• Published 12th Mar 2019
  • 683 Views, 62 Comments

Return the Night, or no Deposit - totallynotabrony



Detective Fit is stuck on a case involving a spree of anti-lunar graffiti. There are no clues, and Fit is getting desperate. Desperate enough to call the craziest consultant he knows.

  • ...
2
 62
 683

Chapter 2

Once they had finished lunch, Fit said, “Since we’re here, we should show you the latest crime scene.”

“I’ve been following it with great interest in the newspapers,” said Mirror. She shrugged. “And I was following you earlier today, so I’ve seen it.”

“You can’t just follow police!” Haven protested. “And anyway, I think I would have noticed!”

Knowing Mirror’s capabilities as he did, Fit doubted that, but said, “Well, that saves some time. Let’s get back to the station and review the evidence file”

Haven watched Mirror darkly all the way there. Mirror kept looking around like a tourist as they walked through Manehattan. Fit still couldn’t believe she had shown up in the city instead of just answering his letter. He didn’t know how she had found him. Though with Mirror, there was very little that surprised him anymore after serving as her second-in-command Sergeant for a couple of years.

They paused at a corner, waiting for the traffic to clear before crossing the street. Mirror took out a spool of stiff white cord, bit a piece off, and then set the end of it on fire with a gold lighter.

Haven stared at her. “Is that lamp wick?”

Mirror offered the spool to her and said through her teeth, “Want some?” She had the non-burning end of the wick in her mouth. “You’ll get better results if you keep some kind of hydrocarbon in your cheek to fuel it. It can go for hours if you do it right.”

Haven wrinkled her nose. “Smoking kills. Even if you aren’t smoking cigarettes.”

Mirror shrugged. “Suit yourself. Fit?”

“No, thank you, ma’am.” He glanced at the wick. “Looks like you’ve upgraded.”

Haven shot him a confused look. Fit thought about explaining how Mirror usually smoked regular string, but decided that would produce even more questions.

Surprised as he was about her traveling to Manehattan to answer his letter, he was optimistic. This was the first significant development in the case since he’d been assigned to it. Granted, not one that brought him a step closer to actually solving the case. Not yet, anyway.

They crossed the street and walked to the next block. Just outside the police station, Mirror ground out the remains of her smoke and dropped it in a trash can. She followed them into the building.

If she had drawn stares out on the sidewalk, even more ponies looked at her now. Cops were territorial, and a Lunar Guard - a fed - walking in had them on edge. Not to mention the curiosity that said bat pony was otherwise out of uniform.

Fit hurried to Chief Sketchy’s office to drop off the picture of the crime scene, hoping to head him off before he came looking for it. The Chief wasn’t in, so Fit left the drawing on his desk.

Back at his own desk, Mirror was flipping through the case files while Haven gave her a disapproving look.

Mirror glanced up as Fit approached, continuing to flip through the paperwork despite not looking at it. “So have you investigated any cults?”

“Not yet,” Fit replied. There wasn’t any evidence he could think of that implied there might be a cult involved.

Mirror nodded. “Any leads?”

“Not many,” Haven replied.

“Suspects?”

“No.”

Mirror nodded. “Sounds easy.” There wasn’t a trace of sarcasm in her voice.

Haven shook her head. “I’m sorry, but what have you done that was harder than solving a case with no evidence?”

Mirror shrugged. “Not many things. Maybe writing that screenplay Springtime for Nightmare Moon. But just because I’ve never done this before doesn’t imply that it won’t have any any higher difficulty level than easy. Of course, with no historical precedent, I don’t have a scale to judge easy-to-hard.”

Haven looked at Fit, who maintained an impassive expression that he hoped portrayed his confidence in Mirror, if not actually agreement with her methods.

Another detective, Bulldog, came over. His attitude aside, he did look a lot like his namesake, bowlegged and short, with a face akin to a train wreck.

“Who’s this?” he demanded.

“This is a consultant we brought in for the graffiti case,” said Fit.

“How’s it going? Cracked Mirror.” She grinned broadly and shook his hoof.

“What’s with your getup?” he said, gesturing at her.

“Hmm?”

“Why are you a bat pony?”

“Why does your face look like a train wreck?” Mirror responded.

That was exactly how Fit had mentally described Bulldog. Mirror had an uncanny ability to do that. Fit didn’t think she was a mind reader. He knew that her freewheeling nature concealed one of the sharpest observers he’d ever met, and she probably just knew Fit well enough to know what he was thinking.

Bulldog fumbled before snapping back, “I asked you first!”

“I asked you rhetorically.”

Bulldog’s jowls opened but no sound came out. He shook his head and spun around. “Wait ‘till the boss gets a load of this.” He stalked away.

Fit could only imagine how Chief Sketchy would respond. He didn’t have long to wait to find out, though.

“You call this a drawing of a crime scene?” Sketchy demanded, coming over with the paper Fit had left on his desk.

“Oh! Can I see?” asked Mirror.

Fit tried to soothe things before they got out of control, because nothing good could come from his hard-nosed Chief meeting his quirky case advisor. “Boss, this is a consultant we brought in to help with the case. She’s very experienced.”

Sketchy eyed her. “What kind of experience?”

“I was a Lunar Guard station commander for a couple of years.”

It had been more than just a couple, though Fit didn’t know exactly how long she’d been in the service. Longer than him.

“We don’t have the budget for a consultant,” Sketchy said.

“Oh no, this is for free.”

That surprised Fit as much as anypony else.

“It’s personal,” Mirror added.

That, too.

“It sounds like a conflict of interest,” said Sketchy.

“Well you see, if I’m not on the payroll, then how can I be said to be acting in the interests of the police? And therefore, the results I get will be technically from an impartial third party.”

“You said it was personal,” Sketchy shot back. “How can you be impartial?”

“I’m not currently involved in the legal system, so if I’m not part of the prosecution or defense, then in the eyes of the court, I’m not included at all. I’ve been involved in a lot of cases of perversions of justice and could argue technicalities, but we don’t have that kind of time.”

Sketchy shifted his posture, as if taking a stance for a boxing match. “Humor me.”

“What’s the Mare in the Moon’s favorite music?” Mirror grinned.

Sketchy’s face went blank. “What are you talking about?”

“You said to humor you.”

Sketchy blinked, shook his head, and shot a flat stare at Fit.

“Moon Rock,” said Fit quietly. “It’s an old joke in the Lunar Guard.”

Sketchy swung back to Mirror. “What’s a Lunar Guard even doing here? Don’t you have your own cases to work on?”

“You’d think so,” Mirror replied. “I’m between stations at the moment.”

“I’m not going to accept this infringement on the authority of the Manehattan Police,” said Sketchy. “We don’t need help with this case, and I’ve half a mind to write a letter to the Commissioner of the Lunar Guard.”

“I tried that once,” said Mirror. She shrugged. “Well, see you later.”

She walked away towards the door, seemingly completely unperturbed by the abbreviated conversation. Sketchy grumbled under his breath and glared at Fit. “Turn down your collar.”

Fit did, again.

Sketchy gave him and Haven one last look and headed back for his office.

When they were alone, Haven asked under her breath, “What’s her deal?”

“She...has her own way of doing things. It doesn’t make any sense.” Fit paused. “But I wouldn’t have contacted her if I didn’t think she could help.”

Haven took a breath and let it out. “Well, I hope she can.”

The two of them filed some paperwork. Fit considered it, and then opened a new file for paperwork produced on the case while Mirror was around. He had an optimistic feeling he was going to need it.

Fit had to admit, Cracked Mirror was a nut. But he knew from personal experience she was also a talented guard and one heck of a commanding officer.

He just wished he had been able to solve the case himself.

The afternoon ticked away as he stewed in his disappointment until it was time to go. Fit and Haven parted ways at the door. He headed for the gym.

They knew him there. He probably got more respect there than at the police station, too. Improving one’s body was about effort. Police work was...well, so far effort hadn’t paid off.

He picked up a few heavy things, ran some, and finished off with an instructor-led yoga class.

He was dating the instructor, but that was only partially the reason he went.

After the workout, Fit took a shower. He came out of the locker room with his gym bag. Tree Hugger was waiting for him, still in her yoga outfit.

“Hey, really righteous workout today,” she said. They kissed.

She tipped her head, studying his face. “Is there, like, something bothering you?”

Was there? “Just work stuff,” said Fit. He hoped that was all it was. He did appreciate her asking, though.

She didn’t know it, but Fit was slowly piecing together his proposal. He had the ring. He just needed a good time and place.

But no need to rush things. They were already together.

The two of them left the gym for home.