’t he getting hard? He moved his hand faster, squeezing and pulling. She was still smiling.
That fucking cunt dared to tell him he couldn’t deliver. Well, he’d show her. He was going to deliver a lesson she’d never forget. Damn, his dick was still limp. He spit on his hand and tried to rub himself faster. Fuck her! He was not an egomaniac.
“That’s not true!”
He was having trouble keeping his weapon aimed at her as he continued to try to make his dick hard. Tears… must be from the dust. Tears blurred his vision. He closed his eyes and tried to picture his favorite object of lust. He was not impotent! If he could just keep the right pictures in his mind.
“… You’ll never know what it’s like to be loved by her.”
“She will love me!!”
“No she won’t. She’ll never love you, because you can’t be what she desires, what she needs, what she deserves.”
“NOOOOO!” He let go of his flaccid dick and wiped the tears from his eyes. He aimed and fired. Fucking bitch!
Morgan went down, a look of surprise on her face. Casper heard Scully’s yell, but she was on the far side of the area, too far to get to Morgan. He would have to get Morgan out of there himself. As the shots kept coming Casper moved out from behind a crate and started returning fire in the direction he thought the shots were coming from. He didn’t get very far. He was hit in the shoulder. The force of the impact spun him around and he hit his head on a crate on the way down. He was down and out.
“JESS!” Scully felt her heart stop. Her partner… the woman she lo– Jess was down, and shots were still being fired. Casper was hit next. A round slammed into his shoulder, spinning him around. He hit his head on the way down and was knocked senseless. Scully shoved a new magazine into her weapon and watched for movement. Finally, she saw it. The suspect was a dark mass, moving his weapon back forth between the fallen bodies of the downed agents. He was waiting for either of them to move to take another shot. Scully couldn’t get a shot at him without fully exposing herself.
Scully looked at Morgan. Her eyes were open and she was looking at right at her. “Don’t move, Jess.” She looked back up in the shadows. There was sudden movement from the suspect as he detected motion from Casper. Scully made her move. She stepped from behind cover, fully exposing herself, and rapidly fired three times. Her target went down, his weapon dropping from his hands.
“Casper! You okay?”
“Yeah,” he called back. “I’m hit, but the vest caught it. I got him covered, check Jessica.”
Scully rushed to Morgan, dropping to her side. “Jess?” She set her weapon down and ripped open Morgan’s shirt to reveal a bulletproof vest with a bullet imbedded in the place over her heart. But blood was pooling next Morgan. Scully pulled the vest away and found the bullet wound. A bullet had hit her in the side, missing the Kevlar. She pulled her jacket off, folded it up and pressed it against the wound, putting pressure on it. She pulled out her cell and called for help.
“9-1-1. What’s your emergency?”
“Yes. I’m FBI Agent Dana Scully, badge number JTT0331613. I need two ambulances at 125 O Street. I’ve got two agents down. Repeat, two agents down. Hurry! Send backup.”
“Ambulances are on the way, Agent Scully. ETA six minutes. Backup ETA three minutes.”
Scully hung up. “Jess? Jess!”
Morgan’s eyes opened again and she slowly moved her head to look up at Scully. Her eyes were dull. “Cold…” she breathed.
“You have to fight, Jess!” Tears ran down Dana’s face. “Help’s coming, it’s almost here. Hang on, Jess… just a few minutes…”
“S-Sorry…” Her eyes drifted shut.
“JESS! Damn it, FIGHT!” They could hear the sirens closing in on them.
Morgan’s eyelids fluttered and then opened. “Too… late…”
The problem with being a doctor is being able to tell when someone is dying… and knowing it’s too late for medical intervention. The pool of Morgan’s blood was too big; the rattle in her lungs portended her final breaths. Scully leaned down and got in Morgan’s face. “Damn it, Jess, I just found you and I am not going to lose you. You can make it; you can survive… if you take my blood.”
“I can’t… told you… consequences…”
“I know. Now do it, before it’s too late.” She slipped her hand under Morgan’s head and lifted it, pressing Jess’s face to her throat. “Please! I love you, and I need you.”
Dana felt the initial stab of two sharp fangs breaking her skin, but then there was no pain at all. She felt like she was floating. Time slowed. She became very aware of each beat of her heart, the movement of air in and out of her lungs with each breath, the blood flowing through her veins, flowing from her and to the woman she loved. She could sense strength returning to Jess’s body, her heartbeat… and then their hearts beating as one. She had no idea how long it lasted but she knew the instant Jess stopped, because time snapped back to normal. She gently eased her head back down. Dana looked into fathomless obsidian eyes and saw two gleaming fangs between her parted lips, but she saw no monster – only love.
“Are you… You’re going to be okay, right?” Scully tenderly brushed Morgan’s hair away from her face.
Morgan closed her eyes. “Yes.” When she opened her eyes they were once again grey and held the spark of life within them instead of the flatness of death.
Two squad cars screeched to a halt. The police, under Casper’s direction, checked on the suspect. He was alive but unconscious.
Only minutes later, Scully was riding in the first ambulance with Morgan, on the way to the hospital; never once letting go of her hand.
Officer Kyle Noble and his partner cautiously rushed in. They found the three agents in question. The male agent immediately directed them to the suspect’s position. While Casper kept his weapon pointed at the suspect, Noble and his partner made their way up the ladder to the gantry. With weapons drawn, they approached the suspect. They relaxed a little when they determined he was unconscious. Once he was securely cuffed, Noble looked down at the man and shook his head. The bastard had his dick hanging out. Why would the guy have his limp dick hanging out while shooting at FBI agents?
When AD Taylor arrived on the scene, Morgan was already on the way to the hospital. Scully had gone with her. He walked up to the second ambulance as the paramedics finished preparing the suspect for transport. He looked down at the unconscious man. “You fucking prick. You’re going to wish you were dead by the time I’m done with you.” Taylor noticed the man’s penis was out. “You sick fuck.” He assigned an agent to ride to the hospital with him. “You make sure he stays cuffed – no matter what. Don’t let him out of your sight, and I want to know about anything he says if he come to.”
The second ambulance left.
Casper was sitting in the back of the third ambulance. His vest had prevented one bullet from penetrating, but another did hit his arm. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
“What the hell happened?!” Taylor asked.
“He shot Morgan. I got clipped when I tried to get to her. Then Scully nailed his ass. She called for backup while I kept him covered until the police got here and took him into custody. Scully went with Morgan in the first ambulance.”
“How bad was Morgan hit?”
Casper shook his head. “She didn’t look good, sir. She lost a lot of blood.” He paused. “I’m pretty sure she was wearing a vest, so I don’t know where she was hit.” He suddenly winced as the EMT examining his ribs lightly pressed on a particularly tender spot.
“You’re going to need x-rays, sir, to make sure you haven’t cracked or broken anything,” said the EMT.
“You’re going, Casper.” Taylor nodded to the paramedic, “Take him.”
Even though Jess had told her she’d be okay, Scully couldn’t help being worried sick as the ambulance rushed to the hospital. Jess had closed her eyes before the ambulance arrived and hadn’t yet opened them again, no matter how hard Scully squeezed her hand.
She had seen how well Jess could heal after drinking some blood, but the beating she’d taken in Atlanta wasn’t as serious as the gunshot wound she had in her side. Jess had lost so much blood and the rattle in her breath spoke of lung damage. After what seemed like much too long, the ambulance finally arrived at the hospital. Jess was rushed into a trauma bay and Scully was told to wait in the waiting room. A few minutes later another ambulance arrived, bringing in the shooter.
Scully was sipping bitter vending machine coffee while pacing, and startled slightly when she heard her name. She turned and looked into the worried face of the Director.
“I don’t know, sir. She was wearing a vest, but a bullet caught her in the side, missing the Kevlar. She lost a lot of blood, but seemed to have a good pulse.”
The Director took out his handkerchief. He reached out and dabbed it against the side of Scully’s neck at her collar. “You’re bleeding.”
Scully immediately brought her hand up, holding the handkerchief in place as the Director withdrew his hand.
“You should have that looked at.”
Thinking quickly, she said, “I’m fine, sir. It’s just a nick from debris – probably a chip of cement.” She pulled the handkerchief away and looked at it. “See? Just a couple of drops.” She held it out for the Director take back, but he waved her off.
She buttoned another button on her shirt, closing the collar up a little more.
They waited a few more minutes before Dr. Thomas came out to speak with them.
“Agent Morgan is being prepped for surgery to remove a bullet. It appears to have entered her side, injuring her lung and damaging her liver. The liver was the source of most of her blood loss. Somehow, the bleeding seems to have lessened on its own, so while it’s a concern, it’s not our greatest concern.”
“What is?” Scully asked.
“The location of the bullet; it’s lodged against her spine.”
Scully’s heart dropped. “Cord damage?”
“We don’t know yet – won’t know until afterwards.”
“I want your best surgeon working on her,” the Director declared.
“You have her. Dr. Kerry Kelvin is the best on the coast.”
“Good.” He paused for a beat. “What about the gunman?”
“He’s on his way to surgery as well, but I wasn’t on the team that worked on him. I’ll have Dr. Mendez come and talk to you about him.”
The doctor left.
It was only a minute or so before Dr. Mendez came out to talk to the Director. “How can I help you?”
“Tell me about the shooter.”
“He sustained three gunshot wounds – one in his left shoulder and one in his arm. The third bullet hit his head in a grazing strike, creating a gouge about two inches long above his left ear, but not entering the skull. He’s been taken up to surgery.”
“Did he say anything?”
“He was unconscious when brought in, but he did come to. However, he was combative and uncooperative, so we were forced to sedate him.”
“What did he say? Did he tell you his name?”
“No. All he did was rant about some woman in very profane terms. Unless there are some unexpected complications, he should be fine.”
After talking with the doctors, Scully and the Director went up to the surgical waiting room. After a while, Casper joined them. He’d been seen in the ER and had his left arm bandaged and in a sling.
“Any news on Jessica?” he asked.
Scully shook her head.
He sat next to her and put his right hand over one of hers, giving it a squeeze. “She’s been through much worse and come out okay. She’ll be alright.”
Scully wanted to believe that, but she wouldn’t until she saw it for herself. She suspected that Jess hadn’t taken nearly as much blood as she really needed to heal. She stood and walked to the windows. She looked out but didn’t really see anything. She closed her eyes and recalled what she felt when Jess bit her. It wasn’t like anything she had expected. The pain had lasted only a moment, barely a fraction of a second. Then she felt… well, she began to understand how some people got addicted to it. Even now, just thinking about it, she was feeling the peacefulness… and the arousal that had filled her during those… moments? seconds? minutes?
Scully opened her eyes and took a slow, deep breath. She finally knew what she wanted… what she needed. She needed Jess in her life and in her arms. She was in love with Jess. And if Jess occasionally needed blood she would willingly supply it.
Scully suddenly gasped as a feeling of… of… There was no word that described what she felt, but she knew something was wrong… with Jess. She knew it with unquestionable certainty. She turned and marched through the doors that led to the surgical floor. With the air of authority and determination that surrounded her no one questioned her presence as she marched to her destination.
Scully opened the door to the observation room above an operating room. It was the right one because she could see Jess on the table below. The doctors and nurses were working on her, trying to get her heartbeat back. Finally they got it back. She watched until that indescribable feeling she had was gone… until she knew Jess was stable. Only then did she leave the observation room.
Casper was sitting quietly with his head back against the wall and his eyes halfway closed. The painkillers he’d been given had really kicked in.
AD Taylor arrived and approached the Director. He had some bad news for him.
“WHAT?! Are you sure?”
“There’s no doubt; it’s him, sir. We have the disposable phone he used, the gun he used and his wallet. I don’t have ballistics yet, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t match what we took out of the wall at the safe house.”
“Son of a bitch! I want that bastard’s ass. Make sure there are guards on him 24/7. As soon as the doctors say it’s safe to move him, I want him locked up. I want you to interrogate him personally. No one else gets near him.”
“Yes, sir.” Taylor paused. “Any word on Morgan?”
“Not yet. They said the bullet is lodged against her spine.”
“Taylor, no mistakes on this. He tried to kill a couple of my agents and he’s screwed with this investigation. I want him put away and no chance he’ll get off.”
With a nod, Taylor left.
Scully came back to the waiting room and sat down next to Casper.
“Any news about Jessica?” he asked.
She shook her head. “Anything going on here?”
“Taylor came and spoke to the Director. I didn’t hear their conversation, but the Director was really pissed.”
It was a long two and half hours later when Morgan’s surgeon came out. “Who’s here for Jessica Morgan?” she asked.
All three people in the waiting room stood up, although Casper was a little slower than the others.
“We are,” said the Director. He made the introductions.
“Does Agent Morgan have any family present?”
“She doesn’t have any family. How is she?”
“Lucky to be alive. The bullet entered her side, injuring both her liver and her lung. It then lodged in an intervertebral disc.” She shook her head. “The amount of bleeding was remarkably little considering the damage path.”
“But you got the bullet out, right?”
“Yes.” She handed a small plastic container to him with the retrieved slug in it. “I’m sure you want this.”
Scully couldn’t take it anymore. “What about her spine? Was there any cord damage? And loss of function?” she asked.
“Due to the trauma there’s some swelling in the area. We’ve got her on a steroidal anti-inflammatory to treat it. We won’t know for sure if there will be any loss of function until the inflammation goes down.”
“Can we see her?”
“She’s in recovery right now. Once they move her to the ICU you can visit her – one at a time. I’ll have someone let you know when you can see her.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” said the Director.
Dr. Kelvin left the waiting room.
The Director looked at Casper. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m okay; just a little tired.”
“After we see Jessica I want you to go get some sleep.” His tone made it clear it was an order.
Casper nodded. The truth was he desperately needed some sleep. It was almost 5:00 in the morning and the medication was making it difficult to stay awake.
“What about the suspect? When he comes to we need to interview him,” Scully pointed out.
“He will be interrogated, but I’m afraid you can’t be a part of it, Agent Scully.”
“Why not? I’ve been working this case with Jess for over a month.”
“Because the shooter is Agent Fox Mulder. You’re not to go near him or talk to him, Agent Scully.”
“What?!” Scully was shocked. “He can’t be the Reaper.”
“He’s not, but he is the shooter.”
Casper nodded. “Mulder has hated Jessica for years; ever since we were all in the VCU together.”
“I knew he had a problem with Jess, but I never imagined he’d try to kill her,” said Scully.
“He’s messed with this investigation as well. He’s had you concentrating on identifying him rather than the real Reaper. Who knows how many of the deaths could have been prevented if he hadn’t had you following false leads,” the Director growled angrily. “He’ll be lucky if I don’t find a way to charge him with at least of couple of the murders as a result.”
They turned toward the nurse who had entered. She let them know they could see Jessica.
The Director went in first. Then Casper.
Scully looked at the Director before going in to see Jess. “I’m going to stay with Jess, so she won’t be alone when she wakes up.”
He nodded. “Very well.” He gave her his private number. “Call me to let me know how she’s doing.”
Jess looked so pale, and was still as death. The only movement was the slight rise and fall of her chest as she breathed. She didn’t look like she should. She didn’t have the air of determination and drive that usually clung to her. Also missing were the worry lines that subtly wizened her face. She looked so young and innocent.
Dana looked at the readouts on the monitors. Her heart rate and blood pressure should be higher. She moved to the side of Jess’s bed and took her hand into one of her own. She reached up and tenderly brushed some hair from her forehead. “Jess…” A lump in her throat made it hard to speak. She swallowed and tried again. “Jess… I need you to be alright.” A couple of tears spilled and ran down her cheeks. “Come back to me, Jess… I love you.”
Dana pulled the chair closer to the bed and sat down. She sat down and held onto Jess’s hand, not able to let go of that lifeline.
She woke up a couple of hours later as a nurse was checking Jess’s vitals.
The nurse smiled at her. “Good morning.”
“Agent Scully – Dana.” She looked at Jess’s face.
“She’s hasn’t woken up yet, but all of her vitals have been stable,” Ruth said, trying to reassure Scully.
He threw the file down on his desk in disgust. He was so angry he could no longer sit. It was only 11:15 in the morning, but he poured himself a bourbon anyway. He glared at Taylor. “How the hell did this guy ever pass the psych evaluation? Flying saucers, the government in a conspiracy with aliens, drilling holes in his head, faking his own suicide? What the hell was going on with this bastard and why was it allowed to go on so damn long?”
“I don’t know, sir. According to his file he was a gifted profiler when he was in the Violent Crimes Unit. Then he apparently got all caught up in the X-Files. I’ve never worked with him before. The X-Files division is under AD Skinner.”
The Director walked back to his desk and picked up his phone, calling his assistant. “Stacy? Get a hold of AD Skinner. I want to meet with him this afternoon. And get me everything you can on the X-Files Division.” He hung up.
It was 3:45 when Dr. Kelvin came to check on Jess. She found Scully asleep in the chair, still holding her hand.
The doctor uncovered the end of the bed and Morgan’s feet. She ran the handle of a mallet along the bottom of Jess’s feet to see which way they curled. Kelvin then pushed the covers up further and slipped a hand behind a knee, lifting it slightly. She then tapped below the kneecap with the mallet to test the reflex arc. She repeated with the other knee. Scully woke up while she recovered Jess’s legs and feet.
Kelvin smiled. “She has normal reflexes – a very good sign.”
When Casper woke up he looked at the clock. He’d been asleep for over 12 hours. He carefully dressed and left the hotel to go to the hospital. He wanted to see how his old partner was doing. He walked into her hospital room a little after 7:00 in the evening. Scully was still there.
“How is she doing?” he asked.
“According to the surgeon she has good reflexes, so the swelling around her spine has gone down and she’s not paralyzed.”
“Thank goodness.” He gazed at the redhead for a moment. “How are you doing?” He was surprised to see her bright, blue eyes water.
“I’m relieved she’s not paralyzed, but I’m worried she hasn’t woken up yet.” She paused. “And I’m angry as hell she went off on her own and got shot in the first place.”
“Yet you’re still here,” he pointed out gently.
She nodded. “Because, even though I only met her five weeks ago, I’m in love with her.” She wiped at her eyes. “I’m here because I want her in my life.”
“You mean that?” came softly from the bed and was accompanied by a light squeeze on Dana’s hand.
“Jess!” Dana jumped up and looked at the brunette.
Casper moved to the foot of the bed and smiled. “Welcome back, partner.”
She tried to swallow. “Thanks.”
Scully poured some water into a cup and put a straw into it. She held it so Jess could carefully take a sip. “Just a sip.”
“Thank you.” She gazed up into the Dana’s eyes. “Did you mean it? Even after everything… do you really want me in your life?” she asked softly.
Dana nodded and took Jess’s hand in her own again. “Yes, I do. I love you.”
This time it was Jess’s eyes that watered. “I love you, too.”
Dana bent down tenderly kissed Jess’s lips.
John cleared his throat while smiling widely. It wasn’t enough to get the women to stop kissing. However, when a second person cleared their throat Dana stood up, blushing.
“It’s nice to see you awake, Agent Morgan,” said Dr. Kelvin. “If you’ll excuse us, I need to examine my patient.”
“Right. I’ll be going. I’ll stop by tomorrow, Jessica.”
“Thanks for being here, John.”
“Of course, kiddo.” He turned to go.
“I’ll wait outside,” Dana said, giving Jess’s hand a squeeze.
Dr. Kelvin nodded, but Jess stopped her.
“No. You can stay, Dana.” Jess didn’t let go of her hand.
Dana looked at the doctor.
“If it’s alright with her it’s alright with me.”
When Dana and Jess were once again alone, Dana sat on the edge of the bed. “I love you, Jess… but I am angry with you. You shouldn’t have gone off alone to meet him.”
“It was the only way.”
“No, it wasn’t. You could have trusted me to have your back.”
“It wasn’t a matter of trust, Dana. I do trust you, more than you know.”
“Because it was the only way I could be sure you and John were safe… especially you,” she finished softly. “The Reaper never threatened my life, only yours and John’s.” Jess saw something pass behind Dana’s eyes. “What is it?”
“It wasn’t the Reaper.”
“The caller… the one who left the messages… he wasn’t the Reaper.”
Jess closed her eyes and sighed. “I was afraid of that. His behavior didn’t fit the profile.” She opened her eyes. “Who was he?”
Dana looked away, feeling betrayed and heartsick.
Jess carefully reached up and, with her hand on Dana’s cheek, turned her head back to look in her eyes. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
“It was Mulder. He’s the one behind the break-ins, the messages in blood, the threats, the calls… he did it all. He’s the one who tried to kill you.”
Jess gently tugged until Dana leaned down and she could wrap her arms around the redhead. “Oh, Dana, I’m sorry.”
Dana finally let a few tears go. “I never knew he could… I knew he could go off the deep end sometimes, but I never thought he’d do something like this. I’m so sorry, Jess. I should have–”
“Shhh… You don’t have anything to feel guilty about. It’s not your fault, Dana; it’s not your fault.” Jess held Dana until she stopped crying. When Dana sat back up Jess looked into her puffy eyes. “I’m sorry you got pulled into the mess between me and Mulder.”
“It’s not your fault either. He’s the one that did this.”
“Have you spoken to him?”
Dana shook her head. “The Director ordered me to stay away from him. They moved him to prison a few hours ago.”
Jess finally convinced Dana to go home and get some sleep in her own bed. After Dana left, Jess made a few phone calls. One to Lindsey MacRusso. She asked Mac to make arrangements for all their stuff on the private key to be transported to DC. John’s things were to be sent to his hotel room, Dana’s things to her apartment, and Jess’s things to her office.
Her second call was to a place that made deliveries. She would be alright, but if she didn’t have some more blood her recovery would be too slow. She’d wasted enough time dealing with Mulder; she needed to get back to work and find the Reaper. She made arrangements for a delivery first thing in the morning.
Her third call was to the Director. Dana had let him know how Jess was doing, but Jess wanted to talk to him about Mulder.
“What’s going to happen to Mulder?”
“He’s going down. And there’s nothing you can say to me that will change my mind this time. I should have had his badge after he assaulted you.”
“I told you that was about Toni, Lou. I couldn’t fault him for caring about her.”
“Well, I’ve been going over his file and his work on the X-Files. I can’t believe this guy is still with the Bureau. He should have been axed a long time ago. I’m surprised he ever passed the psych test.”
“Don’t forget, Mulder has an advanced degree in Psychology. He knows all the right answers to give and he’s very manipulative – always has been. Are you going to have him psychologically evaluated?”
“After going over his files I don’t think I have a choice. But I’ll be damned if I let him get off because he’s crazy!”
“Calm down, Lou. Remember, sane is a legal term, not a medical one. All they have to demonstrate is that he knows right from wrong.”
“I’ll have someone see him tomorrow. And now, you should be getting some rest. You’ve been through a lot, Jessica. You need to take care of yourself.”
“What I need is to find who the Reaper is and stop him!”
“You’re not getting anywhere near the case until a doctor says you can,” he retorted.
“I am a doctor, and no one knows my body and what I’m capable of more than I do.”
“Be that as it may, no work without a doctor’s clearance. That’s final.”
She hung up. She was angry. She was angry at being sidetracked by Mulder’s interference in the investigation; angry with herself for miscalculating and getting shot; and angry with the Reaper for killing so many young women.
Scully woke up early the next morning. She got dressed and headed to the hospital. When she arrived, she found out Jess had been moved from the ICU to a private room.
The head of Jess’s bed was elevated so she was sitting up when Dana entered her room. Dana walked over and kissed her. “Good morning.”
Jess returned her smile. “It is now. Good morning.”
“How do you feel?” Dana asked as she sat on the side of the bed.
“Not bad considering.”
Suddenly there was a knock and a woman stood in the open doorway. “Jessica Morgan?”
“You requested a delivery?” she asked somewhat hesitantly with a glance at Scully.
“Yes, thank you,” Jess replied, holding out her hand for the brown paper bag.
The woman handed over the bag and made her exit.
Dana made an educated guess as to what was in the bag. “That’s blood, isn’t it?”
Jess dropped her eyes, feeling ashamed. She simply gave a small nod.
Dana reached out and gently lifted Jess’s chin with her fingers so she could look her in the eyes. “Hey, you don’t have anything to be ashamed about.” She waited until she sensed Jess relax before continuing. “But I do want to talk to you about it.”
Jess felt her stomach do a little flip with the trepidation that suddenly filled her. She gave another small nod and tried to brace herself.
Dana took the paper bag and set it on the rolling bed table. She then took Jess’s hand in hers. “First, I have a couple of questions.”
“At the warehouse, when you took my blood… you didn’t take as much as you really needed, did you?”
“No,” she answered softly.
“Why not?” Dana asked gently.
“I took what I thought was enough to tide me over until I got to the hospital.”
“But it wasn’t enough to guarantee you’d live.”
“I need to know why, Jess. I told you to take my blood because I love you and I didn’t want you to die. So why didn’t you take what you needed?”
“You have to understand, Dana, I’ve never had human blood – not even donated blood. My whole life it was drummed into me that I should never take human blood, especially directly. There can be consequences, and I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“From what you told me there are two things that could possibly happen to me. One is that I might become addicted to you… feeding.”
“But that doesn’t mean I will. The second was something about a bond that could develop between us?”
Jess again nodded.
“What did you mean by that?”
“Sometimes a bond forms between the vampire and human, a kind of connection… an empathy for each other.”
“I don’t see the problem, Jess.”
“You need blood to heal.” She gestured to the paper bag, “And that will not help you as much as my blood will.”
“I love you, Jess, which means I want what’s best for you. That pig’s blood isn’t.” Dana cradled Jess’s face in both of her hands, gently pulling her into a kiss. When she felt Jess’s lips part slightly she slipped her tongue into her mouth and gently explored it. Dana broke the kiss then guided Jess’s lips to her neck. “Please, Jess,” she whispered.
Dana’s eyes closed at the momentary pain that gave way to the peace and arousal that suffused her entire being. A low moan escaped her lips as she felt their hearts beat as one. Time seemed to bend and stretch. Then Jess stopped, and time snapped back into place. Dana felt Jess’s tongue and lips lightly teasing the pulse point at the base of her neck. She sank her fingers in dark, silky hair, then pulled Jess’s head back and claimed her mouth in a deep, passionate kiss. She tasted a faint coppery tang on Jess’s tongue, but it wasn’t unpleasant.
When their lips parted Dana gazed into fathomless obsidian eyes. They exchanged breath as they panted. Dana rested her forehead against Jess’s, closed her eyes and drew in a slow, deep breath.
Jess tenderly took Dana’s face in her hands and placed a chaste kiss on her cheek. “I love you, Dana. And when I get out of here, I’ll show you just how much.” She leaned back against the bed, feeling sleepy. “Just give me a few hours of sleep and I’ll be ready to get out of here.” Her eyes drifted shut.
Dana stood up. She kissed Jess’s forehead. “I need to go to work, but I’ll be back. Sleep well.” She lowered the head of Jess’s bed.
Before leaving, Dana used the bathroom. She was surprised when she checked her appearance in the mirror – the first bite mark was completely gone, and the new bite mark was already well on the way to healing. She simply had two small, inconspicuous marks already scabbed over. Her shirt collar easily hid them.
When she stepped back out into the room Dana stopped and gazed at Jess sleeping in the hospital bed. She didn’t know why Jess had come into her life, but she was infinitely grateful. She grabbed the paper bag containing the pig’s blood, which she dropped into a biological waste receptacle on the way out.
Scully was surprised when Casper arrived at work about half an hour after she did. She arched an eyebrow at him. “What are you doing here?”
“We still have work to do. We need to identify our Mr. Russell Schiff,” he replied and pointed at the picture on one of the boards.
“You should be resting; you were shot.”
“My arm’s fine. I’m taking Motrin and keeping my arm in the sling. I’m right-handed anyway.”
Scully shook her head. “You sound like Jess.”
“Yeah. I went by to see her this morning and she said she’d be ready to leave the hospital later today. Then she fell asleep,” she finished with smug amusement.
“I wouldn’t bet against her, Dana. She survived an attack by Neil Croskey that would have killed anyone else, and she was out of the hospital in record time.”
“She almost died during surgery yesterday, John.”
Casper started to argue the point but then stopped when her words sunk in. “What the hell do you mean she almost died during surgery?”
Scully closed her eyes a moment as the painful memory played in her mind. “When I went into the surgical area I watched Jess’s surgery from an observation room. They were struggling to get her heart going again. I stayed until they stabilized her.”
Casper reached out and gave Scully’s shoulder a squeeze. “She’s alright, Dana.”
“Casper, Scully, come into my office.”
The two agents went into AD Taylor’s office. “I’ve got an assignment for you.” He eyed Casper. “Are you sure you’re up to it, Casper?”
“I’m fine, sir. As I told Agent Scully, I’m right-handed anyway.”
“Take Barker, Kennedy, and Jackson and go to Philadelphia. We may have a lead on this Russell Schiff guy.”
Both Casper and Scully perked up.
“Scully, you’re to report to the Director. He’s waiting to speak with you.”
They both left Taylor’s office.
“I’ll call and let you know if we come up with anything in Philadelphia.”
The Director’s assistant, Stacy, greeted Scully when she arrived. “Good morning. You can go on in, Agent Scully, they’re waiting for you.”
“Thank you.” Scully was surprised when she entered and found AD Skinner and a third man with the Director.
“Agent Scully, come in. Have a seat.”
“Director, Assistant Director,” she greeted them both as she took a seat.
“This is Dr. Carl Harkin. He’s the psychiatrist that’s going to be examining Mulder. He and I both want to talk with you to get some background,” the Director explained.
Scully’s phone rang around 1:20 in the afternoon. “Scully.”
“Agent Scully, this is Dr Harkin.”
“What can I do for you, Doctor?”
“I’m here at the prison to evaluate Mr. Mulder. He’s been extremely disruptive here and uncooperative; however, he says he will cooperate if he can see you. Would you consider coming and talking with him? I’ve already cleared it with the Director, but it is completely up to you.”
Scully pinched the bridge of her nose. Did she want to talk to Mulder? It had been almost a month since she’d last seen him on her birthday. For three weeks he had tormented Jess with his notes and messages, he tried to kill Jess, and he shot at her at the safe house. “Alright, Doctor. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
After Scully passed through the rigorous security of the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center in Baltimore, Dr. Harkin was waiting for her. He took her into the visitation room which was empty. There were a number of visitation stalls which were separated from the prisoners by glass windows. They would have to communicate via one of the telephones built into a stall.
“I did make arrangements to meet with Mr. Mulder in a private room, but he attacked me. So, they will only allow him visitation this way,” the doctor explained. “He’s been so disruptive they’ve placed him in solitary confinement.”
When Mulder was led in, in shackles, Scully was surprised by his appearance. He still had a bandage around his head covering the gouge above his left ear, and his left arm was in a sling. He had a cut above one eyebrow, a swollen, black eye, a split lip and visible bruises on his face. The guard pushed him down into the chair on his side of the window.
With trepidation Scully picked up on the handset on her side.
Mulder gave Scully a cocky smirk as he picked up the phone. “Hey, G-Woman.”
“I haven’t seen or talked to you in almost a month, Scully. Is that all you’ve got to say?”
“And you’re a liar. You saw me just fine a week ago Monday when you were taking shots at me!”
“I wasn’t shooting at you! I was trying to shoot Morgan!”
“Why? WHY?! I told you working with her could get you killed! I had to show you! I told you she didn’t know how to back off. It was the same way with Toni Jeffers – that’s why she’s dead!”
“Mulder, you are the only one who put my life at risk during this case.”
“But I would never hurt you, Scully. You’re the only one I trust!”
“Bullshit! You don’t trust me. You’ve always kept secrets from me.” She ground her teeth as the years of being lied to, dismissed, deceived, ditched, and betrayed boiled over. “You weren’t even honest with me about me! You knew what was done to me and you kept it a secret from me!! A friend doesn’t betray someone like that.”
“But, Scully, I did it for you, to protect you.”
“No. You did it for yourself. Everything you do is for and about you! It’s just one more thing you won’t take responsibility for. You believe every crackpot that crosses your path, but you dismiss my beliefs. You ditch me and run off half-cocked. Your actions have directly threatened my career and my life time and time again – but you never think about that. You don’t give a damn about the consequences to others!”
“Scully, you don’t understand.”
“You’re right, I don’t. I don’t understand at all.”
“I love you, Scully!”
She couldn’t believe he had the nerve to actually say that after everything he’d done and put her through. “No, Mulder. You don’t love me; you don’t know meaning of love.” She slammed the receiver down, stood up and walked out. She never wanted to lay eyes on him again.
Scully was too upset to drive back to DC, so she drove to her mother’s house.
When Maggie opened the door she knew immediately that something was very wrong. “Dana? What’s wrong? Why didn’t you use your key?” Then the tears spilled down her daughter’s face. Maggie reached out, pulled Dana into her arms, and held her. After a minute or so Maggie let go of Dana, slipped her arm around her waist, and led her into the living room. They sat down on the couch together.
Dana snagged a tissue from the box on the end table and wiped her eyes as she sniffed.
“What’s wrong, Dana?” Maggie asked gently.
“I just left the state prison… where I visited Mulder.”
“What?! Fox is in prison?”
“Yes. I told you he’d been suspended for assaulting Jess.”
Maggie nodded. “I remember.”
“Well, he’s spent the last three weeks interfering with our investigation, and he tried to kill Jess the other night.”
Maggie couldn’t believe it. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, Mom. He shot Jess and John Casper, another agent. He was arrested at the scene after I shot him.”
“Because he’s a selfish bastard!” she snapped angrily. “Jess almost died in my arms, Mom.” Tears began rolling down her cheeks again. “And they almost lost her during surgery to remove the bullet from where it lodged in her spine.”
“Is she okay?” Maggie had really liked the young agent that had come to dinner with her daughter.
“She will be, thank God. John’s okay; he was shot in the arm.” Dana shook her head. “I just don’t understand how he can do such hateful things and then turn around and tell me he loves me.”
“He said he loved me. But he doesn’t know the meaning of the word.”
“What’s going to happen to Fox?”
“I don’t know, Mom. He shot two agents, made terroristic threats, and interfered with a federal investigation which may have contributed to the deaths of more than one victim.” She wiped her eyes again.
“Could he be sick?”
Dana shrugged. “I know he doesn’t regret what he did. He was proud of himself today. He’s being evaluated by a psychiatrist, but if he knows right from wrong, it won’t make a difference. That’s all that’s required to be legally sane.” She paused. “I’ve disliked people before, but I’ve never really hated anyone.” She looked at her mother. “Right now I hate him, Mom. I hate him and never want to lay eyes on him again. I hope they lock him up for the rest of his life and throw away the key.”
Maggie put her arm around Dana’s shoulders and pulled her close. Dana laid her head on her mother’s shoulder. After several minutes Maggie broke the silence.
“Why don’t you stay here tonight?”
Dana sat up straight. “I can’t. I have to go back to the hospital to see Jess; I promised her I’d be back tonight. She doesn’t have any family, Mom; no brothers or sisters and both of her parents are gone. She’s all alone.”
Maggie put her hand over Dana’s and gave it a squeeze. “Then go be with her. And when she gets out of the hospital bring her here.”
Dana looked at her mother in surprise.
Maggie smiled. “Everyone needs someone to care about them. I like her and she can stay here while she gets better.”
“I’ll make the offer, but don’t be surprised if she doesn’t take you up on it.”
“Well, either way, both of you need to come for dinner at the very least.”
Dana smiled. “That I can arrange.”
Scully was halfway back to DC when her phone rang. “Scully.”
“Hey, it’s me, John.”
“What’s going on? Have you found our Mr. Schiff?”
“I’m in Boston. And I think we’ve got a really good lead on this guy. Someone recognized his face but didn’t know from where. What he did remember was that this guy was wearing a brass rat.”
“A brass rat. It’s a class ring from MIT.”
When Scully arrived at the hospital that evening she was surprised to find the Lone Gunmen in Jess’s room. They had brought her flowers, candy, and some real food – as opposed to hospital food. Frohike started to give Scully some of his usual overbearing and not very welcome ‘charm.’ Scully was used to it.
Suddenly Jess cut Frohike off. “Melvin.”
He looked at her.
“Hey, I’m always nice to Scully.” He leered. “I’d be even nicer if she’d let me.”
Jess crooked her finger at him and he walked over to her. “From now on, you’re going to show the proper respect and be well-mannered towards Dana at all times. She’s my friend, and I don’t ever want to hear that you haven’t been on your best behavior.” Her grey eyes bored into him. “I shouldn’t have to remind you how to behave towards a lady.”
He swallowed and his eyes got wide. “No, ma’am. Of course not.”
Dana had to fight to contain the smirk she felt while watching Frohike cringe. In all the years she’d known them, Mulder never once said anything to Frohike about how he behaved towards her. In fact he took perverse pleasure in Frohike’s disrespectful, lecherous behavior towards her. Not that she couldn’t handle herself, but it was nice to have someone stick up for her. Before they left, Frohike apologized sincerely and assured her she’d always be shown the proper respect.
Once they were alone Dana chuckled. “How did you do that?”
“Melvin’s not a bad guy, but he forgets his manners sometimes. We’ve had a discussion or two about it in the past. He shouldn’t give you any more trouble.”
“Not that I can’t handle him… but thanks.”
Jess held out her hand. “Come here.”
Dana took it in hers and sat on the side of the bed. “How do you feel?”
“I’m fine.” They kissed lightly, then Jess leaned back against the elevated head of her bed. “So, what’s going on with the case?”
“John and some other agents are following up some leads. He said the suspect was seen wearing a ‘brass rat.’”
“He went to MIT,” she said with a smile. “Somehow I’m not surprised. I’m sure Russell Schiff is an alias though.”
“Undoubtedly. John’s going to go through the class year books and hopefully find his real name.”
Jess frowned. “How?”
Dana closed her eyes a moment and nodded. “That’s right, you don’t know.”
“We’ve a got a picture of him.”
“Sheila Cousins’ was at an open house a couple of days before she was killed. The owners of the house had a nanny cam and it recorded everyone who was there that day. According to Sheila’s records Schiff was there that day. By interviewing her associates, clients and other real estate agents that were there, we’ve identified everyone except one man – Schiff. So hopefully we’ll have his real name tomorrow.”
“I need to get out of here,” Jess said as she reached for and hit the nurse call button.
“What you need to do, Jess, is rest.”
“I’m fine, Dana.”
“No, you’re not. Despite the blood you’ve had I know you’re not fully healed – I can see it in your eyes.”
The nurse entered. “What can I help you with, Agent Morgan?”
“I need to see Dr. Kelvin.”
“She left for the day.”
“Then get me whoever can discharge me.”
“I’m afraid that’s not going to happen tonight. Dr. Kelvin will be in to see you tomorrow.” The nurse left.
“Damn it! I should just get dressed and leave.”
“Jess, no. You almost died – only a day and a half ago. You’ve had major surgery. You need to rest and heal.”
Jess was frustrated. “Dana, I’ve healed as much as I can while I’m in here. I can’t heal completely because there’d be too many questions. We’re getting close to this guy; I can feel it. I need to get out of here.”
“Do you trust John?”
“Do you trust John?”
“Do you trust me?”
Jess’s expression softened. “Yes, I do.”
“Then trust us to work the case.”
Jess closed her eyes and took a slow, deep breath. After letting it out she opened her eyes. “I do trust you to work the case. I just–”
“You just want to finish what you started,” Dana said with understanding.
“It won’t hurt you to spend another night here in the hospital.” She gave Jess’s hand a squeeze. “I saw Mom today. She said I should bring you to her house when you get out of here. She wants to look after you while you recuperate.” She smiled and continued before Jess said anything. “I told her you’d probably decline the offer. But she insisted we both come to dinner, and I said yes.”
Jess gave her a small smile. “I like your mom.”
Dana stayed and talked with Jess until the nurse kicked her out for the night. She then went home to her apartment. She took a long, hot shower before crawling into bed. Despite the stress and emotional exhaustion of the day, she had trouble sleeping. She knew Jess was going to be okay, but until she could hold her in her arms it wouldn’t feel real. Also, images of, conversations with, and observations of Mulder raced through her mind. Dana couldn’t help but think she could have done something, said something, to prevent what had happened. Why didn’t she see it coming?
Casper and Barker came marching into the bullpen just after 1:00. He walked up to the white board that had Schiff’s picture on it. He grabbed a black marker and wrote something under the picture.
He turned around and faced the bullpen. “We have a name to go with the face!”
Taylor came out of his office at the commotion. He looked at the name on the board. “What do we know about him?”
“Hugh Kensey was a gifted student. He graduated from MIT with PhDs in Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at the age of 19. He was raised in Manhattan, NY and attended Hunter College Elementary School in Manhattan, then Hunter College High School where he graduated at the age of 12.”
“So the profile was spot on,” someone commented.
“So far, yes.” Casper turned to Taylor. “Kennedy and Jackson are in New York interviewing his family and friends. But from what I understand Kensey hasn’t lived in New York for some time. He’s a trust fund baby. When he turned 21 he got 5 million from a trust fund. At age 30 he received the remainder of the trust fund – 65 million. He supposedly has property in eight or nine states, including Florida, South Carolina, California, Wyoming and Texas.”
Scully could hear the raised voices before she ever opened the door to Jess’s hospital room. She walked in and found Jess arguing with someone – a Dr. Miller according to the man’s nametag.
“What the hell is going on here?” she interrupted.
“Miss Morgan is–”
“Look, just get your attending in here. And it’s Doctor Morgan to you!”
The man let out a perturbed huff and left.
“Jess, what the hell was that all about?”
“That… He doesn’t know a damn thing about… I refuse to deal with incompetents!”
“What’s going on?”
Jess took a deep breath and calmed herself down. “I need to get out of here, Dana. Staying here is just extending my healing time at this point. There’s nothing more they can do for me here. And I don’t do well cooped up.”
The door to the room opened and Dr. Kelvin entered. “I understand you wanted to see me.”
“Yes. I want out of here, Doctor.”
“You’ve had a major trauma and surgery. It takes time to recover.”
“I know that. I also know that it’s not necessary to remain hospitalized beyond a certain point. Run whatever tests you need to, to verify I’m far enough along the road to recovery to be released. Please.”
Kelvin thought about it a few moments. She crossed her arms as she moved to the other side of Jess’s bed. “On one condition.”
“That if, in my opinion, the tests indicate you need longer hospitalization you stop arguing and stay put until I say it’s time to release you.”
“Alright. I’ll see about getting you in for an MRI. But if they’re too busy you’ll just have to wait.”
“Okay. Thank you.”
Jess looked at Dana. “So, what brings you here this afternoon?”
“Since I couldn’t make it here this morning, I wanted to come by and see you while I was out on my lunch break.”
Jess smiled and reached for Dana’s hand. “If I’d known I probably would have asked you to bring me something better tasting than hospital food to eat.”
Dana squeezed Jess’s hand and returned her smile. “Well, when you do get out of here, I’ll make you a home cooked meal. Okay?”
“That sounds wonderful.”
Scully returned to the hospital after she got off work. Dr. Kelvin was talking to Jess when she arrived.
“Quite frankly I didn’t expect results like this. You heal remarkably fast. I’ve only seen a recovery like this two or three times. But, you are not completely healed and you need to remember that. I’m hesitant to release you without someone to keep an eye on you for at least a couple of days.”
“Jess can come home with me,” Dana offered as she moved further into the room and stood at the foot of the bed. “I’m a doctor and I can keep an eye on her.”
Kelvin looked at Scully for a few moments in silence but finally relented. “Alright.” She pinned Jess with a stern look. “But you are not cleared to return to field duty, Agent Morgan. Office work only.” She looked at Scully again. “Keep an eye on her, especially in the office. If she pushes too hard too fast, she could end up back in here.”
Kelvin left to fill out the appropriate paperwork.
Dana sat on the side of the bed.
“Thanks, Dana. I don’t really have to stay with you. I’ll be fine.”
She smiled. “Oh, but you do. I promised you a home cooked meal, remember?” She reached out and caressed the brunette’s cheek. “And it’s for my benefit as much as yours… I’ll feel better with you where I can see you and know you’re okay.”
Jess reached up and took Dana’s hand in her own. She kissed her palm and smiled. “I’m all yours.”
Jess was soon checked out of the hospital. Before going home, Dana drove by headquarters and retrieved Jess’s main travel bag from her office. On the way to her apartment, Jess asked her to stop at a particular drug store.
Dana pulled into a parking slot and turned to Jess. “Is this so you can buy some blood?”
“I thought we already discussed this.”
Jess reached over and gave Dana’s hand a squeeze. “We did. But it’s too soon for you to give any more blood. I just need some blood and some sleep, and I’ll be completely healed. Okay?”
Jess stiffly got out of the car and went inside. She returned in only a few minutes.
While Dana fixed some spaghetti and a fresh salad, Jess changed into some sweats. She drank the blood and threw the container in the trash. She then went out to the living room and stretched out on the couch. It only seemed like a couple of minutes before Dana woke her, telling her dinner was ready.
They enjoyed the simple meal. Afterward Dana encouraged Jess to lie down on the couch with her head on her lap. She absentmindedly carded her fingers through silky, dark hair as they watched some TV. They decided to turn in early.
When they slipped into bed, Dana took Jess into her arms as she laid her head on her right shoulder.
“Mmmm, this feels nice,” Jess said softly.
“Yes, it does.” Dana kissed her forehead.
Both women closed their eyes and drifted to sleep.