Feb 21, 2011

Chapter 26

Chapter 26

Disappearance

Ran's POV

*I can't fight it anymore, I have to write. You don't know how hard it's been to keep from writing for the past twenty four hours. *sigh* How can people give themselves vacations when they have something as addicting as writing a fanfic to do?*

When I came back from school, I was surprised to find Ai-chan smiling as she did her homework, looking like a regular kid. She was even humming a theme song I had heard on TV before. What in the world had happened to her? Didn't she just reproach me for not treating her like a twenty year old this morning?

Tell me I'm not hallucinating, Shinichi, I pleaded.

I'm pretty sure it's real, he said slightly sarcastically. As far as I remember, you're not that kind who has their eyes playing tricks on them.

"Good afternoon, Ran-neechan!" she grinned at me, her eyes lit up, and it was like she was a different person completely. "I hope you enjoyed your day!" Was that actual enthusiasm I heard?

"Um, yeah," I managed to stutter out. "It was pretty good."

I was expecting her to spit poison at you when you got back. I think something happened. You don't think she happened to swallow a bottle of lead paint during class or something, right? Shinichi's surprised and almost frightened voice made me laugh. He sounded so silly, like a little kid. I laughed, and Ai-chan's look told me she knew that I was laughing about Shinichi, but she kept on smiling. What could have possibly happened that made her attitude turn 180 degrees?

"Did you have a good day, Ai-chan?" I asked curiously. "Did you make any friends?"

"Yeah!" The ice in her eyes was now a warm lake. Pleasant and welcoming instead of horrible and cold. "You know Ayumi-chan? I became friends with her and Mitsuhiko-kun and Genta-kun today! They also asked if I can go camping with them during the weekend over the weekend, can I, Ran-neechan?" Ran-neechan. Okay, now she seriously was acting like a little kid. Was making friends all that it took to make her this happy?

"It's perfectly fine, it's not like I have something for you to do. And, er, um…" I broke off, not wanting to ask a question that would tick her off. As I far as I knew, that happened much too easily. But the past five minutes had already contradicted everything, hadn't it? "Are you really this happy over it?" I braced myself for the explosion. I shouldn't have even expected a snarl.

"Ran-neechan, you were right, making friends is the best!" She was cheering now.

Shinichi, I think something's wrong with her. Something really, really, wrong. What about you?

Definitely. It must be that poison she took. Turning into a child must have affected her brain too, he started chuckling. Well, better happy than miserable, don't you think?

There was a knock on the door. And a childish voice called, "Can we come in?"

"I'm coming." Three elementary students were standing outside.

"Can Ai-chan play?" asked the girl. "We're going to go to the field to play soccer!" I was guessing that these were her friends. They looked like pretty nice kids.

"Ai-chan, your friends want you!" Ai-chan ran to the door, nearly colliding into Ayumi-chan. She didn't mind, I bet they were all like that. They started running down the staircase without warning. "I want you back by five thirty, okay?" I hoped she heard that. I'd finished my homework, maybe I'd call Kazuha-chan…

I leaped onto my bed, bouncing a couple times as I found her in my contacts. I probably could have just walked for fifteen minutes to get to Shinichi's house, but I was too lazy to. After all, it wasn't like there was something important to talk about.

The phone rang three times before she answered. "Ran-chan, is Heiji with you?" Her voice was worried and frantic. Very worried and frantic.

"No, why?" I asked. A hint of fear on the edge of my voice.

Don't tell me that Hattori kid got himself into trouble again… Shinichi sounded exasperated, but I knew he was serious. He was hot-headed and impulsive. Look how easily he threw himself willingly into an explosion just so he could try to solve part of a case.

"He said he left something behind during class, and for me to head back myself! But it's been over half an hour, and he hasn't answered any of my calls. Can you help me look for him at the school?" I heard the meaning behind her voice. The dread. Did they get him?

"I'll be right over, just let me write a note for my dad." Grabbing the notepad, I quickly scribbled the words, With Kazuha-chan, I'll be back in a bit! Dad was off investigating a case, or so he said. Most likely, he was playing Mahjong.

"I'm on my way!" The line cut off, and I ran down the stairs. Shinichi was silent, but I knew he was frustrated that he couldn't do anything. That he couldn't find Hattori himself and prove he wasn't in danger. To have a body, to be able to do something as simple as running. He used to be a famous detective, invincible and strong in my eyes. A skilled soccer player, a genius, a Sherlock Holmes addict, a person with a future, now he was just Shinichi. Just plain old Shinichi Kudo. The guy who was murdered three weeks ago.

What if Hattori-kun was about to meet the same fate?

*Author's comment: What happened to Hattori? If you wait just a little bit, you'll find out. Oh, by the way, Kaito's coming back soon. And Hakuba has a big surprise waiting for him. I can't wait to write it! Please review! ~Aeyra*

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