Limelight (3/?)

By Liam
I just want to say, it should be quite obvious who killed Fincher. This wasn't meant to be a big mystery story. I have something else in mind for it.


Fox Studios
March 20, 2003

The funeral for Charles Emerson Fincher, the 33-year-old divorcee with a habit of missing alimony payments, was held the previous day at Oakville Cemetery just outside Los Angeles.

The day had been cold and dreary, with a light sprinkling of rain now and again. Cordelia had attended, along with many other cast and crewmembers of the show. The man may have an asshole, but you couldn’t tell from the stirring eulogies he received. Cordelia had wondered why it was that when you died, everybody seemingly became your friend.

Production had stalled during those few days between his murder and the funeral. So Cordelia was left to stay at home and ponder the question of who in the hell could have killed Charles Fincher. Time and again, her mind came up blank.

The police weren’t that much help either. After much interrogation, including two different interviews with Cordelia herself, the Los Angeles Police Department seemed to be in a stymie of their own about who the murderer could be.

The news of the producer’s death became a hot topic, even making a few mentions on CNN. The Los Angeles Times and local news stations were having a field day with the story. Violence was good for ratings. And when it was someone in the entertainment business, it was all the hotter. OJ and Robert Blake were proof of that.

“What are you thinking about?” Angel asked softly.

A few years ago she would have jumped at his sudden appearance. Now, it didn’t even faze her. The vampire knelt by the lobby chair that Cordelia occupied, ready to listen to what she had to say.

“Just wondering who could have killed Fincher,” she admitted. “I’ve dealt with demons killing people, but that doesn’t seem like what happened. Whatever killed him was human. I don’t know how to feel about that.”

“I don’t think you have to feel any certain way about it,” Angel told her. “Like you said, this killer is human. Whoever is responsible for this, it’s the police department that has to deal with it, not you.”

“I know,” Cordelia said. “It’s just going to be strange to be on set tomorrow knowing that someone died there.”

Angel stroked Cordelia’s cheek softly, trying to offer whatever support he could. He hated it when she beat herself up over things that weren’t her fault.

“I’ll make a deal with you,” Angel said. He waited until Cordelia focused on him before he continued. “Tomorrow, you go into work and do the best job that you can. I’ll snoop around and see what I can figure out, okay?”

Cordelia nodded and kissed the vampire’s hand. “I guess that’s acceptable.”

“Good. Now why don’t you come upstairs and get some sleep? You could use the rest.” Angel took her hand and led her up to their bedroom. Tomorrow she would go to work, and so would he.

“Sir, I don’t think that is advisable,” Agent Laura Crane told Police Chief Derrick Cope. “We don’t have enough evidence to show that Ford is the killer. If you go and raid his home, and he’s not the right man, then the police department could look very foolish.”

“Thank you, Agent Crane, but if I wanted your advice I would have asked for it.” The overweight and balding police chief stared the young agent down before turning to Agent Parker. “I don’t have to take suggestions from you. You are here because I asked for consultation to find a killer. You did that. You may return to DC whenever you wish.”

Jack Parker stared calmly back at the police chief. “Of course sir,” he spoke softly. “You must pardon Agent Crane, she seems to have a tendency to get over excited. We will leave you to your decision, but we shall stay for a few more days, in case you find any further use for us.”

Cordelia huffed according to script at the putdown. When they were dismissed, she stormed from the office and waited for Parker to follow. “I may be young, Agent Parker, but I do not appreciate how you spoke of me in there. You know as well as I that Cope could be making a huge mistake. As a professional and my partner, I would expect some support.”

“I know that he is, Agent Crane. But you must learn that being confrontational with the locals rarely is helpful. You must learn to be more diplomatic.”

Crane sputtered a few syllables before turning and walking off camera. The camera stayed on Parker a few moments before the director yelled…

“Cut! Print that section!”

George Coney immediately fell out of character and pulled a pack of cigarettes from his suit coat. “I shoulda taken the job of Grissom on CSI,” he muttered before heading off to find coffee.

Cordelia decided that she wanted something to drink and went to find the cooler. Weaving her way through the soundstage, she finally found a catering table with some snacks and sodas. It was there that she found Amanda Carver and Sarah Reese chatting away. Carver played an agent that worked in the same unit as Cordelia’s character, while Reese played a pathologist. The girl’s played best friends on the show, and they seemed to be best friends off the show as well.

“Hey guys, what’s up?” Cordelia asked cheerily. The girls gave her a quick glance before going back to their conversation. “Hey, what’s wrong?” Cordelia didn’t understand why they didn’t talk back.

“What’s wrong?” Amanda asked. “What’s wrong is that you’ve got the job that I wanted. I tried out for the role of Laura Crane, and Mister Kramer said I had a good chance to win it. That’s before you came along.”

“Yeah,” Sarah added. “What did you do, or rather, who did you do to get the role?”

“Excuse me?” Cordelia asked. She didn’t believe this little bitch had the nerve.

“Did you fuck one of the producer’s to get the job?” Amanda continued. “Or maybe the show creator?” Amanda looked over Cordelia with a distasteful glare. “Although why anyone would fuck you is beyond me. Especially with that hairstyle.”

Amanda and Sarah grabbed their sodas and walked off, leaving a very disturbed Cordelia in their wake. She had to find someplace quiet so she could do something she hadn’t done in a long time. Cry.

It was surprisingly easy to slip into the morgue of Los Angeles General Hospital. With the help of Fred’s computer mojo, Angel learned that it was here that Charles Fincher was brought after his murder.

Angel opened the doors to Examination Room 3 and looked around. The place was incredibly sterile. Angel could smell the bleach used to disinfect to place. Stepping across the tile floors, he found the office connecting rooms three and four.

A pair of file cabinets lined the near wall, and Angel figured that to be the place to start his search. Flipping through the cabinets, he finally found a file marked ‘Fincher, Charles’. He didn’t understand most of the technical stuff, but he did get the important info.

Angel pulled out his cell phone and dialed Cordelia. After five rings, the sound of his obviously distressed Seer filled his ear.

“Cor, baby, what’s wrong?”

Cordelia was sitting in her jeep, a box of Kleenex in the seat next to her. “Nothing,” she said, wiping her face. “Just a weird day at work. Nothing important. What’s up?”

Angel didn’t believe a word of it, but decided not to call her on it, not yet anyway. It would have to wait until she came home. “I’ve been snooping around the pathologist’s office, trying to find some clues. It’s kind of sketchy, but the pathologist concluded that the murder weapon resembled something like a hammer.”

“A hammer?” Cordelia asked. “That’s not exactly an uncommon item on set.” Realization began to dawn on her face. “The murderer must be one of the carpenters that construct our sets.”

“Any idea which one?”

“I don’t know,” Cordelia answered. “There are probably two dozen employed on the show. It could take a while to discern which one.”

“You want me to come down?” Angel asked.

“No,” Cordelia said. She definitely did not want him here. “I’ll keep my eyes open.”

The other end was silent for a few moments. “Are you sure you’re okay, Cor?”

“Yeah. Just a bit of a rough day, no biggie. I’ll see you tonight. I love you.”

“I love you, too. See you tonight.” Cordelia held the phone to her ear long after Angel hung up. She already missed the sound of his voice.

“What out for the spill, ladies,” a staff member told Amanda and Sarah. “Some moron spilled the water barrel for the cooler.”

“Oh, thanks,” Amanda smiled at the cute guy. To Sarah she asked, “Isn’t he like a line producer or something?”

“No, I think he’s the Second Unit Director,” Sarah answered. The girls continued to chat, not paying attention to the water pooling at their feet.

“Oh shit!” a voice cried out. The bolts holding a lighting pole to the floor came loose, and the electric lights came crashing down, right at the edge of the pooling water. The electric currents ripped through the water, sending the girls flying.

Several crewmembers carefully pulled the pole from the water, while others rushed to check on the women. The on-set medic pushed aside the crowds to administer first aid. Trying to find their pulses, he reached a disturbing realization.

“Call an ambulance, get them here now!” A stagehand rushed to do as ordered, but the medic didn’t think it would do much good.

Both girls were dead.