Another Note: Crime Scenes

BY : Resting-Madness
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 2237
Disclaimer: I don't make money from this work of fiction. I don't own the realm of death note's creation like characters and plot, and world. None of it is mine.

Matt's lips roll the cigarette to the other side of his mouth as he washes that side of his neck. Coughing, he swore quietly at the wall beside him due to the ache in his chest. 'Fucking bullet wounds.' He thinks to himself. Of course, it wouldn't have killed him to not smoke while bathing.

Matt watched the smoke billowing from his mouth, bonding with the steam from the hot shower water. It felt damned good to get clean! His dirt was a ripe greyish color before it turned brown. He knew those nurses at the hospital didn't have a clue about hygiene. A little sponge and a tub of hot water... Ha! Not to mention the unintrusively quick swishing of the sponge going over his bedridden body.

"Shit." He groaned.

Having turned his head too quickly to rinse his neck from the soap; the spray of water ran right over the tip of the cigarette putting the little white stick out fast. A sigh of discontent and he plucks the thing from his mouth setting it down on the silver soap dish that's indented into the black-marble-tile. It's for the best, smoking was distracting him from the shower anyway.

The hacker's hand paused in its reach for the shampoo; he thought he saw a shadow through the open doorway in the main part of the room. He eased his question with the answer that Mello had said he'd tell someone to get him food, it was probably the butler. He's not used to living in a place that has servants. Sure, he's stayed in hotels more than his own apartment; but housekeeping doesn't let their self in your room and discretely clean it. They make a show of showing up, then practically order you out so they can do their work.

He soaped up his hair with some very fragrant shampoo; lavishing in the clean feeling his hands are bringing. His hair is thankfully cleaner than his body, so he made quick work of it washing and rinsing. He hated to get out, really, but he knew he couldn't spend the day in the shower. Especially when he's got food waiting for him.

Leaning over through the stream of liquid he pops the knob back in to turn off the water. He didn't know old almost castle mansions like this had showers in them. But then again, the shower could be new. England has very old homes mixed in with the new, so the shower could have been added in some time after L began living in the place.

Exiting the tub, Matt then retrieves the towel from the bar seven feet away from the bath and wraps it around his waste. He can't believe how thick it is- he could get lost in the threading! He either needs to put some weight back on before he reaches singing idol status, or learn the secret to becoming this rich because the luxury is nice.

Lifting the lid from a covered tray, he couldn't help but grin upon seeing 2 large rosemary-encrusted roast pork sandwiches topped with sweet peppers, sided by a big bowl of kettle cooked potato chips; he'd of preferred a soda of some kind but figured the two protein shakes- and he can smell the difference between a normal chocolate milkshake and one laced with supplement easily- would suit him all right.

'I wonder where the squirt i..' He's cut off by the mentioned "squirt" going by. "Near! Hey," He waves.

Near froze, a hard side glance cast Matt's way before he turned to address him properly. "You look well."

"Somewhat feel it, too." Replied the computer tech. "What are you doing so far? Maybe I can help until Mello gets back."

"I've got Gevanni compiling files for me."

"Mm." Removing his towel, shamelessly, he gives himself a once over to dry off before he dresses. "We could still hang out. I can eat and still do junk."

He thought over the proposition. "Do you know how to play King's in the Corner?"

"Yeah." He takes a bite of a sandwich. "Bring it in here."

Near seemed hesitant but went off to his room to snag a deck of playing cards, bringing them back into Matt's room; having returned he looks around the expansion of the empty space then spotting Matt taking a seat at a table set meant for two, he joins him.

Swallowing his bite, he licks the juice from the corner of his mouth before commenting. "Mello wants to switch rooms with you."

"So let him," Near says with little care. Setting up the game with four singular cards around the deck sitting in the center of the table, he deals them seven cards then nods to Matt that he can start.

They play the game in silence; Matt's crunching and chewing being the only real sounds in the room being purposefully made. After ten minutes and some change, Matt shakes his head in defeat.

"Looks like you win." Looking over his cart of nourishment, he finds the cupboard bare. "Best two of three?"

"Sounds like odds." Near looks up from the deck he's shuffling. "What's the bet?"

"Loser has to greet Kira when he and L show up... with a smile." He puts on a cocky grin knowing that he'd only been playing to play, and hadn't yet gotten serious. As serious as one can get in a game so easy anyway.

Near fixed Matt with a hard glare, then a smirk came across his mouth. "Alright, Matt." He curls a lock of hair around his index finger. "You've got a deal."

0 0 0

Light's in the middle of physical therapy, under L's scrutiny. He wondered, as he paces the barred-in path, if this is what it's going to be like living with L. Under constant surveillance. Creepy thought. His steps pause...

'Why does it feel so familiar? Being watched by L...' He blinks a slideshow of fuzzy reels, all of them images he can't seem to recall being real or not. They didn't feel real, but neither did they feel false. Flashes that don't snap together, the puzzle pieces are correct but they've changed somehow, like from water expansion or fraying from over-se. 'What am I thinking... Anyone being stared at is gonna feel watched beyond what's really being done. He's just making sure everything's all right.' He looks at L, who offered him one of his strange smiles in return.

"You're a very fast healer, Light. It's incredible!" The nurse prides over him. "I'd better not brag, all the other patients may become jealous."

"All the other patients don't have the same will as Light." Responds L.

"Ohhh, I think that's unfair to say, Mr. Hideki." She shakes her head. "Everyone has to recover in their own time, their own way."

Light made a sound that could be considered a sort of laugh. "Don't say that to Ryuzaki, his rebuttal would be somewhere along the lines of 'if the healing method is the same for every patient, then wouldn't it stand that the result of time to heal be equal as well'. In which case, he'd be right."

"Thank you, Light. Astute as always."

Light ignored the comment. Knowing L's inner workings would really be of no gain to him. Although he's sure he has no need or reason to one-up the detective.

The nurse, however, only shrugged a hand. "A person's body does what it does."

Light's stomach chose that time to growl in a show of its hunger.

"Looks like somebody needs to eat." Helping Light's slow movement over to the wheelchair, she removes the stirrups for his feet once he sits down in it, then replaces them so he can put his feet up. "I'll take you back to your room. And then send a nurse with your meal."

It was like being four again, being told every move you're to make as an entirety before you're let loose to do it, with little self-time in between to be an unchoreographed child. He can't wait to get out of the hospital, he's not a fan of going back in time. If he can move, let the movement be forward.

The nurse allowed Light into L's care once they reached the room; she assumed he'd help the young man into his bed for her. But L did nothing of the sort, resuming his place on the seat by the bed; laptop turned on in his finish.

He wouldn't say so, but Light was glad to be left alone to get back into bed. He's walking better, and his movements are almost as fluid as they used to be. But by the end of the week, when he and L go to England, he plans to be back to his full merit. It's one thing to work in Japan, but going overseas is L's territory and he's not sure how the other agents will work with him- considering the track record he has with Near. Mello he's never formally met. But he's entirely sure that if he's slo-mo in comparison to their pace, he'll be left behind and left out. Not that he can't work alone. Speaking of which.

"How's the investigation going?" He asks once situated.

"Nothing from either side yet." Looking at Light, he turns the laptop so the monitor is facing him. "Would you like to look it over? What the police have given me." He lifts the PC to hand over to the patient. "Helping with the investigation, you should be on the same page as everyone else."

Light clicked open the folder marked Case Files, one after the other, he's reading over the reports typed out and looking over the photos of the crime scene. "Have the cops talked to the neighbors yet?"

L shook his head. "It would have been in the report." Removing the laptop and setting it back onto the bedside table, he comments. "I'll see that Mello and Near's information gets to you."

"Thank you."

"So, Light..." He attempts small talk in the brief silence that passed. "Do you have any plans once we get to London?"

"Working the case seems like a pretty good one."

L's large eyes run over Light's form. "I meant if you couldn't work the field, quite as quickly."

"Hn. You make it sound as if I should get a job and find an apartment as a filler." He locks eyes with the detective.

"Nothing of the sort," L taps his fingers on his knees. "I only meant, you shouldn't push yourself."

"...I won't."

They spot the nurse, ending the conversation there.

"I hope you're in the mood for tea," The nurse smiles kindly.

Sliding the cart over to the bed, she lifts the little table from beside the bed then sets the tray of food down on top of it. Light picks up his chopsticks, going into his lunch as usual starting with the folded egg, then a bite of rice.

The nurse seemed pleased with his appetite and took her leave shortly after the fifth bite.

"I should get something to eat." L announced in a tone that seemed almost offended that he wasn't offered anything. "I'll be back shortly." He wanders out of the room.

'London. What am I gonna do in London?' He wonders over his meal. 'Near and Mello have their teams already... L doesn't seem interested in the case beyond giving it a once over, and issuing detectives to it.' He pulls the lid from his blueberry yogurt. 'Guess I'll have to get a team together for myself.'

And he knew just the candidate.

0 0 0

Their game of cards turned into a duel of games, because before one could gloat over the ruin they'd just given to the other they begin another game but of Cribbage instead; figuring they'd go with a game of British origins, being in London and all.

Cribbage uses a standard 52-deck of cards. The jokers are removed; the suits are equal in status. The players cut for first deal, with the player cutting the lowest card- the Ace counts as one and is the lowest card- dealing first. If the cutters tie, the cards are re-shuffled and re-cut. The dealer shuffles offer the deck to the player on his right to cut -required in tournament play, and deals cards singly to each player, starting with the player on his left. During the deal, if any card is exposed by the dealer or found face-up in the deck, cards must be redealt.

Cards must be dealt so that each player should end up with four cards after the crib is formed, and the crib should also have four cards. For two players, each is dealt six cards- though some play with five cards that are dealt to each player and two to the crib. For three or four players, each is dealt five cards. In the case of three players, a single card is dealt face down in front of the dealer to start the crib.

"I've always wanted to ask you," Matt begins out of the blue. "are you getting any?"

Not missing a beat, Near says calmly. "I don't see how that's any of your business."

Matt shrugged his shoulder. "I'm just making small talk." Removing a cigarette from the pack, he lights up. "How old are you? Almost eighteen?"

Near kept to himself on the matter. Its really noones' business whether or not he's having sex. Even through uncaring "small talk" over a game of cards.

"I wish Mello could hang out like this." Matt goes on, deciding it's better to chatter than to sit quietly in an activity.

It'd be the opposite with a stranger and Matt, they'd be talking through his awkward silence. He doesn't really know Near as well as he knows Mello, but he at least knows Near, and for him, that's good enough.

"Nothing's stopping him." Replied the detective.

"True, but..." he makes a move, tagging his board for the score, "you don't know what it's like deciding you have a rival." He wheezed a chuckle at his comment.

"You've got a point there."

"Don't tell him I said that." He shakes his head chuckling.

Mello chose that time to enter the room. Eyes sharpened to a glare as he eyeballs Near while approaching the table; the two remain unaware of whether he'd heard them or not. "Isn't this cozy. I'm out on the field and you're sitting here playing games."

"I was only waiting for you to get back so we can go." Matt stands.

Looking at Near, he snips. "Your team left before me, shouldn't you be working?"

Cleaning up his game: stacking the scoreboards, replacing the pegs into their bag, and the cards in the box, Near replies smoothly. "My men are compiling files for me to look over. If I can't rely on them for that much they're in the wrong line of business."

"Whatever."

"If you'll excuse me, I have to replace my things in the next room." He said for Mello's sake to spare him of asking- or in Mello's case- demanding- after a topic already discussed and decidedly over.

Waiting for Near to leave, Matt then held up his hands in defense that he's innocent until proven guilty. Mello waved it off and shoved the camera into Matt's hand. "Upload these then let's go."

"Where?" He walks the camera over to his computer, grabbing the HDMI cord he sticks it into the camera and laptop then sends the file over into a folder marked for the case.

"We're gonna interview witnesses, namely the guy who woke up at the crime scene."

Removing the cord, he closes the lid on the laptop putting it into sleep mode so he doesn't have to boot-up again once they return. The camera is tucked into the drawer of the writing desk.

Matt comments on the activity, following Mello out of the room. "It is fishy to wake up in a house full of bodies, none of which you're related to, and not have done it."

"We can ask the neighbors once we're done." He felt a pang of hunger after walking into the room and smelling whatever Matt had eaten a while ago, but lunch would have to wait for the time being.

"I'll drive." Matt clomps down the stairs almost two at a time. "I just hope L's got something other than a showy town car, or limo. I've never driven a limo, and I'm not about to start being seen as a chau...fer. Wow." Wide eyed he looks over three cars that had him reconsidering all the ideas he had in his head of what L is like as a person.

Mello could only smirk over how he'd felt the same way when seeing the bikes. And he felt kind of ticked that he couldn't ride it again. It didn't matter how he got there, though he would have preferred the bike, being a passenger is just as good.

Climbing into the driver's seat of the muscle car, Matt mumbles something Mello can't understand before he climbs in after him. He chuckles when an ungloved hand smooths over the dashboard with care.

"You need to pay me better." He teases Mello while sliding his glove back on.

"Do something worthy of being paid for." He joked right back.

He missed this. He missed it while Matt slept through medication induced comas, he missed it while believing Matt was dead when he'd really been hospitalized, more so when he'd been sent to London and was ordered to stay away. Mello and his right hand.

"Try to not drive in physical homage to Grand Theft Auto, we don't wanna get a lawsuit from hitting Super Nanny." He puts a boot up on the dash while leaning back in his seat, waiting to be carted to 1304 Sheridan Lane.

...

The silver muscle pulled into a space half a block from the witnesses home; they circled the block a couple times for a spot that's closer but it would seem no one had anywhere to go, leaving no free spaces for them to filtch. The walk up was through brisk and unseasonably cool weather conditions for May. Spring usually has a nice breeze, but it's always warm and relaxing. These phenomena must be a London thing. Sort of like the sky that looks one cloud short of rain.

Resisting the urge to rub his bare arms free from the chill, Mello lifts the knocker on the red door giving it a few hefty beatings against the door-plate. He really shouldn't have worn a tee shirt; he's been in London longer than anyone and should have known better.

"Is he even home?" Matt wonders.

With the way the rowhouses are built, he can't peek through a downstairs window without leaning heavily over the iron railing. And with that came the risk of falling over onto a set of stairs that lead down into the backdoor of the home.

Their ears perk when a rattle pierces the silence in the neighborhood. It definitely came from inside the home. Mello points to the back stairs and going down that way he also signals for Matt to stay put in case the guy tries to flee.

Creeping softly down the stairs then along a short passage to the door, he spots the homeowner through the window. He looked spooked at the shadow on the wall and floored it through the kitchen into the living room.

"Matt, he's running!" Mello called up to the red head.

Bracing himself, he wasn't fully braced for the front door springing open and a shower of pepper spray sailing his way. Matt yelped in surprise then began spitting and coughing from ingesting some of the contents in the can of creep-be-gone. He felt a slight brush against his hip before hearing the sound of a bullet cocking into the barrel.

"Back off!" The man shrieked in panic, not bothering to match a can of spray against a bullet. "I don't want any more trouble from you!" He went to slam the door but Mello thrust his way in. "N..n...no... No. No." He huddled down beside his couch, arms covering his head. "Please, leave me alone!"

"We're not here to hurt you." Mello snipped over the man's quivering.

"Speak for yourself." Groaned Matt wiping a hand across his mouth, stepping into the home behind Mello.

"Y...you mean you're not the man who hit me over the head, and" He swallowed his nerves to turn around and face the intruders. "threw me in that blood bath?"

Several apologies to Matt, and two steaming cups of earl gray tea later, has them all in the kitchen discussing the situation.

Ellis Quimby, age 38: a journalist for the local newspaper Daily Mirror, who one day would like to make it big with the story of the century. Something that'll really put him on the map, but after his ordeal, he'd like nothing more than to close himself up in a hole and never be seen again- hence the pepper spray. The poor S.O.B was just lucky he's wearing goggles, and the spray missed going into his eyes.

"You don't even know 'ow frightened I've been since four days ago."

His West Country Bristol accent is very present now that the fear has been removed from it. It's hard to tell when someone is sniveling, so every word has a sort of round sound about it.

"I was at work, y'know... Just about to climb into my car when I felt a crack over the head." His swallow was audible; his fingers drum nervously on the tiny white tea cup. "Then to wake to the sight I saw." He closed his eyes but they snapped open in the next instant like the sight was still in there... leering at him, touching his trying to calm nerves with despair.

"When would you say you woke up at the crime scene?" Mello asks. "Was it the next day, the same day? You must have asked while you were at the hospital."

"Hell if I know."

Mello's eye scrunched in agitation, but he schooled it back. The hardest part of the job- for him- is speaking to people without demand for answers. Mafia lifestyle tends to hinder your tolerance for a tight lip- unless that buttoned-mouth is on your side.

"Try to think back on it... please."

The journalist seemed to be reconsidering a smart-assed remark when studying the burn on Mello's face. The former mafia boss chose that time to casually rest his chin on folded hands, revealing a bit of burnt skin on his wrist from where his glove nearly became a permanent accessory for him.

"The nurse told me I took quite a hit, that I'd been out for half a day at the hospital... only that was after I'd collapsed on the street. I think maybe they said the bump was a day old."

Knowing they could check with the hospital, he asks. "Why would anyone put you at the crime scene?"

Ellis scoffs. "You honestly think I have the faintest idea what goes through a psychopath's head?" His jittering hands move the cup up to his lips where he takes a quick sip of the hot liquid.

"You tell us," Mello shrugs. "You might actually know this person. And you never know what people are capable of when they hate you strongly enough. They can kill you, frame you for a murder they've committed, ruin your name if they think you've got too much fame."

Ellis continues shaking his head. "I can't think of anyone."

"You said you work at the local newspaper?" Mello nods off in a random direction as if the man's place of business is right out the door. "Maybe you did an article on someone that pissed 'em off?"

"Oh yeah, I can just see that... Being bopped over the head for writing out the latest celebrity gossip, or the weather columns. Any short bit of news I drone out never affects anybody, so then why choose me?"

"If you honestly didn't do it, we'll find out soon enough why anyone would choose you to have done it to. If this person has it out for you, they'll likely show up around your home." Replied the blond into his cup nonchalantly, before taking a sip. It's nice. Strong.

"Oh don't be telling me something like that, makes it sound like it'll happen again."

"Since you keep your door locked, it might not."

"Might." He rolls his cornflower blue eyes around in a semi-circle. "Its that 'might' what keeps me awake at night worrying."

He continues muttering of not being able to sleep since that day; and how he'd had to stumble upon a freaky looking ghost with thick black hair. He was obviously referring to L.

"The damn cops tell me I'm a witness and a bloody suspect, so I can't leave anyplace to feel safe. It's Hell here!"

A stray sound from outside had him shrink in on himself.

"We're gonna catch the guy who killed that family, and he's undoubtedly the same person who put you there." He left out the implicating words of "if he'd been put there" as opposed to being the one who'd done it. "So you don't have to worry."

"See that I don't. I have to get back to work once my nerves get better. My boss is already pressing on me to get over it and come on back. I'm bloody scared to leave my house and he wants me to work." He downs the rest of his tea then pours more into his cup, 3 lumps of sugar follow with a hesitant fourth lump. "Unless you've got more questions about my lack of knowledge, you gentlemen should find the door."

Getting up from the stool, he wags his index finger. "One last thing, did you know the family in the home you woke up in?"

"No."

And as abruptly as they'd arrived, they were shown out.

"Think he's lying?" Matt finally finds his voice.

"Didn't seem like it, did you see the way he kept looking past us and out the windows. He must have thought whoever's done it followed us and is waiting around." Mello looks about the street wondering the same thing.

It's possible. Not that they were followed, but that if Ellis Quimby were some sort of target for his occupational choice, he'll likely continue to be harassed until whoever killed that family gets what they want. He's read files with similar incidents in them; killers paying homage to an author of a book about dark and disgusting things that piqued their interest. They want to be in a book of true stories about the world's sickos and they wanna be the front runner.

Looking over his shoulder, he sees the curtain get tugged snuggly closed. That guy's nerves are fried.

"Let's question the neighbors, we can get back to L's by four."

Matt hopped off the last stone step, stuffing his hands into the pockets on his vest as he follows Mello back to the car. "There are a couple places someone can hide out and watch Quimby's house, if they wanted to."

"He may not even have to hide, he could live across the street or next to him." Waiting for the lock to pop, he goes on. "Whoever it is must have done their research, Londoners read the news more than they watch it, but that doesn't mean you'd know who was who leaving the building. He could have been the mailman or janitor."

"Quimby could have staged it. Y'know," He slides into the seat. "he said he wanted to make it big. He could have asked some friend sick enough, that he figured wouldn't get caught, to off those people... and he just hung out in the house waiting for the right chance to leave."

"Hmm..." He checks the files out on the laptop he brought along. "Hospital report shows he had a pretty nasty concussion. Whoever hit him really meant to knock him out for a while."

"We know how far we take what we're into, Quimby could be the same." He shrugs. "Might not mind a bump to the head to get what he wants."

"...You make a good point."

"I'll background check his friends once we get back." The car is pulled out into the street. "Someone might have a record, or at least come off shifty enough to be a blip on the radar."

Back at the manor.

Near found a comfortable place on the carpet to lay down and begin a good game of motocross with two, pull-back to crank, racers, in the colors of white and green for one and blue and white for the other. The little racers are fixed to the bikes, so beyond racing, they have no real purpose outside of being deliverymen should he use them when amusing himself with other toys.

Gevanni turned in his seat when the racers popped into the wall. "I've done all the interviews of the neighbors in the area, would you like to look over them or shall I read them out loud?"

Near held out a hand accepting the papers with the written interviews; reading over the reports, he continues to retrieve his racers from wherever they travelled; pulling them along the way to let them go to have them race again.

"Anderson Baker, he has an alibi for his whereabouts?" His racing comes to a pause as he continues reading. "Mr. Quimby is a solitary man, so no one but a co-work could report his missing when he doesn't go in. But they might not know when he'd gone missing after he'd left work that evening, just that he didn't come in the next day."

"I did check up on Baker." Gevanni knows what his boss was going to ask. He's wondering if the only neighbor not home at the time could be the unsub in the matter. "The evening of Quimby's disappearance he was in Norfolk visiting with his ex-wife to see his daughter and sons. I gave her a call and she confirmed it."

"Does Quimby know how long he'd been unconscious?" He reads through the man's file. "Hospital reports show he had a concussion."

"I'm not sure." He turns to the computer to root through the files. "I have his number, I can call to ask."

"Do that. I'll wait. In the meantime," He walks to the door. "I'll get Rester to speak with the other staff at the newspaper."

"Yes, sir..." He hesitates then clears his throat to get Near's attention. "Near?"

"You should already know the answer to that." He swiftly exits the room.

Throwing his hand outward, he says to airspace. "So I know the answer to that." Turning in the chair, he thinks 'Hn.' with a shake of his head. 'I have been cooped up too long that I'm finding a sixteen year old attractive... and a male at that!'

Recovering from his distraction, he removes his cell phone tapping the number out to call the victim for another interview.

0 0 0

"Yeah, I know the family what lives next door, Gloria Talbott and her twins Alexa and Jim." The skinny woman leaned over far enough to make her double-strand of pearls jangle noisily against each other. "Bit of a gossip, she is-" She gasped. "listen at me "is" she was a gossip, wasn't she?" Shaking her head, she goes on. "Poor Jim senior, out of town at the time... He says it's business but I know he steps out on her."

Matt bit his tongue about the neighborhood gossip. This woman is sounding pretty gossipy herself.

"So you didn't hear anything going on next door?" Mello asks. "No one suspicious came by Mrs. Talbott's house that you noticed?"

"Not that I know of, no."

"Can you hear the doorbell in her house when it rings?"

"Yes- I can hear the knocks, too." Again she leans in like her words are a secret, but if the walls are that thin they may as well have to be, sometimes. "I often hear the twins swearing up a storm when their mum leaves, it's like their own little game to test their freedom." She laughed at the youthful antics.

'So if she can hear all that, the unsub must have been expected over and didn't have to ring or knock.' Mello muses. "Matt, can you go next door and say something- anything- just to see if we can hear you."

Matt nods then walked from the house to go next door. The thin woman cocked a confused brow before asking.

"What's he doing that for?"

"I'm going to see how loud he'd have to be for us to hear what goes on next door."

A knock pierced the wall.

Shouting instruction, he says. "Okay! Count or something!"

Matt looked about the empty home, feeling a chill run down his spine. He supposed if someone hadn't been killed in here the place wouldn't be so bad, a little tacky in the interior but nothing a good carpet replacement or furniture removal couldn't cure. Still...

He's a man of the screen, he's not usually on the crime scene outside of being the getaway car, or bullet backup. Taking it in, he wanders back a bit into the home close by the armchair the woman was found in. If the victim was talking with the unsub they certainly wouldn't be standing by the wall being as loud as they could be.

"One..." He said in his usual tone. "Two..." He said just a bit louder. "Three..." He raised his voice a notch more.

Matt continued all the way to ten, stopping when Mello knocked on the wall. Then he begins to talk casually.

"I'm planning on getting a few new games this weekend. I wonder if our boss will play them with me?"

Mello threw an apologetic smile to the woman for his companions choice of babble. She only smiled back, finding it amusing; laughing out loud when he ended his rant with "I could use a cigarette."

"He's rather chatty when he's in private, isn't he?"

"He doesn't know how to talk to people." Looking over his shoulder, he calls out. "Okay, come back!"

Mello speaks upon Matt's re-entry of the home. "We heard you at seven, but had to strain a bit to hear you up until you started going on about wanting burgers for dinner."

"I was standing back by the armchair."

Brows raised, the woman says. "How can he be shy with a voice that handsome? Grow some bullocks."

Mello shakes his head indicating for Matt to ignore her. "Think back to that night... Did you hear her speaking to anyone lowly or with a raised voice?"

The gossipy woman blinked as she thought about it. Slowly, she begins shaking her head. "It was long ago, I can't really remember. I've got my own children, and was probably cleaning for the night."

Mello wondered if a cognitive interview would be of any use? The crime was four days ago, and those types of interviews work best when the situation has just happened hours earlier. 'Its worth a shot.' Scooting forward in his seat, he says in a calming voice. "Ma'am, I'm going to try to help you recall what happened that night; I just need you to see if it works."

"What do you mean?"

"Close your eyes for me."

She looked hesitant but does as he says. "Okay, now what?"

"I want you to think about your usual nightly routine, you said you have one... what does it consist of?"

"I make dinner, wash the plates, then fold the laundry for the next day."

"Four days ago, you did the exact same thing but... something was different about that night. What was it?"

The auditory witness can see herself walking about the kitchen doing her chores; was there something different about that night? Yes, that's it! "I heard Gloria, she wasn't talking.. it sounded more like she'd tripped over the coffee table or something. There was just a loud thump, but it was enough to make me go into the living room to fold the laundry." She blushed. "I'd thought maybe she had a man over and they were gonna have a roll."

Matt made a face that held a bit of understanding, in his old apartment he'd often heard his neighbors fucking, and they undoubtedly heard him and Mello a time or two before they'd headed to Japan for the Kira investigation. It's a fascination, sex, even when you're one of the people who can, and do, do it.

"Good. Only you kept listening when you found out she wasn't having sex... Something kept your interest." Mello egged her on.

The witness was silent again, while she thought it over.

Deciding to help her out, he asks. "Maybe you heard the kids; if their mother had fallen over they could have run to help her up."

"Yes! Yes, the kids! It sounded like they were giggling about something."

"Were they?"

She shakes her head. "No, matter of fact... it sounded kind of like Alexa was crying... It made me think that maybe she had fallen over and Jim was giggling while he picked on her for it."

"Hmm. You begin thinking they're all fine, nothing unusual is going on... Then you pause... Why?"

She sees herself hoist up the basket, but then she stops. "Aren't they cute." She says absently like the words escaped her memory for her.

"What?"

"Aren't they cute. It's what a man said... I know it was a man because the voice was deep. He had a funny sort of accent, it sort of sounded like he'd just got done running and was out of breath."

"Do you remember going to the window, if you heard a strange man speaking... You must have wanted to get a look at the guy?"

She can see herself moving to the window, peeking through the white laced curtains that cover them. A man had gone by. He had no car, at least not anywhere close by. And that was that. He didn't come back.

"What do you see?" Mello asks.

"He was tall. And he walked sort of like he had a lame leg, but.." She opens her eyes. "I didn't see his face or even his hair color. I'm sorry."

"That's fine. What you've given us is really good." He stands and heads for the door; Matt following.

She gets up to open the door for them. "Oh, but, you should know... I don't know when the other man showed up, the one on the news. But I do know he wasn't the one that left the house."

"That helps, thanks."

"You should also know, that when the man did leave the house it was two days sooner than the man who left it four days ago."

The pair freeze at the door.

"I remember because the tele was showing an all day marathon of that Bean fellow on the twenty-eighth of last month." Unable to read their expressions she asks. "Was that useful?"

...

Mello and Matt walk into the manor with swiftness, one dashing into the nearest bathroom and the other making for the kitchen to devour all things chocolatey; and this being L's home, the search didn't take long.

Mello was through with 2 candy bars of Belgian origin when Matt returned from the bathroom; the blond is currently holding a bag of Oreos under his arm while he mentally tells the bottle of Hershey's syrup, that he's got leaned over the glass of milk in his other hand, "a little more".

Seeing this, Matt's brow raise in astonished disgust. Shaking off the illness in his stomach and on his mental pallet, he asks in wonder. "Do you even know what normal food taste like?"

"A rainbow?" Replied the former mob boss with a mock youthful tone.

"How profound of you." He peeks into a pot boiling on the stove; the flames beneath the pot flickers when a speck of water splashed out onto the burner.

"Excuse me," The sudden female voice caused the pair to jump out of their skin. "but dinner will be served in fifteen minutes in the dining room. You may finish your snacks if you're peckish, but please take care in the houses' dining schedule." Says the cook.

Guilty of the accusation, Mello set the cookie bag down on the countertop. "We'll do that." Removing his glass, he takes it with him in his departure from the kitchen.

Matt whispered like it had to be a secret. "I'm gonna have to take lessons on living with servants. These people are creeping me out with their sneaky movement."

"I'll bet they think we're the ones being sneaky." He downs a gulp of chocolate syrup that may have some milk left in it, unless it was all maxed-out by the portion of syrup poured in.

"I should have known the family was dead before Quimby got dumped off." Matt was saying absently.

"Why?"

"He stank."

Mello recalled sitting in the man's kitchen, and all he could recall was the scent of tea in the air.

"I can't explain it, but it's sort of blood mixed with..." He searched for the right smell that matched Quimby's rank. "Week old musty clothing."

Mello wondered how he could miss something that smelled that bad. But then he remembered that he drank the tea, Matt ignored it in favor of staring around the room. So while he was holding the cup in his hand, all he could smell was the earl gray.

"It doesn't help the case much, though, knowing the family was dead two days prior- unless Quimby was swiped as an after-thought by whoever killed them."

"But why?" He turns into the hall that leads to the dining room.

"That's the million-dollar question." He opens one of the two doors to allow them entrance. "I think it's for the fame like you said. We can show the pictures to the neighbors tomorrow." He paused when spotting Near seated at the table.

"Good evening." Greets the younger detective.

Because he couldn't just leave the silence there. Mello chooses to ignore Near as he takes a seat at the table four chairs away from the snow capped runt, and at the same side of the table, so that he doesn't have to see him directly in his peripheral. Setting Matt's laptop, that they used in the car, on the tabletop, he bitterly downed his chocolate milk.

Seeing this, Matt takes a seat across from Mello and the silence ensued further; but to remove himself from the awkwardness playing out, he slides his laptop over to his side of the table, boots it up, then goes through the files. And knowing Mello's character of giving Near no information, he keeps anything insightful to himself.

Two minutes to dinner the double doors part and Gevanni walks in with his laptop, completely oblivious to the tension just begging for a spark between the two detectives. He didn't dare to do something like give a whistle or clear his throat to announce his presence but simply slid into the seat across from Near. His gatherings must have already been taken care of because he doesn't use the computer, he set it on the table and left it at that. Agent Rester is staying at a hotel.

"Good evening." The butler came in shortly after the agent. "Tonight's dinner is roast beef, mash, and summer squash."

He and another butler, younger for sure, went about plating from heating trays then placed them down before the young men. If they noticed the tension, they didn't show it and remained in the room standing at either end of the long table the serving trays are now resting on, in case the guest needed anything more.

Mello pushed his food around while everyone else ate. He side-eyed his rival for a moment, and, deciding that he could give the "you're not even there" brush off too, he eats his meal.

Gevanni's oblivious behavior seemed not at an end when his phone went off and he chose to answer it while at the table. But it wasn't a call, simply a text he's answering,

"Is that Rester with the interviews?" Asks Near.

"Yes, sir. He's just saying that the file's been sent over. In case it doesn't show in the inbox."

Nodding, Near goes on with his dinner. And there were no more jarring moments during the meal from there. They retired to their rooms shortly after a dessert of strawberry charlotte: a flavored custard cream cake made with two layers of ladyfingers between the filling, and it's lined with fresh sliced strawberries.

The french butler who showed them in earlier was particularly proud of the pick of springtime fruits and assured them that the wild blueberry pie tomorrow would be exquisite. Save aside Gevanni, none of them felt particularly interested in the menu choices and were simply eager to hurry away from each other.

0 0 0

Matt leaned back in the comfortable swiveling chair with a sigh. "All his friends have clean backs, but... husbands and wives kill over passion, so that isn't really saying much. Trying to be famous or help Quimby getting fame is the only way we can lean, for now. If I could make a guess..." He taps the screen of a photo of Quimby from his Facebook page. "It'd be Alistair Christ. He seems to favor him; any photo of the guy on vacation, Alistair's there with him."

Mello huffed. "Maybe he's just a mooch?"

"Yeah." He looks about the room with a bored expression, then wondered to himself. 'I wonder if this place is sound proof? It must be, or we'd hear Near and his agent discussing the case. That or he's sleep.' He felt a yawn coming on at the mention of it. 'That isn't a bad idea.' Closing the screen, he opens another file with the victims inside. "Yeesh. And I stood around alone in that..." Standing, Matt asks while closing everything off before shutting down the computer. "Wanna go to bed, Mel?" He flops onto the large comfortable four-poster; kicking his boots from his feet before sliding further under the comfort.

Mello was about to object, but he changed his mind and removes his shirt and pants before slipping into bed as well. They aren't going to get any further with the case tonight, which means the same can be said about Near.

"We should be next door fumigating my new room." Rolling onto his stomach, he closes his eyes. "How'd you get him to cave?"

"I just asked him for it."

Realizing he's still dressed he scooted from the bed to remove his day clothes down to nothing but boxers and a tank undershirt. Climbing back into bed, he's on his side and wrapping an arm around Mello, placing a goodnight smooch to the back of his head before closing his eyes.

In the next bedroom, formally known as Mello's the occupants are getting ready for bed as well.

Gevanni chastised himself for not only watching Near dry his hair through the open bathroom door but for salivating over the fact that the teen is in nothing but an over-sized robe. He looks like an attractive ghost.

How did it get like this? He often wondered since they started this at the end of last year. All his life he's been exclusively into women. Bethany from high school, bagged her after a month, Dolly, Sebrina, Audrey, and Lucia from college nailed them all within the same week. Law school and training there was always a woman. So why now is he hot for a male- a teenaged male at that!? He's not only lost his mind, but he's become a hypocrite for putting men away who've done less to their young victims than he has with consent.

Even when those involved in pedophilia or statutory rape cases, who say it was consensual, he'd balked at their nerve of saying the young party involved wanted it. As if someone who's just discovering the world would agree to something they know little about. If they choose to explore their sexuality it'd be with someone their own age as they'd all be getting educated about it at the same time. That's what got him started. And that's just the way his mind worked.

But here he is, swallowing over a lump in his throat when the teen walks through the room and over to the table where he's seated to grab the laptop to take over to the large bed with him, where he then shamelessly rest himself against the headboard; parting the fluffs of white from his body.

"What'll it be this time?" Gevanni asks just as shamelessly as Near laid out ready for whatever they'd be partaking in. He'd asked him earlier about their plans for the night. He could have gone back to the hotel.

Laptop at his side, he replies. "I'd like to try something different this time." He clicks open the interview files.

Surprised, Gevanni figured it'd be a bit of the usual kissing or a handjob from him upon Near's person; because in all three times they've fooled around, Near's only ever wanted the same two things. He could only wonder if the "something different" was going to be his boss telling him to suck it. He can't say he isn't somewhat curious since this whole thing began... He's been doing a lot of unusual things in regard to his fluctuating sexual preference.

The first time was almost like yesterday...

It was a month after the Kira case had wrapped up last year. Near was sitting in his hotel room squeezing a rubber toy that looked like his take of Kira. He'd been told... Light Yagami was alive. He didn't read any more of the message. That had been enough.

Angered, he squeezed the thing so hard it left an imprint in his hand. "It shouldn't be a surprise. It shouldn't bother me." He muttered into the silence of the room.

Gevanni had never seen anything like it. He's just a 15-year-old seated in an armchair with his head down to anyone else's eyes- who'd complain? But for Near, this was a meltdown. The toy that now turned into a stress ball was proof of that. Not even after Mello used the notebook to kill the greater portion of their team had he seen the genius detective so much as furrow a brow. He was almost "good riddance" in demeanor. But this, Light Yagami being alive, seemed to pull the rug from under his feet.

And then he said very affirmatively that he needed a distraction. He asked what people normally do when they need to get their mind off of things; Gevanni told him they drink. The mini-fridge was loaded with liquor, they were the only two in the room so it wasn't like he was going to tell anyone.

"That's the last thing I want," Near commented before leaning back in the chair.

"You could eat? I'll call room service." Lifting the receiver he's about to press the button for room service.

"Put the phone down, and just get out."

Gevanni thought it over, then shook his head deciding to leave. Near clearly needed some alone time, but just as he was about to leave he got held in place by the upper arm.

"Maybe there's something a little less drastic."

"Such as?"

He felt bile rolling in the back of his throat when the detective asked that he kiss him, and placed his agent's hand against the side of his neck asking that it be done there; what was he thinking?! Why would he do something like that? Did Near not understand the age difference, and how the law frowns upon such happenings?! Dumb question when he works in serious crimes division.

"Are you insane?"

Near only smirked, asking if he was a coward? Saying that if he was willing to suggest a minor have a drink, then he should be willing to let him sate his curiosity for a distraction. But there was the problem, he wanted to do it with him. He's straight! And an adult! Near may outrank him, he may even behave like an adult through everything he does- never mind that he plays with toys- but being mature still didn't make it right.

And he told him all these things while lying the young detective on the bed to ravage his neck with his lips. Near seemed to like it because he didn't complain, but he couldn't toot a horn because the detective had nothing to go by in comparison. Gevanni's skill with the equipment is self-inflicted because he's never been with a man to know what's good outside of what he likes done to himself. Thankfully Near didn't ask for that; and being a compensating straight man, he didn't even opt to go in for it.

And that moment that could have been awkward and should have been awkward... it wasn't. It was a make-out session with the neck and collarbone, and he left afterward. The second encounter was before they left for L.A. Only that time Near had allowed him to kiss him on the lips; there was no "if you want to" with the young boss. Near told him to do it, so he did it.

One would think Gevanni was a big sex toy for the teen because he'd never stray from anything he was asked to do, just like a toy can not. And it's been little else outside of kissing and, during their third encounter, a handjob. Near seems satisfied with it. And so Gevanni is too. At first; but when the third time came up, he went from a straight guy helping a guy out to actually being into it, and even attracted to the teen! He sought their moments together, just to be given few.

"Gevanni," Near begins; his eyes close when a swarm of warm kisses pepper his neck, as he continues. "have you ever had sex with a man?"

He didn't even entertain the idea by pretending to think about it, the answer is no. He shakes his head.

"Neither have I." He raised his chin to expose his throat to the techie.

There was a "duh", but the agent kept it to himself. Then the question sank in. "Do you wanna try it?" He asked, hopeful.

"You're eager, I thought I'd have to fight for it." Closing the laptop, he says with that odd smirk on. "Don't tell me you've been having inappropriate thoughts about me?"

Embarrassed, he shakes his head. "Wha-.. Me? No. But... are you sure?"

"Or we could call it a night?"

'Okay, he's sure.' He expelled a pent-up breath. 'I'm being manipulated by a teenager who doesn't even believe in sexuality.' His brow twitched in annoyance with himself for being attracted to a strange being like Near at all.

"Good. I don't need to tell you that we need condoms."

Again, his brow twitched; but he left the bed to retrieve them and a bottle of lubricant from his bag a few feet away. He's staying in the same hotel as Rester but had planned to stay the night to do any tech stuff Near may need from him. And as for having condoms, the hot shot really does believe in his prowess that much, that he has protection for just in case.

He returned to the bed, hearing Near instruct him to remove his clothes and lay on his side. What was that supposed to mean? Does he think that..? Near couldn't mean? He just couldn't! Completely hesitant to give the young detective the contents in his hand; one glare from those deep grays combined with that soft pale hand held out toward him like it could do anything, and he knew he was sunk. He'd have to do it, well, he didn't have to do it. He could go back to the hotel.

But, he's sure regretting where this is going. He thought that if they'd gotten into full-blown sex, it'd be him, the older man, on top. But much like anything involving the detective, he's in charge, it won't change.

"Gevanni."

A name that's not even his could ring through him so heatedly, it was insane! So with great reluctance, he removes his clothing then lays on his side to take it, however, it's gonna go. This is no different than when he'd been ordered to touch the notebook at the gym locker rooms, he felt that he was going to lose his life doing this. And he's not wrong to compare the situations because he did lose his life that night. He'll undoubtedly never look at a woman again.

...

Mello didn't think he'd ever get over watching Matt when he's sleeping, more so now. No more beeping. No more ventilation machine pushing his lungs up and down for him. No more sitting up should there be a change in his condition... any small change... it could have been over. Brushing a hand through the chopped mess of a hairstyle, he smiles sadly at the bullet scar his hair is hiding on the upper left of his forehead. There are similar scars on other parts of Matt's body, some through one end and out the other, some just of the shot going in but not exiting.

'This was no one's fault but her's.′ His hand clenched into a fist.

He's got the number as memorized as the scars on his partner-in-crimes body. Sliding from the bed, he lifts his phone from the mini table and swiftly dials it. His message was decisive, it was clear: Linder when this case is over... Your life ends. And he was sure the message was received because that bitch was probably waiting for when it would come.

Setting the phone down, he looks over at Matt one last time then walks into the bathroom to shower. It may be two in the morning, but he needs to calm himself before getting back to sleep.

Matt watched the bitter blond through a peeking eye; he really can't blame Mello for feeling that way. If it were in reverse, he would feel the same. But he couldn't say it was entirely Linder's fault- not that he's letting her off the hook- but, he should have pulled free the small shotgun he had holstered in his vest and fired first.

His hands were up, he only had to tuck one of them back behind his head to get it. He could feel it resting there against his neck in wait. The rounds inside were scattershot, he could have gotten three men at once and took cover! But he was too slow, and those agents too trigger-happy.

Slipping from the bed, when he hears the water coming from the faucet, Matt removes his clothing on the way in and steps into the shower behind the blond. Wrapping his arms around Mello's shoulders, he plants a kiss on the wet skin.

"It'll never happen again, Mihael." Professed Matt with a name only used in private, and he kissed his cheek when his lover leaned his head back to rest on his shoulder.

Staying comfortable within the embrace, Mello allowed himself to believe that.

0 0 0

Ellis Quimby found his eyes blinking open from the deep sleep he'd been in. It was the longest night of his life, it seems, because he was sure he'd been in his kitchen not long ago sipping soothing tea to calm his nerves. He'd been anxiously sweating again, but could do little more than run a wet rag under his arms; he's too afraid to shower lest the perpetrator return to his home and clonk him over the head while he's naked and exposed like in that movie Psycho.

He found himself wondering when he'd gone to bed? As he woke up from that sleep. He doesn't recall climbing the stairs, he doesn't remember getting into bed... come to think of it, he's never once risen from the bed up at the west end. His bed is on the east wall.

Sitting up, he sets his hand down beside him for a helpful push but it slips in something sticky and moist. He hoped like hell he hasn't let his fear become so massive that he's just wet the bed?

Groggy, he rolls away with a groan but takes a fall out of the bed. "Aah! Dammit... what the hell?" He mutters to himself.

Searching for the lamp on the bedside table, his hand smacks a wall instead.

"Where the hell is my lamp?" He gropes around in the darkness for it. "What is all this stuff?"

The journalist wonders at something puffy, smooth, and long resting a few feet from where his lamp and the stand should have been.

'Forget the lamp, I'll just turn up the house lights.'

Knowing his bedroom forwards and back, he could have sprinted to the light switch. But he realized if his nightstand missing then that means something about his bedroom is off. Maybe someone has broken in and moved all his furniture around? But that could only mean... But it couldn't be... Not again...

"Oh... No... Oh dear god.."

He backed up from where he's currently seated. His breaths quick and sharp, almost thin to the point of not being there, and he doesn't stop backing away from whatever gruesome scene lay in the darkness until he hits a wall.

...Or it should have been a wall. But what he actually backed into, was a pair of legs.



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