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Same Old, Same Old

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Kazuha-chan was fuming. Arms crossed, brow furrowed, glare of death, full-on fuming.

Ran watched her nervously, wary of that explosive Kansai temper of hers, but couldn't help sympathizing. If it had been Shinichi here, investigating a case side-by-side with Sera Masumi, well... she might not have Kazuha-chan's temper, but she certainly would have been a little upset. And really, the fact that Hattori-kun was discussing details of the case with Sera-san with an ease she'd only seen him have with Shinichi just made it worse. Previously he'd been uncomfortable around Sera-san, and Kazuha-chan hadn't seemed to mind her presence. Now they were like close friends, sharing some inside joke that you couldn't understand if you hadn't been there - "there" being the mysterious case Hattori-kun had been involved with when he visited Tokyo last month, alone.

Conan-kun had gotten himself involved in that case too, and nearly broken a leg in the process. As it was, his sprained ankle gave Ran enough worry that she held him close rather than let him investigate. Now, she wondered if maybe just keeping a close eye on him while he wandered the crime scene might have been better than keeping him out of it. Hattori-kun tended to migrate to Conan's side when they were both at a crime scene, and that might have kept Kazuha-chan's anger from bubbling up.

Ran could feel Conan-kun edging as far away from Kazuha-chan as he could reach in the circle of her arms, and she really couldn't blame him. She didn't want to be next to Kazuha-chan when her anger boiled over either.

"A-ah, Kazuha-neechan?" Conan asked, voice optimistic but wavering. "You know, Heiji-niichan doesn't li - "

"Heiji can do anything he damn well wants, for all I care." That said, Kazuha-chan stormed out of the room, all but slamming the door behind her. Ran winced; that had obviously been the wrong thing to say.

Hattori-kun stared after her, dumbfounded. "What did I do?"

Sera-san laughed. "Another lovers' spat?" she asked, squatting down by a table to peer at a suspicious stain. "Or is that just an Osakan thing?"

"Lovers' - " Hattori-kun flushed bright red. "We're not - "

"No?" She smirked. "Could've fooled me."

"Sera-san!" Ran hoped the caution in her tone had said what she couldn't say aloud.

Sera-san looked up at her, eyes flickering up and down. Ran felt momentarily embarrassed, until she realized the lower look was to meet Conan's eyes, rather than to look at... other things. "Alright, forget I said anything," she said at last. Ran breathed a sigh of relief. "You gonna help me investigate, Hattori, or you gonna go check on your friend, see what's got her so upset?"

Hattori-kun, who had been looking between Sera-san and Conan-kun suspiciously, blinked several times when put on the spot. Ran wondered if he'd ever had that choice presented to him before. "I - I - "

"You should go, Heiji-niichan," Conan-kun said brightly. "Ran-neechan and I can help Masumi-neechan with the case!"

Hattori-kun frowned at Conan. "The hell you can, brat. I'm staying!"

Conan-kun slumped in Ran's arms, sighing. Ran felt the same way.

Poor Kazuha-chan.