Title: Happy Ending
Summary: The sheriff stares at you for a moment, as if he thinks you can't handle this. You'd like to tell him all the things you've seen before, all the things you've handled, all the monsters-human and mutant-you've encountered. This is undoubtedly something you can handle.
You stumble upon the crime scene purely by accident.
The bright yellow tape wrapped around a nondescript motel catches your eye, and, seeing as it's your duty to protect and to serve, you take a right off the road into the motel parking lot. Your park your brown, Lariat-rented Taurus a few spots away from the three local PD cars, shiny white automobiles with the county seal emblazoned upon each side.
You pop open your driver's side door and slide, albeit slowly, you're getting old, out of the car. You stretch your limbs before you make the trek towards the motel tell room, and, as you walk, you take note of the other cars scattered around the parking lot- a few pickup trucks, one red, one black, another red; a dark green SUV; an old, silver Honda Civic. Most have plates that designate this state as home, the SUV claims a neighboring state, and, well, that black pick-up truck doesn't even look legal.
You shrug off this potential infraction of the law. You have a crime scene to investigate. And maybe the black pick-up truck will come into play. You never know.
What you do know, however, is that when you approach the yellow tape, a police officer will immediately tell you that this is something you just aren't allowed to do. You've been told a time or two that you have federal employee stamped on your forehead, and yet police officers still insist on interrogating you. To avoid as many questions as possible- although the ever popular, "Who sent the Bureau?" will certainly arise- you dig through your coat to retrieve your badge.
You've made it to the yellow tape now, finally, after walking across a parking lot that seemed to last an eternity. For awhile there, it even crossed your mind that the motel might just have been a mirage, a hallucination induced by this ridiculous heat.
As predicted, a police officer notices your presence and marches over, about to take utter delight in giving you Police Line, Do Not Cross-Speech. You, in turn, take a small pleasure in watching his smug expression fade away completely upon seeing your badge. You duck beneath the yellow tape and make your way inside the motel room, hearing a faint, "Who sent the Bureau?" behind you.
You keep your badge in hand, waving it around to the various men and women standing around the room, but they're all too engrossed in their work to notice you. A couple of police officers are jotting down notes, a woman officer and a male photographer are pointing towards the floor, and so you summon the only man who sees you-the lone policeman who seems to be observing the entire goings-on.
He strides over to you casually, his eyes flicking about the room, generally assessing the scene. "Good morning, sir," he greets you, outstretching his hand, which you shake as the two of you exchange names. He also tells you he's the sheriff, which indicates that this case is probably more important than you'd originally suspected. Speaking of this case, you're quite interested in what actually's going on here. You can't see through the swarm of investigators, but obviously, everything points to a homicide.
"What exactly, Sheriff, happened here?" you finally inquire, knowing better than to risk aggravating a group of police officers.
The sheriff stares at you for a moment, as if he thinks you can't handle this. You'd like to tell him all the things you've seen before, all the things you've handled, all the monsters- human and mutant- you've encountered. This is undoubtedly something you can handle.
"From what we can gather, Agent... well, at first we assumed it was a triple murder of sorts, but due to body positions and the like, we're now considering a murder-murder-suicide. We need to run prints and ballistics, of course, and- "
You decide to interrupt him; you know the drill, anyway. "Excuse me, Sheriff, but do you mind if I take a look for myself?"
"No, not at all," he says quickly, and you're grateful for his willingness to cooperate with the likes of you, since many police officers seem to have been taught early on to hate the Bureau boys. The sheriff asks that his officers retreat to the corner of the room, where no bodies lay, and as they move backwards, you take stock of the room you've been standing in for what's coming close to five minutes.
It's similar to most all motels you've stayed in over the years- habitable, but nothing fancy; off-white walls now decorated with blood (the blood-flecked walls being atypical of hotels you frequent, however); the usual desk tucked into a corner; bathroom off to the side; an unidentified, Caucasian, thirty-something, dark-haired man on the floor nearby (this, too, anomalous of your usual motels); television situated against the left wall, across from the bed on your right, which-
My God, you think, your mind becoming a mess of garbled thoughts, my God, it can't be, no, it just can't, it can't and it isn't.. oh, God.
Perhaps it is the curve of her back that tips you off first. Maybe it is her pale skin, ornamented with tiny freckles, that allows your brain to make the connection. Most likely, though, it is the auburn hair that never carried any scent in particular, just the smell of her, and became your way of recognizing and keeping watch of her. You could always spot her in a crowd of hundreds, something that probably irritated her the first year you knew her.
You had never once entertained the idea that this could be her, and you still don't want to believe that it is. There's still hope, you tell yourself, that you're wrong in your initial assumption. There's still hope, maybe, that she's in a far off land, perhaps the great neighbor to the north, living as close to happily ever after as someone with her life story could.
You can barely bring yourself to put on the pair of latex gloves an officer has handed you. You hate this part of the job, you always have, but you've always been able to go about it, because that's what you do, after all. You see this sort of thing every day; you help put the pieces together to determine how a life became no more.
You still stand a few feet from the bed, so engrossed in the petite body covered half-way with the sheets, and it is only now that you realize you've neglected, somehow, to notice that she isn't alone.
A hand clutches hers.
You step closer to the bed, this man's face becoming increasingly clear. It's a face you'd memorized a few years back, having promised the Bureau and a determined mother-to-be that you'd bring him back. You wonder if there's irony in the fact that you are the one to have found him dead then, and you are the one to find him dead now.
Or maybe it's all just fate, cruel and twisted and uncaring.
You squeeze your eyes shut as you begin to roll her body over, slowly and carefully, with every ounce of respect you've carried for her since the day she splashed water on your face. That is, if it's even her. Which, you've convinced yourself, it may or may not be, anyway. But you always treat the dead with respect no matter what, even if it is or isn't her, and it still may not be her.
(Oh, hell, who are you trying to fool?)
As her body rolls with your urging, evidence of a gun-shot wound to the heart becomes visible now, and you emit a sharp gasp. You try to remind yourself that you've seen this so many times before, but that somehow only helps to make things worse.
A million emotions rush through you, but the only one you can truly feel is anger. You find yourself vowing to kill the son of a bitch that did this to her, until you remember the third body, the body on the floor, and you recall, suddenly, that you've been beaten to the chase.
Her eyes, so full of hope despite the darkness that had been her life, do not stare up at you, and there is no smile on her face. Her body lies still before you, and no matter how much you will her to, she does not take a breath.
Faintly, you hear a voice behind you; it's the sheriff. "Have any theories, Agent? Any ideas as to what may have happened or anything?"
Theories? Ideas? Sure, you have plenty, especially considering what happened here is certainly no mystery to you.
They'd been found, finally, and caught during one of the rare moments where they stashed their paranoia away. He'd probably been out for food, or perhaps in the shower, while she'd slept peacefully, soundly, unknowingly. It had been then that the intruder had chosen to strike, to take her life at this first moment he received.
He'd heard a gun shot, just the sound of one, and rushed immediately to the bed. It had been too late and he'd known it, so he'd drawn his gun and fired every bullet inside, save one. He'd kicked the body a few times, most likely screamed at it, too, before guilt and anguish had consumed him, and he'd broken down completely. He had to have just shut down, similarly to how she had upon his death those years ago.
Only this time, there would be no resurrection for the lover lost, and this he'd known.
He'd then gone to the bed and rearranged her bare form, placing her stomach-down and bringing the sheets around her waist. He had probably whispered one more "I love you" along with an "I'm sorry" and perhaps he'd said her name between sobs. He'd probably kissed her forehead, maybe her hair, and most certainly her lips, before crawling into the bed beside her and taking hold of her left hand in his own.
And then, he'd pulled the trigger.
You only break yourself from your musings when the sheriff, now standing closer behind you, speaks once more. "We figured they'd just been married only recently."
(The word "married" obviously catches your attention, and you glance down at their respective left hands for confirmation in the form of two gold bands.)
"It's all just such a shame, isn't it, Agent?"
You want to tell him that he can't even begin to understand. Really, it's all more or less another crime scene, another batch of bodies, another day at work, and another round of tragedy. And usually, that's what it is to you, too. There's sincerity in the job, of course, but cases rarely are so personal.
But you know the stories of this man's and this woman's lives, their struggles and their achievements, their ups and their downs. You know the depth of injustice involved in this particular case, and it only continues to sicken you as the seconds pass by.
You have to get out of here before you suffocate.
"Sheriff," you say as calmly and detachedly as you can, "I'm going to go make a call to my A.D, give him the heads up about this case and see if he can get in contact with someone out here."
The sheriff thanks you kindly, and the two of you shake hands once more.
You weave your way around the various officers and tug off your latex gloves, which you have no where to put but in your coat pocket.
And as you leave the motel room, without looking back once, you remember that line from Casablanca about all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world. And you remember that one time when she told you that if coincidences are just coincidences, then why do they feel so contrived? as a small, sad smile flashed across her face. And as you crouch under it once more, you remember a few minutes past, when you first ducked beneath the tape that screamed Police Line, Do Not Cross, but you don't remember what on Earth compelled you not to listen.
You did, however, pay attention every now and then in your literature classes, and while it's not the perfect parallel, you conclude that they are almost a Romeo and Juliet of sorts- star-crossed lovers consumed with one another, and one another alone. They had fled a world that had been against them from the beginning, only to have it all end in death.
As you rummage for your cell phone, it crosses your mind that maybe, just maybe, this is the way it's supposed to be.
Perhaps their tragic fate was just a happy ending in disguise.
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