Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK
Sky Colored Eyes
Having bidden farewell to Ran and Kazuha, Shinichi was a little confused to turn around and spot Kaito and Hattori standing some fifteen feet away having what looked like a very grim discussion. Concerned, Shinichi set off in their direction, but the moment he drew close, the two broke off their conversation. Then Kaito had slung an arm over his shoulders and was steering him through the crowds to where they'd parked the magician's motorcycle. Kaito pushed the pastry boxes into Shinichi's hands then plopped the helmet on the smaller boy's head and buckled the straps for him.
"Think you can hold onto those and me at the same time?" he asked, genuinely concerned. "If not, I can call you a taxi."
"It'll be fine," Shinichi assured him. Sitting on the motorcycle, he tucked the pastry boxes under one arm then waited as Kaito got onto the bike in front of him. Then he wrapped his free arm around Kaito's middle.
"Just don't go too fast."
The engine hummed to life. Then they were gliding down the street, carefully maneuvering around passersby and other vehicles until they reached a proper street that had not been blocked off for the festival. There, they peeled away, and soon they were soaring past streetlamps that were just beginning to come to life with the city beginning to blaze a deep, honey gold all around them.
Shinichi found himself pressing his face into the back of Kaito's jacket and inhaling the scent of warm leather and wood smoke. The scent was oddly soothing. Soon, he was nodding in and out of a half doze.
Reminding himself for the umpteenth time that falling asleep on the back of a moving motorcycle was a recipe for disaster, he gave himself a shake and blinked blearily around at the parking lot they had just turned into. Surely it was too soon for them to have gotten all the way back to Ekoda. True to his thoughts, he didn't recognize the building before them.
"Where are we?" he mumbled through a yawn.
He felt more than heard Kaito chuckle as the magician guided his motorcycle into an open parking space and switched off the engine. "We're getting ourselves some dinner and you some coffee so you don't fall asleep before we get home. We don't need you falling off in the middle of the road. I'd never forgive myself. And it'd be a waste of two boxes of perfectly good pastries too."
"One should never waste food," Shinichi agreed through another yawn, after which his head promptly sank onto Kaito's shoulder.
"Oi, come on Tantei-kun," the magician chided, shaking his shoulder gently until one blue eye cracked open to peer at him. "I know you're tired, but I promise you, the coffee here is just the kind you like. So let's go before they give away our reservation."
"Reservation?" Shinichi echoed. His mind was still muzzy with denied sleep, and his thoughts seemed to stick together and tangle themselves up into a most unhelpful mess, but he was pretty sure that people didn't need reservations for restaurants when you were just dropping by. Naturally, that meant this was a planned stop.
The mall Kaito had brought them to hummed with a warm cheer that rolled over the two travelers in soothing waves. Kaito led them through the dazzling halls and into an elevator. It seemed to rise forever, carrying them slowly and in utter silence up and up into the sun-drenched sky before turning them out in between a shop selling formal wear and an elegant little corner café. It was into the latter that Kaito took them.
A smiling young woman asked them for their names then led them to a table by the windows. Beyond the glass, the city sprawled in shades of honey and flame.
"I found this place while I was doing some reconnaissance work," Kaito said, gaze fixed out upon the sea of skyscrapers and business buildings with their windows all gleaming like jewels under the sunset sky. "The food's pretty ordinary, but the view's spectacular."
Still half asleep, Shinichi made a noncommittal noise in his throat and nearly face-planted into his menu. Stifling a laugh, Kaito tugged said menu gently out of Shinichi's hands. "Here, let me. You just drink your coffee."
The word coffee finally seemed to bring some life back into Shinichi's dull blue eyes, and he scanned the table until he found the steaming mug that their waitress had just set down by his elbow. With the care of a mother with her child, he wrapped his hands around the heated porcelain, inhaled deeply over the steaming brew, then sank quite happily into a haze of caffeinated bliss.
Kaito shook his head in fond amusement. In some ways, his detective was incredibly easy to please. Then again, perhaps someone who saw so much death on a regular basis had to learn how to find enjoyment in simple things. It was a sobering thought.
Not wishing to ruin the moment though, Kaito put that line of speculation firmly out of his mind and turned his full attention to the menu. Though the restaurant's biggest selling point wasn't its food, Kaito would still rate their dishes on the upper end of average. So he checked the weekly special to make sure it didn't contain anything he would regret encountering on his plate and placed two orders with the waitress when she returned. By the time the woman had come and gone, Shinichi was looking considerably more alert.
Catching those brilliant blue eyes watching him, Kaito smiled. "Good coffee?"
Shinichi raised one shoulder in a half shrug, looking embarrassed. "Not bad. It's very strong."
Kaito chuckled. "I suppose that means it should serve its purpose at least."
Shinichi had to laugh at that. "You always think of everything, don't you?"
The magician beamed. "I try."
"I don't know where you find the time to do everything you do," Shinichi said, bemused.
"I am the king of multitasking," the magician boasted then laughed at the look Shinichi gave him. "Hey, you asked. Really though, it's amazing how much you can squeeze into a day if you plan ahead. Then you just need focus and some good time management. Oh, and to have fun. That's important too."
That got a raised eyebrow from the blue-eyed detective. "The rest of it, I understand. But I'm not sure how having fun fits into the picture."
"It's pretty simple actually. It's easier to stay focused when you're having fun. It helps with the memory too. So if you can find something to enjoy in whatever you're doing then you're set."
"That sounds like a skill all in itself," Shinichi noted wryly. "The ability to find enjoyment in any task."
"Well~, I suppose it is," Kaito agreed. "It's the mother of all skills! One we should all endeavor to master."
Shinichi laughed. "You're probably right."
Their food arrived in a waft of aromatic steam that had Shinichi's stomach vehemently reminding him that he hadn't eaten anything since eleven that morning. The abruptness with which the hunger hit was startling. Then again, he supposed he had been too focused on the case earlier in the day then too tired to think of such trivial things as food.
Picking up his spoon, he dug into the Thai style chicken and mango curry. It had a light, faintly sweet and sour flavor that was actually quite refreshing. He decided that Kaito had been a little harsh when he'd called the restaurant's food unremarkable. While Shinichi wouldn't rave over the curry (that is if he were the sort of person inclined to raving over food at all), but he would certainly order it again if asked.
Sensing eyes on him, Shinichi looked up to find Kaito watching him. The magician had already finished his food and was now sipping idly at his water, but his casual manner belied the intensity in his gaze. It was that look in those indigo pools that caught Shinichi and held him momentarily entranced. He had never seen that smile on Kaito's face before.
On, the magician smiled all the time, but those smiles were different. They were a habit—a default expression, if you would. They could be genuine, but, more often than not, they hid secrets and laughter and the schemes of the incurably cunning.
This smile, however, was…unguarded. That by itself would have been surprising enough considering this was the master of the Poker Face they were talking about. But the expression in those eyes and in that faint, soft smile so different from the magician's usual mad grin… It was simple and soft and warm, and having it directed at him made Shinichi's stomach do funny things and his heart skip a beat before taking off like a startled rabbit.
What was the emotion in those eyes? And why did it make him feel so vulnerable—as though those eyes were looking at so much more than just his face. For a moment, it felt as though those eyes were seeing everything: all that had been, was, and would be.
And Shinichi couldn't look away.
Kaito cocked his head to one side, that familiar glint of mischief returning to his eyes. "You're staring. Is there something on my face?"
"You're the one who was staring," Shinichi retorted, turning pink.
Kaito only chuckled. "I was, wasn't I?"
Not at all sure what to say to that, Shinichi changed the subject.
"What were you and Hattori talking about there when we were leaving?" he asked, recalling the stern expressions on his two friends' faces—expressions made all the more striking by the fact that they were both people more prone to laughter and grins. "It looked serious."
Kaito snorted. "That was him treating me to the third degree. I think Tantei-han was checking to make sure I'm not some closet serial killer with designs on your life or something of the sort."
"What did you tell him?" Shinichi asked, honestly curious.
Kaito hesitated for only a fraction of a second before responding. "That I'm your friend and I like you, and I would never do anything to hurt you. That I fully intend to protect you. So he really has nothing to worry about."
Shinichi blinked, slightly taken aback. "That's…dramatic. You really said all that?"
"Pretty much. And I meant every word."
Startled speechless and feeling caught between embarrassment and something fuzzy and giddy that he couldn't for the life of him explain, Shinichi busied himself with polishing off the last scraps of food on his plate. On the other side of the table, Kaito noted the hint of pink in the detective's cheeks and smiled to himself.
"You have good friends, you know," he said quietly.
Shinichi looked up, surprised. But the expression passed quickly to one of thoughtfulness then something warm and soft.
"I know," he murmured. He caught the magician's gaze and smiled. "Thank you."
The magician blinked then smiled back, warmth bubbling up in his chest along with an almost overwhelming fondness for this rival turned friend he'd come to love. "It's my pleasure."
Takagi-keiji gazed out of the car window and up at the high walls of the admittedly impressive compound and silently marveled. Now that he had laid eyes on the place, he wasn't at all surprised that it took up multiple addresses. It certainly covered a great deal of ground. It would make perfect sense for there to be several buildings beyond those walls, each with its own address like a very upscale, gated community of some sort. Granted, one with a lot of security, but paranoia wasn't a crime.
Tearing his gaze away from the compound walls for a moment, he cast a quick glance at where Satou-keiji was gripping the steering wheel and frowning. The street she was navigating was neither very narrow nor particularly twisty. On top of that, the entire area seemed nearly deserted at this time of day. They had seen only the occasional jogger and a handful of people walking their dogs. None of this seemed to warrant the intense frown etched into the policewoman's face.
Takagi turned his attention out the window again and realized that they had begun a second circuit of the compound.
"Um, Satou-san?" he asked finally, breaking the pensive silence.
"What is it?" she asked without taking her eyes off the road ahead.
"What exactly are we looking for?"
Satou's frown deepened, but he recognized it as an expression of frustration at herself as opposed to one of irritation with him. "I don't know. But something about this just doesn't feel right."
By 'this', Takagi knew that she was talking about the story that Kudo Shinichi and his strange friend had told them the other evening over dinner. It was that story that had brought the two of them out here when their shift had ended today.
In truth, Takagi still didn't know what to think about what they'd been told. If the story hadn't loosely but surely connected numerous deaths and the attempted bombing of a department store, he would have been happy to write it off as a nutty religious cult. One that did in fact offer its members support in their grief. Really, there was no actual proof that the group was doing anything illegal. There was definitely no grounds for getting a warrant to search the place even if they had any idea what they were looking for.
Which, naturally, brought everything back to what exactly they thought there would be to find.
"Maybe we're just biased about this," he said, thinking out loud. "We feel like there has to be something wrong because ghosts and demons don't exist. So we think a group that offers to reunite you with loved ones you've lost must be up to no good. But Kudo-kun's source tells him that most of the people are happy with the arrangement. They really feel that they have their loved ones back. The rest of the world might think they're crazy, but they're happy, and most of them don't hurt anyone. The few who have seem to have decided to do so on their own because of their own misunderstandings or perceived threats. So…" He waved a hand at the compound in an attempt to highlight without words the tranquility and beauty of the place. "Can we really blame them for a few accidents and people making bad decisions?"
"What about the girl Ren?" Satou countered. "Her mother tried to smother her."
Takagi winced. "That…was bad. I'm glad Kudo-kun and his friend got there in time. But, well, the woman was delusional. There's no evidence that the cult encouraged her to act the way she did."
"Or so it would seem," Satou said darkly. "But the two who tried to blow up the department store didn't come up with that idea all on their own."
"But they say they did, and we can't prove otherwise. The man paid for the restaurant reservations, and the woman opened the email account that sent Kudo-kun the invitation."
"Which she opened the day the email was sent using the name of a journalist Kudo-kun was looking into. Even if it's true that she followed his blog, it's still too much of a coincidence to be pure coincidence."
"I agree," he said quickly. "It's just, you know no judge is going to issue a search warrant based on what we have."
"You don't have to keep reminding me," she said impatiently. Then her eyes narrowed and she leaned forward, staring intently through the windshield. "That man."
Takagi followed her gaze to where a large man in a nondescript coat and hat was skulking by a stand of trees and peering across the street at the compound. It was difficult to see the man's face in the fading light of evening, but there was definitely something familiar about him.
"Wait," Takagi said, leaning forward as well. "Isn't that Nakamori-keibu from Division Two?"
"It certainly looks like him," Satou agreed.
"What do you think he's doing here?"
"Let's find out."
Pulling the car up by the curb near Nakamori's position, Satou rolled down the window.
The man started violently at the sound of his name and whirled around. He spotted them right away, and it was clear from his expression that he recognized them, but it wasn't until he had scanned their surroundings that he finally relaxed and stalked over to them.
"Keep it down, will you?" he growled. "I'd rather not draw too much attention."
"Sorry," she said. "But why are you here?"
"I could ask you the same thing," he said, frowning at them. "You here for a case?"
"No. We're off duty," said Takagi.
"Strange place to go on your time off."
"Are you here for a case then?" asked Satou.
Nakamori looked uncomfortable. "I…wouldn't say that exactly."
The two Division One detectives traded looks. Then Satou cleared her throat.
"Did you happen to hear anything about a pseudo religious group based here?" She tilted her head in the direction of the compound.
Nakamori stiffened abruptly, eyes narrowing. "Is that why you're here?"
Satou popped open the locks on her car doors. "Why don't you get in? This isn't a good place to talk."
There was something surreal about flying down the long, lamp lit streets as the stars glittered like diamonds sewn into the black velvet sky. Car lights and shop windows flickered by, and despite the rumble and hum of the engines of passing cars, the world seemed to be utterly silent.
It felt as though they were flying past the world rather than through it, untouched and untouchable. And Shinichi realized that, in this moment here alone on the road with Kaito, heading back to a place he had come to call home, he was truly and completely content. He found himself disappointed when Kaito turned into the small parking lot before his apartment.
Kaito insisted on walking him all the way up to his door, and Shinichi knew better by now than to try and stop him.
Shinichi spotted the gigantic soccer ball plush sitting in the hallway beside his apartment door long before he reached it.
"How in the world did that get here?" he blurted out, though he knew the answer he was going to get before the words had even left his mouth. He was not disappointed.
"Magic," Kaito announced then grinned. "Here, I'll get the door."
Shinichi twitched as he watched Kaito unlock the apartment door. The magician was using a key today, but that key was attached to a certain keychain cell invented by one Professor Agasa.
"You just picked my pocket," he complained halfheartedly.
"…" The detective rolled his eyes, though he was more amused than annoyed. Kaito would always be Kaito, and, well, Shinichi wouldn't want him to be any other way.
Kaito held the door open and bowed. "After you. I'll get the plush."
It didn't take them long to have the oversized plush installed in the living room and one box of pastries stowed in the kitchen. Then Kaito had slipped back into his shoes, and Shinichi had opened the front door. But there they lingered over the threshold, neither quite ready yet to say goodbye.
It was a strange feeling, Shinichi thought, looking up into Kaito's warm, indigo eyes. He couldn't remember ever feeling so reluctant to see someone go. But it really was getting late.
Kaito broke the silence first with a sigh. "Guess I'd better go."
"It is pretty late," Shinichi agreed. "Thank you for going to the festival with me today. I'm sorry we didn't get to enjoy more of it."
Kaito chuckled. "Nah, it's all right. The murder was a bit of a bummer, but, other than that, I had fun." He smiled affectionately at the smaller boy. "We should do it again sometime."
Shinichi smiled a little shyly back. "I'd like that."
The sight of that adorable smile had Kaito feeling like he just might melt, and he was leaning forward before he'd consciously made the decision to move. But then he realized what he was doing and froze. He straightened up hastily and stepped out into the hall.
"You should probably get to bed," he said. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Shinichi blinked then nodded slowly. "Good night."
"Night." And, with a last jaunty wave, the magician was gone.
Shinichi shut the door then just stood there staring at it, unseeing.
For a moment there, he'd thought Kaito was about to kiss him—which was ridiculous. He wasn't even sure why he had thought such a thing, and he understood even less why his heart was still racing at the memory. On the other hand, it had been a long day. He was probably just tired.
Realizing that he had been standing in the front hall for nearly three whole minutes, Shinichi gave himself a shake and put the disconcerting emotions firmly out of his mind and headed for the bathroom to brush his teeth.
He had almost kissed Shinichi. He had thought better of it at the last moment, but now Kaito was kicking himself for letting the opportunity slip away. On the other hand, he would be regretting it even more right now if he'd gone through with the act only to scare his detective away. Their friendship was still so new. It was only recently that they had finally gotten both their secrets out into the open. And though Shinichi had accepted him, it felt a little too soon to push for something more.
But the time would come, he promised himself as he turned homeward. He'd make sure of it.
A.N: Sorry this story is updating so slowly, but I haven't forgotten it. Thank you for reading, and take care!