Disclaimer: The likelihood of me owning Detective Conan is the same as me meeting SHINee at SMtown Anaheim. Oh wait. That didn't happen. Guess I don't own Detective Conan.

Summary: More info. Storytime with Sasaki Kaien.

Notes: I have no excuses. I honestly lost my muse for this story. I can't believe it's been almost two years. I know many of you may have given up on this story, but if you haven't, I thank you for sticking around and putting up with me.

Conan had already planned on doing some investigating; however, he had never intended to bring all of the children. He wasn't even planning on taking Haibara or Shuuichi, but that was how it turned out. First "Shima" insisted on being apart of whatever he was doing, and then Ayumi overheard and insisted on going too, and soon the entire Shounen Tantei were complaining and it was just a large headache.

He almost decided to just wait it off entirely, but Shuuichi told him as long as they were careful about where they were seen and how much they actually knew, everything would be fine. So, as the Shounen Tantei-dan walked down the street, they were making up things to tell the children. Conan had a nagging feeling about going to Teitan High, and so that was their first destination.

Their timing was spot on. Ran, Sonoko, and Kaien were leaving the school laughing about something or other. Today, instead of the bandage, Kaien was wearing makeup to cover his burn, and it was detailed. It wasn't smooth, untarnished skin like one would maybe expect, but it was lined with a scrape as long as the burn itself had been, though not nearly as wide. It was makeup on par with his mother, with Kaitou KID, and even…Vermouth. Had Kaien that same skill of disguise? He'd never really utilized it, that Conan had seen. He'd usually wear hats, hoodies, or change the color of his hair. This was something far beyond that, and it had Conan's mind whirring. Beside him, it was obvious that Shuuichi was zeroing in on the very same thing. Even Haibara was looking suspicious. But Conan knew this was to keep up appearances—if Ishida Kaisuke claimed to have taken a fall, and his face was perfectly fine and unblemished after the bandage was removed (which it would have to be, it couldn't stay on forever), then there would be questions.

Kaien was the first to spot them, as he often seemed to do, standing by the gates. Ayumi chattered happily with Mitsuhiko and Genta, and immediately all three perked up when they saw the teenagers approaching. By the look on Kaien's face, he knew what they were there for, and he definitely didn't look happy about it. By some form of luck, Ran suggested they all go out somewhere fun. Sonoko, probably more happy at the prospect of going somewhere interesting where there may or may not be cute guys, was enthusiastic in her response. Only Kaien seemed to be a bit hesitant to agree, but with six children and two teenaged girls to nag him there was no possible way out for him.

They left the high school, their first destination being the mall. Ayumi, Genta and Mitsuhiko walked in front with Ran and Sonoko shortly behind them, and the remaining four fell a few steps behind. Conan, not wanting to be overheard, decided to at least keep up somewhat of a front as he investigated.

"Kaisuke-niisan," he started, and immediately Kaien's face turned sour, though he looked away to try and hide it, "about your neechan. Is she very pretty?" Conan hoped that this question sounded more like 'tell me what she looks like, how old she is, and what to expect of her' to Kaien, and it seemed like it did as his expression scrunched as if he'd smelled something foul.

"Her name is Alice," he said, without trace of an accent in the pronunciation of her name, "she is very pretty but she's not very nice." It looked as though he had a hard time saying she was even mildly attractive, let alone pretty but since he was trying to be helpful, he ignored the part of himself that wanted to rant and rave about all of her flaws and faults. "She has the same eyes as me, but her hair is the blackest black you'd ever see." It sounded like a fairytale, the way he spoke, distancing himself as much as possible without drifting into a conversation too serious to be having with seven and eight year olds.

"Alice has always disliked children, so her and I didn't get along well when we were growing up. When she was a teenager, she started going by a nickname—Brandy. Mother and father called her it, they gave her everything she wanted because she was their pride and joy. They'd groomed her to be exactly like them, something that I couldn't be." He spoke of the Black Organization, of course, and the children knew this as they listened, eyes focused on him as he spoke, only glancing at the others now and again to make sure they were still not paying any attention.

"Unlike my little sister, Alice was born in the US, along with our brother Ryan. Maybe that was why mother and father loved them so much, though I was born there as well it wasn't nearly as 'home' to me as Japan. When Alice was a teen, Ryan-niisan a few years older than her, they were both sent to a special place where they could use their skills and talents and become better. For a long time after that, I hadn't seen them. When my parents passed away, and imouto* was sent away, Ryan came back into my life. I've told you that part of the story already, but not about neechan. Alice has always supported niisan in everything he does. She watches and learns from him, and protects him when he needs it. No doubt, his recent death has been… quite upsetting for her. She will most likely be very unpleasant to talk to now." Read as: she will be a wild bull, more or less. She won't stop until Kaien, and perhaps even KID who was indirectly (to her knowledge) involved in his death, are dead. Worse yet, Kaien wasn't sure how much Ryan had told her about him, so she could be quite aware of Shima and Conan and their alliance with Kaien.

"Is she very smart?" Conan prodded, wanting to know how perhaps he should be preparing for her eventual attack.

"Very," Kaien responded, looking down at the three to show them how serious he was. He lowered his voice quite a bit now, "Tactically, she is a master. She will predict all of our moves before we even make them. She will have several back up plans if one fails. She isn't like Ryan, who was cocky and never expected failure. Alice never assumes victory until she has it, and plans accordingly."

"What are you talking about so quietly back there?" Ran asked, and Kaien became very aware now of her sudden interest in their conversation. She had just stopped walking, and was now leaning her face towards Kaien's curiously. If he didn't know better, he'd say she was almost suspicious. Of Kaien.

"A video game," he answered smoothly, tone not quite changing from its previous seriousness, but not allowing himself to seem too over the top. They weren't talking about life and death. They were talking about video games.

Video games.

"Oh, something of Agasa's? Have you been playing with the kids lately?" she asked. Before Conan could even answer for him, one of the others interrupted him.

"No, we haven't seen Kaisuke-niisan at all other than yesterday with Ran-neechan and Sonoko-neechan," Ayumi said, and Mitsuhiko nodded to emphasize her words.

"He comes over sometimes to talk with Agasa hakase," Haibara quickly intervened, expertly smoothing the situation over. "They get along well. Sometimes he asks Kaisuke-niisan to test the games with me or Edogawa-kun." Ran looked appeased by this answer, but the rest of the Shounen Tantei looked quite upset by this news.

"Kaisuke-niisan plays with Ai-chan and Conan-kun when Ayumi isn't around?" the small girl asked, giving a puppy look that could break down a hardened killer.

"That's not cool! You only ever talk to Haibara-san, Conan-kun, and Shima-kun!" Genta protested, stomping a foot to emphasize his point.

"Haibara-san, Conan-kun, and Shima-kun are always whispering to each other anyways. I bet they're all telling secrets to each other!" Mitsuhiko said this time. Conan tensed, perhaps he'd been doing this to them for too long, it was bound to blow up like this some day. He just wished it hadn't been with Ran around.

"There's nothing we're hiding. We just…get along really well. You guys can whisper with us too," Conan tried, knowing it was kind of a weak defense. It was all he could do though. He didn't have any other ideas right now.

Kaien, however, was highly uncomfortable. He wasn't actually very good with children, despite his excellence in hiding that. He pretended, but for the most part he felt very awkward around them. He didn't know how to appease their anger, so he tried to remain calm and let the fake children do all the work.

And that's when he saw her.

She didn't even bother wearing a disguise. Her long black hair hung in loose waves down her shoulders, her blue eyes almost looked red in the sunlight, and her clothing were that classic BO black, topped with an even darker than black trench coat. She smiled, her ruby lipstick shining like fresh blood and made her pearl white teeth even whiter. If he didn't know her, she could have been mistaken for a creature of the night.

"Brandy," he whispered so hoarsely that it was almost completely unintelligible. But Shima heard it. And his eyes immediately snapped to Kaien, and followed his gaze to the corner.

She was there for a moment, and then gone. Like a ghost.

Because things were only just beginning, and they were all in her sights now.

I know. It's not super long. However, I really wanted to get this out for you guys because I've taken soooo long to do it. I want to get this story back into gear. I'll finish this thing even if I have to tape my fingers to the keyboard.