Hi there, folks. This is one idea that has been stuck in my head for quite a while, namely writing a mystery story with the characters of an anime/book/etc taking on the roles of the grizzled detective, the femme fatale, the uncooperative police chief etc etc. After spending quite some time making a flowchart for the case that the main character has to crack, I recently got down to writing and now that I'm a few chaps ahead, I can finally post the story for you to read. Inspiration for this fic is, the sadly yet unfinished, The Red Dahlia by Hellion, who did a wonderful job of implementing Pokémon characters into a noir world and making it believable. I sincerely hope you enjoy this story, maybe try to solve the case before the detective and don't forget to read and review! This fic is dedicated to all of you Fate/Stay Night fans, Lancer fans and noir fans out there! Enjoy!
It was a dark and stormy night.
Only that it wasn't. There was no convenient darkness to hide the blood splattered across the room. The summer heat only made things worse- already I was cursing Ma for giving me such a strong sense of smell as the putrid stench invaded my nostrils. Like a horde of flesh-devouring maggots, I could feel it crawling under my skin and even then I knew well enough that no amount of liquid- alcoholic or otherwise- would be able to wash it away. The whole god-forsaken place gave me the creeps. One too many corners in the room remained dark and I could almost swear I heard something slithering in the darkness, as if there was a bunch of flesh-eating worms just waiting for us to leave so they could have their bloody feast.
The cigarette clutched in the corner of my mouth was long forgotten. Like some rookie copper at his first crime scene, I wanted to double over and puke my guts out- hell, one of the younger lads had even beaten me to it. I could feel the anger rising inside me. Anger at whoever had done this to the poor lass. Anger at myself for spending yet another night exploring how much whiskey exactly a washed-out Irishman can drink before passing out instead of actually doing my job and searching for her. Anger at the whole damn world for just continuing with its daily life as if nothing had happened when such a fine lass had literally been nailed to the fucking wall.
The grotesque picture in front of me, the gruesome stench, and the maddening sound of worms crawling as if just outside the periphery of my vision- it was driving me insane. Like a rabid dog ready to finally break off its chain and go on a bloody rampage, the anger clawed at my chest. And, by God, I wanted to let it out so, so much. Just give in, take the backseat, and allow the rampaging beast to do its job until there were only wet chunks of meat left of the bastard who did this. Aye, the temptation was too great. My vision was already seeing much more red then there actually was in that stifling room. With a sound akin to a can of sardines getting squashed under someone's foot, my cheap Zippo lighter met its untimely and unfortunate end in my shaking fist.
Still, some part of my brain, a bit more human than the majority of canine instincts crammed in that thick skull of mine, managed to restrain the beast. Aye, I had no target, no clues, no nothing. I reigned in the spasms. There was no sense of going berserk. Not yet anyway.
The damn sun only shined brighter and brighter. The light invading through the blood-stained windows gained a sickly red tint and washed over her naked body in a way that some fucked-up artistic brain would've called 'divine'. But, aye, in a way, she was a goddess. Sparkling under the sun, her long purple-blue hair cascaded down her sides like a waterfall in spring. As if someone had nailed to a crucifix a Venus in human form. Her pale skin was like porcelain, her proportions were perfect. Legs that went on for hours, a rack that any other lass would have killed for, a coy smile that still lingered on for some reason. Her eyes stood out most of all. Like a pair of polished amethysts straight out of the jewelry, the purple orbs just tore right into you as if wanting to whisper something in your ear, to give you some secret message… and, in the end, they left you in the dark, only able to chew the cheap cigarette in your mouth and desperately try to figure out the mystery this Venus had wanted to share with you. Aye, this lass was the ultimate tease.
Only the dreadful hole gaping next to her left breast ruined the picturesque beauty, like a sky having its sun ripped off and left to linger on without it. Colored the deepest crimson, like a blossoming rose, blood still trickled down from the place where the goddesses' heart had used to be.
I had no doubt that the lass had been the main star of many a man's wet dreams in her short life. Biggest question was, who would do that to such a rare flower?
"Hell of a way to steal a dame's heart, eh?" finally said the Commissioner and took out the thick cigar from his mouth. "Crucified on her own bedroom wall, heart torn out… I guess we can rule out the scorned lover scenario, can't we? Looks like we've a new whacko on the loose, people. How are we calling this one? The Heartstealer?"
In his own way, dressed in that signature crimson trenchcoat over yet another immaculate suit worth more than I make a year, Waver Velvet was the only one that actually didn't look out of place in the high class mansion. The once working-class hero looked and acted more and more like one of the rich folks every time I saw him. Like a caterpillar spending its whole life crawling to the top of the tree, he had finally sprouted those butterfly wings he had dreamed of his whole life, shooting all the way up to the top. Until, one day, all too sure of itself, the butterfly would wander in the dangled web of some vicious spider, ending its life like a glorified dinner. But that was neither here nor there. Lad had his heart in the right place from what I knew. And the newspapers gleefully reminded us at least once a week how police corruption had hit an all time low under his watchful care. Aye, the headlines were big enough to make even a blind lad's eyes hurt. In memory of once working under him I chose to ignore the fact that he was screwing some reporter working in the same newspaper.
"Your way of coping with the situation truly is awe-inspiring, mate. Or did you read that in the funnies?"
That's the only thing I've to say to a wonder-cop turned paper-pusher. For all I know his Ma was a nice enough lady that wouldn't deserve the things I kept to myself.
"Well, I've gotten used to it, I guess," he replied with a shrug and once again clutched the cigar in his mouth. He could play tough all he wanted, his trembling hands still gave him away. Hah.
"You ain't no pup anymore, mate. But you ain't top dog yet," I said and gave him a good hard pat on the back. Folks like him need to be brought down from time to time- else they'd bump their precious little heads in the ceiling.
"What are you doing here? This is an official police investigation."
I would've recognized the oh-so-bored voice grating my ears anywhere. My hopes that he would disappear if I pretend he wasn't there were scattered like steam in the wind and not ten seconds later he stomped in front of me like some wounded alpha protecting his territory. Frankly, I ain't got no idea how we actually ended up from partners to people trying to bite each other's throats off every time we meet. My shrink said it was 'cause I was a very violent man. I still think it was just 'cause he's such a jerk. Or vice versa. Such meaningless details ain't important anyway. Fact was, Archer was standing in front of me in all his annoying glory, slicked back white hair and dark blue uniform as immaculate as ever.
"I see you still have the talent of stating the obvious, Archer. Good to know that the more things change the more they stay the same," I said and tried flashing him some pathetic excuse of a faked smile. Sadly, I probably ended up looking like some mangy street mutt snarling at the prim and proper lap dog. "If you'd like to know so much, I was hired to find that lass hanging over there. Just yesterday in fact. A man's gotta make a living somehow, y'know."
"Well, you found her. Now why don't you scram and pray your employer hired you only to find her and not to, y'know, actually keep her alive," said Archer and crossed his arms, piercing me with those grey eyes of his that always made the guilty lads talk. Or the lasses swoon. Well, tough luck for him- I was neither.
"You dames done arguing who's the prettier?" cut us off the Commissioner and for a moment there he looked like a grumpy bear picking his teeth and just waiting for the prey to make the wrong move so he could put them to use. "Now, both of you clear out that ear wax and listen up! That dame hanging in all the glory of her birthday suit and more is Sakura Matou."
Suddenly Velvet's shaking hand had a more reasonable explanation and, like a rockslide set off by some tiny pebble, the possible results of the lass' death made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Dying out or not, losing ground or not, the name Matou still carried that sense of dread and sheer power every time it was mentioned. Heavens forbid, if anyone from or just remotely associated with the other two old families had went and offed the lass like this… it meant only one thing.
And the streets of this whole god-forsaken city were going to run red with blood, like rivers coming down the mountains in spring, as the mafia and the smaller gangs tore each other apart like rats fighting over pieces of garbage.
"Didn't we find Kariya Matou's body in a ditch a couple of weeks ago?" blurted out Archer, that perfect façade of his crumbling down like a clown whose unicycle had been taken from right beneath his feet. All in all, a sorry and most amusing picture- at least to me.
"Precisely," answered Velvet and nodded. Not even bothering to look back at the rest of his people, he clicked his fingers and pointed at the door. With the obedience of a pack of sheep, the bunch of uniformed dipsticks was gone in seconds. "That's the main reason I came personally anyway. This investigation is gonna be a very delicate matter. We are on the verge of an all-out war between the mafia families here. And with the yakuza getting more manpower as of recently, this city is gonna turn into a war zone like nothing. And the Fujimuras are enough trouble as it is. Those blue bloods, the Einzberns, are without a head ever since Acht died years ago. The Matous' patriarch is out of the game as well and that twin brother of his is just some lousy incompetent drunk. Only Tokiomi is still holding the front but even he can't pull off the miracle of maintaining the status quo if the Matous declare vendetta on him."
"Y'know, I can't help but wonder if there is something wrong when we've to relay on the mafia to keeps things peaceful. Ever had that feeling, mate?"
I blurted it out before I could even realize it. I didn't care for the glare Archer was piercing me with but Velvet's cooperation could've been crucial to my investigation. Just when I had began cursing my quick mouth into oblivion, the Commissioner just shrugged and knitted his eyebrows.
"I don't like it any more than you do, Lancer. But reality's reality and we've to work with that. Now, there's always the chance of this really being the work of some psycho but… the truce between the three families is shaky enough as it is. But if the culprit turns out to be one of the Tiger's people and our big bad mafia trio feels threatened by an outside force-"
Frankly, it was a miracle I didn't shout it out. The frothing dog inside me was suddenly yanking its chain once again and I wanted nothing more than to deck Waver Velvet in the face and finally take his suit out of that sterile, pristine condition. Archer looked just as shocked as me, if not even more- but of course Mr. 'By-the- book' chose to stay silent. Typical.
"You don't understand, Lancer. I'm not throwing the case. We are gonna investigate, we are gonna find the bastard who did this, understood? But we've to be very, very careful how and most importantly- who- we present to the press and to the mafiosi with the itchy trigger-fingers in the end."
"It's your duty-"
"It's my duty to keep this city safe," said the Commissioner through gritted teeth and grinded the butt of his cigar into the expensive carpet with his equally expensive shoe. I had the distinct feeling that he imagined my face getting crushed under his shoe. "And setting off a chain vendetta over one already dead girl isn't going to help me. And, s'far as I remember, you didn't object the last time I bent the rules to cover your sorry ass."
"I didn't ask you to," I answered, my words coming out more like a snarl than like human speech.
Archer chose that particular moment to remind me of his unwanted presence. As if I need more people dancing over my already itching trigger-finger.
"Look, pal, I understand that leaving a girl like this one… 'unavenged' isn't to your liking. But think about it for a minute. There will be dozens of innocent casualties! Hell, little kids even! And do you think you'll bring her back to life or something if you track down the bastard and show him to do whole wide world? Pfft. Once again you are ready to drown the whole city in your ideals instead of actually listening to reason."
Aye, that must've been it- the edge that drove us apart. People like Archer- like Velvet- they are like machines. Like a duo of robots with their hearts torn out and replaced with a bunch of cogs and springs. They make the smart decisions. If a limb endangers the body, they just chop it off. If some poor lass is better left unavenged to keep the status quo…
Well, they'd keep the status quo.
Me? I'm not like that. I don't have their smarts, nor can I stand their rational decisions. I'm just an unwanted hound, a remnant of an era gone by that still keeps on holding to his stupid sense of 'honor'. Heh, that's what she had told me she liked in me the most. That's where my dream of her being attracted to me because of my rugged good looks came crashing down actually.
"Lancer, if you think this is like it was with Bazett, don't," said Archer, as if that damned white-haired pretty-boy had read my thoughts. "This is compl-"
"Completely different?" I cut him off and let out a hoarse laugh. "Ain't that right, mate? But, y'know, I don't see her killer behind bars and somehow I've the feeling that this here lass's gonna share her fate."
"I was thinking of letting you stay as a consultant, y'know," said Velvet and threw one last look at the girl's body before heading to the door. "But since you are too damn stubborn I can't risk having you bursting into suspects' houses, guns ablazin'. I don't even want to catch a hint of you sniffing around, Lancer. And I sure as hell want you out of here before the vultures arrive, got it? So long."
With a casual wave of his hand the Commissioner left just like that, Archer following him out soon after. I was left alone with the dead Goddess of Beauty and the maggots hiding in the corners who waited for the grizzled dog to get the hell out so they could start with their morbid buffet.
And the blood just kept on trickling down her naked body, colored deep crimson, like a blossoming rose.
Come to think of it, it was very much the same evening when I got the case. The parting beams of the sun were shining through the half-open blinds, cutting apart the lingering smoke of the cigarettes like the headlights of a sports car speeding down the Heights in the thickest of fogs. As useless as ever, the ceiling fan just kept on spinning and spinning, like a stray dog chasing its tail in slow motion. And the pathetic excuse for a human, gulping down enough liquor to put out a forest fire- that would've been me. Frankly, it was in some twisted kind of sense, a perfect picture taken out of the movies.
Of course, the whole set up came crashing down when my client entered. Going by the movies, it should've been a stunning beauty, legs up to her neck, a majestic bust, a figure screaming of both innocence and danger, hinting at how good she was at using her feminine advantages. Aye, it should've been that little goddess I had left in the morning, nailed to the wall with her heart torn straight out of her chest. But, no, it was a lad that gave me the case that night before.
Looked like a nice enough kid, if a bit daft if you ask me. Kept on looking around the whole time, like some cornered pup. Introduced himself as Shirou Sajyou and claimed to be searching for his girlfriend. 'Sakura'. He only told me her given name and without mentioning her family, how could I have known? And frankly, it was mighty stupid of me not to ask. But what the red-haired lad told me led me to believe it was as ordinary as it could get. He loved the lass, she loved him back, their folks wouldn't have approved… the usual sappy Romeo and Juliet routine. Last time he saw her at some party she had a falling out with her brother and ran off. Shirou hadn't heard of her ever since. And given how rarely I even had clients and with that small wad of cash now lying on my desk, who was I to trample over someone's dreams?
I wish I could say that all that drinking had muddled my sorry excuse for a brain but, sadly, alcohol hasn't had the needed effect on me ever since… Bazett. Funny how that works. I've never being a lightweight but some days I think that my organs would eventually stop just like that as I'm gulping down the thousandth shot of whiskey.
I wondered if this 'Shirou' would show up on my doorstep on the next day, wanting his money back. And frankly, I would've given 'em to him. My performance on the case so far hadn't been exactly awe-inspiring. And with Archer and Velvet waving their banner 'For The Greater Good' left and right, in everyone's faces, chances were the little goddess was going to end up unavenged, a mere victim of some psycho randomly chosen from some of the street gangs or the Tiger's people. Nothing but yet another statistic in the big shots' books.
Just like Bazett…
I double-checked if the old Magnum of mine was in my pocket. After putting on the dusty trench coat and that fedora Bazett had bought me for my birthday all those years ago, I locked down the place and headed out to the dirty streets of this city of sins as the Sun finally went away and gave in to the kingdom of darkness.
The police were all just a pack of trained lap dogs, all bark and no bite unless their masters thought it was convenient. This particular case… aye, it needed a hound, a grizzled easily-angered hound that knew how to track the lead and wasn't afraid to bite when he needed to. If that little goddess needed me to revert to the feral beast I was inside to avenge her… then so be it. I swore to do it for her. And for Bazett.
That was my promise. My Geasa.