Happy Face Killer – Chapter Six

A/N: Bonus update because today is Jamal’s birthday

NOT EDITED

Chapter Six

Friday: January 4, 2030
5:50 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, WEST BUREAU, PARKING LOT

Bo looked down at his phone as it dinged with a message. “Well, how do you feel about a homicide?” he asked.

“I could go for a homicide,” Jensen said.

Bo handed his phone over to Jensen, tapping a finger to the address on his screen. “There you go, handsome. Let’s go see what L.A. has to offer.”

Jensen snorted, backing out of the parking space he had pulled into less than a minute beforehand. He set Bo’s phone on his thigh, glancing down at the address one more time before driving out of the parking lot. “So you get to be a total lab geek on this one?”

“One hundred percent.”

“That’s gotta feel damn good, right?” Jensen asked.

“I’m excited just thinking about it,” Bo admitted. “Which I know sounds totally monstrous and disturbing when you take into account that we’re driving to a homicide, but… you know.”

“I know what you mean, baby. Nothing to explain here,” Jensen assured. He reached over and squeezed Bo’s thigh. “It’s good to see you excited. Been a long time since you’ve been excited for a crime scene,” he murmured, skimming too fingers over the scars on Bo’s left wrist, some years old, some much newer.

Bo cleared his throat, pushing his watch down to better cover the more recent scars. He had yet to get the tattoo on his wrist touched up to better cover them. Whenever the watch moved, it served as a reminder of what he had done to himself in a time of sadness, a time where the voices telling him he wasn’t good enough had finally won.

“Yes, well… I’m better right now than I was then. That’s what matters.”

“I know, baby.” Jensen glanced over at his husband. “When’s your next appointment with the quack?”

Bo snorted. “He does have a name, you know.”

“Yeah, yeah. Doctor Garcia.”

“Correct. I have a phone call with him later this morning. Eleven o’clock. I’ll talk to him for an hour or so and then you and I will go out for lunch.” Also the psychiatrist still hadn’t managed to talk him into taking the medicine that could help control his depression, the talks with him had certainly helped Bo’s bad days be less bad. Most of the time, his bad days still made him not want to crawl out of bed or shower or eat, but they were slowly getting more tolerable when they came along.

Bo was thankful for that, and he was even more thankful for the role Gabriel Garcia played in it.

“I’m glad talking to him has helped you, Eli. I was real damn worried about you after that shit with the Werewolf went down,” Jensen said.

“Admittedly, so was I. I don’t… ever want to get that bad again. It was one thing when I got really bad after Bridget died. It… is an entirely different story now. We have kids to raise. I can’t let that happen again,” Bo said quietly.

“I know, baby. As long as you keep up your talks with Garcia and you don’t hide all your feelings from me, you’ll be just fine.”

“Thank you, Jens.”

“No problem, Eli.”

When they arrived at the crime scene, Bo stepped out of the passenger seat, camera already assembled and held in one hand. He closed the door and headed for the scene, ducking under the crime scene tape with ease. “What’re we looking at, Roth?”

Detective Luca Roth lifted his head. “Gunshot vic. Three wounds that I can see.”

Bo nodded, coming to a stop before the taller man. “Four. You missed the one to his groin.”

Luca grimaced. “Sorry. Guess I was trying to ignore that part.” He looked up at Jensen. “You just don’t shoot a man in the dick, you know?”

Jensen snorted. “Yeah, you sure as hell aren’t supposed to.” Lightly, he elbowed Bo in the side. “Whatcha want us to do, Chief?”

“That would be Eli to you, shithead,” Bo reminded, tilting his head back to look at the annoyingly charming grin on his husband’s face. “How about you help the responding officers finish setting up the tape and roadblocks?”

“Sure, baby.” Jensen smacked a hand against Bo’s ass before walking away.”

Bo rolled his eyes. He looked back at Luca and his partner, Katalina Lopez. “You two should finish separating the witnesses and start questioning them, see what you can turn up.”

Luca gave him a thumbs-up. “Sure thing, boss.” He nodded toward the crime scene tape to his left, a silent signal to head on out. Katalina nodded once and turned away from the corpse, following Luca across the street.

Bo turned on his camera, squatting down in front of the body. He snapped a picture of the man’s bloody shirt. Three bullet holes were prominent on his torso. One would have torn though his lung, another through his stomach, and the final through his heart.

Perhaps L.A. has given us its own little mugging gone wrong? One-man job this time, of course.

Bo took a picture of the man’s face, a frown quickly tugging down at either corner of his mouth. “Shit,” he whispered. “Hey, Sarge!”

Jensen ducked under the crime scene tape and strode back over to his husband. “Yeah?” Bo beckoned him down to his height with two fingers. Jensen squatted down beside him, brow furrowing. “This guy… looks vaguely familiar.”

Bo nodded. “As he should. He’s one of Venetia’s soldiers.”

“Shit.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“We, uh, gotta tell Lucchese, then… right? That’s our next step?”

“I’ll handle that. Just… Can you make sure to keep the reporters as far away from his body as possible?” Bo asked.

“Can do, Eli.” Jensen clapped Bo on the shoulder and pushed himself to his feet. Bo let out a heavy sigh. He hated dealing with Venetia Lucchese. If he was lucky, her husband would come to claim the body instead.

8:59 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, WEST BUREAU, MORGUE

That morning, luck must have been on Bo’s side. Carmine Lucchese walked into the morgue, hands shoved into the morgue, hands shoved into his dress pants, the Minetti Horror Twins flanking him. Bo could have done without the most violent members of the Lucchese crime family presence in his morgue, but he figured even they were better than being forced to deal with Venetia on a Friday morning.

Bo held out a clipboard and a pen. “I just need you to sign these for my records. It won’t go on any of our digital servers.”

Carmine nodded. “Sure, whatever you need, Mister Austen.”

“You can just call me Bo. I don’t prefer most formalities.”

Carmine smiled faintly. “Of course.” He signed his name, flipped to the next page, and signed again. He raked a hand through his hair and handed the clipboard and pen back to Bo. “May I see him?”

Bo set the clipboard on the table. “Yes, of course. This way.” He crossed the room and pulled open one of the morgue drawers. He pulled back the white sheet, folding it neatly over the dead man’s chest.

“Oh… Lorenzo,” Carmine whispered. He covered his mouth with his hand, lifting his blue eyes to Bo’s face. “Do you know who did this?”

“I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to look into it or not. Currently, my husband is the only detective assigned to it.”

“Please do. Just don’t, umm, arrest whoever’s responsible.” Carmine nodded toward the Minetti twins. “My boys would like to take care of that themselves.”

Bo looked up at the twins before nodding. “Right. No arresting, I assure you.”

“Thanks.” A pause. “Fucking hell,” Carmine said, the volume of his words startling a flinch out of Bo. “I’ll be in the damn hallway.”

“Sure thing, boss,” the slightly shorter twin, Vito Minetti, said.

Tito Minetti watched Carmine leave before turning back to Bo. “You can head on upstairs, Mister Austen.” A pause. “Bo. We’ll take care of Lorenzo.”

“How long do you need?”

“Give us twenty minutes.”

Bo nodded. “Of course.” He cleared his throat, uncomfortably tucking his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Take care of your boss. He’s the only Lucchese that likes me.”

One corner of Tito’s mouth lifted. “Always do, sir.”

11:00 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, WEST BUREAU, CHIEF OF POLICE BO AUSTEN’S OFFICE

Seated behind his desk, Bo looked down as his cell phone rang.

“Is that your psychiatrist?” Frank asked. Bo nodded. “I’ll be at Mister Taylor’s desk if you need me.”

“All right. Thank you, Frank.” The older man nodded and left the room, shutting the door behind him. Bo accepted the call and pressed his phone to his ear. “Good afternoon, Gabriel.”

“And good morning to you there in L.A.,” Gabriel Garcia said. “How’re you doing today, Bo?”

“It has been… an odd morning, but I’m doing all right.”

“Well, would you like to start by telling me a little bit about what has made it odd for you?”

“It’s… Well, it isn’t exactly chief of police-related business,” Bo said.

“Ah. Jamal dark side-related, then.”

“There is potential for that.”

“Mmhmm. Which crime family are we looking at?”

Bo closed his eyes, pulling his knees to his chest. It was strange talking openly about all of the aspects of his new job with someone other than Jensen, and even though he knew Gabriel wouldn’t be calling the police on him for anything he said, it still made him uncomfortable. “Today, it would be Lucchese,” he said, forcing his eyes open.

“Which one?”

“Carmine.”

“You like him more than the woman, don’t you?”

“Yes. He doesn’t personally attack me every single time we see each other.”

“Well, that’s good. It’s good to have a strong relationship with the people you work with. It’s the only way a business relationship will work.”

“Yes,” Bo agreed after a moment.

“Has Venetia gotten any better with the way she treats you?”

“Most of the time. Sometimes she goes a little… off the rocks and needs to be reminded that I’m not someone that needs to be spoken to with that particular amount of disrespect.”

“Who has to remind her?”

“It’s usually Carmine.”

“Why are you not reminding her?”

“You… would like an honest answer?” Bo asked.

“Always.”

Bo cleared his throat. “Sometimes, I feel as though I do, indeed, deserve the disrespect she gives me.”

“And what makes you feel that way?”

“You already know the answer to that, Gabriel.”

“Maybe. But I’d prefer you acknowledge it.”

Bo let out a heavy sigh. “Because I have days where I hate myself, where I absolutely abhor myself, days that I cannot stand myself. That version of me doesn’t deserve any form of respect, end of story.”

“What do you think I’m going to tell you following that?”

Bo couldn’t help but roll his eyes. “That even the sad, self-hating version of me deserves some self-respect, as well as respect from other people.”

“Do you think you’d be able to say it without the sass?”

“Most likely not.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re having the brightest or the darkest day of your life, Bo. You deserve to be well-treated. You deserve to be respected. You deserve to love yourself,” Gabriel said.

“To date, that is still one of the most difficult thing I have ever tried to wrap my mind around, Gabe.”

“I know, but you’ll get there. It takes time, Bo.”

“It’s taken… quite a long time so far, and I’m still not there.”

“You studied Psychology. You know this isn’t an overnight magic rick. This is a process. And I know it sucks and hurt that you haven’t convinced yourself you deserve to love yourself, but you’ll get there. A lot of work has to go into this on both our parts, but especially on yours.”

“I know. It’s just… hard for me.”

“What do you think makes it hard for you?”

Bo glanced down at one of the pictures on his desk, letting out a breath. “I tend to feel like I’m not doing any of this for me. I-if I didn’t have a family, I don’t think I would care,” he said, the words slow. “I… I would still do my job, I would probably drink and smoke to hold back the emotions at the very top, and I would repeat the process until I died. But because I have a husband and kids, I need to be healthy, both physically and mentally. Jensen shouldn’t have to worry about me all the time, and the kids shouldn’t have to worry about me. Ever.”

“So… you feel that you’re only trying to heal for those around you rather than for yourself?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to get better?”

“My family deserves that, yes.”

“I’m not going to tell you there’s a right or wrong answer here. I just want you to sit on this for a moment and think. Do you think it’s possible to open up in therapy enough to heal wounds from the age of… let’s say three onward if you don’t want to get better yourself?”

“I don’t know,” Bo said after a moment. “I could argue the potential logic of either way.”

“Can you think about the internal conflict of either feeling as part of that logic?”

“Feelings aren’t logic. Emotions… aren’t logical.” Bo sighed. “That’s where I struggle. I-in a general sense. I struggle to identify my own emotions, and I struggle to identify them in others if they don’t present them in ways that can be considered stereotypically normal. So I can’t… factor those feelings or emotions into it, I-I’m sorry.”

“You have nothing to be sorry for, Bo. You shouldn’t have to feel sorry for the way your mind works.”

“I suppose not,” Bo said quietly. “Not to you, anyway.”

“Why’s that?”

“In reference to which statement?”

“Let’s go with the latter half.”

Though the man couldn’t see him, Bo nodded. “You’re supposed to help me pick through my mind to help me. If I apologize to you for how it works, I’m hiding. Hiding from you means… nothing changes. I’ve hidden from people my whole life, and I know that doesn’t end well for me.”

“What do you think happens if you keep hiding?” Gabriel asked.

“I never get better and then… Jensen gets sick of waiting for me to be okay, and I lose him and the kids.”

“How does the idea of that make you feel?”

“Not… good. I can’t let it happen.”

“So who are you trying to get better for?”

Bo glanced up at the ceiling. “I-I suppose… that means I’m trying to get better for me.”

“That’s a good step, Bo,” Gabriel said, his voice soft. “That’s a damn good step.”


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