Clair did up the top of her shirt as Tobin set a plate with eggs and bacon down in front of her. As Tobin was walking back to the stove, Clair’s phone pinged. With one hand, Clair lifted her fork to her mouth. With the other, she opened her phone and checked the message.
*Double homicide, corner of 10th and Emperor Alm Avenue*
Clair blinked in surprise at her phone, then double checked to make sure it was hers, and not Gray’s or Tobin’s. No, it was hers. But why was SHE getting a message for a homicide? Gray and Tobin worked homicide, she was just in Missing Persons.
A new message blinked onto her screen.
*One Jane Doe. The other victim is Grieth.*
Clair stood up in shock at the news that the Crime Lord was dead. Grieth ran the largest human smuggling ring in all of Valentia, and Clair had been on his case for months. Tobin gasped, evidently having received a corresponding message. Tobin turned off the stove and grabbed his badge, gun, and keys, while Clair marched over to their bedroom door.
“Gray, we have to go, now! Get your lazy butt out of that bed!” Clair yelled as she hammered on the door.
“Five more minutes,” a voice groaned from inside the room.
“We don’t have TIME, Gray!” Clair called as she, losing her patience, opened the door, finding Gray sprawled out on the bed the three of them shared.
“Of course we do, Clair! We don’t have to be at work for another hour,” Gray groaned as Clair sternly started forcibly dragging him out of bed.
“Not today, Gray! Merciful Mila, check your phone!” Clair grabbed Gray’s ankle and yanked him off the bed.
“OW!” Gray rubbed his head as he hit the ground.
“C’mon, get up!” Clair pulled Gray up and went into his closet, where she found a suit, pants, and a shirt for Gray to wear. When she returned, she found Gray reclining on the bed once more with his phone in his hand. His face paled as he read the messages, and when Clair threw his clothes at him, he scrambled to get dressed.
“Wait, so does this mean you’ll be on this case with us?” Gray asked hopefully as he hurriedly buttoned his pants.
“It looks like it,” Clair said, giving Gray a kiss on the cheek and then pushing him out the bedroom door. When they entered the main room, it was empty, Tobin having already left to start the car. Clair shoved a few granola bars into her purse before grabbing the bag off the counter.
The two rushed out the door, Clair making sure to lock it on the way out, down three flights of stairs, and out the front door of their apartment building. Outside, Tobin had pulled their car around to the front and was waiting. Clair strutted around to the passenger seat door, and Gray climbed in in the back, and the three were off.
“Hey, wait, where’s breakfast?” Gray asked as he looked around the car.
“You missed it. That is what happens when you sleep in,” Clair glanced back from the front seat, her hand reaching instinctively for the ghost of a coffee cup.
“What? But we normally eat later? Why didn’t you pack something, Tobin?” Gray wined, leaning back.
“Yeah, well, we didn’t have time, Gray! It caught us all by surprise. I didn’t get to eat either! We’ll probably grab a donut before returning to the precinct,” Tobin said, eyes darting to the rear view to check on Tobin.
“That’s a bit cliché, don’t you think?” Clair pouted as she pulled down the sun-visor/mirror double and dove into her purse, looking for her emergency-sized makeup bag.
“It’s quick and I’m hungry and it’s on the way. Who cares if it’s cliché?” Tobin shrugged defensively, fingers uncurling off of the driving wheel.
“I care!” Clair crossed her legs. “If you’re really that hungry, I have granola bars,” Clair said as she found the snacks she had thrown in her purse. She still had not found her emergency-sized makeup bag though.
“Thanks, Clair, you’re the best,” Tobin said as he leaned across the dashboard, giving Clair a kiss while she handed him the bar.
“I know,” Clair smiled while her other hand came up, at last finding the emergency-sized makeup bag. “And what about you, Gray? Do YOU want a granola bar? Because I really do need both of my hands,” Clair said triumphantly.
“No thanks, I’m good. I’ll just wait for donuts,” Gray grumbled, his arms crossed.
“Your loss,” Clair sighed as she dropped the granola bar and unzipped her makeup bag, pulling a couple of tubes out of it. She had applied her mascara to one eye when Tobin pulled the car to a stop, and he and Gray unbuckled and stepped out of the car.
“C’mon, Clair! They’re waiting on us,” Gray called impatiently, looking across the street to where the crime scene had already been taped off.
“I’m coming, just give me a minute!” Clair shouted as she stroked her other eyelash one last time. She pushed her things back in her purse, unbuckled, stepped out of the car, and walked around to the other side of the car, where the boys were waiting.
“So, what’s the cau- oh…” Gray started as the three walked across the street, entering the crime scene. He didn’t need to finish, though, because the cause of death was painfully obvious by the two heads hanging from a second story window, their severed bodies sitting like dolls below them- only they seemed to be switched.
“She’s just a girl…” Clair said in shock as she stared at the other victim, who was, indeed, just a generic village girl.
“Yeah, but that’s not too uncommon,” Tobin gulped as he looked up at the girl.
“How frequently are young girls decapitated in this city?!” Clair blinked, turning to Tobin.
“Oh, about once a year,” a new voice joined the group as a white head of hair looked up from bagging evidence. “Gray, Tobin, nice of you to show up. And you, I don’t believe we’ve met,” Kliff stood up to greet the three detectives.
“Oh, I’m Clair, with Missing Persons,” Clair extended her hand cordially.
“Missing Persons? So we have an ID on the Jane Doe?” Kliff stared at the hand.
“No, I’m afraid not,” Clair sighed, shaking her head.
“Then… what brings you down to homicide?” Kliff said.
“I’ve been on Greith’s case for a while now. I was actually getting pretty close to putting him away, which is more than I can say for my counterparts in other departments,” Clair cast a smirking glare at Tobin and Gray.
“Wait, you’re THAT Clair?!” Kliff exclaimed in shock. Clair had become something of a legend at the precinct- she was the only one who had ever had any success with investigating Grieth, after all. Somehow, she had managed to save three people Grieth had kidnapped, and she had busted one of his slave deals. And it didn’t help that Tobin and Gray were always talking about her.
“Yes, I am… THAT Clair… whatever that means. And you are?” Clair withdrew her hand indignantly.
“That’s Kliff, the lab monkey we’re always telling you about,” Gray patted Clair’s shoulder.
“I’d really rather you didn’t talk about me,” Kliff glared at Gray.
“Well, in any case, Clair’s here because EVERYONE was on Grieth,” Tobin said.
Clair stepped up the bodies, looking intensely at the girl’s head. She was sad for the girl, but a part of her was relieved. Clair’s own partner, Mae, had been assigned to go undercover, and when Clair had gotten that text…
“You okay?” Gray said softly to Clair, his hand still on her shoulder.
“I… don’t know,” Clair shook her head as Gray wrapped his arm around her.