A Study in Silver
"Are you fucking high?" Kanda demanded once he entered the soon to be familiar room.
The old man had let him in, not commenting on how the doctor was tightly controlling his breathing from speed walking over an hour. Lavi was lounging on the couch, coat haphazardly thrown over. His hands were steepled together under his chin and his eye was shut closed, in some kind of thinking position.
"Nicotine patch," Lavi replied calmly, not even opening his eye. "Helps me think. Impossible to sustain a smoking habit in London these days—bad news for brain work."
"At least your lungs don't get fucked up," Kanda commented, squinting at the other's arm. "Is that three patches?"
"It's a three patch problem," Lavi sighed, starting to mutter to himself. "I couldn't find the bag—where is the bag? By right the killer should've noticed the object within five minutes and then attempted to get rid of it but there was nothing within the five minute radius; where is the bag?"
Kanda would never understand the red head, and he had only met the idiot for more than a day. "So, what was the important shit?"
"Oh yeah, I need your phone."
"…"If Kanda would admit anything, he would admit that he felt fucking cheated for having walked faster than usual because of that dreadfully misleading text from the idiot. Dangerous? Dammit, what was he thinking? "Don't you have a fucking landline?" he shot back in return.
"Not that," Lavi answered. "I need internet connection."
"Use your own goddamn laptop!"
"It's too far away!"
Kanda gritted his teeth, and felt the overwhelming urge to punch the other. "I was on the other side of London!"
"There was no hurry," the redhead replied, shrugging, holding out his palm. "Give it here."
"You texted me here…to lend you my phone," Kanda scowled, biting the words out slowly. "Wait, how did you get my number anyway?"
"Lenalee. And Yes."
As if. "No."
Lavi sat up, almost pouting childishly. "I need your phone."
"I'm leaving," Kanda rolled his eyes, and made to walk out the door.
"Don't fucking call me by my first name!" The Japanese snapped furiously back in reflex, stopping the other in his trail.
Lavi was looking at him in that particular way, like he was seeing something that no one else could see. His gaze was directed right at Kanda, and tension arose thicker than before. "Trust issues?" he asked, eye flickering up and down. "Someone betrayed you—"
Kanda grabbed the other roughly by the collar and yanked down with no mercy, till their noses where nearly touching. At least the consulting detective knew when boundaries were being tested, or maybe it was the look that Kanda was giving him that honestly scared the shit out of him.
"Shut the fucking hell up," Kanda hissed, eyes alight with fury.
A minute of silence passed, and then Kanda dropped him uncaringly on the floor.
"Ow," Lavi complained, rubbing the back of his spine where the impact was the greatest.
A small clink caught Kanda's attention as a small round ring rolled out and clattered upon the floor.
"The ring. Yes, obviously."
The calm way that Lavi said it made Kanda question the other's sanity—not for the first time.
"You're not supposed to fucking steal evidence!"
"I'm just…borrowing it," he shrugged. "I need it."
"Need it for?"
"I need your phone too."
"I'm not lending you my phone. Use your fucking laptop."
"Yuu—" The glare that came his way stopped the word in his throat. "Doctor Kanda," he acceded, sniffing a little. "Pass me my laptop," he gestured somewhere on the kitchen table. "Please," he added when the other just stared at him.
Kanda glanced at it, took it and threw it toward the redhead who caught it smoothly.
"Right," Lavi breathed, opening the gadget as he propped his legs on the couch. A few taps of keys and clicks occurred, and the computer was snapped shut. "Okay then, shall we go?"
Perhaps it was the look of pure confusion on the doctor's face that Lavi felt the need to ask. "You've got questions?"
"What was that?"
"I put up an advertisement online."
"The ring." Lavi frowned at Kanda's look of incomprehension. "The ring," he repeated, almost impatiently. "It wasn't in a pocket or a finger—it was on the ground," he continued. "Clearly it was dropped on accident and the murderer would want it back."
"Couldn't you check it for fingerprints?"
"It was clean." Came the rapt reply.
"So won't the killer just leave it?"
"No, this is important," Lavi said thoughtfully. "He would risk anything except losing the ring. After killing the man he discovered his loss and hurried back, but someone else had already stumbled across the scene and called the police—"
Kanda stared. "Since when—"
"The drunken man Komui was talking about—weren't you listening? He had to pretend to be drunk in order to allay the suspicions which might have been aroused by his appearance back to the street. Now think about it. If he is so desperate for the ring he would keep a lookout for it, no doubt. So, I put up an advertisement for a found ring online. In Brixton, found outside Holmeswood Park along the main street. Contact Dr Kanda, 22 Northumberland Street. Simple."
Kanda did not know whether to be horrified. "You used my fucking name?"
"Obviously," Lavi rolled his eye. "The murderer will recognize mine."
"I'm assuming Komui doesn't know about this."
"So why the hell are you telling this to me?"
"The old man took my skull."
"So, I'm replacing your skull," Kanda stated dryly, not amused.
"Relax, you're doing great," Lavi grinned with cheer, grabbing his coat, and headed towards the door. "Well…"
The redhead shrugged, making quick work of tying a scarf—horrendously orange, clashed horribly with his hair, Kanda thought with great spite—and cocked his head. "You could just stand there and…watch telly, I dunno—"
Kanda raised an eyebrow at the sarcasm. "You want me to come with you?"
"I like company when I go out, and the skull just attracts attention—problem?"
The doctor scoffed. "You're fucking insane."
"And I said dangerous," Lavi smirked. "And here you are."
Kanda swallowed, staring after the disappearing back out of the doorframe. He couldn't help the sense of nagging compulsion tightening at his chest and eventually seconds later he swore, making his way after the redhead.
Kanda was starting to hate any situation involving the redhead—because he felt so lost and stupid—for once in his entire fucking life. "Where are we going?"
"Northumberland Street. Just a short walk from here," Lavi replied, steps bouncing with a sort of happy lightness.
"You think the murderer will respond to your stupid advertisement."
"I know he will—he's desperate for that ring," the redhead explained. "With that elaborate death set-up, he wants the appreciation, he made it for an audience—he doesn't mind taking the risk of getting caught. The killer abducted Daisya Barry straight after work; he was taking shelter from the rain, no one is usually never alone outside the malls in Knightsbridge—think! Who passes by unnoticed in a busy crowd?"
There was no response from the doctor, but Lavi could tell he was listening—just not bothered to give him a reply.
"I haven't got the faintest," he concluded to himself eventually. "Hungry?"
Lavi brought him to a particular restaurant that he had never frequented before. Apparently the redhead was a regular customer here, for the waiter who opened the door for them both showed them a table right next to the window giving them a clear view of 22 Northumberland Street.
"Keep your eyes on it," Lavi muttered, staring out the window with interest.
"You seriously think the murderer is going to ring the doorbell?" Kanda raised a skeptical eyebrow.
"It's fucking obvious, isn't it?" the Japanese shot back, feeling slightly glad that he could use that word for once. "Your advert, it's suspicious. The police cordons the area off due to the crime scene, and poof, magically some idiot Samaritan finds a random silver ring on the floor and decides to be nice," he spat the word out like it disgusted him, "and has the noble inspiration of returning it to its previous owner. Nobody fucking does that."
"Ah," Lavi nodded, thoughtfully. "But even if it is suspicious, he will come."
Kanda would've said some more, but a tall tanned man in a chef uniform and sunglasses—who the fuck wore sunglasses at night and indoors—with pulled back braided hair approached their table.
"Ah, Lavi," the man grinned. "Anything for you, anything you want, off the menu, free. Only for you and your date—"
What the fuck—no. Seriously. "I'm not his date," Kanda snapped.
Unfortunately it seemed like the man just ignored him.
"This man got me off a murder charge," the other continued, pride tingling in his voice. "Brilliant man, cleared my name."
"He's Jerry," Lavi introduced, though his eye was still affixed out the window. "Three years ago he was charge with a triple murder that occurred when he was in a totally different part of town. Anything from the opposite?"
"Nothing," Jerry sighed, giving a quick look out of the window before landing his gaze on Kanda. "I'll get a candle for the table—it's more romantic."
"I'm not his fucking date!" Kanda grounded out, but it was useless as the chef had already sauntered off.
"You might as well order something as we wait," Lavi pointed out, hand tapping on the table.
"Whatever," the doctor muttered, scanning down the menu and only looked up when the promised candle was set in front of him, including a wink and thumbs up from Jerry.
"You seem agitated," Lavi stated, eye occasionally darting towards him.
"So…" he began again, now observing the other more blatantly then before. "You have a girlfriend?"
Kanda looked taken aback at the question but he steeled his expression into a glare. "No."
"You have a boyfriend then? Which is…fine by the way—"
"What the fuck are you implying?" The glare got deeper. "No."
Lavi coughed. "Unattached. Right. Like me," he nodded thoughtfully, and there was an awkward tension between them both for a minute. "By the way, before you grow any interest in me I'd just like you to know that I consider myself married to my work."
If it was even possible, the death glare that Kanda had dropped several degrees. "I didn't fucking ask."
"Okay. Okay," Lavi grinned peacefully, and then he abruptly narrowed his eye, demeanor turning serious. "Look across the street. A taxi. Why a taxi?" he muttered, peering further forward. "Oh, that's clever. Is it clever? Why is it clever?"
"That's him?" Kanda squinted at the black vehicle that had pulled up along the opposite street. A vague figure of a man seemed to turn and look back in their direction.
"Don't stare," Lavi commanded.
"What? You're staring."
"Well, we can't both stare," he retorted, arising from his seat and grabbing his coat.
Kanda sighed in irritation when he realised Lavi was going to chase after the vehicle—it might have been by obligation, or something else, that he snatched his own coat and hurried after the consulting detective.
Lavi was standing at the sidewalk, eye transfixed at the taxi. The vehicle started to move off, and immediately he stepped onto the road, not bothering to look if there was incoming traffic—and there was. Kanda paused in shock when a car suddenly screeched to a halt, bumping Lavi with a much lesser impact than it could have.
"Sorry," the redhead shouted to the car and took off right away as soon as he got his balance back. "Oh dammit," he muttered when he spotted the car disappearing down the lane. "Where, where, where?" he mumbled, closing his eye and frowned in concentration. "Right turn, pedestrian light, pedestrian crossing, wardour street, then noel street, there's a stop there, diversion, one way, road works, traffic lights—" his eye snapped open and he bolted down the pavement.
The doctor only watched in bewildered awe and ran after the consulting detective. It seemed like the red head knew exactly where he was going—he dived into an alleyway and ran up one of the metal steps, making his way across the top of a building. From there, Lavi maneuvered across the buildings with ease, and Kanda thanked the god that his legs were working perfectly fine, and he was fucking fit, so he at the other's heels as they ran. They went down another flight of steps, past Lexington Street, through more rubbished filled alleyways, until finally they came upon the main road.
Lavi skidded right in front of an incoming taxi, arms spread out wide.
Before impact, however, a strong arm hauled him backwards.
"Ever heard of the saying look before you leap?" Kanda shouted at him once the car screeched past with a swear sword from the cabbie. "The second fucking time—"
"Ever heard of he who hesitates is lost?" Lavi retorted, looking angry. "Now we've lost him!"
"You fucking idiot," the other growled, lips pursing in displeasure. "It's that taxi!" he pointed roughly to another black vehicle that was coming in their direction, but at a slower speed. "I remember the number plate."
Lavi blinked, turning to look at the car. "Oh," he mumbled, and then hurried to flag it down. "Police, open up—" he stopped when he opened the door of the passenger.
An Asian man of about late twenties stared blankly at them.
"No," Lavi muttered under his breath, obviously disappointed. "Taiwanese, first trip to London. Just arrived."
Kanda stared. "How can you possibly know—"
The asian man frowned. "Are you guys the police?"
"Err, yeah," Lavi waved some ID at the man, smiling awkwardly. "Um, welcome to London," he muttered before shutting the door, quickly making his way down the street.
"It was just a taxi that slowed down," Kanda stated when he caught up with the other. "Not the murderer."
"Not the murderer," Lavi agreed.
"So much for your brilliant plan."
The redhead huffed, scowling at how the Japanese was obviously taking delight in his disappointment. "What are you snickering at?"
"Welcome to London."
It was dark when they returned to 221b Baker Street, and Kanda was starting to feel hungry. He didn't get to eat at that restaurant—even if the chef was weird, but the food was good, he could tell, and it would've been even better if they had soba. He didn't get to browse through the menu fully.
"What about Northumberland Street?" he asked, a thought occurring to him.
"Oh, the restaurant can keep an eye out. I'm tired," Lavi breathed in deeply, fanning himself as he leaned against the wall of the corridor leading up to the steps. "It was a long shot anyway."
"So what are we doing here?"
"Oh, just…passing the time," the redhead shrugged, waving his hands around vaguely. "And proving a point."
Kanda looked at him curiously. "What point?"
"You," Lavi smirked, raising his voice after. "Gramps! Yuu will take the room upstairs!"
The Japanese would've kicked the other for using his first name again, but he was more confused. "Says who?"
Now, he really did not get what was going on. "What?"
"Give me your hand," Lavi elaborated, holding out his palm in return. "Your right hand."
Befuddled, Kanda did as he was asked—and stared at his own hand wrapped in Lavi's larger one. It looked the same to him, that particular small scar on the bottom of his thumb when he cut himself with a scalpel once, and also the small nick on the knuckle on his smallest finger from a surgical wire, and it was resting steadily in the other's palm.
It was steady.
Lavi looked smug, but Kanda didn't have the mood to feel annoyed, because holy shit—the tremor was gone.
The sound of someone storming down the steps quickly broke him out of his thoughts, and Lavi dropped the hand contact as though it burned.
"Idiot!" the redhead—their—landlord hissed, looking displeased. "What have you done? Come upstairs, quickly now!"
The sense of urgency snapped both of them to their feet, and they all hurried up the steps.
"What are you doing?" Lavi demanded once he swung the door open to the living room, which was crowded with people—people touching things, moving things…
Komui was sitting in one of the couches, sipping a mug of coffee, looking relaxed. "I knew you took the ring—I'm not stupid."
"You can't just break in to my flat!"
"You can't withhold evidence," the elder replied reasonably. "And, I didn't break into your flat."
"Then what do you call this then?"
Komui paused, searching for an appropriate excuse. "It's…a drug's bust!"
"Seriously, are you fucking kidding me?" Kanda snorted, scoffing. "This moron? Have you met him?"
Lavi looked oddly uncomfortable. "Yuu."
"Like, seriously—" At the mention of his name, he glared towards the redhead. "I told you not to use my first name!"
"Yuu," Lavi repeated, voice low with gritted teeth. "You probably want to shut up now—"
Kanda stopped, eyes widening. "You…are you fucking serious?"
"Shut up," the redhead snapped, and then shifted his glare towards Komui. "I'm not giving the ring back to you."
"Knew it," Komui muttered, rolling his eyes.
"Are these human eyes?" Chaoji appeared at the doorway of the kitchen, holding a Tupperware with barely concealed disgust.
"Put those back!"
"Freak, it was in the microwave—"
"It's an experiment!" Lavi sighed, annoyed. "What are you really here for, Komui?"
The detective gulped down the remaining contents of his drink and sighed, looking wearier than he did before. "We've tried to talk to anyone related to Daisya Barry—no related kin here in London. Apparently he ran away from home when he was young, never contacted his parents at all. Worked previously in Kensington before the company moved location. Colleagues fondly remember him as the prankster, the joker, always making people laugh. I'm guessing it had to do with the writing in the gravel since you said it was revenge—"
"No," Lavi immediately shook his head.
"How do you know—"
"It was written by the victim, not the murderer. It was sloppy, desperately scratched when he was dying. The murder would've taken his time to write it nicely," he explained. "It was a message. A message from Daisya Barry. Tease. What, how, who—"
"Dimwit, did you order a taxi?" their landlord suddenly appeared at the door. "There's one outside."
"No, I didn't. Must be a wrong address," he waved it off flippantly, starting to pace around. "Why would he write a word like that? What could it mean? A tribute to his prankster nature? No—"
"Is this a brain in the freezer?"
"Stop touching my stuff!" Lavi sighed, sending an irritated look towards Chaoji, and continued to pace faster than before. "A name of someone significant? Or something to do with his work? There has to be a connection, there has to be."
"The taxi says you called him—"
"He was dying, it took effort, it would've been a last resort—gramps, look, I didn't, okay?—Why why why, why did he write it? He was a prankster, he was smart. He's trying to tell us something—"
"Boy, that taxi is not moving—"
"God is this a human heart—"
"Shut up everybody, shut up!" Lavi shouted, clearly agitated. "Don't move, don't speak, don't breathe, don't think! Chaoji, face the other way you're putting me off."
"What?" Chaoji spat, offended. "My face is?"
Before Lavi could retort, another even more condescending voice cut through.
"Fuck, shut up," Kanda sneered, rubbing his temples. "You lower the IQ of the entire street when you open that fucking mouth of yours."
Never before did Lavi feel so grateful to another human being. "Come on, think, quick—"
"What about your taxi?"
"Old man!" Lavi shouted in annoyance, clicking his tongue. "Go away, I'm trying to think!"
A heavy book was slammed into his face, and when the redhead slowly peeled the offending object off his sore nose, his landlord was glaring at him darkly.
"Sorry," he coughed, faltering slightly. "Stress."
The old man snorted, and stalked out the door, unimpressed. "Deal with the taxi yourself, boy. I'm not your housekeeper."
"Yeah, fine. Stupid taxi," the redhead mumbled, rubbing his nose, and then he stilled. "Oh."
It was the way he said it that caught the attention of everybody in the room.
"Ohhhhh. He was smart, oh yes, very smart," he breathed, a grin spreading on his lips. He paced around the room in a circle. "Do you see, do you get it?" he demanded excitedly. "He knew he was going to die. He wrote it to lead us to his killer!"
Everyone else just stared in utter silence. "How?" Komui asked.
"What do you mean how?" Lavi shot back, incredulous. "Tease! It's brilliant! Don't you see—it all adds up!"
Blank looks in return.
"Tease? Don't you see? Tease!" he tried again, and then sighed in frustration when there was no response. "Five years ago an unfortunate accident occurred in Kensington before the Burberry fashion show. The marquee caught fire for reasons unknown. No one was hurt, and only one model was hurt in the occasion. Nothing else was reported than that—it was kept as low key as possible," he rattled on. "And the title of the show was called Tease."
"…You think the murderer of Daisya Barry is taking revenge for that incident?" Komui frowned. "But we don't even know if he has worked there before—there is no proof that he was the one who caused the fire—"
"Research, do your research," Lavi stated impatiently. "Find these things out, that's what you're supposed to do."
"Even so, what makes you so sure—"
"The ring!" the redhead groaned. "Must I spell everything out? Isn't it obvious? The butterfly engraved inside the ring. It was the theme of that showcase, no doubt an item from it. For starters, find everything I said out. Give me a list of all the models who have worked on that showcase—no, find me the one who got hurt. Find him, and you find your killer."
"Boy, deal with your taxi!"
Lavi shook his head in irritation. "Yes, yes, comin—" he stopped.
Who passes by unnoticed wherever they go?
Kanda noticed how the redhead had paused for a moment, before taking his coat slowly off the rack as Komui rattled instructions to the rest of the people in the room.
"Where are you going?" Kanda asked just as Lavi was stepping out of the door.
"Fresh air," the other replied distractedly. "Just popping outside for a while. Won't be long."
Kanda did not try to stop him, and only eyed the fast disappearing back with suspicion.
Once outside, Lavi shut the front door behind him silently.
"Taxi for Lavi Bookman."
A tall man, early thirties was leaning against the characteristic black vehicle. He was dark skinned, and his face was marred with scars—he could tell some work had been done to clean it up, but it was definitely nothing compared to the beautiful face it was before. Sharp jaw, nice bone structure, dark glinting eyes in the unusual shade of molten gold. His hair was long, pulled into a long ponytail at the nape. A lazy smirk was spread on his lips.
"I didn't order a taxi," Lavi stated, hands casually in his pockets.
"Doesn't mean you don't need one," the other man grinned.
"You're the cabby," he said at long last. "The one who stopped outside Northumberland Street. It was you, not your passenger."
The man flicked his bangs. "Interesting, isn't it?" he commented. "No one ever thinks about the cab driver. It's like you're invisible. Perfect," he smirked, voice low. "For a murderer."
"Is this a confession?"
"Yeah well," the man shrugged, not seemingly very concerned. "You can call those doofs if you like. But trust me when I say this—I didn't kill Daisya Barry. He killed himself."
Lavi frowned. "...Really."
"It's up to you whether you want to believe me or not. I just talked to him. If you call the cops down now I can promise you one thing though—you will never know how I did it," the other smiled, almost in an innocent gesture. "But if you come with me," he held out the door open gallantly. "Maybe you might learn something new."
"So you can kill me."
"Nah," the man snorted, chuckling. "We're just going to have a little chat. Then, you're going to kill yourself."
Lavi stared at the man for a moment, and entered the vehicle.
Kanda was right to trust his gut instinct when it felt like something off. After all, it had saved his life countless times during battle. If there was an urge to duck, duck. Most likely a bullet that could've shot him straight through the brain would whizz by. Thus loyal to his sixth sense, he followed after the cab that Lavi had gotten in at a safe distance.
"Wait—shit, stop here," he demanded, shoving a bill towards his cab driver before getting out hurriedly.
The other cab he was trailing was still moving down the street, but he had a feeling they were going to stop soon. True enough, at the further end of the road, the vehicle turned into an opening and Kanda moved close enough to see that it was a carpark.
He hid behind the edge of a stone pillar of the gate that surrounded the area, glancing at the words printed in on the top of the middle building inside.
"SOAS," he muttered, furrowing his eyebrows.
Why a college?
There wasn't time to ponder upon that as Lavi got out of the cab, escorted by the other man, and together they disappeared into the building.
Without thinking he placed his hand at his hip, and gritted his teeth when he realised his gun wasn't there. Of course it wasn't there—he stopped bringing his gun around ever since he wasn't in Iraq, but old habits die hard—he still kept the weapon at home.
Shit. There was that nagging feeling again.
He needed his gun.
Lights flickered on as Lavi walked deeper into the library, as being led by the man.
"What do you think?" the man asked, gesturing around. "Is this place good enough for your death bed?"
Lavi continued to observe the books around nonchalantly. "I'm not going to die here."
A smirk curled at the man's lip. "That's what he said," he grinned. "Come, take a seat. Let's have a nice chat. Sorry, no tea, darling."
"You're excused," the redhead replied, pulling out a chair for himself and the other sat across him. "You took a risk, didn't you? Probably didn't have time to boil the kettle."
"A risk? Nah," the man shook his head playfully. "Hardly. I was too busy preparing the main course," he answered, and from his pocket he produced a bottle.
The small glass bottle was set on the table, and Lavi eyed it. Inside, there was a pill—drug, poison, no doubt.
To be honest, Lavi felt disappointed. "That's it?"
"So impatient," the man chided, chuckling, and his other hand brought out another bottle, exactly the same as the first, including the pill. As the two bottles stood side by side, it was impossible to distinguish between the two. "Lavi Bookman," he grinned. "Here it begins."
Lavi stared at the bottles for a moment. "Okay. Two bottles, explain."
"There's a good bottle and a bad bottle. You take the pill from the good bottle, you live, and if you take the pill from the bad bottle, you die. Simple, isn't it? Everything is up to fate."
"And the bottles are identical in every single way—"
"But you know which is the good bottle—"
"Of course I know—"
"And I don't know which is the good bottle—"
"It wouldn't be fair if that was the case, would it?"
Lavi flickered his gaze from the bottle back to the man. "How is that fair?"
"I let you choose, Lavi Bookman," the man replied, leaning his cheek on his palm lazily. "Just as I let Daisya Barry choose. God is fair."
"As with all those who yearn for revenge believe," Lavi stated, staring at him. "Tyki Mikk. Portuguese. You started out your model career seven years ago, and was promising, very promising. Within two years you worked your way to be the face of a Burberry's runway show that was an only invite event of the rich and famous," he continued, watching the other carefully. "Tease, as it was called. But an accident during rehearsal caused the entire place to be set on fire. You were changing in the room when the alarm sounded. Panicked, you tried to evacuate the building but the door was jammed, having set in place by prankster Daisya Barry who though it was funny to make your appearance late. He didn't anticipate the fire."
Tyki didn't look so much as surprised. "Good, very good," he praised, grinning. "Don't you see, Bookman? He played with my life, and I played with his. Equivalent change. Our lives were both put to the test, and the outcome is so telling, isn't it?"
"So why did you come find me, then?" Lavi questioned. "Your motive was done."
"Ah, it was a request," the Portuguese stated. "From my sponsor."
"Sponsor?" the redhead repeated, frowning. "Who is that?"
"A fan of yours. Gave me great advice, but really, I owe him so much, so this is just a little gift from me. I'll tell you only if you play the game, Bookman," Tyki smiled. "Now, take your pick, you're wasting time."
Lavi was staring at him harder than before. "You put the ring there on purpose."
Tyki smirked. "Of course."
"You returned to the crime scene on purpose."
"That cab, everything!" Lavi started, agitated.
"Better yet," the Portuguese grinned, revealing his perfect teeth. "The writing on the gravel. I asked Daisya to write it after he chose his fate."
"Dropping so many obvious clues just to contact me," the redhead muttered. "Ah, but the bag. The bag; you realized Daisya had left the bag in your taxi, and you didn't dump it off somewhere."
"Oh, that would've been too easy for you if you found it," Tyki shrugged. "Besides, I know people who can get rid of it for me, nice and clean."
"Your sponsor," Lavi mumbled, pieces of the puzzle falling into place. "Tell me, who is your sponsor?" he demanded.
"No cheating, Bookman," Tyki shook his head, smiling, pointing at the bottles. "Choose first, and then I'll answer."
Lavi looked at the bottles. "Not much point in this game, is there? Fate? Chance? Fairness?" he snorted. "Hardly. You're going to die anyway. Late stage leukemia," he stated. "You've already had an operation as seen from that scar on your arm but it came back, more vicious than before. The way you breathe, it hurts, indicates signs of organ failure. It takes effort. You're dark skinned but you're pale, not enough blood in your system—anemia, a particularly obvious symptom. Judging by your wig, I'm guessing chemotherapy was of no help. There's nothing you can do but await your death—cancer is not going to cure itself."
Tyki looked impressed. "Oh, he was right," he shook his head, chuckling. "You're not good. You're brilliant."
"The question is why," Lavi continued, observing him. "Why did you kill Daisya Barry?"
"As you said, it was for revenge."
"No," the redhead breathed. "You didn't kill him because you were bitter—bitterness, is a paralytic, but love, love, is a much more vicious motivator. Somehow, this is about your sponsor," he frowned. "Someone close to you. Someone you owe and you're giving him your last breath."
There was pure silence in the library until Tyki started to clap slowly, a wide grin on his face. "Perfect, absolutely perfect. But you're cheating here, Bookman. You can't get the prize when you haven't played the game."
Still on the table sat those two innocent bottles.
"I don't need to—" Lavi sniffed. "I know the answer," he said, standing up and stretching. "Well, it was a nice chat with you. Very interesting, worth quite a bit of my time. I look forward to the court case," he smiled, making his way out. "I'll get you a ride if you need one!"
"Doesn't it bother you?" Tyki asked as he was nearly reaching the door. "That you'll never know if you were right?"
"I know I'm right," the consulting detective shrugged confidently.
"Prove it to me. Here," Tyki tossed him one of the bottles. "I made the first move, but it's your call in the end," he grinned. "Is this a bluff? Or a double bluff? Or a triple bluff?"
"This is ridiculous." The redhead scoffed, glancing at the bottle. "Child's play."
"What is there for you to lose, Bookman?" Tyki taunted. "You said I was a dead man walking anyway. Very true, so why not just help ease my passing? Plus, you get to know the name of my sponsor if you win. Wouldn't you like to know that?"
"Fuck, fuck, fuck, are you fucking seriously going to eat that shit?" Kanda muttered under his breath, unable to believe it.
He could roughly guess that the pill inside was probably poison—but two bottles, so it was a game and the other man had probably goaded the idiot into taking it—moron, idiots like him were the most insufferable in wanting to know everything.
"Goddammit, Lavi!" he hissed, but of course they couldn't hear him, but he was spying on them from a building opposite through the window.
Before he knew it he had his gun in his hand pointed towards the murderer, and the other two in the library had the pill right on the edge of their lips.
Shoot? Don't shoot? Shoot?
He gripped his hand tighter around his gun, and noticed that his right finger resting on the trigger was steady.
Without a second thought, he fired the shot.
A sudden force rippled through the room and Lavi jumped in shock, dropping the pill in hand on the ground. It was a gunshot, and he looked around wildly for the source of it, zeroing in on a hole in the window behind him. Peering through the hole, he didn't spot anything except for the other building opposite with a similar hole at the same height—the source—but there was no one. It was empty.
Tyki was wheezing on the floor, blood seeping through from behind him and colouring the tiled floor red.
"I was right, wasn't I?" Lavi demanded, breathing heavily and crouching next to him. "I took the correct pill! I did, didn't I?"
The Portuguese coughed, delirious from blood loss.
The redhead gritted his teeth in frustration. "Alright then," he breathed, trying to calm himself down. "Your sponsor. Who is your sponsor? I want his name."
Tyki chuckled, and it took some effort as pained coughed hackled through his body. "No."
"You're dying, but there's still time to hurt you," Lavi threatened. "Give me a name."
There was no answer, only an irritating self satisfying smirk.
He placed his foot right above the gunshot wound and stepped. Hard. "Name! Now!"
A pained groan gasped the Portuguese lips, but he did not give a name.
"NAME!" Lavi shouted. He was so close—so close—
Tyki opened his eyes one last time, golden eyes simmering with amusement. "The Earl," he breathed, and it was his last.
"Why have I got this blanket? They keep putting this blanket on me," Lavi asked, tugging on the said fabric around his shoulders when Komui appeared at the doorway of the ambulance he was sitting in.
"It's for shock."
"I'm not in shock."
"Well, yes, but some of the guys want to take photographs and you're not allowed in," Komui explained.
Lavi pouted. "So, no sign of the shooter?"
"No sign," Komui answered. "But Tyki Mikk—well, he was involved in quite a lot of dangerous stuff after his modeling career went up in smoke as seen from his records. He could've had a lot of enemies, one of them could have been following him—fine," he sighed, noticing the expression on the other. "If you got anything, say it."
"The bullet was shot out from a handgun, past two windows—with a weapon that over that kind of distance you're clearly looking for a marksman, a fighter. His hand couldn't have shaken at all, so clearly he was acclimatized to violence. It's probably done by a man with a history of military service—" Lavi blinked, looking around and spotting Kanda leaning against the wall of the building a distance away, looking bored. "…and nerves of steel…"
The doctor seemed to notice his glance and scowled in return.
"You know what, don't mind me," Lavi shook his head, waving his hand about. "Ignore whatever I said, it's…it's just the…shock talking," he mumbled, starting to move towards Kanda's direction.
"Wait, where are you going? I've still got questions—"
"Ask me later," the redhead replied distractedly. "Look, I'm in shock—I've got a blanket!"
"Lavi!" Komui sighed, pushing up his glasses.
"But I just caught you a murderer!" Lavi protested. "Even if he's…dead, but technicalities don't matter."
"…Fine. Okay. I'll see you tomorrow then."
The consulting detective merely gave the other a final pout before making his way towards his intended. Kanda didn't look at him when he arrived.
"Good shot," Lavi said, gaze direct.
"Through that window? Yeah I heard," Kanda muttered, picking himself off the wall and they fell into a steady step beside each other.
"You would know," the redhead agreed, with a lot of intent behind those words. "Are you alright?"
The Japanese looked at him oddly.
"You just killed a man, Yuu," Lavi mumbled, giving him a side glance.
There was silence for about five steps. "It's not the first time."
"It doesn't feel any better than the first, does it?" he replied quietly.
"…How would you know?"
Lavi shrugged. "The science of deduction."
"Bullshit," Kanda snorted, rolling his eyes. "You were going to take that damn pill, weren't you?"
"Of course I wasn't," the redhead denied, huffing. "Just bidding my time. I knew you'd turn up."
"No, you didn't, the Japanese scoffed. "Moron."
Lavi grinned, shook his head and chuckled. "So…" he began, stretching his arms out, breathing in the fresh night air. "Need any help with moving your stuff?"
Kanda smirked. "You're paying the movers for me."
A Study in Silver
A/N: Total time clocked: About 17 hours.
Initially this started out as an ambitious plan of a series of four stories parodying canon: A Study in Silver, A Scandal in Romania, The Sign of the Fourteen and The Millennium Fall but unfortunately I have no confidence in promising anything more than this first story. The amount of continuous referencing of the BBC Sherlock's A Study in Pink episode and Sir A. C. Doyle's A Study in Scarlet was a crazy amount of work—not something I wish to juggle with my college obligations.
Hence it will be marked as complete until I attempt the next story, which depends on whether I feel crazy enough for another round. I do hope to write the Earl aka Moriarty eventually because it's going to be mindblowing.
Catch. You. Later.