Fandom: Detective Conan
Publish Date: 9/2/2007
Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan. But I do have homemade hand-puppets for each character...that's normal, right?
Okay, Ran…breathe, the teenaged girl (currently stuck in the body of a seven year old boy) told herself over and over again in her mind as she was dragged along the sidewalk by a small group of intrepid elementary schoolers. Don’t forget to breathe. You like breathing. Breathing is good. Breathing is fun. Breathing is your friend.
“Oi!” Genta bellowed—he was apparently incapable of speaking in anything softer than ‘loud enough to shake the windowpanes.’ “It rained last night! There should be mud!” The other kids cheered loudly at the prospect of playing in the mud and getting nice and dirty.
…BREATHE BREATHE BREATHE! Ran was officially ready to hyperventilate.
“Conan-kun!” Ayumi grabbed his hand (she was trying to think of herself in the appropriate pronouns, no matter how impossible it was proving) and gave him a wide smile complemented by big sparkly eyes. “What do you want to do at the park today?”
Ran stared at her for a second. “I…uh…” Crap, I don’t even know. Okay, let’s think. WWCD—what would Conan-kun do? “How about…playing soccer?”
The instant she said it, she regretted it.
It was completely in-character for Conan-kun to want to play soccer. After all, he was Shinichi, version two point oh. Shinichi was the guy who could have played soccer for the national team and gone to the World Cup if he hadn’t decided that solving mysteries and catching murderers was more exciting. Ran privately thought that the actual situations surrounding the murders tended to be a lot more exciting than anything else. So soccer was a fine option for him.
…except for the fact that Ran was a karate champion, NOT a soccer player. She could kick the ball around, sure, but nowhere near Shinichi’s level. Which meant that she was nowhere near Conan’s level. Which could mean big, big trouble.
“Just call it a bad day.”
She turned to look at Haibara in surprise. “What?”
“If you can’t kick the ball straight, call it a bad day,” the blonde girl repeated softly. “They won’t know that anything’s wrong.” Ran was about to thank her when she went on to say, “…but if they do, it will be very entertaining, I think.”
That was the moment when Ran officially decided that Haibara was evil.
By now they had arrived at the gate to the park. There were already a lot of people out and about.
Fortunately for Ran, her earlier potential faux pas about wanting to play soccer fell by the wayside for the moment. The moment they walked through the gates, she was once again swept up and herded over to the swings at Mitsuhiko’s urging.
It had been a while since she’d played on the swings like this, but…well, it couldn’t hurt to live in the past for just a minute, could it? Now to see if she even remembered how to do this…
She pushed the toes of Conan’s super sneakers into the sand at her feet to rock back in the swing, and then let herself go. Memory took over, and she began to pump her legs, backwards and forwards, in an attempt to get some altitude built up. With each swing, she went a little higher.
How had she forgotten how much fun this could be? She tried really hard not to laugh out loud, knowing full well that it wasn’t anything Conan would do, but it was challenging! Now she remembered why she used to do this all the time when she was their age—well, their age for real.
Actually…once in a while she could even get Shinichi to play. He’d always been old for his age, though. Still, once she got him on the swings he would actually act like the child he was.
Another thought took her, and she shifted her grip on the chains and readied herself. One. Two. And…THREE!! she launched herself out of the swing at the apex of its forward arch and flew through the air, landing on her feet and stumbling forward a good three feet before she steadied herself.
When she turned around, she found that the rest of the Shounen Tantei were sitting on unmoving swings, watching her with wide eyes. “Whoa, Conan…” Genta breathed. “Where’d you learn that?”
She thought back and remembered Shinichi’s mother showing them the best way to jump from a swing without getting tangled up in it. She also remembered Shinichi’s expression at it—half intrigued at the prospect of momentarily attaining flight…and half disgusted that a grown woman would pull such a stunt. And not just any grown woman—his freakin’ mother.
…Ran privately thought that Shinichi was more like his mother than he wanted to admit. But she wouldn’t tell him that. If she did, the end result might be bloody. Or screamy. Either way, not good.
But she needed an answer, so she blurted out, “Ran-neechan showed me!” That was a good excuse. Then she could cover her own ass! No worries! To complete the look, she put one hand behind her head and let out a little Conan Miniature Laugh of Embarrassed.
That seemed to do the trick, and three of the four other kids immediately set about trying to imitate Conan’s impromptu flight. Only Haibara sat passively on her swing, moving back and forth just slightly as she watched the proceedings with some amusement.
It wasn’t until Genta did the mother of all belly flops that they decided to find something else to do. And now, Ayumi brought up Conan’s earlier suggestion of soccer. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be), they now all collectively realized that while soccer sounded like fun…they had neglected to bring a soccer ball to use.
But as kids tend to do, they recovered quickly and headed for the slide.
The next fifteen minutes were rather interesting. First Mitsuhiko managed to accidentally knock Ran face-first down the slide. Then Ayumi slipped and managed to kick her in the chest hard enough to push her back off the ladder; she hit the ground with a yelp. And the grand finale, the real coup de grace, was when she went down the slide normally…and Genta went right behind her, managing to land right on top of her and squish her down into the sand.
Genta thought it was hilarious.
Mitsuhiko scolded Genta.
Ayumi rushed to Conan-kun’s side to make sure he was all right.
Haibara smirked. Again with the evil…
And Ran (alias Conan) spent the next several minutes rather swirly-eyed.
After a little while, she was fine, and they began bouncing ideas around for what exactly to do next. Genta was still all for the mud, while Ran was ready to run away if it got to that point.
“STOP! THIEF!” a woman’s voice screamed shrilly; it carried well over the noise of the park.
The Shounen Tantei collectively turned to look for the source of the sound, and saw a neatly-dressed woman sitting on the ground by the winding pathway that worked its way through the entire park. A man was running away from her along that same sidewalk, a white purse under his arm.
And he was coming right towards them.
Ran heard Genta start to yell something that sounded like a battle cry (again, she wondered how she missed what all these kids were getting themselves into!). Ayumi screamed. Mitsuhiko gasped.
And Ran moved.
She dropped to one knee and touched the side of the rocket sneakers, silently grateful that Shinichi had showed her how to use them earlier when she had forcibly dragged all the sordid details of this situation out of him. She heard a buzzing sound, which she took to mean that she was in business. The purse-snatcher had moved into range, and she darted forward.
And she unleashed a demonstration of her mad karate skills. In miniature, of course.
Her abilities plus Agasa’s revolutionary super sneaker technology equaled an unbelievably powerful kick right to the perp’s shin, just below the knee. The guy let out a scream that rivaled the woman he had stolen from, flipped over Ran, and landed flat on his back on the ground; the purse landed on the sidewalk next to her. He groaned and sort of tilted his head from one side to the other, but otherwise he did not move or make any attempt to get back to his feet.
She took a deep breath, centered herself, and relaxed. Mission accomplished.
While a patrol cop came running to make the collar, Ran calmly picked up the fallen purse and toodled over to the woman it had been stolen from. She was still sitting on the grass, and she looked shocked at having witnessed the unfolding events. And she wasn’t the only one. Quite a few people were staring at Ran in amazement.
She ignored them and held the purse out to the woman, putting Conan’s biggest cute little boy smile on her face. “Here, miss. This is yours, right?” There, that was good. All little boy energy and innocence and happiness to be doing something nice.
The woman stared at him (her? It? These damn pronouns were making her head hurt!) for a moment, then smiled back. “Oh, I—thank you!” She reached out and took her newly-retrieved purse from the little boy. “How did you stop him like that?” As she asked, she slowly got to her feet.
“I just kicked him and he fell!” Ran felt the words bubble cheerily out of her without so much as a thought. It took no effort whatsoever to put on such a convincing childish act.
And somehow…she felt a little bit dirty. She didn’t know why. But she did.
The crowd was beginning to disperse now as the police officer cuffed the suspect and began asking the victim some questions. She walked back over to the kids, who were staring at her in wide-eyed shock. She fidgeted nervously, then looked down at her watch in mock-surprise. “Uh-oh…Ran-neechan said she was going to pick me up soon. I’d better get back to Agasa-hakase’s!” Without waiting for them to recover and react, she turned and ran, waving over her shoulder. “Bye!”
“Wait!” Genta called. “But…the mud…”
Once she was out of sight (and away from Haibara’s knowing Smirk of Evil), she paused and leaned against a wall, feeling her heart hammer in her chest. That…could have been worse, right?
This could be worse, Shinichi thought bleakly as he followed a jabbering Sonoko into the mall. This could be a lot worse. I’m not sure how it could be worse, but I know it could be worse.
“Come on! They’re having a sale on swimming suits!” Sonoko cheered. “Let’s look at bikinis!”
…I’m going to my happy place now, Shinichi shuddered internally, but managed to keep his face neutral and obediently followed her towards the aforementioned department. And sure enough, there were many, many…well, what could loosely be called clothes hanging all over the place. Most were in some bright, garish colors—if the sunlight at the beach didn’t blind you, the color of the fabric would.
Sonoko immediately dove in, searching for the elusive perfect bikini to wear to the beach, thereby securing the attention of whatever hapless young man happened to catch her attention at that particular moment. Inside Ran’s mind, Shinichi tried to stay back. Still, he found himself rather haphazardly browsing the racks—if only to keep Sonoko from pestering him further.
…and he slowly found himself looking at a couple of suits here and there, and finding himself trying to imagine how Ran would look wearing them. And then he would give himself a mental kick in the ass, but he just couldn’t quite help himself. It was THERE!!
And as if Sonoko was somehow reading his mind (and for the love of GOD, he really hoped she wasn’t), she popped up behind him. “You should try a couple on!” she smirked.
“NO!” Shinichi yelped. “I mean, ah…no, that’s okay.”
Sonoko raised an eyebrow, then smirked. “Are you sure? Don’t you want to look your best when Shinichi comes back?” The look on her face could only be described as blonde evil—and though not of the same league as Gin’s Blonde Evil, it was no less dangerous at this moment.
“I really don’t—“ he tried to protest again, but Sonoko cut him off. She shoved a couple hangers into his hands and bodily hauled him towards the dressing rooms. “Sonoko—wait! I don’t want to—“ that last was cut off as the dressing room door slammed behind him.
“Just try them on!” Sonoko ordered from the other side of the door.
It was at this point that Shinichi found himself at a very difficult crossroad in his seventeen year old life. On the one hand, he had the opportunity of a lifetime. On the other hand, if he took advantage of that opportunity…he would die. But he had the feeling that Sonoko would know if he tried to pretend he’d tried them on, and she would throw a fit, which was something that he really didn’t want to deal with at the moment. Which left him with approximately one option.
…oooh, he was going to die so hard.
A sign in the dressing room caught his eye, asking ladies to please retain their undergarments when trying on swimwear. He breathed a sigh of relief at that. That eliminated one major problem. That left only about five hundred major problems to be dealt with.
Ran was going to murder him for this…and if the record was any indication, unless they somehow got Hattori to come in, solve the case, AND squeal on her, his death would go unsolved.
Taking a deep breath, he put his back to the mirror, closed his eyes, and attempted to do this as quickly as possible. In very, VERY short order he pulled the sweatshirt and T-shirt over his head and yanked the top into place without touching too much of anything he wasn’t supposed to.
Although at one point his hand did brush against something very soft and slightly squishy, and he almost completely derailed, but he made himself focus because dammit now was not the time!
Finally, somehow, he got the top half taken care of, and then he opened his eyes. That took care of the greater of two evils. From there, getting the bottoms on wasn’t quite as difficult because he was still covered. And finally, the entire ensemble was safely in place and he was able to open his eyes, feeling relatively secure that he wasn’t going to see anything he wasn’t supposed to.
“Okay…” he called. “I’m wearing it.”
“Let me see!” Sonoko crowed from the other side of the door.
Shinichi hesitantly opened the dressing room door, and was nearly floored when Sonoko came flying in. “Let’s take a look…oh my god.” Sonoko grinned broadly. “You HAVE to get that!” She then grabbed his arm and pulled him in front of the mirror, forcing him to look at his own reflection.
He felt like he shouldn’t look, and he…okay, he really truly wanted to look, because Ran in a bikini was always a beautiful thing to his mind…but he was really trying not to, if only out of a belated sense of propriety and respect, but under Sonoko’s watchful eye he had no real choice. Ran wouldn’t worry so much about it, and he had to be at least marginally convincing as Ran.
So…he looked in the mirror.
It went without saying that Ran looked really awesome in red, and she was really pretty to begin with and she definitely had a great figure, and when highlighted in a bikini that was more towards the skimpy side of Sears…
Ran was HOT.
And Shinichi liked.
Shinichi liked a LOT.
Now if only he didn’t feel so dirty about ogling what was technically his own reflection in the mirror. Because that’s really what he was doing—he was drooling over…himself. Except it wasn’t actually himself—it was Ran. Which was even worse because he at least liked to pretend he was a gentleman…
And now his head hurt.
Maybe he needed to stop thinking for a while…
Sonoko slung a casual arm around “Ran’s” shoulders. “You need to get that. It looks great! And can you just imagine the look on Shinichi’s face if he saw you in that? Bet he loses his jaw…”
Shinichi swallowed hard. “So-Sonoko!” He felt his face go the same shade of vibrant crimson as the itsy bitsy teeny weeny red and white polka dot bikini. He seemed to be blushing a lot more easily as Ran than he did as himself. Or so he liked to think.
To his surprise, Sonoko let go of him and leaned back against the wall, arms folded. “Ya know, I really don’t get that boy. He just runs off and leaves you here to pine away and wait for him…how cruel.” He was stunned to realized that she was completely serious.
Shinichi’s eyes widened at what he was hearing. “Well…maybe he has a good reason for doing what he’s doing right now.” It was the truth, but he couldn’t diverge all the details. He’d only told Ran…well, out of fear for his life.
Sonoko sighed. “It’s still not fair to you. Ran, you should go out and have a whirlwind romance and forget about him! Let him be jealous!” That last was said with the sort of zeal she usually displayed when she was talking about her own intended romantic conquests.
To his own surprise, Shinichi felt a smile come to his face. “Sonoko…it’s not like that.”
“I know, I know…but it still stinks,” she huffed. “So you’re getting that. End of discussion.” And she scooted out of the dressing room, leaving Shinichi to stare after her and change.
As he began the process of getting redressed (which was still proving quite a challenge), Shinichi realized that maybe, just maybe…Sonoko wasn’t quite as annoying as he’d always thought. She really did care a lot about Ran, and maybe a lot of her rants about romance were because she didn’t want Ran to be lonely. And he could respect that, he really could…
“Hurry up in there!” Sonoko called. “We should go look at lingerie next!”
…scratch that. She was COMPLETELY annoying.
And so he obligingly let her drag him over to the aforementioned lingerie department. She did exactly what he thought she would—she kept pointing things out to Ran and making jokes about whether or not Shinichi would like them. And he got annoyed and told her to knock it off. Repeatedly.
She didn’t listen.
Still…he had never really looked at this particular department before, and in some ways it was…rather interesting. For one, there were a LOT of options. And some of them were…very interesting looking. Like, he was trying to decide if anyone would actually wear it.
But there was one garment in particular that seemed to be made up entirely of strategically-placed straps. And he found himself standing there and staring at it for far longer than he probably should have. But it was fascinating—this particular number didn’t look like it had any real way to get in or out of it easily. Was this the “make him work for it” section or something?
…and he couldn’t help but look at a pretty little sapphire blue nightgown and robe set and think, You know…Ran would look really, really good in that. It would really show off the fact that she’s got a great—ACK! NO! BAD THOUGHTS! BAD!
This whole situation was bad for Ran’s honor. Really, really, really bad.
By the time he finally got Sonoko to agree to look at something that didn’t involve putting ninety percent of one’s skin acreage on display, he was nervous and sweating a little bit and having all sorts of pretty, albeit unprintable thoughts that would probably entertain some of his more interesting dreams for the next couple of months.
And much to his chagrin, Sonoko did make him get the bathing suit.
This was not going to be good.
Still, when the appointed time to go pick up “Conan” came, Shinichi rushed out of there with his newly acquired purchase in a plastic bag in his hand. He’d figure out some way to explain this to Ran, he decided. And if worst came to worst…well, he could run faster than she could in this situation.
“Hello?” Shinichi poked his head into Agasa’s house and looked around.
The doctor appeared a second later, beaming. “Ah, Ran—err, Shinichi-kun! Welcome back! Ran-kun’s already here. You both survived.” He waited as Shinichi came inside and slipped off his shoes before leading him down to the sitting room, where “Conan” was sitting and enjoying a cup of tea.
Ran looked up at him as he came in. “You look as tired as I feel.”
He dropped onto the couch. “That was awful…and yet strangely wonderful.”
“So you survived shopping with Sonoko,” Ran’s grin was only slightly wicked. “I’m sure that’s the most harrowing task ever inflicted on a guy. Glad to see you’re in one piece.”
“And you survived the kids?” he chuckled. “They’re not bad kids, really. But they can get a little…overexcited about things. Genta, in particular. I’m sure you noticed that.”
“I’m pretty sure I just narrowly avoided being tossed head-first into a mud puddle,” Ran sighed, taking a sip of tea from the cup in her hand. “They seemed pretty gung-ho about that idea. Ai-kun isn’t back yet, though. She’s probably still out with the kids.”
“Sonoko said she was going home,” he said. “Which is good enough for me.
Ran looked like she was going to say something, but then she paused and looked down at his hand. “…Shinichi…” she said slowly. “What’s in the bag? Did you buy something?”
Shinichi froze. “Well, I…um, I mean…yes. I did buy something. Or I guess I should say that Sonoko made me buy something because she thought that ‘Shinichi’ would like it.” He made finger quotes in the air when he said his own name. “And…well, I tried to resist and say no, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer, and so…umm…”
Her expression darkened with suspicion. “Give me the bag.”
Realizing that look as meaning Certain Doom, he took a deep breath and handed it to her. And then he waited for three-foot-tall death to open a can on him.
Ran took the bag and opened it and pulled out the scraps of red and white polka dotted fabric hooked together in a shape that would vaguely cover the various parts of the female anatomy. And she stared at it. She stared at it for a very long moment.
Nearby, Agasa coughed delicately.
Finally, Ran spoke. “Did you try this on at the store?”
“Umm…” Shinichi swallowed hard. “…no?”
With a slowness that almost flew in the face of normal human capabilities, she turned to look at him. And the expression on her face defied any and all description. No words could have ever adequately described that Look, nor could they have really related the terror that the Look struck into Shinichi’s heart.
“Shinichi.” When she said his name, it was a low, hollow sound that seemed to echo with all the force of a million demons behind it. It would have make a lesser man than Shinichi shake in his shoes. “You are going to die a very slow, painful death as soon as I get my body back.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he squeaked.
PS. You have no idea how much fun this was to write while at the same time being INCREDIBLY difficult. You really don’t. And I don’t use Sonoko as a character very often, either. Poor Shinichi. And poor Ran. Are they going to catch a break? Probably not.
ALSO, I’M SORT OF INTERESTED AS TO WHAT ALL OF YOU THINK THESE POOR SOULS SHOULD DO WITH THEIR DAY. SO PLEASE TO BE SENDING ME YOUR THOUGHTS!!
Thanks for reading, all! Much love!
NEXT TIME: Heiji arrives on the scene. Let’s see if they can figure out what caused the switch…