Fandom: Detective Conan
Theme: #12—run away
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: After all this, you were just going to leave without saying goodbye?
Kazuha gazed forlornly out the window. It was late afternoon, still bright and warm, and the sun was juuuuust starting on its downward trek towards the horizon, where it would vanish into the brilliant blaze of sunset before night fell.
One elbow lifted to rest on the arm of her chair, and her chin lowered to rest in her palm. She was a mess right now: she hadn’t showered, she was wearing her clothes from the day before, and her hair felt tangled and itchy—she’d thrown it back into its usual ponytail only to get it out of her way.
A voice poked its way into her thoughts, and she closed her eyes against it.
With a sigh, she sat back in her seat, but continued to watch out the tiny airplane window as they completed take-off and pulled away from the ground. She expertly ignored the way her stomach seemed to surge upwards into her throat. Instead, she just kept her gaze focused on the blue sky and white clouds beyond the window, thinking about everything and nothing at all. Next stop, Tokyo.
Mouri Ran was surprised, to say the least, to find her Osakan friend on her doorstep. But she didn’t let it stop her from going about things with her typical efficiency. Immediately rising to her unexpected role as hostess, she ushered her friend inside, relieved her of her school satchel (the only bag she was carrying), and set about making sure things were prepared.
Kazuha felt horrible for springing this on her without warning. She felt horrible all around, really. But she sat silently at the table and watched Ran hurry to prepare tea for them both. Finally, she joined her at the table with a tea-tray in her hands. Kazuha gratefully accepted the offered drink, and took a long sip, feeling herself warm from head to toe.
It was the most human she’d felt all day.
“Kazuha-chan…” Ran asked after a moment, “I don’t want to be rude, but…why are you here?”
She’d known this would come eventually—and Ran had every right to ask. Still, she didn’t really want to answer…but she’d couldn’t say nothing. “I…had to get away,” she replied softly, looking down into her tea-cup. She had both hands wrapped around the warm ceramic, enjoying the feeling of heat.
“Away from what?”
Kazuha didn’t answer this time, knowing full well that Ran would guess.
“…it’s Hattori-kun, isn’t it?” Ran asked. “Did you two have another fight?”
She shook her head. “Not exactly.”
Ran cocked her head to the side. “What do you mean?”
“It’s just…” she grappled for the right words before finally deciding on, “…something happened. And everything just changed. Changed between us, I mean. And now I can’t…” She trailed off, and then shook her head. “It’s over. It’s all over.”
“How can it be over if it never even started?” Ran asked thoughtfully.
When Kazuha finally looked up at her friend, it was to a knowing, sympathetic look. “What?”
Both girls jumped at the sudden intrusion into their conversation. But Ran recovered first to bestow her best big-sister smile on her young charge. “Conan-kun! How was school?”
“Fine…” he replied, but looked a bit surprised when he saw their company. “Kazuha-neechan? Did you come to visit?” His childish expression brightened a bit. “Is Heiji-niichan here, too?”
Conan’s smile faltered when Kazuha winced and looked away. At a loss, he turned to the person who he knew always had all the answers. “Ran-neechan? Did I say something wrong?”
She shook her head. “Conan-kun? Could you leave us alone for a while?”
Looking a bit bewildered, he nodded and immediately absented himself. Neither girl noticed that he didn’t quite close the door all the way, nor did they notice the small shadow lurking just beyond that open crack in the doorway. Still, neither spoke for a long moment.
“Kazuha-chan,” Ran said quietly after the pause, “what happened…is it what I think it is?”
Green eyes closed as a visible struggle waged itself on the girl’s face at the question. She didn’t open her eyes again, even as she answered the question, her voice hushed and…ashamed?
“And you ran away?”
“…did he hurt you?”
“No. It was more me hurting myself.”
Ran paused and took a drink of her own tea before continuing. “Hattori-kun’s probably panicking by now. I assume that you didn’t tell him you were leaving or where you were going?” When her friend shook her head, she sighed. “You can’t hide from him forever. I think we both know that. Maybe we should call him and let him know—”
“NO!” Kazuha half-shouted. “Don’t call him! Please!”
Startled, Ran stopped in mid-sentence and stared at her in shock.
“I screwed up,” Kazuha sighed. “I didn’t think, and I did something I shouldn’t have. And then I just turned tail and fled. I woke up, I realized what happened, and I panicked. Ran-chan…” She bit her lip and leaned forward, resting her elbows on the table, putting her face in her hands. “I’m exhausted. I haven’t eaten anything yet today. I haven’t showered. These are the clothes I wore yesterday. My hair’s a mess. And I proved that I have no manners at all by showing up on your doorstep and expecting you to take care of me.” She took a shaky breath, signaling that tears were fast approaching. “…I’m just a mess right now.”
Ran listened quietly to her outburst before speaking again, a thread of sadness seeping into her voice. “I don’t think you’re a mess, Kazuha-chan. I really think you’re very lucky…because you can see him whenever you want—you can be with the one you love.” She was only mildly surprised when the word ‘love’ brought no reaction or stuttering disclaimers. “But that means you’ll have to talk to him.”
Kazuha winced. “Ran-chan, I’ve already screwed things up beyond repair. I didn’t think before I acted—in either case—and then I ran away…” The faint shimmer of tears sprang to her eyes. “I ran away from the best thing that ever happened to me. I couldn’t have messed this up more if I tried.”
“You made a mistake,” Ran said wisely. “It happens. And now you can fix it.” Kazuha was silent; she didn’t move as Ran got to her feet and moved around the table to give her a hug. “Come on,” Ran said after releasing her. “I think you’ll feel better after a shower and a change of clothes. Then we’ll figure out what to do. Okay? I’m not going to make you go through this alone.”
Neither noticed a small form moving away from the door.
And neither heard the digital song that meant a phone was being dialed.
Ran was right: a shower and a change of clothes did wonders.
Kazuha had spent much longer in the bath than she’d really needed to. But the warm water had been so relaxing, and she’d been able to sit and think and just soak up the heat. When she had finally climbed out of the tub, she’d found that Ran had raided her own closet and left her an outfit just outside the bathroom door. It was fortunate that they were near the same size; the clothes fit quite comfortably.
When she came out, clad in a pair of Ran’s jeans and a simple green polo shirt, combing through her wet hair with her fingers, she looked and felt a great deal better than she had all day.
Ironically, Ran was in a slightly more sour mood by the time Kazuha emerged from the bath, and was slamming things around in the kitchen. Upon questioning, she said that her father had called to say he was out on a case and would be home late—which, according to Ran, translated to ‘he was out playing Mahjong and drinking with his buddies and would probably come home in the wee hours of the morning, falling-down drunk.’
Still, she fixed a good meal for her guest and Conan-kun, who had reappeared once he had been informed he was no longer banned from the room. He talked cheerfully through the meal about his day at school and the like.
Kazuha, however, couldn’t help but feel like the small boy was almost…watching her. The blue eyes, shielded behind his glasses, seemed far too knowing for comfort. But then she’d turn to ask him about it, and there would be only childish smiles and cheer, leaving her to wonder briefly if she was losing her mind. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise her.
After dinner, Kazuha insisted on handling clean-up. It was the least she could do.
Once the last dish had been washed, dried, and put away, she had sheepishly asked to borrow a jacket, saying she wanted to go for a walk; Ran had immediately tossed her a white denim jacket and offered to go along. Kazuha declined, slipped on her shoes, and left.
The streets of Tokyo were dark, not quite deserted, but not too heavily populated. It was busy enough that she felt relatively safe from potential harm, but sparse enough that there was no risk of her thoughts being interrupted. She didn’t know the area too well, and so tried to stay within a few blocks of the Mouri Detective Agency.
Her thoughts were the same as on the plane and in the bath: she thought of everything in the world, and yet nothing at all. But mostly Heiji and everything that had happened between them.
She had run away. There had been the potential for something amazing right in front of her…and instead of embracing it, she’d panicked, turned tail, and fled without a word of apology for her actions or explanation to the one she loved.
Kazuha was slowly realizing a few things about how she felt then and was feeling right now. It wasn’t because she didn’t want…it, necessarily, but more that she was afraid of it. She wanted something to change between them, wanted it so desperately she could taste it…and yet the idea of change was enough to send her flying.
Stupid. So stupid.
She turned a corner, and found herself on a darker, more deserted street. Instantly, she stopped and looked around. There were very few people out and about on this road, and it unnerved her slightly, despite the fact that she could easily defend herself against any physical threat.
It was getting late—she should probably be getting back now, before Ran-chan started to worry…
The cold stone wall collided with her shoulder as she suddenly slumped against it. The tears she’d barely realized she’d been holding in were slipping free and running their course down her cheeks. She slid down to the sidewalk, wrapped her arms around her stomach, and finally let herself cry.
She wasn’t sure how long she stayed there, curled on the ground. But after a while, the tears ceased and ran dry. She quickly rubbed at her face to eradicate the telltale signs and stood up. Time to go back to Ran-chan’s and figure out what she was going to do now…she’d have to go back to Osaka sooner or later, but still, there was so much—
Her breath froze in her lungs—she couldn’t move for what felt like a ridiculously long time. But slowly, her limbs decided to cooperate again. And slowly, she turned around to face a speaker she had identified from one spoken word. She should have known long before that he would show up.
Heiji was watching her with a steady, unwavering gaze. His hands were shoved firmly into his jacket pockets, familiar cap perched on his head, and an uncharacteristically even expression on his face.
She sensed that he was waiting for her to speak, but she couldn’t piece together a full sentence. And so she remained silent, knowing that he would say or do something eventually. She knew him: the tension would kill him before it killed her.
And he didn’t disappoint her. “What are you doing here?”
She tried to reply with pleasantries—she was here visiting Ran-chan, what was his excuse? Or maybe even a jab about him following her here and stalkers…but none of it would come out. All she could manage was, “…how did you find me?”
“It wasn’t that hard. There were two reasons I knew you were here, ” he said with a shrug, as though it was completely obvious. “First of all, there were only so many places you could go. Your father said you hadn’t been home—you should call him, by the way, he’s absolutely frantic because he thought you were with me. None of your friends in Osaka had seen you, so it would have been a simple process of elimination, if not for the second reason.”
“…what’s the second reason?”
“The kid called me,” Heiji replied. “He said you were here and talking to Neechan and you seemed really upset about something, and he thought I should come right away.” He conveniently omitted the rest of the angry little discussion he’d had with the eight-year-old over the phone.
Conan-kun. That little…dammit. Try as she might, Kazuha couldn’t bring herself to be angry with the boy. He probably had thought he was helping, bringing Heiji to her side…he’d have no way of knowing that Heiji was the problem, the thing she was running from in the first place.
“I see.” That was all she said.
“So what are you doing here?” he repeated calmly, as though discussing the weather.
She swallowed hard and tried to remain nonchalant. “Visiting Ran-chan. And you?”
He was not amused, but she only knew that because she knew him so well; his expression remained relatively flat. And she could also tell that he’d been keeping his temper in check all day. “Kazuha,” his voice rose menacingly, and he stalked towards her with long, rapid strides.
Instinctively, she stepped backwards. If she’d had more time to think about it, she probably would have turned and fled…. “Heiji, what are you doing—HEIJI!” He was looming over her—she found herself wondering when he had gotten so tall—and then he was holding her, pinning her arms against her sides. Without thinking, she struggled. “Heiji, don’t!” she screamed, trying to wriggle out of his arms. “Stop it!”
He wasn’t having any of it. “No.”
“Dammit, Heiji! Let go!” she demanded again, wrenching her arms up to press at his chest. She was appalled to feel the sting of tears prickling in her eyes. She couldn’t lose to him now… “Let go, or I swear to GOD I’ll fight you.” Not that she really could—she couldn’t fight him, and that terrified her.
Heiji didn’t say anything. He just held on, seemingly unafraid at her threat.
The burning in her eyes grew worse, and so did the panic…
And then he moved. He nearly picked her up, right off her feet, and pushed her back flat against the wall, effectively cutting off any hope of escape. And his arms…his goddamn arms were fast around her, holding tight and refusing to let go no matter how much she tried to push him away. Slowly, she let herself fall still, trapped like that between him and the wall.
Kazuha wanted to cry.
“We’re going back,” he said calmly as her struggles stilled. “We’re going home—back to Osaka.”
“I’m taking you back with me.”
She shook her head.
“Why not?” he asked in that same low, even tone. It was almost frightening how calm he was. There was no sign of his usual hotheaded temper—it wasn’t like him at all…and yet…
“Why do you want me to go back with you?” she was unable to answer his question, and so countered with one of her own. The first tear finally fell, slipping down her reddened cheek. She knew he could see it—there was no way he could have possibly missed it—and that knowledge was humiliating.
“Because that’s where you’re supposed to be,” he replied. “Because I don’t understand why you ran away in the first place.” His voice betrayed no sign that he’d seen her tears, even though she knew damn well that he had. “And because…” This time he trailed off.
“Heiji…I can’t…” she shook her head. She squirmed half-heartedly, somehow hoping that he would miraculously let her go and she could run away from him and not look back…and still she wondered—if he did release her, would she really flee?
He was unyielding; he didn’t so much as budge at her attempt to free herself. “You can. And you will. It’s okay,” he said, his tone softening. “Kazuha…after everything we’ve gone through together, were you really going to just disappear? Were you going to leave without saying goodbye?”
She shook her head again; her head fell forward to rest her forehead against his chest…and she let him hold her in arms that she’d only recently come to know. And she was completely in their power.
“Kazuha…” he repeated her name in a quiet voice.
“I would’ve come back eventually…” she whispered.
“I didn’t know that,” he replied. “I told you before, ahou. Even if I die, I won’t let you go.”
“I know,” she said quietly. “I know…” She took a shaky breath. “Heiji…I love you.”
“…I think I love you too,” he said softly after a moment.
She accepted it for what it was: it was a confession borne of feelings that had only recently come to light, spurned by actions that had taken place in a moment of shattered self-control. She just buried her face in his shoulder. “Heiji, we need to talk.”
Now it was his turn. “I know.”
After a moment, he pushed her back against the wall again. Her head instinctively tilted backwards to look up at him, expectantly…and then he hesitated. For the first time since the beginning of this confrontation, he wavered in his course of action.
And at this point, Kazuha wasn’t going to accept that. She rose up on her tiptoes and kissed him while he was apparently trying to make up his mind about it. And after the initial second of surprise, he eased into it and kissed her back.
It was a far cry from the level of what had already transpired between them. But at the moment, it was more than enough. And finally, Kazuha felt something deep inside her take flight.
And just soar.
PS. And lo, we have reached number twenty. Ten more to go! WHOO! Take the plunnie. TAKE IT, DAMN YOU ALL! I throw it at you all and run! Seriously, this one didn’t want to be written without a fight. Anyhoo, thanks to everyone who has stayed with me thus far, and thanks to everyone who will hopefully stick around for the remaining ten. I have every intention of finishing this challenge by Christmas, along with Nights. We’re getting there!