Going out for a bit, I'll be right back~!
It was the hottest summer in recent years - so much so that all the locals began flocking towards the closest body of water no matter how big or small. Although completely packed and surrounded by hoards of people hoping to find escape from the scorching heat, they didn't appear to mind bumping elbows with one another so long as they got a share of the breeze. It wasn't until a young couple, renting a paddle boat, looked down into the water that they noticed something off.
Narrowing their eyes, they leaned in to take a closer look.
It wasn't a fish or a plant or anything they'd ever seen there before. Instead, it was something beige and pearly white…
A moment later, the woman let out a scream.
Mere minutes passed before sirens could be heard roaring down the road.
Kagami Taiga was sitting at his desk, sweating and unhappy despite having both the air conditioning and his personal fan on. The weather channel had been saying it was supposed to rain 'soon' for days now, but there still wasn't a single cloud in the sky. Suddenly, the phone rang. Frowning, he looked at the caller's name and picked it up with a groan. "Hey, what is it, Alex?"
Normally, he'd be ready to spring into action at a moment's notice, but the heat was making him lethargic. He inwardly hoped that his superior wouldn't be sending him outside into the unbearable heat.
A woman's voice replied, "Hey Taiga, hope your rear hasn't melted onto your seat from the heat just yet. They just found a body over at Suginami-ku, I'm sending you over there to check it out. It's about time you made yourself useful."
"What do you mean' huh'? I should be hearing nothing but ' Yes, ma'am! ' and 'Of course, ma'am!' from you! I didn't bring you all the way here from America just to mope around and sit behind a desk all day! They're still iffy about whether it was foul play or not - so go check it out. Give me an update afterwards. I'll give you the address. Just use your GPS to get there."
Sighing loudly, he reluctantly got up. "Fine…should I bring-"
"Tatsuya's working on another case right now so you're on your own for this one, at least for now."
"Understood. Guess I'll go now. Bye." Putting the phone down and hanging up, he stuffed his badge into his breast pocket, car keys into his pants pocket, attached the cuffs and holster to his belt, and jammed his gun into the holster. Once he had all the essential parts of his uniform together, he left the sanctuary of the air conditioned room and made his way to the parking lot.
The second he opened the door, he could feel his reluctance rising when a blast of heat hit him square in the face. The seats would probably melt to his clothes, and the steering wheel would probably give his hands third degree burns. Taking a deep breath, as an experiment, he took the water bottle he'd brought with him and splashed a bit onto the seat only to watch it sizzle and evaporate on the spot.
That was definitely not safe.
"This is ridiculous…." Eyes still wide in amazement, he carefully reached in and started the engine and turned on the AC without getting inside. It wasn't until he deemed the car safe to enter that he finally got in and punched the address into his GPS and drove off.
It took a while longer than the GPS had predicted due to heavy traffic and all the detours he decided to take on the way. Why couldn't they have better marked and less confusing roads? Finally arriving at the site, he got out and was led over to where a crowd had gathered behind the yellow taped area. Feebly fanning himself with his hand, he wished the officer would at least walk in the shade or by the water.
"The victim hasn't been ID'ed yet. So far, all we have is that he was a male, probably in his teens. Tall, over 180cm, and he was an athletic boy. Judging from the bones, my best guess would be a basketball player. We have people in the water working to retrieve the rest of the bones right now. It'll be hard to place an exact time of death until we bring the remains back to the lab. He'd been tied, or rather, wrapped in a rope attached to a boulder - probably to keep the body from floating to the surface. But on the brighter note, because of that, we have most of his bones and bits and pieces of the clothes he was wearing. I wouldn't get my hopes up on DNA tests though, any sample we may find will probably be compromised."
Seeing the tarp on the grass with bones laid out on them, still tangled in the rope, Kagami frowned, the heat forgotten. "Can you tell if he was alive when he went in?"
"I hope not but I couldn't tell you at the moment. He's all bones now, remember? I can say though, that we're certain it was foul play now that we managed to get the remains out of the water and took a closer look at them. With the way the rope had been wrapped around his body, there's no way the victim could've done it himself."
"And who found the remains?"
His escort pointed to the people sitting under a tree nearby. "That couple over there in the shade. They were in a paddle boat when they spotted it. That's all I got from them. The poor woman fainted after discovering it."
"From the heat or shock…" he muttered to himself and knelt down to take a closer look at the remains. In the back of his mind, he was careful not to drip any sweat onto it. The boy's body had already been dumped into a pond; he didn't need to be further disrespected. Reaching up to wipe the sweat off his forehead, he looked down and noticed something reflective in the rope. "Oi, come over here for a sec. Bag this thing up, would you?"
The investigator carefully picked up the shiny bit from the rope. "Oh. Good eye, detective." Looking at it, he raised a brow curiously. "It looks like a piercing…" Placing it into a baggy, the worker passed it back over for him to inspect.
Narrowing his eyes at the bag, Kagami hummed in thought. "A teenage basketball player with a piercing, hm? Finish up here and bring the body back to the lab and then send me a report, alright?"
"Good. Let's see if we can at least ID this boy…"
A few days later, he sat waiting at his office waiting for a report. Why couldn't things happen as quickly as they did on TV? At least it'd finally rained and the world seemed to have returned to a survivable temperature again. Sighing, he tapped his pen against his cheek, wondering just how long it took a team to analyze a sack of bones. And just as he thought it, there was a knock at the door and a person with an envelope came walking in. "Detective Kagami?"
He raised his hand. "Over here."
The man perked up and quickly made his way over. "Ah, sorry. Here's the report on the body at the Zenpukuji Upper Pond. The victim hasn't been ID'ed yet, we're still checking the dentals and waiting for a match. There's also an artist rendition of what the victim probably looked like when he was still alive. It's just a sketch but it should be quite accurate."
"Alright, thanks." Taking the envelope and watching the man leave, Kagami leaned back and took the contents out, curious to see his victim's face. Though just a sketch, the victim had been a good looking boy, a familiar looking boy. He couldn't quite place his finger on where he'd seen that face before though.
His stomach growled, disturbing his train of thoughts.
Glancing at the clock, he realized that it was lunch time. He quickly grabbed the envelope and wallet and made his way to his usual fast-food joint. Cheap burgers were the best.
Sitting at a booth, the redhead had papers including the sketch laid out in front of him as he stuffed his face with burgers, taking sips of his milkshake in between bites. Suddenly, a voice spoke up from beside him, "Excuse me…"
Out of surprise, his body couldn't decide between swallowing or spitting the food out so he choked on his burger instead.
With tears in his eyes, Kagami took a gulp of his shake before looking over. It took him a long moment to notice the smaller man standing there, coolly sipping on his own drink. "Don't sneak up on me like that! When'd you get here?"
The young man with light blue hair and eyes blinked and stated calmly, "I've actually been standing here for a while now. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you choke. But, it's just that…that sketch you have there…"
Blinking, Kagami turned his attention back towards the sketch on the table. "Huh? Does he look familiar to you?"
"Yes, he does."
Well, that was unexpected, but it perked his interest all the same. "Oh? Here, take a seat. Tell me more. He was an athlete, right?"
His question caused the stranger to raise a brow. "That's right. If this is the same person I'm thinking of, then he's a basketball player."
"I'm going to guess it's the same person. And he had a piercing, right?"
The smaller man had the drawing in his hands as he studied it. He nodded in affirmation. "In his left ear, yes. And the last time I saw him, his hair was a little longer than in your sketch. But this looks just like him - except monochrome."
It sounded like this person actually knew the victim. "Hm? What hair colour did he have?"
"He's blond with amber eyes…" The stranger paused as though taking a moment to process his train of thoughts. "You don't know his hair colour? I thought maybe you drew this sketch."
"No way, I couldn't draw something like this to save my life," he replied bluntly with an offhanded wave.
"Oh. May I ask why you have a sketch of him then?"
"One more question first. When was the last time you saw him…sorry, I didn't get your name?"
"Detective Kagami Taiga, homicide." Neither of them tried to shake hands, especially since his hands were full at the moment.
The other was wringing his hands now. "The last time I saw Kise-kun was around ten years ago when he…you're a detective? Homicide? Then that must mean…"
Finishing the last of his burgers, Kagami frowned, feeling stupid. He hadn't expected to have to break the news to someone in such a casual setting while doing something as distracting as stuffing his face. He allowed words to fly out of his mouth without thought. "Ah, shit. I'm sorry you had to find out this way. If you wouldn't mind, could you come down to the office with me to tell me what you know about 'Kise'? If you're busy now, then you can just drop by later. I'll be there all day. Here, I'll give you my card. We can talk more at the office. I think we both want more information about this. And I think you'd be a lot of help to this investigation so…"
Still composed but clearly shaken, the blue haired man nodded and spoke quietly, keeping any turmoil he was feeling to himself. "Yes, of course I'll help out however I can. I have to get back to work now but I'll come by afterwards, Detective Kagami. Please excuse me."
"Just Kagami's fine-" but the other was already nowhere in sight. "What? How'd he disappear like that...?"