Nuances: (by timydamonkey)

Author's Note: Hello! It's me again, with another game timeline slot-in story. This is mostly set after the optional "Under Arrest" chapter. No worries if you never saw that chapter, the fic'll explain what happens, though the details may not be spot on (Blake isn't there for all of it, so it's partially speculation).

The thing I feel I've been lacking in my Heavy Rain fics is distinctive character voices. I'm hoping to do a bit better this time, as Blake has one of the most unique voices in Heavy Rain, I think, in his speech patterns and in his thoughts.

As this is a Blake point of view story, expect quite a bit of swearing. The guy has a foul mouth! He's also not too fond of certain characters, so don't expect sunshine and happiness!

Reviews welcome!

The world had gone to hell.

Serial killers drowning children in rain water, just leaving them to die if Norman was to be believed (and part of him rebelled against the very thought, just because he didn't need a damn FBI hotshot to come in and start taking over, and it all sounded so stupid anyway) was pretty sick. It'd be all the better when he was off the streets. Everyone was obsessed, this looming shadow of the Origami Killer hanging over their heads, and everyone's patience was running out.

And then he'd followed Norman's advice, sceptical though he was, and found out a whole load of nothing. Dead leads. The friendly neighbourhood psychos, it seemed, were just plain old psychos, and they were back at square one.

Then, of course, the mother of their latest case had come in, expressing her fears about her husband, and then eventually they'd got him in custody. Norman, of course, had folded like a wet blanket. His sincerity made Blake nauseous, his anger completely unintimidating. Mars had just sat there sullenly staring at the table like a child in detention. It pissed him off the guy was sitting there, probably gloating and Norman couldn't even fucking see it.

When Mars opened his mouth, it was the biggest load of bullshit Blake had ever heard. "I kidnapped him," he'd said, and then backtracked and said he didn't know what happened, but that was the opening. Not enough, but it was the start of a confession. Then he'd zipped his mouth, and Blake stepped in. He hated taking backseat to Norman, and really, this was his area. He could make men quiver in their boots, shout out secrets, because he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. The sickest criminals, he found, were the biggest babies.

He didn't give a damn if Norman objected. He could sit behind his desk and preach about the morality of it all, but that wouldn't do a thing to save Shaun Mars. He didn't have to stare at sobbing parents, hear the media scorn about police incompetence, find the bodies of enough kids that Blake had stopped even really looking at them. Every time he saw a photograph in a file, he cursed, because he couldn't get the kids out of his head, then.

And then Norman went crying to Perry, but he could do that all he liked. Perry knew the score. If anyone was more desperate than him to get this case sorted, it was Perry. The whole thing was making him look like an idiot. He might have questioned Blake's methods once; if anything, he encouraged it now. It got more results than all this pissing around being nice crap ever did.

For the first time, this case seemed to be looking up. He'd been working his ass off on the case for so long, he felt he really deserved a break. Of course, thinking that was probably what sealed the unmitigated disaster.

Nodding at Gary on duty outside, Blake headed back to the interrogation room for round two. He cracked his knuckles. Perry had told him he'd scheduled a press conference in an hour, and even if he was willing to go on minimal information, Blake hoped to wring a confession out of Mars in time. It meant he hadn't had as long a break as he'd have liked, but Mars damn well didn't seem likely to open his mouth and complain.

His plan was rudely interrupted by the fact Mars wasn't in the room.

Well, shit, he thought. It didn't even make any sense.

The handcuffs Mars had been wearing were lying haphazardly on the floor. He picked them up; they were still operating, and Blake suspected that meant only one thing: they'd been opened with a key.

This was his case. Mars shouldn't have been moved except by his orders. Perry could overrule him, but he'd never done that before.

He turned around and opened the door partially, peering at the guard through the opening. What was he supposed to be guarding with his ward gone, and him not having passed on any message?

He had a very bad feeling about all of this.

"Gary!" he called.

The officer turned towards him with a blink and a nod. "Lieutenant Blake!"

"Where's Mars?" he asked; he was never the most subtle of individuals.

His face twisted into a picture of confusion. "He's in there, sir."

Shit. Blake snorted and kicked the door so it was fully open, gesturing; an invitation for Gary to look. "It's empty." The guard looked scared, and then an expression fell over his place that Blake seized onto. He narrowed his eyes. "What aren't you telling me?"

"I was here all the time," he said, baffled, but years of experience meant Blake couldn't ignore the nervous twitching of his hands, like a sullen teenager waiting for the third degree (or a child drowning alone, and goddamnit, that could happen again now).

"Really?" He was obviously unconvinced, and this alone made the man quake more. Blake had quite the reputation.

"I- He was never unguarded, sir, I left him with a guard-"


"The FBI guy, Jayden!"

Norman fucking Jayden. He wondered what had happened, but had a firm belief that many of his colleagues would simply kowtow to the FBI like good little soldiers. That wasn't in Blake's nature, and damn right it shouldn't be too. If that bigshot had mucked up… He came to a sudden realisation. Maybe it'd be enough to proof they didn't need his assistance, that he was leading them away from solving this case. He could at least plead that to Perry.

"Perry'll have your ass for this later," he warned Gary, who already seemed resigned to his fate, and he stalked off towards Perry's office. They were going to have to start a search.

Perry was understandably frustrated.

"How did this happen?" he demanded as they regrouped after checking the other holding cells and interrogation rooms. They'd got nothing. It may have been an unauthorised move, but it certainly wasn't to another part of the premises.

"I don't get it," Blake said, punching the wall behind him in frustration and earning nothing but aching knuckles for his trouble. "This is bullshit; there's no other way out of that room than the one door, and nobody saw anything." Because it wasn't just the guard, of course; the door opened out into the wide room where police officers congregated and worked. With so many of them in the room, there was no way Mars should have been able to get out unnoticed.

Yet he had.

"I'm going to have to postpone this press conference before we get it in the neck." Perry glowered. Blake scoffed; the media wasn't gonna buy that, but he probably knew that. Still, he had to aim for damage control.

They were facing the disturbing prospect that an officer could have done this. Blake's suspicions had been confirmed; the keys to the handcuffs were nowhere to be found. He supposed it was marginally better than them mysteriously reappearing in a cover-up attempt, but it certainly wasn't by much. He'd even considered that they'd been moved accidentally, but since they still hadn't turned up yet, Blake was pretty sure. Some cops waited until there was practically one hundred percent certainty before making a conclusion, but Blake had enough experience to know that didn't work, especially in such a case of misconduct as this. He wasn't planning on pussyfooting around assuming that Mars had magically vanished those handcuffs; he'd had help from inside the station, and from what Gary had said, Norman was the prime candidate.

Vindictively, part of him was quite satisfied; he knew he'd been right about their golden boy from the beginning. He may as well be a desk clerk for all he knew about how to get results.

"I think it was that asswipe, Jayden," Blake grumbled.

Perry frowned. "I know you don't get along too well, but it doesn't make sense that he'd go and free Mars." Blake could see in his face, though, that certain facts were dawning on him. He just didn't want to accept them.

Blake was disgusted. "Hey, just because we don't get on, doesn't mean I'd put him in shit unless he deserved to be. Gary told me that Jayden was watching Mars for a while, and he's been shouting the fucking place down about how Mars isn't the Origami Killer, because he's got a feeling -"

"Alright," said Perry, "that's enough."

"I'm serious," Blake said, almost sulkily. "He's messing us around-"

"Maybe." Perry cut him off again. "I can't do anything without proof, however. The FBI sent him here, and they won't take a half-assed complaint; they'll think we're just angry this case is now under his jurisdiction."

Blake conceded that it probably would sound way; they certainly felt that way. It didn't mean they weren't right, though. Norman was a joke.

Still, if Perry couldn't do anything officially.

"I'll have a word with him," he promised.

It said a great deal about Perry's trust in Blake, he felt, that his only response was, "See that you do," and a nod of dismissal.

Blake genuinely did consider, for a moment, the best way to approach Norman with his suspicions, but he didn't really end up putting any tact to good use.

Forcefully opening the door to Jayden's office, he demanded, "What the hell did you do?"

At first, he thought he hadn't been heard (or the asshole had decided to ignore him), but then Norman slowly turned towards him. He was wearing those stupid sunglasses, despite the rain falling outside. Blake secretly suspected he just wore them in the hopes of looking cool, showcasing for some imaginary audience. It really pissed him off.

"Huh?" Apparently Norman had left his eloquence behind somewhere, just managing to look somewhat confused.

Blake's fingers itched to pull him up against the wall while demanding to know what was happening, but he fought against it. He couldn't be sure that they wouldn't just resort to trying to kill each other. They were polar opposites in their approach to police work.

"Mars has disappeared after you relieved the guard. Ringing any bells, Norman?"

Norman had an irritatingly inexpressive face. Blake may as well have been having idle conversation with him for all the reaction it got. "Oh," Norman said. "That's… unfortunate."

"No shit. You wouldn't happen to know how he got out of handcuffs, through a door and out the police station, would you?"

Both of them knew it wasn't really a question; it was an accusation.

"No idea. I didn't see anyone go past me." After a moments pause, he added, "You were at your desk. You didn't see anyone either?"

"No," Blake confirmed through gritted teeth.

"Then I suppose it's just one of the complexities about this case," Norman said thoughtfully. "Perhaps we should try and solve it after we catch the killer."

So that's how it was.

"You can guarantee we'll get to the bottom of this case. Your act won't get you anywhere. When we find Mars-"

"When we find the culprit," Norman said, and it wasn't lost on either of them that, yet again, he was refusing to name Mars as the killer despite him being blatantly guilty, "I'll be glad to insist your enquiry."

But not turn yourself in, Blake decoded. Wonderful.

Disgusted, he shook his head and left without so much of a goodbye. Fat chance he was letting Norman accompany him next time they got hold of Mars. In fact, Blake was going to try his damn best to make sure Norman would never be informed of such a thing happening. They'd see if Mars could wiggle his way out of that situation.

Blake stalked to his computer to continue his research. Maybe he'd be able to head Mars off, for once.

From the corner of his eye, he saw Norman stride past and out the office without a word.

When this case was over, Blake swore he'd never see Norman Jayden again – and they could both revel in that.

Author's Note: This got far wider than the original idea (though I did cut down on some of the unnecessary stuff). I was having some fun figuring out what Blake would realistically notice. I guessed the raincoat was a big ask, since if they have so many raincoats, who's going to miss one?

I was quite bemused, though, that the game glosses over Ethan's mysterious disappearance from custody, hence me writing this. Dialogue's not my strong point in fic though, lol.