Gettng to Know You
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun.
Archiving: Please ask.
Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: Faith doesn’t join the Mayor.
AN: Thoughts are between slashes (//Thought.//)
“That’s them, Detective. They’re the ones who rented Room 314,” the man stated at a near shout pointing straight at Buffy and Xander.
Buffy/Sato and Xander/Takei came to an abrupt halt upon hearing the Desk Clerk’s statement. Luckily they had been following the officer guiding them instead of him following them, otherwise he’d have collided into them.
Confusion and worry could easily be read on their faces as the ‘Fight or Flight’ reflex flared up in both of them. The internal war trying to decide what to do caused them to remain still as the Detective approached.
“Hello, my name is Detective Brass,” said the man with his badge showing prominently on his coat breast pocket. “I need to ask you some questions.”
“If it is about the murder we heard mentioned as we came through the crowd, I’m not sure what we can tell you,” said Xander/Takei as calmly as he could while wondering what about their room was of concern to the police. “We went out for dinner around 6 and then were walking around the city til just now. I’m Hiroshi Takei, by the way and this is my colleague Hikaru Sato.”
“What makes you think there was a murder?”
“As I said, that was the prevalent opinion of the crowd outside,” replied Xander/Takei. “But whether it was murder or some other crime, we would like to know what the room we rented has to do with anything.”
Instead of answering, Jim Brass instead asked, “Where did you go for dinner?”
“The All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet about four blocks from here,” said Xander/Takei frustrated at not knowing enough about the situation they were in.
“When did you leave there?”
“About an hour and a half to two hours later,” said Xander/Takei, really not liking the 20 Questions game already.
Brass raised a questioning eyebrow, to which Buffy/Sato finally said a bit huffily, “I was quite hungry and took my time to enjoy a couple of T-bones. Now could you please let us go to our room to freshen up before we continue this discussion?”
“I’m afraid that’s out of the question, Mr. Sato,” said Brass. “Your room is a crime scene and nothing can be removed until the CSI’s have cleared it. Assuming it doesn’t end up as evidence.”
While he would have preferred Buffy/Sato leave most of the talking to him, Xander/Takei admitted to himself that her interjection had at least gotten them more information about what was going on. Not that he was pleased with what the information meant for them, but it was progress considering the Detective appeared to be living up to his name.
It also meant that they had to get their stuff and switch identities quickly because there was no way Hiroshi and Hikaru could deal with the scrutiny of a murder investigation. Xander/Takei figured they had less than a day before those identities were completely compromised. Less if the examination of their stuff by the CSI’s was intense enough to negate the low level ‘Notice me not’ charm they had on the stakes, Holy Water, and knives secreted in their luggage.
“So what brought you to Vegas?” asked Brass.
“We’re scouting various cities around the country for investment properties,” said Xander/Takei.
Again Brass raised an eyebrow and asked, “Why aren’t you staying at one of the better hotels then? They’d be more than happy to comp you for your stay if you have a sizable investment to make.”
“My employer wants this to remain low key for now as this fact finding tour is strictly for gathering data with which to make future investment decisions,” said Xander/Takei. “Las Vegas is only one of the areas being looked at and might not meet whatever criteria my employer will use to make a final decision. Plus, we don’t want to forewarn anyone in the area we may end up having to negotiate with.”
“Your employer?” queried Brass. “I thought you were colleagues?”
“I hired Mr. Sato to accompany me on this trip,” said Xander/Takei.
“So what does Mr. Sato do?”
Xander was brought up short. They hadn’t discussed what Buffy’s persona was supposed to be in relation to their cover story.
However, Buffy/Sato spoke up again, “Since I’m standing right here, you could ask me directly.”
Xander/Takei tried not to look apprehensive as Brass turned towards Buffy/Sato and said, “Very well, Mr. Sato. What do you do for Mr. Takei?”
“I’m his security.”
Xander/Takei managed to stifle his surprise even as he wondered what Buffy/Sato was up to. Granted the statement did seem more reasonable being spoken by a Japanese man, regardless of being closer to 5 foot tall than 6, than it would coming from a petite, 100+ pound, blonde female.
Meanwhile, Brass and the officers with him stiffened with alertness and he said with a bit of menace, “I hope you have a valid carry permit.”
Buffy/Sato barely batted an eye and replied, “You Americans are too obsessed with guns. Don’t like them myself though I suppose there are a few instances where they might be useful. There are also, as you have pointed out, legal restrictions to abide by which would complicate our mission. So to answer your implied question, I don’t need a permit because I don’t have a gun.”
“Are you carrying some other type of weapon?”
“Do you wish me to surrender my No. 2 Pencil?” Buffy/Sato asked. “In the right hands it can be as deadly as any knife.”
In his years as a police officer, Brass had actually heard of a case where the victim was repeatedly stabbed with a pencil so he was half tempted to say yes, but decided that Mr. Sato was just baiting him in retaliation for denying him and Mr. Takei a chance to change out of their clothes that did indeed smell of tobacco smoke and alcohol, though there was no smell of either on their breaths.
“That’s alright,” he said with a smirk at the man’s cheek. “Just warn us if you feel the need to write anything down.”
Buffy/Sato merely did a small nod in response.
Turning back to Xander/Takei, Brass said, “I’m going to need the name of your employer and how to contact him, Mr. Takei.”
“As soon as I receive permission you shall have it,” replied Xander/Takei.
Brass was about to press the issue when Xander/Takei continued, “I am not trying to be difficult Detective Brass but my employer wishes anonymity. I cannot divulge that information just to accommodate my personal comfort. Once I have had a chance to contact my employer and explain the situation I believe I will be able to tell you. However, until that time I must abide by my employer’s wishes. Also, considering you should be able to verify that we have not been present here since we left for dinner via the hotel’s security cameras and the computer records showing we haven’t used our card keys to enter our room since then either, knowing who my employer is at this moment is not relevant to establishing our alibi.”
Brass was sorely tempted to haul the two men in on Obstruction charges but without any solid evidence, like blood on their clothing, at this point to put them in the room at the time of the murder they might use such action to get off on a technicality should they actually be involved.
Instead he said, “Don’t leave town. I may need to talk to you again.”
“Considering all our possessions are under your control, you can be assured that we will be sticking around until we can retrieve them,” replied Xander/Takei.
“That reminds me,” said Brass. “Please surrender you room keys. They’re considered evidence.”
Trying not to give threatening looks to the annoying detective, they did as requested and then moved over to the hotel desk to request a new room while their cards were put in plastic evidence bags.
Though he tried not to show it, Xander/Takei was getting worried even as they got new room keys. Their fingerprints were on the key cards as well as in their room and while it was possible they didn’t have a confirmed set of his in their system, Buffy being a State and Federal fugitive most certainly would. They were on the clock and needed to get their stuff and be gone fast. How to do it without resorting to violence was the big question.
Their spell ingredients were in their luggage. Therefore being able to use magic to distract the number of people they would have to was out of the immediate question. They might be able to use the glamour spell somehow but wasn’t sure exactly how. He really hated to think they’d have to abandon their stuff as it would make their lives on the run even more difficult.
He was still contemplating what to do as they finished up with the desk clerk to ensure they weren’t going to be charged for two rooms for the night, when a redhead, a bit taller than Buffy/Sato, approached them.
“Pardon me,” she said. “I’m Catherine Willows with the Las Vegas Crime Lab. I’m going to need to take your fingerprints.”
“What for?” asked Buffy/Sato. The concern in her voice clearly evident to all who heard it.
“As part of our investigation we need to obtain the prints of everyone who had access to your room so we can know whether any of the prints found at the scene might belong to someone who shouldn’t have been there. We call them ‘elimination prints’.”
Still seeing the concern on Buffy/Sato’s face, Catherine added, “Your prints will only be kept for as long as needed for the case and will not be put in any data base. That only happens to convicted criminals.”
//If that’s true,// thought Xander/Takei, //time might not be as short as I feared. Though it might be better not to count on that.//
Noticing the Detective’s supposed nonchalant gaze, he said, “With that assurance as to their purpose and the fact that we were not involved with whatever crime you are investigating, I don’t see any reason to deny your request.”
Buffy/Sato had seen the Detective looking at them to gauge their reaction as well and managed to school her features to just annoyance instead of fear. The man’s smirk made her want to do him great bodily harm for being a smartass over Xander/Takei’s stubbornness about naming his employer. Granted the man had a murderer to find and apprehend but it didn’t mean he had to be a hardass about it.
They were just finishing up with Catherine when a fairly good looking guy approached carrying two suitcases in large plastic bags on a luggage dolly. There were several other plastic bags with various items in them as well.
“Hey! That’s our stuff,” said Buffy/Sato.
“Right now sir, it’s evidence,” replied the dark haired man, though there did appear to be a bit of sympathy in his voice as opposed to the Detective’s.
“Where are you taking it?” asked Xander/Takei.
“To our lab,” was the man’s reply. “There are traces of blood on the outside of the suitcases and we’ll need to inspect the contents for any other evidence.”
“We will need to accompany you,” said Xander/Takei.
At their perplexed look and Brass’s look of cautious piqued interest, he continued, “We’ll be able to tell you if anything is missing which might provide you with additional evidence as to motive. It will also provide me with more information to report to my employer as to whether his involvement is needed should something be missing.”
Brass nodded at the logic.
“You aren’t allowed to ride in the same vehicle as the evidence but I can have one my men drive you,” he said as he came over to the group.
Xander/Takei hesitated for a second but finally said, “That is very kind of you, Detective. Are you sure it won’t be an inconvenience. We can drive ourselves if given directions.”
“No, inconvenience at all,” replied Brass. “You’re the ones being put out by all this after all. Plus you’ll most likely be able to get some your stuff back sooner once it’s been cleared, which should be more convenient than explaining to your boss about having to buy a whole new wardrobe.”
With that Brass motioned a nearby officer over and instructed him to drive Sato and Takei to the CSI Lab.
After the two men left with the officer, Catherine said, “OK, Jim. What’s the deal?”
“I’m getting a vibe off of them,” he replied.
“You think they’re involved?”
“Not sure but Mr. Sato seemed real nervous about being fingerprinted until you explained about ‘elimination prints’.”
“Legally that’s all I can use them for at this time,” said Catherine.
“I know but with them voluntarily at the lab, I can question them a bit more while you process their stuff and the hotel surveillance tapes are reviewed in conjunction with the room access logs to check out their alibi. Besides, you might find something that will allow a more thorough check of their prints. The neck puncture on the vic was the size that a No. 2 Pencil might make.”
At the quizzical looks from Catherine and Nick, Brass said, “Just a comment Mr. Sato made when I asked if he was armed after revealing that he was Mr. Takei’s security. He apparently doesn’t like guns.”