Chapter 1: New Assignment
Dreue sat quietly at his well-organized desk, leaning back on his chair as he read the news article on his phone; which praised him for solving yet another complex case. It was always like a breath of fresh air knowing another family could rest easy knowing their loved ones are too at peace.
The true reward was always enjoying his morning with a cup of black coffee in silence. Though his brief moment of peace was disturbed with his office door being slammed open by his co-workers, who stormed in with warm smiles followed by their boss waving a wrinkled newspaper in his hands giving a hearty laugh.
The peaceful, solemn atmosphere in the room was soon filled with a friendly comfort of tomfoolery.
He hated it with a silent passion.
“Once again, our Dreue Lexer has successfully solved a once unsolvable case!” His director boasted proudly, followed by raspy coughs. The detective could only stare at the group of cheerful men and women in different uniforms. All their toxic optimism was filling the room. It was tempting enough for the proud detective to leave through the office window. But knew it would be a waste of time.
Even a few of the rookies in his department were there to congratulate him. Forcing a forged smile on his porcelain face as he stood up from his comfortable chair, approaching the others with some falter to his movements.
The man chose to accept all this attention as humbly as possible. He felt close to suffocating from all of it. So, seeing a smaller figure male with unnatural platinum hair force his way through the tight cluster released some of the stress crushing the detective’s chest; looking up at Dreue with a smile of deception.
“Congrats Lexi! Let’s celebrate with some drinks after hours! Your treat, of course!” He cheered at some of his coworkers joined in the cheers.
Dreue felt his right eye twitch with the sound of his personal nickname leaving his friend’s mouth. Keeping his appearance up as he made eye contact. “Though a drink or two would be nice, I’m pretty sure you’re still too young little Adrian. So I’ll order you some apple juice okay?” he teased with a smug look as he looked down upon the man. Surrounded by laughter as Adrian’s pale face grew warmer.
“Hey! Just because I’m not Titans like you all doesn’t make me some little kid!” Adrian fumed as he threw a childish tantrum. “It’s because of me you even got this high of a position! Right sir?” he looked over to his boss, who was hunched over the desk. Giving him a thumbs up as he kept coughing.
After a few more exchanged words of praise, the detectives from different branches left one by one to their offices or back to their break. But before leaving, they raised their first.
“Together we’ll strive to prove we’re worthy of our pins!” Their cheers could be heard after the door was closed.
Adrian’s wild, unnatural hair swayed as he looked back at Dreue with a smile. “Don’t relax yet Lexer,” The serious expression hardened on the ivory man-made Dreue stiffen. “I’ll be assigning you a new case as well as a partner, so make sure to keep that infamous bogus smile of yours when you meet them,” he smirked faintly before walking out of his office.
The lean man could only watch dumbfounded. Not only to be told of his new assignment, but also the addition of a partner. It was a sucker punch to his pride that he would be required to work with someone else. But without a will to lash out, he stumbled back to his seat in defeat. He waited patiently for the clock to strike six, the golden hour that he always looked forward to at the end of the day.
Once the sun started to set, he finally awakened from the trace he found himself in. Pushing himself to get up, the uneasiness stirred in his gut as he questioned who his partner would be. Dreue could only name a handful of people he’d be willing to work with. The anticipation of what this difficult case would even be was the only comfort to him as he finally left for his office. Exhaling an anxious breath while exiting his office and entering the elevator as he pulled out his phone. Idly messing with the apps and skimming through articles until he saw a keyword that gave him a discomforting chill.
“Doll Maker…” he spat out in a muttered tone. “Is this really the only thing this city cares about?” he saw that even his achievement was getting less attention with all the eyewitness reports filling up the columns.
Dreue stepped out of the elevator and walked through a floor of silence. Glances shared with him were quickly broken as they looked back at their work. It was more of a sympathetic glance than a look of respect.
He forced himself to keep walking out of the front door. Not wanting to linger any longer in that room.
As always, his supervisor was sitting on the hood of the sleek grey car in the front of the parking lot. “Adrian, you know I can’t always give you free rides,” Dreue warned him as he walked passed him, reaching in his front pocket for his keys. After a moment of searching through his pockets, he heard a soft jingling of clashing metal that gained his attention. Followed by the beeping of his car unlocking, only watching who Adrian slipped into the passenger’s seat and closing the door behind him.
“Next time, be more careful when you go to the men’s room,” he advised. Dreue only went into the driver’s seat. Snatching the keys from Adrian’s cold hands and slamming his door shut. He Inserted the keys in the ignition and buckling himself in. “That’s unacceptable, Lexer. You really need to watch your attitude when your supervisor is in the car with you.”
Dreue only mused a chuckle from this. “Telling me to watch my attitude when you’ve got sticky fingers? No one cares what I do so long as I keep succeeding.”
Adrian scowled at this. “Your behavior towards this place is exactly why I want you to meet your partner. It’ll be something you’ll definitely be needing.”
There was a pause for silence as he drove to their local bar. Every word dripping from Adrian’s mouth made him want to drink himself until he could forget that Adrian ever mentioned that word.
“If you have doubt in my abilities, then I’ll let you know how offended I feel right now. I’ve been able to solve the most difficult cases that not even a team of detectives could solve!” Dreue spoke in a less than friendly tone. Adrian tensed up slightly before bringing himself at ease.
“Once we’re inside, I’ll show you to him. Trust me this isn’t going to be a case you’ll be able to solve easily. So help from his field will help you,” Adrian assured him. Taking his eyes to look out the window.
Dreue could only find himself questioning who this possible partner of his would even be. What they were like if he knew them.
As they both exited their car, Adrian looked down at his phone and smiled. “Great! He’s already here! Let’s go now and get our drink on!” he pumped his fist into the air as he went inside. Dreue peered up at the glowing neon sign before going inside.
“M-Mr. Ullman, over here sir!”
A loud but apprehensive voice alerted the two with the call of Adrian’s last name. Seeing a young male in the blue lights. They approached the small table he sat in, Adrian sitting beside the stranger. Dreue only stared at them in confusion.
The three sat in awkward silence with no idea how to start.
“Damn, you guys really are opposites,” Adrian swung his arm around the man’s trembling shoulders. “You already know Dreue Lexer,” he lowered his voice. “The women want him and the men want to be like him. A handsome, pro detective who’s actually never dated in his entire life--” he stopped to look over at Dreue. Who seemed to enjoy the praise until the abrupt end. But was interjected before he could say anything. “Dreue, this is Henry Alphwood, he was given a recommendation in the supernatural department who graduated from the same university that we went to, isn’t that such a wonderful coincidence?” Dreue’s grunt was the only response he gave, making Henry tense up.
Adrian cocked his head with a hum.“He’s going to be your partner for the Doll Maker case, exciting right?” Adrian glanced at the two men who sat dumbfounded.
“W-with this Ace!?”
“With some rookie?!”
Their supervisor nodded in confirmation. “Dreue, you’re an Ace Senior in the homicide and abduction departments. Henry, you’re an Elite Senior in the Supernatural department. I can’t think of a better pair to work on this case. We’re talking about a case where we’ve lost over fifteen children, four detectives, and two teenagers thanks to this monster of a killer. I know the two of you will be successful if you guys can work together.”
“Adrian, we’ve been together for over a decade. You know that I’m capable of solving a case on my own. I don’t need some kid tagging along with me. Especially from that bogus apparition department,” Dreue argued.
His supervisor shifted in his seat as he rested his elbows on the table and leaned forward. “What I say is final Dreue. You can trust my judgments or back down from your position as being an ‘unbeatable’ detective.”
Dreue stared at him in disbelief before sighing in defeat. “I need that file on my desk the next morning. Thank you for giving me such an important case.”