When Ran tells him of the boy she found in the Kudo Mansion, he hadn’t really taken it in with any consideration. Waving her off, his foul mood shows itself as he spots the physical similarities between this boy and Kudo Shinichi.
He doesn’t necessarily like the teenage detective, but it strikes a chord within him. The Kudos aren’t known for their childcare skills, after all, and having traded stories with Professor Agasa over how much trouble the young Kudo gave them both (and to a greater extension, Ran), he personally knows of how reckless and selfless Kudo is.
Seeing a young boy who looked like Kudo, dressed up in a luxury primary school’s uniform and wearing worn, old shoes, Kogoro feels both irritation and worry seep into his pores.
‘His name is Edogawa Conan! He’s one of Professor Agasa’s relatives!’ Ran chirps happily, lifting the kid up and snuggling him tight.
Kogoro can hardly suppress a sarcastic hmm, trying not to dive too deep into Ran’s sudden fixation on the boy. Even those without brains can tell she’s sticking close to him because of the similarities Conan and Kudo share.
‘Is that right?’ Trying to sound casual, he raises an eyebrow, scrutinising Conan with a lazy glance. If his guess was right, this boy was under Professor’s Agasa’s care only because the Kudos were probably too busy to look after him.
Conan looks around the office, slightly disoriented and rather upset.
‘Just make sure he doesn’t cause any trouble,’ he pretends to harrumph, pinching the boy’s collar and setting him back onto the floor. Ignoring the tiny thanks he receives, he makes his way back to his desk, grumbling about the noisy telephone.
The other person on the line rushedly requests for his services, and Kogoro’s mind is suddenly intensely sharp. ‘Well then!’ He slams the phone down, grabbing his coat off the back of his chair, ‘maybe having this kid around ain’t all that bad! Might be a good luck charm, actually!’
He ruffles Conan’s hair, getting a familiarly petulant hey! In the process.
Waving his goodbye, he bounds down the stairs and crashes into a cab. Only for Ran and Conan to follow. Masking his concern, he irritably asks what they might be doing; Conan answers enthusiastically, exclaiming his curiosity at seeing a giant house.
Kogoro lets it slide, heart constricting tightly in his chest as Ran continues to babble on about detective work to the impressionable Conan.
Conan starts attracting trouble almost immediately, climbing trees and playing a dangerous game with the guard dogs. Yelping, the boy cowers behind Ran, genuine shock colouring his skin pale. Then, slowly, his eyes light up, mischief making its way onto the crook of his smile.
Kogoro observes, frowning. His client continues to wail internally, trying his best to remain calm while news of his daughter get lesser and lesser. Yelling at Conan to stop messing around, he starts looking around for any clues that could help him figure out where the young child may have been taken to.
There are no signs of struggle anywhere.
‘Hey,’ Conan turns to look at nobody in particular, ‘if someone foreign were to enter or leave from this tree, the dogs would bark, right?’
Half-listening, Kogoro glances at the tree in question, then stares at the tree in question, noticing the dog kennels nearby. As if a stroke of genius had struck him, he takes the query into consideration and blurts out, ‘of course! This was an inside job!’
His client startles, purpling in anger. Kogoro continues to sweep the area, landing on a conclusion. ‘If it were true that someone had trespassed and taken the young miss from the grounds, then surely, the dogs would have caused a ruckus! So that means,’ he points an accusing finger at the butler, ‘the kidnapper: it’s you!’
When the situation gets cleared up, he expects the case to be closed and is prepared to pack up and leave. But to his shock, it seems as though the girl had actually been kidnapped by someone else! With exasperation in his veins, he tries to gather up clues and pinpoint a possible location with the hints given.
Before he can say much else, Ran exclaims that their newly acquired charge had ran off and disappeared with one of the hounds.
Immediately, the floodgates of worry pour open, and he tries to calm Ran down by suggesting that Conan had perhaps went off to play somewhere; ‘as kids do,’ he shrugs stiffly. He orders the helpers of the house to go looking for Conan, on the premises that his charge may possibly get kidnapped too.
When the search turns up empty, anxiety drums through his veins in a high tide, and he has to keep himself from consciously screaming his panic and concern. Think, think! He yells at himself, Conan couldn’t have gone far!
The third dog, the one that disappeared alongside the boy, barges in through the doors. It barks insistently at Ran, holding up a piece of torn fabric, what appeared to be a piece of cloth from Conan’s jacket.
Dread piles up pretty quickly, like a never stopping pool of shallow quicksand, lapping and swirling at his feet in anticipation of the fall.
Ran nearly screams, terrified at the implications the mutt may have caused. The dog drops the fabric, jaws clamping down on her sleeves, as if begging her to follow him. Conflicted, her feet start moving towards the exit, head swivelling to look at Kogoro.
He nods his head, tamping down his own worry, ‘follow it. Maybe it’s found a clue.’
She doesn’t need to be told twice, dashing out of view in mere seconds.
Kogoro’s heart hammers painfully with each ticking second, the helpers reporting that they hadn’t seen young Conan in the vicinity either. ‘I’m sure he’s somewhere near,’ he reiterates, apologising for causing a panic.
His client gives him a look, ‘is he your son?’ It’s just a common passing question, but it raises his hackles anyway.
‘No, I’m just looking after him while his parents are overseas.’ He gets a look of semi-scorning, as if being judged for bringing a child to a possible crime scene, but ignores it in favour of calling the police -- and by extension, Inspector Megure, informing them of a kidnapper in the area. When the phone call ends, his client remains willfully silent, and Kogoro relates to that subdued attitude.
His heavy heart only wrenches itself in misery when he sees the battered form of Conan, swathed in a blanket bloomed red, multiple cuts and bruises littering his skin. Blue eyes so similar to Kudo’s are clouded in pain as Conan whimpers at the slightest jostling.
But even then, Conan persists and stands, holding tightly onto Ran for support.
Kogoro suddenly forgets that he has a case to deal with, half-wittingly laughing about how much “luck” Conan brings him. Instead, he’s thinking of the fastest route to the nearest hospital, of how to bypass admin paperwork and press the doctors to patch Conan up without the right documentations.
‘Come on,’ his voice sounds gruffer than he’d expected, ‘we’re going back.’
Scooping Conan up, he frowns at how light the boy is, Kogoro makes sure that he’s secure in his arms before attempting to settle Conan in his car. The seat belts would only aggravate the injuries, and he forces the boy to part with his ripped jacket, promising to buy a new one with what meager savings he has, to create a makeshift seat belt padding.
Warning the boy to keep still, he instructs Ran to watch over him. ‘If he’s showing signs of concussion or blood loss, shout.’ Ran nods frantically, hurrying him to get to help.
He doesn’t need to be told twice, he grumbles. Flooring the gas, he skids slightly (the kid didn’t get affected, did he?) before gunning across the lanes and probably racking up at least ten tickets by the time he reaches the nearest hospital.
With what brain he has left, he uses Megure’s name to bypass security and admin work, growling and glaring at everyone that dared to touch the boy in his arms. ‘Get him a damn doctor or I’m out of here!’ He roars, scaring a probable intern into submission.
He tries not to think of the worst case scenario, psyching himself up to believe that Conan’s exactly like Kudo. He’ll get out of this fine. But a huge part of him knows that a six-turning-seven year old would never be able to recover from such a beating unscathed.
Clenching his fists, Kogoro curses colourfully in his head, condemning the damned kidnapper into the hottest pits of Hell.
When Conan’s finally cleared to go home, and he pretends not to see the bloodstained white shirt, the boy has the cheek to grin childishly and ask for snacks. Ran collects him gently in her arms, holding her tears in; Kogoro knows that she’s just come to terms with the impact of Conan’s physical health.
‘Conan!’ She admonishes, dropping the suffix, ‘don’t you dare run off again, you hear me!’
Sounding pleasantly confused, the boy questions, ‘but why not? Mom and Dad never had a problem with that.’
A vein pops on his forehead, blood boiling hot. ‘Well,’ he pats Conan’s head softly, ‘we’re not your parents. As long as you’re living with us, you have to listen to our rules.’
Still slightly puzzled, Conan agrees.
Kogoro’s got some digging to do, it seems. Finding Edogawa Conan’s parents and giving them a well-deserved beating seemed to be the most obvious next-step.