Angus McAllister McDonald is Rockport’s best detective. No relation to his size or age, Angus is smarter than most of the sheriffs and he just so happens to be a thirteen year old boy. It’s impressive yes, because Angus has worked very hard to reach this spot in his life. Angus has been reading almost has long as he’s been able to see, and getting into danger since before he could crawl. As a result, Angus tends to get into more than his fair share of trouble.
At this point in his life, Angus has been tracing the string of break ins on the local community college campus. What really got his attention, was that no robbery occurred in any of them. So when Angus talks to the dean, and gets permission to walk the main hall late at night, he’s of course expecting the flashlights and hushed conversations that he finds. They near him, and Angus knows of course that these two--while not thieves--are still criminals, so Angus does what he does best. He runs to the Dean’s office, and finds a small place to hide.
The voices grow closer as Angus squeezes in the armoire of graduation caps and gowns, the door opens not a moment after Angus closes his. He holds his breath listening.
“... Babe, you’re seeing things.” A first voice says.
“No no no babe, I saw him. I saw the kid, the one I see at work all the time.” A second voice replies, and Angus runs his tongue along his teeth in contemplation. “Here, check the cabinet thing.”
He doesn’t have the time to actually hear what she’s said, until a tall figure opens the armoire, looking down to Angus. “Oh.” She says. “You were right.”
“Hello?” Angus squeaks, waving gently.
A reply comes from the figure sitting on the dean’s desk, a small stature and buzzed head familiar enough even behind the ram mask she’s wearing. “Hi Angus.” Deputy Hurley says, crossing her arms. “What are you doing out so late?”
“Trying to catch the vandals? Which ma’am, you technically are?” He tries to state the facts, but it rings out more as a confused question.
“Sloane, help the boy out.” She says, stepping away for Sloane to reach into the armoire and assist Angus out onto his feet.
“We’re not really vandals, just adrenaline junkies.” Sloane says, pointing to her raven mask. “The first time we did this I left my AP Enviro homework in the lab, we had to get it out. Nobody noticed ‘cause it wasn’t supposed to be there anyway.” Deputy Hurley lifts her own Ram mask from her face and sets it down on the desk,
“I don’t know why they sent you in here alone.”
“I’ve solved murders ma’am, I know what I’m doing.” Angus pulls the strap of his satchel, looking up at the woman.
“And if we wanted to harm you, you couldn’t’ve done anything.” Sloane moves to the dean’s chair, pulling off her raven mask and letting her hair sink down her shoulders.
“But you don’t.”
“Kid do you have any idea how reckless you are sometimes? I remember typing up the report of you and the guy that was kidnapping teachers. When you posed-” Hurley’s cut off as lights flash outside of the dean’s bay window, red and blue all to familiar to every person present. Hurley nearly bites her tongue pulling her mask back on, and Sloane nearly falls out of her chair as she rolls away from the window to put on hers.
“Fuck-” Both women groan.
“Oh no, it looks like I’m kidnapped again.” Angus says, crossing his own arms and staring down Hurley.
“Oh wait,” Angus says, reaching into his pocket and withdrawing his small pocket watch. “The temporary night guard should be doing their rounds right now anyway-”
On cue a round face peeks in from the main hallway, one that quickly grows pink. They push the door open, striding into the room and grasping their baton.
“This is a fucking mess- Raven-” Hurley says, putting her face in a hand and pointing for Sloane to take care of the brave kid.
“Nothin’ personal.” Sloane mumbles, running up and getting locked in a small fight.
“Angus, you’re officially our hostage now, I guess …?” Hurley says, looking over at the kid. “As soon as-”
There’s a loud thud followed by panting, as Sloane knocks the kid to the floor and pulls up her mask to speak. “Alright, unconscious. Put up one hell of a fight.”
“Roswell’s a hall monitor and on the wrestling team, they’re good.” Angus chimes,
“ That happens,” Hurley continues, “we’re gonna have to request your help in getting out of here.”
“And when guardy here wakes up we need it to look like you’re kidnapped. So take the chair, I’ll tie your wrists loose.” Sloane finishes, gesturing for Angus to walk over to the dean’s chair and plop down.
He talks as she ties his wrists to the chair arms, “I mean the DA’s only really interested in stopping the break-ins on the school grounds. If you two vow to not do it on public property any more, and stick to the whole no robbery thing, you should be fine.”
“You see, that still involves turning ourselves in, which Hurl, cannot.” Sloane looks up at him, and gives a half smile. “Come on there boy genius, think harder.” She pats his hand before turning to the desk and lounging beside Hurley. The phone on the desk starts ringing, and Hurley and Sloane both look at Angus.
“You just tied me to the chair!”
“Hello?” Angus answers the phone, the plastic tucked snugly in the crook of his neck.
“Angus, you alright kid?” Captain Bane asks,
“Oh, yes I’m fine. I’m talking with the vandals in terms of pleas and bargaining.”
“Is he alright? What’s going on?” Angus hears another voice ask, pushing against Bane and speaking closer to the receiver. “Angus?”
“Oh hey June, yeah everything’s fine.” He says, “What are you doing up?”
“What are you doing getting caught up in another hostage situation? Your dad is gonna kill you, if I don’t get my hands on you first.”
“Hey, is my sibling in there?”
“Yes, and they’re fine. Unconscious, but they should be okay. Listen we’ll be out soon. Tell Bane, alright?”
“Loud and clear McDonald.” Bane ends the call, and Angus lets Hurley tuck the phone back in it’s cradle. “As I was saying, unless you try to run across the roof, or- or vault from the third story, you won’t be able to get out of this without running into some kind of law enforcement.”
Hurley and Sloane look at each other, and their twin grins make Angus gravely regret his choice in words.
“No, no, no, ma’ams this is very bad.” Angus’ legs shake from the cold air and high standing as Hurley and Sloane walk him across the flat roofing, closer and closer towards the tiled side.
“Hey, you’re not tied up any more. You point us in the best direction and swear you won’t ruin Hurley’s career, then we’re set. We won’t break in any more, and you’ve saved the day.” Sloane says, leading the charge onto the roof tiles and holding Hurley’s hand.
“You got yourself into this Angus,” Hurley mumbles, clinging onto her girlfriend as they slowly walk from the roof entrance, around the building to where the large willow trees grow on the east side of the campus. The sky is slowly beginning it’s change from night to day, warm purple and magenta peeking behind the clouds.
“Alright, there. The willow tree that hangs at the gutter is just around the corner.” Angus points shakily, dropping to his knees slowly and clinging to the tiles.
“Thanks kid, be careful.” Hurley says, starting to test every tree branch she can reach. Sloane reaches for the higher branches, pulling and testing weight.
“We’re close to the front of the building, be fast and you’ll be fine.” Angus grumbles, starting to stand and extending his arms for balance. He takes one step, then another, rising up away from the gutter and onto the peak of the roof. His eyes have almost adjusted to the dark completely now, and he mumbles to himself while he goes.
“Hey! Get a light on that!” He hears someone yell, before he’s blinded and he loses his balance.
“Angus!” Hurley yells, as Sloane reaches out to grab him. She just misses, the boy detective falling to his butt and sliding down the front of the sloped roof. People on the other side of the light gasp, he hears some yells, and Angus squeezes his eyes shut, waiting for his feet to hit the gutter. He hits it, bouncing and using the time to spin around and grab the gutter with all his might. His whole body dangles from his grip and more people are gasping or yelling.
“He got pushed, Angus! Hold on, we’ll get the fire department!” Bane yells.
Angus blinks away the white spots in his eyes before he yells over his shoulder, “It’s fine Captain! I’ll be down in a moment!” Slowly Angus lets go with one hand (hearing June yell at him from a distance) and fumbling around in his satchel. He finds his carabiner and clips it carefully onto the gutter. The rope unfurls and falls down the wall, and Angus carefully repels down to fall the last few feet into a bush.
“Angus!” June yells again, tearing her way across the barrier and to her best friend. She pulls him out of the bush, brushing small twigs and leaves from his curls. “God Angus, you scared everyone.” She wraps her arms around Angus’ middle and lifts him in a hug, one he quickly returns. He buries his face in her hair and sighs as the adrenaline wears off.
“Angus, Angus are you alright?!” He hears Kravitz yell, running up the front path. He lets go of June. He runs to meet his father halfway and all but leaps into his arms. “Oh god Angus-”
Kravitz drops to his knees, pulling Angus close and clinging to his son. “You scared the life out of me.”
“I didn’t do it dad, I couldn’t catch them.” He mumbles.
“They pushed you from a roof, I’m just glad you’re alive.” Kravitz breathes, moving back on his heels to look Angus over. “Why didn’t you tell me you were working with the police tonight? I would’ve come home.” Angus scrubs at his eye under his glasses, looking at Kravitz and his suit.
“You said wrapping up the lawsuit was important, and you’d be busy at work.” Angus mumbles, still fisting one of his hands in Kravitz’ suit jacket.
“I love you Angus, work doesn’t matter as much as you.” Kravitz says, again taking Angus in a hug. “I ended up throwing a bit of a fit when I was attempting to do the wrap up anyway. I’ll have to go back tonight, at the latest-” he extends his arm before looking at the watch on his wrist, “In two hours, so I can get everything finalized before we leave for NeverWinter.”
“We still have to go?” Angus pleads, “But-”
“No buts. I’m sorry but this just solidifies my choice. You need a break. We need a break. Come on, the least I can do is take you home.” Kravitz stands, holding Angus’ hand and very intending to hold it until they get home. “Hello June, how are you tonight?” Kravitz looks over to her.
“Hello Mr. McAllister. I’m good. Goodnight sir, goodnight Angus.” She waves gently, before backpedalling down the college path and onto the street.
Kravitz nods to himself, “Have you spoken with the authorities already about what you found?”
“No sir, not yet.”
“You can talk to them tomorrow before we leave.” Kravitz says, “Let’s get you home.”
Captain Bane offers Angus a handshake which Kravitz interrupts, and he very bluntly fills the police captain in on what will be happening tomorrow. Angus looks up at the moon and the stars. More like what will be happening in a few hours if you ask him.
The car ride isn’t long, but it feels very long. Angus sits in the backseat, head leaning against the window and watching streetlights pass by in the swallowing darkness of the early early morning.
“Angus, the change will be good.” Kravitz says, a weak smile on his lips. “You can take a break from your dangerous hobby. You can learn a little, you know you got into that college for the trimester. You can shop, you can make friends.”
“I have friends.”
“You have June.” Kravitz looks up in the rear view mirror, and sighs. “Look, I know you don’t like change. And this is only for a consultation! We’ll be in NeverWinter for a few months at the max. You got to choose the house we’re renting. This will be fun!”
“I don’t like change. You said it yourself.” Angus is still staring out the window, one hand going numb from being pressed into his cheek.
“It’ll be good for you.”
“I-” Angus looks up at the mirror in return. “I do good for others. Dad I only ever take cases-”
“That help people. I know Angus.” Angus recognizes the tone of voice as ‘I’m exasperated with what I’m saying but I’m saying it because I want to take control of the conversation’ and Angus doesn’t have the will to fight him. “Just take a break from sleuthing. You don’t have to stop, I know it’s a hugely important outlet for you.”
Angus pulls his arm down from the window and looks at Kravitz dead-on in the mirror.
Kravitz avoids his gaze, instead keeping his eyes on the road. “It’s a few months. I’ll be doing big work, in one of the biggest cities there is. It’ll be too dangerous for you to work with the police, dangerous for you to be your detective self.”
“I can handle myself.” Angus says, and although he doesn’t mean it too it comes out more as a whine of disobedience.
“You can, I saw so tonight. You’ll get a break. You can-” Kravitz glances up at him in the mirror, then out his driver’s window, then back to the road. “You can stop coming home with bruises and burn scars son.”
Angus leans back against the window, rubbing a thumb over the spot on his thigh he knows Kravitz is talking about.
“You’re someone else to me Angus. You’re my son, you’re my whole world.”
“Then you should let me do what I’m good at! What I want to do!” He throws himself forward in his seat, pulling harshly on his seatbelt.
“Angus McAllister McDonald you will not speak to me with that tone of voice!” Kravitz bites back, turning the car into the driveway. “I’m sorry, but you won’t change my mind.” He takes the key from the ignition, and looks into the mirror again. They make eye contact before Angus looks away, unbuckling his seatbelt. “Go get into bed.”
A part of Angus burns bright, and burns fierce with hate, but a bigger part of him knows it won’t do any good.
“I’m sorry for snapping dad.” He says quietly, unlocking the door. “I love you.”
“I love you too Angus. I love you so, so much.” Kravitz turns around in the driver's seat, and smiles gently. “Promise me you won’t sleuth while we’re in NeverWinter.”
“I promise.” Angus mumbles, head still lowered. He pushes the car door open, and looks back in for a moment. “Tell Rayray I said hi.”
“I will. Goodnight.” Angus walks up the nicely manicured pathway, and pulls the front door open. He closes it behind himself, waiting and watching as the headlights of the car turn back on and he hears the car pull back out of the driveway.
Angus dully reads the face of his pocket watch before sighing and sinking to the floor to unclasp his shoes. He pads up the stairs in his socks and changes into his pajamas with less thought and more practiced muscle memory. His bed is cold under his quilts and knit blanket, and although it quickly warms, it makes him curl up and clutch his pillow. The ache in his body pulls him down into his bed and into unconsciousness. Angus falls asleep thinking.