My apologies for those hoping for comedy...

Sympathy for the Devil:

A Bathtub to Wash Away the Pain.
By Icka! M. Chif

Muffled sounds from the bathroom and the feeling of something not being right woke Aoko from her slumber. Bleary eyed, she turned and checked the clock. It was only about 1 in the morning, too early for her father to be home yet. She waited, straining her ears for the slightest noise to clue her in on what was going on.

The wind blew around the house, creating spooky sounds.

She was about to roll over and dismiss it from her mind when she heard a noise from the bathtub again. The tub wasn't exactly old, but it wasn't new either and had a habit of making strange sounds when someone first got into it. Aoko frowned. Someone, or something -was- in her house.

Putting on a scowling face, she grabbed the broom from the hall closet and crept towards the bathroom.

At first, nothing appeared to be amiss. The room was dark, the sole illumination coming from the full moon playing hide and go seek with the rain filled clouds outside. The shadows shifted, and she could vaguely see someone silhouetted against the shower curtain.

"Who's there?" She demanded, not really expecting an answer. For all she knew, it was some trick of the light.

A soft voice spoke out from behind the curtain shower. "I apologise for the intrusion. It wasn't on purpose."

Aoko froze. She knew that voice, it right on the tip of her tongue, familiar. Finding comfort and strength in the broom she carried, she angrily strode forward and pulled the shower curtain completely to one side.

From the depths of the shadows, the Kaito Kid looked up at her, the monocle shining eerily at her like a deamon eye.

"You!" She snapped. "Stay right there! I'm going to call my father!"

He looked surprised to see her as well before he was distracted by a yawn. It not an exaggerated yawn as if the threat was boring, or like a good yawn right before bed, but a weary one, as if he didn't have the energy to do anything more than just draw the air in for a large breath. "And I'll be gone before you reach the phone." He gave her a small smile, ignoring his weak behaviour and she was struck by how old his visible blue eye looked in comparison to his youthful face. "So you may as well sit and join me for a while."

She brushed the train of thought aside, increasing her grip on the broom handle. "I could knock you out, -then- call my father!" She threatened, holding up the broom.

"You don't have the room to swing it hard enough." He pointed out tiredly.

Aoko glanced around the small bathroom. He was right, she'd end up hitting one of the walls before she hit him. "Fine." She growled, sitting down on the closed toilet seat next to the bathtub, the broom propped up against one shoulder. "Just until my father comes. And I'm watching you, so no funny business!"

He gave her a tired chuckle. "No funny business." He agreed.

She snorted, not believing it, but stubbornly staying anyway. She was going to make sure he stayed put until her father got home to arrest him. The Kid yawned again, more like a sigh, his head drifting to one side as his eyes slid shut. Aoko stared at him, somewhat taken back by his actions. First he breaks into her bathroom, then -invites- her to sit with him, then had the audacity to fall asleep with her sitting here!!

Aoko stifled a yawn, a faint part of her agreeing with his actions. It was late at night, when most sane people were in bed, asleep. Like she had been.

She than began to wonder what was the appropriate etiquette for having a world famous thief fall asleep in your bathtub. They didn't quite cover this in class.

"What are you doing in my bathtub anyway?" She finally asked, unable to stand the silence any longer.

He twitched a bit, his one visible eye drifting open to look sleepily at her and once again she was distracted by the depth in it. It looked like he had just gone thru Hell and back and emerged with his soul and heart intact. The masks had been worn away, leaving a kindness shining thru surprised her. She'd never expect to find such a naked emotion in the thief's eyes.

"I needed a place to rest." He answered simply.

"Yes... but my house?!" She protested.

Amusement coloured his tone. "Like I said, it wasn't on purpose. But where else would be safer?" He asked innocently.

"Maybe with one of those screaming fan girls of yours-?" She retorted.

"Ah, but they would be expecting something from me." He slowly reached out and playfully tapped the tip of her nose with a gloved finger. "Where are you expect nothing of me."

She blinked in surprise at the unexpected contact, then shot one of her fiercest scowls at him. "I don't like you."

He grinned. "I know. Not many people shout at me to go home while waving large 'Kid go home' signs."

"Ah, oh..." She blushed. He recognised her? It was one thing to shout that at him while in the mass of a crowd, it was another to meet him face to face.

The clouds breaking up enough for the moon to shine in the window and illuminating the room. For the first time she noticed the damage that the shadows hid. His monocle was broken, a few cracks marring it's smooth surface. His cape was damp, tattered and torn, wrapped around him like a loose blanket. His right arm was holding his other shoulder, the sleeve cut nearly up to his elbow. Under the protective embrace of his arm, his shirt and tie were undone, large bruises and small cuts colouring his skin.

He noticed her scrutiny and shifted uncomfortably. "Are you... alright?" Aoko asked hesitantly. Sure, she didn't like the Kid, he was always stealing, which was wrong, and making her father run around in circles, which was even worse. But she also didn't like the idea of seeing him weak like this. He was supposed to be strong, and illusive. Not falling asleep in her bathtub like an over exhausted boy.

The Kid gave her a half-felt grin. "Buildings aren't the softest things to run into. But a good nights sleep and I'll be as right as rain."

She snorted, but didn't press the issue. They were supposed to be enemies after all. And she had the feeling that he would refuse any help she offered, just on general principal.

"Hey." He shifted again, sitting up straighter and distracting her. "Did you know I'm planning my retirement from being a thief? What do you think... should I throw a party for your father and the rest of the cops as a thank you or should I just fade away?"

"Huh?" She blinked, taken back. "You can't retire yet, Dad hasn't caught you!"

"Hmm..." He appeared to mull the thought over. "I suppose I could let him catch me. Just for a little while anyway. I'd have to leave before they actually got me in jail."

Aoko stared at the thief as if he were nuts. He was giving serious thought to it?! She shook her head, backtracking. "Wait... you're retiring?!"

"Yup!" He nodded proudly, fairly sparkling with excitement despite his weariness. "Would you like to see why?"

"Uh... sure..." Aoko was taken back yet again. Suddenly, the thief reminded her of Kaitou, when he had a new magic trick to show off.

He stretched his right arm out, the gloved hand glowing in the light of the moon. He made a small flourish, and a rock the size of her fist appeared in the palm of his hand. She blinked. It wasn't an extraordinary pretty rock, it looked like some sort of agate, or maybe a jasper with it's patterned completion.

The Kid smiled at her, catching her confusion. "Would you like to help me with a trick?"

"Huh?"

He took her confusion for an affirmative. "Hold out your hand." He instructed. She automatically did so and he placed the rock into her hand. She had the strangest sense of Deja vu, it was the same sort of feeling she got when helping Kaitou with one of his tricks. Of course, that usually ended with her skirt getting flipped...

The Kid didn't seem to be interested in flipping up her night gown or robe, so she numbly stayed where she was.

He pulled out a white silk handkerchief and carefully covered both the rock and her hand with it. "On the count of 3." He instructed. "One... Two... Three!"

The handkerchief was pulled off... and she held the rock in her hand.

She blinked at it. It looked like the same stone. "I don't think it worked." She informed him.

The grin on his face told her otherwise. He opened the handkerchief, a small blood red stone sparkling against the pure white background. With a sense of reverence, he set the handkerchief in his lap and picked up the stone. "Pretty, isn't it?" He murmured, the clouds covering the moon up once again and casting him into shadow. Her eyes adjusted this time, so she would still see him.

She nodded, her eyes wide. He had pulled the stone out of the larger rock? "Very."

He smiled wistfully. "They killed my father for it." The Kid murmured, looking like a very sad boy instead of the cocky thief she was used to. Once again, the change in images disturbed her.

It made him human, instead of some faceless taunting thing that she could direct her anger at.

"Your father?" She echoed.

"Yeah." The glimpse of the boy behind the thief disappeared as the cheerfully smiling mask slid back over his features. "You didn't think I went into this voluntarily did you?"

"I never gave much thought to it." Aoko admitted, setting the stone on the bathroom counter.

"Good." He muffled a yawn. "You're not supposed to."

She snorted, amused.

"I hope you will forgive me if I don't give this back to your father." He said sincerely, carefully wrapping the blood red stone in the handkerchief again and making them both magically disappear. "But if you could give him back the original stone, I'd be most grateful."

The statement caught her attention as odd. "Why would my forgiveness matter?" She asked. "Wouldn't it be better to ask the people you stole from for forgiveness?"

The mask faded again, the sadness and kindness hidden behind his smile showing thru again. "Their trinkets and baubles got returned to them." He said slowly, leaning back against the bathtub again as his energetic fire dimmed. "But I stole your father from you. He should be with you... and he isn't."

Aoko opened her mouth to protest...

... and was surprised when a sob came out instead.

"Nakamori-san?" The Kid leaned forward, his blue eyes concerned.

She shook her head, trying to tell him it was okay and a rough squeak came out instead. Tears built up and fell down her cheeks as she tried to stop them. It began to rain again outside, the staccato noise of the raindrops providing a counterbalance to her tears.

The Kid reached out and offered her a simple white cotton handkerchief. She hesitated, her hand barely brushing it. "It's alright." He said kindly. "I won't tell anyone."

Aoko gave him a weak smile for that. Who was he going to tell?

"Why you?" She rasped, finally finding her voice. "Of all the people to notice, why you?" The thief that she had hated for so long as the cause of her worries was the first and only one to notice. She was lonely. So lonely that it hurt to show it.

For a moment, she made the mistake of looking into the Kid's eyes, and saw a mirror of her self there. It was gone in a flash and he gave her a weak shrug and an equally lame smile. "It's hard to hide it from someone who wears similar masks." He said simply. For some reason, this made her hiccup and giggle. Which turned into a laugh. She took the offered handkerchief and wiped her eyes as the tears kept flowing while she laughed.

She laughed for several minutes, the confused look on the thief's face sending her into fresh peals of giggles every time she started to wind down. He finally just shook his head and leaned back in the tub with a weary sigh. His concerned gaze never left her however.

The laughter finally wound down enough so that she could talk normally. "Thanks." She finally got out, attempting to hand his handkerchief back. He motioned for her to keep it. This almost started another bout of giggles when she realised that the plain cotton handkerchief was attached to several colourful silk scarves that were attached to one of his pockets.

The Kid looked rather embarrassed by that and she was reminded once again of Kaitou. He attempted to disconnect just the handkerchief from the string of cloth and finally just ended up giving her a blue and a purple scarf as well. "Thank you." She said sincerely.

He shook his head, looking too tired to move. "No, thank you."

Aoko paused, considering something she never would have before. "Wait right here. I'll be back in a minute." She ordered, standing up. At his alarmed look, she shot him a slightly smug smile. "And don't worry, I'm not going to call for the police or my father."

He didn't say anything, but remained tense, like he was prepared to spring out the window at the wrong motion, never mind the fact that he looked like he wouldn't even be able to stand upright.

She smiled and dashed down the hall to her room, taking the broom with her. Aoko paused long enough to put the broom back in it's proper place before grabbing a throw pillow off of her bed and dashing back to the bathroom. The Kid looked at her warily as she came back in, but hadn't moved aside from mummifying himself more securely in his cape.

"You're going to get a crink in your neck if you fall asleep here without a pillow." She scolded him, placing the pillow behind his head. He seemed surprised, but allowed her to fuss over him for a minute. "Dad won't be home for another couple of hours." She continued. "He likes to stay late at work after chasing you. You can stay here until he comes home."

He nodded, looking mostly asleep already. "Won't you get in trouble? The pillow?" He asked.

Aoko shrugged. "I can say that there was a roach in the tub."

The Kid looked vaguely offended.

She smiled, tapping his hat. "By the way, you should know that I forgive you."

He paused, looking up at her, his eyes wide. "Honestly." She affirmed. "Just don't sneak into my bathroom again."

The Kid chuckled, snagging her hand as she dropped it and pressed a chaste kiss on the back of it. "I promise not to sneak into your bathroom again." He agreed, winking at her as she blushed. "I'm retired now, remember."

"I'm holding you to that." She growled, silently pleased. "Now get to sleep. Some of us have school in the morning."

"Yes ma'am." He meekly agreed, closing his eyes. He appeared to fall asleep almost instantly, another similarity between him and Kaitou.

She yawned and walked out of the room, taking the rock he had stolen with her. She put it on the dining room table for him to find and paused, looking at the phone. The Kaito Kid was sleep in her bathroom right now. It would be so easy to just pick up the phone and call the police to come pick him up.

Aoko shook her head, walking past the phone and heading for bed, feeling as if a weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

She had school in the morning after all.

Fin.

Inspiration from this fic comes from 2 places:
A piece of Japanese fan art I found on line of the Kid. It's raining, he's battered and obviously sore and there's just this looking of -pride- and just utter -defiance- in his face that just drew me in. It's like a glimpse of the person that lies beneath the happy smiling poker face mask. Found it an interesting contrast to the usual more glamorous pics of the Kid that can be found.

-think that's why it's an Aoko POV, it's a small peek at the person behind the image.

In the manga, Aoko seems to be lonely quite often. You never hear about her mother, Her father is always out hunting the Kid, and her best friend Kaitou is always off on his 'job'. There's several big parties that are thrown at her house, but the people who matter rarely seem to be there, and when the party is all over, she's alone in an empty house again.
And yet for all that, she's still a highly passionate character.

The other inspiration is from the Moby CD '18', especially the song 'The Great Escape'.

"I'll use a lock that has no key
Aren't you in chains that no one else can see
Let the water creep over your face
I'll send it in waves
Just to watch you perform the great escape "

-it doesn't make much sense to read it, you just kinda hafta hear it...