Written: February 2005

Disclaimer: This is sad...not even the title is mine...

Author's note: This fic is fueled by the sheer happiness I felt when this happened to me. I know this plot is overused, but experiencing it in real life is for lack of a better lame phrase, 'far out.'

Dedication: To my own Shinichi. He's far away, too, and I hardly see him lately. Weird coincidence, huh? His name is Brock, and when he called me for the first time in months, I really felt like Ran. His email address has 'orchid' in it, thus the title. Well, I don't know any little boys who are suspiciously like him. Wouldn't that be cool, though?


By Pedal

Sleet tried desperately to hack him and the streets around him to pieces. Conan shook it off lazily, knowing it wouldn't make any sort of difference whether or not he allowed himself to experience the cold. Soon, half of his hair was flat against his head from the humidity. The rest of it was stiff and cold from the freezing rain. He simply pulled the edges of his scarf up his neck to avoid all the discomfort he could.

Ran was back at her home, his home, studying. Conan knew she hated studying, mostly because she hardly ever had to. She needed a break, and he needed to hear her be happy and know that she was smiling. Not smiling for Conan, of course, because those smiles were always hidden behind longing for the happiness she wanted from Shinichi.

He had left a of couple hours earlier and was now on his way back to the agency. Before it had begun storming, he, Ai, and the rest of the Detective Boys had been flying a kite in the park. Well, Conan and Ai watched as their other three friends ran around with the glider-shaped kite. The weather was perfect then: dry and very windy.

Now Conan was ready for any type of shelter. He clutched his bowtie in his pocket when a phone booth came into view. How long had it been? Careful not to slip on the rapidly icing sidewalk, he bolted for the dimly lit structure. The transparent walls around him rattled as the wind picked up again. Ignoring everything else, Conan fumbled with the receiver and his bowtie, eventually getting them in the proper places as he hopped up several times to dial Ran's number.

After some shuffling and bickering in the background, Kogoro mumbled an automatic, "Mouri Detective Agency." Conan nearly dropped his bowtie.

"Detective Mouri!" came Shinichi's voice.

"Kudou Shinichi!" said the surprised Kogoro. Shinichi laughed, already feeling the warmth of the small booth.

And, in the back, Shinichi heard Ran exclaim, "Dad!" He imagined Ran could probably hear him when he was that loud.

"May I please speak with your daughter, sir?" asked Shinichi mockingly. Kogoro had to be the only person besides Heiji who knew Shinichi liked Ran.

"Yeah, justasecond," Kogoro muttered in response with a small growling undertone.

After a little more shuffling, Ran spoke. "Hi Shinichi," she greeted cheerfully.

"Hi Ran," Shinichi said with a chuckle. "What's your dad doing answering the phone?"

Quiet, brisk thudding came from beside Ran. Probably a knife on a cutting board. "I don't know. Maybe he didn't think I wanted to get up. Just before you called, I was thinking I needed something to distract me from my oh-so-exciting history homework."

Shinichi chuckled again. "I guess I picked the perfect time to call, then."

"I guess so. It's kind of quiet without Conan." Soft running water sounded on Ran's end. The thudding resumed. Someone was cooking.

"That's too bad," he said. After a pause, he quickly added, "Why isn't he there?" Breathing in a deep, strangled breath, Shinichi sighed heavily. The cold was beginning to hurt his throat.

"He's at Doctor Agasa's watching a movie with his friends. Oh, and guess what!" she laughed.

"Your dad is cooking?" deduced Shinichi with an arrogant smirk and a toss of his scarf.

There was a pause, and Shinichi's shoulders slouched forward. Maybe he shouldn't have said anything that would support a certain theory that he was lurking around town. "Alright, Mister Detective. How did you know?"

It didn't matter to him; there was always a way out for a detective. After all, it was easier to explain sticky things like this as himself rather than Conan. "Oh, just the noises in the background. The chopping, the clanging, and the soft music. They weren't loud enough for you to have been making them. Those and the fact that your dad answered the phone. If he had been doing anything else, he would've had to make too much of an effort to answer," he rattled off smoothly.

Ran sighed a little, and Shinichi gulped. Small talk was over. "So how's your case going?" she asked, trying to still sound chipper.

His tone darkened despite her efforts. Nuzzling his face closer into his scarf, he shivered once all over. "It's not. I feel like I'm at a dead end, but I can't get off the case at this point. I'm stuck here for now."

"You're okay, aren't you?"

Disappointedly, Shinichi sighed again. "I'm fine," he said, hanging his head. He was trying to sound reassuring, not defensive. It came out depressed and hopeless.

"Are you sure? You're always so sick when I see you," she replied. Shinichi shivered again. He was sick every time because of what he had to go through. With a pang to his heart, he realized how much it must've worried her.

Shaking his head to rid the thought, he teased, "Aw, you're worried about me." A stupid grin crept up on his face. "Don't worry yourself sick, now."

"Well fine! Just don't die, okay?" she practically shouted; Shinichi held the phone away for a second. When the freezing air engulfed his bare ear, he clamped the receiver back to his head. As he did, he heard Kogoro's faraway laughing.

"I'll keep that under advisement!" The smile faded from his face, and his voice suddenly went low and quiet again. "Hey Ran."

"Yeah?" she asked in the same, small voice.

A dull, metallic bang came from Ran's line. Chopsticks on a pan. Dinner was ready. "I have to go," they both said. They didn't laugh, though, like they usually would have.

"Take care of yourself, Shinichi."

"You too. Bye Ran," he said and jumped to hang up the phone. It hurt him more every time to say goodbye through the damn bowtie.

Closing his eyes, Shinichi wrapped his arms around himself and turned around once. He needed to feel Ran in his arms, wrapped up in him instead of the other way around. If not that, then he at least needed himself back. Now, though, he was just Conan again.

Before he stepped from the booth, Conan finally noticed some of the ice in his hair melting. Overall, the constant, numbing cold had given him a well-earned headache. By the time they were done speaking, the nasty rain had been replaced by quiet, fat snow. As soon as it hit the wet streets, it disappeared, adding to the slosh puddles. Every few meters, Conan shook his head violently, trying to expel the pain and ice. It only got worse.

Soon, the seemingly warm glow of the agency flooded around him. Conan took a large gulp of air to prepare for his little act. With his painted smile, he shot up the stairs and creaked open the door. Water was running again from the sink. They had eaten and were most likely washing dishes. Sure enough, when Conan passed the kitchen, Ran and Kogoro stood at the sink exchanging a quiet conversation.

Was anyone paying attention to him yet? Maybe all Ran could see when he vanished behind Kogoro's desk were his cowlicks. On his tiptoes, Conan replaced the ending CD in Kogoro's computer with a rock one. As it began, he turned up the volume, but not to an annoying level. Just as he walked back to the kitchen to greet his sitters, Ran cantered into the living room and scooped him up in her arms.

She smiled and laughed and twirled on her toes, all the while holding Conan to her. Thoroughly startled, he immediately began squirming. "Ran-neechan! What are you doing!" he yelped. At some point, he caught a look at Kogoro, who had been leaning in the kitchen doorway watching his daughter dance, smiling warmly.

She stopped spinning, but still held him close, moving to the music. For a moment, Conan mused that perhaps she was the small child playing with her teddy bear. "Dancing with you. What do you think?" she told him, giggling. Leaning in close, she added, "Shinichi called me. I guess it just made me really happy."

This is what he needed. It was what he kept going for. It was the oasis of his dreaded second childhood. Practically all the joy he had was from these moments. He felt her shaking and blushing and smiling and oh, was she glowing. He bathed in the giddiness and love she emanated so brightly.

Finally, Conan allowed a rare true smile to show in the form of a shy grin that matched the deep red he could feel seeping across his face. If only he could make it last forever, but with her in his arms instead. He tilted his head down for a moment, glancing at his hands on Ran's shoulder. Suddenly, he wrapped his arms around her neck, pulling himself as close as he could, and said, "Then let's dance."