Mikau: Greetings all. Thank you for returning to read the second chapter. Thanks so much to Questionable Answers, Bakathief, LMeg9.20, and DayDreaming0f y0u who reviewed. This chapter's a little longer, a little less creepy. Hopefully you'll enjoy it.
Disclaimer: If I owned it, I'd put Heiji in a little more often. He's a funny guy. He serves to lighten the mood and break up the constant gloom of murder after murder after murder.
Conan ran to Ekoda High the minute school let out. He really needed to see his crazy friend as soon as possible.
The images in the nightmare had continued to haunt him throughout the day, and questions were plaguing his mind.
Was his subconscious trying to tell him that he was suicidal? Did he really hate Conan enough to want to kill him? Was Shinichi truly capable of murder? Was the dream just symbolic, or was he losing it?
In any case, he needed to talk to someone who would understand and not send him in for therapy or decide that being exposed to Mouri's detective work was not good for eight year-olds.
He needed a sympathetic ear, but he didn't want to worry Hattori who was too far away to be of much help. He didn't want to talk to Haibara, and he couldn't talk to the kids about something so gruesome, so it looked like Kaito(u Kid) was the only man for the job.
The little detective waited as patiently as he could by the school gates, sighing intermittently.
Kaito would be along as soon as he could get away from his mop-wielding (girl)friend and that stuffy, pesky, British git. He'd pick Conan up and ruffle the boy's hair, laughing and grinning like his alter-ego.
Then everything would seem okay again.
When Kaito smiled, everything always seemed a little better.
"You're waiting for Kuroba-kun, aren't you?" a smooth, velvety voice purred, startling the shrunken sleuth and shaking him free from his thoughts.
Conan chuckled sheepishly, putting on a big, fake grin for the girl who had spoken to him. "How could you tell, Oneesan?"
"I know who you are," the young lady smiled softly, and it somehow looked sinister. "My good friend Lucifer told me about your situation."
The girl was very pretty with her nice curves and long, rosewood-colored hair, but she was obviously nuts.
The former high school detective wondered if everyone at Ekoda High had a few screws loose.
"I-I'm not sure what you're talking about, Oneesan. I'm just waiting for Kaito-niisan." Conan laughed nervously, hoping that the loony would go away and soon be replaced by the one he had come to see.
"Please," she sighed, rolling her eyes. "Don't you get tired of pretending, Kudo-kun?"
"I see that I have your attention." The woman smiled, looking very much like a viper staring down a cornered mouse. "My name is Koizumi Akako, and I have the solution to your problem."
Shinichi dropped the pretense of innocent youth and glared at the girl in front of him. "Who are you really? How do you know about me?"
"I am who I say I am, and I am a very powerful witch." Akako shrugged. "I told you that my friend Lucifer told me about you. You've become involved with Kuroba-kun, and that makes you of interest to me…. I can help you for a price, but I'm through talking here. Follow me, if you're interested. Come or don't come; it's your choice." She flipped a scarlet strand of hair over her shoulder and began to walk away.
The skeptical detective followed, getting into the car that had been waiting on the side of the street for the witch.
"So…you say you can make me Shinichi again? Permanently?" Conan inquired as they drove off to the outskirts of town.
"For a price," Akako replied with a nod.
"Like…what? My firstborn child or something?" He wasn't quite sure how this worked in real life. One didn't run across witches every day (then, of course, one did not shrink to the size of a child every day either), but, in the stories, that tended to be the standard fare for a spell.
"What would I do with your firstborn child?" Akako snorted in the most dainty manner Shinichi had ever heard someone snort.
Conan shrugged. "I've never made a deal with a witch before. How should I know? Don't you people sacrifice humans or use blood in your spells or something?"
The redheaded didn't even bother dignifying that with a response. "The price for my cooperation is a lifetime of favors. I'll never ask you to do anything illegal, so do you think you can live your life being indebted to me?"
"You're not going to be annoying about it, are you?" The former teen narrowed his eyes at the witch. "Like, you're not going to call me at three in the morning and ask me to go buy you gum from the convenience store, are you?"
"No. I have minions to do that," she assured him.
"Excellent," Akako laughed as the car came to a stop in front of a gothic-looking mansion in the middle of the woods. "Follow me."
The door of the mansion was opened by a butler who looked like an old-school vampire—pointy ears and sallow skin, nothing like the sparkling vampires of today.
He greeted them with a bow and led the way to the underground lair.
"Leave us," Akako snapped once they had arrived.
The butler disappeared, and the witch set to work mixing a potion.
"You can have a seat over there." She indicated one of three stone alters at the far wall. "The spell will be ready in a few minutes."
"So…I just drink the potion, and poof! I'm Shinichi again?" Conan swung his legs back and forth as he chewed nervously on his lower lip.
"Yep," the sorceress responded, adding two drops of some purple liquid (Shinichi neither knew nor cared to know what it really was) to her cauldron. "Though, I should warn you that there's one more price you must pay for the magic to work."
"I thought I just owed you a lifetime of favors." Conan raised an eyebrow in suspicion.
"That's the price you owe me for making the potion for you. You have to give something of equal value in order to keep the cosmos in balance." She gave the concoction a stir before adding a strawberry. "For flavor," she explained.
"How big of a something are we talking?" The brunette started to shift nervously. "I mean…what kind of something do I have to give?"
"I'm not exactly sure. How much is your future as Kudo Shinichi worth to you?"
"Everything," he thought.
"It usually takes something that you treasure. People have lost sight, memories, special abilities or talents… It's always a very fair trade. People are usually satisfied in the end, though many have regretted their decisions." Akako glanced back at her guest. "Having second thoughts?"
"No," Conan laughed wryly. "I have so little to lose at this point."
"Very well." She ladled some of the oddly clear liquid from her cauldron into a glass and handed it to him. "Drink. All of it."
"It's going to taste nasty, isn't it?" he sighed, taking the glass and considering it.
"I'm afraid so." The witch smiled, not looking the least bit sorry at all.
Conan took a deep breath, held his nose, and drank it all in one gulp.
All of the sudden, his entire body felt like it was on fire. It was the same sensation he had felt when he had turned back previously, but this time it was coupled with another more intense pain. This time it felt like he was being ripped in two.
Conan screamed, and the world faded into darkness.
Shinichi groaned as he came to. He felt absolutely ill.
"Are you quite alright?" Akako stated flatly as she hovered over him. "You sounded like someone being drawn and quartered."
Shinichi didn't want to know how she knew what someone being drawn and quartered sounded like.
He blinked. "Am I me?"
"You've always been you, Kudo-kun." The witch rolled her eyes, stepping back as the Detective of the East sat up.
"It worked," Shinichi breathed, taking in the sight of his glorious eighteen year-old body. "Thank you. Thank you, Koizumi-san."
"First favor: don't hug me," the redhead stated quickly, retreating a little further. "You look like you're about to hug."
"This is amazing!" the proper-sized teen exclaimed while making sure that everything was in working order. He appeared to be all in one piece. "But…I wonder what the other price was. I expected it to make me a eunuch or take away my deductive reasoning or something, but I still seem to be in possession of all of my faculties."
"Kudo Shinichi wasn't the one to pay the other price," Akako replied gravely.
The brunette frowned. "What do you mean? Who did then?"
The sorceress pointed to Shinichi's left.
The detective turned to look, and what he saw made the room start to spin.
There, lying unconscious on one of the other two alters was the body of Edogawa Conan.
Akako went over to the little boy just as he started to stir.
Conan blinked, whimpering a little as he regained awareness. He held his hand up in front of his face and sighed in utter defeat. "It didn't work."
Staring at the petite frame lying on the stone slab, Shinichi wondered if Conan had always been that small.
"Oh, it worked alright," Akako whispered. "Just, not for you. I'm sorry."
"What do you mean?" the miniature sleuth mumbled, struggling to get into a seated position.
The witch stepped away from the table and nodded towards Shinichi. "Apparently the only thing you had of equal value to your future as Kudo Shinichi was your future as Kudo Shinichi. I've never seen anything like this happen before, though."
Conan froze, a look of absolute horror on his face when he saw his adult body staring back at him.
Shinichi gazed at his younger self in pity. "Is…he stuck like that?"
"I'm afraid so." This time the girl actually did look remorseful. "Those pills you've been taking to turn back up until now probably won't have any effect from this point on. Besides, even if he did turn back into Kudo Shinichi, there wouldn't be a place for him. You are Kudo Shinichi, and there can only be one of you. He is Edogawa Conan now."
The two brunettes stared at each other as everything sank in.
"I suppose it is only fair," Akako muttered.
"How the hell is that fair?" a new voice rang out, reverberating and bouncing off of the cavern walls.
It was enough to snap the three out of their collective trance, and they all looked to the stairway to see an out of breath, livid Kuroba Kaito.
. (^ . ^) c\ /
Mikau: I'm reusing my Mad Hatter just because I love him so much. I'd be happy if you loved him too. Now let's all have a collective "Poor Conan." I think it's one thing to be doomed to be Conan for the rest of your life but another matter entirely to be Conan and have to watch someone else be Shinichi. Poor kid. Thanks so much for reading. I'd be grateful if you took the time to send in some comments.