Recovering the Self
Chapter 1: The Things We Find
So, to everyone waiting for updates for my other stories...I am SORRY! I just...I only work well when I'm inspired, and so I have been starting a lot of different stories recently.
I WILL get to the others, but this is my newest (hopefully inspired) work. Somewhat overused premise, but with a twist.
Hope you like it!
Parings: Initial Kaito X Shinichi, eventual Kaito X Conan/Kaito X Shinichi
Please review! Thanks so much!
"Eep! Save me, Shin-chan!"
Stepping swiftly aside to give Nakamichi an open shot, Shinichi smirked at Kaito's full pout as he walked back to join him, rubbing a slightly sore shoulder, a few minutes later.
"It's only fair, you know. After all, it's not like you ever give your victims fair warning."
"But they are forewarned that I will not warn, and thus, they ARE warned, so see? I don't believe in cheap shots!"
"Uh-huh, sure, Kaito. That was a sneaky bulls-eye, though, planting it in his gym bag…I presume you noticed how he likes to use hair-spray after gym class?"
"Yep! I noticed that habit a long time ago, Shin-chan!"
"That wasn't a compliment, you know."
"Oh, but the new color fits him so well! Weren't you saying he needed to be taken down a few pegs, anyway?"
Mumbling to himself, but not quite fighting back a smile, he just sighed and said: "I know there's not much I can do to stop you, you stupid magician…"
"Well maybe there's something…" he winked at Shinichi suggestively, earning him a lovely blush, along with some incoherent growls, in return.
"Haha, I do love that shade…but you're basically right! Even Ran-chan's fearsome martial arts skills are only a consideration for when and where to strike, not a deciding factor."
Shinichi's head suddenly shot up. "Oh, crap! Ran! I forgot I'd promised to walk home with her after school today!
"That's nothing special, we often walk with Ran-chan."
"Yeah, but yesterday was her Karate championship, and I told her I'd take her to tropical land if she won."
"Oh? Well, I believe I glimpsed the lovely lady a few minutes ago. We mustn't keep her waiting, then, huh?" The messy-haired teen grabbed Shinichi's hand, grinning at the blush that broke out, once again, on his face, before pulling him around to race to the front gates.
People tended to give Kaito a wide berth, no doubt afraid of any spare prank liable to occur to him at any passing second, so Shinichi had to admit they made quite quick progress running together like this.
"Sorry, Ran-chan! I'm afraid I detained him," stopping before a slightly irate-looking Mouri Ran, Kaito twirled and presented her with a yellow rose.
A smile tugging at her lips, Ran just shook her head. "Oh, that's okay, Kaito-kun, better late than never. I bet Shinichi would have completely forgotten if he'd been alone. You do remember, right, Shinichi?" She turned quickly to face her childhood friend, smiling dangerously.
"Oh, uh, yeah, of course, Ran," Shinichi nervously rubbed the back of his head, not quite making eye-contact. "Tropical land, right?"
"Oh, speaking of, Ran-chan, you were awesome at the Karate finals! Shin-chan here was just reminding me that I'd do best not to cross you," as he finished, he slid ever-so-slightly away from her, but he kept grinning the whole time.
"Aw, thanks," Ran responded, giggling slightly. "Do you want to join us, Kaito-kun? This is something Shinichi promised me years ago-that he'd take me to Tropical Land if I ever won the Karate Championship-back before I knew you that well, but you're more than welcome to come along. You might distract the Detective-otaku from Holmes for a change!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, Ran-chan," and Kaito genuinely looked like he meant it. "I have something I need to do this evening, but I'll join up later tonight, okay? How about if I catch up with you guys for the park fireworks?"
Kaito turned to see Shinichi, who had been watching him, quickly avert his gaze, a slight pink tinge on his cheeks.
"Are you going to miss me, Shin-chan?"
"Barou. As if I would."
Leaning in, Kaito planted a quick kiss on the detective's lips, pulling away before he could make any coherent objection.
Ran and Shinichi both blushing like tomatoes at the openly affectionate display, Kaito grinned and quickly hugged his boyfriend of several months.
"Kaito! We're in public!" Shinichi hissed, but let the magician continue to hug him, his traitorous blush becoming increasingly obvious. "What's wrong with you? I'll see you in a few hours!"
Stopping the massage-like motions he had started administering to Shinichi's back, Kaito said, partly to himself, "Yeah, I know, but for some reason…I have this odd feeling that it's going to be longer…"
Sighing, Shinichi pried Kaito's arms from his shoulders and shook his head, smiling.
"Don't be ridiculous. I'll see you soon, okay?"
Making sure they were safe from prying eyes, Shinichi quickly leaned in and pecked Kaito lightly on the lips before turning quickly, grabbing Ran by the arm, and making straight for the road.
Kaito grinned after them as they left, but he couldn't help this creeping suspicion, this nagging anxiety. Shaking his head to rid it of these inexplicable worries, a mischievous grin crept onto his face as he remembered his 'plans' for the evening.
Shin-chan had stopped him quite effectively that night at the clock-tower, so he really had to raise the bar. He couldn't let his favorite crime-solving mind get rusty, now could he? What was that next gem again? The black star?
Crap! I'm going to be late!
The fireworks had already begun, and he was only now passing Shinichi's house. Man, was Shinichi going to kill him for keeping them waiting…And why did it just have to start raining? At this rate, they'd probably have to stop with the fireworks before he made it, anyway.
Speeding around the corner, Kaito's foot met something soft and lumpy, and he suddenly found himself on his side in a rain puddle.
"Oww," rubbing his head, he looked to see what he'd tripped over.
A pile of clothes? No wait, is it shaking? Forgetting about his own aching head, he slowly approached and crouched down in front of what he realized, with a start, was a little boy with dark hair. He was hunched over, looking down at his knees, and his face was partly obscured by the lop-sided hood of his jacket, but Kaito could see fear and confusion written all over what he could see of the boy's face. And he was crying.
"Hey kid, are you okay? I'm sorry if I hurt you," Kaito said softly, leaning in and lightly gripping the boy's shoulders. He looked no more than 6 or 7, and he was very cold and wet. His outfit was far too big for him, too. What had happened to him?
"Can you hear me? Does it hurt?" The boy slowly raised his eyes to meet Kaito's, and the magician felt an odd thumping in his chest. Those eyes, so sad…were so…familiar. Just like-but this wasn't the time. The boy had begun shivering in the cold, and tears were starting to roll down his cheeks in earnest.
For some reason, seeing this little boy looking so lost made Kaito feel unbearably sad. Automatically, he leaned down and drew the boy to his chest, wrapping his jacket around him, trying to warm him with rubbing motions on his back.
"Let's get you inside and I'll figure out what to do with you," Kaito said softly. Looking behind him, he noticed that they really were right next to Shinichi's house. "I'm sure he won't mind if we borrow his place. This is an emergency, after all," Kaito said, mostly to himself, as he carried the shivering boy, pressed to his chest, around to the Kudou mansion. Typing in the lock code he'd known by heart long before they'd actually made their relationship official, Kaito stepped through the gate, and with practiced expertise, unlocked the front door with a bobby pin.
Flipping on the lights, Kaito carried the boy, who seemed to have dozed off, up to the library, and set him gently on the couch, quickly peeling off the wet over-sized jacket. Odd. I know I've seen that jacket before…but having more important things to worry about at the second, Kaito raced off for towels and a trunk where he knew Kudou Yukiko was fond of keeping old clothes and toys of Shinichi's from when he was little. Grabbing a child-sized blue blazer, khaki shorts and white undershirt (a little too Shinichi-ish an outfit, he thought, chuckling to himself), he ran back to attend to the mystery child.
Dressing him gently, drying him off, Kaito ran off to make some hot chocolate (hey, sounds good to me, and kids like hot chocolate, right?) and rang Shinichi's cell. It went straight to the answering machine. Deciding he'd try again later, Kaito pocketed his phone and continued working on the hot cocoa.
The boy was stirring when he returned.
"Hey, sleepyhead! Finally decided to wake up?"
Blinking and rubbing his eyes, the boy twitched a little at Kaito's voice and scooted backwards quickly, pressing himself against the arm of the couch, eyes darting around nervously.
"Hey, it's okay! What are you scared of?" Kaito spoke quietly, and approached him slowly, crouching down. It was only then, as the boy turned to huddle his face in the couch, that Kaito noticed the dried blood on the back of his head.
"Hey. Wait a second, is that?" Horrified, Kaito quickly told the boy to stay still before rushing off to get some wet washcloths and a first aid kit.
"I'm not going to hurt you, I promise," he said softly when he'd returned barely a minute later. "I just want to wash that wound so it doesn't get infected, okay?"
Slowly, he saw the boy nod and Kaito smiled, gently setting himself beside him on the couch, and ever-so-gently pulling him onto his lap, whispering softly, "I promise I'm not going to hurt you."
The boy's face softened, and he nodded again, crawling more fully onto Kaito's lap and turning obediently to let him get at his head wound. Someone really got him badly, Kaito thought angrily. It's like someone hit him with a metal pole on the back of the head, but who would hit a child like that…?
After cleaning the wound, Kaito began to smooth his hands through the neat, slightly damp hair, getting a better look at the damage. It looked like it must have really hurt, but hopefully there wouldn't be any permanent damage. Kaito treated his own wounds enough to have basic medical knowledge, but he wasn't entirely confident, particularly with head wounds…
"Hm, maybe we should take you to the hospital," Kaito said aloud, but at this, the boy began shaking, and suddenly turning around, clutched to Kaito's shirt, shaking his head insistently.
"No, I want to…stay here with…" and he shuddered again, his tiny voice sounding very scared and strained.
Leaning down, Kaito gathered him in his arms again, hugging him tightly to his chest.
"It's nice to see you have a voice," he joked softly. "We really should get you looked at, though. Oh, and your parents must be really worried. What's your name?" He asked gently, rubbing his hands over the boy's small frame, carefully avoiding that spot on his head.
"It's…" and the boy began to shake violently again.
"What? What's wrong? Hey, did I say something wrong?"
The boy shook his head and suddenly buried his face in Kaito's chest. And then, as if he'd taken strength from it, he looked up into Kaito's indigo-blue eyes and said softly, seriously, "I…don't know."
"You don't know what's wrong?"
"No, I don't…know my name…"
Kaito's heart froze. Could this be because of that head wound? That's it, I have to take him to the hospital, but…if the kid really doesn't know who he is, then what will happen? I guess they'll draw blood and find out who his parents are, have them come get him…
But something about this seemed off. Why had he been alone in the first place? Why had he been wearing those odd clothes? Clothes which, honestly, Kaito could swear he'd seen Shinichi wear-but what kind of parent lets their 6-year old run around dressed like that?
He couldn't be homeless, could he? And what about that head wound?
Something about the fear in his eyes struck Kaito to the core of his being. They were intelligent, almost terrifyingly so, but they were lost…why was he so scared of going to the hospital? Did he think they'd put him with a random foster family? Maybe they would, Kaito mused, and for some reason, the thought terrified him, and he clutched the boy to his chest.
"Don't worry. I won't leave you until we find your parents, okay?"
"Do you promise?"
Kaito smiled down at those penetrating blue eyes. "I promise," and he mussed his hair gently.
"Oh, but we should come up with a name for you, at least. Until we get the blood samples back, that is…I'm Kuroba Kaito, by the way." Smiling down at the eyes which widened inexplicably as he said his name, he made some blue smoke appear, leaving where it had been a little stuffed bloodhound finger-puppet. "Magician extraordinaire!" And he made the little finger puppet kiss the boy's cheek, bringing a smile to those serious little features.
"Cool," he said, taking the little dog. "I'll call him Sherlock."
"Sherlock, huh?" Kaito was watching him with supreme amusement. "Don't tell me you're a Holmes fan, too?"
The boy's eyes widened, and he looked confused. "Um, I think…that sounds familiar," he said.
"Hm, smart kid...Well, then, I should introduce you to Shinichi sometime! You know, you actually look a lot like him, come to think of it…then again, maybe I shouldn't let you two hang out. He'll be too encouraged when he hears you like Holmes. Might make a project out of you!" Kaito missed the look of confused, vague recognition that passed the boy's face as the magician said Shinichi's name.
"Well, so do you have any ideas? Anything sound okay to you? Not Sherlock, I beg of you," Kaito said, winking.
Hopping off Kaito's lap, the boy began to wander around the Kudou library, reading the names of book authors. His eyes fixed on a group of books in particular. "Conan…" he said softly.
"Conan? Hmm…not too bad, but you're really fond of that Holmes motif, aren't you?"
The little boy turned back sheepishly, smiling shyly. "Yeah, I, I guess so…"
"Well, if it works for you, it sounds fine to me! Conan it is! So, Conan-kun," he said, testing how the words felt rolling off his tongue, "If you're really against going to the hospital, I have an idea. Shinichi's next door neighbor is a kind of genius scientist, and though he is more into my arena of gadgets and everything, he still knows more than I do about medicine. So why don't we go ask him to check you out? What do you say?"
"Oh, okay," Conan said, looking at his feet. Shyly looking up he said, "Um, you're coming with me, right, Kaito-niichan?"
Beaming down at him and crouching to pull him into another little hug, Kaito said "I'm definitely coming with you, Conan-kun. In fact…if Agasa-hakase thinks you're fine, what would you say to living with me for a while?"
"Really?" The boy's face lit up with hope, and Kaito smiled, stroking his soft little cheek.
"Really really. We can tell people you're my cousin, but we can be brothers when we're alone. We sure look enough alike. What do you say? Think you can put up with me? I'm not a very good cook…"
Nodding enthusiastically, a genuine smile lighting up his face, Conan flung his arms around Kaito's neck, burying his head in his shoulder. "Thank you, Kaito-niichan," he whispered.
Smiling and clutching his charge to his chest, Kaito locked Shinichi's front door, thinking vaguely that he was definitely going to owe Shinichi an explanation after all of this, and buzzed the door of his next-door neighbor.
"Yes, yes, coming," the slightly harried yet kindly voice of Agasa-hakase could be heard before he opened the door, eyes staring for a second before something seemed to click.
"Oh, Kaito-kun, am I right? Sorry, I thought Shinichi had changed his hair on me for a second there," he laughed to himself.
"Haha, that would be scary, for sure. Um, Hakase, I was wondering if you could help me…this boy…"
Eyes widening, Hakase stepped aside to usher the two in, quickly leading Kaito, still cradling Conan gently in his arms, to a couch.
"Is he okay? Who is he?"
Kaito shook his head. "I just found him outside a little while ago, and it seems like something really bad happened to him. I found him wearing clothes that didn't fit him at all, and judging from the wound on the back of his head, something hit him really hard. The worst of it is, he's lost his memory, at least temporarily. And he's really terrified of going to the hospital, I think because he's worried he'll be taken away to live with strangers…"
Frowning and stroking Conan, who had dozed off again on the walk over, on the cheek, Kaito continued. "I mean, I know I was a stranger at first, but he knows me now, and I can't imagine how terrifying it would be to remember nothing and then to be torn away from the only new memories you've made…" He trailed off, but turned to meet Agasa's gaze.
"Can you really quickly check to make sure he's okay? Run some scans? I have some knowledge of first-aid, but I want to be sure. And do you think you could run some blood tests? Figure out who his parents are?"
"Yes, that's all perfectly fine, Kaito-kun. But what are you going to do with the boy?"
"I already spoke with Conan-kun about it, and I'm going to take him in for a while," Kaito responded, brushing some wispy hair out of Conan's face, tracing his finger gently over his rounded cheekbones.
"Oh, I see…" Agasa was looking at the boy strangely. "It's odd. He looks just like Shinichi used to when he was young…it's absolutely striking. If I didn't know better, I'd say our detective got himself shrunk! But then again, you have an uncanny resemblance to Shinichi yourself, Kaito-kun."
"Yeah," Kaito said absently, gazing thoughtfully at the face before him. Conan-kun really did remind him of a younger Shinichi, but…Shinichi never looked lost like this boy did. Those empty, confused eyes didn't belong on this face, as surely as they didn't belong on Shinichi's.
Conan shivered a little in his sleep, and Kaito rubbed his arms gently to try to warm him up, careful not to wake him. Poor kid must be exhausted after…whatever happened to land him in this condition...
Deciding to take advantage of the boy being out, Hakase quickly drew a little blood and ran some scans with an old MRI machine he'd upgraded himself.
Conan came to on a couch in Agasa's living room. His head still ached but at least the terrifying emptiness he woke with was quickly quieted when he heard Kaito's laughing voice. For some reason, that niichan really made him feel like things were going to be okay. Ouch, but his head really hurt, and he felt so weak…
There was a sizzling sound coming from the kitchen, and Conan slowly lifted up from the couch, listening to the voices of the two adults as he neared them.
"So it will take several weeks for the blood tests to give us any conclusive information," Agasa was saying. "To be certain of his identity, that is, and to compare it with records… That's just an estimate, however. The actual blood-work takes no time at all, it's just the matching his identity which is problematic."
"But he seems fine, otherwise?"
"Yes, as far as I can see. At first it seemed as if there were trace amounts of something odd in his bloodstream, but that could have been almost anything. And certainly not enough of anything to do any real damage. No, I think the boy is just tired…now as far as the brain scans go…"
Kaito drew a quick, sharp intake of breath.
"I don't think the memory-loss is directly connected to his head wound, as he was hit in the back of his head, but there is no apparent damage to the occipital or parietal lobes at all…there were, however, some readings showing abnormal activity in the hippocampus…It seems fine physically, though."
"The hippocampus is important for long-term memory, am I right?"
"That's right, but there is of course no one part of the brain which is responsible for any one function, nor can we predict exactly what damage to one area might do…but certainly, it is part of the limbic system, and is important for spatial understanding and memory. From what I've seen and you've told me, he has retrograde amnesia, so he shouldn't have any problems forming new memories."
"Do you think he'll get better, Hakase?" Kaito gazed at him in concentration, not a hint of humor in his usually laughing voice.
"He should, though how quickly and in what order his memories return, I can't say for sure. Most likely his most recent will be last, however…This isn't my area of expertise, you know, but I understand that memory is something incredibly hard to predict. The brain is such a complex and fragile organ, after all. We should be careful, too, about what we tell him when we do figure out things about his past. Forcing too much information on him, after all, could get him to close up, locking the memories inside."
"Yeah, and it's possible the memory loss is due to shock…I understand. And I'll help him, professor. It doesn't matter how long it takes, I'll help him to remember."
"Um, Kaito-niichan?" A soft voice spoke up behind the two men, and Kaito spun to meet the sleepy eyes of his new 'brother.'
"Oh, hey there, kiddo! What is it?"
"Um, I was wondering…where's the bathroom?" He asked quietly.
"It's right down the hallway to the right," Agasa said kindly, smiling down at him.
Conan instinctually moved to clutch at Kaito's legs, looking shyly up at the older man. Kaito chuckled and bent down, ruffling Conan's hair as he hoisted him onto his shoulders.
"Don't be shy, Co-chan! This is Agasa-Hakase! He's an old friend of Shinichi-niichan's," he said, grinning, putting a slightly childish lilt on the honorific.
The boy smiled shyly down at the professor, and another jolt ran through him, like a sudden, sharp headache which passed just as quickly. He smiled down at the worried eyes around him.
"I'm sorry, Agasa-hakase, it's...nice to meet you, I'm um…Kuroba Conan." No sooner had the name left his mouth, that Conan noticed his heart beating rapidly for some reason.
"Nice to meet you, too, Conan-kun. You're welcome here anytime, you know, but how about if I finish up supper while Kaito-kun shows you to the bathroom?"
"Okay," Conan responded with a shy smile before hiding his face in Kaito's messy hair.
Strange, Kaito couldn't help but think as he watched the fragile-seeming little boy pull his hand from his grip and disappear into the bathroom, in some ways, he seems like such a little kid, but those eyes…I know it's because he looks so much like Shin-chan, but it feels like more than that…like he's trying to tell me something, maybe something he doesn't even understand…
Oh, I'm definitely thinking too far into this. Poor kid, he shouldn't have to deal with this. Well, all I can do is make him as happy as possible…and maybe get the bastards who did this to him in the meantime…
"Shinichi?" Kaito shot his head around at the familiar voice, as a frantic Ran raced up behind him. "Shini-oh, Kaito-kun! Thank goodness! Have you seen Shinichi?"
"Wait, what?" Kaito stared at Ran, who looked much more disheveled than she normally did, face red from running, eyes wide in worry. "He was with you, wasn't he? At tropical land?"
"He was…but he disappeared before we were supposed to meet you for the fireworks, and…he hasn't been picking up his phone or answering his door, or…"
As her words and worried expression washed over Kaito, a thick sense of dread flooded him, and his chest constricted, heart beginning to pound in his ears. Forcing a smile, he said "It's Shinichi, Ran-chan, I'm sure he just got caught up in some case and turned his phone off… you know how he is."
"Yeah," Ran said, though she didn't look entirely convinced. "Well I'll tell you what, you better tell that tantei-otaku that he's going to have some serious explaining to do Monday at school, okay, Kaito-kun?"
"Um, yes, ma'am!" Kaito squeaked.
"Um, niichan? Kaito-niichan? Is Shinichi-niichan in trouble or something?"
Crouching down before the little boy exiting the bathroom, Kaito grinned and poked him lightly on the tip of his nose. "Not at all! He's just doing what detectives do…but you know, Conan-kun, detective stuff isn't the only fun thing to do. How about if I show you some more magic when we get home? If you work at it, maybe you can be my new assistant!"
"Really?" The little boy's eyes lit up with childish excitement and Kaito laughed, feeling that maybe he'd been seriously over-thinking the whole grown-up eyes thing…
"Kaito-kun, who's this child? He's so cute!" Squealing a little, Ran bent down and hugged Conan to her chest, smiling as he inched closer to Kaito and took his hand when she released him.
"Long story, Ran-chan, but let's just say he's with me now," Kaito said, smiling. "Kuroba Conan-kun, future magician extraordinaire! Right, Conan-kun?"
"Uh, yeah!" Conan squeezed the hand gripping his a little tighter and laughed as Kaito picked him up and threw him, gently, in the air, catching him securely in his hold and grinning at him, bumping their noses together.
Yeah, I'm going to make you happy, kid, I promise...
Kind of a weird spot to end, but I hope you enjoyed it! I really appreciate your feedback~! I have general ideas for how this story will go, but feel free to give your own ideas :D
I'm a little rusty on my psych knowledge, but I hope I didn't make too many mistakes ;)
Thanks so much! Please review! :)
till next time!