Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language, violence, and mature content.
“That depends,” Winslow said in his most gentle voice. There were terms and conditions to anything that happened with queers, especially things that might turn out to be hate crimes. And there were even more eggshells to walk on with Dr. Glass’s position working for the police department.
“What possible fucking conditions could there be for my missing assistant? Do you want to find him face down in a ditch, assaulted and god knows what else?”
The detective put his hand on the coroner’s shoulder and gently soothed him. It was hard for Winslow to be comforting and compassionate, but he knew the pain that Reilly was going through. He would have been a very bad detective if he had not known about the relationship going on between Glass and Reilly.
“We have to be careful with this if there’s even the slightest chance of Dr. Palm being involved with the disappearance of Glass. There have been some accidents that I’ve been tracking in national news and the survival rate of coroners is not the most pleasant.”
Reilly continued shaking against the wall, his jerking movements slowly calming down the more pressure that Winslow applied to his shoulders. These two were found standing, very often, in the certain silence that only veterans of serious bloodshed could understand. Winslow knew very little of what Reilly had seen on the front lines during both of the World Wars as a field surgeon.
“I know that you have experienced a lot of pain in your life, Doctor. I know that when we find something good in our lives we hold onto it as tight as possible.”
“So if you won’t file a report, will you look for Dr. Glass? On your own time?” Reilly asked as he finally stood up on his own and straightened the tie beneath his somewhat bloody smock. “If you won’t let the police investigate a missing employee and one of my most dear mentees, then you better be doing that work on your own time.”
The coroner didn’t give Winslow a chance to answer the question. He simply marched out of the room and back to the blood covered crime scene. Winslow looked through the door to the bathroom and with the sight of all of the blood sticking to the tile the longer it was exposed to the air he could feel his own breath escaping from his lungs. The lack of breath led to the light head that caused him to collapse onto the nearest soft surface - the guest bedroom’s quilted queen.
“What did I do to deserve this case?” Winslow quietly whispered to himself as he tried to make sure he wouldn’t fall asleep amid the soft quilts.
He sat up in the bed, his fingers clinched in the material as he found it hard to raise his head. A slight pounding had replaced the light headed feeling as if the detective was going through the stages of a pseudo hangover. He hadn’t inhaled anything during his time at the crime scene but it felt like he had been dosed with chloroform.
The chemical identity brought him quicker to attention than James’ bulge.
Winslow rushed to the bathroom doorway, barging in on Reilly and the crime scene detectives as he exclaimed, “There’s chloroform leaking from the vents!”
No one looked up from the dead body. There was a slight sigh from one of the men in white coats crouched over by the toilet bowl. Dark thoughts brewed in Winslow’s head for a fragment of a second while he thought about how easy it would be to kill everyone in this room. If there was a leak coming from some corner of the room or slipping through one of the vents - if there was even a small chance of it being a harmful agent - wouldn’t some sane person in the room take notice?
Well, Winslow thought to himself, that implies that sane crime scene detectives exist. And our department certainly doesn’t have any of them.
“No one?” Winslow asked through a sigh and a chuckle. “Is there no one concerned that a knock out gas might be running through the vents in this bathroom and that there might be even more foul play than we suspected before?”
Reilly simply turned on his heel, still remaining crouched at the side of the corpse, and sighed right back at Winslow. The coroner quietly explained, “Winslow, we already found the chloroform bottle that was stashed in the vents and I found other marks on the body. Why don’t you go and talk to the British agent covered in blood in the hallway?”
Somehow the detective had forgotten about the situation with Reggie - that he left his friend to cry in the mansion while the man was still covered in the blood of their deceased witness. There was so much wrong going on with this situation, so many details for Winslow to sort through as he tried to find the killer in this case.
“Reggie, get up!” the detective commanded as he looked down on the tired military intelligence agent. “Are you going to sleep on the floor all day or are you going to come home with me to get some new clothes?”
The agent looked up towards Winslow. He laughed as he repeated the words, “‘Are you going to come home with me?’ I thought you already had one boy sleeping in your bed. Did you want another one to keep you company tonight, Winslow?”
“I’d love to have you in my bed but I don’t think you’re in a good enough place for such a thing.”
“Then what kind of state am I in?”
The detective didn’t answer Reggie. He simply lifted the agent up off the floor and began dragging the man down the stairs. They passed by different officers and junior detectives in the entry way to the Johnson House and then passed over the threshold. Winslow carried his friend out to the car, sitting him down gently and tucking a blanket across his lap.
“Sleep tight, my friend. I’m going to go handle the case and then maybe I will take you home to use you,” Winslow whispered and then slammed the door.
He walked back up the paver path to the front door, gathering his breath and thoughts while searching for another team to temporarily relieve him from the case.