This is an Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer/CSI crossover. This story is a sequel to "Should Have Gone To Vegas...", which involved Angel, Riley Finn, and other characters from BtVS. It is set a few weeks later, towards the end of Angel Season 3, Buffy Season 6, and contains mild spoilers for Buffy seasons 3 through 6.
I'm thinking about writing more of these; I was planning to build up to a story called CSI: Sunnydale, but someone beat me to it so I think I'm going to keep the action in Las Vegas instead.
All characters are the intellectual property of their respective creators, film companies, etc.; this story may not be sold or distributed on a profit-making basis.
I'm British, so's my spelling. Live with it.
WORK IN PROGRESS: I'm splitting this into separate chapters, which I'll post as I write it; there were complaints that the first one was too long to be a single document, and I'd appreciate feedback on the plot as it develops. ManhuntersBy Marcus L. Rowland
Donny Parker stopped, for about the fiftieth time that day, to write a ticket. The battered old camper was parked illegally on a fire road in an industrial zone on the edge of town; there was a puddle of oil underneath and he guessed it had broken down, but it was still illegally parked. As he stuck the ticket on the windscreen he smelled something rotting, and realised that the interior of the cab was full of flies. When he noticed the blood stains around the rear door he called in a report. * * * * *
"What have we got?" asked Gil Grissom as he put on Hazmat coveralls and a face mask.
"Camper's licenced to a James Walker in Reno, he says he sold it two months ago." said Catherine, "Purchaser was a John Parker. Bought it privately via an ad in the evening paper, paid cash. He didn't register it with the DMV, still checking if he insured it. He's described as about six-one or six-two, heavy build, in his forties or fifties."
"None of which match the body?"
"Female, about five eight, extremely heavy build. And skinned."
"We've got a sick one on our hands."
"Grissom... I'm not a hundred percent sure the body's human."* * * * *
Forensic anthropologist Teri Miller's brow wrinkled as she looked at the X-rays again, and said "Not a gorilla; more like Homo habilis, although the posture is different. The teeth say a carnivore or omnivore. Do you have anything on that?"
"Carnivore. There was some meat in the stomach, seems to be raw rabbit." said Grissom.
"Grissom, this is undoubtedly the most important anthropological and zoological discovery of the last hundred-odd years. An entirely new hominid species. That or a remarkably convincing fake. I want to know everything."
"Well... what you see is what we've got, so far. The body was found in an old camper, someone killed it... no, her... with at least two shots then skinned the body. So far we haven't found any usable prints in the camper, it looks like the killer wore gloves whenever he was in there."
"I thought you said it isn't human."
"Technically, perhaps, but my guess is that whatever this is was at least as intelligent as a gorilla. I'd provisionally class it as much closer to human than ape, but the skull structure is strange, especially the jaws; more like a muzzle than a normal hominid mouth. Genetic fingerprinting may tell us more, but for now I'd say you were justified in treating it as a homicide."
Catherine Willows looked in at the door, and handed Grissom a file. "Ballistics and bloodwork. You'll want to read these right away."
Grissom leafed through the folder, then said "Have you still got the number for Angel Investigations?"
"Angel Investigations?" asked Teri.
"The bloodwork on that corpse comes out as human, all down the line, and Ballistics say the perp used silver bullets," said Grissom.
"So we've either got a psycho perp or the victim's a werewolf," concluded Catherine. "And Angel's an expert on that sort of thing."
"Have you two been drinking?" asked Teri. * * * * *
They used the conference phone in Grissom's office. Teri still seemed to be confused, and the conversation didn't help.
"...Okay, according to my diary you found the body four days after a full moon. Most werewolves change for three nights around the full moon, which would fit. The pictures you e-mailed look right, although I've never seen one skinned."
A woman's voice in the background added "And can I say 'ewww' again..."
Grissom said "We know that the flies we found in the camper hatched from eggs laid four to five days ago. Given the general state of the body I'd say that they were laid within hours of death. Thast certainly fits that timeframe."
"Is a werewolf human?" asked Teri, her professionalism warring with her scepticism.
"Definitely, at least for most of the lunar month," said Angel, "There are a few that can act rationally the other three days as well, and have conscious control of the change, but mostly not."
"Are they evil?" asked Grissom.
"Not exactly, not in the way the Church would define it; they don't lose their souls or get taken over by demons like vampires. It's more like a disease, rabies with an attitude. Very infectious, by the way, it spreads through saliva or blood in wounds so you want to be really careful handling the body. No, the way it works is that when the change comes on they black out, the animal takes over completely. At first, anyway. After the first few times they start to know what's happening, although they still can't control themselves. Some let the condition get to them and enjoy the killing. Mostly they're horrified when they know what they are, and do their best to avoid hurting anyone. One werewolf I know used to lock himself in a cage on those nights, needed to key in a combination to get out and he could only do that once he was rational. Others try to get to some isolated area and camp out on those nights, chase rabbits and deer."
"And courting couples," said the voice in the background.
"Are they dangerous?" asked Catherine.
"Oh yeah. They pick up on fear, sexual tension, and other emotions that affect body odour, tend to attack when they smell them. They're about as strong as a bear, and much more cunning."
"And they can rip the roof off a convertible," added the voice.
"Okay, Cordy, they're strong and they're gross and they messed up your date. One bad experience four years ago and you're our resident expert. Any other details you want to add?" said Angel, his mouth away from the handset. There wasn't a reply, but a door slammed.
"We've got no record of any attacks that would fit a creature like that in this area," said Grissom, "why else would anyone want to kill it?"
"Money. There's a black market in the pelts. Mostly Sri Lankan witches, I was offered a couple when I was there earlier this year."
"Do you know anyone who could give us more information?" asked Grissom.
"Let me think... there's Harry... no, she's really more of a demonologist... Oz is out of the country... I'm not really sure. Look, I'll ask around in LA but they tend to stay away from big cities, and right now things are a little busy here so I won't be able to check further afield. Meanwhile I'd guess your best bet would have to be Riley Finn, I'm sure his guys have dealt with werewolves. Can you reach him?"
"I've got an e-mail address."
"Okay, give it a try, and I'll see if I can find anything from this end." * * * * *
Three days later Catherine watched the Humvee drive up to the coroner's building and thought "Here we go again." It wasn't that she exactly disliked Riley Finn, but the idea of a heavily armed commando squad running around her city killing monsters was a little unnerving. An Air Force corporal got out of the drivers seat, moved to the back, and opened the door for a passenger. Not the commandos she expected. A short man in his early twenties, with unruly brown hair, wearing a faded sweatshirt with a 'UC Sunnydale' logo and jeans, with some sort of bead necklace and bracelets. He stood there, squinting in the sunlight, while the driver got a canvas bag and guitar case from the back. He looked absurdly young to be any sort of expert - if anything he reminded her of Doctor Evil's kid in the Austin Powers movies. Catherine walked over. "Mister Osbourne?"
"Call me Oz."
"I'm Catherine Willows." An odd look seemed to flicker behind his eyes for a second as she said "How much do you know about the situation?"
"Not much." The car drove off. Oz waved laconically at the driver.
"If you'll follow me I'll get you a visitor's badge then take you to Gil Grissom, he'll fill you in."
"Lead on." * * * * *
"Mister Osbourne?" said Grissom, offering a hand. "Take a seat. Let me introduce Teri Miller, the forensic anthropologist working on this case, and Nick Stokes, who's another of our crime scene investigators. Coffee's on the table, or there are some cold drinks in the cooler."
Oz took bottled water, Catherine coffee, and they sat. Nick looked at Oz oddly, but didn't say anything.
"Oz. Mister Osbourne's my dad."
"Damn, thought I recognised you." said Nick suddenly. "Oz from Dingos Ate My Baby. You played my college."
"What?" asked Grissom.
"Used to play bass guitar." Oz didn't seem especially pleased to be recognised. "The group was kind of okay, but I had to give it up."
"You come highly recommended by Riley Finn, and I think a gentleman named Angel also mentioned you."
Oz half-smiled. "You know Angel?"
"He was in town a few months ago. You could say he introduced us to Finn. Rather an... odd character."
"He's okay, I guess. Considering... Used to date a friend. Couple of years since I've seen him."
Teri guessed that there was some subtext she wasn't getting. Maybe this Angel was gay.
"Yes.. Well, both of them seem to think that you're an expert on werewolves, and that's what we need here."
"Someone been attacked?"
"We think someone killed a werewolf."
"Treating it as murder?"
"Surprised, not arguing. Most places they'd pat the killer on the back, or turn away."
"So, you've had experience with werewolves?"
"Been there, been bit, got the T-shirt."
"Relax, it's a long time to the full moon, and I'm kinda protected against turning anyway." He tapped one of the bead bracelets. "Meditation, plus herbs and a little magic. Keeps it under control."
Catherine hesitated, then said "Have you ever..?"
"Attacked anyone? Yeah. Killed another werewolf that was trying to kill my girlfriend, but another time I nearly killed an innocent girl. Riley and his guys rescued her. Later he saved me from some people who wanted to dissect me. Which is why I came out of the monastery for this gig."
"You're a monk?" asked Grissom, surprised.
"A student. There's a Buddhist monastery in Tibet helps people like me. Meditation, yoga techniques, that sort of thing. Riley was through there demon-hunting a couple of months ago and we bumped into each other, guess he remembered and thought I could help you. Sent a chopper to get me out of Tibet, then a jet from Nepal. First time I've ever flown Air Force, give me Pan Am any day."
"I'm sorry," said Grissom "You must be tired from the journey."
"Not really. Spent most of it meditating and sleeping, but I wouldn't have said no to a couple of movies. Before we start, there are some things you need to know about werewolves. Including me."
"First thing, don't get bit. If you do, clean the wound with mercurichrome or hydrogen peroxide, fast and really thoroughly. Nobody really knows how infectious it is, all I know is that I caught it from one tiny bite, and it wasn't around the time of the full moon. Avoid body fluids, things like saliva and blood. I used to make sure my girlfriend didn't have any mouth sores when we kissed, and I always used a rubber. If for any reason I need CPR you want to take the same precautions you would if I had AIDS. Okay?" Grissom and Catherine nodded.
"Second thing, when I'm changed I'm a lot bigger and a hell of a lot nastier."
"I thought you could only turn wolf at the full moon," said Teri. "Also, how can you possibly change size?"
"Usually, but really powerful emotions can sometimes trigger it too. Doubt it'll happen here, but you never know. As to the size, you have to understand that this isn't anything like natural, it's magical."
Teri stirred in her seat, thought of objecting, then subsided.
"It acts like a disease, but it doesn't obey the normal rules of nature. Size is nothing to magic, I've seen a girl change into a rat and back, and a man change into a sixty foot snake. Anyway, the only things that'll do much to stop a werewolf, including me, are silver weapons or a dose of tranquillisers that'd drop a horse. A cattle prod or a taser will work too, but only for a few minutes. I've got a dart pistol in my bag, someone else should carry it, it'll keep me out for about two hours." He hesitated, then said "I've also got silver bullets in four calibres. I don't like the idea, but one of you had better carry a gun that will take them."
"Why silver?" mused Grisson, wondering if there was a biochemical reason.
"Magic again, I think. Silver and the moon are connected symbolically. Whatever, it works. Silver is about as poisonous to me as arsenic is to you. And that's all the time, not just when I'm in wolf form, so I'd appreciate it if you'd save that for a last resort."
"It sounds like you could use silver against the infection," said Catherine.
"People have tried it; it kills them before it cures them. Maybe you could use some sort of silver compound instead of peroxide, immediately after a bite, but would you want to risk it?"
"Third thing," he went on, "dogs really hate werewolves, and they know when they're near one. So don't be surprised if they freak out when I'm around."
"Anything else?" asked Grissom.
"That's the highlights. Want to tell me what this is about?" * * * * *
About an hour later Grissom concluded "We've found more in the van. The main thing is that there are earlier blood stains, two different groups, about a month older than the current cadaver. There were also some tufts of coarse hair which don't match anything in our database, you might recognise them. There were small metal droplets on the kitchen work surface which turn out to be silver, and a scorch mark which is about the right size for a bullet mould, probably a large-calibre rifle. Which wouldn't fit with the bullets we found in the corpse, they were .22, probably fired from a small automatic. Oh, and the engine of the camper was seized, presumably the result of an oil leak, that's why it was abandoned. We've tried to trace its movements, and the movements of the driver after it was abandoned, so far we've nothing."
"Certainly sounds like a hunter," said Oz. "There was one after me once, guy called Cain. He set up shop in a camper."
"Can you describe him?"
"Never met him when I was in my right mind. The people who did... I'd really prefer not to involve them, or let them know I'm back in the country. They've been through a lot, way too much. One thing; I never exactly met him, but he spent a lot of time stalking me and I think I know his scent. If he was around that camper I should be able to smell him, let's try that and see where we go from there. If it is him I suppose I can make some calls."
"Grissom," said Catherine, "You know that a sense of smell isn't going to give us usable evidence."
"We've done it with police dogs, ran tests to show that they could identify people on scent alone, why not a man?"
"Because by his own admission Oz has no direct evidence that Cain and the smell are linked, just inference. He also has reasons to dislike Caine. Any defender could tear that to shreds."
"I agree, but it's a starting point. If we can identify Cain as involved we can look for admissible evidence. While being careful not to rule out other possibilities, of course."
"This whole thing is so crazy that it'll probably never get to court," said Catherine. "Same as last time, that business with the magician."
"I think that's possible. Nevertheless we'll treat it like any other murder investigation. We have evidence of one death, possibly three. We're going to nail whoever is responsible." * * * * *
"I don't think I want to go in there," said Oz as he put on coveralls and protective boots in the CSI garage. The camper was there, surrounded by the usual evidence tape barriers.
"The smell isn't that bad." said Catherine.
"You don't understand. I
want to go in there, the wolf part of me doesn't. That's never a good sign. I think I'm okay, but be ready for trouble if I'm wrong."
Nick's hand brushed against the grip of the tranquiliser gun.
"Okay. I'm ready. Have to do without the mask though." Oz pulled it down to his neck and began to walk around the barrier. "Okay, smell of blood, that's real strong. Smell of deisel, oil, some propane. Urine, human I think. At least one werewolf, female." As he spoke he seemed to crouch slightly, and his face looked a little strange. Bestial.
"Are you all right?" asked Teri.
"Yeah. Haven't smelled that in a while." His voice sounded deeper. "Wolf on the make."
"I don't understand."
"Female werewolves go into season at the full moon. The scent is kind of distracting."
"Can you handle it?" asked Catherine.
"Yeah, but don't come too close, it's making me twitchy." He circled closer. "That's about it from the outside. Open the driver's door."
"Are you sure you're ready?" asked Nick.
"I'm as ready as I'll ever be."
"Okay." Nick pulled the door open.
Oz moved in. "Cigarettes. Whisky. Gun oil." he bent to sniff at the leatherette seat. "Sweat. Yeah. That's Cain." His face was twisted to something inhuman, hairy. Nick half-drew the tranquiliser gun.
"Are you certain?" asked Catherine.
"As sure as I can be. It's him, or someone that smells a hell of a lot like him. Also another werewolf, male, much fainter." He stepped back from the camper, and his face slowly went back to normal. "I'm going to have to make some calls. People I really didn't want to talk to."
"You can use the phone in my office."
He hesitated. "The people I need to talk to... they're in the same line as Riley. Monster hunters. Thing is, they're a lot less official. Riley knows about them, but they have less protection than him, and sometimes they have to work well outside the law. It's possible that they won't want to get involved, and I'm not going to be the one that forces them. I think I need to use a public phone. Give me your contact details, fax, phone and e-mail, someone may want to send you something. I'll be back in a couple of hours."* * * * *
About three hours later Catherine's phone rang. "Hi, this is Oz. I talked to my friends. Took longer than I expected, one of them turns out to be in Britain. He's associated with an organisation that has a lot of contacts, says they probably know about Cain and he'll try to put some sort of dossier together. Can't promise how soon it'll get here."
"Can somebody bring my bags out to me, and give me a lift to my hotel? It'd save me having to walk back and I'm a little wiped."
"No problem, I'll do it myself."
"Thanks." He gave her an address, a coffee shop a mile or so away. When Catherine got there Oz was waiting at one of the tables outside. "Want a coffee?"
"Well... iced tea would be nice."
"I'll have one too. Waiter.."
"Grissom said we'll have a meeting at ten tomorrow, if that's okay with you."
"Fine, I guess. Should be rested by then."
Catherine studied him as she drank. He looked unhappy. "Something wrong?"
"It's a complicated story. Jerry Springer complicated. Soap opera complicated."
"I've got time."
Oz looked around to make sure they couldn't be overheard. "I sort of told you some of it before. I used to date this girl... then I ran into a female were who was on heat, and I didn't have the control to do anything but mate. My girl found us together the next day, and freaked out. What I didn't realise was that Ver... the were... was a killer. She thought that we were some sort of superior race, I think. When I didn't want to have anything more to do with her she tried to kill my girl... I ended up killing her. I think it was the wolf part of me that killed her, but I'll never know for sure."
Catherine nodded, said nothing.
"After that I split for the first time, went looking for a cure. Eventually ended up in Tibet, and after a few months I thought I had the answers. So I went back to her and found out I was wrong."
"While I was away she'd found someone else... another girl. I couldn't handle it."
"I think maybe I could have taken it if it had been a guy, but as it was I totally freaked out. Could have killed both of them, but Riley and his men saved them. Saved me, eventually. None of it was her fault, she thought I was gone for good and she had every right to make her own life. It might have happened even if we'd been together, we were sort of drifting apart. I was into rock, she was into other stuff and her girl had the same interests."
"And the calls you just made?"
"Her best friend... not her girlfriend, just a friend... was around when Cain was hunting me. She saved me from Cain, more or less single handed. Later on she gave Riley a big push towards rescuing me when I was going to be dissected."
"So she knows what Cain looks like?"
"She couldn't give me much of a description, it's been a long time and she only ever saw him at night. She told me how to contact the guy I mentioned, the one who went back to Britain, and that ought to help. But one of the other things she told me was that my girl and her girlfriend have split."
"You want to go to her?"
"Damn right. But I think that if I do I'll mess things up more than they are already. They'll get back together if I stay out of it, if I interfere I'll just make things more complicated. From what our friend says things are already bad enough, and I don't think you'd believe it if I told you why they've split, so she doesn't need me to turn up and ruin her life completely."
"I think you're probably right. It sounds like you can't really give her a normal life at present."
"Define normal. But no, not a hope in hell."
"So what did you do?"
"Made Buff... my friend... promise not to say I'd called. If I ever find a real cure I'll go back though, just to say 'Hi' and see how things are."
"I hope you can."
"Yeah. Look, I really do feel wiped, or I wouldn't have asked you to bring my bags. If you're ready I'd appreciate that ride." * * * * *
The file Grissom found on his desk the following morning was unusual. No agency name or logo, nothing to indicate the origin. Just an oddly-sized plastic binder with a dozen or so pages of rich rag paper, laser printed, and a plastic file pocket containing a glossy photograph. There was a printed label reading 'Cain' on the cover and an envelope clipped to the first page, addressed to Oz in flowing black italics. After a moment Grissom recognised the paper size as A4, which probably meant a European source. Nobody could remember the file being delivered, or had seen any outsiders enter Grissom's office.
The dossier wasn't exciting reading The first six pages described Cain in reasonable detail and gave contact details, a bank in the Bahamas that handled his business. There were no fingerprints, but the photograph was excellent. There were copies of his bank records for the last two years; Grissom couldn't begin to think how they had been obtained. As to the rest... Grissom read it through several times, made some copies, went on line to get US census figures, and punched numbers into his calculator. When Oz and the others arrived at ten he was beginning to reach some worrying conclusions. He passed Oz the envelope, and waited while he read the note inside.
Oz scanned the page quickly, smiled, and said "Okay. Lot of strings pulled to get this sucker. My guy says that it's all that his associates know about Cain. He had a hard time getting it, if I'm reading this right they think that Cain is one of the good guys. Shows how much they know."
"Shows that they can't handle basic maths," said Grissom. "Oz, Teri, take a look at the last three pages of this file, Cain's trading record, tell me what you think. Catherine, Nick, take a look at the bank transactions."
Oz read for a few minutes, his face increasingly pale. "This can't be right. He's sold fourteen pelts in the last year, all of them in the USA. He's got thirteen full moons in that time, three days per full moon, so he'd have to be killing one every two or three nights of hunting. And there just aren't that many of us. If there were I'd be smelling them everywhere I go. I've met two others my entire life, apart from Tibet, and one was the kid that bit me."
Teri nodded. "I agree. The population dynamics are all wrong. If there were that many werewolves the disease would be spreading so fast that nobody would be safe. My assumptions, before I saw these figures, was that the disease is rather less infectious than Oz believes, and that there are very few survivors of werewolf attacks. Both would limit the spread of the disease.
Grissom nodded. "That's more or less what I thought. Nick, Catherine, what about the money side of things?"
Catherine rubbed her ear, puzzled. "If I'm reading this right his expenses have gone down and his income has soared in the last eleven months. Before that he had one large influx of cash every three or four months; now he has cash coming in every month. There was this one month when his income doubled, I guess he sold two pelts, after that it drops slightly, looks like the market price went down a little. At the same time the amount of cash he's withdrawing has gone down considerably."
"Definitely," said Nick, "Up to a year or so ago he was withdrawing nearly as much as he was spending, and seems to have travelled a lot. There are withdrawals from all over the southern states, and he was never in the same area two months running. About a year ago the pattern changed; he seems to have started moving at two or three month intervals, and the distance he travels is much less. He was in Reno for two months, came to Vegas this month. It doesn't make any sense."
"It doesn't make any sense if he's hunting werewolves," said Grissom. "I think that we're seeing something different here."
Oz said "Yeah, has to be..."
Catherine finally said it. "He's making them."
TO BE CONTINUED