"NO!" shouted Leon, fuming as he followed the Count into the other room. "No, I would not like some tea, right now! I want to figure out the Ghost files! I want to figure out this little girl, and why she'll only speak to you! I want to figure out why you've been so moody these past few days! I know this has something to do with you, Count, so start talking!"
"Sugar?" he inquired smoothly.
Leon rolled his eyes, his hand going for his gun automatically. "D, if you ask me that one more time…" he began, still yelling.
"My, my! Aren't we excitable this afternoon!" giggled D, looking genuinely amused. "Don't you remember, there are several species that may become… shall we say…. defensive? If abruptly startled by loud noises."
Grumbling, he holstered the gun and crossed his arms in what he hoped was a relatively intimidating posture. "Look, D," he said. "All I've gotten since I've started this case has been more and more questions and no answers. My superiors need answers, and I'm gonna get in deep shit if I don't give them something. Now, you're about the only thing weirder than this stupid case, so you're going to help me close it, ya got that?"
D regarded him attentively, crossing his legs and smiling gently.
Good. At least he was listening.
Leon nodded, relaxing slightly. "I figure you're in on this, but for once, you're not a suspect," he added.
Even he wasn't going to go so far as to think of D as a murderer. It just, well, it wasn't his style. D had a strange, veiled compassion that was hardly and only occasionally detectable. Besides, there weren't any animals involved here… no pets, no monsters… No one was threatening the natural world… No humans were doing an injustice against nature…
"Hell, what am I thinking," he muttered, beginning to doubt himself.
This petshop was really… addictive. How many years had he been coming here? And he still knew nothing more about it. Sure, it seemed like some ordinary business in Chinatown. It was more like some sort of labyrinth of twisted dreams and desires and punishments.
Damn incense. He wasn't thinking straight.
Why couldn't he just ignore the place? That was probably because he still hadn't found a way to bust this guy. Or maybe it was something else… There was something intriguing about the petshop. It was… beautiful? Mysterious… horrifying… exotic… safe…
"Detective Orcot?" came the quiet voice. "Are you all right?"
He shook himself and rubbed his face with one hand. "Yeah, fine, D," he sighed. "Forget it. I'm just tired. Haven't gotten much sleep lately…" he mumbled, dropping onto the couch.
He sank back on the cushions and lit a cigarette. D looked slightly dismayed, but didn't stop him.
"You were saying?" he inquired.
"This connection between you and the kid…" said Leon, holding the cigarette in his teeth. "How come you know her? I mean, what did you do to her, huh?"
D was holding his teacup in the tips of his long fingers gracefully. "Are you accusing me of casting a magic spell over a girl in order to physically separate her dying body from her will to live?"
"Damn straight, that's what I'm telling you!" Leon exclaimed, jabbing a finger in D's direction. Wait a minute. "Er… something like that."
His amber and amethyst eyes sparkled, but his mysterious little smile didn't change. He turned his head away. "Either way, detective," he murmured. "I don't think you would believe me if I told you my theory."
"What, is it another of your fairy tales?" Orcot drawled.
"Something like that."
Leon gave up. "You're right. I don't believe you already," he muttered. He rummaged in his jacket pockets until he produced a small, white box. It was the smallest, most sugary thing he could find from the pastry shop. D almost dropped his teacup in recognition.
"Picked it up on the way here. Seriously, D. Major weakness…"
"Oh! How kind of you!" (He snatched the box and opened it.) "Really, you always know exactly…"
But Leon wasn't listening. He leaned back on the couch, shut his eyes, and fell asleep.