A/N: Yeah - another story. And the very good news: it's already done! It's not nearly as long as Scars or Guns and Roses, but it is a kind of a sequel, as it takes up a few years after Guns and Roses. Reading the other two stories is of course recommended, but not necessary.

Summary: Shinichi finds himself in a very delicate situation after he was called to help a fellow college student. Somehow he had hoped that he could live a peaceful life now, but things don't always turn out as planned. Set after 'Scars' and 'Guns and Gems'.


DISCLAIMER: I do not own Detective Conan or any of its characters and concepts! They all belong to Gosho Aoyama.


Predicament
one
-ooOOoo-


The smell of coffee dragged him from his sleep. He groaned and decided that it still was way too early to get up, even though he knew that Ran would be back in their room any minute. Judging by the grogginess that clung to him, last night's case must have kept him awake longer than he thought.

Ran would not be pleased that he had been up so late again. She always scolded him for not taking care of his health and that four hours of sleep weren't nearly enough for a twenty-one years old man. Especially not if said man was trying to reconcile not only his studies for college, but also the jobs he got from the Beika Police Department as an independent consultant and the clients who came to him directly.

Okay – so maybe Ran had a point there.

It was one of the reasons why she had decided (no, he didn't have much of a say in that matter) that the two of them would take a small apartment together instead of living in the dorms on the campus. That way she was able to take care of him as she saw fit. Shinichi didn't complain about it - much.

He still couldn't believe his luck and that he was living with the girl he loved and that her parents had actually agreed to it. Well, maybe that Ran and Shinichi were engaged now had been part of the decision.

Yes – he had finally popped the question after they had graduated and the trials of the cases involving the Black Organization and the Syndicate that had been after KID were over.

Now, they both attended their respective college courses. Not much surprising, he had chosen criminology and psychology. Ran had opted for medicine, despite of her mother's offer to work in her office as a lawyer later. Facing down criminals in court just wasn't her thing, as she had realized on the occasional case where she'd had to solve the crime. She was way too emphatic for this line of work, so something where she could help others actively was way better suited for her.

Old man Mouri had been devastated to let his little girl go off with 'that detective brat' (what had earned him a whack over the head from his wife, Eri) but Ran visited him often to clean the agency and to take care that he didn't let things slide in her absence. Surprisingly, Eri could be found with her husband very frequently now, and Ran was delighted about it.

His own parents were still living in the mansion and just were away for travelling every now and then when Yusaku's work demanded for it. Like touring with a new book. It had felt a bit weird to constantly have them around again in the beginning, but they all had settled down in their new everyday lifes fairly quickly.

And one part of Shinichi's everyday life now, was that Ran made coffee for him in the morning. Heavenly, black, strong, vitalizing coffee.

Again, Shinichi took a deep breath and let the smell stimulate his spirits and rolled around to get out of bed.

Or tried to roll around.

"What the…?" he mumbled when he found that he couldn't move his hands or feet. Still a bit befuddled, he opened his eyes and gasped.

This wasn't their bedroom at all.

He was lying on a very comfortable king-sized bed and found his hands and feet strapped to the bedposts with padded but sturdy leather cuffs. Next to the bed was a nightstand with flowers and a glass of water on it. The curtains were closed, shutting out what seemed to be the late afternoon sun and had an ornamental print on them. All in all, the room seemed nice enough with the natural wooden furniture and the crème colored wall papers, but it wasn't theirs and he was tied to the bed.

'Ok – deep breathes. What is the last thing you remember?' he forced himself to stay calm and to analyze his situation. Panic wouldn't do him any good right now.

He had been in his usual courses – nothing special there. He'd had lunch with Ran and had accompanied her to her next class, where she had met up with some fellow students, and he had left the campus to go to the Police Department. The case had been wrapped up soon and he had gone home. Nothing special either.

His phone had rung, and it had been a girl from Ran's medical class. Shinichi had met her a few times when he had picked up Ran. Her name was Fukui Kamiko and they had conversed a bit while he'd waited for Ran to pack up her things. She was nice and quiet and seemingly had a very demanding boyfriend, who controlled her every move.

He had offered his help and gave her his contacts, but she had declined. She was clearly intimidated by her boyfriend's behavior and Shinichi had watched her closely every time they met. So far, there hadn't been signs that spoke of physical abuse, but he had told Ran about his suspicions so she could keep an eye out as well and maybe talk to the girl. Her relationship clearly wasn't healthy and maybe she would open up to a woman rather than another man.

So, when Fukui had called him from her home with a tearful voice and stammered incoherently, he had told her to stay put and had asked for her address. She lived two districts away, but with a cab Shinichi was at her home in twenty minutes.

Fukui's home was a two-storied house where her family had lived together before their parents had gotten divorced and now she lived there on her own. Something about her father moving out and her mother travelling a lot.

After his knocking, she had opened the door carefully, and after seeing it was him, she had flung herself at Shinichi and cried her eyes out.

Embarrassed but understanding, he had maneuvered her into the house and to a couch in her living room, where she had broken down completely.

Apparently, her boyfriend had thought she cheated on him and had threatened to hurt her if she didn't tell her the guy's name. But because there was no guy Fukui was seeing, she had to make up something on the spot. In her confused state, she had told him the first name she could come up with. And that had been Shinichi's.

The boyfriend, his name was Takada Katsuo, had recognized the name right away and had been furious. After some screaming and shouting that had terrified Fukui, he had stormed off to find Shinichi, to beat him to a pulp. Don't knowing what else to do, Fukui had called Shinichi then.

Shinichi had tried to console her and to get more information out of her, but she was too shaken. She had asked if it was okay to make some tea, because that would calm her down somewhat. He'd taken on the task, because he didn't trust her handling the hot water in her state. When he came back to the living room with the teapot, she had set out two porcelain cups with colored stripes on it. One pink and one blue. He'd filled both and offered her the pink one. She'd accepted gratefully and had curled up on the couch.

Shinichi had tried to call Megure, to inform him that Takada was out for blood, but he didn't reach him. He'd sat down with the phone in his one and the cup in his other hand and waited a few minutes before he would try again. Meanwhile, he carefully sipped on his tea.

Fukui was still wide eyed and shivering and he'd wondered if he should call Ran over to give some solace. She was very good with such things. Also, in his haste to get to Fukui, he had forgotten to leave Ran a note to let her know where he was. He'd put the cup on the table, began to speed-dial her number and then…

…nothing.

Shinichi couldn't remember what had happened afterwards, no matter how hard he tried.

He cursed under his breath. Did Takada come back and knock him out? But he didn't feel any pain that indicated a hit on the head or something similar. Just this lingering numbness in his body and it still was a bit hard to focus.

Drugged then.

Damn. The tea.

It must have been the tea, for it had been the only thing he had consumed while he was in the house. So, it had been Fukui's doing. It just stood to question if she was acting on her own accord or if Takada had forced her hand.

But well, the fact that he was lying on a bed instead of being beaten up and ditched somewhere pointed to the former. He thought back at the different colored cups and realized how easily she had manipulated him. Of course, a man would rather take a blue than a pink cup. It was a very simple psychological trick. The inside of the cup must have been coated with the drug, because there hadn't been any fluids in it when he had poured the tea. It must have been a strong drug to knock him out after just some sips.

A beginner's mistake, but he hadn't had any reason to be suspicious of her. She had been the victim – or so it seemed. Now, he wasn't sure anymore which times she had lied and when she had told the truth. She must be one hell of an actor.

Speaking of beginner's mistakes. Normally he would never go to a client's home alone.

Shinichi always invited his clients to a public place or if privacy was necessary, his parent's house when his father was present as well. Sometimes Mouri allowed him to use his agency. It was an agreement that stemmed from their two-month's work together. Usually these cases tended to be ones he delegated to the police or worked with Mouri. They found that they could solve cases together quite successfully, even if not on a daily basis. After all, he had promised Ran not to take on any dangerous cases alone anymore.

However, Fukui's distress had triggered his urge to protect, and because he had known of her trouble beforehand, and had already offered his help, he had been careless. She was a friend of Ran's, or at least was acquainted with her, therefore he had let down his guard even further.

'Ran. She will wonder why I'm not home when her classes are over. How long have I been here anyway? Is it still Tuesday?'

He turned his hands and feet as much as possible to test his bonds, just to find that he would not be able to get out of them. He sighed frustrated. Why was he here? What did Fukui want with him? Shinichi racked his brain, but couldn't come up with any reason. She didn't look like she needed money – so, ransom was out. As far as he knew, she wasn't connected to any of his cases, so revenge was unlikely too, though he couldn't claim to know all the relatives of the persons that had gone behind bars because of his deductions. Maybe…

The door opened a crack and Fukui glimpsed inside.

"Oh, Kudou-kun, you're awake already. Good," she exclaimed happily and came in, a cup of coffee in hands. She stepped next to the bed and exchanged the coffee for the glass with water. "You must be thirsty. Come, I'll help you."

Shinichi flinched away from the offered glass, afraid that the water might be drugged as well. "Fukui-san, what is going on here? Untie me right now!"

Fukui look at him and her face scrunched up in disappointment. "Honey, I'm afraid that is not possible. Sorry."

'Honey?' Shinichi cringed inwardly. He had a very bad feeling where this was going.

Fukui sat down on the mattress and began to rub (in her opinion) reassuring circles on his thigh. Shinichi tried to get away from her touch, but to no avail. She didn't seem to notice his discomfort or she ignored it altogether. "You know, Kudou-kun…", she giggled softly. "Well, I think I might as well call you Shinichi. After all, you are my boyfriend now."

She softly spoke his name a few times like was something very delicate and she tested out the syllables with a blush on her face.

Shinichi's eyes widened in horror. What? Boyfriend? This had to be a sick joke, right? This girl didn't really think that he was her boyfriend, did she?

'Is she delusional? Did she make up this relationship between us and is now acting on it?'

Talking to someone with a delusional disorder was tricky. Shinichi wasn't sure if he could do it as he couldn't estimate what would set her off. If that happened, this could end in something worse for him than some lost dignity.

"Fukui-san, why do you think we are a couple?" he asked carefully. He needed to know how far she was gone. Maybe if he stalled for time, Ran would find him. His cellphone must be in the house somewhere and Ran was able to track it. The question was, when she would realize that something was off and that he needed help. Would she pick up on the fact that he didn't leave a note for her and conclude that something was amiss? Or would she just think he'd forgotten and be mad?

He silently cursed his habit to stay out long for cases. It could take some time until she worried and would call Megure to ask for him. 'Megure.' He had tried to call him and normally, the Inspector would try to call him back when he noticed the missed call. When Shinichi wouldn't pick up, maybe he would get suspicious and help would be here very soon.

He inhaled a calming breath and turned his attention back to Fukui.

She beamed at him. "You can call me Kamiko, or Kami-chan if you like." Shinichi suppressed the urge to shudder while she went on.

"I knew from the first time I met you in person that we ought to be together." Thoughtfully, she tipped on her chin with one finger. "Actually, I've followed your cases since high-school. I was so impressed when I heard what you did! Dismantling a whole organization!"

A fangirl then, just great. And a crazy one at that. Shinichi might have preened under their attention back then, but he had learned fast that it was better to keep them at least at arm's length away. If only to avoid Ran's wrath, as she didn't take it very well when they hung all over him. And he didn't like it either. Fukui wasn't the first to confess her (unrequited) feelings to him, but she sure was the first to hold him captive. His luck just sucked.

Fukui continued like it wasn't totally weird to speak to a bound man on her bed. "When I heard that you've enrolled in the university in Tokyo, I just had to go there as well. That I ended up in some classes with Mouri was the cherry on top. That way I got to see you more often. Though I really don't know what you see in her. She is nice and polite most of the time, but she also can be so – tomboyish. I mean… karate? I once even saw her punch an upperclassman. So disrespectful," Fukui huffed and crossed her arms before her chest. It was obvious that she thought she was a way better match for Shinichi, being all devoted and shy – and lunatic.

'She has no idea how wrong she is. What would I do with a girl that doesn't question my actions the least?'

He also remembered the incident with the upperclassman, she spoke of. Ran had told him how he had tried to make unwanted advances to a girl Ran knew and he just wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. He'd had it coming. Ran never hit anyone without proper warning.

"Fukui-san…"

A sharp slap across his cheek.

"It's Kamiko. Better remember that, honey," she pouted.

Stunned, Shinichi felt how his cheek stung. Shit. Was she bipolar? How violent could she become?

"K-Kamiko," he went with her forced intimacy. It was better not to upset her any further. "What about Takada-san? He will be back anytime soon and you've said he wants to beat me up." Maybe appealing to her soft side for him would help him out of this predicament. "Don't you think it would be better if I could defend myself?"

Kamiko looked at him as if he was talking nonsense, before she laughed. "Takada? No, honey. He won't come back, no worries. He didn't exist to begin with. I just needed you to take an interest in me and I knew that you couldn't resist a case. Also, you would never leave a girl in distress."

Shinichi's eyes widened. So, it had been a ruse from the start? Her mental state worried him more with every minute. It hadn't just been a chance she took when it presented itself, she had planned to lure him here since the day she told him about her fictive boyfriend. What else had she prepared for?

The doorbell rang through the house.

"Seems like Mouri arrived at last," she said with a sigh and got up. She opened the drawer on the nightstand and took out a syringe. "Can't have you making too much noise, honey," she winked at him. "Sweat dreams."

"No," Shinichi shouted and began to trash in his bonds. "Don't! Ran! I'm here!"

Kamiko just shook her head with a sad expression. "You will forget about her soon," she said and jabbed the needle into his upper arm. The plunger was pressed down and immediately, Shinichi felt how the world slipped.

"Ran, I…" he whispered before he passed out.