Pairing: Sakumiya, small hints of Nino x Masami
Genre: Mystery/Romance/Slight Fantasy
Summary: Nino is married and a loyal detective for his country. His wittiness and great sense of logic help him solve any case, until he was invited to play a game with Sakurai Sho.
Word Count: both parts = 9900+
Notes: For jadeswallow in the Nino Exchange Fic
Nino struck a match and lit his cigarette. It was a dull old pack, but he needed a smoke after that lame sex. He sat at the edge of his bed and continued to take a drag off his cigarette. Even though it had been months since they last slept together, it was such a let down. Nino looked over his shoulder and watched his wife, Nagasawa Masami, sleep it off as if it was no big deal.
Nino sighed and extinguished his cigarette before getting dressed.
His marriage wasn't going so well. Her father, the president of a famous real estate agency, was forcing her to marry someone else to produce a suitable heir. Masami refused to follow her father's orders because she never wanted to become pregnant. So Nino, at the time, whisked her away. They were young and naive when they got married, and Nino supported her decision of not bearing a child. Nino thought they would have a "happily ever after" with their marriage.
But that's not the case for the life of a detective. Now, their marriage is just bland.
His cell phone rang.
"Ninomiya," he answered.
"We've got another case," Matsumoto Jun spoke, "I know it's early in the morning, but you better come down to the crime scene. Shinjuku Station."
Nino rubbed his neck.
"Can't this wait a few more hours?"
"Listen, the Captain is all over my ass! I don't care if you come in your underwear. Just get down here!"
And Jun hung up.
Nino has been working in Homicide for 10 years. He used to be partners with a senior during his training years until he went solo. Then, just last year, he became partners with Jun, who has been around for as long as Nino. They've been bickering each other over seniority, but Nino takes pride for being the smart one. Jun was nothing without him.
Nino drove his car to the subway station, and sure enough he spotted a number of police cars parked outside. The sun had barely risen as Nino entered the dark building and made his way to the other officers. A few civilians were watching from afar, and the train service near the crime scene was cancelled. Nino guessed the body was run over; perhaps another suicide case. He could see Jun chatting with the Police Captain, Ohno Satoshi.
"About time," Jun sighed when he saw Nino approach them.
"Morning, Detective," Ohno greeted calmly, "Nice to see you up early once in awhile."
"Cut the crap, Captain," Nino smirked wittingly. "What do we got?"
Ohno sighed as if he was sorry for trying to make light conversation.
"A middle-aged man was found dead in the railings this morning around 4AM." Ohno summarized. "A homeless female spotted the dead body and went to find a security guard. The coroner's got the details now. Talk to him first and then I'll fill you in with the rest of what's going on."
"Are you treating me like a kid, Captain?" Nino raised his eyebrow.
"I'm telling you to go see the body yourself," Ohno frowned, "And unless you can get over your little morning cocky attitude, I'd rather you blow it off someone else."
Nino just rolled his eyes, jumped down onto the railings, and walked towards the body. A few forensic personnel were taking pictures, and the coroner was kneeling besides the body. The body wasn't squashed as Nino assumed, it was fat and still whole. The coroner gazed up and Nino recognized him immediately.
"How is it, Aiba?"
Even with such a grim job, Aiba never fails to smile at Nino. They have worked together since training years, and he seems to be the only person Nino can trust these days.
"Male. Aged to be about 50," Aiba reported, "A blunt trauma to the head, but I suspect it's caused from his fall on the railing. The cause of death is a gunshot to his chest."
Nino squinted down at the dead body closely. Despite the low lighting in the tunnel, Nino could see the skin had a pale blue tinge already, and there was a large blood stain on his suit.
"He was a business man?" Nino questioned.
"There was no identification on him," Aiba said. "My guess is that the killer took his wallet. For an old geezer like him, he's bound to have some kind of medical issue. We can take DNA samples and check local hospitals for verification."
"Please do," Nino nodded. "Time of death?"
"Judging from the paleness...midnight. But it's cold at night in these subways."
Nino pulled on latex gloves and searched the man's inside pockets, but there was nothing. Nino patted down the chest, trying to feel the gunshot wound, but felt nothing either. Just then, Nino felt something long and hard on the shirt pocket. He reached inside and pulled out a blood stained golden brooch.
"What do we have here?" Nino frowned to himself.
The golden brooch was shaped as a rose. It felt heavy, so Nino assumed it was real gold. As he held it up to the fluorescent lights, Nino spotted a single ruby shining at the top of the rose petals. The golden leaves were sharp, and the stem was unusually straight and thick.
"This is for women," Nino concluded. "Why was it in his shirt pocket?"
"Well, that's new," Aiba leaned down to stare at the brooch closely. "I could have sworn I searched the body thoroughly. I didn't find any brooches."
"Aiba, are you slacking?" Nino teased as he slipped the brooch into a plastic bag.
"I'll re-examine the body at the morgue," Aiba grunted. "But this corpse is different than anything I've seen."
"It's clear he died of a gunshot," Aiba said, his voice low. "But the thing is...the entrance wound is closed up."
Nino immediately pulled aside the bloody shirt to inspect the gunshot himself. Sure enough, a small ring mark showed the wound, but it was sealed up as if it was healed. It explained why Nino couldn't feel the hole in the first place. There was still blood seeping around the hole.
"On his back, it's still open from the exit wound. As well as the bullet," Aiba continued to inform him, "This bullet is from a military handgun. Not just anyone can wield that. And I don't know how, but it's as if his body was healed for a brief moment before he died."
Nino slowly stood up trying to gather his thoughts. This was the first time he's ever seen such a dead body. A gunshot that is completely healed immediately after? Nino kept telling himself there must be some misunderstanding.
"Get this body to the morgue and find out how this happened. I'm going to talk to the Captain."
It's no wonder Ohno didn't explain earlier. Nino wouldn't believe Ohno if he told him about the mysterious healing wound. Still, Nino never believed in magic or fantasy. He knows that everything can be solved purely through logic and explanation. Surely this case is also smoke and mirrors.
"I see what you mean," Nino approached Ohno and Jun again. "Enough with the secrecy and come out straight. What is this?"
"Like we would know," Jun fired back, "We haven't found any leads yet."
"And you've been in homicide for how long, Jun?" Nino glared up at him. Jun raised his finger accusingly.
"Enough," Ohno interrupted, "We have a dead man with a strange body wound. I don't want the other districts looking into it until we fully understand what is going on. I want witnesses, testimonies, the whole shebang. I don't care if you two make up or go solo, but get me a report by tonight. Understood?"
"Yes, sir," Jun and Nino grunted.
"Also, no one is to know about the weird gunshot wound," Ohno said, "I don't want this to get out to the public."
Nino turned to face his partner, but Jun was already walking away. Nino made no effort to follow him. Clearly this will be another solo mission for the both of them. In the end, they'll both have to turn in two different reports, and Ohno will yell at them again. Nino went back down to the railing to investigate the crime scene more thoroughly.
Aiba and his workers were already wrapping the body away to be sent to the morgue.
"Did you find anything?" Aiba asked.
"I've only started, pretty boy. Just focus on the body," Nino smirked, but Aiba has known him for too long to be affected by Nino's witty remarks.
"And where's Jun?" Aiba raised an eyebrow at him, "Or are you two even partners?"
"We might as well not be," Nino muttered.
Slowly, Aiba leaned forward and spoke low for Nino to hear.
"I think you should keep an eye on Jun," Aiba whispered, "He's been acting on edge lately. He was the first one to arrive here."
Nino glanced at Aiba. There was a look of concern in Aiba's eyes, but Nino nodded his thanks. Aiba climbed back up on the platform and left with the body on a stretcher. The forensic students were powdering the platform for fingerprints, but Nino didn't think they'll find anything. Nino stared down the dark tunnel where no one else was investigating.
"Time of death: midnight," Nino mumbled to himself, "The trains are still running late nights, but the body wasn't found until four hours later...on the railings? Surely the conductors would have stopped at some point. Let alone heard a gunshot echo."
Suddenly, Nino heard a voice. A soft moan. Nino looked around to see who was calling, but no one was looking at him. Then, Nino faced the dark subway tunnel. The voice was coming from the tunnel. The train that was out of business blocked the pathway, but Nino could still squeeze through the side.
He continued to walk down the tunnel as he kept his hand along the train. For some unknown reason, the tunnel lights weren't on as he moved forward, so he pulled out his trusty pen flashlight. He reached the last compartment of the subway train and pointed his light towards the continuing dark tunnel.
He was far away from the others and he could barely hear them. But Nino could hear the voice whispering low and echoing in the tunnel. It was close.
Nino pulled out his gun and held up his flashlight in a steady position.
"Who's there?" Nino called.
He kept his back facing the train as he took a cautious step forward. The crunch of gravel under his boot was deafening in comparison to the silence. Nino thought he heard the voice fade away, so he lowered his weapon.
Nino whirled around and raised his gun instinctively. A man was leaning on the train's door frame. His hair was black, long, and side-swept, and his skin was pale. He looked fairly young, maybe a little older than Nino's age, and he was very handsome.
"Who are you?" Nino demanded, his voice booming. "Get down from the train."
The small flashlight casted eerie shadows on the man's face, but Nino wouldn't let this scare him.
"Why don't you come inside and we'll talk," the man said calmly. His voice, unlike Nino's, was soft and airy.
"I'll be asking the questions," Nino said firmly.
"Put the gun down, Officer. I am in no interest of hurting you."
"You consider yourself a dangerous man?" Nino growled, keeping a tight grip on his gun.
"Only when I need be," the man sighed, "Well, this is getting us nowhere."
Suddenly, Nino's weapon was gone, as well as his flashlight. Nino was stunned and empty-handed as the handsome man dangled his gun in front of him from the door as if he never moved. Nino glared viciously as the stranger pocketed his gun away and point his pen light at him.
"Come on inside." And the man disappeared into the train.
Having no other choice, Nino climbed up and entered the back of the train. The subway compartment was dark, still being out of service, with only Nino's pen as a source of light. The hazy blue light shined on the man's face, who smiled at Nino.
"Alright, who are you?" Nino glared. "What are you?"
The man tilted his head, curiously.
"My name is Sakurai Sho," he grinned. "And I bring an invitation."
"An invitation to what?"
"My game," Sho smirked, "You must have seen the body just a few meters ahead from here, right?"
"Did you kill him?"
"Maybe," Sho said. "I might have done something to the man. Or I could have helped him. Take your pick."
"I temporarily healed his wound," Sho sighed. Nino's eyes widened.
"His gunshot wound?!"
"He was still alive, miraculously." Sho nodded, and casually walked around the steel poles. "The bullet barely missed his heart. I brought him here and tried to keep him alive a little longer for you to find him, but he fell down and died anyway."
Nino was having a brainstorm full of questions, but he wasn't sure which ones to ask first.
"Did you find my rose?" Sho asked. He waved the light towards Nino's front pocket.
Nino kept his eyes on Sho, but he reached inside his pocket and pulled out the brooch that was still in the plastic bag. Again, it was snatched from his hands and Sho stood there with the rose brooch.
"H-how did you-"
"This is my brooch," Sho said, taking it out of the plastic bag. "It's a whistle, actually. No one can hear it but me. I'll let you keep it so you can call me whenever you want-"
"Just hold on a second!" Nino yelled. "I'm not calling you for anything until you tell me what the hell you are and why you are involved in this case!"
Sho's smile vanished. His eyes became cold and his gaze pierced through Nino, as if he was reading him. Nino never had anything to hide. He put his life into being a detective, and a good one too. He stayed true and loyal as a police officer for Tokyo. But the way Sho was looking up and down at him, Nino felt very exposed.
"You are to play the game I've created for you," Sho explained, "There can only be one winner and it begins now."
"What game?" Nino frowned.
"There will be more deaths," Sho smirked, waving the pen light at Nino's heart. "Everything is linked. The more you look into it, the more it'll make sense. A man of your stature will surely solve it. Find my clues, play the game, and know the truth."
Nino was gritting his teeth. The nerve of this man, challenging him in person. But Nino knew this was no ordinary man...or human.
"I'll help you, of course," Sho said, his voice a little lighter, "The rose whistle is our connection."
Sho flung the whistle at Nino, who caught it without blinking an eyelid.
"I don't even need to use it," Nino glared at him. "I already know you killed the man and you're just toying with me. I don't need to go on a wild goose chase."
Sho shrugged at him. Nino reached for his handcuffs, but in a flash, Sho was behind Nino and had gripped his arm behind his back. Nino was trapped and tried to shake him off, but Sho was inhumanly strong. Nino tried to flip him over, but Sho shoved hard against him and Nino fell on his knees. He quickly turned around, but Sho had his gun pointed to his forehead.
Nino felt a drop of sweat slide down his face. He really was no match for this man.
"Do you accept my game?" Sho asked, barely panting unlike Nino.
"...how long does this game last?"
"Until you give me the right answer," Sho grinned.
"And if I don't?" Nino muttered bitterly.
"Then everything you cherish will be lost."
"I'll find you," Nino whispered menacingly. "I'll stop whatever it is you're planning. I'll stop you."
Sho leaned down close to Nino's face.
"I hope for your sake, you do find me."
Sho disappeared. The gun fell with a loud "clank" on the steel floor and Nino's pen light rolled away. Nino picked up his gun, still expecting Sho to pop out of nowhere, but no one was there.
Nino put his gun away and checked his watch. It was 5:50. His heart was racing and he realized he was scared. Whoever Sho is, he posed a serious threat. Sho's words continued to ring in his ears.
"There will be more deaths."
Suddenly, Nino's phone rang.
"We've got another one," Ohno's voice spoke through, "Not too far either. At Shinjuku Central Park."
* * *
Nino drove as fast as he could from the station to the park. It was just as Sho said, the game has begun and more deaths will follow. He was determined to put an end to this and stop Sho at all costs. Nino found Ohno and Aiba huddled together while the other officers and forensics examined the body.
"Captain!" Nino called, "I came as fast I could. Is it another murder? Another business man?"
Ohno and Aiba exchanged glances before Ohno spoke.
"It's a family," Ohno said with grief, "A woman and two kids."
Nino balled his hands to fists. He strode towards the victims to see for himself: a middle-aged woman sprawled on her back and two young girls also on their backs. Nino noticed the kids were in their pajamas while the mother had her on business suit. Nino kneel down and examined them closely.
There were purple bruise marks around the mother's neck. The children looked clean.
"It's a clear sign of strangulation," Aiba said behind Nino. "The children show no signs of any physical harm, but I assume someone must have poisoned them."
"This—this can't possibly be connected to the one in Shinjuku Station," Nino mumbled.
"Actually, it is," Aiba said. He showed Nino a small wallet photo. "It was found in the woman's pocket. A photo of her family."
Nino glanced down at the happy family photo. There was the mother and her two daughters as well as her husband, the man they found dead not long ago.
"The entire family is dead," Nino snarled. "Damn it!"
"There was also this," Aiba pulled out another document. "The woman had a lease for a rental house."
Nino snatched the contract and memorized the address and the party names.
"Is this where they lived?" Nino asked. But he was shocked as he read through the document. "This lease says they signed it over to a bank. Tokyo Star Bank. Where is the landlord's name on this?"
"Apparently, the bank is the landlord. And the family was supposed to leave their home weeks ago," Aiba frowned. "I was telling Ohno that maybe the original landlord did this, but all he said was that Jun will look into it."
"Where is he anyway?" Nino asked, looking around.
"I haven't seen him since the station," Aiba replied. "Maybe you can catch up to him at the family's house."
"I'd rather not see him there," Nino grunted under his breath.
"My team will take the bodies to the morgue," Aiba said, "I'll call you if I find anything about the family."
"Thanks, Aiba," Nino nodded. "Any word from the Captain?"
"No, nothing. Just the usual," Aiba lowered his voice, "However, Ohno looks kinda shaken up."
Ohno was talking on his cell phone looking slightly frantic, which was very unlike him. Nino headed towards Ohno, who saw him coming and ended his phone conversation hastily.
"Who found the bodies?" Nino cut to the point, "Another female hobo."
"Very funny," Ohno raised an eyebrow at him. "It turns out Jun discovered them when he left the station."
"Jun came to the park?" Nino mumbled to himself before he spoke up again."Where is Jun?"
"I—I sent him back to headquarters," Ohno answered awkwardly, "Since we have a serial case on our hands, I figured Jun would be more helpful making a few calls to the Commissioner."
The wrinkles on Nino's forehead deepened as he stared at Ohno.
"You should head back too," Ohno said, "The original landlord has probably been called to the station by now. You and Jun can do the interrogations and try to find a motive out of him."
"—yes, sir," Nino said, his voice low.
Ohno nodded and walked towards his car. Nino watched him drive away with suspicious eyes. Nino didn't like the way Ohno answered so easily and quickly of Jun's whereabouts. Nino admits Jun is a good cop, that he's always at a scene and writing notes down like a good student. Now that Jun is absent, it got Nino wondering.
He remembered what Aiba told him a few hours ago.
"I think you should keep an eye on Jun. He's been acting on edge lately. He was the first one to arrive here."
"Jun was first again, huh," Nino mused. "I'm sorry, Ohno. But I'm going to make a house call."
* * *
Nino parked his car a few feet away from the family's house. It looked like any regular house. The neighboring homes were also the standard design, like one giant pattern. But when Nino stepped out of his car, he knew something felt wrong.
It was 8AM, and yet it felt unnaturally quiet. Usually at this time, the neighbors would be heading out the door for work. Nino also noticed there weren't any cars or other vehicles parked in the Neighbors' driveways. It was as if the entire neighborhood has been abandoned.
Nino walked up to the family's house and opened the strangely unlocked door. The house still had personal items and furniture. Nino decided to look around the children's room first. The girls' room shared a bunk bed and it looked surprisingly clean for a Kids' room.
"Someone made the bed," Nino frowned. "Even though they were found dead this morning in their pajamas. Unless the killer made their beds for them, they were trying to hide something."
He headed towards the parents' room and noticed the bed was also made and the room looked spotless. Nino checked inside their closet but only found their clothes.
"Clearly the mother and father are business people," Nino mumbled, "Do they have an office room?"
"You won't find anything."
Nino spun around and saw Sho leaning on an open windowsill with his arms crossed. Nino didn't even hear anyone enter the house. And they were on the second floor.
"You did this, didn't you?" Nino hissed.
"What? Clean the house?"
"You killed the poor family!"
Sho chuckled darkly, but he didn't answer.
Sho stood up and stretched out his arms over his head. Nino took a good look and noticed the man was thin and very muscular. Back when they were in the dark tunnel, his skin was really pale. But now under natural light, he gave off a strange glow. He looked surprisingly warm.
"How is my game going for you?" Sho brought up conversationally, "I hope my clues are being helpful."
"What clues?" Nino frowned.
"The dead bodies!" Sho said, as if it was obvious. "And the photo and the lease paper I left in the woman's pocket."
"So you did kill them!" Nino yelled.
But Sho just smiled at him. Nino wasn't sure if that smile meant he did kill them, or if he was mocking Nino.
"I had to leave them at the park so they'll be discovered." Sho said. "I figured the photo and the lease would bring you here sooner, but you're kinda late."
"Late?" Nino mumbled.
"Yeah, you just missed someone," Sho smirked. "He was here. He was the one who made the beds and cleaned up all possible evidence."
Nino's eyes widened and he gritted his teeth at Sho.
"Why didn't you stop him if you saw him?" Nino roared, taking a daring step forward.
"You're the one who's playing my game, remember?" Sho teased.
"What kind of game is this, then?" Nino frowned, "All you talk about is 'my game, my game' but you won't tell me if you killed them or not?!"
"It's my game, but you can trust me," Sho said sincerely. He also took a step forward, but Nino didn't back away from the uncomfortable lack of personal space.
"What kind of sick rule is that?" Nino narrowed his eyes.
"Believe it or not, I'm trying to help you finish this," Sho said, his eyes looking soft and luring. "You have to know the truth in the end. And when you do, you will tell me your answer."
"Why can't you tell me now if you're helping me?"
"It'll be too much for you to handle. It could break your heart."
"It's not like I'm innocent anymore," Nino snorted lightly.
"Trust me," Sho leaned close, "You are."
He made no attempt to reach his gun like last time. Sho slowly walked around Nino as he stood there like a statue. Again, Nino felt the sensation of being exposed and unprotected even with his only weapon on him. There was no way he can beat this man through physical strength, but now Nino was starting to think he can't beat him through intelligence either.
Suddenly, Nino felt Sho's hot breath on his ear.
"I can give you a hint to what will happen next," Sho whispered darkly, "If you want it."
It was as if Nino couldn't move. He never felt so frightened before in all his years as a police officer. Him, an intellectual and loyal detective, is paralyzed by this man's voice. Nino felt something warm touch on his shoulders as Sho's hands slid down and across his chest. Nino kept his eyes focus staring out the window, but he felt his heartbeat pounding in his ears. Why was he feeling like this? He never felt like this around his wife before.
"W-what are you doing?" Nino gasped.
"Accept my love. Offer yourself to me, and I'll tell you a little hint to help you win the game," Sho said, Nino could practically feel the man's lips close to the nape of his neck.
"Are you trying to make me a prostitute?" Nino growled. He felt a shiver run down his spine when Sho breathed in his hair.
"If that's how you see it."
Sho slid his hand down further and grasped onto Nino's crotch. Nino felt his heart leap up to his throat as Sho continued to hold him close and breathe in his hair. Nino was frozen as he allowed Sho to massage him deeply with warm his hand. He felt Sho's own erection rub against his backside, making Nino shutter. Nino felt his eyes roll back a bit before Sho's tongue flickered behind his ear.
Finally, Nino snapped out of it and pushed Sho away. His heart was still pounding and he was breathing heavily. He could only imagine how red his face must be. Sho just had a dark smile on his face.
"I won't fall for your sick mind games," Nino said, "And I most certainly won't lose to you."
"Of course you won't," Sho sighed, walking towards the door. "You have to win. You have to."
"Why are you so sure?" Nino asked, his voice a little lighter. Sho smiled at him genuinely.
"It had to be you," Sho said. He gazed fondly. "I've always been watching you, so I know how this will end. You are easy to understand more so than you think."
Nino could only frown back at the handsome man.
"You think you're the smart one here," Sho said, "But don't forget, this is my game you're playing. I will always be the one who knows everything."
Sho disappeared into the hallway, but Nino made no attempt to follow. He already knows that Sho left the house. Nino had to sink into the bed to gather himself. His heart was still beating fast.
"What—what was that all about?" Nino sighed.
Nino's cell phone began to vibrate. He had to calm his voice before he could answer it.
"Nino, it's Aiba. I did the autopsy and found some news you might want to see."
"I'll be on my way."
Nino left the house but instead of driving off, he walked around the neighborhood for a while. It was like a ghost town. It was as if everyone had packed their bags and left. He found the neighboring playground and spotted an old woman walking slowly. Nino called her.
"Excuse me, Ma'am!"
"Who's barkin' at me?" The old woman wheezed. Nino flashed his police badge.
"If you don't mind answering a few questions, Ma'am, but where is everyone?"
"This area here is a rental neighborhood, did you know that young boy?" The old woman grinned her toothless smile. She clearly didn't hear him right. "Everyone lives on rent."
"But where is everyone?" Nino said a little louder. "Why are you alone, Ma'am?"
"I come from a few blocks down," She nodded. "But sometimes I like to go to the morning flea market just downtown from here. They have the sweetest potatoes ever. And quite a steal-"
Nino rolled his eyes as the old grandma continued to babble nonsense.
"Ma'am.Where. Is. Everyone?!"
"Ehh...their contract ended, I believe," Grandma finally answered, "One by one, they all left."
"Their contract ended?"
"The poor neighborhood had to leave since the bank took over," The woman nodded and started waddling off back home. "They were all forced to leave, the poor things."
"A bank?" Nino mumbled and it hit him. "Tokyo Star Bank."
* * *
Nino arrived at Aiba's morgue and entered the dinky lab room. He hated the smell of disinfectant and the foul stench of death. Aiba had grown used to it, and it amazed Nino how the man never failed to smile. But when Nino entered the lab, Aiba had a serious expression.
"What did you find?" Nino asked.
"As I suspected, the kids were poisoned," Aiba said, "High dosage of morphine."
"Whoa! Are you saying these kids were drug addicts?"
"No, they were injected by someone," Aiba said, "And considering how young they are, it wouldn't take much unlike for an adult to die of overdose."
"And the mother?"
"The mother was clean. She died of strangulation as I thought. The thickness of the markings showed this was done by a man, but there are no fingerprints. He must have done it with gloves on," Aiba explained, "As for the father, he also didn't have any morphine in his system. And according to the amounts of blood clotting, the man was shot first and then fell on the train railings.
"The amazing thing is the gunshot missed the heart," Aiba said. Nino rubbed his chin.
"Just like Sho said..." Nino whispered to himself.
"The mysterious healing wound was unique," Aiba continued, "It was brand new skin growing over the wound like a fresh bandage. It's unbelievable. What about you? What did you find?"
"I checked their house," Nino said, "The beds were made. If the kids are in their pajamas, my guess is that the killer injected them with morphine while they were asleep. The mother must have arrived and saw the killer, but she was choked to death. Soon followed by the father. Since he's too big to be killed by strangling, he was shot. And according to the time of death, it was done at midnight."
"So why were they found at the station and the park?" Aiba questioned.
Nino lightly bit down on his tongue.
Sho said he left them there for Nino to find.
"I'm—I'm not sure," Nino fumbled. "But I don't think the killer moved them there. I think he meant to keep them inside the house, undetected since the neighborhood is a freakin' graveyard. That's why he went back to the house."
"So are you saying he knows that the cops found the bodies?"
"Whatever it may be, he went back to clean up. I checked. There isn't any evidence or signs of a struggle."
"That seems a plausible theory you got there," Aiba nodded. "But why would the murderer kill a harmless family?"
"I'm suspecting a motive," Nino said, "The entire neighborhood I checked out was deserted. The bank, Tokyo Star Bank, bought the leases to all those rental houses and everyone left. I'm positive."
"Okay, the bank kicked them out. Why was this family killed?" Aiba crossed his arms.
"I don't know," Nino pondered. "Something is going on with this bank. I'm going to find out."
"Tokyo Star Bank is a big company, Nino," Aiba said, "A lot of high officials have invested in the company. Including the police force."
"No kidding," Nino replied. "Can you name anyone?"
"I'd rather not know," Aiba shrugged. "There are some things that are best kept a secret."
Nino felt stumped. The only lead he has was the connection of the house leases and Tokyo Star Bank, but he knew he can't just walk in a high official bank and demand answers. If there were top class workers involved in this, he had no chance of getting anything out of them. He could lose his job just for questioning them. They were that powerful.
"I can give you a hint to what will happen next."
Nino shivered. He could feel the heavy rose whistle in his pocket. Just thinking about their short encounter made Nino's heart beat faster. Nino bit his lip in frustration. He had no other choice.
"Can you do something for me, Aiba?" Nino asked, "Can you run a background check on a man named Sakurai Sho?"
"Uhh, sure," Aiba said, "But it sounds like a pretty common name. Can you be more specific, and what he looks like?"
"He has long black hair and pale skin," Nino mumbled, remembering Sho's face clearly in his head. "Tall, looks about our age, a little muscular but skinny..."
Aiba just shook his head.
"Half of Japan looks like that. Alright, I'll try."
"Thanks," Nino grunted and walked back to his car.
Part 2 - http://arashiforyou.livejournal.com/46893.html