Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ Regrouping ( Chapter 66 )

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

Chapter Sixty-Six
Regrouping
“Waitaminnit, Waitaminnit,” Heiji squeaked. “Ya mean that psycho bitch… is dead?”
“Unless she’s devised some way to survive a bullet in the skull, yeah,” Shinichi said.
“Wouldn’t put it past her,” Ai croaked. She was pale, but it seemed to be a mix of disbelief and sheer relief. The one that she’d feared most… was dead…
“I can hardly believe it,” Yukiko said, shaking her head, her voice a little thick. Shinichi recalled that he’d been told that his mother and Sharon Vineyard, one of Vermouth’s aliases, had been dear friends- at least, Yukiko had thought that they’d been dear friends. It had been a shock to her to find that one of her closest friends, whom she’d thought had died in an accident, was live and killing.
“Infighting,” Yuusaku mused. “They don’t trust each other… they’re cracking from the inside and out.”
“But that’s good, ain’t it?” Kazuha said. “I mean, it’s sad that someone else has been murdered, but if this lot are fallin’ apart…”
“That’s true,” Ran said. “Have they gotten all of them out of the police?”
“They’ve got everyone in Tokyo who hasn’t run,” Yuusaku confirmed, “and nearly every other prefecture now has held purges… Of course, they’re far more than just infiltrators. Schnapps is the highest-ranking member that we have in custody, and he’s been mute ever since arrest…”
“But they’ll turn up at the Kid heist tonight, won’t they?” Shinichi said.
“Nakamori-keibu’s calling on major security for it,” Yuusaku said. “It’s not been difficult, that diamond is immensely valuable.”
“Have you got plans for the exhibition hall where it’s being kept?” Shinichi asked.
“I was going over to Hakuba-kun’s right now for just that purpose,” Yuusaku said. “Are you coming?”
“Try and stop me,” Shinichi snorted.
“I’d love ta come too,” Heiji sighed, “but, y’know…”
“Yer more distinctive than Kudo,” Kazuha pointed out, “so you ain’t goin’ anywhere fer a while.”
“An’ what about you?” he said pointedly.
“Someone’s gotta stop ya from gettin’ yourself into even more trouble,” Kazuha huffed, though her cheeks pinked a little.
“I’m going to head home,” Ran said, squeezing Shinichi’s hand. “Okaa-san and Otou-san will probably still be arguing again, but the important thing is that Okaa-san’s still here to argue… odds are looking good that she might end up staying!”
“That’s great!” Yukiko squealed. “Good luck, Ran-chan!”
“See you later,” Shinichi called, following Yuusaku out.
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“I just can’t believe it,” Jodie muttered for the millionth time.
“I’m still not sure whether you’re happy or angry,” Shinichi said.
“Well, I can’t help being glad that that bitch got what was coming to her,” Jodie sighed, “but we really needed her alive for information… and a million life sentences… besides, I can’t help almost wishing that I’d done it myself…”
“You’re in a long queue, I’m sure,” Yuusaku said.
“Nakamori-keibu and Megure-keibu aren’t coming,” Hakuba said, striding into the study where they were meeting. “Nakamori-keibu’s already checking things over at the museum- I think he’s going for pure, brute force, not that that’s ever stopped the Kid, but then he’s not the priority- and Megure-keibu’s deep into the interrogations, along with Sato-keiji and Hattori-keibu. Megure-keibu did say that he’d run into a friend of his who’d be there, though.”
“Who?” Yuusaku asked out of interest. Hakuba just shrugged, rolling out a map.
“All right, the diamond’s being stored in the new conservatory level on the top floor.”
“In other words, a room high up in the air made up almost entirely of easily smashable glass,” Shinichi said dryly.
“Not quite,” Hakuba said. “It’s bulletproof glass- not the best, that’s too expensive to build an entire conservatory level out of, but strong enough to deal with Kid unless he brings a shotgun.”
“We can’t speak for the Syndicate, though,” Jodie pointed out.
“They tend to go for more subtle approaches, such as snipers,” Hakuba said, “And officers have fortified all of the surrounding buildings as well as the museum itself. Any snipers will be caught as they approach, unless they’re capable of hitting a man from 650 yards away.”
“Unlikely,” Yuusaku said. “And in any case, capturing Kid is not the primary consideration…”
“So will you two be there?” Hakuba asked.
“I will,” Shinichi said.
“I have other plans,” Yuusaku said. “After all, once he escapes, I’ll need to talk to him.”
“Expect FBI presence,” Jodie said, pointing to herself. “Besides, I’ve never been to a Kid heist before…”
“Then I suppose we’d better head for the museum before it gets dark,” Hakuba sighed. “Since we still haven’t figured out precisely when he’s coming, we can only presume that it will be some time when the moon- or lack thereof- is in the sky…”
“I’d put it at sometime after midnight,” Yuusaku said. “Midnight to 3am…”
“Really?” Hakuba asked. “Why?”
“The circling ravens,” Yuusaku explained. “It has a double meaning, as usual. The reference to the Syndicate is only noticeable to us. To the world at large, what would it suggest?”
“Witchcraft, right?” Jodie said.
“Oh, I see,” Hakuba realized. “The Witching Hour. Traditionally midnight, though could also refer to the period between midnight and 3am, which is the “Devil’s Hour”. Kuroba always was deeply fond of western culture, both pop and traditional…”
“But will the Syndicate have noticed that?” Shinichi pointed out. “His plans may be brought forward if They strike first, which is possible…”
“Probable, I should say,” Yuusaku commented. “You’d better be prepared…”
“We’ll see you later, then,” Hakuba said, heading down to Jodie’s car. Jodie and Shinichi followed.
Yuusaku walked out to his own car, watching Jodie drive the other two away. He wouldn’t show it, but he was deeply worried about this heist. Not only because of what had happened at the last heist- Kami, that was an unforeseen level of disaster- but because there was so much that was probably going to go wrong even if things went to plan- so many bullets that would fly.
He pulled out his mobile, quickly dialling a number before he started driving. It picked up after the first ring. The person on the other end didn’t have a lot to do.
“The police ring for snipers stretches for 650 yards,” he said. “Are you planning to be there?”
Of course. By the way, is it true about Vermouth?
“Apparently. Kir really did see the bullet go into her forehead, so even though they haven’t found the body yet…”
Assume nothing until the body is found. Trust me on this.
“All right… you know what you’re doing, I trust, even if no-one else does.”
I could say the same about you.
Yuusaku smiled slightly as the other end hung up, putting away his mobile and driving away.
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Crowds had already amassed before the museum, kept about a hundred metres away from the building by a thick line of police in riot gear. Shinichi heard a voice, somehow more noticeable to him than the others, cry “I’m no’ bloody well missin’ this one!” followed by a satirical chorus of “No I don’ wanna miss a tha-ang…” the voices sounded faintly familiar, but he couldn’t place them.
“Nakamori-san!” Hakuba called, greeting a teenage girl who was standing just inside the doorway, chatting to a couple of cops whom she evidently knew. As she turned, it struck Shinichi that she looked rather like a short-haired version of Ran. She was also a bit pale and thin-looking, as if she hadn’t been eating right recently, something which Hakuba evidently noticed. “Are you feeling all right, Nakamori-san? I hope you haven’t been worrying yourself too much…”
“I’m fine,” she insisted. Then she leaned down with a smile to greet Shinichi. “Nice to see you, Conan-kun! How are you doing? I’m sorry I never came to see you since you came back, but I’ve had… other things on my mind, you know?”
“It’s all right,” Shinichi insisted. “I’m doing fine. I’ve got bits and pieces of my memory back, but not much…”
“I guess I’d better reintroduce myself,” she said. “I’m Nakamori Aoko. Otou-san’s in charge of the Kid investigation.”
“Hajimemashite, Aoko-neechan,” Shinichi said, finding it natural enough to affect a “kiddy” act; Hakuba looked faintly amused, now that he knew that it was an act. “Can we see where the diamond is?”
“Sure,” she said, leading them to the stairs. “Oh, and you are?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, how rude of me,” Jodie said. “I’m Jodie Saintemillion, FBI. We decided to have a little presence on a Kid heist, both because he’s on our wanted lists too and because of the gunplay at the last heist…”
“Yeah, that was horrible,” Aoko said with a shudder. She glanced at Shinichi. “In many ways… Conan-kun, stay here this time, all right? It was really horrible for a moment when we thought you were under the chandelier when it fell, then when you actually vanished…”
“That was… when I was kidnapped, right?” Shinichi said tentatively. He still didn’t have any proper memories of being kidnapped; only the flashes from when he was made to drink the Amnesial. The thought of Eta had triggered something, though, as had the Pandora. “Perhaps it was the story that she was telling me… Vermouth… that story was about Eta and the Pandora, right?” Ran had also said that he’d said something like “Ushi”, but he couldn’t remember what that meant, though he felt that it was connected to Eta and the Pandora.
“Impressive view,” Jodie said, whistling appreciatively as they entered the conservatory level. Through the surrounding windows, Shinichi could see Tokyo stretching away for miles, the sunset sinking below the buildings to the west. Officers surrounded the hall, a line of them around the walls/windows, several around the elevators and doorway to the stairwell, and several more around each of the exhibits displayed on the top floor. The diamond was to the west of the centre of the room, and Nakamori-keibu and a number of officers were around it, talking quietly.
“Oh, Megure-keibu said that a friend of his was coming,” Hakuba asked. “Have they arrived?”
“Ah, yes, actually!” Aoko said. “I got a surprise, but… Otou-san, Hakuba-kun and Conan-kun are here… and agent Saintemillion, from the FBI…”
“Oh yes, they did say there’d be one of you here,” Nakamori noted, stepping back from the diamond case. “How are you doing, Conan-kun? And listen, don’t you dare leave the hall this time, it was bad enough telling your uncle that you were gone once…”
“Don’t worry!” Shinichi said brightly. “I already promised Aoko-neechan that I’d stay…”
“You’d better, Kaa-chan was really terrified when you vanished…”
Oh, he didn’t…” Shinichi thought in shock as another figure turned to face them. He heard Hakuba’s breath hiss in surprise.
“Do you remember Kudo Shinichi-kun?” Aoko asked Shinichi, indicating the guy. “Oh, and you haven’t met him, right, Hakuba-kun?”
“Hakuba Saguru, right?” he said, holding out a hand to shake a suspicious Hakuba’s. “I’ve heard about you from Hattori… not a lot complimentary, I have to say…”
“Hajimemashite, Shinichi-niichan,” Shinichi said, looking him in the eye. Kid winked.
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“What on earth is Kuroba up to?” Hakuba muttered to Shinichi sometime later, watching the thief as he strode around the room, glancing over the police officers.
“Just a good plan to get in, I guess,” Shinichi muttered back. “He looks a lot like me anyway, right? So this gets him past the face-checks, no problem-”
“He’s just lucky that they don’t check for hair gel.”
“Yeah… anyway, the only people that are going to catch him out will be people like us, who have bigger priorities.”
“The Organization,” Hakuba agreed. “They won’t pass this up…”
“Hell no, just look at that thing,” Shinichi agreed. “It’s been hidden underground for a good five hundred years, and it’s definitely big enough to be a doublet…”
“They say that the sniper ring has chased away three people already, but I’m not convinced,” Hakuba continued quietly. “It’s too obvious.”
“It’s a blind,” Shinichi agreed. “They must have something else planned… they want us to let our guard down…”
“It’s past eleven, though,” Hakuba pointed out. “Either they’re going to act soon, or Kuroba is…”
Shinichi watched as Kaito stride over to talk to Aoko. He was hovering almost protectively over her, between her and the row of officers. He was scanning the room out of the corner of his eye, suddenly seeming tense, alert. Shinichi was wondering why, following his glance around the room, when his phone rang.
“Moshi moshi?” he said as he picked up.
Shinichi, this is urgent. Get every police officer out of the conservatory level now.”
“Why?” Shinichi hissed in surprise. “I thought we had all of the infiltrators…”
We did, but that’s no good against one-nighters.
“Come again?”
Look, a dozen dead cops were just found at the bottom of the Teimuzu, uniforms stolen but ID cards not. Given how much security Ginzo-kun’s laid on, for a dozen men in uniform with forged passports, it wouldn’t be difficult to get in with the crowd
Shinichi’s breath froze as he realized. He looked up at Hakuba.
“They’re here!” He hissed. “We have to tell Nakamori-keibu-”
Then Kaito pushed Nakamori and Aoko to the floor as gunfire erupted all around the room.
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Having recently joined the KaiShin Army, I feel I must shamelessly plug the others. As the name suggests, they do tend to be KaiShin, which isn’t quite my thing but they’re so funny and sweet I couldn’t resist… if you want to lyao, though, check out “Chatty Plunnies” by Dragon-sama and/or Starling, or for tragedy and angst by the truckload try “Mayonaka” by the same author and White Mage Koorii… White Mage Koorii also does the adorable “Bloodhound” and the frankly creepy “Lullaby”. Check it pplz!
Oh, and it’s final now. Finally. 88 chapters excluding prologue and epilogue, plus 20 chapters of TFWITW. Wow, 110 chapters altogether? O_o I really DO have no life XDXD
Given that I’ve done with this and I can’t decide what to do next, I put up the prologues for a few ideas that I have in a collection called “The Back Burner”… vote in the comments for which one you’d most like to see after WPBIO ^_-
 
I’m saying nothing, FaithlessGirl… heist time! ^_^
You’re doing fine, Mel72000 ^_- And I know, brilliant, isn’t it? We now have pretty much overwhelming evidence that Okiya is Bourbon… but then again, we seemed to have major evidence that Jodie was Vermouth too, so who knows… ^_^;
Well, he IS dealing with an ancient and immensely powerful drug, Kairi922… XD even more Kaito, `cause iiiit’s heist time! XD KAISHIN ARMY FOREVER!
Very close, Marie Ravenclaw… and you’ll see, won’t you? ^_-
XD clairvoyance is a wonderful thing, Pretztailfan95… XD yes he is! You were thinking what I was thinking, hence…
Valid theory, International DCFanficNut 1207, to which I can only respond… WOOT! XD
All shall happen in due course, JapaneseAnimeFreak16… the fic’s only got about a month left on daily updates… will you come out of the emo corner for Kid-sama? XD
Life is more fun that way, FHP2208 ^_- It was her, wasn’t it? More Kaito now! 😀
Went for the shocker and I think I got it, KageNoNeko ^_-… well, if the jewel Kaito has his sights set on here really is the Pandora, the truth behind it ought to come out soon…
The cops and FBI in general don’t know, TwilTye, nor the Shonen Tantei-Dan… or Aoko… but that’s about it at this point ^_^; XD
Eta is definitely one of a kind, Desperatembrace XD soon? In the 65th chapter? XD Yeah, the bomber case may be finished, but there’s still that black Porsche sitting outside…
That’s the most common theory, Pu7o…
XD plenty to read, huh, FaithlessGirl? Daily updates! 😀 So if anything’s going to happen, it’ll happen over the next… month…
Hajimemashite, PlayingThePiano! Are you really? XD (has no musical skills T_T) I don’t whether I’m good or simply have no life… XD Arigato for the lovely comments! ^_^ I prefer to make most of my fics coherent with the manga, though obviously I’ll branch out a little more after this one…
Unfortunately, Anokata can’t hear you, HaibaraDaiFan… XD I don’t think you did the dance, so dance away… XD *fangirl-five* It doesn’t come off as rambling… I get the same fears about half of my chapters, frankly… ^_^:
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 698, 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 30 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).
 
The Darkest Hour
Myoclonus