Title: Silent Night
Theme: Day Twelve: Christmas Eve, author's choice
Series: Detective Conan
Pairing: Hattori Heiji/Toyama Kazuha
Warnings: This one is sweet and romantic…and make-out-tastic.
Disclaimer of Evil: I don't own Detective Conan. All characters and concepts are the sole property of Gosho Aoyama. I merely borrow them and make them my love slaves…ahem.
Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright…
Hattori Heiji and Toyama Kazuha had always been together. And for as long as they had been together, they had always bickered. Constantly. It was their little ritual, certain as the sun rising in the east. Tale as old as time…and so forth.
Normally, these were just petty arguments that were forgotten almost as quickly as they began, and everyone moved on with their lives. But every once in a while, as is the case with even the closest of friends, they would have a real blow-out, the kind of fight that left both storming away angrily with the intention of not speaking to each other for the next several days. These were rare for this particular pair, and the non-communication had never lasted more than two or three days before.
Unfortunately, one such explosion happened on Christmas Eve.
As they both thought about it later, neither could remember what the catalyst had been, the spark that had set the proverbial powder-keg ablaze. But if history proved accurate, then they wouldn't be speaking to each other again until probably the twenty-sixth or the twenty-seventh. The problem herein lay in the fact that the Toyama family and the Hattori family always enjoyed the holiday together.
That didn't look like a realistic idea this year, as the two children weren't speaking.
And so on Christmas Day, Kazuha woke up feeling like hell. A glance in the mirror proved that at the moment, she also looked like hell. Luckily, Heiji wasn't there to make a snarky comment about her appearance, and she scowled at the idea as she picked up her brush and set about making herself at least quasi-presentable before going downstairs to join her father in the ceremonial opening of presents.
Her hair probably didn't deserve to bear the force of her irritation, but it was pulled back into its usual ponytail in short order, and swung behind her as she meandered down the stairs, still pajama-clad and in slippered feet, to see what goodies had been left under the tree.
As was to be expected, her father was already up, dressed, and nursing what was probably at least his third cup of coffee. He smiled indulgently as she made her appearance, and didn't seem at all surprised by her attire—after all, pajamas were perfectly suitable for lounging about and opening Christmas presents. He simply wished her a good morning, and a Merry Christmas.
Thus, the present-opening did begin. It didn't take terribly long, as it was just the two of them. And when the last paper had been torn and the last thank-you offered, they both sat back to relax. Until…
"Kazuha…" her father said suddenly, leaning over and pulling something white and rectangular from the evergreen branches. "What's this?" He looked at it carefully. "It has your name on it."
He passed her the envelope; sure enough, her name was on the front in a handwriting she knew all too well. Now intrigued, she flipped it over and tore into it. There was a small white note card inside, bearing that same familiar handwriting. Quickly, her eyes scanned over the message.
Said eyes widened in surprise.
Feeling her father's questioning look, she smiled. "Oh, just a Christmas card," she cheered, sticking the note back into the envelope. "Nothing important." It wasn't convincing, and all parties involved knew it, but the matter was dropped, and attention was turned to other matters.
When her father left for the Hattori household later that evening, she remained behind, citing her argument with Heiji as reason for her not to go. No amount of cajoling from her father would change her mind; stubborn to a fault, that was Kazuha. But after he had left, she retrieved the envelope and studied its contents again. Finally, making her decision, she went back to her room in search of clothes.
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace…
Kazuha walked briskly towards the park. The last few rays from the sunset stretched into the gathering haze, casting languid pink and orange fingers on the darkening gray clouds. Maybe it would snow again soon. She sort of hoped so—it was always nice to have snow on Christmas. But they really hadn't had much snow this season, so it was a long-shot that they would get the white stuff now.
She had debated over this for a good part of the day before deciding that she really had nothing to lose by going to see what was up. The note had been cryptic, to say the least, but it had been enough to whet her curiosity. And then there was that annoying little voice that kept suggesting things that she couldn't believe and refused to accept as even remote possibilities.
She wondered what Heiji wanted to talk to her about. Maybe it was about the big fight they'd had the previous evening? That was out of character for him, though—he usually had to stew in it for a couple of days before he was willing to take the first step, or it was left to her. But maybe with today being Christmas, and their families getting together…
Quickening her pace, she rounded the corner, heading for their meeting place. It was nothing spectacular, just a certain bench that they had sort of claimed as theirs. During the spring, it was a great place to sit and admire the flowers and trees, in summer its position beneath a large tree provided ample shade from the punishing sun, and in the winter, it offered a good view of a snowy plain and the neighborhood's favorite sledding hill.
Sure enough, Heiji was already there, sitting on the bench; he looked uneasy, almost nervous. But as soon as his eyes lighted on her, he jumped up. She walked right up to him, stopping a few arm's lengths away. Best to not get too close until she knew what he wanted.
He looked at her quizzically. Finally, the tension got to be too much, and she decided to get this show on the road, as he was obviously waiting for her to begin. For whatever reason.
"I…" she swallowed hard, "I got your note. What do you want?"
Heiji blinked at her. "But…you sent me the note." He pulled a slightly-creased envelope from his pocket, and she saw his name on the front in a very familiar scrawl. "It was on our tree this morning. This is your handwriting, isn't it?" Of course it was. He knew her handwriting as well as his own.
She took it and looked at it. "…this is my handwriting…" she confirmed, and she held her own note out to him. "Here, this is what I got. It was stuck on the branches of our Christmas tree, too. And I swear that's your handwriting." He studied it, and nodded. "And these both say the same thing," she added, looking back down at it.
Heiji, (she read his note to herself) I need to talk to you. It's really important. Can you meet me at the park at sunset? Our usual meeting place—you know where it is. Please—it's important. –Kazuha
Hers had said the exact same thing; the only difference was the switching of their names. She had thought it odd initially—it hadn't sounded like Heiji, but she hadn't paid the notion much heed. After all, it was his handwriting. But he looked bewildered, holding an identical note, and she knew he was telling the truth when he said he hadn't written it.
So then how…or rather, who? And why?
She looked up at him, not quite sure what to think. He looked back at her, and she remembered how beautiful his eyes really were. It was dark now, except for a nearby streetlamp, and his eyes almost seemed to glow, luminous and hypnotic…
And something small and white drifted between them, from the sky to the ground.
Kazuha's eyes widened. "It's snowing…"
Sure enough, more snowflakes floated around them, falling from the clouds she had observed earlier. They both looked around at the big, fat flakes. Heiji even held out one gloved hand and caught a few of them, watching curiously as they melted against the black fleece.
"Kazuha…" he said slowly, still looking at his hand.
"Hmm?" she said, looking up at the sky.
"Who do you think wrote those notes?" he asked, lifting his gaze to her.
Her chin dropped so she could look at him. "…I don't know," she said after a moment. "It's bizarre. But…I guess I'm grateful." She smiled as he looked surprised. "I hate it when we fight, Heiji. And…hell, it's Christmas. And…" She trailed off, not quite sure what she was going to say next, or if she was really ready to say it yet.
Heiji nodded. "Yeah…pretty much. But…"
The silence said more than their words ever could as what remained unspoken hung between them—a promise, and a burden that they desperately, desperately wanted to share.
Finally, Heiji took a deep breath. "Hey…c'mere…"
She didn't need to be told twice.
It could never be said that those two didn't know each other inside and out, save for one tiny thing that both had guarded so very carefully. The simple—or not-so-simple—act of offering and receiving a hug conveyed volumes and volumes without a single verbalized word. Silent apologies, and preciously guarded secrets that were screaming to be let out.
"The snow…" Kazuha sighed into his shoulder, feeling the wool of his scarf against her neck. "Isn't it beautiful?"
"Yeah…beautiful…" he said softly
She felt his head move, and wondered what exactly he was looking at when he agreed with her. Choosing not to think about it, she inhaled deeply. He smelled like cinnamon. But when she felt him move again, stepping back, she begrudgingly resigned herself to letting go…
…until their cheeks brushed, and they both froze.
TOO CLOSE! TOO CLOSE! Kazuha's rational side screamed.
SHUT UP! SHUT UP! her romantic side responded indignantly.
She inched back, her hands still clenching at his jacket, feeling the brush of his skin against hers—the contact made her stomach do cartwheels—until she could turn her head ever so slightly and look at him, feeling her nose brush against his and his breath on her face and his eyes were right there and…
She didn't think he would actually do it. She never would have thought that Hattori Heiji, of all people, would have the nerve to do that, with her or anyone else. But he did.
He kissed her. It wasn't deep or expert, but damned if it didn't take her breath away and her knees right out from under her. And without so much as a second thought, she returned the favor enthusiastically, if a bit awkwardly. She certainly didn't have experience in this particular department.
But she was certainly willing to learn. And practice.
When he released his possessive hold on her lips, it was like a light went on and he realized exactly what he had done. And he looked as terrified as she had ever seen him, like he was terrified that she would deck him or reject him.
And Kazuha smiled. "Heiji?" she murmured, pulling him closer. "Merry Christmas." And she kissed him again, meeting no protests.
Had they been listening carefully, they would have heard the faintest of sounds. The musical sound of sleigh bells, disappearing off into the distance, through the silence of the falling snow.
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
PS. I must include my friend Kat's comment when I mentioned this chapter to her. She said (and I quote), "If it's make-out-tastic…how can it be a silent night?" I sent her a snuggle-glomp via MSN. When I told her the plot and that "someone" set them up, she immediately asked if fireblazie broke into their houses. I don't know…fireblazie, did you break into their houses? (BTW, borrowed the 'cinnamon' thing, hope you don't mind…I have cookies…)
This was tied for my favorite with Day Ten ("The Holly and the Ivy"), just because I'm very fond of how both of them turned out. Anyway, with this the challenge concludes. I wanted to end with this one, just because I was so happy with how it came out! Thank you all for reading. I wish you all a Happy Holidays, whichever one you celebrate, and may you and your families be blessed this season. Take care, y'all, and much love!
(Candy-chan toodles off into the sunset, watching out for runaway reindeer)