It was such a small mistake that revealed Akai Shuichi's worst secret to Bourbon.

It was a mistake that he would not have made as himself, but the character of Okiya had been growing on him, and he let himself trust the small detective too easily.

He had not regret sharing the truth with Edogawa Conan... But he had never thought he would blurt it out like this.

In front of Furuya Rei.

"Please stop this Amuro-san! It wasn't Akai-san who killed Scotch! He was trying to prevent it!"

He and Amuro had been fighting, just like every time they met. When they were alone without the need to protect the cover, Bourbon just went straight to attacking him.

It was a normal occurence, but apparently not for the detective boy currently pulling on Bourbon's pants.

Bourbon had him pinned against the wall. It wasn't easy fighting in a cramped room, and Bourbon luckily landed the first blow, throwing him backwards, then following and thrusting his face up against Akai's, hand clamped tightly at his throat.

It a few seconds until Akai's swimming head registered those words, just enough seconds for Bourbon to deduce the reasoning behind that statement.

If Akai didn't kill Scotch then he must have killed himself. Scotch wouldn't have killed himself if Akai revealed he was also a NOC. If he was trying to prevent it but failed, then something must have distracted him.

And the only thing that could distract Akai and provide Scotch with a motivation to shoot was... an unknown factor.

The sound of another Organization operative, quickly running up the stairs, for example.

"Edogawa Conan!" Akai said in panic, turning in the relaxed grip to stare holes at the determined boy. Conan stared back with his absolute belief that this was the right choice.

And it would have been more peaceful usually if understandings could be cleared. If unreasonable rage was cleared away by reason. If Akai and Furuya could have something resembling a cordial relationship again.

But the boy detective doesn't know Bourbon as well as Akai did. And there was a strong reason why Akai kept this secret all this time, bearing the heavy hatred from the other, tolerating the hot-headed fights.

"No, Bourbon. Furuya, whatever. It's not what you think. Stop thinking. I— I killed Scotch. I killed him to raise my standing in the Organization, and that's it. That's it. So stop thinking. Stop thinking right now."

But it was too late. The blond's eyes widened. His grip on Akai's neck relaxed further but his hand stayed where it was, his entire body frozen in the shock of realization.

Conan said something along the line of relief, at least until he too noticed Bourbon's unusually still stance and peered up at the dawning, horrified expression carved into that face.

"No Furuya!" Akai grabbed both of his shoulders, shaking slightly to snap the stunned police out of it. "It's not your fault. It'l not tour fault, do you hear me?"

But as if the shake was a trigger, Furuya himself started to tremble.

His eyes were wide, but staring straight into nothing. His hand hovers frozen at Akai's neck, and his breathing was getting quicker and quicker.

Akai knew exactly what was going on in the other's mind.

Bourbon is thinking that it was not Akai's fault that Scotch was dead, but it was his.

He was thinking, if he had only been a little late. If he had been a little more careful not to make a noise climbing up those stairs. If he had made his identity known more quickly.

Bourbon was blaming himself for Scotch's suicide.

And on top of that, he'd been blaming Akai for his own misdeed for a long time. He had built so much hatred in himself and now he was turning to blade of it backwards.

He would break.

He would break so hard Akai woild never want to watch. And so he kept the secret even though he wanted nothing more than Furuya not to hate him.

He refused to clear the misunderstanding to prevent the pain Furuya would have to go through.

Except that fear became stronger and stronger the more time passed, and it became harder and harder to tell the truth.

"Furuya!" Akai called again, to no avail.

The blond was hyperventilating, right in front of Akai. Unconscious tears trailed down his face, and he was repeating "I killed— I killed— I killed—" over and over like a broken record, unable to finish the sentence.

"Furuya, you have to breathe." Akai said firmly, but it fell on deaf ears. Furuya's breath got even shallower and faster, his speech was cut off and his hand was drawn back to crawl at his own throat for air he couldn't get for himself.

His legs gave out, and Akai went down with him, slowing the impact. "Furuya! Listen! You have to breath. Just breath. Don't think. Don't think anythingright now. Look at me and breathe with me. In. Out."

Akai knew his voice had risen and it was probably more forceful than necessary. He knew that Furuya was physically strong and would recover from this without much chance of fatal complications.

He knew, intellectually, that the blond man would be fine in no time, even without his help, but Akai couldn't stop if he wanted to.

The fit subsided in a few eternal minutes, but it took almost fifteen minutes and a cup of hot tea more before Furuya fully recovered. Even then he seemed shaken, either from the realization or the aftereffects of the panic attack.

"Is this the first time you have a panic attack, Amuro-san?" The boy asked seriously as he jumped onto the couch after pouring another cup of tea for the three of them.

"Yes." Amuro replied nodding. On his face was some attempt at the painfully bright smile that his current cover always sports, but the twitch of a muscle in the cheek made it seem more painful than it usually was by a hundred folds.

"I'm fine now though." He turned to Akai, "To think that I've been wrongly accusing you for— ...his death, all this time. It was quite a shock, that's all. I'm sorry for the trouble. Now, if youd both excuse me."

He stood up, but Akai was already in front of the door, blocking the exit.

Conan-kun seems on board with him this time, standing up for the confrontation. It must have occurred to him as well that Furuya is making it seem like he's taking this far more easily than he actually is, and that's emotionally dangerous.

In normal circumstances it would require a certain lack of conscience to let him drive home alone to spend the night at a lonely hideout somewhere. Even without this strange attachment Akai is feeling for some reason, he would have hesitated to let such an event pass without the proper attention it required.

"You're staying at the Kudou residence tonight." Akai said meeting the confused gaze.

"It's better if you can stay with Akai-san for tonight, wouldn't it, Amuro-san?" Conan added from behind.

In a blink of an eye there was a familiiar fire in Furuya's eyes, just the same as before, and Akai almost thought Furuya was fine after all. That he was going to be his stubborn self and leave anyway.

Akai would have been more relieved if that was the case.

Then that spark vanished, and Furuya looked away more quickly than Akai would ever have imagined, probably to hide the new sheen of tears.

He looked back at the detective boy for a second, and without meeting anyone's eyes, he said with a drained voice,

"I guess you two wouldn't let me leave either way." And so his impromptue overnight stay with Okiya Subaru was decided.