“Because what’s worse than knowing you want something, besides knowing you can never have it?”
Christmas time was fast approaching and thus the city was getting busier with shopping centers filled with endless drowning crowds. Many people had switched to ordering their presents online, thus avoiding the hassle in the shops and often scoring better prices.
This was no option for Shinichi Kudo though. Not because he didn’t know how to order something online, but because he simply didn’t know what to get. He had hoped that standing in the store being surrounded by the actual options would help, but…
Here he was, stepping back into the elevator, empty handed and tired.
"You couldn’t find what you wanted?"
Startled by the voice, Shinichi looked up and found a woman standing next to him. She smiled warmly at him, which he couldn‘t quite return.
Hadn’t he been alone when he’d entered the elevator?
"What were you looking for? A present?"
"Ah, yes, for a friend..."
"Just a friend…?"
"..." Shinichi’s eyes lingered on the woman before his gaze wandered back to the elevator display.
They were taking an awfully long time for three floors.
"How about you give this to them?"
She was still talking.
Blue eyes turned back, landing on a small, plain, wooden box. The lid was removed to reveal a snow globe that looked like it was just small enough to fit in his hand. Inside the glass, there was no figure or scenery.
Just white snow.
White like his suit.
She replaced the lid, snapping Shinichi back to the present.
"Tell your friend to shake the globe and they’ll find happiness."
Shinichi was at a loss for words. He wanted to say something, but the box was shoved into his hand before he could protest. He quickly tightened his grip so not to accidentally drop it.
It had a nice texture and felt valuable.
"I’m sorry, I can’t-"
When he looked up, he noticed that he was talking to thin air. The lady was gone; only his reflection in the elevator mirror staring back at him.
The elevator doors finally opened.
"I like you, Kaito."
This wasn’t supposed to happen.
"I like you a lot."
He didn’t know why he said that.
They had met up for lunch at Kaito‘s place. Kaito had promised to help Aoko with her Christmas party preparations in the afternoon and Shinichi had agreed to help them.
After finishing up lunch, they got ready to head out to help Kaito’s childhood friend. Shinichi picked up his bag, noticing that it somehow felt heavier than when he had set it down before.
He still had his present for Kaito.
"Are you sure you want to spend Christmas at that party?“
Shinichi glanced back at Kaito, who was putting on his jacket just a few steps away. It was a deep blue, phasing into indigo in the right light.
"I’d rather spend it with you and the others.“
It suited his eyes.
The detective quickly shook his head, moving to the door to slip on his winter boots. "You have someone you like, don‘t you?“
He faltered in the process of tying his shoes.
Kaito’s gaze remained steady on him.
Shinichi collected himself and turned back to his friend, ready to tell him that it could wait.
"You should tell them.“
He was faced with Kaito‘s eyes staring right back at him, not a few steps but a few inches away from him. When did he get there?
His eyes were bright, his smile warm and encouraging. For a moment, he forgot the heavy bag slung around his shoulder. Or how his heart almost painfully tightened whenever Kaito smiled at him like that.
This was getting too much. He needed to get out of there, he needed-
"I‘m sure they‘d give you a chance if you‘d just let them-"
He needed this to stop.
Right. This is how they got there. How he got there.
The silence dragged on. For a moment, he thought time had actually stopped.
Kaito looked at him, wide-eyed. Several expressions were crossing his face, too short and foreign for Shinichi to understand any of them. The grip around his heart only seemed to get tighter.
He knew this was a mistake.
He had never wanted him to know.
He messed up.
"Shinichi... I... "
Don‘t say it. The words were stuck in his throat, the tension only getting tighter.
The pain was crushing him.
"I‘m sorry, but you know that I love Aoko. I-"
Everything that came after didn’t register in Shinichi’s mind. Either because of the ringing in his ears, or the fact that he just left; the closing sound of the door ending this… this...
Whatever this was.
Shinichi opened his eyes. He felt the cold, damp fabric of the pillow against his skin. The sheets beneath him were just as cold, seeping in through his clothing.
It‘s not like the cold bothered him. If so, he could have turned on the heating or used the blanket.
The cold didn‘t bother him.
He couldn‘t remember how he got there or how long he‘s been lying there.
Looking forward, he could see the dying beams of light on the wall in front of him. Christmas day was heading into its final hours.
Shinichi was going to miss the party.
Kaito would probably be relieved about that.
His grip on the cold bed sheets beneath him tightened. The detective quickly shut his eyes, fighting against the tears that were welling up again. Fighting against the picture of Kaito flickering back up in his mind. The image of when he told him that he loved someone else.
Remembering his face, his words, another wave of pain hit him, different from any other pain.
A broken heart really hurt, no kidding.
Shinichi opened his eyes again, trying to focus on something else. His eyes landed on the bag he had brought to Kaito‘s place. The bag had been lazily discarded on his desk.
The wooden box was peeking out. He’d probably set it there with more force than necessary.
Hopefully he hadn’t accidentally broken it.
Mustering up all his remaining strength, Shinichi slowly sat up from his bed and reached for the box. It had the exact same touch to it as before. Just as heavy.
Carefully, he lifted off the lid while the box sat in his lap. A silent sigh escaped his mouth when he saw the snow globe, sitting perfectly fine and unharmed in the cushion of the box. The glass still seemed freshly polished, the socket was decorated with delicate and fine glass crystals. He couldn’t ever remember seeing an empty snow globe before.
It was really beautiful. Kaito would have surely liked it.
Shinichi lifted the snow globe out of its box, brushing his thumb over the decoration.
He was probably enjoying the party right now. Trying to get today‘s events off his mind. Trying to get Shinichi‘s miserable confession out of his head.
Tears welled up again, his vision becoming blurry.
Just when his vision had turned back to normal, he saw a few tears rolling down the glass of the globe. The detective quickly wiped away the tears in his eyes with his sleeve. Sniffling, he tried to gulp down any more sadness and misery.
Carefully, he wiped the water-stained glass with his other sleeve. He should really clean it properly.
What was he going to do with this anyways? At this point he didn‘t know if he could ever face the thief again.
Keeping it was impossible. However beautiful it was, it‘d just remind him of what he had ruined. Of what he had lost.
Without thinking, Shinichi started to shake it. Maybe he just wanted to see the snow. Maybe he just needed a distraction. Maybe it was just the natural impulse of holding a snow globe in one’s hands.
He watched as the little snowflakes swirled around wildly in all directions. So many of them, too many to count with each of them shining in the brightest white one could imagine.
Just white and innocent.
Before he knew it, he lost himself in the dancing snowflakes.
Cold wind whipped against his face.
Startled, Shinichi looked up, taking in his surroundings.
Why was he in Beika Park? When did he get here anyway? What was he doing before this?
Only now he noticed the snowflakes, which were being carried by the wind.
He instinctively extended his gloved hands, catching some.
They melted as soon as they landed on him.
Odd. He was sure there would be no more snow this year. Another breeze hit him and Shinichi tried to hide in his coat, digging his hands back into his thick coat pockets.
Why was he standing around here all alone in the cold like an idiot?
Any further thoughts were interrupted by a voice calling out his name from behind. He knew that voice. His whole body grew stiff and Shinichi just stood there frozen. Not from the cold, but from the bitterness he came to connect this voice with.
"Sorry for the wait!"
As the detective finally found his way back into reality, he slowly turned around and got the confirmation that yes, it was indeed Kaito who was running towards him.
Kaito, who had just rejected him a few hours ago.
Again, Shinichi tried and failed to remember why he was even or what was happening. Before he could come up with a solution, however, Kaito already stood in front of him, small clouds of air puffing out of his mouth.
The messy haired boy had a flushed face, probably from running here in a thick wintercoat.
A few snowflakes settled on his coat and hair, melting and being instantly replaced.
Kaito looked at him in confusion when the detective remained silent after the magician stopped talking (explaining why he was late? Something about slippery roads?). Shinichi was too shocked and confused at that moment to pay his words any mind and only found his way back into reality when Kaito‘s face was only inches away from his own.
Before he could say anything, Kaito pulled off his gloves and cupped the detective‘s face in his hands.
They were warm and soft. They felt nice.
Kaito made a face.
"Your face is so cold! Why didn‘t you wait somewhere inside?“
‘I don‘t really know what I‘m doing here‘ didn‘t seem like the best reply so he opted for something else.
"I wanted to wait for you.“
Something between worry and annoyance appeared on his face as he pulled back his hands and put his gloves back on. "Let‘s quickly get to the restaurant.“
Instead of replying, Shinichi just watched him pull his gloves back on, wondering why Kaito was talking so casually talking to him and missing the warm touch that was on his cheeks just seconds ago. The silence earned him another confused glance from Kaito.
Shinichi didn‘t quite register what happened next, but before he knew it, warm and soft lips pressed onto his own.
Suddenly, he felt a very pleasant warmth bubbling up in his chest.
He blinked and blinked some more, but the only response he got was Kaito, who gave him one of those grins that made his heart flutter.
"Are you warmer now?“
The detective had many questions, was very confused, but the pleasant feeling of what just had happened was enough to not question any of it and instead he just gave a quick nod.
Kaito took his gloved hand and led him away.
He didn‘t ask anymore questions. He just allowed himself to be carried away.
The following days, Shinichi experienced more warmth.
Kaito treated him with so much care and love.
No rejection. No awkward feelings. No heart-break.
Just love and comfort.
He’d never been this happy.
It was almost enough to forget his questions, his confusion. His once broken heart.
But memories of what had happened kept pulling him back out of this paradise and kept draining him off the warmth he kept receiving, leaving him with a cold and empty feeling.
They were in the middle of walking back from the store, buying some food and snacks for the night. It was New Year‘s, they had planned on having a good time together, watching movies and just enjoying the presence of the other, starting the new year together.
It would have been another great night together.
Shinichi suddenly stopped walking, earning him a puzzled look from Kaito.
Instead, he plunged himself back into the cold.
"Shinichi? Something wrong?“
His heart ached.
"This isn‘t right.“
Again, an uncomfortable tightness spread throughout his whole body. He wanted the warmth back, the love, but it was gone.
"I wish you’d love me. I wish you would return my feelings. But you don‘t.“
Shinichi finally looked up, straight into Kaito‘s eyes. The magician remained silent, never breaking eye contact.
"Whatever this is, it isn‘t real. You rejected me. I wanted to believe that you actually loved me, that the rejection was nothing but a dream, but it isn‘t. The pain keeps pulling me back, keeps reminding me, that...“
His voice grew weak.
"...that this isn‘t real.“
For the first time during the last few days, the snow fall began to slow.
"You aren‘t real, are you?“
Those last words were barely a whisper, as he didn’t even want to hear them himself. A sad smile tugged at his lips as tears began building up in his eyes again.
The magician‘s expression was neutral, similar to his Poker Face, but not quite the same.
The snow had almost completely stopped.
Kaito dropped the shopping bag and stepped forward, until he stood directly in front of Shinichi, making direct eye contact with him.
To Shinichi‘s surprise, Kaito started smiling. The same warm smile he gave him so many times before. He took the detective‘s hands and finally started talking.
"I can‘t stop you from going but I hope you were happy.“
The warmth in his touch started to fade.
“But you know, I am real. All of this was real and not a dream.”
He leaned forward, planting one last kiss on his lips. His touch faded with every second. Shinichi closed his eyes, trying to hold onto the feeling.
Eventually it disappeared.
The warmth was gone.
When Shinichi opened his eyes, he found himself lying on his bed.
It was even colder than before.