Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ Reunion Awaited ( Chapter 48 )

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

Chapter Forty-Eight
Reunion Awaited
“Infiltrators? Really, Saguru,” Superintendant Hakuba Keiso said. “Have you any proof?”
“Indicative evidence, no hard proof,” Saguru said. “But it matches up with a strike against such infiltrators in Osaka and, trust me, Chichi-ue, they struck gold. I know this sounds a little fantastical-”
“Like a damn mafia movie,” his father grumbled. “It’s more than a little far-fetched, Saguru.”
“So call the chief in Osaka,” Saguru insisted. “Please, Chichi-ue. I can guarantee you’ll get your confirmation there.” He sighed in relief as his father picked up the phone and flipped open his notebook to find Hattori Heizo’s number. This was the first time all year he’d really spoken to his father- in fact, it was probably the longest conversation they’d held since Saguru had moved back to Japan- and he hadn’t been certain that his father would believe him about the Organization. It was a little far-fetched he had to admit, but- though he wouldn’t admit this, he would never admit this- he was somewhat jealous of Hattori Heiji. His father had believed him, even without a second opinion to call on, and had acted on the information that Hattori had provided. He knew his son and knew that he wasn’t joking. Saguru… had no idea what his father thought of him. He barely knew what to think of his father. To be perfectly honest, he’d gone to his father not because he was his father, but simply because he was the highest authority he could access in Tokyo. If he’d been able to talk to someone who outranked his father, he knew, he wouldn’t have given the man a second thought.
“Really…” his father muttered in surprise. “Ah… well, we’ll watch out for that, never fear. I see. No, he’s right here. Anything else I ought to know? I see. Well, good luck to you.” He hung up. “Seems they really did catch a few folk in Osaka,” he said worriedly, and Saguru couldn’t help but feel irritated that his father had suspected that he was making this up. What was he, an over-imaginative child? He thought of Conan.
Even children wouldn’t make this up,” he thought irritably. “And?”
“Well, all indications are that none of them were in charge of the operation,” he replied, twisting his moustache nervously. “There was someone else behind it, but none of them could identify who…”
“Why the past tense?” Saguru asked apprehensively. “Is the interrogation not continuing?”
“Not without a necromancer,” his father sighed. Saguru thought briefly of calling Akako. “It seems they missed one. They got an anonymous phone call to that effect, and on top of that someone got poisonous gas into their cells. All of the captured infiltrators are dead.”
“Shit,” Saguru hissed. “You believe me now?”
“Very much so,” his father said. “Then the FBI are really-?”
“They said I could tell you on the express condition that you pretended not to know,” Saguru said.
“Hmph. In any case, we had better investigate some of the suspicious officers more fully,” his father said, picking up one of the notes. “So the FBI already have the Kuroba car crash and the Edogawa kidnapping down as these people’s work?”
“Indeed,” Saguru said. “There’s a couple of officers who have been taking a suspicious amount of interest in both cases…”
“I see,” his father said. “Run along, Saguru. I’ll just have a little interview with officers Sato and Takagi.”
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Is that so? The world is a lot more deep and full of mysteries…
But if you go by yourself… you’ll be eaten by monsters…
What?!” Conan thought, as words and images flashed through his mind. “An adult? And… a little girl? Who…” as he stared down at the cover of the book, he remembered. Arsene Lupin. He’d seen it… once before… in…
The library. The school library. So dark, a full moon shining through the window, and on top of the bookshelf, reading the book…
“I’m your sibling… I guess I should say, your younger brother… through pretty far apart in age…
The flash of a silver knife, then so much red, tearing paper, and the sunset, so beautiful…
“Conan-kun? Conan-kun, are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“Aren’t you glad? We got to see such a pretty sunset!”
It was the little girl again, her hair was too dark to be Haibara, but it wasn’t Ayumi either. Her hair blew out of her face as she glanced up at him, plaintive…
Wait…” he thought, as the memory cleared. “That’s… how…
“No!” she yelled. “I like Ran! I want to stay as Ran!”
…Ran-neechan…?
“Conan-kun? Speak to me!”
Conan jerked out of the memory, glancing up at the same face, but over ten years older.
“Are you alright?” she asked, her voice holding the faintest of trembles.
“Y-yeah,” he said. “It’s… nothing. I’m fine now. Really!” But that was a lie. This time, the memory remained in his brain, the few images and sounds, disconnected but crystal clear. Memories. But… whose…?
Because there was no way that they could be his, he was sure. “That little girl… that was Ran-neechan,” he thought, glancing back at the older girl as she stared at the two books with a look of confused thoughtfulness. “I’m sure of it. She even said… she was Ran. But… how? Ran-neechan’s ten years older than me. There’s no possible way I could have known her when she was that small… I doubt I was even born then. So who… how…?
Then, once more, once again, the image of the tiny Ran, silhouetted against the setting sun, but this time she was smiling.
That’s great, Shinichi!”
Shinichi-niichan?” he thought, his head starting to ache. “Kudo Shinichi… what’s going on?
Haibara Ai was watching him again.
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“Oi, Hakuba,” Heiji said, once the other kokosei-tantei had picked up his mobile. “Did ya hear the bad news an’ the worse news?”
I’ve heard a lot of bad news about what happened to the ones you caught…
“Well, bad news is we missed one- an’ I’m pretty sure it’s only one `cause I got an “anonymous” call ta that effect, ya guess who. Anyways, worse news is they slipped some kinda poisonous gas inta the cells. They’re all dead, we ain’t got no links anymore.”
Did you get anything useful out of them?
“Not much,” Heiji sighed. “They were all hired independently an’ given a few names ta work with. They know nothin’ `bout their employer. All their instructions came from letters with no postmark, or e-mails with a million firewalls makin’ `em untraceable, or the like. Ya get the picture. They weren’t told nothin’ that could bring down their bosses if they were caught. None’ve `em even knew all a’ the others in the police. We’ve sent out trusted cops with warrants ta check out their places already, but dunno if we’re gonna get much. They were paid ta do what they were told, and paid extra `til they dropped morals, curiosity an’ memories, ya know? But one’ve `em’s still in there, an’ we figure they’re more important- better protected of somethin’. What about you?”
There are a dozen or so in the Tokyo MPD, I believe,” Hakuba responded. “Apparently your father ensured the support of mine. In any case, to start with we’re furthering an investigation into two officers in the first division who have taken an inordinate interest in both Conan-kun’s case and Kuroba’s “accident”. The former’s not their case and the latter is, but only inasmuch as they think it’s the result of street racers, which apparently they don’t believe.
“Sounds pretty suspect to me,” Heiji agreed.
I’ve only seen their names on the file- Sato and Takagi.
Heiji choked. “Shit. Backtrack, Hakuba. Kudo’s confirmed `em clean already. They’re taking such an “inordinate int’rest” `cause Kudo tipped `em off. Sorry, oughta warned ya. Didn’t ya meet `em that day Ku-Conan got back?”
They were there? I apologize, I was not exactly making the rounds. I simply went to see that Conan-kun had indeed returned safely.
“The lady cop an’ the guy she was holdin’ hands with.”
Ah, I recall now. I wasn’t paying particular attention, but I do recall them being there now. I see. Definitely clean?
“Yeah, I can back Kudo up on that,” Heiji insisted. “Good folks, real fond a’ the kiddo too, which is why they’re so involved. Real committed ta justice. They ain’t workin’ with filth like the Org. Oh, an’ there’s a couple others, def’nately trustworthy. Megure-keibu, their boss, fer one. He was there too. Good pal a’ Kudo’s, an’ Kudo’s oyaji as well. Worked with `im on cases since way back. The fourth cop there, Shiratori, too. I ain’t worked with `im much, just one or two cases, an’ `e’s a kinda smug bugger but no criminal, I’d say. “
We’re working solely on Kudo’s intuition for a lot here, it seems.
“Listen, Kudo’s been fightin’ these bastards fer a long time, he can spot `em a mile off,” Heiji insisted. “An’ I never seen a detective like `is oyaji. I swear they got Holmes in their blood or somethin’. I’d take their word over anyone else’s. Yer gonna need `em to track down the infiltrators, I’ll bet ya.”
… Then I think I’d better go. Oh, and I understand Kid’s still in Osaka? If you see the baka, do tell him that Aoko’s worrying herself to death and I doubt mere phone calls will cut it. Sayonara.” He hung up.
Well, Déjà freakin’ vu,” Heiji thought, thinking of Hakuba’s comments. “‘E’s vanished ta live another life so’s the Org don’t kill `im, an’ she’s left waitin’ with jus’ the occasional phone call. Sorry, think that one’s already been copyrighted” It reminded him, once again, of the frankly startling similarities between Kudo Shinichi and Kuroba Kaito. He wished that Vermouth hadn’t gotten in the way of their chance to talk. Aside from Kuroba being a hell of an ally, it’d be nice to have the guy as a friend. Heiji remembered the outgoing, friendly guy from the museum with some fondness. While he knew that the friendly image was probably at least to hide some nasty skeletons in the closet, he doubted that it was entirely an act. Besides, Heiji had also gotten the impression that the guy was lonely; lonely like Kudo, stuck in a unique situation that no-one else on the planet could understand. “But, hell, Kudo an’ Kuroba’s situations are about as close as they get… an’ if Kuroba’s as much like Kudo as he thinks he is, then no matter how much he likes ta think `e could handle it on `is own, no matter how much `e’s willin’ ta take ta prevent anyone else gettin’ hurt… he can’t, `e just can’t. An’ in the end, it’s just gonna hurt more’n it helps.
He thought of Kudo’s face in Kyoto, when describing when Ran had waited for him. For a moment, his eyes hadn’t been those of a seven-year-old, or even a seventeen-year-old. There had been something deep and dark there- something painful. Kazuha had repeatedly accused him of having all the sensitivity of a brick, but he knew someone whose soul was tearing when he saw it.
He had seen that same look flash through Kuroba’s eyes at the museum, the moment that he’d mentioned his father.
He thought of Mori, desperately clutching a filthy, sweat-soaked handkerchief.
Dammit… Kudo don’t even remember what `e’s puttin’ `em both through, but… that means Kudo Shinichi’s gonna vanish, right when this shit’s about ta blow right up,” he realized. “Mori don’t deserve ta lose `im again… I wonder… Kudo’d kill me, but… is it about time she knew? So she can at least try an’ help `im get `is real memories back… `cause one thing’s fer sure, he ain’t gonna remember that `e’s Kudo Shinichi when all he gets is Edogawa Conan.
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Ran sat on her desk chair, staring at the framed photo on her desk: her and Shinichi, That Day at Tropical Land, waving peace signs, smiling, happy, together
She was fiddling absentmindedly with the orchid. She had even been sneakily wearing it to school, hidden under her shirt, like some talisman or charm, like it was linking Shinichi’s heart to hers.
I’m starting to sound like Sonoko,” she sighed, twisting the gold chain around her pinkie, but it was true; it was her red thread, reminding her of that precious time spent with him, the warmth and security she felt when he held her, the taste of his kiss, so beautiful, so perfect…
But now he had vanished again. It had been nearly a fortnight since he’d called or even texted her. It wasn’t normal. It was longer than he tended to go without a call even before the date. Had something happened to him?
And maybe it was just a coincidence that the timing of his disappearance matched Conan being kidnapped, but she’d been raised by a cop/detective and a lawyer, both fields in which coincidences never were. The more convenient they were, the less coincidental they were. And this “coincidentally” matched up with her old crazy hypothesis that wouldn’t go away.
But if my suspicions are wrong, it’ll just confuse and distress Conan-kun more,” she thought, fiddling with the necklace. “And anyway, he has amnesia. There’s no way he can confirm or deny anything about who he is…
But he was remembering something, she was sure, when he’d been looking at that book; and was it merely “coincidence” again that it happened to be The Adventures of Arsene Lupin, Gentleman Thief, the book that the ghost in the library had been reading? The ghost that Conan seemed to know all about, though she couldn’t recall having ever told him about it?
But maybe Shinichi told him the story,” she reasoned. “Anyway, if he’s Shinichi, who’s Edogawa Fumiyo?
But this was a woman who rarely turned up, whose husband had never been seen, whom Conan had been terrified of the first time she had appeared at the agency, before being suddenly friendly upon their return. It wasn’t impossible that she wasn’t actually his mother. They only had her and Conan’s word on it, and they didn’t even have the latter when she’d first appeared.
Who are you, obasan?!
Perhaps she’d explained who she was while they were away, which was why he’d been happier when they’d returned; maybe she was with the police, or the FBI like Jodie-sensei, helping him with his alibi. Or maybe she was one of the people who was hunting him, and was blackmailing him, threatening him, which was why he kept his mouth shut if he really was
He had shown no recognition, no reaction at all to Edogawa Fumiyo in the cafe. But he had recognized Kudo Yuusaku’s face in a picture in a book.
But it’s just absurd,” she reminded herself. “Okay, he looks and acts just like a miniature Shinichi, his background is shaky and easily faked, he knows things that he couldn’t know unless he was Shinichi, but… well… how? It’s not possible for an adult to turn into a child! It’s impossible… isn’t it?
But she couldn’t help remembering something her history teacher had said. Two hundred years ago, moving pictures were absurd, impossible, the product of magic. A hundred years ago, hovercraft were absurd, impossible, only possible in science fiction. Ten years ago, for Kami’s sake, Sat-Nav would have seemed impossibly futuristic. The impossible changed and became merely the improbable, then the possible, then the mundane. Perhaps, two years ago, she would have thought that shrinking was impossible, but now…
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” She smiled faintly. She could hear Shinichi’s voice saying it, quoting his beloved Holmes.
If it weren’t impossible, merely improbable…” she thought. “Phone calls could have been faked, if someone imitated his voice. The play… for all I know, he asked Kuroba-kun to turn up for that, just so I could see Conan and Shinichi next to each other. It’s the only time I’ve seen them together. Every other time… at the restaurant, in East Okuho, when we first met Hattori-kun… each only appeared when the other had disappeared. So… if it were truly possible… could it be…?
She peeked out of her bedroom door, over her already-snoring father to the other bedroom, where her mother was sleeping on the bed and Conan was lying on the floor. He wasn’t asleep. His eyes were wide, staring at the ceiling, thinking.
Shinichi…
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Yep, two weekend chapters, Mel72000! ^_-
Yeah, he’s questioning all right, FaithlessGirl…
It’s the longest-running manga that I’ve ever read, Yuki Taiki… I’ve seen a few that made it into their 500s, but no other to top 600… Kami, is he really going to try for 1000? That would keep me in manga until I’m out of college! XD nahh, you’re right, don’t worry ^_-
It’s only his memories he’s lost, after all, Silver Shadowbreeze, not his mind entirely… and even those are on their way back…
I just adore that arc, KageNoNeko (TOICHI! :D) which is why it’s the flashback. Hmmm… might have a while to wait…
California? Lucky, lifawn! I love California, aside from the Californians XD seriously, though, have fun! Ahhh, everybody’s going away except ME… T_T
No, I know what you mean, Kairi922. I’m sure he’ll get a handle on things quickly enough… yeah, once he finds out what a little networker he is, I’m sure he’ll feel safe enough ^_- Ahhh, that sucks! The miniseries was AWESOME! I’m glad Doctor Who and Torchwood are going overseas, at any rate. I’m getting sick of my cousins just giving me odd looks whenever I refer to Daleks or the Tardis. ^_^;
You’re OBSESSED, Pretztailfan95! XD You’re a poet and you don’t know it! XD One chapter a day, Pretz! I DO have a life offline, despite popular perceptions XD… and that life is humping furniture around and donating my room to my parents for two weeks. ^_^; I dunno, the Cricket gun certainly ends everything… *blasts you with it* Umm… nearly got his brain blown up by a computer/stabbed by a fictional psychopath/crushed by a statue/killed in horrible, horrible train crash in the sixth… I haven’t read the summary and I DON’T WANT TO! I WANNA SEE THE MOVIE! WANNA WANNA WANNA SEE IT NOW!!! (inner voice: Patience, Pada-*gets punched* Do as I say, not as I do…) Why will nobody sub it in English? T_T And frankly, I’ve been wondering about that for a long, long time… She’s on a side all of her own, I’d say… I’ll try! I just had nothing else to say in chapter 8… ^_^;
Meitantei brain in action, JapaneseAnimeFreak16! Nobody knows what Vermouth’s up to… Sato and Takagi are on a roll here! XD
I hope Aoyama-sensei involves Kaito more, Marie Ravenclaw. After all, the Magic Kaito storyline is as yet unfinished! TOICHI MUST NOT GO UNAVENGED!
Hmm… Shinichi’s not the only one joining the dots, HaibaraDaiFan ^_- I get the feeling that Vermouth’s the type to poke things with sticks just to see what happens… but surely she has some sort of overall plan, right? Because you’re ADDICTED! MUAHAHA! XD Hmmm… the way things are, Ran may find the truth before Conan does…
Ahhh, right, thanks, AngelRoy. XD (How could I have missed that?!) EVERYONE’S leaving except me! I’m stuck here with flu… T_T Ah well. I’M SO CLOSE TO BEING DONE! But even my Muses have buggered off to the Maldives or something… COME BAAAACK! *checks temperature again*
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 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).
 
The Learning Curve
Suspicions