Case Closed Fan Fiction ❯ Promises ( Chapter 18 )

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

Chapter Eighteen
“That was a lot of fun!” Ran said happily as they made their way through the dark streets. “Even if they are a little… overwhelming…”
Shinichi just sighed in exhaustion. That freaky Wiccan girl had kept staring at him all evening…
They’d ended up skating with the Scots- except for Charlotte, who managed to be the only one to fall flat on her face and burst her nose, at which point she left to get a bandage from the medical department and ended up watching them skate from the side of the rink- until the fireworks started. Just after they’d ended, Shinichi had had to slip aside when his phone rang and the number listed was the Professor’s.
Where the hell are you?” Ai said testily through the phone. “You were supposed to come back here in case you changed!”
“I was kinda busy,” Shinichi said. Truth be told, by the time he’d noticed it was past seven- the dreaded twenty-four-hour mark- it was really too late to get away. However, after he’d realized the time and survived the mild heart attack of fear, he’d still elected to stay. “There’s no sign of the fever, which always appears between fifteen minutes and half an hour before the pains, which generally last about twenty minutes if I’m resisting them. If I’d started to get the fever, it would have been particularly noticeable in this cold weather, but there’s nothing. I’m impressed, Sherry. It looks like I’ve got until seven-thirty tomorrow morning at the earliest.”
“Well, do try to come home before that, all right?” Ai said. “Research aside, you can’t really be planning to spend all night with her, can you?
“Oi!” Shinichi yelped, turning so red that he was worried that he might be getting the fever after all, but Haibara had already hung up, only the quiet huff still being transmitted along the line.
“Shinichi? What’s wrong?” Ran asked, looking deeply worried. “It’s not… the case, is it? Are you going to have to leave?”
“N-not until tomorrow evening, I hope,” Shinichi said, quickly putting his phone away. “But I may have to leave in the morning. Either way, I’ll call and let you know in the morning, all right?”
“Sure…” Ran said, still looking a little upset.
They’d left after that to have dinner together at a nearby Sushi restaurant, separate from the Scots who were going to skate for a few more hours, and had waved them off with a rousing if inexplicable cry of “For the Fire! For the Cult! FOR SANTA!The case wasn’t mentioned throughout dinner, although other cases were, after Ran phoned Kazuha to wish her a Merry Christmas. Shinichi had been relaying their orders to the waitress at the time, so he didn’t hear quite what Ran said, but the amount of squealing he could hear over the phone afterwards worried him. Still, Heiji’s silent shock when Shinichi called “Merry Christmas” to the Osaka pair over the phone- coupled with Kazuha’s dangerous-sounding “Finally!”-was very amusing, although Ran clearly didn’t get the joke.
The streets were already dark by the time they got out, and Beika Park, which the crossed through again to get home, was completely empty, which had led to a few more stops for secretive kisses, less hesitant and nervous each time. Each time, Shinichi felt, was magical; like a precious dream from which he would, all too soon, have to awaken. Being with Ran, with her, as a couple, not “just friends”; it seemed too good to be true. At least until some poor passerby stumbled across them, prompting all parties to be on their way again with red faces as fast as possible
The feel of her soft hair twining through her fingers, still scented sweetly with whatever had been in her conditioner, the warmth of her body moulding against his as they kissed, closer, deeper, his arms so tight around her and he never wanted to let go…
But it couldn’t last. Maybe he had two more days, maybe he had one, maybe he had less, but he would return to Conan, and once more, he’d been so close to her, but so very, very distant…
Below his happy chatter and banter with Ran, however, he was growing severely worried. It had been a perfect day. No-one had been killed, kidnapped or robbed in his immediate vicinity. He and Ran were together. The antidote had even held long enough for him to spend the entire day with Ran.
Something had to give.
“The lights are on,” Ran noted in surprise as the Mori Detective Agency became visible down the road.
“Occhan’s probably leaning out of the window with a telescope to watch for you,” Shinichi said. “No helping it, it is past nine already…”
“Oh, he’s going to interrogate me for ages,” Ran groaned. Their pace slowed, just in case Kogoro really was watching for them with a telescope. “So… are you going home?”
“For tonight, yeah,” Shinichi sighed. “Kaa-san’s ecstatic. Whether I’m here or not in the morning… well, I’ll call and let you know either way, all right?”
Ran nodded “I wish you didn’t have to leave,” she whispered. “I wish you could stay here forever…”
“Me too, Ran,” he said, “me too. But someday I will be- you can count on that.”
“I know,” she whimpered. To Shinichi’s horror, her eyes were welling up. “I’m just… I miss you, so much…”
“I’ll do whatever it takes to return to you, Ran,” he said, reaching up to wipe away her tears. “On the day it’s all over… when I’m back for good… we’ll go out for dinner again. To the Bird’s Eye View restaurant.” He leaned closer to her, closer enough to feel her warm breath.
“Tou-san shared that place with the person most precious to him at the moment most precious to him,” he whispered, “and someday, I will too.”
Ran’s breath caught, and then she leaned forward, kissing him softly, a final kiss goodnight.
“I’ll be waiting,” she whispered, before turning and walking towards the agency. Shinichi could swear he saw one of the windows slide closed as she entered the stairwell. He watched the agency for another long moment- home again, in a couple of days– before turning his back and walking back to 2-21 Beika which was home again, just for tonight.
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As Shinichi closed the gate of his house behind him, an engine revved in the night.
I know he must be happy to be back, but really, what was the little idiot thinking? Walking around in broad daylight? He got lucky, but he’d better not be trying it twice…
A quick look at the mini-laptop, a quick look at the cookie tracer program, and the confirmation that he wasn’t the only idiot teenager needing watching. “Sooner or later- probably sooner- they’re going to notice the correlations between the information this kid’s been looking up. He’s lucky they’re not already watching him, or he’d be dead already… might need to watch that, even so… Sake doesn’t like being watched.
It was a long, difficult job, but it needed doing, but when the time came, the pieces needed to be in place. For the black king to be taken, the white knights needed to be within his reach…
And for that sake, who cared about a few pawns?
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“Well, aren’t we late back,” Yukiko teased as Shinichi didn’t manage to sneak in under her radar. “What were you and Ran-chan doing out so late, I wonder?”
“Come on, Kaa-san,” Shinichi moaned.
“You’re an only child, Shin-chan,” Yukiko said pseudo-seriously. “Someone has to bedevil you over your love life.” Her eyes widened when he blushed. “Oh-ho… you’re not correcting me… no “baka, it’s not like that” or “it wasn’t a date”… Could this mean…?”
“I’m gonna cut my losses and admit early that yeah, Ran and I cleared a few things up,” Shinichi said, going even deeper red as he did so. Yukiko squealed loud enough to draw Yuusaku in from the living room.
Finally!” she squealed. “I knew it! I told you Ran-chan was destined to be our daughter-in-law, didn’t I, Yuu-chan?”
“Geez, I didn’t propose or anything,” Shinichi grumbled.
“Although, from your tone, I’d deduce that it is in the offing,” Yuusaku said with an amused chuckle. Shinichi was saved from remonstrating by a loud yawn.
“Goodness, you didn’t sleep at all last night, did you?” Yukiko said, leaning over to poke at the slight bags under his eyes. “Really, Shin-chan! As if your body’s not under enough stress as it is! Go get some sleep, right now- in your own bed. Won’t that be nice?”
“Yeah, actually,” Shinichi said, unable to repress a grin. “Man, a night’s sleep without having to deal with Occhan’s snoring- this is gonna be great.”
“If Kogoro-kun heard you say that, I think he’d thump you no matter what size you are,” Yuusaku said. “Oh, that reminds me. Before you pass out…” he retreated to the living room and returned with a syringe.
“Haibara-kun asked me a favour for when you got back,” he explained. Shinichi sighed and rolled up his sleeve.
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“What time of night do you call this?” Kogoro grumbled.
“About nine,” Ran said as she locked the apartment door behind her.
“Out pretty late, weren’t you?” Kogoro said seriously. Ran stared at him for a long moment before breaking down in giggles. “What’s so funny?” Kogoro demanded, losing some of his fatherly seriousness in the confusion.
“Oh, it’s just…” Ran fluttered her hand as she fought to control the laughter. “It’s just… normally I’m saying that, after you got back from Mahjongg or whatever… it’s really weird… this has to be the first time it’s the right way around…” She broke down laughing again, making her way to her room as she went.
“Oi!” Kogoro said, trying to regain some sort of parental authority, but it wasn’t the mode he was used to and so was completely lost on his daughter.
“Goodnight, Otou-san,” Ran called as she closed her bedroom door. “Merry Christmas!”
Ran kept grinning as she shut the bedroom door behind her and leaned on it, still giggling. “Really,” she thought. “First time in a while that he acts really… fatherly… is when I’m out with Shinichi… Come to think of it… it was like that back then, too… wasn’t it…?
When she woke up, she couldn’t really remember what had happened. Was it Sunday? Or was it a school day? The apartment was very quiet. Had her parents stopped arguing…?
She gasped and started crying when she remembered. Oh, they’d stopped fighting all right. Her father had locked himself in the bathroom and her mother had locked herself in her parents’ room, the fighting replaced by a horrible silence. Eventually, the first one to come out had been Eri- suitcase in hand.
“Okaa-san? Where are you going?”
“Ran-chan, I’m sorry, but I can’t stay here anymore.” Eri crouched down, looking Ran in the eye. “I can’t keep fighting with him like this. I need to go away for a while. Ran? Won’t you come with me? I’m sure it won’t be for long…”
“Wh-what?” Ran said in confusion. “No! I can’t leave, and you can’t either! This is home! We can’t go…”
… Because going would mean leaving her home and school behind her, wouldn’t it? And her friends… Sonoko-chan… Shinichi…
“Don’t go, Okaa-san! Please! I’ll be good! Don’t go!”
“It’s not your fault, Ran-chan,” Eri said, standing again and picking up her suitcase with grim determination. “Well, if you want to stay with him…”
Wait!” Ran cried again, starting to sob as her mother made for the door. She ran to the bathroom door, knocking on it, pounding it with her tiny fists.
“Otou-san! Okaa-san’s leaving!” she sobbed. “Please come out, Otou-san! Make her stay, please! Don’t let her leave!”
But there was no response from within, and when she looked back, her mother had vanished. Panicked, she ran down the stairs, tripping a little as she stepped into her sandals as she ran. She could see the street, where her mother was putting her suitcase in the boot of a taxi.
“Okaa-san! Don’t go! Please come back, please!”
Eri looked back for a moment as she got into the taxi, tears filling her eyes as she forced a little smile and waved back at her daughter.
“It might not be for long,” she promised, before closing the door and sitting back as the taxi revved up and moved away.
Okaa-san!” Ran screamed, running after the taxi, even though it was useless. The taxi was slowed by Tokyo traffic, but not by much, and seven-year-old legs just couldn’t keep up with a moving car. She kept running, gasping as her lungs burned for air, even long after the taxi had disappeared from sight.
“Ran? Ran, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?”
Through the mist of her tears, Ran looked up into Shinichi’s worried face.
“O-okaa-san…” she said, gulping out sobs. “She left… she left in a taxi, and took all her things… She’s gone and I-I don’t know when she’s c-coming back… I t-tried to follow the taxi, b-but I l-l-lost it…” Bursting into loud wails, she flung her arms around Shinichi and sobbed into his shoulder. She barely registered it when he hugged her back, but somehow, she felt better, just a little.
If he hadn’t been there for me… that day…” Ran thought, sitting on her bed, picking up the delicate red orchid with a couple of fingers and examining it closely, “I wonder if I’d ever have stopped crying… I didn’t think I was ever going to smile or laugh again, but he managed it, somehow… I first recognized my feelings that day in New York, but I wonder how long ago it really was… that Shinichi became more important to me than anyone else… How long ago I… fell in love with him…
Even though she was alone in her room, she blushed at the thought, but the moment she’d had it, she knew that it was true: his presence made her heart soar and his absence made it ache; he was always there when she needed him, as if he was protecting her; she just couldn’t imagine any sort of future for herself not involving him. And that meant…
She pulled a small stack of Print Club stickers out of her purse, flicking through the images for one that Shinichi had only agreed to under protest and violent blushing, one of the few pictures for two people; specifically, it depicted them as a couple sitting side-by-side in traditional Japanese wedding garb. Ran looked at it for a moment with a reminiscent blush and hopeful smile, before peeling it off and sticking it to the inside back cover of her diary.
He said… when he gets back forever, we’ll go back to the Bird’s Eye Restaurant like his parents did… exactly like his parents did…” she remembered, staring out of the window at the dark night and the greying remains of the snow. “Come back soon, Shinichi,” she prayed. “I’ll be waiting, so please return soon…
As she was getting into her pyjamas, she remembered to close the diary before her father saw the sticker. “But no matter how much I love him,” she warned herself sternly, “I will never, never be so far gone as to write “Kudo Ran” on my notebooks. Never, never, never…
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AAAAW! ANGELROY! *sniffles and feels immeasurably loved* I don’t intend to stop, especially if people love my writing! I adore writing, but it’s so much better if other people enjoy it as well. Spread the love. Besides, I could never stop a fic that I’m in the middle of, because I know how much I personally hate it when a good fic stops in the middle- It’s something I despise. I’m so honoured to be compared to Aoyama-sensei! Arigatou Gozaimasu!
Twilightserius: ….strike?
I agree with you, Pretztailfan95- Shinichi and Conan are different sorts of cute, Heiji’s sort of hot, but Kid is HAWT! *kid fangirl* if you don’t like him, too bad, because he’s going to be here as much as Shinichi and Heiji and Hakuba- the boys are getting roughly equal screentime at the moment, I think, maybe Heiji and Hakuba a little less. But they’re here big time as well. I’m not a sadist either (I hope I’m not) but I do love angst- but only as long as there’s a happy ending! It makes the happiness so much more poignant for me if it comes after great suffering. Which may explain the idea I had for my next fic (this one ain’t finishing any time soon, but I get new ideas all the time, most of them just weird) Liked the chapter, BTW. Akemi’s death is such a powerfully sad and poignant moment, and is one of my favourite moments- not because it was a good thing that she died or anything (Kami, no) but it was such a beautifully written scene, and more haunting than even Seiji’s death.
There’ll be a bit of action soon, Mel7200, but it’ll still be a while until it really kicks off, I’m afraid…
Feeling even more delighted now, Eyeinthesky? 😉
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 690, 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).
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A Peaceful Day