Swim to survive.
Fish... Not scared to dive.
Fish... I wish I could see what you see,
when I'm in the dark.
It was the first time Kaito was actually present for one of the 'Kaitou Kid Division After Heist Celebrations' and he wasn't particularly happy about it. For one thing a Celebration meant that a heist didn't go according to plan. And this one sure hadn't. He'd figured out that the Tanzanite Ocean didn't have the Pandora in it, but it still galled him that he'd had to escape without it. And it was worse to have to watch Nakamori celebrate it. Especially since the person who caused the whole disaster was sitting right next to him in a tweed deerstalker. But since he and Aoko had shown up to help…(well, Aoko to help and Kaito for Ulterior Motives) they'd been dragged to the party too.
They were all sitting around a long table in a tatami floored room, bottles of beer and glasses all around, and big stew pots positioned every 6 people or so, with all the meat and veggies just waiting to be popped in. At every place setting there was a sumptuous dish of sashimi. Kaito nudged his dish over towards Aoko with a chopstick…keeping it as far away as possible. Those shrimp still had eyes.
"Why the sour look, Kuroba-kun?" Hakuba asked with a sly grin, "It's a night to celebrate…unless you have a reason to feel otherwise?"
Kaito leaned back on his hands. "I'm surprised you're so happy. After all, you STILL haven't caught Kaitou Kid."
"I see no problem with celebrating small victories. Though I can't say I hadn't hoped for something more…substantial. That will simply have to wait for next time. Kaitou Kid will get his sooner or later."
"That's a very good attitude, Hakuba-kun." Aoko nodded on Kaito's other side.
"Hey! You three! Hold up your glasses, it's time for a toast!" Nakamori roared from the other end of the table.
Aoko sniffed her glass, "But Dad! This isn't Oolong Tea, it's beer! We're not old enough to drink!"
One of the police officers put an arm around Hakuba, "Hey! This is a party! And it's only a little sip for the toast, we'll make sure you guys get tea when the bring up the next course."
With dubious looks the three of them raised their glasses.
It was the beginning of a very long night. The tea never came. More food came, more beer came, chu-hai's and whiskey came…but no tea. Aoko fended for herself pretty well, she took over their corner's stew pot and made sure that everyone had enough to eat and filled up glasses with a practiced hand. Whenever anyone tried to get her to drink they were distracted by a "oh, just try some of this, you must be starving, what a fine drinker you are!" If Kaito hadn't seen her work the same routine on her father at the pool hall that one time, he never would have believed it was the same girl.
And Kaito himself, as a master of prestidigitation could convince everyone that he was drinking even when he wasn't. And if most of the beer somehow ended up in Inspector Nakamori's cup, well, he wasn't likely to complain. Hakuba on the other hand, was really getting the brunt of it.
Nakamori was feeling generous and declared Hakuba the hero of the hour. (Which only made Kaito's mood sour more.) They dragged him over to the other end of the table. There was a toast in his honor, then another…And eventually someone wanted to test the theory that foreigners were stronger drinkers. The teen detective held them off for as long as he could, but there is no peer pressure like Japanese peer pressure. Really, Kaito was impressed he managed to fend them off for as long as he had.
"Kaito," Aoko whispered in his ear, "When they stop to break for the second party I think you should take Hakuba-kun home, and make sure that he'll be okay." She was clearly remembering a night of too many martinis.
"Me? Why don't you do it?"
"Because I have to make sure Dad gets home. Besides, this would give you two a chance to talk more, wouldn't it?" She whacked him lightly upside the head.
He gave her a wary look, "Talk more?"
She snorted and wrapped her arms around her knees. "I'm not BLIND. I've seen the way you two watch each other. And well, I thought for awhile that you and Akako-chan would…but you don't like her that way, do you."
"Woah, woah, woah! It's NOT what you're thinking." Kaito spluttered and held up his hands.
"I know you two have some kind of silly feud about Kaitou Kid, which makes NO sense honestly. I mean, you may be a big fan, but Hakuba-kun's really the one going out there and doing something. It doesn't seem right for you to pick on him that way," she said in a rush and then stopped for air. "But ANYway. That's not what I meant. You two would be cute together. A straight man and comedian. That's what Keiko said anyway."
"Shh! Not so loud!"
Kaito felt his cheeks burn with the force of 10,000 drinks. "You have been discussing my love life with Keiko!?" He hissed.
"She started it!"
Kaito looked over to the other end of the table where Hakuba was being clapped on the back by a red faced Nakamori. The blond detective smiled shyly back. He'd never gotten much acceptance from Nakamori before, and probably wouldn't once they were both sober again. The change must be nice. "A comedy pair you say?"
"Only one problem with that."
Kaito grinned mockingly, "The straight man." Ba dum bum ching.
Aoko was saved from replying when one of the policemen looked at his watch. "Hey! Time's about up. Round two! Who's up for karaoke?"
There was a loud cheer from the men. Kaito stood, resolutely not looking at Aoko. "I think we're gonna bow out, homework to do and all that." He walked over to wear Hakuba was sitting and helped haul him to his feet.
"Dad too," Aoko said making for her father.
"But…Aoko! It's only the second party…." Nakamori whined.
She grabbed him by the tie tied around his head. "And you promised me that tomorrow we'd go shopping! But we won't be doing that if you're too hung over! You promised!"
"Oww. My head hurts already, and I haven't even had time to GET a hangover."
Hakuba swayed slightly, but remained on his feet. "That," he said, "is one scary woman."
"You don't know the half of it. C'mon, let's get you home."
The night air was refreshingly cool with the faint scent of wisteria. Spring was easing its way into summer like someone testing the water of a swimming pool. Not sure yet, whether to be cool or warm. The moon was almost full up above them. "You think you can walk okay?"
Hakuba glared with the force of someone who was doing their very best to be sober. Someone who was holding on to his self control and dignity by the very tips of his fingers. "I'm perfectly c-c-culpable, thank you very much."
Kaito sighed, "No, no. I'M culpable. And you're *not* capable, which is what I think you meant. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other."
Hakuba snickered, "The game is afoot!"
Rolling his eyes he nudged the detective forward. They walked in silence for a little while, Kaito enjoying the night, and Hakuba with intense concentration, trying to walk as if he were sober, and failing rather miserably.
They were passing near a river…an old castle moat really, when Hakuba said suddenly, "I believe I'm going to be sick."
"Not here you're not!" Kaito spun him sideways so that he was hanging over the guard rail, facing the river.
"There's fish in there!"
"I can't be sick in that! I'll damage the fish!"
"Hakuba, that doesn't make any sense."
But the detective crouched down with his head between his knees, taking huge gulps of air. Kaito was beginning to worry when Hakuba said, "I think I'm going to be all right now. The nausea has faded." But he didn't move, instead looking through the bars of the rail down at the fish. "Why are there carp in the river?"
Kaito tried not to look a the f-f-fish. "A long time ago they raised them for food. In case some samurai came and attacked or something. This area used to be an old castle town, you know. Now they keep them 'cause they think they're pretty."
"They *are* pretty."
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
"That one over there reminds me of you," Hakuba said pointing.
"I am so not looking," Kaito began, but Hakuba stood abruptly and MADE him look. In the lamplight he could barely make out a black and white spotted carp slipping in of the dark water. "Hakuba," he said in a dark tone, "Hakuba, why does a fish make you think of me?"
"That fish is sneaky. A sneaky fish. It's swimming rings around the other fish. But do you know what Kuroba?"
"It's still going to get caught," he said glumly. The alcohol must have really gotten to him, he sounded so sad.
Kaito sighed a little and put a hand on the detective's shoulder. "I don't think you're up to double entendres tonight. I'm not getting caught, and neither is the f-fish. It's purely ornamental. He's going to swim in this canal for the rest of his icky fishy life and make lots of sneaky baby fish."
"No he's not. It's a mathematical fact. Probability. He'll get caught, and then do you know what will happen?"
"What?" asked a long suffering Kaito.
"They'll eat him. Fry him up and eat him with chips."
"Look, no one's gonna eat the fish! They're a tourist attraction! Tame! Look, if you clap their hands they come up to the surface!"
"It IS just like you!"
"Hakuba, the fish is not Kaito Kuroba. The fish is not Kaitou Kid. I am not Kaitou Kid. No one is going to catch, the goddamned fish."
The blond detective's face screwed up in determination. "Shows how much you know. I'll prove it to you!"
"How are you going to….Hey, wait…what the…GET BACK HERE!" But Saguru Hakuba had already slipped away and was now wading out into the water with his hat in his hands. "Here fishie, fishie, fishie."
"Hakubaka! You get back here! You need to go home so I can go home! I'm not standing out here so you can catch a FISH!"
"Shhh!" Hakuba said quite loudly, "You'll scare them. Besides, it's not A fish it's THAT fish. There's no challenge in catching just any fish."
Kaito chucked off his shoes and socks, eyeing the water warily. He was going to get Hakuba back to his stupid dome of a house whether the detective liked it or not. But that didn't mean he was keen on wading out into fish infested waters. /It's just like the time with the Black Star, or the Easter Egg…or the pirate with the biplane. You could do it then, and you can do it now. And this time there are no sharks./
Stepping gingerly he waded out to where Hakuba crouched mid-calf deep. "Hakuba…"
"Don't move…..HA!" The detective pounced, went sideways, crashed into Kaito and sent them both sprawling into the water.
"HAKUBA!" Kaitou Kid was strictly non-violent. Kaito Kuroba was having second thoughts.
But the drunken boy didn't look the least bit sorry. "I told you. Probability." He looked very self satisfied at the prize wriggling in his Sherlock Holmes Hat.
Kaito grumbled and pulled himself out of the water. "Yeah, yeah, you made your point, now just let it go."
"I can't." The smile faded away and he looked somewhat horrified.
"You're not telling me you're going to lock him in fishy jail. Your Kid analogy has gone far enough."
"B-But if I let him go, he'll get caught by someone else, eaten, or hurt."
"That's just what happens to a fish. If he wasn't willing to risk it, he wouldn't be a fish, now would he?" If Hakuba was going to carry this 'thief as fish' analogy, so could he. He helped the light haired boy out of the water and over to the bank.
"But m-maybe the other fish…would be sad if that happened. Maybe this fish is willing to get eaten to…b-be a fish. But the frogs and nematodes would miss him."
The moonlight was shining down on both of them. Reflecting on the water hanging like beads in Hakuba's hair. And Hakuba's eyes were so serious, and so sad. For a moment Kaito held still. But then the fish lurched in the hat and Kaito squawked and pedaled backwards. "You're not going to put that fish back, are you."
Sigh. "Well then, we better get it back to your house before you kill it in that hat. What are you going to call him, Lupin?"
That earned him a reproachful look. "Moriarty."
"Figures," Hakuba was still looking glum, and his feet were squelching uncomfortably in his shoes, "Don't you know any *happy* fish stories?"
The blond blinked. "I know a song?"
Luckily for his eardrums Hakuba's house wasn't much farther. Kaito wondered if the detective was in any state to notice that he didn't use any keys to get them inside. The house was smaller inside, than he thought it would be. Most of it was taken up with the lab. But then, Hakuba lived alone, so he really didn't need that much space.
"First order of business is to find a place for that fish…I'm surprised it's still alive."
"I know where." Hakuba said brightly, "There's an old fishbowl in the bathroom. It has decorative potpourri in it now. But we can clean it out." But the fish had other ideas. While he was emptying the rose hips into the trash can the fish gave a great heave and flipped itself right into the toilet bowl. The two watched it in silence for a long moment.
"I don't think I have the energy to get him out. I guess he can stay there."
"I hope you have another bathroom, Hakuba, because I'm sure not going to go in that." Kaito made a face.
"Near the bedroom. It connects to the lab."
They walked over to the bedroom and the detective sat down heavily on the bed. "Kuroba?"
"I don't think I'm a happy drunk."
"No, but at least you're not manic. Aoko's like a four year old on speed. C'mon, you gotta get out of those wet clothes or you'll get sick."
But Hakuba just sat there like a lump. "I didn't mean to catch it, really."
Kaito made a frustrated sound and started to unbutton the heavy tweed coat. "If you didn't want it, why did you bother with it in the first place?"
"I wanted to catch it, but I didn't want to *catch* it." He obediently raised his arms and let the coat fall into a wet pile on the floor. The white button-down shirt clung to his body in interesting ways.
Kaito cleared his throat, "You think you can manage the rest?"
Hakuba nodded and started to peel of his socks, completely unselfconsciously. He was down to the shirt and boxers when he sat back down. "You're not getting undressed."
"No, as soon as you're settled in, I'm going home."
"I don't want you to go."
Kaito sighed again and closed the distance between them. "Yes you do, believe me. Tomorrow you're going to wake up, and if you're lucky you won't remember a thing. And if you do you sure won't want me around." He knelt and started to undo the buttons at Hakuba's throat. Figured that the guy would button all the way up to the top. "Trust me, you'll feel better when you wake up. Well, maybe not, but at least you'll be sober again." He forced his hands not to hesitate. /Poker face, poker face./ It was just too weird to be sitting in Hakuba's room and undressing him like an overgrown doll.
"Kuroba, I'm drunk."
"You said that before."
"I'm drunk, and so I'm not responsible if I do something stupid. It's part of Japanese culture, I read about it." And before Kaito could even open his mouth to ask what the hell he was talking about, Hakuba put his hands over Kaito's, trapping them, leaned forward, and kissed him.
It was brief and feather light. If Kaito blinked he would have missed it. But of course he didn't blink…his eyes were wide open with shock.
"I know, very ungentlemanly of me. You are fond of Miss Nakamori, or perhaps Miss Koizumi. But I thought…I'm drunk, so you might not remember it in the morning."
Kaito laughed softly despite himself. "That's not the way that works, Hakuba." He felt oddly like a rubber ball was somewhere loose inside of him. Hakuba lord of properness and stuffy dignity had just kissed him. Furthermore he'd done it knowing, or at least believing, that he was Kaitou Kid.
"Hakuba…I have a feeling that you'll really regret that in the morning." He said.
"Yes, I know. I'm sorry. I won't do it again…but just this once. Please don't' tell Miss Nakamori, I imagine she'd be upset with me." He let Kaito's hands go.
For a long moment Kaito didn't say anything. His hands stayed right where they were, his palms flat against Hakuba's chest. The shirt was still damp, but thin enough that the heat of his skin radiated out. He felt strange and giddy. Like laughing.
"Aoko," he said slowly, "would not be upset with you right now."
Hakuba's eyes nearly crossed with the effort of concentration. "No…she'd be upset with you, wouldn't she. I'll tell her…all my fault. Where's my cell? I'll call her right now."
He started to reach for his coat on the floor, and Kaito tried to stop him, which meant that they ended up even more tangled on the bed, with Hakuba's wrists pinned above his head. "No, you are NOT going to call Aoko right now. That's not what I meant."
Kaito made a frustrated noise, trying to think of something to say that Hakuba might understand in his current state of stupidity, and also wouldn't make him feel like an idiot. Finally he leaned forward a bit, "Listen. I'm only going to do this once, so pay attention." Then, still not really believing what he was doing, he kissed Hakuba.
He'd intended it to be nothing more than the light brush of lips that Hakuba's had been. But he hadn't been expecting the blond's reaction. The detective leaned up into the kiss, and what had been chaste was suddenly…not so. It crackled and burned and made his heart beat faster. It felt like the best part of a heist, the thrill that sped through his blood, chases and near escapes, the glitter of jewels in the moonlight.
Kaito broke the kiss, gasping for air. He realized what position he had Hakuba trapped in and quickly moved away. This was NOT the way it was supposed to go, and he was NOT going to let his self-control get away from him. "L-l-look," he said shakily, but he never got to finish the thought.
Hakuba moved somehow, twisted, and pinned Kaito up against the headboard. His blue eyes were intense. "I've got you now." He said in a low satisfied voice, and kissed him again.
Maybe he'd had too much of that beer after all, as little as it'd been. All rational thought flew right out of Kaito's brain. Kissing was an entirely mindless pleasure, sensation overload. He wondered why they'd never gotten around to it before.
He felt Hakuba's hand snake up under his shirt, sliding skin against skin. /Ahh, now that feels nice…./ And then an emergency valve in his brain clicked on and started to reassert reality. He grabbed Hakuba's wrist and pushed him away, "Hey, hey…stop." He managed to pull away a bit, get a gasp of cool air. The detective looked at him, uncomprehending.
"I don't want to do this unless you know what you're doing. And I don't think you do right now. And you would be so supremely pissed with me in the morning. Not to mention yourself." Kaito said, running a hand through blond curls.
"But you're not leaving?"
Kaito laughed, "No, I'm not leaving."
"Good." Then Hakuba leaned his head back against the headboard and fell instantly asleep.
Kaito grumbled at him and pulled the covers up around the detective. Then walked out into the bathroom. He definitely needed a minute to cool down. He looked in the mirror. "Now," he said to himself, "just what am I going to tell him in the morning?"
The fish in the toilet bowl gave a little flip of agreement.
Take me, take me
Take me fish...
Take me, take me,
Take me fish...
Take me, take me,
Take me fish...
To the turquoise fantasy.
Fish fish fish fish
1. ALL ICKA'S FAULT. Read her "Mad Dog's and Englishmen" for an alternate take on the night if you want to know what Kaito DID tell Hakuba in the morning.
2. The lyrics are from Bonnie Pink's song, "Fish" which is actually really pretty. Or maybe I've just been in Japan way too long.