Notes: I'm so sorry! I haven't been updating this story and Forsaken Promises for a while! I've been working on the In Undertones one a lot though. I have time-management issues. -rolls eyes- Well, this is closing faster than I imagined, really; I hope it's coming out somewhat decent.

Chapter 6

The apartment that doubled as an agency was abandoned, and it looked like it had done so in a hurry. Kogoro had probably rushed out the instant Heiji had informed the private eye of his daughter's whereabouts—not that he could do anything about it. He was a bumbling fool. These were Conan's thoughts as he glanced around the house, checking for attackers. When he had checked every room twice, he motioned Hattori inside and ran to his room to retrieve his gadgets. The other detective stayed in the main room/office area with his hands in his jacket pockets, glancing around.

"Jack Daniels rum, awesome!" he perked as he saw the alcohol cabinet. He crossed to it and pulled the clear bottle out, reading the label as he grinned.

"Hattori, put that back!" Conan yelled, coming out of the room with a backpack slung over his shoulder. "Be serious. We have to go rescue Ran—I can't have you drunk!"

"You're too tense," his friend looked at him as he slipped the bottle back onto the shelf. Conan gave him a bemused look. Heiji held up both his hands. "Hey, I know your girlfriend got kidnapped—"

"She's not my girlfriend."

"Yeah, whatever. Anyway, I know if I were in your position, my reaction would be the same. I know you're worried, but if we rush in there we'll be caught and Ran could get seriously hurt." Conan noticed with gratefulness that Heiji had refrained from stating the obvious truth. Just hearing what they would really do to her was unnerving…

"Like she's not in serious trouble already," he grunted, heading for the door.

"The point, Shinichi," Hattori followed, "is that we need a plan. What were you planning on doing? Busting in through the front door with the entire police force behind you?" Conan paused, his hand on the doorknob. He glanced up at the taller boy and suddenly had an idea.

"No… You are," he went back to the office area and grabbed the phone.

"Huh?" the other blinked.

"Police Department," Inspector Meguire picked up the phone.

"Inspector! It's been a while, hasn't it?" a familiar voice came through the earpiece.

"Who is this?" the portly man raised an eyebrow.

"Inspector, I'm hurt! It's Shinichi."

"KUDO!" People turned to look at him.

"Shh, inspector, please," the voice on the line remained calm. "I'm calling in regards to Ran."

"Shinichi, Ran's been—"

"I know." Meguire had to wonder where this kid got his information from. And there was even more to wonder about when he said: "And I also know who did it and where you can find them."

"Who…? How…!" he could only look at the phone in shock. This kid has to be psychic!

"The Black Organization," his voice held a cold tone. "Have you heard of them, Inspector?"

"Who hasn't?" the inspector fell back in his chair, a hand coming to rub his temples. "The largest syndicate in Tokyo, heavy players in the weapons and drug rings."

"Right," Kudo's voice confirmed.

"They've also been involved in almost every major crime for three years now," he continued. "But we never have enough evidence to convict them, and we've never been able to catch one of them at the scene of a crime."

"You can hold them on the count of abduction and nail them for all the other charges you want when we get their files."

"Kudo, we can't go into their building without a warrant or probable cause," Meguire sighed. "Besides, we don't even know where the hideout is!"

"You've got plenty of probable cause: you're rescuing a kidnapped woman. And don't worry about the hideout's location—I know where that is too."

"But…!" Meguire was at a loss of words for a moment. Then: "Even if we go in like that, we're still limited to capture and a brief search. Important pieces of evidence would only be recovered if they revealed where the documents and files are. You know protocol."

"Yes, but I'm not with the police department," he heard the detective's smirk in his confident voice. "I can go in and get you your information. Leave that to me. My main concern is getting Ran out of there as fast as possible. Heiji Hattori's coming down to the station," he added. "He'll lead you to their headquarters." The line went dead. Inspector Meguire sat at his desk in shocked silence for a minute before springing into action.

"Akoshi! I want the entire goddamned building out in front in five minutes! Have them prepped for raid, ambush, and infiltration! We'll meet heavy resistance. Go!"

"You know," Heiji looked at the other detective dryly, "when I said that thing about busting in with the entire police force, I was kidding!"

"Yes, well," Conan hopped down from the office table and headed for the door again, "your sarcasm sucks."

"It does not!" the other followed him out. "You're just an ass!"

"Here," Conan handed him a sheet of paper with a map sketched on it—he had been drawing it the entire time Meguire had been on the phone. "This is a map to the headquarters. Just go to the police station and round up everyone you can. I'm trusting you to get Ran out."

"Go in, capture bad guys, rescue hostage—got it," Hattori took the map.

"Don't screw this up, Hattori," Conan sighed, turning in the direction of Dr. Agasa's house once they were on the street. The police station was in the other direction, so they paused to finish their conversation.

"I know my role, Kudo," he assured with a grin. "You just do yours."

"Good luck, Heiji," he ignored the last part of his statement.

"Oh, Shinichi," he thought suddenly. "What do I do if that bumbling fool of a P.I. comes along?"

"Kogoro?" Conan made a face. "For god's sake, keep him out of that building! He'll make a huge scene and screw up everything!"

"Go in, capture bad guys, rescue hostage, keep crazy, overprotective dad out—got it," Heiji said with a smile.

"You're really going then," Ai adjusted the frequency on the Detective Boys badge in her hands. Agasa finished the transmitter earpiece and handed it to Conan so he could put it on himself. The young detective took that and the set badge from the tabletop and fiddled with the two.

"Yeah," he said as he attached the earpiece successfully. "I have to. Thank god Heiji agreed to help or else I have no idea how I would have pulled this off." He fixed the badge onto the inner lapel of his white undershirt.

"Checklist, Shinichi," Dr. Agasa came around, setting a few devices on the table. "Most important—Ran's transmitter device and tracking lens."

He flipped the eyepiece on and the red dot flickered to life in the right eye lens. "Check."

"Two way Detective Boys badge walkie-talkie?" Agasa asked.

Conan switched it on. "Check."

Ayumi jumped as Dr. Agasa's voice suddenly sounded in her bedroom. "Loaded wristwatch tranquilizer?" And she slipped out of her chair, glancing around the room when Conan's voice answered: "Check." She rifled through some of her old clothes and lifted up a particularly dirty shirt—she had worn this one on her latest assignment with the Detective boys. "Wristwatch flashlight, fully charged?" The voices were definitely coming from here: the badge. She unpinned it. "Check." Conan's voice again. Blinking, she ran out of her room and to her parent's bedroom, reaching for the phone.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiing! She scooped it up quickly: "Mitsuhiko? Genta?"

"Are you hearing it too?" they chimed together on the line; whoever invented this three-way phone call system was a genius in Ayumi's eyes right now.

"What are the two of them talking about?" she wailed as the voices continued over the badge's frequency. "Super-stretch suspenders?" "Check." "Sonic sneakers?" "Check." "Conan's been acting weird ever since he came to Ai's house earlier…"

"They have to be up to something!" Genta huffed.

"Yeah, but what?" Mitsuhiko asked the question they were all wondering.

"Lunchbox copy/scanner/fax machine?" "Triple check."

"Let's meet up and see if we can find him and Ai," Ayumi suggested.

"But, I'm not allowed outside after dinner…" Mitsuhiko started.

"We'll meet at the library—say you're doing a school project!" Genta exclaimed and hung up. Ayumi did too, and she raced back to her bedroom. She grabbed her bookbag and stuffed the badge deep inside ("Voice modifying bowtie?" -unfamiliar voice- "Check."), then thumped down the stairs.

"Daddy! I'm going to meet my friends at the library!" she hollered over her shoulder.

"Ayumi…!" she heard her father's voice follow her out but did not stop and turn around to answer. She launched herself into a flat-out run, streaking down the sidewalk toward the public library three blocks up.

"If you see Ran at all, give her this," Agasa handed him a dark gray winter jacket.

"Doc, I know it's cold outside but…" Conan lifted an eyebrow.

"It's an all-purpose coat!" the scientist explained happily. "The outside is fire and waterproof, and the inside retains heat for an extended period of time! It's woven to be bullet and bladeproof as well!"

"And why don't I have one?" Conan asked, looking impressed.

"That is yours," Agasa grinned. "You just don't fit into it!"

"…oh," Conan huffed, rolling up the jacket as tight as he could and stuffing it into the backpack along with his lunchbox device. Ai was waiting for him at the door.

"Good luck, Shinichi," she mumbled.

"Don't look so upset; I'll be back soon!" he smiled reassuringly.

"Don't underestimate the Black Organization…" she looked back, frowning. He pulled open the door and left the house with one final retaliation:

"They shouldn't have underestimated me."