Disclaimer: Characters aren't mine. Beware the first person perspective, and the alternate universality…

Summary: In which Kudou loses a few last hopes, and goes further into the Kid's head than he ever anticipated.

AN: Written for a ficswap at manycases1truth livejournal community… crackfic, in all likelihood. Enjoy.

Identity Theft

What do you do if your last link to normalcy is stolen from you, and the thief can't even realize what he's done?

The last Kaitou Kid heist that ever occurred, he had been posing as me again—Shin'ichi, that is—before he disappeared to perpetrate the theft. Annoying, but, all things considered, I could live with it.

During the escape, an assassin's bullet must have caught him a glancing blow to the head, because the next I heard of him was when several hours later a hospital called the Mouri home. A boy with the identification of Kudou Shin'ichi had been found collapsed just outside the ER, wounded and unconscious.

The guy had been carrying a copy of my school ID.

He woke up pretty fast, to a crying Ran at his bedside, and regained his ability to function normally even faster. The hospital told us that such things were a good sign. I didn't believe them.

He might have been able to encode new memories and make purposeful, appropriate responses to his environment, but he was in the wrong environment. He couldn't remember who he was, and everyone told him that he was Kudou Shin'ichi. My parents were incommunicado, but it wouldn't have mattered even if they could have come. Seven-year-old Conan couldn't be 17-year old Shin'ichi, but an amnesiac Kid could.

After a while, he believed it too. Barring a few personality quirks, which were "perfectly" understandable after a head injury, he became Shin'ichi, right down to finding a mystery almost everywhere he went. He solved them, too. Staying one step ahead of the law for so long must have honed his instincts.

Fortunately for him, the Black Organization had been taken down only a few weeks before his accident; I had only been waiting for Haibara to use what salvageable pieces of her research remained to synthesize a cure. She found it two months after he unknowingly usurped my life.

Kid had always been a lucky bastard.

From the outset, I couldn't have claimed my life back without causing a lot of pain and confusion to just about everyone. It wouldn't have done any good later on, either. Not an option. Here in Japan only Agasa, Haibara, and Heiji knew that Kid wasn't me, and there wasn't anything they could say. No one would have believed them.

I played the innocent and worried little kid for a week. Then I called Doc Agasa, and Conan left with him to go home to his parents in America. I moved into Agasa's second spare room, and called to tell my father what happened. We agreed not to tell my mother.

During those two months before Haibara found our cure, I finally discovered the identity of my rival-no-longer due to a missing person's report circling the police stations for one Kuroba Kaito. It had always been bad enough seeing myself from a third-person point of view, but it was almost worse to see my face grinning at me with an even wilder hairstyle and personality.

Two months was all it took to research everything available about him, since I couldn't leave the house and had nothing else to occupy my time. After I discovered his address, a late night visit courtesy of Doc Agasa's inventions gave me even the information that wasn't available. When it came to his night job, he was meticulous—heist plans, consequences, takes, and returns, all recorded with the occasional revealing personal note written in the margins. I'm sure he learned from the best, his predecessor, because I found journals of his, too.

I'm a detective, a student of human nature, so once I knew all of this about Kid—Kaito—it was simple enough to get into his head. And when I did, I couldn't stay angry with him.

We'd both had jobs thrust upon us that required seeing through. I had been lucky enough to bring mine to an end. He hadn't. And now, he couldn't. But he had been risking his life every heist night, because he knew it was important.

The Kaitou Kid was gone. Even back to 17 years old, I couldn't replace him. Not only did stealing jewels go against everything in my nature, but I was smart enough to know I couldn't hope to pull off a heist with his trademark flair. The best I could do was modify my voice, and reassure a worried mother that her son was still alive. Kaito's mother was a strong woman, and it seemed she trusted her boys implicitly. She believed me when I said that I would come home again after I had taken care of things. I didn't even have to tell her what "things"; like I suspected, she already knew. She also promised to make up a lie to tell Aoko, knowing "I" wouldn't have wanted her to worry.

Kudou Shin'ichi, however, had connections and resources that Kuroba Kaito lacked. As long as I didn't appear in two public places at once, I could call in favors and gain access to jewels without even having to steal them first. I didn't take up his mantle, but I did take up his job.

Months of searching later, I found the Pandora jewel. With a feeling of deep, heartfelt satisfaction, I crushed it into dust and scattered the remains to the wind and sea. As an afterthought, I added a prayer for the dead and for the forgotten.

I had consulted with my father about what I was going to do next, but swore him to secrecy. He agreed it was better this way for everyone, even my mother. She didn't have to know.

Haibara's hacking skills replaced Kaito's fingerprints at the police station (taken once as a joke, I think) with mine. And a John Doe was admitted to the hospital for collapsing in the middle a crowded street—heatstroke is simple enough to cultivate if you know how it works—to be identified as Kuroba Kaito. It was amazing how easy impersonating him was when I didn't bother to comb down my hair, which is one big cowlick. I knew his personality, had every personal detail there was to know recorded in my photographic memory, and in my downtime while jewel-hunting had even learned enough magic to get by using his trademark tricks.

I mentally blessed whoever was considerate enough to allow my "mother" to come see me first, alone. Looking at her, it hurt to see the gray hairs and stress lines that I was sure wouldn't have been there a year ago, even though she had known "me" to be alive after those first two months. She squeezed me until I couldn't breathe, but I couldn't begrudge her that. I told her most of the truth, and she told me how she had explained my absence to everyone else.

We went home, and I began my new, old life.

So. Hi. My name is Kuroba Kaito, née Edogawa Conan, née Kudou Shin'ichi.

I'm a magician, although I don't show off as much as I used to. My friends think that whatever happened when I disappeared for nearly a year, helping a friend in trouble, matured me a bit. Hakuba held some suspicions for a while, but he seemed to eventually accept the quirks that returned home with "Kaito". Now that the Kid has disappeared again, he might actually admit we can be friends. I've gone from having one detective friend to another. I'm not sure whether or not I'm relieved.

I've even gone from having one female childhood friend to another, and she was Kaito's crush, too. The first day I was back she nearly cracked my ribs with the force of her hug, so it seems the attraction was mutual. I would almost feel sorry that he never really knew, if it weren't for the fact that he currently has the girl who used to be mine. Almost mine, at least. As I get to know Aoko, though, I think I can see why he liked her. In a lot of ways, she reminds me of Ran. As I adjust to this life, I think I could quickly develop a crush of my own.

As the days pass, my old lives seem more and more like dreams—or in the case of Conan, a nightmare. Some of my memories feel like they're fuzzing. Maybe, if I call myself Kaito long enough, I'll start believing that I'm him, too.

But you know, unless Kudou Shin'ichi suddenly and unexpectedly unlocks the barred areas of his memories...

Would that really be so bad?

First time writing Shin'ichi's POV. Tell me whether or not I was successful?