|you could be my blue ribbon winner
Author: fireblazie PM
It starts, as these stories often do, with a plastic orange trumpet. HeijiKazuha.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Heiji H. & Kazuha T. - Words: 3,473 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 35 - Published: 08-23-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7316016
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan/Magic Kaito. As for any references made to certain manga, TV shows, movies, or songs - well, I don't own them, either.
Written for someone's birthday :D
Heiji realizes what everyone else already knows on an utterly nondescript day, sunny, partly cloudy, rather humid.
It should come as no surprise that it took him so long. His mind, after all, is a terribly busy place, cluttered with trivial facts and snippets of past crime scenes; it's no monumental feat of imagination to think that every so often, something gets lost in the mess of his brain, buried under far more important things—the precise color of a suspect's coat, the presence of dirt beneath his or her fingernails, scuffmarks on polished leather shoes.
And so when the thought of it finally fights its way to his consciousness, shoves past the stacks of tiny details and emerges victorious, Heiji acts on it with as much aplomb as one might expect.
"You, uh." He runs his gaze over Kazuha uneasily. "Are you hungry?"
"Starving," she declares. "Pizza?"
He nods and puts on his helmet. She takes a seat behind him.
It is 12:47 pm.
There's a pizzeria in downtown Osaka that serves the best pizza either of them have ever tasted. This is, for the record, one of the very few things on which both of them actually agree.
It's a small place, tucked away between a video rental store and a dry cleaner's, but it's amassed a decent and dedicated following. It's almost never empty, at least a booth or two occupied by customers, the smell of cheese and pepperoni perpetually in the air.
There is, also, an orange trumpet in the lounge, right by the doors, life-sized and bright. It hangs proudly next to awards the pizzeria's received over time, plaques declaring this place the source of The Best Pizza in Osaka and such. Over time, it's become something of a mascot. People have their pictures taken next to the damn thing, there are photos of the trumpet in various local magazines. Basically, it's kind of a Big Deal.
Their pizza, piping hot and dripping with melted cheese, arrives at 1:02 pm.
At 1:03 Kazuha states, "You know, I'd love to have that trumpet for myself. I could hang it in my room, maybe." She takes another bite of pizza, strings of cheese hanging from her mouth. She's so unattractive, Heiji thinks. "Well, okay, I don't really know what I'd do with it, but I'd love to have it. Stupid, huh?"
Heiji turns and stares at the orange trumpet, and something just sort of—snaps. Like a puzzle piece falling out of place in an otherwise perfect picture, and instead of sticking that piece back where it belongs, his brain begins to hatch a harebrained scheme. Kazuha is oblivious to all this, and happily snatches up another slice of pizza.
"It is pretty stupid," Heiji agrees, still thinking.
After they've finished off the pizza, Heiji tells Kazuha to go wait outside while he uses the restroom. He washes his hands and stares at his reflection in the mirror. Half of his brain—the intelligent half—tells him this is utterly stupid, completely deranged, and to get on his bike and go straight home.
The other half, the reckless, brazen half, tells him to go for it, common sense be damned.
He nods grimly at himself and walks out.
There's no plan to it, really. He just strides right up to it when no one's looking—it's a small crowd, today—and plucks it carefully from the wall.
The trumpet isn't heavy—it's not metal, after all, merely plastic and excruciatingly orange—and so Heiji has no trouble walking out of there with it tucked beneath his elbow, cool and calm as anything.
Unfortunately for his pride, he is no such thing by the time he gets outside.
"Get on the bike get on the bike!" he screams at her, throwing his helmet on and swinging a leg over his bike. "Oh for God's sake, woman, come on!"
But Kazuha doesn't move, just stares in horror at the trumpet in Heiji's arms. "Why do you have that?"
Heiji snaps. Again. "Will you get on the damn bike before I leave you here?"
Kazuha looks at him doubtfully. Looks back at the pizza parlor, which, for now, is blissfully quiet. If they're not out of there in about thirty seconds, the shit is going to hit the fan, and she has no intentions of being there when that happens.
In other words, she does as he says despite the voice screaming in her head to go the other way.
"Hold this!" he commands her, thrusting the trumpet into her lap before racing off towards home. She is too stunned to do anything else but accept, and can do nothing but lean into his back as the city rushes past them in a blur.
They say that there's a thin line between genius and insanity.
Heiji crosses that line at precisely 1:12 PM.
Heizo is not really a patient man, and arrives home later that afternoon with thinly veiled anger at his son, glowering fiercely as he holds up a surveillance video from a certain pizzeria.
"Where are they?" he asks Shizuka, scowling.
"In his room," she replies in an undertone, "but don't say anything, not yet. I think they're finally getting somewhere."
Heizo arches an eyebrow, but shuts his mouth and listens—Heiji and Kazuha are hardly discreet when they argue.
"You said you wanted the trumpet, so I—I got it!" Heiji is shouting, defensively. "Don't see what you've got to complain about!"
"I also really wanted that diamond necklace that I saw the other day but I don't see that around, do I?" She pauses suddenly. "...Heiji?"
"I'm not the damn Kaitou Kid," he snaps waspishly.
"Heijiiii," she wails, "we have to give it back! What the hell were you thinking, anyway?"
"I was thinking," Heiji says peevishly, "that maybe you'd like a Big Damn Romantic Gesture."
There is a stillness, an eerie calm before the storm. Then Kazuha whispers,
"What did you just say?"
Heiji, as Heizo'd known he would, panics. Panics spectacularly. "I didn't—" he clears his throat. "I didn't say anything."
"Yes, you did," Kazuha insists. Her voice has gone oddly high-pitched. "You said—big romantic gesture—Heiji, do you—do you like me?"
"I didn't say anything," Heiji insists. "I didn't. Did not. You're hearing things. Wow. Gotta get that checked out. You should go. Yeah. Here, take your trumpet."
Kazuha walks out of Heiji's room without further argument, clearly dazed. She waves halfheartedly to them and is halfway out the door when Heizo calls her back.
"The trumpet, please," and Kazuha sheepishly hands it over.
"Sorry about this," she apologizes one last time before leaving.
"That was a mess," Heizo mutters to Shizuka, setting the trumpet on the table.
"On the contrary," Shizuka says, looking ridiculously pleased, "that was a wonderful development."
Heizo eyes her cluelessly.
"We'll be holding our first grandchild by the end of next year," she promises with a wink.
"So," Shinichi says. "Big damn romantic gesture, huh?"
Heiji puts the picture together in two seconds: It consists of a chain of gossip beginning with Kazuha, traveling through Ran, and ending with Shinichi, possibly taking a detour through Ai and the other children.
"It'd be kind of sweet, actually," says Shinichi, not at all trying to be compassionate, "if it weren't so pathetic."
"Not as pathetic as getting turned into a kid," mutters Heiji balefully.
Shinichi snickers, unfazed. "Yeah, well, there were extenuating circumstances in my situation. This, my friend, was all you."
Heiji opens his mouth to retort, realizes he's right, and shuts it soundlessly.
"Yeah, I know," Shinichi says smugly.
"So I heard about the little incident—"
"Get to the point, Kuroba," Heiji snaps, clearly annoyed.
"And after snatching a copy of the surveillance video for myself—" Heiji squawks in protest, which Kaito smoothly ignores, "I would like to offer some constructive criticism—"
"But I could give you lessons—"
Heiji hangs up.
Kazuha, never one to shy away from confrontation, corners him two days afterwards.
"I just want an explanation!" she exclaims, throwing her hands up in the air in exasperation. "I mean, it was so weird of you, and what you said afterwards—"
"Can we just stop talking about this?" mutters Heiji through gritted teeth.
Kazuha steels herself. "No," she says. "Because if you—if you meant it—if you do like me—I kind of—I—"
"No," Heiji suddenly says, an odd look on his face, the same look he'd had at the pizza parlor. "I didn't. Mean any of it."
Kazuha stops. Heiji's face is carefully impassive. "Oh," she murmurs, very softly.
"It was a mistake," he adds. Kazuha idly wonders how one person can cause her so much pain, can break her into a million tiny pieces without even trying.
"A mistake," she echoes. "Right. Of course. A mistake."
And she won't cry. Refuses to cry over something stupid like this, so when she gets home she runs to the bathroom and washes her face with scalding hot water, scrubs and scrubs at her cheeks until it's impossible to tell the difference between tap water and tears.
She can still tell, but lies to herself so she'll feel better. It almost works.
Heiji's excuse is this: He's never been good at the emotional thing, so why start now?
Yeah, he thinks it's a pretty crappy excuse, too.
"I want grandchildren," Shizuka tells Heiji without preamble, appearing noiselessly in his doorway and glaring with a ferocity that has felled stronger men.
Heiji blinks. "I—uh, that's great, Mom—"
"But not just any grandchildren," Shizuka continues relentlessly, "I want grandchildren from you and Kazuha. Together."
Heiji turns red. "Mom!"
"When you were in high school it was adorable in a way," Shizuka says, "as kids who bickered endlessly and were oblivious to the truth, but see, now Kazuha's not oblivious anymore, and I think she's had it figured out for quite a while now, so it's just you, Heiji, my darling son, and I always thought you were so intelligent."
She's using that tone, Heiji reflects sourly, the one that so aptly conveys her disappointment and has always made him want to crawl beneath the nearest rock and/or grovel for her forgiveness.
"I just—" Heiji feels the stirrings of a headache. "I don't. I can't. I don't know." How else to convey his confusion, this newfound sensation, this overwhelming desire and—and—
"I know you don't," Shizuka soothes, and shifts into a sharper tone. "That's why I'm telling you to figure it out."
Heiji actually smiles wryly at that. "Yeah. I'm working on it."
Shizuka returns the smile. It's something he inherited from her, after all. "Good. And clean your room. It's disgusting in here."
"Maybe it's a lost cause," Kazuha murmurs into the phone. "I mean, maybe it's not meant to be. We just don't have what you and Shinichi have. And that's okay, you know? I guess I've just liked him for so long that I don't—don't know how to not like him anymore. But. I'll learn, won't I? And I'll find someone else and everything will be great. Absolutely great."
Ran is silent. Then, "You don't actually believe a word you're saying, do you?"
"No." Kazuha sighs. "And it sucks."
Ran clucks sympathetically into the phone. "We could vandalize his motorbike," she suggests.
Kazuha laughs, and it's not entirely forced. "Don't tempt me."
Heiji decides to listen to his mother and cleans his room.
It really is a bit of a pigsty, he admits to himself, eyeing his closet, where stacks of clothes have tumbled and tangled with one another on the floor. With a sigh, Heiji lifts the haphazard pile and dumps it all on his bed, planning to fold them later.
He empties out all of his drawers, methodically, and pauses when he comes to the bottom of the last one.
There is an envelope.
Heiji, curious, picks it up. It's faded and yellow, a testament to its age. The words To Future Heiji are written in a childish scrawl on the front.
Ah. This thing, then, an old, silly assignment from the third grade, something about writing to your future self and saving it and opening it years later to see how far you've come. He regards the envelope thoughtfully and then shrugs, tossing it on his bed along with the rest of his clothes.
Over an hour later his closet is impeccably arranged, his floors vacuumed, his books shelved, and his bed made.
The envelope is still on his bed.
Well. Well, why not? He rips it open and unfolds the letter, eyes roving over the lines he'd written as a child.
Well, clearly you're going to be a detective. A great detective. You'll be awesome and famous and everyone will know your name and you'll make lots of money and stuff. Oh, and you'll have a bike. A really, really cool motorbike.
Uh, I guess you could have a girlfriend. Or be married. If you want. Girls are pretty gross, but—oh, hey! Kazuha's not bad! She's a bit slow sometimes but she tries really hard and even if she's really annoying she's still my best friend. Our best friend. Right?
So, to sum up: Awesome detective, awesome bike, and Kazuha. Who's not always so awesome, but she'll do.
From: Heiji, 9 years old
Heiji lets the letter fall out of his grasp and onto his newly made bed. He processes the information in his head, thoughts whirring, brain reeling.
Nine year old Heiji had known.
Nine year old Heiji had known.
Nine year old Heiji had known and had been okay with it.
Which really does make current Heiji something of an idiot.
He drops the letter and runs out the door.
"So close to reaching that famous happy end..."
"Ugh," Kazuha mutters, abruptly turning the music off with a click of her mouse. She's not quite in the mood for a love song, so she opts for something to watch instead. She searches through her folder of illegally downloaded television, ignoring the Heiji-voice in her head that tells her downloading such things online is wrong, wrong, wrong.
The latest episode of Doctor Who seems promising, so Kazuha sits back and watches, enjoying herself thoroughly and forgetting, almost forgetting—
"You stole me. And I stole you."
Oh, for crying out loud—
Kazuha huffs and closes the window, glaring at her computer screen. That traitor. Doctor Who is supposed to be about traveling through time and space and endless mindfuckery, not stupid (beautiful) lines that remind her of the state of her nonexistent love life. She ought to write a letter of complaint.
Fuming, she chooses an episode of Sherlock next, half-listening as the theme song begins to play. Yes, she thinks, more than a little viciously, she'll spend the next hour and a half watching Benedict and his cheekbones and she'll forget all about stupid, stupid Heiji.
Except she doesn't. How can she, with Sherlock and John being so utterly Sherlock and John, John calling Sherlock "brilliant" and "extraordinary", Sherlock giving John those long, thoughtful looks—
Someone is pounding on the front door. Kazuha pauses the video and jogs slowly towards the door. She opens it.
Kazuha's seen this movie before, but it's different. Heiji's not standing in the pouring rain, dripping wet, with a bouquet of flowers or a boombox over his head; Kazuha's not crying with joy or looking at him with undisguised adoration. In fact, she's looking at him with barely hidden disgust.
"You've ruined me," she accuses him, not letting him in the house, blocking the doorway.
"You sure you weren't already broken before I came along?" Heiji retorts.
This, at least, Kazuha knows how to deal with. With a quirk of her lips she says, "I was damn perfect before you came along. Now I can't even watch TV or listen to music without you ruining it for me." she shakes her head at him. "Bastard."
But Heiji doesn't rise to the bait. Instead, he simply looks at her, and it's something old and entirely new at the same time.
"You were either watching something on your laptop or reading manga," he states without question, without hesitation. "If you were watching, it was Merlin, or maybe Sherlock. If you weren't watching, you were reading that manga of yours, the one with the Italian title and stupid bishounen and classical music. You haven't been out all day, not since this morning. You've been in those pajamas since then; I can tell from the wrinkles in the fabric. You feel like crap. Your hair's a mess, you're wearing glasses instead of contacts."
"Is there a point to this?" Kazuha asks, inexplicably startled.
"The point is, I know you. Better than anyone."
Kazuha knows this is true. There's no point in denying it, so she nods without a word.
Heiji crams his hands in his pockets, uncharacteristically fidgety. "And it's just—oh will you just let me in!" he bursts out, shoving past her and storming into the living room.
Kazuha blinks, startled, and shuts the door. By the time she gets to him, he's staring at her laptop with an oddly transfixed expression on his face. She glances at the screen: a paused scene of Sherlock and John, racing through the streets of London, blurred and strange.
"Holmes doesn't need Watson, not really," says Heiji abruptly. Kazuha tilts her head confusedly. "I mean. He got along perfectly well before he came along, and, well. He doesn't need him, see?"
Kazuha eyes him curiously. "What are you trying to say?"
"I'm saying—he doesn't need him. Nobody really does, do they? Need another person, I mean, a real, desperate sort of need. Well, no, that's not entirely true. There are plenty of times a person actually needs another, like if you need a kidney or a liver or maybe a bone marrow transplant, or—no, that's not the point—" He shakes his head violently. "What I mean is... He's better with him. Than without. That's all." He stares at her imploringly, willing, needing her to understand.
What an awful confession that was, Kazuha thinks, rather hating herself as she feels warmth spread through her chest, her stomach, her toes. Still, she'd known what she was getting herself into the moment she fell for him. "Yeah," she murmurs, slowly, "I get that," and can't help but break into a wide, uninhibited smile.
Heiji's answering smile beats Benedict Cumberbatch's cheekbones any day.
When Shinichi finds out, he smirks, and congratulates him on working a Holmes reference in his otherwise pathetic confession. (Although, he adds, he'd never have pegged him as a Holmes/Watson fanboy.)
When Kaito finds out, he congratulates him heartily and assures him that the offer still stands, should he find himself pursuing a career in thievery. He's always wanted a sidekick, he says.
Heiji calls them bastards, but can't quite keep the smile off his face.
Once upon a time, Heiji steals a bright orange trumpet from a local pizza parlor.
It is, he thinks to himself as he watches his mother coo over her newborn grandchild, the smartest thing he's ever done.
So. This was written for a certain someone's birthday and the idea was to sneak in as many of her favorite things as possible. I don't really know if I succeeded, but it sure was fun to write! :D
Title comes from Schuyler Fisk's "Blue Ribbon Winner"
References to the following: How I Met Your Mother, Jon McLaughlin's "So Close" from the movie Enchanted, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, and La Corda d'Oro. Can you spot them all? :D