Fandom: Detective Conan
Characters: Shinichi/Ran, Heiji/Kazuha, Kaito/Aoko (General series)
Word Count: 2921 words
Author's Notes: I do not own Detective Conan. It all belongs to Gosho Aoyama. I simply borrow the characters, tie them up, and dance them around like life-sized puppets. I do wish they’d stop complaining.
Summary: There are some things you just shouldn’t say. EVER.
Tonight was a very big night, Kaito reflected.
Well, any night that involved taking Aoko out was a big deal. But tonight was The Night, he had decided. He was going to ask her to marry him, and that was that. He hoped and prayed desperately that she would say yes, but that was really up to her.
Still, it had him a bit more on edge than he usually way. And he was really concerned about his appearance as a result. He wanted to look as good as possible for this (might help his bargaining position a bit?), which translated to an unusual hour and a half spent in front of the mirror, double checking his suit and making sure that his hair was…well, there wasn’t much that he could really do about his hair, so mostly just making sure that it was still attached to his head.
And of course he rehearsed his little speech, pretending that his reflection was Aoko and telling it that he loved it and wanted to spend the rest of his life with it and would it marry him? Granted, he was relatively sure that he would end up getting nervous and barely manage to stammer out the actual proposal itself, let alone any sort of eloquent speech.
But it was nice to feel like he had prepared, at least.
Once satisfied, he grabbed his keys and headed to the car. The drive over to Aoko’s apartment was relatively short, though it seemed infinitely longer on this particular night. But he finally pulled up next to the building and headed inside.
He paused outside by the flowerbed, though, and glanced down. They did look lovely…after a moment, he had an idea, and on a whim he pulled a flower from nowhere and attached it to his lapel. It looked nice, the red petals against the black suit. A little touch of class.
That done, he bounded up to Aoko’s apartment and knocked on the door. Hearing a soft call of “Come in,” from inside, he opened the door and slipped inside, closing the door behind him.
“Kaito?” she called from the vicinity of her bedroom. “I’ll be just a couple more minutes!”
“No hurry,” he replied. His hands slipped into his pockets, and he felt the ring there, just waiting for its big moment. The moment of truth, really. He was nervous, more nervous than he had ever been about any performance, but at the same time he really couldn’t wait.
When Aoko emerged, he was momentarily stunned. She was an absolute vision in blue—he had always privately thought that she should always wear that color. It suited her best. But he managed to keep from outright ogling and instead grinned. “You look great.”
“Thank you,” she smiled as her arms slid around him. “So do you.” She glanced down at the rose and tilted her head to the side. “Any particular reason for that?”
“Just a touch of class,” he grinned. “Fits me, yes?”
She stared at him for a moment, then bust out laughing. “You are just too cute!”
Kaito kept the smile on his face. Internally, though, was another story.
Masculinity draining away…send beer…
Saying that Kudo Shinichi was a soccer fan was a bit of an understatement. It was like saying that Mouri Kogoro liked beer, or that Hattori Heiji was loud, or that Paris Hilton wasn’t a virgin. Simply making the statement did not even come close to embodying the full and expansive truth of the matter.
Ergo, Ran had learned that when certain soccer matches were on TV, her chances of getting Shinichi’s attention were fairly small. Oh, she knew that he appreciated her deeply, and if she really needed him he would drop the game in a heartbeat. But generally, in a non-emergency setting? She could probably walk into the room, strip naked, and stand on her head, and get no reaction.
…okay, maybe not. He was a little bit more perceptive than that. And also he had probably not managed to disassociate himself enough from his hormones to choose a soccer game over her in that particular state. But under normal circumstances, when there was a big game on, the effect was much the same as when he had a big case or mystery in his hands to solve.
In other words, she would be better off having a conversation with the wall.
Ran stood in the doorway and studied him as he watched the big game on TV. His eyes were glued to the screen, his hands clenched into fists and resting on his knees. And chances were that there could have been a call about a murder and he would have told them to call back later. This was the World Cup, after all. The crème de la crème of soccer games.
“Shinichi?” she tried, figuring she would at least make an attempt.
Still nothing. At the moment, he was either purposefully ignoring her (doubtful), he hadn’t heard her (also doubtful), or he had unintentionally tuned her out along with the rest of the world (most probable, considering that he could tune out Sonoko, and therefore he could tune out anything).
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Shinichi!” she huffed, crossing her arms. “It’s just a game!”
That got a response out of him, at long last. Namely, he snapped upright and turned to stare at her as though she had just dropped the Devil’s name in the middle of a Sunday church service. “
After a sweet and touching moment between the two of them—him gaping like a tuna and her staring impassively back—Ran sighed and turned to the wall. “Okay, let’s try this on the wallpaper. Hello, wall. Pleased to make your acquaintance…”
When Kazuha approached with that very singular smile on her face, Heiji had a bad feeling. It was probably akin to the feeling rats had as they fled a sinking ship, or the feeling that he’d had the last time he had been stuck at a party in the company of Hakuba Saguru. That was just painful. Hopefully, whatever was about to happen would contain decidedly less oww. And also incite fewer urges to kill.
One could only hope.
But those hopes were dashed when she produced two outfits on hangers and held them out for him to take a good look at. And she asked the question: “Which one do you like better?”
Obliging for the sake of not having any of his limbs aikido-ed from his torso, Heiji studied the two presented ensembles carefully with the intention of deciding which was superior to the other.
The first was a short black dress.
The second was…also a short black dress.
And while he could see some small differences (the first one had some sort of belt, while the second one had skinner straps), overall they looked exactly the same to him. Same length. Same basic shape or cut or whatever they called it. They were practically identical, even to his trained eyes. Yet she was waiting eagerly for him to choose one as better?
“Err…” Heiji cleared his throat, then asked, “Which one do you like better?”
He instantly knew that it was the wrong question to ask because she frowned when he said it. “I don’t know. I can’t decide. That’s why I’m asking you. Which one’s better?”
“Uhh…” Heiji suddenly found himself reduced to the basic vocabulary of your average caveman. “I say…” He looked back and forth between the two garments, then randomly pointed at one, the one with the skinnier straps. “That one.” If he was going to be subjected to this torture, he was going to give himself a bit better view later when she was actually wearing the thing.
Kazuha turned to study the one he had chosen before giving him a dubious look. “Are you sure?”
He nodded. “Definitely. That one for sure.”
“Are you really sure?”
“You’re not just messing with me?”
Heiji fought down the urge to slam his face into the table, even though the bloody and/or broken nose would probably hurt a great deal less than this conversation. “No, I’m not!”
“So you’re sure that this one is better?” she raised the hanger he had pointed to.
“Do you want to wear that?”
“I don’t know!”
“Fine, ahou, then wear the other one!” he sighed, pointing to the other hanger.
Kazuha’s frown grew darker, and she huffed, “I knew you weren’t taking this seriously!”
“They look exactly the same!”
“Are you blind? They’re completely different!”
“Then you pick one! Ahou!” Heiji snapped.
“You’re the ahou!” Kazuha tossed both dresses over one arm and put her other hand on her hip. “You can’t even tell the difference between two outfits, ahou!” She turned and stomped off, leaving Heiji to stare at the table and try to think if there actually was a difference between those two outfits.
…no. Definitely not.
Aoko had walked into the room, but hesitated a few seconds before speaking up. “Kaito?”
He had been amusing himself by playing with a deck of cards. He had been shuffling them in different ways, flipping them between his hands, making them appear and disappear in and out of thin air, and dealing himself various hands and combinations for poker. When she came in, his hands had slowed, awaiting whatever she was going to say.
As the seconds ticked by without a word, he started to get a bit apprehensive. If she was nervous about it…well, chances were that it didn’t bode terribly well for him. But maybe he was just overreacting. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe…
“We need to talk.”
Before Kaito could even start to formulate a response, his brain shut down. Complete, total, and utter disintegration of all his thought processes. There wasn’t a single idea or thought flittering around in his entire thinky organ. And it was all because of that one little, tiny, four-word statement.
“We need to talk.”
About what? There were no hints in her words. She wasn’t holding anything. There were no signals at all as to what this mysterious subject was that she was so desperately eager to discuss. Or perhaps she wasn’t that eager—she had hesitated but good before saying anything.
Kaito managed to jump-start his brain somehow, and started reeling through all his memories, recalling the events of the last few days, searching for anything that would have prompted such a Discussion of Serious. Usually when Aoko wanted to discuss something, it had to do with his behavior (or lack thereof). But try as he might, he couldn’t come up with anything that he had done that would have led her to say that they Needed To Talk.
He had actually kinda sorta behaved himself for the last few days. Mostly, at least. Aoko’s birthday was coming up. It was part of her present, though it did tend to make her a little bit suspicious (and occasionally worried) when he went more than a day or two without flipping her skirt, ruffling her hair, or pulling strange objects from even stranger places on her person.
But there was no avoiding it, even if her choice of wording made his brain shut down faster than long division did. He let the cards fall to the table in a scattered heap (and refrained from calling an impromptu match of Fifty-Two Card Pickup as a distraction) and turned to face her. “Okay. What’s up?”
Aoko crossed the room and stood over him, arms folded, expression shuttered. “Kaito…”
…and she swatted him on the head. “I don’t care how much you love chocolate chip cookies. Next time I bake them, don’t you dare eat them all, do you understand me?” Now her eyes were blazing.
Kaito rubbed the now-sore spot on his head and nodded contritely. “Yes, ma’am…”
“Good.” And she strolled away.
…well, that was certainly anticlimactic.
After permitting himself to be dragged along on a shopping trip with Ran, Shinichi finally managed to get a break when they stopped for lunch. In truth, he didn’t mind the shopping so much—time with Ran was time with Ran, no matter what. It was the Everest-esque mountain o’ boxes that he inevitably wound up carrying that made him cringe every time she suggested such an activity.
So it was with great relief (to his arms) that he dropped into his seat at the table. They had chosen a little corner bistro-like café, a rather charming little place. Since it was a beautiful day outside, they opted to claim a little table outside. The umbrella on the table gave them shade from the full glare of the sun, making for a very pleasant scene.
As they were enjoying good food and even better conversation, a girl walked by the restaurant. She was stunning, built like a model, and dressed to kill. Possibly by giving any males within a fifteen meter radius of her severe nosebleeds. If she sat down or took too deep a breath, she was probably running the risk of a misdemeanor charge.
Needless to say, the attention of every male at that intersection was suddenly diverted.
Ran glanced at the woman in question as she strolled past. Then she looked at Shinichi and waited for him to turn back to her. When he did (a couple of seconds later), she smiled—and never had a more crocodile-like smile graced the face of Mouri Ran. “So, Shinichi…”
He braced himself, knowing that it was coming.
“…do you think she’s pretty?”
For a single moment of complete insanity, Shinichi was tempted to reply with completely honesty and say yes. Because he did think the girl was pretty from a purely sexu—err, asthetic point of view. He certainly wasn’t blind. But it wasn’t like it meant anything. He thought plenty of women were pretty. Hell, he would admit that his own mother was a very pretty woman—it didn’t mean anything!
Feeling Ran’s eyes on him as she waited with that faux-innocence for his answer, he swallowed hard and said the first thing that came to his mind. “I…err…didn’t notice?”
Heiji was sitting there in his favorite chair, innocently rereading one of his favorite Ellery Queen novels and pondering getting up to go get a snack when he felt it. It started as a slight tingle on the back of his neck, and he was able to ignore it for a while. But then that tingle grew into a a shiver that eventually ran all the way from his neck down his spine and back up again.
That could only mean one thing.
With a slowness that almost defied the laws of physics, Heiji turned his head to glance back over his shoulder and look at the face of what he was certain was his complete and total doom.
Sure enough, Kazuha was standing there, her arms folded over her chest, her back ramrod straight, her lips pursed, her jaw set, and her glare fixed to KILL. That look could have killed small animals.
…so of course, Heiji frowned. “Is something wrong?”
Her eyes flashed, but she simply said, “No, Heiji. Nothing is wrong.”
Now, Heiji might not have been the brightest crayon in the toolshed, nor did he tend to be terribly perceptive where women were involved, but even he could sense that she was being a little less than truthful with him on the matter. “Are you sure you’re not mad?”
“Positive.” Her tone was chilly enough to freeze a lamp on a nearby table in a block of solid ice.
Still not quite convinced, Heiji turned back to his book. Kazuha stayed where she was, her posture exactly the same. It wasn’t long before he felt her eyes boring holes in his back straight through the chair. He briefly wondered if she had lasers installed or something.
“Kazuha, are you sure you’re not mad?”
“I said I’m not mad, Heiji. Really.” Her teeth were clenched hard enough that she could probably have popped a piece of coal into her mouth and produced a diamond. And was it just his imagination, or were there sparks shooting from her eyes?
He looked back down at his book again, trying desperately to read. But she was still standing there with that look on her face, and it was just plain unnerving. The shivers running down Heiji’s spine at her look were going now with all the force of a jackhammer. She was freaking him out, yet insisting that there was nothing at all out of line.
“Kazuha!” he turned around again. “Are you sure that nothing’s bothering you?”
“Nothing,” she replied. “Nothing is wrong.” Where there had been icy cold a moment before, there was now fiery red heat. Flames shot into the air behind her, defrosting the unfortunate lamp. It then went on and melted the television set into a heap of smoldering black plastic and glass.
Heiji stared at what remained of the TV set. Then he closed his book, stood up, and turned around to face the music. “All right already…” he sighed, steeling himself for punishment. “Stop destroying everything in the house and just tell me what I did already.”
PS. Before anyone goes WTF at me, this was inspired by an article on MSN. They toss some lists up there now and then that just spark ideas in my strange little head. There were actually ten questions on the list, but I opted to only use six, with two per couple. There will be a companion piece for the other side of the coin. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!