Disclaimer: Magic Kaito belongs to Aoyama Gosho.
Wrote this about a month ago and finally decided to post it here.
For those who aren't familiar with the series: Hakuba Saguru is a teenage detective in the anime series Magic Kaito. He lives in Japan with his father, though he used to live with his mother in England.
Saguru hadn't meant to eavesdrop. Truly. His parents were having an important, private conversation, and he wasn't the type to intrude on such things (outside his detective work, of course). It was impolite. He'd only come out to the kitchen to fetch himself a small snack, fully intending to slip just as stealthily back to his bedroom.
Until he'd heard the tone of his mother's voice.
It was certainly not the first time he'd heard his mother grow hysterical. He wasn't certain why, this time, he'd been stopped in his tracks. Logically, his feet should be perfectly capable of continuing down the short hall to his bedroom. Except that tone of – what? Panic? Desperation? something – that twisted his gut and immobilized his body. Instead of moving away from the open doorway as he should be doing, Hakuba's legs slowly folded beneath him until he was curled against the wall, turning an apple over and over in his hand.
An apple a day…
His mother loved apples. Her favorite midday snack; there were always at least half a dozen in the basket on the kitchen counter.
She'd called them the other day, unexpectedly, asking that they come to England. Saguru and his father both. Right Now. It was an unusual request, to say the least. Her rambling was worse than usual. It took some time to get her to say exactly why they suddenly, absolutely, had to be in England.
When the reason for her call finally emerged from the maddening tangents and half-formed explanations, they'd booked a flight for two immediately.
And now here they were, his mother and father in the parlor, Saguru listening from around the corner.
Would she be willing to come back to Japan with them? They'd both left responsibilities behind, jobs and classes that couldn't simply be ignored. But what if she wanted to stay in her homeland? They couldn't just leave her here on her own, not now.
He took a bite of his apple, crunching on the fruit quietly and deliberately. Someone in the other room stood up abruptly; his father, from the sound of the footsteps. He paused, half-chewed apple sitting sourly on his tongue, listening to the restless footsteps pace an agitated lap around the room.
… keeps the doctor away…
It hadn't really sunk in until they stepped off the plane last night. She'd hugged them both without saying a word. Saguru's mother never stopped talking. A person almost always heard her before they saw her. That she'd greeted them in such a fashion…
She was clingy the rest of the evening and all this morning. For once, he hadn't minded.
Saguru shifted his weight. Carpet pressed roughly into the hand he put down to steady himself. His fingers moved absently over the short fibers.
You wouldn't be the first to lose a parent, Hakuba Saguru. Kuroba-san and Nakamori-san appear perfectly capable of functioning. He'd already been living with a single parent for years.
But she was his mother. She'd always been there, even when he moved to Japan, just a phone call or a plane ride away.
"They're not sure…." His mother's voice drifted around the corner. She was not crying at the moment, but tears wavered under the surface of her voice.
He should not be listening. There were books in his room, as many as he could find, in English and Japanese both. (He had to know. Everything there was to learn. He had to know it As Soon As Possible.) He wanted to research, to find out all he could. And he would, in a moment, just a moment. Just thirty seconds to sit in the dim hallway and think.
She'd always been there. What would he do if – and there was still an if, not just a when, the doctors assured – suddenly she wasn't?
He'd always assumed she would see him graduate.
In the room behind him, his mother finally began to sob. His father's low voice grew marginally clearer as the man moved from the window back towards the couch where his mother sat.
The apple tasted like ash in his mouth. Hakuba forced himself to swallow and take another bite anyway.
His hand was not shaking.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away…
His mother's sobbing grew muffled as she buried her face against something – her hands, a couch pillow, his father's shoulder – he couldn't tell. Saguru swallowed hard, started to take another bite and paused with his mouth half open. His hand sank towards his lap.
The burning in his eyes was jet lag, nothing more.
Hakuba leaned forward, gaining his feet silently.
His mother and father should have some time alone.