Fandom: Detective Conan
Friends: Kudo Shinichi/Edogawa Conan and Hattori Heiji
Theme: #4—walk beside me
Disclaimer: I do not own Detective Conan—all the characters belong to Gosho Aoyama. I just kidnapped them and hid them in my closet to keep them safe from…I dunno, something awful, I’m sure. Don’t worry, I feed them. Sometimes.
Summary: Kudo was complicated. He knew that all too well.
Kudo Shinichi was a complicated person.
It was one of those things that Heiji had known before even meeting the guy. That initial meeting in the diplomat’s office—right after Kudo had shown him up—had sort of driven that point home. The Tokyo tantei was sweating and gasping and kept clutching at his chest; Heiji had honestly thought his rival was having a heart attack or something similar. Their brief verbal exchange hadn’t changed his opinion; even though the guy looked like he was dying, he still managed to talk to Neechan and calm her down and then turn around and give his new rival what amounted to a scolding. Then he'd vanished. And Heiji wondered.
But it wasn’t until the Sherlock Holmes tour that he learned exactly how complex Kudo really was, to say nothing of how messed up his situation was. From then on, through their various visits and exploits, time spent working together, he’d learned a lot about his rival-now-friend. There were far more layers to Kudo Shinichi than he’d even imagined, things that he wondered if even Neechan knew. Still waters run deep, as the saying goes, and that infamous smirk masked a great deal.
The trick had been learning how to deal with Kudo on those occasions when the complexity really kicked in. And right now was one of those moments, when the chibi was in one of his brooding moods.
They were out with the girls, wandering the streets of Osaka during a visit. Ran and Kazuha were walking ahead, laughing and giggling about something—probably something pointless, Heiji privately thought,if Kazuha was involved. The two boys were left to trail along a few steps behind. Heiji had tried a few times to start a conversation, but it seemed his Eastern counterpart wasn’t in a talkative mood.
They continued on in silence until suddenly, Kudo began to lag behind a bit.
Heiji slowed his step a bit, falling back into step and walking beside his diminutive friend. He studied the shorter boy carefully; Kudo had the forlorn look of a lost child. And following his gaze…
He was looking sadly at Ran, the hopeless expression of a beggar child reaching for the stars.
It seemed like ‘Conan’ was wearing that look a lot lately. Then again, how long had he been stuck in that body? Kudo’s feelings for Ran weren’t exactly a secret, save for Ran herself. He’d been trapped in his childish form for so long, finally realizing exactly how strong he felt for her, and unable to do anything about it, save for calling her as Shinichi once every few weeks and trying to comfort her as Conan when she cried about how much she missed Shinichi.
He was burning out, and he was miserable, no matter how much he tried to hide it. He just swallowed most of his complaints and pressed on in the hopes that things would eventually come together. He still had trouble asking for help, even when he needed it the most…
Like right now.
It just wasn’t right. Heiji couldn’t watch his friend silently suffering like that and do nothing to even try and help. Granted, he knew there really wasn’t anything he could do to ease the burden draped over the young shoulders, per se, but maybe…
On an impulse, he reached down and put a hand on top of the boy’s head.
Obviously, Kudo hadn’t been expecting physical contact—aside from occasionally hoisting him to get him away from the girls when necessary, there just wasn’t a ton of touching between them. The chibi’s head jerked back, and he looked up at the older boy with startled, curious eyes.
Heiji didn’t say anything. He simply smiled, trying to convey the message he knew he couldn’t utter aloud with the girls in earshot. Hang in there. I’m with ya, whether you want me to be or not.
Behind Conan’s glasses, Kudo’s eyes studied him. There was a flash of comprehension, and then Kudo smiled back and nodded ever so slightly. Feeling his grin widen, Heiji gave the child’s hair a ruffle (ignoring the resulting squawk) and dropped his hand back to his side. They continued to walk along, side by side, without saying a single word to each other.
Still, the message was received, loud and clear.
Heiji couldn’t lift the burden. But he could offer to share it, and stick by him. Whether or not Kudo accepted that offer was up to him. Still, Heiji noticed with some satisfaction, there was definitely a bit more of a spring to Kudo’s step after that. And at that moment, that was what mattered.
PS. I just had this scene in my head and lo, it became a fic. A short fic. A short fic with absolutely no spoken dialogue, even! That doesn’t happen very often with me. Anyway, another Friends fic successfully completed, joy of joys! This really is kind of a back-burner project while I work on Nights and Hugs. That’s why these are a bit slower in coming along. Hope you’ll all stick around.
Oh yeah—did ya notice? Story number four went with theme number four? I totally planned that. Totally.
Thanks to all the lovely readers and reviewers—you all make my day! Much love, everyone!