Word Count: 1063
Disclaimer: Aoyama created Shin'ichi and Shiho. I'm a mere slave to their banter.
Friends: Kudou Shin'ichi/Edogawa Conan and Miyano Shiho/Haibara Ai
Notes: From the outside, it looks amazing. 30 Friends: #26 – passing notes, manycases1truth: #90 – eavesdropping
Why am I listening to this?
No, seriously, why am I stuck behind the door of Professor Agasa’s lab while those two squirts are going at it like an old, married couple? I, Suzuki Sonoko, had much better things to do a minute ago than to call the brat and his weird classmate up to lunch, even if Ran asked me to do it since the professor’s got a cold.
Okay, maybe the little girl’s hairstyle is cute. But she’s still creepy.
As much as I hate to admit it, I was dead wrong when I told Ran that Ai and Conan were taking so long because she was confessing her kiddy love to him. Turns out he’s just helping her fix the professor’s stupid computer. A prized matchmaker like me can’t be right all the time. Still, I can’t help but think something’s going to happen between those two.
So here I am, practically squatting behind the door of the cramped lab that’s super dark because all the lights are off for no good reason. It’s true! Nothing’s on but the computer! It makes that little girl look like the ghost from Ju-On. Conan, who always tags along with Ran when I want to go shopping or check out guys—just to look, honest!—keeps bickering with her like it’s not going to piss her off more.
“You’re not helping,” Ai says. See? She agrees with me. I knew she was smart for her age.
“Look, Haibara, you ran the anti-virus program and restarted the computer five times already, but the ads are still popping up, and now you can't delete anything,” Conan says, sticking his hands in the pockets of his dorky shorts, with his dorky vest and dorky bow tie, and—did I mention he was dorky? “The professor went on one too many unsecured shopping sites. Why don’t you get someone to repair it?”
“For the last time, it’s because that data’s on it. Are you an idiot?” Ai says, snapping at him.
Girl’s got a temper, that’s for sure. What’s she so worried about, anyway? And since when did they give first years—even braniacs like them—computer homework? Maybe they’re getting strict with this generation out of a concern for Japan’s future. Either way, remind me never to go back to grade school.
“The backup’s on several disks and hard drives in a fireproof box, right?” He points off to the side somewhere, not like I can see anything in this dungeon. “If it’s the technician you’re worried about, I’ll check his background first and keep an eye on him.”
By background check, I bet he means making his nosy classmates snoop around after school. Those kids are always getting into trouble. Oh well, I don’t care as long as I don’t have to babysit them.
That answer makes Ai huff and turn back to the computer. Squinting really hard, I check out the screenful of pop-ups, and those ads are not for kids’ toys. Let’s just say they’re more along the lines of that American book, 50 Shades of Grey. Eww. At least I can tell that fact’s flying over their heads since they’re not even flinching.
Ai opens a bunch of screens and starts typing, if you can call it typing when somebody punches the keys hard enough to break them into pieces. I know she’s smart and all, but the professor should teach her how to be more careful with stuff like that. “Unlike someone else,” she says, “I don’t rely on the Sherlock Holmes seal of approval.”
“Hey, hey! Haibara!” Conan climbs onto the desk and looks pretty worried. Yup, the girl’s on self-destruct. That’s the other reason I didn’t go in. Even though my ankles are getting crazy sore, my miniskirt’s riding up, and it’s so dusty in here that I want to sneeze my head off, I actually value my life. “I’m not an expert—”
“—but if you mess around with the system like that, it's going to crash.” When Ai’s stubby fingers fly everywhere like she knows what she’s doing, though I know that can’t be possible without her being some sort of alien or secret agent, Conan sighs and says, “You’re asking for it.”
Uh oh. Now the screen’s neon. And frozen.
Is that what they call the ‘blue screen of death’?
“No,” Ai moans, dropping her head on the desk. Sounds like she’s hitting her forehead against it, too.
Conan scratches his neck and stares at the busted computer for a second, but then he smiles, like he knows something I don’t. My first guess is that he figured out one of those crazy codes or puzzles that he—and a certain mystery-freak classmate of mine—love to obsess over.
You know, I hate it when the brat makes me scowl. If you twist your face too much, it’ll give you early wrinkles. Hey, I didn’t make that up! My mom said so! But I take a breath and slowly step through the doorway. “Yeah, squ—I mean, Conan-kun?”
Ai looks up and turns from him to me and back again, all surprised. Guess she didn’t see me there?
“We’ll come up for lunch in a minute,” he says, plastering a big smirk on his face. That kid is so smug sometimes, just like—ugh, never mind. “Tell the professor he’s buying a new computer, okay?”
At that, I nod and smirk right back. Aside from the obvious fact that the girl can’t work to pay for it, it was Professor Agasa’s fault. Heck, I go on shopping sites all the time—just to browse—and I’ve never had that problem. “On it.”
As I turn to leave, though, Ai leans her head on her hand and sighs, and I swear, it’s with her whole body, like she’s letting the weight of the world roll off it. Wonder what’s up with her sometimes.
Conan catches her eye, and then I get it. It’s not a code, after all. It’s simple, like those times Ran and I can understand each other without saying a word. To me, this weird little girl’s a mystery, but not to him. He knows she’ll be okay.
From the outside, it looks pretty amazing.
She smiles at him. “Right. Thanks.”
And now she knows it, too.