Kriminalist

Chapter Thirty: A Lesson in What Must Be Done Part B

NEAR

The day began as a normal day in the investigation centre. First to arrive was Chief Aizawa, with Lester and Lidner coming in soon after him. One by one the members of the team file into the building, going through the security checks with practised ease, and taking their positions in front of their monitors and desks.

Matsuda arrives a few minutes late, looking slightly dishevelled; I notice that his tie is slightly wonky, as if done up in a hurry and not checked with the use of a mirror. He ducks his head as he enters, but seems very tired.

After some more time has passed, I look up from my work to see that we are still missing one member of the team. Frowning, I stand, and approach something nearing the centre of the room.

“Where is Yamamoto? Has anyone seen him?” I ask, and there are several murmured negative replies accompanied by shaking heads. Matsuda looks a trifle nervous.

“Near - that is, L,” He begins, seeming strangely timid, “Perhaps, if you like, I could go look for him.”

I look at him for a long moment. “The two of you carpool, is that not correct?”

Matsuda nods.

“Then why did you not carpool this morning?”

“Ah…” Matsuda looks around, almost fearfully. “It’s actually a personal matter, and I’d be grateful if -”

“This is serious, Matsuda-san.” I tell him, deliberately trying to sound naïve. “Please tell us everything you know concerning Yamamoto-san’s disappearance. Something may have happened to him.”

“Ah, well…” Matsuda sighs, and looks down for a moment, as if coming to a point he knows he cannot return from. “You see, Yamamoto and I… in fact, we live together.”

“What? Since when?” Aizawa cuts in, astonished.

“Since… quite some time, actually. You see, we’re… well, we’re… lovers.”

There is a collective gasp from those in the investigation room, but I am unfazed. It makes no difference in my eyes, be they friends, lovers, or brothers. They had a close relationship, that was always clear; the form it takes is irrelevant.

“So, why did he not come with you this morning?” I press, keeping to the matter in hand.

“Oh, last night we had… a bit of a row. Two rows, in fact. One just before we left here, and one at home. Itsuki told me to leave - he was really very angry - so last night I slept in my car. It was… it was just a row, though, and I’m sure we’ll be alright. Perhaps he has just overslept, since it’s me who usually wakes him up.” Matsuda confesses, looking earnestly around for reassurance that his theory is probably correct. “At any rate, it’s me who should look for him.”

“I agree.” I say brusquely. “Please bring your keys, Matsuda-san. We will go immediately to the house you share together.”

“W-we?” Matsuda stammers, obviously not having expected my participation. “Alright…”

We leave behind an investigation room that will, I have no doubt, erupt into idle gossip as soon as we leave the room. It is of no moment; they will calm down and do their work, because they know how important it is that we succeed in catching this imitation Kira.

Matsuda drives the car to a quiet district some distance from the investigation headquarters, and parks outside of a modest house which even has its own driveway, and a car already on it. On seeing Yamamoto’s car parked here in such a way, Matsuda seems concerned, and expresses to me the hope he had held that we would merely miss Yamamoto as he headed towards the investigation headquarters himself. It is clear, however, that he has not left the house since the night before.

On entering the house Matsuda calls out for Yamamoto - calling him by his given name of Itsuki - several times, but there is no reply. I wait respectfully downstairs as he advances to check the bedroom, but when he utters a low cry I hasten to join him. I find him sitting on the edge of the bed, where Yamamoto appears to be peacefully sleeping; but by the way Matsuda cradles him I can tell this is not the case. Itsuki Yamamoto is dead.

“I- Itsu…” Matsuda whimpers, tears openly streaming down his face. “I didn’t mean what I said… I’m sorry…”

I leave the room quietly, and call Lester. He answers on the second ring.

“Lester, please tell the team. The new Kira has succeeded in penetrating our security measures. Yamamoto has been killed by him. We are now at a dangerous stage of proceedings.”

MATT

I just… can’t believe it. Yesterday they seemed so good together, and I could see the love that existed between them. Today…? Though I know I should feel sympathy and pity for Matsuda, I cannot help but worry even more about Mello. What if Kira knows that he is undercover? If I think about such things I will go mad.

When Near returns he sends me a message over the computer system that, when everyone else is gone later tonight, he will allow me to call Mello for the first pre-arranged check-up. I need to hear his voice, I need to know that he is alive and well. That is all I care about for the moment.

The hours drag painfully by. Downstairs the team are silent and cheerless, and Matsuda has been told in no uncertain terms to stay away from the investigation headquarters so that he can recover. The monitors hold no interest for me, but I can’t concentrate on these old files either. I’ve only got one box left. Surely if I just leave it for a day, there will be no real harm done? There hasn’t been anything useful in the other boxes, really, anyway.

I hate waiting. That’s why I love to play action games - everything happens all at once, and the puzzle and all of the clues are there for you to solve straight away. I hate not knowing what’s happening. I hate the thought that Mello might be in danger while I read dry case notes.

Finally the end of the day comes, and I head down to the investigation room when Near calls me, feeling strangely like an intruder in a place I used to work. The call will be recorded, in case we need to replay it later or in case we can use it as evidence, so we have to run it through the main system instead of using a mobile or anything. I guess I won’t go into all of that technical stuff, since it bores even me.

It seems to take an age for the call to connect, even though Mello should have been expecting it. A shiver of fear runs through me, but it is thankfully unwarranted. After a small click, Mello’s voice comes over the line, clear and welcome.

“Hi, Dieter speaking.”

“Hi, Dieter.” I tease, grinning, even though he can’t see me.

“Oh, good, it’s you. How are you, Matt?”

“I’m…” I hesitate. “I miss you.”

“I know. I’m the same. Just be patient.”

“I’m trying. And -”

“Sorry to interrupt,” Near says, in a manner completely lacking in remorse, “But this is supposed to be a report. We may not have much time, please proceed quickly.”

“Yes, N.” Mello snaps into the receiver, and for once I share his anger. It’s true, though, that we need to make it quick. “I’m getting closer, but of course it’s hard to gain their trust. I may have to involve myself in a few less-than-legal activities to get in with Arik.”

Near sighs. “So long as you don’t tell me about it, I suppose I’ll have no need to warn the police.”

“Yeah, I thought as much. Keeping your hands clean, huh, Near?” Mello says, a trifle sardonically. “I guess I should expect that from the world’s best detective.”

“Mello,” I interrupt, wanting to get him up to date before he needs to go, “There’s something you should know.”

“You’re telling him now?” Near asks, one eyebrow raised the slightest fraction, though the question is deadpanned.

“Yes. Mello, it’s about Yamamoto.” I hesitate. “He’s dead. Kira… Kira found him.”

Shit.” There’s a pause, and then Mello continues to curse, using every language he knows how to curse in - and there are a few.

“I know.” I commiserate, but even as I do so Mello’s tone changes, and he puts on a German accent.

“Ja, well, I’ll be seeing you, my friend. Okay, yes. Goodbye, Adam.”

“Bye, Mells.” I murmur sadly, hearing a door close in the background of the call before it cuts off. I stand at the desk for a few minutes more, as if by simply waiting I will speak to him again, though I know I won’t get to for a while.

“Hmm; most inconvenient.” Near mutters, and I turn to look at him.

“What is?”

“I wanted to give him some extra directives. Now that Kira has begun the chase in earnest, Mello will have to do some hard work to speed things up.”

“So call again later.” I reply. “If he can’t answer he won’t, so it’ll be fine. He won’t have to say anything incriminating, anyway, he can just pretend you’re this… Adam guy again.”

“Subterfuge.” Near nods. “Very well.”

We wait together in the investigation room, in silence, having nothing to say to each other. After a while I pull my DS out of my pocket and turn it on, just to relieve the awkward silence, and I light up a cigarette. Near probably hates the fact that I’m smoking, but he says nothing.

After what seems to have been years, Near finally turns back to the system and flicks a few buttons. “Alright, we’ll call him again.” He says.

This time the call connects almost instantly, and Mello’s words are hushed.

“Hello? This has to be quick, I’m at Arik’s headquarters.”

“Listen, Mello.” Near begins. “I have some extra instructions for you. It’s very important that you -”

“Hang on a moment. What is it, Joey?” Mello says, slipping back into his German accent. There is the muffled sound of another voice on his end of the line, and though we can’t make out the words, we can hear the fear in Mello’s next words. “What do you mean? I haven’t done anything.”

After a few moments there is a crashing noise, and the line goes dead.

Near and I look at each other; then I run the recording back, and boost the volume. Now both of us can hear Joey Guiseppi’s words.

“I think it’s time you took a walk out to our special facilities, Dieter Durnström. We don’t tolerate spies in our family.”

“What are you talking about? I haven’t done anything.” Mello’s voice again; I briefly wonder, with a feeling of dread, if I’m hearing his last words.

“We know you’re communicating with L.”

There is silence, and then the crash of the phone falling to the floor, where it cuts off.

“Lester?” Near snaps into his mobile. “Wake up, and get Gevanni. Mello has been compromised. You must act quickly to get him back.”


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