Fandom: Detective Conan
Publish Date: 8/23/2005 through 5/21/2006 (incomplete)
Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan. But I do have homemade hand-puppets for each character...that's normal, right?
It took a while, but finally, Shinichi had managed to get dressed. It took a lot longer than it probably should have for a couple of very important reasons.
The primary reason, of course, was that he was stuck in Ran’s body. This meant that he had to get dressed with his eyes closed. That would have been a bit tricky, even if he was himself. The outfit she’d handed him was simple—jeans, a T-shirt, a sweatshirt, and…undergarments—but it just wasn’t something he was used to doing, so it was tricky.
More importantly, though, was the other big problem that had reared its ugly head. As was common with men of his age and, ah, experience, the bra had proved a bit challenging. Especially the clasp. Especially when he had to keep his eyes closed.
But nevertheless, he was proud to say that he’d gotten dressed without peeking.
Give the boy a break—a seventeen-year-old boy in the body of an attractive seventeen-year-old girl? Specifically, the girl he liked? Wouldn’t you look? Of course you would. And of course he felt appropriately guilty immediately afterwards. So stop judging him, don’t tell Ran, and let’s continue with the story. This has been a public service announcement.
When he came out into the office, the other party involved was already waiting for him, dressed in jeans and a blue hooded sweatshirt of his—or her—own. Conan’s blue eyes looked him up and down with all the force of Ran’s angry--critical--gaze behind them.
“Not bad,” she said with a nod. As with many teenage girls, she was the worst critic of her own looks. “Answer me honestly—did you look?” At his frantic head-shake, she narrowed her eyes. “Good. Because if you did, I would kill you. Now come here.”
Shinichi blinked. “What?”
“Come here and sit down,” Ran ordered. He obliged, and she hopped off the sofa and sprinted out of the room, calling back over her shoulder, “Don’t move! I’ll be right back!” Patiently, nervously, he waited for her return.
When she reappeared, she had a hairbrush in her hand. “We’re going to fix this first,” she said breezily, climbing up behind him. “Then we’ll go to Agasa-hakase’s, and you can give me a reason not to strangle you in your sleep.” Without further explanation, she applied the hairbrush to her own hair, in her quest to vanquish any and all flyaways.
Shinichi sat quietly, not daring to complain, even when she hit a tangle and pulled. He just let Ran fix her hair—though it presently hung from his head—and wondered how long it would take.Girls could be awfully fussy about their hair and appearances, he knew that from watching Ran get ready for this and that...
But actually, he realized slowly, it felt kind of nice. He’d always wondered why girls liked having their hair played with so much, and he was finally getting the picture. It felt strangely pleasant to feel someone else’s fingers sliding through his hair, brushing against his scalp…it shouldn't feel that good, but it really did...
He didn’t realize he’d made a sound—or even closed his eyes—until Ran paused in her gentle ministrations. “Shinichi,” she said softly, so as not to attract her father’s attention, “did you just purr?”
Shinichi swallowed hard, his eyes snapping open. “N-no…” he protested.
Ran resumed her work on her hair. Shinichi paid a little better attention to himself. For starters, his eyes slid closed almost immediately, wholly of their own volition. And he was startled to hear a low rumbling sound emit from deep in his chest (or rather, it was Ran’s chest, and that made him blush to think about). It did sound like a purr. It escaped without his permission.
She stopped again, and he bit back a whine. “You did purr! I knew it!” she said triumphantly…and then she giggled. “So I guess you like me playing with your hair, hmm? You're just like a cat, I swear.” As she teased, she began brushing again. Amusing or no, it was her hair, and she demanded it to look nice.
“No, I…okay, maybe…” he admitted, the denial dropping off as she went back to work. It really shouldn’t feel this nice, but it did. And furthermore…it was entrusting a highly-noticeable part of one’s appearance to another person, a human being fully capable of making mistakes, even if it was a person he cared for a great deal. It still felt so pleasant. Close. He would almost say intimate. Giving up, he leaned back a little bit and just let himself enjoy the feel of it. Behind him, he heard the world's smallest beautician chuckling at his behavior; he had the decency to blush.
Far too soon (for his tastes, anyway), Ran set the brush down. “There, you’re done,” she said cheerily, brushing her hands together to clean them of invisible dust. When he turned around, she gave...well, herself another once-over with a critical eye. “That'll do, that'll do. Not bad on short notice." She hopped off the sofa. "Let’s get going.”
He stood up (without whining) and followed her out the door and down the stairs. As he called out in her voice to tell Mouri that they were going out for a while (and ignoring his shouts that she wasn't going anywhere because he hadn't been fed yet), Shinichi made a note to ask Ran if he could play with her hair sometime…
On the sidewalk, the tension started to grow again. This happened when Ran instinctively reached for his hand…only to realize that he now had a good amount of height on her. If anyone was going to be leading anyone else around by the hand, it was going to be him.
Ran swallowed hard. “Do I have to…”
“No!” he said quickly. “I won’t make you! I mean, unless you want to…” It was then that he made another observation—girls blushed a lot more easily--or maybe it was just Ran, he wasn't sure. Either way, though, his face felt hot, which meant that it was probably red. Conan’s eyes looked up at him warily, but then turned straight ahead, and the walk began. Both kept their hands snugly in their pockets. Shinichi was silently disappointed.
Still, Ran couldn’t keep quiet for very long, and finally, she glanced up at him again. “So were you ever going to tell me about this, Shinichi?” she growled, her anger rising again. She hadn’t gotten an explanation yet, and as such, she had no reason yet to not be angry.
“We’ll talk when we get there!” he hissed back. It wasn’t a long walk to the doctor’s home, but he had a feeling it was going to feel a good deal longer than it actually was. “Please! You can yell at me as much as you want when we get to Agasa’s!”
“I want to know now!” she whispered back.
“I don’t want to make a scene!” he snapped.
“I want to know why I let you breathe!”
“I don’t want the entire world to know exactly how screwed up things are around here!”
This continued the entire way back to Agasa’s home—angry hissing and whispering, though they did manage to keep their voices down for the most part, and managed to not attract too many unwanted eyes. Even as they pushed open the gate and made their way up the sidewalk to the front door, the furious (but whispered) denials, demands, and disclaimers continued, right up until they rang the doorbell.
The door opened, and Ai Haibara appeared. She opened her mouth to say something, but when she saw their facial expressions, she faltered for a moment. “Is…something wrong?” she finally settled on the neutral question, already knowing the answer would be affirmative.
“Hi,” Conan growled. “Can we come in?”
Recognizing the question for the order that it was, she stepped aside and let the pair in. As she closed the door behind them, a sly smirk slid across her face. Something was very wrong here, and she had a feeling she was about to find out exactly what it was.
It didn’t help matters any that Ai was just feeling evil today.
This was going to be fun…
Shinichi sat silently on one of Agasa-hakase’s very comfortable couches, eyes downcast, hands folded demurely in his lap, while a very angry, very short Ran screamed at him. He just stared down at his hands while she berated him furiously, and while looking, noticed that Ran had really nice…
What, you thought he was looking at her legs or something else in the lap area? Hentai.
She’d more or less held herself in check since the revelation of that morning, and kept her temper under tight rein for the duration of their walk to the doctor’s home. But now that they were away from the prying glances of the public and in no danger of making a scene to anyone who didn’t know them, the gloves were coming off and Ran was letting it all out.
She was screaming about everything she could think of, using every swear word she could think, in every language she could think of—all insulting everything about Shinichi she could come up with on short notice. His personal choices, his family, his ancestry, his intelligence, and his probable destination after death…and more. All were questioned, insulted, or verbally shredded, while still managing some fairly graphic descriptions of her plans for ending his pitiful existence.
And Shinichi sat there silently and took it.
For a while, anyway.
It wasn’t until she said something about how she was going to kill him, chop him up, put him in a stew, and feed him to her father that he finally lost his hold on his tongue. “Ran,” he interjected suddenly, “much as I’m sure your father would love to know that I was gone for good, that’s called cannibalism, and I’m pretty sure it’s frowned upon in most societies.”
That stopped Ran in mid-sentence, and she fell silent. Her hands clenched into white-knuckled fists at her sides, her eyes squeezed closed, and the red color of her face deepened as she started to shake. For one brief, terrible moment, Shinichi was sure she was going to explode and take the entire building and its occupants with her.
“Tea’s ready!” Agasa-hakase said cheerfully. He stepped into the room bearing a tray with cookies and the aforementioned tea. Setting it down on the table, he looked up at the child currently housing Ran’s mind. “Ran-kun, I didn’t realize you had such a vocabulary!”
The angry mood was dissipated, and Ran had the grace to look a bit sheepish. But she helped herself to a cookie and took a seat; she had to wrestle a little bit to actually get up onto the couch though, but in relatively short order, she was sitting upright. She still looked upset (and now embarrassed to boot), but sighed and went on with as much dignity as possible. “Okay, I feel better now. So can I get a full explanation now, or do I have to figure out exactly how hard this little body can kick?”
“Not very hard. I promise,” Shinichi replied, taking a cookie for himself and thinking back to his first case as his smaller self. He’d had it driven home quickly and effectively that he was no longer as effective as he had once been. “As for an explanation…well, get comfortable. It’s kind of a long story.”
Ran sat back against the couch…and then sat back up. “My feet don’t reach the floor…”
“You’ll get used to it,” he reassured her. “So the story…well, it all started that day at Tropical Land. I’m sure you remember it—when the guy died on the roller coaster?” At her nod, he went on. “And there were those two guys in black there? They’re the important ones. And remember, you can’t breathe a word of this to anyone. If they find out…”
“I get it, I get it. Top secret,” she nodded fervently. For a moment, she really did seem the child she appeared to be, with energy to burn and wide-eyed curiosity, eager to know and understand everything she did not. “Keep going! Tell me!”
He couldn’t keep himself from smiling, but went on without comment. “I went after the one guy, that’s when I said goodbye to you. And I saw an illegal transaction—from the look of it and what they were saying, the guy with the briefcase of cash was smuggling guns, and the gorilla in the black suit was there on behalf of some people who were blackmailing him about it.”
Ran gasped. Gun smuggling wasn’t petty crime—that was serious.
“It was then that I made a big mistake. We’re talking total rookie here, Ran. I can’t believe I was that stupid…” Shinichi sighed. “There were two men in black on the roller coaster. One of them was in front of me. And it didn’t occur to me to wonder where the other one was. Didn’t even cross my mind.” He shook his head as he remembered how badly he’d bungled that night. “Well, as it turned out, he was right behind me. With a pipe or something in his hands. I didn’t realize this until he was swinging it at my head.”
“Oh my God…” Ran breathed.
“So I’m lying there, sort of conscious,” he went on in a rush, “and the Gorilla talks with Blondie about what they’re going to do with me.” He remembered their voices, cold and harsh, echoing from somewhere up above him. “Or rather, how they’re going to kill me.”
Ran gasped again. Still in the room, Ai and Agasa-hakase watched and listened silently.
“Gorilla—also known as Vodka—was ready to shoot me,” he continued, “but Blondie, henceforth known as Gin, told him not to. There were still a ton of cops around from the roller coaster murder. If they shot me, the police would hear it and come running, and they might be caught. Of course, I would have still been dead, but hey, nobody asked for my opinion.” He sighed. “So then Gin pulled out his little magic pill. It was supposedly their syndicate’s newest poison—undetectable in an autopsy, and untested on humans. Guess who got to be the lucky first test subject?”
“Oh no…” Ran interjected.
“That’s right—lil’ ol’ me,” he said, trying not to remember it: the pill forcing its way between his teeth, followed by a cool rush of water that swept it to the back of his mouth. Instinct had kicked in, and he’d swallowed it…officially ending life as he knew it. “Long story short—“
“Too late,” Ai interrupted, the first time she’d spoke since the story began.
“—I swallowed it, and when I woke up, I was…that,” he pointed at her, ignoring the commentary from the peanut gallery. “And there were some cops—I didn’t know them, they weren’t any of Megure’s regulars—standing over me, calling me little boy and stuff. I hadn’t even realized there was anything wrong yet, but they were saying something about a daycare center or something.” He shuddered. “I took off as fast as those little legs would carry me. Still, it wasn’t until I saw my reflection in a store window that I realized what had happened.”
Ran was simply staring at him, her jaw hanging wide open and her eyes as huge as soccer balls. It was a comical expression to see on Conan’s face, really.
“It was really pathetic—I couldn’t even reach the lock on the gate to get into my own house,” he sighed. “Then Agasa blew out the wall next door with another of his great experiments.” He paused to shoot the doctor a grin. “I convinced him who I was and told him what happened. We talked about it, and figured it was best not to tell anyone. Those guys wanted me dead, and sooner or later they were going to realize that my body hadn’t been found. So it was agreed that I would lay low for a while. And then…”
He paused long enough for Ran’s curiosity to get the better of her. “And then?”
“You showed up,” he grinned.
“That’s why ‘Conan’ was hiding behind the desk,” she said in belated realization.
“Exactly. We were kind of hoping you wouldn’t see me, but…well, obviously you did,” he sighed. “Popped the lenses out of Dad’s glasses for a really quick disguise. I was sure you were going to recognize me for a minute…and then you hugged me.” He grinned cheekily.
Ran flushed angrily, and Shinichi was reminded that he was, in fact, in the hot seat.
“And you know the rest. And that’s the story,” he finished lamely in a rush. “Should have been the case of a lifetime, and instead, it’s a case that I haven’t been able to solve yet while I’m running for my life.” He paused and looked at her cautiously. “Do you understand, Ran? That’s why I didn’t tell anyone. I had to hide. If they find me, they’ll kill me, and possibly those around me.”
She was looking at the floor, obviously mulling over what she had just learned.
“Ran?” he asked, concerned.
“So…you couldn’t even tell me?” she said shakily, raising her eyes to meet his; it was extremely disconcerting to be looking oneself in the eye like that, especially when your own eyes were glistening with tears that stalwartly refused to gather as yet. “You didn’t trust me to keep your secret? Was this some kind of joke to you?"
“No!” Shinichi was out of his seat and on his knees in front of her in a heartbeat; he had to kneel to be at her eye level. “Ran, no. That’s not it at all. I just…” he groped for the right words, “I didn’t want you involved. I mean….aw, hell…” He sat back, feeling completely at a loss. “I don’t know. It made sense at the time…and I didn’t think it was going to take this long.” He looked down. “I’m sorry, Ran.”
He waited, feeling three pairs of eyes on him. Agasa and Ai continued to watch silently while Ran mulled things over. At this point, it was her call as to what was going to happen next.
“I forgive you.”
He had no right to monopolize her life anymore, he was scum, she was—wait, what?
His head snapped back. “Bwuh?” he managed, not quite sure he’d heard right.
“I said I forgive you,” she repeated with a half-smile, though something hard remained in her eyes. “Don’t get me wrong—I’m still mad at you, and I will be for a very long time. But…” One small hand reached out and touched his cheek, “I guess I understand.”
Shinichi’s eyes were wide. “Ran…”
“I think we need to have a little chat,” she said with a sigh. “Next time you’re back to normal, I mean. There’s a few things we need to talk about, meitantei.”
He nodded. “Yes…Ran, I--”
Ai chose that moment to clink her teacup. Loudly. They jumped apart, feeling incredibly guilty. They’d forgotten that they weren’t alone. But the others had been so quiet, just sitting there watching! Agasa was visibly trying to keep from laughing, and that didn’t help matters any.
“I do have a question, though…” Ran said, trying to quickly divert attention.
Just as eager to change the subject, Shinichi jumped on that idea. “What’s that?”
“You already said that you don’t get much of a kick in this little boy. So how in the hell do you rocket a soccer ball like that?” she demanded. Her face was still red, but it was a new topic, dammit!
Shinichi sighed indulgently and took the vacant seat beside her on the couch. “You really do want to know everything, don’t you? I don’t get to keep any secrets?” He was teasing, and she knew it.
“You’re not allowed to have anymore secrets,” Ran said firmly. “You forfeit that right.”
“Oh, all right,” he sighed dramatically. “If you press this button on the shoes…”
It was a while later when they left. Ran had a vast new store of knowledge concerning the way that ordinary objects could be manipulated or worked on to conceal valuable tools for the chibified detective. The conversation was considerably lighter now that there had been Full Disclosure, and Ran seemed to be in a much better mood as they headed back out onto the street.
“So you said Hattori-kun’s coming?” Ran asked, looking up at…herself. Was she really that tall? Everything seemed so much bigger from this vantage…it was kind of scary, really. How did kids function in a world that towered over them like that? It seemed so frightening!
“He said he’ll come to help, but I think it’s more of an opportunity to heckle me,” Shinichi confided, glancing down at…himself. Was he really that short when he was Conan? Geez! It was nice to be tall again and all, but…wow, he was really a shrimp in Conan-mode!
“So what do we do until he gets here?” she asked, shaking the thoughts away.
“Well, we could—“
A stray cat across the street looked up and went, “Mrew?”
Several meters away, Sonoko waved cheerily. “Hey! I was looking for you!” She strolled up to them, not seeming to notice that both ‘Shinichi’ and ‘Ran’ were hyperventilating. “Your dad said you came over here. So are we going or what?”
“G-g-going?” ‘Ran’ stammered. “Going where?” Behind the smile he’d managed to force onto Ran’s face, Shinichi was having a full-blown panic attack. Going where? Going to the gallows, going to the guillotine, going to the seaside and taking a swim in my new cement shoes…where might we be going?
“Don’t you remember?” Sonoko said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “Shopping!”
Scratch that, Shinichi grimaced internally, fighting to keep it from showing on Ran’s face, it’s WORSE than the guillotine. At least THAT would be quick and painless. You could have sent fire, plague, murder, pestilence...instead you sent Sonoko and a shopping trip.
“Unless…you don’t want to anymore?” Sonoko added, her smile faltering.
…oh, fork me, Shinichi sighed. Sometimes he hated being a gentleman—it meant not liking it when girls got upset, even if it was Sonoko. “Let’s go!” he said in the best cheerful-Ran voice he could muster up when faced with such imminent doom. “I guess it just slipped my mind or something.”
At his side, behind Conan’s glasses, Ran was having a few seizures of her own. In truth, she had forgotten about her plans with Sonoko—you know, in light of switching bodies with her young charge who then turned out to be the guy she was madly in love with who’d been lying to her for all this time…yeah, it had just slipped her mind.
What amazed her even more was the fact that Shinichi was agreeing to it! But then she realized that he was simply playing her character. She wouldn’t just ditch Sonoko like that. Oh, this would make for an interesting story. Definitely.
“But I can’t go for too long,” ‘Ran’ was saying, “I’m supposed to watch Conan-kun today.”
Brilliant move, detective, Ran silently applauded. I’ll be your excuse to set a time limit.
Now ‘Ran’ was talking to her young charge. “Conan-kun,” she said cheerfully, “why don’t you go back to Agasa-hakase’s house for a while? I know he has a meeting to go to later, so tell him I’ll pick you up before he has to go, okay?” Since ‘her’ face was turned from Sonoko, ‘she’ threw in a conspiratorial wink for good measure.
Okay, Ran, time to see how good of an actress you really are… she thought. If Shinichi can play a little kid and be convincing, you can too. She took a deep breath, and… “Okay, Ran-neechan!” ‘Conan’ chirped. The little kid voice popped out with surprising ease, and she threw in a big 'little boy' smile for good measure. But it was kind of bizarre, knowing she was addressing herself.
‘Ran’ nearly bust out laughing, but managed to restrain ‘herself.’ “Have fun!” she straightened up and waved. “And behave yourself!” The last was called after the boy as he turned and started off back towards the doctor’s house.
“I will, Ran-neechan!”
Inside Conan’s mind, though, Ran was slightly concerned. Could Shinichi really pretend to be her well enough to fool Sonoko? Hell, would he retain his hold on his sanity long enough to come pick her up? Oh well, she could just hang out at Agasa’s house. She was fond of the old doctor, it would be nice to have a conversation with him—
She skidded to a halt when she saw the four small bodies pouring out of the gate that lead to the doctor’s house. The self-proclaimed Shounen Tantei: Ayumi, Genta, Mitsuhiko, and Ai.
Ai, who was smirking. Evilly, no less.
Ran felt her heart drop into her super-powered shoes.
Ayumi sprinted right up to her and grabbed her hand. “Agasa-hakase said we just missed you, but we found you!” she bubbled with her usual high energy. “Come on, we’re going to the park!”
“But—I—umm, I—“ she stammered, trying to think of a good excuse, but it was too late. She’d been all but swept up by the three more energetic of the children. They were pretty much carrying her towards the park. How many times had she walked them there herself?
Ai jogged along behind them, still smirking that evil, knowing little half-smile of hers.
Being dragged along, ‘Conan’ was taking his turn at having fits. Okay, Ran, breathe, she told herself. If Shinichi can pretend to be you and handle Sonoko for a while, you can manage being Conan and playing for a while. It’s just playing, right? …right.
Still, she couldn’t quite shake off that strange feeling that plagued her as the park drew nearer.
A feeling…of impending DOOM!
From the front gate, Agasa-hakase watched Shinichi and Ran being hauled away by Sonoko and the Shounen Tantei respectively, while a smirking Ai followed the latter. He chuckled lightly and wandered back into his home. He’d heard the commotion just as he was seeing the children out, and gone out to see what was going on. It seemed things were turning themselves upside down.
Crossing the room, he lifted the phone from its cradle and glanced at a list next to the phone to double-check the number before dialing a long-distance number. He really shouldn’t be doing this, but it was too hilarious to not share with a certain someone.
After a few rings, a familiar voice spoke from the other end. “Hello?”
Agasa smirked. “Yuusaku-kun?”
“I don’t know how he does it,” the good doctor said with a chuckle, knowing his old friend was going to find this hilarious, “but wait until you hear what mess your son’s managed to get into this time…”