Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan, and will continue to not own Detective Conan for the rest of this story. I will be adding no further disclaimers.
Shinichi sat on a swing in the park, staring down at his shoes. It had been three days since he'd been turned into Conan, and Shinichi Kudo's disappearance had become an official police investigation. Megure was heading the investigation personally, and had come to question Ran about the last time she'd seen him. Shinichi had slipped away, feeling incredibly uncomfortable. Everyone was worrying about him (other then Ran's father) and he couldn't even tell them he was right there. He especially wanted to tell Ran, who he was pretty sure had been crying at night. He'd never kept a secret from her before.
Okay, he'd sorta kept the fact that he was pretty sure he was in love with Ran from her. But that didn't count. It wasn't that kind of secret.
He didn't have a choice though. He didn't want her involved in this. If she knew, she'd be right at the front line, wanting to go beat up the guys who did this to him, and make them tell her where the poison was.
Shinichi smiled slightly at that thought. It was an amusing image, but even Ran's incredible skills at karate would be nothing to a well-aimed bullet. It was better not to chance it.
So he was out here, making sure he resisted any urge to tell Ran and keep her from being upset. It was crucial that an investigation be made, because the guys who tried to kill him would be suspicious if no investigation occurred. Shinichi Kudo was a public figure, and wouldn't disappear without it being published and broadcast across Japan. Besides, there was almost no way other then a personal appearance that would permanently allay their suspicions. Shinichi was not in the habit of skipping school, he had disappeared from a park, and he hadn't sent word back in three days. It was obvious to anyone that knew him that something was wrong, and a phone call or a letter, while temporarily reassuring, could be done at gun point or some other threat to force cooperation, not that Shinichi had done either of those.
Were the police still at the apartment? Was it safe to go back yet? Even if they were gone, there was still Ran. He hated seeing her go through this. Maybe this stay with the Mouri family idea of the professor's wasn't such a good one. He hadn't really felt that comfortable with it to begin with, but Ran was there and then the stupid professor just HAD to foist him off on Ran. Probably thought it was romantic or some such nonsense.
In all honesty, it was the place he was most likely to get caught. Ran knew practically everything about him-it was doubtful he could keep her from finding out forever. Besides, if the baka started solving cases, he might become a target for this mysterious organization. If he became a target, Ran and Conan would become targets.
And here the whole let's not tell Ran for her own safety thing became a moot point.
On the other hand, he didn't really have anywhere else to go. He needed to investigate this crime ring, but it wasn't like a kid like he was now could go and start solving cases. That would be like walking around with a sign saying "I'm Kudo Shinichi!" attached to his back.
Gods, it was such a mess. How was he supposed to do this by himself?!
"Well. Hiroshi told me, but…" Shinichi looked up, eyes wide in alarm. He recognized that voice!
"Dad!" he blurted out. It was great to see his dad and all (even if he was dressed up-couldn't really be seen as Yusaku Kudo when his son was missing) but he did not like being seen like this!
His dad's smile was crooked. "You got cocky," he said.
Shinichi sighed, and looked down at his feet above the dusty ground. "Yeah," he muttered.
His dad sat on the next swing over. "I'm just glad I'm not at your funeral right now. Getting cocky in your line of work can be deadly."
"Might as well be," Shinichi muttered, "I'm practically useless like this. I need to start investigating, but I have practically no resources. Just a bumbling idiot I have to lead around by his nose without raising any suspicions while his daughter, my childhood friend watches, and try not to arose HER suspicions. Or get them targeted. Which basically means not solving cases, and not finding out about this damn group!"
"Easy there," his father said. "Your mother and I talked about it. You're right; you're not going to be able to work with Hiroshi's plan. He means well, but it puts Ran and her father in trouble without them knowing. I don't know what to do about the leg work quite yet, but I do have another solution."
"I'm not going back to America with you and mom. I can't. It's too far away, and besides, it would be incredibly suspicious for the Kudos' to suddenly have lost a teenager and gained a kid!" Shinichi protested, looking up at his dad. That's another thing that sucked about this entire thing. He'd worked hard for those inches to be able to look his father in the eyes, and now he was micro-kid again.
"You're right," Yusaku said. Shinichi blinked. That was easy.
"What you need is a place where people don't know you, where you fit into a family. You need a place where you can have the peace to investigate, the tools. You need to be out of the public eye. Your mother, actually, was the one to think of the perfect place. A friend of hers, widowed, is willing to take you in. She knows who you are. Wait, don't make that face. While requiring a leap of logic, it isn't that hard to figure out. We need a child taken into a family and have a claim made that you are indeed a part of it. Our child has gone missing publicly on the news. The child being taken in looks alarmingly like a younger version of the one on the news. From the outside, it doesn't look suspicious, but from someone who knows us, your mother, it would be insulting not to tell her. She'd guess, and relatively quickly if we didn't tell her. Another thing that makes this the perfect place is that you fit into the family. We were going to say you were a cousin, but Kotori insisted on saying you were her son's half brother. I hate doing it like that, but it is less suspicious. I'm sure Toichi would understand it was for a good cause."
"Kotori? Toichi? Who are these people?" Shinichi asked, "If they're such good friends, why have I never even heard of them?"
"It's complicated." Yusaku's voice discouraged any further questioning.
Shinichi decided to let it drop for now. He could always investigate later. "Why is the illegitimate son such a good angle? Did they have an unstable marriage?"
Yusaku looked slightly shocked. "Of course not. But…you share an incredible likeness to Toichi. Well, Toichi and I did as well-we always joked about it. That's partially why you fitting in there would be particularly easy. Why you aren't going as a cousin? There is no public record of Toichi having a brother. It's too easy to disprove. Secondly, it honestly much less suspicious. Why would anyone agree to pretend that their husband cheated on her? It's possible, but highly unlikely, and always means it is much easier to fake your paper trail."
"You must be very good friends for her to agree to do this," Shinichi said, "What about the son? Does he know?"
Toichi frowned. "He's very touchy about his father. If he knows the truth, he might be tempted, in the heat of anger, to blurt out it isn't the truth. He might be able to keep his temper, but…for now it's safer to hide this fact."
Shinichi's face resembled a much younger version of his father's, expression and all. "I wouldn't like it if something like that happened to me. It's not very fair to him. I don't like it."
Yusaku shook his head. "Do you think I like the idea? That Toichi's going to be thought of as an adulterer? Kotori suggested it, however, and she's the one who's going to have the hardest time with it."
"Is there anyway to make the story sound more sympathetic to Toichi? I do not want to break up a family."
"We have tried as hard as we can. An obsessive fan of Toichi's slipped something into his drink, and you were the product of that. Since Toichi died eight years ago, you're going to have to be about nine years old. You were premature for your age, which is why you look so young. Your mother died in child birth-your aunt took you in. You and she were on a camping trip in China and she fell off a cliff. You ran and got help, but were too late. While deciding what to do with you since you had no more known remaining relatives, they discovered in your aunt's papers that Toichi was your father. They contacted Kotori and she decided to take you in, once blood tests proved that you were indeed her husband's son." Yusaku explained.
Shinichi sighed. "How old is the son? Are you so sure you can't trust him?"
Toichi shrugged. "He's your age, actually. Your real age. And I'd trust his character, but he can be a bit enthusiastic at times. She says he's good about his own secrets, but not as much about other's. And that he's very protective of his father's reputation, and might be inclined to let something slip when teased about that. At least that is what Kotori told me."
"What if we told him the partial truth? That I'm the son of an old friend of his mother's, that she saw something she shouldn't have, and now we're in hiding. She was worried about me, and asked Kotori-san to take her son in because she's afraid they'll use me as a bargaining chip to keep her silence. Would he be keep his silence if he knew my life might be in danger, but less inclined to talk then he would if he knew the complete truth? People tend to be more protective towards children-he'd be less likely to spill a child's secret as compared to an equal. I don't mean to press, but I don't feel comfortable doing it the way you suggested. Logically, it makes sound sense, but…if the roles were reversed I'd feel very bitter towards the child. Conflicted. Mad at my dad. I don't want to mess up his relationship with his father, and I don't want to have to deal with his antagonism at what would be my new home."
Yusaku thought a minute. "If you did it that way, it might work. I really don't want to have to do that Kaito either. It's your decision though. Your life you're risking."
Shinichi shrugged. "I'd much rather do it that way if it's feasible."
"All right. Let's say our goodbyes to Ran and her father, and then we'll go to your house to get you packed. Remember, you can't take too many personal things. Nothing that doesn't fit into Conan's personality. What is it by the way?" Yusaku asked as he stood up.
Shinichi jumped out of the swings and they set off for the Mouri residence. "Well, I thought in the long term it would be better for me if I keep a bit in line with my current one. Soccer would not be an unusual thing for me to excel at, and I can get away with being a bit of a bookworm as well. Wait-you are giving me access to your sources so I can put my time at the Kuroba residence to good use, right?"
"You just want to get your hands on it," Yusaku said, "All that work I've put into building and maintaining it, and you just want to reap the benefits."
"Of course! But there is nothing else you could really be planning on having me do there. So, most of that will probably be electronic, and it might then follow that Conan likes computer and video games, thus excusing long periods of time spent on a computer," Shinichi stated.
"I'd say you need to cut out either the soccer or the reading. Likely the soccer, because your skills are well beyond average for such a small nine year old," Yusaku admonished, "You can't keep too many similarities."
Shinichi sighed. "Right," he said, "Do you think I should be overly curious, or reticent then?"
"Maybe pretty reserved personally, but a good listener. Good at asking questions that will encourage people to talk," Yusaku said.
"Okay. I suppose mom wants to go shopping," Shinichi said, "since I don't have much left from my younger years."
"We'll be picking up a few things. You'll need a computer, some games, and clothes. Your mom is absolutely thrilled about that," Yusaku said.
"Are we going to be stopping at some thrift stores for some used clothing? It will look suspicious if everything's new," Shinichi said.
"You know your mother better then that! Of course we're going to balance out your wardrobe. We do still have a few of your older things, and we'll hit a few thrift stores as well. You'll be getting a few new things too, because it makes sense you'd at least have a few new things," Yusaku said.
"Will I need to get a haircut?" Shinichi asked.
"No. Well, we'll need to style it a little bit differently, but once that is done, you'll fit into your new family perfectly," Yusaku said.
Yusaku, receiving no response, looked back. Shinichi stood there, looking up at Ran's apartment building with apprehension. After a moment, he came back to himself and noticed his father staring at him.
"Sorry," Shinichi apologized, "It's just…I hate giving up like this."
"You're not giving up. You're retreating to study your opponent until you have the knowledge needed to defeat him. You're my son, and I know you'll beat this organization, just like you have every other criminal to date," Yusaku said, "And then you'll come back, and marry Ran, and give your mother and I grandchildren to spoil."
"Dad!" Shinichi protested.
Yusaku smirked slightly, but his smile faded as he stared up at the building. "Let's get this over with," he said, "the sooner we get out of here, the sooner we can return."
Ran hugged Conan goodbye (while Shinichi desperately tried to forget what exactly his head was resting against) and fussed over him while he packed everything. It seemed to help her forget about him being missing, so Shinichi let her without much protest. Besides, he was too depressed about leaving Ran behind, even if she didn't know Conan was Shinichi. All too soon, Ran was waving goodbye. It would be the first time since they meet that they would be separated for more then a couple of days. Shinichi's heart sunk, and he remained rather quiet and without protest as they meet with his mother and they went shopping for things to fit his new persona. He learned more about the family, what he should admit to knowing, and a couple of things that a kid his age wouldn't normally be told, but things that Yusaku felt he needed to know, such as the suspicious death of Kuroba Toichi.
They stopped and picked up a few things from Shinichi's house, mostly books since he was keeping that aspect of his personality.
At one point, Yukiko called and let Kotori know that the son, Kaito, should have the situation explained to him fully. They spent the night at a hotel, and the next morning was on the way to the Kuroba residence.
This story came about through various thought processes, but I quickly fell in love with it. The basic idea of the story is that Yusaku and Yukiko decide it would be safer for Shinichi deeper in hiding, and Shinichi agrees because he doesn't think he'll fool Ran forever, and she'll be safer if he's gone. The question, then, is where should he go? Of course, the place he would best fit would be the Kuroba residence, seeing as how he looks to similar to Toichi and Kaito. Obviously, the two won't be finding out about each other for a bit, but that will give them a chance to get to know each other. I think this is going to be a promising story, and a chance to explore a few different avenues.
I would like to note here that throughout the story I will be occasionally referencing my Truth Will Prevail series, simply because I like the background I've developed in it. It shouldn't be necessary to read the series, but if you are ever confused about a point, you should be able to clarify it there or ask me about it in a review.
I would also like to note that I'm making a change in how the police react to Shinichi's disappearance. I never thought it really made much sense for everyone to just assume that Shinichi's off somewhere safe, since he would be a likely target for revenge. I also think that the Black Organization would grow highly suspicious after a few days when there are no news stories about Kudo Shinichi's disappearance. It would make no sense for Shinichi to let everyone think he's okay, just away for awhile, when it is crucial that people think he's missing, presumed dead. Besides, wasn't that pretty much what Shinichi's role model, Sherlock Holmes did? I rest my case.
Well, I hope everyone's enjoyed this first chapter. I'm looking forward to continuing this. I'll ask your forgiveness on any occasional mistakes that aren't canon, since I've got limited access to the Magic Kaito series and have only read volumes 1-21 in the manga.
Oh, and I wasn't able to find out what Mrs. Kuroba's name was, so I came up with Kotori, which I believe means something along the lines of bird of luck. It seemed to fit the wife and mother of both Kaitou Kids.