Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK or Naruto
Pairing: Established KaiShin [Kaito x Shinichi]
When Visions Collide
Set 4: Resolution
"Who is this?" Shinichi held the photograph Kaito had just handed him up to the light. The young woman in the photo was standing at the counter of what appeared to be a bakery. She was rather pretty, with long, dark hair and big blue eyes.
"She's going to be your disguise," Kaito explained. "She's the daughter of the owner of a local bakery the guards frequent. She's very shy, so it won't be strange to anyone if she just ducks her head and hurries away instead of stopping to talk if spotted."
"And they're not going to think it's strange to see her coming out of the compound?" Shinichi asked skeptically.
"Ah, ah, let me finish. I've made sure people have seen me talking with her almost every day for the last two months or so. If they do see her here, they'll assume I invited her. It wouldn't be the first time she's visited."
"I see." Shinichi supposed that made sense. "Wait. Two months?"
"I knew a group would be coming with Lady Rina, so I thought I should lay some groundwork just in case I needed to sneak anyone in or out."
"Oh." Shinichi returned to studying the photo, studiously ignoring the little twinge that he refused to admit was jealousy that he'd felt at learning that Kaito had been spending so much time with this very pretty, young woman. Despite his resolve not to dwell on the issue, he couldn't stop himself from asking, "You said she visits you a lot?"
Grinning, Kaito leaned down to steal a quick kiss, delighting in the squeak of surprise that the action elicited. "Just a few times, and usually to ask my opinion on a recipe. Everyone here knows I have a sweet tooth and a very discerning palate. Besides," he added as an afterthought. "Her father doesn't like me. He's always giving me the evil eye when he sees us talking. She says he says I'm no good. We had a good laugh over that."
Far from being comforted, Shinichi found himself feeling guilty. It was starting to sound to him like this girl might really like Kaito, and here the spy was using her. It really wasn't fair. Then again, such was the nature of a spy's work, and Kaito was a master.
Indigo eyes narrowed. "What's wrong?"
"It's nothing," Shinichi said hastily, turning to place the photo back on the desk. He hadn't gone two steps before he was yanked back against Kaito's chest. The spy's arms circled his waist, keeping him there.
"I know when you're lying," Kaito admonished, hot breaths tickling Shinichi's ear. "Now talk."
He frowned when Shinichi didn't immediately answer. "You know I love you, right?"
Sighing, Shinichi let his head fall back against Kaito's shoulder. "I know. It's not that. I just… I feel like we're taking advantage of this girl."
Kaito almost laughed, but he thought better of it. "Shin-chan, we're working to save her home country from a wannabe tyrant. She'll thank us when it's all over. Or she will if she ever finds out we had anything to do with it. But of course she'll only ever know me as the friendly, wandering swordsman she made friends with who worked here for a while before moving on again. And trust me, she'll be happier for it."
The speed at which everything escalated was almost a shock.
Kaito's watch doves helped Shinichi reunite with the others. He had the unpleasant task of informing the lady about the capture of her retainers, but at least he was also able to assure her that they would both survive and would not suffer any lasting damage. He had convinced Kaito to sneak him into their cells before he'd left to make sure that their more serious injuries were properly treated (though he'd made sure to make it appear as though their conditions hadn't changed). They arrived at Lady Rina's father's palace at almost exactly the same time as the visiting contingent from the Land of Cranes and the Leiten family entourage. In fact, all three groups ran into each other just outside the palace gates. There was an instant uproar.
It began when Lady Rina spotted Akihiro and let out a horrified shriek at the blood stains all over his clothes. The contingent from the Land of Cranes also spotted the apparently ill-used prisoners and took umbrage at what they saw as unwarranted cruelty. The Leiten men hastened to make their case, only, with the evidence before them, they ended up claiming that the prisoners were criminals who'd sullied their princess's honor. They were probably hoping to justify themselves and frame the lady as being unfit for marriage at the same time, but the visiting prince would have none of it.
When the prince made to comfort the lady and offer his aid resolving whatever the problem was, Genrou took matters into his own hands and tried to kill them both. At that point, all hell broke loose.
The battle was brief but brutal. By the time it was over, the plaza before the palace gates was painted crimson and littered with bodies. Genrou and the survivors from his troupe were apprehended for attempted murder.
Shinichi spent the rest of the day and the better part of the night tending to the wounded. It was only as the sun peeked over the eastern horizon that he allowed himself to pass out on the nearest available cot.
The next time he opened his eyes, night had fallen. Someone had placed a covered lantern on the nightstand, filling the room with a muted glow. He watched the shadows dancing across the walls for a long moment before the murmur of familiar voices filtered into his thoughts. He experienced a moment of confusion when he thought he heard Kaito's voice in the mix, but the moment passed as quickly as it came. It was Kaito after all. Of course he already knew what had happened and had made his way here.
"He what?" Shinichi stared over the rim of his water glass at Ran. He had just finished checking in on all his patients. Now he was back in his room with Ran hovering over him, demanding that he eat every morsel of the far too large meal she had procured for him.
"That Genrou fellow isn't really Leiten Genrou. You can ask Kaito about it once he's done presenting his evidence to the nobles if you want the details, but it turns out he's a rogue shinobi Genrou met during his travels. He murdered the real Genrou, took his identity and returned to Chikana with his band."
"That's…" Shinichi started then stopped. He shook his head. "I'll bet the rest of the aristocrats are thinking twice now about having supported him."
Ran laughed. "Definitely."
A knock at the door had them both looking up as Kaito poked his head into the room.
"May I come in?" he asked.
"Of course." Ran stood up quickly. "I'm going to go see how the princess is doing. Oh, and make sure he eats everything on his plate," she added before breezing out the door.
Kaito took the chair that Ran had just vacated and quirked an eyebrow at Shinichi. The medic rolled his eyes, but he picked up his chopsticks again and prodded disinterestedly at the contents of his plate.
Shinichi paused with a cube of carrot halfway to his mouth to give Kaito a baffled look. "For what?"
"I was hoping to get here with my findings before it came to any actual fighting," the spy said solemnly. He never liked the way Shinichi looked right after a battle—withdrawn and shut off behind a mask of detachment as he hid himself in his work.
"You have nothing to apologize for," Shinichi replied. He managed a small smile before he put the carrot in his mouth. "I think there would have been a battle either way."
"Probably," Kaito admitted. He'd thought as much himself, but he'd hoped to at least minimize the fighting for Shinichi's sake. But he decided he should keep that thought to himself. "It would have been nice to be able to spare the lady from having to watch it all."
Shinichi winced. "That's true. She's still shaken up by the whole thing. She told me she's never seen anyone die before. But then… I prescribed some herbs to help her with the nightmares, but I'm guessing it's going to be a while before she can sleep soundly again." He shook his head and picked up another carrot only to spend a long minute staring at it. "Have you eaten yet?"
Kaito chuckled. "Now, now. Ran will kill me if I help you finish that. She was very clear that you had to eat everything yourself."
Shinichi blushed and grumbled something incoherent that only made Kaito laugh harder.
"I feel kind of sorry for them,' Kaito said much later, referring to Lady Rina and Akihiro. He had just finished filling Shinichi in on everything that had been discussed in the court that day. It seemed the two lands still wished to forge an alliance, but the details (such as whether there would be a marriage and, if so, between who) were still being worked out. "But if I was in his shoes, I wouldn't be waiting around for someone to solve the problem and give me permission. I'd just whisk you away to somewhere where we could be together forever and never have to worry about any of these ridiculous political issues."
"I'm sure he wants to, but it's not that simple. Lady Rina has responsibilities. So does he. It's not just about what they want."
"In that case, he should be doing everything he can to argue his case. It's not like he hasn't got skills. He should be showing them he'd be an asset. That's what I'd do."
A fond but weary smile tugged at Shinichi's lips. "Cut him some slack, Kai. Not everyone can be as confident in themselves as you are."
"You're not coming back with us?" Shinichi couldn't keep the dismay out of his own voice. Kaito had dragged him out of the palace early that morning so that they could take a walk through the mountain foothills overlooking the region. The day was lovely, but the news he had to deliver was not.
"I have to stay until they finish hashing out this alliance and sentencing the insurgents," he explained. "It's my job to gather information after all. But I promise I'll come straight home after that. It really shouldn't take long. I'd guess maybe two weeks tops, judging by how things have been going."
Shinichi nodded slowly, already resigned to the inevitable. He really should have expected this. He didn't realize that he had stopped walking until Kaito caught his hand and tugged him forward.
"Cheer up," the spy chided. "You're leaving tomorrow, so we have to make the most of today."
Shinichi smiled despite himself and gave Kaito's hand a squeeze. "What did you have in mind?"
Kaito grinned and flourished his heavy cloak. "We're going flying!"
And that too was something he should have expected, Shinichi thought with more than a little amusement. At least Kaito had bothered to warn him this time instead of just pushing him off a cliff.
The journey home was a peaceful one made somewhat longer than it strictly had to be by the stops they made to try out local restaurants Heiji had heard were good but which they had not had the time to try on their way past the first time. Shinichi found himself perusing the various bookstores at each of their stops for guides to baking and other innovative or cultural desserts. And no, it was not because he remembered how enthusiastic Kaito had been about sampling the bakery girl's new recipes.
Okay, that was a lie. But no one needed to know that.
Ran, Heiji, and Saguru all watched in mounting amusement as, each night after they'd set up camp, Shinichi would excuse himself to hide away somewhere to study his new cookbooks. They had a pretty good guess as to why he had developed a sudden interest in confectionaries. It didn't take a genius to make that obvious connection. But they unanimously decided to pretend for now that they hadn't noticed what he was up to (well, Heiji had wanted to tease him, but he'd changed his mind in a hurry when Ran had given him the Look).
By the time they had returned to the village, Shinichi had lined up a list of a dozen recipes he planned to try and hopefully perfect before Kaito got home.
For the next week and a half, the house was constantly permeated with the aroma of fresh baking. The mouthwatering atmosphere and the many loaded cooling trays and pastry boxes arranged all over the kitchen table led to a palpable increase in the number of times his friends and colleagues visited the house.
"Wow Shinichi, I'd never have guessed ya had it in you," Heiji commented as he admired the result of Shinichi's latest project before taking a huge bite out of it. The cup cheesecake was not only tasty but beautifully decorated too with artfully arranged fruits. "These are actually really good."
Shinichi wondered if he should be offended by just how shocked Heiji appeared to be, but he decided he should just be pleased. "I got some tips from Kaito's mom."
Heiji nodded sagely. "Her stuff's always amazing, and she's gotta know exactly what kind of flavors Kuroba fancies. If you've got her stamp of approval than you've got nothing ta worry about."
"I wasn't worried," Shinichi lied, face turning red. "I just thought I should learn to make a few desserts so we're not always asking Chikage-san for them. Her restaurant's only getting busier by the day, and I feel bad that she never lets us actually buy anything from her."
Heiji smirked. "Right. You keep telling yourself that."
As luck would have it, Shinichi missed his chance to actually welcome Kaito home because he'd been called into the emergency room to help treat the casualties of an attack by a summon animal that had caught a strange illness and gone berserk. By the time he got home, he was so tired that he completely overlooked the new pair of shoes that had appeared by the door. He had decided that he would take a short nap before making dinner, but the chocolate cherry cupcakes he'd put out to cool that morning needed to be boxed. He would be bringing half of them to the academy tomorrow as he was going in to teach another class, and he thought the rest would be a good way to cheer up the victims of today's accident who were still in the hospital. So he walked into the kitchen and nearly bumped into a very familiar back.
"Kaito!" he exclaimed in surprise.
The spy turned around to greet him with a smile. "Looks like someone's been busy. Is there a special occasion I don't know about?"
"Oh, uh, no, not really," Shinichi stammered, one hand rising to scratch at his cheek. "I just thought I'd learn a few desserts. So we don't have to keep bothering your mom… Do you want one?"
The knowing look that Kaito gave him made him blush. The spy leaned in to drop a kiss on Shinichi's nose, making him go cross-eyed. "I'd love one."
The warmth in Kaito's voice made Shinichi feel just this side of giddy, but, being the responsible medic that he was, he hastened to insist that they both eat dinner first.
Later, as they sat cuddled up together on the couch in the living room with steaming mugs of coffee in their hands and empty plates speckled with chocolate crumbs on the table before them, Shinichi asked Kaito what had happened to Lady Rina.
"Well, the prince was quite taken with her, but he said he would never marry a woman against her will," Kaito replied. "So they've decided to move forward with the alliance without a marriage. But one of the conditions is that Lady Rina, Akihiro, and several others from the next generation of nobility has to spend the next two years at the court in the Land of Cranes followed by two years in Chikana as a joint education venture to foster understanding and friendship. Though before they start, they're working together to weed out the corrupt lords who've been taking advantage of their positions using information provided by yours truly." He smirked. "It'll take some time for them to get through all the trials, but things are looking up."
"I'm glad to hear that," Shinichi murmured. "I was worried."
Kaito smirk softened into a smile, and he turned to press a kiss to Shinichi's temple. "All's well that ends well. In fact, I'd say it couldn't have turned out better. The kingdom's got its alliance, the people are getting out from under the thumbs of those greedy pigs, and the princess is more than likely going to get to marry the man she loves."
"All's well that ends well," Shinichi echoed. Smiling, he let his head rest on Kaito's shoulder. Sitting here with Kaito's arm around him and his last concerns for the lady and her kingdom assuaged, he truly felt as though all was right with the world.
A.N: Well, that's the end of this one. Now on to the next unfinished project! Anyway, thanks for reading. Take care and stay safe!