It all started as innocently as things ever started with the Kaitou Kid – which was to say, it didn't start very innocently at all. This was one of his more dramatic heists, if he did say so himself. Walking on air? It was brilliant, and the trouble he went through to pull it off was more than worth the look on Nakamori's face when his helicopters provided impromptu spotlights for his performance. And there was nothing quite like impressing the Bad Luck Squirt, as he had taken to calling the boy that tagged along with Detective Mouri; the shock in his eyes made him laugh at the memory. Sheer genius, all of it – and the emerald in his hands, in the end. The only unfortunate part of the whole thing was that the Bad Luck Squirt lived up to his name, and someone died. Again.

The Kid was pretty confident that he'd had nothing to do with the cause or effects of the murder, but it still made his stomach turn to think it had happened anywhere remotely near his watch. Something about that kid made the Rules change a little and Improbability bend backwards in an effort to provide dead bodies. It was a little too weird for him – the 'magic' in his possession notwithstanding.

It wasn't surprising that the jewel wasn't the Pandora, though, he decided. He'd taken on the heist primarily because the jewel's owner had challenged him to do it. A golden opportunity? The thief had made it one. Bless the man for renting every building in the area. Such a crowd the Kid had never had before. Ha, he couldn't help thinking, take that, Nakamori! The poor detective seemed to have yet to realize that Kid would have the hardest time with a small group of people rather than crowds of officers – although Kid was working on that. He had backup plans for groups as small as five people, now, and he couldn't wait to give them a try.

The next challenge, of course, was returning the jewel.

Usually he returned the jewel to Nakamori; the thief considered his true coup de etat to be the time he had put the Rhinestone of Holland in Nakamori's hand himself, as Aoko, and watched as he gawked like a fish out of water (the only kind of fish he liked, incidentally), until Kid had disappeared in a puff of smoke. The true end of this heist had to be every bit as flashy as the beginning, though – if for a smaller audience, or even none at all – and this time he thought to return the jewel to its very resting place in full Phantom Thief regalia, which would no doubt be entertaining for the small contingent of officers left to wait for his possible return.

The greatest thing about Nakamori's men was that they never got tired of this stuff. Kid mocked them, impersonated them, danced crazy circles around them, and they gamely struggled on in their efforts to see him put behind bars. The Kaitou was half-inclined to think that being caught would be doing them a disservice. What would these dull boys do for entertainment without him around, anyway?

So after a merry chase around the mansion housing the Mermaid Emerald, which began with him appearing on the ceiling (after replacing the jewel, of course – no need to make things more complicated than need be) and ending with him zooming out an open window on his glider, the Kaitou felt that he'd had a rather full week, what with the preliminary performance, the murder, the heist itself, and the return; he'd take a couple weeks off. Midterms were coming, too, so if he wanted to further distance himself from his real identity, he'd have to pull off a good heist in the middle of them, which meant studying now. He started for home.

When a bullet shattered the infrastructure of the glider, strangely the first thought that went through his head was that it was irritating to have this happen a third time. Then he was plummeting the short distance to the nearest roof, and he landed on one foot too hard before he tucked into a roll and came to a stop shortly thereafter.

A quick self-examination brought Kaitou Kid to the swift realization his ankle was twisted, which was livable but troublesome. He took stock of his surroundings; it was evidently an empty roof.

"Don't move."

Except for the guy dressed in black holding a sniper rifle, that was.

Despite the order, the Phantom Thief struggled to his feet, slamming his poker face down on his pain and anger. A thin smile spread across his lips, all fun and games. "If you wanted a show, all you needed to do was call," he said nonchalantly. "Destruction of personal property is going a little too far, perhaps?"

"This from a thief," the man in black answered, smirking. "Where's the Emerald, Kid?"

"I put it back," Kid answered, shrugging his shoulders, balancing all his weight on his good leg without appearing to do so. "It wasn't what you're looking for, or it'd be in itty bitty pieces at the bottom of the sea right now."

"Cocky as always," the man in black observed, lifting his gun. "Can't have you gallivanting around with that sort of attitude."

The thief tensed; this time he didn't have any jewel in his pocket to protect his heart. "Try and stop me," he said, ready to spring away."

"I will," the man said confidently, aiming.

Three things happened at once. The man fired his gun. The Kaitou Kid leapt to the side. And a plastic pellet projectile, fired from a small handgun, struck the thief in the side of the head just above his ear, knocking him out cold.

He would only barely recall two figures standing over him, and their conversation was fuzz in his ears; he choked when something was forced into his mouth, but some water washed it down. And then the whole world became burning, melting pain.

When Kaito woke up, he noticed that a few things were wrong.

Firstly, his head ached in a way it never had before, except for the time when he'd gotten drunk on an experiment with his tolerance at that one bar while pretending to be a thirty-year-old. That was to say, his head was splitting. He moaned in agony, and reached up to grab his head.

Secondly, his monocle was not on his face; he sat up sharply when he realized it, fingers touching where the monocle should have been, and he swiveled his head about, looking for it.

Thirdly, everything seemed to have gotten bigger overnight – his clothes, his monocle, the rooftop … suddenly the whole word was a larger, stranger place, and Kaito found himself wondering if it was some weird myopic vision thing that had suddenly swept over him because of his headache.

He discarded the idea when he discovered the forth thing that was wrong, after he'd managed to fish his hand out of his shirtsleeve.

His hands were small, and stubby, and could barely spread to cover his eyes and nose, much less his mouth. IT was a child's hand.

"Oh, damn it," Kaito said.

His top hat slid down over his ears to cover his eyes.

To be continued?