Kaito stared at the screen on his laptop with tired eyes. Hope. Elpis meant hope.
When Pandora's curiosity had become too much for her, and opened the small box given to her husband by the Gods, terrible things, diseases, horrors, had rushed forth. Pandora had only just managed to slam the lid shut before one last thing could escape, something small and fragile- hope. Except hope had been called Elpis back then.
Kaito smiled at his discovery, then opened up another window. He decided to do a little research on Christie.
Research that turned up nothing. There were no recordings of her birth. No clues to suggest who her parents might be. Nothing to show that she had ever gone to school. That she had even had parents. That she had ever lived in an orphanage.
The girl might as well have never existed.
So he decided to research her current guardians- the Mouri family. Ran Mouri. Kogorou Mouri. Eri Kisaki. None of them had any connection whatsoever to Christie Edogawa, except for living with her.
Kaito found this odd- he had originally assumed that Kogorou was her father and Ran her sister, because why else would you have an unknown child living with you? But it seemed that they had just taken her into their family with no questions asked.
Of course, Christie Edogawa could be a made up name, Kaito acknowledged grudgingly. Of course it was. Christie had told him herself. But there was no harm in checking- it was just a little galling to find that she hadn't taken a name with some significance to her, which would have made his search easier.
Another thing that Christie had told him was that she didn't really exist. At first, Kaito had brushed that comment aside, assuming she just meant that her current name just wasn't her own. But now, he was starting to realize the significance of what she had told him.
There were records of everybody- try as you might to hide yourself, tracks were always made. But not by her. To the world, Christie Edogawa literally didn't exist.
In fact, the only assurances he had of her existence were a few newspapers with her face and name on- usually when she had triumphed against him in a heist- and his own eyewitness account.
How was he ever supposed to find her? The girl was a living ghost. Try as he might, he could find no concrete evidence that she actually existed.
Kaito wondered, just for a moment, if that when Christie did as she said she would, and disappeared, would all traces of her vanish also? Would her face fade from the photographs, her name from Kaito's mind? When she had said she was to disappear, did she mean what it sounded like, or was her meaning deeper?
Of course not, Kaito scolded himself. Don't be ridiculous. She just meant that she was going to leave Tokyo, that's all.
But he couldn't stop the uncomfortable feeling that had settled in his chest. He remembered what that gun-toting child- Haibara?- had said about Christie being poisoned. Maybe when Christie spoke about disappearing, she meant dying?!
Shut up! Stop worrying! Is this any way for the great Kaitou KID to behave?
And he continued his research with renewed vigor.
"Shin-chan!", Yukiko cried, rushing forwards with her arms open wide.
Christie sprinted forwards, ducked beneath her mother's arms, slid between her legs, and promptly crashed into Yusaku.
"A touching reunion", Haibara said drily, watching a struggling Christie being hugged and kissed by her parents.
Professor Agasa laughed sympathetically as a yell of ,"Get OFF of me!", issued from the scuffle before them.
Christie, red-faced and embarrassed, managed to get out of Yukiko and Yusaku's grasp.
"So, Shin-chan", Yukiko said, squatting beside her daughter and grinning. "Why did you call us here?"
"Haibara will explain", Christie said, stealthily backing away.
And so Haibara explained.
"She's found the cure! Yusaku, she's found the cure!", Yukiko squealed, shaking her husband by the arm.
"I know, I've been here all along", Yusaku said, his head helplessly lolling back and forth on his neck.
"I'm planning to administer the cure tomorrow morning", Haibara said.
"No", Christie said. "Today. Give me the cure today."
Haibara blinked at her. "But don't you want to... say goodbye to your current lifestyle? Come to terms with what you're about to do?"
Christie looked at her blankly. "No. I've been doing that for the past two years. Lets get this over with!"
"Well... okay", Haibara said. "It's up to you. I've decided to cure you in your own house, in your bedroom... it will be better, since her room has a bathroom, and it will be better for her to be in a familiar place..." She was talking to Christie's parents now, as she shunted Christie up the stairs to get things ready.
Yukiko, Yusaku, and Agasa went into the kitchen for tea, as Agasa explained what was going to happen. Haibara spoke to Christie as they entered the bedroom.
"Listen, I didn't have time to tell you this before, but there might be a few after-effects to the antidote."
Christie looked apprehensive. "Like what?"
"Well... you know how APTX 4869 only shrunk you- you still have your personality and memories and everything? It seems that in order for you to keep your teenage mental abilities, your body will occasionally induce a hormone, a stimulant to... well, stimulate your brain so that you can maintain your usual way of thinking. This means that in order to counter-effect this and keep the balance, the cure will cause your body to do the opposite, and induce a depressant into your system instead. This will affect your physical abilities a little after being cured, so it's best to lay low for about a week until the balance is restored."
Christie nodded thoughtfully. "Right. But- correct me if I'm wrong- doesn't a depressant also have an effect on your emotions as well? Stimulants make you.. happy? Wouldn't a depressant do the opposite?"
Haibara fidgeted uncomfortably. "Er... yes."
"I'm going to be depressed?"
"No, nothing as drastic as that. You'll just be experiencing a lot of... teenage hormones, I suppose."
Christie took a deep breath. "How do you figure all this anyway?"
"My test mice came back. I think they got hungry."
"They became suicidal."
"It was almost funny, really. Like they thought they were lemmings or something."
"Don't worry, it'll be different for you. Anyway", Haibara continued, "since this is the real cure, and not a temporary one, your body will take quite some time to reassert itself. You'll be in a lot of pain, and the transformation will take a few days to complete. You must remember to drink lots of fluids, since a child's body has less water than an adult's. Be careful not to become dehydrated."
"Will I have to eat a lot as well?"
"Not if you're in too much pain to. Humans can live longer without food than water, but you'll have to remember to eat as much as you can while you're able."
Christie nodded. It made sense in a way- since she'd only been eating and drinking child-sized portions of everything, it stood to reason that her adult body would be a little under-nourished.
It hadn't mattered to previous transformations, because her body had recognized that the cures hadn't been permanent. So it used up all its stored fats and sugars to keep her going while she was grown, and ditched them once she became small again.
"It'll be very painful", Haibara said. "Are you quite sure you're ready for this?"
"No. But let's do it anyway." Christie grinned at Haibara, who gave her a minuscule smile in return.
Haibara handed over the cure, two small red-and-white caplets, and watched Christie swallow them.
Christie licked her lips and sat in the middle of the bed. Waited.
"Are you sure this is the right-", she began.
She stopped, gasped. She slowly rolled onto her side on the bed and began to gasp, clutching her chest. The pain blossomed, and grew, spreading through her body. She was burning.
Haibara put her hands over her ears.
Downstairs, Agasa dropped the teapot as Christie began to scream.
Shinichi looked around. White walls. Fluorescent lights. Cages stacked high. She was in the bird house again.
She turned her attention to the only occupied cage in the room. She jumped, trying to reach it. Perhaps she'd grown since the last time she was here? Nope, still too small.
Or was she?
Her bones creaked. Her skin stretched. Shinichi began to grow. Oh, how it burned.
She stared up at the bird in the cage above her, into those, beautiful, familiar, captivating violet eyes.
"Just wait a little while. Just a little while longer. Then I'll free you... KID, right?"
Although the bird's face hadn't noticeably changed, Shinichi still thought she detected a smile.
The ceiling slowly came into focus. It blinked once, twice, groaned. How long had it been out for...?
Toichi. Snake. Burning. Dying.
Pandora gasped. Eight years. Silent for eight years. Too weak to move, to speak. And that feeling, that horrible feeling of death, felt by Pandora, experienced firsthand by Toichi. If it had eyes, Pandora's would have filled with tears. Poor Toichi. Dead Toichi.
But Shinichi wasn't dead. Good.
Pandora allowed itself to drift upwards so it hovered over its jewel. It looked it over with interest. It liked what Shinichi had done with it- put it in a little wire cube... like a box. Pandora's box!
Pandora giggled. It let it's gaze travel upwards and rest on Shinichi's face. Which was oddly young. Too young.
It had been eight years, right? Pandora might have been asleep, in a way, but it could still see. It had watched the events of the past eight years through Shinichi's eyes, with a sort of emotionless detachment. Why hadn't she aged?!
Wait. Hold on. There was something in there, something she hadn't paid attention to.
For a few hours, Pandora silently watched Shinichi's memories play before it. Mysteries. Detective work. The Black Organisation. Christie Edogawa. Haibara Ai. Pandora paid particular attention to Kaitou KID, and would have smiled at Shinichi's attachment to him if it had a mouth. Then, the memories played up to a few minutes before she had woken up, and stopped. Blank.
Pandora felt it's very being trembling with anger. Snake! And now the Black Organisation! Nobody treated its guardian like that! Despite it's incessant teasing, Pandora was very attached to Shinichi.
It turned to her, stroked gentle fingers of air of her face.
Wake up. C'mon, wake up.
Nothing. And so Pandora delved down into her mind and felt the fire. Shinichi was in pain.
Well, at least I can get rid of this.
Pandora took away the pain, held it away from its sleeping guardian, and watched Shinichi dream of birds until she woke up.
Let me get this straight here- KID is not a pedophile. He is intrigued by Christie, etc, but does not fancy her. Yet.
Please review! I hope you've enjoyed Chapter 12 of Moonlight Magician! :D