Fandom: The Inside
Pairing: Rebecca gen, femmeslash in later chapters
Rating: Hard R
Word Count: 2,343
Previous Chapter: Link
Warnings (chapter specific): Graphic depictions of gore, violence, language.
Summary: A new serial killer is stalking the streets of Los Angeles, leaving a trail of models, actors, and the rich behind in an exceedingly gruesome manner. In her search to find what connects them all, Rebecca examines what it means to connect to someone else.
Rebecca looked curiously at the coroner who had just uttered the name. “How did you identify her?”
“This one was easier than the other victims. Apparently even without a nose, she’s pretty recognizable. The quick digital reconstruction that was released immediately got a hit.”
“Who is she?” Mel had her notebook out and Rebecca glanced at it over her shoulder, quickly reading the thin lines of neat handwriting.
“Her father, Sean Winters, is coming in for the final ID. He’s a big Hollywood agent, signs up all the newest starlets and studs at a fifteen percent commission.” Danny had come in while they were looking at the body, and Rebecca raised an eyebrow.
“I read some tabloids.” He admitted sheepishly.
“Well, now we know who she is, but not why she was targeted.” Mel said, frustrated.
“Each victim, both male and female, has had a significant amount of plastic surgery. They’re white, young, rich.” Rebecca’s eyes traveled down what remained of Chelsea’s body, “He destroys them. Tries to reverse everything that was done to make their bodies more acceptable to society. By crushing their skulls, he believes he’s erasing their memory. Their obliteration is supposed to send a message.”
“What message?” Danny asked.
“Once we figure that out, we’ll have our un-sub.” Rebecca watched the coroner pull the sheet back over their fourth victim. If the killer held to pattern, they had a little over thirty-six hours before there was a fifth.
“God, why would anyone ever do that to themselves?” Paul made a face at the glossy magazine in his hand.
“Doesn’t sound like you’d ever be able to sit right again.” Danny chuckled, taking a bite out of his sandwich.
“What are we talking about?” Mel asked as she walked back behind her desk, a stack of files in hand.
“Buttocks augmentation.” Paul said, wincing. “They take these implants and…”
“Okay, I get it. No need for a blow-by-blow.” Mel rolled her eyes. “Why are you looking at plastic surgery catalogues?”
“We think all the victims might have shared the same surgeon, or at least the same practice.” Rebecca came in, a pile of shiny brochures weighing her down.
“Christ, there’s more of them?” Danny moved his plastic lunch tin to give Rebecca a place to set the catalogues down.
“Yes. I don’t think you want to know how many people in this city are willing to cut open your face.” She paused. “Legally, that is.”
“How are we supposed to narrow it down?” Mel picked up a half dozen of the brochures and flipped one open.
“We have a list of all the surgeries we believe the victims underwent. We’re trying to find a practice that performs all of them. Some doctors are particular about what work they will and won’t do.” Rebecca remarked, sitting at her own desk with a selection of brochures.
“So some will do boob jobs, but butt implants are below them?” Danny grinned as Paul winced again.
“Basically.” Rebecca shrugged.
“Because God knows there’s a huge moral difference.” Mel frowned at the picture she was looking at, “Ear reshaping? Who looks into a mirror and thinks they need to spend a thousand dollars to fix the shape of their ears?”
“Dumbo?” Danny chuckled softly.
Even Rebecca smiled slightly at that, but her face reverted to a blank slate when her phone rang. “Violent Crimes Unit, this is Agent Locke speaking.”
“Um, Agent Locke, this is Dane.”
“Oh, of course.” Rebecca pushed the plastic surgery magazines aside and got a spare piece of paper and a pen. “Did you find anything out?”
“Can we meet somewhere? I got a guy who’ll talk for some cash, but he doesn’t want to see anyone while he’s on the job.”
“Rage. It’s a club on Santa Monica Boulevard.”
“How much is he asking for?”
“Three hundred in,” Dane laughed, “Unmarked bills. I think he’s expecting you to drop in with a SWAT team or something.”
“I’ll be there in half an hour.”
“That’s fine. I’m sure he’ll be distracted by the entertainment.”
“Entertainment?” Rebecca raised an eyebrow.
“You don’t know what Rage is, do you?”
“You said it was a club.”
“You’re right. It is.” Dane sounded entirely amused.
Rebecca was left holding a conversation with static. The other woman had hung up. She put down the phone and looked at Mel.
“Have you ever been to a club called Rage?”
The redhead snickered, but stopped when she realized Rebecca was entirely serious.
“I’ll go with you.”
On the outside, Rage appeared to be a nonchalant café, albeit a busy one. After showing her ID at the door, Rebecca found that the inside was significantly different. Two stories of drunken patrons, deafening music, and shirtless waiters. There was eye candy for men and women alike, although the majority of club-goers seemed more interested in each other than the opposite sex.
“It’s a gay bar?” Rebecca finally said out loud.
Mel laughed. “If it’s in West Hollywood, it’s kind of a given, Rebecca.”
“Then why did you want to come? I mean, every man here in unavailable.”
The other agent quirked an eyebrow and opened her mouth once before closing it. “Doesn’t mean I can’t watch.” She finally answered.
“Why don’t we just focus on finding our informant?” Mel said, sounding a bit miffed. “It’s the girl, right? The brown-haired one?”
Rebecca nodded. “She should be sitting with a man somewhere. I don’t think they’re in uniform.”
“Kind of wish they were. Then there would be people who look more out of place than us.”
Rebecca looked around the club. The amount of flesh showing made it difficult to tell strippers from happy patrons. Blouses cut to reveal lean stomachs and glittering piercings, leather bras that couldn’t have been anything but uncomfortable. Men in pants that looked poured on and wearing sunglasses despite it being ten at night. She was startled out of her observations by Mel’s hand brushing against her shoulder.
“I think I see them.” She pointed to a table near the back. Rebecca glanced over and saw Dane sitting with a lanky blonde man holding a beer. He was trying to shove a dollar bill into one of the waiters’ pants.
“That’s her.” Rebecca confirmed and followed Mel through the club, trying to avoid the oiled men. People weren’t supposed to glisten like plastic.
“Hey.” She said as they approached the table. Dane had been laughing at her friend making an obscene gesture with his beer bottle, but her expression evened out at the sight of Rebecca.
“Who’s your friend?” Dane asked.
“Agent Melody Sim,” Rebecca responded, “This is Dane and…”
“Roger.” The blonde man said, eyes a bit hazy with the alcohol.
“Call me Mel.” She flashed a neutral smile.
“Sit down, stay a while.” Dane waved a hand at the two chrome chairs across from her.
Roger leaned forward conspiratorially once both the agent had sat down. “So, do you have the money?”
Mel held back a chuckle, but Dane failed. “See any black helicopters in your little fantasy world there, Roger?”
The blonde man’s face, which had been plastered with a jovial grin, went dark.
“This shit is serious, Dane. An icebox of fresh kidneys can make a hundred large. Clean urine is worth hard cash to a lot of people.”
“Then why’d you only ask for three hundred to talk?” Rebecca asked.
He blinked, surprised. “I just wanted to see if you were for real, to be honest.”
Mel pulled out a white envelope and placed it on the table. “We’re for real. So tell us who’s been trafficking in parts.”
Roger took the envelope and shoved it awkwardly in the right front pocket of his jeans. “You’re not going to arrest me, right?”
“You’re an informant, not a suspect.” Rebecca said in an even tone.
“Okay.” He took another swallow of his beer. “There’s little cliques in the whole lower strata of the medical industry. The medical waste contractors like us, janitors in the big hospitals, methadone clinic nurses. Most of us don’t get paid much of anything, but we have the big key rings. A guy in a jumpsuit pushing around a hand-truck full of bits and pieces gets left alone by everyone else.”
Rebecca was listening intently to Roger, but her eyes were on Dane, whose face was set with quiet rage.
“So is there anyone in particular running this operation?” She asked.
“A ton of people have their hands in it. Some of the more organized gangs make sure their members get clean drug tests or access to less scrupulous surgeons who would be happy to cleanly remove heroin balloons from someone’s stomach. Then other folks–”
“Like you.” Dane interrupted.
Roger frowned. “Like me, we just do it for the months when rent is hard. A heart there, three livers there. All of that stuff is just sitting in those warehouses, rotting. Waiting for the landfill or the incinerator.”
“That stuff,” Dane growled, “Isn’t sterile or safe, Roger. It’s what you just said. Fucking rotting.”
“Dane.” Rebecca said softly, “This is key evidence in a murder investigation. We need to hear it.”
She avoided the terms serial murder or killing spree. So far, they had been able to stifle the media’s knowledge of the deaths being connected, and Rebecca did not want Roger selling any errant information to a reporter.
“As I was saying,” Roger’s guilt shone plainly on his face, “It’s just there. If you’re in the business, your number gets passed around. Someone will call, say what they want and how much they’ll pay. If you make a deal, you arrange a place to drop it off while on your usual run. It’s less suspicious if you’re driving a big labeled truck, as stupid as that sounds.”
“If someone wanted to get leftover fat from liposuction, would it be the same?”
Roger cringed. “Who the hell would want that?”
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”
“It would be the same, although it’d be a special order depending on how much they wanted. Only plastic surgery practices dump that stuff and you can’t take all of one clinic’s stock. You have to spread it out.”
“How much money are we talking?” Mel asked, pen poised for notes. Rebecca internally made a note herself to carry a voice recorder. So much could be learned from someone’s tone as much as their words.
The man shrugged. “Seventy-five a bag.”
“How many do you think were at the scene?” Mel looked at Rebecca.
“Thirteen fifty, then.” The redhead wrote it down. “Unless you charge tax?”
Roger took a second to figure out whether or not she was serious. “Uh, no. It’s a flat amount. Sometimes we round up. It’s a cash only business.”
“Is it possible for you to ask around and see if anyone recently purchased any from a local contractor?” Rebecca watched Roger bite down nervously on his lip.
He looked at Dane, who still was still angry as ever. “Yeah, sure. Do you have a card or something?”
Rebecca passed hers over and Mel flipped her notebook closed. He put the card in the same pocket as the cash.
Roger’s phone suddenly vibrated in his pocket. “I have to go. I’ll give you a ring if I find anything out.”
“I thought you weren’t working tonight.” Dane said.
“It’s Ben.” Roger replied as he stepped into the crowd, not bothering to look back.
“Ben?” Rebecca glanced at Dane.
“His boyfriend.” The brunette laughed softly. “That’s why we met here. Roger’s the only other contractor I know who’s out of the closet. Good way to guarantee no one from work would see us.”
“Oh, you’re–” Rebecca began.
“Yeah.” Dane stood up, brushing invisible specks of dust from her jacket. She pulled out a torn piece of paper and dropped it on the table. “If you need any more insight into discarded body parts, just give me a call.”
Dane didn’t wait for an answer and filed into the crowd as well, ducking under the muscular arm of one of the waiters. Rebecca raised an eyebrow and looked at Mel.
“What did I say?”
“You’re slow.” Mel laughed. “Let’s get back to the unit before Webb assumes you’ve been carried off by a pack of Abercrombie and Fitch models.”
“Hey, Rebecca.” Paul said, looking up from yet another catalogue. The pile she had left him with had only lost a third of its size.
“We got the coroner’s report back on Chelsea Winters.” Danny had it laid open in front of him on his desk. “Same story as the other three. Skull bashed in, then cut open. She didn’t have her cheekbones shaved like that model guy, so except for her nose, her face was intact. Breast implants were C’s. She had her…” Danny’s eyes widened a bit. “How do you rejuvenate that?”
Mel dropped her notebook on her desk. “Any word on what’s doing the head damage?”
“No. All the doc has said is that it’s oddly shaped.”
“That’s helpful.” The redhead replied.
“What about the brochures?” Rebecca frowned at her own considerable stack.
“Seven hits so far.” Paul flashed the list at her briefly. “But none of them are open twenty-four hours, so we’ll have to wait until the morning to talk to the staff.”
“What about the father?”
“His flight from the Hamptons got delayed, so that’s going to wait until the a.m. too. I think we should all get some sleep.”
“I’m taking some of these with me,” Rebecca said, scooping up the catalogues in her arms.
Paul sighed. He hadn’t expected anything less.
“One last thing.” Rebecca had stepped right in front of Danny’s desk.
“How old was she?”
“Nineteen. The youngest yet.” He flipped the folder closed. “Not that that stopped her from having Vicodin and wine coolers in her system.”
Rebecca nodded curtly and left, although Mel could swear she heard the younger woman mutter ‘such a fucking waste’ under her breath.