Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan. Complete list of credits at the end, as usual.

In the Blink of an Eye - AU. He was a prince; she was a mere personal servant. They were never supposed to meet. But as we all know, fate often has other plans.. HxK.

Chapter 1: Chance Meeting

"Don't move," Heiji ordered him.

Shinichi glared. "You'd better not miss."

Heiji waved him off. "Don't worry," he said. "I've done this before."

Shinichi looked slightly relieved.

"I'm sure I won't miss this time."

Heiji released the arrow and Shinichi froze. The arrow split the apple perfectly in half. Shinichi warily took the apple off of his head and turned around to see where the arrow had landed on the trunk of an oak tree.

"If you had missed by just an inch," Shinichi hissed, "I would've killed you."

"No, no," Heiji said, shaking his head imperiously, "if I had missed by an inch, I would have killed you."

Shinichi threw one half of the apple at him, hitting him squarely in the face. "Between you and Kuroba, I don't know who I hate more."

"You know you wouldn't be able to live without me."

"Hah. Want to find out?" Shinichi held up the bow and arrow.

"Do it and you pull back a stub."

/-/

"That's right," Ran told her, "we're going to the Kingdom of the West - that's where Shinichi said he'd meet me."

A ponytailed girl in a plain brown dress continued to pack Ran's things. "I just can't believe that you're letting me go with you," she said. "I'm only a servant, after all.."

"Nonsense!" Ran declared. "You're one of my best friends - always have been, always will be. It's only right that I let you meet my fiancé, right?"

The other girl smiled. "I guess so."

"None of this polite business, you hear?" Ran said. "I don't want to hear 'Lady Ran' this and 'Lady Ran' that. It's strictly Ran-chan from this point on. I know that we have to do it when we're around the elders, but when it's just you and me and Shinichi.. oh, and Hattori-kun too, it's fine to drop the formalities."

The ponytailed girl had had enough of trying to argue with Ran about this subject. "Fine, fine!" she said, throwing her hands up in exasperation. "You're one of the most stubborn people I've ever met, Ran-chan."

Ran stuck her tongue out at her. "It's your fault for dealing with me for this long, you know?"

"You know you wouldn't be able to live without me. You've driven out all of your other personal servants."

Ran pouted. "Oh, come on. I'm not that bad."

The other girl snorted.

"It'll be great, though," Ran continued, smiling widely. "A month at the castle, while we get the preparations ready. And you can go out and have some fun, too! Just be careful, okay, Kazuha-chan?"

The ponytailed girl lifted her head from her packing and met her eyes. "Yes, yes, I will."

/-/

The journey to the kingdom took a little over a day, and they reached the castle by sundown. Kazuha had almost fallen asleep when the carriage came to an abrupt and violent halt. She banged her head against the door as a result, muttering profanities under her breath.

Ran giggled at her friend's antics as the carriage driver stepped out and opened the door for her. "Hey, Kazuha-chan, I'm going to go ahead..." She looked a little apologetic at this point, and Kazuha rolled her eyes at her.

"It's fine, it really is," she reassured her. Though she couldn't help but feel just a little hurt, nonetheless. "I know my place, and you know yours. Go over there already and greet the king and queen! I'll be in your room.." Kazuha trailed off, eyeing the large castle, "..wherever it is."

Ran smiled gratefully. "And you know I love you for it, Kazuha-chan." She was about to take off for the castle when she paused, as if suddenly remembering something, and glared at her. "And don't you dare try to bring all of our luggage up by yourself! It's much too heavy for you! Get the driver to help you -" she flashed the driver a kind smile, " - I'm sure he won't mind."

The driver bowed deeply.

Kazuha mentally thought that she'd rather die a million different deaths than even consider asking that rat for help. She crossed her fingers behind her back. "Of course, Lady Ran." Ran frowned at the formality, but then the driver cleared his throat and she had no choice but to exit the carriage.

Kazuha watched her retreating back.

Don't be ridiculous, she berated herself, you ought to consider yourself lucky that Ran-chan's pushed for you this far. Without her, you'd still be living on the streets..

That's right. Ran had done so much for her already. The least she could do was be a good servant. She jumped off the carriage and carefully placed all the luggage on the floor - three heavy, wooden trunks.

The driver had already gotten inside and was driving away. Kazuha stuck her tongue at him and had half a mind to throw a particularly large rock she'd had her eye on at him..

She sighed, and began to drag the trunks behind her.

/-/

"Shinichi!" Ran joyously bounded for her fiancé, who took her into his arms. Heiji made a loud display of pretending to gag on the floor, and the couple pulled apart.

"Yes, Hattori, what are you, three?"

"I don't appreciate being treated to the sight of you ramming your tongue down her throat," Heiji replied easily, and Shinichi threw - what looked like one half of a dried apple to Ran - at Heiji, which bounced off his head.

"If you two are finished," Ran cut in, pretending to look annoyed - although a smile twitched at her lips - "why don't we -" and was cut off by a sudden scraping noise outside the door. She furrowed her brow and glanced at the other two.

"CRAP!" There was an explosion outside the door. Shinichi and Heiji looked equally bewildered, but an expression of dawning realization had made its way onto Ran's face.

"No way," she said, slowly making her way to the door. "No way.."

She opened the door.

And gasped.

On the floor was a disheveled and thoroughly angry Kazuha. Three large trunks - the ones Ran recognized as the ones she'd packed earlier - sat behind her. Kazuha's hands were red and raw, undoubtedly from dragging the trunks behind her all this while.

"Oh, Kazuha-chan!" Ran rushed over to her friend.

"I'm fine," Kazuha lied, hiding her hands behind her back.

"No, you're not!" Ran insisted. "Give me your hands," she then said, in a tone that promised pain if not obeyed instantly, "now."

Kazuha reluctantly let her see her hands.

Ran let out a small hiss of sympathy pain. Thick ropes had been tied around the trunks, and pulling at the ropes so much had rubbed Kazuha's hands raw. "Oh," she said, shaking her head.

A new voice joined the group, and Kazuha kept her head bent low, already embarrassed enough. "You know," this new voice said, rough and sarcastic, "you're pretty stupid."

Kazuha's head snapped up. She couldn't get a clear view of this stranger's face, for the shadows had fallen in exactly the right places. "Who are you calling stupid?" she demanded.

"You, idiot."

Kazuha huffed angrily and glared at Ran. "Please tell me he's not the one you're marrying."

Ran wore an expression that was a cross between amusement and worry. "No, Kazuha-chan, he's not."

"Thank god.."

"Who is she, anyway?" That same rude voice cut in.

"She's my friend," Ran replied, defensively.

"You don't have to do that," Kazuha said to her, and turning to this mystery jerk, "I'm her personal servant. Got a problem with that?"

"Come on," Ran pleaded. She turned to the other man, "Hattori-kun.."

Kazuha choked. "Ha - Hattori -? As in, the prince -"

"That's right." And the prince of the Kingdom of the West, Hattori Heiji, turned his head and Kazuha got a clear view of his face - and, dear god, his gorgeous, dreamy eyes - for the very first time.

Her breath caught in her throat, and she saw an identical expression of shock in his face, as well.

From that point on, nothing would ever the same again...

/ to be continued /

Random Notes: Ookay, the line where Heiji goes, "if I had missed by an inch, I would have killed you," was taken directly from Lyn Jarewo Wors-chan's mouth. xD Seriously, it was!

The line where Heiji once again says, "Do it and you pull back a stub" was taken from an episode of Charmed... ehh, Piper was the one who said it, I believe.. she was all pregnant and Morris was about to touch her belly and she just snaps at him.. xDD

Lols, well, I suppose you could say that I'm on a total writing spree. Can't stop writing! xD I honestly can't. I think part of it is because school's starting in a week - GAH! NO! - so I'm trying to get as much done as possible. Well, I hope you like this ficcie so far, and I shall shut up now. (smiles)