It was the night before her first day of her new job as assistant, and Lucy was having an awful time sleeping. Excitement flooded through her every nerve, and though she knew she'd be tired in the morning if she didn't get enough rest, she just couldn't get herself to shut down. The red light of her alarm clock told her that it was already past midnight, and she had to be up by six am.
She let out a huff, frustrated, and rolled over, turning her back to the blasted thing. Deliberately slowing her breath, she tried to focus on the air as it went in and out of her lungs, hoping that maybe she'd manage to lull herself to sleep that way. It didn't work.
She was almost ready to give up for the night and go read a book or something until it was time for her to go when the silence was broken by a low voice.
"Having trouble, are we?"
Lucy jumped, her eyes snapping open as she jerked herself upright. She caught sight of a figure standing in the corner, cast in the dull, crimson glow of her clock. Before she could say a word, before she could try to defend herself or attempt to run out of the room, something seemed to grab a hold of her arms. Pressure around her wrists and over her chest forced her down on her back, pinning her to the bed. The invisible grip was harsh and relentless, and all Lucy could do was cry out, unable to shake whatever it was that had a hold on her.
"Can't say I'm impressed." The man continued, moving closer. Surrounded in shadow, she couldn't make out his face, only the shape of his form as he approached to hover over her. "You don't look like you'd last a day."
"Who the bloody hell are you?!" She shouted, fear cracking her voice. "Let me go!"
He laughed at that, a harsh, careless chuckle, more amused than anything else. "I take that back. You won't last an hour."
"What are you going on ab-"
That same force that kept her pinned to the bed now wrapped around her mouth and jaw, forcing it closed and muffling the desperate sounds coming from her throat. His weight pressed down on the bed as he crawled onto it, moving to straddle her. His legs at her hips and his hands brought to either side of her head. Even this close she couldn't see his face, but she could feel the chill that seeped from his body into her through their clothes. His breath was cool against her lips as he spoke, the invisible barrier not appearing to block him as it restrained her. "You do have nice eyes though, I'll give you that. My favorite color. Do you know what else is red?"
Lucy whimpered, her breath catching in her throat as he raised a smooth, slender hand to cup her cheek. She shuddered at the contact, his skin like ice against her own. He brushed his thumb briefly over her cheek, before sliding his hand down, his fingers entangling in her hair. Grip tightening, he pulled her head back, exposing her throat. She couldn't move, could only squirm as he lowered his head to her, his lips pressed into the side of her neck. Her pulse raced as the tip of his tongue prodded at the vein underneath, soon replaced by the teasing edges of his teeth as he nipped.
"Did you guess blood? Because you'd be right. Red like blood. Lovely, don't you think? Take a deep breath."
Before she could process his words, he bit down. Her flesh gave under the sharp edge of teeth that felt like they were too long to be human, sinking down deep into her. She screamed, her body going ridged, her fingers digging into the blankets under her at the pain. Muscle clenched around the intrusion, the delicate nerve endings sending out unbearable shock waves at the damage.
He held her firm, his cold fingers still tight in her hair as her bindings pressed her into the bed. As she gasped for breath, her lungs empty from her cry, she could hear him swallow rhythmically in her ear. Drinking her. She tried to plead through the thing over her mouth, terrified and desperate words strangled until they were no more than squeals of agony.
Slowly, the pain started to ebb. Hardly noticeably at first, but more and more as the seconds ticked by. Her screams died off, her chest rising and falling, panting as she felt the numbness trickle from her neck to the rest of her body, pumped through her veins with every heartbeat, like she'd been injected by some sort of anesthetic. That, somehow, was worse than the pain. Her struggling started to grow weak, not just held down by the restraints anymore, but her own growing weakness.
She felt heavy. Far too heavy to move. And still, he drank. Deep, hungry gulps as she bled out into him. His grip on her hair loosened, his fingertips brushing over her scalp where he'd pulled as if to soothe the sting, but there was none. Lucy couldn't move her head to even try and pull away once he let go.
Small tremors of warmth spiked up and down her back, a tingling sensation in her limbs, over her skin. Soft warmth, a nice feeling. Her thoughts fogged over, the panic fading as it became harder and harder to think. The tremors eased, her breathing settled, and all she could hear was the muscles in the man's throat flex and contract.
Then the fangs pulled free from her flesh, his tongue lapped at the wound left behind. Heat leaked out from the wound in her neck only to be licked away before it could drip onto the pillow underneath.
By then, the restraints were gone. She fought to focus on him as the figure pulled back, hovering over her once again. Her breath was shallow, the pull of sleep tugging at her consciousness.
"Better get some rest," she heard him say as her eyes drifted closed. "I still expect your best in the morning."
Lucy awoke to the sound of her alarm, feeling sluggish and tired. Her thoughts turned to her her memory of the night before, and with a rush of adrenaline, she reached for her neck. The skin was soft and smooth, though tender to the touch. Dragging herself out of bed, she went to inspect herself in the bathroom mirror.
Her skin was pale, her eyes wide, bloodshot with fatigue. On the side of her neck, over the vein, she could see a bruise left behind.
Even after a large breakfast and several cups of coffee, Lucy was having trouble keeping her energy up. She still felt tired, though she reasoned that she'd simply not slept well. It wasn't unreasonable for her to be sluggish after just a few hours of rest. After calming down from her early morning scare, she'd taken a few minutes to calm herself, wash her face, and think about the events of the prier night. The most reasonable explanation was that it'd been a rather vivid nightmare. There were no signs of an open wound on her neck. It was bruised, sure, but she could remember those teeth digging into her. Something like that was sure to leave more than a bruise behind, right?
It wasn't an unreasonable idea. Maybe she'd slept with her head tilted to the wrong angle, or she'd managed to knock against something hard enough to hurt herself without realizing it. The pain from the bruise could have manifested itself into her dreams, thus the nightmare.
Still...she felt uneasy. Despite her attempts to reassure herself that it couldn't have been real, she kept glancing over her shoulder. Tense and jumpy even in her own home. Dream or no, it had her spooked, and she hoped that the excitement of her first day on the job would distract her to the point she forgot about it.
The drive was short, less than fifteen minutes between her house and the Mystery Room. It was a warm day, but she came in wearing one of her sweaters. It was a thick one, with a turtleneck. In part, she used it to hide away the bruise, but really it was the fact that the soft cloth and the long sleeves made her feel better. Protected, almost, like hiding under the blanket at night. She'd made sure to take along an extra shirt so she could change once she got too warm, but for the moment, nothing could have made her change out of her sweater.
Lucy put her best smile on as she knocked on the door, eager to meet the detective she'd been assigned to. It took a few nervous moments, but soon enough it opened, and there he was.
Alfendi Layton. He was a tall man, a bit on the thin side, with a dark mess of hair atop his head. Unlike her, he seemed to have dressed almost casually. A white coat worn over a blue and purple stripped shirt, the pockets stuffed with so many newspapers she couldn't imagine they'd all been printed that same day. Soft honey brown eyes looked down at her, his shoulders relaxed, an easy, if somewhat lazy smile of his own crossing his features. An aura of calm seemed to pool into the air around him.
"Ah, you must be Miss Baker," he said, and she felt a chill run down her back, her breath catching in her chest.
She knew that voice. That was the voice of the man she'd seen the night before. She was sure of it.
His head tilted to one side, his body soon following after, until his shoulder found the door frame to lean against. The man kept his hands in his pockets, his expression unchanging, serine, as he looked down at her. "You seem stunned. I'm not mistaken, am I? Are you not Miss Baker?"
"I-I...I am. And you're Inspector Layton, right?"
"Yes. Although you don't necessarily need to stick so close to formalities, as with any luck, we'll be working together for quite a while."
"Ah...okay then. You don't...you don't have to either." Warmth crept up into her cheeks as she stumbled over her words. She paused to take a breath, to try and steady herself. It was just a dream. It couldn't be anything else. This was going to be a good career for her and she wasn't going to let her nerves ruin it for her. "You can call me Lucy if you want."
A small, gentle laugh bubbled up from his throat, and she relaxed a bit. He stood up straight and stepped back, propping the door open so she could get past him. "Come in then, Lucy. Best we get started right away."
The shades were pulled down over every window, but there was plenty of light. The florescent bulbs shone down from above, and in once corner, there sat a rather large and complicated looking machine. "This," he said, walking toward it. "Is going to be the focal point of our work space. It's called the Crime Scene Reconstruction Device. Can you tell me what it might do?"
"Crime Scene Reconstruction? Well... I assume it reconstructs crimes scenes. Right?"
"Correct. That's exactly what it does. It's something I invented myself to make investigation easier. With this machine, we don't need to go to the field to do our work. Come, let me show you how to use it."
In an effort to lighten the air and, hopefully, ease some of her own tension, she commented, "You're acting just like a Professor, you know. Since you're showing me the ropes and all, maybe I'll just call you Prof."
"..." He raised a hand to rub at the back of his head. "Well...I'm not sure if that's completely appropriate. My father's an actual professor, and I'm not so sure he'd approve."
"You did say we shouldn't stick so close to formalities, right, Prof?"
His hand lowered, and he fixed her with his gaze. She let out a small, nervous laugh, and he shook his head at her. "Well, I suppose I did say that. Fine. But I'm quizzing you after this, so you'd best pay attention."
"You've got it." Eager to learn what he had to teach her, she stood beside him over the machine.
It didn't take long for her to get the basics down. The Crime Scene Reconstruction Device did most of the work for them. Information from the actual scene was uploaded by the police in charge, leaving the inspector and his new assistant to look it over at their leisure. He showed her how to shift from one viewpoint to another, how to focus on specific pieces of evidence, and how to bring the case files up when needed.
He made good on his promise to quiz her, to the point where he uploaded a previous case for her to look over and solve under his supervision. She could feel his gaze on her as he hovered over her shoulder, watching her work and more than ready to step in when she faltered. As this was her first case, she unfortunately, made quite a few mistakes, but he was a patient and gentle teacher. The more time she spent with him the more she could convince herself that he had nothing to do with the dream she'd had. After all, he never once so much as raised his voice to her when she got things wrong, the complete opposite of the rough and growly tone she'd heard before.
When she found the true culprit of the case, he brought out another, harder one for her to puzzle out. And another after that. Because no new cases came up that day, they were free to review old ones well into the night. She was exhausted by the time they were done, but she managed to make it through.
He wanted to get some things done before he headed out, but she was free to go at the end of the day.
"You did a splendid job today, Lucy," he told her as they stood at the door. "I look forward to working with you."
"Same here, Prof!"
Just as she'd gotten to the point where she could forget what had happened, he reached out his hand to shake her own, and she'd accepted. His skin was like ice under her own. Before she could cover it up, she bristled, growing tense at the sensation. Surely he'd noticed...but if he did, he didn't say anything. He just gave her that smile of his and headed back inside, leaving her to drive home, followed with that creeping feeling of unease.
In the middle of her second day on the job, just when it started to seem that Lucy was doomed to go over an endless list of cases already solved, they got a new one. It was more than a relief to see the client walk through the door, and she couldn't wait to get started. The man gave her an odd look, no doubt questioning her reasons for wearing a sweater on a warm day, but she paid him no mind save to redirect his attention to what had brought him there in the first place.
Alfendi stood close by, off to the side and a couple paces behind her. As she spoke to their client, she could practically feel his gaze burning into the back of her head. Testing her people skills no doubt, though she felt a wary tremor run down her spine nevertheless. The bruise still had her spooked, not to mention the familiar sound of his voice and the cool of his skin. Try as she might to tell herself it'd just been a dream, she couldn't shake the lingering doubt.
After the man left, Alfendi printed out the case files and offered them to her, a smile pulling at the corners of his lips.
"So. Who do you think committed the crime, Lucy?"
"Eh...well, I think his wife is the most suspicious out of the lot."
"Hm." He touched his hand to his chin in thought. "And why do you think that?"
"She was the only one in the apartment the entire night. Not to mention she has motive. The others had the opportunity, sure, but why would any of them kill him? She's the only one that makes sense."
"I agree. She's the most likely suspect. Come, let's go over the Reconstruction Device."
This wasn't very different from the cases they'd been reviewing before. In fact, from the moment the Prof looked at the scene, it seemed like he had the entire thing worked out. He let her bounce ideas off of him, told her when she was right and corrected her when she was wrong. When she found herself stuck, he dropped little hints here and there. This man was a genius, and she couldn't help but wonder why he'd needed an assistant in the first place.
Maybe teaching her how to investigate was, in itself, the point of hiring her. Not her, specifically, but what if that was just what he did? Hired people and trained them then sent them off once they were a good enough detective on their own. In this case, Prof was a fitting nickname.
Within the hour, they had enough evidence, and so called the woman in for questioning.
She'd never questioned anyone before. Lucy was confident that she was the killer, but there was an edge of nervousness in her stance never the less. A pressure rested itself against her shoulder, soon followed by the chill that seeped through the sweater down to the skin. His hand rest gently on her, though if anything it only made her tense up. As if in response, he squeezed, rubbing his fingers over the muscle in a soothing manor.
Like with the investigation, he had her lead, stepping in as support when needed.
The suspect winced at once of her arguments, and Lucy felt a surge of confidence. No matter how the woman tried to squirm her way out of this, Lucy had her cornered, and finally, with one last piece of evidence, she pinned her.
The woman slumped, defeated, and admitted to everything. Alfendi took his hand away to focus on the task of reporting her. Lucy rubbed restlessly at the cold area, teeth biting down on her inner cheek. Within fifteen minutes, the cops arrived to take her down to the station.
When they were alone, the Prof turned to her. "You did well."
"Did I? Thanks, Prof!" She grinned up at him, forcing herself to meet his eyes. His gaze was warmth and shimmering gold, his body relaxed as he leaned back against the wall. She took a small step closer, her arms folding behind her back to feel more open. "Not bad for my first case, eh?"
"Not at all."
"So uh...I suppose it's time to go back to reviewing old cases again, isn't it."
"No. Now is the time for filling out the paperwork."
"Oh. How long does that take?"
"At least an hour."
"...I think I preferred the solved cases, Prof."
He laughed at that. "Now now, Lucy. The sooner we get it done the sooner we can go back to training."
She decided quickly that paperwork was by far the worst part of the job. It involved a lot of reading, a lot of signing things, a lot of editing the information available to make sure it was as accurate as possible. Would they have to do this every time they helped out a client?
Once that mess was taken care of, they went back to reviewing things.
Night came, and with it the weight of the days work, her eyes heavy with exhaustion. Lucy yawned and rubbed at her eyes, thinking fond thoughts of her bed at home. Alfendi noticed. "Getting tired?"
"N-no. No, I'm good, Prof." She perked up and squared her shoulders, refocusing her attention on the Reconstruction Device. It didn't fool him.
"It's almost time for you to head home. Why don't we call it a night?"
"Let me solve this last one first."
"Alright. But don't overwork yourself. These records will still be here in the morning."
"I know, it's just..."
"You have to know who did it, don't you?"
She nodded without looking up.
He didn't question her further. Within ten minutes, she named the murderer, and was proud of herself when he told her she was right.
"Alright now," he said. "No more cases. Time to go home and rest, Lucy."
He walked her to the door, but he made no move to follow her out. She hesitated. "What about you? You need your rest, too."
"I assure you, I am, I just need to get some things done first. I'll see you in the morning. Sleep well."
"You too, Prof."
The drive was quiet. She took a hot shower and brushed her teeth, before crawling into her bed, not bothering to wait until her hair was dry. Within moments, she was asleep.
When she awoke, the world around her was still dark. She blinked her eyes open, dazed, not understanding what had roused her. Her arm moved, not of her will, but because something was pulling it down to rest at her side. She was on her back again, her body pinned by invisible shackles.
With a jolt, she was awake instantly, struggling against her bindings as her heart thudded in her chest. Teeth clamped hard on her inner cheek, the flare of pain telling her that this was real, this was happening.
Movement caught her attention as the figure pulled himself onto the bed to straddle her, the cold draining away her heat.
"Your pretty little bruise is starting to fade. Can't have that, can we?"
There was no more denying it. That was his voice. That was Alfendi. "Prof! What are you doing?"
The laugh was low, quiet but harsh. Fingers touched the outer edge of the bruise, and she cringed, unable to pull away. "Nothing I haven't didn't do last time. You can relax."
"Get off me!"
His hand wrapped around her neck and squeezed, squeezed until she couldn't breathe past the pressure. Lucy writhed under him, but the restraints held just as firm as ever.
"If you don't stop screaming at me I'm going to rip your throat out. Is that what you want? Do you want to drown in your life's fluid? Don't scream at me."
For several seconds, he held her, let her struggle and fight to breathe. He let her heart pound against his palm and he let her lungs start to burn. Then he eased up, pulled his hand away, the silence that had filled the air broken by the sound of her heavily gulping down air.
"There now," he said. "If that so hard? To be quiet?"
"Keep that up and I'll gag you again."
"Why are you doing this? I-I thought we were f-mmm!""
Invisible pressure at her mouth cut off her words, leaving her only able to whine her protest. "Pity," he mumbled. "You're smart, I'll give you that, but you can't handle instruction to save your own life."
Like before, he pressed his body into hers, his mouth finding the soft flesh at the side of her neck, the kiss cold, but light, the delicate scrape of teeth over skin the exact opposite of painful. But she knew what was coming, and despite whatever he was trying to accomplish, it only made her tense further. He balanced his weight with one arm as the other brushed over her side, over the clothes, tracing her rib cage down to her hip.
Careful. Coaxing. She whimpered, and felt a sigh breath out against her.
The pain was sudden and sharp, and all the worse for how wound up she was. She shrieked, the sound muffled, instinctively bucking against him to try and knock him off.
The venom entered her system as he drank, easing the agony until she couldn't feel the wound torn into her by his fangs. Little, pleasurable tingles ran up and down her spine, her mind fogging over until it was hard to think. The man pulled away, the force holding her down vanishing once they were no longer needed.
Her lips parted as she looked up at him, a tiny noise in the back of her throat, trying to speak, though she wasn't sure what it was she wanted to say.
His mouth pressed against her own, a chaste kiss that left traces of copper behind, the liquid tickling her even after he was gone.
The door closed behind him. She was alone when sleep took her.
The bruise, half healed, was worse in the morning. Perhaps even then, she could have found a way to dismiss what happened as a dream, ignored her own insistence that it was real. She could have told herself that it was too impossible to have actually happened and try to ignore the renewed tension between her and Alfendi for another day. The blood on her mouth made that impossible. Dry flecks clung to the crevices in her lips, proof of what happened that couldn't be explained away.
She was supposed to come in to work within the hour. Fear crept down her back at the thought, her heart pounding in her head. For a moment, she considered calling in, fleeing from both him and the job to safety. But what was safety? If he could ghost into her room then leave without a trace, then running away wouldn't do her any good.
The more she thought about it, the more she felt her teeth clench, the more her shoulders tensed and knotted up. What was he doing, playing Mr. Spooky and then introducing himself all calm like it didn't happen?
She missed breakfast, too agitated to eat and in her rush to confront him, she made it to work with twenty minutes to spare. The world spun around her when she got out of the car, the light of the sun too bright and her feet unsteady under her weight. With a huff, she slammed the door and made her way inside, ignoring the faint nausea.
He was there, looking over the Reconstruction Device.
"Lucy, you're early."
She closed the door behind her, finding some relief in the dim glow of the office. "I know it was you."
"Pardon me?" He looked up at that, straightening to face her properly.
"You think I can't recognize your voice? You think I can't recognize those hands of yours? I know it was you!"
His expression didn't change. He kept that soft smile up even as he leaned back into the device, casual. "I didn't realize I was giving off the impression that it was meant to be secret."
"What are you playing at?"
He shrugged. "I was thirsty. Do you want to sit down? You don't look well."
"Why are you acting like nothing happened?"
"I'm not. I freely admit to what I did. I bit you. Twice. Lucy, I think you should sit down."
She stepped forward, closing the distance between them as she crossed the room. "Are you messing with me?"
"Messing with you?"
"Acting all nice during the day and then threatening me at night! You won't let me talk, you won't let me move, you, you..!" Her head spun, and she stopped in her tracks, just within arms reach, fighting to catch her breath. She couldn't yell without finding herself winded because of what he did. How much blood did he take?
Alfendi watched her, head tilted slightly to one side, eyes gleaming like a cat. "I am rather frightening, aren't I?" A soft laugh left him. Nothing aggressive, he sounded more amused than anything else. "The threat was just that. A threat. I had no intention of carrying it out."
He shrugged again. She took another step toward him, about to snap a demand that he answer her question. If he was going to toy with her then she at least wanted to know why.
Only the sudden movement of legs that were already shaky caused her to misstep, and she tripped, his arms quickly encircling her before she could hit the ground. She shivered in his icy hold as she struggled to right to herself, but she didn't get the chance. An arm curled about her upper legs as the other settled by her shoulders, and with little effort, he picked her up. The motion made her dizzy, making her instinctively curl into him. He say down in a nearby chair an adjusted her until she was in a comfortable position.
He just held her. Cradled her to his chest, a hand absently brushing through her hair.
It was calm. Gentle.
But when she tried to push herself away from him, she found that it was also firm and unyielding. She couldn't budge him an inch.
"If you stand up, you're just going to hurt yourself."
She glared daggers up at him. "Why don't you bring out those...those invisible things, then? You didn't have a problem using them last night."
He squeezed her lightly, tucked her in close and nuzzled his face into the top of her head. His breath was cool against her scalp. He was so cold. She shuddered. It was like he was made of snow or something.
Before she could think of anything else to say, he continued. "I wasn't last night. I was upset. You were yelling."
"You tied me down. You bit me."
"I was thirsty."
"That's not an excuse!"
"If I didn't bite you, I'd have starved."
"You could have asked instead of scaring me half to death! You said you were going to rip my throat out. You scared me, Prof."
"I know. I wanted to."
"It made me feel better."
"Hmm." His hand stopped moving, fingers coming to a rest at the back of her neck, at the base of her skull. "You're not wrong. I apologize. You don't have to forgive me. You are, of course, free to resign, if you so choose. I'd rather you didn't, you do fantastic investigating work, but I understand. I'll leave you alone if you leave. I'll look for someone else."
"Will you go after them, too?"
The silence hung between the two of them for a long moment.
"You're not getting any work done today. I'll do the investigating alone so you can rest. The couch isn't the most comfortable, but it's better than this chair. You should eat something, too. Something high in iron. I'll go by the store." He stood, and carried her over to the indicated couch to set her down.
"I want to work. I spent years studying for this, I'm not dropping it because you're a jerk."
He stood. His shoulders relaxed, his hands stuffed in his pockets. "Yes?"
"I want ice cream. Chocolate. Along with whatever else you're getting."
His smile widened, a low, pleasant chuckle. "Of course."
"I don't forgive you."
"You don't have to."
"I'm investigating later."
"Only if you're feeling up to it. Get some sleep for now. I'll be back."
Lucy's gaze followed him all the way out of the room.
There was no blanket to pull over herself, but she had her sweater at least. She pulled her arms in close to her chest and curled up, trying to warm herself. Despite Alfendi's claims otherwise, the couch felt rather comfortable. Or was she just that tired? A frustrated huff left her. This wasn't what she signed up for when she applied for the job. She didn't want to quit, and she didn't want him to go biting other unwary people like he had her.
She wasn't going to quit.
But she wasn't happy about this situation, either.
Lucy hadn't realized how hungry she was until the food was in front of her. While the Prof went back to his Reconstruction Device, she worked her way through most of the groceries he'd brought. Several microwavable meats, juice, fruit, carrots...and chocolate ice cream. It was half melted by the time she got to it, but she didn't care. As she ate, she glared daggers into the man's back.
Her nap had been short, but along with the food, it helped. When she'd finished, she tossed her trash into the bin, and moved up to stand next to him. The silence was heavy as they both studied the scene.
He was the one to break it.
"Can you tell me what killed this man?"
Spoken casually. Quizzing her.
She reached for the controls and zoomed in on several pieces of evidence in turn.
"Looks like he was strangled, Prof."
"It does indeed. What would be the murder weapon, in that case?"
"There's traces of blood on the inside of the piano. Could the killer have used one of the wires?"
"They most definitely did. If the force of strangulation was enough to cut into the victim...what, then, Lucy, do you think would happen to the killer's hands, if they were bare?"
"...ah. Then the blood in the piano wouldn't just belong to the victim."
"Exactly. I think we need to send the wires into forensics and have them tested. If there's another person's blood present, then we'll have our killer."
He didn't ask her to go do it, as he usually did. No, he went to the phone himself, to call it in. Left with the device, she absently went over the evidence available.
"What did you find out?" She asked when he came back.
"As expected, there are two different matches. The victim's, and one of the witnesses. The one who reported the murder, actually."
"Are we going to call them in?"
"No. I'll go talk to him myself. I think you should stay here for now. I can bring out a case for you to do while I'm gone if you're bored, but I'd rather you lay back down."
She folded her arms. "I'd rather interrogate the witness with you."
"I don't think you're up to that right at the moment, Lucy."
"I'm here to learn how to be a proper detective."
"Yes. But this is also your third day on the job. You don't need to learn everything all at once, especially if you aren't feeling well."
"..." Did she really feel up to it? She didn't even know much about the case itself. "Fine."
His smile widened. She frowned.
The case was uploaded into the Reconstruction Device, the files all laid out for her inspection.
"There we go. Is there anything you'd like me to get you while I'm out?"
"No. Thanks. You already fed me."
"I did, but if you're still hungry, you should eat."
He hummed quietly, a small noise in the back of his throat. She could see the urge to argue with her was there, but he let it go. With a simple, "Alright then, see you when I get back," he was gone, and she was alone.
Lucy ignored the couch and its temptations of rest, and went over the scene he'd given her. It wasn't any different from the other cases she'd been asked to look at. Though, for the first time, she didn't have him to bounce her ideas off of. It was harder in that regard, she couldn't confirm the little details with him before moving on, and as such found herself arriving at the wrong conclusion more than once.
By the end of the hour, though, she was sure she'd gotten things figured out.
With nothing else to do, she went ahead and lay down, an arm draped over her eyes to block out the light. She wasn't intending to sleep, merely rest. He could be back at any minute.
He could end up biting her again.
She touched the bruise on her neck through the cloth of her sweater, wincing as the sensitive area protested at the pressure. Lucy had no doubt in her mind that he would bite her again. Although she didn't think he'd do so this soon. He'd waited a couple of days to let her recover. She didn't think he intended to kill her, considering the fact that she was very much still alive.
No, instead, he wanted to play with the idea.
It made him feel better to scare her. The bastard.
She had half a mind to smack him. Not that she'd be able to hit very hard like this, but still. It's the thought that counted.
Whatever. She could play this game of his. Whatever he was.
...whatever he was.
He wasn't human. That much she knew. The realization settled in on her like a weight. He was something different. Something supernatural.
The word felt strange to use when applying to someone in reality, but what else could he be? He had fangs, he drank blood. He had weird powers.
The Prof was a vampire. Next thing they'll be telling her that werewolves and faeries were real.
Seconds ticked by in the background, the soft tapping of the clock an easy rhythm that started to lull her to sleep. Before she could completely doze off, though, the door opened. She started at the sound, then sat up to face him. "You were gone for long enough. What took you so-"
It wasn't Alfendi.
It was a man. Taller than the Prof, more muscular, his shoulders squared and his eyes hardened in a way that suggested that he hardly ever relaxed. His dark brown hair was pulled back in a pony tail, his beard brushed and trimmed and well taken care of.
He regarded her for a moment, and when he spoke, his voice was deep. "Who are you?"
"...oh..." She pulled herself to her feet, her hands resting on her hips. If he thought he was going to intimidate her, he was mistaken. "I'm Lucy Baker. The Prof's assistant. Who are you?"
He folded his arms over his chest. "I see. I didn't know he had a new assistant. I'm Justin. Justin Lawson. I work with Inspector Layton on a regular basis. Where is he?"
"...he's out. Any idea where I can find him?"
"He's working on a case. I don't know where."
"Right. I'll come back later then. Enjoy your nap, Miss Baker."
She bristled. "I will, sir."
And just like that, he was gone. She made a note to let him know Justin was looking for him.
It was the first thing she told him when he walked through the door not fifteen minutes later. He blinked, his mouth pressed into a thin line, that smile of his fading slightly. A moment later, and it was back. He reported that the interrogation was a success, though it'd taken a bit longer than he'd anticipated.
When another client came in, they worked on the case together.
Justin never came back.