Disclaimer: Gosho Aoyama owns them, I do not. This little short is rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America. Be warned, however, you may require a hankie by the end of this... We never see Aoko's mom in canon, so I decided to play around a bit... The name of Kaito's mom is stolen with permission from the talented Ocianne. The name of Aoko's mom is my own invention.

Psychopompos

Nakamori Himeko only ever saw the Kaitou Kid twice. Oh, she'd seen him on TV hundreds of times, watching the heists to cheer on her husband and commiserate with his disappointments. She still remembered one particular heist, not long after Aoko was born, where the white-clad thief had gifted the Task Force with a rain of pink-banded cigars in congratulations, laughing like some sort of proud uncle. Ginzou had come home from that heist grinning like a maniac, and somehow she had a feeling that not all the cigars had made it into evidence.

But actually seeing the thief in person; that only happened twice. The first had come some years before, when Aoko was six. It was during her first overnight hospital stay, after the diagnosis. After the chemotherapy had left her too sick to go home right away.

Four AM is a horrible time to be awake, especially when you're ill. It's only made worse by lingering nausea and a bone-deep pain that even the painkillers don't really touch. Unable to sleep, Himeko sat in her hospital bed, drifting in and out as she stared dreamily at the full moon's light.

"Konbanwa, Nakamori-san," a smooth voice greeted, startling her out of her half-doze. The patch of moonlight in front of her sharpened and solidified as her eyes focused, forming into a well-known white tuxedo, cape, and top-hat, glittering monocle firmly in place.

Himeko knew she should probably be frightened; there was a thief in her hospital room, long past visiting hours, just the two of them. She should be, but she wasn't. Kid had never in his career raised a hand to anyone that she knew of, and in an odd, twisted way, he and Ginzou were almost friends.

"Kaitou Kid," she replied, forcing herself to sit up a bit. Instantly he was beside her, raising the hospital bed smoothly into position.
"Thank you. If you're looking for my husband, though, I'm afraid you're a bit late. The hospital staff finally threw him out a few hours ago. Said if he didn't go home and shower, he was going to start frightening the other patients."

A low chuckle from the thief. "I'm unsurprised. Your husband is a determined man. But no, dear lady, I didn't come to see him. I'm here for you."

She arched an eyebrow. "I didn't get a heist notice."

"If I'd delivered one, your husband would NEVER have gone home, and they'd probably have had to admit HIM," Kid replied. "Still, I'm not here to steal you, so I felt a notice wasn't strictly necessary this time."

Himeko didn't quite know what to say to that, and so she contented herself with examining her visitor. The room was still mostly dark, lit only by the moonlight that came in the windows, so all she could really see was the shimmering white of his costume. Idly, she wondered if that might not be the idea behind the color... it made him faceless. The clothes drew the light and the eye, leaving nothing to be seen in the shadows beneath the hat's brim.

"Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma," he said softly. "Cancer."

"Yes. It's not usually fatal... but I seem to have an extremely aggressive case," she replied, unsurprised he knew her condition. It seemed that Kid knew EVERYTHING, or at least he worked hard to make it appear so.

He nodded. "I hear it usually responds well to chemotherapy."

"It does. I don't, so much," she said wryly. "They tell me it DOES get easier, after the first time. The hair loss doesn't worry me nearly as much as the nausea. You can't chase a six year old with your head over the toilet".

That got a chuckle from Kid. "Believe me, I'm well aware of the demands made by the young and... er, energetic." He shook his head.

"But I'm getting distracted. It often happens in the presence of beautiful women. And I shouldn't be keeping you awake right now."

She snorted. "You're not. Believe me, if I could sleep, I would."

A tilt of the head. "Would you, now?" Reaching into a pocket, he pulled out something that sparkled in the moonlight. A closer look told her it was last week's heist, a brilliant green sapphire known as the Serpent's Heart.

"Would you mind giving this back to your husband for me?" Kid asked, tilting the gem to let its facets better catch the light. "I'm afraid I have other things I need to take care of, or I'd do it myself. Almost a pity... it's such a beautiful piece. Sapphires are easier to work with in some ways than emeralds, and certainly more common, but the workmanship on this elevates it far above even many emeralds I've seen."

Watching the sparkling gem and listening to the Kid's calm, mellow voice, Himeko hardly noticed as her eyelids grew heavy and the world slipped into darkness. To her surprise, she didn't wake until late morning, when she opened her eyes to find a bouquet of white roses set on the nearby table, a beautiful green sapphire cradled among the blossoms. Propped against the vase was a note.

"Nakamori-san," the note read, "Forgive the belated notice... but for a while, at least, I hope I've stolen your pain. With all luck, it will not be returned." In the lower right corner sat a doodle she knew quite well. To the surprise of the nurses on the oncology floor, Nakamori Himeno's room was soon filled with laughter.


The second time she saw him was almost four years later. Four years of illness, of remission, of living. Two years since she'd helped her husband bury his best friend. Two years since the legendary Kaitou Kid had vanished without a trace. And one year since her remission had ended, the cancer roaring back to life in her body with a hunger that said this time, it would not be denied.

Weighing the odds, she'd realized there was little point in the chemotherapy this time, and she'd chosen to spend her remaining time enjoying life, rather than being too sick to live it. She wasn't entirely certain what had woken her. One moment, she'd been deeply asleep, the next she was lying in bed, with Ginzou's snoring proof positive that this was reality and not a dream. As she blinked, her eyes fell on a patch of moonlight that lay on the floor, filtering in the windows. Just as before, the image coalesced and sharpened into a human form-- but this time, she was fairly certain it wasn't just because of the focusing of her eyes.

It was Kaitou Kid-- she'd know that white tuxedo and cape anywhere, but there was something off about his appearance, something not right. Then he turned towards her, and she realized what it was. The trademark hat and monocle were missing, and the man at the foot of her bed wore the face of Kuroba Toichi, world famous magician. A man who had been dead now for two years.
"To... Toichi-kun?" She struggled to sit up, one hand going out to shake her husband awake. But Ginzou simply still laid there, snoring, and Toichi still stood there, smiling.

"Hello, Hime-chan," he greeted her softly. And the voice was Kid's, remembered from that long-ago night in the hospital, and she wanted desperately to believe this was some sort of mask, or trick, Kid was the master of disguise... but she couldn't. Something in her knew that what she was seeing was the simple truth.

"Toichi-kun... what... why?" She'd seen his body. She'd been there when his ashes had been placed in the Kuroba family shrine. The man before her was dead... and yet here he was.

"It's a very long story, Hime-chan," he said sadly, coming to stand beside her. "And I'm afraid we don't have time for me to tell it now." Extending a hand to her, he smiled. Not the wide smile of the magician, not the half-smirk of the thief... this smile was small, and oh so sad.

"I've come to steal your pain, Nakamori Himeko," he said quietly. "And this time, it won't ever be returning."

Oh. So that was why Ginzou wouldn't wake up. She knew he wasn't that heavy a sleeper... For a moment, she could only stare up at the man before her. "Ginzou... Aoko..." she said quietly.

"They'll have each other... and Kaito, and Mizuki. And while I can only see a little of what's ahead, I think... I think that will be enough. In the end, I think it'll be enough for all of them."

She only hesitated another moment before reaching up and taking his hand. Honestly, she hadn't been sure what she expected, but he simply helped her to her feet and walked with her across the floor, to where the patch of moonlight shone even more brightly than before. Casting a look back over her shoulder, she saw herself lying in the bed, eyes closed as if in sleep, the lines of pain finally smoothed away from her face.

"Goodbye, my love," she said quietly. "I'll be watching over you... if I can."

Toichi nodded, helping her step onto a moonbeam that was now almost as solid as the floor beneath it. "We can. We will."

"Good." Silver light came up around them, clear and cool as water. "Now... about that long story..."

Owari