Reluctant Hero

1. Aoko's first connection


The first time Aoko met Kaitou Kid, sadly, didn't occur in a jail cell.

Instead, Aoko was standing in the middle of her small little office that was almost like her second home, hand raised to almost shake the man's hand until Shinichi's word registered inside her head.

"Um," Aoko blinked, her arm swung limply back to her side like her nerves just got severed. "Did you just say he's Kaitou Kid? Like. That Kaitou Kid?"

"The Kaitou Kid. Please." The man drawled.

Aoko blinked, again, for the sixth time since the conversation began. She glanced at Shinichi, her mouth still gaping open before turning back to the man; The man who she smiled fondly at when he entered the office with Shinichi. The man who she almost shook hands with. The man who just claimed to be The Kaitou Kid.

Her face cringed in disbelief.

Kaitou Kid scowled back in return.

He was in a disguise—based on what Shinichi said—as a random middle-aged man with brown eyes and hair combed to the side in a sleek manner. But despite the fake appearance, the scornful look in his eyes was tempting Aoko to give a slap across his face.

"So this is the solution you meant?" Aoko gestured over at Kid with curled up fingers, agonised.

"Yes." Shinichi said.

"But, he's a criminal-"

"Ouch, should I be feeling hurt?" Kid rolled his eyes. "See? This time, I'm being cooperative. But she is the one who doesn't want to work with me."

"Your attitude is at fault as well." Shinichi remarked drily before turning to Aoko. "I don't want to push you in making a decision, but sometimes, one doesn't have a choice to choose the best solution. You just got to go with the only solution."

Aoko pinched the bridge of her nose. Of course she knew that. Shinichi—her mentor for over a year—knew that she knew it too. It was her own stubbornness that refused to face the truth, and she was sure Shinichi's comment wasn't only directed to Kid; Her attitude towards this situation needed some work too. But… Kaitou Kid… That infamous thief who had stolen over millions and millions of dollars worth of precious gems and priceless paintings and all kinds of beautiful, untouchable things in the world... without getting caught once? How ridiculous and despicable.

And maybe if he hadn't stolen her two favourite Vincent van Gogh's paintings that she was so excited to see in the museum four months ago, she wouldn't be so mad right now.

On the bright side, working with a thief might be a little bit better than some other criminal who did badder things like kidnapping or murder, though that still didn't make him any closer to being a normal, good citizen. But fine. Beggars can't be choosers, just like what Shinichi meant.

Aoko took in a deep breath. "I guess this is really the only solution." She walked over to the desk with a growing headache.

Shinichi smiled, before pushing Kid's shoulder so they would move to her table.

Aoko turned on her laptop, the power fan making a rattling noise as she did, filling the silence. Kid began picking dirt under his nails while Shinichi scrolled through his phone.

Seemed just like any other normal day, huh?

"After this," Aoko cleared his throat. "Are you going to send him to jail?

Shinichi sighed. "No."

"Why?"

"I can't have him jailed. He's still in the middle of repaying a couple of favours." Shinichi passed a smile at Kid. "He still owes me three."

"Excuse me? You're left with two." Kid sneered back. "Remember that time you asked me to pick up your daughter from her Karate practice and sent her home before your wife came back? Just because you are too busy solving some murder case in the middle of a forest?"

"Oh. Yes I did."

"Yes you did."

"But not just for the favours," Shinichi continued, turning his head to Aoko before she could break off the conversation and rebuke about how ridiculous this reason was. "It's because it's good to have connections."

"Connections?" Aoko frowned.

"Yes. This connection found us the solution."

Aoko glanced at Kid, who was eyeing at her, seeming to be waiting for her to say something. But she didn't know what to say, though she forced herself to come up with something, just because.

"I don't need this sort of connection." She huffed.

Kid laughed. "You really think you're that great, huh?"

"At least-"

Being the main reason why Kid was still standing in Aoko's office and how Aoko was allowing a criminal to stand in her office, Shinichi cleared his throat, cutting both of them out effectively. "Alright, the computer's up." He pointed at the laptop. "Let's do what we are here for today."

And so they did, reluctantly.

Aoko had been stuck in a fraud case for the longest time, being unable to find any evidence to prove that the CEO of a damn insurance company had cheated her client's savings, as well as 87 other innocent people who lost all their hard-earned money. She used all kinds of investigative means, tactics and measures, but none of them worked. There was a point when she thought she had to give up, that is, until she heard the CEO is planning a huge yacht party to celebrate the increased profits earned over the business year.

It was the best time to infiltrate, but she needed a way to get on that yacht.

And Kaitou Kid, the master of disguise, was the solution.

She went with the appearance of herself, since she didn't know the secret to change her voice and didn't like to wear coloured eye contacts. But of course, she wasn't exactly herself either. She was disguised as the CEO's escort.

Not in terms of bodyguard. But…

"God, can you show more of your cleavage?" Kid, in the disguise of the CEO, shook his head. "People are going to think I hired you from a local church."

Aoko growled and pulled the collar of her dress. "Keep your role in check before caring for mine."

"Hello? You're talking to an expert here. And shush. Someone's coming."

Aoko did intend to shut up, but when Kid grabbed her waist and pulled her to his side, she felt like screeching in his ear. Or, better, bitting it off. But teeth gnawing into her lower lip, she managed a smile when she recognised the head of finance approaching them, and she got her recording button ready.

Overall, it had been an unpleasant night.

Being mutually agreeable, for once, they ended things well and fast. In an hour time, Aoko collected enough evidences to send everyone on the yacht to jail, including the CEO who was probably still sleeping and tied to his bed that night. They headed back afterwards, with Shinichi waiting for them in Aoko's office, but Kid went off as soon as they reached, claiming he had finished what he was supposed to do. Aoko was more than glad to see him go, anyway.

"So," Shinichi looked between them before Kid left for the door. "Will you two work together again?"

"Never." Kid said.

Being mutually agreeable, for a miraculous second time, Aoko shook her head. "Never."