For: Dogmatix. Still For the pretty pretty picture she drew us, the preciousssssssssssss
Notes: AU, Hakuba hasn't arrived in Japan, therefore Kid/Kaito doesn't know who he is. For the purposes of this fic, Ekoda is a coastal town.

Not A Fish
by Icka! M. Chif

Not a Fish.

Not a Fish.

He was not underwater.

He was not underwater kissing a blond.

He was not underwater kissing a blond boy with an orca tail.

Who strangely tasted of pineapple.

Who was definitely NOT a fish. Not a fish, not a fish, not a fish.

Oh God, there were fish all around them... There went his top hat. Bye-bye top hat, not going after you.

Nice merperson. Killer Whales were not fish. They were whales, which meant that they were mammals.

Who just happened to have 'Killer' in their name.

But Orca were not a fish. And that was important.

That was important was that the not-a-fish guy was giving him air. Which was really appreciated, because it stopped him from hyperventilating and trying to breathe water. Which was bad.

And hey, now they were wiggling. Which felt really weird with his legs around the not-a-fish guy's waist, but he wasn't about to let go. He doesn't quite know where to put his legs and since the guy's tail is moving up and down--not side to side like a fish--he can't exactly put them -down- without getting them tangled up in the tail.

Not-a-fish guy doesn't seem to mind, and they're moving towards the surface now, he can feel the pressure change on his skin, so he just continues to cling a little bit longer. And not-a-fish guy is solid and smooth and very reassuring to cling to after a wild madcap aerial chase, falling into the water and the lack of air and the fish.

Which not-a-fish guy is not.

Then his head is breaking the surface and he's heaving in great gulps of blessed blessed air, all bitter and salty from the spray around them. He's shaking; it's the adrenaline rush, it's relief, it's terror, it's the water and it's the cold.

The not-a-fish guy is looking at him with something that looks a lot like irritation and amusement. "Idiot."

He laughs; it's a little breathless and giddy, but it's honest. He's alive. And he just kissed a not-a-fish man who just fished him out of the ocean. He isn't a drowned sailor and the other guy is far from the mermaids of lore and he could really do well without the fish and 'treasures of the deep' at the moment. "Yeah," he agrees. "Thanks."

The not-a-fish guy gives him another amused and irritated look, more of the former this time and began to move again, this time heading for the lights of the shore. It's a bit awkward, to swim with their heads above the water, but the not-a-fish guy manages it.

He's content to let him, just drift for a little while. He's tired and can't quite stop the shivers. Too close. Too close tonight.

He concentrates on the simple things, trying to pull himself back together again into some semblance of normality. The splashing sounds of the water around them, the solidness of the form he's holding onto. They're -there-, tangible and real.

The texture of the not-a-fish guy's skin is different, he can't feel it very well through the fabric of his gloves, but it's smooth, almost rubbery against the skin on his bare wrist, and his face when he rests his face against not-a-fish's guys shoulder. He focuses on that, ignoring the sound of splashing as the tail moves, propelling them forward.

Tail. Air. Breathe.

He's alive.

Not a fish.

Not a fish...

The next morning, Kaito isn't sure if he dreamt the entire thing.

He takes a detour on the way to school that morning, stopping by the beach and looking out over the blue waters.

The water doesn't give him any answers.

He debates on skipping school to meditate on brushes with death, people with Orca tails, the joy of being alive and breathing in general, but decides to go to school instead.

At school, there's the usual noise and rowdiness that accompanies hundreds of teenagers being crammed into a single building for the majority of the day. He smiles and is a little distant but doesn't think anyone notices. Quiet is good. Quiet is the calm before the storm. Or so he's heard his classmates say, usually right before a prank is launched.

Today, quiet is for reflection instead of laying low. He could have died last night. He -should- have died last night. But he didn't. Instead he ran into... not-a-fish guy. Which really sounds like some sort of fucked up hallucination. Because really, if you're going to dream about people with... fins, they should have breasts the size of melons, shouldn't they? At least they do in the stories -he'd- read.

When he thought of it that way, he felt sort of gypped. Maybe it's his profession. Sailors get buxom babes, thieves get half-orca guys.

Only that doesn't explain pirates... they got the babes too. And -they- were technically thieves... Maybe it was a sea thing. Except that still didn't explain why he got a -guy- and everyone else got girls.

Therefore, there was only one logical conclusion. Either he had hit his head when impacting the water a hell of a lot harder than he had previously thought or his subconscious was trying to tell him something and he should spend some time contemplating his belly button.

The teacher drew part of his attention up to the front, announcing the arrival of a new student, from overseas. He tuned it out, counting on either Koizumi or Aoko to fill him in on the sordid details later.

At least until he glanced up and -saw- the new student.

A startled yelp froze in his throat, the impulse to rise from his seat nearly knocking him into the aisle.

There, standing in their usual black and white school uniform, was the blond from the ocean last night. Standing on what appeared to be two very human legs and no orca tail.

"-Nine am, zero minutes and 32.41 seconds. I just transferred from London Bridge School. My name is Hakuba Saguru. Pleased to meet you."

A cry went up from several of the girls. "Ooooh! He's so handsome!"

This couldn't be right.

Kaito just stared. Even as the teacher directs their newest classmate to a seat a few rows back from his own, next to the window. Beside him, Aoko nudges him with an elbow, grinning conspiratorially at him as she makes a comment about greeting him during break. He just nods vaguely in return, trying desperately to keep his eyeballs -inside- his skull.

Evidently, he needs to be spending a LOT of time contemplating his belly button...

Different night, different heist and this time NO flying over water to evade the cops. And rumour had it that the cops had someone new to help them out to try to catch the infamous Kaitou Kid, someone called 'The Wolf of Europe' or something.

Wolf. Aaauuuooo. How scary. He was shaking in his white patent loafers. Not.

Heh. Life was good.

Yet another thing to mull over while contemplating his belly button. It was becoming increasingly obvious that he also had a bit of a death wish. Otherwise he wouldn't keep volunteering to make a bright shiny 'oh shoot me now' target of himself for the guys who killed his father. Much less continue to throw himself at the police.

Speaking of which... time to step forward. "Ladies and Gentlemen!"

And whoosh! They were off again, caught up in the lights, in the sound, in the -bullets- of another Kaitou Kid heist. That was one thing he hadn't expected when he had taken up his father's mantle, was just how -easy- everything was. There were heart stopping times, of course, but it feels quite literally as if he had been born for this, taking to it like a duck to, no... wait... Like a bird to the sky.

Thieving comes as naturally as breathing. So does the showmanship.

And dammit, it's FUN.

Even if it doesn't feel like there's much of a contest between him and the police. Always an adrenaline rush, but sometimes it feels like there's just nothing that Nakamori and his men can do. They can't even get close to touching him, even with the dogpiles, which he's getting better at evading.

Of course, that's sheer cockiness on his part, which could lead to mistakes, so even if they can't catch him, he makes sure to give a lot of respect to the men who had fervently sworn to capture him.

But by the time he's reached that part of the internal monologue, he's already gone in, gotten the jewel and slipped out on to the rooftop to make his escape.

Really, it's just too easy.

Heist tucked away in his inner vest pocket, he prepares to jump and take to the air. If he wraps this up quickly, he might even be able to get a good night's sleep.

At least, until someone tackles him from behind. He sensed movement before the person made contact, moving just enough that he ended up on his back on the rooftop, instead of eating gravel with his face. A heavy body covers his own, hands pinning his wrists. He looks up to find himself meeting a startled golden gaze.

Gold eyes. Wolf. Orcas are known as 'The Wolves of the Sea'. Right.

"You're Orca Boy!"

"You're in my class!"

Oh, shit.

A smoke bomb and a body twist later and he's out of Hakuba's grasp and safely back in the sky.

Oh, shit oh shit oh shit oh shit.

Then again, maybe he -won't- get a good night's sleep.

When he was younger, Kaito read a lot of Fairy Tales. Not just Momotaro and the Bamboo Princess, but European ones too. Including several by a guy called 'Hans Christian Anderson', who wrote a story called 'The Little Mermaid'.

Which followed thusly:

Youngest daughter of the Sea King rescues a prince from drowning and in the process fall in love with him. She's got fins, he's got legs, she makes a deal with the Sea Witch to have legs that feel like she's walking on pins and knife edges, in exchange for her voice. Catch is, he's got to love her in return, or she dies at dawn the next day. He marries someone else, her sisters appear with their hair cut short and carrying a knife, informing her that if she spills his heart's blood on her legs, she can return to the sea. She can't do it and instead turns to sea foam.

Lovely story there. Very morbid.

Then there's the American cleaned up version, where the mermaid and her prince kill the Sea Witch and live happily ever after. Which seems even more unlikely. Not to mention, what was up with the eyes? All big and funny looking. And talking fish. Brrrrrrrr. Fish should NOT sing. Those people were sick.

So here he is, stuck in the plot of a very fucked up European Fairy Tale wondering why -his- mermaid is a guy. With an orca tail, which was actually on the cool side, because that mean's that he's Not A Fish, so that at least is a positive.

But not really much of a positive, because his merperson also knows that he's the Kid. Which sucks.

So he gets to class earlier than usual, figuring that if he and the Wolf of the Sea are going to have it out, they might as well with as little of an audience as possible. Hakuba strikes him as one of those 'sticklers for time' people, always showing up exactly on time or early. So it's with some regret that he ditches Aoko at the docks --having Ichthyophobia in a costal town sucks--where she's picking over fish for dinner that night and waits at his desk for the detective to come.

He doesn't have to wait long. As per his predictions, Hakuba shows up early.

Hakuba pauses at the front of the classroom, looking at Kaito.

Kaito looks at Hakuba.

Hakuba continues to his seat.

Stalemate.

Neither can say anything about the other without their own secret being revealed. Therefore neither of them will say anything at all.

Kaito lets out a small breath of relief, turning his attention back to the newspaper he's been reading.

Really, when he thinks about it, the Little Mermaid seems less like a romantic bedtime story and more like a case of an over-obsessive stalker.

Kaito blames it on the fact that he hasn't done a heist in weeks. With the 'Wolf of Europe' knowing his secret, and the two of them warily circling each other without a word, he feels it wise not to push his luck too much and has been keeping a low profile. According to Aoko, her Dad's been feeling the lack of adrenaline rush too, becoming increasingly grouchy from being cooped up.

Which means that Aoko's feeling grouchy and cooped up.

Which is why she's chasing him around the classroom with the bucket containing the fish for her family's dinner in it. He's using his bookbag as a shield to hide behind, although a small voice in the back of his head comments that the fish looks more terrified of the girl than he does.

He's by the window, ducking between desks when Aoko gets fed up with their game and simply tosses the contents of the bucket at him.

Kaito flips, dodging the fish and the water. Hakuba, in his seat next to the window, doesn't.

What catches his attention to it is the look of abject horror on the detective's face, followed by a look of absolute pain although the blond doesn't make a sound.

Orca guy.

Water.

Oh, boy.

Kaito throws his bookbag on, grabbing a smoke bomb and tossing it down. Grey smoke, not his signature pink, clouds the classroom as he tackles the larger detective out of the window and into the sky. A black hang glider erupts out of the pack, the sides wider but narrower than Kid's cape glider. It catches the breeze, jerking them higher for a second.

Hakuba slides his arms under Kaito's, which are wrapped around the detective's waist, resting his hands on Kaito's shoulders like some sort of awkward tense hug and making it easier to carry the weight. "You bring a hang glider to school!" The voice is muffled and it takes a moment to realise that it's because the blond has his face hidden in Kaito's shirt. Afraid of heights?

Well, when one grows a not-a-fishy tail, that makes a certain amount of sense. "It comes in handy," he calls back. It is, however, not built for two. They're rapidly losing elevation. "You're heavy!"

"Water weighs approximately .94 kilograms per litre. The bucket was a five litre bucket adding a little over four and a half kilograms, minus the fish, to my weight, which is already several kilos heavier than your own..." Hakuba's babbling. Really afraid of heights then?

He glances around, trying to see if there's a good landing area around them, when he notices Hakuba's hand. There's a raised black area on the hand, the skin around it bright red and painful looking. The whole area looks like a bad burn.

Or a splash pattern.

"So, uh... salt water, huh?" The not-a-fish guy's hands had black on the back of them as well, the orca pattern continuing up the human parts.

"Yes." The voice is tense and unless he's massively mistaken, in a world of pain. Aoko had gotten more than just the arm, that had been a full body splash. Not babbling then, hurting. "I'm afraid I'm not built to be randomly in-between forms."

He looks around the area with a critical eye. If their luck--and the breeze--holds, they could just make it to the sea. "Crash land in the sea okay?"

"Perfect."

He nods in return, not that Hakuba could see that, and throws his weight to the side to aim them where the sea comes farther inland. It's awkward, the detective wasn't kidding about being heavier, and for a moment he over compensates, sending them wobbling dangerously. This hang glider isn't built for the agility of his usual one, built more in mind for stealth and surprise exits.

And it goes with his school uniform.

He straightens them out, much to Hakuba's relief if the muffled moan is anything to go by, and concentrates on not running into anything before they hit the water. Like trees, buildings, the ground in general. Bad things.

They're less than two metres above the surface when they finally do hit reach the water. Hakuba pulls on his shoulder. "Retract the glider!"

That would mean crashing into the... oh. Yeah.

A fumble and a press of a button on the shoulder strap and the glider snaps shut. Now it's his turn to squeeze his eyes shut as they fall into the ocean with a sensation he hates: falling, and a huge splash. There's a moment of confusion where he doesn't know which way is up before -he's- grabbed by strong arms around his waist. He grabs on, distantly musing that they've flipped positions, Hakuba's now carrying him, tail moving rapidly as they move full speed ahead under water. It's suffocating and he keeps his eyes closed, head pressed against Hakuba's chest, realising exactly why the blond had done that. It doesn't block everything out, but it helps.

There's a sudden shift in the water and suddenly they've broken the surface, arcing through the air. He takes a deep gulp of air, then they've hit the water again, rushing through it at dizzying speeds.

If he was really smart, he should have let go when they reached the water. Then he wouldn't be underwater with the insane not-a-fish guy. Again.

If he were really smart, he wouldn't be in this situation at all, dammit. 'Nother thing to muse over while contemplating his belly button. He really is too damn impulsive, dammit.

But he owed the damn guy.

They do the leap-breathe thing a few more times and just as Kaito's starting to think that he's got it figured out, they're suddenly dive down and it's dark. It's dark and there's no air and they're surrounded on all sides. Trapped.

Just when he's about to panic, they're breaking the surface again and this time he opens his eyes. They're -inside- an island, one that's roughtly tube-shaped. Air vent for a volcano at one time, most likely. But the most important part is that they're hidden from sight. He isn't sure how much attention they attracted with the hang glider stunt or the jumping-for-air thing.

Hakuba kind of pulls him off, shoving him towards a ledge on dry land that he gratefully crawls onto. Hakuba follows, grunting as he kind of slithers the back half, the tail not being of much use on dry land. Kaito gives him a tired hand up, pulling him up next to him. The skin is how he remembers it, all smooth and solid and kind of rubbery feeling.

There's also red lines all over, marring the black and white skin. Or black and pale-flesh-coloured, the white seems to start about navel level and heads down.

"Dammit." Hakuba curses, flipping himself onto his back and sitting up. Kaito realises that he's got a fin back there too, so the merguy can't exactly lay on his back like Kaito's doing at the moment. "Salt water stings like a bitch."

"I can imagine." Actually, he's been there before, little nicks and cuts, never anything quite as large as the splash pattern all over the detective's body. Probably feets like pins and knife edges all over his body. "How-?"

"Mum's a Silkie." The blond closes his eyes, leaning back against the rock behind him. "British version of a mermaid. She turns into a seal. Dad met her there, fell in love, had me. Mum couldn't leave, Dad couldn't stay." He opened a hand, stretching the fingers out and Kaito is vaguely surprised to see that Hakuba's fingers are webbed. Come to think of it, they were when the blond wasn't all whale looking too. He just hasn't noticed because he's been -trying- not to notice, period. "Moved here to spend some more time with Dad, ran into you the first night while exploring. You?"

A patch of sunlight falls against them, the warmth evaporating the water off of them. As Kaito watches, the pointed ears seem to melt away, turning back into normal rounded human ears. Hakuba's body absorbs the salt water, turning it not-fishy. He dried out... human again. In-between forms, --partly hydrated, partly not-- equalled pain city.

"Trying to lure out the guys who killed my dad." He shrugs. That's not all there is to it, there's the rush and the excitement and the chance to really stretch his wings and the things he should really should contemplate his belly button about, but that's what it really does boil down to.

"Ah." Hakuba nods, looking exhausted. Not all of the paleness is from the not-a-fish thing. "Thanks."

He waves it off. "Owed you one." Owed him big. This almost seems to put them even. "Catch a nap before heading back?"

"Sounds like a plan." Hakuba agrees. There's a bit of a twist and a lot more flexibility than he would have expected from the hip and knee area--even as flexible as he was, Kaito's knees didn't bend backwards---and Hakuba is stretched out on his side, out of the water. Kaito shifts to accommodate him, sprawling out to allow his soaked clothing to dry faster. Not that it's going to matter anyway, they're going to have to swim back; the hang glider's not good for much while wet.

Which means that he had nothing but time, peace and quiet space on his hands to do what he'd been threatening to do ever since he met Hakuba: meditate, contemplate his life and his navel.

Only now that he's here, it's really a lot more interesting to contemplate Hakuba's belly button instead.

-fin-