Fandom: Detective Conan
Publish Date: 2/14/2005 through 4/8/2005 (in Quest for the Question)
Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan. But I do have homemade hand-puppets for each character...that's normal, right?
Ran’s eyes drifted down to her hand on the tabletop.
Nope, her ring finger was still alarmingly bare.
Sighing, she raised said hand and put her chin in her palm. No, she wasn’t frustrated at all…
Okay, that was a lie. She was getting irritated.
She remembered the day she had gotten her Shinichi back—for good. No more of those mysterious phone calls, where he was always so vague about where he was and what he was doing. No repeats of that night when he had taken her out, and then had to abandon her there, leaving her with Conan.
In other words, he’d abandoned her, leaving himself behind to comfort her and keep her company.
Oh, she had been angry when she’d found out—furious. Heartbroken. Suicidal. Well, okay, maybe not, but there had been some extreme emotions, and more than a few walls, as well as her father, had fallen victim to her rage, depression, and killer right hook.
But she and Shinichi had finally talked things out after a week of anger on her part. It wasn’t so much her choice—or his, for that matter. Sonoko had joined forces with Kisaki Eri to lock the two in a room together with explicit instructions to talk things over and then kiss and make up. Well, after half an hour of being trapped with the man she loved and loathed, she finally caved in and let him explain. She then let him plead and grovel for a while.
Then he had suddenly changed his tactic, taking her completely by surprise; they had talked things out, more or less, so why not just follow the next step in Eri’s instructions? To hell with shyness. That had been their first kiss…and their second…and then a reeeeeeeeeally long third one…and by that point, neither of them could quite remember what the third step of Eri’s orders had been. Make up…or make out?
Didn’t matter, really. Sonoko had opened the door midway through kiss number four, and screamed it for the whole town to hear that Kudo Shinichi and Mouri Ran were officially off the market and not available for individual sale.
No one was surprised.
That had been a good four years ago, when they were eighteen years old. And they had been together ever since. But now that they were both twenty-two going on twenty-three, done with college, and cheerfully on their own, Ran was starting to cast wistful glances at a certain finger on her left hand…
No, not that finger, the one beside it.
But Shinichi wasn’t taking hints, it seemed. She had seen a profound change in her best friend once he had been changed back to himself—he was more patient. He thought things through a lot more carefully before doing them. And while he still ran off to solve mysteries at the drop of a hat, he seemed far more wary of shady individuals. But there were other things that had changed about him, more subtle things that she was hard-put to describe with words.
But other aspects hadn’t changed a whit. They still had that give-and-take relationship, really. He would ‘give’ her a hard time, and then he would ‘take’ the right hook to the jaw. He still teased her mercilessly, consoled her when she was upset, and babbled about Sherlock Holmes at the drop of a hat.
But no ring. He was still clueless…
At the moment, she was sitting in her parents’ kitchen, having come over earlier that morning, both to visit her mother and father, and to escape from her own apartment for a while. So here she was, sitting at the table, sipping tea and watching her parents argue over something in the newspaper.
A knock on the door stirred her from her dream of diamonds on her left hand, and she pushed away from table to go answer it. “Tell ‘em we don’t want any!” Kogoro yelled after her.
Ignoring her father’s rudeness, she opened the door with a welcoming smile—
—and her smile immediately erupted into laughter. “Oh…my…GOD, Shinichi…”
Smiling slyly, Kudo Shinichi waited patiently for his girlfriend’s chuckles to subside. But he’d given her good reason to laugh, after all; it was his appearance. He was wearing jeans, a plain blue T-shirt, and a black zip-up hoodie; in one hand he held a small bouquet of daisies, in the other a little pink basket, and on his head was a headband with a pair of bright pink bunny ears sticking up off of it.
“You weren’t home, so I figured you would be here. I was right!” he crowed proudly; he then shut up for the duration of her giggles, waiting patiently for her to stop. It took a while.
“What’s with the ears?” Ran asked about two minutes later, when she had finally gotten herself back under some semblance of control and had finally invited him in. She was still giggling, though, but she did cheerfully accept the flowers. He was so thoughtful sometimes…
He dropped onto the end of the couch. “It’s Easter, and I’ve got a little surprise for you.”
“Easter?” she looked at him quizzically, noting (not for the first time) that he was a very good-looking young man, even with that ridiculous thing on his head. The physical changes that had occurred between eighteen and twenty-two were far more subtle than, say, changing from a child to an adult, but either way, he had a smile that made far stronger women then herself swoon. Shrugging off the thoughts, she focused on his explanation.
“It’s a religious holiday,” he said, giving her that lopsided grin that never ceased to make her melt into a little Ran-puddle on the floor. The bunny ears didn’t hurt, either. “Aside from the religious festivities, there’s some fun stuff that goes on. People color hard-boiled eggs, or sometimes they use plastic eggs instead, and put candy and stuff inside them. They hide them all over the place, and then go on Easter egg hunts to find all the eggs.”
It clicked. For reasons she didn’t question, she somehow knew exactly what he had in mind for her today. “So you want me to go running around looking for eggs?” she looked at him incredulously.
“Yup! I set up an Easter egg hunt at my house, just for you!” he beamed at her, jumping to his feet and holding out the basket expectantly. “Here—you can put the eggs you find in this. Now let’s go!” He grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the door.
“This seems awfully childish,” she protested, though there wasn’t much force behind it.
“I know—but it’s still fun!”
Ran barely had a chance to call to her parents that she was leaving before the door closed behind her. She didn’t hear her father mumbling, nor did she see her mother’s knowing smile.
Ran stood in the middle of the library, gawking in amazement at her longtime best friend-now-boyfriend. “Shinichi…this is crazy. You do realize that, don’t you?”
He was still wearing those confounded bunny ears, perched on the desk, grinning from ear to ear. “Awww, come on, Ran! It’s fun!” His eyes narrowed the tiniest bit, and she knew he was going to goad her into it with the next words out of his mouth. Sure enough, “But if you don’t think you can do it…”
She opened her mouth, but shut it quickly. She had just lost, and she knew it. “Fine. I’ll play your game.” One hand swung down and picked up the obnoxiously pink basket from the floor by her feet.
“Great!” he cheered. “There are twenty-five eggs hidden in the house. Some of them are dyed, hard-boiled eggs, and some of them are plastic eggs with stuff inside, but you can’t look at what’s inside them until you get all twenty-five of them. When you find them all, you’ll get a prize, just a special little treat from me to you. There’s no time limit, and they can be anywhere in the house, so leave no stone, book, or piece of furniture unturned!” He paused. “Of course, I would also appreciate it if you didn’t go upending all my furniture, too…”
“Okay. I’ll start in here, then,” she said, now somewhat warily. Was he up to something?
Obviously. This was Shinichi, after all.
“I’ll just hang out in here until you’re done. I know where all of them are. Twenty-five eggs, Ran,” he actually giggled, and for a split second, she would have easily mistaken him for Conan. But she pushed it aside and started poking around the room, feeling more than a little ridiculous. She could sense Shinichi’s eyes on her as she moved around the room in search of the elusive eggs.
And he kept giggling and fidgeting. That meant he was nervous. But about what…?
It was harder than she thought it would be, she admitted to herself. She’d all but torn the library apart (all while ignoring Shinichi’s light laughter), and found three eggs. She really wondered what was up, though. They were well hidden—she’d had to climb all the way up to the top shelf for one of them.
She ducked throughout the various rooms of the house, finding eggs in some of the most bizarre locations—inside the dryer, hidden inside a teacup in a kitchen cupboard, slipped inside an empty video sleeve…the list went on and on. He had really put a lot of thought into this, Ran reflected again, as she pulled the one brightly colored egg from where it was sitting innocently amidst all the other normal eggs on the rack in the refrigerator.
She stopped in the hallway and did a quick count of her basket. Twenty-three. She was close. A glance at her watch proved that she had been searching for over an hour. Damn Shinichi…he was still sitting in the library, she knew from walking by earlier. He was sprawled in a large chair, his nose buried in some book—if she could guess, she would probably hazard that it was a Sherlock Holmes novel.
Why would he put her through this?
Sighing, she hoisted her basket and resumed the hunt.
Egg number twenty-four was found in the bathroom, and finding it was quite a trick. She had bumped into the vanity, and heard something rattle. Suspicious, she had conducted a search, and found it in the toothbrush holder—the top lifted off, and there it was, sitting there innocently, waiting to be found.
Scooping it up, she smirked to herself. Twenty-four down, one to go.
And the search continued. In spite of herself, Ran did have to admit that she was sort of enjoying the chase. She was having to think pretty damn hard to figure out all the possible hiding places in the house, all billion and a half of them. And to find all but one of the eggs in the amount of time she had was something that made her proud. She’d show her mystery-geek boyfriend that she was just as good as him when push came to shove.
Unfortunately, the elusive final egg didn’t seem very eager to present itself to her. She searched all over the place, but saw no trace of a brightly colored plastic egg, or the more pastel shade of a dyed hard-boiled egg. Twenty minutes later, she was getting frustrated, and the phrase needle in a haystack was running rampant across her mind.
Finally, she stomped back to the library. Shinichi set his book down at her entrance and beamed at her. “Well, did you find them all?” His voice trailed off a little at the look on her face.
“I have twenty-four. Number twenty-five seems to be eluding me today,” she huffed.
He actually looked sympathetic. “Maybe you just missed it?” he suggested softly.
“Thank you, Captain Obvious!” she jibed.
“Well, like I said, it could be anywhere in the house,” he smiled sweetly.
“You’re not helping…” Ran groaned, letting her head fall back and her eyes roll up towards the heavens as though to ask Why? It was then that she noticed something odd. A hint of color, just above her. Something bright orange.
Her eyes widened. No way…
How the hell did he get that up on the bloody ceiling fan?
Five minutes, a little bit of improvisation, and a lot of laughter on Shinichi’s part later (he offered his help, but she flat-out refused it, so he just watched and chuckled at her efforts), the twenty-fifth egg was clutched possessively in Ran’s hot little hands. She dropped it into the basket, and laughed triumphantly. “Ha, ha, and again I say, ha. I have them all. Now,” she folded her arms, “would you mind telling me what this is all about, Shinichi?”
“What makes you think anything’s up?”
“I know you better than that.”
Again with that enigmatic smile of his—she was getting dangerously close to taking a swing at him. “All right, you’re right. Now we get to play a game, Ran!” At her glare, he picked up the basket and tipped it, sending the eggs spilling out onto the desk in a small heap. “Take a closer look at the eggs.”
Giving him a Look, she obliged. She hadn’t really looked at the eggs as she’d been chucking them into her basket, so she was a little startled to realize that there were words painted on all of the eggs. She picked one up and looked at it. The word Squeeze was written across the red plastic surface in blue paint. One eyebrow quirked at her boyfriend, who managed to look fairly innocent.
“Now take the words on the eggs and make a sentence!” he teased.
Ran was irritated, but at the same time, she was incredibly curious. There was something going on here that she was definitely missing, and her insatiable need to know wouldn’t let her back out. Besides, he really wanted her to play along—and he had said that if she could figure out the puzzle, she would get a prize. That was it, then—she was going to finish if it killed her, just to see what the end result was.
If it was something stupid, she would bop him. ‘Nuff said.
So she set about digging through the twenty-five seemingly-random words. But after a minute, she found one that said You Something clicked, and she continued looking with a little more purpose. Before long, she almost had a complete sentence, missing one word. Will you…me.
And every other word seemed to fit into it, though it didn’t make sense, per se.
Shinichi was perched on the edge of the desk, looking more and more antsy with each new word she tried. At one point, she turned and gave him her patented ‘my boyfriend is a moron’ look. “Will I kick you? Is that an invitation?” He actually managed to look innocent.
She paused and took a good look at the three eggs she had assembled already in a sentence. Will you…me. Will you…me. The phrase looked incredibly suspicious, but no way…Shinichi had never really been the kind of guy to put that much thought into something like this…though, over the four years of their quote-unquote “official” relationship, he had surprised her at more turns than she cared to count, sometimes with something incredibly romantic.
She remembered her twenty-first birthday as one such occasion—not necessarily romantic, but definitely something surprising, and definitely NOT something she had expected from Shinichi.
Actually, scratch that. She remembered part of her twenty-first birthday, anyway—she remembered going out to dinner, and then…she wasn’t one hundred percent sure. They were college kids, after all, and while nothing wholly inappropriate had happened (they were pretty sure, at least), they had woken up the next morning tangled together in each others’ arms amidst the jumbled sheets on Ran’s bed in her dorm room, clothing askew and war drums pounding inside their skulls.
It was a night she would never forget—or she was sure she wouldn’t have forgotten it if she hadn’t had one too many Purple Rains…damn things were addictive, and had a decent proof to boot. But back to the puzzle at hand.
She stared at the dozen or so eggs she still hadn’t tried. Her eyes instantly moved to the bright orange one—elusive number twenty-five, the only egg that color in the entire pile. It stood out like a sore thumb against the pastel dyes.
Going on gut, she chose that one and looked at the blue-painted word written on it. Her eyes widened as her hunch was validated. With slightly trembling hands, she set it in line with the other three to finish a sentence written in Easter eggs.
Will you marry me?
“Open the orange one,” Shinichi instructed her softly. Her hands were shaking a lot more as she obeyed, and cracked open the day-glo egg marked with the word Marry, tipping the contents out into her waiting palm. She shouldn’t have been surprised, but she still was, when a ring slid into her hand. A tiny gold band, with a single perfect diamond set into it.
Her breath hitched; the plastic egg fell out of her shaky fingers, making a hollow sound as it bounced on the ground beside her chair, and her now-empty hand moved to cover her mouth. Slowly, she turned to look at Shinichi…
…who had slid from his perch on the edge of the desk, and was now down on one knee beside her chair. The confident smirk he’d worn for most of the game was gone, replaced a shy, hesitant smile that would have seemed more at home on Conan’s face than on his. “Ran…there’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you for a while now.” A faint pink color touched his cheeks as he reached out and clasped his hands around both of hers, trapping the ring between her palms. “Ran…will you marry me?”
Against her will, tears swam into Ran’s eyes, blurring the magical moment. She tried to speak, but her voice wasn’t cooperating. At a loss for what else to do, she just bobbed her head up and down in a nod, shaking the first few tears loose to run down her face.
His hands separated hers and took the ring; gentle fingers slid the diamond onto the appropriate finger. Those selfsame fingers then slid up her arms and over her shoulders to her face, where they brushed away the few tiny drops that had escaped from her eyes. And those fingers cupped her chin while he kissed her, allowing there to be no mistaking his feelings.
When they broke apart, Ran looked at him, her eyes sparkling with happiness and love…and then she giggled, though she tried desperately not to. “I don’t suppose you’d wear those to the wedding, would you? They really look good on you…”
Shinichi clapped one hand possessively to his head. “Leave the ears out of this!”