Title: Weak in the Knees
Rating: umm... NC-17 eventually
See previous parts for disclaimer/summary/notes. Thanks to celievamp for the beta!
The next morning Scully and Morgan drove the 12 miles to Branchville. Their presence was much more welcome than it had been in Midway. They were met by Sheriff Greg Munson. When they were told the crime scene was still intact Scully could see Morgan’s eyes light up. It wasn’t often an older crime scene was intact.
“Why don’t you go and take a look at the scene, Jess, while I go to the hospital and take a look at the body?”
Morgan gently pulled her aside. “Are you sure, Dana? After what happened yesterday I’m hesitant to split us up.”
“It’s okay. Sheriff Munson is no Bud Calhoun.” She quirked one side of her mouth. “And I won’t leave my weapon in the bathroom.”
Morgan returned her smile. “Alright. Take the car since the hospital is in Bamberg. I’ll walk to the house to check out the scene.”
“Okay. See you later.”
Scully sat down on the bench in the locker room with a sigh. Doing autopsies on young women killed by the Reaper day after day was getting to her. She was frustrated because she couldn’t find anything that could be considered a lead. Whoever he was, he just didn’t seem to make any mistakes. She finished getting dressed. When she slipped on her watch she realized it had been almost four hours since she’d parted ways with her partner. Scully had expected Morgan to show up long before she finished the autopsy and was quite surprised that she hadn’t.
Scully walked out of the hospital and got into the rental car. She drove the 12 miles back to Branchville and the sheriff’s office. She tried calling Morgan on the way, but only got her voice mail.
“Agent Scully, how did things go?”
“Just fine, Sheriff. Has Agent Morgan been by?”
“No. I haven’t seen her since she left to go take a look at the Jensen house.”
A niggling shot of worry skittered across her senses. “Can you give me directions to the Jensen house?”
“Certainly. Just turn right out of the parking lot, left at the third intersection onto Chestnut. Follow Chestnut to the edge of town. It’s 1947 Chestnut.”
“Thank you.” Scully turned to go.
“Would you please make sure your partner returns the file she borrowed?”
“Sure thing, Sheriff.”
Morgan actually enjoyed the walk to the Jensen house. She hadn’t been running in several days because of work, and the crisp winter air smelled and felt good. She stopped when she arrived at the house. She stood a few seconds just looking at the front of it. Nothing about the exterior of house gave a clue about the horrible scene inside it. Even the yellow police tape was gone. The house had simply been locked up and left undisturbed. No one wanted anything to do with it.
Morgan opened the accordion file and withdrew the key as she walked up the front steps of the porch. She pulled open the screen door and inserted the key in the front door. It turned with ease. Stepping into the house she immediately smelled the staleness of the air. And beneath the staleness, death. Despite the morning hour the house was dark. All the shades and curtains were drawn shut. She tried the light switch near the front door, but the electricity was off. It didn’t matter, she didn’t need it. Her eyes shifted from grey to black.
Even if she hadn’t read the file, Morgan would have found the room where Annie Jensen’s body had been discovered. The smell of death still had its grip on this place. It wasn’t in the living room where most guests would be entertained, but the smaller, more intimate den near the back of the house, off the kitchen. As she passed through the kitchen Morgan took note of the single plate and glass in the drainer by the sink – dinner for one.
Morgan stopped just inside the doorway of the den. She had read the case file at the sheriff’s office, but resisted looking at the pictures since the crime scene was available. And so she was hit with the full force of what she was seeing.
She sat down in a chair in the corner of the room.
Scully walked up the steps of the porch. She opened the screen door and turned the knob of the front door. It was unlocked. When she stepped inside it was dark. She flipped the light switch near the door but nothing happened. She reached in her pocket and withdrew a small flashlight with one hand as she pulled her weapon from the holster at the small of her back.
Scully carefully made her way through the house. “Jess?” she tried again, but still received no answer. Finally she came to the kitchen. Something in the corner of her eye made her spin to her right and go through the doorway to the den. Her flashlight landed on her partner sitting in a chair in the corner of the den.
“I’d prefer it if you didn’t shoot me,” Morgan said without looking at Scully.
Scully lowered her weapon. “Why didn’t you answer when I called your name?”
Scully moved towards Morgan slowly. Something was off; her voice was flat, expressionless. “Have you been sitting here all morning, Jess?”
Morgan simply nodded.
“Annie Jensen was killed here,” she said with a slight nod at the scene in front of her.
“I know, Jess. That’s why we’re here.”
“No, you don’t understand. Annie was killed here, not brought here after she was killed. This is a primary crime scene rather than secondary.”
Scully turned her flashlight to illuminate the crime scene. “Oh, my– So that means...”
“That means I’ve underestimated this bastard. He’s been active longer than we think, and there are a lot more victims we don’t know about.” Morgan finally tore her eyes from the scene and looked at Scully. “We’re nowhere near the beginning of his killings. These bodies aren’t going to tell us anything.”
“So what do you want to do?”
“We go back to DC and try to find the beginning.”
Morgan was silent during the drive to the Columbia, SC airport and the flight to Washington, DC. But Scully didn’t find it an uncomfortable silence. She knew the other agent was lost in thought, working on profiling the UNSUB. Besides, it afforded her the opportunity to watch Morgan. Something she found herself doing more and more.
When they landed Morgan and Scully went their separate ways – Scully went home and Morgan went to the hotel. Morgan changed clothes and went to the hotel gym where she worked out for over two hours. When she returned to her room she took a shower, turned on her laptop, and started working.
When Scully got home she found Mulder sleeping on her couch and a couple of cases worth of empty beer bottles scattered around her living room.
Mulder opened his eyes and blinked them a few times. “Hey, Scully,” he said with a silly grin.
“What the hell are you doing in my apartment?”
“Well I couldn’t go to work and you wouldn’t answer my calls.”
“And that gives you squatter’s rights to my apartment?” She grabbed a trash can and started picking up and throwing away beer bottles.
“Where have you been?”
“Why wouldn’t you take my calls, Scully?” he whined.
“I’ve been busy, Mulder. I haven’t had time to listen to your drunken ramblings.”
“But I was worried about you.”
“No, Mulder, you were bored. Now it’s time for you to go home. I’ve got things to do and I have to be to work in the morning.”
“Out, Mulder. Now.”
“No. Out. Now.” She pushed him out the door and locked it.
In the morning Scully found Morgan sitting at the work table in her office. “I see you got an early start this morning.”
“Actually I’ve only been here about 20 minutes.” Morgan leaned back in her chair and let out a sigh.
“How’s the profile coming along?”
“Done. Or at least it’s as done as I can make it with what we know at this point. I’ll be presenting it to the taskforce this morning.”
There was a knock on the open office door. Morgan and Scully both looked up and saw the Director.
“Good morning, sir.”
The Director smiled and entered. “Good morning, Jessica, Agent Scully. You ready to give your presentation?”
“Yep. And you’re not going to like everything I have to say.”
He frowned. “That bad?”
Morgan nodded. “Afraid so.”
The Director looked at Scully. “I don’t mean to be rude, Agent Scully, but could you give us a couple of minutes?”
“Certainly, sir.” Scully left the office and joined the other agents that were already starting to gather for Morgan’s presentation.
The Director closed the door. “So, now that you’ve got your profile are you ready for your next assignment?”
Morgan shook her head. “We’ve just scratched the surface on this one, Lou.”
“What are you talking about? You found the additional victims–”
“Like I said – just scratched the surface. This is a lot worse than anyone thought. Look, I don’t know what’s going to lead to us getting this guy; finding a mistake he made when he was first starting out, or he tires of his current game of toying with us and deliberately leaves us a clue. Either way, his body count is going to go up. I underestimated this son of a bitch. I want to see this case all the way to the end, Lou.”
“Alright.” He paused. “Have you given any more thought to taking the job at Quantico?”
“Not really. I’ve been concentrating on the case. Once we get through this case I promise I’ll give it some thought.”
The Director opened the office and walked out.
“Before our UNSUB killed his victims and then brought their bodies back to leave them in their own homes, he simply killed them in their homes.”
“So you’re saying he changed his M.O.?”
“More like refined it. Made things more challenging for himself. The UNSUB has an IQ of at least 150, he’s probably 5’10” or taller, very athletic, but not a body-builder. He’s what most people would consider handsome and charming; he doesn’t set off any alarm bells in his victims. He’s a chameleon; he can fit in no matter what group he’s in. But at heart he’s a loner. He could be self-employed, but is probably wealthy enough that he doesn’t have to work. However, he isn’t a show-off about it. He’s educated, most likely holding at least two PhDs. And I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a gifted child and graduated early from high school, perhaps as young as 11 or 12. And I believe the UNSUB has had training in law enforcement of some kind.”
“You’re saying we’re looking for a cop?!” someone blurted out.
“No. Remember, I said he’s self-employed or wealthy enough that he doesn’t have to work. But I believe he’s had the training. Whether he actually worked as a cop we won’t know until we identify him.” Morgan paused. “And finally, for the really bad news. Our UNSUB has been active far longer than any of us thought. The 27 victims we’ve identified so far are just the tip of the iceberg.”
The Director stood up and addressed the assembled agents. “Alright, people, I realize that eventually the press is going to get wind of the scope of this case, but I want to delay that as long as possible; so no leaks.”