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Third part of my de-anon'd fic from [community profile] clampkink.

Chapter 2 is here.

Ms Ichihara’s niece was a soft-spoken girl of sixteen, with wispy brown hair that had two strangely longer strands at the front. Kids and their strange fashions, Kurogane concluded. She was dwarfed by his large stature, so he sat down on the sofa as soon as he was shown into her place, a nice looking apartment in a high-rise in the west of the city. Feeling less intimidated, she offered tea and coffee, though Kurogane refused them both. Instead he took to studying the girl, trying to see her as Fai would.
Small, about five-three, skinny, with large green eyes. Bet she gets hell from the boys. Lives by herself, by the looks of it. No living relatives, I suppose, not now that the witch is dead. It’s kind of sad, actually, how she’s ended up alone, but she doesn’t seem fazed by any of it.
“Erm... Doctor Suwa, was it?” She asked, sitting at the other end of the three-seater.
“Call me Kurogane.”
“Right!” She squeaked a little, face flashing full of fear for a second. “Um, so you wanted to talk about Aunt Yuuko, right?”
“Yeah,” he replied, hand rubbing the back of his head at the awkward feeling in the air. He tried to put on a less scary face as he continued, “I need to know what she was like, any special habits, and also if she had anyone who might have disliked her.”
Listening patiently, the girl nodded. “Yes. Well, Aunt Yuuko was a bit, er, unusual. She was always so full of energy!”
“Yeah, that Watanuki guy told us as much,” Kurogane cut in, rolling his eyes a little.
“Right,” she said, a little crestfallen. “I don’t really know what I can tell you that he hasn’t already. I want to help, but—”
Kurogane sighed. Talking to sensitive teenage girls was not his forte. “You are helping,” he reassured her, “Just tell me anything you can think of, even if it doesn’t seem important. Like how the family situation was, maybe?”
“Okay! Well, she was my mother’s younger sister. They grew up in that house, you know. They seemed to get along okay, when mum was alive. Yuuko seemed to be a gentle person overall; I remember one time, though, they had this big argument over something to do with grandma. It was pretty bad, and they didn’t talk to each other for about a month. I overheard them once, I was only seven, but I remember; Yuuko mentioned something about “that child” and how it “should never have been born”. My mother disagreed with the same tone. It was scary, actually- I’d never seen them that way before, and it really stuck in my mind.
“I thought they were talking about me,” She confessed, eyes watering a little, “But when they were speaking again, Aunt Yuuko came up to me and hugged me like always, asking how her “cute niece” had been. In my childish thoughts I figured she’d forgiven me for whatever it was I’d done, and that was that. Now that I look back, I’m pretty sure they were talking about someone else.”
Now that’s interesting. The witch had a grudge against someone. I wonder if they felt the same way?
“That’s good, kid.” Kurogane said, feeling like he was way out of his depth. Hopefully he could avoid making the girl cry, which would make it a successful visit, in his opinion. Satisfied that he at least had something to mention to his blonde flatmate later, he decided to press on whether she knew of any potential enemies of the witch, to which she responded with an apology that she couldn’t help again.
“I feel like I’m not doing my part to catch this impersonator,” she admitted, “but I just don’t know much about my Aunt’s personal life! I saw her every couple of weeks, when she came to check up on me. She’s the one that’s paying for this,” she gestured at her apartment, “though I refused at first. I wanted to support myself, not rely on anyone. We came to the compromise that I would work to pay for everything else, whilst she handled the cost for this. Even now, her money is still directed by her will to cover my rent every month. She’s even left me most of her stuff when I turn twenty one! I owe so much to her, and I never really got the chance to thank her properly!”
She burst into tears at this, trying to suppress her sobs and failing, hiding her face behind her hands. As her shoulders shook, Kurogane was desperately trying to work out what he should do. Running away is too cowardly, right? But I have no idea what the hell I’m supposed to do with a crying sixteen year old! He reached out a hand awkwardly, but withdrew it quickly. He just wasn’t the consoling type.
“Look, little miss,” he said loudly, to draw her attention away from her sorrow. She looked up at him with wide eyes of jade, surprised. “The way I see it is that your aunt loved you a lot. It seems to me like you were a daughter to her, even more so once you lost your mum. I’m sure your happiness was more than enough thanks for her. So don’t feel like you have to, er, regret anything...”
He broke off at the change in the girl’s expression, which had gone from grief-stricken to awestruck, quickly moving on to a dazzling smile. “Thank you, Mr Kurogane,” she said earnestly, wiping her face with the backs of her hands.
“I didn’t really do anything,” Kurogane mumbled, looking away, feeling something of an embarrassed flush creep into his cheeks. Sakura only smiled more widely in reply.
He suddenly recalled something Doumeki had told him before he’d left the witch’s place, and turned back to the girl so quickly he made her flinch. “It was you who told the police about the victims all knowing Yuuko, right?”
“Yeah,” she answered, “I met them all at one time or another. They didn’t really know each other, but they came to parties that Aunt Yuuko held, and she sent them birthday gifts, so they must have been fairly good friends.”
“Was there anything special about those three in particular?” He badgered, thinking he might be on to something.
“Erm, I don’t think so. Yuuko had a lot of good friends.”
“Alright, that’s fine. Just thought I’d ask. Is there anyone else that really knew Yuuko, someone I could go talk to?”
The girl thought for a long few minutes, before coming up with an answer. “Ah! There’s Kakei! That’s Kakei Green- he was Aunt Yuuko’s business partner back when she first started dealing antiques; they haven’t seen each other in years, but I’m pretty sure they were still in contact up until January. The police haven’t talked to him yet because he’s so busy, and they didn’t consider him an important person, but I’ll bet he can tell you loads about what she was like!”
Another lead! Take that, you stupid sleuth- two can play the detective game!
His phone vibrated as a sign that their time was up. “I think that’s everything, thanks kid,” Kurogane said, standing to leave. He shook the tiny girl’s hand, desperately hoping that he didn’t break any of the fragile digits, and went for the door.
Pausing at the handle, he uttered some final advice. “You know, it’s not good to bottle up all that grief. You should talk to someone, a person who’s willing to listen without interruption. Do you have someone like that?”
Her eyes lit up when he asked, and he immediately knew she would be alright. He recognised that look immediately; he had seen it every day when his mother had kissed his father and told him to have a good day at work. Whoever has her is very blessed, he thought, then scolded himself immediately for thinking something so sappy. He left the apartment, thumb punching in the first lines of a reply to his annoyance of a partner.
He met up with his least favourite flatmate outside of a different block of flats, more dishevelled than the ones he had visited a couple of hours before. Where Sakura’s place had been enclosed in a cushy-looking building, the flats here were from the industrious post-war era, when hastily-built tower blocks rose from the ashes of the blitz, and had aged terribly. Each floor corridor was open to the elements on one side, concrete railings safeguarding from a vertical drop. The flats lined up along the innermost wall, front doors dishevelled and uninviting.
The whole place is uninviting, Kurogane concluded, but maybe we can dig some answers out of this dump. Now I just have to wait for—
As soon as the thought formed he appeared as if by magic, stepping out of a black cab that sidled to a halt at the kerb next to him. It was clear just from a glance that the blonde was still high on whatever fumes came off of a series of unsolved murders, as he greeted Kurogane with a huge grin.
Speak of the devil...
“Hi, Kuro-doctooor~!” The blonde vexation called out in a singsong voice. “Did you find out anything exciting?”
“You mean apart from leading us to this place?”
“Oh, I was already going to head here at some point!”
Of course you were. Why did I even think I could one-up this idiot?
“And why would that be?” He asked tiredly as they entered and started up the stairwell for the fifth floor. He recounted his whole meeting with Sakura for the first three flights. “The kid said it herself, Yuuko had a lot of friends. Were you just going to visit them all?”
“Oh no, Kuro-silly, it was obvious once I looked at the crime scene. In the victim’s possessions there was a card with this man’s details on it. Seems he went into pharmaceuticals after he left the antiques business.”
“So? How did you think that was a lead?”
“Well, I noticed that the number on the card was handwritten- and not in the victim’s hand- which means that they most likely had actual contact at some point. It’s in good condition, which means it wasn’t that long ago that they met, and yet he went to the trouble of keeping it in his wallet, even when he had no other cards besides his bank card in there. That tells me he thinks the person is important. That, and the fact that I found a piece of paper with the same number in one of Yuuko’s bedroom drawers (since she keeps all her business papers downstairs) tells me that he is a common integer linking the two. So here we are!”
Here we are indeed. Hopefully we can get some more information out of this guy, since he and the witch were such long standing friends...
They were one flight from the fifth floor landing when there was a slamming sound from above, followed by a yell, and accompanied by a sinking feeling in Kurogane’s stomach. Glancing quickly at each other, they hurtled up the last few stairs, turning right into the corridor. The door of the room they were visiting was wide open, as they’d feared, and lying sprawled in the doorway was a portly man who appeared to be getting on a bit in years. Even without his friend’s deductive powers, he could deduce that the man had left his flat next door (which was also open) and found a murderer leaving the scene of her crime. She’d gotten the better of him, however, and was currently fleeing away from them, towards the other end of the landing, where a fire escape granted her a getaway.
“Go and check the room! I’ll try and catch her!” the blonde yelled, tearing down the corridor after his quarry.
Kurogane did as he was told without complaint this time, if only for the person who might still be alive inside. Rushing past the old guy (fat probably cushioned his fall) into the apartment, he was immediately struck by the sight of blood, stark crimson against the pale carpet, which pooled around the body sprawled out on the floor.
It was no good, he knew that immediately. The attacker had struck true with only one attempt, piercing through the back of the man to the heart. The eye that he could see was open, with a faraway gaze that could only mean that he had already gone. Just to be sure, he checked for a pulse, but there was nothing but the stillness of death.
Kakei Green was going to be of no help to them now.
Fai stumbled on the bottom step as he thundered after Yuuko Ichihara’s impersonator, almost landing on his face, but was prevented from suffering the humiliation as his impeccable balance took care of the problem. Bursting out of the door at the bottom (which was wedged open by some desperate smoker some time earlier, judging from the cigarette butts scattered on the ground) he quickly scanned his surroundings for the woman, eyes clocking on a trail of long black hair streaming away some 100 yards ahead. She was sprinting down a narrow road that ran towards four big high-rises, fairly speedy for someone in two inch heels. He followed.
She’s fast, but I’m faster. Still, I could have done with Kuro-dash for this part...
Fai had to catch her before she decided to go into one of the other blocks of flats. If she did that, it was very likely that he’d lose her- there were just too many places to hide. He didn’t for one minute think that half of the residents in this area would be happy to help a police investigation, even if he wasn’t actually with the police. Hell, she might even have friends here willing to help her escape.
His muscles were starting to burn a little now, but he ignored the pain, focusing on the figure that had just reached the gap between the first two tower blocks. He was gaining, little by little, close enough now to see the intricate patterns of black lace embroidered on the dark coat she wore. Just another few metres and he would have her! He reached out a hand, ready to grab her by the shoulder—
His reflexes reacted much quicker than his brain to the knife, twisting his body out of the path leading somewhere between certain death and screwed depth perception, which thankfully only severed a few hairs as it whistled past his face. The dodge took him crashing down inelegantly to the ground, all sprawling arms and legs, where he wasted precious seconds gathering his body from the tarmac before springing up again ready to face his prey. All that greeted him, however, was an empty road, shadowed all too happily by an accompanying feeling of failure.
Damn... guess I’d better go and look around the crime scene, though I doubt there’ll be much else I can learn. This chase, however, taught me a fair bit about our femme fatale. I’ll be seeing you soon, I expect. And you won’t see me coming until it’s much too late...
Grabbing the knife from where it lay in the shadow of a big industrial bin, London’s greatest (and only) consulting detective returned to his companion, whistling a merry tune as he walked.

Chapter 4

on 2011-10-01 12:52 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] zelinxia.livejournal.com
Aww, I really like this world's Sakura. She's strong and quite resilient - and I like her interaction with Dr. Suwa (sorry, whenever he ever goes by a slick title, I use all the opportunity to use it xD).

And I was the anon commenter that gushed about Fai being so assertive and kickass. I love it when he's like that, going on the chase, etc. He definitely makes such a perfect detective with his canon traits of being intelligent and quick to notice something.

Also, Dr. Suwa/Kurogane's hilarious internal thoughts/commentaries for the win!

on 2011-10-01 03:26 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] tarmachan.livejournal.com
Yeah Dr. Suwa sounds pretty badass, although it was a little strange to get used to when writing because I can't imagine canon Kuro as one!

Ah, so that was you! Thanks for the encouragement! I love kickass Fai, and since this world's Fai hasn't gone through all the backstory stuff (plus the super intelligence), I think he's be a lot more assertive, so I tried to make him kind of like that panel in Clow where he's got his claws out and a massive smirk on his face. I love that part.

I love writing the inner thoughts of characters, though I can never tell if they're funny, so I'm glad you liked them! XD


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October 2012


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