Shinichi sat hunched over his book, chewing on his bottom lip anxiously. It was the latest from his favourite author, and surely one of his greatest. The action was heart-thumping, and of course there was the mystery. He had a theory or two, but just couldn't seem to figure it out. Such a challenge! Nothing excited him more than a challenge.

Just when he had reached the climax (when the hero dangled helplessly over the edge of a cliff as the villains made their escape) he felt a light tap on his shoulder. It was not a particularly unfriendly tap, so he had no reason to assume that the person seeking his attention was in a particularly unfriendly mood. Or enraged, as the case turned out to be.

He looked up and held back a cry of surprise. A seething Mouri Ran stared down at him.

"You have got an awful lot of explaining to do, Kudo Shinichi," she said.

It had been years and years since he'd last seen her, although he had long since stopped keeping track. She looked just as he remembered her, down to the very last detail. So of course she was just as beautiful as ever. Such a welcome sight… it was something he'd dreamed of. Of course, he had known that reality would be much more similar to his current position…

"Oh, uh, hi Ran," he replied, laughing nervously.

The hand that had tapped his shoulder proceeded to put a death grip right around the area of his collar bone. Shinichi winced and dropped his book. He looked down at it unhappily, for it had closed and he didn't know what page he'd been on. Ran squeezed harder and his expression became even more unhappy.

"Please, Ran, I can expla—"

"All these years!" she ranted, "And you never thought to tell me! How many times did I cry over you? And how many times did you KNOW I was crying over you? I can't believe you! To leave me in the dark like that! Didn't you trust me? Didn't you think I might be able to help you in some way? You're impossible!"

"There was no way around it!" Shinichi exclaimed in defense, "I had to protect you, that was more important that anything!"

Ran, in her boundless rage, brushed off this sentiment easily. "Sure, sure. Fine. It was for my own good. But then you had to go and get yourself—"

"It was the only way to bring them down," Shinichi said solemnly. Ran didn't miss a beat.

"And I've had to wait all this time to confront you about it! Do you know what that was like?"

Shinichi sighed. There was just no way he could win. He sighed again, this time in relief, as Ran had let go of his shoulder. He picked up his book and then himself so as to stand beside her and get a better look at her. It was also a little reassuring to know that he was taller than her.

Angry tears filled her eyes as she continued to watch him fiercely.

"I just can't believe you never told me," she whimpered.

And since he was finally being given the chance he'd been waiting so long for, Shinichi took it. "There's something else I never got around to telling you…" he began uneasily.

"What?" Ran snapped.

He looked into her eyes. He had to look down to do so. It was a nice feeling.

"I love you."

"Shinichi!" some one called as they approached. Ran, all of the anger gone from her expression, stood frozen.

"Oh. Hey, Arthur," Shinichi replied distractedly to the formally dressed, younger-looking man.

"How do you like the new book?" he asked pleasantly, eyeing the copy in Shinichi's hands. Immediately the teenaged detective grinned.

"It's brilliant, as always. I haven't quite finished it yet, but this is the first time I've put it down since… well, since I picked it up."

Arthur nodded. "Excellent. I made it extra tricky, just for you."

"I noticed," Shinichi replied appreciatively. Arthur finally seemed to notice Ran, who had been watching the exchange with a rather dazed expression on her face.

"How rude of me," Arthur said, "Who is your lovely friend, Shinichi?"

Shinichi coughed, "Oh. Arthur, this is my childhood friend, Mouri Ran. Ran, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle."

Ran blinked, blushed, and finally gave a flustered bow, "I—er… It's an honor, sir."

Arthur lifted her hand and bowed deeply in order to place a light kiss on it. "Likewise, my dear." Her blush deepened. Shinichi cleared his throat.

"Yes," said Arthur, straightening and winking at Ran, "If you two will excuse me… let me know once you've finished, Shinichi, I want your honest opinion on the ending."

"I will," Shinichi promised, waving goodbye. He turned back to Ran who had a small, pleased smile on her face.

"You know this doesn't save you from a beating…" she began.

"Can it wait?" Shinichi asked and pulled her lightly into his arms—a position she was all too ready to occupy.

She had waited a lifetime, after all.

A/N: Yes, they're all dead. Shinichi somehow was killed in the defeat of the Black Org. while Ran died at the end of her natural life. Hence all the waiting and what-not. I don't necessarily think this is what would happen, it's just a possibility. A possibility that happened to work as the premise for yet another cute little one-shot. Yey.