Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ In The Shadows ( Chapter 34 )

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

Chapter Thirty-Four
In The Shadows
It was only for a moment, and then the lights came back on. But in that moment, the black sapphire vanished.
“What the-?!” Saguru gasped as he beheld the empty case. Mocking laughter rang out throughout the display room.
“I told you I would summon it to my hand, did I not?” Kid’s voice called from the gallery above. Everyone looked up in shock at the white figure sitting casually on the railing. He lazily tossed the black sapphire in the air a couple of times.
“What? That can’t be!” Aoko gasped, glancing from Kid to the case. “How did he-?!”
“Now, if you will excuse me…” Kid said, stepping off of the railing and onto the gallery as cops ran for the stairs. He held up a hand with the switch for his hanglider. Saguru dove for the stairs.
Saguru nearly gave himself whiplash as he sourced the gunshot to the opposite gallery. Kid jerked backwards as the bullet tore past his right arm in a fine spray of red. Three more shots rang out, hitting Kid in the chest with a surprisingly solid thump. “He’s wearing a bullet-proof vest,” Saguru realized as he tore past the confused and yelling cops and headed for the opposite stairs. As he reached the gallery, he saw the man in black raising the gun, but Kid had seen him too. A card shot past Saguru’s head, knocking the gun out of the man’s hand and sending the fifth shot wildly off course, smashing into the chandelier. Foreigners and cops scattered screaming as the chandelier collapsed, dropping the room back into darkness. Saguru lost sight of the man in black but heard a door slam at the other end of the corridor. At the same time, a window smashed across the room. Saguru whirled around again, but everything was dark. The only light Kid had restored was the chandelier. Nakamori-keibu was yelling alternatively at the power room and the police officers stationed outside in his radio.
“Nakamori-san! Koizumi-san!” Saguru called into the darkness as he ran down the stairs. “Are you two all right?”
“We’re fine,” Akako called from the doorway. The rest of the lights flickered on.
“Hey, where’s Conan-kun?” Aoko said, glancing around. Saguru’s heart missed a beat as he ran for the smashed chandelier, but it wasn’t large and it was quickly evident that there was no-one under it- there’d be blood if there was, and all there was was fragments of crystal. Several cops and one of the foreigners were clutching large cuts from flying crystal, but it was quickly evident that there were no fatalities.
“Kudo-sensei?” he called, picking his way over to the novelist who was staring out of the window. “Are you all right? Where’s Conan-kun?”
“I’m fine,” Yuusaku replied, “and he’s most likely already chasing him.” He pointed out the window, where Saguru quickly spotted the white triangle soaring away. Nakamori-keibu had already noticed it, if the way he was yelling at the cops to get a move on was any indication. “I don’t think I’ll join the chase, however. I’m not much of a runner.” Saguru glanced back at the chandelier and saw something black flash as the foreigners pulled their injured friend away.
“No,” he said, “me neither.”
Shit, are you all right?” Charlotte gasped. She was clutching Max’s right arm, pushing up his sleeve to examine a wound.
What the hell just happened?” Richard demanded.
What do you think?” Laura said, a little testily. “Someone just shot at Kid.
What stupid fucker would want to do that?” Alex gasped.
Excuse me a moment,” Yuusaku said, striding over to them. Saguru glanced around. Aoko seemed to have run off after her father, and there were only a couple of cops cleaning up the crystal, himself, Kudo Yuusaku, the seven foreigners and Akako, who was glaring at Laura again.
Something wrong?” Andrew asked.
Well, there’s just one problem,” Yuusaku pointed out. “I don’t know if you noticed, but making a jewel disappear and reappear twenty meters away less than a second later is impossible.
“These are mirror fragments,” Saguru noted, sifting through the shattered pieces on the floor.
Mirrors?” Laura said in confusion, her voice just a trace acidic as she glared at Akako.
Oh, wait!” Richard said suddenly. “It’s like the disappearing elephant trick!
What are you on about?” Max said.
Oh, I’ve seen that one on TV!” Taylor explained. “A magician led an elephant into a cage, there was a puff of smoke and it vanished… only it didn’t. There were mirrors hidden in the bars. He turned them when the smoke was hiding the cage so they hid the elephant and reflected the audience, making it look like the elephant had vanished.
Precisely,” Yuusaku said. “Kid set up the mirrors before. During the blackout, he dropped them around the case as he ran upstairs. The jewel that he was showing off upstairs was a fake to make us think he’d taken it.
So why’d Kid leave without the real jewel?” Andrew asked.
Because he was being shot at, duh,” Laura snorted.
Actually, he hasn’t left,” Saguru said. “The fragments of the case are still here, but the jewel isn’t. So Kid’s taken the jewel, and he’s waiting for his chance to escape in disguise.
You mean…” Alex glanced around himself excitedly. “One of us could be Kid?!
One of us is,” Charlotte snorted. “Right?” She tightened her grip on her “brother’s” arm.
What-?!” he said. “Umm, Charlotte, no matter how much I wish I was the Kid…
What makes you think Max is the Kaitou Kid?” Taylor said in confusion.
He didn’t know The Word,” Charlotte said. “Normally, “Haven’t you heard the word?” sets him off into a song he got from Family Guy. Bird’s the word. I guess vague injokes and obscure American cartoon references are a bit much even for Kid’s acting skills. So I’ve been a little suspicious since you guys got back from the bathroom. Besides, his “glass cut” is burned on the edges.
Have you ever considered detective work, Charlotte-san?” Yuusaku said.
Don’t let him go,” Saguru commanded, pulling handcuffs out of his pocket.
Oh, don’t worry about that!” Charlotte squealed, hugging Kid around the neck. He shrugged and pulled his mask off, donning his hat and monocle one-handed- and a slightly awkward hand at that, Saguru noticed.
“Apologies, Ojousama, but I must leave you now,” he said, leaning up and kissing Charlotte’s cheek. She squeaked, turned bright red and promptly melted. A second later, Kid slipped past Saguru and the other foreigners who had dived for him and bolted for the stairs, shedding the foreign clothes and returning to his white suit as he did so. Saguru was slowed when Alex’s rugby tackle, aimed at Kid, hit him squarely and more uncomfortably than it should be in the chest, but Yuusaku shot past and chased Kid. Saguru swore under his breath. The chase was going up, which meant he’d make it to the roof…
As it happened, Kid shot out a twelfth-floor window and dived out of that, deploying his hanglider before he was even fully out. Saguru groaned as he watched him fly away, realizing that the wind direction must have changed as Kid was going in a different direction to what must have been a dummy deployed earlier.
“That was close,” Yuusaku sighed. “I’ll call Conan-kun and tell him about the change of direction…”
You mean I MISSED it?!
Back down in the hall, a few officers had returned and were questioning the foreigners. Charlotte was still grinning, she and Alex squealing happily. The real Max had arrived, pulling his shirt on, rubbing sleep out of his eyes and not looking too happy to have missed a genuine Kid heist.
“Well, he’s away,” Yuusaku said to one of the cops. “You’d better let Nakamori-keibu know. Good luck with that, by the way.” The cop gulped and paled but nodded.
“Oi… Kudo-sensei?”
It was Charlotte, who was still a little red but now looking thoughtful. “Yes? Don’t worry about Kid, you’re not the first one he got past that way…”
“Oh, it’s not that…” she muttered, going even redder. “I just remembered… I was trying to think of where I’d heard your name before. Are you the creator of the Night Baron?”
“As it happens, yes,” Yuusaku asked. “You’ve read my books?”
“Only the first couple,” she said. “They’ve not all been translated into English yet. I was just wondering, that’s all. Anyway…” she turned back to the officer that was trying to question her.
“What I’m really worried about is the guy in black who was on the balcony,” Saguru said.
“Hmm?” Yuusaku said. “My apologies. What was that?”
“The shooter,” Saguru muttered sharply. “He got away.”
“Yes, but I doubt he’ll find Kid again tonight,” Yuusaku said, glancing out at the window.
“I’m going out to meet Nakamori-keibu,” Saguru said. “What are you doing?”
“Hmm? Oh,” he said, “Finding Conan-kun and taking him home, I suppose.”
“Really?” Saguru said. “You seem distracted.”
“I am, a little,” he said. “I’m just thinking about the Night Baron…”
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Shinichi derived a small bit of pleasure from the fact that he actually had to duck a little to get under the barrier. Running quietly, lightly, he slipped through the shadows of the multistorey car park. Everything was quiet. He couldn’t hear the sirens going off at the museum any more. His father must have successfully misdirected the police.
Good,” he thought. “I should have time to talk to Kuroba, if he’s going to listen…” Shinichi wasn’t certain how to make Kuroba listen when he was probably more paranoid than Haibara at the moment, but he figured he could wing it safely enough as long as Kid didn’t.
He paused as one of the shadows moved, raising his watch. He lowered it as his father stepped into a patch of moonlight.
“The police headed towards Toto Tower,” he explained. “Hasn’t Kaito-kun gotten here yet?”
“No,” Shinichi said. “I was about to head up to the roof to keep an eye out in case he flew straight over here…” he turned to run up the ramp to the next level and paused. The security camera by the ramp wasn’t on. The screen was cracked, cracks radiating from a jagged hole in the glass.
A bullet hole.
“Hey,” he said. “I left the second the lights came back on so that I got here first. I thought you were going to stay there until he left for real.” He popped a football out of his belt. “How did you get here so fast?”
He turned back, foot raised to kick the football, but she’d moved, crossing the ten meters that had been between them quickly and silently, and she forced some funny-smelling cloth over his mouth…
The football deflated to the ground, unkicked…
It was getting darker…
The last thing he heard was, in her real voice, “Sorry, Cool Guy, but I think I made a mistake. And it’s not fair to have two.”
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Kaito landed softly on the roof of the multistorey car park. He ducked into the deserted top level and changed from his white suit to his dark grey jumper and jeans, his night-camo wear; he didn’t like wearing black and at any rate dark grey actually blended with the shadows a little better. The process was a little slower than usual due to his still-damaged right wrist and the bullet wound in his upper right arm. He left the bulletproof vest on. He didn’t want to tempt fate, since Snake had almost certainly escaped the museum.
He quickly ran down the ramps to the bottom level. Before he ran down the last ramp, however, he paused. He stepped behind a support pillar and carefully glanced around it. As he’d thought, there was a motorcycle parked on just the other side of the barrier. There was someone next to it, bent over a large sports bag. It looked like a woman. Kaito slipped his card gun out of his left sleeve, then jumped over the edge of the ramp and landed in the shadows beneath. The movement was fast and silent, he’d been sure, but the woman straightened up and turned to face him. He froze in shock.
“What are you doing, Kaito?” she said. “Sneaking around in the shadows?”
Kaito growled at the sound of the voice, raising his card gun, but he’d hesitated and that was all the woman had needed to draw a gun- a real gun- and shoot his out of his hand.
“Be a good boy, now,” Kuroba Minami said.
“My mother is in a coma,” Kaito snarled. “So at the risk of sounding impolite, who the fuck are you, lady?”
“Caught me out,” she said in a voice that was smooth and cold, sounding completely unnatural coming out of his mother’s mouth. It was matched by a similarly incongruous cold smile.
“Why not take the mask off?” he said. “Fair’s fair, you’ve caught me in my real face.”
“I’m not known for playing fair,” she said, “but for you, I’ll make an exception. After all, I came to apologize.”
“Apologize?” Kaito said, arching an eyebrow when she reached up one hand to remove her mask, the other keeping the gun trained on him. She pulled his mother’s face away with a flourish, shaking out long waves of platinum-blonde hair from under the black wig. Her eyes were a pale, icy blue, and her cold smile reappeared as she focused once more on him.
“Now who are you,” Kaito demanded, “and how come you’re so good at changing your face and voice?”
“As good as you, I should think,” the woman said sweetly. “After all, we had the same sensei…
The same sensei…?” Kaito thought. His mind was a whirl of confusion. “She knew Tou-san? Is she one of Them? She knows who I am! Crap, that gun’s real…
Her smile was reaching the temperature of liquid nitrogen. “Call me Vermouth.”
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The action’s ramped up in this chapter, Mel72000… but did you see that one coming?
And that was the chapter, KageNoNeko… what will happen in the next one?
Hate to say it, Kinsey Adler, but they DID change Takagi’s name… it’s Harry Wilder. Painful, isn’t it? At least Sato’s still Miwako Sato, thank heaven. Laura hasn’t asked because… well, she wouldn’t. That’s about the extent of the rationale. It’s not our fight, so why ask? Yuusaku’s got a lot to think about on this heist, and that’s before he gets out of the museum and finds out what happened…
Ah, Gomen, FaithlessGirl! I was reading the wrong scene! (Baka… whose fic is it?) He’s pale because he’s seen the car and knows that it belongs to the Organization, and he’s understandably a bit freaked out to be seen by them, mainly because Edogawa Conan’s been flying a bit too close to their radar of late, and if they become suspicious of Conan as well as Shinichi, he’s in trouble. Well, he is anyway…
Kaito has a discussion coming, FHP2208, but I have to apologize that it’s not with Shinichi…
Awww! Hope your foul mood lifts, HaibaraDaiFan!
Happy Birthday, AngelRoy!
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).
A Phantom Thief