The Eight Tests

He feels nothing but endless pain. But through the pain, he can still see. Through the pain, he can still hear. He hears many things... Mutterings of a language foreign to his, a language he needs to learn. He hears mutterings of life from death. Mutterings of immortality. And finally, mutterings of the loss of their 'last' experiment.

But he still lives, albeit barely, and he absorbs this information carefully.

He knows where he is. He is in Japan, in a building disguised as a temple for none other than the royal family. Or at least, he is in the deeper sanctums of it. He has been captured by the same group that he came across for his last case... And most of those experimenting on him are either British or Japanese, with extensive knowledge in both chemistry and biology as well as firearms in general. One of the ones who he has seen attaching tubes to his body appears as a woman from behind, with long brown hair reaching his waist. They do not call him anything... But they look up to this man, not out of respect, but of fear.

As faces from the past and present blur, in both age and colour, we return, 100 years later... To the future.

As he sat on the couch beside Koji, Hatsu couldn't help but marvel at the fact that, yet again, he had hit the rare moment in life where one encounters a person who is almost identical in appearance to another one has met previously. Silently staring at the boy as he continued on the wii, Hatsu watched as Koji gradually became more and more ticked with the rather uncomfortable silence.

Not to mention the endless staring. (Seriously, Koji thought, what the hell was he staring at?) "...Where exactly did you get the funds for this, Hisoka?" It wasn't actually that unknown that Akai wasn't really Koji's guardian. In fact, it was known to most of the class that, aside from this, the man had only recently moved into the house, and Koji had been there almost half a year longer. So... Where had he gotten the money for a Wii system?

"...Relatives." This was all Koji said as he continued painting a moon in the sky on the game. Had Conan been there, 'relatives' could possibly make a few changes in his mind. Relatives would move to 'cover story relatives' to 'dead cover story relatives' to 'dead cover story relatives from the Organization' to the even longer 'dead cover story relatives with open bank accounts I was given the account number to.'

Koji would however retaliate by saying no, he hadn't commandeered Tenshi's bank account and used it for a Wii system, Shindou had actually given him this thing for christmas... While Kiyoiri gave him the exact same game that caused them so much hell during the summer. But... He had to admit, as the wolf on screen successfully killed the eight headed snake, it was... Actually kind of fun. And a good way to waste time.

…Now if only that damn brat beside him would stop staring. Taking advantage of the cutscene going on at the moment, the boy took the time to turn and glare at Hatsu. "..."

"Edogawa hasn't arrived, so I assumed you wouldn't mind me watching..." That smirk... Was really obnoxious. The sound of Susanno, from the game, laughing even more obnoxiously, convinced Koji not to respond to that, the boy choosing instead to guide the character around the now celebrating village of the game. "...You know," Hatsu began to say, Koji's eyebrow visibly twitching. "You actually remind me of someone..."

Koji blinked. "...I do?" Though he had the 'I could care less' expression on his face, Hatsu seemed to note that Koji's pride was currently saying 'oh oh oh... Who was it???'.

He nodded. "Someone I hate."

The boy went pale, and scowled, returning to the game screen and taking his frustrations out on a nearby tree. Poor tree.

Suddenly, the door to the house slammed close, and Koji abruptly pulled up the fan-menu and turned off the T.V. screen, hiding the wii-mote just as Conan came into the room. Hatsu seemed to chuckle at this, before looking over at Conan. "You're late to your own meeting... That's not often a good sign..." The glasses wearing boy frowned.

"I had to deal with something quickly... Sorry..." Was he holding something back, Koji wondered? "Listen.. Shiroku... We need to talk can you... Could you come over here?" Hatsu and Koji looked at each other, before the former nodded, and hopped off the couch.

"Sure..." Hands in his pockets, he walked over, smirk no longer on his face, but all the same, visible in his eyes. "What is it, Edogawa?"

So. Here they were now, Conan thought as he mentally went over his note yet again, here they were on the subway...

Crammed among multitudes of other people near the door... Like sardines... They eventually got off the subway and out into the streets, the pair stopping on a bench inside a nearby cafe; it was raining, and really, walking in a crowd in the rain wasn't that fun. The boys had been aiming for the library to tell the truth... But at the moment, being pressurized in a subway had taken a bit of energy out of them, and sitting on the bench seemed a little more healthy for the moment... Especially with that rain out there.

Eventually, rather than getting up to continue to the library, Conan found himself turning to Hatsu with a question. "So... You're from Sapporo right? Why come to Tokyo?" The boy turned, blinking at Conan's question before turning his head back to the street. Eyes shut, Hatsu remained silent for a short time, Conan wondering if this was a harsh subject. However....

"It was too cold... And I was beginning to get sick of being known for living in the 'Ramen Capital'." Ok... That was bullshit, he was pretty sure, but... He couldn't really call him on it with no proof really.

Instead, he decided, it might be an idea to continue talking. He would probably know a lot about him by the end of the day really, if this note was right. Nodding, he chose to branch off from the 'ramen capital' point. "Hn... 'Sapporo Ichiban Ramen'... I suppose you're pretty sick of anything with noodles for that reason then?" That same company was known world wide for 'instant noodle soup' actually... So really, that might have been a small part of the reason he left after all.

Hatsu shook his head, smirking. "No... I think soba is still rather good to tell the truth." Ooh. Soba. Thick noodles. Those were pretty good depending on where you ate them though...

Which brought the same question he'd asked earlier again. "So... Tokyo? I mean..." He looked up, before turning back to Hatsu. "There are better places..." Screw nationalism; Tokyo was smoggy and crowded, and definitely not as nice as cities like Kyoto. Though there were plenty of places better than Kyoto as well...

"It was cheaper than where my other options were, so, I was sent here." Sent? Right... That just made it sound like he was booted from someone's house...

Shaking his head, he leaned back on the bench, before Hatsu's voice caught his attention.

"What about you, Edogawa?" He turned, eyes half closed and seemingly annoyed or perhaps bored. "Your parents supposedly left you here in Japan with their own friend, who had to go to a completely different person. And they're alright with that now?"

Conan stiffened slightly, but he responded. "It was... Rough to start. We settled it." Technically he wasn't lying... Being kidnapped by your parents as a show of what could happen was rough. And the matter was settled. So there. "Things are a bit busy over there so... Yea." Read, he never lived there, and he would much rather make sure the people he knew now didn't die because of something he did HERE while he was in the states. Selfless? To some maybe. Mostly he was just scared thinking about that.

New topic. Pulling out the note he'd had in his pocket, Conan bit the inside of his lip. "Shiroku... Where exactly are you from...?"

Hatsu blinked. Oh... Someone was actually questioning him now. Most assumed that it was his parents in Sapporo, regardless of the fact that he was so clearly no Japanese. Probably the name, but really... He shrugged, looking back out the window at the grey streets and crowds. "I've lived here as far as I know... But I can at least say with honesty that my background is likely European..."

Yeaaaaa that narrowed things down. Not. The boy had more to say it seemed though, as he looked over at the counter in the cafe. "...Do you think they want us to order something," he said with a smirk, nodding his head towards it. Conan looked over, stiffling a laugh as he caught the cashiers and janitor turn away guiltily, the group pretending to chat about a new movie that had come out.

Still trying not to laugh, the boy shook his head as he got of the bench. "We mind as well eat something," he said as he walked over, looking at the menu on the wall. "I'll pay if you want." He didn't really know if Hatsu actually had any money on him so... He mind as well be nice rather than eat something in front of the boy's face (That was just rude... Plus, he was hungry, so chances were, Hatsu was as well.).

The boy shook his head, firm in his already made decision. "No- I'm not hungry. I ate something at Hisoka's." Did he now...? But.. There were no crumbs on his shirt, or by the couch, and judging by Koji's expression when he'd gotten there before, Hatsu had been on that couch for a while. Though just what they were doing was beyond him (probably pretending to play the game Kiyoiri got him to make her happy or something) to tell the truth...

But hey, he wasn't about to force him to buy something. Turning to the counter, he bought himself a sandwich and brought it back to the bench they were sitting at before.

Who was he to argue about his eating habits really...

They eventually did make it to the library; after Conan had finished the sandwich, they went out into the rain and set off... Resembling wet rats by the time they got to the library itself (though Koji would likely have said 'birds', just to throw in that ruffled feathers comment...). They managed to get slightly dry in the end, wringing their jackets out in the washroom and making do with everything else.

Sitting down at an empty table in the library, Conan pulled out the note that he'd asked to meet Hatsu there about, holding it out to him. "Alright... It'll probably be easier to figure this out here..." He couldn't believe that the riddle in the note stumped him this bad... "I... I need your help on this though."

Hatsu seemed to smirk, crossing his arms. "Really?" Watching as Conan nodded, he blinked, smirk disappearing. "....Why?"

"Read the note and see for yourself... I found it in my shoe after school." The note was passed across the table, and, sitting up, Hatsu read over it carefully.

To the following; Shiroku Hatsu and Edogawa Conan.

Below you will find the first of a series of challenges to determine the true 'Heisei Holmes'. There are eight in total, each one more challenging than the first. Each challenge has a specific purpose. Whoever completes these challenges without the direct aid of another, unless specifically requested by these notes, will fail to succeed. The decision to take the challenges is yours.

Here is your first clue; the kanji below will point you to one single person, who will hold the location of the next clue, should you ask the question 'What is your favorite thing to eat on a sandwich?'. Good luck in your first challenge, under the Seal of Knowledge.

Though the note was brief, the 'clue' was briefer. The kanji for 'fruit', or 'mi'. Hatsu looked back up at Conan who was still frowning. "Any luck," he said, skepticism not at all present in his eyes. The earlier conversation had already clued Conan in to the fact that Hatsu was at least 'smarter' than most... As if most of the classes in school hadn't proven that enough already.

Hatsu however, said nothing for a moment, before shaking his head. "Nothing; what did you try so far?"

The boy sighed, crossing his arms and standing up. "So far I've looked at the names of everyone I know... No one has that kanji in their name. I tried comparing it to the things about them as well, their addresses and such, but I came up with nothing there as well..."

"Hn... We could try with hiragana I suppose..."

Conan blinked. "Hiragana..." But there were over 500 different kanji that used only the hiragana 'mi'! How was he supposed to match it to one in a single person's name? The number would still be too high! Frowning again, he listened as Hatsu went on.

"...Edogawa?" The boy coughed, Conan looking up with confusion. "On our way back... Could I take you up on that offer for something from the cafe? They had some cake..." Oh. Now he was hungry? Well that was great... Did Hatsu just eat at random times or what? And why cake, did he have a sweet tooth or-

Sweet. He pulled the paper out from Hatsu's hands, the boy blinking with surprise as Conan whipped a pen out from his pocket and began scribbling notes on the back of it. Sweet. 'Mi', or fruit was considered 'sweet'. In the english language, there was a name for one of the fish in Japan, that name being 'Sweetfish'. It was a fish that lived for around a single year, and was known for its sweet tasting flesh. A sweetfish was, in its native country, also called an 'Ayu'...

Mi... Ayu... Ayu... Mi...

Ayumi. The answer was Yoshida Ayumi. Hatsu leaned over the table as Conan stared at the paper, smirking. The former simply looked up with half-lidded eyes, blinking. "...That was quick..." The boy moved as Conan rolled the note up, smirk still in place.

"I guess... We'll have to work on this more tomorrow however." He turned to the window, where the rain had stopped, but the sky had become dark. "Alright?"

Hatsu nodded, and a few minutes later they went their separate ways. Walking home, Conan had a frown on his face as he went over a few other thoughts, things that did not concern the note, or Sapporo. Who... Who was Hatsu.

The boy hadn't said anything when he didn't continue on the conversation of food, and walked off without a word in the end after it had been suggested. He just 'happened' to mention cake- Which had been the exact trigger to get him on the right track for the note. Though it did not take long for him to get back to the detective agency, and for him to get ready for bed, those paranoid thoughts sat with him for a good portion of the night...

That smirk was practically burned into his skull it was...

Though they had indeed said 'tomorrow', it turned out, in the end, that this was not the case. Tuesday he was pulled off by the decision between a case Kogoro had come up (it looked interesting...) and the note, the former winning out by a long shot. Wednesday he was pulled off to the Kame Game shop by Kiyoiri, who demanded that he and Koji both come to see the official test of the 'Cocoon Beta', which would be able to emulate games from older and technically outdated systems. Though Conan manged to get out of it early, he was unable to find Hatsu for the rest of the evening.

Thursday it was so rainy that Kogoro even insisted he stay inside with no visitors. Friday, though the rain died down, Agasa had something he wanted to speak to Conan about... Along with Koji. It seemed that the old man had recently come up with a new invention, though, since it exploded before the boys got in, they chose not to go any further. (And of course, having no way to contact Hatsu outside of school, Conan could not obviously find the boy to work with him on the notes.)

This of course meant that, when he did not call or appear to Conan on the weekend, that going further was still impossible. Finally however, Monday arrived, and, after school, Hatsu and Conan both went after Ayumi, the latter hoping they would catch her alone. He was really not in the mood to go through the other's questions on the obscure question he needed to ask.

"Ah-... Ayumi-chan!" The girl turned as he waved his arm and came over, Hatsu walking calmly behind.

She turned to the other two boys beside her, nodding her head back. "You guys keep going ok? I'll catch up!"

"Ah, but Ayumi-chan-" At the girl's frown, Genta gulped, before nodding. "R-Right! Come on, she said she'd catch up!" He half-dragged Mitsuhiko away with him, and Ayumi turned back to Conan and Hatsu.

"What is it, Conan-kun?" The girl was smiling, as usual, and did not seem the least surprised at the fact that Hatsu had (for once) joined them after school.

Conan simply watched the other two boys disappear, before speaking. "Ah... We had a question. Ayumi-chan... What do you normally put on your toast?" He knew it wasn't exact but... Oh well.

Ayumi blinked a bit, freezing slightly. "Toast...? Eh... marmalade, but... Why are you asking?"

"Eh... No reason really just asking..." There was an awkward silence after this, but, when Ayumi finally left with the excuse that she needed to catch up to the others (thus breaking the silence), he at least had his next clue.

The location that it would be... Would have the kanji with the sound 'kan', for orange, the fruit in marmalade. The only problem with that was...

There were as many kanji for 'kan' as there were for 'mi'.

AN: And so it begins.... I'm adding something to the 'contest' I'm having in terms of the chapter titles. If you can guess it before I post Chapter 8... Then who ever does so can request any scene they want for me to draw. Some good (and recent) art of mine can be found here if you remove the spaces; http : // s5. photobucket. com/ albums/ y153/ natasha_unos_1/ Be sure to browse the first two pages for an idea of how I draw... As I draw in multiple different styles (Also requestable in this case.) The picture will be completely coloured and shaded, same with the background, so I wish you all luck! Send in your guesses (It's from both a video game series and a T.V./Anime series!) through reviews!

Usagi out!

(On a side note, there's a bit of an inside joke for the scene with Koji playing 'Okami'; basically, one day I was watching my friend feed tigers in the game, and I jokingly said (as she skipped the scene) that Koji would never skip it being a 'closet tiger fan'. Somehow this grew into him never skipping the scene for any animal, which turned into 'Clearly Koji is a closet Okami fan'. Expect this joke to be exploited often.)

Don't be afraid to correct me on things, especially in terms of Japanese! ... Or even marmalade. .___.