"Shamal." The word that slipped out of his mouth was the first one that came to mind, uttered so frantically that Mikk didn't even have time to finish asking him what he was doing there.

"Er, what?" The other's eyebrows knitted together in a slight frown.

Kanda almost hit himself in frustration as he felt the gears in his head turn at break-neck speeds to churn out a believable lie, "Uh… one of Shamal's patients is complaining that she has a heart problem." He said quickly. "We're pretty sure it's actually a brain tumor, but she won't believe it unless it comes from a specialist. I figured I might as well come up here and ask you to go check it out."

"Oh." The surgeon seemed a little surprised, but questioned it no further. "Well, come on over to my office, then. We can head down to radiology as soon as I get things sorted out up here. Come on, Rhode." He gestured to the little girl holding his hand, who gave Kanda a curious look as she followed Mikk out of the elevator.

Seeing the girl from the picture in the office kick-started Kanda's brain, which had been a little sluggish before. "Dr. Mikk, I wanted to ask you something." He said, walking to the other's office after the two.

"Please, feel free to call me Tyki." Replied Mikk as he unlocked the door and hung his jacket on a hook on the wall. "But by all means, fire away."

"Alright then, Tyki," his name tasted disgusting on his tongue as he watched the other stride across the office to the desk. "I heard from one of the nurses that-" Kanda's breath hitched in his throat as he looked past Mikk at his computer, the screen still brightly lit; in his rush before he had forgotten to log off.

Mikk didn't fail to notice the change in Kanda's expression as he turned, "Something wrong?"

Kanda stared; his head had been wiped completely blank. This was it, his entire cover is going to be blown up in his face. If Mikk figured out it was Kanda who logged onto his computer, his entire mission, no, even his life would be in danger. And he only had a few seconds to-

The Japanese man nearly jumped as a sudden knock came to the door. He stood, solidly frozen in place, as the other strode past him to open it, turning his head when a familiar voice issued from the doorway.

"Dr. Mikk, they need you for a second down in conference room four." Fou's voice sounded slightly out of breath, and Kanda realized he'd never been more glad to hear anything in his life. "Could you come with me?"

"Sure. I'll be right back, Andres; could you watch Rhode for me for a few minutes?"

It took Kanda a moment to register that he was being spoken to. "Of course." He replied, and Mikk left with Fou, giving him a smile of gratitude as the door clicked shut behind them.

He let out a breath as his eyes traveled to the only remaining occupant left in the room. The little girl was sitting in a chair holding a doll; she looked relaxed and her eyes were closed. Keeping an eye on her, Kanda ambled slowly over to the desk, and with a few short clicks, he had logged out and the screen was black as it had first been.

Kanda walked over to the little girl and took a seat on another chair beside her. She opened her eyes at his presence.

"Hi."

"Are you Uncle Tyki's friend?" She asked.

"I guess you could say that."

The girl let out a little hum at his response and started picking at the satin dress of her doll. They sat in silence for a few minutes before Kanda heard footsteps down the hall, Mikk entering the office a moment later.

"Hey, thanks for watching her." He said, taking Rhode's hand in his again as she hopped off the chair and over to her uncle. "We can go see Shamal's patient now, I'll drop Rhode off at the daycare downstairs."

"Sure."

"Oh yeah, didn't you want to ask me something?" Said Mikk, as elevator music floated over their heads.

"Right." Kanda turned to the other, determined to get some answers. "I heard from one of the nurses that you were taking your niece to a doctor's appointment this morning?"

"Yeah."

The Japanese man didn't break eye contact, "Well I don't mean to pry but, you're a doctor, and you work in a hospital." Was it just him, or did Mikk's expression tense a little? "Why didn't you just get her checked out here?"

The elevator doors opened, and this time it was obvious; the surgeon's lips had thinned into a straight line as they walked through the busy hall and stared pointedly ahead the entire time. After ushering Rhode into the daycare, he turned to Kanda with a serious expression on his face. "This isn't something I'd like to discuss in public. Do you really want to know?"

The undercover detective thought over it for a moment. "Yes."

"Tell you what," He said, leading the way back to the elevators; he pressed a button for the fifth floor. "If you honestly want to find out, come by my house tonight. Here's the address." Mikk slid a white card and a pen out of his pocket, scribbled something on the back and handed it to Kanda. "We'll talk it over then."

"You want me to come to your house?" He tried but failed to keep the incredulity out of his voice.

The dark-skinned man shrugged, "It's up to you, but I'm not going to talk about Rhode here." The elevator doors opened again to the radiology department. "You coming?"

Kanda fingered the card in his hand. "No, I still have a ton of paperwork to do in my office." Mikk nodded and waved him off. The Japanese man had one last glimpse of him heading down the hall with his hands tucked into his pockets before the heavy metal doors slid shut. He punched the button for his floor and stood there staring at the card, flipping it over to the front where Mikk's credentials were listed.

By the time the elevator opened again he had made up his mind.


"You're gonna do what?" Lavi's tone no longer sounded surprised but just plain exasperated. He heard Fou slapping her palm against her forehead elsewhere in the apartment.

"I just said, you idiot. I'm going to Mikk's house." Kanda handed over the card with the surgeon's address, shrugging a suit jacket over his shoulders. It was annoying enough that the detective and nurse had already been lounging on his couch by the time he got home, and now he had to explain his situation, which he guessed wouldn't go over too well with the others. He reached for the card but the redhead tugged it out of his reach.

"Why the hell didn't you tell me about this earlier? You said you wouldn't cut me out anymore." Lavi had a white grip on the piece of paper in his hand, as though hoping he could shred it that way.

Kanda huffed impatiently, holding out his hand for the address. "I'm telling you now, aren't I? Just give me the fucking card!"

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Lavi shouted. "We're here to bring down the son of a bitch who killed nine people in cold blood, and you're going on a fucking date with him?"

"What are you-? This isn't a- How dare you-?" Kanda took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down. "I'm going for the sake of the investigation, Lavi. My job is to find out as much about Mikk as I can so we can incriminate him, and that's exactly what I'm doing." He stepped back and leaned against the wall. "Didn't you find it strange that he took his niece out for a doctor's appointment when there's a building full of doctors, including him, at his workplace?" Lavi just stared. "When I confronted him about it, he said it was private business and that I should come to his house if I wanted to find out. There's definitely something fishy about this, and it'll give me a chance to snoop around his place."

Kanda knew, even as he said it, that his reasoning was flawless; the past few days had been disappointingly unproductive, he had so swarmed with his own work that he hardly had time to breathe, let alone poke around in Mikk's life. This might as well be their only chance in discovering a shred of evidence against the murderer. The Asian detective could practically see this train of thought traveling through Lavi's head and he frowned, and he gave a small smirk as the other signed in resignation.

"By the way," Kanda added as the thought hit him. "What's been going on at the station? You're still assigned to the case, aren't you?"

He seemed to take Lavi by surprise with the question. "Yeah, they haven't been able to give me another partner so I've been running the case alone. Everyone's been on edge cause we've got absolutely nothing to go on." He placed the card on Kanda's coffee table and sank onto the couch in a manner the word "exhausted" wouldn't come close to describing. "Komui came back to word a couple of days ago, but he isn't talking to anyone about what happened. No one's asked about where you are, not yet at least."

Kanda nodded. "Be sure not to give anything away about what we're doing."

Lavi chuckled. "'Course. What do ya think I am, stupid?"

Kanda stole a glance at the clock on the wall. It was seven thirty. "How long are we going to pretend you can actually stop me from going?" The other frowned at him as he took a step forward and swiped the card off the table. "I'll have my phone with me, call if anything comes up." His keys jingled in his pocket as he opened the door.

"Hey Yu." He looked back to see Lavi standing so close behind him he almost jumped. "Don't do anything stupid." The redhead flashed him a lopsided smile.

"Yeah," Fou agreed from behind Lavi, "I, for one, haven't had this much action in my life for years. It'd be a shame if you died on us."

Kanda scoffed and was in the middle of closing the door on his way out when something stopped him. He wore a scowl as he turned back toward Lavi and Fou standing just inside the doorway, looking expectant. "One more thing."

"What?"

"Get out of my apartment."


"Come on in, Andres." Mikk stepped back and held the door open.

The apartment, situated in middle class Staten Island, was a rather modest place with a fairly good view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Brooklyn County from across the Narrows. Kanda noted with surprise that everything appeared to be unpacked after just a month of living there, especially since it took himself several months after moving into his apartment to get everything out of cardboard boxes. That was before he had met Lenalee.

"Dr. Mikk."

"Please, call me Tyki." The Portuguese man said, gesturing to the cream-colored sofa. "Make yourself comfortable." Kanda eyed the other man cautiously as he took a seat. "You hungry? I just finished making dinner."

"Uh..." Kanda mentally cursed his traitorous stomach when it chose that very moment to grumble loudly.

Mikk laughed. "I see. Come and eat with us, then."

Kanda stood up hesitantly and followed the older man into the medium-sized kitchen with a round glass table taking up the majority of the dining area. Mikk strode into the room casually, carrying a large pot of some kind of stew and three bowls, which he proceeded to set on the table. Kanda hated to admit it, but it sure smelled good. "Rhode, dinner!" He turned back toward the hallway and called.

The little girl stepped into view just as Kanda took a seat at one of the four chairs around the table. She was still clutching the doll with the satin dress. Mikk spooned the stew into the smallest of the three bowls and set it down in front of her, and she started eating without another word.

Kanda poked at his own serving after it was handed to him; the stew seemed to consist of a variety of seafood and vegetables in a reddish soup, topped with something that looked like green onion. He eyed the little girl eating soundlessly again and put a spoonful into his mouth. It really did taste quite good.

"How's my cooking?" Asked Mikk, dribbling red sauce into his bowl of stew.

Kanda stared, unsure of what to say. "It's good." He finally decided after a long moment's pause. To ease the sudden tension he reached across the table and grabbed the bottle of sauce, opened the cap and all but dumped it into his bowl.

Mikk looked at him with wide eyes. "I don't think you want to do that."

"I can handle it." He spooned some stew into his mouth and nearly choked. The back of his throat seemed to tighten as the spice invaded the inside of his nostrils. He coughed loudly and took in a ragged breath, clapping his chest.

Mikk handed him a glass of water with an amused expression. "I told you so. Piri piri sauce isn't something you can just chug like that." He watched as Kanda downed the water like his life depended on it. "Here, I'll get you another bowl. There's no way you'd be able to eat that."

"No, that's OK." Kanda set the empty water glass down. His stomach was feeling uncomfortably warm and his appetite had been sufficiently ruined.

"You sure?"

"Positive. I could use another glass of water, though."

"Coming right up."

As Mikk left the table Kanda's eyes fell on Rhode, who had not stopped eating since her arrival; she was almost through her entire bowl. He studied the strange girl for a while before turned his attention to Mikk again when the other returned with a filled glass.

"Uncle Tyki?" He heard Rhode say as he emptied the glass. "I'm finished. Can I go to the playground downstairs?"

"Sure you can, kiddo." Said Mikk, ruffling her hair slightly. "Don't be too late, alright?"

Kanda watched the exchange silently. Again, the feeling that he was intruding on something completely innocent hit him, and he forced the thought into the back of his head, clearing his throat. "So, you know why I'm here, Dr… Tyki." The name sounded strange and foreign coming from his mouth.

Mikk wore a serious expression. "Yeah, I do."

"Why did you take your niece to a doctor's appointment outside the hospital?"

The surgeon swallowed, seemingly preparing himself. "Because it wasn't a doctor's appointment. I was taking her to see her therapist."

"Why? What's wrong with her?" he realized how rude he sounded immediate after having spoken. If Mikk took offense, he didn't show it.

"Rhode was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was five. She complained about hearing voices telling her terrible things, and my brother, her father, decided to have her see a specialist once a week." He gave a humorless chuckle at this point. "She was improving, too. By the time she was six, the voices and the hallucinations were almost gone. And then… well, life happened." The older man fixed Kanda with a stare. "My brother is… a difficult person. He's made a lot of mistakes in his life, some of which really hurt the people around him. You probably know him as Cyril Kamelot, crime ring leader."

Kanda did his best to look surprised, but didn't say anything. Mikk raised an eyebrow at him.

"Wow. People usually flip at that; that was why I had to leave my old hospital. Things can get ugly if everyone you know suddenly sees you as nothing but a con man's brother. But anyway," the brunette shook his head, "Cyril's trial and imprisonment really took a toll on Rhode. About a week after she moved in with me, the hallucinations and the voices came back. I've found her a new therapist, but she isn't communicating very well with him; in fact, I had to take her back early today because she wouldn't say a word during the session."

"Oh." Kanda found that he had nothing else to say.

Mikk heaved a tired sigh, "I don't think for a second that Cyril shouldn't have gone to jail for what he did, but this isn't fair for Rhode. She doesn't deserve this." The grip on his spoon tightened, and his face was locked in a deep frown. "I feel so angry sometimes, and I don't know who to direct it at. Rhode never did anything wrong, she shouldn't have to pay for what happened."

Neither did all the victims. But they all paid, didn't they? Kanda stood suddenly. "Can I use your restroom?"

Mikk looked a little startled by the sudden request, "Sure. It's down the hall, third door to your right."

As he headed down the dim hall he heard the sound of clanking dishes and then running water. Without hesitating, he slipped into a small room across the hall from the bathroom; the room had a rather bare feeling to it, with practically no furniture except for a bed and a tiny desk, as well as a corner dedicated to dolls of various kinds. This must be Rhode's room.

A quick run-through of the drawers on the desk revealed nothing of interest, and the desk was empty but for a thick stack of notebooks at the corner. He barely touched the topmost one when he heard the running water from the kitchen stop. Heading back into the living room he found Mikk seated on the couch.

"To be honestly with you, I didn't think you'd come tonight." He quipped, leaning back into the cushions. "Most people turn away from this kind of unpleasantness. At least, I think that's why no one at the hospital thought to ask me about this." He smiled. "You're different. I like that."

"It's getting late. I should go." Said Kanda, heading toward the door.

Mikk stood with him. "Alright. I'll see you Monday?"

The Japanese man only raised his hand in a wave as he walked through the door, shutting it brusquely behind him. The courtyard outside was empty when he arrived downstairs, and he wrapped his jacket against the cooling November wind as he trudged across the parking lot to his car. For a few moments he simply sat in the seat gathering his thoughts. The visit definitely yielded answers, although he wasn't sure if the information he received was even relevant. Mikk's resentment for what happened to his niece could be a motive, but he still didn't understand how the man could have pulled off nine murders with a psychotic child in tow, especially since the child needed almost constant care. Every question solved in this case just seems to lead to more questions-

The loud, piercing beeping of his phone interrupted Kanda's thinking, and he flipped it open impatiently. "What?"

The voice at the other end came after a few second's silence. "Hi Kanda. It's Komui."


A/N: …Should I even try to explain? I didn't think so.

Terminology:

The bit on New York City geography was all courtesy of Wikipedia. If any of it happens to be wrong, blame it on that. :D

The stew Tyki makes is a Portuguese dish called Caldeirada, and the sauce is made of a chili pepper called piri piri. It's extremely spicy and widely used in Portuguese and East African cuisine.

Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by loss of the thinking process and emotional responsiveness. Common symptoms include auditory hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and disorganized speech.

Review Replies:

Irrelevancy: Yay, you got the reference! And I've already forgotten what I offered as a prize for that T.T I recently got a friend to watch Reborn and now we go around talking about all the characters in numbers. It drives our other friends nuts XD As a matter of fact, I'm doing both :P The fandom is just too awesome for just one. Thanks for the review!

marufu-chan: Wow I admire your determination, but are you sure you haven't given up this time? Four freaking months -_- And I actually didn't even think of the mafia thing, guess there's two reference now XP Thank for the review!

Chocomintkt: Why thank you! I happen to have a thing for creepy Tyki, too, although I have to say he isn't very creepy in this fic. At least not yet :PPP Thanks for the review!

BlueCaterpillarAbsolem: Thank you! Well I did bring Komui back at the end of this chapter, so I guess you'll have to wait and see ;) Thnks for your review!

Proof of Repair: Wow, thank you so much! The pace of this fic was actually something I brooded over for a long time because I keep thinking it's going a little fast. I'm glad someone liked it though! Thanks for your review!

Neferiti: Er.. if your "pleeaaaaaseeeee" was for an update, I can say that I've finally complied… after four months… T.T Anyway, thanks for the review!

The Princess of Whatever: I love your pen name, first of all XD Yeah, when I was writing that part I sat for a while compiling all the things Cross would get arrested for, and I came up with that master list :P Sick of quotebacks? NEVER! :D I seriously don't even know where that whole bit came from. I just sat down and started typing, and the idea just came out all by itself, glad to see you liked it Yeah, you were pretty much spot-on to say that this update took even longer, but at least I finally did it! :D Thanks for your reviews!

A. Karma: Er… Lavi's last name was pretty much just random, so no it doesn't have a meaning. Oh, you most certainly can, although there are better ways to see Edward Cullen's melting face (like melting it off yourself). Oh yeah, that'll definitely make it better. Edward Elric vs. Edward Cullen. Well, you know who I'm rooting for :D Thanks for the review!

So this is taking an exceptionally long time because my laptop has decided to hate me and makes the screen go black every 20 seconds T.T Does anyone want to help me fix this?

DISCLAIMER: IF I OWNED DGM, THEN KANDA'S HAIR WOULD NOT HAVE TURNED PURPLE. SERIOUSLY WTF GO READ THE LATEST CHAPTER.