Friday: April 14, 2028
3:05 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo opened his eyes as he felt a tug on his hand. His eyes slowly focused on his son, one eyebrow raised. “What’re you doing in here? Did you… did you climb out of the crib?” he asked. Castor only giggled. Bo carefully pulled his arm out from under Jensen’s shoulders, an action that caused the younger man to groan and roll onto his stomach. Bo leaned over the bed and grabbed the child, lifting him onto the bed. “Why’d you climb out of bed?”
“Would you like to sleep in here with Daddies?” Bo asked. Castor nodded, hugging his stuffed toy dog to his chest. “All right, buddy. Come here,” Bo said, patting the mattress. Castor snuggled up against Bo, wrapping a hand around the collar of his father’s shirt. “You have to go to sleep, okay? For real this time.”
Castor smiled, nodding. “Daddy?”
“What’s that?” Castor asked, poking a finger to Bo’s nose.
The blonde chuckled softly. “That’s Daddy’s nose, baby.” He wrapped a hand around Castor’s, pulling it away from his face. “Let’s get some sleep, okay?”
“You need sleep so you can stay awake during the day.”
“If you don’t get any sleep, you won’t be able to play all your fun little games. You’d be too tired,” Bo said. Castor gasped, squeezing his eyes shut. Bo chuckled, pressing a kiss to the top of the baby’s head. “I love you.”
“Shh,” Castor whispered. “Night-night.”
Bo smiled, shaking his head. “Night-night, buddy.”
7:30 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN
Jensen walked into the kitchen, his tie draped around his neck as he buttoned up his shirt. “Did Cas sleep in our room this morning?”
“He climbed out of his crib,” Bo said. “It seems he’d like to switch to a bed as soon as possible. If he’s going to be climbing out like that, it’s… it’s a danger to him.”
Jensen nodded. “Yeah, we should nip that in the bud before anything happens.” He cleared his throat, leaning back against the counter. “You going to work today?”
Bo shook his head. “I have videos to run through for the L.A. scene. Just in case anything murderous happens here today, I don’t want to get myself swept up in it.”
“Understandable. After I get home, then, we’ll run out and look at beds with Cas. Sound good?” Jensen asked.
“Works for me.” Bo wrapped his hands around either side of Jensen’s tie, leaning up just enough to kiss the younger man. “I’ll take the girls to school and watch the boys again. No need for daycare if I’m just going to be sitting on my ass all day,” he murmured, hands working to tie Jensen’s tie.
“Mmhmm. Oh, umm… are you wanting to do anything tomorrow night?”
“Nothing that I can think of. Why?”
“A lot of the folks at the station are going out for drinks for Misty’s birthday. Thought I’d go. If, uh, if you didn’t mind,” Jensen said.
“Too bad drinking’s the only socially accepted way for adults to celebrate anything,” Bo said quietly. He patted Jensen’s chest before taking a step back. “Go for it. You’re allowed to have a life, love.”
Bo nodded, grabbing his coffee mug from the counter. “Have I ever told you about Brad Caine?” he questioned, turning back to face his husband.
“I used to work with him once I graduated college. He was an analyst way back in the day,” Bo said with a chuckle. “But Jamal just hired him to replace me when I’m here.”
“A seasoned analyst. Nice.” A pause. “Right?”
“Right,” Bo agreed. Jensen held out a hand, and Bo handed his coffee mug over to him. “Luca Roth and Katalina Lopez.”
“Detectives. Rookies. I’ve met them a couple times, in passing. We haven’t worked anything together,” Jensen said. “Luca’s a cutie. Straight, but a cutie.”
Bo rolled his eyes, a smile tugging at one corner of his mouth. “They’re nice enough. They aren’t entirely afraid to call me a pain in the ass, so… it’s nice. They’re a bit intimidated, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to extinguish that by the time we catch this killer.”
“Mm.” Jensen took a sip of coffee before handing the mug back to Bo. “So they treated you well?”
“A lot better than I thought they would. I’ve been… terrified of working a case there ever since Dallas got promoted. I was worried about how new people would feel about me,” Bo said. “You know?”
Jensen smiled faintly, leaning down to kiss Bo’s forehead. “Baby, you are officially in a place where the new people don’t judge you for who you are. They appreciate it. They have to get used to it, but to them, you’re just a person, just a human being. And you know what?”
“Thank you, love.”
“Sure thing, babe.” Jensen turned his head to the side as Kayla walked into the kitchen, a book tucked under her arm. “Morning, sweetheart.”
“Morning, Dad,” Kayla said. She lifted her eyes to Bo’s face and smiled. “Morning.”
Bo chuckled. “Good morning, Kay. Amber almost ready to leave?” he asked.
“Almost. She’s debating between kapris and jeans.”
The blonde snorted. “All right. We’ll head out in five.” Kayla gave a quick thumbs up before walking out of the kitchen. “Well, that’s my cue to change out of my pajamas and into actual clothes.”
“Sounds like a plan, Eli.” Jensen smacked the blonde’s rear as Bo walked past him. “Lunch. You me and the twins at the diner?”
“Of course. Are you heading out?” Bo asked.
Jensen glanced down at his watch. “Yeah, might as well.”
Bo took a few steps back, leaning up to kiss his husband. “I love you. We’ll see you at noon.”
“A’ight. Love you, too, Eli. Don’t work too hard,” Jensen said, pushing himself away from the counter.
Bo snorted. “Same to you, Jens.”
11:10 AM; LOS ANGELES, TAMARA CHRISTIAN THERAPY, DOCTOR TAMARA CHRISTIAN’S OFFICE
“So, Dominic, the last time we spoke, you were planning on going hunting to help work through your pain. Did you go?” Tamara Christian questioned. She sat in a chair across from the couch in her office, her legs crossed, a clipboard balanced on her thigh.
“I did,” Dominic said.
“What’d you hunt?”
“How’d it make you feel?”
He glanced up briefly, a smile tugging at one corner of his mouth. “Good. I felt good. Hunting is a… thrilling sport. For a while, every single problem in the world just vanishes. The anger leaves your body, and whatever little stressors were attributing to that anger suddenly seem entirely irrelevant,” he said.
Tamara nodded, tapping her pencil against her clipboard. “Did you name the rabbit the way you name the deer?”
“I did. Archibald. Although I called him Archie for short,” Dominic said.
“Do you know why you name them?”
“I dunno. I like… knowing their stories, what they’ve been through. I like to know their life before I… take it,” Dominic said, a faint smile playing around the corners of his mouth. “Giving them names makes me feel like I know their stories.”
“Once you… know their stories, per say, how does it make you feel when you kill them?”
“Very satisfied,” Dominic said plainly. “Taking a life… of an animal… is one thing. It’s just hunting. But knowing their name? Their story? It’s much more satisfactory if they have a story. It goes from game to lifestyle. Knowing their stories makes it so much more worthwhile,” he explained.
“You like being in control of them,” Tamara said.
“Oh, of course. I consider it playing God, in a way. Choosing which… rabbit lives or dies. It’s… what some might call empowering,” Dominic said.
“What would you call it?”
“Like I said, satisfying. Thrilling,” he said. “Hunting and killing are…” He let out a heavy breath, shaking his head. “It’s hard to explain, Doc. You’d have to experience it sometime to understand it.”
“I suppose so,” she agreed.
Dominic leaned back against the couch, crossing his arms over his chest. “When I was hunting, I was going to kill another rabbit. I named her Lydia. But, see, her story was too tragic. She hated herself. She needed to be… perfect, and she never believed she was. So I couldn’t kill her.”
“You feel sympathy for some of the rabbits?” Tamara questioned.
“With some of them, of course. Others, I empathize with.”
“What kind of empathy do you hold for these rabbits you’re hunting?”
“Take Lydia, for example. She was trying to make herself perfect so the other… rabbits would see her as beautiful. But no matter what she did, she just wasn’t pretty enough. She wasn’t perfect. I can put myself in her little… bunny shoes. I’m improving myself, as well, and I’m certainly not perfect yet.”
“No one can be perfect, Dominic,” Tamara said.
“Some people can,” Dominic said. “It’s the imperfect people who criticize those who are perfect that drive everyone else to believe perfection’s impossible. It’s there, somewhere. We just must strive for it, like Lydia is… striving for it.”
9:37 PM; LOS ANGELES, GARY’S BAR AND GRILL, BASEMENT
“It doesn’t matter how many weeks worth of footage I watch, I can’t find him. There’s no evidence of a strange man stopping outside of the house. There’s no evidence of a strange man breaking into the house. There’s no evidence of a strange man lurking about the house to get a feel for Mister Knight’s schedule,” Bo said. “It’s like he never watched the victim.”
“Mm… maybe he’s a magician,” Jamal suggested, his phone pinned to his ear as his dark eyes scanned the cards in his hand.
“Ha-ha,” Bo drawled dryly. “If the killer was watching Mister Knight, he was incredibly good at hiding himself from every camera in sight.”
“Better yet. Maybe he’s invisible,” Jamal said. Beside him, Carmine Lucchese snorted. The man was Venetia Lucchese’s husband, and although the woman was the don of the crime family, she liked to refer to Carmine as her co-leader. Whenever she was outside of their main base in Kansas, Carmine took over and kept things running smoothly.
“You’re hilarious, Pitman,” Bo muttered.
“I say you worry too much, kiddo. So you can’t find him on the tapes. So what? Maybe he didn’t watch the guy,” Jamal said. Deciding to let one of the other men at the table get their first win of the night, he tossed his cards onto the table and waved a hand to let them know he had folded.
“He knew what path Mister Knight would run along.”
“I call it dumb luck.”
“I call that bullshit.”
Jamal shook his head, grabbing his phone. “You said the pattern’s the full moon.”
“I said I think. It’s an assumption. Nothing’s for certain,” Bo corrected.
“Yeah, yah. Fine, you pain in the ass. It’s an assumption. Nonetheless, it means you have time. Take a breather, step away from the footage, and give yourself more than a few days to really think about it,” Jamal said.
“I suppose.” Bo cleared his throat. “Have the detectives found anything on the woman he slept with before he died?” he asked.
“Yes. They’ve already questioned her.”
“I don’t know. I’ll have Roth send you his notes tomorrow morning,” Jamal said.
“It can wait until Monday,” Bo said.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Like you said… I have time,” Bo said quietly. “Much as I hate to admit it.”
Jamal snorted. “I know, kid.”
Bo sighed. “I’ll let you get back to poker. Don’t have too much fun.”
Jamal chuckled. “No promises, kiddo. Get some sleep.”
“I’ll do my best. Goodnight, Jamal.”
“Goodnight, kid,” Jamal said softly. He waited for Bo to hang up before setting his phone on the table.
“He’s a magician,” Frank muttered from across the table. “God, you’re unbelievable sometimes.”
Jamal laughed, offering a shrug as he grabbed his glass of Scotch. “He needs to lighten up every now and then. I was only trying to aid in that,” he said. “Besides, the guy could very well be a performer in his free time. When he’s not killing people. We don’t know his life.”
Frank rolled his eyes, tossing his cards onto the table. “Fold,” he said. “Yeah, Pitman, I’m sure the heart-snatching killer is a street performer in his free time.”
“Is this your card? It’s the Ace of Hearts,” Carmine said, dropping said card in front of Jamal before dropping his cards to the table. “This guy really stole the heart, though?”
“Oh, yeah. Sunk his greedy little teeth right into it.”
Carmine grimaced. “Damn. Dude’s wild. Gotta give him that.” “Dude is a rabid animal,” Jamal said. He smiled faintly, clearing his throat. “Some may even say he’s a werewolf.”
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