A/N: Based off of 'The Price You Pay: For Freedom' By Icka M. Chif

(Sorry, I read the story and the plot bunnies attacked. No infringement intended)

Disclaimer: Magic Kaitou and Case Closed do not belong to me (Hear that all you conniving lawyers! Even if you turn me upside down and shake all you'll get is a handful of lint!)


He followed the small figure, but always from a distance. A silent shadow. And with his profession he was very good at it. Conan… no, Shinichi often walked home with his little friends or with 'Ran-neechan' laughing and smiling, Kaito ached at the sight.

Kaito was always careful not to gaze directly at Shinichi for too long, the tantei almost seemed physically aware of being stared at. So the thief watched the teen turned grade-schooler in windows and around corners whenever he was able.

Kaito knew it was risky to follow Kudo but he couldn't help himself. So during quiet time between heists and breaks from school he found himself once again tailing the squirt.

He'd always known Shinichi was special, even before he'd discovered his 'family'. Kaito didn't care how smart the guy was, no one should have been able to follow the Kid's movements so precisely. It had seemed as if Kid and Kudo shared the same brain.

Because of his nightlife as Kid and Kaito's own fear (realistic fear if the Organization ever caught up with him) the thief kept everyone at arms length, even Aoko. Despite his carefree public persona, Kaito emotionally distanced himself from everyone around him and sometimes he couldn't help but let it get to him. He felt so lonely and isolated, almost… contaminated.

He almost wished Hattori hadn't told him. That he had never discovered his brother, his twin.

To be so close and yet so far.

Kaito wanted so badly to tell him. He wanted to be accepted. He wanted to be the one to make his brother laugh, to make him smile.

He wanted someone who could truly understand the burden it was to be kaitou.

And who better to understand than Shinichi, now Conan?

But Kaito was afraid.

He stood to lose everything if Kudo found out the truth.

So he watched and waited and hoped.

Torturing himself. Taunting himself with that which he wanted most in all the world. Because he was too much of a coward to take the risk.

It hurt, but maybe it was okay to hurt. As long as Shinichi was safe.

Really, Shinichi was better off not knowing.

And Kaito truly was a fool if he believed that.

Maybe someday he'd tell Shinichi the truth, when Pandora and the Black Organization had been dealt with and there was less at stake.

But now he'd have to just grin and bear it.