Ten minutes later Michael woke up at the sound of someone frantically knocking at his door.
“If it’s Brian, shoot him.” Ben grunted next to him.
Michael shook his head, getting up in the dark.
“You don’t know that, maybe it’s my mother... or Melanie wanting to check on JR, or Emmet... or God...”
“Shoot them too.”
There was more knocking.
The younger man snorted, putting on his pants and a thick sweater and walking downstairs, playing he himself with the idea of killing Brian.
And true as the sky is blue, his friend was the one banging his the door at a quarter to three in the morning... Why? Oh, why did he and Ben have to be so strongly commited against having weapons at home?
Seven years ago, he would have been thrilled. Three years ago, he would have been pissed. Today he was just confused, and seeing Brian’s face ghostly white, his jaw set and silent tears falling down his cheeks didn’t help to ease his worries. It remainded him of something else... for a second his mind wandered to that fateful night more than a few years ago.
“Brian, what’s wrong?”
His friend looked at him and tried to talk, but the words got stuck in his throat.
The brunette showed him his phone, taking a deep breath.
“I received a call from New York.”
“What happened? Is Justin okay?”
Brian shook his head but said nothing. Michael took that as his cue and pulled him inside, sitting him in the sofa while going to the kitchen for water.
He could hear someone waiting upstairs, so either Ben or Hunter were up but wouldn’t come down, which was just as good.
“The call was from the police department...” Brian explain when he was back from the kitchen, his voice was hoarse and he kept looking at the small coffe table, although Michael doubted he was really seeing it. “They want me to go to New York because I was in the list of calls and I ... I... SHIT!!”
He didn’t want to ask the next question, not really.
“Why do you have to go there?”
“To identify the corpse.”
“The guy that called said that I should go by there and identify him.”
“I already told you, remember?! I was in his emergency contact list.”
“But that makes no sense... It’s fucking three in the morning... and they don’t call people two states away for that stuff,...” Brian got angry. Michael tried to make sense... everybody deals with shit in his own terms. “Isn’t it obligatory to have someone from the same city listed?”
His best friend looked at him blankly, and Michael wished he had something else to say. This was all too... sudden... all too unexpected and for the lack of anything else to do, he just dropped to his knees in front of Brian and hugged him, fully aware that everything was still in the air. Any moment now one of them would realise what was happening, would understand what it meant, and then everything would go to hell.
“Did... did they told you what happened?”
Brian shook his head against Michael's shoulder.
“Just that there had been a crime and that... Fuck!! I tried to call him at the cell, but he’s not picking it up. God Mikey, this is just some twisted joke, isn’t it? It’s just something out of fucking Twilight zone... it has to be... I...” suddenly Brian jerked out of his touch. “Fuck I told them I would call back in fifteen minutes!!” the brunette grabbed the phone, searching for last calls, but as soon as he found the number he stopped. “I can’t breath.” He said, although his respiration was normal. “I can’t... I...”
This was shock, he’d seen it, he’d lived it, and he knew how hard it was goning to hit once it was over. So better get done with as much shit as possible by then.
Carefully, Michael grabbed the phone and pressed the ‘call back’ option in the menu, waiting for the dial tone. Instead of that he got a registered message.
[The phone number you’re trying to reach is off or out of cover, please try again later.]
Fuck!! He thought, sensing Brian’s eyes drilling a hole in his nape. Without saying a word, Michael redialed just to get the same result. He was about to call again when the cell came to live with Brian’s general tone and a buzzing.
He showed Brian the number in the screen and the man shrugged, although he really doubted Brian would have recognized any number right now. Knowing it was bound to be from New York, Michael pressed the pick up button.
Danni turned slightly to see Mac Taylor, CSI chief, entering the lab and shrugged tiredly, it was almost eleven in the morning and he’d spend the last hours checking every little detail of the crime scene.
“Lots of stuff,...” EVERY. LITTLE. DETAIL. Did that loony ever threw anything away? “I’m not sure how much of it is a lead and how much is just artsy junk.”
“Artsy junk? Is that a critic’s opinion?”
The blonde shrugged. “Just take a look at it, I‘m no expert but it’s pretty lame.” He said, spreading the photographies through the table. Mac raised an eyebrow and picked one portraying a red wall with a double bed attached to it.
“Is this what I think it is?”
“I knew you’d pick that one....” Without hesitation, Danni showed him another shot of the same place, a filtered one that revealed some writing beneath the red paint of the walls. “At first I thought it was painting with different shades of red, the whole apartment walls look like someone paid a drunken monkey with an oversized brush to paint it. But I took a few samples of the words, just to be cautious...”
“No paint.” It wasn't a question.
The lower CSI shook his head.
“No, I gave it to DNA and they’ll send me back the results anytime.”
Cursing, because he really hated cases that involved criminals writing stuff in walls which usually meant they were facing lunatics prone to turn into serial killers, Mac looked again at the image. “You know what’s worse?”
“That now I’ll have that song in my head for a week?” That earned Danni a glare that the CSI shruged off. “That we have a demented assassin picking up lines from terror movies?”
“Ok, ok... What’s worse?”
“If our witness is innocent we’re up for a long week.” The older man sighed. “Any news from the guy?”
“The hospital called to tell us he already woke up, I'll go by noon with Don.”
“Is he a suspect?”
“Well, as long as I know he says that he was sleeping soundly while someone else entered in the apartment, went to the bathroom and beated the hell out of his boyfriend with some blunt object yet to be found... So yes, I’d have him as a suspect for the time being.”
“And the dead guy?” Mac asked, fully aware of how much Danni hated having someone looking over his shoulder but not very concerned, he still wasn’t completely over the statue guy case.
True to himself, Messer sighed impatienly.
“Blonde guy in his early twenties. An artist. Had been living in the apartment for over a year and a half. His landlord told us the guy worked in a gallery in Manhattan, Flack already has the adress. Besides that he was pretty normal, some friends that we will contact in the morning, he was associated with a couple of associations for the rights of homosexuals. The landlord wasn’t aware of the guy having a boyfriend.”
“So perhaps our witness was just casual sex?”
“I don’t know, for what Flack told me he was very histerycal so it’s probable that they knew each other from more than just a casual encounter.”
Mac nodded again, they would have to wait and talk to the guy before making anymore assumptions.
“And the weapon?”
Exasperated, Danni bit his lower lip, knowing that his boss was just pissing him off because he was still angry at him. Patience was a virtue, but not one Danni Messer had.
“Still at loose.”
Hard day’s night’s tune interrupted the questioning before Danni had the oportunity to say something extremly out of place and get suspended.
“Messer. Fine, I’ll go in a minute.” After hanging the phone he turned to his boss. “I have to go, they have the results of our witness samples.”
“Ok, but don’t be to eager, you don’t wan’t to focus all our efforts in this guy, you don’t... ”
Danni noticed he was glaring at Mac and tried to relax, but a part of him was burning, wanting to tell his boss that he wasn’t a newbie, thank you very much, and that he could grab his Investigation 101 tips and put them up... a soft buzz and a boring tune interrupted Mac and saved Danni’s career. The older CSI picked up his phone.
“Taylor. Yeah... what?? What does he wants? Okay, I’m going there call security but tell them to wait for me.” Turning to him, he added. “When you get back from the hospital, call me.”
It was a quarter past eleven, Danni thought watching his boss leaving the lab, he still had time to get the results from their witness before meeting Flack. And with a last look at the picture he left too, turning right where his boss had gone left and heading for the Traces department. Soon he found himself absentmindly humming the old song.
Jeepers, creepers....whered ya get them peepers
Jeepers, creepers...whered ya get those eyes