Chapter 10 - Divinity
The air was cool, crisp from the rain that had fallen not too long ago. Every now and then wind would push through the atmosphere, singing a gentle lullaby to the world it greeted. Street lights cut through the night, casting a bright glow to the ground below. They lined the park's path quietly, standing as guards against the unknown darkness.
It seemed that everyone was asleep. No birds sang at this time, nestled in their stick and feather homes. Other critters wrapped themselves up in their hidden beds, waiting for the sun to wake them shortly. Only the wind's gentle breath moved about. Except for one figure moving in high speeds down the sleepy path. The soft pitter-patter and puffs of white air coming from the short-statured being went unnoticed by those sleeping.
Weary feet slipped from beneath their body, slamming it to the ground. The person didn't mutter anything, no reaction to face-smacking the cold, hard cement. The noise resounded through the still air. It raised itself up, light colored hair a tousled mess. The person's chest rose and fell at an irregular, rapid rate. Again, the small body pushed forward in a crazed desperation. Slightly damp grass gave way under careless footsteps. The figure darted from the last edges of the park's trail and into a more deserted area. Deeper and deeper they went into the woods, surrounded by rough bark and brittle leaves. Water droplets fell at random intervals, splashing onto the pained young face and cooling the hot burn the cement had left.
A sneaker met with a patch of water logged leaves, losing traction. The individual lurched forward, their foot slipping right out from under them. A delicate forehead – one that protected some of the best intelligence known to man – crashed into a standing giant protected by wooden armor. Mostly pale skin was ripped open by a broken branch during the fall. Aqua-marine eyes took in the pain inflicter with dull realization. Wet tears stained her face as she wrapped her fingers around the branch, stabbing her arm and dragging it downwards.
It barely hurt. Her breathing was ragged in her distress. She repeated this action several times until words came to her lips.
"Traitor. Traitor. Traitor. You deserve to die." She spat, the words she used with the intent of describing herself. "Who is Haibara Ai? What life is that?" She hissed, reprimanding herself as blood flowed thickly from her arm. "Who is Miyano Shiho?" Her voice quivered slightly with that question, digging further into her arm, not wincing for a moment. "Who are they? Sherry, Shiho, Ai?" In anger, she flung the blood covered wood from her.
Agasa-hakase's face flashed before her memory with an intensity she hated herself for being able to recall. Next was Kudo-kun. The injury she had inflicted on him herself. First-handed.
"I'll run with you." Her own words slapped her in the face.
"You murderer. You murderer!" She yelled, punching with her non-bleeding hand. Her fist met the bark of the tree. The natural giant wasn't about to budge any time soon, but she continued pounding her fist into it. "Liar. Traitor. Disappointment. Failure. Murderer. Faceless, emotionless, killer!" She screamed, throwing herself forcefully against the tall structure. It knocked the breath out of her and she lost control of her legs.
Slowly, she slid down the side of the tree, losing the fire of her self hatred and anger. Her eyes closed, causing her face to blend in with her hair – covered in dirt. A ragged breath left her lungs.
"You'll protect me, right?" A bitter laugh failed to leave her, and instead silent tears replaced it.
"I've destroyed it all." Blood-stained fingers reached up to embrace her forehead. They slowly traced down her face, taking her figurative mask off with them. "There's nowhere left." She added quietly. Her small frame began to shake. Tears poured down her face, no longer small trails but more like complete floods. "I can't... I can't take this!" Her voice rose slightly with this announcement.
"You!" Her eyes opened, taking in pieces of the moon between the foliage extended above her. "You said I could run to you. Don't take that back!" She shouted now. "I need you. I need you to save me! I need you to save me! Save me! Forgive me! Forgive me!" Her pleas rang through the quiet forest for no ears to perceive. She took in a few quick breaths to make up for her cries.
"I know... I'm not a person worth saving. I know I've done terrible things. I am a traitor. A liar. A fake! I've hidden behind this mask pretending to be things I'm not. I keep pretending that I'm a better person now, that I don't scheme or plot anyone's demise. That I'm just a victim. That all I can do is run and do some research and better the world. That I don't hide anything and that I'm always on Kudo-kun's side. That I don't mind things that hurt. I've thought before, day and night, about how I wanted to kill Gin. Vodka. Vermouth. Anokata. How I would do it. How they would cry for mercy. What it would look like to see the life leave their bodies. Those are thoughts of a real murderer." Haibara paused, a strange feeling of relief coming from inside. Relief that she could tell the truth. Reveal who she really was.
"That's who I am. A broken person. Someone who can hardly determine where her loyalty lies. A conflicted soul. Someone who cannot bear the truth of herself to others. Whose pride is too great to show weakness. Whose heart is too blackened to bear the pure red blood that it should. Even though I'm fairly certain you already knew all of that... Can you stand to offer what you have to a person like me? Can you accept something like this?" Slowly, Haibara clenched her blood-covered fist.
"I don't want to be that person. You have that power, right? To change all that... to redefine who I am. To redeem – that's what you said. I need that. Not just to sleep at night, or to feel better about myself. Do you think I'd ask that for those reasons?" She carried on, staring at the sky above her.
"I know that I'm key to stopping the monsters. If I weren't one of them – if I weren't held back by the fear of tonight. If I could be... clean." Her piercing eyes closed once again, no longer reflecting the soft light from above. Peace. That was what she felt as something touched her face. Something like that of a hand.
"Are you willing?" She continued to keep her eyes sealed shut. She inhaled deeply, feeling the warm presence envelop her. Part of her was afraid that if she opened her eyes, he would disappear. Patiently, she waited for him to finish. "Are you willing to do whatever it takes to follow me? Will you be my voice in this earth? For so long you've been the voice for the darkness. You let it clamp your mouth shut when you escaped. Will you open it again and use it for me? It will cost you your life."
"Yes, I'm willing. What is this life worth that you would have me give it in return for the impossible?" Her voice was light, quiet. Haibara felt the touch move to her lips, something almost electric moving through them. Fresh tears squeezed past her eyelashes.
"Your life is something I gave you. I created you and I cause you to be able to breathe every day. Your life is precious – that you would be willing to give it back so that you and I could be united. I will be your breath. I will be your life. I will be your protector. Your provider. Trust me and obey, and I will keep you close to me. I will exact my vengeance on those who have allowed evil to devour their souls; those who inflict pain on others to drag them toward Hell. The blood cries from the earth at this injustice and fills my ears. I will use you to show my glory in all the earth as I used Saul whose name I changed to Paul. Just as I changed his identity, I will change yours. Today, you pass from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. You change from traitor to loyal servant. You change from abandoned orphan to child of the Most High God." Again, her body shook, feeling as though everything inside was changing, the darkness that held so tightly to her being ripped from her spirit.
The hurt. The pain. The guilt. The hatred. The fear. It was simultaneously being pulled right out of her. She screamed, her voice carrying across the expanse of trees. Words tumbled from her mouth in a language even she didn't know. Her eyes opened. She didn't see him there now, but she still felt him as the words spilt from her lips. She watched as the skin she had torn apart healed itself in an unreal amount of time.
"Know that I am God. I am the Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I have created everything, everything has to submit to my name. I am the highest authority." After a few long, deep breaths, Haibara's eyes closed once again, feeling peaceful once more. Exhaustion swept over her and within minutes fell asleep, propped against the strong giant of the forest.
Ayumi ran past the front desk operators and to the elevators, pressing the 'up' button repeatedly. She wasn't sure quite what was going on but it was causing her to feel anxious. Her serious expression seemed to startle another visitor who was in the elevator as the doors parted. Ayumi gave a short nod of respect and took her place in the elevator. The man continued staring for a second, but then stepped off, taking a second glance over his shoulder as she pressed the floor number. Ayumi wasn't used to making such a face, either.
Conan-kun was hurt, but okay. Ai-chan has to be with him. She just has to be. As the elevator seemed to take its time hurtling upwards, Ayumi felt her stomach drop. If Ai-chan wasn't there, she had an ominous feeling that she might be in a hospital bed shortly. If someone who looked just like her – her sister, mother, cousin, whoever – was being accused of such wrongs, would it be such a stretch that someone would come after her? Ayumi shifted her weight from the ball of her foot to her heel, back and forth in anticipation. Finally, the elevator lurched to a stop with a bright 'ding' noise. Once the doors opened far enough, she ran through, scanning the room numbers for the one she needed.
Edogawa, Conan. She read the familiar name and tapped the door. In a moment, a slightly on-edge Ran-nee-chan opened the door. Her long brown hair fell over her shoulders as she bent down a bit towards Ayumi.
"Come on in, just try not to be too loud. He's trying to sleep." Ayumi nodded. As Ran gave her enough space to come inside, Ayumi's eyes searched for the person she needed. There was Conan-kun on the bed, his eyes almost all the way closed. The professor was snoring peacefully in a nearby chair. A pile of coats and bags occupied another chair. However, there was no reddish-brown-haired girl to be found.
"Ayumi-chan." Conan's tired voice caught her attention. She smiled and walked over to his bedside.
"Hey, Conan-kun! I came to make sure the leader of the detective boys was alright!" He snorted lightly.
"I'm just fine. I'm sure I'll be back in school soon. Why did you come so late? You'll worry your parents." Ayumi shrugged, distracted as she looked around the room again. Conan frowned. That was odd. Why would Ayumi be searching the room for someone or something other than him?
"Say, Conan-kun, where's Ai-chan?" Conan flinched visibly, the smile he had on his face disappearing instantly.
"Ah... probably back at the house still. You know, she's got to get sleep. Just like you do." He seemed to try to shoo her out the door – or maybe turn the conversation another direction. Ayumi frowned.
"No, she's not there." Ayumi said matter-of-factly. Conan sighed.
"I'm not sure. Maybe she went to get groceries or something." Ayumi suddenly flipped open her cell phone.
"I guess I should've tried that first." She muttered. Conan grimaced. He had a feeling that there was no way Haibara would be answering her phone. He had no idea if she had even taken it with her. Ayumi's face seemed to display fear. What was so urgent that Ayumi of all people would be worried about Haibara's whereabouts this very moment? "She's not answering, Conan-kun. Please, if you have any idea where she is, I have to talk to her."
"Why would you want to talk to that woman?" He didn't mean for it to sound so bitter. So harsh. It caught the attention of his crush, who frowned from her seat on the couch a few feet away. Ayumi frowned, too.
"Why are you being so mean, Conan-kun? I'll just go find her myself. Genta-kun and Mitsuhiko-kun will bring you your stuff tomorrow. I have something important to attend to." Ayumi turned on her heel, cell phone clenched tightly in her small hand. She had already made it through the doorway by the time the surprised Conan could reply.
"Wait, I'm sor-" The door shut on his words. Ran stood up.
"You should get some rest, Conan-kun. I'll get you something to sip on. Agasa-san?" She said the professor's name louder in order to get his attention. He flinched in his sleep, snapping awake.
"Y-Yes?" His voice was drowsy but it was clear he was a bit on edge with the speed in which he awoke. His eyes flitted between Conan and Ran, seeming to be trying to read any situation he might be facing. Ran smiled.
"Sorry to wake you. Would you care for something to drink?"
"Tomato juice would be great. Thanks, Ran-kun." He said, visibly relaxing. She nodded and left the room. The old man turned toward Conan, who appeared to be rather irritable. "Shinichi, did something happen?" Conan looked in his direction with hesitation.
"Not really." He said softly, knowing that it was best to leave the issue of Haibara alone for awhile. He had to sort his own feelings out about that, let alone the professor. "I'm just going to go to sleep." He added, rolling over. Perhaps when he woke back up it would just all be an ugly nightmare.
A soft exhale left the detective's lungs as she held in a quiet disturbance. The police headquarters were fairly sleepy at this time of day, the breaking dawn that cued the coffee machines to begin their daily work peering lazily through the glass windows. The aforementioned light fell across the paper that a certain short-haired detective held delicately in her hands. There was a small stack that someone had intended to place on every desk before she had stopped them, making sure that the contents were actually relative for the officers.
Some people would consider this piece of paper a prank. However, there seemed to be a deadly sincerity that she could not ignore. The steely eyes of a young woman stared back at her from the paper. This woman, known as Miyano Shiho, was accused of being a scientist for a dark organization. One in which was asking for her return to them in the place of the well-known heiress Suzuki Sonoko. If the public or the police would offer her up, the Suzuki girl would be returned with no harm done to her and, as the paper so lovingly stated, a terrifying, cold-hearted murderer would no longer be a threat to the world. She would be eliminated.
This was a unique take on a hostage case if she'd ever seen one. They essentially put up a moral decision to all of Japan in hopes that someone – anyone – would take the bait and make the world a better place. But what was moral about letting the dark organization kill someone just to take the easy way out of a hostage situation? It infuriated Satou-keji that some jerk would send this to the police. Expecting the police to hand someone over for execution. Where was the honor in that? She took another look at the list of grievances brought up against the young woman. In bold, the bottom line read:
"Murderer of famed and loved high school detective Kudo Shinichi." Satou-keji's eyes widened. She quickly placed the paper back down on the rest of the stack, pushing the folds of the box they came in over it. It was a lie. It was a sick joke. It was nothing. Kudo Shinichi couldn't be dead, she had seen him.
Except his involvement could never be revealed. As if he was hiding from someone. He always disappeared quickly after cases. As if running from someone. Could it be? They hadn't seen Kudo Shinichi for months – maybe even longer than a year. Satou-keji shook her head, a grim expression on her face. This needed some quiet investigation before the media took it out of proportion and caused mass hysteria.
The light suddenly came on overhead, causing her to jump in surprise and spin around.
"Ah, sorry... Did I startle you?" Miwako breathed out a slow sigh of relief and smiled gently at her partner. He smiled in return, but it was apparent he still was concerned about her. "Are you alright?" Satou-keji nodded. Takagi-keji moved closer, noticing the box behind his girlfriend. He noticed her long, slender fingers wrap around it protectively as she moved her body in front of it, hiding it behind her back.
"Totally fine, just wasn't expecting the light to turn itself on." She said, laughing nervously. Takagi-keji frowned. He knew she wasn't telling him everything, but his nature wasn't really to pry. Over time he had been developing his detective skills further, insisting on continuing down a line of investigation rather than accepting the first explanation. Satou-san always had that inherent ability to know when someone wasn't telling the whole story – she was an excellent officer and detective. Even though it bothered him – her reaction to him and the box she hid – he had the urge to just take her at her words and let it go. To ignore it until it was necessary.
But that was the thing. With her he could never let it go. He swallowed nervously, then looked her in the eyes. "What's in the box?" His voice lost its normal lightness and naivety. She looked away for a moment, her short black hair falling gracefully across her face, hiding one of her gorgeous eyes. Takagi clenched his fist, keeping his resolve. "Can't you trust me?" He noticed her flinch slightly.
After a tense few seconds, her face lifted, her eyes directed back at him once again. Takagi held in a gasp in reaction to the vulnerable look on her face. Her lips parted in silence for a moment, then breathed words.
"These are... posters. Demanding the police and the public for an alleged criminal in return for Suzuki Sonoko." Takagi frowned. That sounded rather serious. By her hesitation, he knew she had more to add. She swallowed, turning and pulling a paper from the hidden stack. Slowly, she reached out and handed the paper to him. His eyes took in the words. A three-day time limit.
"At the bottom..." She muttered, pointing slightly in a gesture for him to read it himself. His eyes widened, fingers clenching the paper tighter. Immediately he stared Satou-san down in his determination.
"We have to tell Megure-keibu."
"This wasn't any part of my plan. In fact, it's in direct defiance. Insubordination." The last word was hissed from a very angered woman's lips. The voice on the other end didn't seem to relay much emotion on the matter. It was like a professional interview over the phone. Just over something as serious as a mess-up that could cost the Organization. Big time.
"If you can't control your own plan, how do you expect me to trust you with more? Is this another situation in which I need to rein you in?" Vermouth gritted her teeth. Gin was going to pay for this.
"Absolutely not. This is a matter of loyalty. Gin is allowing his personal emotions to compromise a mission. No – this entire organization. The one you've worked so hard to conceal. He's shouted its existence to the entire country of Japan. No doubt this will go international." She waited in anticipation for the response on the other end. Anokata sided with her often, but when it came to Gin, it was difficult to make him listen. He considered Gin one of his most loyal and proven employees. He knew that Vermouth was a bit of a schemer – that was something he liked about her. But Gin was always very analytical and calculating. His loyalty was a given, regardless of the situation. Proving herself in the right and Gin in the wrong was practically impossible.
"A world where a disloyal Gin exists and a Vermouth concerned completely about this organization is rather unbelievable." Vermouth frowned, picking up a dart and throwing it at a newly-printed picture of Sherry. The other one was so full of holes it finally fell to the ground. A long pause ensued. Vermouth was contemplating her next words when once again her boss spoke. "However, it does seem that he has defied not only your plan, but our standards." There was a click, ending the call. Vermouth let go of the breath she had been holding in. That was a first. After waiting a moment, she dialed another number.
"Hello! This is Yukiko speaking~!" Vermouth cringed at the voice on the other end. It wasn't like she owed this woman anything. It wasn't like she was going to protect Sherry just to help her.
"Yukiko. Whatever happens within the next few days, keep your son under wraps. If he shows up in any way, he will be executed, along with his entire family." Vermouth could hear her gasp and begin to ask questions as she ended this call herself. That's all she could do. All she would do. If Silver Bullet-kun took the bait they laid for him, everything would be over.
The American actress let out a long sigh. Everyone had been taken off of assignment and were caused to disappear from the lives she had them so abruptly enter. Angel could search the ends of the earth but there would be no Chianti to help her get into that college. Obviously, Gin had removed himself without her consent. However, she had deployed one final operative. He was a relative no-namer, but he would work perfectly to act as a protection of Angel and as a way to successfully keep her out of this mess.
"They'll let me out by tomorrow, most likely." Conan said, trying to cheer up a seriously gloomy Ran. She nodded slowly, checking her phone again. All Conan could hope was that she wasn't waiting on him to call. With her by his side ever since they got here last night, he had no chance to keep up a 'Shinichi' presence to try and lift her spirits. He had tried sleeping so she would go home. That had yet to work. He tried acting like he was more interested in his books – which may or may not have been an act – but she still sat by his bedside. She'd only leave for a food run or a bathroom break, which always ended up being when other people were in the room.
Suddenly a loud buzzing ring caused Conan to jump. He winced from the quick movement, but fumbled for his phone. Ran frowned.
"Are you alright, Conan-kun?" He nodded, finally prying his phone from under his pillow. Dang. It was Kudo Shinichi's phone, the call coming from the police headquarters. He pushed the 'end' button and shoved it back under the soft cushion that propped him up on the stiff hospital bed. "Why don't you answer?" Ran asked, her curiosity fairly infuriating to Conan at this point.
"I didn't know the number..." He lied. She nodded slowly. The phone buzzed again, startling him yet another time. Ran frowned and came around the side of his bed, yanked the phone from under his pillow and pushed the end button. After a moment, she decided to continue pushing the end button, causing the phone to power down.
"This isn't helping you recover any. I'll just hang onto it until you get released from the hospital." Conan's eyes widened as he watched it drop into her purse.
"But what if someone important calls?" He asked, his voice sounding extremely forced in his desperation.
"Your friends can call Agasa-san or me if they need you. How are you supposed to get proper rest with this thing jolting you awake all the time? It'll take you longer to heal." Conan could feel the sweat dripping down the side of his face. If Ran took even a moment to realize that it wasn't his normal Conan phone, he was done for.
"Speaking of your friends, I haven't seen Ai-chan. Usually she'd be up here all the time with Agasa-san..." Conan froze. A dark expression covered his face.
"Sah..." He said, turning over in his bed. "I'm going to sleep now, Ran-nee-chan."
"Is that why?" Conan flinched. There was no way she could think that cute little Ai-chan caused his injury. Ran took a step nearer to the bed. "It wasn't Agasa-san's invention you messed up, but something of Ai-chan's? And she got mad at you?" Conan mentally thanked Ran for her obliviousness.
"I don't wanna talk about it." Conan muttered toward the pillow, his black hair plastered to his sweat-coated face. Ran sighed.
"Alright, well I have to go home for awhile. If you need anything, the nurse button is on the left side. If you need to call us just tell them our number and they'll call us, okay?" Conan didn't respond, but Ran took that as his obstinacy and left quietly in hopes that he really would fall asleep. As she made her way to the elevator, she stopped suddenly in her tracks. There was a much too familiar young man standing there, leaning against the wall in between elevators.
P.S. I don't own Detective Conan.
Alright! You can all thank Chey721 for her review, because that's what reminded me that I should probably update XD I actually have had this written since December, as well as part of chapter 11, however have re-written it several times and now it is what it is. Hopefully this will turn out the way I intended XD
Haibara Ai z – XDD I think a lot of people pronounce things differently than I do, but since I hear myself and only myself, I think it's normal XD;; My apologies for my awkward descriptions and thank you for your suggestions :) I go on a mini-rant for the reason of my lack of a beta reader in my audio version, if you're bored and want to hear it XD Thank you~ I hope to hear from you on this chapter.
It's haiedogawa – Sorry for the super long delay T.T I hope you still get to read this XD
IndigoBluez – Thank you so much! I know you reviewed on an earlier chapter, but I hope you've caught up and get to see this :)
Akai4Ever – Yes, Gin never loses his cool. But I think that's Shiho's special quality. She makes all these super awesome, stone-faced people lose their egotistical attitudes and their cool. All the while maintaining her own XD' Hope to hear from you again!
Chey721 – Thank you! I updated because of your review, actually XD I hope you enjoy this chapter, and I look forward to your review.
Woo! It's been forever. Hope to hear back from you all.