Disclaimer: I don't own... Detective Conan, Magic Kaito, Nancy Drew, or the Hardy Boys.
I did it! In retrospect, this was a really bad time for me to start a fic if I wanted it to get finished up with any amount of regularity. But I did it, and now it's done! Woohoo!
Joe and Heiji quickly found within each other kindred spirits, particularly in the realm of tormenting little people.
Frank and Conan were not amused.
After much rapid fire conversation, Fenton finally understood just what was going on, with some help from Haibara. Nancy was forced to admit that she knew how Joe had come back to life, for a certain value of knowing. Eventually everything was covered, those with an interest in getting things out in the open keeping the topic moving along. After all of the vital bits of information had been gotten out of the way, the conversation started to wander to less important but still related topics.
"I would really like to know just how Kid is bringing people back to life," Haibara mentioned off-handedly.
"Curiosity of the impossible?" Fenton asked. "You're not the only one."
"More than that. The Apotoxin was derived from an experimental immortality formula. The ability to bring people back to life could be turned into immortality some way I'm sure. Since the Black Organization seems to be involved with Kid somehow, there's a chance that the two are related. Whatever it is he's got could help me find a cure."
Conan's face became hopeful. "You mean if you got your hands on whatever it was..." he trailed off as Haibara nodded.
Frank turned to Nancy. "Nancy, you have a way to contact Kid. Ask him about it. Also, have you managed to ask him about his connection to the Black Organization yet?"
Heiji interrupted. "Wait, you can talk to Kid? Do you know his true identity?"
"Oh." Nancy couldn't lie, but at the same time she didn't want to tell them who Kid was. Sure, it went against all her morals as a detective, but at the same time she felt that it wouldn't be right. "Err..."
"Never fear, Kaito Kid is here!"
As one, necks turned to look at the posing man in the door. The disguised Kid grinned maniacally at them as he shut the door behind him. Nancy groaned. "Okay, who is it?"
Kid put his hands to the side in a mock image of unknowing innocence. "I have no idea what you're talking about!"
"The only way you could have that kind of perfect timing is if you know what's going on already."
Kid shoved his hands into his pockets and took on the look of a scolded child. "Fine. Tantei-han."
"Hattori-kun, check your pockets," Nancy suggested.
Heiji did so, and pulled out a tiny bug. "Damn." He flicked it across the room at Kid who caught it deftly.
"After I saw Tantei-han in town, I knew something was about to go down so I figured I might as well know what." He flopped down on the couch next to Nancy and threw his arm around her shoulders. "And good thing I did too, huh?"
Nancy pushed the arm off. "Kid, you do realize that you just confirmed his suspicions, right?" she growled.
"Naturally." Kid opened the small bag he was carrying and dug around in it, pulling out a glass jar that Nancy recognized. In it was the glove, stained red, a small red rock, and a tiny amount of red liquid gathered in the bottom. "My peace offering."
Haibara moved to the edge of her seat, enthralled. Kid held it out further and, at a nod, Haibara stood up and took it from him. "I'll be working in the lab," she said before she was gone.
"You're just giving that to us?" Conan asked, suspicious.
"Of course." Kid sighed and rested his arms on his legs, leaning forward. "Look, I'm going to level with you guys, at least a little. Isn't that what this impromptu meeting's about? That stone's called Pandora. It was originally – I say originally, I mean when I found it – encased in another stone. The casing stone was shattered when a bullet hit it. There's a legend that says it grants immortality. Not quite the case, but as Haibara-san pointed out it could be made to be that way. From the similarities it seems possible that Pandora was what first gave rise to legends about the Philosopher's Stone. I was planning on destroying it when I found it, but then I ended up using it on Aoko instead. I consulted with an acquaintance to make sure that I hadn't accidentally brought her back permanently, and then since it seemed like the right thing to do I got her to help me out with you," he said, looking at Joe. "And now I'm giving it to you guys to use to fix your problem. When you're done though I'll kindly ask you to destroy it. As much as Pandora is fabled to give life, she's taken far more indirectly."
Fenton nodded knowingly. "People would kill for that kind of power."
"Which is my connection with the Black Organization," Kid carried on. "I was Kid in order to steal Pandora and destroy it so that they could never get their hands on it. A second goal was to lure them out into the open so that they would be arrested, but that never happened. Now that I have Pandora, I'm done with being Kid. Now that I'm done with being Kid, I can't lure them out into the open. A bit on the dangerous side, you understand. So I'm here, along with to give you Pandora, in order to offer my services to your rag-tag band of rebels that's fighting the evil empire!" he finished with a cheesy grin.
Joe chuckled. "Now that you mention it..."
"Are you saying...?" Conan started.
"I'm putting away the cape and want to join forces with you. Yep."
Conan looked very unsure of himself. "Um... I don't..."
"Kudo," Kid started seriously, "You haven't lost anything you for sure can't get back yet. I have. You can trust me." When Conan still hesitated, Kid reached up to his neck and tugged at the edge of the mask he was wearing. He pulled it off in one go with the ease of long practice. "Hello. My name's Kuroba Kaito. Nice to meet you."
Joe immediately started laughing uncontrollably at something. Frank gaped for a few seconds before joining him. "We thought... something... was a little too streamlined!" Joe managed to get out.
Fenton frowned at them. "What's so funny boys?"
"Inside job!" Joe shouted.
Frank managed to quell his laughter entirely before talking, unlike Joe. "Does Aoko-san know?" he asked Kaito.
"If she did, do you honestly think I'd still be alive?"
Fenton looked between Frank and Joe. "Mind explaining?"
Kaito spoke up. "As Kuroba Kaito, I'm an amateur magician. As a close friend of Nakamori Aoko, her father sometimes invites me to heists to get my take, as an amateur magician, on what I think Kid will do and whether I think his security measures will be effective. As Kaito Kid, I naturally took advantage of that on the occasions that the opportunity presented itself."
Fenton shook his head, chuckling. "You youngsters are amazing sometimes."
"On to another point," Kaito started, "Should I be making plans to leave the country?"
This startled Nancy. "What? Why?"
Kaito cocked an eyebrow. "Well, I did just reveal my true identity to a room full of detectives, most of whom have chased me at one point or another."
Fenton fixed Kaito with a sincere look. "You have my gratitude for a number of things. My lips are sealed."
Joe nodded. "Yeah. You seem like a good guy, in a very vague sense of the word. We only catch bad guys."
Conan smirked. "Besides, I'm sure some of your more... unique skills will come in handy. Why turn down an ally like you?"
Nancy snorted. "What about me?"
"I didn't know you," Conan explained. "You were a complete unknown. I had no idea if you could be even marginally connected, how good you were at keeping your mouth shut, etcetera. I've been chasing Kid for a while though. He's an annoyance, but he's demonstrated that he's against them and he's clearly quite good at not spilling secrets."
Nancy glared at him, but accepted the explanation.
Frank leaned forward. "Anyway, you've heard everything that we've said. Why don't you tell us what you know now?"
"Okay, fair enough. I warn you, it isn't much though." And with that, Kaito began his story of what he knew.
Things changed after that. Not that Nancy wasn't expecting them to, but after the past few weeks the changes made everything seem a little surreal.
Hakuba Saguru cottoned on quickly to the fact that Nancy and Kaito had mutual knowledge of something he didn't, and Nancy could almost see it driving him nuts. Fortunately she wasn't forced to run her own interference anymore, and she and Kaito routinely backed each other up whenever Hakuba started frothing at the mouth particularly violently. Aoko helped as well, albeit unknowingly. She and Kaito were now officially an item, and they were rarely apart.
Aoko mentioned once to Nancy while they were cleaning up after dinner that if she'd known Kaito could be that sweet and caring, she'd have made the dating him thing happen a lot sooner. Nancy just smiled, thinking that there was a lot more to the situation than that.
Joe meanwhile got to try out the, "Rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated," line on his mother over the phone, who understandably freaked. Laura had previously heard from Fenton that they'd found Frank, and was now more confused then ever as to why they couldn't come home yet. With help from Frank via the bowtie voice changer, Joe convinced her that it was really complicated, and that an explanation could wait until they got home. Frank in turn assured her that Joe would be back in time for the new school year and that he'd come home as soon as he could.
But the really surreal part was where things had actually obtained a semblance of calm, even though for all accounts and purposes everyone should be running around like headless chickens. The impossible murder investigation was shut down by an order from above, and as advised by a phone call from Shinichi all those involved refrained from complaining. Now that Joe was out of the morgue and Frank's location was known, for a certain value of known, no one raised their eyebrows when Fenton cut ties with the police and went off to do his own thing. And since the Black Organization was pulling its usual not-appearing-in-this-city thing, Fenton's own thing was spending time with Frank and Joe, the three of them recently having learned yet another valuable lesson about human mortality. To Conan's chagrin, they did their family time in public places whilst sightseeing, and while Frank did keep his head down and pretend to be a cousin, it was more than Conan liked (Nancy privately thought he was a bit of a hypocrite). But Conan, despite his grumblings, didn't insist on pointing out how things would be different if he were in control of the situation, Heiji went back to Osaka, and Haibara was busy doing whatever it was that freaky scientist types (Frank's description; after a little bit of time in her company Joe concurred) did when confronted with something new to poke and prod.
The peace didn't quite have the feeling of the calm before the storm, but it did have 'The Waiting Game' stamped all over it.
And then the waiting became worth it.
As Nancy stepped out of Ekoda High School, she spotted two Kuroba Kaitos by the gate. She immediately decided that this simply must be wrong, because the concept of two Kuroba Kaitos was mind boggling. If there were two Kuroba Kaitos in existence, then something was either seriously wrong, or soon would be seriously wrong. That was just the way Kaito rolled.
One of them was definitely not Kaito though. Not-Kaito was dressed in a different school uniform, and his hair looked as if it had actually seen a comb within the past month. Not-Kaito was also the first to spot her, and waved. "Nancy-san!"
Nancy smiled, recognizing Kudo Shinichi. "Kudo-kun!" She quickly hurried over, more than a little bit surprised. "What are you doing here?"
Shinichi grinned. "I thought I'd come over here myself to deliver the good news."
"So Haibara-san's done it?"
Shinichi nodded. "She's making Frank-san wait twenty-four hours though, just in case. Which is something he is most definitely not pleased about."
Nancy chuckled. "Of course."
"And of course I thought that, now that I'm me, now would be a good time for Kuroba-kun here to give me an introduction to his resources."
Kaito put on a pouty face. "Come on, you never mentioned anything about that." He made an exaggerated sigh. "What happens if you change your mind, hmm? I'm not sure I want to take that kind of leap."
From the small, secretive smirk, Nancy could almost see Shinichi's satisfied cloud of revenge wafting over Kaito. But before either boy could say anything else, they were interrupted.
"Ah, Kuroba. Well this is fascinating. I wasn't aware you knew Kudo Shinichi."
Kaito glared at Saguru. "Buzz off, Hakuba. I wasn't aware that who I knew was any of your business."
Shinichi tried to disrupt the coming sortie of words. "Hakuba Saguru, isn't it? A pleasure to meet you."
Saguru smiled politely. "Likewise. What brings you to this part of town? I wasn't aware that you spent much time in Tokyo anymore."
Apparently, all he had managed to do was to make the sortie a three-way one. "Oh I'm back for good this time, or so I hope," Shinichi deflected. "I'm here because Kuroba-kun was instrumental in bringing to light a piece of one of my recent cases, and I wanted to thank him."
"Kaito, you never mentioned anything about something like that!"
Aoko, startling everybody, came out of nowhere and grabbed onto Kaito's arm. "By the way, Sensei's really mad this time. Maybe you want to lay off a little? There's only so much she can take."
"Ah, yes Kuroba. It's not like you to be modest," Saguru volleyed. "Do tell. Maybe it will help me on one of my cases in the future as well."
Shinichi tried to block the attack. "Oh, he didn't know about it. I saw him do some magic for a couple of kids in a park, and it helped me to realize how a man had been murdered. It turns out that my mother knew his father, so I came to thank him for it."
"And I suppose you accidentally mentioned it to her and she provided you with the details," Kaito turned on his ally.
Nancy smirked internally. It really would be too bad that she wasn't going to be around to see the rest of this bizarre, three-way (counting Hattori, four-way) working rivalry pan out and come to a conclusion.
Aoko tugged on Nancy's sleeve. "Hey, you've got to go home and pack, right? Let's go and leave the boys to their egos."
"Abandoning me, Aoko?" Kaito whined.
Shinichi meanwhile grabbed his sleeve. "Come on, Mom made me promise to say hi to your mother for her. Let's go," he pulled Kaito out of the line of fire.
And try as he might, Hakuba Saguru could not come up with an excuse to follow either group.
Shinichi and Kaito came and saw Nancy and the Hardys off at the airport. "If you ever need help, you have to call us. We'll come running," Joe tried to make them promise.
"You will do no such thing," Fenton glared. Frank looked as if he couldn't decide who to side with.
"If you ever need someone in the States to poke their nose around, you know how to get in touch," Nancy offered.
Shinichi nodded. "I'll keep you guys appraised of major developments."
"And I'll keep you guys appraised of the minor developments!" Kaito grinned. "Like when Shinichi-kun finally goes on a date with Mouri-san!"
Shinichi glared. "Kuroba-kun, you will do no such thing."
"Oh come on, what's a little harmless gossip amongst friends?" Kaito leaned in close to Nancy and stage-whispered, "I happen to have an inside accomplice who's perfectly willing to feed me all the juicy bits!"
Shinichi pinched the bridge of his nose. "You guys should probably go board your plane."
Nancy put her hand on Kaito's shoulder. "Kuroba-kun, please don't torment the detectives too much?"
"Detectives plural?" Kaito mused. "That might be a bit too much to promise."
"Kudo-kun's right, we really should be going," Frank stated.
And so they said their goodbyes and went. And for the most part, that was the end of that.
For the most part.
With room for a sequel left open because I had originally planned on writing one, but the fire behind this fic has died an ugly death and so that's not likely to happen anymore. Which is why this ending, to me at least, feels a bit of a cop-out. I just wanted to get this finished, because I haven't not finished a fic for what seems like years, and I don't want to start leaving them hanging now. Reviews?
For my next cracky DCMK crossover: a Firefly AU! (probably).