He was situated in the darkest corner of the room, the lone occupant of a table that had space for two. It was a spot that practically begged for clandestine meetings, whispered conversations and perhaps the occasional inappropriate activity, but his presence transformed it into the un-welcoming abode of a brooding hermit.
An as yet unidentified beverage sat untouched in front him, having been laid there just a moment previous by one of the braver of his subordinates. One of his former subordinates, he reminded himself bitterly.
The establishment - he had yet to decide whether it should be classified as a bar, a pub, or maybe just a pool hall - was filled to the rafters with policemen in various states of intoxication. Yet around him there was a bubble of empty space that no one dared intrude upon for more than the briefest of moments. This was an odd thing, since the party was being held in his honor, but one did not become a member of the police without having both some intelligence and a good sense of self preservation, and anyone with either would have stayed well clear of the man with mustache on this particular evening.
He glared at his drink, wondering if he could dump the contents on whatever human resources officer had put him in this situation. Retirement! They were forcing him to retire, and he hadn't even finished his job yet! Who cared if he was pushing sixty from the wrong side and was the oldest officer in the force? He said when he was done, not some smiling twenty-something from the personnel department. A scowl joined the glare in menacing the innocent alcoholic beverage.
"Ah, Nakamori-keibu, I don't believe the poor drink has done anything to you . . ."
Nakamori Ginzo turned sharply at the voice, ready to curse out whoever would dare to be so bold. The words died on his lips before ever reaching their intended victim. "You! Figures you'd be asinine enough to show up."
His words were met with a grin and a shrug, as his companion slipped easily into the seat next to him. With a clink two bottles were laid on the table, his white clad associate taking one and pushing the other towards Nakamori.
"Humph," the inspector vocalized, examining his bottle only to realize that it was his favorite brand of beer. "Always thought you'd be more of a wine or champagne drinker."
"One drinks whatever is appropriate to the occasion."
Nakamori watched as the internationally wanted criminal Kaitou Kid took a swig of beer in a room full of police officers. He hadn't even bothered putting on a disguise, darkness the only thing covering his features. Kid, Nakamori noted, was far less put together than normal, with his jacket open, his tie missing altogether, and the top button of his crisp blue dress shirt undone. The hat and the monocle were both present however, even if the cape wasn't, and it'd be only a moments worth of breath to call down the entire Task Force on him.
Shaking his head at the oddity of the thief he'd been chasing his entire career, Nakamori opened his own bottle. After drinking down some beer himself the long time police officer turned conversationally towards the long time phantom thief.
"We could probably get your DNA off that bottle."
"Quite probably," Kid replied casually, appearing entirely unconcerned with the prospect, before pausing slightly to study Nakamori. "Do you plan on arresting me this evening, Inspector?"
For a moment Nakamori was silent, considering whether or not he really wanted to. "I'm retired," he finally replied, his voice gruff.
"I'd heard something of the like." Kid swallowed another mouthful of the beer, "Though as I understood it, it's not official until midnight?"
It was ten minutes to midnight and Kaitou Kid was offering him a final chase; Nakamori was suddenly hit by the ridiculousness of the situation and began to laugh.
His laughter caused a silence to fall upon what had been a dull roar. One by one, sets of eyes turned towards the corner table, taking in the unexpectedly laughing inspector and a rather relaxed phantom thief.
Kid grinned at the hushed assembly of policemen, and raised his bottle in a cheeky gesture somewhere between a greeting and a salute, "Good evening, gentlemen! I thought I would join the party, I hope you don't mind. I can, of course, leave if it's an issue."
One of the senior members of the task force looked towards Nakamori for some indicator of what to do. Reigning in his laughter, the inspector directed one of his patented glares at the mass of people. "What the hell are you all staring at? Can't two old acquaintances have a conversation in peace? Go enjoy the fact that you're off duty instead of bugging us."
A buzz ran through the crowd, grins breaking out on the faces of most of the Kaitou Kid Task Force, some of the members calling out greetings and welcomes to the thief before turning back to whatever they had been doing before.
"You know what I hate about you?" Nakamori grumbled once the noise was back at full force, "A person has to work at hating you. I bet you know the names of every person here."
"And their families," Kid agreed amicably.
"You've been to these parties before."
It wasn't a question, but Kid replied as if it was, "Yes, though this is first time I've come as myself, so to speak."
A surprisingly comfortable silence fell as the two nursed their drinks, watching the antics of the others at the party.
Eventually Nakamori laid down his now empty bottle and asked the one question he knew he shouldn't ask.
Kid said nothing, finishing his own beer.
"You aren't getting money out of it. Hell, you're probably losing money with those theatrics of yours. So why?"
Kaitou Kid gave him a sidelong look, the monocle reflecting some stray bit of light. "Maybe I'm hooked on the adrenaline."
Nakamori snorted, "Hakuba's annoying, but I agree with him on one thing. What you do is too purposeful, you've got more going on then wanting an adrenaline rush."
"Don't be mistaken, Nakamori-keibu. What I do is addicting. I'd be lying if I told you that I didn't get some joy from it. However, if you want the real reason, the reason that matters," Kid reached into his pocket and placed an object on the table, "this would be it."
Frowning, Nakamori picked up the jewel. He'd become something of a jewel expert over the years simply by virtue of following Kid around, and there was nothing particularly special about this one that he could see. Sure, it was worth a ridiculous amount, but so was every other jewel the Phantom Thief Kid went after. "Last night's heist?" he asked hesitantly.
"It's called Pandora," Kid informed him, his voice void of emotion. "They killed him over it."
Nakamori carefully laid the jewel back down, "And you plan on . . . ?"
A pause. Then, "The killers?"
"Have been in jail for a few years now, thanks to the help of an acquaintance of mine."
The inspector merely nodded, not understanding, but feeling he'd reached the bounds of what Kid would willingly tell him.
Pandora disappeared back into one of Kaitou Kid's pockets. "I'm thinking about retiring," the thief said almost idly.
Nakamori gave a start. That was unexpected.
Kid smiled at him, not a grin or a smirk, but an actual smile. "I have a wife, Inspector. She hates my nightlife. She understands why, but that doesn't make her hate it any less. I also have a beautiful little girl who deserves more of my time. And I've done what I set out to do. Almost, anyway." Something flickered in his expression. "It's difficult though. This," he gestured to his clothing, "is part of who I am. It always will be. But it's time to move onto the next thing."
"I know what you mean," Nakamori murmured, knowing all too well the mix of emotions accompanied by the change they were both going through.
The two lapsed into silence once more.
"Maybe I'll give my retirement notice to Hakuba," Kid mused thoughtfully.
Nakamori began laughing again.