Disclaimer: I do not own Detective Conan/Case Closed
Summary: Aspiring journalist Kudou Shinichi has just received his strangest assignment yet—to report on the doings of mysteriously popular magician thief Kaitou KID. When he set out to make a career for himself, this was definitely not what he'd bargained for. A collection of stories from his not so everyday life.
Pairing(s): Kaito x Shinichi
WARNINGS: Shounan ai (boy/boy pairing), you have been warned
Front Page News
By V. Shalyr
1. You're Hired
The young woman lowered the papers onto her desk to examine her visitor with a thoughtful air. Her shoulder-length brown hair swung about her face as she glanced between his reference papers and his face, her sharp gaze seeming to catalogue his every feature. "Kudou Shinichi, right? Your father is that famous mystery novelist, yes?"
"Um, yeah." Scratching the back of his head in slight embarrassment, Shinichi tried not to let his exasperation show at being mentioned in relation to his father yet again. It wasn't that he minded exactly. It was just… Well, was it too much to ask for that he wanted to be known just as himself and not as the son of a world famous writer or a world famous actress? Most people had to work hard to be well known. It felt like he always had to work hard not to be.
Across the polished wooden expanse of the office desk, his new boss smiled. "You might be just the one we're looking for then. I've been wanting someone with a flare for mysteries to take on a special assignment for my magazine."
A special assignment? Something about the way she'd said those words made Shinichi nervous, but he couldn't quite put his finger on why. Maybe it was the gleam in her eyes. Suzuki Sonoko could have an overwhelming personality from what he'd heard.
"You'll start tomorrow. I'll get you all the details you need by then. I'm expecting great things from you."
And that was how Shinichi's first day at the Moon Watch magazine began. It felt like he'd been ushered so quickly into and out of the chief editor's office that he hardly had time to register what the woman looked like. At least she seemed pleased with the new addition to her staff.
Moon Watch was a fairly new magazine with a staff predominantly composed of new college graduates headed by the daughter of the owners of the huge Suzuki Corporation. Shinichi had stumbled upon the position almost purely by accident. Work hadn't exactly been easy to come by lately, but for once, luck had been on his side. He'd been having lunch with his childhood friend Mouri Ran when the matter of careers—or lack thereof—had come up. And it had turned out that Suzuki Sonoko was one of her closest friends. With Ran's referral and his parents' names, she'd agreed to see him right away. So maybe it did pay to have connections, even if he didn't always like to rely on them.
"So how did it go?"
Pulling his thoughts back to the present, Shinichi answered the other reporter with a shrug. The dark-skinned man had been sent to show him to the editor's office earlier that morning. "Honestly? I'm not sure what just happened. She seemed excited though. Something about a special project."
Hattori groaned. "I bet she wants to put you on the KID case."
At his puzzled inquiry, his fellow reporter looked at him as though he had lost his mind. "You have to be joking. Where've you been? Living under a rock?"
"Hey!" Shinichi protested, offended. "I've been really busy lately. Moving isn't exactly a walk in the park, you know."
Well actually, with his parents already owning a comfortable apartment in this city, there hadn't been all that much he'd had to do. The bulk of his stress had come from having to convince his parents not to help him—or to visit. The last thing he needed when moving to someplace new was his parents to decide to nose into his business. The last time they'd spent any "quality" family time together, he'd almost gotten a heart attack with everything they'd gotten up to. Being a great actress or a renowned writer didn't mean you were a great parent. It was times like that that made him wonder if he was the only mature one in the family.
"Yeah, yeah. You've only missed the revival of the world's most annoying thief in our not so quiet little city. He's pulled off a dozen successful heists already in the past year. The police are going crazy and it seems like practically every girl around is in love with him—chief among them our dear boss. It's totally unfair."
Shinichi raised a bemused eyebrow. "I'm not sure I understand."
"Dude, he's a criminal! But according to the ladies, he's also a gentleman and irresistibly charming. Just goes to show how screwed up people's values are these days. Then there's the way he likes to drive the police insane with his pre-heist riddles. The man's a real menace, I tell you."
"You sound a bit jealous if you ask me," Shinichi observed. Though now he had to wonder what kind of man this thief was. While he wouldn't necessarily say mankind as a whole had all that much in the way of common sense, he also didn't think most people would be so shallow as to fall for a criminal just because he was charming.
Hattori snorted. "Jealous? Of course not! My best friend only ditched me to go watch one of his heists last month and the month before that."
Muttering under his breath at the amusement clear on his new coworker's face, Hattori changed the subject. "I'd better introduce you to the photographer you'll be working with. He's been on the KID case too since he transferred to our magazine. And man is he the worse for wear. Maybe then you'll understand why KID's such a hazard."
The photographer in question had his desk in one corner of the main office, a huge room that had been divided up by open desks and a few cubicles for people who wanted a little more privacy. The first thing the journalists saw of him was his back as he hunched over something on the table in front of him.
"Hey, Hakuba, what's up?"
At Hattori's greeting, the man jerked up and spun around as though he'd been startled. Neat blond hair seemed a stark contrast to the dark circles under his eyes. The tension in his shoulders relaxed a little when he saw who it was.
"Hattori, I'm a little busy here."
Hattori rolled his eyes, moving around him to see what he'd been staring at with such trepidation. "So… Is that it?"
Hakuba grunted, his concentration returning to the seemingly innocuous, white envelope sitting on his desk. With careful precision, he pulled two pairs of tweezers from a drawer and poked it. When it failed to explode or make any other threatening movements, he carefully proceeded to use said tweezers to pull it open and extract the note.
Okay, Shinichi thought, now this was getting a little weird.
Three pairs of eyes stared down at the white card with its few lines of text, tied off with the doodle of a head wearing a magician's top hate and a monocle. Hakuba scanned the notice then let out a half resigned, half exasperated sigh, sinking back into his chair and resting an arm across his eyes. "Damn him, why couldn't he just be straightforward for once? I refuse to be made a fool of!"
"He doesn't need to do anything to make you seem like a fool," Hattori joked.
Removing the arm from across his eyes, the photographer glared. "Watch it, moron."
"Whatever, bastard. I was just going to introduce you to the new reporter on the KID case. Hakuba Saguru, this is Kudou Shinichi. Kudou Shinichi, meet Hakuba Saguru."
The two shook hands and Hakuba looked him over with a solemn, almost pitying expression.
"So this is Fujiwara's replacement? You poor soul. You have no idea what you've just gotten yourself into."
Well that was terribly reassuring. Just what had he missed not keeping up with the news on thieves? The answer appeared to be a lot.
"What happened to Fujiwara?" Shinichi asked cautiously.
"KID didn't like him," Hakuba informed him with utter seriousness. "He ran out of here screaming two weeks ago and handed in his resignation papers four days later."
That…sounded a little worrying. Did Shinichi even want to know why his predecessor had been screaming? "Um, but you're still around. Does that mean he's okay with you?"
Hakuba snorted. "Hardly. He doesn't like me either, but I survive."
Hattori sniggered. "With everything except your dignity."
This earned him another scowl. "I'd like to see you try my job. I bet you wouldn't last one heist."
"I bet I could beat you at your job any day."
"I'd like to see you try. Do you even know how to operate a camera?"
"So is that his heist notice?" Shinichi interrupted the brewing argument, gesturing at the riddle scrawled across the note card on the table. Was he crazy to think that it looked interesting? He'd always loved riddles and puzzles growing up—the challenge of having to figure things out. It was one of the reasons he'd become a reporter. To put the different pieces of everyday life together and help people learn about the truth.
The photographer nodded. "He always sends a copy to every newspaper and magazine in the area as well as the local police station."
Pulling out his notebook, Shinichi began to copy down the riddle. "He sends it to the police station? Why would he do that?"
"Because he's insane," Hattori replied as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
And maybe it was except that Shinichi wasn't usually the type to just go for the most obvious answers like that. The answers to these kinds of mysteries, the kinds that involved the way master criminals thought, were rarely that straightforward. And this Kaitou KID was obviously a master at what he did if he drew this much attention to himself all the time and still managed to get away every time. If he was really going to be expected to report on these heists, he had a lot of research to do.
—Which his new editor had kindly provided for him, he discovered, upon being shown to what was going to be his new workspace.
Shinichi stared in drop-jawed astonishment at the stacks of file folders on the table. Apparently, when Hattori had told him that Sonoko was obsessed with this thief, he had not been exaggerating. The papers on his desk looked like everything that had ever been written about Kaitou KID—or, as he quickly found out, Phantom Thief 1412. And those were only two of the notorious thief's many names.
KID had first appeared in Paris more than twenty years ago and had pulled off numerous successful heists worldwide. His main target? Precious gems of all kinds, large and small and of every color imaginable. And yet for some reason, he always returned the jewels shortly after he successfully stole them. Over the years, he'd made off with billions of dollars worth of gemstones yet each of these were returned to their owners by the thief himself. It was only a matter of time. Then eleven years ago, the thief had suddenly disappeared from the world stage only to reappear eight years later and pick up exactly where he had left off. Police had thought it was a copycat at first with how many other thieves had tried to appropriate the phantom's infamous name. But it was always easy to ferret out the imposters, and after the first heist, the head of the Kaitou KID Taskforce Nakamori-keibu had confirmed that this was no fake.
Glancing from one of the most recent photos taken by Hakuba to one of the ones from just before KID's disappearance, Shinichi couldn't help but wonder if it could really be the same man. It didn't seem possible, but at the same time, the magician thief was known for his trickery and his ability to impersonate anyone he so chose well enough to fool even their closest friends and family. Compared to that, a slight modification in one's general form hardly amounted to anything.
Leaning back in his chair, Shinichi put a hand to his chin as he contemplated the information he'd just run through—a gesture he had picked up from his mother. The mystery of the story behind the Moonlight Magician… Well, at least this job wasn't going to be boring.
AN: This is a story collection, in other words, it's only going to have a loose plot and is never going to be listed as "complete". Stories also may or may not be in chronological order. Mostly, they probably will be, but be forewarned.