Rampant plot bunny that WOULD NOT GO AWAY. OMGPLOTBUNNIES. Enjoy! R&R , and speculation is always welcome! ;)
PROLOGUE: Nine Months Ago
I found out.
Never had three little words hurt so much or carried so much weight, Hattori Heizo quickly decided. Three little words, turned into an atom bomb that had destroyed a family.
He let out a quick, tight sigh as he surveyed his son's now completely barren room, holding the single piece of paper that had been carefully written by that son and left on the dead center of the floor, the lone object that he had left behind. But Heiji's handwriting was never that neat...Heizo finally peeled his eyes off the paper (despite the neatness, it had to be Heiji- Heizo somehow just knew) and let his eyes aimlessly wander the shell of the room that had belonged to his son, until tonight.
Heizo had returned home from a visit to a crime scene to find that both the contents of the room and his son had completely vanished. Blank walls except for small little pockmarks left by posters, a blank tan, carpeted floor except for the indents where furniture used to be, an empty closet but for a few hangers...like his son had been erased, wiped out and whitewashed from his own past...his own life.
An atom bomb, that he should have seen coming. Should have prevented! Could have prevented, which was the part that was really eating him alive right now.
There was only one thing to which his son could have possibly been referring- especially considering the reaction it had caused- and the implications were definitely less than good. There was also the fact that he had been able to clear out his room so totally in such a short span of time- Heizo had only been gone for 2 hours! It seemed to indicate that Heiji had been planning this move for a while. With the help of others, Heizo added as a grim image came into his mind. Could it...could it possibly be-?
He shook his head furiously, not even allowing the dark alley his mind had been going down to fully form. There's no way...but they do have contacts everywhere...His eyes narrowed as he pondered the situation more. He wanted it to be a kidnapping so badly...but his well-developed policeman's instinct told him that his son had left on his own accord. With help from at least two or three unknown people. A terrible, ominous feeling slowly began developing in his gut, an almost primeval foreboding that Heizo had learned to pay strict attention to during his years on the streets before he had begun his climb up the administrative ladder.
He should have listened to Shizuka all those years ago, he decided with a grimace as the woman who was the subject of his thoughts entered the room.
"H-H-Heiji's room is-!" she cried as she entered the totally stripped room, unable to finish the sentence while her brain was processing the sheer shock of thier son's sudden and total uprooting, the bare floors and walls, the room that had suddenly become completely devoid of life. Turning to her husband with eyes full of tears after a few minutes of stunned silence, she managed to get out "D-did he-?"
"I'm afraid so," he said simply, preempting the rest of the question by showing her the carefully written piece of paper their son had left behind. What else could he say? Words could not possibly begin to make up for what had happened here, and he knew the blame lay entirely on him- and what really hurt him the most was that his wife knew that he knew that. As Shizuka stared at the paper, Heizo could only find the courage to offer a gentle hand on her shoulder as her son's handwriting became slowly blurred by her tears.
How long is it going to take for the plane? Even for a snow delay from London, this is well over two hours, thought Minawa Shiori irritatedly. She was tired, cold, hungry, and had decided an hour ago that this airport chair was the single most uncomfortable thing that she had ever had the displeasure of sitting in. And it isn't like Saguru-botchama to not call when the plane is delayed, a frown crossing her aged face as the chair began digging unmercifully into her back.
Allowing herself a small 'hmph' of displeasure, Shiori adjusted her position yet again before hearing that the flight from London that Hakuba Saguru was due on was finally landing. "I'll give him a piece of my mind for not telling me he'd be late," she muttered to herself, the angry tone tempered more than slightly with both age and affection for the teenage boy she had known and worked for since his youth.
She approached the arrival gate at a slow but steady pace, ready to greet Saguru when he emerged. He sticks out like a sore thumb here in Japan, not that he doesn't already know that, she thought with a wry grin that was half amusement, half sadness. He stood at least half a head taller than the average adult Japanese male, after all, and both his hair and eye color were unique and marked his half-British heritage.
So when the plane had completely finished disembarking and she still hadn't seen that head of perfectly kempt blonde hair poking out above all the others, she became worried. Her anxiety increased after she realized that baggage collection had completed and there was no baggage left- which meant Saguru hadn't slipped past her field of vision at some point; he hadn't had any luggage on the plane at all.
"Excuse me, are you Minwa Shiori-san?" inquired a soft female voice from behind her shoulder. A slightly plump, black-haired woman stood behind her, a pleasant expression on her face. "A young man named Hakuba Saguru said to give this to you, and he also said to apologize if the plane ran late." The woman placed a folded note in Shiori's hand and then walked off down the terminal, disappearing into the crowd quickly. What is this? Shiori wondered, taking in the small, folded note for a few moments before opening it.
Thank you for everything, Shiori. I most likely won't be seeing you again.
This was...what was this? Shiori blinked twice, still not quite comprehending what was going on here, taking in Saguru's trademark orderly handwriting in a state of shock. He wasn't late, he was just...gone? But why? The new school year was due to start tomorrow! Had he transferred to another school, or-?
"You see? That's all you can say?" she demanded as soon as she had gotten Saguru's father on the phone a few moments later. "Your son has vanished! He never made that connecting flight. And he...he left me a note." What was this, tears threatening to fall at the edges of her cheeks?
"Yes, a note! And he says that he..." a brief intake of breath to control the screaming at her employer that she knew she would otherwise be doing. "that he most likely won't be seeing me again."
"Then come home."
"But we need to-!"
"Come home." His tone suddenly became dangerous, and Shiori knew that it would be unwise to argue any further. This was his son and the only thing that the man could muster after receiving the news was to tell her to come home? But-but...
"I know why he left," he stated simply, causing Shiori's head to spin. "He probably won't be coming back, exactly as he says."
"Hey, Kudo. Got a minute?"
Hattori Heiji's tone was most decidedly not the relaxed, carefree one that Kudo Shinichi had come to know over the course of his friendship with the Osakan. He sounded nervous, uptight, and above all, angry. Not to mention that he was calling in the middle of the night...
"Yeah, What's up, Hattori?" He was still half-asleep, but waking up rapidly, the strange events causing his curious side to quickly awaken. Heiji doesn't sound like his normal self at all...
"Nothing good." A brief, very uncomfortable pause. "Feel like coming over? I'm staying at the hotel that's two blocks from your house, the one with the cat in its logo. Room 2212." Another awkward silence. "There's some stuff I'd rather not talk about on the telephone, but you'll want to hear it."
Shinichi quickly got dressed, his curiosity fully piqued. He quietly slipped out of the Mouri residence, being careful to lock the door behind him and also being careful to not only have his cellphone on him and fully charged, but his super shoes and inflatable soccer ball as well. He didn't think that Heiji would lead him into a trap, but people were capable of amazing things once a gun was pointed at their head and he placed nothing beyond the capability or ruthlessness of the Black Organization, including turning his fellow tantei and best friend into a trap.
Shinichi approached Room 2212 after making an inquiry at the front desk with a vague sense of unease and his sneakers fully charged. He cautiously approached and lightly rapped on the door, then heard the snicks and clacks of chains and locks being undone. "Hey, Kudo. Thanks for coming," stated Heiji flatly once he opened the door, body language full of a strange mixture of unease and anger. "C'mon in."
"Are you alright, Heiji?" Shinichi asked simply. He wasn't one to use first names much, but things seemed so strange right now...
"Not really." He closed and relocked the door, then waved his hand at a slightly plump, black-haired woman who wore a gentle smile, her purse laying next to where she was sitting on the bed. "This is Saiyano Yukina. Hakuba introduced me to her a couple of months ago. You might want to hear what she has to say."
As she spoke- for over an hour - Shinichi felt his entire world start to crumble around him.
By the time that she was finished, Shinichi lay slumped against the bed, completely disbelieving...but she'd had evidence...so much evidence...Undeniable, absolute evidence. There he sat for nearly ten minutes, still trying to process it all and trying to pick up the pieces.
"I felt about the same when I first heard it, too," stated Heiji, sympathizing with the shell shock that his friend was going through. "First I was shocked, then I got-"
Shinichi turned to him, blue eyes so filled with hatred and anger that all Heiji could do was nod and say "Yeah."
"Now that you know, would you like to do something about it?" inquired Yukina, a sly smile playing across her face. "I have a proposal for you that your friend Hattori here and Hakuba Saguru have both already accepted."
After another hour, Shinichi and Heiji followed Yukina out to the long, white limousine that awaited to escort them to the airport. Shinichi had only asked for time to go back and get a few outfits, and to leave Ran a long note; Yukina had readily agreed to both conditions.
I'm sorry, Ran. I'll keep in touch, but this is something I need to do, thought Shinichi sadly as he watched the Mouri Detective Agency disappear into the darkness for what would very likely be the last time.