Detective Conan

Eternal Snow

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: The characters aren't mine, neither is the song that's referenced, but the story is. To heighten the mood, it is recommended to listen to Eternal Snow from Full Moon wo Sagashite. This is for Challenge #18: Listen to the Music at Night, in 30 Nights. And of course, it's Gin/Sherry.

She was not certain why she had the radio on. Perhaps it was a means of vainly making herself believe that she was not alone in the house. Or perhaps because the songs of winter and Christmas reminded her of times in the past, when she had been an innocent child growing up with him always watching over her. Snow had always been something important to them, something that had held special meaning and memories. She was not even certain what had fascinated them about it originally. But the memories swirling through her mind were varied---some happy, some sad, some that she would rather not recall.

As a very young child, she had happily romped through the piles and hills of snow that adorned their property in winter. Sometimes he had joined her, but mostly he observed. By the time she had been old enough to remember him well, he had become very serious, growing up before his time. Though, she supposed, she had as well. Not long after entering school, she had grown up quite fast.

She had been tormented by her elementary school classmates at times by being pushed into the snow and held down, not allowed to get up. He had never stood for that. Whenever he had found it happening, he had frightened the culprits away with his icy glares and then had helped her up, brushing the flakes off of her clothes and out of her hair.

Sometimes he had likened the snow to them, after they had officially began work for the Organization. Snowflakes looked white and pure as they drifted to earth, he had said, but they were already corrupted by the pollution in the air. And after they were on the ground, they often became obviously tainted from the mud. And he had smirked darkly, reminding her that they were both the same way. They, but more especially she, looked pure and good, but many illegal and treacherous acts had been committed by even her, in an attempt to stay alive. And he had wondered if she was any better than he. Sometimes she also wondered.

She leaned against the side of the window, hugging her arms as she watched the crystal snowflakes drift past the glass. It had been falling nonstop for the last hour or more. She had been glancing to the clock every few minutes, even though she knew that it did not help the time to go faster. But she could not help it. She was so deeply concerned about the both of them. They had been gone too long. And in this weather, anything could have happened.

The other houses up and down the street were mostly dark by now, though she saw one or two that still sported their Christmas lights, despite the late hour. The dwellers were known for keeping the strands lit all night, apparently feeling particularly festive. They twinkled brightly amid the falling flakes, and she allowed herself a rare moment of nostalgia. While in Japan, she had found that she had somewhat missed the American Christmas celebrations that she recalled from her childhood. Now they were living in America again, having decided that it would be easier to hide out and start over there rather than in Japan. Of course, they had not returned to Chicago, where they had lived previously. They had ended up in one of the Western states, and they were discovering that winters there were quite fierce.

The next song was announced as an older one that had recently again become quite popular in Japan after being released by two different idols. She blinked in surprise both at that and at the title---"Eternal Snow." Then she smirked wryly. It matched the picture outside too perfectly.

She sank down into the window seat, trying to relax as the song started. It had a soothing melody, and she found herself smiling softly as she leaned back and closed her eyes. As the words began, her eyes opened again. It was strange . . . she found herself relating to the lyrics. They reminded her of her confused and varied feelings for him, when she had first recognized that what she felt was more than a child's crush.

But with the first chorus, her eyes widened and then took on a melancholy look. Now it sounded like her feelings during the time when they had been estranged. That had only ended recently. It was a time that she did not especially want to think about, but she could never forget it. She had felt so much pain, hating him and yet longing to be with him. And now she knew that he had felt the same way many a time.

She supposed that the song also was reminding her of her unrequited feelings for Shinichi. In spite of herself, she had become very fond of him throughout the times they had shared, but she knew that he did not consider her any more than a friend. And of course, that was the way it had to be.

She had wondered sometimes in the past if being drawn back to Gin was merely her heart "on the rebound", as it were. Or perhaps, even, her feelings for Shinichi were rooted in such origins. It made a certain sense, she decided. She knew that she did care deeply for Shinichi, but she supposed that she could have confused exactly what it was that she had felt for him. Her heart had still been aching from what had happened with Gin, and perhaps after she and Shinichi had started to become close friends, she had mistakingly thought that she loved him in a romantic way. One thing she was now positive about was that her feelings for Gin were still very genuine. She still loved him just as truly and passionately as she had in the past, or maybe even more so. She could not lose him again.

The second chorus left her subconsciously clenching a fist, shuddering as she remembered the nightmarish encounter with Gin on the roof of the hotel. He had spoken in a dark and twisted way, as had become second nature to him since his training as an assassin had been completed. He had told her that he had heard her in the chimney, but he had wanted to kill her in a more appropriate and beautiful way, so he had gone to the snow-covered roof. And she had responded in her typical wry manner, musing that maybe she should thank him for waiting out in the cold.

Even though she had feared him when they had been apart, it had felt as though no time had passed at all when she had met him again. She had often spoken in that quiet, wry way around him, and she had slipped right back into it on the roof. She had still feared him, but somehow, being alone with him, with her in her natural form instead of as Ai Haibara, had enabled her fears to be pushed back.

She still remembered the pain as he had tauntingly shot her once, twice, three, and even four times, and as she had lost her balance, falling into the snow. Gin had commented on the lovely sight of the crimson spilling over the whiteness, and she had weakly tried to look up at him as he had spoken. She had been certain that she would die.

She still wondered if he would have pulled the trigger one final time. There had been a period of time when they had each thought they wanted to kill the other, due to their intense feelings of betrayal and hurt. But she had reached the point where she had come to realize that if she ended Gin's life, she would regret it for the rest of her own. Perhaps, she would not have even wanted to keep living. Idly she wondered what Gin had felt when he had arrived at the same conclusion about killing her. Though she supposed it did not matter. The important thing was that their love had overcome their hate, before it was irreversible.

She stood up, beginning to pace. She could not even remember how long ago it had been that Gin had left, with Vodka. He had hoped that they would not be long, and now it must have been over six hours. It was nearly two in the morning, and she did not know how much more of this waiting she could take. She had tried calling both of their cell phones, but neither seemed to be working. She had to hope that it was only because of the storm.

It was times like this when she wished that she had someone to go to for comfort or reassurance. She would have gone to Vodka, if he had been there. They could have worried together. But she had to hope that he was keeping Gin safe, if they had ended up in some kind of trouble. Not that Gin could not take care of himself---he could, of course, but he was only human and he could still get hurt. And the more time went by, the more worried she became.

At every small sound, she would start back to the present, hurrying to look out the window to see if the Porsche was coming back. And every time she was disappointed. With a sigh she would turn away again, wondering what sort of predicament they had gotten into and wanting to believe that it could be resolved. She could not think that they were dead.

And yet she could not stop herself from imagining it. Under the circumstances, it could much too easily be true. The Porsche was not made for driving in such bad weather. It could have become stuck, or skidded across the ice. . . . There could have even been a collision. She could picture it all too easily, and because of her medical background, it was logical for her to continue thinking of the possible scenarios following such a crash, and the kinds of injuries they could have sustained---if they were even still alive at all.

Someone could have gone through the windshield. . . . They could have ended up paralyzed, or badly burned. . . . One could even be dead and the other alive. Or they could both be dead. At the best, they might only sustain broken limbs or ribs. But somehow it did not seem likely to her.

Many various outcomes flashed through her mind within a matter of mere seconds. She could see herself getting a telephone call from the hospital, or the police ending up on her doorstep. She could imagine going and finding their broken and irreparably damaged bodies, or even having to identify someone who was too graphically scarred to even be recognizable. She could even see herself making funeral arrangements, and then standing sadly by the lonely graves.

At last she finally slumped back into the couch in exhaustion and despair. She looked up at the ceiling, smirking wryly to herself. She was too morbid for her own good. They were probably fine, and before long they would come home and prove it.

But the time continued to stretch by without any word from either of them, and she grew all the more restless. Again she reached for the phone, dialing first Gin's cellphone and then Vodka's, and again she could not receive a response from either one. She could not even get through to the voicemail. Running a hand through her hair, she dropped the receiver back into the cradle and sank against the couch.

"Where are you?" she murmured. It only dawned on her after the fact that she had spoken aloud.

Slowly she rubbed her eyes, then laid down with her head against a couch pillow. She knew that she could never sleep when she was so worried, even though she was so desperately tired. A couple more times she was certain she heard cars outside, but then she would not hear the slamming of car doors or the opening of the front door and she would know that it was not the others returning. Closing her eyes, she unwillingly slipped into the state between awareness and slumber, while the various unpleasant scenarios again crept through her mind.

She started fully awake again upon hearing another noise, and as she sat up and tried to completely return to the conscious world, she realized that this time the door was actually opening. Relief washed over her as she saw Gin and Vodka entering the room, both looking cold and exhausted, but otherwise unhurt. Snowflakes were gracing their clothes, hats, and Gin's hair, and an irritated look flashed through the blonde's eyes. Vodka quickly shut the door before any of what was now a blizzard could get into the room. He coughed into his hand, shivering.

She watched them both, a trademark smirk coming over her features. "I thought you two must've died out in that," she said wryly, pushing herself off the couch.

Gin grunted, looking at her as she came over to him. "We could have," he retorted, as she began to gently brush the flakes out of his long locks and off his coat.

She sighed, shaking her head. "What happened?" she asked, tipping Gin's hat up so that she could better see into his cold eyes. They softened slightly as they focused on her.

Vodka shivered again, taking off his own coat and quickly going to the fireplace. "We had car trouble," he answered. "It got stuck in the snow and stalled." He held out his hands to the grate, relaxing as the heat began to warm him.

Gin nodded in agreement. "We couldn't get a signal from either of our cellphones, either," he growled. "We had to dig the car out of the snow and then try to work on it." Slowly he pulled off his gloves, stuffing them into a coat pocket.

Gently she brushed Gin's hair back into place and put a hand between his shoulder blades, leading him over to the fire as well. "I was worried, you know," she said quietly.

He was silent as he slipped out of his coat, acting as though he had not heard. He draped the apparel over the arm of the chair before stepping closer to the warmth, staring intently into the flames before finally looking back to her. "I know," he responded gruffly, putting an arm around her waist as he brought her closer to him.

She smiled softly, feeling content. And the words of the song came back to her again, as they remained there. "'Hold me tight, strong enough to break me,'" she quoted softly, laying her head against his strong shoulder.

He blinked at her. "Eh?"

Vodka also glanced over, looking somewhat confused, but then he looked away again, concentrating on getting warm.

She smirked. "Nothing," she answered.