Title: Fifty Pills
Author: teainapot ( juneaddams on LJ)
Fandom:Detective Conan / Magic Kaitou
Characters : Haibara Ai, Kaito, Shinichi
Disclaimer: Detective Conan is the property of Gosho Aoyama and its respective agencies
You held his lifeless body with trembling hands; his blood smearing your tiny palms in dark shade of red. His favorite color, you remembered. The alleyway was dark without any lights; a perfect execution place they had chosen for him. For both of you, actually. He knocked you unconscious and hid you in an abandoned car trunk before they turned around the corner to kill you both.
He saved you,but you cursed him a million times for it.
You could hear the faint sound of police sirens just a few blocks away. Red and blue bright lights you've seen too many times before reflected on the dirty, jagged patches of a wall on the back of abandoned building around you. Each minute passed by too slow and you felt yourself losing hope. His skin had begun losing its warmth a long time ago and his pulse was slowly fading away. You wanted to carry him in your arms and run a thousand miles to the nearest hospital, if only you could just move your legs….
You closed your eyes and waited. But they always came too late, didn't they? Your sister could smile and tell you so.
There were only seven passengers occupying this compartment, you observed. In the front seat, a middle-aged man with a pair of thick nerdy glasses was busy solving his newspaper crosswords. Next to him was a much younger lady with a red-shade lipstick and a pearl necklace gracing her fair, smooth skin. Their legs entangled below the seats, her tongue licking his neck; the scandalous views only half-hidden by the strategically placed newspapers that hid their face. Two couple enjoying an overnight affair, you silently noted with a cynical smile. Go on, foolish lovers. There's only less than twenty-five minutes until I ruin your blissful haven.
Another foreign man; fifty-something, began to yawn and put his bookmarked thick novel away on an empty seat next to him. Sliding lower into his seat, he pulled his blanket up to his chest and closed his eyes.
His annoyed wife, apparently feeling neglected on their trip, spent her entire evening bitching on her cell phone about the high price rate of available four-star-hotels in Tokyo.
The old woman sitting next to you on the back seat had been snoring away peacefully; her head plopped on a comfy white pillow next to the window. She told you she had insomnia; you smiled innocently and solved her problem. You slipped a strong dose of sleeping pill on a cup of Earl-Grey tea you kindly offered her. It's not going to get her a cerebral stroke or anything, but she might just need someone to wake her up when the train departed in the morning. Of course, she might need to wake up a hell of a lot sooner, if you really went through with this plan.
You didn't waste your time to analyze the other two passengers sitting in front of you. There's no need to do so when you already had their face and name imprinted in your memory like a scar that wouldn't fade. Besides, you were the one who had invited them to your little play tonight. Not that they knew it.
Fifteen minutes passed as slow as drops of sands in an hourglass. You feel your heart beating faster; adrenaline rushing through your veins. It should be wrong to feel excited about what you were going to do, but how could you not be? This is what you've wanted to do for Heaven knows how long, and you even asked yourself what held you back until this night.
But the answer was easy, right? You knew it even before you finished asking. It was him. Following you, telling you not to run away from your fate and take the easy way out. Haunting you each sleepless night to that place, that bloody alleyway where he whispered his parting words. Something stupid like truth and conscience and not staining your own hands with their sins…
Ten minutes later, they began to dim out the lights. You sat a little bit longer and listened patiently. (After all, didn't he tell you before that most criminals made their mistake because they were rushing too much?)
It was only when you heard slow, steady breathing and soft snores from passengers around you that you dared yourself to move slowly. Grabbing your potato chips bag with your left hand, you stood up and slid the compartments door opened, pausing for a second to let the chill breeze of the night in, stepped out, and closed the door again.
It was only a chance meeting. You would call it a destiny handed to you in a silver platter. After all, what were the odds that you could run into his black Porsche just after you went out from a grocery store? What were the odds that he was…alone? What were the odds that Professor spent his sweet time inside the store's bathroom the whole time you sneaked into the car and planted yet another thing on their personal space?
Only, this time, you purposely left out your auburn hair on the dashboard. It was your personal 'fuck you' message to the blonde-haired assassin, along with a hand-scribbled message; an invitation, a challenge. You offered him a share of the immortality drug the syndicate had been craving for in exchange for a large sum of money and a fake passport. The exchange spot would be the Hokutosei train, 14 November, 00.00, the men's bathroom next to the first class compartment. You told him it was a one-time deal. He might bring his favorite back-up on the train, but the deal had to be done only between the two of them.
For old times' sake, you told him.
You knew he would take the bait without hesitation. It was funny how predictable people could be sometimes, despite how smart they truly are. Gin, you had to admit, was a wild card most of the times.
You could never predict his move; except when three things were concerned.
Greed. It was never hushed news that elite members would do anything to get a top spot inside the organization; the Boss' second hand. Why, you asked him once. He told you it was the only position safe from the threat of execution upon small failure. Being in that position, he would know so many information to use as insurance should his life be threatened. The rumor has it that the big man cared about nothing more than the immortality drug the Miyanos couple had spent half of their life to develop. Getting the drug was the best bet to win the coveted throne.
Trust, or lack thereof. Gin never trusted his partner even for a second. Vodka was never smart or loyal enough in his eyes. Those doubts only worked for your advantage. You could be sure Gin wouldn't spill anything about your proposal; even if he tag the other man along on the trip,
And the third point, ironically, was you. You were a personal challenge to him; a prey with a scent stronger than the others. He respected your scientific ability enough to believe that you would be the first to come up with the much-coveted drug, even when other reliable scientists had failed. However, you were counting on his other tendency. He always underestimated your survival strategy. After all, what could poor little orphan Sherry do to defend herself, he would ask?
It wasn't easy to balance your body when you're sitting on top of a train's hood. You predicted that much. The speed of the train combined with the wind velocity would have been enough to throw you backwards, slam you to the ground, and crack your head before you could even scream out your last words on earth. For once though, you had to be thankful of your pint body size, as well as Professor's silly suspender belt. You sat on the hood of the train, just right below your compartment's door, the belt securing your position. The darkness protected you from being seen. Besides, who would think to look up and find a seven-year old girl perching on a train's roof? Even if they do, they would either believe they've been drinking a wee bit too much, or hallucinating, or having seen some sort of creature from the other world.
Gin believed he could take you down when it comes to one-on-one fight. You knew what would happen. He would ask Vodka to watch the compartment while he was gone on his appointment with you; making sure that you had no allies inside the train. After all, if you bring an ally, said person would be sitting close to you, right?
Carefully, you slid the gun and the silencer attached to it out from the potato plastic bag in your left hand, tore out a hole on the bottom of said bag; enough for your fingers to slide in. You waited until he walked out from your compartment, slid the door shut, and was right below you…
You pulled the trigger and watched as the bullet crushed his flesh right at the spots you had perfectly chosen. Two clean shots, one to his upper and the other to his lower spinal cord. He slumped to the ground and looked at you with disbelief.
"Why are you so surprised? Just because I dyed my hair, pigtailed it, put some freckles on my face, you couldn't recognize your old friend's childhood face? My, my, and here I thought you never stopped thinking about me after I left."
Leaning closer to him, you whispered with just a bit of strange satisfaction. So this is what it felt to taunt someone before they die, you thought. A weird sense of thrill crept to your spine as you watched his scorned, hateful gaze directed into your eyes. Under different circumstances, you would have shivered in fear under his gaze. Some times ago, before he killed the last person who have ever offered you hope and friendship, you would never imagine doing this kind of thing, taking someone's life…even if said life was more than worth taking. Even if there's nothing else you ever wanted than to see him dying alone, like he was right now.
You just never imagine you would be the one who hold the barrel, or that you would have no guilt or hesitation doing it.
"You know what happened when you shot someone right on certain spot in their cervical and lumbar spinal cord, Gin?"
It was your voice, and yet somehow, it didn't feel like yours. You always spoke with a calm, detached tone before, but you never sounded like that, as if you enjoyed watching as death kissed the life away from your sworn enemy, the man who had killed the only two persons you had been allowed to love sincerely. It was a voice of a cold-blooded murderer, and the sound of it disgusted you.
Crouching down, you leaned closer to him and pressed the mouth of the gun right on his forehead.
"You would be paralyzed, head to toe. That's why you couldn't speak as well. I just want to make it clear before I pull this trigger that I would get away with this. Your partner would take the fall, and it wouldn't be long before they could uncover all your dirt. I know you hate being lied and double-crossed even more than dying, Gin, so just let me tell you one more thing: the drug never existed. I lied to you. Sorry about that."
You put a narrow distance to prevent his blood from staining your coat, and fired. One bullet should be enough, you knew that. It didn't stop you from drilling his head with four clean shots. When your fingers stop pulling the trigger, your palms were sweating and your heart was pounding so hard you could hear it inside your head. For a second, you wanted to cry, cry as loud as you can and beg for forgiveness. Not to the man whose life you had taken, but to them. You saw Akemi smiling at you and the enthusiastic look on his face when you agreed to watch the soccer match together with the other kids. You thought about the gift of innocence they had fought for you and the same gift you had lost forever along with the life you had taken.
And why four, you ask? Maybe it was The Sign of Four that he forced you to read in your spare time. Maybe it was the reminder of his birthday. Maybe you just loved that specific number. Maybe it was just your subconscious playing games with you. It didn't matter anymore.
As soon as the little girl next to you went out of the compartment, you opened your eyes slowly. Where did she go and what the hell was she planning to do? Ever since she boarded the train and looked at you with that cheery yet melancholic face, you felt a strange sense of familiarity. You had brushed away your suspicion as quickly as it came. After all, you've met a lot of children during some of your recent heists, and she could be just one of them. She could one of those kid celebrities who grow up too fast; hence the worn, depressed look inside her eyes. She could be just a regular kid you passed on the street; a face you just couldn't remember before.
But then, why did she try to put a sedative on your tea? Something was definitely wrong here. You started to wonder if the small girl was a mule who had been forced to deliver some sort of illegal substance hidden inside inconspicuous items, like that potato-chips bag she kept on clutching the entire time as if it was her lifesaver vest. Departing from such deduction, you felt it would be better if you went along with her plan and pretended as if you were really asleep. Confronting her would be a bad idea if said drug syndicate's representative was somewhere within the same compartment or worse, she was bugged and someone else was listening to her from a remote location.
Look at you. At this rate, you should just call that Edogawa boy to compare notes and exchange strategies.
One and a half minute after she was gone, another man followed. A strange man with long, blonde hair and wide-brimmed hat, clad in a black suit. Something about the man reminded you of predator animals who lived alone in a forest, a man who lives for blood and takes life without a bat of an eye. You found yourself fearing for the girl's safety, and was about to stand up when a blackout sent the entire compartment into chaos.
People rushing to get in and out, struggling to find the nearest source of light and safety amidst the threatening darkness. You were thankful that darkness had always been more an ally than an enemy to you, as you went searching for her all around the place. Occasionally you bumped into another passenger and other sharp-edged objects you didn't really want to know. It took you some time before you could finally get your hands on the door's handle.
You were almost ready to slide off the door when you heard her loud, anguished scream breaking the silent night. She opened the door and rushed in, only to bump into your lap, still screaming murder hysterically as you held her shoulders still. It was only then that your eyes met, and you heard her sharp intake of breath as she looked into your face; half-lit from the soft moonlight that penetrates the gap on the door she had just opened.
You remembered who she really was. The sassy strawberry blonde girl who joined Tantei-kun on an ill-advised treasure hunt; the same girl who displayed the eerie level of maturity and dry humor as the stubborn little guy. You looked at the fresh corpse that lied behind the door; bathed with blood. And then you noticed the dark, impenetrable pain that hid beneath that small, innocent pair of eyes.
And you understood. Not everything, but enough that you know what you should do.
You used a handkerchief to wipe the fingerprints off the gun and threw it into the railway. The potato chips bag was still left near his body. You didn't bother to wipe your fingerprints from its surface. It was yours, after all. Later, you could say that you already dumped the empty bag into a garbage bin inside the bathroom, and the police would assume that the murderer had picked it up and used it to prevent the gunpowder from staining his or her sleeves. It's just like that, clean and simple. The more elaborate you plan to cover upa murder, the more clues you will leave behind. It seems like one of the general rules on a detective's dummy book, as much as you could observe from the time you spent along with Kudo-kun.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world that it never exists, right? It's the same case with criminals. Instead of showing how smart you are with splendid tricks, it's better to keep things as subtle and elementary as possible. Something even kids or ordinary workers could probably think of. You don't need to be the one with strongest alibi. As long as you are nicely mixed up among the crowd it's impossible to single you out among the rest of the suspects.
Seems like spending your time 24/7 with a certain detective does wonders to how your mind works.
There was another trick he taught you a long time before. You had a fever and couldn't sleep all night long. He had a guilt trip and dragged his sleeping bag to your room with the good intention of making you feel safe. You told him to go waste oxygen on another room or sing a lullaby if he wanted to make himself useful. Instead of a lullaby, he told you the many ways you could create a blackout without being on the scene. The simpler the tricks were, the easier it was to get rid of the evidence. You could use the candle and rope mechanism, for instance.
It might never occur to him that you would use a harmless trick he had taught in passing to help you get away with a murder. Or maybe it did occur to him. After all, who are you to guess the deep end of someone's mind?
You had set up a blackout to create a confusion of who could have getting in and out of their compartment during the brief ten minutes. In truth, the last shot was already fired before the light went out. You would pretend you had just returned from the bathroom in another compartment when you stumbled upon the body. The sedatives you put on the grandma's tea would kept her sleeping during the chaos, and should the police asked her, she would not be able to verify that you had been missing from your seat during the ten minutes time frame.
Not that they would ever be inclined to suspect a seven-year old girl as a murderer, anyway. Especially a murder that required such a specific medical knowledge.
It was risky, yes. Someone could have come into the scene before you had the chance to finish him off. Vodka could have a second thought to check his partner and caught you in the act. You shrugged the risk; deciding you had nothing much left to lose anyway. The moment you stepped into the train, you knew you would never go back to Beika again, no matter what the outcome was.
The Professor drove you to the station that afternoon. From the side-mirror, you caught him stealing glances when he thought you weren't looking. You told him it was just a three-day holiday trip to a new ski resort along with Tsuburaya-kun and his parents. You hugged him much longer than you ever did before. Telling him thank you for everything. When he waved at you from the platform, you caught the tears forming in his eyes and you knew it would be the last time.
How the police could ever identify the culprit, then? That was easy. They would find another set of fingerprints staining the potato-chips bag. The fingerprints belonged to man who happened to sit next to the victim, and as other passengers might testify to it, seemed to be a close acquaintance of the victim.
The fact that said man appeared to have some sort of shady past he couldn't really explain seemed to be a little too neat, too convenient of further proof. But hey, the investigators who happened to ride on the train had been dead-tired, it was past three AM when they finished questioning everyone, and just because it was easy truth, doesn't mean it wasn't a valid one.
In his eyes, you must have been just another annoying little brat. Your paper plane just happened to fly below his seat, and as you crouched down to pick it up, your bag of chips just happened to be spilled and scattered across the floor. As you picked up every single chip that littered the space around his seat, he began to lose his patience and helped you to pick up the rest of the chips, grabbed the chips bag, and handed it to you with a rough shove. Only with that simple gesture, he helped you to tie the noose around his neck. Thanks, you silently whispered.
The police and security officers were awfully polite to you and her. You assumed it had everything to do with your old age and nothing to do with the fact that you were supposed to be a major shareholder in large Suzuki companies all around Japan.
Or at least, Suzuki Kaori, the woman whose identity you had borrowed for the heist tomorrow night, was.
They asked you questions as brief and concise as possible. Once in a while, you asked them to stop and repeat the same question again. After all, you couldn't hear properly without a listening aid. In truth, you already planned your answers, careful lies woven with a straight face and the most honest look you could muster in front of them.
"I was asleep the whole time, officer, but I'm sure this girl next to me had only been gone for atmost a minute long. Her seat was still very warm when I woke up during the black-out."
As soon as you finished speaking, she looked at you with a piercing stare. Her eyes bore a thousand questions, and you could only guess what each of them was.
Who are you and why did you lie for me?
You recalled a newspaper article you read about a month ago. The police found the young detective's dead body dumped on a dirty alleyway in a forgotten corner of Tokyo. The case met a dead-end, to nobody's surprise. The crime scene photograph was way too small and grainy for your eyes, but you still remembered the details; how the body laid still on the muddy pavement, the yellow lines all around the street, and a small girl who crouched next to him, clutching his bloody shirt, wailing…
Judging from the number of bullets they found on the young man's corpse, it seemed like the assassin(s) took their sweet time in killing him. Perhaps they taunted him with questions he refused to answer each time. Perhaps the stubborn boy had taunted them in return, and got a couple of shots for his smartass remarks. Who knows? There was only one witness who could tell you exactly what happened.
Her face was eerily calm and peaceful. She was gazing through night scenery; her arms clutching her feet. You saw her reflection on the glass window she was leaning to, and for a second, you thought you saw tears rolling on her cheeks. When you stepped closer, you realized they were tiny rain droplets staining the clear glass, creating such illusion.
Or maybe they just cried together with her.
The train arrived early the next morning. Most passengers were more than eager to get out as soon as possible. Obviously, the late midnight thrill you had provided was not really appealing to their tastes.
Well, at least there would be a KID heist tonight if they were in thirst for some fun entertainment.
You watched closely as the police led the accused man in handcuffs. He was entirely speechless; you observed. Of course, he might be just too horrified to mutter any form of protests. Even if they deemed him innocent after further interrogation, which was quite a slim possibility in the first place, the syndicate would extend their invisible hands to strangle him. It could be days, months, or years, before they finally caught up with him, but they would come to silence him, no doubt about that.
Not only he killed one of their own, he compromised their entire secrecy by being in contact with the police. It had to be the worst sin a member of the syndicate could possibly do. And really, what would be the worst punishment than to sit waiting in the dark, knowing they would never believe any words he says in defense? Knowing only to expect for the worst, when he had seen more than enough of what they were capable of?
You slipped out from the crowd easily and bought a clear bottle of water from a kiosk nearby. You took a seat on a secluded corner; away from the crowd of commuters that flooded the busy station. Silently, you apologized to the janitor or anyone who works everyday in this station when they find your body this afternoon. This place might be haunted with ghost stories for years to come if Japanese's penchant for supernatural stuff keeps on increasing.
You were thankful they never checked the small bottle on your backpack. You casually told them it was vitamins your mom gives you every morning before you go to school. They never imagined the tiny white pills were strong antibiotics you used to put the old woman next to you to a peaceful slumber. One pill would not be lethal, it was true. But fifty tiny pills downed at once would be.
You clutched the bottle you just pulled out from the red and blue backpack. Your hands trembled in shock as you laid your eyes on it. The bottle was empty.
It was only then you saw someone standing next to you. How long had he been watching you, you would never know. Neither of you spoke a single word for a long time. Somewhere in the distance, you could hear the chatter of commuters, announcements from train speakers, and the buzzing sound of ticket machines. The silence trapped both of you into an enclosed world of your own, away from the reality that you had stepped away from.
After he was sure that you would not run away from your current position, he opened his right palms slowly, letting tiny pills fell and shattered into a million little pieces on the marble floor.
"I took it from your backpack when the police questioned you."
You had been sitting next to her the whole time. The stealing process was a piece of cake. The hard part was figuring out how to confront her without sounding like a righteous stranger.
"I thought I always had it with me the whole time. How did you do it?" She replied in a resigned tone. A sad smile was forming on her lips as she looked at you with a pair of curious eyes.
"I've had my ways."
"Who are you?" She said softly, her voice just a scratch above whisper; her own way of ensuring you that yes, your secrets would be safe in her hands.
"We met before." You answered simply. You knew it was more than enough to refresh her memory of that particular night. After all, it must be one of the rare happy moments she was able to share with her friends. Especially with a certain four-eyed detective.
You observed the subtle changes on her facial expression as she pieced the clues together. Slowly, the hard and guarded look dissolved from her gaze. She averted her eyes to the blur of crowds on the train platform, her head sitting on her folded knees. She looked like a casual observer; a sketch artist who observes the trivialities of everyday scenery before pouring its hidden beauty in scratches of charcoal on canvas. Her face was peaceful, and the sight unsettled you; knowing this very same girl was just about to commit suicide five minutes before.
"You looked just like him."
Her sudden remark, spoke in an airy, casual voice caught you off your guard. You must have looked funny, which was why you were grateful that she wasn't looking at you this particular moment.
"When I saw you standing right there, I thought I was hallucinating. I could almost assure myself that you were him." She pointed her gaze upwards and continued "He must have been mighty pissed at me up there."
Chills were running down your spine as you listened to her hollow laughter amidst the calm whispers of winds and tree branches. It sounded almost inhuman to your ears. No, there wasn't any cruelty laced behind that soft laughter as were the case with cold-blooded killers, you noticed.
What you heard was a human's vulnerability stripped to the core beneath her voice, a wound that refused to heal itself. The wailing of a creature that was shattered and broken without any hope of repair. A cry of help disguised in self-mockery.
"I'm sorry. Did I scare you?"
You opened your mouth, but no voice was heard. What could you say, really? The depth of human's pain was not yours to judge. You might say you understood her feeling, but did you? Your own best friend, your surrogate uncle, your mother…they always say they understand what you feel, but do they? Do you understand what's behind your mother's melancholic eyes every time she looks at you?
And do you even really want to know?
It is one thing to say you understand what people feels, and another to actually be sure that you do. You might be a lot of things, but you refused to be a hypocrite. You looked at her eyes and asked her the only question you wanted to know.
The way he looked at you was…indefinable. It wasn't pity. You've received thousand of such looks from people around you as long as you had lived. From your school mates and teachers, when you told them you were an orphan. From him, when you told them your little sob story of a life. From Professor, when you nearly fainted on his funeral. From your little detective team, when you told them you weren't in mood to solve cases anymore. Or come to classes, for that matter.
It wasn't fear, you noted. Fear was what you saw in Kudo-kun's eyes when he thought you really were a psychopath who had killed the old man he almost thought of like his own father. Fear was what you saw in your own reflection every time you washed your face; thinking they would finally take away everyone you ever care about the moment you let yourself hope.
Was it hate? No. Hate was what you saw in the cold-blooded assassin's eyes right before you pulled the trigger. It wasn't indifference either. Indifference was what you saw in their eyes when you begged them to release your sister off their clutches to no avail.
"Why?" He asked you. It was only simple word. You wished you could answer just as easy. But any straightforward answer you offered him would only be lies. And you couldn't bear to lie to him. Not after he was willing to risk being an accomplice in your cold blooded business.
In truth, you couldn't even sort out the reason why. Too many things, thoughts, feelings and reasons jumbled and mixed in your pounding head. You wanted to end it all. Maybe that was why. But deep inside, you must have known it couldn't end that easy, right? You could poke a large military boat with a small needle and made a hole, but that wouldn't be enough to drown it.
"Why did you lie for me?" You asked him back instead. Your eyes promised him that you would answer his question later. He looked away and answered with just a tiny bit of hesitation in his voice,
"I knowhow it feels to love someone. I know what it feels to lose someone."
You nodded, stood up slowly, and slung your backpack over your shoulder. He didn't stop you when you walked past him. You only looked back once; a soft, barely audible mutter escaped your lips. The words only meant for him to hear.
"Then you got your answer"
You could only see what happened through a small keyhole on the trunk. You watched with gritted teeth as they riddled him with bullets; sprays of blood splattering on pale, white wall. It was your option to close your eyes. Hell, he even told you to. But you couldn't, could you?
Together in happiness, in pain, in sick, and health. The kind of vow that both of you would have scoffed cynically in other circumstances. You couldn't shut off the pain for him to face alone. And so you watched; each images embedded itself like tattoo scars on your memory. You couldn't forget the face of the two assassins. The blonde, long haired man you had spent years despising fired most of the shots, but they weren't really lethal. The only shot that mattered; the shot that killed your final hope, belonged to his partner.
And that was the reason why.