Written as a response the to the Spook Me challenge on Livejournal. I may write more for this story but I'm going to leave it here for now.
Fandom: Detective Conan
Word count: 1842
Conan heard the door to the apartment open and close. Pleasant humming informed him that it was Ran who entered and not Kogoro (who was accompanied by groans, drunken mumblings or general complaints most of the time).
"I'm home!" Ran said, confirming Conan's deduction.
"Welcome home," he called back, walking towards her voice. He found her in the kitchen, placing a plant on the windowsill.
"What kind of plant did you get, Ran-neechan?" he asked, walking over to get a closer look. The plant looked like it was some kind of orchid with long tendril like roots, broad leaves, and a stalk with some buds that were about to bloom.
"It's a hybrid orchid of some kind," Ran said. "I got the last one at the store. It's supposed to be the easiest kind to grow and it is supposed to have a fantastic smell!" she enthusiastically said. "The clerk said this one should bloom in the next day or two."
"That's nice," Conan said, still no closer to understanding why girls loved flowers than he had been before he was shrunk.
"Wow, Ran, you were right!" Kogoro said, "this flower does smell great!"
"And it cost less than a six pack of beer," Ran said, taking a slight dig at her father's drinking habits.
He looked faintly guilty but said, "If you buy another one of these for my office, I'll pass on a six pack." Conan looked at him in shock and was surprised that Ran did not seem surprised.
"Deal!" she said. "I might have to look around. They are the hottest thing right now."
"Can I smell it?" Conan asked. 'I have to know what is the big deal about the smell that it'll make a drunk pass up on beer,' he thought.
Ran took the flower off the sill and brought it down to Conan's level.
He took a big sniff. For a moment, the most wonderful smell in the world filled his nose. It promised happiness and peace and anything else that he might desire. But the next moment, it went further, fully overwhelming all his senses, encompassing him.
The next thing he was aware of was a paramedic standing over him, holding an oxygen mask to his face.
He turned his head slightly and could see another paramedic talking to a very worried Ran and Kogoro. "We've heard of a few people passing out after smelling these new flowers," he said. "It seems to be some sort of strange allergic reaction but the person usually feels better after getting some oxygen but some need an overnight stay in the hospital."
"How are you feeling, kid," asked the one over him, drawing his attention away from the others.
"Okay," tried to say but found that only a scratchy sound came out. A mild look of alarm passed over the paramedic's face.
He smiled at Conan, "How do you feel about a ride in the back of an ambulance?"
Conan scowled at him.
Conan sat at the kitchen table, munching his way through a rather sad breakfast. Ran had not made breakfast that morning. In fact, she had barely gotten up in time to have breakfast and she was still getting dressed. It was like she was going through the motions of a regular routine out of habit only and even those were falling away, starting with breakfast.
Kogoro was worse. He still lay in bed. But he was not sleeping. He simply stared up at the ceiling with a goofy smile on his face. Despite his deductive skills, Conan was not sure he had gotten out of bed in the last two days.
Conan was more than worried. He was afraid. It was bad enough that Ran and Kogoro were acting this way (in fact, Ran alone would have sent him into full blown concern and distraction) but it seemed like the rest of the country was acting the same way. And did not care.
Everyone was the same way. All of the Detective Boys, including Haibara, which Conan would never admit, terrified him. At first, she had been interested in the phenomenon and then... didn't care anymore.
TV shows, races, games, school, and anything that required people had slowed down. Life had not come to a stop simply because there were a few people who did not seem affected.
Conan did not yet see what connected those affected or those not. Which was exactly the reason that he was going to skip school in a little bit and meet up with another unaffected person: Detective Takagi.
"I really shouldn't be encouraging you to skip school," Takagi said as he handed Conan can of soda, "But I can't really see the point since I really doubt learning is going on right now."
"I'd be lucky if Kobayashi-sensei showed up today," Conan admitted. "She only stumbled in for a little while yesterday and then left. Most of the class didn't show." He shrugged, "I didn't bother sticking around all day. So you're not encouraging anything," he said, giving Takagi a lopsided smile.
"That sounds like the department, too. In fact, I don't think there is another officer unaffected by whatever it is," Takagi said, sadness evident in his voice.
"Detective Sato, too?" Conan asked though he had a pretty good idea of the answer. Takagi nodded.
Conan cast his eyes downward, "Ran, too."
Takagi shot him a look at him. It gave him a flash back to the elevator in Tokyo Tower. To his relief, Takagi did not ask the question again. 'Though it is like it is the end of world,' he thought.
Conan looked around the empty room. All of the officers' desks were unoccupied. "Are you the only one here? There was that one secretary downstairs but she didn't even notice me."
Takagi grimaced. "If I'm not, I might as well be. I suppose it's a good thing that crime has been affected the same way, otherwise I'd be in trouble. I may be the only one here but this is about the only room we could meet in anyway. Those blasted flowers are everywhere else. I had a bad reaction to the first one that was brought in here and Inspector Megure forbid them in the bullpen after that."
Conan blinked. "You did? I mean, did anyone else have a reaction?"
Takagi thought about it a moment, "No, I was the only one." He blinked and looked at Conan, "You had a bad reaction, too?" Conan nodded.
"It can't be the flowers? Can it?" Takagi asked. "Just about everyone I know has one. No, scratch that, everyone I know."
"Do you know anyone else unaffected?" Conan asked. "You're the only person I know. But I bet it wouldn't be hard to locate that one reporter to see if she had a bad reaction to the flowers." He gave a rather sardonic grin for a person who was supposed to be a child, "It probably won't hard to locate any of the unaffected."
"My landlady seemed okay this morning," Takagi said, "I'm going to give her a call to ask if she has one of those dratted flowers."
Conan and Takagi sat down in one of the conference rooms at the station after carefully clearing out the three orchids that had placed decoratively around the room. They were joined by twenty-five other men, women, and children of all ages. Two were foreigners attached to the US and German embassies.
They were all the people that could be located that were unaffected. Every one of them had a bad reaction to the orchid when they first smelled it.
After that, they began to discuss their options. Takagi managed to get in touch with a few other cities police departments (they were in much the same shape) and figured out how to operate the conference call so they could all discuss what was to be done. Takagi told all they could get in touch with the belief that the flower was the culprit. The department in Sapporo in Hokkaido was the best off. They were only down a few officers but the flowers had only made it up there a few days ago. They were strongly encouraged to get rid of the flowers and send samples to labs for testing.
"And whatever you do," Conan piped in, "Don't smell them!"
His demand was echoed by all the other lines. Almost reluctantly, because it seemed so unbelievable, they agreed to that course of action but did not agree (or disagree) to spread the information.
It was agreed that they would all meet back up the next day at the same time with news or any more people that might have been unaffected.
Takagi and Conan walked slowly down the hallway together. Conan pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, "I'm going to call my parents to make sure they know what's going on. I don't trust that guy from the US embassy to spread the news fast enough. My dad knows people."
"Knows people?" Takagi said, "Come to think of it, I don't even know what your father does."
Conan tensed. There was a tone in Takagi's voice that put him on edge. He chanced a glance glance up at the detective.
Takagi was giving him a measuring look but said nothing else. "I think I'm going to go check on Sato-san. At least, maybe I can help her," he said, changing the topic.
Conan seized the topic, "Maybe we can bring her to the Agency? I can't take care of both Ran and Kogoro."
Takagi thought about it, "That'd work. I think I'd have to bring her mother, too, but I don't think I've ever met her. But I can't leave one and take the other."
"We'll take my car," Takagi said, leading Conan down to the parking garage, "It'd be a really bad time for that skateboard of yours to quit working."
Conan agreed and followed Takagi to the car (which was in the best parking spot, not the one he was assigned).
Most of the ride to Sato's was in silence but, finally, Conan had to say one of the things on his mind.
"I wonder how long it will be before people start dieing?" Conan wondered. "As far as I know, the affected seem to be eating and drinking some but I don't know if that will last. Is it possible they will recover? Or will they stop completely and then die?"
"I don't know," Takagi replied, "Even if we could nurse them back to health, there aren't enough of us! I think we can only pray and hope they do recover and soon."
To be continued?