LEE ISIDOR: LISTEN UP. I HAVE SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION HERE.

222. Yes, Sketchy Theater is down. No, I'm not sure if it's going back up. We'll have to see.

223. I hope ya'll are proud of this. Literally, I went to work and typed this for two hours. I got paid to write I Spy and errathing. ;)

224. Aside from that.. TyKan week, link is still in my profile. :)

Review Response

Suna Kotaru: Hehe, I know I pretty much already responded to your review in a PM, but thank you~ :) It makes me super happy to know that people like my writing! And just you wait, I definitely will turn this into my own work and publish it under a different name.. and then you'll have something oodles better to read. And there will be gay. Lots and lots of it. That makes everything better, right? xDD Thanks for your awesome reviews!

TheSeventhLie: Well, in that case... I might as well tell you that there's definitely more of that on the way. More Lucky secks and probably more TyKan too. All depends on how Tyki decides to act... He's such an unpredictable character! Sometimes I don't know what to do with him! :/ And you better gimme that pony. That's the only thing keeping me going right now. :P But I guess I'll have to wait a long time.. because even though this fic is wrapping up, there's a sequel I have planned. Like, legit, it's gonna be good. ;D But! I won't get ahead of myself yet. Thanks for your awesome review!

Sockhunter: Your penname makes me lol. xDD And I don't think your review is crap; it makes me feel fuzzy to know that you like the way I write characters~ Thanks for your awesome review! :)

marufu-chan: I always enjoy reviews, even if they're just one word - those make me lol. xDD But anyway! I hope you enjoy this chapter too; thanks for your awesome review!

Tricky: Good! I love Budapest so much; it's my favorite city in eastern Europe right now.. Unless I travel more and find one I like better, it's hands down, my favorite. But I'm glad you like it! Thanks for your awesome review!

Pure Evil Breed: Ugh Yullen. I don't even remember what we were talking about. xDD Personally, I'm not a huge Lucky fan; I prefer TyKan over anything, but you definitely have more Lucky secks to look forward to before this fic is over. Hurhurhur. :) Thanks for your awesome review!

Angel Fantasy: Oh yes. Lavi!Frenzy is explored in this chapter, not quite in as much detail as I would've liked, but at least it's there. :) Thanks for your awesome review!

RenjixKanda: Hehe, I want it to be like a crime novel! Only DGM! :D That's my favorite genre, hands down, so it makes me really happy that you think it's like that! Yuuus mission accomplished. ;D Thanks for your awesome review!

Chocomintkt: Oh yes, not only will there be bounds more secks scenes and such, Lavi has plenty more opportunity to snoop through Tyki's house and find incriminating evidence! :D And just wait; the time of death isn't explored in this chapter, but it will in the next, I think.. I gotta remember that. Hurhur. ;D Sociopath!Tyki is so easy to write; I love it! But thanks for your awesome review, I hope you like this chapter~!

xRiikox: I love this storyline.. This is what happens when you read too much James Patterson.. Oh, but how I love his novels.. xDD Thanks for your awesome review!

Hyphier: Aww, thanks! I'm glad you like it so much; I hope this chapter gives you shivers too. ;D Thanks for your awesome review!

Li hua: Oh, you know it. I loooove foreshadowing. ;D And the headers, I guess you could call them that, they actually are kind of important. ;D Someone earlier in a review said that she didn't even notice until they were really close together - it's like when the crime could have been solved, or what's happening where and when... I dunno, I mostly use them to keep track of my timeline. Without that, I'd be totally lost, haha! :) And agreed, any parent forcing you to sleep is like cruel and unusual punishment. No matter how much we complain about being tired, it's better to be tired and satisfied than well-rested and.. bored. xDD Or something. But thanks for your awesome reviews! :)

sakuraXdrops:I'm glad you like it! :) And yes, I make it unpredictable on purpose - if you knew what was going to happen next, all my foreshadowing would be for nothing! And I'd have much less of a good time responding to reviews if everyone was like, 'LOL I KNEW IT.' Hurhur. xDD And agreed - I love working with Tyki so much, just because he's so interesting. There are way more possibilities with him than there are with any of the other characters; he has the potential to do so much, since he has a sort of 'good' side and a 'bad' side. I love it! :) But just as a side note, sorry about Daisya, but he isn't the only character I'm going to kill off. All of Team Tiedoll is going to suffer in one way or another, and not because I don't like them. But! More of Tyki's fucked up plans await, so I hope you like the chapter! :) Thanks for your awesome review!

Neferiti: I'm glad you like it! :) I hope you like this chapter too~ Thanks for your awesome review! :)

myimm: Thank you! I love Muse, and that song fit the chapter so well... Oh man, I'm excited for the next song now! Thanks for your awesome review! :)

Irrelevancy: Pff, I think I kind of like this uninhibited side of you. (/WINKY FACE pahaha~) Anyway! Thanks for your awesome review, haha! You made me smile. :)

Disclaimer: Sorry, I don't own DGM or Egypt Central. Love both, though.

WARNING: THIS CHAPTER DOES CONTAIN GORE. THE STRONG LANGUAGE IS A GIVEN, BUT IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH, YOU MIGHT BE BETTER OFF NOT READING CERTAIN PARTS. CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED, AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Chapter Eight: Home

LOCATION: TYKI'S HOUSE; BUDA, HUNGARY
TIME: 843 AM; 8 OCTOBER 2009

"Staring at an empty cup of understanding… Maybe you could fill it up and tell me why you left…"

All morning, he had been frantically pressing buttons on his cell phone. All morning he had been panicking. All morning – all goddamn morning – he had been worried out of his fucking mind that Tyki had been taken away from him just like Kanda; that he was dead in a ditch on the side of the road; that he was being tortured or burnt alive or something terrible. When he had woken in the middle of the night, his lover had been gone, and it was only after copious button pressing and more times than he could count hearing the answering machine pick up, he had fallen back into a fitful sleep with his cell clutched in his free hand.

He had been hoping that the vibrate setting would wake him up if Tyki was alive and decided to return his frantic texts and calls and voicemail messages. There was only so much he could do if the older man was either kidnapped or something worse. All he had to do was wait.

His dreams had been plagued with horrific images; those from the crime scenes, those from his past cases, the nameless and faceless bodies that went along with unsolved and unopened murder cases. There were a lot of those. When Lavi jerked himself awake, he tried not to think about it too much. It would only serve to further his paranoia and then he would have nothing left to cling to. No hope that Tyki was alive, no hope that Kanda was alive, and most of all – no, that was too much to think about. There had to be something to do.

When Lavi finally rolled out of bed, the house was empty. There were pictures and the obligatory stacks of mail and bills and such, but it had an alien feel to it. The house didn't exactly feel lived in; the redhead wasn't sure what word he was looking for, but the house just didn't feel like a home. Home was where the heart was, so maybe Tyki's house lacked heart. But that wouldn't be right either, he thought, because how could your own house lack heart? Unless it wasn't his only house, and the other house he had was the one where his heart was, but that just sounded silly and Lavi considered the fact that since he was so paranoid, he was over-thinking the simplest of things.

"Good morning, empty house," Lavi grumbled, dragging himself down the stairs. There was nothing to do. Nothing to do to distract him from the imploding thoughts that Tyki was dead, Kanda was dead, his life was spiraling out of control and imploding with the redhead at its center.

The detective wandered towards the kitchen, dragging his feet. Everything in the downstairs area was spotless, and it only furthered his feeling that the house was – was empty, sort of. Wasn't lived-in. There wasn't anything that was out of place or messy downstairs. He wandered through the kitchen, opening the refrigerator.

Lavi cradled his cell between his ear and shoulder as he dug through the cabinets and then the frosty refrigerator. He had dialed Tyki's number for the umpteenth time, and he really wasn't expecting any answer.

"Hullo?" Tyki's voice was thick, tired, and appropriately worried. The redhead almost dropped the phone; he was so surprised to hear the other's voice on the other side. "Lavi? Are you there?"

"T-Tyki!" he said shrilly, pressing the cell as close to his ear as he could, just to hear that voice a little better. "Where the hell are you? I've been calling and calling since…"

"Shh, it's okay," the older man said soothingly, and the detective felt his shoulders relaxing just a little bit – now that he was sure Tyki was alive, that he was sure he would be okay, that he was sure nothing bad had happened to the other man. "I'm fine, baby. I'm fine."

He took a deep, shuddering breath; there was a single tear rolling down his cheek and he swiped at it angrily. He wasn't that worried – was he? "Where are you?" he asked, unable to keep the despairing note out of his voice. "When are you coming home?"

"Rhode and Cyril called," Tyki soothed. "They had some car trouble. I didn't want to wake you up, baby, so I left really quietly. I promise I'll be home soon."

There were voices in the background – but then, that was typical; if they were having car trouble, it would need to be fixed right away. What kind of car trouble? Had they been cruising down a highway when their car had just died, slipped back into neutral and coasted to a stop? Or had they gone careening off the side of the road, wheels spinning wildly before hitting a tree and forcing them to stumble back to the main road with bruises and perhaps broken bones? Were they really okay, or was Tyki just telling him the sugarcoated version to keep him from worrying too much? He was breathing hard – the older man had to hear it – with his thoughts, each one more gruesome than the last. He just wanted everyone to be okay – alive, safe, happy, well. It felt like the entire situation was crumbling around him, and there was nothing he could do but snatch at pieces of his life – the puzzle of his mind – as it fell, just out of reach.

Tyki was silent for a moment, then spoke in a different language to someone. Portuguese. That was natural. "Baby, it's okay, don't worry too much," he said evenly. "I promise I'll be home soon. We've got a tow truck on the way and a cab to pick up Rhode and Cyril, so I'll be on my way home as soon as I can."

A blast of cold air from the refrigerator reminded the redhead that he was still looking blankly at its contents, that he was staring into the containers of food and drink and that his arms were resting on a very cold, clear shelf. He withdrew his hands, rubbing the undersides of his forearms, and closed the door, backing away. "Right… Right, okay."

"Are you doing okay?" the older man's voice was still appropriately worried. There was the slam of a car door in the background. Was he coming home? "I'm on my way home, right now. I'll make you breakfast, okay? Just go sit down and try to rest."

A sigh of relief escaped Lavi's lips, and he did as the other requested – sat down on the couch, wrapped himself up in a blanket and after hanging up, he put his head down and tried not to think of the terrible things that were running through his head. Soon, Tyki would be home and everything would be okay. Which reminded him, Tyki was sharing his home – where would he sleep? Surely they couldn't up and have sex every night. Though it was, he mused, pretty good stress relief. He had slept better after letting the brunette fuck him than he had in a long time. Maybe they should do it again. But on the other hand, if he was going to wake up so unfocused and skittish and paranoid about everything, maybe the best bet was sleeping pills. Maybe he just needed to finish the fucking case and find Kanda before they found him dead.

By the time Tyki arrived back home, he was asleep again on the couch, head pressed into a pillow and dreaming fitfully. The other walked inside the house, crouching next to him and shaking his shoulder very gently. His hands were cold.

"Lavi? Lavi, I'm home," the older man said softly, pressing a hand to his forehead. "You feel kinda warm, do you feel okay?"

The redhead bolted up, snatching at the editor's shirt just to make sure he was real. It was slightly damp, but the sun shining through the blinds was enough to assure him that it hadn't rained, nor had it. He frowned. "I feel fine, yeah." Tyki's hand on his forehead was so cold.

"Good; what time do you have to be in to work?" the brunette asked curiously, leaning forward to plant a very soft, delicate kiss on the corner of the younger man's mouth. Tyki's lips were cold too – he was very cold. "You feel so warm."

"That's just 'cause you're cold," Lavi said slowly, swinging his legs over the side of the couch. "What time is it?"

Tyki turned his head, frowning at the wall clock. "Almost ten."

Frantically, the detective began to dart around the house; he took a very quick shower, pulled clothes on, and didn't explain to Tyki until he had whirled back into the kitchen almost a half hour later. The other offered him a breakfast tortilla, and he took it gratefully, then taking a solid bite. The editor seemed to understand fairly well.

"Going to work?" Tyki asked dryly as he swept through the kitchen, grabbing a soda – anything with caffeine in it – and then sitting down at the kitchen table to wolf down breakfast. "Do you need a ride?"

Lavi granted him an extremely grateful smile. "That would be amazing. Thanks, Tyki." Breakfast was polished off quickly, and he dropped the dishes in the sink before turning to face his – lover, is that what they were now? Not just boyfriends anymore? – well, facing the older man. "You don't mind?"

Tyki sidled forward, wrapping an arm around his waist and dropping another delicate kiss, this time on the smaller man's nose. "Of course not. Let's go."


LOCATION: ? CRIME SCENE; BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
TIME: 1222 PM; 8 OCTOBER 2009

"So do we have an ID on the body yet?" Miranda asked, stamping her feet.

Lavi shrugged. "Dunno. I haven't heard shit."

Another day, another body – and another gruesome poem. He couldn't help but think that the killer was still so obviously playing them – and playing with them. He was leading them around on a string, probably laughing at their inability to solve his crimes, but how could they when there was no evidence? The lack of anything – no hairs, no prints, no clues. It was like the guy was a ghost – and the redhead would've been more inclined to believe it if he hadn't seen the man with his own eyes. Who had that man been? He felt strangely familiar, but the more Lavi thought about it, the further he felt like he was getting from the real identity of the man. But it was literally getting to the point where they knew nothing – aside from the morbid poetry, they were in the dark.

The woman at his side crossed her arms, expression tight-lipped. "This is fuckin' ridiculous."

The redhead winced. It was always strange to hear Miranda curse, especially since when he had first known her, she had been too afraid of her own shadow to go out during the day, let alone drop the f-bomb. "I know," he agreed finally. "I hope we get some information soon."

They huddled together in the cold, wind whipping around the corner of a row of trim, tidy houses. The occupants were being questioned, but so far – as per usual – no one had seen anything, nothing hard turned up, and there was no evidence. He was going to drive himself absolutely crazy thinking through all the loopholes. But there was nothing they could do except wait, and when a grim-faced Tiedoll approached, he knew that no news had obviously been bad news.

"We have an estimated time of death and an ID on the body," he said, tone as somber as his expression. His eyes were red around the edges, like he had been crying, and Lavi had a distinct feeling that they were not going to be happy about whoever it was who had been found.

"My baby, how could he kill my baby?" a woman's voice, shrill with grief, was echoing from around the edge of the house. The area was marked off with yellow crime tape, and the detective drew back in unpleasant surprise as the woman was led around the corner by a familiar redhead, a limp cigarette hanging between his lips. "How could he? How? Oh, oh, this is my fault…"

Miranda drew back with him as Anita passed, her long hair in disarray and pale face streaked with tears. It was then that he had a sneaking suspicion about who had been butchered this time. The Chinese woman was led to an equally somber black car and eased into the back seat. He couldn't seem to tear his eye away from her distraught form, outlined through the tinted windows.

"Do you want me to read you the poem?" Tiedoll asked tiredly. He looked tired – and worn, and older than his years. The case was obviously taking its toll on him.

"Please," Miranda responded first, just as he managed to wrench his eyes away from the woman in the car and look back at the older detective. "We should hear it before you box it up as evidence."

The grey-headed man nodded. "Okay, listen carefully; I don't want to have to repeat it. I spy, with my little eye,
Something that you should know well.
Perhaps the correct term should have been 'someone,'
But at this point, it's quite hard to tell
I left him in pieces scattered over the floor,
Be careful, however, I do implore
Because no longer am I the only one of the bunch
Your case is in for a sickening crunch
So look for me now, at a quarter 'till eight
By the Fisherman's Bastion, don't be late.
I'll leave you a something that starts with a 'c'
And if you're lucky, you'll catch a glimpse of me…
"

There was silence after that. Unnoticed, Cross had come back, listening to the remainder of the poem with a sour expression. "Well?" he barked, loud enough to make them all jump. "The fuck are you waiting for? Get the hell over to the Fisherman's Bastion – that's a tourist hotspot, isn't it?"

The brunette at his side blinked owlishly, nodding. "You're right," she said stiffly, nodding to both himself and Tiedoll. "I'll go take care of that, sir. I'll find out details later. We'll have to have that spot cleared."

Tiedoll clapped a hand on her shoulder, expression even more grim, if that was possible. The lines on his face were even more pronounced. "Chaoji Han. My newest adopted son,"

"I'm… I'm sorry, sir," Lavi said thickly. He had met Chaoji once – the kid hadn't liked Allen at all, and Kanda had told him secretly that he harbored an intense amount of dislike for the younger Asian. But there was too much here to be coincidence – maybe they were looking at the case the wrong way? Maybe the killer was actually after Tiedoll, and not the rest of them? Maybe his real goal was to lead the older detective around in circles, killing off all of his sons one by one until he was left alone and broken-hearted, disillusioned by the cruel world? Or maybe he was over thinking things again.

"Get back to work," the older man said gruffly. His voice was thick with emotion, and he ran a hand through his frizzy, grey hair with a sigh that seemed to come from the very depths of his soul. Miranda was tromping away, expression troubled, and he wasn't entirely sure what was going on, but suddenly there was a whirlwind of activity. And he was decoding the poem, line by line, in his head.

The only thing he could come up with was just that – there was another one. 'No longer am I the only one in the bunch.' Another killer.

No. No fucking way.


LOCATION: ?, BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
TIME: 724 PM, 8 OCTOBER 2009

He was getting ready for what could have possibly turned out to be the biggest theatrical call of his life.

The curtain was going to rise, on his amazing body double, and then they would think everything was over – but it wasn't, it wasn't by a long shot. Kanda was watching him get ready for his performance with a slightly pinched look, like he had just eaten a lemon. But then again, that was how the novelist usually looked; there was nothing new about it. Tyki was applying a thick shock of electric blue to the lids of his victim, the next in a steady stream of Kanda's relatives, related only by blood and not by bond.

"This is convenient, isn't it?" Tyki grinned, next moving to clean off the dried blood on the larger man's forehead. It had dried in a long stripe from his temple to cheek, where the brunette had clubbed him with nothing more than an aluminum baseball bat. "Even if he does wake up, he can't see me."

"You're an asshole," Kanda spat from his position on the bed. He was trying to curl into himself, expression defiant and only his eyes betraying how bewildered and perhaps frightened he was. That was a good look, Tyki mused, but it definitely wasn't bad behavior – nothing for him to work with there. He turned back to his prize, hastily applying some more stage makeup, and then took a step back to admire his handiwork.

Tyki grinned. "Perfect." It took very little work to drag the taller man to his car and prop him in the seat. He had a plan too, to get him into the crime scene without anyone noticing. It was perfect. Foolproof, even, until he could get Lavi to trust him a little more and then take him and Kanda away, to get them both in his grasp and hoard them like treasures. Keeping prisoners had never been something he was good at – not even with his old pets; goldfish had withered and died under his hands, any plants he grew turned brown and wilted as though they could sense his malcontent, and the only time he had had a larger pet – a cat – it had run away after a few weeks. Animals were supposed to be good judges of character, he thought, and the cat had probably taken one whiff of his house and aura and headed for the hills.

When he returned to the room he had placed Kanda in, the younger man was out of bed, exploring. Maybe he was like a cat too – a kitten with no claws. Adorable and small and easy to wrap up in blankets and nuzzle. That was good.

"So, Kanda? You finish anything for me to read yet?" he asked conversationally, standing in the doorway. The novelist jumped, almost out of his skin, and bolted away from the window he had been checking – probably to see if it was locked from the outside. It was. They all were.

"Tch," the younger man answered with a toss of his long hair. "I'm working on it. Leave me th' fuck alone."

Tyki sighed dramatically. "I'm afraid you know I can't do that, Kanda. You know, this is the last of your siblings I have to check off my list? Daisya died in your house, Chaoji is scattered around the house of your old editor, and now Marie is going to be taken into custody for a crime he didn't commit…."

The Japanese man had lost none of his spark – even after being raped, which Tyki didn't fail to find impressive; all of the research he had done pointed to Kanda crumbling into a gooey mess. That obviously hadn't happened. "Fuck you, what next then? Gonna start on my friends?" he said bitterly.

That was an interesting thought. He hadn't really considered it, but it was definitely a possibility. There were few to work with – Allen Walker, Lenalee Lee, perhaps a few others that he could get his hands on. The younger man must have been his contemplative expression, because the next thing he knew, the other had aimed a very solid uppercut to his chin and had him stumbling backwards.

"Shit!" Tyki hissed, rubbing his jaw and stumbling into a wall. Kanda was wide-eyed – like he hadn't been expecting that to work – and darted for the unlocked door, bolting down the hallway. He wouldn't get far, the older man was confident. There was too much between him and the outside world; a series of padlocks, bars on the windows, and even a large forest – though if he made it through the trees, there would be the edge of a plateau, and a cliff that tumbled right down into the banks of a river. Convenient. There wasn't a neighbor around for miles, either.

As he walked languidly down the stairs, following the other's pounding footsteps and the rattling of the front door, he grinned. Bad behavior. This was definitely bad behavior. He would finally have an excuse to push the younger man against a wall, maybe cuff him there, and remove his clothes slowly, torture him a little bit. Or a lot.

"Fuck, fuck!" Kanda was hissing a steady stream of expletives as he tried various doors and windows, finding them all locked. The older man could see him quite clearly from his vantage point on the stairs. "Shit! The fuck! Why won't this open?"

"Locked, locked, locked," Tyki murmured, his mouth splitting into a harrowing smile. "All locked. You don't think I would let you go before I can finish all my plans, do you? Besides, you don't even know where you are."

Kanda turned very slowly to face him, expression overwhelmingly furious. "Fuck you! I can find my own way out of this damn house whether you lock it or not!"

The older man laughed throatily. "I'm sure you could. Good luck with that." He turned, prepared to walk out the front door. The novelist seemed frozen to his spot, and he waved at him through the side window. "Be back for you later. See if you can get out; we'll make a game out of it."

With that, he drove as quickly as he could to the city, greeted by bright lights and the smell of exhaust, the steady hum of traffic, the pedestrians, the metro. He slid into town in his borrowed car – the car of his passenger, the one with the badge and the access to the crime scene. He parked a ways away from the flashing lights and the stakeout, shaking his captive's shoulder to wake him up. "Noise Marie, isn't it? That's your name, right?"

Marie was slow to wake, eyes blinking blearily. He looked confused, too – and rightly so. Tyki shook him by the shoulders, marveling in the fact that for such a large man, he was surprisingly easy to move. "We're here. Time for you to go in, Marie."

The taller man nodded blankly. It hadn't been difficult either to disguise his voice as that of someone the other knew – he wasn't quite sure who it was, but it had to be someone familiar; he had followed and fallen into a relaxed state very quickly. "What am I supposed to bring?" he asked thickly, still slightly slurred from sleep.

The icing on the cake – what he was giving them. The only part of Chaoji Han's body that he had failed to give them was, in essence, the most essential – the clue. He was giving them the clue. "Here," he said easily. "Take this."

"No problem," the other agreed, a little dazed. He probably had a concussion. Maybe that was why he was so casual about the whole situation – because with a blow like the one he had taken to the head, there was bound to be some confusion. "I'll see you later."

After that, Tyki moved to a safe distance away from the Fisherman's Bastion to watch, amused, as the entire congregation of policemen and detectives and law enforcement proceeded to arrest a very bewildered Noise Marie and take the bag he was carrying. The stage makeup was quite a bonus. The bright lights especially helped illuminate the man's face as he was led away in handcuffs and taken to a squad car. The brunette was practically gleeful. By the time the police had started to clear away, he could see Lavi crouched in the middle of the blocked off area, standing over the clue.

Chaoiji Han's head was now the proud owner of a time bomb.

Two minutes to go, and the entire thing would blow.


LOCATION: FISHERMAN'S BASTION, BUDA, HUNGARY
TIME: 816 PM 8 OCTOBER 2009

Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion.

By the time they figured out what, exactly, was in the late Chaoji Han's mouth, it was already too late.

Lavi watched, horrified and from the sidelines, as the entire clue blew itself to pieces, splattering pieces of flesh and gore along the bystanders and hardworking policemen, and winced as he felt a piece of heated – something, something decidedly disgusting, hit his cheek and slide off. For a few seconds after, there was complete silence, and then the sound of a bone-chilling laughter filled the courtyard. It seemed to come from everywhere all at once, everywhere and nowhere, and it was strangely familiar.

"Where is he?" someone was yelling, and it was utter pandemonium trying to pinpoint the location of that vicious laughter. It echoed off of the stone of the citadel, filling the space with its repetitions. He wanted to cover his ears. He wanted to crawl away and hide from it, but Lavi screwed up his eyes and tried , like the others were, to find the source.

When he turned, there was a shadowy figured encased in a part of the bastion, the shape of a man moving fast once he noticed the detective looking. Lavi let out a wordless yell, springing forward, but by the time he got to the spot, the man was gone. Caught a glimpse, just like the poem had said. But then, was it wrong about there being two killers? Was he just playing them again, or was the second killer actually Marie, who had seemed to out of touch with reality to even think about committing a crime. Was he really over-analyzing? Was the poem talking about something different entirely? What was going on?

He saw the edge of the man's clothing whip out of sight, and he reached for it – groped with the very tips of his fingers. Nothing. Nothing there. But at the last second, the man looked back, and he caught a glimpse of strangely familiar eyes. Familiar eyes that were tinged with flecks of gold, dark amber, brown. Familiar eyes and familiar laughter and he started to think – but no, it couldn't be. There was no way. It wasn't possible.

But the seeds of doubt had already been planted, and it was possible. Lavi whirled his mind in circles, trying to wrap his thoughts around the idea that he had seen – had seen Tyki Mikk, editor in chief and his own boyfriend, fleeing the crime scene. Laughing. Fleeing a crime scene and laughing like a madman. But there was no way that could have been Tyki, no way at all. He probably had a safe alibi – some neighbors had probably seen him come home, or maybe he hadn't left the house at all in the first place? He had to be bogged down with work.

"Lavi, Lavi, snap out of it," Miranda was yelling, shaking him by the shoulders. "Come on, you gotta get back! We gotta look at the clue!"

"Wha- what?" the redhead snapped to attention, letting his partner drag him to his feet. "What clue? I thought…" He didn't want to voice his thoughts, that he had figured the only clue they would get was the youngest son's head, the time bomb, the smear of dried blood across his cheek.

Miranda nodded grimly. "We all thought. Come this way." She led him back, through the myriad of panicked and blood-splattered people, back to an old, beaten-up station wagon. Marie's car. "The clue's in here."

On the steering wheel, secured with a variety of pins, was a picture of Kanda's face – he was awake, that was a good sign. His expression was just as disgruntled as it usually was, and Lavi let out a sigh of relief. The date on the picture was just a few hours prior – that meant he was still alive. Even though it would have been easy to Photoshop the image, he wanted so much to believe that he was alive.

"And over here, too," the woman said finally, slipping on a pair of gloves and reaching past the seat. Slowly she drew out a long, silver bat and turned it. There was a bloody mark, cradled in an indentation. "This could be his, yeah? And look, there, can I have the light?" She shone the black light on the bottom of the bat carefully, illuminating a single, well-marked fingerprint.

"Not just a partial, that's a whole fuckin' print," Lavi breathed, mouth splitting into a smile. "Wow. We still combin' the car for anything else?"

Miranda nodded, pulling herself carefully out of the vehicle. "Pretty much. This is all we got so far, so who knows if the fucker wanted us to have another clue too." She chuckled dryly. "Hope we find more."

"What about whose car this is?" the redhead pressed. "It's not Marie's, is it?"

The brunette shook her head, offering a polite shrug. "I dunno. We haven't really figured that far yet – Tiedoll said he didn't recognize it, though, so it's probably stolen."

They were both silent for a moment, considering. "Is… What happened to Marie?" the detective asked quietly as they walked a safe distance away, letting the techs do their work. "He's gonna be okay, right?"

Miranda sighed, blowing a few strands of her hair over her eyes. "I dunno. I mean, I really don't think they can book him for this, since there isn't a lotta evidence, but we'll have to see."

Lavi nodded, slowly. At that point, there was nothing to do but what – and maybe go home. Go home and not think about what he had seen, try to put it from his mind. But then, when he looked at the frosty windows of the car, he could see the other man's muted reflection, and when they started the car, a CD whirled back into gear, belting lyrics from the speakers. They made him freeze, despite the thoughts he was trying to push from his mind, and think – maybe. Maybe it was. But there was nothing left to do but wait.

"Even as the clouds roll by, I swear they mock me… 'Cause every one that fills the sky turns into your face…"


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