DISCLAIMER: Okay, for those of you who don't understand the meaning of fanfiction... Meitantei Conan is not mine. It's Goshou Aoyama's!! ;;The smart son of a bitch...

The long-awaited chapter five is finally here!! I am, sooooooooo sorry that it has taken me so long.My computer decided to die for a while, so I've been writing up the future chapters in a notebook I carry everywhere with me, but I've been unable to update. oo I'm so sorry. I'm also sorry to announce, that you guys might want to get used to the lengthy waits between each chapter. What with school and all, I don't have a whole lot of time to be working on this. ::hangs head::

Also, I've decided to stop doing review responses. They're getting to be a pain in the ass, to either stare at my emails as I reply, or stare at the review page on here. So, sorry if anyone is let down by that, but they're gone.

And one last thing -- this chapter hasn't been beta-ed at all yet, I figured I'd skip it seeing as it's already been so long since I updated. I plan to go back and re-post all the chapters again, as 'neechan has beta-ed the first four chapters and given me even more things to fix. Not a whole lot, but enough.

Italics -- japanese and emhpasis. You guys know that by now.

Recap of dooooom.

"Then I suppose you all want me to bring you along to the hospital?" He said begrudgingly, snatching his keys and coat jacket from his desk.

Conan let his hands relax and looked up to Kogorou, confused. He'd expected him to have a harsher reaction.

Kogorou stared at them, pausing in putting on his jacket.

"Well? Are you coming or not?!" He headed for the door.

Kazuha and Hattori exchanged glances before both looking at Conan.

Conan looked back and forth between them, then looked back at Kogorou.

"...Yes!" He said after a moment and ran after Kogorou, who was on his way down the stairs now.

Kazuha and Hattori stared at each other, blinking, then Hattori ran after Conan, snatching Kazuha's wrist on the way.

Namida wa Shitte'ru

Chapter Five: A Crack in the Mask, A False Happiness

Despite his seemingly calm exterior, Kogorou had all but screamed at the taxi driver he'd called.

Take out your frustrations on a poor, unsuspecting cab driver, why doncha? Hattori mused silently, grinning. Kazuha shot him a rather murderous glare.

"What on earth could possibly be funny right now, Heiji?!" She demanded in a harsh whisper.

He raised his eyebrows at her, then sobered. Kazuha backed down when he stopped grinning, turning back to the window to watch anxiously as the car sped down the road toward the hospital.

Conan, on the other hand, hadn't said a word since the talk with Kogorou at the Detective Agency. He sat, leaning against the window, his chin in one hand. He hadn't even bothered to look up when Kazuha called his name softly. He looked like he hadn't even heard her.

Kazuha's expression fell. When the boy didn't respond to her first call, she sat back against the back of the seat, staring at her lap. Hattori watched her the whole time.

Kazuha had always been a caring person. Easily made very jealous, and significantly more overprotective than most people -- especially of Hattori -- but caring, nonetheless. She and Ran hadn't gotten along at first, Kazuha had thought that her Heiji had gotten a girlfriend when she found them in a noodle shop(Hattori had been showing Ran, Conan, and Kogorou around Osaka.), but Hattori assured her otherwise. It hadn't taken long then, for the two smitten highschool girls to become close. They had too much in common not to be friends. They were both excellent in martial arts, Ran in Karate, Kazuha in Aikido. They were both hopelessly in love with their childhood friends...

Kazuha decided to try once more. She leaned forward, and then to the side a bit, leaning on Hattori's arm.

"Nee, Conan-kun..."

She reached over Hattori and rested a hand lightly on the boy's small shoulder. He jolted, and snapped his head over to look at her.

She smiled softly at him, trying to think of what to say. Why had she wanted to get his attention in the first place...?

"....Ran-chan will be okay, you know..." She told him, keeping her hand on his shoulder. He stared at it.

"...." There were a million things he wanted to say, but he held his tongue.

How could she say that Ran would be okay? She didn't know... so how could she say it so... so confidently?!

...But how can I just instantly condemn her for dead? Do I really have that little faith in her?

...She's stronger than that... I know it...

"She'll be okay. Don't act so down, Conan." Hattori said his name with a hint of irony in his voice, shooting a pointed glance at the shrunken eighteen year old. The boy sighed, and looked at his lap, nodding.

Kazuha smiled a little, and pat his shoulder softly before leaning back into her seat, satisfied. At least he wasn't too far gone. She prayed even more that Ran was okay, now.

Ran-chan... if anything happens to you, you'll just crush this child... you know that, don't you? Please... please, you have to be all right... Not just for me...

The remainder of the ride to the hospital was spent in silence, Kazuha praying silently that Ran was okay, Conan staring out the window again, Hattori glancing back and forth between the two. Kogorou stayed unusual quiet in the front seat, kneading his hands on his pantlegs, while the driver cast occasional frightened glances at the inhabitants of his taxi. He wondered what would have all of them -- including a young child -- so very uptight that they would keep so quiet.

Nearly twelve minutes passed before they reached the hospital. They lived fairly close, but there had been some light traffic.

As soon as they pulled into the parking lot, Kogorou and Conan unclasped their seatbelts and dashed out of the car to the sliding doors. Hattori and Kazuha exchanged glances before quickly following suit. Apparently -- hopefully -- Kogorou had paid the cab driver already. Either that, or the man was too frightened to call him back. -- Not that Hattori blamed him...

Kogorou ran down the entrance hallway to the secretary's desk, Conan right on his heels. He slammed his hands flat on the desk, startling the nurse.

"I want to see my daughter!" He all but shouted, and the petite woman behind the counter cowered a little before nodding.

"A... all right, sir... what is the last name...?" She asked timidly, flicking her eyes from Kogorou's franticly angry expression to her list of the patients admitted that day.

"Mouri! Mouri Ran!" He'd quieted a little, but his voice still held a certain anxious tone, as if he may explode again at any given time. The girl nodded.

"One moment, please..." she ran her finger down the list, her eyes following it, and stopping near the bottom. "Ah, here she is, sir... she was only just checked in. You said she was your daughter?" The nurse looked up at Kogorou, who nodded fervently. "All right, sir. She's in room 327."

Kogorou shouted a brief "thank you!" over his shoulder as he took off running down the halls toward the elevators. Conan was, once again, following on his heels. Kazuha ran quickly after the distressed males, Hattori walking quickly after. It didn't matter how fast they got to the girl's room, she'd still be unconscious.

Thankfully, the people in the hallways of the hospital were smart enough to move out of the way when they heard the pounding footsteps of the group. Kogorou tore down the hallways, stopping two rooms before the one in question, and slowing to a brisk walk as not to slam into the door.

Conan, on the other hand, wasn't expecting him to stop, and slammed right into the back of his leg. Kogorou swore softly under his breath and glared down at Conan, but refrained from shouting at him.

Kazuha scooped him up from behind, and bowed a little to Kogorou, who simply pushed open the door to room 327, silently.

"Ran?" Kogorou found himself calling softly as he entered the hospital room.

She's not going to answer you...

Hattori almost laughed. Was Kogorou actually distressed enough to think that his daughter would still be awake? She was just hit by a car for God's sake!

Kazuha gnawed on her lower lip. Conan squirmed in her arms, wanting to be put on the ground again. The young Osakan girl complied, setting the boy down on the floor. He proceeded to step haltingly toward the hospital bed in which Ran lay unnervingly still.

Kogorou stared at a small woman writing things on a clipboard, standing at the foot of Ran's bed.

"Do you work here?" He asked, his voice sounding more frightened than he'd intended. The woman looked up.

"Yes, sir. I'm a nurse." She smiled, and turned her body to face him. "Is there something I can help you with?"

Kogorou managed a faint smile at her softspoken and polite demeanor.

"Can you tell me what my daughter's" -- he gestured to Ran -- "condition is?"

The woman smiled again.

"She's more or less stable... but I'm afraid she's fallen into a coma from severe head trauma, sir." She spoke matter-of-factly, resting a small hand on the end of Ran's bed. Kogorou deadpanned.

"She's in a coma?!" Kazuha whispered, a hand held near her mouth. She felt tears burn at the back of her eyes, but refused to let them fall.

The nurse nodded slowly -- sadly.

"Yes, I'm afraid so..." She paused, and glanced at her clipboard, smiling a little. Hopeful. "However, she's in stable condition, she could wake up at any ti --"

--"But she's okay, right?!" Kogorou nearly shrieked. Everyone in the room flinched.

That is, everyone but the comatose Ran, and the small boy who clung hopelessly to her hand. Hattori stared solemnly at him.

Conan had made his way to Ran's bedside slowly, hesitantly. He'd looked the unconscious young woman over, fear clenching his adolescent heart like a cold hand. He reached his tiny hands up and grasped herhand with both of them, squeezing it between his palms.

Still fighting tears, Kazuha walked up behind the boy and rest a hand gently on his shoulder. Conan looked up at her, but his grip on Ran's hand never faltered. If anything, he pressed his miniscule palms over Ran's cold hand with more force, as if afraid she may slip between them.

"...yes, sir. She is physically unharmed, aside from some minor bumps, and a number of bruises." the nurse replied after what seemed like an eternity to the distressed Kogorou.

He relaxed, but just barely.

"...when will she wake up?" he asked, gaze fallen upon his comatose daughter.

"That's uncertain, sir. A coma is a bit of a medical mystery. She could wake up in a few moments, or it could take weeks."

Kogorou flinched. His eyes fell upon Conan, who was still clinging desperately to Ran's hand. He was smiling with a practiced fakeness, trying to console Kazuha. Poor girl, she was so worked up, she'd started crying.

Hattori stood behind Kazuha, squeezing her shoulder reassuringly.

"...thank you, nurse." Kogorou uttered and walked over to join the other three at his daughter's bedside.

"Let her go, Conan." he ordered simly.

Conan only looked at him. Kogorou gazed at the boy, and right passed his childish facade. The look on his face was that of an unwilling child, too frightened to listen to Kogorou's simple request.

But Kogorou could see that there was something behind that -- something deeper; more painful.

He could never quite place it, but the faux detective could always tell there was something... different about this so called "child". Especially when it came to Ran. He became much more mature, and he stopped hiding behind his mask of childish giggles and blank stares. He was seven, but when something hapened to Ran -- Kogorou's seventeen year old daughter -- Conan behaved much more like an adult than Kogorou himself did at times.

"Conan." he repeated, fixing a pointed gaze at the child. "Let her go."

This time, Conan obeyed. He released his grip on Ran's hand slowly, watching it. He placed it back alongside her on the bed where it had lain before he'd taken it into his grasp.

Kogorou pulled a stool away from the wall and set it beside Ran's bed. He sat on it, and scooted it over enough to where Conan could still see Ran -- and her hand.

Kazuha stood up, now leaning her shoulder backward into Hattori, having calmed down. Hattori kept a protective hand on her shoulder.

Conan layed his hands one on top of the other on the edge of the bed, resting his chin atop them. He stared forward at nothing in particular -- not Ran, not Kogrou, not even at the bed. His eyes were glazed, and unfocused.

He was happy -- Ran wasn't seriously hurt -- but terrified. She was in a coma. Because of him. If only he'd been watching where he was going, instead of paying attention to his bloody shoelace--!

I'm sorry, Ran...

He buried his face in the backs of his hands, trying to swallow the painful lump in the back of his throat. He seemed to be doing that a lot lately.

Kazuha smiled over her shoulder at Hattori, who squeezed her shoulder once more for reassurance before walking over to Conan, his hands in his pockets. He knelt down behind his fellow detective.

"She'll be all right, Kudou." he said softly, as not to let Kogorou overhear. Conan lifted his head and looked over his shoulder at his Osakan friend.

"She will." Hattori stated, smiling. "I know she will. She won't leave you all to your own defenses. You mean more to her."

Conan turned his back to Ran, smiling faintly and staring at his shoes.

"You'd better be right, Hattori."

The dark-skinned boy smiled at Conan again, and scruffed his hair.

"And stop being so down. You're creeping me out."

Conan glared half-heartedly.

"You try having this happen to your precious Kazuha, and then you can tell me about not being down."

Hattori's face flushed slightly, and he puffed his cheeks.

"Well, fine..." he said with mock anger. He stood up and scruffed Conan's hair once more.

"...demo..." he added thoughtfully. Conan raised his eyes to look at him.

"'neechan wouldn't want you to be upset." He paused, and eyed Conan with a pointed look. "Either of you."

Conan froze up, his pupils dilating ever so slightly. Hattori smiled.

Kogorou eyed the two suspiciously from the corner of his dark eyes.

Author's Notes: bows I'M SO SORRY THIS TOOK SO LONG!! ::flail:: ...no need for a glossary in this chapter, I didn't use any japanese you shouldn't know... ...I won't make any promises -- as everytime I have, they've never been kept... bows again gomen! -- but I'm going to try and have six up by next month. ((Which isn't TOO long... seeing as it's the 27th today.)) ...good lord... I said I'd have this chapter up on the seventh of september... and here we are, twenty days later. rivertears I'm really, really sorry. Anyway. Like I said, I'll try to have six up by next month. Until then -- ciaociao!