Title: File Fourteen: Sonata
Word Count: 790
Disclaimer: Aoyama created this enormous cast of characters. I just mess with them.
Spoilers: Reference to File 67
Notes: Now Conan understood what his mother meant. It was a kind of music. (Published 8/6/2012)
File Fourteen: Sonata
A weary trio stumbled through the front door of the Kudou home as silver moonlight tried in vain to soothe it. The indoor air was cooler than the muggy summer heat, but offered little relief. Conan shuffled his feet, urged onward by Ran, and Shin'ichi locked the door behind them to shut out the buzzing cicadas' song.
As Conan struggled to keep his eyes open, he heard his mother murmur something about tucking him in, but what caught his wavering attention was the way his father nodded and walked straight to the study. Conan had never seen that sorrowful look on his face before. As Ran nudged the small of his back and prodded him to keep climbing the stairs to his room, Conan thought he saw Shin'ichi's shoulders slump like they were carrying a heavy pack.
"Mommy?" Conan asked, after drowsily tugging on his pajamas once they were in his bedroom. "What's a sonata?"
"What?" Ran halted in the middle of turning down his covers, startled.
"Sonata. I thought it was some kind of music," said Conan, settling into bed, "but Daddy mumbled it when he came out after solving the case. Is it something the police do?"
Ran brushed the hair out of Conan's face and gave him a sad smile. "No, you're right, it's music. The word 'sonata' means that it's played by instruments, not sung by people. Lots of classical musicians wrote sonatas."
"Huh? Then why did Daddy say it?" Conan propped up on his elbow.
Ran hesitated, but then sat on the bed and said, "I think this case reminded him of something."
"Why's that?" Conan said, sitting up. "He solved the murder, right?"
"Right, but a person took lives. Not even justice can undo that," Ran said. Her shirt and slacks were a bit rumpled at this late hour, but she had agreed to let Conan wait outside the Toto Symphony Hall when he begged since, despite it being far past his bedtime, he was still on summer vacation. He loved watching his father work, even from a distance. Often, tales of daring rescues and the strangest tricks would follow, but not tonight. "Your father wishes he could've saved the murderer."
"He couldn't?" Conan asked, blinking with some confusion.
"I don't think so," Ran said, shaking her head. "Nobody can do everything."
That was a lot for the sleepy boy to think about, since to him, the great detective Kudou Shin'ichi could do anything, even things other people said were impossible. After Ran eased him back onto his pillow, pulled the thin blanket to his chin, and kissed his forehead, he asked, "Are you going to tell Daddy that? Maybe it'll make him feel better."
"Maybe I will," Ran said, smiling softly. A strange look crossed her face, a glint of mystery, as she left the room.
Reaching his hands behind his head, however, Conan soon found himself so full of these thoughts that he just had to see what his mother planned to do. Creeping out of bed, he slipped past his door and peeked around the corner of the staircase. Ran had left the lights on, so Conan figured she went downstairs. The boy did not have long to wait, since less than a minute passed before Ran carried a tray of chilled barley tea from the kitchen and walked in the direction of the study. Nodding at his new mission, Conan followed.
Once he made his way to the study door, he peered through the crack Ran had left open. As usual, the flatscreen desktop computer on the far, oak desk was glowing with life, and Shin'ichi sat in front of it, clutching a manila folder full of fastened paper in his hand. But this time, Shin'ichi sank his chin onto his other hand and stared at nothing. Then, hearing the gentle tap of metal and glass, Conan spied Ran setting the tray on the opposite desk. Neither spouse spoke a word to the other.
Now Conan was confused. Aren't you going to tell him, Mommy?
His answer came when Ran turned around, took slow, hushed steps across the room, and stopped behind Shin'ichi's swivel chair. Then, she bent low, circled her arms loosely in front of his chest and, letting her hair spill onto his neck, rested her head on his shoulder. Closing her eyes, she said nothing. A moment later, Shin'ichi quirked a small smile and touched her hand.
Conan grinned, too. He usually stuck out his tongue and made a yucky face when he caught his parents being lovey-dovey, but he did not mind at all this time. This time, he understood what his mother meant. Maybe this was a kind of sonata, too.