Disclaimer: the characters do not belong to me. Most of them are Aoyama's… Special thanks to Ellen Brand for allowing me to borrow my opening paragraph from the amazing fic, "An Unprofessional Opinion", which can be found on this site. Ellen Brand owns Cade Maboroshi. Gratitude and many thanks to NinthFeather for beta-ing.

And now, on with the show!

Escape Route

"Hakuba- a word of warning. DO NOT CORNER THIS GUY, not if you want a live body to prosecute. Non-violence seems to be pretty much a cornerstone of the Kid's philosophy, but some of those stunts… He's likely to risk anything to escape. There's a desperation there that is not going to take being arrested without doing everything he can to finish his goal. You can run him down, or catch him by surprise, but do not back him into a corner. He'll jump off a building rather than offer his wrists for the cuffs."
- - - - - - - - Cade Maboroshi, profiler for the Las Vegas Police Department, in a letter to Hakuba

It was a deep, dark hole that Kaitou KID was fervently wishing for. At this point, he'd even take one of Akako's "magic tricks", please and thank you.

He'd made it to the roof after pulling off the heist, the stone safely in his suit jacket pocket to check when the moon showed her face. Normally, he'd already be zipping away from the scene on his hang-glider, a grin plastered across his features.

Except for the fact that there were gale-force winds tonight, pushing the rain sideways and nearly blowing him off the roof even without the glider open.

Using the glider would be stupid and idiotic, and likely to kill him.

Sadly, it was also looking like his best way of getting off the roof, because Tantei-san and Nakamori-keibu had made their way up to the top of the building with him, and from the shouts coming from the staircase access, the rest of the Task Force wasn't far behind. If he didn't disappear now, he would be surrounded in seconds.

Between the rain and the wind, the smokebombs would be worse than useless. He'd used up all of his flashbombs during the heist, and the grappling hook's rope had snapped during a particularly tricky maneuver involving the ceiling, seventeen clothespins, eight tins of pre-cut confetti, three trip-wires and a pot of Elmer's glue. Other than the cards and scarves, he was basically out of useful tricks. The ability to summon his doves and roses from midair wasn't going to be enough to get him off the building.

Maybe a little extra planning for this one would have been a good idea…

KID silently promised himself that he would check all of the weather radar next time before scheduling a heist to avoid another situation like this.

The Task Force had spread themselves out across the roof, and Nakamori-keibu was apparently secure enough of his belief that KID couldn't escape them this time to ask him to come quietly. "Give it up, KID!" he shouted across the roof, struggling to be heard above the wind. "You'll never get off the roof!"

Tantei-san moved forward, sliding on the slick concrete, hands reaching for the thief. "No escape this time, KID," he called, taking another few steps to the edge of the roof, trying to keep KID from diving off the roof in that direction. A rookie Task Force member did the same to KID's other side, attempting to tighten the noose around the infamous Kaitou KID.

KID grinned the grin that had terrorized the Task Force for so many years, a few of the Task Force rookies backing away on sheer reflex. "Not this time," he said, pulling one corner of the drenched cape up to his chin to take the pose he knew to be picture-perfect, even with the vicious wind nearly ripping the white cloth out of his grip. He stepped carefully onto the railing meant to keep visitors from falling off the skyscraper to their deaths, somehow managing not to slip despite all odds.

"What are you doing, KID?" Nakamori-keibu screamed, the Task Force sucking in a breath and involuntarily moving toward KID in sheer shock. "You can't use the glider in this wind!" They knew the thief was crazy from the stunts he pulled, but this was simply suicidal, and even KID knew it.

KID tipped his hat to Nakamori-keibu in acknowledgement. "No, I can't," he confirmed, then took a step back into thin air and allowed himself to fall.

The Task Force ran to the railing in panic, trying to catch sight of the thief, but in vain. Nakamori-keibu swore violently, clenched fist dealing the innocent railing a heavy blow.

As usual, there was no sign that the thief had ever been there. KID had disappeared completely, hopefully into the bay little more than 100 feet away from that side of the building.

The Task Force could only hope that they would receive another heist notice. It was the only way they would know for certain that the thief was still alive.

Miserably, drenched to the bone though they had only been on the roof for a few minutes at most, the Task Force gradually dispersed. The jewel was gone with KID; it would not be returned tonight, if it was returned at all.

A few of the older Task Force members traded knowing glances before leaving the roof, wishing that this particular finale did not feel so final. They knew that the KID wasn't immortal, although Nakamori-keibu still stubbornly refused to admit it. This wasn't the original KID.

They prayed that no one else would have to pick up the KID's mantle. Too many had died already beneath the weight of that clover-charmed monocle, identity completely unknown to the world.

It was silent for a time, save the howling winds and the sound of rain pattering against concrete, and the roof was empty of all but the memory of what had transpired that night.

Then, slowly, the door that kept the elements out of the building opened from below, allowing a single figure back out into the harsh weather.

Hakuba had returned to the rain-slick roof to stare at the place KID had disappeared, unable to go home with his last image of the thief burned into his mind. Just as KID had jumped, likely to his death, he had remembered the profile he'd asked Maboroshi to put together for him. The profiler had been correct, and Hakuba's stubborn disbelief of that fact had led to this.

It had been at his own suggestion that Nakamori-keibu had followed the thief to the roof so quickly tonight. He had assumed, quite correctly, as it turned out, that KID would be unable to use the glider in the terrible tempest, and that their best chance of catching the thief would be to corner him up here.

"You idiot," he whispered to thin air. "You could have just come down with us and escaped that way. It's not like you haven't gotten out of police-issued handcuffs before."

He was no longer sure if all of the water on his face was from the rain, but he could not bring himself to care.

If the KID had died tonight, it would be his fault.

He dreaded going to school in the morning, already knowing that Kuroba would not be there.