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 The Windows To The Soul.
Declan Muldoon
 Posted: Apr 14 2017, 09:12 PM
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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.”


^
Aidan Harmon
 Posted: Apr 14 2017, 10:48 PM
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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.

^
Declan Muldoon
 Posted: Apr 15 2017, 07:51 AM
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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.
^
Aidan Harmon
 Posted: Apr 18 2017, 05:16 PM
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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.

^
Declan Muldoon
 Posted: Apr 19 2017, 07:25 PM
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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.”



^
Aidan Harmon
 Posted: Apr 24 2017, 04:54 PM
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The desk presented a positive illusion for Aidan.

Well for this moment anyway.

First, it offered a barrier between him and this detective. Aidan was not the sort that enjoyed being in too close contact with strangers, and he especially disliked it with non-dominant personality types. Not that this necessarily described Declan, but Aidan sort of fed off of strong types...it made him feel more settled to know that there was a capable person nearby. And also, it was a stranger thing. Hannah had been protective in his youth and while Aidan was attuned to some social cues, mostly he was inept because of lack of experience.

Second, it put Aidan in a position of power.

Now in most cases, Aidan disliked this. His many 'issues', as he tended to refer to them as, kept him from living in a fulfilling manner with too many responsibilities. Or what he considered responsibilities. Power was never something Aidan wanted and, in fact, he shied away from it with a ferocity that bordered on violent. No he liked the illusion of power offered by the desk...mostly because it encouraged people away. A good direction for them.

But he still looked uncomfortable behind it, beside all the good it did for him.

His fingers drummed restlessly where he'd trapped them against his thigh and the urge to move, to touch things and straighten them, to wander about and do something, was very strong. But not so much that it was unmanageable. Still, depending on the length of this interview, Aidan might end up casting himself as a crazy person if he wasn't careful about his sensory input.

Declan's words gave him pause. Not the surprised sort, more the 'I know something but don't know if I should admit to knowing something' sort. And he remembered that night like a grainy horror film. The flash of the gun, the spray of blood (sound and smell), the sensation that the world shuddered when the body hit the ground...it was all very dramatic. And he recalled, with an insane amount of clarity, the shooter's face.

But he was uncertain whether he should cast himself into this issue.

What sort of repercussions would this have in the end?

If it had been a ring of animal abusers, or the discovery of a puppy mill or illegal importing of animals...well Aidan would have likely thrown himself into it without a second thought. People were more complicated. Humans were the only animals with the ability to enact cruelty on their fellow man. Aidan no more trusted a human to be genuinely good than he would a mother bear NOT to protect her cubs. Animals were simple, straight-forward; humans were another, unbreached area of knowledge Aidan would rather not acquaint himself with but did so out of necessity.

He shifted in his seat, looking unintentionally guilty, but also like he was wrestling with something complex in his head.

And then a book fell off his shelf without warning.

It startled Aidan, who gave a violent jump, slamming his knee into the underside of his desk as he turned to look at the offending object. Pain exploded into his knee, already a bad one, but he didn't seem to react, his eyes narrowing slightly as he stared at the air around where the book had fallen. Then he slowly returned his eyes to Declan, seeming to have made up his mind about his willingness to involve himself in this.

"I saw a lot." He said after Declan had been silent for a few moments. The zookeeper's eyes had dropped again, staring at the way his fingers were twisted against his thigh. "I was crossing the alley when the woman shot him." A pause and he darted his tongue out to nervously wet his lips, eyes darting, though never once lifting from where they were lowered beneath Declan's line of sight. "She had blonde hair, vivid blue eyes and very pale skin. Tall, birthmark on the inside of her right knee, a scar over the lower side of her left jaw that looked like a knife wound. Her hands shook when she shot it, like she didn't know what she was doing...or maybe that it was something she didn't want to do. She was wearing red heels, but the right was broken and her coat was expensive, like brand new, even though she wore a simple dress underneath it. She was crying."

It all came out in a clear concise rumble of words and Aidan fell quickly silent when he was finished.

"Can I help you with anything else?"

^
Declan Muldoon
 Posted: Apr 28 2017, 06:13 PM
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Declan fought the instinct to apologize for the book. He fought it because that would make him seem this side of touched in the head. ‘I am sorry for that thing happening with which I had no involvement’ was not the message he wished to convey. He couldn’t get much of a bead on this man, but he was right certain, again, that acting bonks was not the right choice in any case.

Silence filled the space, at least for Aidan it would. Derek was still muttering under his non-existent breath, but Declan could easily tune it out. He tried to imagine the struggle he considered seeing on Adian’s face. The man did know something, of that everyone seemed fairly certain, so what was keeping him from speaking of it. Fear of retaliation? Fear that he was involved? Fear that he knew the killer and didn’t wish to betray them? From what he could see, from what discernment he did have, he felt like his side, the side where Aidan told him what he knew, was winning. He wasn’t sure what sort of temper this mad had hidden between his tight buttoned shell, but he could easily imagine Aidan telling him to remove his person from this office without hesitation, and that was not happening. So, Declan would wait.

As it happened, it was worth the wait, maybe. In the Academy, they spoke of people giving too much detail, and how it was a red flag that they were lying. Your average citizen, when some dastardly event occurs, will only see one, maybe two things that matter. The color of a shirt, maybe a particular word that stood out, all else a blur. But in this case, as Aidan painted a verbal portrait good enough for any sketch artist to draw out a selfie, Declan did not doubt for a second that every bit coming forth was true, and jotted down every word as it was spoken. Captain Gittes had spoken to Declan a few times about a hand-held recorder, or even an app on his phone that could serve the purpose of gathering info better than any pad of paper, but Declan liked to keep things old-fashioned in some cases, this being one of them. He trusted his pad, just as he trusted his ability to decipher his own notes.

His brows lifted as he glanced towards Derek, who was staring intently at Aidan, fighting, Declan could tell, between the two sides of believing and not believing the words. A woman. And not what anyone would call a professional, not if this account were true, which Declan had no reason to doubt. Granted, there was the possibility of an elaborate smokescreen of misinformation, but Declan’s gut told him that weren’t the case here. He found himself wishing Thea were here, to verify this, which caused him to frown slightly. He was a little troubled when he wished for his partner’s presence, still having to make sure it was for the right reasons. He quickly shook that distraction from his mind as he looked again to Aidan, then glanced down at the nearly over-filled page of his notepad. State of dress, mannerisms, birthmark, and a scar? It was, indeed, what was referred to as an orgy of evidence. Perhaps it was a combination of Declan wanting it to be this straight forward, and his instinct to trust this man, but Declan did believe it.

“If I were able to locate this woman, and produce a photograph, you’d know her if you saw her, yeah? Or even have you come down to the station for a lineup?” He asked, keeping the pad and pen out, though lowering it to his lap.

“Come on, man. We’re going with that? Some chick in a fancy coat killed me? I’m telling you, I have enemies. Mob shit, jealous husbands, the works!” Said Derek, indignantly.

Declan reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose, his patience for Derek wearing just a bit thin. He was the victim, sure, but one out of three people saw the murderer, and Derek was not he. Or…

Declan’s gaze studied Derek a little distrustfully. Maybe Derek had seen her, and just wanted to deny it. Maybe this whole thing was a goosechase on Derek’s part, and he hadn’t counted on Aidan being so detailed on the description. Maybe the whole thing had backfired. Declan knowing what he did know, however, he had no trouble believing that this was a probably case of a woman scorned. Declan had known a few, knew what was capable of occuring in that setting. Answer: anything.

Declan finally slid his notepad and pen into his pocket as he stood from his chair.

“You have been most helpful, and I thank you for that. I’ll be in touch should I need you.” Declan offered a nod as he then showed himself out, moving back towards the visitor’s parking lot.

“I mean, maybe she was..” Kurt began after a long moment once they reached the car.

“Ara be whist, boyo. I’ll take it from here, yeah? You want it solved or not? I’m chasing this lead, and I’ll let you know what I find.” Declan replied, then said no more to the spirit.

The next couple of days were fairly run-of-the-mill. It took minimal amounts of legwork, thanks in no small part to the detailed description. Declan had gotten the sketch artist to draw up a portrait, and then canvassed the restaurants and clubs surrounding the area of the scene. Declan got a name, which got him an address, neither of which he ran by Derek to see if either meant anything to him, for Declan felt the deceased had done his part, and didn’t much feel like having him around.

The woman, one Elizabeth Ross, was brought in for questioning, though had gone silent and lawyered up pretty quickly, which did not necessarily add up to the simple woman scorned theory, though it didn’t mean she wasn’t just that, either. Declan was growing used to people not simply trusting the police these days. Not much to be done about the court of popular opinion. She did, however, agree to a lineup, which was at least something. It was a big something, in his opinion, since he was figuring that Keeper Harmon had a rather photographic memory, at least in this particular case. The lineup is all he would need for a grand jury.

Declan reached for the phone on his desk, glancing at his notes as he dialed the number he had down.

“Mr. Harmon, or is it Doctor? Would you be so kind as to come down to the main station downtown this afternoon? I have a few faces I would like for you to look at.”





^
Aidan Harmon
 Posted: May 28 2017, 08:18 PM
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Because he wasn't actually looking at the detective's face, Aidan had no idea whether the man believed him or not. Judging people's facial expressions was rather easy but because he didn't generally look at people's faces, it wasn't really a skill Aidan had developed personally. Instead, he focused on other body movements: twitchy fingers, a stiffness in the limbs, impatient foot-tapping. Things like that.

Declan didn't display any of the usual signs but of course, that meant nothing.

In all reality, he could just be a hard person to read.

The question made him pause again, fingers curling to dig harshly into the meat of his palm. Yes he'd know her if he saw her again, but he didn't really want to get anymore involved than he already had been. After all, it had only been because of the kind quality of Declan's voice that Aidan had even offered the description. It was a fine line that Declan likely hadn't realized he'd been walking. Too soft and Aidan would have withdrawn...though if Declan had commanded him, likely he would have answered purely out of habit. Even now, years away from his ex, Aidan had a hard time differentiating between regular life and scenes. It was an instinctive thing, the submission he possessed.

But that was neither here nor there since he'd already replied. Something that Aidan was regretting slightly with the additional pressure of having to act on the support he'd provided. Nibbling on his lower lip, he contemplated whether or not to agree with that statement but then sighed. "Yes." He said. "I would prefer not to come to the station but if it becomes necessary..." His shoulders lifted in an almost uncaring shrug.

As they sat there in a brief moment of silence, Aidan's foot began tapping and his lips formed numbers, counting each of the subtle noises his shoe made against the carpet. He made it up to twenty seven when Declan was speaking again and Aidan raised his head to fix eyes on his chest, not willing to make eye contact. He stood when the detective did, only moving to the threshold of the door to see the man...partially out. Aidan watched his retreating back for a moment before he retreated back into his office and let the door shut, needing a moment to himself.

The next few days saw Aidan quite busy. He had a few interviews for interns, caring for the pregnant gorilla and her sick son, and a few other hectic tasks that took his mind off the interaction with the detective. It wasn't until they paged him back to his office, with the detective on hold that the other man recalled his conversation with Declan. With a frown, he pressed the blinking red button. "Hello?"

Aidan's brows drew further together at the question and he sighed. "Either is fine." Referring to the title, since technically he was a doctor. "What time do you need me?" He asked. A few more minutes of conversation was established and then they hung up...after which Aidan made a second call, this time to his assistant. He informed the woman, Sapphire, that he needed to leave work early for some personal business. When the time rolled around, he headed out with his leather messenger bag and climbed into his tiny car...even after living in America for years, it still felt strange to climb into this side of the car.

He drove downtown to an office he'd never been to before and was shown to Declan within a few moments of arriving, his hands clenched around the strap of his bag, white knuckling until the guy leading him let him go. "Detective." He greeted softly, seeming a lot less sure outside of his own office. "Where do you need me?"

^
Declan Muldoon
 Posted: Jun 4 2017, 02:11 PM
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Declan curiously watched the man approach. Keeper Turner was a hard man to peg, it seemed. Oh, it was apparent enough that this man did not wish to be here, though Declan didn’t get the sense that it was specifically the police factor that generated this distaste. No, Declan was willing to wager that Harmon did not like venturing anywhere out of his comfort zones, wherever they may be. If Declan had to guess, he would say home, probably, and work, definitely, or, at least the actual animal parts of the job. That’s where Harmon’s comfort zone seemed to be; away from people in general. He seemed a regular Dr. Doolittle, without the outward charm and wit of Rex Harrison.

“Thank you for coming.” Declan said in greeting, adding a smile. “Won’t take long, promise. This way, yeah?” Declan began walking down the hallway, having motioned with his head for Aidan to follow.

As they passed one of the smaller break rooms, Declan paused and turned slightly to look to Aidan.

“Coffee, water, anything?” he offered, gesturing with his thumb towards the typical looking break area, a few small tables, a Mr. Coffee on the counter beside a bowl of fruit next to a refrigerator. “Think I’ll get a mug o’scald for meself, so, help yourself, yeah?” Declan said with a smile, stepping into the small room.

He opened one of the cabinets, bringing down a box of Barry’s, which he had had shipped over at easily four times the cost it would be back in Ireland, but he simply couldn’t get used to Lipton, not if he had any choice. He filled the mug with the hot water tap from the coffee machine, and readied the milk and sugar while he waited for his bag to steep a bit, also giving Aidan a chance to fix something should he so choose.

“Before we head in there and you take a gander, well, first of all, don’t be wary. Two-way glass, you see, so, your anonymity will be intact, if that’s a concern.” Declan said as he stirred the milk and sugar into the mug, the spoon rinsed and set in the sink, the tea bag tossed in the bin. “Second, well, here’s the theory I’m working with. I’d like to run it by you to see if it matches up with what you saw. I think it’s a simple case of vengeance. You said yourself she didn’t seem overly keen on seeing it through, but did so. So, not a pro, and personally I don’t think a jilted lover. Though, I do think that aspect is involved.”

“They’re ready when you are, Inspector.” The desk sergeant popped his head into the doorway, then was gone again.

“Thanks, Ryan.” Declan said, taking a slow sip of his tea. A nod of satisfaction was given with a slight smile as he lowered the mug, his attention given back to Aidan. Declan was very used to the complete and utter lack of eye contact by now, and didn’t chalk it up to any guilt or anger as he would with others. “I think she’s connected to a person, likely a woman, who was connected to or involved with the victim, and was acting on their behalf. So, if you can recollect any small detail, a word spoken, anything, well, bang on. But otherwise, don’t worry; you’ve helped plenty, so all I really need is a positive ID now. So, shall we?”

Declan resumed the trip down the hall to the lineup observation room, a nod offered to the officer within. He moved to the far side of the window, waited for Aidan to come within, then gave the officer a nod. The officer pressed a button on the wall, speaking into the intercom system.

“Send them in.”

A door to the side of the lineup display opened, and five women of roughly the same height and build came in, then took their place in line before the height chart, all looking generally displeased, or at the very least apathetic. Of course, Declan already knew which one was Ms. Ross, the others either other detainees, or even women taken off the sidewalk for a quick bit of cash. He did his level best to show zero reaction as each woman was told to step forward for a moment, then step back, though he did exhale a slow sigh as Kurt found his way into the room, weaving in and out of the line. Swear to all that’s holy if Kurt decides to have a lark on any of their behalf, he’d call an exorcist. He cleared his throat as he looked to Aidan.

“So, Keeper Harmon. Any of these women appear to be the woman you saw? Take your time, and remember, they can’t see you.”
^
Aidan Harmon
 Posted: Jun 22 2017, 09:49 PM
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Declan's thoughts, though Aidan could not hear them, were correct.

He was very uncomfortable here, in the public place, surrounded by men and women in and out of uniform, all working towards some purpose. It seemed...worthless to Aidan. Not the work, perhaps, but the goal they strove towards. So busy, constantly working to achieve something that, inevitably, was impossible.

Admirable. Also foolish.

When had he become so cynical?

Aidan moved through the station with his eyes downcast, nervously digging nails into his palms and then relaxing them, feeling like he was in the eye of a hurricane, ready to be dragged from the false peace. They eyed him, as if trying to decide if he was one of theirs or one to be wary of. Since he wouldn't meet any eyes, Aidan had no idea the measure of him that they took.

Only when a familiar voice entered the fray, did the witch lift his eyes from the floor to peer at the detective's collarbone, like that was his way of ensuring this was the same man from his office that day. He felt a little more certain then, a bit of the tension eased off...not enough to call him relaxed or comfortable, but enough that it was clear he held Declan with some measure of trust. Enough so that he sidled closer, putting space between him and any others, sacrificing the space held between him and the detective.

"Of course." It really wasn't. It had taken a lot of self-persuasion to get him down here, but it was the rote answer and Aidan had a few of those memorized for when he wasn't sure what to say. He followed after Declan without hesitation, seeming to prefer his company to any other who might offer, twisting fingers over his own wrists until red lines could be seen forming. It was done almost as if Aidan didn't notice, but it seemed to still him, focus him.

Pain did that sometimes.

They paused at a break room, thankfully empty, and Aidan contemplated perhaps making tea of some sort. But he didn't think his hands could steady a cup at the moment so he shook his head and inclined it slightly: 'no, but thank you for offering' implied rather than spoken aloud. He watched Declan's hands as they worked and listened carefully to his...instructions of a sort...Aidan was the type to enjoy ensuring his knowledge of a situation was as astute as possible.

Aidan inclined his head, curious about the situation despite himself, despite his reservations about this whole endeavor. He refrained from asking any questions though; he was well aware there were rules about that sort of thing and besides, Aidan was hardly the type to pry. So he bobbed along like a bobblehead and, when the detective was ready, followed him silently once more.

He prided himself that he only slightly startled at the unknown voice.

Another nod, as they walked, Aidan's nails once more pressing hard into his skin and settling, steeling himself for something he'd seen hundreds of times on television but never experienced in reality. He paused on the threshold for a moment, stepping after Declan and coming up to the glass when beckoned, peering into the lit room, all the brighter for the darkness of the room he was standing in. He felt an urge to touch the glass, but didn't, instead clasped his hands behind his back and waited.

Send them in, Aidan gripped his own wrist tighter and watched the suspects file in. He knew instantly which was the woman he'd seen but he let them line up, let his eyes linger just to be sure. And then, silently, he lifted a finger to indicate the third woman who had walked in. "That's her. Number three." He said quietly, but confidently...Aidan was a man for whom words were only important in certain cases; he did not use them lightly.

His head turned, as if on a swivel, to look over at Declan. "It's her isn't it?" A nod, before the detective could respond and he watched the women file out grumpily. "What will happen to her?" He could not stopper his curiosity in that matter.

Aidan had never been arrested before. He had no idea of the procedures involved.

Or the consequences.

^
Declan Muldoon
 Posted: Jun 28 2017, 12:33 PM
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Declan had never really doubted that Harmon would come up with the right positive ID. Sure, it happened sometimes. Sometimes an honest mistake, it was dark out, things went so fast, all of that, and then there were times when the identifier had been gotten to, either by threat or by bribe. Those tended to be giveaways, at least, and not simply because Declan could read emotions. One did not have to be an empath to see when someone is obviously jittery when they claim that the person they saw isn’t present. Justice weeps on those days.

“Thank you.” Declan said into the intercom, the duty officer ordering the women to file back out. Declan watched them leave, and all but one didn’t seem to have much of a shit to give. But the one, oh, the one had several shits, apparently, based upon the looks she was giving at what would be her own reflection from her perspective. Fitting, she did only have herself to blame. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, she had taken a life, and that had consequences, even if justifiable. “That be she.” Declan affirmed quietly, his mug lifted to take a sip of his tea, the women gone from view. He didn’t feel the need to look at Harmon when he spoke, since he knew Harmon wasn’t looking at him.

“I’ll go hang out in her cell, man. See what she does now.” Kurt’s voice came from where he suddenly thrust his face through the glass. Declan offered a barely perceptible nod, thankful that Harmon hadn’t been victim of that ‘boo!’ moment.

“Well, now we will see if she’s more willing to talk. She will sit in a cell for as long as we can hold her, or until she’s arraigned by a judge. Her best bet would be to give it all up and let the current carry her. The fact she was positively ID’d might help. She knows she was seen, yeah? And now she will know we know. That she knows, that we know, that…something like that. And depending on circumstance, if my hunch be right, with a good enough attorney, she shouldn’t face too much jail time. But for that, I’ll have to do a bit more digging. Either way it’s in the hands of the court now.” He took another sip from his mug, letting out a small sigh. There was also the possibility that with a decent attorney, even if she had flat-out cold-bloodedly murdered Derek, she would get off light, or scot-free. Justice spends a lot of time weeping. There was, of course, a slight chance that Aidan would be called upon to testify, though Declan did not wish to drop that bit of news on the man just yet. When and if it came to that, he’d have to come up with some way to allow him to be treated as a special witness who required anonymity. It’d been done before. He offered a nod to the departing duty officer, leaving the two men in the room to themselves.

“So, I meant what I said. You were a big help. And, I have a question for you, if I may. Obviously, you have a way with all creatures great and small, yeah? I was wondering, though, if it goes a bit beyond that.” Declan held a hand up in a slightly defensive gesture. “Not trying to pry or poke, just hear me out. I was just wondering if, say, you could…read, I suppose, your friends, or even go so far as to communicate? Reason I’m asking is, well, for example…” Declan paused, not sure how to put voice to his thoughts exactly. “Dogs witness a lot of crimes, yeah? And usually nobody cares because, well, they’re dogs. Dogs can’t speak, and people can’t get information from them. Unless, well, someone can. Just saying, it’d be good to know that maybe there’s someone I can call on for something like that, if all else were to fail. Make sense? Anyway, just a thought. At the very least, if I ever have a question regarding local residents outside of the realm of human beings, I’d like to be know I have someone I could consult. In a discreet fashion, mind you. Entirely up to you. Shall we make our way out of here?”

Declan asked the last question with a smile and a gesture towards the door. He realized he had babbled a bit just then, and was perhaps slightly worried he had said too much too fast just now and overwhelmed the poor man with questions, but, he figured he should ask while Aidan seemed receptive. He was fully prepared for a polite ‘no, thanks’, though he found himself hoping that would not be the case. He liked Keeper Harmon, though he couldn’t necessarily place a finger on the complete why of it. Kinship in being a ‘weirdo’, perhaps, or respecting the fact that the man was dedicated to his passion, clearly. Or maybe he was just one of those people you liked. Either way, he hoped this wouldn’t be the last time he dealt with the man.

“You remind me a bit of a friend of mine.” Declan said as they made their way through the station and back towards the exit. “Runs an antique shop. Bit quirky but a grand heart. From the UK as well, so maybe we can all hit up a rub-a-dub one of these nights. I think the two of you would get along beyond swimmingly. Just a thought.” He held the door open for Aidan as the two men found themselves upon the sidewalk. “Either way, thank you again for your efforts.”
^
Aidan Harmon
 Posted: Jun 30 2017, 09:14 PM
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Aidan didn't see the reaction of any of the women, including the one he remembered so clearly from that night in the alley. How was it that he always seemed to find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time? Considering this situation and the...other...the one that twisted his tongue in knots were he to even try talking about it aloud to himself. Not that he'd say it aloud in any other forum.

No, Aidan didn't want to be any further involved in THAT than he already was.

Adam's attractiveness aside, the witch was not cut out for...that.

Aidan made that wringing motion with his hands once again, curling his fingers tightly together and tugging...but it was less of a nervous thing and more of like a casual habit. Some people tapped their fingers, some people swayed or sipped at tea...Aidan twisted fingers around his wrist until the skin was red-raw. He paused when a new voice entered the fray, nail digging into the thing skin at his wrist as his only sign of surprise. And then they were alone again.

Declan patiently talked him through the upcoming process, giving more detail than Aidan expected, but the witch listened attentively. "And the court..." He paused, having seen more than his fair share of crime serials, "...they wouldn't happen to need eye-witness testimony would they?" He was beginning to regret this whole thing.

And he was getting a headache.

He needed to check on the gorillas before heading home for the night.

Of course, the detective chose that moment to begin a sort of long monologue directed towards him that had Aidan freezing for a moment. Now, the thing was that Aidan didn't actively reveal that he was a witch or market his abilities, but neither was he the sort to hide them. Of course, he preferred to use his education to do his job rather than his magic, but there were times when it was easier to just use his magic for that extra push.

But having someone else recognize it was...an odd experience.

He'd had bad experiences with that sort of thing in the past.

So his fingers jumped, and it took him a moment to respond when Declan gestured for them to start heading out. As desperate as he'd been to leave this place a moment ago, he suddenly felt the urge to hide...like by asking about his powers, Declan had shoved him into the spotlight. He didn't answer, likely adding to any trepidation the detective had, merely walked and listened and contemplated and debated inside his own head.

By the time they reached the front entrance, Aidan had made up his mind.

He peered out the glass doors towards the outside, realizing it was darker than when he'd come in...he hadn't realized how long he'd been in the building. Time certainly moved fast here. They paused, hesitating on the precipice that would be decided by the witch's response to the other man's offer. And Aidan was, for the first time, ready.

"My abilities are not so simple as communicating with animals...meaning I do not speak to them." He explained softly, pressing his palms together. "I can sense their emotional states, their feelings and generally can interpret that into a simpler form of communication. Most of my abilities stem from healing animals." He didn't know if that made him less useful or more...who knew.

"However, should you find yourself in need of someone with my skill set..." He paused again, lifting his eyes to Declan's collarbone, his way of firming himself, of getting the seriousness of his offer across. "...I would allow you to call on me. Of course whether I can be of assistance would be a case by case basis and determined by how desperately I am needed at my job." He swallowed and inclined his head.

He was curious again, this time about Declan himself...because he knew that this man was more than what he seemed. Aidan could not tell anyone why he suspected this, or how he knew, he just did. Like recognizing like, perhaps. But he didn't ask. Aidan was not an invasive person, he answered when questioned but was not the sort to return questions. Any information he knew about a person was given rather than requested...although sometimes he would blurt out questions.

The last bit of information surprised him.

It wasn't often that Aidan was introduced to others; generally he was too odd, too quiet, too different to be called 'friend' and introduced around as such. So he blinked for a moment and then shrugged, the slightest motion of his shoulders. "I don't get out much." Was his response. It was not really a reply to anything, but it was the best he could do.

Stepping through the open door and outside the office, Aidan inclined his head towards Declan once more, the corners of his lips turning up slightly but not enough for the expression to be considered a smile. "Of course detective." He did not offer a handshake or anything of the sort, preferring not to touch, but he did nod slightly before heading off to his crappy little car, clutching his messenger bag close.

^

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