Fandom: Detective Conan
Friends: Kudo Shinichi/Edogawa Conan and Hattori Heiji
Theme: #28—golden thread
Rating: R (a little bit graphic, rating to be on the safe side)
Disclaimer: I do not own Detective Conan—all the characters belong to Gosho Aoyama. I just kidnapped them and hid them in my closet to keep them safe from…I dunno, something awful, I’m sure. Don’t worry, I feed them. Sometimes.
Summary: Please, I need your help. I think I’m dying…
Conan (otherwise known as Shinichi) wasn’t one hundred percent sure how it had all happened or who was behind it—everything had gone down so fast that the young detective was unable to process much before he found himself encased in darkness.
One moment he was on the street, heading towards home (meaning the Mouri Detective Agency), and then there’d been a hand over his mouth, easily overpowering his childish body. There was a smell, the odor of something…he knew the name of the drug, but he couldn’t place it through the sudden haze clouding his senses, and then…
He was waking up here, in a place he didn’t recognize.
The realization hit him like a sledgehammer to the head: he’d been kidnapped.
He shifted experimentally, and found movement to be extremely difficult. As the last remnants of the drug’s effects left him and the world came a bit more into focus, he was able to take a better stock of the situation. His hands were tied behind him tightly enough that his fingers were going numb, and his feet were bound in a similar manner.
The room around him was surprisingly well-lit, the floor beneath his cheek made of stone that scratched his face as he tried to move. He thought he heard something dripping nearby…but he didn’t have much more time to consider his surroundings as the door opened. Instinctively, Conan forced himself upright into a sitting position and waited apprehensively for whatever was coming.
Still, nothing could have really prepared him for the person who walked in and stood over him, glaring down at him with cold, unfeeling eyes and a triumphant smirk. The man spoke, in a low, gravelly voice. “Kudo.”
Behind Conan’s eyes, Shinichi steeled himself, and replied, “Gin.”
The man in black—the one who had screwed his life up sideways—withdrew one hand from his pocket and reached towards a nearby table. His height aside, his position on the floor made it impossible to see what Gin was reaching for. But he listened to the madman speak…and it made him nauseous.
What was it about villains like Gin that made them so prone to gloating and such, like third-string actors in poorly-written high school plays? He hadn’t really figured his ‘worthy adversary’ for the type, but it didn’t really matter, he supposed—for the moment, it seemed that his opponent had won, and he had lost.
Given that his enemy was describing a few creative ways of causing terrible pain with minimal effort on the part of the torturer…this didn’t bode well for him, particularly when Gin stood over him, a maniacal grin on his face and a long-bladed knife in his hand and asked one question that turned his blood to ice in his veins.
He kept his mouth shut, and waited for what he knew was coming next.
…oh God, it hurt…and it wasn’t going to stop oh God oh God panic leave me alone…
It was one bombshell after another.
Edogawa Conan was missing—a kidnapping victim, if Yoshida Ayumi was to be believed. They had separated at their usual point on the walk home from school, and the girl had turned back over her shoulder just in time to see a man in a black trench coat scoop her dear friend into a black car and speed off. She was extremely fortunate that the man in question hadn’t seen her. But Conan had taught her well, and she hightailed it to a phone and called the police, giving them every shred of information her memory could rustle up. It wasn’t much, but it was something to start with.
Ran, naturally, had been heart-broken. But it was the reaction of Hattori Heiji (who was visiting) that had a few eyebrows raised. He seemed properly terrified, and had immediately withdrawn to make a private phone-call. Shortly thereafter, Agasa-hakase and Haibara Ai had appeared on the scene with a laptop in tow.
It didn’t take a detective to realize that something was going on, and Heiji knew more about it then he was directly letting on. The investigating officers—the usual crew from the Tokyo Metro PD—quickly noticed the young man’s odd behavior. But in the end, it was Satou-keiji who grabbed his arm, dragged him off to the side and away from prying ears, and told him in no uncertain terms that he was going to tell her whatever it was that he knew, and do it quickly. Or else.
With such a threat hanging in the air, she was a bit surprised when he still hesitated. She prodded him, though—anything he knew that could help them find Conan, he needed to share. And she refused to let up; after all, Satou could be quite persuasive when she wanted to be.
Heiji quickly recognized his situation for what it was: he’d been backed into a corner. And he had to chuckle to himself as he realized that this was probably how Kudo had felt when Heiji had confronted him about the exact same secret.
And finally, desperately…Heiji cracked.
He saw the next toy of pain in Gin’s hands and closed his eyes against what he knew was coming.
The next thing he knew, he was floating, looking down at himself. It was without a doubt the most unsettling thing he had ever experienced, even surpassing waking up and finding himself in his childhood body. Was this what they called an out-of-body experience?
Even stranger, he seemed to be in his true body. He looked down at himself, and was scared half out of his wits to realize that though he was his seventeen-year-old self, he could see the floor right through his own hands; the wall was visible through his legs. Yet his seven-year-old body remained there on the floor, prone for punishment at his enemy’s hands.
He studied the child’s body, his face. He was sitting upright, leaning against the stone wall…but his expression almost resembled that of a drug user’s stupor: pale-faced, mouth hanging slightly open, eyes half-lidded and glazed. He actually looked like the lights were on, but no one was home.
Gin didn’t seem to notice, though. The murderer was still gloating, giving a detailed explanation of what this newest tool could do, the pain it could cause. And truthfully, it sounded horrible. Even outside of himself, hovering like he was, the very thought of it made him shudder. And as he glanced around, he found he was actually able to see what was in there.
It made him realize just how dire his situation truly was.
Now his tormentor turned back to him, ready to act upon his threats. Gin advanced upon the still, hollow form. Floating like a ghost, he couldn’t tear his eyes away as he watched the device clamp down on his leg…and he saw and felt it break with an audible snap.
He recoiled and cried out in pain, but it did not reach Gin’s ears. If anything, the madman seemed disappointed that the trick drew no response. He kicked the child’s body, and watched as his victim simply fell over, ending up on his side on the floor, arms and legs still bound.
A harsh smirk crossed Gin’s face, and he reached for another tool.
His would-be victim watched in horror…but realized that maybe, just maybe, there was still a chance for him to make it out of this alive. If he was free from his body, then perhaps it was possible for him to get help! But…Gin hadn’t heard him cry out in pain as his leg was broken.
Still, he had to try. It was his only chance.
And then he noticed it. There, on the floor, was what appeared to be a thread, shimmering gold against the dark stone of the floor. He studied it—Gin didn’t seem to notice it, so it must only be visible to him. Strange, though—the end of it led to his own body, while the other end traced a path out the door.
Where did it lead, he wondered?
A glance back at Gin’s preparations for the next trick decided him He really had no other options.
Taking a deep breath, Shinichi followed the golden thread.
The building was relatively average. It didn’t seem like anything special.
But according to Haibara Ai’s laptop and the tracking device in “Conan’s” glasses, their elusive quarry was somewhere inside that structure. They just had to find him before it was too late.
Heiji’s confession to Satou had caused quite a splash when the other officers had been clued into the truth of the situation—the who, the what, and the why. But anger had been set aside in favor of a more important task: finding the victim. Angry words and long explanations could wait until they knew that everyone was safe.
Based on stern recommendations from the parties involved—Heiji, Haibara, and the good professor—the police were plentiful. And on the signal, they went in. Technology proved their friend, and the tracker had done its job. There were operatives there, and their reactions at the police bursting in might have been comical had the situation not been so precarious.
And the hunt began for one very small needle in an enormously evil haystack, as it were. No one would help—either they didn’t know where the not-child was, or they simply weren’t telling for whatever reason. Based on what he knew of them, Heiji assumed the former.
He had accompanied them, whether they wanted him to or not.
Yet as they searched, none dared voice their hidden concerns that this was a futile hunt.
He was…where exactly was he now? Where had he ended up? Shinichi had a momentary flash of panic as he realized that he had wandered so far from his body.
But then he refocused, ever the calm, practical detective. He was in a hallway, standing near a large group of people who seemed to be frantically discussing something. In fact, that was…Megure-keibu? The usual crew of crazies from the Tokyo Metro Police Department? …his father?
He heard his name pop up in the rushed conversation—they were looking for him.
He called out to them, but none seemed to hear his voice. He tried to grab them and shake them, to make them aware of his presence…but his arm passed right through them, throwing him off-balance, and he nearly face-planted on the floor as a result.
Damn, this wasn’t working. He looked back down at the golden thread. It had led him this far—he decided to take a chance, and continued to follow it. It went past the adults, and led straight to…
Hattori Heiji, standing back a bit, watching the proceedings with a relatively blank expression. His emotions were betrayed, though, by the way his hands were clenched into fists at his sides, and the slight downturn of one dark eyebrow. It appeared that he was being left out of the proceedings.
But what drew his attention the most was that Hattori almost seemed to be…glowing. The same golden shimmer as the line that had led him there in the first place. As he looked at everyone else, he realized that everyone had this shine. But where the others were merely candles, Heiji was a search-light. And it drew him like a moth to a flame.
“Hattori!” he called frantically, stopping right beside his friend. He didn’t expect anything to happen, as his own father hadn’t even been able to hear him. Whatever he was, however he was here, it apparently wasn’t as anything solid.
To his amazement, Hattori’s head snapped around; he glanced around warily, his eyes pausing as they slid over the spot where Shinichi stood. It seemed that Hattori had heard him—or heard something, at least—but couldn’t see him. But still, his reaction said enough.
He swallowed hard…and took that last step forward.
To the outside world, Hattori Heiji suddenly jerked back, his eyes wide and startled for just a moment before he fell to his knees and slumped forward, leaning against the wall for support. He didn’t hear the cries of alarm from the officers and detectives around him.
But there was something far more interesting going on somewhere else…
Heiji was stunned. “Kudo? What the hell is going on?” He was probably justified in being startled, though. He’d suddenly found himself surrounded by darkness, unable to ascertain where he was, and, most shockingly of all, he was staring directly into the face of Kudo Shinichi, his friendly rival.
In his true body, no less.
“Hattori, I need your help—please, there isn’t much time,” Kudo said shortly. “I can’t do this alone.” A thin trickle of blood was working its way down one pale cheek; he was injured. There was none of the cockiness, the confidence of the once-shrunken detective that Heiji had come to know and work with so many times. There was terror and desperation. He wasn’t just asking for help, a remarkable occurrence in and of itself; Kudo was begging.
“Where are we?”
“We’re inside your mind…” Shinichi answered, his voice trembling. “Please—help me.”
“What can I do?” Heiji asked frantically. “I don’t know where you are!”
“No…but I do,” Shinichi said. “Please, Hattori…I think I’m dying…”
That was enough for Heiji—he would have helped without that last, but it was enough to silence any and all further discussion of what in the world was going on. Heiji held up a hand to silence the Tokyo tantei. “What do I have to do?”
Shinichi actually smiled, in spite of the fact that he seemed to be in pain. “Let go for a minute…”
A feeling enveloped Heiji, like lead pouring into his limbs to immobilize them. Something was filling him up, from the soles of his feet and working its way up to the top of his head. He wasn’t afraid, and it didn’t hurt—it just felt very strange.
For a moment, he wondered what exactly was happening.
And then he understood, and he smiled and let it happen. He curled up and allowed himself to be gently pushed aside. Right now, there were more important things to worry about than his own comfort.
He waited, and he listened in anticipation of the bombshell that was about to hit…
“Hattori-kun!” Takagi was shaking the young man, trying to wake him up. “Hattori-kun!”
Behind him, the other adults were growing antsy. Megure had a radio in his hand and was about to call for an ambulance when Heiji groaned and shifted ever so slightly; his head lulled to hang limply in against his chest, hiding his face from view. But the sigh of relief trailed off when something hit the ground in front of the teenager.
A tiny red droplet of something. It almost looked like blood…
It was joined by another, and another. Takagi was closest; he could see quite plainly that the blood was actually falling from…Hattori-kun? It seemed to be dripping off his forehead, like he was injured. But he’d been standing up a mere moment before, absolutely fine. Takagi stood up and instinctively took a step back. What in the world…
Heiji groaned again, and spoke without lifting his head…but the voice that echoed from his mouth was most decidedly not his. It was hollow, higher in pitch, and held no trace of the thick Osakan accent that was one of his trademarks. But the words that came out were as plain as day.
When he lifted his head, it was confirmed that something was wrong. There was a deep cut marring his forehead where that had been nothing before; that accounted for the dripping blood, as there was a thick red line tracing down the side of his face, past his eye—and that was perhaps the most glaringly wrong thing there. Rather than their usual vivid green…
His eyes were a cerulean blue, wide and staring and absolutely terrified.
It felt so different.
All things considered, this should have been more comfortable to him. In terms of height, weight, and the like, this was much closer to his true size. But it wasn’t his own body, it was the body of another—one who had been kind enough to give him that help in his darkest hour.
He tried to move his arm, and found that it was heavier than he was used to. That shouldn’t have surprised him, though—Hattori was a prodigy at kendo. He’d probably been working with a katana since his hands were strong enough to hold one. His strength was in his swing as Shinichi’s own was in his kick. Another random paradox between the two—Hattori’s fiery temper and goofy nature were at odds with his level-headedness and more sarcastic temperament.
Yet they got along. They really did compliment each other, like two halves of a whole.
He spoke through Hattori’s voice; it was as alien to him as the body, but it got the message across. He watched through Hattori’s eyes as everyone heard him and reacted in horror and disbelief and a whole gambit of other emotions and responses.
It would have been amusing if the situation wasn’t so awful.
He rushed—it was getting hard to breathe—he felt a weight on his chest, leaving him to wonder what exactly Gin was doing to him—and there was no way he was going to let Hattori get hurt like this for his sorry sake. He had to hurry. But still, he couldn’t help but scream out loud when something reverberated down the shimmering thread that connected him to his own self and surged through the borrowed body, twisting it in agony…
“Who are you?” Satou asked. “What happened to Hattori-kun?”
“It’s me…” the voice said through Heiji’s mouth. It sounded strangled and hoarse. “Kudo…”
The penny dropped, and everyone’s jaws dropped along with it. Suddenly, there was no mistaking it. Kudo Shinichi’s eyes stared out of Hattori Heiji’s face. It was Kudo’s voice that echoed hollowly through Hattori’s mouth. But the look of terror there…it could have easily been either one.
Megure recovered first, and at a total loss for what else to say, he blurted out, “You. Conan—“
“I’ll explain everything later—I promise,” he gasped. “But there’s no time. It’s Gin, he’s crazy. Why is it so dark…I can’t breathe…” One hand clutched at the front of his shirt, and his breath was coming in ragged gasps. “He wants to know…”
“Who? What’s happening? Where’s Hattori?” Satou demanded, her voice rising in pitch.
“No time! Please, you have to—“ His words dropped off into a sudden scream. Not a cry or a shout, but a gut-wrenching shriek of pain that sent a tremor of fear through everyone present to hear it. He hunched forward, face contorting in anguish; his hand flew to his right shoulder, grappling at it desperately as if he could somehow ward off the pain in such a manner. He gasped, choked, “Oh God…there’s no time left. He’ll kill me…he’s going to kill me…because I know…”
“Who? WHO?” the response was a cacophony of different voices, all asking the same question.
A single tear of pain and despair escaped and slid down his face, mingling with the line of blood there. “Please…find me. Help me…please…” That seemed to exhaust him; his strength spent, the teenager slumped forward, his head lulling down once again, and fell silent.
It was so strange, Heiji reflected, to be a sort of prisoner in the back of his own mind; it felt like he was floating in water, without any real desire or ability to move. He was watching through his own eyes as they were used by another, hearing his voice speak without the accent—Kudo couldn’t have mimicked Kansai-ben to save his soul…he cringed to himself at the unintentional parallel.
He waited and listened with ears that were no longer his own as the message was delivered.
As the pain lanced through him, something broke, and he was awash in a wave of…something. Something powerful and overwhelming that swept him up in its currents and sought to drag him down into the blackest depths of himself. He gasped and struggled against it, trying to swim upstream.
And every variant thereon, plus a million other things.
They were tearing him apart, pulling him into shreds. But it wasn’t until his head finally slipped underwater that he realized what it actually was. And the dawn of comprehension brought the alien feeling of tears to his nonexistent eyes.
This was how Kudo felt—his situation, the prison of his body. The curse that had let him survive.
Those were the feelings that lay buried deep in his chest, the ones he never showed to anybody, and perhaps wasn’t even aware of himself. Weakness was not a word in Kudo Shinichi’s vocabulary. He swallowed his complaints, and he kept on going, come hell or high water.
And with it all came a flash, an image moving in front of his eyes. A hallway. A specific wall. A secret switch. A door. A room made of rough stone, the contents of which were enough to make him recoil in disgust. A man there, gloating and exacting such cruelty. A helpless victim on the floor…
He felt the heaviness lift, and slid back into his own body. The “intruder” was leaving, and with him went the tsunami of terror; his body was his again. Still, something in him echoed, hollow and painful, and what he had just experienced.
How had Kudo lived with that for all this time?
“Hattori-kun?” Takagi was shaking him again.
Suddenly, Heiji snapped upright with a sharp gasp. He stared around in shock for a moment, his eyes—green once again—wide and alarmed. He bore no signs of injury, only confusion and horror.
“Ha—“ Megure started to address the young man, but Heiji wasn’t waiting around. He was on his feet and sprinting past them at top speed before anyone could react to stop him. He still felt dizzy and a little sick, but there were more important things at stake.
He heard footsteps rushing behind him; they were following him now. Good—because he knew where they were going. He knew where Kudo was…because Kudo had shown him the way there. And damned if he wasn’t going to do everything he could.
He had to get there in time. He just had to.
And then there it was—the wall with that specific molding running around it. He’d seen this place, buried deep within the joining of two minds. His hands immediately started tracing the molding for that switch—it was here somewhere, it just had to be…he heard the police coming, calling his name.
The wall swung open, revealing a short hallway leading to a door—another recognizable landmark. Heiji ran to it, and without waiting for anyone to catch up, he kicked the door open. It was unlocked, whether by luck or something far more supernatural, and slammed open. He stormed into the stone room that lay beyond, his only thought to get there before it was too late; the police, Shiratori in the lead, sprinted in behind him.
He already knew, to a certain extent, what he would see.
The blonde man—who Heiji knew to be Gin—whirled around; his eyes were wide, his smile deranged. There was a fire poker in his hand, smoke rising from the tip, obviously only one of the many toys scattered around the stone room. But the most horrifying, damning part of the scene was the small figure crumpled on the ground in front of him; Gin’s shoe was on the small back, pressing the form cruelly against the floor…
One and the same.
Gin was obviously past the point of reason; he charged, weapon raised to strike at whoever had the misfortune to be in the path of the blow. A single shot was fired, and the man in black jerked and dropped to the ground, clutching at his shoulder with one gloved hand. The poker clattered noisily to the floor beside him and rolled out of his reach. In short order, he found himself surrounded and under arrest by a small squad of furious police officers.
Heiji, however, sprinted straight past Gin and slid to his knees on the floor beside the unmoving figure. “Kudo?” he called out to his fallen friend. “Kudo? C’mon, man, wake up!”
He was rewarded when one blue eye opened briefly and looked at him before sliding shut again. And the thin, childish voice murmured at him, telling him everything he needed to know. “He wanted Sherry…” The words trailed off as he lulled back into unconsciousness, where he couldn’t feel anything.
Someone behind him called that there was an ambulance on the way. He nodded and turned his attention back to Kudo, taking a quick inventory of the injuries he could see. The faux-child was breathing, first of all—and given the circumstances, that seemed no small blessing.
Just from what he could see, there were a myriad of injuries: various bruises and scrapes and some frightening cuts, including a particularly deep one on his forehead—there was a startling amount of blood on the floor around him—and one leg, bound in front of him, was lying at a disturbing angle—broken.
But what alarmed him the most of the visible injuries was a bad burn he could see on the child’s right shoulder. It stood out so painfully, seared right through the thin fabric of his T-shirt to mar the skin there. It was a long, thin burn, too. Heiji glanced over his own shoulder at the fire poker lying innocently on the stone floor.
No mystery there as to what had caused Kudo’s injury—it was right in front of him. But to be injured like that—tormented. Tortured. Heiji felt sick at the idea of it all. It was no wonder Kudo had been desperate enough to…
The paramedics had arrived in record time, spurned on by Satou-keiji chasing them down the hall, screaming for them to hurry. Heiji quickly moved out of their way and let them do their work. As he stepped back, though, he heard something crunch; he glanced down, and saw broken glasses beneath his shoe. He found himself staring at them, the innocuous lenses that had ended up leading them to Kudo.
A hand on his shoulder—the portly Inspector, he realized quickly—pulled him away from the pieces of broken plastic and glass. They stood by the door and watched as the child was moved onto the waiting stretcher. When he was rolled over, far more brutalities became evident. Heiji felt sick.
“Hattori-kun, how did you know where to find him?” Megure-keibu asked quietly as the paramedics passed them with their small charge on the stretcher between them. So many visible injuries, the worst being that awful burn on his shoulder…it would take a long time to heal in so many ways.
Not merely the physical.
“He…he told me,” Heiji said, rubbing at his arm.
The Inspector paused before he spoke again. “Are you all right?”
Heiji was silent for a moment. “Did you see that burn?”
“Satou said I screamed while…it was happening. Like I was in serious pain.” He said ‘I’ though it really hadn’t been—he knew that, and he understood it, even if no one else could grasp what had happened.
Heiji reached up and pulled at the neckline of his shirt, tugging it over enough to bare his skin, the spot he’d grabbed during that moment when he’d seemed to be in such agony. And no one quite knew what to say to the sizable mark on his right shoulder—the same size, shape, and placement as Kudo’s.
Red, as though he’d been burned.
PS. This one has been bothering me for quite some time. Throughout the Conan series, Heiji has on a few occasions shown some sign of perhaps minor psychic abilities (dreams of foresight, etc.) And hence, a strange idea was born. I hope you enjoyed it—and lots of love to ammchan for beta-ing this and making sure it did not suck.
jeva_chan, this is for you because first of all, you and your vampire Death Fics own approximately sixty percent of my soul. And secondly (and more importantly), I promised you a birthday fic, didn’t I? Whether you want one or not =D Since you seemed so intrigued by this idea, I give it you with a smile and a big Happy Birthday!! Cheers!
Thanks for reading and reviewing, all. Much love!