(edited as of 03.07.2005)

Finally! I got enough time to write fanfiction again! Yes! …and I think this is the final edit for 'Nightfall.' Most importantly, it has a few plot changes, so I would suggest you to reread this. Again.


Disclaimer: All Detective Conan characters belong to Gosho Aoyama. If this story is anything better than a piece of crap, give him the credit. Otherwise, blame me.

Chapter One

Sigh… 'When will he be back? I mean, he's been gone for almost a year now… Can't he stay long enough for me to tell him how I feel?' Mouri Ran had that look in her eyes again. The look that was reserved for him and him alone. For Shinichi. It was always for Shinichi… 'You mystery loving idiot! What have you gotten yourself into this time? Do you even care that I'm waiting for you? You don't care, do you?' Ran sighed again, contradicting herself. 'Of course he cares about you… After all, if he didn't, why does he even bother to call you? Why would he show up briefly those times? He does know that you're worried about him. Hell, you told him yourself that you're worried about him…' She sighed again, looking out of the window in her room with tears dripping down her face. Too caught up in her thoughts, she didn't realize that a certain diminutive figure had entered the room through the open door…

He watched her with a certain amount of wistfulness in his eyes. How he wished he just kept his nose out of sneaking a peak at the deal between the damned Organization and that business man. How he loathed his current form. Then again, who would like to be shrunken from a healthy teen into a 7 year old after been force-fed poison? But… There was nothing that he could do now, except wait for Haibara to finish the stable antidote. He just wished he had the chance to tell Ran how he felt before that day, especially now that he knew she felt the same way. God, where was his courage when he most needed it? Why can't he just come out and tell her that he was Shinichi? 'Because if the bastards in the Organization found out, she'll be in danger too… Damn it Kudo, she's in danger right now anyways. You know that if they found you out, they'll stop at nothing to kill your relatives, friends, acquaintances, and even your enemies so that they won't be found out. What would you do if they did, huh? Would you rather have Ran be killed without knowing anything important, or let her have a chance of living because she knows that she'll be a target and be ready?' He saw Ran's face. It was painful to watch the emotions that flowed through her face. It was times like these when it doesn't pay to be a good detective. He walked into her line of sight, desperate to help her in any way he can…

She looked down at the child before her, and saw the pain in his eyes. Eyes that were so much like another's… She felt ashamed now, that she had let her emotions take control of her again. She knew from experience that the boy before her couldn't bear his Ran-neechan to be in any kind of pain… Ran scolded herself for letting Conan-kun to see her in distress. 'Nice going. Not only can't you get the courage to tell Shinichi how you feel, you've let Conan-kun feel guilty because you're crying. Great job!'

"Hello, Conan-kun," she said, wiping her eyes.

"Ran-neechan, what are you thinking about?" Conan asked. His voice was quivering.

'Why! Why does it have to be this way! Why can't I get him out of my mind! Why must he sound so much like… Like that baka!'

"Oh, nothing much, Conan-kun," was Ran's answer. She knew that Conan didn't believe her. After all, he does look up to Shinichi, and it wouldn't be much of a surprise if Conan learned some tricks of the trade from him.

"Really, Ran-neechan? You were crying…" It was too easy to see that she was lying. Her tone told it all. Guilt. That feeling eating at you from the inside, forcing you into the well of despair, never letting you rest until another pulls you out of that hellhole. He silently cursed the Black Organization for making him like this. He cursed Haibara for not having the cure for that goddamned poison she created. For Hattori acting like this was a joke. But most of all, he cursed himself for letting Ran feel like this. 'Just say it, Kudo! How hard can it be!' He couldn't lie to himself. 'Very hard…' He sighed, deciding not to tell her. 'At least, not tonight…'

"Go to sleep Conan-kun. You must be tired." She glanced at the clock. "It's 10 o'clock."

Conan snorted quietly. '10 o'clock… Oh, I'm tired… I must be tired because I just took a bath… Right. But then again, this could be the opportunity that I was looking for. Now I can call Ran without her wondering where 'Conan' is…'

"Okay, Ran-neechan," he chirped, turning to go.

Ran watched his retreating back, wondering for the umpteenth time that evening if he knew something about Shinichi's disappearance. Conan was just so…mature. He didn't go wild about some silly show like the Masked Yaiba. He had a sense of self-control that no one can ever compare to. Except for Ai-chan, of course. The thing that bugged her the most was how smart he was. It didn't matter that he never brought home homework. A lot of kids do that… More importantly, he could tell how people are feeling. Not just vaguely, no, but he knew exactly if they're sad or angry or happy. It was…creepy. She couldn't help but wonder what he was hiding. The only thing that is prevalent through that air of innocence that was Conan. He was hiding something. His eyes were never innocent, but rather haunted with…fear. He never told her anything specific about where Shinichi was, never. It was always somewhere on a case… It wasn't a far cry from there to suspect that Conan was Shinichi. His behaviors, likes and dislikes, talent, they were all Shinichi. The way that he acted when she was sad, you'd think that he was much older than his apparent age. He… No. Not now. She needn't think about that now. It was impossible for someone to grow younger, she knew that long ago. And… And she had even seen both of them in the same room…

'Kudo, I hate you. You just had to keep the secret, didn't you? Just had to keep her sad…' Conan slipped out the window noiselessly with the ease that comes with experience. He slid down the drain pipe and out onto the street, his shorts flapping in the wind. He made his way to a familiar phone booth. The phone booth that he had used so many times before for this task… He set his bowtie to the appropriate place and dialed the number…

'Hey! What's Conan doing outside?' Ran's thoughts returned to the present as she saw a young figure out on the streets. 'He said he was going to bed… And it's freezing out.' She was about to open the windows and call for him, but noticed that he was heading towards a phone booth… He stood outside of it for a while, fiddling with something, and then headed inside…

Conan nervously adjusted the bowtie on his neck and checked again that it was in the right setting. 'Che. You have to use the voice changer to imitate your own voice.'

The phone ringed inside the Mouri Detective Agency. Ran hurried to pick it up, the inside of her head pushed back a nagging thought. "Hello? Mouri Detect-"

"Hey Ran, it's me." The voice was worn and husky. With a tinge of unease and…

Her breath paused. Relief coursed through her, that he was still alive. That he was still okay. "Sh-Shinichi?"

"Yeah." He winced at her voice. He could hear millions of emotions in there. Happiness, sadness, anger…

"Baka! When are you going to come back?" she cried.

"I don't know Ran. I just don't know…"

"It's still that case, isn't it? You won't even tell me what that case is about!"

"Look Ran, I-"

"Come home right now, got it? Otherwise…" Her demanding voice of reason was cut out by her desire to have him back.

"I can't Ran, I just can't. Don't you know how fast I would come and see you if I could?" He sounded so distressed…

'Yeah, I do know…' She privately recalled those rare times when he had a break. 'What break? Every time he gets off that 'case,' another one happens…' Ran had to smile when she thought back to the times that he had to deal with something when he was about to tell her something…

"Where are you, Shinichi?"

"Um…" He started to sweat when she asked him that. 'Figures.' "I… Uh… I have to go! Take care!" Conan hung up the phone and let out a breath. 'That was close! Better watch out next time and make up a better excuse…'

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Ran stared at the phone. 'Baka! He won't even tell me where he is! But…come to think of it, he never told me what he's up to since he left… Why!' Ran removed her fist from the gaping hole that she had just created. '…! Dad's going to have my head for this! Then again, he wouldn't dare…' Then that nagging thought began to push back into the front of her mind…

Conan slowly made his way back upstairs and into his room, making sure that he didn't make a sound. However, as he was just going into bed, he noticed that someone was standing up from behind it. His heart sank when he saw who stood behind it. It was Ran. Her eyes were tearful, full of grief and sorrow. What she said next drove home for him.


To be continued

Yay! I'm done with my first chapter! Can you tell that it's my first fic? I know that it needs a lot of work, and I am happy to receive any advice possible. This includes flames… Please review!

Chinese-freak 10.9.2004

PS: I know that I sound energetic and all, but I'm lazy and I almost never go outside to play. I only venture out into the world for mail, exercise, and to go to the book store. One more thing. My stories always are cliffhangers because this will make you want to read on. Sounds like the movies, doesn't it?