Title: The Arrangement
Fandom: Detective Conan
Pairing: Hattori Heiji/Toyama Kazuha
Disclaimer: I do not own Detective Conan or any related characters. They belong to Gosho Aoyama. I simply throw fruit at them, take pictures, and call it modern art. Critics love me.
Summary: Mom, Dad…I'm never going to forgive you for this!
"I am never speaking to you again."
Toyama sighed. "Kazuha, would you please at least try to be reasonable?"
"I think never speaking to you again is perfectly reasonable," the eighteen-year-old girl stormed. "I can't believe you're doing this to me! How could you do this to me, Dad? Did I do something wrong? Is this punishment for something?"
"Kazuha," he said warningly. She sensed that her father was rapidly losing patience, but she really didn't care. At the very least, he deserved to have his blood pressure kicked up a couple of notches, anyway, especially after springing THAT on her.
And then he'd had the nerve to make her dress up for this horrible meeting. Begrudgingly, she'd yanked on a knee-length khaki skirt and a black V-necked sweater over a white collared shirt. Her father had hailed a taxi, and they were off.
"Well, here we are," Toyama said, far too cheerfully for his daughter's tastes.
She looked up at the building in front of them—it was a nice restaurant, an appropriate place for the type of meeting that was about to take place. The ponytailed girl crossed her arms and shot him another glare. "You are dead to me."
"Kazuha, can you at least try to be pleasant?" her father pleaded.
She ignored him. Still grimacing, she stormed through the front door—and stopped dead in her tracks when someone just inside the door turned around to see who was walking in.
"Kazuha?" Heiji frowned in surprise. "What're you doing here?"
She was still a moment before she leapt forward. "Oh thank God!" she grabbed his arm. "Sanity!"
Heiji looked vaguely alarmed. "Wait a sec…you're actually happy to see me?"
"You make more sense than he does!" Kazuha hissed, jabbing a finger in her father's direction. "Could you do me a favor and try to talk him back to Earth? Because I'm pretty sure he's lost his mind!"
He blinked at her for a second, then looked at her father, confused. "Umm…your daughter thinks you're crazy." He was now so bent on figuring out what the hell Kazuha was babbling about that he didn't even notice that his parents suddenly looked quite pleased with themselves. "Kazuha, what's going on?"
"You're not going to believe this," she ranted angrily, "but apparently, my dad doesn't think I'm ever going to handle things on my own, so—are you ready for this?—I'm about to become the victim of an Arranged. Marriage." She accented the words sharply and threw her hands up in frustration. "Can you believe it? And I am never speaking to—to that," she pointed at her father once more, "ever again!"
Heiji looked appropriately affronted—for a second. Then it was as if the switch flipped on and all those little wheels and gears in his well-trained brain started turning 'round and 'round. "Kazuha…" he said in an oddly strained tone of voice, "…so why exactly are you here right now?"
Kazuha rolled her eyes. "Dinner. Why else? Apparently we're supposed to be meeting my…" she paused and grimaced, "…my fiancé here." A pause, and a very suspicious glimmer wormed its way into her eyes as she noticed, for the first time in her outrage, that Heiji was dressed up as well—khakis and a dark green sweater. That was dressed up for him, at least. "…what brings you here tonight?"
There was a very pregnant pause as it clicked.
Kazuha whirled around to stare at her father in shock, while Heiji found himself staring, horrified, into his parents oh-so-satisfied grins. The adults all watched as a wide gambit of emotions and colors raced their way across the faces of the two teenagers.
Oh…oh. Oh no. Oh dear God!
The parents were waiting expectantly for the real reactions, and the two teenagers did not disappoint. In perfect unison, loud enough to silence the entire restaurant, Heiji and Kazuha both shrieked a single word at the top of their lungs.
After stopping the two of them from stomping out on the spot (and running away to Germany or some such thing), they were shown to their table. Once they had all placed their orders, the three parents faced two very sullen eighteen-year-olds on the other side of the table. Neither Heiji nor Kazuha spoke, but simply glared in silent fury and waited for the explanation that had damn well better be forthcoming, else they just might do something violent.
Such was their natures.
"We're just very concerned," Toyama was saying, not letting those withering stares get to him. "You're both going to graduate soon and be going off to college. Neither of you really seem to have given any thought to the matter. So we discussed it, and we feel that it would be in both your best interests if you two were to get married."
"So you went behind our backs," Heiji growled. "You didn't even think to ask us our opinion on the matter. You just decided to go ahead and make a decision for us about how we're going to live the rest of our lives. Am I understanding this right?"
"You make it sound so…" Shizuka said airily, "…negative."
Heiji quickly reminded himself that he loved his mother, and reigned in his temper in record time.
"Heiji," his father began, "you're almost an adult. It's time you think about settling down."
"Would this have something to do with the fact that Okan wants grandchildren?" Heiji snapped.
Shizuka managed to look innocent, while Heizo sighed. "Heiji, don't be difficult."
"I think we have every right to be difficult, as you so delicately put it," Kazuha joined in.
"Kazuha…" her father said warningly.
She ignored him. "You're not even trying to understand how we feel!"
"You two have known each other your whole lives," Shizuka pointed out. "There's a great deal of trust, and a strong friendship there." Toyama muttered something that sounded suspiciously like At least… while she continued. "It's a good match."
"Is there a reason you didn't discuss this with us before you tried to set it up?" Heiji demanded.
"Because we knew you would act like you are now," Heizo said, his own temper rising a bit. "Heiji, you're eighteen years old. Stop acting like a child. This is a good match."
The conversation was silenced momentarily as their appetizers arrived. As they began to eat, the parents tried to cajole their children into further discussion, but Heiji and Kazuha simply stared at their plates and refused to say much else, nor did they look at each other. After dinner, it was announced that they were all going over to the Hattori residence. The parents were firm about it; no arguments were permitted. And the teenagers continued to sulk angrily.
Kazuha didn't even stop at the door, not even bothering to take her shoes off, and not seeming to care much for manners or rudeness. She stormed in the front door, straight through the house, and right out the back door onto the back porch. Heiji stomped up directly up the stairs to his room.
The parents stood in the doorway for a moment.
Shizuka broke the silence. "Let them be for a while. They don't usually hold onto grudges for long. Once they calm down, I'm sure we'll be able to talk this out." She was smiling, the smug grin of a cat who has just found herself locked in a creamery.
Heizo gave his wife a suspicious Look. He knew that particular expression all too well, and it usually didn't bode well. "You have no doubts whatsoever that they'll agree to it, do you?"
"None at all," she replied airily, moving towards the kitchen. "Shall I serve tea?"
Heiji lay in the darkness of his room, sprawled on his back, staring at the ceiling. He'd been there like that for a while. Outwardly, he looked relatively calm, though there was no one there to see him.
Inwardly, he was burning. Absolutely furious. How dare his parents go behind his back like that? How dare they? How could they? He really couldn't even form coherent thoughts, he was still that livid!
With a sigh, he rolled onto his side. His head was starting to hurt.
No, that wasn't helping. He flipped onto his other side and tried that. No—he was still pissed off.
Finally, he just sat up, temper still flaring furiously.
He needed to yell. He needed to rant. He needed…
He rolled off the bed and slipped out of his room, moving soundlessly down the stairs and out the door, not even bothering to change out of his house scuffs and into his normal shoes; it wasn't really necessary, as he was only going out on the porch.
What he really needed was to talk to Kazuha.
Kazuha sat on the back porch, her knees pulled up to her chest, trying to sort out her thoughts.
It really was a lovely night, clear and starry. The moon was a sliver shy of being full. The air was cool and calm. It would have been utterly beautiful…if she wasn't such a wreck. Everything was in such a tangled jumble…she didn't know if she'd ever be able to figure out what was what.
Marriage. An arranged marriage—to Heiji, no less.
She put her face in her arms. She confused and freaked out and her head was spinning in three or four different directions. Every time she thought about it, her migraine got a little worse. Still, that's where her thoughts kept wondering, and she always inevitably wound up on one particular thought: the thing that really had her baffled, the one detail that frightened her…
She froze for a second, then turned around slowly. "Hey."
Heiji was standing behind her, looking surprisingly uncertain. "Mind if I join you?" She shook her head, and he sat down beside her without another word. For a long moment, they were silent.
Finally, it was Heiji who spoke. "You okay?"
"Of course I'm not okay," she sighed. The question seemed to have broken a dam inside her, and everything just came rushing out at once. "I can't believe they'd do this to us—they didn't even talk to us about it! Why don't we have any say in this? Are they crazy?" On and on, the outpour continued.
She didn't even realize she was upset enough to start crying until Heiji put a hand on her shoulder and offered her a handkerchief. She accepted it gratefully and let those few tears seep out before she clamped down and reclaimed control over herself. When she looked up at him again, he was watching her with concerned eyes. For all that he was clueless, for all that he could be a royal jerk…sometimes he still managed to surprise her. Sometimes he really did just know.
"Better? Even a little bit?" he asked softly. He was being uncharacteristically quiet and unusually somber. Then again, this entire predicament involved him as well, and it had obviously hit him at least as hard as it had hit her.
"A little. It's just…ever since I was a little kid," she said, deciding to go ahead and open up, knowing that he wouldn't dare laugh at her now, "I always dreamed of my wedding day. I guess most little girls probably do—hoping it'll be like in movies and fairytales, where a knight in shining armor rides up and carries the princess away to live happily ever after." She sighed and chuckled sadly, shaking her head. "Pretty silly, huh?"
"Not really," he said with a shake of his head. She'd never told him this before.
"It scares me," she went on. "I mean, I'm not ready to get married yet! I can't even imagine trying to step into those kind of shoes yet—we're still in high school, both of us. We haven't even graduated yet. There are so many complications and things to worry about and…and…" Kazuha sighed and looked away. "But what really scares me…" she said softly, then hesitated.
After a few seconds, he prodded, "What?"
She took a deep breath. "It really scares me…that I guess I really don't mind the idea that much. The more I think about it, the more I realize that…I think I could live with it. Happily, even. Not right away, I mean, we're still in high school, we'd have to wait a while before actually…" She paused, then finished lamely, "I guess it doesn't bother me like I think it really should."
"…huh?" Heiji gaped. She was speaking Greek, he would swear on it.
She swallowed hard. "I wouldn't mind…" And she trailed off again as she wondered if she had said too much or done any irreparable damage. Her gaze dropped; she refused to look at him. "I mean, they had a point. We know each other, we've always been together, everyone already says we fight like a married couple…it'd just be kicking things up a notch…or five. Would it really be that different? Well, aside from…yeah." She left that particular thought hanging. She wasn't sure she was ready to face the thought of the more practical aspects of married life right at that moment.
Heiji stared at her. Watching her expression as she struggled to find the right words to convey what she was thinking and feeling at that moment…he couldn't do nothing. He silently reached out to her, and she responded immediately, fiercely, clinging to him for support and reassurance that maybe she wasn't completely crazy.
"What do you think?" she asked after a moment.
He ran over everything in his mind, and sighed. "I don't know. I just…I don't know." It was strange to see the great Detective of the West at such a loss. Then again, there was an enormous difference between matters of the law and matters of the heart. He was more accustomed to dealing with dead bodies than…never mind.
"Could you live with me?" she asked quietly. "For the rest of your life?" Somehow, she was afraid of the answer she might get, but she had to ask the question. Even if she was all right with this, marriage wasn't exactly a solo sport. If he was unhappy with this idea, then that was that. She'd probably already said too much…
He really thought about it, good and hard. "I…hmm…well…"
She waited, squirming slightly.
"Dammit, Kazuha, I don't know!" he said, voice rising. One hand jumped to his forehead, fingers running nervously through his bangs. "I mean…I don't know if it would really be that different or what, and everyone already says we argue like a married couple, but…what do you want?"
That really was the dangerous question: What do you want?
Kazuha looked down, and he saw her set her jaw before she raised her head again. He knew that particular Look. That was the Kazuha Look of Determination. There was something she wanted to do, and she had made up her mind to do it, whatever it was, whatever the consequences. That was Kazuha, though. Strong, driven…and so pretty when she was angry.
However, he wasn't quite prepared for her to look up at him—look him straight in the eye—and ask a single question that pretty much dropped his world out from under him for what, the fifth time that day? He'd really lost count.
"Heiji…will you marry me?"
He gaped at her for a minute. Who knew that those five little words could jolt his already-shaky mindset as badly as they did? But he mulled over it in his mind, going over all the possibilities and facts and options and questions—just like a detective, analytical and practical. But that only ran so far; soon, something else was jumping into the mix and putting its two cents in.
His heart was finally demanding to be heard, where he had always ignored it before.
Kazuha fidgeted anxiously. "You can say no, and we'll tell them we refuse. It's not a big deal—"
Her jaw dropped. "W-what?"
Heiji's eyes opened slowly and met hers; he was completely serious. "I said yes."
Kazuha didn't realize that she'd lunged at him until she felt the impact of them both hitting the wooden floorboards. Heiji let out a squawk as they tumbled backwards, her arms around his torso while his arms instinctively moved to embrace her while they fell. Strangely enough, though, neither felt the immediate need to move; it was strangely comfortable to just sprawl out next to each other and just breathe.
"Question," Heiji asked after a moment.
"You agreed to that awfully fast. Something you want to tell me?"
Kazuha felt herself blush. "Not at the moment."
"Maybe. If you behave."
Heiji chuckled. When he spoke again, she could actually hear him grinning. "At some point we're going to have to tell our parents we agree to this. But…" he looked down at her, "is anyone else up for figuring out some way to get back at them?"
"I'm with you on that!" she nodded with a laugh. "And I'll let you know when I have an idea!"
They stayed out there like that for a while longer, Kazuha curled against Heiji's side, Heiji's arm wrapped loosely around Kazuha's shoulders. Neither spoke much, as both thought towards a future that was now definitely intertwined.
"You sure about this?"
PS. Okay, before anybody tries to cause me bodily harm over this, here is my rationale. First of all, it is my understanding that arranged marriages are not totally uncommon in Japan; it's even used in the Conan manga, between Satou and Shiratori (shudder). And Heiji's family is fairly traditional, so I don't think it's that unrealistic. And most importantly, check out manga volume 31, file 11. The fathers are actually discussing the idea. No real word on whether or not they were kidding, but it was mentioned—poor Kazuha, "asleep" in the backseat of the car during this conversation, is absolutely bewildered (laugh)
This Hug is dedicated to fireblazie. Because she's cool like that, and because she really is the queen of Heiji and Kazuha fanfics (bows down). And while I was talking to my friend Kelly about the idea, we ended up with the following scene…
Heiji swallowed hard.
And they both looked everywhere, except at each other.
"Sooooooo…" Kazuha said slowly. "It's late."
"Yup," Heiji replied noncommittally.
"…well, there's the bed."
Heiji cleared his throat. "It's after dark…"
"Yeah, I noticed." A pause before Kazuha went on. "Only one bed."
"…which side do you want?" Heiji said after another pause.
"Whichever one you don't take is fine!" Kazuha replied a bit too quickly.
Crickets chirped. So Heiji closed the window, and then they couldn't hear them anymore.
Then he returned to his previous pose of standing beside his very blushing bride at the foot of what was theoretically supposed to be their marriage bed, and staring at the aforementioned bed in absolute terror. After all, they were expected—at some point, anyway—to indulge in one of the more, ah, practical aspects of married life. And Heiji's mother wanted grandchildren, dammit!
There was a long moment of silence before they both simultaneously turned to each other and barked a single phrase. "I have a headache!" The crickets chirped again, quite loudly.
And the staring resumed. Finally, Kazuha sighed. "So are we going to do it or not?"