No Strings Attached
Part 1: Royal Flush

By Hikari-chan

Disclaimer: If I own Conan or any of its related characters and series, I wouldn't be here writing fanfiction, complaining about my job, and have to pay off my student loan debt now, would I?

Notes: The idea is completely and totally inspired by one of June's LJ post about scenes she would like to see in Detective Conan. All 4,000 glorious words here are spawned from her idea. Credit all to her. And yes, you read right. It does say "part 1" up there with the title, so there's a planned parts 2 and 3.

Genre: General, pointless, attempted humour (if you squint)
Rating: PG for minor swearing
Pairing: maybe sort of Kid/Ai/Conan, if you have a couple of shots before you start reading and squint really, really hard
Word Count: 4166

To June for the original idea. To Rae for being an awesome beta (and not killing me XD).

And a note for the FFN version: I can't believe I'm fighting with the formatting to post this.



He clasped his hands together and gave the girl scientist in front of him the puppy-dog eyes, the look that always won Ran over. The girl in front of him right then, however, was neither amused nor impressed.

"No," she deadpanned.

"But Haibara," he started.

"You're whining, Kudo-kun," she interrupted.

Edogawa Conan, once Kudo Shinichi, high school detective extraordinaire, snapped his mouth shut at the girl's observation. For as long as he had known Haibara Ai, once Miyano Shiho, head scientist of the APTX-4869 Project, he had never been able to convince her to do anything she didn't want to do, and he didn't think today was going to be the first time he would achieve that. He sighed and decided he had a better chance at trying to be at two places at once than at convincing Haibara of helping him out.

How did things always complicate themselves like this anyways?

It had certainly started off simple enough.

Ran had gone over to Sonoko's for a sleepover the night before, and the latter had planned an all-day shopping trip, which was going to end with a night at a karaoke with all of their high school friends. Normally, Conan would have wanted to tag along, because who knew what Sonoko would make Ran do at the karaoke? Instead, in this case, the timing was perfect. About a week ago, Kid had sent out a heist note in its usual riddle form. The once-high-school detective had successfully pieced together the date and place about three days ago. Kogorou had declared weeks ago that he was taking this day off because the Okino Yoko Special was going to be on television, and Conan had been racking his brain trying to come up with an excuse when Ran had said she would be spending the night at Sonoko's.

Naturally, the solution came very simply after that. He only had to mention to Ran that he would be spending the night with Agasa-hakase since she wasn't going to be home and she had smiled and sent him off, knowing that he would be in better hands with the professor than her half-drunk father.

Haibara had been none too pleased at being taken away from her lab for a full day, as Conan had not yet pieced together the exact time of the heist, but she had said something about a battle between Holmes and Lupin and tagged along anyways.

The museum where the heist was supposed to take place was a twenty story building with the bottom ten stories open to public and the top ten filled with offices. Five minutes ago, someone had come down from the elevator to the first floor, where Agasa, Conan, and Ai had planted themselves to watch for the entrance of "suspicious characters", and screamed that there was a murder on the ninth floor.

So now, here they were, standing with the police on the ninth floor.

"You never fail to attract dead people, do you?" Ai had asked him, arms crossed as she unblinkingly examined the body of Fujioka Shinji, the accounting clerk of the museum who looked like he had been strangled using the Egyptian necklaces on display in the next room.

Conan had shot her an annoyed look before going back to his investigation. "It's not like I want them to drop dead," he muttered.

"Ah well, I suppose an optimist would say that you wouldn't have a lot of business otherwise, with the career you've chosen for yourself," Ai smirked, watching Conan bend down to look at the corner of a display case.

Conan glared in her general direction, and momentarily distracted, caught sight of a policeman jotting down notes next to an Egyptian sundial. He frowned and glanced at his watch.

"Shit," he swore aloud, jumping up from the ground.

"What's wrong, Shinichi?" Agasa asked, seeing the normally composed detective suddenly flustered.

"I just figured out the last part of Kid's note," Conan explained. "If you take the riddle line about time and use it in the context of a sundial..."

"…You get eight o'clock," Ai finished, catching on.

Agasa frowned. "But a sundial only works when there's light," he pointed out.

"That's what the 'darkness sees the light' line is about," Conan continued, speeding towards the elevator with Ai and Agasa on his heels. "Normally, it should be the daytime because sundials don't work at night, but Kid's note is saying the time as it should be, but in the dark, so it should be eight o'clock in the evening."

"Which is five minutes from now," Agasa commented, looking at his watch. "So what are you going to do about the murder case?"

Conan stopped running, almost making Ai and Agasa crash into him. He looked between the elevator and back to the crime scene, where the puzzled police were still discussing the situation. The Evening Star, a pearl that supposedly shone at night, was on display on the third floor of the museum, but if he ran for it now, who knew how long chasing the Kid would take? By the time he came back, they would have cleaned up the murder scene, and some important evidence might be lost. On the other hand, if he investigated the murder right now, he would never catch Kid before the Phantom Thief escaped.

As far as he knew, no one but himself had come close to catching the Kid. The thief was obnoxious and a little too smart. Conan glanced at Haibara out of the corner of his eye and bit his lip. Unless... maybe...

"Hey Haibara," he started.

"No," she said before he had finished asking.


He clasped his hands together and gave the girl scientist in front of him the puppy-dog eyes, the look that always won Ran over. The girl in front of him right then, however, was neither amused nor impressed.

"No," she deadpanned.

"But Haibara," he started.

"You're whining, Kudo-kun," she interrupted.

He snapped his mouth shut. Kudo Shinichi never whined, and Edogawa Conan wasn't going to start now. Well, at least Kid always returned what he stole, even if he wasn't there to catch him. Still, it was a matter of principle. As a detective, he shouldn't be letting the thief get away with this.

"Well," Ai's voice interrupted his thoughts, "unless there's some kind of incentive."

"Incentive?" Conan prompted.

"Burberry Blue Label has released a new limited edition purse for Spring," Ai replied with that annoying smirk he always wanted to wipe off her face.

"You know that's bribing, right?" Conan responded.

"Correction: bribing is when you offer me incentives to do something illegal," Ai said dryly. "I'm negotiating."

Conan took a look at his watch. They didn't have time left for this bantering. "Fine, fine," he agreed. "The Evening Star's on the third floor. You just need to stall him until I get there. Give me fifteen minutes. If you lose him, just head to the roof. Kid has an affinity for high places."

"I'd think so, since he needs to fly off with a hang glider," Ai muttered.

"Maybe I should go with you, Ai-kun," Agasa suggested, a worried frown on his face.

The elevator doors opened, and Ai stepped in, shaking her head at the professor. "You need to stay to help Kudo-kun denounce the murderer," she pointed out.

As the elevator doors closed, Conan quickly turned back to the murder case at hand, resolving to finish the investigation and denouncement in the fifteen minutes he had promised Haibara.

"Oi, Shinichi," Agasa-hakase hovered around his next-door neighbor, obviously still worried. "Are you sure she's going to be fine against Kid?"

Conan nodded absent-mindedly, once again examining the display case he had previously been occupied with. "Kid has a 'no one gets hurt' policy," he murmured. "He wouldn't touch Haibara."

Agasa sighed. At this point, there wasn't much else he could do. He just hoped Shinichi would finish this case quickly so Ai-kun didn't have to face the infamous Phantom Thief on her own.


Ai stepped out of the elevator on the third floor, already debating how she was supposed to stall someone like the Kid for fifteen long minutes. Her thoughts were interrupted by the loud shouts of Nakamori-keibu and his crew of policemen.

"That's Kid! He's getting away!" Nakamori literally roared as the band of policemen came barreling towards the elevator.

Ai sidestepped quickly and narrowly missed being crushed by the policemen as they jumped to dog-pile onto the bandit in white. Not surprisingly, the thief disappeared in a puff of pink smoke as the crew crashed heavily onto the floor, reappearing in all his glory next to the shrunken scientist. He kneeled down and peered into her turquoise eyes through the monocle.

"Wrong chibi," he grinned, "unless chibi-Holmes has taken to cross-dressing."

Ai couldn't help the smirk that twitched on the corner of her lips, the sudden image of Conan in Ayumi's clothes appearing in her mind's eye at the thief's suggestion. If nothing else, it should be filed away as a good "negotiating" condition, the next time he asked for a favour.


The Phantom Thief glanced up at Nakamori-keibu, who looked like steam was going to come out of his ears. He grinned and held his thumb and index fingers together, a red rose appearing suddenly in his hand.

"I'm sorry to say I think we have to cut this meeting short, Ojou-chan," Kid mused, an amused tone hanging in his voice as he gave Ai the rose.

As soon as Haibara gingerly took the flower out of his hand, he reached for his card gun, shooting three cards at the approaching inspector and successfully keeping the latter a safe distance away. The white figure ran towards the nearest window; and with one foot already on the windowsill, he turned and gave Haibara a mocking salute.

"Give chibi-Holmes my love," he snickered.

And then he was out the window and gone.

Ai frowned, belatedly remembering that this was only the third floor, and the hand glider really wouldn't work well this close to the ground. She hurried towards the window and peered around it, looking for signs of the thief, but the only thing she found was a large crowd holding I-love-Kid signs below, standing and cheering outside the museum. She raised an eyebrow at this. It was odd. Kid usually thrived on performances and the crowd. Where was the flashy escape scene where he took off on the motorcycle with her friend, the miniature detective, on a skateboard with the turbo engine, close behind?

"Search the building! And you!" Nakamori roared, pointing a finger at Haibara, who gave him a chilly glare that made the inspector drop his finger and take a step back. "Err, don't show up at crime scenes again. They're dangerous."

Ai rolled her eyes as the policemen disbanded from their tangled pile on the floor and started their search around the building for signs of the thief. Of course crime scenes were dangerous for normal children, but she was hardly normal, and she didn't exactly find crime scenes. They liked to find her, or rather, they liked to find Edogawa Conan, who she just happened to hang out with quite a bit due to their bizarre but similar circumstances. Letting out a small sigh, she headed for the elevator. She might as well go back to the murder scene and tell Kudo that Kid had escaped.

As she waited for the ascending elevator to arrive, Ai noted that the three cards Kid had shot at Nakamori-keibu, now lying forgotten on the floor, were the Ace of hearts, the Jack of hearts, and the Ten of hearts. For a master at magic tricks, he certainly seemed to be lacking in his card shuffling skills. He should have shot three Aces, Ai thought with some dry humour.

A small ding from the elevator indicated its arrival, and the miniature scientist stepped in and hit the button for the ninth floor, thoughtfully twirling the red rose in her hand. She thought Kid was quite the enigma, to be honest, because it certainly took a kind of courage to laugh so blatantly in the face of law. Or, she mused to herself, it took a kind of stupidity to laugh so blatantly in the face of law. The elevator stopped on the seventh floor, and a middle-aged woman stepped in, hitting the button for the top floor.

Ai glanced at the woman out of the corner of her eye, and sensing nothing dangerous about the brunette with the briefcase, she shrugged and went back to musing while watching the floor numbers light up on the electronic panel above the elevator doors.

All of a sudden, the light corresponding to the eighth floor went off and the lights went out as the elevator jerked to a stop.

"Eh?" the woman next to Ai cried out and went to the panel to hit some buttons. "Hello?"

"There must be either a mistake in the control room or some confusion," Haibara spoke up to the nervous woman. "No surprise, with both a Kid heist and a murder at the same time in the same building. Someone down there must have gotten confused and hit an emergency stop button either by mistake or on purpose."

The woman smiled down at the girl and looked at her a little incredulously. "You seem awfully calm for a young girl," she commented.

Haibara shrugged. "How you react to a situation only depends on your experiences," she replied. "A man who has never known pain will wail like a toddler the first time he feels it. A young boy who has seen too much death won't even blink at a corpse."

"You have been trapped in an elevator before?" the woman asked.

"No, I have been trapped in darkness a lot worse than an elevator before," Ai answered.

There was a pause so long and silent that Ai started to wonder if she had either scared off the woman enough to stop her from asking anything else, which would be desirable, or if the woman had somehow found out that she really wasn't as young as she looked.

"Your parents, they don't treat you very well?" the woman questioned softly, seeming to know she was treading on dangerous ground.

In the darkness, Ai let a bitter smile cross her face. "I don't believe I can answer that question. They died when I was very young."

Another pause followed her answer. "An accident?" the woman ventured to ask.

"I don't know the answer to that," Ai replied honestly.

For a moment, she wondered why she was being so truthful with a perfect stranger. Granted, she wasn't giving out enough information to give herself away, but she was still giving out more information than she normally would to a strange woman in an elevator of a building with two crime scenes. Then again, perhaps it was because this was a perfect stranger that she didn't need to hide behind her normal mask of cool indifference. The woman would remember her as an odd little girl and move on with her life.

"I lost my father to an accident of that sort," the woman said suddenly.

"Excuse me?" Ai frowned, not sure if she understood. Her parents had been killed by the Organization. There was, of course, no trace of the murderer as it was made to look like an accident. She highly doubted that anyone else would have the same kind of dilemma. But then, the Organization had members everywhere, so it should be no surprise that someone else had the same thing inflicted upon them. It was, in truth, only surprising because this woman had lived to tell about it.

"If I have guessed the accident that took your parents' lives correctly," the woman reiterated tentatively, "then it was the same kind of accident that took my father's life."

Ai took some steps back from the woman, confused and distracted about her last reply, before another jerk sent the elevator into motion again, the lights coming back on. Wordlessly, the woman reached forward to the panel and pushed the button for the top floor. The elevator, having restarted, bypassed the ninth floor, and it was while watching the light for the eleventh floor come on in the electronic panel that something struck Ai as extremely odd.

"Do you work late often?" she voiced quietly.

The woman looked down at her. "Sometimes."

"Is your office on the top floor?" Ai wondered.

"No," the stranger laughed softly. "It's on the seventh floor."

"For a woman leaving work then, isn't it strange that she would be going up the elevator instead of down?" Ai continued. "Why are you going to the roof?"

"I've left something in my boss's office," the woman replied easily.

"And isn't it funny," Ai mused again, delicately putting a finger to her chin, "that your office is on the seventh floor when almost all of the offices are between the eleventh and twentieth floor? Also, you left work after two crimes happened instead of before. Most people were cleared out for the Kid heist and those who weren't were certainly called in to the murder scene on the ninth floor."

The elevator gave a ding and the strange woman stepped out onto the top floor. Ai followed her wordlessly as they took a final set of stairs up to the open roof, the woman's high heels echoing in the emptiness of the hall and the quietness of the night.

"I've always told little girls," the woman began as she reached into her briefcase, "that they would be much cuter if they asked fewer questions." And with a swish of fabric and a flash of white which momentarily blocked Ai's view of the mysterious figure, the Phantom Thief Kid was once again standing in front of the shrunken scientist.

He dropped to his knees in front of her and took her free hand in his gloved one, dropping a light kiss on the back of it. "You should stop hanging out with chibi-Holmes," Kid muttered, a slight amusement dancing in his eyes that Ai found rather enchanting. "He'll scare all the boys away."

"Ah, but who will buy me the expensive clothes and purses if I stop getting him out of trouble?" Ai replied sarcastically, leaving no doubt in Kid's mind that she could very well afford those things if she didn't find such pleasure in exasperating their mutual acquaintance.

"It seems he finds trouble a lot, doesn't he?" Kid mused aloud.

"Either that, or trouble finds him a lot," Ai rolled her eyes.

"You care very much about him," Kid pointed out.

Ai scowled at him, sending him the same chilling look that she had given Nakamori-keibu before, but the Phantom Thief hardly looked affected by her patented glare of death. She pulled her hand roughly from his grasp, noting that he had been holding it much too long for it to be merely considered a polite gesture.

"I must admit it's rather disappointing to find out," he murmured softly, standing up and walking towards the ledge of the building to survey the crowd below. They roared to life at seeing their the figure in white on the rooftop.

Ai felt an uncharacteristic blush creeping onto her cheeks, and she studied the thief's profile in the moonlight. He was obviously a performer, someone who thrived on the attention and the thrill of the chase, but there seemed to be a haunting darkness beneath all the glorious whiteness; something sad and melancholic lingered.

"Was it true, what you said?" she asked suddenly.

He turned to give her a smirk. "What? That I was disappointed that you cared about chibi-Holmes?" he asked. "I don't know. A little bit of truth with some dressing up."

"No," Ai deadpanned, even though she was slightly curious as to why Kid was flirting with her. After all, this encounter convinced her that he knew the two of them were not really children. "I mean what you said about your father in the elevator."

He quieted for a moment, and then answered her with a slight nod of his head. "As true as what you said about your parents," he answered.

Ai was silent for a long moment after. If Kid's father was killed by the Organization, then why was he making such flashy appearances all the time? She would have hidden. In fact, she was hiding. But then, what was the purpose of stealing gems and returning them? Did that have something to do with the Organization?

The familiar sound of shuffling feet and the click of a watch snapped her back to reality, and without really considering or thinking what she was doing, she ran and tackled the figure behind the door.

"Ouch!" Conan's voice rang out as the two of them hit the ground.

The tranquilizer needle he shot whizzed by Kid's head and into the oblivion of the night.

"Haibara! What are you doing?" Conan yelled, annoyed that he had missed the chance to sneak up on the elusive thief. If Ai hadn't knocked him out of the way, Conan was sure that the needle would have gotten Kid.

"Hurry up and leave!" Ai snapped at the thief who was still standing on the ledge of the building, a bit of surprise showing on his otherwise composed expression.

He took one glance at her face and understood what she meant. She didn't want him to get caught here, before he had completed whatever he had set out to do. He smiled at her and tipped the top hat down to cover some of his face.

"Thank you, Ojou-chan," he grinned, and with a kiss blown in her direction, he jumped from the ledge and let his obnoxiously flashy hang glider take him away.

"Argh!" Conan gritted his teeth, running towards the edge of the building and watching helplessly as the thief disappeared into the night. "I could have caught him! I would have caught him! Why did you stop me?"

Ai stood up from her position on the ground and brushed some dirt off her clothes, looking for all the world as if she hadn't just saved the Phantom Thief Kid and pissed off her best friend, the detective who was determined to catch said thief.

"I said I would stall him long enough for you to show up in exchange for the purse," Ai replied nonchalantly. "You never said you'd give me anything if you caught him."

"Argh! Is that all this is to you, a business deal?" Conan asked incredulously.

Ai raised an eyebrow at him. "Hasn't it always been just that?"

Conan spluttered for a moment before Ai decided to put him out of his misery.

"How did the murder case go?" she asked.

Conan sighed. "His wife pretended to be picking him up after work and killed him because she thought he was cheating on her with the secretary."

"Interesting," Ai snorted. "Glad I didn't stay for that."

Conan examined her expression and frowned all of a sudden. "Did something happen between you and Kid?" he asked.

"I stalled him," Ai replied.

Conan rolled his eyes. Asking Haibara to tell him something when she didn't want to was like trying to move a dead elephant. "By the way, where did you get the rose?" he sighed. "You didn't have it before."

The shrunken scientist took a look at the flower in her hand, the expression on her face a bewildered one that seemed to say she couldn't remember where she had gotten it. An amused smile then replaced the look and she held out the flower to her companion.

"Kid sends his love," she snickered.

"Err…" Conan stared at the flower as though it was going to explode into a bucket of apples and bananas and crush his foot at any second.

"It doesn't bite," Ai smirked.

Carefully, Conan reached for the flower in her hand. As soon as he touched it, it exploded into a small puff of pink smoke, and in Ai's hands now were the Evening Star and two cards.

Both teenaged children blinked in surprise and stared at the contents. The Evening Star was glowing slightly in the darkness, and Ai cautiously picked it up and held it out to Conan.

"I believe you want that back," she said. "I guess it wasn't what he was looking for."

"I'll return it," Conan replied, taking it and heading for the stairs. "It had better not disappear in a puff of pink smoke."

Still on the rooftop, Ai briefly wondered when and how Kid had managed it. She shrugged and instead, looked curiously at the cards she was still holding. They were a King of hearts and a Queen of hearts.

A royal flush.

Maybe he wasn't so bad at shuffling his cards after all.


End of Part 1.

Word Count: 4166 words