Aoko should have been used to eerily quiet that greets her when she opens the front door, the coldness that wraps around her when she, yet again, eats dinner alone on a table that feels way to big for her alone to fill in, and the tired whispers of goodnight that has been never reciprocated since that day long ago her Dad decided to join the Second Division.

Maybe that was why she told Hakuba, no, that she was busy for the evening and therefore didn't have time to go along with him and watch him, finally, catch KID.

But merely it was an excused to get away from his piercing eyes. She has seen it enough on her Dad when he once again believed to have outsmarted Kid, only to have the latter prove him that, indeed, he has not.

Though, as she thought of it, that gaze seemed strange on Hakuba's face, so out of place, as he proposed for her to help him again and again. He was persistent, that was for sure.

But the idea of standing out among police officers like a sore thumb, holding up a banner and cheering for a detective- even if the detective was a fellow classmate and good friend- to bring the phantom thief behind bars, when it should've been her father carrying out that particular task years ago. It didn't seem right.

But he was quick to tell her she has gotten it wrong.

And how wrong . . .

"I have meant for you to assist me, not support me."

"Oh? That so?" She tilted her head. "How? I don't think I can be of much help to you."

He chuckled, a hand dipped into his bag and pulled out a thick file. He placed it on the table and she let her eyes rack over the neatly stapled mass of paper.

"That's the all the data I've gathered about Kid so far. Go on, do look through," He slightly pushed it over to her. "Tell me if you recognise some or more aspects."

Aoko shoved down the uneasy feeling rippling in her stomach, and opened up a random page, flipping through. "I won't find much. Kaito isn't Kid if that's what you're asking."

This subject has arisen more often lately. Why would anybody even come close to suspect, Kaito- stupid, idiotic, perverted Kaito- to be a magician, intelligent and evil enough to steal and give her father hard time. If anything-

Scratch all that- she thought, stomach sinking- it might be because of exactly that.





Her hand brushed each piece for a split of second, before grabbing the next, barely allowing her eyes to rest on a whole paragraph until a hand grabbed hers, stilling her movements.

"You're not even reading." He sounded amused, a brow delicately rising to hide behind his bangs. "I assume based on your reaction, you have currently your own doubts."

She shook her head, knowing it was already too late to deny when his eyes glinted. "I was looking at the numbers. I don't feel like reading."

"There aren't any numbers."

Aoko blushed bright, and fumbled over her words much to her chagrin as he started to laugh. The colour still hasn't disappeared from her cheeks by the time Hakuba rose from his seat, all packed up and ready to go, when he stretched his hand out her.

"Become my partner," The words came from easy. Light. As if it had no repercussion, and she found herself already shaking her head. The hand dropped but his voice lingered.

"Let's together unravel this mystery that Kuroba Kaito is."

And with that he left the little Café near their school, but not before giving her his card to call him if she had changed her mind.

"Partner, eh?" She mumbled placing the dishes into the sink, listening to the soft clangs that broke throught the eerily quiet as a familiar cold crawled up to her.

Unravel the unwavering truth that deceives this world . . .

If Aoko didn't know better she'd think Kaito was like a ghost.

Invading her life in a moment with teasing smiles and boisterous movements, only to vanish in the next. Come to think of it, since summer started she spend less time gazing into his deep eyes and even their usual banter died out into the occasional thrown insult here and there.

Kaito looks more worn out too, she thought as she peeked a look at him behind her book. The swollen lidds were very discernable whilst he laid his head on the table, eyes closed.

"Why don't you just ask him?" Keiko sat on a chair in front of her table, chopstick raised, holding on some cooked grain of rice. "You're his childhood friend, aren't you supposed to be close to him? You've been distant lately."

"I have been?" Aoko's eyes widened, "Since when?"

"I don't know, last week?" She grabbed a bottle of water, motioning with her other hand for Aoko to shut her gapping mouth. "If my memory serves me right, then it was around after your little outing with Hakuba-kun."

"Outing?" She squeaked, "H-how do you know about that?"

Keiko grinned. "How do you expect us not to know? Someone was getting in between our married couple. Of course we'll know."

Aoko blanched. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. They weren't supposed to know.


She rose from her seat abruptly, the sound of a distinctive clatter drummed into her ears but she paid no heed.

"Aoko? what's wrong?"

The card Hakuba gave her felt suddenly so heavy in her pocket, and his voice rung so clearly in her head.

Become my partner,

A hand clutched her forearm, pulling her arm hard enough for to stumble over her own feet, crashing into a chest.

"Ahoko! What's up with you?"

Aoko barely heard the insult, too mesmerized by the worry in his eyes, their close proximity and the stillness surrounding her.


"Let's together unravel this mystery that Koruba Kaito is."

It seemed as though that she is only now, as she has Kaito so close to her and holding her so tight, she registered the words.

"Let's together unravel this mystery that Kuroba Kaito is."

She pushed off him and dashed towards the nearest exist, leaving wide eyes and gapping mouths behind her, running along the hall as she threw the card into the bin with a bit more vengeance than she should feel.

Kaito isn't Kid.

He can't be.