- Discussion-Domestic Abuse
- Alternate Universe
A/N: Please read the author’s note above before proceeding.
Tony leaned back in his chair feeling content. Dinner was going really well. The stew had turned out to be delicious, and everyone was enjoying themselves. They all knew each other and got along well. Tony was really glad they’d decided to do this. It had been relaxing to be able to spend time with Steve and his friends talking and laughing. It had been just what he needed to restore his equilibrium.
Danny was in the middle of the story of the first time he met Steve when Ella fell asleep, and Toy had to excuse himself and took her up to bed. It was surprisingly pleasant to sit in the mostly dark room, and rock Ella to sleep. She smiled at him sleepily until her eyes drifted shut. The truth was he could get used to this, Tony thought. Ella was rapidly becoming a part of their lives. Tony tried to think about all the reasons they shouldn’t keep her, but right this minute they didn’t seem that important. He put her bed kissing her forehead lightly.
Tony returned to the living room to find Blair and Steve arguing about whether or not it was acceptable for Steve to interrogate people while hanging them off of buildings or tying them to car bumpers. For his part, Jim was laughing hysterically while Chin and Blair seemed to be staying out of it.
“Babe, back me up here, “Steve said as soon as he saw him.
“Boy, you must be desperate. You know how I feel about those kinds of antics. We’re cops there’s procedures we have to follow. I’m with Blair on this one. “
Steve pouted. “The Governor did give me full immunity and means. I should be able to use it however I want.”
It doesn’t mean you can trample on people’s rights, man” Blair argued
Danny chuckled. “I don’t think she knew what she was unleashing. I really don’t.”
Tony walked over and sat down on the sofa next to Steve. “He’s more careful now though. Can’t let me be in danger right?”
“He has gotten better since he met you,” Danny agreed That’s for sure, but I’m a little surprised you haven’t tried getting a scent trace on him and hunting him down.”
Steve shrugged. “I’d love to but we both know getting permission for a hunt is extremely difficult, the governor’s goodwill doesn’t extend that far.”
Danny pointed at him. “See that’s Tony talking. Before him, you would have tried to convince the governor to let you hunt him.”
Steve really couldn’t say anything to that. They all knew it was true.
Tony wrapped his arm around Steve’s shoulders. “Well, I for one am grateful. The paperwork on an illegal hunt would be a real bitch, and I’m the one who would get stuck with it.”
Danny laughed “I’m just grateful it’s you and not me.”
Steve mock glared at him “Hey, I do my fair share of paperwork.”
Tony kissed his check. “I know you do, baby. I’m just teasing.”
Danny phone rang, and he excused himself from answering it.
Tony stood “Everyone ready for dessert and coffee he asked”
He got a chorus of yeses. He was just walking into the kitchen when Danny came rushing back into the room.
“We have a lead on Burrows. He just used one of Paula Anderson’s credit cards at a crappy motel down on Street name.”
“Not exactly bright is he?” Steve said.
Chin grinned. “It does make things easier for us.”
Steve looked at both Danny and Chin, “Make sure you take back up and be careful. This guy is violent and unpredictable. Chin make sure you have the appropriate paperwork before I come in to interrogate him. I don’t want a problem in court later because we used our senses.”
Danny motioned to Steve, See better.”
Chin grinned. “It’s a shame you can’t come with us, Brah.”
Steve and Tony looked at each other. Tony could feel Steve’s longing, but they couldn’t both go. “You go. I’ll stay here. You find him and bring the asshole in. Call if you need me.
Blair cleared his throat. “Excuse me, you can both go do your thing. We can stay here with Ella.”
Tony hesitated. Ella was his responsibility. “Are you sure?”
Blair shared a look with Jim who nodded. “Absolutely.”
Tony gave Blair a quick hug. “Thanks, man. I appreciate it. If she wakes up, there’s a bottle in the fridge, and she likes the dolphin toy the best. Oh and she likes to be rocked back to sleep, don’t bounce her. She’ll throw up all over you.”
Jim sighed. “We got it, just go already.” He pointed to the door.
Tony and Steve didn’t need to be told a third time. A few minutes later they were on their way to arrest William Burrows.”
The sun was setting as they pulled up to the motel. At first glance it wasn’t very impressive. It was old and run down, the green paint on the outside of the building was peeling. The place had been built in the 70’s, and no real attempt had been to update it so it was a real eyesore. It was the kind of place people went to disappear.
The motel was small only three floors, and the rooms could be accessed from inside the main lobby or one of three separate flights of stairs on the outside of the building. The parking lot was only about a quarter full so hopefully, there wouldn’t be many civilians to worry about.
Steve was extending his senses out, but at the moment he didn’t need Tony’s help for that. Tony took a few minutes to coordinate with the HPD officers that had come in as backup. There was also a SWAT team waiting nearby, but Tony really didn’t think they’d be needed. Still, it was better to be safe, killing a guide was serious business, and William Burrows would not be getting away from them tonight.
Chin came out of the front office. “The receptionist recognized Burrows right away. She said he’s been in his room all day and that he hasn’t gone out. He’s in room 215. It’s in the far left corner on the second floor” Chin pointed. There only about forty other guests staying here at the moment.”
Tony raised an eyebrow. “About forty, she doesn’t know exactly how many guests they have?”
Chin shrugged. “Apparently this isn’t the kind of place where they ask a lot of questions or keep strict records. She seemed really surprised I’d even asked.”
Tony pinched the bridge of his nose. “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me,” he said dryly. “I have uniforms covering all the possible exits he added to Steve.
Steve said. Steve turned on his comm unit. ”Listen up everyone. There are 45 civilians inside the building. Most of them should be safe if they stay inside their rooms. We have officers going door to door. I’m going to try to go in quietly and get him to surrender. He isn’t armed. I don’t see or smell any sign of a weapon. I don’t think we need to go in hot.
“Our perp is the only occupant in the room. Repeat our perp is alone. The only ways out of the room are the front door or the balcony. The bathroom window is too small. There are two people in the room next store. Only two other rooms near his are occupied. Danny, have a uniform escort them all out quietly. I don’t want anyone getting hurt. Everyone else get into position. ”
“Got it,” Danny acknowledged through their earpieces. “Give us a couple of minutes.”
They went up the stairs to the second floor getting into position. Steve had chosen the stairs closest to Burrows rooms so that they were standing just around the corner from the door.
While they waited Tony took Steve’s hand in his. “Senses good?” he asked quietly.
Steve nodded. “Smell is spiking a little, so I’m keeping it dialed down from now on, but otherwise I’m fine. I need you to stay behind me.”
“I know. Don’t worry I’ll keep myself safe.”
Steve squeezed his hand. “I know you will.”
Danny’s voice broke the moment. “Civilians are safe, and everyone is in place. We’re ready to go on your signal Steve.”
Steve took a deep breath and his posture relaxed in preparation. “We have a go.” Steve walked up to the door and knocked. “Burrows this is five-O open up,” he called out. “We have you surrounded. There’s nowhere for you to go.”
“One second,” a male voice called out. The voice sounded shaky.
They waited for a second, but Chin’s voice came over the comms “Steve he’s trying to climb over the balcony.”
Steve kicked the door in Tony following close behind. Steve ran to the balcony in time to see Burrows jump off the balcony onto the balcony below. Steve followed easily jumping down and gave chase.
Tony watched as Steve quickly caught up with the guy and tackled him to the ground. A moment later he was in handcuffs and swearing up a storm, screaming about police brutality.”
Tony left the room and ran down the steps. As he went, he could hear Steve talking to Burrows over the comm. “Shut up,” Steve told him. “William Burrows you are under arrest for the murder of Paula Anderson. Steve went on to read him his rights as he led Burrows toward one of the police cars.
Steve was getting Burrows settled in the back of a car when Tony got close enough to sense him. What he felt made him stop in his tracks in surprise. How did we miss this? He wondered. His heart rate started hammering in his chest, and Steve turned to look at him.
“What’s wrong?” Steve asked concerned. “You’re heart’s racing.”
Tony nodded toward Burrows. “I’m alright. Secure the prisoner. Then we’ll talk.”
Once Burrows was secure Steve and Tony got in the car and followed the HPD van back to headquarters.
As soon as they were alone Steve asked him what was wrong.
Tony sighed. “Burrows is dormant Steve.”
Steve gasped quietly. “Dormant? Something like that definitely should have been in the file. I didn’t see any physical abnormalities that would account for it.”
Tony shrugged. “Dormant isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It wouldn’t have necessarily set off warning flags for Paula. People are either born dormant or go dormant for lots of reasons. It could easily be something we can’t see. Something as simple as an underlying heart condition. The man is violent, but he doesn’t exhibit psychopathic behavior. As far as we know this was his first offense. I don’t think that’s the reason he’s dormant.”
Steve nodded, “His record doesn’t show any other signs of violence,” he agreed.
Tony sighed. “However, his dormancy might be what set him off. Being near a guide especially an online one and not being able to bond with her. Especially if he felt rejected by her.” He didn’t have proof but his gut said he was on to something important.
“The younger sister did say she admitted to being afraid. Maybe she’d finally decided she’d had enough, and asked him to leave. Of course, this is all supposition until we talk to him.”
“We’ll be doing that soon enough. We got him,” Steve tone held a deep satisfaction.
“Yes, we did, and there weren’t even any shots fired. When we get back to HQ, we both have permission to interrogate him using our gifts.”
Steve nodded. “It’ll go faster with the two of us. Good. I want to get a confession out of this guy. Not that we’re going to need it to put him away for good. The evidence is pretty overwhelming.”
Steve didn’t say it, but he wanted to know why. Tony understood that because he wanted to know too. Tony had seen a lot of murders in his career, but the domestic violence cases, especially those involving children were some of the hardest. They stayed with you long after they were over. He could also admit that he wanted answers on Ella’s behalf. She would ask about her mother someday, and we wanted her to get the answers that she needed.
In the end, it didn’t take much to get William Burrows to talk. He took one look at the interrogation room with its cement walls and started trembling before they even got him into the chair.
Steve didn’t even bother to hold back. ”Did you kill Paula Anderson?” he asked outright.
Burrows’ voice shook. “What? No, I didn’t I’d never hurt her.” Tony could feel his surprise. Ne hadn’t been expecting Steve to be so direct.
“That’s a lie,” Steve said calmly. “You have to know it’s no use trying to fool me. Not only is it almost impossible to lie to a sentinel but we also have your fingerprints around the victim’s throat. Tell me, William, how did it feel to strangle your girlfriend with your bare hands?”
Burrows gasped “I didn’t! I loved her. I’d never hurt her,” he shouted.
“Lie,” Steve said coldly. “I have some pictures I’d like you to look at.”
That was his cue. They hadn’t really expected Burrows to admit the truth. Tony stepped forward. He handed Burrows two pictures of the crime scene. One was a close up of Paula’s throat, and the other was of the bruises on Paula’s back.
Burrows took the pictures, but he didn’t look at them. Instead, he stared at Tony. “You’re a guide,” he said. His tone was almost reverent.
“Yes, I am,” Tony said. Burrows was a riot of emotions. It was hard to pick them all out, primarily there was fear, anger, and deceit. Burrows was definitely lying. He’d help up longer against Steve than Tony had been expecting.
Burrows reached out to grab his hand, but Tony took a step back. Burrows frowned at him, and Tony could feel his mounting frustration and fury.
His eyes were still on Tony. “You tell him I didn’t do anything. You can tell I’m not lying. I swear I’m not.”
Tony shook his head. “I’m sorry, but I can tell you’re lying about killing her, but I also know you really didn’t mean to hurt her.” He projected understanding.
Burrows nodded his head enthusiastically. “That’s right that’s right. You understand I know you do.” His gaze pleaded with Tony.
Tony used his guide voice to gently compel Burrows to be honest with him. “I don’t, but I want to. Look at what you did to her, William.” He eld up the photos again. Burrows glanced at them but then quickly looked away.
“Please, stop,” He said. He swallowed hard.
Tony knew he needed to push. “Why don’t you tell me what happened?” Tony didn’t enjoy this part of his job. He didn’t like compelling people, but he comforted himself with the knowledge that Burrows wasn’t being hurt. Having the entire truth might even help him in court.
Burrows looked like he wanted to say no, but Tony judiciously nudged him again. You want to answer me, he thought. You want me to know the truth. This time Burrows couldn’t resist him anymore. He began babbling and looking at Tony as if for approval.
“It wasn’t my fault, you see. Paula drew me to her from the first time I saw her. She was smart and so beautiful. She was online, but she wasn’t interested in being a guide. Not in any real way. She was only a level two, so she didn’t have much power.”
Ah, that explained a lot Tony thought. He smiled encouragingly at Burrows “Go on.”
“I didn’t think she’d give me the time of day, but she did. She actually asked me out, if you can believe it. She told me later I reminded her of her husband. I admit I didn’t like hearing that so much. That was the first time I hit her when she told me that. I just got so angry I couldn’t help it.”
“Why were you so angry,” Tiny asked quietly.
Burrows’ face turned red. “Well I’m dormant, you see. I have a heart murmur. It was enough to keep me offline. It never bothered me much until I started seeing Paula. She was so amazing, and I started to wonder what it would be like to be bonded with her. It made me angry that I’d never get the chance.
“I asked her if there was anything she could do, but she said there wasn’t. I was disappointed. Later I thought maybe she was lying so I got angry, and I hit her when she denied it. Over and over I wanted her to hurt like I did. I wanted her to know how I felt” Burrows shifted uneasily in his chair. His eyes were still locked on Tony.
Burrows continued without prompting. “She tried to fight me off with her empathy, but she wasn’t strong enough. I was able to fight her off instead.” Burrows was pleased by this.
“And it only made me angrier, so she promised not to do it again. Things were good then for a while when she didn’t make me angry. It was her fault for making me hurt her.” Burrows’ voice shook, and Tony could feel his anger intensifying.
Tony took a deep breath, His stomach was churning, but he ignored it, He had to keep going. He had a feeling they were almost done. Up until now, Steve had kept his distance, but Tony still took comfort from his presence. He felt Steve move a little closer to them so he could step in if necessary. Tony knew Steve didn’t like how agitated Burrows was now.
“What happened the night Paula died, Will,” Tony asked.
Burrows started fighting in his seat, and he looked away from Tony and then behind him at Steve. “I don’t” his voice trailed off.
“Tell me,” Tony commanded, and he put a little more of his power behind it.
Burrows shook his head but he spoke haltingly “I didn’t mean to hurt her. I really didn’t. It was her bitch of a sister that put the idea in her head. So really it’s all her fault. Paula called me that night to tell me that she didn’t want to see me anymore. I tried to talk her out of it, but she was determined.
“I couldn’t let her leave me. Even if we can’t bond I needed her, she was mine. I knew I had to stop her, so I drove over to her house. She didn’t want to let me in at first, but I told her I’d make a huge scene if she didn’t so finally she opened the door.”
There were tears in Burrows’ eyes now, and he was wringing his hands together.
“We got into a huge fight. Paula refused to change her mind. I got so angry I slapped her around. I didn’t hit her that hard, but she cried, and she said this time she was going to call the police. I couldn’t let that happened. I grabbed her phone. She tried to fight me, but she wasn’t strong enough. I didn’t mean to kill her, but I needed her to be quiet, so I put my hands around her throat and squeezed, and squeezed until she went limp in my arms.”
“What happened then?” Tony asked calmly. He could see everything far too clearly in his mind’s eye.
Burrows was openly crying now, tears running down his cheeks. “I tried to shake her awake, but she wouldn’t wake up. Then I realized he wasn’t breathing. I tried to do CPR, but it didn’t work. She was dead. I had killed her. I was scared, so I ran.” Burrows slumped back into his chair crying openly.
“Thank you for telling me the truth William,” Tony said calmly.
On the Inside, though he felt sick. You have to let it go,” he told himself. No matter how long he did this, confessions never got easier.
Steve quietly walked over to the intercom on the wall. “Did you get all that,” he asked his voice flat. Tony could feel his fury.
“Yeah we got it,” Danny said.
“Good, book him.”
He opened the door and motioned to Tony, and they walked out without another word.