Part One – When Girls Are Away, Boys Will Play Dress Up
It's been a little over a year since I posted Wedding Belle, and normally someone would think to themselves 'meh, its been a year. Who needs a sequel?' Well, apparently I'm not exactly normal. That, and Saitaina R. Moricia had left a comment that had sent me in fits of giggles ever since. So, one night while my internet and cable was gone (a torturous couple of weeks that was saved by college classes) I started writing. This still isn't finished, and there's some things I need to brush up in the next part, but its almost done. Will probably only be two or three parts, but hey, I have one of them plot things! ...Sort of!
Not sure if this is technically humorous, but hopefully some of its funny, at least. Muahaha.
Sadly, this wasn't written at Wafflehouse. I really need to get my car fixed so I can go there at 3am again...
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just play. If I did own them, there'd be more of certain characters (two of whom are in this story) and the English dubs and manga would use the original names. Muahaha.
The young man gulped as he stared down the billowing monstrosity on the bed before him. It threatened to swallow him whole, devour him until nothing remained. Should that happen, would anyone realize that he was gone? Would a search party come, too late in discovering a body that had been rendered unrecognizable from the hungry, gaping maw that tore him to shreds?
Heiji had none of these answers. He wasn't sure he would want them anyway. There were some things a man just didn't do. This should be one of them, even for a case.
But the trap was set. His interest was piqued. At least he wouldn't be alone in this embarrassing nightmare. And thankfully, Kazuha had sprained her ankle, so there was no way she could participate. He really hated the thought of her seeing him like this. There were some things a subordinate should not see.
Flicking a soft, bouncing curl behind his ear, he picked up the object of his fear, bringing it closer, wondering just how he was supposed to get it on. Or, better yet, how he was going to pull this off.
Just think of the case, Hattori. Concentrate on the facts. Find the culprit.
Right. He could do this. He wouldn't be the first man in history to do this, nor would he be the last.
Taking a deep breath, he pulled the yards of fabric over his head. It settled around his feet like a tiger slowly stalking its prey.
His reflection in the full-length mirror mocked him with the perverse image of a woman-Heiji. This woman-Heiji, one that had no right to exist, had long soft hair swept up in waves and curls and pins. And the hairspray, oh how his lungs loathed that stuff! Worse yet was the make-up, the necessary evil to complete his guise.
The dress hung loosely, only because he was unable to zip himself up. Fortunately, the woman he was replacing had few curves, so the minimal padding sewn into the fabric at the last minute would suffice. Unfortunately, though, the woman was a few inches taller than he was, which was not really something he ran across very often, so while her shoes would have been flat, he'd had to learn to walk in heels. More than once he'd kicked the offending footwear under his bed when his mother had come knocking, concerned with the sounds of her only child crashing to the floor.
A giggling sound erupted through the stillness of the room. For a moment, he feared the worst, briefly imagining the terrifying image before him spread across Japan on the cover of newspapers and magazines, before he caught a glimpse of the assailant.
"Hey, you're one to laugh," he grumbled, glaring at the pretty little girl with blonde curls reflected near the bottom of the mirror. "At least I don't look like Shirley Temple."
The giggling cherubic face seemed to blur for a second, replaced by the serious countenance of a shrunken Kudo. Sometimes it freaked Heiji out just how quickly the young boy switched personas. If his greatest rival and best friend – well, best male friend, anyway – hadn't decided years ago to follow in his father's footsteps in the world of mystery, there was no doubt in Heiji's mind that the boy would have made a terrific thespian. Of course, considering who his mother was, it wasn't a large surprise.
"You ready, Hattori? We're due in fifteen minutes." The boy's deepened childish voice did not suit the ringlets of curls bouncing around his face, or the bright pink miniature version of what Heiji was wrestling with.
"Yeah, yeah. I know." With a sigh, Heiji resigned himself to his cruel fate. The things he did for his job. "Just… help me out with this zipper, would you?"
As small hands captured him firmly in the tight confines of his gown, transforming him almost completely from boy to woman, Heiji was once again thankful that his childhood friend was not here to see this.
"It's such a shame Hinamori-san came down with laryngitis! Of all the days, today would be the day." Kaede pouted as she finished adding one last curl to the bride's coif.
"I know, first Kazuha-chan sprains her ankle, and now this." Kyoko sulked briefly, pouting her lips at her reflection.
"It couldn't be helped! That moron purposefully tripped me in the last round, and then 'accidentally' stepped on my foot!" Kazuha grouched at her cousin from her chair, where her foot was raised at the insistence of the mothering Ran.
"Oh, Kazuha-chan, I didn't mean it like that," Kyoko quickly assured, surrounded by white fabric and lace. "You didn't even have to come, yet here you are!"
The Osaka girl continued to grouse in her seat, flicking lint from her skirt.
"Kazuha-chan's not still mad at Hattori-kun, is she?" Ran whispered to her friend.
"Ha! As if! That moron gets all excited by a case, forgetting our date, leaving me to come here by myself! Why would I be mad about that?! Ha! He could rot on that case, for all I care! In fact, he could keep going on those darn things until he dies!" Forgetting her current situation, and getting worked up in her ire, Kazuha ended her rant by kicking over the chair and leaping to her feet. She stood there for a good several seconds, breathing hard with her fist clenched.
"Oh dear," Ran murmured as she picked the chair up. By this time, Kazuha's pain sensors kicked in, leaving her pale and twitching. "You shouldn't let him get you so worked up," she gently scolded as she helped the now hobbling girl back into her seat.
"I hate him," Kazuha whimpered, more from the pain in her ankle than anything else.
"I know you don't," Ran soothed as she pulled Kazuha's painkiller prescription out. "Here you go. It's about time for them, anyway."
"Yes I do," Kazuha insisted stubbornly, gulping down the pills and water. "He's an idiot. A moron. A dumbass. And a nerd."
Ran giggled, smiling brightly. "But it's also those things you hate about him that make you like him so much."
Kazuha sighed. Enough of this topic. If they continued on it, she would be tricked by Ran's sweet-girl ways into forgiving her moron of a best friend. "Say, Kyoko-san, is that why Hinamori-san's not here? Is she out of the wedding?"
"Oh, no, she's still here. She says it's not contagious, but she's getting dressed in the other room to be careful." Kyoko giggled as she put in her last pearl earring. "She's always been overly cautious, ever since middle school. She'd stay home if she had so much as a sniffle, not wanting the other kids to get sick. Got to where the teachers would call her parents and complain."
"It's nothing to worry about, Ran-san. It's just one of her quirks. That, and her tomboyish ways growing up, made for a few of the reasons she was my best friend." Kyoko laughed, fastening the matching pearl necklace around her neck. "To this day, it's amusing to watch her walk in heels! Not to mention, she's such a tall lady, that she towers over everyone when she does!"
Kaede stuck her tongue out at Kyoko's reflection, placing one last bobby-pin in her hair. "Now, now, it almost sounds like you're poking fun! These two will think you don't really like Hina-chan."
Kyoko laughed again. "The truth is that I really do love her. She was like a sister growing up. I'd do anything for her, really."
Kaede clicked her tongue reprovingly as Kyoko stood up, pinning the veil in place. "You two do fight as though you were sisters. That time in high school? I thought for sure you two would feud until the school exploded from the tension."
"I had good reason to be mad at her! She stole my favorite book! But then, I suppose I did take her CD home that one time…"
"But then she went on the exchange program, and oh, how you were miserable!"
Kyoko sniffed haughtily. "Darn right, I was! She gets to go to America, and they sent that dull Michelle girl in her place. All that girl did was complain about how we Japanese drive on the wrong side of the road, how the food was weird and can't we have pizza. Unbearable!" The young bride-to-be sighed fondly then. "Yes, even if I get so mad at her that I think I hate her, I really would do anything for her. She's such a hopeless girl at times, I can't help but worry. I'm sure Kazuha-chan feels the same for the friend she claims to hate, right?"
Kaede laughed. "True, true. After all, not many friends would proclaim loud and clear in a bridal shop full of strangers that he would protect his friend from lecherous men."
"Hmph. Heiji's an overprotective idiot," Kazuha protested with a faint blush, much less irritation than before. It was true, no matter how much that moron irritated her at time, he was still hopeless sometimes. It was her job to make sure he kept himself safe.
One of her biggest frustrations over the whole thing was that she couldn't be there to make sure he took care of himself. What if he forgot to eat? Or sleep? He could get so wrapped up in a case that he would lose all track of time, concentrating only on solving the mystery. Once, he came by when she was too sick to get out of bed, his face flush with the excitement of doing what he did best. After he'd told her in great detail about what had happened, all the while eating bowl after bowl of rice, he'd promptly fell asleep on her shoulder.
She shouldn't worry. Really, she shouldn't. So what if he worked himself exhausted? So what if bodies literally rained down on him? So what if he rushed headlong into things, not caring about his own safety, going after hardened criminals and murderers with no thought about what they would do, and possibly be even better with swords and-
Oh no, what if he was lying in a ditch somewhere, bleeding?!
"Oh my, I think she may explode…" her cousin's words were lost to her as she quickly pulled out her cell phone and pressed speed-dial.
The idiot! The moron! If he's gotten himself murdered, she was going to kill him!
"What do you want, you annoying girl?" Heiji's whispered voice filled her with relief before she registered what he had said.
"Annoying?! Ha! I was just calling to make sure you remembered to eat this time, you idiot!" Kazuha sighed into the receiver shaking her head. "You're the annoying one, not even able to take care of yourself!"
"I would if you'd quit nagging, moron!"
"You dumbass! If you go and get yourself hurt, I'll never forgive you!"
"Kazuha-chan, it's okay," Ran said, fretting beside her. "Hattori-kun'll be just fine."
"That's right, listen to Nee-chan! I'll be just- N-Nee-chan's there?! Where are you, Kazuha?"
"My cousin is getting married, stupid. You think I'd let a sprain and a flakey friend keep me from going? Fortunately, Ran-chan's a sweet girl who willingly gave up her Sunday to come with me."
There was the sound of shuffling and a child's surprised exclamation on the other end. A few choice curses later Heiji came back on the line. "I have to go now, looks like we may get a break in the case shortly, so I'll see you soon! And stop worrying so much, you'll give yourself ulcers. Bye, then!"
"Heiji!" It was no use. The line went dead.
With a long sigh, Kazuha wearily leaned her head to one side. "He's right. He's going to drive me to ulcers."
I wonder why he was so concerned with Ran-chan being here. Pressing end on her own phone, she shoved the annoying thing into her purse. Looking up, she realized that everyone in the room was looking at her, expressions ranging from confused to amused.
Cheeks burning, she cursed Heiji again for embarrassing her without even being in the same room, or even the same building.
"Um… well… it's about to start, so… Ran-chan, lets go to our seats, okay?" Grabbing her friend's arm, she tried a combination of pulling and hobbling, one that did not quite succeed. She would have fallen on her face had the other girl not been focused on keeping Kazuha balanced. "Good luck, Kyoko-san!"
"Kazuha-chan," Ran scolded when they were outside the room. The Tokyo girl had a way of berating someone just by saying their name, making them feel about two inches tall. No wonder Conan was usually so well behaved.
"I know, I'm sorry. It's just… Gah! That boy just makes me so worried when he's not around, and so annoyed when he is! I don't know if I want to strangle the life out of him, or lock him in his closet for his own good!"
"They have a way of doing that, don't they?" Even though she was laughing, Kazuha still detected that faint hint of sadness that sometimes crept in her voice whenever Ran was thinking about the ever absent Kudo.
"Quick, let's find our seats! I don't want them closing the doors and locking us out!"
Sighing, Kazuha hobbled after Ran who, despite her urgings, led the injured girl slowly toward the pews. As they sat, Kazuha only allowed herself one last brief thought toward her wayward friend, wondering if he was indeed alright.
Currently, Heiji was not alright. He was too busy fretting over the fact that his moronic friend had actually come all the way to Tokyo, injured no less, for the wedding. She was supposed to be comfortable and at home, foot elevated and iced, surrounded by the mountains of pillows and blankets and manga he had left her in two days ago, damn it! Not hobbling around a large city and probably even making her injury worse! That girl had no common sense. If he wasn't around to watch her when she hurt herself, she'd probably try to run a marathon with a stab wound!
Forget him driving her to ulcers. As far as he was concerned, it was the other way around.
"Hey, Hattori, you'll ruin your make-up if you keep making that face."
"I'll ruin your make-up if you keep reminding me I'm wearing it, Kudo," he grumbled back. In truth, it was probably a good thing that Kazuha had called. Now he knew to be on his guard, to avoid her if possible. But now that he knew, his attention would be divided. Keep her from finding out he was there, dressed as he was, and also trying to focus on the problem at hand. "Why did she even come?"
"Because she's Kazuha-neechan," Kudo replied in an eerie imitation of a young girl's voice, even without his voice changing bow-tie. While the physically young six-year-old could easily fool people into believing he was not a boy with his underdeveloped vocal chords, Heiji had to pretend he had laryngitis. He forgot how much he talked until he had to forcibly remember that he couldn't.
"Hina, its Kyoko! I'm coming in," Kazuha's cousin called through the door in a singsong voice. When she peeked in and saw that the two boys were ready and fully dressed, she hurried inside. "I'm sorry, Hattori-kun. I didn't think she would come after she told me she'd sprained her ankle."
Heiji scowled. "That moron is so stubborn; she'd have come even if she were bedridden with the plague."
Kyoko rolled her eyes and fluttered over to the both of them, fixing small errors that neither of them had caught. "I swear, you two."
"What? What us two?" Kudo asked.
"No, Kazuha-chan and this one, here," she corrected him, poking Heiji in the shoulder. "You're both so worried about the other that it's driving you into fits."
Heiji felt his cheeks burn. "T-that's not it at all! She just refuses to take care of herself!"
Kyoko merely smiled with a shake of her head and a roll of her eyes. Then her mirth vanished, and her eyebrows furrowed in concern. "Hina called from the hotel. The same man keeps calling her cell, leaving those horrid messages."
"Any idea yet who it is?" Heiji asked, all business now that he could focus on something else.
Kyoko shook her head. "No… Only that they're still all in English."
Nodding, he leaned against the wall, deep in thought. It had been because Kazuha'd mentioned to Kyoko that he spoke English quite well (actually, it was more along the lines of 'That idiot snoozes during English every day and still gets the highest grades in class!') that finally led the fretful bride-to-be to calling his cell, begging for his help. Apparently, Hinamori had been getting threatening phone calls for months now. There was no way to trace the caller, since it was always done by payphone, and always by coin, and not phone cards. What finally drove the bridesmaid to going to her friend for help was when the caller began to threaten her young niece as well. Neither knowing what to do, they turned to Heiji. It had actually been Kudo's idea to replace both at the wedding, since that was when the stalker said he would strike, and also since Hinamori resembled Heiji just enough to pass it off. Since it had been a few years since most of the guests had seen the tall woman, no one except those in the know would realize that he wasn't really Hinamori.
The only lead they had was that the caller was fluent in English. There wasn't a trace of a Japanese accent in his voice.
"This would be so much easier if I could actually question people," he complained out loud.
There was a loud knock at the door followed by Kaede's voice. "Kyoko-chan! Hinamori-san! Sheesh, the wedding's going to start soon!"
"Well, best of luck, you two!" Kyoko waved and hurried out the door.
When it was just the two of them, Heiji stared at the closed door. "Do we really have to go out there? Dressed like this?"
"I hate you." Picking up his bouquet, and handing the basket of rose-petals to the young boy-girl before him, he sighed like a man on his way to an execution. "If the Best Man tries to grope me on the way down the isle, I'm going to sic this dress on him."
"Aw, Kazuha-chan, the flower girl is just too precious!"
Kazuha watched as the young girl threw petals onto the carpet. It seemed as though the child had heard Ran's comment, because her next step faltered and her small cheeks flushed scarlet when she looked over at them.
"You embarrassed her, Ran," Kazuha pointed out, then soundlessly squealed. "Wasn't it so cute?"
Even though they both were whispering quietly in their seats near the back of the church, which was more to do with Kazuha's ankle than anything else, an irritated woman turned around and glared them both down. Slinking down as far as they could in the hard pews, the two girls obediently ceased their talking. It was then that Kyoko started her walk down the isle, and as the all stood, Kazuha tried to focus on her cousin. For some reason though, her concentration kept returning to the Maid of Honor. She's only met Hinamori once, years ago, when she and Heiji had gone to Kyoto, so she wasn't really sure if the nagging sensation in her gut that something was off was right or not. True, she had the same boyish build that Kazuha remembered and that Kyoko claimed she'd kept through adolescence into adulthood, but there was just something… not quite right.
Also, she wasn't sure if it was the gentle slope of the nose, or the angle of the jaw line, or the shape of the ears, but something about this woman was as familiar to her as her own face. Probably even more so. She just couldn't put her finger on why that was.
As though sensing her gaze, the woman suddenly glanced in her direction. Hinamori's eyes widened slightly as a faint blush spread across her cheeks. For some reason, this caused her own to heat up, and even the tips of her ears felt warm. It reminded her of when she had first seen the Maid of Honor. There had been a faint flutter of something in her chest when the woman had swept down the isle, arm in arm with the Best Man. Even when the older woman nearly tripped, awkward on her high heels, Kazuha hadn't found it amusing. More so, she'd found it… endearing.
No, no, no, no, no!
Without her wanting it to, time seemed to stand still, and no matter how hard she tried, Kazuha could not break her eyes away from the woman up front. She prayed her eyes betrayed nothing, but she reached over and gripped Ran's hand so tightly that she was surprised the other girl didn't cry out in pain and shock.
This isn't happening…
And then… in one terrible, beautiful moment, the woman smiled. It was a small, almost sad curve of the lips, but it sent warmth through Kazuha down to her toes. Shyly, she gave a tentative grin back, and Kazuha knew then that she was doomed. For some reason, she wanted to cry. And for some other reason, she wanted to call Heiji right then and beg his forgiveness, but she wasn't sure what for. After all, she didn't feel this way for him.
Thankfully, the bridal march ended, and they were allowed to sit down. Hinamori jerked her eyes to the bride and groom, breaking the terrifying spell she'd cast.
Kazuha was shaking by the time she was seated again, and as much as she wished she could blame it on the throbbing of her ankle, she knew it wasn't.
Ran's hand squeezed her own gently, giving her a questioning glance. Kazuha shook her head with a tiny smile, mouthing she'd tell her later.
They say weddings cause tears, but Kazuha's eyes weren't damp by the end because of the ceremony.
"Ah, she knows, she knows, damn it, she knows," Heiji groaned as he banged his head against the wall. They were back in the room they had changed in, Kudo and him both, preparing for the reception. All he wanted to do, though, was go home, crawl under his blanket, claim to be sick for the next week, and have his mom fret about him in her suffocating, endearing motherly way.
"She doesn't know," Kudo chided him, readjusting his wig and pulling up one of his lace socks. His black Mary Jane loafers had a smudge, and he spent the next few seconds polishing it away. "If she knew, she would have marched up and yelled at you in front of the entire ceremony."
"No, she knows. You didn't see that face she made. It's like I kicked her puppy and ran over her doll while pulling her hair. Worse! Gah, she knows, and now she hates me for lying!" He collapsed in the chair, the itchy skirt fluffing out with a sigh of irritation at his abuse. "Go ahead, dress, and devour me! End my misery!"
"You're such a drama queen." Finally satisfied that the smudge was once again shiny, the young boy-girl stood up, curls bouncing, and smiled brightly. "Come on, Oba-san! They're gonna leave us!"
Heiji glowered at his friend. "You're eerily good at that voice." He threw his head back, annoyed when he didn't crack his skull open on the wall but instead missed it by several inches. "Go on without me. Let me wallow in peace."
"I could always call as Shinichi and claim that I'm oh so worried because you're not taking proper care of yourself on the case," Kudo threatened. "That would throw off her suspicion, and get her yelling at you again."
Kazuha's yelling. How he missed it already. "You wouldn't. Since she already knows, or if on the off chance she doesn't know and finds out later on, you'll have to explain to both her and Nee-chan why you were here at the wedding and didn't ask her to dance."
The young boy faltered for only a moment before pulling out the phone, hand poised over the call button. "You're so pathetic right now that it's a risk I'm willing to take."
"Fine!" Heiji shot up from the chair and grabbed Kudo's phone, stuffing it in his purse. "Fine, fine, fine. You win. Twerp."
Heiji stormed over to the door, threw it open, and nearly ran Kazuha and Nee-chan down. He froze. His heart stopped, his body became motionless, his lungs ceased breathing, froze.
"Oh! Sorry, we were looking for the coat closet, but got lost," Nee-chan explained with a laugh. Kazuha kept her eyes glued to the carpet where they stared, large and unseeing.
Heiji opened his mouth to speak, before remembering, barely in time, that he had laryngitis. Kudo skipped over to them, recovering from his shock quicker than any of them.
"You were close, Onee-chan! It's two doors down on the right."
"Thank you," Nee-chan said, before crouching down onto a knee. "Oh, you were the flower girl! You were simply wonderful. And so cute, too! Wasn't she, Kazuha-chan?"
"Mm-hmm," Kazuha replied shortly, not daring to look up.
True to his mother's lineage, Kudo put on the act of a lifetime, perfectly affecting a young girl being praised. Hands clasped behind his back, he tilted his head down and rotated in a way that had his blonde curls swinging. "Thank you, Onee-chan."
Nee-chan, obviously clueless to their identities, predictably melted.
"R-Nee-chan, we're going to be late," Kazuha spoke up for the first time, an unnatural timid voice squeaking out.
"Right, sorry," Nee-chan stood up, smiling at Kudo. "Save me a dance!"
Kudo nodded, all smiles. When the door shut, he still had that same goofy expression on his face.
"You're hopeless," Heiji pointed out.
"You're one to talk." Picking up his own small child's purse, he gave Heiji a knowing grin. "And Kazuha doesn't know it's you."
"What? Are you blind?! You saw the way she acted!"
"I did. But it wasn't because she knew."
"Oh yeah?! Then why?"
Still grinning, a smug look Heiji would love to wipe off, Kudo skipped for the door. "You heard Kazuha-neechan! We're gonna be late!"
-end Part One
Bum bum bum! Kazuha has a girl crush! Kinda! Not really! Heiji think's Kazuha's on to him! But she's not! Kinda! Not really! And Conan looks like Shirley Temple! Kinda! Not really!
For seriously, anyone ever notice how Heiji never calls Ran by her name? He always refers to her as Nee-chan or That Guy's Daughter. Of course, I could be hallucinating on that. Oh wells :D
I'll try to get the next part(s?) finished soon, but right now I'm in school, which eats my brain. But this should be a nice diversion for my brain.