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On The Blinding of Sunlight

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Heiji wakes to discomfort.

Not an aching sort of discomfort, or a painful one, but rather, to the cold. He hardly ever sleeps in his clothes, usually overheats during the night when he wears too much alongside his blankets, but now, he feels goosebumps rising up his arms. He supposes that it’s because his duvet is pooling around his legs, leaving him bare in his not-quite-warm enough apartment.

For a moment, he blinks, wearily, at the ceiling. It takes a few seconds to confirm that yes, this is indeed his ceiling, although he’s not sure why he’s wondering whether it’s his own in the first place.

Maybe his brain is recalling things that he’s incapable of remembering just yet, in his half-awake state.

Heiji decides not to overthink it, and opts on reaching down for his blankets instead, tugging them up.

Two strange things happen as he does so. The first, is that there’s a resistance to the duvet that does not usually exist. The second, is that the area where he touches his sheets are slightly sticky, soiled.

Heiji, twenty-four and having just made detective, does not take long to figure out what the stickiness is from. Which is irritating, frankly, because he thought that at this age, he would be past the whole, wet dreams stage of his life.

Apparently fucking not.

Great.

But then, why the resistance?

Now, Hattori Heiji is good at deductions, is good at finding the evidence and putting two and two together, linking information well enough to build a pretty decent timeline of events. He’s good at connecting the dots. Intelligence isn’t something he boasts about, often, but he certainly has a wealth of it.

What Heiji is not good at, is waking up. He’d been a morning person as a teenager, but like many things, he’d grown out of it, and now he needs a shot of coffee each morning to properly wake himself up. It takes his brain a little while to catch up with the rest of him if he doesn’t.

So, for a few seconds, there is no link between the resistance of his blankets, and the soiling of his sheets.

But then, there is movement beside him, and Heiji’s heart heaves in his chest. He takes in the faint sound of breathing beside him, and his own hitches. He takes note of the extra dip in his mattress, and the penny drops.

It doesn’t take a detective to realise that this a fairly obvious encounter of what would call a one night stand.

He blinks, opens his mouth and is faintly glad when he doesn’t hear a broken sort of internalised screaming. His mouth is dry and his throat is raw, and he hopes that this is from the alcohol and not from the evening that’s just passed.

Perhaps the most worrying thing is that Heiji can’t really remember much of the previous evening. There’d been a party, a celebration for his promotion, and there’d been a fuck ton of alcohol.

There had seemed to be a sort of consensus among the colleagues that could attend, that he was to get completely fucked up.

And blacking out, seems to show that they’d succeeded. Heiji drunk too much and now, there is someone in his bed who should not be there.

He doesn’t want to turn around, worried for who it might be. Someone he knows would lead to awkwardness, he knows, and if it’s someone he doesn’t know, then that’s probably even worse. Or maybe better… you know, Heiji doesn’t know.

He’s not exactly done something like this before.

He’d never thought that he’d be the type to have a one-night stand, always trying to save himself for Kazuha – that idiot – if she wanted him, after he finally gets around to offering his confession.

Heiji was meant to save himself for the woman he’s in love with not–

He turns.

– The woman that he’s in love with?

Kazuha?

You know what, Kazuha is always welcome in Heiji’s bed, if anyone belongs there it’s her, but he kind of would like to remember the entire ordeal of how she got there. In the vivid detail he deserves, and yet does not recall.

(Kazuha?)

Fuck. Why doesn’t he remember? This is a sort of cruel victory.

Heiji decides not to overthink it. He can figure what happened later, find a way to remember everything later on and it’ll be just… fine. Hopefully.

His eyes dart down to Kazuha’s body. She’s wrapped up in his blankets – she’s always been one to steal blankets, jeez, what a menace – but her shoulders are bare, as are her calves. She curls in on herself in the foetal position, breathing even and relaxed, oblivious to Heiji’s own internal conflict.

Does Kazuha even remember?

What does he do if she does? What does he do if she doesn’t?

A sigh. Heiji can hardly go back to sleep like this now. Not now, not when he doesn’t know if Kazuha waking up beside him will cause some… horrible change to their dynamic or something. Not now that he’s wound himself up, and he’s near to freaking out.

Looks like he’s going to have to get up then. First, a shower – he always does his best thinking in the shower. Then, breakfast – he always does his second best thinking around a mouthful of food.

Then, when he’s got a stomach full of food, he’ll decide what to do next.

Kazuha?

(He still can’t believe that they probably…)


Halfway through reheating miso soup, Kazuha makes herself present.

She enters the kitchen in one of Heiji’s shirts, which isn’t actually that strange, since she usually stays over in his spare bedroom on short notice, stealing shirts as bed clothes. He probably won’t get it back, because she steals clothes and never gives them back, but that’s the furthest thing from his mind.

Wearing his clothes is constantly distracting, but now with his memory, he finds his eyes lingering a little longer than usual and – dammit, he just got out of the shower, Kazuha, don’t do this to him.

Alright, all he needs to do is play it cool, Heiji can do that. He’s the epitome of cool, it’s not difficult, and so he takes a deep breath, and plays it lukewarm instead.

“Mornin’,” he says, and of course, his voice is scratchy, breaking ever so subtly. Luckily, neither of them brings any attention to it. It’s going to be one of those days, he supposes, which is just… marvellous.

Kazuha is still her usual relatively evil self though, because she looks at him, raises an eyebrow and smiles, “morning.”

She is never usually this nice to him before noon. Unlike Heiji, she’s never been a morning person, and so whenever she wakes, she spends at least thirty minutes being grumbly, getting angry at little things he does, like opening his mail too loudly, or turning the radio up too loud.

Then, she’ll move on to the fact that she could be having a lay-in right now, or a bundle of naps, and she’ll fixate on it for a while, nose crinkling and eyes bright as she talks about getting more sleep.

(Admittedly, Heiji usually just listens at this point, offering nods at all the right places, so that she doesn’t find out that he’s fantasising joining her as she does the same things. He’s taken to fantasising a lot of domestic shit with Kazuha these days, napping together, watching crappy T.V shows together on his old, tattered sofa.)

Despite himself, Heiji is suspicious. He’s either done something very wrong and now Kazuha is offering him a false sense of security, or, he’s done something very right and he can’t remember how to replicate it for the future. He doesn’t know which it is, only which he hopes it is.

“Miso soup?” He offers when he realises, he’s staring. He points to the stove where he’s stirring the soup. It’s basic, his version, but it’s still filling beside the rice, and it’s got a lot more flavour than the soups he’s made in the past.

He’s not really the best at cooking.

“Sure,” Kazuha says, leaning against the counter and staring. Which is another warning sign, because she’s not throwing jibes out at his cooking – she usually does. “Did you remember to put the rice on this time?”

Ah, there it is.

Heiji forgets to put the rice into the cooker once and apparently that’s it – something to be held against him for the rest of his life. Well, excuse you, Kazuha, Heiji actually did remember this time. It was the first thing he did this morning when he got into the kitchen.

(He always makes sure to do it first, because yeah, he’d probably forget it again. But that’s so not the point he’s trying to make. Shut up Kazuha.)

“Idiot,” Heiji says, but it’s warm, like usual, “of course I remembered. I’m not useless.”

“Juries still out on that one,” Kazuha jokes.

Heiji glowers. He grits his teeth, shakes his head and mumbles, “oi.”

Because she is both evil and some sort of temptress, Kazuha leans forward – enough for Heiji to realise that she’s not wearing a bra – and smirks. She must have some idea what she’s doing to him, right? She does, surely?

And then, an excellent deflection: “Do you have any eggs?”

Heiji is a fully functioning adult who lives two minutes from the convenient store, of course he has eggs. He takes a second to lean over, open the carton. Err – well. Of course, he has a… single egg?

Wow – he hadn’t been expecting to be running so low on the eggs. Heiji would blame work, the stress of early morning wake-ups, but really, this is on him. Maybe he should start writing a grocery list or something. It would help make him into like… a competent adult or something.

A pause. Heiji glances at the egg. It is a testament to how much he cares for Kazuha when he says, “final one, ya want it?”

Some would say that giving his food away to someone else when he’s so possessive of it the way he is, is progress. Or some shit like that. Probably Kudo, it sounds like something Kudo would say in passing.

Fuck Kudo and the voice of reason that lives in Heiji’s brain.

Kazuha lifts a hand to her chest, as if shocked, and overwhelmed. She widens her eyes and looks, for a moment, comically lost.

“You, offering me the last of your eggs?” She gasps, “Heiji you’re spoiling me. Do you have a fever?”

Heiji rolls his eyes. And for a moment, they’re just as playful as ever, are still just usual friends, no awkward air around them. Which is nice, yet confusing. Overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time.

Although, as he’d wondered earlier – does Kazuha even know? Heiji himself only knows because he’d woken up beside her, because he’d had the evidence to sort through. But he’d been gone by the time Kazuha had woken up.

So, does she know that they–

Heiji is going to drive himself crazy, he just knows it. Should they be talking about this, or sweeping it under the rug? What is the protocol for moments like this?

There’s a nervous energy in his stomach and it’s starting to make him feel a little sick.

He would ask someone but there’s only three people he’d ever consider using as a confidant and all of them are out of the question. There’s Kazuha herself, which is just – nope. It’s not possible to confide in the person he’s got the… problem… with in the first place.

There’s Kudo, but well, there’s only so much he can share with his friend before it’s pushing things and Heiji kind of thinks this would be pushing things a little bit.

(Plus, like, Kudo did spend like, eight years pining after Nee-chan, he’s probably not the best person to go around asking romance advice for.)

And then, lastly there’s Kudo’s girlfriend, Ran, Nee-chan. A close friend, but much closer to Kazuha than with him. And Kazuha is probably going to need a confidant if she does remember anyway, so…

Looks like he’s going to have to wing it. And by wing it, Heiji means: hey, watch as I fuck this up because I honestly have no fucking idea what I’m doing.

God, he hopes that Kazuha is mentally more prepared for this than he is. She probably would be, you know, she’s in touch with her emotions a lot more than he is.

“Coffee,” he rasps after a second, because coffee is always good. Kazuha stills, looks at him with a frown, brows drawing together with concern. “I need some coffee, you want some?”

“Uh,” Kazuha blinks, pauses. “Sure? Heiji, are you okay?”

He is, and he isn’t. Heiji is confused and nervous, and fuck, he’s a little bit terrified too, whether this is going to cause a whole big new change. Heiji’s never liked change, it draws itself out, it makes everything different and unchartered.

Heiji doesn’t remember shit, he’s panicking and really, what he needs is to sit down, drink his coffee and process everything.

“Yeah,” Heiji says, straining for a smile and waving the comment away. “Y-yeah, fine. I just need to wake up, is all.”

Kazuha doesn’t call the lie out, but he’s pretty sure that she picks up on it. She knows him better than he knows himself, sometimes, so it’s definitely not gone over her head.

She smiles, it falters a bit as she glances away, but returns within seconds, bright and happy again. She says, “make the pot strong for us both. Jeez, mornings are the worst.”

Heiji lets out a faint laugh. He says, “They really are.”

And that, is that.