Disclaimer: I do not own Detective Conan nor Magic Kaito. Also, Shameimaru Aya and Himekaidou Hatate are characters from Touhou. They're actually rival journalists.
Author's Notes: This story follows details from the DC and MK canonverse.
O O O
Feature Story Part I
The Missing Detective
Mouri Ran allowed herself to collapse on their couch after a karate training that Friday afternoon. That very karate training involved her breaking over ten wooden planks and accidentally, a school electric post.
The latter damaged piece of Teitan High facility was the poor victim of her anger Turrets at rumors regarding a certain missing high school detective. It started when she was excused out of practice by her friend Suzuki Sonoko to tell her urgent news.
"So I was in the administration office a while ago to get transcripts and stuff and this reporter for Nichiuri TV came in," Sonoko said as soon as she and Ran stepped out of the school gym. "Quite curiously, she was asking about your husband!"
"Sonoko! You should really stop saying that!" Ran said as she hid her reddening cheeks behind a towel she was using to wipe off her sweat. "It's embarrassing! What if people hear you?"
The karate champion looked around. She sighed of relief when she realized that they were alone.
"A-ano, what does he want with Shinichi, anyway?" she asked.
"I thought you'd never ask!" Sonoko said before a flashing a smile. "She wanted to interview that mystery freak and his girlfriend – meaning you – for this television and magazine special."
"Sonoko! I'm not his girlfriend!" Ran said as the blushing on her cheeks spread throughout the rest of her face. "Chotto, doesn't she know that Shinichi is on leave?"
"Apparently not," Sonoko said. "And anyway, there were rumors going around that Shinichi never left and he's still helping out the police with their investigations."
"But his involvement with those cases was supposed to be secret!" Ran said. She suddenly felt uneasy about the reporter.
Sonoko put a hand on Ran's shoulder.
"Ran, she's a journalist. I bet she conducted her own investigation about this… And anyway she already knew that Kudou dropped by the school during this year's festival. That nosy secretary at the front desk told her so."
Ran brushed off her friend's hand. She cast her eyes downward. Fear was forming in tiny knots in her stomach.
"Iie, it's not just that…" she said. "How is she supposed to interview him when he's missing? And if she still pushes through with the story, what sort of things will she write? What if she writes something that would compromise Shinichi's situation?"
"I don't know exactly what happened to Shinichi," Ran continued to say. "But I can feel that he really wants to stay away from the press for a while…"
"Baka, Ran! Of course I know that!" Sonoko said "And it's a good thing I was in the admin office that time because I kinda butted in when she was talking to the secretary and told her that you could represent him for the interview!"
"Hey isn't that worse?"
"Didn't I mention that she was meaning to interview his girlfriend? She said it was for the 'angle' of her story," Sonoko said. "Think of it this way, at least you can filter all the answers and she'll only know what you want to tell."
Ran cupped her chin with a closed fist.
"You have a point there," she said.
"Of course I do! Oh and hey I also kinda told her that you two are engaged to be married – which is kinda true, ne?"
Ran was now completely flushed.
Before Sonoko could say anything, the waist-length bushes beside them moved. Suddenly, several male karate members popped out of them. These members obviously yet inconspicuously skipped the remainder of the practice to eavesdrop on Ran and Sonoko.
"Kudou and Mouri-senpai finally engaged?"
"Oooh this has been a long time coming!"
"Mouri-senpai is getting married!"
That was when Ran "accidentally" hit a nearby electric pole.
"Anyone not back in the count of three will be bent in half like this pole," she said in a stern tone. "Ichi… Ni…"
The boys scrambled, screaming toward the gym.
"O-oi Ran," Sonoko said. "Chill down a bit, would you? Hehe…"
Ran turned to her.
"And you – this is your fault! You'll stay with me during the interview, whether you like it or not," she said.
"I was actually hoping you'd say that," Sonoko said as she forced a smile. In her head, she was still imagining Ran bending the bodies of the mischievous karate members in half.
"Anyway, where is that reporter? Does she want to do the interview now?"
"She said she was running late for something so she just asked for your number," Sonoko said. "She said she'll call around dinner time for the sched."
"Understood," Ran said. "Do you think she's convinced that it's really okay if I just step in for Shinichi?"
"Hmm… I dunno… She was in the admin office originally to ask for his number and address and stuff but of course the school wouldn't give that out," Sonoko said. "She was technically jumping in joy that she chanced upon me."
Ran nodded and made a mental note to call Shinichi before that time. So she dismissed the team early, stopped by the administration to apologize for the electric pole, and hurried home to have a few hours' rest.
When she woke up, her back ached and she stretched her legs until it reached past the other end of the couch. She checked her phone and thankfully, no missed calls.
She received two messages – one from her otou-san, the famous detective Mouri Kogoro, telling her not to wait up because it's Friday night. The message also said that he's playing mahjong with his drinking buddies.
Another text was from Edogawa Conan, a boy who was staying at their house. He reminded her that he would come home late because he was out searching for beetles with his friends and the professor.
Ran sent him a text message, saying she would be cooking pork tonkatsu and miso soup that night and asked if he wanted her to leave him some.
The boy replied at once, saying he would be looking forward to it.
Ran was on her feet again and started preparing the meal. While waiting for the soup to boil, she dialed a number.
"Moshi, moshi," answered a voice at the other end of the line.
"Shinichi, I hope I'm not disturbing you," she started.
"You always do," he said with a laugh. "And you know that."
"Hey stop teasing! I have some important questions to ask…"
"Fire away," he said.
"A while ago there was this reporter at school and she was – matte, are you in the woods, or something? I can hear crickets in the background… And beetles?"
"Iie, iie!" the boy said. "I'm watching a nature show. I must've turned the volume really high."
"Sou ka," Ran said, even if she wasn't thoroughly convinced. "As I was saying, there was this reporter at school and she was asking about you because she wanted to interview you. She even went to the administration office to ask for your number."
"And?" the boy said.
"Sonoko was also in the office that time and told her that you were MIA and that I can sort of speak in your behalf," Ran said. "I hope you're not upset about this. I know how much you're protecting your privacy because of that case you're working on…"
"What exactly do they want to know about me? From what I can recall, the reports about me have been both extensive and exhaustive," the high school detective said. "They practically know everything about me. What is exactly is their angle?"
Ran blushed. "Actually, Sonoko said she was sort of trying to find out, well, just this bit of, a-ano, this part of your life that is, what I'm saying is… A-ano, your love life and if you have a girlfriend…"
Ran was terrified of Shinichi's response.
"O-oh," the voice from the other line said. Ran felt that it was a tone of mixed surprise and embarrassment.
"Is that why it is you who's being interviewed?" the boy asked.
"IIE!" Ran shrieked. "Sonoko just meant I knew you for the longest time and I can answer stuff for you…"
"Oh, of course, that's what I meant," the detective said. "Ran, just – well, I don't have to remind you about things you have to hide about me…"
"I can still cancel the interview if you want. The reporter is still about to confirm later if – "
"Iie, that would look more suspicious," he said. "Besides, you already said yes. Just prepare for whatever she might ask and practice the responses in your head. Anything about the past is fine. If she asks details about when I disappeared, say you don't know. If she asks if I still contact you, say that I don't. You got that?"
"Hai," Ran said.
"And Ran," the boy said.
"I trust you, okay?"
O O O
It was only a few minutes after Ran finished preparing dinner that Conan arrived.
"Tadaima!" he called as he opened the door.
"Okaeri!" Ran greeted back. "Conan-kun, you're just in time for dinner! Have you caught many beetles?"
"Hai!" the boy said as he raised a hand. "Many kinds! We all put them in a jar and Mitsuhiko brought them to his house. He wants to identify all the types we caught. We're going to take turns taking them home. Is that okay, Ran-neechan?"
Ran smiled and nodded. "Just as long you keep the lid shut tight, ne? Now wash your hands so you could start eating."
The boy smiled and hurried off to the sink. That's when Ran's phone rang and on the screen was a number she did not recognize.
"Moshi, moshi, this is Mouri Ran," she said.
"Konbanwa, Mouri-san," a female voice spoke. She sounded young, maybe their age or just a few years senior.
"I am Himekaidou Aya," the voice continued to say. "I'm a reporter at Nichiuri TV and part of the marketing staff for its new division, the print media group. I apologize for the call at such a late hour; I was meaning to call earlier but I took longer than expected at the police station. It's for another report, you see…"
"Oh it's all right," Ran said in a most polite tone she could manage. "I was waiting for your call, anyway."
"I still apologize for making you wait," the reporter said. "Maa, your friend Suzuki-san said you were Kudou Shinichi's girlfriend and – "
"Oh about that," Ran interrupted. "I won't exactly call myself his 'girlfriend' but I'm a girl and I've been his friend for the longest time."
The reporter giggled.
"We've all been there, honey," she said.
"Iie, it's really not – well, if you say so…" Ran said as she tried very hard not to remember Shinichi's confession in London. She could feel her face getting hot.
"Anyway, I was wondering if you're free tomorrow afternoon," the reporter said. "Say, around 1pm?"
"My schedule is free," Ran said. "How long will the interview take?"
"You see, we also scheduled some other teenage detectives for the interview and their girlfriends are coming, too," the reporter said. "We'll interview each couple separately and then we have to shoot sitners or situationers and cutaways – oh, gomen, these are technical terms for those scenes you see when the reporter is doing a voice over and they can also be used as filler videos if there is a break during the editing of the interview."
"Umm, okay, I guess…" Ran said. "So the whole afternoon, then?"
"And there's also a photo shoot for the magazine," the reporter continued. "You see, the interview is both for next week's news special and the first issue of this new magazine we're printing. The story on TV will only air for about three to five minutes per couple but the in-depth stuff will be on the magazine. It's sort of a cross-sell of sorts."
"Okay, understood," Ran said. "Is there anything I should bring? Is there a dress code?"
"Hmm… Can't think of any right now," the journalist said. "As for the attire, just wear your usual cute outfit! Oh, before I forget – you might want to free your schedule until dinner time. Sometimes the shoots take longer than expected. Don't worry, your meals are for free and we already reserved you a suite at the hotel that you can use while waiting for your turn."
"It seems like a lot of work for just one afternoon…" Ran mused out loud.
"Oh don't think about it, sugar," the reporter said. "It's gonna be fun! Trust me!"
"Matte – you didn't tell me where," Ran said.
"Oh! Did I really forget to mention where? My apologies... It's at Prince Royal Hotel at Shibuya. We meet at the lobby by one and then the interview is at the penthouse," the journalist said. "The reserved suite is at the floor below."
"Got it," Ran said. "Himekaidou-san, before you hang up, I have a question. Well, two actually…"
"What is it, sweetie?"
"First, you said other teen detectives will also be interviewed. Is one of them Hattori Heiji? He's from Osaka…"
Ran heard a flicker of papers from the other end of the line.
"Hai, hai, that seems to be right. His girlfriend Toyama Kazuha will also be arriving tomorrow," she said.
"Oh that is wonderful!" Ran said and wondered why the two haven't told her about the interview yet.
"My other question is if I'm allowed to bring some guests," Ran continued.
"Of course you can! Another detective from Ekoda High is actually bringing his girlfriend and another guest," the reporter said. "Since your Shinichi is not coming we're actually a bit under budget … It's so sad, really, I even tried phoning long distance to his parents – "
"You called his parents? In the US?"
"Well yeah and they just said they'll forward the message to him. Apparently, he also haven't gotten in touch with them for a long time," the journalist said. "But I have a feeling that they're just harboring him there so who knows he might still show up tomorrow…"
"You shouldn't really get your hopes up," Ran said.
"Oh yeah I just realized, are you in any way related to the Sleeping Kogoro?"
"Hai, he's my otou-san," Ran said with a smile.
"Oooh! Interesting, very interesting…" Aya the journalist said. "I'll save more questions for tomorrow. See you, Mouri-san! Oyasumi!"
"Oyasumi nasai, Himekaidou-san," Ran responded before hanging up the phone.
She immediately sent messages to Kazuha, Heiji and Sonoko. She then returned to the dinner table, where Conan already started eating.
"Who was that, Ran-neechan?" the boy asked.
Ran smiled. It was the smile she used whenever she wanted to ask a favor from somebody.
"Conan-kun, are you doing anything tomorrow?"
O O O
Sonoko, Conan and Ran were an hour early at the Prince Royal Hotel lobby. They all decided to eat their lunch at the hotel buffet on Sonoko's treat. ("You were the one who got us into this, after all," Ran reminded.)
Before getting seconds of dessert, Sonoko and Conan decided to go to the toilet and Ran waited for both of them at their table. She was about to take a bite of her chocolate cake when she saw a familiar face from the table across theirs.
It looked as though he has just arrived and was about to take his seat. He was wearing a blue collared shirt and jeans. His hair was messier than usual but she couldn't be mistaken.
Ran stood up from her table and walked to his. She was flustered. She could hear her heart on her throat.
When she reached him, the boy looked up.
"Hello, beautiful, what can I – "
"AND HERE I WAS THINKING YOU WERE ON AN IMPORTANT CASE!"
"Ojou-sama, I think you've mistaken me for –"
"AND YOU LOOK LIKE YOU'RE ON A DATE! WHO ARE YOU HAVING LUNCH WITH, HUH?"
Ran slapped him. She slapped him so hard, parts of his face turned purple where her hand hit him.
"ANSWER ME, SHINICHI!"
Next Chapter: The New Generation, Gentleman Thief