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A Whole New World

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Shinichi didn’t really remember Kuroba Touichi.

To be fair, he had only caught glimpses of a man who picked up Kaito at King’s Cross Station every June and dropped him off every September, and usually his attention was preoccupied with his own parents, namely, his mother. Kudou Yukiko could be overbearing and overdramatic at times, and times when she ‘won’t see my precious Shin-chan for the better part of the year’ and when she ‘hadn’t seen my precious Shin-chan for the better part of the year’ clearly, in her book, all deemed as appropriate times to bust out the theatrics.

So yeah, Shinichi had been completely preoccupied.

But now he wished he had paid more attention. After all, here he was, packing his suitcase, and wondering if Kuroba-san would appreciate his torn jeans or his pressed shirts more. Slacks or shorts? Was his favorite scarf too colorful? Was his wardrobe Muggle-appropriate enough? The way Kaito described him, Shinichi got the impression that Kuroba-san was a pretty laidback man. Still, this would be his first official meeting with the man, and Shinichi wanted to give a good impression.

It didn’t help that deep in his deepest, most hidden part of his heart, he couldn’t help feeling that it could very well be his first meeting with his possible future-father-in-law.

The thought persists as he loaded his suitcase into the trunk. He still thought that his dad should’ve contacted Kazami-san in the Floo Network Department and simply connected their fireplace to the Kurobas, but his father had refused.

“You’re going to be staying with Muggles for two weeks, Shinichi,” Yuusaku had said, a hint of reproach in his tone. “You better get used to do things the Muggle way.”

‘The Muggle way’, Shinichi had discovered, was far more time-consuming and impractical. He was more thankful he had been born a wizard. Magic made a lot of things easier and simpler.

Case in point, travelling.

It would’ve taken maybe one minute to step into the Kudous’ fireplace and out of the Kurobas’. It had taken five hours to reach Kaito’s home by car. And Shinichi had totally seen his father jumping in front of other cars at traffic lights.

At the end of the journey, his back and ass was sore from sitting still for so long. But the discomfort soon was replaced with growing nervousness and dread, as Yuusaku stopped in front of a medium-sized white house.

“We’re here!” Yukiko sang, excited. It was an unnecessary remark, as all three Kudous could clearly read the ‘Kuroba’ etched on the nameplate.

Heaving a deep breath, Shinichi muttered his thanks to his parents and stepped out of the car, groaning as his joints protested. He made his way up the gate and announced his presence.

“Kudou Shinichi, here to see Kuroba Kaito.”

The black gate stayed still and silent, and Shinichi frowned. Perhaps it was in a bad mood?

Clearing his throat, he tried again. “Excuse me?” Perhaps politeness would do the trick.

Behind him, his mother rolled the car window down and called out to him, cackling. “Shinichi! Muggle gates, remember? You have to ring the doorbell!”

Wincing, mortified with his own stupidity, he searched for the ‘door bell’. Wizarding homes usually have knockers, or enchanted gates or other form of protection around their lands. Based on the words ‘door bell’, he was searching for, you know, the obvious shape of a bell. But the only irregularity he could see was a round knob on top of a metal plate on the gate. Perhaps that was it? And how was he supposed to ring it if it had no handle?

He could just feel his parents laughing at him.

Regretting his decision not to take Muggle Studies as his elective, he tried wiggling the knob. The knob was hard to move, but he as he tried harder, he found that he could press the knob.

A ringing sound echoed from inside the house.

Oh. So that was what ‘ringing the door bell’ meant.

But all thoughts on the oddity of Muggle visiting etiquettes flew out of his mind as the door opened, and framed by the light spilling from inside the house stood Kaito, his smile bright.

“Shinichi! You’re here!”

Shinichi was struck all over again by how much he loved that smile. When Shinichi first realized he loved Kaito, it was a completely unremarkable day. They were hanging out at dinner, sitting together at Kaito’s Ravenclaw table. Shinichi was having a bad day; his potion had blown up in his face, literally, prompting an emergency visit to the hospital wing. Then his work in Charms was terribly horrendous that he was the only one in his class given an extra homework. To top it off, he had been called out in Defense Against the Dark Arts because he was busy too sulking to know the answer to the professor’s question. All in all, a horrible day.

But as he silently sat there with his friends, watching them chat cheerfully around him, he found himself staring at Kaito’s smile, directed at him as the Ravenclaw chattered excitedly at him about his upcoming Quidditch match. Seeing that beaming smile made his day a little better, and an errant thought popped up in his mind, I want to always make him smile like that. Followed by, I want him to smile like that only for me.

Call him possessive, but that was what he felt.

“Hey Kaito,” Shinichi smiled at him. “How was your summer?”

“Great!” Kaito said, cheerful. He opened the gate and practically launched himself into Shinichi’s arms. Shinichi caught him and reflexively spun him a little, laughing.

“Hello, Kudou-san, Kudou-san…” Kaito twisted away from him and bowed respectfully to Shinichi’s parents, who had just gotten out of the car.

“Hello, Kuroba-kun,” Yuusaku greeted amicably, grabbing Shinichi’s suitcase from the trunk.

Yukiko stood in front of them, satin robe blowing in the evening wind, and pouted at Kaito. “Aw, Kaito-kun! Just call me Yukiko-neechan, okay? Nobody calls me ‘Kudou-san’, that’s my husband!”

Taken aback, Kaito stammered, “Umm… Okay… Yukiko-neechan.”

Just then, a voice called from inside the house, “Kaito? Is that…”

A man who could only be Kuroba Touichi walked out of the house, and it was Shinichi’s turn to awkwardly bow to him.

“Nice to meet you, Kuroba-san. I’m Kudou Shinichi. Thank you for letting me stay in your home.”

“Ah, Shinichi-kun, is it?” Touichi smiled. “It’s no trouble at all! Kaito’s been really excited.”

“Daaaad,” Kaito groaned, and Touichi laughed.

The Kudou couple and Touichi introduced themselves with much gusto, much to Shinichi’s chagrin. They seemed to get along too well. Shinichi sputtered and cut his mother off when the topic of grandchildren entered the conversation.

“Don’t you guys have somewhere to be?” he demanded, pointed.

Kaito, the traitor, was too busy laughing at their parents’ antics.

“Oh, don’t you want to stay for dinner?” Touichi politely gestured them in, but Yuusaku declined.

“We really do have to go,” he said, bowing apologetically. “Perhaps another time. It was really nice meeting you, Kuroba-san. Please take care of Shinichi.”

“Finally,” Shinichi groaned after almost another hour of long-winded goodbyes. “I thought they’ll never leave.”

Kaito chuckled. “They seemed like the fun parents type, Shinichi.”

“Wait until you spend more time with them. My mom, especially,” Shinichi side-eyed him. “You’ll figure out their real personalities soon enough. You’re staying with me after this, right?”

“Yeah,” Kaito beamed. “I’m so excited to see what a wizard’s house is like.”

“Shinichi-kun, let’s put your bags in Kaito’s room. Then we’ll have dinner,” Touichi smiled at him, and extended his right hand in a familiar gesture.

As Shinichi moved to shake his hand, a tall purple flower popped out from the magician’s hand.

“Ah,” Shinichi smiled. “I see where Kaito got all his magic tricks. What is this flower?”

“Wisteria,” Kaito grinned at him. He was always happy and grateful that Shinichi, unlike most of his pure-blooded peers, always appreciated Muggle magic. It was one of the qualities that made Kaito fell for him in the first place.

“I assume this has meaning?” Shinichi asked as he accepted the flower.

Touichi laughed. “I’m glad to see Kaito had taught you our ways, Shinichi-kun. Yes, in fact. It means ‘welcome’.”

“Thank you, Kuroba-san. Both for the flower and the sentiment.”

Still smiling, Shinichi carefully held the stem. That particular trick was very dear to him. It was how he first noticed Kaito. He could still remember it clearly, the first time he went to platform nine-and-three-quarters. He had been a wide-eyed eleven year-old then, excited to finally go to Hogwarts after hearing about the illustrious school all his life. He had been smothered by Yukiko, who was practically strangling him with her tearful hug.

That was when he first caught sight of Kaito.

The other boy was in his direct line of sight, practically brimming with excitement. He had bounded up to a messy-haired girl, and extended his fist. Shinichi was ready to dismiss the scene and move on to study more interesting things from the confines of his mother’s arms, when, out of nowhere, a yellow rose popped out from the boy’s wandless hand. He, and every other children of the wizarding family, had been very impressed. It was unheard of to do magic without a wand, everyone knew that. To top it off, Shinichi knew that conjuring objects was an advanced form of magic. It wasn’t something an untrained eleven-year-old child should be able to do. Even Shinichi himself, who had snuck into his father’s study too often to count and try out Yuusaku’s wand, had only ever managed to produce a weak spark.

At Hogwarts, Kaito had been instantly popular due to that particular trick. But when their friends discovered that what Kaito did wasn’t a real form of magic, some kids had turned nasty.

Shinichi had never cared, though. To him, Muggle magic was still magic in its own way. He had always defended Kaito from the uncomplimentary comments thrown his way, insisting that they were just jealous a Muggleborn could do something they couldn’t.

He had been so lost in nostalgia that he didn’t notice it at first.

He’d followed Kaito into the house, up the stairs, down the hallway and into a white room. It was only when Kaito put down his bags and turned to him with a cheerful, “So, what do you think?” did he realize… he would be staying in Kaito’s room.

And there was only one bed.

Kaito’s room.

Where he would be staying for the next two weeks.

Shinichi stared at the single, sole, bed in mute horror. Despite having dated to the better part of two years, they had only started to fool around a few months ago, shy and awkward but very loving and enjoyable. They had never actually slept in a bed together. It seemed so intimate, to be sleeping next to Kaito every night and wake up to his face every morning.

And to his embarrassment, he found that a big part of him actually wanted to squirm around in happiness at the idea.

“Shinichi?” Kaito’s worried tone cut through his thoughts.

“Ah… ehm,” Shinichi stammered. “I… didn’t realize we would be sleeping together?”

Kaito frowned. “Haven’t I told you that? I think I’ve written that we don’t have a guest room, haven’t I?”

Shinichi could feel his cheeks heat up. “Mmmm, yeah you did. I just didn’t really realize it at first…” He had been too excited and happy at the idea of spending two weeks of summer with Kaito for that fact to sink in.

Kaito’s expression fell. “Oh. Um, well if you’re uncomfortable with it, I can always sleep on the couch. It’s no big deal, really. I just thought… well, since we’re dating and all… you know…”

Shinichi turned to him, horrified. “Of course not! You can’t sleep on the couch for two weeks! It’s your house!”

“And you’re the guest,” Kaito shrugged, trying for nonchalant. Shinichi could see that he was upset, though.

“Kaito,” he said firmly. “I’m happy to sleep with you. You’re my boyfriend, and I love you. I just need a moment to wrap my head around the idea, okay?”

Kaito had started blushing in the middle of his rant, as he always did whenever Shinichi talked about their relationship. His lips were quirked up in a small, pleased smile.

“I’m glad,” he said, eyes soft. “Since I love you too.”

Grinning, Shinichi grabbed his boyfriend, and for the first time in months, he kissed him.

The sleeping arrangement was set after that.