Shot Through the Heart

Kaito and Aoko may have only known each other for the past two years, but they had already formed a close bond through their friendship. It didn’t hurt that they were also next-door neighbors, and that Aoko’s father, Inspector Ginzo Nakamori of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, knew a thing or two about responsibility. That can’t be said of one’s offspring, however, as they would all find out one night, when a “family game night” turned into a fight for one child’s life.

Kaito Kuroba, Age Seven

Aoko was excited to have won a game of Cluedo for the first time, after successfully guessing that Miss Scarlett stabbed Dr. Black to death, using a dagger she found in the mansion’s library. Kaito, himself, was just happy to see Aoko smile for once, considering that last week’s outing, in which they got to see a magic show starring his father, Toichi Kuroba, nearly resulted in him and Aoko ruining it with what was, in retrospect, a really petty argument. Luckily, Toichi calmed Kaito down by letting him spend some time after the performance to watch his dad play some Texas hold ’em, before teaching him one of the finer points of stage magic: the use of the “Poker Face,” which allows magicians to keep their emotions inside them, to make themselves seem stronger than they usually are in front of an audience. Little did anyone know that this conversation came in handy sooner than expected.

After the mystery was solved, Ginzo told the kids to get ready for bed; they agreed, and made the long journey to the upstairs bedrooms of the Nakamori estate. Before they got to the room they would share for the night, Aoko noticed a glimmering light emanating from her father’s bedroom. She turned on a dime, and headed straight for the dresser mirror, noticing the glow underneath it. Upon further inspection, Aoko noticed that the object was a carrying case, which someone left wide open for anybody, including her father, to retrieve whatever was inside it, which seemed to resemble the image of the revolver from one of the weapon cards she saw during Cluedo that night.

The Inspector's Bedroom

Curious, Aoko picked up the revolver and took it to her bedroom, believing her father would know what a gun was doing in a police officer’s bedroom, especially in a nation where next to no guns were allowed whatsoever. Entering her bedroom, just as Kaito had put on his night clothes, Aoko tugged at one of Ginzo’s pant legs to get his attention, before telling him about the gun she found on his dresser, showing it to him in the process. Ginzo, shocked at this inadvertent reminder of his daughter’s to keep the carrying case to his revolver locked at all times, yelled at Aoko to return the gun to the case immediately. This, in turn, left Aoko in her own state of fright, as she had never seen her father act this way before. It was during a second round of shouting matches that Aoko would make the biggest mistake of her life up to that point: Her finger on the revolver’s trigger, she looked to aim at her father out of self-defense, fearing that the worst was yet to come from him. Ginzo, however, saw past this and tried to forcibly slap the gun out of Aoko’s hand. The only problem with that is that not only did Aoko’s grip on the gun tighten as a result, said grip caused it to go off. Kaito, not wanting to see either his friend or her father get hurt, ran as fast as his seven-year-old body could possibly go, and jumped in front of the bullet, hitting the ground limping.

From a distance, Tokyo residents heard a sound that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in screenings of the House movie from a few months ago, as Aoko screamed at the sight of the bloodstain on Kaito’s shirt, and of the gaping wound in his chest, slug and all. Kaito, while equally as stunned as the Nakamoris were of this turn of events, used the “Poker Face” to great effect, making sure to keep calm, and continue to take deep breaths, until the ambulance arrived. Ginzo told Aoko to make sure things didn’t worsen for Kaito, while he contacted the hospital. Authorities arrived minutes later to make sure the retrieval of the slug and the subsequent recovery were both done as safely as possible, even if that meant they had to keep Kaito in the local hospital overnight in order to do so. While there, Kaito was given several “get well soon” cards from classmates, including Aoko, and even got another visit from both his parents, who were thankful that the damage wasn’t too much for their son to handle, especially at his age.

Create a Crime Scene

As for Kaito, he was eventually released from the hospital on a clean bill of health within a week of the incident, despite the scar that had now formed where the wound was. Kaito was grateful that he had friends and family who cared for him during these troubling times, and the lessons his father gave him regarding his “Poker Face” worked wonders throughout the recovery process, allowing him to show no fear during something that would traumatize most kids for the rest of their lives. While Kaito was thankful for having survived everything – the resulting throngs of crowds welcoming him back to school was a personal highlight of his – he couldn’t shake off the feeling that, when Aoko first asked her father about why he needed a gun now, when he didn’t need to before, she was making a point. Kaito never wanted to admit it, especially with his whole life in front of him, but between his father’s impromptu magic lesson, and this controversial moment, he was starting to suspect that his life was about to change very soon, and that it wouldn’t be for all of the right reasons.

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