Disclaimer: I do no own Detective Conan.
The loud chatter of citizens drowned out all the sounds of the morning, replaced by the loud click-clack of heeled shoes and the distinct murmur of the workers on their hand phones. Children giggled as they crossed the streets, some boy pulling at his friend's hair only to be firmly reprimanded and dragged to the back of the line with a glare from the teacher. The boy sulked moodily as he slowly sauntered at the back, rebellious eyes never ceasing in their stare.
Across the street stood a few shops which were up and running since the wee hours of the morning, whose patrons rushed in and out through the heavy glass doors which were stained with fingerprints and the smell of cheap black coffee lingering in the stagnant air. The familiar smells of a typical morning in a typical city. As if it wasn't noisy enough, cars honked impatiently at the large crowd which took their time in crossing the roads and drivers looked as if the world was ending when the red light continued shining down on them.
In this morning, the air was tense in a certain family restaurant just two blocks away from the street crossing. Through the glass windows, one could see two women and a man sitting opposite one another, with two of them nursing their cup of sugarless coffee while the other fiddled with her phone. Kazuha Tomoya stared worriedly at her best friend Mouri Ran as she conversed in low tones with her current boyfriend; Hattori Heji.
The two were speaking in serious tones, both trying to break the other in a battle of wits and deceit. The conversation had been going on for about and hour now and kazuha had already polished off three cups of coffee. It was beginning to make her sick. Setting down her chipped porcelain mug, she began listening in on their conversation once more.
"And I'm telling ya that I haven't heard from him. Why are ya so stubborn nee-chan?" Heiji quipped as he slammed his fist onto the cheap plastic table. There was a look of irritation on his face as he tried reasoning with her. But Ran shook her head stubbornly as if refusing to even take in his words, making the Osaka born detective twice as angry as before. "You're lying! He definitely contacted you! He's already been missing for the past two months!"
Her voice went up by a few pitches, making the customers around them fidget in discomfort. A few of them got up from their seat, paid for their drink and left in a hurry. Kazuha seemed to have noticed this and looked around worriedly before pressing her hand on heji's, throwing glances between him and their surroundings. "Hey would ya try to keep it down a little'? She whispered fiercely, before sipping at the remnants of her drink discreetly. He fought within himself to suppress the urge to snap at her, and turned back to Ran, who had ceased in her rebellion. Hattori put his hand in his pocket and took out an emerald green cell phone and flung it at her, not even caring whether it hit her or not. His mind was in such a frenzy that he couldn't even think straight at the moment. The phone landed on the table with a loud thump and was promptly snatched up.
The noise ceased as she looked through its contents, her brows furrowing when she couldn't find what she was looking for. Seeing the dejected look on her face, kazuha sighed and slid her hand across the table to squeeze her friend's. Her voice echoed soothingly as she cajoled her. "Don't worry Ran-chan. We'll find him soon."
Hearing this, Heji smiled weakly at his girlfriend's kind words and fiddled with the note nee-chan had brought along when she came to visit. After reading it, a feeling of panic enveloped him. One would understand why she was feeling this frantic if they were in her shoes. His eyes lowered and looked over once more the dark words scribbled in an all so familiar hand writing, and his mouth silently repeating each word he read:
By the time you find this letter, I will probably be gone. Firstly, I must apologize to you for what I did that night. It really wasn't supposed to happen. But that's not the only reason that I left.
On the night we were together, something happened to a very important friend of mine. One whom I swore to protect for as long as I lived. That person told me something before leaving. Although I cannot tell you what it is, I want you to know that this is very important and could jeopardize the lives of the people around me.
I will not be back. I beg you not to look for me. Just continue with you life, just like you did when Shinichi nii-chan disappeared. I also want to tell you that before I left, I confronted your boyfriend, Takeru. It looks like everything was a big misunderstanding. After you spent the night with him, he wanted to propose to you. I know it sound stupid but, that's really what happened.
This is the truth. He even showed me the ring he got you. This man genuinely loves you, ran-nee-chan. If you don't believe me, you can confront him yourself. Remember what shinichi always said? When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains however improbable, must be the truth.
Love, Edogawa Conan
Heji very nearly crumpled up the paper in his hands. But he couldn't. It was the only evidence left that Kudo Shinic- no, Edogawa Conan actually existed. When he left, all traces of him were wiped out. Medical records and school records, everything. Gone.
All that was left were their memories of him. He had become a phantom. A ghost. Even the detective boys and professor Agasa couldn't testify his existence.
He looked up once more and felt anger welling up in him when he saw the sad, empty eyes of Mouri Ran. Broken. Hurt. Betrayed. The eyes of one who suffered and was still suffering. Emotions bubbled up inside him, like a volacano which was going to erupt.
"Dammit! How much more are ya going to hurt her?" Heji gritted his teeth angrily while kazuha clung onto his arm, lightly squeezing it for reassurance that he wouldn't disappear. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ran silently wince at her friend's actions and slightly bowed her head as if trying to apologize for the mental stress that she put them under. Even though she was suffering so much, how could she still care about others? The woman in front of him was strong, stronger than anybody that he had ever met, even stronger than himself.
This made heji wonder; what made Conan leave such a desirable woman? After managing to get her back, how did he let her go so easily? Was something wrong with him? Don't you know how much you hurt her? You dumbass, Heji thought to himself. Although anger towards his lost friend bubbled up inside him, he held a slim hope that somehow, Conan would be able to receive these thoughts.
The morning light had started to falter, as the cruel bearer of time slowly ticked and tocked, never stopping to wait or pause. The street was filled with more people and they seemed like ants poring out form the trains which brought people to and fro towards their destinations. The patrons in the restaurant who had finished their breakfast left this cement wall dungeon, and went on with their lives.
They stayed there until the late afternoon.
Ran sighed as she entered her three bedroom apartment, which was stationed near the Mouri detective agency. The apartment owner had left for another country, so she managed to get it for a cheap price. Leaving her house keys on the black lacquer coffee table, she stalked towards the kitchen in a huff, lightly setting down her suitcase near the entrance of the doorway. There were small clinking sounds as she grabbed a glass cup and poured some water from the nearby jug standing on the countertop. After swallowing a few gulps of the cool liquid, Ran made her way towards the bedroom; stripping her clothes from her moist skin and leaving it on the queen sized bed before stepping into the shower. It had been a long trip back and the matters plaguing her mind didn't really help either.
There as the sound of rushing water as she turned the tap clock-wise, and in an instant her body was covered in lukewarm liquid which almost seemed to wash away her troubles. But it was only for a brief moment before they returned two-fold, giving her a vicious headache. Sighing again, Ran lathered her hair with shampoo, wincing when it accidentally slipped into her eye. Using her fingers, she quickly wiped it away, careful not to damage her cornea. The bubbly remains of the shampoo were washed off before covering her body with some fragrant soap. Ran turned the tap once more and dried her body off with a fluffy white towel which was a gift from her colleague.
The steam from her shower seemed to evaporate into the cold night air as she gingerly stepped out and dried her feet on the furry carpet. Satisfied that her body was clean, she flopped onto the bed with one fluid move, her body impacting onto the springy mattress which shook at the sudden weight gain. The blanket made a slight rubbing sound as she moved her body closer to the pillows, and positioned herself more comfortably. Ran began to drift off, as she thought about the mounting problems on her shoulders.
"Conan..." her thoughts ran wild as she lay there silently, "Where did you go? Why did you leave everything behind?" Ran sank deeper into the mattress. Suddenly a surge of energy rushed through her. Sitting straight up again, she reached to the side of the bed, where a small oak table stood. Her fingers grabbed around and finally they found what they were looking for. Closing around the sleek picture frame, Ran stared longingly at the photo encased in the frame. It was taken during her birthday, Kazuha and Hattori stood side by side with similar grins adorning their faces. On her left stood Suzuki Sonoko who was dressed in a flashy pink dress, holding her hand up in a peace sign. Kogoro who was taking said picture whined about him not being in it, only to be kicked in the shins by Conan. In the picture, the male teenager wearing large black-rimmed glasses was leaning against her side, his features one of relaxation.
Ran smiled bitterly. They looked so happy, not aware of the trouble that was yet to come. Deep inside her, she missed those days of pure unwavering innocence. Closing her eyes, ran covered the frame with her chest, and murmured a silent promise.
"No matter where you are...I will find you."