The past year had more than its share of ups and downs, even for the eventful lifestyle he'd developed as Edogawa Conan. It was thanks to the combined strategies of several extremely driven individuals, including his own, and the abilities of an odd collection of agents, officers, detectives, and persistently loyal friends that the largest criminal ring in history had found themselves filling the corridors of maximum security institutions throughout the world. Unfortunately, while a great deal of evidence was recovered for the courts, the information on the apotoxin was definitely buried or erased beyond their detection.
Finally forced to face the wrong end of puberty without any clear threats or vague hopes to distract him, Shinichi had decided to resolve the waiting game his life had become. The confession to Ran had been as emotionally painful as he'd been expecting. Luckily, she was too attached to her 'little brother' to make it physically painful as well. Still, he'd spent several tense weeks at the Kudou residence while she calmed down.
They'd been too important to each other for too long as pseudo-siblings, best friends, and potential lovers to ever let go of their bonds. But their relationship had been gravitating to familial even before his confession, and for the sake of both their mental health, they decided to let it. They were still irreplaceably precious parts of each other's lives, but the cross from family to more had ultimately caused them both nothing but pain. That didn't stop Ran from mothering him or keep her 'brother' from driving a long line of interested suitors to the verge of a mental breakdown. Interrogation skills don't end at the station doors.
While he was relieved that he didn't have to lie to his best friend anymore or constantly be on the lookout for a lurking psychotic syndicate in every shadow, he still was not able to embrace life as a preteen with much enthusiasm. The monotony was mainly broken through Ran's concerned hovering, Hattori's relentlessly cheerful badgering, and the unpredictable insanity of KID heists.
Then a month ago, Haibara had tentatively informed him of a new experiment she might be willing to try. She'd previously dismissed further experimentation due to the high chance that the combined stress of the repeated changes and the likely cure's own debilitating effects would almost certainly be fatal. Recently, a new drug that could substitute for one of the more debilitating compounds and drastically lower the danger had been introduced. The downside was that it would still either cure him or render any further experimentation unsettled. The latter was unlikely though, and he'd convinced her to let him make the attempt.
The slim chance of fatality had sparked some appreciation of what he already had even in this twisted lie his life had become. He'd thrown himself into the goodbyes Edogawa Conan had to make for his impending 'departure' with gusto. There was only one thing he'd regret. It was what led him here tonight. A last request for Conan.
It had taken most of his efforts for the last few weeks and the enthusiastic aid of the Shounen Tantei to prepare. But his plans were set, his fellow players were performing to expectation, and his guest would be making an exit over this area if all his deductions on the heist note and his quarry's plan were correct.
The expected flash of white exploded into a rain of glass and glitter through an eighth story window of the latest failed impromptu prison. As the luminous shower rained down on him, KID's eye noted him in the neighboring garden and the grin on his face grew wider and more real at finally finding the presence of his favorite competition. The cloud of five dozen of the city's crows rising from the surrounding vegetation to meet him quickly caused it to falter though.
As KID managed a controlled crash onto the rooftop, Conan reflected that the dozens of frustrating hours and countless pecks had been worth it to train the evil little nightmares to focus their thieving more constructively. KID's own penchant for showy and shiny had only helped.
He'd had to abandon his watch and coat his glasses with an anti-glare formula though. He looked at the disheveled thief trying to snatch his numerous props back from the angry mob.
Detectives do not giggle at their foes, Kudou, he said to himself. Must resist giggling. Men do not giggle.
I suppose it's a good thing I'm still seven.
He caved. KID managed to shoot him a disgusted glare before going back to his struggle, ignoring the sounds of hilarity coming from his not so favorite critic. Calming down, Conan made sure to catch his eye as he scooped up tonight's target before any of the battling birds could. KID continued to shuck sparkly distractions and shoo the birds away, but they remained focused on the thief.
"Kudou, what the hell did you teach them‽" KID accused.
"Why KID, no need to be rude. I was just conducting my own little Pavlov experiment. They retrieve and I reward. Don't you think today's youth should be more proactive in their learning experiences?"
KID's language after that seemed to imply he didn't.
Hypocrite. You don't create tricks like his without breaking a few eggs—or perceptions of reality in his case.
"What are they trained to attack… sorry retrieve?" KID gritted as another peck made it through his defenses to land on a cheek, several more of the menaces made it through the layers of his suit to grip skin, and his poor abused glider was tugged from behind. It was a miracle one of his tricks hadn't gone off yet. His doves, the cowards, had scattered at the first opportunity.
He watched as the detective's eye flicked to his face and the muffled snickers gained in volume again. No, not his face but to the space just left of it. It clicked.
"They're after my lucky charm!" KID's shocked voice blurted.
Who says detectives can't have a sense of humor?
It wasn't like he was still sane enough for a normal last request anyways. Just once, he'd always wanted to see that annoyingly perfect composure completely shattered in their games. Conan barely mastered himself long enough to catch the moment with his phone's camera and quickly mail the priceless picture to a secure account. Hopefully, he'd be gloating at it for many years to come. Ah, he'd lived a good life.
KID took advantage of his distraction to launch a dozen balloons stylized with his monocle, figures he'd have something, and dive away from the scattering corvids. A surprised Conan was grabbed and found himself poofed into a particularly itchy child sized scarecrow costume. He didn't really want to know where that came from. He was hoisted by the back of his overalls and brandished by the irritated Kaitou at oncoming remainder of the flock until they scattered.
It suddenly occurred how under armed he was, no leverage and no watch. Hmm, maybe he should have planned a little further. He might not make that meeting with Haibara after all.
He faced the fuming, mussed form of his favored adversary as he was turned to face KID. Masterfully suppressing the latest bout of laughter at seeing the damage to KID's usually pristine countenance. Now the rest of him matched the bird's nest that erupted from the edge of his hat.
"Why?" KID nearly growled. His mood was not improved by the wait he had to endure while Conan sobered enough to hold an actual conversation.
"Why what?" Conan teased.
"Why. Did. You. Train. And. Sick. Attack. Ravens. On. Me." KID enunciated each word very clearly through clenched teeth.
"I wanted to see if birds of a feather really should flock together. I'd say thieves are definitely a solo act," he chirped as his wry grin failed to falter in the face of KID's ire.
"Are you calling me a crow‽" KID's offended cry rang again throughout the night. It sounded like the still conscious remains of the task force had finally noticed them and would be headed in their direction soon.
Conan didn't want to end the repartee just yet and decided to throw in one last question. "So, why the scarecrow suit, anyway? I really can't see a reason for you to carry this around."
It really didn't seem up to KID's usual standard of embarrassing, sudden wardrobe changes for his pursuers. Heck, he'd actually stuck to the same gender for a change.
Conan let out an "ack" as he was thrown at the onrushing officers. Sheesh, did the thief think he could use him as a police—as well as a bird repellant—after listening to Nakamori's rants?
KID smirked at the detective after he was caught by the surrounding officers.
"Why Tantei-kun, it's a Kaitou's duty to protect treasures as well as… admire them. I couldn't risk such ill-mannered contemporaries taking off with one of mine. I'd never live it down."
KID's own laughter rang over the clearing and a flustered Conan checked to find the jewel again gone from his possession. The numerous props KID had thrown at the flock earlier exploded into a chaotic mess of confetti, glitter, various colors of smoke, and rubber ducks leaving a bewildered task force and blushing detective in the clearing.
He glared at the spot Kaitou KID had previously occupied. Goodbye Conan. Watch out KID. A new game is starting and life is officially too interesting for me to lose it now.
A/N: First story, so please be nice. Again, I'd like to thank nataeiy1 for betaing for me.