Fandom: Detective Conan
Author: Eeveebeth Fejvu
Theme: #40 – It's just a nightmare
Pairing/Characters: Kudo Shinichi and Sherry
Rating: T for sexuality and disturbing images
Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan. I asked 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.
Dedication: For Claude le noctambule, because I always greatly appreciate your reviews and your translation work with "Inertia". Also, the scenario in this theme corresponds with a scenario you and I once discussed years ago in the Aicoholics livejournal forum, though I wrote this piece even years before that.
Summary: She stood in the shadows… and waited for him to stir.
She stood in the shadows, pressing her clipboard tightly to her chest, and waited for him to stir. Her back ramrod straight, her lips pursed, and her eyes darkly challenging, she waited for the motionless form strapped securely to the mechanized lab table to show signs of regaining consciousness. She waited, her mind running through complex chemical equations, lists of symptoms, catalogs of failed trial versions. She waited patiently. She had all the time in the world.
The first sign of his awakening was in the twitch of his fingers. In a staccato movement, they curled towards the iron cuff that fastened his wrist to the table, then relaxed. She shifted her weight slightly onto one foot, then the other. The nerves throughout her body were tingling in distasteful anticipation. A moment later, his foot twitched, the ankle's movement restrained by an iron cuff as well. She waited.
After a time, his fingers twitched again, this time accompanied by a slight movement of his head. It would not be long now, she thought. Suddenly, he groaned, a soft but pained noise that shattered the stuffy silence of the laboratory. She took a soundless step forward, but elected to remain in the darkened corner, outside his line of vision. It wouldn't do for her face to be the first thing he saw.
A long moment passed before his fingers twitched again, this time in a deliberate movement. His eyes shot open. She watched passively as, for an instant, he tensed, stunned by the shaded bulb baring its brilliant white light down on him from above. A second later, his entire body jerked in an attempt to sit up. Unaware of the wrist and ankle restraints, his head slammed back against the table, causing a hollow metallic ring to echo throughout the room. Groaning, he pulled against the cuffs again, then began to struggle in disbelief. His lithe form writhed and twisted on the table in a way that made the nerves throughout her body tingle even stronger than before. She had to fight to keep her lips pursed professionally as he fought blindly, his eyes shut tightly against the glowing bulb piercing his vision.
After a moment or two, his body's struggle diminished, then ceased. She watched, fascinated, as he seemed to gather his wits and methodically view his surroundings, an expected move considering his occupation. His head turned calmly to the right to observe the cuff on his right arm, then to the left to observe the other, then, squinting, towards the light bulb. The only sign of his discomfort at the moment was the grunt that escaped his lips from his movement. No doubt his head was throbbing from the light, his recent struggle, and the bloodied wound on the back of his head, though she had already tended to the latter long before now.
"Hello?" His voice was hoarse, and the question came out weakly and unsure. He coughed, and after a listening pause, repeated his question, his tone decidedly more assured and commanding. She felt her nerves tingle. "Hello? …Is anyone there?"
She clutched her clipboard even harder and gave up on maintaining her pursed lips. The smile she finally allowed herself was far from the sweet one that her sister always tried to coax out of her, but she was hardly the same person her sister knew at the moment. In fact, her sister wouldn't even recognize her right now. Smiling mysteriously, she ran one hand silently through her hair in a last minute attempt to perfect her appearance, as if preparing to go on a date. She almost laughed aloud. No, there was no way her sister would have recognized her right now.
"…Why don't you just come out where I can see you?" He spoke up low and confident, knowing without a doubt that he was not alone, not talking to air. "I know you're there, in the shadows. I know I saw movement a moment ago… and I can hear you breathe." It was a wonder that he couldn't hear her fluttering heartbeat, she thought, and the adrenaline pounding through her body.
A moment more and she could no longer deny him or his command. She stepped slowly and with poise as she appeared to him from the shadows, allowing her lab coat to rasp softly as it flowed like silk over her slender frame. She relaxed her grip slightly on her clipboard, and, smiling, tilted her head just slightly to the side in an enigmatic manner. Being a famous detective and all, he must love mysteries, right?
"There is certainly no way I can fool you then, Kudo Shinichi-tantei," she said in greeting, her tone smooth and alluring. His vivid blue eyes, cold and distrustful, immediately locked onto hers as she paused at the foot of the table. Her stomach tingled. "Or perhaps you would prefer meitantei?"
He ignored her playful jab, scowling aggressively. "Who are you? And how do you know my name?" She herself had stripped him of his jacket and sweatshirt earlier to check for injuries, leaving him in only a thin white t-shirt; now, she unreservedly watched the well-defined muscles in his arms tighten as he clenched his fists. "Where am I? What are you doing to me?"
"Oh ho! You sure do ask your questions in quick succession, tantei-san." She chuckled slightly, coming to stand on his right side. "Do you interrogate all of your murder suspects this way? How do you ever get any answers if you're in such a rush?"
This teasing seemed to only make him more frenzied. "…Who are you?! Where am I?! … What the… If you've so much as touched Ran, I'll–"
"Slow down, slow down, Kudo-san!" She gazed at him with a sweetly chiding expression. "I can promise you, the only person I have in my custody at the moment is yourself." She smiled demurely. "And you are the only person brought in by my… associates from the amusement park tonight. If you were with anyone else, I'm sure they are safe and sound." To be honest, she wasn't sure, but Gin had only mentioned this boy, and she herself had watched Vodka drag the teenage detective out of the back of Gin's Porsche a few hours ago. There had been no one else inside, at least in the backseat. Perhaps in the trunk, though…
Kudo relaxed visibly, settling back against the cold metal table to scowl at her guardedly, and she made a note of this in her mind. "So… those two men I followed… the two men in the black clothing are your associates…"
"Two black-clothed associates among many," she quipped. "Two amongst a… large murder of crows."
Though his scowling face never changed expression, she swore she could see his mind racing in a clockwork fashion behind those vivid eyes. "A whole gang of killers and blackmailers, then, a… a criminal syndicate…"
It wasn't a question, but for her own amusement, she answered anyway. "That would be one way to put it. An organization… a blackened organization dedicated to personal gain through illegal activities… surely, Kudo-meitantei, you have come across cases involving more than just misunderstood manslaughter and accidental assassination in your illustrious career?"
"So I was caught witnessing a 'business transaction' I wasn't supposed to," Kudo relinquished sullenly, wincing as the bandaged wound on the back of his head pressed against the table. "…And…"
"Struck on the head with a convenient section of lead pipe," she completed, smiling. "So I was informed."
"So where am I now, then? Some… laboratory hideout used by this 'black organization'?"
She laughed sardonically at his contemptuous tone, running a hand through her short hair. "So the modern-day Sherlock Holmes truly earned his title… This particular lab belongs to me, Kudo-meitantei." She lowered her clipboard from its position against her chest and watched as his eyes immediately shifted to the uncovered nametag pinned to her lab coat's lapel: SHERRY – HEAD OF RESEARCH.
"So a criminal syndicate employs scientists as well as killers and thieves?" Kudo's voice had lowered considerably both in volume and vehemence, as if he were speaking only to himself. When his vivid blue eyes met her own once more, Sherry realized that he was starting to understand.
The disbelief and the anger had faded as his comprehension of his current situation quickly grew. He was in a laboratory with a high-status criminal scientist, strapped to a lab table with no way to escape from the iron cuffs that bound him. Even if he were to escape, he would have no idea which way to run, he would have no idea if any law-enforcement allies were looking for him or even knew him missing, and he would have no idea how to hide from the rest of the 'black organization' that would surely come after him. He was realizing what a dire predicament he was in was such speed that Sherry felt the nerves up her spine tingle with the greatest ferocity yet. What an amazing specimen he was.
"Research makes up a great deal of our work," she managed to concede without losing the last trace of the smile remaining on her face. "As the prized intellectual protégé of the organization – the girl who earned her PhD before she earned her majority – I was granted the privilege of becoming head of research, particularly in the biochemistry department. Unfortunately, unlike yourself, who is able to use your superior intellect in only the cases you so choose to take on, I have no choice in the project on which I am to focus all of my attention and skill. As a member of the organization since birth, I have inherited the project of my late scientist parents: Project 48."
There was a long silence as she continued to stare Kudo in the eyes from their close proximity. The mysterious smile began to tug at her lips again. It was enjoyable to discuss her work with someone who hadn't already heard the strange rumors that circulated amongst the codename-lacking members of the syndicate. With her eyes, she begged him to ask, pleaded with him to question her further. How dismally boring it is to continue unprompted.
Finally, he gave in, his voice filled with more dread than curiosity. "What exactly… is Project 48?"
"Project 48," she began, dropping her voice down to a whisper. She laid her clipboard quietly upon the edge of the table, then leaned towards him, her crossed arms resting on the clipboard, until her face was but a foot away from his. "Project 48… concerns the research of apoptosis – cell self-destruction – as applied to toxicology. …I am studying how to trigger apoptosis to occur in such a way that it works as an untraceable poison in the body's many systems, killing its victim in the most organic way possible. When completed, the 'apoptoxin' will be able deceive anyone, anyone who isn't looking particularly for it in lab testing, into believing that the death was natural, caused by a heart attack or stroke in accordance with the poison's side effects."
His eyes were wide in shock and outrage, though his lips remained tightly shut. Suddenly, he flinched against his will, and Sherry saw fear, raw terror, flare up in his stare. Her body tingled gleefully.
"So you know, don't you, Kudo-meitantei? I thought you would figure it out soon enough. …A few weeks ago, I completed Version 68 of Project 48. Every trial I conducted with this version either killed the victim but led to suspicious results on the lab report, or ended in an unwanted cell mutation. Some of the subjects in these latter trials didn't even die, but the end result required me to 'put them out of their misery,' you might say. Therefore, I was forced to move on to Version 69, and I feel that the minor adjustments I made in the chemical formula will assure the Project's success. I have finished creating Apoptoxin 4869 and the preliminary mice testing for this version. Now, I am ready to… begin the first human trial…"
"NO!" Screaming, Kudo struggled fiercely in his bonds, causing Sherry to jump at his sudden action and draw away from him. Disheveled, she snatched up her clipboard before his writhing knocked it off of the table, and stepping back, tucked a lock of hair nervously behind her ear. "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" The clanging of the hollow metal tabletop echoed loudly, causing her to wince. She yelled over the noise for him to stop, that his thrashing would accomplish nothing in this soundproof room, but soon gave up, knowing her yelling wouldn't accomplish anything either.
She should have known better than to think he would be indifferent and compliant. He was young, headstrong, and arrogant, all lending itself to a stubborn attitude that would not easily give up on preserving his life. And to think, only a few hours ago he was enjoying himself in that amusement park in the company of a dear friend – perhaps a girlfriend – named Ran, an entire lifetime spread out before him. An ironic smile tugged at her lips. How quickly things change.
It was many minutes before Kudo wore both his throat and his body out, leaving him lying fatigued and choking on the metal table. His arms' muscles continued to twitch in a desire to struggle again, but he was gasping for air, his chest rising and falling in short, ragged breaths. Beads of sweat glistened on his face, and the picture of him lying in front of her – hot, exhausted, and speechless – was nearly too much for her to stand. She almost lost it, her hands ready to drop the clipboard she held in favor of running her fingers across his reddened face, through his silky hair, down his neck, under the t-shirt sticking tightly to his chest. Her saving grace, however, was the one last "no…" that escaped his lips, pitiful and desperate. It reminding her of the labor that was before her.
"Well… I hope we've put all of that ridiculous… resistance behind us," Sherry finally spoke breathlessly. She approached the table again, eyes locked once more with his. "And now… to business…" She smiled coquettishly, but only received a look of desperation and abhorrence in return. She brushed it off, willing the fluttering in her stomach to stop.
Turning on her heel, she made her way around the lab table, letting her brisk step emphasize her femininity as the lab coat flowed with her curves. She did not turn her head to see if he was watching, but she was sure he was. Laying the clipboard next to the computer on the lab counter, she shuffled through the already copious files on Project 48 Version 69. The results of the mice experiments greatly resembled those of Version 68, though the frequency of death rather than mutation was much higher.
Yes, she thought, now was as good a time as any for the first human trial, especially with this particular specimen. She wondered if he knew that the syndicate had been watching him for some time, and even considered him a mild threat. Probably not, for all of his egotism and pride.
So she began, a demure smile on her face even as Kudo continued to hoarsely murmur his protesting "…no …no." First, she shifted the mechanized lab table from its horizontal position to a seventy-five degree slant, leaving Kudo almost upright with his feet hanging just inches from the ground. He gritted his teeth as his weight dragged him down and caused the pressure of the cuffs securing his wrists to increase. Though Sherry longed to leave him stretched out provocatively at her disposal, the apoptoxin would be more easily administered in this new position. She didn't dare release him from the cuffs in hopes of tying him to a chair, for even with a total understanding of his dire situation, he would undoubtedly try to and succeed in overpowering her and breaking free.
This completed, Sherry began the necessary documentation required of every experiment performed in the syndicate's laboratories. There were quite a lot of it. She seated herself elegantly in a chair within Kudo's range of vision, crossed her legs, and commenced her writings, the clipboard resting securely on her leg. As she wrote, she graced her captive was a commentary of her prose, intermittently glacing up at him with libidinous eyes to throw in a clarifying remark. Not long after she began to talk, his weak protests faded and died, and he listened in conceding silence. She felt her stomach tingle with pleasure at this surrender. This documentation was not required to be completed until after the experiment was performed, but doing it now allowed her more time: more time with him, more time for his vivid blue eyes to rest upon her and to pierce the eyes she turned upon his.
The minutes passed by slowly, but when Sherry found she could write nothing else until she had the experiment's results, she felt as if the time had flown by. She stood up, embracing the clipboard to her chest, and suddenly realized that the liquid running down Kudo's face no longer consisted of sweat. He dangled against the inclined table limply, his eyes vacant of emotion but overflowing with tears, which ran down his face to hang suspended on the edge of his chin. After a moment, she realized she was staring at him with a stunned look, and she quickly tried to mask the rogue expression with a clever smile.
It didn't work. "Please…" he whispered, his voice still hoarse with strain and emotion. "Please… please let me go…"
The smile faltered. "Come now, Kudo-meitantei. …Surely a great detective such as yourself is intelligent enough to know that I can't do that."
And he began to plead in earnest with her as she shuffled the documents, returned them to their folder, and readied the charts upon which she would collect her data. He gave her reason after reason: his parents needed him, his friends needed him, his city needed him to solve its crimes and to bring about justice. When this brought about no change in her replies, he began to bargain. If she would let him escape, he would not tell the police about the syndicate. If she helped him escape, he would take her with him and make sure she was protected from both the syndicate and from criminal charges.
When she finally admitted to having a sister she would never leave behind – providing she accepted his bargain, of course, which she would under no circumstances accept – he tried to appeal to this apparent weakness. "How do you think your sister would react if someone told her that you had been killed?" he challenged desperately.
This caused an ironic smile to flicker onto her face. "She would be sad, but not surprised," Sherry admitted. "Nor do I think anyone hearing of your own death will be surprised. You are a homicide detective, after all, and homicide detectives must make enemies of those whom they accuse and the accused's families." This affirmation of his fate caused his voice to fail him, for which Sherry was glad. He was so much more enticing when he wasn't speaking in that pathetic tone.
The next minutes passed in silence, and when Sherry turned around with the red-and-white pill labeled 'APTX-4869' in her hand, she found him with his head lowered to his chest.
"Well, Kudo-meitantei," she said with the air of someone saying goodbye to a departing friend, "I have certainly enjoyed your company. Now, however, it is time for the experiment to begin." He didn't so much as twitch as she came to stand only inches in front of him. "Oh, come now. Certainly you have some last words for me to pass on, don't you, Kudo-"
"I just… can't believe…" Quietly, he sighed, and then was silent. Sherry waited. "I… There's just so much that I haven't done."
"We all die with our lives unfinished," she replied in a tone just as contemplative as his own. He seemed calm, accepting now, and yet…
"I mean… just the little things. Nothing big, like going to visit some far off country or something crazy." His head lifted slightly off his chest. "Just the little things. Like calling my parents in the middle of the night, not to annoy them, but to tell them that I love them. Or just hanging out with the guys on the soccer team on the weekends. Or helping the professor finish an experiment he asked me for help with. All the stuff I always thought there would be more time for me to do in the future. Things I put off because I was… out on a case… Things like… like being with Ran… and telling her… how I…. how I feel about her…"
Regrets. Sherry tried to shake off the solemn sadness that was drowning her dark and rational mind, but it would not disappear. Instead, she suppressed it in the part of herself that was not the criminal scientist, that was the young woman that her sister really knew, to be dealt with at a later time. Resurfacing as merely Sherry, she smirked omnisciently.
"So you haven't even told your girlfriend how you feel about her? Shame on you, keeping such a nice girl waiting like that."
"I was never sure… if she felt the same way…"
"That's ridiculous. Hesitation only draws out suffering." Realizing the irony in her statement, she laughed. "So if she's not even your girlfriend, then I suppose you must be regretting all of those… benefits you've missed out on…"
Though he still refused to look at her, she could see his cheeks growing red.
"What an innocent boy you are, meitantei!" She teased mercilessly, quite enjoying herself. "A virgin and everything… I suppose you've not even had your first kiss…"
"I've… had a lot of cases to focus on…" he murmured uncomfortably.
Lightly she placed a palm against his cheek. "No intelligent and desirable young man like yourself should die in such an untainted state." At her comment, his head shot up and he stared at her in confusion. Whether it was her description of him or her last few words that caused his surprise, she couldn't tell. His vivid blue eyes, wide and bright, caused the tingling in her body to increase a hundred-fold. "Perhaps, then, I should liberate you of one of your regrets…"
With his face already captured in her hand, it did not take much for her to lean forward and capture his damp lips with her own. The red-and-white pill still clenched in her free hand, she stepped closer until she leaned and pressed herself entirely against his body, knee to knee, chest to chest. Understandably he stiffened, but when Sherry refused to relent in her irrepressible assault, his guard began to slip. Suddenly unable to control herself, her hand slid around to the back of his neck, threading her fingers through his silky hair and forcing his tentative lips deeper into her own. She distantly heard herself groan in relief and exhilaration, and she pulled back only to claim him again with more force. He tasted wonderful when her tongue softly prodded at his lips, clean but salty from his tears.
Her hand felt him tremble with uncertainty, but his mouth told another story as it gradually opened up to her. Satisfying her, his lips began to press back, just as hungry as her own but lacking the lust that gave her hunger power. Like the great detective he was, he investigated her and this unknown experience fervently, forcing himself to continue exploring with lips and tongue until he had a thorough understanding of this physical sensation that had always been an elusive mystery to him. He was hungry for knowledge, so hungry that with certain death only a swallow of a pill away, he would take the knowledge from whatever source would give it to him.
Nerves ablaze and stomach in knots, Sherry was reluctant to pull away, even as her lungs begged for breath. When she did, she groaned in disappointment and opened her eyes to watch him gasp for breath. His own gaze never fixed on hers, but on some thought he could only see in his mind. Lazily, she pushed herself off of him and stepped back a pace, running her hand through her hair. Her other hand clenched tighter on the pill.
"There…" she spoke, but had to breathe deeply several more times before she could continue. "There's one less regret, meitantei. How about that? I'd say that's a good deal, one less regret in exchange for your cooperation. Now… if you please… I have an experiment…"
"How can you do that?" He looked up at her, uncomprehending, and met her eyes. "How can you… kiss me like that, then turn around and kill me?"
For a moment, a very brief second, the person that her sister knew shoved Sherry aside in her mind, screaming for the scientist to stop this absolute madness. But Sherry was too strong right now. She flinched, then allowed a bitter smile onto her face.
"Because… I'm not Miyano Shiho."
For a moment, confusion was written across his face, but it softened into a tentative comprehension as he considered her insinuation. His expression changed once more, turning resigned and sober, as her fingers held the APTX-4869 up to his lips.
"There is only one truth," he pronounced quietly, and with the dignity of a hero, accepted the bitter pill and swallowed.
Clipboard in hand, she sat and observed as the poison took affect, noting the times that each symptom began. The sweating, the twinges… As before, she watched him thrash back and forth, screaming and groaning, sweat streaming down his face and soaked t-shirt. It seemed to last forever, despite the fact that her data sheet clearly proved that the minutes were relatively few. This time, however, when he hung hot, exhausted, and speechless in front of her, she was left cold. And when his fingers finally stopped twitching, her nerves tingled only unpleasantly. And when, after a time had passed, she approached him and pressed her head to his silent chest in search of a heartbeat, her stomach only twisted in sickened knots.
Upon recording the time of death in a quivering scribble, she let the clipboard drop from her hand and swiftly made her way back into the shadows.