Fandom: Detective Conan
Characters: Kaito/Aoko (General series)
Word Count: 5383 words
Author's Notes: I do not own Detective Conan. It all belongs to Gosho Aoyama. I simply borrow the characters, tie them up, and dance them around like life-sized puppets. I do wish they’d stop complaining.
Summary: Aoko found something she was not meant to see…
One of the benefits of knowing your spouse since childhood is the fact that there aren’t too many surprises. There are always adjustments, seeing those little quirks and habits that can’t be noticed unless two people are actually living together. But generally speaking, if two people have known each other for that long and know each other well enough that they are willing to tie their lives together, chances are that they know a great deal about each other.
Aoko had no conscious secrets from her husband. She had even told Kaito as much—he knew her inside and out, and there was nothing that she could think of that she had knowingly kept from him. It was something she was very proud of and happy about, to have that kind of a relationship where she could be so open and share some of those harder things and know that it would be okay.
And to her knowledge, Kaito kept no major secrets from her. He had always been an open, friendly person, but she knew that there was a thin, invisible wall between him and most other people. She was one of the only people who got to step to the other side of that wall and see under the masks.
There was only one thing that she was aware of that he hadn’t shown her: Kaito had a small box, like a shadow box. It wasn’t anything fancy, made of dark wood with a small padlock on the front that he almost always kept locked. The box lived in one of his dresser drawers; he rarely ever took it out or drew any attention to it, but she was aware that it existed.
Kaito had never let her see what was inside that box.
“Kaito?” she gathered her nerve and approached him one morning while he was sitting at the kitchen table, reading his morning paper. Just like he did every morning.
“Hey!” he lowered his newspaper and reached up to draw her down for a kiss—just like he did every single morning. He was an affectionate husband. “What’s on tap for today?”
“Oh, the usual,” she waved it off. “Listen…I have a question.”
“…that little box you keep in your drawer,” she said. “What’s in it? Why won’t you show it to me?” As she asked the question out loud, she suddenly realized how petty it probably sounded.
His grin faded a little bit before coming back as a slightly-sadder smile. “This is bother you, isn’t it?
“Well…you know you can talk to me about anything, right?” she said, fiddling with the hem of her blouse.
“Of course I know,” he said gently, then sighed. “What’s inside that box…mementos. They’re things that I don’t really want to look at all the time. Some of them are very painful—the newspaper clippings from the stories about Dad’s death are in there, I’ll tell you that much. Not all of them are bad, though. I’ve got our wedding announcement in there, too. But even bad or painful memories have a place in a good life. So I don’t want to forget any of them. That’s why I keep them in there.”
“Oh…I see,” Aoko nodded. She didn’t want to admit that it still bothered her—what he was saying made perfect sense, after all.
But just like always, he seemed to know exactly how she felt. He stood up and crossed the distance between them; he put his hands on her upper arms. “Aoko…if it makes you feel any better, I haven’t even shown Mom what’s in that box. I don’t think she even really knows it exists.”
Now that was a big deal—Kaito and his mother had always been very close. If he hadn’t let her in on it, that meant it was something deeply personal. Somehow, that was comforting to Aoko—it wasn’t just her. She smiled, a real smile this time, and nodded. “I understand. It’s okay. You’re entitled to that. I just…was hoping you knew you could talk to me about anything.”
His smile was just as genuine. “Thank you,” he said, pulling her closer and slipping his arms around her. “Someday, I’ll show you. But not now.” And he kissed her, a gesture she returned with interest.
That was when Aya walked into the room and was disgusted at the open display of affection by her parents. The loud of “EWW!!” did wonders for destroying the moment, and an amused Kaito chased their daughter of the room while Aoko laughed.
So she put the issue from her mind and went about her life. She was a loving and devoted wife to a world-class stage magician, and she was a doting and adoring mother to their adorable four-year-old daughter. It felt like she was really living so many childhood dreams—a home, a happy family. Life was wonderful.
One day, while Kaito was at his office and Aya-chan was at the playground with some friends, Aoko was busying herself with getting caught up on some things around the house. While she certainly wasn’t a meek little housewife, she did pride herself on keeping a clean house. She had gotten a great deal done, and now was putting the laundry away.
She went into their master bedroom and first put her own clothing away in her dresser. Then she moved to Kaito’s dresser and went to put his clothes away—and as she was closing the drawer, she noticed it.
The small padlock on Kaito’s little box was not locked. It was hanging from the latch loop, but it was open.
Aoko lowered the shirts into the drawer and stared at the box for a long moment. She should lock it and go on her way. That was Kaito’s, and he’d already told her why he kept it a secret. It was a perfectly logical reason, and it was his right to keep that little part of himself private. If she were to look now, it would be like betraying him.
But…though she hadn’t thought about it too much since their talk about it, now that she was confronted with it she realized just how curious she was. Whatever was in there couldn’t be anything truly groundbreaking, could it? She had gotten him to tell her that one of the things he kept in there were the newspaper clippings detailing his father’s death. If it was just that kind of thing…one little peek couldn’t really hurt, could it?
Kaito would never even know.
Curiosity overrode guilt. Aoko reached over, slipped the padlock from the latch, and hesitated only another moment before she lifted the lid. Taking a deep breath, she peered inside to see what her husband kept amidst his most private memories.
On top were a few newspaper clippings of various things. She looked through them, noting Aya’s birth announcement. There was something bulky underneath them, and she moved them aside to see what it was.
Her heart stopped.
With trembling fingers, she withdrew the item—a small round piece of thin glass encircled by metal, with a four leaf clover emblem on a triangle-shaped charm hanging at the end of a chain.
She had seen this monocle a thousand times before. It was the symbol of her father’s nemesis, the man she hated most. A man who had retired from his flamboyantly illegal career years back. No one had seen hide or hair of Kaitou Kid since then. The white-clad thief had simply vanished into the night, a phantom. Even at the end of his career, he had made himself into the stuff of legends.
At a loss for what to do, Aoko put the monocle back. She tried to put things back in the box as she’d found them and closed the lid, rehooking the padlock through the latch and locking it. She shoved the clean laundry into the drawer and slammed it shut before she bolted from the room.
Aoko didn’t know what to do.
She had betrayed Kaito and looked through his private things, the one thing he had ever kept from her. And because of that, she had found something she had never dreamed she would find. If it meant what she thought it meant…oh, who was she kidding? She couldn’t think of another really plausible explanation for finding Kaitou Kid’s monocle in Kaito’s bedroom dresser. No matter how big of a Kid fan he had been…Kid had retired years ago, not long before she and Kaito had started seriously dating.
…somehow, realizing that timing didn’t make her feel any better. It was no secret that she despised Kaitou Kid. When the thief had retired, she had been torn between anger that he still walked free…and relief that maybe now she could have her father and best friend back, that they would stop chasing shadows. But before he had vanished, Kid had helped lead police to arrest several men responsible for numerous crimes, including firing on the Taskforce during heists. Those captures had led law enforcement to a massive crime syndicate. It had been nearly a decade, and sometimes it felt like her father was still working on that case.
A week after Kid quit, Kaito had nonchalantly suggested that they catch a movie. And when he’d walked her to her door, he’d left her with a kiss on the cheek. That had been the start of their romantic relationship, leading up to a proposal and a marriage two years later.
She had betrayed Kaito by looking through his things.
But had he betrayed her first?
The worst part was that she couldn’t ask him. Even if she hadn’t found this out by deceitful means, how would she even bring it up? What was she supposed to say? “Hey, were you ever going to tell me you were Kaitou Kid?” That would go over really well.
And she didn’t have his favorite mask—Poker Face, he called it. If he didn’t want anyone to know what he was thinking or feeling, his feelings would be as visible as oxygen. He didn’t hide behind that very much with her, and almost never with Aya…
Her thoughts derailed as she realized the one piece of the puzzle she had somehow forgotten. What was this going to do to Aya-chan? This could tear the family apart—not just them and their daughter, but her father, his mother, everyone.
Kaito would be home soon. And she didn’t know if she could manage any sort of charade—she didn’t even know if she wanted to try and fool him, something she had never been very good at doing.
Still, when the door opened and Aya came toddling in, wanting a snack and bubbling about all the fun things that had happened at the playground, she put her best smile on her face and tried not to think about what would happen later tonight, when Kaito came home.
“What’s bothering you?”
Aoko jumped a mile and whipped around to face her husband. She had been standing in their bedroom, trying to gather her thoughts and catch her breath after dinner—keeping herself together through the meal had been a real chore. He had come up behind her and was now leaning in the doorway, watching her with a raised eyebrow.
As before, she should have known that she couldn’t hide anything from him. He just knew her too well. But more and more, Aoko was wondering if anything of what she was seeing was real. She really didn’t know if she knew him at all anymore, and that realization hurt. “Nothing’s bothering me,” she said, fighting to keep her voice steady.
“Are you sure?”
“Well…if you say so,” he said amiably, walking into the room.
“So what if something was bothering me?” she said. She kept herself from looking at him by stooping to fiddle with the comforter on the bed. “Can’t I have a secret or two myself?” That was the wrong thing to say, and she knew it. But she couldn’t keep her mouth shut about this. She had to know.
“I never said you couldn’t,” he replied; there was an underlying current in his voice that sounded a bit like suspicion. “You’re perfectly entitled to keep things from me, Aoko. Everyone has things like that.”
“Oh?” she said archly. “Do you?”
“…Aoko, what’s going on?” he said.
“Why don’t you tell me?”
“I would if I had any idea what you’re talking about.”
She straightened. She knew she should look him in the eye, but somehow she just couldn’t. What she had done was wrong, and there was no denying that. “…what’s in the box, Kaito?”
“I thought we already—“
“What’s in the box?”
He was silent for a moment. Then, very quietly, he said, “You already know, don’t you?”
Aoko didn’t answer.
“How did you—“
“The lock was open,” she replied, barely a whisper. She still wasn’t looking at him; behind her, she heard him curse very softly under his breath. “Were you ever going to say anything, Kaito?”
“Someday,” he said.
“You didn’t think it was important before we got married?” she said; her temper was starting to rise. Anger was good. Anger was a nice familiar emotion, and familiarity was something she needed to cling to now when everything seemed to have gone completely haywire. So she let herself get angry. “It’s not something I should have known?”
“This is why I didn’t want to tell you.”
“Why? Because I’d get angry?” she demanded. “Because I would get upset that you lied to me?”
“Aoko, let me explain—“ There was a harder tone in his voice now.
“That you lied to me? What was I to you—an insider on the police force? You must have thought it was hilarious that my dad kept asking for your opinion on their security systems, knowing you were going to come back and steal them later?” By now she was shouting. “Were you just using me?”
“Dammit, Aoko, you know that’s not true!” That seemed to strike a nerve, and his reaction was angry.
“How do I know?” she screamed. “How can I ever trust anything you say again?”
“That was almost ten years ago—it’s in the past!” he shouted back. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever hidden from you! I didn’t want to tell you because I knew it would hurt you!”
“Well, aren’t you noble?” she spat the words out. By now, the volume of this fight had gotten to the point where the neighbors were probably wondering what was going on. They were screaming at each other at the top of their lungs.
“At least hear me out—there’s a reason why I—“
“What reason could you possibly have?” she demanded. “You’re a liar…all this time I’ve trusted you with everything and you just kept lying. You used my father and you used me to get what you wanted. Did I ever matter to you? Or was I just your ticket to get what you wanted?”
“You KNOW how I feel about you!” he shouted, fury flashing across his eyes.
“I hate you!” The words popped out before she could stop them.
The damage was done, though. He looked stricken. “You don’t—“
“Maybe I do!”
Kaito opened his mouth to respond…and his expression changed. “Wait. Do you hear that?” He leaned to one side, as though trying to listen to something beyond the door.
“Kaito, you aren’t—“
“Shh…” he hushed her again. This time they both fell silent, and Aoko begrudgingly tried to listen for whatever it was he claimed to have heard. At first she heard nothing.
Then she heard the faint sound of crying.
She and Kaito looked at each other, eyes widen in realization. “Aya!”
As one person, they tore out of their room. Kaito managed to get ahead of her and made it to their daughter’s bedroom first. He immediately rushed back out, nearly crashing into Aoko in the process. “She’s not in here.”
That was all the encouragement Aoko needed, and she turned and led the chase downstairs. They separated and tore through the house, searching desperately for their daughter. Both were calling out to her.
Aoko frantically tore into the rec room. “Aya-chan? Aya, where are you?!” She’d looked everywhere and Kaito had looked everywhere—oh god, where was their daughter…
She whirled around. Aya was standing in the hallway by the stairs in her pajamas, her stuffed bunny Hikaru clutched tightly in her arms. Her little face was bright red; she was sobbing.
“Kaito! She’s here!” Aoko called out as she dove towards her daughter, falling to her knees and wrapping her arms around the little girl. “Aya, sweetie, what’s wrong? What happened? Are you all right?” In the time it took her to get that much out, Kaito was beside them. She drew back a little to look at Aya, not letting go of her entirely. “What happened?”
Aya’s little face twisted, and she sobbed out, “…Mommy and Daddy don’t love each other anymore.”
If there was one thing that could stop them both dead in their tracks, that was it. Husband and wife froze in shock. They had always had a very happy marriage aided by love, a great deal of mutual respect, and a willingness to compromise. While cheerful bickering had always been a part of their relationship, serious arguments were usually few and far-between, and the number of full-blown fights they’d had in almost eight years of marriage could be counted on one hand.
“…what?” Kaito managed. For once, he seemed truly stunned.
“You were fighting and it was loud and scary…” Aya hiccupped. “Don’t fight…don’t hate each other…”
“Oh, sweetie…” At a loss, Aoko swept her daughter up into a tight hug; she could feel her own eyes starting to burn. “It’s okay…it’s okay…sometimes parents fight, it’s okay…” As she said it, she didn’t know if it was a lie or not. After all, she was the one who had used the word ‘hate.’
The family sat there on the floor for a long time, waiting until Aya’s tears had subsided. When she seemed to have calmed down somewhat, Kaito stepped in. He gathered her into his arms, picking her up, and headed towards the stairs; Aoko followed, keeping one of Aya’s hands in her own over his shoulder. They made the journey to Aya’s bedroom. Aoko waited by the door and watched while Kaito tucked Aya (and Hikaru) into bed with whispered reassurances. She backed out into the hallway as he exited, closing the door behind him.
“Aoko—“ he started to say something, but she was already walking down the hallway towards their bedroom. He watched as she disappeared into the room; the light shut off. Slowly, he followed her, stopping in the doorway. She was getting changed for bed.
Kaito stood and watched; he knew every inch of her, every line and every curve, and had always had a great appreciation for the beauty of her body. Each garment she shed revealed more skin, pale and luminous in the darkness. He loved her—he always had—not just for her body, but for her mind, her strength, her spirit…she had always been different from other girls, and it captivated him.
And it was at moments like this that it was so strong it hurt.
She didn’t seem to be paying any attention to him as she finished changing and pulled on her own pajamas. Her clothes from that day ended up forgotten in a small pile on the floor. She bent slightly to turn down the bed, and then straightened, standing beside the bed with her arms wrapped around her waist.
He stepped into the room and closed the door. “Aoko…was Aya right?”
He asked the question, though he was afraid to know the answer. “Does Mommy not love Daddy anymore?
He saw Aoko tense at the question. She was quiet, seeming to think about it, still keeping her back to him. After a long moment, she whispered, “…if I said no, what would you do?”
Kaito felt something inside him break at the idea, but swallowed it. “I’ll leave tomorrow. I’ll pack up and move. If you want a divorce…that’s your right. At this point, I don’t know if I have any right to argue. But…I’ll make sure you’re taken care of. All I ask…” now his voice cracked, and he took a deep breath to steady himself, “…all I ask is that you let me see Aya. You don’t have to see me if you don’t want to, but please…don’t keep her from me.”
Now she turned to look at him. “You’d just go? If I told you I wanted you to?”
Aoko stared at him through the darkness, like she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Then she looked down at the ground. “Even if I did want you to go…I’d never keep Aya from you. And…I don’t hate you. I’m sorry I said that—I didn’t mean it.” She meant each of those statements sincerely.
“Do you want me to go?”
“…no. I don’t,” Aoko sighed, tightening her arms around herself. “I don’t want you to…”
This was different from their earlier fight. Then there had been anger and defensiveness. Now there was only weariness and hurt feelings and uncertainty of what to do next or where to go from here. It was the point of no return. Whatever was said tonight could determine everything.
“Why, Kaito?” she asked. “Why?”
“My father was murdered. I wanted to find the ones who did it,” he said bluntly.
That shocked her. “What? Kaito, your father died in an accident!”
“It wasn’t an accident. Someone tampered with some of his equipment, and so when he got to that point during his magic show…” he trailed off. She knew what had happened; there was no need to go into detail on that particular point.
“Oh my god…”
“When I learned the truth, I was seventeen. And…well, you can probably figure out the rest,” he said. “The rest, as they say, is history. One of the men your father arrested at Kid’s last heist was Dad’s killer. That was the end of the road for Kaitou Kid.
Aoko was completely as a loss. Hearing the story behind it changed things. This wasn’t just a lark. Kaito hadn’t just been messing with her all this time. He had a genuine reason for what he was doing. But was it enough to override her hatred for his former alter ego? Did it justify the fact that he’d lied to her for all this time, even after asking her to marry him and fathering her daughter?
Taking a risk, Kaito started walking towards her. “Aoko…there’s no point in hiding it anymore. You know the truth. This is who I was. It’s a part of the person I am now, and I can’t change that—I don’t want to change that. There was something I needed to do…and I did it, and then I left it behind.”
“Why did you—“
“Because,” he reached out and very carefully touched her hair, threading a lock of her brown mane between his fingers “once my promise to my father was fulfilled, I was free to do something for myself—something that I desperately wanted.” There was no mistaking what he meant.
She didn’t shy away or brush him aside, but she did look down and to the side so as not to meet his gaze. “So why didn’t you mention this before we were married?”
“Because I was afraid.”
That shocked her. “What?”
“Aoko, I love you. Have for a long time. And I didn’t know if you could accept that part of me,” he said, and she had no doubts that he was telling her the truth. “You know every other part of me—the magician, the prankster, the loner…you’ve accepted all of me. The idea of losing you terrified me.”
“I don’t know…I can’t think,” she shook her head, putting her head in her hands; she was reeling. “I’m too freaked out to think this through.” She gave herself a shake, then straightened up and looked right at him. “I’m going to bed. I’m going to sleep on this, and we’ll talk in the morning. I’ll…make a decision then.” Suddenly she was very, very tired. All she wanted to do was sleep.
“That makes sense,” Kaito nodded. He watched as she crawled into bed, and a moment later he ventured the question, “Do you want me to go somewhere else? I can go downstairs…”
Aoko was quiet before replying, “No, no…come to bed. It’s okay.”
She lay in bed, observing quietly as he changed for bed. It didn’t take him long. He was still so handsome, and there was no denying that she was still very attracted to him. But right now there was no arousal, no desire. Just a sad sort of love.
In mere minutes he was crawling into bed beside her. It was like there was an invisible line between them: he stay on his side of the bed, and she stayed on hers. Neither dared to cross that barrier, him for fear that he might do even further damage, and her for fear that she might break. And while they were both exhausted, neither was truly ready to sleep.
After a time had passed, Kaito spoke. “Aoko…”
“Do you remember the first night we ever spent together?”
To his surprise, she chuckled. “How could I forget? It was the night you proposed. I was so surprised that you went for something so cliché—having the restaurant stick the ring in the dessert. I’d expected something a little more out there. How funny that you surprise me by doing something predictable.”
“And then you scooped it up and popped it in your mouth and looked all confused,” he smiled. “And then the waiter bumped your chair and you accidentally tried to swallow it. And we had to do the Heimlich.”
“The ring went flying and wound up in the water glass of the rich-looking guy at the next table,” she winced at the memory. “Good thing he had a sense of humor—he brought the glass over and told me I seemed to have lost something. The entire place cheered when I said yes, though.” She sighed. “I was so happy…when you brought me home that night, I remember kissing you at my door…”
“And the next thing you knew, we were in your bedroom, right?” he finished. “Same. I remember that I couldn’t quite figure out the clasp on your skirt…how awkward was I? Really?”
“No more awkward than I was—neither of us knew what we were doing,” she said. “I was going with an approach of ‘what happens if I put my hand here’ just because I didn’t know what would work…”
“You’ve always been amazing,” he said softly. “And then when we got married…”
“We got back to the hotel for the wedding night and crashed,” she finished the thought. “Changed into pajamas, crawled into bed, and fell asleep. I think I kissed you goodnight before I started snoring.”
“You did,” he nodded.
“…do you remember our first kiss?” Aoko asked.
“Our first real kiss, you mean? Because I kissed you on the cheek after our first date,” Kaito said. “But our first real kiss was at the amusement park. We were in the middle of that water fountain, where you could see the rainbows…”
“And then you kissed me,” she finished, blushing a little as she remembered watching the colors arch in the sunlit spray…and then fingers on her cheek turning her head and the gentle press of lips against hers. Reliving that memory in her mind took her back to that day, and it made her feel like the naïve girl she had once been. “That was our…third date? No, it was our fourth.”
“Fourth,” he nodded. “Took me that long to work up the nerve.”
Aoko sighed…and let her fingers find his on top of the comforter. “It was perfect.”
“…Aoko?” Kaito ventured in the most timid voice she’d ever heard from him. “You know…you were never just an insider. You’re a lot more to me than I can even put into words—you and Aya both.”
“I know. I didn’t mean what I said. I just…god, Kaito, I’m angry. And I’m hurt.”
“I married you because I love you. Not because I thought it would give me an ‘in.’ Not because I wanted to use you for anything. Not because of any guilt. But because I wanted us to stay together…because I fell for you long before I took up my father’s mantle,” he gave her fingers a squeeze. “I gave up being Kid so I could be free to be with you. And I will never regret marrying you, or having Aya. These have been the happiest years of my life.”
There were a couple of minutes where neither of them spoke.
Then Aoko broke the silence. “Kaito?”
“…I’m sorry I looked.”
“I’m sorry I lied to you,” he said, then chuckled. “Ironic…Kaitou Kid was searching for a gem called Pandora, and you found me out by opening Pandora’s box, as it were.”
“Do you think Aya’s okay?” she whispered.
“She’s always been resilient. She’ll be fine.”
He heard a sniffle in the darkness. “God…what did I do to my baby?” Aoko whispered. Her voice broke on the last word, and he heard the sound of soft weeping beside him; she was crying.
“Aoko?” he put a hand on her shoulder, concerned.
She rolled over and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Just…hold me?”
“As often as you’ll let me,” he replied. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and waist, pressing her against him. Somehow, he sensed that tonight was for them. Tomorrow could bring anything—she could decide it was too much of a betrayal and tell him to leave. But for right now, for this moment…it was just them, just as they’d always been.
It didn’t take long for her tears to subside, but she did not pull away from his embrace. Instead they just lay there quietly in each other’s arms. They were both just beginning to doze off when there was a knock on the door. There was only one possible source of the sound, and Kaito quickly disentangled himself from Aoko’s arms to go answer it.
Aya-chan was standing outside the door, clad in her favorite blue and yellow pajamas, with Hikaru the Bunny clutched in her arms. Her hair was mussed, and she was looking up at her father with wide eyes. “Daddy, I can’t sleep…” she rubbed at her eyes with the back of one hand.
He smiled knowingly and stooped to her eye-level. “You’re still scared, aren’t you?” When she nodded, he held out his arms. “C’mere.” She went willing to him, and he gathered her into his arms. “You want to stay in here tonight?” She nodded against his shoulder, and that was all the answer that was necessary.
Aoko was sitting up in bed, smiling as they approached. She lifted the blankets as Kaito set Aya down on the mattress, and the little girl immediately clambered towards her mother. “It’s okay, sweetie,” she said soothingly. “You don’t have to be scared.”
“Are you still angry?” Aya asked.
“…no,” Aoko said, feeling herself smile. “Sometimes people fight. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t care about each other.” She looked up at Kaito, who was still standing beside the bed. He was watching them both with a smile of his own; there was no mistaking the affection in his eyes.
“I think it’s bedtime,” he said gently, taking his place in the bed and pulling the blankets up around his two girls. Aya nodded, seemingly appeased by her mother’s words, snuggled down between her parents. She did wrinkle her nose, though, when Kaito pressed a kiss to Aoko’s forehead before laying down.
So many things could come with the dawn. But for right now, at least, they were still a family.
PS. Hmm…waff. Fluffy waff. It eats at meeeeeeeeee!! And so with this, we have reached the halfway point of the fanfic100 challenge. Fifty down, and fifty to go! YAAAAAY!! :D And I still haven’t used any of my five Writer’s Choice themes…huh. Should do that. But anyway, I hope you enjoyed the fluff.
Thanks for reading, all! Much love!