Disclaimers: I do not nor ever will own Conan or Shinichi and co. It's a cruel sad world, isn't it?
I'd give you some sort of excuse, but I can't think of one.
I am making the switch from dub names to sub names due to popular demand. All previous chapters are being reworked with the new names. Thank you for your patience with me.
-LAST TIME ON VINDICATED-
"Who are you to tell me what to do?"
"I doubt she'd ever be as happy as she is now…"
"I won't tell her."
"You'll come back?"
"He's not there," Hattori said unnecessarily.
"I'm going after him," she explained.
"Rain all you want. I'm not going back."
No nightmare could be a real as what he was seeing now.
"Stand up nice and slow, kid… We're going to go for a walk."
Chapter Fourteen: My Name Is Kudo
"You found me when no one else was looking
How did you know just where I would be?"
Gin didn't relent in his grip on the pistol, not even for a little kid. He pushed the muzzle of the silencer harder against the back of Conan's head.
"Hurry up kid. I'm getting impatient."
Conan blinked past the rain and slowly drew himself up to his feet. Little bit of gravel hung like Christmas tree ornaments to his knees. He didn't dare brush it off. It was far too dangerous to move in any way against this man's liking.
"Good. Now let's walk."
The tranquilizer gun, thought Conan. It briskly rubbed against his side as he walked. He just needed some excuse to touch it, twist it around, and shoot Gin before Gin was able to shoot him.
They only made it a few steps before Conan managed to screw up his courage. He grabbed at his wrist and whipped around. Gin's finger squeezed the trigger. Conan had no time to aim.
Both projectiles missed. Conan fell hard onto his back and saw that his aim had been off. The dart flew over Gin's shoulder. The bullet skimmed by Conan's cheek.
"The hell!" Gin spat. His cigarette had fallen near Conan's feet.
Conan scrambled backwards. Gin reached out to Conan and his hand just missed the boy's jacket.
Conan's mind raced with a reason consuming fear. They had found him and were going to kill him. What else was there to think? Conan ran blindly and turned the nearby corner almost too sharp for the weather conditions.
Conan's feet slipped from under him but luckily there was a collision waiting for him. He fell back and had no time to scream when Vodka grabbed his arm.
"Aniki! I caught him!"
"Good hold him tight. He's got some sort of firearm attached to his wrist."
Conan wretched himself free only to be knocked back down again. Gin's foot pressed hard against his chest keeping him there. The heel of the boot stabbed into his ribcage and the toe rested just above his heart.
"This it, Aniki?" said Vodka, unhooking the wristwatch.
"Yes," Gin leaned his shoe in so that it covered Conan's throat.
Conan couldn't breathe. Desperately, he tried, in vain, to remove the pressure. It was pointless. He was dead.
"Got that device from Kudo Shinichi, did you?" said Gin in a deadly hiss. "I bet he expected we'd come after you next. He's quite clever to give a child a gun- No normal person would suspect it."
Conan's eyes widened. Gin interpreted the reaction incorrectly and smiled.
"Aniki, it looks like it was filled with sedative darts."
"Sedative darts?" Gin's eyes clouded over only momentarily. "Oh! So that's the secret of the infamous sleeping detective?" He increased pressure on Conan's throat. "You knock that poor bastard out and relay Kudo Shinichi's deductions for him. You must be pretty important to Kudo, eh?"
Conan said nothing. But he was thinking- deducting. They wanted Shinichi, not Conan. And as long as they didn't know, he had a way out of this alive. A slim way, but a way nonetheless.
It's too bad I really am Kudo Shinichi, smiled Conan somewhat sardonically. They already have me.
Gin saw the smile and it pissed him off. He pushed his foot harder against the boy's throat. Conan gagged and grabbed at the boot helplessly.
"Search him. Kudo's probably loaded this kid with gadgets."
Between the pressure on his throat and the rain falling into his eyes and mouth, Conan was sure he was slowly drowning. Vodka's hands checked his shirt and then his jacket pockets, going unknowingly past the belt and buttons. But Vodka hit gold in the left pocket.
"Aniki. Look, there's something wired here."
Vodka handed the voice modulator to Gin.
"It looks like speakers, doesn't it? What do you think it is? A bug?"
"No. It's much too obvious," said Gin flipping it over.
He twisted the dials and peered at the numbers written curiously on the knobs. Conan watched as reality spiraled- twisting into a horrible nightmare. In the wide expanse of his fear, Conan watched as Gin transformed before him into Ran and back into Gin again. When he spoke, Ran spoke with him.
"I know," he said with a sinister smile. Was his hand was about Ran's throat- forcing her voice box to speak? "I know what this is."
Conan took a sharp intake of air. His nightmare had been true- all of them had been warnings. He was living them now. He was living his own death at last.
Gin crushed the device in his hand. It crumbed into a distorted mass of confusing metal pieces.
In the metal, Conan remembered Agasa. He remembered what these guys had done to him. His best friend was dead. An unfamiliar yet all too familiar rage boiled up from deep within himself. Conan dug his nails hard into the leather boots. His knuckles cracked as Conan managed to lift up Gin's foot.
Conan jerked himself up and quickly stretched out to the button on the side of his right shoe. The little touch was all he needed to crank out the familiar surge of power. Conan looked up.
Gin had fallen back, a flurry of curses at the tip of his forked tongue. The sudden moment had thrown off Gin's balance. Vodka was behind him looking useless. He'd kill them. He'd kill them both. For Hiroshi.
Conan screamed and kicked up at Gin. Vodka shouted and pulled at Gin's trench coat. The violent blow just missed Gin's chin. Conan flipped back, his momentum only temporarily lost.
He charged his shoe again. This time the electricity that coursed through the sole burned like fire. The pain surprised Conan but it didn't stop him. One last chance! Conan aimed for Gin's legs. He was going to break them to pieces- he wanted to hear them crack and see them bleed.
But suddenly Conan went blind. The anger disappeared just as fast as it had come. Fear filled its place. Not fear of Gin or Vodka or of what they could do to him. But fear of what he wanted to do to them. Fear of becoming a murderer.
And he missed. His foot hit the wall instead. The toe broke through the stone- embedding itself as deep as escaliber. Conan had no time to wrench his foot free. Gin and Vodka were already upon him.
He was lifted from the armpits up by Vodka. Gin wrenched Conan's leg from the wall then proceeded to violently yank the shoes off Conan's feet. If he hadn't had used it twice, they probably wouldn't have known that it was the shoes that caused the upsurge of power. Mentally, Conan berated himself for not thinking his actions through.
Conan was surprised to see that his one socked foot, that he had used for both occasions, was now soaked a blood red. Agasa had never warned him that using the shoe twice could hurt him. But Conan had always assumed it was something he shouldn't have counted on working out well. Power always came with a price.
There was a loud click. Conan, hanging in Vodka's grasp, only weakly managed to lift his head. He was surprised to see a barrel of a gun staring him down.
Gin was breathless, his finger resisting the itch to let the bullet to fly.
"You're more trouble than you're worth." Gin said. It was the excuse Gin was going to use to kill him by. Conan didn't care anymore. He squeezed his eyes shut and waited.
But it wasn't the crack of the bullet he heard. It was a voice… calling his name. Conan's eyelids flew open.
He didn't get a chance to shout her name. Vodka's hands went around his mouth. All three of them hit the back wall, hidden inconspicuously in the shadows. Conan sunk his teeth hard into Vodka's hand. Gin answered it with pressing the gun hard against Conan's temple. The warning was enough to give Conan the hint.
And then there she was. Mere feet away from where they stood. Shielded safely under an umbrella with his glasses in hand, facing the wrong way.
Conan was forced to watch as Gin slowly turned the gun and aimed at her back. It was then Conan realized. He might have been able to live with his own death- but not Ran's.
In one final act of desperation, Conan let go of Vodka's hand and grabbed his belt. Conan pressed a button on his belt buckle and bit down again as hard as he could into Vodka's palm. This time Vodka made two mistakes. He cried out and let Conan go.
Ran turned in their direction. She saw the gun and Gin too late. Gin wasn't about to let Vodka's mistake be his own. It was pure chance that the soccer ball that inflated from Conan's belt came out in such a way, Conan was able to kick it even when falling from Vodka's grasp. And it was miracle he was able to hit it hard and fast enough without his shoes. It had nowhere near the same amount of power but it stopped Gin's bullet from hitting Ran.
The soccer ball popped. The umbrella fell into the mud. Ran sharply inhaled. But it was Conan who screamed.
He landed poorly and misjudged the damage he had done to his own foot. It wasn't hard for Vodka to capture him again. It would have been harder to capture a beached fish.
Ran saw Conan then. Conan hated the way her eyes looked at him. She was the one in danger, not him.
Conan cringed at the familiar pressure of the gun against his head.
"Ran forget about me and go!"
Her eyes were so sad. She was scared but she wasn't going to leave him. He had managed to get her into danger again. Conan felt sick.
"Rather self-sacrificing for a little brat, aint he?" said Gin with a cruel smile. "Go ahead and run, girl. I promise you it won't take me much effort at all to send a bullet through his brain and then yours next."
"Please don't hurt him. I'll give you all the money I have…"
Gin's grin just got larger. "Foolish girl. You think this is about money."
Her face went a shade whiter. But her gaze was remarkably steady and strong.
"Leave the boy alone and I'll give you whatever you want."
"No Ran! You don't understa-!!" Vodka's hand went over Conan's mouth again.
"I don't want anything you'd give me. I've already got what I've come for," Gin pointed the gun at her again. "You're just… in the way."
Gin stepped forward and Ran stepped back. Her back graced the glass doors behind her.
"Thinking Kudo will come and save you?"
Conan fought against Vodka but it seemed this time, the man had the upper hand. He carried the struggling boy away from Gin and his prey. Conan kicked and bit as hard as he could but he knew he had run out of tricks to play. Except for one. Conan aimed one last kick as far under the belt as he could manage. Vodka folded like a rag doll.
"H-how do you know Shinichi?"
"Don't worry. You can ask him once we send him after you."
That was when time stopped. Conan had only managed to get one shoe on. But it was enough to give him enough power to launch himself at Ran. His arms went about her waist and they both crashed through the glass doors behind them. Gin fired the rest of his round. One bullet helped them penetrate the surface of the doors. The rest hit flesh.
They fell into the building and clumsily rolled down a range of stairs just beyond the entrance. The conveniently placed staircase prevented any more of Gin and Vodka's angry storm of bullets from hitting them. For that much they could have been grateful.
After all the twisting, spinning, and blinding pain, it was several moments before Ran was able to gain back her senses. The noise of bullet fire subsided as the two crows realized how little effect their firearms were doing. It wouldn't be long before they came after them.
Conan was still laid on top of her. Ran shook him urgently.
"Conan. Come on. We have to get out of here."
But he didn't respond. Ran could feel the warm sticky blood oozing- seeping over and in between her fingers as she held him. Fear scraped out her insides.
Dead. No, he couldn't be.
Ran frantically pulled herself up to her knees. Conan fell back in her arms limply. He felt so heavy for someone so small. His eyes were closed.
He's just unconscious. He has to be. He must have just hit his head…
Ran fought back them coming rush of emotions. They had no time for her to cry. Pulling Conan close, Ran rushed as fast as she could with a trail of blood following their wake.
She knew. How could she not?
Deeper into the basement, they had stumbled into a fleet of emergency lights. It was with this shed of artificial lighting Ran was able to see the extent of Conan's injuries and the scarlet trail they were leaving behind them.
Ran herself had been grazed in the shoulder. It wasn't serious. Conan had saved her from serious injuries. He had been shot twice in the back.
But he wasn't dead. Thank god he wasn't dead. Ran could hear him breathing softly against her ear as they ran down the corridors of dead ends and locked doors. Ran removed her jacket, flipped it inside out, and wrapped Conan's small body up into it. It managed to stop much of a blood trail, but probably not enough to save them.
Conan's breathing was getting harsher the longer they walked. Soon even Ran was starting to feel dizzy from fatigue. There was a room at the end of another dead ended hallway. Ran was grateful to find this door had been neglectfully left open. Inside revealed it to be a storage closet. It was better than nothing.
She set Conan down on the small floor they had, and locked the door behind them. A small fold up chair by the door was the only thing she could use to help barricade it. There were two wire shelves on either side filled with cleaning supplies. But when she pulled at them, Ran discovered they were bolted to the wall. Nothing seemed even remotely helpful in their situation. There wasn't even a roll for bandages.
Ran upturned a mop bucket and sat down next to Conan. His blood was now seeping through the jacket. If they didn't get help soon, Ran was sure Conan would die.
She pushed back his bangs gently. His forehead was clammy and his skin was a pasty white. How much longer could he hold on?
"Hold on, Conan."
Conan's eyelids fluttered. She wasn't sure he was awake with his eyes so barely opened. She was almost given a shock when he spoke.
"Conan. Oh god. Don't pass out again, okay? Stay with me." She cupped his face in her hands. They felt cool against his skin. Conan almost felt tempted to fall back asleep. But pain reminded him that he might not wake up the next time.
"I'm s-sorry. I d-didn't mean to… to get y-you in-involved."
"Don't apologize. It's not your fault."
"No. No," Conan swallowed. "Y-you don't un-unders-stand. It's a-all my fault. It al-all-ways ha-as been."
Ran smiled but it was a cold one. She didn't believe him. "Why do you keep saying this? You're hurt- delirious, just calm down."
"Pl-please just listen to me!"
Ran fell silent. Conan tried to keep the tears from leaking out. He was tired and scared. And this wasn't exactly the situation he was hoping for.
"I… I've wa-wanted to tell you this… for a long… long time. I… I've tried… Bu-but I've been too… so… very scared. I didn't want them to find us… find you and your father."
"Conan. I don't understand what you're saying."
"My name isn't Conan." said Conan sharply. Then his voice went back into the stumbles of inconstancy. His consciousness was waning. "My name… My name is…"
There was a loud crash outside the door. Ran immediately pressed her weight against the barricade, helping it hold. Over the banging and shouts, Ran cried. She tried hard not too, but the tears just came. Conan watched her cry nonchalantly from the floor. The words stopped up in his mouth.
"I'm listening, Conan!" Ran sobbed. "Please! Keep talking!"
A smile lifted at Conan's lips and his eyes slowly glazed over. He saw Agasa behind her, gripping Ran's shoulder not unkindly. He was saying something. And if Ran could just keep it down maybe Conan could hear.
Ran screamed as the two men managed to break down the door. Conan couldn't hear her anymore. The world seemed to have gone underwater. Motions became slow and inexact.
The wood, or cheap imitation of, cracked into three large chunks and then collapsed to the concrete floor soundlessly. Conan watched as they grabbed Ran, wrenched her from Agasa's hands and dragged her over the broken remains. Her wet shirt caught on the door knob and ripped. Conan heard nothing.
Ran flailed. Gin was staring at Conan- checking to see if he were alive perhaps. Conan ignored him.
Conan turned back to Agasa. He was standing in the same place, staring down at Conan. When his lips moved, Conan slowly started to hear him.
"…Inchi… or… save... Nnn…"
Gin had come closer. There was a flash of pain in his side, and for a moment Conan could hear again. Ran was screaming his fake name. Conan assumed Gin had kicked him. His perspective changed. He was looking at the ceiling now. More pain and his perspective changed to the floor. It was then for the first time Conan noticed all the blood. Was all that his? It curled around his fingers like red satin ribbons. Conan slid his hand over the pools and the satin scattered.
Heartbeat pounding in his ears, Conan looked up. He meant to look over at Ran, but his gaze fell short at Agasa. There was no sound. It took him several seconds to realize that even though there was no sound, he could hear. Agasa was speaking and Conan could hear him. The voice was sharp to his deadened senses- like a bee sting.
"No Shinichi. Not now. Save her. Save Ran."
How? Conan thought. But even if his brain couldn't formulate an idea, Agasa's words kicked a spark into his reflexes. His hands wrapped around Gin's ankle. It was slight enough to catch the man off guard and tip him into the storage shelves.
Gin's loss of balance distracted his partner. Ran managed to free herself from Vodka with a few impressive karate maneuvers. It only took few blows to the abdomen and then an upward thrust into the man's nose. Vodka fell against the wall bracing a bloody nose.
She could have gotten away. But Ran was one of those stupid brave people. More like Conan than Conan would have liked. She thought she could still save him.
She saved Conan from getting a possible fatal kick in the face. But she was unable to follow through any further. Gin caught her foot before she manage to land a blow. With a painful twist, Ran yelped and was thrown onto the floor next to Conan.
Conan shot out his hand towards Ran in a means to keep her close. Ran clenched his upper arm. Conan's fingers wrapped around metal and her hand slipped down to his fingertips as Vodka pulled her away.
Ran was saying something. It looked important but Conan could no longer hear her. She fell out of his grasp. There was a snap and Conan looked down to see a chain wrapped around his fingers. Her medallion.
His vision fell in and out of focus. Vodka dragged Ran upward, pressing a cloth firmly over her nose and mouth.
Chloroform, a distant part of his brain said. All Conan could do was watch as Gin and Vodka took off with what was left of his life. Then things changed. He knew he was starting to hallucinate when the upturned bucket next to his head turned into a headstone.
Ran disappeared into a wild explosion of bubbles, and Gin and Vodka turned into black crows. While Vodka bounced against the walls like a bouclé ball, Gin flew close to his ear and cawed softly, "You lost. You lost. You lost."
Conan must have blacked out for the next thing he knew, someone was shaking him. He thought perhaps maybe he was still hallucinating. Shinichi was holding him, shaking him, shouting at him.
"…Hold on, Kudo! Help's on the way!"
But you're Kudo, thought Conan, confused.
Shinichi turned away and started talking to the shadows beyond him. Conan couldn't make any of them out. A faceless crowd of onlookers and a distant whirl of a siren. The voices and siren fell underwater. And Conan imagined he was flying.
Until he fell.
To Be Continued…
Please R + R!
I've updated just in time.
This chapter is in honor of my 21st birthday on this 21st of July.
I hope you all enjoy the update. Sorry that it took me so long. It was the hard one. We are now officially past the turning point! Hurrah!
Thanks to all that reviewed. Mahado, Musical Influence, BattousaiGrl, Dragon's Hitokiri, animemaniac-101, Rasgara, AntiSora, JamieGlasgow4, i like too much anime, Inumaru12, RanXShinichi, reviewer, dewdropfirefly, Septimalmoon, Juliechan, Xlater, DaisyAnimeLuvr, hittocerebattosai, and YumeTaketo this story is continued thanks to your encoragement.
I hope to see you all the next chapter.