Omake:  Grace

By Ysabet

(Sidenote:  For those who aren't familiar with the term, 'omake' is a scene between scenes—something the author didn't show.)

Down to the Earth I fell

With dripping wings

---Heavy things won't fly,

And the sky might catch on fire

And burn the axis of my world;

That's why

I prefer a sunless sky

To the glittering and stinging in my eyes-----

                                (Nina Gordon, Tonight and the Rest of My Life)

The single shot rang out above the bridge with only the barest hint of warning: a tiny flash of neon scarlet, tracking and then targeting before—

He couldn't recall hearing the impact as it glanced off his skull; for some reason that really bothered him as the cold darkness swallowed him up like a mouth.  Of course, all things considered, the dead didn't usually tend to care much about the minutiae of their death, did they?  Not much of a comfort, really, not at all as he floundered however-the-hell-many-feet below the cold, cold surface of the sea beneath the bridge— and actually he had other things to think about just then, thank you:

*….cold, COLD…….. breath, dammit, where's the surface, breath, breath, breath, BREATH---*

*…..Don't want to die yet, too much to do, won't die, won't die, GOD my head hurts won't die won't die HURTs…..*

*…..where's the goddamned… surface??  Where…..  Where's the— so… cold…..*

*I… can't find… the surface…..*

 Darkness.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Where is he?  Got to be around here somewhere…..  You'd think a white tux and cape would show up in the dark, wouldn't you?  Damned thing always sticks out like a sore thumb when you least want it to, but *now*--

Ahh, THERE he is!

You went and got yourself into a real fix this time, didn't you, boy?  Come on, come on, you're almost at the surface—I know you can't see it, but keep clawing upwards, don't give up, don't you DARE give up, Kaito!!—

Good!  There you go.

Stop trying to inhale water, you idiot!!  Keep THAT up and you'll be joining the Choir Invisible anytime now.  Did I really just say that?  Must be the shock of seeing you fall like a broken-winged bird right out of the sky, splash.  Glad you missed the bridge, though—I guess 'splash' is better than 'splat.'

Of course, if you don't get your butt underway it won't make one damn difference.  C'mon, boy!  Don't let the cold get to you!  MOVE!!!

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Choking, he fought the continual SLAP!-swoosh of the waves—he'd take a breath, half-water, half-air, only to have it driven mostly away by a bitter mouthful of icy seawater.  But he had found the surface and he was breathing

And now, if only the fireworks behind his eyes would go away…..

Something hit the side of his head—he never knew what, a bit of debris from his ruined glider, maybe—and the fireworks erupted all over again in Technicolor glory against the black waves and sky and the darkness that fell down over him like a coffin lid, slamming shut--

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

GodDAMMit Kaito, get your head up!!  What's the problem, boy??  Why're you—

Oh.  OH.  Now I see…..  When you took that updraft and turned your head, I thought that was enough to clear the bullet—but it wasn't, was it?  That's why you lost the monocle and charm (hope you get them back—not that it'll matter much if you go and drown, will it?)—looks like it creased you but good.

Okay…..  I think I can do this.  I'm way the hell past my limit, but—

Nobody's looking….. and if they are, I don't give a damn.

Hold still, Kaito…..

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Amidst the black troughs of the waves the boy was sinking, eyes clenched shut in pain and near unconsciousness.

There was a flash of white; there was a flash of dark.  And then there was movement…..

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

There.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

….. and he was back again, thrashing on the surface, choking against the seawater.  But this time it wasn't so bad—somehow he had a second wind or something, and he could see lights (real ones, not the fireworks) over the bridge and on the shoreline—

*….. GOD I'm still so cold, but it's not as hard now—must've kicked off my shoes (I think I remember doing that—lost my cape too); I think I can swim for it.  Thought that sniper had gotten me, but he must've just clipped Dad's monocle.*

*SWIM.*

*Hope the Egg didn't end up in the drink with me….. no, I think—if it fell when he shot, it landed on the bridge.  Good.  It needs to go back to its real owner….. Swim, Kaito, swim; the shore's not too far away.*

*Swim… look for a hiding place… swim, and don't think about fish.*

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Good, that did it.  Whew…..

There's a cement culvert right over there—see it, boy?  Right, thought you would.  Clever, aren't you?  You make your ancestors proud, you know that, Phantom Thief? Strong and clever; tough and flexible, like the red silk thread people say binds us all together.

Glad you're gonna make it; I'm pretty much done in here—that last little trick took all I have, at least until I get back home.

Swim for it, boy!  Here come the police 'copters!

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

In the lee of a searchlight he wormed his way into the culvert, gasping and coughing as quietly as possible.  Dark blue eyes gleamed behind a tangle of sodden hair as, aching in every frozen limb, he yanked the thin black scarf from one pocket and hastily draped it over the cement pipe's opening, masking it from overhead view.

*It's far enough down the bank that they can't see it from above on the seawall, it'll just look like an irregularity in the rocks—wonder where it comes out?  Guess I'm gonna find out…  From the smell I sort of suspect it heads back to the runoff drains—smells like leaf-litter and dirt.  Wonderful--  Oh well, could be worse; could be sewers.*

*Heh; I could be dead as yesterday's sashimi and I'm griping about my way out of this mess?  Ingrate.  Still can't understand where the pain in my head went—I was really hurting there!  Thought I'd never see Mom or Aoko or Nakamori or Kudo the Boy Wonder or even that idiot Hakuba again—*

*But I'm alive…..*

*Thank God for small miracles.*

The soaked and shivering figure in white began the laborious crawl through the cement culvert, away from the sea and back towards his mission.  As he moved, the last of the considerable amount of unnoticed blood that had covered one side of his head was brushed away against the low ceiling, leaving not the faintest trace of a scar behind.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Small miracles, hm?  Not so small….  You have no idea, and it's just as well.

Kaito, do you know the secret?

It's not like you can hear me—I realize that; they told me all about it when I threw that fit in order to come after you.  But… do you know, Kaito?  Can I tell you, even if the words never reach your ears?

Maybe you'll understand somehow.

There IS a secret—a magic trick that beats 'em all, boy.  It's what you do with your life.  To hell with religion, to hell with what they tell you to believe, none of that's worth a damn unless it makes you a better person.  Because (and this is the secret):

Because when it's all over—when you deal the last card in the deck, when you fold and call it a night, when there aren't any more encores and the doves and rabbits have all disappeared….. when you see the darkness coming at you and you KNOW you won't see the people you love again in the light of day…..  that's when you find out that things have to balance out.  The good you did, the evil you did… every second of every minute of every hour of every day… it all weighs together, the right and the wrong.  It doesn't determine what happens to you—HELL no, that's something else entirely—

No.  It determines what you can do for… somebody else, later on.

If the good outweighs the evil, then maybe… just maybe… you get your chance for a second of grace.  One tiny, tiny moment to reach the ones you left behind and make a difference—it can be so small, and it can tip the balance of the world.

THAT'S the secret, boy.  Grace; a perfect second of grace. 

…..Grace to change a flight plan just a hair, to alter the angle of a sniper's rifle, to make somebody *look* who should've been watching out and not gloating over their damned fool Russian Easter Egg… grace to lessen the impact of a bullet and heal a fractured skull as if the wound had never happened…..

Okay, so it took more than a second; so I cheated.  So what?  What are they gonna do, kill me?

Gods and commandments, devils and angels and that whole pack of Thou Shalts and Thou Shalt Nots…..  I never cared much about it, to tell the truth; what made more sense to me was to do what felt right and to have a bloody good time while I was doing it!  And guess what?

I can't say I was one hundred percent right (though I'm pretty sure that the things you do mean a hell of a lot more than Who you visit at church (those damned fish you're so scared of—do you think they care about the Name of the river they swim in?)), but I'm here, aren't I?

And so are you.

Glad you didn't have to leave with me, boy; glad you can stay behind for the next Act.  Glad the curtain wasn't drawn.

My second's *more* than up; time to take a bow and go.  I just wish you could hear me, Kaito…..

Well, hell; maybe you can, somehow.  You look like a drowned rat right now, but your mind's wide awake behind that mop you call hair, isn't it?

Gotta go now, boy.  Take care of your mother and of yourself.  I'm proud of you, even if sometimes what you do isn't totally on the side of the angels….. And if you remember any of this (and I hope you do… I think), then play an extra trick or two on Nakamori for me, huh?

Goodbye, Kaito; I love you, son.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

And while the 'copters circled and hunted like aerial sharks—while two teenaged detectives (one considerably shorter than the other) fumed and worried—in fact, while the entire law enforcement division of Tokyo spent their time trying to either rescue or arrest one Master Thief—

-- a boy dozed in a soggy, moldering pile of rainwashed leaves beneath a loosened park grating, three blocks from the sea.  His eyes were closed and his breathing was even, and he dreamed of his father's hands (long-fingered and clever, just like his) stroking the hair back away from his eyes while he slept.

*****************************************************************************************************************************

Ysabet's Notes:  Okay, that was… weird, I guess.  It's been stalking me for about two weeks now, and it's been fairly polite about things—but today it stopped tapping me on the shoulder and instead turned to drop-kicking Windfall and Conversations Among Ghosts out of the way.  Oh, I'm working on them—but this one got mean on me and demanded to be written.  Hope it wasn't too preachy—I didn't want it to be preachy—but that stupid scene out of Movie #3 (you know, 'The Last Magician of the Century') where Kaitou Kid gets whacked by the sniper on the bridge always bugged me.  I mean, the monocle got broken and knocked right off of his head--  And then there's this growing fascination I have with his dad, who actually DOES show up in just one panel in the Detective Conan manga (did anybody else catch that?  Bet you did!  It's in the Golden Apple thingie)--  And, last but not least, it's almost Halloween, which is good enough of an excuse for writing weird things.  Whyever not, after all?

Anyways, hope you liked it…… Ysabet (hurrying off to write more Windfall, before Conversations gangs up on her again)