If anyone had entered the room at that moment, they would have asked Kaito what was wrong. The magician's face was unusually serious as he stared into his tea contemplatively. It was an expression he rarely showed in public.
So close, he was so close. Most of the syndicate's higher-ranking members had been captured. The Pandora gem was gone. Kaito had found the accursed stone almost a year ago.
All that was left of it were some scattered shards at the bottom of the ocean. The thief had taken great pleasure in smashing the gem after returning an extremely well made forgery to the owners. Kaito felt a little guilty about that, but he hadn't wanted to tip his hand to the organization.
The magician thief's thoughts returned to the members of the Black Organization, Snake in particular. He hadn't been too surprised when the assassin had realized Toichi truly was dead. It had been inevitable really. However, in a lucky break, Kaito was still in the clear.
After considering Toichi's son's age, as well as the rock solid alibi's Kaito had for several heists, Snake had decided that his Father had been training an apprentice. This mysterious apprentice was obviously the new Kaitou Kid.
In fact, Kaito was fairly certain the killer believed the remaining Kuroba's completely ignorant of Toichi's night job. Yeah right, his parents had trusted each other. The real Kaitou Kid snorted. If not for the fact it was his life on the line the entire situation would have been funny.
Without Hakuba's constant harassment the syndicate would have come to a much different, and more dangerous, conclusion. Kaito had bought the detective a mint condition copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles the day after Snake had presented his theory. The blonde's expression had been great.
In a burst of creativity, the assassin had begun to refer to him as boy. Still, all things considered, it was a minor annoyance. The way Snake's case was going, on the other hand, was not.
Things were not looking so good. At least, not from Kaito's perspective. He drained the last of the tea in a single gulp before rising to his feet. It seemed he had no choice but to intervene. Letting the assassin walk away was not an option.
Kaito was not the only one who was not entirely happy with the way things were going. Chion Daigo reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes, willing the headache to go away. It wasn't working.
The prosecutioner's office had been very busy since the Black Organization had been exposed, thanks largely to the efforts of Kudo Shinichi, the Detective of the East. Currently, the source of Daigo's frustration was the files on his desk. They were all focused on the member code-named Snake.
Information on his skills and associates had been easy to find. But none of this was a crime. They could not prosecute the man if they didn't have something to charge him with. There were no witnesses, or records. The Black Organization had always worked from the shadows. Daigo almost wished Snake had resisted arrest. As it was, the only sure thing they had on him was possession of an illegal firearm.
The lawyer got up and began to pace. He knew Snake was a killer. If things continued the way they were though, it looked like the scumbag would receive nothing worse than a slap on the wrist. One major crime, just one, and Daigo could throw the book at him, put Snake away forever. The dark haired man froze when a voice spoke up from behind him.
"Good evening Daigo-san."
Chion swallowed hard. How had this man gotten in? He had drawn the logical conclusion that the intruder was one of the operatives that had gotten away, come to seek vengeance. Consequently, he was surprised when the man laughed.
"You can turn around," he offered. "I won't go so far as to say I'm unarmed, but I mean you no harm."
The prosecutioner's eyes widened as he took in the easily recognizable figure. It was the Kaitou Kid. That at least explained how he had gotten into the building. Chion didn't even notice when tense muscles relaxed. Everyone knew the magician thief didn't hurt people.
"What can I do for you Kid-san?" His voice was puzzled. "I have nothing that you would desire." The only gem in the entire room was the small diamond on Daigo's wedding band.
A sharp smile crossed Kid's features as he glided forward. "On the contrary, you have in your hands something I greatly desire." He flipped open one of the folders, exposing a picture of Snake. "I can give him to you," the thief whispered.
Really, there was no need to consider the matter, a thief verses a murderer. The older man smiled as he sat down on the edge of his desk. Brown eyes acquired a predatory gleam. "Let's make a deal."
The members of the prosecutioner's office weren't the only ones that had been busy. Shinichi tried desperately to conceal a yawn. He was one of the key witnesses for the trials, along with Hattori. Speaking of the Osaken, he was slumped in his seat.
At least they didn't have to worry about party crashers. Due the sensitivity of the cases, the trials were not open to the general public. It was too dangerous, both for the criminals and the law enforcement officers. It only took one bullet to end a life.
Shinichi blinked at the appearance of a familiar looking head of blonde hair. Now what was he doing here? The brunette elbowed his friend, bringing Heiji's attention to the other.
The dark skinned man stared a bit before waving. "Oi Hakuba, over here."
Saguru approached his peers and sat down next to them. "Kudo-kun, Hattori-kun," he greeted. He did have a few issues with the Detective of the West, but this was not the time.
The pair looked puzzled. "What are you doing here?" one asked. "I didn't think you were involved in the investigation."
"I'm not," Hakuba stated. "To be truthful, I am as confused about my presence here as you are." Hawk-like eyes roamed around the courtroom before returning to his companions. "None the less, I was summoned and will do my best to assist should I be called upon."
As the trial went on, the expressions of the various members of law enforcement grew more and more severe. On the other hand, Snake grew more and more smug. A person is innocent until proven guilty after all, and they were being less than successful in proving his guilt.
Kudo frowned deeply. The challenge with prosecuting any member of the Black Organization was the lack of specific evidence. This man, Snake, was no exception. The detective didn't know him, but that didn't mean he wanted the operative to walk.
The prosecutioner, Daigo-san, whispered something in the judge's ear as the latest witness left the stand. She nodded before pounding her gavel. "The next witness is in a unique position," she announced to the court at large. "And we ask for everyone to remain calm."
Shinichi's mind went blank. Surely they hadn't plea-bargained with someone. Who was it, Vermouth? He almost missed the end of the judge's speech.
"Given temporary amnesty for the duration of the trial plus twenty-four hours."
The detective relaxed. Temporary amnesty, the witness wasn't a member of the Black Organization.
"Your witness Daigo-san."
The prosecutioner nodded and turned to face the court. "The prosecution calls the International Criminal 1412, more commonly known as the Kaitou Kid, to the stand." Silence, utter silence, then a perfectly ordinary looking young man stepped out of the crowd.
A little too ordinary looking, Hakuba reflected, taking in the dark hair and hazel eyes. At least now he knew why he was here. The detective was an expert on the magician thief. But why was Kid?
There was a bit of confusion when it came time for Kid to be sworn in. Ultimately though, it was decided the thief was protective enough of his reputation to make up for the lack of a real name.
Snake's smug expression had vanished. In fact, he was starting to look a bit pale. The assassin hadn't been expecting this. Fingers clenched; he could see his dreams of freedom going down the drain.
"Tell me Kid-san," Daigo enquired. "Do you recognize the defendant?"
The magician nodded. "His birth name is Riki Igawa, but I have always known him as Snake."
"And you relationship with the defendant?"
Kid did not look away from his hunter as he answered, his voice cool and in control. "He murdered my predecessor."
At this revelation, the silence was broken. The courtroom buzzed with conversation. As for the tantei, they felt sick. All of them had realized the Kid they knew was far too young to be the original. But that the first had been killed, that was a surprise.
"Order," the judge pounded her gavel. "Order in the court." Once it was silent she gave the signal for Daigo to continue.
"How did you become aware of the circumstances behind the first Kaitou Kid's death?" he asked.
The thief gave a tight smile. "Snake told me so himself," he answered. Right before he tried to kill me, the first time."
Hakuba went incredibly pale. Just what had Kid been doing when he wasn't watching. He was not the only one upset at this information. Kudo's lips had formed a tight, thin line.
"It was the night I stole the Blue Birthday, I met Snake on a rooftop near the site of the heist," Kid began. "At first, he mistook me for my mentor. He said he thought he got rid of me," his tone darkened. "Then he shot, I was too close to get out of the way."
Now Daigo had gone a little pale as well. "How badly were you hurt?"
"I was lucky. The bullet bounced off the gem. It was also fortunate I managed to survive the fall from the rooftop. Snake favors heart shots you see," he put in. It wasn't just his word Kid had to offer either. The thief had acquired quite the collection of bullets through the years, all of which could be traced to Snake's gun. It took him almost an hour to tell the court the stories behind them all.
Snake's lawyer's attempt to discredit Kid was a dismal failure. First he tried to deny the witness was the Kaitou Kid. A brilliant red rose was offered to the judge while the thief answered in the lawyer's own voice. Then the man tried the usual word traps. It didn't work. Kid was a genius in addition to having an almost perfect memory. He didn't fall into any of the defense's traps.
When he was dismissed Kid moved to sit by the three tantei who quickly cleared a space. That was just fine with Hakuba. The urge to lock the magician thief up was not a new one, to lock him in a padded cell where he could not be hurt was.
The trial wrapped up rather quickly after that. Snake was found guilty, three consecutive life sentences. He would die in prison. The only target he had ever missed had proved to be his undoing.
Snake strained against his captors' hold, his murderous gaze fixed firmly on the phantom thief. "I'll kill you for this!" he hissed. Venom dripped from his words.
The blonde detective stiffened at the killer's threat, moving to shield his thief. He was stopped by the strong hand that grabbed his shoulder, squeezing it reassuringly.
"Empty threats Snake-chan," Kid shot back. "Game over, I win." A feeling of vicious satisfaction rose within Kaito. He had done it.
Dark eyes narrowed. "If we can't have you then we will have T. . ." he choked. "T. . ."
Kid smirked. "Having problems?" he inquired. At Snake's glare the smirk became a full-fledged grin. "Don't bother trying to say his name, you won't be able to," he informed his hunter.
"A sorceress I know was kind enough to cast a geas for me. I feel no need to drag a dead man's name through the mud," he continued. "And I will do all I can to protect my predecessor's family." Akako's price had been steep, but it was worth it. The geas didn't just apply to the spoken word.
The thief watched with steady eyes as Snake was dragged from the room. He did not look away until he was certain the danger was gone. Kaito had not made it this far to lose now, and the assassin didn't need a gun to kill.
"My condolences for your loss," Kudo's quiet voice easily reached the thief's ears. All things considered, the detective knew he had been lucky. He hadn't lost anything that could not be returned.
The magician thief merely shrugged. "It was a long time ago," he did not look upset.
The three tantei were not fooled. Kid never looked upset. The thief was a master of masks, he was not about to display his true emotions for all the world to see.
A sly expression slid across the kaitou's face. "Enough of this," Kid threw a friendly arm over Shinichi's shoulder. "We should be celebrating," he cheered. "Especially as tantei-kun here seems to overcome his little problem."
Kudo glared death at the phantom thief while Heiji tried to muffle his laughter. Hakuba just watched the scene in confusion. He had the feeling he was missing something.
"You will pay for that comment when next we meet."
The thief's smile disappeared as if it had never been and he released the detective. "No," he whispered. "I won't."
"What do you mean?" Hakuba asked. Kid was acting odd to say the least.
"There will not be a next time," he informed them. As the detectives stared at him Kid continued. "I have everything I wanted. The Black Organization is exposed, Snake is in prison, the gem they killed him for no longer exists." The thief's sad smile was a pale imitation of his usual grin.
"I am nothing more than the first Kid's ghost. And now it is time for me to disappear into the night like a good little phantom, never to be seen again." The thief danced backwards out of Shinichi's grasp when the other moved to touch him. "I will miss you," he admitted. "All of you, but my work is finished now and it is time to go."
He bowed deeply to the trio, then turned and walked away. As he left Kaito fought the urged to turn around and claim he was kidding, that he hadn't meant it. The thief could feel the unshed tears burning in his eyes. Surely he hadn't been that lonely before the tantei had come along, surely.
(I couldn't end it on that note)
"Ouch!" Kaito yelped. "Let go."
Hakuba did not seem inclined to do so as he dragged his former classmate down the street. He knew that if the magician really wanted him to let go, he would already be gone. The blonde shoved Kuroba into a nearby chair after arriving at his destination. "Sit," he ordered.
The retired kaitou huffed. "I am not a dog. What are we doing here anyway?" he asked. Sharp blue-violet eyes scanned the cafe, it wasn't anything special. Kaito almost froze when he noticed the approach of two very familiar people but he forced himself to remain calm. Hakuba had been plotting. Who would've thought.
"Yo Hakuba," Hattori greeted as he slid into one of the remaining chairs. Next to him, Kudo did likewise. "And who is this?" the Osaken asked. He had thought it was just going to be the three of them.
"This," the blonde introduced. "Is Kaito Kuroba, who despite being a skilled magician, is not the Kaitou Kid." You didn't need to be a detective to catch the sarcastic tone of his voice.
As Kudo and Hattori shot Kaito startled looks the magician rolled his eyes. "I can't believe you're still on about that."
He turned to Shinichi. "Forgive my sempei, he has been bothering people with his unfounded accusations since high school." The magician leaned in closer. "Personally," he whispered. "I think he was dropped on his head as a child."
Kudo struggled with himself for a moment before giving in and laughing. After a moment Heiji joined in. The future was looking brighter already. As for Hakuba, he was reconsidering the wisdom of introducing Kaito to the pair. But it was too late now.