Blu: hey guys. I'm not even gonna try and give you an excuse for the lateness of this. In all honesty, I wasn't even going to finish it. I still don't know why I ended up finishing it. This may very well be the last update, but who knows? I mean, I've risen from the dead before, right?
Either way, I appreciate and love anyone who reads this. Reviews this. And again, I'm sorry.
Read, Review and Wait, the three things that happen on this site.
Chapter Eight: No Place For A...
It wasn't until early afternoon that the police station got its power back. Until then, every available window had been thrown open and if you were unlucky enough to be left in an office without one, your door was open and you resorted to reading by flashlight. He had been one of the unlucky, his teeth clenched around a miniature flashlight until the florescent took up buzzing again.
And if he heard one more comment about how he looked stooped over his files with that stupid flashlight in his mouth, he would fire the lot of them. Or just fire a round at them. It depended on the comment.
Luckily, none of the other officers were given the chance, seeing as soon as the power returned, they got their first phone call of the day. Spitting the damnable device out of his mouth, he picked up the phone from its cradle and answered in a gruff, "Inspector Meguire here."
"There's been a murder!" screamed a familiar on the other end. He literally did a double take.
"Conan?" he asked.
All other activity in the station skidded to a stop at the mention of the miniature detective.
"Uh…yes, that's my name," came the confused response. "Who is this?"
"Meguire, silly boy!" he replied. "What's wrong, Conan? You hit your head or somethin'?"
There was a pause on the other end followed by an uncharacteristic chuckle. "You have no idea," Conan finally said. "I'll explain when you get down here."
"Yes, 'course," he said, nodding. "Where's the murder?"
And the station returned to life.
Setting the phone back down on the receiver, his mind returned to the strange conversation he had just taken part in. How was it that the police station knew him by name? Did he get into that much trouble?
No, that wasn't likely. Maybe it had something to do with his apparent membership into the Junior Detective League, or was it possible that he simply accompanied Richard to many of his cases? Shaking his head, he silently decided he'd just ask the Inspector once he and his men arrived. That'd be the most logical course of action, anyways.
He looked over his shoulder to where Rachel was sitting, wiping her mouth and eyes. She had curled into herself, face buried in Amy's hanky he was lucky enough to have brought with him.
"Rachel," he said, hopping off the stool he had used to reach the phone. "Rachel, will you be alright?" She didn't reply, even after he had placed his small hand onto her shoulder. It was obvious she had gone into shock.
…why hadn't he been affected like she was by all this?
He was seven. Shouldn't he be just as torn up about this as she was, if not more? She'd lived with a detective all her life after all. Rachel should be used to murder scenes. Why was it then that he was so calm and collected?
There were just too many questions…
Going back to the phone, he decided to make one more call. After dialing the number, he impatiently waited for them to pick up.
"Whadaya want?!" came Richard's obviously drunken voice a few seconds later. Quickly, he pulled the phone away from his ear to keep his eardrums from exploding.
"There's been a murder," he replied quickly. "Sober up and get your butt down here-"
"Yah don' talk tah me like that, yah damn brat!" the so called private-eye barked from the agency.
"Just get down here!" he snapped back. "Rachel's a wreck and if you're half the detective you preach you are, you could at least find who killed her friend!"
After a moment of silence following that little outburst, a quiet, "What's the address?" was Richard's only reply.
Only seconds after repeating their location to the questionable detective, a knock came from the front door. Muttering a quick goodbye to Richard, he slammed the phone down and rushed to the front room and threw open the door. Behind it was a rather large man in a tan trench coat and matching hat, his police badge in plain view. The man wore a very stern expression he suspected he used to intimidate the criminals he dealt with, but before he could analyze it any further, the man's frown had broken into a half-smile.
"Hey there, Conan," the man said, head bowing slightly. He continued to stare up at him for a moment before extending his hand. The man, looking confused, slowly took it.
"Hello," he said, shaking the man's hand. "You already know me, but what's your name?"
"I'm…Inspector Meguire," the man, apparently the same one he spoke to on the phone, replied slowly. "Conan, what is all this?"
"I have amnesia, Inspector," he replied simply, as if it were some trivial piece of information. He then let go of the Inspector's hand and bowed slightly. "It's nice to meet you. The body is in the bathroom."
"So…what exactly happened last night?"
Tsune rose an eyebrow at her as they walked. "I mean, I know you said you got lost."
"I did not get lost," she replied quickly, becoming red in the face. "I was dragged down the street!"
"Like that's much better," snorted her friend. Sighing theatrically, her short-haired friend laid a hand on her shoulder. "You poor dear," Tsune sighed.
"It's not that big of a deal," she replied quickly, adjusting the bag of groceries she had thrown over her shoulder. Every Sunday she and Tsune would go shopping. Both hated doing it, but going together, sometimes with Rei and Sumei if they were available, made it tolerable.
"What do you mean 'not a big deal'?" the brunette asked, still in theatrics mode. "What with those mean dogs taking advantage of you. And in the rain no less." Again she rolled her eyes but her next comment was cut off as a police car sped down the street, sirens blazing.
"Well, that was random," Tsune muttered. Then she grabbed her hand and proceeded to tear after it.
"What are you doing?!" she screamed, being dragged along for the second time in twenty-four hours.
"This might be the break I'm looking for!" Tsune yelled back, still heading after the car, two identical vehicles soon following. Tsune was just always looking for her big break into journalism, she thought as she flew. Why, oh why though, why did she always have to be dragged along to help? Actually, why, oh why was she dragged anywhere period? Luckily, Tsune was no more of a runner than she was and soon they slowed from their breakneck speed to a more manageable crawl.
"You're just…lucky I grew out of…my asthma," she muttered as she caught her breath against a nearby building.
"You're…just…lucky I…didn't," Tsune replied, huffing and puffing as well.
"I'd laugh…at that if I could breathe," she said, smiling. "Come on." Helping her friend back onto her feet, they both continued back in the direction of the police cars. It wasn't hard to find them seeing as a crowd had already begun to form outside the house they had stopped at.
"Oooh, I wonder if it was a murder," Tsune whispered as she whipped out her notepad, right back to her peppy and curious self. "It better not be something boring like a robbery."
"Yes, because robberies are so…Hey…Tsune," she began, looking around the street as they continued towards the yellow tape that was just being put up outside the house to keep the crowd under control. "I think…I think this is the place. You know, from last night."
Her friend stopped in her tracks and turned to face her. "Really?" the other woman asked. Slowly she nodded. "Do you know what this means?" Tsune cried, suddenly excited. Confused, she mutely shook her head.
"Honya," Tsune said, grabbing her hands. "You're a witness!"
At the new voice, they both turned to see one of the police officers pausing in his act of securing his yellow police tape. "Did you just say you witnessed this crime, young lady?" he asked, referring to Tsune. Her friend gave an amused laugh before grabbing her by the shoulders and pushing her closer to the officer.
"Not me," Tsune said with a grin. "My friend here might know somethin' though." The short haired woman, still gripping her shoulders, then directed her attention back to her. "You go ahead and tell him everything you told me about last night while I go over here and call the nearest TV station." And then her friend turned on her heel, cell phone in hand, to do just that, leaving her alone to talk to the officer.
"Hey…hey Tsune! C-come back!"
The Inspector continued to hover over Rachel for a moment before crouching down to her level. "Hey, Rachel," the older man said with a somewhat forced smile. "You doin' alright?" She shook her head slowly, the teen's eyes already welling up with fresh tears. "Would you mind answerin' a few questions?" Again she shook her head. Meguire took this as a go-ahead and produced his police issued note-pad. "That-a-girl," the Inspector commented, "please recount what happened from the time since you entered the house t'when you discovered the body."
"I was trying to find his…Shin…his house," Rachel began quietly, tripping over her words. "We had gone everywhere…Conan and I, I mean, had gone everywhere looking for it…and when we finally found it, Conan just barged in." She let out a surprising laugh and looked past the trench-coat wearing man to where he was sitting. "Didn't even take off his shoes…" At this Meguire turned around to follow the girl's gaze and raised a thick eyebrow at him.
"You forget your manners, boy?" Meguire asked.
Without missing a beat, he replied with a smirk, "Among other things." This comment only managed to put the Inspector more on edge, but the man said nothing.
"And what happened after he barged in?" Meguire inquired as he returned his attention to the bewildered teen.
"Well, I followed him," Rachel continued. "But it was so dark inside, I couldn't find where he went to…I was walking around, calling for him to come back so we could leave, but I don't think he heard me. Then I ran into one of the doors--the bathroom…and it opened…" Her voice trailed off and she scrunched her eyes shut. "Then the lights came on." Tears began to fall back down her face. "Oh God, it was horrible…"
"I think that's enough," Inspector Meguire commented quietly as he closed his notebook. Just as it snapped shut, one of the officers he had seen placing tape up outside burst through the front door, a frazzled looking young woman with a wild frizz of hair being pulled behind him.
"Inspector!" the officer called. "We may have found a witness!"
"A witness?" Meguire repeated. The officer nodded and gently guided the poor, light haired woman over to the Inspector. All three of them, himself included listened intently as the young woman, giving her name as Kei Honya, recounted her stroll last night with her dogs, albeit unsteadily.
"And what color was the car?" he asked suddenly, interrupting Ms. Kei just as she had gotten to the part where she had seen said car. Both the Inspector and the officer looked down at him, surprised.
"It was a truck," the woman corrected.
"Yes," he agreed, "but what color was it?" This time the woman paused.
"I want to say…" she began. "I want to say it was orange, or orange-yellow." He nodded and made a mental note.
"And did it have any designs on it? A decal of some kind or a logo?"
"No," Ms. Kei started. "No wait, yes! …maybe?" She made a confused face.
"Please, try to remember," he encouraged. He hadn't noticed but his hands had once again found their way to his pockets.
"Actually, now that I think about it," the fair haired woman said, touching her chin with her forefinger, "there was a triangular decal on the back and the sides. The same one…" She made a triangle with her hands, pressing her forefingers and thumbs together for a better reference, and showed it to him before letting her hands drop back to her sides. "Oh, but it was too dark to read what it said at the time. I'm sorry."
"Would you say it was a company-"
"Conan," Meguire said, butting in. "I think we," the man motioned to himself and the police officer, "can take it from here." For a moment he stared up at the both of them, suddenly feeling betrayed, but he said nothing. Nodding in agreement, he stepped away from the small group and back to Rachel as the Inspector continued to interrogate the witness without him.
"You always have to play detective," Rachel whispered once he had returned to her side.
"Do I?" he asked quietly. She didn't answer but instead wrapped her arms around his stomach in a from-behind hug. They stayed like this until Rachel was called away by the Inspector to run through her testimony one last time. Now alone, he left the living room and began to wander the house that had become filled with police.
Without meaning to, he had found his way to the infamous bathroom and paused in the doorway. Two men were already at work on clearing out what was left of the body while still attempting to preserve as much evidence as possible. He watched intently as one by one, pieces of Shinkei were tucked neatly away for analyzing.
What the hell was wrong with him?
He, a seven-year-old boy, was standing in the middle of a crime scene, blood splattered on every inch of the room before him, and yet he felt no fear.
He felt angry and saddened. He felt pity for the victim and hate towards his murderer.
But there was no fear, no terror, no fright.
What kind of child was he to be able to look upon such a horrific scene that would force any normal grown man to his knees and only feel the need for vengeance and closure?
There had to be something wrong with him…
Nothing was making sense…
"Conan," said a voice behind him. Turning, he saw it to be Meguire, pad tucked under his arm and pen in hand. "Come away from there, Conan," the Inspector insisted, moving to lead him away himself so there would be no room for refusal. "I need t'get your statement again." There was a pause then the large man added as an after thought, "Besides, that's no place for a child."
"Of course not," he agreed easily.But I don't think I'm a child…
She couldn't have the right house.
There was no way she had the right house.
Fishing the address out of her purse for the third time, she rechecked the scribbled script, hoping she had mistaken one of the numbers for something it wasn't.
But she hadn't. The address on the paper matched that of the house in front of her.
The house that was surrounded by police cars and a small crowd being held back by yellow police tape.
She had not expected this.
"Excuse me?" she asked, patting the nearest man on the shoulder. When he didn't respond, she repeated herself and patted him again. This time the man turned, an eyebrow raised at her. "Do you know what's going on here?" she inquired, trying to sound as polite as possible.
"I donno," the man replied. "Murder maybe?"
Well, that certainly wasn't the answer she wanted to hear. Trying to push her heart out of her throat, she thanked the man and went back to staring at the house before her.
It couldn't be a murder, she decided quickly. No way. If it was a murder, there'd be more police…wouldn't there? If it was a murder...he couldn't have been…?
Despite her better judgment, she began to make her way through the crowd. After fighting her way past a hand full of the random bystanders, she made it to the barricade of tape. There she stood a watched for a minute longer. There didn't seem to be any police holding people back. If she wanted to, she could just…just…
Without another thought, she ducked under the tape and made her way towards the house. A shout came up behind her from the crowd, someone trying to persuade her to come back. She paid no attention. She was almost through the threshold when a police officer, a bundle in his arms, bumped into her. Whatever he was holding was dropped in surprise.
The crowd screamed.
And Shinkei's head rolled down the steps.
It took her a minute to realize she was still screaming. It could've been anything, really. A curse. His name. Just…sound. She couldn't hear herself at all. She could barely feel the tears that were starting to stream down her face either. There was just this distinct impression that it was happening and not happening all at the same time.
It took her even longer to realize someone was holding her. Strong arms had taken her up off the steps--wait, when had she sat down?--and cradled her and rocked her and petted her hair. Looking up, she realized it was an older man, her father's age. Odd thoughts came to her then. Like how this man, one she'd never seen before, had a nice mustache. Or that his eyes made him look younger than he probably was.
Things you wouldn't think someone would think about after they'd just seen…
She didn't know who this man was, but she wrapped her arms around his waist and cried into his chest all the same. He just felt safe. Kinda like her--
The comforting words the man had been repeating in her ears instantly broke off. "...Rachel?!" he cried, head shooting up towards the door. Then he looked back to her, eyes no longer so youthful when filled with confusion. "But..." Back the eyes went to the door. This repeated while he pulled away, holding her at arm-length. Studying her.
It felt unfair. Her legs didn't feel stable and the man wasn't letting her lean on him anymore.
After a moment of simply staring up into his face in confusion, she wiped her eyes and looked to where he was now staring--the doorway. There was a girl standing there, her hand wrapped around that of a young boy's.
A girl who looked just like her.
"M-muh-my name is-is Aijo. Horobita Aijo."
Well, he officially felt like an idiot.
The tearful girl that was not his daughter in any way, shape (well, some what) or form wiped at her eyes for the fourth time. It was obvious now the differences between her and Rachel. Maaaan, did he feel dumb.
"And how do you know the deceased?" the Inspector--apparently called in by the brat--was asking. The question caused fresh trails of tears to work their way down the young woman's face and she covered it with her hands, sobbing into them. The Inspector winced. "Sorry."
"I-I…I-I-I," Aijo ran the heel of her hand across each eye, trying to clear it. "I-I used--used to date him--be-before he had to move."
Oh, really? He couldn't stop himself. His eyes shot to Rachel, eyebrow perked. This was the flower guy, right? With the huge bouquet? If he remembered correctly, they'd had a fight already about whether or not she'd be dating him.
There had to be sparks.
But his little girl didn't look jealous or anything. There was just the look of sympathy and understanding as she reached over and began to rub her double's back in a comforting way.
…and this was really an odd picture. He just felt the need for throwing that out there.
He also was unable to overlook the sudden realization that crossed the squirt's face at the Rachel-twin's statement. Had half a mind to ask about it, too. Then Aijo continued.
"It's-i-it's been a year suh-since I saw him last," she was whimpering. Conan handed her a horribly girly looking handkerchief and she proceeded to dab at the overflowing wells in her face. "Ever--ever since he-he had to move. H-he never kept in touch. I…I-I just--just wanted tuh-to surprise him!" The testimony instantly dissolved again into a spectacle of water-works.
He and the Inspector exchanged glances. Well, that was about the best they'd get for the moment.
"Whatcha think, Moore?" the stocky man asked, flipping his notepad shut.
"She didn't do it," he replied without a second thought. "Unless you feel comfortable calling those," he motioned to the sobbing woman, "crocodile tears."
"…are those two twins?" piped a female voice behind him. Turning around, he found a short, frizzy haired lady standing there in an ugly sea-foam sweater. Something about her screamed nerd to him. Regardless, he didn't find her that attractive and thus gave her a What-Are-You-An-Idiot? look. The woman instantly shrunk away.
Meguire gave him a smack on the shoulder. "Be nice to the witnesses." He blinked.
"She's a witness?"
Well, now it made sense.
Rachel looked like Aijo. Aijo and Shinkei used to date. Shinkei was using Rachel as a substitute while he was stuck out of contact with Aijo here in Tokyo.
He crossed his arms.
That was a shallow reason to date someone. And poor Aijo…
It'd taken many a try, constant stopping and restarting so the confession wasn't lost to her tears, but eventually the Rachel look-a-like told them her whole story. She'd arrived in Tokyo a couple days prior and was staying with her uncle, head of a construction company.
The company's employees also, according to her, were issued trucks.
This of course perked all their interests. Especially when her description of them matched quite snuggly with Ms. Kei's.
Aijo was their only murder suspect at the moment. Even with an alibi from her uncle, and a flimsy one at that, she was looking more and more like their best bet.
Only he didn't buy it.
Morning had passed and now it was early evening, but the girl had yet to run out of tears for Shinkei. They weren't fakes either, unless the girl turned out to be a renowned actress in disguise. And Rachel had yet to leave her side. While her father and Meguire worked--and constantly shooed him away when he tried to help--the girls sat, talking in low voices about the young man who had been brutally murdered in the house they were currently unable to leave. The conversation weighted heavily on Aijo, seeing as Rachel hadn't known even his name a week or so ago, and each story was slowed by her continuous hysterics. Still, it did them both good, and that was obvious. Both for Aijo to talk and Rachel to listen.
Maybe it was just his child's naivety finally popping its head out of hiding and getting some fresh air, but he'd bet top dollar that she wasn't their killer.
If she wasn't, though, this might be a long case…
…and really, the more he heard about Shinkei from Aijo, the more he actually liked him. She made him sound like a pretty decent guy.
And that thought made him feel like a terrible person. He'd never liked Shinkei, but never would he wish death--let alone one that was as painful as his seemed to have been--on anyone. Especially over something as stupid as jilted love.
A strange flare of anger suddenly told him differently. Rage. Death was, indeed, too good for some, he thought when it came. Even without a memory, there was someone he couldn't forgive.
…great. He was in love with his Might-As-Freaking-Well-Be-Sister AND had a personal vendetta. Oh, and was a freak of a seven-year-old. This just kept getting better and better.
He looked up from where he sat, cozy in Rachel's lap as a young policeman approached Meguire, several sheets of paper in hand.
"Just in from forensics," the young man was saying. "The blood on the shirt matches that of the victim."
A flare of pride. That was his clue, thank you.
"And any prints?" asked Meguire. The officer blinked at him.
"The shirt was dripping wet, sir."
He didn't know whether to facepalm or laugh.
Meguire chose the former over the latter. "On the bucket."
"Oh." The younger man looked about ready to blush with embarrassment as he shook his head. "N-no, sir." Sighing, the large man nodded to the policeman, saying in the motion that that's all he needed at the moment and turned back to Richard, no doubt to exchanging more possible MOs or situations leading up to the murder (all of which he found ridiculous for some reason or another. Especially if it came from the Old Man). The young man refused to leave, though.
Eventually, after about the third time he cleared his throat, the Inspector realized he was still there. "What?"
"Uhh…the--the media's here," was the quiet response.
Meguire blinked. Then his face reddened just slightly, in what he suspected to be anger. "Well, get 'em outta here!" he nearly boomed. And off the young man went, most likely to do just that. Both he, the Inspector and Richard watched him leave before the former two rejoined the wet-eyed group in the corner.
"Ms. Horobita?" Meguire addressed the girl kindly, even if his face was fixed in an unhappy frown. Looking up, the girl nodded. "I hate t'say it, but you're our only suspect. There'll be no more delayin'. We need t'take you Down Town."
The girls liquid, brown eyes welled up again, but Aijo bit her lip and nodded. His lips pulled slightly. She could be a lot stronger than she looked. The man offered her a hand up, Richard doing the same for his daughter.
Two shouts came from the doorway and the hands instantly withdrew.
"Leggo of me!"
With a blink, he, the Moores, Meguire and Aijo turned towards the door as one to see a man being dragged in by two police officers. The man was red in the face and struggled against the officer's grips on his upper arms, spewing insults to them as they pulled him closer.
"We got a trouble maker?"
"He was--was trying to break up t-the crowd outside," one officer explained, stumbling over his words as the man continued to thrash in attempts to pull away. "With his truck."
His eyebrows shot upwards.