Will to Live
Note: I can't believe it, XDDD I hadn't expected so many people to actually buy the whole 'El' vs 'L' thing. As only one very clever person figured out, I was trolling, and now you're hating XDD
I just wanted to see how many people would laugh, or try to garrotte me with piano wire. However, if you like it, by all means keep referring to him as such, if not, don't bother XDDD.
Having never held a very high opinion of local Law Enforcement officers, L soon found what little respect he had for them dropping even further as he stood on the receiving end of the investigation, they were inefficient, timewasting, asking all the wrong questions, badgering both him and Wammy. He had eaten through his stash of sweets and had thoroughly demolished his gingerbread, he hadn't been allowed to eat at all during his 'interview' – see: interrogation, and he was already becoming more and more frustrated and angry with these morons in uniform with their stupid shiny buttons and less than ten-percent active brain matter.
Wammy was likewise losing patience with the local Law Enforcement operatives despite having more experience in dealing with them, they were being rather boorish and bullheaded about everything, overly eager to jump down their throats at every perceived suspicious activity. Quillish had been forced to defend himself about remaining unmarried and yet adopting such a suspicious young man as 'Edward'. From his place, stood a little further away, he could see the dark haired eighteen year old was getting further and further stressed and irritable by the behaviour of the man interrogating him, in a minute they would be suffering from a case of Assaulting an Officer. Or they would have, had the manager of the circus not shown up and effectively distracted L from contemplating Grievous Bodily Harm on the officer interviewing him.
The manager was a very large and physically powerful man, he did not look happy about the police being within his work space, but there was a certain kind of resignation to his expression that suggested he had an idea of why they were present. "Levka Vostok, manager of Polnach Circus, how can I help you gentlemen?" he asked, nodding to the most heavily decorated man present.
"Captain Wright, seems as though there's been a kidnapping, sir," the Officer explained heavily, L chewing on his thumb as he watched Levka sigh heavily.
"Little girl, between ten and thirteen, fairly well off family, siblings, vanished without a trace?" he asked, almost as if quoting someone or something. A look of relief almost immediately spread across the Captain's face.
"You've seen here then?" he asked.
Levka shook his head, "No, and its doubtful anyone ever will. This isn't the first kidnapping we've had, its almost always the same as well. Little girl, well off family, siblings, between ten and thirteen, vanishes without a trace, no ransom, no letter, no body, nothing."
If Quillish weren't aware of how suspicious it was, he would have smiled at the sudden light of enthusiasm within his young Charge's dark eyes. This case would be solved within a week if the Greatest Detective in the World had anything to say about it. But first...
The Captain sighed, "I was afraid of that. Mr Vostok, I'm going to have to ask you to gather all your staff, I'll need statements and alibis from all of them. We have witnesses who can pin-point the time of abduction and the location, if not the method." This was said with a rather dirty look over at Quillish and L, the former of which had simply told them he hadn't seen who took the girl, one moment she was there, he looked down, looked back up and she was gone. L had been more blunt and a lot less believable, she was there, then she wasn't, he didn't blink, nothing moved, he saw something pale but that was it, given the lights in the area he was willing to brush that off as a reflection of a light off something shiny. The police were not impressed with him but they couldn't push too hard since Quillish had explained that his adoptive son had Aspergers, if they got rough with him then it could be considered discrimination.
An hour later, the majority of the circus had arrived and another truck of police officers had pulled up, L and Quillish were sat off to the side watching the goings on as men and women in various states of costume and undress were quizzed and snarled at. A fight very nearly broke out amidst the Clown team when one officer made some derogatory conclusions about how a pair of lesbians had been the kidnappers and were now abusing the little girl to satisfy their sick desires for sexual gratification. L looked as though he were already building up a Misconduct file against the man as one of his fellow officers dragged him past, disgust written across his face.
"Anyone seen Silver or Ira?" someone called.
"That paste takes forever to get out of your hair, they're still in the showers. You know what Ira's like, if someone tries to pull 'em out, they're getting sent to the hospital on a stretcher," another voice responded just as a pair of men came onto the scene, wearing thick bathrobes and sandals. One with red-black hair, startlingly green eyes and a thin pair of silver rimmed glasses, L could see something that looked curiously like scar tissue under the shaggy mop of hair, at his side was a white haired albino, his hair tipped in black, red eyes narrowed on everyone around them as they arrived.
"Can someone explain what's going on?" the red head with the glasses asked, taking L by surprise somewhat, it was the Phoenix from the show earlier, that meant the white haired male was the Dragon if they were busy removing paste from their hair.
"Another kid's gone missing," a young man without a shirt explained making his way over and wrapping an arm around the Phoenix's waist, looking tired and upset. L watched with ill concealed fascination as the red head sighed and closed his eyes as if in pain, head dropping to rest on the shirtless man's shoulder while the white haired male growled angrily, sounding more like his stage character than an actual person.
"Has anyone seen Annabelle?" the red head asked making the shirtless man shake his head.
"She's with the tigers, they're really unsettled tonight," Shirtless explained, rubbing a hand in circles around the red head's back. "C'mon, you and Ira need to give alibis and explain where you've been."
"Right," Phoenix muttered, slipping free and making his way to the nearest uniformed officer.
Judging by their body language, no one was lying in L's professional opinion, the police didn't seem interested as they continued to question everyone and station more officers in the general area to prevent the Circus folk from moving around freely. Distantly, L could see the little girl's family sat in the back of one of the cruisers, sobbing and clinging to each other as they desperately waited for either news or dismissal.
A scream brought his attention back to the Circus folk, a woman with curly hair had dissolved into tears and was now clinging to Phoenix tightly as he murmured soothingly in her ear until her head snapped around and she looked wildly at Quillish and himself. Immediately she ran over, ducking under one of the officers that tried to stop her.
"You saw! You saw the girl get taken, what did you see? Did you see his face? The one who took her? Did you see? What did you see?" she cried desperately as Phoenix caught her around the waist and hauled her back. Her eyes were large and wild, desperate as she struggled against him. L drew back, horror struck, half hiding behind Quillish who looked likewise stunned by the sudden feral display of the woman who played Princess Jasmine on stage.
Phenoix drew her off, murmuring quietly as she sobbed and trembled against him.
"Don't worry about her," a male voice explained from their other side as the two were accosted by an officer who looked less than happy with the young woman's sudden hysterical break, L and Quillish looked over to see the young man who played the Most Trusted Advisor. He gave them a sad smile, "Annabelle gets upset whenever a kid is taken, we think the same guy who took her away when she was a kid is the one stealing children now, or at least a Copy Cat, she gets terrified at the thought of him, or her, anywhere nearby," he explained with a small shrug. "Oh yeah, I'm Eristoff, saw you in the performance crowd earlier, hope you enjoyed it. Though its a pretty shitty way to end the evening," he added in an undertone watching the group, his family, as they dealt with the police.
"How often has this happened?" L asked, watching him as he nibbled on the pad of his thumb.
"The kidnappings?" he asked, "More than I'd like to think on. You'd be better off asking Silver about that, he wanted to be a Detective before he ran away from home as a kid, he's got a whole file on the kidnappings, witness statements, sketches of the scene, anything you can think of, its pretty good given that he hasn't been here for any of them. Kid's been investigating whenever he gets free time, already dug one paedophile out of the Carnie crowd." The smile on the dark haired man's face was proud and a little upset at the same time, no one liked the thought of sharing living space with paedophiles or child abusers. L however was eyeing the red head, Silver or Phoenix, with a contemplative stare, perhaps he could be useful during his investigation.
Green eyes clashed with black as Silver looked over at him.
Annabelle took several hours to calm down and ended up sleeping in Harry's bunk in the Aerials Trailer while he shared with Eristoff, giving the woman some space but not letting her be alone, not after the questioning that those police bastards put her through. She very nearly suffered another nervous breakdown, as it stood, Harry was definitely going to be issuing a formal complaint to Captain Wright about how they were verbally attacking her, he didn't much care for the way they treated him either but at least they had a right to – he did refuse to give them his real name, full name, date of birth and any information that could be used to trace back to Harry James Potter.
He was Silver now, Silver who had the best herbal painkillers, muscle relaxants and sleeping medicine in the Circus, Silver whom things like gravity and heights meant nothing to, Silver who had a bad habit of getting overly friendly with people when drunk – incidentally how he lost his virginity, to Dorian of all people, Mr Chronic Exhibitionist. He liked Silver, Silver was free and funny and bright and playful, Harry was dark and quiet and tormented and far too serious for his own good.
Silver sighed as he lounged on top of the training trampolines, with the police investigation, all performances were on hold and they weren't allowed to leave L.A. no matter what their VISAs said, the FBI had shown up five days ago and were conducting interviews with everyone in the circus, carnies, staff, performers, technicians and mechanics, even the first aiders. He hummed quietly as he doodled a picture of a pure white owl on his black folder in Tip-X, he missed Hedwig, his faithful friend was still missing and his magic couldn't find her, he knew she was alive and well and still incredibly angry with her current situation, but she was alright so he was glad. He had worried for her a lot when living on the streets and as much as he missed her, where she was now was feeding her better than he had been able to during their time in London, so he was kind of glad she was where she was. True he could take good care of her, here, now, but at the time he couldn't and his future was uncertain.
"Are you the one who goes by Silver?" a gruff, baritone voice asked from below. Tilting his head and peering over the edge of the trampoline, a dark eyebrow rose at the sight of the man in the flawless black suit, he held an I.D. Badge out, "Agent Stone, FBI, I'd like you to come with me to answer some questions about that night and the various kidnappings that have taken place. We were informed you had been collecting information."
Silver eyed him from his seat sceptically, "Toss that badge up for a second please," he requested, receiving a raised eyebrow for a moment before the badge was flung at him. Catching it was easy, still had his Seeker Reflexes, he studied it carefully, making note of the serial numbers before gathering up his papers and pencil case, it seemed legit, true the FBI were questioning people but that didn't mean a damn thing to Silver or Harry because they were suspicious bastards who trusted very, very few people. "Here," he returned the badge, "Just let me put these away and I'll grab my files," he explained, leading the way back to the Aerials trailer. Agent Stone followed him annoyingly close, almost as if he were trying to walk in exactly the same foot-step patterns as Silver himself, how annoying. Sitting on his bed he dragged out two files from the small niche in his bunk, stowing the pictures in one he slid it back in place and picked up the red folder and his pencil case, "Let's go."
"I can carry those for you," Agent Stone offered, receiving a frigid look from the young man in question.
"You wouldn't hand off evidence of an on going case to someone else in the office, would you?" the red head demanded sharply, "Don't expect me to do the same. Now, where are we going and make it quick, some of us have things we have to do later," he bit out. Like feed and muck out the tiger cages because Annabelle was in no fit state to do either.
The man scowled but led the younger man into a trailer that hadn't been there earlier in the day, already he could see Eristoff, Hale, Layla, Kiiro, Ira, Kyoko, Astrid and Ingrid sitting a little off to the side. They were questioning them department by department so they didn't miss anyone, and, of course, being the resident 'Detective', Silver was getting called up first because he had collected the most information regarding the kidnappings and had the most success when pursuing them – as evidenced by the way he fingered Justin Rogers as a paedophile who used the disappearing little girls as a cover to run a paedophile human trafficking ring.
A man garbed in a long leather trench coat and wide brimmed fedora greeted them at the door, his features entirely concealed under the brim of his, quite frankly, awesome hat. He was fairly tall, broad shouldered and had an air of quiet confidence, his spine was straight putting Silver in mind of the Military or some form of trained Law Enforcement, he was also highly aware of their surroundings, paying particular attention to him as he came over with the FBI bloke. Harry suppressed the shiver that tried to work its way down his spine at being watched so intensely without ever seeing the man's eyes.
"Agent Stone, Mr Silver, thank you for your time. Mr Silver, this way please," the man rasped, his voice curiously distorted and without accent. Voice Distorting technology? This was getting more and more suspicious the longer he observed, this had never happened before.
Glancing over at the others who were looking equally bemused, Silver followed the leather clad man into the trailer, well, if someone had to figure out what the hell was going on, better him than Kiiro or Kyoko. Inside the trailer it was quite the plain room, a simple white colour, metallic table in the centre of the room and a few chairs, a white laptop sitting in the middle of the table, its screen blank save for the black Gothic printed 'L' on the white screen. He gave the room a brief once over and noted the concealed cameras with an annoyed twitch of his eyebrow, well, they were certainly going to be picking him and everything about him apart weren't they?
"Welcome Mr Silver, I am L," the Laptop suddenly announced, "Please take a seat."
Whatever he had been expecting, it certainly hadn't been the ever mysterious – and frightening – L to get involved with such a small scale case, regardless of the fact that it had crossed State and Country lines, no one had mentioned this. Silver's insides froze for all of a second as his mind exploded with a fair mixture of anxiousness and horror, L was here, if anyone could figure out who Silver really was and get in contact with the people who would care, it would be L. But he was here about the kidnappings, not about Harry Potter...
The seventeen year old took a seat on one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs, unaware that his sudden alarm at discovering who was interviewing him had been noted and analysed already. "I thought you only took cases that interested you, sorry if this sounds rude but how does kids getting snatched interest you?" he asked sceptically, setting the file on the table, eyes flickering to the leather clad man as he took a seat beside the door, arms folded like some kind of security guard in a museum.
"This case does interest me and that is all that matters. It has come to my attention that you have been gathering information on past disappearances, would you mind terribly if Watari took some copies and forwarded them to me?" Silver knew it wasn't a request or even a question and just shrugged in response, knowing that this Watari chap was going to take them anyway.
The man in the leather got to his feet and collected the files in silence, leaning in close enough to Silver for him to get a whiff of his scent, old, he could smell sweet things, the smell of leather, metal polish and old person. Whomever this Watari person was, he was definitely much older than his posture and presence would have suggested, for that alone, Silver found himself relaxing minutely. This man carried himself like Dumbledore but he wasn't the one in charge, he was the one who worked for L and thus wasn't a power-hungry manipulative bastard, L most likely filled that criteria all by himself but Watari was humble enough to work beneath and for such a person.
L and Silver sat in silence as Watari left the room to begin making copies of the file, behind the screen of his laptop, L was studying the young man with razor sharp dark eyes, taking him in with twice the intensity he had reserved for the others of this... colourful business. Silver was different and yet the same as all of them, there was something very, very different about him, something L was having difficulties putting his finger on and it was frustrating him something awful.
The eighteen year old genius dug his teeth down into the pad of his thumb, tongue probing the sharp edge of his nail thoughtfully as he dissected the younger male in front of him through the cameras.
He looked too young to be the seventeen he claimed to be, barely fifteen at most, he would have to probe that one again – even if L was quite certain that his upbringing had been abusive, at least in his childhood. The boy had obviously lived on the streets for quite an eye-opening stretch as well, but there was something different about it, him, L scowled as he contemplated the red-black haired young man in front of him. He was maddeningly difficult to quantify, rather like Mello in that regard, or rather, how Mello would become in a few years, he tilted his head and blinked slowly. An exercise in contradictions. How frustrating.
He recalled Matt mentioning something about the 33.3 Variable, this young man seemed to be that variable within this case, a wild card. How vexing.
Moments later, the information Silver had handed over was printed out to his left via the Fax Machine, some of the subtleties in the pencil sketches he had drawn of the scenes and maps of each carnival layout were lost but it was negligible when the Great Detective studied everything available. He did not have all the information and indeed he had a few things the police records didn't, he had included annotations with his own opinions on each of the situations and people involved, they were highly insightful and displayed a better understanding of human nature than your average person. Included within the notes were a few asides detailing other kidnappings that were not related to the current cases, thoughts behind them, patterns and routines and similarities and the like between each of the people in the circus. These patterns were what had allowed him to pin one particular set of abductions on the paedophile Justin Rogers, but it seemed as though he was drawing in like a shark on fresh blood in water to another group, larger and more brutal but without the Trafficking connections, roughly five individuals of predominantly male gender, he wasn't sure if there were any women in the group, their tactics suggested not – women tended to prefer smothering or poison to murder as opposed to beating and strangling – but he wasn't ruling it out and had set out a tentative list with five bullet points each and a page number beside each name, the bullet points with the core reasons why and the page number with alibis, times, dates and details of each kidnapping they could be connected to and the patterns that had emerged behind them.
It was... given the fact that the young man hadn't been in the circus for any of these disappearances, it was frighteningly thorough and the Detective could only heartily approve and admire his information gathering skills as much as he was suspicious of them. This level of quality and detail was not natural for someone who had not been there, at the time. So, unless the people he was questioning had photographic memories and could perfectly recall all of their actions and the actions of others at the times of these abductions, he was getting restricted evidence from somewhere. A possible leak in the police department? Never the less, he called the FBI agents who were currently installing cameras and microphones throughout the Aerials Caravan under the pretence of hunting for suspicious drugs, images or other illegal things. Already several people had been busted for possession of drugs, the most common being cannabis.
"Agent Gibbs, please take all laptops and computer towers within the caravan. I would like to personally comb through their files," he explained to the field agent who agreed curtly before hanging up. The FBI were familiar with his behaviours, he wouldn't be surprised if they were now paying extra attention to the Aerials Division from now on, whatever and whomever L paid close attention to was worth being held under a microscope according to all Law Enforcement operatives who had ever worked with him in the past. Flattering, but unnecessary.
Watari returned to the room and slid the file back across the table to the red head who wasted no time opening it up and checking through the pages, thumbing through them with familiarity and speed, clearly fully aware of what each and every page was and what was written on them. L arched an eyebrow, his behaviour showed a distinct lack of trust as he made sure each and every page of his obviously painstakingly gathered information was still there and undamaged or defaced.
"Your information gathering skills are quite impressive," he informed the younger male, keeping his voice mild and watching as green eyes snapped up from under that thick mane of crimson-black hair, fingers stilling on the pages even as the rest of him did not move.
"I've always had to find things out by myself. People tend to remember more than they want to think about, you just need to ask the right questions," he pointed out coolly, apparently aware of his rather leading question and willing to throw him a bone. L smiled absently at the screen, he found himself rather amused by the younger teenager's rather prideful condescension of himself. He was being humoured. On any other occasion it would have irritated him but he could tell by the facial muscle twitches and the way his body shifted and held itself that the former Street Rat held him, L himself, in high regard, himself, Silver, in rather low regard, not the kind of conscious low self esteem but rather in a very subconscious my existence is lower than yours kind of way, but was quite good at pretending otherwise in order to maintain a façade of normality or extrovertive self confidence. For what reason, L could not yet fathom, perhaps for his own comfort? Though it seemed as though it were merely out of habit, a way of deflecting possible beliefs or concerns of childhood abuse maybe? It seemed more of an ingrained personality quirk than a conscious effort.
"Never the less, the information you have provided me with shall be highly helpful, your powers of observation are remarkable. Would you be willing to aid us in our investigation? I am quite sure that you yourself will be doing your own in your free time, I merely offer the opportunity to do so officially and without the red tape." He was fairly certain the teenager would take his offer, he was already eyeing the laptop with that disconcertingly sharp gaze that made L lean forward in intrigue, wondering desperately what the younger teenager was thinking because those cut-glass bottle green eyes were unreadable and his body language displayed nothing but intense wariness and thought.
In a way, he was glad that his offer was being given so much thorough thought. Silver was not going to greedily grab at it and then complain when it wasn't what he anticipated.
"Would I be answerable to yourself or the FBI?" he asked, face and body still betraying nothing.
"Only to myself and Watari, unfortunately, given the fact that you are a member of the Polnach Staff, the FBI would object to your taking part with their side of the investigation as you are still listed as a suspect in their eyes." L had no problem with this sort of thing, he sought justice, if there was no justice to be found, regardless of the crime, he would not be interested. It drove Wammy up the wall that he knew and allowed various criminals to slip free from his grasp because he knew the reasons behind their crimes were good and just, the fact that the law had been broken was not in L's interest at that point. Hell, he had broken the law himself, many a time as a child and pre-teen.
"Would I receive information on the previous kidnapping cases? I wasn't able to get anything when I phoned the police in charge last time, despite it being a cold case according to them." L was 98-percent certain that Silver was going to accept his offer, so he was beginning to feel a little frustrated that the younger male had not yet said yes and agreed to his terms. However, the fact that he was still asking questions meant that he was still deciding and weighing the pros and cons, he was thinking this through in a way that very few people outside of Wammy's House would have.
"... Would I be paid?" Pay? Ah yes, the Circus paid them, mainly by allowing a roof over their heads, water for showers, electricity and the like, but they only provided pay enough for them to buy food. If they weren't preforming then they weren't bringing in money and the staff weren't going to be paid. L would have to see about relaxing the strangle hold that the FBI had on the circus, see if they couldn't get some performances going and a few of the rides operating during the daylight hours, just to make sure that they don't starve to death. Given that they were on a working VISA they had no legal right to try and claim Unemployment, never mind the fact that none of them – well, maybe one or two – were American Citizens.
"...When this bastard gets caught... I want all mention of myself removed from the media and the police," he finally conceded, agreeing to the offer in so many words but also making a demand that caused L's eyebrows to shoot up into his hairline. "I have a Stalker back in England. They're something of a fan of yours so I'd prefer any mention of me removed from any media and police records when this draws to an end."
L nodded, even though Silver couldn't see it, "I understand. Welcome aboard. Watari would you please give Mr Silver one of our mobile phones? Thank you," he intoned, watching as Wammy, clad head to foot in black leather, removed a sleek black device from his pocket and handed it over to the red head. "Mr Silver, that device cannot be used to call or text anyone aside from myself or Watari. Tomorrow, we will obtain a charger for you but for tonight the battery power alone will be sufficient. I must request that you keep that phone on you at all times, I will try to keep my calls to reasonable working hours but on occasion I may be forced to get your attention at a less than convenient, or appreciated, hour. This phone also acts as a Tracking Device should you become endangered, merely dial hash and nothing else, Watari's phone will be notified and the tracker automatically initiated on my laptop. This is for your safety," he explained, watching as the seventeen year old flipped the phone up and studied it, fiddling with a few of the keys before closing it and nodding towards the webcam.
"Alright, thank you for the opportunity, L. I look forward to working with you and Mr Watari."
L smiled, picking at his toenail, "No, Mr Silver, the pleasure is all mine."
L IS A BITCH TO WRITE! DDDDDDDDDX His thought processes are so freaking complicated at times, especially given that I'm trying to have him like Silver as opposed to be completely dead-fish on him. I hope you all enjoyed the chapter though.