Best Man for the JobAuthor:
Kudo Shinichi/Mouri RanFandom:
#12—in a good moodRating:
All characters are the property of Gosho Aoyama. I claim none, I merely borrow them and dress them up in frilly smocks and make them dance to my ever-changing will like the puppets they are.
The portly Inspector lifted his head at the sound of his name, and immediately a smile broke on his face when he saw his visitor. “Ran-kun! What brings you here?”
The young woman in the doorway smiled and crossed the room. “Just doing a little favor for my husband. Shinichi called and asked me to pick up some files from you. He said he spoke to you about it?”
Megure nodded and opened a drawer, withdrawing several manila folders, which he handed over without further question. “He did call me about those.” As he closed the drawer with a metallic clang, he went on, “When is he getting back in? I forgot to ask.”
“His flight gets at six,” Ran replied, tucking the folders safely under her arm. “And then I’m making him take me out to dinner.” She huffed in mock-irritation. “Leave me here alone for three weeks while he goes flying off to Europe for work. Humph.”
In reality, she couldn’t wait for that plane to come in. Shinichi had gotten a call, all but begging him to come to England and solve a rash of bizarre murders happening there. He had accepted without hesitation, and later taken the scolding from his wife without complaint and with appropriate humility. After all, he could have at least
discussed it with her first.
And in truth, perhaps she was a bit paranoid. The last time she had watched him race off to solve a mystery, he had wound up stuck as a seven-year-old, hiding out from an expansive crime syndicate who wanted him dead. Could anyone blame her for not wanting him to run off like that again, for fear that he would vanish once more? She was terrified.
But now, three weeks later, he was coming home—finally.
She stood in the doorway and chatted amiably with the police chief for a while longer before she went to take her leave. But Megure stopped her as she was turning to leave. “Ran-kun…I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something different about you.”
Ran paused and bit her lip.
He studied her for a minute before his eyes widened. “You’re not—“
“Shhhh!” she shushed him. “Yes—I just found out—but it’s a secret until tonight!!”
Megure rose and crossed the room to give her a paternal pat on the shoulder. “Congratulations. My lips are sealed until I hear otherwise.” He gave her a conspiratorial wink and sent her on her way, chuckling. Well, damn.*****
“Some welcome home present,” Shinichi mock-sighed, looking around. “I’m away for three weeks, and my welcome back gift is getting the opportunity to take you out to dinner.” He pretended to look disappointed. “And here I was hoping for something a little different
…” Emphasis on ‘different.’ One brow quirked as he grinned. He was teasing her; even after the hours he’d spent in airports and on the flights, one look at her had put him right back in a good mood.
She knew exactly
what he meant (and truth be told, the thought had crossed her mind on more than one occasion in the twenty-one days of his absence), but feigned innocence. “Oh, you wanted me to pay instead? And all this time I thought you were a gentleman.”
Now he chuckled outright. “Well, I know I’m happy to be home. England was wonderful and all,” he paused to take a sip of dark burgundy liquid from his wine glass, “but if you’re not there, then it just isn’t all that great.” His tone was light, but his eyes were burning into hers over the rim of his glass. Three weeks was really nothing compared to the length of time he had been stuck as Conan, but it made her strangely happy to know that he had missed her.
Her hand sought and found his on the tabletop, their fingers linking together with practiced ease. “I missed you, too,” she said softly, giving his hand a squeeze. “Silly boy.”
The waiter appeared, interrupting them for a moment. Once orders were taken, the young man absented himself, and they were once again alone. He wasn’t saying anything yet. It was perfect timing.
“Shinichi…” Ran began slowly. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure,” he nodded, absently massaging the back of her hand with his thumb. “What’s up?”
She looked down at their entwined hands for a moment before raising her gaze once more to meet his squarely. “What do you think about kids?” The question was all innocence and childlike curiosity.
“Kids?” Shinichi seemed to think about it for a minute. “I like kids.” He paused, then grinned, all snark. “Puppies are nice, too. We should get one—I’ve always wanted a puppy…”
His wife blinked at him in surprise. That was obviously not quite
the answer she had been expecting. “Okay, I’ll take that into consideration…but one more thing.” She leaned forward, all serious. “Would you still love me if I got fat?”
“Of course I would,” he smiled, and she knew he meant it. “Why? What did you eat?”
She frowned at him, though inside she was dancing with joy and nerves. “You can be such a jerk sometimes, you know that? You really should try to be nicer to me.”
He chuckled. “Now why in the world would I want to do that?”
Ran smiled, the smug smile of a cat who has just devoured the canary. “Because in about seven months, I’m going to have your baby. So behave yourself, Dad,
or I’ll send you to your room.” Silently, she thought to herself, My work here is done,
and sat back to watch the reaction.
Shinichi did not disappoint.
Well, it took about three seconds for her words to click, first off. Then he paled considerably. His eyes grew to the size of soccer balls, and his jaw dropped onto the tabletop with a loud thud. It was hilarious, although for one brief moment, Ran was quite certain he was going to faint dead away.
But then his expression shifted from bewildered and stunned to awe-struck staring. And through it all, never once did he relinquish his hold on her hands, intertwined on the tablecloth. He seemed to process for a moment before he said, “You’re…?”
He blinked repeatedly, like he was trying to clear his head. “I’m…going to be a dad?”
She nodded again.
Shinichi was silent for a long moment before he suddenly pulled on their hands, raising them so he could kiss the back of her hand. And he was smiling. “You little sneak…”
Ran let out a breath she didn’t realize she had been holding and laughed. “Welcome home.”*****
“Hmmm…” Shinichi murmured, carefully studying his reflection in the mirror. He tilted his head to one side. Then to the other. Then he raised his eyebrows. Then he wrinkled up his nose and stuck out his tongue. “Blaaaaaaaaah…” Then he smiled and shook his head.
Arms slid around him from behind, encircling his neck. He felt a weight against his back, something resting against him; Ran’s head appeared beside his in the mirror, her chin resting on his shoulder. “Well, what do you think?”
His hands slid up to wrap around her wrists, and he raised an eyebrow at her. “I dunno, Ran. I don’t think I really look like a daddy to be. Maybe you should find someone else…”
She laughed. “No, no, no, absolutely not. I’m pretty sure I’ve got the best man for the job right here.” She accented her words by giving him a quick squeeze and a quick peck on the cheek. “I love you. Have I told you that lately?”
He chuckled. “Not for the last hour. I was starting to get worried.”
“Shut up,” she chastised gently.
But she was smiling as she tugged on his shirt collar with one hand, urging him to turn his head so she could kiss him properly, and Shinichi returned the favor wholeheartedly. After a moment, they broke apart, by some unspoken accord; Ran’s head returned to its comfortable pillow on his shoulder while he leaned back into her, utterly cozy and contented.
Suddenly, Shinichi chuckled.
Ran turned her head to look at him quizzically in the mirror. “What?”
“Oh, just had a thought,” he grinned wickedly. “This could be fun…”*****
The elder Kudo couple—namely, Yuusaku and Yukiko—came to visit their son and daughter-in-law. And it just so happened that Yuusaku’s birthday fell during their visit. Well, naturally Shinichi and Ran couldn’t just let that alone.
So they planned a little party.
It wasn’t really anything big. Ran’s parents came over, along with a few people from the police department that they knew particularly well—you know, the usual suspects (as it were). Yuusaku was properly mortified at the idea, but begrudgingly played along. After some very silly party games (the Birthday Boy was decidedly unamused when they tried to talk him into a round of Pin the Magnifying Glass on the Meitantei), they had a pleasant dinner, courtesy of Ran and her kitchen wizardry. After dinner, though, a small battle broke out while Ran was in the kitchen, preparing dessert.
“Shinichi, this is ridiculous,” Yuusaku protested.
“Come on, Dad!” Shinichi cajoled. “Ran baked this birthday cake just for you. She worked hard on it, and if you don’t go along with it, you’re going to hurt her feelings. And then I’ll be mad.” At this point, he was standing over his father, arms folded menacingly across his chest. He looked and sounded for all the world like a parent scolding an unruly child. “And you don’t want me to get mad, do you, Dad?”
Yukiko covered her mouth to try and hide the fact that she was snickering. Loudly.
Across the table, Megure coughed loudly. Eri and Kogoro were grinning.
Finally, Yuusaku threw his hands in the air in surrender. “All right, all right!”
Right on cue, Ran appeared in the doorway, a good-sized frosted cake balanced on a platter in her hands. Two candles burned brightly on the top. She was grinning.
As was Shinichi. “We didn’t have enough candles,” he said cheerily.
“Shin-iiiiiiii-chi…” Ran said warningly.
He got the hint and shut up, taking a seat beside his father, at the head of the table.
Ran carefully set the cake on the table in front of the Birthday Boy, who looked quite embarrassed by the attention. “This really wasn’t necessary…” he said, raising an eyebrow at her.
“I know. But it was fun!” Ran cheered. “And I wanted to!”
“And now my wife is going to serenade you for your birthday,” Shinichi announced. “No protests, either. No if’s, and’s, but’s, or maybe’s about it. And no, for everyone who was cringing, I won’t be joining in the song. I love ya, Dad, but not quite that much.”
Ran cleared her throat. Yuusaku looked discomfited, while everyone else now laughed openly.
And she began to sing. “Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear Grandpa!
Happy birthday to you!” she sang brightly, grinning broadly at the reactions. Every head in the room (save for Shinichi’s) swung to stare at her at the word ‘grandpa.’ The expressions instantly went from smiling and laughing to blank, curious stares.
And Shinichi’s grin just grew wider and wider.
Yuusaku clocked back in first. Ever the brilliant detective, he said, “…did you just say grandpa?”
Ran and Shinichi nodded.
Yukiko broke out of her stupor next to ask Ran, “Are you—?”
At this point, they couldn’t hold it in anymore. The young couple burst out into full-blown hysterics. “We debated for an hour on how to tell you!!” Shinichi crowed proudly, his face going bright red with laughter. “The looks on your faces…” Ran couldn’t even speak, she was giggling too hard, all she could manage was a nod.
And then she found herself swept up in a full-fledged glomp when Yukiko let out a shriek and dove from her seat, around her husband to envelope her daughter-in-law in a very tight hug. Eri was the next out of her seat to join in the group hug.
Shinichi, still reclining in his seat at the head of the table, gave his father a Look. “Why, Dad,” he said, grinning cheekily, “I do believe I got you.” He waited expectantly.
Yuusaku stared at him for a minute before shaking his head and reaching over to clap his son on the back. “Congratulations. On both the blessed events.”PS. The entire story was sparked by my mental image of that last scene with Ran singing Happy Birthday in lieu of an announcement. It hit me while I was in the shower (as many of my ideas do...I swear, it’s the smell of my shampoo that does it or something!), just that last scene, and the rest of the story built up to get to that point.
Also, was reminded--almost forgot to credit, ACK!!! The part in the middle with the mirror was inspired by the webcomic Queen of Wands, by Aeire. It is mucho awesome--go read!! Hope you enjoyed it. Much love!!