Thursday: March 11, 2027
10:47 AM; LOS ANGELES, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, STUDY
Jensen set a fresh cup of coffee on the desk, grabbing Bo’s empty mug. “How’s it going?” he asked.
“First, thank you,” Bo said, grabbing the mug as he leaned back in his desk chair.
“No problem, babe.”
Bo took a sip, closing his eyes briefly. “He’s been in New Jersey since the twentieth. It doesn’t explain the gap between Ellen’s death and the twentieth, but it explains the gap from then to now,” he said.
Jensen nodded, sitting down on the edge of the desk. “What’s he doing in New Jersey, then?” he questioned.
“I wondered that myself. He’s staying with his parents. Or… at this point, with his mother. They admitted his father into an assisted living home on Thursday. He has Alzheimer’s,” Bo said.
“Our killer, who hates women enough to stab them over eighty times, took a break to take care of his parents? One of whom is a woman?” Jensen asked.
“Why?” the younger man questioned.
“It’s a good question.” A pause. “One that I’m still trying to answer. I’ve started jotting down shorthand notes over here of a profile, but it’s nothing entirely factual or substantial. I think I need to dig a little deeper. I need to know about outbursts of anger. I need to know about hospital visits. I need to know how close he is with his brother, how close his parents are with his brother. Even now, the profile’s useless if I can’t make him connect to it,” the blonde explained.
Jensen nodded slowly. “So you’ll just keep rifling through this shit until you find something you can use against him?” he asked.
“No. I’ll keep digging until I find something that connects a killer’s profile to him. On the surface, he isn’t a killer. He’s a respectable student, a hard-worker, and a momma’s boy. I already know what to use against him,” Bo said.
Bo nodded. “Bingo.”
“How can you use them against him? An exposure threat does nothing. They’ll know what their son did as soon as it hits the news. If we got a warrant to arrest him, that’d go down the same way,” Jensen said.
The blonde shook his head. “He cared enough about his parents to take a break from killing, something he loves, something he’s incredibly passionate about. He feeds off of it, yet he stopped for them because they needed help,” Bo said.
“He can’t afford to pay his father’s assisted living fees, Jens,” Bo said.
“Oh,” Jensen mumbled. “You’ll offer to pay the fees as long as he confesses,” he said quietly.
Bo nodded. “As long as he confesses and provides evidence that it was one hundred percent him. I want the other dumbass out of prison, too,” he said. He raised an eyebrow. “If… that sounds okay to you, that is.”
Jensen smiled faintly. “It sounds good, Eli. You know why?”
“You’re already starting to think about certain things the way Jamal does. You’ve been worried that you won’t be ready for it by 2030 but… but I think quite the opposite.”
Bo leaned forward, grabbing and squeezing Jensen’s hand. “Thank you, love,” he murmured.
“My pleasure, babe.” Jensen leaned to the side, touching a hand to Bo’s face as he kissed him. “I’m gonna run downstairs and check on the boys. The girls are there, too, but, you know.”
“Better to be safe than sorry. I understand.”
Jensen nodded, pushing himself away from the desk. “Good luck, babe. I’ll be downstairs if you need me. Otherwise, I’ll call you down for lunch in a few hours.”
“Thank you. Again.”
Jensen snorted. “No problem, Eli.”
11:02 PM; LOS ANGELES, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo sat down on the edge of the bed, gently easing the sling strap over his head. He set it aside, moving his hands to unbutton his flannel instead. “I have enough to talk to him,” he said.
“You know why he takes care of his parents even though he’s a violent as fuck killer?” Jensen asked.
“No, but I have enough to speak to him, to question him.” Bo cleared his throat. “To manipulate him, for lack of anything better to say.”
Jensen nodded, tugging a shirt on over his head. “You’ll need to fly out to New Jersey tomorrow then?”
“No. Umm… he bought a plane ticket to Clinstone. I imagine he’ll be going back to his apartment to pack up his things. I’ll be waiting for him there,” Bo said. He shrugged out of his shirt, closing his eyes as he moved a hand to his shoulder. “I thought maybe you’d like to come with.”
“Really,” the blonde confirmed.
“I’d love that,” Jensen said. He crossed the room, grabbing Bo’s shirt and tossing it into the laundry hamper across the room. He moved Bo’s hand, bowing his head to press a soft kiss to his shoulder. “Here,” he murmured.
Bo grabbed the shirt, smiling faintly. “This is one of yours.”
“Of course,” the younger man said, sitting down beside Bo.
“Thank you,” Bo said, carefully pulling the shirt over his head and forcing his arms through the sleeves.
Jensen helped him put the sling back on. “You’re sore.”
“You shouldn’t have gone golfing.”
“I know.” Bo offered a smile. “It was worth it, though. Any time I get to see Jamal genuinely smile and laugh is worth it,” he said.
A smile graced the younger man’s face. “You’re adorable,” he whispered, pressing a kiss to Bo’s forehead. “Does Jamal know we’ll need the plane?”
Bo nodded. “Already booked.”
“And the kids?”
“Mom and Dad will be coming over to watch them while we’re gone,” Bo said.
“We’ll be back tomorrow night?” Jensen asked.
“Presumably, yes. If not, we’ll be back Saturday morning in time for breakfast and cartoons with the kids,” Bo said.
“Awesome.” Jensen kissed Bo before scooching back to his side of the bed and laying down. “Eli?”
“Jamal thinks I should take the test for sergeant,” Jensen said.
“If that’s something you think you’d want to do in L.A. as well, go for it. If not, don’t,” Bo said. “It’s totally up to you, Jens.” He shifted, leaning back against the headboard. “You do whichever you think works best for you.”
Jensen nodded, shoving an arm under his head as he turned to face his husband. “It’d be two sergeants. Me when we’re here, someone else when we’re not. Do you think that’s stupid?”
Bo shook his head. “I think it keeps the balance in the station,” he said.
“Do you… think Jamal only wants me as sergeant because I’m family?” Jensen asked.
“I think it’s because you’ve done an excellent job in Clinstone thus far,” Bo said. “That, and he trusts you. Jamal puts family first, sure, but that’s not the only reason he chooses to do things,” he added.
Jensen nodded thoughtfully. “I think I might do it. Maybe over the summer while we’re here. I think that’d be the best time,” he said.
“That’s good. Seems smart,” Bo said. He turned, leaning down to kiss Jensen. “Hash it out with him when we get back from Cliffburn. Let him know how you feel and he won’t judge you for it.”
“You’ll be there when I talk to him?”
“If you want me to be there, yes, of course.”
Bo smiled. “That’s what I’m here for, Jens.” He sighed softly, sliding under the covers. “I love you.”
Jensen scooched closer to him, hooking an arm around his waist. “I love you, too, Eli. Goodnight.”
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