With a sigh he turned in for the night. With a swish of his cape and a twist of his hand, the uniform he usually wore for his escapades had vanished. He was tired and his body felt worn despite the fact that this heist had not been as strenuous as others had been. This heist had actually been pulled together fairly quickly as this jewel's presence in Tokyo was scheduled only to be a day and said information had been released only the day before. Skipping meals in preparation was not something he wanted to repeat…. not that he hadn't thought of that before.

Putting the white tuxedo into the bag that came out of his handkerchief was second nature. The dark clothes were almost unnecessary considering it was so late that only the most nocturnal animals could see at night…. yes, animal was the most appropriate word for anything that could see at this time of night.

With a careful glance over his shoulder, wearing the night goggles he made, he breathed a sigh of relief.

It looked like all was safe…. if they hadn't come out by now to shoot him, it didn't seem as if they knew who he really was…

But to remain safe rather than sorry, on the entire walk home he did not look behind him.

Who knew what devil was shadowing his footsteps?

lllll

The Last Time

lllll

Toichi Kuroba stepped inside his home, looked out for a moment at the name on the mailbox, smiled, and locked the door behind him. Not that that was the only protection he had set up for the house but it was the most basic right? He had succeeded on far too many heists simply because someone had been negligent about locking the window.

"Hikarue?"

"Toichi, is that you?"

It was a relief as he heard his wife's voice echo down from the downstairs. The sweet tones soothed his nerves, he forgot for a moment he was supposed to answer back.

"Yes," he replied as he found his voice, "yes, it's me."

She came down the stairs in the robe he had given her for her birthday, which she looked quite nice.

"Are you all right, dear?"

He smiled off the worry in her eyes. "Yes, nothing happened. Seems as if they've disappeared."

"You didn't see a bit of them at all today?"

"No, and it was easy. Nakamori-kun was yelling off his head as usual."

"Toichi, you know you're going to give that man a heart attack!"

"I would break his heart before it attacked him!" Toichi dramatically announced.

Hikarue raised an eyebrow, "That sounded wrong…."

Toichi smirked, "You worry too much."

"Only because if I didn't God knows what would happen."

"I need to take you out again. It's been too long."

"It has not been too long!" his wife protested.

"You've forgotten," woebegone tones creeping into his voice, "forgotten the fine art of the Kaitou and you'll probably end up turning me in tomorrow!"

"Now, you're just making fun of me…" she pouted and turned away from him.

That may have been her mistake because in that moment he turned her around in a swift movement and pressed his lips firmly on hers.

His face broke into a grin as they broke apart.

"You're bribing me," she declared, a smile playing on her lips.

"No, I just stole whatever expression was on you're face."

As he brushed back a stray bit of her hair, she vaguely became aware that he placed a flower in her hair.

Most likely due to the coughing at the top of the stairs.

"Tousan, Kaasan?"

Toichi was at the top in an instant and bringing down the eight-year old in his arms.

"Hey, kid, how come you're not asleep."

"I wanted to know how the show went!"

"It went wonderfully!"

"Did they clap and cheer?"

"Yep, wildly! Bigger than that Kid heist you and your mother saw last month."

"Wow! Did you ever break your poker-face?"

"Nope, it's well trained."

"How come I wasn't able to go?"

"It was too late. And you have school in the morning, kid."

"Can't I stay home? I want to learn that new trick you'd said you'd teach me!"

"After school. Then we'll also go through the different ventriloquism exercises. Did you practice before you went to bed?"

"Yep! I can do all the voices of the girls in my class! Most of the boys too. The hardest ones right now are the deeper voices like my gym teacher's. His voice is like a gorilla…"

Toichi ruffled his son's unruly hair, "Eh, wait a couple of years and it'll get easier. But don't forget that you've got to keep practicing the girls too."

"Why?" Kaito asked.

"You never know when it'll come in handy."

"Okay!"

"All right you two, enough magic stuff. Time for bed. We all have to be up early and it doesn't help to be going to bed at two in the morning."

"Yes, Kaachan."

"Don't you Kaachan me. Bed, now."

Toichi caught mutters of "Bossing me around like Aoko" as Kaito went up the stairs to bed.

The two adults looked at each other.

"I'm not tired," said Toichi first, a playful grin on his face.

"Then go try to get your son to sleep first," replied Hikarue as she covered a faux yawn and made her way up the stairs to her room.

Toichi followed after a moment, a hopeful smile playing on his face.

lllll

It had ended up being a rough night. Kaito had not felt like sleeping at all and when he was finally asleep, the majority of Toichi's mind was set on other things….

He had woken up earlier than usual, too early to wake them all up, so he set to packing his bag for the show he would be putting on today, zipping up his white suit in a traveling bag. He walked downstairs into his workroom behind the portrait and packed the other little gadgets he would be using today. The rest had been set up last night at the theater he would be performing at.

These days he didn't know when he would be coming home anymore. It had been two years ago when he first set up the recording and set it back every time he went out.

He would not put the burden on his wife to tell his son what he did, or anyone else.

And besides, Kaito wouldn't have any reason to wonder until he found the room.

Closing the portrait behind him, he glanced once more behind him.

Shaking off his worries he went upstairs and showered. Afterwards he dressed in a blue button down shirt and khaki pants and once he was done, he woke up his wife.

"Honey, love of my life….." he whispered as he shook her softly, "Time to wake up…"

"Ummm," she opened her eyes, "It was a late night."

"Yes and it'll be another long day until tonight," he replied, his face inches from hers.

He kissed her and then pulled back slightly so his lips just touched hers, leaving her to follow until she was sitting up.

Toichi kissed her firmly, a hand on her back to make sure she didn't try lying down again… who knew where that would lead… and pulled away. He really hadn't wanted to but there was a day ahead of them and there was always enough time for things like that later.

"There half the job done. I can't do anything to make you walk."

"Spoil sport…" he thought he heard her mutter as he left the room.

lll

Kaito had known his father was just outside the door listening.

Toichi Kuroba opened the door and leaned over his son's sleeping form. His son was already wide-awake, but it was a game they played.

"Ummm, Kaito-chan is such a heavy sleeper, I wonder how many tricks I will have time to do before he wakes up."

And so it started, card-tricks and various slight of had tricks going on and on and on, Toichi pretending to not notice that his son had one eye open studying how his father was completing all the tricks.

"Oh no," said Toichi suddenly, "I'm almost out!"

"Don't lie!" yelled Kaito as he jumped out of the sheets, "You've still got more tricks! I know 'cause you've got all these things in your sleeve."

As if on cue, Kaito undid the button on his father's shirt and some things fell out.

"Now, Kaito-chan. Look what you've done."

Kaito picked up the things off the floor, the last one a handkerchief and covered his hands.

His father took it away.

"Look! There's nothing!" smiled Kaito.

"Really?"

Toichi turned over the handkerchief and put it on the bed.

Kaito lifted it off.

All the items that had been on the floor were now on the bed!

"Yay!" cheered Kaito grinning up at his father.

Toichi's smile was full of pride for his son.

"Okay kid, time to get ready for school 'kay?"

Kaito ran to the bathroom and came out dressed after awhile.

"Tousan?"

"Downstairs!"

Hikarue looked at Toichi and raised an eyebrow. "Was that necessary?"

"You know we tend to disappear on each other."

"If you would both disappear for me long enough so I could clean this house of all the confetti hiding, maybe you both would stop."

"Tousan!" Kaito yelled as he ran toward his father.

Toichi picked him up and swung him up with the momentum from Kaito running.

When Kaito's feet were both planted on the floor he ran over to the back door and opened it. Their doves flew in and landed on both magicians shoulders.

"You two…" sighed Hikarue, "Couldn't you wait until after breakfast?"

"No!" cheered Kaito as he played with the birds.

Toichi in that moment motioned the birds to his hand and all promptly disappeared.

He then turned to his wife and handed her a flower.

She smiled, "You have a show today right?"

"Yes, it's on the way to Kaito's school so I'll walk him today, all right?"

"Uh huh, and I'll be working today."

"The bookstore?"

"Yes, you have the number right?"

"Yes."

They sat down for breakfast, another noisy affair. Afterward began the day.

"Bye honey," he said as he kissed her good-bye, picking up his bag.

"Hum hum…"

He kissed her again and stayed there quite comfortably until Kaito coughed.

"Come on Tousan! I'm going to be late to school."

"Or walking with Aoko-chan at the least," commented his mother.

Toichi ruffled Kaito's hair as he tried to hide his blush.

"Bye," they waved.

Toichi looked down at his son and could see that he was his spitting image. And it wouldn't be long now. In a couple of years he would start really learning everything his father did, that is if nothing happened to him.

"Kaito!" called out a voice ahead of them.

Toichi looked up and smiled. His son's childhood friend waved as they approached.

"Hurry, Kaito, we're going to be late."

Toichi looked down at his son, "A gentleman never keeps a lady waiting."

Kaito ran ahead and set in pace with Aoko as they continued walking to school.

How long will it be…?

It was not long after that they reached the elementary.

"You're going to teach me the trick after school right Tousan?"

He ruffled his son's hair.

"Sure, but right now you have to study hard and be smart all right?"

"Okay Tousan…"

Toichi bent down, "But if you do get bored… don't forget to use Poker face."

"Right!"

"Come on, Kaito!" said Aoko as she pulled Kaito into the schoolyard of Ekoda Elementary, "Bye Kuroba-san!"

"Bye you two," he waved as they walked away.

Toichi picked up his bag and started walking.

Today's performance was going to be the most well paid one in a while. Most of the theatre had sold out and they had paid him 2,000,000 yen in advance.

It would have been perfect…. if it had gone as it should have.

lllll

Kaito sat outside of school waiting for his father to pick him up. School had ended half an hour ago and he wondered what was keeping his father. He was never late but he did have the show today so that was probably it, Kaito figured.

The audience probably just kept asking over and over again for an encore… he must have done some amazing tricks! And if it is over now the managers of the theatre must be trying to get him to perform weekly because everyone loved him so much…

They must have named him the best magician in the whole world…

Kaito's thoughts continued, the child's imagination considering wilder and wilder possibilities as to why his father was picking him up late…

He'll pick me up on a dragon… even for a magician like him conjuring a dragon would take some time…

Kaito was concentrating so hard he did not notice the sound of footsteps approaching.

"Kaito?"

He turned and looked up to see his mother.

Had he been older he would have taken greater notice that her eyes were red and puffy from crying and that her hand trembled slightly as she tried to keep hold of her bag.

"Kaasan? Where's Tousan?"

Kaito's eyes went wide as his mother bent down and held him tightly.

He was even more surprised when she began to cry. He repeated his question. Her only reply came in tears.

Kaito was surprised at himself as he felt tears well up in his eyes, not quite understanding what was causing them….

"Kaasan… where is he? He said he'd be here…. He said he would teach me a trick…. Where is he?"

After a few moments of crying Kaito's mother breathed a little easier, the tears still falling from her eyes but mostly calm enough to tell her son where his father, her husband, was…

"Kaito… I have something to tell you…." she began.

And that was all Kaito remembered of that moment any longer.

-Terminado-