A/N: Thank you to all of those who read, reviewed, favorited, and alerted this story!
Disclaimer: I do not own Numb3rs, Detective Conan, or Magic Kaitou.
Charlie Eppes had been half-way through quantifying the Kaitou Kid case files when a knock sounded on his office door. He looked up as the door opened, noting the slightly familiar office worker and the unfamiliar teen following him.
"Professor Eppes, I know you're busy, but you're supposed to be giving Mr. Kuroba a tour."
Charlie blinked. "A tour?" he repeated dumbly.
"It's been on the list for weeks. Haven't you checked your e-mail?"
Charlie was almost certain that he had been checking his e-mail regularly, but didn't see a reason to argue; if he was supposed to give the poor teen looking for a college a tour, he would. He shrugged. "So, I'll just show him around?"
"Yes, please, professor," the office woman said curtly, turning on her heel and leaving the two alone.
"My name's Charlie Eppes, professor of applied mathematics here at Cal-sci. And you?"
"I'm Kaito Kuroba," the boy replied, with just a hint of an accent. "I'm from Japan, but I thought I might look into American colleges over the break—expand my boundaries, and all that."
Charlie nodded, leading the boy all around the campus, introducing him to other professors, and the like. Finally arriving back at the office, Charlie sat behind his desk and answered the boy's questions, while Kuroba sat on a stool, occasionally twirling, and almost constantly flipping a deck of cards in his hands. They would have continued this had not Don chosen that minute to walk into Charlie's office without even knocking.
"So, what have you got for me, Charlie?" Don asked, as Charlie stood.
"Don, I'm a little busy right now, and I'm not done anyway," Charlie said at the same time, moving as if to shoo Don out of his office. However, by then, the teen behind Don was seen, and Kuroba said cheerfully, "Hey, Hakuba-kun! What're you doing here?"
Don and Charlie paused, both looking at the boy the other had brought with him. "Wait, so who is this?" Don said, looking toward Charlie.
Hakuba had an expression of resignation on his face as he answered. "This would be my classmate, Kaito Kuroba. And what exactly are you doing here, Kuroba-kun?"
Kuroba grinned. "What does it look like? I'm getting a tour of this college. I mean, I kind of got the idea from you, and all- I mean, why shouldn't I go out of the country for college? You went for high school."
Don interrupted, "Wait, Kaito? Like Kaitou Kid?"
Kuroba blinked, then smiled. "Not exactly. Completely different characters. But, yeah, they sound pretty similar, right? So, if that's the first thing you thought of when you heard my name, and you're with Hakuba-kun…you're working on the Kid heist, aren't you?"
Don sputtered, flustered, as Charlie turned to Kuroba. "How'd you know that?"
"Ah, it's all over the news back home that Kid's staging another heist. Of course an avid fan like me would know. So, you mean you guys haven't released that information to the public?"
"No, of course not," Don said, finally regaining his composure. "And what do you mean, a fan? You think its okay to go stealing things?"
Kuroba grinned, and Hakuba sighed, putting his head in his hand. "Of course I don't! But he returns it, and after all, how could a magician not respect one so proficient at his trade?" And with that, Kuroba took the cards he had been flipping, held up three, and invited, "Pick a card, any card."
Don glared. "I'm not playing games here."
Hakuba stepped forward. "Unfortunately, Kuroba-kun is a magician, and Kid's fan. However, there are thousands of Kid fans in Japan, many of them magicians. Kuroba's not…" here he paused. "Well, he probably is purposefully irritating you, but that's how he acts with everyone."
"Ah, Hakuba-kun, I'm wounded."
"Why don't you go back to wherever you're staying, Kuroba-kun. I'm sure Agent Eppes would prefer to speak with his brother in private."
"Wait, you said that Professor Eppes had something for you…does that mean that someone who works in math works in the FBI?" Kuroba said enthusiastically, ignoring Hakuba.
Charlie looked taken aback at the enthusiasm. "Uh, yes, actually. I often help Don out with cases, as a consultant. There are millions, no, trillions of ways to apply mathematics to life, and to crime."
"Cool," Kuroba said with a grin. Then, as Hakuba cleared his throat, Kuroba laughed. "All right, all right, I'll get out of your way, oh high and mighty detective."
Hakuba stood at the door a good minute as Kuroba walked down the hall before he finally shut the door. "Well, you can probably speak freely now."
"Right…so…you're telling me there are lots of fans of Kaitou Kid?" Don said, still apparently stunned by Kuroba.
"There are; typically, he has crowds at his heists, and he has even, on occasion, taken a quick interview. But as I said, many magicians admire him; and someone is innocent until proven guilty, after all."
Don nodded reluctantly, then turned to Charlie. "So what do you have for me?"
Charlie frowned. "As I tried to tell you when you came in, I'm only half-done. They came in with Kuroba before I could finish."
"So you have nothing?" Don said
"I wouldn't call it nothing; I have noticed some interesting trends with the data I have put in so far."
He went over to the laptop, turning the screen to face Hakuba and Don and pulling up a graph.
"These are the jewels he has stolen graphed by size. As you can see, they are all fairly large, consistently. It seems the jewel's price does not matter to him, just its size."
"But the jewel's more likely to be expensive as the size goes up," Don pointed out.
Charlie nodded. "But it's not about the money, because he's given the jewels back."
Don had to concede that point. Charlie pulled up another graph. "This shows the number of days between the jewel's theft and its return. As you can see, the days vary, but it's seldom more than a month, generally in a matter of weeks, and sometime even within a day. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out a common theme between these…."
"The full moon," Hakuba stated calmly.
Charlie blinked, then brought up a chart from the internet, beginning to compare the days.
"He's right, Don. There's always a full moon between them, either on the heist or between the theft and return."
Don looked at Hakuba, who shrugged. "I don't know why he does it, but I've noticed that pattern of his."
"Any other trends?" Don asked. "Anything that could give us an idea of the jewel, the location?"
Charlie began to shake his head, "Not enough data yet—"
Hakuba cut him off. "It'll most likely be at the Natural History Museum. I haven't narrowed the jewel down, but, that's what the hints in the riddle suggest."
Don wanted to ask how Hakuba had gotten Natural History Museum from taking a girl on a date, but bit his tongue.
Conan was, quite frankly, bored. Or rather, he was bored, as well as irritated. What were they thinking, going and leaving him alone in the interrogation room for half an hour? And with absolutely nothing to entertain himself with, either. Not that he would have appreciated coloring books or whatever they would give an eight-year-old, but the point remained.
Hopping out of his chair, Conan plodded toward the door, hoping that he could get out of here. If a criminal was in the room, they would probably have locked the door…but Conan was a child, and it would be dangerous in a fire if the door was locked. Luck was on his side; the handle turned.
People had an odd habit of ignoring anything small, and that was true even here in the bull-pen of the FBI office. So long as no one was tripping over him, no one paid him any attention. It wasn't long before he found the office with "Don Eppes" on its nameplate; unfortunately, he couldn't see that man or Hakuba anywhere nearby. However, just off from this small workspace was what seemed to be a meeting room, with a whiteboard, desks, and chairs, as well as two men. Studying the English words on the whiteboard, Conan realized that this must be for the Kaitou Kid heist; why else would the board be covered with the names of jewelry stores, museums, and private collectors?
He entered through the door behind the men, careful not to make any sound with it, and was gratified when it didn't squeak. He then turned toward the desks, which were littered with paper; descriptions of heists, it looked like. He spotted one in Japanese, with the trademark Kid caricature, and snatched it. That was when some of his luck finally ran out.
The black man, the taller of the two men, had chosen that moment to turn around, and, spotting Conan, quickly said, "Hey, kid! You're not supposed to be in here!"
The other man turned as well in response, and quickly began gathering up the "confidential" information to keep it away from the kid's eyes. Conan ignored them both, focusing on the Kid heist note as the black man came towards him.
"What are you doing in here, kid? And you need to give me that, right now," David said authoritatively.
Conan paused in his study of the paper to look up at David, quickly pulling on his "innocent little kid" mask. "Nani?"
David hesitated, and muttered a curse under his breath. Not just a little kid, a foreign little kid, who might not even speak his language.
In the meantime, Conan had gone back to investigating the riddle. He had also plodded a few steps away from David, over to the whiteboard, and was examining that as well.
David then reached out a hand, trying to pluck the paper from the kid's fingers; Colby watched, amused, as Conan tightened his grip, forcing David to release the paper or rip it.
"Please, kid, just give me the paper," David said, irritated, but unwilling to force the boy.
"Wakaranai yo," Conan replied, putting all the childish whininess he could into the words.
Luckily for David, but unluckily for Conan, it was at this moment that Megan returned to join her team with a tentative profile on the Kid. She blinked upon seeing Conan.
"Conan, what are you doing in here?"
Conan frowned; this woman knew he could speak English, so, unfortunately, he wouldn't be able to continue that charade.
"I was bored," Conan replied, dropping the childish act. Colby and David's jaws dropped as they realized he did speak English.
"You can't wander around—this stuff is classified!" Megan replied.
David cut in. "Wait a minute- you're telling me you speak English? Then what was all that before!"
Conan shrugged. "I wanted to see the heist note."
Megan frowned. "Conan, I know you may have…seen Kaitou Kid in action before, but this is the FBI's case now. You don't have clearance."
Conan looked away, irritated. "And you have no clue where to start. Tell me, do you have any clue which of those possible targets he's after?"
Colby responded, "No. You do?"
Conan nodded confidently. "Yeah. For a heist note, this is ridiculously simple; there aren't even any puns in the kanji. He's striking at the museum."
His audience gave a collective blink. "What? How'd you figure that out?" Megan said.
"It's all in the first few lines—the location, that is. He says the jewel's been 'trapped
within the dark and empty halls of the ancients,' and no one's house would be associated with antiquity; plus, since he says he's striking at dusk, no one's house would really be considered dark at that time; but a museum would be closed, or closing, so it'd be dark and empty."
"You got a time out of that thing too?" David asked, still shocked.
"Again, it's not that hard. He's practically yelling it at you. 'As the day turns to night
I will fly to your side'? I suppose he's trying to give you a learning curve, but really…"
That was when Don finally returned, Hakuba walking beside him. "Alright guys, Hakuba says the note means he's striking at the Natural History Museum, so I want you to start getting things ready; get a team watching the place, find out what security precautions they'll take…" he trailed off, noting his team was staring at him in open mouthed shock.
"What?" he asked, glancing down at himself self-consciously.
Hakuba looked curious as well, until he caught sight of Conan in the center of the room. "Ah, let me guess; you just told them that, right, Conan?"
Conan nodded, his smugness warring with wariness—it was bad enough that Hakuba knew he was a genius, without giving him any clues that might lead Hakuba to the belief that Conan was Shinichi Kudo.
"Wha- how," Megan sputtered for a moment. "He's just a kid—you're just a kid. And yet…"
Hakuba shrugged. "Kid seems to tailor his notes so only people with certain mindsets can understand them." He hesitated a moment. "Of course, we also have a greater familiarity with his style."
"Come on, guys, just think of it like Charlie. Now we've got to get to work," Don prompted.