Chapter 1: one.
Distance, distance keeps you safe
And I don't wanna scare you away
You’re laughing 'cause it's funny how you're fooling everybody ( but me )
There are many times when Saguru has found his mind wandering when he was supposed to be paying attention to his studies. Contrary to popular belief, he was far from a star pupil when it came to his academic habits (even if he had the grades to back up that assumption). Academics never seemed to hold his attention so well as his work or his present fascination. Lately, fascination and work were overlapping far more than he'd ever anticipated, and all that held his focus personified itself as the boy sitting ahead and to the left of him: Kuroba Kaito, prankster and magician extraordinaire.
Or: his quarry, Kaitou KID.
Or: the boy he could never keep off his mind.
Or: the likely target of the shooting at last night's heist.
Nobody else had heard it - the task force was long gone chasing a decoy and Saguru's suspicion had kept him back. The fireworks going off had successfully masked the sound (very on brand for KID, but now he can't help but wonder--had he indeed set them off? Was it simply a distraction he'd set up and then someone else had taken advantage of, or had that distraction not been at all KID-induced?). The only proof it had happened was his own written report of it.
And the trace amount of blood he'd found at the scene, but he had cleared that away himself and left any report of that finding out of his reports. The blood could have been used to eventually secure KID's identity, something that should be important to him, but it was hard to want to prove someone guilty when he was wondering whether they were really the truly guilty party at all.
Saguru had booked his way to Kuroba's home as soon as he'd been able to break off from the after-heist paperwork, counting himself lucky that his driver hadn't questioned him on it at all beyond what little elaboration he'd offered: "I just need to check on a friend."
He'd knocked on the door, and there had been silence for so long that Saguru found himself at a loss. What could he do from here? He could alert the authorities to a potential emergency, but that felt like something that could expose Kuroba to legal trouble at best and grave danger at worst.
In any case, Saguru’s persistence must have won him acknowledgement. Kuroba was probably concerned about what he might do if he didn't answer the door.
When Kuroba had answered the door, his tone had been irritable, with a hardness underlying it. Where he was trying to seem annoyed, he looked worn and high-strung. Where he tried to seem nonchalant, he seemed frayed and jumpy. Saguru had pressed in every way he knew how short of saying, "I know you've been shot and I need to know that you aren't in the midst of a medical emergency." It took all Saguru had for him not to express his worry and share his suspicions on the spot.
In any case, at least it was clear Kuroba hadn't been bleeding out, but the other potential complications were terrifying. Saguru left empty-handed and with only the barest worry cleared away.
Now Kuroba was in class, cackling and causing the ruckus he normally would. But Saguru kept catching himself wondering: didn't it seem like he was shifting his weight a little differently than he normally would? Didn't it seem like he might be favoring some wounded part of him? Didn't he seem just a little more withdrawn?
Nobody seemed to see the same tells that he was seeing, though. Kuroba was doing what he did best: misleading his audience and fooling them over something that they didn't even know enough to doubt. He had everyone fooled but Saguru.
Kuroba was in trouble, and Saguru cared to find out what it was.
I'm afraid that weight is gonna make you drown.
I'm looking out for you but I don't think you wanna be found ( out )
Chapter 2: two.
Tore my shirt to stop you bleeding.
But nothing ever stops you leaving.
The next time disaster struck, it wasn't during a heist.
Instead, had Saguru not been in the right place at the right time, he would never have had any idea. Investigating the future sight of the upcoming heist independent from authorities, Saguru wasn't sure what he would glean or if he would simply come from it empty-handed, but it never hurt to do a patrol on his own.
His expectation: a simple patrol that would give him a better idea of possible vantage points Kuroba might use (or mysterious gunmen) and locating some of the more hidden navigation paths. A simple venture in reconnaissance.
Turning down an alleyway that held promise for a potential escape route, Saguru felt a strange tension he couldn't place. A heavy stone in his gut. The back of his neck prickled with something between anticipation and dread. He paused where he stood, though not out of hesitation. His patience was awarded with something that made his stomach drop. Out of sight, the click of a gun's safety.
He hadn't anticipated the cloud of white smoke that came surging toward him moments later. He was nearly frozen. Then, just as the instinct kicked in to run, a hand seized his wrist.
"Let's move," hissed a familiar voice before he could set to throwing whoever had seized him. Kuroba--KID?--was swiftly tugging him in the direction Saguru had just come from. Saguru couldn't do anything else but go along, matching his sprinting pace.
A gunshot rang out, silenced though it was. Saguru didn't feel anything, Kuroba staggered but didn't fall, they persisted, turning a corner just after the awful noise. His heart pounded in his ears so loud it was a wonder he'd heard the shot at all. They didn't stop running for what felt like hours, but it couldn't have been more than a few minutes. Several weaving turns, and finally, their pace slowed to a walk. Saguru fought the urge to cast his gaze about for more secret shooters. Beside him, he realized, is not someone who looks like Kuroba--until he focuses hard enough that he recognizes the edge of his jaw and he realizes the structure is undeniably his classmate's.
Their pace brought them further down another alleyway, somewhere a good ways away from where they had been. They stood there, neither of them speaking or questioning, and Saguru realized Kuroba still hadn't let go of him.
"...Kuroba?" Saguru finally thought to test the waters.
The grip on Saguru's wrist tightened.
Then, something about reality finally seemed to settle in, and Kuroba dropped it, withdrawing his arm. His expression wore a smirk, but Saguru couldn't read whatever was going on under the surface for the life of him.
"Did you follow me?" No confirmation to identity, then. At least not yet. Saguru wondered if he'd get the chance to find out who Kuroba wanted him to think he was talking to.
"I was just investigating," Saguru began, shifting his weight a little to subtly attempt a better angle.
In his mind's eye, replaying the past several moments in his mind, he was able to realize that Kuroba had changed his disguise during the run, without ever once releasing Saguru's wrist. He was also able to realize the gun had fired a couple of times before they'd gotten away. And Kuroba had faltered just after, like maybe--
Seized anew by panic in the realization, he sharpened his attention on Kuroba's person, trying to find any sign of a problem.
Kuroba's other arm was tucked tight to his side, as if applying pressure to something. Saguru swore just as Kuroba lowered himself to the ground.
"Are--you're shot. You were shot," Saguru manages, and Kuroba--KID--shuts him down.
"There's nothing to worry about, Tantei-san," he says, though when he speaks, his tone is labored with pain. "It's a graze."
Saguru couldn't help but fret that adrenaline or shock were downplaying Kuroba's ability to perceive the severity. True enough, he wasn't seeing any blood yet, but a graze was still a graze, and could lead easily to serious nerve and muscle damage. "I'm calling a hospital," Saguru began, reaching for his phone.
"No," Kuroba all but snarled, and Saguru found himself startled.
"This isn't--Kuroba, you don't need to file this with the police. This won't go back to..." Trailed off in order to let Kuroba maintain his plausible deniability. Saguru held his phone in his hand, edging closer to Kuroba.
Kuroba gave him another one of those unreadable looks, but Saguru caught something like exasperation. "No hospitals. It's dangerous, I don't need to explain why." A certain eloquence that would normally be there was lacking. Saguru wondered how much of it was fear and how much of it was pain.
Saguru considered lurking shadows, looked at Kuroba's arm, which he was holding onto now, with his other hand. So the wound might not be in the abdomen, at least.
"Fine. No hospitals," Saguru acquiesced.
"Very well, then I will be taking my leave!" Suddenly cheerful, Kuroba began to straighten up.
Saguru stepped closer, "No. I won't get you to a hospital, but let me at least call my driver. We can go somewhere safe where you can clean up. With proper medical supplies."
Reluctant the other boy may have been, but somehow Saguru still swayed him into it. His baaya had picked them up, and brought them to his home, unoccupied save for them.
That was the day Saguru learned that Kuroba regularly wore kevlar when he could. The day he learned that Kuroba had at least one other scar from a bullet wound. That the shadows lurked not just at heists to spoil an otherwise light-hearted event, but in hospitals and law enforcement.
Saguru invited Kuroba to stay, and he thought Kuroba would. After the wound was patched up, Saguru stepped away only to retrieve some tea and something comforting to eat, hoping it would ease Kuroba's nerves. When he returned to the guest room, Kuroba was nowhere to be found.
Don't you know too much already?
I'll only hurt you if you let me
Call me friend but keep me closer
And I'll call you when the party's over