Project: Names in Hearts.
"Aww, is the great and mighty Ran terrified of a single photo?"
Shinichi Kudo – in his shrunken form called 'Conan Edogawa' peered at the living room with an odd look on his face. Women. The one mystery all male detectives – even the Great Sherlock Holmes – could never fully solve for the good of mankind. Emphasis on 'man'.
"Oh, hi, Sonoko!" he chirped cheerfully. "What are you two talking about?"
Naturally, the wealthy girl scowled at the sight of him, but she decided to be 'kind' and 'helpful-to-brats'. "Oh, nothing, little brat. Just grown-up stuff."
Mentally, Shinichi scoffed, rolling his eyes. If only she knew.
Of course Sonoko wouldn't keep quiet for long, not when she had a piece of what she deemed to be worthy, juicy gossip-like material in her grasps. "Alright, I'll tell you. So you know Ran and Shinichi are deeply, uncontrollably in love with each other?"
It took all of his mental willpower to not let that blush gather on the face of the young child he was supposed to be right now. The same couldn't quite be said for Ran, who was redder than a lobster bathing in tomato sauce. "Shinichi?" he asked instead. "Really?"
"Yes, really," Sonoko sniffed, and added a not-so-quiet whisper of "stupid brat" after that. "Anyways, since they're in love – oh, hush, Ran! – and they're teenagers, wildly raging with passion and hormones and all that. Bet TV doesn't talk about that kind of stuff, huh?"
Shinichi did his absolute best to keep a blank, confused face. "Umm. . ."
"Of course they don't. And even if they did, a brat like you wouldn't have gotten it. So Ran here, dying slowly of impatience while she was waiting for her beloved husband, became a traditionally boyfriend-deprived girl and doodled on her notebook! In class!"
He didn't see where she was going with this. Actually, he wasn't sure if he wanted to know that much anymore, but it was too late to back out.
"And then Ran fell asleep during break, and the Amazing Deduction Queen managed to snap a photo of her sleeping face right next to a particular doodle!" Sonoko squealed.
Shinichi winced at the extremely high-pitched girl-sound – his young ears would suffer greatly – and looked to a blushing Ran. Her face was all the confirmation he needed.
"What kind of drawing was it?" he asked while taking a cross-legged seat on the ground. "Was it a red, red apple? Because Ran's blushing really hard."
Sonoko scowled at him for his supposed stupidity and innocence, and pressed a few buttons on her cell phone, much to Ran's dismay. The darker-haired girl tried to reach to her friend, but she ended up tripping on a young, sitting 'Conan', and failed to reach her friend in time.
"Sent!" Sonoko all but howled in glee. "Oh, your husband is going to like this!"
While Ran began a fresh new round of wailing protests and Sonoko began to cackle, Shinichi snuck out to take a look at his cell phone's new message, where an attachment was waiting to be opened and seen.
He glanced over at the door to check one last time, that the two girls wouldn't come out for some time, and then opened the attachment with the picture.
The small screen filled with mostly an image of a peacefully snoozing Ran, her face resting on her desk and notebook. The visible part of the notebook showed an all-too clear drawing of a pencilled heart with two familiar names in them, as well as the perpendicular sticks universal for 'plus' in between.
If someone – anyone – would have been able to see the miniaturized detective's face while he saved and locked that photo in his phone, the whitened lenses of his glasses, the tilt of his head, and the mature, knowing smirk on his face would have unsettled them deeply at first, before they sank into the realization that this expression was one of happiness.
Later, much later, while she was asleep after being worn out from talking with Sonoko, Ran's phone received a message from a 'far-away' Shinichi.
'Cute, but your heart's a bit crooked. Is there some sort of a hidden message you're trying to send me with this? Don't make me have to hunt you down to throw you in jail.'
He'd get yelled at over the phone – or through mail – but the next morning, when she read the message after giving him his breakfast, in the split second before her face morphed into that of an enraged high-school girl, that small smile made everything so worth it.