Despite the darkness, enough moonlight came in through the window that she could see clearly. She saw the little girl before her, clutching her cheek and trying hard not to cry. The girl looked at her, an expression of shock on her face. She saw her hand, outstretched, palm open.

"Y-Yoshida-san?" Ai Haibara asked, "D... did I? I-I'm... I didn't... Ayumi..."

The door opened, and Haibara saw two black, shadowy figures standing before her.

Everything started out one afternoon at the home Haibara shared with Professor Hiroshi Agasa. After Haibara had opened the door and announced her entry, the Professor asked her how her day had been.

"Yoshida-san asked to me to sleep over at her apartment again," she told him.

"That's makes it, let's see, the seventh time now?" he asked.

"Eighth," Haibara answered as she found one of her magazines to start reading through.

Ayumi had been asking Haibara about that for weeks now. To date, Haibara had managed some excuse or another to keep her at bay.

"Why not just go?" Agasa asked her.

"As much as I appreciate Yoshida-san's attempts at friendliness, I simply do not wish to spend an entire evening playing the giggly little girl."

"Giggly?" The Professor asked, a smirk on his face as he tried to picture it.

"You know full well what I mean," Haibara admonished him.

"Well, you can't blame Ayumi-kun for wanting to be with you," Agasa told her,

"You're probably her closest friend that's also a girl. As far as I know, her only best friends until now have been Shinichi, Genta-kun, and Mitsuhiko-kun."

"I fail to see how that's something to consider," Haibara retorted.

"I'll bet that somewhere Ayumi-kun got the idea that girls do things together. For instance, slumber parties. Being her only real girl friend, you're the one she wants to do these things with."

Haibara considered the Professor's words for a moment. It was often easy to forget, or rather make herself forget, that in the eyes of others she was a giggly little girl; though those who knew her personally often took the "giggly" part out very quickly. Ayumi simply wished to spend time with someone who, as far as she knew, was a peer. For a moment, Haibara felt a little guilty for constantly and casually dismissing her requests.

These thoughts occupied Haibara's mind the rest of the evening and during school the next day. When class ended for the day, Haibara braced herself and approached Ayumi, busily getting her backpack ready so she could head home.


"Hm? Oh, Ai-chan!" Ayumi said smiling. It still surprised Haibara that she let Ayumi call her that. Especially when, from just about anybody else, she couldn't stand it. It sounded demeaning, condescending, even when it wasn't intended that way. When it didn't feel like she was being talked down to, it felt more like it was being used for no other reason that custom, making it meaningless. Ayumi was the only one Haibara thought said "Ai-chan" with nothing more behind it than simple friendly affection. Haibara's guilt surged again. In the end, Ayumi had never done anything more than try to be Haibara's friend.

"Yoshida-san... about that sleep over..."

"I know... you can't come again, right?" Ayumi said, her eyes going towards her desk.

"Well... actually..." Haibara braced herself, "I think I can do it this time..."

"Really!" Ayumi nearly shouted, blue eyes going wide with excitement as they turned to look into Haibara's.

"Yes... let me know when and we'll do it."

"Oh! It'll be great!" Ayumi exclaimed, "We'll stay up real late an' watch movies an' eat ice cream 'til we burst..."

As Haibara listened to Ayumi list all the "fun" things they'd be doing, she tried to convince herself not to take it all back.

"' my mom an' dad'll order pizza! They promised they would!"

It's just one night... I can survive that.

"...Oh, an' pillow fights!"

I hope...

The sleepover happened that Saturday night. All things considered, the evening hadn't been as awful as Haibara had expected.

She and Professor Agasa had arrived promptly at six thirty. For the benefit of Ayumi's parents, Professor Agasa played the "concerned guardian," He gave them various numbers to reach him at. His face went beet red with embarrassment when Haibara made a point of noting that none of them were his mobile phone's number, where he could be reached anywhere, anytime.

Ayumi's mother and father seemed nice enough people. Much to Haibara's expected dismay, they called her "Ai-chan." Fortunately, like Ayumi, there was no condescension and the faintest hint of something other than courtesy in their use of it. Haibara found it didn't bother her much at all to hear the honorific from them.

As her host had promised, Ayumi's mother dialed a nearby pizza parlor for some dinner. Ayumi was especially excited, as the foreign dish was a rare treat in her household. The food arrived just as the night's episode of Kamen Yaiba was coming on. Haibara sat quietly, eating her meal as Ayumi, knowing Haibara didn't watch the show, explained everything Haibara didn't know about whether Haibara wanted her to or not. Haibara had actually found the program somewhat enjoyable. More than she had expected from a kids' show, at any rate.

For the rest of the night, Haibara and Ayumi spent most of their time in Ayumi's room. Ayumi had made sure they would have plenty to do. Haibara found that Ayumi had prepared everything from dolls and toys to play-make-up to experiment with. Shiho Miyano hadn't generally been fond of makeup, but her older sister had taught her just enough that Haibara was able to leave Ayumi in awe. Even Ayumi's mother, who had supervised the girls, was impressed.

"Did your mother or an older sister teach you that?" she had asked. Haibara had answered with a simple "yes", with the tone of her voice making it clear she didn't want to go into detail. Mother and daughter let it go. Ayumi was having too much fun to notice and Haibara guessed Ayumi's mother didn't want to possibly ruin it by upsetting Ai. That suited Haibara just fine.

Most of the night had gone well. Better than Haibara had anticipated, actually. She even caught herself having fun at times.

The evening itself was fine. Nothing awful happened until the girls went to bed.

The two were allowed to stay up well past Ayumi's usual bedtime. As a result, she and Ai were tired enough that they were sound asleep quickly once they were sent to bed.

Sound sleep did not last long, as Ayumi was gradually awoken by the feeling of movement beside her. She opened her eyes and saw Ai sleeping next to her, tossing and turning. The movements were quick and, thanks to moonlight coming in from Ayumi's bedroom window, she could see that Ai's face seemed to be contorted in pain.

"Ai-chan?" Ayumi said as she sat up. Ayumi watched Ai thrashing about for a few more seconds before concluding that Ai was having a bad dream. Knowing what those were like, she decided to try and wake Ai up before things got too bad.

It didn't help. In fact, Ayumi wondered if she was making things worse. She nudged Ai just a bit, not wanting to wake her too harshly. The other girl moaned and began kicking her legs, almost as if she was trying to run away. Deciding to be a bit more drastic, she tried shaking her a bit. In response Ai only quietly cried out "No! Stay away!" Ayumi was getting worried now.

"Ai-chan! Wake up!" she said, the worry in her voice clear as she grabbed hold of Ai's arms. Ai became very frantic now, acting as if something had her in its clutches. Ayumi couldn't hang on to her. Ai managed to get one of her arms free and, in her thrashing, slapped Ayumi right in the face. In that same moment, Ai finally woke up and sat upright. She looked around, breathing heavily and with a scared look in her eyes. Then she saw Ayumi.

Despite the darkness, enough moonlight came in through the window that she could see clearly. She saw the little girl before her, clutching her cheek and trying hard not to cry. The girl looked at her, an expression of shock on her face. She saw her hand, outstretched, palm open.

"Y-Yoshida-san?" Ai Haibara asked, "D... did I? I-I'm... I didn't... Ayumi..."

The door opened, and Haibara saw two black, shadowy figures standing before her.

Haibara went numb with shock and fear. She could do nothing but stare, turning away only when one of the figures turned on the lights. As her eyes adjusted to the light, she clearly heard a woman's voice speak.

"What is going on in here?"

Haibara recognized the voice and, thanks to that, began remembering where she was. Still in shock and able to do little else, she sat and watched as Ayumi's parents took in the scene. Ayumi clutching her cheek, Haibara with a terrified expression on her face. The two split, Ayumi's father checking on his daughter, her mother checking on Ai.

"What in the world happened?" asked Ayumi's mother as she tried to calm Haibara.

"It was an accident," Ayumi explained, "Ai-chan was moving around because she was having a nightmare."

A nightmare? No... Haibara thought to herself, Not tonight... not here.

Haibara was all too aware of her dreams. They usually consisted of two of her old companions from the Black Organization, Gin and Vodka, tracking her down and killing her. Not just her, but anybody who happened to be with her at the time. Sometimes it was only her, others it was Conan Edogawa, or Ayumi or one of their other school friends, or some combination thereof. She couldn't believe it had happened here of all places!

Haibara listened to Ayumi explain about how she tried to wake up Ai and how that had resulted in Ai hitting her.

"I... hit you?" Haibara asked quietly. Ayumi nodded.

"I... I'm sorry..."

Everyone assured Haibara that everything was fine and that it was clearly an accident. But that didn't help with her guilt.

Once the adults were sure the girls were okay, they made them get back in bed to get some sleep. Though neither of them were tired any longer. They lay in Ayumi's bed, wide awake for some time after they were left alone.

"A-ayu... Yoshida-san..."

"I know. You didn't mean it," Ayumi told her. She wasn't angry at Ai at all. In fact, she blamed herself for making things worse by moving her.

"Still..." Ai said.

"Do you have nightmares a lot, Ai-chan?" Ayumi asked.

"Mm... yes... I do."

"What happens in them?"

Haibara was silent, considering her answer. She couldn't tell Ayumi the full truth, of course. But she couldn't just dodge the question either.

"I dream about being chased by men who want to kill me," she said.

"Oh..." Ayumi decided not to press for more detail than that. The two laid together silently for a few minutes more. Deep in their own thoughts. Ayumi looked at her friend. Usually so calm and collected, to the point of almost looking like a grownup shrunk down to kid size. Now she seemed incredibly sad, and afraid. Ayumi was sincerely wishing there was something she could do.

That was when it hit her.

"Usa-chi!" she said suddenly, as she got out of bed. Ai sat up, turning her head to watch as Ayumi began digging around in one of her toy chests. It took Ayumi some time, as she was looking for it in the darkness (she didn't dare turn on a light and possibly get in trouble with her parents), but she soon found what she was after. She pulled it out and held it out to Ai.

It was a stuffed plush doll. A bunny rabbit, to be exact. Complete with button eyes and a fluffy tail. Ai simply stared at it, her expression clearly saying "You have got to be kidding."

"A bunny?" Ai asked.

"Usa-chi!" Ayumi said.


"It's her name!" Ayumi explained, "When I was three, I snuck out of bed once and saw my parents watching some late night move. A really scary one. I had nightmares every night for nearly a week. Finally, my mom got me Usa-chi. I slept with her the next few nights and didn't have one nightmare! It's a surefire cure for bad dreams."

This time Ai actually said what she thought, "You have got to be kidding..."

"What? I'm telling you, it'll work!"

Ai just stared.

"Just try it!" Ayumi demanded, stuffing the toy into Ai's arms.

"I don't need this!" Ai told her, handing it back.

"Yes, you do!" Ayumi insisted, giving it to Ai and wrapping her arms around it.

"Look, Yoshi-"

"Just try it one time," Ayumi said, "If you have another bad dream, then forget it. But I promise you that won't happen!"

Ai looked at the other girl. Ayumi had welcomed Haibara into her home, tried to share things she liked with her and, in general, show her a good time. She was even trying to help with Haibara's dream problems.

And how have I repaid her? Haibara thought, I dodge her for weeks, come here expecting the worst, hit her! And now, when she tries to help me, I dismiss her idea like it's nothing!

"Very well. One time," Ai told her with a sigh. Ayumi gave her friend a big smile.

"You won't regret it," Ayumi promised.

The two went back to bed and fell asleep quickly. Though Ayumi made a point of staying up just long enough to make sure that Ai had the doll in her arms when she fell asleep.

As the sunlight began to shine through Ayumi Yoshida's bedroom window, Ai Haibara, Usa-chi still in her arms, began to wake. As her eyes opened, only one thought occurred to her.

That had to be the dumbest dream I have ever had.

She turned to lay on her back only to notice that she still held that silly doll of Ayumi's in her arms. She lifted it over her head and stared at it. Haibara had dreamed again after she'd gone back to sleep. There had indeed been no nightmares, leaving Haibara wondering if having the toy had actually affected her.

No. Couldn't be... it had to be some kind of trick...

"She worked, didn't she?"

Ai jumped in surprise. She sat up and saw Ayumi on her bedroom floor playing with some dolls.

"Usa-chi gave you good dreams, didn't she?"

"It wasn't the doll!" Haibara insisted.

"It was to," said Ayumi with a smug tone in her voice.

"It wasn't."




"Wasn-ugh... I can't believe I'm doing this..." Haibara said upon realizing she was getting into a "Did not. Did so" argument.

"Fine, it wasn't Usa-chi," Ayumi said, "But then, how often do you have good dreams."

"My dream wasn't good," Haibara denied, "It was dumb. The dumbest dream I can remember."

"See, there you go! Dumb dreams are the best ones!"

Haibara just looked at the girl, who looked at her with a triumphant smile. Haibara was tiring of this. After a few seconds of silence Ayumi spoke up.



"What did you dream?"

"You really want to know?"

"Of course!"

"Well..." Haibara stammered. She gave a resigned sigh. She knew Ayumi well enough by now to know she wouldn't let go of this without a satisfactory answer. And this time Haibara actually could tell the truth. Mostly.

"It started as most of my dreams do. I'm about to be killed by two men who want me dead."


"And..." Haibara could feel herself blushing, "Okay... maybe the rabbit helped a little..."

"What happened?" Ayumi asked eagerly. Ai mumbled something that Ayumi didn't quite hear.


"The bunny appeared and chased them away!" she said quickly.

"Really?" Ayumi giggled.

"Yes... and then, you appeared. You asked if I wanted to do something fun. From there we went and gorged ourselves on a large mountain of cake..."

A long silence followed.




"Was it chocolate?"

"Huh?" Haibara asked.

"The cake. Was it chocolate?"

"Um... angel's food, I think."

"Darn, I really like chocolate cake," Ayumi said. Haibara couldn't help herself. She started to chuckle. Ayumi joined in and the two had a good laugh over the whole thing.

The rest of the morning was uneventful. Ayumi's mother had a good breakfast ready for them. Ayumi's parents expressed concern over Ai's nightmares. Haibara assured them she was just fine now. However, Ayumi went into greater detail, explaining about Usa-chi. Haibara tried not to make eye contact with anyone.

Professor Agasa arrived for Haibara at about 11 a.m. By then, Haibara had her overnight bag packed and was ready to go home.

"I hope you had fun, Ai-chan!" Ayumi said as Haibara was stepping outside.

"I did," she said, meaning it more than she expected to, "We should do this again."

"Yeah!" Ayumi cried in agreement. Professor Agasa looked down at Haibara in surprise. When they were in his VW headed home, he told her that he hadn't expected her to really enjoy herself.

"Me either," Haibara admitted, "But, for the most part, it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared it would be."

Upon returning home, Haibara was taking her overnight bag upstairs to her and Agasa's bedroom when she noticed something odd. There was a lump in the top of the bag. She found it odd because she was as meticulous in her packing as she was nearly everything else she did. Unzipping the bag, Haibara found an interesting surprise.

In the bag, on top of everything else in there, was Ayumi's stuffed bunny. She clearly had snuck it into Haibara's bag after Haibara finished putting everything else in there. Looking more closely, Haibara saw a note tied to it, written in what was clearly Ayumi's childish scrawl.

To Ai-chan,

To keep the scary men way.



Haibara couldn't help smiling. She put the gift on her bed for later. She wasn't at all convinced it had any effect on her nightmares. That didn't mean she shouldn't experiment.

Just to make sure.