Disclaimer: I don't own the DCMK characters.
Pairing: Established KaiShin [KaitoxShinichi], HakuRan, HeiKazu
Summary: Their first winter vacation was going to be one to remember. And not just because of the ghost.
Important Notes: This story is set in the "Illusions of the Sun" universe, but it can be read alone.
Diamonds in the Rain
1: First Snow
Blue eyes opened, for once clear of sleep despite the early hour. It was a tingling at the edge of his senses. It filled him with a sense of anticipation, though for what he wasn't entirely sure yet. Shinichi shifted, turning his head in an attempt to find the window. His sudden movement, however, caused the arms wrapped around him to tighten as their owner shifted his weight until he had Shinichi pinned securely under him.
Shinichi considered his options. In order to check outside, he would have to wake Kaito. Even if he could somehow manage to get out of bed without doing so, he knew the magician would wake up the moment he was gone. They had, however, had a rather late night studying for the final exams they would be taking later that very day. Deciding whatever was niggling at the edges of his consciousness could wait—it didn't feel urgent—the oracle closed his eyes and went back to sleep, too warm and content in the magician's protective embrace to want to leave.
The next time he woke it was to the feeling of fingers running through his hair.
"Don't go back to sleep," the magician said suddenly, apparently having noticed his moment of wakefulness. "We have to get up."
Shinichi kept his eyes closed for a moment longer before letting out a resigned sigh. "It's too cold to get up."
"You were the one who vowed to get full scores on all your exams," the magician reminded him, chuckling. "Can't do that if we're late."
"I guess you're right…" Sighing again, Shinichi pried open his eyes and blinked slowly. The light in the room was clear and pale and the chill in the air more prominent now that he was paying attention. It tugged at something in the back of his mind—a feeling and a memory.
Kaito, who had made his way to the closet, turned around in surprise when he heard a thump to see that Shinichi had half jumped half fallen out of bed. The oracle was already scrambling to his feet however, and in moments he was at the window, face looking almost stricken.
"Shinichi? Is something wrong?"
Blue eyes turned to meet his worried indigo ones, but rather than the fear at some new vision he half expected to see the oracle's face was full of wonder. "You have to come see this."
The magician padded over to stand behind him, slipping his arms around the oracle before turning his gaze outside.
White. Endless stretches of white as far as the eye could see. It blanketed the ground and coated rooftops, dripping like icing from the trees outside. It gleamed almost blinding in its flawlessness.
"Snow," he breathed in wonder.
"It started before dawn," Shinichi explained, voice hushed as though in reverence.
They just stood there for the next few minutes, silently taking in the beautiful sight. The sound of Chikage calling them down to breakfast however dragged them back to the present.
"We're coming!" Kaito called back before moving quickly to change into day clothes. He had just finished when he noticed that Shinichi was still in front of the window, his hands and face pressed against the glass as he stared out with rapt attention. Shaking his head in fond amusement, he stepped back to the oracle's side and tapped on his shoulder. "Come on Shin-chan. Once we finish breakfast, we'll be able to go outside."
That got a reaction. Seeing Shinichi so excited brought a genuine smile to his lips. He might not find the snow quite as novel as Shinichi did, probably because he'd seen it a few times over the past years on the occasional assignment, but the light in the oracle's blue eyes and that smile were a greater wonder to him than anything else would ever be.
"Finally!" Hattori Heiji whooped as the last bell signaling the end of the school day rang out across campus. "Winter vacation, here I come!"
"Must you always be so loud?" the blond teen walking a few steps behind him asked with an irritated look.
"Don't talk to me right now Hakuba," the dark-skinned boy retorted. "I'm in a good mood right now and I'd like to stay that way."
"By creating excess noise and tormenting other people's eardrums. How very thoughtful of you."
"Nope, not listening. Can't hear a word."
"Are they ever going to grow up?" Suzuki Sonoko sniffed as she hooked her arms through those of the two girls walking with her and dragged them past the bickering duo.
The taller of her companions laughed. "That's just the kind of friends they are. If anything, I think it would be kind of weird if they ever stopped."
"Ran has a point," the last girl mused, casting a glance back at the boys in question then shaking her head. "The day they stop sniping at each other, we'll probably have to drag them to the hospital. I'd bet anything they'd be running high fevers."
As if on cue, Heiji's voice rose in an indignant, "You take that back!"
Three pairs of eyes rolled.
"Speaking of odd behaviors," Sonoko said, gaze turning to the teen walking a little ways ahead of them. "What's up with Shinichi? He's been acting weird all day—more so than usual anyway."
"He just hasn't seen snow in a long time," a new voice answered, making all three of the girls jump.
"Kaito!" Ran exclaimed in surprise, turning to see the wild-haired magician walking beside them. None of them had heard him approach. He flashed them a cheerful grin before turning his attention to Shinichi. For a moment the look in his indigo eyes flickered, turning soft and maybe a little sad, but then the look was gone, leaving Ran to wonder if it had ever been there at all.
Except that she knew a little about the kinds of shadows that lurked in the past for the magician and his oracle. Thinking about it always made her feel…like she knew so little. Like she was small and ignorant and the world much bigger and stranger than she would ever know.
Something cold and wet touching her nose broke her out of her thoughts and she looked up to see snowflakes spiraling gently from the sky. She reached up automatically to pull the hood of her coat over her head. Snow was pretty and all, but it was also cold and wet, and the last thing she wanted to do at the start of winter vacation was get sick.
Beside her, Kaito made a 'hmm' kind of noise and picked up his pace. He jogged forward to catch up to Shinichi where he pulled an umbrella out of thin air. Ran wondered where he'd been hiding it. Then again, he was a magician in all senses of the word.
"That's rather sweet," Sonoko giggled, temporarily distracted from her conversation with Kazuha, then shot the people walking behind her a pointed look. "You lot could learn from him."
Heiji snorted and rolled his eyes. He wondered if she would still think the magician was 'sweet' if she knew there was an island somewhere in the sea that had been completely wiped of all geological features by that very same teen because he'd lost his temper. Remembering that day still sent chills down his spine.
And then of course there was that incident on Halloween. Altogether it was enough to make him swear on all things he held sacred to never, ever get on Kaito's bad side.
Ahead of them, Shinichi continued walking, still lost in his own world.
It had been so long since he had seen snow. The last time…the last time his parents and Toichi-san had still been alive. Both their families had been on vacation. It had been a lodge by a lake. He couldn't remember what the lake was called or where it was, but he could remember how amazing it had looked all frozen over and dusted with snow. They had built snowmen. Toichi-san had made a snow dragon, its scales glittering with ice crystals. Naturally Kaito had wanted to ride the dragon. The snow, however, didn't appreciate being climbed on. The head fell off. Kaito had wanted his father to remake it, but the older man had insisted he figure out how to do it himself. It took hours, but Kaito wasn't the kind of person who ever gave up on something he wanted. And this time the dragon was sturdy enough to take the weight of two children.
He remembered having hot chocolate by the lodge hearth. His father had read everyone a story, He couldn't remember what it had been about, but he did remember how happy they'd all been.
He shook his head to clear it of the haunting memories. They couldn't go back to the times they'd lost, but they were here now and that was what was important.
"Are you all right?"
Glancing up, he found Kaito walking beside him. He blinked when he noticed the umbrella, then smiled. "I'm fine," he said honestly, because in the end the present mattered more than the past.
Kaito studied his face for a moment before nodding, absently reaching over to brush Shinichi's bangs out of his eyes.
The sound of a throat being cleared made them both turn. Sonoko and the other girls had caught up to them while they weren't paying attention and the petit girl was holding a white envelope out towards them. They blinked at her in confusion.
"Well?" she said impatiently when neither of them moved. "Are you going to take it or not?"
Shinichi took the envelope. "What is it?"
"Just look at it when you get home and give me an answer by Sunday. Now, if you'll excuse us, we're going the other way."
And with that they headed down one of the branching streets. Hattori sent the two a wave goodbye as Hakuba nodded. In moments they were gone, leaving only the unmarked, white envelope in Shinichi's hands.
"So would you like to take a guess as to what it is?" Kaito asked.
Shinichi glanced at the envelope lying on the table between them and shook his head. "I think I'd rather open it and find out the normal way."
Kaito nodded in understanding and picked up the envelope. The two of them were seated at their kitchen table. Shinichi had made coffee—a substance he had grown progressively more and more fond of, much to the magician's befuddlement since as far as he could tell the only thing the stuff had going for it was that it smelled nice. What he did like was the hot chocolate Shinichi had made for him instead.
Indigo eyes examined the envelope for a moment before the magician grinned and brushed his fingers along the envelope's top. The contents slid out of the papery container without ever breaking it, leaving Kaito holding a card and a sealed but empty envelope.
Shinichi blinked then shook his head, smiling faintly. Since Kaito had promised not to use magic in public unless it was an emergency, he found every excuse he could to do so at home. It was a comfort in its own way. Kaito would always be Kaito.
"Looks like it's an invitation," the magician announced, reading over the neatly typed message. "Two weeks at one of her family's vacation homes. There will be skiing, skating, etc. Sounds fun. Should I give her a call and say we're going?"
"But what about your mom?"
"We'll ask her when she gets back, though you know she's going to tell us to go. Besides, it means she'll get to accept that offer from the hotel—you remember, the one where she gets a free five-day stay as long as she bakes a few cakes for the parties they're holding while she's there."
And of course he was right. Which was why Monday morning saw them climbing into the back of Hakuba's car as Ran explained from the front passenger seat that the others had gone in a different car. They would rendezvous at the Suzukis' vacation home.
A.N: I felt like writing something Christmas-y. ^_^ And I wanted to write something in this universe again, so here it is. Anyhow, hope you enjoyed this, and look for the next chapter in a week or so. See ya!