I don't own anything.
Chapter One: Los Angeles
Spades was hurting. His sides ached and his left cheek felt like it had been smeared with acid. He was sure that his ribs weren't broken, but there was something strange about the pain. It felt kind of far away. It reminded Spades of his last trip to the emergency room. He had woken up hurting, but the pain was so distant from his mind. The pain in his cheek was closer to home. Over time it would swell and then fade away. Spades was sure that the same could not be said for the wounds he had inflicted on the cause of his pain.
"Drugs." To his ears it sounded like he was talking through a mouthful of cotton. 'Feels like it too.' His thoughts were strange. They seemed to slide from one topic to the next, never truly focusing and throughout all they seemed muffled. That was more disconcerting then the fact that he seemed to have only limited control over the mobility of his body. He had been lying on his back on an old cot that reminded him of the LAPD cells, staring at the ceiling fan over head.
The fan, Spades decided, was strange. It only had two blades instead of five. He had thought that all fans had five blades. They were much quieter. The blades of the fan overhead cut through the air with a sound he had heard before at an air show.
Some Vietnam vet had made it big after the war and he had bought an old Huey, Spades recognized it from movies, just like he had flown. He then flew from air show to air show giving rides to other vets. Spades had seen some of the vets. The looks on their faces when that old green helicopter swung in had startled him.
'Focus!' Spades threw all his effort into a single movement and smirked when his right foot wiggled. It felt normal, which would be slightly heavy for anyone else. The six inch ceramic knife hidden in his loafer's soul had been a bitch to get through security, but now he was happy he had brought it.
'Bitch.' There were many women he could blame for his current predicament. He could blame the blue-haired bitch, but there were others before her. He could blame his mother for being here of course. But he could think of one woman who was the most direct cause for him being here.
Chief was going to be in deep shit the next time he saw her.
It was she that insisted he go to his high school reunion. 'It'll be fun, she says,' Spades thought spitefully. He had been perfectly happy in Los Angeles. The only reason for his return to his native country of Japan was to shut her up.
Spades heard the click of a deadbolt retracting. Someone was coming into his cell. He felt his fingers curl and knuckles pop. Spades laid back and closed his eyes. Surprise would be a definite advantage.
In America he had a reputation. There wasn't a single person in Los Angeles, on either side of the law, stupid enough to disrespect him. It was time that he showed the people of Japan; no, the people of NERV, how he had gained the reputation. They were going to learn a very simple lesson with a high tuition price.
No one fucked with Spades Ikari.
(:Four Days Before:)
Amber Young pushed the door to her office open and stared at the man sitting behind her desk and using her computer. "What are you doing Spades?"
"Taking care of some business Chief," the dark-haired man explained without looking up.
"Why are you using my computer?" Amber pressed, setting down the bag she had been carrying.
"Because Helen is using hers," Spades replied simply. Amber glanced to her left and saw her secretary sitting behind her desk and working on her computer. She glanced up and tugged her headphones off.
"Nothing," Amber answered. She glanced at her watch. It was five in the mourning, her normal time to open the office officially for business. Of course their line of work really didn't have any set hours. "Where's you partner?"
"The hospital," Spades answered. "His ulcer started up again last night."
"What did you do to him?" Amber asked in exasperating as she sat on her desk and glanced at the computer's screen. Spades was filling out an insurance report. "That's a bad sign, right?"
"Yeah," Spades answered, running his hand over his carefully gelled back hair, making sure not a single strand was out of place. "We were on the stakeout from midnight to three following Stephen Pearl. We caught him with his piece of jailbait and got a few pictures for the misses."
"Maybe a year or two too old," Spades replied. "Mark managed to make an ass of himself by staring too long with the camera exposed and the old man saw us. He pulled out a gun. . ."
"Isn't he eighty?" Amber asked.
"Seventy-eight," Spades corrected. "He pulled a gun and fired a few shots. I put the Chrysler in reverse and gunned it. We got clear and I turned us around the right way."
"How fast exactly did you go in reverse?" Amber asked.
"Sixty-two," Spades answered. "And before you ask, yes I swung the car around without stopping."
"I see," Amber said. She knew that Spades' driving could quite easily give a person an ulcer. 'Or agitate the one he already gave them,' she added silently. "So what's with the report?"
"He shot my car." Amber leaned forward and saw a muscle in the corner of one of Spades' droopy, half-open eyes twitching. Only two things ever upset him; one of them was his car. "I'm adding the corresponding hike in my insurance rates to my business expenses."
"God damn it," Amber grumbled as she stood up and moved to the mail slot in the front door. She tugged the envelopes out and glanced at them. "One from your dad."
"You know what to look for." Amber opened the letter and glanced at the words. Her Japanese was shoddy, but Spades had taught her the words to look for.
"He's still alive."
"File it." Amber tossed the letter into the paper shredder sitting on the waste paper basket. She found another letter addressed to her employee. He paid quite a bit to keep his address a secret, so naturally all his junk mail came to the office.
"It's not from your dad," Amber argued.
"Aren't you curious?" Amber demanded.
"There is no one in Japan that I want to hear from," Spades answered. "Actually there's no one outside of Los Angeles that I want to hear from in particular." Amber opened the letter and glanced through the words. She felt a smirk starting to form on her lips.
"Dear Mister Shinji Ikari," she read. "Your name is Shinji?"
"Well it's not Spades," Spades replied.
"Still, what kind of name is Shinji?" Amber asked.
"A Japanese one," Spades answered. Amber hated how easily he could come up with sarcastic and witty retorts to her every question. 'One of his more endearing traits,' she thought sarcastically. She turned back to the letter.
"Can you believe it's been ten years since you proudly strode the halls of this fine learning establishment? Yada, yada, yada. Blah, blah, blah. You are cordially invited to the reunion of the class of 2018." She watched as Spades' droopy, tired-looking eyes looked up from the computer screen and stared at her over the rims of his reading glasses and the top of the monitor. Amber grinned at him. He looked back down, his face never loosing its unreadable blank look.
"No way in hell."
Spades stifled a yawn and stood up. He was a good driver; it was everyone else that caused damage to his car. Why the hell couldn't his insurance company see that? He slipped his reading glasses off and stuck them in his pocket. "I'm going to go get breakfast."
"Already brought it!" Amber exclaimed as she held out the bag she had been carrying. Spades stared at it skeptically. "Krispy Kreme," the woman sang temptingly.
"Sold." Spades sat down. Amber laughed and fished a glazed doughnut out of bag. She tossed it to him and went to go turn on the coffee machine sitting on the far side of the office. Spades bit into the doughnut and leaned back in his seat. He loved doughnuts.
"So you have the proof Misses Pearl wanted?" Amber asked as she returned and sat on the desk again. Spades nodded. "I'll give her a call at a more civilized hour."
"Maybe you should do it," Amber began, her voice moving towards a more teasing tone. "I think she was quite taken with you." She smirked and leaned closer, her face inches from his. "Not that I can blame her," she added, running a finger over Spades' chin. "You need to shave." Her eyes moved to the scar entwined with his left eyebrow and she watched as it cocked upwards.
"I like this scar," Amber explained as she touched the healed wound. It was the visible mark where his mysterious past ended and their shared past began.
"You. . .are a sadist," Spades commented as he ate another doughnut. His eyebrow, the same color as his meticulously neat hair, lowered again.
"Only for you," Amber replied teasingly.
"I'm not wearing my headphones now." Amber leapt back and almost fell off the desk.
"Doughnut?" Spades asked, still annoyingly, infuriatingly calm.
"Yes please," Helen Christianson answered. Spades grabbed a doughnut and tossed it to her. "So you have a high school reunion?" she asked.
"How long were you listening to us?" Amber asked.
"Long enough," Helen answered. She turned back to Spades. "I knew you were old, even older then Chief, but I didn't know you were that old."
"I do have a doctor's degree," Spades commented. "I have yet to meet a man with doctor's degree in his early twenties."
"You could have been one of those teenage geniuses," Helen argued. Spades stared at her. Arguing with the young secretary was rather fun. He'd take the bait.
"Well, I realize that I was educated by the Japanese educational system, but that doesn't quite make me a genius compared to you Americans."
"I'm Canadian," Helen deadpanned.
"Touché." Spades bit into another doughnut. The door opened and a man in a long, dripping trench coat stepped into the office. He pulled off his black fedora and tried to shake the water off it before hanging it up on the coat rack.
"I smell Krispy Kreme."
"What is with you private detectives and doughnuts?" Helen asked.
"Don't forget coffee," Tim Rogers murmured as he picked up a doughnut.
"Mustn't forget coffee," Spades agreed.
"Where's Mark?" Tim asked.
"Hospital," Spades replied.
"Again?" Tim asked, exasperation in his voice. "I was your partner for three years and I only went to the hospital twice."
"Weak constitution," Spades said with a shrug. "So when's this reunion?" Amber glanced down at the letter and frowned.
"It's in a couple of days," she replied. "It would have been nice to have a little more warning."
"Huh," Spades grunted. It was probably because they couldn't find him. It was almost certain that everything would have been better if they hadn't.
Amber stared at her employees and waited for them to be seated. They were an odd group, but they had the skills. "Alright!" she called loudly. "We have a couple of cases cleared." She looked around at the ten men. "Spades, Mark, Tim, and Pablo all finished their cases, so they're free to help." She glanced at two more men. "What's the progress on the missing girl case?"
"We've got nothing," Conrad Harris answered. "We've just about finished up with our legal information sources."
"Start hitting the illegal ones," Amber ordered. "I don't care what you have to do. Kick in some doors, scare the locals. . .get your damn knuckles bloody. I want this girl found, clear?"
"Yeah," Al Levine, Conrad's partner, answered. "Spades?"
"We need you to hit up your contacts," Al explained. "You know the ones."
"I do," Spades replied. "I'll talk to them after we're dismissed and call you."
"Good," Amber announced. "I want all of you to keep your eyes open. If you find anything out, call in to Helen. She'll take care of making sure the information gets around." Amber read off the rest of the cases and dismissed her men. She watched as one of them stood up picked up a worn brown fedora. She set her mind on her goal and moved to talk to him. "Spades?"
"Yeah?" the private detective asked as he pulled on a dark trench coat.
"You need company?"
"You know where I'm going?" Spades asked. Amber nodded. "You're the boss Chief."
"How long have we known each other?"
"Almost six years," Spades answered. Amber whistled and leaned back in her seat. That was some time. She had met the older man back in college before she had ever dreamed of opening a private investigations firm. "Why are you here? You hate the men I talk to."
"I don't like them," Amber corrected softly, "and I don't like you talking to them. They're dangerous people."
"So am I," Spades replied. Amber glanced out the window and watched as Los Angeles whipped by. "You aren't here to preach the morality of my connections. Why did you want to come along?"
"I wanted to talk about your class reunion," Amber explained. "I really think it would be good for you if you went. You might have fun."
"Why?" Amber frowned. She knew that no matter what her reasons were, Spades would undoubtedly have something to back up his own and probably opposite position. Perks of being a genius.
"I just think you'd be happier if you confronted your past instead of running from it," she answered finally.
"I'm not running anywhere and I'm not hiding." The tone of his voice was strange, different from his normal doctor-to-patient tone. He sounded like he was bordering on pissed off. "I'm here and they know that. They want to talk to me then they come here and do it to my face."
"I see," Amber said peaceably. Apparently Spades did not like being accused of running away.
"And what makes you think I'm not happy?" Spades continued.
"Well you refuse to answer any letters from your father unless they're about his funeral," Amber pointed out.
"A lot of people have bad relationships with their fathers," Spades commented.
"Remember that time we got drunk and I asked you why you threw out letters that weren't about you father's death?" Amber asked. Spades nodded. "You remember what you told me?"
"Something along the lines of wanting to attend the funeral service and piss on his grave."
"I think it was do a gig on his grave," Amber corrected. She shrugged. "Listen."
"I don't know what happened in your past and I don't care," Amber stated simply. "Something bad happened and you don't want to confront it. You may not be running from it, but you are avoiding it."
"I just think that you may be able to resolve some of these issues if you go," Amber finished. It wasn't her best delivery, but she was proud none the less. It was hard delivering a persuasive argument when there had been no time to practice, or even arrange one's thoughts. "If all else fails you can just go and laugh at your class mates who died." One of Spades' eyebrows cocked upwards slightly.
"It's why my dad keeps going to his class reunions," Amber explained. "I hate most of my classmates, so it's probably why I'll go to mine when it comes up."
"And to flaunt to all the women that you have ten men at your beck and call," Spades added helpfully.
"That too," Amber admitted. "I'm thinking Pablo, Mike, and Al can escort me in and then I'll trade you guys off every half hour or so."
-Author's notes. This is the product of watching too much classic Humphrey Bogart detective movies. You know the ones, probably. If you might have guessed this was also inspired by a movie called Grosse Pointe Blank. It's a great flick. I think there's a name for a story that starts towards the end and goes back to tell the story.
Like I actually know any of that shit. I'm just a creative writer. I've heard that your first highs school reunion happens ten years after you graduate. I estimated that Shinji would graduate in 2018. If I'm wrong then don't bother telling me about it. That would make this story set in 2028 I guess.
This was just an intro. Things will be flushed out and explained, I hope, in later chapters.
P.S. For those with substandard I.Q.s: yes, Spades is Shinji and yes he is a doctor. Of what will probably be included in the next chapter.
P.P.S. For those hoping this weeks update with would be the new Lycanthrope I apologize. It's not quite ready, but it will be good to go soon. I didn't have anything else to load, so I decided that this would be a good place to start this story.