The Death of Kuroba Kaito
She glanced at the ceiling with a confused frown as a loud thud could be heard from upstairs (more specifically, her bedroom). That had not been a book falling of her desk nor – she glanced over at the item leaning against the side of the couch – the mop falling out of the closet, and she knew for a fact she was home alone. Which only really left two options; it could be a burglar, the sound had come from the second floor though, so she doubted it; that left…
“Eh?” Was the not exactly intelligent sound she made as the world tuned back and she remembered she’d been on the phone with her tou-chan. “Could you repeat that?” she asked sheepishly as she leaned over to pick up the mop, eyeing the ceiling with a part suspicious, part exaggerated gaze.
A sigh on the other end, “were you even listening to me, Aoko?” he inquired tiredly. “Well, never mind that. I said that you shouldn’t wait up for me; there’ve been some developments over here, reports of shooting – shooting, at a Kid heist! – and I don’t think I’ll be back until morning.”
She listened to his explanations as she warily made her way upstairs. It was a well known fact that if Kaito didn’t want you to hear him, you did not hear him, which could only mean he had made noise on purpose and wanted her to come check on it. In other words, he’d already finished setting up the trick. She was going to kill him if he’d dared touch her underwear drawer again.
She stopped in front of her bedroom door, at a bit of a loss as to what to do with both hands occupied. After a moment she moved the phone a bit away from her ear and called out, “Kaito, if you disable your trick or whatever and come out now, I might forgive you for sneaking into my room!” No answer, only silence and her father demanding through the phone to know what was going on, she ignored him. “This is not funny, Kaito,” she said in a dangerous tone after a minute without any form for answer (she absently noted that it suddenly became very quiet on the other side of the line). Still nothing.
Her patience was beginning to wear extremely thin – she was contemplating how to give Kaito the beating of his life – when a sound from the room finally reached her. “Aoko.” His voice sounded… strained. And was that heavy breathing? With her heart in her throat she slowly moved the hand holding the mop to the doorknob, turning it slowly. For Kaito to sound like that… it was just wrong.
She pushed the door open.
The mop fell out of limp fingers, making an impossibly loud clank as it hit the carpeted floor. A strangled noise came from her throat. In her ear she could her father saying something – sounding almost hysterical – but what it was was lost to her. “Tousan,” she began, voice sounding strangely calm and detached, “those reports about shooting you mentioned? It seems they were accurate...” The phone fell from her hand, her father’s voice coming out as growls and static – he really should consider taking anger management classes.
It wasn’t Kaito. She could see a white top hat stick up in front of her open window (the window she knew had been shut and locked tight when she last left the room), bellow the hat was a face obscured with shadows, and further down a red tie, a light blue shirt and a once pristine white suit jacket. The Kaitou KID was sitting on her bedroom floor, a dark splotch staining most of the front of his suit. She didn’t need light to know it was blood.
She took a careful step forward, almost expecting him to react like a skittish deer and make his escape through the window. He didn’t. Now that she thought about it, he hadn’t reacted when the mop and her phone fell to the floor either. Curiosity peeked despite the seriousness of the situation; she crouched down to peer at him under the hat brim.
No gleaming eyes peered back. His breath was ragged but even, as if he was asleep. No, fainted. From blood loss most likely. From her new perspective she was getting a better idea of how serious the thief’s condition was; blood was pooling from a wound to his abdomen spreading out from him in a deep red puddle. She had always claimed to despise the burglar – the Machiavellian bastard – but he didn’t deserve this. No one did.
She had reached out an arm and almost grabbed the brim of his hat before realizing what she was doing. Hurriedly she drew her arm back and sighed, this wasn’t a time to satisfy her curiosity. She should be trying to stop the bleeding, not stare at him like an idiot. After a quick glance around she grabbed the closest thing she could use to lay pressure on the wound – her bedspread.
It was while pressing the spread at his abdomen and faintly wondering if her father had called for an ambulance that the necklace caught her attention. It was hanging out of one of the many gashes to his chest that looked like they could’ve been made by twigs. (When she’d first noticed the gashes, she’d cast a quick glance out the window to see that his glider was caught in the tree in their backyard. He’d been lucky she supposed; there were worse things to crash into than trees.) The necklace wasn’t anything special, just a magician’s wand and a black top hat charm attached to black string. Something you could win from those coin slot machines at the convenience store. And that was exactly the problem.
She reached out to touch it, turning it between her fingers. It looked exactly like the one she’d given to…
Almost fearful now she lifted her gaze. A painfully familiar pair of indigo eyes stared back at her from the shadows. She could feel the tears stinging at the corners of her eyes as she let go of the charm and lifted her arm towards his top hat again. With a sharp intake of breath, she knocked it aside…
“Aoko…” His voice was but a pained croak.
Her world crumbled. No. No. No. No. NO! It couldn’t be, it couldn’t!
Tears trailed down her cheek, because it was, like she’d known all along. Aoko wasn’t stupid, far, far from it. She’d seen the signs, caught the lies. She wasn’t stupid, but sometimes… sometimes she really, really wished she was...
“…Kaito.” There was such an ugly finality to his name; it made her want to creep under her duvet and hide.
“You don’t look surprised,” he said with a sad smile, while reaching a hand out to touch her cheek.
She flinched back. His smile dropped and he let his arm fall back to his side.
“I… I’m not…” She averted her eyes as she spoke.
“Aoko. My beautiful little Aoko” – her heart ached at the gentle, loving tone – “I could never keep anything from you, could I?” Out of the corners of her eyes, she could see the caring smile growing on his face and the fondness in his eyes. It hurt.
He reached out his arm again, cupping her jaw tenderly in a hand. This time she didn’t flinch away as he turned her head to face him again, she still couldn’t meet his eyes. She could feel his thumb drying the tears from her cheek.
“I’m hurting you, aren’t I?” Closing her eyes, she gave a small nod.
Suddenly he jerked his arm back. She opened her eyes in confusion, just in time to see him bend over and chough into his hand. He hid it away immediately, but not fast enough. The white glove was stained with fresh crimson. Her guts twisted.
But there wasn’t any more time nor space for anger or hurt, Kaito was wounded, badly, and that had to be the first priority right then.
"Are you alright?" What a stupid question, of course he wasn't all right. He'd just coughed blood for kami's sake! But she didn't know what else to ask, what to say.
When he lifted his head a cheeky grin was plastered on his face. "Of course, why wouldn't I?" he returned in a cocky tone. She didn't believe him in the least.
She smacked him over the head, gently mind. It didn't stop him from making a whiny sound. "Aoko!" he pouted.
She just looked him straight in the eyes, conveying her thoughts to him in silence. This was no time for jokes. Eventually the pout slipped away and he made a tired sigh.
A heavy silence laid itself around them, pressing at them from all sides. She could only describe it as suffocating. "The ambulance should be on its way." She didn't know what else to say, not even if she spoke the truth (kami let it be the truth).
"Aoko-" he began in a tone she didn't want to hear from him. It was too serious – hadn’t she just wanted that? – too conclusive. Afraid of what he was about to say, what he was about to confirm, she spoke over him.
"They'll probably be her any minute now-"
"Aoko." his voice was stern, but she didn't stop, couldn’t stop.
"-just wait a little longer and the help'll be her-"
"-I'm certain they'll fix you up in-"
His mouth pressed against hers, cutting her short from her ramblings. For a moment she just stared at him in shock, and then she comprehended what he just did, what he was still doing, and let herself fall into it. There was nothing romantic about the kiss; it was harsh and short, Kaito pulling away just as the first drop of his blood snuck between her lips. Yet as she licked her lips, the metallic tinge spreading in her mouth, she knew that she would always treasure it.
"Aoko" – his voice brought her back from her innermost thoughts with its intensity alone – "they won’t be on time."
"You can't know that!" she cried out, while her insides were screaming. "You can't know that..." Tears once again flowing down her cheeks.
He just looked at her, with those beautiful piercing orbs of his. For the second time that night she found herself unable to meet his gaze. She turned her head while mumbling, "They'll be one time, just you wait," but there was no conviction her voice. Because he was right – even someone without medical knowledge could see that – and how much she hated it, how much she wanted to deny it, she couldn't change the truth.
"Aoko..." he whispered, once more taking her chin in his hand, turning her back. "My beautiful Aoko." He kissed her again. Longer this time, deeper. When she felt his tongue prodding at her lips, she parted them willingly. In one way she'd never ever experienced anything like it, she could taste the chocolate treat he must have eaten shortly before his heist, there was a thing of smoke in his mouth from his tricks, and the sensation of another tongue playing with her own. On the other hand was the metallic taste of his blood, sickening in its intensity and strength.
"I love you," he panted as he broke away, pecking her mouth one more time before pulling back. His eyes were so sincere, so loving. She felt her throat constrict, and she couldn't speak. He must have seen it on her, because he smiled so sadly. "You don't have to s-"
And then he bent over again rasping painfully, she flinches back at the sound. Blood was spilling from his mouth, and she couldn't help the freezing horror growing in her gut at the sight. There was so much of it.
He wheezed, tried to speak, but all that came out was another hack, and another and another.
She doesn't know how long it lasted, an eternity, but finally he stopped. It was as if he'd used all his energy on the fit, because he slumped and almost fell into her lap. Reaching her arms around him, she tried her best to support him.
His skin was cool. She knew what that meant – the blood loss causing his temperature to fall - but again found herself denying it vehemently.
It couldn't end like this, she wouldn’t let it, but there was nothing she could do. She couldn't even keep him warm with her own body heat as the breeze trickling in from the window had left her shivering – not that she’d noticed before then.
She lifted a hand to comb through his hear, only to find it leaving a trail of blood on his forehead. For a moment she stared at her hand, on the blood covering it, then she lowers her gaze to where she’s been pressing her bed spread to his abdomen. It was soaked through, a dark stain spreading over its surface. She glanced about for something else to put pressure on the wound with. She found nothing within reach, nothing she could grab without letting go of Kaito.
She hugged him tighter, tilted her head to watch his face. A stray tear fell on his forehead, mixing with the blood she’d left there. He was growing colder.
In the distance she could hear sirens.
A short time later footsteps thundered up the stairs. A gasp came from behind her and then there were arms around her, helping with the pressure. More people arrived around them, hands began to inspect Kaito. Voices spoke, but she couldn’t hear the words.
The man behind her tugged on her arms, trying to get her to move away. She let him, fell back into her tou-chan’s embrace. It was too late. The body had long stopped breathing.
Kuroba Kaito was gone.