Tuesday: February 23, 2027
6:05 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BATHROOM
Bo stood beneath the stream of hot water, closing his eyes as he tilted his head back. He had, much as Jensen had predicted, spent all night and most of the morning on searching for house records. He had started with Trenton, New Jersey in search of people that had lived there during the time frame of the Casanova’s murders, people who had since moved to Minnesota, the Iowa border, or the South Dakota border.
He’d managed to scrounge up two names thus far, one of which was a woman and married to the man that held the second name. He had finally turned off the laptop and gone to bed an hour ago, which more or less resulted in a quick, twenty minute power nap. After his shower, he needed to get ready for work, make breakfast, get the girls ready for school, and get the twins dressed for daycare. He didn’t have time for sleep.
Bo turned his head as the bathroom door opened. “Jens?”
“You should be sleeping.”
Jensen snorted. “Look who’s talking, babe.” One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted as he rolled his eyes. He heard Jensen undress before the younger man came into the shower. He wrapped his arms around Bo’s waist, pressing a kiss to the blonde’s shoulder. “How much sleep did you get?”
“I don’t think you want me to answer that,” Bo said.
“Pretty sure I do.”
“About twenty minutes.”
“Mm.” Jensen turned his head and kissed Bo’s temple. “So tonight, you’ll regulate and only do the record searching while we’re at the station. At home, we’ll take care of the kids, help with homework, eat supper, maybe watch a movie or two, and then go to bed. You just need to take turns on which days you sleep and which days you work on this.”
Bo smiled. “Thanks, Jens.”
“My pleasure, Eli.” Jensen cleared his throat, resting his chin on Bo’s shoulder, closing his eyes as the water saturated his hair. “How’s the tattoo?”
“Itchy and flaky,” Bo said. “The water helps, though. It stops it from itching for at least a few seconds.”
“That’s good. How long will the itchy phase last?”
Bo lifted a shoulder. “I think it depends on a lot of factors. Usual healing time, how your skin reacts to new things, so on and so forth. I’m just patiently waiting for it to heal so I can wear a watch again.”
“Yeah, makes sense.” Jensen sighed softly, lifting his head. “We should shower so we can get started on breakfast.”
“Oh, you’re going to help?” Bo asked, turning to face the younger man.
Jensen cracked a smile. “ ‘Course, babe. If you’d wake me up before you started breakfast, I’d help more often,” he said.
Bo snorted. “Yeah, yeah. I know.” Playfully, he shoved at Jensen’s shoulder before stepping past him, offering full access to the stream of water. “We’re going to need to stop in at Little Delights on our way to the station. I need coffee, and ours isn’t going to cut it.”
“Works for me, babe.” Jensen scratched at his jaw, a subtle reminder that he was in need of a shave. “I vote you take a nap during our lunch break. It could do you some good. Then I’ll bring you lunch at the station and you can eat while we work.”
“That would be appreciated, Jens. Thank you.”
“No problem, Eli.”
10:32 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LAB
Bo looked up from his laptop as a hand covered his notebook. “Hey, Jake.”
“What can I do for you?” Bo questioned.
“Well, it’s actually what I can do for you,” Jacob said. He set a coffee cup on the table. “Tada.”
Bo snorted. “Thank you.”
“Mmhmm.” Jacob walked away from the table, lifting himself onto the counter instead. “How’s the search going?”
“I’ve found two names at this point, but they’re two names that I had before I took a nap this morning,” Bo said. “The hardest part is figuring out which towns are good ones to search through, you know? Is it entirely useless to search the towns that women were killed in? Would he have gone an extra step and made sure to avoid killing people near his actual home? Or are those definitely the places I should be checking? It’s… difficult, to say the least,” Bo explained.
Jacob nodded. “Definitely above my pay grade.”
Bo snorted, nodding. “It’s relatively above mine, as well, but… here we are.”
“Overachiever,” Jacob muttered.
“I do my best.”
“How long do you think it’s going to take it?” the lieutenant questioned.
“I’m not sure. Days, weeks. It depends on how much time I can devote to it, as well as how many towns I’m willing to check,” Bo said.
“How many towns are you willing to check?”
“As many as I need to.”
“If we have no evidence, how are you gonna know we’ve got him?” Jacob asked.
“Assumption-based instinct,” Bo said. “Like… the Puppet Master. I saw him once in public, and the thought that it was him ate away at me until we found him. The same goes for the teacher.”
One corner of Jacob’s mouth lifted. “Like your spidey senses. You must get that from Tom.”
Bo snorted. “Maybe.”
“Unless you get him to confess to it you know it’s going to be beyond difficult to put him in prison, right?”
“Oh, I know,” Bo said quietly. “He took a break for a reason, Jake. The reason is because of something that has to be incredibly important to him. If I find the guy and use that thing against him, I can get a confession. I can get proof.”
Jacob shook his head. “Like a young Pitman.”
Bo frowned. “Is that a bad thing?”
“In this case? No,” Jacob said softly. “You do what you gotta do, Blondie. Make me proud.”
Bo smiled faintly. “You betcha, Jake.”
12:58 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, QUIET ROOM
Jensen stood in the doorway of the station’s quiet room, arms crossed over his chest. Across the room, Bo lay sound asleep on the couch, his earphones pushed into his ears. At noon, before Jensen had left for lunch, he had promised to wake his husband up at one. Now, he was having a hard time convincing himself to wake the blonde up.
“You don’t have to wake him up if you don’t want to,” Jacob said quietly.
“His break’s almost over,” Jensen murmured.
“So? He’s at the station. That’s basically work,” Jacob said. He elbowed Jensen in the side. “Blondie needs to sleep. Let him. If a body turns up somewhere, that’s when you wake him up. Until then… I say give him another hour.”
Jacob clapped Jensen on the back. “No problem, Taylor.”
2:03 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, QUIET ROOM
Jensen squatted down in front of the couch, gently brushing Bo’s hair away from his forehead. The blonde’s eyes fluttered open. “Hey, babe. Time to get up.”
“Mm.” Bo cleared his throat, lifting a hand to rub at his eyes. “What time is it?”
“A little after two. Jake told me to let you sleep in.”
“Well… thanks.” Bo laid a hand on Jensen’s shoulder, pushing himself up to a sitting position.
“No problem, Eli.” Jensen crossed his arms over Bo’s thighs, tilting his head to the side. “What’s the plan?”
“Jump back into the house records,” Bo said simply. “And then after we go home, I stay off the laptop all night and pick it up in the morning.”
“Good,” Jensen murmured. He leaned up and kissed Bo. “I brought you a salad from the diner. It’s in the fridge in the break room. Want me to bring it to the lab for you?”
“Yes, thank you. You’re amazing.”
One corner of Jensen’s mouth lifted. “I learned from the best, Eli.” He kissed Bo’s forehead, pushing himself to his feet. “I’ll see you in the lab.”
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