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Posted: Apr 14 2017, 09:12 PM
Declan sat upon a bench, taking a sip from his souvenir cup, one of those with the lid that looked like a Panda sitting in a bunch of bamboo leaves. The zoo was busy today, between the young mother’s groups with their strollers and the school field trips, there was plenty of people watching to do, which suited Declan just fine, since that’s what he was doing, in a way. It just so happened that he was watching for a particular person, but that made the others no less entertaining. He had picked up a trick or two over the years, as far as not looking like the village mentaller, so he had his phone out, held up to his ear as he spoke.
“And you’d know the man if you saw him again?” Declan asked, his gaze scanning and taking stock of each person who strolled past him.
“His eyes. That’s all I can tell you. I mean, come on. It was dark, I was dying. Let’s see how good you are with details with a gaping hole in your gut.” Came the reply from the person sat beside him, who’s presence for the moment only Declan was aware of.
“Right, right. Sorry, yeah? I’ve had less to go on, I suppose.” Declan sighed a little, shifting his legs to stretch out before him. Seems they had been on this bench for a while. When Declan had been handed the case, it seemed pretty straight-forward; a typical shooting in a Chinatown alleyway. He had investigated the scene upon arrival, waited for the lab to ID the body, process the scene, all of that, and in the course of the ensuing investigation had managed to find the victim himself, one Derek Miller, he who sat, mostly, beside him upon the bench presently. It was never as simple as people believed. Most would assume that a person gets shot due to a robbery, or if they are involved in the mafia, but there is so much more to have as a motive; scorned lovers, jealous rivals, corporate espionage, political intrigue, life’s rich pageant. Derek, unfortunately, had a decent list of possibles in mind. He tended to be, in Declan’s opinion, a bit of a manky muppet when it came to his treatment of women, but, that had turned up little as far as leads. He had been a software developer who had not only admitted to ganking an idea from another gent, but also was skimming funds and finding creative ways to cover it. That was worth looking into. And then there was his gambling debt. Declan had his work cut out for him on this one, and dared to be hopeful when Derek thought he could identify the guy who he thought actually pulled the trigger, but it turns out all he saw, apparently, were his eyes. In the dark alley, as he bled out, Derek’s gaze had met another’s, and that other then turned tail and fled like his jollies were aflame.
Of course, at the time, Derek was in no position to do much about it, though later, while wandering about town, he swore that he recognized those eyes again, and set to follow the owner of the eyes. Follow he did, all the way here to the zoo where he lost sight of him amidst the crowd. And, who was Declan to call malarkey on the lot of it? He truly had done plenty with less to go on than a set of peepers. So, here they sat, hoping it wasn’t just happenstance that the trail had brought them to the zoo. He took another sip from his panda cup, reaching down to adjust the badge that clipped to his belt, just about ready to suggest they go elsewhere when he felt a surge of…something. A bit of panic, a bit of anger, tossed in with a pinch of excitement.
“That’s the guy.” Derek said, the spirit already off the bench and over to the man he spoke of, looking to Declan as both hands pointed fingers at the one in question. For his part, Declan nearly asked if he was sure. If this man had been the shooter, well…Declan had met many killers, both professional and amateur, and this man looked to belong to neither club. Not because he seemed weak or anything, for Declan learned long ago to truly not judge a book by its cover, just because he had a…way about him. He didn’t seem particularly guilty, nor did he seem concerned, though at the same time he seemed entirely uncomfortable in his own skin, looking at everyone who walked by with nearly a look of disdain, though that was for lack of a better term. It was as if everyone in the world was distracting him from whatever it is he felt he should be doing, and would be much happier if everyone would just kindly go elsewhere, please. But put out enough to shoot a man? Declan had his doubts. The man’s eyes did seem distinctive, so that was at least a bit. But, again; he had discovered bigger things with smaller pieces, so chase every lead. Declan took one final sip from his panda cup before lifting to his feet, adjusting his jacket before stepping towards the man who had continued his way down the trail.
“Excuse me, Sir?” Declan asked, as conversationally as he could, not wishing to stir up too much of a scene, he reached forward to gently tap the man on the shoulder with the hand holding the panda cup, the other unclipping his badge, which he then held up as the man turned to regard him. “Inspector Muldoon, San Francisco Police. Is there somewhere we can talk? I have a question or two.”
Posted: Apr 14 2017, 10:48 PM
It was the reptiles today.
Diane, their resident boa, was pregnant and sick, an unfortunate combination, and she'd been pulled from her cage for treatment which led to many complaints considering the way their reptile house was set up put Diane's cage in the center, pulling most of the attention. Aidan had sent of his PR people to deal with that, pointing out that he had several rounds to make before the day ended and walking away before anyone could argue with his decision. Aidan did not deal with people.
As it was, Aidan was currently in the medical building, rubbing the top of Diane's scaled head and murmuring to her in a soothing voice. He injected a shot, just behind the base, letting her bite into the glove he wore in retaliation and going back to soothing once the needle was removed. As soon as she calmed, he lifted her, draping her form around his shoulders, smiling slightly when she wrapped around his arm to settle her head on the back of his hand.
Like that, he moved out of the medical room and headed back towards the reptile house, on the other side of the zoo.
Aidan was most comfortable when he had animals wrapped about him or in his arms. The connection he had with these animals soothed him in much the same way his presence soothed them. It was a dynamic relationship after all and Aidan had always been more relaxed around creatures outside his own race. Some people gave him a wide berth as he walked, others asked to pet her...to which he refused, explaining that she was sick.
He was much more relaxed with her than he ever would be on his own.
They made it to the reptile house without incident and Aidan clambered into the center exhibit. Uncurling Diane from where she'd wound about it was a slow and tedious process that involved lots of laughter and odd twisting positions. But he managed it faster than anyone else might have in his position and took a moment to stroke down her head, leave her with a last push of calm. Then he was out of the cage, securing it and letting the people crowd around her.
Slipping out of the reptile house, he re-clipped his keys to his belt and paused by the lion exhibit, frowning as he noticed a piece of plastic on the inside of the cage. He had been about to hop the fence to grab the garbage (and really there was a can right there), when a hand landed on his shoulder. The reaction was immediate and violent.
He jerked immediately away and spun quickly, hand slamming painfully into the fence he'd been about to climb, though he didn't really react because he was too busy staring down a stranger who thrust a badge forward. He said nothing, but stared at him with wide, victim-like eyes. He knew exactly why this man was here but had no idea how a detective had figured out he'd seen the entire thing go down. Aidan had taken a step back, putting some space in between them.
"We can talk here. Unless you'd prefer my office." He said warily, tilting his head slightly to the side.
Mistrust, despite the badge, was clearly written all over his face and after a few moments of quiet deliberation, he turned to lead the detective towards the administrative building in the back of the zoo. He was silent the entire way, pausing only once when a female keeper stopped him to ask a quick question. Aidan had a curious way about him, ducking his head, fixating on any point of the body that let him look like he was making eye contact without actually making it.
They made it too the office and Aidan unlocked the door, stepping back to let the detective step in before him, closing the door behind them and edging around the small space to maintain as much distance as possible. Then he sat in a chair with a cheap metal desk separating them. There were many animal cages, some empty, some filled, all around the room, posters and papers taped to the walls, books about animal psychology, physiology and biology on the shelves. It was a small space and very crowded...but Aidan supposed it was better than having a conversation like this out in the open.
He waited, silent. Expectant.
Posted: Apr 15 2017, 07:51 AM
Declan had expected nervousness, and while he had considered the notion of actual flight, he was not counting on it. If this man was indeed the most well disguised professional in the bay area, professionals didn’t run, not in a setting like this; far too many people to make note of their face. But that was still not high on the list of likely scenarios. And yet, despite the initial alarm and panic, the man remained calm, nearly seeming to have expected this. This could prove to be a most curious situation. Once Aidan was fully facing them, Declan glanced a quick query towards Derek.
“Yep, that’s him. It’s gotta be. Now that I see him up close, yeah. I swear it's the guy. See? The eyes. Told ya. It was his face alright. Find out what he knows. Asshole.” Derek’s statement, while understandable, left Declan in a slightly awkward situation, for he nearly responded. But, let’s not let the possible suspect think we are loopy right off the mark, yeah, Declan?
“Uh, well, it’s a bit delicate, yeah? Maybe your office would be best. Won’t take long.” Declan said with an assuring smile as he clipped the badge back on his belt. All Declan was getting from him now was slight irritation, though that was the same that underlined everything, it seemed. He got the notion that even if he were only here to ask for donations to the Policeman’s Ball, he’d get the same. As they moved towards the office, which Declan assumed meant that the man was on staff here, he still took the time to look at the enclosures they passed. They were at the zoo, after all. “That’s one big rhino.” Declan said, nearly grinning. Growing up in Ireland and then living in the States did not afford one many opportunities to see animals like this, outside of zoos and the telly. It seemed a little sad, them spending their days, their life in one small part of the world, yet on the other hand here they be safe, and well-tended by people such as this one right here, though they had to deal with jammers giving them the eye all the day, though they got to delight people from all walks of life, planting the seed of fondness which lead to the notion of conservation, and Declan was getting off track in his thoughts. So, suffice it to say that the zoo was a plethora of mixed feelings.
Upon reaching Aidan’s office, Declan’s gaze traveled quickly about the small space, taking notes of books and titles. This was no front, of that he could be certain. This man were the mccoy. Declan kept the same pleasant but serious expression upon his visage as his gaze met the man who rightly seemed to wish to know what this was all about. He had noted the small signage that declared this to be the office of Aidan Harmon, and had no reason to assume the case was otherwise, though still for formality’s sake, he introduced himself yet again.
“Inspector Muldoon. Did I mention? Call me Declan, yeah?” he offered his hand, expecting it to be stared at and left alone, he then cleared his throat, the hand lowered to remove a small pad from his pocket, the other drew a pen from within his jacket, the small button clicked the point into being, both pad and pen now poised to write. “First off, I have to ask where you were on the night of the, uh…” Declan consulted his notes a second. “…the 5th, round abouts between 7:00 and 11:00 pm.” There was something likable about the man, despite the oddity in his general demeanor, or simply because of it. Declan couldn’t be sure. His heart generally went towards those who either didn’t fit in, or didn’t wish to, his own background of being considered a mad freak by many causing a kinship to naturally develop, even if the opposite party had no such notion. Thusly, it made Declan wish to be as straight as possible, dial down the vagueness and word traps a notch or two, so as a result, he steeled his resolve a tad, recalling that this man could indeed still be a murderer. “And are you familiar with a, uh…” Declan again consulted his notes, as if the man’s spirit hadn’t been hanging around him for nearly a fortnight and Declan damned well knew his name. “…Derek Miles…no, Miller. Derek Miller. That name mean anything to you at all?” He kept the tone as conversational as possible, his face as pleasantly professional as possible. He still didn’t think this man would make a dash of it, but that could change in a rabbit’s heartbeat, afterall. And there were also worse reactions than running.
He hadn't doubted that the man would answer questions. While Declan couldn't put a finger on it, he just didn't feel like this one was full of mularkey. Based upon the underlying calm he felt coming from the man, he was either planning to actually and honestly answer, or had one bang on lie planned that seemed foolproof. The following questions were basic, of course, why he was there, did he see anything suspicious, all geared towards getting his side of the story, which Declan understood might seem strange, as most aren't used to having a dead witness speak up. The more the man spoke, the more Declan was nearly dead sure this was not the trigger man, though that didn't mean there weren't answers a plenty to be found.
Posted: Apr 18 2017, 05:16 PM
All along the path to Aidan's office, he pretty much ignored the detective.
His pace was unhurried but naturally quick, having learned to move in a way that allowed him to get across the entirety of the zoo in minutes if the need arose. And the need often arose. Likely it was the reason Aidan was so thin. The witch sprang fingers through his hair, ignoring the urge to roughly pull at the strands in his nervousness regarding the man following him. The detective wasn't exactly scary but an anthill was intimidating to Aidan at times...especially if it was full of other people.
Pain centered him, grounded him.
No on had ever understood. And the one who had well...that hadn't ended well.
Inside his office, he felt a bit more comfortable, the familiarity enough that he managed to calm himself to sit, to shuffle several papers aside and, finally, to look over at the man once more. No eye contact, never eye contact, but he did let himself examine this newcomer in his space. The man introduced himself for the second time, this time allowing a first name...even though Aidan, too polite and British for his own good, would never use it...especially not in this situation. Still, he let it roll around in his brain, inclining his head in acknowledgment.
Aidan was not much of a talker.
Beneath the table, his foot was tapping, a redirect of the restless energy he'd always had. Something to center him other than ripping his hair out because he found that didn't generally go over well in polite company. The stirrings of his ADHD and hyperactive disorder made him want to pace, but the room was not large enough to allow that and besides, Hannah had taught him how to refocus all his issues into politeness. He straightened the four pencils on his desk, organized them by sharpness and length and then inclined his head again.
Instead of offering his name aloud, he gestured to the nametag on a worn golden plaque sitting on his desk. Keeper Harmon was generally what they all called him, but he responded to pretty much anything if they were deliberately trying to get his attention. If it was unimportant or Aidan deemed it unworthy, he would ignore everything. Easy enough to do when he was around his animals.
Every animal in the zoo was his child.
When the questions came, confusion flickered around Aidan's face before he reigned himself in...although Aidan was an open book to most who knew how to look for that sort of thing. "Walking. An alley outside a downtown pub." The London accent was still so adamantly defined even though he'd been in the states nearly as long as he'd lived there. It reminded him of home whenever he spoke and he never tried to adopt an American accent. Besides, he hardly talked to enough people for it to matter.
"No." Simple, concise answers, not giving any more than was asked, but completely answering each time. It was an almost frustrating skill he had but it was a skill he had developed in a very unconventional way. He had looked away while answering, another habit burned into him; he didn't like eye contact and he refused to even look at someone when he was speaking...unless it was, of course, absolutely necessary.
But it was his turn.
"Why?" A simple question and once it was out, Aidan's eyes flashed back to the point on Declan's cheek he'd decided to use as his focal point in this conversation. He said nothing else, but let silent curiosity speak for him. Because Aidan might not be the most pushy or confident of people, but curiosity was inherent in every living thing, him and his animals included. Something another human might be able to understand, to use (which was a fear) but to understand.
And Aidan was curious, because this detective was not here for the reasons he'd initially thought.
Posted: Apr 19 2017, 07:25 PM
The more he was around Aidan, the more he was sure this couldn’t be the perpetrator. If one wished to quantify all people into one of two categories, fight or flight, this man certainly did not seem to belong to the latter. Not that it was a weakness by any means, though many would call it so, at least not to Declan. But regardless of anyone’s thoughts on that matter, this man did not strike Declan as a man who would kill anyone unless it was under the most dire of circumstances, and the details of this case did not fit that criteria either. He looked again to Derek, a query on his visage, jutting his chin in the briefest of gestures towards Aidan, his gaze held to Derek; as close as he could get to asking ‘You’re sure this is your guy?’ without actually speaking it.
“That’s him, man. Same way of moving and everything. I’m telling you. That’s him.” Derek insisted, crossing his incorporeal arms as he looked towards Aidan defiantly.
Declan sighed softly in a slight bit of resignation, though the reason was twofold; he had his doubts about Derek’s ability to ID a suspect, and getting Aidan to talk seemed like he would need a dental degree. Though, he had said he was in an alley. Maybe Derek wasn’t completely off his rocker; it seemed that the man had at least been there. Declan was already starting to mentally shift Aidan from suspect to witness, though that door was not closed just yet. Stranger things had happened.
“A man was killed. Shot. One to the back of his noggin, the other right in the back.” Declan said matter-of-factly, studying Aidan despite the man not meeting his eyes. While that might be taken as a sign of guilt, Declan was beginning to suspect such was not the case here, though again, he could be wrong. Declan was always open to the possibility that he could be chasing a proverbial pooka. Though that phrase, which was wired into him from it being a colloquialism of his homeland, made him chuckle, as Declan spent most of his time in the company of literal pookas indeed. And then he realized that he had chuckled in the middle of telling a man that another man had been shot dead in an alleyway. Right smooth, that, Declan. He cleared his throat and shifted his weight in his seat, tapping the pen’s tip on the notepad he held. “A witness put you at the scene.” He paused another moment, waiting to see if that would draw anything out of the man, though he felt no surge of emotion one way or another, though he noted some confusion, but that could mean anything. He could be confused about why the Raiders decided to move to Las Vegas. Who knew. But a tough nut, this one. Declan could tell that much easily enough. “In an alley outside a downtown pub, as it happens.” Declan added, then leaned forward, his elbows on his knees.
“Just confess, man! We got you! Just tell us why. Who paid you? Who are you working for? Talk, man!” Derek swept one of the books from the shelf with that last exclamation, causing Declan to glare up towards the man, his gaze narrowed. He had half a mind to shut him out right here and now. He did like to serve justice, and genuinely felt bad for Derek, despite his character. Nobody deserved to die simply by the whim of another. But he needed to do his job, and if Derek was going to interfere, then things would have to change. There were so many things he wanted to say to Derek right now, but he could not suddenly start acting the maggot and appear to be having conversations with the air in front of Aidan. Maintaining his stern expression for another moment, making sure Derek saw it, which at least netted the result of him starting to mutter and sulk, which was preferable to throwing shit about the room, Declan looked once more to Aidan.
“Would you know anything about that?” he asked, putting his pen back to the pad, prepared to jot things down once, or if, the man felt like discussing it. “Before you answer, please note that at this moment, all I have said is that a witness placed you at the scene. You are not accused of anything but being there. Nothing else. Not yet. But, that depends on just how forthcoming you are with information. A man is dead, and it is believed that you might have some information about it which would serve a good purpose, yeah? We can’t right wrongs, but we can have folk answer for them. That’s something, at least.”
He leaned back, looking a little more relaxed, the pen held poised over the pad, prepared to write still, Declan’s patience prepared to dig in deep, and hoping it spread to Derek as well.
“Please, Mr. Harmon. Anything you know, or think you know, anything you saw or might have seen could help. Please.”