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05 February 2008 @ 07:44 pm
What Goes Around  
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At first he was sure he had heard Azrael incorrectly. When Zak turned in his chair, however, the other was looking at him seriously.

"You’re kidding," Zak muttered. Azrael leaned back on the couch, his left leg folded over the armrest. "I couldn’t make that up if I tried," he said. "According to Bambi-"

"The prostitute, right?" Azrael nodded. "Though, she prefers ‘professional entertainer’. Anyway, according to Bambi, that kid of yours is involved in some weird shit."

Zak turned back to his computer, typing his rapidly to finish his report. "Sounds to me Hara is more involved than he is."

"Whatever the case, the Contelli family doesn’t just manufacture products." He sat up straight, facing Zak. "Apparently, they do quite a bit of smuggling too. Like, drugs and stuff."

Zak rolled his eyes. "We have no proof of that, and smuggling isn’t my concern." Even as he said it, he realized how wrong the sentence was. Anything Hara did was his concern, because anything she was involved in may be connected to her brother’s disappearance. "Besides, Hara doesn’t seem the type to break the law." This was also a lie; Hara seemed pretty confident she could get away with anything.

"I’m just passing along what I heard," Azrael commented. "You’re probably right. I mean, look who I got the information from. Not that I don’t like her, mind you," he added quickly. He grinned. "She seems promising, really."

He was certain Azrael was trying to change the subject, but Zak allowed himself to be led down the path of a safer topic. It was late, he was tired, and sitting at his desk, wondering if Miko Contelli was dead or alive wasn’t what he wanted to do. "So, your dinner date went well?" he asked, saving the report and closing down the computer.

“Yeah. We went to this little Italian place near her house. Terrible neighborhood, I assure you, but no one bothered us.” He grinned as Zak turned around. “I guess Bambi is more well known than we would have thought.”

“Go figure.”

Azrael nodded. “We talked most of the date. I think you’ll like her. She’s going to start hanging around the office a lot…” He trailed off at Zak’s skeptic look. “Don’t worry. She says that as long as she’s helping with the case, she may as well-”

“She isn’t helping with the case. She’s an informant. Maybe.”

“I told her not to touch your desk,” Azrael told him. “I know how you hate that.”

If Azrael was hoping his statement would put Zak at ease, he was mistaken. The latter stared at him, trying to think of a retort, but no comments entered his mind. With a heavy sigh, he leaned back in the chair, stretching his legs in front of him. “Fine,” he said. “There isn’t much I can do about it anyway. But if she asks for a uniform, I swear.”

“She won’t.”

- -

It took Zak an hour to push Azrael out of his apartment and once his partner was gone, he realized how tired he was. A shower required too much energy, his bed was too far away, and he wasn’t sure why the leather couch looked so comfortable. With a quiet yawn, he managed to drag himself across the main living area to his bedroom. He flopped down on the bed, buried his face in a pillow, and closed his eyes, fully prepared to sleep. Then, the phone rang. He wouldn’t have answered, had the ringing decided to stop.

“Hello?”

“Ah, mon cher! I was hoping I could catch you before you went to sleep.”

Instantly, he was up. “Mrs. Ashby. How can I help you?”

His neighbor’s voice instantly brightened. “I was hoping, and I know it’s rather late, but I was hoping you could take me to the airport. My son is coming in, mon cher, and he forgot to rent a car.”

Zak was already off the bed. “Of course, ma’am. I’ll be right over.”

They disconnected and Zak pulled his shoes on. He grabbed his car keys from the counter, absently thinking he was a road hazard. If his neighbor needed help, however, he would do everything he could.

Adora Ashby was waiting for him by the elevator. She smiled and waved at him as he approached. “I am terribly sorry about this, mon cher.”

“Think nothing of it, ma’am. It’s only ten; it’s hardly late.”

She nodded and they finished the ride in silence.

- -

The airport was crowded for ten thirty on a Wednesday, which surprised Zak. He shoved through the throng of people, tempted to flash his badge for an easier passage. Adora followed him closely, searching the disembarking passengers for her son. When she finally spotted him, she broke away from Zak. He shuffled after her, having given up the fight against the crowd.

Zak caught Adora and smiled tiredly at the man she was speaking with. He was older than Zak, thin wrinkles lined the corners of his eyes already, but his hair was a vibrant orange, just as Zak suspected Adora’s had been. “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said, holding out his hand. The man shook it firmly and nodded.

Adora grasped her son’s hand. “This is my darling boy, Daniel,” she said proudly. “He’s a very important computer engineer all the way from France.”

“La mére, please.” Daniel blushed lightly and adjusted the wire-frame glasses on his nose. “I’m not ‘very important’.”

“You are important to me,” Adora retorted.

Zak grinned. “Your career sounds very interesting,” he said as he led them to his car. “May I ask what you’re doing in the States?”

Daniel nodded. “A friend of mine asked me to come. Her company manufactures computers and such and they needed someone to help run the systems.”

Zak paused. It couldn’t be…

Adora put her hand on her son’s shoulder. “Perhaps he can help you with your investigation, mon cher. He is going to work for the Contelli family.”
 
 
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