By Icka! M. Chif
She should have been asleep hours go, instead of dazing in that haze of not-awake with a jumble of mixed up emotions swirling around inside her. Sleep was going to become a precious commodity, or so everyone said, with the new arrival.
Her senses were stretched out, fine tuned and on edge with the newness and un-certainty of her new situation, caught the light soft footsteps even though she was more than half way asleep. She was tired from her ordeal, but on some level, she didn't recognise them. They weren't her husband's, nor her father's and the latest addition to their family shouldn't be out and around, which meant that it was a stranger.
She turned slightly, towards the sound, peering tiredly thru her eyelashes. The first thing she saw in the dim light of pre-dawn was a riot of colour on the bed stand next to her bed. Red, yellow, white, pink, blue, purple all intermingled with splashes of dark forest green. Next to the unfamiliar swash of colour was a contrasting shadow, the pale curve of an arm, a black void of dark clothing. Looking up a bit, she met twilight coloured eyes, wide and vibrant in an expression that reminded her of a deer caught in the headlights of an on-coming semi-truck.
"I'm sorry." The voice was soft, yet heart breaking familiar and for a moment she thought she was still dreaming. "I just wanted to congratulate you. You need your rest. Go back-"
Her guest moved backwards a fraction, to leave and disappear and she launched herself at him, ignoring the protests of her battered body. Her hands met fabric and she grabbed hold, wrapping the material around her fingers, on some basic level afraid that if she didn't hold on he was going to vanish again and leave and she couldn't stand that again-
And she was babbling, a whole torrent of words spilling out in no order that made no sense but they made sense and she had waited so -long- to tell him and she had to tell him before he vanished like a ghost and he just HAD to know- "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I don't hate you, I was so mad and young and stupid and I didn't mean what I said back there, I don't hate you, I'm sorry, please don't go, don't vanish again, I miss you so much and I'm so sorry-"
She was crying as she was babbling, a whole outpouring of emotion that she couldn't stop and didn't want to stop even when she realised that she was shaking and crying and he was shaking too and he had wrapped his arms around her as well and he hadn't vanished he was still -right here-, carefully rubbing her back and murmuring soothing nonsense words like she was a small child again but that was okay because she wasn't making any sense either and he hadn't left, she hadn't left and it had been so long since she had seen her best friend...
Eventually the outpouring stopped, leaving her feeling drained, but not as drained as she had been this morning. It was more of an emotional kind of drained than a physical one, kind of like puncturing a festering wound and letting all the pus and blood and gross things out so that maybe it would have a chance to heal. She tilted her head up a bit, looking at her friend again.
He had changed so much since she had last seen him. His face was older now, more mature. His eyes were wiser now too. There was still the maniac mischievous twinkle in them, but now it was tempered with wisdom and experience. And he was also a lot bigger than he had used to be, he'd finally had that growth spurt, filling out his lanky frame with more muscle. Not too much, he was still on the slim, sleek side and probably always would be.
"Better?" He asked gently, raising a hand to wipe the tears that were still running down her cheeks. She nodded, hiccupping. She probably looked a wreck, but somehow lacked the ability to be embarrassed about it.
"I'm sorry." She whispered again. She had been so angry, so very angry. It had taken such a long time before she got used to the fact that yes, he was a thief, and no, he wasn't coming back. The reflex to turn to him, talk to him never faded and the anger had eventually faded, replaced by a sense of loss. She missed him more than anything else.
"I know. Me too." He gave her a huge, strong, yet still careful, mindful of her body's sore state. "I didn't mean to hurt you, I swear."
She nodded, her cheek pressed against his torso as she wrapped her arms around him to hug him back. "You want fries with that?" She asked, hiccuping in mid-tease.
He froze, tensing up and she giggled. He started to chuckle, his breath tickling the hairs on her head and they both started to laugh, holding on to each other for support. Another outpouring of emotion, strengthening an old bond of friendship.
The laughter finally died down and she gave him another squeeze. "Would you like to see him?"
He looked un-comfortable, shifting his weight a bit. "I... did." He confessed, turning a bit red. "I was one of the nurses in your room."
She laughed. For some reason, that was re-assuring, the fact that he had been there when she had needed his presence, even if she hadn't know he was there. "You didn't hold him, did you?"
"Then come on." She released him long enough to grab his hand and tug him out of the room. "Anata isn't here right now-"
"He went to pick up your father from one of the pubs." He supplied helpfully. "You may not want to call your Dad in the morning, he's going to have one heck of a hangover."
"You were the one that called us to pick him up?" An eyebrow raised. He certainly got around, didn't he? But then he always had.
"Yeah." He looked embarrassed. "I... like keep track of all of you. Even if you don't see me."
She smiled, comforted by the fact that he still cared about them enough to worry about them. "Come on." she gave him another shy tug, drawing him into a small room.
It was dark in this room as well, and still smelled faintly of fresh paint but she made her way to the bedside easily. She reached let go of him to reach down and pluck the small warm body from its cocoon of blankets and handed it to her friend.
He looked a bit awkward, but held the small body with a skill that belayed the fact that he'd held infants before. She couldn't help but to smile as he studied the small face, looking completely entranced. Less than a day old, the newborn already had everyone wrapped around his finger with out even batting an eye. The babe in his arms yawned, but wasn't disturbed by the strange person. "He'll get your eyes." He smiled, his voice soft and awed. "What did name him?"
"Um..." She blushed, remembering the dissusions over what the newborns name would be. "I hope you don't mind. But his name is Toichi. Hakuba Toichi."
"Toichi..." He had the deer in the headlights look again, but this time it was surprise in his wide eyes instead of fear. She bit back a smile, the fact that not many people probably had the opportunity to surprise him like this crossing her mind. "My... you named him after my father?"
"Your mother liked the idea." She shrugged, feeling a bit nervous.
He beamed at her, one of those wide grins that stretched from ear to ear that she hadn't seen in over 7 years that sent a warm feeling straight down to her toes. "Thank you."
She smiled back. "You're welcome."
He turned back to the baby, running a finger along her son's soft cheek. "Hello, Toichi. Nice to meet you."
"And I hope this isn't the last time you meet him." She informed him pointedly. "Anata was going to ask you when he saw you next, but we'd like you to be his Godfather."
"Me?" The word came out as a surprised squeak and she grinned as he started babbling, one hand flapping in the air in an attempt to illustrate what he was talking about as the other still carefully held the infant. "But.. but... I'm a thief, you know, breaking laws, on the run all the time, amoral, going against the cops and all that-"
"And you would care for him better than anyone else we know, should anything happen." She interjected. "Saguru thought of it, and after Dad stopped laughing he liked the idea too."
He looked dryly amused at that. "He did, huh?" He snorted, a small grin growing across his face. "Well, then I guess I'm out voted, aren't I?"
"Exactly." She put her hands on her hips, grinning stubbornly back.
He chuckled, turning back to the babe in his arms. "Then I guess some different introductions are in order, little one. Hello, To-chan. I'm your crazy Uncle Kaito. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
Toichi yawned, waving his arms a bit, then went right back to sleep, causing them both to laugh quietly. Kaito smiled again, a soft gentle smile, then handed him back to her. "Here you go, back to your mama."
She took her son back, wrapping him up in the blankets again and setting him back in the crib. "Um..." He shifted next to her, looking nervous. "When he gets older... if he's interested, can I teach him magic?" He asked hesitantly. "None of the thieving stuff, just... magic?"
She chuckled, stepping back from the crib. "Both Anata and Dad want him to become a detective. Says it's in the blood."
"Ah, but he's got my father's name." He grinned, tossing a casual arm around her shoulders in a loose hug. "Do you think the world is ready for a Magic Detective?"
"Probably not." She Agreed amiably. It certainly hadn't been ready for a Magic Thief, but the world had certainly survived. She laughed. "Uncle Kaito, huh?"
He grinned proudly, evidently liking the sound of it. "Yeah."
She wrapped an arm around his waist, allowing him to escort her back to her bedroom. He'd have to be from her side of the family, Saguru's was too formal for anyone as insane as they both were.
"Welcome to the family."
Anata 'Darling'. What a wife will sometimes call her Husband
End of the series folks. Thanks for reading!