Chapter One: An Apologetic Sort of Meeting

Disclaimer: I own nothing of DC/MK. If I do, Kaito would have a lot more wardrobe malfunctions during his heists. XD

"I'm sorry, Aoko."

"Uh-huh."

"There's no point in arguing with me, Aoko, my mind's already made up."

"I understand perfectly, Tousan."

"So stop complaining - what?"

Nakamori Ginzo looked up from his desk (which, by the way, was quite a difficult task as it was flooded by pile after piles of paper), bewildered. For once his moustached mouth wasn't flying with spittle with outrage or frustration, but poised in a rarely, almost-never-been-seen docile "O". His daughter, almost a carbon image of himself (take or give a few pounds, a few inches in height, the body hair... oh, heck, she inherited only his messy hair) was already standing by the door, dressed and suitcase packed at her feet. There was no anger in her eyes, no confrontational set to her jaws. Ginzo actually felt kind of creeped out by his daughter's calmness. Nakamori Aoko was known for many things, and a meek temper was definitely not one of them.

"What are you waiting for, Tousan? Didn't you say that we were going to meet them first thing in the morning?" the wild-haired girl checked her wrist watch. Her eyes flicked back to meet his own.

Cool as a cucumber.

"Uh - right, of course." Nakamori Ginzo got up from his desk, sweeping one broad hand over the messy surface for his car keys. Oh, dear - it was going to take a while. He purposely averted her eyes, which - incidentally, were burning with a fire that didn't quite match up with the rest of her coolly poised body. "Er, Aoko - you do remember what the plan was, don't you?"

"How could I forget?" A soft giggle. (A definite chill down his back) "You told me yesterday that you need to go to Europe for three months for an ICPO convention. And it would probably be best for me to stay with a friend of yours whom I've never met before. And apparently they have a teenage son who would also be sharing the same roof as me." She chuckled. "Oh, Tousan - how could I forget? Transferring to a whole another school and leaving everything behind? I. just. can't. wait, Tou-chan."

His fingers brushed against something cold and metallic. The possibility of getting murdered in his own car fleeted across his mind. He cleared his throat. "A-hem, I'm glad you understand, Aoko."

She beamed (Oh, dear God, the girl actually smiled...) "Of course I do, Tousan! After years of disappointment I've learned to cope with trauma pretty well." Her hand tightened on the handle of the suitcase. There was a subtly crack. "And it's not that bad living with strangers - I mean, with you working late all the time I've practically lived by myself for the past... oh, I don't know - ten years, give or take." She flashed him a big grin.

He smiled back weakly.

---

The car ride didn't take long. Aoko spent the hour gazing longingly at the flitting scenery of her hometown while Ginzo twitching uncomfortably a seat next over, the murderous aura in the car probing every pore and orifice of his body. After what seemed like an eternity of grey blurring past the window, the car wormed its way through a neighbourhood with muted greens and whites.

"'Kuroba'," Aoko read, as the car finally came to a stop in front of an average-looking two-storied house.

"Their son is named Kaito Kuroba. Perhaps you guys could become best friends." Aoko turned and grinned sweetly, wilting the hope in his father's face at once. "I mean... ahem," he cleared his throat. "Well... at least someone to talk to... same school and all, I just thought..." he trailed off lamely. Aoko was already out of the car, dragging her suitcase from the trunk.

They stood before the door together, Ginzo slightly to the front as he pressed the doorbell. Silence. Aoko glanced around her new surroundings. The house had a small yard circling the white walls, somewhat grey with age and pockmarked with mildew. It had a balcony on the second floor, though looking up she couldn't quite make out what was on there - a giant metal cage and a few flowerpots, it appeared. Not very assuring.

There was a sudden rustle behind the door, startling both Nakamoris to attention. The door was pulled open, revealing a kind-faced, middle-aged housewife. She hastily wiped her hands on her apron before offering them a smile. "Ah - sorry, I was preparing lunch in the kitchen and I couldn't hear the bell." She edged closer into the house, granting them a better access into the house. Aoko noticed that there weren't many pairs of shoes - women's sandals, a pair of black dress shoes, and worn runners. Ginzo scratched a hand behind his head awkwardly.

"Sorry to be such a bother, Shiori."

"No, no, not at all." The smile was there, but Aoko could have sworn it was slightly strained. Her eyes flicked to the girl. "So this is your daughter?" Her eyes softened. "Quite a beautiful girl."

"Ah, yes - I don't believe you've met." The gruff inspector clapped the girl (hard) on the back, ushering her a step before him. "Aoko - this is Shiori Kuroba - or Kuroba-san - if you will." He glanced around the house. "Ah - well, I don't suppose Kaito-kun is here now?"

"He's out." Aoko must had let her nervousness show, because the older woman reached over and took her hand, giving her a reassuring squeeze. "Don't worry, he won't bite." She winked. "Please do come in. I'll get you settled, Aoko-chan."

"No, no - I should get going now. Um... be good, Aoko." He patted her head. Aoko felt like a dog.

"So soon?"

"There are some loose ends at the office. You know - last minute stuff and all. Thank you once again, Shiori." He shook her hand. "Give my best regards to Toichi, will you?"

Something flickered in her eyes. "Ah, yes, of course."

With that, Nakamori Ginzo gave Aoko one last (awkward) pat on the head before heading out the door. Aoko watched it click shut behind him. Unease washed over her almost immediately. She was really going to live with the Kurobas for the next three months. She turned toward the older woman, a slight blush creeping to her cheeks, "Er... if there's anything I should could do to help with lunch - "

"Don't worry about it." She dismissed the offer with a wave of her hand. "Your room is just down the hallway - it's the last door from the left. You wouldn't mind if I just go upstairs and get cleaned up quickly, will you?" She eyed her apron, which was damp with splotches of purple and orange. (What was she cooking?)

"Of course not!"

"Good, good, get yourself settled." She smiled. "I'll call you when lunch is ready, okay?"

"Okay."

Aoko watched the older woman turn and leapt up the stairs with surprising agility. Shrugging it off, she lugged her suitcase and went down the hallway. Her room was easy to find - the only door with the sign "Nakamori Aoko" taped to it. The room was small but cozy. There was a bed, a desk, and a closet. She set her suitcase onto the bed and looked around. She had a window in her room - the sunlight streamed in wine patches on the walls. Not bad. She could feel the tension easing away.

She didn't pack much - and soon half an hour later she found herself idling with nothing to do. Deciding that there must be something she could do to help out her hostess, Aoko wondered out into the hallway. She soon came upon the small kitchen. To her surprise, there was nothing bubbling on the stove or sizzling in the pans. In fact, the kitchen looked untouched.

"Kuroba-san?" she went to the staircase. "Can I help with anything?" She called out.

Silence.

Then -

Thump.

Her heart skipped a beat. "Kuroba-san?" She called again, tentative.

BAM!

She could hear rustling from above. Footsteps. Her heartbeat quickened. An image of a gagged and bound Mrs. Kuroba flashed across her mind, closely followed by a beefy, hairy man with panty-hose pulled over his face, butcher knife in hand. It couldn't be- but what if -

Someone had broken in?

She spotted a mop leaning against the wall out of the corner of her eye. She grabbed it, clenching it tightly in her hands. Her socked foot eased cautiously onto the first step of the staircase -

All right, thief, you're so going to regret this.

Even though she wasn't a martial arts champion by any reach, she wasn't completely devoid of any self-defence knowledge, either. There were the perks of being the daughter of a police officer. Though, of course, Nakamori Ginzo had probably meant for her to use them against bad-dates-gone-wrong instead of potentially violent break-ins. But you use what you have.

She had come to the top of landing. Her hands were slick with sweat. Still, they gripped the handle with an iron-clasp. There were three doors on the second floor; the sounds were coming in from the one furthest away. The door was nudged open just a crack.

She stayed close to the wall. Muffled, she could just make out a man's voice -

"Jii-chan... I know... of course... she..."

It sounded kind of young - almost like a teenager. Willing her heart back down her throat, (and desperately praying that he wasn't armed), she thrust the door wild open, jumping right into the room -

"All right, let Kuroba-san go or I'll - "

Her jaw dropped.

It was an odd sight to behold. She had expected Mrs. Kuroba to be tied up in a corner, possibly gagged or even knocked unconscious, and the room ransacked with drawers pulled out and closets emptied. Instead, it was completely neat and organized - the bed sheets unwrinkled and the drawers untouched - and Kuroba-san was well and alive, a phone in hand.

Except -

Except Shiori Kuroba was a teenage boy. With a shock of dark hair, wearing the same apron covered in lively shades of orange and purple.

And looking as shocked as she was.

"Wh - how - wha - but-" she stuttered, not quite believing her eyes.

"Wait, I can explain." The boy held up his hands.

"WHAT DID YOU DO WITH KUROBA-SAN?!"

And because it only seemed logical to carry on what her muscles had tautened for the last five minutes, Aoko lunged at the boy, mop at all. The boy ducked easily. The momentum caused Aoko to sail on ahead, losing her footing and crashing onto the bed. She felt a cold draft on her thighs.

A chuckle. Low and stifled. But heard nevertheless.

Blushing furiously, she yanked down her skirt and whipped around, mop in hand. "You pervert!"

And lunged.

"Wait -" Duck. Under. Side. Leaned back. "I'm - not - a- burglar - let me- explain - "

"Yeah, right! Where's Kuroba-san?!" She snapped, a little out of breath from chasing the boy around the room.

"I am Kuroba-san!"

"Don't pull that one on me, pervert - I'm not that stupid - "

"I'm not a pervert!"

She felt her cheeks burn. "You - (swipe) saw - (two swings) my - m-my," She felt herself fluster.

And there, a ghost of a smirk tugging at his lips. It withered almost as soon she scowled, fumes practically billowing out her ears. "Wait - I didn't see anything - " he held up his hands once more. "I swear I didn't."

She was panting. "Really?"

"Yeah."

She surveyed the boy before her. He certainly didn't look the type to break in houses.

"I swear I didn't see your blue underwear."

There was only a blur as she tackled him to the floor, his back hitting against the ground with a thunderous bam! He winced. She held him down by tightly gripping his wrists, her knees threaded with the gaps between his legs.

"Where. Is. Kuroba. San." She breathed.

His blue eyes met hers. "There is no Shiori Kuroba."

"What?"

"I was Kuroba-san."

"Stop messing with me -"

There was an edge to his voice. "My mother has been missing for a while. It was me. All along."

"But... b-but..."

"My name is Kuroba Kaito." And there, the ghost of a grin back on his lips.

"Nice to meet you."

A/n: It's my first attempt at a more light-hearted fic on Kaito/Aoko. I used to read a lot of shoujo mangas but then I get sort of wearied for the overused plotlines... the ones that, you know, begins with two totally opposite people living under the same roof and end up falling in love with each other. Then it hits me - what if it's Kaito and Aoko who have to go through this? And yes - they are going to endure some painfully embarrassing moments (cackles evilly) as I hope to toy with the overdone clich├ęs on the way. But it's only because I love them. ^^

Reviews are always fantastic~ I would love to hear what you guys think!