Disclaimer: All Card Captor Sakura characters belong to CLAMP. CSI characters belong to Jerry Bruckheimer.
Author's Notes: Written for Tsukimine Shrine's "Whodunnit?" challenge.
It had been planned as the perfect holiday. Touya had just turned twenty-one, his father had finally received a long expected pay rise, and Sakura was fluent enough in English to let them celebrate with a trip to North America. Yuki was with them, of course, and the only thing Touya could complain about was that his sister had insisted on bringing the Plush Toy with her.
Instead of staying in one place, they visited several cities, trying to make the most of their journey. When the idea of spending a day or two in Las Vegas came up, they all thought it would be fun. Even if Sakura was too young to play, there were many other things she could do and she did want to see the city.
It wasn't supposed to end up like this, Touya thought, arms crossed as he leant against the wall.
"From all the casinos in the city, we just had to get into the one where a guy was going to drop dead," he muttered, staring at the scene in front of him.
It had happened very fast- all he could recall was hearing the cheers of someone who had just won, and the next moment the old man was lying on the floor, while a younger guy screamed that his uncle was having a heart attack. But there was something suspicious, it seemed, for the police had showed up. Two men had cleared the place and were now collecting evidence, as they explained, while a blonde woman talked to some of the people present.
The part that bothered Touya was when she announced that nobody was leaving until she had talked to them all.
"Look, all we have to do is wait for a while, answer some questions and then we're gone," Yuki said. "Try not to be so negative."
"What could possibly be positive about this?"
"That you're not the dead body on the floor, for starters… Oh, hello," he added, suddenly switching to English. Touya turned to see the woman who had been talking to the other witnesses.
"Catherine Willows, from Crime Scene Investigation," she introduced herself, ignoring Touya's glare. "I'll need to ask you a few questions."
"No problem," Yuki answered with his usual smile.
He did most of the talking, and Touya was grateful for that; he had the feeling that he was going to snap at this Willows lady as soon as he opened his mouth. No, they hadn't seen anything out of the ordinary; just turned around when they heard the noise; didn't see how the man fell, there were too many people around him; just tourists, yes, arrived yesterday.
"You don't remember if he was eating or drinking anything?" Willows finally asked.
"We only saw him after he won," said Yuki.
"There were some glasses next to where he was playing," Touya recalled, "but I didn't see him drink from any of them."
"Well, thank you for your help," she said. "Just let me know if you remember anything else."
"Hey, Catherine!" one of the men that had come with her called. "Look at this."
She bent down next to the body and picked up something that Touya couldn't see. He tried to get a better look- was it hair? In any case, Willows didn't seem to like it, for she sighed as she stood up.
"Change of plans, everyone," she said. "I'll have to take DNA samples. This was a murder."
Touya froze. Yuki, paler than ever, turned to him with a helpless look.
Now that was going to be hard to explain.
Fujitaka was playing black jack when it happened.
What had happened, he didn't know; but his powers were strong enough to let him feel, at least, that something was wrong. Touya and Tsukishiro were suddenly very worried for some reason. He set out to find them, and didn't have to walk far before he reached a crowd gathered around something. A dark haired woman stopped him when he tried to get closer.
"I'm sorry, sir, but I can't let you pass," she told him. "This is a crime scene."
"Look, my son is there, Miss-"
"Sidle. Sara Sidle, Crime Scene Investigation," she said. "Trust me, everyone will go home soon. We're almost done."
Fujitaka had no other choice than waiting, half expecting Sidle's speech to be only empty words, but she was telling the truth. Touya showed up with a grim look a few minutes later; Tsukishiro walked beside him, looking quite disheartened.
"Let's talk somewhere else," Touya muttered. "It's kind of complicated."
They moved to a less crowded place, where Fujitaka could hear their story. The way he saw it, however, it wasn't such a terrible problem.
"You're not counting on their scepticism," he said. "They'll think it's just a mistake."
"I guess so," said Tsukishiro, looking, a bit relieved. "But what if they don't?"
"Oh, people always manage to find 'explanations' for these things. Believe me, they'll blame it on anything but magic," Fujitaka assured him with a grin. He should know, after all. How long had Kerberos lived unnoticed under his own roof?
"Still," Touya said, "we better go find Sakura."
Out of breath, Sakura finally reached the casino where her family was. She had been at the hotel when a feeling of urgency forced her to drag Kero from the mini-bar, hide him in her purse, and run all the way here.
Yet now she couldn't get in. Not only was she too young and didn't have any adults with her; there were many police officers next to the entrance. What had happened?
A middle-aged man who was standing nearby approached her and took off his sunglasses.
"Are you looking for something?"
"I'm trying to find my relatives, sir," she said urgently. "I need to know if they're alright. I've run all the way from the hotel-"
"You did?" he asked. "And how did you know that something had happened?"
"Sakura? What are you doing here?" she heard her father say. He had just stepped out of the casino; Touya and Yukito were with him.
"Oh, Dad!" she exclaimed, running to hug him. "I'm glad everyone is okay! I was so worried…"
"And I'm wondering why," the man with the sunglasses said in heavily accented Japanese. "My name is Grissom, from Crime Scene Investigation. May I ask your daughter a few questions?"
"Is it really necessary?" Fujitaka asked, obviously not too comfortable with the idea. "She wasn't even here."
"Yet she knew something was going on."
Now Touya was giving Grissom his most dangerous glare, and still the man didn't react. It looked like he wasn't about to give up. Sakura sighed.
"I'll be fine," she told her father, grabbing her purse in a significant way. He seemed to get the hint.
"Alright, then," he said, "but we'll be around."
"I'll bring you some food in a while," Yukito offered, trying to be his usual cheerful self, but Sakura could sense that something about him was off. "Is that okay, Mr Grissom?"
"Of course," he said. "Come with me, please."
Always under Touya's vigilant glare, Grissom took her to a room near the casino's entrance.
"Do you mind if we speak in English?" he asked. "My Japanese is very basic."
"Um, okay," Sakura stuttered as she took a seat. She could feel Kero moving inside her purse, so she grabbed it tightly to keep him quiet.
"Well," Grissom said, sitting down in front of her, "I just want to ask you one thing. How did you know that something had happened here?"
"I just had a feeling…"
"Yes, a… what's the word? A hunch!" she laughed nervously. "Don't you ever just have a hunch?"
"Not one that tells me the exact time and place of a murder," he answered.
Sakura was too shocked to pay attention to her purse now, and before she could react Kero was floating inches from Grissom's face.
"Hey, look, you idiot!" he yelled. "If you're trying to say she's involved in this, I'm gonna have to-"
"Kero!" she shouted. "What do you think you're doing? You're not supposed to be seen!"
"What, and let this guy accuse you?" he said, pointing at Grissom with his paw. Only then did Sakura notice that he wasn't surprised at all.
"Interesting trick," he said. "You didn't tell me you were a ventriloquist."
"Trick? Why, you…"
"Kero, please," Sakura sighed; then she looked up, resolved. "You want the truth, Mr Grissom? It's magic. I could feel that something was wrong here because of my magic." Kero cleared his throat. "And he's a magical creature, not a puppet," she added.
"Listen," Grissom said with a somewhat smug smile, "my team has dealt with the most diverse of cases, from dead divers on the top of trees to people who seemed to have spontaneously combusted, and there has always been a logical explanation. Just like there will be this time."
"Yeah, and it goes like this: Ma-gic."
"Kero!" Sakura exclaimed. "Don't you think we're in enough trouble already?"
"It's a very nice act," said Grissom, "but I must warn you, I've worked with illusionists before."
Sakura didn't answer, puzzled. She had always tried so hard to hide her magic that she had never imagined people wouldn't believe her if she told the truth. Kero, on the other hand, looked furious.
"How can you be so stubborn?" he shouted. "You're just like that Holmes guy."
Grissom raised his eyebrows.
"Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character."
"Yeah, right," the Guardian snorted.
"Will you please stop fighting?" Sakura almost begged. "It's not going to help."
"But he called you an illusionist! D'you know how Clow got when people called him an illusionist?"
"It must've been the Li blood, because-"
"Yue says you should stop embarrassing the Mistress," Yukito said from behind them. As promised, he had come with some food; now Sakura was sure that something was wrong. He hadn't stopped to wonder why Kero was present and obviously didn't notice what he had just said. She could only hope that Grissom wouldn't notice either, but…
"Yue says," he repeated with a thoughtful look. "And who is Yue, may I ask?"
Yukito seemed to ponder this for a while, then turned to Sakura, defeated.
"Do we show him?"
"Why not?" she sighed. "It can't get much worse."
There was a flap of wings as Yue revealed himself. Grissom did look taken aback this time, but quickly collected himself.
"Impressive," he admitted. "How does that work?"
"Oh, please, not another one," Yue sighed. Sakura looked up.
"You mean that's true about Sherlock Holmes?"
"I was thinking of Auguste Dupin, actually. But, now that you mention it, Holmes was even worse."
Grissom cleared his throat, attracting their attention once again.
"It's all very interesting," he said, "but this show is getting a little too long, don't you think?"
"Sakura, why don't you just do some magic and show him?" Kero groaned, exasperated, from among the snacks. "This is going to take ages."
There wasn't anything else to lose, so Sakura accepted the suggestion. She took her Key, recited the chant, and met Grissom's eye with a nearly smug look when the Staff was revealed.
"A voice-activated device… I see," he muttered, leaning closer. "That circle of light must be tricky…"
Sakura dropped herself on the seat and stared helplessly at Yue.
"Tell me you convinced those people in the end," she pleaded.
The Guardians gave each other a rather meaningful look.
"Well…" Yue began to say, then trailed off. Kero heaved a sigh and looked at his Mistress straight in the eye.
"You see, Clow usually lost it a lot sooner than you."
"Honestly, Sakura," he continued, "some people just don't get it until they grow scales."
"I'm not turning anyone into anything!" she exclaimed.
"Fine," said Yue, and turned to look at Grissom. "You must have noticed that she speaks English with a foreign accent and we don't," he said.
"And how does that prove that it's magic?"
"It proves that she isn't a ventriloquist."
"Or that she's a really good one."
"If you are so convinced that she is the one speaking," Yue said, imperturbable, "why are you talking directly to me?"
"That," Grissom admitted, "is an excellent question."
Grissom buried himself in facts and evidence as soon as he had the chance. That girl and her friend had managed to confuse him, with all that ventriloquism and tricks; it wasn't something that happened very often. The only certain thing that had come out from that conversation was that she had nothing to do with the crime, so he had sent her back to her family.
He had more urgent problems to deal with, anyway.
"You took DNA samples, Catherine?" he questioned. "Just like that? You know we can't do that."
"Look, I know I was rash," she defended herself, "but it seemed the right thing to do at the time. There were signs of poisoning, we had found a hair that could be the murderer's in his clothes, and I didn't want those people to spread up. We'd never have found them again if they did."
"That's not how it works. If we get in trouble for this-"
"Um, Grissom?" Greg called from the hall. He looked rather nervous.
"There's a problem with Tsukishiro's DNA."
"Is it a match?" Catherine asked.
"Er…" Greg stuttered, "well… there is no DNA."
He took them to the lab and showed him; Grissom saw he wasn't exaggerating. Results never lied. Where the set of bands belonging to Tsukishiro's DNA should have been, there were none.
"I don't get it," said Greg. "If I'd got non human DNA, I'd think it was mislabelled, but… there's nothing, nothing at all."
"Are you sure it wasn't a mistake in the process?" Catherine asked.
"It was the same process as all the other samples," he answered. "This had never happened to me before. What is he, an alien?"
"Or something completely different," Grissom muttered to himself. He'd have to talk to that girl again…
"Anyway," Greg said, suddenly cheering up again, "we do have a match."
Back in the hotel room, Sakura dropped herself on the bed and sighed.
"I can't believe it," she said. "I just can't believe it."
"You should have left," Touya told her. "So what if he didn't believe you? Better for us. Now he's going to start getting doubts, and when they see Yuki's DNA…"
"…if there is DNA," their father corrected, looking as if he was trying very hard to remember something and failed. Yukito groaned.
"I would have done that," Sakura said, "but some people take it as a personal insult when others don't believe them!"
"Sorry," Yukito said, "I didn't notice what I was saying when I got there. I was thinking about something else…"
"Hey, I was defending you!" Kero huffed.
Someone knocked on the door before Sakura could answer. Touya stood up to open it, and his expression turned sour when he saw it was Grissom. Sakura sat up, surprised.
"I've come to apologize," he explained. "I've taken a look at your friend's DNA sample, and it looks like you were telling the truth."
"And…?" she asked, a bit worried. Grissom seemed just as surprised as her at that.
"I was hoping you would tell me," he said. "This isn't something you see every day."
"Well," Sakura said tentatively, "it really would be better if nobody else knew about this."
"I thought so," Grissom said with a small smile. "You don't want any mad scientists to get curious and try to open up your friends."
"As if we'd let you," Kero snorted. Touya glared.
"Oh, don't worry," said Grissom, grinning, "as curious as I am, I assure you that killing the study object isn't what scientists do. Movies give us a bad reputation."
Sakura still wasn't comfortable with her Guardians being called "study objects", however, and quickly changed the subject.
"Does anyone else know, then?"
"No. My team believes the lack of DNA is due to a mistake in the labelling or in the process. It's not something they'll keep thinking about, anyway. The case is already closed."
"Oh, you solved it, then?" Sakura asked.
"Of course," Grissom said, looking somewhat offended. "His nephew did it to get his money; he was the only heir. Not one of our most difficult cases."
"Then you're not going to ask anything else?"
"No," he promised. "Though I do wonder how their bodies function without DNA…"
He looked at her curiously, but Sakura just laughed.
"I have no idea," she confessed.
"Pity, that," Grissom said. "Anyway, I guess some memory-blocking thing is due now, am I right?"
"I'm afraid so," Sakura said.
"Well, I'll be back to being a sceptic then," he sighed. "It was nice to meet you all."
"Oh, it was our pleasure!" she replied. Her father bowed, Yukito finally managed a smile, Kero muttered "no it wasn't", and Touya didn't bother to suppress a humph.
"Is there anything I should do now?" Grissom asked. Sakura thought about it a little.
"Perhaps you could walk down the hall," she suggested, "so you won't find yourself talking to us again."
"Sounds like a good idea," he said, and after saying goodbye once more, he left the room.
"Erase!" Sakura called once he was far enough. Grissom stopped walking for a moment, looked around as if confused, and then continued on his way out of the hotel. She sank on the bed with a sigh of relief.
"Next time," she said, "we should go somewhere with no people at all."