"Sherlock. There is a child on our couch."
Well. That wasn't the strangest thing he'd ever woken up to hear.
He decided it probably wasn't enough to pay attention to and snuggled deeper into the cushion.
"Sherlock! Did you hear me?"
A grumble from roughly the same direction as the voice.
"No, he's not doing anything - "
More grumbles, getting closer now.
"No - I want to know where he came from!"
Grumble grumble. Footsteps.
Shinichi sighed, considering giving up on sleep. No, he ended up deciding. He was a teenaged boy who had just spent the last three days on a case. He deserved a little more sleep.
Something was wrong with that thought, though he couldn't quite put his finger on it through the hazy fog of sleep. It would still be there tomorrow, whatever it was. Sleep, however, probably wouldn't be. Besides, the couch was comfy, even though there was something digging into the bridge of his nose.
He suddenly became aware of a person standing over him, blocking out the sunlight (sunlight? Just how long had he slept?). The person seemed to be studying him, or perhaps that was just his paranoia talking. It was probably just Ran. Well, if she were here, it was time to get up before a karate chop to the head gave him no other option.
He blinked his eyes open blearily, mildly disoriented as he tried to sit up. Shouldn't his feet be touching the ground? Oh, wait, this wasn't his couch. That would explain it. Then whose was it?
He rubbed one of his eyes with the back of his hand - or at least tried to before he was met with an obstruction.
He was still Conan.
Conan carefully lowered his arm back to his side and looked at the people in front of him. One was in front of him, verging on invading his personal space and studying him like Conan would study a dead body. Speaking of which, there hadn't been one for a while. Not since he solved the three-day case. Judging by the angle of the sunlight coming through the window, it had been nearly eighteen hours. He was due for one soon, then.
The other man stood at the door, tensed with all the self-preservation the other lacked. The fact that he was wearing a jumper did nothing to diminish the intimidating aura that surrounded him. It kind of reminded him of the aura Black Organization members had, but not quite as cold. Actually, it was closer to Haibara when he'd done something particularly stupid.
That guy, he didn't recognize. The other, however... Hm. This could be bad. Conan smiled brightly, pitched his voice into the annoying childish octave he used around Ran and new police officers, and said, "Hi. Who are you?" He made his eyes as big as possible and tried to radiate Look at me! I'm so cute! I can't possibly be a threat!
The man at the door relaxed minutely, though something caused him to shift unconsciously into a military parade rest. Interesting, thought Conan. He still sees me as a threat.
...It was somewhat gratifying, actually. He was so used to being immediately discounted because of his size and apparent age that it was a nice change of pace to be automatically considered dangerous.
Well, time to put his mother's acting lessons to good use.
He blinked adorably, clearly waiting for an answer.
"I'm John Watson," the man by the door said finally. "And that berk's Sherlock Holmes," he added when it became obvious that Sherlock wasn't going to introduce himself, still stuck in his world of deductions.
Huh. So Sherlock had finally found his Watson. Good for him. What were the odds of someone named after a character in a book finding someone with the same name as their in-book partner, though? Well, considering it was Sherlock… Not too unexpected, really.
Judging by the decor of their flat, it was a relatively new development. The last time Conan had been there, the chair had been directly across from the couch instead of angled towards the television. The sink hadn't been full of dirty dishes - not to say that it was now, but there definitely hadn't been any soap on the counter then. Sherlock's experiments had been...not subdued, exactly, but localized, from the sticky note on the teapot saying 'OFF LIMITS!'
The most interesting piece of information, however, was that Sherlock was actually respecting the boundaries set by his roommate.
"I'm Edogawa Conan!" Conan said brightly, radiating sunshine and sparkles. Then he bit his lip and looked down at the ground contritely. "Um, I mean Conan Edogawa." The smile made a reappearance and he directed it shamelessly towards John because it definitely wouldn't work on Sherlock before adding, "But you can call me Conan!"
Sherlock snorted derisively and muttered something under his breath. John levelled a glare at him, seeming to wordlessly communicate that that was, quote, 'a bit not good.' His eyes were amazingly expressive.
Conan filed the observation away and then took a moment to study John Watson. He had short, dusky brown hair (military cut, though it had been grown out, he noted) and held himself somewhat warily, as if he were waiting for something to attack. There seemed to be a slight stiffness in one of his shoulders, Conan found as John shifted slightly to his good leg, as well as a limp - probably psychosomatic, if the barely-used cane by the door was any indication. So, recent war veteran returned from service due to injuries.
But...steady hands, comfortable using both just about equally, and the way John had scanned Conan when he sat up meant Doctor John Watson, so he must have been a medic, but close enough to the battle to be...hm, shot, probably, judging by where the tension in his muscles was. An army doctor, then. Interesting. The only thing that he was missing (and it was more to satisfy his curiosity than anything) was...
"Afghanistan or Iraq?" he blurted before he could stop himself.
Both John and Sherlock turned abruptly to stare at him. Conan tried to keep his oblivious façade, but he could feel his smile growing steadily more strained. The silence stretched for ages.
"What?" asked John finally.
Conan winced internally, but with Sherlock's penetrating gaze locked on him, he couldn't exactly brush it off. Instead, he tried to radiate 'cute' again, instead of ohcrapIjustmessedupBIGTIME.
"Huh?" was a far better response than repeating what he had actually said, though it didn't appear that they were buying it. Sherlock's gaze drilled into him intensely, and if Conan knew anything about him, it was that being studied by him was not good for secrets. And since he had secrets to keep...
"Oh, I asked if you served in Afghanistan or Iraq," he said with the most innocent voice he could muster - the one he used when Ran had tried to use his phone to nearly disassemble his carefully refined new identity. This was starting to become a survival mechanism,
acting cute. That might have some repercussions when - when, not if - he had his body back. Conan nearly winced at the thought of one of Ran's karate kicks. No! This was not the time to be distracted, especially not with HIM of all people in the room.
"Afghanistan..." the doctor said slowly. "How did you - "
"How did I know that you were in the army?" Conan interrupted. That was a good question. What would a reasonable explanation be? One that they would both believe? Or maybe deflection was a better tactic. "Ran-neechan says I'm really smart, Hattori-niichan, too!"
...And he'd just given away his nationality. Great. It would be too much to ask for Sherlock to ignore those honorifics. Though, to be fair, Sherlock could probably deduce his nationality from his clothing. And his accent. But his English wasn't that terrible, so maybe not?
Oh, but there was also the name order thing earlier.
Yeah, Sherlock probably knew.
Ugh. He needed coffee.
John stared at him for a moment, then decided that this wasn't the weirdest thing that had ever happened in 221B. He shook his head, sighed, and walked purposefully to the kitchen. Conan perked up when he heard boiling water, but nearly visibly deflated when he heard the doctor call, "Sherlock, do you want any tea?" Tea, not coffee. Damn.
Though, really, he shouldn't have bothered to get his hopes up - it was evident from their carpet, John's teeth, and Sherlock's arms that neither of them drank coffee with any regularity.
"No," Sherlock replied curtly, still studying Conan. John ducked out of the kitchen briefly to ask, "Conan, would you like anything?"
Conan opened his mouth the respond, but before he could say anything -
"He'll have coffee," said Sherlock abruptly, turning to pin John with his sharp gaze.
John, for his part, blinked slowly before saying, "Sherlock. He's five years old."
"I'm seven!" Conan agreed, holding up six fingers.
Sherlock snorted. Conan looked at his fingers, counted them, then put up another. "It was my birthday last week," he added, smiling brightly.
"Wrong," Sherlock muttered under his breath, then looked thoughtful. "Hm. Half wrong."
John looked at him for a moment, bewildered. "How can someone be half wrong?"
"Just look at his shoes!"
John obliged. To him, they looked like regular red Converse - maybe a tad old-fashioned, but that was making a comeback, wasn't it? He sighed and gave up. "I don't know what you want me to see, Sherlock. Conan, would you like some coffee?"
"Yes, please." Hey, if he was offering...
As soon as John left, Conan snapped his attention towards the man crouching on the floor less than a meter away. He shifted slightly, swinging his feet childishly. "Hey, hey, Holmes-san, how'd you know I like coffee? Ran-neechan doesn't like to let me have any." Much to his displeasure. He let his expression fall into a pout, which he didn't even really have to fake.
Sherlock snorted again. "Your reaction when you heard the boiling water, obviously."
Conan gritted his teeth silently. Yes, it was obvious to a detective, but children asked obvious questions, and he was trying to stay in character.
John's voice wafted into the living room along with the smell of Conan's first true love. "Sherlock, remember what we talked about?"
"Not good?" "
Conan is seven. He won't know all the things you do. Though be probably knows more in other areas."
Conan's interest was piqued. What could he possibly know more about than Sherlock bloody Holmes did?
Sherlock groaned and flopped dramatically into the chair behind him, limbs sprawling. "You're never going to let that go, are you?"
"What?" John asked as he returned with a great bearing two cups of tea and one - smaller - cup of coffee. "That you still don't know that the Earth goes around the sun?"
Sherlock grumbled something under his breath and Conan barely restrained himself from rolling his eyes, pasting a bewildered expression on his face. So Sherlock was still deleting things he found unimportant. Even though they were common knowledge - well, he supposed that was John's purpose, or one of them at least.
"What was that?"
"I said, obviously I won't delete it again!"
Oh, now that was interesting. John had only been living at 221B for less than half a year, if one were to judge by the condition of the chairs and floor, simultaneously taking into account the amount of dust under the furniture. And yet, Sherlock was paying attention to his opinions, even if he buried under layers of snark.
“So I know more about planets than Holmes-san?” he asked, immediately regretting it when it caused both of them to focus on him. This was what sleep deprivation did to him. It made him make stupid life choices. Seriously.
“I was talking about common knowledge, actually.” John was studying him now, too - but not in a 'what the hell is going on with this kid's brain’ way like Sherlock. His expression was more like 'what the hell is this kid doing here?’ or 'where the hell did this kid come from?’ - which, to be honest, Conan would also like to know because last he was aware, he was at home in Japan.
“Oh. Really? Because Ayumi, Genta, and Mitsuhiko are always making fun of me for not knowing stuff about Kamen Yaiba or being bad at video games.” The less said about Haibara, the better.
Sherlock snorted. Conan thought it was rather obnoxious. John seemed to agree, because he levelled a glare at Sherlock.
Sherlock was unaffected.
“Video games are not common knowledge.”
John rolled his eyes so hard that he probably strained something before turning to Conan and explaining what common knowledge actually was, finishing with, “It isn't just something all your friends know - it's something that everyone over the age of five knows.”
Conan nodded in all the right places and plastered an interested expression to his face.
Sherlock snorted again. “I don't know why you're bothering, John. He clearly isn't listening.”
“What are you talking about, Holmes-san? Watson-sensei is very interesting and I like learning things. Mouri-jiisan never explains anything!” Not that he ever needed to, but they didn't need to know that.
Wait. Shit. He'd done it again.
He really needed coffee. Coffee saved him from terrible decisions.
“What does 'sensei’ mean?” John asked in Sherlock general direction. “Should I be offended?”
Sherlock didn't answer because he was too busy studying Conan's socks. Honestly, Conan didn't know why John even bothered asking - though, he supposed it could be ingrained at this point to look to Sherlock for answers.
John sighed, handing Conan the small cup of coffee and placing one if the cups of tea near Sherlock.
“What does it mean?” he asked again, this time speaking to the person who was actually a native speaker.
Conan breathed in the smell of the coffee, closing his eyes to take it in. Coffee was his friend. It didn't need to question him or study him or try to uncover his identity. He belatedly realized that John had asked him a question. “Oh, it means doctor,” he replied distractedly before downing about half his cup.
As soon as the taste hit his tongue, he realized that answering had been a terrible idea. Because now John was staring at him, too. And he could just about pass off knowing too much as just being smart once but the second time John would probably realize he was being deflected.
Conan cringed internally. This was why coffee was integral to his continuing existence.
John squinted at him and opened his mouth - probably to ask a question that Conan would have to think up an answer to pretty quickly - when Sherlock cut him off abruptly with, “Mouri, you said?”
Shit. Yeah, he was all set to be relieved about Sherlock distracting John, but then he remembered that oh, yeah, this is Sherlock bloody Holmes.
Seriously. Where was his head.
Maybe it was back in Japan, where he was supposed to be.
John frowned, seemingly wracking his brains. “Mouri. Why do I recognize that name? Hm…”
Shit. Now there were two of them.
He opened his mouth to start bullshitting his way through his answers, then paused, actually thinking instead of reacting.
He knew Sherlock Holmes.
Granted, he'd only spoken with him a few times and that had been ages ago, but he'd kept up with him by reading the news.
(Ran had called it 'mildly stalking.’ He'd disagreed. She’d ripped a stop sign from the street. The topic had been dropped.)
But the point was that he didn't really have to hide from Sherlock. Well, yes, he had to hide his true identity, but he didn't have to hide his nationality or general information about himself.
(It wasn't as if he could, really.)
It would be easier to just focus on hiding his being Shinichi (because he actually had a slight chance of that happening) than hiding connections to his life in Japan. Giving away tidbits of information about being Conan could distract Sherlock from considering his real identity.
It was a fifty-fifty chance, really.
Perhaps closer to ten percent.
Besides, he trusted Sherlock Holmes almost as much as Hattori. Why was he letting his paranoia get the best of him?
John snapped his fingers triumphantly. “Kogoro Mori! That's it.”
Conan winced internally at his accent. Just. Ugh.
“Yup! That's Mouri-jiisan. Takagi-keiji calls him Nemuri no Kogorou.”
“Right! Sleeping Kogorou. The weird detective who solves crimes in his sleep. I've read about him on the internet.”
Sherlock huffed, almost silently.
John seemed to miss it, more interested in Conan's response.
Hm. Conan found that intriguing. He catalogued the information before replying. “Yup, that's Occhan! He's the best detective in Tokyo.”
Cue internal cringing, because honestly. No. Just. No. Ugh, saying it left a bad taste in his mouth.
He took another sip of coffee to hopefully wash it away.
Sherlock rolled his eyes. “Wrong.”
John shot him A Look. “I'm sure I don't know what you mean, Sherlock.”
Sherlock sniffed, crossing his arms and refusing to elaborate.
Conan smiled brightly. “It's okay, Watson-sensei. I meant that Mouri-no-occhan is the best at solving murders in Tokyo. Nakamori-keibu’s probably better at catching thieves.” And trying to catch Kaitou KID. But he wasn't going to mention that because it might bring up his “KID Killer” moniker, which he was more than happy to let fade into obscurity. “Takagi-keiji’s good at legwork.” Conan realized belatedly that he was starting to sound more like his actual age, because what kind of primary schooler from Japan knew the Japanese word for 'legwork,’ much less the English one. “Satou-keiji’s kinda scary, but she drives really fast.” Yes, that was better. “And Megure-keibu does a lotta paperwork and background things and stuff.”
Conan paused to take a sip of coffee, savoring it. As soon as he swallowed, it occurred to him that most grade schoolers didn't know that many police officers.
Conan gave up trying to hide his coffee addiction and downed the last of his mug in one gulp before holding it out to John, who absently refilled it. A coffee addiction in a kid was strange, sure, but not as strange as the numerous other things he was trying to hide from Sherlock bloody Holmes.
(Honestly, what made him think this was a good idea?)
(Well, it wasn't as if he really had a choice before he scoped out Sherlock's colleagues - because he didn't really do friends, did he - because while Sherlock could probably be trusted, and John by extension, he wasn't so sure about the rest of them; he recalled seeing the name “Lestrade” a fair few times in the papers, among others. And although Sherlock probably would have figured out if they had connections to the criminal underworld, he did have a tendency to get caught up in The Case and ignore everything else...)
Who in their right mind would choose to visit Sherlock Holmes, of all people, when they were in hiding?
Not Conan. Which reminded him - how on earth did he end up here? Because, again. Beika and London weren't exactly next door neighbors.
Honestly, if he hadn't personally met the guy, he would say that this sounded like something KID would try to pull. But given that KID had some modicum of an idea that he had a secret identity, he wouldn't purposely try to ruin it.
John looked mostly lost, and a little puzzled, while Sherlock's eyes narrowed. John shook his head slightly, likely trying to process Conan's brief rant on which Japanese police officers were best at what (oh, it really was a mistake to start talking without coffee). “Sorry, Conan - I think I got most of that, but what are 'kay-jees’ and ‘kay-boos’?”
Conan blinked to buy himself some time before nonchalantly downing most of the coffee in his mug. Should he answer truthfully? Or… “They're the people Occhan works with. The people who solve crimes. You know, like, um… Like at Scotland Yard? Um. I forgot the word in English. Sorry.”
One of John's eyebrows began climbing towards his hairline. “You mean, the police? They're police officers?”
“Yeah! That's what a keiji is. But a keibu is more like, um… What's the one above that?” This was becoming extremely tedious. “Like, not a police officer but his boss. But not the big boss. Um. A mini boss?” Come on, come on. Ugh.
“John, don't patronize the boy. It's obvious he means 'inspector.’” This was accompanied by a shrewd look - at his glasses, probably, but conceivably also his hair or eyes. Conan, unfortunately, didn't have the best perspective to figure it out.
John rolled his eyes. “Right, yes, excuse me for not immediately understanding a foreign language.”
“Please. It was obvious.” In this case, Conan had to agree with Sherlock. It really had been fairly obvious, especially given the clues he had tried to blatantly push towards John. Then again, it was possible that John had also forgotten the word briefly, as people tended to do when put on the spot to come up with a word. And Sherlock had always had a talent for picking up languages. His spoken Japanese had been passable by the end of their first weeklong visit ages ago, in any case, though it was possible that it had atrophied from lack of use.
“Yes, that's the word!” Conan smiled brightly, diffusing the potential row before it could begin and stupidly drawing more attention to himself. Why hadn't he learnt his lesson? Oh, well. May as well continue and give himself some reason for his vocabulary. “Is that how you pronounce it? I saw it in those books with my name on it and I wondered. They were really hard to read. I think I maybe should have started with the Japanese version.”
Wait, was retrospective thinking rare in seven-year-olds?
John opened his mouth, brow furrowed in confusion, but someone's phone beeped before he could figure out what to say. Though it could conceivably be a pager, Conan mused, given that Watson was clearly actively practicing his profession (the lingering smell of antibiotics, a quick up-and-down scan of Conan when he stood up, how his weight was distributed in his shoes), though likely not full-time - probably mostly clinic work (wear-patterns on his shoes and the elbows of the white coat hanging by the door, and more obviously Sherlock, who tended to demand attention), which wasn't really something that would require a pager. Though, of course, he wasn't particularly familiar with the medical system in England.
John brought his fingers to the bridge of his nose and began to massage it in a clearly practiced motion. “Sherlock, are you going to answer that?”
Sherlock ignored him, as he was wont to do, focusing instead on Conan, who realized belatedly that he was probably being turned into a Case.
Which. Wasn't necessarily good.
John sighed, apparently used to this type of response, and routed around in Sherlock's bathrobe pockets until he managed to find his phone.
...Which appeared to be a Nokia.
Conan almost choked trying to turn his laugh into a coughing fit. He wondered if it had been John or Mycroft who had finally had it with Sherlock breaking or experimenting on his phone and decided to give him something significantly more durable. He waved away the concerned look John shot his way and instead refilled his coffee mug.
John glanced down at the phone again. “It's Lestrade. Looks like he has a case.”
He handed the phone back to Sherlock, who gave the message a rapid once-over before springing to his feet and heading for his big, dramatic coat. Some things never change.
Wow, the police actually come to you with the cases? They don't just turn up wherever you go? What a luxury.
At least coffee allowed him enough of a filter that he didn't say his thoughts out loud. Conan wondered if actively seeking out a dead body would in any way mitigate his 'corpse magnet’ powers.
He shrugged mentally. May as well give it a shot. When was the next time he'd have an opportunity like this, where he went to the bodies and they didn't come to him? And anyway, it would be a good way to scope out some of the people around Sherlock.
“I wanna go!” This saccharine voice was hell on the vocal cords.
John immediately vetoed that request. “No. A million times, 'no.’”
Sherlock looked intrigued, which John seemed to catch out of the corner of his eye. “Sherlock, you are not taking a seven-year-old to a crime scene. That's a terrible idea.”
Sherlock somehow managed to roll his eyes audibly. “Obviously, as this “Sleeping Kogorou’s” ward, he's been present at at least one of the apparently many crime scenes, likely more. It's not like an English murder is going to be different enough to permanently scar him. Really, what are you so worked up about, John? This case is hardly a five.”
“I thought you didn't leave the flat for anything less than an eight.”
“Lestrade’s case is a five. Mine is a nine, possibly even edging on a ten.”
“Oh, and what case is that?”
“The Case of the Mysteriously Appearing Primary Schooler. That should be a good enough title for your blog.” And with that, he swept out of the room and down the stairs, coat flapping dramatically behind him.
Conan smothered a snicker before it could escape. Honestly, some things never changed.
John sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “When did I sign up for this?” he muttered to himself. Then, a little louder: “Right. Conan, you stay here while I take care of that overdramatic sod. Mrs. Hudson is downstairs if you need anything. Telly remote’s on the table.”
Then, he followed Sherlock down the stairs, forgetting his cane by the door.
Conan waited for about five whole seconds before scampering down the stairs after them, just slipping into the taxi before John shut the door.