Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan.
For Candy-chan and sapphirestars-chan. Would've written one separately for each of you, but evil finals and lack of spare time prevented that. Oh, well. But see? See? I can write Shin/Ran after all!
She had long stopped believing that he would ever come home. A woman of twenty-three, in college, a beautiful lady, with admirers waiting on her doorsteps in the morning. But she refused them all. She buried herself in her work, ignoring the painful ache in her chest.
The snow fell.
It had been so long since she'd been back here. She stepped out from her car and her gaze flickered upwards to her father's office - The Mouri Detective Agency. So many memories, she thought, so many memories..
She squinted - had she just seen a shadow move? She stared at the spot for a good amount of time before shaking her head and murmuring about the stress of her work. She gathered the bag she'd packed for her Christmas weekend stay and climbed up the stairs.
His breath caught in his throat. He hurriedly dove into the couch as he saw her arch her neck his way, heart pounding furiously in his chest.
...after so long...
She was still the most beautiful thing he'd ever laid eyes on.
It wouldn't do. She was still, technically, ten years older. He couldn't face her. He couldn't tell her. It wouldn't work. They'd been caught up in his screwed up destiny, and these were the consequences.
"I'm home!" Her voice rang out.
He closed his eyes, put on his mask, and walked out to meet her.
When she saw him walking down the stairs, she thought she was seeing things. Taller than she remembered, a different style of glasses, blue eyes, piercing.
A vision from ten years ago..
"Shinichi," she uttered.
A brief look of - something - fluttered across his face. Then it was gone. "Ran-neechan!"
She blinked and shook herself. A mask of her own replaced the look of uninhibited surprise that had previously diffused over her face. "Conan-kun," she said, with a warm smile. Something was tugging at her heart. What? "You've gotten so big." She took three steps to close the distance between them. He smiled, hesitantly. She smiled back. "You'll be taller than me in no time."
Just like he was.
He hung back awkwardly, as if unsure of what to say.
"Oh, Conan-kun." She was talking so fast, her voice an unnaturally high pitch as she took him into his arms. "I've missed you so much."
Her eyes, her eyes, her eyes.
When her arms came around his shoulders, he froze, holding his breath until his chest burned.
"I missed you too," he whispered, barely audible.
And his arms slowly embraced her back, hands trembling.
She wasn't quite sure why he was so quiet. As a boy, Conan had always been meddling into her father's cases. He was extremely smart for his age, she remembered, and she wondered what had brought about the sudden change in his personality.
But then again..
Before she left, before she left for college, he had..
He had looked at her, and it hadn't been Conan's eyes she'd seen. No. It had been - it had been Shinichi's eyes, dead and cold, peeking out from hollowed orbs.
Stop it, she told herself, gripping her chopsticks harder, you've - you've moved on. You haven't heard from him in years. He's gone. He's... gone. And you're perfectly okay with it.
He couldn't speak, and she said little to complement her father's drunken tones, crushed cans of beer littering the floor. Twenty-three, that was how old she was, right? If none - if nothing had - had gone wrong -
...in all likelihood, they would probably be married by now.
And for a moment, he allowed himself to dream. It was a notion he'd put out of his head a long time ago - dreaming of what could never be would only, in the end, further and hasten the pang in his heart. He swallowed, images of a glowing Ran, with a rounded belly, haunted him.
"Conan-kun?" She reached towards him - they were sitting next to each other - "Are you feeling all right? You don't have a fever, do you?"
He hastily withdrew from her grasp, and looked away to miss the look of hurt that had fluttered across her eyes. "Yeah. I'm okay."
Sometimes, she dreamed. The dreams were hazy. There was a man, and there was a woman. Blue eyes and dark hair. Love. A complete atmosphere of pure, true love. The sort of love she'd dreamed about, back then. But she was older now, and wiser. That sort of love was rare, and hard to come by. She remembered being younger and thinking that she had a chance at that kind of love.
She knew better, now.
He was a fool.
How could he have ever thought that he might have stopped loving her? Maybe it was not seeing her for all those years.. but now that she was back, living, breathing proof of what he could never have, it hurt, god, it hurt.
Wait for me?
But fate had torn them apart, in the end.
Her sleep was interrupted constantly throughout the night. It seemed like she'd closed her eyes for only a minute before she would awake again, for some reason or other.
And just like that, her thoughts drifted back to him.
In her mind's eye, she could picture him, perfectly, oh so perfectly. She could see him vividly as he had been at the age of seventeen, the last time she'd truly seen him.
Will you... will you..
Will you wait for me?
Tears sprung to her eyes and she found that she lacked the strength to wipe them away. So she lay there, eyes closed, tears silently streaming down her pale cheeks.
I'll always wait for you.
It was true, some part of her conceded. She would always wait for him. She'd been waiting five years now, after all.
The weekend flew by excruciatingly slowly, as each grain of sand fell to the bottom of the hourglass in slow motion. But the weekend did pass by, and he couldn't have been any more relieved.
"Make sure you visit," her father said gruffly. She smiled serenely and assured him she would. He was still below her shoulder, he noted, averting his eyes, refusing to look at her.
And yet he could never refuse her when she called. He glanced up at her.
"Promise me you'll keep in touch," she said, voice soft, bending down to his height and smiling softly at him. He inhaled sharply and his heart pounded. Furiously. Erratically.
"I promise," he answered, voice as soft as hers. The moment seemed too magical, too intimate, and he forced himself to break the atmosphere, "Ran-neechan."
He didn't see her again for another four years.
Her dorm seemed so empty. Always having been a simple soul, her walls were bare and white; her desk clean and uncluttered, save for one picture. Their picture. The one from Tropical Land, the last picture they ever took together.
Why couldn't she stop thinking of him?
It had been so long. So long ago. And - and he was just a guy, there were certainly plenty more of them around the world.
But the truth was..
No one - no one -
No one could ever compare..
He had been her world. Her entire world. Just being near him was like a breath of fresh air, passing down to he rlungs, to her heart, giving her the will to live on.
And the year went by. School. Projects. Tests. Exams.
When December came around again, she found that she didn't think she could bear to go back - back there, where they'd both grown up, where so many memories had been made. She couldn't face it. She apologized to her father, and he'd complained and whined, but had relented in the end. She'd asked to speak to Conan, but he hadn't been there at the time.
She closed her eyes and searched fruitlessly for sleep.
He had that nightmare again. The one of walking into Agasa-hakase's house, no - running into his house, unable to bear it any longer. Finally, now, after all these years of separation, he was going to have his body back, Haibara had finally found the cure, she'd found it, and she was going to give it to him, and -
He sprinted madly for the lab, walls and doors and floors blurring past him. His heart sunk as he saw her small frame, lying in a pool of fresh blood.
"Haibara," he uttered. Her head moved slightly - he was relieved to see her eyes, though glazed and unfocused, looking at him. He knelt down beside her. "Are you -"
She coughed. "No.." He was losing her. His fingers pressed to her wrist, he could feel her pulse weakening by the second. "They.. they got.. it."
He felt a knot in his stomach. "It's fine," he said, fiercely, "but what about you? You need help.." And he reached into his pocket for his phone. After relaying the message to the police, he glanced back down at her, at her bloodstained clothes and hair.
She coughed again, breathing ragged. "Be... careful. Protect.. her."
He ignored her. "You're going to be okay."
She smiled, wryly. The same wry smile she always had on. "Sorry... Kudo-kun..."
She closed her eyes for the last and final time. He clenched his hands into fists.
It was on that day, exactly a week before Ran left for college, that he began to push her away.
On a Saturday morning, sitting by herself at a cafe, sipping coffee, she began to remember.
Upon her acceptance to college, Shinichi had called her to offer his congratulations. That wasn't what he'd had in mind, though, and she knew him well enough to know so.
"I need to ask you something," he'd said.
"Ask away," she'd replied.
He'd gotten straight to the point, no beating around the bush, nothing. "Will you... will you wait for me?"
She'd gasped, taken aback by his directness. But her heart was still true. "I'll always.. always wait."
But he never came. She waited and waited, but he never.. he never came. The phone calls stopped coming after the day they'd discovered Haibara Ai dead in Agasa-hakase's house.
The leaves continued to fall, continued to change color. The world kept turning. Mouri Ran continued with her college studies, struggling to find a life of her own, trying to break free of the ghost that haunted her. Edogawa Conan struggled to fit in, to forget, about what he'd done, what he'd lost.
Four years passed before her car, a familiar red car, parked once again in front of the Mouri Detective Agency. He stared at the vehicle from the window, pushing away the feelings that threatened to overcome him.
He would get through this. He would. He would.
She dropped her bags at the sight of him. He was seventeen now. The very age Shinichi had been before he'd disappeared. He looked.. exactly... exactly like him.
Except for the glasses. Shinichi never wore glasses. This was Conan.
She had to remember that.
"Ran-neechan," he greeted her, cautiously. She laughed and tried to appear easygoing.
"You're taller than me now," she said, looking up at him, trying to ignore the jolt in her stomach.
"Mm." He seemed so distant, and she couldn't stop thinking of the man who'd stolen her heart all those years ago. She swallowed and forced a smile.
"Help me with my bags?"
He smiled - a small, slight tilt of the lips - and picked up her bags with ease.
"How have you been?"
He put down her bags by her bed. He hated this, being in her room. Her room always drove him crazy. It smelled like her. Even after years of being uninhabited, her room was still hers, with the lavender scent that was uniquely hers.
"Good." He lied straight through his teeth. Insane. I'm going insane.
"You're seventeen now, right? I remember that age." He winced upon hearing the hoarseness of her voice, the slight trace of bitterness that had crept into her tone. "Got a girlfriend? I remember Ayumi-chan was always particularly fond of you."
"No. No. I've got no one."
After dinner, she brushed her teeth and undressed for bed. She'd barely pulled the sheets up to her chin before a prickling sensation coursed through her.
It had been ten years since that day.
Donning a heavy winter jacket and shoes, she exited silently to face the cold breeze that lay ahead. She shivered and the more reasonable part of her mind questioned the practicality of going out here, into the freezing blizzard.
Will you wait for me?
Words that she had stuck by, even after not hearing a single word, a single syllable from him for ten years.. ten years now. Ten long years.
Ten years from now, meet me at the park. At the park where we first met.
I will. I promise.
And she was numb and freezing cold, but she pushed on. Upon reaching her destination, she let a sharp gasp escape her as she saw a hunched figure sitting on the bench. It could only be one person..
There was always a sort of feeling that crept up on him before a murder was about to occur. A tingling of his senses, a crawling sensation down his spine.
He'd had that feeling before he'd found Haibara bleeding to death.
He'd had that feeling before he'd had that poison shoved down his throat.
He'd had that feeling, every single time, before she came to visit.
And he had that feeling now.
He heard his name.
No. Not his name. Not anymore.
He stiffened immediately. He knew who it was. There could only be one person, only one person in the whole entire world who could call him and cause such a reaction, cause such stirrings.
He still remembered their promise.
Will you meet me at the park ten years from now?
Yes. I will.
He doubted she would remember. He didn't know why he'd decided to come here. He would have been better off - no. He wouldn't have been better off at home, knowing that she was there. So close. So tantalizingly close.
She drew nearer. He couldn't find it in himself to move away.
He felt her fingers on his face. Cold. But they still brought a warmth to his body, to his soul.
They closed around his glasses...
...and tugged them off.
He turned to her, suddenly so weak. Ten years.
Her fingers caressed his cheeks. And he knew, that from this moment on, he wouldn't be able to continue deceiving her as he had been. It was no longer an option.
"Shinichi." She said, simply looking at him.
He felt something inside him break.
And he bowed his head. "Yeah. It's me."
"You never told me. Why?"
He stood there, eyes hollow and unmoving. "You would have been in danger."
"I wouldn't have cared. I still don't."
"I know. But I couldn't bear to put you in danger. You would have been.. killed."
Understanding dawned in her eyes. "Ai-chan."
He said nothing.
And what now?
"Don't." He was pulling away from her now. "I don't know where they are. They could still -"
"I love you."
He closed his eyes.
She found the strength to continue. "And nothing you say or do will ever change that."
"It's been ten years -"
"It doesn't matter."
"You would be happier with somebody else."
"No. No, I wouldn't."
"You're being stupid."
"I promised you I would wait. I intend to keep that promise."
"You would sacrifice your life, your happiness - for me?"
"I lost everything when you left," she said, unblushingly, eyes locked dead on his the entire time. "I have nothing left to lose."
"Do you love me?" she asked him suddenly.
He was struck by silence.
"If you don't, then tell me. And I'll never say a word about this again. I'll leave you alone."
His heart said yes. His mind screamed no.
"Do you love me?" she repeated.
"No," he said, ignoring the pang in his heart.
She left the next day.
And years passed. She became immersed in her studies, willing herself to think of nothing else. She graduated from law school and joined her mother's firm. She quickly became known as one of Japan's leading lawyers.
He became a detective. Of course. Well-known for solving the toughest cases in the streets of Japan - but he refused to take the whole spotlight this time. No, nowadays, he never solved a case by himself, if he could help it. It wasn't uncommon to see his name side by side with Hattori Heiji's.
And every time he saw her name, and every time she saw his, something inside them broke. A little bit at a time, until there was nothing left anymore.
She was walking down the streets of her neighborhood one day. Nobody knew she was here. It was late on a Saturday night. A wispy crescent moon lit up the sky, but all she knew was darkness. It was cold. She tightened her coat around her and fingered the fringe of her scarf.
Sometimes, she remembered him. Vaguely. As time had passed, so had the image of him. She could remember dark hair, tanned skin, a lean build. Most of all she remembered blue eyes. Warm, blue eyes.
He had only held her once, during their school play. But she remembered that, too, though she knew she shouldn't. She really shouldn't.
Why was she here?
She needed to - she needed to forget him.
But she couldn't.
The past day had been nothing but a blur. He had called her. She had come. She despised herself for it. She should have stayed - stayed away -
He had sent her a newspaper article. It spoke of something called the Black Organization. They had been taken down. She didn't understand.
Her footsteps slowed down as she approached the park. Still, even after all this time, it was their spot, and she didn't think anything could ever change that. If she squinted, she could see the silhouette of a man - broad shoulders, tousled hair - sitting on the bench. She breathed in and out. In and out. In and out.
"Sit down?" he asked, voice deeper than she remembered. He patted the spot next to her. The barest hint of hesitation was etched in his tone, in his movements. "Please."
And she did.
- fin -
Yeah. I don't know what this was about. I was tired and drained after exams, didn't feel like writing fluff, and this came out. Ending is vague. I don't know. xD But somehow I like it, and I hope you guys did too!
Title.. well, there's this really pretty piano song called "Remembrance" by Jim Brickman and I was listening to it while writing the fic. It's a gorgeous song, I promise you, and it set the tone for most of the fic.
Yeah. Tired now. Angst is always draining. I hope you all enjoyed it! (especially you two - sapphirestars and Candy-chan!)