I'm calling him out. He wants to steal my story? HELL no!
"Fuck that!" Nathan screamed in the phone. "Find your own stories, Scott; you're not taking mine! Tell Chuck I'm not taking your damn vacation, or I'm coming over there myself to tell him you're just trying to steal the scoop that I got!"
"Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Now hold up there!" Scott's tone had gone from calm to panic as soon as the accusation hit his ears. "I'm not trying to steal anything from you, Nathan. You nearly killed yourself. I just want to make sure you're okay..."
"I'm fine! Now tell Chuck I'm staying on this story, or I'll remind him that you gave me the Famina scoop to cover because you didn't want it. Point out how you conveniently want it back now that it's become interesting. How much do you think he'd like that?"
It was quiet on the other end of the line, but all Nathan could hear was his heartbeat pounding in his ears. Eventually, he heard Scott huff.
"Fine. I'll tell him." His words seethed with barely concealed agitation. "But don't go getting yourself killed while you keep pursuing this, rookie. You should have just taken the holiday."
He hung up before Nathan could ask him if that was a threat.
"Fuck." The writer took a deep breath and ran his finger through his hair. He hadn't even written the first story he submitted, even though he would have, if not for Alton's meddling, but it was still his story. He had to really crack down on it now if he wanted to keep it. "Micah," he muttered, walking to the kitchen to get his notepad. Quickly scrawling out the angel's signature, he wasn't surprised at all to look up and see the man standing there, scowling.
"You have a way with getting yourself into trouble," Micah said, his arms crossed. "Gabriel told me about this morning. What do you need?"
"I need to shadow your investigation." Nathan felt the pit of his stomach twist. "Scott wanted the story, but since it probably involves the Sins, I really need to stay on it. I need to know more about what you're doing and what you've found if I'm going to help find whichever one is doing this." He hoped he sounded genuine enough. His words were at least mostly true -- he did need to get more involved for the sake of locating the Sins -- but he wondered if he should have mentioned he was also doing this for the sake of his job.
If Micah did realize there was more to his request, he made no note of it. "I am sure that can be arranged." He gave him one of his rare, thin smiles. "I imagine it is not orthodox to have a reporter closely involved, but I think an exception can be made. You do know more about the nature of the matter."
Nathan let out a relieved sigh. "I also think I need to be more proactive. I said I would help Alton, after all. You think the Sins are still attracted to me, even though they're, well, not suppressed any more?"
"I do not know," the angel said with a shrug. "We would have to ask Lumiel about that. In the meantime, I have another victim to contend with. If you would like to join me..."
"Sure." Nathan walked across the living room to get his coat and keys, Micah following slowly behind. As morbid as this was bound to be, he was glad for something to do. He ran back to the kitchen to grab his notepad. "Gabriel told me about the stylist, so..."
"No, Nathan." Micah stared at him as he held open the front door. "There has been another."
The writer froze in the doorway. "Th-that's two in one night," he realized, his face draining of color. "Shit. This Sin's becoming way more dangerous than Avarice ever was, probably more than she ever could be."
"She is trying to get our attention," Micah confirmed, urging him out into the hallway. "But this is not another corpse, Nathan. We have a witness who needs to be interviewed, and though he seems to trust me well enough, I think it will be helpful for there to be another familiar face there."
This just kept getting worse. "Who's the witness?"
Nathan looked through the glass into the room, watching Wren fidget. They'd brought him a can of soda, but it looked like it hadn't been touched, and judging by the way the teen was nervously rolling the pencil he held in his hand, it had probably been a while since he'd had a cigarette too. The officer sitting across from him had just risen and left the room, moments later joining Nathan and Micah. "He's in shock," he said, as if it weren't obvious. "When he does speak, it's in Chinese. You're sure you don't want another go at him, Mike?"
"He is too afraid of me," Micah answered, shaking his head. "Too afraid of authority. You did reach his parents, did you not?"
"Yeah, we've already talked to them. Wish you'd been here for that too; his dad speaks English well enough, but his mother was damn near impossible to understand, even with our translator. I'm surprised they both want their kid to stick around until he talks to us though. Kind of expect parents to be mad at us, not their kids."
"Probably an accountability thing," Nathan suggested, still watching Wren. "From what I know of his family, they're very strict. If they believe he's seen something important, they're going to want him to own up and tell all."
The officer looked at him curiously, then back at Micah. "Is this the friend you were talking about?"
He nodded. "He is a reporter from The Citizen, the one who has been covering the murders, and a personal acquaintance. Nathan has a good eye for detail and knack for thinking outside the box, and he knows the teen. I thought he could help us."
"Just as long as too much doesn't get to the papers. We don't need the killer knowing what we know." The officer gave Nathan another incredulous look.
"I'll behave," the writer promised, turning towards him. "Believe me, things would have been worse if I hadn't talked my coworker out of taking this from me. He's more the type to turn this into a sensation. I just want to write something that will keep me on the payroll."
"Just watch yourself," the officer cautioned, though he did seem less worried now. He gave Micah a quick nod. "Your case, your call. I'll go talk to the parents again (or at least try to) and see if they're sure about keeping him here."
"Do that." Micah waited until the officer had left before speaking again. "Do you want to talk to him alone? He may be more open to you if he thinks only you are there to listen. Or I could join you, if you would prefer. He may decide he only wants to speak in Chinese again."
"You'll be watching from here if I go alone, right?"
The angel nodded.
Both options have their merits, but I'm not sure which is better. Wren looks pretty freaked out, and Micah's appearance alone may intimidate him into silence. On the other hand, he might not trust me as much as Micah thinks he will. His best friend did get into a mess of trouble last month, mostly because of me. He's already somewhat aware of the situation, so maybe if I tell him who Micah really is...
This is a tough call. Should I talk to him alone or bring the angel along?