*** Manhattan, New York
April 13th, 1995
“Fields of hope…”
The crowd burst into applause as the pretty pink-haired performer took her last bow of the night as she finished her song. Many people got up to cheer, and, at a particular table in the upscale lounge, a certain shaggy-black haired man put his fingers in his mouth and gave a loud whistle.
“Shinn! Stop that,” a pretty blonde haired girl commanded, laughing slightly. “She’s not a cabaret performer in a bar.”
“Too talented and too pretty,” a brown haired young man agreed, clapping and turning to a man with longish navy colored hair who was already making his way towards the stage. “Typical Athrun.”
“Bought his gorgeous fiancée flowers,” Shinn remarked as he saw Athrun present the pink roses to the singer as she left the stage. The two shared a soft, but long, kiss, and he rolled his eyes. “Can you believe him? You’d think he’d get a bit more original after awhile.”
“I wish that you’d get me flowers sometimes,” the blonde girl elbowed him in the gut and he buckled slightly. “Seriously Shinn, I don’t think you have a romantic bone in your body.”
“Thank you all so much for coming everybody,” the pink haired singer said, sitting down at the table and reaching for her champagne glass as Athrun sat down next to her. “Did you enjoy my performance?”
“It was amazing, Lacus,” the brown haired man commented, smiling.
“Thanks so much for inviting us,” the blonde haired girl added in. “It was really great to see you perform here in Manhattan.”
“That’s Cagalli, always the flatterer,” Athrun teased, sending a small smile across the table.
“And I should thank Kira for his exaggerated praise as well,” Lacus remarked to the brown-haired man.
“Exaggerating, us?” Kira laughed.
“No way,” added Cagalli.
“All right, we need a toast,” Shinn remarked, standing up and sighing. They all raised their glasses, and Shinn racked his brains for a toast to say. “Umm…to an amazing performance from Lacus, to our engaged love birds,” he motioned his glass to Athrun and Lacus, “and to the five of us.”
“To the five of us!” Cagalli agreed, standing up to complete the toast. “And to my favorite guy, Shinn,” she turned to him, linking her arm in his and giving him a small wink. “May he follow Athrun’s lead.”
Shinn blushed slightly and sat down, flustered. Kira laughed, “Look! He’s embarrassed.”
“When are you and Cagalli getting engaged, Shinn?” Lacus asked and Shinn smiled, putting his arm around Cagalli.
“We haven’t talked about it much,” he remarked, smiling at Cagalli. “But, hey, you know what?” he raised his glass and swished around the champagne inside. “We’ve got all the time in the world, right?” With that, he downed one more sip and then gave Cagalli an affectionate peck on the cheek.
“Right,” Cagalli smiled. “All the time in the world…”
Manhattan, New York
May 19th, 1995
A black night covered the asphalt of the parking lot like a velvet blanket strewn over a shivering child. A looming warehouse stood in the back, casting a shadow over the light pouring into the lot by flickering street lamps.
Contrasting the white and black of the area was a growing pool of red, slowing forming around a man with matching color eyes.
A boy, about eighteen years old, lay on the ground, blood pooling around him. Headphones were dangling on the ground; a CD player in his backpack. His sweater had a looming hole in his right near his chest, and he stared up at the sky, his eyes wide open.
Shinn Asuka lay in that cold parking lot.
COLD CASE FILES
File #1 – May 19th, 1995
Case File: COLD
Manhattan, New York
January 12th, 2006
“Dearka, how many times have I told you that I take my cappuccino without the disgusting sugar froth on the top?” Yzak Jule, one the investigators in Manhattan’s homicide unit, was walking to work with his co-detective, Dearka Elsman.
“Oh, sorry, this one’s yours,” Dearka pulled the other cappuccino out and handed it to his white-haired sullen friend, grabbing the offending coffee out of his hands. “You on edge or something today Yzak? Usually you just kind of scrape off the white stuff.”
“Shiho didn’t return my call,” he muttered, shaking his head slightly.
“Didn’t you just call her last night?” Dearka asked, raising an eyebrow.
“That was the last time I called her,” Yzak muttered. “I’ve been calling her regularly for the past week. I think she’s intent on avoiding me.”
“Ahh, those are the pains of love my friend,” Dearka smiled lightly. “What did you do to piss her off anyway?”
“Nothing, as usual,” Yzak snapped, taking another large gulp of his drink. “Probably just mad about my work and stuff.”
“Speaking of work,” Dearka looked up to see that they were approaching their office. “We’re here.”
“Dearka! Yzak! There you are!”
The two turned around to see a bouncy woman with short reddish pink hair approaching them, shivering despite her long red overcoat. “Lucky bums, you scored cappuccinos. The Coffee shop near my house is packed, as usual. And it’s so cold today!”
“This is Manhattan in the winter,” Yzak remarked. “What did you expect, Lunamaria?”
“I see you’re in a good mood,” Lunamaria Hawke, their fellow detective, remarked as the three walked up the stairs to the large homicide department building of the police headquarters. “Hung over? Or is it girl troubles?”
“The latter,” Dearka smiled.
“Good morning, Rey,” Luna smiled at the long blonde haired man already sitting at his desk and working diligently. He was one to always arrive early, leave late, and work as hard as possible to get his job done as a member of the same homicide division as the other three. “Has Boss come up with anything for us?”
“She hasn’t arrived yet,” Rey said, standing up and nodding to Dearka and Yzak as a sort of hello.
“The nerve,” Luna huffed, sitting at her desk. “And after we got here on time too!”
“You can stop complaining now Luna.”
Luna jumped about a foot as she heard a voice from behind her. The four detectives turned around to see their boss, Murrue Ramius, walking towards them, taking off her coat and walking towards her office. “We’ve got a case we’re digging up again. I want you all in my office, now.”
“Y-yes ma’am!” Luna nodded, and the others cracked small smiles as they got up and followed Murrue to her office.
“The victim is Shinn Asuka, age nineteen, killed by a gunshot to the chest in ’95,” Yzak read off the file.
Dearka turned to Murrue. “He was in a pretty dangerous part of the neighborhood. Mugging gone bad?”
“Nothing stolen,” Murrue said. “His pockets, his wallet, his credit cards, nothing was touched. This looks pretty deliberate.”
“Any leads?” Rey asked, as usual getting straight to the point.
“A few. His friends back in ’95,” Murrue said. “Here’s the list,” she passed it to Luna.
“Kira Yamato, age thirty, Cagalli Yula Athha, age thirty,” Luna read, “Athrun Zala, age thirty-one, and Lacus Clyne Zala, age thirty-one.” She looked up. “Lacus Clyne Zala?”
“Married to Athrun in ’96, one year after Shinn’s murder,” Yzak read off the file. “Happily married for ten years. No kids.”
“Says here she was Athrun’s fiancée since ’93,” Luna said. “Pretty long engagement, don’t you think? And at age seventeen?”
“Arranged?” Rey asked.
“By their fathers, yes,” Murrue said. “They all knew Shinn. Rey and Luna, you’re heading over to the Zala’s. Dearka and Yzak, I want you two to give Ms. Athha a visit.”
“Why her?” Yzak asked.
“Because she’s Shinn’s old girlfriend.”
“Shinn was one of my closest friends ten years ago,” Athrun Zala, aged ten years, said, putting down coffee in front of the Rey and Luna and sitting down on the couch next to his pink-haired wife, Lacus. “We were all shocked when we heard he had been murdered.”
“We assumed it was a robbery,” Lacus said, folding her hands in her lap, Athrun’s arm around her.
“But nothing was stolen,” Luna said. “Which meant the killer was after something else.”
“Who would want to kill Shinn?” Lacus asked, raising her eyebrows. “Shinn was always kind…a little wild sometimes, but kind all the same.”
“Wild?” Luna asked.
“How so?” Rey continued.
“His behavior never bothered any of us,” Athrun assured them. “Well…except Kira that is.”
“Kira Yamato you mean?” Rey asked. “Shinn’s friend?”
“Kira never said it,” Athrun said. “But he didn’t exactly approve of the way Shinn behaved sometimes…”
Manhattan, New York
March 1st, 1995
Loud music banged into the ears of the three men, Athrun, Shinn, and Kira, as they sat in Athrun’s dorm room, sneaking beers and watching Shinn jump on the bed, drunk, with his shirt tied around his waist, his chest bare. “Wooo! Athrun, my friend, you know how to throw a party!” he roared, jumping down and laughing.
“Shinn, maybe you should hold off on the beers,” Kira said, reaching for the can near Shinn, only to have the black haired boy rip it away and chug the entire thing in one gulp. “Dude, you’re going to have a massive headache in the morning…”
“You are so uptight Kira,” Shinn smiled.
“And you’re grumpy,” Athrun joked. “Except when you’re drunk that is.”
“Oh, you’re right,” Shinn gave a drunken laugh and stumbled over to his bag. “I’m so grumpy, I should just kill myself right now!” Shinn threw his hand into his duffel bag and pulled out nothing other then a gun.
“Shinn!” Kira gasped as Shinn held the gun about a foot away from his temple. “Shinn, what the hell are you doing?”
“I’m ending it all Kira!” Shinn took a deep breath. “I can’t go on like this…”
“Shinn, you’re drunk! Put the gun down!” Kira stood up, making his way over to Shinn.
“Kira! Don’t take one more step or I’ll fire!” Shinn threatened, stepping back. “Don’t make one more move or I’ll kill myself!”
“SHINN!” Kira ran forward, and Shinn pulled the trigger.
To reveal a long flag with the word “bang” on it. A classic prank toy.
Kira’s face was drained of color, then immediately turned a soft pink as Shinn began laughing uproariously. “You dork! I can’t believe you actually fell for that!” Shinn laughed, falling against the closet and sliding down, still drunk out of his mind. “You’re such a loser, Kira!”
Kira, flustered and embarrassed, turned around, walked back towards Athrun, and grabbed his coat. “Kira, wait!” Athrun called after his best friend, only to have Kira stalk over to Shinn and kneel down to face the boy straight in the eye.
“You’d better watch your back,” he muttered to Shinn, who was now actually looking slightly sober, or at least sober enough to listen to what Kira was saying. “Or else someone might just fire a real one of those at you.”
With that, Kira turned to the door of the large dormitory, threw open the door, and shut it behind him, leaving a very weirded out Shinn and a very concerned Athrun behind.
Manhattan, New York
January 12th, 2006
“So Kira directly threatened him?” Rey asked, sipping his coffee lightly.
“He wasn’t serious,” Athrun said. “And just because Shinn liked to humiliate Kira didn’t mean that Kira was one who put that bullet in Shinn’s chest.”
“Wait, he liked humiliating Kira?” Luna asked, raising an eyebrow. “This little gun charade was one of many?”
“In a way, yes,” Athrun sighed. “Shinn… No one knew why, but Shinn was always out to get Kira.”
“It wasn’t enough to make him murder someone,” Lacus interrupted. “Kira didn’t murder Shinn.”
“We’ll have to talk to him all the same,” Rey said, taking out his notepad and pushing it forward to Athrun. “Could you give us his address?”
“Yeah, that’s me,” a woman with short cut blonde hair, wearing cargo pants and a red tee-shirt said, standing in the door to her apartment in front of Yzak and Dearka. They both flashed their badges and her eyes widened slightly.
“My name’s Lieutenant Elsman, and this is Lieutenant Jule,” Dearka said, trying to keep the conversation light. “We’re officers in NYPD.”
“We’re looking back into the murder of your ex, Shinn Asuka,” Yzak said, getting straight to the point and ignoring Dearka’s small talk. “Can we come in?”
“Sure. The place is messy, but I doubt you care much,” Cagalli smiled slightly, opening the door to let the detectives into the small apartment. “Coffee? Hot chocolate?”
“Coffee sounds great,” Dearka agreed, and Yzak shook his head.
“So coffee for Elsman and a scowl from Jule,” Cagalli joked, smiling. Dearka couldn’t help but smile at his partner, who was now pouting slightly. “You two always work together?”
“There are two others in our force,” Dearka said. “Not to mention our boss, Searge, but she doesn’t usually do interviews.”
“She? A female boss in NYPD? That’s cool to see,” Cagalli smiled, pouring coffee into a chipped mug for Dearka. “Not bad.”
“I hate to be a kill joy,” Yzak interrupted.
“I think that’s pretty much your job description,” Cagalli laughed. Yzak was growing more and more frustrated.
“But we need to talk about Shinn’s murder,” he finally blurted out. Cagalli frowned and put her arm on the chair.
“What about him?” she asked.
“Exactly what was your relationship with Shinn?” Dearka asked. “We know he was your boyfriend, but not much else.”
“That’s right, he was my boyfriend,” Cagalli said. “What else is there?”
“Suddenly pretty defensive,” Yzak shot out, but Dearka quickly covered.
“Anything else? Between you I mean,” Dearka said. “Anything that might connect to him or his murder.”
Cagalli gave a heavy sigh, and then turned to the two detectives. “I was in love with Shinn. A part of me still is, I think. I mean, maybe it’s because I’m thirty years old and living by myself in a crummy apartment, but I haven’t dated anyone since Shinn.”
“Eleven years since like a pretty long time to go without a date,” Yzak said.
“Yzak would know,” Dearka teased, only to have Yzak give him a sullen frown. Cagalli, however, didn’t smile.
“Shinn really was the love of my life,” Cagalli sighed, looking at the dull wooden coffee table. “And, in a way, we were more then just boyfriend and girlfriend…”
Manhattan, New York
April 22nd, 1995
“I love you,” Cagalli whispered to Shinn as the two danced slowly together, rocking backwards and forwards to the music in the large club. The DJ’s, usually filling the place with awkward, but fun, rap music and heavy rock, was playing one of the occasionally slow songs, and Cagalli had taken no time in grabbing her shaggy black haired boyfriend and pulling him into a dance.
“I…I love you too,” Shinn said, blushing slightly. Cagalli smiled. Shinn always had a very tough time at expressing his love for Cagalli or anyone else for that matter.
Cagalli glanced over at Lacus and Athrun, who were currently dancing in each other’s arms, their eyes closed, resting their heads on each other. “Do you think they’re going to get married soon?”
“Maybe,” he said gruffly, his face still pink.
“I wish we could be like them,” Cagalli blurted out. She looked up at Shinn and blushed, trying to recover her steps. “I-I mean…I didn’t mean it like that! I mean…we’re only eighteen years old a-and we shouldn’t rush stuff an-and!”
Shinn silenced Cagalli with a large hug. As his arms flew around her back, squeezing her tight, she gasped. “Sh-Shinn?”
“Cagalli Yula Athha?”
Cagalli gasped as Shinn began to drop down on one knee right in front of her. People began to turn and watch the two. Lacus and Athrun stopped dancing, and Kira stopped dancing with his partner to turn and watch them. Everyone was holding their breath. “Will you marry me?” He reached into his jeans pocket and popped out a velvet box.
With only the slow song playing in the background, Cagalli fumbled and opened the box to reveal a beautiful golden ring with a diamond and garnet encrusted in it. She smiled and threw her arms around Shinn. “Of course, you doofus!”
People began to clap and cheer as Shinn lifted her up and spun her around, kissing her and jumping up and down together. Athrun, Lacus, and Kira all clapped, smiling widely at the two as Shinn slipped the ring on her finger.
And the song playing in the background, “If You Love Me” by Brownstone, was completely drained out by the celebration unfolding between the two.
Manhattan, New York
January 12th, 2006
“So you and Shinn were engaged a month before he was killed?” Dearka asked.
“I’ll never forget that night,” Cagalli smiled, shaking her head. “And that song, ‘If You Love Me’? That became ‘our song’,” she shook her head again. “So cheesy, huh?”
“Not really,” Yzak muttered, offering his first positive comment of the day.
“Maybe I’m still waiting,” Cagalli smiled, shrugging. “Waiting for Shinn to come back and marry me. He promised, didn’t he?” she smiled, shrugging. “Oh well. What’s that saying? Promises are meant to be broken?”
“Kira Yamato? My name is Lieutenant Za Burrel,” Rey said, flashing his badge along with Luna in front of a spacious apartment, where a brunette young man stood, looking at them oddly. “And this is Lieutenant Hawke. NYPD.”
“We’re looking into the murder of Shinn Asuka, back in ’95,” Luna said, stepping forward. “May we come in? Ask you a few questions?”
“Of course,” Kira said, opening the door to let the two detectives in. “Come right in. Can I get you anything to drink?”
“I’m fine,” Rey said.
“Have you got any hot cocoa?” Luna asked, shivering slightly. “It’s freezing out there, you know!”
“Sure,” Kira smiled, walking over to his stove and opening up a cabinet. “What did you want to ask me?”
“We’ve heard, Mr. Yamato,” Luna began, “that you and Shinn weren’t always on the friendliest of terms.”
“Well, that’s definitely true,” Kira smiled. “Shinn and I were like oil and water. We just didn’t mix.”
“We’ve heard that he frequently humiliated you,” Rey said. “Did it wear your nerves after awhile?”
“If you’re asking if I offed him because we didn’t get along, the answer is a definite ‘no’,” Kira said, still smiling. “And anyway, Shinn had a lot bigger problems then me to deal with.”
“What do you mean by ‘bigger’?” Luna asked.
“Athrun,” Kira said, closing the cabinet. “Athrun had it out for Shinn ever since he fell for Cagalli.”
“Wait, Athrun liked Cagalli?” Luna asked, looking at Kira and then glancing at Rey.
“What about his fiancée?” Rey asked. “Lacus Clyne?”
“I’m sure Athrun loved Lacus just fine,” Kira shrugged, pouring the chocolate powder into the bowling water on the stove. “But Cagalli was his secret ambition. Every man needs an outlet for his wilder side, doesn’t he?”
“What about Cagalli?” Rey asked. “Did she respond to Athrun’s advances?”
“What advances?” Kira laughed. “Athrun didn’t do anything about the fact that he was head over heels for Cagalli. He was never a home-wrecker.”
Manhattan, New York
April 15th, 1995
“Torque…” Cagalli said, placing down the letters on the Scrabble board with Shinn. “How many points it that for us?”
“Well, Q on a triple letter score,” Shinn said, leaning over Cagalli and cheerfully playing with her ear. “I can’t count that high. You know I suck at math.”
“Let’s just call it a game,” Kira sighed. “You two are dominating anyway.”
“Oh yeah! The ShinnCaga team rules again!” Cagalli pumped her fist and gave Shinn a high-five. He smiled at her, shrugging.
“I want to challenge that.”
The group looked up to see Athrun staring at Shinn and Cagalli. “I’ve never heard of ‘torque’. I want to challenge.”
“Athrun, the game’s over,” Lacus smiled, putting her hand on Athrun’s shoulder, only to have him shrug her off as he reached for the dictionary.
“What are you trying to prove anyway, Athrun?” Cagalli laughed, looking at the navy haired man.
Athrun looked up as Shinn gathered Cagalli into his lap and began nuzzling her neck lightly. Athrun’s eyes narrowed as he harshly flipped the pages of the dictionary. “Well, is it there?” Shinn asked.
Athrun glanced down the page and nodded. “Yeah, it’s there…you win again Shinn.”
“Hear that Caga-hun? We win,” Shinn smirked at Athrun and then gave Cagalli a deep kiss. Athrun stood up and walked towards the kitchen, Lacus and Kira looking after him, concerned looks on their faces.
Manhattan, New York
January 12th, 2006
“So Athrun liked Cagalli,” Rey began.
“And therefore despised Shinn,” Luna ended and Kira nodded, bringing the pink haired girl a mug of hot chocolate that she gratefully took.
“ ‘Despised’ is strong,” Kira said. “But he definitely didn’t like Shinn much. And Athrun…well…he had something to gain if Shinn died.”
“You’re pinning Shinn’s murder on your best friend?” Rey asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Justice is blind, right?"
“So what have we got?” Yzak asked Dearka, pouring over the files at their desks, Dearka sitting on Yzak’s. “Cagalli is Shinn’s fiancée, and then he kicks the bucket a month later. Can we cross her off the suspect list.”
“She doesn’t seem to have a motive,” Dearka shrugged. “And do we even have a suspect list yet? Do we even need a suspect list?”
“Add two more people to it,” Luna said, walking into the office with Rey. “Kira Yamato and Athrun Zala. Turns out Shinn made a hobby of humiliating Kira.”
“And that Athrun was in love with Shinn’s girl, Cagalli,” Rey said. “Giving them both motives to kill Shinn.”
“Well then, I suppose we have some work to do tomorrow,” Murrue commented, walking by their desks, a file in her hand. “Athrun and Cagalli are our interview subjects tomorrow. I want you both pressing them with questions about their relationship, got that?”
“Ma’am, I think that Lieutenant Elsman and I should handle Cagalli,” Yzak said, standing up. “We have past experience.”
“Actually, I think it would be good to have a woman’s touch on this one,” Murrue smiled at Luna. “Luna, you’ll head to Cagalli’s with Yzak, while Dearka and Rey will pay a visit to Athrun.”
“Yes, boss,” Luna smiled, sitting back down at her desk and turning to Yzak. “So we’ll head out tomorrow morning, okay Yzak?”
“Sure, whatever,” Yzak shrugged. “Just follow my lead, Hawke. This woman is hiding something, I’m sure of it.”
“Hey! Mr. One Month my senior is getting all up in my face, huh?” Luna teased, making Yzak blush once again. “Sorry, sir,” she said sarcastically. “I’ll make sure to ‘follow your lead’.”
“Enough of this, you guys,” Murrue sighed, shaking her head. “You all have your assignments. Go home and get some sleep.”