Somtimes the Good Guys...
Chapter 2 – Sometimes the Good Guys…
The warm sea breeze caresses my skin like an old lover and the sun warms me under its intense gaze. I’m not usually one to wax poetic about things, but God how I’ve missed the beach. We’ve not even been here a week and the beach still feels all shiny and new. Sure, New York has lots. Lots of great stuff, in fact. Their beaches aren’t part of the great. Not by a long shot.
Closing my eyes, I open my other senses to their full capacity. The first that hits is smell. The mix of suntan lotion, sweat and hormones causes my nostrils to flare. The smells bring back distant memories of summers spent with the gang in Sunnydale, of happier times with my mom and Dawnie, spending a day in Santa Monica.
Sweat beads and drips down my legs and arms. And the distinct hum of having Willow near causes me to relax. My muscles go slack as I rest against the back of my lounge chair. Cracking my right eye open, I spy Willow. A white sarong covers her bottom half, her upper body bare except for a white halter style bikini top. The large hat she wears shields her face from the sun.
My eyes travel down, starting from the top and roaming over her form. It’s funny. Three years we’ve been together and we’ve had our ups and downs—much like her legs. They go up. Well, one does. Her right one’s bent at the knee causing the wrap to slip open and reveal creamy white thigh. To tas…
Right…focus—back to the focusing.
Relaxy, mind-drifty goodness. Tearing my gaze away from the woman next to me, I look at the people on the beach. I don’t think I’ve seen this many people on one stretch of sand. People are lined up everywhere. Umbrellas, blankets and toys cover a lot. I sit up a little and start to people watch. A particular group of older teens catch my eye. They’re getting ready to start a barbeque. They look pretty happy together.
The last time me and the gang were together was for Dawn’s birthday last July. Everyone came for it. Xander and Faith came in from Cleveland with Isabella. Giles took time from running the school in Scotland to fly in too.
My little brat sister is Head Watcher in London. I know there’s an official title, I can’t remember it. She’s all grown up and so much has changed. Well not lots, lots, but enough.
Xander and Faith hold down the fort in Cleveland. They don’t lose nearly as many slayers now. The only problem is that Dawn’s little translation was correct. There are no new slayers being called. Isabella’s it. She’s the last of us.
After I got out of the hospital—after the abduction—Giles had the entire Council get together. I had to be there. And I listened as he explained that the girls we had were going to be it. That time would tell if the slayer line would be bound to the Lehane bloodline and what that would mean if it was.
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter. There are slayers now. The demon populace is either going to dwindle or we’re going to have to come to some type of agreement on how to coexist…my guess…we’re gonna go for genocide. I don’t see many demons being all woo and hoo about trying not to kill us.
I can see it now. On this beach even. Everyone here that’s enjoying a nice, fun filled day at the beach, the kids playing in the surf twenty feet from me or the women and girls sunbathing all around will laugh and mingle with Golrache, Chaos, and Lacroth demons. It’ll be a thing.
Clem can finally join the regular population and try to explain his kitten fetish. Xander and the boys in the group of barbequers could join some vamps in the evening for campfire sing-a-longs and s’mores. Uh huh, that’ll happen right after I have sex with Angel again.
Although, Xander’s the best at trying to keep Will and I posted on the goings on. Is it bad that I don’t want to know? It’s nice that they care. It’s good even that they are happy doing that. I’d like to say I was. It’d be a lie. Glad to save the world. Happy to do my duty, but my duty’s done. So sayeth my witch.
‘Kay, so, I still patrol. They’re light patrols and Willow always comes with. Jimmy too sometimes if he can stay awake. I take care of my little corner of the world and let the rest take care of itself. Jo, my precinct therapist, says I’ve grown leaps and bounds in that whole responsibility department.
It’s not one girl anymore—it’s not just the ‘Chosen One.’ I’m me, free to do whatever I want. I want to help people. I do. Color me job satisfied…finally.
My gaze keeps on drifting over to Willow. She’s—I never understood that whole ‘growing into yourself’ thing. I always thought that you were just you. She’s grown. More than I could have imagined. I’ve been around for some of it. But the growing—it’s more than a physical thing. Maybe she’s just got that whole ‘comfy in my skin thing’ down.
I think she’s ousted me as the style maven of our group now. Her argument during the shopping spree we took right before we came here was that she wasn’t coming to Miami with a bikini that’s three years old…so outdated. Really, who could argue with that? You gotta keep up on the styles. That and—Willow, me, shopping for swimsuits? I so need a montage of that. We barely made it out of the dressing rooms.
She bought the white one—which gotta say, totally sexy. And I have a stylish one piece. She insists that it looks good. I pout. How am I supposed to get a nice even tan?
“Baby,” her soft voice brings me out of my reverie. Shielding my eyes, I look over to her and smile. I know it’s a goofy smile, but I can’t seem to help it.
“What?” I question as she peers over her sunglasses at me. I think I may have missed something.
“Where’d you go? I’ve been asking if you’re ready to go.” She smirks and shakes her head.
Busted. I bite my lower lip and shrug. Better make with the honest. “I was just thinkin’ about what a good idea this trip was.”
“It was—a good idea that is—and so needed.”
I nod in agreement, taking her hand in mine. “So you were asking about leaving? Why would we leave?”
Willow turns her head and nods in the direction of the horizon, saying, “The sun’s setting and we’ve got reservations at Barton’s for seven. I don’t know about you, but I need a shower. I’m all sticky.”
I smirk and wiggle my eyebrows. For my crude innuendo, I get a playful swat on my arm and the ‘Buffy, behave look’ that hasn’t changed since we’ve met. I laugh and say, “It’s not that late, we’ve only been here…” I fumble for my cell phone and light up the display. Okay so we’ve been sitting on the beach four hours. “Right…so, going—showers are good. I could use one myself.”
She rises to her feet before nodding. Her outstretched hand offers assistance in getting me out of the chair I’ve been lounging in. I gladly accept and we gather our things, making our way back to our hotel. Gotta say lovin’ the vacation so far.
As the cab pulls to a stop in front of our hotel, I frown. What is that? It feels like a tickle in the back of my brain. Something involving magick has happened around here, or is happening. It bugs, but what am I gonna do? Go hunt it down? I really don’t think so. I’ve got plans with a blonde tonight and if I track down every vibration from magick that I feel, that’s all that I’d do.
So, I should probably just ignore it. Yep, ignoring. It’s a good thing to do. No magical buzz, check. Let’s try to do more focusing on the way I’m being looked at. I return the look my lover gives me and step out of the taxi, taking her hand. The night is warm, not much different than New York. Well, that’s not true, it’s more humid. Which I didn’t think was possible.
With my free hand, I push the hair from in front of my eyes and follow her through the hotel lobby. Dinner was excellent. Buffy enjoyed it, which I guess is the most important part. They were all flashy with the service and the chocolate fountain at desert. And, umm, wow…I don’t think my stomach’s gonna forgive me anytime soon.
The elevator dings and I follow her on. I turn, ready to wrap my arms around her waist and begin nibbling her neck, but stop when another couple steps in the cab with us. Damn. Double damn. I’ve wanted to get my nibble on since the start of dinner. I send a glare to the brunette and her carbon copy GQ boyfriend, which of course they don’t see.
We are the first to exit…and damnit…there it is again. Willow, get a grip, just ignore the tinglies and go back to Buffy. Remember the time spent studying, the time away from Buffy, the time we’re making up for now. Setting my jaw, I ignore the slight tug at my senses. Back to Buffy. Resolve’s a good, good thing.
I follow my slayer to our door and don’t have much of an opportunity to get through before I’m pulled in. Well, patience was never one of her strong suits. Before the door shuts, I have her lips pressed over mine, her body molded to my body. We half-walk, half-stumble towards… Wait! The kitchen?
I stop the smoochies and raise an eyebrow. She smiles and turns, practically bouncing, towards the refrigerator. I peer over her shoulder as she looks into the fridge and see what she was apparently coming to get. A tray of strawberries, cheese, and a bottle of champagne are waiting for us. Awe, how sweet. When did she learn to plan like this?
I slide up behind her and kiss the back of her ear, whispering, “Why don’t you go get more comfy. I’ll bring this in.” I offer because—hey, she thought of it. It’s the least I can do. I feel her nod and watch her depart, appreciating the view.
I pull the tray out, careful not to tip the bucket holding the champagne and appraise the goodies Buffy ordered. There are over two dozen strawberries, some covered in chocolate, some not. The cheese is pretty standard, brie. And the Champagne—well, I don’t know labels, so I’ll just assume it’s good.
Damn, the ice has melted. I place the bottle on the counter and tip the bucket out into the sink. We should have some in the fridge. I pull the freezer compartment open and frown. No ice. Why isn’t there an ice maker? Great. Okay, so I think there’s one down the hall…?
I turn and make my way to the bedroom. I knock and Buffy’s voice answers, “Don’t come in here yet.” What is she planning? Oh well, wasn’t ready anyhow.
“I wasn’t. There’s no ice. I’m gonna go refill the Champagne bucket.”
“Oh…‘kay, but hurry up, Will. I’m almost ready,” she drawls the last part, teasing me. What’s she scheming? Her and scheming are bad. They just shouldn’t be done.
Shaking my head, I turn from the door. Grabbing the ice bucket and key card, I make my way out of our suite. I think the ice machine’s down at the other end of the hall. Oh for Goddess’ sake, there it is again. Okay, so someone’s either praying to the gods or there’s something up.
Y’know, you try to ignore things and… Nope. Just can’t do it. Going towards it anyhow, might as well try and find out why my witchy warning’s all twitchy. Getting closer now and—hey, look, ice machine.
I turn to the door that’s hiding the low-level hum I’ve been feeling since we pulled up in the cab. Okay, so, it’s more belting now than humming. I’m closer to the source. It’s gonna happen. Should I knock? I raise my hand and stop. Well, fudge…I knew I shouldn’t have. I should’ve kept ignoring. It would’ve been better.
Oh, great honking Hecate—like I really need to not see the blood on the door. One lousy vacation—just one stinking, lousy time where I don’t have to see blood. It’s a simple request.
Buffy’s not gonna be happy. I turn and quickly make my way back to our room. Wasn’t I carrying…must have dropped it. I slip the key into the door and make a beeline towards the bedroom, calling for my lover, “Buffy, get decent.”
She’s out the door in a robe before I have my hand on the handle. Her face is creased with concern and I can only offer her a tight smile. “Will, what’s wrong? Ice?” she asks the last part hopefully. It would be cute if it didn’t smack you in the face with the feeble.
I shake my head and say, “I’ll assume Jimmy’s corrupted you enough and you brought your gun and badge. Grab it and put some clothes on.”
She scowls and turns back around. I follow her into the bedroom and watch her dress. She says something, but it doesn’t register. I’m too busy looking around the room. There are candles everywhere—well, not ‘everywhere,’ but there’s enough and my flowers. She has my favorite flowers spread all over. My chest tightens just a bit as I look at the Lily on the bed. She went to all this trouble. I’m not gonna get weepy. There’s no time for it.
“Will, talk to me. What’s up?” her voice cuts through the sentimental fuss I’m making.
I shake it off and say, “You were setting all of this up. When did you start?”
She walks over to me and grabs my shoulders. The smile on her face is tender and sad. “Since like forever, but that’s not what I asked. We can come back to this. What’s going on?” she persists.
I fidget as I sit on the bed. “I, right, so when we pulled up there was some flareage, I felt a magical something. I was gonna ignore it, but when I went to go get the ice, it just got stronger. I figured I was headed there anyhow might as well have a quick look. I didn’t go in, but the door that’s hiding what’s sending my senses in to overtime has some blood on it,” I babble out and she nods. Her eyes are kinda sad and she has a half smile on her face that I think’s apologetic, or it might be annoyed. I can’t really tell right now.
She offers me her hand and I pull myself up from the bed. Her hand feels good in mine. It’s the most natural thing—the thing that can center me the quickest. Good, Buffy’s here. We’re gonna go have a look.
I lead her down the hall and up to the offending door. I just know this isn’t gonna be good. The door’s shut and the blood peeks out from the frame. It’s not a lot. A small smear and if you didn’t know what drying blood looks like, you’d pass right by it.
“Do you have anything to cover my hand with?” she asks and I shake my head. Didn’t really think I’d need latex gloves on vacation. Sure, we like our little kink, but latex anything…really not my style.
I watch as she uses her t-shirt to cover her hand. The lock is firm, but Buffy—well, she’s usually stronger. I listen to the metal groan under the force of her grip and the door pops open. That’s my Buffy; she uses her own brand of magic when I could have done it easier. I decide not to point that out right now though. Maybe later.
She goes in first. She always does. And her hand goes up to try and stop me, but I ignore it and walk in. Bad idea. Mistake too.
I’m not sure what causes my stomach to flip flop first. Is it the blood spatter covering the wall and ceiling by the bed? Is it the body flayed open like a cadaver on the slab at the morgue? Or maybe it’s the dark magic that assaults me as soon as I cross the threshold? I stumble and grab Buffy’s shoulder for support.
Oh, spinning. Never good. Always bad. Even when you’re on a carnival ride. Oh, she, it, he, the…it’s face down. Why’s it face down? And how’d I get so close to the bed? I peer at the corpse for a moment longer and know. It’s missing its kidneys. Okay, well, uhm, that’s special. I need to get out of here.
Apparently, Buffy feels the same because she’s tugging on my arm, dragging me backwards out of the room. Right, she’s gonna call it in. Good. The cops need to be here. Not sure if they can help. This isn’t a human thing. It’s one for the latest creature feature. I think vacation’s over.
What’s buzzing? I turn off my cordless Skill saw, remove my blood coated glove and start searching my pockets. I really should’ve turned my phone off before I started. I look at the display and roll my eyes. Great. Just what I need. I flip it open and bring it to my ear.
Putting on the best supportive voice I can muster, I answer, “Sis, what’s up?”
“Where are you?” she growls. Ah that’s my sister, she has less social skills than I do and she’s the normal one.
“Taking care of some garbage,” I answer vaguely, glancing down at the parted, bloody mess of Charles Gilbertson. She doesn’t know ‘Dexter the Avenger’ has struck again. I’m sure I’ll get more questions when we can talk privately.
“Fuckin’ Christ, Dex. Alright, we need you at a scene, Miami Resort and Spa. Y’know, the one off Collins.”
I take a quick glance around my mess and shrug. Guess I’ll just have to move quicker than usual. I factor in clean up time and work an estimate out. “It’s gonna take me a bit. I can be there in 45 minutes.”
I can hear her roll her eyes. “Jesus, Dexter. Fine, but fucking move your ass. It’s a fucking bloody mess here.” I want to say it’s a fucking bloody mess here too, but I resist the urge and keep my mouth shut.
I nod and answer, “I’ll be there in a jiff,” smiling, even though I know she can’t see it.
The line goes dead without any other response from my sibling. Ah Deb. Now she’s a character. When Harry and Doris Morgan took me in, they also gave me a younger sister, Debra or Deb.
She’s a good sister and a fairly competent cop. Of course, she cusses like a sailor and has a chip on her shoulder the size of Mount Everest. But you win some you lose some, I guess. She started out in Vice. The force seemed to think that her ample chest and long legs would help her in undercover work as a hooker.
She hated it. Her constant bitch was that no one would take her seriously after working Vice. ”Dex,” she said during her last case for that department, “I need you to get me out of here. I’m the laughing stock of the office.”
She was, of course, referring to no one valuing her opinion because she was all tits and ass and no investigative experience. She got switched to homicide when The Ice Truck killings started. She worked the hooker beat when they began. With my help, she was able to latch on and weasel her way out of Vice and into Homicide. The move was good for her. Maybe bad for me, but worth it in the long run.
I shove the last remaining part of Charlie into the doubled garbage bag and make my way to my car.
All cleaned up and ready to go, I place the bags containing my recent indiscretion in the back seat. After covering the bags up with a blanket, I climb into the driver’s side. Not going to have anytime to dispose of the ‘Rooter That Was’ before I get to the hotel. I’m going to have to be careful.
I make my way North, up the ninety-five, towards the heart of Miami. My mind churns as I anticipate the scene waiting for me. I cross over the Julia Tuttle Causeway and turn right onto Collins Avenue, the flashing red and blue lights up ahead my target. I park a block down and fish for my ID. After hanging it around my neck, I grab my kit from the trunk and move towards the hotel.
It’s as it usually is when the cops are around and a murder has happened, uniforms quarantine off the area and I pass under the barricade. I show my C.S.U. identification to the young uniform blocking the way into the hotel and he nods, letting me pass through un-accosted.
I look over and see what I assume to be the hotel manager yelling at one of the cops about discretion and how bad this is going to be for business. I smile and go inside.
Tapping a ‘uniform’ on the shoulder, I ask, “Excuse me, where’s the scene?”
“Fourth floor,” he replies. His tone is curt and he continues his sentry duty. I nod, smiling my gratitude. I may have to fake my emotions, but sometimes I wonder if others—others that are supposed be ‘normal’ fake them just like I do.
I step off the elevator and stride down the hall, passing cops as I go. I also wonder why, as the monster in their midst, I’m unnoticed. I work with them day in and day out. My job at the Metro Dade police station as one of the few Blood Spatter Analysts puts me in their presence consistently. They’re supposed to be trained to find and convict animals like me. But none, except for one, has ever come close to figuring out what I am. Being ‘Debonair Dexter’ works well for me.
I see Deb at the entrance to the room I assume holds the body. She looks up, meets my gaze and nods grimly.
“What took you so fucking long?” she asks as I set my case by the side of the door.
I grin up at her and say, “What no Hello, Dex. How was your evening going?
She gives me her characteristic snarky response, “Eat me,” and flips me off.
“Deb, not in this lifetime.” I flash my teeth and power up my camera. “So, what do we have?”
“Female, between twenty and thirty years old. Masuka’s inside finishing everything up. We’ve been waiting for you to get your fucking ass here. I have two witnesses to interview. I’ll catch up with you when I’m done.” She shoves me inside the door and disappears.
My first impression of the room is that someone had some fun. The area by the bed is splattered with blood. From floor to ceiling, arcs of arterial blood coat every surface imaginable. I look up and snap off a few pictures of the ceiling. Interesting. Whoever did this didn’t care about the mess.
Dexter the Dark’s curiosity is piqued when I near the bed. The body hasn’t been moved and it’s very similar to the body found a few days ago. I think she’s missing a different organ, but the M.O.s the same. Maybe I’ll get to do some more hunting after all.
“Dexter Fucking Morgan,” Vincent Masuka calls out to me. Ah, Vince, my perverted Asian comrade. “Wondering when you were gonna show.”
I nod and say, “Vince, would I miss this?”
“Hell no, buddy.” He smiles and points to the body. “She’s a bit different than the last one, but I think it’s the same. The same type of knife was used. Hell of a way to let a pretty piece like that go. Didn’t even bang her. Just tied her down and cut her open.”
I shake my head at his crass comments. That is the way of Vince though. Part of our beloved C.S.U. team and very much socially inadequate. I have a good hunch he pretends much the same way I do. He’s just more geared towards the sexual side of things. Him and Deb always trade inappropriate barbs.
As I snap pictures of the scene, I remark flippantly, “Well, some guys just don’t know how to have fun.”
He nods and goes back to his examinations. I direct some of the subordinate forensic team members to start collecting samples and make my way out of the room.
This is the second victim with a similar pattern. The first, an unidentified female, was found much the same way as this new body. The first was missing her liver. It seems like someone’s collecting parts. Very interesting choice of trophies. They never preserve as well. There’s all that mess the formaldehyde causes. My little collection of slides is much less conspicuous. Really, I’m not sure how some killer’s get away with it.
If I was ever caught, the only thing that the police would find is a nice, small wooden box, with unmarked, unidentifiable slides of blood drops inside. To date, including the one in my pocket, there are forty-three. They are the only tie-in to my corrupted compulsions.
I approach my sister and Angelo ‘Angel’ Batista, her partner for the time, as they interview two young women. One has blonde hair falling down between her shoulders and another redheaded woman, her hair shorter, resting just above her shoulders. She’s taller than the blonde next to her.
I catch Angel’s gaze and nod. He smiles over to me and makes the gesture to wait. Angel, as cops go, is one of my favorites. The closest thing ‘Dexter the Dazzling’ has to a best friend. He’s a good part of my mask—the disguise that’s needed to hide my truer self, ‘Dexter the Deranged.’
As I stand and listen to the four of them talk, the two young women both look up at the same time and meet my gaze. A chill sweeps up my spine and the closest thing to emotion, provided I could truly feel emotion, drums through me. Their gaze is unwavering as they continue to speak to Deb and Angel.
Curious. Very curious. They don’t look at all upset at having walked into a room that held what could be described as the marketing poster for the macabre. They look annoyed that they’re still talking to the two nice police officers. Now why would two such seemingly normal looking ladies appear unflustered by a room that was drenched in blood and home to a flayed open body?
The redhead’s gaze stirs the beast in the back seat. My other self sniffs and begins a low rumbling chuckle in the back of my mind. Me thinks that I’m going to have to look into these two a bit more. After all, like gravitates to like, and these ladies are calling to me and my Dark Passenger.