Detective Conan

Always There

By LuckyLadybug

Notes: The characters are not mine and the story is. It takes place in the Good Enough For You timeline, probably shortly after the end of Snow White Queen. It is very random and was directly inspired by prompt #1, Platonic Love, at 30 Friends on Livejournal, where I'm doing a claim. There are blatant mentions of Gin/Sherry, for those unfamiliar with my timelines.

They had sat in silence for an indeterminable amount of time, each on velvet, plush chairs in the expensive building they were currently in. She was sitting primly on the edge of hers, her legs together and her hands on the arms of the chair. He was shifting uncomfortably in his, and though his hands were also on the chair's arms, his legs were apart and he was flushing as he looked away from her expectant, piercing gaze.

Naturally she wanted to know why he had asked to speak to her. It was not something that usually occured at all. In fact, he did not think it ever had. When they had spoken, she had almost always been the instigator. He would speak if he felt forced to, or on the rare occasions when he actually did have something to say. Now, it was the latter. Only for the life of him, he could not figure out how to say it.

"I know whatever you want to say must be important, since you rarely make an effort to speak to me."

He looked up with a start, and her serious blue eyes caught him in their penetrating gaze. He turned crimson again, averting his eyes. Despite the sunglasses concealing them, he could not help feeling that she was able to see through them and right into his soul. He felt like that with Gin, as well. Those two were too much alike in several ways.

"Is this about Gin?" she pressed.

He nodded weakly.

A slight smirk graced her features now. "About Gin, and me, I take it."

Again he nodded. He knew he had to force himself to say what was on his mind, even though he was getting tongue-tied just thinking about it. But they could not sit here all day. At last he opened his mouth.

"I . . . I just . . ." He swallowed hard and shook his head. "I want to know that you'll be good to him . . . and stay with him." He could not bring himself to look up at her again. What would Gin think if he knew they were even having this conversation? Would he be angry? Annoyed? Stunned? Maybe all three at once, and more.

He shifted again. "I know he was never the same . . . when you left. . . . I . . . I think sometimes, it was all he could do to stay sane. He . . . he obsessed so much over catching you because he wanted to see you again. . . . He can't stand being without you. . . ." He glowered at the floor, hating how much he was stammering over his words.

A pause. "I know that now. I didn't understand before." He could hear the sound of her starting to get up. "I feel the same way about him. I won't leave him."

He nodded slowly, trying to relax. He had been sure of it, he had wanted to believe it, but he needed to make sure. He wanted to have her word on it.

"You want him to be happy, don't you."

All he could do was to nod at the floor.

He felt a hand being laid on his shoulder, and he froze. He had not even realized she had walked over to him. He had been too caught up in his embarrassment over this situation.

"Because you love him too."

He knew that she did not mean that he loved Gin romantically---which was completely false and made him blush to even think about. He did not know that he had ever thought of himself as loving Gin in any kind of way, actually. Operatives in the Black Organization were trained not to love. But even the best and most ruthless training could prove fallible.

Gin was all that Vodka had; he was the only person who really respected and trusted the other. Vodka had learned from him, and ever so slowly over the years, he had started to come out of the shell he had hid in for most of his life. Gin had given him confidence and courage, and had eventually even come to care about Vodka. And Vodka did want him to be happy. He had seen how much Sherry's departure had torn at Gin's heart and soul. Now she was back, and Vodka wanted to make sure it stayed that way, for his partner's sake. If things went wrong again and she left, Vodka was afraid that Gin would not be able to recover from it.

In any case, he could not speak any more. Again he fumbled for words, but this time they would not come. Every attempt he made to speak only caused the words to stick in his throat.

She did not press the matter.

"Well . . . we can both see to his happiness, in our own ways."

He blinked, looking up at her in surprise. She looked back, the faintest trace of a smile on her features. He had thought that she was unhappy about him living with her and Gin, and that she probably did not want him there again, after having lived with him for years in Chicago. But there was acceptance in her eyes.

She smirked suddenly. "We're an odd family," she proclaimed.

He blinked again. He had never considered them to be a family. He thought of families as consisting of parents and children, or siblings and whatnot. And though Gin and Sherry were married now, Vodka did not have any connection with them that he thought of in a "family" way. He was just there.

"Actually, I've meant to tell you something," she said now. "I've underestimated you.You're a good friend, Vodka." She removed her hand from his shoulder, lingering for a moment in front of his chair. "Gin's lucky to have you." She turned, proceeding to walk away.

He watched her, still stunned by her words. Several years ago, she never would have said any of those things to him. He knew that she had wondered how Gin could even like him. Sometimes he had wondered himself. And now she not only accepted him, but she seemed to respect him.

She had called him Gin's friend. . . .Could friends make a family too? Actually, there was no reason why not, when he stopped to think about it. And maybe, being "there" was not such a bad thing, if he was able to do some good. In some strange way, he decided, maybe the two of them and Sherry had, indeed, become a family.