Chapter 1: Playlist
Karma Fields - You And Me (ft. Little Boots)
FWLR & A-SHO - Cave Me In
Sickick - Mind Games
KUURO - What U Wanna Do (ft. Spencer Ludwig)
Candyland & Shoffy - Faces
Unlike Pluto - Worst In Me
Koven - Your Word
MYRNE & Grant - Fault (ft. McCall)
Chase Holfelder - Animal
Karma Fields - Skyline
Sickick - Bermuda
Jessie Siren - The Sway
MYRNE - Architect
Tristam - Questions
Unlike Pluto - Villain Of My Own Story
INTERCOM - Truth And Malice
Oliver Riot - Phobia Orgasma
Unlike Pluto - Ethel
Chapter 2: Prologue - Midnight Drive
You and me, we could play that song forever
November let out one last breath from its decayed lungs to the drapes but it only managed to caress the patches of his skin which the sheets failed to barricade.
It was the night that bound the ending of autumn with winter.
It had happened so often that it had started to become more like second nature rather than a change of paths in his work. Or something exciting. Or weird. Or boring.
It felt like a train passing a station at full speed.
Arriving at wherever the denouncer is, all by himself, assuming the crime is just some minor theft.
A dense cloud of smoke appearing at the horizon.
Finding nothing but the possible next chain of several linked murders from years before, half-burned wooden sheds and a visibly distressed suspect in the middle of nowhere.
The train's horn ringing.
Taking the suspect somewhere sheltered to get information, valuable or not.
A jet black locomotive rolling on the metal path.
The suspect inviting him in and him not being able to return home at that late hour.
Passengers gathering at the edge.
A warm breath on his face. A hand slipping between his thighs.
A corpse laying on the railway.
Sleep was persistent not to visit him that night, so he gave up on mindlessly rolling on the bed and sit up. Thin sheets fell from his naked body as they also brought down the vivid memories of hours passed.
Quarter past nine in the morning.
Victim unknown. No traces of torture. A clean kill with the perpetrator piercing the neck. One finger is absent due to the result of being cut with a blunt object after the victim's demise.
A possible continuation of Larkspur cases.
His focus lifted when he sensed the unmistakable scent.
He didn't need to turn his back to see the crucial point of this case. He had already recorded every line and every curve of his in his memory under the sheets.
No obvious clues, or riddles are waiting to be discovered throughout the setting like the other murders; with one single ray of hope that is the suspect/witness/trespasser/a lucky victim found at the scene.
The only suspect, even if there isn't evidence pointing at him.
The only assumed witness, with his torn clothes and mild injury showing strong proof.
A tiny figured body hugged him from the back and shoved his cigarette into the detective's mouth. He jerked back and slapped the hand that held the cigarette in his mouth.
"Got all of your senses on even when I exhausted the life out of you, eh, detective?"
The behavior of an experienced killer or someone who had given up on life.
Maybe the face he thought he studied was masking several murders of past years.
Maybe he didn't even care about stealing the time of someone trying to solve the murder of someone, just like how the guilty didn't have a single problem stealing someone's life.
Maybe some cases really weren't meant to be solved.
He got up from the bed with a deep exhale and buttoned up his shirt. He reached out for his pants on the chair and heard that damned voice speak again:
"Leaving so soon?"
Ready to leave just as he had arrived, he looked back this time.
They both didn't bother to know each other's names.
A devilish grin narrowing his eyes, some strands of messy dark hair sticking to his face with drops of sweat and his hand holding a new cigarette like a pocket knife. The dim light leaking from the blinds illuminated his outlines.
Not enough datum or men for an arrest, and more than enough proof not to let him go.
Crawl back to whatever sewer you came out from, he thought.
He walked out from the door and looked for his carriage. Overthinking, or maybe over-valuing was a habit of his he often cursed. More people to look into the case was already sent. And if he really was an important piece in this puzzle, he wasn't going to leave the detective's back that easily.
It was the night that bound the ending of autumn with winter.
And the only person to shine light on the continual murders of a five years, Shuichi Saihara, had been marked.
Chapter 3: The Thirsty Tryst
You and me, we could whisper for a hundred years
It was bound to happen sooner or later. The culs-de-sac of the city, the poor, the lunatics, the thugs and bandits, the whores; people that kept the city on its legs were going to find a sense of their own laws one way or another when their cases were deemed "a waste of time" by the high district.
He spun around himself as no one but a block of shanties and the wisp of dry wind in his hair watched. He held a basket of flowers in his hand, and a gun in the other.
The chatters he heard had become objects he could physically touch with his hands. He was a grantor. He was a thief. He meant good. He meant bad. He was a hero. He was a villain but living in everyone's mind nonetheless; Kokichi Ouma.
He walked down the street, his eyes closed and the only noise to detain his ears being the heels of his boots. What was to make out from this sound pattern?
Was it the walking of a lover preparing to surprise his beloved?
Or was it just a drunken nuisance?
Was it the last call of a cold-blooded killer?
Glass shards, and with a lift of his head the sight of an old mirror. The mirror's frame was delicately carved and appeared to be made of 22-carat gold. Such a shame that it had become one of his nasty toys of keeping his games behind closed doors.
It wasn't difficult to imagine it decorating the walls of a mansion even with a big crack right in the middle of it. Even with the once golden frame submitting to layers of rust. Even with the figure of some low-born standing right before it. It was a full body copy of him if it wasn't for that crack blocking the reflection of his face.
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Tell me, who's the most shameless of them all?
Such a shame that the mirror only showed usage as a cover of his nasty business. Or maybe it was better to say "his uncommon source of delight". Maybe the mirror wouldn't look back to its days in luxury when fed with a couple of cheap words like this. Just like the person who once possessed it.
He pulled the mirror sideways and revealed a hole on the wall just barely big enough for a person to fit in. Every time he passed through he'd think "I will get this fixed" and every time he would delay it to another day. And every time a crime haunted their domain, that ugly hole would be covered by an even uglier mirror. People passing by, if there were any, would only see a lackluster back alley with one mirror reflecting skewed fractions of whatever it saw like it was a damn circus.
About that mirror, being a huge contrast and no one attempting to investigate it, really, why did no one care? Probably more important details occupied their mind rather than a random street they passed. People were probably too busy trying not to die to care for something someone who didn't care about them in the first place threw out.
Just as he got in and placed his possessions on the table, the tiny room beyond the gate bothered him with stuffy air, the lamp flickering every second and insects beginning to invest.
Oh, there was also a few corpses starting to decompose but he was used to the concept of them.
The person of interest was the tied up man from the scene yesterday. The man who was the only person to be found in the scene. The man who tried to also attack him and ended up tearing his clothes. The man who made such a fuss that the barricading mirror ended up with a huge crack.
Kokichi barricaded the wall as he waited for some useless comment from that man behind him but the abductee's reckless desire to break free had vanished.
He turned around and looked that the pathetic figure of the man with his hands tied with that annoying grin.
He put his hands back, bent down and widened his grin just to humiliate the abductee.
The faint yellow light flickered.
He stood straight and erased the last traces of his grin, only for it to be replaced by a sinister yet sincere smile of absolute joy.
"Let's put both of you out of your misery."
He swung his hand and hit the lights.
The sound of lights going out made the same exact sound of a belt's metal attaching.
Standing in front of a full body mirror, Shuichi had his suit ironed and sitting on him as sharply as it could have been, hair combed, the case of yesterday still floating around his thoughts. Just like the usual, though maybe a cravat was absent but a little difference every so often couldn't hurt anyone.
He looked at himself one last time before he left. He didn't expect anything but seeing the same figure as before awakened some feeling he couldn't pinpoint. Did he wear this same suit to unfold another case of someone's stolen possessions? A purse in hopes of money being inside, an umbrella, precious jewelry or someone's life? Did he have that same hat just so people would know who was appearing on the horizon, Detective Shuichi Saihara, taking every step ahead like a ticking bomb in the suspect's eyes?
Did he threw this cover on himself to be displayed behind glass or was he an unlabeled packet in the middle of nowhere?
Wind running wild under the lead of late evening certainly didn't even bother slipping the heavy scent of gasoline. Quite smart of him to start an open fire in the middle of nowhere that had never seen a drop of rain. Quite smart of him to be the very thing he opposed.
A criminal, a wretched little arsonist who had taken his distress out of setting places ablaze.
Was he enough to solve the mystery of himself, or was he enough to take shelter in this façade so no one found what was written on his lines?
Did it matter in the first place? Was he considered a saint because of this personality haunting his body or was he only there to serve people gone victim in various cases?
Questions without answers, a puzzler without riddles, an enigma itself trying to untangle other people's mysteries.
A cloud of dense smoke rose rose rose rose from bewildered flames and he just watched watched watched watched.
Flames couldn't break free but the smoke got so high that it hit the ceiling and had no choice other than to sink back to the ground. The odor of cadavers and the little bugs making soggy sound had another friend to embrace at last.
Kokichi made himself comfortable on the armchair with torn cushions as he observed the ambience standing right before his eyes. It looked almost the same as before -it was the same as before with only outlier being the hostage showing even less signs of living. It was all good. The interrogation pulled out nothing but a few dimes and tasteless curse words out of him.
He took a peek at the coins spread all over the coffee table. Just barely enough to spend on grass, or maybe not even enough if those silvers were fake. No worthy piece of riches or some sort of evidence. Just another breathing flesh pile that was going to join the rest of other decomposed mess. Another friend for the little bugs after a wave of dense smoke, cheers.
He fondly cracked a smile and threw his head back where he could see the ceiling.
It was all good.
There was plenty of tools in this moss of a scenery, just like the other day. There was plenty of time and opportunity to lure /him/ into his claws again and again until he became a ghost of the detective's mind.
He shook his legs off the armchair and took one last breath from the burnt paper roll. His eyes rolled back as the smoke kicked in.
The mere thought -no, the mere dream of laying beside the aching bones of Detective Shuichi Saihara's mind was more than enough to get him high.
He threw the butt of his cigarette right into the now silenced captive's eye solely to make fun of his misery for one last time. Harsh weather and the odious room were sure to take care of the rest.
Just as the faint flame of the cigarette went down on the captive's bare skin, another one emerged. Times of megrims had corrupted every person to a degree. Two murders in a row were quite rare yet were to be expected in the times. A case of arson also taking place in all the crime scenes in the last few years, though, was slowly becoming rather worrisome.
This one was no exception.
A familiar gloom had taken over the street. Days were getting shorter but the impulse to hurt didn't know about sleep. It was all the same that it felt like a broken record playing over and again.
Another corpse with a missing finger. Another block of writing on nearby walls written with blood, completely incomprehensible.
The only thing not to be expected was him. Shuichi immediately recognized the shadowy figure. This time, however, his only possible witness looked much more aggressive rather than just an unfortunate bypasser pulled into the scene of crime.
"I'd say fortune's favor, detective."
He looked like no one but a murderer.
He approached Shuichi until street lights could hit his face. Same pairs of eyes locked onto each other just like the day before.
Ah, te voilà.
Chapter 4: The Sin Is On Me
So, have you done the things we used to do, together alone?
He chanted the name of God quite often for a person who didn't believe in virtue.
There he did it once again, his arms lifted like he was ready for the applause. Under the dim moonlight and flickering street lamps, on his stage of nothing but rotten junk decorated with a fresh corpse; his only audience was Shuichi Saihara.
And also the sounds of other carriages getting closer and closer.
No time to waste, it is.
Do your thing.
Kokichi jumped off the junk pile and made a spin around himself as if it was the time and place to be in a mood like that. His audience, how rude of him not to ask his name when they had shared a night together, was still motionless. He watched Kokichi with eyes filled with a strange emotion.
Kokichi got closer to him, maybe out of the hopes to provoke or get even the slightest bit of reaction, but failed horribly to do so.
What are you up to?
"Nice to see you around, Detective. Back for more?"
Then he remembered the other carriages coming to the crime scene for investigation.
Shuichi caught Kokichi by his hand and dragged him further into the depths of deserted back alleys. Kokichi let out a sigh that was way too obviously insincere.
"I can very well foresee what you are going to do. You'll drag me somewhere safe so you can learn whatever I have to say, and then won't even let me go because I'm always in the wrong place at the wrong time, huh?"
Just as he finished his sentence, Shuichi stopped and trapped Kokichi between a wall and himself. Kokichi, yet again, looked with dead eyes at Shuichi.
"Ah, yes. How could we forget this one? You're totally defenseless if I were to kiss you."
Here we go again. Who hunts who, and is there even a prey between us?
"Why are you here?"
Out of everything, a question Shuichi asked with a voice not angry nor frustrated but rather hopeless and disappointed was the last thing Kokichi would have expected.
For a brief moment, they both let down whatever was their defenses even if they knew it was just the calm before the storm. Their silence didn't last long and they knew it wouldn't end well.
"Will you even listen to what I have to say?"
He wasn't going to. Every clue was already set in stone. Kokichi had clothed himself with the heavy cape of murders of five years and everywhere he had gone, death followed.
He wasn't going to listen, and he didn't bother giving an answer.
"I know what troubles your mind."
Kokichi pulled himself closer to the wall and stared at whatever caught his interest in the minute present.
"How beautifully designed this is, right; Detective? A case you pursue with all your passion and time. Your target seems so distant and yet so close. For the first time in five years, you finally have a suspect."
Shuichi had softened his grip on the wall while listening to whatever dramatic scenario Kokichi was playing and in that unsupervised moment Kokichi broke free from the gap between him and the wall.
"And you catch that suspect not only once, but twice! In the same case, with the victims of the same case. There's no doubt that this is a coincidence, right?"
Kokichi dusted his torn clothes as he got closer to Shuichi yet again.
"All that's left to do now is to arrest the bastard and give him the punishment he deserves."
He leaned on Shuichi's shoulder and Shuichi held him in his arms completely out of instinct. It was the same position they were in a minute ago, with only difference Shuichi being the one trapped between the gap between him and the wall.
"It's over. Case closed. And they lived happily ever after."
His voice died out and another symphony of silence rose between them. For a moment that felt like ages, they stood just as they were; nothing, no one, not a single movement or sound dared make a move.
Something had to happen. And it did.
Kokichi stepped aside and broke the seal he had made with his arms. His stare was fallen to the ground, almost like watching the tiny steps he took not to escape but to stamp his speech complete.
Alright, circus clown. Do your monologuing.
"So why would you listen? To anyone, and the criminal himself?"
Him finishing his babbling and staring right in the eyes of Shuichi made both of them realize how stupid it all was. Why would Shuichi listen, and why would Kokichi put on his little show if it was going to end in misery for him at the end?
Shuichi couldn't even arrange his words for an answer.
The show was over whether they wanted it to end or not. Shuichi looked back and forth at Kokichi and the exit of the alley they were in. A sigh escaped from him.
Shuichi was absolutely going to regret what he was about to do, and it was alright by him.
He stepped forward, took Kokichi by his hand again and whispered in his ear.
"Not one single word will come from you. Not a noise or groan."
When Shuichi finished his words he didn't bother to look at Kokichi for a second time.
Their journey back to the stage lights was rather quiet when she thought about the hassle they had in the back streets. And if Shuichi was able to learn anything in that short period of time he had spent with Kokichi, this was an ill omen.
They were buried deep in silence yet once more, just like everyone else digging the debris of what had happened. Eager wouldn't have been the best word to use but Shuichi was surely looking forward to sharing details of his case, now that the others were there.
It was hard finding proper ways to start his impressions. It was beyond insane. No one else ar the scene was looking eager to start the conversation but everyone had the same look of anticipation on their faces. They all knew too damn well what it was and no one had the energy left to continue this vicious cycle of hunt and prey.
Shuichi took a breath, and let it begin.
"Yet another case belonging to Larkspur, is it not?"
Forgetting that Kokichi was there, nestling in his arm, watching and hearing everything. With the tiny interval given to him by forgetfulness, or maybe just plain blasé, the spotlight was onto him again.
Letting go of Shuichi's arm, Kokichi stepped forward and covered his face with his arm with the hint of drama resembling of an actor on stage. His act was so insincere that it gave his games a sense of naturality. It was so bad that it was good.
"Oh, you just had to see what happened! So horrible, oh, so horrible! I still can't believe I made it out witout even a nosebleed!"
Just as Kokichi's plastic act made it seem heartfelt, Shuichi's fury was so intense that he kept calm. He looked at his colleagues and tried to mask the foolery happening right before their eyes with an awkward smile on his face.
"What he witnessed left him in shock, so he doesn't know what he's saying. Please pay no mind."
The new lines of their cues got written.
Kokichi threw himself to Shuichi's arms, his arm still shielding his forehead.
"No, not at all! I saw, I have seen it all. And I've never been more in my senses than I am now."
Shuichi exhaled, reached out to Kokichi's arms and pulled Kokichi behind himself. He thought it was an easy bite when he had gotten the little rat in his palms but God was he wrong.
Little drops of sweat dripped from his forehead as he tried to neutralize the situation and turn it to his advance.
"Like I just said, he's obviously traumatized by the sight. I'll take care of him."
He then turned back to face Kokichi, only to be greeted by that damned mischievous grin.
Shuichi leaned in, so that he could whisper again:
"I'm trying to save you here."
He watched the naughty grin fade into a surprised or even dumbfounded expression.
To lie or not to lie, that's all there is.
Then he started pulling Kokichi somewhere again, not to a place where they could be alone just like before; but to where all the ruckus was. That was not the destination though, just a route. Shuichi was heading to his carriage with one petty thief he had been chasing over entire months who just also happened to be a witness, and the prime suspect.
Kokichi was still throwing empty words when he was snuggling Shuichi's arm on their way. This time he wasn't acting. He sounded like he was rather satisfied with the situation.
"Please. Don't leave me alone. The evil evil detective got me and he's up to no good."
People there were used to it. They were used to all sorts of criminals pulling their final acts as their salutations. Be it breaking in a hysterical laughter or a cry , be it shouting to let out their frustration like there was no tommorow, and be it taking their own lives right at the crime scene.
Still, it was the first time someone was so fond of being caught. No one paid it mind.
The carriage ride along the way went way too silent. They both could sense the other one's danger and speaking up would only led to damning. So they both kept quiet. Only the horses' hoofs and the wheels could pierce their deafening hush.
On and off, Shuichi Saihara now had a possible criminal of 5 years in his house. It was fine by him, again. It was all for the sake of the cases.
Shuichi lead the ways and Kokichi followed him without hesitation, even with euphoria as it seemed like. Shuichi had his arms behind his back and was walking with his head down while Kokichi skipped around the gigantic mansion behind the detective almost as if nothing had happened.
He stopped for just a second, twirled around and observed his surroundings. The mansion was built and decorated in a tasteful fashion, without a doubt. From the red velvet curtains covering big windows to the translucent marble floor; everything about the mansion the town's detective lived in was soothing one's eyes.
Too bad even a lair like this wasn't enough to take the detective off the knife's edge.
Kokichi's halt of a second expanded to minutes. He didn't even realize the detective also stopping and turning back to him.
Then Shuichi became aware of something he wasn't quite expecting. He ceased before this abrupt epiphany before he finally realized what it was.
Is this… the scent of garbage?
He stared at Kokichi again all while Kokichi was staring at him back with no knowledge of what was going in Shuichi's head. What he was about to say made Shuichi hold his desire to sigh with all his might.
"There's this stench coming from you."
Kokichi didn't wait to crack a laugh.
"Well done, detective! What did you expect from a street cat like me, exactly? To smell like a fresh garden of roses?"
Maybe not that, but he didn't exactly want to keep someone with a scent that disgusting in his own home. He dropped his head and finally let out that sigh he wanted to let out.
"Wash yourself before you come in contact with anyone."
Kokichi slowly made his way to the bathroom Shuichi had showed him but still kept making a joke of the way it all resolved.
"Oh, so you do expect me to smell like a rose garden. Hmph, should've just told it earlier."
He's trying to get under your skin. Don't give out to him or his sharp tongue.
With Shuichi's lead, another door opened and yet another tasteful room welcomed their sight. A pearly white bathtub, fuzzy soft carpets, more velvet curtains. Everything about the room resembled exactly of a bathroom except the framed paintings on the left wall.
Kokichi walked into the room and attempted to take off his shirt like Shuichi wasn't there.
He scanned the sight yet again with a fond smirk across his face.
"Didn't expect less from the detective…"
Shuichi was well aware Kokichi wasn't going to acknowledge him from that point on so he put a towel on the sink and left the bathroom.
Now was his chance.
Even if it's was just a regular bathroom Kokichi was in, Shuichi still didn't trust him enough to let him do anything without a witness. His own witness, if he wanted to be exact.
Shuichi walked down the hallways with his silent steps until he got to his bedroom door. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and opened the door to his bedroom. It was still absurd for him but it had to be done while Kokichi was under his roof.
His bedroom was another well-decorated place of many in his mansion. It was cliché, but since it was a mansion he was in possession of, he felt like it was his duty to decorate it nicely.
He traced the handle of his cabinet before opening both of its doors. The sense of cold metal had a weirdly calming feel. And he needed his calm to its fullest if he was about to really do that.
The two cabinet doors were fully open and between his clothes hanged neatly, there was a window that showed what was happening on the other side.
A one-way mirror to the bathroom disguised by the paintings on the left wall only Shuichi was aware of.
Shuichi wasn't fond of using that mirror to peek on people, or more like he had never used it before to do something like this. It's just this was a crucial moment and he had felt it was justified enough for him to use the mirror for its one and only ability: viewing whoever was behind the mirror, bathing in the bathroom.
He nested on a pile of clothes in his cabinet and closed the doors behind him, just in case someone entered room unexpectedly.
It was just this once. Just this once and he was never going to use the mirror ever again.
Or so, he though.
Bathtub in front of his view was still empty but Kokichi was there lying in it fully naked. He would've hated to admit it but even after all those cases he had to look at the bare human body, this sight of Kokichi made him slightly tingly.
So far Kokichi wasn't up to any bad thing but it wasn't enough for Shuichi to stop looking and leave his cabinet. Maybe it was Kokichi's style to do bad after he had gained trust. Maybe Kokichi was aware that Shuichi was peeking on him.
Kokichi reached out to the tap to fill the bathtub. After he had adjusted the heat he leaned back and rested his neck on the bathtub. There was still no trace of him trying something malicious.
Then he made a move. A move that caught Shuichi off guard again.
He pulled an arm resting on the tub to his body and slid it down to his groin. The water level was high enough at that moment to fully cover his legs and it was rising to his chest.
His hand rested on one leg for some time, then something made him arch his back and let escape a moan from his mouth.
Shuichi felt like looking away and just leaving Kokichi be but something made him stay in his place. He couldn't move a limb or take away his stare off the view.
Another moan of pleasure escaped Kokichi's mouth. He arched his back again, only this time his head fell back like the first position he was resting his head on the tub. His face wasn't visible from such angle but Shuichi could imagine exactly what it looked like.
What he was witnessing behind the brief protection of a picture's illusion could only be described awkward and as awkward as it was, it was also arousing. Watching the body he ran his fingers upon moving with sore lust, desire pulling every muscle and curve of his was made him feel the same thing as his reflection on the mirror.
Something he couldn't put his finger on. not necessarily good, not necessarily bad.
Kokichi sat straight in the tub while he panted like there was no air to fill his lungs. He reached out to the tap to turn it off, then continued where he left off.
Still moaning with pleasure pumping through every part of his body, he searched for the soap. Shuichi could see scraps of his face dissolved with pleasure whenever Kokichi flipped his head to look around; but it was enough for him. He wasn't sure what he was doing was right but he could see Kokichi's reactions were genuine.
There was no way Kokichi would've faked such a face, movements or voices.
Even when he had finally found the soap, Kokichi's face and body were full on ecstasy. He rubbed the bar all over him but his body continued to move along to his movemets just like moments ago. He was moaning quietly the whole time he washed all over himself.
His next minutes went tame. He massaged his head as he was washing his messy hair and he just sat un the tub with closed eyes when he waited the soap on his body to dissolve in warm water. He still had slight panting and a dreamy face, however.
His body reeking of euphoria after masturbation was unmistakable.
Kokichi emptied the tub and stood up straight to get out. He saw the towel Shuichi had left for him on the sink but he didn't go for it.
With his body still dripping and his legs weak from an orgasm, he walked up to one of the paintings; and smiled with something evil in him.
"Did you enjoy the show, detective?"
Something cold and sharp stroke Shuichi right through the heart.
Shuichi Saihara now had a possible criminal of 5 years in his house. It was alright by him.
It was all for the sake of the cases.