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indecipherable semantics

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The meeting room is silent, save for the slight buzz of Luke's computer and the occasional shuffle of pages. Your eyes are burning as you sift through file after file trying to find any sort of lead, even if it was a stretch. With a sigh, you close another folder, and push it towards Vyn, who's sat across from you doing the same thing.

"Nothing?" Vyn asks, taking the folder from you and standing up to return it to the bookcase.

"Nothing," you confirm. You press your palms into your eyes for some sort of temporary relief before falling backwards, head landing on the sofa behind you. All four of you had been searching for anything related to this new case that was sprung on the team, but this person seemed to have completely slipped through everyone's fingers. There seemed to be no paperwork, no licenses, no place of residence - this person was completely off the grid. You had to give them credit, though, staying off the grid to this extent in this day and age took effort. But it did make your job much harder.



"Has anyone found anything?" you ask. Artem's sat at the table, sheets spread out in front of him. He shakes his head, and you deflate a little.

"Marius?"

"Good news and bad news. Good news is: I've got that they may have left the country about- three years ago?" You perk up; it'll be harder to track them in another country but a lead is a lead! "Bad news; they returned a year later- so they're still in this country!" You groan loudly, deflating further into the cool leather of the sofa.

"I suppose we can assume that they have the finances to travel and stay elsewhere for a year," Artem says, and Vyn scribbles it on the whiteboard. It's pretty bare, a couple of pictures of who you all think are the same person and a few random notes through inferences, but you're struggling right now. "I wonder why they returned."

"I believe they knew the police was after them," Vyn chuckles.

"Yeah but why would you return? Surely it's safer to go to another country?" you ask, a little confused.

"You'd think, right? But going overseas means you have a passport which is easier to track. Plus nowadays you can check who went in and out of that country."

"Yes, and what country they choose to flee to can say a lot about them. For example, they might speak that language, they may have relatives there, the country may have laxer laws surrounding their crimes," Vyn adds, listing on his fingers.

You sink back with a huff, head against the sofa cushion and right next to Luke's knee. He moves his tablet to look at you, a soft smile already on his face. He's very pretty. Warm fluffy hair framing coral eyes filled with tenderness as he gazes down at you. He's almost painful to look at, much like the sun. He projects the same warmth and comfort as the star. No matter how hard he tries to hide it, you can spy the exhaustion on his expression; he'd been non-stop searching and searching, rummaging through physically and digitally archives trying to find anything, yet no cigar. You knew he'd beat himself up about. You pat his knee in a way you hope is comforting.

"We'll find something," Luke says confidently, a warm hand going to tangle itself in your hair. Your eyelids slid shut, basking in the attention and the feeling of his fingertips against your scalp. It's just like when you were kids - Luke knew exactly how you felt before you even felt it, and always was ready to remedy any negative feelings. His favourite was playing with your hair. You'd asked why numerous times but the boy had always given a vague reply or just dismissed it completely. You guessed it didn't matter - it made both of you happy so who cares?



You jolt out of your temporary stupor, lulled into momentary unconsciousness by Luke's touch, as the slap of paper against the coffee table brings you back to the present.

"Here you are, miss. 6 more folders for your perusal," Marius gives a playful wink as you blink up at him, a little dazed. "Can't have you slacking off when we're so close to figuring this all out, hm?" You roll your eyes at his sarcasm. With a grumble you lean forward, Luke's hand unfortunately slipping out of your hair as you begin searching through some more pages Marius had so kindly gifted you. "Why does (Y/N) get head pats and I don't?"

You arch an eyebrow up at Marius who still had his back to the rest of you and you exchange a look with Artem, unsure where he was going to go with this.

"Are you a dog, Marius?" Artem asks tiredly.

"I can do a pretty good dog impression. Who wants to hear it?"

"You're embarrassing yourself, von Hagen," Vyn sighs, glaring at Marius over the top of his lenses.


...


"It's like a chihuahua mixed with a spaniel-"

"-von Hagen. Enough."

The group falls into relative silence again. Honestly you want to pull your eyeballs out and soak them in cold water, the words starting to spin and dance around the page as if to mock you. You groan, rubbing your temples. Blah blahblah country of origin, father's death cartifcate, this isn't even related to the case!- WHO CARES!? Next page!

Wait... You turn back to the previous page, and read it properly. Lo and behold, it's the father's death certificate! This is valuable stuff! This is the lead we've been looking for! Scanning the page one more time to confirm it's contents, you turn around to Luke. He's already looking at you though, a gleeful smile on his face - he must of read the page over your shoulder.

"Luke! This is good! I have- look!" you wave the page in his face, scrambling up onto the sofa next to him to show him the document.

"Woah. His name was- hold it still for a moment," Luke laughs, his own hand coming to stabilise yours as it shakes from coffee jitters. "Peter Coleman... Wait-" Luke returns to his tablet, furiously typing away. He swipes through pages and pages of information before settling on what looks likes to be a letter of resignation under the name Peter Coleman. "I knew I'd read something under that name! You're a genius, (Y/N)."

"We know the guy changed their name, so if we can find a deed poll from something Coleman, everything will be so much easier," you say. "Guys," you turn to address the others, who are already looking at you two with a shared bewildered expression. You frown. "Look for any documents with the last name Coleman. Could be either their dad or the actual guy we're looking for." The three men continue to stare at you as if you've grown another head, and you start to get a little concerned. "Hello? Earth to NXX? Coleman! Go look!" Artem shoots a not so subtle look at Vyn, who just shrugs his shoulders. Marius goes to say something but Vyn whacks him with a folder. Marius lets out a little 'ow', rubbing his arm as if the doctor had any strength to injure him.



You're too exhausted to figure out what them three are up to. If it's a little prank Marius orchestrated, you wonder how he got the other two in on it. Whatever. Men will be teenagers until they die. Their cumulative age is six at most.

Returning back to Luke and your discovery, you let out a squeal of joy at finally finding something valuable. In your excitement you fling your arms around Luke's shoulders, giving yourself permission to rest as you snuggle into his neck. "Who would have thought that something Marius gave you would be so valuable!" Luke laughs. He gives Marius a mischievous look to show he's only joking, but Marius still looks utterly lost.

"Well done Watson. You've done it again." You can't help but press a chaste kiss to his cheek, way too wrapped up in each other to care what the other men think.


Across the room, Marius scoots over in his office chair to Vyn. "I'm hearing things again, doc."

"You're perfectly sane, Marius. Mr Wing and I can also hear this."

"That's called mass hysteria. We're all going insane. Maybe we collectively hallucinated them two and now we're just releasing."

Artem's head whips over to look at Vyn, eyes wide with genuine concern. "(Y/N) isn't real...?"

"(Y/N) is perfectly real," Vyn hisses at Marius, "I'm a psychologist, I have two-"

"You have two degrees, yes we know. Now put 'em to use and tell me what language they're speaking," Marius interrupts. The look Vyn gives the youngest member is murderous, but you can't be a doctor if you're a convicted murderer on the side. Vyn deeply inhales, and pushes his glasses off his face and into his hair before talking. Lord, give me strength.

"It's not a language I recognise."

"Two degrees and you still don't know."

"My doctorates are not in linguistics."



In your exhaustion, you had unknowingly slipped into the made-up language you and Luke invented when you were younger. Whenever you'd play detective games, there was no way you'd let the baddies listen in to what plan you two were devising, so the two of you spent a week straight of the summer holidays inventing a new language. You were surprised that you even retained so much after disuse, but it came back as naturally as speaking your mother tongue did.



"It sounds vaguely- French," Artem concludes, twizzling a pen around in his hand. "It isn't French though."

"Dutch, perhaps?"

"No, it's not Dutch. I know Dutch and that is not Dutch," Marius leans back in his chair and looks at Vyn with disgust, insulted.

"You speak Dutch?" Artem asks, eyes not leaving (Y/N) and Luke as they continue to converse excitedly in an unrecognisable tongue.

"A little. I've dabbled in European languages in my time."

"You're 21," Vyn points out.

"And you have one foot in the care home, old man. Watch your step."

They lapse into somewhat tense silence, eyeing (Y/N) and Luke from across the room. Guess it was a mystery for another day - the two were far too engrossed in each other, it seemed, so the three of them silently turned back to their work, still a little confused.