For all my power gives me insight, it has drawbacks as well. I cannot determine evil intent, or possible enemies, or, indeed, anything that could actually be useful. It has always hindered far more than helped.
I was six when I first used it to manipulate. The child down the street, the only one in the neighborhood who still talked to me, had a little puppy who had just died of an infection. I tried to cheer him up. I failed. Then, I took his hand and wished he'd be happy.
And he was.
He laughed and smiled, right there at the fresh grave we'd dug, smiled while tears of grief still rolled down his cheeks. The worst part was, he was truly, truly happy.
All because I wanted him that way. It was the single most disturbing moments of my life
Since then, I have made an active effort to never force emotion on anyone. I could, though. I could make sad people happy, or the joyous cry, or make anyone fall in love me with just a touch. But I won't.
I hate this power of mine, truly I do. However, sometimes I wonder what would happen if the holder had no morals. And I shudder, and think that maybe it is for the best that I, and only I, suffer.
Weekends were wonderful, Saguru decided for about the thousandth time that afternoon. He lay on the sofa and stared at the ceiling and refused to get up. After all, there wasn't any reason to, and all the reason in the world to stay put.
He did, however, make the concession of leaning over to the end table and grabbing two of the pills piled up there. Weekends may be miracles, he decided, but headaches suck.
In fact, life sucked, too. He wasn't sure how, but somehow, this was all Kid's fault. Or maybe Kaito's? But that distinction didn't really matter much, did it? Because Kaito was Kid. Wasn't he?
It struck him that he could find out. He could simply go up to Kuroba tomorrow and....And what? Satisfy his personal curiosity? It's not like that would hold up in a court of law. Well, Your Honor, I've sort of got this magical power and it tells me that the defendant is Kid....He'd be lucky to just get laughed out of the courthouse.
Come right down to it, he might not even want to know. After all, the uncertainty was part of the game. There was that one heist, after all, with the handcuffs, and hadn't that been an interesting one. So maybe he won't anyhow. But....
He firmly shook his head. Thinking in circles was going to get him nowhere fast. This wasn't even helping his headache; he felt like his brain was about to pound itself out of his skull.
Speaking of feeling, there was Conan to consider. Conan, who wasn't really Conan. Probably taken from the author, judging on Mouri's mention of a Holmes addiction. Now, there was an idea. Maybe he'd finally found another Holmes enthusiast. He'd have to remember to ask Conan/Kudo about that next time he saw him. He had a relatively extensive collection of the defining works on the subject himself...
Again, he was digressing. His mind just kept shying away from what he'd felt from Conan. It was just too similar to what he'd felt from Kid. Perhaps it came from keeping secrets? In that case, would he himself feel the same? No, he decided after some thought, because I have no one that is close enough for me to worry about. But still, Conan's deep rift of loneliness and the still well of pain kept contrasting in his mind with Kid's passionate hurricane of hurt.
He found himself unable to sleep again that night.
Monday morning found him tired and getting worse. Sleep was not strictly necessary, and he'd pulled longer shifts before, but it was a nice luxury. Still, he kept his head down in class and didn't participate. He didn't always listen either, but the teacher thankfully never called on him.
Other people, however, noticed he wasn't being his normal perfect self. Aoko for one, and Kaito. Aoko just shot him concerned glances, but Kaito decided to "cheer him up."
This, Saguru decided, would probably help neither his headache or his sanity.
He was right.
After the third bunch of flowers and glitter fell on his head from thin air, he turned to look at Kaito. Quietly and calmly, he said, "If you do not stop that right this instant, I will eviscerate you. Slowly. With a rusted butter knife." Then he turned back around and put his head back on the desk.
He didn't look to confirm it, but he as almost certain Kaito would be staring at his back, mouth gaping like the fish he so hated. It was a pleasant thought. Kaito didn't try anything else on him that day.
At lunch, however, Aoko did something odd. She came and sat next to him once she'd finished her customary mop-chase. She sat there for a while, not saying anything, just watching the class around them. He soon finished his own lunch and quietly observed her for a while.
She was pretty, he was surprised to realize. He'd never really noticed before. She was always running and yelling or blushing or ducking, and it wasn't until she was still this time that he truly saw her. He noticed she was watching him as well in little sidelong glances, trying to be discreet. He bore it politely; after all, he was a gentleman.
Finally, she spoke. "You do know, that...should you ever, y'know, need to...talk or anything, I'm here. You know that, right?"
It was sad that that took him by surprise. It had just been so long since he'd had anyone, since he'd had a friend. He noticed she was looking at him openly now, worried and anxious, and realized he ought to respond. "I do know that," he said, "but I think maybe I had forgotten. Thank you." And he gave a small smile, and she was placated.
"I hate to see you sad," she told him. "If there's anything I can do...."
"You do enough by keeping Kuroba from bothering me. Thank you for that, by the way."
She smiled gaily now. "I think you did that by yourself. He's really taking you seriously, you know."
"I do know. I also know exactly how long it takes to get glitter out of my hair. I'd rather skip it, if at all possible."
"You won't be able to," she said, now giggling at his mock-offendedness. "It's already all in there, like fairy dust."
"I know." he sighed, and ran his hand through his hair, attempting to knock some of it out. Unfortunately his maneuver failed. He had ended up with not only glitter hair, but spiky, non-combed glitter hair.
He gave up. Aoko said, "Here, let me," and reached over to mess up his hair further. He closed his eyes as her hand gently moved, consciously absorbing only the very surface emotions through the contact. He let the calm all-is-right-in-my-world flow in and around him, making himself more at peace.
Aoko smiled as Hakuba relaxed a bit. It was rare to see the stoic detective without his smug face, or his arrogant face, or his I'll-get-you-Kid-if-it's-the-last-thing-I-do face. This, she had to concede, this was nice. She'd been worried about her friend. She withdrew her hand, having made no progress except on the destruction of his hairdo.
He kept his eyes closed until her hand was well on the other side of the table. When he judged enough time had passed, he opened his eyes and smiled at her again. Quietly, he thanked her.
She smiled back. It was good to know he trusted he enough to let her get close to him, something she could tell he didn't do often. Then lunch was over, and the rest of the school day passed in relative normality.
He arrived at his house gate to find an unexpected sight. Little Conan was slouched against a post, backpack at his feet, obviously waiting.
Shit, thought Saguru uncharitably. I really wanted a nap.
Still, he graciously opened the gate, invited the other in, and locked the gate securely behind them. He repeated the ritual with the front door, motioning for his guest to take off his shoes and follow him to the library.
Conan made it to the doorway before stopping and gaping at the room of books around him. Saguru would probably have smiled at that if he hadn't been concentrating on keeping himself together and civil.
"I'm going to make tea," he said abruptly. "Want some?"
Conan shrugged absently, stepping reverently into the two-story room, drifting towards the nearest wall of books.
He sighed, and headed towards the kitchen. Setting the water on to boil, he dry-swallowed some pain pills, set out some cups, sugar and cream, and got out a bag of his favorite tea. By then, the water had boiled, and he went ahead and made himself a cup. Politeness be damned, he needed it.
He took a few sips, letting it calm him, and whether it was the tea, the quiet, or the pills, he began to feel somewhat civil again. He gathered the tray he'd made, and, taking a deep, fortifying breath, headed towards the library.
Conan looked up when Saguru entered and said, "Wow."
This time, he did smile a bit. "Our family has gathered books in this library for generations," he explained to the boy. "Every generation collected to more or less their own tastes, making it a rather...varied collection." He settled in his favorite armchair and sipped at his tea some more. Conan paced around the room a bit before he finally gave in and asked, "What brings you here, Kudo-kun?"
Conan stopped suddenly, posture stiff and defensive. "That," he ground out. "That, right there." He threw up his hands and resumed his pacing. "I'm sorry for just dropping in, but I just...I got so sick of it, you know?"
He nodded; he could imagine how the not-child felt. He could even relate to it, somewhat. He had a secret to keep, too, and no proper peer group. He doubted it had ever been as bad for him as it was for Conan...Kudo, though. And he should really call the other by his true name when possible. He made a mental note of that, then tuned back into the rant.
"I think I'm afraid that I'll...that I'll turn into a child if I keep acting like one. I can't stand class; my classmates think the height of excitement is the new Masked Yaiba! Ran treats me like I'm seven, because I am! I never get to have a decent, interesting, intelligent conversation anymore!"
Saguru was nodding automatically. Kudo continued in this vein for quite some time before finally falling into a chair of his own.
"I'm just tired of always pretending." he said, losing steam. "And then I thought, since you already know, and are about my real age, maybe...just maybe...." He stopped, and sighed. "I don't know."
"You are welcome to come here to get away, if you like," Saguru felt compelled to offer. "I can't guarantee I'll always be the best of company, but you are welcome."
Kudo glanced at him from the depths of his armchair. He puffed his bangs up out of his eyes, then said, "Thanks. I...thanks. I guess I just needed to blow off some steam." Saguru nodded politely; he'd figured that out already. "I think I'll take you up on that offer, if only to be able to explore this library a bit."
He chose not to take offense at that comment, but nodded, and the two sat for a while. Saguru sipped his tea some more, and Kudo seemed to sink in on himself. He wished there was something else he could do to help, and there probably was; he just had no clue what. The best he could do was to vow he'd keep an eye on the boy whenever he could.
Somehow, being someone's confidant gave him a slight sense of peace. He, aware as always of an emotion, picked it out immediately. He marveled at it, turned it over, and examined it, but it was real, and here, and that was enough for the moment. Then, he realized what had happened; Kudo had trusted him.
He trusted him enough to give him a secret as close to him as his soul, even if he'd had little choice. And although it wasn't anything on the level of a physical touch, it was still an acknowledgment. An acknowledgment of him as a person, as someone helpful, someone wanted.
He smiled a little at the thought, and it was a true smile.
Maybe this arrangement wouldn't be so bad after all.
Just then, Conan's high, child's voice broke into his musings. "Is that a chess set? A real crystal chess set?"
His smile grew the tiniest bit. "Why, yes. Do you play?"
A/n: Sooooo, not dead. I'd like to thank every single one of my kind reviewers; you were one of the major elements that inspired me to actually look for a plot in this mess. I love my 'Kuba-kun, and am glad to see other people also think he doesn't get enough focus in fanfic. Please continue to keep me on the right track with his character; let me know if I go ooc? Again, thanks so much for putting up with such a long wait!
And! And! And! I even have an almost-plot now! Don't give up on me yet guys; this may still go somewhere!