The victim's name was Kamata Kouhei, a doctor that worked at Beika General Hospital. He had suddenly dropped during the romance scene of the play ─ at around 14:40, according to Ran.
When Inspector Megure noticed the girl, he began looking around for someone else. He found Mouri Kogoro right away walking towards him, and he couldn't help but sigh. That murder magnet. He even brought a disaster case to his own daughter's high school.
"So, no one came near the body, right?" the inspector asked him.
"Of course not, Inspector. Maintaining the scene of a crime is an investigative no-brainer-"
"It smells like almonds."
At the young voice all eyes instantly fell on the source. None of them were actually surprised to see little Conan, crouched next to the body. Before they could say anything, he turned to Heiji, who was kneeling down right next to him.
"Does that mean it's Potassium Cyanide, Hattori-san?" he asked innocently.
"Yeah, most likely," Heiji nodded. "You can also tell by looking at his lips and nails. They're pink, instead of purple. Maybe, next time, you can focus on those things instead of just sniffing. It's so dangerous you could die."
Conan rolled his eyes. He knew it was, but there shouldn't be any problem if he was careful.
When he was suddenly raised into the air, he looked up at Ran's serious face and he understood why he had said those things. Heiji was looking him with a big grin on his face, and he couldn't help but groan, annoyed.
That's for getting me in trouble all those times, Hattori thought, holding up two fingers in a 'V' shape.
Just wait until I get back at you, Hattori, Conan's eyebrow twitched.
Hattori wasn't intimidated at all by his glare, just grinned even wider before turning back to the Inspector, causing the child huff in irritation.
Then, the little boy suddenly felt something. A weird burning sensation into the back of his neck prompting him to slowly turn around and look over his shoulder.
The black knight was there, standing right behind Ran and, therefore, standing right behind him. Unmoving. Eerily still.
Now, he couldn't really see his face, but Conan knew. Whoever was beneath that helmet was staring at him, if the way his skin tingled was something to go by. Yet, the child couldn't understand why.
Then, the knight seemed to smile, faintly, at him.
And Conan blinked, feeling officially lost.
Kogami Mai, the one that had bought the drinks and left it with her friends before going to the bathroom.
Ninagawa Ayako, the victim's former fiance that had poured the drinks in the cup, hoping that he would return for a change.
Mitani Yota, the one that had handed the drinks Kogami had bought.
And Yumemi Noda, the one that sat right next to the victim.
Even if he had absolutely no idea of how they had made the victim drink the potion, Heiji was sure that the culprit was one of those four.
At least, until Takagi told Megure that he had found some unused milk and gun syrup in Kamata's pocket and Ayako confessed that she had put coke in purpose so he would come back for a change.
"So, that's why my drink was also coke!" Mai realized. "I almost put in gum syrup and milk."
After that, everything began to make sense to him.
Claiming that Kamata had been acting strange, searching around the dashboard for stuff, so all three of them had to take Takagi to the car, to look for clues.
The black knight watched out the window as the four ran under the heavy rain, covering their heads with their arms in a fruitless attempt to not get soaked.
Conan's eyes narrowed as he watched the black figure pulling the curtain back and head to the door, before stepping up to follow him.
When a hand suddenly fell on his shoulder.
"Hey, kid, you realize it too, right?" he looked over Hattori, who had a smile on his face. "The culprit who placed the poison is most likely that person. The drink Kamata-han left open, the mixed up iced coffee, plus that person's strange lines... I know how the trick was done!"
The child said nothing as he looked back at the doorway and realized, with a heavy sigh, that the black knight was nowhere to be found. He must have gotten away when he was distracted with Heiji, the kid realized.
"Now, if only there was proof, everything would... Hey, are you even listening?"
Conan blinked twice. "Ah, sorry," he offered him an apologetic smile under his face mask. "I don't have a clue who the criminal is."
"Eh?" now it was Heiji's turn to blink. "Hey, hey, were you even paying attention to the testimonies?"
Conan looked away and that was enough for Hattori to realize he hadn't heard a thing.
"Now I'm worried," he commented. "That's so unlike you."
"It's not a big deal. That's probably just my cold messing with me."
"The other time you had a cold, it was so bad that you fainted, if I remember correctly," Hattori raised an eyebrow at him. "But you still solved the case."
The child said nothing in return and just shrugged, barely paying attention to Takagi returning with what seemed to be a vial of cyanide. Even Conan himself was surprised about his lack of focus in this case, but it wasn't like he could help it.
Everytime he wanted to pay attention, his eyes would drift to that mysterious black knight. He couldn't point it out, but something was amiss with that person... There was something familiar about the way he walked and observed his surroundings.
Speaking of which, where did he go?
"From these circumstances, we can conclude this was a suicide," decided Inspector Megure.
"Please wait, Inspector Megure!"
The voice boomed in the entire room, earning the attention of everyone. All gazes fell on the dark figure standing at the entrance, quietly still even as thunder violently roared and the sky flashed behind his back.
"This wasn't suicide," the Black Knight declared. "But rather, a simple and basic... murder."
And, like so, he began to slowly walk closer to the inspector, unaffected by all the states currently following his movements, the way Ran's eyes opened, widely, or Conan's narrowed.
"Right, Kamata-san was poisoned," the figure dressed in black stated. "Under the cover of darkness, in front of the floating stage. Where his incurable habit was used against him. Furthermore, the culprit should still have that evidence. If my deduction of this bold crime is, in fact, the truth."
"Y-You are...?!" Megure stammered.
The Black Knight smirked.
"Long time no see, Inspector Megure," and, just like that, he took off his helmet.
Conan took a look of his face. His eyes opened, wider than ever before, as he stared. Shocked. Speechless. Dumbfounded.
"I'm Kudo Shinichi."
Everyone gasped, astonishment written all over their features. Ran merely stared at him, mouth slightly open in shock as if she still could not believe that the person she was seeing in front of her was real.
And Conan just stared.
Once the shock had somewhat receded, the students started to cheer for their local detective. Shinichi, in turn, just glanced at them from over his shoulder, before placing his finger in front of his mouth. "Shh, silence," he shushed them. "We'll continue the celebration after I lower the curtains on this bloody stage."
They all obeyed instantly.
At the sight of that, Conan's shock drained a little bit, feeling his eyebrow starting to twitch. "Still a show off," he said under his breath.
Despite of how low the child had pronounced his words, Shinichi still heard. His gaze fell on the little boy and he found himself smiling, crouching down next to him and placing a gloved hand on top of his head.
"It has been a long time, Conan."
"We both know it hasn't been that long," the kid replied with a slight smirk.
Shinichi couldn't hold back a laugh. "Nothing ever escapes you, does it?"
"Nothing, except you."
The teenage detective ruffled his hair at that, earning a grunt from his younger brother, before standing up, grinning wider at the sight of the glare sent his way.
"Shinichi?" Ran's hesitant voice came from behind him, so he turned around to see a pair of surprised eyes staring at him. "Are you really Shinichi?"
"Huh? You silly," he sighed. "Stop talking like you just got out of bed," then, he leaned closer and whispered. "I have something important to tell you later, so don't run!"
Ran blinked, cluelessly.
"By the way, Hattori," Heiji started when he noticed Shinichi's attention on him. "Do you have a dime?"
"Yeah, I have one or two, but what are you going to...?" he saw his fellow detective smirking towards the culprit's way and understood. "Ah, I get it."
Shinichi gave a perfect deduction thereafter. Kamata had the habit of munching on the leftover ice and, therefore, the killer had decided to put the poison on the ice cubes, which had been brought in a small purse, which he had found on the washroom's garbage, alongside dry ice.
Therefore, the only one that could've put them in was Kogami Mai. She had pretended to eat the ice on her drink, then hid it somewhere else.
So, he flipped a coin. It landed on her hood, and came out rust-free and sparkling.
The killer had no other choice to confess. She told everyone that she had, indeed, murdered Kamata Kohei because he had given a patient, whose symptoms contradicted his thesis, the wrong medication on purpose. As a result, the patient had passed away to protect his theory.
Soon, the culprit was taken away.
"Somehow, Heiji seemed more like the assistant than the magician today," Kazuha teased.
"There's nothing I could do," Heiji tried to defend himself. "This is Tokyo, I had to let Kudo hold the flowers."
Conan rolled his eyes. "It seemed to me that you had to let Shinichi-niichan hold the flowers because you didn't have the sightless idea of how to."
"Like you're the one to talk," Heiji scoffed. "You didn't even know who the culprit was until now."
"How was I supposed to know?" he protested, whining childishly. "I'm only a child. There's a lot of things I don't know!"
"Yeah, Conan-kun is right!" Kazuha argued. "It's not okay to bully a child, Heiji!"
"E-Eh, but..." he glanced the child stifling his laugh with his hand and felt irritation blossoming on him. I'm the one getting bullied...
Conan laughed a bit louder before something else caught his attention. Megure was excitedly talking to his brother now, offering him to meet with the reporters for the case hearing, but expectedly so, the boy declined.
He asked for his name to be kept a secret. And for Conan, it made sense he would ask such a thing.
Even if he wished it didn't.
"Hey, Kudo," Hattori spoke. "Why didn't you go to the case hearing?"
"A trick is nothing but a puzzle mankind came up with," he said, with a soft groan that went unnoticed by everyone, except from the child, whose eyes narrowed a bit. "If you use your head, you can uncover the logical answer."
Conan examined his brother and realized, with a faint sense of panic, that he was sweating profusely. His breathing was also becoming more ragged and shallow, as he was feeling an incredible pain.
"It's disappointing. No matter the explanation I think of, I cannot understand why one person would kill another," Shinichi managed to say between gasps. "Even if I can see why, I can't understand why. Not even..."
Heiji looked at him for a second, stunned for some reason when he heard those words. He opened his mouth to speak, but didn't have the time to say anything because Shinichi was suddenly clenching a hand against his chest, and giving out a loud grunt of pain.
"Shinichi-niichan," Conan tried to say. "Are you...?"
The little boy couldn't even finish his sentence, because the Great Detective of the East suddenly dropped into his knees, breathing rapidly while still holding his chest, tighter than before.
"Shinichi? What's wrong, Shinichi?" Ran's sweet voice came through the pain and soon saw her face, her expressive eyes looking at him, filled with confusion and concern. "Are you okay? Does it hurt?"
While it greatly upsetted Shinichi to no belief seeing his dearest childhood friend worried about him, there was something else that shook him to the core.
The young voice, low enough so nobody but him would hear, prompted him to look at the pair of big blue eyes staring right into his. While the worry was evident on them, there was something about it that threw him off. The tiny frown and the sharp glint they took, as if he, somehow, could understand what was going on.
And Conan was scared. Terribly so.
His muscles failed him, and soon he found himself dizzily pitching forward into the ground.
Conan's little hand was on his shoulder, desperately shaking him, screaming at him to hold on. Yet, soon, his voice was too far away for Shinichi to understand.
Before passing out, he managed to give his little brother another look. His bright blue eyes were staring right at him.
He doesn't know... does he?
That was his last thought before everything went pitch black.
Fortunately, the problem had been solved by Hattori and Conan right away.
The teen had instantly called out to everyone, pleading them not to say a word about Shinichi's involvement to anyone, while the child somehow convinced Ran that his brother had probably been sleep deprived ─ which wasn't that far fetched, considering the teen had the habit of not sleeping until a case he was working on was closed or simply collapsed from exhaustion.
Thankfully, everything had more of less settled down. With a tired sigh, Hattori leaned into the wall of the infirmary as they waited for Shinichi to wake up. He briefly glanced towards Conan, who sat on the bed right next to him, worry etched on his features.
The kid had told him about the drug Kudo had been given so he could understand the child's concern. Even if he still isn't certain of Kudo's involvement with the Black Organization, that kid is still worried sick, he observed. Understandable, considering he's still his brother.
Still, there was something that didn't fit at all with Hattori's suspicions. Right before he fainted, Kudo had said something about not being able to understand why a human would murder another. Heiji could have brushed that comment off, label it as another criminal lying his way off.
Except this wasn't the case. As a detective, Heiji was used to read the body language of the people he considered suspicious, and he wasn't afraid to say that he was pretty good at it.
So he either was a professional liar, or Kudo was simply telling the truth.
What was really going on?
"Shinichi-niichan," Conan's voice brought his attention back to the real world, and he realized that Kudo's eyes were flickering open.
"Oh, Kudo!" Heiji smiled. "You're awake!"
"I'm so relieved you woke up," Kazuha sighed.
"Geez, don't worry me like that!" Ran scolded him, lightly.
Shinichi said nothing in return, just sat up while staring, wide eyed, at the people gathering around his bed. Conan noticed his mouth opening and closing, as if he had no idea of what to say, so he spoke first.
"When was the last time you slept?" the very incriminating look he was given prompted him to blink. "I just asked you a question that is not very hard to answer, so now I'm getting worried."
"So you really didn't!" Ran shouted at him. "Really, Shinichi, when are you going learn how to get care of yourself?!"
Shinichi seemed to be confused for a moment, until he realized what everyone believed that had happened to him, so he let out an awkward laugh, deciding that it was better to just play along for the time being.
As Ran scolded him, sternly so, Shinichi briefly glanced at his younger brother, who was currently muffing his laugh with his hand at the sight of the girl reprimanding him.
So that was what was going through his mind at that time, he thought, mentally sighing in relief. Conan doesn't know, then.
"Hey, Shinichi, are you listening to me?!"
He didn't notice, however, the child's eyes sharpening as soon as Shinichi's gaze focused back on Ran.
Soon the commotion died down enough for the people to leave Shinichi to rest for a bit before he could return home. It took a while to convince Ran that it would be okay to leave the teenage boy alone for awhile, but Conan managed, after assuring her that he was going to call her if something happened.
Like so, the two brothers were left alone.
An uncomfortable silence ensued thereafter, none of them having an idea of what to say to each other. Because of that neither of the siblings tried to start a conversation, just stared awkwardly at each other.
After an undetermined amount of time, which passed by excruciatingly slow, Conan saw his brother groaning softly, cradling his head with his hand as if he was having a massive headache.
"Here," Shinichi blinked, cluelessly when the little boy in front of him pulled out a small vial from his pocket and took out a weird pill, offering it to him.
He accepted it, blinking owlishly, before briefly examining it. It definitely didn't look similar to any painkiller he had seen in his entire life. Eyes narrowing, as he noticed it was a capsule, half red and half white.
It looked exactly like...
The silver haired man gave out a sickening smile as he pulled out something from his black cloak, holding it in front of his eyes so he would see it. The drug was so tiny and innocent-looking that nobody would ever think of it as anything else than an ordinary medicine.
Oh, how wrong they would be. Because Shinichi knew perfectly what it was capable of. And he didn't like it one bit.
Yet, he didn't show it. He wouldn't give the man in front of him the satisfaction.
At least until the pill was forced down his throat.
Then, he genuinely screamed. The pain was so much to handle.
When the vial was suddenly whisked away from his hands, Conan couldn't help but let out a startled yelp. But he said nothing, just silently stared as his brother turned the vial over and over again, inspecting its contents with the look of a madman.
Then he read the label and practically felt his blood draining:
"APTX-4869 ─ Prototype Antidote."
Then, he looked up to his younger brother, staring at him so intensely that actually made the child back up a little. How did he...? he couldn't even put his thoughts in order. Just... Just how?!
"Onii-chan?" the child gave him the most innocent look he could muster. "Are you sure you are okay?"
He only watched his brother's mouth opening and closing, repeatedly and without making any noise. Conan struggled to maintain a straight face and not to show how amusing Shinichi's confusion actually was to him.
"Conan," he finally managed, motioning to the vial on his hands. "Where... Where did you get this?"
And how in the actual hell did you know I was poisoned and how exactly did you figure out how to make an antidote for such an extremely secret and dangerous drug?!
Then, he remembered the little girl he had seen before on Conan's hospital room. She didn't, did she?
"Haibara-san gave it to me. She said Professor Agasa created it," he replied, slowly, before pausing. Then, he sighed deeply. "Why didn't you tell me before?"
Shinichi looked away, not wanting to face the child. "Conan, I... The truth is-"
"You should have told me you had been suffering from migraines ever since you were my age!"
The older detective raised his head, holding Conan's glare with a clueless blink. For the longest moment, he didn't say anything, until his lips curved into a smile.
"Ah, I didn't realize it has been labeled before!" the child continued. "What does it say?"
"Oh, no, nothing to worry about," then, he peeled the label off in front of his curious eyes. "I don't want you to go search about my condition and worry yourself. Because it's not that serious, really."
"But seriously, Onii-chan, you should've told me!"
Then, with a chuckle, he apologized to the child and promised not to do that again. Whatever it was.
This is fine, he thought, giving a long look at the pill in his hand. As long as he doesn't know.
Before he took the pill, without hesitation, before returning the vial to his younger brother, who gave him a strangely pleased smile
The sound of his alarm blared in the middle of the silent morning, causing the little boy to groan and bury himself deeper in his nest of blankets, in a feeble attempt to retrain his sleep.
Not wanting to open his eyes, he just lied there, gathering enough willpower to finally get up...
There was something missing though. Dimly he wondered what it was.
Until it fell on him. Occhan. At this point, Kogoro would be probably growling at him to kill that alarm. But he wasn't.
Finally, his eyes opened to see the ceiling of his room. His old room.
Ah, right, he slowly realized, reaching with his hand to his phone to finally shutting the alarm off and grabbed his glasses from the nightstand. Sighing tiredly he sat up on his bed, trying to rub the sleep off his eyes when he noticed he could hear another different alarm from the room next to his. Why doesn't he turn it off? Did he sleep right through it or something?
Sleepily glancing at his right, towards the door, so he would shout to his brother to wake him up, he noted something strange. He blinked slowly, noticing the figure covered in blankets beside him, before taking a closer look.
Conan saw his brother, peacefully sleeping at his side, and jumped.
"What are you doing here?!" he shouted, but he only got an incoherent mumble in response. So, with a resigned sigh, he began to shake him. "Hey, Onii-chan, wake up," at his lack of response, the child opted to pull the sheets away from him. "You're going to be late."
Shinichi just snored away, and the child could only rub his temples, already exhausted even if it was so early in the morning. Seriously, and here I thought Ran-neechan was quite the heavy-sleeper...
That was until his eyes fell on something else in the nightstand and his lips curved into a mischievous grin. Like so, the child took his bowtie and turned the dial.
"SHINICHI!" he shouted, at full volume, using Ran's voice.
The angry voice of his childhood friend, who he was secretly very afraid of, prompted Shinchi to wake up with a start and instantly roll over. Conan blinked at the sight of his older brother sprawled across the floor, after his sudden awakening.
Before, of course, bursting out laughing like any self-respecting sibling would do.
"Ha, ha, very funny," Shinichi rolled his eyes as he pulled himself up. "Good morning to you, too, Conan."
Conan shrugged, watching as Shinichi began to stumble towards the bathroom.
"What were you doing here?" the child asked before he could leave.
The older brother paused for a moment. "You had a nightmare last night," at those words, Conan gave him a surprised look. "I barely managed to pull you out of it. It was pretty bad, wasn't it?"
Seeing the little boy suddenly fixing his look on the mattress prompted the teenager to sigh and walk closer to the bed.
"I heard from Ran that you've been having a lot of those lately," with that, he sat right beside him. "Would you like to talk about it?"
Yet the child did not talk, only frowned deeper, clenching his hands on top of his lap.
"You know, Conan, is perfectly normal to have nightmares," he tried to reassure him with a smile and went to give him a comforting pat on his head. "There's nothing to be embarrassed of-"
"We're going to be late for school."
Ducking his brother's hand, Conan hopped off the bed and rushed out the room, leaving the older boy cluelessly looking at the place the child had just been disappeared from, wondering what was all of that about.
When Ran stood in front of the Kudo House a weird nostalgic feeling washed all over her. Then, hesitation took hold as her finger hovered over the doorbell button. What was she going to do if nobody walked out the door even if she rung the bell?
... I'm just being silly, she thought to herself. Even if that deduction maniac doesn't appear, Conan-kun is still inside.
"Aren't you going to ring?"
The young voice at her side started her, badly, prompting her to spun around. Upon noticing the little strawberry blonde girl standing right beside her she calmed down and, ignoring the disturbingly stoic look she was giving her, Ranlet out a sigh, holding a hand on her chest.
"You scared me, Ai-chan," Ran said, yet Haibara did not reply. Even so, after recovering a bit, she offered her a smile. "Are you here for Conan-kun?"
"Well, it makes sense, you two are neighbors now," Ran pointed out.
The girl, again, did not answer. Not giving it another thought, Ran turned to the doorbell and finally pressed it once.
Or maybe twice.
"Hey?" came Shinichi's voice over the intercom.
Four times. Five times.
"Geez, you're annoying!" at the sixth time, Shinichi's angry face appeared through the bars of the gate. "Just ring once and I'll hear you!"
With that, he stepped out so the two girls could go inside, walking inside without giving Ran another look, a toast on his mouth.
"Hey, Shinichi," spoke Ran. "Are you sure you understand today's school schedule?"
"I bet it's like last year, with everyone cleaning up from the festival," he rested his hand on top of the door handle. "I'm going to go get ready, so wait here."
Before she could say anything, the door was slammed in Ran's face, who blinked a bit in surprise.
"Hey, that was unnecessarily rude," she could hear Conan's unmistakably voice from inside. "I can only wonder why she's still friends with you."
The door opened, welcoming the two girls with the sight of a very annoyed looking Conan. "Good morning Ran-neechan..." then his eyes fixed to the child next to her and blinked a bit. "... and Haibara-san?"
Haibara said nothing, just squinted her eyes slightly before walking right past him and inside the house without saying a word.
"... Yeah, of course, you can come in," Conan said, sarcastically, before mumbling under his breath. "Really, what's up with her?"
Ran giggled, slightly, before coming inside when the little boy moved aside so he could welcome her inside.
"Sit wherever you want, Ran-neechan. Shinichi-niichan will be ready in a moment," he glanced towards his brother, as he slowly made his way towards the bathroom, while yawning loudly. "... I hope."
The girl just smiled, slightly. He's here. Shinichi's here! she thought, looking at the boy. It's not a dream, he really came back!
Not only that, he was actually going back to school, again, after an entire year of absence. She had been a bit confused at first until he had explained that the director had decided to make an exception for Shinichi, since the detective had once helped him out with a case and was in debt to him.
She wondered how he would be able to catch up, yet he didn't seem bothered at all in the sightless.
I should start photocopying my notes, I guess, she thought, with an amused smile on her face.
Conan blinked, wondering for a second what she was all happy about. At least, until she asked him.
"Isn't this great, Conan-kun?"
When he understood what she meant, Conan nodded with a bright smile.
Even if that smile wasn't completely genuine. Because, a part of him knew, this was too good to be true.
The Black Organization is still out there, once out of her sight, he let his smile drop. Why is he here, all of sudden, pretending that nothing happened at all?
So, to say that Conan was confused was an understatement. Was he really meant to pretend that everything ─ the fire in Ekoda Hospital, the drug, the organization, his scattered memories, every single thing ─ did not happen at all?
A part of him wondered. Wouldn't it best if he did just that? It was easier to forget and, quite frankly, the child was scared to know what secrets lied deep inside his brother's heart. Nobody would get hurt, and everything would be perfect. Just like today.
But a deeper part of him knew he would be living a lie. A fake reality that would lead everyone to live happily oblivious to the darkest secrets that lurk outside their bubble.
What's the correct answer, really?
With a sigh, he turned around to ask Haibara what she was doing on his house, but found himself staring at Ran, sitting alone in the couch as she messed around with her phone. Where did Haibara-san...?
He found her rather quickly, exiting the bathroom with the same expressionless look she always wore, before his brother came out as well.
"But I was really shocked to find you as the black cloaked knight," Ran commented as the four of them walked towards school. "I'm surprised you wanted to be the main character, since you didn't memorize your lines."
At the confusion that crossed Shinchi's face, which then turned into irritation, Conan knew Sonoko had something to do with it. That explains a lot, actually, he thought. He wouldn't just hug Ran out the blue if that wasn't the case.
"If you kept ignoring the script like that, the play would've been a disaster!"
After it had to be canceled because a murder, I can only wonder why she doesn't consider it a disaster already.
Sighing a bit to himself, Conan crossed his arms behind his head and kept on walking, listening at the conversation the teenagers were having.
At least, until he heard.
"Did you give it to him?" Haibara asked him, out the blue.
Conan gave her a nod. "It's impressive, though," he commented. "That you managed to create an antidote without the data."
"It's a prototype antidote," she stressed out. "This is supposed to help him last a little longer... Or he might just drop dead in a few hours and I will be forced to declare this test as a failure," a smirk appeared on her face. "You'd be the prime suspect if that happened."
"Just joking," she shrugged. "He should be okay, don't worry. I'm pretty confident on this version."
Conan glared at her for a moment, before sighing heavily. "By the way, there's something that has been bothering me ever since you gave me those pills the other day," he said. "How did you know my brother was around? I didn't tell anyone yet."
"I could tell from those times you contemplated the sky so dramatically. As if you were the protagonist of a TV drama," she answered right away. "It was obvious just by looking at you that you knew that Shinichi-san was around."
She pointedly ignored the annoyed glance he shoot her way and kept on walking. Realizing he would never get the upper hand with this girl, the boy rolled his eyes, continuing his way in silence.
It was quiet between the two, the teenagers' conversation was the only thing keeping the ambient from being too silent. Ran and Shinichi continued on talking, catching up in what they had missed, unaware of what was going on inside the children's mind.
The girl was the first one to break their silence, again.
"So?" Conan looked at Haibara, questioningly. He waited for her to continue, yet she didn't.
"You know what I mean, Kudo-kun," her eyes narrowed a tiny bit. "At this point you must have figured that out already."
Conan frowned a little bit, looking away from her annoyingly knowing eyes. "You know I can't come into any conclusion if I don't have any proof."
"You're in drowning in denial," the girl told him. "Living on borrowed time, attempting to maintain this fantasy of an ideal reality... Afraid of the truth."
"I'm not afraid of anything, Haibara-san."
"Oh? Are you sure about that?" Conan didn't find in himself to answer. "Every single person in this world is deeply afraid of something and you're not the exception, Kudo-kun. Even if, in your case, it's a bit contradictory."
The boy said nothing, as he glanced over his shoulder to his older brother. He was laughing loudly now, after teasing Ran about something he hadn't heard about, while adjusting his hat on his head better.
A hat that covered his hair and obscured his face from plain sight.
"Conan-kun, Haibara-san!" Ayumi's voice filled the boy's ears, prompting the two children to look that way.
They saw their three friends rushing towards them, to meet them.
"Congratulations on your recovery!" Mitsuhiko smiled to Conan.
The little boy smiled back at them and was about to say something back at them when he noticed his friends' gaze shifting away from them and towards the teenage boy, blinking curiously.
"Yo," upon noticing the looks he was receiving he waved, raising his hat a tiny bit so they could see their face.
The three children gasped, before dragging Conan away. Shinichi couldn't help but sweatdrop a little bit at the sight of his brother's friends surrounding him, asking him countless of questions in hushed voices.
"Conan-kun, isn't that Shinichi-oniisan?"
"When did he come back?"
"Why didn't you say anything, Conan?!"
He saw Conan sighing, tiredly, before beginning to explain everything to them with such a patience he had never seen in that child before. And Shinichi just stood there, watching the five kids talk with each other, without realizing the faint smile painting his features.
Never in his wildest dreams he would have imagined Conan getting along so well with children of his own age.
"Shinichi!" he hadn't realized he had stared for so long until he heard Ran, who was already walking away after giving Conan a brief wave. "Come on, hurry or we'll be late!"
"Ah, wait up, Ran!" he glanced at Conan. "See you, Conan," he told him, rushedly, before running to catch up with his childhood friend.
The little boy, in turn, just nodded and watched him go. His blue eyes narrowed slightly, as he watched his older brother walking with Ran to school, laughing about something he said to her.
A detective who fears the truth... Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.