Fandom: Detective Conan/Magic Kaitou
Theme: #40—it’s just a nightmare
Pairing: Kuroba Kaito/Nakamori Aoko
Disclaimer: All characters are the property of Gosho Aoyama. I do not own them. I merely borrow them, drop them in a blender, hit puree, and watch them dance. Yes, dance, my pretties…ahem.
Summary: An old friend visits the Kuroba family. Guess who!
Aoko hung up the phone and turned to her husband with her hands on her hips and a wide grin on her face. “You’ll never guess who that was.”
Kaito momentarily turned his attention from Aya-chan—who was cheerfully painting his fingernails an eye-searing shade of red—and grinned. “Santa Claus?”
“…no,” Aoko deadpanned (ignoring Aya’s gasp of delight at the idea that Mommy was on the phone with Santa) before brightening again. “Hakuba! He’s in the area, so he gave us a call. We haven’t seen him in years, so I invited him over for dinner tomorrow night.”
She’d half-expected some sort of sarcastic comment or wisecrack. Instead, Kaito looked surprised…and rather pleased. “How is my favorite Brit doing?” He leaned his head back in thought. “I think the last time I talked to Hakuba was at our wedding…which means he hasn’t met Aya-chan, has he?” He looked back down at his four-year-old, who had just managed to spill the nail polish all over his hand.
Aya looked up at him innocently, completely ignoring her mess. “What’s going on?”
“An old friend of Mommy and Daddy’s is going to come over and visit,” Aoko explained. “He’ll be here for dinner tomorrow night.” She then turned to her husband, who had stood up and started moving towards the sink. “And Kaito? I expect you to behave.”
“I’m appalled that you would think so low of me,” he said mournfully as he went about washing the nail polish from his skin. He mentally ran over various puns involving being caught red-handed, but decided against voicing any of them—they were all terrible.
“I let history speak for itself,” she replied dryly.
Aya-chan listened curiously before piping up again. “What do you mean?”
“Daddy used to like to play tricks on this friend,” Kaito explained, drying his hands.
Aoko nodded. “And I’m telling Daddy that he’d better be on his best behavior, or else Mommy’s going to be very upset and punish him,” she finished, giving him a firm look.
“…define ‘punish,’” Kaito grinned and waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
“Are you going to make Daddy sleep on the couch?” Aya asked innocently. She was then treated to the unusual sight of both her parents doubled over with laughter.
Hakuba Saguru had been quite happy to accept the invitation to dinner…but he’d then been left battling all sorts of notions as to how this evening could turn into any kind of waking nightmare. Still, he had expected any number of things when he knocked on the front door of the Kuroba residence. Most prevalently, he’d anticipated having something blow up in his face…and possibly change his face and/or hair a different color. Instead, the door opened and Kuroba Kaito appeared with a broad smile on his face. “Hakuba!” he beamed, extending his hand. “How’ve you been?”
After a second or two, it occurred to Hakuba to return the gesture and accept the handshake. “I cannot complain,” he replied, following his former classmate into the house. “Ah, Kuroba? Forgive my rudeness, but what is…all that?”
Kaito smiled and tugged at one of the many multicolored ribbons tied into his messy hair. “Oh, I fell asleep, and Aya-chan recently started playing beautician…so you might want to watch your head. And speaking of…” He lead his guest into the living room, where a little girl was sitting in the middle of the floor and playing with a stuff rabbit. She looked up at them inquisitively with bright blue eyes that left no question whatsoever as to her parentage.
“Aya-chan,” Kaito knelt down to her eye-level, “this is Hakuba Saguru—he’s the friend Mom and I told you about last night.”
Hakuba also bent down a bit. “Hello, Aya-chan. It’s nice to meet you.”
Aya looked at him for a moment before she carefully set her bunny to one side, stood up, brushed off her sweater, and turned to extend a small hand to him. “I am pleased to meet you.”
Slightly surprised, he shook her hand as well.
Kaito grinned. “We’ve been working on manners.”
“…I’m assuming that to be Aoko-san’s influence?”
Aoko chose that moment to emerge from the kitchen, grinning from ear to ear. “Hakuba!” She didn’t bother with a handshake, but went immediately for a hug. He looked a bit flustered, but returned the embrace, albeit a tad awkwardly. They spent a few moments exchanging the usual pleasantries before Aoko turned to her husband. “I need your help for a minute.”
“Ten-four,” Kaito replied, pulling the last bright green barrette from his hair and adding it to the small multicolored pile of hair-pieces on the coffee table. “Is that all right?” At Hakuba’s affirmation, he followed his wife into the kitchen.
Hakuba really didn’t mind being momentarily left to his own devices. He took it as an opportunity to look at some pictures on the mantle over the fireplace. They were all of Kuroba, Aoko, and Aya. One was from their wedding day—Hakuba remembered that day well, though he privately though the photograph didn’t do any sort of justice as to how lovely Aoko had looked that day. There were various others of the happily married couple (including one in which Aoko was extremely pregnant), and a photograph of a newborn baby beside one of all three of them together, and quite a few others.
Hakuba smiled. Quite the happy family, it seemed.
A tug on his pant leg drew his attention down to Aya-chan, who smiled up at him with all the sweetness of an innocent child. “Hakuba-san,” she chirped, “do you know how to play poker?”
He was only slightly surprised at the question. After all, she was Kuroba’s daughter—and truth be told, he liked kids well enough. “As a matter of fact, I do. Your father insisted on teaching me one day, though I’m not very good.” He remembered that lesson all too well.
She held up a deck of cards. “Wanna play?”
…I’m losing to a four-year-old, Hakuba thought wryly as Aya-chan held out her cards to reveal a royal flush. Still, he had to smile when she giggled and clapped her hands in sheer delight at her victory. It was always nice to see kids happy.
Even if he had just lost six hands in a row.
Kuroba’s daughter, he reminded himself again. Kuroba’s daughter.
As though the thought had summoned him, Kuroba appeared. “Ah, I see she roped you into a game,” he said with a smile. “She’s pretty good—she’ll play against anyone who will let her, with mixed results. Loves card games—don’t you?” That last was addressed towards Aya.
“Well, dinner’s about ready, so you’ll have to finish later,” he announced.
Dinner itself was delicious. Still, Hakuba was a bit startled when his chopsticks began dancing around his plate. And he could have sworn that his dinner roll was moving around his plate every time he looked away. And the whole time, Aya-chan just sat and giggled.
“It was great to see you again,” Aoko said, giving Hakuba a hug as soon as his coat was on.
“Indeed,” he replied genuinely, “and likewise. Kuroba.” He offered his former classmate a handshake in an echo of their earlier greeting.
It was accepted heartily. “Take care of yourself—and don’t be a stranger!”
Only one more person to say goodbye to. Hakuba knelt down to her eye-level and smiled. “It was very nice to meet you, Aya-chan.”
“You too!” she beamed. “Oh, and this is yours.” She held out his pocket-watch, dangling and spinning freely from her tiny little fist by its chain.
A quick check proved that his watch was, indeed, absent, and so he accepted it gratefully. “I hadn’t even noticed it was gone.”
“I found it!” Aya cheered.
“Where did you find it?”
“In your pocket.”
There was a pause as everyone processed that declaration.
“I saw you lookin’ at it earlier,” Aya-chan explained, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “I wanted to see it—it’s pretty!”
Hakuba straightened; his expression was unreadable, but he had gone a shade paler—quite a feat for him. “Well, I’ll…yes.” He coughed, as though not quite sure how to react.
Aoko dropped her forehead into her palm and shook her head. “I’m so sorry…”
After a final, slightly shaky goodbye, Hakuba was gone.
“Your friend was so nice!” Aya piped happily.
Aoko whirled on her husband. “She gets this from you. Now you are going to handle it.” And she stormed off towards the kitchen, muttering angrily under her breath about magicians and evil genetics.
Kaito watched his wife’s retreating back before turning to his daughter. “Aya-chan, you shouldn’t do that. Stealing is very, very wrong.”
Her eyes filled with tears. “Are you mad at me, Daddy?”
It was official, Kaito decided—he was wrapped around his daughter’s little finger. He was on his knees in an eye blink, scooping her up into a big hug. “Oh, no no no!” he said quickly. “I’m not mad at you, and…well, I think Mommy’s more angry at me than you. But stealing is not a good thing to do. In fact, it’s against the law. Do you understand, sweetie?” He couldn’t help but feel more than a little hypocritical…
“I understand, Daddy,” she nodded emphatically and rubbed at her eyes with the back of one hand. “But why is Mommy mad at you?”
Kaito grinned and stood up, picking her up as he did so. “Because you’re acting like me. I used to play tricks and jokes on Hakuba all the time when we were in high school.”
“What kinda tricks?” Aya asked. Her eyes were sparkling now, and not with tears.
It’s true, Kaito sighed internally; he recognized that look all to well. Like father, like daughter.
PS. This goes out to everyone who wanted to see Aya-chan come up against Hakuba. And I’m pretty sure Aya won the game, the battle, and the war. Poor Hakuba. Thanks for reading, everyone—much love!