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29 April 2007 @ 01:04 pm
Picking Up the Pieces (40 Nights: Kaito/Aoko)  
Title: Picking Up the Pieces
Fandom: Detective Conan/Magic Kaitou
Author: Candyland
Theme: #29—I will never hurt you
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’s really my fault. I’m the one who keeps letting you go get your heart broken.



It had turned into another one of those evenings. Still, Kaito refused to complain, no matter how much it tore him. Instead, he focused his entire attention on Aoko, who was just getting ready to leave. “I’m really sorry to bother you again,” she was saying, and he made himself pay attention. “I didn’t think it would happen like that…” One of her hands wiped at teary eyes again as she headed for the door.

Enough was enough. How many times had she come to him like this, crying and angry? He’d lost count over the last several months, and he’d had his fill of it. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he was tired of watching his best friend fall apart. He wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her and make her see what was actually going on.

He finally let himself speak up. “Aoko,” Kaito said, feeling his tenuous hold on his temper finally start to slip, “maybe if you knew exactly what you wanted and went after it, you wouldn’t wind up with so many losers who just break your heart.” There, he’d said it. Now to brace himself for the reaction.

It came. Her head snapped around to glare at him; her eyes blazed with fury through her tears. “Kuroba Kaito, how dare you?” she hissed. “It’s none of your business, you have no right to—“

“How is it none of my business?” he snapped back. “Every single time one of those miserable asses hurts you, you come here. Every freakin’ time you get your heart broken, I’m the one who picks up the pieces and sends you off to the next loser. Hell, if anything, it’s my fault because I keep letting you go!”

Aoko slapped him. He wasn’t expecting it, and from the look on her face at the snapping sound of her palm meeting his cheek, she hadn’t been anticipating it either. His head snapped around from the force of the blow; after a second of shocked silence, one of his hands tentatively slid up to touch the reddening surface of his skin. He slowly turned his head to stare at her.

“Kaito, I—I—“ Aoko stammered. “I’m—I’m sorry—“ But by the time the actual apology had made it out, he had already turned away and was walking from the kitchen into the living room next door. He didn’t say a word.

Stunned, Aoko followed him with slow, shuffling steps. She stopped in the living room doorway; he was on the other side of the darkened room, staring out the window at the night sky that lay beyond. Aoko waited nervously for the axe that she thought was certainly going to fall.

“You don’t get it, do you?”

Aoko blinked. “Get what?”

“Do you think I’m not affected at all?” he asked in an oddly-strained voice. “Every time you come here, crying over some jackass, do you think I really want to send you back out there when I know it’s just going to happen all over again?” He turned, and through the dim light she could see that his eyes were glowing. “Do you think it doesn’t hurt me?”

“Kaito…” she said softly, feeling that all-too-familiar prickling at the corner of her eyes. Her entire body trembled as she moved into the room. “I do know what I want. I know exactly what I want. But what I want—who I want…I don’t think he wants me.” She dropped into a chair, hands clasped tightly in her lap; though she didn’t look at him, she could feel his eyes tracing her every movement. “I keep going because I convinced myself that someone else might be able to compare, but…it never works.”

“And you get hurt, every goddamn time.” Hands closed around hers in her lap, and Kaito was kneeling in front of her to meet her gaze; she couldn’t look away. “Aoko, you’re my best friend, and I’m tired of seeing you like this. Tell me—what do you want?”

Silence met his words. There was only a look that said everything.

“Aoko…” he said her name as comprehension dawned.

In spite of herself, Aoko started to cry again. “I’m sorry…I’m so sorry…”

Kaito said nothing, but pulled her against him. She put up no struggle, like an upset child being pulled into its mother’s lap. She was tired and just let herself rest with him supporting her and along with the full weight of her sadness. He was still so quiet, letting his actions speak for him instead—holding her close, one hand stroking her hair. It really was like a parent comforting a lost child.

After an eternity like that, his hands moved to her shoulders and pushed her back just enough to rest his forehead against hers before sliding his hands up to her neck, thumbs stroking invisible patterns on her cheeks. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I was scared,” she admitted.

“You were more scared of me than you were of them?” he asked, not unkindly.

“Yes…” she whispered. “Because you’re the only one who can really break my heart.”

It took him a moment to understand what she really meant. He was the only one who could break her heart because he was the one who held it. “But why go through all that? Why have anything to do with all those bastards? Dammit, Aoko…”

His head moved forward; with their foreheads pressed together, it didn’t take much to close the miniscule distance between them and claim her lips in a possessive kiss. He hadn’t meant to do it, but it just…well, it just happened. His hands stayed at the sides of her face, her hands clutching at his wrists.

When he released her, she stared at him with wide, red-rimmed eyes. “Kaito…?”

His forehead stayed tight against hers, his rushed breath warm against her lips when he spoke. “Aoko…I will never willingly hurt you. I can’t say I’ll never hurt you—that’s a fool’s promise—but I will never hurt you intentionally.”

“So…if I know exactly what I want,” she began slowly, remembering his earlier comment—the one that had sparked this entire confrontation, “I should just go after it? After him?”

“I’d advise it,” he replied.

“What if I just get hurt again?” she asked. “I couldn’t deal with that…”

“I don’t think you will. But you won’t know until you ask,” he said simply.

There was a pregnant pause. Aoko closed her eyes in thought for a long, long moment. But when she opened them again, there was a clarity there that he hadn’t seen for quite some time. She swallowed—hard—and spoke. “You…I want you. That’s all…that’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

Kaito sighed her name. “Aoko…” To her surprise, a smile cracked on his face. “Does this mean that if any of those bastards get anywhere near you, I get to beat the hell out of ‘em? Because I’ve been wanting to do that for a very, very long time now.”

Aoko returned his grin with one of her own, though hers was a bit more watery. “I think that would be fine.” She laughed the tiniest bit—a short, nervous sound that almost resembled a sob more than a chuckle. One of her hands moved up to cup the side of his face.

His thumb dragged a path down her cheek. “They’d better stay away from you—you’re mine.”

“I’ll hit them with a mop,” she dared the joke, and was rewarded when he laughed…

And kissed her again.




PS. I had another one started and was four pages into it when I realized that I wanted to take my time a bit more with it, because I really liked how and where it was going. I just don’t want to rush to finish it. So I took a break and penned some random angst-fluff for y’all. Thanks for reading, everyone!!