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Second chapter of my de-anoned (is that even a word?) fanfic from Clampkink.


Chapter 1



“What? I don’t recognise her.”
 
“Once again, your ignorance of pop culture astounds me.” Kurogane pointed out. “She’s been on TV a fair bit, but not since the beginning of this year... I get now why it’s a butterfly.” He began to explain the finer details of her identity.
 
The woman in the composite sketch may not have been an exact match for her real-life counterpart, but there was no mistaking that hair. How many women had black hair so long that it reached to their thighs? And those eyes... Eyes that saw right into your soul, digging out your darkest secrets. Eyes that knew more about you than you ever would.
 
Yuuko Ichihara, the world’s highest paid agony aunt and fortune teller. So valued was her advice that people paid great sums of money to take their problems to her and to get a sign about their future (many a celebrity had visited her over the years, and a politician or two). On the side, she dealt in antiques and high-value pawnbroking, the business that she had owned before fame had struck. When she was found dead in her house, a gorgeous old property in the north of the city that also functioned as her workplace, many of her ex-customers mourned. She had been featured in many publications and programmes at the time, late in January of this year, and her demise, ruled as suicide via overdose by the coroner, was a great shock to those who had heard of the woman.
 
As for how a dead woman could be committing murders now, well that’s probably why they’re coming to Fai.
 
“The butterfly is her business logo, another sign pointing to her being the person witnessed leaving the scene. Later on we found out that all the victims have been acquaintances of Ichihara’s at one time or another. We’ve checked every open avenue, since we found the first two murders were connected. There’s no sign of this woman anywhere. No leads.”
 
“And that’s why you’re here.” His flatmate concluded. “Well, since it’s obviously not our dearly departed Ms. Ichihara, you’ll be wanting me to find out who’s impersonating her. And solve three murders at the same time.”
 
“That’s the brunt of it, yes. Think you can do it?”
 
“Of course I can! You wouldn’t be here if you thought otherwise!”
 
His companion moved from his view of Baker Street, beginning to bustle with the creep of the early morning rush, towards where they were seated.
 
“I’d like to visit the shop that she owned first,” he continued, voice full of an underlying excitement, “So I can get a good grasp on her habits and other fun facts.”
 
“Of course. It’s being run by her ex-assistant now, but I’m sure he’ll let us look around if I call ahead. I’m assuming you’ll be following in a cab, since you obviously won’t be coming in my car?”
 
“Exactly. I’ll just slip into something more presentable, and we’ll meet you there in about an hour.”
 
“Right,” the inspector replied, getting up to leave, “See you then. Doctor.” He nodded in farewell to both of them and descended the stairs with Mrs Hibiya. The front door closed audibly not long afterwards.
 
The study was quiet now, with just the two of them, but Fai’s enthusiasm was almost audible.
 
“Right, Kuro-doctor, I’m going to fetch my coat, then we can get going!” He bounded out of the room and upstairs before Kurogane could say anything further.
 
He had that new-case-look to him, Kurogane noted as he went to don his own clothing, and it brightened his features considerably, making him appear much younger than his actual age. He really didn’t want to say anything to the man at this point, for fear of ruining the great mood that he was in, because his mood swings were more than a little annoying. He was the only person he knew who could go from the height of a sugar rush to an absolute dismal depression in under an hour. His constant attempts to defeat his arch-nemesis, boredom, were aggravating at the best of times, and downright infuriating at others. Kurogane had lost count of the times when he’d been ordered around by the man to do something completely pointless, which the consulting detective could have done by himself in mere seconds.
 
His skills of deduction, however, were unparalleled; just last month he had helped crack an important theft case which had been baffling police for ages. Fai had taken one quick glance at the room where the item had been stored, and somehow deduced that the culprit was the cat.
 
After meeting his compatriot in the downstairs hallway, they left their residence and went out into the street. A brisk wind blew down the road as they stepped out into the morning, clutching at their coattails and sending fabric billowing towards the sky.
 
“It’s coooold, Kuro-furnace!” The sleuth complained, grabbing his arm and clinging to it like a lifesaver.
 
“Get off me!” He snapped, shaking the stupid blonde from his arm. This was going to be a long day, he could just tell, and the idiot had started early. At this rate, he’d have a headache before lunchtime.
 
They hailed a taxi as soon as one was spotted trawling for customers, somewhat unsuccessfully in the early morn, and climbed in the back of the black cab.
 
*******************************
 
The drive was quicker than usual because of the thinned traffic; it was only a little after seven, and the city was not yet fully awake. As they pulled up in front of Ms. Ichihara’s home and place of work, Kurogane couldn’t help but let out an impressed whistle.
 
Even amongst the great manses beside it, the house of Yuuko Ichihara stood out as an exceptional beauty. Surrounded by a small garden, with trees barring the view of any nosy neighbours, it stood as a contrast to the modern brick houses that crowded it with two storeys of wooden walls and green-tiled roofs. The fog hanging thick and low in the air surrounded the place and gave it an added air of mystery, fitting with its ex-mistress’ occupation. Metal crescent moons were mounted where there might have been weather vanes, slicing into the haze, and upon the gateposts of the entrance they passed through to reach the imposing front door.
 
Inspector Doumeki stood waiting for them there, chatting idly to whom Kurogane assumed to be the new store owner, Kimihiro Watanuki. He seemed too skinny, like the sleuth, with dark hair and a striking pair of eyes framed by large lenses. His heterochromia was obvious even from afar, with one eye a piercing blue and the other solid amber, but it seemed to suit him, granting him an almost mysterious appearance enhanced by the eastern-inspired outfit draped over his frame. It was a fitting persona for a fortune teller’s protégé to adopt, Kurogane supposed as he took in his appearance. The boy- for he was barely old enough to be running his own business- smiled in greeting as they approached and held open the heavy door, gesturing them inside.
 
The living room was a strange amalgamation of east meets west, a collection of gifts from all over the world that Yuuko’s many customers had showered her with. The objects were rather mismatched, but they seemed to somehow fit together in a kind of organised chaos. Looking around at the quality of the artefacts, however, it was clear that Yuuko Ichihara had served many affluent people in need; the room was a veritable treasure trove, and that wasn’t even counting the antiques that the shop dealt with. Those could be glimpsed through a door behind a plump crimson sofa, presumably the shop’s storeroom.
 
“How can I help you?” the shop owner enquired, making himself comfortable on a chaise longue as they took the sofa, “I understand that there’s been another one, though I don’t know what else I can tell you.” His tone suggested wisdom beyond his years, along with the smile upon his face. That was a knowing smile, Kurogane observed, and for a moment he could almost see the dead woman in her assistant.
 
“I know, Mr Watanuki,” Doumeki replied, returning the smile, “Sorry to bother you again, but I’ve brought in a consultant to assist with the investigation. Let me introduce you to Mr Fai Fluorite and his compatriot Dr Kurogane Suwa.”
 
Pleasantries were exchanged, after which Fai decided to quickly get down to business.
 
“Alright, I want to know anything you can tell me about Miss Ichihara; her character, habits, interesting things that distinguish her from everyone else. Then I would like to hear about the circumstances surrounding her death, if I may.”
 
“Alright,” Watanuki replied, hastily gathering his thoughts. “Yuuko was an... eccentric person. She would never wear the same outfit twice, and she was constantly on the go, getting energy from god-knows-where. I won’t say that she was a selfish person, but she had a tendency to-” he paused, in the grip of an unpleasant memory, “order her employees around like slaves, setting completely impossible tasks and expecting them to be completed quicker than anyonecouldeverdo—” He took a deep breath. “Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Anyway, she liked a drink a little more than the next person, but she could hold her booze like no one I’d ever met before.”
 
He smiled, and it was something soft, tinged with a mixture of happiness and sadness.
 
“Despite that, she was always there when I needed her, along with some really good advice and an unnatural ability to tell how a situation was going to end. I guess that’s why she was so popular, though. She had this habit of saying that everything was inevitable; thinking back on it, I’m pretty sure she knew she was going to die.”
 
“What, you mean she was depressed before the suicide?” Kurogane asked. “Why didn’t you get her some help?”
 
He shook his head. “You misunderstand. What I meant was that she had this knowing smile, like there was a great secret that she knew and we didn’t. And she kept saying things that didn’t make sense until I looked back after she had gone. Things that hinted towards her not being around for much longer.
 
“The day I found her... it was just like any other day. I’d just come in to work for the afternoon, and there she was, sprawled out on the sofa, sleeping like always. I was going to yell at her for being lazy, as usual. Except—” His voice broke, and he fell silent, face struggling to conceal the torrent of anguish threatening to burst forth.
 
“Except she wasn’t asleep,” Fai finished for him, face expressionless.
 
“Yeah,” he replied, and the grief was still evident in his expression. “They said it was a suicide, with pills, but I still don’t believe it. She wouldn’t do that. There was no reason to!”
 
“So you think she was murdered?” Fai asked, more to himself than to the upset shopkeeper. “Interesting. Do you mind if we take a look around her room? All of her things are still here, after all.”
 
“Hmm?” he answered, a little far away, “Oh, yeah, of course. Sakura– her niece- hasn’t had a chance to go through everything yet, so feel free. If it helps catch whoever is trying to ruin Yuuko’s memory, you have permission to search the whole house top to bottom!”
 
“Thanks,” Fai replied, dragging Kurogane out of the room by the wrist and leaving the inspector to comfort the antiques dealer, who was vehemently denying to the policeman (even though he hadn’t said a word) that he wasn’t crying and that he should just go investigate somewhere else thanks very much.
 
“I can walk by myself, idiot,” Kurogane snapped, pulling his wrist from the blonde’s grip as he closed the living room door behind them. “And would it kill you to have a little more compassion for the guy?”
 
Eccentric, ordering him around like a slave, high drinking capacity... sounds like we were in similar situations before the witch died. Except I’m doing the slavery thing for free!
 
“I bet you thought he was describing me for a minute there, eh, Kuro-disgruntled?”
 
Damn his mind reading abilities! How does he even do that?
 
“Wellllll...” Fai continued, leaning up into his face.
 
The sleuth was too close for comfort, and that stupid grin made him want to punch him in his all-knowing nose. Up close, though, he could see the sparkling cerulean oceans that served for his irises all too well, and it caused him to reconsider. He couldn’t remember how many times he’d stared, but it was the first time he’d seen them this close. He was struck by the notion that the blonde was fairly beautiful, despite his annoyances. To the average observer, they might seem like ordinary blue eyes, but to Kurogane, who lived and worked with this extraordinary man, they were eyes like no other. He was intrigued by the way light danced across them, especially when the blonde was in the midst of solving something tricky, because that was when the smiles really reached his eyes. There was a breathtaking depth as well, Kurogane noticed now, for the first time, betraying a vast intelligence far beyond what his appearance might suggest. He might’ve stared for a long while yet, until he tuned back in to the other part of his brain that demanded to know what the hell he was doing.
 
Quickly pulling away, for he’d been gazing into the other man’s eyes for more than a minute, he marched up the stairs, desperately hoping his face wasn’t too much of an embarrassed picture (though the consulting detective was likely to know exactly what embarrassing thoughts he’d been thinking, especially considering the grin that was still plastered over his face).
 
I’m getting hell over this later...
 
“Let’s just go search the place, alright?” He finally grumbled, almost at the second floor landing.
 
“Right, Kuro-scrutiny!”
 
It took them a good hour and a half just to scratch the surface of the dead woman’s life; Fai seemed to be getting things out of it, rummaging through every drawer in sight, but to Kurogane it was just sifting through pointless stuff. The last place they looked was the walk-in wardrobe, which was surprisingly large. The woman was a bit of a hoarder, particularly with clothes, and he was soon threatening the smaller man that if he had to look at another dress he’d fetch his pistol from Baker Street. Of course that just earned him more teasing from Fai and, losing his temper, he swung for the sleuth who, inevitably, ducked, resulting in Kurogane falling into another heap of dresses and coming up covered in frills and lace. A click from Fai’s phone told him that his humiliation had now been forever enshrined in the mobile’s photo gallery, and it would likely end up on the idiot detective’s website all too soon.
 
“Now, now, Kuro-kinky, if you wanted to dress up, you should have said so! I wouldn’t judge you!”
 
MUST. NOT. KILL. IDIOT.
 
“Also you should probably not take your anger out on the dresses,” he continued, as Kurogane stepped towards him, anger radiating, “because most of them are worth a lot more than you earn in a year.”
 
Rationality kicked in, and Kurogane halted his murderous advance on the blonde man. He couldn’t possibly afford to fix anything he damaged from killing the sleuth, let alone replace them, so he gave the man a reprieve, for now.
 
“Are we done here?” He asked instead, frowning.
 
“I think so- I’ve learned a lot about our deceased celebrity.”
 
“I’m glad you have- all I know is that her clothing taste was far too elaborate and more expensive than I’d ever like to consider.”
 
“Ah, but that’s because you don’t observe, Kuro-frills.” He replied, poking the taller man in the cheek and earning himself a growl. “Right, I’m going to go downtown and see what I can find out from the latest crime scene. In the meantime, I want you to go speak to that niece of hers- see if you can get out anything about who might want to use her aunt’s identity to kill people.”
 
“Alright,” Kurogane agreed too quickly, forgetting once again to assert his rights as a non-slave.
 
“Good,” the blonde man smiled, heading for the stairs, “I’ll text you when I’m done.”



Chapter 3...



on 2011-10-01 12:38 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] zelinxia.livejournal.com
(Yay, I finally get the chance to re-read it all in one go! :D)

I forgot how much I used to enjoy reading mystery as a kid. *fondly remembers poring over the Boxcar Children series, which is all children mystery chapter books* I really enjoy the details and atmosphere of London and Yuuko's mansion. Not to mention Doumeki and Watanuki's cameos in KF fics always delight me to no end.

Can I just say I adore the hints of attraction going on? I like it when it's subtle.

“Alright,” Kurogane agreed too quickly, forgetting once again to assert his rights as a non-slave.
This was always one of my favorite sentences. xD

on 2011-10-01 03:19 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] tarmachan.livejournal.com
Glad you like it! I was a little nervous about committing to writing a story for someone else at first, since I'd never filled a prompt before. I started getting a little alarmed when it got longer and longer and then BOOM. Suddenly it was a huge thing that I had to make sure all flowed and made sense.

Most of my London descriptions came from the TV, since I've been there for a total of three days. But Yuuko's mansion was a bit easier XD

I was a little worried about whether to make the attraction so obvious, in case it broke up the story, so I'm glad you think it's subtle.

Kuro-slave is whipped XD

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October 2012

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