Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: I started this fic for the Hikaru no Go / Death Note eFiction archive (see profile) It will always be updated there first, and the second chapter is up there now! This is a WIP and I'm writing as I go, I hope you like it even though it's a fly by the seat of your pants kind of thing!
Depraved: The Definitive True Story of H.H. Holmes, Whose Grotesque Crimes Shattered Turn-of-the-Century Chicago, wasn't a title L had expected to find a Japanese school girl reading in the middle of an upscale shopping arcade--in the original English no less. L leaned forward tilted his head sideways and tried to see where she was in the book. This action wasn't unnoticed and earned him a raised eyebrow before dismissing his presence and going back to her book.
L being himself, clamored up on the bench next to the girl and peered over her shoulder. The novel had obviously been read though before with its many passages highlighted, and copious notes neatly written in the margins.
"It was always fascinating to me that out of all crimes committed by Mr. Holmes, the insurance fraud he was innocent of led to his eventual hanging," L said with an enthusiasm quite unsettling considering the subject.
Her eyes regarded him a moment, strangely unreadable to L. "You don't find what might have happened at the Castle more interesting? In the end he only confessed to 27 murders, when it has been speculated that the total death toll could be as high as 230. Wouldn't you like to know what happened there?"
"Not in particular. The murderer was brought to justice. The numbers of dead aren't really significant as long as the perpetrator has been punished," L rested his thumb on his lip for a moment. "Though I must admit the complexity of Holmes' actions are fascinating especially taken in the proper context of the era he lived in."
"I'm sure there have been many rumors passed off as fact--" the watch the girl was wearing beeped quietly, interrupting her thought. "Excuse me a moment." She turned off her timer and pulled out a digital camera from the black bag sitting on the ground next to the bench. Quickly turning it on, she zoomed in on a shop on the right side of the street. "Predictable," she muttered to herself.
An older man emerged from the shop, his arm around a much younger woman with bleach blond hair. They paused together as she stopped to lock the door behind her. It was a rather nauseating scene as the man kept kissing her multiple times each time she moved--first while she got the keys, then when she locked the door, and again as she put the keys into her purse. Every single one of the kisses was punctuated, unknown to couple, by the click of a photo being taken.
"That isn't something I'd like to see again," L noted with a grimace.
"His wife's lawyer will love it though," she said with a smirk, "and my bank account appreciates it even more!"
"Do you do this sort of thing often?" As a professional detective L couldn't suppress his curiosity about her situation.
"This isn't anything really. I hate to lower myself to do work like this, but I really can't abide my family interfering with my plans anymore. The money I make from this job will keep me in a nice place to live while I'm in college. Though I really think college is a waste of time itself, I can't get the work I want without the right degree." She scowled, "It really is irritating."
"Your parents don't approve of your aspirations?"
She gave a short laugh, "My father works for the NPA, I've been helping him with cases for as long as I remember. I've never been interested in anything else, but that doesn't seem to matter. My mother has been making me take these acting classes for years. I hate them but I wanted to keep her happy so I've kept going. I'm an excellent actress, but just because you're good at something doesn't mean you want to be stuck doing it the rest of your life. Lately my father's been ignoring what I tell him in regard to his work--even though I always turn out to be right. He never had a problem with me before, but now he's on to me to go to a special arts college like my mother wants. He's threatened to cut all of my money if I don't go and make me move out. Anyway, none of that's a problem as soon as I wrap this job up. The woman who wants these pictures is very rich and very angry. I'll be set until I'm done with school, and that's not even adding the scholarships I'm getting to the equation." She flipped though the photos on the camera's display, and satisfied turned it off and placed it back in her bag.
"A couple of pictures might be incriminating but that won't prove anything to a court," L said pointedly as he tapped his toes on the bench.
The girl suppressed a smile at the strange man sitting next to her, "The log I have of every message he's sent to that woman over the last six months however, will work nicely."
"Six months!" L's wide eyes bulged a little larger.
"The idiot has so much spyware on his computer I didn't even have to install a keylogger myself. I'd probably have years on him if the computer wasn't so new. These photos are the icing on the cake so to speak." She noticed his glazed expression at the mention of cake and icing but continued, "I've got four days worth of them already. I figure a full seven days of this guy with a woman other than his wife ought to make for a nice case indeed."
L found he couldn't argue with that, though he did have a sudden craving for something sweet. "Is there anyplace that has good deserts around here?"
She blinked hard at his sudden shift in interest but thought quickly. "I don't like sweet things myself," she paused at his ill concealed gasp of disbelief, "I did see a small shop that sells frozen lemonade up north of here if you're interested in that."
"That sounds nice actually, I didn't think it would be so warm today. If you'll come with me I'll get you one too. It's the least I can do since we've had such an interesting conversation," L looked at her hopefully.
"Didn't I just say I didn't care for sweet things?" She sounded bemused and just a little incredulous at the idea.
"Lemon isn't sweet at all!" He scoffed and got to his feet, finally out of the strange crouching position he'd been sitting in, "Come on it will be nice."
I must be crazy, this guy is creepy! The girl sighed and stood, slinging her bag over her shoulder. "Fine, just a small plain lemon flavored."
L ordered the large frozen strawberry lemonade for himself and the small plain one for her. He smiled to himself as he watched her eat it, knowing she enjoyed it but wasn't the type to ever admit to doing so.
"You really didn't have to get this for me, but thank you. I'll have to be home soon, so I have to say goodbye here," she bowed politely and turned to leave.
"You never did tell me your name," L said softly.
She turned her face towards him smiled and said, "What a coincidence neither did you."
L watched as she walked away, carefully filling away the color of the uniform she wore, height, weight, and hair color. She'd said she intended to get a full week of surveillance photos in and had only done four days so far. In all probability she would be there again on the same bench tomorrow, but in case she wasn't... Well it was never all that difficult to find a person, even in a busy city like Tokyo. L smiled to himself and wondered whether she shared this particular interest as well.
A/N: H.H. Holmes is a real serial killer and the above book was written by Harold Schechter, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is another book to read if you'd like to know more about him and the murders at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.