Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK or Naruto

Rating: T

Pairing: Established KaiShin [Kaito x Shinichi]


When Visions Collide

Set 3: Hunt

Elusive

One definite perk to having Kaito as a partner was that you picked up a thing or two about how to be elusive. While Shinichi held no delusions that he (or anyone else) would or could ever be as good at the art of disappearing as Kaito was, he had learned a considerable amount from the spy about how to be elusive (largely at Kaito's insistence. His partner was of the opinion that Shinichi took too many risks as it was, and he had been adamant that Shinichi hone is hiding skills so that he could better protect himself. Shinichi, who had always been better at finding things than hiding, had found the training difficult, but he had to admit that, at times like these, he was grateful for Kaito's often unorthodox and ridiculously demanding teaching methods).

Using the tricks he'd learned from Kaito, Shinichi had been able to keep his team hidden for an entire two weeks despite the fact that one of his teammates couldn't walk for more than a few minutes at a time. He'd also laid several false trails for their enemies to follow. He was frankly rather proud of himself. It was nerve-wracking work though, and he wondered how Kaito could stand to do this sort of thing on a regular basis. Then again, the spy enjoyed manipulating people and watching them dance to his tune. Shinichi, on the other hand, couldn't help but focus on all the things that could go wrong.

Kaito had once told him that the fun part was making a plan work even when you ran into unexpected complications. In Shinichi's opinion, those unexpected complications were what was going to give him a heart attack.

Like when he walked into a nondescript little inn and the innkeeper actually recognized "Lady Rina" and exclaimed her name in delighted surprise loud enough for everyone present to hear. It turned out that the old woman had worked for the lady's grandmother in her youth. She was very understanding when Shinichi hastened to explain the need for secrecy, but the damage had already been done. On the bright side, Shinichi had planned to leave a few clues because the more time their enemies spent tracking him and his team was the less time they had to find the real lady.

They had a few more close calls, but overall they were doing well—all the way up until they weren't.

Expectations

Shinichi hadn't expected any of this. In his defense, what normal person would expect anyone to have the audacity to offer a bounty for the capture of a kingdom's heir within her own lands? It was mindboggling. What was more mindboggling was the fact that there were people who were greedy—or desperate—enough to actually pursue the offer. That there was an entire district of them was simply beyond words.

It had started with a pot of drugged tea and ended with an all out brawl in the middle of the street. Neither Shinichi nor his two companions were entirely comfortable using their skills to their full extent on mere untrained and badly armed civilians, and they really shouldn't have had to. Even Akihiro was more than a match for any of their ambushers despite his injuries. The real problem was the sheer number of opponents.

Then the Leiten men had arrived with their grim-faced, eye-patch wearing leader, and Shinichi knew they were in trouble.

Decoy

Another thing Shinichi hadn't expected was that their enemies had targeted his team even though they had, somewhere along the line, somehow already figured out that they were only a decoy. Apparently, it was Akihiro they were after. Shinichi realized this a split second before his world went black, so it wasn't until later that he had time to wonder why.

Coach

When the coach came trundling up to the compound gates during his shift, Kaito had not been expecting to glance through the small window and see a familiar face. Said face was sporting a massive bruise across the right side as well as a gag, and he only saw it for a split second, but he didn't need any more than that one glimpse to know with absolute certainty that his Shinichi had just been driven into the compound.

He and Enju turned to watch as the coach pulled up in the main courtyard, and Genrou and five of his most trusted men unloaded it. Kaito counted three unconscious bodies, but he had eyes only for one.

"Who're those people?" he asked Enju like the curious new guard that he was pretending to be.

Enju shrugged. "Probably more thieves. There's been an influx of them lately. Genrou doesn't take kindly to thieves. He caught these two thieves sneaking grain out of one of the Leiten storehouses last year. He had them flogged in public. Twenty lashes each even though they were only children."

"That's harsh."

Enju glanced around then leaned closer to him, voice dropping into a low whisper. "I agree with you, but I recommend you keep comments like that to yourself in the future."

Test

Don't react, don't react, don't react.

The mantra pounded in Kaito's head as he watched Genrou's men take Shinichi away. If asked how he managed to keep his breathing steady and his face devoid of telltale signs, he would have had to attribute it all to well-honed reflexes because his mind certainly couldn't take credit.

It was the greatest test of self control he had ever encountered.

Fury

It took every ounce of Kaito's iron self control to continue lounging around the gates until his shift ended. But the moment he was able to, he slipped away.

He found Shinichi, rather unsurprisingly, in the compound dungeons. Each of the three prisoners was in a different cell. Kaito was mildly surprised to see that the younger of the two prisoners he didn't recognize had had his injuries treated. He would have assumed that it was Shinichi's handiwork except that the bandaging was both too sloppy and too fresh. Revisiting the memory of watching the prisoners being unloaded, he knew that those bandages were new. So, for some reason, the Leiten cared whether this particular prisoner survived.

The same could not be said for the other two prisoners. The older man with the scarred face was slumped in the corner of his cell. His right arm hung at a strange angle at his side, and there was an enormous, dark stain on his shirt that Kaito was fairly certain was blood. That didn't look good. Fortunately, the man's breathing was even, suggesting that the wound wasn't quite as terrible as it seemed.

Shinichi didn't look much better. The bruise Kaito had seen earlier had darkened, and the swelling had become much more prominent. Of the three prisoners, only Shinichi had been bound and gagged.

The sight of his beloved crumpled on the cell floor made Kaito see red.

"—make the damned brat pay for what he did to my arm," one of Genrou's men was snarling when Kaito eased up next to the cell's small window. His right arm was dangling limply like it belonged to a ragdoll and not a human being.

Genrou shrugged, nudging the unconscious boy with his foot. "I don't care what you do as long as you don't kill him. We can use him as a bargaining chip when those softhearted fools from the Leaf come nosing around. It'll keep them off our backs."

The man with the paralyzed arm grimaced in obvious disappointment, but he grunted his ascent before grinding his booted heel down on the medic's slim wrist. The dull crack of breaking bones seemed to echo in Kaito's ears. His training kept his breaths slow and even. Indigo eyes fixed on the perpetrator's face.

Kaito never forgot a face (he'd be a pretty lousy spy if he did). But this face… This face he knew he was going to remember extra clearly.

A Kuroba's fury was cold as ice and sharp as tempered steel. It was dark and calculating and deadly. And a Kuroba never forgot.

One day, this man would regret having ever laid eyes on his Shinichi.

Faith

"I think I know why they came after Akihiro."

Kaito stared at Shinichi. He stared so long that the medic began to look uncomfortable.

"Um, Kai?" he asked hesitantly.

Kaito let out a half exasperated sigh and shook his head. "I spend the last few days planning how to rescue you from that cell and make it look like you escaped without causing a ruckus, and that's the first thing you have to say to me?"

"Oh." Shinichi blushed, looking down. "Um, thank you. I… I really didn't mean for this to happen, but I knew you'd come for me. So I guess I wasn't really worried…"

Chuckling, Kaito reached over and ruffled his hair. "Well, I'm glad to hear you have such faith in me. Seriously though." The smile fell from his face as his eyes grew hard. "We are going to have a very long talk when this is all over."

Well that sounded ominous, Shinichi thought, blinking at the spy's sudden seriousness. "About what?" he was almost afraid to ask.

The look Kaito leveled at him was hard and reproving. "You're a member of the Medical Core now. As a medic, your first duty is to keep yourself safe and healthy enough to help your teammates when they need your healing skills. Yet here you are again, putting yourself in a dangerous position. I have half a mind to report you to Lady Tsunade."

All the color drained from Shinichi's face. "You wouldn't…"

"If you keep doing things like this, I will," Kaito threatened. Taking Shinichi's uninjured hand, he rubbed his thumb over the medic's knuckles then twined their fingers together. "I can't lose you, Shinichi. I won't."

Feeling a lump in his throat, Shinichi shifted closer and lay his head on Kaito's shoulder. "I'm sorry."

Supposition

"So you said something about this Akihiro fellow?"

"I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I'm guessing that they've figured out that he and Lady Rina are in love."

"So they can use him as bait."

"Well, that too," Shinichi agreed. "But I was thinking, they're goal right now is to stop the wedding alliance between Lady Rina's family and the rulers of the Land of Cranes."

Kaito's indigo eyes sharpened with understanding. "And what better way to stop a marriage than to prove that the lady is already involved with another man. But if he's dead then it would be their word against hers. So they need him alive. They're counting on the lady loving him too much to deny their allegations or otherwise go against them if it's to save his life."

"At least that's my guess."

Kaito grinned. "This is good news."

Shinichi frowned. "How so?"

"Now that they have their trump card, they won't be in as much of a hurry to assassinate the lady. That gives us time to put all our pieces in place."

"Pieces?" Shinichi echoed, eyebrows scrunching in confusion. "What pieces?"

The spy's grin morphed into a smirk. "That, my dear, is for me to know and you to find out. Now," he continued, rising to his feet and gently tugging Shinichi up with him. "We should really get you cleaned up."

"You have your own bathroom?" Shinichi asked, surprised as Kaito herded him towards a door he hadn't noticed earlier.

Kaito chortled. "They might not be nice people, but they're not stingy with their employees. In fact, from what I've heard, the family was pretty decent for nobility before Genrou got back from his travels and took the reins."

"I guess everyone has their virtues," Shinichi muttered.

"Indeed."

"…Um, you can let me go now."

"I don't think so." Kaito pushed open the bathroom door and maneuvered Shinichi inside. "Besides, I want a closer look at those wounds."

Shinichi's protests died abruptly. Kaito felt a twinge of guilt, but it was only a twinge.

Time

"You're going to have to stay here until I can find a way to get you out. You need time to recover anyway."

Shinichi refrained from pointing out that he had already healed most of his own injuries (which Kaito should be perfectly aware of as he had watched Shinichi do the healing then insisted on inspecting the sites of the aforementioned injuries for himself. Shinichi would have been more touched by the spy's overt display of concern if he hadn't had to spend half of the aforementioned examination catching Kaito's wandering hands). Though he'd dealt with his wounds, it was true that he was exhausted, and it would be some time before he could exert any force with his left wrist (at least it hadn't been his right hand). Fortunately, he'd recovered most of the mobility in the hand, so he could make hand signs if needed.

"Here." Striding over to his desk, Kaito opened the drawstring sack sitting there and pulled out several sandwiches wrapped in paper. He handed one to Shinichi and took one for himself. "I know you're tired, but eat this first. You've used a lot of energy."

Shinichi mumbled an ascent through a yawn. He could barely keep his eyes open, but he knew that Kaito was right. He barely tasted the sandwich or the water that the spy pressed on him after that. He didn't remember lying down either. One moment, he was sitting, the next, he was curled up on his side on Kaito's bed.

The chamber's lone lamp blinked out. Then the mattress dipped, and a pair of strong arms encircled him, pulling him back against a very solid and familiar warmth. A soft sigh escaped Shinichi's lips as the last of the past few weeks of tension left him in a sudden rush.

Here in Kaito's arms, everything felt right with the world again. And he found himself thinking that everything was going to work out. He didn't know how just yet, but he knew that, when they were together, they could do anything.

Shift

Shinichi slept soundly through the night and most of the following day. Kaito had risen with the dawn as he always did, made sure the shutters of his room were closed, left a pair of doves on watch, and gone to his shift on gate duty. There, an excited Enju told him about the mysterious escape of one of Genrou's prisoners after he'd purportedly left one of Genrou's men, a shinobi who'd lost the use of one arm, comatose in his cell (Kaito hid a satisfied smirk at the news. He had enjoyed that encounter—perhaps more than he should have, but he felt justified).

"They're searching the grounds now," he told Kaito. "And they're increasing security on the remaining prisoners. I think he's expecting the escapee to try and come back to rescue them. And get this, the one that got out? Apparently, he's a shinobi."

Kaito feigned surprise. "Really? I thought you said the prisoners were thieves or something."

"Oh, well, I've heard of bandits who had shinobi training before. It's probably something like that. If it is, there may be more of them out there. Bandits usually don't work alone, right? Maybe they'll try to invade the compound."

"I wouldn't bet on that. Bandits aren't exactly known for their loyalty."

"Well, you're probably right," Enju admitted. "But I can hope. It's so boring with nothing ever happening around here. A bandit attack or two might be a nice change of pace."

"Careful there. You're starting to sound like a greenhorn chomping at the bit for some action because he thinks he's immortal."

The older man winced. "Yeah, I guess that was a pretty stupid thing to say. If Yui heard me, she'd tell me I'm being a fool."

"The future wife knows best, eh?"

Enju blushed but laughed, rubbing at the back of his neck. "She's got more sense than I do. That's for sure. I think I'm just going stir crazy marching around the compound day in day out. It's kind of exciting when you get started, but once you've been at it for a month or two, you start to realize that guard duty is probably one of the least exciting jobs in existence. I mean, even my brother gets out and does more than I do, and he always said he didn't care for adventure. He took over the family farm. Now he's always out in his fields, raising his animals, or traveling to and from the markets. He goes places and meets people. I just stand around in the same five spots or so for six hours a day every day of every week. Can you fault me for hoping someone actually comes that I need to guard against?"

By the end of the other guard's rant, Kaito was laughing. He couldn't help it. "Enju, you just might get your wish one day, but I'll bet that, when you do, you'll find yourself wishing for these boring old gate duty days."

After the shift was over, Kaito dropped by the dungeons to check on the condition of Shinichi's friends as he knew the medic would want to know whether they were all right. Then he headed for the kitchens. The serving girls and cooks who worked there had all become good friends of his over the months of his stay, and they were more than happy to throw a picnic basket of goodies together for him to take back to his room.

"Growing boys need their nutrition," the head cook declared, handing him the basket. She always spoke to him like he was half his real age, but since she was a grandmother, he supposed he must seem very young indeed in her eyes. Not expecting the weight of the basket, Kaito nearly dropped the thing. Fortunately, he adjusted his grip in time or he would have wasted a lot of food and more than likely earned himself the wrath of every member of the kitchen staff.

When he got back to his room, he found Shinichi still fast asleep. Good. His beloved clearly needed the rest. And it meant Kaito had time to run another errand or two and set up a few things.

Moment

Shinichi woke with a start. The unfamiliar ceiling and jumbled flashes of memory sent a jolt of panic through his system that had him sitting bolt upright. He regretted the sudden movement instantly as his head spun. Letting out an involuntary groan, he pulled his knees up and pressed his forehead against them as though the pressure would make the world hold still.

"Shinichi?" a worried voice asked moments before a warm hand touched his shoulder. "Are you all right?"

At the sound of that voice and the familiar touch, Shinichi relaxed. Now he remembered. He was in Kaito's quarters in the guards' wing of the Leiten family compound.

Careful to move more slowly, he uncurled and turned to meet Kaito's concerned gaze. There was nothing forced about the smile that surfaced on the medic's face.

"I'm fine," he assured the spy. "Just a little lightheaded."

Indigo eyes studied him so intently that it made Shinichi squirm. But apparently he'd passed muster because Kaito nodded and straightened. The taller shinobi's serious expression fell away to be replaced by a broad grin.

"That's probably because you've skipped both breakfast and lunch. But fear not, I have made provisions for just this occasion." Stepping smoothly to one side, he dropped into an elegant bow and offered Shinichi his hand. "Shall we?"

Shinichi blinked.

The scene before him remained unchanged.

Kaito had moved his desk to the middle of the room and covered it in a tablecloth. He had also procured an extra chair from somewhere. The table itself was set with an array of small dishes and a matching array of lit candles. Their brilliant flames sparkled like stars in the drinking glasses and cutlery.

"Well?" Kaito prompted.

Shinichi wasn't sure whether to laugh or shake his head. Only Kaito would even think of setting up a candlelit dinner in the middle of a covert mission with the enemy just outside the walls of their room. At the same time, it was such a Kaito thing to do that Shinichi couldn't help but smile. He accepted Kaito's hand and let the other escort him to a chair.

He really had missed Kaito.

Safe

A pleasant meal and a warm bath later, the two of them were seated together on Kaito's bed. Shinichi was telling Kaito about the time he'd spent teaching basic medical knowledge at the academy, recalling with fond exasperation some of the antics of the children. Kaito, in turn, shared some anecdotes from his months as a private guardsman.

"Not that there's much to tell," he noted with an exaggerated sigh. "I swear, there were some days I thought my brain was going to melt from sheer boredom."

"You can't honestly expect me to believe you spent all of these past few months doing nothing but standing shifts on guard duty."

"Well, no," Kaito admitted with a smirk. "But I'd have been fired if I didn't stand all my shifts. Do you have any idea what it's like to stand at a gate for six hours straight?"

"Nope," Shinichi replied with a genuine grin of his own. "And I don't think I want to either."

Kaito snorted. "Very wise."

They shared a laugh at that.

Turning, Kaito caught Shinichi's lips in a long, lingering kiss. It was soft and sweet, and Shinichi's eyes fluttered shut of their own accord. Despite everything, he felt more at ease now than he had at any point in the last four months. It made no sense, considering where they were and everything that was going on, but he couldn't help it.

Adjusting his grip on Shinichi, Kaito shifted his weight to tip the blue-eyed boy backwards onto the bed and pin him there. Shinichi broke the kiss with a soft gasp.

"Kai, this isn't the time…" he protested halfheartedly. The sensible part of him that knew being in the middle of enemy territory was a terrible time for anything private was fighting a losing battle with the part of him that just wanted to melt under Kaito's touch.

The spy had no such reservations.

As far as Kaito was concerned, now was the perfect time. No one would be looking for him until tomorrow morning, and Shinichi wouldn't be going anywhere for the next week at the least (Kaito would make sure of that). In fact, the spy rather fancied the idea of keeping Shinichi tucked away in his room safely under lock and key until everything was over, but unfortunately he knew that that would be strategically unsound. Shinichi was their medic, and the stress of not knowing if he was dead or alive wouldn't make the others any better at their work.

But that still meant he had Shinichi all to himself for a few days. After four months without even the chance to speak, Kaito was fully intent on taking advantage of the situation.

TBC


A.N: Just one more set to go. It will take a little longer though as I want to finish the next chapter of The Show Goes On before Halloween. Well, I'm really busy right now, so I've gotta run. Take care!