A Meitantei Conan fic by Orla
Disclaimer: I lay no claim to the characters; they all belong to Gosho Aoyama-sama! ^^
I have kept the honorific endings such as `-san', `-kun' and `-neechan' in Japanese as there is no real English equivalent. `-kun' is used for boys and sometimes for girls (when addressed by their elders), `Ran-neechan' can be translated as `big sister Ran' (the male equivalent is `-niichan') and Heiji often refers to or calls Ran `Neechan' even though he is the same age as her, it's just a more casual mode of address.
I don't know where Heiji's house is located in Osaka, but it's pretty big so it would have to be away from the central parts of the city. Shin-Osaka is the station that the Shinkansen (bullet train) arrives at; the travel time from Tokyo on the Hikari train is about 3 hours.
"We have arrived at Shin-Osaka station, please make sure you have all your belongings with you when you exit the train. Thank you for travelling on the Hikari Express, we look forward to serving you again."
She waited for the other passengers to leave, her hands clasped in her lap, then sighed and got to her feet. She pulled a small backpack onto her back and took a cabin bag down from the racks. Pushing nervously at the coloured clips holding down her hair she stepped out of the shinkansen and looked around at the masses of people surging around the platform. For a moment she looked lost, a rather forlorn figure wearing large glasses and an oversized blue shirt. Then her expression set into one of determination and she set off purposefully, heading for the main exit and the subway.
It was late, nearly eleven pm, but the subway trains were still full and she was forced to stand once she got on the one she wanted. She didn't mind though, and after checking where she was going on the subway map, she leaned against the wall of the train and stared into the blackness rushing by the windows. From time to time she touched the glasses on her face, but otherwise she remained still, her face pensive. The train rushed on, stopping at its scheduled stations, people got on and off and more seats were freed, but she remained standing. Finally she was shaken out of her reflections by the announcement that the train had reached her stop.
In almost a daze, she got off and walked slowly to the fourth exit. The late summer heat hit her as she climbed the stairs, making her gasp as instantly a light sweat covered her brow.
"I forgot how hot it can get here..." she sighed to herself and pushed on, her bags feeling heavier with every step. However it was nothing compared to the weight on her heart. "Please, please... let him be home."
Clearing the subway exit she paused and looked around. In the darkness, lit by streetlights and the occasional glow from a convenience store, the area looked unfamiliar. With a grimace she realised the great difference between travelling to a place in daylight by car and travelling to the same place at night and on foot. Still, she had a fairly good sense of direction; hopefully she could find the house, after everything that had happened it couldn't be that hard.
Nearly forty-five minutes later she stood in front of the gate. With a small gulp she pushed it open and stepped into the grounds. The only illumination she could see in the house was the porch light; all the other windows were dark. *They must all be asleep then... oh dear.*
She crept around to the back, counting the windows as she went, trying to recall which one was his. At last she stopped and regarded the curtained and dark window her memory said was correct. She hesitated now, unsure of her next move and as to what her reception would be. Sure she knew him, but did she really know him well enough to be banging on his window close to midnight, asking for help against an enemy she knew nothing about?
"But I don't know what else to do," she sighed and removing her glasses she tapped gently on the window.
There was no response. She frowned and tapped on the window again, harder this time.
Still there was nothing.
"Mou... don't tell me he's not here!" she rapped one more time for good measure, the faint hope within her beginning to dwindle and die. With a slight sigh, she turned away wondering if there was somewhere she could find to rest tonight.
The window slid open with a bang and a dishevelled head poked out. "AHO! I heard you the first time! Kazuha, there better be..." his voice trailed away as she turned to stare at him, her expression resembling that of a deer caught in a car's headlights.
"You're not Kazuha..." he said slowly. "Neechan... what are you doing here?"
Her control broke and she couldn't stand any longer. As a sob escaped her, she sank to her knees and began to cry in earnest. "H-hattori-kun... please... h-help me..."
He leapt out of the window and came to kneel beside her. Hesitantly, Heiji Hattori reached out a hand and laid it on her shoulder. "Neechan... Ran... What's happened?" he looked around the garden. "And where's Ku... Conan? And your Dad?"
Ran Mouri's sobs intensified as he spoke those names and Heiji's mouth tightened. He moved his hand so that Ran was encircled by his arm and allowed her to cry on his bare chest. Finally she began to calm down and gulp down her sobs, Heiji rubbed her back gently.
"Can you stand?" he asked and she nodded.
"Yes... I'm sorry... Hattori-kun, I..."
"Shh... Come inside and I'll..." Heiji paused. He felt a bit lost about what to do now, then he remembered his mother's adage that tea was perfect for calming ruffled nerves. *Well, Okan's usually right about these things...* "I'll make you some tea and you can tell me everything from the beginning."
Ran wiped her eyes and allowed him to help her to her feet. "Thanks Hattori-kun, that would be good," she then became aware that he was wearing nothing but sweatpants and blushed slightly. Heiji noticed this and grinned slightly despite the seriousness of the moment.
"What? You think I'm going to wear night gear in this heat?" he took her elbow and grabbed her cabin bag. "Why do you think I took so long to respond to your knock? You'd be even more red if I'd jumped out as I was!"
Ran let out a slight, gurgly laugh. One of the things she liked about Heiji was his ability to lighten ones mood. Feeling slightly better already she allowed him to settle her down in the dining room while he went to make tea. She knelt at the low table and placed her hands in her lap, closed her eyes and drew in some deep breaths to calm her nerves and also to help sort out the chaos in her mind.
Only a soft clunk alerted her that Heiji was with her and Ran opened her eyes to find him kneeling across from her, his gaze intent on her face. Then he smiled and pushed a cup of steaming tea across to her.
"Drink it," he said.
"Thank you," she picked up the cup and blew on the hot liquid before sipping it slowly. After drinking a little of the hot beverage she put the cup down. "I guess I should tell you what happened now."
Heiji nodded, trying to conceal the urgent feelings gripping him. Something was really wrong and he knew it had to do with Kudou's situation, otherwise why would Ran be here alone?
Ran sighed heavily. "Well, it all started two days ago with a phone call from Shinichi..."
Go on to Part One
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