Summary: When Sera last saw Shinichi.
Leaving On A Jet Plane
For the past three summers, she had lived next to the Kudou family. For two of those years they had occupied the home only during the Japanese holidays. During one of those two years, Shinichi had brought his friend Mouri Ran to see his home to be in Los Angeles.
This spring just passed, she had expected to see Yukiko and Yuusaku Kudou pull up with their son in tow to settle in their Los Angeles mansion. Yukiko's smile lived up to her reputation as an actress as she explained that he had argued to stay in Japan through high school.
"He claimed his education had to come first."
"Of course," she replied as she turned to hide the quickly forming tears.
"He'll be visiting during the summer," added Yuusaku helpfully.
She resisted turning around but bent her head and thanked them both for letting her know.
She waited for the summer to come desperately that year but just as it arrived, she received news that details of her brother's identity had been compromised. The news came from Mrs. Black from the U.S. Marshals. Mrs. Black visited whenever feasible to inform them that her brother was alive and well. So despite the good news that he was still alive, it meant that the last 3 years of peace was now interrupted. They would be moving tomorrow. All the details and tickets were in the manila envelope Mrs. Black placed on the table.
She stared at her new passport and identity.
Accepting the change never came easy for her.
She slammed down the passport and slammed the front door for good measure as she left.
A long ride on her motorcycle, her last she thought miserably, to process everything helped.
That is, until she parked her bike in front of the Kudou mansion.
He was coming tomorrow.
She screwed her eyes shut and sucked in her breath to hold back the tears. It did no good.
"WITSEC. Am I right? I saw the car."
She opened her eyes, "Kudou-san?"
Yuusaku gave her a pitying glance, "Your family is leaving tomorrow?"
"Is there anything you'd like me tell him?"
Blood crept into her cheeks, "No, thank you Kudou-san. I appreciate the thought but it's all right."
After a few more exchanged words, she moved her bike to her driveway and went inside.
"Mrs. Black left a present for you. It's from your brother."
She took the box into her room and began packing. There wasn't much to pack despite their luxurious housing. Her life in the witness protection program had taught her to keep possessions to a minimum. Her brother was the same way, which made his gifting unusual.
Taking care, she unwrapped the box and gently lifted the lid. Inside was a hat, her brother's hat. Not the one he wore regularly now, but an older one, his first hat. It was a little large, but if she teased her hair a bit, it wouldn't move around too much.
If only she could talk with him. He would know just what to say to make her feel better.
The drive to LAX the next day seemed to go on for an eternity. All of her worldly possessions fit into the two large suitcases she carried with her. They had sold her bike before heading to the airport. She hadn't had any tears left for that.
She settled herself in a seat at the fifth terminal. They had made it early for their flight and her parents had gone in search of food. She opened the latest novel in the Detective Samonji series and concentrated on that.
Or, at least, she tried to. The terminal had obnoxiously loud music and "Leaving on a Jet Plane" was playing. At least it was the Sinatra version. She pulled her hat down over her eyes, trying to focus on the case. It was all for naught when a familiar voice drifted into her ears.
"Hurry Shin-chan or we'll miss the connection to New York."
"We just got off this flight. Aren't we at least getting a day in LA?"
"No, we won't make the show otherwise!"
"Mom, we've got at least 20 minutes for food. I don't know about Ran but I'm starving."
"You can eat on the plane Shinichi."
Sera watched them pass by, all of them oblivious to her presence. She pulled down her hat and smiled fondly at the thought of the girl who occupied a place with Shinichi. She did it naturally, in a way no other girl ever would. Sera had been hopeful but a year was a very long time. There was no reason to force her way in now.
None at all, she cried.
I don't know when I'll be back again.