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29 April 2007 @ 12:03 pm
Lost in the Darkness (40 Nights: Kaito/Aoko)  
Title: Lost in the Darkness
Fandom: Detective Conan/Magic Kaitou
Author: Candyland
Theme: #3—find me in the dark
Pairing: Kuroba Kaito/Nakamori Aoko
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: All characters are the property of Gosho Aoyama. I do not own them. I merely borrow them, drop them in a blender, hit puree, and watch them dance. Yes, dance, my pretties…ahem.
Summary: He didn’t move, but the dim light illuminated the bloodstains…



Heist nights always made Nakamori Aoko uneasy.

She knew from past experiences that her father had nothing to fear from Kaitou Kid in terms of actual physical injury. It was one of the few grudging points she was willing to accede to the thief: his first rule was No One Gets Hurt, and he stuck to it.

However, this third party that had decided to take Kid out was another story entirely.

This heist had been highly publicized, though, and so she had gone and stood with the rest of the milling crowds, amidst the hoards of screaming Kid fan girls and reporters eager for a hot scoop. Kaitou Kid was always a big story, simply because of his very nature.

No one ever knew what to expect from a Kid heist. No telling what could or would happen.

But it had gone off relatively quietly—or as quietly as a Kid event could go off, she supposed. The thief had done his work, as usual, and made a clean getaway, as usual, much to the delight of his fans and the appreciation of the reporters.

And now she and her father were on their way home. His hands were gripping the steering wheel hard enough that his fingerprints were probably going to be permanently embedded in the vinyl. And he was muttering under his breath in a classic display of his infamous vocabulary.

Aoko, ever the obliging daughter, dutifully pretended not to hear him.

When home finally came into view, she was inordinately relieved. Yes, the idiot thief might have gotten away again, but no one had taken shots at her father. She wasn’t happy about Kaitou Kid, but everyone was still safe.

She got out and headed towards the house while her father stayed by the car, saying he would be along in a minute and that she should just go on inside. Yawning, she headed up the stairs to the front door with every intention of heading straight to bed…

…only to find a person slumped in an unmoving heap in her doorway. She stopped short, every muscle automatically tensing. But even with the porch-light on, it took her a moment to recognize the figure—and her heart stopped.

“KAITO!” Aoko screamed, leaping across the gap to her best friend’s side. He didn’t move, even as she shrieked his name. But the dim light illuminated the bloodstains on his blue shirt.

Aoko didn’t even think; she just moved. She grabbed at him, pulling him into her arms and letting his head lull against her shoulder. She felt something warm and sticky on her hands, but ignored it as she called desperately for her father.

It was a foregone conclusion, though. Nakamori Ginzo had heard his daughter’s scream, and dropped everything to rush to her. By the time she called to him, he was already there. Police training took over, and he automatically started checking for vital signs.

“He’s got a pulse, but it’s weak,” he frowned, swallowing hard. “Aoko, keep him breathing. I’m calling an ambulance.” He fumbled with his keys at the front door for a moment before the lock finally gave, and he disappeared inside, leaving the door wide open. A moment later, she heard his voice, touched by panic, on the phone calling for help.

Aoko stared after him, at a loss for what to do. She was startled back, though, when she felt the warm weight in her arms shift. The faintest of groans invaded her ears, and her attention snapped back to her immobile friend. “Kaito? Kaito!”

He winced, groaned again, and finally his eyes inched open. “…Aoko…” he breathed, her name falling faintly from his lips. It sounded so strained. And he wasn’t smiling.

“Kaito—what happened?” she demanded, ignoring the fact that her father had reappeared in the doorway with the wireless phone receiver pressed against his ear.

She was very nearly stunned out of her crying, though, when she noticed that she wasn’t the only one. Kaito’s eyes were shining in the dim light, and the first of his own tears had just escaped to slide back down his temple and into his shock of dark hair.

Aoko felt her jaw drop. Kaito was always so carefully guarded; nothing leaked out if he didn’t want it to. It was his mask, a façade that even she had never been able to totally crack in all their years of friendship—Poker Face, he called it.

But it seemed that Poker Face hadn’t just cracked. Poker Face had shattered.

“Kaito…” she said his name—and froze at his next words, which trailed off into a sob.

“He killed my mom…”

There was a loud clatter as the phone fell from Nakamori-keibu’s hand, and a sickening crunch as everything around her shattered: her world, her heart, and the few remaining shreds of Kaito’s composure.

“I got home….” he half-gasped, eyes staring vacantly at some point beyond her. “And this guy was there. And Mom…oh God, Mom…” The tears welled anew, and he turned his head into her shoulder. “Blood. So much blood, blood everywhere…Mom was already gone…” He hiccupped; it sounded hoarse, like he was having trouble breathing.

The Inspector had the phone back at his ear. The ambulance was undoubtedly on the way, and now he seemed to be relaying what Kaito said to the operator on the other end of the line. God, so much was happening at once, it all seemed such a blur…Aoko forced herself to refocus on Kaito.

“Shhh…” she tried frantically to shush him, both for his own sake and hers; he needed medical help, and soon! She wasn’t sure that she wanted to hear this, was ready to hear this story. But he went on, and so she listened. There wasn’t much else she could do.

Kaito took another shaky breath and went on, “He was crazy, and he kept shouting all this stuff. I don’t even know what he said…I think I was in shock…and then before I knew it, he pulled a gun out and shot me.” It seemed so simple, such a straightforward description of an attempted murder.

“Did he escape?” Nakamori-keibu asked, his police training coming to the fore; another sob from the injured young man was the only response. “Kaito-kun, I know it’s hard, but you have to tell us everything. Did the shooter get away?”

“N-no…” Kaito murmured. “He didn’t…”

Something about that voice didn’t sound right; something was desperately wrong. “Kaito, tell me what happened,” Ginzo continued to prod, though this time it was using the voice of a parent trying to coax a frightened child into talking about a particularly frightening nightmare.

“…the shot didn’t kill me,” Kaito gasped. He was trembling, fighting to stay conscious; Aoko could feel it. “He was going to shoot me again, and…I didn’t even think, I just moved. I went at him.” He remembered all too well the agony of that bullet slamming into him, and the shock of pain and adrenaline that had sent him surging from the cold kitchen floor to physically confront his attacker.

Snake was the man’s codename. He knew that—he’d gotten home from the heist, and his mortal enemy had been waiting for him. But he couldn’t tell them that without opening an entirely new Pandora’s box, as it were. There would be enough awkward questions later, he was sure.

“You attacked him?” Nakamori repeated.

“I—I just wanted to get the gun away from him,” Kaito hiccupped. “There was a struggle, he didn’t want to give me the gun, and he said he was going to kill me, and…”

“Your father begged for his life before he died,” Snake’s voice, hissing like his namesake into his ear as they grappled for the deadly weapon between them. “And your mother—stupid woman just begged me not to hurt you. Stupid woman…”

And then the sound.Oh god, that sound…


“…and?” Nakamori probed when Kaito trailed off.

In response, Kaito again turned his face into Aoko’s shoulder for comfort. Instinctively, she hugged him a bit more tightly, pulling him a little closer. “Kaito?” she whispered his name.

“I killed him.”

Everything froze.

“The gun went off,” Kaito’s voice, muffled slightly by her arm, had gone completely flat, void of any emotion. “I heard it, and then he kind of jerked, and there was blood, and…I killed him…I didn’t mean to, it was an accident, but I killed him…”

From the look on her father’s face, Aoko was surprised that he hadn’t dropped the phone again.

And Kaito went on, in that same deadpan voice. “I didn’t know where else to go. I’m not even sure how I got here, but you weren’t home, and I got dizzy and it was so dark and I couldn’t find you…but when I woke up, you were here…”

One of Aoko’s hands slid to his forehead to brush his bangs back in a maternal gesture. His forehead was splashed with perspiration, but when her fingers actually touched his skin…

“God, you’re so cold!” Aoko said; her voice shook more than she had intended. “Dad, we need a blanket or something! He’s freezing!” Ginzo nodded and immediately sprinted back inside in desperate search of the prescribed blanket.

As her dad disappeared from the doorway, one of Kaito’s hands—graceful, clever hands, a magician’s hands—moved to clutch at her sleeve. “Aoko…” he murmured, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry…”

“Sorry for what?” she asked, a bit startled.

The hand not clinging at her jacket moved to press something against the palm of her hand.

Something very cold.

His fingers slid from her hand and sleeve to rest limply against him as he finally gave up the struggle for consciousness, and slipped away, still propped up against Aoko for support. He was fading, and fast. She had to do something, anything…

Fortunately, the scream of sirens signaled that help had finally arrived, and paramedics appeared within scant minutes. Kaito was pulled from her arms onto a gurney and rushed away. The police went immediately to her father for details; he was one of their own, and he knew what questions would be asked and what answers were necessary immediately.

One of the officers also dropped the fact that a unit and an ambulance had also been sent over to the other address he’d given them—Aoko recognized it immediately as the Kuroba household. They should find two dead there, one innocent.

Slowly, unsteadily, Aoko walked into her house and sank down onto the couch in the living room. She was numb, and so very confused. And she felt alone, both physically (everyone else was still outside), emotionally...Kaito had always been her emotional rock, but…but what was it that Kaito had been so adamant about apologizing for? She hadn’t even looked at what he’d given her before he had passed out.

It took her a minute to unwind her fingers from around it.

And for the second time in such a short span of time, Aoko felt herself break.

She knew this particular little trinket better than almost anyone.

“Aoko?”

She jumped a mile, and instinctively closed her hand around the offending object to hide it from the intruder into her thoughts—her father. He looked tired, and concerned. “W-what?” she stammered, unconsciously moving her hand behind her back.

“I’m going to the precinct to help them get this sorted out,” Ginzo said; he sounded exhausted. “You should go to the hospital. If…” he blanched at his own choice of words, “…when Kaito-kun wakes up, it’s best he not be alone. We’ll drop you off on the way, and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Aoko nodded. “Okay…be there in a minute.”

He disappeared from the doorway. Aoko turned away, further shielding Kaito’s gift—if one could call it that—from prying eyes. Once again, she opened her fist and stared at it. In her hands, she held what was probably the most incriminating evidence on the planet.

Kaitou Kid’s monocle, complete with his trademark triangle charm swinging from the chain.

The circular shape of the metal and glass piece was imprinted into her palm, she had been holding it so tightly. As though it was a valuable treasure. As though she didn’t know how to let go…

This meant that…?

Was this why…?

Her father was calling her now. Uncertain of what to do, she pocketed the deadly proof of her best friend’s lies and hurried to meet her father out by one of the squad cars for the trip to the hospital.

*****

He looked dead.

Aoko immediately gave herself a mental slap for that thought. He was unconscious, not dead; the doctors had told her so. How they managed to save him, she didn’t know, but they had. Pulling him back from the jaws of death, as it were. She had been here for what felt like several ice ages, but finally, a nurse had appeared with the news that she could go in and see him now.

Still, Kaito looked so…not like Kaito, stretched out unconscious on a hospital bed, swathed in white sheets, with wires and tubes sticking out of everywhere, hooked up to machines. The steady bleep of the heart monitor punctuated the silence.

With stiff, slow steps, she moved to his bedside. He didn’t move, a further testament to the fact that he wasn’t really there for the moment. Asleep or awake, no matter the setting or how old they were, it had always been enormously difficult to sneak up on Kaito.

It was strange to see him like this, lost in the darkness. So…vulnerable. Even in her earliest memories of them together, he always had it together. She could remember him once standing up to a bully far older than himself because the older boy had pushed her down on the playground. Nobody pushed Kuroba Kaito around.

Even after his father’s death, he’d been so determined to stay in control of himself, of his emotions and surroundings. It had taken this to finally break him, and that broke her heart.

Without really meaning to, she reached out and took one of his hands in her own, weaving her fingers through his. He really had such amazing hands—how had she ever missed that? How had she missed everything? After all this…could they ever find each other in the darkness again?

She was so busy woolgathering that she didn’t notice that a certain pair of wide blue eyes had finally opened, and was regarding her with something akin to terror. “I’m…alive?” When she nodded, he almost looked disappointed…and then he really seemed to notice her.

“Welcome back, “ she said quietly.

“Aoko?” he looked—and sounded—scared.

She tightened her hold on his fingers, and felt him squeeze hers in response. “Would you tell me?”

“Tell you what?”

Her free hand fished into her pocket and pulled out the triangle-shaped charm on the end of the chain so he could see it and make no mistakes about what she was asking. But she thought about her verbal answer for a moment before replying. “Everything.”

He tried to sit up, but failed miserably, and finally opted to stay where he was. “Heh,” he snorted, a short laugh with no humor behind it; it seemed that the smiles and laughter were a thing of the past—for the moment, at least. “That might take all night.” The remains of the mask were back in place, but even Poker Face could no longer hide the shadows in his eyes.

Suddenly, he was blurry, and Aoko realized that the tears had returned with a vengeance. “Well,” she said, her voice revealing only a slight tremor, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Kaito stared at her, and swallowed hard. “You’re not…”

“No.”

He closed his eyes and turned his head away. “It really might take a while.”

She drew his hand closer to her. “There’s time. No hurry.”

When his eyes opened again, she saw the mask had again vanished, leaving only the very-real pain of someone who had just lost their world. “I don’t even know where to start,” he said. “I can’t promise you anything, Aoko—especially not now…” His voice broke, and he fell silent.

Aoko pulled up a chair conveniently within arm’s reach and took a seat, not once letting go of his hand. She was crying as she answered him. “You don’t have to.”



PS. I’m sure someone will want to lynch me for this, so let me explain my reasoning: in the manga, whenever Bad Guy meets Kid, he calls him Kuroba Toichi. Hence, not only did he murder the original Kid, but he knows who the original Kid was. So I have to assume that he can figure out who the new guy is, and would then work to remove the nuisance, as it were. Call it OOC if you wish. I think it can be debated.

The ending…the ending just eluded me as much as it possibly could *killies it repeatedly* So it’s left open for you to fill in the rest as you see fit. I hope you enjoyed this little romp through the angst-patch. Thanks for reading, everyone. Much love!