Oh my goodness! So, I suffered a hard drive failure several months ago. Not that long after posting the second part of this, actually. I was so sure I'd lost this, along with so much more! Of course, I had a certain dramatic tantrum that would make any diva proud. Now, the other stories are pretty much lost, but I turned on my old dinosaur of a laptop, which I haven't touched since getting my new one, and guess what was on there! I had many glees.
This part is very short in comparison to the others. For that, I'm sorry! However, I wanted to get this up to let you know that yes, it hasn't been forgotten! The rest is in need of some major rewrite, though. I reread, and I was all 'o.O' so please bear with me! This time, though, I am not as fettered with school as I was. Still a bit busy, but hopefully won't take as long to update!
Disclaimer: I don't own, neener neener.
"What about the Best Man?" Conan suggested with a halfhearted swivel of his glass, watching the cherry slide over ice cubes.
"Nah, his English is worse than yours." He paid little attention as a wadded up napkin bounced off his head. "What about that other guy that kept asking me to dance?"
"The blonde man? He's German." At Heiji's look, Conan flashed large blue innocent eyes. "I asked him if he was American because his Japanese was weird. It's amazing how much grown-ups talk to kids. Besides, he only knows enough English to order beer and ask where the bathroom is."
Heiji snorted as he down his gingerale. From a distance, it looked enough like champagne to throw off suspicion. Hina was, apparently, slightly more fond of alcohol than the average person. Not enough to be an issue, but if he hadn't made the effort to at least look like he was trying to get a buzz going, there'd be more suspicion than he'd like.
"What about that other guy? The one that you said has octopus hands?"
Just the mention of that slimball made the physically older boy shudder. "Trust me, that...man got so close that there's no way he can't know I'm on the same team. Promise me something, Kudo. You ever see me act like that toward any member of the fairer gender, kick my ass, would you?" Those three dances had been the most disturbing three dances of his life. It had been the one and only time he'd been thankful for wearing his monstrous dress. The layers of poof and flair had offered some protection from some the lecherous pervert's wandering hands, at least.
"Looks like we'll see how you do here in a moment." Conan nodded in the direction of the dance floor. "This time she looks determined."
Heiji didn't have to ask who Kudo meant. He could feel her deathly glare on the back of his itchy wig. "I have an oral will, you're my witness. I leave all my stuff to Nee-chan. Except my Ellery Queen collection. You can have that. You need some decent reading in your young life."
"She's not gonna kill you, Hattori. Trust me on this, would you?"
Anything further was dropped as Kudo's serious expression turned to that of the innocent young girl he was posing as. Heiji counted down the remaining seconds in his life, mourning all the things he would never be able to accomplish after his untimely demise.
Before she knew it, she was standing over Hinamori, breathing hard. The flower girl's eyes widened, getting the attention of the Maid of Honor. When the woman turned, she almost looked frightened of the labored breathing beast looming over head.
Kazuha supposed she couldn't blame the woman. She forced herself to calm down, and after a few seconds, she realized exactly where she was, and exactly what she was about to do.
"…Youannadanceithe…?" Her voice and mouth decided not to cooperate, apparently.
Hinamori obviously didn't speak Stupid or Tonguetied. The poor woman, whose voice was all but gone, opened her mouth as though to say something. Kazuha was too busy staring at the floor to read the confused expression that was more than likely on the woman's pretty face.
"I mean… um… Dance. Would you like to? With me. Out there. Where the music is."
There was a pause. It dragged on for an eternity. Universes were born, lived, and died during that long stretch of silence. When she dared to look up, she saw that Hinamori was facing the flower girl, and could see her eyes large with shock.
And then the music, that cursed fast and safe song, switched to a slow melody meant for couples. Feeling as though the universe, maybe one of the ones that died and were now haunting her, was kicking her while she was down, and so, feeling thoroughly rejected, she turned to leave. After all, it was just a silly girl crush.
"Um… sorry. I'll let you go back to… what you were doing."
A hand, slightly larger than she'd expected, caught her wrist before she could take a step. Elation and dread both filled her as Hinamori led her to the dance floor. For a second, it was as though even Hinamori wasn't sure what to do, but then they were dancing.
It was supposed to end with the first step, that stupid girl crush. The rose colored glasses were supposed to be lifted and she should have seen the world as it truly was, but all she felt was the thrill of the dance.
Hinamori led, but Kazuha didn't care. Nor did she care whether it was appropriate or not when she leaned in close, resting her head on the woman's high, boyish shoulder. All she cared about was this feeling of being warm and safe even though it felt as though her very existence was in danger. It wasn't until Hinamori's clothed hand rubbed soothingly across her back that she realized she was trembling. What was wrong with her?
Confused, she closed her eyes against the world, tuned out the music, even the sound of Hinamori's breathing. Even now, this warm cocoon just slightly out of reach of mortal danger was so familiar. The hand holding hers, the one on her back, even gloved they felt familiar. She was dangling above a ravine, the only thing between her and death being a foolish boy's indestructible will for her to survive and a cracking branch. She was in a crooked lawyer's attic, frightened for her life, with a promise to tell her what he was going to say to fill her with the hope that they would survive.
She was in danger, and yet she was the safest she could ever be.
She was with…
The song ended, and Hinamori stilled, bringing Kazuha back from her dream-like trance. Something was there, something she should know, but just like that, it was gone. The crush she felt on Hinamori wasn't a silly thing at all.
It was real.
Kazuha was doomed.
She didn't want to leave this, didn't want to return to the harsh reality that was waiting. Hinamori pulled away first, still holding her hand in soft warmth. Unable to fully look the woman in the eyes, Kazuha just raised her head enough to see that same sad smile she'd seen before the wedding.
Thank you, Hinamori mouthed, still unable to speak, but Kazuha could feel the same sadness in them that had been in that small smile. It confused Kazuha, why the woman should be so sad. Did she suspect Kazuha's feelings, and didn't return them?
Ignoring the looks of the surprised people around her, she turned to the table where Ran was currently sitting. The long walk stretched on before her, yet before she knew it she was sliding into the chair and resting her head dejectedly against her friend's shoulder.
Heiji returned to the table in a state of shock. Even his feet were numb to the pounding pain of his heels. When he reached his chair, he all but fell in it, uncaring that he was supposed to be acting like a lady.
"I don't believe it," he said slowly, the words feeling as though they came from someone else's mouth.
"Told you," Kudo said, voice smug with victory.
"Kazuha has a crush on Hinamori. And you knew." There was no blame in his voice toward his small friend, just the sensation of shock, confusion, and for some inexplicable reason, loss.
Kudo's head banged heavily against the table. "You really are hopeless."
Heiji lowered his own head into his arms. "I wish she had known it was me. Her murdering me would be better than this."
"Quit worrying, it's fine," Kudo grumbled as he rubbed his forehead.
"Yes. It's fine. Did you notice it? While you were dancing with Kazuha-chan?" How his friend could worry so little over his current state of mind – whatever it was – was beyond Heiji.
"Yeah, I noticed it. Kazuha has a crush on Hinamori." He glowered at Kudo then, wanting nothing more than to reach across the chair that separated them and strangle the make-up clean off the boy's face. "And you knew. Why didn't you tell me?"
"Hey, hey, lower your voice! I wasn't talking about that. I was talking about over where Kazuha came from!"
Heiji glanced over at the table where Kazuha was, sitting beside Nee-chan, the two deep in conversation. Every once in awhile, Nee-chan would look over at him, a questioning look in her eye. Pretty soon it was replaced by a knowing grin. The despondent feeling came flooding back, more oppressing than ever. "Even Nee-chan knew. Everyone knew but me."
"Idiot! Stop moping and think! She came from the bar!" Kudo came over and grabbed Heiji's jaw with his small hand, forcing him to look in another direction.
"That strange guy is either undressing me with his eyes, or even he knew."
"You're sick, Hattori." Kudo practically leapt back in his chair, away from his Kazuha-shunned friend. Heiji really couldn't blame him. Kazuha had a crush on Hinamori, and everyone knew but him. "I swear, if you keep thinking about that, I'm going to call Kazuha right now, as Shinichi, and tell her that you're all mopey right now, and I don't care if it blows my cover. You're starting to get on my nerves."
"What? No!" If Kazuha found out that her crush had been replaced by Heiji, it would break her heart! He felt like an interloper now, intruding on something he had no right being a part of. He would put his weird and unexplainable feelings aside for now. For Kazuha. For the case.
Oh right, the case.
"Okay, I'm better. So that guy, what about him?"
"You mean you didn't notice?" Kudo asked, not sounding nearly as surprised as he should.
"No, I was paying attention to… well, I was dancing." In truth, he'd been too busy trying to stop Kazuha's trembling and so focused on that one dance that he hadn't paid any attention to anything else.
"He was staring at you two the entire time, glaring." Kudo reached over and took a sip from his juice. Somehow, even though he had to hold the comparatively large cup in both hands, the move was as smooth as an adult's. "He was very talkative, even friendly, when she was over there. When she walked away, he kept smiling. Then, when he realized where she was heading, his face turned dark."
Before Kudo could finish, Heiji was up and rushed as fast as he could in those darn heels over to where Kyoko was sitting.
"Hina-chan, what's wrong?"
He leaned forward, whispering in her ear, more for information than playing a role. "What do you know about the bartender?"
"Robert-san?" Kyoko's eyebrows furrowed as she told Heiji what she knew. At the end, Heiji looked frantically around for Kazuha. She wasn't with Nee-chan, and she wasn't at the bar. Neither was Robert.
Without thinking, he went to where Nee-chan was sitting. Before he could say anything, she smiled at him. "Kazuha-chan's confused right now. She hasn't seen Hinamori-san since she went to Kyoto when she was young."
He opened his mouth to speak, but Nee-chan kept talking.
"She didn't feel this way then, so she doesn't know why she is now. All she knows is that it's a very familiar feeling, being both in great danger and completely safe, and she's only felt that a few times."
He wanted her to stop talking. This was not something he wanted to hear. Kazuha was missing, and Kazuha had strange feelings for someone. He wanted to flee, scream, and fight.
"She's only felt that way with you, Hattori-kun."
Here, Heiji faltered. "You knew?" She nodded. "For how long?"
"Something felt off with you from the beginning, but I didn't know until Kazuha-chan told me what I just told you."
"K-Kazuha! Does she know?" Heiji mentally kicked his own ass, forcing himself to focus on why he came here. "More importantly, where is she?"
"No, she left before I could. She went to the lady's room." Nee-chan suddenly stared over at the table where Kudo was sitting. "Don't tell me that's Conan-kun! He told me his parents were in town!"
Heiji shrugged, already backing toward the door. "What can I say? They needed a flower girl." Spinning, he teetered for a second before becoming increasingly frustrated. Taking his aggressions out on the easiest annoyance in his life at the moment, he lifted the hem of his skirt and kicked the offending footwear off with relish before continuing to run unfettered.
Weaving through the crowd, he moved as fast as he could, wishing that these people would just get out of the way, already. Through the ballroom door, down the hall, and even so far away from the main event, there were people every where. Annoying as it was, it also meant that Robert would have little opportunity to attack Kazuha. Unless he got desperate, and Heiji was not willing to rule that out.
Without thinking, he barged into the lady's room, desperately scanning the surprised faces of the women at the mirror. One stepped out of a stall, and Heiji realized two things. Kazuha wasn't here, and he was in the lady's room. While they didn't know he was a guy, it was still embarrassing. Spinning on the balls of his feet, he rushed back out.
Where were they?
-End Part Three
Muaha! Again, I apologize for the shortness of this... And also, I don't know why it took me this long to realize that the file uploader removed my scene change break thingies... ewps... For now, we must deal with many dots!