"Best friends since childhood, Mouri Ran and Kudo Shinichi were inseparable on both schoolyard and battlefield – "


The Winter Soldier's mask falls to the asphalt between them with a clatter, and –

Shinichi freezes mid-kick. Stares.

Hears himself ask, over the ringing silence: "Ran?"

And Mouri Ran looks back at him with no hint of recognition in her eyes, and says, "no, you run."

(Which he then does, of course, because Shinichi might be the supersoldier around here but he's never won Ran in a fair fight and the metal arm sure isn't helping matters.

Or the way Ran's hair flows fluidly behind her with every strike, every dodge. Not like he's distracted by that or anything.

Honestly, the Org should've just sent him a telegr– an email, whatever – saying that they had Ran. Shinichi would've come knocking much earlier.)

The Osaka castle park is pleasantly uncrowded this early in the morning, save for the few other joggers that mostly register only in his peripheral vision.

"On your left!" Shinichi huffs as he laps another person, and – okay, this man he definitely recognises, because he's one of the regulars. Also, who runs with a baseball cap on, really?

"I'll show ya what's left, ya Tokyo asshole!" yells baseball-cap indignantly, making absolutely zero sense, and Shinichi is quite tempted to answer that he clearly isn't running fast enough if he still has breath to shout.

Instead, Shinichi puts on another burst of speed, and does not snicker at the increasingly inventive string of curses dopplering off into the distance.

Putting in for a transfer to Osaka is shaping up to be a good idea so far, Shinichi thinks. He can definitely get used to this.

.

...well, fine, Shinichi hadn't so much filed the request as sent an email to Uehara-san saying that he was doing it, since everyone knew that Director Yamato was mostly only reachable through his deputy. Which seemed kind of odd, a technosaurus running such an advanced organisation as SHIELD, but then again Shinichi probably wasn't the best person to comment on that.

The others – well, mostly Kuroba and Hakuba, since Toyama was on another spy mission and Kyogoku was back on Asgard – had seemed surprised by his decision, when he'd informed them. Near as Shinichi could figure, just about everyone had assumed he'd be most at home in Tokyo, for the obvious reasons.

Which... not that he was going to fault their logic, but he was, because had they even seen photos of 1940s Tokyo? It was barely recognisable as the same city, even putting aside the fact that he couldn't walk half its streets without feeling like he was still clinging to the side of a train somewhere in the mountains of Hokkaido, snow beating in his face as R–

Point being, there was no point in pretending that Tokyo was more familiar to him than anywhere else, and Shinichi could use some sunny weather anyway.

(He'd woken up the next day after informing Miyano to find a lifetime rail pass in what she insisted on calling his fossil mailbox. And Shinichi would've ordinarily suspected Momiji of having sent it on her behalf, except that the entire concept of "unlimited shinkansen rides" seemed to point right to the billionaire herself, not her PA.

Maybe she understood, a little, the feeling of coming home to find the wallpaper changed and everything shifted three inches to the left.

Or maybe this was downpayment for some favour she'd call in at some point. Whatever. He'd figure it out if it came to that.

Shinichi booked a train to Osaka via Kyoto, because he'd be lying if he said that it didn't feel a little more like home, and tried not to think about how much Ran would've loved the train bentos.)

.

Baseball-cap turns out to be called Hattori Heiji, a JSDF veteran, and they're stll chatting about mystery novels when a car slows to honk at them. "Oi, handsome!"

Shinichi finishes jotting down the list of suggestions – there'd been a lot of authors since Edogawa Rampo, apparently – and looks up just in time to see Toyama Kazuha smirking at Hattori, who'd looked up first.

"Not you," she calls through the open car window. "The one with the nice legs!"

"What am I, the garbage?" grumbles Hattori, and pushes him towards the car with a light shove. "Remember ta call me when you're free, Kudo, I'm gonna bring ya to the best damn takoyaki in town!"

"Oh, is that offer open ta me too if I tell ya that ya have... hmm, nice arms?" he hears Toyama reply as he circles around to the passenger side, and Shinichi laughs so hard he nearly bangs his head on the doorframe.

"You didn't tell me that the Winter Soldier had a sense of humour," Shinichi mutters to Toyama later, when they're suiting up to go fight an enemy that he'd thought dead and buried 70 years ago.

When Shinichi said that he missed the forties, he definitely hadn't meant this. Talk about retro, jeez.

"Well, ya sure didn't tell me that she was apparently yer girlfriend, so." The Widow shrugs and ties her hair up with the same ribbon that he's pretty sure doubles as a garotte. "The more ya know, huh?"

Shinichi's eyebrow twitches. "Did you know, your accent only crops up when you're trying to annoy someone?"

"Why, is it working?" she asks airily before going off to heckle Hattori again, and he has to forcibly remind himself that he's not allowed to kick things indoors, Shinichi, unless you want to roof falling down over our heads, which –

(The world, Shinichi thinks, might not be ready for Mouri Ran and Toyama Kazuha to know each other properly.

He sure as heck isn't.)