A/N: I'm putting Fangire Spring on the backburner for a few weeks to take a mental break from it. To occupy my busy, writing-inclined mind, I'll be working on this short multi-fic as a side-project. Unlike the epic-length of Fangire Spring, this fic is tiny in comparison and explores the many sides of Amakusa Ryuu, portrayed by Yamada Ryosuke (Hey! Say! JUMP) in the live-action adaptation of Tantei Gakuen Q (Detective School Q).
Disclaimer: I do not own Tantei Gakuen Q (Detective School Q), anime, manga, or drama adaptation, nor am I profiting from it any way. This fiction was written solely for my own pleasure.
Characters: Minami Megumi, Amakusa Ryuu, Renjou Kyuu
Fandom: Tantei Gakuen Q (Detective School Q). Dramaverse. Canon.
Summary: "What lies behind the slumbering dragon's eyes?" Ten reflections, from friends and foes, on Amakusa Ryuu.
Chapter Note: Set during episode 1.
Shard 1: Overexposure
Megumi hated her photographic memory.
She couldn't deny it was a useful gift. Megumi couldn't even fathom the idea of forgetting where she left her phone (Kyuu, on the other hand, for all of his investigative prowess, had lost his phone five times in the past week.) Tests, in general, were easy, especially the ones that didn't demand too much creativity. Megumi also saved money on books—after all, what was the point of buying a book when Megumi could remember the entire contents after looking through all of the pages just once?
It also meant that the bodies would never leave her mind.
Megumi had no illusions about the nature of detective work. As fun as it was to chase down a cross-dressing Nanami-sensei, she knew that the road of private investigation was a dark path strewn with thorns. Not all cases were as innocent and blood-free as recovering stolen money. People died. And many of those deaths were particularly horrific ones.
Even now as she crossed the street, the body of the girl's severed half, legs sticking stiffly out, flashed through her mind's eye.
Megu opened her eyes, trying to keep her breaths slow and deep, as to not hyperventilate.
I will not scream. I will not scream.
"Did you find out anything more about the case last night?"
He regarded her with half-lidded eyes, dark bangs parted in the middle in soft curls. His skin was pale and smooth, like a baby that's never seen the light of day. A thin hand snaked to tug at the collar of his buttoned white shirt.
Haltingly, Megumi told him the bodies they had found last night. The bodies that burned into her mind's eye, the bodies that vanished like fled nightmares.
"How were they positioned again? Opposing each other, rather than next to? And it was two halves you said? Did you check to make sure?"
"I already told you," Megumi cut in, shuddering. "And why would we need to check? She was cut in half—that's not clear enough for you? What more do you want? Can you even imagine what it's like to remember—"
Megumi flushed as he regarded her with a cool gaze. She had realized she had been shouting.
"Sorry," she mumbled.
"You don't want to remember," Ryuu said, voice as flat as water-worn stone.
"I don't. Who would?"
Megumi blinked. Her jaw fell open.
"It would be useful for solving the case," he said and brushed a lock of hair that was falling into his eyes. "Was that your first time?"
"First time?" Megumi echoed.
Ryuu's eyes glinted. "Seeing a dead body."
"No…but I never saw one like that."
To Megumi's horror, Ryuu smiled.
"You'll get used to it."
"Now, it's becoming interesting."
"This isn't a game—people are really dying!"
Megumi watched Ryuu lean forward, shoulders hunched and hands outstretched, fingertips touching in contemplation. His eyes, in contrast to his pale skin, gleamed darkly. Amusedly.
"I'm only interested in solving the mystery and figuring out who the murderer is."
Megumi noticed that Kyuu had fallen silent as Ryuu gave the same, satisfied smile he had given her minutes ago. Megumi wondered how many bodies she would have to see before she could smile like Ryuu. How many splatters of blood before she would be able to dissociate herself from her horror? How many deaths would it take before she was overexposed, numbed to the brutality of human beings?
Megumi recalled a chapter from a photo-editing software manual on overexposure. It was a common problem present in the photos of novice photographers, a problem that was characterized by a loss of highlight detail, the objects in the photo bleached to a blinding white.
"I hope the mystery goes deeper," Ryuu said and turned his head to face them. The smile vanished as he gazed steadily into their eyes, his features blankly nonchalant.
Kyuu stared back, eyes narrowed. Ryuu met his stare, eyes aglitter like sharp flint.
Megumi hid her shaking hands as she moved to sit beside Kyuu.
Ryuu, you can't…your eyes shouldn't look like that.
"Want to think about the trick behind the disappearing body?" she proposed.
And to her relief, Ryuu looked away.
Next Time- Shard 2: Reflex