AN: Nice Halloween story for everyone to enjoy. Here's your treat!
In a classroom, a little boy looked out the window. There was still a great amount of time to be passed until school was finished, which could still feel like forever even if you had a grasp of time.
It was break time and looking out the window was what he usually did.
Except today was different.
A figure was standing outside the gate of the school.
She wore a skirt just peeking out under her jacket, a pair of knee high boots, and a scarf was wrapped around her neck.
Then he watched her walk away...
Souls at Dawn: A Halloween Story
Mouri Ran stood outside of Conan's school.
Why? Well she didn't know.
He won't be out for another three hours. Just what are you doing here?
Remembering Shinichi? Oi Ran. Look at yourself! You freeze at the thought of him-
A gust of wind chilled her and as she turned her back to the wind, something caught her eye.
The leaves fell softly in pairs through the air.
Before she knew it, she was there, her boots crunching on the leaves. She sat down at the base of the tree, which was quite comfortable once she adjusted her skirt and jacket.
"Fall is beautiful isn't it Shinichi?"
"Not as beautiful as you."
Ran looked around frantically for the voice.
There was no one.
"Just my imagination I guess."
She looked at the branches and smiled...
"Shinichi! Why are we spending our afternoon climbing a tree?"
"I want to show you something."
Ran couldn't help but grin at how ecstatic he was. She continued following him up.
"Are we almost up there yet?" she asked after they had been climbing for a while.
"Almost but I need you to climb ahead of me now."
"WHAT?" Ran's face turned red at the words.
Shinichi had run by her house to pick her up so quickly it wasn't until he was telling her to climb the tree that did he notice she was wearing a skirt.
A long skirt, but still a skirt.
She made him go up first and after she looked around to see that no one was around, she followed.
"I swear I won't look up at you okay?"
Ran paused for a second, he had never lied to her, Shinichi always kept his word or had a good reason when he couldn't.
"If I catch you looking-!" Ran threatened.
"I know, I know, may the Dojo Gods have mercy on me..."
Ran started climbing up and passed him.
"Just keep going!" Shinichi called up to her.
They're white. Red crept into Shinichi's face.
A teenage boy, even a good one, when put in a position like that cannot help but look.
"I'm at the top!" Ran called down to him.
There was no response.
"Where are you Shinichi?"
"I swear if this is some kind of joke-"
"AHHH!" Ran screamed, not just because of his sudden reappearance behind her but he had his arms around her waist.
"Careful! You're going to make us fall otherwise!" Laughter filled his voice.
"Because of you!"
"Well if you didn't react so well I wouldn't have been so tempted to do that."
Ran twisted a bit so she could see his face, "That's no excuse."
His grin turned into an apologetic smile, "I know but you're so cute when you're angry."
Ran turned away, feeling herself go red.
"So uh what did you want to show me?" she asked finally.
"Well if you turn around, you'll see."
Ran turned around, Shinichi continually standing behind her.
The sun was setting.
An autumn sun, bright and orange.
The skyline on black buildings and the just lit Tokyo Tower was magnificent.
She felt his arms pull her in tighter.
"What do you think?" asked Shinichi grinning at her awe.
Ran felt his gaze.
"I was on my roof yesterday when I saw it. I forgot about it until I saw the sun setting. I didn't want you to miss it but my house is too far and this seemed just right."
"We can see it another time on your roof," replied Ran.
She leaned back on him and they stayed there swaying in the wind until the sun was gone and the pink left in the sky turned purple and the blue was as deep as his eyes.
"I should get home..." whispered Ran, wishing Shinichi would not hear it.
She heard and felt him sigh.
They began making their way down the tree when a branch snapped.
Shinichi reached out for her hand just in time.
He pulled her up.
"Geez, you can't climb down a tree without some trouble can you?"
"What was that?" whispered Ran, as if a noise would cause a chain reaction.
"The branch is going to..."
Ran felt Shinichi pull her close to him as they fell.
She squinted her eyes bracing herself for impact.
She heard Shinichi groan. She opened her eyes.
Shinichi was staring straight up at her.
Ran felt his arms around her waist. Her legs tangled around his and realized her arms were around his neck.
Shinichi blinked, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Ran flushed, "sorry."
Ran struggled to sit up, not realizing her skirt was just a tad high.
"It's okay," said Shinichi sitting up, "I'm the one who didn't realize the branch couldn't take much more..."
Shinichi stood up and pulled Ran up, "Come on, I'll take you home."
They never saw the sun set like that again. Winter came soon after and now was she to know that at the exact time a year later he would be gone.
The softness of her tranquility was rapidly being replaced by solitude.
It was one of the rare times that her façade was failing.
Come on, self-pity won't help!
Yeah well how about when you don't know if the person you love shares your thoughts, fears or woes!
Her solitude was getting the better of her.
I won't cry! I'm tired of crying!
"R-Ran, Ran-neechan?" said a voice softly, not wanting to disturb her.
Ran looked up, "Conan! What are you doing out of school?"
Conan looked at her confused, "Are you okay neechan?" he put his hand to her forehead, "School ended already."
Ran looked at him. He was wearing his blue jacket, shirt, and pants. A green scarf hid his bowtie and his school bag hung off one shoulder.
A chill caught them both.
"Sit down Conan-kun," she patted her lap, "Tell me how was school."
"Well today," he started as he sat down against her, "Was Halloween and some kids dressed up. The teacher gave out candy and the class played games. It was an okay day."
She held him like a teddy bear and they sat like that for a while smiling, Conan's cheeks a bit red.
He pulled away a bit to face her, "What were you thinking about Ran-neechan?"
"When I walked up to you, you looked..."
"I felt lonely and I was wishing I had... a friend."
"Oh," Conan stayed silent for a moment, "Where's Sonoko-neechan?"
"She had a date, five of them actually, to fill her afternoon."
"Why didn't you go home?"
"The fall is beautiful."
"Yes Ran-neechan. Yes it is," Conan looked at her, concern plainly in his eyes.
Ran sighed, "You always know don't you?"
"When I'm thinking of Shinichi."
"That?" Conan smiled his hand at the back of his head, "Well you always have this look- that one, yeah. It's usually when you're alone or you seem more alone..."
Even when I'm right here.
The sun began to glow orange as it the afternoon died.
"Trick-or-treat Ran-neechan," said Conan as he stood up.
"I don't have any candy Conan-kun."
"Well then you get to see a trick. Because it's Halloween, I need a costume before I trick you.
Conan reached for his glasses.
"So today, just for today, I'll be Shinichi. You can just be Ran."
Ran stared at him in disbelief.
With his glasses off and his hands in his pockets, he was Shinichi.
The dropping of the honorific surprised her.
"Ran quit sitting there. Come on let's go to tropical land! They usually have some Halloween thing anyway, and you did great in your tournament last week and I owe you for last time."
"Is this your idea of a trick?" Ran asked after a moment of silence, "It's cold and cruel and I thought you of all people would know!"
Conan put on back his glasses and turned, motioning to walk away.
The sun was gone now.
"I'm sorry Conan," Ran said quietly.
Conan stopped she had his attention.
"I forget sometimes how young you are, that you don't know you can't be Shinichi and you were just trying to be nice."
Conan turned suddenly, whipping off his glass.
On Halloween, if a soul prays hard enough, they will be released from purgatory.
Please Ran, set me free.
"Don't you see Ran? I'm not just being nice! I- I... care about you. I hate seeing you sad, knowing that you cry about..."
The words barely escaped her lips when Conan felt her arms around his small form.
"I wish you were! I wish you were!"
But I am...
He remained unresponsive, realizing the tears in his eyes.
She doesn't know...
Ran let go and looked at Conan, "I know Shinichi. I know."
Everything was clearer all of a sudden; the moon highlighted the blue in the sky.
Ran could see the heaviness in his eyes fade away.
"Thank you Ran...," he whispered.
Ran smiled and held him close, listening to his breathing stroking his hair.
She felt him trembling, his breathing fast.
She pushed him forward so she could see his face in the light.
He was sweating and looked exhausted.
He fell forward and rested on her shoulder.
"You set me free Ran," he whispered in his ear.
She felt his weight gradually disappearing.
"No, no no! Comeback!"
Ran cried desperately as she groped in the darkness for him, grasping only air.
She fell on her shoulder on the grass and wept.
He's gone! He's gone!
Ran's ears perked up.
Leaves were crunching behind her.
"Whose there?" she called out bitterly.
Who dared to break her solitude?
Ran's heart jumped. She gasped for air.
"What are you doing out here?"
He helped her up by her elbow.
"You're freezing. Have you been out here all night? I was sure you would have gone home."
He took off his jacket and put it over her shoulders.
"What time is it?" Ran looked around distracted.
"The sun just rose – for a new day."
Ran looked up at him; he was smiling down at her.
"How are you-?"
"You set me free Ran. I can be here for you now."
He held her hands in his.
"You always were..."
"Yeah, but I couldn't tell you I love you now could I?"
"Well you are yet to say so now."
"Well then," Shinichi began, turning a bit red, "I – I -"
"Yes..." Ran smiled.
The red in his cheeks only increased.
"I love you."
"Well good. I love you too and it's about time too, any latter I just might have given up hope."
"You should not tease like that."
He tilted her chin up and was about to kiss her when-
"Don't think you're off the hook mister."
"I wouldn't have it any other way," he grinned.
And then he kissed her.