Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan, because only someone like Aoyama-sensei can remain tight-lipped about such a big secret for over twenty years.
Words in italics indicate thoughts.
Here's a tribute to the many, many guesses and theories as to the true identity of the mysterious Black Org leader that have been made over the years. This will probably range from anywhere between 'unbelievably ridiculous' to 'dark and very screwed up' depending on who the Anokata of the week is. Do expect occasional canon spoilers if you're not caught up with the manga, however.
In case it isn't clear from the summary, absolutely none of this—especially the characterization of some very beloved characters—is meant to be anywhere near ten miles of actual canon. Expect out-of-character moments and possible crack.
Chapter 1: Yusaku
It ended where it all began — at a dimly-lit, unpopulated dark alley in the otherwise bustling amusement park, Tropical Land.
Two years of hiding in the shadows under the identity of Edogawa Conan, one shrunken elementary school kid. Two years of piecing together the tiniest clues to form a barely coherent trail that led to the organization that had ruined his life. Two years of chasing down the members of said criminal organization in a bid to regain his former body.
He'd had many run-ins with the dreaded higher-ups, some of them allies, while others on the other hand were very dangerous foes.
Gin. Vodka. Tequila. Pisco. Vermouth. Kir. Chianti. Korn. Bourbon. Rum.
And above all of those alcoholic-codenamed members was the boss, the mysterious leader of the sinister organization. The Moriarty to his Holmes.
A careful, crafty man to the end. Before the apotoxin, as the Great Detective of the East, he had been able to prove a culprit's guilt and have them confess to their crimes within a day. But to take down the man in charge of a criminal organization so secret that most minor law enforcement agencies were completely unaware of its existence, it had taken him two agonizing years to build his case.
After endless mind games, predictions, and counterattacks, the finale had arrived. He'd gotten his teenage body back using a temporary antidote just in time for the final showdown. With the FBI, Tokyo Metropolitan Police, and countless other various allies behind his back, he had stormed straight into the crow's nest in a bid to end it all.
After a long and drawn out battle with many casualties, it was finally over. Every Organization member in the HQ had either been killed or taken into police custody.
Except for one. The boss. In fact, he hadn't been at the base of operations at all. In the end, after an investigation, they were convinced that the "boss" of the organization had really been a puppethead figure all along. The proof was when they had used the one link they had to the boss, Nanatsu no Ko. After the mail address had been dialed, the mobile phone in the dead second-in-command's pocket rang.
Case closed. Rum and the boss had always been one and the same. It had been the perfect disguise, acting as the number two. There had been no evidence suggesting otherwise.
That was what the FBI had thought, at least. However, he knew otherwise after innocently requesting to examine Rum's mobile phone. But in spite of his objections, he remained silent. When they officially closed the case, he had kept up a forced smile.
One day later, he found himself in Tropical Land. Walking down the dark alley which had robbed him of two years of his life, he slowed his pace down when he saw a man waiting for him there, leaning against the street lamp.
Shinichi had known that he would be there. He'd expected it.
"It was a trick, wasn't it?" he asked, reflexively clenching his fists. It was a rhetorical question, really. Both men knew the answer to that. "You knew about the FBI sting operation in advance. So you made preparations to set up your right-hand man to appear to be the boss. Once the organization was finished, you could start anew with no worries. Nobody would have suspected a thing. If only you hadn't made one critical mistake."
The man by the lamp pole stiffened slightly. Shinichi couldn't see the face behind the mask, but he was almost certain that a smirk was gracing his lips.
"I couldn't help but notice that the phone Rum was carrying was void of any data. It could definitely be because that person was overly cautious and always deleted their mail, but one thing was against that hypothesis. During the sting operation, surely someone would have informed Rum about the fact that they were under attack. We didn't find a walkie-talkie or a pager on their corpse, so that meant that the only line of communication would have been the mobile phone." He folded his arms, a cocky grin on his face. "But in such a dire situation, Rum's first priority wouldn't be to delete the mail. Unless, of course, there was a reason that it had to be deleted. That there had been something so important that Rum would risk leaving themselves open to clear the mailbox."
"Oh?" Although the man was speaking with a heavily filtered voice, Shinichi could hear the unspoken question that was implied by the man's curiosity: And what would that be?
"It was a very simple trick, using a function supplied in the settings of every mobile phone, one that most people don't use." He paused for a moment before stating the answer. "Call forwarding. The real boss had redirected his phone calls to his second-in-command. It was why the phone had no data on it when the FBI recovered it… because it was meant to be found. Rum must have been given explicit orders to clear their mailbox and let the phone be found."
Shinichi crossed his arms as his opponent let out a small laugh. He sneered, wishing for just one second that he was Conan again so that he could pull off the trademarked glinting-glasses glare at the man. "You knew that they knew about Seven Children, and that they would use the mail address to confirm the boss' identity. It was a win-win situation for you either way. If Rum had survived the operation, with the phone in their hands the FBI would focus on your second-in-command, making them an excellent diversion for you. If your right-hand didn't make it, it works in your favor as well, for it would appear that the organization had been finished, not realizing that there was one loose end they didn't wrap up."
There was silence as Shinichi finished. Catching his breath, he continued, struggling to maintain his cool as he got to the important part.
"So once I realized that you were still alive, there was only one conclusion I could make. The boss of the organization must have been someone who knew about the sting, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to give those orders in advance. And there was only one person outside of the law agencies that I told about the sting in advance."
Surprisingly, after a long and wild goose chase that led to dead ends for years, the final clue was 100% definitive proof as to the identity of the boss. The stars had all been aligned and pointed him to the person behind it all. But he would never have imagined in a million years that the flashing neon red arrow that pointed him towards the boss shrouded in shadow would lead him to this person.
The man straightened up, allowing himself to be fully illuminated under the street light. He was dressed in a black suit with a cape, a top hat atop his head. Perhaps the most defining thing about his attire was the menacing mask with a twisted grin that was affixed over his face.
A fitting replica of a familiar character of a mystery series — the fictional thief, Night Baron.
Why did it have to be him!?
"Tou-san…" Shinichi hissed, glaring daggers at the man in front of him. If looks could kill…
"Why!?" he cried out hoarsely, the despair in his voice evident from just that one single word. Despite all the evidence that he'd compiled and analyzed, Shinichi hadn't wanted to believe it. He couldn't.
Because who would believe that their own father was the one behind everything, the one responsible for destroying the lives of multiple people?
Yusaku took out the Night Baron mask, revealing his face and simultaneously removing the voice-changer at the same time. "Well, well. I suppose it's only natural that you'd have me figured out," he replied, his face impassive.
"Now that I actually think about it, of course it makes sense," he spat bitterly at his father. "In the Sherlock Holmes novels, Professor James Moriarty was a person whom no one had suspected to be the head of the criminal underworld, all because he was so well respected among the public."
Who on earth would even put Kudo Yusaku, famous detective and author of the Night Baron series under the magnifying glass? It was an absurd thought.
"There's no need to flatter me, son—"
"Don't change the topic!" Shinichi's azure eyes were filled with pure rage. "You didn't answer my first question! Why did you do it!?"
Yusaku didn't even flinch at the topic. He replied with a cool and collected tone, "Shinichi, when you're a detective that lived as long as I did, you'll understand the reasons why I did it."
"No, I don't!" he yelled, flinging out his arms to his sides. "What about justice? Weren't you a firm believer of that? Weren't you! Was it all a lie, tou-san?"
Yusaku remained silent, his face unreadable. It was déjà vu for Shinichi all over again. Like Ray Curtis, another pillar of inspiration from his childhood had been smashed into unrecoverable pieces, like a soccer ball hitting a mirror to shards. Seeing that his father wasn't going to explain himself, he closed his eyes and continued. "I came here knowing full well about your intentions. You offered a celebratory party just for the two of us to commemorate the takedown of the organization and just so happened to set the location for the party at the place where I was shrunk?" he grumbled, an irritated expression crossing his face. "Surely you can be more original than that…"
If he imagined hard enough, it would be like one of his normal spats with his eccentric father and obsessive mother, and not with the chief executive of a criminal organization.
It would seem that way to any casual observer, too. Less than twenty meters away, children and parents were frolicking around without a care in the world, unaware of the crazy confrontation of words happening in the middle of public. To them, even if they turned their heads for a passing glance, the conversation of the two mysterious fellows by the lamppost would appear to be nothing more than a mere father-son family bonding activity.
Too bad the reality was anything but.
"Well, Shinichi…" Yusaku was smiling for the first time since the confrontation had started. "What did you honestly expect from me?"
"I don't know, a more believable excuse?" he muttered. "Come on, it was so obviously a trap!"
"And yet you still walked into it?" Yusaku grinned. Compared to a sinister grin of someone like Gin, it was surprisingly scarier to see the boss having a soft grin on his face, one that he always gave out at book screenings.
"Yeah, I'm getting to that." He kept his eye on his father. They were stalling for time, and they both knew it. He'd come in with the knowledge of his father's true identity, and Yusaku had invited him to Tropical Land knowing full well that his son knew.
"That time… when you faked that kidnapping and offered me the option to flee the country. Why did you really do it?"
Yusaku blinked at the question. It didn't take him long to respond, though. "It was a test, you see. I was hoping that you'll pass."
"A test?" He raised an eyebrow. "You were trying to see if I would flee? Are you nuts? You knew me from when I was a real child! I would never run from the truth!"
"Yes, I did know that." Yusaku closed his eyes, and for that brief moment Shinichi was unable to tell what exactly his father was thinking about. "But I still had to make sure. I had to be certain that you would be a worthy opponent."
His face paled. He began to breathe heavily as he absorbed the implications of what his father had just told him.
"It was why the Organization even exists, Shinichi. For decades, I've cracked almost every criminal case imaginable. It eventually got boring, you know? A detective's curiosity never could be contained… you of all people should know this. Even as Conan-kun, you can't help but solve the cases around you as Sleeping Kogoro, right?"
"Grrrr…" he grimaced. His father did indeed had a valid point there.
"It's impossible to stop the thrill. So I decided to up the stakes. I decided to make a case so large and convoluted that no one but the best could ever solve it, a game of wits that befitting only the greatest masters of deduction."
Shinichi's face visibly twitched. His lips remained neutral and unmoving, but his widened eyes revealed the true horror he felt.
"Unable to come up against a worthy adversary, he created his own," Yusaku quoted, referring to himself as he pointed his thumb inwards. "It would appear you understand now. I was hoping for someone to track down and dismantle the organization that I've painstakingly put up. In fact, before you came along, I'd put most of my hopes on Akai Shuichi." He flipped his cape aside with a flourish using his gloved hand. "I must say, Shinichi, I'm impressed. I never would have thought that you would be the chosen one."
"That's what this is all about? A damn challenge? You treat the lives of others like some big chess game?" Shinichi yelled at the man in front of him without restraint. Although the face was that of his father's, the words he spoke were contrary to everything he had ever known about Kudo Yusaku.
Yusaku simply shrugged. "I suppose this is checkmate?" he asked with a smile.
"You bet it is." Shinichi stepped forward, a determined look on his face. With his free hand, he flipped the lid of his watch up and aimed the crosshairs at Yusaku. "It's over, tou-san." The father honorific was spat with distaste.
"I suppose it is." The man himself appeared calm, as he always was, even with a watch armed with a tranquilizer dart aimed directly at his body. "But before we finish off this chapter of the Organization—" Yusaku suddenly gave his son an innocent smile. "Shinichi, do you know how the Night Baron series ends?"
"Barou!" Shinichi sneered, unsure on what his father was playing at. Taking precautions, he held his hand steady to keep the crosshairs locked on his father's body. "You haven't even written the ending for it yet! The novel series is still ongoing!"
"Exactly," he nodded. "The Night Baron series is like a reflection of my life. It will carry on until I either win or lose this game of ours."
"But you already lost." Shinichi smirked. "It's finished."
"That's correct. The organization is gone now, and you have caught me out. It is indeed as you say, I'm finished. But…"
Even though he was saying those words of defeat, Yusaku's body language seemed like he wasn't ready to accept the imminent surrender anytime soon.
"Do you remember how your namesake ended things?" Yusaku chuckled. "Yes, it appears that history is about to repeat itself tonight."
"My… namesake?" Shinichi blinked. What on earth was he talking about?
Before he could utter a reply, Yusaku suddenly broke into a run, his cape fluttering in the wind as he took off in the opposite direction.
"Wait a minute! Stop!" Shinichi fired the dart in his watch, but the shrewd Yusaku held his hand up and used the Night Baron mask as a shield, causing the tranquilizer to harmlessly hit the mask. "Damn it!" he cursed, running after Yusaku, a few precious seconds behind him.
He knew it. His father knew him too well. The reason he had said a cryptic statement was to take advantage of his curiosity as a distraction and use that opportunity to flee. "You won't get away!" he yelled.
Yusaku didn't bother looking back or giving a reply. Using his left hand, he flung the top hat he was wearing back at Shinichi, who nimbly dodged it as it flew back. Panting, Yusaku rounded the corner that led back to the bright lights of Tropical Land…
Only to run straight into multiple armed police officers waiting for him. Far too late did he realize that he was completely surrounded. Heading the helm for the ambush was one familiar brown-coated inspector. "Yusaku-kun…" Megure muttered, fiddling with the brown hat on top of his head. "You're under arrest," he announced, heaving a sigh at the costumed man.
Yusaku spun back on his heel to see Shinichi with a sad, tired smile on his face. "Tou-san… you were expecting me to be alone when I confronted you at Tropical Land, weren't you? Perhaps the Shinichi of the past would have been arrogant, itching for an individual confrontation," he said self-deprecatingly, running his hand through his hair.
"But after the whole 'Conan' thing, I've learned otherwise. It's wise to have a backup plan and allies by your side." He kicked at the dirt by his feet. "I didn't tell the FBI so as to not draw your attention, but I did tell Megure-keibu over here," he gestured towards the inspector, who gave a nod of affirmation. "I had a feeling you would try to run eventually, so I had them stationed around the meeting point. It was a risky gambit, but judging from the look on your face, I'll say it worked out pretty well, wouldn't you agree, tou-san?"
Yusaku let out a laugh, looking down in defeat. "I see. I tried to lure you into a trap, but it looks like the one who was caught by their own trap in the end would be me," he snorted. "Good job, son. You've finally surpassed me."
Shinichi didn't react at the praise, simply signaling for Megure to handcuff him. As the cuffs went around Yusaku's wrists, he let out a wistful sigh. Ever since young, his father had always been one step ahead of him. He'd always wanted to prove himself to be better than his dad. But now that the tables were finally turned, he didn't feel any of the emotions that he always thought he'd feel after finally beating his father in a deductive battle. No elation, joy, or even a sense of victory.
He just felt empty.
As the boss of the Organization was led to a waiting patrol car, he held his hand to his chin, pondering Yusaku's last enigmatic words.
"Do you remember how your namesake ended things? Yes, it appears that history is about to repeat itself tonight."
Shinichi jolted upright, eyes widening in realization. "It can't be!" When Yusaku had said "your namesake", he hadn't been talking about his namesake as Kudo Shinichi. His father was referring to his alter-ego, Edogawa Conan's namesake. In other words, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
As for his question on how Doyle had ended things… he must have been talking about how the author had intended for 'The Final Problem' to be the final novel in the Sherlock Holmes series.
According to Yusaku, it was all over. Just like Reichenbach Falls.
The grand finale to an epic tale… until the whole thing eventually restarted again. That was what the "history is about to repeat itself" statement really meant.
Doyle had originally intended for Holmes to die at Reichenbach Falls, putting an end to his own fictional creation. To say that that decision didn't last was an understatement. Fan demand had basically forced him to reboot the series and continue writing about the exploits of Sherlock Holmes. It wasn't long before Doyle penned down another novel featuring Holmes, 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', and all but reviving the famous detective in 'The Return of Sherlock Holmes'.
That meant that…
He jerked his head towards the police officers, locking eyes with his father one last time. The twinkle in Yusaku's eyes before the patrol car sped away revealed that his deduction was correct.
The boss was implying that although he and the Organization had been taken down, suffering the same fate as Moriarty and his gang at the end of 'The Final Problem', it was not over. In fact, if he was right, the Organization would soon be revived, exactly like Sherlock Holmes after Reichenbach Falls.
Shinichi eventually released a breath he didn't even know he was holding. Not this time, tou-san, he decided while admiring the view of the jet coaster that had started it all. Turning the frown on his face upside down, he swore that he would wait for the remains of the Organization to resurface. When that time came, he would proceed to clip the wings of the revived crow before it could even screech.
Just like a silver bullet waiting to claim its prey.
This will be a series of oneshots dedicated to the weird Anokata theories that have floated around the internet for quite some time. Man, I'll really miss reading those.
We're starting with the standard Anokata guesses (the ones that Gosho always insisted would not be the boss) first. Not to worry, it'll devolve into stupidity, plot holes, and flame threats later when I write about people who really should not have any business being in charge of a criminal organization. :P