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Paper Mask

Chapter Text

Conan’s eyelids were heavy. He could barely keep them open as he tried to focus his vision through his broken glasses. Shapes were moving in front of him and he couldn’t discern them. He heard stern voices and doors opening.

Then, silence.

There were less shapes.

“Ah!” He yelped as he grabbed at the pain that shot through his side when he tried to move.

Lifting his hand from his side revealed the familiar sight of blood. Looking down to his stomach he spots a small pool of his own blood.

“This is bad, I’ve lost too much blood”

He clicked on his glasses, nothing. He had lost his detective badge in the initial scuffle. His watch was broken, which means he didn’t know how much time had passed. He had left his cell phone at the agency in order to avoid Ran getting involved. He had no means of contacting anyone that could help him. He had told no one where he was going, so now no one would know where to look.

His eyeslids grew heavy again, he knew he didn’t have long until he lost consciousness.

“Conan?”

He knew that voice, the voice that he hears in his dreams. The voice he wakes up to everyday. The voice that he had wanted to listen to forever. He listened as those familiar steps came closer, closer and then stopped.

“CONAN!”

He knows that voice as well. It haunts his nightmares. The ones that are filled with black alcohol and screams. Similar to the first, but so much worse.

He feels familiar hands on his torso as he is turned onto his non blood soaked side. His glasses slide off his face as he looks up towards his reason to keep waking up and solving mysteries. Their hand is holding his hand tenderly.

“-nan? Can you hear me? Please answer me!”

Her voice his cracking, barely coming out as her body is shaking with sobs. Her eyes meet his, tears are flowing freely down the sides of her face, similar to how his own blood had come down the sides of his face. Her eyes go wide, as if everything had just fallen into place. A small sad smile flashed across her face, followed by complete horror.

“Shinichi, why didn’t you tell me, why have you kept this a secret for so long!?”

He had prepared for this, thought about it over and over again. Still, no words came. He couldn’t think straight. All he wanted to do was just pop up like he usually does and wipe away her tears.

“I didn’t want this to happen to you,” he croaked out.

He tried to smile, maybe that would make her smile too. Maybe that would make this a little less painful for her. Her face deteriorates into shapes as black creeps into the sides of his view.

His eyelids were so heavy.

Chapter Text

It’s been five days. Five long days since Ran found the small broken body of her best friend in a cold lonely warehouse. Five days of being in and out of police stations, hospital rooms and a hotel room near the hospital. Five days of smelling like hand sanitizer and latex. Five days without hearing his voice.

She had started screaming when he had closed his eyes, having only said one sentence to her and leaving her with so many questions. Her father had to pry her away so the EMTs could attend to Conan.

Shinichi.

That small, smart child was the boy she had been waiting for so long to really spend time with. Right there under her nose. He had tried so hard to keep her safe, now he hasn’t woken up. She knew that he would always jump into danger without telling her. This time the danger was like a black pit, where even he couldn’t shine through.

His elementary school friends had come earlier, trying to ask questions about what had happened. They knew he had gotten into some trouble, they wanted to help. She knew that she couldn’t tell them anything.

She didn’t know anything.

The time she spent with Conan was swirling through her head, she had always had her suspicions because of his mannerisms, but he always had a plan that would get her off of his back. Things made more sense now, how he could always reach Shinichi when she couldn’t, how he knew so many facts that a child really shouldn’t know.

She feels her face get hot when she remembers all the times she did super embarrassing things in front of Conan. Like talking about Shinichi in front of him, taking baths together, and –

Confessing her love for him.

It seems so long ago, having just met Conan, she had readily told him about her love for Shinichi. It was no wonder why his face went tomato red after that. She remembers how he had got super serious before going up the stairs; he had wanted to say something to her, something about how he was really excited to live with her, but he had taken a long pause in the sentence.

He had wanted to tell her from the beginning. Wanted to let her know as soon as he could. He couldn’t though, he wanted to protect her from something bigger than them both.

She glanced up at his face, sleeping soundly on the sterile white sheets. She can clearly see Shinichi now, how she remembers his face from their childhood. She feels stupid. How could she not have known?

Her tired eyes moved to the clock on the wall.

Six days.

Eyes dropped to the floor, heavy with tears.

“I’m sorry”

Ran lifted her head to the sudden voice.

“This is my fault”

Ai. Haibara Ai. Why would she need to be sorry?

“I created the drug that made him this way. Made us this way,” Ai crossed her arms, “I worked for a bad organization, me and my sister made poison and other malicious drugs in order to harm the people that they deemed threatening or useful.”

Ai uncrossed her arms and leaned against the doorway. Her eyes focused on the floor tiles.

“We’ve been trying to track down these dangerous people to get the original drug so I can make the antidote, but this,” she waves her hand at the boy in the bed, “IDIOT wants to try to take down their entire organization. So that’s really why he couldn’t tell you, he didn’t want to see you like this, but he keeps forgetting that it is difficult for all of us to see him like this.”

Ran stares at Ai, noticing the tears welling up in the smaller one’s eyes.

“I should have known that he would do this. We found out some new information and the Professor and I had wanted to confirm it before jumping into action, but he still did anyway. The doctors said the only reason he is still asleep is due to the trauma to his mental state. At this point, we are waiting for him to wake up to face us.”

“That’s what he is most afraid of.” Ran finally choked out.

“Yes,” AI replied with a sigh, “It is.”

Six days and ten minutes.

Chapter Text

The noise from the television was the only thing that was filling the dark agency. The curtains were pulled down so one could see into the building. Kogorou was sitting in his chair, nursing a beer that he had opened hours ago. He couldn’t bring himself to get drunk, as much as he didn’t want to feel horrible anymore, getting drunk just didn’t seem appropriate. This surprised him, he was always the one to get smashed at the most inappropriate times.

He had been at the police station for the past week and a half. Answering a lot of questions that he didn’t have many answers to. They mostly just raised more questions for him.

He had gone to the hospital with Ran initially to sign paperwork and be there for her. Unfortunately he also got checked in due to the fact that Ran had elbowed him in the face while trying to hold her away from Conan. She had broken his nose, but it was a small price to pay to hear that Conan would live.

Well, that Shinichi would live.

That was the hardest part about this whole mess. He had to wrap is head that the brat in the glasses that had been living with them all this time was the detective brat that had taken away most of his business. Having Conan around had been a blessing for business, and now that he thought about it, it was really Shinichi pulling the strings to help Kogorou out.

Professor Agasa had explained how Shinichi was able to solve cases while he was Conan. It made Kogorou angry at first that Shinichi had manipulated him like that, but he understood why he had done it. It was to protect Kogorou and Ran from the bad organization that had turned him into a child.

Kogorou leaned back in his chair and sighed. How was he going to help now? The police now know that it was Conan solving those crimes, not him. He wouldn’t be called on anymore to help with the police. His blood was boiling, he wanted to track down those bastards who had done this to Shinichi. Kogorou may think he was a brat, but no one was allowed to hurt his family like that. Now that Conan is still asleep, he really couldn’t help with the investigation.

Getting up to throw his lukewarm beer in the recycling he grabs the newspaper he had tossed on his desk. There was no news about Shinichi and Conan in the papers, as the police had kept everything covered up to make sure they hadn’t put the child in danger. He crumpled the newspaper into a ball, and slammed it into the trash.

Knocks came from the door.

 “Oi Uncle, its Heiji, let me in”

Kogorou doesn’t respond. He can’t bring himself to say anything right now.

Heiji opens the door, he has a bag in his hands and isn’t wearing his baseball cap for once. “I just came from the hospital with some food, Ran was worried that you wouldn’t eat anything if she wasn’t around” he says as he walks over to the coffee table and sets a bag down.

He hates to admit that the kid is right, he hadn’t eaten anything all day. He hadn’t wanted to leave the office because he had to think about everything.

He walks over to one of the couches that clients usually use and plops down. He opens the bag and takes out the container and finds white rice with chicken dumplings inside. Not his favorite, but any food in his system would be better than none. He begins to scarf down the food messily.

“I know I’m not Ran, but if you need some help you can just ask” Heiji says with a smug grin on his face.

It isn’t that Kogorou doesn’t appreciate that Heiji came out of his way to feed him. He was angry that he couldn’t take care of himself. That he had kids taking care of him.

Kids. That’s what Ran, Shinichi and Heiji are. All three of them were in over their heads and as the adult he should be able to do things about it. He was heated over the fact that these kids were in danger and that other people were enabling them, even himself.

Heiji has been talking this whole time and Kogorou hasn’t been paying much attention, due to the fact he was enclosed in his own thoughts.

“-tors said he will wake up when he wants to, but Kudo is strong, he’ll wake up soon and we can work towards what is gonna happen next. He has guts but he should have called someone if he was gonna do that. Like we got police friends, just someone that could have protected him, hell I would have went if I had a sword. But he is as stubborn as a bull.” Heiji kept rambling as Kogorou began to tune him out again.

He had finished most of the food at this point, he knew that if Heiji told Ran he didn’t finish all of it she would have his head. So he was eating more for the sake of his behind than for hunger.

“Uncle are you all right?” Heiji was suddenly next to him on the couch. When had he gotten so close to him?

Kogorou just looked down at the few grains of rice that were left.

Kogorou wasn’t alright, he had seen Conan leave. Why hadn’t he questioned where he was going? Why didn’t he have him stay? It had already been pretty late, so he should have stopped him from leaving. He didn’t though, he was so used to just leaving Conan be that he didn’t question something that should have been so obvious.

Heiji looked concerned, but he got up and questioned, “I’m heading back to the hotel, is there anything you need me to do for ya Uncle?”

Kogorou stood and just put a hand on Heiji’s shoulder, which made the younger man look a little uncomfortable, and stated “Just be safe heading back, okay?”

“Ok…”Heiji said and all but ran out of the agency, not used to seeing Kogorou like this.

The television once again was the only noise to be heard in the dark agency.

Chapter Text

She had tapped her foot a total of 157 times so far.

Ai was stationed outside the hospital, ready to intercept the three noisiest kids in Beika before they tear through the hospital looking for clues and bothering police officers for the nth time in the past two weeks. She knew that they were concerned but there was nothing that any of them could do until Kudo woke up.

Akai Shuichi along with the FBI had showed up to help fill in as many cracks before Kudo wakes up so he would just have to confirm stories and alibis and the last bit of information that they don’t have.

Ai had already given her statements, the agencies had given her full immunity because of her cooperation so long as all the information she gave them was true. They even accepted to make Shiho Miyano officially dead in their records after this and will help create a new identity after the organization is taken down. She will be able to chose whether to relive life as a child or continue as an adult.

She isn’t sure what her choice will be, but right now staying a child is the safest option for everyone.

“Ai chaaaaaan”

Ai raised her head just in time for Ayumi to hug her super tightly.

“Did you convince Takagi to let us in today?” she said with stars in her eyes.

Ai shook her head. She hadn’t even asked because she didn’t even want the other kids in there anymore. Kudo won’t be waking up anytime soon.

She wasn’t sure if she was ready to see him awake. His mental state could have shattered for all they knew.

“Ai?”

Ai looked up, she didn’t know what to say to them. They still didn’t know all the details to why Conan was in the hospital in the first place. Takagi could barely keep it together when they came the first time to question him.

Ai sighed and placed her hands on Ayumis’ shoulders and gave her a stern look before looking beyond her to the two boys who had been keeping quiet for the time being.

She opened her mouth to speak, nothing was coming out.

She really didn’t have anything to say.

“Ai, we have to help Conan, he is our friend!” Ayumi cried, “All we are doing is just waiting for something to happen, we have to do something! There has to be something for us to do to help!”

Ai closed her eyes, Ayumi had a point, even she didn’t want to sit by and do nothing, but what could they do? The Shonen Tantei are the only ones being kept in the dark about Kudo’s true identity, even if she wanted to, it wasn’t her place to tell them who he really was.

“We help Ran with household chores.” Ai finally said.

“Ehhh~”

“Ran is going through a lot right now, Conan is like her little brother, if we can help support her until Conan wakes up, we will really help her out.” Ai finished, sighing internally for a moment.

She looks at her friends and hopes they understand where she is coming from, and that they will stop trying to bother the police.

“Your right!! We should help Ran out with things, she needs us!” Ayumi grabs Mitsuhiko and Genta and charges into the hospital before Ai can let out another word.

At least she can relax at the thought that they won’t be bothering the doctors anymore.

239 taps.

Chapter Text

He had made a total of 479 phone calls in the past three weeks, all unanswered.

Professor Agasa sighed heavily. He knew Shinichi’s parents were elusive, but this was starting to get ridiculous. There was a serious emergency with their son and they haven’t even bothered to answer the phone after the first 100 calls.

He had started the phone calls immediately once Shinichi was in stable condition. He had promised Ran that he would get ahold of Shinichi’s parents but they were leading Yusaku’s editors on another wild goose chase.

Agasa was not an angry man, in fact many would consider him comic relief more than anything, but this was making him irritated. Shinichi’s own parents weren’t even going to bother to check in on their son, knowing he was trying to take down an evil organization that likes to kill people that cross them the wrong way. All they had done was offer to take him to America, and when he refused they just left to go live their own lives with no concern to how he was really feeling.

Shinichi had always shown himself to be capable from an early age. He would always put on a smile even when his parents left him to his own devices when they would go on an adventure to escape his father’s editors.

Agasa speculated that it really hurt him. Not that Shinichi would ever admit it, he never really talked about his own feelings. He probably pushed them to the back and just let his deductions and reasoning speak for him. Agasa knew it must hurt, he was a smart man even though he was eccentric.

He looked back at his phone, nothing, no texts, emails, or calls. How could they? They were his parents and they weren’t even bothering to pick up.

He didn’t know where Shinichi’s phones were, so he couldn’t use them to call his parents. They would’ve been more inclined to answer if it was him, but even then they may have not answered.

Agasa rubbed under his eyes. It was the middle of the night in Japan, but midday in America, so he had hoped that Shinichi’s parents would have had access to their phones. Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Agasa started to dial in a familiar number.

“Mouri Detective Agency is closed call back later” Kogorou said irritated.

“Mouri its Agasa”

“Ah sorry Professor, what did you need?” Kogorou sounded concerned.

“I can’t get ahold of Shinichi’s parents, I’ve called close to 500 times and they haven’t even answered.” Agasa admitted.

A solid minute of silence when between the two men before it was finally broken.

“WHAT!?” Kogorou boomed, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY HAVEN’T PICKED UP? HOW COULD THEY NOT PICK UP!?” Kogorou began to let out a string of vulgar curses.

Agasa heard something crash in the background.

“Mouri are you alright?” Agasa asked worriedly.

“No I’m not but that was me throwing a glass against the wall.” Kogorou muttered, “I’ll try getting ahold of them as well, I’ll ask Eri to help me. Since she and Yukiko get along. Thank you for calling me Agasa.”

“Of course Mouri, I’ll call again if I hear from them on my end.” Agasa promised.

They said their goodbyes and Agasa was left in silence again.

He sighed.

He began the 480th call.

Chapter Text

She was on her 625th crane.

Kazuha’s hands began to ache again. She was angry with herself. None of the charms she had made in the past four weeks seemed to be doing any good. Conan was still asleep.

The doctors had just said that because of the trauma he went through his mind might’ve shut down for a bit. They weren’t sure if he would wake up.

Kazuha clenched her fists. Ran had started sobbing when they had said that. How could they have said something so insensitive. She and Heiji already ripped the doctors for it. They understood that the doctors had to be realistic, it didn’t make it hurt any less.

Heiji had explained the basics of who Conan was, but she didn’t really understand. How could Conan and Shinichi be the same person? She didn’t believe it herself, but she trusted Heiji, and that was the only confirmation she needed on the matter. Regardless of that fact, it was a person that Ran cared about lying in a hospital bed and she was going to support her friend any way she could.

Kazuha had decided that making charms would help her friend out, but after a week, it didn’t seem to work. She knew about the 1,000 crane wish charm. So she had set out to make it come to fruition. It had taken some time to get used to making them before she began the official count.

Her hands were always aching now, her parents had gotten angry that she had missed a lot of school, but she didn’t care, one of her best friends was upset and she had to do something to help her.

She got up from her desk, she needed to get something to drink before she continued. She could feel her heartbeat behind her eyes. She wasn’t surprised to find out that Heiji had already left again, since he had helped Conan on a number of occasions the police were dragging him all around the place. He had used Kazuha as an escape so that way he could get some rest as well, but they would always find out where he went and drag him back to who knows where.

She took a sip of water.

She was always going to be there to support him through all of this, he was smart but also reckless, so she needed to ground him at times. They were going to help Ran and Conan overcome whatever had put them in this situation and help them back on their feet after it was done.

Her phone rang.

It was Ran.

“Hello! Ran are you alright?” Kazuha tried not to sound too worried, but she couldn’t help it. Ran had been almost living out of the hotel across from the hospital.

“Yeah, I am, there isn’t anything new yet, the doctors said they can’t tell me anything more until they put him for an MRI, but they don’t know when they can do it.” Ran sounded exhausted.

“That’s not bad news, are you eating alright? I know the food in the hospital cafeteria isn’t the best.” Kazuha made an attempt to switch the subject, as much as she was concerned about Conan, she was worried about the person who was conscious.

“I’m eating fine, my mom has made it a point not to leave my side, and she is going to represent Shinichi for any legal proceedings when he wakes up. Since his parents still haven’t contacted us.”

“Eh? His parents still haven’t made any contact? Do you know where they are?” Kazuha was worried, did something happen to his parents as well?

“Yes, we know that they are alive, since they made a red carpet appearance the other night, we have tried everything to contact them but there hasn’t been an answer. We even have told his editors that if they finally catch them to tell them to call his son, but there hasn’t been any update.” Ran said.

Kazuha heard the faint telltale sound of a fist hitting a wall.

“Ran, have his parents always been like this?”

“Mhmm, this is ridiculous! It’s like they forgot that they had a son in a life threatening situation!” Ran yelled.

Kazuha heard another voice in the background, it was probably Ran’s mother. She was trying to calm ran down.

“Ran, the only thing we can do is wait, I know you are tired of waiting, since you have done it for so long, but it’s really the only option at this point.” Kazuha stated. She knew it would hurt her friend, but it was really the only option she could think of anymore.

“It’s just, hic, so hard.” Ran started to cry.

“Ran, go to sleep, it is getting late.” Kazuha admitted, it was getting close to midnight.

“Okay, goodnight Kazuha” Ran said softly.

“Goodnight Ran I’ll call you tomorrow.” Kazuha put her phone down on the counter.

Kazuha refilled her water and walked back to her desk. She grabbed another sheet of paper as she sat down.

She began the first folds of crane 626.

Chapter Text

999 missed calls

Yukiko was frantic. She just got back to her phones after her agent had taken them away so she can pay attention to the premiere and sees almost a thousand missed calls and a full voicemail.

Yukiko knew something wasn’t right.

When she started listening to the voicemails she saw red.

She called Ran.

“NOW YOU C-“

“Ran listen to me I haven’t had my phones for the past month and a half cause my agent was keeping them. I am currently booking the next flight out of L.A. right now and will be there as soon as possible. I haven’t listened to all of your messages and I will start doing so after I end this call. I only have one question at this point, has he woken up?”

Silence.

Then she heard a wail from Ran that made her blood run cold. “No, he hasn’t! I don’t know what to do anymore!” a strangled sob came through her receiver.

“Ran, I will be there as soon as possible, first I am going to murder my agent, and then I will be on a flight, thank you for staying with him, Yusaku is here as well but he doesn’t know yet and he is meeting with his editors. I am going to hang up now I can get going, okay? I will see you in, about, 16 hours. Ran thank you”

“He is so small” Ran is barely audible “Please hurry soon” The final click felt like it echoed throughout the room.

Yukiko got the first flight out of L.A. in 2 hours. She needed to go get Yusaku, but her legs wouldn’t move. Her cheeks were soaked and she didn’t know when she started to cry, and she knew it was going to keep going until she became dehydrated.

She was going to kill her agent, and her manager as well, she felt they both knew this was happening but because they needed her to be there for that stupid premiere and she was going to destroy any other person that will take any more time away from her baby.

Yusaku finally came back from his meeting. “Why did my editors tell me to call my s-oooph” a suitcase collides with his chest.

“We need to leave now, Shinichi is hurt and Ran knows. We will be listening to all the messages we have been left over the past month and a half that we have been off the grid. It will be really hard to listen to. As you see I have been crying already and these aren’t fake. Our flight is in 2 hours. Also I’m firing my agent when we get back.” Yukiko was quick to move into the cab and shove Yusaku in next to her.

She had voicemails to listen to her with her husband.

993 of them in fact.

Chapter Text

Takagi has helped to solve about 712 murder cases.

Most of those cases were attributed to the detective who put the handcuffs on the suspect, but now they all know it was a small young kid who really solved all those cases.

Takagi always knew Conan was a mystery, but after the attempted bombing of Tokyo Tower, he decided that he wasn’t going to really question the boy’s intellect. The kid had saved his life and on more than one occasion saved his love life. He figured that helping find the Organization that did this was the least he could do for the boy.

They were getting closer, and they had Yuusaku Kudo on the case now as well. He didn’t look well at all, especially after his plane ride. He had barged into the police station and wouldn’t leave. Takagi thought he didn’t even go to the hospital but apparently, he had taken all of five minutes in the room with his son before he decided that he had to do something.

Takagi couldn’t blame him. Everyone in Division One was running themselves into the ground, just for Conan, for Shinichi. Megure looked like he was about to murder everyone in the room about 90% of the time but the other 10% he would look like a father who had lost his child, that face was saved for when he thought no one was looking.

Chiba lost a lot of weight due to stress from dealing with the press after the “Kid Killer” was reported as being comatose in the hospital after not being seen at a Kaitou Kid heist. A nurse had mentioned it to a “trusted” friend who leaked it on the internet. Takagi had almost lost his mind as reporters flooded the station demanding a location. Chiba took the helm and diverted their attention away, but after a solid week, he was at his wit's end.

Shiratori also stepped in at the end of the worst of it, to kindly say to the reporters that they were putting a CHILD at risk and legal action can be taken courtesy of one (1) Kisaki Eri.

Takagi sighed.

Looking down into his cup of coffee that he knew wouldn’t energize him anymore he was truly heartbroken.

Conan was an irreplaceable asset. Even while they tried to hunt down the organization murders were still happening. The team would have to rush off to solve the case and then come back.

Takagi wanted Conan to be there, he wanted to hear the “ah-le-le” of the kid who really was the smartest detective in the room, much to Shiratori’s dismay.

He really couldn’t credit the number of murders he solved to himself anymore, he wanted to tell the world how smart Conan was, or even to let Shinichi take the fame since they were one and the same.

Takagi felt like he was doing serious mental gymnastics as he downed the last of the lukewarm coffee.

If he puts aside how many cases Conan has helped them solve.

Takagi has helped to solve about 421 murder cases.