First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who reviewed my story. And so quickly! I never expected so much positive feedback, and it’s really inspired me to keep writing. I want to apologize for this story being on hiatus for so long; I’ve recently been moving around a lot, so my life’s been pretty hectic. Now that things have relaxed a bit, though, the updates should be coming quicker. Thanks for your patience, everyone! Hope you enjoy the chapter. Also, check out the awesome pic TouchoftheWind made for me!!! Much love!
Connor had stuck around for a while after his conversation with the young CSI, watching them from the rooftops. The demon from the dumpster had slipped off in a dark cloud, obviously sensing the possible danger from a hunter. Connor couldn’t tell what kind of demon it was, but obviously it was all show if it scampered off that easily. He wasn’t sure it would, but it was a chance he had to take. Lying to the CSI was easy; give them enough vague evidence to open up a possibility, then call up a blank with the major details. He’d done it once or twice before with CSI’s when he was in a jam. He wasn’t sure how effective his stories were, but he hadn’t heard any groundbreaking discovery on subterranean species on the local news so he figured they served their purpose well enough.
After walking a couple of blocks from the crime scene, the kid looked around carefully as he made his way down yet another anonymous alleyway. This time he wasn’t on the lookout for demons: just cops. When he was sure the coast was clear, he made his way slowly up the fire escape on the side of one of the buildings to the top floor. His legs were sending a burning sensation straight to the bone, and he was thankful when he finally crawled through the small, grimy window leading to the current place he called home.
It wasn’t much, but it would do. Just like all the others
, he thought grimly to himself, grinding his teeth as he made his way over to a stained, old mattress in the corner. It had been left there by the previous tenant, along with some chipped china and silverware and a busted coffee table held up by cinder blocks. He kept his large, green army duffel of weapons and extra clothes at the foot of the bed; the last of his earthly possessions. Sinking down (quite literally) onto the mattress, Connor grabbed a bottle of water out of the case sitting beside him. Living in abandoned apartments and warehouses had taught him to always keep plenty of fresh water around, cause you never knew what came out of the rusted taps. If there were any. He took a few swigs before leaning over and hauling the bag towards him, rummaging around for a knife and a first aid kit. Cutting away at the remains of his pants, he took in the extent of the damage. The spines had cut deeper than he’d initially thought; practically to the bone, in fact. With no chance of getting to a hospital and the added bonus of supernaturally fast healing, he knew he’d have to manage with just a bandage and some ointment for the next few days while they healed.
Going through the motions of patching himself up gave him time to think. Whether that was a good thing or not he was never sure. Some nights he thought of his father; the residual anger he felt from his time with Holtz, and the unbidden hurt and confusion from Angel’s immediate, unwelcome acceptance. Other times he thought of Fred and Gunn. Holtz and Justine and fucked up well and good in the raising kids department, but Fred and Gunn were like the parents he always imagined having. Sure, he butted heads with the older guy, and Gunn sure as hell got on his nerves. But he respected him nonetheless, and though he didn’t show it, he craved the praise that he occasionally earned. And living alone and cold all the time made him miss Fred’s gentle warmth. Hell, he’d even go for one of her bologna sandwiches right now. With
tomatoes. But tonight he was thinking about his life, as it was right now. He wasn’t the self pitying type. Alright, maybe a bit
, he conceded. But he had a right to be. His own dad had kicked him out of the only place he had known as home here and now he was…what? Some homeless teenager who’s a pickpocket by day and a demon hunter by night? He couldn’t honestly feel bad about the people he stole from; rich, middle aged tourists from the strip who weren’t smart enough to keep an eye on their wallets. And the demon hunting, well…that he actually enjoyed. Plus, it was the one thing he was good at. Don’t misunderstand, he was an adequate thief, but he was a better hunter.
And here he was, sitting alone in a broken down apartment that smelled like dead birds and mildew, unable to shower but once a week in a public restroom somewhere, with no family and no friends. He had no future, and didn’t want to think about his past. And as tough as he may have liked to think he was, he knew that sitting there in the dark, dabbing half heartedly at his knuckles with his t-shirt, he looked for all the world like the lost little boy he knew he was.
Gil Grissom sat in his office, carelessly nibbling on the ends of his glasses in concentration. Laid out in front of him on his desk were three case files, all unsolved. There simply wasn’t enough evidence to accuse anyone of anything; no DNA, no fingerprints, no nothing. The first two cases he could attribute to an attack by a dog or wild animal. Or he could if there was any evidence of an animal there. Teri Miller had taken a look at the scratches and bite marks and had ventured a guess at a large, wild beast like a mountain lion or a bear. Except that one was killed in a hotel room in the Tangiers and the other, whose body was found on a hiking trail, had a strange, unidentifiable blue substance around the bite marks. Greg had run test after test, and even sent it to two other labs, but no one could find any recognizable organic or chemical material in it. And that just didn’t happen.
The third case file was last week’s victim; the man found in a parking lot with a broken neck. There were no signs of a struggle, and the man’s wallet, two thousand dollar gold watch, and car keys were all still there. The only evidence found was a grey, powder-like material with a sulfuric base. All the other compounds? Unknown. But how was it possible that someone had walked up to this man, snapped his neck in the middle of a crowded area, and just kept walking? And what did the powder around his neck have to do with any of it?
Gil sighed and tossed his glasses onto his desk, rubbing the bridge of his nose as he felt the onset of a migraine. As he had told Catherine, he only gets them about once a year, and it would appear that this was the night. Or day
, he observed, noticing his watch reading 5:38 A.M. There was no more he could do here tonight, and as much as that frustrated him, he knew enough to head home. He needed some sleep, and then he would look at the cases again tonight with fresh eyes. What he needed now was his medication and his bed at home, which seemed more inviting by the minute. There was a clue there that he was missing; a connecting puzzle piece. He just had to find it.