Some of you will be disappointed, and some of you will not like the change in avenue. But for now let us continue the story.
PART THRITY NINE- RISE
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' kind of 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, but he was pretty sure that the feeling had become at least somewhat mutual, which undoubtedly was what was terrifying him the most. Just 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 even noticed that he had turned in 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, but he wasn't sure why he was asking because the obvious answer was 'duh'.
"I was thinking about it," the blond responded while pulling the parking brake up, "Then I recalled that I would have better opportunities to do so, with less witnesses." The smirk he wore 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 front 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 starting to change what he considered 'home' now? Up until this very moment, as he entered the gloomy house, 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, but right now Shinichi thought it was unsettling. If he no longer considered Kudou manor home, then where had his mind replaced it with?
He didn't miss the way that the shrunken detective paused at the door, nor the way his expression turned into 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. 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, then there would be a lot more worry than this, the assassin suspected.
The detective vanished into the house fairly quickly after that expression crossed his face, and Gin followed after him, shutting the door behind him and being 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.
"Would you like a coffee or something?" the Fox asked, from the kitchen doorway.
"No," he responded while taking a quick look around the place. He always found the lack of dust mildly unsettling. It made it much more difficult to figure out if people had been in or not.
The Fox nodded, and turned walking back into the kitchen to whatever he was working on. "I'll be back out in a minute then," the detective informed him.
Gin watched him leave and then looked down at his hand. He had been absently rubbing at the spot where it had brushed against the chibi meitantei's in the Porsche earlier. He had been… assaulted by a strange feeling back at the clinic when the detective took his hand. He looked at the appendage trying to identify the strange feeling, was it… contentment? He couldn't bring himself to frown at that unexpected feeling, but he was unsure as to what it meant overall.
"I managed to get the antidote back from Mouri Tantei," the Fox supplied positively as he re-entered the room. His return revealed something rather strange. It was either that a.) he was out of coffee, or b.) that he had (finally) taken someone's advice and tried something else. He was holding a steaming cup of Earl Gray instead of his usual guilty pleasure. Unexpected, considering that he usually had to sneak it when around other company.
"No questions asked?" the blond asked, raising a disbelieving eyebrow. The detective nodded, taking a sip of the tea, "Are you certain?"
"I can get it to you this afternoon if you'd like. It took some convincing, of course," the shrunken detective acknowledged, "Hattori made it far too interesting." He frowned, "Mouri is holding onto it, on the pretense it is a special type of medicine. That way none of the Shounen Tantei can accidently take it or something…" The shrunken detective settled into the armchair across from him with a tired expression.
"Are you sure you don't want him to disappear?" Gin asked with his evil smirk in place.
"Absolutely," the detective responded, "Hattori has his moments, even though more often than not, he causes unnecessary stress for me. He means well, but it's more like his mouth often doesn't have enough time to catch up to what his brain is telling him." The Fox's lips worked in a wry smile, "It makes him a rather entertaining party guest."
"I'll take your word for it. As I'm sure you can imagine, I don't go to many 'parties'," the assassin remarked with a soft smirk.
"Did you want the antidote today?" the shrunken detective asked before sipping more of the tea.
"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. So 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. After a short pause he nodded at the detective's statement. Only time would tell.
"You wondered what Vermouth did yesterday," Gin was watching the detective closely, and 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, "but it might be better if I didn't know. With 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 had actually arranged, not that Gin had been complaining about any of what had transpired yesterday.
"Good choice Fox," the blond answered with a smirk.
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 of Kudou holding the assassin's hand while they walked out of the clinic earlier. The blonde master of disguise had cackled merrily taking screenshots of the two of them. She was already doing surveillance for a different type of blackmail, so it wasn't difficult to sneak a small monitor of the two of them up and in the corner.
The expressions that both of them spoke volumes about how their 'relationship' was progressing so far. She had no doubts that 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 just as surprised when Gin brought up that subject with the detective, but not nearly as surprised 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.
Gin 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 his soon to be bed partner up with a woman for the night, but alas that 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 with a very serious expression. That same serious look that Hattori Heiji had interrupted earlier. He followed the kid to the front office, where he gestured for him to take a seat. Conan 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 of the circumstances of me showing up here," Conan started, "but 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." He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, "I will call just to double check, but then I expect some answers from you Conan!" Kogoro called his daughter's cell, "Hey there 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?" While his daughter's skeptical side could have come from him or Eri, he suspected it was more of something she inherited 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 bluffs and looks over at Conan who has a bemused smirk on his face 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 opens his eyes.
"Please hand me the phone," Conan requests. Curious, 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 for just any condition."
"What type of condition?" Kogoro asks as the kid powers down both phones.
"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 is called Apotoxin 4869, and 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 wasn't lying. He was pretty incapable of it, and none of his many very clear tells were showing. 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 that 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 Amano 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."
"So 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 Amano before? That sounds familiar."
"She was 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, "I tried to help but 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 who killed her."
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 for getting my hand eye coordination back," the kid replies, "Also… its part of the deal I made. I'll 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 seriously with a nod of his head.
A/N: Jade says this was a little dry, I prefer it as a little more on the serious. If I'm wrong let me know. Sorry for the long wait life has sucked.