Hardy Boy Rejects
Cordelia's nose wrinkled as she tugged at her blue shirt. She watched with her arms crossed as Gunn knelt in front of the door and picked the lock. She glanced around the halls, keeping an eye out for any resident who might randomly walk by. If they did, it was her job to come up with some type of cover story. Cordelia rolled her eyes at that. She always made the cover stories up on the spot.
Gunn let out a “Ha!” in triumph and pushed the door open. He stepped to the side and let Wesley walk in first. Wesley stopped in the threshold before turning back to Cordelia. He pulled something out of his jacket pocket and handed it to her.
“Cordelia,” he started, giving her a meaningful look, “why don't you see if the neighbors know anything or if they saw anything suspicious in the days leading up to Ms. Gillespi's murder.”
Cordelia nodded, this tactic not being a new one for her. If there was one thing she found she pulled off well, it was impersonating a cop. She thoughtfully fingered the badge Wesley handed to her. Maybe she should audition for a cop drama?
So, she knocked on the doors, she asked her questions, and she rolled her eyes as some slammed the door in her face the second she held up the badge. She doubted it would matter anyway. No one seemed to have really seen anything. Or they weren't willing to talk about it, but so far Cordelia didn't believe anyone to be lying.
She let out a sigh as the last door slammed in her face. Apparently, there were a lot of police haters out there. She pitied Detective Lockley for moment.
Surprisingly, everyone's refusal to talk was the least of her worries. No, her main worry right now was that someone was following her. Or someones more like. Oh, they thought they were being sneaky, staying around the corner until she turned the next one. She could hear them whispering to each other in heated debate. She couldn't make out what they were saying, but the jumbled hushed whispers carried easily in the empty halls.
So, Cordelia turned another corner and walked into the stair well. She ran up the stairs, her heels clicking loudly and giving whoever was following her an easy way to track her. She exited on the next floor and found what she was looking for: down the hall on her left were the other apartments, while the right dead ended at a window overlooking the streets. Immediately next to the window was a small alcove that Cordelia would have filled with an end table had she decorated the building, but as luck would have it, it was empty so she pressed herself into the nook and waited.
Sure enough, two men slowly exited the stairwell. The same two men who had been outside her apartment last night and that she bumped into earlier this morning after meeting with David Nabbit. The two whispered something to each other and headed down the hall towards the rest of the apartments. They looked around the corner and paused. She stayed hidden and watched as their reflection in the window glanced back in her direction. When they turned around to look back at the apartments, Cordelia headed towards them.
In hindsight, it was a stupid move. She, a lone tiny woman, sneaking up on two grown, obviously well built men, was a recipe for disaster. But she had dealt with scarier things then them. Hell, she fought demons for a living. And these two were hardly tougher then that.
With narrowed eyes and hands planted firmly on her hips, Cordelia snapped, “Is there a reason you Hardy Boy rejects are following me?!”
The two men jumped and spun around, their eyes wide in shock and Cordelia couldn't help the smugness of pride that washed over her. She was good.
The shorter of the two stuttered a bit, as if trying to think up and excuse on the spot and failing miserably. She just rose her eyebrows in expectation.
Finally, it was the taller one that spoke up. His voice was surprisingly deep. “I'm Sam, this is Dean--”
“I didn't ask who you were,” Cordelia cut him off with narrowed eyes. “I asked why you were following me.”
That was when Dean finally seemed to snap into action. He reached into his leather jacket and pulled out a badge, which Cordelia aptly snatched from his hands. She narrowed her eyes on it for a moment. “FBI,” he clarified, ignoring a sharp glare from Sam. “We've noticed you've been looking into our case. Why?”
Cordelia looked back and forth between them and the badge for a moment before she tossed it back, turned on her heel, and headed towards the stairwell. She paused at the door. “You coming?” The two shared a look, as if having a silent conversation. After a moment, they followed as she made her way silently through the apartment building and back to Gillian Gillespi's apartment. When they entered, the two men who were sorting through the woman's belongings paused and looked up, perplexed.
Cordelia motioned back to the two new men. “These two were following me.”
Wesley and Gunn exchanged a look. Wesley took a step forward. “And you are?”
Dean pulled back out his badge and held it up, “FBI. Agents Tyler and Kramer.” Before Dean had even finished the sentence, Cordelia snatched the badge from him again and tossed it to Wesley.
“Oh man!” Gunn, who was standing next to Wesley, took the badge from Welsey's hand and shook his head in disapproval. “This is a fake.” He tossed it back to the brothers.
“What makes you think we're fakes?” Sam questioned, obviously not use to be caught.
All three of them pulled out fake badges of their own. Cordelia rolled her eyes and motioned to Dean. “Plus, he's a bad actor.”
“Hey!” Dean protested, already not liking this girl.
“Who are you?” Wesley questioned, falling into place beside Cordelia.
“I'm Sam Winchester,” the taller one spoke up quickly, cutting off the shorter one from his protests. The shorter one glared. “This is my brother Dean.”
“Winchester?” Gunn took a step forward and looked the two brothers up and down.
“Uh... yeah.” Sam answered, obviously somewhat surprised. He glanced at Dean. They had expected Cordelia to be the one to react to their names.
“Why does that name sound familiar?” Gunn narrowed his eyes at them before he broke into a big grin. “Winchester! John Winchester! You're his kids!” Gunn's face grew into a smile as he saw the family resemblance.
“Wait a minute, you knew our dad?” Dean stared at Gunn suspiciously.
“Hell, yeah!” If he had glanced over at Wesley and Cordelia, he would have noticed the latter looking a little pale. “Your pops helped my crew.” He turned his attention to his two friends. “One of the best demon hunters I've ever met.”
“Demon hunter?” The question came out breathless and caught everyone's attention. Realizing that she had inadvertently grabbed everyone's eyes, Cordelia jumbled for something else to say. “Uhm...” She fell back to classic Cordelia mode. “You mean these two are demon hunters?” The way she asked it made it obvious that that was the last thing she thought they could have been.
“Yeah!” Gunn grinned and turned his attention back to Dean and Sam. “John bragged about you two. How quickly y'all picked everything up and how creative you were in your catches. Made you two sound like legends.”
“Ah, well,” Dean shrugged, crossing his arms over his chest with a grin on his face. “Learned from the best.”
“Wait, so...” Sam frowned, his attention fully on Gunn. “Why was our dad here? And when? I didn't see anything about it in his journal.”
“About a year ago,” Gunn answered. “Said he was looking up family.”
Cordelia's head snapped towards Gunn with wide eyes, an action that caught Sam and Dean's attention.
“Family?” Sam pressed, glancing back to Cordelia a few times, trying to gage her reaction.
“Yeah. Helped us out, but there were two days where he disappeared for a few hours. Told me he had a kid living here. Said that she was happy and starting out her own family. He didn't wanna turn her world upside down with a baby on the way.”
“Baby?!” Cordelia burst causing everyone in the room to look at her in surprise. “Uhm...” she panicked for a quick second before finding her feet again. “Why are we talking about this?” She motioned back to the apartment. “Shouldn't we be looking for any...” she trailed off realizing she had absolutely no idea what they were looking for. “Anything,” she substituted.
“Cordelia's right,” Wesley agreed with a nod. He motioned to the two strangers. “We can get acquainted later, right now we have a job.” He turned back to Cordelia. “Cordelia, did you find out anything from the neighbors?”
“Well apparently, Gillian's neighbor, Steven was totally boinking Lisa, the woman who lives above Gillian's apartment and, get this, Lisa was married--” Cordelia's wide grin disappeared at Wesley's look. “What?”
“Cordelia, I asked you to get information relating to the case, not gossip about the neighbors.” Wesley sighed, removed his glasses, and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He couldn't even bring himself to look up at the two newcomers and see what kind of impression they were getting from them. It was almost humiliating.
“Fine. I guess the part where Lisa is Mark Anderson's recent widow doesn't matter.” At Wesley's surprised look, Cordelia frowned in offense. “Hey, don't look at me like that. I have years of experience with getting the good gossip. It's not as easy as it looks. It's an art.”
“Wait,” Gunn spoke up. “I thought the Anderson's lived on 18th street?”
“Mark did,” Cordelia confirmed, “but apparently, one of them found out about the other's affair and Mrs. Anderson moved out two days before Mark was killed.”
“So, what, you're thinking that the wife found out about his affair and killed him?” Sam questioned.
“God, no.” Cordelia shot Sam a sharp look.“She wouldn't have any reason to kill Gillian Gillespi or Roger Thomas.” She turned to Wesley. “Remember what Ms. McPheere said about Mark quitting with the bribes when his wife found out. How she was threatening to leave?”
“Right.” Wesley nodded. “She said that she also stopped with the bribes when Mark died.”
Cordelia nodded. “I'm thinking, that Mark never stopped with the bribes and when Lisa found out about the affair, it was the final straw, and she moved out.”
Wesley frowned and adjusted his glasses. “So then why were they all killed?”
“And why is Ms. McPheere alive?” Cordelia shook her head. “I'm thinking that the three of them never stopped taking the bribes, but knew something that McPheere didn't.”
Gunn nodded. “Cordy's gotta point, Wes, besides, I highly doubt these four are the only ones to accept bribes from Wolfram & Hart and have a change of heart.”
“Wait a second,” Dean spoke up finally. “Who the hell is Wolfram & Hart?”
“It's a law firm that represents demons and such.” Wesley supplied helpfully.
“What?!” Dean and Sam burst.
“Oh, yeah.” Cordelia nodded with a thin smile. “Scum of the scum.” Cordelia reached over and snatched up Wesley's hand, looking at his watch. “Looks like it's almost sundown, we should head back to the office and fill Angel in.”
“Who's Angel?” Sam asked.
“Our boss,” Wesley supplied. “Why don't you two follow us back to the office and we can discuss the case more thoroughly.