Disclaimer: I do not own Detective Conan/Case Closed or D.N Angel.
Summary: When Prince Kaito Kuroba was told that he was to be engaged to the witch Akako, he only had one thought on his mind. No way in Hell. AU, KaiShin
Pairing(s): Kaito x Shinichi
WARNINGS: Shounan ai (boy/boy pairing), you have been warned
By V. Shalyr
"I see." Kudou Yuusaku laced his fingers in front of him and regarded the young man reclining in the chair across from him with raised eyebrows. "Kaito, you know this is probably one of the first places your father is going to look when you turn out not to be at home."
The young man in question wagged a finger in reply. His perpetually disheveled brown hair gave him a lazy, roguish appearance offset by piercing indigo eyes that Yuusaku knew hid a lot more than they showed. In that respect, the boy was just like his father. "No, it's not. He'll ask you for help looking for me seeing as you're his closest friend, but he wouldn't expect me to actually be here."
"And, seeing as—as you said—I am his closest friend, why shouldn't I just tell him the truth?"
Leaning forward, his visitor gave him a completely scandalized look. "He's trying to make me agree to marry a witch! You wouldn't want him to go through with that ridiculous idea, would you? I mean, to have someone like that as your next queen?"
Yuusaku opened his mouth then shut it again with a grimace. The young man had a point. The fact that the young woman was a witch really wasn't the problem. There were plenty of witches in the kingdom and many of them had done some very great and commendable things. It was which witch it happened to be. When Toichi had mentioned the proposal to him in passing the other day, he'd nearly choked on his wine. From what he knew of the king from his long acquaintance with the man, he couldn't believe that he would ask his son to marry a person he didn't love, let alone a woman like that. But what the man was really thinking, even Yuusaku had to admit that he had no idea.
That was another thing Kuroba Toichi and his son had in common. It made him wonder sometimes just how they had managed to become such good friends. Oh well, it certainly kept things interesting.
"Fine, you can stay here. And I won't tell your father where you are. However," and here he fixed his guest with a stern, fatherly look, "in return, I want you to find some way to let your parents know that you're okay. Need I remind you that you're a prince? You should know better than to go disappearing and worrying everyone like this."
"Will do." Giving him his charming smile which Yuusaku knew hid the shark underneath, Kaito stood to leave the lord's reception chamber. "I'll just be your new court magician for awhile."
Pushing his spectacles up his nose, Yuusaku cleared his throat. "I don't suppose you'd tell me what you're planning?"
Kaito paused with his hand resting on the door handle. Then he tossed a mischievous wink back over his shoulder and, for just a moment, the lord glimpsed a razor sharp grin on his lips. "I'm sorry, that's a secret! But no worries, hopefully, I won't be in your hair for very long."
With that, he vanished through the door, leaving Yuusaku to wonder what in the world he was planning. He was starting to have some suspicions, but he'd have to wait and see what happened in order to confirm them.
Kuroba Kaito, crown prince of Kerolei, shut the door quietly behind him and let out a soundless sigh. If truth be told, he wasn't nearly as relaxed about this entire situation as he had let on in front of Lord Yuusaku. In fact, behind the many masks he had constructed for public occasions, he was a lot more angry and frustrated than he would have liked to admit even to himself. And the root of all of it was his father.
Don't get him wrong, he loved his father. Toichi, though he had his stern and serious moments both as a father and a king, loved mischief and mayhem just as much as his son and Kaito had plenty of wonderful memories from when he was younger. But that didn't make up for what had happened only a few days ago.
Toichi had called his son into his study early that fateful morning. Kaito could still envision him dressed in the casual clothes he preferred when he wasn't attending any formal occasions, standing with his face towards the room's only window and his hands clasped behind his back. He had exuded an air of thoughtfulness which immediately sent the warning bells clanging in Kaito's head; his father was planning something and he had to be prepared. But nothing could have prepared him for what his father had said.
So what if he was at the age where he was supposed to be getting married? So what if he hadn't previously shown any outward signs of being interested in anyone?
"She's a very skilled enchantress."
Accompanying that statement unsaid being that Kaito himself was a very powerful mage.
"A lot of people would consider it a good match, both for you and for the kingdom."
Anyone that didn't know Koizumi Akako personally at any rate, he thought darkly. It was probably only because of his own incredible Gift that she hadn't cursed him already. Okay, so maybe she claimed she never put a spell on any of her many, many male followers and it was only her undeniable beauty that caused them to act the way they did around her, but that didn't mean he was going to believe it.
"She's going to be arriving here at the castle tomorrow."
Well, Kaito absolutely refused to accept this arrangement. That very night, he'd packed what few belongings he needed and snuck out of Half Moon Castle, because he would go to hell and take everyone else with him before he agreed to marry Akako. And he had more than a handful of plans to make sure of that.
Just because he hadn't shown any interest in anyone until now didn't mean he wasn't interested. He'd just been waiting for the right time. He would have thought his father should know that.
But first thing was first, He had originally bolted from home and made his way here to the Kudou estate to see his favorite person since he was eight.
Lord Yuusaku's son had been about six at the time, and still at the mercy of his crazy, theatre-obsessed mother. Kaito had given his guards the slip again while visiting the area with his father and ended up in the gardens at the back of the Kudou estate—even at eight, he'd been an aspiring escape artist, a questionable skill perhaps more suited to criminals than someone who would one day run the kingdom, but nonetheless useful. And there he had literally run into the younger boy who had been wearing a dress at the time and looking desperate as he'd just run away from Lady Yukiko's dressing room while she hadn't been looking. Now Kaito may have been more than a bit of a rogue all his life, but he'd also been brought up to have impeccable manners when he wanted to employ them. And so being the gentleman that he was, he'd helped the other child to his feet, apologized for the collision with a red rose like his father had just taught him how to conjure, and asked the "pretty princess" what "she" was doing out there. The younger boy had blushed, glared, and informed him bluntly of his mistake, but too late for the nickname not to stick.
They'd spent the rest of that day hiding from their parents together. It was the most fun Kaito had had on one of his father's many trips around the kingdom, and to this date, one of his fondest memories. Yes, a nice, long visit with him should do wonders in soothing his unstable temper.
Shinichi jerked away from the window he'd been peeking through at the sudden shout and fell backwards off his perch with a yelp. Only one person in the world would call him that. And sure enough, he was caught by a familiar pair of arms before he could hit the ground and he flailed about to regain his balance.
"Kaito! Will you please keep your voice down? You're going to get me killed."
Kaito grinned. "Spying on your sister's suitors again? Who is it this time?"
Joining Shinichi atop the stone bench he'd hastily clambered back onto, Kaito peered through the glass. He spotted the source of his companion's ire immediately, a blond-haired young man sitting across the low table from a young woman with the same blue eyes as the boy beside him. On the table between them sat a neat, porcelain tea set and a small glass vase with a tiny bouquet.
"Oh, I know this one," Kaito observed. "He comes to the capitol city a lot to argue with the head of my guards."
"Huh? Why would he do that?"
"Well, they say they don't like each other, but they're actually very good friends." Kaito paused then added, "So what's wrong with him?"
Moving away from the window and straightening his shoulders, Shinichi sighed, looking a bit disgruntled. "Nothing yet, but I still…"
"Don't like him," Kaito finished for him, smirking. It was a well known fact across the kingdom that Lord Yuusaku's son had made a habit out of chasing away all of his sister's suitors ever since she'd come of age. If they weren't "after her rank" or her inheritance, they were too self centered, too arrogant, or too cowardly. Whatever the reason, as far as Shinichi was concerned, they were never quite good enough. Personally, Kaito thought he was just being overprotective, but maybe it was something you could only understand if you had a sibling and Kaito was an only child.
"So what brings you to this part of the kingdom anyway?" Shinichi asked, changing the subject as he jumped to the ground. "Not that I'm not happy to see you," he added hastily, turning his head away to hide the faint blush that colored his cheeks.
Kaito pretended not to notice.
"Well," he drawled, slipping an arm casually around him and steering them both back in the direction of the castle stables, "don't tell anyone, but I'm hiding out. Father is trying to make me get married."
"What?" Shinichi tensed, stopping to look up at him with wide, shocked eyes. "B—but to who?"
"Akako, if you must know."
For some reason, the younger boy's completely horrified expression made Kaito feel a lot better.
Shinichi could vividly remember the first time he'd met the witch. He'd been visiting Kaito at the magic academy almost all the kingdom's magic users attended. There had been a school-wide competition going on and he hadn't told the prince of his arrival, wanting to surprise him. Because of that, however, Kaito hadn't been waiting for him and Shinichi had been forced to wander the very large campus in search of him. It had been during this search that he'd run across the young woman with her sweeping, deep crimson hair seated in a dimly lit, indoor courtyard surrounded by what had seemed like little dolls. At the sound of him opening the door, she'd turned to look at him with another of the dolls in her hand and Shinichi had realized with growing dismay that said doll bore a startling resemblance to one of the other students he'd seen on his way through the school gates. She'd looked him up and down coolly and then asked with a downright creepy smile whether or not he was going to be one of the competitors.
Shinichi hadn't been stupid enough to say yes.
A lot of the participants had ended up dropping out of that particular competition for unexplained reasons. No one had been able to pin the blame on anyone, or perhaps no one had dared. There were only two students in the school powerful enough to pull such a thing off, and Kaito would never actually hurt anyone, at least not over something as trivial as a game.
He'd heard a lot of stories about the witch in question after that, some of them from Kaito and some of them from everyone else. And as far as he could see, none of them had been good.
"You can't be serious."
At the magician's dark look, Shinichi's stomach dropped. It wasn't just that they were discussing Kaito marrying the witch. It was just that… Well, Shinichi had thought—or hoped that…
"Oh I'm serious all right, and I'm equally serious about it never happening. Now let's stop talking about it and go for a ride, and you can tell me what you've been doing since I saw you last. Oh, and I'll need to borrow a horse. I left mine at home."
"I thought you said you were supposed to be hiding."
Kaito waved his hand dismissively. In the same motion, his entire form seemed to flicker and change so that Shinichi found himself standing next to a slightly older man with ghost-white hair and crimson eyes that anyone who saw him would be bound to remember. "I've got it covered. If anyone asks, I'm the new court mage and you're just showing me around. Let's move out!"
For the most part, Kerolei was a relatively peaceful kingdom bordered by mountains on its southeastern borders and ocean on its northwestern front. Its current king Kuroba Toichi made routine visits to every part of the country, firmly under the belief that a good monarch had to be familiar with and understand the people that he ruled. Because of this, Kaito himself had seen more of the kingdom than most youths his age. Normally, he rather liked the city with its hustle and bustle and controlled chaos. But sometimes, you needed time in the quiet of the countryside just to get the noise and the chaos out of your own head.
Kaito found himself smiling his first genuine smile since his father had broken the news to him the day before. The warm, summer air and the rhythmic clopping of their horses' hooves upon the packed dirt road helped him to relax and he wondered why he hadn't thought to come sooner. It really had been too long, more than a month since his last visit.
"So how are your studies going?"
"The usual," Shinichi shrugged, trying his best not to stare at the man on the horse beside him. It just felt so weird whenever Kaito disguised himself like this for one reason or another. Sometimes, he thought that if he looked out of the corner of his eye just right, he'd be able to make out the magician's actual profile beneath the glamour. But that was probably just his imagination. Kaito had graduated at the top of his class at the magic academy and that honor had been well deserved. "I've been helping out the city guard a little and my father says he might start handing some of his duties to me, though Ran's supposed to be the inheritor. He says the experience will do me good."
"Hmm, sounds like my dad too. Though I suppose in my case, I can't really complain."
Shinichi nodded, opened his mouth, glanced at Kaito again then shut it. He knew Kaito had said he didn't want to talk about it but Shinichi couldn't help but wonder what the older boy had in mind. There was no doubt in his own mind that Kaito had a plan and he had several guesses as to what that plan could entail, but guessing and knowing were different things. And Shinichi liked to know—or maybe in this case he didn't, it was so hard to decide. The internal struggle went on for several long minutes before curiosity won out as it pretty much always did.
"So what are you going to do? A—about the engagement I mean."
"Isn't it obvious?" Kaito made a great show of glancing about as though to make sure no one was listening then gave him a sly wink. "I'm going to get engaged to someone else."
"Oh." Shinichi looked away, not sure what to say next. He couldn't quite muster the courage to ask him who he had in mind.
"Hey, Princess, you okay?"
It was strange but Shinichi could never pinpoint when that nickname had stopped bothering him. He'd gone red and gotten mad about it for the first few years of their acquaintance. Then when it became apparent that this just amused the magician, he'd taken to ignoring it. Now whenever Kaito called him that, he found his face reddening for an entirely different reason.
"I'm fine, just tired. I've been up since the crack of dawn when Sir Hakuba arrived."
"That early, huh? Sounds just like him. You know he always carries at least two pocket watches on him? He uses one to check and make sure the other one is accurate. Not that punctuality is a bad thing of course." Kaito had always rather valued punctuality himself. "But there's something wrong with a person who times every appointment he has to the second."
Privately, Kaito wondered if Ran had asked the blond knight to come at such an unholy hour in an attempt to avoid the prying eyes of her nosy younger brother. He wouldn't put it past her. Ever since she'd come of age, she'd had to employ every trick in the book just to get some privacy with the many, many young men seeking to win her hand. Not that it ever worked for long, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to try.
"So who's in charge of the Midsummer Festival here this year?"
"Ran is actually."
The magician grinned. "Perfect. I'll have to speak to her when we get back."
Frankly, Ran was amazed. She had spent the entire day with Saguru Hakuba and only spotted her brother spying on them once. She was never that lucky. Luck wasn't exactly a trait that ran in the Kudou family. Something must have happened, and when she spotted her brother returning to the castle alongside an unfamiliar man, it was easy to figure out what. His highness's illusions might have been flawless, but her brother's expressions were not. And Shinichi only interacted that way with one person.
Hakuba had politely excused himself to prepare for dinner and she'd been about to head to her own room to do the same. But crimson eyes caught hers through the window and their owner gestured for her to stay put. Wondering what the prince wanted to talk about, Ran nodded to show that she understood and returned to the table to pour herself another cup of tea.
Kaito arrived moments later, slipping into the room without a sound and shutting the door behind him before letting his disguise melt away. "Good evening, my lady, I trust you've been well?"
"Pretty well, thank you." Sweeping her long hair behind her ears, Ran smiled and gave a small curtsy in greeting. "Can I ask why you're here as someone else?"
"Well," Kaito paused dramatically, "I've got big plans and part of those plans involves me not being here quite yet. I was actually hoping to discuss the upcoming festival. I would like to make a couple changes to the program."
"Of course. I've only just started working on it. Whatever you want to add should be no problem." Lowering her voice to a whisper, Ran asked urgently, "So are you finally here to take my brother away then? Because I really like this one and I don't want him ruining everything this time."
Kaito blinked in surprise then smirked. Well, Hakuba was technically a good person. He could deal with him being part of the family if he had to.
"That's what I'm planning to do, yes, but don't tell him. I want it to be a surprise."
Recalling the slight slump to her brother's shoulders when the two had returned, Ran shook her head and sighed. "I won't tell, but really, please don't let it be too much of a surprise. You've probably given Shinichi too many white hairs as it is."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Kaito replied airily, fixing his disguise back into place and stepping towards the door. "I'll be in touch!"