Chapter Five: Making Headway
Tony wanted to get to the girl who visited him as soon as possible, so Aaron sent Kate’s group to start at the first scene while they started at the last one. They’d intersect at some point, but that couldn’t be helped. Will advised if they got to a scene and Tony’s group was already there they’d just wait in their SUV. Aaron accepted that and promised if they would do the same if Will’s group got there first.
They’d just arrived at the last scene, which was Meghan Flannery’s kill site. Aaron and Spencer were hanging back and letting Tony and Sam do their thing, which he appreciated. He knew that this was all new, but Tony needed time with just himself and Sam.
He was trying to forget that this was the first time his husband had really watched him work so that his nerves didn’t interfere with what he needed to do. It was hard, though. The only time Aaron had seen Tony’s gifts at work, was in a relatively controlled setting of their home or occasionally out in public somewhere. This was a whole other ballgame. A part of him worried that his partner would realize how weird that he was, and it would hurt their relationship. He knew it was silly. He knew Aaron loved him, and that he accepted his gifts. He just… worried.
Tony was approaching the riverbank rambling a bit with Sam asking questions here and there when he felt something off to his left. Not questioning it, as he long ago learned not to think too much about the needs of the spirits he encountered, Tony headed in that direction.
“I feel something over here, Sam. It feels similar to this morning, only stronger. I think we’ve found our girl.”
“Can you see her, or are you just sensing her presence at this point?” Sam asked gently. It was his job to make sure that they documented as much as possible, and that all angles were covered.
“Just sensing,” Tony replied absently, and when the girl popped up, he stopped knowing Sam would stop behind him.
“I see her now. It is the same girl. She has long curly red hair that comes below her shoulders, and the bluest eyes I have ever seen. She’s wearing a red and white checkered dress that looks too thin for this time of year with a red sweater on. She feels sad but way more aware of her circumstances than I’d expect.”
Tony moved forward until he was standing just in front of the girl, who was now watching him with wide eyes. “I’m sorry I couldn’t understand you this morning.”
The girl nodded biting her lip. “I was too far away. My seanmháthair didn’t tell me that there was a distance limit. I just saw your light, and knew you would be able to help me.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know that word. It’s Gaelic right?” Tony said aloud and saw Sam moving slightly to get a better angle of his face.
“What’s she saying, Tony?” Sam asked quietly needing to know her part of the conversation since Tony was the only one who could hear her.
“She said that her seanmháthair didn’t tell her there was a distance limitation for communicating. I was about to explain and asked what that word meant.”
He saw the girl’s eyes flick to Sam, and Tony smiled kindly. “Don’t worry about Sam. He’s about as big of a teddy bear as there is. He gives the best hugs, too. He just needs to know what you’re saying since he can’t hear you.”
“You’re a Paranormal Investigator?” She asked sounding somewhat excited. “I wanted to do that, before the Kelpie. Seanmháthair means grandmother in Gaelic. She taught me about the supernatural.”
“The distance thing is primarily because you’re newly dead, although to be honest, most don’t travel far from their anchor points,” Tony explained kindly then looked to Sam.
“She explained that seanmháthair is grandmother. She was teaching her about the supernatural because she wanted to be a Paranormal Investigator like us. She mentioned Kelpies, Sam.”
“Is that what killed her?” Sam asked, and Tony shrugged then turned his attention back to the girl.
“I’m sorry. I’ve been so rude. My name is Tony. Are you Meghan Flannery? You mentioned Kelpie. Is that what killed you?”
The girl nodded sniffling. “Yes, I’m Meghan, and it was a Kelpie. My seanmháthair told me many stories about them from when she was a girl in Scotland. I knew better, but… he was so beautiful. I’d never seen a horse so beautiful. When he changed, he was stunningly handsome. I should have known better. I should have run, but he was so enchanting. My seanmháthair will be so disappointed in me.”
“Meghan, no,” Tony disagreed. He wished that he could reach out and hug her, but it wasn’t possible. Physical contact with a spirit only resulted in one thing, and as much as he liked her, he was not letting this dead girl ride his body.
“This isn’t your fault, and I am sure your grandmother loves you. When this case is solved, I will see if I can get her to come here with me so that you can say goodbye. Would that help? Is there anyone else you wish to speak with?”
Meghan shook her head looking terribly sad. “No, my parents are dead, and I had no siblings. It was just my seanmháthair and seanathair and I. I was supposed to take care of them. What will happen to them now?”
Tony felt the girl’s pain, and wanted to make it right, but knew he couldn’t. As much as he wanted to fix every hurt for the spirits that he encountered, he just couldn’t. He’d do what he could, and just hope that it was enough. Before he could speak again, the girl disappeared, and Tony knew it would be a day or two before she’d surface again.
Taking a deep breath, he turned and looked at Sam. “She said it was definitely a Kelpie. She saw it first in horse shape and thought it was beautiful. When it changed, she knew she should run, but said that he was enchanting. She said that she feels like her grandmother will be disappointed in her, and she’s worried what will happen to them. She was all they had. I told her when the case was wrapped up that I would try and get her grandparents here so that they could say goodbye. Jesus, I hate this part, Sam.”
Shaking his head sadly, Tony turned and headed to where Aaron and Spencer were waiting. They had questions, and he had some answers for them. Although he’d insist on seeing the other scenes to be sure, at least they had a starting point now.
It was lunch time, and both teams were squeezed into the conference room that they’d taken over in the Cape May PD building. The teams were discussing the things they found with mostly Tony’s team explaining what they found and what it meant, and the BAU team asking questions to try and figure out how they knew that. The only two not participating were Sam, who was trying to find as much information on Kelpie lore as he could, and Garcia who was trying to get him to turn his searching over to her.
Aaron was sitting next to Tony at the table, and feeling his husband’s gaze on him he turned to look to see what he wanted, although he already had a pretty good idea. The gentle tug of war going on between Sam and Garcia was being echoed by certain members of each team overall. It wasn’t anything demeaning, but the fact was the BAU team wasn’t used to not being the experts when they were on a case. While they said that they were just there to help the local law enforcement, they still expected them to do as the team wished. Only now that the shoe was on the other foot, a few were struggling to adapt.
Fortunately, Tony had anticipated this, and on the flight over instructed his team to make sure they didn’t react negatively and show as much as patience as they could. He’d promised that he’d let them handle situations their own way unless someone stepped over the line. At that point, he’d need to take the reins. He felt fortunate that his first official case with the FBI was with Aaron’s team because he had a feeling that his husband wouldn’t be so willing to share leadership normally. So, when Aaron lifted his eyebrow, Tony knew what he was asking.
Shaking his head ever so slightly, Tony responded to the unspoken question of should Aaron step in and tell Garcia to back off by advising that Sam would take care of it. The quick nod he got back advised him that Aaron understood, and would follow Tony’s lead for now. In response, Tony offered a half smile and tilted his head to one side to indicate that should things escalate after Sam did his thing, then Tony would let Aaron take care of it. The hand covering his briefly under the table said thank you.
“Really, Mr. Winchester, it would be much faster if you would just let me handle that. I am the Goddess of the All Knowing’,” she teased. From the way, Sam’s hand tightened on his coffee cup, and his eyes flicking to Tony, the group leader knew that one Penelope Garcia was about to be schooled Sammy style. Which meant generally gentle and understanding, but firm and ready to kick your ass verbally if he had to, then a hug to make things better afterward.
“We don’t throw around words like Goddess lightly, Ms. Garcia,” Sam started keeping his eyes focused on the laptop. Looking down the table, Tony saw Dean stop his discussion bordering on argument with Rossi, who was insisting that a BAU member be the one to take care of this creature and Will cover JJ’s hand with his own. Connecting his eyes to Dean’s, Tony again shook his head no, and fortunately, his younger brother nodded. He wasn’t foolish enough though to think that it would last if things escalated, but one could hope the team as a whole would learn a lesson here shortly.
“You never know what beings you are going to find on a case, and you would be surprised how many creatures or Gods of ancient myths can be found in some form.”
“Well, maybe you have your very own real life Goddess next to you then,” she replied trying to flirt her way into getting her way. “Seriously, I think you’ll get your answers much faster if you would just let me…”
“What’s the difference between a Werewolf, a Shapeshifter, and a Skinwalker?” Sam asked cutting her off.
“Wha… Werewolves? Skin… They’re all the same thing, but werewolves aren’t real.” She insisted as Sam continued to search for the information that he needed.
“Shapeshifters are creatures that can mimic any human they’ve come in contact with. Skinwalkers can take the form of any creature, but the most common is a dog. Werewolves are a type of Skinwalker that take wolf forms. There are also a handful of other types of subspecies of Skinwalkers that only take the form of one particular animal. Can a vampire survive on the blood of a non-human? What happens if they go out into the sunlight? What happens to their souls after vampires die?”
“Vam… I don’t…”
“Vampire packs can live on the blood of animals like cows as opposed to drinking human blood, although they must drink the blood of a human to complete their transformation. They can enter your house without being asked, and sunlight doesn’t affect them in the slightest. When they die their souls go to purgatory. What about Ghosts or human spirits? What is the legal way to move on a spirit, and what is the easiest way? If they are different can you ever use the easier way? Where does a Paranormal Investigator need to go to get information they can use in an investigation? Can they just kill anything they find? Can you ever throw a non-human into jail? Can they get life in prison? If so, what does that mean for something that can live hundreds or even thousands of years?”
This time she just blinked at him wide eyed and looking more than a little lost. Finally, Sam did stop his research to look at her. “Legally as a Paranormal Investigator you can only use exorcisms, smudging, saging, and other methods that won’t disrupt a sacred burial space. The fastest way is to dig up their body and salt and burn the bones. Generally, that is not allowed, but in extreme cases, if you have a highly violent malicious entity and have confirmation from a Medium Level 5 or Pinnacle Level like Tony, then you can salt and burn the bones provided there are no living family members who object within 4 generations of that spirit’s birth.
“A Paranormal Investigator must be able to prove that all lore and mythology used was gotten from an approved site online or literary source. Every page checked and book read must be logged to be submitted after the case is finalized by the Board of Paranormal Affairs. If a new source is found that is believed to be accurate, it must be submitted to the board for review. If they agree they will add it to the list, and ensure that a copy is available online.
“A being can only be killed if they are determined by a Level 5 or Pinnacle Medium that they are beyond rehabilitation. The kill must be done in the swiftest way possible. You may not for any reason torture a non-human entity to get information. However if they are considered to be a non-human terrorist entity then more extreme interrogation methods can be used by licensed interrogators like Dean, which would be similar to the interrogation of a human terrorist.
“A non-human entity can be thrown into prison, and there are six facilities currently in the United States that house these creatures. They can be sentenced to ‘life’ but that is considered to be 100 years per conviction. The courts can also rule with a death penalty, in which case they will call in a group like ours to carry out the sentencing. If any of these rules are not followed, then we can be fined, Tony can lose his license, and we can even be thrown in jail, along with the violent entity being released back into the public.”
As Garcia just gaped at him, the rest of the room just stayed silent. Tony hoped that in general the BAU team understood the seriousness of what they did.
“I know you mean well, Ms. Garcia, but in this instance, you are not the best option to get the information that we need to stop this Kelpie. Also, a word of warning, I wouldn’t let the wrong being hear you calling yourself a Goddess. I wasn’t kidding earlier. Some of those mythological Gods and Goddesses are real, and in our experience, they don’t take kindly to a mere mortal masquerading as one of them. I would hate to have something bad happen to you because of a former God or Goddess, who is now merely immortal, takes offense because no one believes in them any longer and they’re bitter about it. Your team needs you too much for the things that you are an expert in, and the world could use your kind of happiness.”
“I…,” Garcia started then half stood and threw her arms around Sam. “I’m sorry! I didn’t know. I just… I thought…”
“I know that we’re used to being the experts, and the kings of campus,” Aaron said softly. Tony let his free hand rest on his husband’s leg. The Unit Chief had done as Tony asked, and let Sam take care of it. It was understandable that he’d want to put his own emphasis on things and make sure that his team understood he agreed with Sam’s point.
“That isn’t the case here. If I thought that we could have handled it, I would have simply suggested the paranormal unsub possibility, and not called in the consulting team. The fact is that we aren’t trained, we don’t qualify for the training, and we have no business telling trained and highly respected Paranormal Investigators how to do their job. In this instance, we really are here just to advise them. If they tell us to jump, then it’s our job to say how high. This is a test for us. Can we set aside our egos to get this case closed?”
Dave sighed and leaned back in his chair holding up his hands in a surrender gesture. “By all means, I probably have the biggest ego in this room. But, that said, I am more than willing to set aside my big head if it means that innocent people stop dying.”
The others quickly nodded, and Tony saw Aaron’s shoulders relax slightly. Smiling, he began a discussion about how they could combine both areas of expertise to catch this creature.