Shinichi let out a long sigh of relief. He eased himself into sitting up and looked around. He was in a double room, but the other bed was empty. Ran, Kogoro and Eri were all asleep in chairs huddled around his bed and a quick glance out the window showed it was early morning. They had most likely stayed all night with him. Another IV was in his left arm, the clear tubing leading up to a bag of blood that was replenishing his highly dwindled supply. Necessary as it was, Shinichi had rather had his fill of IVs.
Still, other people were in the room. Shinichi took a deep breath and faded away, letting Conan come forward. Even if he no longer needed to act with Ran (a thought that was going to take a lot of getting used to) there were people there who didn't know who he was.
Conan reached for his glasses, which were on the stand by his bed, and was almost glad to have them back on again. As Clark Kent a disguise as it was, it was reassuring to have their familiar weight on his nose and ears. There were details he wanted to know about now that he was a bit more... with it.
"Ran-nee-chan?" he asked quietly. He didn't want Kogoro or Eri to wake up and with Ran as worried as she was, he hoped she would be a light sleeper.
"Ran-nee-chan?" he called again, a little louder.
She stirred. "Conan-kun?" she mumbled. Then, all at once, she was awake and sitting by his bed, leaning her head against his. "Conan-kun?" she said. And in a much quieter voice, "Shinichi?"
Conan smiled and dropped his mask. "I'm fine, Ran," he replied before slipping Conan back on again.
Ran leaned back with a huge smile, tears welling in her eyes. "Thank goodness."
Looking around again, Conan tried to put the awkward feelings that were stirring in him aside. "Ahm, Ran-nee-chan, what--"
"Conan-kun," she replied firmly, a wide grin on her face. "You can call me 'Ran' if you want."
The compact detective nodded towards her parents. "It will take some getting used to." And explaining. Kogoro had been told about the lack of suffix, but he heartily disapproved, and it would take time to introduce it to the other people who knew them well. Ran nodded.
"So," Conan chirped. "What did I miss?"
Chuckling, Ran ran a hand affectionately through his head. "Aside from Inspectors Megure and Nakamori arguing over jurisdiction?"
Conan couldn't hold back a grin.
"Well, after you passed out in the ambulance on the way here, I called my dad to let him know I wouldn't be cooking dinner for him."
"He must have been so pleased."
"Be nice." Ran looked over at her father with gentle eyes. "He really was wonderful last night. He and mom didn't like me donating blood to you, neither did Hattori-kun, but they were all supporting."
Conan frowned. "You were just let out of the hospital."
"And you have a rare blood type and you needed it immediately. The doctors have been monitoring you all night. The poison seems to be completely gone from my system and you've been doing fine."
To that, Ran laughed. "He was absolutely horrible to the doctors. He'll be released today, but Kazuha has a lot to say to him. She's with him now."
"... And the hospital's still standing?"
They both chuckled.
Conan glanced around and lowered his voice. "Psycho-sensei?"
"Is in custody," Ran replied just as quietly. "Apparently the police found all sorts of evidence in his apartment that he was creating and distributing the poison here in Beika to record the psychological effects. Which is interesting, given that Hattori-kun and I didn't find anything of the sort."
"Them," Conan whispered.
Ran nodded solemnly. "Hattori-kun is very angry that they've escaped again. But frankly, I'm just glad that Saiko-sensei won't harm anyone again."
"If he lives to trial it might come out," Conan replied, "but that depends on how much he knows about Them."
Her eyes widened. "You mean they might..."
Conan nodded. "I know they would." Haibara's sister had confirmed that rather coldly.
The door opened and both looked over as Eri shook herself awake from the sudden noise. Kogoro snored on. The doctor was still looking at a clipboard and they waited expectantly.
"Ah, Conan-kun," the doctor finally looked up. "It's good to see you awake. I understand you've been through quite the ordeal."
No, sensei, I just watched my life's blood slowly drain from me into a bucket at my feet and had no way of stopping it. That wasn't much of an ordeal; really, it wasn't. But he said instead, "It all okay because Ran-nee-chan came to rescue me!"
Ran gave him a flat look that he understood at a glance. Right, tone down the sugar.
"In any case," the doctor turned to Eri, "you are his guardian?" Conan grinned. As always, the kid was to be ignored, presumably because they wouldn't understand.
Eri aimed a glare at her husband. "Yes," she replied, not bothering to explain the complexities of their family. Ran was there and she was the important one to hear all of this.
The doctor nodded. "Aside from the blood loss and bruising on his face, he's in excellent health--"
If you ignore my shrunken state.
"--and will be able to go home tomorrow. We want to keep him here for observation to make sure that there are no other complications from something that Conan-kun wasn't aware of during his time under.... that person's.... care." The doctor flipped through the clipboard again. "Now for the average adult, plasma is restored after just a few days, but restoring the red blood cells can take anywhere from twenty to fifty-nine days. Children usually aren't so depleted of blood and the pint that your daughter provided will help. But basically, he'll be feeling like a blood donor. I would strongly recommend having him rest for at least two weeks, if only because we're not sure what else happened to him during his captivity."
"Thank you, doctor," Eri bowed.
Ran turned to her mother. "Mom? Why don't you and Dad go home and clean up. I'll stay with Conan-kun and go home after you two come back."
Eri frowned. "Why don't we reverse that, sweetie. You were running around a lot yesterday searching for Conan-kun. Why don't you get a shower and freshen up? I'll keep an eye on him."
Ran glanced at Conan. "It's okay, Ran-nee-chan! I promise I'll be good for your mom!" She hesitated a moment more, before nodding. "But before you go," he said quietly, fighting the blush that was heating his cheeks, "can I have a hug?"
Ran's face reddened against her will, making her look absolutely beautiful, before smiling and leaning down. "Of course, Conan-kun. You can have a hug whenever you want."
Later that day, Conan was reading a mystery novel that Ran had brought with her. She was sitting on his bed, one arm around his shoulders the other texting Sonoko. Eri and Kogoro had headed out to work, Kogoro still grumbling about bills that needed to be paid and how even more were now coming in. Conan could care less about the old man's grumbling, because being able to spend time with Ran as himself was absolutely heavenly.
Naturally, their time together got interrupted.
The door opened and three people came in. Hattori was wheeled in looking defiant and pissed. Wheeling him in was his father Hattori Heizo, looking displeased and firm. And following the two in was Kazuha, who had a bizarre mix on her face of being irritated and respectful of the elder Hattori and irritated and worried at the younger Hattori.
"Oh," Ran said, shutting her phone. "Hello. I heard you were being released today, Hattori-kun. How are you feeling?"
The dark-skinned detective just growled.
It was his father that spoke. "Mouri-kun, if you don't mind, I have a few questions about how my son was injured yesterday."
Both Kazuha and Hattori's father glared at him. Hattori just scowled and crossed his arms.
Ran felt distinctly uncomfortable and Conan was glad that as a child, he was being ignored behind his book. "Of course," she replied.
"Now I understand that my son was investigating the illness of children here in Beika?"
Ran nodded. "Shinichi gave him a call. He'd dropped by a few weeks ago and when he heard about Conan-kun's classmates getting sick, he got suspicious. But he couldn't stay so he called Hattori-kun. Unfortunately, Hattori-kun couldn't pull away until he knew that Kazuha-chan was doing well."
Conan looked up to Ran, and the complete lie she had created on the spot. Hattori was also staring at her.
The elder Hattori looked down to his son. "And you chose not to tell anyone because?"
Hattori scowled. "We weren' sure," he retorted. "No proof. We had ta hunt down 'n independent source ta even see what sort o' compound could b' used ta fit all the symptoms the kids were showin'. Didn't know anythin' solid 'til Nee-chan got sick. Still didn' have any proof 'n' before we could confirm anythin', the kid here got grabbed."
The elder Hattori gave a clearly disapproving glare. Conan frowned. It was something that Hattori didn't really talk about much. Hattori couldn't stand a lot of the "traditional" views that his parents had strictly held him to and he rebelled in his own respectful manner. He loved his parents, and valued their opinions, but there were many things he didn't agree with. So he clashed, especially with his father.
"And neither you, nor Mouri-kun, saw fit to call the police?" The old man was radiating displeasure and Kazuha, who had remained respectfully quiet, looked torn between wanting to tear the man down for berating his son and turning to Hattori and demanding the same thing.
So Conan decided to diffuse the situation. He hid behind Ran's arm and peeked out from behind it. "Hattori-ojii-san?" Four sets of eyes swiveled to him. "You're sounding like Psycho-sensei."
"You sound like Psycho-sensei," Conan replied, still behind Ran's arm. "I remember. I remember Psycho-sensei making fun of Hattori-nii-chan and Ran-nee-chan because they didn't call the police. But he was wrong. He didn't know them at all." He looked over to Hattori with a little-boy smile. "Hattori-nii-chan didn't know where I was till he and Ran-nee-chan found me at the temple. He couldn't call because Psycho-sensei had seen him and Psycho-sensei had a gun to my head. He called the police once he was alone, right? He called for Megure-keibu."
He turned his little-boy smile up to Ran, and put a little bit of Shinichi into the expression. "And Ran-nee-chan couldn't call the police at all. She had me and she couldn't make any noise that would make Psycho-sensei find us." Ran gave a warm smile and moved the arm he was hiding behind to wrap around him.
Conan turned to Hattori's father. "So please don't be mad at them? They saved my life. I don't want them in trouble because of that."
Hattori's father said nothing, merely sighed. Score one for the cute kid. "I'll go try and hurry your paperwork, Heiji."
When the door shut behind him, Hattori let out a sigh of relief. "I'll probably still catch hell fer this when I get home," he grumbled.
Kazuha, however, had a lot to say on the subject.
"Ahou!" she yelled, her eyes filling with tears. "Didja have any idea how terrified I wuz when we were called last night ta be told that ya were 'n the hospital?!"
Hattori's eyes flashed. "Ahou!" he yelled back. "Ya think I had a choice 'n gettin' shot?"
Conan rolled his eyes. Those two were getting along as swimmingly as ever.
"Now, now," Ran tried to intervene.
Kazuha wasn't listening. Tears were streaming down her eyes as she continued to yell at the Osakan detective. "I thought y' understood! M' parents told me how scared ya were when I wuz in the hospital, so why didja go 'n' scare me like that?" And she fell forward, wrapping her arms around Hattori, balling her eyes out as all her worry and fright throughout the night purged itself from her system.
Hattori grimaced from the extra weight on his hip, but otherwise looked utterly shocked. He awkwardly put his arms around his childhood friend, clearly not having a clue what to do.
Embarrassed that they were seeing something so private, Conan and Ran looked away. When the storm was finally weathered, Ran stood up. "Hey, Kazuha-chan? It's getting on lunchtime. Why don't we go get something and let the children talk?"
Kazuha sniffed but grin. "Good idea." She playfully thunked the back of Hattori's head. "This kid has a lot of growin' up ta do. Maybe Conan-kun can teach him a thin' 'r two. Now what were ya sayin' 'bout the fantasy-Kudo 'ppearin'?"
Ran chuckled, winked at the two of them, and guided Kazuha down to the cafeteria.
Hattori turned with a wicked grin. "How long 've I been tellin' ya to tell her? Don't it make life easier?"
Conan chose not to dignify that with a response. "Hattori. Are you really okay?"
"Seriously, Kudo, 'm fine. 'll be fine. 'n' I still need ta yell yer ear off."
"Heh. Consider me deaf."
Flat stare returned.
Both laughed and spoke more freely, enjoying each other's company until Ran came back with Kazuha.
Conan flipped a page in his book. Sonoko had come and practically dragged Ran away to "get her away from dreary hospitals" and he was spending the afternoon curled around his book. The pint of blood Ran had donated was now in his system and his blood count had improved; Conan had to admit that he felt a lot less anemic. Of course, since Sonoko had come to give Ran some fresh air, the minimized detective was fairly certain he would be getting another set of visitors soon. He was hoping to at least finish the chapter before they arrived.
Placing his bookmark, he looked up and smiled. "Hey everyone!"
The Shounen Tantei piled into his room, clamoring for good seats. Genta took the chair that both Ran and Kazuha had used over the course of the day, Mitsuhiko and Haibara perched themselves at the foot of his bed, and Ayumi in a fit of boldness, had crawled up to sit by Conan's side like Ran had done earlier. Conan gave her more room.
Genta was the first to be heard over the loud chatter of several kids talking at once. "Conan-kun! We've had enough of hospitals, why the hell are ya in one?"
That, naturally, received a flat stare. "Hey, hey, it's not exactly like I wanted to end up here."
Ayumi leaned into his personal space, her face covered in worry. "Are you okay? No one's told us what happened after you disappeared yesterday!"
"Yeah!" Genta shouted. "Didja chase the criminal? Why didn't you let us come along?"
Conan gave them a grin. This seemed like a good time for some practice.
"Well, you're all detectives, aren't you? Why don't you tell me what happened?"
The three real children scowled at him briefly before actively partaking in the challenge. Haibara gave a small grin.
"Well," Ayumi started, "I remember Hattori-nii-chan shouting about you being taken away in a duffle bag."
Conan nodded, giving an encouraging smile. "Whose duffle bag was it?"
"Saiko-sensei's," Mitsuhiko responded, then frowned. "I found talking to him about things... helpful. He was the culprit, was he not?"
Both Haibara and Conan gave a solemn nod. "Unfortunately," Conan agreed. "I may not have liked talking to him, but he was always nice and welcoming. But we accept that he wasn't what he told us he was, and go from there." There was a small twinge in his feelings about that, since he was doing the same thing to them, but he pushed that aside.
"Well," Genta said after a moment of silence, "I'd say he hit ya a bit. What with that bruise on your face."
Conan raised a hand to where Saiko had slapped him during Conan's attempt to pester the shrink into making a mistake for escape. He had forgotten about the bruise. He didn't really feel it when talking or eating. It must look bad. He shrugged. "That was part of it. But mostly, he slapped me because I was trying to annoy him."
Haibara gave an amused smile. "And we all know how good you can be at irritating people."
"But there was more?" Ayumi replied, appalled.
Conan nodded. "Can you figure out what?" He gave an internal grin, wondering which of them would start going in the right direction first.
All three stared intently at him, as if trying to see any other injuries that would account for him to be in the hospital.
"My mom's always threatening to hang me by my ankles," Genta said suddenly. "Did that bastard do that to you?"
"No," Conan stated.
"I remember a movie my sister saw where a man got hit in the back, did that happen?" Ayumi asked, trying to peer behind him.
More silence as they studied him. "Did he..." Mitsuhiko started hesitantly. "Saiko-sensei was a doctor, correct? And he made that drug we all eventually suffered from, so he has medical knowledge. Did he do something... medical to you?"
"Right direction," Conan praised. He lifted the sleeves of his yukata to reveal the bruised veins where Saiko had placed the IVs.
Haibara frowned. "Did he give you that poison?"
"No," Conan replied seriously. "Only one IV led to a bag."
"But wait a minute," Genta frowned, leaning forward to look at one of the elbows. "Ya mean that he had more than one IV in you? That one o' these marks isn't from the hospital? I know I had a lot of tubes in me when I woke up."
Ayumi nodded. "Me too. Isn't one of those bruises from the hospital?"
Conan shook his head. "Nope, the hospital put their IV here," he pulled open his yukata to reveal the small bruise by his neck. "They didn't want to use my elbows because Psycho-sensei did."
"So then, what did he pump ya full of?" Genta asked, a bewildered look on his face.
Haibara hissed in a breath.
She defined dryly, "Anti-coagulants are blood thinners. They are usually used to make blood flow more easily and to prevent blockages. They are normally used for people with heart problems or to prevent strokes and blood clots."
"So Saiko-sensei wished to make Conan-kun's blood move more easily through his veins?" Mitsuhiko raised an eyebrow. "If anti-coagulants are beneficial, why would a malevolent man like Saiko-sensei use them on Conan-kun?"
Conan looked between the three, curious to see who would work it out first. Haibara, given how she was studying him, had probably figured it out. Mitsuhiko had done well in using logic to look at a medical point of view, but then, while Genta and Ayumi were in the hospital, the skinny boy had been by Conan's side for an investigation most unlike the ones they usually did.
It was Ayumi who looked to Conan first. "You said only one IV went to a bag. Where did the other one go?"
"To a bucket."
"EEEEHHHH??" all three shouted.
"What the hell for?" Genta demanded.
Mitsuhiko breathed in sharply. "Once your blood was thinned, did Saiko-sensei let you bleed so freely into that bucket?"
Conan nodded. "Exactly."
"EWWWW!!" chorused all three.
"Aww," Genta moaned. "My mom gives blood regularly. She's always so tired and can't do nothin' for a few days after she donates. Is that the same with you, Conan-kun?"
The minimized detective snorted. "More or less, though I gave a bit more than a blood donor would. Ran-nee-chan gave me blood like she did when I was shot. I won't be practicing soccer for a few weeks, but I'll be fine for normal stuff. As long as I don't push it."
"We'll see that you don't," Haibara said with her monotone voice.
There was silence for a moment before Ayumi leaned into Conan's personal space again. "I heard Kaitou Kid was there! What happened after that?"
Well, Conan mused, better to talk about that thief than the concept of me almost dying. They did well with their deductions. They're improving.
And Conan was very proud of them.
Blessed, blessed sleep. It did so much to restore and relax his body.
So why the hell was it interrupted?
Something snapped Shinichi from sleeping to awake in an instant and he sat up in a hurry, regretting instantly as his still-anemic state made his head swim. A moment to reorient himself, and he looked up to see a white figure at the foot of his bead, bathed in the moonlight.
"Oh it's you," he said flatly.
"Hello to you too, tantei-kun," Kaitou Kid offered a small bow. "You certainly look better than the last time I saw you."
Shinichi leaned back into his bed. He wanted to sleep and was annoyed that it was interrupted. "Why are you here?" he demanded in a tired voice.
"Tantei-kun, I'm hurt," Kid drawled in great drama, clutching his heart theatrically.
"Ha," Shinichi snorted, "It would take a lot more than a rude comment from me to hurt you, or Nakamori would have sent you crying into retirement."
Kid laughed at the thought, the moonlight on his white suit giving him an almost ethereal glow. He looked surreal, and Shinichi wasn't completely sure he wasn't dreaming. "You think so little and so highly of me at the same time," Kid responded, leaning forward slightly. His hand pulled away from holding his hat down, but his face was a silhouette, and Shinichi could make out nothing other than the seeming glow of the monocle. "You're as interesting as ever."
The diminutive detective rolled his eyes. "You're still evading the question; why are you here?"
Kid shrugged his shoulders, straightening again. "Maybe it's nothing more than it appears, tantei-kun; maybe I just want to check to see how you're doing." His face was still in silhouette, and it irked Shinichi that the Kid was so close and yet so far away.
But Shinichi sat back. "There are several points to consider. First is that you are extremely protective of everyone who chases you, to the point of putting yourself in danger to avoid someone else getting injured."
"No One Gets Hurt, tantei-kun. Rule number one."
"I have no doubt that if someone ever does get hurt during your heists, you check up on them to make sure they're alright."
Kid's smile grew. "That rather indicates that's all I'm here to do, doesn't it?"
To that, Shinichi grinned. "Except that in the rare instances when someone gets hurt, they never report you appearing to check on them. So you probably do visit - in disguise. Besides, it's easier to get information on how a patient's doing from listening to doctors and nurses and whoever's visiting than slipping in in the middle of night to read a doctor's chicken-scratch handwriting or medical charts. Unless you have a medical degree, but I doubt you're out of high school yet."
Kid said nothing for the moment, his grin still wide and winsome. "Inspector Nakamori would disagree with you."
The thief shoved his hands deeper into his pockets. "So I'm visiting you a little differently than I would other people. One could argue that you are one of my favorites, tantei-kun, and that it would require something a bit more personal as a result."
"Except that that's too simple for someone as multilayered as you," Shinichi pointed out. "Meticulous as you are, you wouldn't dare risk seeing me in your... uniform unless you had a secondary, or even tertiary motive to precipitate calculating the risk as worth it. After all," Shinichi added, a wry grin on his face, "I could always call for a nurse."
The Kid shook his head, lifting a gloved hand out of his pocket and shaking a finger in negation. "You'd never do that, tantei-kun," he said in a singsong voice, "because then you'd never figure out what, if any, my secondary and tertiary motives are."
Shinichi rolled his eyes in irritation. "We could go at this for hours," he muttered.
"And wouldn't it be a great way to pass the time?" Kid drawled, voice full of humor. "Maybe that secondary reason is just that I love your company?"
The compacted detective raised an eyebrow. "'Love my company'?" He snorted. "Given how many times and how many ways you find to personally invite me to a heist, it would be a safe assumption that you at least enjoy the challenge I present. One could even make the argument that you respect me, I guess; at least as much as I respect the level of detail and meticulous work you put into your heists and the numerous back up plans you have whenever I'm involved. Even I'll admit there's a kind of brilliance in how you do what you do, even if I have nothing but contempt for what you do. But loving my company? You'd have to know me first, really know me, and a heist doesn't provide enough time for us to--"
Shinichi's eyes widened as a deduction sprung into his head like an explosion, several pieces suddenly falling neatly into place. His head fell into his hands. "Shit you love having the upper hand, don't you?"
Kaitou Kid tilted his head to one side, his silhouette questioning. "Do I?"
"How did you find out about this little drug ring?" Shinichi asked, lifting his blue gaze to pin Kid down in a stare. "What did you see or overhear to concern you enough to get involved, to expose yourself as Kaitou Kid, to see that no one got hurt? Those are the wrong questions to ask; instead, the question should be: 'Why were you there in the first place to see or overhear something?' And there can be only on conclusion from that train of thought."
"How long have you been stalking me?"
There was a long pause, Kid's white body stock still, his face still in silhouette; no change in body language, no intake of breath, no hint of any kind that Shinichi had elicited a reaction, but he knew he had made one all the same.
"Tantei-kun, I have no idea what you're talking about." Neutral, whimsical tones.
Shinichi grinned, more confident now. "Tell me, do you stalk Nakamori and that British guy as well? I can't imagine you have a lot of spare time for your real life."
A nonchalant shrug of the shoulders. "Maybe they don't need to be stalked," Kid said. Neither he nor Shinichi would have any idea until much later what the line would do for the shrunken detective. "You, however," Kid continued, leaning forward again, "You have a penchant for getting into all sorts of trouble, without even trying. I wonder what Lady Luck has against you? Let's assume for a moment that you're correct, and I check up on you, why would I do such a thing?"
"Information," Shinichi said, playing along with the game. He still hadn't figured out why Kaitou Kid was here, but he wasn't about to let an opportunity like this slip out of his hands. "It takes you weeks, months even, to plan your heists, and the level of detail necessary for them are all indicative of your ability to gather information; and if you're going to plan on going up against me, then you need as much as you can sink your teeth into." He frowned at the thought, though, because it meant that it was through watching him that Kid had discovered that Conan was Shinichi; that implied he wasn't doing a good enough job of hiding.
"Bzzzt! Wrong answer, tantei-kun," Kid said, confident smirk back in his voice.
"I already have the one piece of information I need about you," Kid responded. His hand slid out of his pocket again and with a gesture a coin appeared. He flipped it, catching it in midair with the back of his hand. "Heads or tails?" he asked. Shinichi blinked. "Heads or tails?" he pressed again.
"I... tails." What was this about?
"Sorry, tantei-kun, heads." He flipped the coin again, catching it. "Heads. Do you know John Kerrich, who spent his time in a prison camp in Denmark during World War One just flipped a coin over and over?" Flip. "Heads. He was able to write a paper on the probability of flipping a coin because he had years of data to draw from." Flip. "Heads again. But do you know what he kept forgetting?" Flip. "Heads. What he and every other statistician fail to realize is that heads and tails are both on the same coin, that it doesn't matter which side comes up, because the same coin is being represented in the flip. Getting heads for all five flips of the coin may be a one to thirty-two ratio, a three and one eighth percent chance of happening, but," Kaitou Kid flipped the coin again, this time catching it in his fist, "it's a one hundred percent chance that the coin itself will be represented."
"What are you getting at, Kid?" Shinichi demanded. Certainly he wasn't suggesting...?
"We both wear masks, tantei-kun," the phantom thief said, opening his fist to reveal a now empty hand. His voice was soft, whimsical and almost musical. "You wear yours because you need to protect the people around you from getting hurt. You're searching for a way to fix something. And you want justice served. If I really was stalking you, then maybe that's why: because my other critics don't have those qualities, and maybe that's why you warrant a more personal visit, because you do have those qualities."
Kid took a step back, a hand going to his hat as his head entered the moonlight. "Or maybe," he continued, his voice still winsome, "I just like being unpredictable." His free hand went for the window, and it slid open soundlessly, a snap of cold autumn air cutting through Shinichi.
"Tell tantei-han I send my regards, and that I won't forget about Osaka."
He then calmly jumped out the window, leaving Shinichi utterly bewildered.
Champagne frowned. The past thirty-six hours had been far more eventful than his service in the Organization usually was. But while he prided himself in the fact that he and Wine were so efficient that such surprises rarely happened, that didn't mean the two of them weren't prepared for such eventualities.
Since the psychologist's capture, he and his partner had been working overtime to set things up. Saiko would be their fall guy if anything happened, and the damn shrink didn't stay low, but instead decided it was a good idea to kidnap a child and try an experiment on him. Crazy shrink. If he had just kept his head down and done nothing, Saiko's prepared explanation would wipe everything away and things would go back to normal.
But no, the psychologist had the insane thought that he was being threatened by a pint-sized, ankle-biting, child. Nut-job. But Champagne didn't make it as far as he did by discarding other people's instincts. The bald man had looked into this Edogawa Conan. And discovered that he was just a bright child. Stayed out of trouble in school, was a horrid speller, but really good in math, and enjoyed mysteries. A painfully normal child. And Saiko thought he was a threat. Whacko.
So Champagne had watched while Wine planted the necessary evidence to ensure that everything landed squarely on the shrink's shoulders. Kaitou Kid had made for an even more unexpected wrench in the works, but the thief seemed only interested in his damn No One's Hurt prerogative, plus the thief was a wild card anyway. It was no surprise, in the end, that the psychologist was arrested.
Vermouth was not the only master of disguise in their Organization. Champagne, when he was younger, was just as good if not better than the young woman. Of course, with his age now, he had more limitations, but that didn't stop his potential. He'd been prowling around the police station, completely at ease, while Wine checked up on the boy to see if he knew anything. Unsurprisingly, the anemic child was a little scared after what Saiko had done, and was grateful to just be with his friends, but the child let on nothing about knowing about their Organization. After all, brats never could keep secrets, and Wine was very good at subtly getting people to talk.
But what really had Champagne frowning, was the police report he was reading about the interrogation of the insane shrink. After holding up to almost twenty-four hours of questions, and ploys to make him spill where he'd gotten the necessary materials for his chemistry experiment, the idiot had in exhaustion said, "You can't protect me."
The debacle had just gotten worse. Even the most green rookie understood that line meant that Saiko was just small potatoes to something bigger. So a suicide was going to have to be arranged. That night, before the cops got anything else out of the tired, insane shrink.
Champagne may not have been as blood-thirsty as Gin and Vodka, and he certainly didn't normally need to fall back on such methods because of his meticulous planning, but that didn't mean he wasn't willing and ready. Records of that statement would be erased, and the shrink would have a nice, convincing suicide note below his swinging body.
It felt good to tidy things up.
Author's Notes: Well, that wraps up this story. All lose ends tied up. A promised hiest from Kid to Hattori, a befuddling and strangely revealing conversation between Kid and Kudo, and Hattori and Kudo hospitalized and healing. Sounds like the perfect ending right? Right. Wrong. We have our first sequel off to beta. We'll be building a buffer of beta-ed chapters before we start posting, so stay tuned.
The Magic Bullet Murder Case: As always Conan stumbles across another body; and this time the prime suspect is this high school kid named Kuroba Kaito.