"Are you sure?"
The man who asked this appeared to be in his mid twenties. He was leaning against the wall next to the door of the dark, windowless room. Dressed simply in black slacks, a deep navy turtle neck and a black, pseudo military jacket with a black beanie covering his head the man managed to cut an imposing figure. He radiated an intensity that left most people edging away from him subconsciously as their suppressed survival instincts screamed at them that this man was dangerous.
"Yes. He's after something and they don't want him to find it. Apparently the people actively trying to stop him are the same ones that we're after, though a different branch of the organization. There is no official team after them at the moment though."
The man turned his head towards the blonde woman after she finished speaking. While the man favored dark colors she wore a bright pink, trench coat over a bleach white, fitted t-shirt and snug, light denim, straight leg jeans. She looked him in the eye without flinching, returning his steady gaze with her own.
"So that means they're more likely to be complacent thinking that no one will connect them." A thoughtful expression crossed the man's face before hardening. "Will he be there or are you keeping him out of the loop again?"
The woman looked away at the barb and stared instead at her Reebok sneakers while moving her hands into her pockets. Standing in the middle of the room she made an odd picture. She was in juxtaposition to the dark concrete walls and thick solid wood tables and shelves that housed dozens of ferns that were being misted by the copper piping that went around the edges of the room.
Both remained silent then, barely breathing in the dank, moist air that surrounded them. The tension between the two made the air seem even thicker and cloying until even the sound of the dripping water hitting the floor every few seconds seemed sharp and intrusive.
As the seconds ticked by she finally responded in a defensive manner, never lifting her gaze from the floor. "I did it for his own good. He should have left well enough alone from the start and let this whole mess be dealt with by trained adults."
"And yet we both know he's no normal child. He's smarter than most adults are and no matter the amount of training a person receives his instincts are more than able to make up for that.
Turning his own gaze to the far wall as the woman continued to avoid meeting his gaze he continued. "If anything his lack of training makes him far more valuable than the other agents. His mind isn't cluttered with thoughts of protocol and rules to follow that slow the others reaction time to difficult situations. He has only a single minded determination to catch those who have wronged."
The woman lifted her gaze at that, an incredulous look on her face that her companion was saying such things. Opening her mouth to retort she was cut off as he raised his hand in a motion for silence.
"An enemy who is small but relentless is far more frightening than one with power and no will to use it. That's why they feared me so much, since I had the resources and the will. He's quickly turning into someone with both as well. If you keep underestimating him you're going to get us all killed. We need him whether you like it or not."
"He's still just a child!"
Her words echoed around the room as she aggressively stepped towards the man who simply watched her with his sharp gaze. Taking several more steps toward him she didn't stop until she was standing toe to toe with him.
"If it can at all be avoided I will do everything in my power to give him the chance to have a normal childhood. He sees death enough as it is living with that girl and her father, there's no need to force him to see even more. And what if he gets killed himself?"
By now the lady was panting with the force of her emotions, her hands which had been moving erratically while speaking now clenched and still at her sides. Her face had acquired a flush to it and there was a faint trembling throughout her whole body as she waited for his response.
In contrast to her the man had remained calm throughout the tirade, never flinching or averting his gaze.
"The double trusts him more than us. Several influential police officers look to him and listen to him while we can't reveal ourselves to them even to ask for any possible help. He's the one who acquired this information, realized its importance, found the connection it all had and got the completed report to us without compromising either yourself or himself."
Leaning forward the man used his presence to force the lady to step back, consequently allowing himself to get off the wall and reach to open the door. Pausing with his hand on the doorknob he looked over his shoulder at the woman.
"I'd say he has more right to be present when this all goes down then even you yourself have. I have to get moving now, but think on that. You can't keep me from him forever, Jodie."
Smiling sadly Jodie crossed her arms over her chest, looking on as the man opened the door smoothly and started walking out. Right before the door closed she responded.
"I'll let him know soon enough I suppose. Take care of yourself until then, Akai."
The door shut then with a quiet click, leaving FBI agent Jodie Starling in the room alone with her thoughts.
Pushing the sleeve back on her right hand a silver watch was revealed. As she stood there in the middle of the room Jodie Starling counted the minutes that passed, seeming to be almost lost in thought. Exactly 10 minutes after Akai Shuichi left she walked out the door as well. It opened into another damp cellar room that was lined with shelves filled with bouquets that were left in the cold of the basement to help preserve them until they were ready to be picked up by the owner of the shop.
Walking over to the tiny stairway that seemed like almost an afterthought to the room, she trekked up them to walk through a doorway with a swinging oak door that had a sliver of glass put around head height to prevent accidents from happening when people opened the door. Entering another room of the shop she put a bright smile onto her face to prepare herself and strode through the second back room that was more brightly lit with a large glass cooler housing flower cuttings and tables filled with scraps of ribbon and a whole wall of shelving designed specifically to hold all the variety of vases the shop carried.
The doorway in here was completely open and led into the back of the counter of the flower shop. In here there were large stands with multiple levels filled with potted plants that gave the flower shop an earthy smell while filling it with bright colors and darker plants interspersed throughout. The main room was lit by natural light coming through the windows that made up the majority of the front wall. In the corner there was a smaller glass cooler housing some small bouquets of popular, in season flowers so that someone in a hurry could easily pick something cheap and pretty out.
On the counter lay a book filled with ideas for bouquets and styles that could be made to special order. There was a little girl around five or six sitting on the stool flipping through it, giggling as she looked at the pictures. A woman Jodie took to be the girl's mother was standing by a row to tulips with the owner of the shop Hanako-san and the two women were talking with each other.
"Mama look at this one! It's so pretty!" The little girl cried out in a high pitched voice while wildly pointing at the picture in front of her. The mother glanced over with a wry grin on her face.
"Not right now Yumi. And keep your voice down please, no need to shout."
Turning back to Hanako-san, the woman didn't see the disappointed look that spread across the young girl's face.
"Would you mind showing it to me, Yumi-chan?"
Jodie leaned over the counter edge to be on eye level with the child. The girl was sweet looking, with a tiny heart shaped face and light brown hair cut into a cute bob with bangs just covering dark hazel eyes. Shyly the little girl looked at her, before turning the book around so Jodie could see the picture she'd been looking at.
It was a wedding themed bouquet with white lilies that had been raised so there were green strips in the white petals, artistically arranged in a white magicians hat that had green clovers as the supporting base for the flowers. Admittedly it was quite pretty, but Jodie found the choice odd for a young girl. Weren't most girls drawn to red roses?
"That is very pretty, but why not some roses? It's an unusual arrangement for someone like yourself to pick."
Blushing Yumi-chan looked down at her hands demurely folded in her lap. Mumbling something Jodie couldn't hear she leaned forward, asking her to repeat herself. Looking up Yumi-chan had a determined look on her face as she spoke.
"I wanna marry Kid-san one day. Mama says he a true 'gentleman' unlike Papa, though I'm not sure what a 'gentleman' is it sounds really nice so I'm gonna be his bride."
Jodie couldn't help but smile at the earnest and sincere look on the girls face as she spoke of marrying an internationally wanted thief. It seemed even little girls were starting to look for their Prince Charming in bad boys. She wasn't entirely sure if Phantom Thief Kid really fit under the category of bad boy though. He really was in a whole class of his own.
"Well best of luck to you, Yumi-chan."
Standing back up Jodie edged her away around the cluttered counter and headed towards the final door leading outside. As she walked by the tulips she simply tapped Hanako-san on the shoulder to indicate she was leaving. Smiling serenely, she nodded her head before turning back to the customer to help her sort out what sort of pottery would truly compliment the tulips.
Taking a deep breath of the smog filled air of Tokyo, Jodie started to stroll down the street absentmindedly. Dodging people on reflex she headed towards the train station, ready to head back to her apartment and take a long, soothing bubble bath with candles, music and plenty of beauty products to pamper herself with. The way things were looking right then she probably wasn't going to get another chance to just relax for the next several days and she wasn't about to let the little time she had to herself go to waste.
Though she really needed to think on what Akai had said. Frowning she paused at an intersection with fellow pedestrians as traffic whizzed on by in a rush. Really, why did he believe in him so much. Sure the kid was incredibly bright, but to take him on such a dangerous mission? These were coldblooded murderers they were going to be taking down. The chances of everything going wrong were too high for her to feel justified in bringing him with when he wasn't already involved.
He was involved already in everything though or he always managed to find a way to make himself involved. Sighing, she crossed the street as the walking light lit up signaling for pedestrians to hurry across.
He often did come up with good plans though, he was quick on his feet in dangerous situations and he worked on such an excellent level with Akai. It was like the two of them could read each other's minds. At times it was scary how similarly they thought.
Realizing she had already lost any chance of keeping him out once she'd told Akai where she got her information, Jodie pushed it all to the back of her mind. She needed to clear her head first before trying to figure out how to break the news that Akai was still alive to the boy without getting her logical reasoning for keeping the knowledge from ripped to shreds. Then they needed to plan how they were going to go about everything. And with so many unpredictable factors in play she could almost feel the migraine that would be joining her soon enough.
'There's not enough time, too few people, too many things that could possibly go wrong. And we haven't even come up with a plan of attack yet.'
Rubbing her finger tips into the side of her head she turned the corner and entered the station. Purchasing the ticket that would take her all the way to her own area of Beika she breathed a sigh of relief at the thought of almost being home.
As she stepped onto the train she moved quickly to choose a spot with the doors near her back, an instinct to cover her back she'd developed to protect herself from the Organization just in case Vermouth ever decided to come after her. She had no intention of getting hit from behind unawares.
Slowly she lost herself in her more mundane thoughts though as the train rattled on through Tokyo. The chattering of the people around her was almost a lullaby in the normality it provided to her crazy world. Eventually she reached her station and as the train pulled to a stop and the doors open she allowed herself to be dragged along by the rush of the crowd. Quickly making her way through the gate she emerged into the Beika area. Walking swiftly she arrived in the residential part of the area in a matter of minutes and she made her way up the stairs of her apartment building and into her own set of rooms.
Slipping the shoes off and stepping into her slippers she shuffled into her bedroom where she dropped her purse onto the bed and slowly started to undress in preparation for her bath. Once she was in her terry cloth robe and finally ready to slip into the warm water though her phone went off with a shrill ringing.
Annoyed at the interruption she stomped over to her purse, pulling out the phone. It was cool guy. That tended to be bittersweet as he rarely called for anything not involving the Black Organization. The few times he was calling for something besides the Organization it was for help with a murder.
"Moshi, moshi cool kid."
"Hello Jodie-san. I just got a heist note. It seems we have less time than I originally predicted. The next heist is this Saturday at midnight. He's after The Star of India which will be on loan for only that night from the New York Museum of Natural History. They plan to display it at the Imperial Hotel here in Tokyo in the 5th floor music room on top of the Steinway piano."
The migraine that she had known was waiting in the back of her mind made its debut in full force at the news. Glancing at the calendar on her wall it got even worse. Today was Wednesday which gave them essentially two days to set everything up to take down one of the largest criminal organizations in the world before the weekend hit.
"Jodie-san?" Conan's inquisitive voice came over the speaker.
"Think you can sneak away from Ran-chan tomorrow after she drops you off at school?" was her only reply.
"Of course. Where are we meeting?"
"There's a safe place we can meet. It's a store called 'Floral Delights' situated in Ekoda so we probably won't meet anyone you know there. I'll send you the address in a text tomorrow morning at 6 am for you to memorize. When you arrive just ask for Hanako-san and tell her you're with me."
"All right. I'll speak with you tomorrow then."
A click signaled the end of the conversation. It seemed he would be hearing about Akai a lot sooner than she was expecting. Now she had to try and contact Akai so he would be there as well and she had to start getting some agents gathered fast without alerting the Organization as to what was going on.
Staring at her phone she debated whether she really wanted to start on all that right then. After a heartbeat she tossed the phone onto the bed and pivoted on her heel, fully prepared to ignore everything for an hour or so and take a relaxing bath. Maybe she could lose some of the tension that had settled along her shoulders and deep into her neck while she was at it.
Just as she raised her foot to take a step the phone went off again. Looking over her shoulder at the phone that continued ringing as if demanding she pick it up she read the caller id. It was Akai. With a sigh she reached out to pick up her phone and raised it to her ear while pressing the answer button.
"What do you need, Akai?" she answered in a tone that made her displeasure at the interruption clear.
"I just got word from James. Apparently they're suspecting they have a leak and it's not looking good for our double. We need to move now."
"I've already set up a meeting with cool guy for tomorrow morning. Apparently we now have an opportunity Saturday."
"I'll be there."
Another click signaled to her that she'd been hung up on again. Letting the hand holding the phone drop down to her side she stared at it for a few seconds as if expecting it to start ringing again to deliver more bad news. After a moment of blissful silence she breathed a sigh that was a mix of frustration and relief.
'Well,' she thought as she rubbed at her temple with her free left hand, 'at least there are no dead bodies this time around.'
So yeah, a new story from me. I'm dedicating this to Teah-chan who encouraged me to write some more, though for a different story actually. I'm praying you'll like this one just as much though.
Hopefully this one will turn out better than my last one did. I'm thinking right now it's going to be longer, with some more plotline to it beyond the pairing, and regarding the pairing I want to develop the relationship a lot slower this time around. We'll see how it ultimately turns out though. I'm leaving several things open to some suggestion, so I'd love to hear what any one has to say regarding it. Well, so long as you're not just saying you don't like this tiny part so the whole thing now sucks because that's just pointless drivel in my opinion. If you have an good point about how something isn't good I'm willing to hear it. Can't improve until I know what I'm doing wrong. To anyone worrying about the OC's, don't worry they aren't going to play any major roles. I just needed a shop owner, and I couldn't think of a character to fit the role. ^^
Anyways, here's a disclaimer that stands for the whole story. If it's a character you recognize as belonging to the original, it's not mine. Places, certain objects, etc. are the property of others and I am simply borrowing the name and setting for this story. Essentially I only own a few characters and the plot. Everything else I only wish I owned.