Title: A Small Square Box
Fandom: Detective Conan
Characters: General series
Prompt: #43—square
Word Count: 911 words
Rating: PG
Author's Notes: I do not own Detective Conan. It all belongs to Gosho Aoyama. I simply borrow the characters, tie them up, and dance them around like life-sized puppets. I do wish they'd stop complaining.
Summary: The hardest part of the day was the not-knowing.


There she was.

She sat near the front of the room, in the second row. He sat in the back…not that he minded, though. It did give him ample opportunities to observe. After all, Mitsuhiko had been observing Haibara Ai for quite a long time now—ever since their grade school days, when she'd transferred into their school. Now they were almost adults: seventeen years old and in their second year of high school. And Mitsuhiko hadn't grown out of his "little crush." If anything, he'd become more fascinated, more intrigued by the light-haired young woman who had always seemed far more mature than anyone else their age.

And to think that someone had once called it puppy love.

But right now, the scrutiny was more disheartened than anything else. The hardest part of the day was the not-knowing. But now the much-anticipated day was almost over, and it looked like this year was going to be another let-down.

This happened every year. February fourteenth would roll around, and he'd get his hopes up in spite of the fact that he really had no reason to do so. The day would pass, and he'd inevitably wind up disappointed and berating himself for hoping in the first place. And then he would decide that he hated Valentine's Day…until the next February twelfth, when he'd realize it was coming again and the process would start all over again: hoping, waiting, realizing, disappointment.

Granted, he was slightly relieved that she didn't seem to give chocolate to any other boys, either. And there were several who Mitsuhiko knew would be extremely pleased to receive such a gift. It was a small comfort, but a comfort nonetheless.

It was so stupid. He was logical. He was proud of his scientific mind and rational way of thinking. So why could he not rationalize this? And then logic reminded him that the heart wasn't always logical. And then he would invariably conclude that, for lack of a more eloquent phrase…

This sucked.

So he waited and watched, silently.

When the bell rang, sensei dismissed them, and everyone began gathering up their belongings to head home for the evening. Many of the boys were jabbering excitedly about the chocolate they'd received from their girlfriends, female friends, and surprise admirers.

A few seats in front of him, she was doing the same.

Mitsuhiko sighed. Another year, another disappointment.

But he didn't blame Haibara—not at all. He was still too much of a chicken to say anything, even after all these years. She didn't know that she was silently crushing his hopes, and so it wouldn't be fair to blame his cowardice on her.

Oh, he had to hurry—the others were already at the door and ready for their daily walk home! Still feeling rather down, he turned to gather his own supplies into his school satchel. But a soft thump on his desk made him look up again.

Sitting innocently on top of his desk was a small square box, wrapped in plain red paper and adorned with a simple yellow ribbon. If he didn't know better, he'd say that it looked an awful lot like a box for Valentine's chocolate, like what many of the girls had been passing out all day…

But there was no one near his desk. The rest of his classmates were either already gone or…they were waiting impatiently for him at the door. Ayumi was calling to him now, gesturing for him to hurry up. They left him no time to contemplate the mysterious appearance of the box.

Hurriedly, he swept it into his schoolbag with the rest of his belongings, clicked the bag shut, and rushed to join them. Genta gave him some minor heckling before they made their way out of the building and onto the sidewalk to head for home.

On the sidewalk, Mitsuhiko was far removed from the animated conversation of his peers, who walked a couple of steps behind him. They were engaged in energetic conversation, while he was miles away, lost in La La Land, wondering about that gift. His rational mind had already figured that someone had simply dropped it on his desk as she walked by. The identity of his admirer, however, seemed determined to remain a mystery. He wanted to hope that it was from her, but there was no evidence to suggest that…and he wasn't quite so naïve as to not have noticed a few other girls giving him that special brand of look during class.

He flipped open his bag and fished the box out and gave it another look…only to notice something he had missed before: his name was written in neat black letters on the yellow ribbon.

He recognized that handwriting. After several hundred homework sessions over the years, of course he would know that handwriting. He knew it as well as he knew his own.

Swallowing hard, he decided to take the risk. He turned and glanced back over his shoulder at Haibara Ai, who was replying to something Ayumi was saying. She seemed as calm and collected as ever. But as Genta said something to catch Ayumi's attention, Haibara seemed to notice his scrutiny.

He held up the box, just enough so that she could see it. Haibara looked at it, looked at him, and for a moment, he was certain that he was an idiot, he'd jumped to conclusions, he was dead wrong…

Until she smiled.


PS. Well, here we go. The first for fanfic100! I know, I'm insane, and taking on this challenge is easily the stupidest thing I've ever done. But this was also my first Mitsuhiko/Ai AND a birthday gift for the lovely and talented TailFluffGirl, who requested the pairing. Happy birthday, hon! Hope you liked your prezzie!

Thanks for reading, all. Much love!