Chapter 12: Make It A Date

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As Shuichi caught up with his companion his legs almost gave up on him, sending him doubling over as he tried to regain his breath. He certainly was not fit, and definitely not athletic in the slightest. "Finally...I didn't think...I'd catch you..." he huffed.

She stopped walking, having noticed Shuichi had too. "So what was all that about? What happened?"

"Ah, nothing really. I just needed to talk to him about something." he recounted, lifting his head to partially meet her gaze. "He wasn't acting right so I decided to confront him about it."

Kaede nodded almost apprehensively. "Well I guess that makes sense! He did seem to be acting up a little so there must've been something wrong. I hope it's all sorted now." she spoke slowly, almost as if she was trying to process it, not that there was much to process.

He gave her a small reassuring smile, thinking about Kokichi's offer as he stood back up, air in his lungs replenished, and walked to her side. "You could say that, " he murmured, "I think I'll be able to get to the bottom of his behaviour tomorrow. As for now... Let's go."

The duo began to walk back to Kaede's house where they had planned to spend the rest of the afternoon, or rather what was left of it as the afternoon gave way to the evening and the sleepy sun had begun to set.

Kaede poked his arm lightly. She wanted to break the unexplainable silence they were sharing. "Hey, Shuichi. You could sleep over again if you wanted."

Shuichi could tell by her tone that she was more asking him to sleep over again than tell him that she would be available to host a sleepover that night if he wished, but in all honesty he just wanted to go home and get some quality rest. The third heist had been a stressful night; a lot had happened and the whole event made his blood boil.

The thief denied ever threatening him, almost got him attacked by a psychotic serial killer and to top it off he threatened to take Kaede's life in front of a crowd of terrified civilians. And he still hadn't caught the damn man because he traded his prison sentence for Toko Fukawa's, stating that murder is a worse crime than theft. The whole evening was a lot to handle and whilst Kaede was an incredible woman who never failed to cheer him up, last night had been chaotic too. He figured he should give her some space - he needed some too.

"Ah, no, that's quite alright Kaede." he started, looking the opposite direction. "I don't want to be a bother, and I think I need some alone time tonight. I'm pretty stressed and tired and need to take care of myself."

Her face fell, but she tried to be understanding. "I... I see. That's no problem, then! In that case, I'll go see my parents. No big deal!"

"I'm really sorry, but I'm so glad you understand." he beamed to himself. "I guess that's why you're my closest friend. You're always there for me, I really appreciate it."

The pianist's face lit up, an evident blush blossoming across her cheeks. "Closest friend? You're the best friend I could ever ask for, Shuichi. I'm glad I have you. Thanks for spending time with me. And I don't mean just today, I mean all those other times too. It means the world that you think about me..." her voice was quiet, almost a mumbled whisper induced by sobs of joy due to their sentimental exchange, but she held the tears back.

A picturesque view enhanced this image of tender-hearted affection, slender trees lining the sides of the pavements in front of dark green fences and little purple and white flowers which peeked up from in between the edges of the sidewalk and the bushy brambles which crawled onto the concrete. The breeze was calm, only a single gentle gust of wind invisibly ushered them forwards. The sky was a soft shade of caramel orange which melted into a balmy, benign pink which seemed to thaw into a variety of violets and blues; the scene was almost that of a watercolour painting as the colours dissolved into one another so peacefully, so beautifully.

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