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Understanding

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Edogawa Ranpo, age 12. His name is not Edogawa Ranpo yet, but he prefers not to think about that. Age 12 when the girls his age are starting to change and he is not. He is always last around what the school counselor called the “development curve” - at least, what she calls the “development curve” before Ranpo’s parents sign a slip and said that he isn’t going to be seeing her anymore. She doesn’t understand him. By age 12, he is been taken out of more classrooms, afterschool programs, and academies than he can count, because people don’t understand him.

Edogawa Ranpo, age 14, bleeding on his bed, understanding why but refusing to understand, arms folded over his head. His mother tells him it is natural and that it should have happened before then anyways, that he is becoming a woman. At age 14, Ranpo thinks about becoming a woman for the first time and realizes that he doesn’t want to, that he can’t, because he isn’t. He tunes his mother out and refuses to leave his room for a week.

When his mother happily tells him that he needs to be fitted for a bra, finally, Ranpo runs away. His parents, of course, had find him quickly. “I just don’t understand you,” his father had says, knuckles white on the steering wheel.

Edogawa Ranpo, age too young, an orphan, free from the only people who had known him as his past self. Edogawa Ranpo, age reborn, as Edogawa Ranpo. Another story must always be told. He doesn’t cry for a month; then he cries for what feels like a month. He is lonely, alone, free, so free, stuck buried alive breathing gasping reaching begging seeking a purpose, purpose, purpose.

He buys a new wardrobe and bids farewell to the only people who have ever understood him, and did not understand him at all.

Edogawa Ranpo, age old enough, meets a man with silver hair. This man ends up owing him a favor, because Ranpo is good at what he does. He’s always been smart; his parents made sure that he knew that. Too smart, that was why no one understands him.

“What’s your name, son?”

His heart skips, and he is glad that sports bras were enough to hide what his mother had been so happy about, that a playful attitude lends itself to his image, this he is able lower his voice.

“Edogawa Ranpo, and I’m going to become the world’s greatest detective.”

His voice shakes, betraying the fear in his heart. This man knows what he can do.

Edogawa Ranpo, age unimportant, learns that he has an ability, and suddenly the world makes so much more sense.

Kidnapped, saved, mortified but pleased, as Fukuzawa Yukichi gives his life meaning again. Fukuzawa Yukichi wants to understand him.

Edogawa Ranpo, age Agency at last.

Edogawa Ranpo, age where Yosano joins the Agency. Unable to help himself when she says that her ability to heal is boundless.

“Can it fix this?” he asks, lifting his shirt, pride too strong to stop himself from showing Yosano what only Fukuzawa knows, stopping her in her tracks and showing her that her ability has limitations, unlike his.

The President’s brow twitches but Yosano just laughs and tells him she can’t fix what isn’t broken.

Edogawa Ranpo, age real binder at last, when he has never even known what they were. He thinks he will hate the tightness, the texture, not be able to handle it. But the compression is a friend, a constant, pleasant pressure that he misses when he goes to bed at night; weight blankets only do so much.

The Agency fills, and he finds friends. People that cannot compare to him but do not need to in order to be worthy. People that respect him.

Edogawa Ranpo, age who cares, finds another home.

Edogawa Ranpo, age conflicted, knows he does not have an ability.

Edogawa Ranpo, age adult, kisses Poe after another party, knowing it was what adults do when they like someone.

Edogawa Ranpo, age smitten, likes Poe.

Edogawa Ranpo, age taken, announces this by just the simple phrase, “my boyfriend Edgar is taking me out to dinner, so there,” during work one day. Atsushi grumbles and slides a bill into Dazai’s waiting palm.

Fukuzawa asks if Poe makes Ranpo happy; when he receives an affirmative, there are no more questions.

A shared bed is a thing of fear, when a storm traps Ranpo at Poe’s one night.

Edogawa Ranpo, age terrified, remembers horror stories he has read late at night, about people like him losing when they were found out.

Edogawa Ranpo, age ridiculous, reminds himself that he has never lost.

Edogawa, age determined, tells Poe everything about himself.

Edogawa Ranpo, age relieved, throws his arms around Poe when he says, “Does that matter to what we are?” and “You didn’t have to tell me.”

Edogawa Ranpo, age aware, is glad that he did.

Edogawa Ranpo, age blessed, wakes up in a warm bed, held close by someone who understands him better than anyone, and could not ask for more.