Disclaimer: I don't own DCMK.

Genre: Mystery/Romance/Adventure/Supernatural

Rating: T

Pairing: KaiShin [KaitoxShinichi], possible HeiKazu and HakuRan

Summary: A magicians' convention on Halloween at a hotel with a peculiar history. Something was bound to go wrong. Sometimes he hated being right. When costumes aren't costumes anymore, what's a detective to do?

Note: I wasn't originally planning on putting this up until October, but since I haven't finished the next chapter of Dappled Light yet, I decided to go ahead and do so. This one is going to be pretty long, and it will probably get much more serious later on. Well, hope you enjoy!

The Show Goes On

1: Moonrise

"They're having a magicians' convention this weekend," Kaito announced when they sat down to dinner that night. "It's a three day event around Halloween."

Shinichi considered this piece of information for a moment as he served them each a plate of pasta. "Have fun."

It was Kaito's turn to pause. "You're coming with me, you know."

Blue eyes met indigo over the table and the next several seconds passed in silence. Kaito grinned. Shinichi raised his eyebrows. The magician quirked one of his own. The detective frowned. Kaito's grin grew wider and a little sharper.

"You remember what happened last time I went to something like that," Shinichi reminded him. "Come to think of it, every time I've met a magician that wasn't you, someone was killed."

"Yeah, but that kind of happens when you go places anyway," Kaito pointed out. "And I'll be there."

"You were at the other one too."

"True, but I went that time because I knew something was wrong. This time I'm going because they invited me. This is entirely different. Besides," he added as an afterthought. "I already told them I'm bringing a guest."

"You could bring someone else."

"But I want to bring you," the magician pointed out. "And I've already sent invitations to all our friends. Just give it a chance Shin-chan. I promise you'll have fun."

Arguing with Kaito, Shinichi had long since learned, especially about things like this was pointless. The magician excelled at getting his way one way or another. Even if he somehow managed to win the verbal debate now, he had no doubt that he would eventually find himself at the convention anyway one way or another. It wasn't that Shinichi didn't like going places with Kaito, because he really did, but he just had a bad feeling about this. He really couldn't remember the last time he'd gone to a magician related event where someone hadn't died (again, Kaito was the exception). And usually the magician was either the killer or the killed.

And this event was being held in conjunction with Halloween. If that didn't sound like trouble, he didn't know what did.

"You're over thinking it," Kaito admonished as they pulled up into the parking lot of the hotel where the convention was being held.

"I didn't say anything."

The magician cast him a crooked grin. "You didn't have to. It's written all over your face. Now come on."

The hotel was a massive, grand-looking building that made Shinichi think of European castles. The impression was enhanced by the Halloween themed décor with which the building had been dressed. Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say it looked like a haunted house that had been based on a castle. Either way, it fit in all too well with the thick forests through which they had had to drive to reach it. Almost like it had grown there even.

And it seemed the hotel staff had gone all out to make sure that the hotel's inside lived up to every expectation you could have after a glimpse of its outside face. Spider webs hung in gauzy curtains across the walls decorated with the occasional spider—some of which waved their arms at passersby. Squeaks and the sounds of rustling wings echoed down from the dark reaches of the main hall's vaulted ceilings. Glowing eyes peered out from the shadows between the leaves of potted plants decorating the hall. There even seemed to be a faint fog hanging over the floors, swirling around their feet as they walked through it.

"Obviously Halloween is a big deal here," Shinichi murmured unhappily. It wasn't the decoration that bothered him—no, it was the idea of just what kinds of ideas those decorations might put into some unstable mind. "The fog seems a bit overboard."

"There's no such thing as overboard when it comes to putting on a good show," Kaito said sagely.

Shinichi just snorted. "I suppose it would be hypocritical for you to think otherwise."

The magician pulled on a mock wounded look. "Hey, what's that supposed to mean?"

"Just go check in. My socks are getting damp."

Their room was decently sized if not huge, though it did look considerably larger than it really was due to the massive mirror taking up most of the wall opposite the bed and the corresponding mirror over said bed. It seemed a bit odd to Shinichi, like putting a bed in the middle of a carnival funhouse, but he supposed some people would probably like the novelty. Or maybe it was a superstition thing. He knew the Chinese believed a mirror at the foot of the bed brought bad luck which could be deflected by another mirror opposite. Fortunately, the staff had refrained from unleashing their Halloween enthusiasm on the rooms of their guests (though the hallway just outside looked like the heart of some haunted wood). The only concession was the miniature jack-o-lantern grinning at them from the nightstand, lit from within by a tiny light bulb. Both detective and thief automatically moved to make a careful inspection of every corner of the room. Ran would have called it paranoia, but Shinichi preferred to call it caution. After all, being a good detective came hand in hand with making dangerous enemies. And Kaito would have been caught a long time ago if he wasn't meticulously careful. Once the room had been scoured to their satisfaction, Shinichi moved to transfer their belongings from the luggage into the closet only to be intercepted by Kaito.

"What did you put in there that you don't want me to see?" he asked suspiciously as the magician apprehended the luggage, insisting that he be the one to unpack it.

"Don't be silly Shin-chan," Kaito laughed. "If I put something in here that I don't want you to see, obviously I'm not going to tell you what it is."

Which, the detective reflected, was not a reassuring answer. It was practically an admission. On the other hand, it was Kaito. He was always scheming something and experience said that there was no point worrying about it because nothing anyone did could stop the magician from eventually getting what he wanted.

"So what do you say we go take a look around?" Kaito suggested as the luggage disappeared in a puff of smoke, presumably unpacked. Grabbing Shinichi's hand, he pulled the detective out the door before he could utter another word.


According to the convention program, five 'emerging' magicians had been invited to give performances. Kaito was one of these. Their performances were spaced throughout the three days with each magician's time slot to be determined by a random drawing. The last of these performances was to be held right before the closing ceremony. The night before that was to be devoted to a costume ball. Otherwise there were workshops and panels being conducted by both amateur and professional magicians to which both young and old were invited to explore the arts of magic and the ups and downs of the magician's career path. There were even several storytelling sessions directed towards the children at the convention. And of course there were vendors—these things always had them.

The opening ceremony had ended with a reception for the convention's specially invited guests and their families and friends to mingle, talking and partaking of the snacks that had been set out on long tables around the room. Kaito had had to go draw his performance number, leaving Shinichi to wander around by himself for the time being. He had picked up a cup of coffee and was spending his time observing the other guests.

"I don't believe I've seen you before," an unfamiliar voice remarked. "Are you here with someone then?"

"I came with Kaito," Shinichi replied, glancing around to find himself facing a tall, skeletally thin man with an equally thin mustache.

"Ah yes, Kuroba-san. Everyone's been talking about him." The stranger's smile didn't quite reach his eyes. "And are you his assistant then?"

Shinichi choked on his drink. "No."

"Aw, you make that sound like it'd be a bad thing," Kaito complained, coming up behind him and draping an arm over his shoulders. "Mashida-san," he added, nodding politely to the man Shinichi had been talking to. "Are you performing then? I didn't see your name on the program."

The man shrugged. "I was a late addition."

Kaito nodded. "Well then, if you'll excuse us, Shinichi and I will be on our way."

"Shinichi? Oh, so you're that detective! Kudo Shinichi. I thought I'd seen your face somewhere before. Looks like we'll all have to work extra hard with such a critical eye around then eh?" he laughed. "Well, I'll see you two around then. Have a good evening."

"So you know him?" Shinichi asked curiously as he let Kaito pull him away. He felt the arm the magician still had around him tense almost imperceptibly.

"Not well. We've only met in person once or twice at events, but I've seen some of his work."

There was something in the tone of his voice that made Shinichi frown. It was a rather peculiar tone that he had never heard from the thief before. "Is he a good magician?"

"He's not a magician," Kaito scoffed. "All he does is use cheap tricks to frighten people who don't know any better."

Shinichi blinked. He'd never heard Kaito speak about a fellow magician with such derision before.

"Did you say he frightens people?"

"Yeah." Kaito wrinkled his nose in distaste. "Think evil spirits, blood, and gore."

"Oh. That sounds…unpleasant."

"Not to mention tasteless," the thief agreed. "But he does seem to have gathered something of a following lately. But enough of that. Let me introduce you to some of my fellow performers."

Kaito had always kept himself up to date on all there was to know of the world's magicians. According to him, the youngest of the convention's other special guests was Yukimura Haruka, an elegant young woman who had apparently made a name for herself with fairytale themed shows. She was said to be a great storyteller. She was apparently good friends with one of the other guests—a guy named Akiyama Suzu who specialized in tricks involving animals. The two had learned from the same teacher and occasionally did joint shows. Of the remaining two guests, one was a man Kaito said was good but traditional and not—in his (never) humble opinion—particularly creative. The last was a brother and sister team who were so new on the scene that even Kaito didn't know much more than their names—Katsuya Ken and Kimiko.

"Ah, Kuroba-san! I didn't know you had a brother."

The two turned to see Haruka walking towards them, a glass of pineapple juice in one hand and a friendly smile on her face.

"That, my lady, would be because I don't," Kaito replied, tugging Shinichi forward rather like he was showing him off. "This is Kudo Shinichi."

"Ah, the detective right? Are you looking to solve that old story then?"

Shinichi gave her a confused look before glancing at Kaito. The magician's expression was as controlled as ever but Shinichi knew him well enough to spot the curious gleam that indicated he didn't know what the woman was talking about either.

"I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what you're talking about," he said as he turned back to her.

Haruka blinked in what appeared to be honest surprise. "Really? I thought everyone would have heard the story by now. This place does tend to use it as an attraction."

"Then chances are pretty high that someone made it up," Shinichi muttered under his breath.

Haruka must have heard him though as she laughed. "You'd think so, but from what I've heard there may be more truth to it than your run of the mill ghost story."

"So it's a ghost story?" Kaito mused. "I can't say I'm surprised that the staff here would like to tell ghost stories. The setting is quite—supportive."

Haruka beamed. "Isn't it? This story goes all the way back to when this place was built. They say there was a full moon that night," she said, voice lowering dramatically. "The master of the house had invited many guests to the grand opening of his home and they partied far into the night. One man who happened to be camping near the house at the time recalled hearing them and seeing the lights flickering in the ballroom windows. However, no one who had attended the party returned home the day after. Their relatives came looking for them only to find that the entire house was deserted. Their belongings were all still in their rooms and there was unfinished food laid out in the kitchen, but not a soul could be found anywhere."

"So who's the ghost?" Kaito asked.

"No one in particular," she admitted. "It's mostly about the party and the disappearances. But every now and then people will report hearing noises and seeing strange things in the mirrors and stuff like that."

"Sounds fairly typical."

The woman shrugged. "You could say that. But I still think it's an interesting story."

"She might think it's interesting," Shinichi mused after the woman had moved to chat with the next group. "But I must say I would be happier if this place didn't have a ghost story attached to it."

"Wondering what kind of way someone might be able to use it to commit murder?" asked Kaito jokingly.

The detective, however, gave him a rather wan smile. "That does seem to be the story of my life." He looked away, voice dropping. "I know you think I'm being paranoid, but… Just promise me you'll be careful."

Kaito frowned at the detective's bowed head. He didn't like how the atmosphere had suddenly turned so—well, tense. He'd brought Shinichi here to get him away from the cases he spent way too much of his time buried in. His detective had never been very good at taking breaks when there was a case to be solved—which was understandable, he supposed, especially when said cases insisted on popping up like daisies everywhere he went, but still… Sometimes he seriously wondered if he should drag Shinichi to Koizumi's and see if there was any truth to those rumors running around about the detective being cursed. On the other hand, he didn't want to risk it. His dear little Shin-chan had enough problems without adding Koizumi's brand of creepiness.

"Come on, Shin-chan," he declared, slipping an arm around the smaller man's waist. "It's pointless to worry about problems before they exist. Now what do you say we get something to drink?"

Shinichi held out for a few more seconds before letting out a sigh and relaxing into the half embrace. "Some coffee would be nice." Kaito was right. Something couldn't go wrong every time he went to a mass gathering at an eccentric hotel with a ghost story, right?


The following day went, contrary to Shinichi's fears, rather smoothly. He and Kaito went to see the day's shows, visited a few of the workshops where Kaito occasionally pitched in to help, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch together in one of the hotel's many restaurants. Evening found them back in their room. Shinichi was seated on the edge of their bed with his arms crossed stubbornly over his chest as Kaito stood before him with their luggage lying open on the floor beside his feet. The magician was wearing a mildly exasperated expression as he waved a hand at the open trunk.

"It's a costume ball. They're not letting anyone in who's not dressed for it."

"Why do I have to go at all?" the detective retorted.

"Because it's the only place serving food in the hotel tonight," Kaito replied. "Other than the kiddie party anyway, which you don't exactly qualify for anymore. And I'm not letting you skip meals. Besides, what's the point of coming all this way if you don't participate in the events?"

"But you never told me there would be a costume requirement and I didn't bring one so—"

"That's all right," Kaito cut in before he could finish. "I brought a few for you to choose from."

Realizing he wouldn't be winning this debate, Shinichi surrendered with a sigh. "I should've known… I think I'm going to regret asking, but what did you bring?"

"Glad you asked." Kaito snapped his fingers. A puff of smoke later he was holding something up.

Shinichi stared at it—what little of it there was to stare at anyway (it might have had something to do with cats, but the creator had obviously had other things on his or her mind. Where the hell had Kaito gotten his hands on such a horrifying thing?)—then at the grinning magician holding it.

"If you make me wear that, to this stupid party I will never talk to you again," he promised, crossing his arms, trying to ignore how he could just feel his face burning. "Ever."

"I brought a few more options." Kaito made the offending costume disappear. He hadn't actually wanted his Shin-chan to wear it somewhere other people could see anyway. He'd really only suggested it to see the detective's reaction.

"How about this one?" he continued, holding up a different costume.

"It's…" Shinichi trailed off, trying to find the right words. "Furry…" And was that a tail? And a collar? With a badge on it? He stared at the ensemble, trying to convince himself that he was seeing things.

"I think it's rather poetic," Kaito explained, grin widening a fraction as his eyes gleamed in that way that always sent chills down Shinichi's spine. "I mean, as a detective, you do everything they do too. You make noise to warn people when you sense or find danger, you sniff out criminals and chase them around—it's perfect!"

Shinichi gave the outfit another once over. Other than the…accessories and brown fur trimming, the clothes were decent enough. Almost stylish, in fact. But that only made the idea of going to a party in it marginally less embarrassing.

"Is there a door number three?"

"As a matter of fact, there is." Another costume appeared in a puff of orange smoke.

"It's a dress."

"No it isn't. It's a robe. There is a difference."

"But it's so…sparkly." As in encrusted with sequins that formed a mass of crescent moons and stars laced through with nonsense symbols that were probably supposed to look arcane. Then he spotted the hat. It was pointy and it had a small, stuffed owl sitting on the brim. It stared at him with large, flat, plastic eyes.

"You know Shin-chan, it's a Halloween party. You'll stand out more not wearing a costume."

"Maybe you could just bring something back for me later?" the detective asked hopefully. "It's not like I'm all that hungry yet. I could wait."

Shinichi was remarkably good at puppy eyes, Kaito mused. He'd theorized that the detective had probably learned them from his mother then got extra practice going back through grade school using them on the grownups to help him get his work done. Kaito, however, was impossible to stop when he'd made up his mind that he wanted something (a trait his mother had told him he must have inherited from his father).

"If you can't decide, I can pick for you," he offered, grin morphing into a smirk.

Shinichi sighed and flopped backwards onto the bed, one arm flung over his eyes as though to shield him from the world. "Fine," he sighed. "I'll take door number two."

On second thought, he should get moving. Sitting up, he snatched the costume that had just reappeared in Kaito's hands and headed for the bathroom before the magician could change his clothes for him. The disappointed look he got for that was all the proof he needed that he'd moved just in time.

"Let me know if you need help~."

Shinichi rolled his eyes as he firmly shut the bathroom door. "They're just clothes Kaito, I know how to dress myself, thank you very much."

He just hoped they didn't run into anyone he knew. They hadn't run into any of their friends yet and he wasn't actually sure if any of them had accepted Kaito's invitation to attend, but now was definitely not the time he wanted to find out.

When he reemerged (trying not to think about how ridiculous he felt all dressed up) he was half expecting to find Kaito in full KID regalia. Instead he was greeted with the sight of an expanse of black.

"So you decided not to dress up as yourself this year?" he asked in mild surprise.

"Well," Kaito drawled, turning around with a swish of black cape, "I didn't really see the point of going to a costume party full of magicians dressed as a magician."

Shinichi eyed the magician's costume, not particularly surprised. Trust Kaito to pick something with such a dramatic cape. Being the gentleman thief and all, he loved the impressive flare the things gave him (not to mention all the tricks he could do with them). On a hunch, he pulled out the edge of Kaito's vampire cloak and examined it. "This has a glider built in doesn't it?"

"Yep. I modified one of the black ones I use on reconnaissance. So?" He stepped back and swept his cloak out in a billow of crimson and black as he grinned, showing teeth. "What do you think?"

"Do you really need me to tell you that you did a good job?"

"Nope, but I would appreciate it very much."

"…" Shinichi sighed. "You did a good job."

Kaito grinned. "Thanks. Now, shall we be on our way?"


The party was being held in the hotel's famous ballroom (where all those people were supposed to have disappeared. Shinichi couldn't help but wonder who's idea that had been). The path leading up to the ballroom itself had been lined with braziers that glowed with real fire. There was a single line of script carved into the doors and inlaid with gold leaf.

"We are what we make ourselves," Shinichi read aloud. "Huh, I wonder why they put that there. It seems more like something you should write over a library door."

"Or a coat room," Kaito added with a shrug. "But hey, each to their own."

Inside, it truly was an incredible sight. The entire ballroom ceiling was composed of mirrors—large, hexagonal mirrors that reflected not only the image of those below but also caught each other's reflections, forming a veritable kaleidoscope of colors and motion. The floor below it was a mosaic of colorful tiles, although it was almost impossible to see the pattern at the moment as the ballroom was packed with people.

There were costumes everywhere. Grinning skeletons danced with fairies decked out in shimmering gowns and crowns of golden leaves. Mad scientists and Frankensteins toasted each other as robots and knights compared their armor. There were zombies and harpies, kings and queens, pirates and hairy things with big teeth. Shinichi thought he might even have seen a tree whirling over the dance floor.

The detective was having a surprisingly good time. The food, once you got past the overly enthusiastic Halloween theme (seriously, sticky rice balls patterned like eyeballs? Yuck), was remarkably good. It was really the people though who made all the difference. Everywhere you looked, someone was pulling some kind of trick. Most of them were easy enough to see through, but it was a definite improvement from the usual party gossip. It was like being surrounded by walking puzzle books all waving their pages around.

At the moment he was watching a man clad in glittering, scaly garments and a mask molded into a fearsome, dragon's face light the candles for a corner table's display of bizarre, glass sculptures. The man plucked the flame off of the one lit candle and used it to light the rest of the elaborate candelabra before putting it back. It was a simple trick that Shinichi had seen before, but the dragon man's execution was pretty good. That probably meant he was one of the guest magicians.

A hand tapped him on the shoulder and he tore his gaze away from the interesting way the firelight was dancing over and through the glass sculptures to see that Kaito had returned from wherever it was he had disappeared off to earlier to socialize with his fellow performers and enthusiasts. The magician-vampire swept out his cape and bowed, extending one hand towards Shinichi as indigo eyes twinkled. "May I have this dance?"

He had slipped into the smooth, polished tones he used with his KID persona, Shinichi noticed. It seemed oddly fitting.

"I suppose it wouldn't hurt." Smiling faintly, he placed his hand in Kaito's and let himself be pulled into the dance.

He was definitely feeling unusually festive tonight. There just seemed to be something in the atmosphere. The music permeating the ballroom was an interesting blend of sonorous melodies and exotic beats.

Kaito spun them expertly through the crowd, his cape flowing about them like black and crimson wings. The part of Shinichi's mind that was always thinking marveled at how the thief managed not to get said cape caught on or tangled with any of the various protruding accessories being sported by their fellow dancers. Then again, he'd certainly had plenty of practice over the years from his heists.

The beat of the music picked up. With it, the pace of the dancers too grew quicker. Their colorful costumes whirled in intricate patterns in the massive dome of mirrors over their heads. The kaleidoscope of color and motion seemed to take on a life of its own, wrapped up in and infused with the rhythm of the dance. It was breathless and bold and beautiful in its unguided synchronicity.

Then the music changed again, becoming a slow, haunting tune as the lights on the chandeliers dimmed and turned blue, casting an eerie haze over the dancers. Pulling Shinichi flush against him, Kaito wrapped his cloak around the both of them, relishing the way his partner's slim frame fit against him. His hands massaged slow circles on the detective's lower back. Shinichi made a soft noise of contentment, fingers curling into the fabric of Kaito's lapels as he happily melted in the other's embrace. Maybe coming here hadn't been such a bad idea after all. It had been a while since they'd last had the luxury of time to just be together like this.

"Let's go back," Kaito murmured low in his ear.

A pleasant shudder ran through Shinichi's body as a warm flush spread across his face and down his neck. "Okay."


The bolt had just barely slid into place before strong arms slid around his waist. He turned around and wrapped his own arms around the taller man's neck, closing his eyes as their lips met. It wasn't until something unexpectedly sharp scraped across his lower lip that he remembered with a start where they'd just come from and how they were dressed.

"Wait!" Wriggling out of the magician's grasp, he pointed towards the bathroom. "Take off those horrible fangs before you touch me."

Kaito blinked then laughed. "What, are you afraid?"

"No," Shinichi snapped, slightly offended by the suggestion. "They're just…disturbing." Especially combined with that shark's smirk the thief was so famous for.

"Well, we wouldn't want you to feel disturbed~." With a snap of his fingers and a puff of smoke, the fangs and the cape of his costume disappeared. "Now," he purred, advancing on his detective with a predatory grin that somehow managed to look sharper now than it had when he'd been wearing the fangs, "where were we?"

That look and the promise in his voice made Shinichi's pulse quicken and his entire body tingle, but he turned away and pretended to yawn. "I don't know. I was thinking about going to sleep—"

He let out a yelp as he was scooped up and tossed onto the bed. He was trapped before he could react. Not that he really minded. Tilting his head back, he looked up into burning, indigo eyes. His breath hitched in his throat. Then Kaito's mouth was on his again and the rest of the world melted away.

Outside the window the night was dark. There were no city lights to break the endless stretch of black and the stars had been obscured by a thick veil of clouds. Looking out into that blackness made it feel as though the hotel was floating into an endless sea of ink, a lone island of life in the boundless reaches of eternity.


Shinichi stirred and stretched, blinking open sleepy blue eyes. He was feeling unusually well rested, warm if a little sore, and rather a lot more cheerful than he usually was in the morning. It was nice being able to sleep in for once.

What time was it anyway? Turning, he looked towards his nightstand for the time. Then he remembered that the clock was on the nightstand on Kaito's side of the bed. Sighing, he levered himself into a sitting position and peered blearily through the darkness towards it, only to find that it appeared to be broken. Or at least he couldn't see the numbers where he thought they ought to be. Wrinkling his nose, he turned his eyes to the window. The curtains were drawn, but he couldn't see any sunlight coming in through the cracks. Maybe it was a lot earlier than he'd thought? He had just made up his mind to flop down and go back to sleep when he heard a yawn from his partner.

"Morning Shin-chan. Did you sleep well?"

"I did, but I'm not sure it's morning yet," Shinichi replied, turning his gaze to the magician. He blinked. "Why are you wearing that again?" he asked in surprise.

The question, however, earned him a puzzled look from the magician. "Wearing what?"

"Your costume."

Confused, Kaito sat up as well. The motion drew his attention to the fact that he was wearing quite a bit more than anything that could be reasonably termed pajamas. In fact, he was wearing a complete suit and his hands had brushed against the smooth, heavy fabric of a cape. The dark color informed him that it was his costume from the night before and not his KID gear. What in the world? He was one hundred and ten percent sure that he hadn't gone to bed in a suit. Odd. He glanced at Shinichi, about to ask him if he had any idea how this had happened, then stopped.


"What?" Shinichi asked, starting to feel a little alarmed at the peculiar expression on his partner's face.

Instead of answering, Kaito reached towards him. Blue eyes followed the approaching hand as it rose towards his face then out of his sight as it reached the top of his head. Confused, he opened his mouth to say something only to let out a yelp as the magician grasped his ear and gave it a hard tug.

"Hey!" he protested, then frowned as it dawned on him. His…ear? But that wasn't where… Horror movie slow, he turned his head towards one of the massive mirrors and finally got a good look at himself.

Like Kaito, he had somehow wound up back in his costume from the previous night without his knowledge. That included the furry ears.

Which Kaito had just pulled on.

And he had felt.

Even as he stared, the ear in question twitched nervously. For a moment, he thought his heart might have stopped beating. It had to have been a trick of the light, but then why had it felt like, well, like it was really his? Come to think of it, now that he was paying attention, he noticed that his hearing had changed. It was as though he had been wearing mufflers over his ears all his life and only just gotten them removed.

The ears—his ears—twitched again.

But they couldn't really be…could they? Slipping out of bed, he padded closer to the mirror, staring hard at his reflection as though hoping it would change its mind and go back to normal if he looked hard enough. It didn't. Instead, he noticed that he couldn't see his old ears anymore. Of course, the hair extensions Kaito had insisted he wear yesterday had been designed to hide them, but somehow he just knew that, if he checked, they wouldn't be there.

"What happened?" he breathed, not really expecting an answer. Strange, the shock was wearing away much quicker than he thought it should, though perhaps that wasn't so strange. Having already once been turned into a child by an experimental poison, sprouting doggy ears wasn't quite as unbelievable as it could have been. That didn't, however, mean that he was happy about it. What on Earth was he supposed to tell people? Coming up with a new name just wouldn't do the trick this time.

Seated on the edge of the bed behind Shinichi, Kaito was a lot less preoccupied with the strangeness of the situation and a lot more preoccupied by the tail swishing back and forth before him as the detective thought. His eyes followed the motion with fascination. It definitely looked real, but…

Shinichi cried out in surprise as a hand grabbed the back of his collar and jerked. He landed back on the bed where he was promptly flipped over so he was sprawled on his stomach across the magician's lap.

"Kaito!" he screeched, face flaming red when he felt air on his backside. He tried to kick the magician but all he succeeded in doing was to squirm and flail ineffectually. "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"

So they had been together for almost ten years now. There were still some things you just didn't do! Not like this. It was the principle of the thing!

"You really have a tail," the thief was muttering, apparently totally oblivious to Shinichi's struggles. "It's real."

At which point he tugged on the aforementioned appendage. To see if it was real. Probably.

Shinichi yelped and made another bid for freedom which ended much the same as the first. This was officially the most mortifying thing that had ever happened to him! And that wasn't an easy thing to be when your partner was a magician thief with a corkscrew sense of humor. "Kaito!"

If this was a dream (hallucination?), he was going to find the chefs responsible for last night's food the moment he woke up and get some answers because there had to have been something in it. But before that, it would be nice if he could just die of embarrassment right now.

He couldn't think about what it meant if he was actually awake and not having some crazy, drug-induced dream. Not yet.


A.N: Updates for this will be erratic as I haven't really got the story laid out in my head yet. Well, that and, like I said, this chapter went up earlier than I planned. However, I shall endeavor to have longer chapters for this to make up for that. Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed it, and I'll see you next time!