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A Game of Tag

"I don't get it, Conan," Ayumi informed him matter-of-factly before asking, "Ran-neechan is mad at you?"

The boy she spoke to sighed and shuffled his feet in the dirt surrounding the park bench he and Ayumi shared. "I don't know," he replied glumly, "I can't tell what she's thinking."

"So you ran away?" Genta scoffed, "Then again, you always were a wimp."

"You know I can beat you up now, don't you?"

Genta smirked. "Oh no you can't! 'Cause now it counts as child abuse!"

Shinichi couldn't help but grin a little.

"All right, all right," Mitsuhiko cut in with an unconcerned shrug. "Don't worry, Conan, I'm sure she'll get over it. Now are we going to play, or what?"

"Right," the other three present Detective Boys responded in unison.

"What should we play?" Ayumi asked carelessly.

"I dunno, we don't have a ball or anything…" Mitsuhiko pointed out.

Shinichi said firmly, "Let's play tag," and the others nodded in agreement.

And so three ten-year-olds and twenty-year-old Kudo Shinichi ended up running rather senselessly around the park, a few odd glances of those passing by shot in Shinichi's direction. He was too caught up in the game to really notice.

"I've almost got you, Ayumi! Give up!" he cried, racing toward her. She squealed and put forth an extra burst of speed. He'd noticed that she was becoming very quick and agile and would probably be a great soccer player some day. Genta was still heavy-set but strong and more suited to wrestling. And Mitsuhiko… well, he spent more and more of his time inside on his computer and wasn't very well-suited for any sport whatsoever. That didn't mean he couldn't give any of them a run for their money when it came to tag.

The fact of it was that Shinichi had longer, more powerful legs, and he finally caught up to the young girl and tapped her on the shoulder.

"You're it!" he cried gleefully, almost forgetting to protect himself with a shout of "no tag-backs!" in his enthusiasm.

Ayumi didn't seem too upset. In fact, her eyes developed a rather sadistic gleam as she sprinted towards a startled Mitsuhiko. Shinichi took a moment to catch his breath and chuckled as the other three continued to run around screaming and laughing.

It had only been days ago that he had participated in this very activity. Only then he too had the body of a ten-year-old, and his three friends had absolutely no idea that he was not, in fact, their peer Edogawa Conan, but rather the famous detective Kudo Shinichi. He had grown used to playing silly games with his friends, used to enjoying them, and used to the wonderful relief there was in simply letting all formalities slide and playing around like a kid.

A few days ago, the love of his life hadn't known his true identity- the secret he'd kept for over three years just to keep her safe.

A few days ago Ai had found the cure for the APTX formula, and Kudo Shinichi once more returned to the world of the living.

That morning he confessed everything to Ran. She didn't quite know what to make of the news, and so Shinichi was surprised (though not unpleasantly) when his three elementary friends seemed completely unconcerned with it.

"Wow, you're old. You're like forty," Ayumi had said with wide eyes. Shinichi corrected her, informing her that he was only twenty, to which she responded that he was still very old. Mitsuhiko was extremely fascinated by the whole idea of shrinking and unshrinking, but Shinichi was in no mood to explain the science of it at that point. He only wanted to talk to some one, anyone, about Ran. And if those some ones were three ten-year-olds in the park…

Shinichi blinked. Genta was coming straight at him, clearly keen on bowling him over. Only by jumping out of the way just in time did he avoid the collision, and the imminent proclamation that he was once more 'it'.

He chuckled at his victory and set off in the other direction, turning his head to stick his tongue out at his friend. Thus, he wasn't looking where he was going and ran headlong into some one and went crashing to the ground. He blinked for several moments, a little dazed and confused. Genta's heavy footsteps echoed in his ears as the boy proudly marched up, poked Shinichi hard on the shoulder, and said, "You're it!"

Shinichi's vision was swimming. And obviously he was hit harder than he thought for he could have sworn that Ran was looking down at him with pure concern written across her face.

His hallucinations were confirmed as reality when he heard her ask, "Shinichi, are you all right?"

He sat up sharply, didn't notice the hand she had offered to help him up, and took several steps backwards as soon as he was on his feet. The other children had gathered around at this point, watching the two older people uncertainly.

"I… I was wondering if I could join you," Ran said, biting her lip. Shinichi found himself momentarily frozen to the spot. He was sure she had to come to yell at him, seriously injure and/or kill him. Not play tag with him.

Genta grew impatient with his lack of response, and with a disgruntled sigh shoved his friend towards Ran. He then proceeded to lift his arm so that his hand poked her in the stomach.

"There," he said pointedly. "You're it, Neechan!"

The three children immediately ran off in different directions squealing. Shinichi remained stock still, unsure what he should do and therefore not doing anything. A funny expression came across Ran's face and she slowly lifted a hand from her side.

"No tag backs," Shinichi said weakly.