Warnings: See File 1, 'cause it just inflates the word count. Capitalizing on the Harry/Ginny warning this chapter, as well as character death, HP spoilers (particularly Book 7, though if you haven't read it, I kind of envy you), warping of canon, and... Ginny bashing. Omake at the end.
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter franchise belongs to JK Rowling and associates, of which I am not one. The Detective Conan franchise belongs to Aoyama Gosho, Shounen Sunday, and associates, of which I am not one. I've never written mystery before, so go easy on me!
Featuring: AurorInTraining!Harry, Conan, and others from both series
File 8: Culmination
"Pregnant?" Harry murmured, staring pensively at the ground. Well, she wasn't showing any visible signs of bloating, so it was obviously early the pregnancy; considering he'd been away three months and had barely had time to spare with Ginny for the two months before that, he knew that the child wasn't his. Probably Seamus', or the young pureblood Ginny had recently taken up with – Harry had never actually met the man, nor seen a photograph, so he could not recall a name – but that, to him, was not what mattered.
Ginny was dead, and the person who killed her had killed Ginny's child as well. The child that Harry would have raised with her, his child or not, had been killed just the same as Ginny. Sure, the fetus would only be a few months old, but a life was a life. There was always the chance that that child would not get through term, but now Ginny and the baby were dead.
Odds were defeated by death, inevitably.
Harry ignored Mrs Weasley's wailing sobs – she'd lost two children now, and a grandchild – the shouting of the arguing brothers – Charlie vowing to set a dragon upon the murderer of his niece to be, Bill saying that some of the crueler ancient Egyptian curses would be more appropriate - and looked to Shinichi, who seemed to be processing everything being said with the objective view that Harry so sorely lacked in this instance. Well, Harry had never been good at objective; bias creeped easily into him, and emotions were going to rip him to shreds, or so it felt.
Not that he wasn't calm. But it was shock, not apathy that spawned this. Harry attributed his ability to not freak out to the fact that he was filled with enough emotions to kill three empaths and a seer just by being in the same room as them, and therefore how could his own body react to the maelstrom of sheer feeling that was wreaking havoc in his frame?
Or he could really have been apathetic, but he was quite well assured of his own caring nature and was certain that that was not the case.
"I-I'll... whoever did this I'll..." Harry fixed his gaze to Mrs Weasley, who seemed suddenly a ferocious mother bear, like she had when she killed Bellatrix. It was fitting, supposed the young auror trainee, but then, she had always been every inch a mother, and every inch of her seemed now fixed on vengeance.
I almost feel sorry for the murderer, Harry thought to himself, but he agreed with Mrs Weasley wholeheartedly. She hadn't said what she would do, but the murderer deserved that and more.
Hermione started to argue with the woman over humane treatment and whatnot – which was rather stupid, since in Japanese prisoners weren't treated too humanely anyway (1) – and Harry took a deep breath, wishing not for the first time that he had any skill in occlumancy.
Yes, he was angry. Yes, he was sad. Yes, he was a dozen other things. But what he needed to be was in control. One of the members of his family had killed his fiancé – never mind that he had been intending to break off the engagement now he knew he wasn't really in love with her, it was the idea behind the matter – and he just...
"Potter-san," Shinichi caught Harry's attention again quickly, and Harry fought to reign himself in. "We need to focus on the case and get the aurors here." The young detective was completely serious; maybe he was always that way, Harry didn't know. It was already pretty obvious that Conan and Shinichi were very different and very similar. After all, Conan would mask everything he did in some way, and Shinichi was being very plain with Harry. Conan probably would have given some overly dramatic reaction to magic, just to seem unsuspicious, while Shinichi was waiting to question it in the face of a case.
"Right," the Auror trainee sighed and attempted to focus. "But that's your job." And lucky that.
Harry probably couldn't convince anyone of anything at this point.
After all, he was too conflicted on anything to really pull it off, wasn't he? He didn't hate Ginny, but he had ever reason to. He'd been planning to break off the engagement, but knowing she was pregnant with another man's child (almost definitely), he would have been willing to actually give her a chance. He was bound by honor and duty to leave the case to the proper authorities, even though he wanted to tear the culprit limb from limb.
Then, the murderer stepped forward.
'It started after the war,' explained the murderer, eyes darting back and forth. The fact that this was the murderer was not yet known, but the strangeness drew everyone's attention, silencing even the loudest of the watchers. 'Well, I figured it out before the war, but all of... this,' a hand was waved in the air aimlessly, unable to articulate what the brain could not, 'didn't start until after.
'I noticed immediately, what she was doing to Harry. He wasn't thinking about her, and then suddenly he was. I saw the changes in his personality from when he and Ginny were separated for long periods of time, the withdrawal symptoms of the... drug that Ginny was using on him. Ginny was nervous when they were apart for more than two days, but as soon as they ate so much as one meal together, she would be entirely herself again. I think others might have noticed that, but they didn't say anything.
'I... I didn't know she was pregnant, you have to understand. I didn't even know that Harry was aware of all the deceit involved in their relationship. Please believe me about that. I just knew that she was sleeping with men other than Harry and drugging him into loving her, maybe one of those others too, not that she isn't... wasn't attractive enough to get them on her own. But I didn't know she was pregnant. I wouldn't have killed her if I had known.
'I just wanted you to know that before...' Stop. Breathe. Begin.
'Visiting Japan was the straw that broke the camel's back again, because I saw so many times how Ginny tried to drug Harry at lunch and when she bought them drinks. I guess I should have been suspicious when I realized Harry hadn't actually had anything to drink that she had touched, and at dinner, when we got drinks, he kept switching out drinks; I figured it was because prank sweets were being put in his drink, but...
'Anyway, just seeing her doing this to Harry all over again, it was too much. I couldn't let her do that to him anymore. I didn't... I didn't think. That much be so strange to hear coming from me, but I honestly didn't think about it. I saw my chance to get rid of Ginny, to save Harry, and I took it. I mean... Merlin! If anyone deserves to be free to love who they want it's Harry! You understand, don't you?' Brown eyes sought solace in the eyes of the assembled, but found only shock and scorn; no one understood, and they could barely believe it to begin with. The murderer deflated some and, hugging slim arms closely, continued.
'I did it during dinner. I apparated up to my room; no one would notice any residue since I've got a single after all, it was no big deal. I remembered what Harry said about it being okay to... to jimmy the locks in the way we were taught in school, since it wouldn't damage them, that he knew how difficult it was to keep track of the keys. I actually had Ginny's key, because she left it at the restaurant we went to lunch for, and I was glad for it, since tampering twice in a row would be too obvious. I just slid the card through and entered the room.
'She was just standing there, in the middle of the room. She looked stuck between deciding to sleep or throw up; the latter was probably morning sickness of a sort, since she was pregnant.' A wince at that word, but the murderer continued. 'She turned around when I entered the room and smiled at me, opening her arms for a hug. I killed her then, with her arms outreached to say hello. She never even saw me do it, she just... died.
'I was halfway surprised it worked, really. I was so surprised that she was dead. I've seen dead people before, we all have. But it was those happy eyes fading and that smile staying that really got me, I think. I cleaned my fingerprints off everything in the room and left, went back to dinner where I was hardly missed what with Mouri-san and Conan-kun keeping everyone entertained. I calmed down after about ten minutes; no one saw that I was worried to begin with. I had a new plan, a way to hide what I'd done, to make it seem like an outside party did it.
'I went back, about half an hour, maybe a full hour, after I killed her initially. I had to be very quick with this step, but I had the exact plan in mind. I... found a knife,' brown eyes darted to Shiratori and his minion-officer of the evening, knowing they were muggles and certain words could not be used. 'Then I slit her throat and stuck the knife in her own hand. I never realized how quickly rigor mortis sets in, nor how quickly blood can congeal. It was difficult, but I set up the scene.
'I never believed it would be taken for suicide, even when I was thinking it up. I knew Harry would know it was a murder; why would Ginny suicide after all? She's got him, and she's a professional athlete, so it was a murder. But I didn't think he would think it was one of us, either.
'I did this all for him. That's why I'm confessing. I wasn't going to, but with you accusing him, and... and knowing that I killed a baby too... I'm no better than V-Voldemort. I killed Ginny for Harry's betterment, so that he wouldn't have to be with that... that skank." A snarl, grit teeth, and then a deep breath. Honey-brown eyes squeezed tight, and several tears started sliding down tanned cheeks. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
The murderer whimpered pitifully and slid to the floor, crying the tears that had not come when the Weasleys were told of Ginny's death.
Hermione regretted killing Ginny, so very much.
Shinichi... wasn't sure what to make of the case. One minute he was about to bombard Shiratori with the reasons as to why Aurors ought to be brought in, then suddenly Hermione, Potter's childhood friend, steps forward and admits to killing Ginny.
It wasn't the first time such a thing had happened, but it was the first time that Shinichi didn't want to turn the murderer over to the police. Not the regular police anyway. Potter had said that they all had a "stick thing" (by this point, Shinichi presumed he meant a magic wand), and Hermione had proven herself able to kill using it, and it was apparently also used to magically unlock doors. Surely it could undo simple handcuffs? Even "muggle" magicians like Kaitou Kid could do that easily enough.
The young detective tore his gaze away from Hermione as his watch started beeping; it had only been half an hour since he had taken the first candy. He popped the one he'd been fiddling with into his mouth before the previous sweet could wear off. It was a bit surprising he could hear his watch beep, since there was screaming and crying surrounding him, but he supposed he just had keen ears.
Turning to address Potter, mostly on the matter of how the hell he was supposed to get Kogoro home without Ran figuring out that he was "back", but stopped. Potter was not where he had been, but rather in front of Hermione, who was still collapsed on the floor, crying.
"Hermione," she looked like she had been slapped as Harry uttered her name. "Hermione, look at me." She did, though Shinichi could see how much the action hurt her. "What am I supposed to tell Ron?"
Ron, Shinichi recalled, was the name of Potter's best friend and Hermione's boyfriend. He was Ginny's older brother, the youngest living child of the family mourning not five feet from Shinichi, and an Auror trainee in Brazil. Though the pronunciation was the same, he didn't even think of Ran at that instant, though later he would and wonder at the complete lack of confusion.
"That he's better off not marrying someone as dumb as I am," she replied flatly. Harry's expression softened and he nodded.
Shiratori interrupted the moment. "Potter-kun, you said this was an Auror case? Should we turn her over to them for processing?"
"Yes, by law she is to be trialed by the British Ministry under the Auror Court," Potter's voice cracked slightly. It made sense; he'd lost his fiancé and one of his best friends in one evening, on his birthday. "The method she used for murder means she'll be spending the rest of her natural life in the highest security prison available as soon as she has been found guilty by the court. Her confession might gain her a nicer cell, but... nothing else."
Hermione shook her head and had one of the police officers help her to her feet. "No, I won't be sent there, not for six months at least. Not until the baby is born." Harry's eyes widened, but Hermione just smiled at him and gestured to the police officers that she was ready to be taken away.
The murderer left with the entire police entourage; they would be back to take away Ginny's body and deal with the mess soon, most likely. Shinichi found a hand was reached out to him, hand up. "Well, Shinichi-kun? Are you ready?"
There was no question. Shinichi grasped the hand offered him with utmost trust, and felt himself whisked away from the hotel through a rubber tube.
Life was waiting.
Author's Note: It's over! Done. Finito. There remains only the epilogue, the length of which I dunno yet, but you'll know when I post it... might not be up 'til November though 'cause I have other things to write (Halloween stuff and birthday presents for friends mostly). Not really sure how well I've managed to wrap it up – I'm never really confident in my endings since I have the least experience in those (of course). Hope I didn't disappoint you lot too badly.
X3 You guys totally rock though. I'm not a review-beggar, so getting reviews always makes me happy. And y'know what? There are lots of them. Given the rate, I'd say this story is actually going to hit 100 reviews. So I'm really freaking impressed with you guys and feel quite loved without being big-headed like I got with... certain other stories.
(1) From what I know (and I'm fairly certain it's accurate, but PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong), prisoners in Japan don't get fed unless someone on the outside (usually family) sponsors them to have food (or something like that...)
Takes place five minutes after the end of File 8
Shinichi smacked his face with his palm. "I knew I forgot something!"
Potter's green gaze landed upon him, confused. "What do you mean 'forgot something'? It's been five minutes, we haven't even drawn your blood yet."
"No! It's nothing to do with that," the teenager dismissed. "We left Kogoro at the hotel!"
Potter blinked. "Oh. Um... oops?"
Takes place two days after the end of File 8
Haibara Ai was most displeased. She sat imperiously in a spinny office chair inside of her lab in Professor Agasa Hiroshi's basement, looking down her nose at the little boy who had just wandered in. Her eyes were narrowed, and her bleach-brown hair was held out of her face by hair clubs with Kamen Yaiba on them that had been given to her for her birthday by a girl in her class named Ayumi. With her short limbs and strangely elegant style of dress, any other six year old would look completely ludicrous in such a position and with such an expression.
Ai, however, was different, because she was really eighteen and knew exactly how to make herself look how she wanted to look. She wanted to look intimidating, and so she did.
However, Edogawa Conan, the little boy who had just wandered into Ai's lab after two days of absence – two days! – was not intimidated. Well, that was fine; she would get back at him for that later, when he least expected it.
"Well?" She transformed her expression from a scowl to a mere look of annoyance. "What do you want?"
Conan grinned impishly at her. "To assure you that I'm alive, that the Black Organization didn't get me – you know, the usual."
"Hn," Ai scoffed and swung a leg to make her chair spin elegantly about so she could ignore him. She had been worried about him. Two days incommunicado, missing school and with Mouri Ran not even having a good excuse – she said her father told her that Conan was in good hands, as if she actually believed something the drunken puppet-detective said! – it was enough to make anyone worry.
And then Conan just waltzes in with a shit-eating grin on his face. It was infuriating.
"Come on Haibara-san, I have better news," Ai's attention was piqued, but she made no indication that she was paying him even cursory attention anymore as she tapped away at her computer. "The International Auror Department is now aware of the Black Organization; they've already got a lead on Gin and Vodka."
In no time, Ai's chair had spun around again and she stared wide-eyed at Conan. How-?
"I didn't mention you, so don't worry," Conan was still grinning. "Here, I got some interesting candies to celebrate." He held a leather pouch in his hands – no, upon closer inspection it wasn't leather, it looked more like alligator skin, except that it also looked like regular cow leather, only thicker – that, when opened, revealed a multitude of round candies that looked like gumballs. They were all mint green and reflected the lights back with a dull sheen.
Ai didn't really think about the fact that she was being offered a candy and she didn't particularly like low-class sweets (high class chocolates only thank you very much), just that the Black Organization was being chased by Aurors now. She felt... safer.
"What flavor?" She asked, examining the candy. It had the texture of a jaw breaker, the appearance of a small gumball, and yet she could tell the density was more like that of dango. How curious.
"Purple," Conan rolled his eyes at her and ushered her on. With a minute glare – there was no heart in it because Conan might have just made a huge leap to stopping the Black Organization – she popped the candy in her mouth.
As she found herself growing, Ai's first thought was that Conan was correct; the candy tasted purple.
The second was regarding how curious she was at finding it didn't hurt to grow this much. She remembered drinking that Chinese wine – she could no longer recall what sort it was – and how much it had hurt to go from being six to eighteen that time, but this time it didn't hurt at all.
Third, was that she still didn't feel quite right. She glanced down and huffed. Though there was little difference between her sixteen and eighteen year old forms, she could tell the difference. Her waist was a bit slimmer, her feet slightly smaller, and her general shape less was defined than the one she had been accustomed to prior to shrinking.
The fourth thought was that, looking Kudou Shinichi dead in the eye as herself, he looked far too smug.
"The other good news is that I have a temporary cure," he grinned brilliantly, "and the permanent cure will be available in a week."
Ai felt a migraine coming on.
Author's Note: Couldn't help it. Plus, y'know, the chapter was so short that it needed some buffer... and the lack of Ai was getting to me. I like her, y'know? She's awesome :D