Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK
Genre: Hurt/Comfort/ Romance/Friendship/Life
Pairings: Future Kuroba Kaito x Kudo Shinichi [KaitoxShinichi]
Other Mainer Characters Include: Nakamori Aoko, Hakuba saguru, Haibara Ai, Koizumi Akako, Professor Agasa, the police, and maybe others
Summary: Ekoda High's new student is the recently returned Kudo Shinichi, but it seems there's more to his arrival than a simple change of schools. There is a new danger lurking, but with all the problems riding on his shoulders, Shinichi might not be able to handle it alone this time.
Notes: Okay, so this story is probably going to be on the long side. I actually started it way back around the same time that I started writing Midnight White, but I only recently picked it up again. I hope you enjoy!
Important: For the purpose of this tory, Kaito does not know that Conan was Shinichi.
Sky Colored Eyes
1: The New Old Detective
Ekoda High. It was a fairly normal looking school, Shinichi mused. It might be a little smaller than Teitan, with a slightly different schedule that would hopefully allow him time enough to catch up with his studies and graduate this year like he was supposed to. Once again he thanked whatever powers there were in the world for his excellent memory. Without it, making up two years of school in less than one would likely have been impossible. As it was, he'd gone from being ahead of everyone in his class to having to spend most of his time cramming. On the other hand, having so much work to do kept his mind off of other things.
Things like how the people he used to know all looked at him now like he was an alien from outer space since he'd apparently ditched school for two years and had no good reasons he could tell them (they had all expected some kind of big story in the papers or something, but it had never come because some things couldn't be told just yet). He just—didn't know anyone anymore. Then there was how the price he'd ended up paying for getting back to his proper age was the constant threat of fits where it felt like his body was at war with itself. From what Haibara had been able to tell him, that was apparently a pretty good analogy. She was working on a way to help (he had the impression she felt guilty about it, although he'd told her several times that she shouldn't), but so far she hadn't had much luck.
And of course there was Ran and that disastrous reunion where he'd finally told her everything. In retrospect, it might have been easier not to have given her certain details, but he was sick of all the lies, and he'd felt he owed her the truth. She had yelled at him a lot. Demanded to know how he could have let her worry herself sick when he'd been right there the whole time. She'd called him all sorts of uncomplimentary things too. But really, he'd expected that. So he took it all in silence and wondered if it really had been selfish of him to hide it all.
She'd forgiven him in the end, but they'd never be the same again. They had both changed too much. Neither of them were who they had been, and they couldn't see each other the same way again even if they tried. It was better all around not to go there. At least they were on speaking terms again—though he'd be lying if he said it didn't hurt when she looked at him as though she was wondering whether to believe what he'd just told her or not.
But he supposed that was just the price he'd have to pay for the decisions he had made. He had believed they were the right decisions to make at the time after all, and wasn't that the most anyone could do? Of course there were probably things he could have thought out more…things he could have done differently… There always was. The problem, of course, being that no one could know if another path would have been better or worse.
Sometimes he caught himself missing life as Conan.
He'd hated living a lie. And for that reason he hadn't realized how much he'd be losing by leaving that lie behind until he'd done so. He wasn't sure if he regretted it or not. And that scared him when he allowed himself to think about it. That he could have become so attached to a fabrication… What did that say about him? He wasn't sure he really wanted to know, but it couldn't stop his mind from wondering.
Ironic really. Life had almost seemed easier living in hiding.
And he really didn't need to be thinking about that right now. Focus on school; that was the way to go. Get back into the swing of normal life—or at least of whatever normalcy his life was willing to offer him—and leave the unanswerable questions for when he had more time. That wouldn't be for a good long while.
Letting out a quiet sigh, he knocked on the principal's door, waiting for the call to come in before opening it and stepping inside. The principal looked up from his desk and did a double take.
"Can I help you?" he asked a bit hesitantly, still staring at Shinichi like he was fearfully awaiting some kind of explosion.
A bit nonplussed, Shinichi cleared his throat. "My name is Kudo Shinichi."
"Ah." The man's expression cleared and he smiled warmly. "You are transferring here from Teitan, correct?"
"Well then, I would like to welcome you to Ekoda High."
"I heard we were getting a new student today," Nakamori Aoko remarked to her friend, Keiko, who nodded.
"Yeah, it seems like all of the new students get put in our class, doesn't it? I wonder who it is."
Aoko was quiet, frowning thoughtfully. She had some idea of who the new student would be, courtesy of her father's recent grumbling, but she wasn't entirely sure. It was probably better not to mention anything until the newcomer arrived.
Over in his own desk, Kuroba Kaito, Ekoda High's infamous magician, eyed Aoko's expression with great interest. He could tell she knew something, but apparently she didn't want to say. And that was…odd. Aoko was generally a very open girl. So what was it that she knew, or thought she knew, that she didn't want to say? Maybe the new student was actually someone she knew. Well, no point wondering about it when he was going to find out in a matter of minutes. In the meantime he had a heist notice to finish planning—mentally, of course. He wasn't stupid or careless enough to write anything down in school.
Just then the door opened and their homeroom teacher walked in. The eyes of the class, however, went straight to the boy who came in with her. Several people jerked around in their seats to give Kaito a long look before turning back to gape at the newcomer. Others burst into whispers. Even Hakuba Saguru couldn't stop himself from staring. He recognized this person.
Kaito did too.
Then the boy turned and bowed politely to the class, introducing himself as "Kudo Shinichi".
Kaito leaned back in his seat, idly twirling a pen through his fingers. Great, just what he needed. Another detective in his class to annoy him on his time off. He remembered his brief encounter with this detective all those years ago at the clock tower. That had been a fairly fun night, challenging, but he preferred not to have to deal with detectives when he wasn't working (a state of mind he'd developed largely due to one irritating blonde).
Okay, maybe he wasn't being entirely honest. There was one detective he didn't mind spending off time with, but that detective seemed to have disappeared. He was a bit worried about that. When the kid had first disappeared, he hadn't thought too much about it since word was the squirt had just gone home. It had only been a matter of time after all. But the thing was, he'd done some checking (so that he'd know what country he might have to expect to run into the squirt in on future heists) and no one called Edogawa Conan had left the country in the last few months. Add to that the boy's tendency to get in trouble and it created several worrying possibilities.
He'd made a note to look into the matter when he had more time, but between the massive senior year workload and heists he hadn't had much time of late. And if Kudo started coming to his heists he'd probably have to put more effort into planning. While another chance to match wits with the detective sounded interesting, it wasn't helping his prospects where free time was concerned.
On the other hand, if Kudo started attending his heists, Kaito would automatically gain an easy option for disguise. Hmm, there were definitely some advantages to that.
Shifting in his seat, he cast a glance towards the detective in question. The boy was listening to the lecture with his chin in one hand while he jotted down notes with the other. His expression was neutral, but something in his eyes gave the magician a moment's pause. There was something tired about that look—a strange shadow that lurked beneath the surface, barely detectable but there all the same. It was a rather strange look, he thought, and why did it seem as though there was something familiar about those eyes?
There was something almost enjoyable about returning to high school. When he thought back, Shinichi knew he used to find it terribly dull, but after two years of grade school, being back in high school made everything look ten times more interesting. He supposed it just went to show that it really was a matter of perspective. He used to think life as a student was pretty dull too. Now he finally appreciated just how wonderfully peaceful that life was.
It was the good thing about the last two years really. They had taught him to appreciate things he used to take for granted even as they showed him his own old naiveté.
He was jerked out of his thoughts as a girl's voice shrieked loud enough to make the windows rattle.
"Bakaito!" she screeched, the sound followed by a crash.
Shinichi turned in his seat to see a girl with wild, brown hair launch herself after a laughing boy, swinging a mop at him like it was a sword. The girl's face was beet red as she charged after the fleeing boy. Other students ducked out of the way as the two passed, but no one seemed particularly surprised by any of it. The detective on the other hand couldn't help but stare—not just because of the strangeness of it but because the girl looked weirdly like Ran and the laughing loon bore an uncanny resemblance to himself. It was kind of like looking into a funhouse mirror or an alternate reality, and though he didn't think he and Ran had ever argued in quite such an…energetic manner, watching them brought back memories. Memories which felt like they were from a different lifetime altogether. Had he ever been that free? He couldn't remember anymore. But he could at least remember talking and laughing with Ran when she still trusted him… Being badgered by Sonoko over silly, inconsequential things…
He was pulled back to the present when a throat was cleared beside his desk. He turned, expecting to see another of the curious students who kept coming to ask him questions, but instead he found himself looking up into a familiar face topped by a head of blond hair.
"My name is Hakuba Saguru," the blonde introduced himself. "I have heard a lot about you, Kudo-san."
Shinichi blinked at him for a moment, wondering why Hakuba was introducing himself like they'd never met before, before he remembered that they hadn't. Hakuba only knew Conan. He couldn't count the number of times this had happened lately.
It was ironic really. Edogawa Conan was a figment of the imagination, but he knew more people and had more real friends than Shinichi ever had. Then again, considering the turns his life tended to take, it was probably better that way. Safer for them and easier for him. Strangers didn't ask you for explanations you couldn't give, and, even if they did, it was easier to lie to and find excuses for a stranger than a friend.
"I've seen you in the papers," he said when he remembered that he was still talking to Hakuba. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
In another part of the room, Kaito evaded another assault via mop with a perfectly executed back flip. Looking under Aoko's swinging arm, he spotted Hakuba talking to their class's newest detective. No way, he thought, he was so not leaving those two alone together. The last thing he needed was Hakuba corrupting Kudo into taking up said blonde's attitude.
Slipping around Aoko, he vaulted over the intervening row of desks—earning a squawk of surprise from said desks' occupants—and landed in a crouch on top of the desk right behind Kudo. This desk was currently unoccupied so no one complained, though he did earn a disapproving look from the blonde and a surprised one from Shinichi.
"Hey there!" he exclaimed, ignoring Hakuba completely as he grinned at the dark-haired detective. "Name's Kuroba Kaito, magician extraordinaire! If you need someone to show you around, I'd be happy to oblige." Leaning forward, he added in a carrying whisper, "Just some friendly advice, but I wouldn't listen too much to this blond idiot over here. He's a little weird in the head, if you know what I mean. You should've seen what he waltzed around in when he first got here."
"What he waltzed around in?" Shinichi repeated, puzzled.
"Kuroba," Hakuba said through gritted teeth. "Don't you have anything better to do than butt into other people's conversations?"
"No, not really," Kaito replied offhandedly. "Besides, I was just providing a bit of friendly warning to our new classmate here."
"Kaito!" Aoko exclaimed, having rounded the desks and reached the conversation in time to hear his last comment. "Don't be so mean."
"What?" He turned a horrified look in her direction. "Me? Mean? I was trying to do a good deed here!"
"Spreading rumors about people isn't doing a good deed," she snapped, smacking him none too gently on the back of the head.
"I was telling the truth!" he protested. "You saw that ridiculous costume too. Or are you telling me I imagined all that?"
"Oh, well…" The girl's cheeks turned pink as she glanced apologetically at Hakuba. "People can wear what they want. You shouldn't judge people by what they decide to wear."
Still seated in his desk and therefore somewhat beneath the conversation going on over him, Shinichi couldn't help but wonder what in the world they were talking about. Hakuba was beginning to look distinctly peeved. Sensing approaching mayhem, Shinichi cleared his throat loudly. The conversation stopped and all three pairs of eyes turned to him in the manner of people surprised to remember that he was there.
"I would appreciate it if you guys could show me around the school later," he said a bit hesitantly, not sure if asking them all was a good idea but also feeling that it was safer not to 'choose sides' as it were. "I haven't had much of a chance to look around yet myself."
"We'd be happy to," the girl replied with a smile before glaring at the other two as though daring them to say otherwise. Neither of them took the challenge and she smiled to herself in satisfaction. "Oh, by the way," she added, turning back to Shinichi. "My name is Nakamori Aoko. It's a pleasure to meet you."
Thus the last bell of the school day found Shinichi following the three Ekoda students through the grounds as they pointed out various important locations.
"The baseball diamond is that way," Aoko announced, gesturing as they walked. "And if you turn here you'll find the infirmary. It has both an outside and an indoors door, but the nurse prefers if students use the inside door unless it's an emergency."
"Yeah, last year someone hit one hell of a home run and the ball flew right in through the open outside door and smacked a student in the face," Kaito explained, waving his arms about to illustrate the event as he talked. "He lost two teeth to that ball on top of the scraped knee he was there to get a bandage for!"
Aoko frowned. "That didn't actually happen. It was just a story."
"No, it happened," the magician insisted. "The journalism club got a picture of the guy with a baseball print on his face. It was in the paper that week and everything."
"What? I don't remember that."
"I have the issue at home."
"The field past the diamond that way is used for most other sports," Hakuba told Shinichi, having apparently decided the truths and falsehoods of the infirmary baseball rumor were unimportant. "If you wish to participate in one of the school teams, you will have to contact the coach as I believe general tryouts have already finished."
Shinichi nodded, committing the layout of the school to memory as they walked.
"Oh, and that's where most of the chemistry labs are," Kaito cut in, a grin spreading across his face as he indicated a certain row of windows. "It blows up about once a month. Sometimes more."
"Usually because you were in it," Hakuba muttered.
Kaito drew himself up. "I'll have you know I excel at chemistry."
"That would certainly explain the regularity with which the labs explode."
"It's chemistry. You're supposed to blow something up now and then."
"You mean you do that on purpose?" Aoko asked in surprise before she snorted. "I don't know why I didn't guess… And I was telling Keiko you didn't mean it the other day too!"
Kaito grinned, slinging an arm over the irate girl's shoulders. "Ah my dear Aoko, your faith in me warms my heart."
She flushed and made to hit him but he ducked out of the way, laughing. Letting out a frustrated growl, she chased after him, swinging her book bag off her shoulder so that she could use it to extend her reach.
"Are they always like this?" Shinichi wondered aloud as he watched them.
"Every day," Hakuba replied without needing to stop and think. "I am afraid, Kudo-san, that this is what we must call normal around here."
Shinichi laughed a little at that, earning himself a raised eyebrow from the blonde. But really, there was something—so alive about this place. It was a sort of hum in the air he had been feeling all day but hadn't really noticed until now. And he thought that he could grow to like this place with its odd collection of people and habits.
A sudden spasm in his muscles made him stop abruptly in his steps. He cursed mentally. Of all the times…
He looked up to find Hakuba watching him inquiringly. Hiding a wince, he forced a smile onto his face. "I—need to use the restroom, and then I think I'd better get going. Thank you guys for showing me around. I really appreciate it."
"It was no trouble," the blonde replied. "Do you remember where the restrooms are?"
"Oh, yeah, thanks, don't worry about it," Shinichi said quickly, aware that he was talking a little faster than was normal but not quite able to stop himself. "I'll see you tomorrow then. Please thank Kuroba-san and Nakamori-san for me." He ducked his head in a quick bow and bolted.
Behind him Kaito and Aoko noticed the rapidly departing detective and they turned questioning eyes to Hakuba.
"He told me he needed to go to the restroom."
"But that's the wrong way," Aoko said, frowning. "If he goes that way, it'll take him twice as long to find a bathroom."
The blonde looked thoughtful as he answered. "It seemed as though he may have remembered something important. Whatever the reason, he is obviously in a great hurry."
"You don't think it was something we did, do you?" she asked.
Hakuba looked over at her anxious tone. "I don't think so. But if you're worried about it, perhaps you should ask him tomorrow."
"That's true." Aoko brightened then glanced around in confusion. "Hey, where's Kaito?"
Stumbling around another corner, Shinichi flung an arm out to grasp at the wall as the world heaved and spun. Nausea welled up from his stomach at the unnatural motion and he sank to the ground in a vain attempt to steady the world. It didn't work. Fire was beginning to dance along his nerves. His fingers twitched and he shivered as he fumbled his phone from his pocket.
Through blurring vision, Shinichi struggled to maneuver shaking fingers on the keys of his cell phone. It was a good thing he had Agasa's number on speed dial.
A young, female voice answered the phone. "Hello?"
"Where are you?" she demanded, instantly on the alert. He would have smiled if he hadn't been in pain. He would never have thought when they'd first met that she would one day be one of the few people he truly, completely trusted.
"School," he managed to gasp out, gritting his teeth as another spasm wracked his frame. "Back."
"We'll be right there." There was a click and the connection broke. The phone slipped from numb fingers as Shinichi gave up the struggle to stay conscious and slid into blessed oblivion.
Perched on a narrow ledge far above the trembling detective, Kaito frowned in thought. That…wasn't what he'd expected when he'd followed Shinichi out of curiosity. The other teen was obviously ill. Was it why he'd been gone for two years? But then why had he come back from wherever he'd been when he obviously wasn't well yet?
A.N: And so it begins! Anyhow, I hope you liked it, and I'll see you in two weeks. ^_^