Happy birthday Radibe! I hope you enjoy this fic!

Three years ago, the world was changed forever. The Avatar was killed.

His name was Kudo Shinichi, and he was a resident of the Earth Kingdom. He had been descended from a line of nonbenders, yet he possessed the power of all four. Kudo Shinichi was truly a keeper of the peace, turning his keen eye to solving murders and preventing more from happening. He was making a name for himself, and as the Avatar, he was dangerous.

So Gin of the Fire Nation, as well as many other soldiers, were sent to kill him.

And kill him they did, in a public execution that inspired fear among the entire world. Not only had Kudo Shinichi been killed, but it had happened in the Avatar state. The cycle was destroyed. Everything would change.

The name Kudo Shinichi went down in history as the last Avatar.

Hattori Heiji woke up.

Gasping as the sunlight hit him straight in the eyes, the boy shot out of his bed and quickly closed the window. Groaning, he was about to flop back onto the bed until a quick series of knocks came at the door.

He groaned again. Kazuha.

"I'll be right there!" he called down, and quickly set to changing himself. His clothes were all branded with the symbol of the Fire Nation. His father was one of the highest officers, so how dare his son look anything but proper? Brushing back his hair so it didn't look too horrible, Heiji rushed out of the room into the kitchen, where Kazuha was making breakfast.

"Took you long enough," Kazuha complained.

"Sorry," Heiji said with a grin, seating himself at the table.

Toyama Kazuha had been Heiji's best friend since childhood. Their fathers were close, and it had led to the two interacting a lot. After the two had turned eighteen, they moved in together, as friends, though many suspected that there was something more.

They were twenty now. Two years of waking up in the same house as Kazuha, and Heiji still wasn't too used to the morning routine. It mainly depended on if he woke up at the correct time or not. Sometimes he woke up early, other times late. And a lot of the time, he'd just go back to sleep right after waking up.

Kazuha was annoyed, and it showed. A burning scent drifted through the air, and Heiji sighed. "Kazuha," he said. "You're burning the toast again."

"Damn the toast," she muttered. She stabbed a fork through the burnt toast and handed it to Heiji that way. He stared.

"That's petty," he finally managed to say.

"You'd do the same," she replied as he took the fork with the toast still attached to it.

He laughed a bit, and for a moment Kazuha laughed as well, until she turned back to her breakfast making.

As Heiji ate, his mind drifted off. Three years ago, on this day, he had gotten the news. The Avatar, Kudo Shinichi, had been executed.

They had been the same age.

Yet, he knew that while he himself was horrified by the execution, the town would celebrate. At noon today, there was to be a parade.

And though Heiji wished to remain in the house all day, he knew he couldn't. He was a Hattori, after all.

"Are you sneaking off?" Kazuha muttered. The two were making their way through the crowds. Heiji had shown his face, and everyone had seen him, so now it was time for him to scram. "Your father will be mad again if he finds out."

Heiji waved off her concerns. "Eh, he's always mad."

The little bit of the parade that Heiji had seen was horrible. Everyone was so happy by the death of Kudo Shinichi that they never stopped to consider that he had still been just a boy. They acted like the boy who was executed was a criminal, a monster. Heiji couldn't stand it.

He did this last year during the parade, too. He let everyone see him, then he sneaked off. The Hattori family son was not the focus of the parade, after all.

"Heiji, don't get in trouble," Kazuha whispered as they finally got clear of the crowd. They both began jogging.

Heiji turned back and grinned at her. "Me, in trouble? Impossible."

Kazuha lightly hit his arm.

Heiji faced forward again, but by then it was too late. He ran straight into someone and yelped as he fell backwards. The person he ran into gave out a surprised cry as well, but they managed to stay still.

Heiji looked up to see a woman his age with long black hair, a strange spike shape protruding from the top. She smoothed down her skirt with her free hand - the other was carrying bags filled with food - and looked at him.

"I-I'm sorry," Heiji stammered, getting up. He heard Kazuha give a sigh behind him.

"It's okay," the woman said, smiling. "You're Hattori Heiji, aren't you? I saw you at the parade."

Heiji swallowed. "Yeah, I… I am." His name hadn't exactly been announced at the parade, but the Hattori family was important. The crowd was bound to have spoken about his appearance.

"I'm Mouri Ran," the woman introduced herself. "I'm from the Earth Kingdom, but I'm traveling through the Fire Nation for a few days." She looked a bit uncomfortable, as if the reveal of Heiji's family name made her nervous. "So don't worry."

Kazuha moved to stand in front of Heiji slightly. "I'm Toyama Kazuha, Heiji's friend," she introduced herself. "If you need help moving anything-"

Ran shook her head. "No need," she said. "I'm sure you guys want to go back to that… celebration."

She's an earthbender, or at least from the Earth Kingdom, Heiji realized. The same place as the Avatar. They're probably much more upset than the Fire Nation is.

"It's not a celebration," Heiji muttered bitterly. "Kudo Shinichi was- he was undeserving of his death."

A surprised look appeared on Ran's face, and her expression morphed into something more kind. "Exactly," she whispered, then she turned and walked away.

"You didn't have to go announcing your views like that," Kazuha hissed at him.

Heiji shook his head. "No," he said. "I did."

It was during the late afternoon, after the parade had ended, that a messenger appeared at Heiji's house.

Heiji opened the door, feeling way too tired for this, when the messenger gave him a letter before giving him a clumsy bow and leaving. Sighing, Heiji opened the letter, and his eyes widened in horror as he read the contents.

"Heiji!" Kazuha rushed up to him, seeing the way he trembled slightly. "What is it?"

Heiji showed her the letter.


I know you left the parade today. We need to talk. Now.


Your father.

"Oh," Kazuha breathed, her eyes wide, a hint of fear in them. "Oh, no."

Heiji chuckled a bit. "It- it will be fine," he said, but even he didn't believe it.

Kazuha took his hand in hers and squeezed it. "Good luck," she murmured. There was nothing else she could say, and they both knew that.

Heiji squeezed back, then he was out of the house, making his way to Hattori Heizo's.

The moment Heiji knocked on the door, it was opened. Heizo was glaring at him. Beckoning him inside, he closed the door after him.

"Heiji." Heizo's voice was dangerous.

"I'm sorry, father," Heiji murmured, looking away.

A hit came to Heiji's face. He cried out and staggered back, staring at his father with wide eyes. The look in his eyes was dangerous, and Heiji could feel himself start trembling.

"You," Heizo growled out, "are a disgrace."

Heiji's eyes widened. "W-what?"

"Leaving the parade?" Heizo's voice rose. "People saw you, Heiji! You are tarnishing the Hattori family name! You should be proud of it, yet here you are, sneaking away during one of the most important events of the year! I can't believe that you are my son. Get out."

Heiji shakily went to the door, opened it, and started running.

"Heiji, are you alright?" Kazuha asked once he got back home. Heiji sagged against the hallway wall and panted, catching his breath. He had run the whole way here without stopping at all.

"He… he's mad," Heiji whispered. He didn't know why he told Kazuha that instead of just saying he was fine and retreating to his room, but… he felt the need to talk to her. For so long he just kept it all bottled inside, but he had Kazuha. He couldn't forget that.

Soon, Kazuha was beside him. "Did he…" The rest was left unspoken.

"Yes," Heiji murmured. "He hit me."

Kazuha's arms wrapped around him and she buried her face in his neck. "I'm sorry," she choked out. "I wish there was anything I could do to help."

You can't, Heiji wanted to say, but Kazuha was hurting too and he didn't want to hurt her more.

Heiji leaned into Kazuha's embrace, refusing to meet her eyes.

What would the Avatar do? He wondered briefly. He was the most powerful bender alive, he should know how to deal with this…

But Heiji wasn't the Avatar. He was a firebender, and a horrible one at that. He had seen many people, such as Kazuha and his father, control their fire with elegance and grace, but Heiji's was wild and out of control. He was sure Kudo Shinichi had been more like Kazuha.

Kudo Shinichi was dead, though. The parade today was just a painful reminder of that. Heiji didn't know why he was so hurt. He never knew the guy, after all.

Perhaps the Avatar was his idol… and that was why Heiji failed.

Because his idol was dead.

The next day went normal enough, but it was clear the events of the day before weighed heavily on both of their minds. Heiji got downstairs in time to see Kazuha use a bit of her firebending to make breakfast, and he wished he could do that. If he used his firebending, he was more likely to burn the house down.

Breakfast and then lunch passed by in a flash. Heiji's mind would drift off during the day, remembering everything that had happened the day before, with his father. Kazuha didn't annoy him about it. They both knew he needed time.

Kazuha was definitely surprised when he offered to join her to buy dinner outside. "I was going to just bring it home, but…"

Heiji shook his head. "No, I'll come with you."

Kazuha worried at her bottom lip. "If you're sure…"

"I am," Heiji promised.

Kazuha sighed. "You better be," she murmured, then the two made their way to a diner.

And on their way there, Heiji almost ran into Mouri Ran again.

Ran jumped back before there could be a collision. "Woah," she laughed. "I know my name is Ran, but that doesn't mean you should run into me." The joke seemed a little unnatural out of her mouth, as if she were copying something someone else had said. She confirmed it a moment later. "Sorry for the bad joke. My… second cousin told me to say it to you if you ever ran into me again. Or, well, he told me to say it to anyone, but…"

"The joke's fine," Heiji said, rolling his eyes with amusement. "You're still here?"

Ran nodded. "I'll be here for the next couple days. What are you two doing?"

"Getting dinner!" Kazuha exclaimed, smiling. "What about you?"

"Heading back to the inn to make dinner, actually," Ran said. She paused, then hesitantly offered, "Would you like to come with us?"

"Sure!" Kazuha spoke before Heiji could. Heiji found that he didn't care.

"Follow me," Ran said, then started heading in one direction. "Why did I just do that?" she muttered. "He'd say that I'm too kind…"

Heiji wondered who 'he' was. Probably her second cousin.

They arrived at the inn soon enough, and Ran set down the small bag she was carrying. It had a few ingredients in it. "Things I forgot to buy yesterday," she explained. As she turned to the stove, she said, "And, ah, don't go to that room." She gestured with her elbow. "My second cousin is with me and he's sick, so I don't want you to catch anything.

"Got it," Kazuha said with a grin. She and Ran soon became immersed in conversation.

After a while, Heiji spoke up. "Uh, is there a bathroom anywhere?"

Ran gestured to another room. "Over there."

"Thank you," Heiji said, getting up and walking over. He didn't really need to go, but his mind was still on his father, and maybe it would benefit him to get away from the noise.

He opened the door, closed it behind him, then froze. "This," he whispered, "is not the bathroom."

There was a boy in the room, turning to look at Heiji. "Yes," he said, in a cold voice. "This isn't."

"Who… are you?" Heiji whispered, staring at the boy. Ran's second cousin, if he remembered correctly. The boy seemed to be the same age as him, with glasses that seemed way too glasslike. The boy's piercing eyes met Heiji's, and seemed to narrow, just a bit.

"You go first," the boy said.

Heiji forced an uneasy grin on his face. "Hattori Heiji."

There seemed to be some brief expression on the boy's face, but Heiji couldn't tell exactly what it was before it disappeared. Does he recognize my family name? Heiji wondered.

"My name…" the boy said slowly, carefully, "is Edogawa Conan."

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