A/N: Ohhh I'm so sorry that I'm late with this. My laptop got a virus which ate my games, my music, and most of my pictures and word documents. Thankfully I had the majority of my pictures and documents on backup disks and my USB, and my music could be restored by imputing it from my ipod, but I lost my first copy of this chapter. I tried to recall most of it but it's not as good as the original and it's been driving me craaaaaaazy. Also my robotics team had a competition in Chesapeake so that took up a few days. I hope you all had a nice few weeks and, once again, I'm sorry for being late.

Ra'iira: I'm happy you like it so much; that means a lot to me.

SVD: I'm so glad it's a bit easier to read now; I'm trying to get better in that aspect of my writing.

Smallbell: Oh! I didn't know that, I'm sorry, but thank you for telling me. I guess I should have googled it before I added that line ^^"


So denied, so I lied, are you the now or never kind?
In a day, and a day love, I'm gonna be gone for good again.
Are you willing to be had, are you cool with just tonight?
Here's a toast to all those who hear me all too well.

-Eve 6

Here's to the Nights

Since their dispute back in late June Naoto had experienced a few brief encounters with Kanji and his new friends. The first was in mid-July; he was running an errand for Yakushiji when he spotted them sitting together on one of the outdoor tables at Junes. From his observations the group seemed to have adopted the former idol Rise 'Risette' Kugikawa. According to the local news she was just on a temporary break, but that was most likely her manager's way of phrasing the fact that she had been replaced. Normally he would have pitied the girl, a life in the spotlight was always quite difficult to lead, but that day she had been sitting across from Kanji and batting those long eyelashes of hers, the nerve, so all empathy he may have possessed had flown right out the window. Originally he considered just passing by them as if he did not notice the group but, once he got within ear range of the teenagers, their conversation instantly stirred his interest. They were talking about investigating the death of Mr. Morooka; as if they could really do something the authorities could not, how foolish. Pausing beside their table for a moment he politely informed the ignorant children that it would not be necessary, after all the police already had a suspect; one who they were positive was the killer. Being almost thoughtful he even let it slip that the culprit was a high school student, though he did not attend Yasogami High.

However, he made the mistake of referring to their little hero quest as a 'game'. Both Yosuke, he had done some research over the past month on the boy whose father managed Junes, and Rise lashed out. Sure Yosuke had a right to be upset but really now, the brunette had just joined forces with them, who was she to be speaking up so boldly? He had lost his footing after that and was seriously considering just going back to his task when Yosuke decided to go so far as to poke fun at him. 'What, did they get rid of you now that they have their man? Is that why you came here? You were lonely?' Ugh, how juvenile and irritating. But he would not start a fight again; so he merely informed these fools of the truth: that detectives normally are not involved with arrests, nor do they ever harbor any special emotions regarding a case. Although he may have gone a bit too far for Naoto even admitted that he was a tad disappointed that people were only attentive as long as a detective's services were required. At that Kanji's eyes had dropped and, for a moment, he thought that the black clad boy was going to say something…but he didn't. Of course not; he no longer cared at all for the Detective Prince. Not wanting to stay and be made the fool again he promptly turned and made his exit.

Somewhere during the course of the next few weeks the culprit that the police seemed so intent on blaming for the past three murders disappeared from the station. The whole situation was extremely peculiar seeing as how he had been in a locked interrogation room. Just what kind of evil mastermind was this child to have broken out of a guarded room without alerting anyone or even opening the air vents on the ceiling? It was almost as if he had evaporated into thin air. However, not more than a week later, the mysterious disappearance was matched by an even more baffling reappearance. He just sort of materialized in front of the station one evening, hands bound and mouth gagged. Though Adachi claimed that he had been working the late shift and did not see anyone drop off the boy Naoto had his own theories; all of which involved that troublesome group of kids. Though he was clueless as to their methods whatever these students were doing certainly was efficient or, at least, proved to be more valuable than the efforts of Dojima's absent minded sidekick. Just how on earth did he become an officer in the first place? Honestly, one look at the man and any real criminal would laugh out loud.

When the end of the normal summer session rolled around his grandfather presented the cobalt haired boy with two options. One: now that the criminal was caught, and awaiting trial, he could return to their town house and take up his lessons with the private tutors once more. Or two: he could attend Yasogami High and remain at their main estate. As much as he despised the very idea of public schooling something deep down told Naoto that the case was not yet finished. All the pieces did not fall into place and, if he left now, his absence would be pure neglect. So he reluctantly chose to stay and attend the horrid children filled classes. At least he could demonstrate to the other students how superior a one on one homeschooling was to a group education. So, donning a new Yasogami male uniform, he stood by the main gate early Thursday morning, September first, and pondered whether or not he had made the right decision. For a moment the Detective Prince considered turning around and informing grandfather that he had change his mind; the town house sounded positively delightful. But, as he looked behind him, he found the usual annoyances standing there. Well Chie, Yukiko, Soji, and Yosuke could all just bug off; he wasn't backing down, especially not in front of the likes of them. With an ever so nauseatingly sweet smile he informed the group that, as of that day, he would now be a first year student at their high school.

The first day of public school was not nearly as miserable as he assumed it would be. But that's just the thing about assuming; you normally turn out to be completely wrong. Unless of course you assume that a juvenile delinquent is nothing but a troublemaker who likes to crush people's feelings just for the hell of it, that would entirely correct. However he wasn't still bitter about that, oh no, of course not. Besides if he wanted to make new friends to show Kanji up then he could do it in a heartbeat. In fact, right after class two girls approached him with offers of friendship. Sure they were only interested in the more intimate form of boyfriend girlfriend friendship but that was hardly the point; the offer was still there. The fact that he declined it was entirely because they were just superficial girls; he certainly was not holding out in the hopes that the bleach haired boy would come around and make everything better. After he dismissed the girls the Shirogane boy was going to head home when the entire crew ganged up on him. At first he figured they were going to take his lunch money or something, but instead they invited him to hang out with them. As if, he didn't need their pity; with a tip of his cap he politely declined their offer and brushed past them towards the exit.

On the eight of September, seven days into the new school year, there was to be a class trip to Tatsumi Port Island. What exactly made the teachers feel as if this was a good idea right after summer vacation was still a mystery but it was not like he had any intention of going. Rather, he had no intention until his grandfather reminded him that school was going to be a very lonely place without human interaction. Even then he was reluctant…but the old man was quite persistent and even threatened to reinstall those dreadful looking bars. So he had agreed to the expedition into tourism land, but only if he could stay in one of the cities' more high class hotels. Not that he was spoiled, they were just more homelike and rooming with a classmate would be a disaster. Spending time with his peers in general was going to be a painful experience so, truth be told, he planned on ditching the entire student body from the get go. However, something prompted him to show up the first day anyway; not necessarily a bad decision, he got to listen to a lecture about mythology that was actually quite enlightening.

xx

The second day of the trip he was given the night off for 'free time' as they called it. Yes, that was exactly the thing to do; give a school's worth of teenagers the night off to just go crazy in an unfamiliar city. What was wrong with these people, had they no common sense? Were they really idiotic enough to believe that these children would get into no trouble what-so-ever when left unattended for hours at a time? No wonder he had no real respect for the members of the school staff; not that he would ever let on that he did not mind you, that would be incredibly rude and, as a Shirogane, he strove to always be polite. In order to make sure his fellow classmates were not misbehaving the cadet cap wearing boy strolled down to Paulownia Mall and, more specifically, to the Club Escapade. According to the local officials, who he had taken the liberty of getting in touch with the moment he arrived, there were multiple incidents involving teenagers about a year ago and he was not going to let the students of Yasogami High become another set of victims. Naoto considered it his civic duty to make sure everyone was behaving themselves and not giving Inaba a bad name.

As he stepped ever so gracefully down the club's stairs his oceanic orbs caught sight of a sickeningly familiar sight and he nearly tumbled down the remaining steps. There they were, in the middle of a club, on a Friday night. Oh yes, that was exactly the place that a group of freaking high school students should be! Good lord, their parents would be ashamed! Scanning the group for one person in particular the boy for whom he was searching instantly turned around so that he was no longer facing Naoto; how fitting. "Is it permitted for high school students such as yourselves to be here?" He inquired in a painfully condescending tone. Sure he expected to find a few rambunctious boys, or flirty girls who had clung to an older city dweller's arm, in such a place, but certainly not these seven. Seven, that's right, there was one more of them now. A blonde haired boy with a dreadfully innocent expression; but he was no student of Yasogami High, that was for sure. Just where had they picked him up? As he was pondering this the brunette boy offered up some answer to his question, but Naoto wasn't really listening. Kanji still had not turned around, a little over dramatic, no? But fine, if he was that uncomfortable then the Detective Prince would take his leave. After all, that seemed to be all he was good for these days. Before he could turn however the black haired Amagi girl invited him to stay and 'hang out' with them for the remainder of the evening. He was a bit taken aback but…it might offer some insight into their little operation. With a light sigh he nodded in acceptance of her offer; it wasn't as if he had any other plans anyways.

Now Kanji had spent the last few months of his life trying desperately to clear his mind of the cobalt haired boy; but it had all been a giant waste of time. No matter what he did the petite figure loomed like a haunting force in the back of his mind, Naoto's delicate yet stern voice constantly echoing in his ears. So the kid thought that he was nothing more than an 'idiotic delinquent', if memory served correctly; well fine, if the damn detective wanted to think that then he could just go right ahead. He was keeping out of trouble and, as a matter of fact, he was even serving the greater good! But the mighty Detective Prince could never learn about that; what a shame, he might even be jealous of such noble intentions. But that was a thought for a later time; right now his face was beginning to become a bit flushed from the sudden appearance of his ex-friend. In a desperate attempt to conceal the now obvious blush he turned his head away and tried to ignore the Shirogane boy's presence. It seemed to be going well too…until Yosuke called him on it, goddamn him. Thankfully the less than deductive boy merely inquired as to if he had some form of stomach pains "Th-That ain't it." But even he wasn't exactly sure as to what the true culprit behind his quickly deepening blush could possibly be.

xx

The fact that this Risette character could reserve the entire second floor of a night club in a matter of minutes was a tad alarming. What sort of a place was this that it catered to the whims of a teenage girl? Sure she was famous but that sort of reasoning would hardly stand up in court. Or maybe it would, perhaps the judge too would exclaim 'oh look! Risette! Let's all do whatever we can to make her life a dream come true.' That damn brunette girl was just so annoying! And not only was she annoying, she was idiotic, talkative, flirtatious, stylish, and pretty. The pop star was so much better than Naoto in every single way, so much so that it hurt just to think about how greatly she surpassed the cadet cap wearing boy. Of course kanji had wanted to sit across from her that day at Junes; who wouldn't want to gaze upon one so flawless? It was as if god had decided that those two other girls, who were also quite appealing in their own ways, were not bad enough already. Why oh why had he gone and thrown a model into the mix?

What was Naoto doing here, really? This was supposed to be a fun night out with a few close friends and now he was going to have to sit through a goddamn interrogation. The others might be blissfully unaware to the cobalt haired boy's true intentions but Kanji certainly knew what was up. There was no way that this could possibly be a coincidence, could it? No, of course not, life did not work like that; not to mention the fact that the Detective Prince was far too clever than to leave things up to chance. But had he been following their group around all day? Surely they would have noticed him before now. Only one question plagued his mind; how did the pipsqueak get in the club before them? As his mind reeled the blonde haired bear, now in human form of course, said something that sounded a bit off. "Dude… You sound even weirder today…" It was so strange, his speech was slurred and his breathing had become quite heavy. He knew this sort of behavior quite well by now. But no, there was just no way; Teddie couldn't possibly be drunk, could he?

Morons, they were all morons. All these idiotic students had been drinking was tonic, as well as a few other normal un-alcoholic beverages here and there, and now three of them had begun to laugh their heads off as if they had just downed an ungodly amount of liquor. Did they have any idea how foolish they looked? Of course not, they were too caught up in the moment, but goodness perhaps he should just take his leave now. Heavens forbid someone see him with them; there goes his dream career. However, now that he thought about it, 'drunk' students were more likely to spill secrets about certain murder cases than sober ones. "Kanjiiii!" Called a shrill voice and Naoto glanced upwards in shock at the sudden outburst. "Get the chopsticks ready!" Well what a demanding little girl that Rise Kugikawa was, who could ever like someone like that? She was just so arrogant and ugh, how dare she boss Kanji around like that? Hadn't she been taught any manners while growing up? No, she had probably been spoiled rotten since the moment she was born. He truly despised people like that but, even more so; he despised those who assumed that the Detective Prince had been born with a gold spoon in his mouth. He had worked so terribly hard to get where he was today; and what had this girl done, wear a bikini and smile?

"Wha-!? Why me…?" As much as it pained him to think it this Risette chick was really starting to get on his nerves. She was always acting like a little diva, cooing 'ooh senpai I love you' and other nonsense. Geez, she just needed to grow up, and soon, or else reality was going to hit her like a freight train. Of course that wasn't really fair, if she liked Soji than she had a right to express it; so what if Kanji was just a tad jealous of that right, so what if he wanted to feel free to tell anyone that he liked them, so what if he wanted desperately not to give a damn about what anyone else thought? Those were all just petty, and terribly silly, desires; they would never become a reality, ever. However he still reserved the right to dislike the fact that she was treating him like a dog in front of the one person he wanted to impress. It would have been less embarrassing if the pigtail wearing girl had simply clapped her hands and said 'fetch boy'. But he figured he wouldn't pick a fight, that would make him appear quite unstable and Naoto would definitely attempt to read into his actions which would just be a total disaster. So, with a loud sigh of annoyance, he headed downstairs to get the girl her stupid chopsticks.

Drawing chopsticks to see if he had acquired the one with a red crown, oh yes, this was certainly what he wanted to be doing on his Friday evening. Good lord, were these children really so dull? He had heard such wondrous stories of teenage parties and dancing, not that he wanted to do any of that nonsense mind you; did they really just want to play some make-believe king game? This was going to be even less exciting than watching late night lifetime movies with his grandfather in an attempt to 'strengthen their relationship' through 'family bonding time'. "Teddie's is red! Red! Is Teddie the King!?" So the blonde's name was Teddie... and he enjoyed using third person...of course, nothing surprised him anymore. "I, the King, command thee to smooch the King without delay!" Naoto felt his heart skip a beat, and his face drop in shock, so maybe something could still surprise him. This was that sort of game? Oh no, he needed to get back to his hotel room, this was so not for him. He adored books, solitude, and light classical music; not watching people invade one another's personal space while extremely loud techno music destroyed his eardrums.

Kanji felt his hands tighten nervously at the blonde's words. So Teddie was the first king and he wanted a kiss, no big deal; that was all fine and dandy as long as he did not call on Naoto. Not that he assumed the boy would, and not that he really cared or anything, it would just be weird. After all, who would want to kiss Naoto? He was so annoying, arrogant, conceited, uptight, little, bratty, soft-spoken, kind, sweet, and innocent; totally not what anyone was looking for. "Please God… Grant me a girl! Number 3!" He looked anxiously at Naoto who seemed to breathe out a small sigh of relief. So Teddie didn't get the cobalt haired boy, thank goodness. Had that occurred he would have been forced to speak up in protest… but only on Teddie's behalf mind you. Kissing Naoto was a fate which he would not wish upon even his most despised enemy. When after a minute no one had moved Kanji decided to glance down at his own stick, just to casually see which number he had. The carefree look on his face instantly fell however when he saw the number 3. This was going to be a long night.

xx

"Ahahaha, me next! Me! I'm the King! Actually, the Queen!" The black haired, and fair skinned, Yukiko shouted loudly. That had become sort of custom by now; a person would draw the winning stick, gasp, then scream at the top of their lungs. Unfortunately, the Amagi girl had not drawn a chopstick; she merely got called to give their leader a hug, laid on his lap in a very unladylike manner, and declared herself the next king. Apparently the whole basis of the game was no longer important and it had become a free for all, great just great. "Alright, then… Let's have someone talk about something really embarrassing that they'd never wanna tell anyone!" The young woman continued, giggling hysterically to herself as she glanced from person to person. Oh how he wished that his friends could act a bit more presentable when Naoto was around. "Hrmmm, let's see… Ah! Naoto-kun! I choose you!" Now that was just unnecessary; the kid was dreadfully quiet and terribly reserved to begin with. The bleach haired delinquent considered speaking up on the petite boy's behalf and saying that he, by no means, had to do it. But, once more, Yosuke beat him to it, goddamn it.

So he was finally being called on, alright, he could take opening up a bit as opposed to degrading himself like the others. You know what they say: if you can't stand the heat don't play the King's game; or something like that, he may have been confusing a few words but it mattered little. "No… No, that won't be necessary. One stipulation, though: If I do this, the rest of you must reveal "something" as well." It was a long shot but, if they were as 'drunk' as they were acting then, perhaps, they would agree to such terms. If they did not then there was nothing lost, but they certainly would not gain anything either. His lips remained sealed until one of the students acknowledged his offer. The brunette diva beside him shook her head ferociously up and down; well she certainly seemed willing enough. He would take this as an agreed group consensus and, before anyone could say otherwise, he began speaking once more. "No particularly embarrassing experiences come to mind… Would discussing my life be fair game? It's the rare situation like this that gives me call to speak of such things."

"Damn… Way to kill the mood…" Ugh Yosuke could just shut the hell up. If Naoto was finally going to open up then heck, he was more than willing to listen. The kid had been so secretive from the moment they first met; it was Kanji's right to hear the truth. It was… exactly what he had asked for that day. He had stood in this bratty little boy's yard, screaming at him from below a window, demanding exactly this. Naoto had been so guarded, so angry; it was truly a wondrous thing that he agreed to this so readily. Just what was he up to now? He had to have some secret agenda; after all, ulterior motives were the conniving little boy's specialty. Yes, that had to be it, there was just no way he had experienced a change of heart. It couldn't be that the Detective Prince actually wanted to tell him, or his new group of comrades, any of this. Or did he? Was the cobalt haired boy possibly attempting to atone for his past mistake? No, that was silly; he had no idea that Yukiko would ask such an intimate thing. But still, something deep down inside told the delinquent that this brief autobiography was meant for his ears alone.

With a slight sigh the orphan boy shut his eyes lightly and pondered exactly where he should begin. These simple suburban children had no idea just how powerful his family was in the world of crime fighters, so perhaps he should begin with a brief overview of his heritage? "The Shirogane family has been detectives for generations now. We lend our powers to the police from time to time." He had barely begun when Chie so rudely interrupted him. She appeared to be alluding to obscure ninja movie reference that even she could not quite recall; splendid, she certainly was a very clever girl. With a short lived cough, which worked quite well in drawing the group's focus back on himself, Naoto pressed forward. "In days gone by, when there were no crime scene investigators, consulting detectives were considered more valuable. Thus, my grandfather still has a strong connection with the police and looks after me, despite my youth and inexperience. But investigators nowadays are well versed in science and medicine, so I must further my studies." There, a condensed version that did not reveal too much about his personal life and expressed in such layman's terms that even Rise should be able to comprehend it.

Naoto's speech was followed by a brief moment of silence for it seemed as if no one could think of anything worthwhile to actually say to the child who had been pressured into adulthood far too quickly."That sounds tough…" Yosuke finally manages with a slight, and reassuring, nod of the head. Jesus, since when had Hanamura been such a talker? He knew nothing about Naoto; so why was he responding to everything the boy said and did? Not that Kanji wanted to come to the cadet cap wearing boy's rescue all the time as if he were some locked away princess, stuck high up in a tower living in fear of the killer beast below. The punk was exactly that, a delinquent with a hot temper and an unpleasant lexicon to match. He wasn't about to change himself into an armor wearing knight to go vanquish this child's dragon of uncertainty. But, as much as he hated to admit it, the brunette was right. The Shirogane child's tale sure did sound like one bitch of a ride. In fact he was actually beginning to feel pretty bad for being so damn mean to the kid. "…That's it? No punch line?" So much for Yosuke suddenly becoming deep; of course there was no punch line, this wasn't a game this was real life.

"Ahm… I fear you may be looking to the wrong person for that." The Detective Prince stated calmly, repressing the urge to lash out at the idiotic notion. So he was looking for a punch line, alright, how about 'and my parents died in a car crash when I was a child. My mother's skull slammed into the window with enough force to shatter everything from the os frontale to the os parietale while my father merely suffered from massive internal bleeding and lasted a few more drawn-out hours in surgery.' Would that work? Was that the knowledge this pampered heir was questing for? He didn't think so. Some people just needed to learn when to hold their tongues and others; well they needed to learn when to speak up. His oceanic orbs focused themselves on the hostile teenager across the table. From observing kanji's face the junior sleuth concluded that he still seemed to be processing the information he had just been given, lovely. The one time that he could have actually used the bleach haired boy backing him up he was just sitting there like a bump on a log. People really were useless or, at least, these children were.

"That's sooo embarrassing! Isn't Naoto-kun embarrassing?" Kanji resisted the powerful urge to slam his head against the wall as Yukiko-sempai broke into another fit of giggles. Someone seriously had to shut that girl up; if she could only hear what she was saying, good god, the normally proper young lady would die of embarrassment. Yosuke muttered something about wanting to go home and the Tatsumi boy was more than in agreement. This entire night was a destined to be a disaster from the get-go. He could just feel Naoto's contempt for the group growing with each passing moment. Well that was just fine, great even. It wasn't as if he was dying for the cobalt haired group to join them at Junes or on the school roof. There was absolutely no way that he ever wanted them to hang out after class and skip rocks again. Besides, if he joined them on those instances than he might begin to take part on their other worldly excursions and that would be terrible. There was no way that the small little back talker could hold his own in a real fight, he was all talk and no game; besides, what would he use for a weapon?

"Well then, it's your turn now." He had released information, upheld his part of the agreement, and now it was their turn. He could go for the sly approach; pretend to ask a seemingly irrelevant question then catch them off guard with a quick follow up. But no, Dojima-san's nephew would see that coming a mile away. The gray haired boy's eyes seemed to hold a well of knowledge, it really was a shame that he appeared to be practically mute. Honestly, how did he expect people to appreciate his thoughts if he did not bring forth the effort to put them on the table? Would two words every now and then be such a difficult task? The Detective Prince hated talking and here he was, spilling truths about his past that not even the servants at the Shirogane estate knew the details of. This Soji character could at least try to make some sort of an effort in participating in the conversation. No matter, Naoto would not waste a second more of his precious time pondering the boy's silence; instead he would just inquire flat out, no tricks or mind games. "A straight answer, please. What is your true involvement with the murder case?"

Oh, too forward, there was no way any of them were going to spill, Naoto had to know that. Just what angle was he playing? Surely he could not have such little respect for the group that he figured they would just go blabbing all their secrets because he asked politely. "You know, you're so good at killing the mood that it's almost funny…" Yosuke once again spoke up before he did; goodness that kid quick with words. He had never given Hanamura credit for it before but he was actually pretty clever…sometimes. Kanji just sort of assumed that the conversation was ending, and that the Detective Prince's question had been completely shrugged off, when he noted a sickeningly sweet smile spreading on the lips of the boy across from him. Sure the Shirogane boy's eyes were gleaming but his expression was almost victorious. It was just absurd, what could he have possibly learned from Yosuke's comment? He had said nothing about their secret after school expeditions. But the boy's Cheshire grin just continued to grow. Of course it was barely noticeable compared to a normal person's grin but, considering the cobalt haired boy rarely did anything more than look stoic, this smile was gigantic in Kanji's opinion. The reason for such a feeling of accomplishment became quite apparent when a certain inn heiress started playing with her hair and glancing at Naoto from her seat next to Teddie on the couch.

"Weeeeell," The raven haired girl started, her speech slurring a bit as her head moved slowly back and forth as if it were loaded to the brim with bricks. This was wonderful; he had assumed Risette would be the one foolish enough to answer, but a response from the normally levelheaded Yukiko was so much more trustworthy. "We go rescuing people who've been kidnapped by jumping into the TV!" …Idiots, all of them. How did he ever let himself become foolish enough to believe that these children, mere children, were moving in secret behind the police force's backs and working towards actually solving the mysterious murder cases on their own? But, was there possibly some truth to this statement? After all, they had gone missing that day in an electronics department. Electronics meant gigantic television screens that were pretty close to the ground. Surely a student could fit through one no problem- No that was truly and utterly moronic. Of course people didn't fall through televisions! That was absurd, idiotic, and just ridiculous. If anything it sounded like a rejected idea from The Twilight Zone; and that show didn't reject much. "And theeen, we do stuff like, "Persona!" with our Personas and beat the crap outta Shadows…"

Oh crud, oh crud, what was she saying? Was Yukiko really that drunk that she had lost all hope of having a filter? Sure she was always a bit of an airhead but this could jeopardize everything they had been working so hard to achieve! That stupid girl; ugh he half wanted to strangle her, anything to shut the intoxicated older girl up. Naoto couldn't know that stuff, he just couldn't! God, if he even began to believe any of this was true he'd be home within the hour and jumping through a t.v. to go find himself a killer; and that was not safe! It was terribly dangerous in there and there was no way in hell he was gonna let the kid go in on his own-or in at all for that matter! The land on the other side of the television screen was a truly horrid place and he knew firsthand what terrible things it could do to people. If the Detective Prince went in there who knew what might happen. He had been so good at concealing the fact that he was with the police force, just what other secrets could this child possibly be hiding? With any luck they could remain his and not be publicized on late night television like Kanji's had been.

With a loud and drawn out sigh Naoto stared blankly at the students surrounding him. In his opinion there was only one explanation for the obvious lie. "Are you making fun of me?" They had to be; they knew how important his work was to him and now they were using that fact to poke fun at the cobalt haired boy. Well fine, that would certainly be the last time that he opened up to anybody, male or female. His scowl traveled from person to person as he tried to decide just who he was more upset with, them for mocking him, or himself for allowing his defenses to take a momentary break. When the look reached the sleeping Risette she rocketed upwards at an alarmingly fast speed and her fist shot into the air in a classic victory stance. If only she knew just how close the real victor was; in fact he was sitting right beside her. The famous Risette would have to laugh at the irony. Or not, in fact it might go right over her pretty little head even if, by some slim chance, she did actually know what irony was. Naoto was going to come out on top of all this with or without their co-operation. He considered pulling the girl back down before she made a scene but before he could even move the pigtail wearing girl started yelling about the truth in Yukiko's statement… then proceeded to collapse once more. Idiots, there wasn't a single one in the group with the IQ of even a normal human being.

Oh no, they weren't poking fun at the boy. But, of course, that was a perfectly reasonable assumption. Two of the girls had just admitted to being part of an effort to stop a murderer who moved via t.v. If someone tried to tell him that before his kidnapping he probably would have punched them square in the face for screwing with him. The only problem about the fact that they were telling Naoto the truth was that Kanji could never admit to it. He would have to deny all that Yukiko and Rise had just said and, by doing that, he would only be adding more evidence to the Detective Prince's theory that the group was simply lying to him. What a predicament the bleach haired boy found himself in; this was easily one of the worst nights of his life. Maybe he could fake stomach pains, like the ones Yosuke had inquired about earlier, and make his getaway before things got too unbearable. However, as much as his mind was begging him to flee delinquent could not bring his body to actually move. Leaving now would be as good as saying that he didn't care about Naoto in the slightest and was more than willing to let the boy fend for himself. And, as much as he wanted to have that sort of emotional freedom, a part of him was still clinging to the hope that they might find a way to resolve their issues.

"…I see now that you had no intention of telling me the truth." Or, perhaps, had they said something more than they meant to by accident? He would have to take apart Miss Amagi's statement later in his hotel room. Thank goodness that he was not rooming in the same place, let alone the same district, as these morons. Naoto really was beginning to feel as if stupidity was contagious. With any luck his former friend had yet to be infected by their idiotic nature. Kanji really had downgraded as far as he saw it. The Detective Prince was quite a catch, for friend purposes only of course; after all, he was more observant, cautious, and a better listener than most people. But perhaps the delinquent was the type who valued quantity over quality, a pity. Or maybe, just maybe, he was still oblivious as to just how foolish they really were. No matter, the truth would be brought to light soon enough. Clearing his throat the boy stared down, metaphorically of course for the boy was a great deal taller than the vertically challenged Naoto, at Kanji while addressing the rest of the group. "But I'm curious… How did you become so inebriated? This isn't alcohol."

"Good one, Naoto!" Yukiko exclaimed with a loud and over the top laugh. Obviously she did not believe what Naoto had just said. But… it actually sort of made sense; who would give liquor to a group of kids? Sure they had not been carded upon entry to the establishment but if Rise had been here not that long ago then the club's owners had to have a rough estimate of her age. Surely some who worked here had to be a fan and know that the great Risette was still a minor. Ugh, this was getting awkward fast. Once more the Detective Prince seemed to have bested him, it was truly pitiful. He was so much bigger, stronger, and fearsome then this pipsqueak; yet no matter what he did the cobalt haired boy was better. And, on top of that, he beat Kanji without even trying. The smug look that now covered the boy's face said it all. His mental capabilities placed him above average teenagers in every way shape and form, and he knew it. Oh did he know it, and he was using that unfair advantage to mock them. But the black clad boy decided that it could be worse, he could have been trumped by a girl.

"No, I confirmed it when I first entered. No alcohol has been served here since a rash of drunk driving last year." He shot back, his eyes glazing over in what appeared to be boredom. Were they really so moronic as to believe that the staff here would serve them any form of liquor? Truthfully it was the reason that he first came in after all. According to the police reports there were a series of drunken driving incidents in the not so far past due to this club serving minors and, seeing as how it had been an intoxicated driver that slammed into his parent's car, he was particularly sensitive to the subject and decided to investigate for himself. The club seemed to have done a wonderful job of cleaning up their act though so he could not complain. But god only knows that if they had even dreamed of actually serving Risette and her friends an actual drink he would have called for them to be shut down on the spot. Sure the pressure of succeeding was a constant burden but sometimes it came in handy to be the one and only Detective Prince, and the authoritative status that came with the title was quite a nice bonus.

The raven haired heiress cocked her head a bit at this, as if trying to comprehend what Naoto had just said. "Huh…? Does that mean we're all just drunk off the atmosphere?" No, it meant that she, Teddie, and Rise were drunk off the atmosphere. Oh crud, what did Naoto think of him for hanging out with the likes of these kids? They were normally so cool, why couldn't he be around when they were more, err sober? Not that he was trying to show off but, considering he had friends unlike a certain cadet cap wearing snob, why not brag about it? Unfortunately, it was quite hard to boast about people who acted as such. Had they been on their absolute best behavior then Kanji knew that Naoto would be positively green with envy. And he wanted the boy to be jealous; he wanted to see the pain in Naoto's eyes as he realized the excruciating truth that Kanji was getting along fine without him. Of course he merely wanted the satisfaction for old time's sake; it wasn't as if he was still hurt over the whole thing. That was simply ridiculous. After all, they had just met before their fight; they hadn't been speaking for longer than they ever had been!

This whole endeavor had proved fruitless, what a terrible shame. He had wasted some valuable time that could have been spent purchasing a cheap lackluster souvenir, probably a watch or snow globe, for his grandfather. It only seemed polite; after all, the man had taken him in. A sudden vibration from his pocket caused the petite boy to glance nonchalantly at his cell phone. Waiting for him appeared to be a message from Dojima; hopefully it regarded the inquiry he had posed earlier that day via email. This had come just in time seeing as how these children were of absolutely no use to him. It seemed that it was about time that he finally put his master plan into action. Well, it wasn't exactly a master plan, more like a back-up plan. But that hardly mattered now, after so many failed attempts it was his only shot left at eternal glory. Sure it was hazardous to his health but, for the grandeur, he was willing to risk it all. "My apologies but I must depart. Thank you for inviting me to spend time with you; it was… enjoyable." Standing up quickly, he proceeded to hurry downstairs as fast as his short legs could possibly carry him without it being obvious that he was running.

Just where was Naoto going at this time of night? There was a strange look in his eyes just before he left the room that reminded Kanji of a mix of ecstatic excitement and pure terror. Also, what was that with his cell phone? Sure he had tried to be discrete, but that was assuming someone was not directly watching him. Not that Kanji would ever admit to anyone that he had not been able to take his eyes off Naoto since he had calmly walked down that flight of stairs at the beginning of the evening mind you. But that was only because he wanted to make sure the boy didn't try anything, not because he was into him or anything like that. The rebellious punk was perfectly straight thank you very much and he planned on staying that way. "Sorry guys but I'm out too. Somethin' I ate isn't sittin' right. Later." With a pointer and middle finger salute he stood up and walked slowly towards the stairs. About halfway down the flight stood his ex-friend, just standing there absently, as if he was pondering some deeper truth. Softly, so as to avoid disrupting the boy before him, Kanji approached the young detective. "H-Hey Naoto, whatcha thinkin' about?"

Turning around slowly Naoto came face to face with the very boy he wanted most to see; just in case his plan did not exactly 'work out' in his favor. How strange. He wanted nothing more than to talk to Kanji, to clear up all misconceptions, and to apologize for what he had previously said and done; but just how was he supposed to word it? For so long he had wanted to speak with the bleach haired and now he had no idea what he was supposed to say. He needed to seize the moment, now more than ever, for it might very well be his final opportunity to converse with the Tatsumi boy. But his mind refused to form any actual sentences that might help to answer Kanji's inquiry. Just how was he supposed to explain such a well thought process to one who had never face death head on? If anything he would think Naoto was crazy for even attempting such a stunt. So, instead of answering his question, the Detective Prince merely offered a light and tired smile and delivered a line that would haunt the delinquent for weeks to come. "Don't worry Kanji, everything will be alright soon… I promise."


A/N: So yeah… I jumped over a HUGE span on time at the beginning but nothing really happened outside of rescuing Rise and 'ol fish eyes… Also, I regret to say that my next chapter will not come within the week for my robotics team has another competition in Boston Thursday through Saturday. I'm wicked sorry.

Next Chapter: Who I Am Hates Who I've Been! The Detective Prince undertook this endeavor with the hopes of achieving glory and prestige; he was ready to face whatever came his way. He had studied for years, researched for moths, and planned his course of action with the utmost precision. In short the Shirogane child was prepared for everything…that is, everything but this.