The Ticking Faces of Clocks
AN: Driven to plunnies by Katty008 and Hydok. And some other people on a roleplay I was reading. Set between The Doctor's Daughter and The Unicorn and the Wasp.
The heist had been going so well.
No, it really had. He had been able to get in, grab the target and get out. . . mostly. He had even been able to make it to the roof of the museum and use the glider to get away.
No, the problem had come when he had chosen that building – easy, oh so easy, should have known it'd be predictable – to land. He should have known that there had been something up with the heist, with how easy it had been, with the fact that Hakuba hadn't been there. He'd thought that the stuck up Brit had just decided to go off someplace else for the weekend on a last minute trip, hadn't thought that he'd planned it all in advance, thinking of wind directions, speeds and the heights of the nearest buildings in relation to the museum.
He'd landed almost soundlessly, with only the snap of his glider as it went back into being just his cape again until the next time he needed it. Sails in the wind, backed by the midnight sky. Maybe not midnight, but certainly the middle of the night. Seemingly empty rooftop, seemingly easy getaway.
The sound of a pocketwatch is far too loud in the silence of the night, with the sounds of the heist muted by distance and wind direction bringing only faint noises, and the past half an hour seems so long ago now, so long ago.
He takes a few steps forward, to face the detective, wondering when the British blond would come out of hiding, where he'd been that he hadn't been able to see. Shadow-within-shadow stands up, and an arm reaches up above his head – Kid tenses, at first thinking that it's a ploy, a trick and a trap and a signal to lure him in and tell the police he's there, but then there's a hat being taken down from the detective's head, explaining how the straw-light hair had been hidden. Explains so much. He's not dressed in the usual affair, he knows that much – the Holmes outfit must be in the wash still from the last prank he'd played where flower patterns had somehow appeared in the midst of the Inverness and Deerstalker's weaving.
Walking forward, they're both walking forward, and Hakuba looks so smug, just like always. Kid doesn't look any different. Poker Face is always, always there, no matter if it's good and no matter if it's bad. And he isn't Kuroba Kaito here, he's the Kaitou Kid. He is the Kaitou Kid, and this is what he looks like, and there's no changing that, no way. Besides, it's far too much fun.
"Kaitou Kid. I could tell your movements this easily – do you think perhaps that I am getting better at reading your decisions, or are you getting slower?"
The Kaitou Kid didn't respond, except to smirk further, he steps further towards the stairwell. Where he'd planned on going down to stop being Kid to start being someone else and then someone else, until he wasn't Kid any more. He smirked.
"Ah, but Tantei-san. Perhaps I merely wished you to think that you were getting smarter, just so that I could have the upper hand in some future battle of wits between us?"
"Unlikely. If so, you wouldn't have told me."
Kid inclines his head.
"I suppose you're right. But you never know – I might be, too... after all," he said, stopping, right by where the building of the stairwell corner was, but still in plain view from most angles, "the Kaitou Kid is nothing if not unpredictable, is he not, Hakuba-san?" This, delivered with a smirk and then a grin.
Hakuba looks up, brings up the pocketwatch from his jeans pocket again, and opens his mouth to say something –
But Kid never finds out what, because the next moment he knows, there are bullets firing from one of the next roofs, and he can just see them now and he suspects that Hakuba only saw them when he did because of the shiny metal of the pocketwatch and something glinting off it, but he can only suspect, conjecture all of this because now –
Now, Hakuba's sprawled across him, and he's lying straight out on the hard, unforgiving concrete of the roof with however many pounds of British detective lying on top of him, lifeless – no, not that word, anything but that word – and breathing is ragged and No One Was Supposed To Get Hurt On A Kid Heist.
It was the unspoken, unwritten law. And someone had broken it. A sniper with a rifle or something else entirely he didn't know.
He'd been being pushed bodily to the ground and out of firing line of sight at the time. By Hakuba. The guy was supposed to chase him and try and catch him and be one of his favourite critics, but he wasn't supposed to care like that. The Kid's existence was to draw attention to himself, nothing more, and if he had to be the target then so be it, then at least no one else was getting hurt on his behalf, when it was him they were firing at, but here –
Hakuba. Hakuba had done that. For him. For Kid. Kaitou Kid.
Some distant part of him realised that he was in shock, and that there was a bullet scratch on his arm, that had gone through Kid's white and blue uniform and caused him to bleed, mingling with all the other monotones of the rooftop, and Hakuba's wounds.
They weren't fatal. They couldn't be fatal. Hakuba, annoying as he was, was someone he knew. Knows.
But he think that there haven't been any more shots fired since then, and since they're on the right side for it now, they might as well get down to ground level.
He attempts to move Hakuba, but fails, not because the detective is too heavy, but because Hakuba's turning so limp so quickly too quickly and there's so, so much red. Red, he has decided, does not suit his favourite critics.
Hakuba winces, looking confused, and why shouldn't he be? People don't get hurt on Kid heists. Confused, so confused, and Kaito – no, he was Kid still, wasn't he? Had to be Kid still, he was still wearing the uniform, even though the hat had fallen off when Hakuba had shoved him to one side, and the monocle was still on, so he was still Kid. But he felt like Kaito.
Hakuba was finding it hard to breath now, and he probably should've called an ambulance by now, but he'd been thinking of how there were still those snipers out there, that is if they were there still, but even if they weren't there'd be a hit out on someone with multiple gunshot wounds who'd been up on the roof at the same time as Kid. Which would be Hakuba. Which would mean that the ambulance wouldn't have done any real good at all. Even if it'd gotten there on time.
The wheezing was getting harder, louder, and Kaito – no, Kid! – supposed that it had to also be in part what he was feeling, or it wouldn't be so loud, so very loud in his ears. Except since when had he let his Poker Face down? So far as he knew, Poker Face still wasn't down. So it couldn't be him as well. And it was too loud now for Hakuba.
The wind picked up, and it was strange, it shouldn't be from that direction, the wind direction had been going the opposite way, hadn't it? In the forecast that night, when he'd been riding his hang glider? Hadn't it?
So maybe it was something else. That was fine. He wasn't moving.
A door creaked open.
One gloved hand made its way to where the card gun was stashed away on his person, just in case, he wouldn't make it so that anyone else was hurt, but just in case.
More creak. A footstep. Silence. Another footstep.
That voice. Didn't sound like it'd be one of them – too much like it was a perfect English accent tinged with Scottish but the feel of it even with that one syllable gave the impression of complete understanding between two different languages.
"Oh, that's not good. That's not good at all..."
His reasoning justified, he nodded, not making use of his voice just yet. No, it wasn't good. Yes, the man's voice was everything he'd thought it was. He could understand every tone, every inflection as though it was clear Japanese. But it was all spoken as though it was in some form of English. Or another language altogether.
The moment was broken when the sound of a Londoner – a more common accent, one less likely to get teased at school for, but no less smart, maybe just as much of a smart alec as Kuroba Kaito – broke through, as though from a short distance away.
"Oi, Doctor! I thought you said we were going to see something really interesting – what's keeping you? Got knocked over the head again, have you?"
Kaito's – Kid's, damn it! – eyes widened, then narrowed sharply. If the man there in the long brown coat and blue suit and red tie and plimsolls was actually a doctor, then he could help Hakuba. Because Hakuba really needed help. He was clutching at his chest, as though trying to grab at something that could be used to write a message down on, except he wasn't turning up any paper, and he was sure Hakuba would be able to speak still if it was something as stupid and simple as a dying message.
The Doctor – he didn't have any other name or way of referring to him, so he'd just use what he'd overheard for now – was now bending over Hakuba, looking him over and muttering things he didn't understand. They sounded as though they were in Japanese, just not anything he'd ever heard of. Some of them sounded scientific, some ludicrous and some just plain worthy of Nakamori if Nakamori ever learned what they meant.
"Alright, you. What's your name, anyway? And not your fake one, I can tell right off that the first thing you'd give me is your fake name dressed up like that. Come on."
Kaito – still Kid, damn it, why couldn't he still be Kid just a little bit longer? – gave the stranger an incredulous stare, and glanced at Hakuba again. The stranger, the Doctor, shrugged.
"Too out of it to hear."
He shook his head.
He didn't bother with the smirk or a smile or a grin or any kind of witty line. If this man could help the person who'd shoved the guy with the target painted on his back out of the way, then the Kid would dance maskless in the daylight.
"Right then! Kaitou Kid, do you know if this person here – what did you say his name was?"
Coughing. Blood coming out of the blond's mouth. Blood wasn't supposed to do that, but it was, and the next minute Hakuba was talking, in a voice that hardly seemed to be his.
"Saguru. . . Hakuba."
The Doctor took one long, long look at Hakuba, and turned his attention back onto both of them.
It almost seemed as though he was ignoring how serious the detective's injuries were.
"Right... Well. That makes things interesting. Very interesting. Say, Saguru – that's not the only watch you've got, is it?"
Hakuba's eyes widened, and he answered for the detective. Better if Hakuba saved his breath.
"Tantei-san has far too many clocks to count, Doctor-san."
"No, no, no. I mean on you. You know what I mean, right?"
The Doctor's voice turned slightly mesmerising in quality, and it was aimed solely at Hakuba. Who then started clutching at his chest again. The Doctor made an apology in passing and started to undo the detective's jacket, his shirt, then back into the jacket when Hakuba aimed a familiar look that basically meant 'what on earth do you think you're doing?' in the Doctor's direction, rooting around in the various pockets, mostly turning out only keys, old sweets, pens, a wristwatch, his cell phone, and finally, the object of the search. An old styled pocket watch, decorated with strange designs that looked for all the world like blueprints of the internal workings of a clockwork machine.
"Got it! Now, I suppose the real question here, is how did you come upon something like that, hm?"
Hakuba held out a weak hand. Out towards the Doctor, towards the unopened pocket watch. Which, unlike his usual one, was silver-ish grey instead of golden bronze.
". . . mine." The word costs Tantei-san breath, and causes him to cough. But still he goes on, looking the stranger who calls himself the Doctor straight in the eye. ". . . was my Mum's. She. . . left it to. . . me. Wouldn't let. . . dad have it."
By the end of this, Kaito figures it's got to be something important. Got to be, or the detective would be asking them why the ambulance isn't on its way rather than telling them about his family heirlooms.
A piece of pretty junk that the Doctor, for some reason, thinks is one of the most fascinating and awe inspiring things ever to grace the planet. Slowly, the Doctor reached out with the watch in hand, and transferred the look in his eyes to the Kid.
Their eyes only locked, but in that, Kid saw far too much, much more than he thought that he ever wanted to see in his lifetime or anyone's. Lived too long. Someone's lived too long, maybe, and that's why Pandora has to be destroyed even more – it's not just what people can do, but what life can do to people. Not good. Not good at all, a gift that isn't a gift but a curse. But for Hakuba...
"Put the watch in his hands," the Doctor of too many years was saying to him. "Put it in his hands, and make it so that when he opens it, it aims straight at him. Preferably not his feet, though. You can do that, Mr. Kaitou Kid?"
Kaito nods, and if he hadn't already dealt with witches and legends of gemstones that cried immortality and robots that wanted to steal who he was and dozens and dozens of other out of this world things, he'd be questioning what he's doing more than he is. But he's not – not least because for some reason, Hakuba's going along with it, and the watch is in Hakuba's hands, and Hakuba's the one who – albeit weakly – opens the thing, and then –
Light. Golden, warm, encompassing, and he was being pulled back by strong arms and there was a double beat all around.
A quiet voice called for the Doctor, but after that, there was silence. He was sure that Snake and whoever else the bastard had brought with him could see this for miles off, but for some reason he found he didn't care.
The light faded away, leaving only the still prone form of one detective Hakuba Saguru lying limply on the concrete of the roof still. Monochrome colours of the night returning to make his complexion ashen once more, but less so than before.
The drop of the pocket watch to the ground made yet more noise still than the snap of his other one earlier in the silence then had done. The Doctor shared a look with a Western woman with light hair, wearing jeans and a brown leather coat to ward off the cold, and she aimed an understanding, sympathetic look in the Kid's way.
"Come on, Doctor," she said, sounding as though she was trying to console the man. "Let's get out of here..."
The Doctor suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, grinned.
"Sounds like a good plan! All right, everyone in, don't be too late, or the ride will leave without you!"
And with that, even as he was saying it, he picked Hakuba up bodily almost as though he weighed nothing.
Kaito gaped after their retreating backs – which were heading towards the doors of a blue police box perhaps large enough to hold three, maybe four, but all of them? Definitely not.
. . . Then again, how had this 'Doctor' stranger person made it up to the roof like he had, so quickly? Known what to do? The box wasn't just a magician's illusion. He knew this because he'd walked through the space the box was in now, and the woman had disappeared again, and the Doctor was also doing the same vanishing act with Hakuba still in his arms and out cold.
"Well? What're you waiting for – I don't think you'd want to just stay out there. Shouldn't you be wanting to see how your friend is?"
Normally, this would have earned a retort, such as 'Tantei-san and I are at most friendly rivals', or an 'I merely didn't want to see him dead – it goes against the rules', or something of the kind.
This time, however, he simply picked up the dropped watch and followed them in.
. . .
And promptly lost minor control over Poker Face, if it hadn't already been down before. If it had, then that meant even more control over Poker Face had been lost.
"Go on. I know you want to say it."
It was the woman, and now, in the better lighting, he could see that she was a redhead, or at least ginger. And grinning indulgently.
Kaito swallowed. Didn't trust himself to say anything.
"Like we said before," said the Doctor, somewhere further in, fiddling with things, "we're hardly going to turn you in. I mean, seriously, guy goes around wearing getup like that, and he's asking to be chased after. You're just lucky we got to you first – we know just what it's like to be chased, don't we, Donna?"
Ah. So that was her name. Donna. Whose grin had turned somewhat sardonic with a look back at the Doctor. Doctor and Donna. Donna and Doctor. Huh.
"Unfortunately, yes. The madman over there gets into trouble enough times to know what it feels like to be chased by the hordes of Genghis Khan, or so he says."
"It's bigger. On the inside."
And now he felt stupid for having said it. Hakuba probably wouldn't have said something like that, but then again Hakuba was usually the one who had no sense of humour.
The Doctor grinned over at him, but was quickly distracted by something else, just as the column in the middle of what looked like the control room started to wheeze up and down, and he realised that this was what he'd heard just before the Doctor had arrived on the scene.
"See?" Donna said, grin back on her face, "I knew you wanted to. Hit me like that the first time, too."
Kaito blinked, and took an actual look around. Apart from the turquoise lighting that came from the main pillar, which was now moving up and down, there were several struts that seemed to have the purpose of holding up the ceiling. The general lighting scheme was natural, golden bronzes, wires everywhere, mauve lit areas underneath them. The floor he was now standing on was seemingly normal corrugated iron bridgework.
His attention, however, was drawn to the somewhat uncomfortable-looking bench where the one form that wasn't up and about was currently lying down. Pushing all further thoughts about how this place defied the laws of physics the way he defied the laws of possession, he bounded forward and over to where Hakuba was.
He was stopped part way by a hand on his arm.
"I'm warning you now," said the Doctor. "He'll be the same person you've known for, well. As long as you've known him. But he won't look the same. And sometimes, he may not seem the same. But he is the same person."
Not understanding, Kaito shrugged off the hand and went on, straight to Hakuba. Only a few minutes earlier, it'd seemed like Hakuba had died. For the Kaitou Kid. The stuck up detective had said at least once before that he didn't want to see the Kid lose to anyone other than himself, but that. . . hadn't been the kind of extreme Kaito had thought the blond would take his determination to.
Laid out on the bench, Hakuba looked different. It might have just been the lighting, but his skin looked slightly darker. Nowhere near as dark as the Osakan detective Tantei-kun liked to hang around with. Only as dark as most people who didn't spend all of their free time in either laboratories or libraries tended to get. His hair. . . seemed longer. Slightly curlier. Which was weird. As was the muddier strawberry-blond that it had changed its colour to. With a short glance, Kaito found out that his overall physique hadn't changed all that much, either, although he did seem just a few centimetres shorter from what he could tell, though he had absolutely no way of knowing whether any of the observations he'd made were in fact true.
The overall effect, however, did not look like Hakuba Saguru. He had disguised himself as Hakuba Saguru. This. . . was not him.
"What," he said in a short, clipped voice that oozed Poker Face from its very pores, "happened to him? That," he said, turning around and motioning at the unconscious figure, "is not the Tantei-san I know."
"I did tell you," the Doctor said. "At least he doesn't look all that different. I mean, look at me. Number of times I've changed, I sometimes don't recognise myself in the mirror."
"You switched him somehow."
The Doctor flung his hands up in the air in exasperation. Turned straight on to look at Kaito, seriously.
"Look. Your friend, and I don't care what it is with you two, at the moment you're a familiar face. Your friend just underwent his first regeneration. I'd bet an awful lot that he didn't even know what that meant until it was practically happening to him, either. He will not be needing this when he wakes up."
"So tell me. I don't know what it is either!"
One of the Doctor's hands went to his forehead in a show of frustration, but he then careened straight back to the control panels, and pulled hard on a lever. The movement of the central column slowed down to a steady near-halt.
Donna, he noticed, had sat herself down somewhere nearby – but not close enough to be threatening, thankfully. One of her eyebrow's was raised in an expectant way.
"Well, what're you waiting for? The kid over here asked a question."
The Doctor went still, or at least not moving for longer than he ever had for the short amount of time Kaito had known him. Breathed. Turned around.
"It's this trick Time Lords have," he said with – to Kaito, used to the masks people put up around themselves because he made constant use of his own – abrupt cheer. "It's a way we've got – well, this way I've got – we – of cheating death."
"Then Hakuba did die."
Flat. Not letting anything on, oh, no he wasn't and he definitely didn't feel sick just about now.
The Doctor swallowed.
"Well, sort of. He did and he didn't. He did, in that if he was human, he would have died. No way around that – he took two bullets for you. Which does actually hurt quite a bit – and by the way, we're going to have to find him something different to wear before he goes back outside, or who knows what kind of questions whoever sees him are going to ask. Just be glad they didn't get stuck. That's even worse of a pain."
Kaito was not going to ask, he definitely wasn't, and that wasn't a green tinge making its way through Poker Face. The idea that all that might have happened to Hakuba. . . was disturbing.
"Doctor." That was Donna. The woman wearing the leather coat – or rather, she had been, since now the coat was off and hanging off of one of the pillar type of things. "This is not helping."
At first off guard at being interrupted like that, the Doctor stared at Donna, and then opened his mouth like a thing that wasn't a fish.
"Ah. Right. Well. Back on track. When a Time Lord regenerates, every cell – every single one – dies. And changes. Like... well, like that."
Kaito takes the opportunity to flicker a short glance back at Hakuba, and finds that the person on the bench is now breathing normally. Which was good. Very good. If you ignored the fact that the Hakuba who was breathing normally didn't look that much like a Hakuba any more. Suit and clothes, but it was as though he'd looked in on a snapshot of a time when he'd disguised himself as the detective, except with a different face and no face makeup.
And this guy was saying that this was normal? This. Was. Not. Normal.
And neither was the thin tendril of golden . . . whatever it was, smoke or something else, that was coming out of the detective's mouth.
But apparently, not normal didn't necessarily equate to not good. Mouth closed, and Kaito wondered when exactly his heart had started to pound so loudly, very thankful that no one outside of him could hear it.
Maybe it was because he wasn't quite sure how he would react if the person on the bench – the Doctor kept insisting it was Hakuba, but how did he know? The golden smoke – it had looked so much like real magic – had looked just like what had surrounded Hakuba right before they'd come into the box, the one they were in, which was bigger on the inside.
He was very aware of both the Doctor and Donna watching him, closely. Him and Hakuba who didn't look like Hakuba.
But what if it was? And what if it wasn't? They were both definite possibilities, and just because the two strangers seemed friendly enough didn't mean that they were. He knew from personal experience how easily someone could pretend, and not even he was perfect at knowing when they were.
He found he was scared – yes, scared, not that he'd say so – that it might not be Hakuba, and at the same time scared that it was. Not sure how he'd be able to react if it was Hakuba and he recognised him and yet he just wasn't the same.
Morbidly curious and somehow unable to stay away, he edged closer and closer by inches to where the detective was on the bench. Still aware of the Doctor and Donna watching him. He hoped/-didn't know what to make of the person in front of him, but even if it wasn't Hakuba, then he'd helped save someone's life, right? And that was a good thing, a very good thing, only he hoped that if this wasn't Hakuba, that Hakuba wasn't dead anyway. That would be very, very bad. Bad and bad and more bad.
Without any warning whatsoever, eyes snapped open – and they weren't the same eyes he was used to, either, which unnerved him, as they were slightly darker than Hakuba's had ever been, but now they were widening and widening and was that a smile on Hakuba's face? 'Cause if it was, he was doing a real bad job of trying to look crafty and then –
He. . . had he. . . just been glomped by Hakuba? Stick up his backside Tantei-san? Plain old Hakubaka? Because that's sure what it looked like and felt like and his arms were pinned to his sides by surprisingly strong arms and he was sure there was going to be blood seeping onto his whites from what'd bled before the – the whatever the trick the Doctor had called it was, because right now he couldn't think much further than the fact that he could hardly even move, and he was so close to the detective that he could hear his heartbeat. . .
No. Wait. Rewind. Make that heart beats. As in, plural. Which is beyond weird, as he's been kinda close before – not like this! – but he's never noticed plural before. Urk.
And then –
"Caught you!" Hakuba was saying, and it was definitely Hakuba. No one else he knew sounded quite that British like that, for one thing. Kaito's eyes bugged out at the tone, however.
And he was pointedly ignoring the snickers coming from elsewhere in the bigger-on-the-inside box as Hakuba let him go to look him straight in the eyes with his hands still on his shoulders, but not on the cape clips. An action that was either coincidental or meant that Hakuba remembered that the cape itself could be detached from there.
"That was fun!" Hakuba said, exuberant and cheerful and altogether far too chipper for someone who's just damn well died for Kaito or the Kid's tastes. "Let's do that again!"
What. The. . . ?!
"Damn it, you just died, you idiot! And now you're saying you want to do that again?!"
The Hakuba with a different face looked confused.
"No. . ." A pause. "Don't like dying." Well, that was a relief. "But I do like catching you! I might just let you go again just to catch you again! That'd be fun! Fun, fun, fun~"
For some reason, Hakuba isn't exactly seeming like himself, and Kaito starts wondering if maybe the 'every cell changing' did something to his head.
And just like that, Hakuba's off the bench and practically bouncing around the place, looking at anything and everything, with the rips and tears of his clothes on full display for what's actually the first time. Which is really a lot more disturbing than he'd previously thought, since yes, he did get a little blood stained onto his white suit. He's not away for very long, however, because pretty soon he's back and standing right in front of Kaito again. With a suddenly serious face on.
"I've never been able to catch you before. It would always be me being caught by you – sleeping gas, tied up and left places, left behind. You always did leave me behind... But not this time! This time, I was the one who caught you, right?"
Kaito turned an inwardly panicked and outwardly worried face in the Doctor's direction. Except, the Doctor seems to have been trying to hold in laughter. Which really wasn't helping.
"Doctor?" And there was Donna. "Are you sure that everything's come out right? Sorry if I'm rude, but he doesn't look all that right in the head if you ask me."
"Oh, that? That's, ah. Oh, he'll get over it..."
Hakuba looks over at the Doctor and Donna and then back at Kaito and then back at the Doctor. Crosses his arms.
"I am still here, you know."
"Of course you are," says the Doctor, looking at Hakuba in what looks like a mix of awe, avid curiosity and wariness. "Do you remember who you were before here?"
His eyes remained glued onto Hakuba's, and Hakuba just stares at him, looking like he was only slightly unnerved by it.
"Of course I do. I was a detective." A pause, and a thoughtful look. "I suppose, am. Am a detective. I liked it then, and I like it now, so 'am' works."
And that wasn't worrying Kaito at all, oh no, it wasn't.
Or maybe it was, and he just didn't want to think about how much trouble he was in if Hakuba was like that and still remembered everything and was still like he used to be, and Kaito – Kid – was still in his whites, with only the monocle preserving his identity. And not very well, at that, by the number of times he'd gone and blurted things out in his Kaito-voice said anything.
In his defence, he'd been rather out of it all the while. Thinking the damn detective's gone and died on you – almost literally, but more while you're uncomfortably under them and they're just bleeding and – it sort of does justify it.
Meanwhile, the Doctor was looking interested, and Kaito wasn't sure whether or not that was an entirely good thing.
"Ooh, a detective? I've met a few people on my travels, but that's always got to be interesting."
"Of course I'm a detective. I've always been a detective. I even have an Inverness and Deerstalker." He looked down at what he was wearing. "Well, I've got them somewhere, anyway." His head jerked up, and he swung around to look in Kid's direction. "You! You've got them, right?"
"...What?" Completely off guard, but here's to hoping he's actually sounding like the thief again. "Ah, no."
And before he can say anything else, the detective's looking downcast again, as if he'd just been told something awful.
"Oh. I'd been hoping you had. You've taken them before, on heists. I almost thought that maybe you'd taken them today as well..."
"Well you can't go out dressed like that – you'd start a riot. And seriously, Inverness and deerstalker? That the best you could come up with?"
Donna was immediately pierced by two scarily similar disapproving looks. One from the Doctor, and the other from Hakuba.
"As an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes, I can't say that I find anything wrong in what I want to wear."
"Donna! Really, I don't know how you can think like that. I mean, it might not actually be what Holmes would have worn in real life, but still. It's iconic! I remember wearing a version of it to 1883, once. Good times. Come to think of it, the hat kept nearly falling off all the time because of my hair back then, though."
Kaito looked between the two of them, trying to be as quiet as possible until their hopefully temporary Holmes obsession wore off.
For what seemed like the first time that day – or rather, night – luck seemed to smile on him again. After sharing a grin over their love of famous British detectives, the Doctor seemed to finally realise just exactly how strange Hakuba was looking with four holes in his clothes, what were obviously the entry holes much smaller than the rather larger messes of fabric that were the exit holes. Yet the skin underneath was perfectly unmarked, unblemished, as if it had never happened at all.
"Though. . . I think she does have a point there. Wardrobe, off with you. Now."
Hakuba grinned. Which was almost enough to send shivers down Kaito's spine; Hakuba sometimes smiled, often smirked, but hardly ever grinned. It was ... wrong.
"Right you are!" And started heading off down the main corridor away from them. "Ah, which way again?"
"First left, second right, third on the left, go straight ahead, under the stairs, past the bins, fifth door on your left. Can't miss it."
Hakuba nodded as though he understood. Of course, Kaito would have been able to follow due to having the kind of memory that allowed him to remember the instructions and not get them all mixed up in his head, but still.
They watched him go. He certainly seemed to know where he was going.
The Doctor turned to Kaito – and where had his composure gone? He was still dressed as the Kaitou Kid, still had his monocle on, these people probably didn't know anything about him except what he had shown them so far. But that, unfortunately due to the circumstances, had not been his best side.
"Well. Donna – you know I said that I'd wanted to show you something interesting in Japan? This. . . wasn't exactly what I had in mind. But see! Him! I mean, look, it's –"
"Doctor," Donna started to say, with barely concealed frustration at just how impossible the man was being. "This is hardly the time for introductions. That kid that's wondering around – do you really think that was a smart idea? He looks like he's still got a few screws loose, for goodness' sake!"
The Doctor brushed off her comments with a wave of his hand.
"Nah, he'll be fine. Time Lord. If he wasn't, he wouldn't have had the watch and known how to use it, would he?"
Kaito didn't exactly know how to break it to the man that he had known Hakuba ever since he'd transferred to Ekoda and the detective hadn't shown any signs of being a- what was it again, Time Lord? – before. And that Hakuba had clearly said that the watch he'd helped open had been his mum's, not his.
He was saved from having to when there came to them the distant sound of something crashing, several somethings crashing into each other, and something metallic ringing as it finished falling to the floor. For a moment there was silence, and then..
Another crash, but sounding slightly less serious than most of the previous. Kaito blinked. Donna rolled her eyes, and the Doctor's eyes widened slightly for a moment.
". . . Ah. On the other hand, maybe I should go and check up on him. Yeah, definitely a good idea, that."
And then Kaito was left alone in the strange, impossible room with the only person who actually seemed to be talking sense and who wasn't a closet Holmes wannabe.
"So," he started, trying to get at least a semblance of Poker Face back, "is that man always like this?"
Donna turned to face him, giving him her full attention for the first time.
"Pretty much," she said. "Though. . . I think the Doctor's probably just as confused as we are, at the moment. He's just better at hiding it. Why? This how you two always act with each other?"
Kid laughed quietly, suddenly looking a whole lot more like, well, Kid.
"Ah, no. Fortunately not. Tantei-san and I are usually a lot more..." More what? You couldn't exactly call their relationship normal. Semi-friends in class, distinctly rivals, albeit friendly rivals, at work. He let the thought go. It wasn't going to work. "Tantei-san is generally quite a lot more reserved. Not to mention, he would never have usually even thought of letting me go after having caught me."
He would have felt so, so much better if he still had his hat. The hat was useful, and it was one of the main parts of the disguise. Not having the hat meant that he couldn't rely on it to give him that little bit more shade over his eyes that he needed right now.
"So basically he's usually got a great big stick up his backside."
A pause, at the sheer amount of bluntness, but then Kid gave her an amused smirk.
She snorted. "I think I'll probably like him better like this, then. There was a right stuck up kid like that back in one of my temp jobs, always acting like he was better than everyone else. 'Course, that didn't help him any."
Kid. . . looked away. And was trying not to be Kaito again.
"I." He swallowed. Poker Face, Poker Face, he couldn't just let it crumble away so easily. "Would have preferred it if he hadn't changed." Even through Poker Face, his expression hardened. "He was never supposed to get shot in the first place. Ever. He never should have had to change."
Donna sent him a look that was half scathing and half sympathetic, and snorted.
"Yeah, you and Spaceman should get on real well. He likes thinking that way as well."
The word in English didn't roll off Kaito – or Kid's – tongue perfectly, adding to the slight sense of confusion.
"Well, yeah. The Doctor. Last of his race, he told me – ha, now he's not, is he? Though, there was... Nah."
Last of his race. And the implications of that last unfinished sentence did not sit well with Kaito. Only now he's not the last anymore, is he? There's Hakuba. Stupid, silly Hakuba, with his obsession about time – oh so fitting for someone who was secretly a Time Lord – Hakuba, who's always found it so hard to figure out the whys of not only crimes but also just about anything else to do with normal human interaction. And now, someone else who was like him. Apparently.
Kaito felt an uneasy wrench in his chest at the thought. Two people who'd been like that. . .
He was going to lose Hakuba.
Footsteps could be heard leading back into the main room of the spaceship, and. . . laughter. The Doctor and Hakuba were laughing at something. Something else twisted inside Kaito – he'd been trying to get the guy to lighten up like that around people for nearly two years now. He'd been working on Hakuba.
When they came into view, he realised that the clothes Hakuba was wearing looked almost exactly like the ones he'd taken off – either that, or they'd been repaired with some kind of alien technology, except for the fact that these looked cleaner and newer and less worn in. Not at all like they'd simply been repaired.
As they realised where they were, and with the full brunt of Donna's amused raised eyebrow and Kid's non-expressive smirk, the laughter died out and turned into an uncomfortable silence, with the Doctor looking everywhere and not getting everything, and Hakuba – who just didn't look like himself, even if he sounded like himself, it just wasn't the same – had decided on staring intensely at Kid.
"I... ah," the Doctor started, looking slightly self-conscious, "there was an incident with the bins. Walked straight into them instead of past them. Easy mistake."
Hakuba didn't even glare at the man for pointing out what he'd done wrong. He was still staring at Kid. It was disconcerting, to say the least. If nothing else, his eyes were slightly too dark, but they held almost the exact same Hakuba Saguru behind them. Which was at the same time reassuring and very not so.
"...Kid," Hakuba said at last. He noted with interest that he seemed to have brought some of the manic energy from earlier under control, and was acting strangely nervous. "Your hat appears to be missing."
Kid's hand twitched. Yes, his hat was missing. He knew that, thank you very much.
"It fell off when you tackled me to the ground. Remember? I didn't have time to pick it back up before we were brought in... here."
"I. . . see." He turned back around to the Doctor. "I don't suppose that it would be possible for me to go back to the scene a few moments after we left, in order to clean everything up at some point, would it? If it were possible, I would be very grateful, as I am sure Kid would be."
'A few moments after we left'? Time machine, too? Interesting. Brought up some very tempting ideas, some of which he shoved to the back of his mind and surrounded with reasons why they would not be good ones.
The Doctor looked thoughtful. "That doesn't sound too bad. So long as no one sees you. Or whoever else might be there, that is. Rules about that. Very big rules. Important, too."
Hakuba nodded slowly. "I do understand. Thank you."
"A question, Tantei-san." Voice like silk, enticing and distant. "Why do all of that for the thief you are only going to catch anyway? It doesn't seem in your interests."
For a moment, an annoyed, irritated look flashed on the new Hakuba's face, one that was both familiar and not.
"Apart from the fact that I would prefer it if I were the one to catch the Kaitou Kid, and no one else? Even ignoring that, this is still in my interests, 'Kid'. I..." Discomfort was the most fitting word for the entirety of Hakuba's body language now, and both the side that was 'Kid' and the side that was Kaito were morbidly curious as to what their detective was going to say. One of Hakuba's hands trawled its way through the curlier locks of what had been golden, and was now a sort of goldish-brown. He took a deep breath. "I will need the skills of someone who is as good at disguises as you are. Or Kuroba. Either. If I'm going to be able to fit back into my own life."
. . . Poker Face damn near shattered.
The Doctor breathed in sharply, drawing everyone's attention back to him. His expression was almost as serious as it had been when Kaito had first met the man.
"Saguru here and I talked. I asked him if he wanted to travel, but he said he'd rather stay on Earth for a while at least. Though," he said, changing his attitude and putting on cheer, "I can't say I blame him. Earth's brilliant, you know that? So much to see, and do, and you haven't even gotten anywhere yet!"
Hakuba rolled his eyes.
"More like I want to make sure that I stay, well, me. My face has already changed, and I'm pretty certain that there are other things about me that are different, but I'd like to make sure that that's it. I don't want to become the person whose watch I opened, no matter how tempting it might be. Especially since that person is my own mother." The last was said with a little irony, sarcasm and sheer amusement.
'Other things about me that are different', huh? How about your sense of humour, for one?
"But what does all of this have to do with me, my dear detective?"
"Because," Hakuba said wryly, "If I went out like this right now, no one would believe me if I told them who I was. You, whether you are who I think you are or not, are the best person I know for disguises. In order to make me look like the Hakuba Saguru everyone else will expect to see." Well, that made sense. "And I'll need someone who can willingly break the law in order for me to pass by medical exams and possibly various other requirements."
"So now you're merely trying to utilize my skill set, are you? Tsk, tsk. I didn't think you had it in you."
A flash of pure frustration flashed through Hakuba's eyes, and all of a sudden the detective was closer, a lot closer, and reaching out his hand to grab the Kid's faster than the Kid could draw away.
"Tell me, Kid," he said, positioning their hands so that Kid's hand was around his wrist, first two fingers positioned to feel the pulse, "what do you feel?"
Silence. The various noises of the ship. The presences of the Doctor and Donna nearby, watching. The detective in front of him. The detective's breathing.
It wasn't a sound. It was what he was feeling, right there in the detective's wrist. Hakuba's pulse.
Uncertain, he shifted his gaze from the too-fast pulse in the wrist to the detective's face. Hakuba sighed and let go.
"You're the only one other than these two here, the only one I know, who knows about me right now. I don't want you to work for me. I need you to work with me."
"He's right, you know. This guy here might not be the Doctor, but if he's anything like him, he probably needs somebody. Somebody to stop him every once in a while."
The Doctor turned to look at her sharply, but she smiled at him. There seemed to be something behind the exchange that Kaito wasn't privy to.
Hakuba didn't say anything.
"I. . . will certainly keep that in mind, then." It wasn't helping him keep his distance that the supposedly unflappable Hakuba-tantei still had that nervous look about him. "I'll also definitely make sure to pass the message along to Kuroba, then, if that's what you want."
The Doctor's eyes narrowed, likely having been told Hakuba's observations on the matter of Kid's identity, but Hakuba relaxed slightly.
"Thank you. I mean it. Now! Back to precisely three minutes and thirty-two seconds after we left, possibly inside the stairwell if that's an option, Doctor? I'd prefer it if we weren't immediately seen by the party that caused all of this in the first place – and Kid, believe you me, we are going to be talking about that later. I was not aware of that 'small' detail, and I am not pleased."
Behind Poker Face, Kaito winced. He knew that, and he wasn't looking forward to the conversation. As the Doctor made his way back to the main console and then proceeded to show off the controls of the ship to the now awake, aware and alert Hakuba, who followed with all the excitement that he usually reserved for his Sherlock Holmes obsession, Donna brushed past him, nudging his shoulder with a grin.
"It might just be me, but I think you just got told, mate."
Clear-up hadn't taken all that long, and in almost no time at all, the TARDIS – as he had been told the blue box that was bigger on the inside was called – was materialising on Kaito's own street. Which was slightly nerve-racking in that it was the same street the Nakamori family lived on, but he could deal. For one thing, Nakamori-keibu was almost certainly either still at the heist site, or at the station doing the post-heist paperwork. Aoko was probably asleep at this time, too.
Not to mention, who would ever believe that the vision of the Kaitou Kid emerging from an English Police Box from the sixties along with three other people was real? Hardly any, he imagined. And if they did, then who would they tell, and who would believe them?
As Kaito stepped out of the TARDIS and onto his own street, he wasn't sure that he would have believed his own eyes if it hadn't been for what he'd experienced. . .
And the fact that Hakuba was stepping out behind him, reluctant to leave the time and space machine behind, still looking so very, very different.
"So," said the Doctor. "I guess this is it, then."
Hakuba turned back to face the man with a strange look on his face.
"I'd prefer not to think of it as goodbye, if you don't mind. I'll see you around, I'm sure. But for you? Why not think of it as just another reason to keep Earth safe, Doctor? Because when I am ready to take that further step, I'll be right here."
The strange look was briefly mirrored on the Doctor's face, but then it changed into a small smile, which grew into a grin.
"Until next time, then, Saguru! Come on, Donna, we don't have all day – allons-y!"
And then, with the sound of the TARDIS engine's wheezing and the flashing of it's light and the breeze that it blew up in their faces from the displaced air, both the Doctor, his friend and his machine were gone, as if they had never been there.
For a few minutes, Kaito and Hakuba just stood there, watching the empty space in the middle of the street in the middle of the night, as though it might come wheezing back.
When it didn't, Kaito turned to Hakuba.
"Are you. . . all right, with that?"
Hakuba started, and shook himself, then took a deep breath.
"Of course I am. I've even got his number, just in case. Which is probably going to happen quite a lot, but still..." He looked around. "Remind me which one of these is yours?"
Rolling his eyes at the obvious ploy, Kaito did something he had been loathe to do with two such strangers around, even if they hadn't seemed like they had been about to turn him in. He took off his monocle and the hat he had retaken from the rooftop, and then the white jacket. He loosened the red tie. Distributing all of those things about his person, he suddenly, with very little effort, looked almost completely different. And of course, Hakuba didn't even need a disguise, now.
He took the detective's arm in order to pull him away from the spot where he'd just been standing, unmoving, and with a smirk, motioned with his free arm.
"Come on. This way – it's the one on the left here..."
He had the feeling nothing was ever going to be the same again.
AN: O_O. I mean, really. I started this off, and had no idea it was ever going to be this long.
I've kept on thinking of writing several 'scenes', or extra bits based on Doctor Who canon set after this 'pilot' chapter. 'The Children of Time', at least one scene referencing 'The Master Race', a scene set during the Doctor's 'Reward' (maybe, might just be referenced) and quite likely one set with the Eleventh.
All of these may take quite a bit longer, since they would – apart from the meeting with Eleven and maybe bits of 'The Master Race' – be based on pre-existing material, and would therefore require more research.