When Kazuha woke up, she was unable to see.
Taking a few deep breaths to calm herself down, she ran through what had happened. Heiji had left for Mouri Kogoro's place to try and find Mouri Ran and the others, and then…
Suzuki Sonoko had invited Kazuha out to go shopping, and Kazuha had foolishly accepted.
And now, she was here, having been kidnapped. How joyous.
Her hands had been tied behind her back with rope, but that was easy to deal with. Lighting a flame in her hands, she felt the rope starting to burn away. Of course, some of the fire singed her skin as well, but sacrifices must be made.
Once the ropes around her wrists were gone, she threw the blindfold off and started to work on the ropes around her ankles. Now that she could see and her arms weren't restrained, she was able to burn off those ropes without the flames licking her skin.
No longer restrained, Kazuha looked around, allowing a small flicker of flame to stay in her hand. She was in a cave, she realized. Sonoko wasn't visible anywhere, but if Kazuha had to wager a guess, she wouldn't be far. Probably just near the cave entrance, making sure no foolish traveler could walk inside and discover the kidnapped girl within.
Making her way to the cave's entrance, Kazuha was pleased to see that she was correct. Kazuha may not have been able to predict Sonoko being a kidnapper, but now that she knew about it, the other girl's actions were easy to predict. She fed more fire into the flicker in her hand, and it didn't take long for her entire arm to be enveloped by a tornado of flames.
Sonoko turned toward her, eyes wide with fear. "Wha—How did you…?" she stared at the flames. "Oh, crap. I forgot—"
"To take my firebending into account?" Kazuha asked coldly. Emotions rushed inside of her. She had trusted Sonoko, thought that maybe they could even be friends, yet Sonoko did this to her. "Tell me," she growled, getting closer and letting a rush of flames block off the entrance to the cave, leaving Sonoko no room to retreat. "Why did you kidnap me?"
Sonoko seemed terrified. "I-it's best if you…if you d-don't interfere," she stammered.
Kazuha got closer. All she had to do was stretch out her arm, and she could grab Sonoko by the throat. Really, the heiress should be pleased that Kazuha wasn't doing that. "Suzuki Sonoko," she hissed out. "Where are you taking me?"
Sonoko's eyes darted around the room, and the moment she realized that there was truly no way out, she started talking.
"I'm tiiiiiired," Momiji whined.
Heiji looked back at her, glaring. Really, did this woman have to be this way? "Another second we delay is another second for Suzuki Sonoko to get Kazuha further from us," he snapped. "We have to find her!"
"Sonoko's a non-bender, like me," Momiji pointed out glumly. The Ooka family were well known for their exceptional firebending, but Momiji's father had married a non-bender, making their daughter a non-bender as well. "Kazuha's probably burned her alive by now."
Heiji thought about it, realized that it was more likely than he had previously thought, then said, "Well, we can't depend on that possibility. Sonoko was smart enough to figure out how to kidnap Kazuha. She probably took Kazuha's firebending into account as well."
Momiji just sat down on a rock. Heiji regretted not taking the ostrich horses with them. In his rush, he had forgotten them, and when Momiji had sent Iori, their fastest and least tired person, back to fetch them, the ostrich horses had run away at the sight of a not-too-familiar person, never to be seen again. Now they were stuck at a cumbersome pace, made even slower by Momiji's break.
"Iori," she called out to her bodyguard. "Could you go on ahead and report back to us if you see anything?"
"Yes, young lady," Iori replied, and then he was running ahead.
Heiji shot a glare at Momiji. "If you would just pick up your tired ass—" he started to growl.
"Hattori Heiji," she said, and she no longer seemed to be the whining girl from just moments ago. Heiji jolted, startled by the contrast, and Momiji continued. "Let go of your anger. It won't help anything."
"But—" Heiji started.
Momiji's eyes met his. "Remember what happens when you get angry."
And then Heiji was thrust into the past. His firebending, the part of him he was never able to control, flowing out around him, burning everything. People, innocent people, hurt because Heiji just couldn't control his bending.
It was worse when he couldn't control his emotions, either.
Taking a few deep breaths, Heiji willed himself to calm down. "Alright," he murmured. "I'll try."
Momiji nodded pleasantly.
"How do you know these sorts of things?" he asked. "Like, calming down will prevent my bending from going bad."
"Isn't it just common sense?" she questioned.
Heiji supposed it was. "But, it's just strange to hear it come out of the mouth of a non-bender."
And, as Iori was spotted in the distance, returning to the two of them, Momiji just smiled.
Heiji was glad he had managed to convince the others to continue walking, despite it being nighttime. Momiji had tried to continue her pathetic "oh, but I'm sooo tiiiiired" performance, but Heiji sure as hell wasn't falling for it this time.
But maybe the night didn't provide the best lighting, based on how Heiji almost walked past a cave. Only two things stopped him from doing so.
One, the trail seemed to stop. Two, the light provided by Iori's firebending showed traces of scorched grass near the entrance.
"They at least passed by here, most likely," Heiji murmured.
"Let's go in," Momiji said. She nodded to Iori, and the bodyguard dipped his head before going in first. Heiji went in next, cutting in front of Momiji. Kazuha was his best friend, and he sure as hell wasn't going to let Momiji see her first.
Much to his surprise (though maybe he shouldn't have been that surprised, based on the scorched grass outside and Kazuha's entire personality), Kazuha was in no way restrained, and instead stood glaring down at Sonoko, who was sitting on the ground.
Kazuha looked up, and her eyes seemed to light up when she saw Heiji. "Suzuki Sonoko," she announced, "is a horrible kidnapper."
"I can tell," Heiji agreed, glancing at the girl. "I don't think your talent lies in kidnapping."
"I didn't think so either," Sonoko muttered. "But I might as well try."
"I learned some important information from her, though," Kazuha announced.
Fear shone on Sonoko's face. She stood up and grabbed Kazuha's sleeve. "No," she hissed out. "Don't—"
Rage burned in Kazuha's eyes, and she shoved Sonoko off. "I will tell Heiji what I want to tell him," she growled. "And I want to tell him everything you told me."
Sonoko shut her mouth reluctantly, the fear still remaining in her very posture. Kazuha grabbed Heiji's arm and took him further into the cave. As Heiji glanced back, he saw Iori standing over Sonoko, who had slumped down onto the floor again, and Momiji giving her former friend an unreadable look.
Finally, when they were far enough that Heiji believed the others couldn't eavesdrop, Kazuha stopped. "I still don't trust her," she muttered, and Heiji knew she was talking about Momiji. "I don't want her to hear this."
"She already knows that Mouri Ran and Edogawa Conan have a connection to the Avatar," Heiji said. Kazuha glared at him, and he quickly said, "Look, I fucked up! I won't do it again!"
Kazuha rolled her eyes. "Too late to fix that. But I now know that Edogawa Conan, Mouri Ran, and Miyano Shiho are with an Air Nomad."
Heiji nodded. "Yeah. The land beneath the hill actually refers to the Air Nomads. I fucked that up too."
Kazuha groaned at his stupidity, but continued. "The Air Nomad is a criminal named Kaitou Kid. A thief, apparently, but not your average one. He's an airbender, and that is part of what makes him exceptional. No one has ever been able to figure out his true identity."
"Lots of help that is, then," Heiji said, "if we don't know who he is."
"And more importantly…" Kazuha said, then paused, taking a deep breath, her expression hard to read. "Edogawa Conan is Kudo Shinichi, the Avatar."
"What?" Heiji asked dumbly. "But—"
Kazuha shook her head. "It's true," she whispered. "I didn't believe it either, but… Why would Sonoko lie about it?"
Heiji immediately turned to face the way that he had come from. "She shouldn't have told you that," he muttered.
Kazuha frowned. "But… don't you appreciate that information?"
"Yes, but…" Heiji couldn't find the words to say. Not to her. But there was someone he could talk to about this.
He began running through the tunnel. He heard Kazuha call out from behind him, but he ignored her. Bursting into the main cave, he grabbed Sonoko by the throat and slammed her against the cave wall.
"You bitch!" he snapped. "If you were truly a good friend, you wouldn't have told Kazuha shit!"
Sonoko's eyes were wide. She didn't say anything.
"How can we trust anything you tell us, if you're such a good friend?" he sneered. "It works in our favor if you're a horrible one, but it isn't in your favor, is it? Why would you expose all that information to someone, especially to a firebender?"
Now Sonoko replied. "My life was at risk," she murmured.
"Fuck your life!" Heiji snapped. "If Kazuha were a different person, then he would be dead by now!"
Sonoko shook her head as much as she could. "No, he wouldn't," she said. "Because you guys wouldn't have lasted long enough to make use of that information." Quickly shoving Heiji away, she took deep breaths.
Before Heiji could speak again, Iori perked up. The bodyguard's eyes narrowed, and then he was running toward the entrance, flames in his hands.
The place they had been at earlier had been way too open, so the man—the criminal Kaitou Kid, real name Kuroba Kaito—took them to somewhere more secluded. "My hideout," he declared as the other three entered. "Please, do not mess anything up."
Shiho still looked cautious. Her eyes scanned the room, and Kaito felt exposed for a moment. He wasn't used to other people seeing the inside of his Kid Cave. He also didn't quite trust the woman. Yes, her sister, Miyano Akemi, had helped Shinichi escape execution (though Kaito had not been informed of the details), but how could one know if Miyano Shiho was the same?
"Any news from Sonoko?" Shinichi spoke up, interrupting Kaito's thoughts.
Kaito blinked. "Ah, Sonoko," he said, remembering the heiress that had been friends with Shinichi and Ran since childhood. She was involved in this plan as well, though Kaito was glad that the two had at least not informed Sonoko of his true identity. She wasn't as much of a klutz as people seemed to think, but she was still a bit of a klutz, in Kaito's opinion. Ran was too trusting and probably would have exposed his name to Sonoko easily, as she had done with Shiho, but Shinichi was a planner. He knew what was best. If he told Ran not to give away Kaito's identity to Sonoko, then Ran would most certainly hide it. "I haven't heard from her yet," Kaito said. "I'm still waiting for the dove."
"How long until it arrives?" Shinichi questioned.
Kaito shrugged, reclining on a chair. "Who knows? Most likely, sometime today. Give it a few moments, and if we're lucky, the dove will come."
He was right. A few minutes later, the dove did arrive. The dove dropped a letter in Kaito's hand, and he unrolled it and quickly scanned the first bit. He narrowed his eyes. "Hattori Heiji, Toyama Kazuha, Ooka Momiji, and Iori Muga," he said. "Do you guys recognize any of those names?"
Ran's eyes widened, and Shinichi's eyes held a faint spark of surprise. "We met the first two in the Fire Nation," Shinichi said. "Hattori Heiji is part of the Hattori family, one of the more powerful families in the Fire Nation. Toyama Kazuha is his friend. Heiji supposedly doesn't agree with his father's ideals, but I wouldn't trust him just yet."
"And Ooka Momiji was Sonoko's friend, before…" Ran said, then faltered as she glanced at Shinichi. "It was hard for people from the Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation to get along, after that." She sighed. "Iori Muga was her bodyguard."
Kaito continued reading. "Apparently the four of them arrived at the Suzuki Mansion not too long ago. Hattori Heiji was looking for you guys, I suppose, asking about your father." He nodded at Ran. "Sonoko was suspicious, and she made an impulsive decision. She kidnapped Toyama Kazuha."
Ran's eyes widened. Shinichi's expression was cold. Shiho seemed almost impressed, though her face didn't give too much away.
"They tried to follow us?" Ran questioned.
"I suppose so," Shinichi said. If his expression was cold, his voice was freezing.
Ran's eyes were filled with horror. "Then…"
"Don't worry," Shinichi said, his eyes narrowed. "Sonoko's bodyguards will handle it if anything goes wrong with the kidnapping. "They'll be as good as dead, if not entirely dead."
The area outside the cave was surrounded by earthbenders.
"You guys finally arrived!" Sonoko cried out breathlessly, hurrying toward them. Iori shot out a blast of fire to stop her, but one of the earthbenders raised his fist, and a slab of rock blocked the fire. Sonoko rushed toward the earthbenders and threw her arms around one of them. "Makoto!" she cried out breathlessly.
Makoto lifted his chin and looked at Heiji and the others. "I am Kyogoku Makoto," he said, "one of Sonoko's bodyguards."
"And my boyfriend," Sonoko hissed out loudly.
A faint blush appeared on Makoto's face at that, but he didn't let it distract him from his purpose. "We are here to protect Sonoko and defeat you."
The bodyguards all slammed their right fists into their left palms. Slabs of earth appeared behind them, then collapsed. Heiji swallowed. In such a small movement, they had demonstrated their power.
"They must have waited here for all of us to arrive," Kazuha hissed out.
"One of them had to have noticed us coming here," Heiji said, "or else they would have just attacked you before we arrived. They must think it's a better choice to fight all four of us at once." He glanced at Momiji. "Or, well, three of us."
Momiji shrugged. "Sorry about that, but I'm not a firebender."
Kazuha looked at Heiji in his eyes. "Two of us. You aren't fighting."
Heiji glared at her. "I'm going to fight. I'm a firebender too, and we're already in a bad position."
Kazuha swallowed. "You'll kill us all," she whispered.
"Will you surrender?" Makoto asked them.
Iori looked at Momiji, but it was Kazuha who answered, whipping her head toward Makoto. "Never," she snarled, and then summoned fire in both her hands, shooting them towards the earthbenders.
It did not take too long for all ten earthbenders to join in the fight. Heiji mainly saw the land destroying and reshaping, with bursts of flame coming at random intervals from Kazuha and Iori, who had left the cave and entered the clearing to fight. Heiji stood at the cave's entrance, staring with wide eyes, thinking, There is no way two firebenders can win against ten earthbenders, especially at night. Our power comes from day.
This is a losing battle.
We're done for.
"I'm joining in," Heiji said.
"You're a fool," Momiji said, but she didn't make any move to stop him as he ran into the clearing.
Fire flowed around him, making its way around the entire clearing.
I need to fight. For Kazuha.
Kazuha… who was kidnapped by Sonoko…
A burst of rage came into him at that thought.
Sonoko, whose bodyguards are about to kill us.
It's because of Sonoko, all because of Sonoko, Sonoko, Sono—
Heiji stopped, his eyes meeting Kazuha's. Her eyes were wide with dread.
Heiji looked around the clearing, and horror filled him as he noticed.
It was all burning, burning, burning.
"Get a hold of yourself!" Kazuha shouted. She reached out, trying to reign in his fire, but it was too much for her to control. Earthbenders were screaming, burning alive, and Heiji knew that even if they were ready to kill him, he wasn't ready to kill them.
Heiji reached out his hands and tried to bring his fire into himself, but he couldn't.
I was never able to control my fire, after all, he thought, despair welling up inside his entire body.
Through the smoke, Heiji saw a body fall, and heard Sonoko scream a name, voice filled with grief. Heiji feared that the bodyguard was dead.
"I can't," he whispered, so quiet he wasn't sure Kazuha could even hear him. "I-I, I can't…"
And then water was flowing throughout the clearing. Small streams at first, flowing through and quenching the fire, and then they joined together to become waves, and then, one huge wave.
The wave crashed over the entire clearing, drenching Heiji and Kazuha. Heiji blinked a few times.
Most of the fire was gone.
"A waterbender," Kazuha whispered. "That's the only type of person who could have…"
"There's no waterbender here," Heiji responded, unsure. "Just ten earthbenders, three firebenders, and two non-benders."
Heiji slowly turned around to where the water first came from.
Behind him, water floating around her, was Ooka Momiji.
She gave him an ominous smile.
"But, how—" Heiji stammered.
"How am I a waterbender, even though I'm from a line of firebenders?" Momiji finished for him smoothly. "It's because of my mother. I'm just like her."
Your mother is a non-bender, Heiji thought, dazed, but he had already realized that that was not true.
Momiji's mother was a waterbender.
And Momiji was too.
And with that, more water flowed toward the earthbenders. Kazuha pushed Heiji back toward the cave. "Get away from here!" she snapped. "You can't… you can't fight!" She shook her head. "Don't use your fire anymore!" She quickly turned away from him and joined back in the fight, pulling the remaining patches of Heiji's fire toward her and utilizing them just as well as her own.
And in the end, I'm useless after all.
Glancing toward the fallen earthbender, Heiji was glad to see the steady rise and fall of his chest. He was alive.
Looking back at Kazuha, he watched her graceful movements. With his fire under her command, she was proving herself to be truly powerful.
Momiji was watching Kazuha as well, a strange look in her eyes. Heiji wondered what that was about.
Stepping backward, further into the cave, Heiji could only watch as the battle raged on.
In the end, it was surprisingly Sonoko who stopped the battle.
The earthbenders immediately froze. Kazuha, Momiji, and Iori continued moving for a few moments longer, but soon, upon seeing their frozen opponents, they froze as well.
The sun was coming up over the horizon, Heiji noticed. Kazuha's and Iori's firebending was growing more powerful, and Sonoko knew it.
"We admit defeat," the heiress said, glancing at her bodyguards. "Clearly we are no match for you." She dipped her head slightly to Momiji. "All those years of our friendship, and I never knew that you were a waterbender."
"Some secrets are better hidden," Momiji said coolly.
Sonoko sighed. "Well," she said, lifting her chin up. "Aren't you going to execute me now?"
Heiji froze. "Execute you?" he asked, stepping out of the cave.
"Just like the Fire Nation tried to do with Shinichi," Sonoko confirmed. "Won't you execute me?"
Momiji raised her eyebrows. Heiji supposed she was surprised at having found out that Kudo Shinichi was alive.
Heiji pressed back his shock and all those feelings of uselessness and said, "Take us to Kaitou Kid."
Sonoko froze. "I don't exactly know where he is?"
"But you know more than us," Heiji said. "Take us to him."
Sonoko slowly nodded.
"And bring your bodyguards too," Heiji added, then thought about it and said, "Except for that one." He nodded to the badly burned bodyguard. Guilt shot through him, as sharp as a needle. "And leave another to take care of that one."
"Makoto?" Sonoko questioned. "You can choose."
Makoto nodded and called out a name. The summoned bodyguard rushed toward their fallen comrade.
Kazuha was making her way toward Heiji. He nodded at her, but neither of them said anything.
Sonoko and her bodyguards were on their side now, but they couldn't be fully trusted.
And Momiji and Iori were most certainly hiding secrets. Momiji's waterbending was just the least of it. Why exactly were they here?
All Heiji could do was move on toward Shinichi and the others. He had to bring Miyano Shiho back to his father.
…and he had to stop the Avatar from being executed a second time.
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