Fandom: Detective Conan
Theme: #18—the wrong words
Pairing: Hattori Heiji/Toyama Kazuha
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: If I didn’t know better, Heiji, I’d say you were jealous!
After years of frustration with the lack of things going where she wanted them to, Toyama Kazuha had decided that maybe it was time to consider other options. It was because of this decision—which was more difficult to make than it probably should have been—that she found herself out on a date.
With a guy.
A guy who was not Heiji.
Her father had promptly had a proper heart attack when she told him about it. In the true fashion of a teenager, she ignored him and went about her business. When the Big Night came, she swore to herself that she was going to have a good time.
So when Heiji appeared at the restaurant—with his katana in his hand—declaring that he was there to rescue her…well, to say that Kazuha was shocked would win the award for Understatement of the Century. They hadn’t even ordered yet…how had he known where she was, anyway?
“Why are you trying to rescue me?” she demanded. Across the table, her date looked confused.
“…you talk to much,” he said shortly. “Come on.”
“Heiji, I’m here on a date,” she gestured to the other young man at the table.”
Heiji’s eyes came to rest on the appointed guy, and narrowed. His hand tightened around the hilt of his katana as a shark-like grin slid across his face. “’Zat so?”
Kazuha nearly came out of her chair; at the same time, she was trying to ignore the fact that people were staring. “What the hell are you—put that away? Yes, ahou, that is so! What’s it to you?”
“You don’t listen,” he said, exasperation coloring his tone. “I’m here to rescue you.”
“The only person I need rescuing from is you,” she growled. “Kira-kun is a perfectly nice guy, he’s not-clueless—thank God—and…he’s cute.”
The Giant Heiji Demon-Head of DOOM chose then to make an appearance. “HE’S A GUY!”
“Yes, he is a guy. Brilliant deduction,” she deadpanned. “One of your best, I’d say.”
“Are you done yet?” she huffed.
“I don’t care who you date,” Heiji insisted, glowering. “I already know he’s crazy if he wants to date you! I just have to make sure he’s not a murderer or something!”
“You—you—you ahou!” Kazuha was officially furious. She grabbed her date’s hand from where it was resting on the tablecloth and used it to drag him from the restaurant. They hadn’t ordered yet, so there was no issue with running out on the bill.
Heiji stared for a minute, totally unsure of what to do. “Okay,” he murmured to himself, “is this one of those weird female things where she wants me to come after her, or will she kill me if I do?”
The teenager jumped at the sound and immediately sought the source of the voice—an old man, sitting at a nearby table, watching him. “Excuse me, sir?”
“No wonder you’re single,” the old man went on. “It’s obvious!”
“Go after her, you fool!” the man ordered, making a threatening gesture with his cane.
“…oh.” Heiji didn’t need to be told twice, and was out the door.
The old man—along with most of the restaurant—watched him leave with knowing smiles and shakes of the head. A collective wish followed him. Good luck, kid. I think you’re going to need it.
“Can you BELIEVE HIM? That moron!” Kazuha ranted, storming across the street with her date skittering behind her. “The nerve—the absolute NERVE! Don’t you think so?”
“Comes in there, swinging that stupid katana of his like a complete moron…” she grumbled.
“Uh, about that—should I be concerned about my personal safety?”
“Don’t worry, I’m an aikido champ,” she replied heatedly. “I can beat him any day of the week.”
“Oh. That’s good,” he said, still looking extremely nervous about the whole thing. “But he’s also got that demon-head thing he does…that’s kind of freaky.”
“Oh good Lord,” she sighed. “You really don’t have to be afraid of Heiji—“
As if on cue, the Osakan detective appeared. “Hold up!”
“Heiji, what are you doing here?” Kazuha openly gaped.
“Coming after you, what does it look like?” he snapped. It probably wasn’t a good idea to mention the old man. “Sooooo…here we are,” he grinned evilly, shouldering his katana.
“Heiji, what’s gotten into you?” Kazuha demanded. “I’m out on a date with this cute…um, nice…smart guy, and there’s nothing you can do about it! So go away!” She folded her arms and glared, daring him to make a move.
“Could you excuse us for a sec?” Heiji asked the Date after a few beats, using one of those voices that makes an order out of a request. “Please?” He even punctuated it with a well-aimed Evil Eye.
The message was received. Perhaps the guy was smarter than he looked. “S-sure…” he replied to Heiji before turning to Kazuha. “We’ll just meet back at the restaurant, okay?” And he was gone.
“Heiji, what do you want?” Kazuha asked after her date had obligingly absented himself.
“What’s this all about?” he glowered in response. The katana had mysteriously vanished from sight, leaving her once again to vaguely wonder exactly where he kept it in situations like this.
“What’s all what about?”
“You. Him. Here. Together,” Heiji gestured wildly with his hands, as though the movement would couple with the monosyllabic vocal emissions to make a clear picture. “That!”
Kazuha quirked a brow. “Cave man speak much?” she sighed. “Honestly. We’re out on a date. Or at least that’s what we were trying to do before we were rather rudely interrupted by a certain someone who shall be named—you. Now what’s the problem with that?”
“There’s a big problem with that!” Heiji snapped.
“What? What? What is the problem with that?” she huffed.
Heiji threw his hands in the air in aggravation. “I don’t know what the problem is, and that’s the problem!” he blurted out, not wasting a single precious second on something as silly as thinking before opening his mouth and speaking.
The result was one of the most awkward silences either of them had ever experienced. And it just hung in the air between them, taunting their inability to adequately communicate.
Finally, Kazuha gathered the barest shred of coherency and said, “What? I…what?”
Heiji sighed. “My thoughts exactly.”
“Okay, let’s start at the beginning. Logically,” Kazuha said, massaging the bridge of her nose between her thumb and index finger; she was getting one hell of a headache. “Why are you mad?”
“I don’t know,” Heiji replied honestly, one hand threaded nervously through his dark hair. “But whatever the hell it is, it’s been bugging me since that stupid case with the magician.”
She blinked, surprised. “The magician? Are you serious?”
“Yeah…” he admitted, then complained, “Something about you—I just keep getting pissed off, and then I can’t figure out why I’m so pissed off, so it just pisses me off even more!”
Kazuha sighed for the umpteenth time. “I think you need anger management classes.”
For the first time since the beginning of the confrontation, Heiji seemed to wilt. “Should I leave?”
She shook her head quickly. “No, no, it’s all right. I’m your friend, I’ll help you figure this out.” She murmured something under her breath that sounded suspiciously like ‘so dense’ before continuing, “Now, you get upset when I’m around other guys?”
“…sometimes,” he admitted, somewhat sheepishly.
She nodded encouragingly. “Okay. Now, based on your general knowledge of the world, pop culture, etc. and so forth, what do you think that usually means?”
Heiji frowned. “I think we’ve already established that I apparently have anger issues.”
Kazuha stared at him for a minute before walking past him to a nearby bench and sinking down to a seat there. She leaned forward to put her face in her hands, elbows resting on her knees, and groaned. “Why me? Why me? It could have been anyone else, but it has to be me…”
There was a rustle and a slight creak as his weight joined hers on the worn wooden bench. “Stop being so dramatic. I don’t have a clue, okay? I’m admitting it, so don’t you dare rub it in my face—I. Don’t. Have. A. Clue.”
In spite of herself, Kazuha had to crack a small smile at his honesty. “I know you don’t. Let’s try a different angle. Let’s say you were out on a date with a girl, and I showed up like you did, all angry and threatening to beat your date up with aikido. What would you think?”
He raised a sardonic eyebrow. “You know, whatever I say is going to be the wrong thing. But let’s see…at first, I’d probably think you’d just gone into Psychotic Older Sister Mode.”
Kazuha resisted the urge to swat him over the head, figuring that it would get her nowhere. Instead she sighed and said, “Okay, all right, at first. But then what would you think?” She found herself smiling slightly at his wary look. “Whatever you say, I won’t get mad. I promise, I won’t get angry.”
He thought for a moment. “Well, I’d almost think that you might be…”
Unconsciously, she leaned forward. “Yes? I might be?”
“I’d think you might be…” he tapped his chin thoughtfully, “…drunk?”
Silence fell. The earth-shattering variety.
Again, it was Kazuha who broke it—furiously. “I—I—DRUNK?” she gaped, shaking her head in disbelief. “You’d think I was drunk? Are YOU drunk right now?” Without thinking about it at all, she hauled off and smacked him. “You ahou! I—I—oooooooh!” Rage took over her voice then, reducing her speech to incoherent stammering. Crossing her arms angrily, she turned, giving him an excellent view of her back, still shaking with fury.
Heiji looked at her back for a moment, rubbing his now-aching cheek, before he turned his head to look away from her as well. “See? I told you so,” he murmured in an uncharacteristically quiet voice. “I say the wrong thing, you get pissed off, I feel bad, and I can’t apologize to save my life…” He trailed off.
There was a moment before Kazuha sighed. “You don’t always say the wrong thing,” she said softly. “That—what you just said…that was really nice. And I did promise that I wouldn’t get mad, so I really should be the one apologizing right now. I’m sorry. But, Heiji…drunk? Good grief.” She rolled her eyes and turned back to him. “Okay, let’s say I wasn’t drunk—which I promise you, I wouldn’t be. Then what would you think?”
For a moment, she really thought he was going to get it. But instead, he stood up suddenly enough to make her jump. “I should probably leave,” he said, his tone oddly strained. “Your date’s waiting.”
Damn, damn, damn! Kazuha jumped to her feet as he started walking away. “Fine!” she called after him. “If you want to leave, go right ahead! But ya know, if I was watching this scene, I would say you had a huge crush on me!” She put her hands on her hips, braced herself, and waited expectantly for the reaction that she knew was to come.
Heiji did not disappoint. He whipped around fast enough to create a sonic boom, eyes the size of hubcaps, jaw swinging all the way down by his knees. “W-W-W-WHAT?” he yelped. “What the hell would give you that crazy idea?”
Kazuha realized quickly that she had just gained the upper hand, and she wasn’t about to sacrifice that. If this was what it took to get the point across, then she was going to dig her heels in and do it. Trying to ignore the fact that her own heart was going like a jackhammer, she started ticking points off on her fingers. “You show up here when I’m on a date, you bring your katana, you try to intimidate the guy away from me—and did a damn fine job, might I add, I think you’ve traumatized him. And then you tell him to leave because you want to talk to me alone. You’re jealous, you’re overprotective, and you’re in denial. Come on, meitantei—get a clue!”
“B-but…but I…” Heiji stammered, looking…well, terrified was probably the best description for the expression on his face. There was a muffled thump as he dropped back down to his seat on the bench, staring straight ahead—and definitely not looking at her. “But…”
“But nothing, Heiji!” Kazuha snapped, having watched impassively as he sat back down; she felt strangely gratified to know that she’d stopped him from running away again. “Just now, you were so upset with yourself because you really thought you’d made me mad—which you had, but that’s not the point. You care about my feelings far more than you should for someone who’s ‘just a friend.’ And,” it felt like she was twisting the knife, but she did it anyway, “I know for sure that you don’t like the fact that I’m wearing a dress for this date.” She folded her arms across her chest and waited patiently for a response.
It took a second before she got one. “…how do you know that?” His patented defense, the wall of utter cluelessness that he usually stayed behind, was crumbling with record speed. And Hattori Heiji did not like being defenseless like that. So he said the first coherent thing that came to mind.
“How do I know what?” Kazuha asked. “The whole analysis? That was based mostly on intuition, maybe a little logic. But I just know you that well, Heiji.”
“I meant the dress…” he mumbled, still not daring to look her way. He also muttered something that sounded suspiciously like “get any shorter” under his breath.
“I can tell about the dress,” she replied evenly, “because of hindsight. The first time I wore it, you said it was decent. This was, however, when I was just wearing it for you.” Despite the crushing weight of the mounting tension, she was chuckling to herself, proud of her own deductions.
Heiji snorted. “Well, aren’t we Miss Detective?”
Kazuha preened. “I’m pretty good, aren’t I?”
He didn’t reply. He just sat there, leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees, fingers loosely linked together, eyes focused on some unseen point; she had an excellent view of the back of his head. And he was being very quiet.
Kazuha sat down beside him on the bench, her hands folded primly in her lap. “I mean, I’m right, aren’t I? You’re not saying anything…” There was a pause, and the tension was just too much. “You know what? Forget it.” She reached out and gave him a tiny push on the shoulder to try and get him to respond, somehow. “Just forget it. I’m sorry, I’m just embarrassing you, and…I’m being stupid, just like always. It’s just nonsense. Forget it.”
“How do you feel?”
“What?” Kazuha froze in the act of pulling her hand back from his shoulder.
“How do you feel?” Heiji repeated in a low, even tone.
Kazuha had been expecting several potential reactions. This was not one of them, though, and it had caught her completely off guard. “I…uh, what? Oh…I, umm…” She trailed off.
Heiji finally turned to look at her, one sardonic eyebrow raised. “Caveman speak much?” he asked teasingly in an echo of her earlier jibe at his lack of coherency.
She tried to scowl, but failed miserably. “I just…wasn’t expecting that question, that’s all.”
“Turnabout is fair play,” he quoted, still giving her that look.
Kazuha felt the first shiver of panic thread its way through her. She had just lost the upper-hand, resulting in a potentially-precarious position. Thinking quickly for a way to salvage the situation, Kazuha shot back with, “Well, why don’t you figure it out? I did an analysis, I figured things out on my own. Why don’t you, great detective? Dazzle me with your deductions!” As she spoke, her hands clenched into white-knuckled fists in her lap.
He mulled this over before he actually chuckled. “You know, Kazuha,” he said, resting one elbow on his knee, and bringing his hand up to rest his chin in it, “you’re almost saying more by trying to avoid the question then you could by just answering it.”
“What do you mean by that?” she asked.
She recognized that expression now. Heiji had just slipped into full-blown Detective Mode. It was deduction time. “Just what I said,” he replied calmly. “You’re avoiding the question. It really doesn’t take a detective to see that you don’t want to answer. So, if I had to take a guess, I’d say that you either have something to hide, or you’re trying to avoid hurting either me or yourself, by saying the wrong thing. I dare you to tell me I’m wrong.” That last was said bluntly, but not unkindly.
The evening seemed rife with awkward pauses that spoke volumes on their own; another such moment fell at his challenge. And again, it fell to Kazuha to break that silence. “You know, Heiji, you really are insightful sometimes. You’re so observant when it comes to cases, but when it comes to other things…well, you just don’t see things.” It wasn’t harsh, but honest. “But you’re pretty much dead-on.”
“Thank you,” he said. “So are you going to answer the question or not?”
“I still say it’s not fair,” she retorted. “I asked first, and you didn’t answer.”
His smirk vanished into that uncharacteristic uncertainty. “Maybe it’s because I don’t have an answer yet. Or I’m not sure what my answer is. Did you ever think of that?”
Kazuha couldn’t stop her jaw from dropping, and she gaped openly at him. “You’re not…” she stopped and turned to face forward once more. “You’re not sure. I see…well…” She laughed suddenly, and it was easily the saddest noise Heiji had ever heard. “Well, I guess I should go then. It’s been…wow, it’s already been forty-five minutes. I don’t even know if he’s still there…”
“…have we really been here that long?” Heiji asked.
“Yes. And nothing’s been…I should go,” she said.
“Do you like him?” he prodded.
“Well, yeah. I mean, he’s a friend,” she corrected herself hastily. “But he asked me. I figured I should at least give it a shot. Nothing to lose by trying, right? He was so excited when I said yes.”
“What’s his name again, anyway?” Heiji continued. There was no malice—only curiosity.
“So are you having a good time on your…date?” he asked, voice suddenly strained.
“Well, yes. He’s nice, and he makes me laugh, but…you know,” she shrugged.
“Oh, come on. You know,” she waved a hand, as though to illustrate whatever point she was trying to make. “We’re good friends, but in terms of dating, there’s no spark. No chemistry.”
“So this won’t be a repeat performance?” Heiji asked.
“Probably not,” she shrugged. “I guess that’s just the way things are.”
“I guess…” he nodded.
Enter yet another long, awkward pause. There were far too many of those tonight.
This time, they both broke it.
“Soooo…” Kazuha started.
“Well…” Heiji said at the exact same time. They looked at each other—since when had things been this awkward? But that was easy. It had been awkward since Heiji had appeared in the restaurant to interrupt her date, bearing down on them with his katana. It had been awkward since Kazuha had asked the Pointed Question and outlined her own deductions, freezing even the Great Detective in his tracks.
It was now, when neither could admit to anything, but they were in too deep for blatant denials.
“It’s getting late, huh?” she said quietly, crossing her legs at the ankle and letting them swing. Straight out in front of her, the bend the knees so her feet disappeared beneath the bench. Forward, back. Forward, back.
“Yeah. Getting colder, too,” he added, looking up at the sky; one hand absently rubbed at the back of his neck. He turned to Kazuha, mouth open as though he was going to say something else, but stopped when he actually looked at her, paused, and then said, “You’re gonna freeze.”
It was only when he said something that she realized she was chilly, and a shiver threaded down her spine. “Crap, you’re right,” she muttered, rubbing her bare arms with her hands in an attempt to create friction and warm herself up. “I should have brought a sweater.”
Heiji slipped his jacket off and passed it to her. “Here, put this on,” he instructed.
“I’m wearing a sweatshirt. I have sleeves. I’ll be fine.”
In the dim light, he could have sworn he saw her blush as she obeyed. She slipped her arms into the jacket’s sleeves, already warm from Heiji’s own body-heat, and murmured a quiet, “Thank you.”
“I have a question,” Heiji said suddenly, after watching her arrange his jacket around her. The garment, already oversized on him, was far too large for her; the sleeves came well past her fingertips. It was actually kind of adorable. “About something you said earlier.”
Kazuha looked confused. “What did I say earlier?”
Heiji swallowed hard. “It’s about that dress, actually,” he said softly. “When you mentioned it before, you said…you said that the first time you wore it, you were wearing it…for me?”
For the second time since this conversation, Kazuha realized that her footing had been snapped right out from under her. It was a decidedly unpleasant feeling, and she made every attempt at a quick recovery. “So what if I did?” she said. It sounded idiotic, even to her own ears.
He shrugged. “Just wondering.”
“Why were you wondering?” she persisted after a moment.
“Just wondering if there was a reason or anything. That’s all.”
“I know,” she went on. “But I wanted to know if there was a reason that it matters to you.”
Again, Heiji looked like he was going to say something, like there were words on the very tip of his tongue, just trying to spill over and be heard. But at the last possible second, he changed his mind again, and shrugged, seemingly defeated. “Just curious.”
This was going nowhere. Kazuha swallowed hard, and decided that she really had nothing to lose at this point…and hadn’t she used that same phrase to describe her acceptance of Kira-kun’s proposal of a date? Perhaps she had been wrong about that. Taking a deep breath, she said, “Fine. I did wear it for you. We were going to that new restaurant, remember? I wanted to look nice.”
There. She’d admitted it. The ball was in his court now.
He glanced away. “You did look nice,” he mumbled, barely audible.
Kazuha felt herself blush. “Thank you.” Deciding to take a calculated risk, she grinned and teasingly added, “But you really don’t want me wearing it today, huh?”
“Well, look who you’re wearing it for!” he retorted with a raised eyebrow, recognizing her attempt at a jibe for what it was. “And it’s cold, ahou. You’re gonna freeze. And while we’re on the subject, how exactly does that thing stay up without straps?”
Kazuha chuckled. “Well, wouldn’t you like to know?” She mock-sighed. “If you must know, there’s actually some special wiring in the back. And that’s all you need to know.”
“Wiring?” Heiji looked appalled. “How the hell can that possibly be comfortable?”
“Dressmakers are good at what they do,” she replied. “And the rest that keeps it up, I am NOT going to talk about. You’ll have to figure that out on your own, Hattori.”
Heiji’s smile grew. “Uh-oh, called me Hattori. Does that mean I’m in trouble?”
“Yes, you are,” she retorted. “And don’t think you’re prying anything else out of me.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he shook his head. “I think the only thing I have to worry about now is if you come after me with aikido. But if you tried it in that outfit…” He snickered. “Might be interesting.”
She gave him a half-hearted smack on the arm. “Shut up! If you would just behave yourself, I wouldn’t have to use you for a punching bag! God, you drive me nuts!”
“Of course I drive you nuts,” Heiji said cheerily; it was, by far, the happiest he’d looked all night. “What are friends for?”
Kazuha’s smile was almost a little too bright as she nodded and leaned back against the bench, facing straight forward once again. “Yup, friends.”
“Friends…yup…” Heiji echoed.
As clichéd as it sounds, a cricket actually chirped nearby.
That was enough to make Kazuha crack a smile. She jabbed in the side with her elbow. “Uh-huh. So the next time you get too curious about what I’m wearing, you’re gonna get it, ahou. Got it?”
He quirked a brow. “If you’re gonna wear something like that, at least bring a jacket, ahou. What were you thinking? It’s cold out!” As if to accent his point, he chose that moment to shiver.
“Prior to a certain crazy someone showing up and interrupting things,” she said haughtily, though she was inwardly concerned that he seemed so chilled, “I probably wouldn’t have needed a jacket. I probably would’ve been home by now, for that matter. Here,” she slipped his jacket off, gasping slightly as the cold night air reintroduced itself to her bare skin, and handed it to him, “take your jacket. You obviously need it, and it’s my own fault that I’m cold.”
“No, you need it more than I do,” Heiji replied, pushing it back at her. “At least I have sleeves.”
“Look, it really is my fault,” she insisted, again thrusting the coat at him. “It’s yours, and you’re cold. Besides, weren’t you sick a week ago? Are you trying to get sick again, ahou?”
“That was a week ago, this is now,” he growled, shoving it towards her once again. “Now put it on, dammit! You’re going to get pneumonia, and then you’ll whine!” A stare-down began, the jacket positioned between them.
For a fleeting moment, Kazuha thought she had won when Heiji pulled the garment from her hand. But that thought was immediately squashed when he leaned in a little closer and wrapped it around her bare shoulders once again, never breaking eye contact. “Now leave it,” he said shortly.
Kazuha held his gaze for another moment before she said, “Fine.” But she wasn’t going to be beaten quite that easily; she slid a little closer and raised an arm to drape one side of the oversized jacket around his shoulders. “There, now neither of us has to freeze.”
Another glaring contest ensued before Heiji caved. “All right, fine. Except my arm’s stuck.” He tried to wiggle his arm around a bit, but it was trapped rather neatly between them. Kazuha sighed and ignore the fact that his elbow was banging into her ribs…until his arm suddenly snaked its way around her; instinctively, she did the same. “Okay, there. Now we’re good.”
“Then, if I…” she murmured thoughtfully, tilting sideways slightly and letting her head rest on his shoulder. “Much better. Now we’re good, tall guy.”
“Yeah…good,” he said, not moving, only betraying his nervousness by swallowing hard.
It was so comfortable like this, though, sitting close with their arms around each other. Heiji’s hand seemed so large on her waist—in spite of his constant teasing to the contrary, she was so slender, in stark contrast to her considerable strength.
“Do you think your date’s still waiting,” Heiji asked softly, “or should I just take you home?”
Kazuha shook her head wryly. “Kira-kun may be dense,” she said, “but he’s not an idiot. And it’s been over an hour, I’m sure he’s gone. S’okay, I’ll just head home.” She started to rise from the bench.
Unfortunately for Heiji, with their arms entwined in such a fashion, he was inadvertently dragged along for the ride. Righting himself quickly, he cleared his throat. “It’s getting late,” he commented. “I might as well just walk you home. At least then I know you won’t freeze.”
Kazuha made a noise that sounded like irritation. “If you weren’t so warm, I’d probably kick you.”
They walked along in relative silence for a few minutes after that, arms around each other, squeezed side-by-side into one oversized jacket. It was warmer that way.
“By the way, Kazuha…” Heiji said suddenly.
“What?” she asked, blushing slightly.
His next words were in a voice so low she could barely hear him. “…I was jealous.”
Kazuha stopped dead in her tracks.
And again, with things being as they were, Heiji was dragged to the sudden stop with her. He let out a little yelp at the unexpected halt. “Ow, that was my arm…”
She didn’t hear that. She just turned her head to stare at him. “You were…jealous?”
“…yeah…” he murmured, turning his own head to look away. He seemed determined to look at anything that wasn’t Kazuha at that point. The hand still resting on her waist tightened a little bit, though not enough to hurt her.
Reaching up with her free hand, she tugged on his shoulder. “Why?”
He muttered something unintelligible and tried to keep walking, still staring off into space. In the glow of a nearby streetlight, a faint pink color was becoming more and more pronounced on his face.
Kazuha instinctively tightened her grip, both on his shoulder and waist. “Heiji, tell me. Why?” Come on, Heiji, please. If there’s something there, just tell me. I don’t care if you still have misgivings, if you’re not ready. Please, we’re so close. Tell me how you feel so I don’t have to wonder anymore…
He opened his mouth…and what came out were more mutters, nothing she could actually hear.
Releasing her hold on him, she slipped out of his grasp, out of the jacket, and turned to face him. She tried desperately to ignore the fact that her skin started tingling the instant Heiji’s warmth was gone, though she shivered violently as the cold air reacquainted itself with her bare arms and shoulders. But now she could look right at him, and him at her. “Heiji—tell me.”
The world seemed to vanish. Even the passing cars didn’t make any sound audible to their ears. Kazuha waited patiently, nervously as numerous expressions flitted over his features.
He reached out, grabbed her arms, and pulled her forward into him, both his hands moving across her back. Instinctively, she raised her chin to slide over his shoulder and rest there.
“Heiji—“ she said, startled, “w-what are you—“ Is he…?
It was all he said. One tentative, hushed word, breathed right into her ear.
Surprised at the actual admission, Kazuha jerked back just enough to look at him, though not enough to move away from the warmth of his possessive hold. “Wha—?”
He swallowed hard, the blush growing more pronounced. “You heard me.”
Kazuha, despite her secret hopes, was almost too stunned to respond. But Heiji was waiting, not quite patiently, for an answer. He was already fidgeting. She slipped her own arms up to form a loop around his neck. “Yeah, I guess I did.”
He shifted nervously. “Soooooooo…”
“Well…” she said softly. “Mine, too.”
His eyes nearly popped out of his head while his lower jaw crashed into the sidewalk. “Me? B-but wait a minute,” he said with a shake of his head, confusion clouding his expression. “But—you were here with—Kira and you were—your date—bwuh?”
Kazuha laughed lightly. “You know, you’ve always been so clueless.” Her fingers brushed against the back of his neck as she leaned in a little bit closer. “Well?”
“I…guess so,” Heiji stammered. But he found himself echoing her movement and tilting his head, though his movements were much slower than hers. At her impatient look, he frowned. “Give me a sec—I’ve never done this before, and I’m trying to keep from shaking hard enough to register on the Richter scale.” He suddenly looked so embarrassed.
She couldn’t help but laugh. “It’s all right. You’re doing fine.”
“O-okay…” he said. He took a deep breath, and they both leaned in, hoping it wouldn’t be too terribly awkward for a first attempt at a very new experience…
“OH MY GOD!” a woman’s voice shrieked from across the street. “HE’S DEAD!”
“I’m cursed, aren’t I?” Heiji muttered.
“Someone’s dead,” Kazuha said, letting out a humorless laugh. “Of course someone’s dead. Someone always has to die. Couldn’t have waited five more minutes, have to drop dead now…”
Heiji hadn’t moved yet.
She visibly glared, though she wasn’t so much angry with him as she was with whoever had decided to commit a murder at that second, destroying what was possibly the most precious moment of her life thus far. “Shouldn’t you get going?” she said bitterly. “Could be a serial killer. Could be some great criminal mastermind who hides all the evidence. They’ll need you.”
“Ahou, are you going to stop talking anytime soon so I can finish this?” Heiji finally cut her off.
“Hey, I was just—“ she began indignantly.
The next few seconds were void of words—and extremely pleasant. When they let go, both gulped in a lungful of much-needed air. The word “wow” escaped both their lips on the crest of hurried breaths, and they both smiled at their identical reactions.
Kazuha sighed happily. “I’m glad you stayed.”
“Yeah, me too,” Heiji replied. “Glad I chased you down, too. I really should go thank that random guy in the restaurant…he had good advice!”
Her smile grew a bit more smug, her tone more teasing. “Glad I wore this dress.”
At the rate Heiji’s eyebrows were going up, they were probably going to make a permanent vacation home in his hairline. “As a matter of fact, so am I…” He might have said more, but the piercing wail of an approaching siren interrupted him.
Now it was Kazuha’s turn to blush a bit darker and confess, “…’cause I did wear it for you. Too bad I had to beat you over the head with it to get you to realize it.” The siren drew closer.
Heiji smiled, but kept throwing tiny glances back over his shoulder as the light from the squad cars was cast on the nearby buildings. The police were all but here, someone was dead, and Heiji was obviously torn between running off to solve the case, and staying right where he was.
In the end, Kazuha made the decision for him. “It’s okay. I can walk home by myself. Go take care of that case.” As if to accent her point, she rose up on tiptoe to press a chaste kiss to his cheek.
“Thank you!” he cheered, relieved. He started to run off, and she turned to head home when she heard his voice calling out, “Kazuha!” When she turned back around, it was just in time to catch his airborne jacket; judging by the fact that his arm was still in the air, he’d just lofted it at her. His smile was two miles wide. “Don’t freeze!”
She slipped the jacket on as she watched him run off. It was so warm. And she smiled. “Ahou…”
PS. Yuppers, another challenge. I've almost got Shinichi and Ran (and Hayate/Himeno, for that matter) wrapped up for 30_kisses and I thought this would be a nice balance. Hugs and Kisses, right?
Anyhoo, the story: this is taken directly from a conversation with magic_truth. We improvised all of the dialogue in an AIM chat window. With her blessing, it was transposed into paragraph form and posted for the world to read. They will NOT all be this long, or I would DIE. Much love, all!