The trip from Araide's clinic to his house consisted of comfortable silence, and Shinichi found himself unwilling to break it. He was too busy trying not to cringe at the idea that he had just held hands with a murderer, and not in a 'you're a child and need to be lead places' way. It was that same feeling he used to get when he held hands with Ran, well prior to this whole shrunken disaster. Not only that, he was pretty sure that the feeling had become somewhat mutual, which undoubtedly was what was terrifying him the most. When had Gin started to return this idea that they could possibly…?
"You're staring Fox," the blond stated swinging the classic Porsche around to the back road. The shrunken detective found himself turned bright red at the idea, he hadn't noticed he had even turned the blond's direction actually…
"Sorry," he mumbled turning away as the blond parked. "Were you really going to shoot Kid in a clinic full of innocent people?" He inquired, he wasn't sure why he was asking because the obvious answer was 'duh.'
"I was thinking about it," the blond responded pulling the parking brake up, "then I recalled that I would have better opportunities to do so with less witnesses." The smirk he was making as he moved to get out of the Porsche wasn't as spine chilling as it ought to have been. The detective made his way towards the door while the assassin lingered to lock up the car. It was… surreal to be doing something so mundane after so much espionage, then again it felt strange to be walking up to his own house.
When Shinichi realized this he was rather confused by the idea. Was he beginning to change what he considered home to be now? Up until the moment when he entered the gloomy house this time he had always thought of this house as his home. As friendly as Ran was he had never really considered the space that she and her father shared as a home for him. Good food and someone to look out for him aside it still felt like he was off abroad somewhere even after as long as he had spent there. Holmes might have described the feeling as peculiar, right now to Shinichi it was unsettling. If he no longer considered Kudou manor home then what had his mind replaced it with?
He didn't miss the way that the shrunken detective paused at the door, nor the way that his expression turned to one of mortified confusion. The strange thing was that Gin was positive that the expression didn't have anything to do with him. He had no doubt of that because while the detective had been silent all the way from the clinic he had been smiling contentedly at whatever was crossing his mind, and about half that time he had been staring at Gin. Perhaps he had forgotten to get the antidote from the detective he stayed with? No, there would have been more worry than that the assassin suspected.
The detective vanished into the house fairly quickly once that expression crossed his face, Gin followed after him, shutting the door behind him and was sure to lock it. No need to give the little detectives that followed the Fox any more openings. He made his way to the study where he and the Fox normally discussed things.
It takes less than a moment for the blond to realize something is bothering the shrunken detective. It might have been the fact this was the third time he comes in and out of the kitchen with an empty mug that really drives the idea home.
"Fox?" it's amusing how the shrunken detective jumps at the slightest noise. He jumps a foot at the sound of his name, "am I really that frightening?"
"No, it's just…" The detective sighs, "I'm just worried about nothing." The assassin tilts his head and watches the boy as he sits down across from him. Something is still bothering the shrunken detective.
"Obviously there is more to it," the assassin responds pulling out his beretta and polishing it, "seeing as you are more distracted than usual."
"It's nothing, really," the Fox blushes, "as for my plans after I take the antidote… My only real plan was that I wanted to go back to high school, have a normal life… I don't know." Color Gin surprised, no mention of the girl he's been staying with since he was shrunk. The assassin starts taking apart the beretta, it needs cleaned again, the discharge was sticking a little when he fired several rounds at a time.
"What about the Mouri girl?" he asks pulling the slide off, whatever's slowing it down might be on the spring. Maybe it's dust…
"Ran's more like the sister I never had than anything else at this point," the detective responds looking him straight in the eye, "I made a promise, and I intend to keep it." Gin doesn't ask what promise the detective is talking about, to be frank if it's because of a promise rather than a general want… Does he really want it?
"How is it you attract more trouble than I do Fox?" The assassin comments trying to lead the subject away from the promise that started this all. Its funny because the detective knows he means the bodies rather than the actual trouble.
"It's not like I do it on purpose," the Fox mumbles looking at the floor, "I just walk out the front door and start tripping over them. I like to think I've made the best of it, becoming a detective to help make things right."
"Does it really serve a purpose? Making things right?" Gin asks glancing at the detective then back to his precious gun.
"I don't know, but it's all I can do. So. It keeps me sane," he responds, "what is the plan now?"
"Why does there need to be plan Fox?" Gin counters. The detective looks surprised, he's also scowling.
"Well usually you have something in mind before I end up whisked away to nowhere, or in this case my own house," the Fox offers by way of explanation, "also…"
"Ah," Gin can't help the smirk, "all you have in your fridge is coffee isn't it?" The Fox scowls, it was exactly why he had made all the trips in and out of the kitchen earlier. He's unsurprised that the kitchen's empty given the detective doesn't stay here for the most part.
"Unfortunately," the detective groans, "can we get something to eat now?"
It's more than a little surprising when Gin leaves him to fetch groceries. Or at least that's the impression Shinichi gets. He gets a call from Haibara however while this is going on.
"He does know how to cook actually," the comment comes before he can ask what she wants, "he's got a thing for chemistry obviously, cooking is just a different form of it."
"Do I even want to know how you know that?" Shinichi is thinking more about how she knows Gin went to get food to cook.
"He asked me what you liked food wise," she adds, "he also mentioned he's tired of people temporarily, and that restaurants aren't an option given his profession.." Shinichi can't help but chuckle at that, and Sherry lets out her own laugh at it.
"So the antidote for the Apotoxin is nearly complete?" he asks wondering how soon he's going to have to start making preparations.
"Next week tops, going to test it for a few extra days on non-human subjects. Gin and I both are too fond of you to let you die because we got too eager," Haibara's suggestion that Gin is actually fond of him sets off that ridiculous blush again.
"About that… I've just come to a startling conclusion. Haibara," Shinichi pauses, "I just realized I don't find find my own house to be home anymore." There's a brief snicker on the other end of the phone before he realizes Haibara knows more than she's saying yet again.
"I'm not surprised, you've also managed to break him in this process if I'm at all honest. He's thinking about more than just… his profession," there's a slight hesitation before she continues, "This is a dangerous road that you are walking Kudou Kun, be sure that you remember that."
"It's too late for a different choice now Haibara," he responds, "I'm not sure I'd want to change paths." He can hear the sharp intake of breath from the other end of the line.
"Just be careful you idiot," she hangs up and Shinichi finds himself wondering what he should prepare himself for. The worst where Gin decides to shoot him because he's bored? Or this uncertain path where the assassin is legitimately good at cooking.
He wasn't sure what the hell he was thinking, but evidently it didn't lessen the Fox's curiosity. Kudou had checked in once to see if he needed help finding anything in the kitchen. Two minutes later they both concluded that not only did Gin have the situation well in hand he probably knew where more of the items were than Kudou did. The only exceptions being coffee related items. Gin's hair was pulled back, and the meal was created.
He could say for certain that he wasn't looking for anything complicated, but steak had sounded appealing at the store. Then came the fact he really needed cigarettes, so one unlit one was dangling from lips as he prepped up something random that Vodka had sent him weeks ago. Which reminded him, he needed to have a certain discussion with the portly agent. He dialed the number and waited for it to connect.
"Aniki?" he sounded terrified, what had he? Never mind.
"What the hell is 4chan?" He asks mixing his latest ingredients in a bowl. Vodka much to his amusement starts to stutter an explanation and Gin finds it rather unsatisfactory. "Get it off of my laptop home screen, now."
"Yes Aniki," Vodka's voice is solemn, "I may have broken my pistol again…" Gin sighs, this is not surprising.
"What did I tell you about cleaning it anywhere other than the table?" Gin asks whisking something together, "I'll fix it later. Don't touch anything, except the laptop. Get that off of my laptop now." He hung up the phone, it might be better not to leave Vodka on his own anymore..
He called the Fox in to grab his own plate and made his way back into the study. It was always unnerving how little dust the largely unused house had, how could the Fox tell if someone had broken in or not? He sat down in one of the leather chairs and waited for the detective to take the other seat. "I got the antidote back from Mouri Tantei yesterday, he's still too suspicious though," the Fox announces as he takes a bite, his eyes widen, "this is delicious."
"You're welcome. What do you plan to do about it then? It is your problem right now not mine," Gin responds, "you don't like my solutions when it comes to your friends last time I checked."
"No, I'd rather you didn't shoot my friends," he responds in deadpan, "but what do you want me to do with the antidote I have?"
"Flush it," he answered, "the final antidote should be ready be ready next week, Sherry's testing it right now."
"Well that's good news, I'll have to start completing my school testing then, that way I don't raise suspicions when I return to class," the detective smiled, "I can't wait for this shrunken nightmare to be over…"
Gin didn't respond right away, he still wondered if the detective was truly ready to fulfill the other half of their agreement. He instead nodded to the detective's statement, only time would tell though.
"You wondered what Vermouth did yesterday," Gin started watching the detective closely, his eyes were instantly on Gin's. They held a certain amount of curiosity, and Gin was about to continue with the detective set the tea aside.
"I did," the detective folded his hands, "it might be better if I didn't know though. The whole plausible deniability thing…" Gin couldn't help but smirk at that remark, the detective honestly thought he had done something illegal then. Well that was far more dignified than what Vermouth actually arranged, not that Gin had been complaining about any of what transpired yesterday.
"Good choice Fox," the blond nods.
"One thing though, I'm pretty sure I can do it without causing you any trouble or giving away any real information," the Fox starts. The Fox then told him his new plan, one Gin didn't care for, but he did agree it would make the situation decidingly less interesting in the meantime.
The Fox was going to bring the elder detective up to speed on some of what was going on.
The master of disguise watched in silent amusement as Gin appeared on her monitors, it wasn't particularly surprising that the assassin was at Kudou's place. No, the silent amusement was over the bizarre development that Kudou was holding the assassin's hand when they walked out of the clinic earlier. The blonde master of disguise had cackled mercilessly taking screen shots of the two of them, she was already doing surveillance for a different type of blackmail, it wasn't difficult to sneak a small monitor of the two of them up and into the corner.
The expressions that both of them spoke volumes about how their 'relationship' was going so far. She had no doubt the detective wasn't worried about the other end of his deal anymore, but Gin didn't need to know that. In her humble opinion after last night's debauchery he would need to make it up to the detective. She would need to remember to pay the woman handsomely for her role in this.
She was equally surprised when Gin brought up the matter to the detective, but not as much so as when Kudou stated he was better off not knowing. That was enough to make her drop her coffee in shock, Gin looked rather surprised by the detective's statement as well. He would probably murder her when he realized she had Kudou manor bugged for her own entertainment, but she figured moments like this made the danger worth it. Kudou wasn't going to ask so Gin wasn't going to tell…
Vermouth did wonder how the Fox would have taken finding out that she had hooked up his soon to be bed partner with a woman for the night, alas it would not be today.
MOURI KOGORO (Sometime later at Mouri Detective Agency)
Kogoro watched as Conan flushed the antidote down the toilet, after he made such a big deal about it only being an antidote for an underlying condition… The kid looked at him seriously, that very serious look that Hattori Heiji had interrupted before. He followed the kid to the front office, and where he gestured for him to take a seat. He took out his bowtie and then his cell phone and placed them on the table in front of him.
"I have not been entirely truthful about all the circumstances of me showing up here," Conan started, "before I begin I must ask exactly when Ran is going to be coming home. I would rather this stayed between the two of us."
"Ran is over at the Suzuki girl's house for the weekend, I will call just to double check, then I expect some answers from you Conan," Kogoro called his daughter's cell, "Moshi moshi. Ran, Conan kun and I are going to have a guy's weekend, you are coming home after school on Monday, right?"
"That's the plan yes, why?" his daughter's skeptical side could have come from him or Eri, he would suspect it was something she inherited more from him at this point.
"Conan wanted to make sure you were safe first, and not kidnapped or something… He seems convinced you can't go anywhere by yourself without being kidnapped," Kogoro looks over at Conan who has a bemused smirk as he removes his glasses and places them next to the other two objects. He massages his temples gingerly.
"I am fine, you can manage to pass that onto Conan kun I assume?" Ran's voice holds the tinyist bit of amusement in it, "have fun, and don't kill him while I'm gone."
"I'll try not to, but I make no promises," Kogoro responds watching the boy continue to rub his temples in a way that says he has a most irritating headache. "Take care Ran." She responds likewise and the boy opened his eyes.
"Please hand me the phone," Conan requests, curiously Kogoro does so. It appears that whatever he is about to say he really intends for it to stay between the two of them. "I didn't lie about the pill, it is an antidote, but it's not just any condition."
"What type of condition?" Kogoro asks as the kid forces both phones to power down.
"My current condition was brought about by carelessness on my part. Allow me to continue, I was poisoned, by a man in dark clothing at a theme park called Tropical Land quite a while ago. The poison was called Apotoxin 4869, it was developed by a secret organization to silence their targets without leaving any trace behind, only it clearly failed," the boy explains looking straight into his eyes, "am I lying to you?"
"No," Kogoro feels his spine tingle, such an elaborate story should be fake, only this brat couldn't lie. He was incapable of it, and none of his tells were visible. Every sentence, every word, every nuance was exactly as it should be. It could only be the truth. "As impossible as it sounds, every word has been the truth."
"Exactly, the truth so impossible you never would have believed it until now, but Ran can never know. I owe you an explanation for the many months that you have allowed me the privilege of staying in your home while I picked up all the pieces of my life," Conan explains in that same even tone, "I used you, particularly your office and influence to find the men responsible for my condition. The man I call Ishida San is one of those men, he and Haibara both work for that organization. I'm afraid that's all of that part of the story I can tell you."
"But it isn't the end of the story?" Kogoro asks noticing the phrasing, "what happened to your friend?" Conan smiles sadly, and weaves his fingers together.
"Haibara Ai is the one who made Apotoxin 4869, and we have both been poisoned by it. Her name is really Miyano Shiho," Conan pauses dramatically and pulls the bowtie up to his face, the voice that comes through it next is chillingly familiar, "she was a scientist working for them, and I sent her back as part of a deal to protect you, Ran, and the Shonen Tantei from my original mistake. I followed Ishida san's partner and witnessed a blackmail scheme. At the time I was so engrossed in following him that Ishida himself snuck up behind me. I was hit upside the head with a baseball bat, after which I was poisoned and left for dead."
"That voice is… Kudou Shinichi's?" Kogoro watched the smile fade from Conan's face.
"Correct, and this is my real voice. I am Kudou Shinichi," Conan answered via the bowtie, "I put everyone in danger, and for that there are no words. What I can tell you is that I have done what I can to make things right, and to protect all of you from my mistake."
"You've been stuck as a seven year old living in my house this whole time," Kogoro resists the urge to laugh at the irony, "but why have I heard the name Miyano before?"
"The woman who robbed a bank for the organization, then stole the money to hold it ransom to try to free her sister, Haibara from their clutches. She was assassinated for her efforts, by the same man that poisoned me I believe," Conan looks tragically sad, "she died in my arms, I found some cassette tapes for her, but it was too little too late. Akemi is dead, and her FBI agent boyfriend has a personal vendetta against the man."
Kogoro is less than surprised that a covert organization assassinated someone who stole from them, let alone made enemies in the process. Watching someone do the right thing and then die for it however is hard on even a seasoned veteran, let alone a kid like Kudou.
"It's not your fault Bozu," Kogoro comments, "but why tell me now?" The kid sighs and finally drops onto the other couch.
"I made a deal not too long ago to put everything back together, including getting myself back into my original size. That's what those temporary antidotes do, change me back to my teenage self rather than this primary school size," he explains, "the newest antidote is in testing, and I might finally be back to my normal size in a few months. Ran is going to be heartbroken because 'Conan' is leaving, and upset with me because I won't be available afterwards."
"Why wouldn't you be available afterwards?" Kogoro watches the expression on his face, it looks pained.
"It's extremely painful, and there's no telling how long it will last. I'll need time to recover from my bones rapidly growing and getting my hand eye coordination back," the kid replies, "also… its part of the deal. I have to earn my way back out of their clutches, the thwarted terrorism plot was part of that."
"So then what's my part in this?" Kogoro lights a cigarette, "why do I need to know?"
"Your part is to do what you always do Mouri Occhan, protect Ran. To let her know that everything is going to be okay even if I can't, can you do that for me Occhan?" the kid looked as lost as he'd ever seen him.
"I can do that Kudou," he responds with a nod of his head.
A/N: My sincerest apologies, this was the version that was supposed to be uploaded, not the previous. I had like 6 copies of this going. The Kogoro part is rough in all of them, but the next chapter more than makes up for that I think. I will be more vigilant to make sure the correct version gets published next time. I will be posting Chapter 40 as well today with a note to reread 39.