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Caught on Camera

Photograph: Plans

The photo had obviously been taken in the Kudo library. An eight year old Shinichi sat at the desk. His small form was being dwarfed by the two piles of books stacked on the desk beside him. The boy himself was bent over a book almost as big as he was. From the titles visible on the spines of the book tower, all of them were legal tomes. On the other end of the desk, Kaito was sitting on its polished surface with his legs dangling over the side. He too had a book in his hands and a tower of books behind him. His tower, however, was composed entirely of books on construction.

Shinichi looked at the picture then shot a covert glare at their parents. Did they not realize the repercussions they could be bringing down upon them all by putting a reminder of this in the album?...

. . . . . . . . .

"I have decided!"

Shinichi jumped and looked up from the novel he'd been reading with a sudden sense of dread. Nothing good ever came from declarations like that, especially when they came from Kaito.

Half afraid of the answer, he asked, "What did you decide?"

"I'm going to build a house!"

That…was not what Shinichi had expected. It wasn't even close to any of the many possibilities he had come up with. "…What?"

"I'm going to build a house," Kaito reiterated, eyes gleaming (madly, or at least it seemed like madness to Shinichi). "It's going to be the most amazing house ever built on Earth! It'll be famous, and people will come from all around the world just to get a look at it!"

"I thought you wanted to be a magician when you grew up."

"Well yeah. And the world's greatest magician should live in the world's greatest house. Don't you agree?"

Shinichi was starting to have a bad feeling about this. "I'm not sure it matters…"

But Kaito wasn't listening to him anymore. He was rambling on about blueprints and getting a head start as he circled the library, looking for reference books.

Later, as Shinichi watched Kaito draw up preliminary plans for his house, he couldn't help but gape. The feeling of foreboding he had had earlier grew with each trip the pencil made across the papers.

It was going to be the kind of house you spent hours—or maybe days—rescuing guests from. There were hidden rooms, secret passages, and trap doors galore. There were going to be trick mirrors and windows around almost every corner and more spy holes than a paranoid tyrant could shake a stick at.

By the time Kaito was done, Shinichi decided that it wasn't the kind of house you had to rescue guests from after all. No, you wouldn't have to rescue guests because you wouldn't have any guests. The reason for this was because you'd be the one who needed to be rescued.

"Kai, there is no way anyone could live in a house like this." His rather reasonable observation earned him a raised eyebrow.

"Why not?"

Shinichi looked down at the plans then up at Kaito then down at the plans again. Could Kaito seriously not see the problem? It was so obvious! "Kai, you'd have to knock the whole thing down just to get from the bedrooms to the kitchen before dinnertime."

Kaito laughed. "Don't be ridiculous. The house isn't that big."

"I wasn't referring to the size. I was talking about the maze, the climbing wall, the trapeze pit, and the puzzle locks." He traced his finger along the route in question as he spoke. Then he looked back at Kaito expectantly.

The magician frowned in thought. Shinichi's hopes rose. Then Kaito picked up his pencil and sketched in yet another secret passageway. "There. Now we'll have a shortcut."

"…" That was so not the point. "I doubt half these things are legal. I'll bet they violate all sorts of building codes."

Kaito gave him a look. "What are you talking about? It''d be my house. It's not gonna be a public building. Oh! We should include one of those tunnels that spin when you start walking through them!" And he was off again, adding yet more twists and turns to the already tangled mass of a blueprint.

"There are building codes for private homes too, you know," Shinichi muttered, but he already knew it was no good. Still, that didn't mean he was giving up. There was no way he was living in a house built like that! Besides, he had a responsibility to prevent such a monstrosity from being built. It was a matter of public safety!

So he stood up and made a beeline for the library shelves. There had to be something he could use.

. . . . . . . . .

…"Oh, I remember those plans," Kaito mused, indigo eyes thoughtful. "I should still have them. I think I put them in the—"

"Let's see what's next!" Shinichi exclaimed a little too enthusiastically. Not waiting for a response, he turned the page.