Feb 20, 2011

Chapter Five

Chapter 5

Return

Shinichi's POV

I was a comet down from heaven. Shooting down toward the place where I had been killed. To return to earth, and solve my unjust murder. I could see Ran now, talking to a dark-skinned boy and a teenage girl with pale skin. And then, I collided.

She couldn't feel it; her expression showed nothing that indicated the sudden pain that pierced me, whatever I was now. Searing, fiery pain, as I once again was alive. Half-alive, but I felt it as acutely as the poison that killed me. But then it stopped, and I could see through Ran's eyes.

The scene in front of me was blurry, tears clouded her vision, and I couldn't stand her suffering. I called out to her, hoping she would hear me.

Ran, can you hear me? The words echoed around my mind, her mind. Did she hear?

"Shinichi," she whispered my name out loud. I realized that I could see from outside of her too, what she looked like. She looked around from side to side, then her face fell, crestfallen. "Am I hearing things?"

No, I answered. It really is me. I'm inside of you, no one else can hear me. I've fallen back from heaven.

Shinichi… Shinichi! Are you really back? Her mind was excited and frantic, balancing between disbelief and overwhelming joy.

For a while. I smiled, wondering if she could feel it. Until I help you solve my murder. You promised to solve it, didn't you? I thought you'd need my help.

"Ran." The pale-faced girl asked. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," she answered. "Just a slightly uncomfortable memory." The dark-skinned boy nodded in sympathy.

Who are they? I asked. The boy seemed familiar, had I seen him before?

He's Hattori Heiji, and she's his friend, Tooyama Kazuha. They were called over from Osaka because Hattori-kun's a famous high school detective like you.

Like I used to be, I corrected her. I was surprised at how easily she responded. She had accepted me immediately, I had expected tens, if not hundreds of questions.

I can hear you. I felt happiness again. I can see you too. And of course I have questions for you. But, if you're really inside of me, we'll have plenty of time, right?

Of course we will. I'll answer every one of those questions. I'd also like to tell you something that I never had a chance to say to you in life. I had met her again, and I knew it would impossible to keep from telling her how I felt. Courage to fuel my words fired up and me, and I spoke again. I'm in love with you, Ran. Even death wasn't able to stop that.

There was no answer, only surprise, and doubt. She didn't know how to respond. It doesn't matter to me whether you feel the same way or not. I just needed you to know.

I do, Shinichi! Her words came out fast and with a certain kind of intense feel to it. I love you too! That's why I was crying so much! It's because, I thought I'd never be able to see you again…

Sshhh… I calmed her down. For the moment, I think it's best that you talk to your new friends, they seem to be worrying about you.

Ah! I didn't even hear them. "Sorry Kazuha-chan, what were you saying?"

"Do you want to leave right now? You're crying." Ran wiped away the tears with her hand, and refused the offer.

"I feel it's important to stay. I want to solve his murder, because, I'd doubt he'd be able to rest in any kind of peace if he didn't get justice."

Well said, Ran. You stole the words right out of my mouth.

Did I? She sounded pleased. Of course, I could hear you thinking it as well.

Cheater, I said sarcastically.

Silent giggles. It was almost just like it used to be already. Less than five minutes back. How long could it last? I knew I wanted to stay forever, but we didn't have forever.

We had until I solved the case, and there was no way I'd be able to resist trying to solve it. Besides, if I didn't accomplish my goal, what would those intimidating voices up in heaven do? We didn't have enough time. And who knew what kind of problems would erupt between now and the end?

Shinichi, could you stop thinking so negatively? We're together for now, so let's focus on that, can we?

Sure, as long as you want me to. There was no way I was going to disappoint her now. I was living on a blessing, and it was probably very short. I heard the clock in my head. Tick, tock, tick, tock…

Chapter 6

Lying

Ran's POV

Shinichi was worried, worried about how little time we had left. I thought I just told you to stop thinking negatively! It's starting to get a little annoying.

I'm sorry, he apologized. It's just that being some kind of angel and all that really makes you think from a different perspective. I ran out of time, and now I'm given more. It's like a dream, and I don't know when I'll wake up.

I suddenly felt bad about berating him. He had genuine reasons for thinking that way. I wished I could help him…

"Ran-chan!" Kazuha started shaking me. "You've been staring into space for a while now! It was like you were sucked into another world or something!"

"Oh, sorry." I smiled apologetically at here. "Just feeling nostalgic, it helps ease the pain. Would you mind if I went off by myself for a little bit?"

"Oh, that's fine. Heiji'll definitely figure something back by the time you're back! So don't be gone too long!"

I found a desolate spot where I could 'talk' with Shinichi without being noticed. I have a question for you. Do you know how you were killed?

It was that man in black. That tall one with the long blonde hair and ice blue eyes. He hit me from behind first with something like a bat. Then, force-fed me poison.

Poison? I blurted out, shocked. But the autopsy showed no traces of any kind of poison.

There was something he said. 'We'll use this new poison that the Organization developed. It leaves no traces on the body, they won't even know what killed him.' So it really worked. And they won't believe your word since there's no evidence to back it up. Even though I know the murderer's face and how I was killed, this mystery is going to be harder than I thought to solve.

We just need to find the guy and make him a suspect, right? Then if the police find that poison on him, he'll be arrested. Isn't it pretty simple.

No. His voice was filled with a sort of rage. He mentioned an Organization. And he looked like a mafia member. If that's true, then they'll sure to cover up all the tracks. We'd need to get the entire organization itself to succeed.

I was filled with disappointment, until I remembered that meant that Shinichi would be able to stay longer. But, we'll be together all that time right? It means we'll be together, so it's okay, right?

That's the only good part. I felt him smiling, like when I just told him one of Sonoko's silly antics, or a funny joke. But I'm worried. They'll be dangerous. I was killed because I witnessed blackmail. And the price was at least one hundred million yen. Rich, cold-blooded murderers. I don't want you against them.

I didn't answer that. He wouldn't like my answer at all, so I changed topics. Shinichi, I'm meeting your parents this afternoon. They're arranging your funeral.

Mom, dad… His thoughts broke off into incomprehensible phrases. Deep sorrow, regret, and fury once again to those who had done this to him, were all I could make out.

Should I tell them? Where you really are right now? Maybe that would help them. Comfort them, especially poor Yukiko-san. She had loved Shinichi so much, and he was her only child. His dad was stronger, but I doubt he could handle the death of his son.

I don't know. I'll tell what to do once I see them, because I don't know right from wrong here.

Then let me go now, I offered. They said they'd be there all day. And I'll just go back and tell Kazuha-chan that I want to leave for today.

That sounds okay. His voice called an end to this particular conversation. Dealing with his parents, who would never see him alive again. And he would have to watch. See them break down in tears, torn apart by his death. I wondered what my parents would do. If my dad wasn't drunk of course.

I reentered the crime scene, and told Kazuha-chan I was leaving. "Before you leave, here's my number and the hotel we're staying at for the time being. It'll be useful to stay in touch." She handed me a slip of paper with the address. "We might be here for a while, come and visit if you feel down. I'll try to help cheer you up!" I liked Kazuha-chan. She was really sweet and kind. I bet that we would become great friends soon.

On the taxi ride to the funeral home, Shinichi was still silent, but was having vivid images of his parents breaking down and crying, hurt, and confused. I didn't want to interrupt his thoughts, no matter how bad they made him feel. They were necessary, he needed to deal with this problem.

When I entered the door, I saw the open coffin, and his parents standing next to it. I couldn't see their faces, but Yukiko-san was shaking, and Yusaku-san was hugging her tightly. They were dressed in black, the color for grieving.

"Yukiko-san, Yusaku-san," I called to them. They looked away, and stared at me. Yukiko's lips seemed to say the words 'Ran-chan' but they were too quiet for me to hear.

"Ran-kun," Yusaku-san addressed me. "You're early. We didn't expect you until later."

There were no words. Nothing to say. "Are you okay?"

"No." He shook his head, and I saw tears watering up in his eyes. "I'm not. I lost my son, how could I be okay?"

Dad… Shinichi almost sounded as if he was crying too. His voice was thick, and caught in his throat. I'm so sorry.

Would you like me to tell them? I asked. It would definitely ease their pain. But you don't have to, not at all if you don't want too.

I want to, and that's the problem, Ran. I don't think anyone is supposed to know I'm here but you. It's bad enough that you'll be in danger from chasing the knowledge I tell you. I don't want to involve my parents, but I want to tell them not to cry. That I'm still happy, in a way.

"At least he went to a good place." It was the best I could think of. Yusaku-san laid his hand on my shoulder, and patted it gently.

"That much, I'm happy with." A smile was on his face, but tears were starting to roll down his eyes. "Ran-kun," he started. "Just to let you know, the funeral's tomorrow morning. Shinichi didn't really have a favorite time of day."

Not really, just whenever a crime just happened to occur, Shinichi agreed. It feels weird, coming to the funeral home to arrange my funeral.

"Do you need my help for anything?" I offered.

"No." It was Yukiko-san who answered. "We have everything we need. My poor Shin-chan, why did this have to happen…?"

"Ran-kun." Shinichi's dad pulled me away for a second. "You were at the crime scene this morning, right? Did they find any suspects or anything?"

"Nothing, not even the cause of death." I felt so bad about lying. I knew everything that Shinichi had told me, but if I were to say that, I would give him away.

"Okay." He looked disappointed. "Just tell me you find anything, okay?"

I nodded, and left. His words were obviously a good-bye.

So Shinichi, how do you feel now?

Worse, much, much worse. Can I have some more time to myself? I need to think.

Lies, deceit, grief… My lies were hurting people, who would definitely be comforted by the truth. But what to do?

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