Disclaimer: Kaitou Saint Tail is not, and never will be, my property. I am only borrowing them for a little fun. Please don't bother suing. I'm sure that I'm practically a continent away from you.

Lost Slippers

Part III

SAINT TAIL STEALTHILY groped her way out the maze of halls in Yuki Sakura's mansion. She couldn't figure out why a woman that rich would withhold a family heirloom from a harmless teenager. At least she got the slippers. As she predicted, the whole operation was a cinch.

Reaching the yard, Saint Tail was about to leap off into the darkness. She froze however when she saw a menacing pair of red eyes glaring at her.

Dogs! Meimi's brain screamed. Her reflexes instantly caused her to race off into the vast grassland that was the estate's lawn.

How clumsy can I get! she raged inwardly.

So the punch really was spiked. It was probably only subtle amounts but she did drink several glasses of punch and in the first place, she was never a drinker. Her speed was definitely affected.

Time for magic! She clutched at her side, opting for desperate measures for a desperate situation.

What?-

Her wand! Her wand was missing! But where?

At Seira's! In her hurry, she left her whole arsenal of weapon at the chapel. What's she gonna do now?

Well, she better decide soon or she'll be dead meat. Or rather, dogmeat.

ASUKA RACED TO the mansion. He knew exactly where the mansion was. See, he made it a point to read all the police files lying around his father's room. He paid extra attention to the file concerning the brocaded slippers because that was the one he accidentally spilled detergent on. Some of the beginner detectives were on stakeout on the mansion anyway. The idea of hiding in a hole somewhere spying on somebody somehow appealed to him.

So the Heike girl is right, he thought. Her aunt does have the slippers!

But now somebody else wanted those slippers. And he's determined to catch the culprit.

Saint Tail!

SAINT TAIL WATCHED warily as the dogs surrounded her from every corner, barring all paths of escape. Pressed against the towering walls, she waited with dread for the inhabitants to be roused by the brutes' summons. Then the police would come and that idiot Asuka JR would capture her!

Maybe not. The dogs weren't at all happy about giving up their little playmate to their masters. After all, they did all the work. Slobbering with anticipation, the animals steadily approached her, getting ready to pounce. At that point, Meimi snapped and closed her eyes to shut out the gleaming fangs. She screamed as the dogs attacked, but managed to muffle her voice with her hands.

She opened her eyes a little later realizing that there weren't any chunks of her flesh hanging loose whatsoever. Instead, she heard somebody's breathing in her ear, and the warmth of another body pressed near, rising and falling.

Asuka Jr!?

How did he- Meimi looked around frantically. The scanty moonlight revealed little but she managed to see a trapdoor, beyond which she could hear the dogs barking and people calling out. Of course! The police had that place under surveillance. Asuka probably knew about this case before.

Speaking of Asuka, he was still gasping for breath. He was probably feeling the effects of the liquor, too. The prankster would really get it! vowed Saint Tail.

Meimi could see the tiny pores on his face, rather reddish tonight, even under the alabaster moon. She gasped. They were that close and he'll be able to recognize her!

"Saint Tail…" slurred the boy detective. "You thought you could get away again, ne? I thought you could fool me with your late notification. Oh no, siree! Detective Asuka here always does his homework."

Saint Tail tried her best not to retort and silently wriggled out of his grasp.

But those green eyes - yes, moonlight reflected in them as does it on a cat's- blinked curiously. He tightened his hold on her shoulder.

"I say," he said. "Is that you Haneoka? Sorry, I thought you were home already." Then he shook his head, and her, too. "No. You're not Meimi. Sorry got confused. Not my fault though. I had to spend the whole evening with that ditzy dame."

Ditzy dame?!! Meimi was fuming but Asuka didn't notice at all.

"Oh, right. You're Saint Tail. See those jerks at school thought they could torture me but really it wasn't such torture. See, you know, they tried to hook me up with this girl 'coz they thought I hate her. But not really, see? I kinda, sorta like her. She's pretty and spirited and very nice… I like her. I really, really do."

Even under the influence of alcohol, Meimi managed to get the gist of the boy detective's incoherent confession. And even though her mind was getting more and more nebulous by the minute, she forced herself to remain frozen. As for the speechlessness part, there wasn't much she could do about it.

"As I was saying," said Asuka Jr. "You thought you could escape me, didn't you? You thought you could ditch me with that late note. Ha ha ha. Lookie here, I got you!" He blinked again. "Oh, right. I already told you that. Sorry I keep repeating myself. I'm kinda sorta drunk…. Hey! I betcha you're the one who spiked the punch!" Blink, blink. "No. You can't be stupid enough to drink from the punch to ne? You are lookin' kinda red. You know what Saint Tail? You kinda pretty too."

Meimi couldn't help it. She was really blushing now. She avoided his eyes and stared instead at his lips. Which was rather a bad idea.

"Ah! You really are drunk too!" Asuka cackled. "I can't really imagine you drunk, you know? But then again you are a thief and you're kinda suppose to drink-"

Saint Tail was barely listening. She seemed to have trouble understanding his words because her mind seemed to flit from thought to thought. But she was mesmerized by his moving mouth. Yes, and that light cologne that seemed to linger in her nose, that fragrance that seemed to linger just a tiny but exquisite hint of mature masculinity.

"Yeah, I think you're kinda supposed to drink." Asuka continued his monologue. "All those robbers in the books I've read all drink. You can't not drink, see? Even if you're a girl, a non-drinking thief isn't normal, right?"

Now, that has got to stop. Meimi was slightly irritated by his endless jabbering. She was trying to follow the shifting shape of his lips but the racket was making her lose her concentration! Now, if only her hands were free…

"See there's these books I've read and there's this very talented thief in it. He's a spy of sorts too but you're just a thief right? But he's a spy too and he gets drunk every night. Then he gets sick every morning and he drinks again just to make himself feel better. He's name is Silk but he's actually a Prince Kheldar of a kingdom named Drasnia. But of course there really isn't any Drasnia but then it's just a-"

A stunned silence.

It worked! Meimi exulted. She succeeded in effectively shutting his mouth. With her mouth of course. It was his fault anyway… But then… There's something wrong here

She had her eyes closed so she wasn't able to see Asuka's saucer-wide eyes.

That girl! Saint Tail was kissing him!?!! But-

Shocked, his hold on her loosened and he fell on his back panting.

Meimi blinked in surprise. What the heck was that she just did?

Never mind. At least she was free.

Taking advantage of her opponent's slack, Saint Tail slipped out of his clutches and disappeared into the night. She didn't really like leaving him there panting himself to death. However, she couldn't risk being recognized, especially after that weird thing that happened at the prom. And so she left.

Asuka was too dizzy to even attempt to catch up with the thief. Oh well, everybody has his or her downs. He rested against the wall in the dark trying to calm his breathing and gulping air to fill his lungs.

In his solitude, he relived the sensation of holding the mysterious robber close to him. She smelled of the perfume girls his age usually wear. Or was it Haneoka he's thinking about? Yes, Haneoka. She's got blue eyes, right? Very beautiful blue eyes. They seem t blaze like blue fire, the hottest of all kinds of fire. But that really was impossible right? Saint Tail? Haneoka Meimi? Who's who?

No longer able to tell which memory was which, Asuka gave it up with a shrug. Pushing himself to his feet, he began trudging home.

Sooner or later those slippers will turn up somewhere. And most likely it would be with its rightful owner. He on the other hand would be trying his best to get his dizzy butt back home. It was way past his bedtime.

HANEOKA MEIMI WOKE up with a start.

What the heck kind of a dream was that?!!?!!

Asuka Jr was holding her and…. and she was kissing him!

She shuddered and shook her head. Then she groaned in pain.

Kami-sama! Her head was killing her.

Darn those jerks that spiked the punch! They're giving her perverted nightmares. And on top of everything, a freaking headache!

Wait. She had to dance all night with Asuka. It was possible that-

No! No! NO!

In the first place, she left him at the school dance. Then, she went to steal the slippers and delivered it to the owner. She couldn't have been with that insufferable boy.

Now what on earth was that noise?

She searched around for the source of that ringing that was like a drill boring into her brain. There was something about that sound that made a click in her mind but her head was hurting too much that her brain didn't notice. Finally she finally found it.

It was her alarm clock ringing and it looks as if its been doing that for almost an hour now…

ASUKA JR RAN out the house, leaving behind a blazing trail.

He can't be late again. He can't! Darn it. Those jerks are really gonna pay…

He couldn't remember anything about last night. There was just some vague memory of his father scolding him about being late and a girl kissing him and-

NANI!? A girl? Kissing?!

WHAM!

Something hit him from behind and he was flung to the pavement.

"Haneoka!"

"Asuka Jr!"

"You again!" they screeched in unison.

"Why you-!" growled Asuka indignantly.

"Oh, shut up," Meimi cut him off. "We're late."

When they arrived at school, they found it deserted. That was definitely a bad sign. But when they entered the classroom…

"Haneoka, Asuka," said the teacher. "Where are you're classmates? Why are you late?"

The two of them gawked at their teacher and the empty classroom. Soon after, a bleary-eyed group of students filed in.

"Why are you all late?" demanded the teacher.

"We really couldn't help it, ma'am," replied a student. "Somebody spiked the punch last night. Repeatedly."

"Oh? I suppose since all of you are late…."

"We didn't even suspect," said one guy. "Yoshio drank so much last night. He'll probably not come today."

"Oh, look, Haneoka came in earliest," remarked Kyouko.

"And Asuka Jr too," added Ryouko.

"Oh," said Niitsu with a lecherous grin. "Did you guys spend the night in school? Together?"

"Excuse me?!" exploded Meimi. "Why would I do such a disgusting thing?"

"Korosu!!!!" yelled Asuka Jr. "I wouldn't dream of getting near that thing within a mile radius!"

"Oh yeah?" Meimi's voice jumped an octave. "You stepped on my toes several times last night! Your legs can't be that long."

"Are you hinting something?"

"No, I'm insulting you!"

"All right, both of you in the principal's office right now!"

Tsk, tsk. Oh well. And like every fairy tale, I suppose this one also ends with-

And they lived happily ever after.

Finished Writing: Wed 16:42:56 021401

Finished Encoding/Editing: 02:00:05 080402

Disappointed? Hated it? All Comments, Complaints, etc, welcome. ^.^ Thanks for reading and for keeping up with my procrastination. He he… ^^V thanks for the comments too. They prod me to work.

Additional Disclaimers: Um, the Silk person Asuka was ranting about is a character in the book series Belgariad by David Eddings. Not mine, definitely. Just borrowed it for lack of anything to write about.