Title: Cardinal
Rating: K, for mild language and kissing
Fandom / Pairing: Detective Conan, Heiji/Kazuha
Disclaimer: Not mine! There is only one truth, after all.
Summary: Tears in mine eyes and sorrow at my heart. / If this be love, to live a living death, / Then do I love and draw this weary breath.
Notes: For shinalaris, as part of the Carnelian Challenge. Spoilers until the last chapters with Heiji - volume 50-something, I think? Check "Ahou Calling."

vermilion bird of the south

There's a catch in his voice, an imperceptible strangled sound of horror. Conan - Shinichi - can still hear the echo of the door striking the wall as they barrelled into the room. In the instant between, the silence rings, but mostly there's that horrible feeling of failure beginning to creep up on him. Conan - Shinichi, dammit - is nailed to the floor, unable to move forward at all.

Heiji, however, is shouting. "Kazuha!" he yells, and Conan flinches but doesn't say anything. When she doesn't react, Heiji repeats himself, quieter. It's almost pleading. "Kazuha..."

He moves forward and grabs her shoulders, Conan follows, that look of shock still frozen in place. Heiji shakes her roughly. Conan doesn't say anything, doesn't mention that Heiji's tampering with a crime scene, doesn't say a word. He watches in mute horror as Kazuha's head shakes back and forth, even as Heiji keeps shouting.

"Kazuha! Wake up, dammit. Kazuha!"

She stirs and both of them freeze. Conan swears his heart stops, and can only imagine what it's like for Heiji.

"Hei...ji?" Her voice is soft, but it's there, and her eyes slowly open. "What hap--?"

But before she can finish, he kisses her fiercely. Conan can see her eyes widen before she presses back gently.

They break apart when they hear heavy footsteps on the stairs, and Heiji starts cutting the strings holding her up.

"Heiji, I was waiting for Ran outside of the storage room when I lost consciousness--" He cuts her off again, a finger against her lips and a softness to his features Conan has never seen before.

"It's okay. Don't talk," Gently, he sets her down on the wooden floor, and Ran bustles over, kneeling by Kazuha's side. Conan finally manages to relax, and his muscles thank him for it. Heiji and Conan step away and look at the crime scene carefully.

"Hey," he says quietly, tugging on Heiji's pant leg. "You okay?"

"Yeah," the Osaka native replies, a determined look on his face. "Let's catch this guy."

azure dragon of the east

They land with a loud splash in cold, deep water. When they surface, the current has moved them a good fifty feet downstream from the cliff, and his hand hurts like hell.

"Kazuha," he shouts over the noise of the rushing water. "Swim for shore!" She starts doing a breast stroke, each kick taking her far. He's not too far behind her, and they manage to drag themselves onto the bank without too much trouble. Unfortunately, they're in bad shape, and don't know where they are.

They lie back against the beach, breathing hard. When their breathing finally slows, it's Kazuha who breaks the silence.

"Heiji, I'm sorry--"

"Ahou! What the hell did you stab me for?!" He's not even looking at her, and his hat is pulled over his eyes. He wants to sound vehement, but it sounds tired and worn out instead.

"I...I wanted you to save yourself." She turns away from him and looks up at the sky instead.

"Ahou," he says again. There's the rustle and sucking sound of wet cloth moving, and then there's a clammy hand in her own, equally clammy one. "I told you - even if I die, I won't let go."

She looks down at their clasped hands and into his face, the hat turned backwards. "Let me bandage your hand," she says simply.


"Let me." She gently pulls her hand away and tugs at the hem of her shirt until it is untucked. Then, she tears a long, wide strip and wraps it around his hand, tying it off without a flourish. He flexes his fingers and watches her carefully for a moment. "What? Is it too tight?"

"No, it's perfect. Just...That's one of your favorite outfits."

She looks down at herself. "Yeah, I know." She takes his other hand and stands, then pulls him up with her. "Come on. The others will wonder where we've gone."

He lets her pull him to his feet, twining his fingers with hers.

"It's this way."

"Ahou! It's obviously this way."

black tortoise of the north

"By really close," she says, interrupting his phone conversation. He whips around, clearly startled, and a part of her revels in that. "Do you mean the time you thought of leaving me a word?"

He makes a strangled noise and turns pale, a feat for him.

"So? What was it that you almost said every time I trembled?" She tries to keep the hope and the expectation out of her voice, though she can feel her face warm. She has to know - it has to be that. A part of her prays quickly and quietly, almost desperate.

He, however, is a mess. "I don't think you want to hear it." His mind is racing, somewhere between, "OH SHIT," and, "May as well."

"You said you'd tell me until I got fed up with it!"

"I wanted to say that..." His mind is racing. What to say, what to say? And yet, all he can think of is how soft her shoulders are, really.

"When you, um, trembled..."

"Yes?" She looks so earnest that as he tries to think of something his mouth moves ahead of him.

"You're...my most important person."

There's a pause, and he wants to eat his words. "What?"

"You're the most important person in the world to me, Kazuha," and he's emphatic. It's started and he can't stop, not without feeling like the biggest idiot on the planet. "I...I'll always protect you." He takes her hand gently, slipping his cell phone into his pocket. "I won't let go, remember? I promised. I keep my promises." It feels like a lame ending, and all he can think to do is squeeze her hand between them.

She looks down at their joined hands and then into his face. "Heiji..." She quickly moves in and hugs him tightly. "Ahou," she says quietly into his shoulder. "You owe me lunch."

He laughs quietly into her hair. "Okay." They don't move.

white tiger of the west

"I finally figured out why I can't concentrate because of Kazuha!"

"Really? You figured out that you're in love with her?"

"Yeah, I--wait, what?"

Conan - Kudo's - eyes widened. "Uh, nothing!" He tried to scamper away.

"Hold it!" He grabbed the 8-year-old by the back of his shirt. "Did you say I'm in love with Kazuha?"

Conan nodded, glasses slipping down his nose.

"That's ridiculous! Me? In love with Kazuha? That's just--" He paused, and Conan could see the gears turning behind his eyes. Unfortunately, he didn't see Heiji dropping him, so when the Osakan boy did, he found himself sprawled on the ground. "I am, aren't I?' The darker-toned boy sounded a little faint.

"Yeah. And the sooner you stop lying to yourself about it, the better it'll be for all of us." Conan straightened his one-button jacket and slipped the glasses up on his face. He levelled an unamused stare at Heiji, magnified by the glass.

"I...I'm in love with Kazuha?"

Conan rolled his eyes. "Yes, you are. Now shut up and focus - muder, remember?"

"Huh? Oh. Yeah, of course."

Later, as Takagi led Hoshikawa to the police car, Megure praised Heiji's deductive skills, calling him greater than Kudo. Conan, naturally, couldn't let this stand.

"Oh, did Heiji-niisan mention something?" Heiji's attention snapped to Conan, but it was too, too late. This'll show him, Conan thought, and moved out of striking distance. "That when you see Kazuha-neechan fooling around with other men you get very irritated? Right? Why is that so?" Hattori was glaring daggers at him, and Conan couldn't help but feel some remorse.

"Eh?" Kazuha turned pink at the edges and turned her attention to Heiji. "Is that true?"


"You don't like it when I talk to other guys?" She started to advance toward him, expression darkening.

"Uh..." He raised his hands instinctively.

"Ahou! What I do is my own business. I can flirt with guys if I want to, and you can't stop me! You don't have to protect me all the time!"

"You just flirted with a murderer, ahou!"

"That was a fluke." She glared. "Besides, you're acting like my big brother. Clue in, Heiji, I'm not your sister. I can take care of myself!"

"I know that!"

"Do you really? Then stop protecting me!"

"I can't!"



"Because what?"

"Dammit, Kazuha," he said, and kissed her firmly.

yellow dragon of the center

He drives her out of the city, the buildings melting away into wide fields nestled between mountains. They finally find one, a field not fenced off by barbed wire, and park the bike, rolling it out to a place she likes underneath a stout, solid tree. She spreads out the blanket when they get there and starts setting out the food while he settles the bike.

They share takoyaki and okonomiyaki, onigiri and picked vegetables his mother's packed for them, and when they're done they lie back and look at clouds and debate the shapes. And then they try to feel the earth move beneath them and fail. And when they doze off, curled into one another, they awake tangled together.

It is so easy, then, when they kiss across his bike, long and lingering. Or on the school roof as they share lunches. In the stairwell between gym and English (or in her case, Japanese Lit). By the fountains in the park. Under the domes of the Kaiyukan.

They ride back to the city, and if she presses her nose into his shoulder and breathes in the scent of him, or if he savors the feeling of her pressed against him, no one can really hold it against them.

1. "Tears in mine eyes and sorrow at my heart.
If this be love, to live a living death,
Then do I love and draw this weary breath."
Samuel Daniel--If This Be Love, To Draw a Weary Breath

2. The sections are named for the mythical animals that guard each cardinal direction. The Yellow Dragon, then, is centered at Kyoto. I'm not even making this up - look up "Four Symbols (Chinese Constellation)" if you don't believe me. It's part of Onmyoudou!

3. If you didn't get it, I took some of the most 'shippy scenes from the manga and made them blatantly 'shippy. As in, kisses, hand-holding, confessions, etc. In order the cases are: Spider Mansion, Mermaid Island, their Grave Danger case, Magic Mansion, and an original ending by yours truly.

4. Originally published 10 December 2007.