Author: EsTeLweNadia PM
Oneshot. Who knows that a mere, simple word can bring you so much pain?Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst - Words: 4,877 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 3 - Published: 02-04-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3377989
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
By: Rachel Hunter
Summary: Oneshot. Who knows that a mere, simple word can bring you so much pain?
Rating: Major Conan/Shinichi's angst.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Detective Conan's cast.
Author's Note: I am inspired by Becky Tailweaver's Relative Truth, in which Shinichi and Kaito are cousins. And that idea is immortalized in most of my DC's fictions, because I like the idea so much. So yeah, this fic is mainly Shinichi/Conan and Kaito-centered. And you might want to read Relative Truth first… so as to understand this fiction better.
As always, comments and constructive criticism are immensely appreciated.
Go on… read…and enjoy!
That day a biannual inter-school prompt speech competition was held in Kaito's high school, in its massive auditorium. Various contestants ranging from elementary students to high school students took part. The whole of the host school had come down to witness the event; every student and every teacher. Even those who were extremely reluctant had no exceptions. Kaito was one of those reluctant, restless and uninterested students, but he had no choice but to sit through the dreary occasion, listening, or not, to monotonous babbles or rambles of the contestants about the topic given to them. He itched to perform even the simplest magic tricks to amuse himself, maybe even to distract the audience from the dull event, but his discipline master had warned him against it. Aoko had also warned him against it. So, deprived of his only entertainment, he tried to pay attention to what was happening, barely able to do so.
If Shinichi is here he would also feel just as bored as I am, Kaito thought gloomily, staring impassively at a pretty brunette who was animatedly talking about something -he didn't catch the topic- Yep, even he might be pissed off by this…absurdity. This is ridiculous…I'm wasting my time here. Yet I can't do anything about it.
Both he and Kudo Shinichi had an IQ higher than most people…they were more intelligent and sharper than most people, so in their position the ordinary people seemed kinda…slow, stupid even. They knew it was rude to view others that way, but they couldn't help it. When talking to others, they had to explain everything, or simplify everything so that whatever they were trying to convey could be easily understood. It was almost frustrating. They had learned to live with it, though.
Ever since he had met Shinichi, not as the notorious Kaito Kid the Phantom Thief but as himself, Kuraba Kaito, a cousin, a friend…he suddenly didn't feel quite alone anymore. Kudo Shinichi was of his standard, in terms of intelligence and wits. They could converse easily, such that they could finish off each other sentences or thoughts. They could do it so well they might as well be telepathic. Yep, both of them are good at reading other people, sometimes even themselves. Shinichi was better at reading and understanding people, though.
"This is so boring," Kaito blurted out, startling Aoko who was sitting next to him, seemingly rather engrossed at the talking contestant on the stage. "I am wasting time here. Hell, I'll do anything to get out of here."
Aoko arched an eyebrow, not understanding, or pretending not to. "Boring? Please, Kaito, if you have been listening right from the start the whole thing is interesting."
"Even without having to listen to them I know they'll deliver empty, boring speeches," Kaito retorted. "I doubt they even know what they are rambling about."
"I know you are so intelligent, Kaito," Aoko replied scathingly. "So intelligent you make people like me seem slow and stupid. For once, try to be a normal guy with a normal intellect. That would make everything a lot better."
"I wish," Kaito muttered. "It's not my fault I am smarter than the others."
Aoko shot him a dark look. "True, it isn't. But at least don't make others feel so… inferior …"
"I'm trying real hard not to," Kaito said defensively, surprised by the hurt in her voice. Here he thought Aoko understood him better than any of his classmates. "I bet Shinichi is having the same problem too."
Upon mentioning Shinichi's name Aoko's hardened features softened. She gave a soft smile, her eyes growing distant; Kaito had to raise an eyebrow.
"Shinichi, huh?" Aoko murmured. Then she looked up and smiled at him. "I'm glad you have finally met someone of your intelligence, Kaito. Someone who could understand you better than I do. It makes me happy to see you happy, Kaito."
Kaito didn't expect the conversation to turn to this. Still he tried to steer the conversation back to safer, comfortable grounds. "I am always happy, Aoko."
"But lonely," Aoko countered softly. "You may be happy, but you are lonely too. Even with me around you are lonely. Now that you have met Shinichi-kun, you are happier than I've seen you before, Kaito."
Kaito couldn't deny the truth of her words. Still, she sounded like he would ditch her… like Shinichi's a better substitute than her... "Yeah…but you are still important to me. Shinichi understands me where you can't, and you understand me where he can't. A guy can never understand what a girl can, Aoko. I am blessed with two people who understand me differently. I want to keep it that way."
Aoko looked at him with the kind of look you usually get whenever you tell people you appreciate them more than you want to admit or show. The look was soft, touched and a happy kind of sad, or sad kind of happy…Kaito mentally kicked himself. Blame it on Shinichi to rub off some of his sentimental vibes on him.
"Alright, that's quite an interesting talk about Poverty by Jacquelina Lee from Heishang High School." The emcee announced, effectively breaking the uneasy silence between the two childhood friends, although he didn't know about that. "Next, I will introduce to you the youngest contestant in this Speech Competition. He's bright. He's smart. He's intriguing. And he's an honored representative from Teitan Elementary School. Presenting to you…Edogawa Conan!"
Kaito was so shocked he immediately sat upright on his chair, his eyes fixed on the little boy who sauntered confidently and purposefully to the center of the stage. Shinichi? What on earth is he doing here? Aoko nudged him, and Kaito closed his mouth, still staring at Conan in sheer disbelief.
"Hey, isn't he the boy who lives with Ran-chan?" Aoko asked in amazement. "Kawaii!" A puzzled pause. "Why does he look familiar?" Then Aoko snapped her fingers. "That's right! He is one who almost nabbed Kaito Kid, and also the one who always foil Kaito Kid's plans. Otousan had told me all about it. He's a kid so smart he puts everyone older than him to shame."
Well, he is the famous high-school detective Kudo Shinichi, in a little boy's disguise, Kaito mused, his surprise melting away to quiet awe and pride. Now a soft smile had touched his lips. He's my cousin. He is the only one who can turn my perfect plans upside down.
Kaito watched his cousin climbed up the small platform on the stage meant for kids his size. He saw the signature confident and fearless posture of Kudo Shinichi in the young kid; he saw the piercing intellect of the famous detective shimmering from underneath the sparkle of childlike innocence and Shinichi's muted mischief in those sharp, dark blue eyes. Even in a kid's appearance Shinichi was able to intimidate others, those who were observant enough, by his quiet seriousness and intensity, whether he wanted it or not, whether he realized it or not.
Like now. Edogawa Conan wore an outfit that wasn't anything like a child's; white-collared shirt underneath blue coat, his red bow-tie, matching blue shorts and red sneakers. The entire outfit accentuated his dark blue eyes and young, slightly chiseled face, making him look more like an adult than a child he was supposed to act as…making him look more like his alter ego, Kudo Shinichi. A young Kudo Shinichi with glasses, to be accurate.
This attire, Kaito thought, maybe Shinichi is a representative of his school, or maybe the event is formal, he paused, then stifled a chuckle, Or maybe he just likes wearing such formal clothes. Compared to me, he is more smartly dressed. He is from a well-distinguished family after all.
The audience gave a heart-warming applause of welcome, refreshed by the arrival of such a sweet, innocent and cute young child. They hoped that the speech given by the child would be better than other participants, and Kaito knew they would not be disappointed. Kaito gave a whoop of delight and was the one clapping the loudest. Conan nodded slightly, acknowledging the enthusiastic welcome. Kaito hid a grin. Shinichi had handled fame and media and mobs of fans and reporters well, so being on stage didn't make him feel nervous or have a stage-fright. He was calm, even anticipating. Nope…definitely not like a child.
For a moment, Conan locked gazes with him. Shinichi was glad and relieved to see him well, and Kaito could say the same to him. They hadn't met for two weeks already because they had been so busy with their own matters they hadn't had time to contact each other, not even to say hi. Now that they had seen one another, even from a distance, healthy, well and in good condition, they could set their minds at ease.
"And now, Conan-kun, the topic you are to talk about is …" The emcee paused, glancing down at his card. "Lies. You have a minute and a half to think before beginning."
The topic was 'Lies'. Conan staggered back as though he had taken an unseen blow. Pure shock and horror etched on the young face … then they slowly faded away, replaced by a remorse, an agony so raw, so true the whole hall fell silent at the sudden change. Especially Kaito. The emotion Conan displayed was nothing of a child. The childlike attitude was entirely gone … Edogawa Conan had withdrew and right now, Kudo Shinichi had taken over. Those emotions weren't that of a child … but of an anguished young man.
"Lies, huh?" Conan, no, Shinichi began, sporting a short, bitter laugh. His eyes now shadowed, his expression unreadable. The voice was soft with unspoken pain, but was loud enough to be heard in the hall, thanks to the microphone. Shinichi gripped the mike, his knuckles slowly going white.
Shinichi cleared his throat. When he spoke, his voice was steady, though the pain was still evident. "Lying is a part of our everyday life. Everyone here lies…. There isn't one soul who is so completely honest he hadn't lie at all. Nope, I don't think so. We lie for many different reasons; to get what we want, to escape from punishments, so on and so forth. We lie, either for a good cause or a bad cause, but the point is, we still lie. Even if we do it to keep our loved ones safe from harm, because ignorance may be the best defense."
Shinichi paused, remembering what his dad had said, and how much it hurt. "It hurts to lie. It hurts to lie to someone that are close to you, and it also hurts to know that someone you trust most lies to you. Lies are a form of a duel-edged weapon. They hurt you and the people you lied to. Lies are the cause of complications. The start of destruction. Lies shatter the trust, destroy the relationship and crush your soul. Lies leave you a scar that is almost impossible to heal, leave you a guilt and agony that are will never fade. Lies can be smooth, easy, and even automatic, but they still hurt."
Another slight pause, and though Shinichi didn't look at the audience, Kaito didn't miss a tear slowly rolled down the boy's cheek. Another… and Shinichi took a deep, shuddering breath, willing himself to stay strong in front of so many people who were quietly watching him. Kaito clenched his fists, traumatized by his cousin's suffering. Concern and worry slipped through his Poker Face, but he didn't care. Shinichi was still suffering, and Kaito silently berated himself for his ignorance. Beside him, Aoko had her fist in her mouth, her eyes shiny with unshed tears. Trust Aoko to be so emotional.
"Tell me… how do you feel when you discover that the life you have now is actually… a lie?" Shinichi continued, looking up. His eyes glistened, and the smile he carved was full of pain. "And how do you feel that the person you trust most lied to you, about something very important, something that concerns you, something that you must know? Betrayed … cheated even, because you trust that person, trust him enough to be honest and true to you… only to be deceived."
Shinichi gave another short laugh, closing his eyes as he shook his head. When he opened them again, the pain was gone. No tears. He was back as Edogawa Conan, a cheerful, bright, cute and innocent little boy … his alter ego. The change was so abrupt that Kaito was surprised on how easily Shinichi slipped on his own Poker Face, though he knew the pain was still there, lurking just below the mask.
"Sorry for the sentimental speech, everyone," Conan said brightly, spreading his arms wide. "I guess all I want to say is that lies hurt, no matter the reasons, to the liar and the people he lied to. Everyone lies, too, even for some people who are always searching for the truth." He paused, and the pain was back, briefly before it vanished. Again. Back under the mask. "Yes, that's right. In the process of searching for the truth we have to lie. I'm not telling you to lie. I'm also not telling you not to lie, either. One lie leads to another, until the truth is completely obscured by the thick walls of lies. Uncover the truth, and the pain you will feel is unlike anything you have ever felt before. Sure, you can lie, but do it at your own risk." Another slight pause, probably for dramatic effect. "Telling the truth hurts… telling lies hurts, too, so what you have to do?" Conan tapped at his chest where his heart is. "Follow your heart. It can lead you to the way that hurts less. Be it to the light of the truth or the darkness of the deceit…"
The speech ended just as the emcee announced, "Time's up!" If someone could make a complete, meaningful speech within the time limit, trust Shinichi to do so. The audience remained silent, unsure whether to clap or just stay quiet. Apparently, they were deeply affected by the speech made by the not-child. A speech filled with pain, so mature, so touching by a child so young… and now that child walked down the steps of the stage, his posture slightly slouched, hands in his pants pockets, but unlike the way he walked up the stage earlier, now he bowed his head, eyes hidden under his bangs.
"That is an amazingly insightful speech by little Edogawa Conan!" The emcee commented brightly, simultaneously breaking the uneasy silence in the hall. "Next, we have a bubbly Tsumatda Miriki from Teishang High School. Let's give her a round of applause!"
The applause came, but not as enthusiastic as before. Kaito had risen from his seat, suddenly not interested in the competition anymore. He was about to leave when Aoko snagged his arm.
"Where are you going?" She hissed. "You can't leave in the middle of the competition!"
"I am going to the gents." Kaito replied pleasantly. "Unless you want me to let it go here?"
Disgusted, Aoko immediately released her hold on him, and Kaito hurried off out of the hall, giving an impression that nature, indeed, had called upon him and he had to answer her fast.
Once he was out of the auditorium, he slowed his pace. A light frown marred his features. Now all he had to do was to find the diminutive detective. Where could the little guy disappear to?
Kaito didn't have to search long. As he walked past a gent's washroom on the fourth floor he heard the sounds of running water sloshing against the sink. Kaito poked his head in, and saw the missing boy, perched on the counter and staring at the mirror, water dripping from his forlorn face.
"There you are," Kaito said brightly. "I've been searching for you all over."
"Go away," Conan mumbled, removing his oversized glasses and wiping water off his face. "You don't have to do this every time I'm –"
"I come because I care. You are my cousin after all. I can't leave you moping, now can I?" Kaito interrupted, pushing himself off the wall he had been leaning on and entered the washroom, heading towards his cousin with a reproachful look on his face. "And why didn't you tell me you are so deep down in the dumps?"
"It's not important," Conan murmured, looking down at his hands. "I don't wish to cause anyone anymore trouble."
Kaito shot the shrunken Shinichi a dark look. "Not important? Trouble? Don't make me laugh. Anything that concerns your sanity concerns me too. You don't cause me troubles… but I feel troubled by your troubles."
Shinichi gazed at the mirror again, and a tired, miserable boy stared back at him. "I thought I am okay, back to normal… but I guess I was wrong. Who knows a mere, simple word can bring so much pain? Pain I thought had vanished long ago?"
"Look, things like that happens, and when it happens, it is best for you not to dwell on it," Kaito said, his voice serious, "because the more you dwell on it, the more pain you will feel. It is wise, and best, to let go."
"What is the difference?" Shinichi asked softly, "Let go or not the fact is still there mocking at me. The fact that I am a liar and a hypocrite."
Kaito sighed. "We have discussed this, haven't we? You didn't have any choice. You lied to protect those who are close to you, believing that you will tell them the truth one day. It's not like you can help it. The situation called for it, and during that time, keeping them in the shadows seemed like the most correct decision you have ever made."
"You should know this as well as I do… that no matter how much we wish to change our past, we can't, because there is no way we can do that. And it is just a waste of time. The same goes to the wishful sentences starting with 'if', or 'what if'. Even if we can change the past – I doubt it will happen – we also change our future. Drastically."
"I know that –"
"Of course you know that. You are a smart person, so do and think things smart." Kaito said sternly. "Brooding and regretting can't change things the way we wish it to. The most we can do is to take whatever coming in stride. And not make the same mistake again."
Kaito broke off, sighing again, this time sounding a little troubled. "I am the one to talk… I will probably do the same thing if I am in your shoes. But looking at the bright side, at least now you need not lie anymore. That is a good thing, isn't it?"
At the slight pain undertoning the teen thief's impassive voice, Shinichi looked up and stared at his much taller cousin with startled, huge eyes. "Kaito…"
He knew what Kaito was trying to say. Or, rather… trying not to say. Kaito had a serious moral dilemma, one he couldn't get out of no matter how much he wanted to. Being a Kid, a notorious, smooth criminal who was in Aoko's Most Hated list, he was unable to disclose his identity to Aoko without having her to hate him. To make things worst, her father was the ever-extreme Nakamori Ginzo, a cop hell-bent on catching Kid and throwing him into prison.
"Eh, you okay?" Kaito asked, realizing that his seemingly younger (in appearance) cousin had once again fallen into one of his brooding moods.
Shinichi blinked, then chuckled and shook his head. "Ah, yes, I'm fine. Just wondering why Fate is so damn unfair and cruel to us."
He gazed at his reflection again, this time, the shadows from the boy's face had drifted away. He slipped on his glasses. Now, he was back as the precocious, cute and bubbly Edogawa Conan. He gave a bright Conan smile, taking even Kaito by surprise. "But it is alright… as long as there are you and me, Obasan and Ran, as well as Aoko… nothing can bring us down. Not even them!"
"Well-said, chibi-tantei!" Kaito laughed, only to duck as Conan flicked some water at his direction. "Hey, what was that for?!"
Conan hopped down his perch from the counter, landing nimbly on his feet before throwing a smug look over his shoulder. "For calling me chibi. That is just water. Call me chibi again and I won't hesitate to give you the taste of my shoes, full power!"
However, Kaito wasn't deterred. He shrugged and smirked. "Chibi!"
He already started running when Conan gave a yelp of surprise and feigned anger of "You idiot!" followed by the small, rapid steps of a running young boy. His light laughter echoed throughout the empty corridor, and he knew that his 'little' counterpart was grinning himself silly. Goodness, it had been such a long time since they had fun like this.
They were like that until they reached the hall again, whereby Kaito stopped so suddenly Conan, who had been running full speed, bumped into him, hard, and landed on his bum.
"Why the hell did you do that for?!" He almost yelled, but Kaito shushed him sharply.
"Shut up, Shorty! They are announcing the winners!"
Conan blinked, but got to his feet and rubbed his offended dignity, frowning slightly as he listened to the emcee.
"And now, the champion in this biannual inter-school prompt speech competition for the elementary school category is none other than…" A slight pause, most likely for suspense and dramatic effect. "Edogawa Conan from Teitan Elementary School! Please come up to the stage to claim your prize!"
Conan's eyes went a whole new level of large. "Who? Me? I am the winner?"
"Stop feigning surprise and go!" Kaito snapped, shoving Conan to the front.
"It doesn't seem fair…" Conan murmured. "It's like I'm cheating…"
Exasperated, Kaito sighed. "Cheating my foot! This competition is for both high and elementary school students, and since you are both… what the hell… just go!"
"Fine! Fine! I'm going!" Conan said, tottering off to the stage, and as Kaito observed, that little kid was actually bouncing, with delight or mockery Kaito wasn't sure. He watched Conan proudly received his trophy, watched him bow down to the audience and watched an elated grin blossomed on the not-child's features as the whole hall erupted into a spirited applause.
Kaito couldn't help but grin. He was glad, that despite all the hardships thrown their way, Shinichi was able to stay strong and cheerful, of course, with occasional brooding moments. But then, Kaito expected no less from his cousin, the great high school detective Kudo Shinichi.
Kaito's grin grew at the sight of Conan heading towards him, prize in hand. He was beaming to the others, but frowned when he finally met up with Kaito.
"So, what's your prize?" Kaito inquired, arching a curious eyebrow.
Conan's frown only deepened. "Well, a cheque, a trophy and 4 tickets to Disneyland. I mean, how lame is that? Are they lacking in sponsors or something? Honestly, they should have – hey, what's so funny?!"
Kaito had doubled over; laughing so hard Conan felt his eye twitch. Kaito took several deep breaths to calm his laughter, but still, one or two of the annoying chuckles managed to slip through the impossibly wide grin.
"Well… it's nothing, really," Kaito said, smirking down at his considerably irritated cousin. "It's just that… well, somehow the prize kinda suits you!"
"Kaito!" Conan really felt like leaping up and strangling Kaito to oblivion. But he snorted and looked away, folding his arms. Despite himself, he allowed a mischievous grin to snake into his face. "But it is okay, I guess. I have never been to Disneyland before. Maybe with the tickets I will go with the so-called Shounen Tantei. You can come along if you like, but buy your own tickets!"
Kaito rolled his eyes. "Fine… Who wants to go along with kiddies anyway?"
Before Conan could frame a hot retort, they heard a familiar voice, sounding loud and angry. "There you are, Kaito! I've been looking all over for you!"
Kaito sweatdropped. "Aoko."
"Don't you 'Aoko' me!" Aoko snapped, glaring at him. She was totally oblivious at Conan muffling his laughter behind his hand. "Do you know how long I've been waiting for you to arrive? Goodness, I'm almost worried!"
"Almost?" Kaito teased, tentatively.
"That's not the point!" Aoko almost shouted.
"Hey, hey, calm down. There is no need to get so worked out. I am here, aren't I? I am fine, aren't I? Besides, I with little Conan-kun."
Aoko blinked. "Conan-kun?" She glanced down and Conan beamed up at her. Her anger dissipated instantly. "Hey, congratulations, Conan-kun! You did really well back there! I almost wanted to cry listening to you."
No kidding, Kaito thought.
Conan couldn't help the sweatdrop that appeared at Aoko's compliment, but he did almost sputter in shock when Aoko asked, "Your story seems so real, though. Does it really happen to you?"
"Uh, well, no!" Conan replied brightly. "It seems real because my mother told me that if I deliver a speech with emotions and gusto, it would be really great. Guess I overdid it a little, huh?"
Kaito reached down and ruffled the boy's head with more force than necessary, ignoring the little squawk that resulted. "Damn right you did. You make Aoko cry I'll haul your ass into the drain!"
Aoko rolled her eyes. "Ignore him, Conan-kun. Since you have won, let me treat you an ice-cream." She winked at him. "Ne?"
Conan shook his head. "Gomen ne, Aoko-neechan. I have to rush home for dinner, or else Ran-neechan will be really angry. Maybe you should treat Kaito-nichan an ice-cream. Looks like he needs it more than I do!"
Kaito balked, and Aoko blushed, however discreetly. Before Kaito could say anything, Conan gave him a cherry wave and shouted, "I'm not saying goodbye. We will meet again sometime, until then, take care, Kaito-niichan, Aoko-neechan!"
With that he sprinted out of the school gate and out of sight. His steps were light and quick, and a smile blossomed on his childish features. He was feeling a lot happier now, than he had felt in days. Maybe confiding in his cousin and letting go weren't a bad thing afterall.
Saguru Hakuba watched as Edogawa Conan bid farewell to Kaito and Aoko, then watched as the two childhood friends started to bicker as they, too, exited out of the school. A deep frown marred his face.
He was patrolling the school corridors of the forth floor when he saw Kaito going into the gents. Spurred by an unknown instinct he decided to trail the teen. Hiding behind the door he heard Kaito talked with someone, whose voice caught Hakuba again, by surprise. That kid. Edogawa Conan. One who delivered such a realistic speech Hakuba was very sure that the kid was relating to himself. And his suspicions rose when he heard the cryptic conversation between Conan and Kaito. Even though they didn't say it outright, Hakuba was sure they were hinting at something. Something that, he knew, would come to light eventually.
As long as he let nature takes its course.
PS: Okay, that is how the story goes. Tell me what you think, okay? I have a feeling that the ending is… well… inappropriate somehow. Tell me, and I'll make the necessary changes. (winks) Thank you!