Another Note: Crime Scenes

BY : Resting-Madness
Category: Death Note > General
Dragon prints: 2181
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.

L's large eyes watched Near and Matt conversing about something that eventually caused them to laugh. He can't hear what they're saying because the microphone has been muted. Watching them get along always reminded him of when they were younger and would almost sneakily spend time with each other.

10 years earlier in Wammy's Home.

Matt was playing the game Light's Out in the dark-wood hall close to the kitchen, seated in the broad bay-window area on a wide window seat, the floral cushion beneath his slight weight is unaligned with the wooden top since he's sitting on a slant. The strategy game was one of his favorite gifts from Christmas, actually. Seeing how many people live in the home it was always one gift per child. The burnt-haired boy didn't know what was in the packaging under the tree for him, he hadn't asked for anything because he didn't know what was out there as an option- as was the behavior from most of the children. Their goals and duty was always at the forefront. Holidays were just a festive way to pass through the home to their next lecture or bedroom. With studies and only one TV in the home mixed of 38 kids and teens and a couple young adults, his twelve-year-old attention span couldn't think beyond sports in the yard or a round of hide-n-seek, word games, and puzzles. But something personal just for him fell to the wayside.

Seeing a swath of white at his side, he greets the only person he knew it could be. "Hey, Near."

"If you're busy I'll leave." Replied the younger, never good with greetings or other social graces yet. 6-year-olds tended to be like that.

"I'm on level 20," Matt says with excitement. "I think there are a hundred patterns to put out, but it auto-saves so, what'd you want?"

"I have a puzzle we can put together." He shook the box.

Taking it, he eyeballs the cover. "The jungle, how advanced." He chuckled.

Opening the box, he slides down from the window seat, jerking the cushion free so they can use the space for the puzzle. Matt's brow twitched when he dumped the pieces over and discovered that Near's been brandishing one of his little quirks again as all the puzzle pieces have been colored black with a Sharpie marker. The kid really loved mental stimulation. It isn't any wonder that the world's greatest detective, L, has him selected in the top 3. Although... he, Matt, is third in line for the title so genius can be a sliding scale. At least a little.

Now Mello, he definitely deserved his spot on top, he worked for it and showed immense progress. And, more importantly, he possessed what Matt lacked which was a want for the title. Matt was just happy doing what was asked of him, while under an assumed name. All the rest was a kind of nerve-wreck. He'd make a much better back-up. Much better.

"Afraid you won't be able to do it?" Comments Near lifting the first piece scribbled on from the pile of 3,000 pieces.

It wasn't mocking, his words. Near was damned near incapable of that sort of thing, as well as bravado. He simply said what was on his mind no matter how kind or cruel- though most people don't usually have a problem with the kind just the unintended brutal honesty. Again, a kid quality. It always baffled Matt that the boy showed more maturity than even the young men in the school for the gifted, yet maintain enough innocence to play with toys. But then it seemed there was a method to all of the residences' madness. Some bit their nails, others talked to their self or rather a corner of the wall, some even liked breaking pencils. But not everything was a sort of extreme, just casual things for coping with the pressure or just thinking. Like eating a specific food or sleeping through class. The dozers always bugged him. They can't honestly hear a word the teacher is saying, but then their marks are always remarkable. How is that fair?!

Matt liked to while away exam tension with a good game of just about anything on his handheld. He'd like a fullscreen system but, again, when you live in a place with only one television you're limited the personal use of it.

"No, I can do it." He cracked his knuckles. "Just allow me my turn Rambo."

"You take half, I'll take half."

"Deal."

With a small smirk, Near adds. "And to keep it interesting there can be no picking up of another person's pieces. You have to know it belongs on your half."

"Done. Award?"

"Tonight's dessert is a butterscotch trifle, the winner gets the loser's dessert."

Matt gave a cocky scoff. "You're on."

Though he's a savory lad himself, he doesn't mind a good trifle. And Miss Plant makes them well enough to sell in the market. A silence fell over the game loving pair as they rummaged through the puzzle pieces to tackle the left side and right.

From a surveillance camera's monitor, L took a sip of his well-sugared and creamed coffee watching the pair with a small smile. It amazed him how the children got along sometimes. It actually amazed him that the children chose to interact with each other at all. He couldn't remember his childhood, but from what he could guess from his current state he wasn't a socialite.

The only person he doesn't recoil from is Quillish Wammy aliased as Watari. Even Roger Ruvie gets the brush off when he speaks to him directly. Though his interaction with the inhabitants of the household are often slim as Mr. Ruvie is not a fan of adolescents, so any snub may actually go missed on the man. But to see this sort of thing fascinated L. There was no hassle, no hurry. No hurt. The kids seemed to believe all this was some sort of game with an odd grand prize of the L code.

Back in his time, when there even was a time with the existence of A and B, the former L being Mr. Wammy himself, there was alienation and an almost cruelty. Though none of them ever really interacted with each other. Or outright did anything violent. It was unspoken. And it was intense. Until B befriended A. And it was just L on the outside.

Looking over at another screen he watched the children outside for a moment, they looked ready for another round of Stick-n-Go-Seek which was done with the hidden children tapping a stick against something at the location of their choosing, to call attention to a blindfolded seeker. It was an interesting skill-building method. The detective liked it. But as the game began his attention went back to the pair in the hall. The elite. He returned his attention to them, mostly because number two was creeping up to the pair.

Mello exhibited habits of his generation. He loathed Near, that much was obvious. But does Near loathe him back? L hoped that if history repeated itself young Matt didn't end up with the same fate as A, though the child's laidback personality presented no such possibility of occurrence. A pale, long and slender forefinger came up to touch his bottom lip as he thoughtfully watched the trio.

"Come on, Matty, we're supposed to be investigating in the attic? Remember, case number 43?" Mello ignored Near entirely.

"Right, how could I have forgotten about that?" Getting up from the floor he took a hold of the dossier Mello held, it's actually filled with old tests the blond had taken last week. "Did you talk with Madam Desilva?" He asked as they were heading down the hall.

"Yeah, it's all in there." Replied Mello.

Near didn't even watch the two walk away, he just took a seat on the hard wooden outgrowth from the wall and finished his puzzle alone.

It wasn't the first time the detective has seen this sort of thing go on, and it wouldn't be the last. But he knows Near well enough, through observation, to acknowledge that the younger boy would be all right. The young boy's got his head in the game. Getting along with the other kids happens when it happens and doesn't when it doesn't. That sort of stability gets you far in their in this line of work; which is why Near is such an exemplary candidate as the next L.

"Watari?" He said to the man standing not far off behind him. "Place a special order for some puzzles, 10,000 pieces... Tell the company to make each one a different solid color, but place an L somewhere on it."

Quilish Wammy, who chose the alias Watari, smiled at the detective's line of thinking. Though he wondered if it could be seen as a form of coddling?

"I know what you're thinking, and you're wrong." L turned away from the monitors and stepped out of the chair.

"I never said a word." Though a smile crinkled his eyes rather than his lips.

L hummed a thoughtful intone to his reply. "Nnno, but you were thinking it."

"Let Roger take care of the children, he-.."

Cutting him off, L stuffed his hands into his pocket as he traveled over to the armchair where a cart of sweets resides. "Does not have their mental health in mind. He ensures they're still living, following the critiria, and little else." Glancing at the cart before selecting a danish, he licks the icing before going on to say. "No one is at their best when their mind is at its worst."

"You are correct, L." Replied Watari. "I'll see that he gets the present." Smiling at his tiny jab at the detective's gentle method of care, he exited the room locking the door after himself.

"Presents. Care. Hmm... Mmm" He distracted himself with a mouthful of fruit jam. There was a first time for anything. L is only looking out for L after all. And the white haired child is on the path to that.

And it would seem so even in the present state that the young man strives to continue that path. L won't have the position forever, whether death does he part or usurp. All are welcomed to challenge him for the title right off the bat. But they need know that should they lose... They'd lose it all. Their place. Their code. Their victories and even failures. All. Like a computer download and reuploaded elsewhere. It's the life.

L knew, though, that with Mello out of the house and not feeding Matt's antagonistic behavior towards Near, the downtrodden detective could enjoy the pairs' comradery as friends. Something that, in his later years, he actually found he wanted. He has so few and now one of them is dead...

He blinked from his train of thought when seeing that there seemed to be something going on other than messing around with each other, while weeding through police reports for information, that may become useful to them; it was a sort of break-through movement.

Turning off the monitor, he opened the screen for the internet. He wasn't going to interfere with their investigation, simply get back to his own. They seem on the right track now.

Meanwhile in the upstairs study...

Near's cool-dark gaze raised from the computer screen upon catching a glimpse of Matt coming alert from something that was buzzed to him on his phone. He was going through the police reports and found that the women in the hotel had also been drugged, just as the Talbotts. At least these murders have one consistency. Matt, on the other hand, had been distracted playing a game on his handheld.

'Whoever's doing this must either be a woman or a slight man. Normally a man doesn't need to use drugs to have his victims submit to him; size is usually everything when there's lack of a weapon present. But this unsub has to drug them, first then acquire a weapon from within in the area, because even if there's a weapon a woman might not appear as much of a threat.' He looked up again when hearing a thoughtful intone come from the gamer.

"Did Rester send anything from your end?" He asked Near suddenly.

Blinking, he checked his e-mail then his phone. "Nothing. Not yet at least, why?" Getting up from his chair he moves over to Matt who's turned his phone to show Near the screen. "I think we have a clue."

Near eye-balled the screen and hated to admit he was confused by what he sees. But he's certain he won't be confused for long, ciphers are one of his specialties.

0 0 0

"I'm gonna need to see the other rooms, please." His tone was casual but the command was there, as Rester spoke to the hotel manager.

"But there are people in those rooms." The man exclaimed with a bit of nervous panic.

"I have a warrant, and this is a police investigation." He held his hand out. "Give me access to the other rooms, now."

The manager smoothed some blond strands from his forehead, then, just as smoothly as he'd moved his hair, he slipped his hand into his pocket and pulled out the master key handing it to the agent. "Just... Please don't touch anything too noticeably. These people trust that when a room is locked it's locked."

Making a face, Rester all but rolled his eyes as he assured the man. "I'll keep that in mind." Unlocking the door he entered the room, with the manager not far behind him; as a sort of insurance to his clients.

The skittish manager was perplexed when all the agent did was give the room a quick glance before exiting and going into the next one. This one, however, wasn't empty of the borrowers and the coupling-couple shrieked and yelped when the two entered without their knowledge.

"I'm sorry," The manager fanned his hands in their direction, though his wide eyes refused to move from the site before them. Ther's something just mesmorizing about conjoined flesh. "So sorry. Sorry."

The woman, who'd been sitting up when they'd walked in dropped forward to press herself against her lover only revealing more than her back and crack in the new position. The peeping manager had to swallow over a lump in his throat and a wetness in his mouth when the woman's exposure was revealed along with her anal hole where her lover's attachment to her slid away in the movement.

"Get out! Get out!" She hollered into the man's collarbone.

"Leave!" Shouted the man, barely able to see who'd even come in around the shrieking, embarrassed woman.

Rester had to snag the man's shoulder and drag him out, as it seemed he was stuck in a bear-trap. "That wasn't very discreet." He told the man who'd made a point of telling him not to piss off the residences.

"Sorry. I couldn't look away. The beauty of a woman I'm afraid."

Rester glared at the man and walked to the last room, knocking first- this time- he then stuck the key into the lock opening the door. His buzzing phone caught his attention and he yanked it from his pocket. "Hello?"

"Rester, check the room where the victims were. Light says the less obvious deaths are where the clue should be. Check around behind the furniture." Came Near's voice down the line.

"Yes, sir. We were just about to go into room three." He opened the door and looked around.

As he'd figured. All the rooms on the floor are arranged in the same way except for room 4, where everything had been moved to the opposite side. Near told him to go to the spot where the less noticeable victims were- whatever that meant. Removing the photo of the victims from a folder in his satchel, he held it up to match the room. The manager, who'd looked over his shoulder turned white and looked away. He'd made it a point not to watch the news, or even hear what happened from the chatty staff as he worked around the hotel or sat in his office while they were passing outside his door. He hates blood. It's next to impossible for the hospital to get blood samples from him.

'The women on the bed were sliced from ribcage to vaginal entrance. It's hard to look away when you see something like that. The women on the chaise were strangled. So the killer must have left the clue over there somewhere.' Walking over to the couch he moved it.

The chaise was slid back from the wall but he found nothing. The siding held nothing as well. Pulling the couch forward a bit more he then tipped it over but there was nothing. Perplexed, he checked the bed to be sure. The hotel has been instructed not to allow vacancy to anyone until the clean-up crew came along to remove the evidence from the room. So nothing's been touched outside of officers' and the Scene of Crime crew working through it. There were no clues on the bed that he could see. Setting down his satchel he removed a small box, and from it took out a pair of gloves which he put on, and a bottle of clear liquid along with a long flashlight.

"Can you close the curtains for me?" He asked the manager.

"S- sure." He hastily closed the curtains, secretly thankful to do so as his eyes went directly for his shattered nerves kryptonite. The blood soaking into the bed.

Rester turned on the bar-flashlight running it over the chaise's leather upholstery. A minute later he sent a text message to his boss.

0 0 0

"Let's talk to Quimby," Mello instructs Light, as if the passenger had a choice of their destination once inside the car. "He should be home by no-..."

His words trailed into a pause when a colorful blur ducked from his vision, it wasn't the first time he's seen this since their entering the home, right around the time he'd sent the photo and text to Matt.

"Did you see that?"

Looking in the direction Mello's head is turned with a few glances at the location then the ex-mob leader, Light replied. "No. What?"

"It looked like someone was watching us." He took off at a strong pace after the Peeping-Tom. "Hey! Stop!" He called to the person who kept running as fast as their little legs could carry them.

But with longer legs Mello and Light were considerably faster. He just hoped the brat didn't dodge them by darting into the street, he wasn't going to have the death of a startled kid on his conscience.

"Gotcha!"

The little runner yelped when a hand landed on her shoulder, but when seeing who'd grabbed her the yelp turned into a full-on scream which her pursuer covered up the sound with his gloved hand going over her mouth. Mello rolled his eyes at the reaction she was having, obviously, because of his face. He was used to the curious stares. But screaming, he had to admit, that was a new one.

"Ssshh shhh, hey it's okay." Light said to soothe the girl, even going as far as rubbing her upper arm in a slow calming manner. "He may look like the villain, but Mello's as gentle as his name."

Seeming to calm down almost in an instant, the little girl runs a hand down her dry-eyed face and says rather brashly. "Oy, what kind offa name is Mello for a person?"

"Never mind that; why were you spying on us?" Asked Mello. "I saw you wandering the street when we arrived, and I'm positive it was you peeking through the window at one point- so spill it."

"Do you have to be so 'tough guy'?" Light complained over his shoulder. "She's just a kid."

"I'm niiine, smart-guy." Informed the girl, all but pouting and stamping her foot- along with calling him an ass.

"That's a wise age," Replied Light trying not to get snippy with her himself. So much for the shy and panicked routine, as she seems pretty put together now. "Did you wanna talk to us about something? Maybe something you saw that happened at the Talbott home?"

The little girl actually had the nerve to cock an eye at him, before asking. "Depends; are you looters?"

Brow furrowed over the sudden change in subject, and her blatant attitude, Light shook his head. He put on a handsome smile and replied. "We're not looters; we're actually working to solve the crime of who killed the Talbott family."

"I didn't see what happened to Jimmy or Lexie or their mum,"

That was obvious. Had she seen the act... chances were she'd be institutionalized from the sheer violence alone brought to the twins. Then there's the fact that, if she hadn't gone catatonic, the police would have questioned her. And at the worst, she'd of been the fourth victim. Her death really would have gummed up the works for a moment, because how would she fit into the victimology?

"But there was a strange man in the neighborhood the day before it happened."

Light and Mello gave each other a glance before giving full attention to the sassy witness. "Do you remember what he looked like? Can you tell us?" He kept the urgency from his tone, trying to sound more conversational so the child doesn't get worked up.

"Where's your uniforms?" Asked the girl getting off track again as she looked over their attire as though she were ready to cry "looters" at the top of her lungs, until another thought came to her having her wonder. "Are you maybe like F.B.I?"

"That's it exactly!" Agreed Light. "We're with the .F.B.I! And it's your job as a witness to report what you've seen and what you know. It could help solve the case. You do want that, don't you?"

The little girl seemed to be thinking it over! As if there was a serious choice to be made in the matter!

Trying a different strategy, Light smiled sweetly then said. "My name is..." He can just feel Mello smiling behind him over him having to use it in public, and with a girl who's already comfortable with calling you "creep" to your face. But with a grit of his teeth, he managed to squeeze it out. "Is Legal."

"Legal?!" Her brows were practically at her hairline. But he was spared of any further comment, the disbelief seemed to be enough to make her point.

Continuing with being polite he goes on. "And what's yours?"

"Amanda Goffe. Nice to meet you." She smiled with some missing bottom teeth.

"Same here." He shook her hand. "Amanda, it really is important that if you remember what the man, who was in the neighborhood, looks like... that you tell us."

"He was tall,"

"Give me an estimate," Light stood beside Mello. "Taller than me or Mello?"

"Taller than both of you. I think a couple inches taller than you." She points to Light.

"Good, good. And what else can you remember?" He returned to his kneeled position before her.

"He had on a suit, like Thin Man, and a tall hat as well... Or was it smooshed? It was a smooshed tall hat." She bit her bottom lip to try to recall the man. "Umm, it was like this," Amanda used her finger to draw what the hat looked like in the air. As she'd muddled through, the hat looked tall but small then she drew a circle around it for a brim, if the pair had to guess. "He was wearing a spooky-looking mask too," a broad grin spread across her face as she knew how clever she'd been at that time. "But I could see past the trim, I think he might be black because his skin under the mask was brown, and his eyes were hazel- mostly the light brown kind." Looking back and forth from Light to Mello she asked. "Does that help?"

"Greatly," replied Light. "Thank you, Amanda."

"What kind of mask was it? Like one of those cheap plastic ones or was it more like a latex?" Inquired the blond investigator.

"It was Frankenstein, it was painted white and the bolts in the neck were cut out, but I could tell it was a Frankenstein mask- all stiched." A thoughtful expression came on her face. "I thought he was going to a costume party."

Mello didn't think they still sold Frankenstein masks in this day and age. Everyone wants to be ghost face killer or Michael Myers. But then again, it's been a long time since he's been a little boy from Staraya Basmannaya in Moscow, Trick-or-Treating around the apartments.

"He came right up to me and asked the strangest question... He asked "who lives in this house?" right, but he'd pointed at the neighbor's house next to Jimmy and Alexa's. When I told him then he asked about their house." Amanda wet her lips as if talking for so long had dried them out. "He asked if the twins lived there, and I'd told him "yes, Lex and Jim"." Her expression became thoughtful. "Weird he knew about the twins but not what house they lived in, now that I think about it."

Mello knelt down and spoke kindly to the girl in order to be answered. It seemed to work for Light. "And you're sure that was the conversation you had with the man?"

"Uh-huh. I've never had anyone ask me something like that before, so it stuck with me because it was that weird. The mask.. Even his accent was weird, too. He put an 'h' before 'and'."

That's just what he and Matt heard from the neighbor, that the man had a strange accent. He must not be a native Londoner, but he's trying to fake the accent. Brought out of his thoughts by the sudden movement, Mello stared at Amanda when she held out her hand, palm up. Light was just as confused, then it came to them almost at the same time that she was looking for some sort of compensation for the information.

Grinning falsely through his teeth, Light says "Mello, pay the girl." as he straightened to stand.

Glaring bitterly, Mello replied. "Right." Reaching into his jacket pocket he removed a few silver coins. "White chocolate cool with you?"

But damn did he hate to have to give up his afternoon snack, although, the bag of coins is mixed chocolates and frankly he doesn't care for white chocolate. So it was no great loss, he's just lucky when he reached in and pulled some out that the majority was silver coins instead of gold or copper.

Eagerly swaying the little girl says. "Yes, thanks!" Accepting the chocolate, she then says. "And I'd like five dollars too, please."

"Of course." Sneered the burned candyman, dropping a five-spot in the girl's palm. That was the change he had from buying a bag of chocolate on the way over. Mello usually never carries small bills. Not after his L.A. life. Money meant power and status. And after obtaining those to acquire his crew, he didn't want to look back to the scraping days of how he had to get it.

Looking at the American dollar bill, she asked. "What is this?"

But they were already heading back the way they came.

In the car, Light's looking over the clue left by their murderer. "What do you make of it? Do you think the girl's a credible witness? It was more than a week ago that the family was killed, she could have forgotten something or added something. Especially if she'd been afraid of the guy, it's not usual for men to wear monster masks and top hats. Maybe she changed what she saw around a bit."

"It's the best thing we've got so far. And it is strange that the guy knew about the twins while having no clue which home they lived in. He must have been in the neighborhood and seen them."

With a thoughtful frown on his face, Light mumbled. "I'd hate to think this creep is targeting twins, that really is too broad a scale for getting one step ahead of him with whom the next victim will be."

Mello turned the car to the next street headed for the journalist's home. The rain let up for like ten minutes but as the car rounded another corner it came back with a lot more gusto than the drizzle earlier. The driver was about to say "fuck Quimby" and take them home. He doesn't wanna be out in this downpour.

But there's a long-winded wait out if they solved crimes on fair weather days- especially in London- they'd never get anywhere. Parking right up on the building was such a lucky break, he had to wonder if they'd just lucked-out by something this mediocre, as he climbed from the car.

Light, who'd been studying the clue, hesitated before exiting the car. It wasn't that he cared about getting wet, but that he'd have to ride home on a wet seat if he got drenched. Using his hands as a cheap shield, he followed Mello up the stairs to the man's front door.

0 0 0

"It's raining again," Matt says after his attention left the liquid spotted window.

"Way to set sail Captain Obvious." Replied Near without looking up from the sheet of paper on the desk in front of him. Offering the situation a fed-up sigh through his nostrils, Near very calmly states. "I can't make any sense of this, can you?"

"Gimme yours and you can see mine." Handing him the paper over the backing of the computer desk he takes Near's as it comes over. "Jesus, your's is longer than mine."

"I've tried the shift unless the word is in a foreign language, it isn't a Caesar."

"Same here. I even went backward." Matt's gaze shifted to the blue and black block at the right of his vision, and from this glance, he produced the hand-held he'd set aside after Mello's text.

"Maybe it is in a foreign language with their alphabet."

"What language is D.G.I.N or F.I.N.N.P?" With Tetris fired up in the system, Matt began stacking and clearing blocks from inside a rectangular box, while he thought about the ciphers. His little Matt avatar danced merrily off at the top right corner whenever he got a Tetris and cleared the room or a chunk of it.

"I don't know. I've only fluently learned 67 languages myself."

Matt scoffed at that being said as if it were a task of ease. He's only mastered about 38. He wasn't sure how Mello was doing, the blond never spoke about the off-hand studies from their job as detectives. If he's even continued studying once he left the house. In prison, Matt really didn't have much else to do but expand his mind.

"Maybe it isn't a shift at all... Maybe the letters or numbers are just to throw us off," Hearing the message indicator sound on his screen, Near glanced down at the mail in his inbox. "Looks like a couple more people have just bought me."

Had the young boy said that to a stranger, they'd swaddle the poor dear and ask him to use a doll as an example of how he was hurt. But Matt only gave an intoned "hunh" Near's main profession of focus when helping the police is in serious crimes against minors, and he often helps the police with online bullying that's more severe than a couple names being called, and pedophilia cases by posing as a customer. He'll flirt with these men, send pictures of himself in makeup and costume to disguise himself. And through this he would help the police nail these idiots the minute they agree to meet up with him. And they're usually beyond eager, especially when he shows off make-up job bruises.

After contacting the police for that area with the location they should move to, Near got up from his seat. "I'm gonna ask L, he may know." Holding out his hand for Matt's sheet of paper, that was originally his, he takes both of them up the stairs with him to the detective's room.

"L?" He knocked on the door.

"Come in." Came the voice from within the room.

Near entered the room coming to a pause in motion when spotting L in a handstand with his legs folded Indian-style. "Meditation?" He inquired as a possible explanation.

"Yes." Was the nonchalant reply. "Is there something you wanted?"

"You know more languages than either Matt or myself, will you look this over for us?" Near waited for the detective to right himself before handing off the slips of paper they've written all over with possibilities of what the message could say. "We're not looking for the answer, just a need to know if it's in another language?"

"Hn... Mhmm... 'Dign' in latin is 'worthfly', but does that make sense to you as a message?" He hummed thoughtfully looking over the other letters and numbers. "The other word has a letter in it that shouldn't be there. If it's without the 'P'"

"Then it'd be 'feel' in Icelandic, which makes no sense. But if it's Norwegian it'd be 'find'. '...Find Worthfly...'. But that's only an assumption of having to drop the letter." Near curled a lock hair around his finger. "And if that's the case, then there would have to be a letter missing in the first message as well."

"Does that help you?" Asked L standing from his crouched position.

"It may have..." Though his finger played thoroughly in his hair as he wondered if this 'Worthfly' was their next victim. "There's also the possibility that D.G.I.N. is 'thought' like in Romanian."

"In Cebuano, it would be 'to' if you removed the 'D'."

"This is frustrating." Near closed his eyes and upon opening them he locked eyes with the detective. "L... About Kira-"

Cutting off his next word, L quickly corrects him by saying. "Light Yagami."

"You can call him that on the surface, but we both know that Kira's still lurking just beneath it. What do you think he's gonna do once he gets his memory back?"

"If, Near, if he gets his memory back. ...If that should happen, then it will be addressed accordingly."

"Even when you have feelings for him?"

The statement from the younger detective hung there like a boat on the sea with several anchors dropped. And in the fierce battle of the gazes, Near felt himself on that boat in the middle of a very choppy ocean, and the tide was dragging him in towards a very rocky shore in L's gaze. But then slowly, little by little the waves began to calm and almost lolled him back out to sea and away from danger as L put on a neutral expression then looked away.

Feeling the ground dry up and harden, Near pressed on. "People don't change, L. They're more likely to repay a discretion or slight they've endured by you than they are to realize what they owe to someone in kindness. Your care and kindness is wasted on him, because all he sees is his goal and the obstacles detaining him from it. He doesn't care if you laughed together, or shared similarities or something. He'll want his revenge... His envisioned world."

L listened to Near's words then nodded. "Near, there's something to be said about change, of how and why it's possible."

Brow raised in curiosity, he remained silent as the detective went on.

"38 percent of the world doesn't change, not in the positive perspective. And the root of that lack of change stems from the reason to change." The detective held his hand out, palm up, as if his words were taking life there in the center for his successor to see. "People can only fully change in the eyes of the person or persons they're changing for. Change isn't singularly based. Most things in life aren't. If you continue to see Kira, he will be Kira... You are keeping him that way. Not the rearranged events from his time as a serial killer, creeping around in his mind."

"But..."

"I've never said I trusted the Shinigami, nor what direction he's steered Light's mind. But I'm prepared to deal with the cracks. As well as Kira." Placing a hand on the young teen's shoulder, he looked him dead in the eyes and says quietly. "Your only job is to realize that Light is Light, Kira is Kira... You must find a way to separate the two." Removing his hold, he says very firmly. "Or leave."

L's black gaze held Near's neutral charcoal and for a moment Near thought of leaving- not the home as L had meant, but the room. Though, he does not. He remained where he stood, and with a firm tone of his own he states.

"He's cunning, he'll trick you."

"I'm aware of Kira's behavior more so than I am of Light Yagami's." Hands stuff into his pockets, he cocked his head thoughtfully to one side. "I have more at stake to lose this time than just a case or my life. I have all of you... And even if I lose my life, I won't let you lose yours'... I'll stop Kira at any cost. I won't hesitate to bring him down."

Near felt a tightness in his chest. He's never had anyone declare a safety net for him in any way, shape, or form. Protocol safety from the police while on the job is one thing, but this is offered from someone who owes him nothing. Given to him without a need or ask.

"You were right when you said things can't go one way. You will never be alone with Kira ever again... We lost ourselves when we'd thought we'd lost you. We're not going to let that happen again... Not from Kira's hands. Whether you want us to be or not, we're here for you as well."

L's gaze shifted to the ceiling and then he looked down at the teen. "Thank you. It's humbling to be looked down upon by someone younger than yourself. But we keep making monumentally bad decisions, don't we? Light for using the killer notebook; me for holding on to a mass murderer and even caring for him."

"At least you know my plight." Near joked to ease the sadness in L's voice.

"Yes, I do. But I can assure you, I'm no longer blinded by the things I want, nor am I closing my eyes to the way things are. Should Light's memories of being Kira return, should Kira return... I'll put an end to him myself- that I can promise you." Biting his thumb, he says softly as though his words gave him some sort of shame. "I know none of you know me, but you have to trust me that I know what I'm doing."

Nodding, Near turned and walked to the door. "Thanks for the help with this,"

"If it is a help." Commented the detective.

With a small smirk, Near says. "You really aren't alone with this. Trust can't go one way either. Trust us too." That said he walked out of the room closing the door.

L stared after Near's departure, returning to his computer desk he leaned his weight onto the chair by holding onto the back of it. He stared at the young man's favorite watch wrapped around his wrist. Touching it he whispered to the time-piece.

"And when he fell, it was like that of Lucifer." But could the fallen angel repent?

Near expelled a sigh from his mouth when he walked away from the room. It was still weird being able to see L beyond the screen and to even, it seems, be given a chance to get to know him as a person. As limited as talking about themselves is for people in their positions.

Returning to the study, he dropped the paper before Matt, and taking his seat he says. "Find Worthfly."

"Sorry, that tried to sound like English but I've got earbuds in and..." Matt shrugged his hand.

Hating to repeat himself, he says. "If the words are in a foreign language it would amount to 'Find Worthfly'."

"Okay. That sounds like a name to me, a command too. What d'ya say we find Worthfly?" He snickered. "That can't really be a name."

"It's unusual, I'll admit that... But this Worthfly could be our next victim."

Forgetting level 57, Matt typed the name into a search engine of his own design. "Are you seeing this?" He asked Near, whose fingers sound like they're also on the move. "It's a club for dudes who like to fly fish."

"It could mean anything if that's the case." Near clicked on the website. "Maybe one of the members is a twin."

"Or maybe the next vic'll be around water. England's gagging on a length of river water. The Thames itself is already swimming with bodies on a regular basis, and that's from accidents or suicides."

"It wouldn't hurt to alert the river police." Near got up from his seat, lifting the laptop to bring along with him as he changes seats to sit beside Matt. "L says he knows what he's doing in regards to Kira. He said he doesn't need our help, but I wasn't offering it. He doesn't get a choice in the matter." Turning his gaze on him, he asks. "Matt, if Light reverts back to Kira you'll help with protecting L, won't you?"

Matt nodded somberly. "After what he's done, he'd better have my name down to the actual time I was put on record during birth, to keep me from killing him."

Near was glad for the back-up. And he was sure Mello felt the same way. Deep down he knew L's words were right. He will always see Light Yagami as Kira. Kira! Who'd had a larger God complex than people who go to worship and cry 'Sinner', if you don't. The creep that almost took away everyone he's held dear since he was 3, and adopted into Wammy's home. They may not have always been close, but he damn sure cares about each and every one of them. And he won't let anything unnatural as death by a killer notebook come between that. He still gets an urge for cocoa whenever he misses his blond rival or any kind of sweet on hand for L. And he'd never admit it to Matt but he does do a little gaming on some occasions. Not often, but some.

'And now a case that should have been closed, the nightmare killer that should have been ended that day... is living under the same roof as us.′Shaking his head Near shifts his thinking. 'L knows what he's doing. L knows what he's doing.' He tried to assure himself.

Refocused, Near begins working on a few other cases he had waiting in the wings, now that the police have arrested a few men for possession of child pornography and the attempt to purchase. He also needs to log information on this more current case into a folder. He can get Gevanni to work out the details of further research.

"I feel sorry for Mel', out there with that prick. Wouldn't it be weird if the letters were words, they are in caps? It could be acronyms or initialism," Matt blinked before his face fell into a thoughtful expression. "Near, who's laptop is this?" He points to the one the young detective is using.

"Gevanni's. Why?"

"The arrow just moved on its own, I think someone's hacked him."

"What?" Getting up from the chair due to Matt scooting over into his seat, practically onto his lap, as Near didn't see him coming as fast as the techie moved. But he managed to get out of the way before he became part of the furniture. "Are you sure?"

"Unless you've gained psychic powers in the last twenty seconds, I definitely saw the arrow move without human contact." When a separate screen popped up, he muttered to himself. "There we go."

"What are you doing?"

"Someone wants to know what we're doing, I say we lead them into a trap." When the flash of Matt's laptop screen caught his eye he swapped back to his laptop and asked Near to get back on Gevanni's and behave as though he's working on the case. "While he follows you, I'll follow him."

"Okay."

It became like a moving maze between the three possibly more. When Near would search a file the hacker would swap screens on him then the file would blink back and disappear from Matt tunneling in behind them and blocking them inside. It was a chase of open, close, open, close. Then the screen on Gevanni's laptop blinked and a search engine popped up.

"Fast as you can, in all caps, type in 'EVE' then press enter."

Near does as instructed and the screen flashed for what would be the last time, bringing up a screen with a CGI, semi-nude mutated woman who's laughing, before the laptop shut itself down then rebooted.

"Tetris," Matt said with a snicker. "Well, that was an annoying twenty minutes." Though it seemed like he'd actually enjoyed it. "Wonder what the hell he was looking for?"

"Maybe he was trying to see if we were working the case? We have kept the media from knowing what's been going on as far as it being serial killings. He might think we're ignoring him."

"Hn. Well, whatever the cry baby was doing he won't be using his computer for a long time if he thinks he can get rid of that virus." Getting up, he stretched his arms over his head. "I'll program one for Gevanni's laptop since the dick got in through his. Where were you last?"

"I went into the police files to get information on the women's backgrounds. Rester e-mailed me that the families' interviews have been filed."

"That'll do it; he probably detoured on accident and found his way into Gevanni's laptop." Taking said laptop, he traded his to Near to use until he was done with the viral program. "If this guy can hack into cop's files, he really might become more of a threat if he thinks no one is receiving his cry for attention."

"Yeah, he may even kill Quimby if he finds him useless towards his fame."

...

Mello knocked on the man's door. When no answer came, he took a lock-pick from his pocket then worked it into the knob. But when he pushed the door open it stopped up on the chain.

"Quimby!"

The man yelped and fell from the chair at his computer desk. Crawling along the floor so as not to be seen by whomever called for him, it did no good because the door was kicked open, popping the restricting chain; the homeowner got to his feet so quickly he popped his shoulder painfully against the coffee table.

"Ow-hoo hoo!" Cried the man holding his ache as he ducked into his bedroom.

"Idiot." Snipped Mello as he traipsed to the man's bedroom door. "Quimby, it's Mello. Come on out."

"H-how do I know you're telling the truth?" Quimby sniveled from inside the safety of his bedroom. "Who just barges into someone's house like that?"

"You didn't come to the door," Mello spoke through the door.

"You didn't give me a chance to hear you, I was busy."

"I need to talk to you, come out."

"No! I still can't trust that you are who you say you are." Quimby sounded further away from the door. "A fine week I'm having, can't even trust that I'm safe in my own house. I'm being drugged and taken to Inns, people are picking the lock to my front door."

The pair outside the door watch as a mirror came sliding from beneath the crack under the doorway. Crouching down, Mello smiled at his reflection then said "Boo!" to the trembling man holding it. The mirror lowered from its slant then slid back into the room and seconds later the door pulled open.

"Next time ring the bell." The journalist stated more at ease now that he knows it's not the Big Bad Wolf. He eyed Light, but what he thought of him was unclear. He returned to the living room to sit at his computer desk. "Seems I'm annoying my boss with these little vacations I've been taking; the prick can't seem to get it in his head that I'm not doing this on purpose."

"My heart bleeds for you," Mumbled Mello before taking a seat on the sofa, diving into his questioning. "Mr. Quimby, we need for you to think back to each time you were abducted, on either occasion did you see the man- even at a glimpse?"

"Somewhat. This morning or last night... Whenever I was put in the hotel." Seated at the computer, he ignores his e-mail to speak to the two men. This whole thing was becoming one big horrible blur to him, and he wished the nightmare would stop. But every time he got comfortable, he'd be abducted again. "I've told all this to the police, you know? I thought you guys were working with them?"

"We're more of a private firm." Explained Mello. "But that's not important right now. Just tell me what you saw, walk me through this morning."

Closing his eyes he sucked in a breath, held it for a moment then let it out as he spoke. "I woke up in bed next to these two women, I was sandwiched between them. I put my hand out to get up but it slid..." The journalist looked spooked by his own words. "God there was so much blood." He looked at his hands as if the blood might still be there. "I eventually found my way to the door, but I wasn't facing forward. So when I hit the door I actually hit a pair of boots- combat boots."

It annoyed Mello that the man hit a lot more than that, his panicked movements contaminated the entire crime scene, not to mention if the women had been posed he'd knocked them from it while escaping in fear.

"He looked like a funeral director with that long black jacket, but... I don't know, when I saw him it was very brief. But it looked like he was wearing a suit and tie with the coat over it."

Mello wanted to ask if it was like 'Thin Man' as Amanda Goffe had said, but he didn't want to put images in the man's head. At least this is a good confirmation to what she'd said.

Quimby kept glancing at Light as he described the man. Mello soon began to realize that the journalist is probably wondering who the new face is because Light certainly isn't Matt. Introductions could come later, right now they need this information, not acknowledgments.

"He was very pale... it was strange like his skin didn't fit." He thought back to the moment he'd bumped into the man, and how the man had leaned over him and very bluntly knocked him out again. "I think he was wearing a mask, his face was a little too placid, if that makes any sense."

"Anything else?" Light asked finally speaking.

This only caused Quimby to give him an even longer stare before he answered. "Yeah, yeah he had on a hat. It looked like a top hat, but the brimming was a little more relaxed... I think..." He shook his head to clear the smog blocking the hat, just to end up shrugging.

"Thanks for the help, it was useful." Replied Mello.

"You're welcome." He stood and shook the agent's hand then Light's. "A rookie?" He wondered out loud since it seemed Mello wasn't going to introduce his new partner.

"Something like that. I'm Legal."

"Such strange names they're giving people these days. I suppose next the name Plumb will be like nothing." He released Light's hand. "I'm Ellis Quimby with the London paper, The Mirror. You may remember seeing my name under such articles as 'I'm being targeted by a psychopath or Afraid to sleep because a nut might get me."

"Joking aside, Mr. Quimby; your situation may be worse than you'd thought." Informed Light.

Looking grim on the fly, the man's nervously widened eyes go from Light to Mello. "Meaning?"

Mello swung his arm out giving Light the floor since he started the conversation.

"Meaning, we think this unsub wants attention. He craves it because he feels invisible."

Confused and a little angered, he asked. "What has that got to do with me?"

"We think he's using you as a means to become famous. You're a journalist, after all, so you can tell his story to the world."

"I can tell it... Why me?"

"We think that if it's not you, it would be any other member of your paper, able to get it out there about what he's doing." Light hesitated, but he knew there was no way to be kind with his next words, so he may as well get them out. "We also believe that if you fail to do as this guy wants, he will kill you" Quimby crumpled back into the seat he'd stood from. Deflated. Frightened. As Light was finishing what he was saying. "And move on to someone else."

"Had I just gone straight home that evening, but I had to stick around..." Quimby muttered to his lap. "Is that my only option? Write about this asshole or die?" He looked up then, showing off some worried tears that haven't yet slid free.

"There's a really good chance that we'll catch him before anything happens to you, or anyone else." Assured Light. "For now, just play along. If this guy is breaking into your home then he may just leave you alone if he sees that you're doing as he wants."

"How do I do something like that?"

Light caused the man to lean away when he approached so suddenly, making for his computer. "You just have to open a draft and begin typing a story. Make it like a book or an article, anything that'll appease to him. Just leave the computer turned on so if he sneaks in, he'll see it."

"I see... What if he doesn't just leave- what if he takes me anyway?"

"At least you know you'll be fine, as long as you keep him happy..." He couldn't say he hoped. Because he honestly doesn't know what this freak wants with Quimby. But attention may be a start.

"Fine he says. Tell that to my medical bills every time this guy smacks me over the head." Looking at the blank document page on the screen, he sighed. "I can do it."

"Good." Light smiled at the man. "We'll have an officer stationed outside of your home so if anyone shows up he'll be there."

Mello wondered when that became a decision that Light could make. But he knew it was what had to be done. Chances are he'd be seeing a cop before they even made it back to the manor.

"At least there's that. Now I can relax... For a while anyway." Though he still looked uneasy. Not to mention he was giving an even blanker expression than the screen he was looking at.

"You'll figure it out." Mello comments when seeing nothing but a letter come up on the screen before the man slumped back in on himself. Seeing Light get off his phone, he walked over to him and whispered. "Let's get out of here when the cop shows up."

"Yeah. He doesn't seem assured at all that he'll be fine."

Looking at Quimby, Light wonders if they could simply use a plant. But he doubted it. This guy managed to slip drugs to people in broad daylight. Chances are he wouldn't be led astray by a guy posing as Quimby, not to mention if he sees that the guy isn't him, the plant might be killed on the spot. No. Better Quimby participate until this guy is caught.

It was a ten-minute wait over tea before the cop arrived to relieve the two of their unplanned babysitting gig. In the time they were having tea, Quimby drank his and stared at the computer screen, unsure of what to write. How to write it. After all, he knows nothing about the person doing this, aside from the fact that he continues to get brought into it. But maybe...

The Mirror Murders

by

Ellis Quimby

He smiled at what he'd done so far. It was a pretty good start if he could say so himself. But what else? He's never written a story before. He's only snipped lengthy stories in half to make articles.

"I know."

It was a day like any other day...

x x x

Commentary: This took so long to type because I was feeling like absolute shit for weeks, my sides are still burning. But, I'm chipper~ish ahaha. I may have sentences that don't make sense at all, I hope not because I went over it but you never know what you'll miss. So I'll fix it if I see it once it's posted. I hope you've enjoyed it.

Thank you for reading it and reviewing or favoriting it or me. I appreciate it every time. If you'd like to try the cypher it's in this chapter's title and you'll know the answer in the next chapter. Now I'm gonna take it easy and watch Ghost Adventures and just chill.



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