For the Sake of My Beloved

He tried to tune the laughter of Ran and her beloved Shinichi out, but he couldn't. A part of him wanted to savor the sound of their joy together. They paused in front of the stairs, and he watched as Ran leaned up to kiss her boyfriend. Shinichi turned his head at just the right moment, transferring her attention to his cheek, rather than his lips.

Nine-year-old Edogawa Conan watched as the woman he loved more than life itself floated through the door five minutes later, a dreamy smile on her lips. "How was your date, Ran-neesan?" he asked, striving to sound like the kid he currently was.

"It was wonderful," she said, and she reached over and hugged him tightly. "I think Shinichi is thinking about proposing!"

Conan smiled at her. "That's great! Shinichi-niisan must love you a whole lot."

Ran's face was beautiful with the blush that bloomed on her cheeks. "I love him, too," she said. She pressed a gentle kiss again Conan's forehead, and he tried to forget that she'd just kissed someone else minutes before. "You shouldn't have stayed up waiting for me."

"I know, but I wanted to wish you good night!" he chirped, before feigning a yawn. "I think I'll go to bed now."

When he entered his room, he stiffened as he heard the sound of breathing. Lifting his head, he looked up at the top of his bookshelf, knowing his guest was prone to high places. "Hello, Kid," he said, staring at the white-garbed thief that lounged comfortable on top of Conan's Sherlock Holmes novels. "What do you want?"

"Just came to check in after round four of Operation Wooing Ran," Kid replied. The light from the hallway caught his monocle, and Conan remembered to kick the door shut behind him.

A couple of months ago, Conan probably wouldn't have been as eager to shut himself in a room with the master thief, but things had changed. After a frantic night full of the black organization members and unexpected revelations, Conan had tentatively slotted Kid in his "ally" category. A week after that Haibara had revealed that there would be no miraculous cure for the apotoxin, and Conan had approached Kuroba Kaito for a favor.

"Does she suspect?" he asked.

"Please," Kid replied, and there was pride in his voice. "I'm a master of disguise. If I can't pass as the guy who looks like my twin brother, I wouldn't be worthy of my name."

Conan wasn't sure why he felt disappointed by that. Somehow he'd hoped that Ran would be able to see through the thief's disguise, and realize he wasn't her Shinichi. Still, it was for the best. "Good," Conan said.

"Are you sure you want to go through with this?" the Kid asked in response. "There's still time to back out before things become irreversible."

"We're doing this," Conan replied. "Ran needs to move on, and that means she needs to say goodbye to Shinichi."

"It seems cruel to date her first, though," Kaito replied.

"I want her to know she's loved," Conan said. "I don't want her to feel like she never had a chance to confess. I want her to have as few regrets as possible." A sudden suspicion surge in his mind. "Why are you worried about her?"

"I'm not doing it for her, Detective," the thief said, and before Conan could respond, a poof of flash powder marked the exit of the kaitou.