Beta'd by: ylvglo, nightpounce, and nataeiy1
Things to note: Future KaitoxShinichi
Through some twist in fate (or the aftermath of a Kid heist), Heiji runs into Akako. Akako contemplates fools, and Heiji has a request.
Case 11 – Akako & Heiji
Amidst the roaring of fans and blaring of sirens, Kaitou Kid leapt from the pinnacle of the building that housed his latest target, glider unfurling to catch the wind and carry him into the night. Akako watched him go, feeling the ebb and swell of the crowd around her as they vied for a glimpse of the elusive phantom, close but never touching the dark presence in their midst.
How many times had she watched the insouciant dove fly free from his waiting captors? Akako had long given up on her own gilded cage, a cage that would keep such a bird trapped for her enjoyment alone. Such captivity would have been the death of his very spirit, leaving Akako bereft of the very prize she sought. There were times when she hated him, that even were her cards to play true she could never have what she truly desired. It may not have been her nature to admit failure to the world at large, but it would have been foolish to continue to cling to futile hope. The daft boy had no idea the treasure he was giving up, the transcendent gift of a witch's heart. What power he could have wrought.
Alas, that was one of his endearing qualities as well. That he had the ability to capture the world for himself, to keep it and to take what he wanted from it, yet he only used his influence to give back dreams, hope, and happiness. He could have riches, and instead chose honor. Vengeance or justice.
Akako knew herself a selfish person; it was one of the reasons she had chosen her dark vocation. All the same, she craved the purity that Kid exuded. And to her frustration and disappointment, none of her dark powers would allow her to get close. It had been a bitter pill to swallow, and had led her to the brink of destroying her fascination rather than let it forever dance beyond her grasp. Somehow, though, she found that a world without a madly grinning phantom and his impish counterpart would no longer appeal to her. It rankled her pride, but she would allow this one to get away from her.
Thus it was in her own interest that she backed off her pursuit, and merely watched from the shadows. Occasionally she would lend him her warnings, when she felt the shadows pulling too close. While often disregarded quite rudely by Kaito, they would be courteously taken into consideration by Kid, and that was enough.
Lucifer had been more incomprehensible lately, when it came to the matter of Kaito and Kid. Before, the very existence of Kid was wreathed by the circling crows who feasted on the dead. How they coveted the pretty baubles Kid acquired! Time and time again he escaped their grasp, not always unscathed, but always with his prize in hand. His adversaries were so much a part of Kid's existence as his white cape and flashing monocle that Akako hadn't thought twice about the danger they represented. Until suddenly they were taken out of the equation.
The crows had fallen these few months ago, wings clipped and talons blunted as they were caged away. It was done so quickly and quietly, the scandals touching the papers for so little time that they were soon forgotten. Kaito had laughed when he first read the article proclaiming the arrest of several higher up police officials. Hakuba-kun's accusation of him being glad there was less competition for the inevitable capture of Kid was met with the cryptic reply of "Congratulations, Tantei-kun." It had left the blonde detective baffled to figure out if it was a roundabout confession or something else entirely. Akako had merely made a mental note to attend Kid's next heist, to watch the thief caper and rejoice under the soft light of the moon.
More recently, however, Akako had sensed a looming inevitability, a dark shadow once again dogging Kaito's steps in his perilous journey. At the same time, there was no bite of true danger in the presence. The warnings she received were more puzzling than helpful, and she had not been sure what, if anything, to warn the magician about. A challenge for Kid to meet, but not to face; an enemy that would vanish forever, but still be by his side; old beginnings; new ends; death creeping ever closer, yet no end after it is met. Akako had watched Kaito closely, trying to find some break in his cheerful existence to indicate the turmoil that roiled around his life. There was no heist planned, so whatever was going to happen was going to happen to Kaito, not Kid.
Whatever consequences her inaction may have influenced had been skillfully avoided by Kaito, as she had expected, as after a few weeks the cryptic feelings had faded. It was galling that he never truly needed her extra assistance to conquer the obstacles in his path. Perhaps one day, when he really did need help of a supernatural nature, she would be magnanimous enough to grant it without a cost just for the novelty.
Akako sighed softly to herself, bringing her wandering attention back from the recent past. Kid had flown from sight, and the fading sirens of the relentless police pursuit indicated the show was over for the fans. While the spectacle was never terribly impressive when Kid's target was enclosed in such spaces, people still flocked to the police barricades loyally. Akako spared a moment of derision for the police who still had yet to realize he often used the anonymity of the flock for his escape.
Moving forward, the crowd parted in front of her as she allowed her dark control to touch their subconscious, which sent them scurrying from her path. A few of the men would give her a whiplash second look, but she was not in the mood for such pampering now and allowed them free of her hold. The heist had been a short one, Kid appearing briefly in front of his crowded fans for their pleasure before he vanished into the building. Even over the roar of the crowd the sounds of the police bellowing their pursuit could be heard, until Kid had made his aerial escape not long after. Next time, Akako would commune with the spirits first to find out if the locale would be suitable for the show. She was not a harping fangirl to show up every time he sent out a calling card. It had just...been a while since she'd seen Kaito outside of class.
There had been a change in Kaito's life recently, though she couldn't really say if it was for better or worse. Where he used to walk Nakamori-san home on most days-which occasionally Akako would choose to accompany them thanks to her 'friendship' with the girl-now Kaito would sometimes vanish right after school. Nakamori-san hadn't thought much of it, also busy with a budding new friendship she'd formed with some other teens from a neighboring prefecture. So to satisfy her own curiosity, Akako had waited for an opportune time to spy on Kaito, choosing to scry to find where he went.
It seemed that his normal routine had morphed to include a peculiar boy. They didn't do anything terribly exciting in her opinion, though it was strange for a teenager and elementary school child to spend so much time together. It was the aura surrounding the boy that sent chills down Akako's spine; he had to be the 'death' Lucifer had warned about, as it haunted his steps like a faithful pet. Beyond that, there was something twisted up in the child. Unfortunately, the image was not clear through the scrying crystal, and Akako had not yet found an opportunity to 'accidentally' run into Kaito and his little friend.
Kaito didn't seem to be harmed by the child, at least. In fact, he seemed happier, more relaxed at times when he wasn't causing his usual havoc. If only because she could taste her own jealousy, Akako was determined to find this boy and judge for herself if he was a danger or not. Should she not like what she found, well, maybe she would play again with Kaito to see if his luck still held out against her magic, if he could save what she wanted to destroy.
A dark chuckle floated past her ear, inaudible except for her occult connections. That was the only warning she had before a figure barreled out of the crowd and collided with her hard enough to knock her off her feet. Such an affront to her personal space hadn't occurred in years. Incensed, she glared across at the dark-skinned teen who was also sprawled on the pavement, rubbing his head
"Aw man..." the teen moaned, before he glanced over at her with a sheepish grin. "Sorry 'bout that 'nee-san. I wasn't expectin' there to be a gap in this mob." She raised an eyebrow at the distinct kansai-ben. He was far from home. Not unsurprising; Kid's fans were world-wide, and the few times Kid went on an international heist (Kaito's excuses for his long absences were always a transient amusement), there were certainly loyal Japanese fans who would travel for the show. Compared to that, Osaka was a short journey.
The teen was on his feet again, his energy showing in the way he all but bounced on the balls of his feet in his eagerness to continue his aborted journey. Instead of tearing off like the hound he resembled, he reached out a hand to Akako, the implicit offer obvious. It was such a casual gesture that she was once again momentarily thrown. She was used to men treating her with worshipful deference, used to elegant handling that even the most simplistic of her followers could manage with a little dark nudge on their minds.
One glance at the teen's face was enough to tell her what she already knew; here was yet another man oblivious to her charms. There was a disturbing flux of those, if two in the entirety of her existence could be considered a trend. What was more unsettling was that he shouldn't be so completely resistant. Even Hakuba-kun, while he didn't fall to her feet at a whim, still reacted to her presence. It was his strength of character and adherence to what he considered 'gentlemanly' that allowed him to keep his head. The only man who should be wholly unaffected by her, assured by Lucifer himself, was Kid.
"Hey, I didn't hurt ya, did I?" The teen's worried face was suddenly inches away, far too close to be comfortable, and to her horror Akako felt herself flush. This was not what was supposed to happen! Men were supposed to fluster in her presence.
"I'm fine." She managed to keep her voice smooth, but the effort was wasted when he grabbed her wrist suddenly, an undignified yelp emerging from her mouth. She was pulled to her feet, and again she was struck by the casualness of the gesture. A warm feeling rushed through her, something she would almost label as contentment if she were to lose her mind. It felt almost like those times Nakamori-san would unconsciously include her, as if they were real friends. As if Akako was just another person.
Oh, this man was certainly interesting. She couldn't let him get away, not until she had satisfied her own curiosity as to the feelings he inspired. Not romantic, not lustful, not even adoration, but something undoubtedly warm and friendly. Even if he was naturally as strong as Hakuba-kun, there was no man who could resist when she put her mind to it.
Power caressed her skin at her call, unseen to the normal eye. It gathered in her eyes as she sent him a sultry look from under lowered lashes, in her lips as she smiled full of mystery and invitation, in her hips as she swayed them to draw attention to her curves and allure. To her irritation, all that inspired from him was raised eyebrows and a confused look. Another small push, and she reached up with her free hand to lay it gently on his chest, intending to press a little of herself into his heart so she could catch him wholly.
What she didn't expect was the flare of heat under her hand. It broke her concentration, and she glanced down at where her hand rested on his chest in surprise. It hadn't just been her who felt it, as the teen's other hand came up abruptly to catch her other wrist, pulling it away from his chest, and Akako found herself suddenly under scrutiny from a disconcertingly piercing glare. Her surprise must have been written across her expression, because the glare faltered, becoming a considering stare that was somehow more unsettling in how Akako felt herself being stripped bare and examined.
The next moment found Akako being towed along through the crowd by the firm grip on her wrist. It was not a bruising grip, but neither was it the delicate deference she was used to. The teen plowed through people just on the side of rudeness, opening up enough of a gap for the two of them to slip through. Akako only felt the barest press as people closed up behind her. She was thoroughly baffled at this point, so much that she allowed the manhandling as she tried to regain her composure.
A minute later found the two ducking into a quiet alley, out of the bustle of the heist's aftermath. The teen released her wrist, turning and crossing his arms as he regarded her. His expression still held that stripping scrutiny that unsettled her so. By now she had regained her poise, and drew herself up to glower back. She was not going to let simple feelings of unaccustomed camaraderie perturb her. She wanted to see where this encounter was going.
After a beat, the teen spoke up calmly, "I don't know what you were tryin' ta do, but it obviously didn't work, did it?"
"I am not one to deny myself my curiosity," she replied, equally calm. If he was expecting a straight answer from her, he was going to be disappointed. She was a witch, and didn't like giving out her secrets. Flashing him an enigmatic smile, she pondered his reaction if she told him it had been a spell. Something had reacted to it, so there was a possibility he was a minor practitioner himself. If so, she was confident in her own strength.
It was only when the teen spoke again that Akako realized her gaze had been focused on his chest, where the reaction had occurred. "It's a protection charm," he said, grinning as her eyes flicked up to meet his. "One I'd stake my life on." So, he was at least aware of the occult, enough to carry around a powerful ward.
"How dangerous," she cooed. She could break through the charm's power. It would be flashier than she liked to do in public, and would take a lot out of her judging by how violently it had rejected her simple attraction spell, but she could manage. And by his own words, his life would then be hers. Foolish boy.
"It comes with the job," he replied with a dismissive shrug. She raised an inquisitive eyebrow. "I'm a detective," he explained shortly. Ah, that accounted for his disconcerting ability to make her feel exposed. Hakuba-kun had the same look, though it had never been turned on her. Perhaps this was how Kaito felt, why he picked on Hakuba-kun so much.
She wasn't sure she minded so much. Kaito knew she was a witch; or rather, Kid knew, and Kaito never admitted to the fact. But he was the only one who looked at her with clear eyes, wary as they often were. Now this detective was looking at her the same way, not clouded by disbelief or her own powers. It was, she thought, rather refreshing.
"Well then, detective-san," she purred darkly. "What is your deduction?" Was he worthy of her curiosity, or was he simply a fool?
"Yer confident," he said, looking her up and down slowly. "And strong." Akako preened a bit, always happy to be acknowledged, but he continued. "I've never actually felt anythin' happen to the charm before. I don't mean it hasn't worked before, but not like that," he added, waving a hand as if to explain what 'that' was. "So ya had to have done somethin' unusual." He narrowed his eyes at her, but she could sense he wasn't done. He was treading dangerously into her territory, close to the truth without her input. The question was if he could come to the proper conclusion, or if his mind was closed to the possibility.
"If it was somethin' physical like you tryin' ta knife me, then all it woulda done is block it; I've seen that happen before. But that...that feelin' was weird." So succinct. He shifted, uncrossing his arms and shoving them into his pockets in a show of discomfort. "I ain't sayin' I know exactly whatcha did, and this is probably goin' ta sound really stupid, but..." He trailed off, eyes flickering down the alley as if to make sure they were really alone, then to the wall behind her, before settling again on her face. He took a breath, and set his jaw stubbornly. "If I had ta guess I'd say it was a spell. Since I'm inclined to trust my gut here, I'd say yer a witch."
Akako brought her hands up in a sardonic clap. "Very good, detective-san. And now? What will you do with your information?" How droll, to have her secret so easily discovered. She was inclined to be annoyed, yet was still fascinated by all the contradictions the teen inspired. There was also the brief warning she had received before their abrupt meeting, which told her there was something to this encounter that was important. Possibly it was just his knowledge of her vocation, but Akako was one to trust her gut as well, and it was telling her there was more to come.
"At least ya didn't laugh in my face," he muttered, shaking his head slightly. "I never heard of anythin' like spells and stuff actually workin'. Why am I not surprised ta run into it at a Kid heist?" He suddenly looked at her, wide-eyed. "Wait, don't tell me he can do real magic too?" The thread of panic in his voice made her laugh quietly, to his affront. "Hey, he's already a big enough pain in th' ass, he doesn't need any more ammunition!"
"He is something else entirely," she said, allowing her own bitterness to touch her expression. "But no. To ease your worries, detective-san, Kid is entirely of this world."
He sagged comically in relief, and her amusement spiked again. She had been right; this man was far more interesting as he was. How unusual, she had never expected to find someone she did not want to own entirely. Kaito had been given up due to necessity, but Akako decided on her own that having this one groveling at her feet would be far less fun. Well, it was also that now she knew why her allure had failed, and should she truly desire it she could have him as well.
"Your charm, may I see it?" she asked. He immediately became wary again, one hand coming up to clench his shirt over the charm. She tsked, holding out an arm gracefully and curling her fingers in a silent demand. She wouldn't attempt to force it, as that would just make the ward react, but she was curious as to what it was exactly that he carried. Perhaps because he didn't feel the heat like last time, the teen eventually unclenched his fist, slowly drawing the string from under his shirt that held the charm. He didn't take it off his neck, however. Smart boy.
She bent over to examine it closer, incidentally allowing him a good view down her already low-cut shirt. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see a flush rising in his cheeks. So he wasn't completely immune to her as a woman? How fun.
The charm itself was a simple affair. Nothing special, nothing that should have reacted the way it had. Tilting her head, she looked at it with her other vision, seeing the glow of protection and love centered inside the cloth. A handmade adjustment? Not something he could have done for himself, since the type of protection was from another for the wearer. So long as it was given as a means of protection, the desire of the gifter would protect the wearer. Strong, natural magic. Since it worked so well for him, there had to be a personal connection to the anchor as well.
She tapped it softly, feeling it heat and burn her fingertip briefly. The magic was completely opposite to her own, rejecting even a casual touch. Smiling cryptically, she straightened and made a brief shooing gesture. "Put that away. No need to flaunt such a treasure."
"Hey! You were the one who wanted ta see it!" he protested, shoving it back down his shirt. She cupped her elbow with one hand, letting her chin rest lightly against the knuckles of the other as she regarded him silently. He twitched and fidgeted under her gaze, but didn't leave. She waited him out. "Have ya-" he blurted, then abruptly changed what he was going to say. "Can you, eh, cure poison at all?"
Frowning, she wondered at what he'd been about to say. There was another dark chuckle in her ear. She would have to deal with Lucifer later, since he was being entirely too smug and unhelpful right now. "That would depend on a number of factors," she said, unhelpfully. "For example, what price would you pay?" She grinned enigmatically, enjoying the dark glower she got in return. Unlike Kaito, who would refuse to even consider her words, this teen was obviously doing so, brow creased as he thought.
"Depends on what yer gonna ask," he said finally. "I get the feelin' you'll take everythin' you can get away with."
"I might be willing to offer a fair trade. Should it be an interesting enough proposition," she allowed. Was he a fool to trust a witch's word? Or merely confident he could catch her in a lie?
He laughed, which surprised her. "Oh, I can guarantee it'll be interestin'. I just don't know if I can convince him ta listen."
"Oh? I would have thought it would be a lady love you were seeking to save, if you are so desperate as to make a request of a witch you just met."
"I never even brought up that aho!" he protested, scowling hard to try to cover up that his face was flushing again. Akako filed that away. So he did have a prospective girl in mind. One who could be used as leverage, perhaps? Maybe who was his mysterious protector? Akako might like to meet a girl who was able to put that much natural magic into such a useful form. "Look, I can't tell ya too much, or he'd never forgive me. Just...have ya seen a little boy around here?"
Normally the abrupt switch of topic would have thrown Akako, but she stilled as the dark laughter echoed again in her ears. Ah, so that was what was meant. The object of her own curiosity was now being laid before her thanks to a chance meeting. A simple opportunity that she was given the choice to take, or to let it slip through her fingers entirely. "Boy?" she asked quietly, to cover up her sudden interest. "I can't say I have."
"But ya know who I'm talkin' about," the teen replied, eyes darkening with surety. There was also a note of menace in his voice that hadn't been present before. Akako was surprised that it appeared now. This teen was so protective of the boy that even casual interest spiked wariness? Or was it because she was a witch?
"An...acquaintance of mine happens to have taken a certain interest in a boy recently," she allowed. How much did this teen know? "I have been curious to meet one who could keep that man entertained so long."
The teen still stared at her in suspicion, but the dark danger was fading. So, someone more terrifying to him than a witch who held interest for the boy? More and more intriguing.
"I think I would like to take this job of yours," she said, coming to an abrupt decision. She could infer much from this cryptic exchange, but what spurred her on was both her own interest in this teen she just met, as well as the opportunity to perhaps help Kaito out, however roundabout a method it was. If the boy mattered that much to him, and it was something that not even the great Kaitou Kid could fix, well, she wasn't above lording it over him.
The teen was blinking in comical surprise at her sudden shift, and she let out a gleeful laugh. "Contact me when you have convinced your little friend, won't you?" she said, allowing an occult wind to swirl around her. When he'd covered his eyes against the sudden buffeting gust, she took the opportunity to summon her broom and kick off into the air. Another brief spell, one that she'd developed herself as she'd begun using the technology, and she knew that her number was now in his contact list on his cellphone.
Below her, the teen was staring around in confusion, trying to fathom her sudden disappearance. They never thought to look up, did they? He cursed to himself, scrubbing at his hair as he stalked toward the alley entrance. Akako watched him go, still smiling.
That had been more fun than she'd anticipated. From his casual interaction-such things were something she hadn't quite gotten used to yet despite Nakamori-san's frequent attempts-to his straightforward personality, to the answer to the mystery she had been pondering for too long. It had been a productive night. Maybe she would attend the next heist, whatever Kid's show was like.
Case: Akako & Heiji - Closed
Next case: Heiji & Conan
A/N: Everyone was so surprised at the character choice for this chapter; how amusing! But no, this wasn't all that hard to write, despite the unusual interaction. Actually, the hardest part was Heiji's "accent". There's no guide to englishifying kansai-ben, after all, and too much is too much! I hope I did him okay, though.
We're starting to head into the "plot" of this thing, however loosely that term can be applied. It certainly gets a bit more focused for the next few chapters! Hope everyone's enjoying, and until next time~