As Chiba led the cuffed murderer out of the interrogation room, he held open the door for Satou to walk through. She had a puzzled look on her face as she sat down across from Shiratori.
The Detective Boys tried not to show too much interest from where they stood in a corner.
"Is something wrong, Satou-san?" Shiratori wondered. She sighed and slumped back in her seat.
"It's a little disappointing..."
He made a confused sound. "What is?"
"Your teacher!" Satou slammed a hand on the table. "The one you're in love with!"
Shiratori paled. "You met her?"
Satou nodded, apparently unaware of the quiet gasps and worried looks from the children in the room. "She was in the observation room, listening to the suspect to confirm that we've got the right guy. I wanted to talk to her, but she was really cold."
("That doesn't seem like Kobayashi-sensei," Genta muttered.
"Considering that she thinks Shiratori-keibu only liked her because she resembled Satou-keiji, being upset with her is natural," Ai commented quietly.)
"All she'd ask," Satou continued, "is if I'd ever yelled at shoplifters when I was little."
The possibility occurred to Shiratori and the Detective Boys simultaneously. They'd assumed that brash Satou couldn't be the girl from Shiratori's memory. It didn't suit her personality... but... could she?
After an anxious silence, Shiratori swallowed and asked, "And? Had you?"
Shocked, no one said a word.
Absently, Satou continued, "I went to that bookstore a lot, when I was little. The owners were nice, and I didn't want people stealing from them. But I was an elementary school kid, it's not like I could do anything. I tried, and this other boy helped me, but they weren't caught."
"Satou-keiji," Conan said warily, "what does the sakura flower mean to you?"
Satou frowned. "Such odd questions for me today. I guess I'd call it a flower of justice... or something like that," she added, blushing slightly. "It's kind of silly, but I read a description like that in a book on Japanese police when I was little, and it's always stuck with me since."
With a humming sound, Satou nodded to herself and stood up. "But anyway, Shiratori-kun, I'm concerned. If the woman who taught you how to love is like this..." She shrugged, walking towards the door. "But maybe I'm just being nosy. See you around, Conan-kun."
With that, she left the room. The door swung closed behind her, and as soon as it shut the Detective Boys gathered around the table. Shiratori had his head in his hands, groaning.
"I guess you were right after all, Shiratori-keibu," Ai said mildly. "Satou-keiji was your 'girl of destiny'."
He sighed heavily, shoulders sinking.
"To think," Mitsuhiko wondered, "that two girls who look so similar could have read the same book. It's an amazing coincidence!"
With a forced laugh, Shiratori sat up, rubbing at his face with one hand. "It really is amazing. I decide one woman is my destiny, find another woman who is more suited to me, only to confirm that the first one is the person I thought she was."
"And?" Ai asked. "What are you going to do now?"
"I - " He cut himself off, abruptly. "I don't know."
"What do you mean, you don't know?" Ayumi shouted. "You like sensei, don't you? Isn't that what matters?"
"It's not so simple as that," Shiratori tried to explain to the frustrated girl, waving his arms at her as if to wipe away her anger. "Kobayashi-sensei is mad at me. She probably won't believe me if I try to make her understand..."
"And it turns out she was right. You had mistaken her for Satou-keiji after all." Ai glanced aside, watching for a certain someone's reaction. "I guess it's not your destiny. Some relationships just aren't meant to be."
Ayumi sighed unhappily. There went the newest love affair in town. Now sensei wouldn't get a boyfriend, and Shiratori-keibu wouldn't be happy.
Shiratori reluctantly nodded. "It seems that way."
Conan, having more secretive reasons behind his relationship meddling than his friends' interest in the romance, was naturally bothered by this easy acceptance. As Ai had expected. "Destiny? If you want it to work out, and she wants it to work out, then it can! Don't stop trying because it's hard. You have the chance to be happy, with someone you care about. If you don't take it..."
He abruptly trailed off as he noticed the surprised looks everyone (except Ai, who looked annoyingly smug) was sending his way. He laughed nervously. "Ah, I mean, that's what Ran-neechan says."
Shiratori frowned. "It would be hard... I need to convince her that I'm sincere. But how can I make her understand that it's not just because I thought she was my destiny? That I grew to care for her as she is, not as I expected her to be?"
"Especially when it was because you thought she was your destiny?" Ai said. Conan sent her a glare, and she glanced away, her expression completely innocent.
Static crackled, and they jumped a little at the sound of a voice saying, "And that's how it is."
Shiratori stood up and frowned at the mirror. "Takagi-kun," he asked, voice torn between anger and embarrassment. "What are you doing in there?"
"You should be grateful, Shiratori-kun! He just made explaining yourself to Kobayashi-sensei a lot easier for you." Satou, standing in the doorway, smiled cheekily.
Shiratori gaped, his face flushing as he realized what had happened. "You set me up. The two of you... and the children?" He looked suspiciously at the Detective Boys, still sitting at the table.
"I figured out what Satou-keiji was doing," Ai said with a small smile. "It's not like her to bring up her past, and I saw her wink at the mirror when no one was looking. I thought she could use a helping hand to make it go faster."
Conan frowned at her. No wonder she had been so antagonistic all of the sudden. Though it wouldn't have hurt to give him a hint... that speech had been a bit embarrassing.
"So, she is..." Shiratori glanced at the mirror.
Satou laughed. "Go in, see for yourself." He walked past her, and she smacked him on the shoulder. "Good luck!"
Ayumi tried to follow, but found Takagi blocking the observation room door. "I think it's best," he said carefully, "if they do this on their own."
With a whine of complaint, Ayumi stayed where she was. Ai patted her on the shoulder reassuringly. "We don't want to interfere too much," she said. "It could poorly affect their relationship."
Conan muffled a laugh.