Disclaimer: I don't own the DCMK characters.
Pairing: KaiShin [KaitoxShinichi], possible HeiKazu and HakuRan
Summary: When Kaito spotted Shinichi on the streets, he knew he'd found the solution to his problem. Shinichi isn't about to do anything for his crazy kidnapper, but it seems things aren't that simple. It's the beginning of a strange relationship.
Smile for Me
1: The Problem
When he'd first been told that he would have to go to the annual Skyline Banquet, Kuroba Kaito hadn't thought much about it. He'd always known he would eventually step into his father's shoes as Ekoda's head magician. It was what the aristocracy did, really, and he was proud to be the heir to one of the most prominent magician bloodlines in the world.
It wasn't until he looked at his calendar that he realized the banquet was being held on the same day as Ekoda's biggest festival. Held once every ten years since the day the city had been named, it was a day for everyone to celebrate the achievements of the past decade. It had started as a way for the city to really pull together as a community and demonstrate how far they had come. The number of special events associated with the festival couldn't be counted, but there was one event he had set his heart on being a part of.
He'd been ten when his parents had brought him to the show. The event had no official name since it had started as a simple meeting of young performers who'd decided on the spur of the moment to have a talent contest. Over the decades, the event had grown until it had become one of the most anticipated events of the festival. Nowadays, everyone simply called it The Performances. To be voted the victor of the competition was the dream of all the city's up and coming performers.
The cheers of the audience… The blazing lights and dance of colors…
He had vowed to himself that he would perform on that stage during the festival that day.
Even back then, he'd known that, if he wanted to participate, he would only have the one chance. Once he turned twenty one, he would be expected to officially take up his duties as his father's heir. It didn't bother him—was looking forward to the challenge, for the most part. But he'd been waiting ten years for this opportunity. He refused to miss it for one lousy banquet! The problem, of course, being that he couldn't let his dad down either by not showing up when he'd already given his word that he would attend the blasted thing.
To top it off, his mother had taken his driver's license for a, ah, harmless joke he'd played on the Koizumi girl and he wasn't due to get it back until the week after next. On the bright side, she hadn't actually grounded him.
Which was why he was currently drumming his fingers in the back seat of a car on his way home from a party at the park with his fellow university juniors. In the front seats sat the blond Hakuba Saguru and the dark-skinned Hattori Heiji. The former had not originally intended to attend the student party, but one of the perks of rank was the ability to order people around. And the blonde had decided that if he had to go then so did Hattori, not that the other minded. Unlike his uptight friend, Hattori liked parties. Watching the two bicker had been a reliable source of amusement for the magician all through the day.
Well, at least he knew where he could always find a good laugh. All he'd have to do was lock the two in a room then sit back and watch the show. Strange how two people who'd known each other as long as they had could find so much to disagree about—or perhaps it was precisely because they'd known each other for so long?
Now, however, the entertainment had stopped for the moment as the blonde stared stiffly ahead at the road (sulking?) and Hattori pulled out his phone and started tapping out text messages (probably ranting via type to his friend Toyama Kazuha. She often complained that every time the two fought she had to hear all about it. Considering how often they fought, well, it was easy to see why she was fed up with it. Yet Hattori couldn't seem to break the habit).
Thoughts wandering back to his dilemma with the banquet and the performance competition, Kaito let his gaze drift to the street passing by outside the window.
He froze, indigo eyes going wide.
"Stop the car!"
Hakuba's foot slammed on the breaks automatically without any input from his brain. Tires screeched and everyone in the car lurched violently forward. The blonde himself let out an 'oof' as his seatbelt jerked him back from a collision with the steering wheel. Hattori let out a yelp of pain as he cracked his head against the window he'd been half leaning on. His phone jumped out of his fingers like a live thing and bounced on his knee before disappearing into the darkness around his feet.
"What the hell?!" Hattori burst out, craning his neck around so he could get a look out every window of the car. Not seeing anything particularly out of the ordinary, he turned his attention to Kaito. But the magician was already gone. The car door swung lazily, indicating his route of departure.
"I don't see him," Hakuba said, forgetting that he wasn't talking to Hattori.
A barrage of honks dragged both their attention to the line of cars piling up behind them.
"We need to move to the side of the road."
Hakuba nodded and did just that, the open door flapping a little with the movement. Thankfully, it didn't hit anything.
Kudo Shinichi had not been having a good day. For one, he was late. His alarm clock had run out of batteries without his knowledge and therefore failed to fulfill its purpose in life and wake him up that morning at seven like it had been told to. That meant he'd barely had any time at all to grab a piece of toast before he had to leave his home and sprint all the way to his university campus to make it on time for the exam that would determine half his grade for his chemistry class. That meant he hadn't been able to get his morning coffee. Days that began without coffee never went well. It was like an omen, really. Ever since he'd been in junior high, he'd noticed that things tended to go wrong when he didn't have his customary morning cup of coffee (yes, he'd been drinking coffee for that long. He couldn't actually remember when the habit had started). Of course, he supposed he could be biased. He had never been a morning person, and starting off the day cranky from lack of coffee didn't help. But the fact of the matter was that many of his worst memories were all from those days. There was the time he'd broken his leg falling down the stairs. Then there had been the food poisoning incident in high school. The chem. experiment where his lab partner had mixed up a crucial chemical and the entire thing exploded in his face had also been on one of those coffee deficient days. And he would never forget the time he'd lost one of his favorite books to the merciless clutches of the river.
But he was getting sidetracked here. He had arrived late to the testing hall, but thankfully not by so much that he hadn't been able to complete the exam, even if he didn't have the time he would have liked to have in order to check his answers. Hopefully, he hadn't made any major errors out of haste. That was the kind of mistake he hated most—the ones you knew you could've gotten right if you'd just paid a little more attention. So it turned out oversleeping hadn't been the terrible catastrophe it could've been. Unfortunately, it was only the beginning of his woes.
He had been headed for the nearest café that he knew sold decent coffee after leaving the testing hall when he was nearly run over by a careless driver who'd been driving way too fast for such a populated area. When he finally reached the café, he'd discovered that it was closed for the day. Feeling slightly betrayed, he had decided to head to the library. He had one more exam to study for and the coffee shop beside the library was good even if it wasn't his first choice.
It was a half hour walk from where he was to the library in question, but he didn't really mind. The weather was nice and a little exercise could be just what he needed to settle his frazzled nerves.
He had stopped outside a bakery on the way when it happened. Standing before the large, bakery windows, he peered inside at the rows of assorted pastries and cakes, wondering if he should buy something. The one piece of toast he'd had that morning felt like ages ago and he'd missed lunch entirely. He'd never had anything from this bakery before, but the smells wafting out from inside it whenever the doors swung open were making his mouth water.
Come to think of it, had he remembered to grab his wallet before rushing out the door this morning? He checked his pockets. Yep, there it was. Thank goodness. It would have just put the icing on the cake if he'd left that at home and had to waste time running back now to get it. He had just made up his mind to buy the fruit tart when a hand fell on his shoulder.
Startled, he turned around quickly.
For the fraction of an instant his eyes met a pair of indigo orbs he was sure he'd never seen before. Then a sudden wave of vertigo swamped his senses and the world went black.
Hattori was the first to spot the magician as he reappeared by their car. His jaw dropped but no words came out.
"Kuroba! What do you think you're doing?" the blonde beside him hissed, horrified.
Kaito rolled his eyes as he tucked the unconscious boy into the back seat. "What does it look like?"
"It looks like you're committing a crime!"
"I'm just borrowing him for a moment," Kaito replied, waving a dismissive hand at the accusation. "I'm not going to hurt him. Now hurry up and start the car before someone sees."
"I can't believe you're doing this!" It seemed Hattori had found his voice. "What is your father going to say when he finds out?"
"But he isn't." Indigo eyes fixed the two mortified young men with a steely look that momentarily froze the blood in their veins.
Hakuba swallowed nervously. "But…"
Indigo eyes narrowed.
The blonde gave up and started the car. Beside him, Hattori turned to thump his head against the car window. Between getting in trouble for going along with Kaito's mad schemes and landing themselves on the magician's bad side (or even more on it than he usually was, in the blonde's case), they would both rather choose the former. Hakuba cast another anxious look at the newest passenger in his car and prayed that, if anyone had seen them, that no one had gotten his license plate number. Why oh why had he been born into a clan that served one of the world's craziest families? He must have done something truly awful in a past life and this was his punishment.
And did Hattori really have to keep knocking on the window with his forehead? In Hakuba's opinion, the other didn't really have the brain cells to spare.
The sooner they got back to the Kuroba Estate, the better.
"So are you going to explain to us why we've suddenly become accomplices in a kidnapping?" Hattori asked in a whisper despite the fact that they were standing in the sitting room of Kaito's private quarters with the door shut and locked and all the curtains drawn. He couldn't help the way his fingers were fidgeting with his sleeves. What he really wanted to do was run out the door and pretend that he didn't know one Kuroba Kaito at all and therefore could have nothing to do with any plot the mad magician had up his sleeves. Unfortunately, it was years too late for that. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Hakuba pinching the bridge of his nose with his eyes squeezed shut. Over the years, he'd learned that this meant the blonde was doing his best to convince the world (and himself) that he was somewhere else. It never worked, but that didn't seem to stop the blonde from trying.
"Haven't you two noticed yet?" the mastermind behind their predicament asked incredulously. "Just look at him!"
This was, in point of fact, an action they had both been trying to avoid. Out of sight, out of mind and all that (not that this had ever worked either). In addition to the reminder that they had just abducted some random stranger off the streets, they both had enough of a sense of shame to feel embarrassed whenever their eyes happened to brush past the victim of said abduction. Neither of them could yet believe that they had been a part of such a heinous deed.
"Well?" Kaito demanded, growing impatient. "Do you see it yet or do I really have to spell it out for you?"
Reluctantly, one pair of green eyes and one pair of brown inched to the young man Kaito had laid on the sitting room couch. Sock-clad feet dangled over the side of the couch as he lay half curled amidst the velvety cushions. He was dressed in simple jeans, a plain T-shirt, and a slightly faded jacket. Nothing of any particular note there. Their eyes jumped over his face to note that his hair was black and mostly neat but for a rather peculiar tuft that stuck up in the back. Finally, they couldn't avoid it any longer and looked to his face. Feathery, black bangs shadowed part of it, but they could still make out enough of his features for the realization to click.
"No way," Hattori gasped, breaking the silence. "He—he looks just like you!"
"Not exactly," Hakuba countered with a frown. After the initial shock, his analytical mind automatically began to pick out the little differences. There was the obvious: the difference in hair color and the way the stranger's hair was smooth where Kuroba's was wild and spiky and had never been neat in his life. Then there was the face itself. The stranger's features were softer and more fine—almost delicate in a way that reminded him of someone, though he couldn't for the life of him pinpoint who. The thought nagged at him as his frown deepened.
"The resemblance is amazing though," Kaito was saying as he gently tilted the stranger's head up to better examine his face. "With a little work, he could definitely pass for me, at least among people who don't see me every day."
"Wait," Hattori said slowly. "You…you're not actually thinking about—but that's crazy!"
"No, it's perfect," Kaito retorted. Indigo eyes gleamed madly. "How else am I going to be in two places at once?"
"But that means he's going to have to pretend to be you!"
"Well, duh. There are three weeks before the banquet. I'm sure I can teach him enough about what to do by then. It's just a banquet after all."
"I believe there is a major flaw in your plan," Hakuba cut in dryly. "You have just kidnapped him off the street. I highly doubt he is going to want to listen to anything you say, let alone agree to be your stunt double."
For once, Hattori was in perfect agreement with his blond friend. "Yeah. I mean, I'd run if I were him."
The magician waved away their skepticism with a cocky grin. "I'm sure I can manage. I can be very persuasive."
"Somehow, I doubt even your silver tongue will work in this situation."
"Really? Would you like to make a bet then? If he says yes, you'll, hmm, how about you'll just owe me one, and if he says no then I'll burn that photo I have of you from that pool party last year when you didn't realize there was alcohol in the punch."
The blonde blanched but shook his head hurriedly. Embarrassing as that photo was, the mere idea of owing Kuroba Kaito anything was much, much worse.
Hattori coughed and tactfully changed the subject. "So I'm assuming you didn't get his name?"
"That's what you two are going to go find out while I wait for him to wake up."
"…Oh." He'd certainly stuck his foot in that one. On the bright side, that would mean not having to be here when the stranger woke. Which was good. And it meant he could leave now. That was also good. Anything to get away from this awkward, awkward situation.
He turned towards the door. "I'll just head over to the Hall of Records or something."
"I'll come with you," Hakuba muttered, hurrying after him.
Kaito watched them go with amusement before turning back to his guest. Perhaps he should relocate him to a more comfortable place. Waking with aches and pains was unlikely to make the stranger more amicable.
This was not his bed. It was too big and he could feel some kind of stitched pattern on the covers underneath him that his own plain-colored covers shouldn't have. Blue eyes flew open to stare up at a ceiling that was equally not right. What in the world…? Where was he? The last thing he remembered was leaving the testing hall and heading for the library. He'd stopped on the way by a bakery and…
His thoughts were interrupted by an unfamiliar voice piping up from somewhere to his right. "Ah, hello there! I'm glad you're finally awake. I didn't expect you to be out so long, I was starting to get a bit worried."
Shinichi turned his head slightly to see a young man with a mop of brown hair seated beside the bed and grinning cheerfully at him. There was a window behind him. The quality of the light coming in through it suggested that it was already some time in the afternoon. Shinichi stared, mind whirring.
"Don't worry," the stranger was saying. "I'm not going to hurt you. I just wanted to talk to you for a few minutes. So if you're feeling up t—"
Shinichi didn't wait for him to finish. Rolling over the side of the bed opposite the wild-haired young man's seat, he landed on his feet and bolted for the door. Unfortunately, his captor was faster.
The stranger lunged, tackling the smaller boy to the floor before he could reach the door. A brief tussle ensued.
The crazy stranger was stronger than he was, Shinichi noted, but he had the strength of desperation on his side. After all, he had no idea what the lunatic wanted, and there was no way he was waiting around to find out. No normal person went around randomly snatching people off the streets. He managed to get a knee into the lunatic's stomach and for the briefest of instants he thought he would make it. Then he was flat on the plush carpet again with his hands pinned on either side of his head and his legs trapped in a position where he couldn't even twitch.
"Will you just listen for a moment?" the lunatic demanded, sounding half exasperated and half amused. "I already said I'm not going to hurt you."
Right. Like Shinichi was going to take his word for it. Brilliant, blue eyes glared balefully up at the stranger, but Shinichi did stop struggling (though mostly because he didn't have a choice and didn't want to waste energy on futile gestures).
Kaito thought with mild exasperation that if he'd known it would be this much trouble to just get the boy to listen to what he had to say, he would've tied the boy down while he'd still been out cold. On second thought, that would probably have made even worse of a first impression, so he supposed it was a good thing he hadn't.
"Who are you?"
"My name is Kaito. Does this mean you're ready to listen?"
Shinichi pressed his lips together into a thin line. He didn't bother dignifying the question with an answer. After all, it was pretty obvious he wasn't going anywhere.
A rather loud rumble broke the silence. Both young men blinked before Shinichi realized that it was the sound of his own stomach growling, reminding him of exactly why he had wanted to stop by the bakery in the first place. An embarrassed flush crept up onto his face as his captor started to chuckle.
Finally getting his laughter under control, Kaito offered his 'guest' one of his most charming smiles. "How about this? If you promise to listen to what I have to say, I'll let you up and get you something to eat. I can get you anything you want. After that, if you don't like what you hear, I'll escort you home and you'll never hear from me again. Sound fair?"
"Not really," Shinichi quipped, "but I guess it's the only choice I have. Now please get off of me."
Kaito bit back the urge to laugh again. He could tell his guest was still nervous, but he was clearly determined not to show it. It was rather cute, he thought absently.
"Good." Getting to his feet, Kaito offered the other a hand up. He wasn't really surprised when the boy didn't take it though. "So what would you like?"
"Coffee," he said shortly, straightening out his clothes. "Black."
"Okay, coffee, got it. What else?"
Shinichi shrugged. He didn't really care as long as it came with coffee. But the Kaito person was still watching him expectantly, so he tossed around and came up with, "A pie."
"I'll just go see the chef then. Wait here."
And he was gone.
Shinichi blinked at the place where the stranger had been for a moment before the young man's parting words registered in his mind. The chef?
A.N: Well, I'm still having trouble with Dappled Light, and I was just so frustrated that I decided I needed some humor. And so this was born. I hope you enjoyed it. See you next time!