Without further ado (though a week later than I intended and any minor mistakes are due to the fact that I'm editing this in a hurry), the final chapter.
File 15: Aftermath and Conclusions
God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.
Meditation 17 by John Donne
A common white van sat on a street of a residential area in Beika. In the back of the vehicle, a classy-looking blonde woman sat watching some TV screens. . The rough work clothes she wore, contrasted with her hair and face. To her right, a neglected cigarette slowly burned down in an ashtray. There was the misshapen mask of a thin man on her left. Her left ear held an earphone, and she listened to what a casual observer would have thought was a game or radio program.
Listening to the bug she had planted on Vodka, she followed the sequence of events with her operatives.
She winced but 'tsked' when Vodka was knocked out by Shinichi and clenched her fists in anger when she heard the cops move in to arrest Gin.
When she realized that Gin had allowed himself to be taken easily, she nearly headed off to the area they were to kill him herself.
'That DAMNED man wants me to suffer! He wants me to be eliminated from the syndicate!' she thought furiously.
Moving to the driver's seat, she decided to disregard the fact that Sherry was arriving to an empty house. Putting on the mask she drove off the spot she was to leave the truck. Getting in her own car and disrobed of her disguise, she slouched on the steering wheel. Vermouth drove back to her high-rise apartment while shaking off her stupor.
She entered her apartment and headed for the bedroom. Vermouth stopped walking and adopted a confident posture for the person seated in the vanity chair.
"Hello, Cognac," she greeted the other syndicate operative.
"I suppose you want to explain why you have failed?"
Unfazed, Vermouth walked to her closet where she grabbed a bathrobe and put it on, "Hardly."
Cognac raised a gun with a silencer up at Vermouth, "You know the punishment of failure." Cognac began to pull the trigger.
At moment, Vermouth, threw out a flash-bomb. Chaos erupted in the apartment as Vermouth wrestled Cognac for the gun. The room filled with smoke as the flash-bomb caught the carpeting on fire.
After a few minutes, the winner picked up the gun, ignoring the unconscious woman on the floor. She positioned the other woman's body so that the growing fire would destroy any evidence.
She headed out the door and fled with the rest of the building's residences.
Haibara was sitting at her desk, as usual, after a day at school. The house was completely silent. She sat with her elbow resting on the desk while holding up her head. In the other hand, she gently rocked a test tube filled with a viscous milky liquid. Her face was graced with a thoughtful expression.
She wondered, 'Should I take it? Kudo-kun seems happy with his return but what do I have to come back to? My sister is dead and the organization wants me dead. I know I said I was making an antidote so we both could return to our bodies but do I really want to?'
A cheerful voice echoed down the stairs, "Ai-chan, are you ready?"
Haibara put the test tube back in the rack after placing stopper in it. As she placed it in a locking cabinet, she yelled up to Ayumi, "I'll be up in a moment."
Haibara trotted to the stairs but paused a moment to look back at the locked cabinet. She gave herself a smirk while thinking, 'I don't have to decide now, it'll still be there tomorrow.'
That evening, Haibara walked back into the house to get some supper. She was startled to see Shinichi seated at the kitchen table staring off into space as he thought.
He blinked and looked at her, "Hey, Haibara, what's up?"
She stared at him, giving him a measured look. She went to the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of cold water. Shinichi's eyes casually followed her.
Looking at him, she stated, "That's not an idle question."
"Maybe, maybe not."
Resisting the urge to glare, she sat down at the table and leveled a steady gaze at him, "What do you want to know?"
"Well…I was wondering if you ever actually intended to take the antidote yourself. I mean, you said you were making it so that we could both return to our real bodies but you haven't yet."
Sighing, Haibara looked out the window, "I'm afraid that I'm still a target."
"That's a good reason. After all, Gin and Vodka tried to kill me not too long ago…but they're dead."
Shinichi leaned his chair back so that it was balancing on the back legs. "I don't know if you want to know what I think…but I'm going to tell you anyways," he said with a smirk.
Haibara turned her head, so that she was looking at him out of the corner of her eye.
"I really did wonder if you even planned to take the antidote yourself," he said, measuring his words. The two people did not speak for the next few minutes.
Shinichi leaned back further in his chair, waiting for an answer. Haibara had focused her gaze out of the window again.
Haibara broke the silence, "I originally was planning to take the antidote myself. However, a lot of things have change. Changing back would not bring my sister back." She fell silent again, thinking about how to put into words what she had been feeling. "I have things now that I can't remember having before. And I have friends, even if their maturity level is far below my own, I am happy to be around them. I know I can trust some people now. I don't have to live in fear of failing at a project. There is not much for me to go back to if I take the antidote."
She looked surprised at the conclusion she arrived at, "I don't want to take the antidote. I'm happier now than I can remember being in a long time."
Shinichi gave her a wiry smile, "I think that you should take the second chance at a childhood. You didn't have much of one to begin with and now you can have a proper one."
"That's another reason. But I wonder if Agasa would mind me living with him for the next eight or ten years?"
Chuckling, Shinichi replied, "I think he likes having you around. Kind of like a surrogate daughter or an assistant or something."
The glare Haibara shot at Shinichi looked very out of place on her youthful face.
Ran stood over the stove, cooking dinner for her mother who was staying at the hospital for extended visits. Sonoko stood by her side still wondering if Eri and Kogoro were headed towards a true reconciliation in their estranged marriage.
Smiling happily while checking the cooking vegetables, Ran was murmured about weddings and when the best time was to have one.
Sonoko perked up at the word 'wedding.' She turned to Ran and asked curiously, "Who's having a wedding?"
Ran tensed up at her slight slip. She laughed nervously and replied, "Uh…uh…no one."
"Awww, come on, I want to know. I know it can't be between your parents because they're already married (1)," pestered Sonoko.
Ran refrained from rounding on Sonoko, and instead, turned to her and calmly said, "I was just wondering. You know…a hypothetical situation." Ran got an idea and slyly said to her friend, "For all you know, I could be thinking about a wedding between you and Makoto."
Sonoko blushed at the thought of marrying her boyfriend but humphed, "Marry him? He's never around for me to date even. Always off at karate tournaments and only calling when he's won!"
Ran gave her friend a sly grin, "But he still worries if you are dressed right for the weather and how you are doing."
"Sure, whatever," Sonoko said dismissively but still had a slight blush on her face.
Ran turned towards Sonoko and held up the completed meal, "Ready to go see my mom and dad?"
"Sure," Sonoko replied, though she was really thinking, 'I'm not sticking around if they are going to do nothing but argue.'
On the ride to the hospital, they chatted about school and about how much they missed their English teacher, who left due to some interesting circumstances. As the bus neared the hospital, the two of them fell into companionable silence, occasionally punctuating it with a comment that the other picked right up on.
However, Sonoko's subconscious was still mulling over the wedding comment made by Ran earlier. Ran noticed that her friend was a little fidgety but attributed it to the fact that it was not usually comfortable being in the same room with Kogoro and Eri at the same time.
During and after the elevator ride up, Sonoko became aware of her train of thought. When they were only a dozen feet from the open door of Kogoro's hospital room, she blurted out, "You weren't thinking about me getting married or any of our friends, you were thinking about you and Shinichi!" Sonoko whipped around to face her friend, "Shinichi proposed to you?"
"Shhhhhhhhhhhh," Ran motioned for Sonoko to keep her voice down.
A tremendous roar echoed down the sterile halls, "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!"
Ran smacked her hand to her face in exasperation. She reflected, I'm thankful Shinichi isn't here. Maybe I should tell him to join his parents in the U.S. for safety until I can get Dad to calm down.
Sonoko covered her mouth, realizing that she had just let the cat out of the bag. It was going to be a very interesting afternoon.
Ran took a deep bracing breath and walked into her father's room. She saw that Eri was restraining Kogoro as he tried to break free of the equipment supporting his back. Kogoro was almost frothing at the mouth and Eri herself was wearing a grim expression.
Calmly, Ran sat in one of the unoccupied chairs. Sonoko followed unobtrusively and sat next to her. They both had to smile at the picture Kogoro and Eri made at that moment. Ran quickly removed her smile as she prepared to explain things to her parents.
"Dad, I don't think it's fair to me if you go off and kill Shinichi," Ran sighed. "I think that there's been enough death and near death recently," she quietly spoke. "Do you think I would let him do anything if I didn't want to?"
Kogoro relaxed, his shoulders sagging, "You really feel that way about that boy?"
"Yes, Dad. I'm still upset at him for being away for so long but I'm going support him and stand by him. With you being hurt and Shinichi being shot at...well…I don't want to regret anything because I didn't say something or do something."
Eri spoke soothingly, "He..no, we just don't want to see you get hurt."
Ran smiled confidently, "That's a risk I've decided I'm going to take." Ran raised her hand to forestall her parents from speaking for a moment more. "We don't plan to marry right away. I know I'd like to wait a while and Shinichi doesn't push the issue. I think he just wanted to make sure I knew how serious he is."
Kogoro opened his mouth to say something and then closed it. After a moment, he decided on what he was going to say, "I think I understand what you are getting at and I'll give him a chance. But I still want to talk to him…civilly," he added when he saw that Eri was going to make a comment.
Sonoko still sat, usually quiet, as she watched the drama unfold in front of her. She marveled at the control that Kogoro was showing and the firmness in which Ran was handling the situation.
She pondered, 'I wonder if Ran can forgive me for blurting out about her getting engaged?'
Noticing that Ran had wrapped up her little speech and was getting ready to leave, Sonoko said goodbye to Kogoro and Eri. They both looked startled that she was there. They had been so wrapped in the news that they had failed to notice her surprisingly quiet presence.
Sonoko, feeling very embarrassed, scurried out of the room. She stopped to wait for Ran. When Ran came out, she scuffed her feet on the floor.
"Um, Ran? I'm sorry for blurting out about your engagement."
Ran gave Sonoko an 'all is forgiven smile,' "It was bound to happen sooner or later. At least now, Dad will have a few days to think about things before Shinichi is going to have to face the music."
Her expression became more serious, "But I don't want to hear a word of it at school."
Sonoko sighed in relief, "Thank goodness! I promise not to breathe a word of it to anyone…except you and Shinichi, until you say I can!" Then she leaned in an elbowed Ran gently in the side, "You want to go look at wedding dresses?"
The man, who had led the video conference and ordered the elimination of Shinichi, sat back in his leather office chair. He held some papers reporting the failure of Gin and Vodka and the removal of Vermouth from the syndicate.
He let out an exasperated sigh and turned to his secretary, "I would like to believe that those operatives messed up. But from the reports it appears that they did almost everything right. Though, I am puzzled as to why Gin allowed himself to be apprehended so easily."
He put the reports down on the desk and turned his chair so he was facing out the window. Drumming his fingers on the armrest, he considered his orders and options. Signally to his secretary to start taking notes, he began a new set of orders, "Instead of shutting down the Japanese operations, I'd like to suspend them in the Tokyo area and move the rest away from the major cities. Focus our efforts on a…smaller clientele. This plan will go until the agents in the government and police say that the trail is too cold for the governmental dogs."
He signaled for the secretary to stop taking notes. Turning back to his desk, he asked, "How does the situation in Japan look?"
"The authorities are looking but there is very little information to go on, since people who know any information are in hiding and the bodies have gone missing from the police morgue. They only know a few isolated bits of information. Highly doubtful that they will be able to do much with the information." The secretary paused a moment and added, "Cognac apologizes for the unorthodox method of killing Vermouth but she decided to take advantage of the resulting fire."
"Thank you for that information. I believe that will be all for the moment."
Shinichi sat in his father's study/library, glaring at the Osaka detective that was snickering at him.
"Would you just can it, Hattori?" Shinichi almost snarled.
This request only caused Heiji to double over and laugh harder. At a few minutes he calmed down enough to speak, "So, Sonoko whipped out a wedding dress catalogue in the middle of homeroom to help Ran choose a dress and the whole school put it together that you two are engaged?"
Shinichi grumbled, "Unfortunately."
Still chuckling, Heiji shook his head in disbelief, "I'm surprised she's still around to be thorn in your side. I would've thought you'd've have gotten her for that."
"Well…it did cross my mind," admitted Shinichi, but then he thought, 'It was more like Ran stopped me.'
Heiji cocked his he in puzzlement, "But what I can't figure is how come you aren't having any problem with school. You've missed what? A year?"
Shinichi smirked, "Let's just say that it is a good thing that Ran brings her books and assignments home from school. That and that she isn't in all the time."
"So, you kept up by following what was going on in her books? Clever idea," conceded Heiji.
The two young adults sat in silence for a few moments before Heiji asked, "What do you think of the death of Chris Vineyard?"
Shinichi's face took on a more focused look as he slipped into detective mode, "Sounds like someone was not happy with her performance. But still…something bothers me. The police didn't make a positive i.d. on the body. Of course, it wasn't helped by having burning fragments of ceiling crushing the body and skull beyond recognition."
Heiji looked thoughtful, "You think it might've been someone else and she's still alive?"
"It's a possibility."
"Hmmmmm. Well, look on the bright side…you didn't have to tell Neechan about being Conan and all…and you didn't get killed by her father for proposing to her."
"Ha ha, very funny, Hattori," Shinichi exasperatingly replied. A devilish grin appeared on his face, "How about I tell Kazuha that you are seeing someone?"
Heiji jumped up and bared his fist, "I'd like to see you try, Kudo!"
Interrupting Heiji's triad, Shinichi asked, "Hattori? When do you think we'll see anything from that organization?"
Heiji looked startled, and then a thoughtful expression grew on his face, "They aren't gone and the police probably won't find them." He turned to Shinichi, "You're right! We will see them again. But I don't know when."
Shinichi stood up and went up to Heiji, "Well, then, we'll just have to be ready for them. Want to help?"
Smirking, Heiji replied, "Help bring down an international crime syndicate? I'd love to!"
Just then, Shinichi and Heiji heard Ran and Kazuha call up that they were going to leave without them.
Shinichi shook his head but headed to the door, "We can deal with that another day. Let's go and enjoy the day with our girlfriends."
Heiji agreed but corrected Shinichi, "Who said Kazuha was my girlfriend?"
Shinichi tossed back, "Actions speak louder than words!"
Heiji stood in the room with a clueless expression on his face.
(1) Ran's parents are separated, not divorced. Ran's mother kept her name, Kisaki, when she married Kogoro.
Yes, this is the end of this story. I don't have any plans to continue it now but there is certainly the opportunity to (as I may, but not for a while, this semester of college is going to be a killer).
I set out to write a story about Shinichi's return without doing certain things that many fanfic authors like to do. I have noticed with them that 1.) Ran finds out Conan and Shinichi are one in the same, 2.) Shinichi seems to bring down the black org/connection single-handily or with the help of Heiji and/or Kid, 3.) Ran finds out Conan and Shinichi are the same person (She doesn't need to know! Ignorance is bliss!), 4.) Kaitou Kid shows up, and the one I am guilty of, 5.) Haibara discovers a cure. I'm not saying that these bad things but that they are among some of the most common events. Also, I wanted to write a long story (for me).
I don't know if anybody cares but what helped me write this story was the fact that I wrote out a short summary for each chapter, so that if I got writer's block I could look back at my notes and see what I wanted to do. I also wrote nine chapters before I even posted the first, so that gave me a head start.
When writing a story it helps to write out a summary and to know where you want the story to go. I've read too many fanfics that starts off great and then the author stops writing because they ran out of ideas. And if you get writer's block, write something, anything. It will stimulate your creative brain cells and you should find it easier to write again. To mess with the old adage: Writing begets writing.
There are still a lot of problems with this story and one day I intend to go back and revise it. Haibara is a little too cheerful and there are problems with how Gin gives up but I'm still happy I wrote this story and I'm happy that people saw fit to give advice on how to improve it. I know my writing has gotten better since I started this story and that was part of the reason why I started writing it.
Many thanks to all those that left reviews!
Posted: 9-11-04 (Remembering why the US now is becoming the world's watchdog.)