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29 April 2007 @ 12:00 pm
Anniversary (30 Hugs: Heiji/Kazuha)  
Title: Anniversary
Fandom: Detective Conan
Theme: #3—snap snap!; photograph
Pairing: Hattori Heiji/Toyama Kazuha
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I do not own Detective Conan or any related characters. They belong to Gosho Aoyama. I simply throw fruit at them, take pictures, and call it modern art. Critics love me.
Summary: Something was very, very wrong with Kazuha…



Heiji knew Kazuha better than anyone. He could see right past the few masks she put up—not that she was generally one to hide things like that. If she was angry—especially with Heiji—everyone and their imaginary friend knew it within the hour.

So when she appeared in class one day with a stone mask so impassive that even he couldn’t tell what was actually going on beneath it…well, to say it had him concerned was an enormous understatement. By the end of first period, their entire class was buzzing with gossip: something was wrong with Kazuha-chan, and it was, amazingly enough, NOT Hattori’s fault—he didn’t have a clue what was wrong with her.

Not that he had a clue any other time, whispered some. But this was different: she wasn’t angry at all. She was just…not quite there. She seemed numb to the world. Even their teachers couldn’t keep her focus on class for long. Her eyes kept drifting towards the window.

Heiji said nothing, after she didn’t seem to hear his attempts at conversation. Not even a direct jibe could goad her into an argument. So he fell silent, casting only a passing ear to the furious whispers that were flying around the class, and kept a very close eye on her. She wasn’t giving anything away, though, leaving him to join the rest of the world in trying to guess.

Still, as the day wore on, Heiji couldn’t help but think that he should know what was wrong. There was something niggling in the back of his mind, telling him that it was something he should know…

What was wrong with Kazuha?

-o-


After school, they met for their usual walk home. Kazuha was as cheerful and animated as a stone temple statue. If it weren’t for the fact that she’d muttered a half-hearted “Hello” when he’d approached her, he wouldn’t have believed that she even knew he was there at all. She just stared straight ahead the entire way home.

Heiji spent the entire walk trying to decide what to do. Any other time, he would have just given her a flick to the forehead and goaded her into some sort of argument. But there was something holding him back right now—every time he tried to pull up some snark, some remark that would snap her out of it and make her eyes blaze with anger, he came up dry.

Instead, he spent the entire walk home watching her with curious eyes.

When they got to her house, she remained oblivious to his presence. She simply slipped off her shoes in a stiff, wooden manner that suggested she wouldn’t have done so if it wasn’t habit. Heiji silently imitated her actions, removed his own shoes, and followed her inside and up the stairs towards her room.

He got to the door just in time to see her flop down on her bed, staring up at the ceiling, still wearing her school uniform. She looked absolutely exhausted. He lingered for a moment longer in the doorway before crossing the room and taking a seat on the edge of the bed.

“You’re still here?” she said softly—the first real words she’d spoken to him all day.

“Where else would I be?” he asked in reply.

“Hmm…” she shrugged noncommittally and rolled over.

“Kazuha, what’s wrong?” Heiji prodded.

She was silent a moment. “It’s the day.”

It was on the tip of his tongue to ask what was wrong with the day—he thought it was rather lovely, save for her odd behavior—when he noticed something different from the norm in Kazuha’s room. Namely, a particular photo on her desk. Rather than proudly sitting up in its usual place of honor, it was face-down on the desk.

Heiji stared questioningly at its new position…and it finally clicked. The realization hit with all the subtlety of an elephant jumping on his head. Oh dear God…how in the world had he forgotten something that important?

Kazuha was still lying on her side on the bed, her back to him; she didn’t make a sound, nor did she jerk away when he reached out and put a tentative hand on her shoulder. “Hey…”

“S’okay. I’m fine. Mom’s been gone twelve years. I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not.” Heiji said.

They were quiet for a moment. It was strange, really, how they could go from loud, screaming arguments and constant screeches of AHOU…to quiet moments like these, when one was hurting terribly and the other could only sit there in silent comfort, uncertain of how to make things right.

Moving slowly, Heiji leaned down to rest his forehead on her shoulder. “You’re not okay.” He didn’t quite understand—she hadn’t reacted to the anniversary of her mother’s passing like this in years, not since they were children. She had always smiled and shrugged it off.

“Hey,” she said softly, “can you…?”

It really was a testament to their friendship that she didn’t need to elaborate. And for once, there was no teasing or awkwardness about it; it was simply intuitive. Heiji simply pulled his legs up onto the bed and slid into place behind her, the front of his knees touching the backs of hers. One arm slid around her waist; his other hand curled under her neck, letting her head rest against his arm.

It was probably the most intimate position they’d ever been in, and yet romance was really the furthest thing from either of their minds. There was just hurt, and the need to try and soothe it, no matter how hopeless the case might seem.

“Has it really been that long?” Heiji asked.

“Hard to believe, isn’t it?” she sighed; the breath was a shaky one, though, and he realized that she was fighting back tears. “I don’t know why it hit me this hard. I just woke up and saw her picture and…it just hit me. I shouldn’t be this upset—it’s been so long…” She turned her head a little bit to give him a look. “You really should leave.”

“No way.”

“But—“

“I’m not going to laugh at you. I won’t tease you. I promise. Go ahead.”

Somehow, that simple reassurance was all it took. The dam broke, and Kazuha cried. Both hands clung to the arm around her neck; she leaned back against him and let out what she’d probably been holding in all day.

Heiji was silent. He simply waited for the storm to abate. It didn’t take too long, though. Far sooner than he’d expected, the tears had receded to sniffles, and she was rubbing at her eyes with the back of one hand. “I needed that…I’m okay now.”

“Kazuha—“

“I mean it. It’s all right.” She was silent for a moment before speaking again, and this time, he heard her smile. “Since when do you know how to be comforting like this?” It was only the tiniest bit teasing, but otherwise, she seemed grateful.

“…I don’t know,” Heiji said. He really hadn’t thought before putting his arms around her and holding her like that. His body had just moved, and he hadn’t thought to argue with it.

“Well…thank you,” Kazuha said simply. “Thanks for being there for me.” His arms were still around her, and one of her hands was still holding onto his wrist; she gave it a little squeeze as she spoke, as though to enforce her words.

Heiji smiled against her ponytail. “No problem.” He was half-tempted to comment that she owed him one, but somehow, it just didn’t seem like an appropriate time to make that joke. Contrary to Kazuha’s oft-screeched beliefs, he did have tact and common sense; it was just more fun to watch her get angry then it was to actually apply them.

“Do you want to get up?” she asked suddenly. It was an honest question, too—not a hint.

“Not really.”

“Me neither.”

A pause.

Kazuha yawned.

Heiji grinned. “Tired?”

“Exhausted…”

Nothing else really needed to be said. Before long, the two teens were sound asleep.

Such was the state that her father found them in later, when he got home from work. Heiji was still curled against Kazuha’s back, his arms draped around her. She was holding onto his hand in a loose grip, mumbling in her sleep.

For a moment, the startled parent simply stood at the door and stared, taking in the scene. Nothing seemed to be horrendously amiss. It didn’t seem that anything had happened that shouldn’t have…

He sighed. He’d seen it earlier, that Kazuha hadn’t been taking the day particularly well this year. So best to let them sleep a little while longer. Smiling a little, he closed the door and left them alone.



PS. The whereabouts of Kazuha’s mother within canon are, as yet, unknown. Therefore, the rules of fanon apply, and I get to play with it! Yaaaay! And hey—story number three, theme number three. Coincidence? I think not. Hope you had fun reading. Thanks, all—much love!