Disclaimer: Nope, nope, nope. -sigh-

Waiting

Ran was waiting. Again.

This is the last time, she wanted to tell herself. This is the last time you'll wait for him.

That was nonsense, of course. It could never be the last time, at least by no volition of her own. No matter how many times she told herself that it was.

The truth was, the waiting was beginning to tear her apart inside. Little by little she was breaking up. She knew this, and she knew that he was the only thing that could ever put her together again. He always did, every time, when after waiting for him, he came back.

You knew what you were getting yourself into… she chastised herself. His was a life of danger. And as long as he was in danger, so too, was she. It was a position she put herself in freely. This was because she also knew that, though there was a chance of dying with him, she would die without him.

She stood by the window, the glass thrown open and allowing the wind to blow through. It washed over her like a cold rain, making her shiver, but she couldn't bear to move away. Any minute now she would see him. Any minute now he would come. He would tell her he was safe and all was well, and she would be so relieved.

Until next time.

Trust, she knew, was a terrible issue. She loved him, oh how she loved him, but she didn't, couldn't trust him. And he knew she didn't. How could she be expected to, after years of lies and secrets. For years he hid from her, from everyone. And as much as she wanted to, she could not make those years suddenly vanish. She could not make herself suddenly trust him.

As Ran stood there by the window, telling herself it was the last time, knowing that it wasn't, and hoping beyond hope that he would truly return…

There he was, miraculously outside her window just as she'd pictured him. In fact she wondered if perhaps she were only straying too far into her dream, envisioning him realistically out of desperation. All thoughts were dispelled as gently, he slid some sparkling thing onto her ring finger.

"For you, my lady," he said quietly. He was hovering outside, as if defying the laws of gravity just to be near her, just so his face could be close enough to hers, close enough to see his own reflection in her eyes as if he were gazing down into her soul.

Coughing hastily, he added, "I'm afraid it's only on loan, though." Then he threw her one of those grins.

Ran blinked, surprised how easily the spell had been broken. She hadn't even glanced down at the jewelry he had given her, for she had been too captivated with his safe return, his undeniable presence that was so very real and so unmistakable it galled her how easily he fooled others.

"Kaito…" she rebuked teasingly, before forcefully pulling him inside and holding him as if she would never let go.

Author's Note: …I know, I know! A pox on anyone who breaks the sacred Shinichi/Ran, Heiji/Kazuha, Kaito/Aoko, right? It was just, shall we say, an experiment…