Mikau: Hey there, and welcome to Trapped in the Twilight! Thanks so much for taking an interest in my newest work. First of all, I'd like to say, yes. Sorry. I killed Kaito, but he's still very much a main character. More so in the next chapter on, but the scene had to be set. By the way, the title outside of the parenthesis is Hakuba's, and the (or: …) is Kaito's. Please enjoy!

Disclaimer: If I owned it, the henchmen would get a wardrobe makeover. The guys in trench coats that back up Snake have it especially rough. It must be hard to go to work every day and be enthusiastic about doing evil in such horrendous uniforms. I bet you five dollars that productivity would increase were the henchmen allowed to wear zoot suits. Just sayin'.

….

Haunted (or: Dead, But Still Kicking)

It was the part of the day that could no longer be classified as night but was still not yet morning when the scanner crackled to life, announcing that a body had been found floating in the bay.

Hakuba Saguru had just finished his paperwork on that night's Kid heist and was getting a ride home from one of the officers on duty when the broadcast went out, so he ended up taking a detour down to the docks with the cop. Truly, he didn't mind much. He was already wide awake, so he figured, "Why not help solve a homicide while I'm at it, yeah?"

When he saw the body they'd pulled from the icy water, he nearly fainted.

In all honesty, it shouldn't have affected him the way it did. He'd seen mangled corpses before and had been just fine.

This one was nearly immaculate compared to most of the cadavers he'd dealt with—a single gunshot wound through the right thigh and defensive wounds up and down the arms.

"Man, this kid really fought hard," one of the investigators whistled as he inspected the bruised arms and broken fingers of the corpse. "Just look at the state his hands are in."

"Yeah," another cop sighed, shaking his head. "Brave kid. Must have been some monster that done this to him. Make sure to get under his fingernails real good. Maybe we'll get some of the attacker's DNA."

"Check his teeth too," another chorused. "Maybe he bit the guy."

"Hey, did we find anything to ID him?" the officer that had arrived with Saguru inquired.

"Nah. Nothing. Not even a phone," the oldest policeman sighed again.

"We'll just have to run his prints or check dental records then," Hakuba's escort sighed, not looking forward to the extra work.

Saguru gulped, finally finding his voice. "T-That…that won't be necessary."

All eyes turned and focused on the young sleuth.

"What do ya mean, Hakuba-kun?"

"He's my classmate," Saguru explained, trying to keep his voice steady. "Kuroba K-Kaito."

"You're sure, Boy?" the senior officer motioned him closer to get a good look at the body.

The teenage detective forced himself to look. He knelt on the tarp and carefully inspected the minute details of the face that he had long since memorized.

There were the lips that had taunted him with their mockery, teasing, and challenges.

There was that little nose whose nostrils flared when the magician laughed.

There were those ears that curved into an elfish point at the tips.

There was that birthmark behind the left ear—a small, brown, perfectly-round mole that Hakuba wasn't sure if even the class clown himself knew existed.

And lastly, there were those eyes, those gorgeous eyes that sparkled and shone and pouted and laughed and smirked and glared and glinted and gleamed and danced. Even though the pupils were dilated—either in pain or fear or perhaps both—that beautiful indigo color still glimmered in the early morning light.

Saguru paused, basking in the beauty of those eyes one final time before reaching out and closing them forever. "I'm positive. Kuroba Kaito: seventeen years old, born June twenty-first, blood type B, five-foot eight, one hundred and twenty-eight pounds. It's him."

"I'm so sorry, Hakuba-kun," one of the younger policemen offered his condolences.

"Can we do anything for you, Son?" the senior member of the group asked.

"I'd like a cup of coffee—black. I'd also like to see exactly where he was found, and I'll need to talk to whomever it was that discovered him," the determined detective replied, shakily getting to his feet. "In the meantime, be as thorough as you can. I want samples sent to Hakuba Laboratories for analysis. As you said, there may be DNA under his fingernails or between his teeth. You may also find soil or some kind of particulates in his clothing, embedded in his shoes, or under his nails. I want that sent too. We may be able to deduce where he was killed from those clues."

"Hakuba-kun," his escort called softly. "Maybe it would be best for you to go home and get some rest. You've already had a long night, and this case may be a little too close to home for you to deal with. We'll take care of everything here, so—"

"—May I remind you who my father is?" Saguru snapped. "I don't like to play that card, but this case is extremely important to me. I need to find the bastard that…that… I'm perfectly capable of behaving professionally, so don't worry about it. Please. I'd like some coffee and to be shown to the place that he was found."

The oldest officer shook his head and nudged the rookie. "Go get the boy his coffee. You come with me, Hakuba-kun."

000

Saguru climbed into bed just as the sun started to bathe his room in the gentle rays of morning. He shut the curtains and collapsed into the freshly washed sheets and feather pillows.

He was roused just a few hours later by the sound of Baaya doing her mid-morning cleaning.

The sleep-deprived gumshoe rolled out of bed, stumbled into the shower, and emerged twenty minutes later only semi-conscious. He managed to make it down the stairs and into the dining room only by the grace of god, though he wasn't quite sure which one.

His caretaker wasn't the least bit surprised to find her charge in such a sorry state. "Did the Kid keep you up until all hours again?" she chuckled.

"Yes, in a way," Saguru sighed, poking at his eggy in a basket.

"Doesn't he know it's bad manners to keep a date out all night?" the matronly woman teased as she usually did.

The young master of the house set down his fork and took a deep breath. "Baaya, Kuroba Kaito was murdered last night; they found his body in the bay. I'm going to see if I can get in on the autopsy."

"Saguru, no," she gasped, rushing to wrap her arms around her foster son. "The last thing you need is to see them pull the guts out of the boy you fancy. Go back to sleep, Sweetheart."

"Baaya, I need to find the person responsible for this," the detective insisted, pulling back a bit.

"Child, you need your rest," Baaya proclaimed in that no-nonsense tone that let him know that she'd hear no more of it.

"But, Baaya—"

"—No. To bed with you. Once you've gotten a proper eight hours, you're free to go investigate, but no sooner." The nanny laid down the law of the land.

"I can just drink coffee, Baaya," Saguru protested to no avail.

"No. Eight hours of sleep, something to eat, and then you may investigate. I said 'no sooner,' and I meant, 'no sooner,' Saguru. I'll wake you at one." She gave him one last squeeze before shooing him on his way.

"Thank you, Baaya," Saguru whispered.

"Let me know if you need anything, Young Master." She gave a slight bow, smiling gently at her charge.

000

"You mean to say that you can't determine cause of death," Hakuba growled that afternoon as he looked over the coroner's report.

"No. I've had two other people go over it all, but all we can tell you is he didn't bleed out from the gunshot wound," Ono-san, a kind middle-aged woman, replied, shaking her head. "That boy shouldn't be dead; he's in top physical condition. We were thinking that maybe it was poison, but…"

"…There's no sign of poisoning," Saguru sighed as he went over the report again.

"No. His tox-screen is clean."

"Ono-san, do you think it would be okay if I examined the body?" Saguru held his breath.

"Hakuba-kun, you know you can't. I shouldn't even be letting you go over my notes." She shook her head, frowning. "Don't worry. They have some of their finest on the case."

"Please, Ono-san," the detective begged. "This case is very important to me. I can't leave it to someone else, no matter how good they may be; I have to make sure it's done properly myself."

"I'm sorry, Hakuba-kun, but—"

"—Please!" Saguru dropped his head, bowing deeply. "He's my…my…best friend. He's the only friend I've ever had, and…please. I need to know who…and how and…and why. Please, Ono-san. Please."

"Oh, stand up," she sighed, physically pulling him upright. "Look. I can't let you in, but I'm going on a thirty-minute lunch break in a few minutes." She scrounged around in her pocket and pulled out a key-ring that she subsequently dropped. "Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my keys. Now, if someone were to find them and go in while I was away, there would be nothing I could do about it. Do you think you could stand guard for me, Hakuba-kun?"

Saguru blinked, then smiled. "Yes. Yes, I will. Thank you so much, Ono-san. I won't forget this."

She shrugged, patting Hakuba on the shoulder as she walked away. "I don't know what you're talking about, but let me know if you find my keys."

As soon as Ono-san's back was turned, Saguru was in the morgue. He didn't want to waste a single second of the thirty minutes that he had been promised.

He set right to work, getting out his notebook and taking a deep breath before pulling the sheet back with shaky hands.

And there, lying on a cold metal cart, was his friend and rival, Kuroba Kaito.

The reality of it all didn't quite sink in at that point.

Kuroba didn't really look dead now that his soulless eyes were closed. Sure, he was terribly pale, but he could have passed for sleeping.

Hakuba allowed himself a moment to stare, in awe of the delicate neck, strong arms, and picturesque abs of the boy he begrudgingly had a crush on, before he began his investigation.

Other than the defensive wounds on the arms and hands, there wasn't much out of the ordinary from the waist up. There were no discolored marks or little pinpricks where the poison could have been introduced.

What the detective did notice, though, was that his classmate seemed to shave, pluck, or wax any unwanted hair on his body.

Kuroba's eyebrows had been waxed, and his face was clean-shaven. His chest was bare, and the hair on his arms had been thinned out. Even his underarms were shaved.

Saguru pulled the sheet up an inch or two to look at the legs.

They were waxed and probably had lotion on them. The skin was incredibly soft, yet the calves were hard—pure muscle and probably a little rigor mortis too.

Saguru blushed when he realized he was essentially fondling the other teen's leg and quickly pulled the sheet down, returning to his investigation.

Right. Nothing irregular on the upper body, save defensive wounds. Samples have already been sent to the lab, and the results will have to be picked up late—

He paused when he noticed a thin line of hair starting just below Kuroba's navel and heading south. He gulped. He'd always been curious, but he'd never had the courage to look when they were changing for PE.

He took a deep breath and slowly slid the sheet down further, inch by inch.

He'd just caught a glimpse when he felt the distinct sensation of someone slapping him upside the head.

Dropping the sheet and spinning around, Saguru was more than a little freaked out when he realized that no one was there. He was the only living person in the room.

He steadied his breathing, set aside his stupid teenage hormones, and went back to work.

Next, he inspected the legs, but, besides the bullet wound, there was nothing unusual about them. He still had no idea how the poison was administered.

He sighed, covering his friend up. "Just what happened to you, Kuroba? What happened after you took off on that crazy glider of yours? What happened to you while I was at the station filling out bloody paperwork?"

Saguru felt the weight of hands on his shoulders from behind, and he nearly passed out as images flooded his mind.

He was flying high above Tokyo when suddenly there was a sharp pain in his thigh. He was falling, bracing for impact with the rooftop.

The gunman was there, waiting. He put away his pistol and instead dug out a thin case full of pills.

There was a struggle—hands, feet, teeth. It was hard to make anything out.

There was red hot pain like being set on fire.

Then he was back in the morgue, lying on the ground.

Saguru blinked, pulling himself to his feet. He shook it off, deciding that he needed more sleep. With one last look at his crush and a sigh, Saguru headed for the door. He waited for Ono-san to return so that he could tell her that he'd found her keys, but he headed home directly after that and locked himself in his room.

000

Hakuba had a strange dream that night.

It started out fairly normal as far as dreams about his classmate went. They were in his bedroom, sitting on the couch together.

"Are you okay, Saguru?" Kaito cooed, inching closer.

Saguru sighed, reaching out and cupping the other boy's cheek. "You're dead now, you know. We can't keep meeting like this."

"I'm not dead," Kaito whined, climbing on top of his classmate so that he was sitting on Hakuba's lap, straddling and facing the other teen. "See. I'm right here." The magician lovingly touched the tip of his nose to Saguru's.

"This is a dream," Hakuba scoffed. "In real life, you're dead, and you'd never fall in love with me. You like girls, remember?"

"No," Kaito stated firmly. "That was the dream. This is reality. Besides. Even if that were real, you see how I flirt all the time with the police…and you. I'm obviously bi, so forget about that and pick out an outfit for me to wear. What do you want tonight? Maid? Nurse? Cop?"

"I want…you to wear…" Hakuba looked away, blushing. "It's too embarrassing."

"Say it. I won't laugh," Kaito urged. "You know how much I love playing dress-up."

"Kuroba always laughs at me," Saguru argued, rolling his eyes.

"Well, I'm not him, am I? I'm Kaito. I'm your Kaito, so say it. Anything you want. I swear I won't laugh."

"A wedding dress," Saguru whispered. "Let's pretend that it's our wedding night."

"'Kay," the dream Kaito chuckled, his clothes changing in the blink of an eye. "I do," he whispered, leaning in for a kiss.

"Stop!" a panicked scream broke through the dream, causing the lovers to look up and stare at the person in the doorway.

It was Kuroba Kaito. He blinked. "Oh. Can you see me now? I've been yelling and waving my arms like crazy, trying to get your attention for the past five minutes."

Saguru blinked. "Kaito…?" He looked back at the boy on his lap. "No…you're…Kuroba."

"Yeah, and I object to this union," the magician snorted. "What the hell is that?" He pointed in disgust to the dream Kaito.

"I'm Kaito," the one in the dress responded for himself. "Who the hell are you?"

"I'm Kaito. You're some perverted bastardization of me that this sicko made up." Kaito crinkled his nose in revulsion. "Geez. And I thought you were a weirdo before with your stalking and your fixation, but now I find out that you put me in a dress at night and ravish me. That's really messed up, Hakuba. I was wondering what was up when you were checking out my junk and running your hands all over me at the morgue today, but…geez."

The dream Kaito disappeared along with the furniture, and it was just the two of them standing on the ledge of the school roof.

"Whoa," Kuroba gasped, startled by the quick scene change.

"So…you think I'm repulsive, then," Saguru muttered under his breath, gazing down at the ground beneath them.

"Hey, can we have this conversation inside the building?" Kaito glanced anxiously between the detective and the school courtyard below. "You're not gonna jump, are you? Is it true that if you die in a dream, you die in real life too?"

"Answer the question," Saguru snapped. "You think my feelings for you are disgusting, don't you?"

"Feelings?" Kuroba blinked.

"Yes, my love for you," the blonde clarified.

"You love me?!" Kaito gawked, looking a bit like a fish.

"Not of my own free will," Saguru retorted. "…but…yes. Not that it matters. You're dead, and you never would have returned my feelings, even if you had lived. I suppose this is my subconscious trying to tell me to wake up to the facts. If you ever had found out, I suppose you would have ridiculed me. I was a fool to think that you could care about someone like me. It was silly to let myself read into your words and actions when I knew that there was no chance of you actually feeling the same way."

"Hakuba," Kaito whispered. "Look, I'm sorry about what I said earlier. I didn't know you were so serious about it."

"It's fine," Saguru muttered, stretching one leg out into thin air.

"Whoa, wait! Don't jump! I haven't even told you what I came to tell you yet!" Kuroba screamed, grabbing his rival.

They fell together off of the school building, and Hakuba woke up.

Remembering the strange dream, he sighed. "I can't even trick myself into believing that someone could love me in a dream."

He tossed the covers aside, grabbed a cup of coffee, and set about analyzing the data he'd gotten from the lab technicians.

000

Baaya tried to force her charge to eat the following day, but Saguru refused, insisting that he'd be fine so long as he had coffee. When she found him still awake at three in the morning, researching poisons, she decided to intervene.

"Saguru, you need to get some rest, Sweetheart."

"I'm not tired, Baaya." He barely looked up from his work.

"That's because you've been drinking coffee non-stop today. This isn't like you. I know you've just lost the person you love, but…is that really all that's going on? Did something else happen? You seem rather agitated today." The elderly woman took a seat next to his desk and rested a palm on his thigh. "What's going on, Saguru?"

The detective sighed, taking off his reading glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. "I…I just want to find the monster that did this so that I can forget all about freaking Kuroba bloody Kaito. All he's ever caused me is pain and suffering and humiliation, and I just want it to be over with."

"Oh, Child," Baaya cooed, wrapping an arm around the boy she had raised. "I know. I know, but…maybe it would be better if you just let it go. Let the police deal with the case and move on with your life. Take a break from detective work and concentrate on making friends and having fun. I hate to see you so unhappy like this."

Saguru rested his head on his surrogate mother's shoulder and let the tears fall. "You know, I had a dream where he came and told me what he really thought of me. He told me that I was a weirdo and that I was disgusting, and it just made me feel so bad about myself. It made me want to solve the case just to show him how great I was. He always goes on about what a lousy detective I am, so…this time…this once I wanted to show him…it's stupid, I know. It was just a dream, but…he probably did feel that way about me. I need to prove myself, Baaya."

"You've nothing to prove, Sweetheart. You know that. You know that you're a good detective, and I seriously think that this is bad for your health."

"I still want to solve the case, though. I need to," Saguru mumbled.

"Alright, but only if you take care of yourself while you do it," Baaya conceded. "To bed with you. You have to get enough rest, and no skipping your meals. No more coffee, either. Understood, Saguru?"

"Yes, Baaya." Giving his caretaker one last hug, Saguru set about closing things up for the night. He'd get a fresh start on things in the morning.

000

"Saguru," the dream Kaito whined.

"Go away. You're not real, and you don't love me," the detective sighed, burying his face in his hands.

"I am real!" Kaito insisted. "I do love you! Why are you treating me like this?"

"Leave me alone. You're disgusting," Saguru grumbled.

"Don't you love me anymore?" the figment of his imagination cried.

"Please, just stop tormenting me," Saguru pleaded.

"Are you breaking up with me?" Kaito's sobs continued.

"We were never together to start with," Saguru himself began to cry.

"You know, there's nothing wrong with indulging a little bit in your dreams," Kuroba sighed begrudgingly as he entered and took a seat beside the detective on the couch. "I mean, you should see the things I do in my dreams. It was wrong of me to judge you like that before. I was just a little surprised to see myself all over you wearing a dress, but…I guess it's my fault. I shouldn't even be in here anyway."

Saguru blinked, wiping his tears away. "K-Kuroba?"

"Yeah." The brunette shrugged, looking off to the side. "Go ahead and be all lovey-dovey with your boyfriend. You have my permission, and I swear I'll knock next time before breaking and entering into your dream."

"I don't want him," Saguru sighed. "He's fake. He doesn't even act like you."

"I'd say he's pretty accurate." The magician shrugged, leaning forward to rest his forearms on his knees. "I can see myself acting like that if I were madly in love with someone."

"But you love Aoko-kun," Saguru replied.

Kaito nodded. "Yeah, but…she deserves better. Even if I hadn't kicked the bucket, I don't think we would have ended up together. I never wanted to hurt her…and…lies aren't a very strong foundation for a relationship."

"You mean…because you're Kid?" Saguru held his breath.

Kaito laughed, biting his lip as he slowly turned to look at his rival. He smiled and nodded.

"I knew it! I knew it was you, but somehow you always…you always…but I knew it."

Kuroba just chuckled. "Oh yeah. You were dead right. It was actually kind of fun thinking up new ways of convincing everyone else that you were nuts. I couldn't have asked for a better rival…well, actually, there was Kudo Shinichi while you were away, but he doesn't fixate like you do. He's more interested in murders…speaking of which, you've got to stop investigating mine."

Saguru blinked. "What? Why?"

"Because it's too dangerous. The guys that offed me killed my dad too when he was Kid. They stop at nothing to get rid of people that know too much, and you're a lot easier of a target than I am. You don't have a top hat and monocle to hide behind, and as soon as they notice you sniffing around, they'll kill you and everyone you care about."

"That's not very many people, Kuroba," Saguru snorted.

"Still," the thief argued. "Stop now before you end up like me."

"I can't," the detective retorted. "I won't. I'm a detective, and I will bring your murderer to justice."

"Geez," Kaito sighed, beginning to get frustrated. "For being so smart, you're awfully dense. What part of 'you're going to get yourself killed' don't you get?"

"I don't have to listen to you. You're just a part of my subconscious trying to get me to give up. I will have my answer. I will know why you were killed."

"Idiot," Kaito snorted, resting his chin in his palm. "I'm dead because I was stupid and careless. Even if you did catch the guy who did it, he'd only tell you that he killed me because he felt like it. He's been trying for a while now. He was probably ordered to by his boss, but ultimately he killed me because he likes killing. That's the long-story-short version of your answer. You wouldn't believe the full-length version."

"Oh? Try me," Saguru challenged.

"Would you believe me if I told you that I'm frienemies with a witch?" Kaito asked a test question.

"No. Witches don't exist," the logical half of the pair laughed.

"Then you wouldn't believe the full-length version. Sometimes even I have trouble with it, and I've been chased by robot dolls, been hexed, and even had my life hijacked by a crazy robot clone."

Saguru just blinked.

"Man, I wish I could talk to you when you were conscious," Kaito huffed. "You probably don't even believe in ghosts."

"I don't," Hakuba responded promptly.

"Lovely," Kuroba hissed. "Well then. Let's play a game. Tomorrow, I'm going to move your stuff. Then we'll see if you believe in ghosts."

Saguru just chuckled. "Right."

Kaito sighed. "…You know, he really does look like me." He motioned to the dream Kaito, still sulking by the fireplace. "Do I really have that mole behind my ear?"

"You do." Saguru smiled, going over to comfort his imaginary lover. "I'm sorry, Dove."

The dream Kaito cheered right up, wrapping his arms around his boyfriend and kissing the detective full on the lips.

Kuroba sighed when he realized that he would never be able to do that. "I'm gonna go, Hakuba. You two have fun."

"So soon?" Saguru inquired, looking back at his guest.

"Yeah, I've gotta go check on my mom," Kuroba sighed, mussing the detective's blonde locks. "Look, don't get yourself killed, okay?"

000

The following day, Saguru inexplicably kept misplacing his things. He'd thought that he'd set down his notebook on his desk, but when he went to fetch it, it had disappeared. He later located it on top of the mantle.

The great detective also managed to lose his pen, his flash-drive, and even his tie.

"Maybe it's a ghost," Baaya replied with a shrug when he told her of the strange occurrences.

"That's silly. Ghosts don't exist," Saguru firmly insisted.

That night he wondered if maybe there was something to his dream after all, but he eventually wrote it off as his brain playing tricks on him.

000

The funeral was that Saturday, but it felt like a farce to Hakuba, since there was no body in the casket.

Kuroba was still in cold storage until they could decide what had killed him in the first place.

Saguru waited patiently for his turn to offer his condolences to Kuroba Chikage, making the best use of his time that he could. He studied the other attendees and tried not to think too much about the body that wasn't in the casket.

There was an entire section of his and Kuroba's classmates. Koizumi Akako could be seen among them, trembling and biting her lip, looking very, very determined not to cry. Momoi Keiko was there as well, bawling into her handkerchief. Oddly enough, Aoko-kun wasn't at her side.

Aoko-kun had her face buried in her father's chest a few rows away in the police officers' section. The poor girl looked like she hadn't slept in days.

One thing Hakuba did find odd was the number of foreigners at the magician's funeral. There were three whole rows full of young men and women with hair and eyes all different colors of the rainbow. None of them were crying, though. They sat silently, solemnly, staring straight ahead.

Now that Saguru looked again, there was one that was weeping. An electric blonde girl was resting her head on the shoulder of the redheaded man sitting next to her. Her eyes were closed, but there were tears slowly streaming down her cheeks.

Up front, Kuroba Chikage looked a bit like a zombie. She cried quietly as the older gentleman next to her gently comforted her.

After all the formalities were over with and it would not be considered rude for him to leave, Hakuba quietly proceeded to the exit; however, the sight of a young man standing next to the door made him freeze in his tracks.

It took almost a minute for the other teen to notice Saguru's eyes on him, but when he did, he frowned and looked behind himself. Seeing that there was no one else there for the detective to be staring at, the young man once again looked confused.

The teen pointed to his nose and mouthed, "Me?"

Saguru nodded slowly, convinced that he was going mad.

The boy smirked, and, at that moment, Saguru was positive that it really was Kuroba Kaito—just as certain as he had been when he'd identified the magician's body days before.

Kaito turned towards the door and beckoned for Hakuba to follow. Once outside, the thief took off at a run, every once in a while glancing back to make sure that his detective was still giving chase.

They came to an alley that dead-ended into a brick wall.

Kaito skillfully jumped—rather like a cat, Saguru thought—catching the ledge and pulling himself up to sit on top of the wall. He let his leg swing back and forth, and he smirked as he allowed Saguru to catch his breath. Kaito wasn't even breathing hard.

"So you can see me now?" the dead man giggled.

Hakuba (who was currently doubled over, gasping for air) managed to nod.

"Sweet," the apparition chuckled. "Now do you believe in ghosts?"

The blonde shook his head.

"Aww, come on!" Kaito sighed, leaping from his perch. "You saw me dead. More than saw me—you felt me up while I was lying dead on a slab in the morgue. You know I'm dead, so how the heck do you explain me standing here having a conversation with you? Huh?"

"I've finally snapped," Saguru announced, righting himself. "You're a concoction of my imagination."

"Dammit. Why are you so logical?" Kuroba bit his lip as his brow creased in thought. "Okay, what do I have to do to convince you that I'm a ghost? I've already moved your stuff around. I could walk through walls, if you'd like. I could levitate or scream 'Boo!' or…or…what? What do I have to do?"

"Tell me something about yourself that I'd have no way of knowing," Saguru requested. "My mind could just be playing tricks on me. If you tell me something I already know, it proves nothing. Tell me something I don't know."

Kaito frowned. "Okay. I…I…Oh! I know! I'm afraid of f-f…f-f-f…f-fish."

"Are you quite serious?" Saguru deadpanned.

"Dude, you couldn't make something like that up. When he threw me in the bay, I was having a serious panic attack," the ghost informed.

"You were still alive when he threw you in the bay?!" Saguru gasped. "But…there was no water in your lungs."

"Nah, I was dead, but…you know. Still. I was kind of attached to my body until a little bit after they pulled me out of the water. I couldn't go very far from it the first day, so I just hung out in the morgue. It was kind of freaky watching them cut me open and pull my insides out," Kaito recounted his traumatic experience with death.

"I…can only imagine." Saguru gulped. "Where did you go once you were able to leave your body behind?"

"I went home with you when you left the morgue." Kuroba shrugged. "Sorry. I didn't mean to haunt you, but now I think it's a good thing I did. Like I said before, you've gotta stop this investigating my death nonsense. You're gonna get yourself killed."

Saguru blinked, and abject horror flooded his body. "You mean when you were in my dream."

"Yeah. Like I said, these people are—"

"—God, why me?" Saguru howled, covering his rapidly reddening face with his hands.

Kaito jumped. "What's the matter? What happened?"

"You were in my dream!" the detective wailed, feeling utterly sick. "You saw…" the dream Kaito. "…and you said…" all of those hurtful things about him being a disgusting freak.

It was worse than accidentally going to school in your underwear.

All of the pain and humiliation hit him at once, and he suddenly felt the strong urge to hide under a rock.

"I have to go," the detective meeped with a bow before dashing away from the thief just about as fast as he had chased him earlier.

Kaito called after him in confusion but ultimately let his rival go.

:}i{:

Mikau: It's a butterfly! It's my favorite, and I thought it appropriate because butterflies have traditionally been symbolic of the soul. Anyway, yeah, it was a little depressing, but hopefully there were humorous parts as well. It'll get funnier next chapter when Kaito's in it more, but I hope you guys liked it. If you wouldn't mind, I'd really appreciate it if you could drop me a few lines about what you liked and what you didn't. I'm a crowd pleaser, and I can't please you, if I don't know what you want. I'd like to continue to improve my writing, so if you could please take a minute or two to give me some feedback, I'd be grateful. Incidentally, I've started going to Zumba classes at my local gym. I don't like them as much as the ones I went to up at school, but beggars can't be choosers. Anyway, the point was that if I have to dance to I'm Sexy and I Know It one more time… Seriously. All of the instructors use it. Hearing it once in a while is fine, but every class is a little excessive. Terribly sorry if that's your favorite song. Actually it reminds me a lot of Kaito. Thanks again, and have a good one!