Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ One Truth Prevails ( Chapter 17 )

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

Chapter Seventeen
One Truth Prevails
“Watch out!”
Shinichi glanced up as he saw a ball soaring through the air from a football game taking place not too far away. They were cutting through Beika Park on their way to the skating rink. He leaned over to header it gently, knocking it to his feet where he juggled it for a minute before giving it a powerful kick that sent it straight in between the two piles of snow which were apparently serving as impromptu goals. The kick felt great -he could pull off power like that without needing to rely on stupid shoes
“Goal!” he sang happily as the players yelled. Ran giggled.
“Shinichi, spectators aren’t allowed to score,” she laughed.
“Funny, I thought I just did,” he deadpanned in response.
“Oi, you- Kudo?”
“Yo, Nakamichi!” Shinichi called, waving to Teitan High’s Soccer Club Captain.
“Damn, dude, we thought you were dead!” Nakamichi said, waving for the game to pause as the soccer club members crowded around.
“Not yet,” Shinichi said with a laugh.
“Guess you still play like a pro,” Aizawa said, running over with ball. “You still ain’t joining the soccer club?”
“I’m only back for the day,” Shinichi said, to various groans of disappointment.
“Ah, but of course he’d come back to visit his wife,” Nakamichi teased, turning Ran bright red and inciting mass laughter.
“Shut up, Nakamichi,” Shinichi said, although he could feel his own cheeks heating. “Jealous because you got rejected again?” The other guys laughed as Nakamichi gasped.
“Hey, Kudo, how’d you know he got shot down the other day?” One of the other guys asked. Shinichi gulped. Ran had been talking about it the other day, about how Nakamichi had asked one of her friends out and been rejected, but she’d been talking about it to Conan
“You’re wearing your precious genuine Tokyo Spirits strip for a friendly game,” he said, pointing out the shirt that was visible under Nakamichi’s unbuttoned coat. “You wouldn’t do that unless you really feel like you need some luck, so something really unlucky must have happened, right? And since all you think about is football and girls- and you never get depressed about football, even when you lose or injure yourself- you must have gotten rejected.”
“The Kudo brain strikes again, Nakamichi!” Aizawa jeered as the other guys burst out laughing. “No hope at all. Sure you don’t wanna hang around for a game, Kudo?”
“Nah, I’ve got my date to attend to,” he joked, grabbing Ran’s hand and pulling her away, back along the path. “Have fun, and try not to lose the league this year, huh?”
“Screw you, Kudo!” Nakamichi yelled, but, laughing and wolf-whistling with the others, returned to the game. Ran and Shinichi, by unspoken agreement, hurried along the path, away from the game.
“Those guys,” Shinichi chuckled, trying to lighten Ran’s embarrassment.
“Yeah, but…” Ran was still flushing, and only turned redder when she squeezed his hand. “Shinichi… what are we, really? To each other? I mean, we’re still best friends and all, but sometimes, I don’t know…” Mostly out of sight of the game, she stopped and turned to face him. He was certain that their combined blushing must be melting the snow at their feet.
Oh, Kami,” he thought, feeling his pulse speed up as though he was about to change, though he had three hours until that happened at least. “What’s she going to ask? Is she going to say… what is she… Kami…
“Shinichi,” she said, her voice trembling a little, “I just need to know. Am I… any more to you than your best friend? I mean, if I’m misunderstanding, you can just laugh or something…” She was blushing too strongly now to look at him and looked away but, impulsively, he reached out and turned her face back to him.
“R-Ran, you’re…” he swallowed, trying to figure out how to say it. “You’re more important to me than… anything, really. More than anything in this world… or any other… I-I thought… you knew that already.”
“Important… as in…?” she asked, sounding tentative but hopeful.
“I…” he began, but… “How do I finish that? I… don’t want to pull her down with me… If I told her, how could I not tell her everything? Crap…” His thoughts were whirling, and as the silence drew out, to his surprise, Ran’s eyes hardened with some resolve. She grasped his hand with her other and pulled it away from her chin, leaning up on her toes. “What is she..?
He realized a second before her lips touched his, warm, soft and so inviting, and then he couldn’t really think of much else. She was hesitant, as if still fearing that he was going to push her away. “How could she think… I’d ever push her away…?” he thought dazedly, leaning forwards to kiss her back. Slowly, he let go of one of her hands and reached his arm around her shoulders, holding her closer to him. Time seemed to spin away, and Shinichi forgot all about murderers, about Kid, about the antidote, thinking only about Ran, the warmth of her, her scent, the feel of her as he held her close, her…
“Awww, still not over the honeymoon passion?”
“I thought I told you to shut it, Nakamichi,” Shinichi yelled, letting go of Ran to make a very rude gesture at the jeering footballers, which was completely offset by his uncontrollably broad grin. Ran burst out laughing.
“Remind me to call Kazuha-chan and thank her for the advice,” Ran giggled as they walked out of sight of the game, his arm around her shoulders and her arm around his waist.
“Tell her to take her own advice,” Shinichi laughed. “We Meitantei are hopeless at recognizing our own feelings without a little push.”
“So, now that we’ve cleared the waters…” Ran asked, her cheeks only beginning to cool, “Does that mean this is a date?”
“Sounds about right,” Shinichi said, squeezing her shoulders. “Funny thing… damn that case.”
“Huh?” Ran said, evidently confused.
“Well…” Shinichi admitted, “Remember that trip to Tropical Land? The karate championship was… kind of a pretext. I’d wanted to take you there and show you the fountains for a while. I was going to tell you that I had more than a slight crush on you… of course, you completely freaked me out on the rollercoaster. That was why I was babbling so much.”
“Gomen,” Ran said. “I was trying to freak you out, though. You were going on endlessly about Holmes, and it was annoying, so I figured that it would be the best way to get you to shut up…”
“You’re a cruel woman,” Shinichi sighed dejectedly. “What would you have done if you hadn’t cut me off before I’d said it?”
“Well… I suppose I would have been the one speechless,” Ran said with a gentle smile. “But… I think, secretly… I wanted you to say it. I cut you off and pretended it was a joke because I got cold feet and was scared that you wouldn’t… Come to think of it, the only other time you’ve babbled quite like that was at that Restaurant in the Beika Centre,” she added thoughtfully. “Remember? When that company president was shot in the head, and…” she turned her head to glare at him evilly, “… you took off to solve the case and never came back…”
“Gomen!” Shinichi said, waving his free hand hastily. “I tried to make it back, I really did, but the cops dragged me off for the post-investigation and then I got a call about an urgent lead… It was lucky I ran into the kid on the way out… I felt like crap for days after leaving you like that. Conan called me afterwards, come to that. He was pretty pissed at me. The kid’s really attached to you, you know.”
“He’s very sweet,” Ran said with a sad little smile. “He always tries to cheer me up, when I’ve been lonely, or I’ve missed you… Kinda lucky that he turned up the day you disappeared, huh?”
“Y-yeah,” Shinichi laughed weakly. “Define “lucky”… “Abundance of luck”… what kind of luck?
“He stayed and finished dinner with me,” Ran reminisced. “The waitress looked really disappointed. After you’d left, she told me about this legendary couple that had sat at the same table twenty years before… she said the guy left in the middle, just like you did, to solve a murder. But he came back…” return of the evil eyes, “… and he was so flustered about having left that he just shouted for the whole room to hear!”
“He shouted a proposal, didn’t he?” Shinichi chuckled. “And she accepted. So the waitress thought I was going to propose?”
“Yeah! Hey… how’d you know about the couple?” Ran said, staring at him calculatingly. “Did you hear it from one of the police officers or something?”
“No, I heard it from the source,” Shinichi said, grinning a little nervously as he let the story unfold. “The young man in question was named Kudo Yuusaku.”
“Kudo Yuu-? Those two were your parents?!” Ran squeaked in surprise. “Wait-were you really-is that why you-?”
“I-I wasn’t going to propose, as such,” Shinichi said with a violent blush, cutting off her stuttering. “I just wanted to take the chance… before I had to leave… to tell you that you were most important to me, and that I’d definitely come back for you, no matter what. I was kicking myself for getting too nervous to say it before I had to leave, and was determined not to let it happen this time…”
“And yet, I made the first move,” Ran said with mock anger. “You think too much, Shinichi. You wanted to find the perfect moment, didn’t you?”
“Women are mind-readers,” Shinichi muttered irritably. Ran laughed.
“I just know you,” she replied. “Shinichi… telling someone that they’re what’s most important to you makes it a perfect moment.”
“Yeah,” he said, smiling again. “…I guess moments don’t get much more perfect than that, huh?”
“But…” she sighed, growing sad. “It can’t last, can it? You’ll have to leave again soon, for the case… leave again…”
“But I’ll be back,” he said firmly. “I’ll always come back, no matter what. I promise… once I finish this case, I’ll be back for good, and then… we can make that perfect moment last forever. I promise.” Suddenly, he grinned and spun around, stopping so that he was face-to-face with her and went down on one knee, holding up her hand. “’Tis a promise I made long ago, and one I carry forever in my heart,” he said, hamming it up as much as he could. Ran laughed but replied with the next line of the play.
“Then, my knight,” she said between the giggles, “If you have not forgotten our childhood promise, then please… seal it with a kiss upon my lips…”
They even followed the stage directions. To the letter.
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“Do you think we’ll be able to stay for the firework display?” Ran asked as she tied on her skates. “I never got to see it the last time I was here. Someone got murdered in the restroom, so we were kind of busy…”
“Geez,” Shinichi said, standing and pulling her to her feet. “Maybe I really should borrow the PA system…”
“Let’s just try not to hang out with anybody we’ve never met before,” Ran joked. “Especially not if one of them has volatile and/or secret relationships with several of the others.”
“But maybe you hang out with us, yes?”
Shinichi nearly slipped backwards onto the ice when he heard the strongly-accented, badly fractured and very familiar Japanese.
“Is that Emma-san?” Ran said in happy surprise. “Oh, wow! How have you all been doing, since…?”
“Fine, fine, We all fine and alive still,” Ruaridh said as the crowd of Scots skated over to greet them. KJ wolf-whistled.
“Oooooh, who he? Boyfriend?” she asked, grinning lecherously. “Share!”
I know enough Japanese to know I’m getting signed up for a threesome here,” a guy who neither Shinichi nor Ran recognized but was holding hands with KJ commented to the others.
“Oh, you’ve not met everybody yet, have you?” Ran said to Shinichi. “We met them the other day, when we were looking into a satsujin jiken… They’re from Scotland… jeez, there’s still so many of you…” Ran went around and introduced everybody to Shinichi, who pretended to have never met any of them before. The few she didn’t know were introduced by Max, who spoke Japanese fairly well. The one holding KJ’s hand turned out to be her husband- “Husband?” Shinichi couldn’t help thinking- Douglas- who, for purposes of differentiating him from the other Douglas, was generally addressed as “Dougie”- two very short men named Dillon and Steven, a much taller man who transpired to be Hazel’s husband David, and a man with blue-dyed hair who otherwise looked identical to Andrew, which as it soon became apparent was because it was his little brother Scott. As Max had explained, some of their friends hadn’t been able to take a long period of time off until the Christmas break, which was why they’d turned up now.
“It’s nice to have more people around, anyway,” he explained.
“Yeah, to get over murder thing,” Richard added.
“Oi, where they?” Douglas said. “You know, you cousin and- hey, there they are…”
Shinichi had to cover his mouth to stop himself from bursting out laughing. Ran jabbed him in the ribs, but her cheek was also twitching. A very white-faced Charlotte was being towed over by Laura and Taylor, with a skinny ginger man whose height rivalled Andrew and Alex’s skating alongside, laughing, hand-in-hand with an absolutely gorgeous, slender, tanned girl with short blonde hair.
So there’s something King Chaz can’t do?” he teased. Charlotte glared daggers at him.
Shut it, Queen Wilma,” she snapped. “I hate ice and ice hates me…” she reached the edge, gripping the waist-height railing around the edge of the rink like a lifebelt. “I’m never going to learn to do this. Give up on me and save yourselves.
Come on, Charlotte,” the blonde said. “It’s not that hard…
Hey, is that Ran-san?” Taylor said, suddenly noticing them. Her short red hair had been spiked up with what seemed to be an entire tub of hair gel, making it expand in a supernova around her head. Charlotte also had her hair tied back in a low ponytail over one shoulder. It struck Shinichi that he’d only seen the Scots in their “first thing in the morning” look, reeling over the death of their friend, but now that they were dressed up for going out, they had some of the most varied and unique outfits he’d ever seen, from Taylor’s ankle-length black jacket with a lot of bodice lacing, to Richard’s jacket bedecked with far too many zips, To Charlotte’s thick layered gypsy skirt and long brown trenchcoat coat and Laura’s striped top that was surely far too low cut for this cold weather.
Where do they get that stuff?” he wondered, staring at Max’s top hat as the tall ginger and the gorgeous blonde were introduced as Max and Charlotte’s cousin Wyatt and his girlfriend, their long-time friend Carly.
Geez, did you bring your entire country?” Shinichi said, in English, once the introductions were over.
Oi!” Carly said irritably. “We… America!”
We are American!” Charlotte reprimanded, sounding considerably more confident now that she had negotiated her way onto solid ground. “or, `we are from America’. You just said you are the country, not that you’re from it.
Hey,” Alex asked. “Are you that Kudo Shinichi? The high-school detective?
Oh, yeah!” Charlotte said. “Hey, I saw you on TV- well, not TV really, YouTube, but whatever- on the Clock Tower Case in Haido-Chome! You nearly caught the Kaitou Kid!
Whoa, seriously?” Hazel said. “That’s amazing!
But the newspapers said you were dead,” Andrew said accusingly, as if Shinichi was about to turn out to be a zombie or something.
Nah, maybe he’s on a top-secret assignment,” Richard said, striking what was probably supposed to be an action pose. “Like James Bond or something! What’s the Japanese equivalent of the FBI or MI6 or whatever, anyway?
We just borrow the FBI” Shinichi thought, then yelped when Laura suddenly shot over and stared him in the face.
“Uhhh… Laura-san, right?” he asked, a little nervously. “Ummm… C-can I help you?
She stared at him unnervingly for another long moment before breaking into a warm smile, rather like she had when staring down “Conan-kun” at the case.
Nothing,” she said, idly skating past him in an attempt to pull Charlotte back onto the ice, “But… Arigatou Gozaimasu, Meitantei.”
“Wh-what?!” he said, but she had already gone. Shinichi gulped and turned back to join in Ran’s happy bilingual conversation with the foreigners. Laura leaned over to whisper to Charlotte, and they shared a secretive smile.
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There, banterfuls! I promised you’d get cameos as well at some point! Now you’ll probably never appear again. >:) And yeah, Wyatt, you’re dating Carly in the future… you wish in reality 😛
The cute get cuter, Mel7200! ^_- I’m kind of liking writing fluff, but I can’t wait to get to the heist either… that’s when plot stuff really starts happening…
Thanks for your comments on the flashback, Silver Shadowbreeze. It was a scene that came to me a long time ago and I wrote a oneshot about it, but never published it. Eri’s leaving had a much deeper effect on Ran than she lets anyone realize.
And you’re totally right, twilightserius… people do often forget entirely about others when they’re angry or sad. Still, Shinichi’s right- if you’re a parent, you need to remember to think about how your actions will affect your child, because they’re not going to let you know a lot of the time- children, no matter what their parents like to think, are very good at hiding some things.
I quite like Eri and Kogoro as a couple, Pretztailfan95, mainly because they’re one of the few couples that aren’t particularly deep- they just never seem to have grown out of the stage of “little kids teasing the one they like” XD You’re a Heiji fangirl? Yeah, he’s cute and funny, but Kaito and Shinichi are more my type. *Kid fangirl* I’m worse than Sonoko sometimes. ^_^; Barney….? D’aww, nice ta feel luvved anyway! *huggles back* And I like your fic! Really angsty, but I love well-written angst. The chapters are kinda short, but I know what you mean about scenes never stretching as far as they do in your head… scenes with Ran on her own tend to do that to me a lot, for some reason. Keep writing!
And delyrical, I know it wasn’t technically a review on THIS story, but you’re welcome- it’s a good-looking story! More angst! 😀
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 Ran and Heiji, the back button is at the top there. The fic may not make sense if you have not read up to chapter 690, which you can do at, but I advise you to buy the official Tankoban novels (up to volume 27 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).
Fleeting Happiness