Disclaimer: I don't own Magic Kaito. Or the song. ;;

Once again I just can't get it straight
Wondering if wandering is my fate
But don't lose hope in me quite yet
'cause help must be on the way, any day

She didn't know when she started seeing him in such a different light.

She didn't understand it, either. It made absolute zero sense. How... why.... what in the hell was she thinking anyway? Grumbling slightly under her breath, Nakamori Aoko pulled at her bushy hair and stared at the cause of her troubles.

Him.

Kuroba Kaito.

What? Why am I staring at him anyway? She could feel the heat on her cheeks. Her eyes traveled from his tousled brown hair, his relaxed forehead, his half-lidded blue eyes, his nose, to his lips..

And for the tiniest moment, thought to herself...

...how handsome...

...he was.

Whaaaaat?! she cried in horror to herself, refusing to believe what she had just thought. Don't be stupid! It's Kaito, for crying out loud. You've known him ever since you were kids. And he's not handsome! No way!

Her eyes, out of their own accord, floated back to roam over his face.

Well... maybe... a little?

Her mind was screaming at her now. Turn away! Quit staring at him, stupid! If the teacher catches you not paying attention, he'll embarrass you, in front of the whole darn class! And, woe to you if Kaito's the one that catches you. He'll never let you live it down...

She knew this.

But her eyes wouldn't stay away.

It seemed to last practically an eternity. But she just couldn't rip her eyes away, and all she could do was sit there and stare, stare, stare, and then Kaito turned his head, and she met those familiar clear blue eyes of his and--

She blinked.

He leaned towards her, a little too close for comfort, and enough to attract unwanted eyes from the other students. Unwanted attention never stopped Kaito, though. Instinctively, Aoko backed away.

"Hey," he whispered, voice low enough so that only she could hear it. "I know you can't keep your eyes off beautiful ol' me, but not at school, ya know? Hey, if you want, I've got pictures of --"

Crack.

And that was the sound of veins literally popping out of the teenage girl's head.

Brr-riiing!

As the bell rang, signaling the end of the day, Aoko leapt out of her desk and grabbed her trusty mop, signaling the end of Kuroba Kaito's life.

---

This bites.

Aoko sighed. She had classroom-cleanup duty this week. Funny. Kaito was supposed to be here, but had ditched at the last minute. They'd spent the better part of fifteen minutes doing what they normally did: Aoko, chasing him down with her mop in hand, and Kaito, dodging every strike.

Things may be better this way. If he'd come, it'd take me until midnight to clean this place up...

She pushed the wet mop halfheartedly across the floor. Somewhere behind her, one of the girls assigned to classroom duty with her giggled and said to one of her other friends, "Wasn't Kaito-kun hilarious with his flower blizzard trick?"

"Oh, definitely!" Another girl nodded, a dreamy, wistful tone in her voice. Aoko rolled her eyes. Kaito had managed to fall asleep in biology, and when the teacher had been dangerously close to grabbing him by the ear and dragging him out into the hall, he'd pulled off a swirling storm of flower petals and handed her a bouquet of near-perfect cherry blossoms.

"I've had a crush on him for practically forever," the first girl confided with great significance. "But I never worked up the nerve to ask him out!"

"You'd have loads of competition," another girl stated matter-of-factly. "Do you know how popular he is?"

"I know, I know," the first girl sighed dejectedly.

"And, Akako'd probably... I dunno... make your life a living hell, somehow, if she found out you were her rival."

Aoko rolled her eyes, again. Wasn't that the understatement of the year.

"Even if you managed to get Akako on your side, it probably wouldn't work, anyway. Since he's obviously got a thing for Aoko."

"WHAT?!" The wild-haired, mop-wielding daughter of the Inspector spun around, gripping her mop so tightly that her knuckles had turned white. "That has got to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard --!"

The girl who had said the last comment backed away. "Calm down..."

"Wait, wait, Aoko-san." The girl who had proclaimed her crush for Kaito narrowed her eyes, "if there's absolutely, positively, nothing going on between you and Kaito-kun..."

"There isn't," Aoko literally snarled.

"Right. Right." The girl's smile widened, showing all her teeth. "Then, I can ask him out?"

A vein throbbed from the corner of her forehead. "Go right ahead!" she yelled, loudly. "Why should I care?! Oh, and you know what? I hope he does accept! Then he'll leave me alone!"

"Ooh, thank you so much!" The girl squealed. "That does it!" She turned to her other friends. "I'm going to ask him out tomorrow!"

Aoko huffed, mopping the classroom floor with considerably more vigor than she'd been doing so previously.

It's not like I care.

We're just friends. In a kind of weird, messed up way.

That's all!

...right?

---

Later that night, Aoko found herself dreaming. It involved mainly three people: Her, Kaito, and that other girl. She wasn't even sure what her name was. Tsuki, or something like that.

In her dream, Kaito was acting....well, really, really weird. He wasn't doing a bunch of things that just totally pissed her off; he wasn't flipping her skirt; he was actually acting like a relatively normal guy. Plus, he was going out with that girl!

"Hey, Kaito," her dream-self said, "we haven't talked lately."

"Hm? Oh, hey, Aoko." His eyes were vague. "Guess I've been pretty busy."

"Oh." It was so awkward to talk to him now. That was new. "Haven't you been going out with..."

"Toma-chan," he supplied. "Yeah, she's great."

"So...you're happy?"

"Yeah." There was a flicker of surprise behind his eyes. "Very."

And even though she was only dreaming, her heart ached.

---

The next afternoon, Aoko found herself back in the empty classroom, mopping. Again. She brushed back some strands of hair from her face. She was the only one there. The other girls hadn't shown up yet.

Truthfully... she was curious. She wanted to ask that girl if she'd asked Kaito out, and if she had, what his reply had been.

It's not like I'm jealous. I'm just curious. If we really are best friends, I ought to know what's happening in his life.

Then why don't you just ask him?

Aoko paused, resting her elbow on the tip of her mop handle. What was happening to her? First, she'd been staring at him. And now, she was getting all worked up about one girl wanting to ask Kaito out. It didn't matter. She didn't matter.

There were suddenly sounds of wailing from the other side of the door. The door promptly slid open, and there was the girl, flanked by her two friends, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Well. Obviously things hadn't gone so well for her.

The Inspector's daughter raised an eyebrow.

"He -- he -- he rejected me!" The girl sobbed, tears dripping down her cheeks. Because she couldn't stand the sight of this girl crying her heart out over someone like Kaito, of all people, Aoko grabbed a tissue and handed it silently to her. The girl snatched the tissue away, blew her nose loudly into it, and began wailing all over again.

Upon seeing her startled gaze, one of the other girls, a brunette, whispered, confidentially, "It wasn't like he was really harsh or anything. But Toma was sure that he was going to say yes. And when he didn't, her heart just shattered."

"I don't understand," Aoko confessed. "It's... It's just Kaito. He's nothing special. I should know."

"Well," the other girl, whom Aoko knew as Saki, said thoughtfully, "sometimes, without ever realizing it, you fall in love."

Red spread throughout the mop-wielding girl's cheeks. "In love?! Me, with Kaito? You can't be serious!"

Apparently, Saki recognized the flame behind Aoko's eyes, and wisely retreated. "Okay, okay! My bad. You're not in love. It's a strictly platonic relationship."

"That's right," affirmed Aoko. "That's all it is."

The girl eyed her doubtfully, and looked like she might have said something more -- but the wails and shrieks of her friend caught her ear. "Okay. Whatever. I have to go, though. So see you tomorrow."

"Uh-huh," Aoko said absentmindedly. This was too much for her. She'd always known that Kaito was pretty popular with the girls, but she hadn't realized how popular he was until today.

And... some of the girls saw her as the object of Kaito's affections? Aoko snorted and sat down on the desk, leaning the mop against a nearby wall. Hardly.

Yet, she couldn't help but remember the tear-streaked face of that girl. Toma.

And while it sounded horrible, she was glad that Kaito had rejected her. The dream she'd had last night, with that strange, distant Kaito, was still vivid in her mind.

Since...when did I care this much?

She didn't understand why, but she suddenly felt tired, so tired. She placed both arms on the desk and lay her head on them, using them as a pillow.

Just five minutes. Just five extra minutes...

---

Kaito?

The brown-haired teen smiled and laughed, beckoning her to join him. Brow furrowed, she obeyed and settled herself down next to him. As she gazed around her surroundings, she realized that she was on the school rooftop.

What? Why are we on the roof?

She opened her mouth to speak, but no words would come out. Startled, she raised a hand to clutch at her throat. Frantically, she signaled to him, pointing to her throat, but he shook his head.

She kept up the signals for a few more minutes, but eventually gave up, and settled down next to him, arms crossed, eyes narrowed. Figured that Kaito would just sit there like that.

Hey... why are we here anyway?

He tapped her gently on the shoulder. Slightly disgruntled, Aoko turned abruptly, with half-lidded eyes. He pointed, over towards the southern end of the building. Still feeling particularly doubtful, the wild-haired girl reluctantly turned around.

And gasped.

It was sunset. Somehow, she hadn't realized it. But the sun had already dropped down towards the horizon... the skies were pink, purple, and orange. She'd never paid much attention to sunsets before. She'd always been...too busy. Either chasing Kaito down with her mop, doing homework, waiting for her dad to come home as he struggled and failed to catch that phantom thief, Kaitou Kid...

And yet here she was. On the school rooftop, with Kaito, watching the sun set.

Of all the people I could've spent my afternoon with...

I never thought I'd be here with Kaito...

Neither of them said anything. But for Aoko, it was a magical moment, and she wanted to make it last forever.

---

"Mmmnh.." Aoko lazily blinked her eyes open. "Boy, what a dream.."

"Finally awake, sleepyhead?"

"Eh?!" Aoko almost jumped out of her desk. She turned her head towards the source of the voice. As she surveyed the classroom, she realized that it was getting dark. Apparently she had spent more than just five minutes, asleep on the desk. "Is that... Kaito?"

"Right!" He beamed at her, flashing her a "peace" sign.

She felt awkward, and uncomfortable. "Hey...what are you doing here?"

"I was waiting for you," he replied, shaking a finger at her. "Wewalk home every afternoon. Except yesterday. But that was different."

Different..?

Last night, her father had come home late again. Because of that rotten thief, the Kaitou Kid.

"Oh. Dad came home late again last night, too." The words flew out of her mouth. Two seconds later, she realized exactly what she had said, and she shook herself.

"Really? Why's that?"

"Why else?" Aoko snapped. "Because of that stupid thief, the Kaitou Kid! My dad spends nights and nights trying to catch that guy, and he never does, and I'm always alone at night, wondering if he's all right and --" She cut herself off abruptly. "Forget it."

"Oh." His voice was strained, less jubilant than it usually was. This caused her to look up. To most people, he would have looked the same, but to her, there were signs of fatigue.

"You all right?" she asked him then, revealing more tenderness than was the norm.

He tipped his head up, and for a brief second, Aoko swore she saw someone else when she stared into his deep blue eyes. But then it was gone, just like that... and it was the regular old skirt-flipping Kaito again.

"Sure I am!" He was smiling, Aoko thought absentmindedly to herself, just like he always did. Always, with that huge heart-eating grin that stretched across his face.

The smile that could make everything all right in her world...

"You sure?" she asked, doubtfully. That... other Kaito was still vivid in her mind.

"Yeah, yeah!" He nodded enthusiastically. "I'm always all right, aren't I?"

Mm, well, that was true, Aoko acknowledged in her mind.

He waved a hand in front of her face. "Are we going to go home or what?"

She blinked. "Oh. Right."

---

The cool night breeze was welcoming. The skies were slowly fading from light to dark. Somewhere in the distance, Aoko could see the faint outline of the moon. It was going to be a half-moon tonight...

Beside her, Kaito was whistling. It was an eclectic tune, some parts happy and upbeat, other parts slow and melancholy. It sounded like something he would whistle.

"Hey, Kaito?"

He turned to look at her, and she realized, with a start, that he was probably a good four or five inches taller than her. When they were younger, she had always been taller than him by an inch or two... His blue eyes stared into hers. For a moment, she forgot what she had wanted to say.

"Toma," she uttered, voice soft. "That girl.."

"Toma?" He furrowed his brow in thought, and then realization dawned on him, "Oh, her."

"Yeah. The girl that asked you out."

"I know her." He blinked. "How'd you know she'd asked me out?"

A wry smile crept up on her face. "She asked me for permission. Seemed to think that we were together. Pretty stupid, huh?"

There was a pause. "...yeah. Pretty stupid."

Clumsy, tongue-tied silence.

Then:

"Why'd you reject her?"

"Well -- wait, how'd you know I rejected her?"

"She came in, crying her eyes out," Aoko informed him. "She must've really liked you."

"Can you blame her?" Kaito grinned arrogantly.

Aoko rolled her eyes. Then she remembered, "so, why'd you say no?"

He lapsed off into a rare, thoughtful quiet. "I dunno. Guess she wasn't my type."

Not his type?

"Then what is your type?" Aoko pressed. Some part of her wondered why she was so curious.

"Who knows?" Kaito looked up at the night sky. A mischievous grin snuck across his face, "Maybe a violent, hot-tempered, mop-wielding girl."

She blushed, but it was dark, so she figured he couldn't see. "Stupid."

He said nothing, only shrugged.

Aoko sighed quietly, gazing around at her environment. Her gaze landed on the chicken-wired fence.

"The fence," she murmured, mostly to herself. Kaito heard.

"What?"

She jumped, embarrassed. "The fence," she repeated, sounding sheepish. "I was just thinking, it might be fun to walk on it. Like in Ranma."

He didn't say anything. He didn't move, either. Aoko took this to mean that he was thinking. She furrowed her brow. A thinking Kaito was most definitely a bad thing.

"What are --"

"It could be done."

"...huh?"

"It could be done," Kaito repeated. "Walking on the fence."

Aoko's eyes bugged out of her head. Had she just heard right? "Kaito, what are you talking about? Do you see that? The width of those wires is like, a centimeter... this isn't some anime."

"I'm serious," Kaito defended himself. And he was. Aoko could tell, by his posture, and his tone. He was dead serious.

"Really?" she asked, doubtful.

"Yep. I'd have to hold you, though. So you don't fall."

Hold.. Hold me?

The thought of coming in reeeaaallly close, physical contact with Kaito sent shivers down her spine. But again, she had no idea why.

Don't be stupid! It's not like he'll try anything.

And even if he does, he'll be hanging upside down from that tree in two seconds flat!

"Okay," she conceded, eyeing him and the fence warily. "But... you'd better not drop me."

"I won't." He smiled, and she believed him.

"First, are you any good at climbing trees?"

She blinked. "I'm all right."

"Then go for it. It'll be easier for you to climb the tree and then get on the fence, rather than just jumping up right now."

Oh. That certainly made sense. The brown-haired girl grabbed hold of a sturdy branch and began climbing. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a flash. She turned in that direction, and saw that Kaito had jumped, with ease, onto the fence. She gawked.

"C'mon, now, Aoko. We don't have all night!"

She scowled slightly, and then hoisted herself up to the branch that was closest to the fence. "What now?" she asked, still a little frazzled that she was actually doing this.

"Get on."

The request was so blunt that Aoko had to blink for a few seconds. "What?!"

"Just get on," Kaito repeated. "Don't worry. I'll catch you."

"But.." She remembered his soft, promising smile, and she stepped on --

-- to feel the warmth of his arms encircling her waist.

She blushed, and she trembled. But he held her steady.

"Okay," he whispered in her ear. She felt goosebumps rise all over her arms. "Take one step, slowly, at a time."

"O-Okay." She took one, small, ginger step, followed by another. She winced when a breeze blew by. And, by chance, she just happened to look down.

They were at least ten feet above ground.

Who knew this fence was so tall?

"Oh." She froze in his grip.

"What?" He sounded genuinely worried.

"I looked down."

"Ah. Aoko, calm down. I'm here. Don't freeze up on me."

"What if we fall?!" She squeezed her eyes shut, shivering against his warm frame. "We never should have done this in the first place!"

"Aoko. You won't fall."

"How do you know?"

"Because."

"That's not good enough!" She was panicking.

"You won't fall," he repeated, firmly.

"How do you know?!"

"Because," he murmured in her ear, "I won't let you."

And just like that, her worries and fears were gone. Her breathing slowed down, and she found the courage to open her eyes. Unconsciously she leaned back against him, just slightly...

"Do you promise?" she asked, softly.

"I promise."

She tilted her head back to look at him. He smiled down at her. Her heart skipped a beat. Against the moonlight, and the dark sky, with the wind tousling his hair...

He looked really handsome.

The memory of his husky, solemn voice: "I won't let you fall."

Amidst walking on a fence under a starry night sky, Nakamori Aoko saw Kuroba Kaito as a completely different person.

---

From my head to my heart
can't seem to find a way they're so far apart
It's not you, it's not your fault
You've got everything I could ever want

---

Aoko couldn't take this anymore. She did not care particularly for learning about the wonders of biology this morning, thank you very much. She squirmed in her seat, restless. When she finally couldn't take it anymore, she thrust her hand in the air.

"Nakamori?"

"May I go to the bathroom? Please?"

"Yes. Be quick."

"Yessir." Inwardly grateful, Aoko squeezed through the aisles, aware of Kaito's gaze on her, and ducked out the door. She breathed out a sigh of relief once she was in the hall. Even the hall was a lot less stuffy than that classroom.

She pushed open the door to the girls' bathroom. She saw, unflinchingly, some of the other girls already in there, next to the sinks, checking out their faces and hair in the mirror. They didn't notice her come in. She made her way into one of the stalls.

"So what's the latest gossip?" A red-haired girl asked the others.

A girl with a high-pitched voice spoke up, "You know Aishi Toma?"

"Yeah."

"She asked Kaito-kun out."

"She what?! The nerve of her!"

Inside the stall, Aoko rolled her eyes. Why were they getting so worked up over some girl asking Kaito out, anyway?

"He said no."

The first girl calmed down. "Well, of course he did. That Toma was too plain. If Kaito-kun were to go out with someone, he'd definitely go out with me. I'm a lot better than she ever could be."

"Eh? What about Akako?"

The first girl snorted. "It's true that she goes around flirting with him a lot. But he never pays any attention to her. She's no threat."

"That may be true," another girl said, "but what about Aoko?"

Aoko resisted the urge to throw open the door and to proclaim, loudly, insanely, that she was not involved with Kaito in that way. Why the hell did everybody seem to think that way, anyway?!

"Urgh." The first girl admitted defeat. "Well -- I don't know! But aren't they just friends?"

That's right! That's all we are!

"You're stupid if you think that's all that's going in between them," another girl said, flatly. Aoko furrowed her brow. She sounded awfully a lot like Saki, the girl she had talked to a few days ago. "They're way too close to be 'just friends' as they claim."

A vein throbbed and pulsed menacingly out the corner of Aoko's head.

"That can't be true!" The first girl insisted, holding tightly onto her dream of having Kaito-kun all to herself, "It can't! Do you see the way they act?! He flips her skirt, and she chases him around with a mop, of all things! She's much too violent for Kaito-kun! Kaito-kun would want someone more gentle, more lady-like!"

Aoko's temper, which had been looming dangerously over the top, suddenly cascaded down, down, down.

Is... Is what she's saying true?

Am I really too violent for Kaito?

Aoko shook her head, vehemently.

Even if it's true, why do I care? We're just friends, anyway. We could...

We could never be anything more...

"Well, whatever." Saki shrugged. "Believe what you want."

"What?!" The red-head shrieked. "You're saying that you still think they're together?"

"Not necessarily together," Saki admitted. "But... it just sounds fishy to me. I mean, just the way they act around each other. The way he lights up when she walks in the room. The way she kinda loosens up when he's around. Little things like that."

"Don't be stupid," the first girl scoffed, although it was evident that traces of doubt had crept into her voice.

"Whatever," Saki said. "I don't care what you think. But, why do you think he's always rejecting you guys?"

"I -- I --"

"Thought so," the dark-haired girl said.

The door slammed shut.

"Don't listen to her," one of the girls consoled the other girl that was madly in love with Kaito. "She's got a stick up her ass."

"Mmph." The first girl turned on the faucet and splashed some cold water on her face. "You don't have to tell me. Let's go."

The door slammed for the second time.

A stunned Aoko silently opened the door to her stall.

Then her anger returned.

Those... those... those morons...!

---

"I met some members of your fan club today," Aoko told him. Her voice sounded odd to her ears. Was she... angry? Jealous, even? She didn't know, which served to make her even more frustrated.

"Fan club?" Kaito sounded clueless.

"Don't tell me you don't know." Aoko arched an eyebrow. Was he really that dense? "Your fan club."

"Aoko..." Kaito scratched at the back of his head. "I really don't have any idea what you're talking about."

Aoko gaped. "Your fan club!" she replied, loudly. "The horde of girls after you that are hopping mad with hormones! Or didn't you realize?"

Kaito blinked. "Wow. Gee. Really?"

Aoko nodded an affirmative.

A huge grin broke out over his face, "Well, can ya blame 'em? I mean, look at this face --"

The look on Aoko's face informed him that she was most definitely not in the mood for this today.

"Well, I didn't realize..." Kaito admitted, "but it doesn't matter. I'm just something that they like to look at. Eventually, they'll tire of me and move onto something else. Say, maybe we could start one for Hakuba..."

The reply was her silence.

"Are you okay? You've been acting really weird lately."

"Why don't you go out with one of them, then?" She asked, voice much too loud than she'd wanted it to be. She lowered her tone. "They're all dying to go out with you, you know. They're ready to kill each other for the chance."

"Umm... a bunch of them have asked me out."

Aoko's eyes widened. "What? You've been asked out tons of times and you never even told me?"

He nodded.

"Why not?"

"I didn't see a need to," he answered, honestly. "I mean, it's not like I said yes."

"And there's that, too." Frustration was evident in the girl's voice. "Why haven't you gone out with any of them?"

"They're not my type."

"What about Akako?"

Kaito sweatdropped. "You've got to be kidding me."

"Then why not?"

"Because I don't want to!" He looked surprised. "What's with the twenty questions? Do you want me to go out with someone?"

"I -- I don't know!" Aoko exclaimed. "But people are talking! They're saying that something's probably going on between us!"

"So?" Kaito was so damn relaxed. "You've never cared about what everybody else thought."

"Plus, they think that the reason you're rejecting everyone else is because of me!"

It happened so quickly.

He stepped closer to her.

She froze.

He towered over her.

His eyes, cold yet warm at the same time.

Ka -- Kaito?

"Maybe it's true," he said then. He seemed so different.

Then he kissed her.

---

I don't understand.

Why is he kissing me?

But...it feels nice.

The leaves had changed colors. They were falling.

And she, in turn, was falling, too. In love.

---

Kaito wasn't in school for some time. Aoko rested her chin in the palm of her hand, letting her eyes roam over the face of the clock. The secondhand ticked slowly, slowly, slowly -- like it was taunting her.

He probably stayed out late, video-taping that Kid heist two nights ago. And then he went and caught a cold. Urgh. What is with his insane obsession with that stupid thief, anyhow?

A smirk crossed her lips as she remembered what her father had told her:

"That damn thief!" He'd roared, murmuring some profanities under his breath that he didn't know she heard. "He got away again!"

Aoko hadn't said anything, much too used to this routine by now.

"But..." and here her father's lip curled, "I think he's finally losing his touch."

This grabbed her interest. "Why?" Her dad stood up and smirked. "That damn thief's got the jewel. He's waving it around like some idiot. And then he leaps off the top of the building --" he demonstrated by sending a piece of his toast flying through the air, "and he's soaring through the air, and then guess where he lands?" Aoko shrugged.

"I still don't know exactly what the hell happened... but I guess he miscalculated, or something... and he ends up landing in the middle of the freezing lake."

Aoko eyed her father dubiously. "...really?"

"Yep."

Aoko carefully took away her father's plate and mug, ready for the explosion that was sure to come.

Her dear old dad didn't disappoint her.

"So I send all the troops running to the lake. And we're sure that we've finally caught him this time.... AND YOU KNOW WHAT? HE'S GONE! COMPLETELY VANISHED! THAT MORON! I SENT HALF MY MEN DOWN THAT LAKE TO LOOK FOR HIM, AND THERE ISN'T A SINGLE TRACE --"

Aoko tapped her pencil softly against her desk.

But it wasn't just about the Kid messing up that was out of the ordinary. Kaito wasn't at school. Kaito was always at school. And, and, and --!

She couldn't drive that kiss out of her mind!

Don't be such a moron... it's only Kaito...

Aoko wasn't the type of person that embraced change very easily. She liked the way things were, just fine. She didn't want any big, sudden surprises. She liked her life the way it was --

She sunk down into her seat.

No...

No, she didn't.

Truthfully, she hated her life. She hated that her father never spent time with her anymore, instead burying himself in catching that stupid phantom thief. She hated that her mother was gone. She hated that -- that --

That Kaito was so stupid.

What was up with that kiss, anyway?!

As she slowly watched the secondhand make its way up to the twelve, a sudden burst of realization came to her. And it frightened her, so much.

Sometimes... it felt like she didn't know Kaito. At all.

Sometimes, it felt like he was completely different from that boy that had given her a flower in front of the clock tower.

How well did she really understand the mind of that idiot, anyway?

"I won't let you fall."

Her cheeks flared up.

Then there was that, too. How was it that he was able to say all the right things at precisely the right times? He was so complicated, so darn hard to figure out!

I'll drive myself nuts if I keep this up. That's it, after school, I'm going to see him.

---

"Pneumonia?!"

Kaito's mother nodded wearily.

"But...how?!"

The middle-aged woman shook her head and rolled her eyes. "With that son of mine... it's better that I don't ask. The answer might be too tragic."

"Eh?" Aoko didn't understand.

There was a thin smile on the woman's face and she skillfully changed the subject. "Would you like to come in? I'm sure he'd love to see you."

Kaito? Love to see me?

Why? To antagonize me even more?

But her feet had already crossed the threshold. She glared down at them halfheartedly.

Stupid feet.

"He's in his room," his mother informed her. Aoko nodded absentmindedly and found the door leading to Kaito's room. She stalled, although she wasn't sure why.

Just turn the knob. You've been here before. Why are things different?

Should she jump, or stay safe?

Her trembling hands embraced the metal doorknob, and turned.

The door creaked open.

Kaito was in bed, leaning against a stack of pillows. She watched him carefully, and...

As crazy as it sounded..

He'd lit up when she'd walked in.

"Aoko --" and he burst out coughing. Forgetting about all her doubts and fears, she rushed to his side and knelt down next to him. When his coughing subsided, he shot her a sheepish grin.

"Idiot," she murmured, although secretly she was glad that he had stopped coughing. It had worried her. "How'd you catch pneumonia, of all things?"

He grinned, but didn't answer.

She leaned further into his bed, resting her head against the warm sheets. Her heart was racing.

"Aoko?"

"Your sheets smell good," she told him, eyes closed. They smelled like him, that strange, invigorating scent that soothed her and told her that everything was all right.

"Sure they do. I use Bounty."

Aoko snorted. "You sure it's not Tide?"

"Positive. Mom made me do the laundry a couple of weeks ago."

"What a good son you are."

"Yep."

What had happened? she couldn't help but wonder. Just a few days ago she had been downright screaming at him because she was jealous -- not that she would ever admit it, of course -- that so many girls had had their eyes on him. And he had kissed her too, for crying out loud! Yet now.. now they were just talking, as if nothing had happened.

"So why'd you come here?" Suddenly his hand had found its way to her unruly hair. She winced, waiting for him to pull, but he didn't. Instead, he merely stroked them, threading his fingers through the strands. It felt nice.

"You hadn't been in school for awhile now. Your fan club thought I'd killed you so that they couldn't get their hands on you."

"Sounds like something you'd do."

Aoko opened an eye. "What was that?"

"Nothing." He whistled innocently.

"But..." A rush of courage overwhelmed her as she stared deep into his eyes, "I was worried. You didn't call me, or anything."

His fingers paused in the middle of her hair. "Sorry."

"Mm. S'okay." Because somehow, without her ever realizing it, it had all become okay.

There was a bit of silence, and then, "Didja miss me?"

Aoko's cheeks reddened. "What?!"

"It's a perfectly good question," Kaito insisted.

She rolled her eyes --

-- and sneezed.

"Urgh.." she mumbled.

Kaito handed her a tissue. "Hey," he said, uncharacteristically concerned, "you might be catching what I have. Maybe you'd better get home."

Aoko crumpled up the tissue after using it. "I guess you're right. For once." Who wanted to be sick in bed for a whole week?

"Hey, now."

She stood up and gathered her things. She'd wanted to ask him about the kiss, but...

Oh, to hell with it.

"Kaito.."

"Yeah?"

She struggled for the words. "Why...Why did you kiss me?"

There was a brief pause. Followed by his answer, which was so simple that it threw the Inspector's daughter off.

"I guess it's 'cause...I like you."

She whirled around. "What?!"

But all he did was smile. That same, slow smile.

Sometimes, you thought you knew someone inside and out. You thought this way because you were with them all time, day and night. Twenty-four-seven. But no one can ever know everything about someone.

Everybody has their own secrets. Secrets that simply can't be divulged unless the keeper chooses to tell.

She thought she knew everything about Kaito. She supposed that she was wrong.

But, another part of her whispered, that's what makes him so intriguing.

Kaito's mind, personality, and his heart were all so complex. Like.... a labyrinth. Once you started through a labyrinth, you could get lost, for ages and ages and ages. Perhaps even for eternity. And, no matter how vehemently she tried to deny it, she had already gotten herself tangled up and lost within the depths of him.

She now accepted that.

"Y'know..." She trailed off. She had never been good at this kind of thing. "When you were gone... I did. I did...mi..."

I did miss you.

He cut her off. "I know," he said softly.

He smiled.

And she smiled back.

---

The next day, Aoko was sick. Kaito, more or less recovered, brought her some soup.

"This is all your fault, you know," she spat out, face flushed, three empty boxes of tissue already on her nightstand.

"I know," he said, soothingly. "C'mon. Open your mouth for the airplane..." He held a spoonful of soup above his head.

She eyed him with a look that so clearly said, You have GOT to be kidding.

He grinned, and as she opened her mouth to retort, he stuck the spoonful of hot soup right into her mouth. Not a drop was spilled, however...

"GAH! HOT!"

"Waah! I'm sorry, I'm sorry!"

Bonk.

So they weren't perfect. Anyway, every couple had its own little kinks and faults. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

This couple just had more issues than the norm, was all.

And you've always understood my intentions are good
and we've been so close from the start
but the furthest distance I've ever known is
From my head to my heart

:: end ::

Song used is "From My Head to My Heart" by Evan and Jaron.

A.N. I have to admit, I have NEVER read Magic Kaito, nor have I seen the eps in Detective Conan where any of the characters appear... -.- I'm VERY MK deprived... sniffles Anyhoo, this may mean that some characters are OOC. Eheh. I just kind of got sucked into the MK world by reading some reeeallly good MK fanfics, particularly by Ysabet and Icka M. Chif. Anyway, leave a review and let me know how it was..