Kriminalist

By Rhiannon D'Averc

Mystery / Romance

Chapter Twenty-Seven: A Lesson in Discovering Part B

MATT

I haven’t forgiven him. I might be laying here in his arms, in the bed we’re once again sharing, smiling, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven him. You can be happy and also angry at the same time, right? Well, I am, anyway. Even if I am confined to this floor, I’m glad he didn’t send me away. I’m also quite appreciative of the fact that, for as long as I remain pissed off at him, he seems determined to do anything to make it up to me. So what if I’m milking it a bit? This is Mello - as soon as he thinks he’s atoned he’ll go back to being the bossy, grumpy, demanding Mello I know (and love), so I’m just treasuring getting my own way for a change.

As far as the investigation goes, I’m supposed to carry on with what I was doing - looking through L and Wammy’s old notes, trying to figure something out. We looked back over all the surveillance a couple of days ago, and there was nothing on the cameras at any time that the little gifts we got were dropped; they all just appear there. Which makes me very, very suspicious.

When Mello’s out during the day, with the rest of the investigation team, I get my laptop set up and hack in to the security camera system, trying to figure out what happened. Of course I’m a genius, so it doesn’t take me long to find out how those things mysteriously appear: someone has been hacking in to our cameras. I’m relieved to find there haven’t been any attacks on our main computer - it’s pretty sturdy anyway, considering I helped build it myself - but the footage on the screens is all looped seamlessly to cover the missing footage. That tells me that whoever I’m dealing with has some technical know-how, and is subtle enough not to flag up any alerts before now.

Which to be honest is a little reassuring, because the only other explanation that came to my mind was one I don’t really want to consider: the possibility that a Shinigami was leaving those things for us. I remember Ryuk with a shudder, Light Yagami’s guardian angel who turned on him at the very end, with that chilling smile. It had almost been long enough for me to pretend to myself that those things never happened, that they were just a bad dream; but now here they are again, quite literally back to haunt us.

The idea of haunting sets me on another track. I remember how creepy it was when we got those beyond-the-grave messages from Kira, and as I think about mine and Mello’s a theory jumps onto my head, a theory that makes me blood run cold. The kind of theory where I actually want to be wrong.

The only way to prove it is to talk to Near, but of course he’s downstairs with the rest of the team, and I don’t really have any way to get his attention without also getting theirs. Even a phone call would be suspicious, and all calls are recorded here anyway, just in case they become evidence.

Which means I have to wait.

It seems that’s all I do, these days. Come up with great theories, and then wait around for Mello and Near to decide to listen to me.

MELLO

Shiiiiit. I can’t fucking believe what I’m hearing. I mean… Jesus. Seriously.

All of them, dead in one day? All of them?!

I guess I’m just rambling on ahead, and this makes not a lot of sense, but Jesus Christ, I’m in shock. It’s all over every news channel, everyone’s talking about the return of Kira.

In all the time Matt and I have been back in Japan, no one died. Matsuda gathered the names of criminals every day, and every day Aizawa checked up on where they were and if they were still alive. Not a single one passed away. There wasn’t even a single prison brawl that ended badly. The ones that were still on the run seemed to find really good hiding places for a while. They seemed… safe.

But today, at exactly 12 noon, every single fucking criminal that has appeared on Japanese news channels in the last month has died. We checked every name, and then double checked, and then triple checked. Not a single one survived. What’s more, there were no deaths that were not on our lists as having featured in the news.

It baffles me, slightly. Obviously Kira wanted to make an impact… but why start, and then stop again, only to kill everyone at once? Why stop just to coincide with the arrival of Matt and I? Why attack now? There are so many unanswered questions that I don’t know what to think.

It’s clear, though, that this is a very new, very different Kira. The only messages he has left were those that were personal to the three of us, the three heirs - there was no public sign, such as Light Bastard Yagami left - although of course the message this Kira did leave us echoed the original. I feel that he - or she - is playing with us. Taunting us. And that really pisses me off.

Everyone in the investigation centre is on edge. Suddenly there really is so much more at stake. Already the television stations are broadcasting Kira specials, the websites have gone into overdrive with declarations of approval or of hatred. At least this time some people see sense, though of course the majority are as they always have been: mindless supporters of Kira who see only the “good” he does now and not the potential for total injustice and chaos later. It doesn’t matter who he kills, whether they deserve it or not. He’s still a murderer.

Near sits in his chair curling his hair around one finger and watching everyone, occasionally asking quiet questions of certain people as to what they have or haven’t checked. I attack a bar of chocolate, snapping it loudly with my teeth to take out some of the anger and frustration I’m feeling. Everyone else is checking, cross-checking, frantic and pretty much out of their depth, though I hate to say it. Though with a case like this, the only people who could be in their depth are people like us. Wammy’s boys. Freaks. I wonder how my life would have been if I’d just been an ordinary police officer.

That’s how we all are when Gevanni bursts in. He’s wearing a suit and carrying a motorcycle helmet and a leather jacket in one hand, and looks like he just ran up the street.

“Near, I have an urgent report.” He says, a little out of breath. “I came here immediately - after I saw the news I knew it couldn’t wait. It was too risky to phone you. The Mafia bosses know who I’m working for by now, so the operation is over.”

Mafia bosses? Urgent report? Operation? Whatever Near’s been keeping me out of, I want in.

“Let us go discuss this elsewhere.” Near says blandly, not even appearing surprised (that bastard). As he and Gevanni start to leave I get up and follow them. Near casts me a curious look but says nothing, and it kind of grates that he’s just permitting me to go, as if it’s only by his good grace that I know anything at all.

We settle down in another room, and Gevanni begins his report, giving me a little preamble - which is actually even more irritating, because he just assumes that I’m in the dark. Doesn’t anyone give me a little credit around here?

“I’ve been posing as a member of the Mafia for a while, keeping my ear to all the news running through the underground crime networks. Today, they’re all in a panic. Except for this one guy - the boss of the group I infiltrated. Surprisingly for the Mafia, he’s a foreigner. I understand he killed the last boss, and quite a few others, until no one dared argue with his position. His name is Lars Kilrok, otherwise known as ‘Arik the Viking’.”

I raise my eyebrows, unimpressed. “Kira backwards? Mixed with a Norse reference?”

“Yes; terribly clichéd, isn’t it? Anyway, he called all of his part of the family together today, for a meeting. He seemed smug about something, and when the others started talking about the return of Kira and their own impending deaths he just started to laugh.

“We all waited for an explanation, and when he finally calmed down he explained everything. He used all the money from his last few jobs - over one hundred thousand dollars, I’m not sure of the amount in Japanese currency - to pay off Kira. Apparently Kira contacted him, and offered him a unique deal. That money means that no matter what happens, so long as they don’t get put into jail for a sentence of more than a year, his men will not die. Basically it means they can get caught for any number of minor offences and survive, and if they’re clever enough to not get caught they can live out a long, long life of crime.”

“Kira making deals with mafia men?” I blurt out, irrationally outraged. “I thought he was supposed to represent some kind of justice against criminals? That’s ridiculous!”

“I know.” Gevanni nods. “I thought so too. It’s very clear that we’re dealing with a Kira that is different to Light Yagami. His methods, his morality, everything is different. But I think that makes him not quite as strong.”

“Not quite as smart.” Near nods, twisting his hair around one finger like a baby again. “We have a trail back to him now. We just have to follow it.”

“Arik knew about me, though.” Gevanni shrugs uncomfortably. “He revealed it right there and then, that I was working with the SPK. I’m not sure how he found out, but maybe Kira told him. I barely escaped with my life. I’m going to have to stay out of their way for a while.”

“That is fine.” Near says, smiling in that creepy manner only he can achieve. “We already have an undercover agent.”

He turns his eyes to me, and I know straight away what he’s trying to hint at. This, now this is going to be extremely difficult to explain to Matt.

“… We do?” I reply, really hoping that I misread him and he’s going to ask Lidner or someone to do it.

“We do, Mello.” Near says, leaving me with not a shadow of doubt. Oh, Jesus. This is going to be an interesting evening.

NEAR

After all the day’s work has been completed, hectic as it was, and the other members of the investigation team have left to their homes and families, I accompany Mello back to the floor he shares with Matt. We three have much to discuss, and it is essential that Matt is kept up to speed for the duration of the investigation.

When we step into their lounge area we find Matt, smoking, poring over a pile of documents, and two crumpled letters in particular. My curiosity is piqued. I cannot help but wonder what it is that he is perusing.

“Mells! Near! Great, I’ve been waiting all day!” Matt says, jumping up excitedly and grinning.

“Matt… you haven’t been watching the surveillance cameras, have you?” Mello says, groaning.

“What? No… I’ve been down here… why, is… is something wrong?” Matt replies, the smile falling off his face to be replaced by an expression of worry.

Mello fills him in as I wait patiently, and silently, for them to finish. Once Matt has been through all the expected reactions I raise my voice.

“What is it that you were waiting for?” I ask him, cutting through his shock.

“Oh, yes!” Matt says, brandishing the two letters. They are closed, and I cannot yet guess what is inside them; but his words tell me immediately what they are. “Do you still have the note Light Yagami left for you, after he died?”

“He left it previous to his death, I believe, Matt. But yes, I have it.”

“Well, what does it say?”

I stare at him evenly for a long moment. “Matthew, I thought we had all three agreed to keep this from each other.”

“Mm, it’s Matt.” Matt replies almost automatically, holding up the letters again. “I’ll show you mine if you tell me what yours says. I have a theory as to what they mean.”

“I would like to see yours first, if I may.”

Matt shrugs casually. I suppose my suggestion is not much of a bargaining chip, given that he would like all three in the open; much as I expected, he opens one of the plain envelopes and draws out a slip of paper.

This is not game over.” I read aloud, before deciding to humour him. “Suitably cryptic. Well, my message was ‘Your house of cards will fall down.’ Does that help your theory?”

“Yes!” Matt shouts in delight. “I knew it! Listen, Mello’s is ‘Each bite brings you closer to death’! Do you see?”

“Ah.” I nod with a small, humourless smile. “They correspond with our little gifts. I received cards, Mello a foodstuff, and you a game object. That is well planned.”

“It’s worrying, is what it is.” Mello says, chewing his lip thoughtfully. “You realise what it means about Kira, don’t you?”

“Yes.” I reply blandly. “Whoever is Kira now knows of the actions of the previous Kira, to the extent of being able to play a trick on us that was set up by Light Yagami.”

“That,” Matt agrees, “Or he is Light Yagami.”

“Or in contact with him.” Mello replies.

“I am not superstitious.” I tell them. “I am ninety-nine percent certain that ghosts do not exist, nor do I believe in the possibility of communication from beyond the grave. You two are being disappointingly speculative.”

“Sure.” Matt mutters. “I’ll remember that when things start floating around the room on their own.”


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