Title: Bloody Keyboard Melody
Theme: Day Eleven: concert
Series: Detective Conan
Warnings: Yay mentions of murder~
Disclaimer: Detective Conan belongs to the great and wonderful Gosho Aoyama. Minami Takayama and Shiina Nagano (aka. Two-Mix) belong to themselves XD;
Anything else: Longer than intended as usual. Please let me know whatcha think of it though, it pleases the muses ^^;
"You want me to what?" Conan asked, staring at Haibara.
"I need to test this new mix so we'll have an estimate of the time you'll get to spend with your girlfriend tomorrow."
Shinichi blushed, "She's not my girlfriend!"
"You're giving her that ring, right?"
He sighed, deciding to change the subject, "What do you mean new-mix?"
Walking back over to the computer, Ai's fingers began to input information quickly into the program.
"You know how the alcoholic properties of that one type of wine combined with a feverish cold seemed to trigger something? Well, since I didn't figure you wanted to be that ill yet still wanted to go back- I'm using a smaller dosage of an antidote I've been working on, the wine, and a pill that'll give you mild cold-like symptoms instead of severe ones."
Conan blinked, "You're sure going to a lot of trouble..."
"I never turn down a willing test subject. And, as I mentioned once before, I owe my sister at least a small amount of so-called 'Christmas Spirit.'"
"So you want me to go to the Christmas concert tonight with Ran as Shinichi?"
"The large crowd will protect your identity best. Keep your face hidden, don't talk too much, and don't get caught up in anything messy. Now-here," She handed over a small pill, "Take that. I'll begin monitoring your reaction. Oh, Professor-"
Agasa stood in the doorway, "Is this going to work?"
Ai nodded, "By my calculations, his risk of death is only 70% this time."
Both Conan and Agasa winced. Haibara smirked slightly, speaking still with complete calmness, "I was joking. It's only 60%"
"Oh that's sure a relief," He snarked back, eyeing the pill.
"Shinichi are you sure about this?" Agasa questioned, looking at Conan's small body.
"I suppose Haibara's right. If I don't have any idea the time limit on this, then I could end up fainting in Ran's presence and my cover will be completely blown. If I at least have a slight idea, I can get out of there before it wears off."
The Professor nodded warily, "I'll wait with Ai-kun outside the concert tonight just in case. If anything goes wrong, signal us with your cell phone and come to the car immediately."
Conan nodded, "I will. Now, let's just hope for the best..."
Placing the pill in his mouth, he swallowed.
Ran had heard about it on the news and she really wished she'd gotten tickets to attend. It was a last-minute Christmas concert by the popular group Two-Mix and tickets were gone within seconds of it being announced. She'd heard that some people had been lucky enough to win tickets via a local radio station but no matter how hard she tried, she never called in at the right time.
Sitting down on the couch, she wondered what she could do that evening. The Professor had called earlier saying that Conan and the kids were playing with another new invention and they might not be home until late. It was possible, he even noted, that the children might spend the night.
Looking to her Father, once again napping at his desk, Ran sighed.
"I almost wish a case would come up if nothing else but it's better than sitting here and doing nothing..." She paused after that, laughing to herself, "Great, now I'm thinking like Shinichi."
The phone started ringing then, and Ran quickly stood to answer it in hopes that whoever it was would save her from her boredom. Little did she know, it was someone she'd just been thinking of.
"Hey," Shinichi's distinct voice came over the line.
"Are you busy at the moment?"
Ran blinked, glancing about the room, "No. Why?"
"Get changed really quick and come downstairs. I got tickets to that Two-Mix concert and I thought you might enjoy it."
Blinking again, Ran stared at the phone, "Shinichi?"
"Are you feeling all right?"
"What do you mean?"
She darted over to the window and looked out; sure enough the Professor's car sat there with a familiar figure sitting in the passenger seat.
"Never mind. I'll be right down," She replied, her voice perking up instantly.
Shinichi sat down his cell phone and sighed, "Oi, Agasa- what do you think that was about?"
"She probably thought you were joking or that it's strange for you to be this nice all of a sudden."
"Hey! I'm not mean to her on purpose. It's not like I want to have to run away all the time without saying goodbye because things come up!"
"Shinichi..." Agasa warned.
"What's she gonna do tomorrow when I give her that gift?" He kept talking, not paying any heed to the shadow behind him.
"Shinichi!" The Professor interrupted.
He pointed outside the window, "I think she's here."
Shinichi blushed, and Ran looked equally flustered by what she'd overheard.
"Um...hi Ran," He got out and opened the backseat. Ran just sorta stared for a second, before finally snapping back to the moment.
"You're really here, aren't you?"
Rubbing the back of his nervously, he casually replied, "Why wouldn't I be?"
Before he knew it, Ran was hugging him; and finding himself equally thankful for this extra chance to see her, Shinichi wrapped his arms around her as well.
"I thought I wasn't going to get to see you until tomorrow," Ran murmured, "And then I kept dreading that you'd call and that some case had come up and..."
He cut her off, steadying her and wiping away the tears that threatened to fall.
"Sorry Ran. I'm going to stay with you today as long as I can. But since this date is a bit last-minute, I might get called away from it. Tomorrow's still on though, okay?"
She nodded, then blushed as she registered his choice of words.
"A date, huh?" Ran questioned, impish gleam in her eye.
"Well um...err..." He looked to the Professor, desperately hoping he'd get him out of this one.
"We'd best get going you two, you don't want to be late," Agasa spoke up.
Shinichi coughed nervously, "Come on Ran, you can beat me up in the car."
Ran sat down next to him in the backseat, "I'll beat you up another time. Right now, I just want to enjoy this."
And at that remark, Shinichi couldn't help but smiling along with her.
Whether this antidote would last a few minutes or longer, he no longer cared. Seeing Ran's face light up like this for the few moments he'd been back already made it all worth it.
Using his slight sneezing and cold as an excuse, Shinichi made sure to keep his coat's hood pulled up around him as they got out at the park where the concert was being held. Handing over the tickets, Ran noted the small envelope and note in his pocket as well.
Going to their seats, Ran decided that in the small time left before the show she'd find out more about that note.
"So, how'd you get these tickets again?"
"The Professor won them in some contest and figured we'd enjoy going," He answered casually.
Ran frowned skeptically, "Ah. Okay."
The lights started to go down, and much to the disappointment of the audience- a security officer took the stage.
"The show will be delayed slightly, please remain in your seats until otherwise notified."
"I wonder what happened," Ran said aloud, looking about.
Shinichi's eyes were focused on the stage. Reaching over, he placed his hand atop Ran's.
"I'll be right back. I'm going to go backstage and see what happened."
"Shinichi, it's probably just a technical problem."
He frowned, "If it was that, they would have said so. And the stage lights seem to be fine. If it was a problem with the performers, they would say so as well. This is probably a delay they can't speak about. Also, the announcement was made by a security officer and he instructed everyone to remain seated. They don't want someone to leave..."
Ran sighed, "So a crime was committed; you're a magnet for them, Shinichi."
"I'm gonna go see what's going on," He stood, pausing when he felt Ran's hand grip his wrist.
"And this time, I'm coming with you."
"Don't 'but Ran' me. I've seen plenty of crimes with my Father, and if the only way I'm going to get to spend time with you is ogling a corpse, then so be it. Let's go."
Shinichi shook his head, then realizing that there was no dissuading her, grabbed her hand and headed for the backstage door.
"All right, let's go."
After showing the guards the note he'd had, Shinichi and Ran were easily admitted backstage. As suspected, something serious had indeed gone wrong.
Hanging from one of the rows of stage lights was a dead body, an electronic cord wrapped around his neck as a noose. Shinichi sighed.
While he knew he could probably figure out the case easily, he couldn't risk the publicity if it got out who solved the crime. And since he'd already used his name to get backstage, the stakes were high.
"And I have to figure in the fact that the antidote could wear off any moment..."
"This is terrible," Ran murmured, looking up at the man, "He was one of your lighting crew members right?"
Minami, Shiina and the rest of the crew nodded.
"Can someone lower the body down? We need to figure the time of death," Ran called out, quickly taking control of the situation.
A shorter man nodded and rushed to a consol to switch the lights off and lower the beam down. Shinichi just smiled.
"Well, well... it looks like playing detective all the time with your Father and Conan has rubbed off. Okay, Ran- today you get to solve this one."
Tugging her aside, Shinichi whispered to her, "Ran, I need you to do me a favor."
"Huh? What is it?"
"I can't let my name go to press or the case I'm on will be jeopardized. I'll help you every step of the way, but I need you to solve this case."
She blinked a moment, then knowing he'd never lead her astray, she reached down and took his hand. Giving it a light squeeze, Ran replied, "Okay, Shinichi. Just tell me what to do."
For the next half-hour, the two gathered names, facts and information on the comings and goings of the crew and musicians.
They'd opted against bringing in the police yet, in hopes that they could keep crowd-panic to a minimum. But either way, Shinichi made a quick call to Megure-keibu to give him the basics and tell him he'd call once they knew more.
The victim was thirty-one year old Ugaki Shuusuke. He'd worked lights for Two-Mix for years along with two other crew members and was just about to propose to his girlfriend that night. Shinichi was quick to note that the engagement ring was missing- a clue, he noted that would most likely show up on the criminal's person.
One of the two other light-crew members was sick that day. Yado Hideaki called in earlier that morning sounding terribly ill. Ran wondered if perhaps that was just a cover for him coming to the site anyways and Shinichi had to agree.
Then there was the third lighting crew member- Oroya Tanaka. He'd shown up late for the tech-run earlier that day and had been acting odd ever since according to the other crew members. He also, as many noted, would have had the easiest access to the cord and beam that the victim was hung on.
Of course, there was Two-Mix and their manager, who were also questioned. Something that, much to Ran and Shinichi's surprise, seemed to give them an odd lead.
Their manager had mentioned it casually, but it seemed cause for investigation. While Minami was rehearsing that afternoon, Shiina had remained in his room- saying he wasn't feeling well. Sure enough, after a quick sweep of his dressing room the case would be closed easily. The criminal had left his tracks everywhere.
But before a deduction could be made, Shinichi felt the pains in his chest getting worse. Quickly, he pulled Ran aside to speak to her.
"Ran, listen...I might have to leave soon."
"Shinichi, are you all right?" Concern flooded her features, obviously worried about his current health situation.
He nodded, "Just my cold acting up, nothing serious. But I want you to solve this case, you have the clues Ran and I know you can do this."
Reaching down, he returned her earlier gesture. Interlocking his fingers with hers, he gently squeezed her hand.
"Trust me, Ran. You can do this, I'll be perfectly okay and I'll be there tomorrow."
He could feel the burning sensation in his chest and knew he had to go- right away. But before he could pull away completely, he felt Ran grab his wrist.
"Shinichi...I...." Her face was flushed, but she mustered up her courage. Finally, she pecked a quick kiss on his cheek, "Thank you."
Blinking, he could no longer tell if his racing heart was due the antidote wearing off or just his own nerves. "Ran..." He smiled, blushing as well, "Good luck."
She nodded, "Goodnight, Shinichi."
"Goodnight Ran," He replied, forcing himself to choke down his nerves and quickly leave a light kiss on her cheek as well. Ran watched him as he hurried away like always.
"At least this time he said goodbye," She reasoned, her hand subconsciously touching the very cheek Shinichi had just kissed.
Composing her nerves and emotions, Ran headed back into the room where the suspects were gathered. About to ask them all to listen up- she noticed Megure-keibu and Officer Takagi there.
"Ah, Ran-san! You're here. Kudo-kun said you'd be handling the case since he wasn't feeling well today."
Ran nodded, glad to see them but still determined to uphold her promise to Shinichi. He had so much faith in her to solve this case and that gave her a newfound confidence in her deduction skills. In an instant, she turned serious.
"Megure-keibu, if you could please verify the time and cause of death I can begin my deduction."
The two officers exchanged a look- then quickly set their crew out to perform the tasks Ran had requested.
Running all the facts through her mind, Ran tried to recall the way Shinichi had helped her solve a case before. The subtle nuances that would draw the criminal out, the way to deliver clear, concise evidence, and how to present each and every detail of the crime.
She noticed Takagi approach her and he whispered a few things to her. Nodding, she turned to the gathered suspects.
"If you would all please take a seat, we can get this over with and let the show go on."
The group nodded and Ran took a deep breath. She could do this, Shinichi said so, and above all else- she trusted him.
"Good luck," His words echoed in her mind and clearing her throat, she began the deduction.
"Shuusuke-san was killed about two hours before the show began, his body being hidden on that beam by a trick," Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a thin fishing line wire, "This fishing line was used to hold down his legs as he laid horizontally on the beam. The line was then tied to the neighboring beam that held the secondary lights. When the lights went up for the show to start, the line would snap and the body would fall down making it look as if he'd hung himself. At first glance, it would seem a suicide. But that... is not the case here."
Pacing a little, Ran could feel a rush- almost like she got when she was competing against a worthy opponent in karate. Yes, this is why Shinichi loved doing this. Solving crimes and bringing the truth gave him this kind of thrill. Somehow, Ran felt a little closer to him in realizing this.
"Hideaki-san had called in sick today, meaning the only other light-crew member who would know the sequence in which the beams were moved to set up such a trick would be, you- Tanaka-san."
The man jumped as her finger pointed at him. Looking panicked, he stood up, "But I had an alibi- I told you! Two hours before the show I was doing a sound check. Takayama-san saw me, right?"
Minami nodded, "Tanaka-san was running a sound check then. I was on stage testing the microphones for him and doing some warm-ups. He couldn't have been backstage rigging the beams as you said."
Ran smirked, it was all beginning to play out. "Ah, that's true. I really didn't want to believe it, but it looks like it really is him. Since you're the only one who didn't have an alibi- it must be you- Nagano Shiina."
The whole group gasped as she pointed to Two-Mix's second member.
"Shiina...but he couldn't..." Minami gasped.
Keeping her cool, Ran continued, "I thought it was strange when the manager said he'd gone to lay down claiming he was ill. That's when I investigated your dressing room, Nagano-san. And I happened to find this in your trashcan..."
She pulled out a wadded piece of paper. Opening it, Ran read, "Shuusuke- please meet me backstage during sound check this afternoon. I'd like to go over something with you. -Shiina."
Megure stepped forward then, taking the note from Ran and holding it to where Minami could see it, "Can you verify the handwriting is his?"
Somberly, Minami nodded, "He's the only one who can write his i's like that. I'm afraid...it was written by him."
Glancing to Shiina, everyone noticed he looked rather serious. He'd not spoken much since they'd gotten to the room, but most had figured it was due to him not feeling well.
"Nagano-san..." The manager murmured.
He stood abruptly, then started to make a dash for the door. But Ran knew this was all part of his plan and quickly moved to stop him. She spun around, giving a kick square to his jaw, and he went flying; finally slumping against a nearby wall.
"Ran-san!" Megure yelled out.
Leaning down, Ran pulled off the man's wig, "I'm sorry, Megure-keibu. But I couldn't let our criminal get away. Takagi-san, please go to the storage closet at the end of the hallway. You'll find the real Shiina there. He had been threatened and forced to write that note and kept there afterwards. He's fine, Shinichi and I made sure of it earlier."
The officer nodded, and left the room of stunned people to see who was really behind this. Sure enough, at Ran's feet was a man who was attempting to disguise himself as Shiina. Without the wig though, the crew recognized him right away.
"Hideaki-san," Minami said, walking up beside Ran, "You...you did it?"
The man shrugged, "Heh. Yah, I did. That bastard Shuusuke- he took her from me! She was mine!"
Ran held out a hand, "You took the ring he was going to propose with, didn't you?"
Reluctantly, Hideaki tossed it out on the ground, "I couldn't let him have her. First Shiina, then Shuusuke. She never noticed me. Not once!"
Nodding her head, Ran bit her lip, "Shuusuke's girlfriend, Kiyone-san, you loved her didn't you?"
Hideaki started to stand, letting himself be handcuffed by the police.
"Yes, I always did. But she was just using me to get closer to Shiina. She idolized that man like he was some god, always talking about how it was her dream to play keyboards with him. I got a job on the light crew so I could bring her backstage with me, give her little glimpses of him in hopes that she'd fall for me and my kindness. But she didn't! That woman... she fell in love with Shuusuke instead! A week after she dumped me, I found out Shuusuke had started dating her. After a year of trying to get her to look away from Shiina and look at me, she left me for him! I couldn't stand it!"
Hanging her head, Ran picked up the engagement ring box from where it laid on the ground.
"So when you heard he was going to propose to her today, you decided to kill him first and frame Shiina for it. You'd been disguising yourself as Shiina from time to time to get closer to Kiyone, so you knew you could do that again. Once you locked the real Shiina in the closet and made him write that note, you would take his place and lay the clues to incriminate him. Then, whenever the deduction was made, you'd run from the room and hide in that very closet. Making it look as if Shiina had tied you up to keep quiet and letting him take all the blame. That way, they'd both be out of your way and you'd be able to win Kiyone-san's heart," Glancing up at him, Ran sighed, "I'm afraid love isn't that simple, Hideaki-san. Love requires trusting and understanding one another and she could never trust you after you deceived her like this. Megure-keibu, please give this to Kiyone-san."
Placing the small ring box in his hands, Ran smiled sadly. Megure reached out and patted her on the shoulder, "You did a wonderful job here, Ran-san. Both your Father and Kudo-kun would be very proud of you."
She nodded, "If you don't need me anymore, I think I'll be returning to my seat. The show must go on, right Minami-san?"
Glancing over to Minami, Ran noticed the real Nagano Shiina standing in the doorway with Takagi.
Minami smiled back, "Yes. Give us a few minutes to get this sorted out, but we'll still perform. Shuusuke-san would have wanted us to. Thank you very much, Ran-chan. You and your boyfriend certainly helped us out a great deal tonight."
"Ah well...it was nothing," Ran murmured, blush tingeing her cheeks, yet feeling too awkward at the moment to correct the singer.
"Are you all right?" Minami asked, turning to Shiina.
"Yah, they made sure I'd be okay waiting there until they could deduce things. I should be warmed up and ready to play in a few minutes."
Ran started to head out, the rush of the mystery slowly ebbing away. Behind her, she heard Minami call out.
"Ah, Ran-chan! Let us know if you two ever need tickets again for a date. We'll be more than happy to give you front row seats."
Letting that process, Ran replied, "Oh- um, thank you!"
"That's what that note was. He set this whole date up and even contacted Two-Mix for the tickets. That little sneak!"
But as she headed back to her seat, Ran had to smile about it. He'd gone out of his way, at the last minute and while he was still on a case, to stop by and set up a date with her. Shinichi understood what it would mean to her, and he'd trusted her with the case when he had to leave.
Shaking her head with a blush, Ran reflected on her own words.
"Love requires trusting and understanding one another..."
"Ran-neechan, is everything okay?" The familiar voice cut into her thoughts.
Looking down, she spotted Conan walking up beside her.
"Conan-kun, what are you doing here?"
"Shinichi-niisan called and said he had to leave you with a case and go home. He didn't want you sitting through the concert alone so he asked if I could come in his place."
Ran's face lit up at that as she kneeled down and hugged the young boy.
"Tell Shinichi if you hear from him later that I solved the case," She whispered in his ear.
Conan nodded, "I will, Ran-neechan. I bet he'll be really proud when he hears about it on the news tomorrow."
"The news?" Ran blinked.
"Of course, it's a big deal to solve a crime like this. You cleared Nagano-san's name and you're Mouri Kogoro's daughter. It might even make the front page."
Ran sat down in her seat, letting that all sink in. After a moment, she quirked an eyebrow, "Hey, wait a minute. How did you know that the murderer had framed Nagano-san?"
Conan's eyes widened, but he casually replied, "Oh- Shinichi-niisan told me. He said that's why you'll make the front page for sure!"
Smiling, Ran shook her head, "After all the times Shinichi and even you have made the paper, I guess it's about time I did some detective work too. I suppose it's actually a bit...fun."
Conan smiled at that, glad to see that Ran understood what the appeal was to him. Before either could say more, the lights dimmed and the Minami's voice came over the speakers.
"I'm very sorry for the delay everyone, but now- let's get this concert started!"
Ran wasn't surprised to see Professor Agasa waiting with the car when her and Conan exited the concert. On the other hand, the slew of reporters all asking her various questions was indeed a shock.
Conan just grinned and told her to be more articulate than her Father was in interviews. Ran grinned back and assured him that she would. Knowing to keep mentions of Shinichi to a minimum so his other case wasn't jeopardized- Ran did her best to answer all the questions.
The next morning as the Shounen Tantei didn't let Conan hear the end of it. Between Haibara knowing that as Shinichi he'd kissed Ran on the cheek and Genta and Mitsuhiko taunting that his high-school girlfriend had made the paper- Conan knew he'd be very glad to get away from them that evening.
As for the new antidote- it worked almost two hours. Something, as both Shinichi and the Professor noted, might work even a bit longer if he was lucky. But before even thinking about dealing with that, Shinichi knew he'd have to spend some time with her as Conan that afternoon to lower suspicions.
With the complex issues dealt with, Shinichi was now dealing with another dilemma. Namely- how to give her the promise ring without making a complete idiot out of himself in the process.