Feb 20, 2011

Chapter Twenty Two

Chapter 22

Going Back to School

Ran's POV

* I accidently forgot to upload this and managed to skip chapter 22, looks like nobody noticed... anyways, this comes before Ai's school day. Sorry!

"Mm-hm," I agreed. "I'll ask him real quick for you, Hattori-kun."

They can stay, right Shinichi? I asked, with a pleading tone.

Of course they can. Houses get lonely when no one lives in them. They can make themselves at home. Just tell them not to mess with the stuff in my room.

Oh, yeah. I remembered something. Where are the keys?

Oh those, I heard him laugh. If you look under the doormat, you'll find a little puzzle I left. It should be no problem for Hattori.

Can't you just tell me where they are? I asked.

"Oy, Mouri!" Hattori-kun's voice blared through the phone. "Is it a yes or a no? Kazuha and I are about to check out of the hotel!"

"It's a yes. When you get to his house, look under the doormat and you'll find a puzzle that'll help you find where the keys are," I informed him.

"Wouldn't it be easier if he just said where the keys were?" Hattori-kun complained.

It wouldn't be nearly as fun that way. Would it? Shinichi said.

"He thinks it would be more fun for you to figure out yourself." I heard a sigh from the other end of the line.

"Fine. We just checked out of the hotel. We're going to his house now." Hattori-kun hung up.

"What did Hattori want?" Ai-chan asked, with a frown on her face. She'd been staying at my house for the past few days, and her mood never seemed to improve. I wanted to cheer her up really badly, but I had no idea how.

"He wanted to know if he could stay at Shinichi's house. He and Kazuha-chan are going to stay in Tokyo." I looked at the clock in the wall. "Oh no, we're almost late! Do you have your stuff, Ai-chan?"

"It's here." She gestured to the backpack filled with school supplies on her back. I had signed her up for Teitan Elementary School. It would look weird to my dad if she wasn't going to school. I too was finally going back to high school after about a two week break.

"Okay." I nodded to her. "Dad, we're leaving for school!" I called into the Detective Office as we passed.

"Bye Ran! Bye Ai-kun!" he answered. "Have fun at school!" Dad had taken fairly well to Ai-chan. She wasn't annoying like most kids, and not bothersome at all.

"Is this really necessary?" Ai-chan asked. "I'm older than you, you know? Why should I have to go back to the first grade?"

"You're probably going to be staying with us for a while. It'd be good for you to meet some people you can be friends with. It also gets rid of suspicion."

"Like I could make any friends. I've never had any in my entire life." Her tone was sarcastic, but I could tell she was serious. To never have a friend in twenty years of life, it must have been terrible for her.

"Then I bet you'll be able to find tons once you get to school. All you have to do is act nice and friendly. Elementary school is the easiest place to make friends." I tried to sound optimistic, but even I could hear the doubt in my voice.

"I've managed to get this far without a single one. I don't need one." She was still rejecting everything I said. I had thought that when I'd said I felt sorry for her I opened up a door, but it seems it locked itself again.

Tough one, isn't she? Shinichi asked.

Definitely. I just feel so bad for her. I hope she actually manages to make some friends. She needs them. I don't think she wants me as a friend, I admitted.

Why not? You're really nice and kind. You'd help her in a split second.

She's jealous of me. Especially after her sister didn't come to her after a couple of days. She wishes her sister was still with her.

She'll probably get over it eventually, Shinichi said dismissively. As long as nothing else tragic happens to her.

I looked up at the street number, and realized I had skipped the one to the elementary school. "Ah, Ai-chan-" She had already left for the elementary school. Sheesh.

I took the right towards Teitan High School. How would I be received? I'd skipped about two weeks of school without any real excuse other than grief.

"Ran-chan!" I heard Kazuha-chan call out. I looked over my shoulder to see her and Hattori-kun running towards me. She slowed down as she got closer. "We're coming to school with you!"

"That's great!" I said. "You guys came quick. Did you find the key and everything?"

It'd be really sad if he didn't, Ran. It doesn't even take a detective to solve the puzzle I left.

"He hid it inside of a fake rock next to the steps. It was a really simple puzzle. I bet an elementary school student could solve it. Oh yeah, speaking of elementary students, where's that Haibara girl?" He looked around like he was expecting to see Ai-chan standing right next to me.

"She's already gone to the elementary school."

"That stinks," said Kazuha-chan. "I wanted to say hi to her. Do you think she'll be okay?"

"I'm sure she'll do fine." I heard the bell ring from the school. "We better run, or we'll be late!"

We got into our classroom just in time, panting. "Ran!" called Sonoko. "You better sit down." She patted the empty seat next to her. I sat down thankfully, catching my breath. Hattori-kun and Kazuha-chan stayed at the front of the classroom, waiting for the teacher to introduce them and assign them seats.

A teacher I did not recognize walked into the room. "Sonoko, who's that?" I asked.

"That's Jodie-sensei," she answered. "She's the new English teacher and she's taking the place of our old teacher who retired last week." I remembered the old sensei. He was always so strict, I wondered how Jodie-sensei was.

"Good morning class!" Jodie-sensei said in English.

"Good morning!" Everybody answered back.

"We have two new students today." She switched back to Japanese and gestured to Hattori-kun and Kazuha-chan who smiled and waved. "This is Hattori Heiji and Tooyama Kazuha. They're from Osaka and are going to be staying for the year. I hope you'll be kind to them."

"We hope we'll get to know everyone very well," they said together.

"Choose any empty desk." Jodie-sensei pointed to the back of the room where Sonoko and I were sitting. They chose the desks next to ours, and Kazuha-chan winked at me. Murmurs started in the classroom.

"Hattori Heiji, isn't that the famous High School detective?"

"Aren't they the ones who were caught in that drug factory explosion a couple of days ago?"

"I heard Hattori-kun was supposed to be as good as Kudo-kun. Poor Kudo-kun."

"Silence class!" Jodie-sensei reverted back to English. "We have to get started! Everybody take out their English textbooks and turn to page 167."

"Is she like that all the time?" I asked Sonoko. I wasn't really all that good at English, and I only understood half of what she was saying.

"Yeah. Her Japanese is a little shaky. But she's really fun!"

We weren't even halfway through class when the principal came in. "Is Mouri Ran here?"

"Ran, what did you do?" said Sonoko curiously.

"I don't know." What could it be? "I'm here!" I told him.

"Come out in the hallway. I have to discuss something with you." I walked out of the classroom, and waited for him to tell me what this was all about. "We're having trouble with the new elementary schooler, Haibara Ai. Could you please come to help her?"

What could she possibly have done in forty minutes?

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