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It didn’t take long to get to his apartment; Vincent always drove his bike like he was in the middle of a high-speed chase, weaving in and out of traffic and making other drivers curse, swerve, hit their horn, or just shake their heads in disapproval. He was once told that he was the reason people died in motorcycle accidents – all his luck was actually siphoned from others and those who were left luck-less were the ones that found their end in the streets when a thoughtless driver turned out without checking or didn’t check his blind spot when merging.
Even though it was ludicrous, it was an idea that he very much enjoyed. It was said out of spite, of course, after he drove someone home that he thought he was going to sleep with, but it helped him sleep on nights he would have otherwise tossed with insatiable insomnia.
Vincent rolled the motorcycle into his normal parking spot, setting it down on it’s thick kickstand. He stood there for a moment, straddling his bike, breathing in the toxic air of the city. It was a cool night, the wind kicking up as he waited for… well, for what exactly? There was no one who was going to meet him, nothing to say to anyone , nothing to ponder or worry about – so why did he take pause?
Not being the type to linger on insignificant details, Vincent lifted himself off of the bike and entered his second story apartment without any more inexplicable pauses, the key sliding in the lock and turning with a click.
The apartment itself was unnaturally clean, mostly because he did nothing but shower and, very occasionally, eat at the sad wooden table that adorned the sectioned off dining room. Those nights were bad nights, nights that he missed his past and lost track of the mission inside a sea of questions, questions that begged for answers that he would never receive. Sometimes, he cried, but those tears were silent and cleared up by the next tick of the old clock on the wall.
The bed was always made with hospital corners, perfectly flat and smelling of fresh linen; it was a shame that he almost never slept in it. Or, perhaps it wasn’t a shame… he found himself sleeping in very interesting places after scouting through the different bars and clubs that were scattered across the city. There was something extremely vulnerable about a person who has drank too much and he hated that sight almost as much as he craved it. They were like wild animals that handicapped themselves and walked up to the slaughterhouse with a smile on their face, just begging to be killed. Although he might have considered himself a predator, there was nothing wrong with enjoying an easy meal.
Killing and fucking were too different sort of highs, one for the mission and the other for himself. There was adrenaline in both and he hated to say that he was addicted to the high, but he found himself wandering the streets in the heat of the nightlife on nights that even he believed he would just arrive home and collapse in bed. This night, just like nearly every night before it, he found himself getting cleaned up and dressing in clothes that singled him out as what people would label a “bad boy:” he was all done up in a shirt that was a bit too tight and a leather jacket that was about as old as he was.
It was a short ride to the thick of the city. Vincent parked his bike and locked the helmet to the back, his eyes already scanning the street. Even on a work night, the city was always good for enough drinkers to help him blend in and he took advantage of the cover, disappearing into a particularly dark bar that he enjoyed prowling around in the early hours of the night. It was only when he got desperate that he wandered into the deeper city, drifting in and out of clubs - the music in clubs always managed to give him a headache.
Contrary to what most thought about him: you know, that he was just your average uptight sonofabitch with a penchant for making life hard for everyone around him - he did know how to have fun. Elijah might not have been so much into partying or all smiles and schmoozing in the workplace, but in his off hours, if he wasn’t obsessing, he had something better to do with his time - better to do with his money - something else to fill the hole with.
Of course, he would spend another three hours here, eating, sorting, reading through what he had compiled thus far, but once he had officially burned himself out, the brunet had packed up his shit and made his way for the lot.
Mentally, he was exhausted, but physically he’d been restless for the better part of the day. Unable to settle. Agitated. Uncomfortable in his skin. He needed something to take the edge of the nervous energy that wasn’t alcohol, but he was pretty sure some would find its way into his system anyway at some point that evening.
His trip back home was nothing spectacular. He spent most of it picking through his day - turning over every detail until his mind revisited the refreshing presence that had been Vincent Hayes. He had never answered his question - something he had noted.
Short of doing it to really drive home a point, though, Elijah was just not one to repeat himself. When he spoke, he tended to ensure that what he was saying was as clear as possible. There was never any reason to misunderstand in his mind. Ever the pointed, direct one. Impossibly honest, too. Perhaps a little too honest?
Silence echoed uncomfortably in his apartment - something that served more so for functionality than it did warmth. No photographs, no tchotchkes, no roommate. His clothes were all neatly organised into his closet or tucked away in their drawers.
It smelled clean, too. Had he left now, there would have been no proof he had ever really been there, would there? That thought caused an uncomfortable tension that he did his best to shake off on his way to the shower.
At some point, he had decided that he was going out. Maybe if he found a stress outlet he wouldn’t be so damned irritated at work. Maybe, at the very least, something would put him in a better mood for dealing with the sorts of personalities he was forced to deal with for the time being.
Then again, maybe he was just an asshole.
...no, couldn’t be it.
He stripped down, scalded away the first half of his day, then moved to find something a little more suitable for his nightly trawl.
Most of what he owned were of specific tones. Funny... when he dressed, he looked more like a villain than the good guy. And maybe that was a damned good thing. Maybe the problem was that good guys were never taken as seriously. He’d be damned if he ever got pegged as one to be fucked with.
Well... it did depend. But in this case, he was thinking in terms of work. For his purposes, though? Yes, this should do quite nicely...
“Oh yeah. You too, Detective.”
Vincent offered a light bow, unsure how to take the smirk that flitted across Bauer’s lips. Although Vincent was typically a pretty intuitive person, Bauer was a mystery to him; he seemed to be a very straight arrow, one to keep strictly to protocol, but that smirk spelled out a different sort of story, one about a man that was wild around the edges. Why did it look like he was up to something? Why did Vincent [i want] him to be up to something?
It was hard not to wonder what went on when the badge was put up and Bauer was released into the night. Was he the type to stay up all night, surrounded by case files and highlighters, or did he keep his work at work, returning home to a waiting lover and a clean house? Vincent found himself hoping for the former, taking a mental note of the detective’s distinct features – he might go prowling for him after hours, to see what he got into. There was something deeply pleasing about imagining the detective at home, studying his personal work while he was off the clock… if only he could explain the reasoning, teach Bauer his craft, have someone to turn to as the madness of the world swirled around them - - -
But he was getting carried away. For now, the growling in his stomach took center stage. Before anything, he was going to need to find something to soothe the muscles that twisted painfully in his core. With a general air of nonchalance, Vincent pulled the ribbon from his hair and visibly relaxed as his hair rested around his shoulders like a white curtain. He was still shaking his hair out when he turned a corner, walking out of Bauer’s direct line of sight.
The trip out of the building was uneventful, as the place had all but cleared out after the chief took his leave. Vincent collected his helmet from underneath Claire’s desk and carried it under one arm, his mind wandering through the options for dinner – should he go home and cook, or go somewhere? Was he in the mood for Italian, or Chinese? He played with the idea of ordering in as he mounted his bike, gathering his hair up into the helmet before sliding it on. The visor was dark on a matte black helmet, a perfect match to his inherited motorcycle.
It wasn’t very often that he had the opportunity to share space with someone he hadn’t immediately taken a dislike to. The company was almost... enjoyable. There was something distinct about he man’s presence that managed to hold his attention, even if that focus happened to particularly linger in the background.
He could sense every shift, even the energy that seemed to radiate from the blond, but nothing about it warned him off.
Straightening from his distinctly focused position, he took on a more polite posture to address Vincent, impossibly sharp eyes shifting behind his spectacles to latch onto the man’s gaze. There was just the touch of a smile hiding in the corner of his lips, the way he made eye contact direct and unmistakeable.
“Thank you, I should manage. I hope you’d be willing to lend me your assistance again.” He said these words as he returned to his work, sending documents off to the printer en masse so they would come out already organised. All that would be left would be to comb through, label, note, highlight and hopefully find any more factors to link this particular killer’s crimes. The more distinguished the m.o., the more precisely one could hone in. And he was all about that precision.
The thought brought a soft smile to his lips - granted, it was a smirk more than anything. He couldn’t help but always look like he was up to something. A strange contrast to his typical facade of stoicism with just a touch of ennui.
“Do take care.” Tone even as he bid the man farewell, Elijah printed off the last of what he needed before rising to make his way back to the print room.
Watching the agent seamlessly take over his computer and sort through the piles of mostly useless shit he opened on the desktop was invigorating. He was quick to close out things that were useless and tag important pieces, sorting through the madness almost as fast as Vincent could.
He made seldom few mistakes. Vincent couldnt believe how well he was able to pinpoint the important information while simeltaniously discarding the useless or irrelevant bits. His effort and attentiveness to detail was impossibly erotic and Vincent felt himself lean forward with excitement. He was still leaning forward when Elijah' s question broke the silence.
"Hm?" Vincent pressed his back against the chair as he was asked about the printer, his eyes catching a glitter of light from the monitor. For a long moment, he had lost himself in the movement of the detective' s hand, the glide of the mouse about the screen, the short glimpses of his victims in their final resting positions -
"Of course," he said, his voice even and unchanged. The sound was friendly yet soft, fitting for the almost intimate lack of space between the two men. This close, Vincent could swear he could smell the shampoo that the stranger used most recently in his hair.
Suddenly, Vincent pushed his chair back and stood up, stretching his arms up over his head and cracking his spine in multiple places. With a lazy motion, he pointed in the direction of the printer while also stifling a deep yawn.
"I've been in this box too long," he admitted, his stomach agreeing with a loud gurgle. "Is there anything else I can help you with before I take off?"
Interesting... he seemed sharper than the other. Not so perceptibly dismissible. Perhaps he’d be of use after all. Thank you, [i Claire.]
“Vincent it is, then. Please simply call me Bauer.” His tank was pretty obvious based on his ID, and though he was grateful for the deference, it was unnecessary beyond first introductions if they were going to use his name anyway.
“How long have you worked here, Vincent?” He queried, lowering himself into the offered seat and seamlessly taking over once given the opportunity. His spectacles had already made their way back onto his visage, which maintained a calm he must’ve spent an eternity or two perfecting.
“Too messy... irrelevant...” he murmured, dismissing or tagging what he deemed worth looking into and clearly a waste of his time.
He only offered one other glance to the man, studying his features carefully - memorising them perhaps before he turned his attention back to the screen.
Well, he certainly was fetching - maybe that was why Claire couldn’t keep her shit together on their way over. Or maybe it was the razor sharp intellect behind those eyes. However warm or inviting, this man was by no means a fool - and that was worth some level of respect.
The fact that he was even here right now, seated beside another person as he tagged and cycled through cases was remarkable. He had long been pegged as ‘Does Not Play Well With Others’ and it was fairly obvious why. He liked his concentration. If he wanted anyone to offer their opinions, he’d ask for them. Distractions, noise, annoying habits.
His first and very last partner hadn’t lasted two days. It was just as well. Had no business being there if they broke so easily.
He cycled through soon enough and began to narrow down his focus, perusing page by page to see if he would be taking one case or another back to his office, lingering on a photo or two.
“Is it safe to assume the printer supports large format prints?”
"Most prefer Vincent. Or Vince, if you are so informal." Vincent smiled a small, wicked smile from behind his monitor, the screen casting an eerie blue light across his pale features. At first glance, through the expert eyes of an agent, Vincent looked impressive and perhaps a bit sinister... but the way his body moved, both fluid and sure, and the glimmer in his eyes when a case was particularly difficult gave him a lighter tone; he was quick to gain the trust and adoration of those who worked around him. The deep feeling of dread slowly faded as he became known for his soothing voice and his expert categorizing skills.
"I only hope that I can be of assistance," he said, offering the detective a seat beside him so that they could both face the monitor. The files he pulled up were extensive, and he flipped through them at a speed faster than most could comprehend. After a few moments, the screen in front of them was filled with open windows; file after file overlapped with crime scene photos, first responder accounts, reports from the morgue, etc etc.
Vincent rolled his chair slightly off to the side, offering the mouse and keyboard to his companion with an upturned hand. In that moment, Vincent got his first good look of the agent that was transferred in to meddle in his case. He was young, perhaps not much older than Claire, but his eyes held the darkness of many lifetimes. Although his face was scrunched up with annoyance and frustration, he was unmistakably handsome, too much so for the work he was doing. He was sharp tongued, to the point, and clearly rushed -
Vincent loved him already.
"This is the most recent gathering of cases that are believed to be related to Red. Of course, we cannot know which are copycats, or perhaps different people all together... they only share important pieces, like weapons and victims of choice." Vincent smiled a bit, shaking his head.
"I'm sorry. I am talking to you as if you are a rookie. Being cooped up in this intelligence box for too many hours rots my brain." He tapped his temple with an index finger. "I don't mean to insult you. By all means, tell me what you see."
Vincent folded his legs up underneath himself and leaned forward, the strand of hair he secured earlier falling free and hanging loosely in the air; it shuddered in the wake of his breath, which was soft and even. There was a certain energy of excitement about him, like a child getting ready to open that first present on Christmas morning. Most that knew him confused that energy for the thrill of being an intelligence agent on a fresh case, but perhaps this transfer agent knew better...
Forgotten, Claire made her escape, flitting back to the safety of her desk. Save the few agents that were milling by the exit, they were alone in the darkened branch, lit only by the monitor and the small circle of light created by a single desk lamp.
[center Came for answers and got an escort. Of course. Patiently, which was fairly impressive considering his temperament and the burn of hunger in his gut, Elijah waited for Claire to lead him to the correct branch. Though he had a rough idea of HQ’s layout, a lack of experience with these halls guaranteed it would take longer if he happened to misjudge.
Casting the chief a glance that was supposed to be a sort of adieu, he trailed after the slight woman, watching her quick stride. Whatever sound came out of her mouth, he heard none of it. It was of little interest to him if it wasn’t something he could use, and he politely ignored her until they reached their destination, passing the threshold with a deliberate stride as he took stock of his new surrounds.
Smelled like paper... so much paper. And ink. Recycled air, stale coffee—his nose wrinkled at that.
“Vincent-“ Claire began, standing a little farther from his desk than Elijah could understand. “This is detective Bauer, the transfer detective I mentioned before. Uhm, I suppose you can take it from here?”
So nervous. Tsk, tsk. Elijah inwardly scowled. [i Have a little backbone.]
“You must be ‘Hayes’. You were on speaker.” There was no reason for him to clarify, but it saved him any explanation as to how he had identified him so effortlessly.
“I doubt this will require much time. I take lunch in... less than an hour.” He murmured, glancing to his timepiece. “Shall we?”
It had been an interesting morning. Vincent watched from the very edge of his vision as the agents bustled about, nervously hoping for a breakthrough. Packets continued to hit Vincent's desk as they walked by - requests for past cases, current patterns, lists of suspects.... after awhile, the packets were all the same, blending together as one big request for information that was not going to help bring the most important case to closure.
In fact, with Vincent behind the wheel, it was likely the Red case would never close and the perpetrator would never be brought to light. He would have smiled or perhaps even begun to hum had the paperwork not kept him unbelievably busy.
As the day wound down into late afternoon, the office mostly cleared out. Only a few dedicated agents remained, focused so heavily on their work that they forgot to check the time. Vincent was halfway through one of the final requests for information when his phone rang. The sound of the phone, a ring specific to the internal service, broke through his revere and caused a few of the nearby agents to perk up and look at him.
It was very rare that anyone called the intelligence branch, strictly because most questions could not be answered through the telephone, even if it was considered a closed and secure line. Yet, here was his phone... ringing proudly, like it belonged.
Vincent lifted the phone rather gingerly and said, in his most professional and polite tone: "Hayes speaking."
"Vince, this is Claire... at reception?"
It was hard to keep the smile from his lips. Claire was the exact embodiment of his idea of a victim; there was something about her that was so sweet, so impossibly submissive, that made the primal part of his brain growl with hunger. Unfortunately, she was not on the list and, therefore, was to be left alone.
It was hard to keep to the script, sometimes.
"Ah, Claire. Of course. What can I do for you?" His voice dripped with sickly warmth, inviting her closer with every syllable. Vincent could all but here her heart quicken. The agents that were interested immediately fell back into their work, the sound of Claire's name synonymous with "unimportant."
"Um, well, there is a transfer detective here working the Red case and chief would like you to give him a hand." She fumbled a bit for the right words, looking between a rather sour looking detective and the lazy smile of a lackadaisical chief.
"Oh, of course. Send him up and I will show him the files I have compiled. Thank you, Claire." He said her name slowly, tasting the sounds as they moved his lips. On the other end of the phone, she only nodded and hung up, her face flushed an embarrassingly deep red.
"Vince is, um, he's in his office. Or, er, at his desk. He uh... do you need me to escort you?" Claire cleared her throat and shifted in her chair. This was amusing to the chief, who only chuckled from where he stood.
"I'll leave you to it, then."
Vincent placed the phone back in its cradle and leaned back, the chair complaining after so many years of use. This transfer detective was going to require extra finesse, he could already tell - it was late afternoon and most of the city detectives were off the clock and drunk on either alcohol or the allure of sexual encounters. Or both.
This one, however, was still hard at work. Although he wanted to dislike the effort, it was actually thrilling - after so many years, he was welcoming a challenge into his life and he couldn't wait to meet him.
[center Tea settled onto a nearby coaster, Elijah pored over case files he’d managed to have transferred over, eyes raking over page after page of detail. His concentration was so singular in those moments he didn’t even so much as acknowledge the junior agent that had come to deliver more of what he’d requested.
Before long, the bleak morning had darkened into the ever bleaker hours of the afternoon, and as he finished off the last of about his third cup of cold tea, he’d finally decided on food. Hunger was messing with his concentration, and it struck him more an annoyance than anything else, the prospect of having to hunt down lunch.
Rising from his swivel, he drew the spectacles from his face and tucked them into a case, lids dropping to half mast with the extreme contrast in focus. Fishing a pair of proper boots out of a neat bag, he slid each foot in and zipped them with care, emerging at last from his lair.
Strangely, the halls were much quieter than he expected, save for the occasional field officer or a stray agent rushing between departments. Most glanced but otherwise refused to make eye contact with him, and he was sure it had much to do with his expression.
Warmth has never exactly been his strong suit. It required far too much energy and that was best reserved for those who flagged deserving. To date? Hadn’t happened yet.
He ordered Portuguese to the secretary’s desk and took the long trip down to the archives, stepping into a nearby lift that would take him straight to the sub level.
Already, he’d been making plans to build a separate team specifically for this group of cases, but in order for that to happen, he had to gain evidence of a substantial connection between all of the present cases that had come up and perhaps ones from the past.
As he cut to the left, he offered his ID to the posted agent at the checkpoint and proceeded to the doors. His password granted him plenty of clearance, it seemed.
The agent chatting up the archival secretary glanced his way, expression guarded at first, but it was a briefly suffered discomfort. The muscles of his face loosened up into a polite smile, brown eyes warming as though with recognition.
“Agent...” Was he supposed to know him?
“Here to snoop?”
“Looking for answers.” Elijah murmured dismissively, eyeing the secretary, who to his surprise, looked particularly glad to see him.
“Working on that case, right? Terrible about that girl...”
“Hey- do you need an extra pair of hands? I have to head out soon, but I can hunt someone down for you. Vince around, Claire?”
“Ah-“ She flushed, a giveaway that pulled Elijah’s pursed lips off to one side. “I did see him. Sh-shall I call him?”
“Would you, hon?”
It was a feat not to roll his eyes. Then again, maybe his bad temper had something to do with the hunger, but everyone here reminded him so much of...
“Huh? Sorry, did you say something?”
“Lunch. I ordered lamb from the Portuguese place. Anthony might call down here in the next hour or so.”
The white haired male looked up from his computer, his fingers resting in the curve of the keys. His eyes, naturally two different colors, were obscured by colored contacts that made them look more hazel than blue or green, giving him a more even and, perhaps, a more professional look.
"Yes?" His voice was patient and kind, his irritation buried deep behind years of pretending to be someone he hated. To most, his voice was as smooth as velvet and was more calming than a long-requested vacation or the embrace of a significant other. Very seldom could one hear the seething hate present under his even tone.
The man that stood at his desk was an old coworker, someone he would have considered a friend if such a trivial thing mattered. The man was portly and did not take care of himself, but he was damn good at his job... typically.
"We have a new one," he said, his voice trembling slightly underneath what Vincent could only assume was his attempt to keep himself together. Unfortunately for the officer, his facade was cracking under what seemed to be a combination of immense stress and impossible standards.
"Here." Vincent sat the older man down and offered him a warm cup of coffee, the liquid still steaming. The vapor clung to the humid air as it traveled, visible long after what was typical. The man took a grateful sip, which immediately calmed his nerves and stopped the shaking in his hands.
"I swear, I'm too old for this." Vincent offered a polite chuckle, leaning against his desk to get a better look at the officer.
"What happened to shake you up like this, Ben?" Vincent absently brushed a loose strand of hair out of his face, tucking it behind his ear. Vincent was gorgeous in a quiet way, with long hair tied loosely at his neck and an angular jaw that promised protection from whatever lurked in the darkness.
"This case. As it gets bigger and bodies pile up..." Benjamin trailed off, taking a long sip of his coffee. It was black and bitter, but it warmed his chest and soothed the knot that twisted in his stomach.
Vincent placed a reassuring hand on Benjamin's shoulder, his slender fingers digging in slightly. "We're all doing everything we can-"
"That's just it!" Benjamin said, cutting Vincent off, "They sent in someone to take over the case. He issued commands at my crime scene!" He slammed his cup down on the desk. Vincent watched three drops of brown liquid escape the cup and seep into the paperwork he had been working on - it took a few good breaths to hide his disgust under a face filled with concern.
"I'm sorry to hear that. I'm sure it was to appease the public, not to belittle your position..."
"Either way, it looks like you will be taking orders from someone else, at least for a little while. Be on the lookout." Benjamin took his coffee and stormed off, much like a child headed for his bedroom after an argument with his parents. Vincent watched with sharp, clever eyes as the man slammed his office door.
"Mm." Vincent tapped his lips with his index finger, pondering the newest twist in his story. This new person was good enough to put Benjamin out of his manners, which meant that the city was beginning to take this very seriously.
This was going to make this game incredibly interesting.
[center “Show me.”
“Well, see... that’s the thing. There’s not much to show.” A nervous laugh and a rub at haphazard salt and pepper was all the older detective could offer.
“You’re looking awfully cheery to be standing on a murder scene.”
“I guess that just tells you how little happens here.”
He dug a case of Galoise’s from some unknown place and lit up as he made his way across the field. There were markers spread out all over the place, a forensics team taking photos and gingerly digging up earth that was too soft.
“What exactly is going on here?”
“Just gathering what we can of photographic evidence and trying to recover what we can from all this muck. It’s a miserable day to be in the field.”
Bauer cut the man a look, heading in the opposite direction. He pintpointed every marker already laid and stalked out a perimeter. It didn’t seem that what they were looking for was spread out too far, and upon approaching article four, his suspicions were confirmed.
“Meticulous fucker. I have to give you points for that.” The ghost of a smirk touched his lips.
“I want all of these portions collected as soon as possible and transported. I need to have a closer look. In the meantime, I want at least half of these agents spread out down that end. There’s too much traffic here and not enough solid ground. Hey- you, and you. Come hither. You as well. Set up tents from here to there and a small blockade there.”
The chief gaped for several moments, as if he couldn’t believe this man had actually had he audacity to take command of his crime scene.
“Uh, sir, did you mean me?”
He cut the agent a sharp look, the colour in his eyes flattening. “No, you’re free to leave if you’re done here. Or, you can actually help your fellow agents set up.”
No wonder he’d been sent here. These guys were hopeless. Then again - it wasn’t like this place really saw any ridiculously major crime. His presence here was very temporary, thank every god, but it was a wonder how they would get along once he took his leave of this place.
Elijah branched off, then, walking the grounds as he coordinated on tasks with the chief in attendance as he monitored the evidence collection. They’d be out here all day at this rate.
By the time he actually made it back to HQ, every inch of him ached. Damn this cold weather - and damn this rain.
Shrugging out of his raincoat, he pushed back cropped, damp locks and retrieved a thermos of tea, punching through a quick call to the coroner’s office.
‘Ah, yes, Detective?’
“You’ll have plenty of goodies soon filtering into your lab; please let me know when everything that could be presently accounted for has arrived.”
After all, he’d already begun to draw his picture. Just a faint outline. He had at least one idea regarding the personality behind the crime, but anything at this point would be pure speculation without further examination.
‘Surely. I heard we had a fairly gruesome scene today?’
“Only if you mean the way we tore up that field. We’ll be in touch.”
He cut the line a moment later, settling into his leather swivel with a steaming mug to warm his chilled bones.
Nothing better than a fresh body and a steaming cuppa to start your day.
There was nothing, no sound or light, just the cold steel of the small blade as he pressed it nonchalantly against the inside of his pale wrist. The knife was old, an echo of the past, but the blade was as sharp as a scalpel and twice as deadly; it was clearly well-loved, well-used, and well-cared for. Without so much as a change in breath to indicate hesitation, the owner of the knife dragged the light blade across his wrist and up his forearm, creating a thin, beaded line of blood. Even without putting pressure on the blade, it was able to separate the skin with the ease of a knife through a rare and tender cut of steak.
The young man who was admiring the blade of his knife was no older than twenty five, with long, fair strands of perfectly white hair that cascaded over his shoulders like a waterfall lit only in pale moonlight. His eyes - one a perfectly light sapphire, the other a deep emerald - relaxed into soft slits as he smiled a crooked, demonic smile.
"Such is life," he whispered to himself before carefully licking the blood from the cold blade. The warm smell and taste of copper overwhelmed his senses and for a long second, he paused as if he was going to cry. Although his eyes watered, tears gathering and blurring his vision, none fell.
"...such is death," he finished, the tears drying up faster than the blood that clotted on his arm. Vincent licked the line clean, pressing his tongue along the long, thin wound until the bleeding stopped.
With a flourish, Vincent clicked on the light of a nearby lamp and illuminated the small bedroom with the pool of yellow light. The room was simple, furnished only with a dresser, a bed, and a single bedside table, but the slight furniture was extravagant and clearly expensive. His favorite part was the white carpet, which gave under the weight of his boots.
"Darling," he whispered as he moved to the edge of the bed, "do not be afraid." He brought a long piece of black velvet up from around his neck, using it to tie his hair in a loose bun, a few strands falling loose over his deranged smile and impossibly colored eyes.
The woman in the bed was crying through her makeshift gag, her limbs all tied down to their own bed post. Vincent ran soft, gentle fingers along her jaw and brushed the tears away. With long, purposeful movement, he pressed her tears to his lips and smiled.
"I am only the angel of death, here to bring you the end you so rightly deserve." Vincent was talking softly, his voice like the kiss of a true angel, as he shifted his small dagger into his left hand and pressed the clean blade just under the hollow of the woman's pale throat. The woman lay still for a long breath, hoping to become invisible or perhaps to disappear, but Vincent's judgements were never overturned.
"By the power granted to me, I bid you a final farewell."
Vincent pressed the blade hard into the hollow of her throat and removed the gag, just so he could hear her choke as she died.
Icy blue eyes gazed out beyond the mist that slowly collected against the windscreen. Cold air filtered in through the vents, tickling at his nose and creeping beneath the rim of his spectacles. Slender fingers pushed up beneath them to rub the sleep away, settling near the bridge of his nose.
“Damn, I can’t believe this traffic.”
“It’s a squad car, not a magick carpet.” Elijah murmured, exhaustion getting the best of him. He’d spent all night in his office and all morning sorting through a mountain more of shit. Ever since he’d transferred here, it felt more like he’d been cleaning up his new co-worker’s messes. Did anyone here have it together?
And then there was this woman... Cassandra was it? She seemed to be particularly terrible at taking hints, since all he’d wanted from the very moment he’d shut the door was-
“E-... excuse me?”
“Silence. Do you happen to know the concept? Not every second has to be filled with pointless chatter.” He didn’t even bother to catch her stunned expression. He could sense the recoil, but he ignored it in favour of letting in some fresher air.
It took another twenty minutes to reach their destination, and the moment they arrived, he was stepping out into the muck, water boot sinking in the saturated earth.
Of course. Because you couldn’t have a crime scene without rain. The grand destroyer. Never mind wind. Water was about as bad as it got when it came to preserving or even recovering evidence.
He straightened his tie - oxblood against the black of his shirt and his waistcoat. Over it, he’d opted for a clear rain coat, hood drawn over his dark locks as he drew on a pair of gloves.
“Detective Bauer— I hope the drive in wasn’t too bad?”
“I’ve had worse. What exactly are we looking at here?” He saw a lot of frustration but not a whole lot of productivity.
“I know you’ve been drowning under paperwork of late, but I think you’ll like this...”
If he truly knew him, he would know that hardly anything sincerely caught his fancy, let alone his interest.
“Is there a body?”
“In a manner of speaking.”
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