Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ All I Want For Christmas ( Chapter 15 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter Fifteen
All I Want For Christmas
Ran locked the bathroom door behind her, nearly throwing her finally selected outfit aside as she started running a fast shower. She scrubbed her hair almost violently, getting all of the snarls and grease out of it.
“Merry Christmas,” he said, handing her the gift bag he’d been carrying.
“Arigato!” Ran said, trying to surreptitiously flatten her bed-head. “Come on in… can you wait in here while I get dressed? Wow, this was a surprise… just be quiet, Otou-san’s still asleep, and you know what he’s like when he has a hangover…”
“Got it,” Shinichi said, smiling as he placed a finger to his lips and sat down on the couch.
Ran must have emptied her entire wardrobe, swapping every item of her ensemble a dozen times, before finally settling on black tights, a red kilt and a thick cream sweater- all very warm and, according to Fashion Guru Sonoko, a very cute winter outfit. Then she’d run for the bathroom.
As she brushed and blow-dried her hair, she realized that she’d brought the little bag with her- and she hadn’t even opened it yet! Curious, she put down the blow-dryer and, as she tugged the last tangles from her hair, opened the bag with her other hand.
A few minutes later, having carefully dressed and rebrushed her hair for good measure, she left the bathroom. Shinichi looked around, then gave her a surprisingly bashful smile when he saw that she was wearing the necklace.
Ran reached up and touched the intricate red orchid, suspended on a fine golden chain, immeasurably touched. “Arigato Gozaimasu,” she whispered. “It’s so beautiful.”
“It’s just a necklace, Ran” he said, stepping around the couch with the shy smile still on his face. “Not like you need the help…” He turned bright red, but if he was brave enough to say it, Ran figured, she could be brave enough not to tease him about it. She could feel her cheeks turning the same colour as his, the same colour as the beautiful necklace, and almost couldn’t speak.
“I-I have something for you, too,” she said tentatively. “I was, um, going to have Agasa-Hakase mail it, but, uh, I mean, since you’re here… I’ll just go get it…” she backed into her room, wanting to kick herself for the stammering. It was only Shinichi, for Kami’s sake! Why couldn’t she get it together this morning?
Only?
“Merry Christmas,” she said when she returned, handing him the soft blue scarf that she’d finally brought herself to finish late last night.
“Wow,” he said quietly, unravelling it. It was knitted in two shades of blue, with the darker blue making an elaborate wave pattern on the lighter wool. He unbuttoned the top couple of button on his coat and wrapped the scarf around his neck. “That’s warm. Is this your handiwork?”
“Yeah,” Ran said, her heart fluttering in her chest. “That pattern took me forever…”
“It’s amazing,” Shinichi said, holding up one of the tasselled ends for examination before tucking it into his coat. “Arigato Gozaimasu. Do you want to go get breakfast or something? I’ll buy, as an apology for dragging you out of bed…”
“That sounds great,” Ran said, wrapping her own scarf very carefully over the necklace. “I’d better just leave a note for Otou-san…”
She slipped her brown loafers on as she scribbled a quick note to her father. When she put her pen down, she was surprised to see Shinichi holding up her coat. Both of their cheeks heated up a little as he held out the sleeves for her to slide her arms into, and flipped her hair out of her collar for her.
“Arigato,” she said, her voice slipping away from her again. She couldn’t help it; it felt as if she spoke a little too loud, moved a little too fast, he would vanish, like a dream… “Hey… when are you leaving?”
“Not until sometime tomorrow,” he said with a broad grin. “So we’ve got all day to hang out, and I think everywhere we go, if there’s a PA system, I’m going to borrow it to ask if anyone planning to commit a murder in the immediate vicinity would just hand themselves over and save me a lot of trouble….”
“You clearly haven’t lost any regard for your own abilities,” Ran teased as she shut the door to the apartment behind her. The friendly banter dispelled a little of the strangeness, the tension that had appeared between them, but it was still there, at the edge of everything they did or said. Ran found herself staring slightly at Shinichi as they descended the stairs, really looking at him, as if she was seeing him for the first time. Maybe it was the familiarity that had allowed her to overlook just how important he was to her before, but his long absences had really brought to light just what he meant to her; looking at him properly now, she realized that she’d always been associating the concept of Shinichi with the slightly obnoxious little boy who had been her best friend. Somewhere along the way, though, another Shinichi had appeared, one that she hadn’t really noticed; the handsome, brave, intelligent young man.
A young man that, she now knew all too well, she could never live without.
…Ya realized for the first time how important he was to yer life when he wasn’t in it
I think that’s the primary definition of `Absence makes the heart grow fonder’,” Ran thought, blushing a little. “Because… I just can’t envision a future without him…
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The little cafe overlooking Beika Park was just opening by the time they reached it at eight. There were a few early risers in the streets, but mostly, they were still empty and quiet: Shinichi, Ran and the snow seemed to be the only things in the world.
“Ohayou, you two,” the cafe owner said, smiling in a friendly manner as Shinichi held the door open for Ran. She sighed at the warmth of the little cafe, tugging off her gloves- the same gloves that he had given her two Christmases before.”Merry Christmas. You looking for breakfast? Grab a seat anywhere you like.”
After they’d ordered coffee and pastries, the woman disappeared into the kitchen, leaving the two of them alone except for the occasional passerby outside the window.
“I’m really glad that you’re here,” Ran said, watching the snow fall. “You’ve been away for so long… I was starting to wonder if you were ever coming back…”
“I’m sorry,” Shinichi said. “I wish I didn’t have to be away, but, well, you know…”
“The case,” Ran sighed. “I know. Always the case. What kind of case is it that keeps you occupied for so long? I mean, the longest case you were ever on before took you a week, but it’s been two years now… can’t you tell me?”
“I wish I could, Ran, I swear,” Shinichi said, a little uncomfortably. “But…” he trailed off as the cafe owner arrived with their breakfast.
“Sorry for the wait,” she said, setting down their plates and cups. “Enjoy, you two. I’ll leave you alone now, shall I?” with a wink, she returned to the kitchen.
“Are you going to tell me something now?” Ran asked. “Or am I going to have to stay in the dark?”
“Ran…” Shinichi began, starting to try to think of a cop-out, but for a moment his own words came back to him.
Just level with me. Just for once. Please.
Hypocrite,” he reprimanded himself. Then he sighed and glanced around to make certain that the cafe owner was still well out of earshot and no-one else was coming into the cafe. “It’s… it is a lot bigger than anything else I’ve ever handled, that’s why it’s taking so long. And it goes deep. I can’t even begin to imagine how many people will be affected, but… I’m well on my way to finishing it. And I’m in too deep to back out now.”
“In too deep?” Ran said with a worried look. “Shinichi… you’re not in danger, are you?”
“No!” he said quickly- a little too quickly. Ran’s eyes narrowed. “I’ll be fine. I’m being careful. Please, Ran, don’t worry about me. I’m fine.”
“There’s really nothing to worry about?” Ran said, still looking worried.
“No,” Shinichi said, shaking his head. “Of course not.”
“But…” Ran stirred her coffee idly, before looking him straight in the eye. “Would you tell me if there was?”
“I…” Shinichi looked down, away from her look, even though he knew how suspicious it would look. “I don’t want you to worry, Ran. I swear there’s no need to. Please… just trust me, okay? Can you… still do that?” He couldn’t help the still, but he also couldn’t help the worry. He’d snapped over Haibara holding out on him, and he’d had a vague idea of what she was hiding; it had to be even harder for Ran to have no idea at all.
“I always trust you, Shinichi,” she said, before smiling and biting into her Danish. She swallowed, and added, “You’ve yet to give me a reason not to.”
Shinichi managed to bring up a smile as well as he started to eat, but he still felt uneasy. “If only you knew, Ran… What would happen?
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“Oh, look!” Ran said, stopping and tugging Shinichi’s arm to make him stop and watch as well. He paused and “wow”ed softly.
After breakfast, they had, by mutual silent agreement, switched to lighter, happier topics, which, by the time they’d paid their bill and started walking through Beika Park, had turned to mutual childhood memories. They had been discussing the mysterious Arsene Lupin fan in the library in First Grade when Ran had spotted the sun rising. The snow had stopped falling by then, the world covered in a seemingly endless white canvas, and they stopped to watch in silence as the rising sun painted it with soft yellows and oranges and golds.
Even though the snow had stopped, however, it was still freezing, and the wind was sharp and cold. Ran shivered as another breeze sliced through her. To her shock and not unwelcome surprise, Shinichi put his arm around her shoulders, pulling her a little closer and warming her, though whether that was due to his warmth or what had to be a full-body blush she wasn’t sure. Still, the silence was comfortable, not awkward, and the blurring of the line between best friends and something more felt like the most natural thing in the world.
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been this happy.
She still couldn’t shake the feeling that it was too perfect, like it had to all be some wonderful dream. Shinichi was here with her, and would be for the entire day- in which time, who knew what could happen.
Well, someone could get murdered,” she couldn’t help thinking. “Not an impossible scenario… It’s happened before, for that matter…” still, she shook that thought out of her head. “Don’t summon bad events with bad thoughts, Ran… forget about Sod’s Law… just be happy while he’s here. After all, he’ll leave again soon, won’t he? Leave me again…
She leaned a little closer, as if he was about to slip away.
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“Hey, the streets are filling up,” Shinichi said, waving Ran over and stepping back from the binoculars to let her see. She giggled as she moved the binoculars around, marvelling at how much of Tokyo was visible from the top of Toto Tower. The streets were growing full now that it was past nine o’clock, almost entirely couples. Both he and Ran had been flustered and blushing- again- when an old couple, passing them in the park, had commented on “what a sweet young couple” they were, but then again, he still had his arm around her shoulders at that point, and they were out together on Christmas, so it wasn’t surprising.
Ran and I… a couple, huh?” he thought, watching her turn the dials on the binoculars in order to zoom in on something below. “If only I could always be here with her… If I hadn’t been shrunk that day… would I be here with her?
That was the question, wasn’t it? Everything had been shaken up that day, his entire world changed; yet if it hadn’t, how many people would be dead now? How far back would the FBI be, and how many people would have suffered as a result? How late would he have come up against the Organization? “Because between Kid and the sheer number of murders those bastards have perpetrated, I would have come across them sooner or later, make no mistake… and at the point, would they have just poisoned me? By that point, would I have worked up the courage to tell Ran how I felt, or would we still have been `just friends’? Maybe… It took a little shaking up to help me realize that some things fit better out of their old places…
“Look, there’s our old Grade School!” Ran said. “Conan-kun goes there now, you know? I bet it hasn’t changed a bit…”
No, not really,” thought, slipping back to the drinks machines by the elevators while she was preoccupied. Her words reminded him of something that he did want back to the way it used to be, but it also reminded him of the conversation that they’d been having before they’d stopped to watch the sunrise. “That man that night was Kuroba Toichi, I’m sure of it. He was challenging Tou-san… or questioning him?” as he slipped a few coins into the machine, his two trains of thought- the case and the Kid- converged into one very good line. “Once I’m back to Conan, I’ll check out Kuroba Kaito. I don’t like the idea of working with a criminal, but if what Tou-san said is true… he’s also a guy like me, whose life was left in shreds by the Organization. As I suppose those Scots would say, “Better to have him in the tent pissing out…He could be a valuable ally. And that might bring us both that much closer to destroying them… to getting our lives back…
He picked up the two cans of cola with a mischievous chuckle. He ambled back over to Ran, who was swivelling the binoculars around, apparently looking for something. She paused before he got there, zooming in on something, but didn’t appear to notice him getting closer.
She did notice when he gently knocked the cola can into her cheek, yelping in surprise and jerking away from the binoculars to stare at him in surprise. Then she grinned and swiped the can from him.
“In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have been so badly shocked, should I?” she laughed. “Some things never change…”
“Guys never outgrow our pranks,” he agreed with a grin, popping open his cola, privately thinking, “Just look at Kuroba Toichi…
Ran popped open her own soda at arms’ length, a good move considering how it’d been shaken when it was knocked into her cheek and as such sprayed a fine sheen of cold cola over Shinichi rather than her. She burst out laughing when he sputtered. He couldn’t resist. He wiped the cola off of his face in a manner that just so happened to spray a little back on her. She gasped but kept laughing, and he finally joined her. He couldn’t help it. He loved to see her laugh so happily, so whole-heartedly. He always had. The ringing sound was one that he hadn’t really heard since becoming Conan, and it was one that he sorely missed.
“Too bad that it’s too cold for fountains and rainbows,” she giggled. She raised her can. “Kampai!”
“Kampai,” Shinichi said, clinking his can against hers before they both tipped them back and drank. Ran lowered her can first and glanced into the binoculars again, groaning when she realized that they’d timed out.
“Oh, that reminds me!” she yelped. “Through the binoculars, I saw that movie- Sunset Snow– is playing as a special feature at the Toto Cinema, just below! Maybe we should go see it- It’s gotten some really great reviews…”
Shinichi flicked open his phone and pulled up the browser to check internet times. “We’d better hurry,” he commented. “The next showing’s in fifteen minutes…”
“What?!” Ran cried, grabbing his hand and dragging him towards the elevators. “We have to hurry!”
Shinichi was caught off-balance for a moment, but then he regained his feet and grasped her hand back, running alongside her. She looked a little flushed when she realized that she’d grabbed his hand, but he shot her a slightly bashful smile and squeezed. Her face lit up in a smile- A beautiful, beautiful smile– as she squeezed back. She never let go of his hand.
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Christmas is considered a couple’s holiday in Japan, and it’s normally only couples that exchange gifts, like Valentine’s Day in the West.
I’m in your head, Sable Katze! *evil grin* Yeah, nobody ever gets Ai, and while she acts like she likes it that way, I think she really wants someone to see how she’s really feeling. Poor thing…
And Twilightserius- can you really expect Shinichi or Ran to ever let go of each other? He hates lying to her, but it’s what he has to do; To quote Ellen Brand’s fic “Nerves Of Steel”, “There’s only one thing than someone hating you because you lied. And that’s knowing that they died because you didn’t.” Besides, he’s barely holding it together over the whole mess as it is; he needs to know that he’s got something to come back to.
Glad I make you happy, Mel7200! How’s my fluff coming along? I’m not great at it, so I need the practice, but rest assured the angst will return in due time…
Well, you can still catch Kaito’s birthday on June 21st, Pretztailfan95! And I never said I was going to KILL Shinichi… there will be death, but… I said I like HAPPY endings, didn’t I? Yeah, Bobbyneko’s left me a couple of long comments about Kanji, but that’s cool with me because that’s a subject I can read forever on. 🙂 I personally prefer the Japanese anime with English subs… the English voices and names bug me. And how can you hate MARIO? He’s the saviour of the Mushroom Kingdom! (What does that have to do with anything?)
No words, Silver Shadowbreeze? Pretztailfan95 has plenty. 😛 Is the song that Shinichi tried to sing from Prince Of Egypt? I was wondering where I’d heard it, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember. >_>
Well, AngelRoy, I did once have an idea to do a mini crack-fic about one of Ai’s antidotes having an absurd effect. And elephantitis might be what I’m looking for… though having read “Donut Soul”, I think delyrical might do it better than I would XD
Glad you like it, Najrala. It was so easy because Yuusaku kind of already knew who Kid was. There’s a long backstory behind that, which will come out in the confrontation… but who knows when that’ll be?
Oh, and I have a small cry for help… does anybody know what the kanji for Akako’s family name “Koizumi” is and what is means? I’ve found a good dozen possible translations based on the Romanization, but because I don’t know the kanji I don’t know which one it is… and I need to know for later in the story. If anyone does know, can they comment? It would be greatly appreciated!
I do not claim to own any of the characters in Meitantei Conan. They are the intellectual property of Aoyama Gosho. All characters, couples and locations, if Canon, will be faithful to the manga, so if you’re into fics with weird pairings like Shinichi and Heiji, the back button is at the top there. The fic may not make sense if you have not read up to chapter 689, which you can do at a site called (read between the lines) O/n/e/ma/n/g/a, but I advise you to buy the official Tankoban novels (up to volume 28 are out in English at the time of writing) so that Aoyama-sensei can afford to continue gracing us with his imagination. Now, I hope you enjoy the fic! (If you don’t, please see my previous comments re the back button).
Loneliness
Fleeting Happiness