It starts when he catches himself staring at Kid.
(It wouldn't be odd though, to stare at Kid. Kid is fascinating, a kind enigma of a man that’s a breath of fresh air, far kinder than the usual criminals he’d chase.Kid is a whirlwind, a walking contradiction that surprises Shinichi every time, a man Shinichi doesn’t mind completely trusting with his life.)
The sweating palms, blushing, elevated heart rate, Shinichi knows the signs of attraction towards another person when he sees them. Knows that what he has for Kid is dangerous, because he doesn’t even know his rival’s name, doesn’t know the man behind the illusion. His chest tightens and his heart sinks to his stomach, regretting ever taunting Kid that first night and creating a bond with him.
Shinichi believes that he knows Death, has always known Death since childhood, except he hasn’t. Not really. Death has striking indigo eyes and wears a white suit, he learns. As deep blue petals leave his lips, he catches his eye in the mirror and vows to never tell Kid, lest the Phantom Thief actually starts feeling guilty about something for once in his life.
Shinichi wakes to the smell of coffee and tea. His heart quickens in fear for a moment, before rationalizing that Ran liked tea, Ran had a key to his house after he changed the lock, and Ran was the only one who would have made him coffee. Praying that he was right, he stretches and clambers out of bed towards the sitting room. His lungs spasm for a second as he coughs out another blue primrose. Ran finds him hunched over on the stairs, primrose at his feet as he clutches his chest.
“Shinichi..” She murmurs. He doesn’t want to look and see the pity in her eyes, so he just lowers himself to sit on the step, nudging the flower out of the way. Ran only sits next to him and pulls him into a hug. He tries to ignore the sting in his eyes and the hitch in his breathing, tries to ignore the spasming in his lungs when he spares a moment to think about Kid. Except he can’t. So he sobs into Ran’s shoulder, not wanting to be in love with Kid, because even though he trusts the man with his life, he’s terrified to trust him with his heart. He doesn’t want Kid to treat it like a game as he would with everything else.
It takes a few moments for Shinichi to come back to himself, but by then, Ran’s herded them onto the couch, sipping lukewarm tea. She presses into his side, shoulder completely drenched, yet she doesn’t even seem concerned about the mess he’s made. He pushes back the tears that threaten to spill, how in the world can she still be there for him, still so comforting even though he’s the one who disappeared and left her worrying day and night, not being able to tell her that he was by her side the whole time.
“Hey,” She says, jabbing a manicured finger at his thigh, he flinches at the pain. “All you said was that you needed to talk.” Ran sits up, narrowing her eyes and Shinichi feels a chill run down his spine, this isn’t Ran-the-best-friend, this is Ran-the-big-sister. (Perhaps, Shinichi thinks fondly, she sees Conan in him. Maybe that’s why she’s taking this in stride.)
“Well, as you can see, I’ve contracted the Hanahaki disease.” She nods, watching his every move with hawk-like intensity.
“Uhm, I’ve…” He sighs, rubbing at his forehead, why was this so difficult? Was he scared of Ran finding out he liked someone of the same gender? No, not really, Was he scared of what she’d do when she finds out he’s in love with a criminal? Yes. She’d try to have him reveal his feelings or something worse, except, he’s already lied too much. The least he can do is let her know who he’s got feelings for, right?
“I’ve, uh, I’ve got feelings for Kid.” Even just mentioning him has Shinichi fighting back the tickle in his throat. Ran stares, disbelieving, until he can’t hold it in and coughs another primrose right into his hands. He doesn’t realize he’s shaking until Ran steadies him, doesn’t taste the petal until Ran pulls it from between his lips. He just stares at the innocuous looking flower as Ran, his sister in arms that she is, mutters platitudes he can’t hear through the static of his own heartbeat.
By Holmes, he absolutely hates everything about this.
It’s colder than most nights, Shinichi notes, pulling his overcoat tighter around him. Kaito Kid stands across from him, no sign of any extra layers or even heating pads.
“You’ll freeze out here, idiot. At least put on a few extra layers and call it a winter version or something..” The words spill from his lips before he can stop himself. He looks away, trying to force his blush back down, yet most likely fails as Kid starts stalking forward with a predatory grin that’d look perfectly at home on a lion. “My, my, Meitantei, is that concern I hear? From the Great Detective of the East?”
Shinichi honestly tries not to look too hard for any actual hatred or anything negative in those words. (He fails, knowing he’ll think about every word Kaito says tonight, like he does every night until they meet again.) He startles when he realizes that Kid is literally right in front of him, so close he has to strain his neck a little to meet the other’s eyes. He lets out a little shudder, fighting back against the urge to cough up another flower.
“A lot of people love you, y’know. It’d be a shame if the great Kaitou Kid got taken down by a common cold.” Shinichi gives Kid a smile, against his better judgement, and for a moment, everything feels right. Yet, his lungs spasm, harder than they have before and he almost doubles over in pain, barely feeling Kid gently grasping his shoulders. (As if he’s something special.)
The flower doesn’t leave his system, not yet, so all Shinichi can do is try and take in a deep breath and straighten himself. So he does, he tries not to think about how even though he’s got on extra layers, he can still feel Kid’s warmth through all of it.
“Careful, Meitantei. Take deep breaths, nice and slow.” So he does, he struggles at first, breathing with a flower still stuck in his lungs, but he manages. By the end of it, he can fake breathing normally, can handle the pain for a bit, but he knows that the flower will need to come out soon. “You know, you’ve got a lot of people who love you. You can’t forget to take care of yourself, especially with such a bad cold.”
Shinichi can only pull away and chuckle bitterly, the soft noise hidden by the wind howling around them.
“You didn’t tell him?!"
“It’s not that easy, Ran. I literally had a coughing fit that sent me straight into his arms and he thought it was a cold .” There’s a beat of silence on the other end as Sonoko quiets down and he can hear the both of them audibly wince. He lets out a huge sigh, leaning against the wall. “Listen, I think I’m just going to go and lie down, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“...Okay, goodnight Shinichi, rest well.” He murmurs a response, smiling at Sonoko’s ‘Go to bed, Detective freak!’ before he hangs up the phone and putters off to bed.
The days blend together. Wake up. Cough up a flower or two. Cry a bit. Try not to think about Kid. Cough up another flower. Drink some coffee. Drink some more coffee. Go over case files. Realize there’s no groceries, go out and get some. Stumble onto a crime scene or three. Call in Megure and the crew, solve the crime(s). Go home, try not to burn down the house while cooking. Cough up another flower, throw it somewhere. Go over more cases. Go to bed, Rinse, repeat.
It’s like the only times he’s actually alive are when he’s with someone else or at heists. He lets out a sigh and runs a hand through his hair, he’s so pathetic. He tries not to think about how the coughs get wetter as the days progress.
(Surprisingly, he succeeds.)
Being as accident-prone as he is between heists, Shinichi has a lot of people looking out for him. So when they notice his downward spiral into depression and the ever-growing getting-bloodier-by-the-day mountain of flowers, they know that have to do something. The question is: What do they do to keep him from slipping further and how do they find the person causing him to be like this? Despite what Shinichi believes, they see the flowers and the wistful looks and they see the pain in his eyes.
“You can’t keep going like this, Kudo-kun.” Haibara snarks out as she sets the plates for dinner. Shinichi’s pouring through more cold cases that Megure allowed him to have at the table, barely dodging a plate she slams down nearby. Akai-san, no longer needing no be Subaru, putters around the kitchen and Shinichi pretends he can’t feel either of their gazes burning into the sides of his skull.
“She’s right, Shinichi-kun. Your feelings for that person will kill you.” The FBI Agent sets a platter of that night’s dinner in front of him, pinning him down with a dead stare. The man clears his throat, speaking louder than he needs to, which Shinichi considers odd until he catches the glint of a black little dot near one of his potted plants. His heart sinks. “You should get the operation before it gets any worse.”
“It’s not that bad..” He counters weakly, before flinching at Haibara gently placing her chopsticks on the table.
“The flowers are getting bloodier by the day, Kudo-kun.” She starts off softly, standing on her chair to look down at him. There’s a wetness around her eyes that seems far too real to be a trick of the light. “Are you just going to throw away your life after fighting tooth and nail just to come back?!”
Shinichi can only give her a defeated smile in response. Wetting his lips, he asks, “Do you know the meaning the primrose flower, Haibara?”
In Ekoda, one Kuroba Kaito chokes on his own dinner. The black earpiece almost falling out from his hurried movements to clear his airway, he presses it back into his ear.
“I’m afraid I don’t, Kudo-kun.” The little lady’s voice is wet, but not annoyed enough for Kaito to worry enough about his friend’s safety. Yet he worries anyways, from how the whole conversation has been going, Meitantei caught feelings for someone and refuses to go in despite everyone around him pleading for him to do so. Well, if Kaito were there, he would have joined along and urged Shinichi to go in as soon as possible. Shinichi is too bright of a light to waste away just because some idiot doesn’t love him.
“It means ‘I can’t live without you’. Isn’t that just so funny?” The bitterness in the detective’s voice makes him wince. He lets out a huge sigh, leaning back in his chair, stomach turning in worry.
Hours later, with Haibara safely escorted next door and Akai-san given a guest room nearby, Shinichi’s in the middle of brushing his teeth when the next spasm hits. He thinks it unfair, because he wasn’t even thinking about the stupid thief, he was just thinking about the heist tomorrow night. His lungs seize up and minty foam goes everywhere as he dry heaves into the sink.
Faintly, he hears the hurried footsteps of one overprotective FBI Agent and feels the rush of wind as the door slams open. Strong arms catch him, carefully lowering him to the floor. He takes a huge deep breath in, letting himself appreciate air for once. With another shaky breath, his lungs spasm again and the last thing he sees before the darkness takes him is blood and Akai-san’s worried face.