Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ Confrontations ( Chapter 24 )

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

Chapter Twenty-Four
Confrontations
Kaito lay still with his eyes closed, knowing that if the doctors thought he was asleep they wouldn’t find it necessary to give him any sedatives. He had no intention of sleeping. He knew all too well what he would see when he slept, the things he’d nightmared about when he’d passed out last night: his mother being thrown over that car like a rag doll, his father collapsing in a spray of blood, over and over like some sick newsreel. At some point, the memories had mutated into fears, and the ones getting smashed or thrown or (for variation) shot by a cruelly smirking Sake weren’t his parents: It was Aoko or Akako getting hit by a black car, Hakuba or Nakamori-keibu getting shot, Jii or Tantei-kun getting crushed. These weren’t new fears, but they’d just been given a vivid new vehicle with which to wake him in a cold sweat. He had no intention of reliving them again.
He’d heard several people trying to get in and being denied. Akako had come not long after Aoko had left (and he’d heard her lose her temper with the nurses and out Jii, which meant that Kaito wouldn’t see him for a while) and not long after that Hakuba had come, to mixed surprise and unsurprise from Kaito. He wasn’t particularly fond of how often Hakuba tried to drive jealous and generally Kid-related wedges between him and Aoko, but he was still a friend of sorts and, frankly, at that point it would have been nice for the nurses to let anyone in. Until Aoko brought some of his books and stuff tomorrow, he was growing maddeningly bored, with not much to do but listen to people in the hallway and watch his mother’s thankfully stabilized breathing.
What had really thrown him was hearing a half-familiar voice asking to be allowed in, and after a minute realizing that it was Kudo Yuusaku. Ignoring the doctor’s advice, he had dizzily (maybe he’d hit his head harder than he’d thought) made his way to the window and peered out, in time to see the novelist and- as he’d expected- Edogawa Conan walking away from the hospital. At that point, he’d gotten back into bed and started pretending to be asleep.
Tantei-kun saw Snake,” he remembered. “He’s gotta be suspicious. But sharp kid or not, there’s no way I’m telling him about the Shadow Syndicate.” Edogawa Conan may have been an incredibly sharp, tough and flat-out creepy kid, but these guys were far more dangerous than the run-of-the-mill murderers and thieves- “and absolutely brilliant thieves, of course”- that the kid seemed to encounter on a regular basis. There was no way Kaito was dragging a little boy into something so dangerous. There was no way he was putting anyone else at risk over this.
Which means that, as soon as I get out of here,” he decided, “Kuroba Kaito may have to disappear for a while…
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“Are you stalking me?” Saguru demanded, turning and glaring at Akako, who sauntered out of a side alley with a pleasant smile on her beautiful face. A man nearly swerved into the lane of oncoming traffic behind Saguru, who remained stubbornly unaffected.
“Hmph,” she snorted in annoyance, before smiling again. “I was looking for you, yes, as I have a couple of questions for you, although I suppose out of pure nosiness the first one will have to be what you’re doing in Beika district.”
“How did you know I was here without knowing why I was here?” Saguru asked, starting to walk again. Akako fell into step beside him.
“Morningstar told me,” she said, stroking the beak of the crow that was sitting on her shoulder. “Now answer my question.”
“I have to meet one of the other detectives from the Kid heist in Osaka,” Saguru sighed, turning into the entirely residential district 2. “So what did you wish ask me?”
“I was interested to know if you had ever met a fellow kokosei-tantei by the name of Kudo Shinichi,” she purred. “I understand he nearly caught the Kid once, so I’m very interested in meeting him.”
“Kami help him,” Saguru muttered, earning him Evil Eyes from Akako, but then continued “well, the detective I’m meeting is his father, so I’m sure that any questions that you have you can put to him. I can’t say I’ve ever met Kudo myself, anyway. I understand that he’s travelling for a major case and is, for the most part, impossible to contact.”
Is he, now…?” Akako said thoughtfully. Saguru shrugged and started scanning the nameplates for the houses. It didn’t take long to reach the Kudo’s, a large western-style manor with the silver car that they were renting parked out front.
Saguru pressed the doorbell. Akako hovered beside him, clearly also intent on meeting Kudo’s parents. After a moment, the intercom crackled.
Konnichiwa?” said a woman’s voice.
“Kudo Yukiko-san?” Hakuba said politely. “This is Hakuba Saguru. I believe we met in Osaka.”
Oh, yes! At that Kid heist!
“Indeed,” Saguru said, “and as a matter of fact, the heist is why I am here. There are a few points that I wish to discuss with Kudo-sensei.”
I’m sure he’d love to talk to you… just a moment… Yuu-chan!
There was a beep and the gate opened. Saguru politely allowed Akako to enter first, and conscientiously closed the gate behind him. The front door was opened by Kudo Yukiko as they approached.
“Hakuba-kun!” she greeted him cheerfully. “It’s nice to see you again…” her delicate eyebrows shot up as her gaze fell on Akako. Saguru supposed that Akako’s outfit- which, with the black bodice, black lace sleeves and silken skirt down to her feet that were probably wholly inappropriate for the cold weather, made her look like some sort of goth queen- had to be quite a surprise to people who weren’t used to it. He wondered where she got her wardrode. “Who’s your friend? I don’t believe we’ve met.”
“This is my classmate, Koizumi Akako,” he said. “Koizumi-san, this is Kudo Yukiko.”
“Hajimemashite,” Akako said pleasantly. “Forgive my intrusion, but I was rather a fan of your son’s when he vanished, so when I heard that Hakuba-kun was coming here, well… It’s not true that he’s dead, is it?”
“Oh, no, no!” Yukiko insisted. “Shin-chan’s alive and well, thank goodness, although I do wish he’d call more often… Yuusaku’s in the library, by the way,” Yukiko added to Saguru. “I told him you were here, so he should be expecting you… down that hallway, the door at the end.”
“Arigato Gozaimasu,” he said politely, setting off said hallway as Yukiko and Akako moved to the living room, chatting about some of Kudo’s cases.
The library door stood slightly ajar, and Saguru had raised his hand to knock and enter when the sound of a whispered argument caused him to pause. He moved a little closer to the door, straining his ears.
Is that Conan-kun?” he thought in surprise when he heard the child’s voice. There was something different about it. The boy was speaking tensely, seriously, completely unchildlike in all but the pitch of his voice- and he even seemed to be lowering that, making himself sound older.
“You didn’t mention that she knew about you!” Yuusaku’s voice was urgent and worried.
“Because I knew you guys’d freak out and at any rate it doesn’t seem to be a danger spot. She clearly hasn’t told Them yet, has she?” There was something about the way Conan had hissed Them that sent Saguru’s detective senses tingling. You could hear the capital letter.
“Not a danger spot? Even if she hasn’t sold you out yet, she easily could at any time! She has a dangerous amount of leverage over you!”
“If she wanted me dead, she could have killed me when I was under the sleeping gas. She could have let Gin kill me when he came after Occhan. She hasn’t. I don’t know what she’s up to, but whatever it is it doesn’t seem to be in Their best interests, and that’s good enough for me.”
“She has no reason not to betray you, and even if she did I doubt that would have stopped her. You realize that she’s almost certainly the one who sold Toichi-kun out to Them-”
“Which, incidentally, is what I wanted to speak to you about,” Saguru said as he entered the library, deciding that there was no point in pretending that he hadn’t been eavesdropping. Kudo Yuusaku and Edogawa Conan stared at him with almost identical expressions of shock. They could have been father and son.
“Hakuba-kun?” Yuusaku said, recovering first. “What do you mean?”
“I think we all well know that Kuroba’s accident… wasn’t,” Saguru said, striding over to the desk that Yuusaku was sitting behind and Conan was sitting on. There was a second chair in front of the desk, which Saguru settled himself into. “I’m presuming that you already knew that Kuroba has dangerous enemies, yes? That’s what you two and Hattori were discussing in Osaka- the Them that you were so worriedly discussing just now. And if I’m right about that, than am I right to say that these “enemies” turned up at that heist? You realize that I’m in Kuroba’s class. I know that more than once there have been mysterious events surrounding Kid’s escapes, and almost every time they’ve been followed by a brief absence from Kuroba. In other words, you knew that something like this could happen, and you didn’t alert the authorities. Why?”
Yuusaku and Conan exchanged brief, serious glances. Then Conan sighed and turned his unsettling sapphire stare on Saguru.
“They’re in the authorities, Hakuba,” he said, no longer sounding even remotely like a child as emphasized by the use of “Hakuba” rather than “Saguru-niichan”. “Kuroba’s enemies are powerful and dangerous. We couldn’t tell the police because we couldn’t be certain of who we could trust. Not that there’s anything they could have done anyway.”
“Listen, Hakuba-kun,” Yuusaku said sternly, “I don’t know how much you know about these people, but the fact that you even know that they exist puts you at risk. If They find out that you’re investigating Them… you may have to disappear for a while.”
“Like Kudo-kun?” Saguru suggested, to terse nods from the other two. “So that’s what he’s investigating. I wondered what kind of case would force such a prominent detective to vanish.” He narrowed his eyes. “Forgive me for prying, but it’s what detectives do. How are you involved with these people, Conan-kun?”
“I… saw some stuff I shouldn’t have,” the boy hedged. Saguru got the feeling that he wasn’t lying, but that there was far more to the story than unfortunate nosiness. “What do you know, Hakuba?”
“I know that there is strong evidence that Kuroba Toichi’s death was no accident, and neither was what happened to Kuroba and his mother last night,” Saguru replied, hoping to get them to show their hands by laying his on the table. “I know that, for over three years before Kuroba Toichi’s death, he was regularly and secretly shot at by snipers, a trend that seems to have followed Kuroba from about a month after he became Kid. I know that, according to Jody Hopper, the gun-wielding man and his thugs who attempted to steal her family gem knew the Kaitou Kid and seemed to place killing him as a priority over obtaining the jewel. I know, from the same testimony, that these people are evidently looking for a specific jewel, and given Kid’s heist patterns and fixation with jewels even though he used to steal paintings and statuary as well indicates that he’s looking for it too. I can only conclude that these mysterious yakuza killed Kuroba’s father, and he’s trying to get to their target first in revenge. Well?”
“Right on target, Hakuba-kun,” Yuusaku said quietly. “And that is why we decided to let the Kaitou Kid’s true identity remain a secret. I believe that, until recently, They thought that the Kid was Toichi-kun- that he’d somehow escaped Them ten years ago. That would explain why Kaito-kun was not attacked in his civilian life before now. Revealing who he was would have been a death sentence. As it is, they will likely come back for him, although not until the police have stopped hovering around him.”
“That may not be for a while,” Saguru said. “If they don’t find the drivers, which seems increasingly likely, the police will have to retake his statement multiple times, and they’ll also want a statement from his mother when she wakes. That gives him some breathing space, at any rate.”
“But not a lot,” Yuusaku said. “Hakuba-kun… I know better than to tell a detective to stop investigating, so I’m just going to tell you to be careful. If you came here for information, I’m sorry that we couldn’t give you any, but you must understand that we can’t put you at risk unnecessarily. To that end, however…” he picked up a file that was sitting on his desk and handed it to Saguru. “These are my personal files on the Kaitou Kid and the death of Kuroba Toichi. I can guarantee that if you try to reopen the official case files on Toichi-kun’s death, They will notice. They let Nakamori-kun live when he tried to reopen the case files because he never suspected Toichi-kun of being Kid, so they could dismiss it as being simply out of grief at his friend’s death. You never met Toichi-kun, however, so if you tried to access the files, They would suspect you of prying into things that They thought They had hidden. You too would almost certainly suffer an… “accident”.”
“My father is the superintendant general of the Tokyo Met,” Saguru said, flipping through the folder. “Accident or no, I doubt he would close the case of my death so easily.”
“He might have to if his superiors demanded it, Hakuba,” Conan said quietly. Saguru narrowed his eyes on the boy.
“How high do they go?” he asked. Conan shrugged.
“High enough that neither the FBI nor the CIA have ever declared their presence in Japan,” he replied. “That’s why this investigation has to remain strictly independent from the police. Can I convince you to drop it altogether?”
“Not a chance,” Saguru said firmly. “The Kaitou Kid is my case, and nothing and no-one is going to kill him before I get my cuffs on him. If I have to let him walk free a little longer to ensure that he doesn’t get his brains blown out the second I catch him, so be it.”
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“I’m terribly sorry that I can’t tell you where he is,” Yukiko sighed, tidying away the tea things. “I wish I knew for myself. Really, does he have any idea how much he worries me?”
“That’s quite alright,” Akako replied. “It was wonderful to talk to you. Goodness, is that the time? I should be leaving soon.”
“Well, if you must, Akako-chan,” Yukiko sighed. She glanced down the hallway. “Ah, here come the boys, anyway.”
Akako was rising from her chair when she felt a shiver down her spine.
Oh, Lucifer,” she thought wildly. “It’s that aura… like Kuroba’s, so powerful, so purposeful… and yet, tinged so heavily with death, far more than Kuroba’s… such an aura is practically stalked by Death… I’ve felt this once before…. can it be…?
She turned, expecting to see Kudo Shinichi, but he was nowhere in sight. Instead, coming down the hallway was Hakuba, an older man who must be Kudo Yuusaku, and… a child.
Akako had never seen the boy before, but he seemed… familiar. After a second, she realized that it was he who was emitting the powerful aura. It was more… concentrated, as if a child’s body was attempting to emit an adult’s aura.
Lucifer only mentioned two who shared this fate,” she thought. “How can there be three? Who is this boy?
“Koizumi-san, I think you’re going to scar the child for life by glaring at him like that.”
Akako snapped back to reality and sent very literal Evil Eyes at Hakuba, who ignored her. The child was looking a little pale, having edged slightly behind Kudo Yuusaku. She calmed herself and donned her most winning smile, which had no effect whatsoever on Yuusaku and seemed to only further terrify the boy. “What is it with detectives?” she thought in frustration, though she maintained the smile.
“Kudo-sensei,” Hakuba said, “this is my classmate Koizumi Akako-san. Koizumi-san, this is Kudo Yuusaku-sensei and his nephew Edogawa Conan-kun.”
“Hajimemashite, Koizumi-san,” Yuusaku said politely.
“Hajimemashite,” Akako replied. Then she turned towards the door. “So sorry to greet and leave, but it’s growing rather late, so I suppose I’d best go home.”
“I’m going to walk you home, aren’t I,” Hakuba sighed. She noted that he was now clutching and unlabeled folder. “Information on the Kid?”
“Ever the English Gentleman,” she said sweetly, stepping into her black heels. “Pleasure to talk to you, Yukiko-san. We must meet up again sometime.”
“Oh, yes,” Yukiko agreed. “I’ll see you again, Akako-chan. By the way… do you live near Aoko-chan? Can you give her my condolences? I know that she and Kaito-kun are very close. She must be worried sick.”
“She is,” Hakuba said. “I’m sure she’ll appreciate your commiserations. Well then… Sayonara, for now.”
“Sayonara,” Akako said, opening the door. Morningstar, her crow, instantly swooped down to her outstretched arm. On an impulse, she glanced back. “Oh, and Conan-kun?” she added. “Watch out for the ravens in the dark. I’m sure they’d simply devour a little boy like you.”
With that, she turned and left, a confused Hakuba in her wake and a very pale-faced little boy left behind.
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Behold the power of advertising! I made an AMV trailer of the fic, including hints of scenes yet to be published. ^_- The tags I gave it were “fanfiction trailer Pandora’s Box” and it should have the same name as the fic from user KeldaMacFeegle, if you’re interested. I’ve also published it on Bebo, though the Bebobook hasn’t caught up to the fic as it is on FFnet or MMorg yet.
Indeed it is, FaithlessGirl, and there’s a lot more to come…
I’m glad to save you from the hell of history tests, Mel72000! XD Zenigata is a detective with Interpol who is assigned to arrest Lupin III, Grandson of the great Arsene Lupin, and as skilled a thief if not as much of a gentleman. ^_^; He appeared in the recent “Conan vs Lupin III” anime special, but the original manga and anime are both mental, on a par with Yaiba for pure dementedness. ^_^; I can’t help liking Fujiko and Goemon, though. 😛
Well, even Akako’s not considered an adult turning into a child, Pretztailfan95… yet. But I think she’s getting some pretty strong signals here… NOOO! DON’T KILL KAITO!!! D:
Like you said, HaibaraDaiFan… Kaitou Kid isn’t a bad person, and I think very few people want him caught- even Nakamori-keibu probably only chases him out of habit. ^_^; And I don’t think that there’s anyone with a stick far enough up their ass not to forgive him if they knew his motives.
Oooo… *Goes to check out Peppymint’s stories* I still need to finish my Kaitou Kid vs Lupin III crossover oneshot. I stopped on it when the Conan vs Lupin III special came out, by I really should finish it.
Actually, Silver Shadowbreeze, I hadn’t thought about his hacking skills though I have little doubt that they’re exceptional. I just figured that even if forum rules ban swearing, what Kuroba Toichi fan is going to ban his son? That’d be some baaaaad juju. ^_^ (I have very little doubt that that went over everybody’s heads.)
Not coming soon, I’m afraid, Ebil Stasia… there’s a lot of stuff that has to happen first…
Going on holiday or something, Flippant Wisdom? Have fun! I did wish that Kid and co would be in the crossover… Kaitou Kid vs Lupin III would have been AWESOME! And I’m not fond of Hakuba, no, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to completely rewrite his character. I still kind of think he’s an asshole, but I do want to keep him in-character. And actually, I’m starting to enjoy writing him. His development is fun. ^_^
And more special cookies to Max, my first and probably only ever Bebo reviewer who won’t see this A/N for a month anyway 😛 By then, the cookies’ll probably be stale. MUAHAHAHA! XD I’ll get to listening to Muse… someday. When I can be bothered to steal your CDs. For now, my musical muses are Paramore, Skillet and NICKELBACK! *still hyped up even though it’s been a week*
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 692, 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).
 
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