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29 April 2007 @ 02:26 pm
Don't Fear the Reaper (40 Nights: Kaito/Aoko)  
Title: Don’t Fear the Reaper
Fandom: Detective Conan/Magic Kaitou
Author: Candyland
Theme: #27—I’m soulless without you
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: You have to collect her before it’s too late.



They were watching him. Kaito knew they were.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t see them. And that made it extremely difficult to ascertain exactly who they were. That didn’t change the fact that he knew they were staring at him, studying him. Coupled with the fact that he had no idea where he was or what had happened to him…

He was very uneasy, though he kept his expression neutral. That was the power of Poker Face.

Still, he couldn’t quite keep himself from raising an eyebrow when they spoke—or it spoke. There was one voice, though he could feel several presences. The voice was neither male nor female, and he sincerely doubted that it was even human. And only his remarkable self control kept him from bending, breaking, and going to his knees at the sheer power in that voice—definitely not human.

“Your time is not yet done,” the Voice (as Kaito was already mentally labeling it) said, echoing through the expansive space of gray-blue-white nothingness around them. “It is not yet your turn to stand before us. You should not be here.”

Kaito collected himself quickly and tightened Poker Face just a tad before looking up. He couldn’t see them, but he knew they were there. He folded his arms across his chest and kicked in the slightest bit of attitude. “I was kinda hoping you could tell me what happened. I’m not really clear on the details myself.”

The Voice spoke again. “Or perhaps you do not wish to remember.”

“What do you—“ Kaito started to ask, but the words dropped off as something fell into place. He remembered the squealing of rubber on concrete and the sound of an explosion and the strange sensation that something was wrong…

And then he realized that he was still being addressed. “You have to collect her before it’s too late,” the Voice intoned. “It is your responsibility now.” There was no doubt as to what that statement really was: a dismissal. But one word of that statement gave him serious pause and caused no little alarm.

“Wait!” he demanded angrily. “What do you mean? What’s going on?” He was proud of himself; the words came out with much more courage and bravado than he actually felt. His hands tightened into fists at his sides. And he waited for an explanation.

“It was a mistake,” the Voice said. “It wasn’t supposed to be you.”

There was a flare of white-hot light, so strong that Kaito’s mask broke. He cried out in alarm and threw his arms up in front of his face to protect himself as it washed over him. And yet the Voice’s last words kept replaying at him. What did that mean? It wasn’t supposed to be you…

As the ground dropped out from under him and he plummeted downwards (it was a frightening experience when there was no glider to catch him), it all locked together. He remembered where he had been, he remembered what had happened, and with that he understood…

It was a mistake. It wasn’t supposed to be me.

It was supposed to be Aoko.


Though he couldn’t see anything, he could sense something approaching beneath him at an alarming rate. He figured it to be the ground—if he hit it at this speed, it could hurt…but he didn’t know if it would or not because…

I wasn’t supposed to die.

…she was.

-o-


She was crying.

And from the looks of it, she’d been crying for a while.

Kaito was standing in front of the closed bedroom door. He was unable to move, to speak, to do anything by stare at her. And it seemed that she couldn’t see him, even though he was right in front of her. She was sitting on the edge of her bed, feet flat on the floor in front of her, with a pillow clutched in her lap. Her chin rested on the pillow; eyes that bore every sign of weeping stared straight ahead into the seemingly-empty darkness around her.

Straight at him.

Straight through him.

He was willing to bet that all she saw was the door behind him.

Watching her like that…hearing her hoarse breathing and hiccups and knowing why she was sobbing like that…his heart may have ceased to beat, but that didn’t stop it from aching at the sight and the knowledge that she was crying for him…

When she really should be crying for herself.

He was to collect her. The error that had taken him couldn’t be remedied, and his misbegotten fate couldn’t be reversed. But Aoko…it was her time. The Voice, by some power, had left him with no illusions as to what would happen to her if her destiny was not fulfilled. He knew. If she was left here, she would eventually die, but it would be a slow, painful, and very drawn-out death. Her soul would disintegrate, leaving her to rot from the inside out. When she did expire…there would be nothing left.

That was the only reason he had even been able to bring himself here. He was the mistake, and it had been left to him to correct it. If he left her, when she would be destroyed…and he didn’t want her to have to suffer like that when he had the power to make it happen quickly and painlessly. And…if that did happen, she would be gone for good. Call it a bit selfish, but he wanted her with him.

What made it all the worse was that he could already see and feel it starting. Added to her sadness and grief…she wouldn’t last long, though it would be painful nonetheless. Her spirit, her soul…her essence was deteriorating within her. It would happen soon.

But…still, he couldn’t just do it to her without her knowing what was happening and why. It was because of this that he was alarmed that she couldn’t see him—then he couldn’t talk to her. There had to be a way for her to know that he was there…

Aoko, I don’t want to hurt you, he sighed to himself. I just want to talk to you…to protect you…to keep you with me. I know it’s selfish, but…I will take you to save you. I just hope that you won’t hate me for it… The thought trailed off as he looked up…

…and realized that she had let go of the pillow. It fell to the floor without a sound, but Aoko didn’t seem to notice it. She was staring at him—not through him, but at him. Her face said it all: eyes wide enough to take up her whole face, the beginnings of tears reappearing, mouth slightly open with trembling chin. His suspicions were confirmed when she breathed his name. “Kaito…”

He nodded slowly, inching towards her. “Hey, Aoko.”

“But you—you’re—“ she gaped as he came within reach.

“I know.”

“Why are you here?” she half-sobbed.

“Aoko, there’s a reason I came to see you,” he began

“Kaito, you—the car…” she choked…but she didn’t move away as he knelt before her.

“It was a mistake,” he said softly, echoing the Voice’s earlier words. He was reaching towards her now, his fingers brushing across her faces, tracing the shape of her cheeks; he’d half-expected to go right through her, and was relieved that he could touch her and that she let him do so. But even as careful as he was, she shivered at the touch, though she did not back away from it.

“Kai—“

“I wasn’t supposed to die, Aoko,” he went on, cutting her off, though not harshly. His voice stayed level, his words as gentle as possible given the circumstances; his years of perfecting his self-control served him well now. “This wasn’t supposed to happen. It was a mistake. A big stupid mistake.”

“A…mistake?”

“Yes,” he nodded. He’d taken her face in both hands, one on either side; he was well aware that his touch was probably like ice against her skin. “I wasn’t supposed to die—it wasn’t supposed to be me.” He let that hang in the air and waited while she thought it over.

“Then…who?”

He said nothing; he let the look speak for him.

And she got the message. “Oh my god…”

He didn’t say anything else, knowing she would inevitably ask.

“Kaito…” she said after a minute of silence, “…why are you here?”

He shouldn’t have been surprised, really. She did know him better than anyone else. Even though she couldn’t see through all the layers of his masks, she could frequently read him. Now was one of those times that he sincerely wished she couldn’t. “Aoko…it wasn’t supposed to be me who died today.”

“I know—you said that.”

“Well…it’s like this…” he tried to just say it, but his tongue froze in his mouth. “Aoko, I don’t want to…I have to…” At her earnest look of encouragement, he took a deep breath and just let it out. “I have to take you back with me.”

“…what?”

“You were supposed to die today, Aoko. And they sent me to…correct the error.” There. He had said it. Now he just had to brace himself for the reaction. He waited while she processed it…

And he saw the realization hit home. “Kaito…” her eyes widened with the shock and horror of that awful comprehension. “No…Kaito, no…” The tears spilled anew, and there were a great many of them.

“Shhh…it’s all right,” he whispered.

“But—“

“It’ll be all right,” he tried desperately to reassure her, but now that she understood she was starting to panic. She was frightened—not that he blamed her, he was probably just as scared as she was—but still he kept talking to her, touching her face and pressing his forehead against hers, breathing nonsensical words of comfort into her ear, trying to soothe the pain that he knew he had caused…

And Aoko clung to him fiercely, with all the force of her fear, her grief, and her loneliness. The shock of seeing him die, coupled with the understanding that it was supposed to be her and the reason why he was here now…she broke and cried against him. He just held her…she didn’t resist when he leaned into her a little bit, using the hand on her back to reel her back onto the bed as gently as possible.

His initial reason for this was that he wanted to just hold her for a while.

But he didn’t know he was kissing her until well after he’d started and realized that she was returning the favor with desperate enthusiasm. Her fingers dug into his shoulders, and again he was thankful that he was solid and corporal.

It lasted a long time. But he jerked back when he felt the slightest pull. He had to hurry, there was no time left. He lifted himself onto his elbows and looked down at her; she looked back at him with those same eyes. “Aoko, you have to come with me.”

“But—“ It seemed that the whole of her vocabulary had been reduced to monosyllabic stutters.

“If I leave you here, like this,” he said, his voice finally shaking, “you’ll die. It’ll be painful, and after it happens…you’ll be gone. For good. There’ll be nothing left.”

She stared at him. “No…Kaito, no…I can’t…”

“You have to—there’s no time left,” he replied simply, honestly. “Maybe I’m selfish, but…” he took a deep breath, “…but I don’t want to lose you. Especially not like this. I want you with me.” He smiled at the way her eyes grew wide. “I want us to be together.”

Aoko swallowed hard…and nodded once, the slightest possible move of the head.

He smiled—such a sad look—and leaned back, pushing himself off the bed to stand up.

“Kaito…I’m scared…” she whimpered softly, knowing that he already knew.

“I know,” he affirmed in a whisper. “Just come with me.” He took both of her hands in his and pulled her upright. “It’s okay, there’s nothing to be scared of…” He pulled a little more and she rose to her feet…ignorant of the fact that her body remained behind, laid out on the bed. “I’m with ya. It’s okay.”

“Kaito—where are we going?” she followed him, letting him lead her by the hands.

“Away,” he whispered. “Far away.”

“Together?”

“Together.”

She loved him. She trusted him.

And she followed him.

-o-


Aoko’s death would be a shock—there were immediate rumors of suicide because she of what she had witnessed the day before: she had seen her lifelong best friend struck by a car and killed. But those were firmly quelled when a subsequent autopsy revealed no visible medical causes of death. It was as if she had lay down on her bed and simply stopped breathing.

The doctor confided a personal theory to the distraught father, however. In some strange way, it was almost soothing to the grieving parents to consider why this might have happened, though nothing could have taken away the pain of losing a child like that.

Sometimes, the doctor whispered, a person just couldn’t survive the pain of a broken heart. And at least they’d be together now—neither would have to be alone there.

If only they knew.




PS. My dear friend Rachie was telling me about this show she’s getting into (that I can’t remember the name of right now) that follows a Grim Reaper premise. I took it, played with it, and lo, there was angst. So on we go. Hopefully, I’m not encroaching on jeva_chan's territory...or fyliwionvilyaer's. Thanks for reading, all. Much love!