Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK.

Pairing: KaiShin [KaitoxShinichi]

Summary: Their enemies are behind bars, but victory isn't as sweet as they'd hoped. Shinichi never got his cure and Kaito just can't let go. It's only in each other's eyes that they can see themselves anymore.


Win Some, Lose Some

Part 1

The wind howled around the roof of the hotel as it almost always did. It was one of the things Conan—or rather Shinichi, up here it was okay to be Shinichi—liked about the place. It made the rest of the world feel far away. He had first chosen the place because he remembered it had a great view from the last time he'd been there. It was also one of the few tall buildings he couldn't immediately associate with a death.

He liked the view you could get of the city from up here. It glittered beneath the night sky, the noise of city life muted by distance. But the part he liked best was that from up here it all looked far away—farther than it really was at any rate. Like another world.

He looked around from his seat on the edge at the sound of movement behind him just in time to see a figure clad in white touching down on the roof in a swirl of white cape. At twenty three, KID hadn't changed much as far as Shinichi could tell. He was taller and his features sharper, but he was still as full of secrets and tricks as he ever was—more so, really, though some might not have believed that possible.

The magician swept his hat off and flipped it into the air. A moment later the monocle followed with a sharp jerk of the hand that was rather a lot more emphatic than it had to be. Then both hat and monocle disappeared in a flash of light.

"Well someone's in a bad mood," the bespectacled boy commented with raised eyebrows.

The thief snorted and stalked up to the rails where the detective was seated. "My best friend is marrying the world's most annoying detective tomorrow. I think I have the right to be in a bad mood."

"Oh." Blue eyes looked away. He knew the girl in question—had seen her a few times at KID heists cheering on the head of the KID task force who also happened to be her father in his tireless if futile attempts to put the elusive magician behind bars. Shinichi had been more than a little shocked when he'd first found out the daughter of Nakamori-keibu was also the thief's childhood friend, but KID was so full of contradictions already that the surprise quickly gave way to bemused amusement. The thief really did lead one peculiar life.

He'd wondered if perhaps the thief had had feelings for the girl, or if it was just because it was a detective (or maybe just Hakuba?) she was marrying. He didn't know, and he didn't think he had the right to ask, but from what he had seen and heard it seemed KID had taken their engagement last year as a personal insult. That was one of the small handful of other times he could remember having seen the master of lies so openly irritated.

He didn't say anything though. He knew by now that there wasn't anything to say. It was much more important to listen.

There were times even for people like them—or maybe especially for people like them—when all they really needed was a pair of understanding ears they could trust and a moment when they could take off the masks.

Because of this, KID now knew more about Shinichi's thoughts than most would probably think was wise. And he knew a lot more about KID now than he'd ever actually wanted to—or rather Kaito, he corrected himself. That was one of the unspoken rules of these little rendezvous. No false names.

It was odd, he reflected. When had these meetings started?

X

The day he'd found out there wasn't going to be a cure after all, he hadn't felt anything at all. The numbness lasted all the way up until he'd taken the temporary antidote one last time to say his goodbyes (the story was that he was moving to America). It would be the last time, he knew, because if there wasn't going to be a permanent cure then he couldn't keep taunting himself with the temporary one. He had to learn to accept life the way it had become—the way it would be.

He'd gone home—his home, not the Mouris'—and lain on the bed he hadn't slept in in ages, staring at the ceiling. Part of him wanted to scream—throw something—do anything, if only it could make a difference. But it wouldn't, and it would be pointless, so he didn't do anything at all.

It felt a little bit like dying.

His parents treated him the way they always had. To them, nothing had changed, but the problem was that it had. It wasn't a game or just a little change in circumstance like they sometimes made him feel like they thought it was. He was going to have to live behind a false name he'd pulled off the spines of a handful of books for the rest of his life. The lies were now more real than the truth! Just how laughable was that?

Hattori too didn't seem to get it either. Then again, he'd only ever known Shinichi while he was Conan, and, while he knew who the other detective was behind that, he didn't seem able to grasp just how much that meant. Haibara was the only one who seemed to understand, but he couldn't bring himself to talk to her about it, especially when he knew she blamed herself for it. He didn't, because it really wasn't anyone's fault that there was no permanent cure, but she was the only one who could tell herself that.

So he wandered through the following days—weeks, months—trying to mold himself into what would be life from now on.

There were times when he wondered if he could just tell people what had happened, but he balked at the thought. He'd spent too long lying to too many people about it. If anything it would probably make things worse. And maybe part of him was just a little ashamed that it had come to this.

Besides, there were good things about this new start to life too. The first time he'd grown up he'd spent most of his time alone. He'd read a lot and played at the detective with imaginary villains and dreamed of the day he would do it all for real. He'd spent some time with Ran, but she'd never understood what she called his "obsession" and didn't enjoy being told about it day in day out. The second time around he'd already reached that goal, and playing the waiting game with the organization had left him with a lot of time which the Shounan Tantei happily usurped. Being unable to give his own deductions had also forced him to interact more with the officers and other detectives he met on cases as he prodded them in the right direction and given him a new appreciation for the ones who tried. Even Kogoro wasn't really that bad, he'd decided. The old detective might be a dork most of the time as well as a prime example of embarrassing people to be seen with, but he had his heart in the right place and he tried, even if he missed the mark more often than not. He'd also been improving slowly—something for which Shinichi was immensely grateful because he wasn't going to shadow the man forever but he also didn't want to unleash the man on the unsuspecting populace if he was going to go right back to square one.

So he'd made friends and learned a little more about the world and people and himself than he'd known. He had a place here he would have missed if he'd left. It was the second chance some people spent their whole lives wishing for! So really, he shouldn't be complaining.

Right? Right.

X

To be honest, Shinichi was kind of surprised that the Shounan Tantei persisted into middle school and eventually into high school. He'd half expected the kids' interest to fade as so many childhood interests did, especially after they got to know the real world of crime better than they had before. But while they were slowly beginning to understand that it wasn't a game, their determination had only grown. They had even begun to slip into their own roles when approaching new cases. Mitsuhiko, who'd always been more fascinated by the technical tools available to them than the rest, had taken to carrying a camera and voice recorder everywhere they went. Ayumi, who'd always had a lucky streak when it came to seeing things, was now the best of the three at spotting relevant clues. Genta still had a tendency to think more with his stomach than anything else, but he did have a knack for seeing the simple things that the rest of them sometimes forgot about when they got carried away with the complications. He also had a near unstoppable tackle. They even had their own forensics department in the form of Haibara, who could naturally do a lot in the way of chemicals. Shinichi still did the strategizing and the coordinating but while he was usually the one who put all the pieces together in the end the pieces often came in larger and more cohesive chunks than they used to. It was kind of gratifying in its own way.

It was one of the things he would have missed if he'd gone back to his old life. Silently, he thanked them for that.

"Hey, did you guys see the paper this morning?" Mitsuhiko asked as he slid into his desk, dropping his backpack by his feet.

Ayumi's eyes lit up with excitement. "I did! It said Kaitou KID's next heist will be in Beika."

"Exactly! And we're going to be there," the gangly boy declared. "It'll be the perfect chance for the Shounan Tantei to prove how good we are."

Genta blinked and frowned. "I thought we already proved that last year. You know, when we got that group of con artists."

Mitsuhiko rolled his eyes. "Well, yeah, but this'll be like a hundred times bigger than that. It's Kaitou KID! The police have been trying to catch him for years. Right Conan?"

All three heads turned to look expectantly at their bespectacled companion who blinked back at them. "Uh, I guess…" he said a bit vaguely when he realized they were expecting an answer. Apparently satisfied, the three went back to excitedly debating how they were going to succeed where so many others had failed. No longer in their sights, Shinichi shook his head at their antics. He wondered with some amusement why it seemed that every aspiring detective walked this path at least once. KID would most likely be rather pleased if he knew (which he probably did). Disillusioning people who dared think themselves his match was one of the thief's favorite pastimes.

Come to think of it, he hadn't seen the thief in a while. It had been…what? Almost six months, if memory served. That was the night KID had stolen the one jewel he never returned. Shinichi remembered the triumph that had flashed across the thief's face as the stone in his hands glowed blood red. The sight had sent shivers of dread down the detective's spine though he wasn't sure why. All he'd known was that something in him recoiled from the sight of that light as a mouse would from a snake.

"What is that?" he'd asked, the question coming out in a whisper.

KID had given the stone another long look before making it disappear in a puff of smoke. "That, Tantei-kun, was the end of a very old story." Then he'd winked at Shinichi and stepped backward off the building.

Watching him go, Shinichi remembered thinking that it seemed KID had finally found what he'd been after. And he'd wondered if that meant they had come to the end. The thought had left him feeling oddly lonely—like saying goodbye to a close friend. Then he'd laughed at himself for thinking it. What would the thief say to that?

Of course two weeks later said thief was back on the front page. It was nice to know some things wouldn't be changing anytime soon. Was it wrong for a detective to be grateful that a thief was still stealing?

"Conan!"

He jumped and looked up to find himself the center of attention for three pairs of impatient eyes. "What?"

"We were just asking you what you thought about the plan," Ayumi said, crossing her arms. "You weren't listening, were you?"

X

Technically, Kaitou KID should have retired. He'd already accomplished the things he'd set out to do. Snake was in prison. He'd found a stone fitting Pandora's description a year after that and reduced it to so many stone fragments even though he hadn't waited around to check if it really cried magical tears or not. The cost of possibly finding out it did wasn't one he felt like risking.

And yet three days after that fateful night, Kuroba Kaito had found himself tugging his white top hat on again as he set off to scout out a new art exhibit.

Three months later, he was still doing it. If anything he was spending more time planning his heists rather than less. Now they could be as large and elaborate as he had ever dreamed of making them since he didn't have to worry about snipers and such unsavory guests. They could be more in the open too so that his fans could get a better view.

And he was doing this even though he had finally started his professional career as a magician on the daylight stage.

By then he realized that he wasn't ready to hang up his cape just yet. It was more than just a costume and a name; it had become a part of who he was. And he liked being KID. Loved the freedom and the magic. He savored his audience's awed admiration and laughed at the frustration of those oh so determined police officers and detectives in their futile and pathetic attempts to corner him. The night was his stage and in it every mind and creature became a player of his game. Under the moonlight, he could do anything he wanted and no one could stop him. The only rules that existed were the ones that he made for himself.

But it wasn't all about the fun either.

KID was his father's legacy. When he flew under the moonlight he knew that his father had also once looked upon the glittering world of the city at night like he was doing now. It was…as though by sharing these memories and weaving the legends he was keeping a part of his father alive.

He loved the secret too—the fact that he knew something others did not. But sometimes…well, sometimes he found himself wishing that there was someone he could share it with. Still, he liked things the way they were.

And yet…and yet when he saw Aoko tearing the newest issue of the papers to shreds and cursing KID's very existence with righteous fires in her eyes, he wondered if he was being just a little bit selfish.

Except it couldn't be selfish to want to be who you were. That was, after all, half the point of living. He wouldn't be sorry for it—being sorry about such things was ridiculous and not in his nature anyway—but he did lament that now he knew he would never be able to tell Aoko the truth about Kaitou KID. There had been a time when he had thought that one day he would share the secret and everything else with her, once the danger was over and the time came to put it all behind him and move on. It was what might have been.

What the future would be now, he didn't know any more than anyone else ever did, but now he knew he would always be both Kuroba Kaito and Kaitou KID and it was enough for now that he was the only one who knew this.

"You know, this is all your fault," he told his father's portrait. And silently he thanked the man, because, for all the complications, he would not wish for any of it to have been different.

X

Aoko had started working with the police. Mixed in with the crowd of reporters who had wriggled their way inside the heist building, Kaito caught sight of her discussing strategy with Hakuba while her father barked orders at his men. He watched them for a moment through the lens of his camera before slipping away to set up some final preparations.

Half an hour later, the night air filled with the yells and occasional, high pitched shrieks of police and detectives as they set off the traps he'd left for them. He'd decided to build a maze tonight, complete with cameras at strategic points from which he planned to collect some—humorous photos. For personal use only, of course (they would make great Christmas gifts). The smirk that crossed his face as he raced silently up a final flight of stairs might very well have been described as evil.

He hadn't expected to find someone waiting for him, but he spotted the small figure seated with his back to the roof railing the moment he opened the door. The smile that broke out across his face at the sight was entirely genuine.

"My, my, and here I thought you weren't interested in my heists anymore."

The boy made no move to stand as his brows furrowed. "I never said that."

Kaito grinned. "That's good. My heists wouldn't be half as fun if the great Kudo Shinichi didn't show up once in a while. The others are just too slow, you know."

He was startled when the boy's eyes flashed with anger. "Don't call me that."

The thief's eyebrows rose. "Why not?" He knew he didn't use the boy's name very often, but Tantei-kun had never complained before.

Blue eyes darkened at his question as the detective pulled his knees to his chest and Kaito realized that the anger wasn't directed at him. "That's not who I am anymore."

The night seemed to have grown quiet, the sounds of the police and the fans fading beneath the cry of the wind. He studied the eleven-year-old's face for a long moment before shaking his head slowly. "You're wrong."

"And what would you know about it?" The question wasn't accusing or angry or even particularly inquisitive. Instead it sounded tired to Kaito—tired and maybe a little amused in the way that a person might laugh because they desperately want to find something funny.

It was a good question though, Kaito reflected as he moved to sit down beside the detective. "I suppose I know because if I am me whether or not I am wearing this monocle, then you are Kudo Shinichi whether or not you are also being Edogawa Conan."

And really that was where it had all begun. Later Kaito wondered why exactly Shinichi had made no move to try and stop him. Had he simply come to see KID? It would be nice to think so.

So here they were, standing on a windswept roof with the only person they knew who truly understood them.

It was only in each other's eyes that they could see themselves anymore.

X

"Do you know what we need?"

Shinichi looked up at the thief at the sudden question. "What?"

"A vacation," the magician declared decisively. "Some time away from all this." He waved a hand at the city spread out below them. "Where would you like to go?"

"You're not serious about this are you?"

"Perfectly. Knowing you, I'll bet you haven't had a decent, uninterrupted break in ages. It would be good for you."

"What, so I'm your new charity project?" Shinichi asked wryly.

The thief laughed, moving to stand right behind the spot on the railing where the younger boy was seated and wrapping his arms around him. "What? Am I not allowed to want to spend more time with you?"

The detective stiffened, but this high up he didn't dare protest too vigorously at the contact. "What are you doing?"

"Making sure you don't fall off," KID replied airily. "And you looked like you were cold. You didn't answer my question by the way."

He frowned in confusion. "What?"

"Am I not allowed to want to spend time with you?"

Shinichi shrugged, eyes turning back to the streets below. "What you want or don't want to do doesn't really have anything to do with me."

"You know, I could take that as permission to whisk you off somewhere for a holiday," Kaito said, amused.

"Just because you can think it doesn't mean you can do it."

"Ooh, is that a challenge?"

"You know what I mean," Shinichi huffed, exasperated.

The magician chuckled. "I know. I'm serious about the trip though. How about it?"

"Ran-neechan would never let a total stranger take me on a trip."

"I suppose that's true," Kaito agreed, heaving a melodramatic sigh. "And I guess it wouldn't be very restful if we had to spend the whole time dodging police."

"I should think not."

"On the other hand, if Conan-kun's brother wanted to take him out for some fun…"

"She knows I'm an only child."

"Ah well, I don't think I want to be thought of as your brother anyway."

"Why not?" Shinichi asked curiously, wondering if he was supposed to be offended.

"It just wouldn't be as fun," Kaito replied with his customary grin. There was a split second of hesitation before he'd spoken however that Shinichi would never have noticed if he hadn't come to know the thief so well. It made him wonder what Kaito had been about to say before he'd changed his mind.

"I'll have to take your word for that."

"No matter. I'll find a way," Kaito promised, indigo eyes twinkling with mirth. "You just think about where you'd like us to go. Or where you don't want to go, that would work too. Process of elimination and all that."

"Why are you talking like I already agreed to this?"

"Because I have decided."

"What? That doesn't make any sense."

"Does to me."

Shinichi rolled his eyes but didn't argue since he knew it wouldn't do any good. The thief was probably joking anyway. "I should get going."

Kaito nodded. "I'll walk you home."

"How many times do I have to tell you that that's not necessary?"

"Once more than is possible, my dear. I know what happens when you wander off unsupervised. Then you'll spend the rest of the night at the police station and not get the sleep that someone your age needs. Then you'd be too tired to see me, and we wouldn't want that."

X

As Kaito saw it, if someone as boring and annoying as Hakuba could win the affections of the person he liked, then Kaito most certainly shouldn't have any problems. In his (not very) humble opinion, he was a hundred times more interesting, smarter, better looking, more charming, the list went on (and on and on). Of course, he also liked to steal things, play pranks, and drive people mad, but those weren't really bad things (after all, he gave it all back—er, all except the dangerous one, but it was dangerous—and really he was making their lives more interesting. If anything they should be thanking him). The trouble was that the person Kaito wanted happened to be stuck with living out life as someone ten years younger than he was. It was something Shinichi was still learning how to live with, and so something they couldn't—shouldn't—ignore. And that was just the obvious issue. The tip of the ice berg, so to speak.

He prided himself on his ability to read people, but he wasn't entirely sure what Shinichi felt for him. He knew the other enjoyed the time they spent together. There was a mutual trust there too. They carried each other's secrets and shared their thoughts, confident in the knowledge that they were and would always be accepted for who they had become. He had also poked carefully around the subject of Mouri Ran and determined that while Shinichi did indeed love her it was the kind of love you found between siblings. These facts, however, didn't tell him anything about how Shinichi might react if, say, Kaito decided to kiss him. Thoughts on romance weren't really something that came up much in their conversations (unless you counted the times when Shinichi's recent cases had involved people who had committed murder out of jealousy or misguided notions of love—not a great conversation opener for the topic of relationships. Sometimes he suspected that Shinichi only ever thought about romance these days as possible motives those suspects over there might have had for murder).

Of course things could never be simple where either of them was concerned.

To be honest, Kaito couldn't remember exactly when he'd realized that he might feel something more than simple friendship for his little detective. There had always been a mutual respect (and maybe even some admiration) between them. They had been rivals, the kind who could bring out the best in each other, then allies who, while not exactly close, trusted each other to do what was right and needed when the time came. Then there had been the camaraderie of those who had fought alongside of one another. Those who had seen the same darkness and come out the other side. Not unscathed, perhaps, but victorious nonetheless. It was only natural that they eventually become friends.

When he had first seen that look in Shinichi's eyes—that one that spoke of a desperate despair locked behind a fragile shell of resigned acceptance, he'd felt a sudden surge of protectiveness. His Tantei-kun was not supposed to look like that—small and sad like a lost soul that wouldn't admit it. It wasn't right. But his Tantei-kun was still in there, he could see it, and he wasn't going to lose him.

At the beginning it wasn't really about friendship, and most certainly not anything more. It was about helping someone he'd come to admire. It was about smiles and laughter and life—all the things that magic, real magic, was for. And maybe it had been about himself a little too, because while the rest of the world changed there were some parts of it he wasn't willing to let slip away.

The friendship had crept in quietly like the changing of seasons. Neither of them talked about it. But when Kaito paused in the middle of a discussion about sports and the skills they bred (like kicking really, really hard) and told Shinichi his real name, Shinichi had blinked, then smiled a slightly surprised but pleased sort of smile, and the discussion resumed as though it had never been interrupted.

That had been, oh, a year and a half ago now? That sounded about right.

It was some time after that that he'd been telling Shinichi some stories from his high school years and Akako's name had come up.

"A witch?" Shinichi repeated dryly. "Really."

"It's true!" Kaito insisted, waving his arms for emphasis. "She can do voodoo and everything! Just the other day I caught her trying to slip me a love potion." He gave an exaggerated shudder.

Shinichi gave him another flat look. "And why would she do that?"

"She's been after me since we were in high school," he explained, voice perfectly serious. "She's determined to turn me into one of her zombie followers."

Shinichi stared at him for a moment, then started laughing. The magician pulled on a wounded look but it faded into a quiet chuckle of his own.

It was as he sat there, listening to Shinichi laugh, that he realized that—for the first time in years—he wasn't thinking about the masks. He was smiling now not because it was suitable to the situation or because it would help achieve the effect he wanted, but only because he wanted to.

And he thought that maybe it wasn't only Shinichi who'd needed help.

It was a taste of the future as he wished it would be. And while he had no doubt that he would pursue it, the question remained as to the best approach.

X

A week after the conversation about possible holidays, Sonoko called Ran, ecstatic that she had won three tickets to a magic show—and not just any magic show. No, this was one of Kuroba Kaito's magic shows. Yes, the same magician that everyone was talking about these days, and oh Ran just had to go with her. Oh and the brat could go too, she'd added generously, seeing as none of the other people she'd asked had been available on that particular day.

Shinichi had listened to the whole conversation and wondered what Kaito thought he was doing.

It would be the first time he got to see one of Kaito's shows though. He had to admit he was curious. He'd seen the magician's name in the papers quite often, generally alongside of a lot of enthusiastic praise, but even if he hadn't he had seen too many of KID's performances to have any doubts about his skill.

When they got there the show was every bit as mindboggling as he'd expected. What he hadn't expected was for the three of them to happen to be in the chairs that were predestined to seat Kaito's audience help for the night. Somehow he doubted it was a coincidence.

"What are you up to?" he hissed at the magician as Kaito squatted to offer him a selection of poker cards.

"Whatever do you mean?" the magician whispered back, managing to speak without actually moving his lips. "You could try to look more excited by the way."

Shinichi glared them plastered on a bright smile. "But Kuroba-san, that's two decks of cards. Look, they have different patterns on the back!"

Kaito didn't so much as bat an eye. "Really? Well, we can't have that. Miss Mouri, could you please check this deck for me?"

Of course when the cards were examined, they were all the same. He wouldn't put it past Kaito to have let him see the different ones on purpose. Shinichi sulked for a few minutes before deciding it was childish.

Sonoko wanted an autograph after the show. And then Kaito was inviting them all to dinner since his best friend had left for her honeymoon and he liked having company at mealtimes.

Two months after that, Ran told Shinichi that Kaito had invited them all on a trip to a mountain resort. She couldn't go since she was assisting her mother on an important case that week, but since school would be out then that meant Conan could go. Kogoro was supposed to be going too, but two days before the trip he got a call asking if he would film a commercial.

"There should be a law against bending reality the way you do," Shinichi announced from his seat by the train window. "It's not natural the way things just work out for you."

Kaito just laughed, because while it didn't hurt to be lucky, the secret was that luck was something you could make if you knew how.

X

Shinichi half expected to run into a crime being committed at the resort upon their arrival, but they didn't. Instead they checked in and were directed to a room on the fourth floor with a great view of the lake and the rocky, green and brown slopes of the rising mountain ridges beyond. The lake was dotted with small boats and Shinichi was sure he saw the foaming, white streaks of someone waterskiing.

"Ooh, that looks fun," Kaito observed, coming up behind him. "Looks like there might be some pretty good cliffs around here too."

"Good cliffs?" Shinichi repeated, glancing warily up at the magician's grinning face.

"Yep. I brought a bigger glider too—made for two and everything. Built it myself. It'll be fun." On an impulse he reached over and ruffled the younger boy's hair, causing him to squawk and swat the hand away. Laughing, he draped an arm over Shinichi's shoulders and steered him towards the door. "Come on. I made lunch reservations. Then we can go down to the lake. Tomorrow morning we can take the glider out and I'll show you how to fly."

"You have this all planned out, don't you?" Shinichi asked, amused.

"Naturally. Got to make the most of the time we've got, right?"

"I suppose so."

X

That first vacation with Kaito wasn't an experience Shinichi was going to forget in a hurry. It wasn't just that it was the first time they had done something like this, but it was also the most openly happy he'd seen Kaito in a while. It was a subtle difference in his customary grin which didn't seem to be hiding as much as it usually did. Or it could be his imagination, but he didn't think it was. It lifted a weight off his chest. It was worth the embarrassment of getting cooed over by the waitresses who seemed to think he was even younger than he currently looked just for that. He'd been afraid that Kaito might be more upset over Aoko's wedding than he'd let on.

Of course, there were some moments he could have done without, like that boat ride…

"If you laugh, I will kick you."

"I'm not laughing," Kaito replied solemnly as his eyes twinkled with mirth. "You know, there's a smaller paddleboat right over there."

Shinichi shifted his irritated glare from the thief (who he just knew was laughing on the inside) to the pedals of their boat. The pedals which he was just that crucial bit too short to use effectively. Of course the peddling boats came in two sizes at this lake—one for adults and one for children, but he was thirteen now. There was no way he was getting into a little kid's boat.

Eventually Kaito took pity on him and pointed to the other side of the pier. "How about we take a canoe instead?"

"Why do we have to use either?"

"Because we're here and we're relaxing. Better hurry by the way, there's only one canoe left."

"I'm coming, I'm coming."

The canoe was just the right size for two people and they spent a peaceful hour just drifting slowly over the lake's dark waters. That was when they'd glided past a man who'd just hooked a fish. It was a large, silver creature and it came flying out of the water at the end of the fisherman's line so close that Shinichi could feel the spray of water it brought with it on his skin. It was surprising, but what really shocked Shinichi was the way Kaito let out a strangled sound and threw himself away from the creature. Straight at Shinichi. Taken by surprise, the detective didn't have the chance to move. The boat wasn't large and there wasn't anywhere on it that wasn't near the edge. A moment later there was a loud splash as they both crashed into the water.

Kaito, however, shot right back out of the water like a jack-in-the-box and proceeded to retreat back to shore so fast Shinichi could have sworn he'd actually run over the water. Swimming back to the edge of their boat, the detective hauled himself back aboard. Sopping wet and shivering, he proceeded to row the boat back to shore. Thankfully shore wasn't all that far away. He was not pleased when Kaito met him at the landing with a cheerful grin and clothes that were miraculously dry like nothing had happened.

"Are you going to explain or do I have to guess?" he asked sourly as Kaito hopped down to help him moor the canoe.

The magician laughed, scratching the back of his head. "Well~…"

Shinichi waited a few minutes then shook his head. "Never mind. But really, why did you suggest boating when you can't stand fish?"

"It's not like any of them use boats."

"…Right."

X

It was the night before they were supposed to head back when Shinichi woke to the sound of rustling cloth. Prying open bleary eyes, he looked at the clock to see that it was almost two in the morning. Sitting up, he turned towards the source of the sound that had awakened him to see that Kaito had thrown open the curtains. The moon was full that night and its pale, silvery light now flooded the room. Here in the mountains, it seemed brighter than ever. The magician himself was seated on the sill, looking out at the sky with an expression Shinichi couldn't remember ever seeing on his face before.

Slipping out of bed, he padded across the room towards the window. His concern grew when Kaito didn't seem to notice his approach.

"Are you okay?"

Pulling himself out of his thoughts, Kaito glanced back into the room to find himself being watched by a pair of worried, blue eyes. The open, honest concern he saw there made him smile.

"I'm fine," he said easily, gesturing for Shinichi to join him. The detective sat down on the other end of the wide sill. "I was just wishing we had more time."

"Oh." He supposed he could understand that. He'd been having a bit of the same feeling himself. Sighing, he let himself relax against the window frame. "We could come again," he offered hesitantly, eyes fixed on the black waters of the lake outside.

"Did you have fun then?"

"I did."

"Good."

"What about you?"

Indigo eyes blinked at him in what he thought was surprise, then said eyes gleamed and Kaito shifted his position so that he could scoot closer and grab one of Shinichi's hands. "To have been here with you was truly a gift. Thank you for coming with me."

Shinichi flushed and tugged ineffectually at his hand. "I can't believe you can say that with a straight face."

"It's a skill," the magician replied with a wink before his expression grew serious. "But I mean it. I really do enjoy the time we spend together. To be able to be like this," he gestured to their surroundings in general, "just the two of us, but in the open."

"I thought you liked sneaking around."

"I do," Kaito agreed amiably, "but this is different. I want to be able to spend more time with you. Not just when I have a heist or when you can sneak out of the house every few weeks, and not just when we need a break from the rest of our lives either. I'd like to be able to take you out to dinner sometime or do something like this again."

"…Did you just ask me out?"

"That depends. Would you run away from me if I said yes?"

"Is there a reason I should?"

Kaito appeared to give this some serious thought before he answered. "I suppose if you think you'd ever want to divest yourself of my company, your chances would be better if you ran now than if you ran later, but it would save us both a lot of trouble if you didn't." He paused. "You're laughing at me, aren't you?"

"Maybe a little," Shinichi admitted. "But more at me than you."

One of the magician's eyebrows rose. "Oh? And why's that?"

"I…" Shinichi paused, swallowed, and looked down at his hands. That was when he realized that Kaito was still holding one of them. A hint of pink climbed into his face and he looked out the window instead (though Kaito noted that he didn't try to pull his hand away again).

"What was that?" the magician prodded when Shinichi's next handful of words came out in an incoherent mumble. "You're going to have to speak a little louder than that if you want me to hear you."

The detective was definitely blushing now. "I—like you too."

Bit of a tentative statement, but they could work on that later. Kaito could feel himself beginning to grin but he clamped down on the urge to do more since he could sense that there was still something Shinichi wasn't saying. "Glad to hear it, although I still don't see what was funny."

"It's just I didn't think you would… I mean, I'm—" He waved a hand to indicate himself in general with a slightly helpless smile like someone pointing out a problem he thought should have been obvious but that he didn't want to have to bring up. The blush had faded. Instead a hint of depression had crept across the detective's face in its place.

Oh, that. Kaito's first impulse was to laugh, but he knew better. "Well, we can't have everything," he said instead. "But really, you're still you no matter what you look like right now. And that's what's important, isn't it?"

"Doesn't it…bother you?"

"I can't deny that the matter crosses my mind on occasion, but I think the person it really bothers is you," the magician said quietly, indigo eyes stern.

Shinichi closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the window frame. "I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize." Carefully, Kaito leaned forward and pressed his lips to Shinichi's. It was warm and soft and full of unspoken words. And it was like something had finally fallen into place. "Everything has to start somewhere. And we have all the time in the world."

TBC


A.N: This was originally supposed to be a one shot when I started thinking about it a few months ago, but it got longer so now it's going to be a two shot.