Conan is six. He can tie his shoes, ride the bus and get dressed all by himself.
Jimmy is 16. He can play soccer, sneak around undetected and get good grades. He’s also the best detective known to humanity. (And at such a young age!)
Conan and Jimmy are very close.
“Jimmy,” says Conan one day.
“Yeah?” Jimmy replies, tuning out the yelling and screaming, the sound of glass breaking, the crying.
“We should run away.” Jimmy’s response is immediate.
Conan is six. Jimmy is 16.
They are running away together.
There’s nothing left in the empty house they inhabit. From food to love they are deprived of most if not all things, save for somewhere to sleep at night. They’d much rather sleep under the stars if it meant getting away from the place they used to call home.
Three days worth of rations packed away in a hollowed out backpack is pulled onto Conan’s shoulders. “Let’s get out of here,” he whispers. Jimmy holds him back.
“Wait,” he says. “Let me do this.”
With the powers invested in the sneakiest boy in town, they manage to make it through the house and out the front door with no hassle whatsoever. The windows upstairs are pitch black, not a peep coming from them either.
They’ve successfully made it to the start of their new lives.
Conan sighs. Jimmy walks.
“Where are we going?” asks the small boy.
“To a relative’s house.” answers the older one.
“Won’t they turn us in to our parents?”
“Nah.” Conan can feel more than see Jimmy’s smirk. “He’s a nutcase. A cool nutcase, but one nonetheless. Plus, he knows what those guys are about. He’ll put us up until we’re good on our own, I just know it."
Conan slows, a bit unconvinced. Jimmy simply pulls at him.
“C’mon, don’t you trust me?”
“I do!” Conan says, worried Jimmy might think otherwise. “I do. But… I don’t know. How do you even know this guy?” Jimmy laughs.
“A detective can find out anything they need.”
Rolling his eyes, Conan deadpans. “Okay. Sure. Now how did you really find him?” Jimmy balks.
“...I overheard Dad talking about him.” Conan huffs a laugh.
“That’s what I thought.”
Conan is six. Jimmy is 16.
Together they stand in front of a house, wet from the rain that had started. There is a large, stout man outside of it. He looks very confused.
“What’s a baby doing at my front door?” is the first thing out of his mouth.
“I’m no baby!” pout Conan and Jimmy, miffed. “We’re here ‘cause we’re the Kudo’s sons.” The befuddlement only buries itself deeper into the man’s expression.
“We?” he asks. And then, before they can answer, “Kudo’s?” Like a lightning bolt had hit him, his face changes and he immediately starts gesturing inwards.
“Come in, come in! Hurry and get out of this rain!” Conan notices for the first time he has an accent. Jimmy calls him out for not noticing it sooner. Conan sticks his tongue out.
“Here,” says the man, handing the two of them a towel. They’re sat on a sofa. Conan is only vaguely worried about staining it with rain, but Jimmy insists it’s just water.
“My name is Hershel Agasa,” he introduces. “But, most people just call me Professor, on account of me being a professor and all.” He laughs heartily. “Now, what’s your name, Mr. Kudo?” Conan squirms under the name.
“Should I tell him?” Conan asks Jimmy, who nods.
“If anyone’ll get it, it’ll be him.” Conan gulps.
“I—I’m Conan Edogawa.” He stumbles a bit, still scared of the possibility the professor will disown him before he even gets the chance to own him in the first place.
“Edogawa?” Hershel questions. “I thought you said you were the Kudo’s kid?” He looks unamused. “If you were lying to me…” Conan is ready to panic. He’s not used to handling social situations.
“Here,” says Jimmy, slipping into the forefront. “Let me do this.”
“He’s not lying, Professor,” comes out of Conan’s mouth. His voice is suddenly sharper, more focused. More certain. Just a bit deeper. The professor blinks, taken aback.
“He? You mean you surely?” Conan’s face smirks and he shakes his head.
“Afraid not. I’m Jimmy Kudo, ace detective, at your service.” His eyes are clear. His breath is even.
Jimmy is telling the truth.
“But?” Hershel’s face must hurt from the way he’s scrunching it up in confusion. “You just said your name was Conan Edogawa? What, do you have two names?”
“Not exactly,” says Jimmy, lifting up. He walks slightly away as he talks, eyes closed. “You see, I am Jimmy Kudo. However he—” Conan’s body gestures to itself, “is Conan Edogawa.” Jimmy looks back. “Getting the memo yet, old timer?”
“I am 53!” says a disgruntled Hershel, at the same time a distraught Conan says “Don’t make fun of him!”
“Anyways,” continues the professor, “I don’t understand. How are you two different people?” Conan’s body—Jimmy—shrugs.
“If you think we know you must be out of your mind before the time’s even come.” Suddenly, his stance changes. It transforms from outward to inward and he turns around fully. His arms are at his side, hands held up together.
“Sorry!” says the body—Conan?—looking to the side. His voice is higher. “He can get kind of rude with strangers. Though, I guess with what we came to ask we won’t very well be strangers much longer?” He looks unsure of himself.
“Ask? You wanted to ask me something? I should be asking you something!” The professor’s adult brain must finally be kicking in. “Do you know it’s nearly midnight? What would your parents think?"
“Who cares?” says the deeper voice. Jimmy’s back. “We ran away for a reason, you know.”
“Ran away!?” Poor professor. He couldn’t catch a break tonight, huh? “You ran away and your first thought was to come to a stranger’s house? In the pouring rain? Are you mad!?” Jimmy rolls his eyes.
“You live close enough that it only took us about 5 hours by bus to get here, you know. It’s nothing to sneeze at, but you should’ve visited more often.” He’s inspecting the area around him now, looking for something to fiddle with. “And, anyways, you must know what your brother is like. Add an angry Edogawa to the mix and you’re just asking for poison to be stuffed down your throat.”
“Oh!” Hershel exclaims, hitting the palm of his hand. “That’s right! He did marry someone with the name Edogawa, didn’t he?” Jimmy nods, plucking a half solved rubix cube off of a desk.
He must get it now.
“I still don’t get it.”
“You have two first and last names. Separate. Am I following so far?” Without looking away from his cube, Jimmy leans on the desk, nodding. “Okay. One last name is from your mother, and one is from my brother, right?” Another nod. “Alright. Okay. Now explain this I and we nonsense. You can’t just call yourself two different people because you feel like it, you know.”
For his part, Jimmy doesn’t roll his eyes or immediately snark something mean. Instead, he slows his solving and sighs.
“There’s two of us in here,” he begins. “Conan is the owner of this body. I’m also here, though.” The professor opens his mouth, but Jimmy holds up a finger before he can say anything. “Don’t ask how, or why, or when. We don’t know. The only thing we know is that Conan was born, and at some point, I came along for the ride.”
For a moment, there is vocal silence. Nothing said, just the click click click of the rubix cube. Then, finally, “So I guess you’re looking for a place to stay?”
Jimmy places the completed rubix cube on the desk. “Yep. You got any more things I can mess with around here?” Without waiting for an answer, he dives face first into a drawer, looking for whatever he can find.
“Hey! Don’t just—”
Aw crap, company. Jimmy knew Conan was on his last legs with Hershel himself, he probably couldn’t do someone else new as well. He ducks fully behind the desk, picking up the weird lensless pair of glasses he found along the way.
Maybe if Conan put these on, he’d look cuter and this Rachel person wouldn’t want to hurt him?
“Oh, Conan, honestly,” Jimmy thinks towards him. “She doesn’t even sound like an adult. I don’t think she’ll want to hurt us.”
“But how can you be sure?”
“I just know so, okay? Don’t worry. Besides, I’ll handle it.”
“Rachel, what are you doing here?” Hershel asks, sounding a bit frazzled. He’s probably not too keen on having a weird kid in his house whilst guests are over.
“Dad said he forgot his dumb rubix cube along with some files. He needed the files, but if you ask me, he really wanted the cube more than anything else.”
“Oh, that? It’s right over there—” the professor’s sentence stops awkwardly. He’s just pointed her in their direction, hasn’t he?
“Oh!” Rachel’s voice gets closer. “There it is. Woah, he solved this all by himself? I don’t believe it.” Hershel pshaws.
“Him? Please, he couldn’t have done that if he wanted to. Con—I mean, I finished it just a bit ago.”
“Yeah?” Rachel sounds doubtful. “Well, thanks for that. I’ll scramble it up real good just to piss him off.” Ouch. Harsh. “Here are the files too. I’ll just—oops!”
Right next to Conan and Jimmy drops the cube.
There goes hiding.
“Let me just—ah!” Suddenly seeing the crumpled form of a kid hiding under a desk must not be the best sight for sore eyes. “Who… oh my god, a kid?” She sounds incredulous. “Professor!” she yells. “Why’s there a kid under your desk!?”
“Ahaha… about that… um…” The professor is not the best at this lying thing, Jimmy sees. He’ll just have to take up the reigns.
“I’m Conan!” he greets, forcing his voice to be higher. It doesn’t quite hit the right note, but it’s not like this random girl would know that. “I’m Uncle Hershel’s nephew. He’s looking out for me while my parents are in the hospital.”
“The hospital? Oh, my gosh.” Rachel bends down on her knees and pulls Jimmy out of the darkness, a hug waiting for him upon capture. “I’m so sorry, Conan. Things must be really bad if they left you with him.”
“It’s okay,” Jimmy reassures. “He’s my only relative. I kind of have to be okay with it, haha!” Rachel smiles and laughs with him.
“I’m glad to see you can joke about everything. You’re a really strong person, little guy.”
“How patronizing…” Jimmy thinks.
“I don’t know, I think she’s kinda right,” Conan thinks back. “We’re pretty strong for just leaving.” Jimmy hums.
Hershel laughs, shattering the moment. “You know, Rachel, you’re right. I’m in no position to be handling a kid. You, however, have your dad and he has experience. After all, he raised a beautiful young woman!”
“Your compliments will get you nowhere, Professor.” Ouch. Stone cold in the face of all men then? She stands, still holding Jimmy. “Out with it.” The professor winces.
“Could you look out for him for me? I don’t think it’s very safe here, anyways. Surely he’d be safer living with a karate expert and a great detective?”
“Detective?” Jimmy asks immediately. Rachel smiles down at him.
“Yeah! My dad’s a detective.” Jimmy can feel his eyes widen with excitement.
“Can I live with you?” Hershel lets out a relieved sigh.
“See, even he wants to go with you. You’ll take him won’t you?” Rachel rolls her eyes.
“Well, of course. There’s no way I’m leaving a little kid in your care. Now,” she redistributes her weight, placing Jimmy down. “Where’s your stuff, Conan?” Jimmy points to his awkwardly dried backpack. It probably looks pretty pathetic right now.
“I’ve got snacks and stuff in there. Um, no clothes though. I hope that’s okay.” Rachel giggles.
“Of course it is. We’ll go shopping as soon as possible, okay? You’re with me now, kid.” She holds her hand out and waits for Jimmy to grab it, walking towards the door once he does. Along the way Jimmy slips away into Conan, who grabs his backpack as he passes it.
“I’ll lock the door on the way out, okay?” Rachel says as Conan begins humming softly to himself. “See you, Professor!”
“Who’s freakin’ kid is this?” is the first thing out of Rachel’s dad’s mouth. “And where the hell is my rubix cube—I mean, my files?” Jimmy sighs.
“You want me to take over again?” A very unsure looking Conan simply replies with a small shake of the head. If he was living here from now on, he’d have to get used to being himself around this man. Might as well start early.
“I’m Conan,” he says, trying to summon the strength Jimmy exudes. “I’m Uncle Hershel’s nephew. Nice to meet you.” Conan holds out his hand.
The man doesn’t take it. But he doesn’t ignore him either.
“Agasa’s got a sibling?” he asks. “I never knew that…” Rachel rolls her eyes, setting Conan’s bag on the table and revealing its contents.
“Yes, you did.” She pulls out peanuts, doritos, jello cups. “You’ve told me about him yourself. You were probably just too drunk to remember it.” Legos, markers, ruined paper. She stops for a moment and turns to the small boy. “Conan, this is my dad, Richard Moore. He’s a handful, but I like having him around.”
“Hey! I resent that!”
The girl laughs and resumes her unpacking. There’s just a bowtie left, the one Conan had stuffed in there once it started raining. It was his favorite one. The texture was velvety and it felt good to rub his cheek against. He didn’t want it getting ruined.
“You packed light, huh kid?” Conan nods and smiles awkwardly. Richard groans.
“You haven’t explained anything. What the hell is he doing here?” Rachel is spreading out the markers, looking over them. Probably to see if they were salvageable. The water might have ruined them.
“He’s our new roommate, Dad.” Richard balks.
“Roommate—!?” Jimmy’s laughter almost bubbles out of Conan. He clamps his mouth shut and looks anywhere other than any of the two people in the room.
“Yes Dad,” monotones his daughter, “Roommate. He’s gonna stay with us while his parents are in the hospital.”
“Keep up, Dad.”
“Keep up? This is news to me!”
The back and forth has Jimmy rolling. Conan plays with the hem of his shirt.
“Look, Conan’s staying with us, okay?” Rachel says, finality in her voice. “You’d better get used to it. You’ll have to enroll him in school tomorrow.” Richard goes on a face journey of the likes Conan has never seen before.
Finally, he opens his mouth.
“If you say anything you’re not getting dinner tonight.”
He closes his mouth.
“Sorry all we have for you is a futon,” Rachel murmurs as she puts Conan to bed. “We weren’t really ready for a new housemate. But! You get the guest room all to yourself. Lucky you, huh?” Conan simply nods, a small smile on his face.
“You’ve got a big day tomorrow,” Rachel continues, sitting down on her knees. “Dad’s gonna take you to get school all sorted out, and then we’ll go shopping, and then we can have some fun doing something together, okay?” Again Conan nods. Rachel smiles.
“Goodnight, Conan.” She gives him one last look over before lifting up and leaving the room, closing the door behind her.
The room is silent save for the crickets that flock together at night to sing their songs. Finally, bathed in moonlight in a brand new room in a brand new house, Conan sighs.
“Jimmy,” he says.
“Yeah?” Jimmy replies.
“Do you think we did the right thing?” Jimmy answers immediately.