Disclaimer- Detective Conan/Magic Kaito does not belong to me, it is the property of Gosho Aoyama. sigh This is based off of the manga, which I have been plowing through recently, and therefore may be off-base for the anime. Haven't seen it This short is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association for gore. Ocianne, I blame you for this...


Hakuba Saguru has nightmares. Well, of course he does, he's only human. Some of them are the same silly ones all people have, like failing school tests, or realizing he's stark naked in the middle of a Kid heist. (The fact that there's actually a possibility of that last one is a fact he prefers not to examine too closely.) These go away with waking, dismissed with a roll of the eyes or a shake of the head.

Some of them are frustrating. They come the night of a heist, returning home empty-handed and humiliated once again, often dyed, beribboned, or festooned with some unholy substance. On those nights, he chases a white-clad, laughing ghost through the concrete canyons and passages of the city, only to lose him as the thief becomes a dove and spirals up into the sky, sounds of merriment still echoing in his wake. Those generally fade without fanfare into quieter dreams, or the black silence of normal sleep. Though Hakuba is, usually, still grouchy the morning after.

Some of them are bloody. He's the son of a police officer, and his career as a detective saw him investigating many murders before he came to Japan to chase a single Phantom Thief. The myriad ways that one human being can bring another to a violent end are nestled in the back of his mind, a slideshow simply waiting for the next time it's selected for play.

These take a bit longer to disperse, and sometimes need a cup of tea to move them along. Green tea, usually, or black... the warm color of most brown teas is simply too much like blood for him on those nights. But they do retreat again, because in each case, he's managed to find the answers. To bring the killer to justice and expose their reasons to the light of day. The reasons have rarely been good ones, however, and justice is a cold comfort when a person's life is gone. But it IS a comfort, and it's enough to quiet the images that come in the still of the night.

But lately, there have been new ones, worse ones. They began the first night that a Kid heist was greeted by gunfire, from person or persons unknown. Inevitably, they start out with a moment of triumph; the elusive Kaitou Kid caught, outmaneuvered, wrists ensnared in steel manacles. Moving in for the coup de gras, Hakuba reaches up and lifts hat and monocle away from the face he's been chasing for so long.

And then... it happens. A loud report, a spray of warm wet... and Kuroba Kaito is falling at his feet, blue eyes empty as white fabric is quickly turned to red. And Hakuba can only stare in dumb shock, as red pools around his feet. He knows that this time, there will be no escapes, no tricks, no sudden turning of the tables. The back of Kuroba's head is simply gone, and no makeup, no master of disguise is good enough to fake that.

(Hakuba once, and only once, had the misfortune of witnessing a man take a high-powered sniper round to the head. Of all the dark images his memory retains, this is the one he forces down the hardest, and so it is perhaps unsurprising that this is also the one his mind uses to give depth and color to his deepest fears.)

From these dreams, Hakuba awakes shaking. His breath comes in great pants, his sheets and nightclothes icy with sweat. He hasn't screamed-- he hasn't the breath-- but his heart feels like he's run a marathon and even if he'd tried to make tea, his trembling hands would not have held the cup.

On these occasions, he sits in bed, timing breathing and pulse until the comforting routine of counting seconds flushes away the adrenaline, and the worst of the fear. Then he heads for the shower, water on as hot as he can stand it, to wash away the sweat and the darkness. To wash away the ghostly sensation of the Kid's blood and brain tissue on his skin. (Hakuba's imagination is vicious, and goes straight for the jugular when making a point.)

Once clean and dressed, it's coffee for the rest of the night. With those images still fresh, he doesn't dare try to go back to sleep. Instead, he'll drink his coffee black and wait for the sunrise. He'll go to school, proclaim that Kuroba Kaito is the Kaitou Kid, and bear Kaito's colorful retaliation in good grace. He will be as insufferable as possible, provoking Kaito in every way he can, until the sheer force of the other boy's personality convinces his subconscious, once again, that it was only a nightmare. That Kaito is loudly, rudely alive, and not lying dead on a street somewhere because Hakuba pinned his wings. And he will once again run through his options and find only the same one as always.

He is a detective, and as a detective, it's his job to chase the thief. But any good detective understands priorities, and if in catching a killer, he loses the thief... ah well. With the Kid, there will always be another chance, another chase. And as long as he chases the Kid, he can make sure those bullets never find their mark.

Hakuba Saguru has nightmares. But he'll be damned if he lets any of them come true.