Sometimes Insomnia is Easier

Once upon a time, there was a lovely princess named Mouri Ran who lived in a beautiful castle with her father and little brother-esque charge named Edogawa Conan. She had once been courting a dashing prince by the name of Kudo Shinichi (although both vehemently denied it) but the demons known as responsibility and cases to be solved had pulled him away from her (or so she believed). And he didn't even call her very often, either. The next time he came home, she'd have to give him a talk about his responsibility to her. She blushed at the thought. Perhaps not.

Coming out of her fantasy, she glanced into the main room of the apartment from the kitchen and smiled. Her father was sprawled out across his desk, sound asleep, while Conan dozed on the couch. She walked out into the room and took a seat next to the sleeping boy. Of course he was tired. They had been out late last night. As it always seemed to work, someone had been murdered at the dinner party they had been attending and, of course, Mouri Kogoro was on the case. 'As was Conan', she thought softly. The young boy thought she didn't notice the way he led her father through his deductions and she smiled at the imagined look on his face when she would finally tell him she knew.

She shook her head at his sleeping form, taking in his image. His glasses pressed uncomfortably against the base of his nose. How many times had she told him to take them off before he fell asleep? Honestly, she thought, that boy had some kind of complex, overly protective of those lenses. She reached over and slid them off gently, laying them on the coffee table. One more smiling glance at the prone form and she returned to the kitchen.

It had been almost a half hour in the kitchen when she heard a vaguely familiar voice from the other room. Startled, she turned off the faucet to make sure she was hearing correctly. And there it was again! Grabbing a dish towel to fervently dry her soapy hands, she furrowed her brow as she tried to place the voice. It wasn't unwelcome but it certainly wasn't a normal noise for the house, either. She gripped a broom that was lying nearby and clutched it in front of her as a dusty shield.

An inspection of the outlying room turned up no suspicious persons. Only that her father had shifted in his sleep and Conan seemed to have his mouth blocked by his bowtie. It was actually almost cute, Ran thought, and her mind drifted to the camera sitting in her purse. As quietly as she could, she made her way across the room towards where her red bag sat on a chair near the door. When she was level Conan, however, she heard something that made her heart stop.

"Ran."

She stopped moving, shocked and scared. Her breath hitched in her throat.

"Shi-Shinichi?"

He wasn't anywhere. She knew that. One glance at the apartment told her that. So where was his voice coming from?

"Ran, it's me."

She looked down at the boy on the couch next to her. It couldn't be. It just couldn't. It was clear that he was dreaming; she could see the flicker of his eyelids that showed that he was in REM. And Ran had read that children asleep sometimes held long conversations they never remembered when they woke up. It made sense. But why? Why did he sound like Shinichi?

"Oh," she slowly said to the sleeping boy, still not quite believing what she was doing. "Hello, Shinichi. What have you been up to?" The boy groaned in his sleep.

"What do you think I've been up to?" her young friend asked in the voice of Shinichi. "Honestly, I'm exhausted, running around so much." Ran stared at him incredulously.

"Where have you been, Shinichi?" she asked quietly, not so sure she wanted to hear the answer. The boy snorted.

"Where have I been? Right here, of course. It is a hassle pretending to be Conan but I'd say I've been pulling it off pretty well. You don't even seem to notice." She blinked.

"I haven't seemed to notice?"

"Well," he started off, "you did a bit at first. But I tricked you well enough to throw you off my track, what with Haibara, Heiji, Kid, and everyone helping me out."

"Then, you really are Conan?" She could see him smile.

"Yeah. Funny it took you so long to see it. I mean, not that I wanted you to. The last thing I'd want would be for you to be in danger. But of all the people I thought would figure it out."

"Why didn't you tell me, Shinichi?" She completely went along with it. She had assumed by now that it was some sort of crazy dream where Conan thought he was Shinichi. It was sweet, in a kind of creepy way. She never realized how much he idolized the older boy before. She'd have to mention it to Shinichi the next time he called.

"Why? Because I didn't want to put you in danger. If Gin or Vodka ever found out about this… You won't tell them, will you, Ran? You won't tell anyone that you found out who I really am?" His voice took on an urgent quality. She took a step back.

"Of course not, Shinichi." He noticeably relaxed. Ran started to wonder how vivid this dream was. It seemed almost like a nightmare.

"Well, good then. You know, I missed talking to you like this. Ever since I went running off at Tropical Land, everything's been horrible. I should never have followed them. I'm sorry, Ran. I should have stayed with you. It was your day, after all. You had won the championship. I don't even know why I ran off."

Ran stared at the boy. She had never told him why Shinichi and she had been at Tropical Land that day. Breathing a little more raggedly, she decided to question the slumbering child.

"Shinichi, what's our favorite color?" He frowned.

"Red, of course. Why? Did you forget?" He grinned a little.

"No. I just thought you might have."

"Oi. I haven't been removed from myself long enough to forget something like that."

She looked down at him. With the glasses removed, it was evident that the boy was the spitting image of Shinichi as a child. How had she not realized it before? And all those times when he had known exactly the right thing to say. All the times when he seemed to react differently than the other children. How had she not seen it?

"It's been nice to see you again, Shinichi, but I need to go finish dinner," she said as she backed away. This was a lot to process but, really, it came more easily than she thought it would. It had always been there; she just had never noticed it before. He pouted and she had to hold back a giggle.

"Alright. But, I miss you, Ran."

"I miss you, too."

And with that, the boy flipped back on his side, still oblivious to all that had just gone on. Ran walked numbly back into the kitchen. Noticing the stew still on the open range, she quickly tended to it. And decided she should make a lemon pie for dessert. Just because.

An hour later, a young boy woke up from quite a nap. He patted around for his glasses, finally finding them on the table.

'How did they get there?' he wondered.

Glancing down at his bowtie, he noticed in a panic that it was still set at Shinichi's voice from the last phone call. Turning it off for the moment, he thanked his lucky stars that nothing had come of it.

Author's Note: Well, the first of at least two stories, done. I have ideas for a few more but this will pretty much be a 'write when the feeling gets to you' story. No plot, just a few almost drabbles about different characters. Hope you all enjoyed it.