As you can imagine with a story about a serial killer, the theme can be a little dark. I'll never go out of my way to be gruesome or graphic, this is just a warning for those thinking this will be a comedy.

"I can't believe I'm already on an investigation! The Academy told us we'd have to do boring constable stuff first! Ice Freak is gunna be so jealous when he finds—"

"Natsu!" Erza cut across Natsu's cheery babbling.


"Remember when I said 'justice isn't frivolous'?"



Natsu scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "I don't know what frivolous means."

Erza rolled her eyes. "It means you have to be serious! And it can start with your hair! I want that ridiculous pink dye washed out by tomorrow!" She scolded.

"But it's not—"

The pair strode through the front doors of Whitechapel Police Station, Erza leading boldly, Natsu on her heels grinning eagerly. A frail old man greeted them as they reached the front desk.

"Can I help you kids?" His eyes slowly scanned from Erza, down to Natsu.

Erza coughed. "We're detectives from the MPS, here to see Constable Edwards about the Buck's Row murder."

"Really?" His eyes hovered on Natsu's hair for a moment. "Well I'm Constable Edwards…right this way."

Somewhat hesitantly, the constable led them into a small room in the back of the station. A large table dominated the space, covered in photos. A policeman was sitting in the corner shaking slightly; he jumped up as Erza entered.

"First on the scene?" Erza asked sharply.

"Yes…ma'am." The policeman moved under the light in the centre of the room and Erza immediately softened her tone. He was as white as a ghost, his skin punctuating the dark rings under his eyes.

"Tell me what happened…please."

The policeman swallowed nervously and began reciting the words that must have been racing around his head all morning.

"I was on my usual beat through Whitechapel, started about 3am…nothing to report to begin with, I even walked down Buck's Row about 3.15 and didn't notice anything. Apparently there was some commotion river-side, a brawl between an officer and a delinquent, but that area isn't part of my route."

"Er, yes, never mind about that, it's unrelated." Erza muttered quickly.

The policeman nodded and continued. "It got to about 3.40, I was stationed outside a hospital when two men ran up to me and told me they'd found a body of a woman in Buck's Row."

"Did you get their names?" Erza inquired, pulling out a notepad and beginning to write.

"Yes, a Mr. Cross and a Mr. Paul, both cart drivers. I believe it was Mr. Cross that found her first."

"And did they say anything of note?" Erza asked, scribbling away.

The policeman swallowed again and continued, his voice slightly hoarser. "Not much. Mr. Cross believed she was dead, Mr. Paul disagreed, said he couldn't see much blood. Apparently her skirt was…raised, originally, but they had pulled it back down over her…"

"Right". Erza cut across, saving him from finishing his sentence. "So then you went to inspect the body?"

"Yes ma'am. Her throat had been slit and there several stab wounds across her middle section…the doctor's report is on the table if you want more details…" The policeman trailed off with a whisper.

Erza nodded silently, her pencil a blur with movement. When she'd caught up she opened her mouth to speak, but Natsu jumped in before her.

"You're doing well, officer!"

The policeman snapped out of his trance, blinking blearily, noticing Natsu for the first time. A small smile forced itself onto his face as he nodded slightly.

'How is it even possible to smile that wide?' Erza shook her head, observing the cheerful grin Natsu was returning.

"Yes. Anyway. Then what happened?"

"I signalled with my lantern for assistance, and another officer turned up. He went to fetch a doctor. I stayed with the body and moved along on-lookers. At about 4.00 the doctor arrived and..."

"He declared her dead." Erza finished. The policeman nodded helplessly.

"I'm sorry…I've seen a lot of things…and I know it's not the first time…but…" He was stuttering uncontrollably now, looking like he was on the verge of breaking down.

"It's alright, we'll take it from here!" Natsu interjected again, jumping forward and punching the officer lightly on the shoulder. Once again, he seemed to snap out of a downward spiral, and smiled weakly.

"Thank you for your help." Erza added, punctuating her notes and stepping away from the door. "That'll be all, gentleman."

The two Whitechapel policeman left eagerly, leaving Erza and Natsu alone, the room itself seemingly giving off an eerily dark vibe.

Oblivious to the grim nature of their case, Natsu bounded forward and grabbed the crime scene photos, but Erza swooped in and snatched them out of his hands.


Erza held them above her head, just out of reach from a jumping Natsu.

"Before we begin, really begin, I have to know—"

Erza used her other hand to grab Natsu and force him to stand still for a moment.

"—are you ready for this?"

Natsu went to open his mouth but Erza pre-empted him.

"I mean really ready. I don't have time to give you the rookie treatment. There are things you're going to see that—"

"Erza." Natsu looked her square in the eye. "I can handle it."

Erza's mouth tightened. She was torn. This kid would only drag her down, she'd get a lot more work done and save both their careers if he was out of the way. On the other hand, this was going to be a slog of an investigation, prostitutes had few known contacts, and even fewer that would come forward to help. Dealing in love and money, several clients a night, add in some alcohol, and you had a vast amount of suspects, motives, and doors to knock on.

"Fine. Don't smudge them." Erza handed the photos over to an instantly jubilant Natsu. She instead started reading the doctor's report.

Arrived at the scene at approximately 4am. Extremities still warm. She can't have been deceased longer than 30 minutes.

Five teeth missing, slight laceration of the tongue. Bruise running along the lower part of the jaw on the right side of the face. Circular bruise on the left side of the face.

On the left side of the neck, about 1 inch below the jaw, there is an incision about 4 inches in length, running from a point immediately below the ear. This incision completely severed all the tissues down to the vertebrae. The large vessels of the neck on both sides were severed. The incision was about 8 inches in length.

Moving down, there are no injuries on the body until the lower part of the abdomen. Two or three inches from the left side is a wound running in a jagged manner. The wound is a very deep one, and the tissues are cut through. There are several incisions running across the abdomen. There are three or four similar cuts running downwards, on the right side. It is my belief that all the injuries have been caused by the same instrument.

-Dr Rees Llewellyn

Erza put the report down and inspected a diagram that the doctor had drawn, illustrating the location of the incisions. She wasn't looking forward to seeing the actual photos. As if on cue, Natsu dropped the photos back on the table and sighed deeply, still, unbelievably, smiling.

"Something amusing about the case, Dragneel?" Erza asked coldly.

Natsu didn't respond immediately, his eyes staring off into the distance.

"Yeah. I'm really looking forward to beating this guy up!"

Erza was so taken aback with the response that she found herself smiling, although she quickly reverted to her normal stony expression when Natsu looked at her.

"We don't beat people up, we just arrest them." Erza explained, deliberately ignoring the hypocrisy of her words.

"Not even a little?" Natsu asked innocently.

Erza fought down another urge to smile. "Well…I can't be keeping an eye on you every second we have him in custody…"

"YES! I'm all fired up!" Natsu punched the air.

"Don't get too excited, we still have to catch him first." Erza quickly reminded him.

The pair exchanged documents, although Erza noticed that Natsu barely looked at the doctor's report, instead spending more time examining the diagram. 'Laziness? Or maybe he already ascertained her injuries from the photos?'

Erza looked at the photos for herself and was immediately surprised by the lack of blood. 'Was she killed elsewhere then moved? All those wounds…'

Erza put the photos down and picked up a half-finished report from one of the Whitechapel detectives.

Victim identified as a prostitute by an onlooker at the scene, verified later by an embarrassed constable who would prefer to remain anonymous. Name, age, address, unknown. Appears to be in her mid-30s, shabbily dressed, clothing labelled 'Lambeth Workhouse'.

Erza looked back across at Natsu, still frowning at the diagram. 'At least we have a lead.'

"Dragneel. Collect all the paperwork, we're heading out."

"Where are we going?" Natsu asked, scrabbling the papers together without looking.

"The scene of the crime."

Thanks for reading, reviews always appreciated.