A/N: Sorry that I'm sometimes writing 'Of Fire And Water' instead of 'Twisted Path' when I answer to reviews. I'm tired and confused from time to time... ^^'' or is that always?

Strange English, OOCness

Shinichi's age: 17
Uploaded: 2013-01-22
Revised: 2014-10-02
Chapter rating: T
Words: 3,200

Chap. 17
Fragile Memories

Megure patted the young-looking detective on his shoulder as they waited for a cab, quietly asking if something was wrong as the young man was staring straight forward with a blank expression, and only received an answer that something had happened in his family that needed immediate attention. The inspector had smiled as he'd given the young man a check, which seemed to surprise him positively, before he snapped out of the daze he'd been in and bowed as he thanked him. Megure had smiled as he left the detective with a last glance and a thought that he recognised him from somewhere, but he couldn't quite pinpoint from where. He got inside and suddenly watched his friend come down in one of the elevators.

"Kudou!" Megure smiled as the detective walked up to him with a delighted grin, "I had no idea that you were here!"
"I just helped Nakamori decipher one of Kaitou KID's heist notes; he's making them harder and harder," the author and detective grinned in delight, and made the inspector chuckle.
"Just how you like them, old friend," Megure commented and Yuusaku laughed, completely agreeing with the man.
"But I am quite certain that he would drop by to tell us if we ever were unsuccessful. He wouldn't want to be bored at a heist, now woul-" Yuusaku stopped short and his smile disappeared as he saw a young man around the age of what his son would be get into a cab; the spitting image of his son. Setting off in a spurt he left Megure to call his name after him before he too followed. Yuusaku got outside just as the vehicle drove off and he stopped at the steps of the station.

"Do you know who that was?" the detective inquired as the inspector joined him, looking after the cab that was disappearing.
"If I have to venture a guess I'd say that the one you ran after was Nozaki Shinichi," Megure informed his friend and saw his eyes narrow.
"It's not your son," the inspector stated quietly and placed a hand on the man's shoulder, making him close his eyes with a sigh.
"I know, I just could've sworn... He looked just like I imagined Shinichi would look like once he grew up. His body haven't been found and I just hope that he's alive, and that he one day will come home. What did Nozaki-kun do here?"
"He's a very promising detective that helped solve a crime that was committed at a hotel. He looks young, but he's in his mid-twenties if I remember correctly," Megure stated and released his friend as they turned around to go inside.
"What kind of crime?"
"Meaning that he left his fingerprints," Yuusaku stated and sent his friend a gaze, causing the inspector to sigh.
"Obsessing over your dead son won't bring him back, Yuusaku. You need to let him go," Megure commented, but still brought the detective to see the fingerprints of Nozaki Shinichi to convince the man that it really wasn't his son.

Shinichi caressed the sheets of paper between his fingers after he'd gotten into a cab and told the man the address he wanted to go to. He read the file that he'd printed out in a tiny font size so that it would only be a few pages and memorised the text. In the newspaper there had only been a little information, so now he got a lot.

Kudou Shinichi had been kidnapped from a shopping mall, that he already knew, but what he hadn't known was that it was after he'd ran up to the bookshop, according to the security cameras, and as he continued reading his head pounded and he got flashes of memories.

He placed his hands against the window of the bookshop and smiled into it as he observed the people inside.

Turning the watch on his arm he picked up the protective glass and held it over the crime scene photos, studying the place where he'd been held with the magnifying glass.

"... Sold you," a memory whispered as he watched the kitchen in the underground storage, "sold you to us... New parents...Always love you, like you were our own."

Shinichi started to sweat as he read the file, wanting to find the place where it said that the kidnappers had lied to him, but as he read, reread and reread it again he was unable to find it; why wasn't it in the file? Was it because it was true and his parents had kept quiet about it? To get his life insurance? He'd seen plenty of those cases in America, whereas they were a bit less common in England.

The thief closed his eyes and took a breath, trying to remember, but as he did her got flashes of kind smiles from his kidnappers, comforting him and playing with him, trying to get him to forget his 'old parents'. The more he remembered the longer it seemed as if he'd been there. According to the file the kidnappers had only had him just over a week, but from his memories it could've been a month or two.

Cold porcelain against his feet made him wake up slightly, but as he turned on the shower he got drenched in cold water and jumped back. A slicing pain from his shoulder made him stare at the bleeding wound before he saw the knife in the man's hand. He ran.

Shinichi shook his head; neither his memories nor the case file made any sense. His memories were incomplete, he knew that, but why didn't it say in the file that he'd been sold? Maybe they hadn't known of the lie, then why hadn't he been allowed to speak with his father?
The file said that there had been a call, and that Yuusaku had demanded to hear his son's voice, but then there was no more mentioning of it. The file didn't say if he'd gotten a confirmation that it was his son. It didn't say that the kidnapper refused him either; it said even less than nothing. It was blank and the file moved on to the next topic, describing how Yuusaku found the hideout, and how he found the kidnappers, but not his son.

Cold. It was so cold, colder than he'd ever been, and he was shivering from it as he sat with his back towards a wall, somewhere in an alley in the dark night. Desperate to get warm he climbed into a dumpster and hid among the waste.

Shinichi shook the memory out of his head, remembering crawling closer to warm fur in a hole in the ground. He kept reading the small text and got to a few days later where Yuusaku theorised that the kidnappers might have contacted their friend to have the body burned, since they'd confessed to doing just that to several other children, and then handed the man to the police for a lighter sentence, but the only thing they got was that the death sentence was taken off the table, while they handed the location of a body to the police every second year.

Sixteen months after being missing and believed dead there had been a murder. As the forensic team dusted off the place for fingerprints and then scanned them into the computer Shinichi showed up again and Yuusaku was called out to the scene. The author immediately pointed out that it had been the son of Chie, but as they found the car that belonged to the woman's son and wife, they were dead. The money was gone and the author-now-detective chased down a junky not far from the scene, but there was where the new trail ended, and after that there was no mentioning of Kudou Shinichi ever again. Shinichi had been declared dead in absentia again, after being missing for a year and the thief stared down on the paper in his hand, wanting it to tell him if his real parents had been fighting the court statement or if they had been eager to have him gone.

He looked out the window, wondering and worrying with confusion stirring in his head. Satoru had green eyes and the same kind of shape on his head as Shinichi, so he'd assumed that his own blue eyes had come from his father's genes, and his mother was Japanese, so he'd just assumed that they were his parents; why would he think otherwise? His father had discarded his real name, Simon Young, and just called himself Satoru, since there was no need for a whole name as long as they constantly had other identities, and it was the name he'd carried when his parents had tried to con each other, but then ended up falling in love once the truth came out and after they'd been working together. Not even Avaron had a family name since both of them had been rejected by their relatives for what they were doing, but Shinichi had met his 'grandmother', an old woman from Satoru's family that didn't care about what he was doing, and the only one that knew that Simon Young was still alive.

Still deep in thought he paid the driver and got out in front of a large apartment complex reaching high into the sky with balconies by each door, and as he walked through the gates he saw that the buildings surrounded a playground where children were playing with each other. He leaned against the gates for a while, not wanting to meet his parents yet, and sighed heavily. How should he react?
He wanted to throw a fit, or did he? Shinichi shook his head and quietly walked up the steps to the building before he used his code to get inside. What if he just ran away right now? But he needed the truth. The ride with the elevator was long, but yet too short as he got to a floor near the roof.

The young thief picked the lock on the door, just as fast as if he'd had a key and then pushed it open, seeing a cosy home with a few travelling cases on the floor belonging to his parents, but no one was inside to greet him. His new home was consisting of a rather large, joined kitchen and living room with a small hallway and three doors to his right. Shinichi walked inside and cautiously closed the door as to not make any noise; how should he play it? Pretend like he didn't know anything and carefully coax information out of them? Or simply ask them straight to their faces?

The door to the bathroom suddenly opened and Satoru showed up with a yawn, and then smiled at his son as he discovered that he was there.
"Took you long enough," he grinned, but then realised that something was wrong as Shinichi was staring at him with disbelief, wondering if his 'father' was just a kidnapper, "hey, what's wrong? Did something happen?"
"Ah, there was a murder," the teenager answered slowly, still looking at his father, trying to piece together the fact that he'd never considered the man to be so cold-hearted as to steal a child from a family that loved him.
"Just a murder?" Satoru questioned and narrowed his eyes slightly before he took a step towards his son, who immediately slammed his back into the door, trying to get away from him, "I don't believe you. What kind of murder affects you this badly?"

"Who am I?" Shinichi questioned and the elder thief raised his eyebrows, "who's mom? I know that you're Simon Young, but who's Avaron?"
"Ooh, our given names?" the man smiled, hiding his concern over his son's strange behaviour, "Avaron's name is Sayuri Ayugai, but don't tell her that I told you," Satoru winked and Shinichi nodded," she doesn't like her family or her name."
"And what about me?" he demanded to know.
"You're Shinichi."
"Shinichi, who?"
"Just Shinichi. I've never known anything more than that," Satoru answered with a bright smile, observing his son's every move and saw that his son was giving him the same treatment, letting him know that something was going on, and judging by the questions he had a fairly good guess.

"So after you kidnapped me you never bothered finding out who I belonged to?!" Shinichi asked harshly and made himself prepared to run, or attack; he wasn't certain of which.
"Kidnapped?" Satoru asked in shock, "you were kidnapped?" Shinichi blinked at his question and relaxed slightly, seeing no deception from his father, but the man could be faking it.
"According to the police records I was," the teenager informed and took a grip into the door handle, knowing that 'his father' would never be able to outrun him if he gave the wrong answer.
"Okay, why don't I tell you our story?" Satoru asked and took a step back, showing that he wasn't going to do anything to stop his son if he ran away, "you're big on the truth, at least that's what you always said. Were you lying?" Shinichi narrowed his eyes at the man's back as Satoru walked up to the kitchen table and sat down beside it.

"I guess that you've found out that you're adopted. We didn't bother with finding out what your family name was because you didn't want to tell us, and we didn't want to have any connection to someone like them. You didn't even want to mention your first family," Satoru explained as Shinichi joined him by the table.
"First?" he wondered quietly.
"Yes, you told us that you were sold, and I guess that your original family could've told the police that you were kidnapped, even though that's a bit stupid. If it was I, I would've just reported you as missing, unless I could gain something from my family or neighbours by making a fuss about it, but back to our story. We found you all bruised up, dying, and you believed that everyone wanted to kill you. You had been living in the streets after you escaped from your second family, which to my understanding was either abusing you or simply wanted you dead. You found your way to someone you called Chie-obaasan, and lived with her until she was murdered. You fled, and then Avaron and I found you. After hearing that you were sold we decided to keep you, and give you a real family," Satoru reached out his hand over the table and Shinichi stared at it before he took it, accepting the man's words as true.

"Your story coincides better with what I remember compared to the police rapport," Shinichi stated solemnly, "but I still can't believe that he would do such a thing!" The young thief took back his hand and ran it through his hair as he glared at the table in front of him. "I remember far from everything, but I guess that it makes sense... He's so good at what he does... So the only explanation as to why he didn't find me with the kidnappers was because it was all orchestrated by him," Shinichi sighed deeply, thinking of the advanced crimes in the books that Yuusaku had written; cooking up something that looked like an ordinary kidnapping would be so simple that he could do it in his sleep, even without the kidnappers knowing that they were being led to their capture. The thief scowled and suddenly felt how he was pulled from his seat and into his father's lap as the man gave him a warming hug.

"Shinichi," Satoru whispered and worriedly felt how the teenager wasn't complaining about the hug, "he's not your father, I am. We might not be related by blood, but that doesn't make you any less of my son. Both Avaron and I love you very much and we always have. And just out of curiosity, what is your real name?"
"Kudou," the teenager whispered quietly and Satoru narrowed his eyes, knowing that he'd heard that name somewhere.
"Kudou? As in Kudou Shinichi, that author's missing son?"
"Exactly, Yuusaku. The creator of the Night Baron series is apparently the father of the thief Night Baron; a son that he sold to a family without caring what happened to him afterwards. The file that I printed doesn't even tell if the kidnappers refused to let him hear his son's voice and every file that I've ever read that had something to do with kidnappings always, always, had that the child was confirmed to be alive or that the kidnappers refused, and he wouldn't do that kind of miss! And if he did that kind of miss someone else would've noticed it!"

Satoru continued holding his son as the teenager muttered to himself, and he heard Shinichi grumble something about wanting to be exactly like Yuusaku; a great detective, but now he was nothing but crap in the teenager's eyes.
"I'm home!" a voice sang from the door and Avaron stopped with an eyebrow raised as she saw that their son was sitting in her husband's lap.
"Avaron," Satoru smiled at the woman and caressed his son comforting, "I'm afraid that Shinichi found out that we're not his parents, but it was only a matter of time since we got to Japan."
"Oh? And he decided to hug you?" the woman smiled as she started to place the groceries in the fridge, happy that their son hadn't freaked out, "and he's okay with it?"
"Yea," the man answered slowly, "let's just say that if the irony doesn't kill you I don't know what will."
"Huh?" the woman raised an eyebrow as she placed the take-away food in the microwave oven, "what do you mean?"

"Well, Shinichi here, is the missing son of Yuusaku, the author of the Night Baron series," Satoru sent his wife a slanted smile, trying to not be amused by how the world worked, "so Shinichi took up his biological father's character." Avaron blinked as she thought the entire thing over and then frowned.
"But why would he sell his son? By what I've seen of him he's very kind and careful," she remarked with a frown.
"According to the police rapport I was kidnapped, but the file is beneath contempt, and the flaws makes me think that it's not actually true," the young thief informed her as he listened to his father's heartbeat, automatically keeping time to see if he was lying, "it's too deliberate."
"No, how awful!" she stated upset and walked over to her family, hugging them from behind and stroke her son's back, "what a horrible man."

"And another thing," Shinichi sighed, "I messed up at the police station so we have to take new family photos. I couldn't input my safety identity due to the fact that I forgot to put on my 'Nozaki' mask, so I just changed the photos in the file, and also because I'd have to erase Kudou Shinichi in order to have one and with someone as good as Yuusaku around he'd notice and come after me, putting you two in danger."
"We'll do that first thing tomorrow morning, and then fix the photos of us when you were a child," Avaron kissed her son on the top of his head and turned on the TV, but regretted it as Shinichi jolted his head towards it, hearing it announce that Kaitou KID was holding a heist the very next day.

A/N: I have begun working on a timeline so that I won't mess stuff up! But it's only for a couple of chapters, before it gets confusing... he he he