Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ Waking ( Chapter 21 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter Twenty-One
Shinichi groaned as he floated back to consciousness. Damn, he was sore
He opened his eyes to see his room. For a moment, his memories flickered uncertainly. Was he still himself? How long had it been since he’d taken the antidote? Had he been dreaming?
As he woke up fully, though, he realized that the antidote had clearly run out; his bed was too large, the window was too far away, the proportions of the whole room were wrong. He was small again. Edogawa Conan had returned.
He lay there for some time, running over his nearly forty-five hours as himself. It was by no means the three days that Haibara had tentatively hoped for, but it was much longer than he’d ever gotten before. That gave her something to work with, and that gave him hope.
It was hard to imagine that maybe, just maybe, it was within his grasp: freedom from his kiddy body, from being ignored and not taken seriously, from being so close to Ran every day yet being so very distant from her…
It’s going to be even harder keeping my distance from her now,” he thought wryly, relieving the all-too-pleasant memory of her kiss, holding her close, how it felt so perfect, so right
Only now he’d have to pretend to just be a dumb kid again. He sighed. “I will tell her the truth, just… not while Gin and the rest still walk free. I just can’t put her at risk. I can’t. Of course, I’m not certain she’ll believe a story this bizarre, but… plenty of time for that in my normal body.
He lay there for a while longer, turning over his information on the Organization in his head, compiling mental profiles of the known members, his allies, his potential allies. He was loathe to admit it, but his reluctance to work with Kid stemmed less from the stealing- that was nothing compared to some of the things that Kir and Haibara had done- but from pure rivalry. That damn thief was the only one who’d ever gotten away from him, Organization aside, and generally found time to make a fool out of him in the process. Well, he’d have to let go of that. If it meant the end of the Organization and the return to his life- and Ran- then, he knew, it didn’t matter who his allies were. At this stage of the game, all that mattered was whether or not they could help him end it faster.
He glanced at the clock, wondering whether there would be time to go to the Kuroba’s today.
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Yukiko sighed contentedly as she took a long sip of her tea. She hadn’t been able to open the windows- far too cold- but moving around the house, tidying it up and just generally living in it had moved the stale air and made the whole place seem less stuffy. She’d been having one of her sporadic “housewife” moments all morning, dusting and hoovering the entire place, but really, it had stood empty for so long that there wasn’t any other option. Yuusaku had gone to go dust down the library, but knowing him he’d probably gotten sucked into one or another of the novels that he hadn’t read in a while. With Shinichi still asleep, the house felt mostly empty and quiet.
She couldn’t help shivering slightly as she wandered through the living room. The house suddenly felt so big; their place in LA was considerably smaller, something they’d originally bought as a young couple who hadn’t really been thinking about a family. Shinichi had been a surprise, but a pleasant one. They’d moved back to Japan after deciding that it was a better place to raise a child than LA. Yukiko loved her son deeply, from the first moment she’d found out about him, but in those early days, when she was very young, she’d missed the glamorous life she and Yuusaku had been leading as celebrities in LA. They were famous in Japan too, of course, but Japanese parties were more subdued than those in California, and she either brought Shinichi and left early or left him with Eri-chan and then felt guilty. She’d sometimes resented having to leave her starlet life behind- a thought that horrified her now. The house felt empty and unlived-in with three people in it; how much bigger and lonelier must it have been for Shinichi for the three years that he lived here on his own?
Ever since they’d returned home that horrible day, two years ago, to find the place empty and covered in dust, she’d realized that, if Shinichi had been killed that day, she might not have known for- well, she didn’t want to think about how long. And he would have died having not seen his parents last for months. She couldn’t stop thinking about him running home in the rain, tiny and terrified and completely alone; he might have fought with the gate all night if Agasa-Hakase hadn’t found him. He’d ended up staying at Ran-chan’s, and while Yukiko knew that Ran was more important to him than anyone, she also realized that being so close to her, watching her worry, having to lie to her day in, day out… it had to be torture for him. All because she and Yuusaku, as soon as they were legally able, had swanned off in what they thought at the time was a revival of their glorious youth but, she now recognized, was one hell of a mid-life crisis. She hated that decision now, and she knew that Yuusaku’s renewed habit of reading the Japanese papers and frequent insistence on visits back to check on Shinichi meant that he was thinking the same thing as her: what the hell had they been thinking?
Perhaps the worst of it, though…
Her thoughts were cut off by the rapid patter of little feet on the stairs, and old sound that she hadn’t heard for some ten years. Shinichi shot past the living room, then almost skidded as he turned back to join her. He wasn’t wearing his glasses, and with his hair still mussed by sleep and wearing his old childish pyjamas, it was like she’d fallen backwards in time.
Suppressing the emotions that arose at the thought, she brought up a playful little smile at the half-panicked look on her son’s face.
“I slept eighteen hours?!” he spluttered. Yukiko giggled and shrugged.
“I’m sure Ai-chan did tell you not to overexert yourself just before or during the change, Shin-chan,” she reprimanded him. “Goodness, I thought I was going to have a heart attack when you came tearing along and collapsed into the car!”
“I couldn’t help it,” Shinichi said grudgingly, stretching after his overlong sleep. “We didn’t know exactly when I was going to change back. I thought I would have longer.”
“Promise me you’ll be careful about the time, all right?” Yukiko said. “I don’t want to have to pick you up at the last minute like that again… I nearly stopped the car when you started screaming! And then when you shrank you got so thrown about before Yuusaku got hold of you…”
“I wouldn’t get thrown about if you didn’t drive like a maniac,” Shinichi grumbled. “Geez, I can’t believe I slept that long… I have to go back home- well, to Ran’s- tomorrow…” Yukiko couldn’t help a tiny jolt at the reference to Ran’s as “home”. She knew it was just habit from over two years of living there, but…
“Well, plenty of time until then,” she said cheerfully, walking through to the kitchen. “Now, how about some breakfast? I bought a few supplies when we came back… what do you want?”
“Um, toast,” he said, shuffling after her. Yukiko popped a couple of slices into the toaster, reflecting on how when Shinichi had actually been this small, she’d had to stop him climbing onto the counter, insisting that he was “big enough to do it himself”. Of course, he probably felt far from “big enough” now…
“I guess we’ll have to try and contact Kuroba sometime today,” Shinichi muttered, half to himself, as Yukiko put a little more tea on. “I’ve no idea how we’re going to approach him about this, though… might just have to wing it and hope he doesn’t leg it out of a window when he sees me walking into his house…”
“Well, Yuu-chan explained everything to me in Osaka, and I’m sure he’ll be willing to listen if you tell him you can help him avenge Toichi-sensei,” Yukiko said, pulling the lightly done toast out of the toaster and buttering it. She sat down opposite her son as she brought the plate over. “Kaito-kun followed Toichi-sensei everywhere as a child… his death hit the poor boy very hard…”
“Yeah,” Shinichi mumbled, around a mouthful of toast. Yukiko reached out to pull the other half of the slice out of his mouth, tapping him on the lip with it. “Don’t talk with your mouth full, Shin-chan.”
“Geez, Kaa-san,” Shinichi grumbled, snatching for his toast, “sometimes I feel like you’d love me to be a little kid forever…”
Yukiko dropped the toast. Shinichi reached out for it, but suddenly stopped, narrowing his eyes as Yukiko drew her now-trembling fingers back. “Kaa-san?”
“Shin-chan,” she said quietly, “what if… what if that was true?”
Shinichi sat back, leaving the toast on the table, his face expressionless. He looked so much like a tiny Yuusaku; she knew that whether she unburdened herself fully or tried to pass it off as a joke, he wouldn’t say a word until she was done talking. But he also wouldn’t let it go if she did try to pass it off as nothing. Anyway, didn’t she owe him this much?
“Shin-chan… Shinichi… I…” clearing her throat, she set down her teacup. “I… have to confess… I was so scared when we came back to find you gone, but when Agasa-Hakase told us what had happened, and we saw you coming out of that elementary school for ourselves, I was happy. But not… just because you were alive. It felt like time had been reversed. Like… I’d been given a second chance.”
Shinichi didn’t say a word, but his blue eyes flickered slightly. What was he thinking?
“I’ve felt guilty for a long time,” she admitted. “I feel like… like I was a bad mother. When I was very young, fresh off the silver screen, I just wanted to hold onto my youth and glamour forever. I wanted to see the world with Yuusaku, live life to the full… and then we had you. I loved you to pieces… still do… but I also… I resented you. I felt like you came along too early. I didn’t want to put my life on hold for someone else’s sake, even… even my own son. I hate those thoughts now, hate the person that I was. But I also clung to that person. When we left you, I don’t think either of us stopped to think that… maybe we weren’t those young, glamorous, self-centred people anymore. That maybe there were more important things. But we left you alone, and saw you so rarely… Even though, legally old enough or not, it must have been at least a little hard for you, a little lonely.”
Shinichi looked down, not confirming her words but not quite contradicting them either. Yukiko plunged on. What else could she do?
“And then we came back to find that you’d vanished, nearly been killed, been left all alone after such an ordeal, simply because there was no-one to notice that you hadn’t come home in time or to let you in. When we saw what had happened to you, I realized that the cost of putting myself first had almost been far higher than I’d ever dreamed of… I nearly lost something that I never wanted to lose.” Her eyes burned, remembering the fear and regret and shame of that day, of seeing what had happened to her child. “But… I also felt like it was a reset, a do-over. If you stayed this way, and had to grow back to your own age, maybe… I could try again. I could be a better mother. I really wanted you to come back to America because… I didn’t want you to solve this. I wanted to hold on to you and my second chance, no matter what you wanted.” The tears spilled over now, dripping down her cheeks and onto her clenched fists where they rested on the tabletop. She could no longer look her son in the eye.
“I-I’m so sorry, Shinichi,” she whispered. “The whole time, no matter what you suffered, I-I only thought about myself… Wh-what I stood to lose… wh-what I stood to gain… I…”
“You don’t deserve to be a mother,” Shinichi finished quietly. Yukiko choked back a sob. “That’s what you’re thinking, right? Kami, that’s stupid.”
Yukiko glanced up in surprise, to see Shinichi watching her, smiling faintly.
“Funny,” he said, “for someone so completely self-centred, you certainly didn’t try very hard to get your way. You could’ve let me stew in Ran’s suspicions, which frankly were strong enough to force me out of the house at that point, but instead you created “Edogawa Fumiyo”, reinforcing my alibi and allowing me to stay. You haven’t tried to make me leave since, and you’ve even helped my case. I never would have cornered Vermouth that night without your disguises. For someone who only cares about herself, you certainly assumed a lot of risk there from your old friend “Sharon” and whoever else might have been at that party. And you wouldn’t think someone so self-centred would take so much time out of her life to come check on someone who they only think of as a burden, or worry about them so much.”
“Shinichi…” Yukiko whispered, the tears only flowing stronger. He slipped down from his seat, walking around the table, the toast lying cold and forgotten.
“Yeah, I was a little lonely when you guys left,” he admitted, “but it’s not like I’d miss bad parents, would I? Kaa-san… no matter what you wanted, in the end you put my choices and what I wanted first. I wouldn’t be this far if you hadn’t. I don’t resent you or anything, all right? There might be better Kaa-sans, and there might be worse ones, but that matters not a whit to me or my work.” They both cracked a tentative smile at the Holmes reference, Yukiko sinking from the chair to her knees, at Shinichi’s level. “What does matter is that the Kaa-san I’ve got is you, and you’re a pretty good one, all things considered. OK? Aw, geez, please stop crying, I’m still a teenage guy inside, I can’t handle that…”
With something between a laugh and a sob, Yukiko flung her arms around her son, sobbing into his little shoulders. He hugged her back, his tiny childish arms only really reaching around her sides. But still, he held her, and he forgave her, and for the first time in eighteen years, she felt at peace.
After a while, she wiped her eyes and pulled back, smiling gently at her son as he pulled himself back up into his chair and started eating what had to now be freezing toast, smiling himself at something over her shoulder. She turned to see Yuusaku leaning in the doorway. He also gave her a faint smile, having probably already deduced what had happened, but he also looked troubled.
“Yuusaku?” she asked, rubbing her eyes again. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s Kuroba-kun,” he said sternly. “Looks like we won’t get to talk to him yet after all.”
“What?” Shinichi said, narrowing his eyes. “What happened?”
“I just heard on the radio,” Yuusaku said. “There was a hit-and-run in the West End. The police have attributed it to the turf wars between the Red Comets and the Black Stars.”
“He’s been hit?!” Shinichi yelped in shock. “Dammit… street racers my ass…”
“I agree, but Kaito-kun, isn’t the one with the really serious injuries,” Yuusaku said.
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Kaito groaned as he floated back to consciousness. Dammit, it hurt
What had happened?
He was… helping his mother with the shopping, bag-carrying, telling her about hanging out with Aoko and Mori Ran and Kudo Shinichi. It was getting late, getting dark, and they were taking a short cut along an empty road in the West End, and he wasn’t really paying attention until headlights flashed out of the darkness and an engine revved to life…
Was I… hit…?” he wondered, mentally taking stock of his body. His head was hurting like hell, and so was his right wrist, which was wrapped in a thick sling. Yes, his wrist had cracked against the pavement, when…
Dropping the shopping, he grabbed his mother’s arm, yanking her aside as the car barrelled towards them, missing him by inches. He caught the most fleeting glimpse of the guy behind the wheel, a silver-haired bastard with the cold eyes of a killer- of a Raven. One of Them.
Even though he had missed Kaito, he smiled. Only then, too late, did Kaito realize that there was a second car. The headlights were off, so he wouldn’t notice it against the first car… Dammit…
He cracked his head and head against the pavement as his mother threw her whole weight into him, and there was a sickening thump as the second car flew past him by inches…
Blood trickling into his eyes, he forced his head up to see the car pass, Snake grinning in the driver’s seat like the cunt that he was, and his mother falling from the roof of the car to the boot, and then slamming into the ground, where she lay still, limbs at unnatural angles, blood spilling into the street.
“Okaa-san,” he croaked, crawling over, but his vision was blurring, and he heard someone screaming, doors slamming, and saw feet running towards him…
The blackness overwhelmed him…
He turned his head to the bed next to him, dreading what he would see.
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I wanna shout out to Tay-chan, Emzi-chan and Cathiey-chan. The Nickelback concert rocked and so do you! *devil horns* HEY-EY, WE WANNA BE ROCKSTARS! XD
And yes, I did just call Snake that. (Oh no you didn’t!) Well, he is.
Poor little Kaito indeed, twilightserius…
You’re welcome once again, Mel7200! (Does anyone know how to say that in Japanese? Is it what “nan desu yo” means?)
Aww, am I depressing you, AngelRoy? 🙁 TBH, I get the same feeling about “Birds of a Feather”. Well, never fear- there will be regular updates until the end, because there’s precious little I hate more than a good fic that goes unfinished. (Except Dick Cheney. I’m sorry to offend any Republicans in the audience, but the man is an asshole, plain and simple.)
Kaito doesn’t intend to tell Aoko his secret yet, Silver Shadowbreeze, but he wants her to know… someday. I don’t think he likes lying to her any more than Shinichi likes lying to Ran, but what else can they do?
Here’s more Kaito, BobbyNeko, though it’s hardly goodness… 🙁
Yay! Glad ya love it, Delyrical! From me, there will always be more Kaito ^_-
Kaito didn’t follow Shinichi, Eyeinythesky, because he had no idea who he was, whether he was involved with the Syndicate, or why he was leaving; actually, he probably thought that Shinichi was leaving to rejoin the cops or something, and you know how he feels about cops. ^_^ Besides, what gentleman leaves ladies without an escort? 😛
Some people do write them as twins, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I think I mentioned my feelings on that in a previous A/N. What can I say? I’m obsessively canonical. 😛 But where the canon has no information, I’m pretty freewheeling (Just wait `till you see what I’ve got up my sleeves for Vermouth and Akako…) Forgot to mention, like the name. ^_- I always liked that play, but I can never help but wonder what Shakespeare was smoking when he wrote it. ^_^; And the 800-year-dead guy supposedly brought good luck; well, it was not long after that trip that I got the idea to post this fic on FF . net, so I guess it’s true, huh? ^_-
Glad the chapter made you laugh, Pretztailfan95. But can I point out that while the manga only costs £5.99 in the UK, that only matters if somewhere actually STOCKS it? Waterstones carries a couple of Tokyopop manga, but I’ve yet to find anywhere that stocks DC, IY or anything else that I actually read. I have to import it, and that costs a FORTUNE. I normally like the dialogue in the fanscans better, but sometimes the Viz copy makes things (particularly technical explanations) much easier to understand. I have to agree with you about the bomber case, though. If they screw that up like they screwed up Heiji and Kazuha’s lines when they were dangling off of that cliff, I’m going to cry. T_T
I’m glad you think it’s so sweet, FaithlessGirl. I’m glad you like the POVs, too. I think POV is important for the interpretation of some scenes, so every section is slightly from the POV of one character or another, which also changes how characters are referred to (have I done a section from Hakuba’s POV yet? I had to go back and change a bunch of scenes in chapters that I haven’t published yet because even from Hakuba’s POV I was referring to him as “Hakuba”, when really from his POV it should be his given name “Saguru”. ^_^; The only exception is Sherry, who’s always, “Ai” rather than “Shiho”, but there’s reasons for that.)
Small World
The Gathering Storm