“You don’t understand…”
I mumble, not meaning for the other person to hear it, but he does. He turns his head in my direction, puzzlement on his face. I read his expression well, but say nothing, because I know very well that he will not understand, no matter how many times I have to explain it, nor how hard.
He waits for me to say anything, and when I still do not comply, he paces towards me within five long steps and looks at me in the eyes, and begins to open his mouth, but my eyes automatically slide down to focus on his lips, through not in the way anyone would think.
He pauses, seemingly having noticed my line of sight, but only for a moment and continues as if he was not interrupted.
“Please, miss, tell me. What is it I don’t understand?”
He and I had never communicated until now, but it seems like he understood what I just said. Well, no surprise there. That sentence is one of the easiest to say, because these three words are amongst the few which are simple enough to say more often than most other words that anyone speaking with even the thickest accent can automatically correct the sounds instantly and actually understand them just as easily.
I take a moment to assess him, taking in his short dark hair with messy frames on his forehead plus a cowlick and some strands hanging at the base of his neck, wearing what seems like a blue school uniform but could have been a professional suit nonetheless. He is about the same height as me, if not a centimetre or two taller, and his eyes are the bluest I’ve ever seen (the colour of the sky and the sea when he is calm, yet the force of a storm when he is determined or angry), but the emotions and wisdom are what takes me in. I can see his honesty and willingness to take justice into his own matters and is not afraid to show his reasons for why, whilst showing the intelligence he has gathered all the years since his infancy, truly a prodigy.
However, there is something missing from those eyes, I can tell. He is a bit too blunt and cocky, he hasn’t experienced the negative part of being a detective (of is his ambition, I figure, just from seeing the way he talks with that brown-coat-and-hat-wearing inspector and how he is leading the staff around the room they are standing in); not taking all kinds (victims or criminals or otherwise) of people’s feelings into account. He knows that the world isn’t painted in black and white, but he doesn’t realise it is truly painted in grey either.
He does not seem to mind the weight of my focus upon him, so I take the time he provides in order to think. I had not caught his introduction, but I have seen his face on a newspaper somewhere. I think his name is Kinido or Kushini or Shinika or something like that. I do not want to offend him by asking for his name a second time, so I don’t ask.
I glance sideways to behind him, upon a scene somewhat blocked by several police tapes, and my eyes reluctantly fixes upon the corpse lying in the master bathroom next to a rather large bedroom that was reserved at the hotel for a few nights, and I try to swallow the reflexive expulsion of lunch from my stomach at the strong smell of iron and the sight of crimson liquid contrasting the white tiles on the ground and a clear tub the corpse is lying against. Or rather, a young female is.
The young female is sitting with her back to the tub and one of her arms is lifted behind her and wrist dipped into the water that is filled to the brim, already dyed with her blood. Her other hand holds a knife kitchen lying beside her thighs, blade facing away from her. She is wearing a black undervest and bright green shorts, and her long light brown hair is tied loosely into a ponytail. A sort of a crumpled note is lying a few steps away from her, written in her handwriting implying what I already deduced as her will, or what I could see everyone saying as a “suicide note”. But that’s where everything is wrong.
This female was my friend from school, we’ve been close ever since she first interacted with me and actually learned sign language just to communicate with me more easily (one of the reasons for why I loved her deeply, she possessed a very kind heart), and interpreted for me outside of school most of the time. We have shared everything with each other, and I mean everything . Even that one secret (oh no I can't believe it, but that makes sense). She is not the kind to complicate herself by wearing opposing and bright colours, because she wore plain clothes so as to not hurt nor distract my eyes. If she ever chose to wear bright clothes (rare, but still there) she made it a point to draw on them just to darken them as much as possible without ruining them, all just for me. But I had never seen the green shorts before, and it did not have her drawings on.
She had a very lively and kind soul, not so depressed to the point she would take her own life. If she ever thought of it (which I very much doubt) she would have thought of me and her family and she would have stopped , I am very sure. The knife she holds is an overhand grip, she could not have slit her wrist like that easily, the wound looks like it had been slit professionally, and it certainly wasn’t done by herself. She was not very good with the kitchen, I cooked for her most of the time (she helped with the easiest and most basic things whenever she decided to), so that was impossible. And that note…
Now having been done with my observation, I flicker back to the detective. I silently gesture to my departed friend (not corpse) and shift my expression into one that asks for an explanation (I am an actress, she joked, because I can change my expressions so that people can know my thoughts without an actual voice very easily). Easily interpreting my look, he complies, making sure he speaks clearly. He is very observant, he knows just from my expression and gesture that I am deaf without me having to confirm. I like him already.
“Shimizu Akane-san, age 21, was your friend, I assume? That lady, judging by the knife in her hand and the note, died by suicide. There is no other way she could have died unless someone knows her handwriting intimately and the way she could have possibly slit her wrist. Her death was not immediate, but her wounded wrist soaked in the water did speed it up, and the pills she overdosed on...” but he trails off. A look must have crossed my face, because a recognition and resolute look passes his face in a blink, before continuing, “Unless you know something about this?”
I take a quick breath in shock and awe. While it does seem to anyone that she intentionally took her own life, but they don’t know her, because I know it wasn’t her so I want to just bash these heads in and yell at them that it wasn’t Akane, it was done by someone else, she was murdered, I know. But now I try to hold back the look of frustration that had slipped my control. I glance at him with my brows furrowed and mouth turning grim. I try to tell him with my eyes without voicing that there is something wrong about this. Something invisible . His blue orbs connects with mine for a moment before looking behind his back at the corpse (Akane, not corpse!), assessing from another direction, I can practically feel his brain gears turning at fast speeds, and then turning to me again.
“It’s not her… is that what you’re telling me?” At my nod, he puzzles over his own observation before asking, “Can you tell me why you came to that point? Or is there something you can’t tell me…?” At my silence, he looks at me with silent scrutiny, I know he wants an answer right now, but…
No. I shake my head with trembling shoulders, and wander straight down at my feet. I can’t, no matter how much I want to tell him. I know there is a very dark side to this incident, this murder. I should tell him, to bring justice and peace to my best friend, but I just can’t. Because if I do, Shinicho (sounds right but not quite, almost there, just replace with a few letters!) and everyone around him will surely be in danger. No matter how deep with murders he is in thanks to his involvement with the police, he has still not truly encountered both light and darkness of this world. I know Akane wouldn’t allow me to, because she is so kind. So until he knows both life and death intimately, I won’t allow him to be in danger because of me. So I say nothing.
I feel his glare and then his sigh (a soft breeze, breathing against my hair). He taps my shoulder and my eyes focused on him again. He dismisses it, but I know this won’t be a ‘case closed’ for him, I can see from the resolution in his eyes. He will get to the bottom of this, whatever this is, one way or another. But before that, he wants to know one thing. He sends me a formal smile.
“Would it be possible to ask for your name? I mean, I can’t keep calling you ‘miss’ forever, can I?”
I give him a sad smile of apology and gratitude and my hands goes to rummage for my phone in my bag. I take it out and type in my name plus a little message before showing him.
P.S I’m truly sorry. It’s not yet time. You still have much to learn and experience. You will know everything, eventually. I promise. Also, thank you for being understanding, you have so much patience and kindness. You will reach where your dream takes you, I’m sure’
His brows knitted in a frown at my message but comments nothing, and then raises his eyebrow in amusement. “Aina?”
I glare at him and snort to the side. My parents gave me that name, and I like it, so stuff it.
He is indeed so observant, having read my mind so easily. He then raises his hands and signs something wait what the heck…?
‘Ku-do-u Shi-ni-chi, that’s my name.’
I snap up at him in shock… but then turned into a deathly glare because he actually knows how to sign and didn’t tell me?! And he actually has the audacity to give me that damn smirk-turned-smug look?! Dammit!
He spins on his heels to walk towards the inspector and speaks with the man. I glower noiselessly behind him, trying to hold back the urge to punch him, but it goes back to zero levels when I catch a few words (by reading his lips from far away) such as ‘suicide… she didn’t… murdered… from outside… request… case… on hold...’ but it is enough to understand the gist of what he requests from the inspector. His eyes meet with mine for a moment and I send him a look of gratitude. The situation has changed, the case is put on hold until he can get to the bottom of this.
His eyes bore into mine, searching and imploring for more information but I shake my head because he can’t know, not now. He slumps his shoulders yet raises his head in determination nonetheless. He goes around to interrogate a few of my friends (they came along with Akane and I for the holiday) still hanging around the bedroom for more information.
After a few hours Shinichi and the inspector lets me and my friends go after asking us to call (or text, in my case) them if we know any more information. Blue eyes connected with mine for the final time, and I leave him one final thing (making sure my speech is clear enough for him to grasp) before moving to a spare room the hotel prepared for us by request from the inspector (I am glad I do not have to pay for another room, one was expensive enough), so that I can mourn for Akane in private. Shinichi looks frustrated but that is all I can offer him, for now.
“You just don’t understand… yet. But the next time we meet, you will know all you need, I promise.”
Conan is lying on a sofa at the professor’s house reading the newest book of Detective Saimonji (it come out earlier this week, he is so excited to finally read it), tuning out the ruckus the kids are making about some stupid game Agasa-hakase created, when he has an epiphany. It comes as a great shock he is not prepared for it, and when he suddenly stands up, his hand slips out of the edge and he falls off the sofa, thumping his head onto the floor as a result. Professor and the kids are surprised by the sudden noise of a body slamming into the floor and turn to his direction. Conan clutches his head in pain.
“Itai, itai, itai!”
“Conan-kun, are you okay?!” Ayumi exclaims, running to him with her friends.
He waits for the pain to lessen before looking up at his small friends, confirming that he is fine, nothing serious before donning a determined look towards his strawberry blond equal.
“Haibara, can we talk?” When the kids were about to chime in, he quickly adds, “No, just Haibara. Alone. This is important.”
Haibara studies him with piercing scrutiny before spinning on her heel to her lab downstairs and Conan follows, while shooting the kids a glare that promises consequences if they so much as eavesdrop on Conan and herself without their permission. The kids comply, shuddering at her ‘evil glare’.
Once they are downstairs Haibara stares at him, demanding he get to the point, he obeys though with a questioning thought.
“Haibara… can someone know about their existence without being involved? Through a relative or friend without them realising, perhaps?”
She glares at him, “No. Even if they don’t know now, with just one slip from someone and they would have known and killed that someone eventually. Why do you ask?” After a moment her eyes widen in terror, “Don’t tell me… is there someone who knows about them ?!”
He shoots her a look, a calm with a dash of fear in his eyes, “I can’t be completely sure, but I think so. I met someone, before I became this ,” he gestures to his own small body, “on a case that I asked to be put on hold. Before you ask, I originally thought that a victim died by suicide, but it wasn’t actually the case. It was a murder, from the outside source . I do think that person, the best friend of the murdered, does know something because she refused to tell me anything. Wait, now that I think about it, she was actually afraid. Not for herself, but for my safety .” Conan thinks back to that certain case, one he could not ever forget, and the words she left behind. He grits his teeth, he should have realised then! He misunderstood the whole thing, but now that he actually experienced both light and darkness, he sees that person in a whole new light. Oh, Aina…
He spins on his heel and runs up the stairs, while yelling behind him. “I need to call Megure-keibu, I need to find her ASAP !”
I will find you, Aina. And this time, you will tell me what I need to know! Even if we have to communicate through sign language, you will tell me everything! I will surely protect you while we’re at it!
Just wait for me, Aina!