"Conan-kun! Conan-kun! Look, look!" Ran burst into Conan's room, screaming and waving two navy-and-red rectangles of thick paper.

Conan blinked at her, looking up from his Sherlock Holmes novel. "Wh-what are they, Ran-neechan…?"

Ran giggled happily, waving the tickets some more. "I won a contest! Two tickets for a hot air balloon ride! Doesn't that sound exciting?!"

Conan had never been gladder to be in the body of a six-year-old. Because, he'd never told Ran…but he was afraid of hot air balloons.

He knew it was a stupid phobia—but he couldn't help it. It wasn't the height, it wasn't the heat….he just didn't like them. He used to have nightmares where he was crushed by a hot air balloon. But that was when he was REALLY six.

He was sixteen and still didn't like them.

Unfortunately, Ran didn't see his horrified expression. She giggled. "It's at 12:30, so I'll make us a quick lunch before going!" She left then, leaving Conan to moan in dismay. He had to get out of this. Collecting himself, he hurried to the kitchen, where Ran was humming merrily and cooking.

"Uhm…Ran-neechan….I've got a lot of homework to do….so I don't really think I'll be able to come with you…"

"Huh? You do? Well, why don't you finish it now? You're really fast at homework!"

Well, duh, He thought bitterly. His excuse hadn't worked. I have the mind of a sixteen-year-old stuck in a child's body. First grade work is a cake walk.

Ran dropped two bowls on the table, and stirred the stew a little bit more. "Sit down, Conan-kun!" She said. "I made some stew!"
I can see that, Conan thought as he sat down. His nervous eyes caught the two tickets sitting on the table. Maybe…. A grin appeared on his face as a plan formed in his mind. Yea…

Ran ladled some soup into Conan's bowl. Carefully as he could, he picked it up, as if to slurp it from the rim of the bowl, and sloshed it just so that it was going to fall onto the tickets…

Yes…yes…

"Ooops!" he cried as the steaming-hot soup slid over the edge and began to fall towards the tickets…

Yes! Yes!

…but at the last moment, Ran turned on her heel and made a lunge and grabbed for the tickets, rescuing them.

Nooo….!

The soup splashed off the edge of the table, onto Ran's hand and shirt, and the floor, where it hit her tennis shoes.

"Conan-kun! You have to be more careful," She scolded with a frown. "Now I have to go and change! Please clean it up," She gestured towards the stew on the floor and table, before leaving the room, but not before setting those nasty tickets on top of the microwave.

Conan picked up the rag and kneeled on the floor, cleaning up the perfectly good stew. What a waste, he thought. I coulda eaten that. Or at least ruin those damned tickets…

He let out a big sigh as he stood up to clean the table. But he noticed something, freezing. Ran had left the stove on—and it was a fire stove, not electric.

He began to laugh. Ran wasn't in the room, and she couldn't save the tickets this time!

He grabbed a stool and swiped the tickets from their spot upon the microwave's shiny top.

Then he held them close to the fire of the stove.

….Just a little closer….

"CONAN-KUN! What are you doing?!?!"

"Ah!" He squeaked, loosing balance on the stool, toppling backwards. "Ooooowwww," He whined. Not fun. Didn't he get hit on the head enough as it was?

Ran gasped when she noticed the two rectangles of paper clenched in his fist. "Conan-kun, you…you weren't trying to…" she trailed off, unable to finish the sentence.

"No!" He yelled, defending himself. "It wasn't what it looked like!"

Ran frowned at the small boy lying on his back on the tile of the cold kitchen floor. He was staring up at her with his eyes, magnified several time by the glasses, to the extent that they no longer looked real. It wasn't helping that he looked so much like Shinichi had when she'd caught him after he'd broken her favorite cookie jar. She'd knocked him onto his stomach with his karate, before he managed to explain what he had been doing. But she could not help but ask the small boy what it was, then, if it wasn't what it seemed.

"I-! I-uh-uhm-I-!" he spluttered. "I…I was just seeing how thick the paper was! 'Cuz I saw on the TV that you can tell how thick it is by holding it to a flame!"

Ran looked at him uncertainly, and then sighed. She had to give him the benefit of the doubt; after all, he was just a little six-year-old, and didn't know much better.

She took the tickets back from him, and put them in the back pocket of her shorts. Then she picked up Conan and sat him down in the chair he'd been sitting in before. "Let's eat quickly so we're not late for the hot air balloon ride, 'kay Conan-kun?"

Conan simply muttered something unintelligible, and began to moodily spoon his stew into his mouth. It was still burning hot, so he spit it back out, and chugged some water. Ran giggled at him and he glared at her.

Why do I love her, again? He thought to himself. But he knew the answer to that. Because she's Ran, that's why. With that thought, he sighed.

"Oh! Conan-kun! Your blazer has a rip in it!"

"It does? Well, all my other stuff is dirty, so I guess I can't go! Oh well!" It was true. Almost all of his other shirts were dirty and muddy.

Ran frowned. "Well, I guess I'll have to mend it then. Here, give it to me; my sewing machine is in my bedroom."

Nooo…. Conan groaned in his mind. But then he got an inspiration, and leapt down from his chair. "But you have to catch me first, Ran-neechan!" and tore into the living room, Ran laughing and chasing behind him.

He dodged around the couch, slid underneath it, and waited for Ran to find he'd disappeared. As soon as she did, he shot out from the couch, and jumped atop a chair behind Ran, who turned around at the noise. She made a move to pick him up, but he scrambled over the top of the chair, landing practiced-ly on the floor behind it. Ran's head appeared over the top as well, and her circled around the chair and back under the sofa.

"Conan-kuuuuuuuuuun," Ran whined. "We'll be late!"

I know! He thought happily. He was enjoying this game of catch.

Ran crouched down and peered under the couch, and Conan lit out the other side. He tore into the kitchen they way they'd come, and out the other side of the kitchen, into a small hallway. He threw open his bedroom door, and slid beneath his bed just as Ran arrived behind him. She stood in the door way, hands on her hips, lips pursed, and laughter in her eyes. She stepped foreword, toward the bed, and Conan tore out, past her and out the doorway, laughing all the while.

But Ran's arms circled him from behind, lifting him in the air. His laughter died instantly.

Greaaaat…

Ran took Conan into her room, still laughing and a bit winded. Conan sat moodily on Ran's bed as she mended his blazer.

"Dad! Conan-kun and I are going out, 'kay?" she yelled right before they left. "There's some stew on the table for you if you get hungry!"

Conan didn't think that the muffled, drunken yell from the other side of the house was much of an answer, but apparently Ran accepted it.

They began to walk down the street. Conan wasn't about to admit to Ran about his idiotic fear—but he wasn't about to get on that hot air balloon, either.

When they finally reached their destination—about a half hour's walk—which was a small field, Conan saw the thing he'd been dreading. A big, maroon, hot air balloon. His heart sunk into his shoes as he looked up at it. The balloon was defeated, lying on the ground. Ran squealed in delight and pulled him towards it—Conan, however, felt his stomach doing horribly nervous flip-flops at the mere sight of the thing.

"Uhm, Ran-neechan, I don't feel too good," he said truthfully. "I want to go home."

"Oh, come on, Conan-kun!" Ran giggled as she handed the man in charge of the balloon the two tickets. "It'll be fun!"

"No it won't," he grumbled, shivering and rubbing his arms. He wasn't even within five feet of the stupid thing, and he already felt like pukeing.

"What was that, Conan-kun?" Ran asked innocently as she picked up the small boy.

"Nothing…" He grumbled, then sighed.

Conan clenched his teeth and balled his hands into fists as they were preparing to take off. His stomach was still churning and his head was pounding. He was afraid.

The balloon began to rise, slowly. And Conan hold it any longer—he screamed and grabbed Ran's leg, eyes shut tight.

Ran looked down at him, surprised. Was he scared? "C—Conan…Conan-kun?"

His only response to her words was to hang onto her legs tighter.

"Conan-kun, are you scared of heights?"

He shook his head.

"Well, then what's wrong?"

He didn't respond.

"…are you afraid of the hot air balloon itself…?"

"Y-yea," He squeaked.

She knelt down. They were too far from the ground to get off now. So she settled for wrapping her arms around him. Conan's arms circled her neck and tightened with a vice-like grip. Ran was surprised at his strength.

"It's okay, Conan-kun," She said, patting him on the back. She had no idea what to say to comfort him; 'It's okay,' was the best she could do. She hung her head; she should have seen how afraid he was—he tried so hard to escape her, to get rid of the tickets—but she'd stayed oblivious.

"I'm sorry Conan-kun," She said into his small shoulder. "I should have been more like Shinichi. If I had I would have noticed how you were acting. I'm sorry." She felt him stiffen in her arms.

"It's okay, Ran," He said. She didn't have the heart to correct him for not saying 'neechan'. He sounded strangley older than he was when he said it. "I should have told you sooner."

Conan and Ran stayed like that for the rest of the ride.

Bwhahah! I recently got addicted to Detective Conan. I got a lot of the ideas for this from Hot Air Balloon by Owl City. It's kinda a song fic, I guess. I used some of the lyrics for ideas. Anyway, hope you enjoyed. Please give feedback!

Love y'all,

~Lena