what's past is prologue
Nobody tells Shinichi anything, apparently, until his rival did.
~2.1k, post black org take down, friendship
The Black Organization is taken down, and Kudo Shinichi, formerly Edogawa Conan, still hasn’t solved the mystery of the deep grudge Amuro-san holds for Akai-san. The illegally operating in Japan without permission sure played a part, but he suspects it’s about more than that.
He knows it’s about more than that.
That night his father was disguised as Okiya Subaru in place of Akai-san, he remembers Amuro-san’s strange reaction after Akai-san said something on the other end of the phone. His father later said Amuro-san looked stricken, but even Yusaku didn’t hear what Akai had said on the other end of the phone.
Shinichi - still Conan back then, has prodded, but Akai-san remained tight lipped about what exact words they exchanged that night, easily sidestepping his questions every time he tried to ask. Amuro-san has been equally tight-lipped on the matter, smiling cheerfully at him and offering him orange juice even after he ordered iced coffee.
“Conan-kun, you shouldn’t drink too much coffee,” he would smile, all fake concerns.
Conan can swear that his desire to know what exactly caused the deep antagonism between Akai-san and Amuro-san is not just about satisfying his own detective’s curiosity. Sure, he will admit that the detective’s curiosity played a part - he’d be lying if he said it didn’t - but it’s not just that. It’s not just for his own curiosity. It’s for everyone’s good if he can help resolve whatever happened between them, help them move past it. It’s going to make the collaboration to take down Black Organization smoother. It’s for a bigger purpose, it’s for everyone’s good.
He told Akai-san as much, blunt as he could be, because he knew all those reasoning would not work on Amuro-san. Akai-san just looked at him, and said. “I have faith in Furuya-kun to see the bigger picture. Our history isn’t something you need to worry about. Do you want to try some curry I made?”
Fine, keep your secrets, Conan thought sullenly. As a little pettiness, he decided he wouldn’t mention that he suspected he recently came in contact with a little girl who was actually Akai’s mother shrunk by APTX. He also wouldn’t tell him how he’s actually Kudo Shinichi. (Unfortunately, Akai-san found out later anyway, but that’s another story.)
That had been months ago.
The organization is no longer, but the mystery remained. Akai-san had been right when he said he had faith that the complex history between Rye and Bourbon would not hinder the takedown. Shinichi should be glad it hadn’t, and he is glad, but that means the mystery remained unsolved, and detectives don’t like leaving mysteries unsolved.
One time he complained about it in front of Kuroba, who arched an eyebrow at him, looking slightly confused. “I don’t know the details, but wasn’t it because of the Scotch guy’s death?”
Shinichi searches his memory. Where has he heard that name? Oh right, Sera mentioned the name once, didn’t she? The time she followed Akai-san and the man who taught her bass.
But wait -
“How do you know this?”
Kuroba gives him a funny look. “Shiho-san told me,” he says. “Did she not tell you?”
“Haibara told you?” he still is more used to calling her Haibara. “Why would she tell you? Wait, she knew? And since when do you two chat?” When the only thing in common you two have is me?
“Shiho-san and I have tea together sometimes,” Kuroba says, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. It is not. “I steal English tea from Hakuba’s collection for her to sample. We chat.”
Kuroba smirks. “What, are you so bothered by me talking about theft? I’m not even talking about the heists. If I want to steal tea from my boyfriend’s collection, that’s between the two of us and really none of your business, Meitantei.” He changes the topic. “But why wouldn’t you know she knew? Were you not listening when she told me on that train to tell Bourbon she knew that he and her sister’s boyfriend were rivals?”
Now he thinks about it, he does remember. He has been too focused on finding out Bourbon’s identity that it had distracted him from that other detail. But even so ... “there’s a difference between rivalry and whatever the two has going on. You and I had rivalry. We don’t try to kill each other.”
“Kudo, murderous soccer balls aside, do you remember that time you shot at me with a gun from a helicopter?”
Shinichi flushes. “I wasn’t aiming to kill.” He had been young and too overeager, a high schooler who hasn’t yet had the experience of being turned into a kid and getting involved in an international crime organization.
“It’s forgiven,” Kuroba says, flippant and generous at the same time. “On my side, that is. Not sure if Hakuba has. He still thinks you shouldn’t have taken such drastic measures.”
“So what did Haibara tell you?” Shinichi asks, trying to steer the subject back. Kuroba smirks knowingly at him, and allows the subject to get steered back.
“So after Bourbon nearly blasted me to pieces, I asked Shiho-san what’s the deal with him,” Kuroba shrugs. “And what’s the deal between him and that pink haired grad student who lives at your place. Shiho-san shared some gossips she heard back then with me.”
Shinichi can’t believe Haibara never told him. Well he can, actually, as he remembers having to hear from Mitsuhiko of all people that Haibara had once talked about the pharmaceutical company her parents used to work at to the Tantei-dan when Conan wasn’t there. He also found out, much later, that Haibara had long known who the boss of the organization was.
To be fair to Haibara, Shinichi never asked, because he didn’t want to tell her the details about Akai-san and Amuro-san back then. He didn’t even tell her Okiya-san’s real identity at first. He wants to confront Haibara about never telling him, except he really doesn’t have any leg to stand on here. He can accept that, begrudgingly. What he’s having a harder time to accept is -
“She just told you?? Really?”
“More like information exchange,” Kuroba says easily. “I dug into some stuff about Vermouth’s past for her. Aunt Sharon was dad’s student. That’s how she learned the disguising skills. She and Mom keep in contact, too. Mom sent a picture of them having fun in Vegas just last month.”
Isn’t this just great, nobody tells him anything ever. Well, one thing at a time. “So what’s the gossip about the history between Rye and Bourbon?”
“Shiho-san said they’ve always clashed, but things really went downhill after the Scotch guy was discovered to be NOC, and the word around the alcohol organization is that Bourbon was furious Rye stole the change to kill the traitor from him, stealing the chance to move up in that alcohol organization. Well, since Shiho-san told me later that Bourbon and Scotch were both sent by Kuoan police, the real reason of his anger was probably because Rye killed his partner.” Kuroba takes a sip of his drink. “Of course, there might be more to the story, there’s almost always more to the story in cases like this, because why kill him if he’s from the FBI, right? But that’s the rumor, at least. Oi, Kudo, are you listening to me?”
He is, but he’s processing the sudden information overload and has no mental capacity to spare a word for Kuroba. Akai-san killed Scotch? Had that been why Bourbon seemed to want to hand Akai-san to the organization to advance himself? Although if he had, Furuya Rei could have brought organization members with him that night instead of his subordinates from PSB. Had Akai-san really killed Scotch? Is that why he wouldn’t talk about it? Had he tried to save him but failed? But it’s Akai-san, has he ever failed at anything? Maybe he has, maybe this is one of the biggest regret of failure in his life, maybe that’s why he wouldn’t talk about it.
Shinichi suddenly wishes Kuroba didn’t tell him. Curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought it back, except this isn’t satisfying at all. There’s never a good reason to kill someone, and there isn’t ever a need a reason to save someone.
But he’s killed, too. Moonlight Sonata. Drove someone to their death with his words. Who is he to judge? He’s failed to save people, too, Miyano Akemi’s face flashed in his mind. He couldn’t save her. Why didn’t you save my sister? He hears Haibara’s voice ask in very distant memory. A detective like you?
Who is he to judge, if Akai-san failed one time too?
“Kudo,” Kuroba is saying, his voice snapping Shinichi back to reality. “Kudo? Are you alright? You look terrible.”
Even silver bullets couldn’t save everyone.
That’s the last thing Shinichi remembers thinking, and then he’s waking up from on a bed. Haibara - Miyano now, he corrects himself - frowns at him. “He’s awake.”
“Did I faint or something?”
“I knocked you out with your stun gun watch,” comes Kuroba’s voice without a trace of shame. “And brought you back here. You were looking terrible, I thought it might be some side effects of the antidote you took.”
“You knocked me out?”
“What? Never been on the other end of it? First time for everything, Kudo.”
Shinichi scowls. “I’m fine. You didn’t need to knock me out.”
“I thought you might try to argue with me if I tell you you’re looking horrible, which would just be wasting time,” Kuroba says. “How is he, Shiho-san?”
“He’s fine now,” she says. “Kuroba-kun’s right, Kudo-kun. You have a track record of pretending to be fine when you’re not.”
It’s a hard argument to win, and since has more things he wants to ask her, winning the argument would not exactly win him any favors either. “Fine,” he concedes. “Haibara, tell me more about Scotch.”
“Kuroba-kun told me he told you about Scotch’s death.”
“He did, but ... tell me about him.” Shinichi wants to know, what the man was like. Who was this man, what had he been like? The guy who Akai-san failed to save, the man Amuro-san apparently cared a lot about, the man who taught Sera how to play bass. The organization member Akai-san thought it’s fine to leave his little sister alone with. “Have you ever met him?”
Miyano gives him an inscrutable look. “A few times,” she says finally. “Sometimes he and Moroboshi Dai visited Akemi and me. We went on a trip together once. I think Rye probably just brought a friend to babysit me, though.” She rolled her eyes. “I was thirteen, I didn’t need a babysitter.”
Oh. “Just the two of them?”
“Bourbon never came, if that’s what you’re asking,” Miyano immediately realizes what he’s trying to ask. “Scotch was ....” she hesitates. “Polite. And loved music. And made much better curry than ‘Okiya Subaru’.” Miyano adds wryly.
Shinichi catches onto the keyword.
“He once told me he’d been trying to teach Rye but to no avail,” Miyano says. “I remember thinking that I would much rather my sister be dating him instead of Rye who couldn’t even cook curry and probably expected his girlfriend to do all the work in the kitchen.”
Shinichi wonders if that’s why Akai-san has been making curry ever since he became Okiya Subaru.
“He sounds .....” Shinichi wonders what word best to use. “Almost normal.”
“He was also a sniper with high success rate,” Miyano says coolly. “Sometimes when he and Rye came to visited us, they had just finished a mission. You don’t get to keep your hands clean in the organization, Kudo-kun. Once stepped into the morally gray area, some things will forever be changed.”
Shinichi wonders shrewdly if they’re still talking about Scotch, or if this is about Sherry, too, or about all of them, in general.
“He was polite, but polite people always have depth beneath the surface,” Miyano concludes. “Plus, I’ve always known he’s not one to be underestimated. No one who could easily break up an argument between Rye and Bourbon is one to be underestimated.”
Shinichi had done it before, granted that had been because they had bigger, more imminent dangers. It had been less of his doing than Gin’s, in a way.
“I never knew you knew all these,” he says.
She rolls her eyes. “You never asked, Kudo-kun.”
“Do you think he killed him?” He asks. “Or that he just failed to save him?”
“Well, if he failed to save Scotch,” she says in a clipped voice. “That certainly wasn’t the only person he’s ever failed to save.”
Miyano Akemi’s dying face flashes in his mind. Shinichi doesn’t know what to say.
Miyano eyes him, expressionless. “Kuroba-kun and I are going shopping. You should rest a bit more, you’re not as used to the stun gun as your future father-in-law is, after all.”
“Haibara - Miyano -”
“Let’s go, Kuroba-kun.”
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