Disclaimer: I own only the possibility.

Don't get me wrong. I love stories where the two team up against the Black Org.
I just couldn't help but wonder about the common assumption that that's who got Touichi...

As per usual, anonymous reviews get answered in my profile.

Kaito had thought it was merely his luck cutting it closer than usual when he barely escaped the snipers at the heist. He'd seen that one clear path where he would not normally have bet his life on the chance of there being one, and taken it. And then there had not been space to philosophize as he lost himself in the blend of adrenaline and instinct, speed and unpredictability that got him away. Up that pipe, between those fixtures, down that corridor, around that turn, through that passage, zigzagging and weaving and changing direction in an instant, all reflex-fast, to where he quickly but silently slammed the door he had ducked through behind him and allowed himself to breathe, certain he'd lost them twice over.

And then a terribly familiar voice behind him said calmly, quietly, "Kaito."

He froze at that subtle emphasis that made it a name and not the first half of his title as the Kaitou Kid. Anyone who didn't already know what to listen for would probably have missed it, but that didn't matter; the speaker had known.

And he turned, meeting the intense blue gaze of too-old eyes looking out of a too-young face through thick black glasses.

"We need to talk."

Kaito knew Poker Face well, and was glad of it. It wouldn't have done to show how shaken he had been at the apparent child's revelations.

The small detective had found out about snipers taking potshots at many of the Kid's recent heists and thought it…odd. He had quietly come to several and discreetly investigated these new players on his own. Tonight, he had observed that they were present before Kaito had even arrived.

That subtle cleared path had, of course, been his doing.

"You're not the one shooting at people, after all," the boy explained with a smile that did not belong to a child.

Kaito didn't let anything show on his face. Oh, it wasn't like he wouldn't have escaped somehow even without it, though it would've been much trickier. It wasn't as though the detective had marked it, either; he had just ensured that, unknown to the snipers and their colleagues, there would be at least one safe way – one easiest way - out. Yet sure enough, Kaito had taken it, heading at every turn for the first, best option to lose his pursuers, right down the trail to where 'Conan' waited at the end. Granted, it wasn't for nothing they'd called Shinichi the Great Detective of the East, but it still gave Kaito chills to think how easily he'd been…well, perhaps not exactly manipulated, but he felt like he'd been led around by the nose. And he didn't like it at all. He was very lucky no one else had thought of this before; if another detective had pulled this trick, or perhaps a less…licit person…it would not have ended well.

Making a mental note to later review his strategies, he warily asked what the former teen wanted. There had to have been some reason for the detective to go to all this trouble just for a chance to talk to him.

"I want to know why those people are shooting at you."

Kaito laughed. "I'm a thief. Isn't that enough? Probably a grudge because I stole something from them."

That far-too-knowing stare nailed him in a way Aoko's mop or even Hakuba's suspicion had never been able to.

"It's more than that, and you know it."

"Oh? Why would you think that?" Kaito stalled.

"They're far too well-organized. There's something specific they're after. They wouldn't be trying to kill you if it was something you would give them voluntarily. So either you know what they want but won't give it to them, or you know too much and have to be silenced, since they cannot take the knowledge away from you."

Sharp blue eyes scrutinized him through those thick glasses. "Or both."

Kaito did not react, Poker Face up to its fullest extent. "Why do you want to know?"

The apparent child smiled, wry, only one side of his mouth twisting up and his expression far too old for that face. "You might say I have an…interest in criminal organizations."

Kaito was silent for a long moment. He considered what he knew of the detective, the intelligence but also the measure of honor behind those terribly perceptive eyes.

"Do you promise amnesty and to keep what I tell you a secret?" he asked finally.

The small detective smirked. "Have you ever killed anyone?"

Poker Face flickered for a moment before Kaito reigned in his emotions. "No," he stated flatly.

The detective smiled, eyes closed for a moment. "Anyone who reacts like that would not be a murderer," he said softly.

Kaito turned his head, not wanting to let the detective see any more than he could. "I wouldn't bet on that," he said, equally softly. You of all people should know better.

"Hm." He felt more than saw the other boy's nod. "You've lost someone close to you." It was not a question.

Kaito schooled himself not to react – he's a murder detective, of course he's had experience with the victims' families. But the detective continued without waiting for a response.

"Regardless, as of right now, you haven't killed anyone. And in that one case where I was called in, you didn't actually make off with that tower." There was a faint gleam of amusement behind those thick black glasses, and Kaito had no doubt that the detective had seen through the 'theft' almost immediately at the time. "So I have no reason to go after you. Besides," he added, very softly, "you've kept my secret."

Kaito exhaled a full breath.

"Alright," he said. "I'll tell you…Kudo."

And he did. A story of a father killed, the discovery of a secret room, a costume, and a recorded message, and a quest to draw out the murderers. Which he had.

The detective listened intently, his eyes sharpening at the description of Pandora, 'a gem that could cry tears of immortality.' But in the end he shook his head.

"Damn," he muttered under his breath, though the thief's keen ears caught it. "They're not the ones I'm looking for," he explained absently, eyes distant and thoughts obviously racing. "You said that they wore white trenchcoats, except for that guy Snake, who wore grey. And his boss wasn't wearing all black either…"

"And the ones you're looking for do?"

Kudo – Conan – looked at him sharply, but then relaxed, seeming to reconsider. "Yes," he said. "That's one of the first things people notice about the agents. And they have alcohol-based code names. When you mentioned immortality…I thought for a moment…"

"That's what yours are after, too?"

"It's hard to tell. But what I've been able to find about their goals seems to hint toward that, yes."

"Is that what…" Kaito motioned vaguely at the other boy's current stature.

The detective gave a sardonic half-laugh. "Actually, this was from what was supposed to be an untraceable poison. Apparently, I had an, ah, idiosyncratic reaction."

"And if the ones who were responsible found out, they'd try to fix that," Kaito realized.

'Conan' nodded. "After figuring out how it happened, yes."

Kaito blew out a breath. "Are you sure it's not the same people? It's possible Snake's division was subcontracted or something. It's not like clothes and codenames are conclusive evidence."

"True…but their M.O., their styles don't quite seem to match either." The detective fell silent for a moment, thinking. "I don't know. It sounds like we're dealing with two different organizations. At best, different branches of the same group working in different directions."

Kaito sighed. "Great. Twice the number of lunatics."

The detective considered for a moment, a gleam slowly appearing in his eyes. "But…regardless of whether or not the two groups are related, if they're separate but still competing for the same goal…"

Kaito caught on, his own eyes lighting up. "…we can pit them against each other!"

Conan suddenly grinned, his enthusiasm making him suddenly look more his apparent age. "If there's anyone who could manage that, it'd be us!"

For some time at first there seemed nothing to suggest that a chance meeting between two unlikely people in a nondescript room in an unremarkable office building had ever occurred, much less led to anything.

But then, gradually at first, reports began showing up in the newspapers of deaths of mildly known figures, businessmen, chemists, the odd programmer or freelance worker or artist in the mix along with a few with no known employment. Police were called out at the sound of gunshots, buildings were found with the doors kicked in and ransacked, bloodstains in the concrete.

Then the shootouts started getting big enough to attract police without their needed to be called. They began arriving to find bodies at the scenes, sometimes in trenchcoats, sometimes dressed all in black, very occasionally with someone in a rumpled shirt or casual attire in the midst of the group. Low-level criminals were suddenly unwilling to be out on the streets; the ones you could still find wouldn't say why, just shook their heads, wide-eyed with fear. Bodies were found in rivers. Cars exploded. Fires raged through buildings that should not have had any reason for them to spread.

An investigation was quietly started, and arrests started to be made. The officers might not have known the reasons behind what was going on, but they could see the symptoms. While those caught may been uncommunicative about why, there was enough information to prove the how.

And then in a single night a prominent banker was shot by a sniper, an upscale restaurant hosting several dinner meetings had all its food contaminated with several deadly toxins, a private jet and a helicopter collided and crashed, killing everyone in both, and a building thought abandoned exploded, collapsing upon itself and burying anything it might have contained.

The incidents suddenly dropped off dramatically. There was a brief upswing in petty crime, which the police, back on familiar ground, soon managed to subdue.

There was rampant speculation, opposing theories, some wild, some just barely plausible.

And, eventually, life returned to normal.

It was little noted when, six months later, a famous teen detective who hadn't been heard from for a very long time quietly returned home, though he no longer publicly solved cases.

It was noted only slightly more when months later still, the famed Kaitou Kid failed to return a stolen gem and stopped pulling heists completely. It was generally rumored that he had died before he had the opportunity to return his prize, though Inspector Nakamori loudly refused to believe it, insisting that the Kid had gone on hiatus before, he'd be back again, and that he would be the one waiting to catch him when he did.

And then one day two teen boys with a striking similarity in appearance met at the entrance to an arcade. They bought soft drinks at one of the nearby stores, smiled and shook their heads when the cashier asked if they were brothers. Inside the arcade, unheard below the noise around them, one asked, quietly, "Do you regret any of it?"

The other was silent for a moment, and then shook his head slowly. "I regret that some of it happened," he said, equally quietly. "I regret that people died. But I do not regret that we took them down. They did it to each other, remember. They would have just as readily done those things to civilians to reach their own goals. Besides, we weren't even involved by the end."

"True. It was surprisingly easy to turn them against each other. Didn't even take very long."

"And they did the rest." A sigh. "I'm just as glad it's over. It's good to be myself again."

"You've been a lot more sensible about publicity since you got back."

"With good reason, you must admit."


"…do you miss it?"

"The publicity? Not as much as I would've thought. Besides, I got what I was doing it for."

"Yes, I know, I helped you find it, remember?"

"Not just that, though. I made sure the guys who got my dad were taken down. And I didn't do anything more to them than give them some information."

"Gave them enough rope to hang themselves, hmm?"

"Yep. I don't think Dad would've approved if I'd done the sort of thing to them that they did to him. But what we did do…I started it. They chose themselves to finish it."

"Did you ever find out if Snake was one of the ones who went down?"

"Yeah, he was. I think it was actually Gin who took him out, ironically enough."


"Uh huh. And then one of the snipers got Gin. But you're right, I'm glad it's all over."

"It's good not to have to hide who you are anymore, isn't it?"

The other boy nodded. They stood in companionable silence for a while, finishing their drinks, and then began to move off on their separate ways.

"You know how to reach me if you need it."

"Heh. You too. Be careful with that 'Sleeping Detective' of yours."

"Ah, he's getting over it. You be careful with that blonde one."

"Are you kidding? It's so fun to watch him turn funny colors when he sees me in class. Without my help, even."

"You're incorrigible."

"Of course."

A laugh, a wave, and the two departed, just two more people unnoticed in the crowd.

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