Feb 21, 2011

Chapter 38

Chapter 38
Do You Remember?
*Author's Note: I am partially skipping breakfast to put this up, and I had to beg my mom to get on the computer last night so I could edit chapter 38, which has actually been typed out for the past week and a half. Luckily, my editor managed to catch most of the mistakes the first time, so here it is, two days early. Chapter 39 isn't finished yet, so you'll probably have to wait another week. Sorry! I hope you enjoy this chapter, I worked hard! Please help make this chapter the one that receives the 50th review! I already have 47, so please help!*
The three teenagers were huddled in the living room of the spacious house. The doctor had told them to go home for the night instead of staying in the hospital, waiting to see what would become of the person they had all risked their lives for. The person who had risked his own life to save his friend. They hadn't been allowed to see him after he had been taken into the surgery wing or even when he was put into recovery. They sat in almost total silence, waiting for the phone to ring or preferably for exhaustion to overcome them.
Ran sat numbly on the leather couch where Kaito had rested the first day she had met him. A memory of him smiling, no matter how fake it was, came to her mind. How could he be dying? He had been so full of energy, so full of willpower and determination; it was mind-blowing to think that he could die just like any other person, and so quickly when he'd been well just hours before. He reminded her of Shinichi in looks and spirit, and she knew that he was someone else's Shinichi. Ran knew that person would feel as lonely as she did when he was first taken from her. She looked desperately at her hands, wishing she had to power to save him.
Kazuha stared blankly at the ground, her emerald orbs unseeing. She looked as if she too were trapped inside her own world, face covered in grief and disbelief. Heiji never took his eyes off of the phone, one arm around Kazuha to make sure she didn't fall over. He knew what would probably happen. That any second, the phone would ring and bring the devastating news, the announcement of death.
Even Shinichi was silent, holding a stoic demeanor to hide his true thoughts. He had become skilled at doing this over the past month, so well that he could hide most of what he was thinking from Ran, because she probably didn't want to hear what he was thinking anyways. The two detectives after all, had the same foreboding thoughts in their minds.
Finally, Kazuha broke the silence, lifting some of the tension that had settled around them. "Do you think we should tell that girl?" Her voice was unsure, quavering from the harsh reality of death and the strength it took to ask her question. Her eyes looked into Heiji's, showing no trace of curiosity, only sadness.
"Do you mean the girl he was talking about? Aoko?" answered Heiji, who looked relieved that Kazuha seemed to have regained some of her energy.
"Yeah, her." Her eyes traveled back to the ground. "I think if he's going to die, then she should at least get a chance to see him again. You would have wanted that chance, wouldn't you, Ran-chan?" Ran was startled for a moment. She didn't like the reminder of Shinichi's death when she was already hurting for another person. Shinichi may have been with her, but the pain of that day would never fade- along with the anguish she would feel when she lost him again. She didn't want any more death.
"I'd have liked that, but I think it would have made it hurt worse. To know that somebody, your most important somebody, is going to die, but being unable to do anything about it- I'm not sure if I'd have the courage to want to find out." Her azure eyes spoke with honestly as warm, watery tears spilled from her eyes. She could imagine herself in the scenario Kazuha was setting up, thinking what would have happened if she hadn't lost Shinichi the instant he was poisoned- knowing Shinichi was going to die, watching his last moments, she couldn't even bear the thought. Why should they push it onto another person?
On the other hand, Kazuha was right. That girl, Nakamori Aoko, did deserve a chance to say something to him if she wanted. Deserved a chance to say good-bye, before everything she cherished slipped away. It was them, the Black Organization that had caused this giant mess. Three-no four- people were already ensnared in their net. They had killed Shinichi, her most precious person, Ai had lost her sister, the only person that had ever mattered to her, Kaito had lost his father, his mentor and role model and now he was balancing on the fine line between life and death. Kazuha and Heiji were just unlucky and kind enough to get caught in the hardship and pain.
She wondered why they bothered, why they didn't just leave before something terrible happened to them. She wouldn't blame them if they ran away; she wished that she could. Just run away and forget her problems, forget about all of the dying. But if they left, she didn't think she could hold herself together. She needed somebody on the outside who knew about her situation and what had to be done, and help her live on after everything was over. She almost couldn't stand living at the detective agency anymore, especially when Ai wasn't around; the only time she actually went home was to sleep, but she even did that reluctantly. Her dad wasn't part of this, not part of the danger that they had been placed in, and she was going to keep it that way. Shinichi just wasn't enough company anymore; most of her problems seem to involve something with his death anyways.
"Maybe we should tell her." Kazuha's words pierced through the whirlwind of thoughts, giving Ran a chance to escape her own twisted reality. "She doesn't have to go to see him; I just want her to know."
"Kazuha." Heiji laid his other hand on her shoulder when the emotions made her freeze up again. His face was gentle, a smile forming on his lips. "If you want to tell her, then I'm game with anything you say. But I want you to think this over carefully; you may end up hurting somebody."
"I know Heiji, which is why I have to do it now before I change my mind." She stood up almost defiantly and walked across the room to the front door.
"How will you find her, Kazuha-chan?" asked Ran, surprised at her friend's sudden actions. "You don't have her address." Kazuha looked back sheepishly.
"Kuroba-kun left his cell phone on the kitchen table. He had her address in the contacts list," she admitted, sounding guilty.
"Then can't you just call her?" Heiji pointed out, looking slightly nervous.
"I think some things need to be said in person. I don't think the girl would like some stranger calling her on the phone and just saying 'You're best friend's about to die, sorry'." Ran remembered how she learned about Shinichi's murder, just a phone call from Inspector Megure. "I'm sorry, Ran-kun. Kudo-kun's been found murdered…" Would she have preferred it if somebody told her in person? How would she have taken that? With the phone, she had just stood there shocked, waiting for somebody to wake her up. Somebody telling you, face to face, made it real.
I think Tooyama's right, Ran. Shinichi finally spoke, his voice strong. If our situation had been reversed, I think I'd rather somebody come up to me and say it. If it was a phone call, then I'd probably never believe it.
She knew that some part of her agreed with him, and the other just wanted to stop Kazuha. The part that agreed with Shinichi won. "I'll go with you, Kazuha-chan." She took two jackets from the coat hanger, and handed one to Kazuha. "It's chilly outside."
She nodded, and the three of them walked out into the cold, starry night.
Ryuu could feel Ai's warm breath on his shoulder as she leaned over him, watching his left hand skillfully cut the wires. It helped calm him and give him courage to continue to the next cord, and the next, the memories coming back to him. He could remember the leader of the bomb squad, helping direct his hand over a fake bomb, showing him how to disassemble it.
"Here you cut the blue one." He nodded in approval as Ryuu sliced through the blue cable with a successful snap."And next the yellow."
The colors were different, but he could recall their positions and he started feeling more confident. His eyes looked at the timer. "One minute left," he whispered to himself, almost mesmerized by the number going down to 59, then 58, 57, 56… Snap out of it, Ryuu! Focus, you only have seconds left!
He felt Ai grip his shoulder and could tell she was worried. He was starting to feel the pressure again, and he could taste blood in his mouth. He hadn't been aware he was biting his lip. Managing to keep his hand from shaking, he cut through the last few wires. Hopefully that had been it. If it hadn't, they were in major trouble.
There were only about seven kids left now, not including Ai and Ryuu. The three elementary students Genta, Mitsuhiko, and Ayumi were among them, watching Ryuu with nervous eyes. The rope flew in through the window once again, ready for the next climber. "You go," Ayumi invited a girl about her age, who looked like she was about to cry, to be the next one out. "Come on, don't be shy." She smiled, and the girl grabbed the rope tight as it started to pull her up.
Ai looked back at them, frightened for their safety. If the bomb exploded, she didn't want them to be caught in the flames. Not them, not her first friends. They stared back confused, not sure what to make of the expression in Ai's blue eyes. Her gaze flashed back to the timer, and she counted down the last ten seconds.
10…
9… A snap.
8…
7…
6…
5… A whispered prayer as Ryuu closed his eyes.
4…
3…
2… Please, she thought. Please.
1… She closed her eyes and waited for the worst.
0.
Everything was still. She opened one eye and waited. Maybe the timer was off; maybe the bomb was still going to explode. She and Ryuu sat without breathing, watching the small parcel in front of them, waiting for it to burst into flames.
"Ai-kun, I did it," he stuttered out, emerald eyes widening. "Ai-kun, I did it!" He turned around and hugged her, voice trembling with excitement. He laughed as he spun in circles, holding her. She laughed with him, overjoyed with that fact that they had been successful, even if nobody else in the room would understand, since they had no idea how close to death they had been. He had just saved them; he had just saved their lives.
"Congratulations, Ryuu-kun." Her smile was wider than it had ever been, even more than the one she put on for her friends. It was a silent victory for both of them, but it was still victory.
Aoko was back in her room after being thoroughly questioned by both Hakuba and the police. She was tired, exhausted after today's ordeals. They had been trying to get answers she herself didn't know. Why had that man been after her? Did she know him? Why, why, why?
She groaned into her pillow, it had been a very long day. To tell the truth, she had hardly been aware of the incident when it had happened.
The girl's dark-brown hair shadowed her face, and the little red laser was visible on the streak of light that shined on it. He pulled the trigger.
She was tired; she had hardly any sleep the night before, when she had sneaked out to meet Kaito in the moonlight. -She could remember every detail of his face, every word that they had exchanged, and the feel of his arms wrapping around her, even if it was only for a few seconds.- She leaned forward on her elbow in exhaustion. At that moment, she felt a sharp pain on the back of her head, followed by the sounds of screams and breaking glass. She fell unconscious.
She recalled how last night Kaito had told about the men that were after him, but she didn't give away his secret to the police. She had promised him she wouldn't tell anybody. Could it be that the mystery shooter was part of the organization he talked about? Could it be they were targeting her? She shivered in fear, and then relaxed. If they were after her, then maybe they weren't after Kaito. That gave her some relief.
She snuggled under her blankets, hoping to find sleep. Just when the comforting black mist was about to take her in, a knock on the door dissipated the fog of fatigue. She heard voices talking to her father, who she knew was pacing worriedly on the first floor still, after being called out of work with the news that she'd been shot. Footsteps sounded from the hard wooden stairs, and headed towards her room. The door opened, letting in a stream of golden light from the hallway. She sat up groggily.
There were three teenagers, one was a boy with almost no emotion on his face, and the other two girls looked very, very nervous. She turned on the lamp on her bedside table, and beckoned them in.
"Who are you?" she asked them, looking into their eyes. Yawning, she stretched a little bit. Something told her she wouldn't be able to get back to sleep after this.
"My name is Tooyama Kazuha," said the teenage girl with her hair up in a ponytail. "This is Hattori Heiji, and she's Mouri Ran." As she spoke, Heiji locked the door. Aoko stared with a inquisitive look at the group who had just locked them all in her room with each other, Kazuha answered her unspoken questions, "I don't want your dad to hear what we have to say."
"Is it that bad?" she said almost sarcastically. She hadn't had a good day, and a grumpy mood was starting to set over her. Kazuha bit her lip, and tried to smile.
"It's that bad." She looked down at the floor, as if she didn't know where to start.
"You're friends with Kuroba Kaito, correct?" Heiji took Kazuha's place in explaining, willing to be the one who might hurt the girl. He didn't want that on Kazuha's conscience. Aoko nodded, wondering what these three could possibly know about him. "You met with him last night, didn't you?"
She looked surprised. "How did you know that?" Her eyebrows furrowed in suspicion and she frowned at the dark-skinned boy.
"I'm a detective," he answered, tapping his head. "When Kuroba came back last night with the jewel, I knew something was off. I guessed it was about you, but he wouldn't tell me. Did he explain anything to you?" There was a weird emphasis on 'explain' and Aoko knew he was talking about the organization.
"He explained a lot of things to me. But he didn't mention anybody else other than his father. What do you have to do with them?"
"We don't have time for this right now, Hattori-kun," intervened Ran, a furious look on her face. As she turned to Aoko her voice softened, but her expression never wavered. "We came here to tell you something important, because you may never have a chance to see Kuroba-kun alive again." Aoko paled, and she backed up into the head of her bed.
"You're joking right?" she accused, unwilling to believe the girl's words. "Of course I'll see Kaito again, he promised me he'd come back. He promised."
"Promise me you'll be there Kaito," she had said only the night before. It felt like a lifetime. "I will," he swore, a determined smile on his face.
"It wasn't his choice. He knew you were in danger, so he went to Ekoda High School to check up on you. He ran into the sniper, and was shot several times. He's in the hospital right now but he- he's not doing so well." Ran's words were nearly inaudible, and Aoko had to strain her ears to hear it, she still couldn't believe it. Her mind started putting the pieces together, but they refused to fit. 'Kaito' and 'dead' didn't belong in the same sentence. Neither did 'Kaito' and 'dying'. It couldn't be true.
"Stop with the lies." She was crying, and tears were coming down her face. "I know Kaito will be alright. He promised me, and I believe him."
"He's still alive, but the doctors say he might not even hold on till morning. We came to give you a chance to see him if you want to." She could hear no trace of trickery in Ran's voice, only blatant honesty. Aoko wanted to shut everything out, curl up under her covers and wake up from this nightmare, but she knew that she should be strong. Strong enough to handle any situation that came at her. She'd already betrayed the police to save her best friend, there wasn't anything she wasn't willing to do.
"I-" she started, face shadowed by her long brown hair. "I want to see him. But he won't die. Because he promised." She still clung to her last bit of hope. What would she possibly do without Kaito? The past few days had been a rollercoaster ride. The revealing of Kid's-no Kaito's- identity, her finding him at his house, confessing her love, and somebody shooting at her during school- things that had changed her life. Now she was told that he was hurt, maybe dying, her most precious person.
Heiji looked at her, sympathy in his eyes. He had long given up on the belief that Kaito would make it. Being a detective meant being logical, even when the truth hurt more than anything.
"Then follow us," said Kazuha, unlocking and opening the door. "He's at a hospital at the edge of Beika; it'll only take fifteen minutes if we can get a fast taxi."
When they finally arrived at the hospital, they charged through the doors and demanded to see Kaito. "Let us see him!" protested Aoko, looking ready to kill when they refused. "Please!"
"His doctor said no visitors until morning." The man at the reception desk looked extremely frightened at the sight of four angry teenagers. "I'm sorry but you'll have to wait until then."
"Let them in," said a gruff voice, and Ran recognized the man as the doctor who had helped Kaito. "They need to hear the news anyways." His tone said it wasn't good news. And if it wasn't good news, then that had to mean…
Aoko refused to let herself believe it. Maybe Kaito had just come down with a slight cold after waking up. He wasn't- he wasn't…
As they walked down the too brightly lit hallways, the doctor started what he had to say. "Your friend, well, you see, he woke up." The doctor himself sounded slightly surprised, and the four teenagers breathed small sighs of relief. "His breathing pattern is back to normal, and it looks like he'll be out of here in a couple of weeks if all goes well." Even though this should have made them happy, they could tell he was hiding something behind his words. The bad news.
The doctor opened up the door, letting them into a small room where Kaito was sitting up on a hospital cot. His eyes stared blankly in front of him, lacking their usual sparkle. He showed no indication that he had heard them come in, or any sign of recognition as he turned to face them.
"Kaito!" Aoko burst into tears and ran forward to embrace him. His face changed into surprise, and then hostility.
"Who are you?" he asked, looking suspiciously at Aoko before she reached him, a frown on his usually smiling face. There was no trace of the usual arrogance he carried with him or anything that signaled normal 'Kaito' behavior.
"He seems to have lost his memory," uttered the doctor, staring at the ground, not meeting the eyes of the shell-shocked teenagers. "He can't remember anything from before he woke up." Four pairs of eyes widened in shock.
"Kuroba-kun lost his memory?" Kazuha exclaimed. "But-but why?"
"We believe it's due to physical and psychological trauma," informed the doctor. "When he was shot, the pain must have been excruciating, and mixed with the thought that he was about to die, his brain just couldn't find a way to cope with it, and boom! His memory's gone."
Kaito just stared coldly at his four visitors, not knowing what else to do. He didn't know who they were, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to know. The only things that he could remember were this room, and that he was hurt. Nothing else.
"Do you think he can get it back?" asked Aoko, sounding absolutely desperate as tears started running down her face. She wiped them off. Why was she crying so much today? Maybe it was just because everything seemed to hurt, including the burning tracks that the tears left behind.
Some part of Kaito's brain realized that she was crying for him and he felt extremely bad, but he didn't know why. He may not have been able to remember anything, but he wasn't stupid.
"Who am I?" The question had just suddenly come to him, as he realized he didn't even know anything about himself. "How did I get here?" Heiji looked surprised at the strong teenager, the amazing Kaitou Kid saying such things, making him sound weak. Childish. Vulnerable.
"Your name is Kuroba Kaito," started Aoko, in an almost pleading tone. "You go-went- to Ekoda High School. You're in eleventh grade, and you're a magician. You love pulling pranks on people, and you miss your father. You're a great skier, a really smart kid, and you absolutely stink at ice skating. You're afraid of fish, and you won't even stand to be within three feet of them. Once, I tried to scare you using a salmon, and you had a total freak out." She smiled a little bit at the memory. In a quieter voice that nobody else could hear but Kaito, she added, "You're Kaitou Kid, the amazing Phantom Thief. You want to avenge the death of your father, Kuroba Toichi. You want to find Pandora to lure out the organization that killed him. And you said you liked me, just last night. Do you really not remember, Kaito?"
Her voice rung with such sadness, such dire need for an answer, that he sat with his mouth gaping. He tried so hard to recall even just a bit of what she said. He couldn't remember anything. "Argh!" He hit his forehead hard. "I can't do it. I can't remember anything." He put emphasis on each word, closing his eyes as he struggled through a mist of exhaustion, pain, and confusion.
"Kuroba, do you remember getting shot? Do you remember a fight?" asked Heiji, bending over so he was eye-level with the magician. Heiji tried to find just a trace of the boy he had known in those eyes, those unknowing, bright-blue eyes. He only saw weakness, confusion, fear, and docility. Even if Kuroba had been a jerk at times, it was better than this.
"I think I can remember seeing blood. And a loud noise- it might have been a gun. But other than that and this room, I can't think of anything. I'm sorry." He looked like a lost child, unknowing and frightened, suspicious even of the four others in the room since he couldn't even tell if they were here to help him or hurt him. They were strangers, people who seemed to know him even though he thought he'd never seen their faces before. Staring blankly at the ground, he directed his gaze away from theirs not wanting to face those questioning looks that wanted answers he couldn't give. He wanted to run away and hide.
Aoko never thought Kaito could be like this. She wanted to hug him and hear him repeat his promise again, that he would be there for her. He seemed like a stranger, but he was still Kaito. Or at least she hoped there was still a trace of him.
She wiped away the last of her tears, and made a promise to herself. You've always been there for me, Kaito. Always strong, someone I could depend on in the worst of times. It's my turn; I'll be there for you.
*Author's Note: Please review! Please review! (why is this italicized? cuz I'm too lazy to turn it off right now.) I have five minutes to catch my bus, so I have to rush. Hopefully see you soon! ~Aeyra*

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