"There's something weird about this case," Heri announces loudly to the sparsely populated room, causing everyone present to jerk from their reverie. Indah, Heri catches from the corner of his eyes, has startled awake, elbows skidding on the shiny surface of the desk. His team looks sad, Heri thinks with fond exasperation, and Commander Bayu doesn't look all that fresh after 2 and a half days with little to no sleep.
Next to him, Megat lets out a noise in agreement or a scoff, Heri still couldn't figure the man out. "I agree," Heri instantly brightens at that because, hey, finally! "We should be able to, at least, question some people related to that—" His finger taps against the whiteboard, where pictures and evidence are scattered about, connected by a red string.
"So why aren't we doing that?" Heri and Megat say at the same time, glancing at each other after they finish. Commander Bayu might think they're two peas in a pod, judging from his stare. Heri knows he is partly amused, considering the first time they all met, Heri went straight for Megat's throat. Malaysians, really.
"It's not that simple." Here we go again; Heri has to suppress the urge to roll his eyes because Commander Bayu has been saying that the last few days. Something about politics, he supposes, not something he's got a good grasp on. "We need concrete evidences before we drag a mogul who runs Jakarta into this mess—"
"Haidar Subandi shows up everywhere!" This time, Heri crosses his arms above his chest, mimicking Megat. Megat nods, looking stern. "His name shows up everywhere and we still couldn't drag his ass down to our basement?"
Behind him, Indah lets out a choked noise which means she's holding back a groan. Heri knows, he could be emotionally challenged sometimes.
"Never knew ICD Indonesia would cower under a mafia, out of all people." There is a curl on Megat's lips and his tone is low, condescending. Commander Bayu doesn't rise to the bait, but Heri does: hackles rising and he straightens up, frowning.
But Megat is right. With a huff, he deflates. "We will get him," Commander Bayu assures them, but he sounds unsure of himself. "We will get him from the bottom, starting from his lackies, if there's any."
"Indah." In an instant, Indah is alert, despite the mussed state of her hijab. "Cari siapa pun yang berkaitan dengan Haidar Subandi, orang terdekatnya. Di jajaran pemerintahan, sektor swasta, apa pun." Under Commander Bayu's instructions, Indah begins to type on her keyboard. Heri watches her fingers blur from the speed before a nudge brings him back to the present.
Megat is staring at him, an unreadable look on his face. "Take a rest," he says, lips quirking into a small smile. "We'll start again tomorrow."
Heri has never seen Megat smile before, so he nods, a little dumbfounded.
"Dinner?" Heri meant to offer, not ask, definitely didn't mean to sound plaintive. Megat shakes his head a no, so Heri bids him good night.
It started like this:
Three businessmen were found dead in a container at Tanjung Priok. Heri was already frowning at his coffee but then he found out that they were Malaysians, not Indonesian. And that was how he got saddled with the amazing Megat Jamil, an ICD officer with a penchant of riling a steam out of him.
The case is ridiculous, his partner is ridiculous. If the frown goes any deeper, his face will fold permanently that way, Megat said. Heri sighed, tearing his gaze from the stab wound on their victims' neck. Triplet wounds right on the carotid arteries from a small hole that suspiciously looked like the tip of a pen.
Like Heri said, ridiculous. Who the hell killed people with a pen? A fork he understands, but pen?
Further investigation and research shows that the dock is owned by someone named Haidar Subandi. People know who he is: he owns Jakarta, or Indonesia, Heri isn't quite sure about it. Megat only blinked in confusion when the name 'Haidar Subandi' surfaced, but he wasn't surprised. Malaysia had those too, he said.
So here they are, raking every corner of their brains to find out how to bring Subandi's ass to their dingy interrogation room and beat the confession out of him. The latter is Heri's secret plan, but he knows Megat won't let him.
"I found something!" Indah yells from her coffee cup, the mouth covering three fourth of her face. A price to pay on Heri's behalf, since she ran a background check on Megat for him.
Heri crowds behind her, blinking in surprise when a warm, solid chest is pressing up against his back. From the corner of his eyes, he catches Megat's side profile, eyes laser-sharp when he stares at the screen. Heri hums, averting his gaze away so Megat couldn't catch him looking.
"Haidar Subandi was and still is on a BOLO. Daftar Pencarian Orang," she starts, legs jiggling. "He went missing a year ago, after he was under suspicion for spreading the 'amoral serum' hoax." Indah brings her hands up, putting on a quote sign for the words 'amoral serum'.
Heri knows about that, of course. There were deaths, parliament members who agreed to the counter serum bill. Too many whispers and Heri has never seen Commander Bayu that tired before, scrambling to receive calls from the higher-ups.
The hearsays stopped all of a sudden, ended with bottles of the counter serum exploding out of nowhere. Heri goes dizzy when he thinks of the disaster, thanking God with a fervent that he wasn't the one handling the case.
Against his back, Megat makes a faint sound of interest. "What happened?"
It prompts Indah into a steady stream of words, explaining the case efficiently, and Heri lets himself drift, frowning to himself. If he remembers correctly, a figure also surfaced that time. Someone deemed as a superhero; the media painted them as a tall figure with lightning that crackles on the tip of their fingers.
"... and then Subandi was declared missing. Iya 'kan, Bang?" Indah sounds too cheerful in this ungodly hour and Heri blames himself for that. The goddamned coffee.
"Yes." Heri very carefully doesn't mention the superhero because he doesn't want Megat to stare at him like he's the butt of a joke. "Ada lagi ngga, Ndah?"
"Oh." Indah abandons her coffee in favor of showing them another evidence. "We're still looking for Subandi, but here, I found who the loads really belonged to."
Heri really wishes for Megat to lean back and stop crowding him because the man is scorching hot even through his polo shirt. "Ghaparma." Heri also wishes for Megat to stop sounding that hot when he speaks in that low voice of his.
"Yep." With a pop to the p, Indah leans back and glances at Heri and, by extension, Megat. "Ghaparma, owned by Ghani Zulham. Zulham is often seen with Subandi when he was skulking through the parliament building."
The screen now shows a potrait of Zulham, as well as his numerous achievements in his young age.
"He looks like you," Megat says, a little confused when he stares at the screen. Indah also lets out a noise in bewilderment, head falling back to glance at Heri. "Is he your twin?"
"What—no! I don't have any twins." That he knew of, but Heri doesn't say it. Zulham looks a little like him; the shape of his jaws, his nose, his eyes, but not the set of his shoulders and the smug curve on his lips. Heri instantly dislikes the man. "Can we get him here?"
"Look at those awards, damn." Indah clicks her tongue as she scrolls through the page, Megat bending down to hover above her shoulder.
"Stop ogling at the guy, he's our main suspect." Heri sounds grouchy to his own ears, but Megat's eyes are wide in awe and Heri wants that to himself.
No, he doesn't. Heri blinks, shaking his head a little.
"We'll go to his office." Heri frowns at that, glancing at Megat. Megat only shrugs and does a great job in looking innocent. "What? I want to know if the guy is as smart as he seems to be."
Heri is screwed up. Jealousy doesn't give him a good look.
2 minutes into meeting Zulham, Heri secretly hates him even more. Zulham really does look like him, but he's nothing like him.
The man has an air of superiority around him and an all-knowing look that makes Heri want to keep his gun under his grip. His hand itches with something unpleasant, but he revels in the look Zulham gives him when his eyes landed on Heri. Surprise and disbelief mingling into one before it turns into cold fury. Heri finds himself suppressing a shudder at that.
Megat looks unimpressed as they leave the office, frowning maring his forehead, and when they get into the car, he doesn't immediately buckle his seatbelt.
"Megat?" Heri doesn't have the mood to deal with melancholic Megat. "Buckle up, or we'll get a ticket."
Megat doesn't answer for a moment, but only glances sideways at Heri. His eyes are unreadable, and it unnerves Heri because he's been a cop for his whole life. He's good at reading people, but Megat is even better in concealing his thoughts.
"He isn't like you," Megat says eventually, voice quiet. He buckles his seatbelt with a huff, holding onto the handle above his head.
Heri snickers. "The way he talks is a turn-off, isn't it?" When Megat doesn’t answer, Heri only shrugs his shoulder.
The car drives along the highway, and Megat is silent all the way to the ICD headquarter. Heri doesn’t dare to break the silence, not when Megat’s gaze is blank and hounded by shadows. He’s heard of the man, his inconsolable grief of losing a daughter, and Heri swallows down the questions weighing down his tongue.
“We’re here.” The car skids to a stop, illuminated by the street lamp and Heri frowns when he realizes that the sky gradually becomes darker. “Hey,” he calls out to Megat, who is on his way rounding the car.
Megat only stares at him expectantly, head tilted. “It’s getting dark.” Heri finally manages, gesturing to their surroundings. “Want to grab some dinner before going back to work?”
The other man only shakes his head, only looking slightly apologetic. “Maybe next time.” He walks past Heri, shoulders brushing. “Take a break, Lieutenant. I’ll help Indah in digging more information.”
Long after Megat disappears into the building, Heri is still frozen on his feet, the spot where their shoulders brushed tingles.
“A lead!” Indah saunters into the room with a gigantic cup of coffee in her hand, Heri trailing behind her, face mussed up. “I found something!”
Curse the caffeine that makes her sound this cheerful at 8 in the morning. Heri spent his night thrashing in his bed, tangled between blankets and sheets, head filled with lightning before he woke up gasping. It was 3 AM in the morning and he hasn’t slept since then.
Her voice probably carries over to Commander Bayu’s room because not even a minute later, the man appears next to Heri, completely unbothered by his less than appealing look. “Nemu apa, Ndah?”
Indah brandishes a dossier like one would to a diamond, throwing it towards Heri who catches it before it slips from his fingers. Ghapharma. Heri frowns at that, eyes skimming over the text.
“What is it about?” A voice appears right behind Heri and he senses the other man’s presence before he actually shows up. Still, Heri winces, grimacing a little.
“Ghapharma—I’m going to put a bell on you.” Megat only laughs at the threat, reading from over Heri’s shoulder.
Indah slurps loudly, drowning the exasperated look on Commander Bayu's face with her grin. “There are several murders that happened in different parts of the port. Local police didn't alert us because they were Indonesians."
“Same M.O., only different victim profiles." Heri is 250% sure that their killer is deranged. "And guess what? Ghapharma. They were all murdered when the shipment for Ghapharma were unloaded."
Heri stares at Indah with a frown, fingers tapping rapidly against the dossier. "Is there another shipment for Ghapharma?"
Indah nods, making a 'flip it!' gesture with her free hand. "Tonight, Terminal 113. At, uh, 10 PM or so."
"I have an idea." Heri doesn't know whether it is a great idea or the opposite, but it's worth the shot. "They were murdered during the unloading, right? So—"
"—we go there tonight, prepare to ambush the killer," Megat finishes for him, a look of understanding dawning. Heri nods, heart singing, because they finally see from the same page.
Commander Bayu makes a noise that sounds like 'Oh my God, now there's two of them' but he relents under Heri's stern gaze. "Alright, do it. We don't know how many people are involved, so be careful."
Heri flashes him his most dazzling smile, coupled with wide, guileless eyes. "When am I ever not, Commander?" Hand on his heart, but he knows Commander Bayu doesn't trust him. He's seen Heri's report, knows the number of noses he's broken.
Heri could feel Megat's amused gaze burning on his nape, but he ignores him.
"Hey." Heri pauses to a stop and in a moment, Megat is on his elbows. "Once this is over… dinner?" Megat sounds unsure, fumbling on his words. Heri shouldn't find that endearing, but he does. "On me."
That was unexpected. Heri blinks, stare goes blank, and Megat shifts on his feet. "Sure," Heri says, as easy as punching people despite the rapid pitter-patter of his heart in his chest. "My place? Let's just order in."
Relief flickers in a second; Megat gives him a nod, no longer looks tense. "Sure," he agrees, and Heri smiles at him.
The wait in the car is terse. Heri himself knows that he's not more relaxed than Megat, who looks like he's ready to bolt if they sense some movements behind the containers. Their vests are snug against their chests, hands on the gun and ready to draw.
"It's almost 11 PM," Megat says, glancing at his wristwatch. "Where—"
Heri lifts a hand up, putting Megat to a halt. "Wait."
As if on cue, there are noises: hushed words, urgent and low, but they gradually grow louder. Heri's eyes widen in alarm. Nudging Megat on his arm, Heri makes gestures towards the noises, and Megat nods his head, quickly understanding the situation.
They creep quickly towards the scuffle, guns drawn and eyes sharp, and—
Megat grunts as he runs into Heri when he skids to a stop all of a sudden.
"Ya Allah," Heri murmurs, reverent and shell-shocked, at the scene unfurling in front of him.
"What the fu—oh."
The lightning imbued superhero turns out to be real, and not an unfounded rumor, spreading from ears to ears. They're real, standing tall—
—and trying to beat a teenage girl with their bare hands. Heri sways on his feet, unsure of how to react.
"Who the hell is that?" Megat hisses, knuckles white around the handle of his gun. His eyes are locked on the lightning that seems to surround the dark figure, mouth agape. "Why are you—let's get him! He might be our killer!"
"No, he's not," Heri says a tad too quickly.
"How could you be so sure?!"
"No, look at the girl. That pen doesn't look like a normal pen, right?"
From afar, the girl lets out a high, maniacal laughter, and swings her handbag like a weapon before charging forward.
"Fuck," Megat huffs, and that sounds like he agrees with Heri. "How can we get her?"
Heri mulls over his thoughts for a moment, before heaving out a sigh. "Surprise attack?"
To his surprise, Megat nods. "I'll go behind her. Don't get killed."
With that, they separate ways. Heri goes to circle his hero, and Megat makes his stealthy way towards the girl, brows drawn into a frown.
The sound of wooden crates breaking under the weight of a grown man startles Heri in his steps. He swivels around, just in time to catch the superhero groans, trying to lift himself up. Heri pauses in his way disabling their perps and quickly heads to the figure clad in black.
“Are you okay?” Heri catches himself, frowning to himself. “Kamu ngga papa?” He asks again, Indonesian flowing in exchange of his clipped English.
Definitely a grown up man in a costume. The man nods his head, bursts of heavy breath escaping the mask. “Temen kamu—”
Averting his gaze from his—the superhero, Heri turns his head to catch Megat nearly being mauled by the girl. The pen misses his neck by a mere centimeter and Heri is sure that the gleaming tip is not ink.
“Shit.” If Megat dies tonight, it's on him, but Heri is sure the man is tougher than he looks. Heri is having a hard time in fixing his aim; the girl makes fighting look like dancing and Megat, in comparison, appears to have abandoned his attempt to attack and dodges every swing the girl makes.
Before Heri could pull the trigger, the man next to him puts a hand over his, and Heri swears he can feel electricity slithering up his arm.
"Biar saya aja." His voice is low, quiet; not wanting to be known. He strides forward and takes a leap, higher than any human being could do.
It's almost anti climatic how the girl screams then crumples like a ragdoll. Heri blinks in confusion, but he catches Winghead (the helmet is equipped with something akin to wings, okay?) shakes his hands, blue sparks flying from the tip of his fingers.
Heri frowns at him, holstering his gun. "Kenapa ngga dari tadi?" From the corner of his eyes, he sees Megat running towards him, no visible injuries.
Winghead shrugs and even behind his mask, Heri could see that he's showing a sheepish grin. "Butuh waktu. Saya juga masih belajar mengontrol kekuatan saya."
Superheroes are real. Heri feels his head swims at the thought but he manages to stay upright.
"I've cuffed her." Next to him, Megat sighs, scrubbing a hand over his face. "Are you sure that's our suspect?"
When Winghead stays silent, Heri takes charge. He nods, clapping Megat on his shoulder. "If she's not our killer, we could still arrest her for attacking a civilian and obstructing justice. We'll get Forensics to examine her pen." A pen, for fuck's sake. How can someone kill people with a pen?
"Sebentar," Heri calls out, stopping Helmet Man in his tracks. "Kamu siapa?"
For a while, silence rings between them. Heri is ready to wring an answer from Helmet Man but the figure only tilts his head, probably hiding a smile behind his mask. "Cuma rakyat biasa."
Heri makes a step forward but a strong hand on his arm stops him abruptly. Next to him, Megat only shakes his head. They watch the Helmet Man disappears, engulfed by their dark surrounding, and Heri huffs, but doesn't dislodge the hand on his upper arm.
"Let's get her to our head quarter," Megat offers, already making his way to the unconscious girl. "Then we'll get dinner, I've promised you that, right?"
Heri brightens up a little at that. He speeds up to match Megat's long stride, eager but doesn't want to show his excitement. "Well, if you insist."
Everything is so anticlimactic. Heri huffs, sinking into his sofa. Next to him, Megat is a solid wall of muscle and he exudes warmth that Heri couldn't help but lean into him a little.
"You should've seen your face," Megat starts, waving a piece of fried chicken around.
Heri blinks, glancing sideways. "What?"
"When you talked to the guy in black. Stars in your eyes."
"What do you mean," Heri says dryly eventhough he knows exactly what Megat is saying.
"You know, in awe." The grin on Megat's face is insufferable.
Heri rolls his eyes, exasperated. "Well, he's a myth! A rumour! I wasn't even sure he exists."
"He's been keeping the streets clean, because we know we're not exactly reliable," he adds, fiddling with the cup in his palms. "Corruption is ingrained in the institution, I know you know, it's a miracle to find someone who stand up for others. A little embarrassing too, because I should be the one doing that."
Megat hums, taking his small rant with a nod. "We should do better."
"We really should." Heri is tired, bones weighing down on him. The last few days have been exhausting and he's already looking forward to rolling around in his bed.
"I should get going," Megat says after a moment of silence. "I have an early flight tomorrow and I don't want to miss it."
Heri waves a hand, getting to his feet. "Alright. Safe flight tomorrow, Officer."
It's weird how he's used to the other man's presence after only a few days. Megat has grown on him, he supposes.
"Looking forward to working with you soon, Lieutenant." Before Heri could open his mouth, Megat draws him into a hug.
A tight hug that knocks the air out of his lungs. Heri hugs back just as eagerly, barely managing to suppress a sigh at the warmth against his torso. "Yeah, look forward to meeting you again, Megat," Heri says, a little slurring, and pats the other man's back.
With a rueful smile, Megat shuts the door close, and Heri stands there, frozen for what he feels like hours. Yep, definitely looking forward to meeting Megat Jamil again, if tonight is any indication.