Mikau: Hey everyone! Welcome to newcomers and old friends alike. It's great to have you. This fic is the result of the poll I took back in May/June about what romantically you wanted to see happen between Kaito and whom at his birthday party. It's probably nothing like what you're expecting. I kind of looked at the poll results, thought "Hmm. That's interesting," and then was inspired to write this. I hope you enjoy it anyway!

Disclaimer: If I owned it, it wouldn't have taken so long for Kaito and Hakuba to appear together in the same episode. Sure the Kid/Hakuba dynamic is great, but nothing beats Kaito and Saguru quarreling before class.

….

He had a heist that night, but Aoko had pleaded with him incessantly to drop by her party, so Kaito had finally given in. He could refuse her nothing, and the magician figured that it would be easy to slip in one door, schmooze and make mischief for a quarter of an hour, and then sneak out the back without anyone being the wiser.

It seemed like the perfect plan until he arrived at Aoko's and everyone jumped out of the woodworks, shouting, "Surprise!"

"Happy Birthday, Kaito!" Aoko giggled, blowing a horn in his face. "Were you surprised?"

"Yeah, with an ugly girl like you springing out at him, any guy would be surprised." Kaito clicked his tongue.

Aoko puffed out her cheeks and balled her hands into fists. "Jerk! You should be nicer when Aoko went out of her way to throw you a party. You never celebrate your birthday, and you forget about it unless Aoko reminds you. She was doing you a favor."

"Well, maybe I just don't feel like celebrating. Besides, I never asked you to throw a party for me," Kaito snapped, unable to tell the girl he loved what he really meant.

She turned on her heel with a little "Humph" and stormed off.

Kaito sighed.

All he'd really wanted to say was "Thank you."

At least now that Aoko was ticked, she'd leave him alone, and it would be a lot easier to sneak out.

That's what he'd initially thought, anyway.

It was then that a pair of amber eyes caught his from across the room, and their owner sauntered towards him, staring him down, much like a jungle cat stalking its prey.

The taller teen sized Kaito up for a minute before smirking.

"Kuroba," the detective greeted civilly.

"Hakuba," Kaito returned in a low growl.

The blonde motioned for his rival to follow as he made his way to one of the back rooms.

Kaito did so cautiously.

Hakuba softly closed the door behind them and went to take a seat on the guestroom bed. "Do make yourself comfortable," he chuckled.

The birthday boy stood stiffly by the door, his back to the wall. "Just what are you plotting, Hakuba? Scheming up a new way to 'prove' that I'm Kid?" Kaito hissed.

The European sleuth laughed, leaning back slightly and crossing his legs at the knee. "No, no. Nothing of the sort. Not tonight, anyway. A gentleman would never incarcerate someone on their birthday. The day after, maybe, but not the day of."

The blonde's moral code had always befuddled the thief.

"Then…what are we doing here?"

"I had wanted to give you a present," the Brit confessed, "but first there's something I'd like to ask you."

Kaito glared. This sounded familiar.

"Why do you treat Aoko-kun so badly when it's obvious that you fancy her? Are you really so juvenile that you express your affection by bullying her? That's a little fourth grade, if you asked me. Or…could it be something else? Maybe that you're protecting her by keeping your distance? If so, it's very noble of you. I applaud your willpower." Hakuba smiled like a crocodile.

"How I treat Aoko is none of your business," the magician replied flippantly, pouring on the poker face.

"Very well. Just curious," the detective chuckled, seeming to very much enjoy his classmate's reactions.

"Look, I've gotta go, so if you've got something to say, hurry up and say it," Kaito sighed, quickly growing impatient with his rival.

"Worried about being late to your heist? You have several hours; there's really no rush, Kuroba," Saguru assured. "Or could it be that you still have some preparations to do? You could probably get away with less prep tonight, since I won't be attending and I also happened to see your little grade school friend here as well."

Kaito gave his classmate a wry look. "I'm leaving, Hakuba."

"Right," the detective sighed, getting to his feet and fishing a pocket scrapbook from his jacket. "This is for you."

Kaito reached for the book as if he were afraid it would bite him.

"I took it upon myself to find magazine articles and newspaper clippings about the original Kaitou 1412. I complied them all into that scrapbook for your birthday, since I figured that it would mean something to you…either because the original was likely someone close to you—for example, your father who passed away around the time that the first Kid disappeared—or because you're the present Kid's biggest fan and would most likely be interested in the history…judging by how much you enjoy following the current Kid in the papers, anyway. Regardless, the research was a good experience for me."

Kaito was stunned, almost speechless, as he flipped through the book, gazing at his father in uniform.

"Thank you," he mumbled. "This must have taken days, Hakuba."

"Yes, but you seem to like it…and, like I said, the research was beneficial," the detective replied, trying to hide his pleasure at finding that his gift was appreciated.

"Thank you. You didn't have to do this," Kaito reiterated in earnest.

Saguru endeavored not to smile. "I wanted to…. I mean, it was just a whim, but…happy birthday, Kuroba."

"Yours is in two months?" He seemed to remember that from Hakuba's long-winded self-introduction; the detective had sure made himself easy to impersonate.

"Yes, but I expect there won't be a party." The blonde struggled internally with his emotions—pure bliss that the magician had remembered his birthday and aching sadness that no one else would, save his caretaker. "However, if you'd like to give a gift, I wouldn't say no, if you show up in my room in handcuffs."

"I'm not Kid," Kaito snorted, and Saguru was actually quite relieved that the thief hadn't picked up on the double entendre.

"Of course you're not," the taller boy chuckled, summoning all of his courage as he stood and strode across the room. "But, Kuroba, even though I won't apprehend you tonight out of common courtesy, don't forget that someday, you will be mine." Saguru took a deep breath before leaning in and placing a chaste kiss on Kaito's cheek.

Hakuba was out the door and gone before Kaito regained his composure.

Actually, Kaito's composure took its sweet time coming back.

He spent a good ten minutes screaming "WTF?!" and replaying the entire scene over again—this time with the knowledge that his rival had a thing for him. He was a little disturbed to find that their conversation had been dripping with homosexual undertones.

"What the hell?" he sighed, banging his head against the wall for the sixth time.

He finally came to terms with the fact that he'd never be able to look that blonde git in the eye again and made his way back to the living room where the rest of the party-goers were dancing and drinking punch. He had a lot of schmoozing to do before he could make his getaway.

"Kaito-kun!" Momoi Keiko gasped as the magician in question nearly bowled her over.

"Keiko-chan." Kaito blinked, and his mind got back in gear at last. "Sorry. I was kinda distracted, so I wasn't watching where I was going. Are you okay?"

"Y-Yeah," the pigtailed girl gulped, biting her lip and squeezing her punch cup nervously. "Um…Kaito-kun, there's something I've been meaning to talk to you about these past couple months, but the timing never seemed right. Do you have a minute?"

"Uh, sure. What's up?" Kaito's brow furrowed as he grabbed a glass of punch and turned back to his crush's best friend. "Something wrong?"

"Not…wrong, exactly, but…it's not right either." Keiko took a deep breath and looked her friend right in the eye. "Kaito-kun, I know you like Aoko-chan, and I know that, deep down, she likes you too, even though she's clueless and she won't admit it, but…Kaito-kun, somewhere along the line, I fell for you too. I just realized it a couple months ago, and it was never the right time to say anything, but…Kaito-kun, I really like you. Will you go out with me?"

For the second time in one night, Kaito's brain melted.

He blinked.

Hakuba liked him.

Did he like Hakuba?

No, but the guy was decent sometimes. They could continue to be friends without much difficulty as long as the sleuth didn't try anything too gay on him.

Keiko also liked him.

Did he like Keiko?

No, not really. She was fun to hang out with, and she wasn't not pretty, but he'd never really seen her as a girl before.

He'd only ever noticed Aoko, and it wouldn't do to fool around with her best friend in the meantime while Aoko got her own feelings straightened out.

"I'm really sorry, Keiko-chan. You're really great, but…you already know how I feel. Maybe if it doesn't work with Aoko, but…I've already given my heart to someone else."

"I-I understand." Keiko nodded and ran off before our hero could say another word.

He let her go, thinking it best to leave her alone.

Girls had their way of dealing with things like this, and it was best if he let the process run its natural course.

He took a sip of the punch and began to wander through the crowd of undulating bodies.

"Shinichi?" a vaguely familiar female voice called out as someone tapped him on the shoulder. "It is you!"

He turned and found himself enveloped in a bone-crushing hug, courtesy of Mouri Ran.

"Shinichi, where have you been?" the karate champ whined. "I've been waiting for you! Always waiting!" She was clearly intoxicated.

"Sorry, but I think you have me confused with someone else," Kaito explained, trying to wriggle out of the dangerous woman's firm grasp. "I'm Kaito—Kuroba Kaito!"

"Shinichi, don't you dare start lying to me!" Ran shrieked, wrapping her legs around the poor magician's waist. "You're not gonna run off again, you hear?! We're going to a church and getting married. Right now!" she hollered.

Kaito turned milk white. "Seriously, Lady, I'm not your man!" Even if she did look a great deal like Aoko, our hero would not be swayed.

"Ran!" A blonde girl that Kaito recognized from Old Man Suzuki's heists called out to her friend (who was currently climbing Kaito like a palm tree). "Ran, that's not Shinichi. That's Aoko-chan's boyfriend, Kuroba-kun. It's his birthday we're celebrating."

"It is?" Ran blinked, pulling back a bit to take a better look at the boy she was molesting. "It is!" she cried. "I'm so sorry! I thought you were someone else!" The brunette blushed and quickly detangled herself from the magician.

"Don't worry about it," Kaito laughed awkwardly, forcing himself to smile.

Ran bowed but nearly fell over.

"Ran, you're so drunk!" the Suzuki girl—Sonoko, he finally remembered—chortled, grabbing her friend's arm to help support her. "Sorry about her," the blonde laughed. "Happy Birthday!"

Kaito squeaked when he found his bum being pinched.

"Where's Conan-kun?" He heard Ran mutter as Sonoko carried her away.

Kaito hoped that he wouldn't find out; this night was draining enough without the little pipsqueak to liven things up further.

The last thing Kaito needed was that little shinigami bringing him a corpse for his birthday like some kind of cat presenting his master with his latest kill. No, Kaito preferred gift-cards to Starbucks or iTunes. Heck, he'd even take clothes or a lewd gag gift at this point!

With a lead-laced sigh, the magician collapsed onto the couch.

"Rough night?" the tan young man sitting on the couch next to him chuckled.

Kaito looked up, but he didn't recognize the other teen.

Who did he know that spoke with an Osakan accent?

"Yeah," he breathed, deciding not to worry about it. "I think there's something in the punch."

"Ha! There's definitely somethin' in the punch; this is a party, for cryin' out loud!"

Kaito liked this guy's laugh. It was loud and warm and completely genuine.

"Cheers!" the stranger chuckled, holding up his own glass of punch.

"Cheers." Kaito shrugged and gave in, clinking his glass against his couchmate's.

When in Rome and all that.

"You're the birthday boy, Kuroba, aren't cha? I'm Hattori Heiji." Hattori had a nice smile too.

"That detective from Osaka?" Now he knew why the other teen looked vaguely familiar; he'd worked the egg case with Tantei-kun that time Kid'd almost been killed by Scorpion. "Nice to meet you."

"Right back at cha," Hattori laughed again, grabbing Kaito's hand and shaking it. It was a nice, solid shake. "I bet yer wonderin' why I'm here, but I came with Mouri Ran and her crew. I'm supposed t' be watchin' Ku—Conan-kun, but the little guy's scampered off somewhere. He can take care of himself."

Kaito nodded, wondering if Hattori made the "Kudo" slip-up often. "You probably only have to worry about him getting stepped on."

"Yeah," Hattori sighed, glancing around at the dancers that packed the entire main room. They were almost being danced on top of. "Crazy drunks." He took another sip of his punch. "Wanna play a game?"

"Sure." Kaito shrugged. He had nothing better to do while he waited for an opportunity to spit. "Why not?"

"Gotta deck a cards?"

"I always have a deck of cards," Kaito snickered, fanning out a pack in each hand.

"Very nice." The Great Detective of the West nodded in genuine appreciation of the magician's craft. "Whadda ya wanna play? Rummy? Poker? Go Fish?"

Kaito shivered. "How about Poker? Five Card Draw okay with you? It'll go quick."

"Sounds perfect," Hattori laughed again, letting Kaito shuffle and deal.

After they'd played a hand or two, the laidback detective started to make conversation. "Did ya get what ya wanted for your birthday?"

"Yes and no." Kaito shrugged, rearranging his cards. "I didn't want anything…didn't expect anything, so what I got was…good and bad. This guy…he's kind of my friend, kind of my personal pain in the butt…gave me a really great gift, but then I found out something I didn't want to know. There's been a lot of unwanted attentions too, thanks to the spiked drinks…. I never asked for a party, but it was nice that people thought to throw one."

"It's always nice when people go out of their way for ya," Hattori hummed, laying down a straight.

Kaito smirked and showed his royal straight flush.

Hattori frowned. "Hn. I'll be. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were cheating."

Kaito smiled innocently. "Wanna play something else?"

"How about Go Fish? Can't cheat at Go Fish," his companion reasoned.

Kaito shuddered. "I can't play that game."

Hattori raised an eyebrow at the lighter-haired brunette.

"I'm afraid of the title character," Kaito admitted begrudgingly.

Hattori laughed, but not in the mocking way that Kaito was accustomed to. "Seriously? That's adorable. Why?"

"Freak aquarium accident when I was really little." Kaito looked away, shifting so that he was sitting back on his haunches like a dog. "I don't consciously remember it, but my mom told me a couple years ago. Apparently someone dumped a body into one of the tanks, and I saw the f-fish chowin' down on the corpse."

"Geez," the Osakan snorted. "That'd turn anyone off the little guys. Sorry."

"'S okay," Kaito chuckled, shuffling once more. "How about playing War?"

"Sounds great." Hattori watched his new friend's quick hand movements with great interest while the magician divided the cards. "So…you got a girlfriend?"

"Ha. I wish," Kaito snorted back. "You?"

"I have a girl that's a friend, but…it's complicated." Hattori pursed his lips.

"I hear ya," Kaito laughed bitterly.

"There's also somebody else I like," Hattori whispered. "But…they're already in a serious relationship, and nothin' I do can get me between them."

"Sorry," Kaito mumbled back. "That must be rough."

"Un," Hattori grunted, taking a big gulp of the punch. "I think this stuff is finally getting' t' me…. Anyone ever tell you you look like Kudo Shinichi?"

"Yes, actual—" Kaito began but soon found his mouth full of Hattori's.

The bigger boy pushed him down and smothered him with the kiss.

That was the third time Kaito's brain shut down that night…or maybe it was the fourth…or fifth…he was losing track.

By the time Hattori let up, Kaito was nearly unconscious, so he didn't really hear the apologies and excuses and pleas for forgiveness.

He cursed his similarity in appearance to Kudo for the second time that evening and stumbled off to seek shelter in the hall.

"Hohoho…I saw that," another regrettably familiar female voice chuckled. "I never would have guessed that the reason you failed to succumb to my feminine charms would be that you preferred…the less fair sex."

"Hello, Akako-chan," Kaito sighed, rolling his eyes. "Sorry, but I'm not in the mood for your brand of nonsense right now; come back and try to hex me later."

"Not in the mood?" the witch pouted, backing Kaito up against the wall. "You looked pretty in the mood a minute ago." She chuckled again, running her hands up and down her crush's biceps.

"Dammit, Akako," Kaito hissed, shaking her off and turning his back to her.

"Do you think anybody else saw that?" he whispered over his shoulder, blushing madly.

"Oh, Honey, everybody saw that," she laughed, rubbing his shoulders from behind.

"Even Aoko?" Kaito held his breath.

The hands on his back paused momentarily before returning to their work tracing patterns along his shoulder blades. "No. Nakamori-san didn't see."

"Lair," Kaito sighed, giving in and enjoying the free massage. "Did she look repulsed?"

"Mostly shocked. Her face went completely white. Then it changed to red, almost purple." Akako took the opportunity to lean in closer and take a deep inhale of Kaito's sugary, vanilla scent.

"Just great," the thief muttered. "Shoot me now."

"…Speaking of which…just…who are those people that have been shooting at you recently?" the witch asked quietly. "My good friend Lucifer wouldn't tell me anything about them."

"What are you talking about, Akako?" Kaito played dumb.

The redhead simmered in quiet rage at the man she regrettably loved. "I've saved your bacon before, and you know it. Don't even pretend for a second that I'm batty. I know who you are."

"I told you, I'm not in the mood, Akako," Kaito hissed, detaching himself from the witch and walking off.

"Fine!" she hurled after him. "Get yourself killed! See if I care!"

She took a deep breath and sighed. "You idiot. I won't cry over you."

Kaito was about to make his escape when the back door swung open just before he could grip the handle. He blinked.

An extremely inebriated Nakamori-keibu stumbled in, running right into a very startled Kaito.

"Toichi!" the officer hiccupped in surprise. "You finally have the decency t' come t' see me after playin' dead all these years!

Apparently the low lighting and the copious amounts of alcohol the inspector had ingested made Kaito look the spitting image of his father.

"You think I'm just gonna take you back? I'm sure you had a damn good reason, but it killed me when you died. Killed me!" the drunk howled.

Kaito was about to try to calm his (hopefully) future father-in-law when said policeman cut him off.

"And yer kid! Your boy went through hell, Toichi! And what were you doin'? Playing super hero!"

Kaito was speechless.

Nakamori had known.

"Listen, I don't mind chasing ya at all hours, but go home to yer family, Toichi. What we had was great, but it's over now. Your wife and kid need ya, Toichi, so let's keep this strictly business," the inspector mumbled, passing out.

Kaito eased Nakamori-keibu's unconscious form to the floor and left him to sleep it off.

Kaito needed a glass of water.

Putting his brain on autopilot, the magician made his way to the kitchen and pulled a glass out of the cabinet.

"Kuroba Kaito, I presume?" a detestably familiar voice purred.

Kaito jumped at the unexpected noise, dropping his glass.

"Oops." Edogawa Conan chuckled nervously as the cup shattered. "Sorry. I didn't think you'd drop it; you're not usually so skittish."

The thief inhaled and exhaled very slowly as he picked up the glass fragments, trying to restore his shattered composure. He stood and turned to gaze in confusion at the little detective sitting on top of the kitchen counter.

"Sorry, have we met before, kid?" Kaito asked levelly.

"Come on. Surely you haven't forgotten about little ole me, have you? …Kaitou Kid?" The creepy eight year-old smirked.

Kaito blinked three times. "'Scuse me?"

Conan frowned. "It's me. Edogawa Conan…tantei sa…. Remember? We met that night on the roof…during the Black Star case. I chase you all the time! You can't have forgotten about me!"

Kaito continued to play dumb. "Edogawa Conan? Sorry, little boy. I don't think we've met before. Where's your mom?"

"I get it," the shrunken teen announced, sounding very much eight years old. "You're just pretending that you don't recognize me in order to protect your cover!"

Kaito smirked, leaning up against the countertop on his forearms. "Oh, I see. Are we playing a game? If I'm the Kaitou Kid, are you Detective Hakuba? Where's your Sherlock Holmes outfit, Tantei-san?"

Conan pursed his lips and stared flatly at his nemesis. "You know, there's no use pretending, Kid. I know it's you. I knew the minute I first saw you. You look just like me; who else could impersonate me without a mask so easily?"

"Kid, I couldn't impersonate you if I tried. No one could pretend to be that short," Kaito chuckled, getting out a different glass and filling it with Nakamori's secret stash of rum.

"You're not old enough to drink," Conan mumbled, not liking this side of his rival very much. He'd always imagined that Kid would be…well, different.

"Neither is anyone else here, yet they're all hosed. Why shouldn't I be too? It's my party, after all. Besides…I need this." Kaito downed the entire glass and poured more. "This is nasty."

"Rough day?"

"The last guy that asked me that stuck his tongue down my throat," Kaito snorted, nursing his drink. "I'd say things are leaning a little on the side of catastrophic at this point."

Conan blinked. "A guy kissed you?"

"Yeah. Your Osakan friend. Give him a try when you're older; he's good." Kaito let his head thunk against the marble counter. "And he wasn't even the first. Hakuba pecked me on the cheek, and then my crush's best friend asked me out, and then your big sister thought I was my cousin and glomped me. She was about to drag me off to a chapel when her obnoxious friend came and pinched my butt. It's…it's been a long night already."

Conan blinked. "Ran-neechan thought you were your cousin?" Shinichi was about ready to hunt this guy down and take him out. "Who's your cousin?" Who was this man who had swayed his love's affections?

"His name is Kudo Shinichi," Kaito snickered. "He's a famous detective; you heard of him?"

The look on Conan's face was priceless. "You're…you're Shinichi-niichan's cousin?!"

Apparently Kudo hadn't known a thing about Kaito.

"Yeah, well, actually he's kind of my third cousin. Our fathers are the ones that are cousins. His dad is my second cousin, and he's my third cousin. I haven't seen him in person in years, but we used to play together all the time. It's kind of funny since we were inseparable at the time."

"Really?" Conan leaned in as Kaito drained his second glass of rum and went for a third.

"Yeah," Kaito chuckled, beginning to feel kind of good—light-headed and bubbly. "I think we were probably in love."

"What?!" the super sleuth croaked. "Wh-Wh-Why would you say that?!"

"No, listen. It's true!" the magician laughed. "When we'd play doctor, he'd take my clothes off and touch me all over. We'd roll around naked, sleep together in a bundle of limbs, and even bathe together. We even played house where we'd get married and kiss; he made me be the wife, since he was older. It was mostly just innocent fun, since we were little and had no clue what we were doing, but deep down, I think we were in love."

Conan's face was bright red.

"I wonder if he remembers; I haven't seen him since we were kids," Kaito mused, wondering if Kudo could sort through what Kaito had made up on the spot and what had actually happened.

Shinichi didn't remember any of this.

"Would you be sad if he didn't?"

Kaito nodded, sipping at his rum. "I am kind of sad. Ya see, I lied. I have seen him; it was just two years ago when I went to Beika to pick up some parts. I'd walked there to save money, but I was takin' the train home 'cause the parts were heavy. I was standing on the platform, waiting, when he came up and stood beside me; he was with some girl—probably your neechan. I knew it was him right away, but I couldn't say anything. My voice just stuck in my throat, so I just stared, hoping that he'd turn and see me and say, 'Kai-chan?!'"

"Did he turn and see you?" Conan asked quietly, knowing full well what happened next.

"Yeah. He raised an eyebrow and frowned at me before going back to chatting with his girlfriend. He glanced back at me a couple times 'cause I was still staring, and then he and the girl moved to wait for a different car. He doesn't remember me at all." Kaito put down his now empty glass and sighed. He let his head join the glass on the countertop. "Don't worry; I'm used to it. I've never been lucky in love. I've used all of mine elsewhere."

"Y-You still love him?" Conan swallowed hard.

"No freaking clue. That day on the train platform I felt…all discombobulated when I saw him again. I've got someone else now, but…I definitely felt something when our eyes met. I don't think I'm currently in love with him, but there's something there between us. I don't think he'd have to try hard to make me fall for him, and that fact kinda scares me, ya know? I always thought I was straight, but…I guess it just takes the right person. To think he has that kind of power over me, and he doesn't even…he doesn't even know who I am."

The kitchen fell silent as the party droned on in the background.

Conan sat there, quietly contemplating what he'd been told.

Kaito let his head rest against the cool marble of the counter. "Why am I talking about things like this with a little kid?"

"Because you're not as happy as you pretend to be and you're drunk," the little detective supplied an answer.

"Am I? I don't think I've ever been drunk before. Is this what it feels like?" Kaito chuckled.

"Guess so," Conan sighed, remembering when he'd been drunk. "I guess you're a sad drunk."

"Hmm," the thief hummed pensively. "Dammit! I forgot; I have work tonight!"

"On your birthday?" Shinichi silently wondered why Kid had scheduled a heist on a personal holiday.

"My job's important, but I guess I'll have to call in sick or something," Kaito sighed, digging out his phone and texting one of his assistants: "im durnk can u go n 2 work 4 me?"

In a matter of seconds he got back a text that said: "…."

Thirty seconds later he received: "…Fine. You okay, Kiddo? That's really not like you. Need to talk?"

Kaito sloppily typed back, "its 6/21"

"Your dad would want you to celebrate your birthday. We'll talk later," was all he got in return.

"Maybe you should eat something?" Conan suggested, desperately trying to change the topic. "You're gonna feel really sick if all you've got in your stomach is alcohol. Want me to make you a sandwich or get you some cake or something?"

"Nah, I'm fine. Thanks, kid," Kaito sighed, starting to feel a little ill. He made a mental note: two glasses of rum = good; three glasses of rum = bad.

"You're starting to look a little green," the sleuth observed. "Let me get you something."

Conan turned and began to climb to reach the bread on the top shelf.

His foot slipped, sending the young boy hurtling towards the floor.

Kaito's alcohol-addled brain jumped into action, directing his body to vault over the counter and dive for his smallest rival.

He caught the grade schooler before he hit the ground, but their heads clunked together, and somehow or another they ended up lip-locked.

Both boys froze, and, thanks in part to Kaito's terrible luck in love, Aoko picked that precise moment to come in to get more refreshments.

She shrieked when she saw what appeared to be her crush forcing himself on a little boy.

Kaito's head jerked up at the noise, and his face blanched in absolute horror. "Aoko, this isn't what it looks like!"

"I fell, and he saved me!" Conan added.

"By giving you mouth-to-mouth?!" Aoko squealed, grabbing a conveniently placed mop and brandishing it.

Even though Kaito's mind was a little impaired by the alcohol consumption, his body was ready, thanks to muscle memory.

He took off, back into the main room, with a somersault, followed by a cartwheel and then a backwards flip.

His drunken classmates cheered at the spectacle; they'd been waiting for this all night.

A few minutes later, a blood-curdling scream put a damper on the fun. "Yamada-kun's dead!"

Silence reigned for an entire minute until Hakuba, Hattori, and Conan were able to push their way to the front of the crowd and begin their work.

They cleared the scene quickly (with minimal bickering between the Brit and the Osakan) and called the police before beginning their own investigations.

Kaito simply stood to the side in silence. He'd once pranked Yamada. (Okay, maybe two or three or four times.) But now Yamada was dead.

It was kind of sobering, seeing first-hand that someone their age could just die like that.

The doorbell rang, and someone nearby moved to open it.

Kaito couldn't see the person at the door or the person who had answered it thanks to the swarm of people stuffed into Aoko's living room.

The newcomer pushed his way to the front and shouted, "Tanaka-san! The killer is you!"

Everyone blinked collectively and turned to stare at the one who had made such an outlandish claim.

It was none other than the famous detective Kudo Shinichi himself.

Kaito looked back and forth between Kudo and Conan. He was pretty sure the alcohol was making him see double.

"Now hold on just a moment," Hakuba snorted (in a dignified manner, of course). "How could you know that? You've just arrived!"

"Conan-kun filled me in," the Detective of the East announced, seemingly searching the crowd and paying little attention to the blonde. "You should probably restrain him until the police get here."

Shinichi spotted his target and smirked.

Kaito blinked.

His cousin was staring him straight in the eye and approaching quickly. "Kaito," he whispered, sweeping the shorter teen off of his feet and kissing him hungrily.

Aoko shrieked.

Hattori made plans to surreptitiously eliminate Kuroba Kaito.

Hakuba made plans to covertly make Kudo Shinichi disappear permanently.

Kaito melted. He may have even moaned; he didn't quite remember afterwards.

Shinichi released the birthday boy's lips and smiled softly. "Remember what we promised, Kai-chan? When we were older we'd get married for real."

"Excuse me for being rude," the blonde detective hissed, "but unhand him at once, you pompous smeghead! You can't get married in Japan; it's illegal."

"We'll go to America. There are some states there that'd do it," Shinichi informed them, wrapping his arm more tightly around Kaito's waist.

"You can't take Kaito away to America!" Aoko squeaked, a mix of conflicting emotions at the moment.

"Oi, Kudo!" Hattori called out to his crush. "What about Neechan? What the hell are you doing?"

"Oh. Hey, Hattori! Good to see you. I know it's a little weird, but I've loved Kaito since I was really little. I tried to forget about him, since our love could never be, but…I just can't get him out of my head, you know?"

"Yeah, I know," the Osakan detective sighed.

"So…will you marry me, Kaito?" Shinichi turned back to look softly at his intended.

"Okay." Kaito blushed as the two syllables left his lips.

What had gotten into him? This was crazy! It was the alcohol talking.

He then found himself being carried bridal-style into the guestroom in back and thrown down on the bed.

"Wanna play doctor?" Shinichi chuckled, turning off the light.

000

Kaito's eyes slowly slid open, and the sunlight almost blinded him.

He groaned.

He blinked, remembering what had happened the night before.

His face went as white as rice powder, and he held his breath as he slowly looked over his shoulder.

He was alone in bed.

Kaito frowned slightly and looked around, gathering clues.

He was alone in his own bed, in his own room, in his slightly damp pajamas.

He lifted up his shirt and searched for any sign of bruising or teeth marks, but his flesh was unblemished.

He sighed. "Dammit." Eighteen years old and still a virgin—acceptable for a girl, but not so desirable for a guy.

He checked the date on his phone: 6/18. He still had three days before he became an old maid, but…that had been a weird dream.

He'd once heard that dreams were the way the subconscious sorted things out; perhaps his subconscious was trying to tell him something? Like Keiko-chan had a crush on him or Hakuba's obsession with him should be taken seriously or that Kudo and Conan weren't really one and the same or possibly even that Kaito kind of sort of had a thing for guys?

The magician shivered at the thought.

Maybe he was over-analyzing. Everyone in his dream had been hot for him. Maybe his subconscious was trying to tell him that he was a narcissist. Maybe it meant he should stop flirting with everyone.

Kaito rolled over and grabbed his stuffed llama, seriously considering the creature's fuzzy little face. "What do you think, Sassy? Am I gay? Bi? A narcissist? Over-analyzing?"

The llama said nothing, but at that moment, Kaito's phone dinged, alerting him that he had received a text.

"I've got some parts for you to pick up whenever you're free," it read.

It was from Chrisy, his miracle worker.

Suddenly he was reminded of the text he had received from her in the dream. His dad would want him to celebrate his birthday, even though it had been the day the great magician had died.

His subconscious was trying to tell him something that he had known but hadn't been able to accept: it was okay to move on and be happy. Maybe that was what the dream had really been about.

He picked up his phone and dialed Aoko.

She answered on the first ring.

"I'm having a birthday party; can you come?" he said before she could even say "Hello?"

Aoko paused, wondering if she had heard correctly.

Kaito hadn't had a birthday party since his dad had died. Usually he spent the day alone, hiding somewhere she had yet to find no matter how hard she had looked.

"Can you come?" he asked again when she didn't reply.

"A birthday party for yourself?" Aoko confirmed.

"Yeah. At my house at, like, six." He bit his lip.

"Why all of the sudden? Kaito never has birthday parties." Aoko raised an eyebrow in suspicion.

"I just felt like…it was time. I mean, the only birthday party I remember was…I think he'd want me to have a party…. Can you come?"

"Aoko will bring the cake!" his friend cried in glee.

Next he called up the majority of the classmates he had in his phonebook including Keiko-chan, Yamada, Tanaka, Watanabe, and even Akako-chan after careful consideration.

He paused when he came to an unmarked entry. He nibbled thoughtfully on his lip before shooting her a text that read: "Hey, I'm having a birthday party at my house at six, if you want to come. I know you usually go to Dad's grave, but…if you get done early and feel like stopping by, you're invited. It must take a long time cleaning and arranging all of those flowers; maybe I could give you a hand."

It took a full minute for Chrisy to respond. "I just leave the chrysanthemums. A lot of people come to help out, so it doesn't take long at all to do the cleaning. Your dad was important to a lot of people. We all have a picnic afterwards…. I'll come to the party. Feel free to come to the picnic, but there will be a lot of people you probably don't remember pinching your cheeks and cooing over how big you've gotten. Just so you know, Kiddo."

"Thanks, Kiku-chan."

He went through his phonebook once more to make sure he hadn't forgotten anyone, and there was Hakuba's number.

He pressed call before he could change his mind.

"Hello?" the sleuth asked tentatively. "Hakuba Saguru speaking," he informed the caller, expecting his classmate to apologize for calling the wrong number.

"Hey, Hakuba. This is Kuroba," Kaito started hesitantly.

"I know. I have your number, but…may I ask why you have mine?" This was highly confusing. How did the magician get his number, and why, pray tell, was he calling?

"Uh…I saved it when you called me from Paris that one time," Kaito explained, feeling like he should be the one asking how his number was obtained. Stalker.

"Oh. I see," the Englishman muttered, a bit out of sorts. Why had his rival saved his number? "Did you need something, Kuroba?"

"Yeah. I'm having a birthday party on the twenty-first at six at my house. Can you come? I mean, you don't have to, if you don't wanna, and you don't have to bring a gift or anything even if you do come, but…I just thought…if you don't have anything else to do, come, okay? It's just gonna be food and cake and games and dancing, and you may not like that sort of thing, but just come for half an hour, if you can."

Saguru blinked. He'd never been to a birthday party before, but Kuroba Kaito had gone out of his way to specially invite him.

"Actually, I think I will come. Thank you for inviting me, Kuroba," he replied after a few minutes of consideration.

"Really? Great. Sure. No problem. I'm glad you can come. See ya then."

Well, that had been a little awkward what with the image of dream Hakuba pushing him up against a wall and pecking him on the cheek still fresh in his mind, but he'd done it, and that was the important thing.

All that was left was the Kudo problem to deal with.

He jumped out of bed, into the shower, and then into some clothes before heading down to breakfast.

"Morning, Honey," Chikage greeted from where she sat at the kitchen table reading the paper.

"Hey, Mom." A thought suddenly occurred to the young thief. "Uh…hey, Mom? Would you be mad if I kind of invited a bunch of people over for a party?"

Chikage blinked. "A party. Here."

Kaito nodded. "Yeah, I probably should have asked you first, but I kind of did it on a whim, so…sorry. Are you mad?"

Chikage didn't need to say anything; her glare said it all. "When's the party?"

"The twenty-first at six." Kaito bit his lip nervously, just waiting for his mom to blow a gasket.

Chikage blinked again. "The twenty-first?"

Kaito nodded.

"You're having a birthday party?"

Kaito nodded. "Is that okay?"

"Honey, that's wonderful!" his mother exclaimed.

"So, I can have the party?" Kaito's eyes lit up.

"Of course you can have the party! It's your birthday, Honey. You're supposed to celebrate!" Chikage was already planning the whole thing in her head.

"Yeah. I kind of get that now," Kaito sighed, getting out the cereal and taking a seat. "Dad would want me to have fun, wouldn't he?"

"Of course he would," Chikage assured softly.

"I'm gonna go visit him too. With my friend Chrisy and some other people she knows that knew Dad."

Chikage blinked. "Just…don't ask them any questions, Kaito—no matter how strange or suspicious they seem." There were still some things about her husband that her child probably wasn't ready to know. "Promise?"

Kaito looked up from his corn flakes. He shrugged. "Promise. Hey, Mom? Do you have the Kudos' number still? I wanted to try to get back in touch with Shin-chan, but I don't really know how to go about doing it now that he's all famous."

"I'll…have to see if I can get it from Yuki-chan. I haven't spoken to her for ages…since your father…and then they moved to America. I'll see what I can do, but you may have to write him a letter and hope it doesn't get lost in his fan-mail. You could possibly even go over to his house and surprise him, but I'll try to get his number for you."

"Thanks, Mom," Kaito chuckled, knowing that dropping in for a visit wouldn't be very fruitful since "Kudo Shinichi" wouldn't be home.

Chikage did, however, manage to get ahold of Auntie Yukiko and procure Shinichi's cell number, and Kaito was able to text him the very next day.

"Hey there. This is your dad's cousin's kid, Kuroba Kaito. Remember me? We used to play together all the time when we were kids, but we haven't seen each other in years. Well, I guess that's not true since I see you all the time on TV, but… Anyway, I got your number from your mom, in case you were wondering. I was just texting to see if you'd maybe want to get back in touch. I mean, we don't have to hang out or anything, if you don't want, but maybe we could call or text each other?"

Kaito sighed. He sounded like a smitten school girl.

"I just figured that since we were so close when we were young, we might be good friends now that we're a little older. Uh…here's a picture of me now, by the way. Just text me back, if you feel like it. Have a great day!"

He spent nearly half an hour writing and rewriting before finally hitting the send button when Chikage called him down for dinner.

With another sigh so full of angst it could only come from a teenager, he tossed his phone down on the bed and proceeded downstairs.

After dinner, Kaito quickly finished up his math and worked a little more on planning for his party.

At nearly nine thirty, his phone dinged, startling him.

It was just Aoko asking what kind of cake he wanted, but it was then that he noticed that he'd received another text while he'd been downstairs eating.

It was from Kudo Shinichi.

Holding his breath, Kaito slowly pressed the button to open the message.

"Kai-chan?!" it started.

Kaito nearly fainted.

"How are you?! Of course I remember. We used to hang out all the time! I'd always use to boss you around because I was older. Man, sorry about that. I promise to let you be the physician next time, if we hang out and end up playing doctor. Ditto the husband if we play house. Uh…you do remember that, right?"

Oh, Kaito remembered all right.

"Anyway, I'd love to catch up with you, but it will have to be primarily through texts and calls since I'm super busy on cases lately. Seriously. I can't go anywhere without tripping over a corpse, and that's not really something I want to subject you to. I'll call you in a day or so, but take care until then, Kaito. I'm really looking forward to talking with you."

Kaito's heart skipped a beat and then started going like a startled bunny rabbit's.

His palms felt sweaty, and was it hot in there, or was that just him?

"Hey, Sassy?" he called as he reached for his stuffed llama. "I think that dream was trying to tell me that I'm not as straight as I think I am."

Mikau: The End. Happy (Extremely Belated) Birthday, Kaito! Ahem, I hope you enjoyed the fic. Hakuba's is up next; it's in the same universe as this one, but it's not exactly a sequel. It's called The Cost of Being Considerate, and I should have it out by next week. Look forward to it! Well, thanks so much for reading. I'd be really grateful if you left a review on your way out. This one's kind of an oddball, and I'm very interested in knowing what people think of it. As always, I'm not just expecting high praise. I'd like to know what was good, what was not so good, what parts made you laugh, and what parts were just lame. I'd appreciate it a lot. Thanks in advance, and have a great day! Take care!