PANDORA'S MISCHIEF: Chapter 4
Disclaimer: I'm disclaiming.
"All right, my wily mischief-making Pan, will you remind me what exactly you're planning now?"
"What, you weren't paying attention?"
"Nay, for I did not give a Herculean shit until you volunteered me as well."
Merrie Kenwood twisted a loose blonde lock of hair in her finger, admiring both the shining quality that this morning's conditioning had bestowed upon the golden color as well as the wine-red hue of polish on her freshly filed nails. She was, of course, absolutely stunning, but beautifying herself had taken a little longer than usual. Work last night had been dreadfully brutal and reduced her normally flawless features to running make-up, greasy hair, chipped nails and tender skin in dire need of a facial. Alas, that slovenly appearance was certainly a tragedy and she had mourned herself for being seen in such a state, but after a two hour bubble bath with the fancy bath oils that she had nabbed from Watari, her marvelous discovery made it all worth it.
To be perfectly clear, breaking into the Yotsuba building four times a week to plant bugs in various places, higher and higher up each floor but never so many that they might be found – that was only busywork. The so-called security in that upscale dumphole was practically elementary child's play in comparison to other high class skyscrapers that she'd greased. The billion-dollar company apparently saw fit to finance their surveillance with a few big, clunky cameras and fat ass guards. No, that disappointment hadn't been the problem.
The problem was that at approximately 3:53 AM, she had been strutting through the lobby, finishing up her rounds when she saw a postcard lying on a secretary's desk. Naturally, being the child of Pandora, and here being the box, figuratively speaking, she simply had to steal a peek.
Summer Festival Office Party
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Crystal Ballroom
July 22, 20:00 to midnight
Merrie had squealed. Yep, out loud.
After a narrow escape through a second floor window from the Furious Flying Donut Man, her favorite blundering security guard, she pulled out her emergency foundation kit. Yeah, her makeup was totally bombed and she was sweating, and damned if L wasn't going to financially compensate. She jumped a few gates and dashed briskly down the street to where her motorcycle, her noble steed, stood in waiting. As annoyed as she was about the makeup, as she slid on the leather seat and slipped her helmet over her head, she was overcome with a giddy delight.
It was a hyper sport bike with 7,500 rpm. 1352 cc four-stroke, liquid cooled, a dual overhead camshaft with four-valve per cylinder - high performance engine in a striking lightweight ebony frame. Six speed with capabilities of accelerating 0 to 60 mph in just two and a half seconds. This brilliant mold of metal and horsepower could exceed 180 mph, 290 km/h in metric. This baby wasn't even on the normal consumer market yet, being just recently debuted at the Tokyo 2004 Show, and had belonged to Merrie, registered under the alias Hildagarde Kawasaki, for approximately three weeks. The bike itself was worth more than a night with Hideki Ryuga, Japan's most cherished male model (and you got more for your money, too, from what Merrie had heard on the street).
Good thing Merrie didn't actually buy it.
Merrie kicked the vehicle into gear, which she affectionately referred to as "her Pegasus". The same name as the rest of her twenty-seven motorcycles stationed in various locations around the world (except for Sauron, the guzzling piece of shit that broke down after only four high-speed chases).
The next morning she was up bright and early. No, she wasn't exactly up before L, as she was pretty sure such a feat was humanly impossible. Hell if she knew what the spider-monkey did all night, but she liked to think it wasn't research, rather, he was either crouched on the bed watching Light sleep or playing World of Warcraft. Possibly both. Point aside, L was wide awake, along with Light, and everyone else, actually. But she had surprised her co-workers with a cheerful smile and a plethora of energy, all before she had consumed her usual three cups of coffee with artificial sweetener. Her uncharacteristically good mood earned her several stupefied looks, but it explained itself when she announced to the group her findings.
"Yes, I think that is a good idea," L agreed with her, after the crackling sound of hell freezing over. At first Merrie thought she had misheard him, as the detective's mouth was full of chocolate marshmallow Pop-Tart and so his voice was distorted, but the man continued. "We should take advantage of Yotsuba's party and send in a private investigator."
"Of course, you're referring to me," Merrie pointed to her chest and tossed her head dramatically.
At the suggestion, Monkey Boy looked as though he suddenly had the desire to take a lethal dosage of Pepto Bismol and whatever else he might find in the bathroom medicine cabinet. "...I'll probably regret this, but yes. However, Wedy-san will be... awkward attending such an event alone, especially since she is not Japanese."
"I'm not awkward," Merrie protested. When there was a moment of silence around the room, save a cascade of unpleasant coughs from the police officers, she cleared her throat and gave a dazzling smile. "But it's more fun working with someone. Light, sweetheart, wanna be my date?"
"He does not."
Unfortunately that angry rejection came from Daddy Yagami and not her spindly employer. Merrie watched L meticulously to see if his expression altered in the slightest. Maybe it was a trick of the light, or Merrie's overactive imagination, but she could've sworn – maybe – that L might've jerked his handcuffed wrist slightly, of course to ensure that he was still connected to his darling, beloved prisoner.
No, okay, it was probably her overactive imagination. At least she could, on occasion, admit it.
"I can't leave Ryuzaki," Light informed Merrie helpfully. Unfortunately the serious expression he wore was just way too serious to be referring to anything more than the fact that, duh, he was handcuffed. Well no shit, Sherlock, it wasn't like she would ever forget that. Yet, to give a profound Freudian interpretation of the situation, perhaps that was merely what Golden Boy was consciously thinking. Obviously what he really meant in the depths of his lonely soul was that he couldn't bear to be with anyone else except his one true love. Light would go mad with worry, his heart ripped to pieces, should he ever be parted from his Ryuzaki!
Confound the effect that Sigmund Freud had on her imagination. Screwing Matsuda hadn't, as she had hoped but knew it wouldn't, cured her of raging hormones. Instead, at 8 AM in the morning, Merrie had to blink to reassure herself that all these respectable gentlemen were, in fact, adorning clothing.
"That's fine," Merrie replied, still quite chipper and went to imagining her fellow self-proclaimed felon in his birthday suit. "I wouldn't dream to separate the boys. Aiber will just be my date."
"What?" Aiber, who had been until that moment relaxed with his black coffee on the couch, yelped indignantly. "No! No, that is not a good idea. Shouldn't it be someone Japanese? Take Matsuda."
The puppy-dog cop practically shrieked, "Yes! Wedy-san! I'd be happy to-"
"No, the other men here are cops," she dismissed with a wave of her hand, before Matsuda accidentally confessed his love and then some with that big fat mouth of his. As far as Light and L were concerned, she was still a lesbian. "They have profiles to protect and cannot risk recognition in their home city. You coming here on a business trip and bringing me, your charming American wife, would be much more proper. You're the only man in this room who can say he's not Japanese. Unless you'll be my date, Ryuzaki?"
"I think Aiber will do just fine."
The con-man looked deliciously horrified, slamming his coffee cup on the table. "Ryuzaki, I do not want to take this, this-"
"Aww, is poor Aiber-san nervous about a date with me?" she leered, perking her lips to blow an exaggerated kiss. "I promise not force you past first base if you don't feel ready for it. Unless you dress provocatively, so watch yourself."
"I actually agree with her, strange as that sounds," Panda Face admitted, scratching his head. "Sexual harassment aside, it'll be a good way to investigate Yotsuba. Though I cannot help but feel that Wedy-san has some ulterior motive."
Merrie put a hand over her mouth to conceal a dainty little gasp. "Who, me?"
Again, no one answered.
One thing was sure, and that was that Interpol didn't call L the world's greatest detective for nothing. Of course Merrie had ulterior motives, and not even her brilliant acting skills could convince him otherwise. To be fair, L had profiled her pretty well the time that he caught her pinching diamonds at the museum, and hey, she respected that. He knew that she never went out of her way to lift a finger unless she herself got something out of the deal. But somehow he seemed to have missed the part where she also had an altruistic, caring personality. Mathematically, the positives cancel out the negatives and Merrie was pretty sure her karma was doing just dandy. L was the one who ought to be worrying about spontaneous lightning bolts thrust upon him via Zeus, but even the wicked deserve love and he could send Merrie the bill later when she delivered him a nude Japanese super-genius drizzled with chocolate sauce.
The Yotsuba formal party scheme actually had a few perks that had interested her. It wasn't that working on the fabulously brag-worthy Kira case was a bore, but she had a mental list of very good reasons why she ought to volunteer herself to work extra hours.
Numero uno: It gave her an excuse to doll up and show off. As much as she loved black leather and sunglasses, it got old pretty quick and she would much rather be attracting stares than running away from them. She could even go shopping, and would convince L to let her spend the day at the beauty salon. After all, Merrie was convinced that she had an obligation to treat the body that the gods had so kindly bestowed upon her as a temple. She would be a tribute to Aphrodite, and so in the bigger picture, she gained karma points for pleasing Greek deities.
Numero dos: Reiji Namikawa. He was the guy in the picture from the Yotsuba files that she had seen, and the only time she was okay with being a one-sided fantasizer was when she was watching Lord of the Rings.
Numero tres: She got to piss off Aiber.
Numero cuatro... Well, that lead back to-
"All right, my wily mischief-making Pan, will you remind me what exactly you're planning now?"
"What, you weren't paying attention?"
"Nay, for I did not give a Herculean shit until you volunteered me as well."
Merrie glanced over to the wall of computer monitors, where Panda Face and Goldenboy were seated on swivel chairs approximately three feet apart – which would be, according to her diligent calculations, a foot and a half closer than usual. The chain rested in a coiled loop on the floor, a testimony to an increased comfort level between the two almost-lovers. It was as sickeningly obvious as a Disney movie, without the stupid G rating, so why was Merrie the only one able to see it?
Because men were dumbasses, and Misa was, well. Misa.
"I am going to destroy your doubts."
"About what?" The Frenchman demanded, clearly perturbed. And then Aiber's eyes widened like saucers and he clutched his wine glass so tightly that it threatened to shatter into a billion glass shards and simultaneously explode, reducing L's bullet-proof concrete fortress into rubble and murdering everyone inside. "Oh dear God, please don't tell me this is all about your absurd plot to get your employer and his prime suspect to have sex!"
As if it wasn't obvious. "Aiber, baby, why else do you think I'm still here?"
"Mon dieu! Damned if I thought... to uphold your work contract?"
Merrie blinked. "...Seriously?"
Aiber, being an aforementioned male dumbass, couldn't seem to get it through his thick blond head. After nearly fifteen minutes of patient explaining, he still couldn't grasp what she was trying to accomplish. Yes, he got that she wouldn't be satisfied until her homo-erotic sexual fantasies had been, beyond probability, magicked into reality, as he so cynically put it. But the only way to accomplish such a feat, he claimed, was through a lot of illegal aphrodisiacs and other thought-impairing drugs, as well as a kidnapping and a handgun.
Merrie informed him firmly that abduction would be only her very last resort. She could do this totally 100 percent legal.
Well, okay, closer to 38 percent legal, but the sex would be voluntary.
All of Merrie's work so far was nothing more than setting up the playing field. She had managed to find her star players (Panda-Face and Goldenboy) and fiercely exterminated the competition (Misa 'Satanette' Amane), at least, temporarily neutralized it. The bases were loaded and the fans were quite ready to see the boys hit some home runs.
The conundrum presenting itself was that Ryuzaki and Light evidently didn't know how to play ball.
Really, Merrie would have thought it would come as a natural, do-it-like-they-do-it-on-the-Discovery Channel instinct. It wasn't as though adolescent boys/young men/what-the-hell-Ryuzaki-was needed to get the two-for-one porn special at the local video store and take notes. They were two bachelors sharing a bed every night as well as practically living some weird BDSM handcuff game daily and they hadn't even gone up to the plate to bat, let alone jog to first base. What came as common sense to Merrie was apparently rocket science for the boy geniuses.
But no, that couldn't have even been the case. It was clear from every time Satanette pranced into the room in frilly lolita and clung to Light. These moments not only indicated that Light was living proof that some people were just born gay, but from the snide little comments that L would make and the way Light would pointedly ignore her or blush during his weaker moments it also was clear that the boys knew what a penis was and were aware that it had more than one self-relieving use. The intelligence was there, but clearly it was the atmosphere they were lacking. A cold, dark investigation room twenty stories off the ground wasn't exactly a love hotel, and furthermore, they were surrounded by a situation and by people who demanded that they remain serious and professional.
The passion, yes, the boys had that threefold. On the rare occasion that Merrie's mind was somewhere else than the gutter, she could admire their dedication in capturing Kira. It was amazing how strong they could be together, and how they kept each other going even on the late nights when it was clear that they were weary. Yet still, they were missing out on the experience that would truly bind them as soul mates, and that's where Merrie came in. They just needed a hint. A gentle shove. A reminder of amour.
Merrie had agreed to let Aiber drive only because she liked him opening the door for her. Like a proper rich gentleman wearing dark pinstripes, a violet button-down and hair gelled like a star, he took Merrie's hand and they started to the crystal ballroom.
"Tell me I'm lovely," she cooed as she flounced down the hallways.
Not that she needed reassurance. She was wearing a sleek red satin evening dress that shimmered against the lamplight. It was form-fitting, which complimented her waist and her hips without being too tight anywhere except against her breasts, where it rode down snugly in a low V-neck cut. Thigh-high nylons tanned her legs, and three inch leather heeled boots made her even taller than she actually was. If she were to dress for ideal sexiness, she would have been wearing strapped heels, but she needed the boots to conceal a modest selection of weaponry should she hypothetically get herself in a tight spot. No, boots or not, she didn't need reassurance that she looked absolutely ravishing tonight.
She just liked being complimented.
Aiber glanced tersely in her direction before pulling her along. "Of course you're lovely. The very image the naiad Calypso."
"I don't know what you're trying to imply," she replied innocently, recalling that Calypso was the goddess who kept the hero Odysseus on her island for seven years of sexual imprisonment.
"That you're a brilliant specimen of femininity." He spoke through tightened lips as he gave a sunny smile to a well-dressed Japanese couple who were exiting the lavish party room that they were about to enter. Under gritted teeth, "who has prisoners in her head."
Merrie was about to deny all charges when-
"Okay, you two, we've got control of all the hotel's cameras, plus the extras that Wedy installed last night." It was Light, speaking into the earpieces that both she and Aiber were wearing. They would be completely invisible underneath their blond hair, as well as the microphones should they need to speak back. "It's busy, but that should help your cover. There are business connections from all over Europe here, so you won't stand out from your ethnicities alone."
"I'm certain that my darling wife-" Cute stress on the label, Aiber. "-stands out even when she's crawling through vents."
"Aww. You're sweet."
"I shouldn't have to tell this to two professionals, but please take care in when you speak directly to us," L, who was also connected to the communicators, chided. "It is of the utmost importance that you remain unnoticed."
Merrie laughed so hard she snorted.
L sighed. "I am beginning to regret this already."
After twenty minutes of hooking her arm around Aiber's elbow as they ventured around the crystal ballroom, the predominant thought in her head was eh, I've seen better. Sure, it was fancy, sure, everyone was dressed up and looked like they lit their smokes from hundred dollar bills, or whatever the yen equivalent was. But something about the atmosphere was too stifled and polite for Merrie's tastes. Aiber wasn't even talking to her, as he was busy introducing "himself" and "his wife" to whoever stopped long enough for obligatory conversation. Even L and Light were being a bore, reading off facts that she was supposed to care about and introducing people that she was supposed to investigate so they could check for suspicious behavior.
After twenty-three minutes, she was bored, so announced to Aiber through a plastered smile that she was going to go get wasted. Aiber was quite quick to relinquish her arm.
"Wait, Wedy-san," Light started. "You know how you get when you're drinking... maybe you shouldn't..."
"Don't worry about it, Yagami-kun."
"But if she gets drunk and does something irrational, and Kira is here in Yostuba-"
"That was actually my reasoning."
"Pompous brat," she grumbled under her breath. She sauntered across the dance floor in which there was actually no dancing, which couldn't really be helped when the musicians were playing soft classical. If Yotsuba had only had the sense to hire a proper DJ, now would be the time in the party when Merrie would request Spice Girls and put her most refined skills to good use. As it was, she shoved through the finely dressed socializing crowd and tracked down the waiter who bore a tray of champagne glasses. They locked eyes, and at her feral expression the man visibly gulped before practically surrendering the full set of alcohol.
Merrie drained the first one in a single drink, grabbed the man's shirt when he tried to sneak away, and then snatched a second one.
The time was about right when she would start putting her crafty little plot into action. In all of Merrie's experiences, she had found that it was practically biological fact that young men who had managed to survive without being castrated were generally aroused or at least intrigued when sex crossed their minds. Visual pornography often had a greater impact on males than females, and being confronted with sexuality had a strong chance of putting them in the mood. Not that Merrie was planning on putting on a strip show here and now, as funny a story that would be to tell her sister, but what she wanted was for L and Light to have to sit through a session of proper ballroom romancing. Surely a few sweet words and kisses would stimulate something in their genius little brains (and elsewhere), and the only person they would have to turn to would be one another.
She tried to track down the waiter again, but he seemed to have found a nice corner as far away from her as possible. Luckily, down by edge of the dance floor was a proper bar, with stools and a bartender who was efficiently filling glasses. That seemed as good a place as any to wait for awhile, so she drifted in that direction with a few casual greetings and compliments to the people around her.
Before she arrived, however, she found him. Namikawa, standing with the grandiose beauty of a lark and twice as handsome as his picture. He wore a black suit and tie over white dress shirt – nothing out of the ordinary, but the proud way he held his head and let his smooth dark hair fall in long strands against his shoulders ensured Merrie that this was a man of importance and influence. Those were qualities that Merrie found attractive, and though they were a good distance away from one another, when he saw her watching him he granted her a smile.
"Wedy-san, that man to your left is Reiji Namikawa," Light informed after a pause to scan through the dossiers they had collected for nearly everyone there. "He's the Vice President of Yotsuba's sales department. He graduated at Harvard University in America."
Merrie put a hand to her mouth as if she were coughing politely, but murmured instead, "Is he single?"
"Yes, he's unmarried... hold on! What exactly are you planning?"
"Why, I'm just going to ask him if he's Kira." Her hand had lingered too long, and she lowered it, putting on her best smile and meandering closer to Namikawa's direction without being too obvious.
"Wedy-san, you can't do that! Playing with someone's feelings is the worst thing you can do, even if it's to catch Kira!"
Oh lovely, Light was her very own little angel of conscience, standing on her shoulder and beseeching into her ear.
"I disagree. Pursuing this could uncover important information."
And L was the devil.
"Ryuzaki, don't say that! We have to do what we can to find Kira, but we can't compromise our own morals!"
"Certainly. But fortunately for our investigation, Wedy does not have morals."
Cretin. At least she was civilized.
"I'm not all right with this. We need to uphold a strict set of ethics as a team, otherwise we're no better than Kira!"
"That doesn't even need to be questioned. Of course we're better than Kira. That is, with the possible exception of you, Light-kun."
"Accuse me all you like, but between the two of us I'm the one who's actually trying to be a good person here!"
"Your obnoxious self righteousness only increases the likelihood of you being a vigilante murderer, you know. If you're not going to be helpful then eat some cake and quiet down."
"Tsk. And you wonder why you don't have friends."
This wasn't really going in the direction that she wanted, unless after her boys finished squabbling they were going to have mind blowing make-up sex. Which at this point, didn't seem likely if she couldn't get romance on their minds in the first place. The position they were putting her in though wasn't to her liking, as now she would have to pick a side which was inevitably going to piss one of them off. But her mind had been made up since she saw the party invitation lying the desk like a sign from the gods that night, and damned if Light wasn't going to change his mind soon enough about what he wanted to see. For now, he would have to learn to trust his elders.
The second glass of champagne was empty. The waiter dared to pass her by so that she could snag another one and turn over the old one. With a massive swig for good luck, she closed in on Namikawa.
The slightly feminine looking corporate power wasn't even pretending not to have his eyes on her. Though he was talking to another slick young black-suit, his face was clearly turned in her direction and his eyes fluttered her way with every free second he had. He stepped her way as close as he could without completely abandoning his conversation, giving a quick little smile and nod of his head to invite her over. Time for the kill.
But that's when she was interrupted.
"Excuse me, beautiful," a voice like warm oil oozed. "These parties must be getting really high class if Yotsuba can now afford to invite angels."
Surprised but pleased with the flattery, Merrie turned to the holder of the voice. It was a tall, burly man with a mane of well combed brown hair and a suit that possibly cost as much as her motorcycle, if not more considering how well-pressed it was and taking cleaning bills into calculation. He rather resembled a horse, with a long face with broad cheekbones and a thin mouth, and a thick neck that ran down into a broad-shouldered chest. Despite reminding her of an old pony she rode around in her childhood, she tilted her head to the side in intrigue as he gave her a toothy grin. It could have been a direct result from all of the verbal and emotional abuse she was forced to endure every day at the Kira task force headquarters, but she was overdue for being showered with compliments and decided to humor the fellow until she got bored.
"An 'angel', he says," she chuckled slyly, curving her wrist and putting a slender finger on her bottom lip. "I'm no such thing!"
He insisted. "You look like one to me."
"How insulting," she said, and suddenly her warm expression dissipated entirely and morphed into something coldly fierce. Her eyes narrowed dangerously, eyelashes brushing against the blue irises like wind against ice. And then, when the man probably thought he was going to be slapped, she beamed winningly and corrected, "I'm a goddess."
With relief etched in every pore of his horse-face, the man laughed. "Ah, what a terrible mistake! Let me make it up to you."
"Wedy-san, this impressive specimen of masculinity is Kyosuke Higuchi. In fact, he is a 5 dan in kendo. Please take a moment to envision his muscles."
"Ryuzaki! How can you even encourage her to...! Wedy-san, please go find Aiber."
"Light-kun, if you continue to whine about the way I conduct my investigation, I will take the microphone away from you."
"Hm, I don't know," Merrie shrugged, putting on an air of indifference and raising her hand to delicately inspect her painted fingernails. Of course, the nail polish was a perfect, lush shade of rich magenta but she pretended to study some chip or other flaw with a displeased furrowing of her brow. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Higuchi watching her with that all too familiar look – intently and completely captivated. "An offended goddess usually requires a sacrifice."
"I will get you a drink," he proposed. "There is nothing here suitable for a goddess, but Yotsuba can come close."
"Get him drunk, Wedy-san, and watch out for roofies."
Son of a bitch was full of good advice. Who knew?
Now, Kyosuke Higuchi was no magical prancing cherub of immortal beauty and youthfulness. The bastard might have had his own rugged sort of attractiveness, if you looked at him from the right angle and he wasn't trying to smile – when he did he looked quite like a pedophile. Obviously a greasy, brawny ape or not, Merrie pegged him as the type who somehow managed to collect sixteen bimbo girlfriends and successfully(?) keep them from finding out about each other. Whether or not his personality could be called charming instead of sleazy was, she supposed, up to very personal interpretation. But regardless, this guy was loaded and only getting more loaded with every passing day, and for some girls that made all the difference.
Fortunately for him, Merrie Kenwood was one of those girls.
"So, Higuchi-kun," she started informally with a sensual curve of her lips as they settled on the cushioned chairs. A promising bottle of champagne joined them, which was uncorked with a satisfying pop. She filled her glass and tipped it against her mouth with the appearance of a delicate sip, a perfectly practiced motion that in fact allowed her to swallow twice without even bulging her cheeks. "Does your position as Head of Yotsuba's Technology Department pay the bills?"
For sober guys with an IQ over fifty, a line like that usually made them start squirming – enticed or not, this was a fairly reliable way to set off the hooker alert, or at least be a flashing billboard sign of a gold digger (Merrie, with dignity, was self-acknowledged of the latter, and commonly, without dignity, accused of the former). Merrie could have just as easily said I want you to buy me shit and when Higuchi widened his grin she thought that perhaps she should have added that to clarify if there was any confusion. But Kyosuke Higuchi was bumbling proof of the compelling power of sex, money, and making others think you have a huge dick, and as such he was only too happy to share the details of his financial situation. "I've got a penthouse and six cars."
Leaning back in her chair, she crossed her legs at the thighs to let the front slit of her dress fall to the sides in a rippling wave of crimson fabric. The natural yet planned movement was more than enough to keep Mr. Compensation staring at her and not the waitress with the admittedly fine ass who was strutting next to them with a tray of sushi. Merrie shifted her hips, making Higuchi's tiny eyes bulge, and, without a doubt, something else tiny bulge too. "That doesn't tell me anything, honey. Quality, not quantity, is what I'm interested in."
Higuchi balled his massive hands into fists and stuffed one under his chin, resting the elbow on the table in an obvious attempt to be suave. Unfortunately for him, Merrie didn't give points for effort, unless said effort involved a pretty penny or a damned good shag. "You have no reason to believe my word, isn't that right? But I'll show you, and you can believe it with your own eyes..." The Yotsuba corporate lowered his voice for maximum huskiness. "Perhaps you would like to continue our conversation somewhere less... loud?"
Loud? They were playing fuckin' classical, for crying out loud. Christ, the guy would've been smoother just asking if she would join him in a brief session of orgasm-induced fluid exchange. Well, if he was so interested in proving to her that he was above poverty level, she could probably work some gold out of him as long as she was here in Japan.
"What would you like to do?" he prodded, encouraging her with a smile (the thing that Merrie had already decided he really was better off not doing).
Gold-digging opportunity was interrupted when L prowled into her ear again. "We don't have taps in his house, unfortunately. Keep all affairs, sexual or otherwise, in public areas of this hotel so that we can monitor through the cameras."
"Are you serious, Ryuzaki?!" Light scolded, making a fine show of disbelief when anyone who had spoken to L for more than five minutes would understand how serious he was in a heartbeat. "You sound as if you actually want to watch that kind of thing!"
"I watched you shower and read pornography magazines, Light-kun. It doesn't bother me if in the end I can catch Kira."
There was a yelp rather unbefitting of Japan's most promising college student. "W-what?! You watched all that when you put cameras in my house?!"
"Of course I did."
Merrie felt a squeal bubble up through her throat, and under her breath with exasperation through teeth gritted so hard her dentist would probably strangle her - "Oh, just fuck already."
Mr. Compensation looked as though all of his wet dreams were coming true. "Pardon? You want to...?"
Right, so, sometimes even the most clever of people say the thinking things out loud. It wasn't exactly her fault – the devious power of alcohol was clearly to blame. Truth be told, Merrie couldn't count how many glasses she had downed tonight on one hand. Mostly because she couldn't remember anymore, but that wasn't really a good sign either. She should probably slow it down and let Higuchi be the one, the only one, to get smashed. Well, soon, anyway, she thought as she shoved a fresh cup to her lips. For the time being, she would just have to pull something brilliant and investigation-related out of her ass without coming across as totally suspicious.
"You know, Higuchi-kun, I've noticed that Yotsuba's income has improved significantly over recent months, while competition has noticeably dropped." Brilliance!
"You watched all that time?! You of all people should know that there are laws against privacy invasion! Oh, if only my dad had seen you..."
"Yagami-san was also watching the feed at that time."
"Don't be so shy about it. Reading pornography is completely normal for adolescents your age. Showering, on the other hand..."
Higuchi coughed. "Yes, it seems that there's some god who favors Yotsuba, doesn't it?"
"Okay, I'm not even going to comment on how off-base you are with being so militantly against hygiene. But I would like to say that Misa knew exactly what she was talking about when she called you a pervert."
"Your girlfriend cannot differentiate between the importance of capturing the century's most vicious mass murder and mindless sexual fulfillment. Light-kun seemed to comprehend this reality last night when he declined her request to, as she put, two person tango behind the couch when I wasn't watching." There was a pause that Merrie would've sold her firstborn to witness first hand, but unfortunately, she would have to live with only the voice in her earpiece and her vivid imagination to fill in the gaps. "Of course, I would have been watching no matter what she thought. Oh, Wedy-san, in order to maintain a conversation, both parties need to continue speaking."
"Do you think it was a god like Kira?" More brilliance!
Again, Higuchi coughed, and adjusted his tie. He leaned forward to fill Merrie's glass and his own. "No way. 'Course it's not Kira. Kira murders criminals, so what does that have to do with us?"
"Maybe Kira wants to gain Yotsuba's public support. Who knows, maybe the bastard even wants reimbursement for all of his hard work."
"I suppose..." The guy was getting sweaty here. Either he was getting nervous talking about his business's financial achievements, or he found the mundane topic totally arousing. "Wait! Kira kills with heart attacks! No one from our competition has died of a heart attack!"
"Oh, you've been keeping track?" Actually, Merrie could believe he was the type to be keeping track without having anything to do with Kira.
"Of course not." Higuchi then gave a huge, awkward smile, a sure sign that he had found a way to steer the conversation in another direction more to his liking. "You're right, though. Yotsuba has been doing extraordinarily well recently. A girl like you should find herself a position, if you stay in Japan that long."
Merrie slowly brushing her fingers down her neck until her fingers were straightened against her upper chest. Though her hand had stopped above her breasts, Higuchi's eyes had not. She purred, lowering the tone of her voice as though she were murmuring a secret. "What position... would I be the most suited for?"
"I'm looking for a new secretary!" he offered. Now it was Merrie's turn to cough and lift a fine eyebrow at him. Sensing his mistake for jilting a goddess with the unimpressive suggestion of office-sex twice a day and bringing him his morning coffee, he rerouted the conversation yet again. "You know, I'm a 5 dan in kendo."
That was nice. So he spent hours thrusting his wooden stick into empty air.
"So are you saying you want Misa and me to have sex? It's like you're trying to encourage me!"
"I'm not trying to encourage you to do anything like that. All I'm doing is letting you know that anything you do with her will be kept in the records we are keeping of you as a Kira suspect. Considering the seriousness of the situation, that's hardly unreasonable."
"And how would not only the fact that I had sex with Misa, but additionally all the personal details about our experience that you gather have anything to do with that?"
"I don't know, Light-kun. If you do have sex with her perhaps I will find out."
"Well, consider yourself deprived of the possibility."
"I'm not making you do it if you don't want to, you know. I didn't even suggest it. That was Amane-san."
"I know you want me to pretend to be her boyfriend-" Well finally! If only he had told Merrie that in the first place! "-so that she will voluntarily tell me everything about her relation to the second Kira. But I've told you, over and over again, I don't want to toy with her feelings like that."
"That's fine. Anyway, I think I'm falling for Misa-Misa, so I don't mind."
"Light-kun, you don't think we would work out?"
"I can't tell if you're joking or dead serious about wanting to seduce Misa for information yourself."
"Don't discount my intentions because I am willing to go to further lengths than you to solve this case, Light-kun. This should only suggest my determination."
"Then don't discount my intentions because I-"
"Will you just stop!" Merrie suddenly interrupted in a blind attempt to halt their bickering and pay more attention to her.
Oops. That was another of those thinking things that wasn't supposed to be out loud.
"Stop... what?" Higuchi asked with exaggerated concern.
Need brilliance need brilliance need brilliance-
"Stop talking," she said as sensually as she could with an blood alcohol content high enough to get her arrested on sight. Then she grabbed Mr. Compensation by the shoulders and smashed her face into his. Bravo, Wedy.
Now this was surprising.
Either she was as shit-faced as a leprechaun on St. Paddy's, or Kyosuke Higuchi was good at this. No, by the name of everyone Zeus had screwed, he was sensational! His tongue pressed into her mouth, toying with her own and her lips with just enough force that Merrie groaned. She sunk into his embrace, grabbing his face with her hands to pull him closely and melting into his heavy, muscled 5-dan-in-kendo arms that encircled her. His chest was warm, his mouth was warm, everything was warm with forecast looking hot. It was good, oh ye gods, the best make-out she'd had in weeks. She was about ready for a voluntary wardrobe malfunction, and from the feel of it, Higuchi was too.
"Wedy-san," L interrupted nastily. "He can't talk if you're sucking his face off all night."
Sucking his..?! Who the hell did that filthy little cretin think he was?! "Oh, just shut up!" she flared, pushing away from Higuchi just long enough to dig into her ear and pull out the ear piece.
Thunk, a-thunk. It bounced against the floor.
Higuchi's eyes bulged to about twice their normal size, beady pupils contracting. He shoved her off of him, mouth working but without sound spilling out save undignified little grunts. Blanching, the guy looked as though his wife had just walked in, a wife half a pretty as Hera but twice as jealous, who was also a trained kamikaze with a bomb strapped to her chest. Merrie almost felt sorry for him until she remembered that this wasn't true, to the best of her knowledge, and actually she was the one in the dog house.
"W-who the hell are you?" he demanded.
"Uhh..." As fabulous as liberation from her employer had been a few seconds ago, she realized now that she was totally wasted and had no great getaway ideas. Well, save one- she meant to point behind Higuchi, but she couldn't be sure since it seemed that she suddenly had about sixteen fingers-
"Hey look! It's Kira!"
The rest of the night went by rather quickly, relatively anyway. Merrie ran to Aiber like a bat out of hell, grasping his arm with the utmost urgency. When some lovestruck broad tried to shove her away, Merrie somehow ended up punching her in the face. If the security guards were trying to ignore the fact that she was stumbling around their high class party like a raging drunkard yelling madly, they couldn't do the same about physical assault when blood started spewing from the woman's nose. Aiber winced, going chalk white and much looking as though he would've liked to let security have at her. But then he seemed to remember that this lunatic was supposed to be his darling wife, at which point they began to run.
"Shit! Run! Run!"
"Putain de merde!" Despite the fact that they were running for dear life, or more importantly, for secret identity preservation, Aiber found the breath to explode into French cussing. Then, as if to clarify to his English-speaking companion, "What the hell did you do?!"
"Ooh," Merrie panted out as they shoved through the glass doors of the hotel with angry shrieks of stop right now! following them. "You know... this and that.."
"That's what I was afraid of." They turned the corner of the street, tearing through the sidewalks and avoiding lamplights, and Aiber swore again when sirens began to pierce through the night air. "Shit! They've got cops on us!"
Knowing that this little problem was somewhat her fault, she tried to be helpful. "Hey, let's scare 'em off! Get out your gun!"
"I don't have a gun!"
"You don't... what?"
When Merrie stopped in her tracks from the surprise, Aiber took her wrist and continued running. Nearly tripped on her own boots, damn it all, and when he was practically dragging her she forced herself up and jogged along, compensating for his longer stride. "What do you mean you don't have a gun? Why would you not bring a gun? Why would you go anywhere without a gun?!"
Aiber ignored her. "Merde! We'll never be able to outrun them with the car."
"Did ya think I was bringing the gun?! What'd ya think, I'd be able to stuff it under my dress? In my bra? You fathead, I'm not even wearing a-"
"I swear, by God, I am this close to leaving you here." There was a police car approaching, and Aiber pulled her behind a dumpster, covering her mouth and hiding until the vehicle had driven past. "Why the hell did Yotsuba call so many cops..."
Then, Merrie, being a creature of wit and cunning even in the most perilous of perils, had another brilliant idea. "We'll take Pegasus."
The Frenchman looked ready to flip the shit. "Wonderful. Now you're seeing flying horses!"
She persisted, digging out her keys from her boot as they crouched down. "No, my bike! We can lose any stinkin' cops with it! I had it parked just a block away in case of, err... emergencies?" Not that she had been half-expecting an emergency or anything.
"You want to... Oh God, no. You can hardly even walk!"
WHIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Two more cop cars screeched down the road in a procession of flaring lights and shrieking noise.
"Fine," Aiber snapped. "But I'm driving."
About twenty-five minutes later, both Merrie and Aiber had survived yet another smashing adventure and they were back at home base. Clutching onto the con-man's back and screaming some hybrid of commands and advice into his ears as he tried to pilot her precious motorcycle had certainly been invigorating, but the moment they slid off and walked into L's building like nothing had happened it slipped her mind. After all, high speed chases were practically a daily occurrence for her, and to be fair, she wasn't exactly at her prime cognitive abilities.
"I am so... sloshed..."
The words poured out of her mouth as they rode up the elevator to the floor where L and Light were waiting for them, demonstrating her still-acute observational skills. It was all she could do to keep standing upright as they were raised upward, and miserably she leaned herself against the railing. All she could think was that she had failed her self-assigned mission, at least, that was all she was thinking plus a bit of idle wondering if Aiber was going to reject her for his wife, maybe his two identical twins that stood beside him in the elevator might be single.
When all three Aibers scowled at her, she decided not to ask.
Finally, after what felt like an unsteady eternity, the elevator doors swung open then like curtains to the next part of the show. Aiber pulled a stumbling Merrie out into the main investigation room, where both L and Light glanced to meet them from the computers they had been manning.
"I see that you're both alive," L noted, eyebrows pressed as low with cynicism as humanly possible as they could get. "Congratulations, I suppose."
"Yes, well, I've been through worse," the Frenchman said flatly. Then, "though it's debatable."
"Despite the flashy exit, believe it or not, I consider tonight a success," the detective announced, his glare not withering as he inserted a doughnut ball into his mouth. Apparently, he didn't think that his hired help were worth waiting the courtesy of swallowing before he spoke again, because he kept on talking with his tongue full of crumbly yellow goo. "I suppose I should thank Wedy-san for discovering this party, because firstly, comparing it to last year's reports, finances spent to cover it nearly doubled. It's curious that in such a short time, the company could afford to spend so much more. Of course, that compliments Light-kun's findings of their sudden economic fortune and the fact that a number of competitive corporates have been coincidentally dying..."
"More importantly, we have to note that business rivals aren't dying from heart attacks," Light added, turning his swivel chair all around. "If the connection is real, then Kira is able to kill in other methods, which will make him much more difficult to track."
"But I do believe there is a connection," L claimed with determination. "I was studying Higuchi very closely, and when Wedy's ear piece fell out, his terror wasn't something of a normal businessman. Furthermore, in addition to spending more money on the party, more money was clearly spent on security, as Wedy and Aiber can attest to now. In fact, I'm glad that we could see how prepared they are first hand."
"Hey, that's what you're paying me for!" Merrie hiccuped. "The greatest thief of all time, Wedy the Greatest! That's what they call me!"
"Wedy-san, I think you should just go to bed now," Light stated, trying unsuccessfully to mask his horror. "It's, uh, been a long night."
"What's wrong, baby... am I scary?" Having no idea what the hell she was saying anymore but deciding to just go with the flow as long as she was still conscious, she strode forward. Light looked absolutely petrified, sinking against the back of his chair, and then when she came too close for his comfort he jumped to his feet and pushed the chair between him and her for protection. Merrie laughed loudly. "You're... soooo cute! I want to just bite you all over!"
The kid stepped back in alarm. "Please don't."
"Wedy-san, I'll inform you now that I'm reinstating the alcohol prohibition for as long as you are working for me," L said. Then, as an afterthought, he added, "Also... there is a prohibition against biting Light."
Merrie clutched her face, tangling her fingers in her blond locks of hair. "Stop doing this to me! Stop it! You said you wouldn't toy with a woman's feelings! I can't handle this, I... oooh..." She paled.
"Wait! Please not on the-"
An odd sort of silence spread across the room. It took Merrie a few moments to realize that everyone was staring at her and they were completely past the point where they were trying to maintain a show of etiquette. When what brain she had left from the alcohol told her that there was a pretty good chance she had done something sort-of not good or something, and recalling one or two or twenty other similar incidents of bad things happening when she was drunk, she decided that it'd be best if she stepped back and very discreetly left the party. Merrie raised herself on her tiptoes as best she could with heeled boots, and turned to begin walking as silently as a drunk super thief can.
Maybe she wasn't being silent enough, because everyone still seemed to be staring at her.
"Wedy," L growled.
"Get. A. Mop."
Caught again by L. Damn!
Unsteadily, she turned around again and tossed her head until she locked eyes with the bathroom on the other side of the room. One step at a time she advanced, skillfully dodging a not-so-drunk Aiber who stood like a wall with his arms cross, and also, apparently, someone had puked on the floor.
Piecing everything together with her brilliant-albeit-smashed mind, she slunk to bathroom door and after some fiddling, managed to get the stupid doorknob to turn. Everyone was talking behind her, but Merrie went back into self-misery mode. The whole night had been a failure. Her intentions had been noble and pure, so why had the gods made it so difficult? All she had wanted to do was artistically illustrate the beauty of romance, the splendor of a kiss and the poetry of wooing. If only she had been given a little more time, surely, surely she would have succeeded into converting L and Light into ritual priests of Aphrodite.
But the evening had been concluded in violence and force. Running away and deceit. Yes, even foolish mistakes. If that was the lesson that the boys had absorbed from her teachings, then all hope was lost. When she finally found the dumb mop, she decided to be honest about her feelings with them.
"You don't have a chance anymore!" she wailed to the unamused faces surrounding her, clutching her mop like the only friend she had. "I did my best, but my efforts have all gone to waste! You will die, you will all die and you'll never know!"
"What are you going on about now?" Light, who hadn't realized that it was probably better to ignore her now, asked wearily.
"You!" Merrie turned on him, pointing her finger right into his face and making him instantly recoil. "Don't take that tone with me, young man! It's your fault, you had to be Kira, maybe, so this mess is all your fault! You should've just done your goddamn homework and stayed away! You made this all happen to me!"
"And you!" she howled, turning her wrath to L. Panda Face was clearly pretending not to hear her, but as she jabbed her finger into his chest his dark eyes rolled up and he backed into his chair, bare feet twitching. Before he could protest, she continued her rant. "What did you think would happen, huh?! What'd you think would happen when you make prisoners of schoolboys? And then you have the nerve to tell me to come, come and help you because I owe you one! Well I try to help you, and I get no results at all!
"Oh no," she continued, tossing her head into the air. "I hope Kira murders us all, just so you all wonder, what have I done with my piss-poor excuse of a life? I hope you wonder! And then you'll know, and you'll wish you listened to me, Wedy, Queen of Thieves, and done what I told you to!"
She threw her arms out for added dramatic effect, and then-
SMACK. The handle of her mop walloped Light across the face, sending the adolescent falling to the ground.
There was a moment when Merrie didn't say anything, and Aiber didn't say anything, and even L didn't say anything. They all just stared at Light, who was now sprawled against the floor with his eyes closed, handcuff slack against his wrist and a slash of red across his forehead. Merrie supposed they were all waiting for him to sit up and curse at her for being clumsy, but he lay there like, like... like... uh-oh.
"Wedy.. you just killed Light."
"I did not kill him!" Merrie shrieked unhappily to the con-man. She poked her mop into his stomach. "He's breathing, can't you tell?!"
"No, I can't tell!"
L knelt down by Light's head, putting an arm around his head to lift it slightly and rest it against his knee. Light remained still and his head lolled like a rag doll's when L wasn't reinforcing its weight with his hands. "Aiber-san, please get Watari."
"Certainly. I would have volunteered to be the one to regretfully inform him that Wedy murdered our top suspect."
"I didn't kill him!" Merrie insisted. "Teenage boys are very versatile and... springy."
"Judgment is reserved for the courts. Plan your defense as you will, my dear, but I'm telling Watari everything I saw."
"Like hell you are, you sonuvabitch! I'm coming with you!"
"No," L interrupted the dispute. "Wedy-san will stay here and clean up the mess she made."
So Merrie was left fuming as Aiber skipped off to tattle, probably the greatest thing that had happened to him all day. Not only was she fuming, she was getting a little delirious from a wild panic that maybe she really did kill Light. She leaned down, studying him as intently as a drunk could, but damn it all, the alcohol was blurring her eyesight and she couldn't even tell how many chests Light had, let alone if they were moving or not. Nervously, she reached a hand to his face and stroked his cheek. At least it was still warm.
Of course it was warm, stupid. He died like, two seconds ago. A paranoid giggle slipped awkwardly out of her lips, and the first thing that came to her head was the fairy tale about Snow White, and how the dead princess needed a kiss to wake up.
"Should I kiss him, maybe?" Merrie offered helpfully.
"You should get a wet towel," L patiently corrected.
Sulking, Merrie stalked back to the bathroom she had come form. Opening the cupboard, she grabbed an uncounted handful of towels and huffed as she flipped the handle of the sink. This was the worst. Light and L – what a joke. The more she thought about it, the more depressed she became. The pair were nothing but uninterested, possibly even asexual young men, more concerned with catching Kira than their own happiness. It was a crying, miserable shame. And now Light was dead, or had a concussion or something, and they'd send him to some stupid hospital and L would proceed with his investigation only bothered because his best lead was no longer useful to him.
Why had she even agreed to help L in the first place? Why had she come here, this cold, dark, loveless place, rotting and waiting to get snuffed by Kira?!
The teenager's soft groan was easily recognizable, even when drunk, and Merrie quickly ran her towels under the cold water. Okay, Light was alive, and some tiny, desolate part of Merrie's heart admitted that she probably owed him an apology. Head trauma actually hadn't been part of her diabolical plans, and she really hadn't meant for Light to get the brunt of a mistake. After all, Merrie did have a conscience and, to a point, had the capability to act upon that conscience, so she decided to make it up to the poor kid somehow.
She stepped outside the door frame and paused, sighing. L was cradling Light's head with the adolescent's shoulders hoisted up into his lap. The detective appeared to have been examining the skull for any serious injury underneath the bleeding scrape, and was hunched over in his observations. He delicately ran a finger against the wound and frowned.
Light moaned again and began to stir. He wasn't quite conscious but he seemed to be trying to get a hold of himself, judging from the way his was body twisted and his toes curled. L put a slender hand down on his forehead as though he were checking the boy's temperature, but the unconscious Kira suspect didn't like that. Light protested by raising his own hand to grab L weakly by the wrist and shove it off of him. His other arm bent at the elbow and gave him leverage to lift his upper body from L's lap.
From the sudden jerk of the uprising, Light's face collided with L's.
Mouths hit, stifling two surprised gasps.
Cautiously, Light opened his eyes. L was still holding Light's back, and his own eyes – if possible – widened even more and were like dark lights striking with contrast against the bags under his eyelids. Light couldn't have been expected to react quickly, it was already asking too much that he comprehend the situation because of his head injury. But L certainly realized what was going on. L realized that the position they were in was very awkward.
So he adjusted his hold on Light to make the kiss more comfortable.
"Who.. ah, what..." The words scrambled incoherently out of Merrie's mouth, and the room seemed to have been drained of its oxygen supply. "Shiiiiiiit, I'm.. so...so..."
And Merrie Kenwood was the second body to drop unconscious at the task force headquarters in a ten minute time frame.
16 Hours Later:
"Wedy. Wedy, oh wild spawn of Dionysus, you have to get up now."
Merrie groaned loudly and shoved the pillow over her face. "What the hell... go away!"
"L sent me to tell you that it's almost time for you to go to work again, and considering you take an hour and a half to get ready he thought you should start now."
She groaned again, as pathetically as possible, but Aiber didn't have mercy on her. He kept shaking her shoulder until he finally pulled off her blanket. Cursing loudly, she sat up and rubbed her eyes. At the movement, a splitting headache tore its way between her temples and ravaged her brain like an earthquake. She realized that she had a hangover the size of Mount Olympus. "Jesus Christ... did I get drunk last night or something?"
"Oui, mon chérie. It was quite a riot. Don't you remember?"
"Nah," she yawned. "Could you be a dear and sum it up for me in a sentence or two?"
"You made out with a rich business corporate, evaded armed security guards, vomited all over and nearly killed Light with a mop."
"And here I thought you'd be blushing."
"Eh," she shrugged, stretching her arms and falling back onto the mattress. "I've done worse."
-To Be Continued...
1. Uh, hi everybody. So um, it seems I haven't updated this since, oh, November-ish. I'm sorry! But I'm really grateful for all the feedback I've been given, all the demands and death threats to not forget about this fic. Thanks!
2. Was Wedy's English VA not super hot?! I was happy.
3. Interesting tidbit - according to HTR13, Ohba wanted to give Wedy a bigger part! Why didn't she?! D:
Thanks for reading!