Fandom: Detective Conan/Magic Kaitou
Theme: #37—threads of fate
Pairing: Kuroba Kaito/Nakamori Aoko
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’s Valentine’s Day, and…Aoko, are you jealous?
As far as Valentine’s Days went, thus far this had definitely NOT been one of the best.
The big issue, as usual, was Kaito, though for slightly different reasons than the norm.
Well, no, that wasn’t fair. It wasn’t Kaito that was the problem so much as Kaito’s fan club. He was handsome, funny, smart—the resident class clown who still pulled perfect grades. In short, he really was just one of those guys that everyone noticed. Especially the girls.
So she had sat on the sidelines, watching as the others plied her best friend with chocolate. She observed silently as they all groaned and scattered when sensei came in and demanded quiet and attention. She noticed all the looks being shipped his way during lessons.
In her own desk, her own chocolate waited patiently to be gifted.
Of course, it had turned out to be one hell of a long day, hadn’t it? Cleaning duty was always an interesting job when one was scheduled with Kaito. Aoko was quite proud of her mop skills, both in cleaning and in more energetic exercises, so it wasn’t a horrendous task.
But she was ready to strangle the girls who thought it was a brilliant idea to lurk around the classroom to “help.” Unfortunately, their definition of help was very different from Aoko’s. Aoko had always thought that “help” meant you offered someone assistance with a task. Apparently, the other girls thought “help” referred to hanging around and flirting shamelessly with Kaito.
Her irritation came out in her cleaning. The classroom floor had never looked shinier.
But now, finally, she had a moment alone with her longtime best friend. He was seeing her home after they’d finished in the classroom. It was getting late, and she knew that her father always got so concerned when she was out after dark, even if it was with someone as trustworthy as Kaito. Plus, it was nearing dinnertime.
That damn candy was burning a hole in her pocket. Better late than never, or so the saying went.
Aoko stopped. He didn’t notice right away.
“Kaito?” she said softly, fidgeting.
He paused, turned, and smiled. “What’s up?”
He was always smiling.
Damn him and his smile…and damn him if that smile ever went away.
“Here,” she held out the small wrapped box she had been waiting all day to give him. Chocolate—his favorite, she knew. “I know it’s late, but today isn’t over yet. So…Happy Valentine’s Day.”
He stared at the little package, blinked, and then an enormous grin broke on his face. “Awesome!” he plucked it from her fingers. “Thank you! You’re the best friend ever!” Humming happily to himself, he set about diving into the candy with unadulterated joy.
Aoko watched him quietly. For as distant as he could be sometimes, at other times it was so easy to make him so happy. Do something as simple as giving him chocolate, and he instantly reverted to a five-year-old child, all wide eyes and big smiles. But she felt a slight, inexplicable twang at his words: You’re the best friend ever. Friend—what a word.
“Why did you wait ‘till so late, anyway?” he asked as they continued on their way; he was still munching cheerily on his newest chocolate acquisition. Sometimes she wondered if he even cared about the holiday; chances were that he probably was just happy that people were giving him chocolate.
“I couldn’t get you alone!” she huffed, crossing her arms and giving him a glare without much force behind it. “You’re a magician—can’t you make your stupid fan club disappear or something so I can talk to you once in a while?”
Rather than snap back with his usual witty retort, Kaito paused in his rapid consumption of the chocolate and gave her a measuring Look before a sort of comprehension seemed to dawn; his jaw dropped ever so slightly and his eyes grew in size. “Aoko…were you jealous?” he asked in an incredulous whisper.
Aoko whipped around so fast he was afraid she would hurt herself. “B-baka!” she stammered, feeling her face turn a fluorescent shade of pink. “Why would I be jealous?” Waving a hand as if to brush the allegations aside, she quickened her pace to breeze ahead of him. “What do I care if you wanna go mess around with your fan club girls?”
Kaito’s footsteps sped up, and a second later he appeared next to her…one arm slinging itself around her shoulders. “Aww, come on, Aoko, don’t be like that,” he cajoled her. “It’s okay for you to want me!!” He knew her better than anyone else, really. But he was teasing her now about something that she held very close to her heart, and it hurt probably more than it should have.
She refused to look at him and remained silent.
“…Aoko?” he said her name again, but his voice had changed. The teasing note was gone, replaced by a more serious tone and a faint thread of worry. He gave her shoulders a squeeze. “I was just kidding. I didn’t know it was…aw, hell…” He sighed, then had a rare moment of hesitation before he asked, “Were you jealous of them?”
Aoko didn’t answer. It wouldn’t matter if she did or not, whether she admitted to it or she didn’t. Kaito would know, no matter what. He always did—he could read her like a book. So she remained silent and did her best to bury her feelings while she waited for him to react. She was almost afraid of how he was going to react…
“…why?” he asked.
She stopped dead in her tracks and gaped at him. “Excuse me?”
“Why were you jealous of them?” he repeated, all innocence and curiosity.
Aoko couldn’t believe her ears. He was actually asking…did he really not know? She studied him carefully; he looked sincere enough, but he was a good actor, she knew, and so she couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. Did he still not have a clue, even after this new revelation? “You…you really don’t know?”
He smiled. “Well, I can guess ‘till the cows come home, and I’m pretty sure I could guess right, but I’d rather you tell me,” he said airily, like it was something that should be wholly obvious. “And besides, you know what they say about when you assume—makes an ass out of you and me!”
Aoko snorted, but turned her head once again so she didn’t have to look at him. This was not supposed to be happening… “It’s not important. Don’t worry about it.” Don’t stop smiling…
There were several things she potentially expected him to do at that point. But she definitely didn’t expect him to stop in his tracks—and she was forced to stop with him because of the arm still slung over her shoulders—and pull her into a tight, all-encompassing hug, right there in the middle of the sidewalk.
Aoko was too startled to remember to breathe at first. “K-Kaito?” she asked. In the meantime, her arms moved of their own accord to slip around him and return the hug with just as much force.
“You can tell me when you’re ready,” he said softly into her ear, his voice strangely soothing to her cacophonous nerves. “But you don’t have to be jealous. You’re Aoko, and they’re not. It’s as simple as that. No reason to be jealous.”
Even behind his infamous Poker Face, she could feel something—there was some unknown thing crackling desperately to come out into the open, but he was far too controlled for that. But…she believed him. He might have been an idiot, but he had always been an honest idiot.
Far too soon, he loosened his hold and released her. He was smiling just like he always did. “Come on, we need to get you home before your father decides to come after me with that shotgun!” He grabbed her hand and started half-pulling her down the sidewalk.
Aoko, walking along beside him, stared at their joined hands, and then up at him. He was all smiles and cheer, like nothing had changed at all. Like he hadn’t just half-forced her to admit that she was jealous when other girls flirted with him.
Like he wasn’t holding her hand…
She sighed and smiled. Kaito really was…well, Kaito. Nothing more, nothing less. But the way he was acting…was there that red thread of Fate between them, that bond she had always heard so much about? She really didn’t know for certain.
Maybe she’d find out another day.
PS. Ack…pointless waff…I tried to resist, but for Valentine’s Day, it just had to be done. Now that National Make Single People Feel Like Shit Day is over, I can get to the lovely angst!! Hope you liked the fluffy stuff. Now I’m going to go depressing. Thanks, all. Much love!!