Shinichi had felt the tug to travel since he was little, a toddler barely capable of speech as his parents took him to place after place. He remembers the joy of seeing a new location, the anticipation that going to an airport would fill him with, the laughter in his parents’ eyes as he pointed to items on the map of where they were going next that he wanted to see.
It had been fun, Shinichi would think wistfully as the years went by, as he turned four and suddenly had two new reasons to stay in Japan (well, he thought, one and her tagalong). He enjoyed Ran’s company, but it wasn’t the same as the utter relief at leaving a country, the wonder of seeing the lights in a city you’ve never been to before.
His parents felt the same, he knew, and he went with them as often as he could when they had the spontaneous urge to go somewhere new. They were contained to Japan, now, but that was okay; he went to the beach with Ran and solved a case with a nice not-pierrot; he went to Nara and pet the deer that approached him, as curious of him as he was of them; he climbed Fuji-san and explored the island of cats and watched the sun shine through the branches in the Arashiyama. He and his parents did everything they could think of.
And, eventually, it would grow to not be enough.
He felt the clawing of dissatisfaction intensify when he was twelve, and went to his parents. They looked at each other, then at him, and his father frowned and knelt to place a hand on his head. “We’ve been nearly everywhere in Japan, Shinichi,” he dad told him, and it felt like an omen.
“Then what can I do?” he asked. His hands itched, and his feet twitched, and his chest felt tight.
His dad frowned, picking up on the anxious tells his son wasn’t bothering to hide. “I’ll fill out the library more,” he said. “Books can take you to different places without having to leave the house –”
“But it isn’t the same,” Shinichi argued, and his dad’s frown deepened.
“I know it isn’t, but do that for now. We’ll figure something out.”
And as Shinichi was leaving the room, he heard his mom. “I feel it too, Yu-chan. I’ll want to leave soon too.”
The only time Shinichi felt like the world itself wasn’t crying out for him to explore was when he was caught up in his own adventures. Solving crimes, investigating places, even playing soccer was enough to make the itch abate. And Ran, his companion in his adventures, was enough to keep the urge to just walk out of the city at bay as well. First as his friend, then as he became her pillar when her parents separated, it was easy to hold off. Ran needs me, he thought, and that was enough to stay.
Two years passed and his parents sat him down. “We’re planning to leave,” his dad said, and Shinichi felt first confusion, and then relief.
“I can go with you?” He asked, a little surprised, and his parents exchanged glances.
“You can,” his mom confirmed, before holding up a hand when he started to speak again. “However, we’ll have to figure something out with your education. We wouldn’t be staying in any one place long enough for you to go to school.”
And that was when reality returned to Shinichi with a sharp, clinical clarity. I have to go to school if I want to be a great detective, he thought. And Ran…
And Ran had started trying to get her parents back together and would email him if she was upset and needed him to grab ice cream for her and Sonoko as the other girl tried to comfort her. I want to go, he thought, felt, ached. But I can’t leave Ran.
His parents read his answer on his face and his mom hugged him to her heart. He wondered if she could feel his own cracking a little.
They took him to Hawaii for a week.
They sent him back alone.
That gap where he wasn’t allowed to go to crime scenes was sort of hell, and Ran spent a lot of that time complaining about him not being home. “Are you sneaking out and trying to solve crimes on your own?” She asked once, fuming at him while Sonoko rolled her eyes on Ran’s other side.
Shinichi frowned. “Of course not,” he huffed back. Not on purpose, he added in his mind. Ran seemed incapable of understanding that if he didn’t look for trouble, then trouble often found him. “I went to Akiba,” he settled on telling them. He heard that there was a convention taking place and wanted to experience it. It was as simple as that.
They didn’t look like they believed him, but he wasn’t going to bother proving it. They didn’t need to see the buttons and the shirt someone convinced him to buy, didn’t need to hear the stories he’d gathered from the people there. He doubted they would share his enjoyment at seeing such passionate people, of living for a moment in a life as fantastical as the ones those people saw.
He went out the next weekend and worked as an extra set of hands for some fishermen, then helped a couple evaporate the weekend after, then saw a geisha performance after that. He was tied to the land, but he wouldn’t let that restrain him.
He went to museums, aquariums, theaters, concerts, conventions, anything to make it feel like he wasn’t dying a little inside. He accidentally got tangled with the Yakuza for a month before parting on amicable terms and visited more hot springs than anyone his age had a right to.
His parents were understanding. He had unlimited access to their travel funds and his dad told him their plan to put aside money into an account just for him. “Once you graduate, you can use that,” he’d said, and Shinichi loved them for it. Any money he made on his odd jobs would go into their travel account to try and make it back to them, and he’d only had a few arguments with them about it.
He learned English when his parents told him of their plan to have him visit America, and he took Ran with him.
The plane seat was more comfortable than any bed could ever be.
After the plane ride and the case that came with it Shinichi was back on call for Division One, and that horrible tightening around his chest, like a noose placed improperly, eased enough for him to be able to take ragged breaths when no one was looking.
The cases kept him sane, the English books he now read kept him content, the weekend adventures kept him happy enough, and Ran kept him in Japan.
He was sixteen when Megure let him ride in a helicopter with him, when he interfered with an attempt to steal a clock tower, when he barely knew what was going on but had the time of his life trying to stop the thief. The urge to leave was sated, but only for a moment, and he chalked it up to the joy of being in a helicopter as it took him away from the scene.
He was seventeen when he went to Tropical Land with Ran – and she never questioned how he knew the amusement park like the back of his hand, how some of the employees would wave at him as he passed and he’d nod back, the free cotton candy they were given as the worker there grinned at the face he made back at them – and solved a case that would lead to a year that felt decades longer.
Being Conan was…an experience. He was tied to the ground in a way he had never been when he was originally a child and that stung in a way, but Ran and the old man were frequent travelers themselves and they would bring him along. He’d forgotten how fun it could be to travel with other people, he wasn’t ashamed to admit.
He met a lot of people on cases that he wouldn’t have on his own, celebrities and masters of their fields, CEOs and their children, went to islands he couldn’t when his parents were still around.
He met the Detective Boys, and he loved that their drive to see everything matched his own. He loved following them on adventures, no matter how much he complained, he tolerated their teasing and their badgering him to play video games with him, he reveled in going on field trips with them and telling them random bits of trivia he’d picked up over the years that they all absorbed with gusto. It wasn’t enough to be happy. He would never say that.
But with this new childhood came a new trauma he’d not had in the last one, the understanding that, had he been in his original body, he could save more people, do more good. He remembered trying to pull a serial killer out of a fire only to not be strong enough, trying to save Miyano Akemi only to not be fast enough, trying to save Ran and only just being enough.
Sometimes he looked down and thought he saw blood on his hands, but then he’d blink and they’d be as clean as he usually kept them.
When his parents kidnapped him and tried to instill the fear of the men in black they thought he lacked, they probably didn’t know that he hadn’t felt that alive in weeks. It should have been his first tip off of who they were, really.
“Come with us, son,” his dad entreated, and Shinichi felt his breath catch, his heart thump for a moment in relief, before reality caught up again and his eyes clamped shut. Ran still needed him, he remembered, now as her support as Shinichi disappeared and wouldn’t call her near enough for her to be happy.
And what if the old man investigated something only for it to be tied to the men in black? What if they tried to silence him? What if he wasn’t as lucky as Shinichi had been?
Shinichi had to stay, and that realization was like a knife in the chest.
“I can’t,” he made himself say, and his parents looked at him in concern even as they said they understood and ensured that the Mouris wouldn’t question where his parents were again.
And he couldn’t help but be sad that, no matter how much they loved him, he wasn’t enough for them to stay.
He made friends he’s not entirely sure he would have were he still Shinichi, but he treasured all of them. Hattori was a great best friend; he may not entirely understand Shinichi’s growing ennui, but he was always willing to show him a different part of Osaka whenever he visited and Shinichi could appreciate that.
Haibara was a partner in crime that Shinichi never expected to make, but would never complain about. Her presence gave him a new purpose: keep her safe from the Black Organization, be her guinea pig for potential cures, be her support when she couldn’t walk on her own anymore. She – and the agony of the cures – made the burning in his lungs and the stinging in his feet feel like nothing in comparison.
There were so many others – Sera, Amuro, Akai, Jodie, Nakamori – and with each new connection made as Conan, each connection severed as Shinichi, he felt like someone was cutting off the ropes that were tying him to port.
And then there was Kaitou Kid.
Shinichi isn’t sure what it was about the thief but going to his heists, chasing after him, doing everything he could to outwit him; that made the creeping dread and the overwhelming desire to leave ease far more effectively than anything he had done before.
Even as he stayed in one place, even as he struggled and screamed through every antidote, even as he felt a moment of relief as he one week went to London and another week plummeted off of a cliff, Shinichi knew that Kid would be there for him to return to.
And that kept him in Japan too.
When the real cure to the apotoxin was created, nearly a year after the day he was shrunk, it felt like someone had put the world on fast forward. Suddenly he was an adult again, suddenly he was talking directly with the FBI, suddenly the Black Organization was being taken down as Bourbon, Vermouth and Kir switched sides or revealed their true allegiances. Suddenly the Black Organization was gone, Ano Kata detained and all of their pillars removed to leave anyone who got out floundering.
The first thing Shinichi did, with the Organization gone and his body back, was sit down Ran and tell her everything.
This, as one might expect, did not end well.
“I appreciate your honesty,” Haibara told him blandly as she handed him another ice pack.
He gave her a smile that was more of a grimace. “You might be the only one,” he told her, before hissing as he tried to keep the ice pack on his shoulder in place while pressing the new one to his rapidly-forming black eye and swelling cheek. Honestly, he thought he deserved the slap, and even Sonoko punching him in the face.
Considering that Sera knew or at least heavily suspected his condition, he thought the body throw was a bit overboard.
Akai walked in, no longer having to hide as Okiya Subaru, and looked at him lying on the couch. “There’s a girl with a ponytail at the gate yelling at you to let her in.”
Shinichi groaned but rolled onto his feet and started moving to answer. “Sure,” he said absently. “I still have a functioning arm. Might as well get this over with now.”
Akai and Haibara frowned at him but knew arguing would be futile.
Maybe if he was punished enough it would make up for the tears he saw in Ran’s eyes.
Ran was avoiding him.
Shinichi saw this coming from a mile away.
It hurt nonetheless.
Sonoko snubbing him in response was as inevitable as the tide. They had barely considered each other friends for years, their only connection being Ran, and with that gone, it had been expected.
Sera was avoiding him too, but if they walked past each other she might slow enough to shoot him a grin. He had a feeling he knew what this sudden radio silence was about, and it had to do with the looks she and Ran would share. He wished the best for them, though he doubted Sera would need it as she would never screw up as much as he had.
He tried to go back to school, but it was as awkward as parts of everyday life were now, especially as he still shared all of his classes with Ran. So he completed all of the makeup work that was assigned to him, spent a few weeks holed up in his library, and sat his exams early. He graduated within two months of his return.
He only left his house for cases and Kid heists these days, as far as his friends knew. They’d never believed him before when he told them he was doing random things in different towns, and he doubted they would suddenly believe him now, so he didn’t bother wasting his breath.
And returning to his wandering was like jumping into a hot bath after weeks of nursing sore muscles. He went to cat cafes and beaches, festivals and casinos, back to following his own whims and reveling in the utter joy that came with that. Traveling and sharing experiences with others was fun, but controlling the pace of the adventure kept Shinichi from losing his mind, and it looked like he could never do both at the same time.
The only other thing that brought him joy outside of the occasional call to solve a crime (which were becoming fewer and fewer because Akai had decided to stick around and there were now four notorious detectives in Beika, three of which were good) and his weekend adventures was attending Kid heists.
Nakamori didn’t take his presence well, at all. With Conan he could easily take most of the credit, and Conan didn’t have an official case success rate like Shinichi did. The other detective he saw at the heists, Hakuba, was equally displeased by his attendance, though he seemed to like him well enough in a non-professional setting.
But Shinichi didn’t go to heists for them.
Kid appeared to revel in Shinichi’s return to adult form, and Shinichi in turn gave as good as he got; jumping over traps, keeping pace with the Moonlight Magician, running until his lungs were burning pleasantly and his legs were shaking from the adrenaline. He sometimes wondered just how in sync his mind was with the thief’s.
He wondered this more when he was sitting on the roof after a heist one night, looking down at the city lights, and heard the flap of fabric in the wind next to him. He swung his legs a little from where they hung over the edge. “Hey Kid,” he greeted.
“Meitantei,” he received back, and he hummed a little at the moniker. It was only silent for another moment before he heard a throat clear. “Could you move more onto the roof?”
“Afraid I’ll fall?” he teased, but withdrew his legs and settled with his body on the roof and his back against the raised lip of the edge. When he was comfortable he heard Kid’s dress shoes step onto the roof as well.
“It wouldn’t be the first time,” the thief teased back. “At least this time it wouldn’t be on purpose.”
Shinichi laughed at that and tilted his head to see Kid standing just out of arm’s reach from him before turning back to examining the night sky. The light from the city hid the stars from view, and Shinichi felt a pang of longing. Maybe his next trip will be out to the country. “Take it easy, Kid,” he said lazily to the air. “The heist’s over; you’re out of bounds.”
There was another pause, as if Kid was trying to figure out Shinichi’s sincerity, before he heard a huff and the sound of dress shoes stepping closer to him. When glanced at him again Kid had settled onto the ledge, facing inwards, his leg inches away from Shinichi and his hand nearly brushing Shinichi’s hair. Shinichi hummed a little before turning back to the sky and following a blinking light with his eyes. Was it a satellite or a plane, he wondered.
“What are you thinking about, Meitantei?” Kid asked, and Shinichi blinked as the light moved behind a cloud and disappeared from view.
“Where I’m going to go next,” he answered. Maybe hiking; the last time he’d gone hiking he’d still been Conan. Maybe Agasa could find a way to invite him along on the Detective Boys’ next field trip.
Kid was silent for a moment. “What do you mean?” The question was sharp, and Shinichi tilted his head a little to see the light glinting off of Kid’s monocle obscuring most of his visage.
“I’m thinking about where I’m going next,” Shinichi repeated. “Maybe hiking, I haven’t seen the stars in a while.” He frowned a little. “It’s still too cold to go on a cruise and enjoy myself.”
Kid let out a breath that almost sounded relieved and turned away for a second. He had soft smile on his face. “I see. I thought…”
Shinichi stared at him, parsed the words, and let out his own sigh. “You thought I was leaving.” He turned his attention to his own feet, at the shoes Agasa remade to fit his adult self now and watched them drag against the rooftop idly. “I’ve considered it,” he confessed and the hand that had settled next to his head twitched slightly.
“Why?” Kid asked, and there was a hollow ring to the words that made Shinichi curl up a little more tightly to try and conserve his remaining body heat.
“Why stick around when you aren’t wanted?” he asked back. Why remain in one place when inaction can fill you with agony, he thought. “I decided years ago that I’d be gone the moment I wasn’t needed anymore.”
The gloved hand by his head moved, and Shinichi started a little as he felt fingers run through his hair and gently, insistently turn his face toward Kid’s. The thief was as inscrutable as ever as he looked at Shinichi and firmly said, “Then I guess you’re never leaving.”
Those words felt like a shock to his system, and his breath hitched as heat bloomed in his chest and spread up to his face. Luckily Kid had turned away to look at the city behind them, and Shinichi prayed he didn’t see the blush on Shinichi’s cheeks or the tears obscuring his vision.
It was only because Kid was the one to say it that the words felt like a comfort and not like a death warrant.
Shinichi was working in a casino as a favor for one of his acquaintances in the Yakuza and talking through the round when he heard an enraged, “Bakaito! What are you doing in a casino?!”
He turned to politely tell the person they appeared to have the wrong person after a quick glance at his players gave him nothing but confusion – only to yelp and jump away from the mop he found swinging at him. He started dodging away from his table.
The girl – who looked astoundingly like Ran – followed. “Aoko can’t believe you! You told Aoko you wouldn’t step in here until we were twenty!”
“Miss, I think you have the wrong person,” Shinichi entreated, only to flinch for his watch when she swung at him again.
“Don’t talk like that! Aoko recognized your voice!”
Of all of the frightening non-criminals Shinichi actually knew, he honestly hadn’t expected someone random to be the one to kill him. He’d had his money on Sonoko, truth be told. When his next backpedal caused him to run into something solid he covered his head and waited for the pain.
A few seconds passed before he cracked an eye open and saw that security had arrived and two men currently each had a hand on one of her arms. “Is there a reason you’re attacking one of my employees, miss?” A voice called out, and Shinichi turned to see Jozu, his acquaintance, striding forward with a tight frown on his face.
Well, he thought an hour later as the young woman – Nakamori Aoko, daughter of the inspector, of all people – took him to get coffee as an apology for assaulting him, he certainly couldn’t complain about the day being boring.
It was two heists later that Nakamori waved him over, and Shinichi felt dread creep like ivy up his spine. His obeyed the beckon and politely ignored how his smile was little more than gritted teeth.
“Kudo,” the man said. It sounded like a curse. But there was an undertone of satisfaction also there, and it made Shinichi wary.
He nodded back nonetheless. “Nakamori-keibu. Can I help you with something?” He cocked his head as the inspector wordlessly gestured to his side, where Hakuba had been standing.
“I’m afraid to say that you are no longer necessary nor wanted for these heists, Kudo-kun,” the blond detective said, and it felt like a knife had worked its way into his body.
Shinichi took a deep breath and tried to hide the pain that ricocheted through him. Not needed. “May I ask why?” he requested, and the other teen gave an assenting sound.
“We have reason to believe that the Kaito Kid’s natural face greatly resembles yours. If you attend a heist, there’s a decent chance that he could knock you out and disguise as you without any need for a face mask, rendering our efforts to check personnel before heists to be fruitless. You have become, I’m afraid to say, a liability.”
Shinichi nodded. “I see.” Not wanted. He swallowed and tried to regain his composure. “I’ll entrust this to you then.” He didn’t see a point in arguing, he knew that Nakamori wasn’t the type that would stand for any disrespect. If he acted on his own Nakamori could very well have him arrested and detained for obstruction.
Hakuba nodded back. “I’m glad you understand, Kudo-kun. Rest assured that we’ll see he gets brought to justice.”
Shinichi’s sure he made some kind of understanding sound, and he had to have physically walked away, but he couldn’t remember anything between that moment and Haibara tugging on his hand. “Kudo-kun?”
He jolted violently and suddenly the sounds of the crowd hit him. He had returned to where the audience was standing – and why did he do that, he wondered hysterically – and Haibara was watching him with well-hidden concern. “Are you alright?” She asked.
No, he wanted to say. No, I feel like I’ve lost everything now. Instead he shrugged and quirked a small smile at her. “I will be,” he said, and she looked like she was willing to trust him on that.
“So you’re going to watch the show this time?” she asked, and he shrugged again.
“Something like that,” he told her, before gently releasing her hand to ruffle her hair and make her shoot him a venomous glare.
Shinichi had often likened his situation to a boat that had been tied to port by various ropes, with the ropes all being things that kept him in Japan. Three of them, finishing his education, being old enough, and taking down the organization, had broken a few months ago, along with one of the largest ones: Ran needing him.
Slowly, after that, the other ties snapped one by one. Division One didn’t need him anymore, not with all of the detectives running around. The FBI didn’t need him now that the Organization was gone, Hattori didn’t need him – he had to assume, seeing as he hadn’t heard from the other detective in weeks because Kazuha was so angry with him on Ran’s behalf she got mad at Hattori for talking to him. The Detective Boys didn’t even know him, and Agasa had Haibara. Haibara had Agasa, the Detective Boys, and Akai to keep her safe now.
All that had been left, the only thing he had tying him to Japan, had been Kid. His heists, his riddles, the chase. Simply Kid. It had been the strongest tie he’d had in the end. And now it was gone.
He felt lost at sea, Shinichi realized, staring blankly ahead as the people around him starting counting down to when the heist would begin. All of his ropes were gone, but he was just…drifting away.
It felt awful.
Whatever else Shinichi was going to think in this strange fugue state shattered as Haibara’s hand suddenly clamped down on his again and she pushed herself as much as possible against his legs. His eyes shot down to see her shaking. “Haibara? Hey! Are you okay?”
“They’re here.” Her voice was barely audible and Shinichi crouched down to better hear her. “Kudo-kun, they’re here.”
What? But they’d taken down the Organization! He bit back his questions and slipped off his jacket to drop on top of her, pulling the hood up to obscure her hair and face. He then pulled out his Conan glasses that he’d taken to carrying with him and slipped them on. A push of a few buttons and the infrared vision flickered to life before his eyes. He swept the buildings around them and then –
“Ladies and gentlemen!”
There, on an adjacent building. Single person, too far to be in a good position for media personnel. He switched to night vision, zoomed in, and saw the gun. “Stay near the police,” he told Haibara, and he waited long enough for her to nod before tearing off toward the building.
As he ran he pulled out his phone and called Jodie. When she picked up he gave her the relevant information and she agreed to send people his way to help detain the man. They wouldn’t be fast enough, but that was alright.
He didn’t have anything left to lose.
Sneaking onto the rooftop honestly wasn’t the hardest thing he’d ever done. He took the elevator until he was about five levels from the roof and went the rest of the way by foot, inflating a soccer ball when he was a floor away. When he got there the man’s gun – a sniper rifle – was trained on the building the Kid heist was taking place in, and he had a second to line up and kick the ball before the man noticed him.
The ball hit its mark and sent the rifle skittering away from the man, stunning him enough for Shinichi to inflate another ball and send it slamming into the sniper’s face. As he was bent over and groaning Shinichi was able to close the distance and shoot a tranquilizing dart straight into his neck.
As he waited for the FBI team to arrive Shinichi tied the man up with his and the man’s belts and patted him down. He found a paper on the man and quirked a brow as he read it.
Itt wn bpm wbpmza izm owvm
Vwe qa vwb bpm bqum bw nitbmz
Lw ia gwc emzm qvabzckbml
Wvm apwctl jm mvwcop
Zmuiqv nzmm, uioxqm
Ivl bpm kzwea eqtt zmbczv
He blinked at the note for moment before running the first line through various caesarian shifts. With the key found he ran through the entire note again.
All of the others are gone
Now is not the time to falter
Do as you were instructed
One should be enough
Remain free, magpie
And the crows will return
While not explicit, it said more than enough for Shinichi. He took out his phone and snapped a picture, first of the message and then of the man.
The rest of the wait he spent on the roof, watching the heist through his glasses and smiling at what little he could see. The squad arrived just as Kid appeared on the roof, to the roar of approval from the audience, and Shinichi shut off the telescopic function to turn and talk with them.
“Glad you caught this guy, Boss,” one of them said, and he laughed as he watched the man carefully disassemble the sniper rifle.
“Last I checked I wasn’t anything close to your superior, McCoy.”
The American grinned at him. “You might as well be. Last I heard, some of the FBI are –”
Whatever the FBI were doing Shinichi would never know as that was when Jodie appeared and all of them came to attention. Shinichi offered her a nod that she returned with a slight smile before he went back to an impatiently waiting Haibara. The only people left as the scene besides them were the police, who shot him a nervous look as they clearly recognized the boy who’d just been banned from participating in heists, but he ignored them to crouch down next to his friend.
“Well?” she demanded when he was level with her, and he smiled and flashed her his phone with the photo of the captured man. Her breath left her in a whoosh.
“I got him,” he said needlessly. “He’s now detained by the FBI. And,” he flicked his thumb to show her the next picture, the encoded message that she decrypted as quickly as he did, “he should be the last of them.”
She raised a shaking hand to swipe back to the photo of the captured man, and stared. “It’s over?” she asked, and he smiled softly at her.
He didn’t say anything as she threw herself at him and cried into his shoulder, only rubbed her back with a gentle hum. When she stopped but didn’t release his neck he picked her up and carried her back to Agasa’s.
When his windows blew open that night Shinichi threw himself out of bed on the other side more as a survival instinct than any actual thought-out plan, his phone getting knocked off his bedside table along the way. This was apparent when he hit the ground with an oomph and, when he connected the dots on who that could possibly be, groaned into his plush carpet. When a peek over the bed confirmed that it was indeed Kid, perched on his window sill like a demented gargoyle in a top hat, he slowly got to his feet and shuffled over. “Kid?” he enquired, and felt a flash of apprehension as Kid’s face remained hidden from view.
“You weren’t at the heist tonight.” The thief accused, and Shinichi was ready to argue that he was there, what did he –
“You are no longer necessary nor wanted for these heists.”
– right. “I was…detained,” Shinichi told him, and Kid twitched like he wanted to make a gesture and had forced himself to stop.
“What could have detained you?” he asked, sounding genuinely irritated, and for a second Shinichi was tempted to tell him about Hakuba and Nakamori, about being banned from the heists, and not being needed anymore.
But what if he agreed with them? Kid already had a history of dressing like Shinichi, both to help Shinichi and to mess with him, and what if he started dressing like Shinichi as a simple solution to move around the heist scenes as he pleased after finding a way to let him participate again?
Shinichi wanted to be needed, but he refused to be used anymore.
So instead he took out his phone, got the picture of the sniper from last night, and offered it to Kid. It disappeared from his hand as the thief took it to scrutinize the photo and went so still that for a second Shinichi wondered if he’d replaced himself with a dummy and vanished. “I saw him at your heist and captured him. The previous photo –” Kid swiped to bring that one up “– implied that he was the last free member of the Organization. He’s in the custody of the FBI now.”
Kid was silent, but Shinichi thought he saw a tremor run down his arm, gone before it reached his hand. “So he’s gone? He’s not running around anymore?”
“He’s not running around anymore,” Shinichi confirmed.
And then suddenly there was a thief in his arms trying to hug the life out of him.
Tension flowed in and then out of Shinichi like a wave on a shore before he hesitantly raised an arm to herd the other teen closer to him. Kid followed the direction and loosened his grip on Shinichi, tucking his face into the detective’s neck. Shinichi felt a great shudder run through Kid’s frame and sighed softly, rubbing Kid’s back as he felt liquid drip onto his neck. Him too, huh. These people sure knew how to bring ruin wherever they went.
They stayed like that for a few minutes, Kid trembling occasionally before tightening his grip on Shinichi’s sleepshirt and releasing it again. Shinichi didn’t say anything, and eventually Kid released a shuddering breath before slumping forward in Shinichi’s arms. Shinichi blinked at him, momentarily stupefied, and gently moved him to sit him on the bed.
His monocle was skewed and his hat nowhere to be seen, but Shinichi just smiled and adjusted the eyewear to sit comfortably on Kid’s face again, before his hand drifted down to Kid’s cheek to brush away the shimmering tear track he saw there. Kid gave him a brief smile and began carefully tucking away his thoughts behind a neutral expression. “Thank you, Meitantei. That was…relieving to hear.”
“I can imagine,” he said lightly, tugging gently on Kid’s hair before letting go and stepping back, missing the way Kid’s breath hitched at the action. He nodded to the phone that had reappeared in the thief’s hands. “Email that to yourself if you’d like, I imagine you can keep where you got it a secret.”
Kid smirked at him even as he unlocked the phone – his hands fumbled on the password for a second and Shinichi smirked back when Kid gave him an almost flustered glance – and started up an email. Shinichi looked away and instead checked his traveling pack. He’d packed it the night before, but had been so out of it from the adrenaline rush of finally destroying the Black Organization that he wanted to make sure he’d packed the right sized clothing.
He had just taken out the suspenders Agasa had remade for him and was contemplating if he really wanted to bring them along when he noticed that Kid wasn’t typing anymore and was instead watching him with an amused smile, arms wrapped around a bent knee. He folded the suspenders away with an almost embarrassed huff. “Can I help you?”
Kid’s smile widened into a grin. “I would say you’ve already done more than enough tonight, Meitantei. I should really go.” The man got up with a swirl of his cape and slipped the hat that had just appeared in his hand back into place.
Shinichi nodded and watched the thief walk back to his open window. “It was good to see you, Kid,” he said, and Kid paused on his window sill. He felt the other’s eyes flit back to him for a moment.
“And you, Meitantei,” the thief said, and then he was gone.
A quick glance through his email history confirmed that Kid had deleted the message from the sent folder and removed it from suggested contacts, and Shinichi turned the phone back off with a fond smile.
With Kid gone Shinichi considered going back to bed, but he was jittery with the rude awakening he’d received, and so grabbed his laptop and retreated to the library. He had wanted to examine the note a little more, and now was as good a time as any. Once he’d settled onto his couch he opened his laptop and typed in the translated note.
The English seems deliberate, he mused as he stared at it. He searched English and magpie, and read through the nursery rhyme that came up. It wouldn’t be a stretch for an Organization that used the Nanatsu no Ko in their communications to use nursery rhymes from other languages.
One for sorrow, seems fitting, he thought grimly before looking a little further. Oh? “Jackdaws, crows and other Corvidae are known to be used instead of magpies in places like America where magpies aren’t common,” he read out loud.
If you only counted based on the crows from Nanatsu no Ko, it would be “a secret never to be told” or “the devil himself”, both also fitting. But add in the stray magpie and it became “a wish”.
That still wasn’t enough information, he groused, if it was anything at all. It didn’t tell him anything about what the secret was or what they wished for. But, before he could try and look deeper into the rhyme, he heard a throat clear behind him and nearly jumped out of his skin, his hands flinching as he stifled the instinct to protect himself. He spun around to see Akai standing there, looking slightly abashed but mostly amused.
“If you’re so tired you didn’t even notice me coming in then you should be in bed,” he admonished, but Shinichi just shrugged back at him.
“Couldn’t sleep,” he told the older man, and Akai hummed in acknowledgment.
“Mind if I join you then? I’ll be leaving shortly.”
Shinichi waved him further in and watched him in curiosity. “It’s oddly early for you to need to head out.” With the stuff that happened with Kid and his research it was only – he checked a nearby clock and grimaced – three in the morning.
“Masumi’s somehow managed to wrangle our entire family into going on a trip to the countryside with her and Mouri-san,” Akai told him. “I should be back in a week.” Shinichi tucked that information away. Less people to make food for, especially as Haibara and Agasa were going camping with the Detective Boys for a week as well, but that also meant Shinichi would be cooking all of the meals he was at home alone.
“Have fun,” Shinichi said, and Akai gave him a smile before settling into his chair with a book he’d grabbed from one of the nearby shelves. Shinichi looked back down at his laptop to continue his research and froze.
When his hands had twitched he’d managed to type gibberish onto the document (away from the message fortunately) and align everything to the left. And there, running down his screen, was possibly his last clue.
Shinichi wished Haibara, Agasa, and the kids a fun time camping and studiously avoided the look Haibara was leveling him. He’d slowly been looking worse and worse as of late, he knew, and his suddenly upswing in health that morning, while relieving, was most likely suspicious to her. But it looked like this time she was going to count her blessings with him and reminded him to eat regularly while she and Agasa were gone.
Once the car was out of sight Shinichi burst into action, settling the house into the state his family used for when it was vacated for a short amount of time. When he finished he grabbed his travel pack and checked it one last time.
Clothes, toiletries, gadgets he might need, identification, and a ticket to Greece. Shinichi smiled and threw the bag on, checking the locks one last time before slipping on his shoes and leaving, locking the door firmly behind himself.
His taxi arrived ten minutes later, as instructed, and he was taken to the airport.
Shinichi didn’t know what Kid was looking for, why the Organization had been trying to kill him, what the leader of the Organization “wished” for, or what any of that had to do with something called Pandora, but he was going to find out.
He was waved through security quickly and settled into a seat in the airplane in short order. As he read through a basic introduction to the Greek language, he thought briefly to the people who would notice his leaving. Haibara, Agasa, and Akai, definitely, but they were all adults who didn’t need him sticking around for one reason or another, and could support one another like they have been.
Hattori would notice, but that may be some time yet, seeing as the two could barely interact without Hattori getting in trouble with Kazuha – at least that’s what Sera had told Akai, who in turn told Shinichi.
Division One might notice, but they had more than enough detectives hanging around these days to pick up his slack.
Kid would definitely notice, but – “no longer necessary nor wanted” – he had Division Two and Hakuba to keep himself entertained.
Shinichi closed his eyes as the plane’s engines started up and began to lull him to sleep. It was fine.
No one really needed him anymore.
Shinichi wasn’t sure what surprised him more. The fact that his English and what he’d learned of the written language was enough to get him through Greece without much issue, or that the first tiny bookstore he found and asked about a gem associated with Pandora immediately got him a crumbling paperback about obscure Greek myths.
Either way, he spent the next four hours holed up in his hotel room reading the book and hoping no one was dropping dead outside because he’d siphoned away all of their luck.
So it was a gem that reacted to moonlight and granted immortality under special circumstances…honestly, with the life Shinichi has lived, the existence of an immortality stone wasn’t as surprising as it could have been.
But how was he going to find the stone? Or, more importantly, examine a potential candidate under moonlight?
It was at this point, as he wasn’t looking for any trouble in the slightest, that a hand landed on his shoulder. “Hey there, boyo, mind serving as a temporary hostage?”
Shinichi felt a grin creep onto his face and thanked his luck for the first time in a long while. “Only if you don’t mind helping me steal a particular gem, Lupin-san.”
A familiar face appeared, grinning cheerily back at him. “I’m listening.”