nancefics: (Wrong Way (Frannie - Profiler))
[personal profile] nancefics
tell you stories bruised and blue (of drum machines and landslides)

Author: [personal profile] empty_marrow

Fandoms: Profiler, Dollhouse

Characters/Pairings: Frances Malone, John Grant, Laurence Dominic; shades of Frances/John and (OFC)Frances/Dominic

Rating/Warnings: R, violence/language/sexual situations

Notes: Written for [personal profile] sinaddict for the 2012 Profiler Secret Santa Exchange, and still a WIP, as seems to be my sad habit with Profiler fics these days.



“The thing about LA is that it doesn’t give a damn about not being Vancouver.”

He starts at the words, then curses and grabs at his Blackberry before it can drop into the surf. Jesus H., Laurence, smooth as shit there. If he’s lucky and Topher didn’t tweak the program, she’ll be too focused on the corpse in the grass to notice.

“Dom? You OK?”

Fucking Topher.

“Yeah, never better, every day should start with a congressman’s daughter carved up in the driftwood.” He shrugs irritably, frowning at the incoming tide as it laps at the tips of his shoes. “That’s what girls like Evie Summers are counting on when they come to a place like LA, right? Lots of space, anonymity – all she had to do was drop off the radar until Daddy’s minions stopped looking for her.”

“Yep, apparently it’s hard to find competent minions nowadays besides us. Evie picked the right city to do the whole off-radar thing. Should’ve picked better company, apparently.” She squints out at the retreating waves, then motions at the cluster of uniformed police hovering outside the cordoned-off crime scene. “LAPD should stop congratulating themselves on their bad-ass detective powers. He put her here intentionally.”

“You’re sure?”

“Laurence Dominic, are you questioning my mad profiling skills?”

He allows himself a snort of laughter. “Marcella Santos, I would never ever question the sanctity of your skill-set.”

“Dude, after all these years I should hope not.” She stands up slowly, stretching. “Damn, I need to start working out more, I can’t feel my ass. Look at the beach, Dom. Flat sand as far as you can see, right? All smoothed out from years of erosion and nothing to stop her from going out with the tide. He picked the one protected dune that still has vegetation. He didn’t do it here, but he wanted to be good and sure this was where we found her.”

“And you’re confident this is the real deal?”

“I’ll wait until the autopsy confirms it to throw the I-told-you-so party, but I’m pretty damned sure.” She pulls off her sunglasses, using them to gesture at the strip of frayed red fabric knotted precisely around the girl’s mottled neck. “There are always seven knots, all nautical rigging variations, and always right in the front. According to Forensics it produces a very specific kind of bruise to the thyroid cartilage. The press never got that info so the copycats never learned the technique. Unless he’s training a replacement or a partner, this is our boy.”

“Christ, don’t even say that, the last thing we need is another one of these freaks running around.” His phone buzzes. “Hang on, I have to take this.”

“Do your thing,” she says as she starts to fish around in the camera case at her side. “I’m going to get a couple of shots before the locals mess everything up.”

He walks a few feet away from her before he presses the “answer” button. Topher’s voice instantly assaults his ears, as gratingly perky as the man himself.

“Dominic, dude, what took you so long? I multi-tasked on twenty things before you picked up, and you’re usually a five-task kinda guy.”

“I’m a little busy at the moment,” Dominic snaps. “What do you want?”

“Right, about that thing you’re busy doing – you’re about to get company doing it.”

He can feel a headache the size of a fist starting to coalesce behind his eyes, and he’s pretty sure that shooting Topher Brink would be the perfect cure. “What are you talking about?”

“It seems that Congressman Summers only has pull in certain corridors of the FBI,” Topher says. “He was able to divert this case from the LA branch without any interference, but he doesn’t have quite the same sway in DC. Apparently word got out that his missing daughter might be the victim of a serial killer, and the big bosses decided to send reps from a special task force based in Atlanta to investigate alongside their LA counterparts. Which, at least as of this moment, is technically you and, you know, her.”

“Shit.” He closes his eyes briefly, willing away the headache he no longer has time for. “OK, I’m on it, we’ll be out of here as soon as we can.”

He hears the doors slamming as he’s putting the Blackberry away, looks up to see the nondescript black SUV parked at the edge of the lot where the beach begins, and curses Topher again for being a piss-poor advanced warning system. Nothing to do now but play along, he thinks, get what they came for, make their client happy as he can be with his daughter dead in the beach-grass. And then get the hell out of Dodge as quickly as possible.

He takes a deep, quiet breath and resorts to an old Agency tactic he’d learned as a recruit, willing himself to focus his attention where it will provide him the most information with the least amount of movement. Two people have climbed out of the SUV and are walking deliberately toward him. The man in back wears a standard navy windbreaker with a yellow FBI logo emblazoned across the front pocket; he carries a camera case and a second case that’s no doubt loaded with typical crime-scene tech paraphernalia. The taller man in front of him, obviously the leader of the procession, wears a well-cut dark suit and sunglasses. He sees Dominic and gives a perfunctory wave as he cuts across the beach toward the dune. A quick glance reveals Santos with her back toward them, still kneeling over the corpse with her camera.

Decision made, Dominic returns the newcomer’s wave, schooling his face into something friendly and blandly professional as he walks to meet him halfway.

“Laurence Dominic, LA branch,” he offers as he reaches the dark-suited man. “You must be from the special task force we heard was coming.”

The man nods, pulling off his sunglasses before he shakes Dominic’s hand. “John Grant, Violent Crimes Task Force. Sorry to join you guys on such short notice, but word came down that LAPD found a body this morning and that the MO fit the Cameo Killer.”

“Yeah, that’s what my profiler is saying too,” Dominic says. Something about the guy is setting off his alarms, leaving him vaguely uneasy at the interaction. “We’re happy to give you as much cooperation as you need, Agent Grant, including participation in the autopsy, but given that the victim is the daughter of a fairly well-known politician we’ve been asked to keep things as quiet as possible for now.”

Grant nods. “Understood, and we’ll try to blend in as much as we can. Our medical examiner is flying in from Atlanta this afternoon, and our profiler will be here in a couple of hours. She’s had some pretty extensive experience dealing with this guy – it’d be helpful if she can sit down with your profiler and see what he’s discovered so far.”

“What the profiler’s discovered is that 'Cameo Killer' is a dumb-ass name that was obviously coined to pander to the tabloids,” a voice cuts in behind them. “Also in regards to said profiler, ‘he’ is a ‘she.’”

Grant takes off his sunglasses and gives Santos a less than subtle once-over while she continues to root around in the camera case, head down and dark hair cascading to obscure her face. “Sorry about that,” he says, smiling around a mouthful of perfect teeth and extending a hand. “I promise not to make that mistake again. John Grant, VCTF.”

Dominic frowns as the uneasy undercurrents finally spark the connections in his brain, and he should have figured this out earlier at the mention of Atlanta, and damn it, fuck, Santos is pulling off her sunglasses too and looking him straight in the eye.

“Agent Grant, nice to meet you too, I’m –”

John Grant drops the sunglasses onto the sand, looking like he just got hit with a two-by-four.

“Frances?”

And that’s the precise second everything goes to shit.
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