Kaito pretendet not to notice the awkwardness and instead gave off the impression that this was exactly what he expected Hakuba to do. He had a body model on his form and simply sketched in the part the detective had pointed at on himself. He put a little one next to it and circled a few lines of writing he already jotted down on the form before and wrote a small one next to that as well.
"I’m very sorry for your loss, Hakuba-san." He said quietly after hearing that the detective was close to the victim. And he nodded with a small smile after hearing that the son was saved.
"Actually you may skip the whole medical diagnoses they told you. I’ve read them already. I’d rather want to know how you experienced it and how you felt. Because for my line of work the medical terms may be nice to know, but I don’t want to treat a diagnosis. I’m planning to treat you and help you to get back to daily business. Ailments don’t know what make you feel comfortable."
"Ah, right…" Hakuba didn’t want to thank him for the apology — didn’t even want to think about it — so he moved on. Every time he’d had to explain the situation, it brought up far too many vivid memories, and feeling that loss all over again wasn’t something that he wanted to do. Not ever, really, much less in front of his former classmate and rival.
Swallowing, he attempted to concentrate on the task at hand. “Well, ah, at the time of the injury I was really only thinking about the case. Tunnel vision, you know… we detectives are so predictable that way. I think I must have made it worse, though, by moving despite the injury, but it was necessary. Ah…”
He tried to remember what sort of relevant information he could provide, teeth gritting. “Pain, obviously. Surgery. Er, though, when it happened it was sort of like… well, the imagery I can come up with is like chopping wood, I suppose? Only, once you first get the axe in, you use dynamite to finish the job.” Hakuba coughed. “I still can’t put any weight on it, and it aches quite often. Almost constantly, actually.”
Glancing back down at his leg, Hakuba made a face as if to chastise the injury, then heaved a helpless sigh. “Stiff, too. I followed the last therapist’s recommendations to the letter, I think, but it’s to the point where I can hardly sleep, and crutches are terribly inconvenient, and… I just… How am I supposed to chase Kaitou Kid like this?”
It was meant to be a joke to ease the tension, but even so, he couldn’t help the sly little grin and challenging glance at Kaito immediately after.
The last comment had Kaito laughing as well and then he gave him a cheeky grin. “I could be goofing off right now, but I don’t think it would be good for my position and it does kind of ruin the professional impression I should be having.”
The brunette knew he’d barely shown this side of him at school and in all honesty he had been a little more uncontrolled back then. Teenage hormones and all that and as much as he liked to deny, he had matured a bit. Which didn’t mean he couldn’t have fun though, but the feeling of approprietness has become much, much better.
"So I hope you’re not too weirded out by me and we can make some good use of our time. What I’d like to know now is how you’ve been doing with your leg, what happened exactly? I mean I read the paper, but I’d like to hear from you, how did it go after surgery and what had bothered you since then. Don’t try to rate things for importance, I’d like to hear the silly and stupid bits as well." His smile was back to being friendly and warm, eyes directed at Hakuba’s face but not stairing, showing him his interest.
It was admittedly strange receiving such positive attention from Kuroba; he was used to being teased or antagonized, not cared for. Certainly not like this. The detective wondered just how much had changed for him. Could it have been as much for himself? Somehow he doubted it, but then, Kuroba Kaito had always been the unpredictable sort. He never would have pegged the infamous class clown as a future physical therapist— the thief that he was convinced he was, well… Actually, he was a lot like this, as far as he could remember.
"No, no, it really is fine. Honestly, it’s nice that I don’t have to explain myself too much… and it’s not as though you’re going to treat me like some foreigner; just a pesky detective." Hakuba laughed, but he quickly sobered, rubbing the side of his neck as he tried to decide how to describe the situation in a way that wouldn’t provide too many details.
So much of it was still in the air, after all.
"As for the incident, a… well… Obviously, I was shot in the leg, here…” Hakuba pointed, feeling a silly as he did so. “Fracturing the femur, tearing up the muscle, that sort of thing. Very close range, very messy. God, and it hurt like absolute hell. The culprit was the ex husband of a dear friend of mine… Oshiro Miyu, the victim. She was, ah… murdered. I…”
He hesitated, chewing on his lower lip for a moment, offering a small, pained smile, glancing up at the ceiling. “I didn’t get to her in time. She was still alive when I got to the scene, but I… couldn’t save her.”
Not willing to let that hang there, he grimaced and continued. “But I did manage to save… her son, who had been kidnapped by the culprit. It was during that confrontation that I was injured. Other injuries, too, though my leg was certainly the worst of it, and has been ever since. Ah, what, specifically… did you need to know about it, post-op?”
"I do occasional shows and it once was my plan. But the entertainment business has changed a lot and I don’t want it to control my life." Which was true, but it wasn’t quite everything, but that was something he preferred not to share. "And thank you for the compliment. I really like my work." A bright smile followed and he took the cruches to lean them against the desk.
"Let me rearrange here first though." With a few quick adjustments he flipped up the head part of the table, grabbed a pillow and a knee roll. "Your face tells me that either you’re not taking your pain killer or the dose is a little off for your needs. Lean back, I’ll help a little." He put the pillow on the head part and bent down to stabilize the detective’s leg bevor he smoothly shifted him up and properly onto the table, keeping a hold on the leg until the knee roll was slid underneath as well.
"We’re going to talk a while first, relax a bit." Then Kaito pulled up his stool again and sat down once more, back to eye level. "And I’ve been rather fine, thank you." He flicked his wrist to conjure a pen and pulled a sheet of paper from the file. "Because this is your first appointment, we’ll have a full hour’s time. I’ve already read the files and also what your previous therapist suggests, but that is her view. I’d like to hear your story and then take a look myself in order to find a way that works for the both of us. So I’ll be asking you a few questions and we’ll just chat on for the next half hour. Afterwards I’d like to examine your leg and if we have some time left, perhaps even ease into treatment. I’ll be taking notes, feel free to look over my shoulder if you’d like to.” Comfortable that Hakuba was able to take up this whole block of information easily, he went on a short pause later.
"How have you been?"
The detective made a face at the comment about the pain, but once they started moving, he had to bite his lip to hold back a hiss. Hakuba wasn’t able to stop the grimace, though. It got easier once he was situated, though, and he sighed with relief before looking to Kaito again, tilting his head with a wry smirk.
"That all sounds good, yes, and I’ve been well enough, I suppose… thank you for asking." He addressed the last comment before regarding the rest, but in the end just laughed quietly. "God, it’s so odd to me to see you being so low-key and professional. Not that I doubt your ability; you clearly know what you’re doing, but…"
Hakuba glanced over at the various diagrams on the wall and shrugged, compulsively bringing a hand up to rub over his pant leg where the injury was. It was true that the pain medications weren’t working as well as they could have been, but then in his mind, nothing could really compare with morphine, so what was the point?
After dropping off the case files dealing with the regular ‘are you okay’s and ‘you should sleep more’ from Takagi and Sato Shinichi had managed to get home with out an incident, thankfully.
The next morning Shinichi had woken up to a strange dream involving Downey Jr’s Holmes and a talking dog named Tim. There was something about a lost tea cup the belong to Louis the Sixteenth and a traveling giant cranes show loosing their golden llama deity statue.
It took three cups of the strongest coffee he had to take the edge off of the ringing in his ears that came from the screeching of large birds. Rubbing his fingers over his eyes he sighed and tried hard to forget his dream.
A shower washed away anything else that lingered. Towel over his head he glanced at his blinking phone.
Dressing in a pair of jeans, white button down, and a light grey cotton vest, and a black blazer he wondered if he could sneak in a few case files at the cafe. Fingering his bangs a bit in the mirror he smoothed down most of the fly-a-ways before heading back down stairs to leave. Grabbing a black leather satchel he place about six in and tossed it over his shoulder. He was almost out the door when he remembered his glasses sitting on the desk. Sighing he walked back to them and hooked them into the blazer’s lapel.
Periot’s was slightly emptier than usual as Shinichi sat down in a corner booth; back to the wall and eye on the door. Even after being back and solving cases openly again the constant need to reaffirm a small measure of precaution never left. Settling down with a hot plain tea Shinichi got to work on a three person murder suicide and waited for Hakuba forgetting that it was only 1:15 pm.
As the time drew closer, Hakuba found himself getting more and more nervous. The staff at the house made sure that he was properly given tea as per Baaya’s instructions, and arranged for a car despite his assurance that he could call for a cab himself, really. He could drive himself, even, though on the off chance that he’d have to resort to the stronger painkillers in his bag…
Resigned, the Superintendent General’s son allowed himself to be driven to the cafe in question, though he begged them to let him walk the last half a block on his own. He didn’t want to be seen as someone weak, not for their very first meeting. Hakuba wanted to be Kudou’s colleague. He would be formal and polite, but there would be no awkward hierarchy of superiority— even though Shinichi was better.
Though that was a given, Hakuba thought with a sigh as the car pulled up to the curb, given that he wasn’t a detective anymore.
He stepped out with cane and canine, taking a moment to get his bearings before nodding to the driver. Yes, he’d call if he had any trouble, and yes, he’d call when he was ready to return to the house. Yes, he had his wallet. No, he didn’t need anything.
Twig waited patiently while they spoke, ears twitching at all of the people that passed them on the sidewalk.
Finally, Hakuba made his way into the cafe, awkward limp in his step, and drew himself up, looking for familiar faces. Anxious as he’d been, it was an instant relief once he found that Shinichi was there already, waiting. He checked his watch to ensure that he had made it on time — 14:59:21 — then made his way over to the back corner. A suitable place for detectives, really. Er, and ex-detectives.
He didn’t want to interrupt Shinichi’s work and approached cautiously with that in mind, hoping that he, or the jingling of Twig’s tags, would be noticed before he’d have to say anything at all.
He smiled at her; quick and easy as he laid his hand over hers when it hooked his arm.
"Compared to what I ate tonight, it seems as though I can only get by. I do enjoy it though. My mother … we used to make up all kinds of stuff, good and bad, when I was younger." He spoke and went soft when he spoke of his mother. Memories of easier and happier times played like an old film reel. Grainy and faded but just as warm and light as when they happened.
Baaya laughed, patting Kaito’s hand with her other, managing the flowers effortlessly. “Oh, that’s wonderful. And, really, you don’t need to make a three or four course meal just to get by… How is your mother doing, anyway, dear? The mistress has asked about her from time to time, but I doubt that the young master has really passed along the message…”
When they reached the parlor door, she glanced back down the hallway to see if Hakuba was following yet, just in time to see his doorway open.
Kaito, oblivious to Hakuba’s turmoil extended his elbow to Baaya and bowed slightly.
"Baaya-chan, did Hakuba really bake the cake himself?" he asked hopefully.
"He did, actually!" Baaya was more than happy to talk about her charge, taking Kaito’s offered arm. "The young master is actually quite good at baking. He showed interest when he was younger, so one summer, the mistress had him privately tutored… That was the same year that he took up tennis and fencing, I believe. Oh, and he makes such wonderful desserts…"
She walked with the teenager down the hall to the parlor, voice light and cheerful. But then, Saguru was one of her very favorite things to talk about.
"And not just desserts, either, though I think they may be his favorite. He can cook most things, just doesn’t usually find the time… He was so, so determined to be independent. Still is. Always has been." A pause. "Do you cook, Kuroba-kun?"
(Theoretical) Situation: KID has been mortally injured at a heist. You can save him, but doing so will reveal his identity. What would you do?
"Oh, well, I’d do it of course… his life is far more important than that. Granted, there are things that can be done to minimize damage— getting Nakamori-keibu on my side, for example, to agree to keep it a secret… I don’t even think it would be that difficult, given how the media would react. Japanese police force embarrassed all of these years by a meddlesome teenager? I expect it’s something that they would prefer to keep under wraps…
"Even if there were no way to salvage it, I would still do everything within my power to save his life. Of course, I can’t guarantee that he would allow me to help him. He’s extremely stubborn, you know.”
Coffee in one hand his phone in the other Shinichi got to the front door when his phone went off.
[text]: So far.
Slipping the phone back into his beast pocket he hefted the completed cold case files and started toward the precinct.
Well that was… terse. Hakuba frowned at his phone, but let out a small sigh. Kudou was, after all, an INTJ from his observations— his brevity was simply practical. Efficient. Nothing more was needed, so why bother with the unnecessary fluff of societal convention? It both pleased him, as the authenticity was so refreshing, and made him nervous. He hoped that he could keep his chatter down to a minimum at their meeting. His need for it to go well was somewhat desperate.
Instead of responding right away, Hakuba went about his day. His slow, agonizing day of torture. Relearning the Japanese train system, which was similar to the Tube, but far more compact. At least Twig was allowed to accompany him while wearing her bright red service animal vest. The cane afforded him some preferential seating, as well, but being a foreigner, he did his best to avoid taking advantage. He didn’t want to be separate from the rest of the citizens. He never had. Not for his mixed heritage, and certainly not for his disability.
In the end, after wandering Tokyo, he hailed a cab to take him back to his father’s house, exhausted. He’d forgotten just how much walking there was to do in the city. Not that there wasn’t in London, but it’d been at least two years since he was in fit condition for this amount of physical activity.
Needless to say, with another round of medications, he went to bed early and gratefully.
The next morning, he waited… waited… waited as patiently as he could until he couldn’t stand it any more and finally sent another text to Shinichi. It was 10:34:24 according to his watch. Their proposed meeting was 15:00:00. It had to be safe.
But when he went to text, Hakuba paused, frowned, and sighed. He didn’t want to be a pest. What could he say that didn’t sound so impossibly needy?
He waited until 12:14:00, then sent the text anyway.
[text] I’ll see you there.
Was that too presumptuous?
[text] I’m very much looking forward to it.
Was that too much pressure? Hakuba avoided adding an emoticon, grimacing at the thought, and instead rubbed Twig’s shoulders, rolling her fur between his fingers. She looked up at him, ears back and sniffed.
"…yes, I realize I’m being too sensitive. You don’t need to tell me."
More nose twitching, then a tailwag.
"Shall we take a cab?"
Indifferent, Twig just wagged her tail again.
"For a service dog, you’re really of no help, my love."
She smiled. So did he.
Kaito sent him a sly look and grinned like a fox. “Oh I wouldn’t say that.~ Thank you for telling me. I have a feeling that he wasn’t going to tell me.” He pretended to pout and gently took the woman’s hand into his and poured Asters into her hand and gave her a wink.
Baaya once again looked pleased at the offering, taking the flowers with a wry smile. Yes, she liked Kuroba-Kun. Quite a bit. “Oh, you know the young master… he’s so modest when it comes to his true talents…”
Hakuba, hands in his face again, retreated to his bedroom to secure the monocle, lockbox, and window bench. He’d have to ask Kaito more about the whole thing later, but for the time being… he was just glad for the brief recess from the stress.
They’d… confessed. They’d kissed. Where did that leave them?
"Hakuba-san." Kaito greeted back with a customary bow and a little more reassured than his patient seemed. But he was prepared for this moment after all. He was smiling warmly, although for a short moment the corners of his mouth twiched. It was a little amusing to see the other’s surprise.
"Take a seat, please." He gestured towards the therapy bed in the middle of the room that was about the right height for Hakuba to sit down comfortably. Then he thanked the nurse that had accompanied the detective and closed the door.
"Considering your reaction it wouldn’t be that wild of a guess that you didn’t expect to see me here." Pulling up the stool on wheels he sat down as well and adjusted its height to be eye level with the detective. "I admit I was a little surprised as well when I got your file. But I didn’t want to hand it to someone else. Although I fully understand if you prefer another therapist and you may say so any time you wish. From my side though, I will gladly work with you." He reached for the file on the desk and rolled back to the table, repositioning himself slightly sideways from Hakuba. Posture straight, but still relaxed he kept up the hint of a smile and gave the detective a little bit of time to digest and decide what he wanted.
Hakuba hesitated, watching him for a moment as he considered his options, then… shook his head and crutched over to take a seat on the bed. It was far too tempting to sate his curiosity, even though there were more than a few red flags popping up in the back of his mind that told him he did not need this additional source of potential drama.
"No, no," he said, quirking a smile with a wince. "It’ll be quite all right. Physical therapy, hm? Somehow I always expected to see you on stage with your tricks, but… well, this is certainly a noble profession, so that suits you, as well."
The detective laughed, adjusting his position so that he could scoot back comfortably, wincing as he eased the weight off of his leg. “Could you take these, please?” he asked, bundling the crutches and pushing them out to him. ”And, ah, how have you been, anyway? Well, I assume…”