Mouri Kogoro, private detective extraordinare, was usually a heavy sleeper. But the night after he solved a case, he never was. Murder would keep anyone up, but it was more than that – probably some side effect of sleeping through his own deduction. It didn't really bother him, usually, and if he truly couldn't sleep he'd head downstairs to watch Yoko-chan's reruns.
The case that day had been particularly messy, and his deduction-nap particularly long. So when he heard a voice that he knew, softly speaking from the other side of the room, he woke up immediately.
It helped that it was a voice that he really didn't like.
"Ran, it's okay. Really, it is – I'd think you'd be used to that sort of thing by now."
There was a pause, and something that sounded like a telephone speaker. Ran's voice answered, clearly upset but still quiet enough that Kogoro couldn't hear what she was saying. If he listened carefully, he could hear her voice from the other room, too.
"Alright, alright! Sorry. I guess it just doesn't bother me as much anymore." Another pause, not as long. "Not the murder! That still bothers me. I'm just used to the corpses, I guess." Pause, long sigh. "Right. Yeah. Let's change the subject. What's Conan-kun been doing? It's been awhile since he called me."
What on earth was Kudo Shinichi doing in his bedroom?
Kogoro thought about that muzzily as the last vestiges of sleep fell away. The kid was out of the country, according to Ran. But... this wasn't a dream. He really was here.
"Hah, he really said that? Cute kid."
And he was really talking to Ran, which Kogoro had never liked and especially not in the middle of the night. That needed to end.
Kogoro turned over and pulled himself up, then turned to face Kudo.
Or... what should have been Kudo.
The eyes he was glaring into were wide behind glasses. "...Gotta go," said Edogawa Conan in a strangled voice – namely, Kudo Shinichi's strangled voice. He was holding that red bow tie up to his face as he talked into a cell phone. "Bye."
Kogoro caught first part of Ran's indignant "Shinichi, don't you dare," before the beep cut her off, the tail end of it from the other room. The kid practically threw away the bow tie and phone, and Kogoro spotted an identical phone plugged into a charger on the opposite wall.
Okay. Two identical phones. Weird bow tie. Different voices. Panicked response.
Kogoro wasn't sure what was going on here, but he was almost positive it shouldn't be.
"Occhan!" chirped the kid in a way-too-innocent voice. "Couldn't you sleep?"
Kogoro stared for a moment, then stood. He stepped calmly across the room and picked the bow tie up from where it had fallen. The kid squawked in protest.
"That's – it's not..."
There was a dial on the back. Kogoro ignored the kid's attempts to get it back, and pressed what looked to be the main button.
No light, no sound, but maybe... He spoke into it like the kid had.
"What's this thing?" he asked, in Kudo Shinichi's voice.
He looked back to the kid. "A voice changer?"
The kid stared up at him for a moment, then grabbed for the watch next to his futon. Kogoro stepped back as a little scope flipped up, and barely managed to dodge the tiny shining needle the kid fired. He grabbed the watch out of the kid's hand, then turned to stare at the tiny pinpoint embedded in the wall.
"...What," he growled, "is going on here?"
The kid's next move was to sprint for the door. Kogoro grabbed him by the back of his shirt and hoisted him up.
"What is going on here?" he repeated. The kid just stared at him, stammering something that was probably supposed to be an explanation but right now was just panic. Kogoro's brain went through the evidence again as he stared the kid down.
This kid had been calling Ran, as Kudo Shinichi, using a voice changing bow tie and an identical second phone. He had some kind of dart gun in his watch, and a very suspicious response to confrontation. None of that was normal kid behavior, or normal kid equipment. So there probably wasn't a normal kid explanation either.
There were two choices. Either this kid was tricking Ran into believing he was her missing friend (not boyfriend, if Kogoro had anything to say about it) or...
Kogoro adjusted his grip on the kid and stomped downstairs to the office.
Ran kept the photo albums on one of the bookshelves down there, nearly organized by year. He pulled out one from before he and Eri split, back when Ran had been in first grade, and flopped it down on the coffee table. The kid was silent by that point, and very still. Kogoro flipped the album open, then over to a picture of Ran and Kudo Shinichi.
Or really, Ran and Edogawa Conan.
Edogawa Conan was Kudo Shinichi.
Kogoro's mouth felt dry as he tried to talk. "Explain. Explain this."
"Um. Explain what, Occhan?"
"This. You. Why are you small?"
"I don't understand."
"Okay. Listen." Kogoro hauled the kid around to face him directly. "Either you are Kudo, or you've been tricking Ran. Which is it?"
The kid stared up at him for a long moment, then swallowed hard. "Don't tell her."
"Don't tell her what?"
"She thinks I'm overseas – don't tell her."
Kudo, then. This was not a good day for logic.
"I... I saw something, okay? Something I wasn't supposed to. They poisoned me and they think I'm dead, but instead it did this."
"I don't know! I just know a few operatives, I don't know anything about the larger organization." The kid was panicking. "I thought if you got famous enough, someone would eventually bring you a case about them, and I could figure it out and get an antidote!"
"Do your parents know about this?"
"Who all knows?"
"My parents and Agasa, and... And someone else who shrunk. Just them."
Just them. Kogoro thought back to all the times Ran had cried over this little idiot. "Why not Ran?"
"To keep her safe! If they ever find out I'm alive, they'll come after everyone, and..."
"And you really think they'd believe she didn't know?" Kogoro growled. "They'll kill her!"
"I... I know, but if nobody knows they can't find out, right?" The kid tried to smile, like he'd come up with some brilliant deduction, but the expression came out cracked. "If she doesn't know... then she thinks I'm okay! And she doesn't worry about me... as much as she would."
Kogoro just stared at the kid for a moment.
"You," he finally growled, getting down in the kid's face and on his level, "have lied to my daughter, manipulated us both, and put my family in danger. Give me one good reason I shouldn't kill you right now."
The kid swallowed hard. "If you kill me," he said, "Ran doesn't get to."
Kogoro paused, and the kid continued.
"I'm sorry. I know I've hurt her. And... Once this is over, I'm going to tell her." He looked down at his feet. "And then she's going to break every bone in my body, and I will deserve it."
Kudo absolutely would deserve that, and Kogoro was (sort of ridiculously) pleased to know the kid realized that. "Okay," he said finally. "Ran gets to kill you. But if you want me to help you find these guys, you promise me this." He paused. "You will stand still. No blocking, no dodging. You let her hit you."
"...Yeah," Kudo answered softly. "Yeah, I can promise that."
"Right." Kogoro glared. "Until then. You call her at least twice a week, and you make sure she's okay. Got it?"
"Good." He stood. "Then I'm going back to bed."
He slept soundly the rest of the night.
The kid didn't look like he'd slept come morning, and it caught Ran's attention. She fussed over him and he tried to avoid it, and Kogoro watched the exchange with new eyes. That wasn't an act; he wasn't pretending to be a fussy first grader. He was trying to keep what little dignity he had intact.
"Let him be, Ran," Kogoro finally drawled, taking pity on the kid. "He's seven, he can comb his own hair."
Ran argued a bit, but the kid turned up the cute and she eventually let him take care of himself as she went to fix breakfast with a smile. The kid plopped down in his usual seat, and gave Kogoro a tired look. "Thanks."
"Don't mention it."
Of course, the inevitable case later that day did not go as smoothly.
Kogoro had not forgotten about that little dart watch. The murderer was obviously the younger son, but when he was about to say as much he caught a motion in the corner of his eye. Kudo – Conan-kun was pointing that damn thing at him again. That brought an abrupt halt to what would have been a deduction show, and Kogoro scooped the kid up and carried him out with a speed that startled the police.
The outside of the building was thankfully isolated, and Kogoro got down on Conan's level before he growled softly, "What do you think you're doing?"
"You were about to get it wrong," Conan shot back. "You think it's the younger son."
"It is," he said. "But that doesn't answer my question. What are you doing?"
"Um." The kid had the decency to look ashamed. "...Sleeping Kogoro."
"A sedative," he guessed.
"How many times?"
"...A couple hundred?"
Dammit. Dammit dammit dammit. That would be almost every time, then. Every deduction he hadn't remembered would be Kudo.
"Ran gets first crack at you," he growled, "but if you're still alive when she's done, you're mine."
"And it is the younger son."
Kudo – Conan perked up again at that. "No it's not. He knew he was already disinherited, and the only person who could have rewired the rice cooker was the son-in-law. He worked as an electrician. I had Takagi-keiji ask."
Kogoro thought about that. "But the footprints..."
"He stole his shoes. The weight pattern was weird, even you noticed it."
It was the son-in-law, and for once Kogoro got to be awake for the dramatic confession. The kid was smug all the way home.
Kogoro found himself, a week later at an onsen, protecting his daughter's virtue from a kid who was trying very hard to do the same thing.
"Ran, no. It's not a mixed bath. He's seven, that's practically a man."
"Yeah, Ran-nee-chan! You go by yourself."
She went. Both the kid and Kogoro breathed a sigh of relief.
"Thanks," said the kid.
"She really is going to kill you," Kogoro mused.
The kid just winced.
The kid kept his word. Mondays and Thursdays, Conan-kun would go to be early and Shinichi would call and talk to Ran for an hour, before having to leave to talk with an officer or an informant – and if Ran ever noticed that the informants showed up as soon as Kogoro wanted to go to bed, she never mentioned it.
Ran didn't cry as much. That was good.
But the kid was crying more. Served him right, Kogoro thought, but he was trying. So when the kid really couldn't stop crying one night, when the glasses had been thrown against a wall, Kogoro took pity on him and wandered back outside.
"Ran. The kid's had some kind of nightmare. Deal with it?"
"He did? Poor baby, I'll get him."
By the time she let the kid come back in he was glaring instead of crying.
Kogoro smirked and pretended not to notice.
They encountered one murder after another. Kogoro was not going to let that little know-it-all knock him out every time someone dropped dead, and he stepped up his game. If he had to stop drinking as much to stay sharp, that was fine - well, okay, really hard. But necessary. Or at least, necessary in any situation where he could conceivably encounter a case.
Which was a lot of situations.
But it paid off. Even Megure was impressed, though Yamamura-keiji... keibu from Gunma complained that he hadn't gotten to see sleeping Kogoro. It felt good to stretch his mind – and double-checking with the kid helped.
This time, though, the kid was wrong.
It was the housekeeper. She had motive, means, opportunity, all that, and the son, the only other suspect, had an airtight alibi. So Conan stubbornly insisted on suspecting the son.
"The clock was reset," Conan-kun hissed as Kogoro tried to convince him otherwise. "And there's no blood on the doorknob."
"That's nonsense," Kogoro growled. "She stabbed him with the knife – it's covered in her fingerprints – and dumped the body in the back alley. And how do you explain the security footage?"
"You're insane." Kogoro stood, and strode back into the other room. "Megure-keibu. I know who the murderer was."
...He awoke, ten minutes later, to the son's tearful confession, accompanied by the sobbing identical twin.
Megure congratulated him. He glared at the kid all the way home.
And as soon as Ran was out of earshot, he muttered, "When Ran kills you, I am burning that watch."
The kid just looked smug.
Eighteen murders later, Kogoro finally encountered the mysterious Black Organization.
Yoko-chan introduced them to a friend, who was promptly murdered. Kogoro solved it, and then the murderer was murdered by someone disguised as Yoko-chan. He exonerated poor Yoko-chan without any help from the brat. Of course. How could he do anything less for dear, sweet, Yoko-chan? She promised him a guest spot on her cooking show out of gratitude.
Then he tracked the murderer down, only to find instead of the murdering impostor, motorcycle tracks, a torn-off latex mask of Yoko-chan's face, and Conan-kun, completely out of ammunition and about ready to scream in frustration.
"Vermouth," he'd said.
They were all named after alcohols, it turned out. The hard liquors were the worst, Gin and Vodka, but Conan spoke bitterly of everything from wines to brandies.
If there was one good thing about all this, Kogoro mused, it was that the boy would never be an alcoholic. He quickly corrected himself – that would only matter if the kid lived, which he wasn't going to.
And until then, Kogoro would just have to hope that there was never anyone named Sake.
Whatever had happened with Yoko-chan's friend had resulted in leads, but not one of them had panned out. The kid moped for a while in frustration, but Kogoro only intervened when it started to bother Ran.
The kid was picking at his breakfast one morning, not even noticing Ran's worried looks. Kogoro scowled at him - if this kept up he was gonna make that kid call three times a week to make up for this. Maybe four.
But that wouldn't fix this now. He couldn't tell the kid to stop sulking without getting scolded by Ran, and he certainly couldn't give the kid a lead to work on - the last few cases had wrapped up cleanly.
He'd think about it later. He picked up the paper and flipped through it, sliding the editorial section across the table to the kid.
Then a headline caught his eye, and suddenly he could fix it.
"Ran." He looked up. "Have you talked to the Suzuki girl?"
"Sonoko? Not since yesterday. Why?"
"Her uncle's at it again." He set the paper down in clear sight of Conan. "Taunting the Kid."
"What?" Ran asked, moving over to look. She had to move again as Conan snatched up the paper, melancholy forgotten. "Oh, looks like. I'm surprised she hasn't called me."
"Right. When she does, let her know I'm available to help protect the jewel."
"Okay, Dad." Ran nodded, and when her phone rang a few minutes later - he could hear the Suzuki girl's excited greeting halfway across the room when Ran picked up - she wandered off to talk.
"You like chasing that thief, right?" Kogoro asked quietly.
"Um… I guess." The kid blinked a few times, clearly startled. "I mean, he's pretty clever - and hardly anyone ever dies at those."
That was… actually true. Heists were practically the only family outing where nobody died anymore. That was either convenient or depressing, and Kogoro couldn't quite decide which. "Okay. You let me know what you need once you have a plan. Right?"
The plan was complicated beyond belief. Kogoro had tuned out halfway through the explanation. It hadn't been intentional, and now he was regretting it - he knew where he was supposed to be, but the finer details of what the kid and the Kid would be doing were lost on him.
In any case. Conan was on one of the balconies, and Kogoro was standing next to Nakamori-keibu, making small talk about the best officer's bars. Nakamori'd heard good things about the Blue Parrot, so that's where most of his men were headed after the heist. Kogoro had to admit it was a good bar, if nobody got murdered. Normally he would've tried to worm an invitation out of the man - police and drinking, his favorite things - but the kid was listening in through some kind of speaker/microphone cuff-links, and he could feel the disapproval from ten meters off.
Then midnight hit, and the lights cut off, and "Ladies and Gentlemen!" sounded out in a voice that was remarkably like Kudo's, when he thought about it. Scattered flashbombs went off in every direction. Nakamori and Kogoro both dropped into a fighting stance.
"Hold your breath and run for the door!" his cuff-links shouted.
The kid was never wrong, and the Kid was unpredictable. Kogoro ran. Nakamori gave an odd look to his fleeing back before a tiny metallic object clinked against the tile floor and officers started passing out. He made it to the door before the cufflinks told him it was okay to breathe again. Ran and Sonoko met him outside - apparently Conan had warned them too.
Saving Ran won the kid points in Kogoro's book. The Suzuki brat… not so much.
"That's Kid-sama," she said proudly, as they watched a caped figure drop onto the display case, a white wraith in the middle of the chemical clouds. "Maybe if he'd knocked me out, he'd gallantly make sure I was uninjured! Ran, we should…"
Ran, thankfully, had more sense. Kogoro scowled at the white figure, then glanced up to the balcony where the kid had been watching. He was just in time to see some kind of lightning bolt spark around the kid's shoe and something - a soccer ball? The kid was carrying a soccer ball? - shoot towards the Kaitou Kid, so fast as to be a black and white blur. The Kid, busy picking the lock, almost didn't see it in time, and barely managed to dodge. The soccer ball ricocheted off three walls before coming back at the Kid, and sending his hat flying. The Suzuki brat squealed over his (apparently very fashionable) hair.
"Get out of the door! He'll be heading your way, I want him to think it's clear!"
Kogoro dodged to one side of the door, and Ran dragged the Suzuki brat to the other. Ran had on a serious face, the same kind that she wore before her karate matches, and it spoke of either bricks, boards, or ribs that were soon to be broken. Kogoro dropped into a fighting stance again.
"Don't grab his right arm," Conan said quickly. "If you can't get his left arm, let him pass!"
The Kid shot out the door. Ran's high kick barely missed his head, and only his reflexes saved him from the follow-up punch to the midsection. He stumbled backwards, right-arm leading, and Kogoro almost had him. But there was an outline of something unnatural under the thin white sleeve, and Kogoro remembered the warning just in time. He grabbed at the Kid's chest instead.
It was like trying to keep hold of an octopus. The thief twisted and bent in ways that human bones really shouldn't allow. Once free, he shot down the hallway faster than the soccer ball had earlier. The Suzuki brat squealed something, and Kogoro chased after.
He lost him before long. Conan hadn't, and the cufflinks provided periodic updates until the kid cornered the Kid on the roof and everyone found out what the weird thing on his arm was.
What kind of lunatic kept freaking fireworks in his shirt sleeves?
Kept the helicopters off, in any case. One impromptu light show later, the Kid was gone, and Conan was glaring after him from the edge of the roof. Ran and Sonoko went to make sure her uncle was okay, and left Kogoro alone with Conan.
"He got away," the kid said.
"Yup." Kogoro rolled his shoulders, trying to clear the tension that had settled there. "You feel better?"
"...Yeah." Conan smiled some. "Thanks."
The kid cheered up, but it only turned out to matter for about a week. One of his brat friends was apparently the same kind of shrunken, and Kogoro only found out when someone shot up Agasa's house. The bullets matched a gun from a Kid heist, of all things, and before long he found himself escorting a first grader to a billiards bar, then dealing with a jumpy Kudo-lookalike in the backseat of his rented car who may or may not have been the Kaitou Kid.
That lead to an empty (very nice) house where the kid found secret tunnels and the Kudo-lookalike picked a lock. That lead to a car chase in his rented car. Which lead to a mysterious facility by the docks. Which lead to a break in. Which lead to a gunfight. (Kaitou Kid was an excellent shot. Not as good as Kogoro. Not nearly as good as the random glasses-wearing engineering student the kid called in.) Which lead Kogoro judo-throwing a man with waist-length hair through a plate glass window, and the kid, Kid, and engineering student making seven arrests before anyone thought to call the police... As well as the FBI, CIA, and Secret Police, who had all been trying to do exactly what they just did.
Which all lead to a migraine, and a sincere desire to go back to that billiards bar, and purchase their entire stock.
But the kid came out wearing a grin that was more Kudo than Conan, with a flashdrive that probably should've been turned over to police but instead went into the hands of Conan's glaring shrunken friend.
"That's it," said Conan, once it was over with and they were headed back home to an inevitably upset Ran. "Jodie-sensei says between my evidence, their evidence, and what we just got, they should be able to take down the whole of it in two weeks." He paused. "So… I'll be telling her. Once Haibara figures out the antidote."
"Why not now?"
"Well…" The kid hesitated. "I want to tell her as myself. And… I don't want her to feel bad about hitting me. Like this, she would."
True enough. Kogoro let it drop.
After a two week vacation of Hawaii, courtesy of the Edogawa family as a thanks for taking care of their precious baby (and not at all to get the Mouri's out of the way of any leftover black org members), Conan-kun's parents finally took him away. Good riddance, thought Kogoro, but Ran cried and made him promise to write.
Then Shinichi called. He was coming home. And he had some explaining to do.
Yes, he did.
He arrived a week later, apparently once he was sure he antidote wasn't wearing off this time. Ran made him wait for fifteen minutes as she fussed over her outfit. It would've been frilly and fluffy and extremely feminine, but Kogoro insisted she wear something she could kick in.
Kudo stood, nervous, in the lower office, unable in this body to follow her up to the place that'd been his home for a year. Kogoro glared at him the whole time.
"No dodging," Kudo said softly, and Kogoro was pleased to know he remembered. "None?"
Then Ran came down, and dragged him off. Kogoro watched them go, and wondered if he should start establishing her alibi now, or wait until later.
...He was surprised, later that evening, when Ran dragged Kudo back in, alive and in one piece.
He had a black eye. That was good. ...And two hickies. Not good.
"I told her," he said, when Ran deposited him in the office so she could go upstairs and change. "She took it… well."
"I see that," Kogoro grumbled.
"I remember, though... If she didn't kill me, you get to."
"Right." Korogo narrowed his eyes in thought. It was tempting. The kid deserved it. But that wasn't what he wanted to do, anymore. "But that's not what I said."
"I said," Kogoro said slowly, "that if you were still alive when she was done with you, I'd kill you. And… She's not done with you."
"So you make sure she is never done with you," Kogoro growled. "You treat her like the princess she is. You never hurt her, you never leave her, and you never lie to her again. If you do, and she's done with you… Then you're mine."
Kudo just stared at him.
"...Thank you, sir," he said eventually.
"But I'm still burning that watch. Hand it over."
Kudo did. Kogoro doused it in sake and lit it on the windowsill, contained by Kogoro's ashtray. They both watched it burn.
"I'm taking her out for dinner," said Kudo, as the flames died.
Then his daughter came down and collected her boyfriend, and the two vanished up the street. Kogoro watched them go.
Ran could do worse.
Idiot kid. Kogoro went back inside.