The murder became instant, international news. The American Ambassador Nathan Waters had been violently attacked upon his residence in London, and some Iraqi words scribbled over the words seemed to point towards the terrorist organization Al Qaeda. Water's wife Madeleine and the Ambassador had been abducted, possibly to ask for some kind of ransom to America but, besides them, the whole service at Water's residence had been violently murdered.
Everyone but Nate Rivers, the son of one of the maids, who had been found hiding in a closet. The three years old boy had been taken on custody by the British Police, save from the media's eyes.
Upon receiving the pictures of the scene place, L was quick to determine that the assassins didn't belong to Al Qaeda and that they were, most likely, dealing with a copycat that was trying to use Al Qaeda's name to assure that the ransom would be paid. The threats that had been scribbled over the walls were merely a copy of previous threats Al Qaeda had sent to the United States.
That said, however, it did take the most likely culprit out of the murderer. L reached for the phone, licking his spoon to clean it off the chocolate pudding. He was contemplating about eating a donut next or some fudge when Watari answered.
"I've collected the boy and we're heading towards a secure location."
"Was there any trouble?" L asked, finally reaching for the donut and the fudge at the same time.
"He's asleep. The doctors thought it'd be the best thing for him to rest. He won't be awake in at least six hours."
"Mmm," L muttered with a slight frown. Those six hours would show a draw back, and the American president was already doing war threats. "I'll be there by the morning, Watari."
L spent the next five and a half hours studying Nate Rivers records, though there wasn't much for him to find out. Son of a single mother, one Caroline Rivers, thirty three years old, Nate had spent his three years of life living inside the mansion. He didn't go to any daycare – L assumed it was out of his mother's overprotection; the boy's medical record showed he had been a premature baby and that he had spent the first three months of his life in an incubator at the hospital – and, other than sometimes going to the park, he seemed to have spent his whole life inside the Ambassador's mansion.
L paid especial notice to the fact that the ambassador Waters had paid for all the medical expenses of the child so far.
Still, L didn't have much hope for the one possible eye witness to know anything important about the case. He was barely a three years old child. L tried not to frown as he walked in the hotel room the child was, trying not to think this was a complete waste of time.
Once he went inside the suite and heard Watari's thoughts about Nate, L went towards the room. The toddler, still wearing a pair of pale blue pajama, to his surprise, was playing with a set of wooden blocks, taking no notice of his presence even as he called his name, and he continued in complete silence, face perfectly blank.
Watari had said that the toddler was dealing with shock and that he hadn't uttered a word since he had woken up, nor in the hospital, according to the police, not even with the psychologist he had taken to see the child after he had pretended to be Nate's grandfather. He had eaten (a piece of toast and a glass of milk, barely spilling a bit) and gone to the bathroom alone but, other than that, he had been perfectly happy to play with his blocks.
L chewed on his thumb as he crouched near him. There were a 76 probabilities that Nate hadn't actually seen the crime and had just walked in after the murder, and 89 of probabilities that, even if he had seen the crime he wouldn't be able to say anything about the assassins, probabilities that climbed to a 97 if Nate was actually in shock.
Turning to look towards the construction the toddler was immersed on, L gave a small frown. Nate was only using the number side of the blocks, and the first line read '123581321'. Eyes quickly moving through the six other lines Nate had already built, since he was working in the seventh, he noticed that horizontally and vertically, Nate was correctly placing the Fibonacci Sequence. Testing his theory, he reached for the last '3' the boy would need for his construction before he ran out of numbers and held unto it with two fingers, just high enough that the boy would have to actually stand up to try and pry it from him.
He was a little surprised when the boy didn't reach for the block where it had been nor whined but rather paused, sitting down on the floor again and looking at him for the first time. The toddler's face still as blank as before he looked at him and then raised a pudgy hand towards him.
"That's mine, mister," Nate let him know, with much more clarity than the normal three years old would be capable of, and much more collected. "Give it back."
L smiled a little, possibilities rearranging inside his mind as he let the block fall unto Nate's hand. "Here it is, Nate."
Nate didn't thank him. Once he had his block again, he was careful to put the '3' and then the '21' to finish his construction. Once that was done, he did turn to look at him again, moving a hand to his hair and twirling white curls around his fingers. Possibly something that his mother had indulged on, L thought.
"Are you police?" Nate asked calmly, watching the boy curl a leg towards his chest, fiddling a finger around a thread bare spot near the knee and keep his leg there.
"Not exactly. Who do you think I am?"
Nate looked at him and gave a slight frown as he considered. Watari got near them and placed a tray with tea and cookies for him, leaving a small plate also full of cookies near the toddler, who mostly ignored them.
Finally, Nate shrugged.
"If you're not police… and you're not doctor… orphanage?"
L smiled, nibbling unto his cookie. "How do you know I'm not a doctor?"
"You don't have syringes." Nate said very matter of factly. "Nor an este… estet…"
Nate nodded and then frowned again. "You're no police?"
"I'm a detective, so it could be said I'm a kind of police," L said, the probabilities that Nate could be of help greatly increasing as L took notice of his speak. Since the boy was barely three years old and his mother had kept him out of daycare, his records didn't make mention of the fact that, L was sure, Nate was a genius. "Do you know why I'm here, Nate?"
The boy gave a faint nod, but he stopped looking at him. L briefly considered that the boy could be scared after he had learned he was involved with the police, before he noticed Nate reaching for the blocks again.
Not scared then, just bored.
"Because mama is killed and Mr. Waters taken," the toddler said calmly. L nodded and, leaving his tea and cookies for the moment, he leaned forward, tilting his head, watching Near deconstruct his lines.
"That is correct. I would like for your help so we can catch the people who killed them," L said, not shying away from the words. Nate's hand paused and he dropped the block he had been picking, causing the three resting lines to fall down and scatter over the carpet.
For the first time, L saw a hint of fear in the child's face as Nate looked at him. He stopped curling his hair but didn't move his hand from his hair. L smiled and picked up one of the blocks with two fingers, leaving it dangling near Nate's face. The boy's dark eyes focused on the block and then on him and L saw, fascinated, how Nate's face went back to its previous blankness.
"Will you help me then, Nate?"
Nate plucked the block from his fingers and didn't answer, collecting the blocks again to start playing, but L smiled. It was enough answer.
It was quite obvious that Nate's IQ was far beyond the average for a three years old boy, even without the proper records to show. L found himself considerably more interested in the three years old, who pretty much ignored him and Watari, going to the bathroom on his own and spending most of the day with the toys that Watari had gotten for him, since Nate could spend whole hours busy with them and neither L nor Watari wanted to risk dealing with a fussy three years old, just in case.
Nate knew how to read (when questioned he had said in an annoyed voice, for L was interrupting his game again, that his mother left the books for him when she was busy) and his level of comprehension was at least seven years advanced.
The only times he seemed a little withdrawn were when L had asked him about the murder. Then, Nate would leave his toys and he would draw a leg towards him, leaning against it, and he'd start playing with his own hair.
L pushed the computer near the boy, to try and avoid his escapism technique. Nate looked at him from bellow white bangs and then reached for the computer, changing through the pictures slowly.
"Did any of the men that attacked Ambassador Waters and your mother look like this?"
Nate went through the pictures twice and then shook his head at the pictures of dark, bearded men. "No. They were normal-looking. Like Alan and Joseph."
Like Water's murdered bodyguards. Interesting. L gave a slight frown at the new information, gathering it before he gave a small nod. "Anything else you remember of them?"
Nate frowned and reached for a robot he seemed quite enamored off. The previous day, L had played with the other pair of the set while he questioned Nate and it seemed that the boy was casting favorites over it. He made some zooming noise as he made the robot leap from the floor, falling to the floor almost soundlessly as he pretended the toy in his hands could fly and L waited patiently, reaching for another piece of fudge before Near spoke.
"One of them had a big gold watch. And one of them spoke like Andy did… and the one that hurt mama had a scar over his face."
Andy having been an Irish maid and the scar being the biggest clues for the moment, L stood up.
"Do you remember anything else?" Nate shook his head. "Do you know why I'm asking you this and why it's important for you to answer all my questions?"
"'cause I'm the only one alive, mister." Nate said with an easy, almost bored expression. L smiled and reached to tousle the boy's hair.
"You should be asleep," L informed Nate. Surprisingly enough, Nate nodded and curled exactly where he had been sitting, a hand in his hair, and fell asleep approximately four and twenty two seconds after that.
Nate's sleeping schedule was almost as skewed as his, for L's amusement. And that said something. In the three days since the boy had stayed with them, despite the fact that he spent most of the time quiet, busy with his toys, L hadn't seen him sleep on the bed.
He had fallen asleep next to his toys four times, a cheek pillowed on his arm, a hand curled over his face, breathing through his parted lips, curled over his side, only to wake up a few hours later and then continue with his game as if nothing had happened. Another time, he had fallen asleep while L had been interrogating him, the deep slumber that couldn't be pretended. His eating habits were pretty similar, only pausing his games to eat whatever it was Watari had left for him (funnily enough, for a boy his age, Nate didn't seem entirely focused on candies) and never ask for seconds.
L hadn't yet be able to pinpoint just how much of Nate's behavior came out of likely experiencing shock, and how much came from his personality. When considering the fact that, until the investigation was over, he was going to be sharing quarters with an infant he had been less than pleased, he couldn't say he minded the way Nate spent most of the day.
He found Nate's behavior much more interesting than the investigation, which he concluded was a passion crime by the start of the fourth day, just in time to avoid America (and England) starting another war. At least for the moment. Madeleine Waters and her lover, billionaire Liam Anderson had arranged the whole murder and kidnapping. Sadly, he was 96 sure that the Ambassador was dead already. The TV flared as the police entered the hotel room where Anderson and Waters had been hiding for a few days until they could go out of the country without causing suspicion. His bodyguard, the one with the scar, had been the one to link Anderson to the attack.
"L, are you going to inform Nate about his parents?" Watari asked, turning to look towards the once again sleeping child. He was holding the robot with one hand, face down on the carpet.
L looked at the picture of Ambassador Waters dark eyes, and then towards Nate, who resembled mostly his mother.
"No. Most likely, Nate already knows it."
"You think so?" Watari hummed. "And he never said so because we never asked him directly?"
"Exactly," L smiled, picking up his cake. "I would inform him if Ambassador Waters was still alive. As it is, the people that know about Nate being his son are dead, or in the case of Lady Waters, soon to be in prison. Nate doesn't have any kind of legal kin. Other than you, that's it."
Watari gave a small nod, taking account of the papers he had used to gain custody of Nate, and took out his cell phone.
"What would you like to do with Nate then, L?" Watari asked. "I can place him in one of the orphanages we survey. He should be more than ready to join Wammy in three years."
L gave a soft hum as he considered. Usually, Wammy didn't take childrens younger than at least five years old, since having someone so young would disrupt the rest of the students there.
He licked his fork.
"Have him stay in Wammy, Watari. There's no point on setting him behind. He'll catch up soon enough with the rest of the children despite his age.."
Watari gave another nod without discussion.
"What should be his name?" Watari asked. L perched over his chair, turned around to see the sleeping boy.
L thought about wide, black eyes blinking slowly and calmly, and waking up in the middle of the night and gave a one sided smile.