A text came to Ehren midday from Roman. Hello my friend. It looks like the autopsy report has come in. Are you free in thirty minutes? He still didn’t like that Roman called him friend but the news that the autopsy had come in and Ehren’s stomach was flipping. He quickly replied yes and began to get himself ready, gathering whatever he needed to talk to Roman with. Pulling the ID card over his head he looked in the mirror to see the state of himself.
He looked better than he had a week ago. The injuries had healed and he was finally getting some sleep. Logan was going to be released, Ehren saw it in his vision, and he was going to do everything to make sure that dream became a reality. After he was confident he was ready, Ehren walked out of his apartment, locking up behind him, and made his way to Roman’s office.
Two guards flanked his door and after one knocked, they allowed him to enter. “Hi Roman.” He said, trying his best to play nice since Dani had gotten upset at him for being cruel. He still didn’t see what Dani saw in him but he’d respect that it was who she wanted to be with.
The appeal of working on the case had dwindled after the last in person meeting they had together; why was he going to waste precious time chasing after things when all he got in return was rudeness? Even the handshake which had come felt false. If you were going to be catty at least do it politely. It was more scalding that way.
But he’d promised to keep Ehren informed and abreast of the circumstances if any evidence came to light.
Before him in a folder on the desk was the autopsy report and the detailed list of the scene, photographs from the autopsy and anything related minus any test results.
As Ehren walked in Roman made himself smile, not bothering to stand up or be cordial. “Please, sit. I won’t take too much of your time.”
The folder would be pushed toward Ehren, a silent invitation to browse at his leisure and risk.
Ehren sat in front of Roman on the other side of his desk, and when the reports were slid over to them he looked through. He didn’t really understand what any of this meant. Things were starting to become clearer to Ehren and he realized the one of the only reasons he didn’t trust Roman was because he worked for the government. He knew now that not everyone involved with the government was in on their secrets and Roman deserved the benefit of the doubt.
“What does this mean?” He asked, looking over the file. He saw a few things here and there he understood but Ehren was just a mechanic, he didn’t understand autopsies and forensics and the like.
A hand would be waved, “Well, you’re looking at the findings of an autopsy.” With a sigh, Roman squared his shoulders, his hand lowered to his desk and then he leaned forward to look at the file. Gently fingers would take the folder and he pointed to a few important places on the document report.
“All of these little marks indicate where the guard was injured. You see the neck, his fingers have defensive abrasions - but it’s the throat that has the most damage.” That was obvious. “It looks like they’ve ruled it as a homicide, the attacker was an animal shifter of some type. I conclude that only because we have no natural predators of this size on the island, which leaves the simple deduction that this was no accident or natural death.”
He flipped to another page, “Here you will see the estimated times of death calculated by things like rigor, the decomposition of food in the stomach. Looks like he died a few hours prior to when he was first discovered. Maybe about three in the morning or so.”
This didn’t seem like good news to Ehren, especially considering there weren’t a lot of shifters out there. He knew at least two in the faction but this didn’t seem right. Why would they want to kill someone? “Is there any surveillance footage? Maybe on his apartment or where the crime happened?” He asked Roman as he surveyed the results of the autopsy. He wondered if there would ever be any evidence to convict or release.
It almost seemed like they had come to a dead end but there had to be more evidence out there. Logan couldn’t have done this, he wasn’t a violent person.
“Actually, there are some still frame photographs taken from the security footage from that morning.” The photos were slid out from beneath the other things in the folder and pushed toward Ehren.
The photos themselves were dark, a bit grainy, but each image depicted an animal, a large black feline shaped shadow versus what the accusations and evidence pointed to.
“This is from the actual scene of the crime, you’ll notice here in this photograph that the creature attacking the guard is an animal, but I can’t say for sure that it’s a wolf. Wrong shape.”
He knew who this was, he was high up in the faction. Why would the faction kill someone like this and then leave Logan in the detainment unit to rot? This had to be enough evidence. “He’s more brown and white when he’s a wolf.” He said to Roman, pointing out the feline pictures in the photograph. “I’m sure if you ask him he can prove it to you.” He offered.
“Is this enough to prove his innocence?” Ehren asked, his eyes pleaded with Roman. As much as he hated it, Roman was the only person who could help him and he needed to get into his good graces.
“It would be enough to secure an acquittal. Doubt is always your friend in these circumstances,” he explained, shrugging his shoulders. Those photographs were telling, the actual footage itself was moreso. They could argue that Logan was still involved but the timeline suggested that he had no connection at all. It was precarious situation that required the best hand at representation.
“I’m going to turn your case over to representation that the Government provides to all inmates in this situation. Considering that you and I have a conflict of interest, I’m not sure I am suitable enough to fight this case against the panel.” Basically he wanted nothing to do with it.
“It might take six weeks or more to get a verdict, but you’ve waited this long, what’s a few more days?”
The relief that washed over him was overwhelming. Logan would be ok, he’d get to see him again. “Thank you so much Roman, for helping me. I know I’ve been unkind to you so I appreciate that you still did this for me.” It was the nicest thing he’d ever said to Roman and it didn’t feel as forced as he thought it would be.
“Honestly. I guess I’m kind of protective of Dani, she’s my best friend but you obviously make her happy so I’d like to bury the hatchet if we can.” He didn’t like the idea that the case would go to someone else but if it meant that Logan could resume living then that was better than nothing.
If Roman took the case it’d be a matter of days that Logan saw the light of day, but when someone messed with his Girlfriend that was the last straw. The cordial act ceased and it was kill or be killed at that point. His smile came, creasing the ends of his mouth in a way that suggested it was false and for the sake of the other person. “Sure. Burying the hatchet.” It would happen outside of this case. He wanted nothing more to do with anything that had to do with Logan or Ehren.
“Perhaps we can make amends once this case has run its course.” A dismissive shrug was offered and Roman closed the folder. “I have a lot of other cases to see to and take before the panel. You’re welcome to this folder. Your representative will contact you once the paperwork has been processed. Continue to gather information.”
Ehren gathered the information back into the file folder and closed it on the desk. “I’m sure Dani already told you what I said. I’m sorry, I was angry and scared. You didn’t deserve any of those words, I’ve been kind of an asshole.” Ok so maybe he’d actually been a huge asshole but he was starting to see things in a different perspective.
He knew Logan would be freed and that escape from his worry allowed him to notice some of his bad behaviors. He’d never seen Dani so mad at him in his life and he could feel her slipping through his fingers. “I’ve been changing a lot recently and I feel out of everyone you deserve my amends.”
“Kind of?” He scoffed, eyebrows arching. “All I’ve done is try to help you, be friendly. And you’ve tarnished me.” His hand waved dismissively. How would Dani trust him now? All for someone’s opinion.
“What would Logan say if I said things about you?”
Whatever the emotion, he wasn’t buying this change of heart instantly. “You’re only saying this so I’ll get your boyfriend out of jail.” He snapped, arching a brow. “And I have no interest helping someone who can’t even appreciate the person who is trying their best to give them everything they need to win.”
This was the first time Roman had ever actually blown up on him. It really drove home the point that Ehren had been stupid and judgemental, which he felt after Dani had yelled at him. “I never expected you to help me with Logan, actually and I know I got snappy toward you the last time we met. I’m sorry. I’m not trying to win your favor to help an innocent man get home. I just wanted to apologize because if I want to keep her as a friend then I need to accept that maybe I had the wrong idea about you.”
He sighed, Ehren was never really that great at explaining how he felt and it was harder still to someone he was actually starting to come around to. “I guess I’m paranoid a lot and that’s no excuse.” Roman could help him or not, his intentions were only to mend a bridge.
“Maybe,” he laughed. Making a face. Eyebrows would arch and fall. “Whatever the case you upset a woman who was struggling over seeing this situation. She has bad memories, you pushed her. Friends don’t push their friends, they support them.” Like a cobra he was braced to strike.
Maybe he’d watched the camera footage of their conversation looking for evidence. Maybe he was spying on Daniela to make sure she was safe.
“You hurt the person I love I’m not so inclined to assist you.” He hoped Ehren understood. “Paranoia is not an excuse to hurt the people you care about.”
“I love her too man, and you’re right I did push her. I had just spent a day and a beating being processed.” Was it her that he hurt or was Roman’s ego? It made his stomach turn a little bit when he mentioned what Ehren had done. He can’t imagine what Dani would have told him but his understanding of what happened was eerie.
“Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever felt so bad about anything.” He sat back in his chair and focused on something on the wall. If Romans whole point of this was to break down Ehren’s fragile ego then he was successful.
“Just because you suffered doesn’t mean that others have to. Surely you know about her past and why she’s so sensitive.” It was just disrespectful to take your problems out on someone else. “Maybe you should think about other people for a change, instead of yourself.” Sure he was trying to free Logan but the reasons were purely selfish.
Roman knew what Ehren meant to Daniela, though. His hands were basically tied at this point knowing she would want him to help regardless. That was what set them apart.
“I’ll take your case only because it’s what Daniela would want. Why she wastes her time with you I’ve yet to figure out. But it is what it is.”
He sighed as shrugged his shoulders. What else was Ehren supposed to say? He’d already apologized to Roman and the lecture he was giving Ehren was overkill. Still, he needed to remain diplomatic if it meant that it could get Logan out sooner. He could throw excuses around but it seemed like all that Roman wanted to do was argue their validity.
He also wasn’t going to play into this battle for dominance. Ehren didn’t need to dominate anyone, that was just some odd desire that Roman had. “I understand.” He decided on since it was neutral.
A nod would come. He’d made his decision. “You can see yourself out, I imagine you know where to find the door. When I have a date for Logan’s panel hearing I’ll be sure to let you know.”
Ehren stood and made his way to the door, a silent “Thanks” barely above a whisper before he opened it and made his way through. He wasn’t sure he and Roman would ever get along but at least someone in his position could protect her. That was the most important thing, her safety.