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29 April 2007 @ 12:16 pm
Serenade (40 Nights: Kaito/Aoko)  
Title: Serenade
Fandom: Detective Conan/Magic Kaitou
Author: Candyland
Theme: #18—listen to the music at night
Pairing: Kuroba Kaito/Nakamori Aoko
Rating: PG
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: It was one awkward moment, beneath the stars…



Rooftops were very nice places, indeed.

Especially when the stars were out, and you had a friend to look at them with.

Kaito stretched out to his full length, almost like a cat. “What a great night!” he cheered, sprawling out on his back; his crossed his legs at the ankle and laced his fingers together before putting them behind his head for a pillow against the rough shingles.

Beside him, Aoko laced her fingers together and engaged in her own enormous stretch. “Clear, too,” she added. “Look at all the stars…” There seemed to be no end to them, really.

A recent transfer student to their school had observed a particularly energetic Mop-Swinging Dance during lunch, and had asked about the strange behavior of the two. Those two must hate each other, the new student had said seriously, taking in the scene. His words were met by snickers and shaking heads.

No, the others said. They’ve been best friends since they were kids. This is just how they are. Kuroba Kaito and Nakamori Aoko—they’ve always been together. They fight like a married couple, always have. It started in middle school, but she didn’t get the mop until we were in high school…

Had anyone seen them now, like this—whether that person had known them for a long time or not—there would have been no doubt at all as to the real nature of their friendship. Stretched out on their backs with their hands behind their heads, side by side on a roof top, elbows just touching…

“There’s Orion!” Aoko said suddenly after they’d been laying out there for a while in relative silence, pulling one hand from behind her to point at a cluster of stars in the sky, arranged into the shape of the distinctive constellation. “That’s the only one I can ever find, really,” she added sheepishly, returning her hand to its place as a pillow.

The silence lapsed again for a bit before she spoke again. “Quiet night…”

Kaito suddenly sat up. “Or maybe you’re not listening hard enough.”

Aoko imitated his motion and sat up. “What’re you talking about?”

“Well, listen,” he said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “There’s a whole concert going on out there, if you stop talking and use your ears for once.” It was a definite jibe, but yelling would only prove his supposed point. So she simply closed her eyes…and listened.

The chirping song of crickets.

The occasional rush of a car rushing past.

The softest sigh of the light breeze.

The scratchy rustling of leaves as the wind touched them.

All and more, amidst the strange lilting silence that was so unique to the late hours.

It made for a strange, soothing serenade, far more relaxing and subtle than any symphony.

With her eyes closed, all Aoko knew was the sound, coupled with the knowledge of the stars and their beauty and the feeling of Kaito’s solid presence beside her. It was so lovely, so calm…

“I come out here some nights just to listen,” Kaito murmured. “You like the music?”

“It’s great—“ Aoko said, opening her eyes and turning her head to look at him—

—at exactly the same time he turned his head to look at her—

—leaving them both to realize just how close they had gotten in the past minutes.

Shoulder to shoulder.

Eye to eye.

Nose to nose.

And close enough for Kaito to smell her breath. Minty, though that wasn’t foremost on his mind.

No, his first thought was that all he had to do was move his head forward a tiny bit, maybe tilt his head to one side a bit so their noses wouldn’t run into each other, and…and…and what the hell was he thinking? No way, no how…

…she was unconsciously sliding her tongue over dry lips, and she was worrying her lower lip with her teeth, and she was blushing, and it was so adorable and endearing, and…and…and she’d definitely kill him. Wouldn’t she?

It was one of the rare moments in his life that Kuroba Kaito had a full-blown panic attack. Not that he let it be seen, but he sat back and cleared his throat—loudly. “It’s getting late,” he said quickly, proud that he didn’t stammer at all. “We should go back inside.” Truthfully, he didn’t want to leave, even as he moved now. It was so lovely out here, so peaceful, and Aoko…

Aoko didn’t move. She just watched him as he stood up, but her head didn’t turn to follow him as he moved past her to the window and opened it. She lowered her head a bit, letting her hair hang down in front of her eyes, and didn’t follow.

Kaito stopped, one foot already through the window. “Aoko?” he tried. She didn’t answer, and he sighed. Okay, it was official: he had panicked, he had not handled it well, and he had just made a Big Mistake. This was a different from the norm, as she would usually be screaming at him. It was a far cry from his usual teasing; every single sign she was giving off said that she was hurt.

He pulled himself back out onto the roof, feeling incredibly guilty. Dammit…he could fly over the heads of entire police forces with the world’s greatest treasures in hand and laugh about it as he made his getaway, but one slouch from Aoko, and he was crawling.

Literally, in this case. He slid on hands and knees across the rough shingles and sidled up right next to her. Her back stayed to him, but he could see her shoulders were shaking. Double crap. He hadn’t meant to freak out—hell, being that close to her wasn’t a bad situation from any angle (except the “Father coming up to check on them and spotting them like that” possibility—that one just meant death).

“Hey, Aoko?” he reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. Before she could jerk away, he used that hand to pull her backwards against his chest; once there, she very quickly found herself trapped by two arms encircling her waist from behind. No escape.

And before she had time to realize what had just happened, he’d somehow managed to spin her around without letting go of her, so she was not only caught, but she was facing him as well, and had nowhere to look but right at him. Ironically enough, they were now in almost exactly the same position they’d been in moments ago. But this time, it was by Kaito’s own choosing.

There were no streaks on her face to mark the presence of tears there, but her eyes had acquired a peculiar shimmer to them. She looked surprised at his actions; this was definitely straying from his normal behavior. “Kaito, what’re you doing?” she asked. Her voice shook only a little bit.

He opened his mouth to say something, anything…and found himself completely blank. Where there had been words only moments ago, there was now nothing, like a slate that had been wiped clean of writing. She was looking at him with big, expectant eyes, and all he could do was gape…

Fortunately for our wayward hero, his body had apparently given up on waiting for the go-ahead from his mind. He made a mental note to have a long, irritated talk with himself about this sudden self-insubordination. But the thought was just as quickly discarded in favor of more pressing matters.

Without his conscious permission, his head dipped forward. The last thing he saw before he instinctively shut his eyes was the way Aoko’s own eyes fell closed and then…

…oh wow.

It wasn’t long or in-depth or particularly expert. All in all, the kiss only lasted a few seconds. But it was enough that when he jerked back a couple of inches, his heart was going like a jackhammer in his chest, and he could barely breathe. He was pretty sure Poker Face had slipped a bit, giving way to a dropped jaw and flushed cheeks. The music of the night, that had only minutes ago been their serenade, was now drowned out entirely by the blood pounding in his ears.

His eyes snapped open and met Aoko’s, equally wide and startled. It was one of those extremely rare moments when his quick wit failed him completely. “Ummm…” was all he could really manage.

Crickets chirped nearby as the night music faded back in and the world started moving again.

Still kneeling on the rooftop, neither dared to move for fear that something would break and shatter the spell. But moments are called moments because they must end, and as such, are fleeting, leaving only wide eyes and red-faced confusion.

“Kaito…” she said softly, banishing the last lingering effects of the magic that had wound its way around them, from the night and the stars and the music, leading up to an unintentional hurt, and an unexpected demonstration.

He did that same thing again, somehow spinning her around without ever letting her out of the warm circle of his arms; her back was once again pressed against his chest, and she could feel his heart pounding, strong and steady. Without even thinking about it, she leaned back into that touch.

It was getting late, really. They should be going back inside.

But that would mean leaving before the serenade was over.

And leaving in the middle of a concert was very rude, indeed.



PS. For everyone who demanded a kiss, there you go :) I give you smooch-age—nothing over-the-top, but there it is. Thanks again for reading, everyone, and thanks for the great comments. Much love!