-Prologue is in Hakuba, first person; the rest is third person but still Hakuba-view. Don't own, don't own, don't own, blah blah blah. Moving right along...-



There is a reason nobody touches me. And it's a damn good one.

I suppose it is my fault, if one's genes can be said to be one's own fault. I just got lucky enough to inherit the recessive gene that randomly pops up in our family.

So maybe it isn't my fault I'm an empath.

Empathy is a tricky power--being able to read the emotions of others can be troublesome. Sometimes it is helpful, yes, but mostly it is a hindrance. Generally, it happens during skin-to-skin contact. And clothes do not always stop it.

It is stronger flesh to flesh, but I can occasionally pick up faint traces through clothing. More so if it is old, or used constantly, such as school uniforms. New items such as presents have no feel to them. That is why winter is my favorite season. Not only is not considered odd to wear gloves, but everybody's covered up, mostly in new, warmer clothing.

That is another reason I wear the Inverness coat. Yes, it is practical, and no, there is nothing wrong with it, and yes, I do posess some fashion sense, but it is also thick enough to guard against most casual contact.

My own personality helps diminish that as well. People started to figure out what I could do (and it is not difficult to notice when you a) know our family history and b) often see a young child from said family pick up an old piece of clothing or brush against somebody and laugh, cry, or scream for no apparent reason). Once they knew, no one touched me; everyone kept their distance. And I learned early on it was better to keep it that way. No contact means no pain, no knowledge, and no inevitable rejection.

So I don't tell, and I don't touch. I try to feel as little as I can, because all emotion is bad. All it does is get in the way and stop you from thinking clearly. Emotion has no place in the life I have built for myself; it is not logical.

Sometimes I do wonder whether or not it is better to live with both the pain and joy of emotion. And then, whenever I accidentally (or purposefully) touch someone's skin, I remember again just why I choose to live the way I do.


It happened completely by accident. In fact, he'd been trying to help.

Okay, so it had started with attempted capture, but come on, could he really be blamed? After all, that was his purpose in life, to catch the Kaitou Kid. So of course he'd grab the opportunity by the wrist when it presented itself.

He just hadn't expect the other's glove to come off, nor for it to throw the ever-balanced Kid off. Which is extremely dangerous in the best of situations (who knew what might go off if the Kid fell over?), which this was decidedly not.

No; teetering on the edge of a fourty-story building's roof is definitly not the best of situations.

White arms windmilled; a white body arched and swayed, trying to regain poise, coming scarily close to falling. Although he'd never tried it, Hakuba thought it should be dreadfully impractical to open a hang-glider while falling backwards. And still, Hakuba hesitated. But after all, he was a detective, and that came with a moral code. So he sighed and reached out, grabbing a flailing wrist and pulling Kid back onto the safety that was the roof. And froze, not releasing the thief's wrist.

Whenever he caught someone's feelings, they came in layers or levels. That wasn't quite accurate, but it was as close as he could get without inventing a new word. The top was the most superficial, and the deeper the levels/layers ran, the stronger and more ingrained the emotion was. It kind of made sense; the farther down it was, the closer towards the person and the core of their makeup.

He had expected the Kid's first level--anticipation, adrenaline, excitement. No one could do what he did like he did without thoroughly enjoying the hell out of it. There were undertones on relief (from not falling?) and worry (Hakuba still held his wrist). The next level down was also somewhat predictable--worry, frustration, fear?, anger. What anyone would expect a caught thief to feel, only it was almost too strong, as if there was another cause. Of course, there were also other emotions, other minor layers on top and in between. These three were simply the most prevalent, and the third was the strongest of them.

Loneliness. Isolation. Loss. Sorrow, a little, and pain. So, so much pain. He'd had no idea. There was nothing he knew of either Kid or Kuroba that would beget this intensity. Isolation, yes, because he could not share his secret life with anyone, and while he was adored by the class, he really had no mutual friends. Aoko didn't count, because keeping the secret from her would and did compound the loneliness. But the absolute depth of this level was astounding. It had to be a part of Kuroba/Kid himself if it was this deep. With this...this -void- inside him, how the hell did he smile like he did?

The Kid was slightly freaked. Not that he'd ever admit it, but he was. Hakuba had almost had him, then saved him. And now he was just grasping his wrist a bit too tightly and staring at him. Staring, and his eyes, usually so cold and walled, flickered with emotions. And was it...? No, his eyes were playing tricks. There was no way that those honey eyes changed to violet-blue, not even for a second. And then there was sorrow, and pity in brown-gold eyes. Pity? What the hell?

How to deal with confusing/potentially hazardous situations: Poker Face. So he snapped himself back into character, inappropriate gleefullness, propensity for mocking and all.

Hakuba blinked and pulled himself out of it. The Kid was staring at him now, probably confused at his actions. Hakuba mentally shook himself and released his grip on the other's wrist, no longer thinking of capture on this night. "I...I had no idea..." he whispered, unsure if he was talking to the Kid, himself, or maybe the wind.

"And that's the problem, tantei-san," the Kid admonished gleefully, mask firmly in place, hopping up on the crenneling of the roof again, this time the right way around. "You never have any ideas!"

Hakuba, still shellshocked by what he'd never expected from Kaitou 1412, Internationally Wanted Thief, watched the gleaming white dot fade along with the maniacal laughter still ringing on the wind and in his ears.

Then his exertions caught up with his body as the concept was still stupefying his brain. It took quite a bit of energy out of him to go that deep, and he was out of practice. His brain decided to deal with this phenomenon later, shutting down and taking his body with it. He almost made it to the wall before he fainted.



-Yeah, no logic in this, just the idea of Hakuba as an empath has been nagging at me. I mean, he rarely touches people and isolates himself emotionally, right? Right. So maybe I'm not crazy. Anyhoo, this was originally intended to kick off a nice long AU, but it's been a while. Maybe I'll end up doing it later, neh?-

Reviews are always appreciated!