Epilogue
ooOO-OOoo


Kaito watched in amusement how the other teen paced in the library of the Kudou mansion with a phone pressed against his ear. There was a heated argument going on between Kudou Shinichi and Mouri Kogoro about a case they currently worked on. Shinichi had taken up the task of helping the older detective with his work for almost two months now. Kaito had the feeling that it hadn't been entirely his idea, as he remembered how Shinichi had told him about it a bit surly. He himself was seated in a comfortable armchair with a steaming hot cup of tea in his hands. From time to time, he carefully blew at it to cool it down a bit while he enjoyed the show.

"No, Mouri-san. I told you that this evidence has been placed there for us. The culprit wanted us to find it, so he could frame his sister. … No, I … You know what. Follow your lead and I will come over later, so we can discuss this further. … Yes, bye."

Shinichi pressed the little red button on the phone with more force than necessary and made a face, before he put the device down on a table next to a second armchair. He let himself plummet into its soft cushions and groaned in annoyance. Ran's punishment really was something. She had known from the start that the two men would have some … problems with each other's way of working, but they had to pull through anyway, and especially Shinichi had to concede every now and then, but without letting the older detective arrest the wrong person.

It was troublesome to say the least, but Shinichi knew he had to make amends and so he did. And with every case they solved together, he had the impression that Mouri was less likely to jump to conclusions. It was way easier to guide him now that Shinichi hadn't to hide behind his kiddy act. It was more difficult too, because he sometimes felt tempted to fall into his old habit of being a bit arrogant or he would forgert that he could openly state his deductions now. So, Ran had been right in the end. They both gained something out of this. Mouri was getting more observant and Shinichi had the chance to adapt to his old/new life with someone pointing out to him when he fell back into his Conan behavior, what actually happened more often than he liked to admit. But he was getting there, and bit by bit he felt more confident again on crime scenes, acting like an adult.

Bringing himself back to the situation present, he reached for a printout and handed it to Kuroba. They were here for a reason after all.

Shinichi had been discharged after a week. He had been lucky that Rat hadn't struck him harder or his scull might have been cracked. Bastard had a hell of a blow. After the doctors had been sure that there would be no after-effects, they had sent him home with his parents and the order not to do anything strenuous, because of his still healing ribs. By now they didn't bother him any longer, and he slowly had begun to work out again. The training with Kuroba had been good for his constitution, so he intended to keep it up.

The thief himself wouldn't be back on his old schedule for still some time. Even though everything healed well, a bullet so close to the heart was no laughing matter and he had gotten a strict rehab-training plan from his physiotherapist. He stuck to it perfectly as far as Shinichi could tell. Kuroba was a performer and he knew that he couldn't afford to risk his health just because he was bored to tears.

Still, it was a bit odd to see him sitting there so calmly. Shinichi was by now used to his constant movements or practicing tricks. Then he met the mischievous look the other gave him as he accepted the paper and knew that sometime soon he would wish back for these quiet days. It was clear that Kuroba had taken a liking to him as a friend and that he would see him around a lot from now on. Not that Shinichi complained. He liked the teen as well and he really could use some more friends in his life.

He just rolled his eyes at the unspoken question. "Yeah, I know. That wasn't exactly mature, but he really can be annoying sometimes. Don't tell Ran I said that, though."

Kaito chuckled and eyed the article in his hands. "No worries, detective. I won't rat you out to your girlfriend. After all, you know mine too, and that could backfire at me some other time. Aside from that, we gotta stick together now that those two hit it off with each other. So, what did you find out about the jewel?"

Shinichi had gotten the jewel for some investigation from his mother when it wasn't needed as evidence any longer, but just after he promised not to put a scratch on it.

"It seems to be a rare sort of alexandrite. You know, the color-changing jewel named after Czar Alexander II?"

Kaito nodded. He had looked into those jewels of course. After all, they were known for changing from green to red in artificial light. But the moon is not artificial, so he had ruled them out early on.

"Well, it seems that this one is a special case, because it reacts to moonlight as well, even though it usually takes light with a good amount of red to change the color of an alexandrite. I'm not an expert by any means, but I think that there might be something in the crystalline structure that causes it. So, strictly spoken, it isn't flawless. I can only speculate why it had been declared as a sapphire instead of an alexandrite, but I suppose Ichinose had a hand in this. A flawed alexandrite is by no means worth as much as a typical one, so he most likely falsified the certificates." He scratched his cheek sheepishly. "I don't think we should tell my mother about it right away."

Laughing, Kaito agreed. "I don't want to be the one to tell her either." After that he sobered again. "So, the stone basically is worthless and not Pandora at all. But you know what?" He leaned back and crossed his hands behind his head. "I don't really care. The chase is over. Takamoto is dead and his men will be behind bars for a long, long time. Even if there still should be someone out there who is interested in the legend, I don't think they will go after the stone with such fervor, because what is there to gain? Just having the stone won't be that valuable, now that the comet has passed and won't do so again for the next ten-thousand years."

Shinichi hummed. He had thought the same. "Then KID's task is fulfilled, isn't it?"

"It is, indeed. It's not like I could let him make an appearance again anyway, now that he is declared dead for good. It pains me a bit though. I really would have enjoyed a goodbye show for my fans."

A snort escaped Shinichi at that. Of course, Kuroba had wanted to give his alter ego a glamorous last performance. Somehow Shinichi wondered how this last act would have turned out if Kuroba pulled out all the stops. It would have been something to remember for sure.

"You can always go professional now, don't you? You don't have to hide your talent anymore and school soon is over for you as well."

"True, but it still is sad that I couldn't bid my loyal followers a proper far well. Anyway," Kaito said and got up, reaching out a hand to Shinichi. "It was a pleasure working with you, detective."

Shinichi grinned, got up as well and shook hands with the, now officially, former thief.

"Same here. Though I hope we don't have to do something like this again anytime soon. No offence, but I think I've had my full on shady organizations, syndicates or madmen in general."

Kaito laughed wholeheartedly. He could do nothing else than agree to that. Returning to his normal, peaceful life as Kuroba Kaito was all he wanted to do right now. And maybe sometimes bug a detective or two.

'Beware critics - just because KID is gone doesn't mean you're getting much rest. Welcome to the next stage of magic!"


A/N: And that's it for this story, but the series continuous:

Scars
Guns and Gems
Predicament
A detective went into a bank...
The Red Room Murders
What makes life worth living

If you enjoyed this one, go check ou the rest :)