I’m trying to kick writer’s block and actually write after so long. It’s hard. Haven’t been able to focus lately what with the wildfires on the west coast and the pandemic making me stir-crazy. Good news, the air quality is clearing slowly but surely. Now if the pandemic could end, that’d be great.
This is a continuation of the old thing that I’d written long ago but posted recently. Not edited. Might tweak it later before possibly posting to Archive of Our Own. Dunno.
Phantom Faces Part 2
“Fetch me a coffee.”
Shinichi gritted his teeth as he stood and strode out of the office. Talking to the Ekoda inspector was like navigating a minefield: one wrong step and his job would go up in flames. Staying on the man’s good side was a nightmare and even then it wasn’t that worthwhile. But he needed the resources and confidential databases offered by being on the force. And yet…?
There was something off about Inspector Inoue.
Whether it was due to the constant dismissal or something more, Shinichi’s gut said the man had something to hide. His gut had rarely been wrong. But this one time he wasn’t fully ready to believe his instincts. Ekoda precinct was the only one to accept him on their team. Ekoda was the only place where he had the chance to rebuild his tattered reputation. He had to start somewhere. And dismantling the police station with his low-status would be more counter-productive than helpful and could even risk his job.
But some risks were necessary. Starting with quietly investigating the Kimura case on his own. Depending on how key players of the case reacted to his face, he could play the “student researching a project” card. Should they recognize him as the “washed out detective” then he’d have to improvise. Maybe claim the higher ups had sent him as a test on his abilities? See if he can follow and understand Inoue’s “esteemed detective’s” deductions? Or maybe–
His face crashed into someone’s chest. “Watch it, brat.” The person snapped.
Stepping back, he sighed. “Apologies, Hayashi-keiji.”
“Better be. You’re lucky Inoue-keibu was kind enough to let you play pretend. Keep your head down and you might actually learn something. Maybe even fit in.”
His skin crawled. Outwardly there was nothing unsettling about the statement other than the aggressive nature. Inwardly, however…
“Of course.” He dipped his head. “I’ll be sure to watch closely.”
…there was an unspoken promise in those words, he was certain. He side-stepped the older officer. But what did they mean? If his instincts were right then the Ekoda murder division had something to hide. Knowing his luck then that meant they were covering a murder. Possibly more. But why? What did they have to gain?
Continuing his way through the police department, deep in thought and only half aware, he almost missed the faint whispers of men working on a case. The muffled words “gem” and “heist” briefly filtered through his ears. He paused a beat, gaze sliding to the nearest, slightly ajar door.
The muffled words became clear as the door swung open. Shinichi blinked, startled, and greeted. “Hakuba-san?”
The blonde blinked in return. “Kudo-kun. What brings you to Ekoda? Interested in the KID heist, perhaps?”
“Ah, no.” They fell into step beside each other, both heading towards the lobby. “I actually transferred here recently. I’m the new officer in Division One.”
“Oh.” Hakuba’s voice lifted with an odd, unreadable tone. “Interesting.”
They arrived at the lobby. Shinichi dismissed his hackles instinctively rising as paranoia because, really, when had Hakuba ever been a threat? They didn’t know each other well as his older self. Hakuba didn’t know he was secretly Edogawa Conan.
So he tipped his head in farewell. “Enjoy the heist.”
“You’re not curious?”
He straightened. Oddly enough, Shinichi thought he could hear disappointment in the other’s tone. He couldn’t waste time running around an, admittedly fun, heist. Though KID was a welcome break with his “no one gets hurt” policy, murderers and conspiracies wouldn’t wait. It would be fun to attend, but…
“I’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
Hakuba flinched. Shinichi frowned. “Hakuba-san? Are you alright?”
The expression smoothed. “Yes, I just remembered I have approximately one second and twenty five milliseconds before I’m late to the next meeting. Farewell, Kudo-kun.”
“Ah…” The other pivoted on his heel and strode away. “…bye.”
Weird. But he didn’t have time to sit and wonder Hakuba’s behavior.