Finally done. This was a request for a paralyzed Heiji (waist down) some time ago (three months ago) that I haven't been able to get finished until now (avoided it just cuz Kazuha was impossible to write).
This was my first time writing Heiji/Kazuha heartfelt talk and I'm not sure if it came out all right, so I hope everything's fine The Osakan dialect just about killed me.
Warnings: Major characters HeiKazu, Conan's not in the lead role here T.T
"Watch the road, Hattori!"
"I'm doing so, ya chibified shrimp!" Heiji bellowed over the roar of the motor, the tires screeching as he abruptly dove around another tree. The bike tipped dangerously to the side and tiny hands gripped around his stomach harder, but he hardly gave it a thought. "Ya know, someone has ta see if they're still following us, and ya're busy getting buried in my shirt!"
He couldn't stop the brief feeling of smugness that bubbled within him, knowing Kudo couldn't do a damn about his insults lest he caused him to lose control of his bike and crash in a tree. However, the warning clench of fists on his sides and nails digging into his flesh alerted him that payback would be due soon. The gesture sobered him up quickly though, the situation kicking in once again.
Once they were on a straight path again (even if it was muddy, obscured by the foliage of the forest they were driving through and full of bumps) he dared another look back. And then promptly cursed at the sight.
"Damn, they're still following us!" Heiji shouted. He could feel Kudo tense further, his eyes instinctively trying to look over the Osakan's shoulder to confirm the statement, but another bump and bounce of the bike stopped him. Instead, he just buried his head in Heiji's shirt and left some rather unsavory curses out of his mouth. If the Osakan had been in a jollier mood he would have reprimanded the kid for his language, but right now he just wanted the bastards off his tail!
It had been a typical case really, a typical day. He paid neechan a visit, got to chat with Kudo a little, went with them on a trip Mouri won on some lottery or another, stumbled upon a seemingly random murder that needed a few prompts from the two of them and would lead to one of the suspects being the usual murderer with a sob story-
Only, it hadn't been that simple this time.
The murder, much to the shock of both detectives, had been expertly planned. Hell, it had been more of an assassination than anything else. The victim had been an important manager of an influential company, and thanks to the incredibly complicated last message he left behind (do all victims think cops were geniuses? Maybe they knew Kudo was on the way the moment they realize they'll die?), they'd been able to determine that another company, a rivaling one more than a little bent on competition, had decided to off the guy by professional means and so get themselves a little more money in their pockets.
Unfortunately for them, the detectives of East and West had been strolling down the street the exact moment the whole thing happened and were able to figure it out pretty quickly. Unfortunately for Conan and Heiji, the assassinators got wind of it, as well as of the fact that the two had decided to keep the true motive of the case to themselves until they could speak to some higher authority.
And then, on the way to the police station and not even five minutes after they left the crime scene; lo and behold, two bikers were on their tail, trying and failing to make them fall of Heiji's bike for ten minutes already. In all the ruckus Conan had also managed to almost get thrown off, at which point Heiji had grabbed him out of the air and turned him so he was facing Heiji's front (and holding on for dear life) instead of the almost nonexistent forest path ahead.
He had to give it to them, at least their reaction time was fast.
With a grunt Heiji swerved the motorcycle to a sharp left, breaking through the last of the foliage and landing unsteadily on a nice bumpy dirt road. From what he could see of his hurried take-in of their surroundings, there was a dangerous drop to their left, with train tracks on the bottom of it. If he had had time and will to estimate right now, he'd say a passing train's roof would barely be reaching to the ground level on which they were on now. As it was though, the thought only materialized itself in the back of his mind, pushed back by the matter at hand.
"Damn, this is getting us nowhere." He cursed, gripping the handle tightly as to not let it swerve out of control. The path itself was so uneven - one moment of losing control could mean a crash for both of them…
He felt Kudo shift in his arms, most likely turning his head towards the front to see where they were going now that they were in the open. The small body suddenly stilled.
The voice was calm and unusually loud even though he hadn't shouted. The Osaka suddenly felt dread in the pit of his stomach, knowing from experience that voice could only mean one thing.
"We're out of gas."
Translation: They were screwed.
This time it was Heiji who let out a litany of curses. His eyes were already darting frantically around, trying to keep them from crashing while at the same time looking for a good and (most importantly) quick escape. He couldn't find anything though, not when he could barely concentrate on anything else but the bumpy road ahead. And really now, what did he think he'd find, a miraculous solution to all their problems at hand?
A fast approaching light in the distance suddenly caught his attention.
Hello, miraculous solution.
"Okay, hold on Kudo, this is gonna be one helluva ride." He growled over the engine. Tiny hands only grasped his shirt tighter, if it was possible, and Heiji distinctly felt the kid's legs leave the seat and wrap around his waist, sensing the motorcycle may not be the safest of places at this point of time. Silently Hattori approved. The kid was learning from his experiences with the Hattori express.
He waited for the right moment. Out of the corner of his eyes he could see the two drivers catching up, both of them going to his right, conveniently putting him between them and the cliff. The two were probably hoping to cut off his only escape way to the forest again, as well as push him off and finally be done with it.
He almost snorted. This made it all the easier for him, because he had concocted another escape-way already, and they were on the wrong side if they wanted to block it.
The former light in the distance suddenly blinded them with its intensity s it rushed past, the deafening blare of the passing train ringing in his ears a sure distraction for those not anticipating it. Sure enough, he glanced to the right and saw them trying to regain control of their vehicles, forgetting about their targets for the moment.
It was all the time Heiji needed for his small stunt.
With a roar, the Osakan's motorcycle gave a sudden boost. He turned a sharp left and suddenly they were over the edge and flying on two wheels and he briefly heard Kudo screaming his name before there was a sudden impact as they landed on the roof of a fast-moving train. He could hear two distinct crashes as their pursuers completely lost their control after witnessing their stunt and he almost gave a triumphant yell at finally escaping them for good-
His bike gave a sudden lurch as the motor died, too out of gas to really care both of its passengers were currently on top of a moving train, and with a final jerk from the abrupt failure both were unceremoniously dislodged into the air, off to the side of the train and aiming for the unforgiving ground below-
Even while flying through the air, Heiji was aware of small hands almost ripping his shirt from the grip and vaguely he recalled there being a rocky terrain placed around the tracks, right at where they were sure they'd be landing and… and he couldn't let, not another, not Kudo, not when he could-
With a sudden jerk of his hands, he dislodged the child's grip from his shirt and threw the small body off, off to where he knew there was grass and bushes and no sharp rocks that could crack his head open. He was vaguely aware of screaming and a brief sensation of weightlessness and falling through air, before the cold and unforgiving ground made contact with his boy.
He did his best to roll and avoid the worst of the damage, knowing he'd be lucky if he didn't break a bone or two on the rocks. After what seemed like eternity but was only a few seconds, he stopped rolling down the small hill which housed the train tracks, aching all over but still alive. There was still a loud noise up above which he suspected to be the still passing train, but he paid it no mind in his state right then. Slowly he started removing his hands from where he had brought them to his head to preserve brain damage, when the screaming from a distance away finally reaches his ears enough to understand.
"Hattori, the bike-!"
He looked back, just barely glimpsing the shining metal from up close, too close for comfort, rolling down the hill and leaving sparks behind it and turning over, over him and-
But then, it was already too late.
"That's the house?"
Agasa nodded. "Yes, just go straight up to the gates and- well, they're open so you don't have to announce yourself. They were locked before, but then again…" he trailed off.
Kazuha just nodded, understanding the words left unsaid. She could only imagine what had transpired before she came, but she knew enough of Heiji's infamous temper to fill in the blanks. She gave the professor a nod and began her trek to the Kudo mansion residing just beside the man's house.
"Ah, Toyama-san?" she halted at the voice, turning back with a questioning look. Agasa shifted under her gaze, sighing heavily. "Just, please, try to… he's been really down lately and nothing we did could help him, and Conan-kun also…"
'Conan-kun?' she wondered. 'Oh yeah, I heard from Ran 'bout him, she's been awfully worried… That stupid ahou.' The Osakan gave the professor a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, Agasa-san, I'll be sure ta pound him a new one, that'll make him come back 'round fer sure!"
"A-ah, alright then." The other replied meekly. "I'll be going now, I still have some work to do. Oh and, please call me just hakase. Everyone does that." He chuckled.
She made her way up to the imposing-looking mansion, pulling open the gates and passing them without announcing herself. Her knocks on the door went unheard (which she knew was impossible since they were quite loud and surely reverberating through the house), so she simply forewent manners and slipped into the entrance hall.
The house was eerily silent as she moved down the hall, her eyes darting around at the many doors lining the walls. By now, dark had already fallen and she had to use the wall as a means of orienting herself.
From what Ran had told her, she had prepared Heiji's room somewhere on the ground-floor, but the teen absolutely refused to sleep in it and spent most of his time in the living room on the end of the hall. Finally reaching it, she warily pushed it open, the action followed by an audible creak.
To her, the living room was like any other, if maybe a bit more luxurious and old-timed. There was a large window decorating most of the outer wall of the mansion, allowing moonlight to bathe the interior, as well as the dark figure sitting in front of it. He didn't give any indication of hearing her, but Kazuha wasn't fooled. It was indeed Heiji, acting like the usual ahou he was.
"Heiji, I know y're there." She said warningly. He flinched slightly at her tone, but that was all.
She narrowed her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest. "'Kazuha'? That's all ya gotta say? No 'hi', no 'sorry I didn't bother ta move my ass and answ'r the damn door?"
He didn't respond, but she could see him tensing at the way she phrased her question. Well, no matter, she'll dig till she broke the surface.
"And what's with all tha' bratty attitude I hear y've been showin'? I got so many calls from Ran-chan ta hurry up and come here already, I swear if I hadn't been on that tournament I'd… I'd…" she broke into a sob. Her resolve was already weakening, but she held firm. "Ya ahou! Why didn't ya return home yet, y're parents- ev'ryone's been worried and on edge since… I swear, if they'd just told me what was going on instead of lettin' me enjoy my trip-" she started laughed a bit hysterically at that, but he interrupted her.
"Then what, Kazuha?"
She clutched her frame, unable to take her gaze off him. Glancing at what he was sitting in, her eyes softened and her shoulders slumped. She shook her head slowly, even though he couldn't see the gesture.
"Then… then maybe we could've helped-"
"Help me?" he roared, looking over his shoulders with a disbelieving expression. She watched his arms hastily fumbling with the blanket draped over him, probably a remarkable feat of Ran's, and throw it to the side with little care. His hands grabbed the large chair wheels and with a little bit of inexperienced difficulty he was turned around and rolled in front of her, his spiteful eyes meeting hers, rage at the situation still boiling within them.
"Help me how, Kazuha? Look at me!" He gestured to himself, to his still bandaged self, and to his still unmovable legs. "I'm stuck in this wheelchair from now on, fer forever! Look'd down on, pitied, like some broken china doll tha' lost its-"
The sound was clearly heard in the spacious room, maybe even echoed through the whole damn mansion, yet Kazuha didn't care. She looked down at her best friend's shocked expression, his head still turned to the side from the power of the hit, unable to see him acting this way any longer. It broke her heart, and she knew only one way to mend it.
"Ahou!" she croaked out through another sob. "So what now, y're just givin' up? Ya stupid, stupid…" she shook her head and locked her determined gaze with his still surprised one. "They said y're p-paralyzed from w-waist down, so what? Said there's min'mal chance of ever recoverin', SO WHAT? Is this it? Is that the best ya can do, sittin' here, in this house, and moppin' all day, thinkin' of what was and what couldn't be?" she grabbed him by the shoulder, shaking his frame and still refusing to avert her eyes from his. "THIS isn't the Heiji I know, the Heiji I knew since we were still kids!"
His lip curled up, and his eyes tried to look to the side, evading hers. "Yeah, this one's a bit more diff'rent, being stuck ta this wheelchair-"
"Do I need ta hit ya again?" she grabbed his chin so he couldn't look away anymore. The anger in his eyes subsided at the sight of her tearful expression. "I won't hesitate ta do so, ya jerk. Y've been here fer almost a week, pitying yerself and no doubt berating for not doing better, thinkin' ya could have prevented it. Didn't ya? Well, ya ahou, I say ya should instead be glad as hell!"
That statement caused all the anger and spite to disappear from his eyes, only leaving confusion in its wake.
She rolled her eyes, releasing his face and kneeling so she was on the same level as him, her knees barely an inch from his. "Really, fer a high-school detective ya can be pretty dumb sometimes."
"Who y're calling dumb, ahou?" he grumbled quietly, almost instinctively. She couldn't help the slight smile that graced her lips at the response. It seemed like there was some of the old Heiji still in there after all.
"I'm sayin', (and y're the dumb one) that it coulda been a lot worse." She saw his doubtful expression. The next few words were spoken quietly. "Heiji, ya coulda died. Conan-kun coulda died too."
There was silence in the room, heavy and all-encompassing. From his suddenly solemn expression, she could see the possibility hadn't registered before. Well, it probably did for Conan, but she was sure her friend had as always forgotten to put himself in the equation as well.
"I see ya entirely forgot about yerself again, am I right?" His sullen look was her answer. She looked to the side and grumbled silently. "Typical."
"O-oi, what's tha' supposed ta mean?" he growled, having apparently heard her quiet statement.
"Exactly what I said, ahou!" she replied and stuck her tongue at him.
"Ahou, y're the ahou here!"
"Oh yeah? Who's the one borrowing his friend's house and moppin' in it all day long?" she countered.
"Hey, I was not moppin'."
"Sure looked like that to me." She waved him off.
Her answer was a familiar insulted growl which made her giggle. After a few moments his quiet snickers joined hers and she couldn't help comparing it to the old times, before this accident happened to Heiji and before he became a mess because of it. It seemed like he was back after all.
"Mind standin' up again?" he said good-naturedly, if a little strained. "'Cause, ya know, havin' people at eye-level is nice and all, but somehow I feel too much like the chibi brat ta make it work."
Seeing as he'd calmed down and mostly over with his temper tantrum for the day, the girl did a leap of faith and placed her hands on his knees as she stood up, being careful to gauge his reaction. He looked down at her hands with a sharp intake of breath, no doubt remorseful about the numbness and lack of feeling his legs provided, but Kazuha could see he wasn't upset enough to go back to his sulking corner. She smiled down at him, letting her hands fall.
She wasn't a fool, she knew this couldn't be solved in just one night and that her friend would need a lot more comforting and yelling and insulting before he returned to his normal old self, but she was ready to take it on. He was her best friend after all, and she couldn't imagine her life without his obnoxious self giving her a hard time every minute of a passing day. She'd make sure he was alright.
She stretched in the dark room, her figure showered in moonlight coming from the window. It was a beautiful night indeed, not a cloud in the sky. She was sure there'd even be a mass of stars, if only the city light wouldn't cover them up.
"So, care to tell me why ya haven't come home yet? I heard yer parents had ta come all the way here and couldn't drag ya back no matter what."
She turned around just in time to see him avert his head to the side, the dark shadowing his face. She almost blushed at the thought that he'd been watching her, instead shaking her head to clear it from such thoughts.
"Yeah, they were here and tried ta take me back, but I… There's, well…" he sighed, then shook his head. "Too many familiar things, too many memories, ya know?"
Her eyes softened at the statement, understanding what was left unsaid. Back home, he had friends, familiar faces and people he wasn't yet ready to meet in his current state, not when the accident was still fresh on his mind and the doctor's diagnosis still ringing in his ears. He needed some time to cool off.
However, when he got back, he'll have to face his life again. He'll have to face what he was, and what he can't be anymore. He'll have to face the loss that a lifetime in a wheelchair would entail; no kendo practice anymore, no baseball, no running after criminals anymore… Hell, even his room would have to be moved down to the ground floor, and she was sure her friend would learn to despise any kind of stairs he ever saw from now on. Also, she was sure the looks his classmates were sure to send him wouldn't be pleasing at all. It will be a hard time adjusting to that kind of limited way of life.
But, he'll have to cope. He would learn, and he'll adjust, just like he always did.
Suddenly she blinked, a shudder running down her spine. Then again, knowing Heiji, he'd find a way to be just as menacing to criminals as he was on foot with a bokken. She just hoped he'd take some time before embarking on another dangerous quest. This one was beyond enough for the time being.
"Well then, seems like my job here is done fer tonight," she finally said after the short moment of silence. "I think it's time I go now. It's getting pretty late an' Ran-chan is prob'ly already waitin' for me."
"Oh," was the response. The girl could tell he was slightly disappointed, even if he tried to cover it with an inquiring look. "Y're stayin' at neechan's place?"
"Yeah… Got something against that?" she said crossly.
"Ah, no no, jus' askin'." Heiji sweatdropped.
She 'hmph'-ed, but left the no doubt ensuing quarrel rue. She started making her way back to the house entrance, inwardly at the same time relieved and remorseful to hear the quiet sound of rolling wheels behind her. At the door, just before exiting, she turned back to regard the other Osakan teen with narrowed eyes.
He looked up at her questioningly. "What?"
"Nothin', jus' remembered Ran-chan wanted me ta tell ya something." She opened her mouth to continue, then closed it into a thin line, her hands going up to rest on her hips. "She says ta look after Conan-kun when ya can, he's been real worried about ya. Tell me, I heard he's been stayin' in this house since ya decided to move in on yer own. That right?"
"Yeah…" he replied. "Seem him here and there, but I…" he scrunched his nose up.
The girl sighed at the expression. "Ya pretty much ignored him the whole time, right. Ahou." Before he could even think of an angry retort to that, she stuck a forefinger at him in a reprimanding fashion. "Talk ta him. As soon as ya can. Ya may have been set straight by me right now, but that kid's still a mess. Honestly, what was Ran-chan thinkin', leavin' him in the same place as ya?"
"What's tha' supposed ta mean?"
A roll of eyes was his answer. "He's a kid Heiji, and he just saw one of his friend get smashed by a bike. He's prob'ly been blamin' himself this whole time..." She turned away from him and started walking down the front-yard to the gates, her voice carrying even as the door was closed. "Talk to him, ya ahou! Honestly, just a kid…"
Long after the voice had faded away, the teen still stood there in front of the closed doorway, contemplating those words his friend had imparted on him. With no small amount of contempt he grabbed the wheels of his wheelchair and began the slow trek back down the hallway. Though, he at least tried to push the feeling to the back of his mind as best as he could, remembering the previous (much needed) conversation he'd had with Kazuha. It was time to let past the past be past, and accept what wasn't to be.
'Yeah, but… Is it really true what she said, 'bout Kudo?' he almost snorted. 'That guy, blamin' himself fer what happened? Right. That would be…' His good mood made a sudden nosedive as he came to a sudden realization. '…so like him. Damn.'
He hadn't really thought about that before, since he'd been preoccupied by other things (like regretting and berating himself… damn, he'd really been sulking, just like that ahou said). Now that he thought about it, he'd barely seen the kid around, even if he had presumed, in the back of his mind, that he was staying in the same house as him.
Shit, he had to fix this now.
He stopped in front of one of the many doors, this one the only that was open by an inch. He peered into the darkness within as he worried his lip, then just sighed to get rid of the tension and pushed it open. Entering, he could see it was a guestroom, just like his had been when he saw it for the first (and last, come to think of it) time. The light in the hallway hadn't been lit, so Heiji's eyes quickly got used to the darkness.
He sucked in a breath as he saw a small prone figure lying on a bed, the sheets draped over him haphazardly. He was still in his everyday clothes, he could see, and the many stacks of take-outs and no doubt meals made by Ran covered the floor next to it.
He rolled the chair to the bed, trying to get the momentum down so he wouldn't bump the edge roughly. He grumbled inwardly at that, but he knew he'd have to accept it as quickly as he could and move on in his life. The sooner the better, as they say.
Still, it was hard to accept the full truth of what that life would be from now on.
Reaching a hand out, he shook the small figure.
"Hey shrimp..." He whispered. No response. "Oi, Kudo!"
"…What…?" he heard a hoarse voice reply as the not-child roused.
The Osakan sighed in relief, retrieving his hand. "Common kiddo, let's go out or somethin', I'm sure y've been cooped up in this house all this time- Well, I was too, but that's not the point righ' now…"
In the dark, he could vaguely see the other sit up, then turn around to face him. The sheets slipped down enough for Heiji to see a cast on his right arm and a large purple bruise on his face, half of it covered with a thick bandage. The child's shoulders slumped as soon as he caght sight of his wheelchair, telling Heiji his attempt at light-hearted talk had been a major fail. Kudo lowered his eyes to regard the sheets instead.
The mumbled words were spoken so soft Heiji had to strain his ears to hear them. He tried to act ignorant. "Fer what?"
To this Kudo only sighed, not at all convinced at his friend's attempt of avoiding the subject. He gripped the sheet with his one good hand, not meeting the other's eyes. "For not being there, not stopping it – for everything." He swallowed. "I… It's my fault, I know it. If you hadn't had to worry about me, making sure I was alright, maybe you could've- could've- I don't know, been faster, escaped before... before-"
"Kudo, it's not yer fault."
He hung his head. "Aah."
The teen could tell Kudo wasn't the least bit convinced, and for some reason that made him angry. He growled quietly, drawing the kid's attention back to him. This entire situation was so messed up. He wasn't used to dealing with these kinds of things; hell, he hadn't even got used to the way things are now, with him paralyzed from waist down permanently. He had needed some time and, want it or not, he'd been given enough and now he had to not only face the world, but also to fix the shit he'd unintentionally caused in his depressed state. Pulling Kudo out of his guilt trip was one such mater it seemed.
"Really Kudo, it's not yer fault, so don't fret over it. In case ya didn't notice, y're in a kid's body, and those I'm sure ya know can be a lot more fragile than adults. Ya couldn't have done anythin'. I couldn't have done anythin', and it took me a very pissed off Kazuha ta even realize it."
The kid cracked a smile at the statement, making Heiji inwardly glad he'd managed to cheer him up, even if a little. Looking around the room, at the few spares of clothes strewn on the ground and the piles of old take-outs, something in him gave a pang as he realized that maybe the other had been in the same situation as him all this time, barely leaving his room and torturing himself by sharing the house with the one he thought he'd failed.
"Damn, Kudo, have you been moppin' 'round here since the day neechan brought me here?"
He could only groan, his head coming to meet his palm.
"We were both acting like idiots all this time, wer'n't we?"
A snort was his answer. "Maybe." The smile that had lit the childish face faded as he looked up to meet the other's gaze. "Hattori, I just… I don't know how I could ever repay you, you saved my life basically-"
"Y're still at that?" Heiji grumbled. "Then tell me what's with the bandaged face and the cast on yer arm, huh? I know ya didn't get it from when I threw ya in that bush. I think I recall hearin' from neechan that ya stood over me like some guard-dog when they found ya, with both the bastards that chased us knocked-out at yer feet. I think I can easily tell what happened, and if it did, then ya were the one that saved my life."
Kudo had the decency to scratch his head in embarrassment, much to Heiji's exasperation.
"Well yeah, but it wasn't that great of a deal, c-compared to you…"
Ignoring the usual sliver of resentment at the mention of his current condition, he instead rolled his eyes and started wheeling away from the bed. "Kudo, ya broke yer arm tryin' ta subdue the bastards and got that bruise as a reward fer it. And, as hard as it is ta say it, that damn Kazuha made me realize (man, it seems like she took away every bit of stupidity I had till tonight) that even then we got off lucky. At least we're-"
"-Still alive, I know." he gave him a smirk, the curve of his lips pulling at the thick bandage on his cheek. "I heard your shouting match all the way here. Woke me up from my sleep. I wouldn't be surprised if even hakase got wind of it."
At the interruption Heiji just 'humph'-ed, finally managing to turn his wheelchair around so he could get out of the room. His exit was followed by an indignant shout.
"Hey, where are you going?"
"Out. Somewhere away from this house. I want ta eat somethin' normal, other than the take-outs the past few days. It got old real fast."
"Gee, thanks for the appreciating my attempts at keeping you alive." There was the sound of rustling sheets and hasty movements in Kudo's room, then mismatched footsteps as its occupant finally emerged. Heiji raised an eyebrow at the sight.
"Yer leg's in a sling too? Where'd ya got that from? Oh, and y're welcome."
The child rolled his eyes, gripping the crutch at his side inexpertly. "That was from when you threw me, I landed wrong and sprained it. Doctor said I almost broke it when I shot with it."
"Ya shot at the bastards with a sprained ankle?"
Damn, the kid had the gall to be amused at his disbelieving reaction. Common, who in the world would shoot at criminals with a sprained ankle? Apparently, the teen-turned-kid before him was one of them.
"No, just the one. The other I got with a sleeping dart before my hand was broken in a fight, so I had to use my shoes to knock him out."
The only thing he could do was shake his head in resignation. At the door he took his time to open it and move around until he was outside. Looking back at the limping child still in the hallway, a chuckle escaped him. "Kudo, y're really somethin' else."
"Hm, maybe. But, you've got to admit, together we make a pretty odd pair."
Heiji contemplated about that. "Yeah, two banged up guys, one in a wheelchair and th' other on crutches. A real sight ta behold." He snickered, even though his tone turned nostalgic. "But, at least y're gonna be able ta walk again without those in a few weeks. Light in every dark, as they say."
Conversation pretty much degenerated after that point, especially since Heiji had to focus all his attention on overcoming the couple of steps before the entrance, lest his wheelchair fell over and he ended up as a mess of curses and cusses. Conan, who couldn't help him because of his own dilemma and knew better than to call Agasa for 'help', just stood behind, waiting for him to clear the doorway so he could get out too.
"You know…" Heiji stopped his cursing rant momentarily to hear the boy out. "I've read somewhere that the fastest wheelchairs can go up to 11.6 mph."
"Oh really?" Even if it wasn't much, that information was quite interesting. '11.6 mph? That'd be like eighteen or so kilometers per hour… Not that slow, but compared ta my old bike still not enough. Can a wheelchair even be driven like a bike? That'd need some serious speed and power, not ta mention someone who could do all that…'
"Yeah, and I heard motor wheelchairs can be built to be very sturdy and resistant. I know you probably don't feel up to this talk yet, but…" the child shrugged its shoulders as best as it could on the crutches. "But, I don't know, maybe hakase could do something for you, I mean he was the one that invented my skateboard-"
A crash brought him out of his reverie, and he turned wide eyes to the spectacle that had happened before him. "Hattori, you can't just roll full-speed down the stairs, you could have-"
"No time ta talk, chibi! C'mon, we gotta go see this hakase of yours righ' now!" The teen was already up to the gates, trying to open them with one hand while the other was busy gripping the wheel so he could roll back. To Conan's amusement and exasperation, the Osakan was already starting to mumble something about motor wheelchairs and replacements for bikes.
"My, aren't you a happy one? Hattori, you do know you can't really do anything right now, since you still have the hospital issued one, and I've heard the motor ones are very expensive-"
"Aww, don't be like that, K-Conan-kun," he stumbled over the name, reminding himself they weren't in safe territory anymore and anyone could overhear. "I jus' found my new goal here! Heh, if I can't use my legs then I'll jus' find another way! Imagine it, with a speed boost and some assets (maybe tranq'lizer darts like yers? Man, that'd be so cool!) I'll be unbeatable! They'll call me th' badass in a wheelchair!" He cackled madly. Conan was seriously starting to fear for his sanity. He wasn't even sure if his friend was joking anymore or not.
"Uh-huh, more like the terror on streets that got the most tickets for abusing the use of a wheelchair." He dead-panned.
"Hey, hey, don't ruin my good mood righ' now, can'tcha see I'm on a roll over here?" the Osakan grinned. He got the gate open and pushed the wheelchair back so he could get out.
Conan rolled his eyes, letting the banter slide of his tongue without thinking. "Yes, I can see that clearly."
At the statement, it was like all the fun and joking from a moment ago instantly faded away into an uncomfortable tension. Conan sucked in a breath, cursing himself for joking (joking!) at the expense of his friend's condition. Damn, how could he have forgotten the thin line between joke and jab that his friend was still so sensitive to right now?
Looking over his shoulder, the Osakan pierced him with a steady look. "Low, Kudo. Really low."
And, in turn to the unintentional insult, his own fading guilt suddenly resurfaced ten-fold, making his shoulders slump and his gaze lower to the floor. The words 'I'm sorry' and 'All my fault' were already on the tip of his tongue, but as he raised his head to deliver them, they got caught in his throat at the sight of Heiji's – dare he say it – mischievous smile.
"But," the teen said, turning his head back around so he could roll the chair out of the front-yard and onto the street. "'s not as low as yer height, chi-bi-chan."
Conan was left standing there, shocked at the development, until he became aware that the other had already departed without him and was halfway up to Agasa's gate. Without him.
"H-hey, wait for me! And don't call me that, barou!" the boy shouted, doing his best to catch up on his crutches. Ahead of him, he could hear the other laughing.
"Haha, never! I'm gonna use this advantage as long as I can! Who knows, maybe one day I'll even let ya ride on my lap, as long as y're a good little boy~!"
"Hattori, one word more and I'll hit you!"
And as the banter of the two boys faded away into the late night, only to be stopped some time later by an irritated Haibara shooting them a glare from one of the windows, those hidden words of Heiji's still continued to push the guilt that resided within him away. It would always be there, and he'd never want it any other way, but he was still glad that things between them had started to go back to the way they once were.
'Thanks for acting normally.' Was left unsaid. Didn't even need to be said.
But still, a full night of height jokes was a bit too much even for him. He'll regret it after he tells Kazuha about his and Agasa's crazy plans with a motor wheelchair tomorrow.
Sometimes he really hated that guy.
If you peek, you'll see the perspective goes Heiji-Kazuha-Heiji-Conan. Was a challenge and fun to practice perspectives ^^
Aaaand, even tho this was supposed to be mainly HeiKazu, I just couldn't (COULDN'T!) do it without Conan! He's the heart of the series, the character that keeps everyone moving! Writing without the main chara is not my style, so he had to be squeezed in there. I think it turned out alright tho, I like it. Yet somehow I think the ending's crappy, but that's up to the reader's point of view =P