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[Dai Gyakuten Saiban-The Great Ace Attorney] A Baker Street Family Christmas


Hachimitsu Tea

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Any DGS fans here? I come bearing a fic I wrote for a friend's birthday in December, so sorry it's awkwardly out of season ^^;;; This is set after the events of DGS 2 so there are some vague mentions of end game events but nothing too explicit. It's also slightly AU, as the story wouldn't have worked given some of the things that happened at the very end of the game. Enjoy!

Title: A Baker Street Family Christmas

Pairings: (Pairings are mostly only implied) Ryuunosuke x Susato, Van Zieks x Sherlock x Ryuunosuke

Sneezers: Susato, Ryuunosuke

Word count: 3,867

It was swimming. She was holding her shopping list as still as she could in front of her and it was swimming. This was a bad sign. A woman laboring with a huge shopping basket hobbled past her in the busy marketplace, jostling Susato slightly as she passed and nearly knocked her over in the process. Susato clutched her own heavy basket and prayed for the world to stop spinning.

Hold it together, Mikotoba Susato! She scolded herself tiredly. Everyone is counting on you right now! You’re nearly done with the shopping; just a few more things and you can go home and rest…

A frigid December wind whipped past her, making the whole marketplace shudder. Susato let out a tiny whimper and clutched her shawl more tightly around her. Focus. Her eyes were blurred with tears from the cold, and her head was spinning, but she remembered that she still needed eggs.

That shop over there has eggs, Susato told herself, though to be honest, she wasn’t positive. But she needed to tell herself that she was almost done, that she’d almost collected everything she needed, or else she would succumb to her misery. That wasn’t a choice. Not here. One foot in front of the other. Go on, you’re almost there…

Susato bumped into a dark, towering figure as she trudged toward the shop she prayed was selling eggs.

“Sh-shitsurei itashibashita…” she stammered without thinking.

Susato had little mental capacity at the moment to spare for the person she’d bumped. She wiped her eyes with a trembling, frozen hand, trying to focus on getting the door to the shop open against the wind, and getting herself inside without tripping on the rug in the entrance. Oh, thank goodness. Eggs. It was only sheer force of will that allowed her to select a dozen of them and get them safely into her basket without her frozen fingers betraying her and letting one slip out and fall on the floor.

“9 pence,” the wispy woman behind the counter said.

Susato sniffled wetly, fumbling her purse out of the sleeve of her heavily padded kimono. She swiped again at her eyes, then her nose. The skin on her hands was chapped, and so was her nose and she bit back a whimper as the two made contact. The woman at the counter had to help her separate out the proper amount.

“Th-th-thadk you, ba’ab,” Susato croaked apologetically.

She pulled her shawl up over the bottom half of her face, taking a steadying breath as she laid her hand on the door handle and forced it open. The dark figure she’d bumped into on her way in was still right where it had been before, but Susato hardly noticed. She’d reached the last item on her list: duck. She could do this. She could do this. The shop was just a little down the way.

You’re so close, Susato. You’ll be home at Baker Street in no time and then you can have a hot bath and get in bed.  So close...

She was so focused on her pep talk to herself that she didn’t realize that a small whirlwind of sneezes was stealing over her until it was too late to hold them back or ward them off. Susato unintentionally crumpled the shopping list as the sneezes hit.

“Ehchuu-chuu-chuu-chuu--”

“God bl--”

“--chuu-chuu-chuu-chuu--”

“Ble--”

“Chuu-chuu-chuu… hapchuu!”

Something warm was resting in the middle of her back. Susato couldn’t check right now what it was; her nose was streaming embarrassingly. She coughed more harshly than she’d expected to as she covered her face to hide the mess. For a moment, her brain was frozen. She needed the already soaking handkerchief from inside her sleeve, but she had only one free hand, the other being occupied by her shopping basket, and she couldn’t lower her free hand or people would see the humiliating mess her nose was making. Susato was too dazed and miserable to be able to problem solve.

“...Are you quite finished?” a vaguely familiar male voice asked from very close by. “...God bless you.”

Oh, someone was touching her. Right. She’d forgotten. His hand was hovering uncertainly at her back, helping her stay upright.

“You… seem like you could use this.”

A dry, soft cloth was being pressed into her stiff, cold hands. She clutched it desperately. A fresh handkerchief! Oh, thank goodness! She mopped up her face shakily, and dried her eyes, which were still streaming from the wind and her sneezing fit. The steadying hand at her back withdrew swiftly as Susato finally lifted her face to confirm the identity of her benefactor. It took her a moment through the fog of her misery to recognize him. The fact that he was wearing a top hat, which she wasn’t accustomed to seeing on him, didn’t help matters, but after a moment, it clicked.

“L-L-Lord Vad Zieks!” she stammered, covering her mouth in surprise. “I-I… I didd’t expect to rud idto you id a place like this!”

“Nor I you,” Van Zieks said. “And alone, at that… Where is Mr. Naruhodo? I trust he’s nearby…”

Van Zieks looked around expectantly, but Susato bowed her head.

“I’b afraid Daruhodo-saba is… hh... “ She paused, rubbing her tickly, chapped little nose carefully with the borrowed handkerchief, “H-he’s udwell at the bobedt, a’d udable to leave his bed.”

Van Zieks’s brow furrowed at once with this news. “I… see…”

The tickle in Susato’s nose resurged with a vengeance. She dipped into Van Zieks’s handkerchief again so desperately that she nearly dropped her basket. Van Zieks, with truly remarkable reflexes, snatched it from her just in time to prevent it from smashing on the ground.

“Hippchuu-chuu-chuu-chuu-chuu-chuu-chuu-chuu-chuu… chi! ...Uuuu… p-pardod be, I’b so sorry…” Susato’s whole face, including the part in her hair, flushed with embarrassment. She was dying to blow her nose, but she didn’t dare do so in public.

“God bless you…” Van Zieks said, his voice unusually soft compared to the bold, commanding tones he employed in the courtroom. “Forgive me for saying so, but you seem rather ill yourself.  You’d have been better served by taking a leaf out of Mr. Naruhodo’s book and remaining in bed. It would be best if you got out of this chill as quickly as possible.”

Susato coughed quietly and glanced at the crumpled shopping list in her hand. “I… I idte’d to,” she promised. “I’b dearly dode with by shoppi’g; I odly deed to buy a duck a’d thed…”

“Don’t tell me that useless excuse for a famous detective has sunk to the level of sending ill young women to do his shopping for him while he plays with his chemicals,” Van Zieks asked, his voice even sharper and colder than the December wind.

“D-doh, of course dot!” Susato assured him. “Holbes-saba is out worki’g a case, a’d Iris-saba is desperately tryi’g to fidish her baduscript before her deadline… With Daruhodo-saba id eved worse shape thad be, the odly ode available to do the shoppi’g for Christbas didder was…”

“...Hmm…” Van Zieks said suspiciously, his eyes still narrowed. “In any case… a proper gentleman would never allow a lady to continue to labor while she’s ill. I will hail you a carriage and stop by Baker Street with your duck shortly.”

“P-Prosecutor Vad Zieks-saba…!” Susato croaked, stunned. “Oh doh, I-I couldd’t ask you to do that! It would be far too buch trouble…!”

“Thankfully, I don’t intend to wait on you to ask me,” Van Zieks said stubbornly. “Come, Miss Susato.”

Susato couldn’t help the way her heart skipped a beat when he called her by name. She’d never expected such unveiled kindness from him, though perhaps that was unfair after all that had happened.

Van Zieks touched her shoulder again, giving her the tiniest push towards the street. Susato went obediently, heat rising in her cheeks behind her shawl. The prosecutor carried her heavy basket for her, and raised his hand expectantly at the roadside. A carriage trundled up almost immediately. Van Zieks opened the door for her and offered his hand to help her climb in. Susato took his hand in her smaller, half-frozen one, heart thumping rapidly, and ascended into the carriage. She reached out the door again, waiting for Van Zieks to hand her the basket, but he didn’t.

“It’s heavy,” he said brusquely. “I will bring it to Baker Street with the duck.”

“P… Prosecutor Vad Zieks-saba…” Susato murmured, surprised. “Th-that’s so ki’d of you, thagk you so buch…”

Van Zieks’s face may have gone pink, but Susato had no time to confirm before he was shutting the carriage door. Susato heard him tell the driver Sherlock’s address before the carriage eased into motion. It didn’t take long for the gentle swaying of the carriage to put her to sleep.

********

 

Susato hardly remembered what had happened between the time that she disembarked from the carriage at 221 Baker St. and when she collapsed into Ryuunosuke’s bed. If she’d been in proper possession of herself, she never would have done something so shameless but as it stood, she was frozen, exhausted and miserable and just wanted some human contact. Who better than someone she couldn’t pass this awful bug to?

Ryuunosuke whined and shied away from her when she tried to press her icy self to his fever-warmed body.

“Ha’ashoo!” He sneezed wetly at the unexpected chill of her touch. “Ha’apchoo!! Hakkuchun!!”

“‘B s-so sorry, D-Daruhodo-saba…” Susato rasped through chattering teeth. She hugged herself, trying to recover enough warmth that he’d be willing to cuddle with her.

“...S-Susato-sad…” Ryuunosuke said faintly, prying his eyes open at the sound of her voice. His normally already messy hair was even more of a sight than normal, sticking out at crazy angles, his bangs plastered to his sweaty forehead. “You’re sick too…?”

Susato couldn’t explain why herself, but when she saw Ryuunosuke look at her worriedly like that with his brightly fever-flushed face, she found tears springing to her eyes. Maybe it was exhaustion, or maybe she was touched that someone as miserable as she knew he was still had the capacity to feel sorry for someone else who was in pain. Maybe it was a mixture of both. Either way, Susato was crying and she couldn’t stop.

Ryuunosuke’s bottom lip trembled at the sight of her tears and he inched closer to her, in spite of the chill she was giving off, wrapping an arm around her waist. He shivered like mad as he clung to her, forcing his own desire for comfort aside for her sake, and this made Susato cry even harder, eyes and nose streaming uncontrollably. She wrapped herself around him like a limpet and held on, sobbing softly into his shoulder. Ryuunosuke stroked her hair soothingly.

“S-shhhh… it’s ok…” he said thickly. “I’b sorry… I’b so sorry I gave this to you… I… I didd’t bead to, hodest…”

“Ih… it’s okayyyy,” she sobbed, squeezing him weakly. “I kdow… I kdow you didd’t…”

Their posture was uncomfortable, lying on their sides, clinging to each other, but they both refused to let go. Right now, in this moment, they needed each other’s presence and touch more than they needed other comforts. The two of them quickly exhausted themselves and drifted into an uneasy slumber.

*********

 

Van Zieks arrived at the door of 221 B Baker Street some three and a half hours after he’d parted ways with Susato. He looked self-consciously down at the shopping basket in his hand, which was now considerably fuller than it had been when he’d accepted it from Susato. He wondered again for the dozenth or so time whether he’d gone overboard.

He’d bought the duck Susato had asked for, of course, but after seeing how miserable Susato looked, and learning that Ryuunosuke was apparently in even worse shape, he felt obligated to go beyond what he’d originally promised.

It’s mainly because I still haven’t properly expressed my gratitude to them for what they did for me at my trial last month, he reassured himself yet again. If not for their efforts, I’d be dead and gone by now, all without ever learning the truth. This was the least I could do. If anything, I should have done more.

….It would be nice if… a tiny, intrusive voice at the back of his consciousness piped up,  ...if I didn’t have to spend Christmas alone again this year…

Van Zieks scowled at himself, his face coloring as he knocked on the door. “I’m not fishing for an invitation,” he told himself firmly. “I’m not.”

The door to 221 B opened more quickly than Van Zieks anticipated, and he started, nearly letting some of the contents of the basket spill out by accident. Sherlock stood there, his coat still half on, his cheeks and nose still flushed from the chill outside. He’d clearly just returned home himself.

The detective smiled at the sight of Van Zieks. “Ah, Reapy! What a surprise! Pardon me for catching the tail end of your little monologue just now, but what is it that you’re ‘not’ doing here?”

Van Zieks glared at him, willing his cheeks not to go any warmer than they already were. “Never you mind, Sherlock Holmes. What I am here for is to make a delivery.”

He thrust the basket out at Sherlock, intentionally catching the detective in the chest. Sherlock made a satisfying “nwah!” sound at the impact, and nearly fell over backwards.

“What’s all this?” He asked, accepting the basket curiously. “Love tokens for me?”

“You flatter yourself,” Van Zieks scoffed. “They seem to be supplies for your Christmas dinner. I ran into the legal aide doing her shopping at the marketplace in quite a sad state.”

Van Zieks was somewhat relieved to see Sherlock’s expression fall genuinely at this news. So he did care; he simply hadn’t known. Van Zieks couldn’t pretend to know Susato all that well, but it wasn’t difficult for him to imagine her soldiering through or hiding her own discomfort for the sake of others. Sherlock’s reaction made it seem likely that she’d intentionally hidden her illness so that they wouldn’t worry about her.

“Miss Susato… Don’t tell me she’s fallen ill as well,” Sherlock asked, his brow uncharacteristically furrowed.

“Quite, if I’m not mistaken,” Van Zieks confirmed, “to the point of being unable to finish her errand. And now here I am.”

“Is that Reapy I hear at the door?” came Iris’s voice from inside the flat. Van Zieks saw a set of tired-looking but still glittering green eyes peering out from behind Sherlock through the gap between his hip and the door frame. “Ah! I thought so! Why don’t you come in? I’ve just put the kettle on!”

Van Zieks hesitated uncertainly. To be perfectly honest, he was touched by her invitation and wanted to accept, but now that it was being offered, he felt awkward. Sherlock’s smile returned at the hesitant expression on Van Zieks’s face, half teasing, half affectionate. He set the basket on the floor gently and gave an obnoxiously exaggerated bow.

“Yes, by all means, join us for tea!”

Van Zieks pursed his lips slightly, then stepped inside Sherlock’s room. The fireplace was blazing, bathing the scene inside in a warm glow. The phonograph was playing soft Christmas music. His complicated feelings for Sherlock aside, there could be no denying that his abode was looked warm and inviting.

“Have a seat anywhere you like, ok?” Iris said. “I just have to pick the herbs for the tea.”

Van Zieks perched himself a tad nervously on the end of the chaise lounge. “...I understand you have a deadline approaching, Miss Watson.”

Iris grimaced as she picked up a little pink pair of scissors and approached a collection of small pots on the windowsill. “My manuscript is due in two days, but I needed a tea break. I was starting to go cross-eyed from staring at the paper too long.”

“Is it coming along?” Van Zieks asked.

“It’s… coming,” Iris sighed, snipping some leaves off a few different herb plants. “I’ll be glad to be finished so I can enjoy the Christmas Season properly. I’ve been dying to start practicing my Christmas pudding recipe.”

“Excited to read about my newest adventures, Reapy?” Sherlock asked cheekily as he sifted through the basket of items Van Zieks had delivered.

“If I do read them, it won’t be for your sake,” Van Zieks said irritably.

“Oho…?” Sherlock ignored Van Zieks’s jab, his attention focused instead on the shopping that Van Zieks had brought. “Well now… quite an interesting collection of items you have here, Reapy.”

Iris set her cut herbs aside and came to peer curiously into the basket as well. “Oh! Are these… ingredients for making Japanese food?”

Iris and Sherlock looked over at Van Zieks in unison, their eyes wide with surprise. Van Zieks folded his arms, trying (and failing) not to look embarrassed.

“Interesting,” Sherlock said, a grin spreading across his face. “It looks like you knew a bit more about Japanese culture than you let on. No doubt these were difficult to find, and you went to the effort anyway, for poor ill Miss Susato and Mr. Naruhodo.”

“It wasn’t as difficult as you may imagine,” Van Zieks replied, trying to sound dismissive. “It was just a matter of inquiring at the Japanese embassy. It was simple for a prominent member of the justice system.”

Iris put her hands on her cheeks, smiling in a way that almost managed to look demure, but there was just a little too much Sherlock-like mischief in her eyes to be completely convincing. Van Zieks eyed her suspiciously, waiting for her to say what she was thinking so that he could shoot it down. Whatever it was, it was clearly nothing good.

“Oh my, Mr. Powerful Prosecutor, using his influence for our Miss Susato and Mr. Naruhodo…” Sherlock crowed. “How romantic! Wouldn’t you agree, Iris?”

“Oh, you think so too, Holmesy?” Iris chirped.

Van Zieks reeled as if he’d been struck in the face, his splayed hand snapping up to obscure part of his expression as he glared through his fingers. “Wh-why that, of all things?!”

“Why indeed… right, Iris?” Sherlock said, grinning even more widely at Van Zieks’s reaction.

“Mm, I wonder,” Iris echoed. “Ufufu!”

Van Zieks grit his teeth, regretting allowing Sherlock to see the contents of his shopping before he’d managed to escape the flat. Before he could retaliate, however, the conversation was interrupted by a few sharp, wet sounds from near the door to the stairwell.

“Ha’akushon! Hekkushon!”

The three Brits’ eyes snapped instantly onto the figure in the doorway. Ryuunosuke and Susato stood hesitantly at the bottom of the stairwell, wrapped in blankets from head to foot.

“Susato-chan! Naruhodo-kun!” Iris hurried toward them worriedly, stopping a few feet away when the two exchange students recoiled, not wanting to risk infecting her. “How are you feeling?”

“H… huggry,” Ryuunosuke croaked. His voice sounded painfully dry. “Thirsty too…”

“You poor things… I’ll make you some dinner right away!” Iris promised.

“B-but Iris-saba… your deadlide…” Susato rasped. Her voice sounded just as painful as Ryuunosuke’s.

“Don’t worry about that,” Iris said resolutely. “It’s going well, and we’ve all got to eat anyway.”

Sherlock crossed the room in a few long strides and put his arms around the exchange students, leading them to the chaise lounge, which Van Zieks immediately vacated for them.

“The water’s ready,” Sherlock announced. “I’ll finish making the tea whi--”

“Haptchuu-chuu-chuu-chuu-chuu-chuu-chuu-chuu…” Susato interrupted, covering her mouth with the blanket around her. “...hepchi! ...Uuuu… p-pardod be, I’b sorry.”

“--while Iris gets started on dinner,” Sherlock finished. “Bless you, Miss Susato!”

“Bless you so much, Susato-chan!”

“God bless you.”

Susato blushed and hid in her blanket. “Th-thagk you.”

The expression on Ryuunosuke’s face said “I didn’t get any blessings earlier…” so clearly, it might as well have been written. Sherlock burst out laughing and leaned in to kiss the top of Ryuunosuke’s head.

“You too, Mr. Naruhodo,” he chuckled. “Bless you both.”

Van Zieks averted his eyes. He wanted to bless Ryuunosuke as well, but it was more embarrassing somehow than blessing Susato.

“Bless you, Naruhodo-kun,” Iris said sympathetically. “Oh, guess what Reapy brought for you guys!”

The exchange students’ bleary, shadowed eyes fixed hazily on him, and Van Zieks couldn’t help blushing. “....Only the shopping, which I promised Miss Susato.”

“But that’s not all!” Iris added excitedly. “He brought you all sorts of Japanese treats! He went all the way to the Japanese embassy to ask what to buy and where to get it! Look!”

Iris scampered back to the basket and displayed the goods one by one: white rice, soy sauce, a jar of pickled plums, tofu, burdock root, kelp, dried haddock and nattou. It took Van Zieks a moment, shamefully, to gather the nerve to see what the exchange students’ reaction was to his gifts. His heart twisted almost painfully when he saw that both of them had started to cry.

“L-Lord Vad Zieks….!” Susato choked. “Th-that’s so… that’s so ki’d of you…!”

Ryuunosuke let out a choked sob into his blanket, seemingly beyond words.

“It doesn’t… warrant such a reaction, surely,” Van Zieks said awkwardly, looking away again.

“Y-you have doh idea…” Ryuunosuke choked finally, “h… how buch we’ve bissed food frob hobe… T thagk you… thagk you so buch…!”

“Look how happy you’ve made them, Reapy,” Sherlock said warmly, patting him on the back. “Quite the reward, isn’t it?”

“.................” Van Zieks couldn’t bring himself to say anything, but Sherlock was right, as uncomfortable as their tears made him.

“Why don’t we have a little Japanese food with our dinner tonight?” Iris suggested brightly. “I remember some of the recipes Susato-san taught me last year. How about some okayu for your colds?”

Susato stifled another sob, and Ryuunosuke’s stomach growled loudly.

“Alright then, it’s decided!” Iris looked up at Van Zieks. “Would you mind helping me in the kitchen, Reapy?”

Van Zieks swallowed. He wasn’t sure how much use he’d be, but he couldn’t handle watching them cry anymore. He nodded stiffly. Iris gave him an understanding smile and took his hand.

“Lord Vad Zieks…” Susato called stuffily, struggling to compose herself. She wiped her eyes and nose on the inside of her blanket. “W-would you… like to joid us for Christbas didder? Daruhodo-saba a’d I will be better by thed, a’d we’d all love to have you.”

Van Zieks looked blankly at Sherlock, who smiled. “By all means! The more, the merrier!”

His gaze moved dazedly to Iris. “Say yes!”

His stunned eyes moved last to Ryuunosuke, who was mopping his face and nodding vigorously. Van Zieks cleared his throat, willing away the lump that had risen there.

“If… that’s what you wish.”

Everyone looked so genuinely pleased by his acceptance of their invitation that Van Zieks scarcely knew what to do with himself. He’d forgotten that he could feel like this. Wanted, happy… loved? Perhaps he was getting carried away. Iris gave his hand a little squeeze.

“This is going to be the best Christmas ever!” she vowed.

Van Zieks allowed himself, for the first time in a long while, to hope.

 

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