Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language, violence, and mature content.
There was hope in the detective’s heart that someone else hadn’t died in his time away from the house. All the times he had returned, granted one time, it had gone from very revealing to very tragic. And Winslow was already going to have to clean the blood off his shoes. Or maybe James could be a useful little submissive and take care of the stains on the pieces of his wardrobe.
“Winslow!” called out one of the plain clothes detectives in the hall. The closer Winslow got to the open front door, he was able to bring the person into focus - his sleuthing partner Norton.
“Billy, what are you doing up at this time of the night?”
The younger detective spun around on his heel with a noticeable squeak as it made contact with the waxed floor. All sounds were starting to cause a ring in Winslow’s ears as he dealt with severe sleep deprivation.
“You’re asking that of a man with an infant at home?” Billy laughed as he said it and then sighed. “The better question to be asking is why are you up so late, mister? And why were you discovered at a very bloody and gruesome crime scene?”
Winslow didn’t have an answer.
He stood there in his silence trying to think of answer. It had to be something reasonable yet witty to be a proper response to Billy’s constant smart alack presence. At one point in his life, Winslow had been a bit sharper, but he had been next to one too many exploding hand grenades. Those damn sardine cans that the Germans liked to use were some of the ugliest bastards that he had ever seen.
“Winslow? Are you still in there?” Billy asked as he tapped on Winslow’s shoulder. He started humming as he waited for a response, going through and copying the series of notes he was given from other officers at the scene.
When no quick wit came Winslow he simply explained, “Well, I was here to do an interview with a suspect.”
“In the middle of the goddamn night?”
“Billy, just because some of y’all sleep when justice needs to be served doesn’t mean that I’m not always on the clock.”
Billy sighed, tapping his pencil against his pad. He didn’t respond to Winslow’s implications. The detective walked away in his tightly fashioned trousers, moving into the doorway of the library and then beckoning for Winslow to follow. Though his patience was quickly draining, Winslow crossed the room in a few short movements and followed Billy inside the grand room.
“So, Detective Smith, what did you come here to talk about with Mr. O’Keefe?” Billy asked before Winslow even had a chance to sit down. His partner shot him a glare and continued, “Based on the reports from the officers at the scene and the preliminary findings of the coroner, they told me that O’Keefe called you and then you had a little attack afterwards.”
“If this is about the chloroform-”, Winslow started but was interrupted a moment later by Billy’s objection.
“This is absolutely about the chloroform. They told me that you were so out of it at the scene of the incident that you couldn’t remember a thing that was happening.”
Winslow couldn’t remember if he was having memory troubles or not. And that was probably a bad sign. He stepped back over to the door of the library to turn the key in the lock and keep it there. This time, he made sure that the doors were tightly locked and they were speaking in hushed tones. If officers at the scene had overheard all of this information, he could only imagine some of the other things that they had heard that night.
“Billy,” Winslow started with a laugh to disguise his anxiety, “Are you asking me if I have a drug habit?”
The young detective joined in the awkward laughter, sinking into the love seat and motioning once again for Winslow to join him.
“I’ve been talking to Jones, Mason, and some of our other…colleagues,” Billy slowly trailed off and started to stare into space. “Anyways, no one is touching this case with a hundred foot pole. So even though you were a witness, to some absolutely terrible events that might scar you, the case will probably remain ours.”
There wasn’t much left in the world to scar Winslow A. Smith, but he appreciated the sentiment and all of Billy’s concern for his wellbeing.
“It’s nice to see that you care about me, Detective Norton.”
“I care a lot about you, Detective Smith. That’s why I’m trying to hand off this case,” Billy explained while intertwining his fingers with Winslow’s.
Winslow took out his cigarette case out his pocket, lighting one up while he thought about what to do. They could plead to the captain to let someone else take over the investigation, but on the other hand, their captain had been involved in an attempt on Winslow’s life. With a bit more thought about what to do, he simply closed his case back up and tucked it firmly into his breast pocket
“Don’t make any more objections, Billy. This is the case we were given and this is the case that we’re going to work.”
“No buts about it, Billy. Not even the nice little butt you have,” Winslow explained.
The detective knew he needed sleep and he left the library before Billy had a chance to respond. He was relying on the good odds of his partner not wanting to chase him down or experience any of the drama. Winslow made a few forced pleasantries on the way out before sprinting to his car that contained a sleepy British intelligence agent.
Just like the old days.
Reggie yawned when Winslow slipped into the car and asked, “Are you sure they don’t need you in there, Winslow?”
“Yeah, I’m sure. Let’s head on home and run you a nice bath.”
“Like that night in Paris?” Reggie sleepily asked as he slumped against Winslow’s shoulder.
“Just like that night in Paris, my dear Scotsman.”
As he drove home, Winslow focused on the sounds of Reggie’s soft snores rather than the screaming that was happening inside of his own head. He had never been able to escape those terrors but his life had suddenly become happy once again.
And he knew in his heart that it would probably have a tragic end.