Fandom: Detective Conan
Characters: Conan (General series)
Word Count: 2117 words
Author's Notes: I do not own Detective Conan. It all belongs to Gosho Aoyama. I simply borrow the characters, tie them up, and dance them around like life-sized puppets. I do wish they’d stop complaining.
Summary: There was something very therapuetic about telling his story to a complete stranger.
Every now and then, Conan would manage to sneak away from everything and get a moment for himself. It wasn’t easy, given the circumstances, but he could pull it off once in a while. And he had found a few places where he could go and be relatively undisturbed. He usually saved those moments for when things were at their worst and he just needed to collect his thoughts in quiet solitude.
Tonight was one of those nights.
He felt like he was falling apart. Nothing was going right, and he didn’t know what to do about it anymore. Ever since the shrink that had taken him from Kudo Shinichi to Edogawa Conan, he had always struggled to maintain some tentative, fragile amount of control over his life and his surroundings. But all too often, those thin strings of power were snapped, and he was tossed about by circumstance.
And, at the end of his rope, he had managed to make good his escape and get away from everyone and everything. Though if someone had asked what had brought him to this particular spot, he would have been hard-pressed to give them a solid answer. If anything, this was a place that should have sent him running the other way because of the memories it held.
He was standing on a bridge. Not too far away, Tropical Land loomed into the sky, the rides and buildings lit up brightly against the darkness; the glow seemed to blot out the stars themselves. And below him was a small grassy area, relatively hidden unless one was specifically looking for that spot.
The place where his life had fallen apart.
He stood with his forehead leaning against the top of the railing that ran along the edge of the bridge, his fingers clutching loosely at the vertical slats. It reminded him of bars in a prison, if such an ironic thought could be forgiven.
Down there was where he had encountered Gin and Vodka, and overheard the blackmail exchange with the gun smugglers, trading money for a roll of film that was proof of their crimes. And he had been poisoned, an attempt on his life that he had been fortunate enough to survive, though he had not escaped the attack unscathed. And now…
He was stuck like this.
As he stood there, he became acutely aware of a fact that he had not really acknowledged before.
Namely, how high up he actually was.
If he fell from here, he would certainly be hurt, if not killed.
He immediately hated himself for the thought. Everything that was going wrong was just a passing streak of bad luck, he told himself sternly. He did not need a permanent solution to what he hoped and prayed to all that was holy was merely a temporary problem.
Still, he couldn’t quite shake the idea, niggling in the back of his head to suggest that if it all became too much, he always had that way out, and no one could ever take that option, that escape, away from him.
The voice startled him, and he jumped at the sound of it, his heart hammering violently in his chest. For a brief, insane moment, he wondered if the person who had addressed him had someone managed to read his thoughts and see what he had almost been contemplating. But that was ridiculous. He gave himself a shake and looked up at the person who had addressed him. “Y-yes?”
The speaker seemed to be a young man in jeans, a blue sweatshirt, and sneakers, with a baseball cap casting a shadow over his face; that last wasn’t really anything odd, though. It was dark out, and the best light sources were the overhead lights and the amusement park a couple of blocks over. But he could see the stranger’s smile. “You look a bit lost, kid. Awfully late to be out by yourself, isn’t it?”
Conan sighed and looked back down. “Not really…”
He could almost hear the raised eyebrow. “Oh really?” The shadow beside him shifted, and Conan realized that the young man had changed posture to stand in a bent position, his arms resting on the railing. “What were you thinking about?”
“Forgive me, but I don’t believe you,” the stranger said. “You don’t look like you were thinking about nothing. You look like you just lost your best friend. It kind of worries me.”
“Don’t worry about me,” Conan shook his head. “I have enough people worrying about me, I don’t need anyone else to do it.” He was a bit startled at how easily he was talking to this person, this random stranger. He wasn’t even attempting to act like a child; he was behaving like himself. What was wrong with him, and why did he feel like he could trust this person?
“I worry. It’s in my nature to do so,” the stranger said lightly. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“I don’t know…”
“Go ahead. I’ll listen. You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to tell me, but it might help,” the young man said, his voice encouraging. “Who knows? Maybe it’ll help you to talk to a complete stranger. I don’t know anything about the situation, so I can be a completely impartial judge and maybe offer some advice.” He shifted again, bracing one foot against the lower railing. “Go on. Give it a shot.”
After hesitating, Conan opened his mouth, still without a clue as to what was possessing him to do this. “Well…let’s do it this way—I have a friend who’s in a bad situation.” It was lame, and he knew it was lame, and he was pretty sure that the well-spoken stranger knew it was lame, but he just couldn’t quite bring himself to admit that he was talking about himself.
“What about this friend of yours?” the young man asked, not betraying even a hint of disbelief at the excuse. Conan found himself liking the guy a great deal for that alone—not being called on it was a great relief to a mind that was already stressed near its limit.
Before he realized it, he was pouring out a lot more than he had intended to. Oh, he didn’t tell the entire story. That could have potentially been suicide. Hell, even what he was divulging could get him into trouble if the wrong person heard and the wrong person started adding up the details. But heaven help him, he could not stop talking. The words just flowed out.
He talked about how he (or rather, this friend) couldn’t go home. How much he missed his friends, his family, his life, and one person in particular who was very special to him. She couldn’t know where he was, he explained, or else it could get her into a lot of trouble, and there was no way he was going to risk that. He spoke of how hard it was to lose control over himself and his life, and how he had come here to try and collect himself because dammit, it was all too much sometimes.
And, in a shamed whisper, he confessed to the thought that had crossed his mind as he stood there, of how the bridge was high enough that a fall would kill him and that it was a potential escape. That he admitted to being his own thoughts.
He said all of this as himself, again not even bothering to attempt to put up an act or pretend to be the little boy he appeared as. And through it all, the stranger stood silently and just listened.
When the words ran dry and silence fell between them, Conan could almost hear the young man thinking. But finally, he got a response. “Well, the first thing I’ll say is this. If I hear of you doing something as stupid as jumping—and I think you know perfectly well that it’s stupid—then I will find a way to make your afterlife absolutely miserable.”
Conan nodded. “I know. I won’t. It was stupid…”
“Well, I guess the best advice I can really give is…wait and see.”
“Look, your friend is having this rough time, right?” the stranger said, again referring to the imaginary friend as the source of this stress. “When you hit rock bottom, where else can you go but up, right?”
“And you mentioned that this friend of yours has quite a few friends—including you, I would assume—that are there for him and help him out when he needs it, yes? So maybe he needs to put a little bit more trust in these friends. If he doesn’t feel like he can talk to them about this, then…well, I don’t think he genuinely trusts them as friends,” the stranger said. His tone was light and conversational, as though he were discussing something as mundane as the weather, and nothing of any great seriousness or importance. Somehow, it put Conan a bit more at ease to hear it. This person obviously did not think that he (or rather, his friend) was crazy for feeling upset, and that helped.
But that last point he made hit a mark, and it made him cringe. “B-but he does—“
“I don’t think so,” the stranger shook his head. “He doesn’t feel like he can trust any of these alleged friends with what’s going on and how he feels. That speaks volumes about his level of trust for them, or the lack thereof. He can’t or won’t trust them with himself, and that really makes it hard to call those people genuine friends. It’s something that’s fairly true for a lot of people, but that doesn’t make it any less sad, really. Especially given what you’ve said about this friend of yours.”
Conan fell silent, thinking about that. “But the problem is that he can’t afford to trust some of the people he knows. It could get them in a lot of trouble. He doesn’t want them to get hurt.”
“But there are some who are already aware of his situation, whatever it is, right?” the stranger persisted. “Why won’t he talk to them, then? They’re already in trouble, so why not take comfort in them and what they can offer?”
He didn’t have an answer for that. Instead, he thought of all the people who did know his secret and had helped him along the way. He couldn’t tell his parents everything, goodness no. But there was Haibara, and Agasa, and Hattori, who he was pretty sure would listen to him rant and then say something characteristically stupid to cheer him up.
…and he could call Ran with the voice changer and talk to her, couldn’t he? No details, of course, but he had always taken solace in the mere sound of her voice. And there were the children, the Shounen Tantei. He couldn’t tell them everything, but he could take comfort in their friendship, right?
“…why can nothing ever be simple?” Conan asked with a sigh.
“Because if it was, we would get lazy and complacent, and that would be boring,” came the response, tinged with a chuckle. “Do you feel any better? Even a little bit?”
“A little…still not sure what I’m going to do, though.”
“Sa, sa, you’ll figure it out. You always do.”
It was only then that it occurred to Conan that the stranger’s voice was changing in pitch. It was gradually getting higher, and now it was at a timbre that was extremely familiar. When coupled with that odd comment, which suggested familiarity, it sent up a warning bell, and he glanced up at the person he had been conversing so openly with. “You…” he murmured, squinting to try and get a better look at the person’s face, though the shadows cast by the baseball cap brim did a very good job of hiding any identifying features. “Who are you?”
“A stranger and a friend. That’s all,” he said with a smile that flashed white teeth. He pushed away from the railing to stand upright and shoved his hands in his pockets. “You should be getting home now, though. I suspect everyone will be very worried about you.” He turned to leave, lifting one hand to wave as he started walking away. “Have a good night, tantei-kun.”
…so that was it.
Conan stood still in surprise, watching his partner in conversation strolling away. And after a moment, he couldn’t quite keep himself from smiling at the thief’s retreating back. “…goodnight.”
PS. ”Tantei-kun,” of course, is Kaitou Kid’s nickname for Conan.Wow, only three stories left after this one 0.0 Hard to believe it’s almost over, but…well, it is almost over xD Thanks for reading, all! Much love!