Happy Face Killer – Chapter Nine

NOT EDITED

Chapter Nine

Sunday: January 6, 2030
6:00 AM; SAN DIEGO, THE PITMAN ESTATE, CONFERENCE ROOM

Bo lowered himself into the chair beside Jensen, clearing his throat. “Thank you all for coming out here on such short notice. I hope the flight was okay?”

Michael smiled faintly, nodding. “It was fine, Bo.” He cleared his throat, gesturing to the elderly man beside him. “Walt, my co-leader.” Walter offered a smile and a short nod of his head. He reached up and adjusted his glasses as Michael gestured to the boy at his other side, taller than the two men he sat beside. “Leo Cassata.”

“Well, I’m Bo, and this is my husband, Jensen.” Bo cleared his throat, shifting in his seat. “How old are you now, Leo?”

“Thirteen, sir,” Leo Cassata said, the two words thick with an Italian accent that neither of the men beside him shared. “I’ll be taking over for Walter’s half of things when he decides to retire. He’ll be an advisor to me for as long as he would like to at that point, of course.”

Walter smiled. “Doing my best to hold out until he’s eighteen, though.”

Bo nodded. “A good plan.” He felt himself relax as Jensen laid a hand on his thigh. He dropped his own hand to cover Jensen’s. “I just wanted to make sure I met all of you before I headed back to Minnesota today. If we’re going to be working together, I’d like to have faces to relate to the voices and names. With that, Frank brought me a disposable phone. I believe he’s given you all that number?”

Michael nodded. “How much of a role does your husband have in this?”

“Jensen… is allowed to be involved in whatever he wants to be involved in.”

“I’m not helping run anything, just to be clear,” Jensen said, laying his free hand on his chest. “I’m just here to make sure my husband stays sane and alive.”

Bo nodded. “Right. He won’t be kept in the dark on my missions or interactions with you or your family. He’s not a mafia wife, for lack of a better term. Unless he specifically requests that I leave him out of something, he’ll be clued in on just about everything I discuss with you or any mission that I take part in with your family.”

“I can respect that,” Michael said. His brown eyes shifted over to Jensen’s face. “For what it’s worth, your husband will be safe with us. If I was going to allow someone to hurt him, I would’ve done it when he showed up in Kansas without invitation.”

Jensen’s grip on Bo’s thigh tightened, fingers biting into his jeans. Clearly, he didn’t appreciate the reminder of the time the blonde had disappeared into the night without a single word and planted himself at the doorstep of the Cassata household, simply ‘wanting to talk’. “Even I kind of wanted to kill him for that one,” Jensen said.

Bo rolled his eyes as Michael chuckled. “I apologized to the both of you for that. But, that’s beside the point. I assume your children don’t know what you do, Michael?”

“My little girl does, thanks to a certain someone,” Michael practically growled, head turning toward the teenager in the room.

“It was an accident!”

“Other than that, no, my boy doesn’t know. I’d like to keep it that way.”

Bo nodded. “Right. See, I’d like to do the same. I have four children of my own, and I don’t want a single one of them to know I do anything beyond forensic work and now police chief work in Los Angeles. Jensen can know anything he wants to, but the kids remain in the dark. A lot of that means doing what we can to plan things around my family. If one of them has, say, a concert, I’d prefer not to skip it. They know I wouldn’t do that for something unless it was… life-threatening.”

“Of course,” Walter said. “We’ll make sure to do what we can to plan around your schedules. Missions ten to be prepared weeks in advance, and on rarer occasions, only days in advance. Either way, we’ll always give you a heads-up as soon as we have one planned that will interfere with you job in any way.”

“That’s appreciated, thank you.”

“You’re very welcome.”

Leo cleared his throat, pushing a folder across the table. “We need cops pulled off Reford next Thursday.”

“For?” Bo questioned as he flipped back the cover of the folder. Jensen leaned to the side, resting his chin on Bo’s shoulder as his eyes skimmed the words inside.

“Taking back what’s ours.”

“How many people are you planning on killing?”

“None. The family in the house will be gone Thursday evening.”

Bo nodded, touching his fingers to the small map within the folder. “Is this my copy?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, then I’ll make sure to give it the once over and have the street clear for your job,” Bo said.

“Thank you,” Leo said.

“Of course.” Bo closed the folder, and Jensen sat up straight again. “Well, I think I’d like to walk through a few general rules and situations, both for my benefit and my husband’s. Is that okay?”

“Go right ahead, Bo. Our goal is to make this partnership as comfortable as possible,” Michael said. He gestured to the couple, palm facing the ceiling. “Walk through whatever you need to.”

9:13 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, UPSTAIRS BATHROOM

Bo sat on the edge of the bathtub, gently massaging shampoo into Pollux’s hair as Castor smeared a bubble beard onto his brother’s chin. “Are you guys excited to go back to daycare tomorrow?”

“Mm… yeah,” Pollux decided with a nod, scooping up a clump of bubbles in his hands.

“Me too. Like my daycare friends,” Castor said.

With a giggle, Pollux tossed the bubbles at his brother. Bo only smiled. Some parents ended up with children that couldn’t stand bath time. He considered himself lucky that–most days, of course–Pollux and Castor were both happy as long as they had someone they could throw bubbles at.

Bo grabbed a cup from the edge of the tub and turned on the water, checking the temperature with his wrist before filling up the cup. “Head back, baby.” Pollux tipped his head back, squeezing his eyes shut and scrunching up his nose as Bo poured the water over his hair, rinsing out the shampoo. He combed his fingers through Pollux’s dark hair a few times before setting the cup aside and grabbing the shampoo bottle again. “All righty, Casafras, your turn.”

‘Casafras’ was one of Jensen’s many nicknames for the toddler, and while Bo preferred the easy route–Cas–he still had to admit the name was adorable and had recently taken a liking to it.

“Daddy!” Pollux exclaimed as Jensen walked into the bathroom. “Daddy, tome here.”

Jensen squatted down by the tub, crossing his arms over the lip of it. “What’s up, buddy?”

“Tan I do beard?”

“Oh, go for it, little dude. Daddy always makes me shave mine anyway,” Jensen said.

 Bo rolled his eyes, shampooing Castor’s hair as Pollux happily slapped some bubbles on Jensen’s cheeks. “How do I look?”

“You look… dood, Daddy. Very dood.”

“Ah, that’s great. You hear that, Eli? I look very good.”

Bo looked back at his husband over his shoulder, laughing softly. “You’re beautiful, Jens.”

“I thought so.” Jensen snorted as Pollux clapped his little hands down on either side of his face again. “I started a load of clothes. Should be able to move ‘em to the drier before we go to bed.”

“Thank you.”

“Mmhmm.”

“Daddies?” Castor questioned.

“Mm?” Bo and Jensen responded at nearly the same time.

Castor giggled before looking up at Bo. “What’s ball-et?”

“I think it’s ballet, baby,” Bo said.

“Ball… ay?”

Jensen snorted. “Something like that, bud. It’s a dance.” He raised a brow. “Why?”

“I wanna ballet. Was on TV. It’s fun, Daddy.”

Bo looked over at Jensen. “There’s a ballet studio just outside of town. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to get him signed up for classes.”

“Could we really manage that with the girls’ concerts and whatnot?” Jensen asked.

“Of course we could. It’s all about working out a schedule.” Bo grabbed the cup again. “I can look into it tomorrow, figure out when I can sign him up for classes.”

“Sure,” Jensen said after a moment, though the tone of his voice told Bo it was a more a request to discuss it later–alone–than an affirmative.

“I’ll see what I can do, okay, baby?” Bo asked.

“Okay, Daddy!” Castor exclaimed. “Tank you.”

“No problem, buddy.”

10:30 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM

Bo set the laundry basket on the bed, clearing his throat. “So.”

“So?” Jensen echoed, lifting his head.

“You didn’t seem quite as happy about the idea of ballet as Castor was. Is it something you’d like to discuss?” Bo pulled a shirt from the top of the hamper, glancing up at his husband before folding the shirt.

“He’s already got two dads, Eli. Does he really need to add ballet to the list of things that kids’ll make fun of him for in a couple of years?” Jensen asked.

“We don’t even know he’ll still be interested in it in a few years.”

“That doesn’t change the question.”

“Well, first thing’s first, if anyone makes fun of our little boy for having us as parents, they and their own parents will quickly be reminded that I’m the new damn Pitman in this country. Okay?”

The smallest smile tugged at one corner of Jensen’s mouth. “Okay.”

“And the same goes for ballet. It’s just a class or two to begin with, Jens. It’s not some… some feminine, girls only dance. It’s a sport. It’s hard work and determination. It takes soul and time and energy,” Bo said. “If it’s something Cas wants to do, I’m not going to be the one to crush his hopes or dreams or wants before they even have a real chance to grow in his head. I refuse to be that parent.”

Jensen let out a sigh, shoulders sinking. “It doesn’t make you worry?”

Bo shook his head. “Like I said, I won’t let some little twerp torment one of our children.” He cleared his throat, grabbing another shirt to fold. “I didn’t even want to name him Castor, Jens, remember? I was nervous kids would pick on him for having such a different name. You’re the one who talked me into it. You’re the one who said a name didn’t define a kid or if they would be picked on.”

“I… guess I did, didn’t I?”

Bo nodded. “You did, and the same applies here. Our baby’s interests not being bully-proof doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get to try them out. Nothing’s bully-proof, much as I hate to admit that children are so… unbelievably cruel. I was tormented for being smart in school. You get bullied if people think you’re dumb; you get bullied if people think you’re smart. You get bullied if you go out for sports; you get bullied if you refuse to. The same goes for band or choir or TAG or any of the optional programs the school offers.

“Don’t let that be the thing that makes this decision for us. Think of Cas instead of the possible kids that may or may not exist in his future,” Bo said.

A smile tugged at one corner of Jensen’s mouth as he nodded. “Yeah, baby, of course.” He cleared his throat, pulling a pair of jeans from the hamper. “Ballet it is, then. Just figure out when we can sign him up and all that jazz.”

“Great, I’ll do that tomorrow after I’ve had a chance to look at the crime scene by the bar. You… can come with?”

“Can do.” Jensen set the folded pair of jeans on the bed beside the small stack of shirts Bo had already folded. “The idea of Cas doing ballet is pretty damn adorable.”

“It is, isn’t it?” Bo asked. Jensen nodded. The blonde folded another shirt before leaning across the bed, laying a hand on Jensen’s cheek as he kissed him. He pulled back, meeting the shining green of the younger man’s eyes. “Thank you.”

Jensen smiled. “No problem, babe.”

“I love you.”

His smiled broadened, splitting into that charming grin of his. “I love you, too, Eli.”


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