Chapter 1: When it Doesn't Kill, it…
So...I know the whole 'cat' thing is WAY over-used...especially these days. However, I had to put my own two-sense into the equation. This idea just popped into my head and I had to write it down to get it out.
I hope it isn't too weird! That said, it may be. But I hope it's fun anyway! Please let me know what you think :D
I don't own Meitantei Conan~
Note: "Text" [cat speech] "Text" [normal speech] text [private thoughts]
Curiosity really is the darndest thing.
This conviction would come to mean something to Kaito to varied degrees in his life and time as magician-prankster of Ekoda High, and as Kid the Phantom Thief…but it is in the following episode that it is, perhaps, the most relevant…
It all began one night at Tropical Land…we all know the gist of what happened, but in this particular timeline, there were some inexplicable, and all around odd differences which diverged our characters' lives from what we might expect for them. One not-so-odd difference, however, came about when a certain magician-thief, hanging out with Aoko and in the middle of being dragged into a haunted house, happened to glimpse a very familiar face waving to a friend of his before racing off after some creepers in trench coats.
Kaito's grin stretched suddenly and widely over his face, mischief and interest flooding him like water from a broken dam. Well, well…Tantei-kun…so this is what you do when you're not chasing innocent thieves around clock-towers…
He had a sudden, undeniable urge to chase after him, to learn more about the detective who had given him the wildest ride he'd had in a while, and, if he were to be honest with himself, the greatest challenge and thrill he could remember having felt since his father had passed away 7 years before.
And besides, haunted houses were just so not his thing…regardless of whether Aoko's promise of a 'swimming surprise' at the end of said house turned out to be her attempt at a sick joke or not.
Regardless, Kaito took his chance when Aoko had iron-grip dragged him into the fun-house ball pit to slip from her clinging hands and make his escape, leaving her with a paper carnation she would later unfold to find a messy-haired insignia and a promise to join her for a 'finny-less' haunted house run sometime…Completing the missive was a little caricature in the bottom, left-hand corner of a certain article of clothing with the words 'sunshine yellow' scribbled messily within.
Needless to say, that evening, a few extra screams supplemented the usual shrill banshee shrieks of the park's haunted house…
And as for Kaito…he was high on the prospect of his childhood friend's annoyance and whatever poor ghoul-dressed actor would have to face the teenage girl's mop-wielding wrath in his stead…he continued to grin about this as he made a beeline for the area that fascinating detective of his had raced off to earlier.
Oh, Tanteiiiii-kun…He grinned as he poked his head around corners, frowning when he came up with nothing. After a few minutes of nothing, his brow furrowed and he began to feel irrationally anxious. Come to think of it, those trench-coat guys looked like bad news... As he let his imagination wander down this thread, he felt his body seize up and his heart begin to pound in his head. But then he saw something which wiped his mind clean of anything else-something which grabbed his attention completely. He froze, eyes widening. There was a dark-haired…figure? Man? Child? …slumped on the ground behind some unused park storage shed, wearing the clothes Kaito had most certainly seen Kudou Shinichi wearing only 10 minutes earlier.
But something was off, beyond how strangely ambiguous and difficult it was to determine the facial characteristics of the dark-haired figure wearing the clothes (though that was no doubt connected). Because the figure was changing…wait, was he…it…shrinking? Kaito blinked and crept closer. His breath hitched as the last of the dark hair vanished into the pile of clothes. What. The. Hell?
Before he could take another step, or think another half-realized thought, however, someone had grabbed his shoulder and turned him around, roughly, to meet the same cold eyes (unbeknownst to Kaito) Kudou Shinichi had met earlier that evening. Kaito would curse himself for a long time after for letting his curiosity cloud his judgment and attentiveness to his surroundings.
But then, all he could register was a sudden slam of pain to the side of his head, and an odd-tasting something stuffed down his throat. Kaito's body was thrown to the side, and he vaguely considered that the detective should have been around here. The magician deliriously wondered if he'd find himself joining him as action-figure-sized momentarily…when horrible, bone-melting, heart-wrenching pain overwhelmed him. And he knew no more.
The pain was gone when he woke, but he felt so…odd. Everything did. The world was louder, for one thing. But not loud like when a traffic jam overwhelms your senses and obscures things, making it more difficult to pick out a particular noise. Instead, every little night-sound seemed to have suddenly gotten much clearer. Something he wasn't sure he appreciated, honestly. The loud, gruff voices around him were giving him a headache…
But his sense of smell…it was different, too. He wrinkled his nose as he picked out a recently eaten cheeseburger by a man who had to be several yards away. It almost made him gag. He hadn't opened his eyes, yet, but as he struggled to push himself up, something just…wasn't right. He was crouching, but as he tried to push himself further up, he kept losing his balance almost instantly, falling back down. And to be honest, he felt perfectly comfortable standing this way, on all fours. Standing? And why was the ground grated?
He finally cracked one eye open, and instantly, his other widened the rest of the way in shock. He was in jail!
No…it wasn't jail. It was too…what the hell? How can the ceiling be this high? It was like he was in some kind of monstrously huge animal cage, and all around him, there were dozens of others, stacked up and around. And then he noticed. The cages were occupied. All of them. By large animals. But, they couldn't be large, because he knew how large house-cats and Boston terriers were…but most of them, at least, seemed…bigger than he.
Trying to keep his thoughts from drifting into the outrageous slough of solutions which began to pan themselves before his mind's eye, he turned his mind back to his first order of business-at least, the first order of business he could focus on without freaking out about absurd and impossible happenings-and then freaked out anyway as he noticed the very closed, and very locked, door on his cage.
Now, now, Kaito. Don't be silly. A lock like this is no problem for you! But when he tried to open said lock, he met with the reality he had been feebly and stubbornly trying to put off. Where human hands should have been, he saw two furry, light-grey paws…Turning his hands, er, paws, around to examine them further, he noticed several little pink pads. He wrinkled his nose as he noticed their unkempt appearance, and automatically lifted his right paw to his mouth and licked it clean with his tongue.
Ergh! What am I doing?
He didn't have time to think about it for long, however, before a large door opened, unnatural light from the park outside flooding the dark enclosed area, and a scraggly-looking man approached his cage with something in his arms. Something wet. Kaito's eyes widened. Held firmly around its stomach in the man's grip was the limp body of a little tiger kitten, blue eyes opened dazedly, tracking around every-which-way until they found Kaito, fixing on him penetratingly, and practically screaming their confusion. Kaito felt as if a bolt of lightning had shot through him as they continued to settle on him. He'd seen those eyes before. And they sure as hell did NOT belong on a kitten.
Kaito opened his mouth to say something, when the little kitten in the man's hands began to struggle, eyes widening in sudden fear.
"Now, now, it's okay. In you go with the other one…"
I could barely breathe as the man fumbled with the latch to my cage, struggling to keep a hold on the kitten in his left. Opening the door, he roughly tried to shove the kitten in beside me but the wet thing had some spunk, that's for sure. Again, I could see total fear and confusion in his eyes, and I knew the same look just had to be in mine, but my soon-to-be-cellmate seemed to be just about as fond of the idea of being locked up as yours truly. In a sudden movement, he'd reached up with his paw and scratched the man's hand, making to bolt out the not-yet-closed door. It was a good shot, but it wasn't enough. The man tried to reach for him, and that might have been the end of the tiger cat's bet for freedom, except that the man clearly didn't expect another escapee to deal with as well...
I didn't have time to think, but just lunged forward and shoved the kitten from behind, giving him a burst of speed and helping him to scramble out from under the man's clumsy, huge, grasping fingers. This distracted him well enough, and then I, too, leapt from the cage and out of the van, racing under the man's legs into the freedom of the night.
I was seriously tempted to make a victory whoop, but at the second, I was too concerned with where my partner-in-crime had raced off to. There! A little ways ahead, scrambling under the park gate, was the little blue-eyed tiger kitten.
He's pretty fast…I grinned a little, suddenly thrilled at the challenge this quarry was providing me, and I took off after him.
As I ran, it occurred to me that I didn't have to think about it at all to make use of my changed limbs. It felt totally natural to run this way, on all-fours. If I were to be honest with myself, the fact that I'd become a cat- A fucking cat! -was mildly (or rather, extremely) terrifying and mind-shatteringly crazy, but…I pushed it aside as I refocused on my current assignment. Follow him. Catch him.
Well, that's ironic. Who's chasing who now, Tantei-kun? And hey, just why was I so sure this kitten was Kudou Shinichi, the great Detective of the East, my one-time (and yet greatest) rival to date?
Well, as for the whole cat hypothesis in general...the fact that I was running on all-fours and seeing so clearly in the dark, cloudy-night streets, and that I could smell him and hear him and…well, that I only came up to the ankles of the people I ran by and under…that was one big part of it. That I'd seen him, and his clothes, there before me, and that I was almost sure I'd seen him shrinking…that was a big part of it.
But most of all, those eyes were responsible. They were captivating, and beautiful. I hadn't had the chance to notice them before. Not really. There were too many other factors at play that night at the heist. I had only been able to glimpse him from where he stood in the police helicopter for an instant as he fixed me with that piercing expression.
But I would have recognized it anywhere. And that look had definitely been in the eyes of that tiger kitten.
As Kaito continued the chase along dark sidewalks, it began to rain. He cursed under his breath, but what came out wasn't any curse he'd ever heard…more like a strangled, low growl. Though it still felt like he'd cursed well enough. But the rain was so not okay in his book. His fur was getting matted already, and his feet were soggy, and little rocks were sticking into his toe-pads and…ugh!
For a while, he'd been running right behind the other kitten-they seemed to be pretty on-par speed-wise, but Kaito was just a little more used to running-though, admittedly, usually FROM people. But the detective was in the opposite boat. Practiced at chasing, not so much at fleeing, or being chased. But he was holding his own. Kaito smiled a little at the thought. Even changed, his rival was still his rival.
But the rain was really awful, and something had to be done about their situation. The chase was fun, but the insanity of the situation was beginning to take its toll on the magician-thief-turned-feline after all.
They had come to a smaller street with over-large houses lining it, and Kaito suddenly became very aware of how much his feet were hurting. But the little form in front of him was still running frantically. With another burst of energy, Kaito pushed himself on, and yelled out "Wait up!"
Or, so he'd intended to say. What had actually come out was a loud mewling cry, though it still registered in his mind as meaning the same thing. The way the kitten before him hesitated ever-so-slightly, looking back in surprise and slight fear before starting again, suggested that the words hadn't only made sense to him.
Oh, he's being stubborn…fine. Time to throw in my ace.
"I mean it! Just stop for a second, Kudou!"
This time, the kitten froze. As Kaito finally caught up to him entirely, Shinichi turned slowly, stiffly, to fix his penetrating blue orbs on him.
"Wha-what did you say?" He asked in a soft, shocked mew.
Stopping right next to him, Kaito cocked his head slightly and said, semi-casually, "You're Kudou Shinichi, right? The high school detective of the East? The one who went up against Kaitou Kid that night at the clock tower?"
Shinichi blinked at him in shock. "H-how do you...How do you know me? You're a cat," he said, simply.
Kaito blinked back at him, more amused than offended. "So are you," he pointed out.
If cats could roll their eyes and stomp in frustration, Shinichi would have done just that. As it was, though, he just made an awkward attempt, which ended up looking quite comical. Kaito had some trouble suppressing a little sound of amusement at this, and when he didn't back down under the fierce glare Shinichi then sent his way, the detective narrowed his eyes, looking at him more directly. Kaito turned his dark indigo eyes, now the most outwardly-human thing about him, up to meet Shinchi's gaze with equal intensity, and he heard a little gasp from Shinichi.
"And to respond to your question...am I?" Kaito said, smiling knowingly into the cerulean orbs which were perfectly level with his.
Shinichi twitched his ears in consideration, and suddenly seemed to be just as interested in Kaito as the former magician was in him. Shinichi's gaze held more distrust and fear in it than the other's, however.
"Um," Kaito then siad, somewhat awkwardly, "Sorry, but do you think we could keep walking as we talk? If I don't get out of this rain, soon, I…" He shuddered a little.
At the reminder, Shinichi seemed to instantly notice the bedraggled state of his own fur, and without a word, slipped away down the street.
Kaito followed him silently, wondering where tantei-kun (though I suppose now, he'd have to be tantei-neko, Kaito thought in slight amusement) had in mind to go. He seemed to have some kind of plan, if the purpose he was moving with was any indication.
Just where they were headed became clear a minute later, when they suddenly stopped before the tall gates of a much taller and almost terrifyingly-imposing mansion (to the height-diminished perspectives of the two drugged young men, at least). The name plate to the gate's immediate right clearly read Kudou, something which cleared up many of Kaito's questions about why the detective had chosen to come here.
Without a sound, Shinichi began moving again, Kaito right behind him. They were so tiny that it was no problem to slip between the bars of the front gate, but entering the actual house was more problematic.
"Dammit…" Shinichi began. "How can we…?"
Kaito began to circle the house a bit, before nodding in satisfaction and returning to the front porch where the tiger kitten was sitting with one paw placed awkwardly on his chin in what was clearly Shinichi's human thinking pose. Kaito couldn't help but laugh. "I don't think you can pull that off as well in this form, you know."
Shinichi glared, but otherwise ignored him. Talking half to himself, he said, "Well, maybe if I go to Agasa-hakase's place, he could at least take me in until I figure out what to do…"
"Agasa? Is he your neighbor?"
Shinichi simply flicked his tale in affirmation.
"Oh. Well hold on, Kudou. What makes you think he'll take you in? It's not like his first thought will be: 'Oh, this cat has Shinichi's eyes! Just in case he IS Shinichi, guess I shouldn't send him to the pound!' See, that's not likely, is it? And what if he were to do the opposite? Do you want to end up back in that van?"
Shinichi blinked a little, and then fixed Kaito with a surprised glance. "Oh. You're…I guess you're right. And," eyes widening in realization, he continued, "you helped me get out of that cage earlier, didn't you? Uh, thanks…" Shinichi still felt awkward speaking normally with a person who, no matter how you were to look at him, clearly appeared to be 100% cat…but in light of his own similar situation, and the lack of response humans around him seemed to have to anything he tried to say, he figured he couldn't afford to be picky about his choice in conversation partners.
Kaito, however, seemed to be taking things much more in stride (at least, outwardly), and just made a noncommittal twitch of his ears to say, 'no problem.' Then, his eyes taking on a mischievous quality, he said, "And follow me. I've found a way in."
Blinking in surprise, but following the grey, striped kitten's lead, Shinichi soon found himself scrambling after him over flower vases, hanging plants and railings until they had clambered, awkwardly, onto a window-sill with a slightly-open window.
There had been one somewhat terrifying moment during the climb when Shinichi had been over-confident, thinking he'd gotten the hang of his cat reflexes enough to make a particularly daring leap from flower vase to window-sill, and his little paws had scraped feebly on the slippery, rain-wet surface. Just in time, however, the grey kitten had raced to him, and quickly clamping his mouth on the back of Shinichi's neck, had managed to pull him up the rest of the way.
Heart pounding, and feeling vaguely surprised by how little it had hurt to be grabbed that way, though it had, admittedly, left him feeling limp and powerless in the other kitten's grip, Shinichi muttered a soft "thank you," receiving a cheerful 'no problem!' in response.
When they were finally safely in the Kudou family living room, both kittens found the stress, discomfort and insanity of the evening slamming into them…like weak, limp zombies, they trudgingly climbed the somewhat overwhelming flight of stairs, one step at a time, to a new room Kaito immediately figured to be Shinichi's bedroom.
Looking up at his bed with weary eyes, Shinichi readied his haunches before springing up the three feet or so to make his way onto his twin bed. Kaito followed, and for a minute, just padded around on the blankets, warming and drying his paws.
Shinichi, who had already curled up beside a pillow, opened an eye and glared at him. "Hey. Do you mind?"
Kaito pouted. "Well it isn't my fault it had to start stupid raining on us! I have to get dry somehow!"
Shinichi blinked once and sighed. "Sorry…I'm just…" Looking more closely at the grey kitten, it occurred to Shinichi just how little he really knew about him, and how little he'd said to him despite his continual attempts to be cheerful and to help him… And apparently, this kitten was no more a kitten than he, and unless he were much mistaken, had likely been through the same horror he had earlier this evening. Shinichi said as much.
Once the detective had finished, Kaito looked at him sardonically, stretching his limbs. "Yep. Funny story, actually. Believe it or not, I was trying to help you. I saw you disappear behind that building. Didn't see the whole thing, though, so I didn't know what to expect when they decided to include me in their little science-fiction freak-show."
Shinichi narrowed his eyes. "But..why? Why were you following me in the first place? Uh…"
"Kaito. Kuroba Kaito."
"Just call me Kaito. Honestly, Shinichi, I don't think we're in the position to hold onto formalities, do you?"
Shinichi had to chuckle at that, albeit a little darkly. "Fine. But you didn't answer my question."
Kaito shifted uncomfortably. Shinichi cocked his head and fixed his penetrating stare on him and Kaito gulped. "Well…I was with my friend and she was forcing me to go on this…well, that's not important, but you interest me, tantei-kun. I wanted to see what you were up to."
"And how do you know me? I don't remember meeting anyone named Kuroba Kaito before…" There was obvious distrust layering Shinichi's tone, and some definite reserve in the tightness of his muscles and narrowed eyes as he watched Kaito carefully.
"Maybe a cat isn't the only thing I become under the moonlight," Kaito joked.
"Oh, shut it." But then Shinichi's eyes widened and he looked at Kaito fiercely, the grey kitten jumping back a little in surprise. "What did you just call me?"
"Uh…Shinichi?" Kaito squeaked.
"No…you…" It was very clear in his mind-the personal invite he'd received days previous to Kaito Kid's next heist, very clearly addressed to… "Tantei-kun. You called me tantei-kun."
"Well, you're a detective, aren't you?"
"And you're Kaitou Kid, aren't you?"
It was absurd, seemed beyond the pail…but, then again, as messed-up as things already were, one more crazy unlikely occurrence shouldn't have surprised him, should it have?
But nevertheless, at the surprised look washing over the innocent-looking purple-eyed kitten's face, Shinichi's breath hitched. He is…
Shinichi stared at him for a time in shock. At least I know who I'm dealing with, now. And honestly, from what I've seen of this thief, he isn't all that bad. Pretty moralistic, really. Especially for a criminal, but, besides his law-breaking tendencies, his motivations seem to be pretty well-intentioned…And it's not like he keeps anything he steals. Shinichi chuckled a little at the memory of the clock tower. Guess it makes sense why he had no trouble helping with the escape and the break-in.
Internally, he let out a sigh of relief, and part of him that had been on lock-down, locked away due to shock to protect himself, revealed itself a little, and he felt a feeble happy flutter in his chest. For no matter how odd the messenger, it was nice to have this reminder of his life, his real life, when he looked like this. It made it more bearable, in a lot of ways, to know that not only was the other person in this situation with him quite similarly inconvenienced, their being rivals and equals in so many ways…and also to just know that they, at least, knew what the other was capable of, knew who the other was. To know that this little grey kitten was the notorious, enigmatic Kaitou Kid also did something to lighten the embarrassment Shinichi, himself, felt at suddenly becoming something so vulnerable, small enough to make itself quite at home in a shoebox…
It was then that Shinichi noticed just how wet and messed-up Kaito's fur still was, and how all-around miserable and pitiful he looked that way.
Feeling a sudden rush of amusement and affection for the little thief-turned-kitten, Shinichi pushed to all fours and approached Kaito, who was watching him with wide, deep, indigo eyes.
Something within Shinichi, now that his human anxiety about his fellow sufferer's identity was abetted, awakened as he looked at Kaito's wet, miserable and blood-caked condition. It was a deep instinct within him, slumbering until that point, which overran his human sense and thoughts. Finding himself too tired to fight it, Shinichi submitted to the natural pull within him, and he sat down on his haunches behind the grey kitten and began to gently lick Kaito's wet fur with his scratchy tongue. Closing his eyes, he moved closer, and made quick work of Kaito's cheek, ears and forehead.
Kaito was frozen in shock. This was so not a turn of events he could ever have predicted. But it felt…really nice. Closing his eyes in response, he curled up at Shinichi's soft feet as the other kitten continued to clean him, giving extra attention to the head wound he'd all but forgotten about. The care Shinichi put into the ministrations really touched him, and he felt safe and…almost sane…for the first time since that trench coat-wearing man had hit him.
The instant he had finished cleaning the wound, Shinichi seemed satisfied and backed up. The loss of warmth made Kaito make a soft little whine of protest, and the sound seemed to return Shinichi to his senses. Blinking and wondering about the taste in his mouth and his position right behind Kaito's curled-up body, he suddenly remembered just what had happened under the influence of his cat instincts, and he jumped back, fur instinctively bristling as he spat.
Kaito turned his head around and blinked at him, pushing to his feet and approaching him, not in the least intimidated by Shinichi's attempts to distance himself and look fierce. Gently nuzzling Shinichi's soft neck from behind, feeling the neko-tantei tense up under him immediately, Kaito mewed softly, "Thank you, Shinichi," before returning the favor, cleaning the wound on the back of Shinichi's head which was clogged with dirt and grime, matting with blood in his fur.
For a few seconds, it seemed as if Shinichi were about to bolt, and perhaps give Kaito a deep scratch for good measure…but then the sensation and the innate understanding of what Kaito was doing for him, and the protective meaning of it all hit him, and he relaxed, slumping down on the bed as Kaito continued to lick him. After cleaning Shinichi's head-wound, Kaito's rough tongue moved up to work on his ears, and in his ears, and Shinichi shuddered a little, pressing closer into the warmth of the soft body pressed again his.
Kaito continued to clean him, even as he curled up behind him, their bodies pressed together, sharing precious warmth until they fell asleep.
They weren't sure how much time had passed when the door flew open violently. Leaping up suddenly and hissing in fear, Shinichi pressed backwards into Kaito who had jumped up just as he had. Shinichi's body relaxed but then tensed again, differently this time, as he recognized the person who had burst in.
"Shinichi?" Ran asked before blinking. Blinking again, eyes widening, she suddenly ran forward to the bed, a wide smile stretching over her lips.
Shinichi blinked back, and Kaito tipped his head to look at him inquiringly. "The childhood friend, I presume?"
Shinichi vaguely flapped his tail against Kaito's back, affirming this, but no sooner had he completed this action that he was swept up into the arms and against the chest of said childhood friend.
"Oh, you're so cute! Oh my goodness!" Ran beamed at him, gently nuzzling him in her hands with her cheek before reaching down and clutching Kaito in her hold as well, both kittens pressed cozily (or awkwardly, in their opinions) together.
Sitting down on the ground with them, Ran began to stroke behind their ears. Much to Shinichi's chagrin, he noticed that this almost immediately made him go limp in a kind of incredibly pleasant sleepiness. Eyes closing, he rubbed forward against her hand and into Kaito who was beside him. Based on the way Kaito was rubbing right back into him, Shinichi had the feeling he was getting the same treatment.
But at the moment, it didn't matter. All that did was the lovely rubbing sensation and that she continue it. Ran's tinkling laughter knocked him out of his trance, and he blinked, feeling embarrassed, as he noticed he was standing on his hind paws, head and chest pressed against Ran to get more out of the touch.
Kaito, however, was rubbing at his side, and had begun licking him again. At the thought, a low rumble started in Shinichi's throat, and he left Ran's chest to rub up against Kaito, gently licking him back. Then he froze in horror. What. Is. Wrong. With. Me?
But Kaito's presence was undeniably incredibly comforting, and he just…Shinichi shook his head roughly. Stop it, Shinichi. You are not a cat, for god's sakes! Don't give in to these…urges…
He gritted his teeth a little bit, but then felt several pairs of eyes on him. Kaito had stopped his ministrations and looked moderately sheepish as he backed away from Shinichi, and Ran was smiling even more widely than before.
"You two are so adorable together! Are you brother and sister?"
Shinichi opened his mouth to correct her, but, of course, his attempt at "Ran, of course not!" came out as several cute mewling cries.
This melted Ran even further, and she pulled Shinichi in for another hug. Kissing him lightly on the head, she said, "Are you two Shinichi's cats? But that jerk just vanished tonight! And I don't see any cat food or cat litter or anything around! That detective maniac! How can he expect to take care of two kittens if he can't even remember to feed them?"
Her voice was suddenly so irate that Shinichi took an instinctual step backward, forgetting momentarily that she didn't know he was actually Shinichi. He gulped, but the cat-smirk Kaito then gave him transformed his anxiety into annoyance. Whapping him with his tail, Shinichi smirked back before looking up at Ran, trying to get her to understand.
It was quite clear, however, that there was little hope that evening of Ran suddenly realizing that the friend she was looking for was actually the cat looking up at her cutely. Rather, Ran looked at both of them, scratching them once again behind the ears, and saying, beaming, "I have an idea. I'll leave a note for mister Holmes-fanatic, and I'll take you home with me! Seriously, he doesn't deserve to have such precious kittens. Okay, you guys? Be good and I'll be back in a minute." And with another quick pat to each of their heads, Ran raced through the door.
"Hey, Shinichi. We aren't seriously going to go live with her, are we?"
Shinichi made a little noncommittal flick of his ears as he turned to look at Kaito. "I can't see a better alternative, at the second. At least with Ran we won't end up in a cage or in the gutter, and besides…" Suddenly, Shinichi's air was much more confident, and more optimistic. "Her father's a detective-a bad one, but still. They live in a detective agency. If we stay there, we might hear about the goons who did this to us…it could be our best chance," he finished quietly.
Staring at him, Kaito then made a little sound of understanding. "I guess that makes sense, then. But Shinichi…" And his tone, clear despite the interference by mode of meowing, turned mischievous. "Are you sure you don't just want an excuse to be around your girlfriend? Looks to me like you'll have plenty of chances for close contact!"
Shinichi glared fiercely at him, taking his front paw and swatting at him. Kaito laughed, leaping straight up and back, landing several feet away from Shinichi on the bed. "What's wrong, Shin-chan?"
"Don't call me that," Shinichi deadpanned at him. "And anyway…" his tone turned suddenly more serious, but some definite humor and exasperation directed at Kaito's prying tinted it. "Everyone thinks Ran and I are an item, but it isn't true. Sure, I think I liked her when we were in middle-school for a bit, but…we both moved on a while back. Ran's liked someone else for a while, and I…"
"And you?" Kaito pawed up to him, head tilted in interest.
Shinichi felt flustered somewhat as those wide indigo eyes watched his every move, and then that, itself, confused him. "Do you have someone you like?" Kaito pushed, genuine interest clear in his expression.
"I haven't…met anyone," Shinichi answered softly, no longer able to meet Kaito's eyes. Again, this confused him somewhat, but he didn't feel up to considering it further.
Kaito seemed satisfied for the time being, however, and moved a bit closer, rubbing his cheek against Shinichi's.
"Wh-what are you doing?" Shinichi squeaked.
Kaito's eyes gleamed at him. "Nothing. Just felt like doing that," he answered cheerfully.
"God, you're infuriating…" Shinichi began, but this only made Kaito let out a little mewling laugh before rubbing up against him again.
Before Shinichi could say anything else, Kaito said, "Well, fine. We'll go stay with Ran-san. The ball's in your court, though, Tantei-kun. I'm trusting you on this~"
Shinichi was about to respond again when Ran returned with a little cat carrier.
"Let's see, I stuffed some old covers in here for padding, you guys. I hope it's soft enough!" Both cats met eyes with expressions of equal distate, neither thrilled at the prospect of having to ride in anything as restrictive as a cat carrier…It's a step up from that steel cage, but still…
Looking at Ran's cheerful, expectant expression, however, Shinichi sighed. Glancing out the window, he muttered to Kaito, "Come on, Kaito. It's raining anyway, so at least this way we won't get wet…"
Ears twitching at this, Kaito growled softly, "Oh, fine…stupid weather. Tricking me into a cell…" before following Shinichi reluctantly into the carrier. I can't believe this! I'm literally walking into a small enclosed area! This isn't just some huge prank of Tantei-kun's to get me to jail myself voluntarily, is it?
Kaito laughed to himself at the thought, and his annoyance at their mode of transportation lessened somewhat as he almost bumped noses with the other not-cat in their small compartment. Looking up at him, it occurred to Kaito just how adorable Shinichi looked. His blue eyes shone brilliantly from his black and beige-grey striped fur, a little white-grey patch on his chin. He'd known him personally for only a few hours, but the detective already had him melting at one glimpse of those eyes… this doesn't bode well, Kaito thought, chuckling to himself...
But honestly, he couldn't find it in himself to mind. The whole cat thing aside, Shinichi just felt like someone he could trust. After meeting him once on the moonlight stage, he'd been impressed. Fascinated. And now, meeting him for real, even in…quite extraordinary circumstances…he felt relief that at least, if he were to be stuck with someone, it was this detective.
And that was odd. Normally, the thought of being stuck living in such close quarters with a detective or any other law-enforcer-type would have sounded like hell. Veritable No Exit to the Phantom thief. But he just couldn't feel that way about Shinichi. He was different, somehow. And part of it was just a feeling he gave him, something in his gaze. something about him; there was just something inherently different about this detective, and it resounded with him strongly.
Ran beamed through the door as she closed it, sticking her fingers through to try to pet the soft little passengers within. Neither were particularly willing to oblige her this time. It was one thing to submit to cat instincts and let her pet them when they were out and they had some choice in the matter, but now-they were already stuck in the cat carrier, for god sakes! How much humiliation did they need?
Ran continued to talk to them in a sugary, babyish voice as she lifted the carrier in her hand, and the not-kittens within instantly began to struggle to use their newfound sense of balance to avoid falling over completely.
Cat balance wasn't full proof, they soon learned, and when Ran picked them back up after locking the door to the Kudou mansion, hurriedly trying to wrench them from the dripping drain pipe positioned over them which was close to leaking into their crate (a sudden movement which effectively threw Shinichi into Kaito), the transformed humans found themselves in an awkward heap in the corner of the carrier.
"Oh, I'm so sorry! Are you okay?" Ran squeaked, eyes widening in concern. Shinichi grumbled, saying, "yeah, yeah. Just be careful, will you?" before groaning upon realizing she wouldn't understand him anyway…Noticing her worried eyes were still peering in at him, he sighed and tried a different tactic. Pushing off of Kaito's side where he'd been half-lounging, he blinked up at her and made a short, clear meow, translating to "I'm just fine!"
At his bright little sound, Ran smiled and tickled his chin before setting off, looking much relieved. As she continued to walk them along towards her place, Kaito found himself watching Shinichi across the little crate-room.
"What?" Shinichi asked.
"You're a really nice guy," Kaito observed.
Shinichi blinked at him. "Huh?"
Kaito made a noncommittal mew and waved his tail in a shrug-like motion. "Smart, too. We can't speak Japanese (or, well, human, I guess) right now, but you got her to understand what you wanted her to, anyway. It was a good tactic, and I'm sure we can put similar things to use in the future. We'll have to…" he added softly.
Shinichi listened intently, feeling suddenly warm at the compliment and seriousness of Kaito's tone. "It was nothing, Kaito," he responded softly. "But…you're right. We have to figure out ways for people to understand us without using any recognizable human language. I wonder if we can?"
"We can," Kaito said instantly, reassuringly. "Kudou Shinichi and Kaitou Kid working together? What couldn't we do?" And he gave a little smirk.
Thanks for reading! I hope this wasn't too...weird...and that it was enjoyable! Please let me know and review!
The next chapter will be out in the next day or so~