REHALLED THIS STORY IF YOU HAVE ALREADY READ IT, ITS THE SAME PLOT BUT WRITTEN MUCH BETTER! 1/19/2011

Ok I had to do something for Kaito's birthday... unfortunately I only remembered it yesterday and I'd started this story ages ago, just a few pages
and decided it was easier just to write this one out then start fresh when I have no ideas whatsoever to write about.

So yep. YAY! Kaito's birthday! (and I did tie it in... a little... at the very end... after all the bad stuff)

HE WILL NOT DIE ON A FF FOR HIS BIRTHDAY! (so if that's what you're looking for, you won't find it here)


Gunfire, Blood, and Kisses

There was a loud commotion outside the classroom that distracted everyone. The teacher sighed and stopped her lesson for the fifth time that day. A few heads turned to Kaito to see if their resident prankster was, once again, the reason for the welcome break in their lesson.

Kaito was unabashed by their stares. The magician shook his head, almost sadly, that he wasn't the cause of the chaos taking place somewhere outside their classroom.

"I wonder what's going on." Aoko wasn't specifically talking to Kaito but he was closest to her and she had been facing him.

"Maybe it's the zoo keepers. I always thought you must be some rabid escaped animal" Kaito snickered at her.

"Shut up you idiot!" she yelled at him as she got out of her seat and he dodged her fist. The class froze when the door was slammed open. Aoko didn't even drop her fist as her attention was captured by a large shadow in the doorway that couldn't be a student. She felt Kaito's fingers brush against her wrist and lower her hand.

"Do you know how easy it was to find you the minute I tried? I feel stupid now that you've had me running around in circles!" A large man yelled at the class before looking around. The eyes that stared back at him were frozen between what they should be feeling at the sudden intrusion, most leaning towards fear. "Which one of you is Kuroba?"

Kaito's smile wavered before falling firmly back into place. He pushed Aoko back into her seat as he stood up. "I am."

Snake made his way through the desks, waving a gun lithely around. Some of the students who separated him from Kaito got out of their desks and back up towards their neighborers as the weapon came close to them. The others in the class applauded the good luck they had in seating. "Ha, ha, I come looking for Kid and I find a kid."

"Kaito sit down!" Aoko whispered to him. She hated when people kept accusing Kaito of being the Kid. This man so far topped her list. The insinuations aside, the man looked like he was out for blood and he Kaito had made himself a target. Aoko had been with him through many years and knew he wasn't a fighter. Someone who like to laugh and joke around didn't belong in the same room as someone out to kill. Aoko knew which of the two would come out on top. Kaito shook his head.

"You can' argue with people like him. Even if I say I have no connection to the Kid, he won't listen to me." The magician spoke louder, "And what if I'm not?"

"Do you want to play it that way?" Snake smiled evilly and lifted the gun. Kaito stared darkly back. Aoko couldn't find the courage to get between them.

The tense silence in the air was only cut through but the small terrified noises made by the majority of the female population of the class.

"Okay" Kaito gave in, dropping any words of denial that he was used to accessing on a daily bases, "what do you want from me?"

Snake stood up and clasped Kaito's chin firmly in his hand, bad breath washing over the boy. "Your eyes already told me it was you. I just had to check."

Snake shot him in the shin and Kaito let out a yell before falling to the ground. Had he seen it coming, he would have tried to dodge. With the gun held towards the ground and he face held tight enough to bruise, the shout was an equal mix of both pain and surprise.

"Kaito!" Aoko screamed and the rest of the class followed her. Some of the girls even burst out into terrified tears, clutching onto the person closest to them in some hope that they would be spared.

Snake laughed down at the boy, ignoring the hailstorm of fear and terror around him. His only focus was on Kaito and the revenge he would get for having his work be interfered with. That, and Snake thought bitterly that being bested by a kid was one of the worse insult that could be given to a trained killer. His smiled had a hint of madness in it as he shot the boy once again in satisfaction, piercing the thigh of his remaining good leg. Another yelp from the teen and more screams followed.

Kaito reaffirmed his gaze after a moment and several blinks later, smile irritatingly hard to keep up. Snake had never been this forward. Even with his identity revealed, he had always believed that his adversary had at least some common sense. They were in a classroom full of witnesses and never in a thousand years had Kaito planned for this contingency. "Would you please stop shooting me, you're scaring my classmates." He wouldn't show in but the magician was in so much pain he was barely able to stay conscious. He had to remain awake to fend off the man. If Snake had tracked him down, which wouldn't have been hard for him to do as the man said, there must have been a reason for attacking him in class. The thief wasn't free to move around and Snake had taken that opportunity to make sure he couldn't move in the future either.

"You're sure it's not because you're afraid of the pain?" The assassin raised his gun back towards the boy and Kaito wince. "Ha, I thought so."

Kaito grinned wickedly back up at him as he drew his white cloak around him, seemingly out of nowhere, and vanished.

This time Snake was the one who was silent while the rest of the class, who were close enough to see what had happened, were used to Kaito's vanishing act. The cape was new but they weren't watching that.

"You did not just do that right in front of me?" Snake screamed at the empty air. He looked desperately around the room. "Fine, if you want to play it that way." He grabbed Keiko who had the bad luck of being the closest to the man, and place the gun against her head. "Girly get it if you don't' come out."

The magician reappeared in a flash, pushing Keiko out of the way. If he was disobeyed for even a moment, Kaito knew that Keiko would have lost her life, just so the man could flaunt his power before taking another one of his classmates. It was a dirty plan but... Kaito couldn't let him touch Aoko. She was so close and she would have tried to protect Keiko.

"There you are!" Snake threw out his arm and closed it tightly around Kaito's throat.

"Let go of him!" Aoko yelled but he brushed her away with ease. Kaito struggled but couldn't get his fingers between Snake's and his own skin. He could feel his short nails cutting him as he tried, but the world quickly because dizzying, thick cottony sound filling his ears. He felt his strength fading as whatever adrenaline he had left disappeared. It was the only reason he'd been able to rush out of one the cabinets and push Keiko away in time. Snake had planned on taking Keiko's life before he had a chance to stop him as it was, so it was a miracle Kaito had found even chemical filled strength to get him there in time.

"Don't! You're killing him!" Aoko sobbed. She watched as Kaito's fruitless attempts at freeing himself stopped and his hands fell limply from his neck. She couldn't stop herself from screaming as tears welled up in her eyes.

"Don't worry girly," He dropped Kaito's motionless form to the floor. "He's just unconscious." Snake reached in his pocket and pulled out duck tape which he used to bind Kaito's hands behind his back. He then proceeded to hit the teen in the head with the butt of his gun. "Wake up!"

"Stop it!" She screamed again as a large stream of blood rolled down over Kaito's right eye and down the side of his face where it disappeared under his chin. Kaito blinked his eyes open.

"See, he isn't dead," Snake shot the magician a smug look. "Yet."

The gunman picked Kaito up by his shirt collar before throwing him roughly against the wall where the teen couldn't get his balance and slid to the ground.

Kaito felt the world waver around him, wondering desperately what he could do to get out of this situation. If he didn't act fast, Snake might start focusing on one of his classmates instead of him. He shuddered when he thought of Aoko under that murderer's control. It was the only thought keeping him awake. His hearing still wasn't back and Kaito was having trouble focusing on what was happening. Until a few seconds after he hit the ground, he didn't even realize that he couldn't use his hands.

The class had all gotten out of their seats at some point during the confrontation and was spread out against the walls, trying to get as far away from Snake as they could.

Kaito blinked his eyes a few more times to recover his senses. He caught the gaze one of the girls that were close to him as Snake turned to address the class.

"I've got a bomb in this room as well that will go off in half-an-hour. If you stay good little boys and girls I'll let you about before you blow up. If not…" He lifted the gun and smiled.

While his back was turned Kaito whispered something in the girl's direction. He wasn't too familiar with her since she sat in the front row and she wasn't a normal part of his daily antics. He could name her but not judge her actions. She looked wide eyed at him before slouching closer so she could hear. Kaito's vision was clearing again, after his meeting with the wall. She was so scared. Kaito tried to smile at her as the whispered words left his mouth, a silent prayer for her safty going with them. He knew he had no friends in class, aside from Aoko, and her courage was something. Few others would have heard him out, since the term classmate doesn't involve more than a 'good morning'.

Miki backed off when Snake turned around. He eyed them both superiorly before slamming his fist next to the girl's face as she back into the wall, grining with something that made him look more animal than man.

"What did he tell you?"

"Nothing…" Another slam from his fist made the girl cry out in fright.

"What did he tell you?"

"You'll shoot me..." The girl cringed in upon herself and whimpered. "He said something really stupid and you'll shoot me for saying it."

Kaito closed his eyes for a moment, waiting for his turn to speak up. If Snake so much as touched her, his plans would have to change.

"I won't shoot you," Snake promised. "Just tell me what he said."

"He said that the… um…" She hesitated for a second before a small motion from Snake motivated her. "…that the…I'm sorry I'm going to quote him…that 'the dumb ass was going to turn around and think we were up to something' and then he stared mouthing nonsense to me."

"Oh really?" Snake turned to face Kaito who was grinning at him. The magician was used to false confidence, but that didn't stop him from internally fearing what would come next. "Well that was really stupid of you."

Snake strode over to him and stopped in front of Kaito before kicking him viciously in the stomach. Aoko cried out for him to stop when she saw blood running between her friend's lips as he coughed out the air he choked on.

The man kicked him again as hard as he could, over and over, not stopping until Kaito was left gasping for breath.

...

Saguru had been there the whole time but didn't make a sound. He was always in the front of the class as well, and was far enough away that he hadn't been able to see most of what was happening. His interest had been peeked when he heard 'Kuroba' and 'Kid' in the same sentence but it disappeared when the girl sitting next to him had buried herself in his sleave. Even now she was clinging to him, trying not to look at what was going on, which made it hard for Saguru to move and found out for himself. After hearing several screams and seeing the boys who were close to the confrontation, he didn't think he wanted to see. He knew the situation. Knew he had no way of stopping an armed man. The teacher was behind her desk crying and trying to seem insignificant. He was sure that her trembling wasn't only for fear of her own wellbeing but she wasn't a strong enough woman to do anything when faced with a maniac.

On of his classmates who sat near him ran away from the violence and over towards the detective. Saguru looked at her and saw the tears running down her face. As gently as he could, he took the other girl off of his arm and led her towards one of the other boys, who Saguru wasn't acquainted with. He wasn't in school long enough to make any lasting friendships. The other boy held out his hands and welcomed the girl protectively in the comfort of his arms. Saguru snuck forward through the crowd more, edging around until he found the product of the violence he had been hearing. Kaito was sprawled out on the ground near the wall where several desks had fallen over, blood pooling around him in specks were it didn't show up on his uniform so Saguru couldn't gage how injured he was.

"If anyone else wants to be a smart ass, feel free." Snake turned to the class. Kaito had somehow managed to stay sitting up, though he had to lift an injured leg to keep from falling over. The magician shot a smile at the detective through the crowd of teenagers around him as blood dripped over his lips.

How the hell can he still smile? Saguru thought to himself. What kind of idiot was he?

"Hakuba-kun," the girl spoke quietly from next to him. Her dark hair and milky eyes separated her from the others who sat near him. Taiachi Miki was always such a timid girl that this was only the second time he had ever heard her speak. "Kuroba-kun told me to tell you something. He said he was going to create a distraction and we should tell everyone to run out of the room when he does."

"When did you tell you that?" Saguru looked at her but she didn't turn to face him.

"Just now. He told me to tell the man that lie too so I wouldn't get hurt."

Always two steps ahead of the game. Saguru met Kaito's eyes and nodded to him. The magician had told her to say that not only to protect her but help everyone escape. Saguru didn't think he would have been able to do the same.

Miki and he made their way around the room quietly. Both of them were already in the back of the huddled mess that had once been their class, and it was easy enough to pass the message forward. When he reached Aoko she was sitting in a chair and holding tightly to herself.

"Aoko-kun, Kuroba-kun is going to distract the man and we're going to try and get everyone out."

"No!" Aoko put as much force into the word while keeping her voice down. "I'm not leaving Kaito here!"

Saguru didn't meet her eyes at the angry outburst. He'd drag her out if he had to. His principles screamed at him to do something, to take action, but that would only get people killed. He was in a position to help everyone escape, and if meant leaving Kaito to fend for himself - it hurt, but he knew his options. A small motion from the magician caught his attention and he glanced over to meet his eyes before nodding. Saguru placed a firm hand on Aoko's shoulder and nodded back. Maybe, after everyone was safe, he could do something.

It happened too quickly for Snake to stop it. No one else was watching, too focused on searching for escape routes, but even if they were, they would have seen nothing the less-than-a-heartbeat second it took for the magician to act. Kaito hadn't gotten his hands free but he slipped them out from underneath himself and lunged at the larger man. Taking hold of the gun, Kaito tried to wrestle it out of Snake's hands.

"What the Hell? Let go!"

Kaito took the barrel of the gun with one hand and pointed it at the floor by their feet. He knew he'd have to fight, and if it went off, he didn't want any unlucky souls to suffer for it. The only reason he was able to stand was because of the adrenaline and by bracing himself against Snake as he fought for possession of the firearm.

Kaito could hear his classmates make their way out of the classroom louder then he was hoping for. The rush of bodies made exiting hard, but being young and smart, Kaito knew they would make it out quick enough if he could buy them some time.

"Damn it!" Snake screamed and shoved Kaito hard against the wall, using his body as a battering ram to try and dislodge the teen. The man's arm went painfully into his chest but Kaito held on, only winded from the blow. Being who he was, Snake tried to point the pistol at the fleeing class but couldn't seem to get it upward with the teen in his arms.

Taking one hand off the gun, making sure his grip on the handle was good enough, Snake grabbed Kaito by the collar of his shirt and turned to the side to slam him into the ground. Because Kaito was so much smaller the man succeeded, unintentionally striking the teen's head hard on one of the desks before he fell to the floor. There was a large amount of blood rolling down Kaito's neck and over his ear but he still kept hold of the gun.

Snake searched around for his hostages. Kaito forced his head back to see if he had succeeded, finding Aoko and Saguru were the only people still in the room, minus two running forms whose footsteps quickly vanished down the hallway. Damn it! Why hadn't the detective gotten her out?

"I don't care about your classmates and if you want the gun so bad…" Snake sneered at him and forced the weapon just a few inches until it was pointing at Kaito's chest. The larger man's weight was clearly too much for the magician to fight, especially pined to the ground as he was. The teen felt as the gun went off in his hands and the bullet entered his chest, right where his heart would be.

"Kaito!" Aoko screamed and tried to run towards her friend as his body went lifelessly still. "Kaito get up!"

Snake got off the boy, laughing, and walked calmly over to the other two. Saguru drew Aoko back, but his hands were shaking. He'd never stood up to a gun before. He never had too. And Kuroba - no- Kid was never supposed to lose, he thought solemnly. Hostile situations, Saguru was familiar with, life and death situations, he was not. Holding onto Aoko took priority or he would have shoved her behind him. There were tears rolling down her face as she screamed for the magician to move, blink, anything. Hatred was there, mingling with the fear. Hatred for the man for hurting the girl he loved, for killing his rival before he had a chance to catch him, for making him fear him simply because he had a gun. There was more hatred, and confusion, but Saguru was having a hard enough time wrapping his mind around the fact that Kaito was dead to take a closer look at it.

"You'll be joining him soon enough." Snake leveled the gun at them and Saguru froze. His hands tightened on Aoko's shoulders, ready to push her out of the way as soon as the man moved his finger. He would have liked to get her out of the room, he was sure Kaito had wanted that as well, but no matter how much he had tried, Aoko wouldn't move. No matter how much he tired, he couldn't get himself to run away.

Aoko was too upset to worry about the threat and the weapon aimed at them, an empty feeling inside her leaving no room for fear.

"Why are you just standing there?" The voice came from Saguru's right and he was stunned to see Kaito kneeling on top of a desk, cat-like grin absent for once and hands freed. "Get out of here."

There was a moment when Saguru could swear the world had stopped turning. His brain quickly accessed the voice and face, telling him that it matched looked back to where to where Kaito had been seconds before, to see if it could be true, but only a few smears of blood marked his presence.

"That's impossible!" Snake shoved the gun in Kaito's direction now. The boy dangled what looked like a small key with no design and only one tooth.

"It won't work anymore. After you had me pined down and shot me I set the safety. You won't have a key of your own to undue it."

"How are you still alive!" Snake's eyes were wide but he was still in control of the situation. Kaito knew that had to change before the man could get himself thinking again. The shock of his appearance would only give him so much time. Kaito took out what looked like a piece of metal from the inside of his school uniform. It was dented badly and had splashes of blood on it near a hole where something had torn through it.

"The bullet didn't go in far and I know you well enough that I grabbed this when you walked in." The fearless smile showed itself for a second before vanishing. "I thought you'd try to kill me that way eventually." The teen put a thumb towards his heart where blood was already staining his dark shirt. After he had opened it to take the piece of metal out, the white of his undershirt made the ruby red blood shine even brighter.

"Cocky bastard," Snake breathed.

"Come on Aoko-kun," Saguru whispered to her. They had to get out. Now. This man wasn't fooling around. He would kill them in a heartbeat if he was given the chance. There was nothing staying in the room could accomplish but get all three of them killed. Kaito was no acceptable loss, but again, he was left with the same decision he had to make earlier. Better that some of them escaped than none. "Let's get out while Kuroba-kun has him distracted."

"I told you I'm not leaving Kaito." The light was back in her eyes. She turned slowly towards Saguru. "You must be some kind of coward if you could just leave."

"Aoko-kun there's nothing we can do."

Snakes hysterical laughter cut off their conversation.

"This is perfect! Now I can kill you as I please. There's no way you can escape with both legs shot up."

"I know." Kaito's tone was serious; his eyes were the only thing showing that he didn't expect to survive and, even what little they did show, was hidden behind masks so deep Saguru wasn't sure the other boy was even aware of them.

The detective looked at the floor and back to the thick layer of blood that pooled on the desk Kaito was kneeling on, dripping slowly to the floor. The magician had been hit badly, and even if he did manage to escape, he'd die of blood loss soon after.

Saguru could see the teen's body sway as Kaito tried to remain conscious. The bullet wounds and blow to the head had affected his sense of balance.

The detective wanted to be able to do something. He wanted it more badly then he ever thought possible. If he took the time to get Aoko out of the room it would be dangerous and Kaito wouldn't be able to defend himself against the man. He was sure Kuroba deserved it. This man knew he was Kid and wanted him, but no one was allowed to take another's life, even the thief's.

If he stayed he'd still be no help though. Saguru knew that he was no match against the man. Kuroba was faster and had been able to squirm around even injured. Saguru's own lackluster physical talents wouldn't be much help.

The man swung the gun at Kaito, and the magician didn't so much dodge as he lost his balance and feel to the floor, landing on his back and elbows, taking shallow breaths.

Saguru could recognize the weakness and fragility of the other boy even though he'd never seen it before. As calm and composed as Kaito appeared, Saguru knew the other was in pain, he was bleeding… and if Saguru could admit it to himself, he was dying right in front of him.

You're a detective, THINK! He said stubbornly to himself. Saguru went through every little thing that had happened that day in a matter of seconds. What thoughts dawned on him showed promise, but only if he timed it right. There were still a few things he'd need to work out before then.

"Who are you?" Saguru could feel the words almost die on his lips when the man turned towards him, grin still plastered across his face at his sadistic actions.

What was Hakuba doing? Kaito thought, though they became muddled after a few seconds of cogitation. He shook his head to clear it but that only made things worse and his chest was hurting every time he took in a breath. Snake hadn't hit his lung but the magician was sure a few ribs were cracked and the bullet was still inside him.

He watched as Snake turned to face Hakuba and the other boy twitched underneath his glare. Hakuba continued to speak, even as Kaito watched his hands shake- though that could have been his vision messing with him again. "I asked you who you are."

Shut up Hakuba, you'll only make him angrier. Kaito tried to raise himself off the floor but couldn't find the strength. He settled on looking at the detective with worried eyes that wouldn't focus correctly.

Saguru took a step forward, feeling ever bit as cowardly as Aoko had claimed he was. Kuroba had made the gun useless to fire but that didn't mean it wouldn't hurt if he was struck with it. You could kill a person simply by hitting him hard enough in the right places.

I wish I had a less board window of error, Saguru thought to himself. There were so many things that could go wrong if he messed up. Even if he didn't mess up- Saguru glanced at Kaito out of the corner of his eye, trying to keep his focus on the man in front of him. He didn't know how well things would come out even if his plans worked. And that was a big if.

"Why do you care who I am? You think you're a something special, huh kid? Well I hate people like you."

"We have the same opinion of each other then." Keep him talking. The detective felt the seconds go by and doubted he could keep this up for the amount of time he needed. "At least I'd have the decency of telling my name to someone who had asked for it."

As Saguru faced the man, the detective didn't think he'd ever seen such a large sadistic smile on a human being before. Serial murderers looked like kittens compared to this guy. He shook the though off, trying and not succeeding to keep the fear from returning. He swallowed hard against his own emotions.

"I don't think you know what position you're in."

Saguru knew what was coming. His words had come out too condescending but he'd done so purposely to make sure the man didn't know he was stalling for time. The detective closed his eyes and drew back as Snake used the gun as a club. Saguru dodged at the last moment, the gun striking him between the neck and the shoulder. Thrown off, and not able to move his body as quickly as the man could move his arm, the next two hits struck him in the head.

Saguru couldn't help falling to one knee. Blows to the head were destined to knock off one's sense of balance and he preferred not tripping over himself. Worse of all, they threw the logical part of his brain into hysterics and he needed to be grounded to get himself back in order.

Aoko wasn't as afraid of Snake as much as she was completely infuriated with him. He'd hurt Kaito and threatened Keiko, now Hakuba was in front of her and being hurt by him as well. There wasn't a weapon within reach but she'd go at him bare handed if she had to.

"Stop." Aoko felt someone with wet hands grab her wrist from behind.

"Kaito" she whispered to him, knowing that it wasn't water that was running down her wrists as he held them. She turned to meet his gaze, his eyes dark and focused on the man, not turning towards her. She could see her friend struggled to remain standing. "Kaito." She didn't know what else to say.

"Don't pro – provoke him." The magician huffed out a few unsteady breaths. "Get out. I can – I can do something."

"No." Aoko wasn't ashamed of the tears she knew she was shedding. "Kaito I'm not going to run away."

"But -" This time it wasn't his breath that cut him off. Aoko turned to him and kissed him.

The magician was so shocked for a moment that his legs almost gave out. Aoko's kiss was sweet and warm against his cold lips. The bitter flavor of his own blood tainted the scent of her breath but didn't make the kiss unpleasant.

Aoko backed away. The magician looked down at her, uncompromising now that he had seen just how serious she was about staying. He took the back of his sleeve and wiped off the blood that had smeared on the side of her mouth.

"I can't protect you," he whispered. Snake and Saguru, when the detective got his peripheral vision back, watched the moment between them that only took seconds. To Kaito and Aoko, it felt like much longer.

Snake tore the girl out of Kaito's arms before he could do anything to stop him.

"So, even someone like you can have a girlfriend. This will be fun."

"Let her go!" Kaito tired to put force into his words but he knew his time was running short. Breathing, standing, just trying to focus on everything was becoming more and more difficult.

Saguru was the one who got off the floor and put himself between Snake and Aoko, pushing her as hard as he could out of the man's grasp. Aoko's arms hurt from being ripped of his Snake's grip, but that was the least of her worries. Of the three of them, Saguru was now the one closest to the man intent on murder.

"You are really starting to annoy me now," Snake told the detective before grabbing him around the throat. Kaito knew that Hakuba wouldn't be able to get out of his hold and Snake and no reason to keep him alive.

"Damn it," Kaito swore to himself. He had to do something.

Saguru didn't try to free himself. The man had both hands around is neck and it immediately took all his energy away. The detective didn't need much of it though, to raise one of his hands with his fingers pointed out, and stab the man in his own throat. He may not have been good at fighting, but hitting someone hard enough in the throat hurt. If anything, it would make the guy choke and loosen his hold.

Snake released the detective purely because he'd been surprised. He was forced to cough and he heard as his voice came out hoarsely.

"That's it, I've had enough of you."

Saguru resorted to physically running away from the man. Detective or not, this person was insane and he didn't want to be anywhere near him. Saguru had nothing to fight him with and his last shot had been a lucky one. There was still too much time left.

Having the detective on the other side of the desks dissuaded Snake from following him. With Kaito swaying unsteadily against wall and Saguru out of reach, he was free to grab Aoko again.

Kaito blinked as this happened. She was at his side but he couldn't do anything to stop her being taken away from him again. The magician tried to say something but the words never made it passed his lips.

"So we're back to where I wanted us to be." Snake smiled and held Aoko's back against his chest, one arm around her neck and the other holding the gun above her head. "You'd better do what I say or the poor girl's gonna get hurt."

Kaito couldn't even nod. Anything to make sure Aoko was safe. Saguru was the one who was forced to accept the conditions, answering for them both, "What do you want?"

"I want to beat the hell out of both of you. Since I can't do that and it looks like my target's on the edge of death anyways, you'll just have to do it for me."

"What?"

Snake was looking at Saguru.

"I don't like you but I can take care of you later. I promise the safety of the girl, but I can't really hold her hostage and take my revenge. You have to do it for me."

"I don't really -" Saguru couldn't comprehend just what it was the man was asking him to do. It sounded like he wanted him to kill Kaito- but he couldn't do that.

"If you don't wanna, I'm sure I can just kill the girl first. He ain't going anywhere and it'll be more fun for me." Snake raised his hands to strike her.

"Stop!" Saguru yelled. He looked over at Kaito and saw the horror that had crossed his face as well when the man was about to hit her. "Alright."

The detective still needed five minutes. He looked over at Kaito and the torment of the other was obvious. He couldn't hit the magician, even to buy time, unless he was willing to kill him.

"Well? I'd like him dead sometime this century."

"Stop! Don't do it Hakuba-kun!" Aoko cried.

"I have to Aoko-kun, or he'll kill you too. Kuroba..." Kaito would die in either outcome. Saguru favored the one that kept Aoko alive without the magician dragging her down with him.

As Saguru walked over to him, Kaito slid down the wall, unable to keep standing. His shallow breaths sounded pained and the detective could see the amount of blood and damage that had been done to his legs. It amazed him, now that he'd seen the injuries, how the other had stood for as long as he had with so many muscles and ligaments that had been torn through.

"Hakuba-kun, don't!"

Aoko's screams weren't going unheard but Saguru knew no other way to get at least her and himself out alive. It would have been great if the gunman had been distracted another other five minutes, but he hadn't.

"Please…" Saguru bent down to the magician's level. Long ago he'd learned the many stages of death from watching it close up. Kaito was just hanging onto the edge of it. "Try and hold on for a few minutes."

Saguru felt his hands trembled when he reached out to touch Kaito. He wasn't sure if the magician had heard his words, since he was trying to keep them hidden from the gunman, but he hoped that he had. Saguru did not want to make himself into a killer.

He pushed the magician over and the other hissed in pain as his legs were stretched before he fell. If he hadn't been on his knees to begin with it wouldn't have hurt so badly. Saguru had to shut his eyes for a second, hurting with him. He was the one that causing the pain. Saguru had never thought that he would have to physically have to cause someone pain for a good reason. His strictly pacifistic self tried to push through, but Saguru held it back for what he had to do.

...

Kaito tired to open his eyes, closed tightly fighting back the pain. Hold on? How was he supposed to do that? He sighed to himself. He would try. Hakuba must have had something planned. The guy was never without a good idea for overcoming a bad situation. Kaito had seen it enough both inside and outside of class. Whether or not he trusted the detective was moot and void considering that Kaito could do nothing himself.

Snake said something to the detective but Kaito couldn't catch the words. He only heard 'slowly' and figured out the rest. If Hakuba was trying to get him to hold on for a few minutes, he'd be trying to kill him slowly anyways.

The magician could hear Aoko crying. It hurt. This was all his fault anyway. Snake wouldn't have been here if he'd covered his trail better, if he'd let Kaitou Kid die with his father. He'd endangered a lot of people by bringing the man out in the open- Kid and Snake.

It didn't hurt much when he felt Saguru hit him in the face, just a dull impact. Kaito felt his head get forced to the side but his wavering consciousness couldn't send the right signals to his brain.

Saguru did that a few more times. It wasn't until the detective hit him in the stomach, below his chest, that he felt some of the pain, coughing up blood as he irritated his internal injuries.

...

"I need to know that you'll let Aoko-kun go," Saguru spoke up to the man after Kaito started couching up whatever blood he had left.

"Don't you trust me?" The man shrugged, releasing the girl. "Fine, she's free. She's proven against all better judgement that she's not going to leave her idiot of a boyfriend, so I can just grab her again if I need to."

Saguru nodded. There was less then two minutes left.

"Hakuba-kun stop!" Aoko ran up to him as Saguru knew she would. His anxiety was building now that the time was drawing close. Kaito was in no shape to play any part in their escape so Saguru would carry him. Aoko was the one he needed to act out his plan.

"Aoko-kun, listen to me closely. Take -"

"Why should I?"

"Shhh, be quiet. If we have any chance of getting out of here we have to do it now. Take one of the chairs and break the window in front of me. Do it when I say so and get out if it as fast as you can."

Saguru looked down at the magician. He wasn't completely unconscious but he was sure that the other hadn't been taking in his surroundings in some time. The detective wiped the others blood off his hands, onto his pants, disgusted at himself.

"I said I'm not leaving."

"I'm not asking you to," he tried to explain. Less then a minute now. "I just want you to go out first. I swear I'll bring Kuroba-kun with me."

"You do it. I'll stay."

"Aoko..." Saguru marveled at how the magician found the energy to speak, the energy to reach out and hold the girl's hand. The detective saw her tighten her fingers around his after the first contact. The magician's eyes remained mostly closed, the boy himself not having the strength to do much more than he had already accomplished. "Listen to him."

"Okay," she whispered back. Soon now, any second.

"Aoko-kun, do it now!" His words were whispered but forceful.

Aoko was up off her knees and picking up the chair closest to her. She not only broke it against the window on the first try but then threw it at the gunman as the glass started falling.

Saguru wrapped one of Kaito's arms around his shoulder before lifting the other teen onto his back.

"You know, you're quite heavy." Saguru didn't know why he said it, since the recipient was in no condition to comprehend it. He could blame it on fear later but it made him feel like an idiot at that moment.

Saguru was at the window and out of it before the man could catch hold of him. The glass hadn't shattered neatly and he cut his leg on a large piece getting over the threshold. It stung and it was deep but it could be taken care of later.

"Move!" He ordered Aoko when she stayed next to him. "Hurry!"

They weren't far enough away from the building and the man was getting out but time was up. Saguru took the magician off his back and laid him in the grass. The field outside the school was large and damage would be minimal.

"Kaito!" Aoko stopped and turned back to stoop over the magician. Saguru did his best to shield them both when the explosion he was expecting caught his ears.

The world erupted into sound and all he was aware of was heat and the two bodies in front of him.

...

"What the hell?" Kaito looked around at the hospital room he was in. There were a bunch of tubs hooking into his arm like some science fiction movie, something latched onto his finger, and he felt breathing tubes in his nose.

What happened?

Aoko was at his bedside, asleep.

All of a sudden he remembered her, remembered gunfire, and remembered a kiss. He blushed but she wasn't awake to see it. After being shot the last time, all his memories were foggy. Kaito lightly brushed his fingers through Aoko's hair. She was safe. He could get his answers later. Glancing over, he saw a bandage wrapped lightly around one of her arms, but no serious injuries. Kaito lay back down, staring at her.

It took her three hours for her to wake up and Kaito remained as motionless as he could, waiting for that time to come. If nothing else, he was patient.

"Kaito?" she asked through sleepy eyes. Aoko rubbed one of them to get rid of the crust that was forming under it. "You awake?"

"Yeah" he told her. "What happened?"

"Hakuba-kun got us out." She stretched, from sleeping in such an uncomfortable position. "He told me after that he was watching when the man entered the room, hitting some sort of switch after he yelled out about a bomb being in the room. You know Hakuba-kun, he timed it perfectly."

The magician nodded but the movement hurt his head. "Where is that annoying detective now?"

"He's in another room. When we were getting out, he hurt himself. Some of the blast burned his back too, but the doctors said it wasn't that bad. I'm sure he'll come see you tomorrow when they let him out."

"Its fine," Kaito waved her off.

"Kaito, the doctor's – they said that you might not be able to use your right leg for a while. They said the bullet hit something big and that you shouldn't even be walking for a least a few months. Your mom knows but I wanted to tell you."

"Damn, that's going to suck." Kaito would have to put Kid's work on hold. Having thought of that, a new question came to his mind.

"What happened to the guy?"

Aoko shook her head. "They tried but he died soon after they brought him here. I'm glad."

"Aoko, your dad would be mad at you if he heard you say that!" Kaito chided her. Snake was dead. It wasn't the outcome the magician was looking for but there was nothing he could do about it. Snake had chosen his own path. Kaito's injuries weren't painless. He felt a catch in his breath that accompanied a sharp pain medicine couldn't fully alleviate. As much as he hated the man, for all the murders, not just his father's, he didn't care for his death.

"I don't care." Kaito watched as Aoko buried her head in the covers of the hospital bed. "He was trying to kill you. He deserved to die."

"Maybe he did." Kaito put a hand on her head and she stilled under his touch in contentment, "But we aren't the ones who should judge that."

"I know," she whispered.

"How long have I been out?" Kaito looked around and saw that it was dark out. He could scarcely see out of the closed blinds, and the room itself was brightly lit, so he couldn't be sure.

"Three days. You had to go through surgery when they first brought you in." Aoko looked at her watch. "It's four o'clock."

Aoko got up off the chair and sat next to Kaito on the edge of the bed. He smiled back at her and his eyes widened in surprise when she leaned over and kissed him, for the second time now. Their lives weren't in danger this time so this kiss wasn't filled with sorrow and need. The absence of the blood made Kaito fully appreciate just how nice kissing someone, specifically kissing Aoko, could be. He could feel a blush cross his face and her skin against his felt just as warm.

When she backed off, Kaito gave her a grin. "What was that for?"

"That was your birthday present stupid." Kaito watched as her blush deepened, "It's four in the morning on the twenty-first."

"Wow," the magician's smile widened. "This is starting out to be one hell of a birthday."