AN: Written for the lovely and talented magicbulletgirl, with a prompt of "C is for cowboy." But beware! Here there be fluff deep enough to give even the hardiest soul a toothache. The other bit of inspiration here comes from the song "Single Man Drought" from the musical I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. Hope you enjoy it! I don't own DC/MK. Belongs to Gosho Aoyama. Thanks for reading! Much love!
ETA: It was brought to my attention that when this was posted, it was somehow stripped of all the apostrophes and quotation marks. Considering that there's a fair amount of dialogue in this fic, it wound up looking like a big honking mess. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, and I hope it's fixed now. Because I am a total grammar whore.
The Real You
When Aoko had agreed to forgive Kaito, she had done so under very specific rules. Number one, she was doing so mostly for the reason that he had saved her father's life, and she felt she owed him. Number two, that did not mean she liked what he had done.
Number three, "don't call me, I'll call you."
It was for that last reason in particular that she found herself here, now, with this rather interesting young gentleman who had been so kind as to take an interest in her. A romantic interest, no less! So when he had asked her here, she had felt almost giddy when she accepted.
…of course, in the veeeeeery back of her mind, she was sort of hoping that somehow, it would make Kaito a little bit jealous. And she had mentioned it when she knew he was within earshot, so he did know. But at the same time, she figured that was ridiculous. Still, it was worth a try. She wanted him to suffer a little. But not too much. She was too nice of a person to actually want him to feel pain or anything like that. So that was her reasoning.
Still, she couldn't help but feel that maybe she had made the wrong decision. The fact that her date had come to pick her up wearing a cowboy hat should have been her first tipoff, but she had not been quick enough to pick up on that little clue.
And now here she was. Her eyes were as glazed as donuts, and she was having to actually fight to keep them from rolling back into her head far enough to displace what was left of her brain.
Her date, meanwhile, was finishing up his lecture. Err, story. His story. His very long story. "…and that's why I love aerodynamic engineering," he concluded with a big smile.
For a very long moment, Aoko couldn't believe it. He was done? It was over? He wasn't going to talk anymore for a second or three? Really truly honest to cake? She wanted to sing. Instead she managed to pull up something that she hoped looked enough like a smile to be convincing, and said, "Wow. What a, heh, long story."
He seemed perfectly content with that response. "But my real passion is golf…" And with that, he dove head-first into another monologue proclaiming the glory of the green and masterpiece-like splendor that was Caddyshack.
Aoko suddenly wished she were somewhere else. Like a convention of electric eels. Or a cactus farm. Or helping Kaitou Kid with a heist. Anywhere was preferable to this. Maybe once the food arrived, she could get a word in edgewise, though she wasn't holding out much hope.
As if by some answer to her unvoiced prayers, a digital song began playing, interrupting the flow of words coming out of the man across the table from her, just as Aoko was starting to become convinced that the man was a master of circular breathing. He stopped, looked at his phone, and dipped his head in sheepish embarassment. "I, err, need to take this." He rose from the table, throwing her an admittedly charming smile. "I'll be back in a few minutes."
As he left, Aoko found herself surrounded by an odd sound. Namely, silence. Was a beautiful noise it was, silence. Well, silence tempered by the conversation of the other diners around her.
She sighed. How was she going to make it to the end of this date with her sanity (and her eardrums) intact? That dinner fork was starting to look mighty tempting…
A second computerized tune made her jump. This time it was her own cell phone ringing in her purse. She quickly fished it out, silently wishing that whoever was calling her had waited a few more minutes until her long-winded date came back, so she would have an excuse to leave the table for a while.
Without even bothering to look at the caller ID, she flipped the phone open and put it to her ear. She was just that desperate for some sort of actual stimulation. "Hello?"
"Are you having fun?"
…just when she thought her night couldn't get much worse, he had to call in that aggravatingly smug voice of his. "Kaito!" she dropped her voice down to an angry whisper. "What are you doing?"
"Just wanted to check on you."
"It's not appreciated, thank you very much. I'm having a fine time," she said haughtily. Or at least as haughtily as one can speak when one is merrily lying through one's teeth.
"Oh yeah, Aoko, I'm sure you're having a great time," Kaito said from the other end of the line. "I know how interested you really are in aerodynamic engineering."
"It's a perfectly respectable field—" Aoko stopped in mid-sentence as her brain caught up with his words. "Wait. Wait just one minute. How do you know he said that?"
There was silence on the other end of the line, but she could practically hear him grinning.
"You son of a—you're spying on me?" she said incredulously.
"I wouldn't call it spying," Kaito said airily. "I would call it observing out of concern for a dear friend. Don't want you to wind up with some weirdo somewhere or something. Then where would I be?" A dramatic sigh. "I'd be miserable without someone to argue with!"
"I can't believe you!" Aoko said. One elbow came down on the table, and her forehead dropped forward to rest in her palm. "You are un-friggin-believable, Kaito. Now for real, what are you doing?"
"Just what I said," he replied. "Keeping an eye on you."
"Why do you think I need to have an eye kept on me?"
She was expecting a joke or a witty comment.
What she got was a moment of silence. And then his answer: "I just want to know that you're okay."
That stopped her cold. "Kaito…"
"Are you having fun? Just answer that question, yes or no."
"…not really," she admitted. Somehow, the confession wasn't as hard as she thought it would be.
"That's because I know you better than he does, and I know that this really isn't you," Kaito said. "You're not the kind of girl who likes fancy restaurants and boring conversation and stuff like that."
Aoko could count the number of times she had known him to be this serious on two hands, taking into account all the time she had known him. "What kind of person am I, then? What do I like?"
A faint hint of smile in his next words. "You like walking in the rain, and then curling up with a cup of hot cocoa to watch it pour. You like to dress up, but you're at your happiest in a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. And you don't care about aerodynamic engineering. Or golf."
"…and how do you know all this?"
"Because I know you. Whether you want me to or not. Now would you like a rescue, or am I going to have to sit over here in the corner by myself all night, watching your eyes get more and more glazed?"
With that clue given, Aoko glanced around, searching the corner tables until she spotted Kaito. She was a bit chagrined to realize that he wasn't even in disguise, yet she still hadn't noticed him. He was there as himself, his cell phone pressed to his ear. And he was smiling at her.
As she looked at him, Kaito added one more thing. "I think it's starting to rain."
Damn you, Aoko thought as she ended the call and dropped her phone back into her purse, unable to believe what she was doing. Damn you straight to hell.
He closed his own phone and grinned.
Damn you for smiling like that…
By the time she had her jacket on he was already next to her. "Shall we?"
"I don't know why I'm doing this," Aoko said. "I'm on a perfectly nice date, and I'm breaking it to go run off with you. I'm a horrible person." He had been right; it was raining.
"But if you're in there getting talked to death, then you won't get to walk in the rain," Kaito said rationally, reaching down to take her hand. They did fit comfortably together.
She found that somehow, she didn't want to resist: the hand holding, or him pulling her out of her date. Or maybe it was just Kaito in general. With him, there were some things that it was just impossible to be sure about. It was just part of the mystery that was Kuroba Kaito. "There will be other storms to go walking in," Aoko pointed out.
"Yes, but if you aren't out in the rain at the right time," Kaito said impishly as he pulled her away from the restaurant, "then you won't get a kiss in the rain from someone who loves you."
"A kiss? Someone who loves me? Kaito, who's going to—"
That was as far as she got before she got a very pleasant, decidedly non-verbal answer.