Disclaimer: I don’t own nuthin’. Not a bloody thing.
Datclaimer: This is a cross-over between US Marshals/the Fugitive and Buffy/Angel.
The word echoed like a gunshot in the hallway, off of walls that once might have been a soft shade of butter yellow. The color had aged to more of a parchment color, streaked here and there with scuff marks.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Savannah Cooper stiffened at the sound of her name. Caught, she turned to face her boss, keeping her face neutral as he stormed down the hallway towards her, clutching a manila folder.
“What the hell is this,” demanded her boss, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard. He waved the file that she’d dropped on his desk moments before, hoping that she could slip away before he realized what it was.
Cooper’s eyes swept over the red lettering. She didn’t need to read it again, could recite the jacket from memory. “Iris gave it to me. She said Deatherage sent you a memo.”
Gerard scowled as he digested this bit of information about his boss, U.S. Marshal Steven D. Deatherage and Deatherage’s secretary. He looked down at the folder. “It’s a cold case.”
“I know that, Sam,” Cooper said.
“We don’t do cold cases.”
“I told her that.”
“I never got the memo, either.” Gerard commented, scowling at the file once more. He heaved a sigh. “Alright, get Cosmo and Bobby and tell ‘em we’re having a meeting in my office in half an hour.”
“This is a cold case!” Cosmo Renfro waved his copy of the file at Gerard. “Why are getting stuck with a cold case?”
“And it’s a kid.”
“A kid who was sentenced to twenty-five to life,” Biggs put in, before adding, “Aggravated homicide. Three counts.”
“Escaped from Stockton,” Cooper added, flipping through the pages of her file. “Smashed right through the glass in the maximum visitors room.”
Gerard sipped his coffee, aware that all eyes in the room were on him. When his team fell silent, he repeated what Deatherage told him. “This kid….this Faith, was spotted in Cleveland a few months back and there was a spotting here in Chicago, last week. Ohio sent it here and Deatherage gave it to me. There’s some pressure coming from upstairs on this one.”
“How the hell could she break through that glass?” Renfro asked. “Bullets can’t get through. And look at this. Not a trace of blood on it anywhere, so we have no idea what she was hopped up on.”
“I don’t think she was on anything,” Cooper said, quietly. “Her sheet from Stockton says there were a few minor fights but she never tested positive for drugs in any of the random checks.”
Gerard took another sip of coffee. “We start our investigation in sunny California, boys and girls. Deatherage gave us the green light to start from scratch on this one.”
“Not exactly,” Renfro told him. “Scratch would mean going to Sunnydale, California, where she started her little murder spree.”
Biggs nodded and added, “Yeah, that’s the town that got buried in that earthquake last year, isn’t it?”
“Aw, c’mon, Sam! California?!” Renfro looked up from his folder. “Can’t we –“
“Nope. Asked and denied.” Gerard got to his feet. “Start packing, Renfro. Cooper. Biggs. You two follow up on the recent sighting.”
As his team filed out the door on this latest assignment of the Violent Fugitives Task Force, Sam heaved a weary sigh. He didn’t like this case. Not one bit. And he had a feeling he was going to like it less by the time it was over.
Stockton Correction Center
“That’s not a knife.”
“I didn’t write the report,” James Brenner told him, raising his hands in the air.
Gerard studied the corrections officer, taking in the younger man’s neatly pressed uniform and the look of worry on his light brown face. “But you were there when it happened.”
“I was there,” Brenner confirmed.
As if by silent agreement, they both looked down at the weapon. It was, Gerard noted to himself, more of a dagger than a knife, with what appeared to be jewels in the handle, and a gold handle at that. It was a ceremonial dagger of some kind, and it looked old. Definitely valuable. He cut his eyes to Brenner again. “This is quite a weapon.”
“Never seen anything like it,” Brenner agreed. “Then again, Faith…never seen anything like her, either.”
“Really? What made her so special?” Brenner looked thoughtful and Gerard found himself taking a liking to the guard. The man was choosing his words carefully and Gerard was sure there was going to be some useful information coming out of this meeting. It was a damned sight more useful than his meeting with the warden. Half an hour of platitudes and ass-covering. Gerard hated bureaucrats.
“She was powerful, Faith was,” Brenner said, finally. “Wasn’t just that she was strong. She was that, too. A lot stronger than she looked, but she didn’t fight with anybody, never out there provin’ herself. Don’t get me wrong, she’d throw down if she had to, but that girl could fight. I don’t mean street fighting, either. It was graceful, not martial arts, but like that. Eyes in the back of her head. Nobody ever got the jump on her and she usually came through without a scratch.”
“And the other gals?”
“Broken wrists, broken fingers. Just enough force to stop but not kill.” There was the tiniest hint of admiration in Brenner’s voice. “That afternoon, Faith came out like usual and she started working out on the bars. Alvarez came up behind her and Faith swung around like she knew what Alvarez was gonna do before she did it. Broke Alvarez’s nose and that was that.”
“Except for one thing,” Gerard commented. “We don’t know who paid Alvarez to do it.”
“She hung herself in the infirmary,” Brenner told him.
It was a little too coincidental, but this Faith kid was already escaping when it happened. Gerard lifted the dagger, still sheathed in a plastic evidence bag. “Anyone get anything on this?”
“Nothing. Just some prints from Alvarez.”
“I’m going to take it, see what kind of history it has.”
Brenner leaned forward, lowering his voice, confidentially. “I know someone who might be able to help.”
“What did you get?”
“Never mind what I got, Sam,” Renfro told him, angling for a better look at the dagger. “What did you get? Is that a dagger?!”
“It’s a dagger.” Gerard tucked it into his briefcase and turned his attention back to Renfro. “Well?”
“I didn’t get much. The visitor-slash-accomplice was a Wesley Wyndham-Price. Never visited before. The only other visitor she ever had was an investigator from Angel Investigations.”
Gerard thought about this and then gave voice to the question it raised. “Why would she need an investigator if she confessed and pleaded guilty?”
“I’ve got Cooper running down an address on this Angel Investigations,” Renfro told him. “We should have something soon.”
“And I know just what we can do in the meantime. Feel like taking a little trip to LA?”