Andrew Kim wasn't in his office when they arrived at the school the next morning. When they walked in, they saw only Sara King, who had a small bandage at her hairline and was sitting at her desk. "Alex!" she cried with a grin when she spotted them. "Uh, sorry - Detective Eames."
" 'Alex' is fine, Sara," she said with a smile. "How's the head?"
"It's ok. Hurts every now and then, but no concussion. The hospital gave me two Tylenol and sent me home."
"That's the best way to visit the hospital, if you have to go."
"No kidding." She paused and looked from Eames to Goren. "Mind if I ask why you guys are back?"
"Sara," Goren said, stepping forward, "uh, do you have any idea where Drew is at the moment? Does he have a class?" They already had the schedule he'd given to Eames, but it never hurt to make sure.
"You're looking for him? Why?"
Eames and Goren exchanged a look. "We need to ask him a few more questions," she said semi-truthfully.
"Oh. Well, unless he's changed things around, he should be teaching LING 101 until 5:30. That would be in . . . Dearborne Hall, I think. Room . . . 266? I'm not sure exactly of the room number."
"We can figure that part out," Goren said. "Have you spoken to him lately?"
"Yeah, sure. He was in here before he headed over there."
"How's he doing?" Alex asked casually.
"Uh, he seems pretty normal. Maybe a little jumpy. He said you searched his apartment."
"We did," Goren said with a nod.
"Is that what you need to talk to him about? I know Drew can be a jerk, but you can't really think he had something to do with this!"
"We're keeping open minds," Eames said reassuringly. "So listen, would you by any chance be able to sit in for him in his classes while we talk to him?"
She blinked. "Uh, I guess."
"Thanks. So, you said Dearborne Hall, room 266?"
"Yeah, but what . . ."
"We'll talk to you again later, Sara," Alex told her as they moved toward the door. "Thanks for your help."
They arrived at Andrew Kim's classroom just as he dismissed his rowdy class of college freshmen. A stream of boys in baseball caps and girls in pajama pants flowed past them as they stood just inside the door, many of the students craning their necks to see the two adults who clearly didn't belong.
"Detectives," Kim said from his position on the dais when the room was empty except for them. "What can I do for you?"
They made their way down the steps that led from the raised rear of the lecture hall to the large open area in the front, which was surrounded by blackboards. "We were wondering if you'd mind answering a few more questions for us," Eames said, giving him a friendly smile.
"Well, uh," Kim hedged, looking at his watch, "I have class at -"
"Yeah, we know," Goren said shortly, cutting him off. Then, switching smoothly to the bumbling-detective persona that had worked on Kim once before, he rubbed the back of his neck and went on, "It's, uh, kind of important."
"Very important," Eames said with a solemn nod.
Kim looked over his shoulder at his desk. "I guess I could give you a few minutes."
"Great!" Goren said with a vapid grin. "Do you want to catch a ride with us, or do you have a car?"
Eames gave her partner a weary look, then looked back at Kim and smiled apologetically. "He has a bad habit of skipping over details because he's in such a hurry to get to the point. What he should have said was that we'd like to ask you the questions back at our headquarters. You know, just so we can get it all on tape, which makes it more convenient if we need to refer back to your statement later."
"Well, but I have classes . . ."
"Your officemate offered to take notes for you," Goren said with a wave of his hand. "What was her name again?" he said, looking to Alex as if he needed her to refresh his memory. "Sally? Sandra?"
"Sara," Drew snapped. "Her name is Sara, and why did you talk to her?" he asked defensively.
"Just stopped by to say hello on our way here," Eames said lightly. "So you're covered for this afternoon. Ready to come downtown with us?"
"I guess. I have to go back to my office for my car keys, though."
"That's fine; we'll meet you at One Police Plaza," Goren said. "Oh, but Andrew . . . if you don't show up within an hour, we'll find you and charge you with . . ." He paused for a moment as he rummaged through this brain for something that sounded threatening but not dangerous. "Obstructing justice." Giving the boy a casual smile, he led his partner from the room.
A few minutes later, as they exited the building, she looked up at him. "What's your feeling on this?"
"He'll show. We haven't put him enough on edge for him to consider running."
"The Obstruction thing was a nice touch," she acknowledged as they reached the car. "I think he's officially put you in the 'big dumb cop' category."
"That reminds me - you might need to either back off or go for his throat in the interview if his bias toward women comes out."
She sighed and buckled her seatbelt. "If I didn't know you were right, I'd be offended by that."
"Don't worry, I'll let you play with him too."
"Damn right you will," she said with a grin. "Ready to go?"
"So, Drew," Eames said exactly an hour later, "how've things been going for you lately?"
The student scowled. "You mean other than the fact that my advisor's dead and the police tore apart my apartment?"
"Yeah. Besides that."
"Things have been fine," he said expressionlessly. "Why did you drag me back here?"
Alex heard Goren draw in a breath and knew it was a signal to let him ask the next question.
"Yeah, uh, sorry we had to interrupt your day," Goren said, "but it's just . . . you know, we have a few more questions for you. About . . . holes. Things we haven't been able to flesh out."
Drew stared hard at Goren for a second. "Do I need a lawyer for this?"
Eames sat forward and said calmly, "You're not under arrest at this point, Drew. But of course, if you'd like a lawyer anyway, that's fine."
"Oh." He crossed his arms and slumped back in his chair. "Ask the questions, then I'll decide."
"Why don't you tell us about your relationship to Dr. Li," Goren suggested. "Were you friendly, did he help you with any research . . .?"
"Of course we were friendly; he was my advisor!"
"Right, but . . . it was him who wrote that nasty note we found in your records, wasn't it?"
"I can't explain that."
"So you never got the impression he thought you were less than capable?" Alex tossed out.
"So then, your grades," Goren said, sliding a copy of Kim's transcript across the table, "those didn't make you wonder what was going wrong?"
Drew sputtered for a moment, then managed, "No! I told you before, everyone has a bad class or two."
"A class or two?" Goren echoed incredulously. "You've had seven. And all of them were taught by Li. Now tell me . . . ah, how could that not raise a red flag for someone like you, someone who was obviously intelligent enough to be admitted into grad school in the first place?"
Drew blinked and looked around the room at nothing, obviously buying time. "Those seven were hard subjects. I wasn't the only one who did badly."
"But you were the only one who did badly in all seven of them."
"So I had bad luck! What do you want from me?"
Goren gave him a small smile. "Well, if you really want to know, I'm very interested in how you claim syntax as your specialty and yet you've gotten a B or below in every syntax class you've taken. Uh, with the exception of one, taught by a Dr. . . . Yamamoto."
"Grades aren't everything," Kim replied, sounding like he was trying to convince himself as well as Goren. "They're not the only thing jobs look at when they're hiring."
"Right, right," Goren said, re-opening the folder that held Drew Kim's school records. "They'd look to see if you maybe did any extracurricular work, if you've published in any respectable journals, if you've received awards. But . . . you haven't done any of that, either. Your records are a clean slate except for this one little transcript," he said, dangling the print-out in front of him. "Obviously I'm missing something," he went on with an abashed chuckle. "Why don't you set me straight."
"It's . . ." Drew chewed his bottom lip for a second. "I don't see what bearing my grades have on Dr. Li getting killed! If you're going to keep wasting my time like this, I'm out of here."
"Hey, no problem," Goren said, raising his hands in surrender. "We can talk about something else."
"Like the last night you were at Dr. Li's apartment," Alex added. "When did you say that was?"
"It was, uh . . ." He paused; it was obvious that he was trying to remember his previous story. "Two nights before his body was found."
She clenched her teeth to hide a predatory smile. "Two nights before he was found, huh? That's interesting . . . last time I asked you that question, you said it was two nights before he died. A slip of the tongue?"
"I, uh . . ."
"Tell us about what you did the last night you were over there," Goren went on, not giving him time to recover his composure. "Whatever night it happened to be."
"Uh, we were re-writing chapter two of my dissertation. I went over there for dinner, like I usually do for re-writes. We'd always have dinner, then work on the writing."
"Aw, come on, Drew," he said with a teasing scoff. "That doesn't tell us anything! I'm asking about that specific night."
"I don't . . . I don't know exactly! Why would I remember that one night?"
"Oh, just stop screwing with us," Alex said indignantly. "You're telling us you were working on a rewrite of your masterpiece with this guy, and you can't even remember tell us what changes you made to the chapter?"
"Let's start with the easy stuff," Goren said. "What did you do first, eat or work?"
"What'd you eat?"
"We, uh . . . spaghetti, I think."
"Who cooked it?"
"He did. I'm a terrible cook."
"How about dessert or coffee?" Eames said. "Did you have either?"
"Neither of us likes sweets much. We just had coffee and then we got to work. Why are you asking me this stuff?" he said agitatedly.
Goren looked surprised. "Well, you said you couldn't remember. We're just trying to . . . jog your memory. See how well it's working?"
"Who made the coffee?" Eames continued quickly, hoping to catch him off guard.
"I did, he sa-" His mouth snapped shut. "What does it matter?"
She lightly kicked Goren's ankle under the table, indicating he should pick up the questioning.
"The more of the, uh, little, inconsequential details you can remember, the more likely the big stuff is to come back to you."
"What big stuff?"
"The big stuff like what day it was that you had this dinner. But you know," he continued, standing up and leaning casually against the wall, "we can always come at this from another direction. We can . . . we can try process of elimination! Like, say, what were you doing the night before he died? That would be the . . . fifteenth."
"I was . . . at home. Writing." Drew was becoming visibly nervous now.
"On the fifteenth?" Alex asked. "All night? Alone?"
"Yeah, until I went to bed."
Goren put his hand to his mouth thoughtfully. "Well see, we think you might have done something other than that. Because this," he said, shoving Li's appointment book at the boy, "says you were supposed to be working with your advisor that night."
"Okay, so maybe that's the night I worked with him," Kim said defensively. "That's not the night he was killed, anyway."
Alex leaned back in her chair again and smiled. "Actually, the fifteenth was the night he was killed."
"No it wasn't!" Drew retorted.
"And what makes you think that?"
"Because he died the next night!"
"How . . . how do you know that?" Goren said curiously. "I mean, time of death is, well . . ." He laughed. "It's a tricky thing."
The was a pause, then: "You guys told me that's when he died!"
Eames raised her eyebrows. "I didn't tell him that. Did you tell him that?" she said, looking at Goren.
"No, but . . ." He took a quick breath. "He is right that Li died on the sixteenth. It's just that that's not when he was killed."
"What's the difference?" the boy challenged.
"Because, see . . . he died from an overdose of a chemical called brodifacoum," Goren said. "Commonly used as rat poison."
"And an interesting property about the family of chemicals brodifacoum belongs to is that they have a delayed effect," Eames added. "Symptoms don't start to show until at least a full day after it's ingested."
"Which means," Bobby finished, "that since he died on the night of the sixteenth, then he was killed - given the poison - on the fifteenth."
Drew's eyes widened as he realized that these people knew much more than they'd been letting on. "I didn't . . . I'm not . . ."
"You hated him, didn't you?" Goren prodded. "He was standing in the way of your success."
"No! He was -"
"He had something against you," Eames cut him off. "He was trying to sabotage your career by ruining your grades. I can see how that would piss you off."
"And, of course," Goren added, "you couldn't just switch advisors. That would go on record, and then you'd have to explain the switch when you went job-hunting. I mean, you can't . . ." He laughed dismissively. "You can't exactly tell Harvard that you stopped working with James Li because you kept failing his classes!"
Alex leaned forward and caught the boy's eyes. "You were stuck, Drew! You were backed into a corner. He wasn't leaving you any choice!"
Bobby nodded vehemently. "You had to act. I mean, what did he think you were going to do? Sit there and let him dump on you for as long as he wanted?"
Kim shook his head. "No! I didn't have . . . ok, so maybe I didn't like him too much, but that doesn't mean I . . .!"
"You couldn't take it anymore," Eames went on as if he hadn't spoken. "He was doing everything he could to hurt you, to make your life difficult."
"So you did a little research. You tried to think of a way to make him suffer a million little injustices the same way he did to you."
"No! Why would I want to . . . I didn't hurt him!"
"Sure you did, Drew!" Goren said a little louder. "You had a thousand reasons to want to hurt him, and even if you discounted the emotional ones, there were still the logistic ones! As long as he was alive, your reputation wouldn't be worth shit!"
"What made you think of the bleeding, Drew?" Alex said softly. "Did you happen to see something about warfarins or hemophilia? It made you think a little, wonder how you could arrange that?"
"I don't . . ."
"He would have been dead anyway, just from the poison you put in his coffee," Goren said. "The cuts . . . they were just your way of teaching him one last lesson. You couldn't let him just die in one fell swoop. That would be too easy, too compassionate. And when the hell did he show you any compassion?" He banged his fist on the table at his last words, underlining the anger and resentment the boy must have felt.
"He didn't!" Kim yelled. "He didn't show me any goddamn compassion, he was a son of a bitch, but that doesn't . . . it doesn't mean . . ."
"It doesn't mean you killed him?" Alex supplied. "Maybe it wouldn't . . . if we hadn't found the rat poison mixed into a bag of coffee beans in your kitchen, and the same poison mixed with coffee grounds in Li's grinder. I don't know about you, Goren," she added with a smirk, looking at her partner, "but I don't store lethal substances in my coffee. That, Andrew, is a pretty clear indicator that you killed the guy.
Goren tilted his head to the side and studied Kim's face. "You would have had to go home to China if you were dropped from the program, wouldn't you? You would have had to face your family and have them all know you were a failure, that you couldn't play with the big boys?"
"No!" Drew eyes were getting wider and he was looking back and forth between the two detectives as they hammered at him.
"Yeah, you would have. We checked your immigration status, Drew. You're here on a restricted educational visa. And you weren't going to make it through another semester here if you didn't do something about Li."
"I didn't . . . I could have . . ."
Eames nodded. "Yeah, maybe you could have figured something out. But that wouldn't have been nearly as satisfying, would it? You would have had to bite your tongue, kiss Li's ass, pretend he wasn't damaging your reputation. Pretend he wasn't going to do it to anyone else. Unless, that is," she said slowly, "you did something about it."
Goren's eyes widened almost imperceptibly and he smiled. Alex had just given him an idea. "Dr. Li didn't like women much, did he?" he asked, returning for the moment to a conversational tone of voice.
"He didn't like anyone!"
"But he especially didn't like women, right? Like, say, Sara?"
Eames's eyebrows went up a fraction of an inch as she took in the tone of Goren's voice and began to catch on. "You share an office with her, so you were probably privy to all the bad grades Li was giving her. Syntax was the field she wanted to work in, wasn't it?"
Drew swallowed. "Yes. But she was doing just fine in her classes."
"You're forgetting," Goren said mildly, "that she showed us one of her assignments he graded. Covered in red ink. All kinds of nasty comments. He tore her work apart!" he went on, his voice rising with each sentence. "Having him destroy you was one thing, but you could have put up with that. But for him to go after her? She's brilliant! What right does he have to try to knock her down just because he felt like it?"
"She is brilliant!" Drew shouted back. "She is, and I went over those assignments with her, and they were good. They were 'A' work, not 'D'!"
"And that's why you broke into his office and yours?" Goren said. "To eliminate the records of those Ds?"
"Yes! I didn't want those to be permanent!"
"And you knew she had no chance of getting out from under Li," Eames said, a hint of sympathy in her voice. "He hated women, thought they were all incompetent. He would keep giving her bad grades just to support his own prejudices."
Kim let out a shuddering breath. "He would have done it! Just because he felt like it!"
"Does Sara know you feel this strongly about her?" Goren asked quietly.
"There's no reason for her to know," he said with a sigh. "We broke up months ago. I . . . she would only be hurt by it now."
"She going to be even more hurt to find out that you killed a man, Andrew," Alex said gently. "Tell us what happened, and at least that way she'll know you're not just a cold-blooded murderer. You were provoked and you were protecting someone you care about. That counts for a lot in life."
He seemed to choke on his own breath for a long moment. "I . . . you have to make her understand. Don't let her get involved in this."
"We'll do our best," Alex said, touching his hand, "but you have to tell us the truth."
"I . . . I . . ." He stopped, took a deep breath. "I killed him. I knew something had to happen or else Sara and I would both be ruined. It was . . . it was just a vague idea, that I had to do something to get rid of him, and then I was watching TV and there was this . . . there was a documentary on TV about medical emergencies in animals, and there was a dog that . . . it ate r-rat poison and it . . . the doctors talked about how if they cut into its skin the whole thing would just be a mass of blood, and it d-died . . ."
"So you started wondering if the same thing would happen to a human?" Eames asked.
"Yes. I went online . . . and I searched for the brand name, and then the ingredients . . . and I found webpages about warfarin and brodifacoum and what happened when a human i-ingested too much . . . All I had to do was buy it in the grocery store and get him to eat it. I knew it probably tasted bad, so I tried to think of what food would cover the taste, and he . . . he drank his coffee b-black and it was bitter and I thought maybe that would work . . . and so the next time he invited me over to work I offered to bring a bag of gourmet coffee and I just put the pellets into the bag and dumped some in and started grinding it . . ."
"Whoa," Goren said holding up a hand. "Take a breath. Eames, could you . . .?"
She nodded and left the room, returning a minute later with a cup full of water that she set in front of the boy.
He sipped at it hesitantly, his hand shaking. "Thank you. What was I . . ."
"You were telling us about putting it in his coffee," Goren prompted.
"Oh. I made his coffee with the poison in the grounds, and he drank it, and I just watched him as he did it and pretended I was proofreading my chapter. And then I just . . . went home. And I went back the next night, and I knocked on his door . . . he looked like he was getting ready for bed, and I asked him if he felt ok and he said it felt weird to breathe . . . and he kind of stumbled, and I just . . . I pushed him down and I, uh . . . I kicked him. He groaned and I did it again because I was afraid if he got up then I couldn't knock him back down. And then I . . . I had a box cutter and I . . . I cut . . . and the blood . . . he kept trying to talk but I pretended not to hear him, and the blood . . . he was bleeding all over everything and every time I cut him I thought, 'Every little comment you made on her papers hurt this much' . . . and then eventually he just . . . he just stopped moving and he . . . I . . ."
The boy's tenuous control finally broke and he laid his head on the table, sobbing. Alex stood up and put one hand lightly on his back, pulling out her handcuffs with the other. "Andrew Kim, you're under arrest for the murder of James Li. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney; if you cannot afford one one will be provided for you . . ."
As Alex led the boy from the room, Goren crossed to the observation room and looked in on Carver and Deakins. Both men looked slightly shocked. "It was one thing when I thought he did it as revenge for himself," Deakins said slowly, "but knowing he did it for the girl . . ."
Carver shook his head slowly. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
A/N: Well? What do we think? I know some of you were hoping to get better closure on the Logan thing, but I really don't think that would be doable without writing another, like, 10 chapters of just angst...which is just lame without plot. So I'm leaving the resolution up to your imaginations :)
A/N 2: ProfSnape, when I read your review of chapter 26 I was totally planning on having the motive just be academic, but then Sara snuck her way in here as I was writing it and I was like, "hmmm, someone did mention that they thought it should be more..." So partial credit for the motive goes to you :)