There are days when you stand in the shower with the water rushing down your face in warm liquid streams and feel like you are drowning. Today is not one of those days. Today you need to burn. You turn the water up as high as it will go and watch it scald your skin red. The searing pins of droplets numb your frame and the pain chases out the aimless butterflies of thought beating themselves against the inside of your skull. The world shrinks to fire-filled body, steam, and the hiss of water hitting the walls and curtain before gurgling down the drain.

Today is another day success escaped you. You threw yourself into the wolf-pit hunt and scraped by with your life and your target, but it is not your goal or your salvation. The chase burns away at you little by little like the water sloughing off skin, layer by layer, until one day you will be left raw, bleeding and broken, whether you have met your goal or not.

The water is cold now, bone numbingly cold that forces shivers from your body. Your teeth clack like dice in a cup, waiting for fortune's wheel to turn against your luck. The red fades from your skin and you are left pale, looking as bloodless as a ghost. The water never lasts long enough, the burn never purges the innermost remnants of the doubts and fears and regrets that plague you daily. You turn off the water.

The rough towel scrubs life in your limbs and the fogged mirror hides your face until you can replace it. This is not your face now, it belongs to the uncertain wreck that wishes he could dull his own mind to the point of uncaring. You are dry and the mirror is clearing. With it clears your mind as you build it up again, sharp and bright with its clown's mask of a smile. Outside you look alive again. You smile. In ward the wasteland regroups from the fire-burn and pushes up shoots of consciousness. You are you again, no monocle, no cape, no poker face. No ice, no burn, no paralysis. You are Kuroba Kaito once more, and for a while, you are whole.