JOLLY OLD SAINT NICK
Detective Conan belongs to lots of people who ain't me.
This fic is by me, for Tokyo Fish for Christmas 2003.
Shiniichi's first clear memory of Christmas was his mother whispering tenderly in his ear. "Spoil Santa for Ran-chan and both Mommy and Auntie will box your ears, sweetheart." He thought he'd been three or four at the time, but in any case he shut his mouth on the argument about the logical impossibility of Santa managing to visit everybody in the world and fitting down any fireplace, let alone a stove with a four inch flue. Later, when they got home, he demanded to know why he should let Ran believe in a Western work of fiction.
"Because believing in Santa Claus is part of Christmas," said his mother, patiently. "And it's not supposed to be logical, darling. Pretend you believe in Santa, please? For Mommy?"
And now he was standing in line with Ayumi, Genta and Mitsuhiko, plus Ran, six years old again and aiming a good hard kick at Mitsuhiko as he opened his mouth to say "Of cousre there can't -- OW! Conan-kun, what was that for?"
Conan jerked his head at Ayumi-chan, whose eyes were shining brightly as she waited to talk to Santa. "Shut UP!" he hissed.
Mitsuhiko looked hopelessly confused. "What --"
Conan sighed and pulled Mitsuhiko's ear closer. "Spoil Santa Claus for Ayumi-chan and you will never see anything the Professor makes for me, ever again."
Mitsuhiko's eyes widened slightly in horror. "But --"
"No buts," hissed Conan. "You let her believe for a while longer."
"Are you two talking secrets?" demanded Ayumi.
"Yes," said Conan, smiling brightly. "You're allowed to talk secrets at Christmas."
Mitsuhiko nodded vigourously. "Presents," he said, trying to look mysterious and failing utterly. "Isn't it great we're going to talk to the real, actual Santa?"
Conan only stopped himself from pinching his nose and groaning because Ran was there, and it was a Shiniichi habit.
"Don't be silly," said Ayumi, severely. "That's not the real Santa. The real Santa is busy at the North Pole." She looked at Conan. "Right, Conan-kun?"
"Right!" he chirped. "He has helpers to talk to us. Isn't that so, Ran-neechan?"
Ran started and looked down. "Of course, Conan-kun," she said.
Ran looked distracted and wistful, and Conan felt horrible. Maybe he'd call her on Christmas as Shiniichi. Maybe he'd even find a way to get her gift to her without making her even more suspicious of 'Conan' -- and if that could happen, maybe reindeer could fly. He'd spent the entire damn week trying to figure out how to get her present to her, and was down to enlisting Professor Agasa's help. He'd be glad to, of course, but he was also a worse liar than Shiniichi. (Some of his wilder ideas had involved a pair of his Shiniichi-sized shoes and making obvious footprints, but he thought Ran would see through that, and be amused and touched that Conan-kun had tried so hard for her.)
Ayumi bounced up to Santa, smiling widely. Conan sighed and looked around the mall center. Some jewelry store had an exhibit of famous jewels, including a citrine that had to be twenty carets, at least. He wondered briefly what sort of security system they had set up, and then shrugged mentally. This was Hakuba's district.
"Conan-kun!" said Ayumi. "Your turn!"
Conan pasted a smile on his face, and stepped forward -- and stopped. The jolly old saint was staring at him with carefully disguised horror. His wig was slipping a little -- Ayumi-chan /was/ enthusiastic with her hugs -- and Conan caught a glimpse of dark hair beneath it. Santa's hands in their gloves were rather long and graceful, and Conan caught a whiff of paint from Ayumi's shoulder.
Conan did mental arithmatic along the lines of 'bloody huge jewel + excellent view of store + good excuse to hang around after the mall closed and watch the security gaurds' and came up with '1412'.
He allowed his smile to widen and bounced happily toward Santa Claus.
"Hiiii, Santa!" he chirped.
"Helloooo, little boy!" boomed 'Santa'. "Have you been good this year?"
Conan flung himself on Santa's lap, supressing a gag reflex. "Give me one good reason not blow this sky high," he said, under his breath. "Impersonating Santa? That's low, Kid."
"Ho ho ho!" boomed Santa. Then, without moving his lips, "There's a crowd of people in very tacky black coats following me. I understand you'd like to avoid them?" Louder, "What do YOU want for Christmas, sonny?"
Conan growled quietly. "A new computer game!" he said, radiating eagerness. Then, lower again, "Any /other/ reason?"
"Give me a break, Kudo," hissed the Kid, and then, louder, "Happy Bear's Reading, Phonics and Math Forest? I'll tell my elves." Lower again, "Look, you do me a favor and don't reconize me and I'll pay you back."
"NOTHING could replay getting that for Christmas," hissed Conan, who had seen Ran brighten visibly. "I'll have to PLAY the damn thing."
"And a Jack Sparrow action figure?" boomed the Kid.
"Don't push it," growled Conan.
"Sure, little boy! Whisper what you want in Santa's ear!"
Conan gave him a Look, but leaned forward. "I'm still waiting to hear why Hakuba shouldn't get an annonymous tip for Christmas."
"I'll get your present to your girlfriend for you."
"AND Santy will make sure you have the new Civilization game to make up for the baby game."
"Fine, then," growled Conan. "How am I --"
"Got it," said the Kid, opening his hand to reveal the jewelry box that had been in Conan's inside coat pocket. He flipped it open discreetly. "Oooh, her initial, very nice. Leave it to me." He raised his voice again. "All right, sonny! I'll tell my elves right away! Have a candy cane, and a Merry Christmas! Hohoho!"
Conan loathed candy canes -- or at least, he did now. He accepted it ungraciously and hopped down. "I hope a two year old soaks your lap," he snapped. He stopped. "How did you..."
"They really shouldn't hire drunks for Santa," said the Kid, looking pious. "He's all right, and I paid him for the shift. And being knocked out," he added.
"............," said Conan. "Thanks, Santa!"
"Don't mention it, little boy!" boomed the Kid, who apparently harbored a death wish.
Somewhere Else, The Next Day:
"Aw, come on, be a sport."
"I didn't want to do this, Hakuba."
"You remember last year when I dressed you up as Santa in class? And Koizumi wore that thing? Cut up to here and down to there? And sat on your lap and sang 'Santa, Baby'?"
"I have pictures. In a safe location."
"You bloody son of a ..."
"I /knew/ you'd be glad to help Kudo out!"
On Christmas day Conan recieved a book from Haibara, Happy Bear's Reading, Math and Phonics Forest from Ran (she also gave him a book of Sherlock Holmes stories, which almost made up for it), candy from Mitsuhiko and a violently painted warlike action figure from Genta. Ayumi-chan gave him a hand-knitted scarf, and he was only saved from death at Mitsuhiko and Genta's hands because she'd made them scarves, too. Professor Agasa gave him a gadget that was apparently a palm-sized computer, and Mouri gave him a noogie, which he was expecting, anyway.
They had food and Mouri got drunk. What they did not get was a visit from the Kaitou Kid -- Conan had half expected him to come down the chimney, like Santa, although they didn't have much of even a stove flue.
Conan poked despondently at his computer game. The doorbell rang, and Mouri got up to answer it.
A moment passed. Mouri returned, looking dazed.
"Ran," said Mouri, very carefully, "How much have I had to drink today?"
"Not much, Dad, why?"
"Then there really is Santa Claus and a large white polar bear asking for you at the front door."
Conan got to the door before Ran did. There was, in fact, someone in a Santa suit and another person in a white polar bear suit. at the door. Santa had a bouquet of red roses and a small, wrapped package. The polar bear had a red bow with a bell on it around its neck and somehow managed to look reluctant and grumpy even with the suit's head covering their face.
"Miss Ran Mouri?" demanded Santa, to Ran.
"Yes," she said, warily.
"Special delivery from a Shiniichi Kudo," said Santa, handing her the roses and the package.
The polar bear cleared its throat and broke into a passable, if muffled, rendition of Blue Christmas.
"From Shiniichi?" said Ran. "Wait -- how did he?"
"Dunno, miss," said 'Santa', lying like a trouper. "We just gets the orders. Merry Christmas -- oh! and here's something he sent to the little Conan." He handed Conan a package.
Conan considered kicking 'Santa', but he'd get scolded by Ran. "Tell Shiniichi-niichan thank you!" he chirped.
Ran was opening the present. "Oh..." she said, softly. The crystals on the 'R' shaped pendant sparkled in the winter sun.
Conan decided that he'd let the Kid go the next time they met. Just because.
"Watch that soppy look, sonny, she'll suspect," muttered 'Santa', patting his head paternally.
Then again, maybe not.