"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting."

- Buddah

The nightmares came suddenly, crashing into the darkness like a freight train. It was to be expected, the doctors told them. When one undergoes a tragedy, nightmares are often how a person is able to cope. But Shinichi wasn't coping, he was terrified. The nightmares just brought back the memories of them, and he didn't want to remember them. He didn't want to remember those nights, cold and chained to walls that clawed and scraped at his skin until the stone floor was stained crimson. He didn't want to remember the taste of the soiled rag he was gagged with or the screams - he couldn't tell you if they were his screams or Haibara's though.

No, Shinichi wasn't coping, he was drowning. But they needed his statement, and Hattori couldn't keep putting them off.

"Where is he," it was Ran who finally pushed him into giving the statement though. Her voice was a mix of grief and hate, and he wanted nothing more than to sink into the uncomfortable hospital bed. He had been forbidden from leaving the bed without aid, lost in his thoughts more often than not. "Where is Conan," she repeated. Shinichi could make out the scorched clothes of his chibi self clutched tight in her hands. "Where," she whimpered, blood shot eyes cold as they watched her battered childhood friend and would-have-been lover. "He trusted you, looked up to you. Where is he! Why didn't you protect him!" Finally the whisper rose to a scream, her shoes clicking loudly across the tiles as she stormed to his side. If only she knew, if only he could tell her that Conan was laying right infront of her. But that inevitable look of betrayal and hate kept the words choked in his throat. That truth was better left in the darkness of his mind, brewing and festering and twisting, attacking his very being, never to see the light of day. At least, not by Ran. Never by her.

"Ran," Hattori snarled, the Osakan's eyes blazing with cold fury. "S'not Kudo's fault!" He knew the other detective wanted nothing more than to tell the truth, to explain the truth of Conan's disappearance, to explain that Conan Edogawa had never truly existed. When her gaze never flickered away from Shinichi, Hattori stood, moving as if to physically haul her from the room.

"No," he told the other teen softly, watching as Hattori paused mid-step. "We've waited enough, call Megure. I need to give my statement finally." Blue met green in a silent conversation before the Osakan finally sighed and left to do as requested. Ten minutes and thirty-four seconds is all it took to get the inspector in the room, round face flushed and sympathetic. The teen winced while sitting up, Hattori instantly by his side and helping him prop up correctly against the head board.

"He's dead," Shinichi found himself whispering, hands wringing together before settling clasped on his lap."Gin and Vodka," he tried to ignore the way his own voice wavered with their names, "they took turns on the four of us. We tried to stop it, but they gave Conan and Haibara some sort of pill, a poison." The best lie, he reminded himself, sticks as close to the truth as possible. Ran's strangled sob was the only warning he had before she was flying at her. Kogoro's arms were the only thing restraining her, in a dark corner in the back of his mind, he wondered why the drunk was even there at all.

"We didn't find any bodies," he could hear the Inspector's confusion without even having to look.

"Blow torch," he didn't think he needed to elaborate, but he rolled the hospital gown to the side enough to see graphs covering the burns on his chest and shoulder. "You'll have found it by now, among Vodka's things. They disposed of the ashes, I don't know where." Bile rose in his throat, memories of that stinch overwhelming him. His hands curled tight into fists, nails digging into his palm and leaving tiny crescent moon shapped indentations.

Hattori's eyes were on him in an instant, calculating and infuriated, traveling from his face, to the exposed graphs, to his stomach, then back to his face. Shinichi slid back down onto the mattress, rolling to his side, nose nearly brushing the wall. He heard a squeak from Ran and hissed snarl from Hattori, and then steps fading away. Minutes later, Hattori was laying in the bed beside him, there but not touching like he knew Shinichi preferred. "Y'did yer best, Kudo," the Osakan whispered, breath warm on the back of Shinichi's neck. Shinichi wanted to say he knew, that he tried to escape, to protect Haibara, but the words caught in his throat and came out as his own muffled sob.

hey guys! second chapter! i hope you all enjoy this chapter and as always, please read and review! let me know what you think or expect to happen!