English names used this time around because R.B Elliott will always be the voice of Kogoro in my head. Location is still Beika, Japan-ish, making this choice extra nonsensical.
Rated as always for language and chain-smoking amnesiac detectives.
In which Richard tries to figure out if this is what his new 'normal' is supposed to feel like.
There was a bevy of cars clustered outside the detective agency. Thumbing through the cab fare and already looking forward to assaulting his liver with his liquor cabinet, Richard spared only a brief glance at them even as Rachel craned her neck to look out the window. "Dad," she said, then flapped an urgent hand over her shoulder at him when he didn't react fast enough. "Dad, look."
"I see it," he said boredly, not looking. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Conan clamber up on the seat to follow her gaze. Rachel's skinny body had acted as a one-girl armada between them during the ride home, making sure a bent knee or pointed elbow stayed between the boy and Richard's intention to shove him out of the moving car. "Probably a dead body or something."
"That's not funny," Rachel snapped, reminding him that she was seventeen and shaken by the day's events, and probably temporarily qualified for gentler parenting. "It looks like they're waiting for something."
Or staring at a dead body. He hoped the fact they were so close to the apartment was a coincidence and not indicative of the body's location. At the moment he felt so disconnected that it wouldn't surprise him if the body was actually his. This entire cab ride could all be a part of his cosmic limbo, and Richard was cursed to spend eternity trying and failing to count out cab fare while his daughter assaulted him with the supersonic pitch of her whining. "Probably some famous person stopped to get a coffee and someone alerted the paparazzi. You got any change? I'm short."
Eyes still trained on the mass of blinking lights on the road ahead of them, Rachel rooted around in her pocket. Conan ended up being faster. A handful of coins came out of the pocket of his trousers and was plunked into Richard's hand, and then Conan was right back to rubbernecking alongside her.
Richard took a moment to eyeball him, wondering if the kid was patronizing him, but Conan seemed to think nothing of the transaction. "Wow, that's channel 8," he said unexpectedly, gesturing until Rachel followed his gaze. "Maybe you're right. Something big has to be going down. Do you think it's a TV star?"
"It could be," Rachel said doubtfully, but her expression had brightened a little at the prospect. "I wonder if it's anyone I know?"
Richard spent the weirdest moment of his life hovering between the instinct to not take a first-grader's money and his earlier intention to kill a first-grader on the highway. In the end, evil won out over decency. He sorted Conan's change out with his own money, wondering how much of the excess he could pocket without being despicable. Probably at least half. "Hey, you want me to still pull up to the stop?" the cab driver called back to them.
"A block back would be fine. Rachel, get the brat ready."
Rachel's head finally turned so she could fix him with a gimlet eye. "The brat's name is Conan, and he can get himself ready just fine, Dad."
He rolled his eyes and sorted a tip into his pile, then tapped the cab driver on the shoulder. The driver took the assortment of bills and change and thumbed through them expertly even as he pulled over to the curb. "Everybody out," Richard announced, expertly elbowing the kid in the head as he scooted himself out the door around him. The displacement of warm and cold air brought in a swirl of snowflakes to sprinkle the backseat.
Absent-mindedly scuffing his heels against the sidewalk to test it for friction, Richard straightened out of the cab and took a second to crick the hell out of his back. Once he'd sorted himself out, he bent and stuck a hand inside for Rachel to take.
He half-expected her to ignore the gesture, but he felt her hand settle in his a moment later. It was small and cold despite the heat of the cab, fingers painfully thin in his grip.
He paused despite himself. "I'm okay, Dad," Rachel said, reading into his expression with her mother's terrifying accuracy. "I'm just tired."
"Hey, I know that," he said, and kept a firm hold on her as he pulled her out of the cab, waiting until she fully straightened before he let go. He then shut the door, gave a friendly wave through the window to the cab driver, and knocked on the roof of the car briskly to send it on its way.
"Dad." Rachel lunged towards the door and yanked it open, revealing a surprised Conan still on his hands and knees on the seat. "Come here, Conan," Rachel said, exasperated. "It's all right. I won't let him do anything to you."
With a glance at Richard, Conan crawled forward and took her hand. Annoyed, Richard dug into his pocket for a cigarette to pass the time, and without really intending to caught Conan wincing a bit as he maneuvered his bruised body out of the cab.
Richard's fingers stalled on the cigarette. He shoved his hands back in his pockets irritably and forced himself to count to ten. "There," Rachel said fondly as she straightened Conan up. "You've had a long day, haven't you? I bet you'll feel a lot better after a bath."
"I don't know if we're even going to be able to get in." Conan was already on his tip-toes, peering into the crowd. "Look, they're right in front of our door. And there's tons of them. Something big must have happened."
"Yeah," Rachel said. Richard felt her hand reach up to slowly wrap around his elbow. "Dad, the coffee shop is right there. You… you don't think—"
"What, that the old bat died? Give me a break." Richard didn't bother stifling his yawn as he moved forward, moving quickly enough that he felt her stumble. "There's no way I've earned enough karma for thatChristmas present. C'mon, brat, you too. Move it or get locked out."
There was a barrier of nosy spectators to work through before they even breached the ring of the reporters. Richard offered a mandatory 'excuse me' up to the universe before he bowling-balled the rest of the way, making sure he elbowed enough to make room for his kid. Lights were ricocheting off the windows of the shop, combining with the noise of the crowd to raise a spike of pressure under Richard's skull.
Booze. He sleepily slapped a man in the back of the head and heard Rachel apologizing frantically in his wake. He adjusted his grip on her arm when he felt her being jostled and annoyed himself by wondering if she was keeping a grip on Conan. A few more steps and they'd be in the clear. Booze and bed. Or maybe booze and office couch. It depended on how much parenting Rachel needed tonight. With any luck she'd knock herself out with a hot bath while he floated away on a soothing wave of alcohol poisoning.
He was nearly to the staircase of the agency when someone shouted, "There he is!"
The bulk of the crowd suddenly shifted. Richard barely had time to react before the night exploded into flashing lights and a flurry of shouted questions.
He felt Rachel gasp in fear and moved on instinct. He pushed her ahead of him, scooped Conan up and tossed him squalling into the stairwell after her, then turned and braced himself across the entrance to prevent the reporters from gaining further access. For a while the world became an impenetrable barrier of microphones and shouted questions he couldn't parse. "Detective Moore." From somewhere near the middle of the throng, a man's voice finally soared above the rest. "Detective, is this the agency responsible for locating and retrieving CEO Tanner's missing daughter Michelle?"
"Uh," Richard said. He felt Rachel straining to look over his shoulder and gave her an impatient whack with his heel to keep her back. She immediately retaliated with a sharp kick to his calf that nearly broke his leg in two. "What?" he wheezed, surreptitiously trying to take his weight off of it while maintaining his manly and forbidding presence.
A second voice – female, closer this time – was the next to rise above the fray. "Is it true that the child's initial kidnapping was part of a ruse? If so, how did you uncover the kidnapper's true intentions? What would you say was their motive?"
Utterly taken aback, Richard could only continue to flounder as the questions flooded in from the sea of reporters. How often does this agency process these types of high-profile cases. Have you worked or do you plan to work as a consultant for Beika PD. Do you see this as a potential recurring problem in affluent families. What safeguards should these families take to prevent these situations in the future.
A man's question was shouted close enough to him to jar him from his stupor. "Can you confirm for the record that you are Detective Richard Moore, and that the Moore Detective Agency was responsible for solving the abduction case of Michelle Tanner, daughter of CEO Tanner from Tanner Enterprises?"
He felt Rachel's fingers gripping the back of his jacket. For a split second, because he really just kind of wanted them all to piss off so he could get wasted, Richard strongly considered lying. It wouldn't get rid of them forever but it'd probably confuse them enough to leave for the night. Richard could have some time to decompress before they found their way back to the agency, having at that point done enough research to know that he was a lying sack that sent them on a wild goose chase because he didn't feel like answering questions.
Then his narcissism kicked in, and he remembered, Yoko Okino watches the news. "Dad," Rachel whispered urgently as the moment stretched.
The throng had momentarily quieted to listen for his answer. Richard Moore blinked up at the sky for a while, wondering if the cameras were getting his good side. He wondered if he had a good side. "Yeah, that was me," he said, and recoiled when the world burst into a flurry of fresh questions and eye-gouging flashes of light, and that was apparently all it took for life to change forever.
So the fact was that yes, the CEO's daughter's kidnapping was a fake and the second one was real, but more importantly, he had solved a case, so none of the other things strictly mattered. Richard Moore lived his life in broad strokes. Solving cases was good, so that meant he should feel good. When Rachel asked him in the taxi on the way home if Conan could stay with them, Richard was too drunk on Good to say 'hell no', because why not. What was one more stupid reckless thing.
The euphoria faded around the time Conan was asleep on the floor in Richard's room, and the problem returned to Richard with the suddenness of a fist to the face. Namely, there was a strange kid covered in bruises camped out in his house, and the acceptable time to report it had long since passed, making Richard a kidnapper and probably a raging pervert.
Richard dealt with the problem by alternately blackening his lungs with cigarettes and picking up his office phone to dial the police. Each time his finger stopped just above the keypad. The issue was really less about the kid's condition and more about why Richard had waited so goddamn long to do something about it. A few hours would've been excusable, because Richard had been busy solving things. A sleepover? Even if he escaped the likely jail time, his reputation was shot.
He hung up a sixteenth and final time, then brought out his best liquor and got three glorious shades of shitfaced instead. He woke up draped across his desk the next morning, a civil war in his head and a can of beer slobbering out over his paperwork. The blinds were closed behind him, a single, searing blade of light coming through one of the broken slats.
He could hear the distant sounds of Rachel preparing breakfast on the floor above him. Head on his desk, Richard listened as a second set of footsteps made their way from one corner of the floor above him to the other. A silence of around four beats, and then the pitter-patter sounded again, this time on the stairs leading down to the office. The door creaked, and Conan called in, a little tentatively, "Uncle? Are you awake?"
Uncle. Without taking his forehead from his desk, Richard reached for his gun. As his fingers hit air, a couple of things came back to him in non-specific order: he hadn't kept a gun at his side for seven years, killing himself wasn't appropriate with children under his roof no matter how obnoxious said children were, and also, kind of extremely belatedly, oh, yeah. I can do detective things now.
He spent the next two days in cosmic dissonance, signing Conan up for elementary school while casting his net out over the city to try to foist him off on somebody. Weirdly, it was the kid's relationship to Agasa that turned out to be the most helpful. Agasa was apparently a long-time grant writer for the district and had a good reputation with the administration. Some pulled strings and greased wheels later, Conan was successfully enrolled at Teitan Elementary and scheduled to attend the following Monday.
Richard was caught between wondering how he got saddled with some random kid's academic expenses and wondering if Rachel had actually brought home a sewer mutant in the shape of some random kid. He'd seen Conan's entry test scores, and while there was a lot of mystery surrounding Conan in general, there was nothing mysterious about those numbers. They were stupidly high. The bar on the graph representing Conan's test in comparison to his peers had popped off the page like a middle finger. Agasa had probably helped speed things along, but Richard had a strong hunch that the school would've been willing to overlook a lot more weirdness to get their hands on that kind of potential.
Aware that he was dealing with something outside his psychological pay grade, Richard threw himself into the investigation. The name 'Conan Edogawa' didn't turn up anything by itself, but he hadn't expected it to. If the kid was smart enough to ace his entrance exams after blunt force trauma, he was smart enough to hand a pseudonym to a PI.
At a loss, Richard spent some unpleasant hours rifling through recent missing children cases, but distaste for the project and more pressing work around the office kept putting it on back burner. He was yanked from the task entirely on the third day when Yoko Okino found her way into his agency, wringing her hands over something about phone threats or stalkers, and to be honest he didn't do a lot of listening after that because Yoko Okino was in his agency asking for his help. He floated his way through the case on a package of vending machine crackers and about a bucket of libido. This is what being a detective was about. Famous women asking famous detectives to solve soon-to-be-famous crimes. He had no idea how she'd thank him for catching the bad guy, but he had to assume it'd involve autographing his abs while he autographed things above her abs. As long as he could just identify the suspect, everything would be just —
He awoke with a cigarette searing his fingers and Meguire yelling in his face. "—newfound respect for you, Moore," Meguire beamed.
If this headache were anywhere near the pain of childbirth, Richard had some phone calls to make to his wife. "What did I do again?"
Meguire had twisted over his shoulder to yell to one of his officers. At this he turned back, still grinning. "What's that?"
He saw Rachel chatting animatedly with Yoko in the background. "What did I do?"
"Good one." Meguire laughed heartily and slapped his shoulder. "I gotta hand it to you, Moore, I didn't know you had it in you. You're really something else."
Richard excused himself while they were wrapping up the crime scene to throw up generously in the bathroom. During the taxi ride home, he listened with half an ear as Rachel chattered in the background, watching the snow soften the neon lights outside the window into a surreal blur. He didn't lift from his daze until Rachel nudged his shoulder. "We're home, Dad."
The meter was clicking on the dashboard. "You go on ahead," he said.
"What?" Conan was already standing on the sidewalk, shivering in his jacket. Halfway out of the cab herself, Rachel turned back to regard him suspiciously. "Why?"
"I'm going out."
"Dad, come on, it's getting late." To her credit she managed to look more concerned for him than reproachful, which was a large part of why he lived with her and not her irritating mother. "Don't you think you should get some rest? It's been a long day. You can always go out and drink tomorrow."
"Hey, the night's still young for the over-twenty crowd," he said. "Put the brat to bed and don't wait up. If you're a good girl and don't give Daddy any crap, there might be some dessert in it for you."
"Dessert, huh." Rachel looked like she was waffling somewhere between fresh suspicion and hereditary gluttony. She slid out the rest of the way, bracing herself on the hood of the car and ducking her head to peer in at him. "Are you sure this is a good idea? You really don't look like you feel up to partying."
"Look, in case you haven't noticed, the meter's running. Unless you feel like paying for that out of your allowance, shut your trap and let me do my thing. I'll be back in a couple of hours."
Rachel hesitantly let go of the roof. "Get a cab if you're going to drink," she said sternly. "I mean it, Dad. Don't try to walk home. It's freezing outside. And if you get into trouble, call someone."
"Got it, got it." He waved her off boredly. "Shut the door. You're letting out all the heat."
With palpable reluctance, Rachel obeyed. Richard watched her take Conan's hand and climb the stairs to the agency. She looked over her shoulder as she unlocked the door, meeting his gaze through the windows. He flapped another hand at her lazily. Rolling her eyes, she ushered Conan inside, shutting the door behind them.
Richard had the cab take him to the hospital. After about two hours of poking, they diagnosed a mild concussion and spent time giving him noise about it while some brat screamed about his broken arm in the exam room to his right. "I'm worried that you don't remember what clocked you," the doctor said bluntly, staring hard at the printout of his dented, crime-solving head. "I think we should keep you overnight."
"C'mon, all I need to know is if I'm bleeding into my brain or not." Mostly he was just satisfied to know that he had been hit by something, because random blunt force trauma was a lot easier to explain than random blackouts. Plenty of people in his life wanted to hit him: it's why he'd taken up Judo in primary school. Getting hit from inside was something a black belt didn't cover. "If I'm not and we're all good here, would you mind wrapping this up? I'm missing the Torrential Hearts marathon."
As an early Christmas present, it turned out he wasn't bleeding into his brain. He ended up getting home well after midnight with a prescription painkiller, three tired slices of twenty-four hour diner pie, and an extra case of beer he'd purchased for medicinal purpose.
Rachel, disobeying orders because she was Eva's child, was pacing around in his office waiting for him as he came trudging up the stairs. She looked dead on her feet but perked up enough to give him attitude, shoving him over to his desk chair as he tumbled in through the door. "Daddy's fine, pumpkin," he said, goofy with fatigue and mild brain damage. "Look, he even brought dessert!"
"I've been worried sick," she snarled, snatching the bag away. "First Jimmy up and disappearing, then you staying out all hours of the night – I've had it with everyone getting to do whatever they want to do and leaving me to clean up the mess. Did you at least eat while you were out?"
"No," he laughed.
She rage-devoured her slice of pie and shoved his own slice down his throat before he could get away. It was easily the dumbest thing he could do to get wasted, so he settled for a compromise, slicing through his sobriety with a brisk, surgical application of beer until he felt he could sleep the rest of the evening off.
He dozed off fully-clothed at his desk, vaguely aware of Rachel taking up vigil nearby. He was with-it enough to wonder about the strangeness of her behavior, but a combination of exhaustion and alcohol kept him from leading by example and heading up to bed himself. Later, in the dead of the night, he thought he heard the phone ring and her answer it, but he drifted back off to sleep before he could make heads or tails of the conversation.
By the next day the office phone was ringing off the hook. Looking tired but inexplicably upbeat, Rachel answered every call while Richard sprawled across one of the sofas with a cold cloth over his eyes, trying to figure out how to kill himself without getting up. "You really ought to start taking these interviews, Dad," Rachel said, hanging up for the ninth time since breakfast. "Or at least some cases. Just because you're famous now doesn't mean you get to slack off."
"Who were you on the phone with last night?" he mumbled.
She audibly paused, the scribble of her message-taking hesitating. Richard let his head drop to the side, peeling back a corner of the cloth to eyeball her. "Nobody," she said, a blush rising to her face under his scrutiny. "It was just Jimmy."
"Just Jimmy, huh." The light felt like a gunshot to the head. He let the cloth drop again. "And did Just Jimmy have anything to say for himself?"
"He said…" she hesitated again, then finished firmly, as though she were convincing herself, "that he's coming home really soon."
Richard spent most of the day thinking about the various methods he could use to ship Kudo off to Egypt the moment he set came home really soon. When that got old, he threw back some painkillers, rolled off the sofa, and began rifling through the messages on his desk.