Major spoilers for Dexter S1 - S4.
See earlier chapters for disclaimers etc. Language warning this chapter!
By Marcus L. Rowland
Fiona got up from the table where she'd been watching us, and came over to us.
"Ziva," I said, "This is Fiona Glenanne. Fi, Ziva David."
"We've met," they said together. Neither of them sounded happy about it.
When you're a spy, it's often a good idea to compartmentalize your life and your contacts. For example, it's probably not advisable to tell your contacts - the Irish freedom-fighter and the Israeli assassin - about each other. While they might be kindred spirits, it may turn out that they've tried to kill each other occasionally. But if you don't tell them, and they find out anyway, you risk both of them getting a little mad at you, especially if they've been more than just routine contacts…
"Just when were you planning to tell me you know this bitch?" asked Fiona.
"I could ask the same question," said Ziva.
"Ladies," I said, "why don't you sit down and let me buy you both a drink. I'm sure it's been a while, and we really don't want to make a scene."
"What do you mean by 'we,' Michael?" said Fiona. "Because that's pretty much what I want to do right now. What the hell were you thinking?"
"Oh please, and you are so perfect?" said Ziva. "If Michael had told me of the company he kept, I doubt that Mossad would have shown much understanding. Or were you forgetting who supplied training facilities to the IRA?"
"That's all in the past, ladies," said Sam. "You're neither of you working for the same people any more. Why don't you bury the hatchet?"
"For two fins I would bury it in her head."
"Fins? Do you mean pins?" asked Fiona.
"Your language makes little sense."
"Ladies," I said "this is unprofessional. Come on, we're all adults here, and I think we're all working on the same side. Let's compare notes, and see if we can help each other."
"He's right," said Sam. "This isn't getting us anywhere. C'mon, sit down and talk."
"Yes, you'd both like that, wouldn't you?" said Fiona.
"They think that because they are men they have superior logic," said Ziva.
"While the reality is they mostly think with their dicks."
"And are much too gullible."
Suddenly Fiona and Ziva were smiling.
"Did you really think we didn't know about each other, Michael?" said Fiona.
"Just how stupid do you think we are, Michael?"
I shrugged, and picked my words very carefully; "A lot less stupid than me."
"Good answer," said Sam.
Fiona and Ziva sat, and Fiona started to drum her fingers on the table.
Eventually I said "What?"
"Where are our drinks, Michael?"
I went to get them.
Harry was in the car when I drove home. I'm sorry to say that my late father was less than impressed with my performance.
"What were you trying to do there, Dexter? Make them think you're a flake?"
"Better a flake than a killer. The worse they'll think of me is that I don't agree with LaGuerta, and that just makes me an honest man. Everything else was just window dressing to confirm that I'm a concerned brother and father who doesn't get enough sleep."
"You don't. You've identified Trinity, isn't it time for him to die?"
"When I'm ready; there's still more to learn from him."
"It's too dangerous, Dexter. Those people aren't cops; they don't obey police rules, and they've been trained to think outside the box."
"I can handle it."
"Like you handled Doakes? Lila isn't around to do your dirty work, and things are getting too complicated. Kill Trinity now or back off and let them catch him. This isn't a time to play games."
"I'll… I'll think about it."
I stopped at lights, and when I started again he was gone.
When I got home Cody and Aster were playing a boisterous game in the garden. I joined in for a while to keep them out of Rita's hair while she was fixing dinner, did a few chores around the house, then once the kids were in bed said I had to catch up on some paperwork, and settled down with my laptop.
Westen turned out to be a local boy. I found a little about him on an old high school site; his name mentioned in his father's obituary, a brother with a history of petty crime. Westen himself seemed to have vanished after high school; there was nothing more recent. Nobody moves through the world as quietly as that, not even me, unless someone takes immense trouble to cover their tracks. He didn't show up on police databases, which was odd if he was active in Miami. I thought about trying to get into the records of other agencies, but decided it would be too risky. I couldn't find anything at all on his friend Axe. It probably wasn't his real name.
What did they actually have? Just LaGuerta's guess, which was uncomfortably close to the truth; the Butcher killed Marten, therefore the Butcher isn't dead. The only edge I could see was that she thought the Butcher had killed Doakes. I'd been filling up at a gas station about thirty miles away around the time Lilah killed him, and like a good boy I keep my credit card bills for seven years in case my taxes are ever audited. I'm careful, of course, to pay cash for things I don't want traced back to me, but that hadn't been on my mind that morning. So if I was ever asked about that day I could say "Yes, officer, I remember where I was when Doakes was killed - here's the proof." Of course Westen and Axe might not be interested in finding proof, but if it ever came to kill or be killed, regardless of the evidence, I ought to be able to take care of myself.
The NCIS agents were a lot easier to trace; hundreds of hits, most of them reports of arrests and trials. They had an incredible track record, catching everything from drug dealers to spies, terrorists, and dozens of killers. There was no way a crack team like that was in Miami just to track down a dead paedophile. There had to be something more they were after, and I had an uneasy feeling it might be me, if they'd made the same guesses as LaGuerta. There was one name I recognised in a lot of the reports; Abby Sciuto, the wunderkind of modern forensics. I've been a fan for years, and her web site, Criminalistics in the 21st Century, has often been invaluable in providing early warning of new technologies that could cause me problems. One of her recent entries was a round-up of techniques for identifying body fragments from partial data; I had a feeling I knew whose body parts she had been identifying - Nathan Marten, a serious pain in the ass. I wondered how they'd got hold of them; caught in an anchor? Found by deep-sea divers? I wasn't going to find out on line, and had no intention of asking her.
I wanted - I needed - to get close to Arthur Mitchell, AKA the Trinity Killer, and figure out how he managed to juggle family, friends, and mass murder. But there was no way to get close without leaving evidence of my interest, evidence that someone like Abby Sciuto could find in a heartbeat.
For a while I thought about taking a quick trip to Washington and eliminating that particular problem. How hard could it be to get close to someone who blogged her movements nearly every day? Catch her after bowling with the nuns, or at a Habitat for Humanity build… Yes, that was a good one; a good way to wind up in the electric chair, by breaking Harry's rules and trying to kill an innocent woman with connections to a competent law enforcement agency.
There was another option, of course. Kill Mitchell right away, and forget about his family life. That would be disappointing, but it would satisfy my Dark Passenger for a while.
Wasn't I forgetting something?
"Oh. Right…" Catch Mitchell and put him behind bars, without blowing my own secrets or satisfying my cravings. It was worth thinking about, if things seemed to be impossible any other way.
The baby was crying again; I went to change him then headed to bed. Rita was already asleep, and hogging the blankets.
Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami
Debra Morgan had been staring at the same page of her book for ten minutes when a nurse came into her room and said "Detective Morgan? There are a couple of agents asking to see you; should I show them in?"
"No, some alphabet thing I've never heard of; NC something… NCIS, I think."
"Navy cops? Why would they want to talk to me?"
"They didn't tell me. Should I show them in?"
"Might as well, it isn't like I've got much else to do."
The nurse went out, and came back a minute later with two men in business suits, one in his thirties and the other his fifties, and left them there.
"I'm Special Agent Gibbs," said the older man. "This is my colleague Agent McGee. We're with NCIS." They showed their badges.
"What the fuck does the Navy have to do with anything?"
"I knew Frank Lundy. Not well, but I owed him. I thought I'd come by to offer my condolences, and some grapes." He put a bunch on her table.
"That's your fucking excuse," said Debra. "What's his?"
Gibbs smiled. "Okay. We're in Miami on business. Some body parts found their way aboard a US Navy ship, and there's reason to believe they came from Miami. The victim turns out to be a paedophile called Marten; nobody's worrying too much about him, but it crossed someone's mind that it might be related to one of Lundy's earlier cases, one you were involved in too."
"You're shitting me! The Bay Harbor Butcher thing?"
"Yes. The disposal method was similar. The problem is that Marten was killed nearly a year after Frank closed the case."
"Could be a copy-cat," said Debra. "There was one while we were investigating the case."
"Did you solve it?"
"Doakes caught up with him first, butchered him in the same place he'd killed the vic. I guess he didn't like the fucking competition. That and the copy-cat had killed an innocent man."
"You think it really was Doakes, then? Lieutenant LaGuerta didn't seem to think so,"
"She and Doakes had a thing for a while; I guess she still tries to think the best of him. But he was capable of it, and there was a hell of a lot of evidence… I'm not sure that Frank was a hundred percent convinced, but I was."
"What someone suggested was that the Butcher might still be around, and panicked when he heard that Lundy was back in town. Maybe saw you on the streets and thought you were after him."
"No fucking way."
"Why not?" asked Tim.
"The Butcher didn't panic. Did anyone tell you how they found Doakes?"
"Not in detail."
"We'd been looking for him for a week or so when someone reported an explosion and fire at a fishing shack in the ass-end of nowhere. When we got out there we found the remains of his body, and two druggies he'd been playing with. He had them wrapped and ready to dump, and he'd done it just as carefully as he did when he was free and clear. That's not panicking."
"Or someone left them and him to frame him," said Gibbs.
"We looked at that," said Debra. "The autopsy showed he was alive until the moment the shack blew up. No sign he'd been restrained, no sign of drugs, he was probably leaning over the gas stove when it exploded, the blast killed him. The fire investigator thought that he spotted that the hose had come loose from the cylinder, and went to shut it down just as it blew up."
"That does seem pretty conclusive," said McGee.
"If our guy was killed by a copy-cat," said Gibbs, "maybe he wasn't so level-headed."
"How would I fucking know?" said Debra. "Why would a copy-cat be scared of Frank anyway? It's not like we would be looking for him."
"You're making it too complicated anyway. We've been trying to catch some dirtbags who are playing Bonnie and Clyde and shooting tourists, it was probably them. I wish to hell I could remember."
The nurse came in with a plastic cup containing two tablets and a glass of water. "Time for your painkillers."
"Not yet, I need to talk to these guys, and they'll make me sleep."
"We can come back," said Gibbs.
"Don't waste time on me; if you've got nothing else to do, find the bastard who shot Frank."
"Or the Trinity killer he was looking for," said McGee.
"Good luck with that," said Debra. "If Frank couldn't find him, why should you?"
"No special reason," said Gibbs, "but we haven't been looking yet. Maybe we'll spot something Frank missed. Now take the pills, we'll take it from here."
Debra swallowed the pills and said "If you find him I want the fucking collar."
"We'll see what we can do."
"Fucking right," Debra said sleepily.
"We're not going to get any more here," murmured McGee.
"Hope you feel better soon," said Gibbs.
Debra replied with a snore.
Intercontinental Hotel, Miami
"Has anyone got anything useful for me?" asked Gibbs, when they rendezvoused at the hotel that evening. They were sharing a suite with a large communal room, which was now equipped with a whiteboard, display boards, and laser printer.
"I followed Lieutenant LaGuerta and Dexter Morgan to an interesting meeting," said Ziva. "a contact from my Mossad days, a former American agent who is now resident in this area. He now works as an unofficial investigator, with other ex-agents. I will give you his name if you wish, but I do not think it will be useful."
"I confronted him after their meeting. It appears that LaGuerta interpreted our questions as a suggestion that the Bay Harbor Butcher might still be alive, and followed up on it. She gave my contact everything she had on the case."
"And he gave me copies, of course. Everything they have that wasn't taken by the FBI." She put a thick envelope on the table.
"What did you have to give him for them?" Tony asked with a leer.
"I promised that I would not mention his location to Mossad. Although I would be surprised if they don't already know. And that I would inform him if we found evidence that LaGuerta was correct. I was careful not to say that we would inform him before we had made an arrest."
"Very good, Ziva," said Gibbs. "DiNozzo, what have you got?"
"Sore eyes and a headache," said Tony. "You know how everyone wants to retire to Florida?"
"Of course you don't. Well, a lot of people do, and it turns out that applies to cops and crooks too. While I was in the library I ran into an old vice cop called Crockett, Sonny Crockett, he said to say 'Hi' to you."
"I remember him." Gibbs didn't sound too happy about it. "Go on."
"He gave me the low-down. Hundreds of hoods retire to Florida every year, and some of them aren't completely retired. A high-profile agent like Lundy might have all sorts of enemies in town. He's going to try to put a list together."
"It might be that," said Gibbs, "but I don't think so. While you were socialising did you find out anything about serial killers in Miami? Especially anything connected to Frank Lundy and the Bay Harbor Butcher?"
Tony moved to the whiteboard and in the centre of the board wrote 'Debra Morgan,' and said "Some of this is on the record; some of it is gossip I picked up. I've heard of people being accident prone. Debra Morgan is serial killer prone. And she's far from the only one."
He added 'Ice Truck Killer (Rudy Cooper),' and said "Briefly engaged to Debra Morgan, and tried to kill her. She was rescued by Lieutenant LaGuerta and her brother, Dexter Morgan." He wrote their names below.
"Next we have the Bay Harbor Butcher, allegedly sergeant James Doakes. Who worked in the same office as Debra Morgan, at one time was romantically involved with Lieutenant LaGuerta, and once attempted to assault Dexter Morgan. While working on this case Frank Lundy met and got very friendly with Debra Morgan." He added their names, and drew lines connecting them.
"Our third serial killer is The Skinner, an unpleasant guy called Jorge Orozco, alias George Washington King. He killed a whole bunch of people including Deputy DA Miguel Prado, who at one time had a relationship with Lieutenant LaGuerta. He also attacked and tortured a musician and stoolie named Anton Briggs, who at the time was in a relationship with… drum roll, please… Debra Morgan."
"Finally, of course, we have Lundy's 'Trinity' theory." He wrote on the name, and added lines to Debra and Frank Lundy. "I really don't know what to make of this. It looks like there's something in it, but without Lundy's notes we're whistling in the dark."
"Getting back to our reason for being here, let's see how Nathan Marten fits into all this. Killed and dumped by someone who works a lot like the Bay Harbor Butcher, but way too late to be a victim if the Butcher was Doakes. He was a convicted paedophile, but as far as I know that's it. Is there anything I'm missing?"
"A connection to Prado," said McGee. "Prado set up the computer bugs, completely illegally."
"And that's it, so far as I can tell," said Tony. "He's about the least connected person in this tangle. No contact with Morgan, Lundy, LaGuerta or Doakes. I hate to say it, but I think it's just a coincidence or a copy-cat."
"My gut says you're wrong," said Gibbs. "Somewhere in this mess there's an answer. We just have to find it."
Comments please before I post to archives