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29 April 2007 @ 12:01 pm
In the Still of the Night (30 Ways: Shinichi/Ran)  
Title: Still of the Night
Fandom: Detective Conan
Characters: Kudo Shinichi/Mouri Ran
Theme: #26—snuggle
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I do not own Detective Conan. All characters are the property of Gosho Aoyama. I simply threaten to make them watch old Barney tapes unless they obey me. Trust me, they listen.
Summary: What are you so afraid of?



Shinichi was only mildly surprised when the door opened. It offered up only a click and the softest of creaks to betray itself. He watched it swing open only a few inches, and saw the outline of a head peer through the opening. Even if he hadn’t already known who it was, he would have instantly recognized that particular silhouette.

“Shinichi?” the shadow spoke, confirming what he already knew. “Are you awake?”

He was sprawled on his back on his bed; until a moment ago, his eyes had been closed to give the illusion of sleep. Now he sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. “Yeah, I’m still up.”

The door opened a bit further and the rest of the shadow padded into the room, still staying close to the door. “I didn’t wake you up, did I?” He could make out that she was toying with a strand of her hair—a nervous habit.

“It’s okay, Ran. I can’t sleep,” he replied.

She came closer, and he could finally make out facial features. She looked…nervous? Scared? What was the right word for that expression? “Do you want some company?” she asked softly, fingers still twisting the ends of her hair.

He smiled. “Sure,” he gestured for her to sit down. She did so, sitting on the bed beside him with one leg curled under her and the other hanging off the edge of the mattress. The movement seemed stilted, awkward, formal; she really was nervous. He waited until she was seated, silently thankful that he could finally see her face clearly. “What’s up?”

Ran looked away. “I couldn’t sleep.”

“I couldn’t either. Kinda glad for the company, though—I certainly wasn’t going to go into your room,” Shinichi admitted, then ventured, “Something’s bothering you.” It was a statement, not a question.

She didn’t even try to deny it; she simply nodded. “I’m…scared. I’m really scared. I know there’s nothing to be afraid of right now—we’re safe here, at least for now,” she rushed on, correctly guessing his intended reply, “but I’m still scared.”

“You’re not afraid of being here?”

“No.”

“You’re not afraid of…them?”

“Not really.”

“…Ran, then what are you so afraid of?”

She didn’t answer that question. Instead, she replied with one of her own…that completely changed the subject. “Do you remember when I told you I was coming with you?” She actually chuckled at the memory. “You were dead-set against the idea…”

“I shouldn’t have been so surprised,” he shook his head, remembering…

-o-


“I’m going with you.”

Shinichi looked up from his packing—he was almost done—and at the speaker: Ran, standing in the doorway, arms crossed over her chest. “Pardon?”

“I said I’m going with you,” she repeated calmly. Her posture was menacing, but her voice was even and her expression was more than a little concerned. “You’re not leaving me behind…” There was almost an implied ‘again’ that hung, unspoken, in the air between them.

Shinichi straightened, turned to face her fully, and sighed. “Ran—“

“Don’t ‘Ran’ me, Shinichi,” she took a step into the room. “You’re not going alone.”

“I have to,” he said shortly, feeling horrible for saying it at all. “I’m going into hiding, remember? Witness protection, will have to testify against them, ringing any bells? You can’t go with me.”

“You’re not talking me out of it.”

“It’s not a matter of talking you out of it! It’s a matter of reason!” Ah, reason. His dear, dear friend. Reason could always be counted on, right? “They’ll be after me! If they find me, I don’t want them getting you, too. You go with me, you’re in danger. You need to stay here.”

“But…” she whispered, “if you leave me behind, then I’ll really be all alone.”

He opened his mouth…and promptly closed it again. He really didn’t have any decent answer for that. He could argue forever about her safety and the Black Organization and what all could happen to her just because she knew him…but would she really be safer here than she would with him? “Ran…”

“Please don’t make me stay behind,” she said softly. “Please?”

Shinichi sighed, realizing that he’d lost this fight before it had even really started. It was up to her to convince everyone else now, though, and make them see reason—her reasoning, at least—before he (or they) left. And in the case of her parents especially, he suspected that would be no easy task.

When Ran appeared at the station on the scheduled date of departure, suitcase in hand, Shinichi was openly amazed. But to his frustration, she refused to tell him exactly how she had worked the miracle of getting her parents to agree to let her go.

-o-


“You’re too stubborn sometimes, you know that?” he said after a pause.

“Someone has to keep you in line,” she replied without missing a beat, and he couldn’t keep himself from laughing lightly at the truth there. The mood was decidedly lighter now, but there was still that underlying tension, that thread of muted fear that kept them from totally losing themselves and just enjoying the simple moment.

“…Ran, why are you so afraid?” he asked again after they had lapsed back into a comfortable silence for a few beats.

Not surprisingly, she shook her head. “I don’t think you’d understand—“

“I think I understand more than you think. I’ll even take a wild guess,” Shinichi said softly. “I can’t tell you if you made the right decision or if I made the right decision or anything. We make our choices, we stand by them, and we live with the risks and consequences of those decisions.” He raised an eyebrow and gave her a wry smile, hoping she could see it in the darkness. “I risked losing you when I lied to you about Conan…and you’re stuck with me because you forgave me for it—whether you like it or not.”

The desired effect was achieved: Ran laughed. “We’ll see about that, smart guy.”

“Was I right?”

“…more or less,” she sighed. “I really can’t hide anything from you, can I?”

“Nope!”

“Get out of my mind! It’s dark and scary in there!”

“I won’t argue with that,” he beamed before he grew serious again. “But really…you don’t have to be afraid.” He wasn’t about to admit his own persistent fears just yet—there were nightmares and shadows of recent experiences that stalwartly refused to be brushed away by the forgiveness of loving hands.

“What if they find you?” she exploded, everything coming out of her in a rush. “They’re still out there, Shinichi—you know it, I know it, everybody who knows anything about it knows it! If they find you, they’ll kill you…they’ll kill us…everyone…” She slumped forward. “I didn’t want to be alone, and I didn’t want you to be alone. Did I make the right choice?”

“We’ll know when this is over. Not before.”

Ran looked like she was going to say something else, but apparently changed her mind at the very last minute and stood up abruptly. “I should go back to bed. Sorry to bug you. Goodnight!”

“Goodnight,” he watched as she turned away.

She started back across the room towards the door, but paused and turned back to him; her shadowed expression was nervous and indecisive. Perhaps she was going to say whatever else was on her mind right now… “Shinichi?”

“Hmm?”

She was playing with her hair again. “…can I stay?”

He paused at her question. “What?”

“Can I stay here?” she repeated softly. “Just for tonight. I mean—I don’t want anything like that! I just…” She waved her hands around as she groped for the right words before her arms finally dropped limply to her sides and she sighed. “I just don’t want to be alone right now. So…please let me stay?”

Shinichi actually gave it some thought. They were alone in this place, hiding out from what was left of the Syndicate. It would be so easy to slip, but…it was Ran. He’d sooner shoot himself in the head than harm her. Right now, she wanted comfort—she wanted to know that she wasn’t alone right now, that she’d made the right choice when she’d insisted on coming here with him. And when it came down to it…he really couldn’t deny her anything, could he?

He slid closer to the wall, swinging his feet up onto the bed and under the blankets; he then held up the bedclothes and looked up at her expectantly. “Come on. It’s okay.”

Even though she’d asked, she definitely hadn’t been expecting him to say yes, and it showed in the way she hesitated ever so slightly before she took the few steps that brought her back to the bedside. She sat down a bit stiffly and slid her own legs under the covers before lowering her head to one of the pillows. She waited patiently while he tucked her in (though it was a bit embarrassing, it was still kind of nice) and then took his spot beside her, one tentative arm around her waist over the blankets.

It was unexpectedly awkward, actually made worse by the fact that neither was moving.

Finally, it was Ran who gave in. She shifted, turning onto her side…and then her arms were around him, her face pressed against his shoulder. “Shinichi…Shinichi…” her voice was muffled as she said his name over and over.

Her move was bold, but it served it’s purpose; the tension had broken, and Shinichi finally realized that he, too, could move again. He returned the gesture and rolled over a fraction to wind up on his back, letting her head rest more against his chest.

It was so warm. Close. Comfortable.

Safe.

After a moment, Ran sighed and snuggled a little closer to him. “Thank you.”

“Hmm…” he only half-replied. For a long moment, they were silent, though it was far more of a comfortable silence than the tension of a mere minute earlier. Then Shinichi spoke again. “Ran?”

“Hmm?” she murmured a response this time, and he wondered if she was finally falling asleep.

Shinichi took a deep breath. “Can I…kiss you goodnight?”

It was quiet just long enough for him to think he’d done something atrociously wrong before she tilted her head up to rest her chin on his chest. Her half-open eyes were shining in the darkness. “Please?”

He didn’t need any further encouragement or pleading. He simply lifted his head and lowered it until his lips met hers for one sweet moment. It didn’t last long or deepen, nor was it particularly expert—it was exactly what it was, and nothing more.

When he let his head lay back against the pillow, and hers returned to its perch on his shoulder, both sighed happily. It wasn’t long after that her breathing slowed, signaling that she’d fallen asleep at last. But Shinichi lay awake for a little while longer, his fingers threading carefully through the ends of her hair, thoughts running haphazardly around in his head like little panicked squirrels.

They had risked a lot to get this far, hadn’t they?

He smiled and closed his eyes to seek his own dreams, resolving not to let it bother him.

Some things were just worth it.




PS. The fluff is still eating my brain. With tartar sauce. Apparently, my brain is very tasty 0.0 I send this out to the awesome articulation! Because, as mentioned, she is AWESOME. And this is also my “Good luck at college” prezzie to her, so cheers! This is my back-burner project still, but we shall keep trucking along, yay fun! Thanks for reading, everyone. I hope you enjoyed the fluffy.

Much love, all!