Ah, I got hooked up in writing this instead of what I should be writing.
But I'm happy with how it came out ^_^ Hope you like it


Because of A Thief


People are being cheated, robbed, murdered, raped. And that goes on twenty-four hours a day, every day in the year. And that's not exceptional, that's usual. It's the same in every city in the modern world. But suppose we had no police force, good or bad. Suppose we had - just silence. Nobody to listen, nobody to answer. The battle's finished. The jungle wins. The predatory beasts take over.

-The Asphalt Jungle

...

...

Being a phantom thief with half the world after you prepares you for a lot of things in life. I knew how to dodge, how to deceive, how to tell the truth and trust people when necessary. I wasn't a cold blooded robber who took what he pleased and left the world to weep at what it lost. I knew how to give compassion to those who deserved it, and equally how to guard against bullets, physical and non-physical, from those who didn't. I could bend over backwards to get what I wanted done. I was ready to face almost anything.

A crying Aoko running into my house at ten at night with no warning and wrapping herself around me where I sat, stunned on the living room sofa, was not one of them.

Words failed me as she cried into my nightshirt. I took the barest second to move my right hand from where it sat and pushed the power button on the television so I had one less thing to distract me while I tired to figure out what in the world was going on.

"Kaito..." She explained nothing, grabbing me tighter and hiding her face so that I couldn't see it.

I wouldn't call it 'being a gentleman' or anything cheesy like that when I placed my hand loosely around her shoulders. It was a response to a simple need. Aoko could have been anybody and I would have reacted the same way. The fact that it was Aoko had me taking my free hand and brushing it lightly through her hair while she calmed down.

After a few minutes her crying turned to uneven sobs that shook through her body. I whispered into her hair, tightening my hold on her slightly as I did.

"Aoko. What's the matter?"

Aoko lifted herself up enough for me to see her red, tired eyes. She leaned away from me but kept hold of my wrist in a grasp that told me if I tired to move she'd jump on me and crush me with the same desperate need that she had seconds ago. It scared me. I didn't like seeing Aoko upset. Anyone upset. It hit something deep in me that I hadn't known was there until I started work as Kid. There were people out there, hurting, and not everyone had someone to turn to.

Aoko rubbed one of her already irritated eyes and glanced at me, tears still there on the rims like water behind a dam after a hard rainfall. Anything would set them off again. "Someone broke into our house." She paused to sniff as I took that in. "Dad forgot to lock the door. They took a lot of my things. I had..." she sniffled again. "I had some money, and some of my Mom's old jewelry." Her sniffles contained, cut off by a strained laugh that held anything but humor. "Sorry about all that. I was upset. Dad lost a lot of his stuff too, so I didn't want to..."

She didn't have to finish.

"So they just took some of your stuff?" I raised an eyebrow, trying to think of something to cheer her up and failing where I had never failed before. "Anything really important?"

"I don't really have much." She leaned forward to rub her eye again, running it into her hair where it shook where she clutched it. "I guess that sounds silly. Money can be replaced. The rest of the stuff wasn't anything I used anyway."

Forget whatever reasons I was holding myself back from doing it before. I leaned forward and hugged her in return, covering her arms so that she could do nothing but still herself in my hold. Her body shook with a few left over sobs before she rested her forehead on my shoulder.

There were things that only I knew about Aoko. She really didn't have much, but what she did have, she cherished with a passion. Anything of hers was something precious to her. Even if only a picture frame or one of her books had been stollen, it would have hurt her. That, and I could only imagine what being robbed in your own home felt like. It was yours. Your own sanctuary. The place where you lived out a good third of your life or more. The place you had family. Somewhere that was supposed to be safe, and warm, and the one place where you could be yourself.

I looked around the living room as I held her, staring at our own average-sized television and the few pictures that were arranged neatly at each corner. There was a side table near my back that held pads of paper, markers, cords, and whatever else Mom found laying around the house that she'd rescued from the floor. My own room had a laptop and my own cash that I'd saved up from birthdays past that I hid in the most obvious place that I could think of. My sock drawer. I let myself sit there and, for a moment, think of what it would be like to lose what I had. I didn't have much either, and like Aoko, my stuff was more important to me than it would be in anyone else's hands.

I gripped her tighter, finding her hair again and returning to stroking it.

"It's fine. Are you feeling better?"

"A little," she whispered in a quiet voice. That was also something I hated. Aoko was always so full of energy. She was the one person on the planet who could keep up with me, and I had energy to burn. When she was depressed, she was really depressed. I'd rarely seen her like she was now, even when we were kids and she was always alone.

"Can I do anything to help?"

Aoko shook her head, keeping it rested against me. "Nothing you aren't already doing."

I smiled, blinking. "I'm not doing anything."

"Listening is fine. I just... needed to let it out."

"What's your dad doing?"

Aoko shook her head again. "Nothing. It's not like we have cameras, and the neighbors didn't see anything." She let out and angry breath of air. "I hate this. I hate people like this. Why did someone have to steal from us? It's not like we have a lot of money. Why couldn't they just leave us alone?"

"I don't know."

Aoko sighed. "I know that. Kaito?"

"Hm?" I backed up, pushing her off of me but keeping my hands steady on her shoulders so that we were still in contact and she still felt safe.

"Why? Why do you like people like that? How can you stand...-" She huffed, turning away from me. "I hate them. I really had no right to go in our house and do that."

"No, they didn't." I let out a breath, trying to smile. "Do you need anything? Can get you something to drink?"

Aoko nodded numbly, not really looking at me anymore.

"I'll be right back then." I got off the couch and gripped her shoulder tighter before I left her sight, heading for the kitchen. Mom was upstairs but I doubted that she'd heard Aoko. I had had the TV on, and I knew mom liked to listen to the radio before she went to sleep to hear the news, so we'd be alone. I put a pot on the stove and added milk, going to the cabinet and taking out a bag of chocolate pieces before adding some of them and some sugar. I didn't really measure anything. I never did. Mom liked to tell me I had magic for more than just tricks.

When it was ready I got two cups and went back into the room with it where'd I'd left Aoko alone.

"Sorry." I pushed one of them into her hands where she accepted with a smile.

"Hot chocolate?"

"Good for calming the body and the mind," I winked. That's better. At least she was smiling now. I sat down next to her and put the TV back on. "Mindless television also works. That way, you don't have to think much."

Aoko took a few sips before putting the drink down on the table in front of her and leaning into my arm where I had it draped around the couch. "Thanks."

I almost choked on my drink at the suddenness of it. I put it down and let my arm rest over her. I was used to being close to her, but not to the point where I was, by default, embracing her. A few trickles of nervous tension ran though my spine. "No prob. I'm here any time you need me."

We stayed that way for an episode of something or another. I'd never seen the show before and I was more concerned about the girl in my arm that what some cartoon character found interesting about the spooky lights coming from his neighbors house. Aoko didn't take long to calm down. Soon her eyes were closing and she moved to lay herself out. I was already in the corner, so she had enough room. To lay her body out that is. Her head rested on my lap and I moved my hand to tenuously rest on her shoulder. The angle was uncomfortable, but I kept it there when I saw the smile on her face.

After the next show, she was asleep.

I shivered. It was late and I was tired too, but I wasn't going to risk waking her. Aoko had kept her coat on from when she'd come in so suddenly, so I knew she'd be fine for the night. I clicked the TV off and laid back on the couch, getting myself as comfortable as I could.

Opening one eye, I watched Aoko sleep. "Always getting hurt by a thief," I whispered under my breath in words so light they didn't reach my own ears. "When are you going to catch a break?"

...

I sneezed. Today just wasn't my day.

Pressing up against the wall and feeling the comforting material of Kid's clothing wrapped around me, I glanced down at hallway I'd just escaped though. No cops there yet, but who knew how long it would take.

I leaned heavily against the wall, trying to snap myself back to reality. One of my tricks hadn't been as successful as I had planned. I'd gotten The Blue Heart easily enough, though I doubt the museum had as easy a time in making a deal with that States that allowed them to show it here in the first place. My get away was perfect. My plans were perfect. I was out of the fine hairs of the police almost as quickly as I arrived, using my grappling hook to reach into the balcony floor above me. That was when something went wrong. I don't know exactly what it was. The line was cut, or shot through, or fell of it's own accord. I really hadn't been focusing on that when I'd been escaping. I fell from a height large enough to have me seeing stars for a minute or two after, and was currently seeking shelter in an abandoned office on the fifth floor while I figured out what to do.

The glider was out on the fact that I didn't have anywhere close to the height I needed. Simply going out the window wouldn't work because there was a row of officers around the perimeter and I was bound to be caught before I made it more than a few feet. Going back wasn't an option either. Nakamori had really pulled out everything to stop me tonight. Even without the crowd of onlookers that I usually invited along, I could hear at least two helicopters cutting into the air above the building.

There was a sift in movement of someone behind me. I spun around in the dark room, catching flashes of retina burning fog lights that blinded my assailant from me. It was an office building on the fifth floor for heaven's sake! There shouldn't have been anyone in there! It hadn't even occurred to me to check, the idea was so outrageous!

I drew my card gun, trying to act as threatening as I could with one hand up to block the light and the other brandishing my weapon. Had it been a real gun, I may have pulled it off. The little piece of plastic glinted hollowly, lacking the same impression that cold steal had.

My attacker froze none the less. For all of a second. I missed their raised hands as something came crashing down on my arm. I yelp in pain and backed up, squinting my eyes to try and see anything other than a dark silhouette. The hit me again in the side of the head with whatever it was and any hope of getting my vision to clear was destroyed. I stayed standing on sheer stubbornness, feeling the pain ring through my head that had already taken more than its share of abuse that night. I moved so that the gun wasn't aimed at them, because I wasn't about to shoot someone in the dark. If it were Snake, and I knew it was him, I might make an exception. I wouldn't go shooting a cop, and smoke bombs wouldn't do any good besides draw the rest of the force to my location before I could blindingly stumble out.

So I raised the weapon that was useless to me without light and used it to block any further attacks that I couldn't see. I heard the clash of metal hitting polymer and the gun flew from my hand, stinging my fingers.

Whoever it was knew how to get at me. Protecting my head left my stomach open and they jabbed me with whatever it was they were using to pummel me with. I wasn't good with hand-to-hand combat. The hit hurt some lower ribs and knocked the air from me, but there wasn't any real damage. I jump away, knocking myself into a desk before they could do me real harm. Great, now my back hurt too.

I was frozen for a moment and they had the perfect opportunity to get me again, if they wanted.

A thundering shock-wave that ran through the building prevented them, along with preventing me from escaping. My balance was thrown off thanks to the second knock to the head and the shaking didn't help. I clung to the desk that I fell into and watched the figure in front of me lose their balance completely and fall to the floor.

Not illuminated in the backdrop of the flood-lights, Aoko stared hard at me with rage and confusion.

"Aoko?" I asked her on instinct, to be sure it was her. Over the noise, she couldn't hear me. The shaking settled and I was about to walk over to help her up, my steps hesitant, when a second wave of force knocked me off my feet to and I hit my tailbone when I met with the floor.

"What the hell?" I shouted loud enough for her to hear, a snarl in my words. They weren't aimed at her but I saw Aoko flinch back. I snarled again, looking towards the windows where the lights flashed randomly with the quaking like some messed up strobe light.

Instead of trying to keep whatever dignity I had left in front of her, I crawled on my hands and knees to get a better look at what was going on outside. I didn't get more then a few feet away when the building started to creak under my palms and I saw the ceiling warp with pressure.

"Aoko, get down!" I shouted behind me. I had no idea what was happening, but that sounded like several bombs had gone off and the building didn't look like it was going to be taking it with any grace.

Aoko glared, ignoring my warnings in favor of wasting what could be the last second of her life hating me. I tried to get to my feet, the shaking making me stumbled over a few chairs. I could see the roof giving in and I ran to her to try and do what I could. The window was the same distance that Aoko was from me, but I couldn't leave her.

She backed away as if a lion were coming for her but she couldn't fight the shaking anymore than I could. Bits of ceiling started to come loose as it collapsed and I wound a hand around her back, burying her head under my own and closing my eyes. There was a lot of noise after that. If she had said anything to me, I didn't catch it. Something hit me in the back and I gritted my teeth against the pain. I didn't have long enough to think about what was happening before something bigger feel, hitting against my hand that I was trying to protect her with. It must have hurt her, so I crouched over more, trying to cocoon her in, when something struck my head. After that, the apocalypse could have come and I never would have noticed.

...

Something moved. I ignored it as best I could and tried to get back to sleep. When the stirring continued, I blinked my eyes open to see who was waking me up so early. Bits of plaster fell into my eye and I raised my hand to wipe them away.

"Get off of me!" The voice was quiet and angry. Strained. Once my eyes were clear, I looked at Aoko who, while not under me, was close enough to it. I smiled, trying to think what food I had eaten to be giving me such a weird dream.

"Get off!" she tried to command me, heaving in a heavy breath. I blinked a few more times, noticing that there was something kinda heavy on top of not only her but me. It was also very dark, wherever I was. There was a light coming from somewhere above me that let me see by, but it wasn't much. It kind of felt like I was in a cave.

"Please..." It wasn't a command anymore. I looked at Aoko and the angry pleas that wanted to follow but couldn't escape her lips. Then I noticed the white gloved hand that I held next to her and realized what had happened.

"Sorry." I tried to get up, shoving against whatever was on top of us. I hissed in a breath, feeling a sharp pain near my ribs, somewhere on my back. I took in a few quick breaths, shoving the pain away and focusing on getting the debris off of us.

I rolled to the side, letting Aoko have air as I panted for some of my own. I kept my teeth clenched, feeling the sharp pain still there. I'd broken a few ribs, or come close to it. Even sitting was hurting so I let myself lay down on some chunks of plaster under me. My eyes had no where to go but the ceiling above me and it's lack of existing. The floor above the missing one seemed to be intact though.

Aoko pushed some of the stuff off of her before getting up and heading for, where I had to guess, was the door. I looked at her out of the corner of my eye. After she left, I'd have to get myself together before the cops decided now was a good time to show up.

An angry breath that sounded dangerously close to a sob came from Aoko a few minutes later. I didn't have the energy to get up yet, so I said, in my most alluring voice. "What's the matter, Miss?"

"Shut up!" She went back to doing something that was loud and had enough bangs in it that I wanted to tell her to shut up so that the intense headache I'd woken up with would go away. I noticed something about myself soon after that. There was a trickle of blood coming from my head. That wasn't a surprised. It hurt bad enough. There was a more disturbing fact that I tried to ignore.

"I can't get the door open," she said in something between an quiet yell and a sob. "What happened?"

"I have no clue." I closed my eyes, raising my left hand to try and sooth my headache. "Don't worry. There'll be a rescue crew sent in. You'll be out in no time."

Her eyes settled on me and I got a bad feeling in my gut. I removed my arm, getting up and dealing with the pain of it. I'd have to get used to it to get out in any case. I waved my hand towards the window. "While they're still outside, I'm afraid I cannot leave. I'll be with you for a while and I ask, from the deepest depths of my heart, for a truce with you until we are to part."

Realizing that we weren't going to get out anytime soon and that she was stuck in there with me finally struck something in her.

Besides being prepared for most things, that aren't a lot of things that scare me either. Aoko proved that she was once again an exception to that by swinging at me. I barely had enough time to dodge it before I bumped into the wall behind me and her second fist got me in the stomach.

On instinct I grabbed her wrist and held her arm close to my body while she tried to swing at me again. I used the hand I was holding onto her with to block her from doing any harm. In the end, she ended up being thrown off or hitting her own hand.

"Let go of me!" Aoko screamed, struggling against me.

I don't know why I did it - because it was Aoko, because she was a girl, or because I could tell that she was really scared of me and I didn't want her to be - but I let her go.

Instead of taking it as a cue that she had no chance of beating me, she swung again and I dodged. The sound of her hand hitting the wall made me wince as she drew it back towards herself in a crouch and stared at me with angry, tear filled eyes before kicking me in the shin when I wasn't prepared for it and making me wince for myself.

"You stupid jerk!"

"You're the one who hit the wall!" I shook my head, keeping my tone as Kid and trying to change myself enough that Aoko wouldn't recognize me at such a close distance, as well as trying to keep myself from falling back into any classroom antics. "Miss, continuing this will get neither of us anywhere."

"I don't care! I hate you!" Aoko tried to hit me again and instead of moving I took the palm of my hand and pushed her strike aside so that neither of us had to get hurt.

"The faster you calm down, the faster I can get you out of here and both of us a happy distance from one another if you don't want to wait for someone else to do it."

"Why? Scared of me? Afraid that I might actually stop you? People like you need to be stopped! If..." Aoko shook her head. "I'm not going to let you steal from anyone, anymore!"

"I don't plan on stealing anything from you. So, quiet frankly, its none of your concern." I leaned against the wall she had hit. If she tired it again, I'd be able to stop her like I had before. There were a lot of police officers outside. The lights flashed into the room but there was so much noise that they wouldn't hear us. Five floors up doesn't sound like much, but the first floor was a museum, and their ceilings were high. I could lower a rope, but that would give me away as fast it it would help Aoko. I wasn't willing to go that far just so she could get out of the stupid room.

"I don't want your help. You're staying here with me and I'm going to make sure that you go to jail where you belong!"

I didn't expect her to do it or I would have changed the position I was in. My left hand was pressed against the wall while I'd been looking out. She was closest to my right and grabbed it hard, dragging me towards her.

I screamed. I couldn't help it. I hadn't been expecting it and so much pain at once was hard to contend with. The noise sacred Aoko enough that she dropped my wrist and it dangled loosely at my side.

My body was shaking and my breath coming in pants. The break was bad and her aggravating it had hurt so much I wasn't thinking straight.

I tried to relax, leaning against the wall and grabbing the upper part of my right arm to keep her from touching it again.

Aoko was angry and scared and confused. She glared at me, panting almost as hard as I was. "Why the hell did you come in here! I was waiting for Dad! I didn't want to see you!"

I shook my head, trying to understand. So I said the only thing I could think to say. "It's not like I knew you were in here. Do you think I would have hidden somewhere I was likely to be found?"

Aoko huffed and looked away.

I had enough of her. Enough of my pain and enough of my own confusion. That had definitely been a bomb. Snake had every reason to be here tonight, so I had to guess it was his doing. He'd never gone this far before. People could have been hurt. Killed

My working hand clenched into a fist while I started thinking on something more productive. How was I going to get out? My arm was broken somewhere near the elbow. I had no motion of it, so climbing down anything was impossible. The glider, again, wouldn't work because I didn't have the height. Worse of all, the minute I tried anything, the cops would come running for me once Aoko gave me away.

No matter what scenario I tried to come up with, none were plausible. I let myself slide down the wall, feeling the pain of my ribs join the rest of them. There wasn't anything to do but try and escape the cops when they came to pick up Aoko.

"I thought you were going to get us out." Aoko's words were one shade of smug higher than she'd used with me in the past but they brought with them the same irritation that they did every time.

"There's no way out. I'm as trapped in here as you are."

"Some amazing thief you are. First time I see you in person and you're on the ground, not even able to escape from a girl." She grinned, turing her head to the side before glancing back at me, worry hidden in her eyes. I watched her in return to try and understand what it was that was upsetting her so much. I didn't have far to look. I gave her a smile of my own before breaking eye contact first, so she wouldn't feel threatened.

"I apologize for scaring you. I hadn't expected you to grab me like that."

Aoko turned away. "I wasn't scared."

I gave a quiet laugh that wasn't meant to be insulting, but I knew she took it that way the minute I let it out. "Very well then, let me apologize for bringing trouble to your doorstep and being egocentric jerk that I am and not apologizing to you sooner."

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?"

"Maybe."

"Well, it didn't work." Aoko turned away from me. There were bits of plaster that clung her hair and her clothes were light with sprinkles of whatever else was built into the floor above that now lay scattered at our feet. She turned her head to glare at the window, making sure not to look at me. "Can't we get out that way?"

"Not a chance. The windows are reinforced. It would take a hurricane to knock it down."

It seemed she didn't care about avoiding my eyes anymore, too intent on glaring at me like I was an idiot. "There was an explosion just now. I don't think its in there very well anymore. So I'm going to ask again, can we get out that way?"

Her comment irked me because she was right, but I didn't let it show. "I don't know. I won't want to try. Even if its not in there well, if there's someone below this room, they're going to get killed if the glass is knocked out. I don't have any ideas how it could be knocked inwards either."

"Right. Why am I talking to you? You don't know anything!" She went back to the door and tried to lift some of the wreckage away, but it was a hopeless task. Even from where I was sitting, I could see where the ceiling carved itself into the door under the pressure.

She knew that though, and I didn't feel like risking another comment that she might take the wrong way. Aoko was Aoko to me, but while I was Kid, she couldn't be anything more than any other random women that I'd run across in the night.

Outside was still filled with the flashing lights of the police, maybe even a few more than there had been early. It was only a matter of time before they found us.

"Um..." Aoko looked at me uncertainly. "You're sure there's no other way out?"

"You can see the situation as well as I can. If I could, I would have left long before now."

"Fine then! Stay over there and don't you dare come anywhere near me!" Aoko sat on the patch of ground she had cleared near the door, folding her hands over her legs. "Try anything and you'll be sorry!"

I started coughing on some of the dust that was floating around in the air. "No worries. I'm sure your father won't leave you here for long." Aoko looked unsettled again which peeked my interest. "Your father doesn't know your here, does he?"

"Why should I tell you?"

I sighed. "What are you doing here then? Thought it would be fun to try and play cops and robbers with the professionals?"

"Of course not! I needed to make sure Dad came home today! Today... I was supposed to do something. I... I need to get out. I need to be there. Dad won't know I'm here. Please, there has to be a way!"

"None that I know of." I leaned back. It would be a while then. It was dark out and morning wasn't due for at least five hours. The police wouldn't go searching a crime scene in the dark and the building was large. Because the target had been on the first floor and the rest of the building had been evacuated, searching up here wouldn't be on their priority list. That, and the bombs knocked out the electricity, so they wouldn't want to risk disturbing a crime scene. "I suggest we get comfortable then."

"But I can't-" I couldn't tell it, being so far away from her, but I thought there were tears in her eyes.

"Why? What's so important about today?"

Aoko shook her head. "Nothing you would care about. Just leave me alone!" She folded herself in closer, hiding her face from me in the darkness. I gave up, too tired to try and figure anything out. Prying would only make her withdraw more and I was already upsetting her.

I laid back, letting my eyes close. I couldn't risk sleep with her in the same room as me, but I could rest. As long as I made sure I didn't accidently drift too far, it was fine. The noise outside became calming, familiar. There must have been officers running around downstairs, but I couldn't hear them.

A while later, the sound of Aoko shifting positions snapped me back to reality. I watched her through the darkness and realized something that should have been obvious from the beginning.

I got up, feeling all the pains of earlier. My arm didn't hurt as long as I kept it still, but my ribs were a different story, since I couldn't stop myself from breathing.

I walked over to her, steps purposely loud enough so that she would hear me. I kicked a few chucks of ceiling away from me to make it more obvious. Aoko looked up, eyes finding me and shining with uncertainty and anger.

"What do you want?"

"Here." I took the last steps to her, un-buckling my cape. It wasn't of any use to me anyway. "You're wearing nothing more than a shirt and pants. You've got to be cold." I held it out to her when I had it undone but she didn't take it.

"I don't want it."

"You're smarter than that. Here, take it. You can leave it in the morning."

Aoko shook her head and I bent down close to her so I wasn't hovering and put it in front of her. "Don't be stubborn. Take it. Here." I shrugged off the coat as well, doing my best not to hurt myself. I draped it around as best I could one-handed and she didn't push it off of her. "Dislike me all you want, but don't let it make you stupid."

"Fine, now get away from me."

I shrugged, standing. "I've never been thanked like that before, but you're welcome."

"Take it back then!"

"Forget I said anything." I walked back to where I had been resting and felt the chill seep through the silk shirt. She should have said something. I didn't notice how cold it was until I had the coat off. I leaned against the wall that was still warm from earlier and settled myself back in. My eyes closed, even with how uncomfortable it was.

Something shifted and woke me for a second time. At this point, light was streaming in through the window and the wreckage around me didn't look as impeding as it had before. I rubbed my eye, looking around.

Aoko remained where she had last night. I was happy to see she'd taken the cape and had it wrapped around her like a blanket. Her head rested on a piece of plaster as she curled up to keep herself warm.

I stood, stretching what I could. Okay, now I had to think of a good way to get myself out of this. If I waited for the cops, I was going to have trouble getting away. That, and the Inspector was going to have a heart attack finding his daughter in the building, not to mention alone with me. Heists would get a lot more difficult if he had a vendetta to work with. Nakamori trusted me way too much. Then again, he was a good man. I had to think he had an idea of what was going on.

Aoko stirred after a while. I smiled at her, watching her blink her eyes at me.

"Good morning, princess. Did you sleep well?"

Aoko shot up, the coat falling off of her as she glanced around. She looked simply heartbroken and my smile faded.

"What's the matter?"

"Nothing. I guess they didn't come last night." She shook her head but couldn't manage to get her anger from last night to return. She was just sad. "Couldn't be helped."

"I take it that whatever plans you had last night were important. I'm sorry for making you miss them."

"I wish you had... but I know you didn't. I shouldn't have come." Aoko stood up, handing me my stuff back. "Here. And, I guess maybe I should say thank you."

"You don't have too." I took both articles in one hand, putting the cape down and holding the coat.

"Yeah, I guess not. I'm sure that whatever happened last night was partly your fault anyway."

"Hey!"

Aoko took the coat from me and moved to my side. "So I won't say it then. I'll repay the favor. Then we're even and I don't have to worry about it ever again." She slide the coat on slowly so it wouldn't agitate the broken bone. I pulled it on the rest of the way after my arm was in the sleeve.

"Thank you."

"You don't need to say it either. We didn't do anything for each other. I still hate you. I just paid you back."

"As you wish."

I sneezed, getting another face full of dust. Even with the night come and gone, the room was stuffy with no ventilation.

"Do you have a cold?"

I shook my head. "I'm fine. Are you?"

Aoko nodded, turning away from me. She sneezed, rubbing her nose. "Can't we at least get a draft in here or something?"

"It shouldn't be long now that the sun's come up. If you make enough noise, I'm sure that they'll hear you."

"But then they'll find you." Aoko watched me. "Aren't you going to get out first?"

"I can't walk through walls, though I've inspired a few people enough to assume that I can. I'll escape when you leave."

"How? You're hurt."

I held my arm, feeling the bone shift as I took a few steps back. "I never was one for shying away from danger. Once we're free, I'll flee."

"Or you can hide." Aoko was watching me, eyes distant on something I couldn't pinpoint. Whatever was making her so sad was making her equally as lethargic. "I won't tell anyone you're here. When they're gone, you can come out."

"And why would the Inspector's daughter do something like that for me?"

"It's not for you. If my dad sees you, he's going to chase you, and I need him to come with me. We didn't make it last night, but maybe... I want my dad with me, not chasing your shadow. Stay out of my way."

I thought about it for a while. That wasn't such a terrible idea if Aoko kept her word. And she sounded sincere.

"I'll follow your lead then." If things didn't work out, I always had the plan of running away as fast as my feet could carry me. It wasn't like I hadn't been planning on doing that from the start. "Go ahead and get their attention then. As long as they aren't having a party down there, they should hear you." I moved so that I was hiding amongst a good chuck of stuff near the corner of the room. I leaned against the wall, prepared to take off if she gave me away. Aoko watched me up until the point I was out of her sight.

Then she started banging on the door. "Hey! Anyone! I'm stuck in this room! Help!" She kept on screaming the like and pounding on the door, stopping every few seconds or so to see if anyone had heard her. After a few minutes, there was a voice on the other side that I couldn't hear, but she was replying to.

Aoko stepped away. When she did, I made sure that I couldn't be seen by anyone randomly walking into the room either. Snuggling closer to the wall, I lost sight of her while someone on the outside threw something hard against the frame.

The door didn't open after a few tries. I waited, hearing wood splintering a few minutes later. They must have found a crowbar or something and were getting in that way. It didn't take long for that to work and the door busted open.

I didn't see anything that happened but I heard Aoko's quick steps leave the room while some conversation was going out into the hall.

I waited in a tense possition, but nothing happened. The voices faded away and I stood up.

I had to admit, I was surprised. I fully anticipated Aoko walking away and telling one of the guards that I was still in the room.

I hide the cape and used a minute to get a coat on over my own so I wouldn't look so obvious walking down the street. Sidestepping officers as they ran past me, taking sanctuary in parts of the building that had collapsed or rooms that weren't occupied, I made my way out.

Once I was on the street I calmed down, feeling tired again now that I didn't have to keep up the act any longer.

I may have slept, but I was so close to waking the entire time that it hadn't been as restful as it could have. I'd have to make up some excuse for the broken arm to my mom. Aoko would be harder. Then again, there wasn't much I did that didn't end up getting me into trouble. I'd talked off how I'd broken my leg to her before. Another injury coincidental to the day Kid had a heist wouldn't go unnoticed, but I could say I was outside too, if I had to. Whatever explosive Snake used, it was powerful. I could say I fell down the stairs of the building next door while I was spying.

I was able to walk home. Most of my targets were kept in the neighborhood, but this one had been closer than usual. Maybe it was just good luck that I was so close.

My hand was barely on the door handle before my mom turned it, opening it and scowling down at me.

"Where have you been?"

"Friend's house?" I lied with a smile. Mom shook her head and pulled me in by my still outstretched arm.

"Really, Kaito. It was bad enough about yesterday, but to stay out all night..." She continued to drag me across the house, up the stairs and to my room, before letting me go to rummage through my closet and hand me one of my nicer coats that she'd made me wear once before for the tenth anniversary of Nakamori entering the force. Of course, I'd been happy to celebrate then because I hadn't known about Kid at that point. She continued digging through my clothes before finding a nice pair of pants that suffered minimal abuse where they dragged on the floor behind my shoes, slightly too long on me.

"What's all this for?" I asked.

Mom scowled again, this time puffing out a breath that let me know just how upset she was.

"Well, I couldn't go over there yesterday, and because of your shenanigans, last night was out of the question. We're going to go over there today and pay our respects."

"Over where?" I tilted my head to the side. She knew I had no idea what she was talking about, and every time I said something to prove that, she got more upset. I just wanted her to tell me already. That, and I was a bit curious at what she thought I was doing last night. Some part of me guessed that she knew what I did, but I had never wanted to believe it.

"Kaito..." Mom sighed, turning sad eyes on me in a way I couldn't defend myself against. I stopped and we both waited while I went through the list of dates in my head for anything important last night. When I came up blank, I sent her my own downgraded version of the same look and shrugged my shoulders.

"Really..." Mom rolled her eyes, taking the coat from off the bed where I placed it and handing it to me to put on. "Aoko-chan's mother died in the hospital twelve years ago, yesterday. I think we should go over there and show them some sympathy."

I backed up as if she'd struck me.

What?

I had completely forgotten about that. I mean, I kept track of everything. I knew the day that dad died, the day that Aoko and I had first met, even the day that I'd first found out about Pandora. How could I have forgotten something so important to Aoko? Now that Mom had said it, I knew. We'd gone over to their house every year and had dinner together.

And here I screwed everything up. Aoko had been there last night to make sure her father came home, on the day he shouldn't have been at work. A day Kid shouldn't have stollen from them. Worse, I'd made her spend it with me, as Kid. Then I'd almost gotten her killed because of my enemies.

I clenched my fist and tried to get the coat on with my left hand. Mom noticed, her gaze turning to some mix of sympathy and curiosity.

"Kaito, are you hurt?"

"I'm fine," I lied, feeling my chest hurt with both physical and emotional pain. After a few seconds of struggling, mom moved and helped me change into the coat. I'd discarded Kid's before I made it back, so I let her.

"Thanks."

"If your hurt, you should take care of yourself first. I'm sure that Ginzo only returned home a short while ago. It would be nice to give them some alone time."

"I can't." My ribs were just bruised. I was moving around with just muscle pain from them. My arm would have to wait. If I wrapped it up now, before I saw Aoko, she would be too distracted by me, again, to think about herself. And Aoko really had to start thinking about herself once in a while. The damned girl was just too nice.

"Fine. I'll get myself ready. Meet me downstairs."

I nodded, feeling my fatigue from earlier dissappear. Mom left my room while I traded my white pants for black. I went downstairs on the sofa when I was done and waited for my mom while she put on makeup and whatever else she dressed herself up with.

I was such an idiot. How much did I have to take from Aoko before it was too much? I knew I'd missed a few of her parties. I'd made her father miss them too. Some of that wasn't my fault, but because of who I am and what I did, it was my fault whether I was the instigator or not. Other criminals only get up the moxy to act because I'm here.

Mom came down a little less then ten minutes later. I got up and shoved my hand in my pocket, following in her shadow. I didn't want to go and face the consequences of what I'd started, but I had responsibilities, and Kid didn't have to exist in order from me to know that I had to keep them up.

Aoko and her father didn't live far from us. They didn't live close, but certainly not far. It took maybe ten more minutes before we were in front of their door and mom was knocking. I withdrew into myself.

The Inspector answered the door, his eyes tired and maybe a bit wild around the edge.

"Chikage," he bowed slightly.

"Ginzo." My mom bowed in returned and I followed her lead.

"You can come in if you want." The Inspector opened the door an stood back, looking into his house. "Aoko should be down in a few minutes. We've both had a long night, how about going out for breakfast this year?"

"My treat." My mom walked in, patting him on the shoulder before slipping off her shoes. I waited for her to finish before doing the same.

"Haven't seen you in a while, Kaito-kun. You don't come over much anymore. How have you been?"

"Fine." I smiled and Nakamori's tired eyes couldn't see past my masks. I let honest sympathy escape. "Better then you. What happened last night?'

He shook his head. "I came home and found Aoko missing last night. I thought that she may have been at your house. But she didn't call and there was no note. I was worried. Can't say I slept much."

He didn't know where Aoko was and the chances of her being at the heist were slim to none, even if she had really come. No one would have thought she would. Nakamori must have been really worried before he found out what had happened to her this morning. A thought floated across my mind. Maybe he had been afraid he'd lost his daughter, and on the same day he had lost his wife all those years ago.

"She okay?" I asked, though I already knew the answer. It got a smile from him.

"She's fine. Of the two of us, I'm the one who wants to crawl in bed and sleep away the day."

"After breakfast." My mom slapped in on the back, just as I heard Aoko's soft steps coming down the hallway. I stared after her and mom turned around, seeing me look.

"Hello, Aoko-chan? Want to go to breakfast with us?"

"Sure."

Aoko looked at me. I smiled, holding in the urge to get away from those eyes. It was all my fault. How could I have forgotten about her mother? How would I feel if she'd forgotten about Dad? I didn't like the emotions that dredged up.

"Hi."

"Hi," I said back numbly. I added a small wave with my hand to try and make the greeting more friendly than my words had come out. "I head you had a long night."

"Not as long as my dad." Aoko crossed her arms and her eyes left me for a moment to look at her father. "Sorry."

"Not your fault. Something... strange happened last night. I was late home anyway. I have to guess the place is full of police tape right now. If the forensics guys find anything, I'm going to have to take the call."

"Don't worry about it, Dad." Aoko shrugged. "It's your job."

"What are you talking about?" My mom searched my face first, before turning to Nakamori. "What happened last night?"

One of my rare heists that had been run without the assistance of a news crew. I had to guess that Nakamori wasn't the only one worried last night when their child didn't come home.

"There was a few explosions on the sub-levels of the building Kid's target was in. Shook the whole damn neighborhood. It was a miracle the building didn't collapse on itself. Can't say much of it survived. After we're done, a demolition crew is gonna come in and take care of what the bombs didn't. Whoever this manic is who thinks he can pull that kind of crap is going to pay."

"Was anyone hurt?"

I hadn't even thought about that before mom asked. I leaned against the wall by the door while I waited for an answer with her.

"One of mine got knocked out. It's just a small head wound. He should be on his feet by now. Nothing else. I'm grateful that they evacuated the building when we told them to. Sometimes people don't take these heists as seriously as they should. Kid, himself, is a walking insurance claim. The trouble he leaves behind is even worse."

"Enough of all this." Aoko moved in closer to the group so she would have our attention. "I'm hungry. Let me go get a jacket and I'll be right down." Her eyes sought me out on purpose, latching on and not letting me look away. She walked down the hall where the stairs were, leaving me with no questions about what she wanted.

"I'll be right back, Mom. I have to use the bathroom."

Mom smiled at me before I had time to take off after Aoko. I rolled my eyes at her, though she didn't see my response. I followed Aoko's footsteps up the stairs and pushed the first door on the left all the way open to see her sitting on her bed, waiting for me.

"Hi, Kaito."

"I think we did this already, but hi, Aoko."

Aoko looked down at her lap, a small smiling painting her face before it was gone. "Yeah, I guess we did."

I sat down next to her, not sure what she wanted me to do. I made sure to keep her on my left side. "So, something bothering you?"

"Yeah." Aoko played with a fold in her pants, blue eyes turned away from me. "How do you know if you're a good person?"

I raised my eyebrows at her. "I have no idea. I think you just know. If you do good things, you're a good person."

"What if you do good things and bad things? Are you still a good person, or are you a bad person?"

"I have no idea." I shook my head, thinking for a moment. "I guess you would be a bad person."

Aoko looked up, stunned. "Why?"

"Because," I folded one leg over the other. "A good person will do mostly good, and every now and then I guess they would slip, and do something they regret. If a good person were to do the same amount of bad as they were good, they would be bad. Being good every now and then to cancel out the bad things you do doesn't make you good, and the same goes for the opposite. You see what I'm saying?"

"I guess." Aoko went back to looking down.

"Don't worry, you're a good person." I placed my hand on top of hers and felt her stiffen, then relax into my grip.

"But what if I'm not?"

"Aoko, whatever you did, doing something bad once doesn't make you a bad person. Especially if you're regretting it like you are."

"But that's the problem." Aoko took her hand out of mine and turned away from me. "I don't regret it."

I stared at her, words gone. She couldn't have just admitted that. There were only two things for her to feel guilty about. Leaving her father alone, which she had no control over and she was smart enough to figure out was, in no way, her fault, and helping me escape.

But it was to be with her father. If Nakamori had learned that Kid was still in the area, he would have come to look for me, and then I would have stollen two days from them that they should have been together. Aoko did it for the sake of both of them, not to help me.

"I'm sure whatever you did wasn't that bad."

"Probably not to you, but if my dad found out, he'd be really mad at me."

"Then your dad never has to find out. I won't tell if you won't." I winked at her. "Though I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Thanks for being there, Kaito."

I took my hand an put on around her shoulders, feeling her fall into my arm. "'Course. That's what friends are for. I mean, when I am there."

Aoko smiled, turning towards me so our faces were only inches apart. "Even when you're not here, I feel like you're still somewhere close by. I know, it's silly, but last night I was somewhere I didn't want to be, and I felt like you were there too."

I laughed. "I was at home sleeping last night. Where were you?"

"I know." Aoko pushed me away. "I already told you it was silly. You don't have to make fun of me."

"Who says I was making fun? Maybe I was there." I raised my eyebrows in a suggestive manner. "Maybe I'm stalking you. Or better yet, maybe I'm a ghost and you can't see me watching you... like last week, when you were talking a bath-"

"Shut up!"

I laughed. "Fine. Nice to see the that your spirits are back up."

"Kaito, I met him."

I stopped laughing and didn't worry about my expression because she was back to not looking at me. "Met who?"

"Kaitou Kid. He's a lot like you, you know. I mean, when you're not trying to be an idiot and get me riled up. He even has your weird sense of humor."

"Hey, since when is my sense of humor weird?" I defended, though I didn't put much bite in it.

Aoko ignored it and kept on talking. "There are other reasons that you two are so similar. Whenever Kid comes, you're nowhere to be found. I know you like him, and I've been at home while my dad was out there chasing him, yet you've never once come over. I thought it was coincidence before, and there were a few times when I did see the two of you together, but something strange always happened both of those times. Things that wouldn't normally have happened if Kid or you weren't preoccupied."

"Aoko, I have no idea what you're talking about. And of course I don't come over to your house then. I know you don't like him. You have to admit, if I'd asked to watch a heist with you last week, you would have turned me out faster than I could finish the question."

"How would you know? You never even tried. I know that you would have, if it had been anyone other than Kid. I used to see you all the time when my dad went to work, so much so I felt like you were my babysitter. Then you were gone, and Kid was on the TV."

"So what? So I grew up a little."

"And you're still nice to me, when we're not in school. But you're always distracted or tired now. And you weren't before. Kid, he was nice to me, even when he didn't have to be. I was with him when the bombs went off in the building. I was doing everything I could to fight against him, and he saved me anyway. Just like you would."

"I think a lot of guys have that kind of reaction to a girl."

"There aren't a lot of guys who show up at my house who have a cut on their head that they probably didn't even notice and are nursing their arm. The same kind of injuries I know Kid had last night."

I ran out of words to fight back with.

"So what do you want me to say? That I'm Kid? I'm not."

Aoko looked up, so many emotions flooding through her eyes that all the terrible thoughts I had of her figuring out what she already had, vanished. "Say that again, and look at me when you do it."

I stared into her eyes, masks up and a smile on my face, ready to do as she asked. But I couldn't. Of all the days for her to force me into this, it had to be the one that I'd already taken everything I could from her... but I wasn't going to take her best friend too.

"I'm not Kid."

We both stayed that way, just watching each other. Aoko's eyes darted back and forth to find something in me that wasn't sincere. She wouldn't because I wasn't going to let her. But falseness in a friend is worse than having one.

I picked up her hand, holding it in mine as I kissed the top of it, displaying on of my more Kid-like grins. "I'm Kaito. Right here and right now. I'm your friend. If I can help it, I promise to keep better track of my days. And, if you ever need me, I'll be there in a heartbeat."

Aoko took her hand back and held it closer to her, searching the rest of my body with her eyes and making sure that she was right in her deductions. I didn't hide the fact that I couldn't move my arm. She already knew.

"And right now, I'm Aoko, and I'm your friend," she said after her scrutiny. "And a friend doesn't let a friend do something that's wrong. Something that only hurts others." Aoko blue eyes were soft, focused on mine. "But I have no say over what Kid does. He's not my friend. I don't care what happens to him as long as you're still there after."

I grinned, getting up. "No worries there. I won't follow Kid to the grave. I'm not that big of a fan. Now, lets see what we can do about that breakfast. I don't know about you, but I missed dinner last night."

...

Journal Entry:

I met Kaitou Kid the other day. But that's nothing to brag about. I've known him for a while now. Seeing him like that was - different, but it wasn't wrong. I didn't know this then though. When I was faced with the thief, I wanted nothing more than to hurt him, the way he hurt me. He took everything from me that I had left. But not purposely. I didn't know it until I saw that look on his face when the building we were in started to come down. He'd been hurt to. Knew what pain and fear were better than I did. Knew what was important. Something I had almost forgotten. People were important. Whatever Kid does from not on, I won't oppose him. Dad's still enthusiastic about being on his trail, but I think even Dad knows that there's something bigger going on. After all, Kid's a good person. All his thieving, it's like a pebble in the pond compared to the good he's doing. Why I didn't let myself see that before now, I don't know. I could say it was because I didn't want to, but that's not it.

I didn't see it before because I wasn't looking. It took an idiot magician smiling at me one too many times for me to notice that a smile was the perfect way to hide pain.

Now I have to stop relying on my friends to show up when I need them. I need to be there when they need me. Until I took a look at my own life, I didn't notice how I was neglecting a certain friend of mine as much as they were neglecting me.

So, while it was because of a thief that I lose time with my father more than I used to, and the reason I don't see an important person to me much anymore, its because of a thief that my dad has a reason to feel young again. To take part in helping build something bigger, even if he doesn't know he's doing it. I asked him, and it seems he's caught more criminals in the past few months than he has years. And a thief also let me see what I'd been missing.

There was a certain prankster in my class who wouldn't be getting away with smiling at me and pretending that he's okay anymore. Because of Kid, I've seen how much more there is to him, and how much he's still hiding.

Because of a thief, I had large part of my life taken away, but he had given it back too - and this time I can see the things that need to be fixed, to make it better than it has been. For all of us.

I don't blame the thief, not anymore.