"Bravo, tantei-san," Gin said with a smirk. "I really admire your spirit. But I'm afraid you have to let it go."
"Leave the girls and Hattori out of this, they have nothing to do with us," Shinichi growled.
"But I believe Sherry belongs to us, don't you think?"
"I don't work for you anymore, Gin! You can't make me!" Shiho shrieked.
Gin snickered. "You know the rules, Sherry…and you broke it. You know what happens to those who broke the rules in the past."
Shiho bit her lip.
"Leave her out of this! It's me you're looking for! I'm your opponent!" Shinichi shouted, stepping in front of Shiho to protect her.
Ran had been listening with wide eyes. She couldn't believe it. "Sh-Shinichi…he was chased down by these people…is that why he disappeared in the beginning?" she whispered.
"It's not what you think, Ran-chan," Heiji said firmly. "Everything will be explained, don't worry."
"You better," Kazuha retorted.
"Well then, so who shall we kill first?" Gin drawled, taking a couple of steps down the staircase, his gun still pointing at them. "I know, let's begin with the dark boy, eh?" He snickered, aiming at Heiji.
"No!" Shinichi exclaimed.
"Uso!" Heiji quickly pushed Ran and Kazuha away as a gunshot ran out. The bullet zipped past him as he pounced out of the way. But that was not all. More bullets flew to him, and he had a hard time dodging them. One burned his right leg as he was diving. He cringed, crashing into the cupboard.
"H-Heiji!" Kazuha exclaimed.
"Both of you can have one of the pretty ladies at the back," Gin said to the two men behind Vodka as he aimed the gun now at Shinichi.
"Run!" Shinichi bellowed as he took Shiho down with him to avoid the bullets. "Climb out through the window, hurry!" he ordered Kazuha and Ran.
Ran was reluctant to go. Kazuha managed to drag her away as bullets flew towards them and missed. "Go, they'll be fine!" she urged. "I'll be right behind you!"
Biting her lip, Ran climbed out through the window very fast, narrowly missing the gunshots while she did. Then she helped Kazuha out as well. "To the back, it'll be safer!" Kazuha said, pushing her on.
Meanwhile, Shinichi was still standing in front of Shiho, protecting her from the gunshots. He was panting and gripping his heart. "Aww, the poor boy's tired out," Gin droned. "I suppose the antidote is running out as well."
"No, it's not," Shinichi growled forcefully, though he was showing a pained look on his face.
"Kudo…" Shiho whispered.
"Get out of here, Haibara, hurry!" Shinichi ordered.
Suddenly, a bullet zipped just past Shinichi's shoulder, missing him completely. But it did not miss its target. The next thing he heard was an explosion that blew him and Shiho away. In a second, fire was blazing. Shinichi coughed, getting up unsteadily while holding on to Haibara. The fire spread fast around him.
"There's nowhere to run now, meitantei," Gin laughed. "Let's end this, why don't we?" He aimed at Shinichi.
Suddenly, something knocked the gun out of his hand. Gin reeled back a little, surprised. "Nani?"
Shinichi turned to see what it was. But whatever that had prevented Gin from shooting, was quickly burned.
"Gin-aniki, hurry before the fire spreads even more!" Vodka shouted as he and the others ran out.
Gin laughed coldly, holding his hand. "Okay, so I won't shoot you. But the fire will kill you. Have a safe trip to hell!" He backed out of the door and shut it.
"Kuso!" Shinichi tried to give chase, but the staircase was blocked by blazing fire.
"Kudo!" Shinichi turned to see Heiji limping out through the thick smoke, coughing. "Kudo, we have to get out of here!" he shouted hoarsely.
"What do you think I'm trying to do?" Shinichi snapped. "Haibara---" He turned only to see Shiho standing there, staring at the dancing flames expressionlessly. "Haibara?"
"I---I deserve to die," Shiho whispered. "I want to die. It's my fault I got you into this…gomen nasai, Kudo-kun. Hattori-kun."
"What are you talking about? We're in this together, remember?" Shinichi insisted, grasping her shoulders. "And we're not going to die, we'll survive! Hattori, there's only one other way out!"
"I'm working on it!" Heiji had taken off his jacket and beaten it on the fire until it was just enough to clear a way towards the window. Gripping Shiho's hand, Shinichi followed him, an arm above him to shield himself from the flames. Finally, they came to the window. "Haibara, you first!" Heiji said.
Both boys helped Haibara through the window quickly. Once she was out, Shinichi looked at Heiji. "Now you go!"
"No, you go!" Heiji said firmly. "I'll be right behind you."
"But you're injured!" Shinichi argued.
"Listen, you're a better tantei than I am, Kudo," Heiji snarled. "The world needs you and your deduction skills. Don't wait! We don't want it to lose both of us now, so go!"
Shinichi hesitated for a second, staring at Heiji's determined face. Finally, he nodded. He heaved himself out of the window just as he heard a crash behind him. When he was out in the open, he turned without hesitation to help Heiji, who was struggling to get out. "Come on, Hattori!" he encouraged, grasping his hand.
Suddenly, there was another crash inside. Heiji let go of him and fell back into the basement. "HATTORI!" Shinichi bellowed, pouncing towards the window. He couldn't see the boy anymore. "Hattori, where are you?!"
He would have climbed back in if Shiho didn't stop him. "You can't help him now, Kudo," she said firmly. "He's right. We can't afford to lose you."
"But---Hattori---" Shinichi gazed at the flames, shock registered on his face.
"Come on, we have to go," Shiho urged.
Shinichi was reluctant, but he followed her to the back of the house. They found Ran there, alone. "Ran, where's Kazuha?" Shinichi asked, running up to her.
"I-I don't know, Shinichi!" she said, trembling fearfully as she threw her arms around Shinichi. "T-the moment I turned around---she was gone! I-I think she went back into the house!"
"For Hattori." Shinichi smacked his head. "That idiot!"
Just then, they heard sirens approaching quickly from far ahead. "The fire fighters," Shiho said. "The neighbors probably saw the fire. The station is probably not far from here."
"But we can't wait for them!" Shinichi shouted. "I have to go in and save Kazuha and Hattori!"
"B-but I don't want to lose you, Shinichi," Ran said, grasping his shirt. "Please, don't leave me." Tears sprinkled down her cheeks.
Shinichi's eyes went soft when he saw them. He found himself hugging her. "I won't, Ran," he whispered. "But I can't help feeling responsible. I have to go back in!" He let go and was about to march into the house again before Ran could stop him.
"Oi, you're really stupid, Kudo!"
Surprised, Shinichi, Ran and Shiho turned. Shinichi's eyes widened. "H-Hattori?!"
Heiji was limping up to them, leaning against Kazuha for support. Both were dirty with smoke, but smiling. "Ya!" he said cheerfully.
Shinichi laughed. "You haven't changed a bit!"
It wasn't long before the fire was put out. The only damages it did were the basement and the corridor. The ambulance and police had arrived too. Megure-keibu was one of them, and was now speaking to Shinichi.
"Are you sure it was just an accident?" he asked suspiciously.
Shinichi nodded. "I'm very sure. You do trust me, don't you, keibu?"
Megure sighed. "Yes, I do, but it's just that you've been acting strange."
"Don't worry, if there's anything, I'll let you know."
Megure nodded, and left Shinichi alone. Shinichi surveyed the area. Shiho, Ran and Kazuha were resting in an ambulance van, drinking warm tea. Heiji was in another, after being treated by a medic. He was examining his injury that was already bandaged. Shinichi went up, climbing in. "Hi."
Heiji looked up, and smiled as Shinichi sat down next to him. "Hi. Everything okay?"
"Yup. The house is saved, and the girls are back to their usual selves. How about you?"
"Never better. A little painful---" He lifted his leg. "---but fine. This has been a very exciting day, hasn't it?"
"Yeah, but the men in black got away," Shinichi muttered. He glanced at Heiji, who was sipping tea. "You don't have to hide anymore, you know."
Heiji stopped sipping, and looked at Shinichi blankly. "What?"
"You know very well what I mean," Shinichi said, leaning back. "You've been acting strange ever since you arrived." He looked at Heiji in the eyes. "You aren't Heiji---you're Kiddo in disguise."
Heiji searched Shinichi's serious look. Then he laughed. "What are you talking about?" He turned serious. "Kiddo is dead, you saw the evidence."
"Sure, that's what you want me to think. I've figured out your real identity. You don't have to hide anymore."
Heiji stayed calm. He remained smiling. "Okay, so where's the proof?" he asked.
Shinichi narrowed his eyes, smiling as well. "Exactly where it's meant to be." He took out a piece of cloth, and without waiting for Heiji to say another word, scratched his face with the cloth. He took it back, and widened his eyes.
There was no change on Heiji's skin.
Shinichi pinched his face so hard that Heiji yelped. "Hey, what are you doing?!" he retorted, pulling away and rubbing his cheek.
Shinichi gaped. "H-Hattori?!"
"Of course it's really me!" Heiji snapped. "I was just playing with you! Boy, the recent incidents have gotten into your head."
Shinichi turned red. "G-gomen ne. S-so…Kiddo…Kiddo is really dead?"
"Yes, and accept it, Kudo," Heiji told him, leaning back with a sigh. "Nobody lives forever. We just have to concentrate on the case and not on anything else."
"I-I guess so."
It was another time when Shinichi was speechless. It was hard for him to believe it. His theories went all wrong for the first time. He knew the object that had knocked Gin's gun out of his hand was a poker card, and who else would have it other than Kid? He thought it was from Heiji. But he was wrong. Heiji was Heiji, not Kid…
He just had to accept fate.