Chapter 1 Matutinal
It had been a long time since I had seen no snow on a winter's day such as this in New York. The air was crisp and dry and the sidewalks were seas of heavy coats and thick scarves. Yet not a single cloud filled that lazy morning sky, with the sun barely out wisping through the thin atmosphere to fall uselessly on the people below. It made the buildings look like monsters in their elevation, only the tops of the highest glowing with any sort of conviction.
"What the hell is the matter with you today Berkley?" the tone was as icy as the weather, the very thought of having to put up with it making me want to cringe and shrink mindlessly away, "You've been out of it this whole morning, ever since I picked you up and, oh yeah it was me who picked you up so you should be more…"
"What?" I asked raising an eyebrow above my glasses and looking sidelong at the driver as she left the sentence hanging.
"Appreciative," she finished with a snap, thankfully looking back to the road to continue.
Diana had shown up that morning, standing in my doorway freshly dressed and holding two cups of coffee and looking like she would rather be in bed. The fact that she had looked at me when she'd said those exact words herself hadn't made me feel any better. Well, I'm not being big headed but she, well…never mind. But to get back to the point, she had every right to want to back in bed, and thus every right not to drag mine out of my own at five in the morning. I had been very close to either ignoring that annoying tap at my door or just going to the next level and shooting whoever was on the other side of it. I had stumbled blindly, my glasses probably laying in some unknown region, cursing the winter morning darkness and throwing the locks open with a grunt and a scowl. Diana had just pushed past my forbidding form and made herself at home. I hadn't even needed to ask her what she was doing here, she filled me in as soon as she hit the chair.
"Derek Halloren is dead."
I had just stumbled back over to her, knocking into the coffee table on the way, and thrown myself down into the opposite chair with a scowl.
"What are you talking about?" was all I had graced her with.
But of course, being Diana, she had graced me with a whole lot more back and when she was through with me I felt like I'd not only been hit by a steam train but taken for a ride in it as well.
I sat and listened to her tell me of the co-president of Halloren and Grawley's death with a blurry fascination, a little shocked by the realisation that the president of the most prominent law firm in the entire of New York was dead. Not just for the fact that he was the president of a prodigious law firm, but more for the fact that he was my uncle. Diana knew this but still continued on in that impersonal way, not because she was heartless, more because she knew me well enough not to be sentimental.
"They think it was suicide," she'd said, yawning loudly as I rummaged around to find my shoes, "but it smacks of more than that, if you get me?"
"Yeah I get you," I had said back distractedly, fishing my other shoe out from under my bed, "but one thing I don't get."
"Why the hell are you here telling me about it?"
The F.B.I. wanted state police help it turned out, people with a knowledge of the most prominent local business man and his affairs, both business and personal. There was only one way, she had said, to catch a murderer on home turf, and that was with the home team. I had just snorted at her analogy and went blindly searching for my glasses in the bathroom. The tile was cold against my feet but I ignored it, bumping into the bath and the toilet on my way to the dull cavernous sink. The light almost blinded me into a blur when I yanked it on, trying to place my hand on the glass shelf, let alone my glasses. Diana had of course helpfully already picked them up and was standing to my left, smirking and dangling them in front of me.
"So you should be able to help me solve this one eh Berk?" she'd said with a small smile, "Even if you are half blind."
The city rushed by us, the morning traffic not nearly as constricting as it would be by eight, and I just enjoyed the feeling of it being near Christmas. I mean, not to say that I'm a sentimentalist, but there's nothing wrong with liking Christmas just for the fact that it's Christmas, right? Yet I felt dismally, as the lights changed from red to green and back, that this journey was speeding me to more than just Christmas.
The waiting room was entirely dark. I didn't want to turn on the light, so I just sat there, my box in my arms, and looked towards the window to watch the sun come over the horizon. I guess I'd never been here for a sunrise, here in the headquarters, well not in my division anyway. The huge glass windows sprawled the wall, giving a beautiful view of the city all the way to the docks. I guess…I guess I was getting a little nostalgic…but then, well, this was the force where I grew up so to speak. It was going to be hard to leave it behind.
"So you thought that slipping out behind our backs was the best way to go huh?"
The voice sent both surprise and unease coursing through me, yet I didn't turn round or show any of these emotions. I just kept staring at the window and hoped he wouldn't bother me too long. I just wanted to say my goodbyes by myself, that was all. That way I didn't have to face anything I didn't want to, I could leave on my own terms, not anyone else's.
"I've been through all that already," I said back, shifting the box in my arms and turning to look at the figure in the shadows, "no need to drag it out."
"That's some way to talk about it rookie," the figure said, stepping forwards to reveal my partner…ex partner, his face as solemn as the morning and his stance one of unknown feeling.
His greying blonde hair was slicked back and wet, not dried from the shower. Knowing him he'd probably meant to get up early and forgotten, washing and running out the door just so he could stand there and lecture me at six in the morning. His icy grey eyes were care worn and a little sad looking, no matter how neutral he was trying to look. I could feel the awkwardness radiating from his figure, the tense stance of his body and the strange slant to his shoulders. His long, dark woollen coat seemed too big for him in this light; his shirt, I noted absently as he unfolded his arms, was buttoned up all wrong. I smiled a little humourlessly, the turn to my lips disappearing as I adopted a more forbidding countenance.
"Don't call me that Leon," I said back with a scowl, looking back to the window, "I'm twenty five."
"Yeah, and still a rookie," I dared a glance at him as he walked over and sat beside me; he was smiling now, thank god.
"What are you doing here anyway?" I asked, looking away to the window once more.
"Ah heck give me some credit," he grinned looking round at me over the thick collar of his long coat, "I knew you'd be outta here by morning. I just…wanted to make sure you weren't leaving on a bad note you know?"
"…A bit late for that isn't it?" I said back a little bitterly.
"Heck, yeah I guess it is," he sighed, letting his head fall back to look up at the ceiling.
The silence was slowly breaking, like the dawn, the general noise of a waking city floating up to our sixth floor view. I just stared at it like if I did, then this would all just work out somehow. I mean, my plan to just leave without a fuss wasn't working, so I thought I had better pray that everything else did. If I couldn't work out this one tiny task then I was sure I was royally screwed.
"It wasn't your fault you know," he said suddenly, his voice a little hesitant.
"Yeah I know that," I said tightly, "it's not me I'm worried about though is it?"
"Look, Kay…" he trailed off as he looked at me, his eyes finally meeting with mine for the first time since he'd arrived; I think he must have seen more than I'd wanted him to because he stopped there.
"What?" I asked him morosely.
"…Nothing," he finally sighed, leaving the silence truly empty.
The sun was slivering its way over the water, making the bridge look like some hideous sea serpent rising out of the black depths. I shivered despite the warmth of the building, perhaps knowing subconsciously just how cold it was going to be outside. The air even looked crisp, adopting that thin look that winter often brought.
"I'd better go," I said as strongly as I could, standing before I could let anything stop me and make me linger.
"Yeah, don't wanna be late on your first day I guess," Leon grinned half heartedly.
"Leon…" I smiled despite myself, looking down at the contents of the box in my hand, my shinny new detective shield staring back up at me, "…it's six fifteen in the morning. I'm not going to be late for work if I don't leave now. I'm leaving so I can leave, that's all there is to it."
"I know," he said with a sad smile, "but I can make my own excuses right?"
"Yeah, I guess…"
"I'll miss you kid. You did good, don't let anyone else tell you different," his face was stern as he eyed me, stern but kind.
"Oh they will," I smirked, "they will."
I turned and walked away, shoes clicking against the polished floor, the stairwell hauntingly quiet and didn't look back until I was two blocks away in my car and the building was out of sight.
"Damn it's cold," I breathed out sharply as I opened the car door, letting in a rush of freezing air.
"Well hell Berkley it is almost Christmas, what did you expect?" Diana shrugged as she to exited the car, slamming the door behind her a locking it.
"Yeah," I said back distractedly as I looked across the street to the large building made of dusky glass and stone.
Its grandeur was optimised by the magnificent entranceway of carved stone and large opulent doors flanked on either side by vicious looking marble lions. The windows were well spaced showing the size of the rooms and the height was considerable. The only thing that managed to ruin the prolific sight was the thick yellow police tape surrounding the white chalk line on the pavement to the right of the large stone steps.
"Let's go inside," I said quickly but professionally, leading the way across the street.
Diana followed with a nod, her small skirt and suit jacket making me feel cold despite the jackets faux fur trim. She seemed to be able to survive in any weather wearing virtually the same sort of outfit. I marvelled at her perseverance, wondering to myself if it was now more just habit.
"Commissioner Rose," the cop at the door nodded to me respectfully, "Mr Grawley is waiting inside for you, sir."
"Thanks," I said back, forgetting his everyday face as soon as I stepped through the huge doors into the large reception area.
The staircase to the right was the first thing to catch my eye, it always was. When I was younger I used to slide down it when my uncle wasn't looking. The thought made me shiver, the memories a little too close and too far for comfort. There were two policemen and a man in a suit talking around a small table to the right of the reception desk, its impressive length spanning for quite a way. The large windows at either end of the area let in a considerable amount of light and I was glad to be able to see the sun while still inside. The officers were nodding and talking to the man quietly, one asking questions while the other took notes in a small pad. The man they were talking to must have been about fifty, his grey hair short with a wave from his centre parting. His eyes were also a strange shade of grey, hinting that they many once have held more blue than they did now. His suit was a dark black, most fitting for the occasion, and I recognised him as Aaron Gawley, partner in business (or more precisely ex-partner) to Derek Halloren.
"Berkley," Diana said softly, moving in close beside me to speak in low tones into my ear, "the F.B.I. don't want anyone to know that you're working with us okay? For all they know you're here on personal business."
"Right," I nodded, "so I take it I get no help from my precinct when dealing with suspects hmm?"
"Well, not unless they go undercover, but definitely not blatantly obvious help," Diana said shaking her head slowly, "you can't show that your investigating other than out of your own curiosity, and even then that has to be kept bellow suspicion."
"Great," I sighed, "but I can think of a few ways to get help. Well, why don't we get going?"
"I just hope that you know what your doing, you don't have to do this you know," she said with a look of almost what looked like appeal on her face, "I don't want you to do anything stupid."
"Thanks Diana, it's nice to know you have confidence in me," I smirked back, lowering my voice as two more officers walked past us and out the door.
"Well, murder is hardly a game Berkley," Diana said back, "the hand of fate works in mysterious ways you know."
"No, not the hand of fate Dee Dee, it's much more complicated than that," I said walking towards the small table and my first suspect, "the hand of a murderer."
AN: Hmm, think the ending is perhaps a bit cheesy, but oh well! This is my first FAKE fic even though I finished the series of Manga ages ago. So I'm going to try and keep the characters as close to the Manga as possible, but don't shout to loudly at me if you think their acting a bit out of character! This is my first FAKE fic after all. Anyways! Please R&R, feedback welcome!