A.N: I found pieces of this story and an outline lying around in my computer when sorting through old stories. It's actually one of the earliest fics I ever started for DCMK but I never got around to fleshing it out. I liked the pieces I found though so I've decided to try and finish it. Hope you guys enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK

Pairing: Pre-established KaiShin [KaitoxShinichi] Although there will be a lot of flashbacks going back to how it came about.

Summary: A case turned trap lands Shinichi in a remote, mountain village with no memories. Now it's a race between his friends and his enemies to see who can find him first.


Path of Dappled Light

1: The Crumbling Bridge

The crunch of dry leaves and twigs echoed through the stillness of the forest. Night had long since draped its tender wings over the world but where the usual chirps and hums of nocturnal life were meant to be today there was nothing but breathless silence. Only the boy whose footsteps pounded over layers of dry foliage moved in the forest tonight. Him and the shadow that darted between the trees several hundred yards behind him.

There was a flash and a crack and Kudo Shinichi ducked as something whizzed through the air where his head had been. A low hanging branch in the distance exploded in a shower of splinters and leaves. A second shot rang out and the rest of the branch came crashing down, forcing Shinichi to dodge around it. He barely felt the sharp twigs and splinters of wood that scraped past his face; too busy searching for the next open path. The part of his mind that wasn't fixated on running noted that if he didn't shake off his pursuer soon he wouldn't be getting away at all. His lungs and legs were burning and he was starting to feel as though he just couldn't get enough oxygen. Of course he had been running since the sun had started setting so that was no surprise. The scrapes and bruises he'd collected during the narrow escape from his car weren't helping. If he really thought about it he would be surprised that he'd been able to keep ahead of his pursuer for so long, but he didn't have the spare energy to marvel at that miracle right now.

He was going to be in pain in the morning, but that would be all right as long as there was a morning.

Another shot just barely grazed his shoulder and he thanked the night for its concealing darkness. Whoever was back there obviously had good aim if they could run and shoot in this abysmal lighting and still be almost on the mark. Not that that was a particularly encouraging realization.

Ahead of him the trees thinned and he could just barely make out the distant sound of rushing water. Judging from the resonance the stream or river was probably at the bottom of some kind of ravine, which meant he'd either have to pick a new direction or hope like hell that there was a bridge.

Opting to keep on his forward path, he squinted in the vain hopes of seeing what lay ahead. For once, it seemed he'd gotten lucky. There, just barely visible, was the outline of two wooden posts set roughly five feet apart. The bridge itself was little more than a blacker shadow in the night, but it looked solid and he wasn't going to be too picky right now. If there was a bridge, that meant someone had built it, and if someone had built it, then there must be people—or at least a path—nearby.

The ground near his feet exploded in a spray of dirt and twigs. Gritting his teeth, Shinichi dove for the bridge. Wooden planks and old ropes groaned at the sudden weight and he groaned with them inwardly. That did not sound good at all. Even as the thought crossed his mind his entire body lurched as the wood gave way beneath his feet.

His last coherent thought as he fell was that at least he wasn't going to be shot.

Oh joy.

X

Everything hurt, but the worst part was he couldn't seem to breathe. Bolting upright despite the screaming protests from what felt like every muscle in his body he half choked, half coughed up the water that had been suffocating him. Someone was rubbing his back as they supported him, but he couldn't make out what they were saying through the coughing and the pounding headache that was growing rapidly more painful as the immediate fear of suffocation ebbed with each gasping breath. Once the coughing had subsided a little he made an effort to pry his eyes open. He succeeded only to regret it as the bright sunlight sent renewed stabs of pain through his head. Groaning, he squeezed his eyes shut again. It helped, but only barely.

In the brief moment of light he had managed to catch sight of the people who were now trying to help him up. There were two of them, one man and one woman, but his vision had been too blurry to make out any more defining features.

Two pairs of hands took him carefully by the arms and he was lifted to his feet. The world spun and tilted with the movement despite the fact that he kept his eyes tightly shut and he couldn't hold back the nauseated groan that forced its way past his throat. Concerned voices were speaking over his bowed head but he couldn't make them out through the roaring in his ears. It felt like the sky was falling—or maybe it was the earth that had decided to learn from the sea and begin undulating in sickening waves. He was more than relieved when the darkness closed over him again.

The next time he woke everything still hurt but he could breathe much more easily and his head didn't feel like it was splitting open anymore. He appeared to be lying on something soft, so he wasn't wherever it was he had been the last time he'd woken. He debated with himself for a moment over the wisdom of opening his eyes before deciding to take the risk. Several seconds of arguing with his reluctant eyelids later he managed to crack them open just enough to see a ceiling over his head. So he wasn't outside anymore and shouldn't have to worry about being stabbed in the eyes by overly bright sunlight. But then where was he? Opening his eyes all the way, he turned his head to examine his surroundings.

The room was small and plain but clean and obviously well kept. The only furniture he could see was the low cot he was lying on, a table, and one chair. Everything had been crafted of slightly worn wood. There was a window in one wall, but the curtains were closed so that only the thinnest strips of light could be seen around the edges, giving the room a dim but warm glow. Part of him noted how odd it was that there were no lamps or lights of any kind, then he wondered why it was so odd.

He was just turning that thought over for closer inspection when the door in the wall opposite the cot opened and in walked a young woman with a long, black braid dressed in clothes that that same voice that had noted how odd the lack of electric lights was told him were handmade. She paused in the doorway when their eyes met, apparently surprised to find him awake, then she smiled and came all the way in.

"How are you feeling?" she inquired, moving to set the tray she had been carrying on the table.

He considered the question for a moment. Every muscle in his body was aching and his head still felt like someone was drumming on the inside, but he could breathe freely and the aches and pains were marginally better than how he recalled them being before.

"Better," he said finally, his voice rasping out through a throat he only just realized had acquired desert-like qualities some time while he was unconscious. "Where…?"

The woman poured water into one of the wooden cups on her tray and came to stand beside the cot. "My brother and I found you in the river yesterday morning. You are very fortunate, but I fear your injuries may take a while to heal. This is our house. We don't get many visitors around here, but you are welcome to stay as long as you need to. Here." Reaching over, she carefully helped him into a sitting position and handed him the water which he took with a grateful sigh.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome." She smiled, refilling the water in his emptied cup. "My name is Kita Mizumi. And you are?"

He opened his mouth then paused, a sudden chill racing down his spine. "I—I don't know…"

TBC


A.N: Hmm, this chapter was a bit short. Hopefully the next one will be up soon. I'm still working on the epilogue for Midnight White. Other than that, I'm finding several fic bits in my files that I think I might be expanding on. Anyhow, stay warm! Everyone around me seems to be getting sick. I'm afraid I'll be next. I've had a splitting headache all day and the hint of a runny nose… See ya ^_^