QUESTION

a MAGIC KAITO fanfic by MEG

Magic Kaito does not belong to her. She's just goofing off with them.

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Later he woke up and thought about his response -- or rather he woke up at three am night after night and writhed over it, although he never writhed over anything, he was too logical and why should he care about a sarcastic response to a serious question? It was just the first time someone had refused to answer him, that was it, it was not that he was confused by the answer he had been given, not at all.

"Why do you do this?"

"Isn't it your job to find that out?"

His job was to find out how they had did it, and when and where, not to find out why. He understood, in theory, that criminals had motives for what they did, and that motives were quite important in court, because a murderer who was driven to it by love or hatred or revenge often got lighter sentences than those who looked at someone and took their lives simply because they could. He wasn't sure why; it had something to do with mercy, or people feeling sorry for the criminals.

He did not understand. It irritated him that he had to ask why they did what they did, but he asked them anyway. He had to; the curiosity drove him mad otherwise. It was like some part of him felt that if he only had enough data he could finally solve the problem. Why criminals do what they do. By Hakuba Saguru. And then he could finally stop asking them, because he could put it in logical terms like he did everything else, and he would know without doubt that Murderer A had killed Victim B because they had cheated him in a business deal, or broken his daughter's heart.

"Isn't it your job to find that out?"

It wasn't so much the response that bothered him, although it was bad enough; it was the look on his face when he said it. Bitter and amused, like someone had finally asked him but was not worth the answer. Make yourself worthy of it, the look said. Then I'll tell you, when you know. And it woke him up at night after dreams where he finally caught him and the answer was about to be given and then that same bitter smile passed his face and he faded into smoke.

Then one day they were talking about the Kid in class [a frequent occupation, if a pointless one] and he mentioned that conversation.

Kuroba turned and looked at him, all easy grace draped over his chair, and that same bitter smile passed his face.

That was when he knew for sure.

But before he had time to even think about it, the look melted from Kuroba's face and a bright mocking look replaced it, like a mask put on of a class clown, someone without a care in the world except avoiding mops, and he said, "Well, Hakuba. Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer."

He nearly wiped that mask off Kuroba's face for him. It wasn't a stupid question. It wasn't.

Was it?

He thought about it more and more, thoughts tripping over each other like rabbits fleeing before Watson. He didn't understand. He wanted to understand. If he didn't want to understand, he wouldn't ask the question.

Why would he steal?

And finally the answer -- or maybe just an answer, he didn't know, came to him. He thought about it, and thought about it some more, and finally one day at a heist he called out to the Kid. "I have another question."

"Yes?" That bitter smile again. Not that question again, it said. Stupid decective, stupid logic, what do you know? What do you understand?

"Did you lose something? Is that why you steal? To take it back?"

The bitterness faded, to be replaced with sorrow.

"Yes."

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... and thank you, Hakuba, for beating me over the head with this. ______ Damn pervy kaitou fancier.