I know - May is over - but there were two prompts I wanted to do and I somehow worked them into one story.
Guest on ffnet.: 'Ran and Shinichi fighting against some dangerous bad guys and need to protect each other but are too hurt to fight the bad guys anymore'
and Shelling4869Ford asked for something psychological. Also, go check out her story 'Lost in time' if you like ShinXRan, hurt/comfort, suspense, drama and feels.
- Mind the rating! This one is rated M for torture and its effects, though it's nothing too graphic. -
Picking up the pieces
Shinichi and Agasa
A bright flash of light illuminated his room and Shinichi bolted upright in his bed with a gasp, the thunder roaring in his ears. He detangled his legs from his blanket and, still befogged from sleep, stumbled over to the window to close the curtains he had forgotten to draw before he went to bed.
Just when he reached for the fabric, another lightning danced across the sky, but he didn't really see it. His eyes stared out into the dark, beyond the raindrops that chased each other on the pane directly before him. His breath caught in his throat and his stiff arms and legs felt heavy. He was pinned in place by a sudden fear knifing through him, robbing him of any coherent thought.
The next lightning split the nightly sky, and he screamed at the reflection that flashed across the window. His right fist shot forward purely on reflex, punched through the glass, and shattered the face that maliciously grinned back at him, framed by long, silvery hair.
Shinichi cried out more in surprise over the strong gust of wind that hit him than in pain, though blood was dripping from his cut knuckles to the wooden floor of his bedroom, slowly mixing with the raindrops that now had an easy way in.
Dazed, he stared down at the gruesome puddle forming at his feet, nearly reaching his bare toes, not feeling the chill of the autumn night that now filled his room.
Black stains in the darkness, flashing red with every bolt of lightning.
Just as before.
Just as when they had finally caught him – caught her!
Your fault! Your fault! Your fault!
Shivers wrecked his whole body, his breathing just uncontrolled pants when his mind flung him back to that night.
He sunk to the floor, numb to the pain the shards of glass inflicted to his knees and shins, digging through the thin material of his pajama pants.
This was nothing compared to what she had to endure, what they did to her. He was useless, couldn't protect her, was restrained to the wall opposite to her with chains, a gag securely lodged in his mouth, muffling his desperate pleas to release her, to take him instead.
He felt every cut like it sliced through his own skin, every blow bruising him just as much as her, and each of her hisses, moans and cries pierced through his heart with enough force to smash it into pieces.
He was doing this to her.
Without him, she wouldn't be here, tortured by criminals she hadn't even known existed.
They wanted to break him, to make him talk.
Returning to his old self for the final takedown had been a fatal mistake. He had risen one red flag too many, and Gin hadn't needed much time to remember him or to find out that Kudou Shinichi and Mouri Ran were dating - that she was the perfect leverage.
When hurting Shinichi had only resulted in stubborn silence, they had brought her in, and his personal hell had become reality.
Every now and then they removed the gag and questioned him, just to replace it when he refused yet again.
How did you survive?
Who is helping you?
Where is Sherry?
"Don't tell them!" Ran - voice hoarse from crying and screaming, but still believing.
Brave, loyal Ran.
Another of her screams was drowned out by cracking thunder.
Tell them! Just tell them what they want to hear, and it will end! Surrender!
He shook his head, bit down on the gag so hard his teeth hurt.
It was a lie and he knew it. They would never stop, never let them go. Every name he gave them would be a death sentence.
His parents, Heiji, Shiho, Agasa. They wouldn't stop there. Police, FBI, CIA, civilian – it didn't matter. Kogoro, Sera, the kids…
You dragged all of them into this!
You should have died back then!
His own injuries enhanced his exhaustion and left his mind in a fuzzy state, no matter how hard he tried to stay alert, to find a way to get them both out.
Ran fell slack in her restraints.
Shinichi struggled, screamed, cried, begged, but all that came out were unintelligible, distressed noises, soon laced with new pain when they restored to torture him instead of Ran. He continued anyway, desperate to get to her, to help her.
Everything blurred together in a cloud of agony, despair and self-hatred, obscuring his vision with a milky haze, disconnecting him from what was happening around him and with his own body.
When gentle hands freed him and laid him down on cold concrete, he didn't register it at all. Voices filtered through the buzzing static that filled his ears, but he couldn't place them. Were they here to hurt them even more? He didn't dare hoping for rescue, tried to fend off anyone who wanted to touch him. The gag was loosened, came off, and he could speak again. Despite the pain in his strained jaws, he began to scream again, though his voice was rough, his vocal-chords raw from overuse.
He choked, coughed and started to hyperventilate, couldn't get enough air in his lungs.
"Shinichi – close your eyes. You're having a panic attack."
"It's going to be okay; they can't hurt you or Ran-kun anymore."
"You're safe. You are not there anymore. You are in your room."
He knew that voice. He had heard it since his early childhood. Advising, helping, caring, sometimes chiding.
Using the voice as an anchor, he pulled away from the horrible visions in his head and bit by bit came back to himself. The hard concrete turned into smooth wooden planks, the stench of blood, sweat and fear slowly vanished.
"Ha- Hakase?" he rasped out.
"Breathe, Shinichi, I've got you. Just count with me. In for four, hold for a second, out for four. In, two three four, hold, out two three four…"
Shinichi tried to focus on Agasa's counting to block out everything else - the wind howling through the broken window, carrying rain with it, and the low rumbling that followed after yet another bright flash of lightning. He kept his eyes shut and buried his face into Agasa's shoulder, where the blinding shock of light couldn't reach him, couldn't trigger the memories of that night.
"…out, two, three, four…"
At his first tries, his own hiccupping sobs hindered him from following the instructions to the end, interrupting him with hitched whines that sounded pathetic in his ears. Why couldn't he just get a grip on himself? He was twenty-two, dammit! He shouldn't be afraid of a little storm like this.
And still, here he was, hiding in his neighbor's embrace with the urge to press his hands over his ears to shut out the noises of a completely common thunderstorm.
Even after the Black Organization was gone, they had a firm grip on him. The shadows were still full of eyes that stared at him, followed him. Nights like this threw him straight back into that rundown warehouse were rain leaked down through cracks in the roof, and thunderbolts highlighted the blood running down Ran's face, arms, and legs.
He repeated what he knew in his head.
'You are in your room. They can't reach you anymore, can't hurt you, can't hurt Ran. She is home as well. She is fully healed. She is okay. You are okay.'
His whole body shuddered as he let go of part of the tension, breathing becoming easier now, but he gave himself a few more moments to calm down before he opened his eyes and looked around.
He grimaced at the shards on the wet floor underneath the shattered window. The Professor must have closed the curtains, knowing about how Shinichi was affected by storms these days. Because of the strong wind, they didn't do much to block out the weather, and unruly flapped into the room like huge wings.
"Do you think you can get up?" Agasa asked, and Shinichi nodded. With a helping hand, he stood on slightly wobbly legs and let himself be led downstairs into the living room were he flopped down onto the couch while Agasa went to get the first-aid kit.
Watching how the Professor wrapped a bandage around his injured hand, he bowed his head, ashamed. "Sorry that I woke you."
A firm squeeze on his other hand made him look up again, meeting warm eyes behind round glasses.
"There is no need to apologize. Never! You can always count on me, you know that. And if it makes you feel any better about it, I didn't sleep anyway. Storms make me anxious as well, and when I heard your window breaking… well…" he ended with an understanding shrug.
Shinichi exhaled deeply, still frustrated with himself. "Still, I should be able to deal with it on my own. Being afraid of some wind, noise, and light just isn't rational."
"It doesn't work that way, I'm afraid. What you have been through left its marks, and it will take time to heal, but you don't have to go through this alone. I know that first thing in the morning you will go to Ran-kun to check on her, and that you will bury your own fear to be strong for her."
Shinichi averted his gaze again, caught, and Agasa smiled softly.
"There is no need to be ashamed of what scares you. It doesn't make you weak to show her that you are hurting as well. She wouldn't think any less of you. The trauma could have broken you, but you are still standing. You are strong, and Ran-kun too. Working through it together could benefit both of you. Won't you give it a try?"
Shinichi wanted to say yes, of course, because he knew what PTSD did to you, knew that he wasn't immune to it, that talking about it would help, but guilt held him back.
Ran had suffered so much because of his bad decisions. What right did he have to wallow in his own pain in front of her? The least he could do was lend her a shoulder that didn't shake and a resolve that wouldn't waver. If that meant that he had to bottle up his own swirling dark emotions, he would do exactly that.
Agasa sighed. He could read Shinichi like an open book right now, and it was obvious that the boy wouldn't follow his advice just yet. Hopefully, Ran would be able to convince him to open up to her. He needed to let go of all those burdens he'd loaded onto himself, to accept that he could reach out for help, and that what had happened wasn't entirely his fault.
Had his actions always been the right ones?
Had he always been considerate of Ran's feelings?
Probably not, but he did his best in a nearly impossible situation, and now he tried to pick up the pieces and somehow put them together to make them resemble his old life – what was a futile struggle, and Shinichi had to accept that at some point.
He had been thrown for a loop the last few years, and he no longer was the cocky, attention-seeking teen, who had basked in his fame and the praises he got. He was quieter than before, jumped at sudden voices or touches, and a somber air clung to him.
Kudou Shinichi needed to find his place, reforge bonds he'd had as Conan, and come to terms with his past.
And if he just would allow them, there were plenty of people who would be more than willing to help him with that.
Agasa for sure would stay at his side for every step of the way – just like he had always done.
A/N: Because Agasa is Shinichi's only constant pillar in the whole mess, and has been so from the very beginning. Were would he be without him and his encouragement or his inventions?