Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ Ambiguity ( Chapter 11 )

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

Chapter Eleven
“Alright, what the hell?” Heiji asked grumpily. They were all still a little sleepy, but Shinichi, Heiji and Yuusaku had met up just in front of Heiji’s house before anyone else had woken up to talk things over. “It ain’t like we got any hard proof, since he left the damn ruby behind, but that Kuroba dude’s obviously Kid, right?”
“Oh, yes,” Yuusaku said. “He was in an unparalleled position to observe the security arrangements, fix the generators, and control our thoughts about how Kid would approach. Besides, I think we all noticed the two dummies.”
“So why didn’t ya say anythin’?” Heiji asked. “Put `im on the spot, he mighta confessed-”
“I doubt it,” Shinichi said, shaking his head. “The Kaitou Kid wouldn’t crack that easily, especially not if he’s been able to keep Nakamori-keibu and his daughter in the dark this long.”
“Yes… I think he’d have to be as good an actor as you to fool Aoko-san,” Yuusaku chuckled.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Shinichi asked, flushing.
“Anyway, if he’ anything like his father, he will be a brilliant actor,” Yuusaku continued, ignoring his son. “Toichi-kun had an unparalleled Poker Face, you know. There’s a reason Yuki and Sharon Vineyard went to him for acting tuition.”
“That’s right…” Shinichi suddenly realized. “Kuroba Toichi taught role-play and disguise to Kaa-san and Sharon Vineyard… in other words, Vermouth, who can change her face, voice and manner as perfectly as Kid.” He smacked himself in the forehead. “Duh.”
“So this Kuroba Toichi dude was Kid before?” Heiji said thoughtfully. “Actually, yeah, that makes sense. Kuroba Kaito‘s way too young ta’ve been nickin’ stuff twenty years ago. He wasn’t even born then. Taking after his oyaji, then?”
Avenging, more like,” Shinichi said. “Right, Tou-san?”
“I’d assume so,” Yuusaku said darkly. “Even I never found any evidence that Toichi-kun’s death was anything but an accident, but form both you and Toichi-kun have told me about these people…”
“Hold on a mo,” Heiji cut in. “That guy last night- the one with the gun- was one’ve them?”
“Dressed entirely in black, Codenamed Sake,” Shinichi said, counting on his fingers, “Escaped in a police helicopter, which suggests that his people have either infiltrated the police or were capable of hijacking a police helicopter, and given the lack of hijacking reports, I’m going for the former… It has to be, Hattori. You knew, didn’t you?” he said, addressing the question to his father.
“Of course I eventually found out about Toichi-kun’s night job, yes,” Yuusaku said frankly, “and when I heard that Kid had returned, I had my suspicions about who it was… pretty much confirmed last night by Kaito-kun. I didn’t turn him in because if I did, that would reveal the identity of the Kaitou Kid to the world… essentially sentencing him and his family to death.”
“Did you know it was the Organization, then?” Shinichi asked. Yuusaku shook his head.
“Toichi-kun had told me the codename of the man who had approached him,” he admitted with a sigh, “but that was ten years ago…. I’d forgotten entirely about him, and so didn’t make the connection, until tonight. Toichi-kun always referred to them as Ravens, or the Shadow Syndicate…”
“You confronted him, then,” Heiji said.
“Well, he was my friend,” Yuusaku said, “So I did want to face him personally before I turned him in. That’s when I found out about them… so we struck a deal.”
“To deal with the Organization?” Shinichi said incredulously.
“I said that if I couldn’t convince him to give it up, and he was going to continue to stick his neck out as bait for those Ravens, someone might as well see to it that the police got there in time to arrest them,” he sighed. “We had no idea that it consisted of more than Sake’s little faction. And they didn’t seem to know who he was.”
“But they found out,” Heiji said. “I’m layin’ good odds on that Vermouth chick…”
“Yes, ever since Shinichi told us about her, I’ve been certain of it,” Yuusaku says. “I’m sure she would have made the connection. Yukiko doesn’t know. She’s never known who Toichi-kun was. I thought it better to keep it a secret at first, and didn’t have the heart to tell her after his death. His wife knew, too- Minami-kun- but I didn’t know that Kaito-kun had ever found out.”
“That explains the timing of Kid’s appearances and disappearances,” Shinichi said thoughtfully, “As well as his youth and overly showy thefts- the aim isn’t the jewels, it’s drawing out the Organization, who must know that they killed the Kaitou Kid a decade ago. But why did he get involved with them in the first place? And why did they let Minami-san and Kaito live?”
“Toichi-kun said that they approached him to ask him to steal something for them,” Yuusaku said gravely. “Pandora. What it is, precisely, I’ve never known. As for Minami-kun and Kaito-kun, all I can think of is that Sharon protected them, but I can’t think why…”
“Did he ever tell ya why he started thievin’?” Heiji asked. “I mean, what the hell was he doin’?”
To Shinichi’s surprise, his father smiled. “Toichi-kun always had a little bit of bedevilment in him,” he chuckled. “He never did any damage himself, and never hurt anybody- he just liked the chance to put on the kind of show that the whole world would talk about. Besides, I think he got a bit of a thrill out of messing with the police in a completely non-damaging way. He never did have much control over his inner child- He once said he became a performer so he wouldn’t have to.”
“Well, unfortunately, Kuroba left with Nakamori-keibu an hour ago,” Heiji said, “so he’s kinda outta our grasp.”
“I don’t know what Kaito-kun’s planning,” Yuusaku said with a frown, “but if he’s really facing the Black Organization…”
“I can personally attest that even Kid can’t take them alone,” Shinichi said thoughtfully. “I’m not letting up on him, but frankly, I’d rather spend the brain power that I use worrying about him on dealing with the Organization. I wonder if he feels the same.”
“Well, he lives in Tokyo, right?” Heiji yawned. “I guess ya can probably find `im sooner or later. Me, I’m gonna check out who was in chopper #2 last night. I ain’t standin’ fer these bastards bein’ in the Osaka Police.”
“Be careful, Hattori,” Shinichi cautioned. “These people are dangerous. If they suspect you of being even the slightest bit of trouble, you join the hitlist. Watch who you tell about this.”
“Well, I’m workin’ on the assumption that oyaji ain’t a murderin’ criminal bastard, but fer the most part I’m keepin’ it on the quiet,” Heiji said. “They let me inta everythin’ at HQ anyways. I’ll contact you with anythin’…”
“Tou-san, so you know Kuroba Toichi’s address?” Shinichi asked as they turned to head back inside. Yuusaku scratched his chin thoughtfully.
“Well, I think Yukiko might still have his address…” he said, “but it’ll be ten years old… I don’t know if Minami-kun and Kaito-kun still live there. We might as well check, however.”
“I’m sure we can track him down,” Shinichi said. “The main problem is that he’s liable to freak if I turn up at his house…”
“Well, it’s been a long time since Yukiko and I visited Minami-kun,” Yuusaku said. “Maybe it’s time to catch up, since we’re in Japan again.”
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Lucky escape this time,” Kaito thought with a sigh, leaning against the train window. “And not just from the heist…”
Thanks to Kudo, Tantei-kun and Hattori apparently keeping mum, he’d gotten away, but that didn’t relieve him- far from it. If those three- especially Tantei-kun- weren’t exposing him yet, then they had some other plan. Granted, it could simply have been because there was no hard evidence- he was fairly certain that Tantei-kun hadn’t just been poking him to wake him up- but he doubted it. If that was it, they probably would have levelled with Hakuba, but the blond git had been sulking all morning after having been brushed off by Kudo Yuusaku. Aoko and Nakamori were also angry, but in their case it was to do with neither of them having been around and Kid getting away as a result. All told, Kaito was pretty glad that they’d had to take an early morning train; it meant they spent most of the ride sleeping, and it got him away from the three Tantei.
But Kudo-san said he and his wife were friends of my parents,” he realized. “So they might have known our address back then… it’s not like we’ve moved since… damn, then they might find me. More importantly, they might find that room… and it’s not just them I have to worry about…
As he and Jii had worried, Snake had been there, looking to check out the ruby. Kaito idly wondered how much of their conversation the detectives had heard. His sharp night vision had easily picked out the little bug that had rolled under the small gap at the bottom of the door. “How much did they hear… and understand?
“…when I kill another of you?
Poker Face cracked for a brief second as he yelped. The other three stared at him, Aoko and her father a little sleepily, Hakuba suspiciously. Kaito shook his head hurriedly.
“Gomen, gomen,” he said hastily. “I kinda dozed off… weird dream… never mind.”
“You get weird dreams if you sleep at weird times,” Aoko reprimanded him, breaking the stern effect by yawning. “I’m gonna get some coffee. You want to come with? I think you need caffeine.”
“Sounds good,” Kaito agreed, hoping to escape Hakuba’s laser stare for a short while. At least he’d be free of it when he got home- if the freak didn’t stalk him there again… “You two want anything?”
“Fond out how much caffeine they’ll put in one cup,” Nakamori asked, stifling a yawn. Hakuba just shook his head.
As he followed Aoko down the train, however, he wasn’t even the slightest bit sleepy. He was suddenly very, very afraid.
He knows I’m not Tou-san,” he thought. “He knows I’m someone else. If… if he knows who that someone else is…”
He looked up at Aoko as she chattered aimlessly, not really listening.
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“You guys gotta come back again soon,” Kazuha insisted. “I mean, when was the last time ya came for somethin’ not work?”
“Yeah…” Ran said, a little listlessly. She’d had the Nightmare last night. It wasn’t scary, or shocking, or anything; all it was was Shinichi, running away from her, always just beyond her reach, and with every step he took, he faded a little more out of her sight, until it seemed that he would vanish forever… “That sounds good.”
Kazuha tipped her head to the side as she regarded the other girl critically. They were pretty much on their own- Heiji and Conan had wandered down the other end of the platform to talk about the heist with Yuusaku, Kogoro was sleeping in a plastic chair, and Yukiko had disappeared into the ladies’ room. Ran felt herself flush under Kazuha’s scrutiny. “What?” she hissed.
“It’s Kudo-kun, isn’t it?” Kazuha said. “Nothin’ else makes you so depressed. I mean, ya were hopin’ he’d turn up, weren’t ya? But even his folks can’t really tell ya where he is, so yer feelin’ worried and lonely again.” Ran flinched. “Bullseye.”
“I just never know when he’s going to turn up… if he’s going to turn up…” Ran admitted. She felt a little more comfortable talking to Kazuha about this than she was talking to Sonoko; Sonoko, at least, knew where she stood with Makoto, and generally knew where he was and what he was up to. Kazuha could understand how frustrating ambiguity could be, as well as how much trouble kokosei-tantei could get themselves into. “I don’t really know what he’s doing, or if he’s safe… you know?”
“Tell me about it,” Kazuha said huffily, glancing at Heiji. “Sometimes he just vanishes, whenever he gets wind of a case, for hours on end… then he turns up like “what where ya worryin’ for, ba-ka?” I dunno what it is with detectives… ya’d think, since they spend so much time workin’ on the truth, they’d be less secretive than other people, but no…”
“It’s not quite secrecy,” Ran said. “I mean… I guess I just don’t know where I stand with him.”
“Ya think it’d be easier ta wait on `im if ya knew for certain that he really wanted to be back with ya?” Kazuha asked with her usual blunt precision. Ran could feel herself going crimson enough to draw questioning looks from Heiji and Conan. “I mean, c’mon. It’s more’n a little obvious how you feel about him…”
“All right,” Ran admitted hotly. “I just… I mean, if he hasn’t said anything, maybe he doesn’t think of me as more than a best friend… but sometimes, he just says or does little things… like he messaged me the other day and said that he “kinda missed” me… but then, what does that even mean?”
“Guys are an eternal enigma,” Kazuha stated grumpily, “But you guys’ve been in this li’l quasi-romance for, like, two years, right? Since just after he started on that case, an’ ya realized for the first time how important he was to yer life when he wasn’t in it?”
“Is Hattori-kun secretly getting his deductions from you?” Ran hissed as the guys once more glanced in their direction.
“Ran-chan, it’s obvious to any woman,” Yukiko said brightly from just over her shoulder. Ran yelped in surprise as Yukiko walked past her and then turned to face her, shoulder-to-shoulder with Kazuha. “Really, for those of us, who’ve known you long enough, I think it’s obvious that Shin-chan’s more than a friend to you… and I’m certain that you’re more precious to Shin-chan than anything else.”
Ran deflated. Yukiko’s words made her hopeful, but she wasn’t sure that she wanted that hope- so many times, such hope had lifted her up in time to just fall further… “But how can I know?” she whispered helplessly.
“Shin-chan’s good at figuring other people out, but he’s hopeless when it comes to his own feelings,” Yukiko sighed. “If you’re certain of how you feel… maybe you ought to make the first move.”
“If he was textin’ ya sayin’ he missed ya,” Kazuha theorized, “Maybe he’ll show up again soon. When that happens, Ran-chan, it’s do or die time. Put `im on the spot and find out for certain.”
“Don’t think about it,” Yukiko insisted. “Just do it. The more you think about it, the more likely you are to over-think it, and then you’ll never find out. Just make it simple.”
“Maybe ya should just kiss him,” Kazuha giggled. The PA blared to life, obscuring Ran’s squeak and brief period of speechlessness as it announced the imminent arrival of the next train back to Tokyo. Yuusaku shook Kogoro on the shoulder, but he didn’t awake- until Conan climbed up onto an adjacent chair and kicked the man in the arm. Hattori yanked the boy just out of the way of a quality thumping.
“Oh, we’d better go!” Yukiko gasped, straightening her purse strap and stooping to pick up her travel bag. “Ran-chan, do you have all of your things?”
“Um… oh, yes,” Ran said, fighting to cool her cheeks as she tugged the straps on her backpack. “Um, Sayonara for now, then, Kazuha-chan…”
“Yes, it was nice meeting you, Kazuha-chan,” Yukiko said with a grin. “Nice seeing you again, Hattori-kun.”
“Yeah… nice ta see ya, Kudo-san,” Heiji said, waving them off as they got on the train. “Look after yerself, squirt.”
“See you, Heiji-niichan!” Conan said brightly. “You too, Kazuha-neechan!”
Kazuha gave Ran a quick hug goodbye as she got on the train. As she did so, she whispered in Ran’s ear, “Just go for it. I mean, what have ya got to lose?”
Ran practically fled onto the train. As they pulled away from the station, she couldn’t help opening her phone and reading the message again.
That, and I’ve kinda missed you.
I’ve missed you too, Shinichi,” she thought. “So, so much…
Just go for it. I mean, what have ya got to lose?
What have I got to lose?” she thought, smiling sadly at the phone. “Only Shinichi… only… everything…
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The Easter hols are over and it’s exam time, so I’m only going to update every Sunday now rather than three times a week. I’ve got five Highers to study for, so wish me luck!
Arigatou Gozaimasu, Mel7200! *feels luvved*
I’m so glad you loved the heist, SilverShadowBreeze! The Kid is my favourite character and I so wanted to do him justice, so it makes me really happy to hear that I characterize him so well. Thank you! *luvved*
Pretztailfan95- It was just Kid getting in another pun on the line “Truly fit for a king” from his riddle. (pin?)
Ah… It does omit the site, doesn’t it, delyrical? Well, read between the lines: O/n/e/m/a/n/g/a. Do they not like us plugging other sites or something? And don’t worry, Hakuba is going to get better soon… These chapters were written a while back, when I’d originally viewed Hakuba as a peripheral annoyance who wasn’t going to have a major role in the story. That’s changed since- the future of my fic is in flux, but ATM I’m planning for him to play an important part in the destruction of the Syndicate.
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 Ran and Heiji, the back button is at the top there. The fic may not make sense if you have not read up to chapter 679, 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 27 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).
Cops and Robbers