Heiji often wonders why everyone likes to think he’s not as good as Kudo. As far as he can tell there’s never been any evidence to support that particular opinion. And yeah, sure, one of the last times anyone saw him and Kudo together they were trying to solve the same case. And alright, so Kudo just happened to solve it correctly and Heiji maybe, just maybe had it a little wrong but still. It’s no reason for everyone to go around and tell such lies behind his back. Not that it matters all that much at the moment. Kudo is “gone” and all that’s left is Conan. That had sure been a surprise. It was impossible, and yet it was the only possible conclusion. There couldn’t be two Shinichi Kudo’s in the world. No two people with the same mind, that same love for soccer, those same mannerisms. It just… there was no way. So the only logical explanation was that a sixteen year old boy had somehow been reverted into a six year old.
Sometimes, when he’s watching Conan, he can kind of get it. Sort of. Heiji’s got this nice guy thing going for him. Yeah, he’s a cocky ass but he laughs and jokes and for the most part people seem to find him to be an approachable guy. But Kudo, even in that little body, he’s just… cold all over. The calm deductions, the lack of any fear in the face of danger. Kudo’s like the detectives in old movies. You could throw a bomb at them and they’d look you in the eye afterwards and watch you be taken away without batting an eyelash. Guy doesn’t even get any joy from catching the bad guy. Oh he likes puzzling out the mysteries, and he is morally pleased that bad people are punished… but otherwise? Nothing. Just cold. And God, no wonder. Heiji really wants to know how long bodies have been piling up around the other detective. How long has it been since Shinichi Kudo could walk down the street, or take a vacation or even eat his dinner without someone around him dropping dead. And not just dying. Being murdered, usually brutally. If it had been him, he’d have cracked years ago.
He catches sight of it sometimes, the cracking. Not very often but every once and a while there will be a trembling to the smaller frame of the other detective and Heiji really doesn’t want to think about why it breaks his heart as much as it does. Because, really, Kudo isn’t actually a kid. It’s not like there’s some small child crumbling to pieces beside him. Even so over the time that Kudo has been Conan they’ve gotten to be…friends. Friends in ways they never would have been able to be before. And he likes that. He likes having someone he can talk to who understands how he thinks, who can follow him through every conversation. Someone who gets every joke, even the subtle ones that no one ever laughed at before. Not that Conan laughs, but there’s this little smile just for him that says he gets it.
Heiji loves those smiles. Not the big loud ones Kudo shows Ran, those small soft ones. They’re like secrets being whispered in his ear. And if Heiji thinks on it Kudo must love having him around for the same reasons. Stuck in a kid’s body no one really takes him seriously. Forced to make all his deductions seem like innocent questions, all his credit going to that idiot Mouri. That alone is enough to drive a man mad. So it must be a relief to have someone respected, someone who’s opinions matter look at you and listen to you and have someone finally, finally take what you’re saying seriously.
And, ok, so Heiji might have had a bit of crush before. And, sure, it may not have exactly gone away (maybe even increased a little) but that’s really not the point, right? Right? Because, as he’s said, Kudo isn’t actually six. He’s not. Totally not. And Heiji is not some pervert who crushes on little boys. Just teenage minds locked in little boy bodies. Yeah…
Heiji loves Kudo’s voice. Loves the way it rises and falls, the subtle use of inflection. Even when he’s Conan you can still hear Kudo’s speech pattern clear as day. And, yeah, maybe he calls Kudo “just to talk” a little too often but he can’t help it! Every time his brain comes up with some random insight, or he sees a case on the news, or anything like that really he just has to tell Kudo. Half the time he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it until he’s got the phone in his hand and Conan’s voice sounding in his ear.
Kazuha’s starting to get suspicious. Well… more suspicious. He should have cut this thing down the first time she thought “Kudo” was some girl he was madly in love with. She’s started watching him closer, her eyes lighting on him whenever his fingers twitch towards the phone. He can’t very well tell her the truth but Kudo’s bound to have heard some of her suspicions by now and Heiji can’t help but inwardly cringe at the very idea of what he must think of that.
And let’s not forget the way Kudo lets him touch him now. Anything from pats on the head to piggy-back rides are apparently a-ok. Soft hair and soft skin and if he squints his eyes and imagines it’s actually Kudo and not Conan and then everything really is ok after all. Besides-
In a rush of ice and heat Heiji recalls exactly where he is and how he’d come to be thinking of the diminutive detective in the first place. A sharp look down indicates that Conan is, in fact, standing next to him and staring at him with a raised eyebrow and otherwise apathetic expression. Oh yeah… he’d brought Kudo to Osaka again. And he was going to get such an earful later because, really, who invites a six year old kid to come out to Osaka on his own?
There are eyes on them. Most seem to shrug them off as brothers, but there’s a few that are so piercing Heiji can practically hear them hissing, “pervert” in his ear. It hurts. Because he’s not. Kudo’s his age, it’s not his fault he looks like this! Really! If he had his way Kudo would be his older, taller, oh so pretty self so Heiji could just hold him down and kiss him senseless and-
Ok… stopping there. Yup.
“Hey Hattori,” he blinks and directs his attention back to boy at his side. Conan hops up onto the wall so that they are closer to eye level. He smirks and kicks his feet just like a little kid and that is when Heiji realizes he’s in trouble. “Ran’s been hearing from your girlfriend lately.” Oh…crap. The kid’s voice goes up a few octaves, seeming even more obscene than it already is.
“Oh Ran, I don’t know what to do! He’s got himself a girl, I just know it!” And here Kudo bats his eyelashes and tilts his head just so and Heiji feels himself blushing. “He talks to her all the time. And then he goes and tells me about her. He even tries to tell me he’s talking to Kudo, can you believe that! As if he’d say stuff like that to Kudo!” The smirk widens and Kudo’s voice drops back into the pitch of a six year old boy. “And then she tells Ran how of course you’re not talking to me because if I were to talk to anyone it’d be her and not you.” The tone is especially bitter this time, and it hits Heiji like a bullet. Like the bullet he’d been willing to take so long as it meant Kudo didn’t end up a bloody corpse.
“I took a bullet for you…”
Heiji freezes staring in horror to see Conan peering up at him from beneath unruly bangs. Lashes way too long and it dawns on him he’s said that out loud and there is no way Kudo will understand what he’s talking about.
“Ah. Nothing, nothing. Forget it. Thinking out loud. Sorry, Kudo.”
“Don’t call me that, idiot.” That bitter smile again, “For someone who claims to be such a genius you certainly have trouble remembering such a simple thing.”
A playful whap on the back of the head and they are safely back on familiar territory. “Watch it, brat.”
They’re halfway back to Heiji’s place before they hear the scream. And, really, considering just how jinxed the kid is that’s pretty good. They managed almost a full day in Osaka without a single murder taking place. As they race towards the sound of distress Heiji internally weighs the merits of having Kudo purified at the nearest temple. Seriously, nobody naturally has luck that bad.
If Heiji tries he can almost see the noose around Kudo’s neck. A noose of black silk that gets pulled tighter and tighter with every body found, every murder solved.
“Oh yeah, Kudo…” Heiji drawls as they skid to a stop before a bloody scene, thick liquid crawling ever farther across the walkway, “you aren’t cursed at all.”
There’s no response, just the two of them staring among a dozen other passersby at the mangled body of yet another poor sap. It takes a while to notice the shaking, the strain on a face far too young for the mind it holds. Without even thinking about it Heiji reaches down and hoists the miniature detective up and onto his shoulders, taking a few careful steps back to avoid standing in the growing pool.
He benevolently ignores the indignant squawking coming from the boy on his shoulders, instead moving carefully to get a better look at the body. Avoiding as much of the puddle as possible (and being extra careful not to drop a fifty pound kid onto a fresh corpse) Heiji takes up a crouched position near the body.
“Oh… hey, Kudo do you-”
“Yes,” He can hear the smile in that voice, “this isn’t a simple mugging gone wrong,”
“It’s a murder…”
“And the murderer is still here…”
It’s fun, sometimes, to step back and watch Kudo think. See all the minute expressions as the other detective works things out. They figure things out in perfect tandem, like they’re connected through ropes and wires and fate. It’s scary at times to think about how they must look to other people. The way they grin at each other over clever deductions even though some poor stiff is still bleeding at their feet.
They pinpoint the murderer in record time. The cops showing up pretty much just in time to tackle the man attempting to flee the scene and slap the cuffs on him. It never ceases to amaze him what people are capable of. How they’re willing to kill one another for such petty reasons. And, by the look on Kudo’s face, the other detective can’t understand it either. Although, and here Heiji has to be perfectly honest with himself, it has always been obvious that Kudo is the more moralistic of the two of them. With his ideals and his stead fast hold of them it is only a matter of time before something happens to shatter all that is Shinichi Kudo.
It is always just a matter of time.
“So… another murder, huh, Heiji?”
“Hmm?” He can’t focus properly. Kudo had been dropped off at the metro; I can take care of myself, Hattori. I’m fully capable of riding a metro without you and Kazuha had stopped by to have dinner. She’s been trying to get some decent conversation out of him all night but his heart isn’t in it.
“You were telling me how you and ‘Conan’ stumbled onto a murder today.” Oh God, he can hear the quotes in her voice. Not good, not good. “Look… Heiji…if you’re seeing someone you can tell me, you know? You’re my friend and I want you to be happy. I’ve always wanted you to be happy. So, please, stop hiding from me. It’s cute how close you and Conan are but the kid’s six, there’s no way he was the one you were with.” She smiles and he feels his heart break a little, wonders why he couldn’t have fallen in love with her. Wouldn’t that be so much easier than all this? “All I want is for you to stop lying and trust me to be the friend I’ve always been.”
“I trust ya, Kazuha!” This is getting away from him, and fast. He’s never been a coward but every fiber of his being is screaming at him to turn and run as fast as he can in the other direction. She smiles at him and all he can see is Kudo, that same bitter, brittle expression. And before his eyes the world shatters and reforms and Heiji realizes something about himself. He is in love with Shinichi Kudo.
“I… Kazuha, I’m sorry. I gotta go.”
Her voice echoes after him, sounding like shattered glass and lost opportunities in a single breath.
The moon is high and fat in the sky when he gets to Tokyo. Everyone with half a brain is already asleep. This of course meant that Heiji is obviously lacking in common sense at the moment but he can’t be bothered to really care. He is in love with Kudo. He is in love with Kudo. And, while he doesn’t understand why, he has to see him.
Picking the locks of a detective agency should be harder than it is. But Heiji’s seen Mouri so it’s not too much of a stretch to believe the guy would be lax in the home security department. Slipping inside and navigating his way to the room Kudo shares with Mouri is nothing, Heiji’s been here often enough that he knows the lay of the place fairly well. When he gets to the bedroom and crouches down next to Kudo’s bedroll his first instinct is to wake him up. Wake him up and confess everything, every horrid and wrong thought in his obviously wicked soul. But he catches sight of Kudo’s sleeping face and he can’t bring himself to do it. The sun will be up in a few hours. He can wait till then to lose his friend. He can allow himself that long to just be around him one last time.
It’s not like he expects Kudo will hate him. Kudo’s a cocky ass but he’s a good guy and he treats his friends well. He lets Ayumi and Ai hang all over him even though it’s pretty obvious they’re both crushing to varying degrees. But the thing is Kudo’s heart has and always will belong to Ran. It’s not like Heiji expects his feelings to be recuperated or anything like that. But he doubts he could stand to be around Kudo, painfully wonderful Kudo, and see the love of his life pining over a woman he has as completely as she has him.
His heart can’t take that.
So he’ll take this moment, these early morning hours, to just watch Kudo sleep and hold it inside his heart for as long as he can. A low mumbling and bleary blue eyes open and try to focus on his face.
“H-Hattori?” The voice is still sleep scratchy and Heiji smiles and brushes fingertips over eyelids.
“Just a dream, Kudo. I’m just a dream. Go back to sleep.”
The smile of Kudo’s face as he drifts back to sleep is enough to break his heart all over again. But it’s not really for him. And if Kudo shifts in his sleep and a small hand grabs hold of the end of Heiji’s shirt and clings to it that doesn’t mean anything either. Because when Kudo closes his eyes the only thing he’ll ever see is Ran.