A Detective Love Story

Author: Krys Yuy

Summary: A brief glimpse into Usagi's past spirals to something more as a childhood friend comes back into her life. Meanwhile, Ran and Shinichi go out to Tropical Land, but encounter trouble on the Mystery Coaster. Afterwards, Shinichi tails two suspicious men in black, but they catch him. Is it the end for him?

Pairings: UsagixShinichi, ShinichixRan, Ranx?

Warnings: Possible swearing, violence, possible OOCness, and spoilers for Case Closed a.k.a. Detective Conan.

Rating: PG-13

Notes: Most of the scenes from this chapter are from the manga. Sorry about that, but those scenes were necessary for the story to make sense to those who haven't been reading or following Case Closed. Hope you still enjoy it!

Acknowledgements: Thanks for the reviews! I love you guys! Cat Demon, lildevil0644, S. Nestor, Keeosu, dragon-wing3, shikarimon, angelwings6117, Kitoky, Angel-Goddess, dragonhuntress, princessmoonshadow, Meria Vela, Neko Nerf-chan aka Kitty, Heero's Bunny-Scribble, midlightbunny: you guys all rock! Especially you, Michi-neechan! It's because of you that this chapter came out!

Characters: Kudo Shinichi – Jimmy Kudo, Mouri Ran – Rachel Moore, Mouri Kogoro – Richard Moore, Megure – Meguire, Hattori Heiji – Harley Hartwell, etc. (For now.)

Archive/Distribution: Fanfiction-Net, otherwise ask first.

Disclaimer: I own none of the characters used. Nor do I own the lines of dialogue taken from the Case Closed graphic novel 01. A majority of the lines with Shinichi co. were from the graphic novel in this chapter.

"At that moment…I had a strange premonition that I would never see Shinichi again..." – Mouri Ran

-

Chapter 01 – The Great Detective Turned Small

"Bang! Bang!"

Startled, Ikuko let her pen fall and clatter on the desk's surface. She looked up to see her imp of a daughter imitating a gun with her hand. The little girl was currently aiming her deadly finger at a pair of unsuspecting birds outside her parents' bedroom window.

"Usagi!" Even though she already knew the answer, the young mother had to ask. "What are you doing?"

Laughing blue eyes turned and met Ikuko's questioning gaze. "I'm gonna be just like daddy!" the young girl proclaimed proudly, puffing up her chest.

"Your father would love to hear that," Ikuko commented wryly. "His baby girl following in his footsteps..." Her face brightened as if getting a brilliant idea, and she began writing rapidly in her notebook again.

Curious by nature, the blonde girl climbed on the bed, plopping herself down next to her mother. She settled comfortably against Ikuko's arm and peeked at her notebook. "Whatcha doin'?"

Ikuko finished a sentence before tapping her daughter's nose with the pen. "It's a secret," she whispered, winking.

Usagi pouted. "I wanna know!"

The older woman let out a small giggle. "I'm teasing, sweetie. I'll tell you what it is," she murmured soothingly. She wrote a bit more on the paper and then closed it carefully. "This is mommy's diary."

"Diary?" the three year old echoed. She reached over and patted the leather reverently.

Ikuko sensed her daughter's confusion and smiled patiently. "Mommy writes all her thoughts and secrets in here where no one can look."

Usagi's eyes widened, knowing she had a lot of thoughts for a kid, so if her mommy was an adult... she must have twice as many! "All your thoughts?" she asked, just to be sure.

"Well, most of them," Ikuko amended contemplatively. "That way, when I'm older, I'll remember lots of stuff."

"But you're already old!"

Ikuko wrinkled her nose and patted her daughter's head. "Gee, thanks, sweetie," she muttered, but her daughter's innocent look made her melt. She sighed in wonder. "With those baby blues, you're going to break a lot of hearts."

"What, mommy?"

She giggled again. "Nothing, honey. Just thinking," she replied as seriously as she could. She stroked Usagi's blonde hair softly. Mother and daughter lay quietly, basking in the peacefulness of the moment. But something compelled Ikuko to break the rare silence from her child. "Remember sweetie… remember that I love you no matter what. If you ever forget, it's always in here." She pointed to her diary. "Just look in my diary and know that I love you."

Though the little girl couldn't understand the importance of Ikuko's words, she knew her mother was being very serious. "Okay mommy," she responded simply. Usagi hugged her tightly. "I love you, too."

-

"Bye! I'm going to meet Shinichi now! I'll try to be home in time to make dinner!" Ran called as she headed out the door.

Kogoro Mouri merely waved his hand since his eyes were glued to the television. "Have a good time," he said automatically.

Usagi's head popped out from the doorway to the kitchen. "Bye Ran-chan! I don't know if I'll be here for dinner, so I'll call you on your cell, okay?"

"Sure Usa-chan!" Ran nodded. "I'll see you. Have a good time at Minako-chan's house!" She closed the door with an excited smile. 'One whole day alone with Shinichi. I can't wait!'

Usagi's cheery demeanor immediately faltered once Ran was out of sight. Though she wished Shinichi and Ran the best of luck, there was still the part of her that resented their obvious closeness. Closer than she could ever be to him. She sighed. 'Why am I always wallowing in self-pity?' She slapped herself. 'Get over it, girl!'

"Whoo-hoo! Yoko! Yoko!"

The blonde turned, right eye twitching as she saw her uncle drooling over the pop star singing and dancing on the small screen. He remained blissfully ignorant of the mess that was his desk. Empty beer cans and cigarette buds littered the area as old files lay around in disorder. He just leaned back in his chair, cheering happily for his favorite star. Usagi shook her head at her uncle's habits. Once he was a hotshot cop in his prime. Would he ever get his act together?

She was about to go back in the kitchen when her uncle finally noticed her. He shot her a drunken smile, holding up an empty can. "Oi, Rabbit! Mind if you get your dear ol' uncle another beer?" he asked merrily.

Usagi suppressed another sigh and retrieved a beer from the refrigerator. She stood at the doorway to the kitchen. "Here ya go, Uncle," she said nonchalantly. She tossed it to him and was half-surprised when he caught it with ease. "Nice catch."

The can opened with a hiss as Kogoro took his first sip. "Thanks, Rabbit." He looked around as an afterthought. "Where's Ran?"

Usagi resisted the urge to bang her head against the wall. "She went to Tropical Land, remember? She just left." She sought sanctuary from her uncle's foolishness in the kitchen, determined to wash the mounting pile of dirty dishes before she left. But her uncle's booming voice drifted through the door.

"Oh yeah, silly me!" he exclaimed cheerfully. "What about you, Rabbit? What are you doing today?"

She started the faucet and picked up a random plate. "Well Uncle, I'm planning on going over to Minako's house after I finish cleaning up the kitchen. I might not be here later tonight, so don't worry, okay?" She rubbed her hands on a dishcloth, peeking out into the office to see her uncle snoring, head resting on his folded arms. 'Oh Uncle... you really miss Auntie Eri, don't you?' She picked up a stray blanket from the couch and draped it over his shoulders. 'I'm sorry.'

Usagi sighed, wiping the sweat away from her forehead. "Why can't life be easier?"

-

"And that's what's so great about Holmes!" Shinichi stated with finality.

"Ahh..." Ran listened in mild amusement and irritation. 'Where's Usagi when you need her? She loves listening to this stuff...'

Shinichi continued explaining the detective he admired most. "... the first time he met Watson, he figured out Watson served as a military doctor in Afghanistan just by shaking his hand..." He noticed the slightly disinterested look that flashed through Ran's eyes, and tried to think of an example. He noticed the blonde woman he had seen earlier when they had entered the line for the Mystery Coaster. "Kind of like this..." With ease, Shinichi took hold of the stranger's hand, ignoring her gasp of surprise. He winked at Ran before turning to the blonde seriously. "You're a gymnast, aren't you?"

The stranger's eyes widened. "H-how'd you know?"

Her brunette friend with round glasses studied Shinichi, trying to place him in her mind. He seemed so familiar... "Do you know this guy?" she whispered to her friend.

The blonde shook her head. "I don't think so..."

Ran, meanwhile, was looking back and forth from the stranger to Shinichi. He never ceased to amaze her. 'Just how did he know?' she wondered.

The young detective answered the questions he knew were wandering around in her head. "It's the calluses on her hand! A girl with that many calluses must be somebody who does the horizontal bars!" He remembered to let go of the gymnast's hand.

Ran frowned. The explanation had some holes. "But you can get calluses from playing tennis, too," she pointed out.

'She's sharp,' Shinichi thought, grinning. "Okay, I actually knew when the wind blew her skirt up!" He shrugged as the stranger blushed brightly. "That unique bruising on her thighs could only be from the uneven bars..." He placed his arms on the back of his head, chuckling. "Detectives must be observant at all times."

Ran's right eyebrow twitched as she made a sound of annoyance. "Listen to yourself. You're a fraud! You knew before you even shook her hand!"

Shinichi waved away her comment. "Details, details..."

"Hey twirp! Don't mess with my friend!" yelled an angry man. His girlfriend was latching possessively to his arm.

Shinichi gulped at the man's intimidating aura. "Y-your friend?" He laughed nervously and turned to the gymnast and the brunette with glasses. "You two want to cut behind us so you can be together?"

"That's all right," the blonde said dismissively. She giggled with her friend as the couple kissed. "I wouldn't want to get in their way."

Shinichi blushed lightly as he watched the couple.

He stared intensely into Ran's eyes. "I can't hide my feelings from you anymore..." He gripped her shoulders tightly.

"Shinichi... I feel the same way," Ran replied happily.

"Hey! We're next!" Ran exclaimed, tugging on the young detective's jacket. "Let's go!"

Shinichi shook his head to clear his thoughts, blushing even heavier. 'Ran...' He glanced at the unsuspecting brunette, and tried to think of safer ground to talk about. He fell back on his number one topic of conversation. "So anyway... That's when Holmes..."

Two men in black cut in the line, joining the coaster that was about ready to go. "Move!" The shorter and fatter man shoved aside a child into his mother's arms. "We were here first!"

"Understand what Conan Doyle was trying to say?" Shinichi smiled patiently at Ran. "Holmes was..."

Ran had enough. She blew up, yelling at him. "Enough about Holmes and Conan Doyle!" She looked about ready to pummel him. "You detective geek..." Suddenly, she deflated and looked down sadly. "I've been looking forward to coming here with you for such a long time. Why can't you see how I feel about you?"

Shinichi received a mental picture of him and Ran embracing. 'Ran, I...' He blushed yet again. "Er, actually... I... uh..." He stumbled over his words. 'I have to confess!'

Ran giggled into her hands. "Look at you, so nervous!" she exclaimed, pointing a finger at him and winking. "I'm just kidding. How do you expect to be a great detective when you're so gullible?"

Shinichi grumbled, totally put out. "Geez..." 'Ran still likes teasing me, with or without Usagi being around...' The sudden thought about their blonde friend caused him to perk up.

"All aboard!" yelled the ride's operator.

"Where is Usagi-chan, anyway?" he asked casually as the coaster began the climb upward.

"Usagi?" Ran repeated thoughtfully. "Remember, she said something about going to Minako's..."

"Oh right." Shinichi scratched his head. 'How could I have forgotten that?'

"But to be honest..." Ran started softly, reaching for Shinichi's hand as the coaster reached the top of the hill. "I really was looking forward to this." She smiled at him and the young detective blinked.

"What?"

Ran didn't answer him as the coaster sped downwards. She screamed in exhilaration, squeezing Shinichi's hand tighter. He merely shook his head at her firmly closed eyes.

'What a scaredy cat...' he thought fondly. He looked ahead, enjoying the ride and saw the pitch-black tunnel coming up. 'Here it comes...' The coaster sped through and he looked at all the monsters. 'There's a projector there and there,' he thought to himself. 'What's Ran so scared of?' He felt a tiny drop of liquid against his forehead. "Huh?" He lifted a finger and wiped it off. "Water?"

The man from before screamed loudly in the dark tunnel, startling the other occupants on the ride.

"Hmm?" Shinichi lifted his head, but nearly jumped out of his skin when something warm splashed on him from behind. "Yikes!" 'What is it? It smells like...' "No..."

"Ahh! What is this stuff?" Ran asked from next to him.

"It's too dark! I can't see anything!" Shinichi answered, looking at the light ahead. 'The exit! Just a little closer…'

The coaster zoomed suddenly into daylight. Shinichi turned around and his worst fear was confirmed. Blood spurted from the decapitated corpse. The girlfriend and Ran screamed as Shinichi and the men in black only gaped.

"H-how!"

-

"W-what!"

"Mina-chan, do you have to be so loud?" Usagi winced, rubbing her poor ears. She failed to mention the fact that she could be just as loud or even louder, a fact that Ran often complained about.

"Why are you mentioning a silly thing like that now? Your sister is out on a date with your man!" Minako slammed a palm on her desk. "We have to take action!" She flipped her waist-length blonde hair over her shoulder dramatically. "In the name of love!"

In a very un-ladylike manner, Usagi snorted as she leaned back against the headboard of Minako's bed. "First of all, he isn't my man," she muttered, looking down to hide the blush staining her cheeks. "Second, 'in the name of love'? I wish." Her best friend next to Ran, Minako just continued to rant on and on as Usagi struggled against the growing urge to throttle the other blonde. "Minako-chan! Just forget it, okay? I don't want to do anything about it."

"But Usa-"

Usagi glared at her, causing Minako to wisely shut her mouth. "I want them to make it." She twisted her fingers together on her lap, turning to stare out the window. "They have the magic I've been looking for ever since I heard my first tale about Prince Charming. They're for real, Minako-chan, even if they don't see it yet." She closed her eyes. "I just have a simple school girl crush. It'll go away in a couple years."

Minako stared at her friend sadly. 'Liar,' she thought. 'You've liked him ever since I could remember, but you've never said anything. I'm the only person you've ever told…'

"Besides, Shinichi Kudo isn't that great," she continued casually. "He's tone-deaf and incredibly arrogant. He's not anything special."

"Sure. Okay." Contrary to popular belief, Minako did have tact and knew when to keep quiet. Her friend was hurting, but what could someone say when the rival for the love of your life was your cousin/sister-figure? Apparently nothing. "Let me take you out for some ice cream, Usagi-chan. We could head to the arcade too, maybe scope out some cute guys." She put on her trademark smile, determined to cheer up her friend. "I'll find you new boyfriend material in no time!"

Usagi opened her eyes, realizing what her blonde friend was trying to do. "Thanks, Mina-chan," she whispered. She sat up and crossed her legs Indian-style on the bed. "Sounds like fun."

"Great!" Minako gave her a thumbs-up before she started to rummage in her closet. "Now, what outfit should I wear? A mini-skirt or capris? I want to wow all the guys." She lifted a finger to her head in thought. "Especially if that gorgeous blonde is stopping by the arcade today. Have you seen him, Usagi-chan? Motoki says his name is Haruka..."

Usagi listened, only half-interested. 'I wonder what they're doing right now...' She was immediately brought back to reality as a teddy bear smacked her in the face. "Minako!"

The blonde perpetrator snickered behind a cashmere blouse. 'An annoyed Usagi is much better than a brooding Usagi,' she thought in satisfaction. "Don't just sit there and watch like my lazy cat! Come on and help me. We might find something in here for you, too." She grinned at her evilly. "Then again, you might not be able to fit into any of these clothes, considering how many sundaes you had last time..."

"Oh be quiet!" She rolled her eyes. "I'm coming already," she said, poking her friend in the side.

The blonde with the red bow stuck out her tongue before her attention was again captured by her large assortment of clothes and shoes. Usagi joined in the hunt for the right outfit, but couldn't help thinking about the blonde that Minako mentioned. She remembered him vaguely. He was always playing the racecar games. She had to admit he was quite handsome, but the appeal ended there.

Besides, she preferred her men tall, dark, handsome... and interested in detective work.

-

"We don't have time to waste watching you play detective," one of the men in black stated icily, glaring down at him. He wore a dark hat over his long blonde hair.

"Boss..." said the shorter man warily.

Shinichi studied the man's eyes cautiously. 'This guy! No doubt... he's killed before.' He felt a cold chill run down his back. 'W-who is he?'

"Inspector!" exclaimed one of the policemen. "Look what was in this woman's bag!"

"What?" The girlfriend gasped. She stared at the inside of her bag, where a bloody knife lay menacingly. "I've never seen that before! It's not mine!"

Shinichi grabbed a clean cloth and picked up the butcher knife carefully, examining it in deep thought.

The girlfriend sobbed pitifully, unable to explain why the knife was in her bag. "I..." She grasped desperately for words.

"Aiko..." the gymnast said sorrowfully. The friend with the glasses clung to her arm. "Why'd you do it?"

"N-no!" Aiko shook her head quickly. "It wasn't me, Hitomi! I loved him!"

The gymnast had tears running down her face. "I thought things were going so well between you and Kishida. Why would you...?"

The blonde man in black seized the chance. "There ya go. She did it!" he exclaimed roughly. "Now let us get on our way, officer!"

Shinichi observed all this quietly, still puzzling over the mystery. 'No, that's not right. The knife couldn't have made that clean of a cut on the deceased. What am I missing?' He remembered the little splash of water and his mind started to piece it together. 'That's it! Case closed!' He smiled triumphantly.

"All right! Take her down to the station!" Inspector Megure ordered, bagging the evidence.

"N-no, please..." Aiko trembled. "I didn't..."

"Hold on a sec, Inspector..." Shinichi stated authoritatively as Ran clutched his jacket from behind. "She isn't the culprit."

His words made the older man straighten in attention. "Well, go on!"

Shinichi's expression grew solemn. "It was..." His head turned slightly and he locked eyes with Hitomi, the gymnast. "You! You did it!"

-

The older teenager chuckled lightly at the blonde's cry of dismay. "Better luck next time… Koneko." He removed the game's racing helmet and got out of the booth.

"Eh?" Usagi followed suit and scrambled to her feet as her opponent walked to the exit. "Koneko?"

"What?" He turned around and winked at her. "Do you prefer Odango?"

Usagi's face turned red and she exclaimed, "Usagi! U-sa-gi!"

"Ko-ne-ko." The wind ruffled his short sandy hair as the arcade's automatic doors slid open. "I'll see ya around." He tossed her a lazy grin before sauntering out.

Before Usagi could say another word, Minako latched onto her from behind. "Oh Usagi-chan! You are so lucky!" She had stars in her eyes. "Haruka likes you!"

Usagi blushed, but turned her head to the side stubbornly. "He just likes to tease girls."

"Then why was he only paying attention to you?" Minako pointed out mischievously.

The blonde waved her hand in the air dismissively. "I'm sure the great Tenou Haruka already has a girlfriend, Minako-chan. It's a nice little fantasy, but..."

"Oh, but he was sooo cute!" Now Minako had hearts in her eyes instead of stars.

"He's not my type," she stated flatly.

"Just what is your type?" A voice spoke low next to her ear.

Usagi jumped, startled, before whirling around with a high kick she learned from Ran. "Hi-yah!" A tanned hand reached out and caught her leg effortlessly.

"This is the greeting I get after all this time?"

Minako's mouth was hanging open at the new arrival. 'Usagi-chan knows this hunk!'

Usagi's angry face dissolved instantly and she beamed. "Heiji-kun! What are you doing over here in the east?"

Twinkling green eyes met hers affectionately. "Do I need a reason? I was in the neighborhood, and decided to visit a childhood friend."

"Umm…it's great to see you and everything... but could you let go of my leg?" Usagi asked, looking anywhere but at him.

"Oh, yeah. Sure." Heiji let her go with a well-disguised blush and Usagi lowered her leg.

She brushed imaginary dirt off her skirt. "So… about your reason. Your father sent you here, didn't he?" She gave him a knowing look.

"Ahh… you know him too well. Well, he sent me here to give some documents to the head of the police on this end. He didn't want them getting into the wrong hands, so he wanted me to handle it personally since he couldn't do it himself. Then he hinted at visiting you along the way."

"I'm glad." Usagi suddenly jumped and hugged Heiji's much taller form.

Heiji hugged her back tightly. "You never did answer my question..." he whispered lowly.

"Huh?"

"Just what is your type?" he murmured.

Usagi froze, stammered a bit, but was saved by Minako jumping next to them. Usagi pulled away as Heiji loosened his grip.

"Hello! I'm Aino Minako, best friend to Usagi-chan since junior high. You?" she chirped happily.

The lanky teenager lifted one eyebrow. "Hey there. Name's Hattori Heiji. Usa-chan and I go way back. Haven't seen her for a couple years, though. My life as a detective is a little hectic."

"Oh, so you're like Kudo-senpai?" Minako asked thoughtfully.

Heiji's eyes immediately darkened. "Kudo..." he muttered to himself.

"What's with him?" Minako whispered to Usagi.

"They call Heiji the great detective of the west, but he's always being compared to Shinichi," Usagi answered quietly. "He's a little... jealous."

Heiji was now looking at the two blondes curiously, and they blinked at him innocently. He brushed it off as a girl thing and slung his arms over either blonde. "So ladies... mind if I join you for awhile before I go to the police station?"

-

"C'mon Ran... stop crying..." He watched the girl sniffle, smiling slightly.

"How can you act like nothing happened?" she asked, frowning. She wiped away stray tears with the ends of her jacket.

"I'm used to crime scenes. Y'know, like dismembered bodies and stuff..." he commented factually.

Ran let out another wail. "You're awful!"

Shinichi panicked slightly at another onslaught of tears. "You should just forget about it... Stuff like this happens a lot."

"No! It doesn't!" Ran snapped angrily.

Shinichi sighed and turned his head. His eyes landed on one of the suspicious men in black lurking around. 'From the rollercoaster...' he thought. The short man was looking around cautiously and started walking away. 'What is he up to?' He made a quick decision and began to run in the same direction. "Sorry Ran! Go on home without me!"

Ran rubbed at her eyes and looked to see Shinichi already far away. "What?" she called.

"I'll catch up with you!" the young detective promised, waving.

'He's leaving...' Tears still in her eyes, Ran reached out to him. "Shin-" He was almost a speck in the crowd. "Shinichi..." She watched as his form faded until he was gone, and something tugged at the back of her mind. Dread settled over her and she felt like she would never see him again. 'A bad premonition...'

-

Usagi gasped as a cold chill settled over her heart. "W-what?" she murmured, clutching her chest.

"Usa-chan, you okay?" Heiji asked, looking at her pale face in concern.

"Hmm?" Minako turned and also noticed her friend's troubled appearance. "Usagi-chan?"

She gave them a small, reassuring smile. "I'm fine, guys. Don't worry about it."

They nodded, unconvinced, but didn't say anything.

Her heart ached and she put her arms around herself to keep warm. 'What was that just now?' She looked up at the darkening sky. 'A bad omen...'

-

Shinichi peeked around the corner of the base of the roller coaster, eyes widening as he saw one of the men in black making an exchange with a nervous-looking man. The twitchy man opened the briefcase and he got a look at the contents. 'There's got to be over a hundred million yen there...'

The man in black took the briefcase. "Good... the deal's done!"

"Give me the film!" the twitchy man said desperately.

'Film?' Shinichi thought, eyes narrowing.

"Here ya go!" The man in black tossed him the roll of film carelessly. "The evidence revealing your company's involvement in gun smuggling!" The twitchy man made a struggled sound of relief. "Remember, crime doesn't pay!" He chuckled.

'This is serious,' the young detective thought. He pulled out his instant camera, and took pictures from the secluded corner.

"Shut up!" yelled the twitchy man. "Compared to what your syndicate does, we haven't done anything-"

"Enough of that talk if you know what's good for you," the man in black interrupted smoothly. "Now scram." The twitchy man immediately ran in the other direction.

Shinichi continued to snap his camera, but felt a presence slide up next to him. He turned just in time to see a pipe come crashing down on his head. He cried out and fell to the ground, blood trickling down steadily. He moaned, still slightly conscious.

"B-boss..." the man in black, who was holding the briefcase, stammered.

The dangerous blonde glared. "You let yourself be tailed by this kid."

The other man panicked and clutched the briefcase tighter. "Should we rub him out!"

"No guns!" the blonde snapped. "This place is still crawling with cops!" He handed his partner the pipe and reached into his jacket, taking out a slim silver case. "Let's use this..." He opened it and chose a pill. "The new poison the syndicate developed..." He kneeled down on the grass, bringing the teenager's head up by grabbing his hair roughly. "This poison is untraceable in the body." He smirked wickedly. "It'll be an unsolvable murder!" He placed it in the young detective's mouth, making sure he swallowed it. "But this substance is still in development- never been used on humans..."

His partner was ready to bolt. "C'mon! Let's get out of here!" he suggested quickly.

The blonde got up slowly. "Right..." He looked down at Shinichi's still body. "So long... great detective!" He smiled in satisfaction before dashing away with his partner.

The blood was still dripping down the sides of his face from the wound on the back of his head. Shinichi gripped the grass with his hands as his body hummed with pain. 'M-my body... It's burning up!' he thought in alarm. 'It's like my bones... are melting away...' His vision was going gray around the edges. 'No...' It began to grow dark.

'No...'

-

Loud voices pierced his consciousness. He laughed weakly in his mind. 'I guess I must be dead...'

"Wait! He's still breathing!"

"Hurry! Call an ambulance!"

'I-I'm still alive?' His eyes were opening slowly. 'I see… so that substance must not work on humans... Guess I'm lucky...'

"His head's bleeding pretty badly..."

He was now able to make out the blurry images as the haze faded. 'There's so many… so many police here...'

"Hang on, kid! You'll be okay!"

'This is great! I'll tell them what those men in black were up to!' His eyes opened wider and he struggled to speak, sitting up.

"Can you stand?" said one of the police officers, offering him a hand. "Come on, little boy!"

"Huh?" Shinichi sat up despite the pounding pain in his head, and felt the sticky stain of blood against the side of his face. 'L-little boy!'