Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK
Pairing: KaiShin [KaitoxShinichi]
Summary: The rose on his pillow was creepy but acceptable. The surprise waiting for him at school, on the other hand, was enough to make Shinichi wish he'd never gotten out of bed that morning.
Note: This is a companion piece to "A Round About Valentine's"
A White, White Day
It started with a red rose lying on the pillow beside him when he woke. Shinichi had mixed feelings when he laid eyes on the soft, crimson petals. He didn't have to wonder who had put it there. There was only one man who would have snuck into his house in the middle of the night to leave a rose on his pillow. His stomach fluttered a little thinking about the culprit. At the same time, he couldn't help but wonder with some exasperation if it was too much to ask that Kaito not break into his house all the time. Shinichi had even given him a key in the hopes of encouraging him to use the front door like a normal person, but no. He didn't need hands to count the number of times Kaito had bothered with the key. Then again, he supposed that was what he got for dating a thief.
It really was a beautiful rose though. All of Kaito's roses were prime specimens of their species. After all, the magician was a bit of a perfectionist when it came to performance. And, for Kaito, everything was a performance of one kind or another.
He wondered idly if Kaito actually grew his own roses or if he had a supplier. If he bought them, he had to have some kind of special arrangement. Otherwise he'd be spending a fortune on flowers just so he could pull that little rose trick he liked to do so much.
Handling the blossom with care, Shinichi took it to the kitchen where a vase already full of roses sat on the table. He hadn't bought any of the roses himself. They were all, every last one of them, a gift from a certain gentleman thief. Shinichi shook his head at the sheer number of flowers—all were either a deep crimson or flawlessly white. The new rose joined its brethren in the vase.
That taken care of, Shinichi moved to make himself coffee—and stopped. The coffeemaker was on. It was just finishing brewing the day's first pot of coffee when he spotted it. The timing was so perfect as to be borderline creepy. On a suspicion, he turned and carefully examined the room. No one. And there was nowhere in the kitchen where an intruder could hide either. He considered going to search the rest of the house, but he had to dismiss the thought. He didn't have time to search the ridiculously large house for an uninvited visitor—especially not an uninvited visitor as skilled at sneaking around as the Kaitou KID. It would be a monumental waste of time. So instead of searching, he decided to be grateful for the fresh coffee and not think too hard about how it had gotten there.
With coffee in hand and a much more upbeat mood, he grabbed his backpack and headed for school. He never noticed the additional vase full of red and white roses that had appeared on the living room table or the single rose in a tall, glass vase that now perched upon his bedroom windowsill.
When he got outside, he was greeted by Ran and Sonoko as per usual. The three of them had fallen into their old routine of walking to school together after his return even though it had started out mostly as a time during which Sonoko could rant at him about all his shortcomings. Now that the girl had figured out that Shinichi had learned the art of how to ignore her, the conversations had shifted focus to her other main area of interest—couples. Where she found so much to say on the subject was beyond him. It was one of the few mysteries he would probably never be able to solve—not that he was particularly interested in solving it.
So he listened with half an ear as Ran and Sonoko talked about gifts and speculated about the convolutions that may have happened within the love lives of their classmates. Honestly, the detective would never understand why such topics were so interesting to some people. Who cared who was going out with who? It wasn't like it changed anything for anyone else.
Lost in thoughts about a new case the police had given him the previous evening, Shinichi barely noticed that they had arrived at the gates to Teitan High. It wasn't until he realized that Sonoko and Ran were no longer walking with him that he stopped and looked around. The girls were standing a few steps behind him, their gazes turned towards the field rather than the doors into the school building. Confused, Shinichi followed the direction of their stares to see a crowd gathered at the edge of said field.
"What do you think is going on?" Ran asked no one in particular.
"One way to find out." Sonoko struck off towards the gathering with a purposeful stride. Ran was right behind her. Shinichi trailed after them, curious despite himself.
Sonoko elbowed her way through the masses until, finally, the people parted and she had a clear view of the source of the commotion. Ran peered over the shorter girl's shoulder and blinked. Neither noticed how the last member of their little party of three suddenly paled. No, their attention was focused entirely on the school lawn, where someone had written giant words. They read:
"I love you, Shin-chan!"
If written words could shout, these were doing just that. They were enormous and stark against the lush green of the grass. Upon closer inspection, Shinichi could see that every letter had been formed by flower petals. A very dense, very showy layer of flower petals. They looked very soft.
And there were initials by the message. Two large, capital Ks.
He half expected to see a KID caricature by the initials, but thankfully there wasn't one. That would have drawn way too much attention—er, well, more attention than the installation was attracting already. Admittedly, he wasn't sure that was possible.
All the way to their classroom, all any of them could hear was talk about the writing on the lawn. The very air seemed to be buzzing with the speculations.
"Who do you think Shin-chan is?" Sonoko wondered aloud as she dropped her bag off at her desk and moved to look out the window at the lawn again. "I mean it's obviously a nickname, but whose?'
"I don't know." Ran looked thoughtful. "There's a Shina in the karate club. Maybe it's her."
"But then it should've been Shi-chan shouldn't it?"
"Well, nicknames don't really have to make sense to anyone but the people who use them."
"Yeah, I guess that's true. Oh, just imagine!" Sonoko exclaimed, clasping her hands. "I wish someone would declare their love for me like that. I mean, talk about gutsy!"
Over by his desk, Shinichi rolled his eyes. Sonoko and her romantic dramas. He would never understand her.
He reached into his book bag for his notebook, but his hand came up holding a red rose. Blushing, he hurriedly stuffed the rose back into his bag and glanced around to see if anyone had noticed. There was a boy at the other end of the classroom who was looking his way, but the guy appeared to be lost in his own thoughts. Mentally sighing in relief, Shinichi resumed unpacking, though this time he did so with more care.
Someone obviously had way too much free time on his hands, the detective thought with some exasperation. Honestly, what was Kaito thinking?
Morning classes passed without too much incident. Everyone was still whispering about the petal letters on the lawn, but as no one had stepped forward about it, all the student body had to chew on were speculations. Some of those speculations were quite wild, but none of them came even remotely close to the truth. Although how anyone could seriously believe that the letters had been conjured by a supernatural being, Shinichi had no idea. Who'd started that rumor anyway?
Halfway through his second period class, however, Shinichi turned to the next page of his notebook to continue writing his notes and stopped dead with his pen hovering just over the surface of the paper.
There was a KID caricature grinning up at him from his notebook. To be more accurate, there were several dozen KID caricatures, all of them grinning like little devils plotting world domination. And they had been artfully arranged into the line drawing of a rose. A second look revealed that the faces of the doodles weren't all the same. Rather, following the lines of the rose, the caricatures flowed like the frames in a flipbook. Looking from beginning to end, you could see the caricature wink.
Shinichi hurriedly turned to the next page. Yet he found his lips twitching into a smile of their own accord. This particular note, he would admit, was kind of a neat little idea (albeit in a creepy-stalker-broke-into-my-stuff kind of way).
Later, he would wonder if his finding that picture in his notebook had been some kind of signal because that was around when the madness really got started.
And it started with a rain of red and white rose petals.
At first it was just a few. A silky flake of whiteness covered part of a line in Shinichi's notebook. He brushed it aside. Over at her desk, Ran blinked at the crimson splotch that had just appeared on top of her notes. She blinked, but it didn't disappear. For a moment she wondered if it was a spot of red ink, but she wasn't using a red pen. Then she poked it with a fingertip and discovered that it was a flower petal. Her thoughts immediately flashed to the letters on the lawn. Maybe someone had tracked it in with them. Although she didn't remember seeing any red petals out there. Had she missed them?
Soon, everyone was brushing petals off of their books and papers. Confusion rippled through the classroom. Students glanced at one another, noticing at last that they weren't the only ones finding petals everywhere. No sooner had the realization dawned then it began to pour. Petals rained down from the ceiling, bringing with them the sweet fragrance of roses. The petals clung to people's hair and clothes, carpeted the floor, and obscured everyone's vision.
"Who's doing that?" the teacher demanded, getting a mouthful of flower petals for his trouble. "Stop it at once!"
The rain of petals thickened. Now everyone was covering their heads and shielding their faces. Some were laughing, others were complaining, and no one was listening to the teacher anymore. What had started out amusing, however, was rapidly becoming unmanageable. Soon everyone was scrambling for the door. The whole petal-bedecked class piled out into the hall, bringing the scent of flowers and a gust of petals with them. Finally, as the last student made it out of the flowery storm, the petals stopped. A last white rose—a complete one this time—spiraled down from the ceiling like the feather shed from a bird's wing as it flew overhead. It landed without a sound atop the mound of flower petals that had literally swallowed their entire classroom.
There was a long moment of utter silence.
It was one of the male students who finally cracked it, voicing all of their thoughts at once. "That…was really weird."
"I couldn't have said it better myself," the teacher muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose.
Eventually, a student was dispatched to get the janitor and another to inform the principal of the little spring shower they'd had. The rest of the class was left to wait in the hallway.
"That was some prank," Ran remarked as she leaned against the wall next to Shinichi.
Sonoko, who was standing in front of the two of them, snorted loudly. "What are you talking about? I'll bet it was another message! It totally went with the lawn thing!"
"I think it seemed more like a prank," Shinichi muttered under his breath, but Sonoko heard and rounded on him instantly.
"Hey, you're the detective. How did they do that? No, wait, scratch that. Who did it?"
Shinichi blinked. "Huh?"
Sonoko gave him an exasperated look before repeating herself, emphasizing every word as though she were speaking to a particularly slow child. "Who is responsible for the letters on the lawn and the petals in our classroom? Surely finding out something like that should be no problem for the oh so great Detective of the East."
Ignoring the sarcasm in her tone, Shinichi shrugged and pulled on his best indifferent face. "My skills are for solving criminal cases, not catching high school pranksters," he said flatly.
The petit girl looked sly. "Are you saying you can't do it?"
He snorted. He knew that game, and he wasn't falling for it. "No, I'm just saying that this case doesn't interest me."
After all, to be an interesting case, it had to be a mystery. The only mystery here was why Kaito was apparently spending this day at their school. Didn't he have his own school to attend? And if he was here, why hadn't Shinichi seen him yet? He'd always been pretty good at finding Kaito at heists once he knew that the thief was present in disguise.
No, wait. Kaito wouldn't deprive one of his classmates of their school day just so he could impersonate them to pull silly pranks in their school. It wasn't like there was a jewel at stake. Besides, hanging around as a student was pretty limiting. It was more likely that he was around but keeping out of sight. Or here as a teacher. That was a possibility too.
Shinichi eyed their homeroom teacher suspiciously. The man, though apparently annoyed by the petals that had taken over his classroom, was still taking the whole situation rather well. Could he have been replaced?
Was there a good reason to go over there and pinch his face? Shinichi didn't really want to unmask Kaito here though because that would mean letting everyone in on who had written that message. And then they would ask questions, and eventually someone would realize that "Shin-chan" was in fact Shinichi. Ran already knew that that was what his mother called him. She just wasn't making the connection because she thought that the message was for some girl (and she didn't know that he was seeing anyone). The detective shuddered in horror at the thought. No, no, no! Kaito must remain anonymous. Shinichi should just go through the rest of the day pretending that nothing strange was going on.
Plan established, he decided to take a trip to the lavatory. He shut the stall door, and there was a rose pinned to the back of the door. It had a little white card dangling from it. The card was signed K.K.
Okay, this was just creepy.
He left the lavatory without using it. The rose and the card vanished into the depths of his book bag, possibly never to see the light of day again along with its brethren from that morning.
And then there came lunch.
Shinichi had a tendency to bring his own lunches these days. It was easier, faster, and just less hassle. No waiting in line, no noisy crowds to fight through, and no need to wonder what the mysterious mush on the plate was. He usually just ate at his desk or up on the roof depending on his mood.
Considering that petals were still being emptied out of their classroom by the basket-load, he, Ran, and Sonoko retreated up to the roof to eat their lunches today.
There, seated in a loose circle, they opened their respective bento boxes.
Shinichi looked at the contents of his lunch—which were not, in fact, the contents he had packed for himself the previous evening. No, instead of the stir-fry egg and onion with white rice and neat slices of sausage, there was… Well, his food was still there, but there were now a few additions.
Okay, one addition. He hadn't packed dessert, but now there was a pair of chocolate doves in a nest of chocolate shavings sitting in a cup of pie crust tucked into a corner. It was being shielded from the rest of the meal by two layers of cupcake holders. One dove was white, and the other was brown.
"Aww, those are so cute," Ran said from beside his shoulder, making him jump. "Where did you get them?"
"I—saw them in a bakery on the way home yesterday," he lied quickly, fighting down a blush.
"You're lying~," Sonoko sang out. A slightly evil (or so it seemed to Shinichi) expression made its way onto her face as she leaned forward. "I recognize the pattern on that cupcake holder. It's from a bakery in Ekoda. You can't possibly have seen it on your way home."
Damn. Leave it to Sonoko to be observant when it was least convenient.
"Well?" the petit heiress prodded when Shinichi didn't immediately fold and tell them everything. "Are you going to tell us the truth? Aren't you the guy who's always going on and on about how important the truth is? Or was all that just talk?"
Shinichi bristled. At the same time, a twinge of guilt shot through him at the reminder of all those lies he had been telling ever since that day in Tropical Land. He knew Sonoko didn't mean to, but that didn't stop her words from stinging.
"I'm not sure where they came from," he said finally. He'd let them make what they would out of that. At least it wasn't a lie.
"You didn't bring them for someone?" Sonoko pressed.
Shinichi looked back at her blankly. "For someone?" Had he forgotten it was her birthday or something? He thought hard for a moment. No, he was pretty sure it wasn't Sonoko's birthday. It wasn't Ran's either.
Sonoko threw up her hands in exasperation. "You're hopeless!"
"…Okay." He didn't really care if she thought he was hopeless. Plucking one of the doves from hits bento, he looked at it. It looked back with soulful little chocolate eyes. Unable to bring himself to eat it, he put it back.
Sonoko was still giving him the evil eye for a reason he was sure only she would ever understand. Fortunately, Ran decided to change the subject.
"This certainly has been a strange day though," she said. "I wonder if any of the other classes had weird things happening or if it was just us."
"You know, that's a good point," Sonoko mused. "None of the other classes had to have their rooms cleared of flowers. And I didn't hear anything about other types of pranks in other rooms."
"There was the lawn," Ran pointed out.
"Yeah, but that would be for the whole school at once. It was obviously put there so that everyone could see."
Ran looked thoughtful. "But then that means the roses in our room were meant for someone in our class."
Okay, maybe the topic change wasn't so fortunate. Shinichi could feel himself beginning to sweat. If they continued down this line of reasoning…
"Wait a moment," Ran said, brows furrowing. "Assuming the lawn and the roses in our room are related, that would mean that petal message was also for someone in our class. But the only person in our class with a first or last name that begins with Shin is…"
And there it was.
Two pairs of eyes turned ever so slowly at almost exactly the same time to stare at Shinichi.
The silence shattered as Sonoko exploded into a fit of hysterical laughter. "No way! There's absolutely no way! Who in their right mind would do something like that for Shinichi? It's totally ridiculous! The nickname has to be referring to something private. It probably has nothing to do with anyone's given name."
Shinichi wondered idly if he should applaud her for her unwitting accuracy or roll his eyes at another example of someone dismissing a conclusion just because it did not happen to fit in her world view. It was probably true that Kaito didn't qualify for what most people would consider being in a right mind. Scratch that. It was definitely true. There were whole departments of policemen who would swear on their lives that the man was totally crazy. Although, Shinichi mused, the world would be a much safer place if more criminals were crazy in the same way KID was.
Er, safer, but undoubtedly more hectic.
"Um, Shinichi? Are you feeling okay?"
Snapping out of his horrified mental theater where a couple dozen Kaitou KIDS were turning the world upside down, Shinichi found Ran giving him a concerned look. Sonoko was still laughing at the preposterous idea of someone leaving a romantic message to Shinichi on the school lawn. The detective hurried to force a smile onto his face. When Ran's frown only deepened, he dropped it.
"I'm fine," he said. "I was just thinking."
The brunette sighed. "Of course."
And that was apparently the end of the matter. Sonoko had gone back into making speculations, this time about the possible source of the pranks as opposed to the possible recipients. For once, Shinichi was grateful for her unwavering faith in his social ineptitude.
It wasn't, he reflected as they headed back to class after lunch, that he was really opposed to the idea of them knowing that he had started seeing someone. But though he had known Kaito for several years now, their—relationship was still very new. Half of him was still convinced that it could never work out. If it didn't… If it didn't, he would rather keep it to himself. It would be less painful that way… But he really shouldn't be thinking like that, should he? It was just asking for trouble. Either way, he had envisioned a very different type of revelation: something peaceful and simple and, most importantly, private (as these things should be). A meeting at a coffee shop, for example, or maybe a small get-together at his house. He would have had time to mentally prepare himself for the experience.
He had never even considered a scenario in which his entire school would be privy to the news. Hell, if the whole school did manage to find out, the media would be next. They had only recently stopped hounding him about his "time away". It would be a nightmare!
No, no, no! Not happening!
Well, at least it was almost over. Just a few more classes to go. He'd just keep his fingers crossed.
To Shinichi's relief—and many others' disappointment, nothing else spectacular happened before the final bell of the day rang, releasing the students of Teitan High from their classrooms. Everyone packed up and headed out. Many were discussing their plans for the afternoon while others continued to muse over the odd happenings earlier that day. The sky had clouded over the past hour or so. They weren't heavy enough yet to herald rain though. And, as everyone made their ways outside, the wind picked up.
The timing couldn't have been more perfect. In a soft, snowy white rush, the flower petals still on the school lawn rose, caught up by the invisible hands of the wind. Soon, the air was a flurry of silken petals and the sweet, mellow scent of roses.
Steps stilled and conversations died as everyone turned to gaze in awe upon the breathtaking sight.
When all the petals had been carried away and the air was no longer white, dazed eyes blinked as though waking from a dream. Then, slowly, the school campus came back to life as people remembered what they had been doing.
"That was amazing," Sonoko breathed.
Beside her, Ran nodded in mute agreement. Even Shinichi had a slightly dazed look on his face. It never ceased to amaze him just how far ahead Kaito could plan. Sometimes, it seemed like the thief could bend nature itself to his will.
The second thought on Shinichi's mind, however, was that he hadn't brought a thick enough coat for this brisk wind.
"I'm so glad you all approve~."
The girls leapt away with cries of shock as Shinichi started and whirled around. There, standing right behind him, was a messy-haired young man who could easily have passed for his brother. Seeing that he had all their attention, the newcomer swept into a deep bow.
"A showman can ask for no greater reward than the wonder and joy of his audience," he said. Rising from his bow, he turned to Ran and Sonoko. "My name is Kuroba Kaito. It's a pleasure to finally meet you. I've heard a great deal about the both of you from Shinichi here."
"Kuroba Kaito," Ran murmured to herself. "Kuroba Kaito…K, K… You're the one who left that message on the school field!"
"Guilty as charged~."
"But then that would mean that that message really was for…" Ran's gaze shifted from the grinning magician to the blushing Shinichi. Her mouth fell open. No words emerged.
Sonoko had no such trouble. "What?!" She rounded on Shinichi. "Since when? How dare you not even mention it! And you pretended not to know anything all day!"
"It wasn't—I wasn't—it's not that—"
"I demand to know how this happened! Details, detective geek! Details!"
"Might I suggest that we move this conversation elsewhere," Kaito interjected, looping an arm over Shinichi's shoulders and waving a hand to indicate the passing students who were beginning to give them funny looks. "If we don't, I fear that my dear detective here is going to asphyxiate."
A half hour later saw them all seated around a table in a local coffee shop.
"We actually met at a KID heist," the magician was saying far too cheerfully to the two girls, both of whom were showing signs of great interest. Shinichi choked on his coffee, but Kaito pretended not to notice.
"Really?" Sonoko lit up before her eyes narrowed in abrupt suspicion. "You're not another detective, are you?"
"What?" Kaito drew himself up. "Perish the thought!" He snapped his fingers. There was a flash of light, and suddenly they each had a plate with a slice of chocolate cake in front of them—all except for Shinichi, who had gotten a slice of lemon pie. Ran noticed this fact with interest. "I'm going to be the world's best magician. That's why I was at the heist. KID's performances are truly spectacular."
"That's so true!" Sonoko gushed, enthusiasm returning full force. "Do you remember the one where he.."
Shinichi listened to the two laud KID's many "great" accomplishments. He managed not to roll his eyes, but it was a close thing. Sonoko was talking about how awesome Kaitou KID was with the Kaitou KID. There was something incredibly bizarre about the whole thing. And why was Ran giving him that searching look over the table? That little, amused quirk at the corner of her lips was kind of freaking him out.
"What?" he asked finally.
"Oh nothing," Ran said airily, but that little quirk had evolved into a full-blown grin that looked more like it belonged on Sonoko's face than hers.
"I don't believe they're actually dating," Sonoko declared later as she and Ran parted from the boys outside the café.
Ran looked surprised. "Why not?"
"There's no way someone who truly appreciates KID-sama's greatness could ever be attracted to a mere detective who obsesses about crimes all day."
"Shinichi's not obsessed with crimes," Ran objected, feeling obliged to defend her childhood friend. "He's just dedicated to his work."
"That's the same thing."
"Not really…" It also occurred to Ran that someone who "truly appreciated" (as Sonoko put it) KID's brand of genius might actually find a detective who understood that genius quite interesting. After all, appreciation was great and all, but understanding was how real connections were built.
"Whatever." The petit girl waved a hand, dismissing her rebuttal. "I still say it's unlikely."
Sonoko arched an eyebrow at her taller friend. "You can't be serious."
"He knew what Shinichi's favorite dessert was."
"You don't have to be in a relationship to find out something like that."
"What about the message on the lawn? That was pretty straight forward."
"A prank, obviously."
Ran gave up. She knew Sonoko well enough to tell that the girl wouldn't be changing her mind no matter what she said.
Back at the Kudo Manor, Shinichi let his breath out in a long sigh as he brought his freshly brewed cup of coffee to the kitchen table and sat down. "Don't you think you might have gone a bit overboard today?"
"There's no such thing," Kaito replied with an airy wave. "If you decide to do something, you should go all out. There's no point to it otherwise."
"And what exactly was the point to all those pranks anyway?"
"…You don't know?"
Shinichi was a bit confused when Kaito actually looked crestfallen.
"…Really? You've had all day, and you still haven't figured it out? I know you can be forgetful, but seriously. I gave you all those clues!"
Clues? What clues? "You mean it wasn't about introducing yourself to Ran and Sonoko?"
"…" Without a word, Kaito pushed back his chair and stood up. Shinichi watched with wary confusion as the magician rounded the table. His purposeful strides carried him straight to Shinichi's seat. Once there, he scooped the startled detective out of said chair and spun to make a beeline for the living room before the boy could react.
"H—hey!" Shinichi exclaimed, blushing. "What do you think you're doing? Put me down!"
Kaito didn't answer. He continued his brisk march into the living room. It wasn't until they were right by the wall that he set Shinichi's feet on the floor. Then he grasped the detective's shoulders and spun him around so that he had his back to the thief.
Shinichi blinked. There in front of his face was a calendar. It was the one his mother had put up last time she was home some six months ago. It told him that it was March.
A hand shot past his face to jab a finger at the 14.
Shinichi blinked again. What was… "O—oh."
Kaito heaved an exaggerated sigh. "I thought you might forget, but I really thought you'd figure it out after a whole day of hints."
Shinichi could feel his face warming again. "You could have just told me."
"Where's the fun in that?"
"…Well, thanks, I guess… You really shouldn't have gone to all the trouble…"
"Oh, it was no trouble at all," Kaito assured him. "I had a lot of fun. But," he continued, spinning Shinichi back around to face him. His hands dropped from the detective's shoulders to his hips. "There's one more thing I want to give you."
If he was totally honest, Shinichi thought, he hadn't particularly enjoyed Kaito's White Day presents for him. He hadn't disliked them either, and he could appreciate the effort and artistry involved in creating things like the motion doodle caricature. But mostly they'd just made him feel very paranoid all day.
However, the kiss (and the knowledge that Kaito really had meant well in his own crazy way) more than made up for everything.
A.N: Out of season, I know. But I'm trying to finish up some of the shorter stories I've had lying around. ^_^ Hope you enjoyed!