DUVET [a night story]

Author's notes: Hello! This is my first Detective Conan fanfic, so please review– but no need to be gentle. If you didn't like it, tell me too, please! Hopefully I can get better. :) Anyway, Duvet means "comforter," as in a warm, soft, thick blanket you put on a bed when it gets very cold. It's taken from the opening song by the same title from Serial Experiments Lain. I know, weird combination.

Ah! And please tell me if you find any grammar/spelling mistakes. I try my best, but I'm spanish and my spell checker isn't 100% reliable. Thank you!

Shinichi tried to duck the blow, but it caught him full on the stomach. His little body hit the wall hard and fell to the floor. The man in black went to him slowly, caressing the tip of the baseball stick and smirking.

"Now you stay quiet, kid. I have to settle some things with the little bitch there." he said, pointing to the half-unconscious Ran lying on the floor. Shinichi tried to stand up again, but failed as his legs wouldn't support him. The man had already beaten him to a pulp. But I can't... I can't let him... Ran!

He had been too rash, as usual. He'd just ran after the criminal and cornered him without thinking about his 'little problem'. The confrontation in the dark alley had been impressive and the deduction superb, but the man in black with the baseball stick hadn't been impressed. "Very well. You're very smart for a little boy. Too bad I have to shut you up."

And then Ran had arrived. As always, his saving angel. With one nasty kick. But this time it had been different. The man in black had dodged nearly all of her blows and then hit her straight on the back of her head. She had fallen to the floor like a broken doll and stayed there, eyes closed, barely breathing... and now that man was going to her, a satisfied smirk on his face, wiping the blood from his nose, where Ran's blow had connected. "Stay away from her..." he managed to let out as the man unbuttoned her shirt slowly. "RAN! NO!"

"Conan-kun! Conan-kun, what's wrong?"

Shinichi opened his eyes wide. Ran was there, in her pyjamas, shaking him.

"Were you having a nightmare?"

A nightmare. Just a nightmare. But it had seemed so real... Shinichi threw his little arms around her and held her tightly before even realizing he was crying.

"Conan-kun... C'mon, it's alright now." She smiled softly as he cried onto her shoulder. It was just a nightmare. But it might as well have been true. I'm unable to protect her like this. I'm just a little boy...

Shinichi gasped as Ran stood up, carrying him. "Ran-neechan?"

"Ssssh! You'll wake dad! Tonight you're sleeping with me, okay? You won't be afraid then, will you?" she said, caressing his head.

Shinichi turned crimson. Sleeping with Ran?

She entered her room and shut the door. After arranging the futon for the two of them to fit there, Ran threw the windows wide. "That way we'll see the stars." She laid next to Shinichi, sighing softly, and pulled the blanket over them. "They're beautiful, aren't they?"

No. You are beautiful. Ran looked at the stars while caressing his cheek tenderly. Her eyes shone, and her dark hair gracefully framed her pale face. Her skin was mesmerizing, he thought, taking the soft hand on his cheek with his own little hands. She turned to him and smiled.

"Conan-kun. Tell me, what was the nightmare about?"

Oh, Ran. Don't ask that... "Um... it was..." He looked away. He didn't want to tell her, but he didn't want to have to lie to her yet again. Even about a dream. She was lying by his side, comforting and trueÐÊhe couldn't deceive her again.

"Come on. It's helpful, you know. When you spell things out they aren't half as scary as when they're in your head and you have to face them alone. Don't you trust me?"

"Ran-neechan... it was... something bad happened to you, and I couldn't help you." Not all the truth, but part of it.

"Oh, Conan-kun... Come on, look at me." Shinichi turned reluctantly and regretted it almost instantly. He was caught in those blue oceans of her eyes, looking at him with sympathy as she hugged him closer to her. "And that's why you were crying, isn't it."

Ran. "Yes..."

"I know those dreams." He pulled away and looked at her. Now she looked infinitely sad. "I often have them. Something bad happens to a person you love, and you can't do anything to stop it... but I'm too big for crying, don't you think?" Ran smiled weakly. "Or maybe it is that I've cried so much that I just can't seem to cry anymore. Maybe I should..." Her eyes were wet, but she fought back the tears.

Shinichi didn't think. He just reached out and caressed her cheek just as she had done before to him. She looked shocked. He realized just then he wasn't wearing his glasses.

"Conan... kun..?" She stared at his serious eyes, his adult expression. Shinichi thought of pulling back, of playing the kid, but decided against it. Ran. You don't deserve any more lies. "What..?" She couldn't fight back the tears anymore, so she just let them trail down her face and shine to the soft moonlight entering through the open window. Shinichi wiped them away slowly, moving closer to her, looking at her without any disguise other than a body which wasn't his but a heart that was. He brushed his lips over hers, barely touching her, and pulled back.

She just stared at him, trying to say something. "Shin... ichi? You..?" He nodded silently. Ran's sobs got harder and she covered her face with her hands. Shinichi didn't know what to do. She just kept crying harder and harder, now sitting with her head on her knees. She wouldn't stop nor look at him. He tried to hold her, but she pushed him away. Her eyes were filled with hurt and rage when she finally looked at him. "Don't touch me!"

"Ran... I..." I'm sorry. But please, don't hate me... She had stopped crying, but she was still shaking.

"What? 'I' what? Say! Just say something! Why didn't you tell me? Why did you just let me mope about you and kept playing the little brother? Why?!" The sobs broke her voice again as she looked at his sad face. "Just what am I supposed to think or feel now..? And you... just kissed me..."

"I'm sorry, Ran. I... I can't really say anything else. I didn't want to lie to you, but I had to protect you... the only way I could..."

"Protect me? From what?"

"From the people who did this to me. They meant to kill me. And if they found out I was still alive, they wouldn't hesitate in killing anybody I cared about to find me... you'd be the first target, Ran... and I can't allow that, Ran, I love you..." He didn't want to cry, but it was so much easier in this size.

"You love me... but you let me suffer..." She wasn't even blaming him now. She just looked lost.

"I... I shouldn't have kissed you. I'm sorry. But I've been dreaming about doing it for so many years, Ran, and when I finally get the chance I'm six years old again!" She smiled weakly. "Don't hate me, please..."

She wiped her tears and relaxed a little. Her eyes still showed hurt, but not rage. "Shinichi. You know I can't hate you. But this is so... I don't know. I just don't know how to react. I'd like to kill you for having hidden it for so long. For letting me cry over you, wondering what could have happened to you. But at the same time, I'm so happy..." She held her hand out to him. "So I guess I'll give you a chance."

Ran... thank you. She didn't know so many things yet, things she'd want to know and learn to accept before actually forgiving him. And at the same time, she knew so much, too much. But it didn't actually matter right then.

Shinichi and Ran hugged tightly under the moonlight. I told you I'd come back to you somehow.