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"Oh, come on! How is this any different than before?" Ellora wailed at her brother.

"I told you, Ellie," Johnny snapped at his bright-green eyed sister. "You cannot come with me today! I repeat: cannot come with me! So just drop it already!"

Ellie huffed, crossing her arms and glaring at her older brother.

"But I can help," she reasoned testily. "I always help! I need all the practice I can get if I'm going to become a detective!"

"You're going to have to wait until you turn eighteen and can do an internship to be involved in a case like this." Johnny said in a calmer voice. "But its just too dangerous! If something were to happen to you..." he trailed off, a worried frown crossing his face.

He couldn't lose her. If he did, they might as well throw him in the grave with her. His sweet, baby sister that he'd taken care of for the past three years. No, he couldn't bear it. Not after their parents...

"You can't keep doing this," she said, shaking her head and making her mahogany curls bounce around her face. "You can't keep sheltering me...I'm almost eighteen. I know you love me, but you have to let go a little and let me make some of my own choices!"

Johnny shook his head. He was a detective in the LAPD, and he was currently investigating serial murders that had taken place over the last few weeks. They had been dubbed the Murdoch murders from the first victim—but people just kept dying. None of the deaths were satisfactorily linked. The only thing that tied them together was a message—a message in blood on the wall of every victims house. It had dumbfounded them so much that the great investigator, 'L' was even starting the case with them. Of course, he couldn't tell his sister about that. He wasn't allowed to. She knew he was after the serial murderer, but that was a given. He was one of the best detectives LAPD had.

Recently, she had started going with him to his office on her free days, and he had found that she was even more observant than him. She was a great help, and she had definitely helped him solve quite a few cases. Of course, he wasn't surprised. She was valedictorian and was sharp as a tack. He never let her go past paper work, of course, but he sure as hell was not going to bring her into the meeting where they conversed with L. There was no way – not that it would be allowed in the first place.

"Look, Ellora-"

"URGH! Don't call me that!" she cut him off waspishly, putting her hands on her hips and glaring at him. "Brother or not, I will smack you!"

He couldn't help but to roll his eyes at her. He didn't see what the big deal was with her name. He thought it was adorable, but she insisted on everyone calling her, 'Elle' or 'Ellie'.

"It is your name, isn't it?" he asked, raising his eyebrow at her.

"Unfortunately," she snapped, rolling her eyes and letting her arms fall down. "I just hate being called that, and you know it."

Her eyes narrowed, and he gulped as he saw a flash of intuition spark in her eyes.

'oh, no...' he thought to himself.

"Why is this case different?" she asked slowly, giving him a suspicious look. "I've helped you on cases with murderers before, so what makes this one any different?"

"Well..." he said, racking his brain. "Its serial murders and I do not want you-"

"What else?" she asked, interrupting him and narrowing her eyes even more suspiciously. "That's not all of it—I can tell. What are you hiding from me?"

"Hiding from you?" he asked indecorously. He hated that she knew him so well. She was extremely observant as it was, and her knowing him like a book didn't exactly help matters.

"Yes, hiding," she said flatly. "Come on, you tell me everything!"

'Sorry baby sister, I can't tell you that we're working a case with L.' he thought to himself. He was tempted to tell her, seeing as she looked up to the guy—It would definitely make her get excited, and he loved to make her smile.

He looked down at his watch, raising his eyebrows as he saw he only had thirty minutes to get the department.

"I have to go, Ellie," he said sharply, picking up his briefcase. "I'll see you when I get home."

"But-"

"No buts, Ellora!" he snapped, making her snap her mouth shut. He hated being testy with her, but she was so damn stubborn he didn't have a choice sometimes.

Her face pulled into a slight look of hurt, and he turned away. He couldn't stand to see that look on her face.

He marched down the hallway, and out the front door. He couldn't waste any more time arguing with her or blubbering apologies at her – which is exactly what he would have done, had he stayed any longer.

'I'm sorry, Ellie.' he thought to himself as he pulled out of the driveway.

I'm sorry...I didn't mean to make you angry.

-Ellie

He smiled as he walked into the department, holding his phone and reading the text his sister had sent him. Of course, he wasn't really mad at her in the first place.

I'm sorry too. I'd tell you if I could, but I can't. You're smart enough to understand that. I love you, sweetheart. Don't get into too much trouble today...Oh, and please don't attempt to cook. I left money on the counter.

-Johnny, a man who simply wants to come home to a house that isn't burnt down.

He smirked down at his phone. That should keep her moody for a while. Being smart-alecks back and forth was basically a hobby with them.

His phone beeped quickly, and he opened her text as he walked into his office.

Ass.

He stared at the word for a moment, then burst out laughing.

"What's so funny, Lafleur?" came the voice of a fellow detective and friend, Evans.

"Nothing, Evans," he said chuckling. "Its time to speak with L, isn't it?"

Johnny looked down at his watch, and realized he only had a few minutes to get to the meeting room with a handful of other officers.

"Right, lets go talk to a computer screen."

Johnny admired L—don't get him wrong. After all, he was a genius. But he just couldn't help but to be irritated at L's electronic voice and the fact he never showed his face to anyone. It made it difficult to trust him when you felt as though you were speaking with a robot.

"Hey man, can I use your phone for a moment?" Evan asked as they walked down the hallway. "My battery is still messed up, and I need to text my wife back."

Johnny didn't answer, but merely handed him his phone. He wished Evans would get that damn thing fixed. This had to make the fifth time that he had asked to use his phone.

"Thanks, I owe you!" he said, instantly typing on his screen.

Johnny grunted in response as they walked into the meeting room.

 

Ellie stepped out of the shower, wrapped a towel around herself and walked to her bedroom.

She was irritated.

Very irritated.

She wanted to help her brother, and she didn't understand why he wouldn't let her. She had helped him with murder cases before – but then again, the most the killer had had was two. Apparently, this person had killed ten people already in the span of just a few weeks! She could understand him not wanting to let her get involved, but she doubted she could be done much harm staying behind a desk and looking through paper work. Its not like she wanted to go to a damn crime scene! After all, she wanted to be a detective like him. She needed all the practice she could get. Of course, he didn't want her to be a detective. After all, it could be dangerous. He would be much more satisfied if she'd simply become a stay-at-home wife. Seeing as she was extremely clumsy, and slightly vertically challenged – it might be a good idea, but the thought still wasn't very appealing to her.

She crinkled her nose at the thought.

No, she'd become a great detective. Maybe, just maybe, even greater than L himself!

She smiled as she picked up her brush, brushing her elbow-length hair slowly.

Of course, she wouldn't be as picky as L was. She had heard he was extremely arrogant, and wouldn't take a case unless ten or more people were killed—or more than a million dollars was at stake. She admired the man very much, but she couldn't help but to think she wouldn't like him very much as a person. If an innocent was harmed, that was enough reason for her to get involved and make sure it didn't happen again. She couldn't see how he didn't think the same thing.

'I wonder why he won't take any other cases,' she frowned to herself. 'I bet he could solve simpler ones in a matter of days! Then, maybe the body count wouldn't get as high as ten in the first pl-'

She dropped her hair brush on her dresser in surprise at her thoughts.

'Ten people have been killed by that serial murderer...Does that mean L is involved?'

Her thoughts were racing as she bit her lip in thought. Could that be it? Surely, Johnny wouldn't be able to tell her if he was working with the L. The public didn't even know what L looked like, and she was sure that if and when he worked with other investigators, that he kept it quiet. Of course, she didn't have any reason to believe that—other than her brothers behavior, the number of deaths, and L's own preferences...but her gut told her she wasn't wrong.

Smiling to herself, she picked up her iPhone to send her darling brother a text.

"Can't we get more men on this case?" Evans asked sharply, looking around at the two other detectives, a computer, and a cloaked man behind it. He tried not to be irritated at the fact no one knew his identity either.

"Yes, it would be helpful if we had more people," the electronic voice sounded through the computer at the front of the room. "This case is getting quite large, and the more people we have, the sooner we solve this case."

"There are no other men," Johnny's voice sounded. "This is the LAPD. We're very busy, and all other detectives have their own cases going on...We can only do so much."

"I may be able to call on Reynold's or Matherson," Detective Peterson chipped in, scratching his beard. "But it may be a while. They're currently wrapped up in a triple homicide case."

"I suppose if it is direly needed, I could call request the F.B.I. for assistance," L sounded through the computer. "In any case, I doubt they will get involved, not until deaths grow to a staggering rate – Which I would prefer not to happen."

"Well, for the time being-" Johnny said, running his hand through his brown hair. "It looks like we're stuck as it is."

"What about that pretty sister of yours, Lafleur?" Evans voice sounded suddenly, looking over to look at Johnny with a goofy smile on his face.

"A seventeen year old girl?" Peterson said, shaking his head. "I don't believe we're quite that desperate – not yet anyway."

Johnny froze, and tried not to glare at his co-workers. The only thing that stopped him was the knowledge that L could see them through his web cam – another thing that was highly unfair.

"Yes, Ellora is a minor, but she's highly capable Peterson," he answered smoothly. "As her guardian, I will not allow it. I have already informed her that I will not allow her to assist me on this case."

Evans whistled, clearly not seeing his friends glare and Peterson fell silent.

"She's fiery, that one is – bet she didn't much care for that!" he chuckled, shaking his head.

Johnny twitched.

"She'll get over it." he said, glaring at him and telling him to shut his mouth with his eyes.

Apparently, Evans finally got the message.

"Sorry Lafleur," he said, scratching his head. "I was just making a suggestion since she's kind of brainy, isn't she?"

"Yes, she's Valedictorian of her class and wants to become a detective." he responded, unable to keep the pride from showing in his voice.

"Interesting. She has helped you solve cases in the past?" the electronic voice of L cut in.

"Yes, she is very intelligent. I let her do desk work and that is all." Johnny responded tersely. He didn't like where this was going.

"Impressive..." L's voice said after a moments pause. "I will consider allowing her to join the case if you allow it. Have you told her that I am leading this case?"

Johnny shifted in his seat. Of course he hadn't! He had a feeling L was trying to test him.

"No, I have not," he answered, balling his fists up slightly. "I was under the impression I was not allowed to do so."

"Yes, you are quite right." L's electronic voice sounded, clearly not bothered at all by his tone.

Evans suddenly burst out laughing next to Johnny, making him whip around to look at him in shock.

'What the hell is wrong with that man?' He thought to himself.

His eyes narrowed when he saw he was looking at his phone, which Johnny hadn't bothered to get back.

"Are you sure you didn't tell Ellora about L?" he asked, raising his eyebrow.

Johnny frowned. "What? I just said I didn't, and I meant it!"

"Well, that's a smart girl you got there," Evans said, handing Johnny his phone back to him and he saw a new text from Ellie.

"L?" Evans asked, grinning from ear to ear as he looked at the computer.

"Yes, Detective Evans?"

"Ellie says Hello!" he said, laughing to himself.

Johnny looked down at his phone in shock.

Dear brother, please tell L I said hello. Would you? Thanks!

-Ellie

"B-but..." Johnny blubbered, still astounded that his sister figured that out. How could she? Had she been listening in on his phone conversations or something? He knew that that probably wasn't true. His sister respected his privacy...She was probably guessing, and wanted his reaction to prove it.

'Great, now I look like a liar in front of the greatest detective in the world.' he thought to himself dejectedly. He couldn't help glaring at Evans.

L, who had fallen into silence, was making him worry even more – if that was possible.

"Very impressive." the electronic voice said suddenly, catching them off guard.

"I swear I did not tell my sister," Johnny said afterward, determined to defend himself. "Like I said, she's a very smart girl-"

"Is that so?" L's voice cut him off. "Well, then, you wouldn't have a problem with me considering to allow her to work on this case? I'll judge for myself if she knew beforehand, or if she figured it out herself."

Johnny's eyes narrowed. That bastard! He knew he wasn't lying—he was impressed by her figuring that out and simply wanted her brain on the team. He was attempting to back him into a corner, and if he refused then it would look to his colleagues that he wasn't trustworthy. Didn't the man have no feelings at all? Was he that desperate to solve a case that he cared about nothing else?

"I will not put my baby sisters life in danger," he responded, glaring at the computer and unable to keep the anger out of his voice.

"I understand," the emotionless robotic voice responded. "But in any case, there's about a two percent chance that she could be harmed by doing desk work on this case."

"Then that's two percent too high!" he answered, glaring at the monitor.

"Does your sister drive?" L's voice asked for a moments pause.

"Yes, what does that have to do with anything?" Johnny asked, furrowing his eyebrows.

"Every time she enters a vehicle, there is a thirty percent chance of being involved in an accident." L said slowly. "Also, a five percent chance that the accident would be fatal—Either way, the percentages are still higher than if she were to work on this case."

Johnny stared blankly at his screen. Of course, that sounded logical enough. But it was easy for him to say, he did not know and love Ellora. He knew deep down that he was right, but he couldn't quite shake his protective nature.

"I love Ellora and I want to protect her," he said after a moments pause. "I will consider it, and I will let you know tomorrow."

"Very well." L's voice said, seemingly not bothered by him not giving him a direct answer. Perhaps he already thought he had won – and just perhaps, he had.

How did you know?

- Johnny

Ellie smiled as she looked down at her phone. Excitement ran through her veins. She had been right! He was working with L!

I just figured it out. PLEASE let me meet L!

-Ellie

She bit her lip and anxiously looked at her phone. This was a huge chance for her. I mean, how many people can say that actually worked with L? She was positive she'd get a sarcastic, 'woo' from all her friends if she were to tell them...but to her, it was a huge deal.

Her phone beeped and she excitedly opened her phone. She frowned down at her screen when she saw a text from a restricted number.

Do you wish to be involved in the Murdoch serial killings case?

'What the hell?' Ellie thought, staring at her phone as though it had spat acid at her.

Depends on who's asking. Who is this?

She quickly sent her reply, and waited anxiously for an answer. Her phone quickly beeped, and she saw it was from Johnny.

I haven't even met the guy, Ellie. We speak to him through a computer.

-Johnny

'What?!' she thought. She knew no one really knew what he looked like, but she had assumed that he would show his face to people he decided to work with and they were just trusted and sworn to secrecy. She understood that the general public couldn't know what he looked like. After all, L must have many enemies – as many people as he's put behind bars. He had yet to be unable to solve a case! Saying it was beyond impressive was an understatement.

Her phone beeped again, pulling her out of her thoughts.

That is neither here nor there. Just answer the question.

She glared down at her phone. Who the hell was this? She'd be lying if she said she wasn't getting slightly creeped out. Was it her brother messing with her? It was clearly someone from the force. They had the means to send texts through a restricted number.

How did you get my number? I'm not answering anything I don't wish to, especially if you won't tell me WHO you are. You do realize you're being super creepy, don't you?

She stared down at her phone. Wouldn't that be crazy if it was L himself texting her? That would be amazing, but surely that wasn't the case. The chances that L was contacting her personally was extremely thin and close to non-existent...Probably around five percent – if even that. Her phone beeped, and she instantly read the message.

Was I? I wasn't aware. If I were to tell you who I am, you would have to agree to destroy your phone within the next 24 hours. Do you agree?

She stared down at her phone. Okay, the chances that he was L just went up by about thirty percent.

'Paranoid much?' she thought sarcastically to herself.

Um...How about no? I can't just destroy my phone! I don't know how much money you have, but regular people can't just destroy their phones and go out and buy new ones!

She glared down at her phone. Of course, she was tempted to say she would, just so he would tell her. But then again, if he did say L, and she actually believed him; she'd have to destroy her phone. She wouldn't lie to the greatest detective in the world! It just didn't seem like a good idea, especially when you hoped to meet or work with him one day. Her phone beeped.

How interesting. Most people would have agreed, just to find out a name. They would not even entertain the idea of destroying the phone. You did not lie to me...Impressive.

Her heart was thumping wildly in her chest. Could...could this really be the L? Surely not. Why would he contact her? He was an important person and she was merely a seventeen year old girl. No, it couldn't be him...could it?

Her heart gave a violent leap when her cracked door opened, but she relaxed when she saw it was only her dog, Snowbell. She glared at the little white fuzzball for scaring her in a tense moment.

The tiny Pomeranian seemed to care less as it trotted up to her, trying to jump on the bed. She smiled in spite of herself, rolling her eyes and lifted him onto the bed with her.

"Mama is very tense right now, Belly." she said patting the dog on its head as it curled up in her lap. She focused her attention on back on her phone, hesitantly typing her reply.

Is this L?

She stared down at her phone, her thumb hovering above the 'send' button. Should she say that? If it wasn't him, but someone from the department, she was going to feel like a complete imbecile – and that was a feeling she didn't particularly care for.

She held her breath and tapped the send button, dropping her phone on her bed in case she somehow managed to stop the text if she lost her nerve.

Her phone beeped and her heart jumped violently. She quickly snatched up her phone, making Snowball jump slightly. She closed her eyes briefly before she looked at the new text.

I expect this phone to be destroyed within 24 hours.

Her mouth fell open. That was clearly an admission. Excitement ran through her and she couldn't help it when she actually giggled in excitement and bounced on her bed like an idiot.

Snowball huffed irritatedly, and jumped from her lap. He took up on her plush blanket and stared at her.

'Oh my God...No, he could be lying.' she bit her lip and looked at her phone frantically. She wanted it to really be L, but she wasn't going to be naive about it, she was too smart for that.

How do I know you aren't lying?

She sent it quickly, after all, she could be worked up for nothing. It was just too good to be true. L texting her? Never in her life would she have thought such things would happen. Her phone beeped and she opened it with lightening speed.

You don't. If you automatically believed me, I would have doubted your intelligence. Very well, I have decided to allow you to work on the case with us. Please inform your brother of my decision.

Ellie stared in amazement at her phone...L wanted her to work on a case with him? It was pretty obvious it was him, but just to make sure...She'd wait to talk to her brother.

My brother doesn't want me working on the case. I'll try to change his mind...But, I don't know. He's overprotective. I'd love to get a chance to work with L, though.

She smiled as she sent it. She was complimenting L, but at the same time, she had worded it so that it was obvious she still doubted that he was who he said he was.

He will change his mind. I assure you. I look forward to working with you, Miss Lafleur.

Okay, there was a ninety percent chance he was L. She bit her lip and replied quickly.

Thank you. But please, if you really are L, you can call me Ellie.

She waited a few minutes, but no reply came. She sighed and stared at her phone hatefully. Of course, if he was really L, then he was probably busy and couldn't sit around texting a girl all day.

'I wonder if he's cute...' Her mind suggested, making her groan. Damn teenage hormones. That was gross! L was probably a man in his forties or fifties...She highly doubted someone that successful was even remotely near her age.

Her phone beeped and she quickly looked at it, frowning, for once, when she saw it was just her brother.

Ellie? You don't have class today! Don't ignore your big bro.

-Johnny

She smiled and rolled her eyes. No doubt he thought she was being brutally murdered this very moment.

Sorry, something crazy just happened. A person from a restricted number was texting me, claiming to be L...He told me to tell you that he made his decision and decided he wanted me on the case...Did you change your mind? If that was really L...its so exciting! Was it him?

-Ellie

As expected, her phone automatically started ringing and it was her brother.

"Yes, oh dear brother?" she answered playfully.

"He...text you?" her brother asked immediately, ignoring her sarcasm.

"I think so...How am I supposed to know whether it was really him or not?" she asked testily.

"I had to be," her brother said, sounding irritated and making her heart jump. "He said in the meeting he'd consider allowing you to be apart of the team. The only other people present were Evans, Peterson, me, L's computer, and L's assistant. I doubt it was Peterson, he doesn't care enough – Also, Evans phone is apparently broken," he paused. "And it sure as hell wasn't me-"

"So, it really was L?!" she exclaimed into the phone, bouncing slightly in spite of herself.

"Yes...I believe so, Ellie...That bastard!"

"Hey, he was nice to me!" Ellie exclaimed. Well, he wasn't really nice per-say...but he hadn't been mean. Perhaps he had been a little rude, but she didn't mind that much.

"Really? You're still not working on this case."

Fury ran through her veins. He wasn't doing this to her. She wasn't going to let him strip her of the opportunity to work with L!

"This is an opportunity to work with L, Johnny!" she screeched. "Please, oh please! I may never get the chance to do it again!"

"I don't like the idea-"

"PLEASE?! I'm begging you!" she said hysterically. "At the first sign of danger, I'll quit and won't say another word, I promise!"

She held her breath as her brother fell silent. Apparently he was thinking it over and her heart was racing in anticipation.

"Please..." she whispered, putting on her best pitiful voice.

"I'm going to regret this..."

"YES!" she yelled into the phone, jumping off her bed. "Oh! thank you, thank you, thank you!"

"Okay, calm down!" he chuckled at her excitement. "Remember your promise, though."

"Yeah, yeah, okay!" she exclaimed. "You're the best brother in the world! I'm going to bake you a cake!"

He was laughing at her and she ran into the kitchen.

"If you love me, you won't make me a cake." he said. "Even Snowbell wouldn't eat the last one."

She frowned and looked over at her white dog, who coincidentally was walking into the kitchen after her.

"Maybe he doesn't like sugar!" she said defensively.

"He started licking her butt, Ellie," he laughed. "My guess was to get the taste out of his mouth."

"You're a jerk!" she couldn't help but to laugh, though. "I'm hanging up now."

"No cake!" he said, right and she tapped 'End' on her phone.

It didn't matter to her, though. Nothing could bring her down right now. She couldn't believe it! She was going to be working with L! Well...his laptop, technically. But, still...It was exciting, none the less.

"Did you hear that, Belly?!" she exclaimed to the little white dog. "Mama's going to be working with a hot-shot detective. What'd ya think of that?"

Snowbell gave a little yip, and jumped on her legs. She smiled and reached down, plucking him off the floor.

"Well, at least you're excited for me!" she laughed as the dog tried to lick her face.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure I don't look stupid?” Ellie asked for the tenth time as her and Johnny walked into the police department.

“I told you, Ellie,” Johnny sighed. “You don't look stupid. You look fine, and it doesn't matter what you wear!”

She sighed and picked lint off her black jeans. She had discovered quickly that she didn't really have any detective appropriate clothes. She had no choice but to wear a white halter top, black jeans, and worst of all...Black and white converse on her feet. She did have a cashmere sweater, but she was in southern California – in May. She'd rather not have a heat stroke. Just wearing pants instead of shorts was enough to make her uncomfortably hot.

She felt like a dork.

“I just want to make a good impression.” she mumbled, groaning as she looked down at her feet. Perhaps she could hide her feet from his cam so he wouldn't see?

“I highly doubt L, or any of the three other men are going to care what you're wearing.”

She bit her lip and twisted her hair around her finger. It was a bad habit she had when she was thinking, or when she was nervous.

“So...erm, whats he like?” she asked her brother, determined to fill the silence and distract her nerves.

“Ellie, you're about to see in-” he looked at his watch. “Five minutes. You can wait.”

Ellie sighed, and began twisting her hair more nervously. What if L didn't like her? What if he thought she was an idiot? Oh God, she usually didn't care what other people thought, but...This was L. He was the best detective there was, and he was a genius. If he thought she was stupid, there was a pretty good chance she was. That was a depressing thought indeed.

“Here we are.”

She jumped a little at her brothers voice. She raised her head and saw that they were stopped right in front of the door to the meeting room.

“Now, remember our agreement.” he said sternly, blocking her entrance. “The absolute first time you're endangered, you are off this case. Do you understand?”

“Aye aye, Captain!” she said sarcastically, saluting him mockingly.

“I'm serious, Ellie.” he said sternly, but his lips twitched momentarily as though he was going to smile.

“So am I!” she said, pulling her face into a mock-serious expression and scrunching her lips together.

He rolled his eyes and rubbed his hand quickly on the top of her head.

“No!” she gasped, jumping back. “Don't mess up my hair! I look ridiculous enough as it is!”

“I didn't. It looks fine,” he rolled his eyes and grabbed her arm, pulling her through the door.

Her heart was pounding as she entered the room. She immediately saw a laptop at the front of the room, and a man...Well, she assumed it was a man...standing behind it. He had on a trench coat with the collar pulled up, and his hat was covering his face down to his lips.

She raised her eyebrows and saw Evans and Peterson sitting in chairs around a table.

Evans turned to look at her and instantly smiled.

“Hey there, kiddo!” he said, beaming at her.

She smiled and waved at him. She had always liked Evans, even though sometimes the man acted even younger than she was. He had always been friendly enough, though.

“Hey Evans!” she said, smiling brightly. “Hey Peterson!” she added, so she wouldn't seem rude.

Peterson gave her a small smile and nod before turning his head back towards the laptop.

She gulped nervously as she eyed the laptop with a black screen. Was L already listening?

“He'll randomly show up.” he brother said, pulling out a seat for her.

“Oh...” she said, feeling a pressure lift off her chest as she sat down. She looked at the man behind the laptop, and felt the need to speak, but she wasn't sure what she would even say.

Suddenly, the screen lit up, making her jump slightly. Her eyes got big as she saw a Gothic style, black, 'L' pop up on the now white screen.

“Good morning.” the laptop said, and Ellie couldn't help but frown. Clearly, it was L, but not only had he hid his face, he had also masked his voice. The sound was eerily distorted, and it sounded very robotic.

“Good morning, L.” the three men around her said, and she blushed slightly for not responding because she was wrapped up in her thoughts.

“Miss Lafleur?” the robotic voice sounded, making her jump in alarm slightly. She supposed she didn't expect him to personally address her.

“Y-yes?” she said, immediately wanting to smack herself at her idiotic answer.

“Its a pleasure to have you here,” he said, apparently completely unaffected by her simple answer. “Did you do as I asked you?”

She blinked, and stared at the 'L' in confusion. What on earth was he talking about?

“Your phone, Miss Lafleur.” he said, apparently noticing her confusion.

“Oh...you were serious?!” she exclaimed, baffled. She wasn't going to destroy her phone! She'd kinda assumed it was one of those, 'If I told you, I'd have to kill you.' type things.

“Very much so,” the robotic voice. “I do not joke. I take it that you have not done as I asked?”

“Er...No, but I can't just-” she started.

“Watari, please retrieve Miss Lafleur's phone.” L said, cutting her off.

The man behind the computer nodded, and started to walk towards her.

She immediately stood up, clutching her phone in her hand. They'd have to pry this thing from her dead hands.

“This is uncalled for,” her brother said, standing up and looking very ticked off. “I just recently bought that phone for her!”

She nodded, and backed away from the man with the hat.

“I will replace Miss Lafleur's phone,” the robotic voice said. “And I assure you, it is very necessary for my own protection.”

Watari held his hand out at her, and she childishly held it behind her back, giving him a stubborn look.

“Ellie,” Johnny said, pulling her attention to him. He ran his hand through his hair with an exasperated look. “He said he'd replace it. If that’s the case, go ahead and give it to him.”

Ellie frowned and nodded, pulling her phone out in front of her. She struggled to pull her Harry Potter case off. If they were getting her phone, she'd be damned if they were getting her new case too.

“I shall also replace the case.” the robotic voice said monotonously. “Please hand Watari your phone—now, Miss Lafleur.”

Ellie sent a stern look towards the laptop and stopped struggling to remove her case. He certainly was proving to be quite rude. She sighed, frowned, and gently placed her phone in 'Watari's' hand.

“Here you go,” she said dejectedly, silently saying goodbye to her new phone.

“Thank you, Miss Lafleur.” Watari said gently, taking her off-guard. She just assumed he'd never speak.

Her eyes widened as she looked at him, startled.

“Of course.” she said quietly, looking looking down sadly as Watari pocketed her phone and walked back towards the laptop.

“Now, that that's taken care of,” L's voice sounded. “We can concentrate on the case.”

Ellie sighed to herself as she took her seat back. She wasn't sure if she was liking L very much right now...

“Now, I suppose we need to get Miss Lafleur caught up,” L's voice said. “Watari, please give her the information I prepared for her.”

Guilt washed in her at her previous thoughts. He had personally prepared a folder for her? That was nice of him...Even though it was just his job.

She smiled as Watari walked forward, handing her a manila folder, which she gingerly took from him.

“Thank you,” she said kindly. She didn't know why, but she liked that man. He seemed to be kind—Even though he was holding her phone hostage.

He nodded to her, walking back to the laptop.

“Now, Miss Lafleur,” L's voice sounded. “Please make a profile of the killer. Take all the time you need.”

She gulped as she noticed all eyes were on her, so she instantly reddened and looked down, opening the folder to look at the papers inside.

She raised her eyebrows when she saw all the reports, and pictures even.

She shuffled through the papers to see the pictures, gasping when her eyes fell on a mangled body. It was impossible to tell whether they were male or female. All four limbs were removed from the body, and were laying around the victim.

'This is sick!' she thought, horrified to herself. She tried her best to keep the bile from rising in her throat, knowing that everyone was looking at her.

Beside her, Johnny shifted nervously. He didn't want his baby sister looking at those pictures...But, he knew it was necessary. After all, she had watched horror movies with worse content than this. He just had to keep repeating to himself that she was old enough, and she'd have to get use to seeing those pictures if she was going to be a detective.

Although, a small part of him held him back because he was hoping she'd change her mind...Maybe, if she saw what being a detective was like – all the horrible things he had to look at...She'd pick a different career; a safer career. Perhaps she needed to see these things. It might be good for her.

Meanwhile, Ellie was looking through the crime scene photos, her eyebrows furrowed on the words left behind by the killer.

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” she read aloud, looking at it indecorously. No longer caring she was being watched, she shuffled through to the autopsy report of the victim.

Name: Barbara Simmons.

Age: 37

Race: Caucasian.

Hair Color: Brown.

Height: 5'3

Weight: 123

Marital Status: Divorced.

She frowned, and began looking through the other papers. All the victims were women, all in their 30's, divorced, brunette, and lived alone. As she read the reports, she saw quickly that...These women did not know each other. They, in no way, had any contact with each other.

It was odd, to say the least. Surely, this couldn't be random?

It seemed it was, considering the facts. They had things in common...but them being divorced could merely be a coincidence. The killer may prefer brunette women in their 30's who lived alone...and the one's he had targeted had just simply been divorced.

All the victims had been mutilated in different ways. Which was, also abnormal. Usually the damage to bodies was the same—But the cause of death was always multiple stab wounds to the chest. An up close and personal kill...This guy was definitely a complete sicko.

“Well,” she said after a long pause. “I think its safe to say that the person is definitely male, with a hatred for brunette women.”

“Yes, my thoughts also,” L's voice answered. “Please, do continue.”

“He's targeted all women in their thirties...” she paused. “All Caucasian as well. I would say the suspect is more than likely also Caucasian and middle aged – from late thirties to possibly forties.

“Also, the biblical quotes he leaves at the crime scenes...He may be religious, or think of himself that way. Clearly, he has a skewed view of Christianity. To leave biblical quotes at the crime scene...He probably attends a church and is fanatical in his so called, 'faith'. Seeing as all the murders were taken place in the same area...his personal residence can't be that far away from where the crimes were taken place.”

She bit her lip and twisted her strand of hair in thought.

“...So, we're looking at a middle aged Caucasian male – that may be divorced, probably hurt by a woman, a brunette woman, in his past. He more than likely has an ex-wife, or perhaps ex-girlfriend that is in her mid-thirties, brunette, with a smaller frame. He often attends religious ceremonies, maybe even works at a church?

“His body type is likely thin, as in one of the murders was taken place on a third story level, and its concluded that the intruder entered from the window. Clearly, he'd have to be in shape to find a way to get up there. I highly doubt he'd go unnoticed lugging a huge ladder around...So, he's probably in shape, I'd say—Also, the neighbors heard absolutely nothing in the complex. He seems to be very sneaky...Perhaps a martial artist, also? I'm not sure about that part; I'm mostly guessing.”

She fell silent, and everyone in the room was looking at her like she had just sprouted an extra head, including her brother.

“What?” she asked him, starting to feel self-conscious about her answer and turning red.

“So, we're looking for white dude that thinks he's a ninja? Great.” Evans said, smiling at her in an attempt to lighten to mood.

“No, not a ninja,” she smacked his arm playfully. “Just possibly someone that knows some kind of martial arts—I don't know, I'm not an expert on the subject.”

“Mmm, she's right,” L's voice suddenly sounded. “I thought a lot of those things, and now I'm even more sure of them. However, I did not think of the martial artist theory; It is very likely,” L paused. “Probably about a seventy-five percent chance, actually.”

Ellie couldn't help it when her face erupted in a smile. She'd actually thought of something that L hadn't considered?! It wasn't huge, and it definitely wasn't going to solve the case...but still, what a glorious day indeed.

“Does that narrow down anything?” Peterson asked, speaking for the first time.

“Yes, it does actually.” L's voice said after a pause. “That was clever and informative. Thank you, Miss Lafleur.”

She couldn't stop the deep blush from creeping up on her cheeks. She was almost willing to forgive him for apparently intending to take a sledge hammer to her phone.

“Thanks!” she said brightly, unable to wipe the smile off her face.

Suddenly, the intercom on the table came to life, making her jump slightly at the loud noise.

“Detective Evans?”

She watched her brother lean forward, pressing one of the buttons.

“I'm in the middle of an important meeting,” he said, sighing. “I asked not to be interrupted.”

“This is important, sir,” the secretary responded. “There has been another murder.”

Suddenly, her brother stood, looking very alert.

“How recent?”

“The body was just found moments ago.”

“Thank you, Sarah. I'll come to your desk to get the address.”

The other two detectives stood, while Ellie remained seated. She knew that she wouldn't be included in this one.

“Detectives, go now to examine the crime scene,” L's authoritative voice said. “Take special care to examine how he entered the home, and bring all reports to Watari.”

They all nodded and Johnny turned to her.

“I have to go pumpkin,” she groaned at the nickname, wanting to shrink in her seat. “You can stay here and look at the files more closely. Do not leave this building and I'll come back as soon as I can.”

“At ease, Captain,” she smirked. “I'm not going anywhere.”

He rolled his eyes and smiled, turning to walk out of the door with the other detectives.

“See ya, squirt!” Evans said, making her glare at the door that closed behind him.

It was then, that Ellie became hyper-aware that she was now alone in the room with Watari and L...Well, sort of L. His laptop anyway, and she was sure he was watching her with his web cam. It made her slightly fidget in her seat, feeling really awkward suddenly.

“What days are you unable to come to station?” L's voice asked after an awkward pause that clearly she only felt.

“Erm...Monday's and Tuesday's I have class for the next two weeks,” she answered. “After that...I suppose I'm free anytime until I get a job.”

“When do you turn eighteen?” he asked.

“Um, on the sixteenth of this month.” she answered awkwardly. “Why?”

“Well, if you continue to impress me – I shall consider hiring you for your deductive reasoning as long as I'm on this case. Of course, if you would prefer that over whatever other job you had in mind.”

She smiled in spite of herself. Of course, she wasn't going to tell him she had Starbucks in mind until she started college in the fall. It seemed to pale in comparison.

“I'd love that!” she exclaimed, jumping in her seat.

He got quiet, and she reddened slightly and fell silent.

“So, um...When am I getting my phone replacement?” she asked, feeling the need to quickly change the subject.

“Watari will have it tomorrow.” he answered instantly.

“Oh, okay...” she responded quickly, finding it hard to meet his eye...well, lens, technically.

'God, this is awkward...' she thought to herself, shifting in her seat and looking around the room. 'Why isn't he leaving until they come back? He's probably enjoying this and laughing to himself at my awkwardness.'

Her defense to awkwardness: make jokes in a lame attempt to lighten to the mood.

“Sorry, I'm a bit socially awkward,” she blurted, in spite of herself.

“I wouldn't concern myself with that,” he responded, with no trace of humor in his voice. “I, myself, despise social situations.”

“Well, obviously,” she said without thinking, taking slight offense. He practically just said he was despising their conversation!

Her stomach dropped instantly, and Watari started coughing. It looked like it was in an attempt to stifle a chuckle.

“Uh...Sorry, I just mean that as in how you won't show your face—and er-” she trailed off, feeling like a dolt. “...There's not a huge filter from my brain to my mouth.”

'Oh God...Let me die.' she silently pleaded.

“Well, obviously,” he said after a moments pause, clearly mocking her words in a monotone voice.

She frowned.

“I can't tell if you're joking with me or not,” she said. Surely, he wouldn't be that rude?

“I believe I already said that I don't joke, didn't I?”

She scowled at the laptop. Okay, he was kind of an ass; but he was the top detective in the world—of course he was an ass. He was entitled to a little assholeness she assumed...but still, she wasn't going to dignify that question with an answer.

“So, are you ever going to show yourself?” she asked in spite of herself. She couldn't help it—she was curious. She'd bet he was some uptight, bitter, hateful old man that never smiled and drank hot tea while silently judging you.

“I'm not entirely sure,” he said after a moments pause. “Its a possibility since the team is so small. I try to refrain from it, though. I've been considering it if there was another murder, which there has been.”

Surprise flitted across her features. She had automatically assumed he was going to never show his face, seeing as to how he went to such extremes to keep his identity secret.

“Don't worry, I won't ask the others about you if they meet you,” she said. After all, she wanted him to trust her, at least a little.

“I was under the impression that you would be included.”

More shock flitted across her face. He'd include her if her brother got to meet him? She definitely didn't expect that.

“You're part of the team, aren't you?” his robotic voice asked, apparently reading her mind.

“Um—I guess,” she shifted. “I feel more like they're playing the field and I'm sitting on the bench – just kinda there, I guess.”

“You shouldn't feel that way,” he said, and she couldn't help but to think it sounded like a monotone command. “If I meet the others, you will be included. If it happens, it will be soon.”

'I might meet L soon?' she thought excitedly to herself. She just kept getting more and more surprises.

“Look over the file to the Burkley murder.” he said suddenly, instantly changing the subject.

“Oh, er, alright,” she said, looking through the papers.

Name: Elizabeth Burkley

Age: 35

Race: Caucasian.

Hair color: Brown

Height: 5'7

Weight: 135

Marital Status: Divorced

She looked over her papers, and it seemed she was the poor third woman to be killed.

“What am I suppose to be looking for?” she asked, raising her eyes to the screen.

“Just see if anything...stands out to you. Take all the time you need.”

“Alright...” she said, biting her lip.

She fished through to the crime scene photos, turning her head away slightly in a grimace as she saw the picture of the corpse.

The woman’s jaw was completely removed from her body, and was laying beside her. Her limbs were clearly broken, and sticking out at odd angles. Bile rose is her throat as she looked around the body for anything that could possibly stand out at her. She wasn't seeing anything, and she frowned, looking through the other crime scene photos from the murder.

She twisted her hair around her finger and bit her lip again, as though it would help her think more clearly.

A few minutes passed, and she was beginning to lose hope. She looked at the picture of the area around her door, and paused when she saw a white box on the wall.

'Is that an ADT alarm system?' she squinted. 'I'll be damned. It is!'

“What do you see?” L's voice came sharply, making her jump slightly.

“Oh, um...” she shifted. “This woman appears to have an alarm system on the wall beside the door.”

“An alarm system...” he said, and she heard typing. Clearly, he was pulling files up on his computer.

“Yes, I don't know if she had it activated or not-” Ellie paused. “But if she did, I'm highly curious as to how he entered her house without setting off an alarm...Unless he knew the code-”

“Yes, I'm curious too...” his voice trailed off, and for some reason he sounded muffled, like he had something in his mouth.

“Watari, look through her monthly bills and see if ADT security systems was among them.” he said sharply. “It could be of vital importance. If she did have it set up it could imply that-”

“She knew him and gave him the code!” she said suddenly, jumping from her seat.

She fell silent when L and Watari both were quiet. She flushed and she swore she saw a smile turn on Watari's lips.

“I'm sorry,” she said quietly, sitting down quickly.

“Yes, in any case,” he said, sounding unaffected. “It would imply that the victim knew her murderer—and even if not, it would imply that the murderer is someone that has knowledge of security systems, and how to deactivate them. That is something the average person definitely does not know, and both of which, could give us a lead.”

'Ah, I didn't think of that part!' she thought to herself, but didn't voice it.

“You seem to work better when we're alone,” his robotic voice sounded curious. “Your deductive reasoning skills have increased by roughly twenty percent.”

She flushed. She knew he didn't mean it that way, but it sounded kind of weird to her ears.

“That's simple,” she said. “Its because there isn't five people in here staring at me – only two. Well, sort of.” she looked at the camera. “Its less pressure if there's less people watching me while I'm trying to think.”

“Mmm, perhaps,” he answered to her relief. “I believe I will schedule a meeting in person for those assigned to this case. I think it would be beneficial if we could all brainstorm together, as I am anxious to solve this case as quickly as possible. I do not want any other deaths to happen. The killer is clearly speeding up his attacks, and that is not a good sign.”

Her stomach fluttered. Was this real? Was she actually going to get to meet L? She tried to hide the happiness from her face, but she had a feeling she was failing miserably. It was like she was a little kid that was just informed that they were going to meet Santa Claus.

“Oh, okay,” she said, keeping her excitement out of her voice. “When would this happen?”

“Mmm,” he answered, once again sounding like something was in his mouth. “Either tonight or tomorrow.”

'Damn! That was fast!' she thought to herself, slightly surprised.

“I will take my leave now,” he said, apparently not waiting for a reply. “Watari will contact me when the others return. Until then, please continue to look through the files, and I will be waiting to hear what you find.”

'Aw, he's leaving?' at first, she had hoped he would go away, but now that he was...she didn't really want him to. She found that he was fun to brainstorm with...clearly beyond brilliant and she liked listening to him. Well, she couldn't wait to meet him in person. Perhaps he had a son or a daughter her age that was just as smart? That would be amazing! After all, it would be weird to try to form a friendship with someone thirty years her senior...

“O-oh...alright, then,” she said, straightening up in her seat. “I'll do that.”

She looked at the screen, and it suddenly went black. Watari instantly closed the laptop, lifting it in his arms.

'No goodbye? Well, that was kind of rude. I hope if he has children they have more manners than him!' she thought to herself, shaking her head.

“Hey, Watari?” she asked, a thought coming to her mind.

“Yes, Miss Lafleur?” he asked politely, tucking the laptop in his bag.

“Does L have any children my age? 'Cause, I mean...that would be cool.”

Watari clearly froze, and then resumed placing the laptop in his bag.

“Oh, God, I'm sorry!” she exclaimed, throwing her hands up and taking his reaction the wrong way. “I didn't mean to try to invade his personal life! Its none of my business—I was just curious; I swear!”

To her surprise, he chuckled at her. It caused her immense relief.

“No, it is quite alright,” he said kindly. “I was simply surprised. No, L does not have any children, and definitely not any your age. I'm sorry.”

He bowed slightly to her.

“Aw, that's too bad,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. “Oh well, I was just wondering...”

He walked around the room and towards the door.

“Seems you'll have a bigger surprise soon.”

She raised her eyebrows at him. That's all that's been happening the past two days. She doubted anything would shock her about L at this point.

She opened her mouth to question him.

“I'm taking a break, I shall return soon.” he said, cutting her off and opening the door and swiftly leaving.

She looked down at her papers with a frown. That was weird, but she shrugged. She couldn't afford to dwell on it. After all, she didn't want to tell L that she didn't have any information for him, the last thing she wanted was for him to change his mind about meeting her.

With that in mind, she set to work.

Chapter Text

Ellie sat in dead silence, looking through the murder papers. To her complete horror, she couldn't really find anything else worth noting. No wonder they were looking for more people—she was completely stumped. Don't get her wrong, its not like she was a genius or anything, but she had never been so confused on any of the previous cases she had helped her brother with.

She was literally tempted to just throw the papers across the room and bang her head on the table.

The only thing that kept her from dying on the inside was the knowledge that the other members were stumped too. Detectives, that were years her senior. She had already discovered two things that L himself didn't think of...surely, that was enough for one day. Wasn't it? Apparently not—according to L.

They had quite a few clues, but not nearly enough to go on. What in the world were they supposed to do? Visit every middle-aged mans house in a thirty mile radius of a crime scene in Los Angeles? And say what—precisely?

'Excuse me, but have you brutally murdered multiple women lately? We're doing an investigation.'

She rolled her eyes. Not very likely – seeing as the criminal had covered his tracks very well. No finger prints, no foot prints, no blood, and no hair that didn't belong to the victim. It was like a ghost came in and murdered these women.

“I don't know...” she groaned out loud, putting her hands in her hair and glaring down at all the papers.

She was frustrated, not to mention the constant staring at morbid pictures for the past two hours was making her feel nauseous.

“I need energy.” she groaned, silently wishing she had brought a Red Bull or something similar with her.

'Maybe there's one in the employee's lounge?' she thought. It seemed like a good idea, and she decided to go for it. After all, her brother was an energy drink addict as well and maybe he had one in there she could steal.

Standing up from her chair, she creeped towards the door as if she was being careful not to wake someone up. Right as she approached the door and reached her hand out, it was flung open, causing her to shriek and jump back in surprise.

She put her hand over her heart and came face to face with Johnny – who was looking rather haggard.

“Urgh! Must you always enter rooms like a stampeding elephant?!” she asked, shaking her head and let her hand fall down.

“Where do you think you were going?” he asked, ignoring her stampeding elephant comment.

“If you must know,” she said sarcastically. “I was going to raid the lunchroom for an energy substance.”

He rolled his eyes and reached into his briefcase as the rest of the team walked in, including Watari.

She watched him walked to the front of the room, pulling the laptop out and setting it up.

Her brother cleared his throat, and she looked away, seeing that Johnny was holding a 20oz Red Bull in front of her face.

Her face immediately lit up.

“Oh, thank GOD!” she said grabbing it from him and opening it quickly – chugging some before smiling at him.

“Do I ever tell you how much I love you?” she asked, taking another drink as he chuckled and pulled another Red Bull for himself out of his bag.

“I figured you'd be craving one right about now,” he said, walking up to the chair with her and taking a seat.

“You figured right,” she responded, nodding her head. “I was close to banging my head on the table.”

“Those are supposedly really bad for you, ya know?” Evans said, looking at the pairs drinks with a smirk.

“Says mister chain-smoker,” Ellie said, raising her hand to high-five her brother without looking.

He laughed as she raised her eyebrow at him, making her laugh also.

“Touche, young lady.” he conceded.

“As fascinating as this is-” L's voice suddenly sounded through the room, causing the smile to fall from her face. “There is an announcement I must make.”

The room fell silent, and everyone trained their eyes on the laptop.

“Now, I have considered this,” L's robotic voice continued. “And I have decided to meet the four of you in person.”

Surprise erupted on the faces of the detectives. Ellie, of course, wasn't surprised because he had already told her this. She simply sat in silence, sipping at her liquid gold.

“I believe it will help move the investigation forward, and at this point, it is necessary to solve this as quickly as possible.” L finished.

'I wonder how this is going to work? I don't see him coming here,' Ellie thought to herself for the first time. Surely, they'd have to go to him? It didn't matter, he probably had some sort of large estate somewhere.

“So, you're coming down to the station, then?” her brother asked, clearly having the same line of thinking as her.

“Not exactly,” L's voice sounded muffled. “I'm afraid you will have to come to me. I'm am currently staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills-”

Ellie promptly spat Red Bull over the table, coughing loudly.

'What?! That's one of most luxurious hotels anywhere remotely near this area!' She thought to herself.

Everyone was looking at her, even though she could see the surprise on their faces as well. Apparently, they were all too stunned to speak.

“I'm sorry,” Ellie said, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. “It's just...aren't their rooms like, five hundred dollars a night?”

“Mmm,” L said, ignoring her outburst. “Please approach the screen and I will give the details of my room and when to arrive. I must ask you to not repeat any of this out loud.”

Instantly, the three detectives stood, and began walking towards the laptop. Ellie didn't bother, seeing as she'd just be riding with Johnny anyway.

'He must be loaded!' Ellie thought to herself. Surely, the best detective in the world had a lot of money, but she just didn't think he had that much. It seemed that would be a little bit too luxurious just to work. Maybe if you were on your honeymoon, or it was a special occasion.

She shifted in her seat and watched her brother walk towards her.

“I suppose you and Ellie can go first,” Evans said. “Peterson and I will leave twenty minutes after you two.”

Her brother nodded, picking up his suitcase. She looked at Watari and saw him packing up the computer, yet again.

Butterflies erupted in her stomach as she stood.

'Oh my God. This is it! I'm going to meet L!' she thought ecstatically to herself, trying to keep her face neutral as possible as she followed her brother out the door.

As they walked through the department and out the door, she felt her stomach getting progressively more fluttery by the second. She was still in shock, unable to believe she was going to meet the greatest detective in the world.

As she jumped in the passengers seat of her brother's black SUV, she began wishing she could change her outfit. No hope of hiding her converse from him now she supposed.

As her brother closed his door and looked at her, he smiled and looked at her knowingly.

“Go ahead and let it out, Ellie,” he said sarcastically.

“OH MY GOD!” Ellie busted. “WE'RE GOING TO MEET L! CAN YOU EVEN- OH GOD. THIS IS LIKE- SO BIG! WE'RE- AH! GOING TO MEET L!”

He started laughing as he pulled out into the road – with Ellie spitting half constructed sentences at him.

“I must admit,” he said after her outburst. “Even I'm ecstatic. After all, this doesn't really happen. I just wish it was under different circumstances other than a serial killer.”

Ellie felt her excitement dwindle slightly. He was right. She suddenly felt a little guilty. The main goal here was to stop a monster – that should be her main focus. Not meeting L...but still, she couldn't deny that it was awesome.

“Yeah, me too.” she said, frowning as they pulled into Beverly Hills.

“I hope he's nicer than he is over the computer.” she said, looking out the window. “Watari told him he didn't have any children my age.”

Johnny raised his eyebrows.

“Why? Hoping he had a son you could make your boyfriend?” he smiled as she turned red.

“No! I mean, I just thought I could...make friends...with—them.” she said in her defense.

“Uh huh,” he smirked. “I'm sure, Ellie.”

“Hey, you're one to talk!” she shot back at him. “You won't even date!”

“Oh Ellie,” he said sarcastically. “You know you're the only woman I have time for in my life.”

She scrunched her face at him. She really wanted her brother to get out there. After all, his life revolved around his job and her. It really wasn't fair. He was an amazing man—an amazing father. He deserved to find someone and settle down. He couldn't coddle her for the rest of her life.

“Well, we're here.” Johnny said, pulling up to the hotel.

She shakily exited the car, and he handed his keys to valet parking.

“Are you ready, sweetie?” he asked her, grabbing her elbow and leading her through the entrance.

She gulped nervously. There was no way she wasn't shaking slightly.

'You aren't a timid gazelle. So stop acting like one!' she scolded herself as they walked into the fancy lobby of the hotel, making their way towards the elevators.

“What floor he is on?” she asked as they approached and he pushed the 'Up' button.

“He said not to say anything out loud,” Johnny raised his eyebrows as they stepped in the elevator. “You should have read it if you wanted to know.”

She glared at him and rolled her eyes. Of course, she had forgotten that part. She watched as he pushed the number eleven button, and she smiled.

It was the longest elevator ride of her life. Or, at least, it seemed that way. She stared at the numbers slowly climbing, silently willing it with her mind to go faster. Finally, the elevator beeped, indicating they were now on the eleventh floor.

Shakily, she stepped out of the elevator following her brother down the hall. They stopped sooner than she would have thought, and she saw the rooms were VERY far apart, indicating that they were very large. Her eyes fell on the number on the door.

1103

She bit her lip and twisted her hands in front of her quickly as her brother discreetly knocked on the door.

She jumped slightly as the door abruptly opened, revealing an old man standing there.

'HA! I knew it!' she thought to herself, but her heart was still pounding mercilessly.

“Hello, Miss and Mister Lafleur,” he said kindly, making the smile fall from her face slightly as she recognized his voice.

This was Watari – not L. She was secretly thankful that she didn't say anything, but she couldn't help but to wonder how the hell he got there before them. The old man must ignore traffic rules was the only thing she could figure. Perhaps he just sprouted wings and flew there.

“This way, please,” he said kindly, standing aside and gesturing towards the room.

Ellie smiled at him as she walked down the small hallway. The room was clearly a large suite.

'Isn't this a little big for two people?' she thought to herself, keeping her eyes trained for L.

The stopped in the first room, and Johnny turned to look at Watari.

“To the right.” Watari said, clearly reading their expressions.

Ellie smiled and willed her heart to calm down as she walked into the room that Watari had pointed out.

She stopped with Johnny as her eyes fell on a tall young man standing there—near the couch in the TV room. Her eyes bugged out slightly.

'Who is this?' she thought as she stared at the slouched man. 'Is it another one of L's assistants?'

The man, in question, couldn't have many years on her. She'd say he was about twenty-three, perhaps twenty-four and he was...odd looking.

He was wearing a long sleeved, plain white shirt and baggy, faded jeans. He wore no shoes or socks—and she watched, confused, as he raised his right foot to scratch his left ankle. His hands were shoved in his pockets, and he was blankly staring at them.

His jet-black hair was insane and sticking up in every direction, slightly reminding her of Harry Potter. His skin was deathly pale, and he obviously had some Japanese in him.

The weirdest thing of all was his eyes. They were...intense – jet black, and blank. It was like he was looking into your very soul. Dark bags were underneath his eyes, indicating loss of sleep.

She shivered slightly as his unblinking stare continued to bore into them, making her highly uncomfortable.

“I'm L.”

She couldn't help it when her mouth fell open and her eyes bugged out. Nor could she stop herself from gaping at him like a fish. His voice was deep, but it had the same monotone quality of the robotic voice she'd heard – completely expressionless.

'T-this is...L? But he's so...so...is this....it couldn't – is it?' she couldn't even form a coherent thought, let alone form words.

She watched as he raised up a pale, long fingered hand and scratched the back of his unruly head with his pianist fingers.

She couldn't help but to notice her brother had also yet to say anything, and it was so awkwardly quiet you could hear a pin drop.

Noticing movement out of her peripherals, she saw Watari come to stand beside them. They tore their eyes from the eccentric-looking man and looked to Watari for answers.

He was smiling, but he merely nodded at the imploringly as if to say, 'Yes, this man is L.'

Turning her head, she went back to staring at...L. She opened her mouth to speak, but words failed her, and she merely gaped at him.

'But he's so...young!' she thought indecorously.

“But...you're young!” she heard her brother say, clearly surprised by that fact like she was.

L said nothing, but continued to look at them – unblinking and expressionlessly.

'This is...so awkward. Oh, God.' she thought miserably to herself. She hated awkward situations.

It came out before she could stop herself. Like before, when the situation is awkward: make bad jokes to lighten to mood. So, that's exactly what she did.

“Your observational skills astound me, brother,” she smiled weakly. “Now I know why you're a detective.”

L's face didn't so much as twitch as he moved his unblinking stare from her brother, to her.

She bit her lip as she saw Johnny give her a warning stare, and she looked down at her shoes, feeling her face turning red. She wanted to scowl at herself. It hadn't worked before, so why did she think it would work this time? You'd think she'd be smart enough to stop trying.

Faintly, she heard a knock at the door and she wanted to groan. Great, two more could join the awkward circle of saying nothing and staring.

Her brother cleared his throat, and reached into his pocket, removing his badge.

“Johnny Lafleur, its a pleasure to meet you.” he said, showing L his badge.

L's penetrating stared bored into her brother, and she wondered if he was even going to speak.

“As it is you, Detective Lafleur.” L finally spoke, barely moving his lips.

Seemed she would be stunned again. She detected an accent, and it was...British?

'What in the world...' she thought to herself. 'Could this possibly get any weirder?'

Her brother looked at her sternly, and she snapped out of her thoughts, going red.

“I'm Ellie, and I don't have a badge.” she said hurriedly, smiling slightly at L. He simply stared at her, making her palms sweat slightly. He sure was more talkative through a computer.

“Ellora Lafleur.” her brother corrected as the other two detectives walked in the room.

She scrunched up her nose and glared at him for using her full name.

“Peterson – Evans.” her brother said, ignoring her stare as the two shocked men walked into the room. “This, is L.”

Evans mouth fell open slightly before he snapped it shut. Surprise momentarily flashed across Peterson's face, before he pulled it blank again. The two detectives pulled out their badges, saying their names to L as Johnny had done.

Ellie felt slightly awkward. Perhaps she should have pulled her drivers license out of her pocket or something?

'No, that's stupid.' she thought to herself irritably. 'He knows who you are—idiot.'

L nodded sternly to both of them and swiftly turned around.

“This way.” he said, walking over to the sitting area, where a few chairs, couch, and large coffee table sat.

Ellie trailed behind the four men, watching as L all but hopped onto the chair at the head of the table. He sat there with his knees pulled up – his long fingered hands resting on his knees. He was basically perched on the chair, like a gargoyle or something similar.

She couldn't stop herself from staring in shock at how odd he looked. Her toe caught the rug on the floor – making her stumble slightly, almost making her fall, but she caught herself last minute.

All eyes, including L's, fell on her.

“Oops.” she said, giving an awkward laugh and blushing profusely.

Peterson and Evans took the vacant chairs, and to her horror, her brother sat on the couch, farthest from L.

Great, she had to be the one to sit the closest to L. The others were obviously wary of him, so they had sat further away, leaving her to sit the closest to him.

'Noble men, you lot are.' she thought sarcastically to herself, very aware that L's dark eyes followed her every movement as she sat down quickly on the couch.

“Watari, will you please bring some tea?” L said, breaking the silence and tearing his eyes from her, much to her relief.

Right after he asked, Watari came into the room, carrying a tray with a teapot, sugar, and a few cups on it.

L instantly reached forward, grabbing the teapot with his thumb, pointer, and middle finger and poured himself some tea.

'What an odd way to hold the tea pot.' she thought to herself.

Still watching, he picked up two sugar cubes at a time, putting them in his small tea cup.

Her mouth fell open as he dropped in eight sugar cubes, picking up a spoon with his index and thumb – stirring the tea lightly. It kind of looked as though he believed the spoon was contaminated or something.

“So, L-” Peterson started.

“Mmm, no,” L cut in. “Please, call me, 'Matthew' from this point onwards. Its for safety reasons.”

'Matthew? I would totally have picked Harry.' she thought, smirking inwardly as she eyed his unruly black hair. She couldn't help it, being a self-proclaimed 'Potterhead'.

“Oh, okay – Matthew,” Peterson said awkwardly. “Have you looked at the new files?”

“I have looked over the new murder,” he said as he stirred the tea. “And this one...seems to be the worst yet.” he paused, glancing over to her brother, then her. “This victim was sexually assaulted before she was murdered.”

Revulsion ran through her veins at his words. Great, now they were dealing with a rapist serial killer.

“This woman does not fit into the category of the other women,” he continued in his monotone voice, looking down at his tea. “I almost didn't believe it was committed by the same person. This woman was only twenty-five, never married, and she lived with a roommate...Who, obviously, was not present at the time of the murder.”

'What?' Ellie thought. 'Why the hell would he change his pattern now? That doesn't make any sense.'

“Maybe he ran out of victims,” she voiced out loud, immediately regretting it when his dark gaze fell on her.

“Elaborate.” he said simply, bringing his tea up to his lips with his two fingers, watching her.

“Well, how many brunette, divorced women in their thirties...that live alone can there be in this area?” she asked, trying to keep her voice steady. “Maybe he couldn't find his typical victim, and he just went to the next thing he could find...”

He watched her, and he brought his thumb up to his mouth, biting on his thumbnail. She stared back at him—with wide eyes at him clearly displaying something that was considered a 'bad habit.'

“Mmm, perhaps,” he said slowly. “It still doesn't explain the sexual assault, though.”

“Perhaps he wasn't attracted to the other women, but he was this one,” her brother piped in. “So, he decided to rape her before he murdered her...that's a possibility.”

Ellie twisted her hair and fidgeted in her seat. It was kind of weird, talking about rape in a room with only men when she was the only girl.

“Yes, I was thinking the same thing, Detective Lafleur.” L said, looking down at his tea blankly. “The killer is confident, cunning, and unfortunately, intelligent. We can only hope that he becomes over confident...in that case-” he lifted his eyes, looking around at them. “He'll become sloppy. Its bound to happen. I see this all the time—they become over confident, and they start making mistakes. Raping this woman was one of them.

“Hopefully, we'll be able to get semen sample from her...In any case, we'll have DNA from the killer. There's only a thirty percent chance he would have left semen behind, though, considering how he goes to extreme lengths to remove finger-prints.”

“Even the most responsible people can make mistakes in a sexual situation,” Peterson cut in. “It happens all the time. People get caught up in the moment...and nine months later, a baby is born. So, hopefully, he did leave behind some evidence.”

Ellie felt like her cheeks were going to burst into flames at any moment from this situation of talking about sex, semen, and being 'caught up in the moment.'

'For the love of all that is good in the world,' she pleaded in her head. 'Please bring up a different factor in the murder.'

“What if he just raped and killed her to throw us off?” Evans said suddenly. “That is a possibility, right?”

L looked at him, chewing on his thumbnail.

'That is true...Perhaps he was getting too paranoid with his pattern, and changed it to throw the investigation off.” she thought, biting her lip and twisting her hair.

“Perhaps,” L said suddenly. “He did make it clear that it was him by leaving a biblical quote on the wall, though, which cuts down the percentage of that being true by roughly sixty percent.”

Evans nodded, and looked down, seeming to continue thinking.

“If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.” L quoted, looking around the room.

“Again, with the divorce...” Johnny said, furrowing his eyebrows.

“Yes,” L said, taking a sip of his tea. “The quote implies that he killed her after raping her—because he did not want to marry her.”

“That's horrible!” Ellie exclaimed, horrified. Just when she thought the guy couldn't get any sicker.

“Yes, quite,” L said, his dark eyes falling on her.

“Yeah, this guy is definitely sick,” Johnny agreed, running his hand through his hair.

“I had Watari compile a list of all the middle aged men in the area that are divorced,” L said as Watari walked in the room, carrying a huge stack of papers. “I suggest we go through these papers, and look for information that is similar to the killer. Look for past violence, multiple marriages, and occupations that involve religion. All of those things are not concrete, but there is a fifty percent chance that the killer will have all three.”

Ellie saw that the stack of papers were sectioned off, compiling them into five separate stacks. Watari handed L the first stack, which he took with his index and thumb, holding it in the air.

She kept watching him as he removed the paper clip, putting it down on the table before allowing his eyes to quickly flick over the first page; then removing it with his two fingers on his other hand – laying it on the floor.

“Mmm, and keep the ones of interest in a separate pile.” L said, looking over the second paper.

“Miss Lafleur?” Watari's voice sounded, tearing her gaze away from L to see the he was holding a stack towards her.

“Oh, sorry, thank you.” she said kindly, taking the stack from him.

He smiled warmly at her, and she blushed at the fact that he caught her staring at L. Hopefully he wouldn't get the wrong idea...

“There has to be sixty different people here,” Johnny said, taking his stack. “This is going to take a while...” he sighed.

Ellie looked at the fancy clock on the wall, seeing it was already five-thirty. She sighed. She supposed she should get use to it, seeing as this was what being a detective was all about.

Her stomach growled, and she shrank slightly as L's eyes fell on her.

“If you're hungry, feel free to order from room service.” he said expressionlessly.

“I'm pretty hungry myself,” Johnny piped in before Ellie could answer. “What do ya say, Ellie? How about pizza?”

“Pizza sounds good,” she smiled, tearing her eyes from L. “You know what I like.”

Johnny groaned.

“Ellie, I'm not eating pizza with mushrooms on it,” he said, crinkling his nose. “You know I hate those things.”

“Well, I hate olives,” Ellie said, narrowing her eyes. “Mushrooms aren't gross; olives are!”

“They're both gross,” Evans piped in, making the two turn to glare at him.

“If you like, you can simply order multiple pizzas,” L cut in, snapping their attention to them. “As I said, get whatever you want. Its not a problem.”

Ellie's face lit up.

“No junk food, Ellie,” Johnny said sternly. “I know what that look means. We're just going to get pizza, and that's it.”

L looked at Johnny and bit his fingernail.

“I'm afraid that won't be necessary,” he said calmly, looking over his shoulder. “Watari?”

Ellie watched as Watari walked into the room, pushing a cart full of sweets. It had little cakes with strawberries, cupcakes, cookies, and even brownies.

“Score.” Ellie said, smiling her brother, who groaned.

“Great, she's had a Red Bull and now she's going to load up on sugar...” he sighed. “I may jump off that balcony before the nights over.”

“It only did that to me when I was a kid, Johnny,” Ellie said, rolling her eyes at his dramatics.

“It does it now too,” he said, laughing at her expense.

“You've been ignored,” Ellie said sweetly, jumping up from the couch and walking up to the sweet cart. She looked around and immediately picked up a brownie, and she smiled at Watari.

“Ah, come on,” Johnny said, groaning. “At least wait until you've eaten a meal!”

She promptly turned around to look at him, and then shoved the entire brownie in her mouth.

“Ha, ha,” Johnny said sarcastically. “Real mature, Ellie.”

She smiled over her chipmunk cheeks and went back over to the couch, sitting down beside him and chewing slowly.

'Wow, this brownie is like...really good.' she thought to herself as she savored the last swallow.

She looked over to L, and choked slightly when she saw he was watching her blankly.

'Oh, God...Do I have chocolate on my mouth?!' she thought worriedly, instantly moving her hand up to wipe her mouth.

Thankfully, Watari handed L some cake with a strawberry on top, and he seemed to completely forget he was watching her.

“Well, are you going to order that pizza, Ellie?” Johnny asked, shuffling through his stack of papers.

“Why do I have to do it?” she frowned. “Scratch that; why do I always have to do it? What do men have against ordering food?”

“It's not that, squirt,” Evans piped in. “Its just that we voted, and you lost.”

She rolled her eyes and smiled.

“What all am I getting?” she asked, standing up.

“I want a large supreme.” Johnny said.

“I'll have the same – except no olives.” Evans smiled, leaning back in his chair.

Peterson was immersed in his work, and didn't look like he much cared for pizza.

“Peterson? Do you want anything?” Ellie asked, somewhat loudly.

“Oh,” he brought his eyes up. “Yeah, get me a bacon and sausage. Large.”

“L-uh...Matthew, do you want anything?” Ellie asked L, feeling as she would be rude if she didn't...especially when he was paying.

He brought his dark eyes from his paper to look at her.

“No, that won't be necessary, Miss Lafleur,” he said blankly, making her stomach flip under his intense stare. Didn't the man ever blink? It was like she was staring at a wax statue – and how did he sit like that for so long? He must have some incredible balance. She knew good and well she would have toppled over long ago.

She smiled slightly at him, which he didn't return and simply went back to reading his papers.

'Fine, then. Be rude!' she huffed to herself, tearing her gaze from him.

“How about you Watari?” Ellie asked, bouncing over to him. “Do you want some pizza?”

Watari looked at her, seemingly surprised that she included him. Why wouldn't she? Did anybody ever ask what he wanted? Or did he just spend all his time asking others what they wanted?

“Oh, no, thank you,” he said, smiling at her warmly. “I have already ate.”

“Are you sure?” she asked him, suddenly feeling bad for him like he was never included in things.

“Yes, quite sure,” he smiled thankfully. “Thank you for you concern, Miss Lafleur.”

She smiled at him. Hey, maybe she could make friends with someone thirty years her senior! Of course, she'd love to be friends with L, but from the initial meeting...he seemed like the most anti-social person on the face on the planet. The things that he did to keep to himself were extreme, and she highly doubted he had any friends at all. Well, perhaps Watari. He was the only person that knew how to personally contact L, but that didn't mean they were friends. Ellie sure as hell hadn't gotten the friendship vibe from them...more like servant and employer.

“Where's the phone?” she asked Watari, determined not to ask L. She needed at least a little break from that dark gaze.

“Right in that bedroom, Miss Lafleur,” he said, pointing to the room to the left.

She smiled and walked into the bedroom, gasping at the luxurious of it all. A king size bed, a balcony, and even a vanity. There was a door that she assumed led to the bathroom, but she's save that for later when she actually had to go.

'If they pull an all-nighter, this is totally my room.' she laughed to herself, walking up to the phone on the bedside table.

She quickly ordered all their pizzas, ordering a medium, mushroom pizza and side order of cheese sticks for herself. She didn't need a large pizza like the men....hell, she probably wouldn't even eat all the food she did get.

Four hours later.

Ellie yawned loudly as she looked at yet another profile. She had picked out a few men, but she didn't really get a good feeling that any of them were him.

She pulled her legs underneath her, having abandoned her shoes about two hours ago. Johnny had given her a stern look when she had kicked off her shoes and pulled her socked feet up on the sofa. She didn't see what the big deal was, especially when L was sitting over there (still, she might add) perched like a gargoyle with his bare feet on the furniture.

L had eaten an insane amount of sweets since Watari had pushed the cart in all those hours ago. She had wanted to get another brownie, but at the rate he was eating them...she might have gotten her hand bit off.

It was ridiculous. With every cake, brownie, and cookie he ate, she'd wonder if he was a diabetic yet.

“I'm going to take a break, Ellie,” Johnny said, bringing her out of her musings. “Walk around the hotel and stretch my legs. You want to come?”

“Ugh, no,” she said, shaking her head. “Can't be bothered to move.”

“Yeah, think I'll take a smoke break,” said Evans, standing up and yawning. “You coming Peterson?”

Peterson sighed and put down his papers. “Yeah, I could use a smoke.”

“Alright, well, I'll be back soon,” Johnny said, walking around the couch as she nodded at him.

She watched Peterson and Evans walk out of the balcony, lighting up their cancer sticks.

It was then she started solely regretting not going with her brother. She was hyper-aware that she was now alone with L.

'Where's Watari?' she thought desperately, looking around the room at anything except for L.

“Watari has retired to his room for the night,” L said suddenly, surprising her by basically reading her mind. “Is there anything you need?”

She reluctantly brought her eyes to him, tensing slightly when she saw his dark eyes trained on her. He was still perched in his chair, and was holding a cookie with his index and thumb.

“How can you eat all those sweets?” she blurted, in spite of herself. She couldn't help it; she wanted to know how he stomached all of that sugar.

“I prefer sweets,” he said, bringing the cookie to his mouth.

'Well...obviously.' she thought to herself at his vague answer.

“Aren't you worried you'll like...” she paused. “Fall into a diabetic coma or something?”

He stared at her with a blank expression, and she fidgeted, highly regretting even speaking at all. It didn't seem he was even going to answer her.

“No, because one would have to have diabetes to go into a diabetic coma,” he said tonelessly. It was a good thing he had no expression, or she would have definitely taken that as a smart-ass answer.

She still rolled her eyes. “You know what I mean.”

He paused, nibbling on his cookie and continued staring. Obviously, he didn't notice it made her uncomfortable. That, or he simply didn't care. It was probably the latter.

“As in regards to my health,” he said slowly. “No, I find that I burn most of the calories by using my brain.”

“Well, I must be stupid,” Ellie laughed. “Because if I ate as many sweets as you did today, I'd be bigger than this couch.”

She smiled at him, and of course, he didn't return it. He just kept staring, and she started to feel like he saw her as some kind of puzzle he was trying to figure out. Not a person, just a puzzle. Probably how he saw everyone.

“Do you ever smile?” she asked, raising her eyebrow. “Or blink, for that matter? I feel like I'm talking to a statue.”

“I can, when the occasion calls for it.” he said instantly, tilting his head down slightly closer to his knees.

“I'm assuming that so called, 'occasion' doesn't happen very often?” she asked, twisting her hair around her finger.

His gaze went from her face, darting to her hand that twisted her hair. She immediately stopped, letting her hand fall into her lap. His gaze followed her hand, much to her discomfort – but then his gaze traveled back to her face. It seemed this time, he definitely wasn't going to answer and was going to resume his creepy-staring thing.

“Why did you pick the name, Matthew?” she blurted, coming up with anything to get away form the awkward silence. Even though he was the most awkward person on the planet, she had a feeling she was the only one that felt anything.

“I picked it at random,” he answered instantly. “Why do you ask?”

“Oh,” she said, moving her eyes away from him and staring at the two detectives on the balcony. “I was just curious...I would have picked Harry.”

“Harry?” he said sharply, making her gaze snap back to him. “Elaborate, please.”

“Oh—well, it just you kind of remind me of...” he stared hard at her, and she felt her cheeks flush. “Erm...Harry Potter. I mean, in a way – kind of.”

Could the situation possibly get any worse? Here she was, in the same room, alone, with the greatest detective in the world – and she tells him he looks like Harry Potter.

His face didn't so much as twitch and she looked down at her lap – face flaming and wishing the earth would just swallow her whole.

“Is that an insult?” he asked, some curiosity laced in his voice. Her head snapped back up to look at him.

He had his index finger on his bottom lip, and he had his head tilted towards the ceiling, apparently in thought.

“W-what? No! Of course not!” she blubbered. God, she didn't want him to think she was insulting him!

“I love Harry Potter! Its not an insult at all!” she said quickly, hoping he'd believe her.

He brought his head back down to look at her, with his index finger still playing with his bottom lip.

'Oh, God...that didn't sound right.'

“N-not that I love you, I mean—I really like Harry Potter! It's a good story, you know,” she said quickly. “I just...your hair – its similar and...” he stared. “...I kind of want to die right now.”

She stared at him, third degree burns on her cheeks, too horrified to even move. He simply stared back, his expression giving nothing away.

“Interesting,” he said finally, letting his finger fall from his mouth. “My physical presence makes you nervous—to the point that your deductive reasoning has dropped astronomically.”

Her mouth fell open slightly.

“How can you tell that from me talking about Harry Potter?!” she asked, insulted. He'd basically just said she went stupid in his presence.

“It wasn't that,” he said, putting his thumb to his mouth. “The fact you couldn't form coherent sentences was enough of a clue.”

She stared at him, flabbergasted. When someone was struggling or embarrassed, you didn't point it out to them! She couldn't believe how blatantly rude L was – and Jesus, that was just like rubbing salt in someone's wound and laughing at them. What on earth was wrong with this man? She took it back, he wasn't a little bit of an ass. He was a total ass!

“Y-you...” she stood up quickly, glaring at him. “I can't believe...you are so – How can I not be? With you sit—no, perched there all-” she pointed to him. “Not blinking, or smiling and...staring! That's enough to make anyone uncomfortable!”

He didn't even move once during her rant, but just looked at her with calculating eyes.

She fell silent, and he watched her. She watched him.

“This is stupid,” she said eventually, flopping on the couch and staring in the other direction. “If you don't even have the common decency of acting like a human being, then I'm sure as hell not going to-”

“I've clearly offended you in some way,” he said, cutting her off. “I wasn't aware that I had, but I apologize if you took offense to something I have said or done.”

She immediately looked over at him, and he was doing the same exact thing. His face looked somewhat contemplative, and she realized...he meant it. He was literally so socially awkward, that he didn't realize he was being rude or offensive. All he knew is that he was talking to her, and she flipped out on him for some unknown reason.

She felt pity well inside of her, and her gaze softened dramatically. He must be lonely, wasn't he? After all, he hadn't had enough human contact to even know how to act in social situations. Obviously, when he did, people would judge him for his weird habits – so she supposed that wasn't much motivation to get out and do anything...she wouldn't go out either if people would stare at her like she was some sort of circus freak. Not to mention, he had many enemies, and he couldn't really trust anyone...except, perhaps, Watari. He could hide it all he wanted...but surely—he got lonely? He was only human, after all. He must get lonely.

As she thought and watched him, his gaze didn't break from her. He seemed perfectly content to patiently wait while she thought.

“No...” she said softly. “I'm sorry. You don't have to apologize.”

She looked at him softly, and she saw surprise cross his face momentarily before falling back into his emotionless mask. She smiled; maybe he just needed a friend. Someone that would be patient, and accept this mad genius for who he was. After all, being friends with the greatest detective in the world didn't sound like too bad of an idea to her.

Resolving that to herself, she picked up her unfinished stack of papers, continuing to look through them. She felt his gaze on her, but for some reason, it didn't bother her as much anymore.

She finally felt it lift when her brother came back to the room, and she looked at L out of the corner of her eye, seeing him looking at his laptop with his thumb in his mouth.

She smiled slightly, shaking her head. He was unusual, that was for sure – but she had a feeling that she understood him a little bit better than she had before.

Chapter Text

“So, what are you going to do for your birthday tomorrow?” Johnny asked as they walked into the elevator, on their way up to L's room.

“Oh, you know,” Ellie said, leaning against the wall and picking at her pink skirt. “Buy a pack of cigarettes...go gamble all my money away...stuff like that.”

She smiled at him sweetly as the smile dropped from his face. A week had passed since they began going to L's hotel room. Well, it wasn't everyday – for her, at least. He wouldn't let her go on the weekend, because he said it wasn't actually her job and she needed a break. It had caused a huge argument, at which she'd just gave up and let him have his way, seeing that she wouldn't be able to sway him. Also, she had class Monday and Tuesday. With all that in factor, she had only been one other time. She hadn't stayed long, and L had just sat in another room on a computer, not speaking to her the entire time she was there. Watari had gave her her new phone, and just as promised, it was exactly the same as her last one – case and all.

She pulled on her black, spaghetti string top and they exited the elevator. After seeing L, and seeing that he was the plainest dresser on the planet – she felt that she could just wear whatever she wanted. It was a relief, seeing as it was ninety-five degrees outside, and the thought of wearing dress clothes hurt her slightly.

“What money?” he joked as they walked down the hallway.

“Oh, ha ha.” she said sticking her tongue out a him.

“Your shoes are loud,” he said, looking down at her feet.

“They're flip flops,” she said, narrowing her eyes. “Flip flops do this weird thing where they...flop when you walk.”

“Whatever, no need to be a smart-ass,” he joked. “They're obnoxious is what they are.”

“No, they're comfortable!” she said, stopping in from of L's door. Her heart did a weird flutter.

'What the hell?' she thought to herself. She had already met him, so why in the world would she be slightly nervous?

She reached around her brother and banged on the door, sending him a cheeky grin as she beat him to it.

“Remind me why I brought you again?” he asked, shaking his head.

“'Cause I'm brilliant?” she asked innocently. “And you can't bear to be parted from my sheer awesomeness-”

“Oh, shut up, will you?” he laughed as she lightly punched him in the stomach.

The door opened, and to her surprise, it was L, not Watari.

“She struck me! You saw that, right?” her brother asked L, smiling at her startled expression.

L actually blinked, looking as though he didn't really know how to react as he stepped away from the door to allow them in.

“What are you going to do, arrest me?” she asked over her shoulder as she walked through the door, smiling at L.

“I might. Don't tempt me,” Johnny said, following her inside.

“Pfft,” she scoffed as she sat down on the couch. “You don't scare me.”

“I have a gun, little girl...” Johnny said, sitting next to her, raising a mock-brow.

She watched as L hopped in his chair, assuming his perched position.

“So?” she said. “I have finger-nails, and I will claw your eyes out.”

“Oh, I'm just petrified.” Johnny said, rolling his eyes as L just continued watching, biting his thumbnail.

“You better be.” she smirked, flexing her fingers at him.

“Says the girl that’s so clumsy she fell down a flight of stairs,” he said, smirking and crossing his arms.

Her face immediately reddened and she glanced over at L.

“So? That happens to people at the time!” she exclaimed in her defense.

“You broke your toe running up stairs.”

“Oh my God, will you shut up?!” she said, as her face turned redder.

“You're lucky I let you leave the house without a helmet and padding.” he laughed at her frazzled and embarrassed expression.

“That's convenient, did I mention I'm going to ride a motorcycle tomorrow?” she asked, smiling as the smile instantly fell from his face.

“Don't even joke about that,” he said seriously. “I don't even want to think about you in that situation. A million bad scenarios just went through my mind. The thought of you driving one of those is enough to put me in cardiac arrest.”

“Oh, I won't be driving,” she said brightly. “I'll hop on the back with this big biker dude. He's got a beard and goes by, 'Bubba' and he's going to teach me how to break laws.”

“If you ever bring home a man like that, I'm locking you in a room until you get your sanity back.” he said, rolling his eyes.

“You're not really going to go gamble and smoke...are you?” he asked her, slight worry in his eyes.

“No, you big dork!” she said. “I was joking. I'll probably just come here or something.”

“You're not coming here tomorrow. Its your birthday.” he said sternly.

“Are you coming here to tomorrow?”

“Yes-”

“And how old will I be tomorrow?”

“Eighteen.”

“Then I'm coming here tomorrow.” she said, crossing her arms. “It's my birthday. Be thankful I'm not going to gamble, smoke, and get drunk—let me do what I want.”

“She has a point,” L said, bringing their attention to him for the first time. “Also, I will start paying her for her work here, starting tomorrow.”

Johnny looked flabbergasted.

“B-but she's not a detective-”

“I am aware,” L cut in. “But she has been useful, and her deductive reasoning ability is above normal. She has two more classes, and this case will take a lot of her time. It only makes sense that she would be paid for her effort.”

Ellie smiled, blushing slightly as L praised her. After all, he was a genius and she couldn't help but to be flattered.

“I suppose that's alright with me,” her brother said, but he frowned slightly.

“It's too damn early!”

Ellie jumped slightly at the voice, seeing that is was Evans and Peterson. To her surprise, they were both carrying boxes that had wrapping on it. They had gotten her a birthday present?

“We got the squirt something for her birthday,” Evans said, smiling as Ellie jumped out of her seat and walked over to them.

“Aw, that's so sweet!” she exclaimed. “But really, you didn't have to-”

“Nonsense! It's not everyday you turn eighteen,” Evans smiled, handing her the pink-wrapped box. “Just don't start smoking.” he added with a stern look.

She rolled her eyes. Why did everyone think she was going to start smoking when she turned eighteen?

Quickly, she opened the present. She raised her eyes when she saw it was a bath-set from Bath and Body Works – complete with lotion, body spray, and body wash with a pink sponge.

“Sweet on Paris?” she said out-loud, looking a little astounded that he got her a gift like this.

Evans face turned red as everyone turned to look at him questioningly.

“What? My wife picked it out!” he exclaimed. “I didn't know what to get an eighteen year old girl! Patricia said she'd like it...”

The whole room was dead silent for moments before everyone burst out laughing. Well, excluding L. She swore she saw his face twitch as though he was going to smile, though.

“I do!” Ellie said, laughing at how awkward he looked as he laughed with a red face.

She went up to him and gave him a one arm hug. “Thank you, and thank your wife for me!” she said brightly as she pulled away. Thankfully, he looked a little less mortified after that.

She set it on the table and walked up to Peterson. He was standing there awkwardly with a blue wrapped present.

“Here,” he said, handing it to her. “I don't have a wife, so I did my best.” he smiled slightly at her.

“Thank you!” she said, taking the present from him and slowly opening the box. Unlike Evans, it felt really light.

Opening the plain box, she saw two pieces of paper inside. She raised her eyebrows, confused, as she pulled them out.

Her face automatically went into shock.

'Is it...oh my God!' she thought as she stared down at the two concert tickets in shock.

“Er...Johnny mentioned that you liked them...So, I figured-”

She cut him off as she jumped and wrapped her arms around him in a hug, making him tense before she pulled away, beaming.

“Oh my God!” she exclaimed, jumping up and down. “He got me Avenged Sevenfold tickets for tomorrow!” she waved them around the room. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

“Yeah, no problem.” he said awkwardly, rubbing the back of his head.

Johnny groaned. “Please tell me that you aren't going to drag me to that.”

Ellie looked scandalized.

“You don't want to go see Avenged with me?!” she shrieked. “But its my birthday!”

Johnny looked really defeated. “Can't you take someone else? You have friends!”

“Yeah, but they like stuff like Britney Spears...and Lil' Wayne-” she mock gagged. “They wouldn't appreciate or even consider going to see Avenged live! It'll be awesome!”

“That's not the word I was looking for, exactly.” Johnny grumbled.

“I take it that they're a band?” L piped in, making Ellie give him a shocked expression.

“Uh oh, Matthew.” Johnny said. “You've done it now...”

“You've never heard of Avenged Sevenfold?!” Ellie exclaimed, running up to him. He was still perched in his chair, looking at her blankly.

“They're like...the best band out right now!” she said. “How can you...wait, have you ever even been to a rock concert?!”

He stared at her blankly, chewing on his thumb as she stared at him with big eyes.

“No, I can't say that I have,” he admitted. “I don't really care for music-”

“WHAT?!”

Peterson and Evans were laughing, and Johnny was laying on the couch at this point.

“That's it!” she said, turning towards Johnny. “You're off the hook, brother. I'm taking Matt with me.”

“Fine by me.” Johnny grinned, while Evans and Peterson looked shocked. She knew she saw shock flicker across L's face. Apparently, he'd never expected her to try to make him go in a million years.

“I don't believe that's a good idea, Miss Lafleur,” L said sternly, looking away from her.

“I'm not taking, 'no' for an answer.” she said, crossing her arms. “You're going with me.”

He turned back to look at her, his gaze darkening.

“I believe I already said no,” he said, his face expressionless.

“Watari!” she called out, even causing L to jump.

Watari immediately walked in the room, looking around with a puzzled expression.

“Yes, Miss Lafleur?”

“Can Matt go to the Avenged Sevenfold concert with me?” she asked sweetly.

Watari raised his eyebrows, looking at L, who was looking at Ellie darkly and then to her, as she was beaming at him.

“I'm a grown man, Miss Lafleur,” L said darkly. “I do not need permission from anyone to do anything.”

“Oh, really?” she said, turning to him sweetly. “Prove it, then.”

He stared at her calculatingly, and she knew she had him exactly where she wanted him. It seemed that he knew it too.

“I know what you're doing,” he said tonelessly. “And it's not going to work.”

She sighed.

“Fine, since you're too chicken to go...guess I'll get a real man to go with me.” she sighed again, turning her back on him and walking towards the couch, winking at Watari.

“I never said I was scared to go,” L's voice sounded dark behind her. “I simply do not want to-”

“Yeah, no one believes that. You're scared; just admit it.” she said sweetly as she sat down on the couch, facing him. His face was still blank, but she could see fire burning behind his dark orbs. Well, that was clue number one. As weird as he was, he was still like other men in this sense. He was childish, and he hated to lose – or have his pride hurt.

She was going to be his friend, and getting him out of this damn hotel room was the first step.

He was gazing darkly at her, but she could see the wheels turning in his mind.

“Er, how about a cigarette, eh Peterson?” Evans said suddenly, walking out onto the balcony with Peterson nodding in tow.

“I don't believe you going would be a problem,” Watari suddenly said, smiling at his boss. “I believe that it would be quite safe.”

L snapped his eyes at Watari, and Ellie could tell he was feeling rather betrayed by him at the moment.

They all sat in silence for what felt like an eternity, just staring at each other.

Evans and Peterson entered the room again from their smoke break, looking pretty put out by the fact that the issue wasn't resolved yet.

L was still staring at Ellie darkly, and her heart continued to thump in her ears. She wasn't sure where her sudden boldness was coming from, but after their talk last week, she just wasn't as nervous around him anymore. She really wanted to be his friend, as in he really looked like he could use one.

“Damn,” Peterson said suddenly. “I feel responsible. Ellie, if there's no one to go with you, I suppose I can go with you so you wouldn't have to go alone. I did buy the tickets after all...even though I don't really care for Metal, I can deal with it.”

“That's very sweet of you, Peterson!” Ellie said, smiling. She couldn't help it when her heart suddenly dropped in disappointment, though.

“I'll go with you.”

She was sure her heart abruptly stopped beating as she looked at L in complete shock. She stuck her finger in her ear, attempting to mockingly clear it.

“What was that?” she asked, completely shocked.

“You heard me,” L sighed, picking up his tea cup. “I said I would accompany you.”

“Really?!” she said. “What changed your mind?”

“I suppose I'm curious to see a concert – seeing as I've never been.” L said, shrugging his shoulders lightly.

Ellie frowned. She was ninety percent sure he was lying. But, why would he lie? And why did he change his mind so abruptly when Peterson said he'd go with her? Her spidey senses were tingling, and she knew something was up.

“Glad that's settled!” Johnny said. “Now, we can get to work!”

Peterson’s phone went off, slightly scaring her and pulling her out of her musings.

“Peterson,” he answered.

Everyone watched as he looked angry and irritated. “Now? I'm working...Can't it wait?” he sighed. “Fine...yes, fine. I'll be there.”

He closed his phone and looked around the room.

“I'm sorry, but I have to go.” he said, standing. “I have to go see my lawyer immediately. Evans, would you mind giving me a ride?”

“Sure, we can just work when we come back,” he said, standing. “Is that alright, Matt?”

“Mmm, yes,” L said, stirring his tea. “There isn't much to do today. By all means, take all the time you need.”

Ellie watched as the two men exited the room, and faintly heard the hotel door close behind them.

“A lawyer? I wonder why he's seeing a lawyer...” Ellie mused, more to herself than anything.

“He's in the middle of a divorce.” L answered, staring at her intently.

“A divorce?” she asked slowly.

“Yes, that's right.” L said, watching her intently as he put his thumb in his mouth.

'He agreed to go with me....Only after Peterson said he'd go...and now he's saying he's going to see a divorce lawyer...Peterson is in his thirties...oh my God...'

“You suspect him, don't you?!” Ellie screeched, jumping to her feet from the couch.

“What?!” Johnny roared, standing also and looking at L for answers.

“Yes, I do suspect him.” L said calmly. “I suspect him a lot, actually.”

“HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?!” Johnny roared. “HE'S MY CO-WORKER!”

“I understand you're upset,” L said calmly. “But if you would take a seat, I will explain.”

Ellie's mind was racing. Peterson?! But surely, he wasn't that...he couldn't. Her mind traveled, and she remembered his wife. She was—a brunette lady. He...always carried a bible with him, and she knew for a fact that he was adept in martial arts – all of them were. He...no, he couldn't. She hated it herself for thinking it—but now that L had pointed him out...she suspected him too.

Johnny took a deep breath, sitting down beside her.

“He matches all the criteria for the killer,” L said calmly. “He has a brunette ex-wife. From what I've been able to find, she had an affair. He is angry and probably has great resentment for his wife,” he paused. “He is a religious man. He wears a cross around his neck, and carries a bible in his briefcase. Of course, he wouldn't leave behind any clues, he knows not to. How? Because he is a detective, and he knows what detectives look for. He is skilled in martial arts, as are all the detectives at the LAPD. His background indicated he also took technology courses in college, probably giving him the ability to enter a residence without setting off an alarm-”

“How sure are you that the killer is Peterson?” Johnny asked, his voice dangerously quiet.

“Mmm...” L brought his index up to his lips and looked at the ceiling. “Over ninety-five percent.”

“But all those papers of men you gave us,” Johnny said. “If you're so sure, why did you give those to us?”

“Simple,” L said. “I did not include his paper in any of the stacks. He is in his thirties, and he is a divorced man in this area. I wanted to gauge his reaction – knowing that any of you could come across his paper, and he was panicking. If he was innocent, why would he mind? He'd know that the rest of us knew he was innocent, and he wouldn't be worried. It was not natural for him to panic—He hid it well, but I saw it as I was observing him. He would glance over at all of us every so often, and he shuffled through his papers quickly. He saw that his paper wasn't in his stack, so he assumed that it was in one of the other stacks. Everything about his body language proved his guilt.”

Johnny immediately stood, running his hand through her hair.

“FUCK!” he yelled, kicking the couch and startling Ellie.

'Peterson...why? You use to be such a good man.' she thought to herself. Every fiber of her being wanted to deny it, but...she couldn't. She knew L was right. That was too much of a coincidence. There was no way...plus, L was never wrong.

A tear slipped down her cheek before she could stop it.

“I...I can't do this,” Johnny said. “I have to take a walk...I can't-” he sighed, and started to walk out of the room.

Ellie's heart broke for him, and she jumped up to follow him; hoping to be able to somehow offer him some comfort. He must have sensed her, because he turned, holding his hand up to stop her.

“No, Ellie!” he said harshly, looking away from her. “I need to be alone.”

“O-okay...” she choked out, but it sounded more like a sob.

“I'm sorry, Ellie baby,” he said, sending her an apologetic look and storming out of the hotel room.

She stared after him, slightly broken. Of course, she was upset...but she didn't know Peterson like her brother did. He was his colleague. Someone he had worked with for years; someone he had befriended.

“We were able to get sweat from the last body,” L's voice sounded behind her, making her whip around to face him with tears running down her cheeks. “I'm waiting on the call now to see if they could pull DNA from it – and if they can, he will be arrested and charged.”

“W-why didn't you s-say anything s-sooner?” she asked, hating how her voice broke pitifully.

“Because I wasn't sure of his guilt,” he said calmly. “The worst thing that could happen would be him knowing we were suspicious of him, in which case, he would have bolted.”

“W-were you suspicious of him before I started working on the case?” she asked, trying to keep her voice steady as she walked over to the couch, sitting down slowly.

He was watching her blankly, and his hands curled around his knees. He didn't speak for moments, but merely watched her, as though he was contemplating telling her something.

“What is it?” she asked in a quiet voice.

“I had intended to get an attractive, middle aged, brunette from the F.B.I to work on the case, to hopefully get a reaction from him-” he said slowly. “But I was worried that would be too obvious to him. When Detective Evans mentioned your name and I found out you had helped your brother with previous cases, I became intrigued. I looked up your information, and saw that you were indeed a brunette and attractive. Of course, you were much younger than what I had originally planned, but it was still better than the alternative. It would also look completely natural if I asked you to join. You had helped in the past, you were intelligent, and we were short-handed. So, I decided to contact you and make my decision on whether or not I should allow you to join the case.”

Ellie couldn't believe her ears. So...he had asked her to join to make her...bait? She became even more infuriated that her stomach fluttered against her will when he called her attractive. Why the hell should that even matter? To think, she actually felt sorry for him – and had wanted to be his friend!

“Y-you used me as bait?!” she yelled at him, standing up and shaking with fury.

“No, not entirely,” he said calmly, and it seemed like he had expected this reaction from her. “I knew you would be helpful, which you have been.”

“I-I can't believe this...” she said, walking away from him. “You low down, manipulative, lying, ass-”

“Don't say something you'll regret, Miss Lafleur.” he cut in, staring at her blankly.

“OH, I won't regret it, L!” she said, rounding on him. “And think, I actually wanted to be...I cannot believe you did this! Don't you have any feelings at all?! I know how you got to the top now, don't I? You'll do anything to solve a case, won't you? You...bastard!”

She jumped when she saw fury erupt behind his dark orbs, and he quickly stood, walking over to her in a few quick strides. She was so surprised, she froze in place, staring at him with wide eyes.

“I understand your anger,” he said in an eerily calm voice, towering over her. “I've seen lust in his eyes when he looked at you, Miss Lafleur. If I had no regard for innocents—I would have allowed you to go to that concert with him, had you followed, and when he lost control and tried to rape you...I'd have the evidence I needed to make my arrest—especially if we can't pull any DNA from that body.”

She couldn't help it. Her hand raised on its own accord, and she swung her palm forward with all her might, slapping him right across his pale cheek.

He didn't seem to expect it, but he didn't stumble. His head turned with the force of her slap— then he whipped his head back to look at her, shock crossing his face, but it fell blank again. She was sure she could see the fury in his black eyes. Good, she hoped he was nearly half as angry as she was.

“How dare you say that to me?!” she yelled, fury taking over again, and she raised her hand to smack him again.

This time, he was prepared, and he caught her by the wrist before her hand could make contact with his face. His cheek was tinted pink; a sharp contrast to the paleness of his skin.

“URGH, let go of me!” she snapped, pulling at her arm and she lifted her other hand – balled it up in a fist to punch him in the chest. He must have seen it coming, because he swiftly grabbed her other wrist before it could collide into his chest.

“LET GO!” she yelled, struggling to free herself from his grip. For someone that was so thin and ate only sweets, she was amazed at how surprisingly strong he was.

“Calm down, Miss Lafleur,” he said in a dangerously calm voice. His face was blank, and that just infuriated her even more. How could he just stand there not feeling anything? She knew he must be angry, but he was hiding remarkably well.

“Oh, fuck you!” she hissed, jerking against him. She was determined to get a rise out of him—and she wasn't even sure why. She just felt so...betrayed, and not to mention, humiliated. She felt so betrayed. But, why should she? It wasn't like he was her boyfriend or her best friend...she just had looked up to him a lot. She had admired him—had been so excited to meet him and work with him...and he had only used her.

Tears starting rolling down her cheeks as her anger faded into rejection, embarrassment, and sadness. She stopped struggling, and looked down and her feet—not being able to stop a sob from emitting from her mouth. It was just too much. First, Peterson was an insane serial killer and...now this. The person she admired – the person she aspired to be like...had used her to achieve his own ends.

“Let me go...” she said quietly, cringing at how weak her voice sounded.

“Are you going to hit me?” he asked in a monotone voice. She became aware of how cold his fingers were. It was like ice was wrapping onto her warm wrists.

She sniffed. “No.”

She felt his fingers unwrap themselves from around her wrists. He moved away from her as she continued to stare at the ground.

'Wait until Johnny finds out about this...' she thought to herself, then frowned. 'No, he's suffering enough. I don't need to lay this on him. He's only human, he can only take so much. He'll...God, as protective as he is – hell, he might pull a damn gun on L.'

She frowned. It was going to be hard to act like she didn't hate L's guts. If Peterson was arrested, though, then she wouldn't have to see L ever again. Hell, she probably wouldn't.

A painful stab hit her stomach. Why should she care that she'd never see him again? He was an asshole, and she should be glad! But, she just couldn't make herself be glad.

She raised her head, and her eyes fell on the coffee table. There, lay the tickets that Peterson had gotten her. Her throat constricted, and she immediately walked up to the table, picking them up, and ripping them up before throwing them in a bin.

She glared in the trashcan before she finally brought her eyes to L. He was standing in front of his chair, watching her every action with his dark gaze.

“Dodged that bullet, didn't you?” she said hatefully, turning around and storming out of the room.

'My birthday is ruined anyway. I don't want to go to a concert when the tickets were from a murderer...one that probably intended to go with me and rape me.' she stiffened at her thoughts, and walked faster towards the door of the hotel room.

“Ellora.”

She paused when she heard L's deep voice behind her, but she couldn't bear to turn around to face him. She had to get out of there. She kept walking, opening up the door and slamming it with all her might behind her.

Tears ran down her face as she entered the elevator. She had no way of going home. Johnny had stormed off, and she didn't know when he was coming back. Well, she sure as hell wasn't going back to the room.

As the elevator went down, she wiped the wetness from her face, hoping she didn't look too terrible.

She arrived to the bottom floor, and she walked into the lobby. Looking outside, she saw there were a ton of people at the outside pool, enjoying the good weather. She didn't really want to be around anyone, so she walked down the hallway. She saw a sign for the indoor pool, so she decided to check that out.

She opened the door to the indoor pool, relieved to see there was absolutely no one in there.

Smiling slightly to herself, she walked inside, and sat in one of the chairs beside the pool. She couldn't believe all this was happening. Peterson...a murderer! Not only that, chances were...he had wanted to harm her.

She shivered.

'Thank God L said something...' she thought, then almost smacked herself. She didn't need to feel gratitude for him!

She groaned, looking at the water and wishing she had her suit. Suddenly, a crazy idea entered her head.

“Screw it!” she said, kicking off her shoes, placing her cell on the table, and walking towards the pool. Dipping her toe in, she felt that it was pleasantly cool. Holding her breath, she jumped right in the deep end, clothes and all.

The cool water hit her skin like needles, and she kicked her feet, breaking the surface with a deep breath. She smiled slightly to herself, closing her eyes as she floated on her back, kicking her feet slightly as she moved across the water. Her tense muscles relaxed some as the water caressed them, and she didn't regret doing this for a moment.

“What are you doing, Miss Lafleur?”

She shrieked, cause she hadn't heard anyone enter and almost went under.

She whipped her wet head around to see Watari standing by the pool, looking at her in question.

“Oh, Watari,” she said, relieved it wasn't L. Like he'd care enough to come after her anyway. “You frightened me.”

“I do apologize, Miss Lafleur.” he said, bowing slightly. “Shall I get you a towel?”

“Not just yet,” she said, she sighed and went under the water. She swam down for a few minutes, but eventually, the need for oxygen forced her to break the surface. She gasped and rubbed her eyes, and she was at the shallow end now so she stood up in the water.

“For a moment I thought you were going to attempt to drown yourself.”

She laughed slightly, looking over at Watari, who was smiling at her pleasantly.

“Why did – Matthew...use me?” she asked quietly, looking away from him and down at the water.

“Matthew is-” he paused. “A complicated person, Miss Lafleur. Solving cases is all that's ever been important to him. Surely, you can understand that to an extent?”

“I just—” she sighed. “I just decided I wanted to try to be his friend – you know? And then I find out...Its just – its so embarrassing! I feel like a kid that just found out Santa Claus was conspiring against me.”

“He has never had a friend, Miss Lafleur.” Watari responded. “I'm not quite sure he'd know how to respond to something like that. If you truly want to be his friend, if its even possible—it would require an abnormal amount of patience—More than most people posses.”

“Never?” she asked, hating herself when a stab of pity hit her. Of course, she had assumed that he never had one...but to hear it confirmed as true made things quite different. “I don't know if I want to anymore. He-” she frowned. “hurt my feelings.” she admitted, and God, did it feel pathetic.

“Are you not his friend, Watari?” she asked quickly, moving the subject away from herself.

“I am his caretaker, and I suppose I would consider myself his father figure-” he smiled. “But I'm sure it wouldn't be defined as a friend. At least, not in the way you could be friends with him.”

She looked at him in silence and he walked around to the stairs, holding out a towel to her.

She sighed and walked up the steps, looking down. Her face turned red when she became aware that her clothes were sticking to her body, a little bit too tightly for her liking.

She quickly grabbed the towel from him, wrapping it around her body and hoping he didn't notice how her clothes clung to her.

She walked past him, wringing out her hair, that fell almost to her waist while it was wet. Shivering slightly, she slipped her flip flops on her feet and they were instantly soaked from all the water that was clinging to her clothes.

“Did my brother come back?” she asked him as she grabbed another towel, using it to dry her hair some.

“No, not yet. I believe he left in his vehicle.” Watari responded. “I'm sure he is fine. Today was shocking for him – he just needs time to himself to sort out his feelings. Men do things like that.” he winked at her as though he was telling her something that was top-secret.

“You wouldn't happen to have any girl clothes my size laying around your hotel room, would you?” she asked, laughing sadly.

“No, but if you would like, I can go get you some clothes, Miss Lafleur.”

“No, that’s not necessary. I don't want you to have to do that.” she said, feeling guilty at Watari having to do something extra at her expense.

“If you insist,” he said, bowing. “But I must warn you, Matthew will say otherwise.”

She scoffed. “Don't let that...control freak tell you what to do when it comes to me!”

Watari blinked, then started laughing at her. “Shall we go back to the room? Perhaps we can find you something suitable to wear, then?”

She sighed, and nodded in spite of herself. It didn't look like she had much of an option but to go to the room now.

“Fine, lets go.” she said sadly, attempting to do an angry walk. It didn't much work out, though, when the wet rubber of her shoes made squeaking noises with every step she took. In fact, that, combined with her anger, probably looked more comical than scary.

She stepped into the elevator, with Watari walking right behind her. He pushed the eleven button, and she avoided looking at him.

“Did he send you after me?” she asked, suddenly feeling bad that Watari might have witnessed her trying to pummel L.

“Yes, he did Miss Lafleur,” He responded, nodding at her.

“Of course he wouldn't do it himself.” she muttered, looking at the floor. Why would he? It wasn't like he gave a damn about anyone but himself. He had proved that already.

Remember when she said the first elevator ride was the longest of her life? Well, this one felt like it was an eternity longer.

Finally, the elevator dinged, and the door opened. She hurriedly walked out and up to the door. Standing aside, she watched Watari pull his key-card out and slip it in the door, opening it. He walked inside, and held the door open for her.

“Thank you, you're a gentleman, Watari,” she said loudly, hoping that L would hear her.

He smiled and nodded. “I try to be.”

Her heart raced in her chest as she walked in the hotel room, contemplating bolting out the door. She hated it, but she almost regretted trying to pummel L. Almost. Of course, he had lied and used her as bait – so, technically, he had deserved it. But still, she couldn't help but to think she was too nice for her own good.

“Can I take a shower?” she asked Watari as she walked in the main room, seeing L perched in his chair out of the corner of her eye. She was determined not to look at him.

“Mmm, yes,” L's voice said, jumping up in his perched position on his chair as her eyes fell on him against her will. “Feel free to use that bathroom and bedroom. Watari will bring you some clothes and leave them on the bed while you're in there.” he finished, pointing to the door behind him.

Narrowing her eyes at him, she walked past him without a word—grabbing her bath-set off the table and opened the bedroom door. It was the bedroom she had picked out on her first day, and it still looked untouched. She wouldn't be surprised if he didn't even use it. He probably slept in the chair (whenever he actually did sleep – if his eyes were anything to go by) in his damn gargoyle position...with his thumb in his mouth – just like a child.

She sighed as she entered the bathroom, closing and locking the door behind her. It was a beautiful bathroom, with marble everywhere, a whirlpool tub, and a huge shower head.

She had half a mind to take a bath, but decided that would be kind of weird – not to mention it would take too long to fill the tub up.

Quickly removing her clothes, she grabbed the bath set and turned the shower on.

She sighed as she stepped under the warm spray, and she opened her new body wash and sniffed it. It smelled like candy. Rolling her eyes, she lathered up the sponge and washed the chlorine off herself quickly. She picked up some hotel shampoo and saw it was Camille and lavender – it smelt pleasant enough.

She finished her shower as quickly as possible, and slipped out – grabbing one of the big, fluffy towels and wrapping it around her.

Opening the door, she peeked out, and saw there was indeed – clothes laying on the bed for her.

She smiled and walked towards the bed, kind of curious as to what kind of clothes Watari would pick out for her.

She looked down, and gasped.

'Oh, this is so cute!' she thought to herself, seeing the black, ruffled tank top – with some stylish blue jean shorts that had fashion rips in them. Looking at the tag, she almost dropped it in shock.

Dolce & Gabbana

'damn, rich asshole person.' she thought about L. Of course, no cheap Wal-Mart clothes for her.

On the floor, she noticed there were simple black flip flops, that were also the same designer. Thankfully, the shirt had a built-in bra, and she quickly slipped it over her head. She lifted the shorts, and she gasped in embarrassment when she saw a simple, black pair of underwear laying there.

'Oh God, this is mortifying.' she thought as she slipped them on, trying not to think about Watari buying her panties.

She finished putting on her new clothes, and she was a little irritated to see that the shorts were a little too small for her. Either that, or she was too tall for them. Which was likely, seeing as she was about five-six. They ended right under her butt, and she felt like Daisy Duke. Everything else was a perfect fit, though.

She ran her fingers through her hair, attempting to separate her curls so it wouldn't dry into a frizzy ball of fluff. She sighed, and walked into the bathroom, grabbing her new body spray, squirting it on her arms and neck. She put her wet clothes in a laundry bag, tying it up and leaving it there, not quite sure what else to do with it.

She walked towards the door, pulling on her new shorts and trying in vain to make them longer. All in all, Watari did a good job, considering he had no idea what her size was.

'Maybe Johnny is back?' she thought hopefully, pulling the door open quickly and walking out to look around the TV room. To her complete disappointment, she only saw L perched on his chair. He had a tiny plate of cake, and was currently shoving it into his mouth.

“I'm starting to wonder if my brothers ever coming back,” she said as L shoved cake in his mouth.

He turned to look at her, and his eyes flicked over her outfit. His large eyes bulged slightly, and he started coughing, choking on his cake.

She hated herself when worry welled up in her, and she hurried over to him and smacked him on the back a few times, causing him to tense.

“Are you okay?” she asked, wanting to kick herself when she heard the worry in her own voice. “It was bound to happen eventually, the way you shovel it in.”

“You do realize that slapping someone on the back doesn't actually stop them from choking, don't you?” he said, staring up at her blankly.

“Fine, next time I'll just let you hack yourself to death and watch.” she spat, storming over to the couch and flopping down ungracefully. “Maybe I just wanted an excuse to hit you.” she smirked.

“That doesn't mean your concern wasn't appreciated, Miss Lafleur.” he said, putting another piece of cake in his mouth.

“We're back to 'Miss Lafleur' now, are we?” she asked, raising her eyebrows.

“Yes, I used your first name before merely as means to stop you from leaving the room,” he admitted, bringing his tea up to his lips. “Obviously, it did not work.”

“Obviously,” she sneered. “Fine, as long as you call me, 'Miss Lafleur' – I’m getting what I want and calling you, 'Harry' then.”

He stared at her and she stared back with her lips scrunched up into her resolve face.

“If that's what pleases you,” he said. “Call me whatever you like.”

“OH, really? Whatever I want, huh? Well, in that case-”

“You can call me, Harry.” he cut in, ignoring her comment and going back to his cake.

“How about I call you your real name?” she asked. She really didn't think he'd ever tell her in a million years, but she just thought she'd ask to get his reaction.

His eyes went from his cake to her and he stared at her expressionlessly.

“No.” he said quietly, turning his eyes back to his cake.

“Fine, I'll try to guess your real name.” she said, nodding. She wasn't sure why she was trying to annoy him, but it felt like she was getting a little bit of revenge.

“By all means, go ahead,” he said dully. “Even if you happen to guess correctly—I will not confirm it.”

“Riley?” she asked, as the first name popped in her head.

“No.” he said, watching her intently.

“Josh?”

“No.”

“Michael?”

“No.”

“...Dick?”

His stare hardened on her, and she smiled at him.

“What? There are a lot of people named Dick. It was a ligitimate guess, I swear.” she said innocently.

“I'm sure.” he said blankly, watching her over his tea.

“You didn't deny it,” she pointed out. “Am I to assume that your name is Dick?”

“No, that is not my name.” he said, looking away from her and picking up a cookie.

“Figured as much,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. “Why do you like to sit that way?”

He sighed and put his tea down on the coffee table, resting his hands on his knees.

“I don't sit like this because I want to sit like this,” he said, meeting her eyes. “You see, if I were to sit normally, my deductive reasoning skills would be reduced by roughly forty percent.”

“That again, huh?” she said, kicking her shoes off and pulling her legs underneath her. “What else makes your deductive reasoning skills drop? Other than sitting like a normal person, that is.”

“You.” he said flatly, turning his head away from her and staring at the wall.

“Me?” she asked, flabbergasted. What in the world did she have to do with anything?

“Mmm, yes, that's what I said.”

“Oh, I see,” she said, tapping her chin in mock thought. “Let me guess; I'm just so annoying that I distract you, and make you too irritated to think straight – is that about right?”

An irritated look flashed across his blank face. “I never said that.”

“I'm going to assume you're still angry at me?” he asked lowly.

“I don't know.” she shrugged. “Are you still an asshole?”

He stared at her and if he was angry, he didn't show it.

“Your personality isn't typical,” he said, putting his thumb near his mouth. “You don't make much sense, really. In the beginning, you acted very much like a timid gazelle around me, and now – you're like a lioness, claws ready to tear me to pieces.”

“Betrayal tends to do that to people.” she spat, wanting to kick herself when she realized that that was what he wanted when his eyes turned calculating.

“Betrayed?” he repeated. “Please, elaborate.”

“No.” she said stubbornly, turning her head away.

“I will not drop this.” he warned her, making her scoff.

“Go ahead, waste your time! See if I care.”

L's phone started ringing, and she watched as he answered it in his weird way, as he held it by the top with his index and thumb.

“Yeess? I see, Watari...no, that is not good news at all. Yes, do what you can.” he closed his phone and looked over at her.

“They found Peterson's DNA on the last victims body,” he said slowly. “They went to apprehend him, but he's fled.”