We are both very glad with the reviews received from the last chapter along with the followers and favorites!
To Sebasu: Thank you so much! We both hope to hear from you in the future chapters, so thank you very much for the support thus far!
To the Vulcan captain: I would love to tell you, but I also love surprising my readers :) Thank you for enjoying it so far and reviewing!
To SB: Her curse took a break because we concluded that when someone lives with the miraculous holder of luck, it sometimes rubs of on other people. Hence the lack of dead bodies. She was dismissive of Akuma because she is still a logical thinker, even after shrinking, because there was a logical explanation for that as well resulting from science. Magic? She's a skeptic. I'm glad you find the story interesting!
This story is a collaboration between myself and Sleeping Moon.
Disclaimer: We do not own either Miraculous Ladybug or Detective Conan/Case Closed!
Shinichi's dark blue orbs narrowed ever so slightly at the scrap of paper in her hand, while the other was trying to balance a large white box with the Tom & Sabine Boulangerie Patisserie logo stamped on it. Prior to her arrival in Paris, the former detective needed to speak and read French as fluently as possible; but while she did not mind running the occasional errand for Mrs. Dupain-Cheng, her husband's handwriting was less than desirable. Or eligible to comprehend, for the matter. Especially when he had try to draw a map of where this large order consisting of croissants and eclairs was supposed to be delivered. The couple would have asked their daughter to do it, but Marinette was at the library with Alya working on a school project.
However, Shinichi had not been called the Detective of the East just because she could defend herself and others from criminals using a powerful kick, or whatever substitute was handy in the situation; the coffee-haired teenager applied deductive reasoning, and clues to help her figure out the culprit's motive and even their elaborate tricks to conceal a terrible crime they committed.
When she caught the sight of a crudely drawn carousel Shinichi immediately knew that there was only one place in the 21st arrondissement, or municipal district that was close by: the park. Shinichi shrugged her shoulders, placing the paper in her blazer pocket. Well, at least it isn't that far of a walk. I still have to wonder where Marinette-san got her creativity, because it wasn't certainly from her father from the way he drew that horse! Or...was it suppose to be a horse?
The former sleuth blinked in surprise as a vague memory of her parents' unique courtship: sending clues to one another, from where to meet and even the time. Shinichi rolled her eyes at the thought and resumed walking. Sometimes, she wondered why she listened to her mother and moved in with the Dupain-Cheng family, when there were plenty of apartment complexes in the area that were equally suitable for her practical needs. It wasn't that she was grateful for the hospitality, mind you, but simply intruding someone else's home just because they used to work with your mother during her acting career? That seemed a bit much, and even a cliche idea to use in a short story. Unfortunately for Shinichi though, she could not choose who is in her family as much as she could choose to have for a friend.
Around ten to fifteen minutes later, she arrived at her destination. But as soon as she passed the gilded gates the sound a ball being kicked around reached her ears, followed by teenage Parisians shouting to one another.
"Over here! Over here!"
Her eyes narrowed ever so slightly before the sleuth cradled the box to her chest. She just found this place, and she was most certainly not going to let anything happen to these pastries. Keeping a mindful eye out for the group that were playing soccer nearby, Shinichi wandered around the area until a clicking sound caught her attention, along with a small groan of annoyance.
Craning her head to the source of the noise, Shinichi found two men standing near an ornate water fountain. The first one was large and tall, with an impassive expression on his face that seemed to slightly resemble a gorilla (though not in a rude way, it's just an observation!), while the other was lean and wearing eccentric clothing, constantly pressing the button of an expensive camera. But the subject that was being photographed, however, was none other than the current obsession in Marinette's life: Adrien Agreste.
Shinichi looked around the vicinity, and seeing that there no else in the area except the teenagers playing soccer, she immediately concluded that they were the ones who ordered these pastries. Biting a back a sigh, she began to walk towards them. When her dark blue orbs made momentary contact with widened emerald ones, Adrien waved at her with a pearly-white smile. The dark-haired foreigner returned the gesture, though it was more polite than friendly.
Even though she had heard about this particular classmate from Marinette on a daily basis and about how sweet of a guy he is to everyone, Shinichi had no intention of getting close to anyone outside of the Dupain-Cheng family. She had enough to worry about with school and adjusting to her new life here, including the return of her infamous bad luck. It had been quiet since she came to Paris, and it was starting to worry the former detective.
When Shinichi appeared beside the photographer, she released a small cough to get his attention. Normally she would not use this tactic because it was a little rude and sometimes startled people, but judging from the way this man was adamantly taking pictures, it would take more than a few minutes to talk to him.
Amber eyes whipped around to see cool azure-colored ones before narrowing in annoyance. "May I help you, mademoiselle?" The photographer asked in a heavy Italian accent. Shinichi just held up the box in her hands.
"I believe this is the order you placed at the Tom & Sabine Boulangerie Patisserie, correct? I'm here to deliver it."
The older man opened his mouth to speak until Adrien suddenly was beside them, the grin on his rosy cheeks stretching wider as he took the box from Shinichi. "Thank you so much, Shinichi! I hope it wasn't too much trouble for you to drop these off!"
When Shinichi had first been introduced to the students she would be sitting with for the next year or so, it astounded her on how well Adrien was able to pronounce her name. After talking to him as a partner in Physics Class, however, she quickly found out that he took Chinese lessons and advanced fencing classes in his spare time. It made sense; while Japanese and Chinese vary in phonetics and characters, it would not be hard for someone who was studying the latter to pronounce the name after learning the vowels.
The young woman shook her head, trying to shake off the uneasy feeling she felt from being near Adrien. "No, it wasn't a pro-"
Shinichi reacted quickly. Throwing herself in front of Adrien with the box still in her hands, the teenage foreigner reared her right leg back and snapped it forward just seconds later. She felt her foot connect with the soccer, and use it every once of her leg muscles to belt it towards the flabbergasted group. Her azure orbs narrowed slightly when her hearing picked up a peculiar sound. Was that….a pop?
SNAP! SNAP! SNAP!
"Wonderful! Absolutely marvelous! Magnifico!"
The former detective inhaled and exhaled a few deep breaths to collect herself, trying very hard to ignore the photographer's compliments and the constant 'clicking' from his camera. When she leveled an icy and well-deserved in her opinion glare at the teenagers who still stood there with gaping mouths. "Be more careful next time." Was all she said to them before they suddenly bolted out of the park, completely forgetting about their soccer ball.
Or...at least what's left of it. Shinichi thought, looking at the now deflated sphere in slight surprise. I didn't think I would still have 'that' much strength without Agasa's Power-Enhancing Kicking Shoes.
SNAP! SNAP! SNAP!
"Ferocious!" The photographer beamed when Shinichi whipped her head towards him, ignoring the somewhat annoyed expression that was starting to appear on her face. "Now tilt your head! I need more of a protective angle here." He scratched his attention in contemplation before he turned to the shell-shocked model still behind Shinichi. "Adrien! Come a little closer to this young mademoiselle, on her right side!"
Shinichi and Adrien both at him with confusion, oblivious that they had suddenly become specimens for the photographer's sudden inspiration.
"Y-you want me to do what?" The young model asked, finding his voice. Shinichi shook her head and walked over to where the flat soccer ball laid before looking around for a trash bin, ignoring the photographer calling out to her. She may not be a superhero but the least she could do is keep this area clean, or clean up the mess she made for the matter.
Shinichi turned her attention back to Adrien, surprised to see his mouth hanging open and emerald eyes wide as saucers. "W-What is it?" The coffee-haired teenager asked, surprised to see an expression on his face, and startled to hear a cheery ringtone that suddenly appeared out of the blue.
"F-Flat." Adrien repeated, swallowing thickly as he pointed at the clump of rubber in Shinichi's hands. "T-The ball is flat! How hard did you kick it?!" Shinichi blinked once, then twice before she placed a hand over her mouth, trying to stifle a laugh until it eventually echoed across the vicinity.
When she saw a saddened look spread across Adrien's face, Shinichi hastily explained herself. "I'm sorry. I wasn't laughing at you, I promise. It's just that...you remind me of someone who told me the exact same thing, a long time ago." The detective then scratched the back of her neck sheepishly, surprising herself with this unusual display of behavior. "She told me that if I wasn't a detective back home, I would have surely gone to play soccer in the Nationals with our high school team."
Her voice, calm and collected, wavered ever so slightly at the same time as dark-blue eyes lost focus for a moment, thoughts suddenly on a young, strong woman with long brown hair. I haven't heard anything from Ran since I came to Paris. Is she doing all right? Is she busy? Should I try to call her again? Or...No. No...I can't. She made it clear that she doesn't want to be near me. And it's better this way. For both of us.
Just before this toxic train of thoughts could trouble Shinichi any further, a loud and persistent wail shattered it. The former sleuth resisted the urge to cover up her ears at the horrid sound. She looked to the side and saw the photographer crying hysterically at the screen on his phone, curses varying between French and Italian.
Adrien winced, having a sinking feeling at where this photoshoot might be going. If he was right, someone cancelled an appointment with the photographer to model for the upcoming fall collection of his father's brand, the poor man was already stressed out as it is. Which meant that the male model would be scheduled for more hours on the following week to make the deadline. Something that he really didn't like doing, especially when he was busy with schoolwork and….other activities.
When the photographer turned to look at the stunned pair, his wailing increased in volume and annoyance to Shinichi, at least. "It's terrible, Adrien! The model scheduled to be with you today has just canceled! How can we find someone to replace her and finish on time, and on such notice?!"
Just as Adrien was about to make a run for it on the pretense of using the bathroom, or least out put enough distance between himself and the upset photographer, a shrill ringing of a phone saved the blonde teenager from the advances of the older gentleman.
Amber orbs glanced at the caller ID, widening slightly before the bearded man cleared his throat and promptly excused himself to a more secluded area, but still within hearing range of both teens. After standing around for almost five minutes, Shinichi was about to excuse herself and head back to the bakery until the photographer uttered two words that made her both freeze and cringe.
Adrien looked at his classmate with wide forest green eyes. "How does my father even know you?" As far as he knew, Gabriel Agreste never knew or contacted someone unless it was to discuss business.
The coffee-haired girl blinked at him and crossed her arms with a contemplative expression. "For once, I have no idea."
Before her little grey cells could ponder on this puzzle any further, the Italian gentleman whose name remained a mystery, was suddenly within her personal space and grasped both arms in a vice grip. "You'll help us, won't you, mademoiselle?" The pitch in his voice and the widening of his amber-colored eyes blatantly told Shinichi that he was desperate, though she found herself agreeing out of fear. Not just terrified for her own well-being, but for Adrien if the former detective left him here to fend of the photographer.
Before she even realized what was happening, Shinichi was immediately escorted to a silver convertible by the gorilla-esque Parisian and driven to the photographer's studio about half a block from the local television studio. Adrien was beside her, throwing the detective an apologetic smile every now and then as he watched the photographer, Vincent, prod his classmates' face while simultaneously commenting the length of her cheekbone and nose.
Fortunately, Shinichi had learned about this 'ritual' and why it was done until being momentarily taken to the back of the room and change into an outfit that was in season; her mother had told these 'horror' stories every now and again when she called from overseas, emphasizing the 'torture' of the time spent on selection the right outfit to compliment her complexion, physique, etc. Still, she felt violated along with entrapment.
There was no better way to describe how much relief she felt after leaving the dressing room, only to feel even more nervous when the coffee-haired teenager was brought back to the front of the studio. Once Vincent properly aligned both her and Adrien to his satisfaction, he immediately began to take pictures. Being behind the camera wasn't a new sensation. She was used to being held under the spotlight, she just wasn't accustomed to being forced under it.
Under the photographer's instructions, Shinichi leaned a little closer to Adrien's right side while his hand placed on her left shoulder. Both of them had a casual smile on both of their faces as the camera began rapidly click.
The Japanese native bit back a sigh while the camera flashed at both her and Adrien. This stunt is definitely bring a lot of attention. I just hope not enough to attract 'them'. Shinichi resisted shuddering at the thought of two certain men dressed in black.
After what seemed like an eternity, an overenthusiastic Vincent exclaimed that it was time for ten minute break as he still marveled on the exquisite and 'refreshing' pictures he just took. Shinichi sighed in relief, separating herself from Adrien just when her stomach released a large growl.
Adrien turned to his classmate with a small smile and pointed a refreshment table nearby. "Would you like some pastries? We weren't able to eat them earlier with everything that just happened." As soon as those words left his mouth, the model's own stomach released a yowl of hunger.
The teens shared a sheepish laugh and helped themselves to a much-needed snack. While munching on an eclair, Shinichi's mind went back to the phone call held earlier at the park. Agreste...for some reason that sounds familiar, and not just because it is Adrien's surname. Fashion ris… Azure-colored orbs then widened in shock as the realization struck Shinichi's mind hard and fast. "Agreste...Of course. She would know!" The former detective muttered under her breath, gaze hardening as she went back to the dressing room, oblivious that Adrien cast a curious glance in her direction.
When she reached her destination and locked the door, Shinichi dialed a phone number before waiting for it to ring. Her irritation began to build with each second as it continued to ring, until a cheerful voice answered in perfect French dialect.
"Bonjour, ma chère fille! Comment allez-vous profiter du photoshoot avec ce camarade de classe mignon de la vôtre? Quel était son nom? Adrien?"
Shinichi remained silent for five minutes before she answered her mother calmly with a voice tingling in her native language. "And what, pray tell, was going through your mind when you suggested to Gabriel Agreste that I would be a substitute model for his collection when there are plenty of other girls who are more suited for the part than myself?" Her dark-blue eyes grew darker with anger. "Je suis venu à Paris afin que je puisse avoir un nouveau départ, de ne pas avoir une autre cible peinte sur mon dos!"
On the other line, Shinichi could hear her mother sputtering in confusion. "E-Eh? I just suggested it because I thought it would be fun! Shin-chan, Sabine told me that all you do is go to school and help around the bakery! There is more to life than just hiding in a corner and studying!"
Shinichi resisted the urge to slap her forehead in exasperation.
If she knew that being dragged to a photoshoot against her will for the entirety of one hour after running an errand for the Dupain-Cheng family, much less argue with her mother in rapid French, the former detective would have stayed in bed.
"You know it's still too risky for me to be out in the open, especially when the media I'm being exposed to right now is constantly steaming throughout Europe's fashion industry! Do you want Gin to come back and finish what he started? Or even Vermouth?!" Shinichi snapped in Japanese. Regardless of the fact that she was in a locked room, there were eyes and ears everywhere.
"Don't be silly, Shinichi! They won't get out! Jodie-san has made absolutely sure that they are in extreme isolation! There is no way for them to get in contact with the outside! You're safe!"
"You haven't seen what they're capable of doing and how far their connections go within society, even the government! I wouldn't underestimate them if I were you!" The detective could heard herself let out a shaky breath.
"Shinichi," Yukiko's hysterical voice was now calm. "Use Paris as an opportunity to make a new life for yourself, make more friends, just...be you. Okay?" Shinichi felt her water at those words.
"Je suis seule depuis quatre ans, maman. Je peux prendre soin de moi. Cet appel est terminé. Dites bonjour à papa pour moi, voulez-vous? Au revoir." Trying to ignore the sobbing that were starting to bubble from the other line, Shinichi disconnected the phone call. Inhaling a deep breath, she placed the phone back on the dresser where it sat previously and unlocked the door.
However, she was not expecting to see Adrien on the other side of the dressing room. In his hands were two plastic cups filled with water. Shinichi narrowed her eyes ever so slightly at the blonde male.
"Do I dare ask how much you have heard?"
Just as the male model opened his mouth, a blood-curdling scream echoed across the studio. Shinichi did not spare a glance at the paling teen as she bolted right pass him at a break-necking speed to the source of the noise, inwardly cringing. She knew that this streak of good luck could not have lasted very long...but seriously?
Eventually the former detective found a small group crowding something...and she was not at all pleased with how one person was recording it on his phone. Her eyes narrowed in annoyance before she grabbed him by the scruff of his shirt, putting a respectable distance between him and the cadaver.
"If anyone else touches this body or even have the audacity to violate it in any manner possible which includes video recording, they will be arrested for interfering with a police investigation. Furthermore, if anyone tries to leave this facility will also be considered a suspect. I strongly suggest you become comfortable." Shinichi looked around the area, and to her surprise, saw a certain blonde male standing not too far away with a flabbergasted expression on his face. "Adrien, please contact the police immediately."
Adrien nodded before dialing the proper authorities. In the meantime, Shinichi calmed the panicked Parisians and asked for their assistance; jotting down names and phone numbers, confiscating any more photographs that could be used as evidence for the medical examiner, before she asked Adrien to retrieve her purse from the dressing room. Withdrawing gloves, a pen, and paper, Shinichi began an elementary examination of the body.
The victim's name is Mlle. Agnes Bernard, age fifty-two and the studio's business development manager for nearly ten years. She reeked of cigarette smoke, but when Shinichi examined the color of the victim's skin and teeth, there was no sign to deduce that this woman had smoked a day in life, much less on a constant basis that would cause such a pungent odor.
As the examination continued, the former detective's eyes soon caught clues and she jotted them down on the notepad.
Two puncture wounds on right ankle, emitting strong almond scent. Most likely cyanide injected through a needle. Made to look like a snake bite or even suicide.
Bruise on left wrist, from the suspect. An account from the workers that she had staggered out, looking drunk, hungover after an argument with a client on the phone.
Even though she had the urge to solve this horrific crime, France was not in her jurisdiction. If she did anything else aside from taking notes, Shinichi would most likely be arrested as well with the suspect. Plus...she could feel someone's gaze on her back the entire time, and Shinichi really did not like it.
When the Parisian police arrived, she removed her gloves and handed them her notes before excusing herself to the dressing room. If she correctly deduced who was watching her, then the Japanese native would have lost any chance to be friends with Adrien.
Perhaps...it was better this way?
Shrugging off the sinking rock in her stomach, Shinichi quickly got changed and nearly bolted from the studio until someone grabbed her wrist. The dark-haired teen whipped her head around and saw Adrien.
"...What do you want?" Shinichi asked. "Did I forget something?"
Adrien's fingers from his free hand shifted through his blond hair nervously as he opened his mouth to speak. "I-um," he muttered, seemingly contemplating his words, cheeks pink from the slightly frigid air. Shinichi shivered slightly before recovering. "What you did was amazing." He finally managed to gasp out sheepishly. "You were so calm. So in control."
The admiration was real, she could tell, although certainly not deserved. Her wrist seemed to burn slightly from his gentle grasp but he seemed to have forgotten his hold, so she didn't mention it. It was a nice kind of burn?
"You know," she sighed, eyes slightly wide. Why would anyone think her impressive? "The only thing I did was use deductive reasoning. Simple things, merely putting pieces together. Anyone could do it," she told the boy. "If they put their mind to it."
A bittersweet smile may it's way upon her pale face and she closed her eyes momentarily. Ran, she had acted the same way. Commented on how she was calm, expressed her fear, her excitement. Not that the throught would help. Thoughts about Ran were toxic and they were to be avoided. That's all there was to it.
Her shoes clicked slightly on the side walk as she walked away, oblivious to her classmates emerald eyes gazing from her to his hand, obvious admiration within his orbs and his cheeks slightly red. Adrien sighed as Shinichi rubbed her wrist. It didn't burn anymore. It was warm. And she...missed the way her skin felt rather hot.
The only thing her mind could think of was the possibility that the cold weather was already screwing with her.
Three nights later, Shinichi was restless and could not fall asleep. Too many thoughts swam through her little grey cells to even shut those tired azure-colored orbs. Unable to stand it any further the Japanese native rose from her bed, changing into some street clothes before grabbing the spare house key hanging in near the kitchen door. Once she made absolutely sure the place were fastened tightly, the former detective took off into the Parisian night.
Shinichi inhaled deeply, silently savoring the chill that surrounded this City of Lights as she wandered down the street with her shoe-clad feet acting as a random guide. Wherever she would go, the dark-haired teenager was sure to find her way back to the Dupain-Cheng compound. Her French lessons were not limited to knowing the language and its customs. Just when she was about to let herself enjoy the evening, and perhaps find enough peace to sleep, a chill crawled down her spine. Someone was watching her.
Two questions ran through her mind then and there. Who was it? And where they armed?
Trying to calm her rattled nerves, Shinichi continued to walk down the cobblestoned pavement until she stopped near the Musée d'Orsay. Sharpened dark blue orbs craned to the side, trailing upwards before they landed upon a young man dressed in leather and matching cat ears.
"What do you want, Monsieur Chat? There haven't been any akuma since our 'introductions' and clearly I am not in your way at the moment. Unless this area is your so-called territory?"
"Bonjour, ma chère fille! Comment allez-vous profiter du photoshoot avec ce camarade de classe mignon de la vôtre? Quel était son nom? Adrien?" means
"Hello, dear girl, how are you going to enjoy the photoshoot with this cute classmate of yours?" What was his name? Adrien?"
"Je suis venu à Paris afin que je puisse avoir un nouveau départ, de ne pas avoir une autre cible peinte sur mon dos!" means
"I came to Paris so I could have a fresh start, not having another painted target on my back!"
"Je suis seule depuis quatre ans, maman. Je peux prendre soin de moi. Cet appel est terminé. Dites bonjour à papa pour moi, voulez-vous? Au revoir." means
"I've been alone for four years, Mom, I can take care of myself, this call is over."Say hello to Daddy for me, will you?"
How did everyone enjoy this chapter?