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Title: Backtrack Creek, Chapter 4
Pairings: Ryan Wolfe / Eric Delko,
Greg Sanders / Nick Stokes
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.

Can officer Stokes shrug off his accent as well as he shrugged off his past? Did doctor Woods arrive into town with a hidden agenda? What happened to the third little piggy? Is Eric simply a sleazebag, or a sleazebag with a murderous streak? What is Greg planning with his newfound information? Is it possible for Speedle and soap to co-habit peacefully under the same roof?


Chapter 1     Chapter 2     Chapter 3

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Chapter 4


“Is she always like that?” Ryan whispered across the table when the stocky old lady finally wobbled away. He folded his menu neatly on the table.

“Yeah, I got the same treatment the first time I came here.” Eric assured and relaxed on his seat. “She’s like the whole town’s Mother Hen. All her kids are gone, so she babies everyone who comes here to eat.”
“Why does she even have menus? There’s just three things on it.”
“She says it makes the whole thing seem more professional. Besides, they’re all better than anything you’d get at Lindsay’s.”
“I haven’t had time to eat since we came here, so I’ll take your word for it.” Ryan eyed the other customers, but they all seemed focused on their food to notice. “You said she did that when you first came here. When was that?”

“Two and… no, almost three years ago.”
“Were you just passing through or were you going to stay?”
“Passing through, but I didn’t really have any place in mind. I just kinda going somewhere.”
“So why did you stay?”
“Speed gave me a job, so I thought I would stay a while and get money for the road. Before I knew it, I had been here for a year and then decided it’s not that bad, so I might as well stay. It’s not like I got anywhere to go from here.”

“Where are you from?”
“Miami.”
“And you ended up here? Talk about change of scenery…”
“It’s not like I need the sunshine to hold on to my tan.”
“True.” Ryan chucked. He noticed Ms. Holston approaching them and didn’t continue the conversation.

“Here’s your coffee, boys.” She placed two steaming mugs on the table. “I’ll pack up your food as soon as it’s ready, and tell that poor little boy of yours to get better. This weather does it every time for out of towners, they get sick the minute they come here-” Her stream of motherly concern continued all the way back to the kitchen.

“I doubt Vartann`s vomiting had anything to do with the climate.” Ryan smirked and took a careful sip from his coffee. “But I can’t wait to tell him that she called him a poor little boy.” He added some milk and stirred the liquid in his mug. “So why did you leave Miami?”
“I just wanted to get away and when I’d been on the road for a while, I kinda started to like it. This is the only place I’ve stayed this long since I left home.”
“Home?”
“Miami.”
“Usually when people say they left home like that, it means they left their parent’s home.”

Eric grinned. "Are you trying to get me to confess, officer?”
“No, and you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
“It’s fine. It was me, my parents and a colonna of sisters, so it was pretty crowded. Latin macho for a father, fiery mama, big arguments, and then I walked out as soon as I turned eighteen.”

“Macho thing?” Ryan repeated, picking apart the words Eric had used. “Would that have something to do with the whole “Picking up guys” issue?”
“Not really.” Eric looked up from his coffee. His expression didn’t signal any discomfort due to the topic. “My dad`s an old fashioned guy, but after the first shock he didn’t really say anything. I know he wasn’t too happy about it, but he let me do what I wanted as long as I didn’t do it in front of him. But my sisters…” A wide grin curled up his lips.

“Overprotective daddy?”
“That’s putting it mildly.”
“What about your mom?”
“A lot of tears and screaming, and that was it.”
“So if it was that easy, what were you arguing about?”
“A lot of stuff. Immigrant parents and their only son.”
“They had high expectations?”
“Yeah. They kept saying they wanted us kids to have a better life than they had, and...  Anyway, it all boiled over.”
“And then?”
“Then nothing. I took off, did some odd jobs on the way to get money and then went on again. I worked part time in garage when I was in my teens, so it’s a one thing I really know.”

“And useful, cars break down all the time and everywhere.” Ryan joked, since the man didn’t seem to mind talking. “Exactly how long have you been going around? If you left home at eighteen…” He tilted his head and pretended to examine Eric’s face. “You’re… what? About-”

“Don’t start guessing!” Eric protested with a laughter. “I’m not that much older than you.” He emptied his mug and leaned back in his chair. “Is this what you do with suspects? Wheedle everything out of them?”
“Yeah, but most of them put up a better fight than you.”
“I can put up a fight.” Eric assured. “Come back to my place and I’ll put up one hell of a pillow fight.”
“Didn’t you just say a while ago that you can be a good boy?”
“Yeah… Actually I just remembered something.”
“What?”
“I only got one pillow.”

“Boys!” Ms. Holton waddled back to their table carrying two large plastic containers. “You got a nice face, so I trust you’ll bring them back when they’re empty. Just leave them to the backdoor, people around here always leave them there.”

“Of course, thank you.” Ryan took the bill from the top of the containers and pulled out his wallet. “I’ll bring them back tomorrow.” He paid for the food and got up to collect the containers.

“You’re not gonna give me anything in return?” Eric asked. He pulled out some change from the pocket of his hoodie to pay for their coffees and got up from his seat. “I gave you my life story, I want something too.”
“I didn’t torture you for information, you gave it voluntarily.” Ryan reminded. “And we just got here. It wouldn’t really do much for my professional credibility in a town of this size to sleep with the first guy I meet.”

“I never said anything about sleeping. And I can be discreet!”
“Like you were at the garage?”
“Okay, that wasn’t very discreet.” Eric admitted with a faint grin. “Can I walk you back to the motel?”

“Why?”
“Nice night, moonlight… a goodnight kiss…”
“So you have an ulterior motive.” Ryan chuckled and headed to the door. “You weren’t just worried about me getting lost on the way.”
“Nope.” Eric followed him outside and let the door slam shut behind them. “But you’ll be here for a while, so I got time.”
“What makes you think you would get anywhere with me?”
“If you weren’t interested, you would have already said it. Or punched me in the face.”
“How often does that happen?”
“Saying no or punching me?”
“Either.”
“Sometimes and sometimes.”

“I think I can find my way back all by myself.” Ryan looked around, but the street was empty. He took a step closer and pressed his lips briefly against Eric’s. “But thanks for keeping me company.”

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

“Anyone here?” Greg marched into the small bullpen of the police station, but the room was dark. The only light was coming from a small office attached to the room, where a single table lamp was illuminating the desk overflowing with paperwork.

“Hello?” He repeated and stepped into the room. “Would I like to come in? Sure, why not. I`ll make myself comfortable while I’m at it.” He paused at the desk and quickly examined the stack of crime scene photos laid on top of the papers. “And why the hell am I talking to myself?” He picked one of the photos for a closer look and slid his fingers across the glossy surface. He had heard most of the details about the dumping site, but seeing it was completely different. He folded the picture and shoved it into his pocket.

A sudden noise made his head snap up and he listened carefully. The bullpen was still empty, but he could have sworn he had heard a faint thump.

Greg walked back into the bullpen. The front door lead straight to the bullpen, and the only other door he could see was closed. He tried the handle and it opened easily. The sound echoed from somewhere once again, this time louder than before. Greg stepped into the narrow hallway, searching for the light switch. After a while he gave up and patted his coat pockets, till he found a small penlight. It didn’t help much in the darkness, but it was better than nothing.

“Officer Stokes?” He hollered. “Officer Siddle? Who else…? Well, anyone?” He followed the noise down the hallway, going from one open door to the next. A locker-room, maintenance closet, small break room. He approached the last door at the end of the hallway.

It was half-open, and he gave it a little push.

At first his eyes didn’t even spot the figure dressed in black, standing in the darkness. The streetlights, shining through the window behind it, drew a faceless silhouette in black.

The penlight fell from Greg’s grasp. He didn’t know what was going on, but a sheer panic was taking over, and all of his instincts were telling him to run away. His feet took steps backwards on their own before he even realised it. He twirled around and tripped on his own feet, falling face first on the floor. He quickly scrambled back up and rushed blindly down the hallway. The door in the other end had closed behind him, and he latched onto the handle, pushing it open and crashing straight into a solid body.

He didn’t have time to realise who it was. His momentum pulled the man down with him and they both crashed against the floor. Bright lights of the ceiling danced in his eyes after the sudden rush out of the darkness.

“You alright?” A voice asked and Greg tried to focus on the face hovering above him.  “Who are you and why are you here?”

“In there…” Greg gasped. He was lost for breath, and he pointed at the direction he had come from. “There was somebody in there and… I don’t know.” He was lost for words and buried his face in his hands for a minute. “I heard noises. I went there and it was dark… and there was someone in there.”

“Everyone should have gone home by now, I just came here to lock up the place.” The man got up and Greg got his first look at his uniform and badge. He put two and two together, and came up with an exiled Texan. “Stay here, I’ll check it out.”

Stokes pulled out his gun and pushed the door open again. He snapped the lights on and quickly moved down the hallway. Once he got to the last door, he looked in and then turned back.

“Come here.”

“Was it something really stupid?” Greg asked awkwardly. “Did I get scared of a scarecrow or something like that?”

“Come here.” Stokes repeated.

Greg walked into the hallway. The lights made everything threatening and ominous look safe and common. He approached the last door and Stokes stood aside to let him in.

The small room was filled with papers, photos and more papers, all scattered on the floor. Filing cabinets on the wall were all open and their content was laying in the chaotic mess. Greg realised what the weird noise had been and he started to laugh uncontrollably.

An open window was waving back and forth in the wind and clanking against the frame.


Chapter 5

 


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