Poker Face

By Icka! M. Chif

+++

The first words out of Kuroba's mouth as Hakuba opened his front door were the last two he ever expected to hear out of the magician's mouth.

"Arrest me."

This caused him to freeze with the door in his hand still only part way open, just staring at the other boy. If it wasn't for the fact that he -knew- he had just seen Kuroba's lips move to speak, he would have sworn he was looking at mannequin, he was so stiff.

A part of his mind that was still functioning automatically responded for him as he attempted to sort through his shock. "You can't arrest someone for no reason."

"I'm the Godforsaken Kaitou Kid." Kuroba informed him completely expressionless, which was more terrifying than if he had been ranting and screaming at the top of his lungs. "Now fucking throw me in jail or there will be two more people dead before tonight is over."

Hakuba held the door open. "Come in."

Kuroba stepped in, removing his shoes and changing into house scuffs in such a manner that screamed that if he were not accustomed to doing this automatically he wouldn't be doing it at all.

"There are two men in a warehouse on pier 73 waiting for me to come back and let them know if they'll live or not." Kuroba stated emotionlessly as he changed into house scuffs and started walking down the hall.

"How do you know they're still there?" He asked as Kuroba turned into the library, acting like he knew where he was going, which was odd considering he was pretty sure that the magician thief had never been to his house before.

Kuroba turned slightly, giving him a -look-. "Because I told them to."

Hakuba had the feeling that was an excellent reason and did not question it further. If Kuroba said they were, they were.

The other boy ignored the interruption as he walked over to a painting in the book filled room and removed it. Hakuba blinked as he then rested his head against the safe hidden within, turning the knob this way and that with an ease that spoke of familiarity. In a fraction more time that it normally took for Hakuba to dial the combination, the safe was open.

The Kid's card gun appeared in Kuroba hand, one second it was there, the previous second it had not been. Kuroba just looked at it, the metal edges catching the moonlight oddly because neither of them had turned on the light.

"You're not a murderer." He said, his voice low and husky to his ears, even as it came out stable. "You can't kill with that."

"It's possible kill someone with anything." Kuroba slowly pointed the weapon towards him, and for the first time since he knew both Kuroba and the Kid, Hakuba felt a tremor of fear. "Cards cut. If you hit someone in the right spot, they'll bleed to death. The neck, the wrists, the knees, it's all just a matter knowing where to aim."

"You wouldn't." The other boy never hurt anyone if he could help it. Would never.

Kuroba smiled, just a little bit at the corners of his mouth and Hakuba swore his heart stopped beating. "Maybe."

Then the gun made a ka-thunking sound, folding in half as Kuroba slipped the cards out of it and set it inside the safe. The cards were shuffled, the individual cards look like a blur as they moved and set in the safe as well.

Only then did Hakuba feel his heart start beating again. "What happened?"

Kuroba was silent as the Kid's costume materialised in his hands, the suit, cape and hat neatly unloaded of the tricks of the both the Magician and Kaitou's trade and set inside next to the card gun and cards.

A monocle appeared in Kuroba's hands, and he just held it up to the light for a moment, as if inspecting a precious jewel. Then it too was set into the metal safe, a final sounding click echoing throughout the room, despite the fact that it had actually been a very gentle sound.

The safe door was then shut, the dial casually spun and painting replaced as if this were an every day event.

Kuroba paused then, just looking thoughtfully at the painting. "If I go for the safe..." He said softly, a chilling warning in his still dead voice "Run."

Hakuba swallowed, the palms of his hands breaking out in a warm sweat. If Kuroba went for the safe, he wouldn't be able to stop him. Maybe, if this situation was normal, he'd have a chance. But not now, not like this.

Not while he was the walking dead himself.

Kuroba watched him blankly for a moment, and Hakuba realised that he was waiting for him to make a move, or a gesture of some kind. Manners kicked in and he gestured for Kuroba to follow him out into the hall. "This way."

They needed to talk. -Kuroba- needed to talk. He himself merely needed to understand what the hell was going on.

The Library had too many things that could be used as blunt instruments. The Kitchen was out, too many sharp weaponry. The Den and the Dining room had too many exits for Kuroba to escape out of as well.

He lead Kuroba upstairs, to the guest bedroom. It was on the second floor, and while heights weren't much of a deterrent for Kuroba, it would at least hopefully give him some manner of pause. It was also the least furnished room in the house.

Kuroba didn't appear to notice. He probably could have lead him into Aladdin's Treasure Cave and the thief wouldn't raise an eyebrow. He waved a hand towards the bed. "Have a seat." Under the circumstances, it didn't seem quite proper to fetch refreshments, so he skipped that part of decorum.

The darker haired boy sat, mechanically tucking his legs up to sit cross-legged as the bed sank slightly under his weight. Hakuba grabbed the desk chair and turned it around so that he was facing Kuroba.

They sat in silence for a moment, too long for his frazzled nerves, but probably not long at all in real time. Then Kuroba spoke.

"Aoko's dead."

Time stopped, the words hanging frozen in the chilly air.

Hakuba opened his mouth to speak, but found he could not. He swallowed, trying to get words out, questions and he could feel the muscles in his throat work, but nothing came out. He was silent.

"It was during the Kid heist." Kuroba continued on, his voice still frightfully calm. "She went to get dinner from the Sunkus down the street and was struck by a getaway car."

This time his throat worked. "A car...?" He echoed, trying to get his mind to wrap around what Kuroba was telling him. It seemed so... so... random.

"Nakamori-keibu found out the same way I did, scanning police channels on our ways home. I think... I think this may have broken him." The air of clinical detachment was still there, as if Kuroba was speaking from outside his body. As if he didn't know the people he was talking about, these people that were so precious to him.

"What..." He had to swallow again to get his throat to work properly and was dismayed to find it somewhat hoarse. "What happened next?"

"He roared. A lot. Then he cried." A small wrinkle creased Kuroba's forehead, just between his brows, then it faded away. "I watched from a telephone pole. I couldn't go down. She was so pale, and she never moved, no matter how he shouted for her to. She didn't move... "

He trailed off for a moment, his eyes looking at morbid images inside his own head, rather than in front of him.

Hakuba waited, afraid of the words. Not necessarily his own.

"I tracked the men down." Kuroba finally said, startling him. "The cops don't even know where they are. But I found them, inside the warehouse. One didn't even care at all. The other was shaking. Then they saw me, and they screamed. Fired guns... And..."

Kuroba trailed off again, his hand making a pointing motion, like he was aiming his card gun at something below him. He paused, looking up slightly, not quite enough to look at him, but close. "...I stopped." He said simply.

"You stopped?"

"I stopped." Kuroba repeated. "...And I came here." He seemed almost confused by the last statement.

"Phantom Thieves don't kill." Hakuba found himself muttering softly. What ever else his faults, Kuroba didn't hurt anyone if he had a choice. Neither did his predecessor, the previous Criminal 1412.

"No." Kuroba agreed blankly. "They don't."

It seemed to be a point of professional pride, Hakuba had noted before. They caused mayhem, stole treasures and was a general pain in the arse, but they didn't kill.

They lapsed into silence again, and this time he waited it out, stuck in his own thoughts as he looked at his fingers, which had somehow knotted themselves around each other..

"Detectives..." Kuroba started hesitantly, then restarted, as if trying to explain it to himself. "You always try to stop me. During heists..." He trailed off.

"Aa." He agreed softly, a mere breath.

Kuroba made a thoughtful sound, his brows coming down.

He launched into a story after that, of a time when they were still in elementary school, and Aoko had been afraid of tadpoles. And from there, he just kept talking. Sometimes of times with Aoko, sometimes memories of his father and once or twice, things from the Kid's point of view. As he talked, occasionally his voice change, becoming happy, or sad, or melancholy, but only slightly so. Just a fraction, then it would return to the emotionless tone.

It wasn't for several hours, when even the talkative Kuroba's voice finally fell silent that Hakuba finally voiced something he had noticed, something that had been bothering him for a while.

He rose, catching the distant thief's attention as he walked towards him. Kuroba watched at him, purple eyes glassy. Hakuba paused a moment, standing in front of him, within striking distance "You can't cry..." He ventured hesitantly "Can you?"

Kuroba blinked, then smiled at him, a wane comparison to the Kid's fond smirk. "No." He admitted quietly. He paused for a moment, then quoted "'It doesn't matter if the cards you hold are good or bad, nothing should show on your face.'" Upon Hakuba's blank look he explained. "That is Poker Face."

It seemed a very sad thing right then, that Kuroba couldn't take comfort in tears.

"Come on." He put a hand on Kuroba's shoulder, guiding him so that he was laying down on the bed, instead of sitting on it, then pulling a blanket over him. "Time to sleep."

The lanky teen didn't argue, passively allowing himself be tucked in. Hakuba wasn't sure if he'd stay there, but not all the shadows under Kuroba's eyes were entirely grief derived. "Get some rest." He instructed. "Is there anything you need?"

Kuroba shook his head, his arms curled under the pillow his head rested on. A small yawn blindsiding him, causing Hakuba to smile faintly. "Good night then."

"Morning." Kuroba corrected fuzzily. Hakuba checked the clock. It was indeed, well into the morning. Past time for him to be in bed asleep as well, although he knew he wouldn't for a while still. Kuroba's eyes were shut and his breathing eased out into normal sleeping patterns by the time he reached the guest room door. He left it open a crack, so Kuroba could find him when he woke up.

He paused a moment in the hallway, taking the opportunity to crack his neck and stretch some of his tense muscles before heading back downstairs, to where the telephone lay in the front hall.

Hakuba stared at it for a moment, then picked up the receiver, dialling a number by heart. He waited as it rang, then a tired voice answered.

"Hello, Police?" He said with far more calm than he felt. "There are two men in a warehouse on pier 73 waiting for you to pick them up for the murder of Nakamori Aoko."

-fin-

We could find 3 different translations for Toichi's line about poker face. We used the one that we felt best fit this fic.

Sunkus - It's a chain of convenience stores or 'konbini' that we kept running into in Japan. They're EVERYWHERE. And the pre-cooked food's pretty good too.

You can check out their site at: www.sunkus.co.jp

We've written fics where Kaito has died before. So we were kinda wondering what would Kaito do if the oppisite happened

Then during a late night chat with Becky Tailweaver she made a comment that sparked plunnies from a mental image of Kaito not being able to cry because of practicing the Poker Face since so young. And the rest, as we shall say, is history.