Disclaimer: I do not own Detective Conan/Case Closed.
Summary: Nothing is going as Shinichi hoped and it's as though the world is falling apart around him. Wandering the streets of Tokyo, the last thing he expected was to be singled out by a familiar stranger using a nickname he hasn't heard in months. Sometimes, the choice to keep on moving forward is the hardest one to make.
Pairings: eventually Kaito x Shinichi
WARNINGS: Eventual shounan ai (boy/boy pairing), you have been warned
AN: For people who have read my other DC stories, you may have noticed that I don't like to use the name "Conan" even when Shinichi is shrunk. However, since Shinichi will be spending a lot of time shrunk in this story, I will be using "Conan" for pre-antidote Shinichi and "Shinichi" for post-antidote Shinichi.
Oh, and I apologize for the somewhat nonsensical title. I was using it as a working title due to a friend's suggestion and it just stuck.
Dark Side Chances
By V. Shalyr
Conan scowled as his cell phone rang. He had a feeling he knew who was on the other end and he was not in the mood to deal with him.
"Kudou! What did you do?"
Conan rolled his eyes, tapping the end of his pencil impatiently against his notebook. "Why are you calling, Hattori?"
"Why do you think I'm calling?" the Osaka detective snapped back. "What happened between you and Nee-chan?"
He sounded honestly angry, Conan mused. Good, he was in a foul mood himself.
"It's none of your business."
"Kazuha told me she was crying," Hattori retorted, his voice rising.
Conan's stomach dropped. He hadn't wanted to hurt her. But damn it, that wasn't entirely fair either. He hadn't even done anything, just agreed with her. She was the one who had broken up with him—hell, they'd never been officially together in the first place. Gah! Why did everything in his life have to be so complicated?
"She'll be okay."
Ran was strong. She was the one who had made the decision. She'd been prepared.
"That's all you have to say?"
"Did you know she's started dating Eisuke? They're out at dinner right now."
"Then go after her! You love her, don't you?"
"What? Of course you do. You two were meant for one another!"
Conan rolled his eyes. Sometimes, Hattori was just as superstitious as his girlfriend. Or perhaps superstitious wasn't the right word. Idealistic? Yes, that was it. Conan could remember a time when he'd been like that too. Funny though, how it seemed like all that had happened to someone else.
The hand holding his pencil had tightened into a fist and he had to forcibly pry his fingers open before he snapped it.
"Just shut up, all right? Just shut up."
He didn't want to talk about it. He couldn't talk about it—not with Hattori, not with Ran, and certainly not with Kogoro. He briefly wondered if he should try talking to his parents, but they usually just made him more confused. Some people had parents who could comfort them or make everything seem all right, put everything in the right perspectives. His parents just turned everything upside down and waited to see if you could put the pieces back together.
"What the hell is wrong with you?"
"Good bye," Conan snarled, losing what little patience he'd had and throwing the phone back down on his desk. He sat for several minutes just glaring at it, daring it to ring again, then got up, grabbed a jacket, and headed for the door.
No, Hattori might be a fellow detective, but he didn't understand, didn't want to understand. Things had changed—he had changed. He just hadn't realized how much until then.
It hadn't been easy to settle into life as Conan. Sixteen-year-old high school detective Kudou Shinichi had been too visible, too swept up in his ideas of "justice", in playing the detective, in his books and his dreams.
It hadn't been easy to realize that the world didn't work that way.
Then again, it hadn't been easy to keep on lying to people that he cared about, but he'd had to get used to that too. You could get used to a lot of things if given the time, and three years was more than enough time. Upon reflection, it was probably a good thing that Ran had decided to move on and not wait for him any longer. At this rate, he wasn't sure if he'd ever get his old life back. And really, after three years stuck back in elementary school, what would life back as a teenager even be like? If he thought rationally about it, he knew that it would never be the same. He hadn't wanted to admit it, but recently, it seemed like everyone and everything was intent on shoving it in his face. Honestly, he probably should have been ashamed that he hadn't accepted it before. After all, hadn't he always claimed to believe only in the truth?
But what was truth really in the end?
Why couldn't his life ever just be easy?
As he made his way through the crowds, not caring in particular where he ended up as long as it was away, he heard the chiming of a clock tower in the distance. Ten rings—not too late yet but getting there.
Sometimes it felt like all he had was time, and other times, it felt like time was always running out. He wished it would just make up its mind which it was.
Or maybe he only felt that way because he was stuck, not moving forward but unable to move back. And it was no comfort at all that, genius detective or not, he couldn't figure out how he'd gotten to such a point let alone how to get out of it.
Kaito excused himself from the party with a laugh and a smile. In actuality, he was feeling more tired than anything and had all his intentions set on a hasty escape, but it wouldn't suit the character he put on these days to be too hasty in his departure. So he made himself linger, put on an air of reluctance, exchanged promises to attend another one of these parties sometime, and kept on smiling, confident that no one would be able to tell that it wasn't real.
This seemed to be happening a lot these days.
Pulling his hat down low over his face, Kaito stuffed his hands into his pockets and started down the street. He didn't have anywhere in particular he wanted to go so he just let his feet take him where they would while his thoughts wandered.
He wouldn't exactly say that he was feeling lonely, not exactly. He was too accustomed to being by himself for loneliness to be the right word. But that didn't mean he wasn't tired of being alone.
He'd moved out of his mother's house when he started attending college, and even though he was often home for visits, it wasn't quite the same. Aoko and Hakuba were still at the same school but he usually went out of his way to avoid them. They'd started going out shortly after they'd all graduated from high school and were getting along remarkably well. Kaito was happy for them, but well… There was only so much he could take of listening to his best friend and her boyfriend vehemently discussing putting his alter ego behind bars. It was wonderful that they shared a passion, but he just wished they shared a different passion. He was a patient person—impatience wasn't a survival trait for internationally wanted thieves and Kaito was definitely a survivor. But years? Kaito didn't think anyone had that kind of patience.
He had a lot of other casual acquaintances through his classes at the university, but he'd been careful not to get too close to anyone. It just made life easier. And it wouldn't be fair to anyone he got close to when he had so many secrets, told so many lies.
Passing a newspaper stand, Kaito glimpsed a photograph from his most recent heist and grinned. Perhaps he should head over to that new exhibit he'd heard about and do some scouting for KID's next target. It was a little soon perhaps, but it wasn't like he was busy and there was always the chance that the next one could be the jewel he was looking for. After years of searching, he was starting to think that possibility quite slim, but it was still there and so he would keep searching.
Besides, he enjoyed being KID. It was probably one of the only things that really excited him these days.
Kaito bought a copy of the papers and continued on his way. Call him conceited but he liked reading about himself.
Of course, that didn't mean he wasn't paying attention to his surroundings. And because he was, he noticed the small figure wandering down the sidewalk towards him. Kaito blinked and did a double take. What was Tantei-kun doing here?
Conan looked up, startled at being addressed.
"Should you really be wandering around alone at this hour?"
The age thing—again. No wonder it was always partly on his mind. Everyone kept reminding him of it.
"You shouldn't make assumptions about someone on their appearance."
Kaito would have laughed at that if it wasn't so out of character for his current character.
"No, but it's the fastest and most obvious way to judge someone you haven't spoken to. We have to start somewhere."
"I suppose," Conan shrugged dismissively, his gaze wandering past the stranger then sliding back. Something about him nagged at his mind, but he couldn't put his finger on it and wasn't particularly in the mood to try.
"Are you feeling all right?"
No, Conan thought but his mouth said, "Does it matter?"
"Shouldn't it matter?"
"I don't know." Why was he even conversing with this guy? And what a strange conversation it was turning out to be.
The young man seemed taken aback by this answer and Conan took the opportunity to start walking again, passing the stranger and continuing down the street. The young man was right though. He really should start heading back eventually. He just couldn't bring himself to do it yet.
Kaito frowned. He couldn't just let Tantei-kun go like that.
Frankly, Kaito had been worried about the detective. He had attended all of his recent heists, which had come as a pleasant surprise, but there had been something different about him—a weariness or a pain perhaps that Kaito hadn't liked. It reminded him too much of the darkness that always seemed to be lurking at the edges of his mind waiting to move in should he let his resolve falter.
Making a quick decision and hoping he wasn't making a mistake, Kaito made sure his hat was pulled low and adjusted his position just slightly so the light and shadows of the nighttime street obscured his features even further.
Then he raised his voice and called out, "Tantei-kun."
Conan froze mid-step and slowly turned back to him, eyes wide behind his fake glasses.
That voice, that name, that tone—all of it completely shocked Conan temporarily out of his gloomy thoughts. How long had it been since the last time he'd seen the thief? The last heist had only been a few weeks ago and he'd been attending them almost religiously for the past year, though he himself had yet to figure out why that was.
To be suddenly faced with him here and now of all times, Conan wasn't sure what to do.
"Do you think it's wise for you to be talking to me?"
The young man shrugged, projecting an air of nonchalance that Conan wouldn't be deceived by now that he knew who he was talking to. "You could say I'm finding out. So tell me, is it wise?"
Conan had to stop and think about this. His relationship with the enigmatic phantom thief had been changing lately too. He knew that much. He just didn't really have the energy or the desire to try and catch him anymore. Sure, he still went to heists and did his best to solve the puzzles and keep up with KID, but it had stopped being about actually catching him a long time ago. Perhaps… Perhaps it was because KID was the only person who knew his secret but never judged, never compared him to or connected him with who he had been as Kudou Shinichi. It had seemed as though to KID, he was simply who he was—a detective, a child, a teenager—perhaps because of his own mixture of identities, the thief didn't have any trouble just accepting him as he was or reconciling the many parts of his identity that he had only just begun himself to accept as all real and all his own.
"Why are you talking to me?" Conan asked finally.
"What kind of thief would I be if I didn't do something when my favorite detective is looking so down?"
"A normal one or a sane one, take your pick."
Despite himself, the corners of the detective's mouth quirked upward. "I'm not going to try to turn you in if that's what you mean. So I guess whether or not it was wise depends on you."
"Well then, in that case, would you like some company? It's not a good night to be alone."
Conan considered this. He hadn't wanted company before, but for some reason, he really didn't want the thief to go. He hadn't really wanted to be alone either.
"Company would be nice."