Friends in High Places

BY : Eryn_Ivers
Category: Fantasy & Science Fiction > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1582
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to person(s) living or dead is purely coincidental.

A/N: Hello friends!  Here is the first chapter of my new work in progress.  It was meant to come out earlier, but I wanted to set myself a regular updating schedule and knew that I wouldn’t have been able to keep to it these past couple weeks. 

This should be a slow, plot-y, burn but I am a firm believe in resolving sexual tension, so don’t you worry!

I will be updating every other week on Mondays (so next chapter will not come out next Monday, but the Monday after that). 

I hope you enjoy the story!

Friends in High Places

Eryn Ivers


Chapter 1

Friends With the Good Guys


Officer Hollar had his hand over his mouth and leaned heavily against the wet brick wall.  The rain drizzled down on them, and ran in rivulets down Hollar’s cheeks as he composed himself.  Hidashi Sato watched him with a frown, Akia sitting at his side, ears turned down against the rain, looking at him with her head tilted.

“Sorry, Sato,” Hollar said as he straightened himself.  He grimaced.  “This is a pretty nasty one.”

“Death usually is,” Hidashi said.  “Why don’t you take a break.”  He clasped his shoulder as he walked past, Akia padding at his side and approached the bright yellow crime scene tape that cordoned off the end of the dead end alley.

The few other officers that had answered the call were heading back to their cars and Hidashi ducked under the tape to stand beside the body and Dr. Matsumoto who knelt there.  He swept his eyes over the spectacle and wrinkled his nose.

“Someone was angry,” he said.

“Or just cruel,” Dr. Matsumoto replied.  She shoved a thermometer into one of the organs that still remained in the chest cavity.  “He was alive when this was done to him.”

The young man on the pavement between them gaped up at the grey sky, eyes and mouth wide open.  He was eviscerated.  A long clean gash slit him open from the base of his shriveled penis to the V of his collarbone.  The gash had been widened, his ribs broken and pulled outward and his insides pulled half out. 

Meters of intestines curled in and out of the gaping hole, and feces filled the bottom of the body cavity where the colon had been cut.  His lungs sat haphazardly side ways in his chest.  He was nude, not a stitch of clothing on him.

“Was anything taken?” Sato asked.

“Yeah, his liver,” Dr. Matsumoto replied.  “It’ll be hard to get an exact time of death without it.”  She waved along the body.  “And with him out in the air like this temperature of anything will tell us little at best.”

Hidashi grimaced and nodded.

“But I can tell you that he definitely died last night,” the doctor continued.  She pulled her gloves up a little and poked around in the body cavity again.  Hidashi forced himself not to look away.  “And all this took time, and privacy, and was clearly not done here.  So this was an all night affair.”

“So the killer would have spent the whole night with our vic’ then,” Hidashi said.  “That’s good for now.  Do we know who he is yet?”

Dr. Matsumoto nodded towards a junior detective that sat in his car not far from where they stood, looking at his in-car-computer and scribbling furiously on a little notebook. 

“Detective Tan was working on that, I think,” she said.  “I’m going to get this guy back to my office.  I’ll call you when I finish my autopsy.”

“Thanks.”  He nodded to the doctor and then turned and patted his thigh for Akia to follow.  “Detective Tan, what have you found out?”

Tan jumped at the interruption, then swallowed nervously when his eyes fell on Akia.  He pulled his eyes back away from the big sable dog and then riveted them to Hidashi.  He straightened immediately and scrambled out of the car and onto his feet.

“Detective Sato,” he said.  He stuck out his hand.  “Detective Brian Tan.  I’ve been assigned to work under you for this case.  I’m looking forward to learning from you, sir.”

Hidashi took his hand and shook it firmly.

“Hidashi Sato,” he said.  “And this is Akia.”  The younger man glanced down at Akia again, and her pointed ears flicked as she regarded him.  His jaw tightened slightly.

“N-nice to meet you,” he said.  Still looking at Akia, he continued, “We, uh, never had a dog growing up.  I don’t have much experience.”

“Well, try not to look so scared,” Hidashi said.  “She can smell it on you.”  The boy’s eyes widened slightly and his face lost some color.

“Right!”  He whirled around and turned the screen of his computer towards them.  Hidashi hid a smile.  “So this is our vic’.”  He tapped a picture on the screen.  Hidashi leaned in for a better look.  It was a professional looking head shot.  The young man sat smiling at the camera, dressed in an expensive looking suit with an expensive looking tie.

“Hans Metzger,” Tan said.

“Metzger?”  Hidashi repeated, tasting the name on his tongue.  It sounded familiar.

“Yeah, the old real estate tycoon family.”

“Right.”  Hidashi nodded as the name clicked into place.  “They used to own half the city.”

“Used to,” Tan agreed.  He swiped to a couple of web pages from newspapers with head lines declaring the Metzger family’s tumble from grace.  “They’ve been losing billions since the Fair Treatment and Equal Humans Act ten years ago.  Their support of magic-user’s rights was unpopular with the old conservative types.  But they had billions to spare.”  He swiped to the home page of the Metzger Family Association, the original source of the photo they had been looking at moments ago. 

“So who did he piss off in his scramble back to the top to end up like this,” Hidashi mused.

“He was dealing with huge amounts of money.” Tan shrugged.  “The kind of money that could make and break other men.  Maybe it was just business.”

“It could very well be business related, but—” Hidashi shook his head “—You don’t eviscerate someone alive just to turn a profit.  You do that for more passionate reasons.”

Tan frowned in understanding and stared back at the screen of his computer, as though the pixels held the answer.  Hidashi straightened up.

“We’re not going to solve this murder right now in the front seat of your car,” he said.  “Meet me back at the precinct.

“Oh, right.”  Detective Tan pushed his computer away and got back in his car.  “Meet you there.”

Hidashi closed the car door behind Akia as she jumped down, and walked to the elevator to ride it up to the precinct’s main level.  He absently scratched behind her soft ears as they rode it up.

“Sato!”  Two steps out of the elevator, Hidashi turned to see Organized Crime Detective Mubari striding towards him with a folder in his hand.  “I was hoping to catch you before I had to head out.  I have something that might be related to your new case.”

“From Organized Crime?”  Hidashi asked, leading the way to his desk.  Detective Mubari snorted.

“If the Metzger family owned half the city, the Eisenmann Family owned the other half, if not more.”

“You think the Metzger family and the Eisenmann Crime Family had connections?”  Hidashi asked, sitting at his desk as Mubari sat across from him.

“Oh I know they did,” Mubari said, waving a big hand dismissively.  “Two powerhouses like the Metzgers and the Eisenmanns don’t just pretend the other doesn’t exist.  But that’s not what I’m here for, that kind of connection is a given.”

“I guess it’s been awhile since I’ve dealt at all with Organized Crime,” Hidashi admitted, leaning forward as Mubari placed his folder on the desk.

“Sorry I’m late!”  Detective Tan appeared suddenly, pulling a seat over to them.  “Got caught in traffic.”

“Avoid the 2nd Avenue route this time of the morning,” Hidashi said with a half smile.  “The public school rush is terrible.”

“I’ll remember that,” Tan grimaced.

“Detective Mubari, this is Junior Detective Tan, assigned to work with me on this case,” Hidashi introduced.  “Detective Tan, this is Detective Mubari from Organized Crime.”

“Pleased to meet you,” Mubari said, shaking the younger man’s hand.  “I was just about to show Detective Sato this file on the Eisenmann family hit man: Max Gut.”

“One of their hit men?”

“Yup, an aptly named one, too,” Mubari replied.  “Now, these are pretty gruesome, but probably no worse than what you saw this morning.”

Mubari flipped open the file and spread the vivid photos out over Hidashi’s neat desk.  Hidashi grimaced as he picked one up to look at it more closely.  It was of a man, dead on the pavement, eviscerated and with his intestines half in and half out of his body.  Hidashi put it back down and glanced over the others.  They were all similar.

“Gut is an apt name,” he murmured in a wry tone.  “These are all horizontal cuts though.  Our vic’ had a vertical one.”

“True,” Mubari said.  He gathered some pictures to the center.  “But as you can see here, he seemed to be experimenting a little.  Some of these cuts are more diagonal than horizontal.”

“It’s not impossible that he should try a new style,” Tan said, to his credit not flinching from the photos as most rookies would.  “Even work as a hit man’s gotta get monotonous sometimes.”

“True,” Hidashi said slowly.  His own gut, firmly within his body cavity, told him that this Gut was not their man, but he couldn’t not pursue a lead to its end.  “I assume you’ve never been able to pin anything on this guy?”

“Of course not,” Mubari said bitterly.  “Such is the life of Organized Crime.  You almost always know who did it.  You can almost never prove it.”

“You know where to find him?” Hidashi asked.

“Nah, the Eisenmann bosses always play their hit men close to the chest.  Gotta talk to the boss himself if you wanna ask about their assassins.” 

Hidashi raised an eyebrow.

“You want me to confront a mob boss? As a cop?”

“Well, not confront exactly,” Mubari said.  “Have a polite conversation with.  They appreciate the honesty and they’ll be just as honest with you about whether or not they’re going to cooperate.”

Hidashi’s frown deepened.

“This is not usually how my police work is done.”

“Welcome to Organized Crime,” Mubari chuckled.  “Just show your badge, ask for an audience, and be respectful.  You’ll be surprised how painless it is.”

“Yes…bullets through the back of your skull do tend to be quick and painless…”  Tan muttered.  A chuckle bubbled out of Hidashi’s throat.

“He’s not going to kill you,” Mubari snorted.  Then in all seriousness.  “Not this first meeting at least.”

“Do you know the boss,” Hidashi asked.

“Not this one, no,” Mubari admitted.  “He was a young star, rising through the ranks fast.  Must have developed some serious pull ‘cause word on the street is that the old man stepped down willingly.”

“Maybe he just thought it was time to pass the torch,” Hidashi suggested, leaning back in his chair.  He’d seen enough of the pictures.  “Saw a good successor, didn’t want to let this one pass him up.”

“Possibly,” Mubari shrugged.  “Still, I think these groups might define ‘willingly’ a little differently than you and I.”

“Right.  Well, where do you find the Eisenmann boss?’

“The Gentleman’s Gambit,” Mubari replied.  “It’s their main front, a card joint in the upper district.  I’ll send you the address.”

“I’ll head over then.”  Hidashi stood up and Akia lifted her head from her bed beside his desk.  “May I take this file?”

“Of course,” Mubari waved his hand.  “Good luck.”

Hidashi felt the state of his car keenly as he drove it down the sleek roads of the upper district.  He was quite fond of his car, in a practical sort of way.  It had always served him well.  But he was still thankful for the Police Department logo emblazoned on its side and the now off siren on its roof that drew attention away from its dings and dents.

They pulled into the neat and ornate circular driveway of the Gentleman’s Gambit, and Hidashi paused the car at the curb.  He got out and let Akia out of the back seat, then tossed Tan the keys as he got out of the passenger’s side.

“Park the car and wait for me in it,” Hidashi ordered.

“What?” Tan spluttered.  “No, I’m coming with you.”

“No, find street parking and wait for me,” Hidashi reiterated.

“But they’re probably armed in there and outnumber you,” Tan said.

“They’re definitely armed,” Hidashi replied.  “And they outnumber both of us.  One additional gun isn’t going to do any good.”

Tan frowned, not arguing there.

“I have Akia,” Hidashi said, patting her head.  She wagged her tail.  “Wait for me out here.  If I’m not out in two hours, call for backup.”

Tan sighed and got into the driver’s side of the car.

“Alright,” he agreed.  “Be safe, sir.”

“I’ll do my best,” Hidashi patronized, feeling slightly touched by the younger man’s concern though.  Turning away from the car, Hidashi tightened his fingers on the file he carried and entered the classy glass doors into the card casino.

He stepped onto the plush carpet of the foyer, where a reception desk stood at one end, and that opened into a large room filled with card tables.  At this time of day only a few of them were occupied and only a few stools at the bar. 

“Hello, sir.  Can I help you?”  The young woman behind the counter smiled prettily at him.  She did not show any reaction to his less than dapper state of dress, and Hidashi gave her mental points for her control over her facial features.

“Hi, I’m Detective Sato, here to see Ian Eisenmann,” Hidashi said, striding towards her, badge in hand.

“I’ll see if he’s available,” the woman replied, not missing a beat.  She picked up a phone and relayed his request to the unseen person on the other end.  Hidashi studied the building around him.

The large room was lit by glowing orbs, floating weightless around the ceiling.  Those must have been created by a magic user.  It was bold to have clear magic used so obviously.  Businesses usually shied away from it, tended to make customers nervous.

“Detective Sato.”  A large man in a suit appeared from a side door.  He was clearly heavily muscled under the expensive fabric.  “Please follow me.”

Hidashi nodded and followed the man through the large card room.  A number of present people shot him looks, sizing him up.  At this time of day most occupants were members of the Family.  Hidashi looked straight ahead, holding his head high, following the man with a confident stride.  Akia seemed to understand that now was a time to look impressive, and she trotted evenly at his side, ears upright and pricked forward, head up.  They exited the room, walked down a hallway lined with art, and then finally stopped in front of a wood door.  Two more men, clad in suits and clearly armed, stood to either side of it. 

The man knocked and motioned for Hidashi to wait.  The man opened the door and stuck his head inside.

“Detective Sato, sir.” 

A smooth baritone answered him.

“Send him in.”

The man stepped back and opened the door, motioning for Hidashi to enter.  Hidashi did, and the man closed the door behind him. 

The office was surprisingly sparse, though the items it did contain were sleek and obviously expensive.  There was a couch and arm chair with a coffee table between them off to one side, and directly in front of Hidashi was a large, imposing desk.

This Hidashi all took in with a quick, sweeping glance before his gaze was riveted to the man seated behind the desk.

The man remained seated as Hidashi entered, radiating comfort in his position.  He was of a paler complexion, common in Iban, the origin country of the Eisenmann and Metzger families.  Dark brown hair and high cheekbones emphasized the sharp angularity of his face, and under his well tailored suit he was clearly tall and lean, but surprisingly less than bulky.  This was a man that commanded a room with presence, rather than size.  At his shoulder stood another Ibanese man, watching Sato with narrowed eyes.    

Ian Eisenmann was clearly sizing him up just as closely.  His dark eyes scanned Hidashi with no effort to hide his scrutiny.  Hidashi could feel the intense gaze from his feet up to his face, and he had the distinct impression of being undressed.  But he did not flinch, letting Eisenmann see that he too was under scrutiny.

Finally, Eisenmann’s lips curled into his smile, and his eyes glinted.

“Have a seat, Detective Sato,” he said, then to the man at his side, “Give us the room Beck.”  Hidashi nodded and sat in the uncomfortable chair across from the crime boss as the other man left.  Hard, cold, wood.  Clever.  Eisenmann nodded to Akia, who sat obediently at Hidashi’s side.  “That is a beautiful animal.” 

“I’ve raised her since puppyhood,” Hidashi replied.

“You seem to have done well,” Eisenmann said.  “Perhaps one day you could help me with my own animals.”

“I don’t think so, Mr. Eisenmann,” Hidashi said, grasping control of the conversation.  “I’m here about the recent murder of Hans Metzger.”

“Ah, yes.  I admit, I wasn’t pleased to hear the news,” Eisenmann said, raising his eyebrows and nodded.  Word had traveled fast, though Hidashi suspected there was little in this city that this man didn’t know.

“Is that so?” he asked.  “Any particular reason.” 

Eisenmann shrugged. 

“A young Ibanese man newly in control of a powerful family and its assets?” Eisenmann smiled.  “I had a sort of kinship interest in seeing him succeed.” 

“Surely there weren’t that many similarities between your situations?”

“Maybe not to you,” Eisenmann smiled, and Hidashi felt the conversation slipping away from him.  He placed the folder on the table.

“You must have heard how we found him?” Hidashi asked.

“Of course.  It makes me wonder why you’re here.”

“I’m here because of this, Mr. Eisenmann.”  Hidashi opened the folder and spread the bloody photos across the desk.  Ian Eisenmann didn’t blink, and Hidashi felt his blood chill at the lack of reaction.  “These are all murders we know to be the work of your hit man, Max Gut.”

“Well as you know, the Eisenmann Family doesn’t hire hit men.  That’s illegal.”  Eisenmann smiled in ironic amusement.  Hidashi didn’t bother to argue.  “But I am familiar with Gut’s work.  And from what I know of Hans’ murder, he was clearly not killed by Gut.”  He tilted his head and leaned forward, towards Hidashi, studying him.  “You know that though.”

“You seem very confident in Gut’s innocence,” Hidashi said, side stepping the man’s last comment.

Eisenmann sighed and impatiently gathered a few photographs and turned them to face Hidashi.  Then he spoke in a clipped, frustrated tone.

“These cuts are horizontal or diagonal, and ragged.  Hans Metzger’s was painstakingly vertical and smooth.  Clearly different tools were used.  Gut’s victims still have their livers.  Hans does not.  Also, I’ve met Max Gut, he is not creative, he will not change.  Now, since we both know that Max Gut did not kill Hans Metzger, I would like to know why you’re here.”

Hidashi pressed his lips together, taking a moment to respond to the thorough thrashing of Mubari’s theory.  Mubari.  That was why he was here…

“One must always follow a lead,” he said instead.  “Just to see where it goes.”

But Eisenmann seemed to have set upon the same realization the same time as Hidashi.  He leaned back into his chair.

“You were sent here,” he mused.  “Sent into the lion’s den with such a flimsy little theory.”  His eyes danced as he pondered this new bit of information.  “But who sent you?”

Hidashi’s pride stung.

“I am a homicide detective,” he bristled.  “I was not sent by anyone.”  But Eisenmann just lit up with another realization.

“Ah, that’s why,” he said.  “Organized Crime wanted to size me up.  But they know they can’t just walk in, so they sent you.”

“As I said: I am a homicide detective.  A man was murdered.  I am doing my job.”  Hidashi tried not to grit his teeth through the reply.  Eisenmann was right, and now that he said it it was all Hidashi could see.  It had been a long time since he’d had to play the game of department politics, and he had let his guard slip woefully low.

“Of course you are,” Eisenmann said, taking pity on Hidashi.  “And as I’d also like to know who killed poor Hans Metzger, I’ll offer my assistance.”

“Oh?” Hidashi raised an eyebrow.

“Yes,” Eisenmann said.  “An insight it may have taken you some time to gain.”

“And what’s what?”

“The liver,” Eisenmann steepled his long fingers.  “You’re not going to find it.  It’s a very common ingredient in the more advanced, and darker spells that some of the magic users can cast.”

“Magic users?” Hidashi frowned.  More and more magic users had started to come out of the wood work since the Fair Treatment and Equal Humans Acts, but they were still regarded with much suspicion, and often downright hostility.  Hidashi had never dealt with them.

“Yes, they were never treated half so harshly in the old country, so as an Eisenmann I probably have more familiarity with them than you do,” Eisenmann said.  “I figured you probably wouldn’t make the connection so quickly.”

“You think a magic user killed Hans Metzger for his liver?”

“No,” Eisenmann snorted.  “I think someone killed Hans Metzger because he was Hans Metzger.  But that someone cut him up in a very precise manner, and took a very specific organ.”

“It’s not like a heart,” Hidashi said thoughtfully.  “With symbolic value, or some sort of exterior organ.”

“Exactly,” Eisenmann shifted forward again.  “It’s the liver.  An unattractive if vital blob of flesh.  Unless you want to eat it…or cast with it.”

“We will consider your advice in our investigation,” Hidashi finally said after a pause.  “Thank you for your time, Mr. Eisenmann.”

“Leaving so soon, Detective Sato?”  Ian Eisenmann stood as Hidashi did.  “Please, stay for a drink?”  He waved to a table of glasses, decanters, and liquor beside his desk. 

“No, thank you,” Hidashi replied, thrown by the sudden request.  “I’m on duty.”

“You can say that our interview hasn’t been completed.”  Eisenmann smiled.  “That you attempted to ply my tongue with alcohol.”  He came around from behind his desk and leaned against the front of it.

“I don’t think that’ll be necessary, Mr. Eisenmann,” Hidashi replied with a wry smile.  “You’ve been very helpful.”

“Is that what you will say when you report back to Organized Crime?”

Hidashi narrowed his eyes.

“I will not be ‘reporting back’ to anyone,” he said sharply.  Eisenmann smiled patronizingly. 

“Of course not.  Well then, we will post pone the drink to when you are not on duty.”

“Or rather, indefinitely,” Hidashi said.  “Thank you again for your time and cooperation.”

He turned then, and left the room, snapping for Akia to follow him up.  He could feel Ian Eisenmann’s dark gaze following him closely, boring into his back, until he finally closed the door behind him.

Night fell and the empty Gentleman’s Gambit began to wake up.  Nothing compared to the weekend nights, but the card sharks and the businessmen looking to blow off steam and money showed up, as well as other characters on completely different business.

“I’m going out, Beck,” Ian Eisenmann said, as he grabbed his coat from the rack beside his office door.  His underboss, Abelard Beck merely nodded, and sat in his chair behind his desk to occupy it in his absence. 

Trusting the front in the hands of his capable employees, Ian Eisenmann slipped out the back.  A family driver sat in an armored, sleek limosine and a Family enforcer opened the door for Ian, before sliding in after him. 

He directed the driver to the east side of the city, a poorer residential district, but one still managing to struggle and succeed against poverty and low level gangs.  He stopped them outside of a non-descript apartment building and got out, instructing his body guard to stay behind. 

He dialed an apartment on the third floor on the intercom.  A man’s voice answered.

“Who is it?”


There was a long pause.  Ian could imagine the emotions flashing across the dark face that owned the voice.  A part of him did not want to let Ian up.  Then the harsh buzzer sounded, and Ian pulled open the metal grated door.  He rode an old elevator up to the third floor, walked down the warn, but neat hallway, and knocked on one of the doors.  The dark man opened it.

“I don’t know how I can help you, Ian,” the young man said cautiously.  He stood blocking the door.

“May I come in?”

Another pause, then a sigh, and the man stepped aside.  Ian walked in and the man closed the door behind him.

“Thank you, Ajit,” Ian said.  He looked seriously at the man.  He meant it.  Ajit just gave him a weary crooked smile and plopped onto a couch.  Ian settled himself across from him.  The furniture was used, and didn’t match, but it was clean and well taken care of and the small apartment was organized. 

“Seriously though, Ian,” Ajit said.  “I don’t think I can help you.”

“You don’t even know why I’m here yet,” Ian chuckled.  “You’re the only one I can trust, Ajit.”

“Well soon I’m gonna be the last one you can trust,” Ajit scoffed.

“That won’t be true,” Ian waved the thought away.

“Oh yes it will,” Ajit said.  “I’m going to be one of the good guys.  I’m already a cop; I’m going to be a full blown detective soon.”

“I like being friends with the good guys,” Ian shrugged casually.  “You can trust them.”

Ajit raised an eyebrow.

“I don’t think crime lords that trust cops last long.”

Ian shook his head and leaned back in the chair. 

“With the good guys, you always know what they’re after,” he explained.  “You always know their end game.  Not as many nasty surprises.”

“You been nastily surprised recently?” Ajit asked, his voice falling into a more serious tone.

“Maybe,” Ian replied.  “Did you hear about Hans Metzger’s murder?”

“Just happened this morning, didn’t it?” Ajit asked.  Ian nodded.  “Heard he got killed.  Don’t know any of the details.”

“I do.”  Ian pulled an orange envelope from inside his large coat’s pocket.  “I have some pictures of the scene here.”

“You shouldn’t have those!” Ajit scolded.  “How did you even get them?”

Ian scowled.

“Do you want to see them or not?”

Ajit scowled back at him, but Ian knew his curiosity would get the better of him.

“Yes,” he finally replied.

With a triumphant little smile, Ian slid the pictures from the envelope and set them on the low coffee table between them.  Ajit reached out eagerly and began sifting through them.  He let out a low whistle.


“This was a magic user, right,” Ian asked.  Ajit nodded, eyes still glued to the images before him.

“Most definitely,” he replied.  “Or someone that knew a bit about us.  Which—” he shrugged “—is rare in Staonia.”

Ajit continued sifting, sorting, and rearranging the photos before him, completely enthralled.  As Ian watched, a soft light flickered in Ajit’s eyes.  The photos skimmed across the coffee table with barely a touch from his hands and the tips of his fingers began to glow almost unperceptively. 

Ian caught one of Ajit’s wrists, stopping it.  The man’s head jerked up to meet Ian’s eyes, and the light faded.

“Careful,” Ian said lowly.  Ajit shook Ian off. 

“It’s just you.”

“It won’t always be.” Ian continued looking at Ajit seriously until the other man broke eye contact.  Ian sat back.  Ajit went back to the photos, much more slowly this time.  He organized them clearly, then left them.

“The liver was also taken,” Ian said, breaking the silence.

“Makes sense,” Ajit replied.  “Something this time consuming and precise, the killer was after a powerful spell and livers can feature prominently in those.”

“Do you know what that spell might be?”

Ajit laughed, short and bitter and looked up at Ian.  He leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms.

“Oh no,” he said.  “That’s enough freebies.  Why are you so interested in this case?”

Ian smiled almost guiltily.  Ajit never did allow himself to be kept in the dark, even when he knew he didn’t actually want to know.

“Bad feeling.”

“Why?” Ajit pressed.

“There are people in the Family I can’t trust.”

“So?  It’s a crime family.  That’s normal.”

Ian sighed.  He pressed his lips together, organizing his thoughts. 

“I distrust certain members,” he began.  “And not passively.  There is a plot against me, I know that— “

“You always think there’s a plot against you.”

“There usually is,” Ian replied with a raised eye brow and continued.  “I don’t however, know what it entails, who’s behind it exactly, and how far along it is.  A disproportionate number of magic-users work for members of the Eisenmann Family.  Hans Metzger was a prominent young man in charge of a powerful family, with, of course, ties to the Eisenmann Family.

“I do not know what exactly I think is happening, but something is.”

He finished his though and looked at Ajit.  The man was leaning forward, fingers steepled in front of his lips, much as Ian had sat when speaking to the slim detective earlier today.

“So you want to figure out who is behind this and why, to see if it has anything to do with you,” Ajit said.


Ajit nodded slowly.

“I’ll have to do some research,” he said.  “A couple spells come to mind, but I want to be more thorough.  I’ll contact you when I have a list.” 

Ian nodded.

“Thank you, Ajit.” He clasped the darker man’s shoulder and stood up. 

“Of course, Ian,” Ajit said sincerely.  “I know we’ve gone different ways, but I’m still here for you.”

Ian smiled.

“And I for you.”  Ian moved towards the exit but stopped before reaching the front door and turned back.  “One more thing,” he said.  “Have you heard of a Detective Hidashi Sato?”

Ajit’s eyebrow’s rose.

“Of course.  He’s the best homicide detective in the city,” Ajit said.  He motioned to the pictures before him.  “Is this his case?”

“Yes, he came and spoke to me earlier,” Ian said, thinking back to the lean, dark haired man.  “What do you know about him?”

“Well, like I said,” Ajit shrugged.  “Best homicide detective in the city.  I’m hoping to get his precinct when I finish training to be a detective myself.  He’s got this highly trained dog, usually doesn’t work with a human partner.  Top of his class back in the Academy, almost perfect marksmanship but kind of famous for hating to use his gun.”

“That’s what you know about his career, not what you know about him.”

“He basically is his career,” Ajit said defensively.  “He works more overtime than the city is willing to pay him.”

“Hm, a workaholic?” Ian mused.  He had to smile in bitter amusement.  Hidashi Sato wasn’t the only one who lived his work.

“Yeah.  Can’t imagine he liked you much,” Ajit chuckled.  Ian frowned.

“Why do you say that?”

“The man spends almost his every waking hour trying to make this city a better place,” Ajit said.  “And you spend every waking hour making it worse.”

Ian frowned harder.

“Well, I think that’s oversimplifying it a bit much, don’t you?” he asked lowly.

Ajit just shrugged, unperturbed. 

“Either way, I can’t imagine you’ll be friends.”

Ian shrugged and turned back to the door.

“I don’t know.”  He opened it up.  “Like I said: I like the good guys.”

A/N: And we’re off!  I have now officially posted the first chapter and am committing myself to a novel length undertaking.  I certainly hope this goes well, and I hope you enjoyed what you’ve seen so far. 

I’d love to hear from you and will make a point to reply to any and all reviews!  Have a wonderful rest of your week.

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~ Eryn Ivers 

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