Note: Fic uses Japanese names.

Communications

Detective

By socchan

–Roughly Eight Years Ago…—

Despite nearly every law of theatrics Kuroba Kaito could think of, it was sunny. Sunny and bright and cheerful with only a few scattered clouds to break the monotony of the endless blue sky. By all rights it should be cold, dark and rainy, but for some reason, it wasn't. Which, Kaito reasoned, was probably why he was sitting on the shaded steps in front of his house instead of in the sun.

Kaito was trying very hard to keep up a good Poker Face, like Dad taught him, but a slightly bleak look kept trying to break through. He hadn't had much practice with it—or at least not this much a reason to practice before. His dad was gone; two days ago there had been an accident while he was performing, and he'd—Kaito still had trouble thinking the word. If he didn't think it, it wasn't as real, and maybe his dad could come back—

Kaito cut the chain of thought off before it could do too much damage, and suppressed a scowl. It was such a stupid reason, too! Dad never screwed up his tricks, or if he did, he always made it look like—like—a not screw-up. There was no way he could be—well, it couldn't be because of some stupid accident anyway, because Dad had been the best there was.

Was.

Kaito's vision became slightly blurry, and he fought back the tears pricking his eyes. Remember Poker Face. Desperately, he looked around for a distraction to keep from thinking about things he didn't want to think about.

There was a good one: why was that boy walking up to the house?

The boy looked about the same age as Kaito. He was a bit shorter, and his hair was somewhat less messy, unless you counted the cowlick in the back, but otherwise the two of them looked very much alike. There was a determined scowl of sorts on the boy's face, and Kaito watched, interested, as they boy stopped to peer at the kanjis by the gate. The boy dug a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket, unfolded it, and looked from it to the kanjis to the house number to the paper again. Satisfied, he stuffed it back in his pocket and walked up to where Kaito was sitting, most of the scowl gone from his face.

The boy stopped just short of the steps. "Do you live here?" he asked, without preamble.

Kaito blinked. Well, he had wanted a distraction. "Yeah."

"Are you related to Kuroba Toichi?"

"He's my—he was my Dad."

The boy nodded, sympathetically, then continued. "Can I talk to you, then?" Kaito frowned, thinking about it. "It'll just be for a minute," the boy assured him.

"Well, I guess," Kaito said, reluctantly. He moved over a bit on the steps so the boy could sit next to him.

"Thanks." The boy took the offer and turned to Kaito, offering his hand to shake, Western-style. "I'm Kudo Shin'ichi," he said, "Detective."

Kaito raised an eyebrow and smiled a bit. "Kuroba Kaito," Kaito took Kudo-kun's hand and shook, a small cloud of confetti exploding around it. His smile grew a tiny bit wider. "Magician."

Kudo-kun's eyebrows went up. "Neat trick."

"Thanks."

Kudo-kun looked back at the yard, and Kaito did the same. "I was at your dad's last performance," Kudo-kun remarked, casually.

Something cold and lumpy lodged itself in Kaito's throat, and he had to concentrate very hard on his Poker Face. "Really?"

"I don't think it was an accident," Kudo-kun continued. "The body fell wrong."

Kaito stared at Kudo-kun in shock, the lumpy thing almost vanishing. "So you think it was—"

"Not an accident." Kudo-kun's face had a hard look to it.

Kaito's mind whirled. "Did you tell anyone?"

The scowl returned. "Yes. They didn't believe me. Well, except for Ran, but I think she just said it to be nice to me." He made an unpleasant face. "She's skep-ti-cal." Kudo-kun stretched the word out phonetically, and looked away. "Someday people are gonna listen when I say stuff," he grumbled, "and then bad guys won't get away with being bad."

Kaito watched him and mulled things over a bit. "I believe you," he said, putting as much conviction as he could muster into the words. Kudo-kun looked at him, surprised. "I do. You sound like you really saw what you said you did. Besides, Dad was the best magician ever, and even when he made mistakes he turned them into the show." Kaito swelled with pride thinking of his father. "I'm gonna be just like him one day." His face fell, then, but he managed a weak smile. "…Thanks for telling me. About Dad 'n stuff."

Kudo-kun smiled a little lopsidedly. "It's okay. I thought you'd want to know." He hesitated a moment. "Hey, if I find anything else out, you want me to tell you?"

Kaito nodded, vigorously. "Yeah! I mean," he backtracked, good manners kicking in, "yes, please."

"Okay." Kudo-kun stood up and started to walk away.

A thought occurred to Kaito. "Hey!" Kudo-kun stopped and looked back at him expectantly. "How come you're not in school? I'm staying home because of—well, yeah. What about you?"

Kudo-kun blushed slightly, looking guilty. "I skipped. I told Ran I had something really important to do so she would let me go. I still have to give her three candy bars and a box of Pocky for not telling on me, though." To his surprise, Kaito found himself suppressing a laugh. Kudo-kun smiled sheepishly. "Anyway, I gotta go now. Ran's prolly worried. And Mom, and Dad." He rolled his eyes.

Kaito grinned. "See you later, then, Kudo-kun."

Kudo-kun also grinned, and waived to Kaito. "See you, Kuroba-kun." Then he turned around again and started walking back where he'd come from.

Kaito watched him leave. He thought about Poker Face, and accidents-that-weren't-accidents, and bad guys. He thought about how maybe, maybe, he was just a little okay with it being bright and sunny and cheerful instead of dark and cold and rainy. He thought really hard about his dad and about the right thing. And it seemed like suddenly he felt just a little bit less sad and a lot more determined. Kaito's Poker Face slipped on again, and this time it fit just a little bit better.

—End—

Please note: At this point the story line diverges from the original. In other words, it started out the same, but now it's going in a different direction.

Constructive criticism is appreciated.

For more in depth notes on the story and (eventually) fan art, please see my livejournal.

Disclaimer: Detective Conan and Magic Kaito are by Aoyama Gosho; concepts and characters have been used without permission.