8 months later.
"Well," said Kaito with a grin; he planted one elbow on the bar and raised an eyebrow at his drinking companion. "Who'da thought this would ever happen?"
On the barstool next to him, Saguru raised his glass to Kaito. "Certainly not I."
Kaito clinked his glass against Saguru's. "Cheers."
They both drank deeply. Then Kaito plunked his glass down with a sigh.
"Electrical engineering major, right?" said Saguru.
"Yup," Kaito yawned. "Not that a stage magician needs a degree. But it might help with tricks. I'll be out in a year anyway."
"Yeah." Kaito shrugged. "I've been overloading on classes."
"Found you have more free time these days?"
"Something like that. What about you?"
"I'll get my degree in another semester. Economics and Criminal Justice. Now I'm applying to law schools."
Kaito laughed. "We sound like normal college kids."
"We've been keeping busy," Saguru agreed.
"Are you kidding?" Kaito twiddled his beer glass. "Some days I'm bored out of my mind. But don't tell Aoko that." He shot a glance at Saguru, then folded his arms on the bar and rested his chin on them. "It's just that sometimes I get antsy. I'm sure when I finally get that stupid degree and start performing again it'll go away."
"You know what I mean. Being the world's greatest magician again, how's that?"
"And how does Aoko-chan fit into this grand plan?"
"She's gonna be my manager. She's still studying law, you know, she's just not going to be a police officer anymore. She's going to be my legal counsel."
"Keep you out of trouble."
"Exactly." A wide grin split Kaito's face. "We're getting married in a few months."
Saguru smirked. "I know. You invited me to the wedding."
"Oh, right. Is it too late to uninvite you?"
"If you do I'll uninvite you to my wedding."
Kaito's head shot up. "You finally asked her?"
"Not yet," said Saguru, his cheeks faintly pink. "Morgan graduates in another semester; I was planning on asking her then."
He tried to take a dignified sip of beer but Kaito elbowed him in the arm and his drink sloshed out of the glass.
"Sorry," Kaito grinned. "Does this mean you're not going to invite me to the wedding?"
"Don't give me ideas." Saguru took out a handkerchief and mopped up the spilled beer as Kaito cackled. "You owe me another beer."
"Sure, sure." Kaito laced his hands behind his head and leaned back. "Wow—this is weird."
"Actually, I've come to expect behavior of this sort from you."
"I didn't mean that."
"I know." Hakuba arched an eyebrow and gave a small smirk. "It is odd for me too."
Kaito pounded Saguru genially on the back. Then his face grew serious again and he took another deep draught of his beer. "Look, don't tell Aoko I said I was bored, okay? That just slipped out. I'm sure it's just readjusting to normal life."
"That is clearly an issue between you and her, in which I do not want to be involved," said Saguru with an amused quirk of his lips.
"Yeah," said Kaito. He raked a hand through his hair, his expression softening. "Yeah. We'll figure it out."
Saguru smiled, then turned and took another sip of his beer. Both finished the last few mouthfuls in silence.
"Was that a scar I saw?" Saguru spoke up after a few minutes. "On your head, when you brushed your hair."
"Oh. Yeah." Kaito pulled back the hair on the side of his head again. "That's the scar from the bullet. Hair doesn't grow there—doesn't hurt anymore, it just looks funny—but my hair's so thick you can't notice it when I don't comb it."
"Which is never."
"Exactly. So it works out."
Saguru nodded. "Funny how it's on the same side of your head as the monocle."
"Yeah," Kaito smiled briefly. "I've thought of that."
"Hm." Saguru put his elbows on the bar, folded his hands together, and rested his chin atop them. "A very interesting detail to add to my accounts."
Kaito's expression went from cheerful smile to darkest scowl. "I hate it when you look like this," he said, slouching away from Saguru on his barstool. "You have that 'I'm-a-smartass-detective-prick' face on. Okay, I'll bite. What accounts?"
"I suppose the most accurate term would be an autobiography."
"Well, more specifically a study. Of the Kaitou Kid. An account of my experiences in pursuit of him."
"Oh yeah? How honest is this 'autobiography' going to be?"
"As accurate as I can make it."
Saguru raised an eyebrow. "Relax, Kuroba—I won't publish it until after your death. And if I die before you do, my will stipulates to hold publication until you die as well."
Kaito glared at him. "Murder cases 101: this is called a 'motive,' class."
"I'm not going to kill you!" said Saguru, appalled.
"I'm writing it now while the events are fresh in my mind. It won't be published for another fifty to eighty years, you realize. But I'm going to write about everything. Including what transpired in that side street between the Kaitou Kid and myself, concerning a pair of handcuffs and a misplaced key."
"You'll get a lot of people in trouble. Including yourself." Kaito dropped his chin to the bar and looked reproachfully at Saguru. "And you'd get a hell of a lot of publicity if you published it now, I'm sure. Perfect for an up-and-coming detective."
Saguru looked down at Kaito and raised his eyebrows . "I don't need to write a book about your real identity to become a famous detective," he said with a rather self-satisfied smirk. "I'm already well on the way to establishing myself without riding on your coattails—or paraglider, as the case may be."
"It's pretty much one and the same, in this case," said Kaito dryly. "Anyway, that hasn't stopped all sorts of rumors about how you know the Kid's identity."
"Yes," Saguru grinned. "I don't mind those rumors."
"I'll bet you don't." Kaito fiddled with his empty glass. "…Look, make sure you don't publish it until after Aoko dies too, okay? If I die before her—I don't want her to have to—"
"I know," Saguru said immediately. "I won't."
"Thanks," Kaito grunted.
Saguru glanced into his own empty glass for a few moments, then back at Kaito. "Speaking of the ladies, perhaps we ought to be getting back. They'll be wanting to go to dinner soon."
"Yeah." Kaito stood up and waved at the bartender. "They're at Aoko's place, right?"
"I believe so."
Kaito chuckled dryly. " You know, they're probably having the exact same conversation we were. Except Aoko's version of it all, not mine." The bartender came over and Kaito jerked a thumb at Saguru. "He's paying."
Saguru rolled his eyes and rose to his feet. "Of course I am."
"Glad we've agreed on that, at least."
"Hm." Saguru handed the bartender a few bills and shot a glance at Kaito. "Perhaps we'll have a chance to play a hand or two of poker before dinner."
"You're just trying to get on my good side," Kaito scowled. "You know nobody beats me at poker."
"I am," Saguru agreed as they walked to the door. "If I wanted to clean you out I'd have challenged you to a game of billiards."
"I'm pretty good at billiards, too."
"No you're not."
Saguru pushed the door open and gestured Kaito through. Kaito raised an eyebrow at him.
"You know, I almost miss the cane. It really suited you, somehow."
"I think I took a fancy to it too, actually. I've been thinking of just carrying it around anyway."
"Just for looks, right? 'Cause that 'I'm-an-invalid' bluff is only gonna work once, you know."
"Yes, yes," Saguru grinned. He gestured Kaito through the door again but Kaito didn't move, only leaned his shoulder against the doorframe, put his hands in his pockets, and smirked at Saguru.
"So will you be turning that recording device off now or later? Personally, I'd prefer later, if you have the battery life, at least until after poker. I want the record of your utter defeat to be in your 'accounts' as well."
Saguru had frozen. He started to open his mouth but Kaito cut him off with a raised hand.
"Don't bother. I searched your pockets. And I'm telling you you can keep it. I don't mind, as long as you stick to your end of the deal."
Saguru sighed, and put his own hand into his coat pocket. "That's a relief," he said, withdrawing a small silver recording device which he held up with a little smirk. "Because I was just thinking that this conversation would be the perfect way to end my book."
Woah! It's over! It's been almost six months. And now this is the longest complete piece I've ever written. Yay!
Sorry it took me so long to get this chapter out. I had written part of it a long time ago, but it needed a lot of revision. And I wanted to add a bit with Aoko and Morgan talking, to get Aoko's side of things, because this story is called 'Kaito and Aoko's story,' after all But it got too long and redundant, so I had to cut her out. Sorry, Aoko! And then this has been a busy week for me. Like I said, I've just moved into the city, and I didn't have the time to write an ending I was happy with.
Here's my last manga ref! Kaito reveals that he sucks at billiards (but is unbelievably lucky) in MK volume 2, ch. 7.
Okay, now I'm going to write a little about the story of this story, which is probably only interesting to me, so please feel free to skip this. I just wanted to say it :) Please skip down to the last two words!
A lot of my other DC fanfics are short humor pieces, as you might have noticed, and that's how this one started—with Chapter 1 intending to be a stand-alone one-shot. 'Hey!' I was thinking, 'What if it was a few years after the manga, and Heiji knew Kaito's secret, and Aoko knew, and there was awkwardness?' So I wrote it and I thought it was kind of funny and that was that, but then it was as if Kaito and Aoko were mad at me for thinking that their situation was entirely humorous. I realized that if Aoko really knew Kaito's secret, they'd both be in a lot of pain. So that's how the second chapter came to be. After that I was like "'I miss Heiji! And what are Shinichi, Ran and Kazuha doing?' So chapter three (sans flashbacks) appeared. Then I just kept writing sort of haphazardly until I got to chapter 8, where Saguru appears, and then I stopped because I realized that I was stumbling blindly into a really convoluted plot and I had no idea where the story was going. This was all about four years ago.
Every so often this story'd pop up in my mind, and somewhere along the way I decided that Aoko'd be the one to shoot Snake. That became one of the central points of the story. Another funny story about the design—since I had already established from my haphazard draft of the "High (Tea) Time" chapter, Saguru was in England and would be arriving late on the scene, it took me a while to figure out his place in the story. I love Saguru (as you can probably tell) but I also wanted to give Shinichi his due as Kaito's twin/enemy/rival/equal as well. So I was really trying to balance Saguru and Shinichi, as well as not forgetting about Heiji. So for a while I was thinking that maybe Saguru would have to die! After having a change of heart and helping Kid at the last minute, he'd be killed by the Black Org. It seemed like the fitting way to do it. And someone had to die, right? But I really didn't want to kill off dear old Saguru. I was very upset. I could see no way around it. And then I had a revelation! Instead of killing Saguru off during the story, I would give him a near-death accident beforehand! His injuries and frailty would drive home the looming threat of death and dismemberment to the characters and the readers, and then, thanks to him I could get away with not killing any of the protagonists! I was so happy. So that's why Saguru's so injured for most of this story—by pushing him off a skyscraper I actually saved his life ;) I don't know if that makes sense…it does in my head, at least.
With the characters and the themes laid out, all that remained was the hard stuff—complicated plot intricacies. I planned out the whole thing in a word doc, reread that a few times, and finally finished it around last October. Then I was just editing the various chapters that I had started (I hopped around depending on what struck my fancy at the time) until finally last January, almost on a whim, I posted the first chapter as a way of forcing myself to actually write the thing and get it over with.
This has actually been a difficult year for me, so to have this story, and the support of you lovely readers, has been really wonderful in my life. It's given me a distraction from my work and everything else, and a single nice review always made my day :) So this is certainly not the end of my fanfiction career—still got more Arrested shorts to write for you all!—and as I plan on being a writer of my own stories(not just fanfics!) I hope you'll see a lot more of my stuff in the future! Maybe even with my real name on it! But for now I love being Bellerophone Really, truly, thank you so much, everyone who's read this and especially everyone who's reviewed.