I'm jarred awake by the screaming of my alarm. Finding the button, I hold it until the alarm shuts up. I sit up and stretch, allowing a giant yawn to escape. The fog that had followed me last night seems to have passed. Mushu joins me in bed, rubbing against my back and purring.
I smile. "Good morning, Mushu." He purrs louder. Pulling the blanket off my legs, I begin my morning routine.
As normal, I arrive at work around eight. Elliot sits at our desk, typing away on his computer. I plop down in my chair across from him.
"Were you here all night?" I ask.
Elliot snorts. "Please. Give me some credit."
"Alright, did you actually go home last night instead of coming here to finish yesterday's reports?"
"Now that sounds more like me, but no. I finished the reports last night."
"I'm so proud of you." I smile sweetly at him as he glances at me then rolls his eyes.
Logging onto my computer, I pull up our case file. Everything seems to be in order. "Hey, do we have Mr. Hardy's phone number? I still want to talk with his son."
"Five steps ahead of you. I called him right after I got in the morning. We're going to go talk to his son this afternoon. Over Skype. In his office." I glance at Elliot; his eyes have wandered to some random point and have glazed over in thought. "That didn't seem wrong until just now," he says offhandedly.
I snicker as Elliot comes back to Earth. "I'll take it."
"Why do you want to talk to Thomas Hardy anyways?"
"I just want to ask him a couple of questions. See if his situation is anything like mine or completely different."
Elliot nods thoughtfully. "Fair enough." His eyes zero in on something behind me.
I turn in my chair to see Jeb briskly walking towards us. He looks flustered and annoyed. Usually not a good sign with someone as easy- going as Jeb. Reaching our desk, he slams his hands down.
Fixing me with a pointed look, he says "Morgue." Shifting his look to Elliot he says, "Now."
Apparently, this is all he has to say, for he turns on his heel and stalks back towards the labs and examination rooms. Elliot and I share a curious glance before standing and following.
We keep pace with Jeb's stalk all the way to the exam room. The sliding doors swish open and Jeb turns on us. "My expertise only goes so far. Sure, the last two times I looked at bodies on your case it was a bit strange, but this- this is completely impossible. There is no way this could have happened. Understand?"
Elliot pulls back slightly. Jeb is completely unhinged, it would seem. I bob my head slowly twice. Jeb releases a pent-up breath and turns around once more. He mutters something under his breath as Elliot and I glance once more at each other. Elliot's look of mild concern matches my own. I'm slightly unnerved as Jeb leads us farther into the exam room.
He stops at the table that holds my doppelgänger. Without hesitating he pulls the sheet covering off. I don't know how to process what I'm seeing. I can hear Elliot trying to form words.
My doppelgänger is now no more than a shriveled-up mummy.
"I was going to put the body in one of the individual cells this morning but found it like this," Jeb explains.
"How?!" I demand.
"I haven't the slightest. I'm no expert on mummies but I know they just don't happen overnight."
"That is correct," a new voice comments.
Elliot and I spin around as Jeb yanks the sheet over my doppelgänger- turned- mummy. I hadn't even heard the door open. A man with black hair and hazel eyes stands at the entry to the exam room. He's black-clad and has a manila folder tucked under one arm.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" Elliot asks.
The man looks at Elliot. It's silent for a few seconds before he answers. "Detective Elijah Miles, Night Division. My boss sent me."
I cross my arms. "Well, you can leave. There's nothing here for Night Division."
Detective Miles slides his gaze to me. Without breaking eye contact he walks over until he's standing right in front of me. He's half a head taller than I am, so I'm forced to tilt my head up to keep eye contact. "The doppelgänger case is now under Night Division's jurisdiction."
"Excuse me? This is Day Division's case. You people can't just walk in here and claim it as your own."
He shrugs. "I don't really care. I just take the cases that are assigned to me."
"That doesn't negate the fact that this is Day Division's case."
Before Detective Miles can respond the doors hiss open. "Elliot! Winter!" Laci's voice exclaims. Her footsteps stop as the door slides shut. "I see you've met Detective Miles."
"And I want an explanation." I don't look away from Detective Miles.
Laci's steps quickly approach our tense group and she wedges herself between Detective Miles and me.
"Chief just got the memo like five minutes ago. He sent me to find you, Elliot, and Detective Miles. He wants to see all of you in his office."
Laci levels me with a cold stare. Her way of warning me no to push it. I'm not about to pick a fight with Laci, so I back down. Spinning towards Elliot, I head to the door of the examination room, intent on heading straight to Chief O'Brien's office. I don't bother looking back to be sure if Elliot followed; I don't want to see Detective Miles following.
I don't bother knocking when I reach the chief's office- I barge right in. Chief O'Brien is on the phone, so he holds up a finger telling me to wait.
I hear the door open behind me. A few seconds pass and then it closes. I hear footsteps stop on my left and glance over. I immediately look back at the chief, as it's not Elliot by my side, but Detective Miles.
Chief O'Brien begins to nod his head. "Yes, yes. That will work. Thank you for your cooperation."
The chief places his phone in its cradle and looks at the group assembled in his office. He lets out a tense breath. One by one he nods at us. "Detective Miles, Detective Fullin, Detective Rider. I'm glad to see you've all met."
"Why is Night Division trying to take this case?" I snap.
"Night Division has already taken the case," Detective Miles remarks.
I glare at him from the corner of my eyes and resist the urge to slap him.
"That is why I had Laci find you all. As soon as I got word of the transfer, I call the chief over at Night Division," Chief O'Brien says.
"And?" Elliot prompts.
"We've settled on a joint command." Joint command. Oh no. No, no, no. I have a bad feeling about where this is going. Crossing my arms, I close my eyes. "Rider, you're off the case. Miles and Fullin will be its lead detectives," the chief finishes.
The room erupts into chaos as we all start to voice our complaints as one.
"ENOUGH!" the chief calls out. The clamoring voices die out. "Detective Fullin, that is the best offer I can give you. Take it or leave it."
"I accept," I say automatically. I would apologize to Elliot later, but we couldn't lose this case to Night Division. He would have to understand.
Chief O'Brien nods. "Good. Detective Miles, if you have a problem you will have to take it up with your boss."
"I'll be fine, sir," Detective Miles responds.
Chief O'Brien looks at Elliot. "Any objections, Detective Rider?"
"I'm good if Winter is good, but I do have one question," Elliot responds.
The chief sighs and rubs his eyes with a hand. "What, Detective Rider?"
"Do I get this time off since my partner is working with someone else?"
"No. Now out. All of you. I've got paperwork to fill out."
I brush past Detective Miles and twist the door handle.
"Do I get all the easy work then?"
"Out!" the chief commands.
I turn back and grab Elliot's sleeve. "Come on hot-shot," I say, pulling him along out the door.
As I drag Elliot all the way back to our station, I don't look back once to see if Detective Miles followed.