Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ The Calm Before the Storm ( Chapter 8 )

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

Chapter Eight
The Calm Before The Storm
“It could have been worse, Hattori,” Shinichi said consolingly. “At least she didn’t have her Jaguar E-type.”
“I hope spring comes soon so I can ride my bike again,” Hattori muttered, his voice slightly muffled by the fact that his head was pressed into his crossed arms, resting on top of the railing. They had met Kazuha at Osaka Castle, and the men had wandered ahead of the chattering girls. Heiji had been about as pale as he ever got since he’d turned up at the station with Yuusaku and Yukiko, only a couple of minutes late.
“Was it that bad?” Yuusaku said with a little laugh. Heiji glared at him, then at Shinichi.
“By the way, ya coulda just told me yer oyaji was gonna be here,” he said.
“Gomen,” Shinichi said. “Ran was knocking on the stall door, asking me what was taking so long…”
“So you haven’t told her yet?” Yuusaku asked, glancing back at Ran. Shinichi shook his head vehemently.
“Hell, no,” he said, wincing as the memory of the dream, vivid and real, sprang up in his mind. “I’m not letting anyone know unless it’s absolutely necessary or they’re really persistent.” Glare at Heiji. “I’ve seen what happens to witnesses- what’s supposed to happen, anyway. Given how much I’ve found out about the Syndicate, if they found out who I am, they’d kill anyone whom they even vaguely suspect of knowing the truth. The only way to keep her safe is complete and utter ignorance.”
“And yet, you didn’t put so much effort into fooling us,” Yuusaku said, raising an eyebrow.
“Agasa-Hakase had already told you guys everything, so what could I do?” Shinichi said, scowling at the memory of the terrifying trick they’d played on him to make him realize how much danger he was in, as if he didn’t already know very well. “Besides, you’re in LA almost all of the time- too distant for you to have too much of a clue about what’s happening here, I guess. It’s obvious that they think you guys are disconnected because they only searched our house in Beika when my body never turned up, and not yours in LA. Pretty much the same thing for you, Hattori. They have no way of knowing that you’ve ever even met me. I doubt they know you exist.”
“Nice ta feel cared for,” Heiji commented.
“But they searched everything, according to Haibara. Looking for any trace of life. They would’ve found pictures of Ran and me in my room, and five minutes’ conversation with anyone from my school would be enough to convince them that if anyone knew where I was, it would be her. I can’t give them any indication that there’s anything to look for… and she can’t give them any indication that there’s anything she can tell them. The best way to do that is ensure that there really isn’t anything she can tell them.”
“Aside from the part where yer actually alive, she knows that,” Heiji said. Shinichi hopped off of the railing he’d been standing on to get a little closer to their height as they started walking again in order to prevent Kazuha and Ran from hearing their conversation. “She don’t know it’s a secret, does she?”
“Well, no,” Shinichi admitted, “but she doesn’t talk about me that much, so I guess she’s decided that whatever case I’m on, it’s not meant to be public knowledge.”
“Speaking of the case, how is that going?” Yuusaku asked. “Have you found anything out since…?”
“Quite a bit, actually,” Shinichi said. “I’ve also made a few helpful contacts, although none of them know I’m Kudo Shinichi, mainly because none of them have ever met me before. There’s Jodie-sensei, or FBI special agent Starling, for one. I’ve worked with her and her colleagues a couple of times- mainly her supervisor James Black-san and fellow agents Andre Camel-san and Akai Shuuichi-san.”
“James Black?” Yuusaku said thoughtfully. “So he’s still with the FBI?”
“Ya know FBI agents?” Heiji said in surprise.
“I worked with everyone back in the day,” he replied. “James is an officer now? Good for him. Haven’t heard from him in years. Not met the other two, however…”
“Yer not gonna meet one’ve `em,” Heiji said. “I saw a piece on the news about some unsolved murder. Said an Akai Shuuichi-han was found in a burnin’ vehicle with a hole in `is head. Oyaji mentioned that the FBI had taken over full control of that investigation.”
“Yeah, Mizunashi-san was forced to kill him to prove her loyalty to the Syndicate,” Shinichi said.”Mizunashi Rena, real name CIA agent Hondo Hidemi. She’s a noc, and she’s in deep, which means she can pass vital information to Jodie-sensei.”
“Hold the phone,” Heiji blurted out. “She killed an FBI agent! What’s a noc, anyway?”
“Non-Official Cover: A CIA term for a special infiltrator,” Yuusaku said. “I didn’t think they used them anymore, but they infiltrate the highest levels of criminal organizations by earning the trust of highly-placed members. To do this, however, they are licensed to murder… blackmail… kidnap… torture… whatever it takes to get to the top. It’s a highly-paid profession, and nocs are often vital to bringing down dangerous criminal organizations, but even the best never go on such a mission more than once. The things they have to do to win the criminals’ trust tax their consciences too greatly.”
“Like kill FBI agents,” Shinichi said. “Akai-san was my friend, but… I can’t hold it against her. If she’d refused, she would have been killed, and we’d have lost our most valuable source of information. Besides, she made it clear from the beginning that her first priority was finishing her mission, and she would do whatever- whatever– it took to do that.”
“Geez, Kudo,” Heiji sighed, “Yer workin’ with the FBI an’ the CIA now as well? At this rate, Edogawa Conan’s gonna be as well known t’ the Syndicate as Kudo Shinichi…” he trailed off, looking thoughtful. “Hey, are ya workin’ with `em? Don’t they find that kinda weird? I mean, ya said they think yer a kid, right?”
“Yeah,” Shinichi said, “But Jodie-sensei just thinks I’m an unbelievably smart kid, and after that plan I set up at the hospital worked perfectly, everyone else seems inclined to agree. I guess they’re just used to me. Jodie-sensei occasionally bugs me for clues as to why a grade-schooler is so set against the Syndicate, but she’s getting nothing. At the moment, I think her conspiracy theories mainly centre around dead parents, pretty much the same situation that she and Mizunashi-san are in.”
“Kinda weird, ain’t it?” Heiji said. “Haven’t ya noticed, Kudo? Even around people who ain’t in the know, ya ain’t actin’ like such a li’l kid anymore. When I first met ya, ya passed off as a first-grader pretty well, but ya don’t act much like a third-grader now. But nobody says anythin’, `cause they’re used to ya bein’ a bright kid. If anyone stopped an’ thought about it fer a minute, I think it’d be pretty obvious that a kid you ain’t.”
“Glad no-one does stop to think about it,” Shinichi said feverently. “Although Eri-obasan always gives me funny looks… like the other day, when we ran into her at that murder…”
Five police cars drove past, headed for the Osaka museum. Yuusaku watched them go with interest. “So, when’s the heist?” he asked.
“Sometime after midnight on the morning of the 21st,” Shinichi said. “When, precisely, we don’t know, but since we have the target and approximate time, we should be able to keep a lookout for him…”
“Oh yeah, Nakamori-keibu’s gettin’ here in the mornin’ with his unit,” Heiji said. “We’re headin’ fer the museum `round about lunchtime tomorrow ta check things out. Ya comin’, Kudo? Both of ya?”
“Of course,” Shinichi said. “What about you, Tou-san?”
“Yes, I think I’ll be there,” Yuusaku said thoughtfully. “It should be… interesting, to say the least, to cross paths with the Kaitou Kid again. I was very surprised when he returned. I was under the impression that he had died.”
“Guess he didn’t,” Heiji said, “but ya gotta wonder why he did vanish.”
“It wasn’t even as if he made a big production of leaving, which was odd, especially for him,” Yuusaku said. “He just gave out a notice for a heist in three days, and never turned up. No other notice came from him, nor did he appear at all, for eight years. That was why everyone thought he’d been killed.”
“Maybe he got injured or soemthin’,” Heiji said. “Or… I dunno. Eight years is a kinda random time difference, though. Thieves generally just disappear for `bout fifteen years, `till the statute of limitations runs out. Wonder what he was doin’? I mean, it ain’t like he ever kept anythin’, so it ain’t like he just ran outta spendin’ loot…”
“Both of you have faced Kid since he reappeared, haven’t you?” Yuusaku asked. “Did you ever get a good look at his face?”
“Not really,” Shinichi said. “The darkness and that stupid monocle generally get in the way if he isn’t wearing a mask… all I got was the impression that he’s surprisingly young. He looked about early 20s at the very oldest, but he should be in his late thirties at least. I’d guess it’s just another mask, but it bugs me.”
“Indeed,” Yuusaku said thoughtfully. “Perhaps-”
He stopped when Heiji’s cell phone rang. “Yo?” Heiji said, picking it up. “What? Oh, yeah. Yeah. Just a mo.” He covered the mouthpiece as he turned to face the Kudos. “Hey, that’s Ofukuro. She says if we don’t get our asses home, she’s feedin’ our tea ta the cat. Hey, you two wanna come with fer dinner?” he said, addressing Yuusaku.
“That sounds nice,” Yuusaku said. “We were just going to eat in the hotel anyway. Is that alright?”
“Should be, Ofukuro’s nuts fer mysteries. Hold on a mo… Hey, Ofukuro? Alright if ya add two more ta that? Yeah, yeah, I know… no, listen, it’s Kudo’s parents, we ran inta `em here… yeah, Kudo Yuusaku-han. Yeah. That one, yeah. Cool. Alright, we’ll be back by then… cool. Later.” He clicked the phone closed and stuck it back into his pocket. “Yeah, Ofukuro’s cool ta invite ya. She might ask ya ta autograph everythin’ she owns, though.”
“That’s all right,” Yuusaku said with a laugh. “We should probably head back to the car, then. And go drag Mori-kun out of the bar.”
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“We’re going to stay at the museum all day to investigate the security arrangements,” Yuusaku said, “and then of course we’ll be here until morning to catch Kid. What about you?”
“Like we’re gonna hang around all day while you Tantei-otaku are fiddlin’ with security cameras,” Kazuha snorted. “But it’s been a long time since Ran-chan came to Osaka, and Yukiko-san’s never been! With no guys around, I’m showin’ `em the shoppin’ today!” Kazuha had been psyched to meet a movie star, even a retired one, and had taken all of them sightseeing all over Osaka over the past couple of days.
Well, at least this time we finished our tour without anyone getting murdered,” Shinichi thought.
“You’re shopping in Osaka? Um… do you mind if I come with you?”
Everyone turned. Hakuba had just entered with a girl about Ran’s age. Actually, Shinichi thought, she looked quite a bit like Ran, but her short, messy hair was quite a bit lighter and she was dressed more childishly than Ran ever did, in a pink dress and white cardigan.
“Kudo-Sensei, Hattori, Conan-kun, Mori-sensei, Mori-san… nice to see you all again,” Hakuba said, bowing courteously. He was dressed as strictly as ever, in a black suit and tie and blue shirt that actually made him look like as if Kid had joined the Men In Black (“Not that I’m ever going to say that to his face,” Shinichi thought) “And nice to meet you ladies,” he added, turning to Yukiko and Kazuha. “I’m Hakuba Saguru. This is Nakamori Aoko.”
“Oh, so you’re that arrogant foreign detective?” Kazuha said bluntly. Then she smiled at Aoko. “Nice to meet you, Nakamori-san… hey… Nakamori… are you…?”
“Otou-san is leading the Kid investigation, yeah,” Aoko said. “But I know he, Hakuba-kun and Kaito are going to be busy here all day, and I spend too much time hanging around with cops as it is, so if it’s not too much trouble, can I come with you?”
“Of course!” Ran said. “Oh, I’m Mori Ran, and this is Toyama Kazuha and Kudo Yukiko… leave Kid to the boys and come shopping without `em!”
“Great!” Aoko laughed. “Hakuba-kun, will you tell Otou-san and Kaito where I went when they get here? They’re just checking in with the police chief, I think…”
“Of course,” Hakuba said.
“But we are coming back tonight to see the heist, right?” Yukiko said. “I haven’t seen a Kid heist live in years!”
“Of course!” Ran said as they turned to leave. She waved at Shinichi and her father over her shoulder, calling back, “we’ll bring takeaways!”
“So your girlfriend’s Otou-san is the head of the Kid hunt?” Kogoro grumbled. “No wonder you’re obsessed with that thief… The wannabe PI and his buddy the detective’s daughter… again…”
“Aoko-san isn’t my girlfriend,” Hakuba sighed dejectedly. Heiji and Shinichi exchanged grins.
“Which means the real reason you’re obsessed with Kid is that you’re hoping to impress her, eh?” Heiji chuckled.
“Who’s Kaito?” Yuusaku asked, interrupting their teasing. Hakuba scowled at the name.
“She calls him by his first name, so is he really her boyfriend?” Kogoro asked, glancing at Heiji. “Sounds like the same old story…” Shinichi involuntarily flushed, but no-one noticed.
“As good as,” Hakuba said, scowling deeper. “His name’s Kuroba Kaito. He’s in our class, and he’s been Aoko’s best friend since grade school.”
“Sounds like you’re out of luck, kid,” Kogoro said, glancing at the museum doors. “Excuse me…”
“If she already likes this guy, it ain’t like she’d gonna drop him just because you caught Kid, right?” Heiji asked. “I mean, it ain’t like putting Kid behind bars would make him vanish…”
Hakuba smiled grimly. “Actually…”
“Kuroba… any relation to Kuroba Toichi? The Master of Illusions?” Yuusaku asked.
“Mmm… I believe so,” Hakuba replied, looking thoughtful. “I’ll admit that I know little about his family. But he is obsessed with magic himself. It wouldn’t be that surprising if he was related to one of the greatest magicians in Japan…”
“Try the world, Hakuba. He was my Tou-san.”
Nakamori had just walked through the door some distance away, and was currently engaged in a war of cheek-pulling with Kogoro. They’d clearly already gotten to the poor guy who’d just turned up behind Hakuba, who was already sporting one bright red cheek himself. He was wearing a black hoodie with a white ace of spades logo on it and torn jeans. Heiji and Shinichi stared at him in surprise.
Ku-?!” Heiji yelped, before Shinichi kicked him on the ankle, still staring at the guy. Hakuba was glaring daggers.
“When’d you get here, Kuroba?” he asked sourly.
“Just now,” the guy said. “Nakamori-keibu’s gonna come check you all out for masks in a minute, by the way. I hope you don’t have a lot of pain receptors in your cheeks. Where’s Aoko? I thought she was with you.”
“She went out with Mori-san’s daughter and…”
Heiji leaned over to the thoughtful-looking Yuusaku and whispered loudly out of the corner of his mouth, “I didn’t know Kudo had a twin brother.”
“I don’t,” Shinichi hissed back. “Never seen the guy before.”
“ ‘Cept for in the mirror every day up until about-”
“Shut up.”
He really does look like me, though,” Shinichi thought. If the guy used a few hundred tubs of hair gel to tame his messy mane of hair and darkened it a shade or two, they could easily twins. It was more than a little disconcerting, like both times that Kid had disguised as him.
“Kuroba-kun,” Yuusaku said, “Nice to see you again. I don’t know if you remember me- I haven’t seen you since Toichi-kun’s funeral- but I’m Kudo Yuusaku.”
“Kudo…? Hey, no, wait, I remember you!” Kaito said. He looked around nervously. “Hey, is Yukiko-san here with you? I remember her well. Gorgeous lady, but she was downright terrifying when I called her “oba-san”…”
“Yes, that sounds like Yukiko,” Yuusaku laughed. Hakuba glanced at him in shock. “Well, it has been a long time. Good grief, you still look exactly like Shinichi…”
“Who?” Kaito asked.
“My son. I don’t blame you for not remembering him, you two only met when you were very, very small…”
“Huh?” Shinichi said, glancing up at his father. “I’ve met this guy? Hold on… Kuroba Toichi? Wasn’t he Kaa-san’s acting sensei?
“… Yukiko kept joking that she was going to leave with the wrong child. So, what are you doing here?”
“Nakamori-keibu keeps asking me along for advice,” Kaito said, “He needs to know how Kid thinks, and he figures he’s better off with a magician than a thief.”
“Yes, you certainly can give a valuable insight into how Kid thinks,” Hakuba commented pointedly. Kaito rolled his eyes.
“So, I’m guessing you’re here for another crack at Kid, right?” Kaito said. “I heard you nearly caught him in the past…”
“Nearly,” Yuusaku said. “This is Hattori Heiji. His father’s the chief of the Osaka Police, and he’s also a detective like Hakuba-kun. And this is my nephew, Edogawa Conan.”
“Nice t’meetcha,” Heiji said, waving. Shinichi just crossed his arms behind his head and glanced over Kaito. Suddenly, the teen magician looked Shinichi straight in the eye, grinned, and winked.
“Nice to meet you guys,” he said. Hakuba just glared at him again.
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Bobbyneko,nataiey1, desperatembrace– Arigatou for confirming the Japanese! Thanks to Bobbyneko for including the kanji, too. I was trying to find it for a fanart I was drawing (not very well, but then no-one else has to see it ^_^;) you wouldn’t happen to know the kanji for “Kaitou”, would you?
I’m going to stick to using it without the “u”, I think. I know that there’s no strict way to Romanize kanji, and it most often shows up in that optional “u” after some “o”s. I think it’s mainly a matter of personal preference, and I prefer not to use the “u” except for purposes of differentiation, such as distinguishing “Kaitou” as in the phantom thief from “Kaito” as in Kuroba Kaito. But like I said, desperatembrace, you could also probably put the “u” after one or indeed both of the “o”s in “kokosei-tantei” and still be correct.
Speaking of which, as the important (i.e. Kid-related) plotlines and aspects of the story surface, there’ll be less unrelated murdering, but they will pop up from time to time, mainly whenever I’ve finally come up with another one… >_>
And yeah, Peppymint, I sometimes wonder if that was unnecessarily cruel to poor Heiji… ahhh, but it’s so funny! XD
Thanks for the love, lifawn! <3
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 Ran and Heiji, the back button is at the top there. The fic may not make sense if you have not read up to chapter 679, which you can do at Onemanga.com, but I advise you to buy the official Tankoban novels (up to volume 27 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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