Disclaimer: I don't own Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Detective Conan, or Magic Kaito.
So... I don't really like the middle part of this chapter. Conan is a complete and utter magnificent bastard, and Nancy cusses him out. Er, yeah. And I feel like the first part could be better, even though it is pretty awesome. Love the last part though, absolutely love it. I'll stop telling you what I think now so you can form your own opinions.
Nancy fumed as she stalked down the halls of the police precinct. Inspector Megure and his underlings were taking their duty of keeping her out of danger annoyingly seriously. For all she knew the investigation had made leaps and bounds, but were they telling her? No.
She paused in her stalking as she caught a flash of red light in the corner of her eye. She turned as another brief flash caught her attention. This time she saw that it was coming from under the door to the morgue. Frowning and curious as to what could be causing such a light, Nancy slowly walked forward. As she got closer she could hear faint noises coming from the morgue as well.
Nancy's frown deepened. She knew that the mortician on duty at the moment usually took a break right about now. Slowly she turned the handle and inched open the door, peeking in secretively. Before she could take note of what she was seeing, there was another red flash. Nancy quickly glanced away, then looked back.
Whatever she had expected to see, it wasn't this.
Two people in uniform stood around a table with a body on it. One of the drawers nearby was open, indicating where the body had come from. The man held something in a gloved hand over the corpse's mouth while the woman quietly chanted something completely incomprehensible to Nancy.
There was another red flash, and Nancy watched this time. Something dripped from the gloved hand on to the corpse and it twitched momentarily. The brief movement caused Nancy to see that the body was blond. And how many blond bodies were there in any given Japanese morgue? Not many, Nancy guessed. Whoever these people were, they were doing something to Joe's body. And Nancy could not let that happen, whatever 'that' was. She stepped fully into the morgue, letting the door shut behind her. "Hey, you two. Stop what you're doing!"
The woman didn't look away from Joe, too focused on her chanting, but the man glanced briefly at her. Nancy unfortunately got absolutely nothing from this. He was middle-aged, with one of the most forgetful faces Nancy had ever seen. The kind of person one saw in a crowd and then promptly forgot about. Nancy glared and started forward, but he suddenly held up a finger of his ungloved hand, indicating for her to wait. Nancy didn't let it get to her though. "I demand an explanation for what you're doing!"
She walked forward until she could see Joe clearly, then stopped still at the sight of him. He wasn't the pale corpse she'd last seen him as. He was still quite clearly dead, but there was something distinctly not dead about him. The head wound was smaller than Nancy remembered, and if she didn't know better she'd almost say there was color in his cheeks.
More liquid dripped from whatever the gloved hand was holding tight into Joe's mouth. Nancy saw that the liquid was also red. As the liquid dripped into his mouth the head wound shrunk even more, and Nancy's jaw dropped. How was this even possible?
She could not find it in herself to interfere after that. She merely watched as the liquid dripped, the head wound vanished entirely, and the life seemed to return. Until finally, after what seemed like hours but was really only minutes, Joe made a small choking noise on one of the droplets.
The man quickly put whatever he was holding, glove and all, into a jar on the table next to him and screwed the lid on tight. The woman finally stopped chanting and looked at Nancy, and Nancy felt like she should recognize her but didn't. "Who are you two?" Nancy asked breathlessly.
"You know who we are," the man answered in a familiar voice and with an almost familiar grin.
"Kid," Nancy stated. "Then... what was that?"
"A secret that you don't need to know about."
Nancy reached out and grabbed his sleeve. "Aoko-san did die, didn't she?" Kid didn't respond. "And then you saved her with... whatever it is you've got there. But if you were planning on it, why didn't you bring Joe back in the first place? Why wait so long?"
"Simple," Kid responded, extracting his sleeve from Nancy's firm grip. "I couldn't. After that, I wanted to get some advice to make sure I really knew just what forces of nature I was messing with."
"The heist?" Nancy guessed. Kid nodded. She glanced back at Joe, who was now breathing shallowly. "What do I tell the others?"
Kid grinned. "Tell them that Joe Hardy has magically come back to life and that you have no idea how. Now my companion and I really must be going." And with that, he and the woman slipped out the door, leaving Nancy behind.
Nancy's attention was drawn away from the door by a hoarse noise, that of unused vocal chords. She quickly rushed back over to the side of the table and saw that Joe's eyes had cracked open. "Joe," she breathed. It was one thing to witness everything else, but this... this was beyond her and so completely miraculous.
"Nance... what're you... where'm I?" Joe rasped.
Nancy quickly looked around and spotted a pitcher of water and a small stack of paper cups in the corner. She strode over and filled a cup halfway before walking back and holding it to Joe's lips. "Drink," she commanded.
Joe did so, and before Nancy realized it the water in the cup was gone. "That's better," Joe said when he was finished. Then, to Nancy's surprise, he sat straight up, the sheet that had been lying on top of him falling to his waist.
"Hey, are you sure you should be sitting up like that?" Nancy worried.
"Why not?" Joe asked back. "I feel fine. Finer in fact than I've felt in a while."
Nancy couldn't help herself anymore. She dropped the paper cup to the ground and threw herself on Joe in the tightest hug she could. "Oh Joe!" she exclaimed, feeling tears prick at her eyes. She pressed her head up against his chest, to feel the warmth and the heartbeat and the not deadness emanating from it.
"Nancy, I just realized something."
"I'm naked and in a morgue."
"Nan, I'm naked. What would Ned say?"
Nancy finally realized what he was getting at. "Oh. Right." She finally let go of Joe and backed off, still staring. There weren't even any marks from the autopsy on his chest.
Joe fixed her with a serious look. "Nancy, why am I naked and in a morgue?"
Nancy remembered that Aoko didn't seem to remember dying and coming back. "What's the last thing you remember?" she started diplomatically.
Joe frowned. "I was in an alley with Frank waiting for Kid to show up. Then... nothing. Hey, where is Frank anyway?"
Nancy grimaced. "Not... here right now. Look, about the whole naked and in a morgue thing... Joe, I really really don't know how to put this, but... you've been dead. For over a month."
Joe slowly shook his head. "No I haven't."
"Yes you have. It's the end of July."
"Nancy, that's patently impossible. I can't have been dead for a month, that doesn't happen."
Nancy exhaled. "Believe me, during the month that you've been dead my definition of 'impossible' has shrunk rapidly."
"Nancy," Joe spoke slowly, "People don't die for a month and randomly come back to life. Go into a coma, yes. Die, no."
Nancy folded her arms and harrumphed. "Then perhaps you would like to explain why you're naked and in a morgue!"
"The world is playing a very strange, bizarre practical joke on me. What are you doing in Japan anyway Nancy? I am still in Japan, right?"
"Urgh!" Nancy nearly shouted. "Your father called me! He needed a teen to follow a lead that might lead them to where Frank was so he called me!"
Joe's serious level suddenly increased tenfold. "Where Frank was? Frank's missing?"
Nancy waved him off. "No, don't worry, we found him. He's fine, well, finer than you. Was finer than you. Now I'm not so sure."
Joe leaned forward. "What's wrong with him?" he demanded to know.
"Joe, sheet," Nancy reminded.
"Oh, right." Joe quickly repositioned the sheet that had been, and was now again, covering him. "Now tell me what happened to Frank."
Nancy was saved from answering by the mortician, who dropped his half eaten sandwich immediately upon opening the door. "Go get Fenton Hardy and Inspector Megure right away!" Nancy ordered him. He fled immediately.
She then reluctantly turned back to Joe, but didn't say anything. "Okay, so maybe I believe you a little tiny bit more about the whole dead thing than I did five seconds ago," he started, "But this whole not answering me about Frank thing is getting worrying."
"The two of you just... got into a little bit of trouble, that's all," Nancy shrugged.
"If anyone pops out of nowhere shouting something about a joke, I'm going to kill all of you." Joe paused, waiting for someone to do just that. "So a little bit of trouble that ended with me apparently dead? Nancy, where's Frank and what's happened to him?"
"He's just... hiding," Nancy didn't exactly lie. "Because what happened was that the group that's after Kid? Well they somehow heard about your meeting with Kid and crashed it before Kid could get there. So now Frank's hiding in case they decide to go after him again, that's all."
"So they tried to kill him," Joe stated.
"No!" Nancy answered too quickly. "Well yes, they tried to kill both of you. You actually died. Frank pulled through though, and now he's hiding, which is why he's not here."
"One last question then."
Joe fixed Nancy with a look. "If I was dead, how the hell am I suddenly not dead?"
"I have no idea," Nancy answered truthfully, for a certain value of truth.
At that precise moment Fenton Hardy charged into the morgue, followed closely by Detective Sato, Detective Takagi, the mortician, and Inspector Megure in that order. All five were gaping. Fenton staggered a few steps forward. "Joe?"
"So I hear from Nancy that I've been dead," Joe started the conversation with a frown. "Mind explaining?"
Fenton looked at Nancy, lost. "What?"
"I have no idea," Nancy repeated. "And Joe can't remember anything past going into that alley with Frank, so he doesn't know either."
Fenton ran forward and pulled Joe into a hug even tighter than Nancy's. "Joe! Don't you ever give us that kind of scare again. Don't you ever, ever do that again!
"Oh, you mean die? Yeah, I'll try."
Fenton pulled back and stared at Joe. "It's you. Oh god it's really you!" He hugged his formerly dead son again.
"Hey, I don't suppose anyone has any clothes? It's just I'm kind of chilly."
Detective Takagi cleared his throat unobtrusively and looked at the floor. Fenton seemed to notice for the first time that Joe was only clad in a sheet. "Right. Let's do something about that, and then we can talk."
What ended up happening was that the police had Frank and Joe's luggage booked as evidence, so Joe just raided his own suitcase for something to wear. Then they moved to a meeting room and took turns filling Joe in on what had happened during his extended leave of life. Joe spent most of the time frowning, and Nancy could guess that he was thinking about Frank. Partway through Nancy felt her phone buzz in her pocket and excused herself. Once out in the hall she answered it. "Hello, Nancy Drew speaking."
"Don't tell him."
"Pardon?" Nancy asked, frowning. It was Kudo's voice.
"Don't tell him anything."
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Nancy responded, her mind running with what Kudo could be talking about and, going with the most obvious, how he found out.
"You have every idea what I'm talking about. Don't tell the recently undeceased."
"He's his brother. He has a right to know. How did you even find out so quickly anyway?"
"Kid's not the only person with a penchant for throwing bugs around."
Nancy quickly started searching her pockets. "You little rat!" she hissed.
"It's not on you, it's on Kid."
"You and Kid are utter bastards in a league all of your own," Nancy bit out, angry.
"He can't know, it's too dangerous."
"And likewise, are you even going to tell Frank that his brother's alive?"
"No. He might do something rash."
"I take back what I just said. You make Kid look like a damn saint."
"Who makes Kid look like a saint?"
Nancy jumped a mile and spun around. Joe was standing behind her with his hands shoved into his pockets. "Dad said that you're the only person who knows how to get into contact with Frank. So..." he dragged off, assuming that Nancy would understand.
Nancy did. She immediately disconnected her call with Kudo and grabbed Joe by the arm and started dragging him out. "Yep! Come with me. You're also probably going to meet the person who makes Kid look like a saint, so prepare yourself."
Once they were in a taxi headed for Beika, Nancy dialed Professor Agasa's. No one picked up. "Damn you Kudo," she muttered.
Joe looked at her worriedly. "What's going on?"
Nancy sighed. "The truth of the matter is, Frank hasn't had much choice over whether he hides or not. Kudo Shinichi... oh, you've heard of him?" Nancy asked at Joe's look of recognition. "Anyway, Kudo's been working on this case far longer than anyone."
"That's what they told me. Funny thing is, I also got the impression that one doesn't end up on this case on purpose, if you get what I mean."
"Resulting in Kudo being paranoid and manipulative about keeping his secrets," Nancy grumbled. "He's pretty much been keeping Frank locked up to protect his secret, and I understood that at first but this time he's gone too far. That phone call I was on that you interrupted? That was him. He'd found out about you somehow, and he didn't want me to tell you anything about Frank. Meanwhile, he's planning on not even telling Frank that you're alive, just in case that prompts Frank to try and break free from his control. Kudo Shinichi does not like variables he cannot control."
"You know, I had heard only good things about him before now. I'm quickly beginning to dislike him. I take it that we're going to Frank now then?"
"Yes, or at least where I know Frank was last. And you know what? I'm just pissed enough at Kudo for trying to pull that stunt to do this." And Nancy pulled out her phone again and dialed the number of Fenton Hardy. "Mr. Hardy? Hi, it's Nancy... Yeah, Joe's with me, don't worry. Yeah... Yeah, we're going to see Frank. Why don't you join us? Here, I'll give you the address." Nancy rattled off the address, and then cut the conversation. "Bit me, Kudo," she told the handset angrily.
Joe was staring at her. "Remind me never to get you really, really angry at me."
"Kudo's way of handling things has been irritating me ever since I ran into him," Nancy explained, "But planning on not telling Frank that you're alive? Crosses the line, big time." At the look on Joe's face, Nancy stopped. "Joe? What is it?"
"I've been dead for over a month," he said slowly.
Joe looked up at her. "I've been dead for over a month, and Frank's been going on without me. To Frank, I've been dead."
Nancy scooted over and put her arm around Joe's shoulders. "It's been hard on him, yeah. But he's holding up somehow. You're going to make everything loads better though, trust me."
Nancy barely paused to pay the taxi driver before charging towards the front door of Professor Agasa's house. She rang the the doorbell and, when no one answered, banged on the door impatiently. "Whoever's in there, open up! It's Nancy Drew!" She waited, then banged again. "Open up!"
"Don't break the door down," Joe commented. At the look that dawned on Nancy's face, he immediately wanted to take that back. "It was a joke! Don't break the door down Nancy, it wouldn't be ladylike!"
Instead Nancy grabbed the door handle and the door swung open. She stormed in, Joe reluctantly following. "Professor Agasa?" she called out. "Frank? I know someone must be here!"
There was the sound of muffled raised voices coming from the shut door to the basement. Nancy and Joe raised their eyebrows at each other before taking a few steps towards the door. Before they could get far however the door opened and Frank stumbled out after clearly having been running up the stairs. He glanced up, speaking before he really saw. "Nan... Joe?"
Both brothers stood stock still. Frank stared in abject awe, face in a gape that Nancy had never seen the likes of before. Joe, one foot up in a half-completed step, blinked several times as the leg slowly lowered to the floor.
"Kaito Kid?" Frank asked hesitantly, sounding disgusted.
"Not Kid Frank," Nancy answered.
"Not Kid Frank?" Joe repeated. "Yes kid Frank. What the... just... what?"
Frank glared at Nancy. "Who the hell is this? Because this is just sick."
"Frank," Nancy said softly, "Remember what I said about Aoko-san getting shot but not? Should be dead but not?"
"Why is Frank small?" Joe butted in in a small, unsure voice.
"I think Kid was feeling guilty for not being able to help you guys out," Nancy continued, ignoring Joe for the moment. "So after he found... whatever it is he found, he decided to do what he could."
Joe could not take it any more, and grabbed the front of Nancy's shirt with one hand and pointed at Frank with the other. "Frank is small, why, tell me, now!"
Nancy gently removed Joe's grasp from her shirt. "It's part of the whole you dying but him pulling through thing."
Frank meanwhile had wandered over and started tugging on the hem of Joe's shirt. Joe started, and then started to crouch down. As soon as his face was close enough Frank reached up and tugged on a cheek, hard.
"OWW! What the hell was that?"
Frank had gone back into shock. "So... it really is him?"
"Took a lot longer to convince him of that, and we were even in the morgue," Nancy said, jabbing a thumb at Joe. "Frank, Joe," she pointed to each of them as she named them. "Got it? Freakish things have been going on, but that doesn't change this."
There was a moment of silence, then Joe broke out into a grin. "So, how'd you get into this mess, little brother?"
Frank kicked Joe in the shin. Being physically seven years old, it did not have that much of an effect. "You say anything like that again and I'll-"
"You'll what?" Joe cut in, crouching. "Kick me again? Because in that case, I think I'll enjoy this."
Frank paused, and Nancy saw a million and one emotions flit through his eyes, all good. Frank beamed and threw himself at Joe in as big a hug as his little arms could manage. Joe returned the hug, laughing, and Frank joined in.
At that point the doorbell rang. "Just in time," Nancy stated, and headed for the entry.
"No!" Haibara Ai shouted, suddenly appearing from behind the door to the basement. "Don't let them in!"
Nancy glared at her. "I'll do what I want." She opened the front door to reveal Fenton Hardy. "Come in."
"Is this really where Frank's been hiding?" Fenton asked as he walked in. He stopped dead when he saw Frank and Joe.
Joe had stood up, taking Frank with him. "Hey, I can pick you up now!"
Frank of course had started wriggling as soon as this happened. "Put me down! Damn it Joe cut it out!"
Frank stopped wiggling, and both of them stared at Fenton. "Hi Dad!" Joe chirped.
"Hi... Dad," Frank followed, making like an echo.
Everyone's attention was suddenly drawn by Edogawa Conan standing in the still open doorway and shouting as Professor Agasa jogged up behind him. Conan rounded on Nancy. "I told you, I warned you-"
Nancy glared at him. "What you did was make me angry." She leaned over him. "This is what happens when you make me angry."
Professor Agasa was the one to finally shut the front door when he got to the house. He quickly noticed the tense atmosphere. "I'll just go make some tea then, shall I?" he suggested as he chuckled shakily. He quickly hightailed it off to the kitchen.
Then someone finally realized that one of their number was missing. "Hey, where'd that little girl go?" Joe asked. "The one that shouted at Nancy."
Conan slammed his face into his palm. Fenton was having problems getting his head around things. "Wait, there's more of them?" He paused. "Whatever them are?"
"Haibara, come on out. I guess," Conan called out, and Haibara came back from behind the door to the basement where she was hiding.
Fenton stared. "Okay. Does anyone want to explain just what the hell is going on here?"
Nancy clapped her hands together. "A mutual meeting of enlightenment! I like this idea!"
Conan growled. "Fine. Everybody, sit down on something."
After some shifting (it was like a logic puzzle; Frank and Joe sat next to each other; Frank did not, regardless of attempts otherwise, sit in Joe's lap; Fenton sat close to Joe but where he could keep a wary eye on mini Frank; Nancy sat close to Conan to keep an eye on him; and so on), finally everyone was ready.
Naturally, that was when the doorbell rang. "Don't even think about it," Conan warned Nancy as she made to get up. "I'll get it." True to his word, he did indeed stand up and walk over to the front door, opening it.
The person on the other side of the door started talking before Conan could get a word in edgewise. "Ah, Kudo, just the person I wanted to see! I wanted to have a little chat because you were really rather vague on why you needed that distraction a week ago, and so I started thinking about it and looking into it myself and I think you're holding back on me. It pains me to say it, but my partner in anti-crime is hiding something from me, and I'm here to find out what. So spill. Why was it so important that you get into that meeting room?"
Everyone sitting down slowly leaned to the side as one in an attempt to see who was at the door. Whoever was at the door also leaned to try and see who was inside when Conan gave to response. Finally the teenager's eyes made contact with those of the party within. Nancy recognized him as the boy from when Conan had given her that warning to back off. "Oh," he said quietly when he caught sight of them. "I just did something really wrong, didn't I?"
The back of Conan's head bobbed up and down. The darker-skinned teen grinned, striding in. "Well, might as well invite me to the party anyway! Introductions are in order it seems. I'm Hattori Heiji, Detective of the West!" He pointed to each of the group in turn. "You were in the meeting room that Kudo had me help him get in, you look like this dead guy but I'm sure there's an explanation for that, you're older than you look I'm guessing, you I know, and you were also in that meeting room. So, names!"
Professor Agasa poked his head out into the living room. "Oh. Looks like I'll be needing another cup of tea." He then retreated.
Hattori Heiji, Detective of the West, beamed widely, and Nancy actually felt a tiny bit of pity for Kudo Shinichi. Not a lot though. He still needed to learn how to trust people.
Unexpected naked Joe! Unexpected not naked (unfortuantely) Heiji! Whistleblower Nancy! Brotherly love! Xanatos speed chinese checkers!
Two things to point out: One, I completely wrote myself into the Japanese summer break without even realizing it. Oops. Just ignore that please? Two, in case anyone's complaining about Joe decomposing: negative temperature cold chambers are usually used in police morgues and either greatly reduce or halt completely (can't find a definitive source) decomposition, and bodies have been kept in them for two years at times. Plus, Pandora.
Yeah, I got a little carried away. You would too though. Reviews?