40 Nights: Shinichi and Shiho
By Eeveebeth Fejvu
This collection of one-shots is dedicated to the Aicoholics (you know who you are) from the community on LiveJournal, and to all ConanAi fans everywhere. Without your support, I probably wouldn't have attempted this huge challenge. Thanks especially to my beta reader, Rae, who is totally awesome and a great editor. I hope you enjoy these stories of complex friendship and ambiguous love.
Fandom: Detective Conan
Title: The End
Author: Eeveebeth Fejvu
Theme: #26 – Frozen moment at the first sight
Pairing/Characters: Kudo Shinichi and Miyano Shiho
Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan. I requested Haibara to make me a pill that would somehow turn me into the creator of the shrunken tantei-san, but my order is in line behind the antidote to Apoptoxin-4869. …So, for now, I write fan fiction.
Summary: It occurred to him that he had never truly seen her in this form.
It was over.
As Shinichi stood silently amidst the rubble of what had once been the lobby of the Haido City Hotel, he finally realized what the strange, almost forgotten feeling was that had washed over him. It was peace.
The endless nightmare was over.
All around him, however, smoke from the last explosion was still streaming out from underneath the mounds of crumbled plaster and slabs of broken concrete. Loose electrical lines, flung by the blasts across the iron beams that kept the remainder of the ceiling intact, flickered with blue sparks as they swung gently in the light breeze that wafted in from the holes in the wall. He could hear the sirens of fire trucks and ambulances in the distance, and the sirens of police cruisers just outside on the street, their blue lights flicking into view through the fissures.
This latest encounter with the Black Organization was undoubtedly the final one. The syndicate had been destroyed, utterly obliterated at long last, in a single massive clash between agents of the American FBI and the entire criminal consortium. Ever since their capture of Kir, the FBI had picked up clue after clue concerning their target. More members had been drawn out of the woodwork – many of those captured as well – until the FBI had grown certain that the Organization was crumbling, collapsing from within. More and more evidence of a fissure within the Organization's ranks came to light. The members, with their differing opinions on how the syndicate should be run, were turning against each other. It was a fatal mistake; the FBI was finally prepared to go in for the kill.
It had been bad fortune that what had started out as a raid on a likely hideout had spilled out onto the highways of Tokyo. Akai Shuichi, with his insider knowledge and phenomenal ability to predict, had warned them against a street fight, after all. And there had been many casualties, as the FBI agent had anticipated; luckily, though, few innocents had been affected and the majority of the casualties had been on the Organization's side.
The light breeze tugged at the corners of his untidy, unbuttoned blazer and toyed with the bent collar of the white shirt underneath. He reminded himself that, once things had truly settled down, he needed to offer to pay for the damage done to his current outfit. He had borrowed it from an FBI agent who also wore this sort of attire, but now it was covered in rips, dust from the collapse, and spots of his own dried blood, which was obviously no condition to return an outfit in.
Absentmindedly, he ran his left hand up and down his right arm. He was scratched rather minimally here compared to some of the deeper cuts on his face and his chest, but this arm hurt the worst. When his father taught him how to shoot in Hawaii, Yusaku had never informed him just how numb his body could become if he continued to clutch and use the weapon for hours at a time, each shot sending a deep vibration from his fingertips to his shoulder.
He had only shot to defend himself, of course, for he was still the unsanctioned detective he had always been, not a cop or federal agent. The FBI hadn't been allowed the same luxury. He wondered especially what Jodie and Akai were thinking right now. The string of events that Sharon Vineyard had started so many years ago by killing a little girl's parents had come full circle as that grown-up little girl had finally finished off a murderer named Vermouth. Akai Shuichi had proved himself a worthy avenger as well, by ridding the world of his beloved's executioner, Gin.
Massaging his aching right hand, Shinichi found that he himself wasn't sure what to think about the deaths of Vermouth and Gin, the two members he knew the best. The oldest part of him, the very 'Shinichi' part of him, was almost glad – no prison time could ever do real justice to the lives those two had utterly and indifferently destroyed.
But another part of him, what he thought of now as the newer 'Conan' part, wished that he had been able to talk to Vermouth one more time, to ask her why she had chosen to give up her life as a famous actress for the life of a criminal. And the Conan part of him that Shinichi didn't even want to acknowledge wished that he had been the one to finish off Gin, rather than Akai. The FBI agent wasn't the only one whose ultimate grudge was against the longhaired blond.
Across the large lobby and through the swirling smoke, Shinichi watched James Black's bedraggled army of FBI cluster together as they waited for the ambulances to arrive. They were chatting animatedly now, in Japanese and English and a most bizarre mix of both, as opposed to earlier when all had been as serious as the grave. There was a great deal of back-patting and happy exclamations among the disheveled agents as well. Though he was not officially one of them, he still felt himself swell with pride to have worked with them.
Then, he almost laughed. There was Jodie; he could see her short blonde hair from all the way across the lobby. She was celebrating with her usual enthusiasm, jumping around and clapping and yelling happy expressions in English as she embraced her fellow FBI agents. Shinichi was pleased to see that the uncharacteristically tired daze she had been in after Vermouth's death had evaporated. After a moment of grinning, Shinichi laughed as Jodie pounced upon Akai, who had just made his nonchalant appearance, and enveloped the bewildered agent in a hug, crying, "We did it, Shu!"
Grinning once more, he shut his eyes, trying to preserve this moment of celebration and accomplishment. It was over, finally over. It was still hard to believe; it probably would be for a while. "Hey, Cool Guy!" He opened his eyes. Jodie had finally spotted him standing by himself on the far side of the lobby and was waving furiously at him, her glasses threatening to fall off of her nose and her free arm draped in camaraderie about the deadpanning Shuichi's shoulder. Leisurely, he raised his hand and waved back, and he began to walk toward them as he saw her beckoning him to join in the FBI's energized huddle.
But suddenly, a strange feeling that he was forgetting something came over him. Realizing what it was, he glanced around.
It was her.
He paused. She was standing alone beside a small pile of rubble, her lithe arms crossed tightly across her chest and her elegant shoulders hunched as if trying to keep herself warm. The light breeze sifting in from outside was playing with the ends of her short, strawberry blonde hair, tossing them lightly around her slender face. She was staring off into the distance, past the congregation of American agents, towards something Shinichi had never been able to see. She had been standing there so motionlessly that he hadn't even noticed her until now.
It occurred to him, as he stood frozen in silence, that he had never truly seen her in this form, this adult form, before. It was like seeing her for the very first time, really. That single time before did not count, when he had watched in horror as she fell helplessly into the bloodstained snow on the roof of this same building, Gin shooting furiously at her. There had been too much going on for him to get a good look at her then. And even after taking the completed antidote only a few hours ago, they had barely had a chance to speak in person, and most of that time they had been hiding and waiting in the dark.
But now, Shinichi could see her clearly. The dull red sweater and black pants that Jodie had come up with for her seemed to fit her quite well. Her adult form was rather well developed, with slender arms and legs unlike Ran's athletically toned limbs, but somewhat like Ran in the chest and, well… Shinichi blushed even thinking about such things, but it was hard not to. Her mature facial features fit her so much better as an adult than as a child. Though cut and bruised in several places, she seemed like an exquisitely beautiful china doll – a comparison she would certainly not appreciate if he were to voice his opinion.
A series of happy cries regained his attention, and he glanced back to the assembly of FBI agents. Jodie, still hanging off of Shuichi, was shouting exuberantly out through the large opening that had been blasted in the front wall. The lights of the police cruisers flashing in through the fissures cast the figures making their way into the lobby into silhouettes. After a moment, Shinichi recognized who those shapes must be.
It was the Beika district police. He could see the figures of Meguire-keibu, Satou, Takagi, Shiratori, Chiba, and Yumi, and after a moment, he recognized what had to be Heiji, Kogoro, and Yusaku following behind them. And there behind those last three men were, Shinichi thought with a grin, the women to back them up: Kazuha, Eri, and Yukiko. After them, three small shapes and a larger one came into view – the Shonen Tantei and Agasa-hakase. All of his most precious people were coming to the lobby, though no doubt only a select few understood exactly what had occurred and the enormity of it. Nevertheless, it would not be long before the Black Organization and its downfall would become well known.
One hell of a party is sure to break out now, Shinichi thought with a chuckle. Jodie was still calling to the new arrivals through the lively chatter of the FBI. Shinichi did not hear any of her salutations clearly until one particularly enthusiastic English cry seemed to break through the commotion.
Ran! He started in surprise. She was here as well, then, coming to meet the victorious band of federal agents… and him. She would have heard him talking to the FBI agents over the radio that the police department had unintentionally tapped during the middle of their operation, he was sure. But there was so much that she didn't know yet – mainly, of course, the fact that he, her childhood friend Kudo Shinichi, had been hiding under her nose as her adopted little brother ever since that fateful night at Tropical Land.
His feet took several steps forward, toward the crowd and toward where Ran was surely going to appear at any time. But he couldn't stop his attention from reverting back to the woman who had also distanced herself from the celebration. She was standing just as she had been a moment before, arms crossed and face impassive.
Shinichi almost called out to her, the words on his tongue and ready to come out, when it dawned on him that there was no one to greet 'Miyano Shiho,' now that the darkness had passed. There would have been someone to greet 'Haibara Ai' – Ayumi, Mitsuhiko, Genta, Agasa-hakase. Even 'Sherry' might have received a reception from the man who had once been called 'Rye'. But the strawberry blonde was no longer either of these people: Sherry had died with the fall of the Black Organization, and Ai had died upon taking the antidote for Apoptoxin-4869. Only the original person, Miyano Shiho, remained, but with her parents and Akemi dead, there was no one still alive to remember the younger sister.
Shinichi suddenly found himself torn. Ran, the girl who had waited for him for so long, was still waiting for him, waiting for him to find her amongst the celebrating crowd. But Shiho, the girl who had waited for this day for so long, was still waiting too, waiting to be acknowledged and received by someone, anyone. With a noise of frustration, Shinichi glanced back and forth from the strawberry blonde to the silhouette of Ran that had suddenly broken from the incoming throng. Quickly, he made a decision. After all, which girl really needed him more right now?
In quick strides, he made his way towards her, setting a smile onto his face. As he came to stand beside her, her striking eyes lifted to meet. She didn't smile in return, but he refused to let it faze him.
"Why aren't you celebrating, Kudo Shinichi?" Shiho asked. "Look at what you have accomplished. The party is waiting for you to complete them." Her voice was a touch deeper than the one he was used to, but the melodic tone and inflection of it he knew by heart. Just as her facial features seemed a better fit now, this mature sound did as well.
"I'm not the only one they're waiting for," he replied, still smiling.
"They are not waiting for me," she said, turning her eyes away from his to stare out once again into the distance. For a long moment there was silence between them. Shinichi felt the smile fade off of his face into a frown.
"I know," he finally began, "I know… that they don't really know you yet, not… this way, but they will. They will soon enough." When this failed to produce any reaction, he continued, "I know it probably would have been easier if you were still Haibara Ai, but… well… Sherry has been erased, and Haibara Ai died so that Miyano Shihocould live, you know. And Miyano Shiho was the one who helped save us all from the darkness. What has been accomplished here, what they are celebrating, could never have come to pass without Miyano Shiho, so… the party won't be complete without you."
After a moment, her eyes seemed to soften. "You seem to have all of my… aliases categorized neatly," she remarked, irony tingeing her tone.
Shinichi smiled sheepishly. "There wasn't much else to think about when we were waiting in the dark, you know. And I think I've sorted out my own, too. Having to act the polite little kid all of the time, well… Edogawa Conan really became his own person, a person I know that I should learn a lot from."
"One can only be so arrogant when one is three feet tall, eh?" she teased, staring him in the eye. "…Not that I would know first-hand if Kudo Shinichiis really the arrogant glory hound I used to read about in the newspapers. After all, I may have always referred to you as Kudo-kun, but that does not mean I know Kudo Shinichi any more than they, or you, know Miyano Shiho."
Generously ignoring the fact that she had just called him 'arrogant' (twice!) and a 'glory hound,' Shinichi replied, "Should I introduce myself then?"
"The famous Kudo Shinichi, Great Detective of the East, hardly needs an introduction," she said mockingly. "Though I must say… you looked a lot better in the picture the Organization had attached to your file."
Shinichi stared down at the ripped, dusty, bloodied blue suit he wore, then shot her an annoyed look. "Oi!"
He was pleased when his exclamation brought a smirk to her lips. Surprisingly, the expression looked less severe and more playful on her adult face.
"Miyano Shiho hardly needs an introduction either," he said. "After all, I've heard all about you from your 'distant cousin' Haibara Ai through her close friendship with Edogawa Conan, who is my 'distant cousin.'"
"…I trust all you've heard has been good, then?"
"Sure," he drawled sarcastically, and then said, suddenly serious, "though I have to say… I, Kudo Shinichi, would like to get to know you better, Miyano Shiho." From the look on her face, it seemed as if she was about to say something risqué concerning his word choice, but then thought better of it hearing the sincerity in his voice. He continued, "And though I have met you myself, there are many others you've yet to meet, and I'd be honored to make the introductions."
She was quiet for a moment, contemplating his offer as she let her arms relax from their crossed position. Finally, she said, "She is looking for you, Kudo-kun."
Shinichi was suddenly aware of the sound of his name being shouted. Ran was calling for him, searching desperately amongst the throng for the young man who had been missing from her life for so long.
As tough as it was, Shinichi refused to allow Shiho's change of subject to distract him. "I'm not joining them without you. …I promise you, there is a place for you there! Even if someone wanted to deny you a place among us, I wouldn't let them. You're one of us, Miyano-san. I promise you, you belong here."
Shiho remained quiet, staring off into the distance, through the rising smoke, beyond the jubilant crowd, between the fissures in the wall, past the flashing blue lights. For a moment, Shinichi looked off into the distance himself, seeing if he could catch a glimpse of what she saw. As always, he never did. He turned his stare back to her, waiting stubbornly for a reply. Finally, she sighed in resignation.
"A boy named Edogawa Conan once promised a girl named Haibara Ai that he would protect her from harm," she spoke softly, "and that promise was fulfilled. So I suppose if Kudo Shinichi promises Miyano Shiho there is a place for her here, with his people and himself, then he is not promising lightly either."
"There is only one truth," Shinichi replied, "and that is it."
Shiho smiled, and the allure of her smile caused him to blush. She held out her hand to him.
"Lead the way, Kudo-kun."
He took her hand, and he didn't let go.