Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK or Naruto
Pairing: Established KaiShin [Kaito x Shinichi]
Summary: With the Great Nations at peace, the work of both medics and spies can be boring. Or at least it's boring right up until it isn't.
A.N: This is set in my Farseeing Eyes universe, which is a DCMK and Naruto fusion (the previous installments are "Farseeing Eyes" and "Those of Many Faces"). It can be read alone, but some things may be clearer if you read "Farseeing Eyes" first.
When Visions Collide
Set 1: Parallel
Kaito had been gone for almost two months now, and Shinichi had to admit that it was getting to him. Every time he got up in the morning, he was acutely aware of the empty space beside him where Kaito should have been. Every time he came home, the house would have grown just that little bit more empty. It was a strange kind of sensation, like the house was becoming something more foreign by the day.
It reminded him of why he had moved out all those years ago after his parents had abandoned him. But this time was different.
This was different because he knew that Kaito would come back to him. It might not be tomorrow, it might not even be soon, but Kaito had promised him that he would always be there for Shinichi, and Shinichi believed him.
He never slept well while Kaito was away, but he tried his best. Last time Kaito had come home after a long assignment, he had not been pleased to learn from Ran and Heiji (the nosy mother hens, Shinichi thought grumpily) that Shinichi had been working extra shifts and skipping meals while he was away. In Shinichi's defense, he hadn't meant to.
Was it really his fault if he had a hard time sleeping when he knew that his partner was somewhere out there in dangerous lands doing a job where discovery meant instant execution? Shinichi didn't think so. But he did know that his worrying wasn't helping anyone, and it could likely hurt someone if he was too tired to do his job properly. A careless slip by a medic's hand could mean weeks of extra rehabilitation time for his patients. He didn't want that to happen.
So he forced himself to focus entirely on his work, tackling every problem that came his way with fierce determination and giving every new patient his full undivided attention. It was tiring but that was the point.
It was only when he was completely exhausted in both body and mind that he could fall under his covers and night and sleep without dreams.
In his dreams he saw the sharp, white gleam of teeth in that arrogant smirk that had a way of making you feel like the wearer knew everything there was to know about everything.
He dreamed of lakes of sunset and strong arms holding him close. Loving words murmured into his ear and a kiss to steal his breath away…
The echoes of those dreams followed him through his waking hours, and he really didn't know if that made things better or worse.
His cover this time was that of a wandering warrior looking for a position as a guard where he could take a break from traveling and possibly make a home. He had auditioned for a position with the largest family in the kingdom of Chikana who also happened to be directly related to the country's royal family. With his fighting skills and silver tongue, he'd landed the job with ease. And now here he was.
"You can go anywhere you need to in the outer ring of the complex," the servant who'd been assigned to show him around explained. "The inner court is off limits unless you are requested and accompanied by someone with a badge like this or a member of the family itself. Your shift will be determined by the end of tomorrow. The captain of the guard is still arranging the duty roster. When you're not on duty, you are free to do whatever you like. Your room is down this hallway here. The previous occupant may have left a few things behind. You can keep them or get rid of them, it's up to you. Think about this place as your home. It is, for all intents and purposes, just that. If you haves any problems or questions, feel free to ask any of the other guards or one of the servants. Remember, the family is not to be approached unless they approach you first. That's the one rule that you must remember above all else."
The village hospital hadn't been seeing too many patients lately. Of course, that was a good thing, but it left Shinichi with a lot of time on his hands. At first, he had spent that time at home, reading up on new medical research studies, but after a while the emptiness of the house started to get on his nerves. He was too used to having Kaito there. Even on the rare occasions when the spy was in a quiet mood, the mere presence of another changed the atmosphere completely.
So here he was, teaching a class about basic first aid to children at the academy. He'd had doubts about his ability to be a good teacher when he'd started, but he quickly got over the nerves. There was just too much to do to be nervous. And at the end of the day, he would look into the bathroom mirror and note a lingering smile that he was sure Kaito would have teased him about. He really was glad he'd decided to step into that classroom.
And, well, thinking about how the kids were learning and ways to better help them understand things kept his mind occupied and off the cold side of the bed.
The guard Kaito had been assigned to work with had a girlfriend in town, and the girl was always visiting. She would bring him meals and the two would eat them together, laughing and smiling on the courtyard patio beneath the warm caress of the sun.
Seeing them together always sent a pang through the spy. When he closed his eyes, he could see a pair of hazy blue orbs looking up at him and that small, shy smile that was his and his alone.
And all he wanted to do was to fly home and sweep Shinichi into his arms. He wanted to kiss Shinichi until the medic was breathless and blushing that adorable shade of pink that Kaito loved.
"A new mission?"
"Yeah. You sound surprised."
"No, not really," Shinichi said, though inside he was just a little bit surprised. As a medic studying the more complex of the healing arts, he didn't get assigned field missions unless they were really serious. As far as he'd heard, most of the assorted lands had been pretty peaceful of late. Well, except…except that Kaito had been gone an awfully long time for peace. Spies, while still considered necessary by most of the shinobi villages, were generally less of a peacetime feature. Normally, they were sent out only to check up that the neighbors were keeping to their treaty agreements and nothing strange was happening in addition to gathering basic information that, while important, was neither secret nor sensitive. Kaito had often complained that he was getting bored playing messenger for news like the current grain prices and harvest yields.
"What's the mission?" he asked.
"You, me, Heiji, and Saguru will be escorting a young lady to her relative's house. That's all I've been told so far. It'll be like the old days again."
Shinichi smiled a little at that. It had been a while since they'd all gotten together. He just wished that—
He stopped himself before the thought finished and forced himself to focus only on the matter at hand. No point thinking about things that couldn't be. "That doesn't sound like a hard mission. Where is the lady headed?"
"Somewhere called Chikana, I think. I've never heard of it before, but Saguru's gone to the archives for a map. It's probably rather far away since we're being provided with a substantial budget and supplies for the trip. We will also be receiving further instructions once we arrive."
"Further instructions?" There was a certain ominous ring to those words.
"There's supposed to be an agent there who will find us. We've been told to stay as long as necessary to complete the task. And that's about it.:
It was all a bit strange, Shinichi mused, but he didn't think much more about it until much later. At the time, he had simply been glad for something to do that would take his mind off of his own worries.
The lady was a young woman who couldn't have been much older than Shinichi himself. She carried herself with all the poise that one expected from a noblewoman, but her expression was almost always one of grim, unsmiling pensiveness. She had come with two retainers of her own who looked at the shinobi with suspicious eyes and had a tendency to whisper amongst themselves. One was a young man who carried a sword and walked with the light, balanced steps of a fighter. He too was around their age, though his eyes were much older. The other was a much older man with a scar down the left side of his face and his mouth permanently set in a downward curve. He didn't seem to be frowning at them in particular though, just the world in general.
The lady herself looked at them with melancholy eyes as she bowed. "My name is Miharu Rina. Thank you for agreeing to our request."
Watching the trio preparing to set out, Heiji turned to Shinichi with a sardonic look. "I get the feeling that this is gonna be a really dreary trip."
He had stumbled across them purely by accident. Their party had set up camp for the night, and Shinichi had gone out to collect some edible herbs and berries he'd seen growing along their travel route. While doing so, he'd wandered out of the trees and into a meadow where a small lake gleamed purple beneath the evening sky. There, he had seen two figures down by the shore. They had been wrapped in a close embrace.
He realized with a shock that one of the figures was the lady. The other was her young guardsman, Akihiro.
Wary of being noticed, he had retreated quickly back towards camp. Yet he couldn't help but notice that the two were late returning to camp, though they took care to arrive separately and from different directions.
In the following days, he began to see the little signs that he had missed before: the way they looked at each other whenever they thought no one else was looking, the way their hands brushed whenever they passed one another, the subtle inflections in their voices whenever they spoke to each other, and a myriad of other little gestures that spoke of longing and heartache.
His heart goes out to them as he knows that their path was unlikely to be a happy one, and he reflects that he is lucky. He might not always know where Kaito is, but, when they are together, they are free to live and love and laugh as they wish, supported by their friends and their village.
Kaito thought with some amusement that one thing most people never associated with undercover work was boredom, but the truth of the matter was that a good cover involved spending a lot of time doing very mundane, everyday things in order to show everyone around you that you were, in fact, just a mundane, everyday sort of person—the more ordinary the better. You had to appear predictable in order to be trusted.
Being a guardsman for a private home was actually one of the less dull of the jobs he'd held, and that was saying something.
He stifled another yawn. His fellow guard, Enju, followed suit a split second later then laughed.
"This weather sure doesn't make it easy to stay awake, does it?" the man remarked. "Least we only got another hour before our shift ends."
"Looking forward to seeing your young lady again, eh?" Kaito teased.
The other man blushed and stammered a most unconvincing denial. He was spared from his embarrassment when a burly man with an eye patch came striding up to the compound gates.
Both Kaito and Enju straightened and saluted. The newcomer gave them a curt nod, but his pace never slowed as he passed them.
"Genrou always seems to be in a bad mood, doesn't he?" Kaito remarked once he was sure the man was out of earshot.
His companion shrugged. "It does seem that way. I've been a guard here for five years, and in all that time, I've never once seen him smile."
"In five years? You gotta be pulling my leg."
"No I'm not. Ask any of the others if you don't believe me."
Kaito shook his head. "Man, if that's true, it's kind of sad. Did something bad happen to him or something?"
"I don't honestly know," Enju admitted. "He runs almost all the family's business affairs though. That's gotta be taxing. We're lucky we don't have to think about that stuff."
Kaito laughed. "You said it."
The kingdom of Chikana turned out to be larger and more prosperous than any of them had expected from a place they had never heard of before. Nestled in a fertile valley between two mountain ranges, it was well protected from wind and weather alike. With a mild climate and a clear, strong river fed constantly by snowmelt from the neighboring mountains from which to draw water, the local farms turned out substantial yields every year. The kingdom itself was comprised of a sprawling city that followed the river from one end of the long valley to the other and a collection of towns and villages scattered through the foothills.
It was not, Shinichi noted, the kind of place that he had expected when he'd been sent with the team. After all, medical ninja were only required for higher rank missions.
Still, he was sure the Hokage must have had his reasons. The informant who would be meeting them would doubtless clarify the situation. He wondered idly who it would be.
The inn at which Lady Rina was supposed to meet up with her relatives was a lovely little establishment just inside the city outskirts. Surrounded by a variety of flowering trees and shrubs, it was like a picture right out of a fairytale. Yet Shinichi felt a chill run up his spine the moment he laid eyes on it. His unease only grew as the innkeeper welcomed them inside.
It was too perfect. Everything from the freshly painted walls to the varnished shutters and porch beams had been unmarred and unstained as though time had passed them by. The inn's interior too was spotlessly clean and organized, and the scent of flowers was strong. Too strong, in Shinichi's opinion. Like someone had spilled perfume all over the floors. It was enough to make him nauseous. Stranger still, the fragrance grew thicker rather than thinner the deeper they walked into the building. It was that peculiar twist that tipped Shinichi off through the nauseating haze making his head spin
This was a genjutsu.
But who was casting it and what did they want?
It was as though his realization had sprung the trap. Fortunately, he hadn't been the only one to notice that something was amiss. There were only two enemies, but, with the floral scent that served as the catalyst for their genjutsu thick in the air, two was more than enough to be trouble.
The problem with odor-based genjutsu was that they were difficult to avoid. After all, even the fittest of shinobi could only fight so long while holding their breaths. Even a momentary lapse of concentration gave the enemy an opening to slip into their illusions. If it weren't for Ran, everything might very well have fallen apart.
But their opponents hadn't counted on Ran's brute strength. She had ducked under a sickle being wielded by what turned out to be an illusory copy of one of the enemies then launched a flying kick that had smashed straight through the wall below the illusion, catching the shinobi hiding there by surprise. It had been dumb luck on Ran's part, but that didn't matter when her one kick cracked more than half the man's ribs and brought down the wall behind him to boot.
Shinichi, who had once again broken out of the illusions, took the opportunity to launch a kunai at the unfortunate shinobi's companion. She had twisted out of the way just in time, but Heiji had marked out the path taken by Shinichi's kunai and used it to land a strike of his own. As his sword blade flashed crimson, the remnants of the genjutsu shattered. With the fading of the overpowering floral aromas came the acrid stench of smoke.
Then there was a snap and crackle.
"Paper bombs!" Saguru shouted. Then he seized hold of Lady Rina and dove out through the nearest window.
The ensuing explosion let a plume of black smoke and tongues of orange fire high into the sky.
Kaito was returning to his new employer's abode with Enju and a few other guards from an evening at a local bar and grill when he noticed the telltale shadow of a pillar of smoke against the darkening sky. It was not the first he'd seen over the last few weeks though, and he doubted it would be the last.
"Where do you think that is?" Enju asked, pointing at the wavering smudge.
"Does it matter? Looks pretty far from here," one of the other guards replied without much interest.
"Must be a pretty big fire though," Kaito noted.
"Well, I'm sure we'll hear about it soon if it's anywhere important."
Kaito raised an eyebrow behind his Poker Face at that careless remark. He'd heard it all before, but the apathy still surprised him. Shinichi would be horrified, he thought with a tinge of grim amusement.
He let his gaze wander to one of the two white and gray birds perched on the awnings of a neighboring building. The birds met his gaze briefly before one of the two spread its wings and flew off.
A.N: So this is another of the shorter stories I have pieces of lying around that I am currently trying to finish. It should have four parts. I hope you enjoy it, and have a great week!