Part Two: New enemies, new friends.
Disclaimer: I lay no claim to Meitantei Conan or the characters. They all belong to the wonderfully talented Gosho Aoyama (*worship* *worship*), I swear to return the characters in one piece and only slightly singed.
This fic is the result of wanting to write a silly Detective Conan fic and having seen WAY too many Magical Girl series for my own good. This was inspired by one of the (many) Conan anime ending sequences where Ran is surrounded by a swirling blue light that looks ALOT like the beginnings of a transformation sequence. Ran's name means 'Orchid' and there rest of it... well, I said I wanted to write something silly, ne? ^_^
I have kept the Japanese honourifics mainly because there is nothing in English that sounds right! 'Ran-neechan' means 'Big sister Ran' and is used by children to young people older than themselves. Ai calls Conan 'Kudo-kun' when they are alone as she knows that he is Shinichi Kudo.
"Why am I doing this?" Ran Mouri rolled over onto her stomach and glared at the creature on her desk. "Remind me, why I am transforming myself into something so... so _pink_?"
"I told you," Tan, the magical pink hamster, regarded Ran calmly. "You
are the chosen one, the only one who can defeat the
great evil that has encroached on to this Earth."
Ran closed her eyes. "And what is this evil anyway? What does it want?"
"The evil is a Black Queen, a woman possessing great evil power," Tan answered. "She wants to take over the world..."
"Wow, a villian with such an _original_ plan," Ran growled sarcastically.
"And let me guess... she needs to build up her power by
draining people's energy?"
"Argh!" Ran thumped the bed in frustration then twisted around and sat up. "Okay, fine... so I have to stop this Black Queen who uses magic and obviously has various people to do the dirty work for her, but..." Ran got off the bed and stalked over to loom over Tan's cage. "WHY do I have to stop her wearing that STUPID get-up? And another thing..." Ran frowned. "Who's this Detective Mask person? Am I supposed to work with him?"
"Your costume is very important," Tan squeaked, undaunted by Ran's looming. "Long ago the Black Queen caused disaster and was only beaten back by a gracious princess named Orchid. You are the Princess reborn..."
"Great, I'm the reincarnation of someone with no taste."
"As for Detective Mask..." Tan skittered around in the cage. "I have no idea who he is or what his true agenda is... be careful, Ran, he could be an enemy in disguise."
"Hmmm..." Ran sat back down on her bed. "I don't think so... he seemed very familiar..."
Conan lay back on his futon, listening to Mouri snore in the blackness.
He was still confused, his mind whirling as he attempted
to provide himself with a logical explanation of the evening's events. He frowned and muttered under his breath, "Holmes said that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. But..." he sighed. "This is just TOO improbable!"
For the hundredth time he replayed the events in his head. He, Haibara
and the kids in the park, then he felt that familiar pain
coupled with a sensation that he was burning up. Hiding his rising panic he had taken refuge in the men's toilets and then the change had happened... his child's form replaced by his true form of Kudo Shinichi. For a moment his confusion had been replaced by elation. He was whole again! He had been about to leap out and run straight to Ran and tell her that he was finally back, when he noticed the silver mask in his hands. And the full evening dress that he was wearing, plus the silver-lined cloak. Of course, that wasn't even considering the wrist crossbow that had materialised in place of his wrist watch. So had it been any wonder that he had declined to come out when Mitsuhiko called for him? Thankfully, his bow-tie had retained its functions and allowed him to use Conan's voice.
Then the oddest feeling came over him... making him leave his refuge as if there was someone calling him. He had stepped out and found a scene straight out of a children's anime being played out in front of his eyes. Without a pause for thought he had leapt up into the boughs of the tallest tree and introduced himself as a part of the show. After it was all over, he knew that he was going to shrink back into Conan and had fled before it happened.
*I would claim that this was a crazy dream,* he thought, *but I was awake!* Conan groaned softly and closed his eyes, trying to chase away the thoughts eating at him, but two questions nagged persistently.
How had he changed back into his true form without an antidote? He hadn't imbibed anything odd... not that he was aware of anyway.
Who was Magical Girl Pink Orchid? It was crazy, but when he saw her he immediately thought of Ran.
"Idiot... no way would Ran ever... no way..."
"How interesting..." the Black Queen descended down from her throne, her black gown swirling around her as she moved. "I didn't expect my old foe to reappear so promptly," she rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "It's a pity Moriya failed so dismally though, he didn't even manage to get us one speck of energy!" she tapped her foot. "Now, what we need is a way to rid us of Pink Orchid and gain the energy we need..."
She turned and regarded the one who had interrupted her. "What?"
He smiled, blue eyes flashing in the dim light. "I have an idea," he
said getting to his feet. "I recently acquired a device that will
gain us the energy we need, it's almost ready, but requires one thing more and I can get that easily... and confront Pink Orchid at the same time!"
"Oh really?" she smiled and nearly purred. "Well, then I'll leave things
in your hands, my little thief..." she stroked his cheek. "But
tell me, what is it that you plan to steal?"
He laughed and stepped away from her, sweeping off his white top hat and bowing gracefully. "Let me surprise you, your Majesty... but I will give you a clue... this could be your biggest best friend."
"Wow... that is one _big_ diamond!" Ran breathed, her eyes wide as she stared at the rock inside its protective case.
"I told you," Sonoko smirked. "It's the biggest diamond in Asia!" she nudged Ran and grinned slyly. "Can you imagine getting that on an engagement ring, Ran?"
Ran flushed slightly. "Your hand would fall off under the weight if someone was stupid enough to do that!" she retorted and then nudged Sonoko back. "Are you maybe hoping that a certain karate team captain will surprise you with something then?"
"Ran! No Way! He's not... We..."
Ran giggled as her best friend went bright red, sometimes Sonoko was fun to tease, especially about Makoto Kyougoku. As Sonoko stuttered and then berated her, Ran's eyes flicked around the room, taking note of the people around. Sonoko's father, Mr Suzuki had invited a lot of high profile people to the opening of the jewellery and gem exhibition he was sponsoring and Ran couldn't help noticing that her father was not really adept at mingling with them. She sighed slightly, Sonoko's jibe had once more made her thoughts turn to Shinichi and that brought a mixture of angry, wistful feelings welling up inside of her.
Ran blinked and looked down to see Conan looking up at her, his eyes fixed on her face and a gleam of concern in the blue depths. "Are you okay, Ran-neechan?" he asked.
Shaking off her blue feeling, Ran smiled reassuringly at him. "I'm fine, Conan-kun. Are _you_ okay? You and Ai-chan aren't too bored?"
Sonoko sniffed disdainfully. "This annoying child should be grateful that he and his girlfriend were invited!"
Conan flushed. "She is not my girlfriend!" he said hotly.
"Oho! Methinks he protest too much," Sonoko winked at Ran.
"Don't tease him, Sonoko!" Ran knelt down by Conan. "Conan-kun, if you..." she stopped and frowned. "Is that juice on your shirt?"
Conan looked down at himself and, sure enough, there was a long orange splash on his white shirt. *Oops, must have happened when I bumped into some of the guests on the way here...*
"We have to try and get rid of that," Ran said decidedly, she got to her feet and took Conan's hand. "Sonoko, where are the bathrooms?"
Conan blanched and tugged frantically, trying to pull away from Ran. "It's okay, Ran-neechan! I can clean it myself!"
Ran ignored him and dragged him, still protesting, out of the main hall
in the direction Sonoko had indicated. "I know you," she
said. "You'll dab at it and then think that's enough. I'd like to make sure that you look a bit more presentable!"
"But... but..." Conan was helpless as Ran pulled him into the bathroom. His embarrassment level rose fifty percent when he noticed which bathroom she had taken him too. "This is the _women's_ bathroom!" he yelped.
"Well, I could hardly walk into the men's room, could I?" Ran said letting go of his hand and pulling a handkerchief out of her purse and ran it under the tap. "Don't worry, Conan-kun, you're just a little boy, no one's going to worry about you being in here."
"After all, it's perfectly natural," said a cool childish voice behind them causing both to jump slightly.
"Ai-chan!" Ran smiled at the little girl and then knelt to dab at Conan's shirt. "You startled us."
"Sorry," Ai said in an off-hand tone as she looked at Conan, a slight smirk on her face. "You do get in some interesting messes, don't you Edogawa-kun?"
Conan glared at her over Ran's head. It was alright for Ai, Professor Agasa knew that his charge was in reality an eighteen year old and didn't need or want to be fussed over. He felt Ai's amusement at his expense was really unjustified.
"Hold still, Conan-kun," Ran scolded lightly. "I can't..."
//Ran!// Tan's squeak flashed through her mind and Ran dropped the handkerchief.
"Oh no... not now..."
//Ran! There is trouble! You're needed! Somethings happening in the main hall!//
"ARGH!" Ran leapt to her feet. "Damnit! No! Not again!"
"Alright, alright... keep your fur on, I'm coming!" Ran looked down at the two children who were staring at her curiously. She smiled wanly. "Uh... Ai-chan? Can you look after Conan-kun? And please, both of you stay here. I... I have to go... ummm... and... do something."
"Ran!" Conan called out after her as she ran out of the bathroom. "What the hell...?"
"Interesting," said Ai. She picked up the handkerchief Ran had dropped. "So Kudo-kun... Kudo-kun? What's wrong?"
Conan had his hand pressed to his chest and he was breathing heavily.
"I... I have to go!" he bolted into one of the cubicles and
locked the door. "Haibara... uh... can you check on Ran... please?"
Ai hesitated then, without a word, turn on her heels and walked out. She leaned against the wall and frowned. "Once, this may have just been a coincidence. Twice? No," the frown was replaced by a slightly amused look. "And this means my hypothesis is correct... I wonder..."
She straighted and walked down the corridor. "I'll have to find a good place to watch this show."
"Do I have to do this?" Ran asked as she and Tan approached the main hall. "Couldn't I just thump the bad guy?"
"You don't know what this one can do!" Tan squeaked sternly. "And with one of the Black Queen's minions you are going to need the magic!"
Ran sighed and halted. "I know, I know... did I mention I hate this?" she touched her earrings and chanted. "Quest for love! Quest for dream! Quest for all truth! Pink petals and sweet scents surround me! Grant me the power to preserve love and dreams! Orchid Magic!"
After several bars of jazzy music, a truckload of pink petals and a flood of dazzling pink sparkles...
"I am magical girl pink orchid... rah rah... yay me..." Ran muttered under her breath and moved forward.
Tan sighed. "Couldn't you at least _try_ to get into the spirit of this?"
"Not even a little pose?"
"Why not just announcing yourself with a little more... spirit?"
"No, No, No!"
He balanced perfectly on the wires he had shot directly over above the
diamond's display case, his white cloak fluttering slightly and a smirk
on his face. Before him the assembled guests and security guards stood,
literally frozen before him, staring up with
expressions of frustration, chargin and astonishment on their faces. Except for one.
Sonoko glasped her hands together and sighed blissfully. "Kaito Kid! How wonderful!"
"You thief!" Mr Suzuki raged, struggling to move out of the ice that trapped his legs. "How dare you presume..."
Agasa frowned and reached out to tap Mouri's shoulder. "Mouri-san," he hissed. "Is that really the Kaito Kid? Sh... Conan-kun told me that he usually sends challenges to the police before he steals something and it doesn't look like he did that this time."
Mouri frowned. "You're right... Inspector Megure would've been here otherwise. It is strange..."
"Forgive my presumption," Kid said with an elegant bow to Mr Suzuki.
"But I require this diamond for the Queen and I really can't
allow anyone to interfer with me this time."
"Too bad, because _I'm_ going to interfer!"
Kid lifted his head and looked past the heads of the others to the doorway at the far end of the main hall. He lifted an eyebrow. "Well, well... if it isn't the Magical Girl Pink Orchid. I was wondering if you would show."
All the guests twisted around as much as they could to look at the newcomer. There was a ripple of whispers and even a few giggles as they laid eyes on Ran.
With difficulty, Ran swallowed her embarrassment and concentrated on the task at hand. She could hardly believe it... the Kaito Kid was working for the Black Queen? It was true that he was a thief, but he was known to give back or throw away what he stole, and, as far as she knew, he had never physically injured anyone. "Why?" she asked. "Why are you doing this, Kid? I didn't think working for someone else was part of your game."
Kid's mouth twisted slightly. "Everybody can change their minds, Miss Orchid," he made a gesture and the glass surrounding the diamond shattered.
Ran drew in a deep breath. "I can't let you take that," she said and took a step into the hall.
Only to find her foot starting to slide rapidly forwards, nearly causing her to fall.
"Huh?" Ran leapt back and looked down.
Ice covered the entire area of the hall and surrounded the legs of the people in it, trapping them effectively.
Kid grinned at Ran. "Well, Miss Orchid, you're a bit out of luck here aren't you. One step on this ice and you'll be down on that cute backside of yours!"
Ran's eyes narrowed. "You keep your comments about my backside to yourself!" she said fiercely. "As it happens, Mr Kaito Kid, I _do_ have a few tricks of my own up my sleeves..."
"What sleeves? I don't see any on that... get-up you're wearing, although
I guess they could be hidden under all those ruffles!" he
snickered and Ran fumed.
"I'll have you know that I didn't have a choice about this!" she yelled and produced her pink wand. "'My heart flys faster and further than light! Make dreams reality!* Orchid Wings!"
Kid's eyes widened as a pair of beautiful pale pink wings erupted from Ran's back. "Okay... this is an unexpected development..."
Eyes glinting in a way that promise pain as soon as she reached him, Ran launched herself forward, Tan close behind her. Swearing under his breath, Kid reached into his cloak and drew out what looked like a small web and threw it forwards.
Ran screeched to a halt and hovered in mid-air as the web grew to enormous proportions and blocked her access to Kid. "Hey!"
Kid chuckled and reached down to take the diamond.
"Shinjitsu wa itsumo hitotsu!"
The daimond was knocked off its podium and out of Kid's reach by a crossbow bolt, both went skittering across the ice, the diamond glittering in the light.
"Who the hell...?" Kid straightened and turned.
"Detective Mask!" Ran looked behind her and saw the young man standing in the doorway.
He grinned at her. "Hey Pink Orchid, looks like I was just in time... again," he snickered. "Love the pink wings, but you really shouldn't fly around in that skirt."
"Shut up! Pervert!"
"Detective Mask?" Kid glared at the other boy. "Wonderful names you
people have," he said sarcastically. "But whatever you call
yourselves, you're not going to stop me!"
He reached up his right hand and a wire shot out of his sleeve and sttached itself to the one of the beams near the roof. Kid jumped down from his wire platform and swung towards the diamond.
"No you don't!" Detective Mask ran forward.
"Be careful of the ice!" Ran screamed at the same time.
"Ice? I... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" Detective Mask skidded at top speed across the ice, bouncing off various people as he went, finally crashing into the wall and collapsing into an undignified heap.
"Ow... that was painful..."
"Hahahahahahaha!" Kid had to stop his advance on the diamond, he was laughing so hard. He hovered in mid-air, gasping for breath and clutching his stomach with his free hand. "What an idiot!"
Ran was also laughing, holding her sides and shaking so hard she was in danger of falling down. "Some detective! Didn't even notice the ice!"
"To be fair, neither did you," Tan pointed out.
Ran tapped the hamster's head. "You shut up. I never claimed to be a detective!"
Detective Mask struggled to his feet, bracing himself against the wall. "Thanks for the sympathy, Pinkie," he growled.
"Who're you calling 'Pinkie'?"
"Achem," Kid pulled himself together. "Thanks for the laugh, Mask, but
I can't hang around here any longer..." he started for the
"No!" Ran flew up to the web and tugged at it. "Damn... it won't budge!"
"Get back and let me, neechan!"
"Who...?" Ran instinctively backed away and looked around. "Who said that?"
There was a sudden blur in front of the web, a loud wooshing sound and before Ran's astonished eyes, the web was cut into shreds.
Kid halted once more and gaped. "But... but..."
"More impressive than a crossbow, eh neechan?"
Ran looked down at the speaker who was balancing on her father's head and grinning up at her. He was dressed in an outfit almost identical to Detective Mask's, except that his tuxedo was black, his cloak was trimmed with gold instead of silver and he wore a golden mask. In his hands was a gleaming kendo sword.
"Who the hell are you?" Detective Mask snapped, staring crossly at the newcomer. He hadn't appreciated the crack about the cross bow one bit.
"He's a show off, that's what he is."
The new speaker was standing on one of the display cases, her hands folded and a slight, teasing grin on her face. She was impressively dressed in a glittering orange and back dress that was much the same as Ran's in style. However, she wore knee-high boots and her hair was tied back by an orange bow.
Ran's eyes widened. "There's another Magical Girl?"
"Are you sure you should be standing there?" the masked kendoist was obviously a little annoyed by the new girl's taunt. "The glass might crack."
"Aho!" she glared at him. "Are you implying I'm FAT? You are so rude!"
"I didn't say that!"
"Get off my head!" Mouri roared, but was completely ignored.
"Yes, you did!"
"No I didn't!"
"Achem!" Kid cleared his throat, interrupting the quarrel. "While I'm sure this is a fascinating discussion for the two of you... I'd like to know... just WHO are you guys?"
The kendoist faced him and grinned broadly. "Nice to meet ya, Kaito Kid, I'm Great Detective Mask!" he annouced grandly.
There was a strangled sound behind him. "No, you are not!" Detective Mask slithered over to him, using the guests to keep himself upright. "_I_ am Great Detective Mask!"
"Hey, I was Great Detective Mask _before_ you!"
"Oh really? Listen you Kansai idiot..."
"How do know he's from Kansai?" Ran interrupted.
"It's his accent," said Detective Mask offhandly and then returned to glowering at his 'rival'.
"Who are you calling an idiot?" the other boy growled.
"Both of you are!" the new magical girl stamped her foot, making Sonoko's father and the security guards wince as the glass trembled. She pointed to Detective Mask. "You are Eastern Detective Mask, he..." she pointed to her friend. "Is Western Detective Mask. And that's the end of it!"
Ran applauded. "That's a good way to sort them out!"
The other girl winked. "Well, I had to do something or they'd have been butting heads all night."
"Huh," Eastern Detective Mask didn't look any happier about the resolution. "Who are you then? Orange Orchid?"
Western Detective Mask jumped off Mouri's head and slid across to his companion. "Nah, her name's even worse than that."
"Don't you say it!" she hissed at him.
"Oh, come on... you might as well tell them!"
"You'll laugh again, I hate it when you laugh about my name... it's not as if it was MY choice!"
"I swear... on my father's life... I won't laugh."
She drew in a deep breath. "I am... I am... MagicalGirlDistantMountain!"
Eastern Detective Mask tilted his head. "I'm sorry, I must have heard that wrong... I thought you said 'Distant Mountain'?"
"She did!" Kid dissolved into gales of laughter once again. "Ah... hahaha... you people are going to kill me... hahahaha..."
"Shut up!" Distant Mountain yelled, blushing furiously. She looked down at Western Detective Mask who was snickering. "And you... you PROMISED you wouldn't laugh!" she raised an orange wand threateningly.
"I'm snickering! Not laughing! OW!"
Kid wiped his eyes. "Ah... this has been very entertaining, but now..." he swooped down and scooped up the diamond. "I have to be going. Bye-bye!" he tugged on his wire, now connected to his back, and started to move towards the skylight in the roof.
Her mouth set in a determined line, Ran soared after him. "I'm not letting you take the diamond, Kid!"
He looked down at her. "So stubborn, just like _Her_," he sighed. "Damn, I didn't want to do this, but now I have no choice..."
"What's he doing?" Eastern Detective Mask asked as Kid took of his hat and reached inside. "Pulling a rabbit out of his hat?"
"No..." Distant Mountain tightened her grip on her wand. "Something worse..."
There was a loud roaring sound and a winged creature surged out of the hat and bore down on Ran. She let out a yelp of surprise and dodged as it swiped at her with it's wickedly long claws.
"Pink Orchid! Let me look after this!" Distant Mountain, now sprouting orange wings, appeared beside her. "You stop the Kid!"
"Will you be okay?" Ran asked as they both avoided another swipe from the creature.
"I'll be fine," Distant Mountain's eyes gleamed. "Now go!" she cried, shoving Ran aside and charging the creature with a loud cry.
Ran bit her lip, concerned for the other girl, but she flapped her wings vigourously, pushing herself rapidly upwards to catch up with Kid who had just exited the skylight. She shot through the opening, making him stumble backwards.
They faced each other in the moonlight, listening to the sounds of battle below them with the occasional cry of 'Heavenly Mountain Avalanche!' reaching their ears. Finally silence fell.
"Why are you working for the Black Queen, Kid?" Ran asked again, her eyes sad.
He shrugged. "I told you my reasons."
"I don't believe that you told me the truth."
He shot her a slightly exasperated look. "You really do remind me..." he looked away for a brief minute and sighed.
That brief minute was all Ran needed. Before Kid knew what was happening she had hit him with a round-house kick, knocking him to his knees and the diamond out of his grasp. He lunged for it, but she snatched it and backed away.
"I'm sorry for taking advantage of your distraction," Ran murmured.
"But you have to realise that I can't let you take this to
He got to his feet and regarded her in silence, then his gaze flickered
past her shoulder noticing the Detective Masks and Distant
Mountain approaching. "You don't understand," he said wearily. "If I don't take her the diamond, someone will..." Ran's eyes widened as he spoke.
"She's holding someone you care for as a hostage?"
"How did you...? Kid frowned and clenched his fists. "Just give me the diamond, Pink Orchid!"
Ran clutched it to her chest and shook her head. "I'm sorry..." her
voice cracked slightly. "I can appreciate how you feel, but... I
can't let you have this and put a lot of innocent people in danger..."
"Aok..." Kid bit off his words. "Other innocents will be in danger if you don't!"
"Aha!" Western Detective Mask smacked his fist into his palm. "This makes more sense now," he grinned. "So, Her Dark high-mightiness isn't above a little blackmail, heh?"
"Aho!" Distant Mountain thumped his arm. "She's the villian, of _course_ she's going to play dirty!"
Eastern Detective Mask moved to stand beside Ran. "Kid, you know we can't give you the diamond," he said. "But... maybe we could help you, if you turn yourself into the police..."
"I don't think so!" Kid sneered. "How like _you_ to say that though, Great Detective!"
Ran kicked Eastern Detective Mask in the shin. "Nice going, idiot!" ignoring Eastern Detective Mask's yelp of idignation and pain, she turned back to Kid. "He did say one thing right though, Kid, we could help you free your... ummm... friend, and we'd be happy to help you."
For a moment it looked as if Kid would refuse, then he smiled slightly
and shrugged. "Anything is worth a shot I guess," he said
quietly, almost to himself. He looked directly at Ran. "Alright then, I'll accept your... help," his smile broadened. "if only because you remind me alot of her... umm... someone."
Ran beamed. "Thank you, Kid! I knew you weren't a bad person!"
"He's a thief, he... ow!" Eastern Detective Mask's tirade was cut off as both Ran and Distant Mountain elbowed him in the ribs. Behind them, Western Detective Mask snickered softly.
"So, where do we go first?" Ran asked.
"No where yet," Kid made some gestures in the air. "You have to give back the diamond and I..." he pulled an object wrapped in a handkerchief out of his right sleeve. "I have to stall Her Majesty."
"Wow!" Distant Mountain gasped as the handkerchief fell and they saw a diamond identical to the one Ran held in Kid's palm. "How did you do that?"
Kid waggled a finger at her. "Hey, hey... a magician never reveals his
secrets Miss Distant Mountain," he tossed his diamond into the air. "Hopefully
this fake will fool her... for a while... and that will give me time to
contact you," he looked at Ran. "Is that
acceptable, Miss Pink Orchid?"
"I guess..." Ran said reluctantly, not liking the danger that Kid seemed to be placing himself and his friend in. "Will you be okay?"
He laughed and moved, his cape turning into his trademark hand-glider. "Don't worry about me, I can take care of myself... and the ones that need me!" with those words he jumped off the roof and was soon soaring away from them.
"What a waste of an opportunity," groused Eastern Detective Mask. "I was this close to laying my hands on the Kaito Kid! This close!"
"Oh give it a rest, Kudo!" Western Detective Mask rolled his eyes. "The poor guy's girlfriend is being held hostage!"
"Exactly!" said Distant Mountain. "And... wait a sec..." she looked at Western Detective Mask. "Did you just call him 'Kudo'?"
Ran's breath caught and she looked at Eastern Detective Mask who stiffened. "Shin... ichi...?"
"Ahahahaha!" Western Detective Mask laughed nervously. "Er... no, no!
I said... uh... 'kuno'... uh... like that weird guy in the silly
anime you like... uh..."
"You said, KUDO, Heiji! I _heard_ you!"
"HEIJI??" Ran snapped out of her paralysis and whipped around to stare
at the other boy. Her eyes flickered to Distant
Mountain. "Kazuha-chan?" she asked a little breathlessly.
"Heiji?" Shinichi let out a snort of disgust. "I should've known! Wait a minute, how did YOU know that I was..."
"Well, it was kinda obvious, and after what happened with Kazuha and seeing neechan here, then I figured..."
"RAN? Pink Orchid is RAN?"
"Ran-chan?" Kazuha goggled at her friend. "How did you...?"
"Same way as you I suppose," Ran grimaced. "Stupid hamsters!"
"Ran is... Ran is..."
"Kudo, are you blind? Can't you SEE it's her?"
"But... but... it's all so _pink_ and the wings..." Shinichi weakly indicated Ran and wondered if there was anyway he could explain why he hadn't recognised her without looking even more like an idiot than he already did. The only, small, comfort was that Ran hadn't recognised him earlier. However, Heiji seemed to accept his garbled words quite well.
"Oh yeah, I see what you mean. When I saw Kazuha in that glittery thing I didn't figure it out at first either."
Shinichi felt a little relieved. Okay, so it wasn't just him who had
trouble reconciling his childhood friend with the magical girl deal,
even though it still rankled that Heiji had been quicker to figure it out. However the relief was soon dispelled as there was a growl from Ran.
"Shinichi!" Ran, having spoken quickly to Kazuha, turned her attention to something more pressing. "Where the HELL have you been? And WHY are you showing up like this and NOT normally?"
Shinichi hedged desperately. "Well... Ran, I... I wanted to, but this case I'm on..."
"The case. The case AGAIN?" Ran's eyes filled with tears sparked by a mixture of anger, frustration and happiness. "Shinichi..."
"Ran, I'm sorry," he said earnestly, taking her hands, forgetting that
Heiji and Kazuha were looking on. "If I could come back, not
just as Detective Mask, but as me... then I would, I swear, but I can't, not yet..."
Ran blinked away her tears. "Why can't you tell me what this really is about? Why?" she whispered.
"I'm sorry," he whispered back, leaning closer to her. "I never meant to hurt you, Ran..."
In sync, Kazuha and Heiji's jaws dropped. Then Kazuha sighed happily and glasped her hands together. "How romantic!"
Heiji remained openmouthed and unblinking. "I don' believe it!"
The spell was broken by a babble of voices from down below and Sonoko's voice rising above them. "Ran? Where are you? RAAAAAN!!"
Blushing slightly as he became aware of what he was doing, Shinichi pulled back. "Kid's trick has worn off," he said unnecessarily. "You should return that rock."
"Uh..." Ran, also blushing slightly, nodded. "Yes, but..." she reached
out and snagged Shinichi's arm. "You're coming with me, I'm
not letting you leave until we've talked, Mr Great Detective Mask (Eastern), even if I have to handcuff you to me!"
"I'd love to, Ran, I really would, but..." Shinichi lifted his hands
helplessly. "I don't think I can, and they really have to see you!"
he said and quickly shoved her off the roof.
"AHHHHH!" Ran screamed as she dropped into thin air, but cut off her cry as she realised that her wings were holding her up. "Shinichi, you idiot, I'll get you for that!" she grumbled while she floated gently to the ground.
There was a sudden onslaught of bright flashes and Ran realised that there were hordes of photographers capturing her descent. *Oh #@%^!* She braced herself, waiting for someone to cry out 'Hey, isn't that Ran Mouri?', but all she heard was applause and a few cheers.
Sonoko and her father ran up as Ran reached the ground and her wings vanished. "Miss Pink Orchid! You foiled the Kaito Kid!" Mr Suzuki cried. "Thank you! Thank you!"
"So did you see what he looked like?" Sonoko asked all starry-eyed.
"Ah well... it was a bit dark..." Ran felt hideously uncomfortable. Although she didn't want Sonoko to recognise her, it wasn't pleasant to have her friend regarding her as some stranger. "Er... here's your diamond, Mr Suzuki... bye!"
"Wait! I wanted to..." Mr Suzuki's words trailed off as Ran fled back into the building. "Was it something I said?"
"Wow... cool," said Sonoko, then she frowned. "Although she really needs to do something about her fashion sense..."
Kazuha breathed a sigh of relief as Ran safely touched down. "Shinichi-kun, you shouldn't have shoved her like that, it was a bit dangerous AND it doesn't make you seem very caring."
There was silence behind her and Kazuha frowned. "Men!" she said in exasperation and whirled to face the boys. "You two... huh? Hey... where did they go?"
Shinichi barrelled down the corridor to the bathrooms, Heiji close on his heels.
"Are... you... saying that... you're only... like this... when... Ran's... Pink Orchid?" Heiji panted as they ran.
"Yes," Shinichi said tersely. "So... I can't... stick around... or...
she'll know..." he halted outside the ladies room. "I hope to God
there's no one in here," he mutterd and pushed the door open.
"What were you doing in the women's toilets anyway?"
"Don't ask, Hattori, just don't ask."
"Ran-chan!" Kazuha, now back in normal clothing, waved and jogged up to Ran who had just emerged from an alcove. "Hey, have you seen the guys?"
"No," Ran frowned. "I thought they were with you."
"They disappeared after Shinichi-kun pushed you off the roof," Kazuha planted her hands on her hips and glared around the room. "Those idiots..."
"Watch who you're calling an idiot!" Heiji walked towards them, Conan beside them.
"Conan-kun!" Ran knelt beside the little boy. "Are you okay? Where were you?"
He looked at her with eyes of limpid innocence. "I was in the bathroom, Ran-neechan, you told me to stay there, but you were gone so long I came out and then I bumped into Heiji-niichan."
Heiji grinned and ruffled Conan's hair, earning himself a death glare from the little boy. "We just keep running into each other!"
"Where's Shinichi?" Ran demanded. "He was with you wasn't he, Hattori-kun?"
Heiji gulped. "He... well, you see, the magic teleports him from where ever he is to where you are when you transform, so once you de-transform then he gets sent back!" *Pleeeease believe me!*
Conan looked up at Heiji in disgust. *Was that the BEST you could come up with?*
Ran eyed Heiji suspiciously, but was distracted by Sonoko who ran up to her and babbled excitedly about the Kaito Kid and Pink Orchid as well as greeting Kazuha at the same time. Both Conan and Heiji relaxed slightly knowing that they were off the hook... for now.
On the other side of the room, Ai regarded the little group with a mysterious smile on her face. "Things keep getting more and more intriguing..." she murmured.
The Black Queen looked at the diamond Kid had given her. "And this will work?" she asked.
He bowed. "To be honest... I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I did find out some information that you will find interesting..."
She leaned closer to him, her blond hair slipping over her shoulders.
"Oh really?" she placed a hand under his chin and forced
him to meet her eyes. "I do hope you're being honest with me, my thief," her blue eyes were icey. "You do know who will suffer if you're not!"
He met her gaze without flinching. "I understand perfectly."
* Adapted from Koori no ue ni tatsu you ni by Miho Komatsu)
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