Sorry it's been a while, got distracted by some other stuff. Updates will be very slow because I'm also working on other things, and just very distractable in general, but this story is not abandoned, and I do have it planned out I just have to actually write it.
Chapter Eleven: Secrets
"That works… right?" Kid asks after handing my phone back to Kogoro, it's hard to tell if the question is being directed at me or Conan.
I hesitate to answer in front of so many people but at this point I likely won't be able to get out of this without explaining a few things, "...it should. Rum is very perceptive but I haven't spent much time in person with him, and we usually communicate by text. He might not be able to pick up on my speech patterns being slightly strange, and as long as some of that information was correct it'll lend credence to the rest. How much was true?"
He even knew who had been the one to poison the teen detective… that led me to believe he knew more than he was letting on.
He pauses a moment and replies, "That's all you get, believe what you want."
With that the thief makes himself scarce, disappearing off to some other location. I want to follow but I find myself stopped when Kogoro places his hand on my shoulder.
"You're going to have to explain what the hell that call just now was about."
It feels strange, being stared down by my own face with an expression of confused anger that I haven't seen in the mirror before.
I can think up several excuses, but at this point Kid had said too much too openly, I doubt even Kogoro is dimwitted enough to believe it if I were to spin some elaborate lie about helping Kudo-kun with a dangerous case… but spilling the full truth to this man would be like doing a full gymnastics routine in a minefield. There's no telling what he'll easily let slip simply because he doesn't understand the stakes.
"Forget you heard anything," I advise him, "Nothing good will come of it if you pursue this matter."
If he leaves it at that it'd be great, but I've spent enough time with him by now to know that he won't.
He gives me a stern look, "I can't just ignore it from the sounds of it you were looking into some kind of failed attempt at murdering the Kudo brat, but the way Kid said everything it sounds like you're working with the guys that tried to kill him."
So he can deduce some information on his own if he tries, but he shouldn't have any real leads. Perhaps I should give him a little push to keep him away from this, "If I am working with them, are you sure it's wise to be trying to poke your nose in? They've attempted to kill Kudo-kun, and they don't intend to leave it as an attempt. If you know anything then not just you but everyone in your life will become a potential target…. Conan-kun… Ran-san… your wife."
I see hesitation dance across his face before he doubles down on stern anger, "Now you see here, I may not like the guy, but if you think I'm going to turn a blind eye to someone trying to kill my daughter's boyfriend then you've got another thing coming."
If what Amuro is saying is true then this is dangerous information… I might already know too much, I might already be putting everyone I care about in danger, and learning more would only make matters worse-
But I can't just ignore it.
The Kudo brat may be dating my daughter, and I sure as hell am not forgiving that, but it's not like he deserves to die. Plus the way Conan reacted to that phone call… he was just as serious as Amuro was, he's involved. I'm not his real parent but I am his guardian, if Conan is involved with a dangerous situation then that's all the more reason that I can't ignore this now that I've heard it.
"Don't say I didn't warn you…" Amuro says calmly.
"Just tell me already."
He glances around, no doubt checking to see if anyone else is listening to us before he quietly admits, "I work with PubSec…"
"Pub… Sec…?" I find myself muttering, it sounds familiar but I can't quite place when I last heard it, "But you work at Poirot."
This guy is already working at a cafe most days out of the week, and on his off days he's either doing detective work or apprenticing with me. Isn't he a university student or something too? There's no way he has time to be doing more on top of all that.
"Poirot is part of my cover. I'm really a public security officer," He says quietly.
Ah right… those secret police guys that sneak around doing shady stuff off the record, I had heard about them a bit while I was working for the police, but I never really paid much attention to them since I didn't really have the clearance to know what they were up to anyway.
Still I don't see what any of that has to do with an attempt to kill the detective brat, so I just give a little nod like I understand and hope that he'll explain further.
Luckily, he does, "As part of an investigation I'm currently infiltrating a large criminal organization. They're the ones that may have killed Kudo-kun."
I frown, "The hell do you mean 'May have killed?' is he dead or isn't he?"
"... I was asked to look into it, but I haven't been able to obtain any solid evidence either way. There's plenty of reason to believe that he's alive, and somewhere in this area if the reports of sightings are to be believed… but I can't seem to pinpoint his location any further."
Kid mentioned a theme park… could that mean that the day Shinichi was supposedly killed was the day he went to Tropical Land with Ran? In that case I know more for certain than Amuro does since I'm one of the people that's seen him since then so I can confirm that he's not dead.
I still don't know where he's been or why… though I guess that probably has something to do with the fact that someone tried to murder him. I guess that explains why he started trying to hid his involvement with cases too when he used to be such a cocky brat that relished the attention.
"If you've been infiltrating this criminal organization- tell me, why would they want to poison that detective brat?"
He stays quiet for a moment, seeming to be choosing his words carefully, "I wasn't told the reason… but, the person behind it isn't someone who tends to kill indiscriminately, so most likely Kudo-kun would have had to have gotten in his way while he was on a mission. His usual modus operandi is a gun, so poison was likely used because there were cops still in the area after a murder that had happened in that park earlier that day."
That kid did always have a tendency to stick his nose in cases rather than just leaving them to me or the police, he's a lot like Conan that way-
"What the hell were you thinking?" I demand once Kid and I are alone in another room of the professor's house, "You just said all of that to the second in command of the organization-"
At least most of the people in the room wouldn't have learned anything useful from hearing that I was poisoned at Tropical Land, but just the thought that now the organization may be looking for me even harder than before…
"I'm aware of that." He replies simply then fires back with his own question, "What else was I supposed to say?"
"You shouldn't have confirmed that I was alive for one."
"The guy had Bourbon investigating you, there's no way they'd have done that if they didn't already expect Shinichi was alive. So, it was a safer bet to confirm it. Denying it would have just been suspicious."
I hate admitting it, but he's right.
The fact that I was being investigated at all means that they probably already had been given reason to believe that I was alive, claiming I wasn't at this point would have been a serious risk, the consequences likely being the death of Amuro's body. That's not a risk I'd be willing to take either, Kid made the right choice.
That said he could have just said that he found out Shinichi was still alive and that he hasn't been able to confirm anything else about his activities, he didn't have to add some lies.
"Fine, but what about the rest? Why did you say that I'm Kid?" I ask, though I already have some idea of why he's done it. Still, I don't approve, so I have to make sure to lecture him about it.
"Calm down, another target on my back isn't going to be a problem for me, and it's just a red herring to keep them away from the idea that you're living as a child."
"I get that but…. Did you really have to say all of it in front of everyone?"
"What else was I supposed to do? Run to the bathroom with the phone? Then I wouldn't have been able to gauge Bourbon's face while I was talking to see if I needed to make adjustments…"
"You're good enough at that sort of thing that you don't need hints like that."
"As flattering as it is to hear you say that, hints are still welcome when someone's life is on the line, Meitantei-kun."
I look away a little, I can't disagree when he says it like that after all.
He continues, "Besides, there was no time. Every second that phone wasn't answered was a risk…. Sure you could have handed the bowtie to Amuro, but there's no telling what he'd have said if we let him go answer it alone, and this way that uncle of yours doesn't know you have a voice changer."
"You… really thought this through huh…"
"You and Tantei-han keep being surprised by that… do I really come off as if I improvise everything?"
Kid just dropped a lot of information really casually, and some of it wasn't true, it had to not be true because I already know that Kuroba Kaito isn't Kudo Shinichi, but the rest of it needed to be looked into.
After that call everyone immediately started splitting off in different directions, it seems Kogoro of all people was the one taking first turn at asking Amuro what the hell all of that was about. And Conan seemed to have pulled Kid aside, probably to rake him over the coals for all he'd let slip.
The rest of us seemed to just be processing. Except perhaps Hattori who seemed more like he was trying to gauge the reactions of those of us who hadn't left the room, a fact that was confirming for me that he already knew about Conan's situation.
Still… I was turning the keywords in my mind as I tried to understand what that call had meant.
Amuro had been working for someone called 'Rum', and was on orders to investigate Kudo Shinichi. That much was easy to understand, but who was this Rum person….? Well, that much was actually also pretty easy, based on what Kid had said in his response this person was part of the group that poisoned Kudo- which means the people that poisoned mom.
Kid also mentioned someone called Gin, and apparently Kudo told mom about someone called Vermouth…. So clearly these people use alcohols for codenames. Hopefully knowing that will make it a bit easier to find them, but I doubt they're going around just shouting their codenames in public places.
The more pressing problem was Amuro. When Kid was impersonating him on the phone with this Rum fellow he said 'investigating us'. So that means that Amuro isn't just some normal detective that was hired to look into the missing Kudo, no he's one of them. Which means this guy that's just been working at a cafe under our noses is one of Kudo and Mom's enemies.
Conan probably already knew this, no wonder he's always on guard, if the enemy is that close to his secret identity and they've been investigating the real him as well then there's no telling what other seemingly normal people around him could also be secretly plotting something. In fact, it's even possible that Amuro isn't the only one in this group.
I need to tell mom quickly.