"Who are you?"
The soft inquiry startled Kaito from the trance he'd fallen into. Glancing away from Shinichi's still sleeping face he met the eyes of Mouri Ran. She was looking at him quizzically, unsure how to respond to this apparent stranger sitting at her best friend's bedside. The similarities between Kaito and Shinichi probably increased her confusion.
Kaito briefly considered making some lie up, claiming he was some distant cousin. Their physical appearance would make it plausible and he was sure that Kudo Yukiko would be willing to play along in his deception. She would also ensure her husband kept it up as well.
He discarded the notion just as quickly as it came to him though. For whatever reason he didn't want to be considered family to Shinichi.
"Kuroba Kaito." With a flourish he produced a yellow rose, holding it out to Ran who blushed before delicately reaching out and retrieving the rose from Kaito's hand.
"My father was a mentor to Shinichi-san's mother, so when I heard he'd fallen in to a coma I felt the urge to come see him. I apologize if my presence startled you." He gave her a smile that didn't quite reach his eyes, though Ran failed to notice. "I'll be taking my leave then. Have a good day Mouri-san."
Swiftly moving past her Kaito was halfway out the door when Ran called out to him.
Glancing over his shoulder at her, he paused for a moment as she gathered herself to ask her question.
"How did you know my name?"
Giving her a grin, with just a hint of a sharp edge to it, he answered with a bite to his tone.
"A better question would be, how could I not know your name Mouri-san?"
With that he shut the door behind him and made his way out of the house before she had time to collect her wits and stop him again. Strolling down the empty sidewalks towards the train station, Kaito mulled over how he would explain to Professor Agasa that he hadn't intentionally revealed himself to Ran. He himself had mixed feelings over the meeting. On one hand, now that Ran knew of him he could make visits without having to work around her constant visits. On the other, once Shinichi woke up she would most likely tell him about Kaito. Shinichi would easily realize the connection between Kid and Kaito. Would the detective use that knowledge against him or would he continue to play the game as before?
As these thoughts drifted around in his head, Kaito made his way through Beika and into the train station on autopilot. Stepping onto the somewhat crowded train he continued to mull over different scenarios when he was for the second time that day startled. An older woman, appearing to be in her sixties, dressed in a formal kimono had sidled up next to him and reached out to yank on his sweater's sleeve.
Turning his head to her he remained silent as she calmly handed him a bamboo fan with what appeared to be white silk as the cloth part. Reaching out he took the fan with no little trepidation. As soon as it was in his hand she pulled away and Kaito let her go without protest. He had a feeling that following her wouldn't be a very good idea, and Kaito had learned long ago to follow his instincts. It rarely led him wrong. Without looking at the fan he made it vanish with a simple flick of his wrist. He'd see what exactly the closed fan contained after he was somewhere more private and secure than a packed train car.
Exiting the station Kaito took in his surroundings, feeling at once content to be back home and irritable that he wasn't at Shinichi's side. It had been almost a month since he'd fallen into a coma and Kaito had noticed that as time went on he found it harder and harder to leave the boy's side. Shinichi seemed to be recovering and there were days where he seemed almost on the brink of consciousness. Kaito wanted to be there when he woke up, but he knew that it was more likely Ran-san would be there for that honor.
Besides, what would he even say if Shinichi woke up while he was there?
He decided to forgo his home for a little while longer, not wanting to see the pitying looks his mother would send him for his early arrival, or the confused ones Aoko would give him if she happened to show up at his house. Hakuba had stopped following him around so much, and the accusations of his being Kaitou Kid had slowed to a trickle.
Wandering the streets of Ekoda he found himself walking in an area he couldn't recall exploring before. What really caught his eye though was a store calling itself Floral Delights. He could see through the glass windows that made up the majority of the front of the store and the displays drew him in. Picking up his pace he quickly made his way towards the store.
Pausing for only a split second at the entrance, he pushed the door open. Assaulted by the smell of damp earth and flora he looked around curiously. The set up was appealing, with bright colors interspersed by dark greens and more subdued colors. The shop was brightly lit with the majority of the light being natural and making its way into the store from the front windows.
Making his way towards the back he found a small section devoted to just roses. There were rose bushes as well as pre-cut flowers in small quantities. He approved, by only having small amounts of pre-cut flowers on display there were fewer flowers thrown away. He also noticed a small book on a stand next to the buckets of pre-cut roses. Flipping through it he realized that it denoted the meanings of each type of rose. Glancing around the store he came to the realization that there were several books of the sort next to each species of flower.
Feeling intrigued he moved through the store slowly, occasionally browsing through the books left out. He made mental notes on the different flowers and their meanings. One never knew when such information could become of use. Besides, Kaito had always found the meanings behind something as fragile as a flower fascinating.
"Is there something I can help you find?"
Looking up Kaito took in the woman next to him. Long black hair, pulled up into a high ponytail, framed a delicate face free of make-up. The green store apron she wore told him that she was an employee.
"Actually, I don't suppose you do mass orders of roses by request?"
As he asked he kept an eye on her face. He'd met many a merchant that jacked up the price once they found out he would regularly need roses. The person he got them from now had done so as well, but he'd been one of the cheaper offers. Kaito decided he quite liked this store and figured that coming here for his roses might not be a bad idea. An added bonus was the close location to his home.
The women smiled at him.
"I think we could work something out."
Hello again! Wow, it's been forever it seems. Sorry about all this, but the military hasn't been very conducive to inspiring me to write. I'm going to keep pushing through though, so please bare with me. Updates will be spotty but I promise I'm not going to ever abandon any of these. I'll try to use my spare weekend time to write and hopefully I'll be able to get my word count back up. ^_^
I'd be happy to hear what you guys thought of the chapter though and constructive criticism is always welcome. Have a good night/day!