Title: Bedtime Story
Author: Jordanna Morgan (librarie@jordanna.net)
Archive Rights: Please request the author’s consent.
Rating/Warnings: G.
Characters: Jimmy (Conan) and Rachel.
Setting: The night after Jimmy’s age was regressed.
Summary: Jimmy receives an unexpected comfort while facing his first nights as Conan.
Disclaimer: “Detective Conan/Case Closed” belongs to Gosho Aoyama.
Notes: Just a rather random idea that came to me. It fills the prompt of nightmares at Hurt/Comfort Bingo.

 

Bedtime Story

 

On my first night as Conan Edogawa, I slept on the Moores’ living-room sofa. By the time we returned from the Tanner kidnapping case, it was too late at night to think of any other arrangement—and I was too exhausted to care where I passed out. My child body had reached the end of its stamina, and I was aching from the bruised ribs and strained ankle the kidnapper had dealt me.

Unfortunately, my sleep was none too restful. I dreamed of sinister men in black, and finding myself in an even more gigantic world where I was no bigger than an ant. At least once I must have cried out, because I woke up to find Rachel kneeling beside me… and in my drowsy confusion, I forgot for a moment that I wasn’t Jimmy to her anymore. It was just lucky that I didn’t say anything to give myself away before I remembered the situation.

Seeing her worry about me over a bad dream was the hardest thing I had experienced yet since I changed.

The next day, Rachel started cleaning out a spare room Richard used for storage. The job was still only half-done by evening, leaving the space stacked with boxes of old case files… not that I minded that. I wanted nothing more than the chance to dig through those files before they were cleared away, in the hope of finding a lead on the goons who fed me that poison.

Rachel declared my bedtime that night much earlier than my mind would have liked—but after my first hellish day back in elementary school, my little body felt otherwise. I gave in and shuffled off to my new room, where I settled into a makeshift bed of blankets and pillows on the floor.

As I lay thinking futilely about my predicament, there was a tap on the door. To my surprise, Rachel stepped in, carrying something half-hidden behind her back.

Trying not to look too startled, I hastily snatched up the prop glasses I had set aside. “Rachel?”

“Hey, Conan.” She smiled at me. It was so different from the way she once smiled at my real self. “Listen. I know it’s a little rough getting used to a strange place—especially after you went through something so scary with that kidnapper last night. So I thought… maybe you’d like it if I read you a bedtime story, to help you fall asleep.” Almost sheepishly, she revealed a dog-eared book. “I don’t have a lot of stuff left over from when I was little, but I did find Aesop’s Fables. I remember how I always used to like these.”

The gentle offer left my face burning and my heart pounding. I’d never imagined I could feel so embarrassed and so deeply moved all at once.

“Uh… wha?”

Without waiting for a more articulate reply than that, Rachel merely sat down on the floor beside me. She ruffled my hair, and opening the book, she began to read aloud from its pages.

Slowly, the flame in my cheeks burned out. It was replaced by a smile that hurt—but not in a bad way. I tried not to let Rachel see it as I relaxed into the pillows, closing my eyes to concentrate on the sound of her voice. I’d never realized before how tender and warm it could be.

As I drifted away into sleep, it didn’t matter what her words were, or even who she believed she was talking to.

I just felt glad I was still alive to hear her.


© 2015 Jordanna Morgan