Chapter 1: Get Well Gifts

"Tch, why exactly do we have to go visit this detective guy again? I wanna play soccer in the park like we were supposed to today," Kojima Genta grumbled. He was kicking a soccer ball in front of him rather haphazardly as he trudged along through the somewhat narrow halls of Beika General Hospital. The boy was causing the other hospital guests to have to stumble out of the way and respond with disapproving looks. Not that it did any good since Genta mostly ignored them anyway.

Genta's fellow, recently turned third-grader friends and Detective Boys members, Yoshida Ayumi, Tsubaraya Mitsuhiko, and Haibara Ai, were following along close behind him. As usual, they were also accompanied by Professor Agasa Hiroshi—who was hastily apologizing to the other hospital guests on Genta's behalf, while trying to keep up with the young children.

Although it was midday on a sunny Saturday, the Detective Boys were being led by Professor Agasa down the third floor hall of Beika General Hospital to visit the recently returned, yet injured teenaged detective, Kudou Shinichi. Genta, Ayumi, and Mitsuhiko had been planning to spend the day at Beika Park and decided to stop by the professor's house to invite Haibara along but were instead dragged along by Haibara and the professor to the hospital. Even though the children were not that familiar with Shinichi, they knew he was a friend and neighbor of Professor Agasa and assumed Haibara was just going along with him instead of staying home alone.

With a poorly aimed kick, Genta's soccer ball flew wide to the left and ended up hitting a crash cart that was being wheeled down the hall by a nurse. After getting reprimanded by said nurse and the professor when he rushed to catch up with the children, Genta begrudgingly picked up the ball and agreed to carry it under his arm the rest of the way.

"Hmph. Like I was saying, why do we gotta be here again?" Genta asked.

"Genta-kun! Shinichi-oniisan is Ran-oneesan's boyfriend and Conan-kun's relative. We should be nice and visit him. And, we have all day to go play." Ayumi swiped the small bouquet of flowers, which she picked up from a floral shop on the way there, in his direction. "You'll probably make all the goals yourself and get bored quickly anyway." She paused for a moment, her expression saddening, and spoke again, this time mumbling wistfully. "Plus, without Conan-kun it's not like it's gonna be the same anyway."

"Now, now Ayumi-kun, Conan-kun wouldn't want you to feel sad while playing soccer, would he? You'll ruin the mood of his favorite sport if you don't have fun and play to the best of your ability," Agasa tried consoling the pouting little girl. He'd noticed Ayumi hadn't been as lively in the past few weeks since Conan-kun had "left to go to America with his parents."

Ayumi looked up at the professor, smiled brightly, and nodded—her mood seemed to have quickly improved. "Yep, you're right professor! But he still made playing soccer a lot more fun. And it was funny whenever he beat Genta-kun. Genta-kun always gets so grumpy." She smirked and turned back around to face Genta.

"Oi! I do not!" Genta didn't find it funny. And when Mitsuhiko nodded and laughed in agreement with Ayumi, he nudged the skinny boy rather roughly in the ribs causing him to cough and stumble backwards into the professor who had stopped by a hospital room door.

To the side of the door hung a nameplate designating the room to currently, yet temporarily belong to Kudou Shinichi. Before knocking he addressed the children, "This is Shinichi-kun's room, children. Now, I'm not sure how he's feeling, so I want you all to be on your best behavior. Understood?"

"'Kay!" The three children chorused automatically.

"Mou, Shinichi you're not supposed to use your cell phone in the hospital!" Mouri Ran, hands on her hips, scolded the teen lying on the bed who was listening intently to his phone and trying to tune her out. "Shinichi!"

"Sorry, can you hold on for a second Jodie-sensei," he said hastily into the receiver and then held the phone away from his face to address the nagging girl hovering over him. "Shh! Ran, I can't hear Jodie-sensei. Plus the doctor said it was fine to use my phone in the room. You just can't use them in the restricted areas." He returned his attention to his phone sticking a finger in his other ear and apologized to Jodie. He tried not to notice Ran glaring daggers at him. It was an important phone call with an FBI agent after all.

Ran sighed, her shoulders sagging in surrender and her hands lowered to hang loosely by her sides. A few soft knocks on the door caught her attention and she turned around to answer said door. "Ah, Professor Agasa!… and the Detective Boys! I didn't know you were coming today," she greeted warmly but in surprise. Stepping aside, she beckoning them all to come in.

Agasa smiled and chuckled a bit. "Excuse us for dropping by unexpectedly. Yuusaku-kun called and told me Shinichi-kun was allowed visitors finally, but it looks like you've been allowed to stay with him, eh?" He stepped into the room with the children following in behind and shut the door. He then lifted a navy blue duffle bag from his shoulder and placed it onto a counter along the wall to his side.

"I thought Shinichi-kun might need something to keep him occupied while he was here, so I stopped by his house to pick up a few things. Ai-kun and I were heading out when we ran into the children. Ayumi-kun insisted on tagging along with Ai-kun and of course the boys followed as well."

"Ayumi wanted to visit Shinichi-oniisan too. We brought him presents so he can get better soon!" Ayumi explained enthusiastically holding up the flowers she had been carrying proudly. She looked past Ran to the bed where Shinichi was still talking animatedly on his cell phone with his other ear still covered. He hadn't noticed the new arrivals, or so it seemed.

Ran smiled appreciatively, "Oh, Ayumi-chan, that was very thoughtful of you. Why don't you give them to Shinichi yourself?"

She turned to get Shinichi's attention, scowling when she noticed that he was still oblivious to his company. Either that or he was just acting like he didn't know he had guests so that way he could finish up his conversation in peace. She wouldn't put it past him since nothing ever eluded his observations. The displeased girl stomped over, and yanked his hand away from his ear. "Mou, Shinichi, come on! Look, you have visitors."

"…Yes… Yes… Alright, if you need anything else just call me back…" Shinichi paused to listen to Jodie's response but whatever the woman must have said to him after that must have been awfully embarrassing as Ran took note of how his eyes widened and a light red tinted his cheeks. "Give me a break Jodie-sensei!... Ah, yeah I'll tell her… Okay, bye." Despite the seriousness of the majority of the conversation, Shinichi's flustered look at the end made Ran giggle.

Ending the call, he dropped his old, red flip-phone heedlessly onto the bed and then brushed a hand through his hair in mild agitation.

The reason that he was using his old phone was because sometime during the Operation, Shinichi had become paranoid that his new smartphone had been bugged when it started producing static during all his calls. Of course that had started right after he accidentally left it at Poirot's a few days before. With Bourbon around at the time, it was only logical, right? Panicked, he switched back to his old flip-phone with the soccer ball charm. He didn't find out until much later, when he had a chance to give it to Agasa to check, that it was only a loose wire's fault. Shinichi blamed Hattori for making him drop it that one time and causing him all that unnecessary worry. Although he hadn't had a chance to switch back to his new phone, Agasa was supposed to have brought it with the rest of his belongings for his stay at the hospital.

Finally acknowledging Ran, Shinichi grinned sheepishly and relayed Jodie's message. "Jodie-sensei says hello." However, Ran had a feeling that the message was likely a highly abridged version of what her old English teacher, Jodie Saintemillion—or recently she learned, actually Jodie Starling of the American FBI—really had to say knowing it had evoked such a reaction from the detective.

The detective then turned his head to observe what was going on in the rest of the room, spotting the professor and Haibara just inside the doorway, Ayumi next to Ran beside the bed, and the two remaining Detective Boys casually approaching behind the girls and looking at him in mild curiosity. He was actually rather surprised to see the children accompanying the professor and Haibara—whom he had been expecting for a post-antidote checkup on their own.

Feigning ignorance, he greeted the children, "Yo, you're friends with the kid in glasses, right? The Detective Boys if I recall."

Ayumi was the one to speak up, "Yup! Conan-kun was always talking about you Shinichi-oniisan, and Ran-oneesan too sometimes!"

Shinichi smiled fondly, laughing on the inside at the irony of him talking about himself and her innocence regarding the whole charade of course. "Eh? Really? I hope they said good things about me," he asked, raising an eyebrow questioningly and glancing over to Ran who was blushing, before returning his gaze to Ayumi.

"Of course! Conan-kun was always explaining how he learned everything from you." She leaned closer to him and whispered sheepishly, "Ah, but sometimes Ran-oneesan was complaining and calling you mean things like 'deduction freak' and 'mystery geek.'" Although she seemed guilty for betraying Ran by the way she was trying to keep everyone else from overhearing, Shinichi saw how her lips twitched as she tried not to giggle. "I got you these to help you feel better. I hope you like them." She enthusiastically raised the bouquet of flowers.

He took them courteously from her and placed his left hand on top of her head. "Thank you little miss… Ayumi-chan right?"

"Mhm! Mitsuhiko-kun and Genta-kun brought you something too, right guys?" Shinichi removed his hand when she went to turn and look at the boys. He also glanced past the girl to look at them as well.

Ayumi must have nagged them until they finally agreed, he thought rolling his eyes. Or did I forget my birthday again? What was the date today? Ah, no, it's not for a few weeks still. I know Ran wouldn't have let me forget as usual. So he decided it must have been his first reasoning. He couldn't imagine Mitsuhiko or especially Genta getting him anything otherwise. It was awfully thoughtful of them either way; they were just kids after all and they didn't really know him as Shinichi.

Mitsuhiko stepped forward after Ayumi. "Hello Shinichi-san. I hope you are doing well. I thought you might like the gift I was able to bring you. Conan-kun was quite eager to get this and he was talking about this often during the week before he left for America. Since you're a great detective I thought you would like it too. Please accept this."

Mitsuhiko was being as polite as ever but he wasn't as shy as he used to be when Conan first met him. Shinichi actually found it amusing how much different the boy spoke when talking to his elders. He almost laughed out loud but he didn't want to disconcert Mitsuhiko when the boy was just trying to be respectful so he did his best to hold it in. Another reason not to laugh was that he'd bet that Ran would smack him over the head if he really did.

Noticing the brand new book that the younger boy was holding out to him, Shinichi couldn't help the huge grin that appeared on his face. "Awesome! I couldn't wait to read this." He accepted the paperback mystery novel from Mitsuhiko a little less gently than he should have and enthusiastically traced over the cover with his fingers and then flipped it over to the back to skim over the summary. "Did you know that the author had been retired for eleven years before he decided to start writing again? The book reviews say it's one of his best works yet. Even my dad got to read it before me, you know being a famous novelist and all… And the main character—"

Mitsuhiko and the others started laughing, cutting off Shinichi's excited rave. They shared a knowing look with each other that went over even the great detective's head. In response to his questioning expression Mitsuhiko was kind enough to enlighten him. "Shinichi-san, you sound just like Conan-kun."

"Eh?!" Shinichi felt a sudden, familiar jolt of uneasiness that he used to feel whenever Ran compared Conan to Shinichi. It passed quickly though. What did he have to fear from the comparison anyway? It wasn't even remotely the same situation.

Ran must have found the comparison amusing though, because he caught her muffle some laughter behind her hand and giving him a knowing look. He would have scowled at her too if he didn't get distracted by the beautiful smile she wore when she lowered her hand from her face.

The three's laughter died down and Mitsuhiko decided to elaborate. "He couldn't stop talking about that book like I said. We haven't even read the book but we could probably tell you everything that you were going to say just now."

Now that his unexpected anxiety was dismissed, Shinichi casually embraced the younger boy's mention of his similarities to Conan and laughed it off. "Ah, well of course, I told him about the new book myself awhile ago. I can't imagine him not having been excited about it. He sure took after me liking mysteries. And from what I've heard, it seems like you guys caught it too."

He scratched his cheek and grinned a little nervously. His reasoning sounded unconvincing to himself but he doubted the kids wouldn't believe him. "Well, thanks a lot Mitsuhiko-kun. You really didn't have to get me something so expensive. I'm sure you kids don't get much allowance."

"You're very welcome, Shinichi-san. Actually, for Conan-kun's birthday I was going to get him a copy of the book and ask Professor Agasa to send it to him in America."

Of course since the book wasn't released before Conan left for America, Shinichi had acted bummed back then that he'd have to wait for it to get shipped to his new address. Around the same time, he had also mentioned that his birthday was coming up, and then mentally berated himself for letting slip his actual birthdate, May 4, for the second time. At least unlike Ran, the Detective Boys had no idea at the time that Shinichi's birthday was the same date.

"When I went to buy the book at the bookstore with my older sister for Conan-kun she ended up buying another copy for me since I was interested as well. B-but, well… I think you'd enjoy it more than I would." The younger boy laughed a bit in embarrassment and rubbed the back of his head.

Shinichi wasn't sure what the boy's reservations about reading the book were at first. Though after a moment of thought he realized that the poor boy probably couldn't actually read a book at such a high reading level, with all the difficult kanji and such despite being extremely bright for his age.

After Shinichi thanked him again, Mitsuhiko smiled broadly and then pushed Genta forward as the other boy had yet to greet the teen.

"Er, hi Shinichi-oniichan. I was gonna give you my unaju that my mom made for my lunch, but Ayumi reminded me about that time you told us you can't stand fish..." He paused, looking up unsurely at Shinichi who was giving him a thoroughly confused look.

Shinichi obviously had no idea what or when Genta was referring to and didn't even know how to respond to that, so he made no comment and waited for the boy to keep going.

Likewise, Genta wasn't sure if he had said something wrong but he decided to continue on when the older boy didn't ask him anything. "At first I couldn't think of anything else to get you, but then I realized something. Conan told us how he learned all those awesome soccer moves he could do from you. We were gonna play soccer today with this," from under his arm, Genta presented his prized soccer ball which was signed by none other than Akagi Hideo, or Hide of the Tokyo Spirits. Shinichi remembered that Genta had gotten the ball signed during the J. League promotional event before the J. League All-Star Soccer bomber case. "But I thought maybe you could show me how to get better so that way I can beat that little punk next time he comes back. So if you promise to teach me, I'll give you my treasured soccer ball."

"Genta-kun! You're not supposed to ask for a trade!" Ayumi scolded the larger boy. Her hands were balled into fists and she tried to scowl at him, which to many might have looked more cute than intimidating—unless of course one knew her well and admitted that the girl could be both at the same time when she wanted to be.

Again, Shinichi felt the strangeness of being related to Conan when his friend unknowingly brought up his recently given-up alias again. "Ah, Genta-kun are you sure you want to make this deal? That ball must mean a lot to you. How are you going to play soccer today without it too?" Although he was beaming at the boy's praise for his soccer playing skills, he however, was guilt-ridden because he had been jealous back then when Genta had gotten Hide to sign his soccer ball when no one else noticed, but he forced himself not to be childish over it. Shinichi also felt guilty knowing that Genta would never have the opportunity to win against Conan, as "Conan" was never coming back.

"Yeah, it's fine. I bragged to Mitsuhiko and Conan when I got the ball signed. I didn't feel bad at the time but Ayumi got mad at me and told me that they were really bummed that I went behind their backs. When I said I didn't have nothing to give you, and when she saw me kicking it around earlier, she nagged me saying I should give it to you, saying I, uh, didn't deserve to keep it in the first place. Genta grunted out his reasoning, still holding the ball out in front of him. He appeared surprisingly serious and stared straight at Shinichi waiting for his reply. "Uh, plus the professor said he has another one we can use for today."

Shinichi was stunned at his young friend's modesty and unusual willingness to give up something important to him. Genta considering giving up his fried eel was even more unthinkable, or at least in Shinichi's mind. He wasn't sure if it was appropriate for him to take the offer or not. If Genta were any of the guys from the soccer club back at Teitan High he would have snatched the prize up without a second thought. But this was Genta, a nine-year-old, and it wasn't the same now that Shinichi wasn't an elementary school student like the others anymore.

"Genta-kun!" Ayumi continued to pester her stubborn friend while he was being uncharacteristically patient waiting for Shinichi's answer.

Shinichi wasn't sure if the boy got tired of the nagging or of waiting for his response but Genta grunted and placed the soccer ball in his lap. Although he tried to seem like he didn't care that he was giving up something so cherished, Shinichi could see the almost-hidden signs in Genta's face that he was actually a little upset.

"Fine, you don't have to prom—" Genta started to say.

"I promise I'll show you anything you want to learn," Shinichi swore before Genta could even finish his sentence. He gave Genta a big smile and patted the large boy's shoulder. "But, you'll have to wait awhile. I don't think I'll be able to play until I heal completely."

"For real? Okay!" Genta quickly brightened back up at the teen's eventual response, to which Shinichi nodded back in confirmation.

"Can Shinichi-san teach us all the things he taught Conan-kun about being a detective too?" Mitsuhiko eagerly inquired as well, turning the conversation around to the only topic Shinichi was even more passionate about than soccer.

The anticipation on the inquisitive boy's face almost made Shinichi want to get out of bed and run off and find whatever random case that would almost certainly pop-up sooner or later for the Detective Boys. Sometimes he was glad that the mysteries they ran into didn't always include a dead body. "Ah, maybe. I'll have to test you out and see how good you are at solving cases without Conan-kun to help you out first though." He smirked watching their initial expressions of self-consciousness and doubt change into eager determination.

"We'll show you we don't need Conan!" Genta announced boldly, ready for any test the great detective could challenge them with. Both Mitsuhiko and Ayumi cheered in agreement, and all three punched determined fists into the air, no longer shy at all around the unfamiliar teen detective.

"How about this? If you come back tomorrow I'll have a puzzle for you to solve... in the form of a treasure map. If you figure it out and find the treasure, I'll know you're worthy." He grinned, glancing back and forth between the three while he made his offer.

"Alright! Treasure!" the three shouted and were literally jumping in excitement.

Shinichi laughed sardonically to himself thinking, Oi, oi, aren't you guys supposed to be more excited about solving the puzzle or is all you care about the treasure?

After about an hour, the Detective Boys had warmed up to the teen detective just as quickly as if he were their age... again. At some point, Ayumi had climbed up onto the bed to sit at the end near Shinichi's feet. Despite saying that he had to wait to see if the kids were worthy before giving them any advice, Shinichi eagerly started answering some of Mitsuhiko's questions about forensics and describing all the cases he had solved involving food for Genta. However, he told them they'd have to solve tomorrow's puzzle before he would even consider telling them all about his Big Case and how he got injured. In general he mostly didn't want to talk about it more than he had to.

Ran was quietly conversing with Haibara in the corner of the room, so Shinichi couldn't hear what they were talking about over the loud voices of the real children. They appeared to be getting along well which was much different than it had been like not long ago. For that, the detective was more than happy. Haibara and Ran shared a few smiles throughout the visit, occasionally looking in his direction, making Shinichi think the two girls were saying something about him, though he had no idea what. A couple of times he found himself smiled back at Ran each time she smiled fondly at him first.

Eventually the Detective Boys began to diverge from the previous discussion and onto more suitable topics for children. Shinichi, no longer obligated to share all of their interests, began to zone out, thinking about all the serious matters going on outside of the hospital. He didn't spend much time doing so before he also started to tire. What little energy he had for now, being medicated, was starting to run low. He yawned and stretched carefully, trying not to pull at the undisclosed bullet wound on his abdomen.

At the same time, Genta—who was animatedly summarizing a Kamen Yaiba episode that Mitsuhiko had missed—started pathetically imitating some monster by stomping around the room and attempted some strange fighting moves. "…And then the monster Yaiba was fighting was all like this! Uwahh!" The large boy bellowed as he then tripped on the sheet that was hanging from the side of Shinichi's bed, pulling the sheet and blanket almost all the way off, despite Ayumi's weight on the end of the bed, as he tried to prevent himself from falling—which was an unsuccessful attempt anyway.

"Genta-kun!" half the room exclaimed. Both Agasa and Ran rushed over to make sure he wasn't injured. "Are you all right?" Agasa questioned in concern. Even Haibara hopped down from her chair a moment after the initial shock.

"Ow, ow, ow. It hurts a little but I-I think so," he replied.

Worrying about a potential concussion, Haibara asked him a few more questions and then used the wristwatch flashlight to make sure his eyes focused properly. From his responses to her questions and his annoyed complaints about the light in his eyes, Haibara felt satisfied that he didn't have a concussion. Fortunately, due to his tough skull, it appeared to just be a little bump on the head to everyone's relief.

Along with the sheets, Shinichi's old flip-phone, which had still been in his lap, went clattering onto the linoleum-tiled floor and rested near Mitsuhiko's feet. The freckled boy bent over and picked it up while everyone else was still preoccupied with Genta. As he walked over to the bed to hand it back to Shinichi, he stared at it, trying to figure out what about it was giving him this nagging feeling in the back of his mind. His brows furrowed and he took up a thinking pose that he had picked up from Conan before even reaching the side of the bed.

Shinichi, who had been previously distracted by Genta, noticed Mitsuhiko wearing the most curious expression while holding the red cell phone as he walked forward. Though, he didn't realize that Mitsuhiko was having a moment of déjà vu concerning the device. He instinctively held his hand out to receive his phone back once they boy was closer. When the skinny boy continued to fixate on the phone, Shinichi a bit impatiently coaxed his attention back to the room. "Mitsuhiko-kun? Can I get my phone?"

"Huh? Oh-of course. I'm sorry." He placed the phone into Shinichi's larger hand, still attempting to figure out why it was so familiar.

Ayumi, who was still at the foot of the bed, turned her attention from Genta to the two boys' exchange. She as well took note of the familiarity of the phone. She placed her finger up to her chin and looked up in thought too. When she went to take a second look at the phone, she realized that the teenager had already put it away out of view however. In addition, she easily lost her train of thought as Professor Agasa left the room to get an ice pack for Genta's head from one of the nurses.

Ran, who had mostly been keeping an eye on Shinichi the whole time, noticed the indications that Shinichi was probably worn out even prior to Genta's accident. "Alright everyone, it looks like Shinichi could use some rest. After Genta-kun's head feels better why don't we go get some lunch before I take you to the park?" The three kids—especially Genta who was starving by now despite his injury—quickly agreed to Ran's suggestion. Ran helped Ayumi off of the bed. The younger girl then bounced over to Genta and Mitsuhiko and started making fun of Genta for falling.

Ran then bent down to whisper something in Shinichi's ear and then gave him a kiss on the forehead. She smiled when she saw that he was blushing furiously. Despite a little part of her that wanted to stay, she stood back up and turned to encourage the giggling Detective Boys toward the door.

"Ai-chan, are you coming?" Ran asked as she looked back into the room, noticing Haibara approaching Shinichi.

Haibara replied looking over her shoulder, "I'll be right behind you, I'd like to talk to Kudou-kun for a moment."

Ran noticed a rare smile upon the girl's face and was momentarily surprised before realizing that she was staring. "Ah… Alright, we'll be down in the lobby," she said hesitantly giving the girl a small smile in return and closed the door behind her.

As the door was shut, Haibara turned back to Shinichi and walked over to his bed. Using the railing of the footboard to help herself up, she positioned herself at the end of the mattress where Ayumi had been seated a moment ago and began to idly sway her feet over the side of the bed. She gave Shinichi her usual cheeky smirk but didn't say anything right away.

After waiting for Haibara to say something sarcastic to him, he finally spoke up first, "Oi, did you stay behind to say something or not?" He returned her smirk with a deadpan stare and carefully began to lean back into the bed to get comfortable again. Luckily Agasa was kind enough to pull the blankets back up onto the bed for him. Like Ran, he was surprised when Haibara's expression shifted into a more genuine smile.

In a sincere, yet serious tone she finally spoke her mind. "You know, the Detective Boys are never going to be the same without their 'Conan-kun.' But maybe with 'Shinichi-niisan' around it might not be all that different. They still need someone to guide them after all. Who better than the Sherlock Holmes of the modern world? They might not realize it yet, but you're just as important to them as they are to you."

Shinichi just stared at Haibara for a good while, slightly gaping, before his lips turned up into a nostalgic smile. He rubbed the back of his neck and admitted, "Yeah… You're right, I guess." Shinichi paused glancing over to the get-well presents the Detective Boys brought him and chuckled to himself.

"I know that a little bit of me is still Conan. I felt it even more when they were here just now. I never really realized how much I cared for those kids before all this." He reached over and grabbed the soccer ball Genta had brought him, wishing he felt well enough to juggle it in the air with his feet; instead he opted to spin it around in his hands.

Although he was smiling, there seemed to be some other emotion behind his grin. Haibara tried to read Shinichi's expression. She knew he must have been thinking about the question she wanted to ask, or at least that he must have considered it at one point. She waited to see if he was going to say anything more, debating if she was going to ask it or not. When he didn't go on she finally questioned, "Are you ever going to tell them about 'Edogawa Conan'?"

The soccer ball stopped spinning in his hands and his head shot up to look directly at Haibara in surprise again. A whole range of expressions crossed his face—the most prominent one was uncertainty. Of all the people that he could reveal his secret to, he never came to a decision on whether the Detective Boys should know. He realized that he didn't have an answer for her.

"Well, would you tell them about yourself? I think you might destroy Mitsuhiko's hopes if he knew." He grinned and laughed while imagining the distraught look on the young boy's face when he realized how out of his league Haibara really was.

He laughed even harder when he looked again at Haibara and noticed the strange mix of annoyed exasperation and embarrassed blush. She huffed and swung her legs unto the bed and lightly kicked the irritating detective in the shin.

"Ow, ow, geez a little sympathy here? Anyway, you know it's the truth." His momentary, exaggerated grievance didn't last long and he returned to smirking and chuckling.

"Oh, and what about Yoshida-san? Edogawa-kun broke her heart by leaving. How do you think she would feel to know he never really existed?"

At this he stopped laughing. Dropping the soccer ball into his lap, he raised both arms up, placing his hands behind his head and leaned into the pillow. Sighing and slightly frowning at Haibara, he said solemnly, "For a little girl, her crush on Conan was pretty serious. She took it a lot harder than I thought she would. I'm… I'm just glad that you were there for her. She's young. She'll bounce back from it soon, I hope. Ugh, I feel like I should teach some little brat a lesson for leading my little sister on, but that's pretty ironic, isn't it?" He gave a half-hearted laugh and brushed a hand through his already slightly messy, bed-head hair.

He closed his eyes, feeling tired again, and let out a large yawn. Geez, I just woke up too. I must be on some heavy pain medication to feel so drowsy, he thought broodily.

"But really, I don't know. They're still so young. I don't know if they would even be able to understand. My situation was hard enough for some adults to even comprehend after all," he said wearily in apprehension.

Haibara hummed in contemplation, her gaze toward her lap. Does Kudou-kun really not see how bright—how accepting—these children really are? She wasn't sure if she agreed with him. But after he asked her if she would tell them as well she wished she hadn't asked him in the first place. Although she wanted to give up all ties to her past life, what right did she have to keep the truth to herself if Shinichi were to give away his secret? "We're in this together", Conan's old words rang through her mind again, not for the first time. Somewhat regretting bringing up this topic so soon, when she was uncertain of the near future herself, she remained silent, essentially ending the conversation.

Although he was starting to drift off, Shinichi suddenly remembered, or rather realized, why Haibara really wanted to stay behind. "Oh, was there anything else you were going to ask me? You said you wanted to do a check-up?" He lazily opened one eye to watch Haibara as she got off the bed.

"Were you able to get your medical records authorized to be released like I requested?" She pushed a chair on the other side of the room over to monitors besides the bed to get a better look. As usual, her expression was unreadable, but at least it didn't seem like she noticed anything unusual either.

"Yeah, the doctor was able to bring them up for me earlier. He placed them over there." He pointed to a folder sitting upon the counter along the far wall, next to the duffle bag Agasa had left for him earlier.

"It must be very convenient being so famous. Giving your name and using your charisma must make the nurses and receptionists swoon and agree to anything," Haibara replied mockingly as she hopped down from the chair and went over and picked up the folder and began to leaf through the papers.

Shinichi twitched in annoyance. Even though Haibara wasn't looking at him, he gave her a defeated look, and sighed loudly. "Oi, it wasn't as easy as you think. I had to call in a few favors for the hospital to supply the records without asking too many questions since I haven't been released yet. You do know that Beika General's hospital administrator is a man, don't you? There was no 'swooning' involved. And it usually takes a lot longer but I was able to get the records processed by today so you could take a look. Be a little grateful." He mumbled the last comment to himself afterwards, which was low enough that even Haibara couldn't hear.

"Hmm? I thought I was the one doing you a favor by checking your medical records to make sure you wouldn't have any aging complications. Wouldn't want Edogawa Conan showing up unexpectedly, now would we?" Shinichi definitely heard her emphasis on 'I' and 'you' as she tried to turn the tables on him. She knew how to rile him up without even trying. Sounding relatively unconcerned despite the implications, she instead looked more interested in whatever she was finding in his records.

Shinichi was anxious watching her expression change multiple times as she continued reading the medical information. He was still slightly harried, now that she tried to pass the indebtedness back to him. He was also tired, grumpy, and now his abdomen was started to feel the creeping of pain, as the medicine wasn't strong enough in his wakened state—at least he was reassured that he would pass out soon again once Haibara left to rejoined the others.

He yawned loudly again, his closed eyes watering slightly. He kept his eyes shut and reclined further down into the bed getting ready to fall back asleep. "Well then, whose fault is that to begin with anyway?" he thoughtlessly mumbled more to himself to feel satisfied that he'd won this pointless bickering match.

He heard her inhale sharply. The detective didn't realize that Haibara had actually heard him and really didn't consider what he'd said until he peaked at her with one eye. Shinichi cursed at himself and tried to push himself back up, but he did it too quickly and a pain shot through his body from his wound. He silently cursed even more. "Haibara, I—"

"I'm sorry Kudou-kun," she quickly cut him off. Her tone was quiet, sincere, guilty. Her head was bowed and her strawberry blond bangs covered her eyes. She closed the folder and held it tightly to prevent her hands from betraying her stoicism by trembling against her will and then she calmly headed to the door without turning back to the detective.

"Haibara w-wait! I-I didn't mean that! I wasn't, I wasn't thinking! Please. You know— Haibara!" He tried to get out of the bed, but with the pain in his abdomen and the still connected IV tubes preventing him from catching the girl before the door closed behind her, he had no choice but to give up.

Ba'rou! With everything she's been through to make this up to you and you had to be an arrogant idiot and say something like that! Damnit! He grabbed his cell phone to call her but when it went straight to voicemail he sighed angrily at himself and pounded his fists by his sides on the soft surface of the bed. The steady beeping of the electrocardiograph was the only noise that filled the otherwise silent room now that everyone was gone. In irritation he reached over and muted the unnecessary device even if it was against hospital protocol and the nurse would likely scold him later.

After a few minutes of berating himself, he eventually calmed down, again realizing how exhausted he was. Damn. She left without telling me anything about my health. Whatever, I'll call the professor later and have him ask her, was his last thought before he finally drifted off.

Chapter Illustration (URL): fav. me/d6jq9wj

**The original drawing for the cover can be found on my dA account, the link is in my profile. Please check it out. Thanks!***


I don't plan to detail the whole BO takedown since I don't think I would be able to come up with something on that large of a scale. At least without being dissatisfied with it. I don't want to ruin such a monumental part of the series and have yet to really see anyone pull it off. I guess I just have too high of expectations for that part. However, I do have in mind some flashback instances in mind, which might explain a little more where everything and everyone stands as of now.

I'm trying not to use practically any Japanese words but I feel like certain words just work nicely without translating them. The way Shinichi says 'ba'rou' and not 'baka' is one example. Or how Ran likes to say 'mou' a lot to the effect of the expression 'geez'. I'm keeping honorifics because they are pretty important and just are hard to convey in English.

As a personal preference, I'm going to try to use as much new information from the manga as possible, I might limit it to the anime since some people only follow that. I will probably also use elements from movies/ovas/AO/magic files, etc if I think it fits the scene in some way. So if you aren't caught up or haven't watched some of those movies or specials, be warned of potential spoilers and speculation.

With that hint in mind, I hope everyone got Genta's reference that even Shinichi didn't understand. Hehehe :P

I had a hard time decided how the narrator should call our favorite tsundere scientist, Haibara or Ai. I usually think of her by Haibara, especially when Conan/Shinichi is interacting with her, which is a good portion of the time, so I ended up going with that. Also, if you've noticed, the narrator, titles, and editors' notes for the manga/anime always refer to her as such too, unlike most other characters.

Some quotes that I had in this chapter but pulled out because I didn't like how they fit. I'm sure I'll find a place to use them in the future:

Haibara: "I know that you have your body back, but neither of us is going back to our old lives."

Shinichi: "It's like I have three little siblings I have to look after and teach things to but still… still have fun and get into trouble with."