Disclaimer: A girl can dream, can't she?


The house was completely darkened, causing the infrequently revealed moonlight to cast eerie and distorted shadows along the walls and floor. The silence, besides being unnerving, had a muffled feel to it, as if the layers of dust coating nearly every surface quelled sound from traveling or echoes from passing. As Conan stepped inside, not bothering to remove his shoes despite the damp ground, it hit him how terribly long it had been since he had returned to his own house.

Slightly glazed blue eyes flickered to the staircase that led to the second floor, where his old bedroom was. He took a moment to try imagining himself in his own bed, the old mattress fitted precisely to his form from constant use, the soft sheets wrapped around his torso from a fitful sleep, his exposed toes at the end of the blanket a testament to his continuous growing. His room was just as dusty as the rest of the house, he supposed. The blanket would be dull in color; the mattress would have forgotten his shape. A chill passed over him as he realized that the Mouri Detective Agency felt much more like home to him now than this house ever could again. That thought scared him, especially considering what he was about to do.

His feet brought him further into the house almost without him noticing. He knew he should stay alert. He knew he should be planning out exactly what he would say to her, what he would do when she reacted. Would he comfort her if she cried? Would he shout back if she was angry? Would he run if she grew violent, or just stand there and take the beating? God knew he deserved it.

And there was always another option. He could always turn back now, put the house and its eerie silence behind him and move forward. Find those who had wronged him. Sort everything out and then tell the truth. There was always that. Even as these thoughts danced a tantalizing routine through his head he knew it was impossible. Even if he'd wanted to he couldn't turn his back on Ran now, not when she expected to see Shinichi Kudo in this house on this night. Not when she was so sure that they would be reunited.

In a way they would be. After this, he reasoned with himself, he could talk freely with her. He could express his troubles to her, express his feelings for her. And most importantly he could warn her. Warn her of the danger she was in just for being associated with his older self and why it was important to keep hidden.

Only in utter secrecy was he safe. Were they both safe. It was time that Ran knew his secret. Even if she didn't understand… he'd make her understand. He would stand there and talk for as long as it took for her to realize that there was a purpose for everything he'd done, no matter how stupid or selfish it all seemed. Once he explained the danger she might not ever truly forgive him, but she would certainly do her best to help. That's just the kind of person Ran was. His heart gave a small flutter as it always did when he thought of her.

It was already seven minutes past their designated meeting time. Any second now she'd come through that door… any second…


He spun around, squinting into the darkened house. The voice had definitely been Ran's, but he could not see her. Considering her question she could not see him either. Odd that she had been there the whole time without him even knowing it. Why had she stayed hidden? Perhaps she had been nostalgically wandering through the house just as he felt compelled to do.

Outside the moon burst through the clouds, seeping through the windows and brightening everything. The shadows returned. Down the hall he could see Ran's form. Conan himself was completely bathed in the moonlight, revealed to her although he could not see her face. He breathed in sharply and did not exhale. What was she thinking? What would she say?

A few unsteady steps and Ran emerged into the light, eyes as wide as saucers. The moonlight threw the both of them into strange hews and colors, but even so he could tell that her face was completely blanched. This effect was amplified by the long, dark coat adorning her thin frame. Some where in the back of his mind he took note of the fact that he had never seen it before.

She was staring at him in absolute horror. This was not quite what he had expected.

"Ran…?" he said carefully when for a few moments she could only gape at him. His voice croaked as he spoke: his throat and mouth were completely dry. Ran gave a little squeak.

"Conan… did you…. Did you follow me here?" she gave a nervous laugh which sounded shrill to his ears. That was unlike Ran. Ran was hardly ever nervous unless she had a good reason for it. But he couldn't blame her, he supposed.

"No, Ran," he replied, trying to put some more force or confidence in his voice. Trying not to sound like such a scared little boy and more like Shinichi. "I didn't follow you. I asked you to come here."

She looked even more appalled at this statement and Conan felt the blood drain from his own face. He'd done it. He'd told her. And she wasn't taking it well. All he could do was explain.

"Ran, I—"

"No," she hissed, taking a few steps backward and covering her mouth with both hands. She shook her head fervently, continuing to edge backward until he back rammed into the edge of the stair rail in what looked like a painful manner. She apparently didn't notice, only continued to shake her head and stare. "No, it... it can't be you!"

"You know that isn't true, Ran, you've nearly figured it out for yourself dozens of times," Conan offered glumly. Why was she acting so surprised? He was under the impression that she'd really sort of known all along.

Tears spilled over her cheeks and though she uncovered her mouth her hands remained firmly clenched together at her chest. "Of course I did, idiot." She was whispering, as if she could not get in enough breath at once to speak properly. "I've always known. But when you asked me to meet you here… oh God, I just thought… I hoped…" Her voice returned to her full force as she shrieked her next words. They tore through him like a knife, leaving his breath uneven and his blood cold.


"L-lose me? You won't lose me. Don't you see, I've been here all along, I—"

She had gone back to shaking her head fiercely, dislodging some tears from her overflowing eyes which glittered in the moonlight before disappearing. "I didn't…" she said with effort, "I didn't want to lose both of you."

This was not making sense to Conan. For once he was not able to figure it out before it was too late. One moment he and Ran were alone, she looking utterly crushed and he feeling more confused than he'd ever been, and the next a pair of large arms emerged from behind and gripped him so hard it hurt. The breath was forced from his lungs, his arms pinned uselessly to his sides.

"Got him!" a triumphant voice called. In seconds the house was swarming, people emerging from the darkened areas like shadow beings, all in dark clothing, most with hats or masks to obscure their faces. Conan struggled furiously against his captor, too shocked to even scream. In the midst of all the black figures Ran's desperately pale face shown out to him like the moon itself. She was still crying. The people around her paid her no attention whatsoever as if she was only a shadow herself.

"Ran! Ran!" Conan managed to shout at last before a gloved hand was forced over his mouth. A single, wild thought raced through his mind: escape!

Ran had pressed her back to the stair rail again, apparently unaware of the hoards of people around her. They were snickering and grinning and glaring all at once.

"Take a good look, little detective," a cruel voice drawled, "This is the last thing you'll ever see."

He hardly registered the stunning blow to his head, only that he could not seem to get his limbs to obey him any more. He could no longer struggle. He could no longer escape. A darkness was encroaching on his vision, as dark as the people around him. As it surrounded him he looked blearily to Ran. She whispered something. He couldn't hear it; he couldn't hear anything anymore. Perhaps he only wanted to believe she had said "I'm sorry", yet just before the blackness took him fully he realized something.

He forgave her.

A/N: All right, nobody kill me. In case that was a little confusing to anyone (I know my writing is unclear sometimes… okay, most of the time) Yes, Ran was in league with the Black Organization, and yes, she did help in their capture and probable murder of Shinichi. The reason she was so horrified was because she did not want to face having to lose, or having doomed, both Shinichi and Conan. After all, Conan has filled the void left behind by Shinichi for her and now he's gone too. Don't you feel bad for Ran? Or maybe you don't… since she's evil…

Just a tiny twist on things. –crooked grin- Please review.