Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK
Pairings: Mainly KaiShin [KaitoxShinichi] with hints of others
Summary: Ran's dojo needs funds if they don't want to be shut down, so she recruits her friends to help. The problem is they might cause more trouble than they're worth. Shinichi discovers just how many things can go wrong while fundraising, Kaito applies his bargaining skills, and everyone is confused.
If You Want it Done Right
The Car Wash
"So do you all know what you're supposed to be doing?" Mouri Ran asked, surveying the ragtag collection of people before her with a rising sense of foreboding. About a week ago the dojo she had been taking karate lessons from all her life had announced that, unless a substantial amount of funds could be found by the end of the month, they would be shutting down. The program simply didn't have the money to continue holding on to the premises. On top of that, a rather wealthy company had already declared their intentions to buy the property and turn it into a shopping center. While Ran didn't really have any objections to the building of new shopping centers, she did have objections to the tearing down of the dojo she had been going to for her entire life.
With that in mind, she had volunteered to organize some fundraising events in order to save the dojo. The problem was that a lot of the students at the dojo were either too young to really help or had prior engagements. Typically, everyone's schedules clashed horribly.
So instead she had recruited her friends. Shinichi owed her for skipping out on her that day he had promised to help her prepare that surprise for her mother's birthday. Admittedly he'd skipped out because he'd run into a murder on his way over, but that didn't mean he didn't still owe her for it. And the perk of recruiting Shinichi for this was that, these days, wherever Shinichi went an energetic magician was sure to follow, so she was getting a two for one without having to waste more time asking (and hopefully said magician's presence would prevent there from being a murder at her fundraiser. That was the last thing she needed). In fact, if she planned it right, she knew she could get everyone she asked to bring at least one extra pair of hands. So she'd contacted Kazuha to see if she wanted to come to Tokyo for the weekend and told Aoko about the dojo's plight over ice cream that afternoon. And with that she was set.
Hattori and Hakuba had both been all for the idea of lending a hand until they'd arrived at the site and spotted each other. The speed at which their expressions changed could probably have made a world record.
"Oh, this is going to be good," Kaito laughed quietly into Shinichi's ear, smirking as he watched the two detectives glare at each other.
"Not exactly the words I had in mind," Shinichi muttered back, shaking his head in mild exasperation at his fellow detectives' behavior. Weren't they a little too old for this? Oh well, it wasn't really any of his business—or rather it wouldn't be until he had to step in to remind them that they were supposed to be mature adults and not start fighting over stupid things. Until then, he was quite content to ignore them.
Shifting a little where he was sitting on Kaito's lap (because it was the easiest way to make sure he knew where the magician was), he craned his neck for a look at the latest car driving into the sprawling parking lot they'd gotten permission to use for the car wash. Noting that it had mud caked all over its sides and in the wheel wells, he looked back down at his notebook and scribbled a few more notes.
"Another one for list A," the magician informed him while he wrote.
"All right everyone," Ran's voice rang out once more, drawing everyone's attention back to her. "Let's get to work! We only have until two o'clock to get every one of these spotless!"
Kaito nudged his detective. "I guess that's your cue."
The two of them stood up and Shinichi cleared his throat. The small gathering of helpers all turned to look at him.
"I made a list while the cars were coming in," he explained once he was sure everyone was listening. "This list has the cars that are pretty clean already and probably only need a quick hosing and wipe down. The second list are the vehicles that will need more detailed scrubbing. The last list are the really bad cases. Luckily, that one isn't very long. I thought it would go a lot faster if we divide up the work and did the easy ones first."
Hakuba nodded approvingly, taking a copy of the list from the blue-eyed detective. "That's a good idea. Half of us can hose and the other half can handle wiping down the vehicles. Then, once we're done with the easy list, we can divide the more difficult cases evenly between us."
And that was what they did. The morning passed in relative peace. The easy cars were, as per their list name, easy to deal with, but they were also rather more numerous, so it had taken just about the entire morning to finish them.
That was when the girls headed out to buy them all some lunch, leaving the guys to start on the more difficult cars.
"Hey Hakuba, bet I can wash more of 'em than you," Hattori declared.
The blonde shot him a contemptuous look. "Only someone like you would wish to participate in such an inane competition."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"It seems I have overestimated your grasp of language."
"Damnit, you bastard! I was just trying to make this more interesting!"
"All right, seriously you two," Shinichi cut in before the argument could escalate into an actual fight (and really, he'd known this moment would come since the instant the two had arrived—which was rather sad, he thought, considering the ages of the two in question). "You're acting like children."
"Hey, he started it. I was just trying to make this job more interesting."
"As we agreed to do this, we should be giving all our attention to doing it well," the blonde replied dryly. "Turning it into a competition might sound more interesting to you, but rush jobs are rarely anything worth bragging about."
"Well obviously I meant we should see who could do a good job faster."
"That was not how it sounded."
"Why do you always—"
"You guys," Shinichi cut in again. "It's over, so why don't we just forget about it and move on?"
"That's right. Listen to Mother Shinichi," Kaito piped in.
Shinichi blushed and threw a cleaning rag at him. The jest did, however, crack the tension as Hattori began sniggering and Hakuba ducked down to scrub at a particularly resistant stain because he refused to actually be seen laughing at one of Kuroba's jokes.
That little skirmish diverted, they continued with their work.
It was a peaceful five minutes.
Wiping a last soap sud from a window, Hattori picked up a hose and moved to the next car in his assigned set. That was when he spotted a flash of blond hair. He looked at the hose in his hands then up at the back of Hakuba's head over by the next car. A slow grin spread across his face.
Hakuba let out a cry of surprise as he was unexpectedly doused by freezing water. Shaking sopping bangs out of his face, he spun around and glared at the Osakan hosing down the car behind him.
"Oops, sorry about that," Hattori apologized. The apology was rendered somewhat pointless by the grin he couldn't seem to suppress. "My hand slipped."
"Indeed." The blonde didn't buy that for a second. But he decided not to call the other detective out on the lie. Instead, he turned back to his work—or at least he pretended to. Ducking down to scrub the lower half of the car's front passenger door, he took one of the now empty spray cans. Glancing over his shoulder, he could see Hattori's feet. He took aim and set the can to rolling.
A few minutes later, Hattori stepped to the side to work on his next window and tread on an empty spray can he swore hadn't been there a moment ago. He stumbled, flailing his arms to try and maintain his balance. He just barely avoided falling on his rear. Instead, he wound up plastered against the side of the car he'd been cleaning. His impromptu embrace with the muddy, soapy vehicle smeared dirt and foam all over the front of his garments. He cursed loudly.
Kaito snickered. "My, my, Hakuba, you might not be as hopeless as I thought."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
Hattori glared. "The hell you don't!"
"Says the person who claims that his hand slipped."
A stony silence fell between the two before they turned in almost perfect unison back to their work.
Shinichi wished silently that the girls would return soon. The atmosphere was getting oppressive.
Moving on to the next car in his row, Hattori tugged his hose along with him. It caught momentarily on a protruding fender before falling loose again in a limp green wiggle. He eyed it for a moment then grinned. All the hoses were attached to spigots on the same side of the lot. His own row of cars was the farthest from said spigots, meaning everyone else was working more or less between him and the other end of his hose. With that in mind, he continued his work while keeping a close eye on Hakuba's progress in the neighboring row.
It took about five minutes for the blond to once again reach a point where he was in line with Hattori's own spot. At that point, the Osakan lifted his hose, pulling it taut just as the blonde's foot came down on it. Hakuba dropped his cleaning tools as he stumbled and ended up grabbing the car's side mirror.
He spun around a moment later, face livid. But any outburst was forestalled by a different cry.
Shinichi, who—as chance would have it—had also been standing in a line with his fellow detectives, had stepped back to see if he'd missed any spots on the car he'd been scrubbing. As he did so, he caught his foot on the hose and let out a yelp of surprise. Then the back of his head cracked against the cement and he saw stars.
"Shinichi!" Kaito was by his side so fast it looked like he had teleported. Carefully, he helped Shinichi sit up, running his fingers gently through the hair on the back of his head. He stopped when he felt Shinichi wince. "Can you walk?"
"I think so… It's really not that bad." Shinichi blinked groggily as Kaito helped him to his feet. Immediately everything seemed to tilt and spin and he ended up leaning heavily against the magician. Apparently he'd hit his head harder than he'd thought. He squeezed his eyes shut again. "Ugh, I think I'd like to sit down."
"Er, sorry about that Kudo," Hattori called, looking guilty. "I didn't mean to get you with that one."
Hakuba scowled at him. "How irresponsible can you be?"
"I said it was an accident!"
"Do you take us all for fools? It's clear you planned the act if not the result."
As the two fell to bickering for the umpteenth time, Kaito completed his inspection of the nasty bump on Shinichi's head. The blue-eyed detective insisted that he was fine, but he didn't object when Kaito sat him down on an upended bucket and told him to rest. And that, the thief thought, said a lot about how 'fine' Shinichi was feeling.
Indigo eyes narrowed. He was all for pranks and generally he didn't mind a good back and forth, but causing anyone a serious injury was strictly a no-no. And even if it wasn't, his Shin-chan was off limits.
Glancing around, he found his and Shinichi's discarded hoses and picked them up, fiddling around with the nozzles. A few minutes later, his face broke out into a predatory grin that many members of law enforcement knew and feared.
He stood, aimed, and fired. What came out of the hoses was no longer the gentle spray from before. Nor was it the more concentrated jet of water that would be emitted by a hose's more powerful settings. Instead, the water exploded forth like very narrow geysers. They blasted across the parking lot in a whirring, white torrent that tore the mud off the hood of a particularly dirty vehicle to hurl it all over Hattori and Hakuba even as it knocked the former off his feet and into the blonde. They fell in a tangled heap, flailing and yelling all the way down. Now soaked through and splattered with mud, they rolled away from each other and scrambled to their hands and knees, coughing.
They turned to see Kaito standing with a modified hose in each hand, grinning like a madman with a plan. In unison, they dove behind different cars and snatched hoses of their own—one each of the remaining two. After all, they had to arm themselves.
By the time the girls returned with bags full of snacks, the entire parking lot was sopping wet and dotted with soap suds. Hattori and Hakuba were similarly drenched, looking a bit like rag dolls that had been through a storm. The cars were wet too, but not particularly clean. In fact, almost all the cars that had been on the easy list which they'd finished washing that morning were now splotchy with dirt smudges and soapy prints. Even Shinichi, who was sitting off to the side for some reason, had water stains on the lower parts of his pant legs and the ends of his sleeves. Only Kaito stood miraculously dry with a smug smirk stretched across his face.
"What is this?" Aoko demanded, her gaze zeroing in on the magician. Experience told her that he was probably behind it—whatever 'it' was.
Kaito glanced at her and shrugged. "The war of the hoses?"
She stared at him a moment longer before her gaze swiveled to the two other people present who had hoses in their hands.
"Hey, don't look at us!" Hattori declared immediately. "He started it! We were just defending ourselves."
Kazuha gave him a distinctly unimpressed look. "In other words, you continued it."
"Uh, well, I mean…we just… It's not…"
His protests died a slow and painful death under his girlfriend's pointed stare.
Thanks to the fiasco, they had to clean almost all the cars all over again. This meant that they ran overtime so much that they ended up returning almost everything they'd earned as an apology for messing up people's schedules. Obviously, it was not a successful day.
The Bake Sale
"So…who here actually knows anything about cooking? Edible things, I mean?" Shinichi fell silent and looked around the Kudo Manor kitchen expectantly. Not for the first time that day, and probably not for the last, he wished wholeheartedly that Ran hadn't put him in charge of this event when her dentist appointment came up. She could have rescheduled either the event or the appointment but no. They only had until the end of the month, she'd reminded him with that look in her eyes that told him saying no would not be a healthy choice to make. So here he was, praying to any deity that might be out there that his house didn't burn down before the day was out.
"I can do sandwiches," Hattori said after a moment's consideration.
Hakuba snorted. "That hardly counts as cooking."
"Yeah? Well, what about you?" the Osakan detective challenged. "Have some fancy culinary skills hidden up those cosplay sleeves do you?"
The blonde glared at him but Aoko cut in before he could say anything.
"I cook for my father and myself all the time," she announced. "Nothing really fancy or anything though."
"I do okay if I have a cookbook to look at," Kazuha added. "But yeah, anything really complicated takes forever."
"That's all right," Shinichi assured them. "Ran left us some instructions, and she promised they weren't complicated. We can split into two groups. One group can do the cookies and the other group can do the cakes."
Of course, what was 'not complicated' to someone who cooked as much as Ran did wasn't always 'not complicated' to the amateur (and failing) chefs that their group was largely comprised of.
Shinichi stared for a long moment at the fine, black powder that now covered the tips of the fork's metal prongs then at the pan full of…full of… It was probably better not to try and give it a name. All you could say for sure was that it was not a cake of any breed. "And you think people are going to want to pay you for this…"
Hattori rubbed uncomfortably at the back of his neck. "Uh, well…"
"Maybe they'll pay you to take it away," Kaito suggested, snickering.
"Oi, yours ain't any better than mine Kuroba!"
"Yeah? Well, at least mine didn't disintegrate on contact."
"That's 'cause nothing could break through the surface!"
"Why don't you two go help with the cookies?" Shinichi suggested, giving Kaito's…not-cake another experimental prod with the fork. The metal prongs scraped uselessly over the gritty, black surface. On the bright side, it didn't explode. "It looks like they've already finished mixing the dough so all you have to do is help set it on the trays."
Kaito heaved an overdramatic sigh. "Alas, I think we've been fired."
Rolling his eyes, Shinichi shooed them over to the cookie table and started mixing up another batch of cake mix. How the other two could have messed up when the instructions were right there he had no idea, though he suspected Kaito might have decided to improvise. He knew from past experience that the magician tended to add and adjust ingredients on a whim. He called it the spirit of experimentation, and maybe once out of every twenty tries something good came out of it, but the other nineteen…well, they were a different story. As for Hattori… Shinichi didn't know what his excuses were. By the time he popped the four cakes into the oven, the others had already populated the cookie pans with several dozen cookies of various shapes and sizes. Aoko had made stars while Hakuba had gone for the traditional circles. Kazuha had managed to create some rather pretty seashell shaped cookies which Hattori was helping her with. As for Kaito…
The magician had somehow managed to coax the cookie dough into a delicate, doughy sculpture that would have been more at home on top of a wedding cake than in a cookie pan. And of course Kaito, being Kaito, had decided to model it after his two favorite people—a.k.a. himself and his Shin-chan. They were kissing. And cookie Kaito had his hands somewhere where real Shinichi would have smacked him for putting them in public.
Shinichi looked at it for a moment, feeling himself turning red, then reached over and squashed it flat.
"Hey!" Kaito protested. "It took ages to get the dough to do that."
"It's not supposed to do that," the detective snapped, still blushing. "And we're trying to sell these. You should be making things other people will want. Not just things you find entertaining."
"Ah, but it wasn't just a cookie, it was a work of art," the magician reasoned. "It would have rarity value."
"Kai, that's not the point. Can you please just make normal cookies?"
Kaito made a face. "But that's just boring. Humans are naturally attracted to the unusual."
"Not when it comes to food. In my experience, most people prefer foods they are familiar with."
They stared at each other for a long moment, Shinichi with his arms crossed and Kaito with his usual manic grin, then the magician heaved a melodramatic sigh. "Fine, boring it is, on one condition."
Blue eyes narrowed warily. "What?"
"Get rid of that monstrosity you brought back from that trip we took to Chiba."
Shinichi considered this. He didn't have to ask to know what Kaito was talking about. It was the three-foot long, extremely lifelike stuffed fish he'd seen in a shop window on said trip. Kaito hated the thing with a passion. It was the only remotely fishy object in the house and it existed because Shinichi had found that hanging it outside the bathroom door was the only way to prevent Kaito from inviting himself in. Locks, no matter how complex, just didn't do the job.
So that would be embarrassing cookies in public (because he had no doubt that no matter how carefully he watched the ovens they would inevitably make it onto the table at the end of the day) or embarrassing moments in private? It wasn't much of a contest. He did NOT want Kaito's fantasies in cookie form debuting at Ran's bake sale no matter how artistic Kaito thought they were.
"Fine," he relented. "But I want perfect circles."
And he got perfect circles. They were so flawlessly circular that it was borderline creepy, especially considering no cookie cutters had been involved, but he'd almost expected that.
It was too bad that Aoko suggested playing board games while they waited for the cookies to bake. No one heard the timer over the chatter as people really got into the games and by the time they remembered what they were supposed to be doing it was too late to save the charcoal lumps. Although in retrospect Shinichi was just happy that nothing had caught fire.
An Educational Experience
"Whose bright idea was it to give lectures?"
"It was Hakuba's," Shinichi replied, peering out between the stage curtains into the theater hall beyond. It wasn't a big venue, but it did look official.
"Figures. Trust him to come up with a boring idea like this." Kaito snorted derisively. "Some people have no imagination."
"You can scoff all you want, but it seems to be working," Shinichi told him. "The seats out there are all full."
"Yeah, now we know all the people in this city who really need to get a life," the magician mused, shaking his head in incredulous pity. "Well, I'm outta here. No offense Shin-chan, but much as I love the sound of your voice, I would much rather not subject myself to this folly. Call me when you're done and I'll come pick you up." Leaning down, he stole a kiss from his detective before heading for the backdoor. "We can go somewhere nice for dinner."
The magician had only been gone for an hour before there was a scream.
Shinichi groaned, burying his face in his hands. What kind of nutcase would commit murder at a lecture being given by multiple famous detectives, he had no idea (though no doubt he would be finding out shortly), but apparently common sense couldn't combat the combined presence of said detectives and their penchant for being dogged by misfortune. Needless to say, the event was a total disaster.
"We don't have any time left!" Ran exclaimed, worry and frustration evident in every tense line of her face. "We've only got three days before the deadline!"
"Maybe we're going about this the wrong way," Hattori mused. "Maybe we should be trying to find you guys a new building to use instead of trying to hang on to this one."
"And then they will suddenly have the money they need to rent it," Hakuba said dryly. "Do try using your head now and then."
"Well obviously we'd be looking for a place that cost less," the Osakan shot back.
"Most suitable venues cost about the same as the one they wish to keep."
"Doesn't mean there can't be one that's within their budget limit."
"Can't you two give it a rest?" Shinichi groaned, leaning back where he was seated on the couch and closing his eyes. He hadn't gotten any sleep the night before because of a stakeout that hadn't led anywhere, and it was not helping his patience. "You're getting worse than a broken record."
The two completely ignored him.
Kaito snickered, draping an arm over Shinichi's shoulders. "You should know it's pointless to try and talk them out of it by now. So just sit back and enjoy the show."
Everyone turned at Aoko's sudden exclamation. The inspector's daughter had leapt to her feet in her excitement and leveled a finger straight at Kaito. The magician looked back at her with one raised eyebrow.
"A show! Don't you guys get it?" She turned to give each person in the room a pointed look, waving all the while at her childhood friend. "A magic show!"
Ran's face lit up as well. "That's a great idea." She turned hopefully to the magician in question. "Will you do it? Please?"
"Hmm, well," Kaito drawled, "all right, I'll do it. But there are a few conditions."
"But you like performing," Aoko pointed out, exasperated. "And it's not like it's going to cost you anything. I'm sure they'd reimburse you for any money you use on props, and you'd get the publicity."
"Perhaps, but you can't expect me not to take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity when it falls into my lap," the magician replied, wagging a finger at her as his grin widened to KID proportions. "So, are you lot going to bargain or not?"
"What did you have in mind?" asked Ran. She was pretty much ready to agree to most things as this was looking like their last if best hope, but a certain sense of self preservation demanded caution. After all, it was Kaito. Much as she had liked him since the day Shinichi introduced them, she too had learned that he was a man of many ulterior motives.
"Two things," the magician replied, holding up two fingers. "First, you will all be assisting me in this show."
"Oh, well, we were always going to help," Aoko agreed, relieved.
"Good. But you will not question or otherwise refuse anything I ask of you."
An uneasy silence fell, broken eventually by Heiji. "I get the feeling we're gonna regret this."
"But you all agree? Good. Now you have a choice regarding my second condition."
Kuroba Kaito was a famous name in the Ekoda district and tickets were sold out there almost as soon as they were available. The rest of Tokyo wasn't quite as familiar with the up and coming new magician, but if there was one thing Kaito excelled at it was advertising his skills. In no time at all the tickets for both nights' performances were sold out.
"We should have just done this from the beginning," Aoko said as she appeared backstage in her costume for the night. "I'm actually kind of surprised Kaito didn't suggest it himself. He never usually passes up a chance to perform. I'd have thought he'd see the opening in this whole situation right away."
"I bet he was waitin' fer one of us ta suggest it—you know, when we got desperate," Hattori replied, nodding sagely at his own deduction. "Because he knew then he'd get ta extract whatever deal he wants from us." Which was why, in a moment of insanity, they had all agreed to do whatever the crazy magician asked of them during the next three months. The alternative had been to owe Kaito seven favors each to be collected at any time he so wished, but no one had wanted that hanging over their heads for the rest of who knew how long.
"He does drive a hard bargain," Ran laughed. She'd been in a considerably better mood since this particular event was already looking to be a success.
Hattori snorted. "That's the understatement of the year. Feels like we've sold our souls."
The girls laughed and Hattori twitched. It was a bit creepy seeing them laughing at the same time right now because Kuroba had fixed Ran and Aoko's hairstyles so that they now looked like clones of each other. It made the Osakan feel like he was seeing double. Which, naturally, was the whole point. Knowing that didn't make it any less bizarre. It was bad enough that Kuroba had always looked like Kudo's evil twin.
"Really though," Aoko continued. "I think it could have been a lot worse."
"Are you crazy? You should never say things like that!" Hattori spluttered. "That's the kind of thing people say just before it does get worse."
Although he supposed he should count himself lucky. He had been assigned a lot of behind the scenes work, whereas Hakuba had been ordered into a jester's outfit. He sniggered at the thought. He was so going to take pictures.
As if on cue, there was a jangle of bells and Hakuba appeared clad in aforementioned jester's clothes complete with pointy shoes and ruffles. Little silver bells bounced and tinkled all over him as he walked. His three-corner hat dangled limply from one hand like a dirty rag. His expression seemed to have set itself into a resigned grimace.
Hattori couldn't help it. He toppled off the box he'd been sitting on, laughing so hard that his stomach hurt.
"The seats are all packed!" Kazuha reported as she came bursting into the backstage area, eyes bright with barely contained excitement. "Is it time yet? Where's Kaito-kun? And Heiji, what are you doing lying on the floor?!"
"We still have ten minutes," Hakuba replied without looking at the clock. He was glaring at the bell-bedecked hat in his hands like it was a scorpion. "And I believe Kuroba is in the dressing room. As for the fool on the floor, I really couldn't say."
Hearing this, Hattori managed to sit up, still gasping to catch his breath. "I might be a fool, but you're the clown tonight."
The blonde ignored him.
"Someone should go ask Kaito-kun if there's anything else we need to get ready."
"I'll go." The blonde dropped the hat and stood up. Anything to delay having to put that monstrosity on his head. Damn Kuroba and his sense of humor.
In another part of the theater, Shinichi was standing in front of a mirror. He'd been examining himself for the last ten minutes, trying to figure out any last minute excuses that might save him from having to step out onto that stage. It wasn't that there was anything particularly wrong with or unseemly about the outfit (because Kaito had agreed that Shinichi wouldn't be a very coherent assistant if he was too busy feeling embarrassed). No, it was just creepy on principle.
Strong arms slid around him from behind and warm breaths brushed past his ear. "You can stop fixing it now. You look wonderful."
"Well, it's better than the sparkly dress anyway," Shinichi muttered.
He could hear the smirk in Kaito's voice when he answered. "Oh, I don't know. I'm sure you would have looked wonderful in that too."
The detective rolled his eyes, fighting down a blush. "Shouldn't we be going now?"
"We still have some time," The magician smiled at their reflections. He'd been trying for ages to coax Shinichi into being a part of one of his shows. It was only natural that he feel a bit smug that he had finally succeeded.
Turning his head to the side, he brushed his lips lightly across Shinichi's cheek, seeing the pink flush rise in response. Then his lips had found Shinichi's, and he pressed in closer, deepening the kiss. Blue eyes fluttered shut. Fingers twined into wild, dark-brown locks.
Wrapped up in each other as they were, they barely noticed when the dressing room door opened. Or rather Shinichi didn't notice, and Kaito only cracked open an eye to check who it was, got his answer, and dismissed it as unimportant. He was much more interested in coaxing those little gasps from his adorable detective. They only had five minutes before the show had to start after all. He was going to make the best of it.
Shutting the dressing room door a little harder than he intended, Hakuba considered banging his head on the wall beside it. He should have known better than to just go in. Trying desperately to scrub the last thirty seconds out of his brain, he returned to the others.
"They'll…be out shortly," he mumbled, a dark flush creeping across his face as he coughed into his hand. He was never volunteering to go find the two when they were alone ever again. "Although I believe we can go ahead and take our places. After all, whatever else he may be, Kuroba has never to my knowledge missed one of his own shows."
What he didn't say was that his information did not include samples from shows where Kuroba might have had to choose between punctuality and doing who knew what to Kudo-kun. It wasn't something he cared to know more about if he could help it.
Aoko held his jingling hat out to him. "Here."
He sighed. Apparently it was too much to hope for that they would just forget about the damned thing.
"You all did quite well for your first time performing," Kaito told the room at large. They had only just finished tidying up after the performance—or rather the rest of them had tidied up while Kaito was bombarded by people from the audience who wanted to speak to him. With the activity over though, it suddenly felt overwhelmingly quiet. But in a good way. It was just the seven of them now, gathered for an impromptu picnic of the nearest takeout. "In fact, people were so impressed we've been asked to perform at a couple other places."
Aoko laughed. "They must have thought we were some kind of performing troupe. It's actually kind of flattering."
"But untrue," Hakuba felt the need to point out with emphasis. "I hope you made that clear," he added, turning his gaze to the magician with a certain amount of anxiety.
"Actually, I told them we'd be happy to do a few more shows," Kaito said, grabbing a loaded plate that Ran had just held out to him and moving to sit down beside Shinichi. "I already have the schedule worked out. It'll be about a two and a half week trip with stops in a couple different cities. They'll be covering our room and board, though we're responsible for our transportation. Proceeds from the shows are going to be split between us and the venues. They'll be sending me the contracts on the morrow so we can iron out the small details."
"…" Everyone stared at the smiling magician before Aoko broke the silence. "Kaito! You can't just decide things like that without asking."
"No kidding," Hattori agreed. "We only agreed ta be in this show fer Nee-chan."
Ran gave an embarrassed smile at that. "He does have a point…"
"Ah, but you are forgetting that I basically own you all for the next few months." The magician's smile widened a fraction. "Of course, you can choose to back out on your word, but I assure you that you will not enjoy the consequences." He thought this over for a moment then added, "Perhaps in some of your cases it would be more accurate to say that you will enjoy the consequences even less. So you might as well save yourself the grief."
The blond detective spluttered. "That's practically a threat!"
"No it isn't. Call it the small print in the contract."
"We didn't sign a contract."
"But I did record the entire conversation where you lot agreed to my terms for performing here. Can't argue with your own words."
Hattori choked on a mouthful of cola and rounded on Shinichi. "You let him record that?"
The blue-eyed detective looked offended. "I have nothing to do with this. You know as well as I do that he does whatever he wants. Besides, it's Kaito. You should have expected it."
"I don't mind," Kazuha piped up. "I kind of like performing. But, I mean, it is a little sudden…"
"Kaito," Shinichi started, knowing that he was going to have to be the voice of reason (everyone else was giving him pleading looks). "We all have things we have to do, like work and classes. We can't just go running off."
"No worries there. I took a few minutes earlier to call the appropriate people. Officially, we'll all be on vacation. You have two weeks to get any last minute business in order before we have to go."
"Well," Ran said optimistically into the ensuing silence. "A road trip around the country does sound pretty cool. It's been a while since we all went somewhere together for fun anyway."
A.N: Just a little something fun for the holidays. ^_^ I hope you enjoyed it. I may write the following tour sometime since my sister asked me to. Anyhow, it's a little bit early, but happy holidays!