Pairing: Matt Damon/Ben Affleck
Rating: NC-17, for disturbing crime
Warning: Inspired by the damonaffleck AU Challenge.
Thanks: To the wonderful fran_de_sales for the beta.
Disclaimer: 100% Make Believe
Ben pulled in behind the flashing lights of the other police car and shut off the engine, cutting off the dispatcher's update mid-word. Joaquin was already walking towards him as Ben grabbed his hat off the passenger seat and slid out of the car.
"That way, Boss," Joaquin said, jabbing a thumb at the skid marks marring the newly graded shoulder of the road.
Ben nodded and put on his hat, stopping to glance at his reflection in the window of Joaquin's car. "How bad?" he asked, as he adjusted the hat's brim to the perfect angle.
"It's not pretty," Joaquin replied, looking down at his feet.
Ben turned away from his own reflection and eyed Joaquin, who was looking kind of green around the gills. Joaquin's left cheek was empty of his trademark wad of gum, a sure sign that things were, indeed, ugly.
"I thought you'd want me to secure access to the scene from up here, Boss," Joaquin said, still not meeting Ben's gaze.
"Good idea." Ben clapped a reassuring hand on Joaquin's shoulder. "If any reporters show up, do your best to stall 'em."
"You got it," Joaquin said, and pulled a pack of gum out of his pocket, offering it to Ben.
Ben shook his head, patted Joaquin once more on the shoulder, and then walked over to the edge of the road. He followed the skid marks down the slope, walking parallel to them, careful not to disturb the evidence.
The pungent smell of gas filled the air, growing stronger as Ben neared the sedan resting on its roof at the bottom of the gully. The bright red paint of the car's left side was scored deeply by the bough of a tree; the tree itself now a splintered wreck on one side, and strangely untouched on the other. Far-flung fragments of the car's shattered windscreen were glittering like dew in the mid-morning light.
As Ben walked past the car, he could see, in the back seat, the floppy limbs of an infant dangling from the restraining straps of a car seat.
The driver's corpse came into view a moment later: face-down, several feet away from the car, surrounded by a halo of glass. The body's short blonde hair was a mess of tangled, bloody spikes, and the right hand, flung out in what must have been an instinctive effort at protection, was a pulpy blob.
Matt and Summer were already kneeling beside the body, carefully examining the scene.
"Hey, Boss," said Summer.
"You got here fast," said Matt, sitting back on his heels and looking up at Ben.
"I had a feeling you'd be calling," Ben said. "What's the bad news?"
Matt stood up and dusted off his knees. His face wore an expression that was a distant cousin to a smile. "Still no progress on the world peace front, and," he cast a quick glance at his watch, "I have an inappropriate desire for vast quantities of alcohol."
Ben wasn't deceived by the attempt at humour. "That bad?"
"And about to get worse," Summer said. She gestured to two ambulance officers carrying a stretcher down the hill.
Matt's not-smile disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. "Keep an eye on them, Summer. I don't want anyone fucking this up."
Summer nodded, looking grim. "I'll take care of it." She took a step away, then paused, shooting an apprehensive glance at the overturned car. "What about the kid?"
"Ben and I'll do it," Matt said, waving her off. "Just get the paramedics to leave the kit by the car. We'll be up in a minute."
"It's just..." Summer frowned down at her shoes, scuffing them against the grass. "When it's kids..."
"I know," said Matt. "But I'm going to palm the paperwork off on you, so it all works out."
Summer looked relieved. "Okay, deal." Then, with a quick, "Thanks, Matt," she headed off to intercept the EMTs, yelling out, "Hey, dickheads," and waving to attract their attention.
Matt pinched the bridge of his nose and said, so only Ben would hear, "Shit."
"Migraine?" Ben asked, reaching out and tugging him away from the body and the miasma of gas surrounding the wreck.
"Fucking killer," Matt agreed, rolling his neck, following Ben's lead without protest. "But worth it."
"That's what you always say," Ben said, looking unconvinced. "But here's a novel idea. We could find out the autopsy results first and then try other methods second."
"Where's the fun in that?" Matt said, a real smile flirting with the corners of his mouth. "Besides, if we waited for the autopsy results, I wouldn't have treated this as a murder scene, and we would have lost a whole heap of evidence."
"Dammit," said Ben, his hand tightening for a moment on Matt's arm, before he let go, took a step back and tucked both hands into his pockets. "Same M.O. as the other one?"
"Yep," said Matt, taking a step forward to regain the ground Ben had put between them. "We've definitely got a serial."
"Fuck." Ben's face was grim. "Tell me what to look for so I can get this bastard off my streets."
"I wish I could," said Matt, "but I didn't get much. The driver was drugged, so I sent the water bottle to the lab. Hopefully we'll get something useful back. Then there's motive: I'm pretty sure it has something to do with money, because I kept seeing this big wad of bills." Matt sighed and shook his head. "But other than that, I didn't sense anything useful. The details were too murky to make out."
"What do you mean by murky?" Ben prompted, pulling a hand back out of his pocket and resting it on Matt's elbow. "Are you coming down with something?"
"No, I'm fine," said Matt, making a frustrated gesture. "It's more like... I don't know... like I'm being blocked or something. I just couldn't get a clear reading. Not even when I was touching the body skin to skin."
Ben looked at Matt, weighing the implications. "So," he said slowly, reluctant to put the obvious conclusion into words, "you're saying we've got a psycho out there who's psychic."
"Not just psychic." Matt pinched the bridge of his nose again, the skin around his fingers going white with the pressure. "They're really fucking powerful."
"Well, fuck." Ben pushed his hat back, ruffling the sharp lines of his hair. "I just knew you were going to say that."