Title: Flipping a Coin
Fandom: Detective Conan
Author: Amm (SoulSeeker)
Theme: #19—crying all night for you
Pairing: Kudo Shinichi/Mouri Ran
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Detective Conan—I just play 'Barbie' with them, because god knows they're a lot more fun than real Barbies.
Summary: He could either have one or the other. It was that simple.
"You know, I've got to admit...I'm kind of surprised you called me."
It was the middle of the night, and both Shinichi and Ran should've been long asleep. And yet there they were, sitting together on the steps of the Mouri Detective Agency. Both in pajamas, and both awkward and silent, in an attempt not to wake anyone. Ran was actually glad tonight that her father slept like a log; after what they had found out about Shinichi, she knew he didn't want to see him again. And he would've never approved of this.
"I just...I don't know," she murmured. "I don't even know if I should be doing this. There were so many questions on my mind, and I couldn't sleep. I needed to talk to you."
"Yeah, I...I understand. I couldn't really either."
Shinichi felt uneasy, sitting next to her. He had never felt that way around her before, and it bothered him to no end. Why? Why did the men in black have to do that to him, and why did she have to find out about it? He wondered...he wondered, if they knew he was alive now, after all this time. If they would come after him to finish the job. He had only been back for about a day, and had kept a low profile—but he had let his guard down before. No doubt he might do it again.
"So...where do you want to start?" Shinichi asked, eager for conversation. He knew there was a lot to talk about, and sat down to make himself comfortable.
"You were Conan," she stated disbelievingly. "The entire time..."
"And you didn't tell me." Shinichi thought he could see tears trailing down her cheeks. "You let me go on believing this lie—that you were off on some case, and couldn't come back. Am I right?"
"Ran, I wanted to tell y—"
"Just answer the question, Shinichi. Tell me the truth for once, please!"
He sighed, wishing he had a bag to pull over his head right about now. His hand would have to suffice he supposed; he covered his face with it.
Oddly enough, his answer almost seemed to make her feel better. He heard her sigh, and he could swear she was relieved. At least for a little while...
"How many people knew?"
Shinichi hesitated a moment before answering. He felt like he had just walked into a trap—whether he answered or not, she would still be upset. As a person who sought for the "one truth," however, he wouldn't feel right lying. Not now. Not anymore.
"Dr. Agasa," he murmured. "He was the first person I told, and...my parents. They figured it out later... and since my mom was an actress, it was easy for her to play Conan's mom." He paused, taking a moment to choose his words.. "...and Hattori. He figured it out, too. I...I didn't actually tell him."
Ran shook her head, sighing as her feet began to shuffle uncomfortably. She should've been one of those people. She knew it, and he knew it. If he had only told her, she could've helped; she could've worked with Dr. Agasa...she could've done something.
"Yeah. Well," she began, as she looked up at him, "you didn't actually go out of your way to deceive them, did you?"
Shinichi looked confused. "W-what do you mean?"
"Don't play dumb, Shinichi," she snapped coldly. "You know very well that I suspected it was you, plenty of times. You could've told me. But instead, you tricked me. Making sure I saw Conan and you, at the same time...how did you do it, anyway?"
Ran had actually come close to figuring it out so many times; Shinichi almost wasn't sure what she was talking about. She didn't give him long to ponder, however.
"The play, Shinichi! After the play!" she specified. "Conan got sick when I was supposed to perform in that school play with Araide-sensei. You came back out of nowhere, took his place, and then magically solved a murder. Conan was wearing that mask...who was behind it?"
The school play. Of course—that wasn't something either of them would forget any time soon. They had come so close after all. Their faces were almost touching; he could feel her breath on his face, and if there hadn't been a scream, right at that moment...
"That...that was Haibara," he muttered, interrupting his own thoughts. "She disguised herself to help me that time..."
"So she knew, too."
Shinichi wasn't sure how many details he should really disclose about Haibara. Without knowing that she was the one who developed both the Apoptoxin-4869 and its antidote, Ran might wonder how he finally got the cure—and why it took so long. He had a feeling that Ran knowing who she really was would just make the situation worse; and the situation was bad enough already.
In fact, thusfar, the only thing the conversation was doing was making both parties feel worse. Even Ran, who honestly believed she would benefit from getting answers from Shinichi. Perhaps she should've never called him. Maybe there were just some answers she didn't need to know; but if she never knew, then there would never be any closure. They would be avoiding the problem, and they'd never be able to put this behind them. She needed to know. She deserved to know!
"And those men in black..." She continued with her assault of questions. "They're still out there looking for you?"
Shinichi nodded slowly, though it was so dark, he wasn't sure she could see it.
"If...if they find out I'm still alive, they'll be looking for me, yeah. That's why I'm trying to be careful right now. That's why I didn't...I didn't want to tell you. Now that you know, if they find me, they'll...they might..."
His voice trailed off. He didn't even want to think of what they may or may not do to her, or any of the other people he cared about, if they found him. He was actually more worried about repairing his relationship with Ran at the moment, and he hated making excuses. He hated making them because she hated hearing them—even if they were good ones.
"So. What do we do now?" she asked demandingly. "You're not safe. Hell, I'm not safe. I feel like I'm harboring a fugitive or something."
Looking frantic, she stood up and began to pace, like one of those family members waiting outside an Emergency Room. Suddenly, a surprised, worried look came to her face and she stopped, turning to him very sternly.
"What about the Detective Boys? Ayumi, Genta, Mitsuhiko? Do they know? Are they—"
"They don't know anything," Shinichi cut her off quickly. "As far as they know, Conan went back to live with is mother and is going to a different school."
"Is that what you told them?" Ran asked. "Is that what you told Ayumi? Did you tell her you'd be back, too?"
"Er, no, I don't think—"
"You can't do that, you know. It's not fair to her."
"I know. I didn't—"
"You can't do the same thing to her as you did to me. You can't tell her you'll be back. She'll a little kid. She'll wait for you. Expect you to call; wait up for you all night, and cry all night when you don't. If you do that to her, I'll—"
"I know, Ran!" Shinichi raised his voice. He put his hands on her shoulder, thinking it might help focus her attention. "I know. Don't...don't worry. She thinks Conan is going out of the country...he won't be able to call."
Ran's breathing was heavy now. She was sweating profusely and her voice was shaky, like she was about to break down any moment. She finally calmed down from her little outburst though, long enough to ask him another question.
"How...how did you decide, anyway?"
"To...to take the cure. To come back." Ran grabbed his hands and moved them off her shoulder. "As Conan, school was simple. People love children, so it's easier to get what you want. You seemed like a prodigy, since you still had the brain of a brilliant seventeen-year-old detective. It seems like being younger is what everyone would want. Why would you...why would you ever want to come back?"
Shinichi could barely believe she was asking such a question. Him, leave everything behind and start over?
"I...I wanted my body back, Ran," he replied. "I wanted my life back. Simple as that."
"Simple?" Ran repeated. "Simple? A decision like that isn't like flipping a coin, Shinichi! You're telling me you didn't have any second thoughts about coming back? Even knowing what would happen? Your life being in danger, and me, reacting like this?"
Shinichi smiled a bit, looking down to his feet—reminiscing about his days as Conan. The adventures the Detective Boys had. All the things he could get away with, as a little kid, and all the things he could do, without being laughed at. Being even more of an ace at soccer than he already was.
"I thought about it," he admitted. "About what it would be like, growing up as Conan. How nice it might be, not having to worry about the men in black. And then, I thought about my real life. As a detective, chasing down criminals. Going to high school. I knew, I could only have one or the other..."
He pulled out a coin from his pocket and began to bounce it up and down in his hand—the same way he might treat a soccer ball with his feet. He placed it on his thumb...
"And I picked one. Now I'm here, sitting next to you. As Shinichi. My true self."
Ran could hear the coin as Shinichi flipped it; it shined briefly in the moonlight before landing with a metal clang on the sidewalk in front of him.
"It wasn't easy, I guess. But it was that simple."
Ran reached down to where it looked like the coin had fallen, feeling around until she found it. A silver coin, she noticed, as it sat resting on her hand. It had one side that could be called the 'head'--and the other, 'tails,' just like any other. A completely normal coin, and very real. Very plain and simple. Before she realized it, she placed it on her thumb, just as Shinichi had done, and flipped it in the same way. It seemed to twinkle in the night air.
What should we do now? she asked mentally, as she caught the coin in her hand. Those men in black...Shinichi...how can we stay safe?
If only life could be that way...
A/N: Wow, it's been a long time hasn't it?!
To be honest, I don't actually know if Japanese coins have a head or tails. And I realize Shinichi would never consider staying as Conan. But oh well. I liked the idea, and it was angsty enough for the theme.
Anyway, apologies for the long wait. As always, thanks for reading. Tata!