Fandom: Detective Conan
Characters: Kaito/Aoko (General series)
Word Count: 1642 words
Author's Notes: I do not own Detective Conan. It all belongs to Gosho Aoyama. I simply borrow the characters, tie them up, and dance them around like life-sized puppets. I do wish they’d stop complaining.
Summary: I wish you could see yourself the way I see you. Kaito/Aoko
Aoko hasn’t meant to tell Kaito that she loved him. It was an honest, humiliating mistakes to hear those three fateful little words pop out of her mouth in his presence. And she was left to stand with both hands clasped over her mouth and stare at him, horrified.
He was standing on the other side of the room, gaping right back at her, like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Like he couldn’t believe she would have the nerve…
And she was frozen. She didn’t even have the presence of mind to run or make an exit.
“Aoko, I…wow…” he tried to respond, but trailed off. “I…I’m flattered…”
She winced at that word. Flattered. That meant (to her now frantic mind) that it was really very sweet of her to notice how awesome and amazing he was—now would she please get in line and join the ranks of his other fangirls?
Kaito opened his mouth again to speak, but she cut him off. “Please don’t say anything—I already know what you’re going to say.” At his blank look, she added, “You’re going to tell me to leave, right?” She was proud that her voice trembled only a little bit. “Or you’re going to laugh at me?”
The stunned expression had faded away at her words; now he looked absolutely bewildered. “No, I’m not. Why would I…Aoko, what are you talking about?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say anything,” she babbled on, feeling ready to cry.
She was so wrapped up in her stammering disclaimers that she barely noticed that he had made his way across the room. When his hands grabbed her shoulders, she jumped. “Calm down,” he said firmly. “Don’t freak out on me.”
Aoko dropped her gaze to study the pattern on his T-shirt. “Kaito…I’m sorry.”
Her eyes snapped back up. “What?”
“Why are you sorry?” he asked, a bit more gently this time. “Are you sorry that you have feelings for me? Or are you sorry that you told me about it? Or are you more scared than sorry?”
Now she gaped at him. “How do you do that?”
“Look right through me. Manage to get everything in perspective like that for me,” she whispered.
Kaito smiled. “I just know you that well.” He paused, then added, “You’re scared, right?” At her mute nod, he pressed, “Because you think I won’t want anything to do with you or something like that?” Another nod of assent. He snorted. “Baka. Why would I do that?”
“Because it’ll be all weird, won’t it?” she replied, gesturing nervously with her hands. “Because you know how I feel, and there’s no way you could possibly feel anything like that about me—“
He cut her off. “Why not?”
“Why not what?” This conversation was starting to sound like a broken record.
“Why is there no way for me to feel anything for you?” he elaborated.
She stared at him like he had just grown an arm out of his forehead and flipped her the bird with it. “Do you want that list alphabetically? There’s a ton of reasons.”
“…such as?” he let go of her and crossed his arms. One dark eyebrow arched in obvious amusement as he waited for her answer.
For some reason, the fact that he seemed to find this funny enraged her. But she kept a lid on her temper and crossed her own arms in an echo of his posture, more in defiance than anything else. “Such as? I’m loud, I’m always saying mean crap to you, I chase you with a mop, I’m as far from ladylike as you can possibly get, I look like a boy—“
He had been listening as she tallied off each point. But it wasn’t until that last that he interrupted her. “You speak your mind, you tell me when I’m being stupid, you keep me in line, ladylike is really boring, and you do not look like a boy. Congratulations—you are wrong on all counts.”
“Have you looked at me?” Aoko huffed. “And why is ladylike boring?”
“Yes, I have looked at you, and I have no objections to looking at you more,” he said airily. “And ladylike is boring because it doesn’t seem to allow for fun. All prim and proper…blech!” He made a face. “No thank you. If I want a doormat, I’ll go to a hardware store and buy one. I’d rather have a woman.”
Aoko decided that he had a point on that count. But on the other issue…she really didn’t want to stand there all night and tell him about her own insecurities. She had already made enough of an idiot of herself tonight. No sense in doing any further damage. “You know…I should go.” She started to back up with the intention of making a quick exit.
But he wasn’t having any of it. She didn’t expect Kaito’s face to change so quickly—it went from his usual calm, teasing expression to a shuttered look. She could now longer read him. And she certainly didn’t expect him to stalk forward and grab her wrist. She instinctively tried to pull away, and he replied by pulling her back, spinning her to press her back against his chest.
…and then he put his hands over her eyes.
Aoko went from panicked to bewildered in point-two seconds. “Kaito? What are you doing?”
“Why don’t you think you’re pretty?”
She sighed; he was too damn persistent sometimes. “I just don’t see myself that way. I mean, do you look in the mirror and think you’re hot?”
There was a pause before he replied. “Well, I am definitely aware that I am not totally unfortunate looking. And I am nowhere near as hard on myself as you are,” he replied delicately.
“You look in the mirror and think to yourself, ‘Damn, I’m fine’? You’re serious?”
“I just killed your entire argument, didn’t I?” Now Kaito sounded very amused.
“Why are you holding onto my face?” she countered, deftly changing the subject.
Given their positions relative to each other, Aoko found herself being pulled along when Kaito started moving. She nearly fell over at the sudden motion, but managed to keep herself upright as she was half-dragged along to…wherever it was that he was taking her.
She knew Kaito’s house as well as she knew her own, so she was able to get some sort of a bearing on their location. But if they were where she thought they were when he stopped…what the hell?
But sure enough, when he pulled his hands away from her eyes…they were standing in the bathroom, in front of the mirror. He was behind her, half-trapping her between his own body and the vanity counter. And he was grinning.
She sighed and rolled her eyes at him via her reflection. “Kaito, what are you doing?”
“Proving a point,” he said cheerily.
“And what point could you possibly be proving by dragging me in here by the face?” she asked, then quirked a brow. “Other than the fact that you are extremely weird.”
He seemed unfazed by her jibe. “I want you to look at yourself. Take a really good look. How can you tell me that you don’t think you’re pretty? I want to know…because I don’t understand.”
“Kaito…” she was really taken aback at how hard he was really hammering this point. He seemed genuinely…was offended the right word?—offended that she didn’t see herself the same way he did. But…if he was so intent on this…what did that mean about his feelings for her? Could he like her? Or was he just acting as a friend, concerned about her seeming lack of confidence? It certainly was possible to think another person was attractive without feeling anything for them…but on the flip-side, couldn’t a person’s feelings make the object of his affections seem beautiful in his eyes, no matter the reality? So much seemed to be held in the eye of the beholder…
“Come on, Aoko,” he said, the faintest note of pleading in his tone.
She sighed. “Kaito, just forget it.”
He looked disappointed. “I wish you could see yourself the way I see you.”
“I obviously don’t.”
He was quiet for a minute before he said, “Smile.”
As she processed this strange request, he slid both his arms around her waist and let his chin rest on her shoulder in a close, intimate position.
Now a little bit nervous, she obliged…sort of—a little half-smile. “Why should I smile?”
He grinned at her reflection. “You should smile because you’re beautiful.”
She turned her head to look at him, no little surprised that he would just come out and say something like that; he shifted as well, moving so he could look straight at her, still holding her. They were no strangers to physical proximity, but now they were almost close enough to…actually, they were close enough to…but would he—did he—could he possibly want to…?
Apparently he did—he moved his head forward and kissed her.
For the life of her, Aoko couldn’t quite remember how to breathe.
When they parted, she gaped at him for a few seconds. Then, slowly, the biggest smile imaginable made its way onto her face. She probably looked like an idiot…but he seemed pleased, and he nudged her gaze back to the mirror. “There. Beautiful.”
Aoko still wasn’t sure if she was pretty or not. She was her own worst critic, after all. But maybe she was…whatever the case, she was beautiful in Kaito’s eyes. And somehow, until she could find a way to look through his eyes and see what it was that he saw in her, she decided that his opinion was the only one that really, truly mattered.
PS. I promised fyliwionvilyaer a fic detailing Kaito and Aoko’s first kiss about a hundred years ago…and I’m finally delivering. YAYNESS! And I also want to shout out to magic_truth, who inspired a certain part of this story. I wanted to write angst, but the Kaito and Aoko hand puppets were just feeling too damn cheery for it—yes, I said hand puppets. What, you think these stories write themselves? And now that everyone thinks I am totally weird, I’m going to go to bed.
Thanks for reading, all! Much love!