Fandom: Detective Conan
Theme: #14—somei yoshino; a type of sakura (cherry blossom)
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: They were reliving a moment from the past.
Once upon a time (as all great stories begin), there was a boy. One day, while visiting a temple in Kyoto, he looked out the window and saw a girl standing beneath one of the sakura trees outside. She wore a kimono and pigtails, and was singing a song while she played with a ball. The pink-white blossoms floated around her like falling snow.
Young as he was, he found himself unable to look away from the sight. He just watched through the broken window slats as she bounced her ball, one hand holding her kimono sleeve out of the way; he listened as she sang to herself.
The wind picked up, and he closed his eyes against it. When he opened them again, she was gone. He rushed outside to find her, but she had gotten away—vanished into thin air, or so it seemed. The cherry blossoms continued to ride on the wind around him and be effortlessly carried away, but the impression left on him by the anonymous girl refused to be brushed aside so easily…
It would be years before he learned who she actually was…and yet he would not tell her.
Kazuha didn’t hear it the first time.
That time she heard it, but she didn’t know where it was coming from. She glanced around in search of the elusive sound, but found nothing. Shrugging to herself, she turned back to her desk and the unfinished homework still sitting there.
Okay, that one was louder and impossible to miss. This time, Kazuha turned around and studied her room for a possible source of the odd noise. As her eyes were passing the window, though, she saw something fly up and hit it.
Aha! So that was it.
She spun her desk chair around and glided to her feet to cross the room. She opened the window…and promptly got hit in the head with the next rock to be lofted at her window. Fortunately, it wasn’t a large rock, but that didn’t necessarily mean that it wasn’t painful. Kazuha recoiled with her hands clasped to her forehead over the stinging area.
“Whoops!” a voice cheered from below.
Gritting her teeth, Kazuha leaned out the window—still holding her head in one hand—and angrily screamed down, “Hattori Heiji, you ahou! Are you trying to kill me? IDIOT!”
Rather than get mad in return, Heiji’s smile never faltered—and that threw her a bit, actually. Was something going on that she wasn’t aware of? “Sorry! I was just trying to get your attention! Can you come down for a while?”
…he was apologizing? Of his own free will? Without her having to scream and cry and guilt-trip him into it? Yes, something was definitely wrong with this picture. She couldn’t help but be curious about it. And he was asking her if she had some free time…well, no time like the present to find out! Besides, hanging out with Heiji was a lot more interesting than homework. “Sure! Gimme a minute, I’ll be right down!” As she withdrew from the window and closed it, she realized that she’d let the rock to the head issue drop far too easily…
Meh, she’d keep it as leverage for later if need be. And he had apologized…
Shaking her head to clear those thoughts, she quickly set about making herself as presentable as possible on such short notice. Still, she was on her way down the stairs in under three minutes, pausing at the door only long enough to slip her shoes on before sprinting out the door.
Heiji was waiting on the sidewalk. He didn’t look any different then normal—jeans, a green T-shirt, dark gray jacket, and his trademark cap—but something seemed a little different…still, she brushed the notion aside as silly and jogged to meet him.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
He didn’t reply to her question, per se. Instead, he did something completely out of character for him: he grabbed her hand and started pulling her down the sidewalk. “Come on, let’s go!”
“Heiji?” she blurted as they began walking. “Heiji, where are we going? Heiji!”
“We’re going to go have fun!” he replied, with all the enthusiasm of a child at an amusement park.
Kazuha sprinted a few steps to walk beside him, rather than trailing along after him like a dog on a leash. It was much more comfortable that way, even though he wouldn’t say outright where they were going or what they were doing.
And even when she caught up, Heiji didn’t let go of her hand.
“…thanks. For today, I mean,” Kazuha said; she suddenly felt very shy, and felt herself blush. Thank goodness it was dark out now; it meant that he probably couldn’t see it. It didn’t help matters any that their fingers were still loosely tangled between them.
When he answered, she could hear him grinning. “Anytime.”
From the rock-throwing at her window (and her subsequent head injury), they’d been all over the place: a local amusement park, lunch, a movie, shopping (he had let her drag him along for a couple of hours without too much fuss), dinner, and an evening stroll. It had been quite a day.
And the most amazing thing? They’d barely argued at all. Granted, that was generally their method of communication, odd as it seemed, but still…sometimes it was nice to be able to just spend time in each other’s presence without getting sore throats. That was what today had been.
It was almost magic. Almost…romantic?
But as her house drew near, Kazuha really that she was still confused. Why had he done all this? It wasn’t totally unheard of for him to be thoughtful now and then, but this was unlike anything she’d ever seen from him before. She couldn’t decide if it unnerved her…or if it was a dream come true.
She turned to look up at him to ask about it…and faltered at his expression, only visible as they passed by the circular glow of a streetlamp; she wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.
Heiji looked…unhappy. His eyes had grown distant and downcast, his expression thoughtful. Even his shoulders had slumped forward a little bit. He seemed sad and lost, off in his own thoughts—a stark contrast to the laughter and smiles of a mere moment ago.
Kazuha was immediately concerned. “Heiji?”
He jumped and looked at her, smile firmly back in place. “What’s up?”
She had to ask. “What’s wrong? You looked so sad all of a sudden.”
“Nah, I’m all right,” he waved it off, reaching over with one hand to tug on the end of her ponytail. “Ahou, you worry too much.”
Instinctively, Kazuha clapped a hand to her hair and glared at him. But the harsh look soon faded into thoughtfulness and curiosity. “Heiji…why did you take me out like this today?” It had been a truly wonderful day, but now she couldn’t help but wonder if there was something behind it.
He shrugged noncommittally. “Does a guy need a reason to hang out with a friend?”
“No,” she shook her head. “But…you just—“
She realized belatedly that they were already at her front door.
He let go of her hand—she didn’t want him to, but he did. “Guess this is goodnight, huh?”
“Guess so. Heiji, thank you for today. I had a blast,” Kazuha beamed in spite of the fact that she once again felt so shy. What was it about his presence that was doing that to her? “See you tomorrow?”
She didn’t miss (nor did she fully comprehend) that his expression wavered ever so slightly before he replastered that smile on his face and nodded. “Yup. Tomorrow. Definitely.” With another wave, he turned and headed on his way.
She watched him walk back down the sidewalk, hands stuffed into his pockets. And suddenly, she had a very strange feeling, an awful feeling…like her world was about to drop out from under her. That something important was going to change, and not for the better.
Still, she tried to shake it off. No point in woolgathering over some silly feeling like that. She went back inside and headed for bed, still walking on air from everything that had happened that day.
The next morning, she woke up to the worst news imaginable.
Heiji hadn’t come home the night before. Many of his things were missing from his room, but there was no clue as to where he’d gone, and no indication of why he left. He had just…vanished. Run away, or so it seemed.
And Kazuha understood why he’d gone to so much trouble to spend that day with her and make it a good time. She could grasp why he had looked so sad when he’d dropped her off on her doorstep again. She had said goodbye that night, thinking she would see him again soon.
He had said goodbye without knowing if he would ever see her again.
Days passed into weeks. Weeks faded into months.
They heard nothing.
When she checked the mailbox one day after school, as she did almost every day, she was surprised to find an envelope in there with her name on the front. No return address, no mailing address—just her name in a handwriting that was all too familiar.
Please let it be… she eagerly tore into the envelope, barely daring to hope that something was finally surfacing after so much time had passed. It had been months since that last day with Heiji, and she still could remember it all so clearly. She’d cried far too much in the past months, but she couldn’t stop herself…she missed him.
He hadn’t even contacted his family. They were worried sick, she knew. She and his mother had spent a great deal of quality time together in the weeks since his disappearance. The conversations usually started off as innocuous, about some simple topic. But more often than not, they found themselves drifting to discuss the missing young man who really was the direct link between them.
There had been too many tears at those moments, most of them her own. It was embarrassing, but at the same time, there was a strange comfort in crying on Shizuka’s shoulder. The older woman seemed to understand a great deal. After all, they were the two women who knew and loved Heiji most, albeit in different ways: one as a mother, the other as…
Well, she wasn’t one hundred percent sure what as. She wasn’t ready to face that just yet.
The torn envelope dropped to the ground at her feet, and she ignored it in favor of the message it had contained. A white note card, simple and plain, with black writing on it in that same handwriting. The message was clear and made her heart skip a beat or five.
Meet me at the temple at Sannouzi in Kyoto tomorrow at two. I’ll be there. – Heiji.
She hadn’t been to Kyoto since the case with the missing Buddha statues and the Genzihotaru, and it had been ages since she’d been to this specific temple. But it wasn’t too difficult to find it, and Kazuha all but sprinted through the temple gates, frantically looking around for any sign of her lost friend.
Nothing. There was no one there.
Her expression fell. But she quickly reminded herself that it wasn’t quite two yet. She was early. With nothing left to do except wait, she began wandering the grounds aimlessly, searching for any hint that her trip here hadn’t been in vain.
She paused beneath the sakura tree, though, and looked up at it for a moment. The pink-white petals were falling like snow, carried on the gentle breeze to swirl and sweep around her. Kazuha closed her eyes for a moment and sighed, just letting it all wash over her.
She was so lost in the moment that she failed to notice someone standing nearby, watching her. The spectator was silent for a minute before speaking up. “If you keep walking around with your eyes closed, you’re going to crash, ahou.”
She whipped around, her eyes flying open, and stared at the speaker, who was moving towards her with slow, even steps. Hands in pockets. Cap on his head. Just as she remembered him, except… “…Heiji?” The face. He looked older—something had changed, something far beyond the physical.
He didn’t reply right away. She tilted her head to the side and looked at him skeptically. But her expression turned to surprise when he suddenly leaned forward and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into a tight hug. It didn’t last long, and he released her again.
Kazuha gazed at him, now with confusion written across her features; she was completely unaware that they were reliving a moment from their past. “Heiji, are you okay?” She realized that her cheeks had flushed pinker than the sakura blossoms floating around them. Things really hadn’t changed that much since that day when he’d been throwing rocks at her window from the sidewalk. They had simply grown up along the line.
Heiji reached up and pulled a flower from where it had gotten stuck in her hair. He regarded it for a moment as it sat in the palm of his hand. Then he reached out and offered it to her, letting it slide into her open palm. “You look just like you did then.”
“Just like I did—what are you talking about?” she asked softly.
He shook his head. “Nothing.”
She hesitated for a moment…then threw her arms around him to initiate the hug, ignoring the fact that she had just crushed the blossom. This one was more desperate, needy. She clung to him with all the force of her own sadness and longing and just how much she had missed him over the past months. He simply held her while the first tremors of tears shook through her body.
“I missed you…” she whispered, mortified that she was crying. “I missed you so much…Heiji, you ahou…stupid, so stupid…” She pounded on his back with one fist, though she didn’t put enough behind it to actually hurt him. Then she pulled back to look right up at him. “Where did you go? Are you coming home now? Please?”
“It’s all over,” he said with a smile.
“You’re coming back?”
“That’s the plan.”
“…you know your parents are going to kill you, right?”
“I know. Don’t care.”
“I missed you too, dummy.”
It was so easy to fall back into their old routine of bickering and pecking at each other…except she was holding him with everything she could muster up and refusing to let go. And he was letting her.
When she finally released her hold on him, she leaned back enough to look up at him; it didn’t bother her at all that his hands stayed at her waist. “Heiji…what happened to you?”
“Not telling,” he said lightly, though something about the way he said it gave her a chill.
She sighed, and resolved to press the issue later. Instead, she asked the other question that was weighing on her mind right now. “Why did you want me to meet you here? Why not just come back to Osaka and come to my house or something?”
“Because,” Heiji said, surprising her by reaching up to brush his fingers against her cheek in a feather-light touch, “this is where I can see you. Where you look just like you did then.”
Kazuha didn’t understand, and she didn’t pretend to. She just leaned back, letting her hand run down his arm to find his, and they walked away from the temple with their fingers intertwined. Behind them, the sakura continued to fall.
PS. This is all one big reference to Movie 7. I love that movie so very, very much. Cue the Love Your Secondary Couple Day flag! Anyhoo, we have finally reached the halfway point. Fifteen Hugs down, fifteen Hugs to go! YAY! Thanks for sticking with me thus far, and I sincerely hope that you will all hang around for the next fifteen. Cheers!
I offer this story up as a humble (if slightly belated) present to fireblazie, who has finished her 30_kisses challenge for Heiji and Kazuha. Congratulations, hon! I hope you like your prezzie =)
Thanks for reading, all. Much love!