Disclaimer: As usual, I'm just borrowing Gosho Aoyama's genius and taking the characters out to play. I don't own any of this, so don't sue me; you wouldn't get much more than a basket of laundry anyways. ^_^ Enjoy this weird bit of reading!



In Vino Veritas
by Becky Tailweaver


Part 6

During lunchtime, Aoko just wanted to be by herself. It didn't help that Kaito had gone all quiet and concerned over her--he did that often enough when he seemed to realize something was wrong--because it just made her feel worse. Guiltier. He was worried about her and it was because of something so stupid and horrible and mortifying and all her fault.

She wanted to be alone. The only good place she knew of was the roof, where almost nobody went because there was nothing up there. Which was just fine with her; she was perfectly content to be all by herself while trying not to think about last night.

The only problem was that Kaito wouldn't stop following her. He traced her footsteps all the way to the roof, still as silent as ever--and for some reason that unnerved her, because he was never this quiet--and staying just a few feet behind her. She stopped just outside the roof access door, hands fisted at her sides; if she was going to wallow in misery, she wanted to do it in private.

"What do you want?" she finally demanded in a low voice, not looking at him--she couldn't bear to look at him. "Leave me alone!"

She could hear him push the door shut behind him. "C'mon, what'sa matter, Aoko? You've been mad all morning--did I do something yesterday?"

"No." It wasn't his fault, it was hers. She didn't want him to be apologetic for something he didn't do. "It's got nothing to do with you."

"Yeah, but..." There was the slightest hesitation in his voice. "It's still got you upset, right? Doesn't that mean it's got something to do with me?"

"It's none of your business." She didn't have the heart to chase him. Not when she felt like this. "It's really nothing. I was just really sick this morning."

"Huh..." She heard the rustle of his clothes as he moved, the scrape of a tennis shoe. "And here I thought it was somethin' serious. I had a headache the size of Fuji this morning, and you don't see me throwing a fit all over the place. Sissy."

The mocking tone of his voice snapped something loose in her, and she whirled at him with all the fury that she usually put behind a mop. "You shut up! You didn't get drunk and kiss a wanted criminal--!"

She was looking straight at him when she realized what she was saying--snapping her jaw shut quickly, but not quickly enough. She saw the flicker in his eyes and felt her heart shatter to pieces, clapping a hand over her mouth and turning away again so she wouldn't have to look at him.

There was a long silence. "You kissed somebody?" he asked, oddly quiet.

"Shut up."

"Hey...you said you were drunk, right?" he went on as if trying to cheer her up, though she could barely make out a faint tremor in his voice. "Everybody does stupid things when they're drunk. It doesn't really count..."

"Just shut up!" she cried. "You have no idea!"

"Then tell me," he said, and she jumped because he was right behind her and she hadn't even heard him move.

"If it had been anybody else..." she said hoarsely. "Anybody else...wouldn't be so awful..." She swallowed. "I can't tell you. You'll laugh at me. You'll think I'm stupid--"

"I already think you're stupid, baka," he drawled, stepping around in front of her, trying to catch her eyes. "Just telling me what happened isn't going to change my opinion."

"You jerk!" Her eyes flashed up at him, angry, and he suddenly grinned.

"There's my Aoko again! You're more like yourself when you're mad, y'know."

Taken aback, she stared at him, feeling a flush heat her cheeks. My Aoko...?

"So who's this 'wanted criminal' you kissed, anyway?" he went on cheerfully. "Don't tell me you got into your dad's stash down at his office and started flirting with the--"

"It's nothing like that, you baka!" she all but shrieked, flushing beet red. "It wasn't some thug off the street! It was Kaitou Kid!"

She quailed the instant she realized she'd just blurted everything out again. Real smooth--and she hadn't wanted to let anyone know about her "little indiscretion."

Kaito's eyes were rather large for a moment, but he quickly recovered and grinned at her. "Well, at least I know you've got good taste, Aoko."

She couldn't decide if she wanted to hit him or just go jump off the roof. Instead, she settled for starting to cry--and even though she fought it with everything she had, she couldn't stop the tears from coming up. "You...you...you insensitive baka...!"

She didn't expect his grin to disappear so quickly at the sight of her tears. "Hey, I--I didn't mean it like that--I just thought...I mean I didn't...aw hell..."

"You don't even care that I made a total idiot of myself." She could only stand there and let the tears roll down her cheeks, unable to look up at him. "With my father's worst enemy."

Kaito's voice was just a bit hoarse too. "I...I'm sure the Kid doesn't think you're an idiot. You were drunk--"

She only flinched. "It's not as if I didn't know who he was. I knew, and I still did it. Me, not him. I just...wanted to."

He was very quiet for a long time--so long that she began to wonder what was wrong with him. "Why?"

I'm just supposed to know why--just like that?

Feeling stricken, Aoko turned away again, drifting closer to the wall. "I don't know! I just don't know...!" She began to cry harder, and Kaito looked even more worried and miserable than before, as the words poured out of her between gulps and sobs. "It's so stupid--I was so mad at him because he's so much more than anyone else--he always gets away, he can't ever be caught--but I caught him last night and I can't believe how stupid that sounds now... I can't even explain it--he's so...infuriating and..." She couldn't read his face any more--it had gone closed-up in a way she'd never seen. He stepped closer to her, and she wished she could retreat but the wall was in the way.

"If you hate him so much," Kaito said, his voice very soft and very low, "why did you kiss him?"

"I told you I don't know," she husked. "I was just gonna catch him first--I only grabbed him. But then...then I felt..."

"A pull."

"Yeah. Something like...that..." She glanced at him, slightly startled that he hadn't asked--only stated as if it were fact. That small surprise helped her swallow a gulp of tears, and she took a shaky breath. "I think it was because he makes me mad almost like you do--I can't ever catch you either..."

He was just looking at her, steadily, and she reddened as she realized how her words had sounded. "I just wanted to do it because I thought no one else could," she blurted suddenly, even startling herself. "And he let me do it. He could've gotten away but he didn't--and--and..." And it was like I knew him somehow--familiar, like someone I met in a dream... He felt...dangerous...but safe to me...the whole time, I wasn't afraid--not until he left...

Kaito still wasn't saying anything, and it was unnerving her.

"Go ahead and laugh," she finally said, unable to meet his gaze any more. "I'm an idiot. I got completely sloshed and kissed the Kid in the women's bathroom. And now if anybody finds out they'll think I'm a complete tramp and my dad'll never forgive me and I already feel like the scum of the earth because I just...I just wish...it had been anybody but him...!"

"Anybody but him?"

"Yes!" she cried. "I could stand it if only I didn't make such a complete fool and hypocrite out of myself--"

"I told you, baka," he said roughly, interrupting her. "The way things were last night, one little kiss doesn't mean anything. Nobody's gonna hold something like that over your head--least of all the Kid. He was the one being a royal rat bastard if he didn't stop you in the first place--and you were drunk, so it doesn't count if you don't want it to."

"'Doesn't count?'" she railed. "You can say that so easily--you didn't give your first kiss to an international criminal--!"

Kaito's eyes flashed. He moved so abruptly that she cut off with a gasp--and she was suddenly pinned against the wall behind her, trapped in a manner so familiar that flashbacks of the night before spun through her mind in an instant of panic. He snared one of her arms before she could move; her other hand latched into his sleeve at the shoulder, but there was such sudden strength in him that she couldn't budge him--and though it had all happened so fast and so jarringly she was never hurt, not even a bump. She stared up at him in shock, startled at his closeness and the look in his eyes, but somehow still unable to be really afraid of him.

Then he kissed her.

Everything flew out of her mind when he pressed his mouth to hers, hard and assertive and almost angry. She thought she could taste something almost minty, but before she could capture it he was gone, drawing back just far enough to look directly at her, all but glaring.

"There," he said, rough and just above a whisper. "That one counts."

Under normal circumstances, she would have clobbered him--but she could hardly breathe. Under normal circumstances, she would have thrown him across the roof and gone for her mop--but even when she'd pushed with all her strength against him, he hadn't moved an inch. It was even more of a shock than when he'd trapped her against the wall--because she hadn't been expecting anything like this. Not from Kaito.

He'd been her best friend for so long that she had, on some level, forgotten that he was male. He was someone so comfortable and familiar to her that the particular element of caution which she always felt around others of his gender had all but disappeared with him, save for habitual responses when he flipped her skirt or insulted her figure. After all, he wasn't a boy--he was Kaito, right? He would never hurt her--not the way other males might.

But he had just kissed her--and that changed everything.

So close to him now, with his breath tickling her face and his nose mere inches from her own, she was suddenly realizing just what a boy he was--quickly becoming aware of his greater height, the bolder features of his face, the width of his shoulders, the deeper resonance of his voice, the lean, solid strength of the muscle under her hand...all the things that made masculine different from feminine--things that left her feeling suddenly more vulnerable than she'd ever felt before.

Not afraid--never afraid, with him--but strangely defenseless now that she'd realized that he was a boy and she was a girl and he'd just kissed her. He was not the lifelong best friend that she could chase with a mop; he was Kaito Kuroba, the boy who had kissed her, the boy who--and the thought made her heartbeat quicken--maybe...liked her...?

"Kaito...?" Her voice was barely a whisper of a quaver. Maybe she was a little afraid--not of him, but of what it could mean. Of what might be changing. Of the memories his touch invoked in her.

His brows lowered just a bit. "You were drunk last night--so the kiss with Kid doesn't count. Mine does."

A tingly warmth spread from her stomach all the way up to her suddenly-pounding heart; the way he said the last part, the tone of his voice--commanding, even posessive, as if he was making his own kiss her first by his will alone. As if he was stealing her first kiss back from the Kid himself, because he didn't want anyone else to have it...

The thought that he cared about her so much that he would make this leap, would risk so much, would claim her kiss...it made gratitude and affection well up like a spring inside her, as she remembered how dear to her he was--how much she really loved him, forever and ever as long as she could remember, and it made her heart skip and sing to think that he would like her that way, and even though it seemed so new and startling it felt like she'd been waiting an eternity to know that he might love her too...

She stared at him, her blushing cheeks even brighter against the paleness of her face, as she realized he was trying to make her forget what she'd done last night--trying to somehow erase her guilt and shame and humiliation. As if he could simply make it not be, like a disappearing rabbit from one of his magic tricks.

Knowing how he felt about her, even if she was only just beginning to understand it...it just made the horrible feeling inside her even worse. What she'd done last night--it was a betrayal, even if she hadn't known it then. If only she'd waited one more day--oh God, only a few more dark hours of a night--then she could have given her first kiss to this precious, caring, wonderful young man who was her best friend and something more...

She realized she was still crying--tears pouring down her cheeks like mountain streams. "You...you can't just...make it go away..."

"Why not?" His jaw tightened and his arm tensed. "That stupid kiss in the bathroom doesn't matter. Just forget it!"

She gulped out a sob. "I'm not...I can't...!"

"Dammit, Aoko--!"

She barely had time for a breath before the arm that held her to the wall had pulled her to him, and he was holding her tight against him--kissing her again, and it was different this time. It wasn't angry any more, but desperate, demanding, and she couldn't resist the force of it, clinging to him with all the strength that was left in her.

He was kissing her with all that he was; all of Kaito, sweet and wild and magical, and suffused with something so raw that she could almost palpably feel its hurt--something so long-hidden that she could only now begin to glimpse it as he revealed it to her, and she tried to wonder why she'd never realized how much in him there was, such depth that she had never seen...

I know this--

It was like an old love song, like a long-lost friend; intensely familiar, like the beat of his heart against her own--in time with her own. She knew the heat of his body and the strength of his arms, she knew the rhythm of his kiss like she knew the blue of his eyes; he pressed and she knew what he wanted, opening her lips to him, and it was like a dance in which she already knew the steps, and knowing it made her want to go further, to carry it beyond even the last notes of the song. Strangely, none of this was new...but it still overwhelmed her, just like...

...the same...he's the same...

She was caught up in him, lost in a kiss for the second time in her life. Her senses were filled with stars and mint and night wind, familiar in a way she found herself welcoming as memories blurred with reality and she lost track of day and night, of sun-warmed concrete and cold bathroom tile, of light and dark...

He feels like magic...

And her eyes flew open as she felt the same overpowering pull of the ocean tide she'd experienced last night--a passion she could never forget that throbbed through her once again even though she was with Kaito, not Kid--

--but he felt the same, indescribably magical and wildly sweet; the same power and thrill and edge that had pulsed around the Kid and exhilarated her with its danger now swirled around Kaito like a second skin--as if a curtain had been swept aside and she was seeing all of him, not just the silly magician she had known but a young man with shadows she'd never seen, with secrets she'd never grasped...

And as she stiffened in shock and recognition he tensed; they broke apart gasping for air, her eyes welling with tears again as everything shone so wonderfully, painfully, horrifyingly clear--

"It's you," she rasped, inexplicably somewhere between collapsing in grief, leaping for joy, and screaming in fury. "It's you..."

Suddenly the enigmatic thief she had kissed last night was no longer faceless. It wasn't the Kid--it was Kaito...who was Kid...who was her best friend...who was the boy who had just kissed her so deeply they hadn't even reached the bottom of it yet...

He was just looking at her with an expression she couldn't name, his eyes open to her like they'd never been before--sorrowful, longing, dark, worried, caring...

"You jerk! You--you bastard!" she cried, trying to push away from him, raging at him. "It was you!"

She was sobbing now, beating her fists against him, trying to break away from him--but she could no more resist his strength than she could resist her own emotions. He pulled her to him again, wrapping her in his arms as if with a comforting blanket, and she couldn't hit him any more--couldn't even get away from him, but she wasn't sure she wanted to because if she left now she might never touch him again.

"Aoko...I..." His voice was so soft and low that she felt more than heard it; it was shaded with anxiety, concern, faint anguish. "I'm sorry..."

It was you... Her struggles faded, and she clung to him and cried, enraged and grieving beyond belief at the harrowing truth that had just crashed over her. Kid...Kaito, it was you...!

And somehow, deep beneath it all, aching relief welled like blood from a cleaned, healing wound--a blessed, soothing, soul-deep gladness that her first kiss had been shared with him.


The End?


AN: To be honest, everyone, this is about as far as it goes. One half says this is the end, and it's one of those hanging endings...other half says "NOOOO!!" and wants to think of something to add to this. Problem is I don't know what. Suggestions? Ideas? Demands? Anyway.....thanks for reading!