Disclaimer: I do not own Detective Conan/Case Closed (though the other elements of this story are mine:)
Summary: Two years after the fall of the Black Organization, Kaito and Shinichi thought their troubles were finally over when an explosion in another universe sends them into a world where Shinichi had just been executed and Kaito had been killed more than eight years before.
Pairing(s): Kaito x Shinichi, Heiji x Kazuha
WARNINGS: Shounan ai (boy/boy pairing), you have been warned
Resurrected in Flames
By V. Shalyr
"Did you hear? They said there might be another attempt on one of the East City factories."
"Hold on, but we're working in East City."
"Yes, I know. They've told all of us to be careful. You weren't listening?"
"My sister's in jail right now. I don't have the energy to worry about anything else."
"In jail? What did she do?"
"Nothing! But the Guards came and took her away. They said she was a Counter Guard supporter."
"That rebel group? Was she?"
"Of course she wasn't! No one in my family's that crazy."
"Are they the ones targeting the factories?"
"Some of them, but I think this time, it's the Phantom KID."
"No way! The Moonlight Magician? I've heard some real crazy stories about that guy."
"That's because he is crazy. You've got to be insane to go up against the Four alone. They say even the rebels are after him."
"But why? How did the old saying go? The enemy of my enemy is my friend?"
"Don't know, but my guess is…"
"My guess is it's because he's like Them. He can use Pandora."
A gloved hand reached up to tug on the brim of a hat, bringing it lower over its owner's face and the grim smile that briefly traced his lips. Kuroba Toichi slipped through the workers with ease, just another "employee". The extra guards posted all around the building had proved little challenge, but then he'd been doing this for so many years now that nothing really surprised him anymore. Or maybe everything he'd experienced had left him too numb to be surprised—if that was possible.
Careful to survey everything around him without looking too hard at anything in particular, Toichi made his way past the various brewing pots and glass tanks, all filled with a clear liquid that seemed to gleam with traces of red in the right light. The liquid being created in all of these factories scattered throughout the empire had many names—magic water, liquid night, the death potion, and others. But the name used by the empire itself was simply Pandora, the mysterious substance that granted great power to those who could use it and madness and death to those who could not.
Toichi could feel the magic calling out to him, resonating with the traces of it that no doubt remained in his own blood from the last time he'd taken it. But for now, he ignored it and focused on finding somewhere to hide until the time was right. He wouldn't make his move while there were so many civilians around to get in the way of fire. For now, he could familiarize himself with the layout of the place, feel out the liquid reservoirs and steal some to replenish his own diminishing supplies.
Because when night came… When night came and the regular workers had gone home, he was going to make sure this factory went up in flames.
Harsh sunlight beat down upon the city square, crowded with silent spectators—silent because no one dared to speak. They weren't there to watch a show after all. They were there because you could be next if you didn't force yourself to attend. If you weren't careful, you could be the one being marched onto that stage under the cold eyes of the men and women on the balcony of the city hall which overlooked the plaza.
They were there for the execution.
A few watchers stirred uneasily—unhappily—as the young man was led up the steps. But the prisoner himself seemed unafraid. Blue eyes glared defiantly up at the balcony, unwavering, their owner's head held high. He wouldn't allow them the satisfaction of fear.
"You, Kudou Shinichi, have been convicted of the crimes of sabotage and treason against the Four. Do you have any last words?"
The young man smiled grimly. "I have no regrets."
That wasn't entirely true. He regretted not having been able to do more. He regretted that for him, the fight would end here. If only they had more help. If only things had gone a little differently.
"It doesn't matter if you kill me. Eventually, you'll all have to pay for the pain you've caused."
The crowds shifted uneasily but the executioner stilled them with a glare. "Very well then. If that's all, let your death be a reminder to everyone of what happens to all those who oppose their lordships…"
Shinichi woke with a start, gasping. He couldn't seem to get enough air into his lungs and for a moment he thought his body was acting up again. Ever since Haibara had found a cure and returned him to his proper age, he'd been plagued by occasional weak spells—though he'd thought they'd been getting better.
Then he realized that his partner had his arms wrapped so tightly around him that he was literally crushing the air from his lungs. The detective had gotten used to waking up in all sorts of peculiar ways after Kuroba Kaito had moved in with him a year ago, but being half strangled was definitely an unpleasant first.
He squirmed and grasped at the magician's sleeve, noting with concern that the other was shaking. "Kaito?"
The magician's only response was an anguished noise in his throat that made Shinichi tense in alarm. They'd both had their fair share of nightmares over the years—how could they not with the kind of lives they'd led up to that point—but recently… Recently, something had been different.
Kaito jerked awake to find Shinichi tugging desperately on his arm. Realizing the problem at the strained quality of his breathing, he loosened his grip and ran his hands apologetically over his partner's bruised ribs.
Shinichi coughed and drew in a much needed lungful of air, grimacing. "You know, whatever you've been dreaming about, I really think it's about time you told me. That was just a bit ridiculous. I thought we agreed not to keep secrets from one another."
He half expected Kaito to reply with a joke or a teasing remark like he had every other time he'd asked him lately—which, frankly, was starting to irritate him—but instead, the magician simply remained quiet. If anything, Shinichi found his solemn silence even more unnerving. Kaito's silence was always more alarming than his chatter and usually meant something exceptionally serious.
"Kaito?" he asked again, more cautious.
"It's not that I don't want to tell you," Kaito sighed finally, tucking Shinichi's head under his chin as if taking comfort from their closeness. "It's that I don't want to think about it myself."
Shinichi frowned, his mind running through all the possibilities. There weren't a lot of things capable of unsettling Kaito. His "night job" wasn't a career you could afford to keep if you got unsettled easily.
That narrowed down the possible topics of the dream a lot and, taking into consideration how he'd woken up, Shinichi was pretty sure he could deduce what he'd been having nightmares about. Shinichi had been the one having those nightmares months earlier—just one of the reasons Kaito had moved in a little earlier than they'd planned—dreams that had him waking in a cold sweat and running for his phone, terrified that Kaito wouldn't answer. With the possible exception of Haibara Ai, most of their acquaintances thought they'd both grown way too paranoid over the years. But paranoia had saved their lives more times than they could count—paranoia and each other.
"It was just a dream."
"But they shot you," Kaito muttered, confirming Shinichi's suspicions, his voice tight with anger and frustration, "and I couldn't do anything. I couldn't even try because I wasn't there."
One of his greatest fears, that something would happen to the detective and he wouldn't be there. Shinichi understood that all too well.
"These people in strange clothes, kind of old fashioned with a lot of red in it and a lot of black. They were accusing you of treason or something."
The detective's eyebrows shot up. "Treason? Sounds a bit farfetched, even for us. Unless there was something seriously wrong with the world."
Kaito grimaced but managed a laugh at that nonetheless. "Yeah, I suppose."
Yet a sense of unease lingered with him as they reluctantly got out of bed and prepared to start the day. For a moment in that dream, it had almost felt as though that Shinichi had seen him—locked eyes with him just before the gunshot and seemed confused or perhaps pleading. But for what?
Since the fall of the Black Organization, Kaitou KID had almost stopped carrying out heists altogether, appearing only once or twice every couple months to put on a show for his fans, steal a jewel, check for Pandora, and return it. With no more killers after the legend, there was no longer any urgency to that self appointed mission. Shinichi had tried a few times to convince him to drop the search altogether, but he just couldn't bring himself to do that—not yet. It wasn't just that he enjoyed being KID, enjoyed keeping the image of the legendary jewel thief alive, though of course there was that too. But it was also one of the only ways he could hold on to his father's memory, to carry on with the legacy he'd left him and continue the search for which Kuroba Toichi had given his life more than a decade ago.
Anyways, his many adoring fans—and, he was pretty sure Inspector Nakamouri and his Taskforce as well—would miss him if KID just vanished yet again.
Besides, it was a good excuse for keeping all his KID gear up to date and close at hand. He felt more secure, knowing that he had his equipment ready should anything untoward really take place. It was probably the same reason Shinichi still kept his tracking devices and those fake glasses used to hone in on them, not to mention the tranquilizer watch which Kaito had upgraded to carry more darts. Those gadgets along with his inflatable soccer balls made up for his refusal to carry a gun. After all, one should never carry a weapon one was not prepared to use and killing a person on accident didn't make that person any less dead or the action any less terrible. Tranquilizers and concussions were more than sufficient for self defense.
"Are you okay? You seem a bit distant today."
Kaito paused at the door of his office and flashed his coworker a bright smile. "It's nothing, just didn't get as much sleep as I'd like."
She nodded; his smile never failed to put people at ease. "I know what you mean. With the deadline for the release of our new game coming up, seems like everyone's losing sleep."
Offering an amused reply on autopilot, Kaito bad her a good morning and finally made it through his office door, his gaze flicking to the window through which he could make out the police station a little ways down the street, the same police station he'd just walked Shinichi to a few minutes before. It was one reason he'd ended up working as a game designer for this particular company. He did some performances as a magician part time, but the last few years of being intensely hunted by the Organization had worn out most of his desire for the spotlight while he wasn't in disguise. Sometimes, he wondered if his father would have been disappointed, though mostly he tried not to dwell on that anymore.
It wasn't until late afternoon as Kaito was just getting out of a meeting when the first signs of trouble struck for the day. He almost always had a listening device tuned in to the police communications channels so he could keep an ear on what his partner might be involved in at any given time. And at about half past five, there was a shooting on the front steps of the downtown historical museum.
Shinichi had been having a more or less peaceful morning—well, as peaceful as mornings ever got for a homicide detective. Then again, dead people usually didn't have much of a choice other than to be still and quiet.
Then he'd been called over to an investigation at the museum of ancient history and the day was suddenly no longer quite as normal as he'd thought.
It had nothing to do with a shooting and everything to do with the lack thereof.
Try as they might, none of them could find any evidence that there had been a shooting, or even a gun. There were no spent shells, no nicks, and no injuries. And yet every single person in the vicinity—almost twenty or so eye witnesses—swore that they had seen men firing across the museum plaza. Pacing along the front steps, Shinichi frowned as he studied the smooth stone. He froze suddenly, glimpsing a splash of red. Blood? But even as he watched, the patch of crimson seemed to fade in and out of focus. One moment, the red was as bright and clear as if those shots had really been fired and found a target and the next they were watery and almost clear like a figment of his imagination. What was going on? Was he losing his mind? Was it even really blood or something else?
"Shin-chan, what are you still doing here? I thought they said it was a mistake."
His brow still furrowed in confusion, the detective turned to find Kaito jogging across the plaza towards him. "Kaito, can you…see that?"
His concern turning to bewilderment, the magician slowed to a stop beside him. "See what?"
Shinichi started to point towards the crimson patch upon the stone only to freeze in trepidation—because whatever it was, hallucination or not, it was spreading like a pool of water fed by a leaking pipe. And was that the stench of smoke? Seized by a sudden upwelling of foreboding, Shinichi grabbed Kaito's arm and stumbled backwards away from the expanding stain of deepening crimson. But he wasn't quite fast enough. And as the crimson colors swept beneath Kaito's feet, everything around them—the plaza and its colors and sounds and smells—twisted.
Kaito had no idea what had just happened. All he remembered was Shinichi's face going pale as he tried to pull them both away from something only he could see then a strange jolt of energy shot through him, leaving an electric tingle in its wake snaking upward from the soles of his feet. His vision filled with light so bright he had to shut his eyes or be blinded.
The acrid, cloying stench of burning things assaulted his nostrils along with a sudden, overwhelming wave of heat. Indigo eyes snapped open and Kaito gaped at the flames that now surrounded them. The blazing, blackened skeletons of equipment and glass scattered across the floor looked like the remains of some kind of factory—one on the verge of completely collapsing.
What the hell?
Before his shocked and befuddled brain could comprehend what exactly was going on, the splintering of one of the ceiling support beams spurred his body into action. Yanking a violently coughing Shinichi out of the way of a spray of sparks and falling timbers, Kaito made a beeline for the nearest window not already blocked by fire or debris. They didn't have the time to look for a door, and even if they found one there was no guarantee it would be usable. Something splashed beneath his feet as he moved but he hardly paid attention to it other than to wonder why the stuff seemed so cold despite the roaring inferno around them. Eyes watering from the smoke, he hauled Shinichi up with him onto what might have been a work table and all but shoved him through the broken window before vaulting through himself. Behind them, he could hear another mini explosion deep within the factory and a clang as something else collapsed in twisted metal and ash.
Was he dreaming again?
That might have been the obvious solution to how he could have suddenly been transported from a peaceful museum plaza to a factory on the verge of extinction, yet the roar of the flames and the scrape of broken glass across his skin were all too real. His heart clenched as flashes of his recent nightmares came back to him, too stark in their detail and all too similar to the kinds of buildings he could make out through the night by the light of the burning factory.
"Where—what happened?" Shinichi rasped, finally getting his coughs under control with the aid of the cool night air.
"I don't know," Kaito muttered in answer to both questions, dragging the detective swiftly away from the flames and into the shadow of what might have been a storage warehouse.
"It's odd but I don't see any buildings I recognize. But they also seem kind of familiar somehow. I get the feeling we're a long, long way from home."
Kaito trailed off in alarm when Shinichi began to shiver violently. He let go of his hand so he could slip an arm around his waist to better support him.
"Are you okay?"
"Feel kind of ill," the detective admitted, grimacing as the world threatened to start spinning again, this time for more explainable reasons.
Pressing the back of his hand to his partner's forehead, Kaito cursed. Shinichi was burning up and his gaze was going unfocused.
"Hold on, Shin-chan. We need to find somewhere safe before we can do anything about your fever."
When had Shinichi caught a cold anyway? He'd been perfectly fine before…well, Before.
Kaito took a step towards the street but paused, biting his lip. His thoughts kept returning to his dream and the uncanny similarities, in which case it was probably best if no one recognized Shinichi. Kaito mentally ran through an inventory of his supplies and settled on a pair of thin-rimmed, oval glasses and some hair gel. Just a simple disguise would do for now while they assessed the situation.
Murmuring an encouragement under his breath, Kaito guided them onto what appeared to be a main street, searching for some kind of shelter, perhaps a hotel or an apartment building with empty rooms. He wasn't above taking advantage of that when their lives could very well be in danger.
The problem, of course, being that there didn't seem to be any form of either. All the windows, Kaito noted with silent incredulity, had bars on them. What kind of place was this?
Judging by the color of the sky, it would be dawn soon—way too early for there to be anyone to ask for directions. Or was it? He had almost made it to the street corner when he heard the soft tinkle of bells behind him. Someone had stepped out in front of one of the shops and was putting up a sign.
"Shin-chan," Kaito muttered, scooping the detective up into his arms and running back the way they had come, "play unconscious for now, okay?"
Shinichi grumbled an agreement and shut his eyes. His head was spinning too badly for him to question the magician's motives, and he trusted his judgment in tight situations.
"Hey!" Kaito called, injecting some desperation into his voice as he approached the shop—a bookstore by the looks of the window display. "Something's wrong with my friend and I don't know what's wrong with him. Do you know where I can get help? Our apartment—there was this explosion—and I don't know what happened."
The man turned towards them and Kaito almost faltered when he recognized his concerned face. Takagi? Takagi Wataru, one of the detectives that worked with the Beika police department? What was he doing here working at a bookstore?
Kaito didn't have time to contemplate this as Takagi hurried over to them and peered anxiously down at Shinichi. Kaito was relieved when no signs of recognition flickered across his face.
"He seems to have a mild case of magic water poisoning," the man said. Glancing covertly about at the still deserted street, he hastily ushered them into the shop. "We need to get some water into him and get him cleaned up."
"Magic water poisoning?" That didn't sound good. Actually, it didn't make any sense either.
"You said there was an explosion?"
"At the factory." Kaito gestured in the factory's general direction.
"So it did happen after all," Takagi said quietly, more to himself than his guests. He glanced over Shinichi again then pointed. "There."
Kaito looked down, only just noticing the splashes of crimson on his partner's clothes and his own. So this was what they called magic water?
"But my clothes are soaked too and I don't feel ill," he noted aloud.
Takagi frowned uneasily at him. "I guess that means you're one of the compatible ones. Have you ever had any contact with Pandora before?"
Kaito started. "Pandora?"
The man indicated the crimson stains. "Don't you know? That's what the officials call it."
"No," Kaito said slowly, processing this information and filing it away for later examination, "I haven't."
Takagi was still frowning, but said nothing more as he directed the magician through a door in the back of the shop and through a small apartment towards a bathroom. First, they had to get rid of the source of their current problems. Questions and answers would have to wait.
Takagi made sure his impromptu guests had everything they needed before hurrying to the kitchen where his wife was standing by the stove, her shoulders tense in a way that told him she'd been listening intently to what was going on outside. You could never be too careful these days.
"Who are they?" she asked the moment he stepped across the threshold.
"I'm not sure, but I don't think they're with the Guard. They…don't seem to be from around here. They didn't know about Pandora."
"How is that possible?"
Takagi shook his head, coming to a stop beside her. "I don't know… Miwako, I'm worried."
The woman sighed, running her free hand through her short, dark hair. "Me too."
After a hot bath and a change of clothes, Shinichi felt remarkably better, maybe still lightheaded but only a bit. He sat on the bed in the tiny guest room they'd been given, carefully examining its contents while he waited for Kaito to return from talking with their hosts. The furniture was simple and sparse, practical for the limited space. He hadn't recognized any of the brands on the products in the bathroom and the general architecture of the place felt old somehow—not quite in disrepair, but more as though the inhabitants had no choice but to make do.
Kaito slipped into the room a moment later, shutting the door behind him and setting a tray with two bowls of what looked like porridge on the nightstand. "Here, they said you should eat something."
"And they would be?" Shinichi asked, picking up one of the bowls.
"I guess you were too out of it to notice, but our dear hosts seem to be none other than Takagi-keiji and Satou-keiji—though they're not detectives here. They sell books in the store out front, and they have a baby girl too. I'd say they've been married for about two years."
Shinichi blinked, his spoon halfway to his mouth. Takagi and Satou…ran a bookstore?
"I'm not dreaming?" Shinichi asked finally.
"Not unless we both are," Kaito sighed. "But no, this feels too real unfortunately."
The detective shook his head, frowning. "So what does this mean then?"
For a long moment, the magician said nothing, staring around them at the windowless room but not really seeing it. When he finally did answer, his voice was completely devoid of any emotion. "I think we're in the world I've been dreaming about."
The world he'd been having nightmares about.
A world where Kudou Shinichi had been executed.
And all Kaito really wanted to do at that moment was to find a way to get them both out of there as quickly as possible.
AN: For those who read my notes in "To Wish Upon a Star", this was actually the other story I had in mind when I was thinking about "if Toichi was alive and they met" scenarios.
Alaena F.D. did a picture for this story. To see it, please visit the Phantom Destinies (on my profile) website or her devianART page.