"Clint, I’ll need you guys at my home address. It may be a prank, didn't sound like it. Might need the paramedics. Can you call them for me?" Steve asks hurriedly, no time for long chatter, no time for explanations. “We might need the crime scene guys instead." Half a beat, then Clint's already speaking, keys clicking away.
      “I'll get them down there as soon as possible. Has your address been changed in the system? Or haven't you gotten around to that yet?" Clint asks. "Tell me what is going on exactly." And of course, the scream wouldn’t have translated well over the phone. Not at all. It might have sounded like the background noise on TV.
      “I just heard an upstairs neighbor scream: ‘Oh my God. I think he’s dead’. She sounded genuinely scared, so I don't think it is some kind of prank or TV noise. I am going to check it out now. Probably best to wait on getting them until I have made sure though.”
      “Okay, we..." Steve has already thrown down the phone before Clint can finish his sentence, and almost bolts out of his apartment, forgetting to end the call. Bucky is already ahead of him, running up the second flights of stairs before Steve is halfway through the first flight. Just don't. Just don't let this be another murder, Steve can't help but think. It’s not that he needs his weekdays to be normal – he gave up on the idea of regular weekdays months ago – but for once, could they start at the normal time? Could his workday start after he's taken a shower, after he has been able to at least make him look decent? No matter how much Steve wants it not to be a murder, it still remains that there is a possible body on the seventh floor and that is not something that can wait. He gets to the top of the stairs and has to make his way around Bucky, who is standing there without moving, the metal fingers of his left hand – though they are still covered by the silicone sleeve – dig into the metal railing harder than Bucky probably even realizes. The railing is already starting to bend under his grip.
      Steve wants to say something about it. Tell Bucky to stop, to release his grip on the railing but then he sees what Bucky is staring at in shock, and he can't bring himself to. The moment he sees the man lying there, in the doorway of apartment 7-B, he wants to turn and run. Preferably far away, until he is out of breath and every muscle in his body aches for rest. He takes a moment to settle himself, deep breaths and then against his own instincts, he walks closer to the body.
      It is slumped together against the doorframe, like a rag doll thrown away by a careless child grown tired of its doll. One arm is stretched out as if he was still trying to get up, to maybe call 911 on his own. A cell phone lies an inch out of reach, it's screen is shattered, little cracks spiral out from the left corner. Calling 911 wouldn’t have made any difference, he would have bled out before the paramedics even left the hospital. There is an impressive amount of blood pooled around him, it is almost like a little pond. It's immediately clear where it all comes from: the left side of his neck is one open wound, skin raw and thorn. Fresh blood still leaks down onto the shirt and onto the wooden floorboards. It runs into every single crease and crevice, it even runs underneath the metal threshold, into little cracks that it shouldn't even be able to creep into. Most of the blood is on his shirt, though. It is so soaked that only the edges of his right sleeve still show the original gray. The rest is a thickly layered blur of blood, all of it sticking to a lifeless torso as it is starting to dry out. That's not what finally makes Steve recognize the person lying there. It's the glasses. Once too big, they now lie on a bloodless spot of flooring four feet away from the body. The frames are bent and broken, glasses seemingly deliberately shattered into many little pieces. It is Colin. Colin Matthews. Steve closes his eyes slowly and then opens them again. But Colin is still there. God damn it.
      Bucky's just staring at Colin’s body, wide-eyed and in shock. If Steve could, he would be doing the exact same thing. Just staring in shock and not doing a thing. He can’t afford to. This is just another crime scene and he needs it contained. He kneels down next to Colin and against better judgment, checks for a pulse. No matter how much pressure he puts on Colin’s thin wrist, no matter how much he squishes the veins in it, all that meets him is an odd stillness. Colin's wrist is still warm against Steve's skin, not as hot as it should be, but still… it wouldn’t have stood out in winter. Whoever killed him, has done it very recently. They might have missed the killer by a minute, nearly passed him on the stairs. The silencer theory stands, then. Because that is a gunshot wound if Steve’s ever seen one. And he has seen plenty of them.
      Steve stands back up, knees popping as he does. First step: preserve the crime scene. Keep people from entering and exiting. He can’t do that alone and he still needs to call the rest of the team. Bucky is still standing at the top of the stairs, pale as a sheet and not moving. The woman who has found the body isn’t in any better state; she is sitting on one of the steps leading up to the eighth and final floor, head in her hands and she’s crying. Not the ugly sobbing, or wailing, but silent tears that trickle down to her elbow and fall down onto the wood.

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