Shakespeare Appreciation

"Hakuba, this is nuts."

"Hm?" The British Detective didn't even look up from the kanji textbook at his desk. They two of them were studying for their college entrance exams; Hakuba for the Japanese Proficiency test and Kaito for the TOEFL exam. It was a refreshing piece of normalcy in both their lives. They didn't have to think about gems or jewels, dark organizations or their increasingly complicated roles of thief and detective. Just peace and quiet and studying.

It was incredibly boring.

"Hakuba, I'm talking to you."

"And I'm listening."

"Look, I know you said it would be good practice, but this reading Shakespeare in the original is insane. They don't even talk like this anymore." He flopped over on the bed so that his head hung over the edge. "I've been there, and I know."

Hakuba put down his pencil. He wheeled in his chair to face the thief. "Kuroba. Shakespeare is the crowning achievement of the English language. The culmination of poetry, wit and drama. Shakespeare, my friend, is the entire POINT. And it cannot be properly conveyed in another language. If you cannot appreciate it, there's something fundamentally wrong with you."

"That's not fair. It's not like I'm asking you to read the Tale of Genji or anything."

Looking at his textbook, Hakuba sighed. "I doubt I could read the kanji."

Kaito smirked. "It was originally written in hiragana, for your information. So no weaseling out that way. But. That's not the point. I'm not saying it's not pretty. I'm not saying it's not good. I'm just saying that it's irrelevant. None of this is going to be on my test.

"And I'm telling you that it IS relevant. What are you reading?"

"Much Ado About Nothing. See? Even the title agrees with me."

Hakuba took the slim volume that dangled from Kaito's fingers like a limp fish. "I've always liked this one. And Benedict and Beatrice remind me of the two of us."

"Because they're always bickering?"

He laughed. "Yes, and well, they're intelligent and not at all mushy, you know. Not like those characters Koizumi-san goes on about in those comics of hers. If you went on like that, I believe I'd weep."

Kaito snorted, knowing very well what kind of manga Akako liked to read. "So they do hook up? I haven't gotten that far yet. Wait, am I supposed to be Benedict or Beatrice?"

"Benedict." Hakuba's answer was quick and firm.

"But that would make you the girl. I didn't figure you for the type…" He grinned and Hakuba smacked him with the book.

"Beatrice is the honest and upstanding one of the two. The one with morals. Benedict is a sad rogue." Hakuba flipped open to a page and read in a deep resonating voice, "'Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull fool; only his gift is in devising impossible slanders: none but libertines delight in him; and the commendation is not in his wit, but in his villainy; for he both pleases men and angers them, and then they laugh at him and beat him.'"

"…You're still the girl."

"I take it all back. You're not Benedict, you're Dogberry."

Kaito had the suspicion he'd just been insulted.

Hakuba looked through the book until he found what he was looking for. "This is more what I was thinking of, though. This is where the two of them are talking about how they fell in love…you should read it aloud you know, it was meant to be read aloud. And it makes it easier to understand." He cleared his throat. "Benedict says, 'And, I pray thee now, tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?'

"And then Beatrice says, 'For them all together; which maintained so politic a state of evil that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?'"

Kaito snickered, "Suffer love, I like that."

"Which is exactly what Benedict says. ''Suffer love,' a good epithet! I do suffer love indeed, for I love thee against my will.'" He got up and stretched out on the bed next to Kaito, showing him the line.

Kaito held the book still with his own hand, their shoulders touching as he leaned in and read slowly, " 'In…in spite of your heart, I think. Al-Alas, poor heart! If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.'"

"You're stealing my lines."

"Yes, well, I am the one that does all the impersonations." Kaito said in Hakuba's voice.

Hakuba mock growled and rolled quickly, pinning the smaller boy beneath him. "' Peace! I will stop your mouth!'" And kissed him.

Author's Notes:

1. This, I believe, takes place in the Pomp universe. But I'm not sure. See, I'm planning a Shakespeare thing in Pomp, that would negate a lot of what Kaito says here. So, I can only say that this snippet takes place in some universe where Kaito and Hakuba are in a relationship, and Kaito has at some point been to England.

2. All quotes come from "Much Ado" which I really suggest you read. And if you can't bring yourself to read…(shame on you!)…go see the movie. I hoped that the quotes would all stand fairly well on their own. Except for maybe the Dogberry one. (Dogberry is the 'Clown' of the play, and a real idiot.)

3. This was supposed to be a pwp, but ended up as cute and utterly un-sexy. So you only get this little ficlet. I'm sorry. At least for once Kaito doesn't get shot by someone.

4. The Tale of Genji, to the best of my knowledge, was composed in Hiragana, the most basic alphabet of Japanese. In the Heian era men wrote in kanji, the Chinese writing system, and women wrote in hiragana, a highly simplified form of kanji changed to suit the needs of the Japanese lang. It got to the point where men were writing under women's pen names so they could keep from writing in Kanji!

5. Hakuba and Kaito are both studying for college entrance exams. Hakuba is taking a Japanese language test used by colleges to prove that you know enough Japanese to participate in normal classes. (I figure he may be able to speak just fine in the manga, but living in England, he probably doesn't read and write nearly as well) And Kaito is taking the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) test to prove that his English is good enough to study abroad.

6. Now look, these notes are almost as long as the ficlet! Yikes. Sorry folks. Pomp 3 will be coming soon.