Disclaimer: Belongs to Gosho Aoyama, yadda yadda yadda.


By me

Boys were starting to show up.

It was bound to happen eventually, Conan had known; Ran was a pretty girl, and without Shinichi, as it were, hovering over her shoulder all the time (and, he thought, he really had done an excessive amount of hovering back then), the vultures would stop circling and come in for the kill. Bait. Whatever.

Vultures, Conan thought unappreciatively, is an excellent description.

The trick, he thought, was not showing his jealousy. It was okay to a point, he decided, kind of like the child of a single mother kicking the shins of her suitors - but Conan was, on the whole, a well-behaved kid, and if he let himself get carried away, then Ran would suspect again, and then he'd have to fool her again, and--

It would have been so much easier to just tell her the truth in some ways. It would definitely be easier on Conan's heart - besides the ache of lying to her day after day, he didn't think he could take too many more of the heart attacks involved in living in the house of the girl he liked. Yet in the big picture, telling her invited far more complications. It was just hard to keep it all in perspective on a daily basis, and Ai wasn't helping, with her small smirk at his tales and flippant, cold remarks. (There were days when Conan half-wondered if she was purposely going slow on the antidote because she liked to watch him squirm. He wasn't sure he put it past her.)

In any case, men were starting to court Ran, as they would any young, attractive girl, and Conan did his level best to not go Neanderthal on her.

He made up for it by kicking the first one in the shin, 'accidentally' tripping the second, and studiously ignoring the third, no matter what they did to get on Conan's good side.

But he started to restrain himself after a while. Ran didn't seem to be protesting too much, after all ... and while it stung, what was he going to say? 'You're mine'? He'd never confessed his love - he had no right to say that. So he zipped his lips and tried to be nice ... mostly.

It was when the sixth guy, by Conan's count, showed up at the door than the unexpected happened. Someone knocked and, as usual when Ran was home, Conan ignored it - he was barely tall enough to reach the knob, anyway, and Ran usually answered the door for her lazy father.

He sat up and paid attention, though, when he heard the youthful male voice at the door.

"Hello, Mouri-san," it said cheerfully. Too cheerfully, Conan thought.

"Ah, hello, Tanaka-kun!" Ran answered, also too cheerfully. "I'm surprised to see you here ..."

"Well ... I'm sorry if it's forward of me," Tanaka said while Conan slid off the couch and padded to the door, "But I didn't get your number before, and I know you're the daughter of the famous Detective Mouri ... so I thought I'd visit." A rustle, and Conan came around the corner just in time to see the flowers produced.

They were blood red roses, in the hands of a plain, kind of boring-looking guy, if you asked Conan. But he'd been learning some tips about what Ran liked from watching these jerks, and she did rather like getting flowers. That's playing dirty, he thought darkly, scowling up (and up, and up) at the guy, playing on her weakness against flowers--

He glanced at Ran, and her expression was somewhere between flattered and something Conan was all too familiar with seeing - longing. His heart softened. At least he was nice enough to give her something she liked. Conan promised himself that he'd remember to buy her flowers next time 'Shinichi-niisan' 'visited'.

"That's so sweet of you," Ran said warmly, and Conan waited, half-bored, for her to accept the flowers and go to the kitchen, saying how she just needed to prepare them. But - to his utter surprise - he suddenly found Ran's hands under his armpits, hoisting him up into her arms. "Ah, how could I forget! Ne, Tanaka-san, meet my son, Conan. Conan, say hi." She beamed.

Conan boggled.

Tanaka boggled too, and finally managed, still grasping the flowers - "I ... I didn't know you had a son."

"Yes, well, I became pregnant rather young, you know - they didn't think that I'd be able to carry all the way through. But somehow I made it, and had this little bundle of joy. He's cute, don't you think? Looks just like his father."

If I died right now, Conan thought I'd - well, I think I'd be happy, since at least I'd be in Ran's arms. But STILL! She's - I think she's implying that I'm my own dad!

Tanaka-san didn't stay much longer, coughing up an excuse and making his pale, shaky way to the stairs, saying something about never thinking that she was 'that kind of girl'.

Ran apologized to Conan thereafter, and promised not to use such a trick again - but, she confessed, she was tired of having these young men stop by when she 'really wasn't interested'. Maybe thinking she was 'that kind of girl' would keep the boys away for a while. But don't tell Shinichi, of course - he'd die of embarrassment!

She was right, Conan thought, he would die of embarrassment.

It took about a week for him to stop blushing.