Fandom: Detective Conan
Publish Date: 3/17/2005
Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan. But I do have homemade hand-puppets for each character...that's normal, right?
Shinichi Kudo nervously peered out from behind the eyes of the seven-year-old form known as Conan Edogawa. He was tense, on edge, and for the life of him he didn’t know why. It had been as average a day as any: he had woken up, had breakfast, dodged The Idiot (as he privately thought of Mouri-tantei), and headed off to the mind-numbing bore that was school.
But something had been off, from the moment he had opened his eyes that morning. He had tried valiantly to shrug it off, write it off to a case of nerves or stress or some such thing; there had been a slew of murders lately, many following an M.O. that Shinichi found frighteningly familiar…
The Black Organization still loomed, the dark, cold shadow forever perched on his shoulder, just waiting to strike. He felt like he was just being paranoid, but his instincts told him that he was close, in some form or another. He was getting close.
Maybe today was the day he would get his big break.
But he tried desperately to push those thoughts from his mind. Worrying about something that had no real basis wasn’t going to get him anywhere. He was a detective, and detectives didn’t make their deductions and guesses based on something so…abstract. His mind, shaped from years of avid reading and experience, wouldn’t allow him to work with anything less than solid and tangible.
So he wandered now, alone. School had let out an hour ago, and he had somehow managed to shake the kids of the Detective Boys. A quick call to Ran had him excused for a while, citing that he was going to hang out at Agasa’s lab for a while; another call to Agasa-hakase himself had his bases covered, allowing him a little time to himself.
His thoughts went where they would. He just felt so off-balance…
The hairs on the back of his neck stood at rigid attention, and his spine stiffened almost imperceptibly. His steps slowed, but he forced himself to keep walking; the movements were stiff and robotic, unthinking. His hands, shoved casually into his coat pockets, started to shake the tiniest bit.
He was being watched.
It was a talent; he had always had something of a sixth sense to know when he was being spied upon. If a person’s eyes lingered on him for too long, he would instinctively react. Fight or flight would take over. And right now, something was telling him that flight was the better option.
Slowly, he turned his head and peered back over his shoulder to find the watcher.
Blue eyes widened in horror. Oh God…
The door burst open; Inspector Megure looked up—and frowned.
Conan was standing in the open doorway, one hand still on the doorknob. The kid looked absolutely exhausted, and decidedly frightened; his clothes were disheveled and slightly grimy, and there was a smear of what looked like oil on the side of his face. Furthermore, his glasses were notoriously missing. This was doubly odd because Conan was not the kind of child who would go out and horse around with his friends, nor did he frighten as easily as most other children. It was simply a well-known fact: Conan Edogawa was a very unique child.
“Conan?” Satou jumped to her feet and moved around the desk to the child’s side. Her hand gently touched his shoulder, and she was startled to feel that he was trembling violently. “What happened?”
“That’s not my name.”
The female officer started at the deadpan voice that came from the young throat. It was not merely a scared kid’s voice, but someone exhausted, stressed, and frightened. She pulled her hand back when she jumped, but leaned forward to once again touch the small shoulder. “What do you mean?”
“I’m not Conan Edogawa.”
The tension in the room because palatable, almost heavy enough to be tasted. “Then who are you?” Satou asked quietly. From any other child, this would have been easily written off to imagination or goofing off, but again, this was not an ordinary child, and a child playing games would not be this terrified or exhausted.
“It’s me…” he mumbled. “Kudo. Shinichi Kudo.”
The murmured words fell into the small conference room like pebbles dropped into a pond; they sank in silently, with barely a ripple. No one spoke or moved for a long time as they processed this odd declaration. Everyone was familiar with the name ‘Kudo,’ Megure in particular. They knew he hadn’t been seen in a while, though nobody knew where he had disappeared to. And now a small child, one they had all known for a decent length of time, was claiming to be the teenaged Savior of the Police Force.
“That’s impossible,” Shiratori finally said, quite bluntly.
“Ask me anything,” the small, hunched form replied. “Anything at all, about Shinichi or the cases he—I’ve—solved. I can tell you anything.” He shivered slightly then, only emphasizing what now seemed to be only an illusion of youth. “Remember at Tropical Land, that one day…there was a murder on a roller coaster…” Inwardly, he shuddered again; that had been the day his world had irreparably shattered.
Still, he pressed on. The childish soprano calmly and flatly laid out the entire case, forgetting not a single detail, right down to the method and the murderer’s reaction upon discovery. Nothing was omitted, leaving a clear picture that even someone who hadn’t been there would have been able to follow.
When his words ran dry, silence faded into the room as comprehension dawned.
Megure broke it first—he had been the one on that case. He had seen Kudo solve it, and there was no way that a child with no involvement in the case could possibly have known all of those details. To his knowledge, Conan hadn’t even been around yet. Which left…
The Inspector knelt down and looked carefully at the small child’s face. With the glasses, it had been harder to tell, but with the frames missing, the resemblance was absolutely extraordinary. Taking a risk, Megure murmured, “Kudo?”
“The one and only,” he laughed then, a chuckle without mirth or good humor behind it. “This is what’s left of me now.” The unhappy smile disappeared. “Mind if I sit down? There’s only one truth, and I have to share it. I want to tell my story…”
A chair was quickly produced, and the several officers that had been conferring in this room immediately crowded around the diminuitive figure perched on the edge of the seat. Conan—or rather, Shinichi—actually looked a tiny bit uncomfortable at the close proximity, but he said nothing to that effect. Instead, he merely looked down at feet that were nowhere near brushing the floor and began his tale. “It actually started that day at Tropical Land. That might be part of why I remember that particular case so clearly. That was the day my life changed…”
For the next half an hour, the only sounds were the steady tick-tick-tick of a clock on the wall, and the high-pitched voice of a not-child telling a horrible story. He spoke of two strangers in black outfits. An illegal transaction under a bridge. An incapacitating blow to the head, and a mysterious pill that left an adult trapped within the body of a child. Fleeing from police, and finding shelter in a neighbor. A decision and a promise not to tell. The arrival of a friend, and a quick alias. Stepping into the shadow behind Kogoro Mouri in an effort to track the men in black, who had disappeared like the shadows they seemed to imitate.
A newcomer, another victim of a shape-altering poison. The creator of that poison. The desperate, frazzled search for an antidote. But days passed into weeks, and weeks turned into months. Hope dwindled, hearts cracked, and the onset of depression and desperation of ever returning to normal.
When he stopped, he looked up at them; his shuttered eyes were enormous, set into a carefully schooled expression. He’d had a lot of practice at that, especially as of late—not letting anyone know anything he didn’t want them to know.
“I went walking today,” he went on after a long moment’s pause. “I’ve been about ready to lose my mind as of late, so I just got out of the house and went for a walk. Today just felt really…weird. But anyway, I suddenly got this weird feeling, like someone was watching me.”
“This is fascinating and all,” Shiratori broke in, “but what does this have to do with anything?”
“I looked over my shoulder,” he went on, ignoring the jibe, “…and there they were. Gin. Vodka. The guys who did this to me.” Small hands gestured towards the diminuitive body. “They’re the reason I’m stuck like this. Their pill did it. And they were watching me.” He shivered again, as though re-experiencing the feel of those cold eyes on his back.
“I froze. I totally froze. I mean, as you can see, I’m really not a physical match for them,” he managed the weakest of smiles. “And there was no way I was going to risk anything happening on a crowded street. So…I started walking. I didn’t even know if they were really watching me, or if I was just being paranoid or what…but I got my answer. They started following me.”
He gave them all one of those interesting gazes, that made it seem he was looking through everyone, rather than at them. “I really wasn’t sure what to do. It’s almost impossible to predict these guys. On the one hand, opening fire on a crowded street could blow their cover sky-high. On the other hand, they’re pretty bound and determined when it comes to eliminating their targets, and if a few innocents die, to hell with it. I decided it was probably better to get the hell out of dodge, as it were.”
“And they followed you?” Takagi demanded, scratching his head in disbelief.
“They did,” Conan—or rather, Shinichi—nodded. “Long story short, I ended up getting grabbed by the back of the neck and thrown headfirst into an alley. So there I am, my back against the wall, against two guys with guns, the same guys who did this to me in the first place.” He snorted. “This sounds like something out of a bad play—the hero, cornered by the evil villains who destroyed his life.” He shook his head. “If only it was just a play…but it’s all real life…”
“But then…how did you escape?” Megure demanded. Behind him, the other officers were unconsciously leaning forward in anticipation of the answer. Conan—no, Kudo—Kudo was brilliant, an unmatched mind, all but peerless in thought. Whatever method he had employed to get away from this threat, it had to have been amazing.
The room suddenly became very, very cold; the temperature felt like it had dropped at least twenty degrees. The officers visibly shivered as their breath hung in pale, icy clouds in the freezing air. And as they watched in horror, the small, hunched form in the chair before them began to disappear from sight; the outline of his small body remained almost normal, but the rest of him was fading into transparency.
“Gin shot me, point blank. I’m dead in the alleyway,” Conan-now-Kudo’s voice echoed strangely, though the words fell directly from his mouth and died in the frigid atmosphere of the small room. “I got this time so I could set the record straight.” He looked up at them with mournful blue eyes, the most visible part of him. “Please find me. And please find them.”
And Shinichi Kudo, who for so long had remained hidden behind the glare off Conan Edogawa’s glasses, vanished entirely. Leaving behind only a shocked silence.