Title: Forever Young
Characters: Shinichi, Shiho/Ai, Ran and Akemi
Summary: Haibara decides it's time to grow up despite the circumstances.
Haibara sat down next to Shinichi. The day had been long, the sun was setting, fading quickly, facing the bench they were sitting on.
"Oh, so it was today? I had forgotten."
"Really Kudo, I thought you might have gotten a planner by now."
Shinichi pulled out a notepad from his jacket pocket, "Yep, that's right. It's right here, 'Get Planner!'"
Placing it into his pocket, he leaned back and closed his eyes.
"It's been a while Haibara."
"I haven't felt it."
They sat quietly.
"You look a bit older," she said finally.
"Yeah, around the eyes. It's age... or you haven't been sleeping."
Silence fell between them again.
"She didn't believe it you know..."
"That she would die... if she tried it."
"The odds were stacked against her."
"It was just, when we realized the truth, it was scary."
"And it took you fifty years to tell me this Kudo?"
"She didn't blame you... is what I'm trying to say."
Haibara looked at him, "I knew that. She never would have blamed anyone for anything. But the fact is it was my fault. The shrinking property of the drug works only on those under the age of 20 with a 99.9 chance of success. After that, it depends on a variety of unknown factors: age, weight, physical fitness, genetic tendencies. She was already 34 Kudo."
He looked down at his knees.
"That the drug would grant immortality in youth. I never imagined it, but here I am, 66 years later and still a child, 86 years old. I'll never grow up, and you Kudo, because you took the experimental antidote to turn back into Kudo Shinichi, you reversed most of the drug's effects. Except the fact that you could live for hundreds of years. Honestly, you look 23, if that...
"And I knew the moment that cup reached her lips that she wasn't going to make it. But I couldn't say anything Kudo. I couldn't..."
He turned to face her, seeing the bright tears in her eyes that she was desperately trying to hold back.
"Don't... Kudo... I, I just..."
He put his hands on her shoulders and looked directly in her eye, "I knew it too. But I knew that if she didn't try, right now, she'd be terribly sad and disheartened. She might have died by now, because if we went out in public, people might have thought me her kid. We were already getting double-takes on the street," he laughed, halfheartedly; "I couldn't deny her anything. Even if I knew it might kill her.
"But I know she's waiting for me. She wants me to wait patiently, not to force my death or anything. She'd be mad if I did after all."
Haibara stared at him, "How can you be so certain?"
He smiled and looked at where the sun had previously peeked out on the horizon.
"And now, I've got to be going. The Hattoris are having their reunion dinner tonight and they invited me. You're welcome to come along…"
"No, I have plans thank you."
Shinichi raised an eyebrow, "If you say so. Call me okay?"
She nodded and waved. He waved back and walked away.
Eventually she got up and went home. Agasa's house, she would never quite think of it as her home, no matter how much time went by.
The leaders of the scientific community had long deemed the drugs, both the poison and the cure, dangerous. How quickly would "immortal armies" have sprung up if her research had been made public? Sure the drug did not make anyone impervious but trained men could become deadlier the longer they had time to build their craft. The scientists who knew of the matter had made sure that no one would disturb her after Agasa's death. The rest had believed that Agasa was a crack-pot scientist and so brushed off quickly any ideas about immortality. And thus she had lived peacefully in Agasa's home.
But now, as she sat down in front of the TV in the suffocating silence, she was distressed. The tears came slow after first and then they came in torrents. Each seemed to bring some relief but then thoughts on the matter brought forth a new wave. Hours and eternity seemed to go by and she sat there alone, crying and sobbing until she had no more voice.
But she went on crying, until she was sure that she couldn't live much longer.
The door opening was what startled her.
"Who's there?" she called out feebly.
"I still live next door you know. Just because until last week you finally took me up on a chance to hang out, doesn't mean that I don't keep an eye out on you. It's only eight and you don't have any of the lights on."
Haibara stared at Shinichi speechless, wincing once he turned on the lights.
"What's the matter?"
"I… I just felt alone is all."
"Well that's natural but you're not you know."
"You've got friends. I still get a call from the guys every week asking about you. Sure they're older but they know it's not okay for you to just lock yourself away because you're punishing yourself."
She stared at him.
"Why else did you not take the antidote? You could have been an adult, had a little more freedom even if you lived an abnormally long life.
"You're punishing yourself and it's about time someone told you to stop.
"Your sister would have told you so yourself if she could, but you can't hear."
"What? What are you saying Kudo?"
"Ah, nothing. Just take the antidote already please. No one deserves to be locked up forever as a child. Especially for the creation of some crazy drug that only four people ever took and had their lives changed by it."
"All right. I'll do it. But I won't like it Kudo."
"No, I think you will," he smiled and patted her shoulder, "I'll come by tomorrow to see how you turned out, Shiho-san."
Fifteen minutes later she lay on her bed dressed in an oversized robe. She took a long look at the antidote pill floating in the cup before shutting her eyes and drinking.
Almost immediately she felt the warmth spreading all over her body. She had observed Kudo's transformation, and the memory of his face contorted by the pain immediately sent a wave of anxiousness over her.
But the warmth continued washing over her, calming her, making her sleepy.
Isn't this like dying from the cold?
Panic cried out from the depths of her mind. She didn't want to die. She didn't know if she could ever face judgment for all of her actions. She didn't want to not be able to see Akemi.
"Shush, it's okay."
She opened her eyes.
"It's okay, you're not dead, look."
She looked down at her body. Legs, torso, breasts, she was no longer a child.
"I'm me again."
"I saw Kudo chickened out on telling you, but a side effect of that miraculous cure is this phenomena occurring between us right now."
"You mean being able to speak and see the dead?"
She nodded, "I've been very worried about you Shiho."
"That name, I haven't been called it in so long."
"Shinichi-kun said it as he left you."
"I think you're losing your memory."
"Nah, just working this out. It is certainly odd that Kudo kept quiet about it."
"Both Ran-chan and I have been trying to get him to say something."
"Maybe he thought I wouldn't believe him…"
"Possibly. So are you better Shiho-chan? I hope you're not thinking still of staying in this house for the rest of eternity."
"Nope, I'm going to live. I've never really done that before. I wouldn't know where to begin."
"Maybe getting a boyfriend?" teased Akemi.
"Maybe," she replied as she got dressed.
"Going out this late?"
"Well all the good night clubs open about now right?"
"True," she laughed, "Just don't get in over your head."
"I'll try not to."
A few minutes later Kudo Shinichi heard the bell at the gate ringing.
"Shiho-san? Is that really you?"
"Come on Kudo, I want to live! Starting now! I'm going down to Shinjuku, want to come?"
"Ah you're at that stage huh? Twenty-four hour party. Nah, I'm not much for that stuff, but Hattori's youngest daughter is in town. Here."
He gave her the number, "She's only 33 and she's still single. From what Hattori tells me, she knows all the places to go for fun."
Shiho smirked, "Sounds great. But don't forget to live either okay Kudo? You can't live in that house forever."
Shinichi smiled, "Ran was all my life. Remembering that every day is enough."
She smiled, "You're so wishy-washy Kudo. I think you've lost your edge. Ah well, don't wait up to see from your window if I make it home safe."
"Hah, you can count on that."
Shinichi watched her walk down the street chatting into her cell phone.
"Are you happy Ran?"
"Yes, it was about time you did something."
"I've been trying you know."
"I don't think you were trying your best."
"I resent that."
"Oh well then, maybe the great detective should tell me his exact method used to solve the 'case'."
The slightly suggestive tone in her voice was enough for Shinichi, "Then let's go inside and I can tell you all about it."
AN: I posted this at my lj first before here. If they're a little out of character, well being 50 years older might do that to a person. Hope you liked it!