We do not die because we have to die; we die because one day,
and not so long ago, our consciousness was forced to deem it necessary.
-Antonin Artaud

"Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have immortal longings in me." Kid whispered, staring out into the night sky before him, feeling his balance wavering back and forth as he stood half off and half on the building.

The moonlight was brilliant, reflected in the guns aimed at the pair. Conan glanced nervously at them before glancing back at the moonlit thief, his eyes widening in horror as Kid smiled at him, the older teen's face peaceful, content.

"Au revoir, Tantei-kun." Kid blew the young detective a kiss, reaching up to gently remove his top hat, setting it on the edge of the building before straightening again. And falling forward, into the night's embrace.

"KID!" Conan yelled, the words forced from him in shock. He ran for the edge of the building, almost tumbling over it himself. He watched, tears starting to flow down his face as the white clad body twisted gracefully in the air, the peaceful smile never leaving Kid's lips, even as he landed on the pavement below. Broken...stained.


"His name was Kaito Kuroba," the blond said, leaning back in his office chair, golden hazel eyes studying the small boy before him. He rocked slightly in his chair, waiting for a reply, or gesture to continue. Not receiving one he reached for his tea, blowing on it for a moment before taking a sip, noting the untouched cup in front of Conan.

"He was seventeen, he attended Ekoda High, was an average stud..."

"That's not what I'm interested in." Conan said, his voice flat, almost empty except for the suffering in the clipped tones. "Tell me who he WAS...please."

Hakuba took another sip of his tea before nodding. "He was...a jester of the highest order. Nothing was outside his realm of pranks and mischief. He was dedicated in everything he did, and he was loyal, almost dangerously so. Once you were in with him, he would give everything to you, for you." Hakuba paused here, his mind going over the memories of his classmate and sometimes friend.

It was hard, reflecting on the boy who had only been dead for a week. Hakuba still expected the magician to come bouncing through the door, all smiles and laughter, teasing them about falling for his 'death'.

"He smiled," Hakuba said, his voice softer. "Always. He smiled at everything, for any reason. It was his defense...and his joy. It was what made him beautiful."


Conan kicked the ground, before replacing his foot on the skateboard, eyes staring at the sidewalk as he returned to the detective agency on almost auto pilot. His mind was still consumed with the things he had learned at research facility.

Hakuba had been his best bet for learning about the teenager behind the monocle Kaitou Kid wore, but it had only left him aching, desperate to learn more. He knew he was crossing a line, so close to becoming consumed but he couldn't stop.

He had watched Kaitou Kid willingly fall into death's arms, and he wanted to know WHY.


Conan shivered, wrapping his jacket tighter around his body and pushing harder on the ground, repeatedly, attempting to gain speed. He still had five blocks to go before he was home and the winds were cold.


He was tired. Had to be tired, after all, the wind didn't have a human voice and the rustling leaves certainly didn't call him names.

So he was tired...and slightly delusional. Probably a fever. Ran always did warn him around running around so late at night, now he was never going to live it down if he came down with a cold.


Conan screamed and went flying as his skateboard suddenly stopped. Cursing colorfully, he pushed his glasses up his nose and stared at the teen bending over to pick up the skateboard. He growled as the teen laughed, pushing himself up off the ground.

"Hattori. What are you doing in Tokyo?" he asked as he brushed himself off, checking for scrapes and bruises before looking back up at the Osaka born detective.

"Looking for you, actually. Ran asked me to come."


"She's...concerned about you. She says you've been depressed lately, ever since your last case, well, Mouri-san's last case...the one where Kaito Kid di..."

"I know what happened to him." Conan snapped, grabbing his skateboard and turning away from the detective, heading towards the detective agency. "I was there."

"Yes, you were, weren't you." Hattori mused, falling into step along side the smaller body, watching Conan out of the corner of his eye. "So, what happened?"

"I'm sure you've heard. There was a heist, Kid stole the gem, he ran to the roof, he got surrounded, he jumped and apparently forgot his glider." Conan said, not bothering to mention the black gun men in black aiming at the pair, nor the look in Kid's eyes just before he jumped, nor even the smile he wore as he fell.

Some things shouldn't be shared.

"Mm, sounds...boring." Hattori mused.



Conan tossed and turned as he slept on his futon, covers twisting about his body. Small whimpers escaped his lips every so often and he twisted again, burying his face into the pillow beneath his head. He gave another small sound and his small form trembled, shaking with some fierce emotion that his dreams pulled from him.


The room was still for a moment, almost holding it's breath in anticipation before Conan suddenly shot up, covered in sweat, trembling violently. He made a soft gasping sound before burring his face into his hand, glasses pushed up and off his head as he stifled the cries his body wanted to make.


The trembling slowed, emotions forced down, buried under layers of masks and walls. Conan raised his head, sliding his glasses back onto his face. He blinked slowly, staring at the open window, the breeze ruffling the pale blue curtains gently.

The shadows at the window were odd, twisted and bent, forming objects that didn't exist. Conan stared, almost going cross-eyed as he tried to get the shadows to make sense. It looked like...a person, sitting in the window.

He blinked and the shadow was gone, back to the normal forms of lamps, branches and other mundane things. He shook his head, eyes closing again. "I'm seriously losing my mind." he muttered.


Conan's head jerked up, eyes shooting open. The demented shadow was back...only...shadows were black, not white. Conan stared, mouth gaping wide as the "shadow" un-bent from his sitting position, feet hitting the floor without sound, body straightening.

Kid smiled at the flabbergasted detective and gave a low bow, making a motion to remove a hat in the process, even though the hat didn't exist. "Please, forgive my intrusion, Tantei-kun, but the window was felt to be the safest mode of entry."

"I've lost my mind..." Conan said after another moment of gaping.

"Mm, possibly. It was bound to happen sooner or later after all." the thief said merrily, resting against the window sill, facing Conan from across the room. "After all, so many murders, it was always a chance your mind would shatter. But that is neither here nor there, for insanity nor sanity has no place with us tonight."

"I've lost my mind and my delusions are the Kaitou Kid...I'm rather disappointed. I had hoped for at least Ran in a bikini." Conan said, making a move to lay back down. He wondered how he could hide this new development and keep from being locked away in an asylum somewhere.

Kid raised a curious eyebrow at that, looking as if he was filing that statement away for later, then dismissing it as un-important for the moment. "But am I a delusion, Tantei-kun?" he asked, stepping away from the window and moving closer to the young man who had stopped mid motion of laying down, and was now looking at him, confused.

"Am I really a delusion? I could be an illusion, or a hallucination..." Kid knelt next to Conan, staring into the boy's rich, blue eyes. "Or even an apparition." A red rose appeared between them, seeming to grow from Kid's gloved fingers.

Conan blinked, watching the rose grow before having a sudden flash of another blossoming stain of red, watching it coat the white jacket, spilling onto the sidewalk. "I hate red," Conan whispered, turning away.

Kid smiled softly and waved his hand, the rose vanishing. "Understandable," he said mildly, sitting fully on the floor. "Now then, Tantei-kun, why did you call me here?"

"I didn't," Conan said, refusing to look at the thief still. He would not give in to this. He was a strong, capable young man who did not believe in ghost, nor hallucinations. He would ignore this until it went away and then set about stopping it from occurring again.

"Ah, so I am here of my own free will then. Alright, I'm quite content to go with that theory." Kid leaned back on his hands, studying the boy before him. He smiled softly again, enjoying this chance to actually look at Conan, without a soccer ball flying at him.

"So if I am here of my own free will, I must have a reason, correct?" he said, not expecting nor receiving an awnser. "And if it's my reason, then I would guess it would be to play a trick on you. I am a prankster thief after all." He laughed at the glare he received for that and shook his head.

"But no, that's not it. So what is my reason...I could tell you a bed time story but I don't think you'd be interested in pretty fairy stories and those are sadly all the stories I know. I could teach you to juggle, but I didn't have my balls with me when I died and it seems that if they weren't there, they aren't here." he sounded mournful at his, thinking of his hat, his tricks...his doves.

"Or I could..."

"Why did you always store the gems above your heart?" Conan asked suddenly, cutting the thief off mid sentence, causing Kid to stutter and blink at him.

"Excuse me?"

"You've been shot in the chest three times, twice in the heart, bullets deflected by the gem you had stole, once in the lower left quadrant, bullet stopped by a bullet proof jacket, though it bruised your ribs according to Hakuba. So I ask, why did you always carry the gems above your heart?"

"Well, I suppose the romantic awnser would be sentimentality, where better to place a gem?" Kid said with a smile, placing his hand over his heart. "After all, such a beautiful, shining piece, it is the dearest thing to me." His face sobered a bit and he lowered his hand, unbuttoning his jacket.

"But it's more a reason of practicality," he said as he opened the jacket. He held out the left side so that Conan could see the inner lining, and the zippered pocket located over his heart. "It's a secure location. Hard to get to unless I'm dead or unconscious. Not many people can grab at your chest without you defending yourself. And as it's my left side, it's out of range of screwing with my shooting unless I switch to the left."

Conan nodded, watching Kid re-button his coat. "Why did you switch to gems, you used to steal...well, anything that caught you fancy. I mean come on, you stole a baseball..."

"My, you are inquisitive tonight." Kid said with a smile, stretching out his legs and crossing them one over the other, musing on the question, wondering exactly how to awnser it. He could awnser honestly of course, but it could be the catalyst that destroyed this meeting.

Gems that gave immortality tending to turn off conversations.

"Because they're pretty? Because people often treasure them more then any paining or statue, because they're often a lot easier to conceal then half of what I've gone after." Kid said, giving a graceful shrug. "There are many reasons, none of them really important."

"Who was the Kaitou Kid before you?" Conan asked, almost immediately after Kid finished speaking.

Kid wondered for a moment if the kid had even listened to a word he said before smiling, a true and honest smile, not the mask he usually wore. "My father, Kuroba Toichi." he said, the words containing a sad fondness.

"Where is he?"

"He was killed. By those men who were trying to kill me."

Conan stared at Kid, his mind whirling with all the questions he had, all the ponderings. This was his chance to learn everything, discover all the facts he had tried to leach out of every encounter, every report, from his interview with Hakuba.

But instead of all that, what came out of his mouth surprised both of them, though mostly because of the complete sense of lost abandonment in the question.

"Why did you die?" he whispered, body trembling, tears filling his eyes.

That was the question he needed awnsered. The truth he needed to know. Conan Edogawa (and in his past, Shinichi Kudo), had made a lot of enemies in his life, and tangled with quite a few criminal minds. But he had only ever had one rival, a genius to match his own, an opponent worth playing the game against.

The Kaitou Kid, an honorable thief who did anything to keep innocents safe. The man of a thousand faces who returned what he stole. An enigma wrapped in a puzzle, shrouded in mystery lost in a labyrinth.

And now that rival...that opponent...that man, was gone. And Conan felt so empty.

Kid had to smile again, drawing his legs back into his body, and moving closer to Conan. He titled the boy's head up, staring at those blue eyes again, brushing a gloved finger gently over a softer then silk cheek. "To save the world,' he said softly.

Conan snorted, turning his eyes away from the piercing gaze. "What a stupid and corny line. Just HOW would the death of a thief save the world?"

"Quite easily, my Tantei-kun. Think back. Think beyond me, beyond us, to the others on that roof and the one across and next to us. Look at the skewed memories in your mind and study them. Rationally, without emotion."

Conan closed his eyes, picturing the scene on the roof in his mind, trying to do as Kid suggested and pull himself back from the memories themselves, to remove emotion from the equation and simply SEE.

With a gasp his eyes opened wide. The guns had never been aimed at Kid. They had been shifted, turning towards him since the moment he stepped onto that roof, chasing the demented thief. A hostage, unspoken but the same.

They had, silently and without demand, used him to force Kid's hand. Kid would never let someone get hurt if he could prevent it. Conan had no idea who the men were or what they were after, but Kid had. He knew what they wanted. He knew that they wanted it from Kid himself, and were willing to use Conan against him, without Conan even knowing, so focused on his chase and hope to capture the thief.

Kid jumped, to take himself out of the equation.

"H..." Conan paused, clearing his throat of the suddenly thick feeling that had clogged it. "How does turning their attention from me save the world?" he asked, a tear sliding down his cheek as he thought of how stupid he had been. How foolish. So focused, so driven that he failed at the basic tasks that made him a detective in the first place.

Observation, assessment, knowledge.

He was jerked out of his thoughts as his head was lifted again, forcing him to look up into those rich purple eyes. He felt himself falling into those eyes, his own slowly closing, lids lowering, as lips met his.

For a delusion, illusion, hallucination...or even, as wrong as it sounded, apparition, those lips felt awfully real. Soft, warm...perfect.

"Such an imbecilic question, Shinichi-kun." Kid whispered as he pulled away from the kiss. "Don't you know, that the world could be contained within a person?" he asked, brushing his fingers across the boy's cheek, burring it in the dark strands before pulling the un-resisting boy into another kiss.