Clash of the Gentlemen
"It's been a long time," Jigen said appreciatively, tipping his hat up the merest fraction the look over Tokyo as they drove over the last hill. As they did so, the sprawling city appeared, stretching all the way to the sunset and out of sight.
"Did it get smaller?" Lupin commented perversely.
"How the hell're we gonna find Goemon's place in this?" Jigen grumbled. "Never mind finding the flat, just finding "Beika City" is gonna take us all day..."
"Chill, Jigen," Lupin said relaxedly. "We're meeting him at the Beika Museum."
"Do you remember where that is?" Jigen asked as they slowed for a traffic light.
"I know hard cash is my usual calling, but I like shiny things too," Lupin chuckled. "Do you really expect me to forget a place with so much of either?" He wolf-whistled at a couple of girls crossing the road. They just laughed.
"What's so funny? My devilish good looks?" Lupin called, stamping on the accelerator as the lights changed. The old car jerked forwards in a cloud of smoke.
"Yeah, I can't imagine what'd be more noticeable that that," Jigen laughed. "I guess city girls prefer a ride made this century..."
"With all the mods I've made to this baby, she's not going anywhere any time soon," Lupin said, patting the dashboard of the old Fiat 500 fondly. Jigen just snorted.
"That's for sure," he grumbled.
"And just for fun..." Kuroba Kaito commented with a chuckle, slipping a rose down his sleeve.
"The purpose of that is...?" Jii asked dubiously, slipping the dark glasses into their pouch on the inside of the white top hat and passing it to the teen thief.
"Well, in case a beautiful but susceptible lady is the only thing between me and escape," Kaito said, grinning as he put his monocle in place. He thought back to the Kurogane household theft. "Or just susceptible."
Jii sighed. "Well, be careful, Bocchama."
"Always am," Kaito said with a wink as he donned his hat and opened his hanglider. "Just you watch. Nakamori-keibu better have eyedrops, 'cause if he blinks he's gonna miss me."
"I'll be outside the Beika Museum if you need me," Jii said as he waved Kaito off. Kaito leapt from the top of Toto Tower and flew away.
"Check this out," Lupin said, looking around in some shock at the huge crowd around Beika Museum. "I don't remember museums being this popular..." He closed the car door behind him, not bothering to lock it. The only kind of people who would know enough about the 50-year-old car to bother stealing the apparent heap of junk wouldn't be put off by locks.
"There a show goin' on or something?" Jigen wondered, looking up at the museum. Lupin suddenly leapt back into the car.
"Where the hell's Goemon?" he hissed, shrinking back. "There's cops everywhere, look!"
"Jeez, you're right!" Jigen said, slinking back into the car.
"Fear not, they are not here for you," Goemon said, climbing on top of the car.
"Where the hell'd you come from?" Jigen yelped in shock. A few people at the back of the crowd glared back at him.
"I was rather surprised myself when I arrived today," Goemon contemplated aloud. "However, a little investigation confirmed that Zenigata is not in command here. It is a man of his breed by the name of Nakamori. I think you will find this interesting."
"Why are this many cops here?" Lupin asked, feeling confident enough to look out of the window now that he knew the police weren't after him this time.
"You may wish to have binoculars," Goemon said, clicking open a telescope. "Ah... it is time."
"What?" Lupin said, pulling out his minibinoculars and peering in the same direction as Goemon. "Huh... what the hell is that?"
Something pale and triangular was soaring towards the museum. A few people in the crowd noticed, and pointed the shape out to the others. In a few seconds, the entire crowd had turned, screaming and cheering.
"What're they screaming about?" Jigen said, looking away to stare at the huge crowd. Lupin kept watching the pale shape, but listened carefully to the crowd, trying to hear individual cries. In a few seconds, he recognised a single name, being called repeatedly.
"It's the Kaitou Kid!"
"The Kaitou Kid is here!"
"The Kaitou Kid!"
"Okay, Goemon, spill," Lupin said, pressing the minibinoculars closer to his face. He realized that the triangle was a person riding a hanglider, but at this distance, it was hard to pick out the small figure under the glider, because they were wearing clothes the same bright white as the glider. A number of helicopters zoomed by overhead, making straight for the hanglider. "Who's the Kaitou Kid?"
"I suppose he is much like you," Goemon commented, "But a little more up-to-date."
"A thief?" Lupin asked, watching as the searchlights from the helicopters illuminated the white figure. He was drawing nearer, near enough for Lupin to make out a few details of his appearance. "Hoo, a gentleman thief- what an outfit! White suit, white hat- hey, is that hanglider a cape? Very swish!"
"Wait, this sounds kinds familiar," Jigen said. "Kaitou Kid... where've I heard of that one before?"
"Hey, you're right!" Lupin said, smacking himself on the forehead. "How could I've forgotten? Paris, years ago- there was a guy like that nicking off with all sorts of pretty things. He started in Paris, anyway. He was all over the world at one point. Then he just vanished. I always wondered what'd happened to him. So he's back, is he? I hadn't heard."
"Well, he only returned about a year ago," Goemon commented, as the white figure made a skilful and highly graceful midair spin that allowed him to dodge several of the helicopters, and brought him closer to the museum. "And in that time, he has only stolen exclusively in Japan. He no longer travels the world, for reasons unknown."
The Kaitou Kid slipped under another helicopter, before suddenly vanishing in a cloud of smoke. Lupin watched the rooftop carefully, grinning when one of the shadows shifted oddly. A second later, another cloud of smoke billowed from the archway above the main doors, and when it cleared, the Kaitou Kid was standing there. As the helicopter searchlights zeroed in on him, the crowd started cheering like they were at a rock concert.
"Helluva fan club he's got," Lupin complained. "How come I never get cheering, screaming hordes?"
"Because you only announce your intentions to the target or Zenigata, or sometimes neither," Goemon said, closing his telescope and opting to scan the crowds. "And your notices are generally fairly concise and clear. The Kaitou Kid sends a warning notice every time, generally heavily coded and highly poetic, and he sends duplicates to the target, the police, and every major media outlet that has a main address in Tokyo. He publicizes. And as you can see-" Goemon gestured to where the thief spun on his heel, his cape flying out to cover him completely, before seemingly vanishing entirely, this time without smoke. "He likes to put on quite a show." Lupin shook his head as the crowd screamed with excitement. Did the window directly next to the vanished thief mean nothing? Admittedly, Lupin didn't see when it was opened and closed- it was closed now- but he knew plenty about stage magic to know that distraction was the key, and coloured smoke was the simplest way of achieving that. Trying it without smoke was certainly difficult, but a flowing cape seemed to do the job just as well. This guy was good.
"I remember his gimmick was stage magic," Lupin said. "Guess he's not dropped that yet. What a show-boater."
"You've got plenty a' fans, Lupin," Jigen said, scanning the statuary at the top of the museum. "I mean, when you're wanted in every other country on the planet-"
"Might not happen, about 80 of 'em are so poor, I might actually feel bad about stealing from them."
"-You can always cool your heels in Cagliostro or Vespania for a year or fifteen. Nice country. I might retire there someday."
"I'm not retiring 'till I'm richer than a continent other than Antarctica," Lupin said. "Hey, there- what's this?" He wasn't watching the museum, but rather the crowd- or at least, a car on the fringes of it.
"What's up, Lupin? Jigen asked, following his gaze.
"Check it out. That guy doesn't look like cop, so why's he got a CB?"
"You are right," Goemon noted, narrowing his eyes on the man in the nondescript white car. "He has a laptop as well..."
"Either he's someone's secret service, or..." Lupin wondered, and then jerked up as people screamed. Something round and white shot out of a window at high speed, shrinking as it fell to the road. He couldn't help grinning broadly as fifteen white hangliders, each sporting a white-suited figure with a shining emerald in hand, took off from the museum roof and headed in different directions. "Well, ain't he a jammy devil... I like 'im." Cops poured out of the museum's front doors, heading for their squad cars.
"So which one's the real one?" Jigen wondered, pulling his binoculars back out and scanning the hangliders. One of them had its head sliced off by a helicopter propeller, and exploded in blue smoke. "Not that one, I guess."
"None of 'em," Lupin said, still watching the car. "Ah... there's our man..."
"Huh?" Both Jigen and Goemon looked around the crowd in shock. "Where?"
"The cop slipping into our friend's nondescript white car," Lupin said with a grin. "Guess he's a shill... get in the car."
"Lupin, what're you planning-" Jigen began, but cut off with a yelp and dived into the little car as it sputtered to life and slipped into the line of traffic behind the car. Goemon had already slipped into the back seat, wedged in between the boxes and the gap between the front seats. They ran over the limp white shape in the road, which resembled a deflated football.
"I'm thinking I'd quite like to meet this guy," Lupin said with a grin. "He sounds like fun."
"You can slow down a bit," Kaito commented, pulling off his police officer's jacket and ducking down in the back seat to hide the fact that he was still wearing his white suit underneath. "By the time Nakamori-keibu realizes that none of the dummies are real, we'll be at home and in bed." He started to undo his tie, ready to change back into his Kuroba Kaito clothes, when he glanced out of the back window and froze. They were pulling off of the main roads, into the smaller shopping districts and residential areas. A car had pulled out behind them- and ancient little yellow bucket that, Kaito vaguely remembered, had been idling outside of the museum, but had left at the same time as them.
"Jii, turn left," he said quietly.
"What? But that's not-"
"Just do it. I think we're being tailed, and I want to make sure."
The old man paled visibly but turned down the tiny backstreet, barely wide enough for the car. A minute later, the tiny yellow car turned as well, small enough to have quite a bit of room. Kaito put his hat and monocle on again.
"Find an empty street and park," he said.
"Bocchama, you can't possibly be wanting face them..." Jii said worriedly.
"It's not that Shadow Syndicate," Kaito said. "They're not so obvious when they tail, and anyway, I'm sure they could afford a better- and blacker- car than that. I want to know who was good enough to spot me." He knew it couldn't be Conan or Hakuba. The car was even more ancient than the old beetle that Conan sometimes got a ride in, and anyway, Conan had definitely still been in the museum when Kaito left. Kaito felt a little bad about locking the kid in a display case, but he'd seen the football come flying out the window- clearly, the little detective had made his own way out. He was gonna be pissed the next time Kaito ran into him. He tried not to think of those high-powered footballs.
At any rate, Conan couldn't be in that car, and he knew for a fact that Hakuba, while returning to Japan, would not be back until tomorrow morning- Kaito had, in fact, timed the heist so that, just for fun, the first thing that Hakuba would see upon his return to Japan would be the Kaitou Kid in the headlines. In any case, those two were the only ones that Kaito had ever had real problems with, but if they hadn't spotted him leave, then who had?
They finally slowed by the riverbanks. No-one was around- everyone was in the city centre, now some miles away, or watching the TV, desperate for news on the heist. That was another reason that Kaito preferred to publicize his thefts- not only was it basically a "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough" to the Shadow Syndicate, it also meant that most of the city's population was in one place or at their TV, leaving him such clear escape routes. He got out of the car, gesturing for Jii to stay inside, and then walked forwards a couple of paces, allowing the wind to catch his cape and make it billow out as impressively as possible. A little showy, sure, but he was the Moonlight Magician.
The ancient yellow car puttered to a halt some ten feet away. It sat there for a second, and then someone inside it laughed loudly.
"Applause, boys," it said, a touch sarcastically, but mostly with tone of a class clown who never means any harm. "What a show. What an outfit. You think I could get fangirls if I dressed like that?"
There was a little applause from inside the car, but another voice grumbled, "If you wore a white suit, Lupin, it would turn black in minutes."
Three men got out of the car, two stepping out of the driver's and passenger's door and the third climbing out of the sunroof to sit cross-legged on the top. He had the look on a samurai- long hair, hakama, sword, perpetually stern expression, the whole look. The one who'd gotten out of the passenger side looked like something out of an American gangster movie. He wore a dark suit, like Snake, but the suit itself was much more unkempt. Add to that the scruffy beard, pulled-down hat and dog-end of the sort that made you wonder if the man ever smoked new cigarettes, and you got an image that was the opposite of the Syndicate's sleek cruelty. Kaito noticed these two as background details, however. It was the driver that caught his attention.
It wasn't the clothes, although Kaito was certain that that red suit jacket and yellow tie must have been out of style even when they were new, or the hair, which was looked like a slightly out-of-fashion Yankee style. First, it was his easy grin as he leaned against the car's bonnet, a face that matched the class-clown voice- in other words, a masterful Poker Face. Kaito knew personally how sharp apparent idiots could be. And second, on his belt buckle was an ornately carved "L". Kaito had seen the insignia only once before, and even then, only on a book.
"Well, that explains quite a lot," he mused aloud. "I knew that you were not the police, and the CIA, FBI and Interpol all prefer less... distinctive cars when they trail people. I wondered if you were perhaps detectives, seeing as you noticed my true method of escape, but I realize that was simply down to being a fellow professional. You call yourself "Lupin"?"
"Not when I'm talking to cops," he said offhandedly. "Arsene Lupin the third, at your service if you're a lady and away with your wallet if you're not."
"Arsene Lupin... the third?" Kaito said, unable to help a brief crack of Poker Face as his eyebrows shot up. "The grandson of the great Arsene Lupin? Practically thieving royalty. I should bow."
"But you won't," Lupin commented with a chuckle. "Smart move, 'cause if you did, I'd be in and out of your car and away with your loot before you could straighten up. Third generation of the great gentlemen thieves- A family calling, you could say, but I'm sure you'd know all about that."
"Hell, he's just a kid," the gangster said, leaning forward, presumably scrutinizing Kaito, although he couldn't tell due to the hat.
"Manners, Jigen," Lupin said casually. "You saw the impressive job he did at the museum. Honour among thieves and all of that."
"Following in your grandfather's footsteps, eh?" Kaito mused. He wasn't showing it, but he was secretly highly impressed. Arsene Lupin was such a legendary figure that he was practically a storybook character. His grandson had to be good. "I wonder if you match up to him."
"Which is a highly polite way of saying: Do I match up to you," Lupin translated. "Well, nobody ever said I'm the gentleman that he was-"
"Because you aren't," the samurai said quietly, speaking for the first time.
"-but I'm damn sure that I'm as good a thief, if not better," he continued, ending on a lazy grin. "Seems like you've nabbed the gentlemen thief slot for Japan, however."
"I personally prefer phantom thief," Kaito commented, before popping the rose out of his sleeve with a wink, "but I'm sure the female populace would argue otherwise." He thought of Aoko. "Most of them, anyway." He put the rose away again.
Lupin eyed the spot where the rose had vanished with one eyebrow raised. "Hard to believe a suave bugger like you has lady troubles," he said, casually, but with uncanny perceptiveness, as Kaito suspected, "but here's my advice, kid: get out while you still can."
"Now, Lupin," the samurai said calmly, "Just because you had the misfortune to fall in love with a traitorous bitch like Fujiko-"
"Shut it, Goemon," Lupin said sharply. Then the easy grin returned. "Well, I've still got two weeks until my charges in Nevada expire, and I was gonna hang in Japan until then anyway- so what say you and me have a little fun?"
"A challenge?" Kaito said, with only mild surprise. "What and when?"
"Hmmm..." Lupin glanced up at the sky thoughtfully. "How 'bout a week from now? There'll be a lovely full moon that night. Plus, that gives us both time to investigate the other, prep our toys and make so many plans and counter-plans that neither of us actually ends up showing up. Oh, and that gives Zenigata time to get here from Germany."
"And where would the fun be if you didn't get to mess with Zenigata on top of it all, eh?" Jigen muttered. Goemon snorted.
"Oh, why not make the game a little more interesting than merely involving the police?" Kaito said lightly. He knew one target that he wanted to check out which was going to present quite a challenge. Involving the grandson of Arsene Lupin would make things, if not easier, at least a little more interesting. The timing was fortuitous- on this heist, so much could go wrong, and at least the full moon would make it easy to check out the jewel even if he didn't get away with it. "As it happens, the Suzuki family recently acquired a necklace from Africa with quiet an impressive sapphire in it. I happen to know two highly skilled detectives who will quiet certainly involve themselves in a theft from the Suzuki." Well, that wasn't strictly speaking true, but if Hakuba was in the country, he'd be involved anyway. "The night of the full moon for the necklace?"
"Sounds like quite a game," Lupin said. "I'm on." He turned back to his friends. "What about you? Goemon? Jigen?"
"You know I'm in," Jigen said, cocking his gun. Kaito narrowed his eyes on it.
"A minimum of violence, please," he said coldly. "The moment a life is on the line, it ceases to be a game."
"Lighten up, Kid," Jigen said. Lupin held up a hand.
"Now, Jigen, you don't always have to shoot people," he said calmly. "As it happens, I think our phantom friend has a point. This is a friendly contest between two professionals to acquire a jewel and cause the police the biggest headache possible in the process. Also, we're stealing from a family, note, not a Vegas casino staffed by ex-cons. I don't think there'll be need for bullets to fly."
"I doubt my presence will be necessary," Goemon said flatly. "I wish to avoid cutting unworthy objects."
"Fine by me," Lupin said. "Well, Kaitou Kid... see ya then."
"Sayonara, Lupin-sama," Kaito said, unable to resist the highly sarcastic "sama". "I hope you are a more competent rival than Chat Noir." He slipped back into the white car, which instantly accelerated away.
"Bocchama, are you really taking the challenge?" Jii said, glancing into his rear-view mirror. The little yellow car was making a slightly uneasy u-turn before trundling away.
"I'm not too sure about his samurai pal and the gunslinger," Kaito said, pulling off his gloves and undoing his tie with one hand while unfolding his t-shirt and jumper with the other. "But "Arsene Lupin the Third" seems all right. If he's anywhere near as good as his grandfather was said to be, this'll be quite a challenge. This could be fun."
"You just can't do nothing, can you?" Jigen grumbled later, oiling one of his handguns in a corner of Goemon's tiny city flat. "Geez, Goemon, get the smallest flat in Tokyo, why dont'cha."
"You realize that I spend very little, if any, of my time living in Tokyo," Goemon said, "and even less of that with guests."
"You're just pissed 'cause I told you not to shoot people," Lupin said, pulling a laptop out of his bag. Goemon looked at it with some surprise.
"Lupin, when did you get a computer?"
"21st century thieving, Goemon," Lupin said, clicking it open and pressing the power button. "Can't go anywhere if you can't hack like a woodcutter." He pulled up a search engine. "Not that I think that'll be necessary to find out about the Kaitou Kid. I'm gonna Google his ass."
"I have watched a few of his heists with some interest," Goemon said. "He specializes in the impossible. He has been known to steal a clock tower, teleport, walk in air, and disguise himself as skilfully as you- perhaps more, as he's been known to disguise himself as women just as perfectly as men. And not get caught out," he added pointedly.
"Sleazy little devil," Lupin chuckled, ignoring Goemon's last comment. "Here we go..." He whistled. "Well, his rap sheet for the past year is pretty impressive. Wait a minute, some of these are older..."
"The public is under the impression that the Kaitou Kid returned from his eight-year absence, and that it is that same man who began thieving in Paris twenty years ago," Goemon said.
"What a load of bull," Lupin snorted. "They never take a look at that guy? I bet he wasn't even born twenty years ago, never mind stealing... That could explain why he's sticking to Japan, actually. I guess people'd put two and two together if some kid took extra French lessons, and then played hooky the same week that the Kaitou Kid hit Paris..."
"So what've you got on 'im?" Jigen said. "Or the two detectives he mentioned?"
"Well, here's the fun part," Lupin said, opening another couple of windows and bringing up Wikipedia. "It's got this teen PI listed as having come nearer to catching him than anyone else... Hakuba Saguru. I'll bet he's one of the ones he meant."
"Another teenager? Geez, what're they givin' kids these days?" Jigen wondered, leaning back against the wall with his customary dog-end. "So who's the other detective?"
"Well, it says he's got a "natural enemy"..." Lupin said, returning to Google and opening a Kid fansite. "Oh, well lookie here... if it ain't a familiar face."
"Whaddya mean?" Jigen asked, leaning over to glance at the computer screen. He did a double-take at the sight of the bespectacled elementary schooler. "Awww, crap."
"Meitantei Conan," Lupin chuckled. "This game just got that little bit more interesting."
"Ran! You guys've gotta come over right now! It's BIG news!"
Ran held the phone away from her head. "No wonder," Shinichi thought, not glancing up from his Kamen Yaiba manga. "I can hear her from here."
"What's happened, Sonoko?" Ran asked, tentatively returning the phone to her ear. Sonoko was clearly still excited about whatever it was, as even though she wasn't yelling anymore Shinichi could still hear a high-pitched squealy buzz. Ran looked confused for a moment, before her face smoothed out into comprehension.
"Oh, of course we'll come, I'm sure Conan-kun will want to anyway..." Shinichi raised his eyebrows. There wasn't a lot that made him voluntarily endure the presence of Sonoko and her constant probing questions to Ran about their relationship- well, Shinichi and Ran's. She didn't pay much attention to "Conan", one of the few blessings of his reduced state.
Ran's expression suddenly changed to one of absolute shock. "A second Kid notice?" she said in surprise. Conan looked over, the mention of Kid instantly getting his attention. Then his brows furrowed in confusion. "Wait... second? When was the first?"
"Oh... oh, I see!" Ran said. "Wow, Sonoko... yeah, we'll be over right away! Huh? Yeah, I've heard of him... well, more than that... it's a long story. Look, we'll be there in about ten minutes, I'll tell you then. See you?"
"Sonoko-neechan got a Kid notice?" Shinichi asked excitedly. He and the thief were long overdue for a rematch.
"Yeah, they think he's after that necklace that her mother just got from Africa, the one with the sapphire," Ran explained. "But the strange thing is, he's not the only one that's put out a notice for it."
"Huh?" Shinichi said in surprise. "The second notice? Who else sends... hold on a second..."
"They got a second notice at the same time," Ran said, "from Lupin the third."
Shinichi groaned. "Oh."
Lupin kept in character by resisting the urge to whistle appreciatively as he marched through the corridors of the Suzuki family mansion with the cops that he was disguised as. It was an opulent place. He wondered if he'd stolen from them before. Could he really have passed up a place like this?
He settled himself in front of the security camera screens in the control room, as he'd been ordered by Zenigata. He'd resisted the urge to snigger as he'd walked in quite literally under the man's nose. His disguises were getting good.
He allowed himself a raised eyebrow as he looked over the security cameras. Fancy hallway. Fancy western bathroom. Different fancy hallway. Bedroom twice the size of Goemon's flat, occupied by a teenage girl who was sitting on her bed, cellphone glued to the ear, staring at a poster-sized photo of the Kaitou Kid. Fancy hallway. Fancy garden. Fancy traditional bath. Another fancy, oversized bedroom, apparently a guestroom. Study, where everyone was congregating.
Pretending to watch the security cameras, Lupin instead just watched that one, witnessing a historic moment to rival Vesuvius...
"This is my operation! The Kaitou Kid is my jurisdiction!"
"I'm from the board of Interpol, and I have the power to usurp all other authority when Lupin is involved! This is my operation!"
"The hell is it! The Kid's on the Interpol list as well!"
"As a strictly non-violent criminal. Lupin and his friends use gunfire. Now stand down!"
"Not a chance!"
"How much is this place insured for, Suzuki-san?" Kaito muttered to the older man, who was currently staring at Zenigata and Nakamori as they waged their war of the lungs, their respective units quietly cooperating to set up collaborative security in the background. Aoko elbowed him sharply in the ribs. He bent over, only slightly hamming up the resulting pain.
"At any rate- who the hell are these kids?!" Zenigata demanded, only just noticing Aoko and Kaito.
"This is my daughter Aoko," Nakamori growled, "and this is her classmate Kuroba Kaito. He's a very skilled magician, taught by his late father, Kuroba Toichi. His insight will be useful for dealing with Kid."
"You can't just bring anyone you like into a crime scene-"
"No crime has taken place yet, and they're here to make sure it stays that way!"
"Geez, if Zenigata-keibu doesn't like kids, he's gonna hate Conan-kun," Suzuki Sonoko commented as she entered the ballroom.
"Conan-kun?" Kaito asked innocently. "Remember, Kuroba Kaito has never met this kid, and if you play your cards right you may not have to..."
"Oh, he's just a little kid, but he's really bright and always shows up at Kid hei... hey!" Sonoko yelped, staring at Kaito. "Kudo-kun?!"
"Whosits?" Kaito said, stepping back nervously from her accusing outstretched finger. She ignored him and commenced with ranting.
"What the hell are you doing here? Have you called Ran? If you were gonna be back in town you should have told her, she's really missed you, you know, and you, you cold-hearted baka, you went swanning off..."
"Umm, have we even met?" Kaito asked. Aoko stepped in between him and Sonoko.
"I think you're mixing Kaito up with somebody else," she said tactfully. Sonoko paused.
"You're not Kudo Shinichi?" she said suspiciously. Kaito shook his head quickly.
"Kuroba Kaito," he said, popping out a rose and offering it to her. She blushed and Aoko gave him evil eyes. "Nice to meet you, Ojousama."
"I'm Suzuki Sonoko," she said. "Are you Nakamori-keibu's daughter?"
"Nakamori Aoko," Aoko said. "Hajimemashite."
"Hajimemashite." Sonoko glanced at the arguing inspectors. "Anyway, I called Ran, and she's bringing Ojisan and Conan-kun with her. She says they've come across this Lupin guy before, as well." Kaito raised an eyebrow.
"Tantei-kun's met this guy?" he thought. "Small world..."
"Nakamori-keibu," he called, "shouldn't we check out the security arrangements?" "Hopefully if we do that now, I can organize things so that I'm out of the way when tantei-kun shows up... and get the necessary preparations done..."
"Hey, there's something wrong with the camera in Suzuki-shachou's room," Lupin said, indicating the feed from the camera that Goemon had messed with. "I'm gonna go check it out, all right?"
"Good idea," one of the real cops sighed. "Nakamori-keibu and Zenigata-keibu are still arguing about using the same radio frequencies... you'll get nothing done over the radio."
"Got it," Lupin said, stepping out. "Be right back."
Once outside, he walked along authoritatively until he reached the fancy bathroom where he'd already wired the camera to show the same image of an empty bathroom on a continuous loop. He slipped inside to find Goemon, also disguised as a policeman.
"Okay, we're gonna have to switch disguises," he sighed, pulling off his cop cap and mask. "This face has to be in the security cam room. Mind taking that duty for me?"
"I've got nothing better to do," Goemon grumbled, pulling off his own mask and swapping with Lupin. "When's Kid turning up?"
"In about thirty minutes, supposedly," replied Lupin, who had taken all of two minutes to decode Kid's note once it had hit the newspapers. "Although if he's half the thief I think he is, he's already around and setting up for the fun..."
"This is so beautiful!" Aoko sighed, turning the sapphire against the light.
Kaito glanced around the room. Only Nakamori-keibu, a couple of cops and Suzuki Tomoko were in the room with them- a number of guards were going to be posted on the room and around the mansion to protect this room, where Suzuki Tomoko was going to be sitting, wearing the necklace. "Didn't quite work for the Black Star... eh, who am I to complain if she wants to make life easy for me?" He wandered back to Aoko as Nakamori-keibu fortuitously chose that moment to stick his head out of the door to yell at a couple of Zenigata's subordinate officers. A moment later, he whistled appreciatively. "A thong?... unusually racy, Aoko..."
"Hentai!" Aoko shrieked, crimson, swinging at his head with the only weapon to hand- the very heavy sapphire. Kaito ducked, dodging away from Aoko, then reached out to grab the swinging jewel, yanking it out of Aoko's grasp before she did any serious damage with the weapon. "A mop! Bring me my mop!" she raged to the startled-looking Tomoko.
"Now, Aoko," Kaito said placatingly, "There's no need to be embarrassed about your womanly charms... even if they are new to you..." Aoko went even redder as a couple of officers made it past Nakamori-keibu and recoiled from a second dose of the feared Nakamori Rage, and appeared completely speechless through a combination of embarrassment and anger. Then she blinked. "Kaito... where's the necklace?"
"What do you mean? Suzuki-san has it," he said, gesturing to Suzuki Tomoko.
"Me?" she said in confusion.
"Sure, you," he said, wandering over to her. He clicked his fingers and in a puff of smoke, the necklace was around her neck. The awed policemen clapped. Kaito glanced over at them, trying not to laugh as Nakamori-keibu yelled at them to get their work done and get back to their posts... and, for a fraction of a second, one of them gave him a cheeky wink.
"I see," he thought with an inward smirk. "Game on, Lupin... Your move..."
"There you are, Ran!" Sonoko said grumpily as they were shown into the Suzuki's study. "You're the last people here. Nakamori-keibu and Zenigata-keibu have both set up shop already... oh, oh, Ran, you won't believe this!" She suddenly squealed. "Nakamori-keibu brought his daughter and a friend of hers, and he..."
Shinichi tuned Sonoko out automatically, instead following Kogoro over to the desk, where Sonoko's father was poring over the two notes. He peered at the Lupin one first.
"Salutations to my fellow gentleman the Kaitou Kid. However, I must apologize for my rudeness, but I have taken rather a liking to Suzuki-sama's necklace and I'd rather it were mine. I do hope you accept my apologies, because they should make it easier to deal when I take the Sapphire right out from under your nose."
Then there was a funny little caricature that vaguely resembled a peanut with arms and a mad grin. Shinichi snorted as he remembered the eclectic thief with even weirder dress sense than Kid. He'd helped Shinichi solve the murder and returned the crown and even helped Shinichi get back to Japan, so he didn't seem like a particularly bad guy, but he and his friends- the sharpshooter Jigen (with no sense of humour), the samurai Goemon (with no sense of physics) and the frankly dangerous Fujiko (with no sense of safety... or propriety) played with too many explosives and caused too much damage for his liking. He turned to the Kid notice.
"I shall ride in on the tail of a dog to claim the sparkling African sky during a whole night..."
Then the distinctive caricature.
"Whole night... full moon, duh," he thought, glancing out of the window at the aforementioned satellite. "The sparkling African sky is obviously the sapphire... sky blue, from Africa. The tail of a dog..." he frowned. "Will that refer to how he'll arrive? It's a little absurd, though..." he remembered the Tani kidnapping case. "... He's too big for a Great Dane to carry anyway. Tail... could mean the end of something... end of the dog... not the year of the dog... but what about the hour of the dog? Didn't the zodiac animals also used to be used for time as well as date?" he glanced at the clock. "The dog was... 7PM to 9PM... if the end of the hour of the dog means 9PM, then he's coming..." his eyes widened as the clock chimed.
Then all hell broke loose.
Goemon, pretending to help the other officers get the cameras online, subtly flicked off every power switch that the others turned back on, figuring that just because this chaos didn't seem to be Lupin's doing didn't mean that he shouldn't encourage it. Served him right for not letting him bring his gun.
"It'll just grab a bus, the madness has likely begun..." Hakuba Saguru sighed, turning away from the remains of the two cars in the garage. Slashing his tyres might be Kid's style, though he seemed to prefer to misdirect him to China, but he couldn't help but wonder how the thief had managed to slice both cars in half down the middle it two clean strokes.
Kaito tried not to snigger as he distantly heard Nakamori-keibu competing to swear louder than Zenigata. He'd gotten Aoko to chase him all the way into the garden and right into a sleeping-gas bomb under the Suzuki's window, where once it was all over they'd both be found sleeping, having apparently gotten between Kid or Lupin and their goal. He carefully lay Aoko down behind the bushes, listening to various officers as the paintbombs that he'd scattered around went off. At least it was easy-wash stuff, so they shouldn't complain, although it'd probably be different once the sand and feathers started flying around. They were in real trouble if they climbed the stairs, though. The fish oil had probably spilled onto all of the banisters by now. He switched into his costume and climbed up to the window, intending to slip into the room which would not be full of cops, partially because one of those already in there was Lupin III who would no doubt take his chance to knock people out, and partially because Kaito had glued the door shut with a type of glue that was most famous for leaving a salesman in a rather disgusting situation when demonstrating it on safari. It took him mere seconds to pick the lock, and as he was doing so he glanced into the room.
Suzuki Tomoko was slumped over on the bed, asleep, like the cop near the door, whilst the other slipped the necklace off of her neck. Kaito clicked the window open with a grin.
"Kid-kun," Lupin said in a friendly manner. "Finders, keepers!" he swung the Sapphire around happily as something thumped into the door.
"You're not going to break that door down the usual way..." Kaito thought, grinning as Lupin suddenly paused, staring at the sapphire, and then held it up to the light.
"And losers weepers, I believe," he said as Lupin beheld the little card in the centre of the fake jewel bearing Kid's caricature and the word "FAIL". He produced the real sapphire, up his sleeve where it had been since his little trick half an hour ago, and then nearly fell out of the window as a hyper-charged football flew through the door, half an inch away from Lupin's head. Kaito flipped out of the window as Tantei-kun ran in followed by several rather shellshocked officers, sending away a flying dummy as he cloaked himself in his black hooded cape and hid in the bushes below the window. He was followed a second later by Lupin.
"Nice play," he whispered as the cops shouted and pointed at the flying Kid dummy and yelled for help organizing a search party for Lupin in the garden. "How long have you had the real sapphire?"
"I don't," Kaito said with a frown, holding it up to the moonlight. There was a little card in the middle of it, like the one he'd left in the middle of his fake sapphire, but it only bore a heart and the word "gomen!" Lupin groaned aloud.
"Not again!" he moaned. "Dammit, Fujiko-chan..."
Kaito glanced around the bushes. "Where'd Aoko go?"
The diamond started hissing.
Fujiko sighed in relief as she unwrapped the binding up that she'd had to do to emulate Nakamori Aoko's considerably more cherubic figure. Then she held the sapphire up to the light. Definitely the real one. Lupin and his little conjuror friend could have all the fun they liked with the fake one, at least until it exploded. She idly wondered if Lupin would tell Kid that it took washing-up liquid to get rid of her special pink hair-dye. Well, he could have fun experimenting. Served him right for flipping her skirt.
It's June 21st, Kuroba Kaito's birthday- and coincidentally, Aoyama-sensei's! Happy Birthday, guys!
All the Lupin canon is based almost solely off of the DC vs LT3 special and Castle of Cagliostro, so forgive me for any mistakes or incongruities!
By the way, the rhino story that I alluded to when mentioning the Crazy Glued door- read it here: darwinawards legends / legends1999-07. Html (take out the spaces)
Yes, I own Magic Kaito and Detective Conan, but I gave them to Aoyama-sensei as a birthday present. Kato Kazuhiko got his trained monkey to steal Lupin III from me.