Bet you wanna rip my heart out
Bet you wanna skip my calls now
Well, guess what? I like that
'Cause I'm gonna mess your life up
It wasn’t like Kaito to make a plan and then fall to pieces because of it. He let the air blow past and around him as he walked along the edge of the Mura Corporation Headquarters’ rooftop, a completely standard skyscraper lost among far more impressive ones in the Tokyo skyline. He didn’t care, he just needed the height. His glider mechanism—a black one he’d built himself, not the white one that would get him mistaken for Kaitou KID when he was just trying to be anonymous—was at the ready if he did take a wrong step, but he was never terribly worried about the odds when it came to tempting physics.
It was dark out—as dark as Tokyo ever really got, anyway. The sun had set and the neon lights illuminated the night-time. It would be hard for anybody to see him—a tiny spot of inconsistent darkness some hundred-odd meters up.
The busy city below and wind tugging at his clothes didn’t do nearly as much to distract him as he’d hoped they would. He continued his balancing act, one foot in front of the other. Saguru was probably at home and still licking his wounds, or maybe he’d gone out for a run to try and get out of his head. Kaito could imagine him with more clarity than he would have liked to admit: weighing the consequences of allowing himself maybe just a finger or two of whiskey, something to dull the edge of his mind and the aching Kaito had doubtlessly left him to handle on his own; giving in—or maybe not, and instead sending himself careening into some sort of task that would distract him. Something that’d ravage its way through his brain worse than Kaito had done himself.
Kaito needed to get him out of his head.
He leaned back onto a single heel, pivoted, relishing an airless moment where he almost lost enough ground to fall, but regained it by propelling himself upward and forward, landing and re-balancing on his other foot. Saguru would have hated the sight.
It was so hard not to think about him. Out of all of the ways he’d pushed the people who loved him away, this afternoon really took the cake. This was one of the worst cases of collateral damage he’d ever inflicted. He’d never heard Saguru quite that cold before. And that was saying something, because the guy had a remarkable poker face and he’d been beyond reserved through just about any trick Kaito had ever tried on him.
He’d also never seen the defenses slam down quite so abruptly. Like he’d tripped a silent alarm and Saguru had done everything in his power to ward out any subsequent intrusion or disturbance while he attended to the crisis at hand somewhere internal.
Kaito had employed his own defenses countless times, switching between masks easily as other people changed shirts. Feigned vapidity, irritable asshole, or enigmatic gentleman were his personal favorites, depending on what the situation called for, and he’d put them both up plenty of times when he couldn’t quite bring himself to deal openly—with Saguru or anybody else. The amount of times he’d retreated underneath a mask and locked all others out was uncountable. And this afternoon, he’d tried another mask on Saguru he’d never shown him—conniving deceit.
It had hurt, exactly like it was supposed to.
And he’d understood for the first time what it was like to see somebody vanish behind a mask. Bearing witness as Saguru retreated, rescinding any ounce of emotionality or tenderness he’d taken the time to lay out for Kaito to see, to know, only to be replaced by cold logic and apathy, the same way Kaito would turn to flippancy or vapid distraction when something hit too close to home—it made him realize just how isolating it could feel to be the one left out in the cold.
But this is what he’d wanted, right? He wanted Saguru to be the one to rip the bandage off. It would be easier, he had decided, to make Saguru want to call it quits, because otherwise Kaito would never be able to convince him that this was the way things had to go. If he’d just broken things off and done all the work himself, Saguru would see right through him, like he always did. But if Kaito made it hurt badly enough, Saguru would have plenty of reason to want to end the relationship himself, for his own good. It was better this way.
It was better. Kaito could focus on KID, on finding Pandora, on Snake and his lackeys like he was supposed to be doing this entire time. Saguru was someone who distracted from that. As much as Saguru might want to help him, letting him this close to everything was only giving Kaito more to worry about. Saguru was a liability—if he got hurt helping him at KID heists, Kaito could never forgive himself, never mind if worse happened. And even outside of the dangers of the gunmen on his tail, there was the complication of Saguru aiding and abetting a criminal while also working alongside law enforcement. At some point, that balance had to break, right? At some point, Saguru was going to have to drop this little endeavor or risk losing face at best, or at worst have his reputation completely ruined. And there was a lot of reputation there to destroy, that Kaito wasn’t sure Saguru could ever really socially recover from, not when he belonged to two prominent families. Would he be disowned? Would he just become the family source of shame? Would all his achievements seem to vanish into thin air? Would he ever be seen as credible again?
For being so future-minded, Saguru sure seemed to be keen on putting it all on the line, just for him, and Kaito couldn’t let him do that.
Even beside all that, Kaito couldn’t predict where this path would lead him. And if it was to some oblivion—though gods forbid he fail to achieve his goals before he breathed his last breath—he didn’t want Saguru to be around to see it happen. Kaito couldn’t bear to inflict that kind of loss on him. He never wanted to hurt someone the way his dad had hurt him and his mom, going out the way he had. If he pushed Saguru away now, then it wouldn’t hurt so much later. He hoped.
The wind picked up and Kaito neatly stepped off of the ledge of the skyscraper, giving way to the feeling of free-fall. He suspended himself in the sensation for a second before he triggered his glider.
Falling and then activating the glider was not the safest way to do things, but the plummeting pull of gravity gave him just the surge of adrenaline he had been hoping for. Something to drag him out of this pit. He grinned manically as the surge of air caught in his wings and brought him sharply upward.
The air, the night sky, the city lights—stark and cold and not nearly as comforting as they used to be. What would be comforting was coming home to find a certain detective had let himself in and was awaiting him, ready to welcome him home when he announced himself to what was normally empty air.
Kaito’s vision blurred.
He couldn’t think about what there was to miss. This was a long game he was playing as KID. He couldn’t let his dad down by getting distracted from the cause he had died for. He couldn’t forget he was trying to bring evil to justice, and keep dangerous power out of the wrong hands in the meantime. And Saguru wanted him to plan for a future where he finally wasn’t KID anymore. How was he supposed to even consider that when there wasn’t an end in sight? Sure, once upon a time he thought he’d have this whole thing sorted out before the end of high school and he could go about his life, become a stage magician, travel the world. But he couldn’t afford to be that carefree now. He was two years into this thing without gaining much ground at all. Graduation was just around the corner.
Distractions would only slow him down and put him and everybody danger.
Gods, it would be nice to just stop having to think about the danger, though. Stop thinking about anything that made him happy as possible collateral. But he’d already had Jii used against him, once, and he was lucky that had so far only happened the one time. He couldn’t afford to drop his caution just because he was tired. Just because Saguru made him happy, and his friendship with Aoko made him happy. He was comfortable and it was dangerous. But he was so tired of worrying about risks and thinking about how much genuine expression he could allow any one person to see before it was too much, too close.
Sometimes, he hated this quest more than anything. Things had been simple, once. The grief over losing his dad to a tragic accident was manageable. A total lie, but manageable. He’d been bored of school and of the prospects it offered him, but he hadn’t been scared out of his mind or losing himself in lie after lie after lie.
Saguru had given him a little bit of reprieve because he’d leveraged every crack in the mask that he could, strong-armed his way past every single lie or simply pretended they hadn’t existed. He’d pierced right into the truth of it, and Kaito had finally given in and let him stay.
But that had been a mistake. When Kaito was happy, he was distracted. He was too relaxed. And he couldn’t get anywhere when he was relaxed or comfortable. Of course he had to do something to put a stop to it.
But maybe he’d been too hurtful. Have I ever really been honest with you? That had been low. Maybe lower than the situation called for. Well—definitely more than the situation called for. Saguru hadn’t deserved to feel all that hurt. But the end justified the means. At the end of that conversation, Saguru wanted him gone.
It was for the best. Now, Kaito could focus. And Saguru would surely move on to bigger, better things without Kaito to weigh him down. Probably, high school will end and Saguru will leave the country again.
It was for the best.
Kaito angled his glider toward home.
It was time to plunge himself into planning the next heist and forget everything else.
Home was quiet and dim and empty. He pushed the door open and padded inside, gracelessly abandoning his shoes in the genkan and picking his way to the den, turning on the light as he entered.
“Hey, Oyaji, I’m home—” he greeted the portrait of his father on automatic at the same time he realized the kitchen light was on. In a single motion he dropped his collapsed glider and withdrew his cardgun.
“Welcome home,” called a familiar voice from the kitchen, sending his heart lurching into his throat. Footsteps approached and Kaito’s gaze flicked to a strategically placed family portrait, allowing him to effectively see around the corner of the wall separating the rooms. He could see Saguru’s reflection on the surface of the glass.
Saguru leaned out of the doorway to regard Kaito with an unreadable expression. Kaito kept the cardgun levelled his direction. What if this was an imposter? Saguru wouldn’t really be here, not after the conversation they had. His heartbeat surged in his ears and he kept his arm steady.
Whoever it was, he had the gall to roll his eyes. Kaito watched as he pinched the bridge of his nose, and then at the flesh of his cheek. And then, just in case that wasn’t enough to convince him: “I see that the makeup’s gone,” as his gaze went briefly to Kaito's neck.
So, it was Saguru.
Kaito wanted to scream in frustration. He couldn’t keep this up. He was raw, and tired, and his chest ached, and he couldn’t imagine trying to drive home the same act he’d been putting on earlier. He couldn’t bear the thought of trying again to lash out at Saguru. He’d put him through enough. What was Saguru’s deal with just walking right back into the thing giving him grief and causing him pain and needing to look it in the eye and understand it?
He put away his cardgun.
Kaito watched Saguru watching him and tried to school his expression into something more removed than the stress that was trying to claw its way to the surface.
Saguru smiled at him, but the expression was a reserved one, faraway and chilled. Then he turned on his heel and vanished back into the kitchen. Kaito heard the sound of water being poured out of the kettle and into cups.
When Saguru spoke next, his tone brooked no argument. “I hope you are ready to speak with me civilly.”