Sorry for extended absence! After the emotional mess that was the last fic I wrote, I wanted to take some time to write something enjoyable and lighthearted as well as rediscover my voice and style. And, well, I ended up with this, which is basically half crack and half fluff...? Yeah. Well.
Warnings include shounen-ai, grammar mistakes / general errors, tropes galore, etc. Also, my sense of humor.
Enjoy! - Luna
National Snuggle Bunny Day
"I have a proposal – I mean, a proposition," Shinichi began, wincing so hard Kaito wondered if he'd hurt something. Coughing, he emptied another packet of sweetener into his coffee, which was beginning to resemble a cup of sugar rather than anything approaching a liquid. There was a small mountain of empty wrappers at Shinichi's elbow, threatening to fall every time Shinichi flinched, which was an event that was occurring with alarming frequency.
"Yes," Kaito prompted when Shinichi's face began twitching in unseemly places. He took of a sip of his milk tea and waited. For all his detectively prowess and general attractiveness, Shinichi occasionally demonstrated a slight lack of social graces that Kaito generally found marginally more endearing than he did irritating.
"I," Shinichi began, and then made a choked sound and buried his face in his hands, muttering something too fast for Kaito to catch. Kaito leaned forward, tilting his ear towards him.
As sunlight from the window illuminated his profile, Shinichi melodramatically lifted his face – between the two of them, Kaito was supposed to be the showman, but even he couldn't manage the tragic Byronic antiheroic air Shinichi could manage to exude from every one of his marvelously tiny pores – before he mechanically said, frowning hard enough that Kaito half-expected his face to crack down the middle, "I – I may have told my mom that we're dating because she was bothering me, and now she's coming to visit soon so I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend until she leaves."
Kaito experienced about forty-eight different emotions within the span of two seconds, emotions that ranged from um, what the hell to um, what the hell.
"Uh," he managed around the fist that had begun to strangle his vocal chords. "Um, why did you pick me?"
Shinichi was doing an incredible impression of a statue that had died of awkwardness. "There wasn't exactly a surplus of options."
"But you couldn't just – pick someone else?" Kaito demanded, waving his arms a little crazily. He probably looked moderately deranged, which he only realized after a waiter who had been coming towards them immediately changed course and delivered their chocolate pastries to a bewildered girl sitting two tables away. Shinichi glared, silent and unhelpful.
"Ran wouldn't want to," he mumbled gruffly, and Kaito suddenly recalled the fact that the two of them had dated for nearly two years back when they'd all been seventeen and stupid, and the whole thing had culminated in a breakup with the destructive force of an atomic bomb. "And Hattori and Kazuha are engaged. And Sera's planning on asking Ran out. And Hakuba and Nakamori-san are seriously dating. I don't think any of them would be willing to do it." Shinichi donned the kind of steely expression one wore while marching out to war and expecting to die in some gruesome and bloody manner. "You're the only one left who I can ask."
"That's really flattering," Kaito remarked. "Nice to know I'm your last choice."
Shinichi looked at him askance. "You just asked me why I didn't ask someone else."
Kaito ignored him in favor of primly taking a sip of his tea. "What do I get out of this?" he demanded once he had set the cup back down with a delicate clink. "I, uh, definitely can't imagine anything that would make me want to be your," he stumbled over the words a little, "fake boyfriend." Your real boyfriend, on the other hand, he thought, and then quashed the thought.
Closing his eyes, Shinichi said, sounding as if every syllable physically pained him, "I'll go out in public wearing an 'I LOVE KID' t-shirt. Specifically, this one." Clearly gritting his teeth, he reached into his pocket and extracted his phone, sliding it across the table to show Kaito a picture of a t-shirt that did indeed read 'I LOVE KID' across the chest in bubbly lettering. It was neon orange. There were hearts involved. Kaito looked at him in silent, delighted question.
"Hattori bought it for me for my last birthday," Shinichi informed him. His jaw creaked with every word. If Kaito hadn't been so thrilled, he would've wondered if Shinichi was going to break his molars with how hard he was grinding his teeth. As it were, Kaito was too busy planning how many pictures he was going to take and what strategic websites he would post them to. As many news sites as possible, he was thinking.
"And you won't cover it up with a jacket or anything," Kaito confirmed. Shinichi looked a bit as if someone had stabbed him in the side and then twisted the knife several times.
"And you'll wear it for at least four consecutive hours. Outdoors. At times when there are people around, not, like, at one in the morning."
"Okay. Yes." Shinichi was starting to look a little crazy around the eyes.
"In that case, Kudou Shinichi, I would be delighted to be your fake boyfriend," Kaito beamed, and Shinichi shut his eyes and slid down overdramatically in his seat like a man who'd just signed his own death warrant.
See, the thing about Kudou Shinichi was that Kaito just didn't know how to treat him. He had masks tailored to everyone's expectations – for example, he was a loveable asshole for Aoko, a straight-up asshole for Hakuba, and a charming asshole for virtually everyone else – but Kaito never got a good enough read on Shinichi that he knew just how to act around him. Being charming earned him a dead-eyed stare; acting like an asshole got him a cutting remark and his phone wallpaper inexplicably turning into a picture of a school of dead fish. Kaito had settled at an awkward mix of somewhat flirtatious and somewhat uncomfortable behavior, solely because he didn't care to mess around until he figured out the ratio of charm to rudeness that Shinichi preferred. (The fact that Shinichi was snarky and generally condescending to him, even though Kaito knew for a fact that he wasn't like that to everyone else, did not come into play at all.)
The other thing about Kudou Shinichi was that he was like – he was like bioluminescent waves or earthquake lights or something equally as mystifying and beautiful that mere mortals could only admire and never understand. That was Kudou Shinichi: an incomprehensible work of art that breathed sarcasm and looked like an oil painting from every angle imaginable. Kaito had long since given up on understanding him. Or understanding why Kaito adored him so much.
"So I'm dating Shinichi now," Kaito announced and waited for Aoko to choke.
Disappointingly, she chewed and swallowed calmly before she said, "Congratulations," and bit into her crepe once more. Kaito vindictively failed to inform her of the dab of whipped cream on her upper lip, instead glaring down at his chocolate parfait and making an incoherent noise as he stabbed his spoon into a lump of melting ice cream.
"Can't you act a little surprised?" he snapped, a little waspishly. He knew he shouldn't have agreed to go out with Aoko, if she didn't even respond adequately to his grand reveals. He would've accepted a fake gasp, even.
Aoko delicately wiped her mouth and set down the remains of her crepe. "I've watched you dance around him for the past four years, Kaito. Right now, I'm feeling the opposite of surprised. As in, like, completely and utterly unsurprised."
"Yes, brilliant wordplay," Kaito grumbled, dropping his head on the table. "I seriously don't understand how you can say that I've been – I've been dancing around him or whatever. If I've been doing anything around him, I've been marching. Coldly. Emotionlessly. Like – like a toy soldier. One of those low-quality plastic wind-up ones." He wrinkled his nose. That metaphor may have gotten slightly off track.
"Sure," Aoko agreed, sounding unconvinced. "But I know pigtail pulling when I see it, Kaito."
"Pigtail – there is no pigtail pulling. He doesn't even have pigtails," Kaito immediately denied, throwing his hands in the air and nearly smacking a passing waitress in the stomach as he did. And he wasn't wrong, because no, Shinichi didn't have pigtails. He had soft, cowlicky hair that he kept cropped short to maintain an appearance of neatness. It annoyed Kaito a little, because he had the kind of hair that would be best with a little length, something to pull on and run your fingers through –
"Now, Kaito," Aoko began in her I was there for your "oh my God I like men" revelation and I have no desire to revisit it voice, and Kaito waved her off. That hadn't been his point.
"Anyway, I was lying when I said we were dating now," he informed her, mostly to change the topic. He was only mildly successful, because Aoko just narrowed her eyes at him and adopted a suspicious, unimpressed expression.
"What are you talking about?"
"Shinichi's mom's visiting, and apparently she's really persistent about him having a girlfriend." He shrugged. "Boyfriend. Significant other. Whatever. So Shinichi picked me to live with him and pretend to be his boyfriend while she visits, just so she doesn't bother him about it. Apparently she signed him up for a dating site and currently has three hundred possible matches for him." Kaito paused when he realized that Aoko was smirking in an annoying you're so adorable and idiotic way that she must've contracted from prolonged exposure to Hakuba. "What?"
"Nothing," Aoko replied in a voice that strongly implied it was something. She propped her face up in one hand, humming around her smile. "I just think it's cute how you call him by his first name. It's almost like you two are actually really close and secretly pining after each other."
Kaito threw his spoon at her. Aoko caught it without blinking, because she was an android sent to humiliate him for the universe's enjoyment.
"Anyway," Kaito grumbled, "it's not as if Shinichi would ever look twice at me."
There was a very weighty silence. Kaito looked up to see Aoko gaping at him.
"Are you kidding me," she blurted out. "Kaito, he's looked at you, like, eighty million times. He's always looking at you. Are you blind?"
"That was uncalled for," Kaito sniffed when he couldn't think of a response. Because really, all he could do was deny it vehemently, because Kudou Shinichi didn't pay attention to guys like Kaito; he paid attention to pretty girls like Mouri Ran and that one suspiciously friendly police inspector who perpetually looked like a Hugo Boss advert come to life. Kaito kind of hated that guy.
Aoko scoffed derisively and picked up her crepe. "Yeah. I didn't mean to insult blind people so badly."
Kaito had been inside the Kudou mansion many a time, several times without Shinichi's knowledge via Shinichi's bedroom window (which wasn't as creepy as it sounded; he'd been dropping off jewels that didn't pass the moonlight test and the occasional heist note, not sniffing Shinichi's pillows or whatever it was stalkers supposedly did). He'd never been all that daunted by its three floors and general ostentatiousness. But now that he was standing in the foyer, duffel bag slung over one shoulder and Shinichi robotically getting him a pair of guest slippers, he could admit to feeling slightly… intimidated.
"Here," Shinichi muttered, and Kaito looked down just in time to see Shinichi shove a pair of slippers with – surprise, surprise – plushy magnifying glasses attached to the tops at him. Kaito wordlessly dropped his bag, shucked his sneakers, and slid them on. They were surprisingly comfortable. By the time he looked up, Shinichi was already halfway up the stairs, Kaito's bag hanging effortlessly from his arm. Let it never be said that Shinichi wasn't a gentleman.
They encountered their first problem when Kaito followed Shinichi into Shinichi's bedroom.
"Wait, hang on," Kaito said the second he realized that he was standing in a room with pale blue walls and a bookshelf full of paperback mysteries, not a dusty guest room with stale sheets. "This is your room."
Shinichi looked at him blankly, as if he'd just announced that the earth revolved around the sun. "Brilliant observation," he remarked, and then dropped Kaito's duffel in the middle of the threadbare rug beside the bed.
"Why are you putting my stuff in your room," Kaito asked when Shinichi didn't seem to understand what the problem was. His chest did something alarming and stuttery in his chest at the prospect of staying in here, surrounded by the scent of Shinichi's oddly floral (jasmine, possibly sweet pea) cologne and his plain blue comforter set.
"Because we're supposed to be a couple," Shinichi responded, unzipping Kaito's bag and pulling out one of the t-shirts Kaito had packed to drape it on a hanger and hang it up beside one of Shinichi's pea coats in the closet. Kaito was too busy gawping to stop him and/or yell at him for the blatant invasion of his privacy. "And we're living together. Why would we sleep separately?"
"Oh my God," Kaito managed when he managed to unstick his tongue from the roof of his mouth. "Can't we be one of those couples that sleep separately and only hold hands because we're saving ourselves for marriage?"
"My mom doesn't believe in that kind of thinking. Apparently physical attraction is extremely important in a relationship." Shinichi's face did something twisted and sour around "physical attraction." "She probably expects that we bathe together." He unfolded one of Kaito's sweaters and stuck it beside the t-shirt. There was something a little panicked in his eyes when he turned to look at Kaito. "She'll know we're faking it if we don't share a room. So that's why you have to sleep with me."
Are you aware of what you just said to me, Kaito really wanted to shout at Shinichi, a sentiment shared by his cheeks, which felt as if they'd gone several degrees hotter in their mission to inform Shinichi of Kaito's horror. Out loud, all he said was, "How observant is your mom?"
"Pretty observant," Shinichi agreed, and then shuddered. "But not as observant as my dad." He suddenly looked a little nauseated. There was a distinctly haunted glaze to his eyes when he peered over at Kaito. "Once, in second grade, I didn't wash my hands before I touched his first-edition copy of A Study in Scarlet, and he knew. He knew." His right eye twitched.
And Kaito had to pity him a little. With parents like that, it was a miracle Shinichi hadn't turned out worse.
Throughout the course of the next few days, Kaito learned approximately four new things about Shinichi.
1) Shinichi owned and wore a pair of sweatpants with holes in the knees and OSAKA emblazoned across the ass. When questioned, he replied that they had been a gift from Hattori, who Kaito was beginning to think took an unholy kind of glee in giving Shinichi excessively hideous articles of clothing.
2) Shinichi liked to hum to himself when he forgot that Kaito was around. Not that Kaito knew what he was humming, because for whatever reason, Shinichi couldn't hum in tune and sounded mostly like a woodland animal slowly sputtering to death, but it was a little startling to shuffle awkwardly into the living room and find Shinichi butchering what was apparently supposed to be "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
3) Shinichi used satsuma body wash and unscented shampoo. Kaito discovered this first by reading the labels of the bottles in his shower, and then when Shinichi slouched down onto the couch beside him smelling sweet and citrusy, hair damp where it stuck to his neck and skin pink when he leaned across Kaito to grab the TV remote and change the channel to something boring and mystery-related.
4) Shinichi stayed up late flipping through case files. Half-past-two-in-the-morning late.
Which was Kaito's current problem. He was lying immobile on the right side of Shinichi's bed, trying to sleep and block the light from the lamp on Shinichi's bedside table by contorting his arms into varying positions over his eyes. Needless to say, it wasn't working, and his elbows were starting to ache from the strain, so Kaito let his arms flop to his sides, scowling at the ceiling. Oblivious, Shinichi make a thoughtful noise, his pen scritching against paper as he circled something that was probably gruesome and bloody, and Kaito sighed with frustration.
"Why don't you go to sleep?" he demanded when he couldn't stand it anymore. Kaito had his share of long nights, but this was ridiculous. There was literally no reason for Shinichi to stay up – he could just as well work in the morning. "The stack of corpses isn't going to disappear overnight."
"Right," Shinichi agreed absently, in a way that meant he wasn't paying Kaito any attention, before he wrote something in the margin of a page (Kaito caught the words width of axe blade and spinal cord and decided he didn't want to know).
Groaning, Kaito rolled over and grabbed at the manila folder lying across Shinichi's thighs, intending to throw it across the room or set it on fire or something. Unfortunately, Shinichi anticipated him and lifted the papers out of the way, and Kaito overshot, ending up with his head in Shinichi's lap. Shinichi lifted his eyebrows down at him, his mouth doing something twitchy that meant he was holding back a smirk.
"If you wanted to cuddle, you could've just said something," he said in a voice colored an amused pink. Kaito tried to bite him as he dropped a hand down onto Kaito's head and laced his fingers through Kaito's hair. Shinichi paid him no mind. The pads of his fingers rubbed into Kaito's scalp, firm but somehow still gentle, and Kaito let out an inadvertent noise, because of course Kudou Shinichi had the hands of a professional masseur.
Shinichi smiled down at him, but this time, there wasn't a trace of derision or mockery. He dug his thumb in behind Kaito's ear, and Kaito breathed out, eyes closing. Shinichi still smelled like citrus and warmth all around him, and it was frightfully easy to slip into sleep.
Kaito slept better than he had in months. When he woke up, sleepy-eyed and squinting, Shinichi was gone, but the mattress was still warm on his side of the bed. Kaito had the lurking suspicion that Shinichi had kept his head in his lap for the whole night, but he had no way of proving that, and it sounded a little too close to a fantasy he'd once had of them spending a summery Saturday lying together on a meadow.
The first thing Shinichi said when Kaito plodded into the kitchen was, "Do you want a pet name?"
"What?" Kaito replied automatically before he happened to look a little closer at Shinichi and realize he'd already changed (which meant Shinichi must have spent at least a minute being naked in the same room as him, and Kaito was suddenly annoyed that he hadn't woken up in time to witness it). He was wearing a pair of jeans that looked as if they would've fit reasonably on a Shinichi several inches shorter and narrower, which meant that on the current model, they molded obscenely to his hips and did something to his thighs that made Kaito's throat dry up. Kaito sort of felt as if he should've inputted his credit card information on a sketchy website somewhere before being able to witness this.
"What do you mean, 'do you want a pet name'?" he mumbled when he managed to convince himself he hadn't just ogled Kudou Shinichi in his kitchen at some ungodly hour in the morning.
"Like, do you want me to call you by a pet name?" Shinichi refilled the coffee mug that Kaito only realized just now was sitting beside his elbow. "For example, 'sugar' or 'sweet pea' or 'beautiful.'" His eyelashes were a dark swipe of glossy paint across his cheekbones.
Kaito experienced a moment of unprecedented longing – imagine falling asleep with your head in Kudou Shinichi's lap as he called you beautiful and touched your hair – before he shook his head. "No thanks. None of those sound natural coming from you."
One corner of Shinichi's mouth tugged upwards before he hid it with the rim of his mug. "In that case, could I interest you in 'baby cakes' or 'snuggle bunny'?"
"Oh my God," Kaito managed around his slack jaw. "Kudou Shinichi, notorious stick-up-his-ass Kudou Shinichi, actually said 'snuggle bunny' with a straight face. This is a momentous occasion. Let today be declared a national holiday."
"We should call it National Snuggle Bunny Day," Shinichi agreed, and yes, that was a definite smile as Kaito goggled at him.
Yukiko arrived alone and laden with an entire Louis Vuitton luggage set around noon. She was devastatingly pretty, as creepy as that probably sounded coming from the person who was fake-dating her son, but she was also vaguely terrifying in the way most of the female people in Shinichi's life were.
"Shin-chan!" she crowed the second the taxi pulled away from the curb, somehow managing to run up the driveway in six-inch stilettos and a pencil skirt while carrying no less than four different pieces of baggage. Shinichi, who was standing half-hidden behind the front door, managed to shoot an apprehensive look over his shoulder at Kaito before Yukiko engulfed him in a hug that resembled some kind of wrestling technique more than an expression of familial love.
Once she had finished crushing the life out of Shinichi, she turned on Kaito. "Kai-chan!" she shrieked, and then it was Kaito's turn to feel his bones grinding together in her Chanel-perfumed embrace.
"Nice to meet you, Kudou-san," Kaito wheezed once he had politely extricated himself from her grasp. Trying to discern whether his lungs were still functioning, he offered her a rose, which seemed to delight her, as she laughed musically and took it from him, tucking it into the buttonhole on her lapel.
"It's so good to see you again, Kai-chan. I was so excited when Shin-chan told me that the secret lover he's had for so long was you," she gushed as she toed off her shoes. Shinichi moved to get her a pair of slippers. "I don't know if you remember, but I used to be a student of your father's. We've met before – I think you were about six or seven. But you were the cutest little thing back then, you know."
"Oh," Kaito said, not entirely sure how to respond to that, and Yukiko giggled and patted him on the arm. Her hand lingered, and she seemed to squeeze his arm a little, as if trying to feel up his bicep. Shinichi cleared his throat warningly. Yukiko ignored him.
"You gave me a flower then, too. You were so sweet to me. And look! You're still such a gentleman," she cooed, and Kaito got the uncomfortable feeling that she was about to pinch his cheek. He gave Shinichi a slightly panicked what am I supposed to do around the curve of Yukiko's elaborately knotted and pinned bun.
"Mom," Shinichi announced at a louder volume than strictly necessary, shouldering between them gracelessly. "Do you need help settling in? I can carry your bags, if you want."
Yukiko blinked at him before she chuckled, waving him off. "Oh, Shin-chan, don't underestimate me. I can carry my own bags up a few flights of stairs. You just spend some time with your man." There was something gleamy and dangerous in her eyes that set off warning alarms in Kaito's head as she bent to unzip the top of one of her suitcases. She emerged with a nondescript paper bag, which she thrust at Shinichi. "Here, I got you these in the States. I think you two can get some good use out of them."
Shinichi peered down into the bag. His face did something complicate that involved a lot of painful-looking muscle spasms before he went red, color spilling down his neck and disappearing beneath the neckline of his shirt. It was a frightfully good look on him.
"Enjoy!" Yukiko trilled before effortlessly hefting the army of luggage pieces into her arms and scaling the stairs two at a time. Kaito watched, partly in awe and partly in horror.
He glanced over at Shinichi to find him resolutely folding the top of the bag shut. It wasn't working that well, because Shinichi's hands were shaking a little too much to be effective. Kaito squinted at him – something that rattled Shinichi that badly had to be, like, a severed head or something. Shinichi was basically unrattleable. Kaito had seen him dismantle a bomb without breaking a sweat.
"What's in the bag?" he asked, curiosity bubbling over.
Wordlessly, Shinichi handed it to him. Kaito pulled the paper open to find an electric blue vibrator, a pair of fuzzy handcuffs, and a bottle of flavored lube staring up at him. The label on the bottle advertised a "silky smooth finish, in more ways than one" and was apparently "cherry flavored, for all your cherry-popping needs."
He closed the bag.
"So tell me about you and Shin-chan, Kai-chan," Yukiko insisted, smiling cheerfully at Kaito over her salad. They were at a restaurant that required a shirt and tie and employed car valets with distinguished mustaches, because Yukiko demanded class in everything she did. She was resplendent in her sateen cocktail dress, but Kaito kept catching himself staring at Shinichi and the way the blazer he was wearing turned the cut of his waist into a thing of beauty. Or, well, a thing of even greater beauty than usual.
"Uh…" Kaito shot Shinichi a look – Shinichi responded with wide-eyed shrugging – before he set down his fork, mostly to buy a few seconds of thinking time. "Well, Shinichi and I met at an… event, under some… unusual circumstances," he began delicately, and Yukiko covered her mouth as she laughed. Her nails were painted bright red, with pearly little camellias on the thumbnails.
"You met at a heist while he was Conan, didn't you?"
Kaito choked. Shinichi patted him on the back as he bent over, hacking. Their waiter, a dapper thirtysomething in a waistcoat and brogues, strode towards them with a concerned frown, and Yukiko waved him off before she leaned forward to beam at him.
"I knew your father was Kid, and since he's gone, it's only natural to assume that you're the new Kid. And of course I know about my own son's little incident. It's not hard to put two and two together," she sing-songed, and Kaito was torn between glaring at her and abandoning his pride to run for his life, because clearly she was terrifying, and Shinichi's weird twitchiness was a lot more understandable now.
"I…" he tried, wheezing faintly, before he found that he couldn't think of anything to say. Shinichi gave him one last rub on the shoulder before he straightened to look at his mother.
"Cut it out, Mom. You're going to scare him off," he told her, scowling. Yukiko only laughed, though, and neatly speared a cherry tomato with her fork.
"Oh, please, Shin-chan. As if Kai-chan could be so easily scared off, if he's as in love with you as you are with him." She grinned at Kaito, who was massaging his throat and trying to regain control of his lungs. "He's quite enamored of you, Kai-chan. And I've decided that an autumn wedding might be nice, so you two can spend the holidays together." Her smile was mildly lecherous as she spread her hands. "Shin-chan usually takes a week off for Christmas, you know. Imagine all the use you could get out of my present in a week."
Kaito choked again.
"Mom," Shinichi said in a horrified, scandalized tone that gave the impression that he'd be clutching his pearls if he was wearing any. He absently began stroking Kaito's back again. Kaito almost whimpered. "Cut it out."
"But I haven't even brought out the baby photos!" Yukiko cackled, hand going for her clutch, and Shinichi's free hand tightened around his steak knife, as if he were actually considering throwing it at her. Kaito resisted the urge to rub at his temples.
"Mom," Shinichi hissed, slightly hysterical, and Yukiko sighed, setting her bag down with a pout.
"You're no fun, Shin-chan."
Thankfully, the second course arrived at that point. There was a moment of silence as the three of them rummaged around for spoons and juggled plates.
"What's the most romantic thing you two have done?" Yukiko finally asked, stirring her French onion soup with delicate twirls of her narrowed, braceleted wrist. When Shinichi and Kaito only blinked at her, she sighed. "What kind of dates do you go on? What grand gestures have you done for each other? How do you show your affection?"
"I once put on a fireworks show on Shinichi's birthday," Kaito offered when the silence had gone on for too long. He shifted uncomfortably, coughing into a fist. "I mean, it was a coincidence, because I didn't know it was his birthday, but that… happened."
Yukiko was giving him an appraising, mildly unimpressed look. Shinichi had shut his eyes, presumably to pray for patience.
"Here," he sighed, once he'd opened his eyes, and dug his phone out of his pocket. "We went to Tropical Land together a few weeks ago on a double date with Hattori and Kazuha." Kaito admired the way he barely stuttered over "double date." "I have pictures." He fiddled with the screen for a moment before handing it to his mother.
Kaito craned his neck to get a better look at it – he caught a flash of color and remembered how he'd bought a bright blue touristy t-shirt for Shinichi after they'd gotten soaked on a boat ride. Shinichi had glared at him but grudgingly put it on, and it had been a size too big and showed eighty percent of his collarbones. Kaito had been forced to spend a few minutes in the bathroom splashing his face with cold water. Thinking back, he realized that he might have cause for worry, because he was basically a Victorian husband panting after a flash of Shinichi's ankles.
"Aw," Yukiko cooed, pulling Kaito out of his thoughts. She balanced her face in once hand as she scrolled through Shinichi's photos. "These are adorable." When she noticed Kaito staring at her, she tilted the phone towards him. Shinichi looked distinctly uncomfortable as she insisted, "Look at how you look at each other, Kai-chan! You can see the love in your eyes."
Kaito stared at the photo. It had been taken after the boat ride incident, so Shinichi was wearing a shirt with "TROPICAL LAND!" and a poorly designed log flume emblazoned across the chest, somehow still looking attractive and unattainable. They were standing in line outside the Mystery Coaster. Neither of them was looking at the camera, which meant Hattori had probably stolen Shinichi's phone to take it, and it looked as if they were in the middle of conversation. Kaito's left hand was a blur as he gestured, and Shinichi's mouth was partway open as he replied.
It didn't seem like a very noteworthy photo, in Kaito's opinion. He was looking at Shinichi the way he always did, a little admiring and a lot wistful. And Shinichi didn't seem to be doing anything out of the ordinary – he had on the perpetual half-smirk he always seem to have around Kaito, and his eyes were bright and beautiful. Kaito frowned.
"Mom," Shinichi muttered, taking his phone away from Yukiko. His cheeks were flushed, or maybe it was just the rosy mood lighting. Kaito couldn't tell, even when he squinted at him. "You're making him uncomfortable."
"No, I'm not," Yukiko laughed, patting Kaito on the arm. "Kai-chan looks at you as if you're his entire universe, Shin-chan. I don't think I could embarrass him that easily."
Think again, Kaito thought as he went bright red and shoveled soup into his mouth. Of course, because Kaito had apparently used up his allotment of luck, he ended burning the inside of his mouth and was forced to eat ice cubes between courses for the rest of the meal. Shinichi kept making concerned noises and giving him worried looks over his beef bouguignon. On the other side of the table, Yukiko looked beautiful and smug as she ate her coq au vin.
"Don't take it the wrong way," Shinichi told him as they were getting into bed that night. Kaito, who was already lying down, gave him a bewildered look, rolling onto his side to face him. Yukiko had gone to bed an hour or so ago, and it was unlikely that she was still pressing a cup against their shared wall (or so Shinichi said. Kaito wasn't one hundred percent sure he was joking, but he was eighty percent sure he didn't want to know for certain).
"My mom talks a lot of shit. All that stuff about the 'love in our eyes' or whatever – she just sees what she wants to see," Shinichi clarified, eyes fixed on the far wall. There was a hint of pink crawling out from underneath his shirt.
Oh, thought Kaito, and winced internally as his heart sank like a cinderblock in a swimming pool. Well, yeah, he'd always known that regardless of the torch (more like bonfire) he carried for Shinichi, Shinichi would probably never think of him as anything more than an annoying friend. He didn't appreciate the reminder, though.
Oblivious, Shinichi continued, fiddling with the drawstring on his sweatpants, "And, y'know, she just wants me to be happy, and I guess she wants to believe that you'll do that for me. So. I guess. Good job of pretending." He patted Kaito awkwardly on the shoulder in the same tentative, overcautious way people touched crocodiles at petting zoos, before he turned the lights off and turned his back on Kaito.
Kaito stared at the back of his head in the dim lighting for far too long before he fell asleep.
The sound of a camera shutter clicking was what woke Kaito, pulling him out of a dream about owning a blue stucco house and three cats with Shinichi. Squinting, Kaito forced his eyes open, only to find Yukiko, looking far too awake for – whatever time it was, standing over the bed with her cell phone in hand.
"What are you doing?" Kaito asked. Or, at least, he tried to, but to his confusion, it came out more like, "Whayadon." Mostly because his mouth was pressed against something warm and soft that moved a little when he breathed out…? Belatedly, Kaito realized that he was huddled up against Shinichi's back, mouth pressed against the warm space between Shinichi's neck and shoulder, his arms wrapped around Shinichi's chest and their legs a messed tangle beneath the rumpled sheets. One of Shinichi's hands was clasped around Kaito's forearm.
Yukiko giggled and ran from the room, hair swishing behind her and leaving the scent of Chanel in her wake.
"Shinichi," Kaito said lowly, "we may have a problem." He spoke loud and close enough to Shinichi's ear that Shinichi was sure to wake up, and he fully expected an elbow to the sternum before Shinichi flounced off to the bathroom to wash Kaito's essence off himself.
Instead, Shinichi murmured something unintelligible and pulled Kaito's arms tighter around him. "S'fine," he insisted when Kaito twitched, and fell asleep again within seconds.
Kaito lay there and squashed the growing desire to cry with confusion.
"I'm so sorry that I couldn't stay in with you two," Yukiko sighed apologetically as she adjusted the strap of her bag over her shoulder. She was wearing a sleek silvery dress that made her look a bit like a chandelier, or maybe it was the diamond drop jewelry set she was wearing. "I promised Eri-chan we'd have a day out. I think she needs to vent about Kogorou-kun to someone, and I bet Ran-chan's tired of hearing about it all the time."
"That's okay, Kudou-san," Kaito assured her, pasting on a smile when she beamed at him.
Shinichi, where he was sitting on the stairs in a pair of ripped jeans, a Touto University sweatshirt, and incredibly messy bedhead, looked unimpressed. "You just want a reason to get your hair done and complain about whatever nonexistent affair Dad's had to someone who's willing to listen."
"Guilty as charged!" Yukiko sang, throwing open the front door. She tossed one last grin at them over her shoulder. "Make sure you re-christen every room before I get back! I have extra lube in the bottom pouch of my duffel bag if you run out."
"Are you aware of how inappropriate it is to say that to your son," Shinichi shouted after her. Predictably, Yukiko didn't respond, slamming the door shut instead.
For a moment, neither of them said anything, and then Shinichi turned to Kaito, pushing back a handful of his hair. There was a pink tinge to his face, but Kaito wasn't sure if he was imagining it or not.
"Detective Samonji?" he asked, and of course that warranted a forty-minute "discussion" (also known as "thinly veiled argument") about whether Detective Samonji was better than the new show about a phantom thief who had been based on Kid. Shinichi rolled his eyes, but Kaito had seen his Comcast recordings the other day, and there was far too much The Gentleman Thief saved on it for someone who allegedly despised the show.
They ended up making curry (Kaito made it; Shinichi fluttered about, being pouty and pretty and mostly useless) and eating it while watching a Detective Samonji marathon. Shinichi acted as if that was a grand victory for him. Kaito didn't tell him that watching a TV show was the least Kaito would do for him.
Kaito woke up on the couch to the sound of tinny onscreen gunfire. The room was dark save for the glow off the TV screen, where the latest episode of Detective Samonji was playing. Shinichi was half-sprawled across his lap, a heavy, catlike weight, and Kaito had buried his hands in Shinichi's hair sometime between episodes eight and nine. His hair was soft and fluffy and stuck up at odd angles when Kaito tugged his fingers free.
There was a sound from the doorway, and Kaito glanced up just in time to catch Yukiko watching them with a fond expression on her face, apparently back from her day out. For the first time, she didn't look amused or smug; she looked content and pleased, arms crossed over her chest and face relaxed.
"I didn't mean to wake you," she murmured, just loud enough for Kaito to hear. Kaito shrugged, careful not to jostle Shinichi unduly.
"That's all right." He looked down just in time to realize he'd started stroking the side of Shinichi's face, the slope of his cheek and the hinge of his jaw. Shinichi was possibly even more beautiful when he was asleep – his face went relaxed and comfortable and his body was a sinuous curl of muscle and warmth, long and lean and lovely. He looked like something Kaito could imagine trying to paint, to memorize or celebrate or admire in some way.
"You know," Yukiko said after a long moment, sounding contemplative enough that Kaito glanced up at her, "I'm glad that it was you, Kai-chan."
"Huh?" Kaito blinked at her. "What do you mean, you're glad it was me?"
"I mean exactly that," Yukiko replied, leaning against the doorframe. The faint light from the TV gave her an ethereal look, bathing her in a slightly silver glow. "I used to think that he would end up with Ran-chan, you know. And then after they didn't work out, I was expecting that he might try to date Hattori-kun. They have similar interests, you know. And I think Hattori-kun really cares about Shin-chan. When they didn't happen, I thought he'd never find anyone. I started worrying. I signed him up for some dating sites." She shrugged a little. Her hair was dark and inky, catch in the shadows behind her. "But then he told me he was dating you, and you don't know how relieved I was. Shin-chan has always thought that he doesn't deserve the things that he wants – did you know the reason he broke up with Ran-chan was because he felt guilty about lying to her for so long? Even though she was prepared to forgive him?"
"I…" Kaito swallowed. He looked down at Shinichi's face instead. His gaze lingered along the soft column of Shinichi's neck. He bet that if he touched the space right below Shinichi's ear and concentrated, he could feel the beat of Shinichi's pulse, a steady, quiet reassurance against the tips of his fingers. "I didn't know that."
"Shin-chan always admired you, you know," Yukiko remarked. When Kaito managed to tear his eyes away from Shinichi to look at her, he found that she wasn't smiling anymore; she was regarding him with an unreadable expression. "Whenever I called, even when he was still Conan, he'd talk about how infuriating Kid was. He always sounded so frustrated. Do you know how many things make Shinichi feel that strongly? There isn't an abundance of things he truly, absolutely cares for, you know. But the things that do – he chases after them." She shut her eyes. "And when he got his body back, it didn't stop. He talked about you, Kai-chan. About how brilliant he thought you were and how much he wanted you to care about him. Not in those exact words, of course, but it's always been clear that he's always wanted you in some way."
Something caught in Kaito's throat, something sticky and painful. He didn't know how he was supposed to respond to that.
"So I was relieved when Shin-chan told me you two were dating. It may just be because I'm his mother, but I think he deserves to be happy, after all he's been through. And I know that you can make him happy, Kai-chan." Yukiko opened her eyes and gave him a half-smile. "This is the part where I'm supposed to warn you off breaking Shin-chan's heart, but I won't, because I won't blame you if you two end up not making it. I just hope you do. And anyway, if the way you look at him is any indication," here, Yukiko grinned with a hint of her previous cheer, "it's not as if you'll be getting out unscathed, considering how much you care about him."
She turned and left, closing the door softly behind her. Kaito sat in silence for a long time, even after the last episode played and he was left in darkness.
Yukiko left the next morning.
"I'm so sorry I had to cut my trip short," she apologized, patting Shinichi condescendingly on the head while Shinichi made an expression reminiscent of someone who had swallowed caustic acid. "Yusaku wants me to meet up with him for the European leg of his press tour. Paris is going to be beautiful at this time of the year." She sighed and picked up her small family of bags with apparently no effort. Kaito eyed her narrow stick arms, wondering how she did it with no muscle mass.
"When do you think you'll visit again?" Shinichi asked, watching her open the front door without setting down a single embossed suitcase. His hair was doing something triangular and spiky, and he was rubbing his neck, probably since he'd spent the night with his head in Kaito's lap until Kaito had carried him back to his room around four in the morning.
"Who knows," Yukiko sang, already halfway out the door. She turned to throw them both a last smile. "Bye, Shin-chan! And I'll see you next time, Kai-chan." Her gaze lingered on him for a second, and Kaito managed a short nod in her direction.
"Bye, Kudou-san," he called after her, and she smiled and started down the driveway.
Shinichi closed the door once she had gotten wrangled her luggage into the cab that was waiting for her. He yawned, brushing past Kaito on his way to the kitchen. "What do you want for breakfast? I think I can make eggs."
"You mean you can burn eggs," Kaito replied on autopilot as he trailed after him.
"I resent that." Shinichi pulled open the refrigerator, rummaging around for a second before he pulled out a carton of eggs. He bumped the door shut with his hip and started searching for a frying pan, humming a thoroughly slaughtered version of Fools Rush In under his breath. It was just so – so normal, and Kaito –
"Are you secretly in love with me?" he blurted out. Shinichi promptly dropped the eggs. Bits of shell and yolk went flying everywhere, soaking the toe of Kaito's left slipper.
"What the hell," Shinichi said. Squawked. Squeaked? Kaito wasn't sure which described the half incredulous, half horrified sound that exited Shinichi's mouth most accurately.
"Your mom, she, uh," he stammered, when Shinichi didn't appear to be prepared to say/squawk/squeak anything else. Shinichi goggled at him. "She said that you've been telling her about how – about me for a really long time. That you've admired me." Kaito coughed. "That you, uh, care about me."
Shinichi made a sound like a dying car engine.
"I…" Kaito frowned. "What does that mean?"
Groaning, Shinichi dropped his face in his hands. For a horrible moment, Kaito felt sure he was going to start crying, which Kaito was definitely not mentally equipped to face. "It means that I never should've told her I was dating you and that I hate myself."
"Wh – don't hate yourself," Kaito gasped, horrified at the thought. "Shinichi, what are you talking about?"
"I should've just agreed to meet all the people she found for me. Even if most of them haven't heard of BBC Sherlock and don't care about the Tokyo Spirits," Shinichi mumbled, apparently out of nowhere. "This was such a bad idea. I should've just gotten someone off the street to do it. I should've asked Inspector Yamazaki."
"No, you shouldn't have," Kaito insisted, because he drew the line at imagining Shinichi asking Inspector Armani Ad to see him like this, in a beat-up sweatshirt and a pair of too-small track pants and looking unaccountably beautiful with egg whites splattered across his slippers. He reached out to touch Shinichi's arm, gratified when Shinichi didn't flinch away. "And anyway, why are you acting like it was such a bad idea for me to be your…" He couldn't finish the thought. He couldn't say fake boyfriend.
"Because," Shinichi muttered, tilting his face up to look at Kaito with quietly wistful eyes, "I should've realized that you were going to find out how I felt about you. I should've expected this." He sighed, looking down as he toed at a stray bit of eggshell. "But then again, I don't think I could've asked anyone else without her figuring it out. I made it too clear to my mom that I was – that I – that you were the only one I was thinking about."
"Shinichi, look at me."
"I know you don't care at me like that," Shinichi said, closing his eyes. "And I know you just think I'm – I'm arrogant and boring and cold, but I… I'm sorry, and I don't want to stop being friends, so maybe we could –"
"Shinichi, look at me," Kaito insisted, and Shinichi jerked his head up just in time to see Kaito's smile – feel Kaito's hands grip the sides of his face, notice the affection in Kaito's eyes – before Kaito kissed him.
Shinichi was waist-deep in a case, mentally calculating the amount of strength required to hang a heavyset male body from a chandelier, when a pair of hands covered his eyes and a voice beside his ear sang, "Happy National Snuggle Bunny Day, Shinichi."
"You really need to stop calling our anniversary that, Kaito," Shinichi sighed as he reached up to remove the hands. He left his fingers linger, though, holding onto Kaito's hand as he swiveled around to look him in the face. "It's been, what, three years, and you're still…" He went silent the second he saw what Kaito was wearing.
Kaito grinned and did a little twirl. "What do you think?"
"Uh." Shinichi stared fixedly at the bright orange t-shirt he was wearing, which said 'I LOVE KUDOU SHINICHI' across the chest in puffy writing and generally involved far too many hearts. "Is this – where did you get that?"
"Hattori," Kaito replied, smiling with far too much smugness. "Although they do sell them on the internet now. They started making them after your 'I LOVE KID' incident." Shinichi winced, remembering the barrage of questions he'd gotten from friends and media outlets alike after he'd worn that shirt in public. There were fan pages dedicated to it. Kaito had gleefully shown them to him on their last anniversary.
"Well, take it off," Shinichi told Kaito, ignoring him when he beamed, "Oh, Shinichi. If you wanted me a striptease, you could've just said so." "My mom's supposed to be here in ten minutes, and that shirt is an abomination."
"I think I'll keep it on," Kaito hummed, bending to wrap his arms around Shinichi's neck. He smelled vaguely sweet, a little like cinnamon, and his eyes were clear and mischievous. "When I told her that I got it, she said she'd bring us extra strawberry lube."
Shinichi smacked him on the side. "I hate both of you."
"No, you don't," Kaito murmured against his mouth, and Shinichi gave a sigh of longsuffering and kissed him back.
Kaito was right, though. He didn't.
If you enjoyed this fic, please consider dropping me a review, and I'll see you all (hopefully) soon! - Luna