Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ Suspicions ( Chapter 49 )

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

Chapter Forty-Nine
Eri tapped her pen on the copy of her client’s charges, but her mind wasn’t on murder accusations. She was thinking about Conan and Ran.
Ran had been almost magnetically glued to the child ever since they’d brought him back from Osaka, either feeling that he’d need a familiar face around as he rediscovered the world, or simply afraid that he’d disappear. The kidnapper had never been caught, after all. That was why she hadn’t left yet, Eri told herself. She was covering a lot of the chores that Ran normally handled, though her daughter had managed to tear herself away from Conan long enough to drive Eri out of the kitchen. But Ran was under a lot of emotional stress right now, not just looking after Conan. Eri had noticed how increasingly often Ran would glance at the phone, as if expecting a call, and Eri suspected that she knew who from. She remembered Shinichi and Ran together on Christmas, how happy Ran had been. Where on earth was Shinichi now?
One point the she refused to let her mind dwell on was Kogoro bunking on the couch. She wasn’t entirely certain whether to be touched and his rare bout of gentlemanliness or annoyed.
Stop that,” she thought sternly. “You’re there for Ran, aren’t you? Forget Kogoro. That baka can go to hell…
Come on,” some traitorous voice in her head whispered. “Admit. Ran’s just a perfect excuse to go back, right? You can be right back where you want to be without sacrificing your conscience or your ego…
“Shut up,” Eri grumbled, getting up. It was nearly lunchtime. Maybe she should go out for lunch. Maybe that would clear her head.
She strolled down to a cafe on the corner. It wasn’t a very busy time of day- the cafe was empty. She sat down in a booth in the corner for her lunch, thinking about Conan’s amnesia to distract herself. He’d picked up on daily life again remarkably quickly, but he was only remembering people in fits and starts, and half the time he didn’t respond to his own name. His mother was supposed to be returning this evening, but he didn’t seem hugely bothered about her comings and goings. He reacted to the woman no differently than he did to Eri. He’d been staring at a photo on Ran’s desk the whole time that Ran had been telling him about his mother returning.
“Won’t that be nice, Conan-kun?” Ran said cheerily. She seemed even less cheerful than usual this morning, though- as if some new weight had been added to her mind.
“Mmm-hmmm,” Conan said, staring at the photo. Then he reached out to point at it. “Who’s that with you in that photo, Ran-neechan?”
“That?” Ran said in surprise, then smiled tenderly. “That’s Kudo Shinichi. I think we told you about him yesterday, right?”
“Shinichi-niichan, huh?” Conan said, still staring at the photo with an odd look in his eyes. Then he physically shook his head and ran out the door for his schoolbag.
Always was a strange boy, that one,” she thought, remembering the little boy who had more or less led the entire case where she’d first met him. “You have to wonder who kidnapped him, and why… and what they did to destroy his memories…” she sipped her coffee thoughtfully. Perhaps she ought to talk to Edogawa Fumiyo when the woman returned. Perhaps there was more to the decision to leave Conan in Japan than a child’s fear of a new place. Perhaps there was something greater to fear…
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Tome after ancient tome was thrust carelessly to the floor as Akako irritably hunted through her library for information. An adult turned into a child… mysterious amnesia… and now, talk of immortals!
Whatever is binding his body into the form of a child, I cannot undo,” she thought, searching through her books. “I tried, but… it is not magical. There is some biological barrier… some form of science. How I detest science. It refuses to have anything to do with magic… and the block on his memories, too. It is not of his own mind, nor is it magic… What is it? What did the immortal do?
Immortals; that was almost stranger than the rest of it. Not that Akako found the prospect of immortality unusual- after all, she herself had eternal youth and beauty, courtesy of Lucifer. But the person who had kidnapped Kudo- almost certainly the presence she had felt at the museum- was no witch. Akako had met a few others in her thirty years as a witch, and while their auras were of course dark, they did not feel so unnatural as that aura at the museum had. It hadn’t quite been… evil, as such. Just… strange. Unnatural. Wrong.
It wasn’t a witch, and Wiccans did not seek immortality, as it was a selfish desire, and selfish desires inhibited their magic (Akako resisted the urge to think of them as “do-gooders”). But immortality… Lucifer was the only deity who dared to offer it in this realm. Gods tended to offer it in the next. So if the immortal of which Lucifer spoke was not a witch… how did they do it?
The blood jewel’s tears…
This blood jewel… what is it?” Akako wondered, opening a glossary of dark artefacts and searching for a “blood jewel”. “Good grief, there must be a thousand jewels followed by a legacy of blood… but none associated with comets, or immortality… quite the opposite, they tend to be associated with early deaths…” she frowned, tossing the useless book aside and opening another. “Dammit… What’s going on?
“Do you know what He means by “blood jewel”?” she asked her servant, who had slipped into the library after her.
“I cannot say,” the youkai replied. “It is not His work.”
Not Lucifer’s creation, hmm?” Akako thought, tossing the book aside and staring at the shelves dejectedly. “Then it is unlikely to be found here.
“Akako-sama,” the youkai asked curiously, “why are you so intent on saving this boy? What is he to you?”
“He is nothing to me,” Akako snapped strolling out of the library. “Nothing at all. But… to Kuroba… he may be the difference between life and death…
After a short time, in the empty library, the books began to crawl back to their shelves, occasionally eating spiders as they went.
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Jodie flipped Edogawa Fumiyo’s business card over and over irritably. The phone number checked out, and frankly, given the woman’s reactions to Conan, it was hard to believe that she wasn’t his mother…
Just as hard as it was to believe that Sharon Vineyard and Chris Vineyard were the same, unaging person,” she reminded herself. “Okay, just to invalidate the paranoia, if nothing else, let’s check out her journalistic credentials…
Rather than go straight to the website on the card, however, she Googled the newspaper listed. The search turned up a number of similar newspapers, but not the one specified. So she placed a call to Andre, who had returned to NY- apparently the place where the paper that the Edogawas worked for was based.
Hey, Jodie. I heard about Conan-kun. Any progress?
“Unfortunately not,” Jodie said. “I was just wondering… have you seen a newspaper called the New Reporter? It’s supposed to be based in New York…”
… Can’t say I have. I doubt it exists. There aren’t many newspapers based in New York, and I’m talking about a number you can count on one hand of a Yakuza thug. There’s no room for mass competition in the market these days. So if it was based here, I’m sure I would have heard of it. Who are you investigating?
“… Edogawa Fumiyo,” Jodie replied. “Right… well, can you do me a favour and check up on that? Try this address, too.” She rattled off the address on the card. “Can you check all that out for me?”
Edogawa… Conan-kun’s mother or something?
“Apparently,” Jodie said, “but… well, better safe than sorry, right? Thanks, Andre.” She hung up.
If the newspaper and address are fake… who is she? Is it something to do with Cool Kid’s past… how he got involved with the Organization? Something to do with Kudo Shinichi? What is it that even his parents have to lie about who they are… if they are his parents?
Because two things were sticking in her mind; Cool Kid’s complete lack of comprehension when reintroduced to his mother, and the fact that, after so long chasing Vermouth, she knew a good mask when she saw one.
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“That was a close one,” Sato sighed, rolling her neck as she and Wataru sat in the opulent study.
“Allow me to apologize again,” the Hakuba boy said, returning with a thick stack of paperwork. “But you do realize that your intense interest in both these cases did seem suspicious, at least until I got my guarantees from Hattori. It would seem that he’s backed up by Kudo-sensei and his son’s testimonies. I really must meet this Kudo Shinichi sometime.”
“It’s all right,” Wataru said. He wasn’t sure what had frightened the life out of him more; nearly getting arrested for being a rat for an intensely dangerous criminal organization, receiving the bare bones about said organization that still managed to convey just how dangerous they were, or running into a third mind like Kudo Shinichi and Hattori Heiji’s. “You trust us now?”
“Not entirely, but don’t feel insulted, I rarely trust anyone entirely,” Hakuba sighed. “That’s what developing a friendship with your worst enemy will do for you.” Both Wataru and Sato stared at him inquisitively. He pinked slightly and coughed. “Anyway… These are a few copies of FBI files on cases featuring this Organization… some are Kudo-sensei’s private files, as well. You may find a familiar name cropping up.”
“Operation Fishing Line…” Sato murmured, flipping through one folder. Then she nearly dropped it. “Kami above… Conan-kun!”
What?!”Wataru said in shock, leaning over her shoulder to see the file. The Operation was an immensely complicated weave of bluff and counter-bluff, endless mindgames and calculated risks designed to deliver a CIA noc back to the Organization without making it look like they were trying to send her back… and all developed by an FBI agent, now deceased, and…
“Kami… you mean Conan-kun was one of the leading minds in this?” Wataru breathed.
“It seems that his mind had become an immensely valuable commodity to the FBI,” Hakuba said. “Possibly a motive behind his kidnapping… they did all they could to avoid any suspicion becoming attached to the boy, or at the very least deflecting the suspicion to Mori Kogoro… but it looks like it couldn’t work forever.”
“Wow… I knew he was an unusually bright kid, but…” Sato murmured, flipping through the case files. “Who is he?”
“Isn’t that the mystery,” Hakuba sighed. “But it seems to all be tied up with Kudo Shinichi’s disappearance… and possibly the Kaitou Kid.”
“So the reason that Kudo-kun’s asked to be left out of the case reports…” Wataru realized.
“He’s in hiding,” Hakuba confirmed. The doorbell rang in the distance. “Ah, I’ll get that… if you will excuse me…”
“This is amazing…” Sato said in shock, flipping through the folders. “If we can check up on these cases… we might be able to figure out who the infiltrators are… and they might know who kidnapped Conan-kun…”
“And what they did to him,” Wataru finished. “Though I heard Kid was the kidnapper…”
“Hardly. He was one of the first ones to go looking for the boy.”
Both Wataru and Sato jerked up as Nakamori Ginzo followed Hakuba Saguru into the study. “Nakamori-keibu?!”
“Nakamori-keibu’s interests lie in catching these people as well,” Hakuba explained. “They’re after the Kaitou Kid’s life, you see, for reasons unknown.”
“When I catch this guy, he needs to be alive,” Nakamori grumbled. “You’re certain that these two are clean? I heard that Hattori in Osaka caught a good half-dozen of `em…”
“I have my guarantees,” Hakuba assured him. “They’re personally connected to Edogawa Conan and Kudo Shinichi… just as you and I are… personally connected to the Kaitou Kid.”
“Then let’s start from the beginning,” Sato sighed. “Can I just say, though, that I’m sure you can trust Megure-Keibu as well. He’s been a good friend of Kudo Yuusaku-sensei’s for a good couple of decades, and he’s good friends with Kudo Shinichi-kun.”
“I know Megure,” Nakamori grunted. “Bad habit of interfering where he’s not wanted, but a good guy. We’re going to need a few people to identify suspects and pull this off.”
“And they might know who kidnapped Conan-kun,” Wataru said thoughtfully. “I mean, you said it wasn’t Kid, so I’m assuming it’s these people…”
“I believe so,” Hakuba said. “I’ll tell you what Hattori told me…”
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“You leave me too often, you know.”
“Accept my apologies. You know how I hate to be in one place for too long…”
“So paranoid. Nothing can touch us- not here, not anywhere.”
“Not for long.”
“I know!” A fist slammed into the desk, a glass jumped and spilled ruby liquid across the wooden surface. It was sure to stain, but she said nothing. He had no time for such a “woman’s sentiment”. “Dammit… Sake assured me that the little Kuroba bastard would be dead by the New Year… and yet he’s lost track of the boy entirely! Just in time for the Osaka police to swoop and capture almost all of our operatives there…”
“Not all. Saku acted quickly to neutralize those liabilities. It deserves recognition, a move like that. He may even be Cabinet material someday.” He quirked a little token smile at her old joke. The Drinks Cabinet.
“Indeed. But that does not change the fact that he has not identified who tracked them all down. Who? And if they pass whatever techniques that they used to identify so many successfully to other police departments…”
“We may be in for a rough ride,” she said, yet she was smiling. “But then, the darkest hour is before the dawn, is it not?”
“The dawn is coming. Soon, it will be our dawn… and the darkest hour for the rest of the world. But their darkest hour… will have no dawn.”
“You’re such a poet.”
“Not during work hours.” A door opened behind her. His hand reached out, beckoning the man on the other side to come in. She did not flinch at his cold green stare, but merely smiled seductively, which had as little effect on him as his cold glare did on her.
“Well, I think I shall take my leave, since you two surely need to have man talk,” she said jokingly.
“Stay in Tokyo, Vermouth.”
“As you wish, Red,” she said, waving as she left. Gin watched her go.
“You favour that woman too much,” he growled. “Why do you stand for such insubordination? She dares to call you by your codename- and not even your full codename.”
“Vermouth has… special capabilities,” Red said firmly. “And while she likes to run free… in the end, she will always return to me. She will not betray me.”
“I can’t say I trust her as you do,” Gin said.
“You trust nobody, Gin,” Red said, sounding faintly amused. “But I value that. You are needed in Osaka. While Sake is ghost-hunting, I need you to find our living threat there.”
“And then?”
“Do what you see fit,” Red said. “The primary concern, of course, is that they cause us no more trouble… and you have such precise judgement when it comes to that.”
“Not always,” Gin said.
“I disagree. There is no indication that the boy is alive… it seems that his death was merely covered up. The poison has worked on every other victim, quite magnificently too. To that end, you are permitted to use it if necessary. I trust your judgement.” He smirked. “Well, I trust no-one completely. To do so would be foolish, in our business. But I trust in your intelligence.”
Gin left. He knew that line. It brought up the memory of the one time that he had seen his boss fight. He knew that if he tried to pull his gun on the man, he’d be dead before the bullet was halfway out the barrel.
And the boss knew that he knew. That was why Gin obeyed the man to the letter.
So that one day… that might be him.
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It’s HERE! It’s here it’s here it’s here! CHAPTAH 700 IN DAH HOUSE! (Yes, I’m happy about it. How did you guess?) PLOT is happening again! Even if it’s finally and definitively blown a plot point of mine out of the water… who cares! AWESOME PLOT IS HAPPENING! *checks temperature again*
What can I say, Pretztailfan 95? Great minds think alike! XD I’ve READ chapter nine, and sent you chapter ten to boot! Yes, I do, although that life is currently timed by how often I’m allowed Paracetamols… T_T Make it stop! This is my SUMMER! *Bakuryuhaas your Mikuru beam* Aaagh, I’d even take the raw, I did for Conan vs Lupin III and I actually managed to sort of follow what was happening… and there is… NO Conan in this chapter! XD Everything else is happening first…
I end up writing at some point pretty much every day, Yuki Taiki… it helps that I’d written about twenty chapters of this before publishing it. After the debacle of Tomorrow, I like to keep at least twenty chapters between the chapter I’m working on and the chapter I’m publishing, leaving plenty of room for necessary edits and writer’s block… though at the moment it’s about 27 chapters in between… I just write. It’s the only thing that comes naturally to me (aside from, you know, breathing XD). Music helps. Skillet and Evanescence always seem to give me the inspiration I need… and reviews. I always start writing after reading reviews, because then I feel all pumped up, like “People like this, so let’s get WRITING!” XD love ya too! XD
It’s all coming back to him now, A Midsummer Night’s Dream…
Heiji and Hakuba are alike and opposites, eh, Mel72000? If you look at Hakuba’s face when his father first appears back in Magic Kaito, and Heiji’s face when his father is mentioned in Heiji’s first appearance, their expressions are almost identical… XD
Will Heiji or Conan get there first, FaithlessGirl? 😉
At this stage, KageNoNeko, I have to say that it does seem that there’s more to be lost by not telling Ran than telling her, huh? I wonder who will tell her… *knows anyway but is cruelly teasing you* 😉
Muahahahaha, TwilTye. Muahahahaha. XD I’m going to be IN YOUR HEAD the whole time! *evil grin* CHAPTER 700 IS UP! TO DCTP! 😀… Yep, Heiji and Hakuba are a powerful (if possibly self-destructive) combo… XD
Currently working on chapter 76, Fireline, does that help? (probably not XD) I’m getting a ton of writing done since there’s not much else to do when you’re close to bedridden, though I worry about how they’ll read once I’m completely lucid again… XD Shinichi does have a lot of influence… actually, though, I think Saguru was mainly putting his trust in Heiji more than Shinichi there. 🙂 I’ve been trying to find some Arsene Lupin books in English, though it’s not going well… but I want to read them! Ran’ll have to know the truth someday, but who’ll be the one to spill the beans? Ahhh, I’ll miss you!
Poor Saguru indeed, HaibaraDaiFan… evil people all around! XD I think Heiji needs to run and hide… I must warn him! Although you’re not the only one after his blood… Here’s the stuff, man… *proffers little baggie with scrunched-up pages in it* XD
I actually quite like Heiji/Saguru conversations, Silver Shadowbreeze, since it’s so much fun to play them off one another… Ran always comes back to it, despite evidence to the contrary. Someday, he’ll get bored of bothering, though he hardly knows what to lie about these days…
The relationship between Saguru and his parents has never struck me as more than perfunctory, Kairi922, which was a point I was trying to address in that scene; both tend to look each other over where necessary, or as much as possible, even. Who will get there first, Ran or Shinichi? Though I don’t think she’d punch him when he’s that small, right? Maybe you should tape it or something… We have Sky+ and always use that to get the really good shows and movies that aren’t on until early morning. Like Dogma. Given Jay’s vocabulary, I can understand why they don’t want it on before the watershed, but even so… Have to say, love the Agatha Christie one, if you can find it. Giant alien wasp vs the Queen of Mystery. XD It’s really awesome, though- the deaths the alien inflicts play out just like a mystery novel. All the jokes with Donna continually referencing books that she hasn’t written yet (“I love that Miss Marple…” “Miss who?” “Not written yet, Donna…” “Miss Marple… I do like the name… makes me think of my grandma, she could practically read my mind…” XD) out of Torchwood, the miniseries was absolutely epic, but for single episodes I though Meat was particularly well-done. Deeply tragic, but so beautifully written. Countrycide, too. Absolutely horrendous, may want to have a bucket handy for when they find the Bean-clan wannabe’s fridges, but so very well-written, especially the final lines. “Why did you do it?” “Because it makes me happy.” Gwen’s expression says it all. Yes, your thin ploy worked perfectly XD
Yep, I’m not going anywhere until next summer, Marie Ravenclaw, which is technically just before my first year of college… Chapter 700 is out! I’m so excited! SHUUU! XD
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).
Reunion Awaited
Coming Together