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Title: Backtrack Creek, Chapter 2
Pairings: Greg Sanders / Nick Stokes,
Ryan Wolfe / Eric Delko
Rating: PG
Genre: AU
Disclaimer: Not mine, etc.

Summary: A deranged serial killer is terrorising a small isolated town of Backtrack Creek. CSI Ryan Wolfe, detective Vartann and Greg Sanders, a pesky reporter, end up in the middle of it, and there is no shortage of suspects.

What is the local police officer Nick Stokes hiding? Does Catherine Willows, the madam of the local full-service Inn, have her own ideas of customer service? Has Lindsay, the owner of the tiny diner mummified something else besides her pastries? Is Eric Delko, an enigmatic mechanic, as good under the hood as he says he is? What is Warrick, the man without a past, running from? Has the long lack of bathing finally snapped garage owner Timmy Speedle`s fragile mind? Who wanted to kill the perverted science teacher Gil Grissom and the police chief Brass, the patron saint of the local doughnut shop?

Confused?
If you’re not, you will be.


Chapter 1
----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----


Chapter 2


Ryan pushed the door open and looked into the dimly lit little room.
“You know what this reminds me of?”

Vartann crinkled his nose. He had been on the job too long to vomit when facing disgusting smells, but this time he could feel a bitter sensation pushing itself up his throat.
“A crack house gone bad?”
“I was thinking about that whole in the ground in "Silence of the Lambs", where the killer put that kidnapped girl.” Ryan listened carefully. A muted sound was coming from somewhere among the stinking mess of miscellaneous junk. “Hear that?”

He approached the snoring pile of blankets and gave it a careful kick.
“Excuse me.”

The pile moved.

“Kick it again.” Vartann instructed.

“No kicking!” A voice protested from under the blankets and a man crawled out of his napping spot. He reminded them of a troll climbing out of it’s nest. His greasy hair was trying to escape to all possible directions, his chubby face was covered with dark stubble and the stench wafting from him was almost as bad as the rest of the room.
“No kicking, I’m awake. What do you want?”

“Our car broke down.” Ryan tried his best not to breathe through his nose. “Couple miles that way.” He felt stupid pointing at the direction, when there was only one road leading in and out of the town. “Can you get it towed?”

“Yeah…” The man scratched his head, trying to become fully awake, then offered the same hand to Ryan. “Timmy Speedle, but you can say Speed. Or Speedy.”

“Sorry, I don’t shake hands. Religious reasons.” Ryan kept the polite expression on his face, trying to resist the urge to get some boiling water and soap and scrubb the thick layer of filth away the man`s hands. A small voice in his head reminded him that the hands were probably not the worst part of the man, and he fought the approaching look of disgust off his face. “So when can you get it here?”
“Don’t know, I gotta tell Eric to get it.”
“You can’t do it?”
“Lost my licence couple months back.”
“If you don’t mind me asking…”
“You wanna know why?” Speedle gestured them to follow him through door in the back wall. It lead them to a surprisingly tidy work area, where few cars were currently in pieces. “It’s this little town, they’re so uptight about booze and driving. Drive over a couple of pigs and suddenly you’re a drunk driver.”

“I assume you mean pigs, as in four legs and a snout.”
“Yeah, real piggies, not the kind they got at the police station. Three little piggies ran away, only one came back and somehow that was all my fault. Not that I wouldn’t mind driving over chief Brass a few times, dead or alive…”
“You didn’t like him?” Vartann asked.
“Nobody liked him. Small town cop, thought he was too big for this place. No one’s gonna miss him.”
“Was he?”
“Was he what?”
“Too big for this place.”
“Only around the waist. That guy kept our only doughnut shop in business for years. They’ll probably have to close now.” He wandered between vehicles, till he found a pair of legs. The rest of the man was hidden by the opened hood of the car. He pointed at the legs. “Eric Delko, my mechanic and the only one who has worked here for over six months without nagging about the backroom.”

A low hum came from under the hood, but the man didn’t bother to look up.

“I got a tow-job for you.”
“Now?”
“Yeah, now.”

The man sighed and pulled himself away from the car, stretching his back and wiping sweat from his forehead. Ryan took the opportunity to make few quick observations. The man was fitter than his chubby companion, and dressed in well-worn jeans and a wife-beater covered in grease stains and grime, he somehow managed to look like he should be posing for a cover of a romance novel. His skin tone, dark eyes and full lips made him unusually exotic for the small town surroundings.

“Cops?” The man’s eyes slid over Vartann, pausing briefly at his badge, and then moved on to Ryan. His lips curled into a lopsided little grin. “Are gonna cuff me and read me my rights?”

“Have you done something you shouldn’t?”
“Only when the temptation’s too much to resist.” He peeled off the sweaty wife-beater and grabbed a towel from the hood of the car. A blush crept up to Ryan’s cheeks and he turned his eyes back to Speedle. If Delko`s flirting was meant to be subtle, he had failed badly.

“If you manage to get him dressed anytime in the near future.” Vartann groaned and handed the car keys to Speedle. “You can’t miss it. It’s the only car in the side of the road that has a Simpsons sticker in the front light. Some kid put it there when we stopped for coffee and we couldn’t get it off.”

“Are you gonna stay at the motel?” Speedle grinned. “Or the Inn?”
“The motel.” Ryan and Vartann responded in perfect sync. They shared an embarrassed look and Ryan continued. “We’ll take our stuff there and get a room, and then talk to the local officials.” He took one last look at the shirtless man, who looked offended that he had been ignored. “We’ll drop by later.”

“Fine, but I gotta warn you.” Speedle commented. “You know what the roads are like. If we need parts for your car, it can take a small eternity to get them.”
“Believe me, it’s not that different in the big city.” Vartann chuckled and gave Ryan a little shove with his elbow. “Let’s go.”

Ryan picked up his kit from the floor and followed his colleague, who currently looked like a mule carrying their bags.

“By the way…”

The voice made Ryan grimace and he turned to look at Delko, who was leaning casually against the car he had been working on.
“I would have asked if you brought your cuffs…” Delko looked down at Ryan’s CSI kit. He licked his lips and his lopsided smirk turned lecherous. “… but I guess you brought the whole toybox. You got anything interesting in there?”

Ryan pressed his lips together, turned around and marched out.

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

Ryan Wolfe.” Greg recited from his notes and flopped down on the bed of his motel room, pulling the phone cord as long as possible. The landline was surprisingly clear, and he had been lucky enough to catch his colleague while he was still at the office. “Or maybe Wolf, without E. I’m not sure.”

“There can’t be that many in the crime lab, I’ll check it.” Danny’s voice became inaudible for a minute, then it returned back to normal. “Sorry, my food’s getting cold if I don’t eat it soon. What about the detective?”
Vartann, and didn’t the cleaning ladies give you some kinda ultimatum the last time they caught you eating at your desk?”
“They wouldn’t really lock me in the supply closet for a week.” Danny chuckled, but then a bit of worry crept into his voice. “Would they?”
“I wouldn’t push them too far…”

“Okay, wait a sec… All hidden. Where were we?”
“Where did you hide them?”
“Behind the potted palm.

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

Vartann walked into the police station and straight into the small bullpen where five workstations were neatly tucked against the walls, leaving the centre of the room free.
“At least the lights are on and the doors are open.”

“Maybe people here leave all the doors open. Wouldn’t really come as a surprise.” Ryan stated and pointed at the lit room next to he bullpen. The blinds were down, but they could see the silhouettes of a man and a woman and a faint sounds of conversation came through the door. Before they could knock on the door, it opened and a woman in a white pantsuit almost collided with them.

“Sorry, I thought everyone was gone.” She spotted their badges and gave them a wide smile. “You’re the ones they sent to help with the killings.”
“Yes.” Vartann nodded. “Detective Vartann and CSI Wolfe.”
“Alexx Woods. I’m the local witchdoctor.”
“Really?”

“Well, that’s what they call me. I just moved here a month ago, and they weren’t happy when doctor Robbins decided to retire. In a place like this, a doctor is little bit of everything: Pediatrician, medical examiner and everything in between.”

“No wonder you don’t look like a local.” Vartann started correcting himself as soon as the words had come out of his mouth. He had entirely missed the man, who had followed doctor Woods into the bullpen and was waiting for them to finished the introductions. “I mean you look more like a city girl than a country quack.”

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been called a girl, so you’re forgiven.” Woods laughed and gestured at the man waiting patiently behind her. “This is our… well, current chief of police, now that Brass is gone.”

“Stokes.” The man shook Vartann`s hand. Somehow even a short name gave away his Texas accent. “We knew you were coming today, but we didn’t know when. We’ve had another murder-”

“We already heard.” Ryan nodded. “We had some car trouble and we had to stop by at the garage on the way.”
“That’s alright, we would have had a long day anyway.”
“The guy we talked to said the latest murder happened today?”
“Sometime last night. The body was found this morning and Alexx graciously forgave me for dragging her away from her kids so early. She used to work as a medical examiner before she moved here.”
“Did you document the scene?”

“As well as we could.” Woods sighed and walked back into the little room they had come from. She came back with a stack of papers and several photographs. “My nurse is into photography, so she developed the film for me.”

“Film?” Ryan repeated with a clear tone of disbelief.

“We haven’t had enough spare in the budget to get a digital camera.” Stokes explained. He sounded like a little boy, trying to explain why other kids had all the cooler toys. “We had a heavy rain last night so most of the dumping scene was washed away, but we can go to the morgue if you want. Alexx can explain that stuff better than I can.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Vartann agreed. “Doctor Woods?”

“I’ll just get my things.” She went back to the little room to get her keys and wallet. “Did you boys have any dinner yet?”

“Not yet. We just left our stuff to the motel.”
“Good, because the morgue isn’t exactly up to date and the cold chambers are not very cold. The smell is pretty bad, unless you`re used to it.”

“Can’t be worse than that Speedle character…” Vartann commented quietly to Ryan. “After meeting that guy, I can take a roomful of rotting corpses and eat a big bloody burger afterwards.”

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

“Are you sure?” Greg beamed on full steam. He made few quick notes on the notepad and settled comfortable against the headboard of the bed, prodding the phone securely against  his ear. “Absolutely sure?”

“Yeah, I’m always sure. Well, most of the time, but I’m sure about this.”
“That would explain some stuff. Why would anyone get transferred to Backtrack Creek, unless the guy wants to get away from something?”
“Can’t think of any other reason why anyone would willingly move there… That probably has nothing to do with the killings but…” Danny’s voice disappeared and Greg could almost hear the silent “You say it, kid” tacked on to the end of the sentence.

“But it’s always good to have some kinda leverage, when you’re dealing with cops.” Greg finished the thought. “It doesn’t sound like something he would like to announce to the whole town.”
“Would you?”
“Nope.” Greg flipped a new page on the notebook. “What about the guy at the Inn? Do you have anything about him?”

“You have any idea how hard it is to find a guy when you don’t even know his last name?”
“Really, really hard?”
“Harder, but that’s not the point. I just saw him face to face that one time-”
“When he kicked you out?”
“Yeah. I got this feeling I’ve seen him before.”
“Where?”
“I don’t know… I’ve been going through my old articles, but I haven’t found anything yet.”
“Can you remember the context? Or where you saw him?”
“If I remembered it I would have already found him.”
“Well, keep digging. I’ll let you know if I find something new.” Greg placed his notes on the nightstand. “I’ll go get some dinner and maybe stop by at the police station.”

“Visiting the new chief?” Danny’s grin was practically audible. “Be gentle with the poor guy.”

“He’s from Texas.” Greg laughed and stretched leisurely against the mattress. “I’m sure he can stand some heat.”


Chapter 3

 


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
alligator138
Sep. 26th, 2010 07:58 am (UTC)
Intriguing! And how typical of Eric to start flirting immediately! What Ryan really needs to do is take him on, rather than stand there blushing, then we'll see how serious Eric is. (Not to mention that I'd really like to see Ryan surprise Eric like that). Can't wait to find out what happens next. Love your Greg too!
finnishsphinx
Sep. 26th, 2010 08:51 am (UTC)
Of course Eric started flirting right away, considering he`s living in a town with population of one hundered and something... How many cute guys can there be in a place like that?

I think he showed remarkable self-control when he didn`t just jump on Ryan as soon as they walked in ;)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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