"Oh my gosh, Shinichi!" Ran squeals in delight, grabbing his arm and reading over his shoulder. "I told you, I told you!"

"Oi oi, don't get excited!" he reminds both her and himself. His heart is fluttering, literally fluttering, which is a lot more disconcerting when it happens in real life than when simply reading about it, like, seriously, he's wondering if he should be concerned about it from a medical standpoint. Plus, he can barely manage a single thought with the way his blood is thundering through his head in great dizzying pulses. "It… it's about someone else," he mutters, attempting in vain to moderate his own emotions.

In response, Ran reaches over without permission and swipes down aggressively on the app to refresh it again. They both watch with wide eyes and bated breath as the loading icon spins, teasing, taunting, mocking their anticipation. Then two more prior messages pop into existence.

What did I ever do to deserve you? You're my absolute favorite, you know that right?

I've come to an important decision

I know it sounds sudden but I think it's fate

We're going to run away together and get married

I'm sorry it has to be this way but we're in love

Then the screen goes black. Shinichi immediately scrambles for the buttons and attempts to turn the phone back on, but it's thoroughly dead. He completely loses his opportunity to be upset about this, however, since Ran is now, for lack of a better term, simply freaking out.

She squeals and tightens her grip on his arm and shakes him back and forth, and he makes some strangled noises of his own as various conflicting emotions spill out and tangle over each other. He doesn't even have room to feel self-conscious with the way his heart is spinning like a top in a tornado throughout his chest. He's blushing fiercely, cheeks so hot it's painful, but there's just no room left in his mind for anything but pure intoxicating adrenaline.

He still can't be certain it was about him. It's surely not about him. He won't let himself think it's about him for even one moment. And IF it were about him, it's definitely not an actual marriage proposal. Even as drunk on emotion as he is right now, he's still not quite delusional. He knows — and has to keep reminding himself that he knows — that this can't possibly be meant literally. But… it does sound at least a little romantic, doesn't it? Could it be Kaito's strange, exaggerated way of declaring an interest and asking him out? No, it's surely not as simple as that, Shinichi knows better than to start letting his mind wander too far down that path!

But his heart has long since departed from his control, and it seems to have taken the rest of his body along with it this time; Shinichi is simply along for the ride, mind filled with Kaito and only Kaito. After another few seconds of being swept up in the warm fuzzy memories of Kaito's beautiful face and shining smile, and all of Shinichi's logic and reasoning capabilities have been abandoned by the side of the road like yesterday's fashion trends.

By the time their car stops outside the Mouri detective agency, Shinichi's face is downright sore from smiling. He doesn't care. He's still smiling.

He and Ran exit the car and grab their things and wave goodbye as his parents say a hasty farewell, give some lame excuse about running late for their flight, and speed off toward the airport. Normally, Shinichi might've felt a little bitter about their abrupt departure or the fact that he'll have to walk all the way back to his house at such a late hour, but right now, he physically can't bring himself to care.

He exchanges another look with Ran, who grabs his arms again and shakes him energetically to express her excitement. Then he walks her to her front door, says goodnight, and heads home himself, grinning like a fool in love the whole way.

When he turns the corner to start down his street and notices the lights on in his kitchen, his smile finally relaxes from wild uncontainable thrill to a more fond and comfortable deep contentment.

Of course Kaito would wait up for him. Kaito was the one who had been house-sitting for him, so he knew that Shinichi was supposed to have returned a few hours ago. He didn't have to wait up to welcome him back, but he did. Of course he did. Kaito always went of his way to shower people with undeserved kindness and bring happiness wherever he went. That's just the sort of person he is, and Shinichi is well and truly gone for him.

He wants this so desperately, more than he's ever wanted anything before. So he brushes away the distant nagging doubt and anxiety in the back of his mind and closes the rest of the distance to his house with a confidence he doesn't feel.

He opens the door without a greeting, pushes his suitcase to the side, and tosses his coat over it as he hastily toes off his shoes. He doesn't bother with slippers and just speed walks down the hallway to stop in the doorway to the kitchen. He's sure the look he gives Kaito is downright shamefully sappy, but he can't help it. That's how he really feels, seeing the love of his life perk up at the sight of him.

"Shinichi! Welcome back! Did you miss me~?" he greets cheekily.

"Yeah, I did," he admits. Kaito seems a little startled by the raw honesty in his voice, but he recovers quickly and shoots him a magical, joyous smile in return.

"Well, what a wild coincidence! I missed you too," he responds playfully, a touch more sincere than his usual teasing tone. "So, did you have a nice trip?"

"No, not really. Mostly I just wanted to get home," Shinichi says. His heart is pounding forcefully against his lungs, which is quite a nuisance because it's actually pretty hard to breathe like this, and he finds himself stumbling over his words. He can't explain why, but this is somehow different than what he expected, and different than anything he's experienced before.

He has absolutely no idea what to do now. What should he say? Do they just start kissing right away, or does something else need to happen first? Ah, Shinichi realizes belatedly that he doesn't actually know a damn thing about romance, hasn't even watched romantic movies or read books about relationships, and is completely and utterly out of his depth here. He glances around nervously and notices that Kaito's holding a mug and that there's a second one across the table from him.

Shinichi hurries to the table and slides into the chair opposite Kaito, taking the mug with immense gratitude. The warm porcelain feels wonderful against his cold and shaky hands, and his throat is so dry that he barely even registers the rich taste of the finally-real coffee as he drowns the entire thing in a few gulps. He chances a quick peek at Kaito, who looks entirely unconcerned, as carefree as ever, and is smiling at him with a fond and amused expression. Shinichi both admires and envies his composure.

Maybe he should make sure. Shinichi licks his lips nervously. As much as he's terrified of the answer or of accidentally shattering the illusion, he reluctantly acknowledges that they do have to actually talk about this. He needs to know it wasn't a dream, or a mistake, or a prank. He has to make sure.

"Kaito?" he asks hesitantly, horrified at how weak and shaky his voice sounds, but powerless to fix it. Frankly, they're lucky he even has a voice at all right now.

"Shinichi?" Kaito answers warmly, smiling at him like sunshine itself. Shinichi's heart melts in affection, and his resolve wavers. He opens his mouth and tries to speak, only managing a humiliating squeak or two, closes his mouth, looks away, looks back, and the cycle repeats another minute or so. Kaito chuckles good-naturedly and tells him, "Take your time."

So Shinichi fixes his eyes firmly on the mug grasped in his hands, takes a deep breath to brace himself, then asks in a quiet and worried, but even, tone, "Kaito, I have to know. Those text messages you sent me… were they really for me? About me?"

"Of course," he answers easily, a hint of a question in his tone. "Who else did you think I was talking to?"

"Then… did you mean what you said? Were you… serious?"

Kaito raises an eyebrow in surprise, pausing with his mug halfway to his lips. He puts the mug down and cocks his head at Shinichi, who adamantly refuses to meet his eyes. Kaito turns deliberately to the side, and Shinichi follows his gaze to see only the empty counter, which does not help to clear things up even the slightest bit. Kaito looks back at him in puzzled amusement, and Shinichi averts his gaze again.

"I would've thought it was fairly obvious?" Kaito offers, mirth dancing across his features.

"Well, it's not," Shinichi says, a touch too defensive. He shrinks in on himself, sliding down the chair a little and clutching the warm mug closer to his chest. He suddenly feels small and fragile, which is a feeling he detests but just has to endure until this is cleared up. He swallows hard and adds in a small voice, "It's not obvious to me. I need you to tell me. Please."

"That trip must've really exhausted you, Meitantei," Kaito answers, tone still light and affectionate but with a touch of gentle concern now as well. "Yes, I meant it."

"You… really?" he says, wincing slightly at how pathetically hopeful his voice sounds to himself.

Kaito frowns the smallest amount, looking much more concerned now, but decides to humor him a little longer, so nods slowly and agrees, "Yes, really."

The relief is tangible as it floods through Shinichi's body, and he slouches against the table and sighs. Kaito's frown grows deeper, and he shifts in his seat and looks like he wants to ask something. Suddenly Shinichi realizes he hasn't actually given his answer to the confession, so, with a twinge of guilt at leaving his dear friend in suspense, Shinichi sits up straighter and smiles reassuringly and tries to keep his voice steady. "Well good, because I like you too."

Kaito stops frowning, at least. His mouth snaps closed, and his expression becomes instantaneously blank, the very definition of an unbreakable Poker Face. But Kaito's cheeks are rapidly coloring, a deep ruby red, which Shinichi takes as a good sign. He grins at Kaito and adds cautiously, "So… we're dating now, right?"

His smile flickers in uncertainty after another few minutes of painfully empty silence, during which nothing happens except Kaito becoming increasingly, impossibly, redder. Shinichi clears his throat and asks with worry, "Kaito…?"

"Right yes of course of course we're dating now we're definitely dating I mean that part was so obvious it just goes without saying so that's why I was a little surprised that you would even ask because I mean of course we're definitely dating and it's too late you agreed so no take backs we're officially dating now definitely for sure." The words tumble out of Kaito's mouth in a single breath, no pauses or intonation, while Kaito simultaneously adjusts his posture to an even more casual pose of crossing his legs and propping his head in a hand. He laughs, and it mostly sounds natural enough, even if it is strangely clipped at the end. "Yes we're dating because we both like each other which is totally obvious I'm just laughing about it because it's funny that you didn't think it was obvious because it definitely is and we're dating now no take backs," he continues in that oddly calm but fast voice.

Shinichi laughs too, startled at first but also full of genuine joy and relief and overwhelming gratitude. Kaito joins in and they both release immeasurable tons of runaway emotion through their slightly hysterical laughter for several moments before eventually calming down. Then Kaito carefully reaches across the table and takes both of Shinichi's hands in his.

They both stare at their joined hands for a minute, relishing the simple contact, then Kaito says softly, "Hey, uh, since we're dating… can I take you out to lunch tomorrow? You know, as a date?"

Shinichi's face muscles once again start to ache with the volume of his happiness, and he simply hums his assent, too distracted by the way Kaito is gently running his thumbs over the backs of Shinichi's hands.

Some time later, Kaito heaves a wistful sigh and stands up. Shinichi stands as well, refusing to release their interlocked hands. The look Kaito gives him is so full of adoration and love that Shinichi feels he might make any number of bad decisions right now.

"I need to go home," Kaito tells him quietly. "You should get some sleep so you're rested for our date tomorrow."

"I… yeah. You're right," he agrees reluctantly.

Kaito rubs his hands another moment, then asks, "Hey, Shinichi? Can I kiss you?"

Shinichi sucks in a small breath in surprise, falters, hesitates, considers it, then remembers something and shakes his head vigorously. When he sees the surprise and hurt in Kaito's expression, he hastily explains, "I'm sorry, it's not that I don't want to! Because I definitely do want to! Like, really… a lot. But it's just… well, I was traveling all day, and we had some really sketch dinner, and I haven't been able to brush my teeth, so—"

Kaito cuts him off with a warm and lovely laugh, then leans in for a quick peck to the cheek that leaves Shinichi absolutely breathless.

Then Kaito takes advantage of Shinichi's momentary lack of responsiveness to release his hands and slip away toward the door. "Good night, Shinichi, my love!" he calls out softly as he leaves.

"G-good night," Shinichi eventually stammers in response when his brain finally comes back online, several minutes too late to be heard. Still in a haze, he reaches up to gently touch his cheek, then smiles again. If it were possible to die of happiness, he wouldn't stand a chance right now.

He can't imagine how anyone could possibly sleep like this, but, through force of habit, he gets ready for bed anyway, changing into pajamas and aggressively brushing his teeth. He plugs in his phone, crawls into bed, and waits for the phone to power on so that he can reread all the messages to assure himself that this really happened.

He falls asleep before the phone has enough charge to even show the no battery indicator.