Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ A Study In Scarlet ( Chapter 31 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter Thirty-One
A Study In Scarlet
“So what’d you wish for?” Aoko asked.
“If I tell you mine, you have to tell me yours,” Kaito said. Aoko squeaked, going pink.
“Never mind!” she said.
“Awwww…” Kaito said, grinning like a fool. “What about you guys?”
“I wished that someone would stop causing so much trouble,” Hakuba said, glaring at Kaito, who just waved.
“I didn’t make a wish,” Akako said. “I have no use for such empty frivolities, not when I have other ways to get what I want.”
“Why am I not surprised?” Kaito asked. “Actually, I am surprised. How’d you get inside the temple? I thought you would’ve burned up on the threshold or something.”
“Hmph,” Akako snorted, looking away haughtily. “In any case, I had better return home.”
“New Year’s de-purification ritual?” Kaito suggested. She snorted again, but her cheeks pinked a little, so Kaito became worryingly suspicious that he may be right.
“Regrettably, I believe I must part from you as well, as entertaining as it’s been,” Hakuba said. “Baaya insisted that I return for New Year’s dinner, and if her decrees are not obeyed my Conan Doyle collection has the unfortunate habit of vanishing. Well then…”
“I’m so glad that you spent New Year’s with us, though!” Aoko said happily. “It was so much fun!”
“It was, indeed,” Hakuba admitted with a soft grin. “Thank you for inviting me.”
“Me, too,” Akako said. “Happy New Year!”
“Happy New Year!” Hakuba said, as they both turned to the street leading to the district of large, western-style houses where they lived.
“Happy New Year!” Kaito and Aoko called after them, heading on to their houses.
“I think I’ll head for home,” Kaito said, stretching. “I need clean clothes and to fight the mutant dishes.”
“I’ll help-” Aoko began, but Kaito cut her off.
“Actually, Aoko,” he said gently, “I think I need to be alone for a while. No mistake, it was a load of fun hanging out with Hakuba and Koizumi and you for New Year’s, that was a great idea, but… I need some downtime, you know? I just think I need to be on my own for a bit. Anyway, you were going to go visit Akane-Obasan’s grave, right?”
“Well, yeah, but…” Aoko always visited her mother’s grave on New Year’s and her birthday as well as her deathday, something which she always did alone, but she looked uneasy. “I mean, I wouldn’t mind you coming with, if… are you sure you’ll be all right?”
Kaito was surprised. Her grave visits were made alone by her own personal choice; when Akane had first died, Aoko had been too young to understand properly, and had often sneaked off to the grave alone, thinking that her mother might have woken up and be waiting there. Her habit of visiting alone had stayed with her; perhaps she felt that it was a sort of ritual between her and the mother that she barely remembered, a way of clinging on to the few memories that would only grow fainter with time. That she was willing to share this ritual…
She must be really worried about me,” Kaito thought. “No surprise. After all, obasan went into the hospital and never came out… this has to be the worst kind of déjà vu for her. Kaa-san’s treated her like a daughter since Obasan died…
Outwardly, however, he just shook his head. “Really, Aoko,” he said. “I don’t want to intrude on you and obasan.”
“You wouldn’t be intruding,” Aoko insisted. Kaito brought up a grin.
“That means a lot,” he said softly. “But… I do need to be alone for a bit. I will be fine, though. Really. Don’t worry about me. Hey, I’ll come hang at yours later, if it makes you feel any better, `kay?”
“…’kay,” Aoko said, not appearing to brighten up much. “I’ll see you, then.”
“Tell obasan Happy New Year from me,” he called as he walked away.
“Happy New Year,” she called after him, lingering a moment before heading towards the cemetery in the opposite direction.
Kaito watched her go out of the corner of his eye. Then he headed for home, not via the main streets but the back alleys.
Sure enough, there was a car parked across the road from his house. It was silver, not a new model but not an old model either, the licence plate a calculatedly dull combination that wouldn’t stick in anyone’s mind. Everything about the car was utterly unnoticeable and unmemorable, which made Kaito very suspicious. It was empty, but if it was a Syndicate car then there would be cameras on it. So instead of going to his front door, he took a long detour to come to the back of his house. He didn’t have any of his sensors on him to make sure, but there didn’t appear to be any bugs or cameras around the back fence. Still, why would there be? There wasn’t an entrance back there.
You thought, you thought,” Kaito thought with a grin as he quickly shimmied up the drainpipe- something that he worried slightly about doing in broad daylight, but it was lunchtime on New Year’s day so few people, if any, would be out to see- to the one window that, thanks to a clever little series of mirrors, appeared to look into his bedroom. It wasn’t a foolproof setup- had it been on the ground floor Hakuba would probably have spotted it in a flash, Kaito’d seen the creep pacing off the ground floor whenever he’d come over ostensibly for homework purposes- But it would only really be noticed if you were looking for it. Rather like that car out front.
He flicked on the lights of the “Kaitou-cave” (definitely too many American comics) and slipped over to the desk. There was a nondescript sports bag underneath which Kaito loved because it was tough, lightweight and apparently built with Tardis technology, if the amount of gear he could fit into it was any indication. Within minutes he’d packed his suit, his gun, his laptop and the disks that he’d typed up pretty much all of his father’s folders into, as well as information of his own. He didn’t waste space on smokebombs and the like- there was a secondary supply of those at Jii’s, and the elder had been looking after Kaito’s doves during his hospital so they were there as well. Instead, he packed a few things that he didn’t always carry, such as his binoculars, his CB, a bug detector and a white noise generator. He wasn’t going to be back for a while, possibly until Snake was cooling his heels in jail, so he needed to have all of his gear with him.
Switching the lights off again and trying not to wonder when he’d next be in his own house, he slipped down the drainpipe again and, with the bug detector beeping slowly and contentedly in his pocket, made his way to the Blue Parrot, detouring just long enough to set off an e-bomb in the car, shorting out the cameras which for the last few days would have caught Aoko going in and out of his house.
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“I think we’ve been making a terrible mistake…” Shinichi said quietly.
“What do you mean?” Ai said in surprise.
“We’ve been misled,” Shinichi said. “By a driver’s licence and a missing face…”
“You’re not saying…” Ai murmured.
Here goes nothing…” Shinichi thought. Then he yelled, “You’re a liar, Ran-neechan!”
“What?” Ran said in shock.
“You said people who do tough stuff get tough hands,” Shinichi complained plaintively, “but that ojisan’s a carpenter and his hands are all smooth!” Sato’s back stiffened.
“The kid’s right,” one of the forensics guys said. “We thought it was kinda odd. There were only a couple of calluses.”
“Where?” Sato demanded.
“Ring finger and inner wrist of the right hand,” the man replied, referring to his clipboard.
“Huh?” Takagi said. “But those aren’t carpentry calluses. Those are the sort you get from a desk job.”
“You get calluses from a desk job?” Mitsuhiko said in surprise.
“Sure,” Takagi said. “Some people balance their pen on their ring finger when they write, so if they write a lot then it’s quite common to get a callous like that.”
“That’s true,” Ran said, holding her hand out. “Look. I have one like that from studying.”
“In a similar vein, that callous on the inner wrist sounds like the sort you get from doing a lot of mousework,” Takagi said. “If someone’s on the computer, the inner wrist is generally resting on the mousemat, and it can get callused if you’re there often or for a long time…”
“But that can’t be right,” Sato said. “Kimura-san was a carpenter, not a clerk…”
“Maybe he was trying to win miko-sama back,” Shinichi said, “by being a clerk just like Fujiwara-san!”
Shinichi was starting to wonder if he’d been a little too sharp. The three kids, Ran, all of the cops and the two suspects just confused. But then Sato and Takagi exchanged a look.
“Sato-san,” Takagi said. “What if…”
“Are they checking his fingerprints?” Sato said.
“It’ll be the first thing we do once the body’s at the morgue,” the forensics guy said, “so can we send it?”
“Do that,” Sato said, “and in the meantime, I think we need to be looking for Kimura Mitsuro.”
“M-Mitsuro?” Asuka said in tearful confusion. “But he’s right there! He’s dead!”
“We have a dead body here, yes,” Sato said, “but it may not be Kimura-san. We only assumed that because of his driver’s licence… something that could easily have been planted.”
“What makes you think it ain’t Kimura?” Sasaki said. “Although I’m sure you’ll know for sure once the prints get back.”
“It’s the hands,” Takagi said. “Conan-kun was right. They’re too smooth for a carpenter. The only calluses that this body has are the kind that result from extensive paperwork. We don’t know for certain, yet, but I suspect that the body may in fact be that of Fujiwara Satoshi.”
“Bingo,” Shinichi whispered under his breath. “It is so much easier to work with these guys than Occhan…” Ai gave him a faintly amused look.
“What?!” Asuka shrieked, degenerating into fresh sobs. “Satoshi- no -no…”
“Fujiwara?” Sasaki said, suddenly paling. “Hold it. Who’d kill Fujiwara an’ make it look like it was Kimura?”
“Only one person benefits from the combination of Fujiwara-san’s disappearance and the appearance of Kimura-san’s death,” Sato said, “and that’s Kimura-san himself.”
“I get it!” Mitsuhiko cries. “That ojisan already said it- if Kimura-san’s dead, he doesn’t have to pay his debts, so if everyone thinks he’s dead it amounts to the same thing, right?”
“And he gets bitter revenge on miko-sama for betraying him and Fujiwara-san for stealing her away!” Ayumi said, perhaps a touch overdramatically.
“The question is where he went now,” Ai said. “He can’t leave Japan unless he already has a fake passport- using his own or Fujiwara-san’s would be noticed by the police.”
“He talked about going to Hokkaido, is that right, Asuka-san?” Sato said. “I think we’d better contact the police there…”
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“I suppose it doesn’t need to be complex,” Kaito commented, half to Jii and half to himself. “The Sapphire’s not really the target. Making them let their guard down and drawing Them out is. It’ll be nice to have the Sapphire, though. Mmmm…”
“When are you going?” Jii asked.
“Two days,” Kaito said. He ignored the blanch that crossed Jii’s face for a moment. “I don’t want to spare any time, and… it seems appropriate. Anyway, I’m going to be hiding out here until then, since they’re watching my house.”
He stared at the page for a long moment, before picking up his pen and starting to carefully write in perfect calligraphy.
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“Really? All right. Send him back here.”
Miwako put her phone away and nodded to Takagi. “Kimura-san wasn’t prepared for police pursuit. An officer got on to every train arriving in Hokkaido and announced that they were looking for Kimura Mitsuro, and it seems the baka panicked the second he heard his name.”
“He confessed?” Takagi said in surprise.
“He gave himself away so easily, he was easy to pressure into confession, apparently,” Miwako confirmed. “He got Fujiwara-san to go drinking with him under the pretence of discussing miko-sama and his loan repayments. Once Fujiwara was stinking drunk, it wasn’t hard to get him to look down a lit firework. The motive seems to have been pretty much what the kids said. He’d hoped that the deception wouldn’t be found out until he’d left the country.”
“Hey, if he’s goin’ to jail, am I getting my money?” Sasaki demanded. Asuka had finally been allowed to return to the shrine after going into full-on hysterics and collapsing upon the fingerprint report confirming that the dead man was indeed Fujiwara Satoshi, but the moneylender had stayed behind, clearly intent on settling the financial situation.
“We’ll sort something out,” Miwako said reassuringly.
“Wow… so the dead guy was the murderer?” Ayumi commented. Oh yeah, the kids had hung around as well, to Ran’s very visible worry.
“You know who did it now,” she pointed out, “So shouldn’t we go find another shrine to make our New Year’s wishes at?”
“Oh, you kids can stay and help with the investigation if you want,” Miwako said, an idea suddenly striking. “You can start by helping with the paperwork…”
“Aaah!” Genta cried. “It’s the holidays! I’m not doing work! C’mon, guys, let’s go make our New Year’s wishes! I wanna wish for teriyaki!”
“How about something other than food?” Mitsuhiko said as the kids turned to leave. Conan smirked as Ran sighed in relief. Ai gave Miwako a disturbingly understanding smile as she left.
“I only wish that you were making that up to shake the kids off,” Takagi sighed.
“Me too,” Miwako said. “Still, at least that means we’ve caught the killer.”
“We couldn’t have done that without the kids’ suggestions, though,” Takagi pointed out. “It was Conan-kun that properly identified the body, and they all deduced the motive pretty sharply. Without them, we wouldn’t have realized that we had the wrong guy until it was too late to find him.”
“They’re all sharp kids,” Miwako said. “If they decide to go professional together after high school, we’re going to be out of work.”
“First Hattori-kun and Kudo-kun, now five grade-schoolers… what are they feeding kids these days?” Takagi sighed. “Still, I wouldn’t mind them taking over the homicide department if it meant no paperwork. I was going to ask you if you wanted to go do your shrine visit with me…” he blushed slightly. Miwako smiled a little. He was so cute when he did that…
She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “We’ll do that later,” she promised, “and wish for no paperwork.”
“Amen to that,” Takagi said with a happy grin.
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It’s the Marches! Crappy floats and overpriced fairground rides ahoy! Ah well, there’s no school, and that’s all that matters.
I kinda liked this murder when I first came up with it during a boring (ie normal) math lesson, but it’s just come out so awkwardly that I’m glad it’s over. I’m just killing time here before the real fun begins
Ah well. Thanks, FaithlessGirl. I’m glad this murder doesn’t come off as awkward to you as it does to me…
Here’s your Kaito, Mel72000! Yeah, gotta hate the evil cliffies… but don’tcha just love to hate `em?
All your questions are answered, Lifawn! Yep, there’s Kaito too… and yep, OVA 9 had been subbed in English by Mietzewhite! Look `em up on YouTube!
There ya go, Silver Shadowbreeze… his hands were too smooth to be a carpenter’s. He had desk calluses. (I have those calluses…)
Yep, HaibaraDaiFan, nothing will… COOKIE! *Head follows cookie* No… must… be… strong… must… COOKIE!!!!
:O Aww, Pretztailfan95! Mario is… actually, I don’t really care, I’m more obsessed with Legend Of Zelda. LINK IS A GREATER HERO THAN ANY PLUMBER! Cuter, too 😉 I just love how hyper and over-enthusiastic Heiji was! It’s so typical of his over-energetic nature- and so CUTE! I loved Hakuba’s little face too. He looked like he was enjoying himself. 🙂 Come to that, why is he the only one of the Gosho Boys always referred to by his family name? It’s discrimination, dammit! HE IS SAGURU, HEAR HIM ROAR! XD Gosho Boys… sounds like a boy band. Just, please, I beg of you, don’t make Shinichi lead vocals. Or backing vocals. However, he’s a skilled violinist, so could he turn his hand to a guitar? *gets mental image of Shinichi rocking out on guitar while Heiji goes mental on the drums, Hakuba strumming base and Kaito singing and leaning over the microphone while bajillions of fangirls scream their lungs out* I wanna draw that! BUT I CAN’T DRAW! Hyper-cookies to anyone who can and does! Your fics are hilarious! Yeah, I’m going nowhere- I can’t even find a summer job beyond babysitting! 🙁 I need money to buy manga and Bon Jovi CDs! The Elite Four? I eat them for breakfast! I’ve beaten them seventy-nine times in Gold, thirty-five in Crystal (why do I know the precise numbers?) and over a hundred in Blue and Yellow. And I’ve wasted Red a couple dozen times in Gold as well! I OWNZ EVERYONE! Actually, everyone I know. None of them will battle me now. 🙁 And my Ho-oh KILLS water types. GIT A SOLAR BEAM UP YE! I wonder if the Shonen Tantei-Dan will go professional as adults. Conan and Ai aside, they are really bright kids, and if they keep honing their detective skills and knowledge they could make a good living out of it as adults. That would be sweet. 🙂 Kogoro will never change… but we love him anyway XD Sonoko doesn’t seem to change much either, personality-wise. I wonder if she’s still with Makoto at that point? I was so happy to see the subs and finally understand what Heiji and Kazuha were talking about, and- I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen the subs, but I was totally punching the air 😀 EPIC RESPONSES!
Good for you, Reta McClain! ^_- The meeting will happen. After all, everyone’s got their own plans for the upcoming heist…
Epic fics rock, Kinsey Adler! I think there should be more Kaito in DC. WE WANT KID! Awww, glad you love the characterisations! Death is going to happen, but to who…. em… no, I’m not telling you yet! *insert evil authoress laugh here* There’s not been any indication that Kaito knows who Conan is yet in the manga, so I’m going with that. I know he does his research, but unless he was researching Kudo Shinichi at the same time, I doubt he’d notice anything… I dunno, I’m just going with the assumption that he doesn’t know. Eta and Ushi? Everyone wants to know, but everyone must wait… As for your theory? Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? There was no specification of what end means… ^_- I ramble too. *rambling-five* and stay up all night. If left alone, I’d sleep from about 3am to midday. But they won’t LET ME SLEEP! T_T
I do not claim to own any of the characters in Meitantei Conan. They are the intellectual property of Aoyama Gosho. All characters, couples and locations, if Canon, will be faithful to the manga, so if you’re into fics with weird pairings like Shinichi and Heiji, the back button is at the top there. The fic may not make sense if you have not read up to chapter 695, which you can do at a site called (read between the lines) O/n/e/ma/n/g/a, but I advise you to buy the official Tankoban novels (up to volume 29 are out in English at the time of writing) so that Aoyama-sensei can afford to continue gracing us with his imagination. Now, I hope you enjoy the fic! (If you don’t, please see my previous comments re the back button).
Some Things Never Change
A Riddle Within An Enigma