Kaito was watching the news intensely again.
It had been six weeks since he had returned Shinichi to his life as Conan and he hadn't heard anything from him since. At least not directly. For the first four weeks he had heard about a young boy running around disguised as the Phantom Thief stirring up all kinds of trouble with the police. This had not been a cause for concern as it had been Kaito himself who has asked the detective to do that for him.
Sometime before his little adventure with Conan he had finally found a clue about Pandora. Since he didn't want any unnecessary forces he needed the police off of his back for a little while, so he had asked the detective to pose as an overzealous Kid fan who took it his devotion a little too far. It took some poking and prodding, but the detective had finally agreed to help him. So it was not surprising that only a few days later the little thief popped up. It was also not surprising to Kaito that Shinichi was as good a thief as he was a detective, since the two of them had about the same IQ and in some ways were basically the same person.
What was surprising however –truth be told more like terrifying- was the sudden disappearance of the little Phantom Thief.
That had been two weeks ago and ever since Kaito had sat religiously in front of the news to see if anything popped back up. When he wasn't scouring the city as Kid that is.
His heart clenched violently as once again the report relayed the mysterious disappearance of the child thief whom the reports had christened "Little Kid."
Kaito turned off the TV and threw the remote on the counter in frustration. This couldn't be happening, it just couldn't. Kaito shook his head and went out to the living room. He had never felt that he had ever been punished for being a thief, but now he couldn't help but wondering if he had gone a little too far and encored the wrath of some unknown entity.
He had had some luck in locating where Pandora had been hidden, but with the vanishing off the mini detective the gem had somehow fallen off the radar and now for the life of him he could not find it. He sighed angrily as he slumped onto the couch. If only his father could see him now.
The ringing of the doorbell pulled Kaito out of his depressed stupor.
He was tempted to ignore whoever it was, but apparently whoever it was wouldn't have it as the bell rung twice more. Kaito grumbled slightly to himself as he stood up and crossed over to the door and wrenched it open.
The boy on the other side of the door giggled, "You needn't look so surprised Kid," Without waiting to be invited in the boy pushed his way passed a still stunned Kaito and, after taking off his shoes, made his way into the kitchen, "Well are you going to stand there all day or are you going to offer me a drink?"
Kaito, still in a slight daze, closed the door and follow the intruder into the kitchen. For a second all he could do was stare at the other person open-mouthed. The boy just stood there leaning on the counter with a smug look on his face.
"You know I think this is the first time I've seen the great Kaitou Kid at a loss for words."
Kaito swallowed thickly, walked up to the other boy and did the only thing he could think of to do.
He slapped him.
Then he threw his arms around the boy's neck and pulled him into a hug.
"You scared the shit out of me Kudo Shinichi." He snapped into the boy's ear.
He felt the detective's body tremble with suppressed laughter as the boy's arms wrapped around him in a return hug. They stayed like that for a few minutes (if asked about it later Kaito would vehemently deny he had used those few minutes to dry his eyes on Shinichi's shoulder) before they pulled away from each other.
"Where the hell have you been?" Kaito snapped again as he regained his composure.
Shinichi smiled what could only be described as a Kid grin and sat down in a chair at the table, "Get me a drink and I'll tell you all about it."
And so, after pouring himself and Shinichi a glass of water, Kaito sat down and listened to what had happened.
Needless to say Kaito almost fell out of his chair with laughter when Shinichi told him about his Ran escapade, but he was soon quiet again as the detective continued.
"Needless to say that for this too work Ran and I had to return to the museum, although swapping the emeralds out was not as difficult as I thought." He added as an afterthought, "And I'm nowhere near as good at picking locks as you."
Kaito smiled with pride at not just the compliment.
Shinichi rolled his eyes and thwaped Kaito on the back of the head, "Stop acting like a giddy school girl and pay attention.
"Anyway, after we put the emerald back I did what you asked and ran around as your protégé, and don't for a minute think that I enjoyed any of it." He bristled a little as the thief's eyes twinkled at the mention of Shinichi's less then legal exploits, "As "Little Kid" I was able to find out a few things of my own about Pandora. However before I could explore the gem for myself I ran into the little problem of a certain long haired assassin who seemed to think that you wronged him in some way and didn't take to kindly to my idolization of you.
"I'm sure you remember the Hyacinth Ruby," Shinichi waited for Kid to nod his head before continuing, "Well I had just managed, with Ran's help, to sneak it out of its hiding place and slip out the back entrance when this man comes out of nowhere and kicks me as hard as he can in the stomach sending me crashing into the dumpster. I was dressed as Conan at the time so at first I thought it was just some common criminal, maybe a drug dealer or something that I had interrupted. Needless to say that in my small body the blow came with some consequences of about two fractured ribs and some severely bruised organs, which, on top of not being able to breathe for a few minutes, rendered my incapacitated. I was in no position to defend myself so I figured this man would do one of two things: either he was going to kill me or he was going to use this time to run away.
"He ended up doing neither. Instead he picked me up by my shirt front and started yelling at me. Apparently he had been watching the coverage of the Little Kid heists on the news and recognized me as the kid who was always chasing after you. He seemed to notice the way you and I held an almost admiring respect for one another and he was convinced that I was hiding you while at the same time taking on the role of "thief" myself while pretending to be a detective. In his words 'no mere eight year old could know the things you know without some prior knowledge.'
I tried to tell him that our rivalry was just me getting lucky sometime but he wouldn't hear of it and even went so far as to pull a gun on me and demand that I tell him where you were."
Here Shinichi stopped to take a drink of water. Kaito was on the edge of his seat, both from the excitement of the story and the rage that someone had the audacity to pull a gun on his Tantei-kun. He swallowed tightly and waited for Shinichi to finish his drink and continue with his story.
"I tried once again to reason with him but he slammed me up against the wall and stuck the barrel of his gun between my eyes. I could see that there was no convincing this man so I did the only thing I could and shot him with my tranquilizer watch and went to meet Ran at our agreed spot."
"Wait," Kaito held up his hand to stop the detective, "You're telling me you just left him there? Didn't you tell the police?"
"Once I had returned as Conan I did. It turns out that I did interrupt a drug deal of his and he used that opportunity to try and get information about you out of me. He's the father of one of your fans by the way; it seems she was so obsessed with you that she decided to be a thief herself."
Kaito cringed at this. He remembered hearing on the news about a local high school who wanted to be with Kid so much that she actually went out and committed a robbery to try and get his attention. Kaito had gone himself to the girl's house and asked her to never do that again, that it was not worth such a beautiful girl ruining her life over him. It didn't work. In fact Kid's visit seemed to reinforce the girl's belief that if she continued with her robberies then the phantom thief would come to see her, even if it was only to scold her.
Last he had heard of her she was in prison doing five years for armed robbery.
"So you do remember her." It wasn't a question
Kaito nodded sadly, "I tried to stop her." He grabbed his water and downed it before getting up to refill both their glasses.
Shinichi was silent for a minute. Then he continued, "Anyway, like I said, the kick to my body had left me with some injuries that I was barely able to hide."
"You didn't go to the hospital?"
"No but I had Haibara look at them and she said they would be okay if I got some rest and made sure they were healed before I took her antidote."
Kaito was sitting back at the table by now and nearly choked on his water.
Shinichi thumped him on the back until his lungs were clear again. "She was still making the antidote until about a week ago," he clarified, "I only took it about three days ago. I wanted to take it sooner, but she said she had to make absolutely sure that my body could handle it."
Kaito's surprise quickly turned to anger. Shinichi had been Shinichi for three days and he hadn't told him? Did the detective even realize how much the thief had worried about him? Did he not make it clear to Conan that the boy was precious to him and that he would have gone crazy if anything had happened to him? He was sure he had made this perfectly clear, and yet here the detective sat almost without a care in the world completely oblivious to Kaito's not so Kid like rage.
Shinichi did seem to notice though as he quickly put his hands up in surrender, "I know, I know I should have gotten in touch with you or solved a case as myself or something, but on the day I took the antidote I had a lot of explaining to do to a lot of people. That and I found something very important to you."
Kaito's anger morphed into curiosity as Shinichi reached into his breast pocket and pulled out an oval shaped package. Placing it on the table and pushing it toward the other boy, Shinichi leaned back in his chair and waited. Kaito shot a confused glance at the detective before picking up and parcel and gently turning it over in his hands. It was covered with regular tissue paper so Kaito began tearing it off layer by layer. When he got to the last layer he looked up at Shinichi again before peeling it back. His heart all but stopped in his chest as he looked at the object in his palm. Even though he had guessed what was in the package, he was still apprehensive as to whether or not it could be real.
But there was no mistaking Pandora for anything else.
It sat comfortably in Kaito's hand as though it had been fitted just for him. Its surface glistened and gleamed as the light bounced off of the many divots and plateaus that patterned it. Unlike most diamonds, Pandora had not been cut but instead left to grow and mould on its own. As a result it held and almost mysterious, earthy quality about it that made one immediately stop and stare. Almost tentatively Kaito held the gem up to the light. There, just visible under the opaque exterior, was a circular outline of something inside the diamond.
Kaito swallowed thickly, "Where…?"
"In an antique shop in Osaka." Kaito's eyes nearly bulged out of his head, "Luckily the owner knew nothing about precious gems and thought it was just a nice looking piece of glass," Shinichi took a sip of water, "he was going to make a paper weight out of it."
Kaito stared for a moment at first the detective's face, then Pandora. Then he burst out laughing.
Shinichi subconsciously relaxed. The only thing he knew of Kuroba Kaito was of his role as Kaitou Kid and how he had wanted to protect Conan from harm. After so many tears and emotional confessions it was nice to see the other boy truly happy –and not in that obnoxious Kid way. So Shinichi let Kaito laugh, and he may have chuckled a little himself, before bring the conversation back down to earth.
"So, what are you going to do now?"
Kaito chuckled a little more before wiping his eyes and turning to Shinihci, "Like I told you before Tantei-kun, I'm going to finish what my father started and destroy it."
Shinichi nodded at his almost twin, "And Kaitou Kid?"
A sort of melancholy look came over Kaito's face this time, "I guess it is time to say goodbye to him." He turned his face away from the detective, not wanting to see his rival's face, "Now that I have Pandora there is no need for Kid anymore so…"
"Don't be stupid!" Kaito's eyes shot up at Shinichi's angered tone.
It was the detective's turn to look away but not before Kaito noticed the slight blush on his face, "You may not be looking for Pandora anymore, but you're still a thief and it is my job to catch you, or does our was everything you said those three days a lie?"
Kaito blinked at Shinichi almost not daring to believe it, "What are you suggesting?"
Shinichi shrugged and looked Kaito straight in the eye and for a second the thief could have sworn he saw an almost mischievous glint in his rival's eye, "I'm not suggesting anything Kid, but if you do happen to continue….Well then, it would be a shame to not keep them family tradition wouldn't it."
For a second Kaito didn't say anything. Then for the first time in weeks he smirked a true Kaito smirk.