Geez. It's been nearly a month already? :P Ah well. I suppose updating it within a month is good considering my slow updating over the last couple of years. Any way, here we get a lot of back stories, Watson's in particular! I ended up rewriting the whole second half of this chapter, but I think it's for the best. :) Enjoy! And please review! They do such much in motivating me. :)


Chapter 7: Discussing Recklessness and Paris

Saguru Hakuba

When Saguru woke up that morning everything ached. His shoulder felt stiff and his stomach throbbed numbly with every breath. His arms and legs felt like they were made of lead and he didn't even want to try moving them yet. But he did become acutely aware of something warm and soft pressed into his neck. Using his peripheral vision he spotted a messy head of brown hair.

Kaito.

Saguru glanced down and saw the magician's hand clutching his own in a warm grip. He felt his heart swell with warmth before it clenched with guilt. He could only imagine what Kaito had gone through last night. With a quiet sigh Saguru turned his head and pressed his face into Kaito's hair, inhaling his scent. Kaito stirred a bit beside him, but whether he woke up or not, he gave no indication and simply buried his face deeper into the crook of Saguru's neck and shoulder. Saguru smiled and kissed the head of hair. He heard a giggle.

Startled, but not enough to jostle Kaito, he glanced up and spotted the Dove Queen herself smiling brightly at him.

"Glad you're awake," she said softly. "Kaito was so worried he stayed up nearly all night long. He wouldn't leave your side."

Saguru looked down sadly at his boyfriend. He really had worried Kaito hadn't he? He'd have to make it up to him somehow.

"I'm glad," she said again with a sad sigh, but the smile was still there.

Seeing his confused expression Chikage Kuroba shook her head and smiled again at full blast.

"I'm glad to see that my son's affections are being returned," she clarified. "I honestly wasn't sure what to think when I came home and found the two of you as you were. The last time I saw Kaito so devastated was when he lost his father. You mean a lot to him, Saguru-ouji. I hope you realize that, because I don't think even he knows how much he cares for you."

Saguru nodded in acknowledgement.

"He means a lot to me too," he whispered, managing to raise his free hand to thread it through Kaito's hair. His shoulder burned with the movement of the limb but he didn't care. He was only moving his hand now as it carded through Kaito's silky locks. He looked up at his lover's mother and gave her a tentative smile.

"I've honestly never cared for someone as much as I do for your son," he told her. "There's my parents and Watson of course… but it's different with Kaito. There's an irrational part of me that reacts when it comes to him. An irrationality that isn't there when my parents or Watson are involved in dangerous situations even though I know that he is just as capable as they are… I just can't help but worry."

"He has that effect on others," she sighed sadly, but with a fond smile before it brightened in the way that all Kurobas seemed to do when changing a subject.

"Well I'm off to make breakfast," she chirped. "Your father is coming here by the way. He'll be here in half an hour. And Kaito, you can stop pretending to sleep. I know when you're faking. And don't worry about school. I've already called and informed Aoko and the school that that you wouldn't be attending today."

That said the Dove Queen was gone, off playing the role of a dutiful mother. Saguru looked down and was caught in Kaito's gaze.

"And how long have you been awake?" Saguru hummed, amused.

"…Since you told my mom how much I meant to you," Kaito murmured, the words almost getting lost in Saguru's shoulder. "Do I really bring out an irrational side in you?"

"Infuriatingly so," Saguru chuckled, pressing a kiss above the one eye he could see beneath the disheveled mop of hair. "I manage to keep a handle on most of it though. You're not the only one with a Poker Face."

Kaito sighed and buried his face even deeper into Saguru's neck. Saguru was startled when he felt a growing dampness there.

"Kaito?" he frowned in alarm when he felt Kaito begin to shake. "Kaito what's wrong?"

"What's wrong?" Kaito growled, pushing himself up so that he hovered over Saguru. "You could have been killed! Why did you have to chase that man?! Would you have done that normally or was that part of this irrationality that I bring out in you?"

Saguru blinked in astonishment before he shook his head with a sigh. Is that what Kaito thought?

"Kaito," he said firmly piercing the other with a stern gaze. "I can assure you that my actions last night were not affected in any way by irrationality. Haste maybe, but not irrationality. That man had shot at Nakamori-keibu dressed as KID. I was in a position and had an opportunity to stop him so I took my chances. You cannot tell me that you wouldn't have done the same. I would have gone after him regardless of our relationship. I couldn't afford the chance that he might have actually hit someone the next time he fired."

"You knew he was armed yet you followed him anyway," Kaito whispered. His anger was still apparent in his voice, but he'd calmed significantly. "Why? Why couldn't you have let one of your men take him out instead?"

"Because they wouldn't have reached him in time," Saguru said softly. "He would have gotten away. I had to take that chance. But I underestimated him and he caught me off guard. He was strong for a human of his stature and body type. The gun went off when I tried to wrestle it out of his grip. It was only bad luck that the bullet managed to hit my shoulder. Then when Agent Mako came to help me subdue the man, he forgot to take away the gun first and I got shot again. It was an accident Kaito. Last night was just not my night I guess… oh God. Mako-san… He's going to be torturing himself over this."

Saguru blinked in confusion when he heard a hysteric sounding laugh bubble up from above him. Then Kaito's face was buried in the crook of his neck and shoulder again.

"You're the only one who got severely injured last night and yet you're worrying about us," came the muffled scoff before Kaito surfaced again to face him with sad indigo eyes. "That is so… so… you! First there was that stunt where you practically dislocated your shoulder to save me, then last week while protecting Prince Philip and now… Gods Saguru! You're going to give me a heart attack one of these days! Just what am I going to do with you?"

Saguru felt his heart sink. Was Kaito regretting their relationship? He reached up with his good arm and cupped Kaito's face in his hand.

"I am sorry for worrying you Kaito," he said softly in an effort to control his voice. "…But this… it's who I am. I know I have a reckless streak. It's always been there since I was little. It's… cost me more than a few scars."

Damn it he was not going to crack. Not now.

Saguru took a steadying breath and continued.

"Kaito… I don't think you understand just how ingrained those instincts to race after men like that are. I've never wanted to see anyone harmed. With my parents being who they are I've been raised with a strong sense of justice, but with little regard for my own well-being… It's alienated more people than I care to admit, so… if it's giving you second thoughts about being intimately involved with me…"

Kaito's eyes widened and he shook his head vehemently before diving down and kissed Saguru with such ferocious passion that it shocked them both. Saguru could feel a tear of his own trail down the side of his face in relief.

"Never," Kaito hissed against his lips. "Never think that. I'm just worried about you. I'd be a hypocrite if I started having second thoughts now because I distinctly remember you chewing me out during the Blue Birthday heist incident after our first run in with Snake and his goons."

Before Saguru could reply Kaito sealed their lips together while also wiping away the stray tear Saguru had let slip. The kiss eased into languid and slow movements of the lips that both reassured and comforted the other.

"KAITO! Get out of that bed now!" Chikage Kuroba called up. "And help Sagu-chan get down here if he's up to it. I don't want that poor boy hurting more than he already is!"

With a groan Kaito pulled back, his face a vivid pink.

"Kaa-san…" he pouted.

"Sagu-chan?" Saguru repeated, shocked. Sure, Kaito had started calling him that all the time since their trip to Osaka, but… this was Kaito's mother. The Dove Queen

Kaito's expression brightened considerably.

"She must really like you to call you by a nickname already," Kaito grinned. "Just what did you two talk about while I was asleep to get her to approve of you so quickly?"

"…Not much," Saguru admitted, still a little amazed. "Just about how much you and I mean to each other…"

Kaito hummed with a smile as he changed out of his horribly wrinkled clothes. He was perfectly aware that Saguru was watching him too damn it. Saguru suppressed a sigh and shut his eyes as Kaito began to remove his pants. He did not need the thoughts that would follow that little display. Not with his father coming… oh man. His father.

"What?" he heard Kaito ask him.

With a groan he opened his eyes and stared into Kaito's worried ones.

"My father," Saguru sighed. "He's going to be here… and he doesn't know about us… I haven't told him yet."

Kaito pursed his lips nervously before shrugging.

"Well he'll find out now," the brunet stated. "Come on. Mom's probably getting ready to drag us down there if we don't get moving soon. She'd do it too."

Saguru nodded and began to sit up but his entire mid-section burned, screaming in protest. He sucked in a pained hiss and dropped back onto the bed with a gasping huff. Kaito was at his side in an instant hovering over him worriedly.

"Shit," Saguru hissed as he took in deep breaths. "There… must have been… more damage to my stomach… than I thought…"

"Do you want me to get Watson-san?" Kaito asked.

Saguru pried his eyes open as saw how worried Kaito was.

"…No," he sighed. "I'm fine…"

After another steadying breath Saguru braced himself for another attempt to sit up. Kaito was helping him this time and Saguru managed to get upright. He took steadying breaths through his nose for a moment to regain his senses before opening his eyes to look at Kaito.

"Saguru… you look like you're in a lot of pain," Kaito said softly. "Do you really think you can stand?"

Saguru gritted his teeth together and nodded. Kaito looked skeptical but didn't argue. The brunet only moved to Saguru's right and lifted the arm and pulled it around his neck and shoulders while wrapping his own arm around Saguru's waist in a hold that would help him support most of Saguru's weight.

"Ready?" Kaito asked softly after adjusting his grip.

Saguru nodded and after Kaito counted down from three, he rose shakily to his feet. His whole midsection was on fire now but he would not back down. Sadly this wasn't even close to the worst pain he'd ever been in. This was just a mild burn in comparison to that time. No, this was just his stomach muscles protesting movement after having to quickly heal themselves. To Saguru this was a minor hindrance that inhibited his movements.

"…'Kay," Saguru sighed. "I'm good now."

Kaito frowned but he must have seen something in Saguru's eyes because he didn't even try to argue again. Together the two of them slowly moved out into the hall and started even more slowly down the stairs. Saguru winced a few times at first, but the longer he stayed on his feet, the more the burning in his midsection lessened. Finally they reached the bottom and moved into the kitchen where Watson and Chikage were bustling about with plates and platters.

"Just take a seat boys," Chikage smiled. "Breakfast is almost done."

Kaito nodded and moved Saguru to the nearest chair. Saguru winced as he sat but was proud that he didn't cry out even if it did hurt quite a bit. Watson was kneeling at his side a moment later and gently prodding his stomach muscles.

"Tender?" she asked.

"Yeah," Saguru winced. "Not as bad as Paris though."

"Better not be," Watson shook her head. "Paris was hell. You were bed ridden for weeks after that mission. Even afterwards it took you a whole month of physical therapy to recover. Nothing should ever be as bad as Paris."

They'd spoken quickly in English, but Kaito's expression was pained. Saguru knew that his boyfriend knew enough English to have understood most of the exchange. Chikage Kuroba didn't look too happy either as her smile faltered for a few seconds. Saguru realized that her English was probably even better that Kaito's since she spent a good chunk of her time touring English-speaking nations as the Dove Queen. Saguru felt Kaito take hold of his hand under the table. He squeezed it back reassuringly.

"Well I have to say it's good to see you out of bed, son," a voice said softly from behind.

Craning his neck back Saguru spotted his father standing in the kitchen doorway.

"Tou-san," Saguru bowed his head as Watson and Kaito quickly got to their feet and bowed in greeting.

"Akira-kun," Chikage smiled. "Good morning."

"Good morning, Chika-chan," Akira smiled back. "Sorry for just letting myself in, but the front door was unlocked."

"Oh I don't mind at all," Chikage laughed. "You're just in time for breakfast. Will you join us?"

"I would love to," Akira Hakuba nodded as he took the seat on the other side of Saguru. "It's been a while since I've sampled your cooking. Watson, why don't you help her?"

"Yes sir," the hawk woman bowed.

A few minutes later the five of them were all seated and eating. Saguru didn't eat much, but he ate enough to keep Kaito and Watson from worrying over him.

"Are you alright Saguru?" his father asked after breakfast while Kaito and Watson did the dishes and Chikage went to get fresh cups of coffee served.

"I'm fine Tou-san," Saguru nodded. "What about Shiratori-san and the other agents?"

His father fixed him with a critical eye.

"…They're worried about you, but they're fine. Mako-kun is extremely worried though even after hearing that you've been well taken care of."

"I'll need to speak with him when we return home then," Saguru sighed. "He's new to Shiratori's unit. I wouldn't want what happened affecting his performance in the field."

"Yes," Akira said slowly, nodding his thanks as Chikage set a cup of coffee down in front of him. "Not many of our men are so used to your… growing plethora of battle scars. That stunt you pulled in Cardiff before moving here was enough to put Shiratori's men on edge ahead of time when they learned that you would be staying here with us. And I used to wonder why your mother could never get a guard composed of more than four men to shadow you as a child. And even now all these years later you haven't managed to keep a team composed of the same men for more than a couple of assignments."

"Be that as it may, I was never injured in Cardiff," Saguru rolled his eyes, but was cut off from continuing.

"You stopped shifting mid-way through transformation during a fall!" his father protested.

"It wasn't as if I hadn't been prepared for that," Saguru frowned.

"You'd never done it before! You only knew the theory!" Akira cried.

"That wasn't even the worst stunt I pulled that day," Saguru scoffed. "Just the scariest one. Personally I found the motor bike chase that happened afterwards through the bay to be the worst stunt I pulled."

"That's because you were alone riding without a helmet on wet pavement in a storm and only had Watson for back up," Akira snapped.

"It was a murder case Tou-san and I've never needed anyone other than Watson with me on one of those," Saguru shrugged. "She's the only one that can keep up with me on both the mental and physical aspects of a case."

"And Thank God and God bless her for that!" Akira huffed exasperatedly. "She's only one woman though Saguru. You need more than just her in your life. You've never had one friend outside of her company. Even as a young child. I've always been so worried about how growing up alone like that would affect you. And if your continued recklessness is a result-!"

"Tou-san," Saguru sighed before piercing his father with a fierce gaze. "I'm fine. You're over reacting. Look, I'm sorry I worried you and the men, but seriously, I'm all right. I called them in on the case this time didn't I?"

Akira ground his teeth together in frustration but nodded.

"I know that I worry you," Saguru said softly, reaching a hand out to place over his father's clenched ones. "And I can never be sorry enough, but trust me when I say that I'm working on it. I'm getting better at this, I swear. I'm working with the Task Force on KID heists and calling Shiratori and his team in for help if I need it. I'm thinking things through more carefully than I used to, and outside of all that I am making friends…"

Akira Hakuba glanced up and looked at Kaito. Saguru nodded.

"There's also Aoko-chan and Koizumi-san from our class," he stated.

Kaito looked up at him with surprise at the mention of the young witch, but Saguru nodded. The young woman was quickly becoming a friend too. They'd had a few conversations at lunch during the time Kaito had been ignoring him.

"But it's Kaito-kun that I've been growing closer to the most…" Saguru swallowed, steadying himself for the next bit. "Even past the point of being simply friends."

That got his father's attention. Akira Hakuba's eyebrows arch in an "is that so?" expression. Saguru nodded in answer to his father's unspoken question.

"…So you've made your decision on who to court?" Akira asked rather bluntly.

Saguru and Kaito both blushed at that, but after Kaito strode over to stand beside Saguru, the blond nodded firmly.

Akira stared them down for a moment before he sighed and swore explosively in – was that German? It startled the pair and Saguru feared that his father was truly angry, but Chikage giggled and Watson looked amused.

"Fine! You win!" Akira cried reaching into his pocket, pulled out a 5,000-yen bill, and threw it at Chikage who snatched it out of the air with a triumphant look on her face. Needless to say Saguru and Kaito were horribly confused.

"Tou-san?"

"Kaa-san?"

"Never bet against a woman's intuition," Chikage stated proudly.

"You… made a bet?!" Kaito cried incredulously. "On what?!"

"On whether or not you and Sagu-chan would actually get together," the Dove Queen giggled. "Oh come on Kaito! The signs were all there over the last few months. Even at the dinner where you two were properly introduced. Even in irritation you couldn't keep your eyes off him, Kaito! It was only a matter of time sweetheart. Of course Akira-kun didn't believe me when I said that something was going on between you two so we made a harmless little bet. Now I'm 5,000 yen richer!"

Akira grumbled something under his breath in what sounded like Italian, but he was fighting a smile.

"Kaa-san," Kaito whined with a blush before wrapping his arms around Saguru and buried his face into the crook of Saguru's neck. He'd been doing that a lot lately. This morning especially.

Saguru chuckled and leaned his head against Kaito's as his hand reached up to rest in thick brown tangled locks. Looking up he caught sight of his father's fond expression.

"What?" Saguru blinked. Kaito even lifted his head up enough to see.

"It's nothing," Akira shook his head with the same fond smile. "I'm just glad you've found someone. Your mother and I were worried about that. It's the main reason I invited Miss Reece over to stay with us."

Kaito grumbled a bit at the mention of the American girl, but it was low enough that only Saguru heard. The unspoken jealousy was clearly visible though, when Kaito's arms tightened around him possessively. Akira and Chikage chuckled at the action.

"It's not going to be easy for you two," Chikage stated sadly. "As acceptable as gay relationships are within Shifter society, with the two of you both being of royal blood and without the means of producing heirs for either of our Races… You're going to face a lot of opposition from the other Shifter Leaders… current, future and otherwise."

Saguru shared a grim glance with Kaito, but there was determination in that gaze and it made Saguru smile in spite of himself. Kaito returned it with a weak smile of his own before nuzzling back into Saguru's neck still keeping up his possessive hold. Chikage giggled again.

"But I can see that that won't stop you two," she smiled fondly. "And you both are still so young! We'll deal with the heir problem when the time comes. Right Akira-kun?"

"Of course," the Falcon King said looking amused.

Saguru felt a blush rising to his cheeks again, but managed to fight it down. Conversation flowed back into a comfortable meaningless bunch of drabbles after that.


Kuroba Kaito

It wasn't until later that afternoon that the Kuroba household's guests got ready to leave. Watson helped Saguru to the car while Akira said some parting words to Chikage. Kaito was about to follow his boyfriend out when Akira Hakuba stopped him.

"May I have a word, Kaito-kun?" the man asked.

"Uh… sure," Kaito nodded before remembering that this man was a king. "I mean, of course, sir!"

The older man chuckled before leading the way into the living room.

"I just wanted to speak to you privately before leaving," Akira sighed. "I wanted to thank you."

"Thank me, sir?" Kaito blinked.

"When we're in a casual setting such as this perhaps we could drop the formalities, ne?" the man chuckled.

Kaito nodded, relaxing slightly.

"I wanted to thank you for what you've done for my son," Akira continued. "And I'm not just talking about you brining him here so that Watson could treat his injuries sooner. To be honest with you Kaito-kun… It's been a long time since I've seen him smile like that and looking so… happy. He's always been such a lonely child growing up and he's seldom had reason to smile at all… so thank you. Thank you for bringing that smile to his face and for being there for him. For giving him a reason to be more cautious. He's definitely reigned in his recklessness since having met you. I know it may not seem like it… but you've already made an incredible difference in his life."

Akira shook his head ruefully with a faint smile.

"You're someone that he wants to protect so he's willing to be more careful with how he proceeds. I'm sure you've already noticed what little regard he has for his own safety, but for the few lives of those that he cares about and has sworn to protect… he'd give his own life without a second thought if it means that those persons would be safe. He's done it before for Watson… in Paris…"

Kaito internally frowned. That was the second time that Paris had been brought up. He mentally filed this second mentioning of the unknown incident in Paris away to ask someone (preferably Saguru or Watson) about later.

"Kaito I want you to promise me that you will keep yourself safe so that he doesn't go too far," Akira sighed. "I want you two to watch out for each other and you to hold him back if he starts to become reckless again."

Kaito nodded, swallowing hard. "I will do my best, sir."

Akira smiled sadly but nodded back, seemingly satisfied with Kaito's answer.

"I better be off then," Akira smiled. "Miss Watson and Saguru are waiting for me in the car and I'll feel much better when I get that boy of mine into a bed for some proper rest. I won't be allowing him to go to school tomorrow so please feel free to visit."

Kaito nodded numbly as he walked the man to the door and out to the car. As Akira Hakuba moved to the passenger side Kaito stuck his head into the back seat and gave Saguru a quick kiss before Watson pulled away from the curb. He waved goodbye with his mother until the car was gone and out of sight. With a sigh he retreated to his room where he plopped down on his bed. The sheets still smelled of Saguru so Kaito allowed himself to fall asleep until lunchtime.

The next day Kaito couldn't help the pang of sadness that hit him when he came to school with Aoko and saw that Saguru wasn't there. He had known that his boyfriend wouldn't be, but it depressed him all the same.

"Saguru-kun isn't here again today," Aoko commented. "I hope he's alright."

"…Yeah," Kaito nodded.

"Did something happen?" Aoko asked worriedly. "Your mother never said why you weren't going to school yesterday, but I figured that since she'd just gotten back that you two would be doing some catching up or…" she trailed off.

"…Nothing happened," Kaito shook his head and forced a smile onto his face. "I'm sure Saguru simply caught a cold or something after our date Sunday."

"A stomach bug," Akako stated as she suddenly appeared like she always did. "I'm sure he'll be back with us in a few days Aoko-chan."

"Oh," Aoko sighed, relieved. "Alright then."

Kaito glared at the witch, but the girl only smiled at him with that infuriatingly knowing look.

"Give him my regards, will you?" Akako nodded to him as she slipped past him to leave and get to her own seat.

Kaito clenched his teeth. Something about Akako still bugged him even though she had long since given up trying to seduce him. It irritated him that he couldn't figure out what it was.

After school Kaito managed to persuade Aoko to let him deliver Saguru's homework alone. Aoko had given him an annoying giggle and a knowing look that was almost as bad as Akako's before heading home. Women.

When he reached the Hakuba mansion Watson led him to the kitchen after letting him in.

"I'm afraid that Master Saguru is still asleep," she smiled apologetically as she handed him a hot chocolate.

"That's alright," Kaito smiled back. "I don't mind waiting. Actually… I was hoping you could answer a question for me Watson-san."

"I'll do my best," the hawk woman nodded.

"…Yesterday… you mentioned something about Paris when you were checking on Saguru's injuries," Kaito started. "And then Hakuba-san mentioned it again in passing to me before leaving. What happened in Paris?"

Watson's smile vanished quickly and a haunted look entered her eyes.

"…A lot of things have happened in Paris," she murmured. "It's where I first met Master Saguru actually."

Kaito nodded, remembering Saguru mentioning something of that nature in the past.

"…It's also where I almost lost Master Saguru," Watson sighed.

"…Same time?" Kaito asked, heart constricting. Saguru had nearly died?

"No," she shook her head. "That particular… incident happened a couple years after we met. I'd been his guard for roughly a year. Listen, I'll tell you how Saguru and I met, but you'll have ask him yourself about what happened in Paris that second time. That's his story to tell, not mine. Not even I have gotten to hear his whole half of the story from him."

Kaito nodded.

"How did you meet then? Saguru mentioned it once when we first started working together. He said he'd met you on his first mission. That he was part of a team that infiltrated a crow's spy base and found you in one of the dungeons."

"He gave you the G-rated version Kaito-ouji," she snorted with amusement. "While it's true that it was Master Saguru's first real mission and that his recon team had infiltrated a Crow spy base… he didn't find me in a dungeon. To find means that he actually searched the dungeons and happened upon me. What really happened was that Master Saguru had been captured during that recon mission and sometime afterwards I became his cellmate."

Watson took a sip of her tea while Kaito remained quiet for a moment to process the information.

"I should probably start at the beginning from Saguru's side of the story even though I only know what he's told me and what was written up in the official reports," Watson mused. "As I understand it, Master Saguru had just turned twelve and had recently completed basic field training three years earlier than he was expected to by his teachers in the Falcon Fleet. Seeing as you're a Dove Shifter and not a Falcon or Hawk you probably aren't even awear of how intense that training is. Especially for someone as young as Master Saguru had been. Not many his age have been put through that sort of training, but as the Prince and the Falcon Clan's only heir to the Royal Hakuba Family it was imperative that he start training early on for self-defensive and preservation reasons. The Falcons – and consequently Hawks like myself – aren't peaceful Shifter Races like your people, the Doves are. We carry the blood of predatory birds in our veins and have made many enemies in the past. The Crows are only one of them.

"For his first real mission Master Saguru had been assigned a part in a recon team that was headed for Paris to an old Crow base that was supposed to be deserted after a raid that had taken place a few months previously. It was supposed to be a simple in and out assignment to retrieve and confiscate anything useful and chase out any Crows still in the area. Unfortunately the Crows had been informed by one of their spies about the assignment and had set up a trap for Master Saguru and his team. According to the reports, five out of the ten members of the recon team were killed in the ambush and Master Saguru had been knocked out of commission and taken prisoner. The remaining four members of the recon team had retreated to the nearest ally base to report the situation and call for back up. The recon mission had become a rescue mission. It would take them three weeks to find him."

Kaito was silent as he listened to the matter-of-fact way that Watson told the story.

"Where did they take him?" Kaito asked.

"The Crows chose to hide Master Saguru right under the Falcon Fleet's nose at the old and supposedly deserted Crow base," Watson informed him, and her face took on a far away and pained expression.

"Watson-san?" Kaito asked her out of concern.

She merely shook her head and went back to telling her story.

"In the last half century going back to the second World War the Crows have grown fond of places with hidden passages, rooms and such. Their bases are absolutely riddled with them. The old base that Master Saguru's team had been assigned to check out had been recently renovated with an entire underground headquarters hidden beneath. It was like walking straight into the lion's den for the recon team."

"You seem to know a lot about the Crows," Kaito mused.

"You could say I am an expert," Watson smirked ruefully before becoming serious once more. "Master Saguru never told you what I did before becoming his guard did he?"

Kaito shook his head.

"Figures. Always the gentleman," Watson laughed. "He never stops standing up for me. Kaito-ouji, since you and Master Saguru are so serious about each other… He trusts you. And we both know he doesn't do that easily… Can I trust you as well?"

Kaito nodded. Whatever Watson was about to say it was serious.

"It's not common knowledge but," Watson paused, hesitating for only a second before stating, "I used to work for the Crows. I was their best assassin and spy. In fact I was the spy. I'm… I was the one who found out and reported Saguru's mission to the Crows. I'd just happened upon the information after completing a job taking out a renegade crow agent."

Kaito stared at her in shock. This woman? A crow spy?

Watson smiled sheepishly at his expression.

"Hard to believe right? But it's true. You have to promise not to tell anyone. Only Master Saguru, the Falcon King and Queen and few others are privy to this information."

Kaito nodded numbly.

"The truth is I don't know who my parents were," Watson continued. "I was taken as a baby and raised by the Crows. They started training me at a very young age to be one of their Black Ops agents. I retrieved my first piece of intelligence when I was six and made my first kill when I was eight. I steadily moved my way up through the agent's ranks before being stationed in their Paris branch shortly after I turned Twenty-two. I was old enough and deadly enough to make it into the Crow's inner circle and become a member of their special Organization. I ranked higher than most of the men that had trained me and was even given the honor of being issued a code name by the Organization's boss. Cointreau."

"Kuanturo?" Kaito frowned, stumbling over the foreign word.

"It's an orange flavored liqueur that originates from France and is a popular ingredient in many cocktails," I informed him. "For some reason, the Crow's Organization's higher ups like to give their top agents alcohol themed code names. The boss especially. I never met him in person though and I was rarely addressed by that code name since I didn't work often with the boss' other favorites. I was called Hawk more often then not. It was the only name I really had growing up. Unoriginal for a Hawk Shifter I know, but then again the Crows aren't known for their creativity. And I'm sidetracking… Sorry. The point is that I was a spy and an assassin for the Crows. As a Hawk Shifter I was able to spy where normal Crow agents couldn't – human or otherwise – deep in Falcon and Hawk Shifter territory. I was the best they had and easily feared. It's why I was often sent after renegades and AWOL agents during my last few years with the crows. They never saw me coming."

Kaito had no doubt that this woman was capable of what she claimed. Saguru had stated over and over again how this woman was the best… and for good reason it seemed. An assassin. His boyfriend had an assassin as his guard. That… somehow didn't surprise him as much as he thought it should.

"After Master Saguru was captured and brought to the base," Watson continued, dragging Kaito back from his thoughts, "I was just returning from my latest mission. After turning over the intelligence I'd gathered I got my first look at the young Falcon Prince as they put him back in a cell after "interrogating" him. He was roughed up enough to make shifting too painful to attempt, but not enough that he was severely injured. He was royalty after all. The organization needed him alive for political reasons. What they had in mind for him I'll never know, but I remember thinking how young he was for someone already so revered by his people and those he worked with. Up until then the Falcon Prince had only been an impressive and growing file in the Organization's record books. He was pretty unnerving for a child. Those eyes seemed to be too old to be in such a young face. He creeped out most of the Crow agents and scared the shit out of all their human lackeys. And that is saying something considering that he was only twelve-years-old."

Watson chuckled at this.

"I was forced to do babysitting duty not even an hour after his arrival at the base," she continued. "I was one of the few women there at the time and since I was a Hawk and not a Crow… I wasn't respected much. Feared for my skill, yes, but not respected because I was both a woman and an outsider. I didn't mind though. There was something about Master Saguru that drew me to him. I'm sure you've learned by now that Master Saguru has had a very lonely life… a very lonely childhood. And as cliché as it is to say, I saw myself in those cold eyes. They were always calculating. It didn't take long for Master Saguru to try to attempt an escape. Two days I think… He was caught of course."

"Were you the one that caught him?" Kaito asked.

"No," I sighed, "but I didn't exactly try to stop him either. I actually tried to help him during his fifth attempt. He didn't escape that time either though because he didn't trust me and hesitated one crucial moment too long. Then again, my plan for his escape was nothing spectacular either. We were both caught. Helping him try to escape and knocking out Forty total agents in the attempt is what got me in trouble with my superiors and landed me in the cell with Master Saguru. I was quickly labeled a traitor and… well… lets just say that traitors aren't tolerated very much in the Organization and I wasn't in anyone's good books to begin with."

Watson shivered, obviously remembering the treatment she'd suffered.

"I… honestly didn't expect to wake up in that cell alive," she admitted. "…And with my head in Master Saguru's lap. He had tended to my injuries while I'd been unconscious. He was humming something as he stroked my hair. We didn't speak much that first day together and I was just content to lie there and allow him to run his hand through my hair. It was short back then though so there wasn't a lot for him to run through. It was more of a head massage than anything else but it felt nice. It was the first gentle touch I can ever remember receiving.

"He didn't try to escape again after that. When I asked him why he told me that – I swear that these were his exact words," she laughed, looking up at Kaito. "He said that he couldn't leave a beautiful lady behind with such brutes. That it wasn't right for them to treat a lady this way and that as a gentleman he couldn't leave me behind in such a distasteful situation. I'd laughed at him. But he'd meant it.

"Everyday after that, after I was beaten and roughed up for my betrayal to the Crows and he was always there to tend to my wounds and comfort me. ME. The one who was responsible for putting him there in the first place. When we were alone without a guard standing right outside our cell we would talk about… well, anything. It was during these conversations that I learned about his love for Sherlock Holmes. That he wanted to become a detective for his human persona and that he'd already helped Scotland Yard solve a couple of cases back home in London. We'd also play various mind games trying to outwit each other. Most of them were word games and we even made up an English version of the Japanese word-game Shiritori*. Sometimes – if we were really bored – we'd alternate between languages we both knew to make it harder. I learned very quickly not to underestimate him and that he'd get mad whenever I went easy on him and used simple words."

Watson smiled and Kaito laughed, shaking his head in amusement. That sounded like Saguru.

"When we ran out of things to talk about and were bored with the mind games, we'd form escape plans that we knew we'd never be able to put into action. They'd broken both of my legs and one of my arms so that escape wasn't an option for me and Master Saguru continued to refuse to leave me behind. I remember thinking that he was such a stupid and sentimental brat back then. But we became friends during our time in that cell. He'd apparently never had one before and neither had I. I suppose if our positions had been reversed… I wouldn't have been able to leave him either."

"So how did you escape?" Kaito asked, setting down his empty cup and leaned forward.

"We didn't," Watson sighed. "We got lucky. I was sentenced to be executed. I have no idea why they didn't just kill me the moment they were convinced of my betrayal. The best I can figure is that no one had the guts or the authority to kill me since I was one of the Organization boss' supposed favorites. The Boss only issues code names himself to those that he likes after all. Killing me would have marked them as traitors as well you know. They needed someone of a higher authority to authorize and carry out my execution. Someone was supposed to be flown in from Korea, I think since most of the other high-ranking agents were apparently busy with jobs of their own to do.

Anyway, I had just recently been through the ringer again and was trying to enjoy what I thought were to be my last few hours of life with Master Saguru when the base was attacked. Finally after being held prisoner for three weeks Master Saguru's guard had finally tracked him down. We were freed from our cell and whisked off to the nearest hospital for Shifters. You wouldn't believe how many clinics there are for our kind in Paris hidden from the humans. I was sent into surgery immediately to reset my broken limbs while Master Saguru was checked over. He didn't have that many outstanding injuries thankfully. The Crows hadn't hurt him too much even after his five escape attempts during the first week of his stay in the crow base. Being royalty has some perks I guess. He was too valuable to them to be killed."

"What happened after that?" Kaito asked. "How'd you end up working for Saguru?"

"Master Saguru refused to leave Paris," Watson informed him, smiling fondly. "He stayed with me in the hospital during the next month as I recovered and went through physical therapy. When I was fully healed he requested that I come back with him to London. No one knew that I had been a Crow spy, but still, I was a Hawk Shifter registered as living in Paris, France being asked to accompany the Falcon Prince back to England. You can only imagine the politics surrounding that request, but with Saguru's constant insistence I was cleared for travel.

Our train to London was later hijacked though and Crow agents killed most of Master Saguru's remaining guard. Naturally I stepped in and neutralized the threat, but it was then that the few surviving members of Saguru's guard learned of my… talents and connection to the Crows. I would have been arrested if Master Saguru hadn't stood up for me again. I was subjected to an inquiry upon our arrival in London and kept under heavy surveillance."

Watson sighed, took another sip of tea and then… giggled?

"What?" Kaito asked, a curious expression on his face as a smile curled at a corner.

"Oh nothing," Watson shook her head smiling. "It's just… Master Saguru didn't care for the treatment I was getting from security so he'd sneak me away from where I was being detained. He did it many times before I was finally allowed to leave the holding facilities. I don't know how Master Saguru managed to do that in only a month, but I'm sure his father, Akira-ousama, had something to do with it. He knew that Master Saguru trusted me. I was moved to the military barracks situated near the Hakuba Royal Family estate after that. Even after being allowed to come and go freely and being cleared for citizenship by the Falcon King himself, they still felt the need to keep an eye on me. I can't say I blame them. I was a former enemy spy after all.

Over the next few months I was allowed to accompany Master Saguru on the few cases as he stumbled upon when he got started on becoming a detective. We had quite a few adventures together. I always made sure to look after him whenever we managed to lose his retainers on a case – which is more often than you'd think. I was soon an accepted presence at the Royal Falcon estate after living in London for nearly half a year.

When Master Saguru neared his thirteenth birthday he asked me if I'd like to officially be assigned as his guard. I was nervous about actually applying for the position however, because I knew that Master Saguru's mother the Queen didn't approve of me. I wasn't a member of the Falcon Fleet and hadn't even been with them for a year. So to satisfy her concerns, Akira-ousama put me through a series of trials to appease her. Lets just say that I made quite the impression in those tests and that I was no longer questioned about my abilities to keep Master Saguru safe after that. The rest is history. I became his personal guard and have steadily gained not only the Falcon Queen's trust, but the trust of the entire Royal Falcon fleet as well.

"But before all that happened though, back when we were both going over what I'd need to do to become his official guard and began filling out the proper paper work – legal forms, citizenship papers and what not – when it came to filling out the personal information… I realized that I didn't have a proper name. It honestly had never occurred to me up until that point. Sure, I could have just put down one of the many aliases that I'd used while working for the Crows, but… None of those names felt right. Felt like they were mine. I was just Hawk, and for the first time in my life… That really bothered me. Hawk was what I was… but not who I was. It wasn't a proper name. Not for someone who was going to become the Falcon Prince's guard."

"…So what did you do?" Kaito asked softly, seeing her face twisted in sadness and confusion.

"I told him that I didn't have a name," she murmured.

Then Watson smiled again and if Kaito didn't know any better he'd swear that there were tears in her eyes.

"And what did he say?" Kaito asked.

"He didn't say anything," Watson laughed. "He just finished filling out the application form for me and handed it back without a word. When I looked at the name section I found that he… he gave me a name. I couldn't help but laugh at it though. He named me Joan H. (Hawk) Watson. When I asked him why he chose that name, he simply told me – and I swear to you that this was said with such a straight face – that if he was Sherlock Holmes than I was his Watson and that since I was a woman and not a man, the name Joan was much more appropriate than John."

Kaito stared incredulously at her.

"If he hadn't looked so serious and innocent when he said that I would have accused him of flirting," the she-hawk laughed. "I took to calling him Sherlock on cases after that just to tease him but… I really do love my name. It's the one that Master Saguru gave me after all, and that gives it meaning and makes it special."

Kaito smiled when he heard the loving fondness in her voice. It was hard to remember that this woman was supposed to be a skilled (former) assassin.

Watson startled when a beep emitted from her pocket.

"Oh! Master Saguru's awake," she smiled after checking her cellphone. "You can see him now, but would you mind taking up an ice pack for me to give to him?"

"I don't mind," Kaito nodded back as he waited for her to fill up a fresh ice pack.

"Oriigatougozaimasu, Kaito-ouji," Watson said as she handed him the fresh pack.

"It's not a problem," Kaito bowed before heading towards the stairs.

"Oh and Kaito-ouji," she called out after him as he reached the kitchen's doorway. He turned and looked back at her curiously.

"I have gone to great lengths over the years to keep Master Saguru safe and have come to love him as if he were my baby brother. Please be awear and know that if you hurt him in any way," she warned, eyes narrowing, "I will do everything in my power to make you suffer until your miserable end."

Kaito's smile became strained as he bowed once more and hurried out of the kitchen and up to his boyfriend's bedroom.

Saguru was sitting up in bed with a book in his lap. Hearing Kaito's entrance, the blond looked up and smiled. Kaito grinned back before racing forward to steal a kiss, loving that Saguru moaned in response.

"Missed you," Kaito whispered before diving back in for another kiss.

"Mmm… missed you too," Saguru chuckled when Kaito finally pulled back.

"Brought you your missed school work," Kaito chirped. "I gave it to Watson-san though so you'll have to ask her for it later. She did tell me to give you this though."

"Thank you," Saguru smiled as he took the ice pack from his boyfriend and secured it to his shoulder with the strips of gauze he had wrapped around it. "Anything interesting happen?"

"Nope," Kaito pouted. "Everything was completely dull."

"I'm sure you managed to brighten everyone's day with a distraction or ten," Saguru chuckled.

Kaito grinned at that.

"Yeah, but it would have been better if you were there," he mused before climbing into the bed so that he could snuggle with his boyfriend. He was careful to make sure he didn't hurt Saguru or dislodge the ice pack when he rolled them over so that he was on his back and Saguru was resting on top of him on his stomach. Saguru winced a bit at the new position, but didn't seem to mind as he laid his head against Kaito's chest. Kaito smiled and ran a hand through golden hair, enjoying the moment for what it was, the two of them just resting in each other's arms.

"So what did you do today?" Kaito asked.

"You mean other than sleep?" Saguru snorted, the abrupt exhale tickling across Kaito's collarbone. "I… talked to Patricia for a little while via webcam this morning."

"Oh?" Kaito mused trying to push down the instant flare of irrational jealousy he still felt towards the American girl.

"Yeah," Saguru shrugged his right shoulder. "We talked about nothing of great importance. Although she's apparently gotten back together with that boy she's been dating on and off for a year. She asked me how I was… how we were doing."

"…And what did you say?" Kaito asked, nervous to hear Saguru's answer.

"I told her that we were official," Saguru murmured with a soft smile.

Kaito grinned and kissed the top of his boyfriend's head, more than satisfied with the answer. It was just an added bonus to know that Patricia was with another man and wouldn't be trying to take his Saguru.

"What else did you two talk about?" Kaito asked.

"Not much else," Saguru sighed. "She had to log off and go to sleep – it was night time there after all Kaito. I ended up sleeping for a few more hours until Baaya came up with my lunch. Watson joined me and we played a few games of chess afterwards. I read for a while and then fell asleep again. Now here we are."

"Here we are," Kaito repeated as he brushed Saguru's bangs aside. "You know… While you were still asleep Watson told me how you two met."

"Yeah?" Saguru asked, tilting his head to meet Kaito's gaze.

"Yep," Kaito nodded. "You edited… A LOT."

Saguru shrugged his good shoulder again.

"I seem to recall you asking for the cliff notes version of that story," the blond answered.

"Yeah, cliff notes, not the skimmed and condensed version. Alright so now I know that story… but what about the other time you were in Paris?" Kaito asked softly. "Watson wouldn't tell me. She said that it was your story to tell."

"…What brought this on all of a sudden?" Saguru frowned.

"…Well…" Kaito shifted uneasily under his boyfriend's intent gaze. "…Watson-san mentioned it yesterday morning when she was checking your wounds and then your dad said something about Paris to me in passing before you left… it made me curious… and worried. Like I said, I asked Watson-san but she would only tell me about the time in Paris where you two met. …So what's the other story? What else happened to you in Paris?"

Saguru stared at him for a long moment before letting out a sigh and buried his face into Kaito's chest.

"…Two weeks of hell," Saguru whispered. "That's what happened that time in Paris. …Watson and I were there on a case and the case led to the Crows. Neither of us were prepared for what would happen. The same Crow group that Watson used to work for… she told you about that didn't she?"

"Yes," Kaito murmured as he wrapped his arms protectively around his boyfriend. "She told me she used to be a spy… an assassin."

Saguru nodded.

"…The same Crows – or what was left of the unit that she used to work with before we met – had ambushed us. They wanted revenge. We were dragged back down to the same base, to the same cell… and we were tortured. Her more so then me because she was the traitor. I needed to be kept alive for political reasons. My death would have meant an open war for the Crows. Two days in I finally had a solution to our situation. …Watson didn't want to go through with it, but… I ordered her to. I gave her a Direct Order. And I don't just mean that in the military sense, Kaito."

Kaito shivered. For Royal Bloods (monarchy, dictator, elected or otherwise) – those who ruled a Shifter Race, the leader (as well as those that are of royal kin in those races with royal family bloodlines such as Kaito's and Saguru's Shifter Races) can issue a Direct Order that becomes binding to those the order is issued to and force them to do as commanded (if they weren't compliant and refusing the order in the first place). So for Saguru to issue a Direct Order to Watson…

"You forced her to leave," Kaito whispered.

"I didn't have much choice," Saguru whispered, closing his eyes. "She would have died if I hadn't. She wasn't going to last much longer. She managed to escape and went to get help. …A day or two later the crows holding me got word that they were being cut off from their people. The Crow King had forsaken them, claiming that the group was a bunch of renegades and that he had nothing to do with my capture and imprisonment. It was political bullshit and all that so that he wouldn't find himself in an open war with my people. Of course there was no evidence linking the Crow King or any member of his inner circle to the base so nothing could be done. No one wanted an outright war after all. My torture sessions were increased in severity and more damaging. Some of them just wanted to outright kill me. And why not? They were no longer protected by their own king and without back up. Others wanted to kill me slowly, to see just how long I'd last before my father's troops arrived… I honestly don't remember much of my time there during that last week and a half before I was rescued. All I remember is the pain… nothing but pain…"

Kaito moved them gently onto their sides and wrapped his entire body around as much of Saguru as he could as the blond began to shake with hands fisted tightly in Kaito's gakuran.

"So… so many times… I'd thought I'd died," Saguru gasped, as he felt the phantom pains of the torture he'd endured. "…So many times… I was ripped back into that world of pain… And then it was over. I awoke in a hospital bed in an intensive care ward with Watson sleeping right beside me holding my hand. I… honestly had never and never have since… seen her cry like she did that day after she woke up and saw me alive and awake. She cried and yelled and screamed at me then cried some more… Apparently I'd needed to be revived three times after they brought me in before my condition finally stabilized. …I was a real mess Kaito. There wasn't one bit of me that wasn't maimed in some way… eighty percent of the wounds inflicted on me healed perfectly, but about two-thirds of my scars are from that time..."

Kaito shuddered remembering all those scars he'd seen on Saguru's chest alone. It only made him wrap himself even more around Saguru – while still being mindful of his boyfriend's current injuries of course.

"…But it's fine," Saguru whispered. "I'm fine now. I'm here with you aren't I?"

"Yeah…" Kaito breathed shakily before burying his face into Saguru's hair, inhaling his scent. He knew that this had happened a few years back before he'd even met Saguru… but that didn't mean that he had to like it. What else had his boyfriend gone through?

"…I promise that that is the worst experience I've had," Saguru murmured as if reading his mind. "When I say I've had worse… that's what I'm referring to. Nothing can ever be as bad as that."

"Never say never," Kaito whispered darkly. "That's just asking for something to happen as a contradiction."

Saguru shuddered in his arms. Both of them were now clinging tightly to each other to chase away the shadows brought on by the gruesome story. Kaito didn't like the feeling he was getting. He was sure that Saguru was editing again (consciously or not) but… he really didn't want to know now. What he'd been told was bad enough. To think that anything worse had taken place… No. He was better off not knowing more of the details. But Kaito swore to himself as he held the blond that he'd protect Saguru. He swore that nothing worse than what he'd been told would ever befall his lover. Not if he could help it that is…


*Shiritori - A Japanese word game where the players have to come up with a word that starts with the ending letter/character of the previously stated word. Words cannot be reused. Ex. sakurarajioonigiririsusumou, etc.


Well I hope that you all enjoyed that. I really have fun writing Hakuba's dad. I don't know why but Kaito wanted to be really cuddly this chapter. I suppose I can understand but I hope I didn't make him too OC. And now we also have Watson's story. I'm really happy with how it turned out. Her back story was inspired by Black Widow's from the Avengers movie. I kind of think of Natasha as a model for Watson's character. I even work-shopped her story in my fiction writing class, which is the bonus chapter I'll be posting as a special bonus/extra chapter of Watson's story from her POV that'll include flashbacks, and maybe give you guys an understanding of the war and what Shifters are really like since it's only been touched on in this fic. Hopefully in a week or two I'll post it. :) I hope you liked this chapter and are looking forward to the next one. LOTS of fluff to be had. I only have 2 more chapters (not including the bonus) left for this part and then it's on to part 2! :D PLEASE REVIEW!