Fandom: Detective Conan
Publish Date: 3/8/2006
Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan. But I do have homemade hand-puppets for each character...that's normal, right?
It was often said that things hit like a bolt of lightning.
Well, in this case, it was true.
She had simply been standing in the kitchen, going about day-to-day activities like drying dishes and tidying up when it happened. The radio was blaring one of her favorite songs at top volume, which meant that it was only a matter of time before the Irate Husband appeared and requested a reprieve from the noise. Until then, however, she danced around the kitchen while she worked, singing her heart out.
And then the axe fell, and she froze, towel poised around a plate in her hand.
Slowly, the plate slipped from her fingers and clattered noisily against the countertop; it did not break, nor did she hear the sound. Even the cacophony of her background music had faded away to a dull buzz in her ear. Breathing was suddenly a difficult task; she felt like she was choking, trying to breathe and move through some kind of fog.
Something was twanging, way down deep. Some nerve that was rarely struck was now vibrating enough to make her hands shake and her heart speed up. Unconsciously, she groped for the kitchen counter as something solid to steady herself with. Her coherent thoughts were spiraling down into one target.
“Yukiko,” Yuusaku, predictably, appeared in the doorway; sure enough, he did not look happy at the racket. “Would you turn that down already?” It was then that he actually took a good look at her: pale and trembling and clutching at the edge of the counter for dear life. “Yukiko? What happened?”
“…have you talked to Shin-chan lately?” she asked softly, her gaze still distant.
Yuusaku looked a bit startled at the question and his wife’s state, but obliged, and thought about it for a second before replying, “Last time I spoke with him was two weeks ago. Why?”
“Did anything seem wrong when you talked to him?”
“No, he was fine,” he raised an eyebrow. “What’s this all about?”
“I just have a very bad feeling,” she told him honestly.
He studied her for a moment, then smiled. “Well, why don’t we give him a call?” Something about the tone said that he found this entire conversation ridiculous, but was humoring her.
Yukiko nodded, though the truth was that she desperately wanted to knock that smug smile right off his face, but instead kept her peace and followed him to the phone. He already had the receiver in his hand and up to his ear, and was dialing the number from memory.
After several rings, their son’s voice came through in a prerecorded message. “Hi, you’ve reached the residence of Shinichi Kudo. I can’t come to the phone right now. Please leave a message, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
“Shinichi, give us a call when you have a chance,” Yuusaku said shortly before hanging up the phone and turning back to his wife. “Answering machine. He’s probably just out with Ran or helping the police. Or he’s just not answering his phone. Any number of things.”
Yukiko nodded, though she didn’t mean it. If anything, she was even more ill at ease now than before the phone call. But she tried to convince herself that her husband was right: Shinichi would call them back, and everything would be fine.
Many days had passed.
Not a word from Shinichi.
Yuusaku did have the grace to seem a bit surprised that they still hadn’t heard from their son, but still appeared relatively unconcerned. “He’s seventeen years old,” he said matter-of-factly, brushing it aside when she brought it up again. “Teenagers will be teenagers.”
Sighing, Yukiko left him in his office to work—or torment his editors, depending on his mood. She moved to the den, where numerous framed photographs lined the mantel and walls. It was to these that she turned her attention.
She picked up one picture and brought it down for closer study. It was a more recent shot of Shinichi, taken just after a big soccer game the previous year. He was wearing his uniform, with the black and white soccer ball tucked under one arm; he looked tired, damp, filthy—it had been raining that day—but utterly satisfied. Ran, clad in a raincoat, was standing beside him, grinning proudly. After all, he had shone on the soccer field that day, like the rising star he was truly becoming.
One finger traced slowly over the protective glass. Every instinct in her body was telling her that something had happened to her son, and so far nothing had happened to contradict those feelings. Wasn’t it said that mothers had that instinct, that intuition that told them when their child was in danger?
Was that what this was? God, she hoped not. If anything happened to her boy…
Setting the picture back down, she sighed. If he didn’t call soon…
Well, she had every intention of going to find him herself.
Enough was enough.
It had been weeks.
Yukiko Kudo was fed up with waiting to her from her apparently-absent son.
And when Yukiko Kudo got fed up, things got done.
Whether Yuusaku wanted them to get done or not.
It had been surprisingly simple, really, getting him to agree to this impromptu flight. She stormed into his office and told him, in no uncertain terms, that they were going to Japan to surprise Shinichi with a visit, so he had better pack. His protests had been silenced when she had smiled wickedly and pointed out that this was an excellent chance to mess with his editors.
That had convinced him quite nicely to indulge in this jaunt to the other side of the world, though he still seemed a bit uncertain as to whether there was any actual trouble. Phone calls were made, manuscripts forgotten, and in sort order, they were on a plane heading for Tokyo.
Yukiko spent much of the flight staring out the window. The hours seemed to drag by as slow as they possibly could as she sat, sky-gazing and thinking.
What was waiting for them in Japan? Were her instincts right, and something had befallen her only child? Or was Shinichi going to be there, startled to find them standing on his doorstep?
At long last, Tokyo appeared beneath them. They could get out of that airport fast enough, in her opinion, and claimed a taxi. Again, the minutes seemed to inch by with all the speed and rush of a crawling earthworm. But finally, blessedly, the taxi pulled up to the mansion. In short order, the driver was paid and Yuusaku was unlocking the door to let them in. “Shinichi?” he called, flipping a light switch on.
Yukiko wasn’t horribly astonished when Shinichi didn’t appear at the top of the stairs to greet them in surprise. She was, however, a bit more startled than she’d expected to be at the state of the house.
It looked as though it had been empty for quite a while.
Yuusaku was already hard at work, examining the fine layer of dust that had accumulated on pretty much everything within their immediate view; there were even footprints in the dust on the floor to mark their tracks into the house. He stood up, expression grim. “No one’s been here for quite a while. Several weeks, I’d say.”
Several weeks? But a few weeks ago, she’d had that feeling…
“Then where’s Shin-chan?” Yukiko asked, the first faint note of panic creeping into her voice. Her words echoed in the empty halls of the home, a confirmation of a mother’s instinct and a mother’s worst fear. “Where is my son?”
When the door opened, Agasa-hakase seemed suitably surprised to see who his visitors were.
Yukiko didn’t even wait for him to greet them; she all but lunged at the doctor, grabbing him by the shoulders. “Where’s Shinichi? He’s not at home. Do you know where he is?”
Agasa frowned for a moment before comprehension seemed to dawn. “He didn’t tell you, did he?”
Yuusaku raised an eyebrow. “Tell us what?”
The professor shook his head. “I don’t know why I’m surprised...come in, come in.” He ushered them into his home, closing the front door and leading them towards a more comfortable room.
“What happened to Shin-chan?” Yukiko demanded again. By this point, Yuusaku didn’t look much more controlled. For all his usual calm, he was still a father, and something was not right.
Agasa looked at them, then took a deep breath. “You might want to sit down…”