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meimi in concentrictime

Detective Conan - Changing of the Guard

Shinichi awoke to the unsettling sense of someone else being in the house with him. The overwhelming paranoia he'd lived under the past few years wasn't sending spikes of panic up his spine, however, so it had to be someone he was familiar with. It was far too early for Sato-san's daily visit with the doctor in tow; and Shiratori-san had been the one for that morning's breakfast caretaker routine - for some reason Inspector Megure's entire department had unanimously decided that if one of them wasn't present in the morning, then he wouldn't get up and eat a proper breakfast. It was a bit weird, to say the least. No doubt, Megure was probably partially to blame for it. The man had been familiar enough with him before the whole shrinking crap to remember stupid little facts like his typical morning meal of coffee, coffee and more coffee.

As for who exactly was responsible for one of them showing up on his doorstep every morning, letting themselves in, rousing him from sleep so they could feed him a breakfast that did not look or taste cheap in the slightest, conspicuously looming out of sight as he took care of hygiene issues, and then finally making sure that he was comfortably ensconced in the living room before they headed off for work, well, there were a few possibilities. It could be Megure himself. The absolutely horrified expression the man had worn when he'd finally found out just who exactly Edogawa Conan was and why he was that way had shifted their positions in each other's world somewhat. He wasn't really sure what their relationship was anymore. Before everything, the man had very definitely been one of his bigger fans - and he'd drunk up the Inspector's admiration like it'd been going out of style. Ah, the arrogance of youth... and supreme hypocrisy all rolled into one. He was still stuck in the body of a grade schooler, after all. It didn't get much younger than that. Their few meetings since then had been hesitant and borderline awkward. It was definitely odd seeing the Inspector being so painfully quiet and careful in his presence, almost as if the man thought he would break at a moment's notice. He'd have to do something to fix that perception... when it stopped feeling like he'd had the entire city of Tokyo dropped on him. Still, the daily delivery of a "healthy" breakfast didn't really fit with Megure's salary, so it probably wasn't him. Or, at the very least, the Inspector wasn't the one paying for it.

His parents could be behind it, but it really wasn't crazy enough to be one of their schemes. It could be the Americans. The FBI and the CIA had both been dropping rather heavy hints of late at "possible" career options for him. But he couldn't really see the Tokyo Police going along with this highly suspect plan of action if it really were the Americans trying to get further on his good side. Japanese law enforcement were a rather possessive lot and somewhere along the lines he had definitively become theirs. It couldn't really be one of his clients (neither Kudo's or "Mouri's"), his identity wasn't exactly public knowledge, though that would probably change soon. One of them would have to suffer under the spotlight once the final remnants of the Black Org got mopped up, and he was the best choice. He didn't have as much to lose or as much to hide. He was very much not looking forward to it.

The last choice, of course, was the entire Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department - and probably every other Japanese branch that knew "Edogawa". He wouldn't put it past them to all chip in in their overbearing need to hover. They were all sweetness and light and horrible evil eyes with dripping sarcasm whenever the rest of the involved and very international law enforcement organizations deigned to impinge upon their territory - and he was definitely their territory now, whether he liked it or not. He would never escape them. Never. Ugh.

Any further thoughts in the direction of his doom were interrupted by a messy head of hair peaking around the now open door followed by a far too chipper, "Ah, so this is where you are."

Oh god. Him. He should've panicked after all, instincts be damned. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in a safe house?"

The other grinned at him as he sauntered into the room. So creepy. "Yes, I suppose I should be there, but being cooped up somewhere didn't really fit in with my plans for today, so I left."

Shinichi did not growl (though he felt like it) as he shot back, "It's called a safe house for a reason, you moron. You have far too many enemies still roaming around who would be ecstatic to see your head mounted on their wall. The agents assigned to guarding you are there to make sure that head stays exactly where it is supposed to be. This vanishing act of yours has probably given the entire lot of them heart attacks."

"I'm well aware of what safe houses are for, Tantei-kun. I have several myself." KID's, or rather, Kuroba Kaito's grin widened further as he leaned over the shrunken detective. "But all that aside, I'm much better at keeping myself in one piece than those busybodies. And I did leave a note, so there's absolutely no reason for hysterics on their part."

Shinichi rolled his eyes and scowled. "Ah yes, those vaunted survival skills worked ever so well with your house. I hear."

He managed to get a light frown out of the idiot thanks to that comment before it returned to his more cheerful facade. "Couldn't be helped. It was my home, you know. Even if I'd abandoned it - and I sure didn't want to - it wouldn't have changed anything."

"So you say."

"I do~" Kaito hummed teasingly as he reached down, tilted Shinichi's chin up, earning him a startled look, and eyed the bandages peeking out from under the detective's shirt collar. "You're looking better," he laughed as Shinichi batted his hand away, "and seem to be much livelier than you were."

"Considering that I was bleeding all over you and barely managing to stay conscious the last time you saw me, that's not really saying much," Shinichi stated blandly.

"Well, I was concerned," Kaito huffed in mock exasperation. "It would've been my fault if you were having any setbacks, you know."

"Don't be ridiculous. You were just doing what I told you to."

"That's true," Kaito reached down again, poking experimentally at the blank cast encasing the detective's left wrist, "but it's not like I've ever been very good at listening."

"She would've gotten away if you hadn't, and we'd be right back at square one," Shinichi explained, a heavy note of "This is obvious, you moron." in his voice as he swiped at the offending hand touching him. Did the idiot really have no sense of personal space? And here he thought he'd been bad as KID.

"Ah, I'll have to take your word for it." Kaito shrugged as he stepped back just outside of his reach.

Shinichi scowled, but didn't comment on the thief's annoying penchant for taking liberties with other people's persons. That would just be inviting him to poke more. "I see you're not limping anymore," he pointed out, hoping that it would serve as a welcome change of subject.

"It's amazing what a brace and an enormous amount of stitches can do for shrapnel," Kaito said breezily as he stretched all the way to his tippy toes then flopped down bonelessly into the chair closest to Shinichi.

Eyeing his "guest" with mounting suspicion at the blindingly apparent "I'm totally harmless and not about to drop something on your lap that's going to ruin your day" act, Shinichi finally asked, "What do you want, Kuroba?"

"Kaito."

Shinichi blinked in surprise. "Eh?"

"It's my name, you know," the thief said sweetly as he lazily wove a finger through the air, little puffs of colored smoke trailing in its wake. "So you should call me Kaito, Shin~ichi~. We are friends, after all."

"Since when?"

Completely ignoring the detective's irritated question about their supposed friendship, Kaito started writing English letters out in the air with lavender, light green, pink and yellow puffs. "It's a small world, don't you think?"

Shinichi twitched as the smoke formed into "It's a World of Laughter". Dear god, the lunatic was quoting Disney. "I'm really not going to like where you're going with this, am I?"

"Apparently," Kaito chirped as he embellished the H on "It's a World of Hope", "Your mother has known my mother for quite some time."

Shinichi blinked and then froze as his brain tried to forcefully separate itself from the many, many possible implications such a statement could herald. Oh no. No no no. Damnit. If his mother was involved, and she would be or Kuroba- er, ugh, Kaito wouldn't have brought her up. No doubt, the woman had cooked up some cracked up plan or another that he would have to suffer through. Again. Mentally sighing in defeat (he honestly didn't have the energy it would require to freak out properly over his mother's upcoming insanity), Shinichi muttered sourly, "Somehow I am not surprised in the slightest at this particular nugget of knowledge."

"Oh?" The thief looked at him curiously as he finished up "It's a Small World After All".

"Birds of a feather flock together," Shinichi chuckled humorlessly, the accompanying smile nothing short of pained. "I'm not sure if you got the memo or not," he elaborated further at Kaito's confused expression, "but my parents are certifiably insane."

Kaito blinked, then narrowed his eyes at the unspoken link between flocking together and insane parents. "Are you saying my mother's crazy?"

Shinichi merely gave him a deadpan look in return. "She raised you, didn't she?"

His dry, sarcastic touch of humor was rewarded with a delighted laugh. "Touche."

In spite of himself, Shinichi couldn't help but smile at the thief's mirth. KID had always been extremely charismatic - the screaming fans were impossible to miss (as was his own inability to hate the lunatic - not that he'd ever admit to that), and that charisma evidently translated directly from the real person behind the monocle, as it were. Friends, huh? Well, he had no doubt that Kuroba- ah, Kaito would be an interesting person to get to know; and he wasn't fool enough to think he'd be able to escape whatever doom was approaching along those lines. KID had been next to impossible to deter once he'd set his mind on something, and his mother was horrifyingly relentless where her schemes were concerned. Between the two of them, he didn't have a chance in hell. Maybe if he were in better health he wouldn't be so resigned to what he knew would be yet another bomb landing on his life, but well, there you go. Maybe being "friends" wouldn't be so bad. Right?

"Anyway," Kaito piped out once he'd gotten his amusement under control, "It's funny that you mentioned the safe house, as that is really the crux of the problem. I don't like it there and mom really doesn't like it there."

Shinichi arched an eyebrow as Kaito's grin turned absolutely sheepish. Oh, that didn't sound good. That didn't sound good at all. "Go on."

"Today's disappearing act isn't the first one I've pulled on them, not by a long shot," Kaito explained as he leaned back, clasped his hands behind his head and decidedly did not look in the detective's direction. "But really, anything I do to them pales in comparison to what mom's been doing to those poor people. She is literally driving them insane and seriously making me look like a rank amateur. And while we appreciate the fact that they didn't immediately toss us into maximum security prison and throw away the key - not that we would've been there long - this entire venture just isn't working out for us. At all."

"I see." Shinichi could easily imagine the lunacy that would arise from keeping just one phantom thief cooped up. Adding Kuroba Chikage - a woman insane enough to marry the first Kaitou KID and raise the second (and who was probably a phantom thief in her own right if his father's conjectures were correct) - into the mix... well, he didn't even want to think about it. It was much safer for his sanity's continued existence if he left that train of thought completely untouched. "I'm going to regret this - I know it - but what does any of that have to do with your presence here today?"

"I'm so glad you asked," Kaito practically purred, a far too familiar grin of imminent disaster stretching across his face. The detective couldn't resist a tiny shiver of unease as nearly every hair on his body stood on end. Nothing good ever came of that grin. Nothing. "As I was saying, apparently your mother knows my mother and they've been chatting on the phone quite a lot in between the escalating moments of terror we keep visiting upon our poor guards. And somewhere in between the ranting and the screaming they came up with this brilliant idea."

Reaching up to rub his temple against the headache he knew was about to explode in his head any second now, Shinichi groaned inaudibly. He could already see where this was going.

"Since we don't really have a house in Japan to go back to - and we don't really want to let the more law abiding people know where our emergency boltholes are - and since you're here all alone, they figured it would just be best for everyone involved if we just moved in with you." Kaito's grin turned into something a bit more unsure as he plowed on, "Yukiko-san doesn't think they'll be able to come back anytime soon thanks to the whole snafu with the FBI and CIA, and you really kind of need somebody present for more than a few hours a day to watch out for you while you heal up. No offense, but you really do still look like crap and you did almost die there. And it would work out just perfect since you already have people watching your house so there wouldn't really need to be too many more additions made."

With the explanation for his visit delivered in full (and no murderous outbursts to speak of yet), Kaito smiled hopefully and asked, "So what do you think?"

Shinichi just stared at the thief for several very long, very charged moments before he managed to find his voice. "Why are you even asking for my opinion?" His parents never really cared much for his input on their schemes. They usually just went ahead with whatever the hell they'd decided on and he was left to pick up the pieces of their insanity. Somehow he didn't think it would be any different with the Kurobos. The lunatic's mother probably already had them all packed up and ready to move in at a moment's notice. God help him.

"Well," Kaito grimaced a little and scratched at his cheek almost self-consciously, "It's more your house than theirs, and I thought it would be best to ask you about it first before invading your household with our sparkling presence. I know you, uh, haven't had much choice in stuff like that for awhile now."

Shinichi blinked in surprise. That was... surprisingly thoughtful of him. Hmm. Did he really want two total strangers living in the house with him? Granted, he did sort of know KID. And while the thief had been an infuriating prankster of the highest order, he'd never really managed to get himself labeled as a bad guy in Shinichi's mind. Of course, Kaito wasn't exactly harmless, but Shinichi also wouldn't have to constantly watch his back with the thief either. Maybe it would turn out okay. "It's fine," he said finally, closing his eyes as he sagged back into his seat, "I don't really mind." And maybe it would be nice to not be so alone anymore. The only people he saw with any consistency these days were the police, and while he appreciated their concern, he missed his friends.

It was Ran he missed most of all. That was kind of a given. She hadn't been to see him yet. He wasn't sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing, but he wouldn't push his luck by forcing the issue. If she needed time then he'd give her however much she wanted. He missed the Detective Boys too. He hadn't seen any of them since that day, and he fervently hoped it was just because their parents didn't want them bothering him while he was out of commission. If they hated him for lying to them (assuming they'd even been told yet)... well, he wasn't sure what he'd do. Those kids... it was funny really, but somewhere along the lines they'd become a fixture in his life that he just didn't want to let go of. Hattori too, but Shinichi doubted he'd see his friend anytime soon. The Detective of the West was still suffering under the wrath - and concern - of Kazuha and his parents. If he managed to step anywhere outside of Osaka in the next few months it would be a miracle in and of itself. Agasa and Haibara were off somewhere in protective custody - most likely America. No doubt, it would be many, many months before he heard anything from that pair. Haibara was too important a witness and Agasa wouldn't leave her there alone to fend for herself. That just left Kogoro, and while he was honest enough with himself now to admit that he did sort of miss that twit, the chances of them ever being on speaking terms again were rather slim. Circumstances and his overriding arrogance of what had to be done had led to him taking far too much advantage of the man. He'd probably never be forgiven. And he wasn't sure he deserved it anyway.

"Hey."

Feeling nimble fingers carding through his bangs, Shinichi opened his eyes wearily and looked up at the thief leaning over him again. "What is it?"

"Don't dwell on it so much," Kaito said softly as he gently ran his fingers down and behind the little detective's ear, a yellow rose appearing in his hand as he drew back. "Things change. That's just how life is. But you'll get it all back eventually, in one form or another. Besides, time is a luxury we actually have now. We should take advantage of it."

"I suppose," Shinichi sighed heavily, accepting the rose that was offered. "I can't really do much else right now."

"It would be best to heal up first before you start to try and pick up the pieces. They won't go anywhere in the meantime, and even if they do," Kaito smiled winsomely as he stepped back and bowed with a flourish, "you now have at your disposal a tried and true expert at finding things. I'm sure you'll soon discover that nothing escapes my notice."

"I'll take your word for it," Shinichi said impassively. He did feel better though, if just a bit. Maybe having Kaito and his mother around wouldn't be so bad.

"As you should."

Or maybe not. That grin was... very unsettling. Just what exactly had he gotten himself into?

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