Fandom: Detective Conan
Rating: R (rating jump for this chapter)
Disclaimer: I don't own Detective Conan. But I do have homemade hand-puppets for each character...that's normal, right?
“You look tired.”
Nakamori nearly jumped through the ceiling at the voice’s sudden intrusion upon the quiet. He didn’t quite make it up to the ceiling, but merely succeeded in banging his knee on his desk. A few muttered swears later, he straightened up and glanced at the speaker. “Kaito-kun, the door is there for a reason.”
Lounging on the very narrow windowsill, Kuroba Kaito smiled. “But that’s boring.” Neither felt the need to mention that the window Kaito had just appeared through was numerous stories above the ground. It went without saying that the boy never took the path of least resistance.
“Consider your health, then. You haven’t been out of the hospital long. You should still be taking it easy,” Ginzo said. “Those orders are straight from your doctor, if I might remind you. It’s why you haven’t started actively working for us yet.”
This much was true; Nakamori’s superiors had been explicitly told by the doctors that Kuroba Kaito was not to put undue stress on his body until they gave the okay, and they were respecting those instructions. There was no real sense in pushing him too soon and landing him right back in the hospital before they could put him to the real test.
Of the four higher-ups in on the plan, two were cautiously eager to test out the skills of their newest agent and see exactly what kind of good could be wrought from the deal. One was still unsure on the deal, but had admitted that he saw potential and could be convinced. The fourth…
The fourth, a man named Tokishiro, had been on vacation when the deal was struck. His position within the Force had made him privy to the information, and he was absolutely furious at the whole affair. It was his opinion that a criminal was a criminal was a criminal, no exceptions, and Kaitou Kid should have been unmasked before the world and tossed under the jailhouse before the key was deposited in a nearby river. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred yen, do not strike a deal.
The situation was extremely tense and tentative for the moment, to say the least, and all those involved were well aware of it. And unbeknownst to those in the police force, that was precisely the reason that Kaito had come to the office that night.
“I understand, but this really couldn’t wait,” Kaito said. He slid from the windowsill to the floor, made his way around the desk, and took a seat in the chair there, facing Nakamori. “If anything, I’m sort of regretting that I didn’t get this to you sooner. I’m only just starting to get my full mobility back.”
“What is it that’s so important?”
“I have some information for you on the recent kidnappings,” Kaito said grimly, no trace of humor in his voice or expression. He was completely serious, which alone told that he was being truthful.
He also had Nakamori’s undivided attention at the word ‘kidnappings.’ There had been a series of crimes, all involving young children vanishing. The youngest victim had been a six year old boy; the oldest thus far was fourteen. All had been taken from public places: playgrounds, sidewalks on the way home from school, and one even from her own front yard while she was out trying to catch fireflies.
Thus far, a whopping eleven children had gone missing without word or demand from the perpetrators. The kidnappers themselves were daring, but careful, and had left no trace of themselves behind. No one knew where the children were or what had become of them, but any seasoned cop knew that the vast majority of kidnapping victims were killed within the first few hours. Some had been missing for three or four weeks. It was getting harder and harder to keep hope of finding them alive.
The media was in a frenzy, the public was in a panic, and the police force was pouring every available resource it had into the case. Nakamori himself had even been temporarily assigned to assist with the case as there were no Kid heists pending. So he knew plenty about the case in question. And now Kaito sat before him, claiming to have information.
“What have you got?” Nakamori demanded a bit more harshly than he had intended.
If Kaito noticed the agitation (and he probably did), he made no comment on it. He simply said four little words that Nakamori hadn’t dared believe he would hear at this point in the game.
“The children are alive.”
“…Kaito-kun, it’s been weeks,” Nakamori said. “The average kidnapper kills their victim—“
“Within hours, I know. After the first twenty-four hours have gone by, the chances are nearly zilch, though the chance does still exist. I also know that the best chance of solving a crime occurs, usually, within the first seventy-two hours, and in this case it’s been weeks,” Kaito said. “I do pay attention, Keibu. But the fact is that the children are alive, and I know why they were taken and I know where they are. I can’t tell you anything about the who, though.”
“How do you know all this, Kaito-kun? Forgive me for being suspicious, but I have to ask.”
“Understood. I thought this was part of the reason the police wanted to strike this deal with me,” Kaito said. He sat back in his chair. “I can go places you can’t. I can talk to people who won’t speak with you. They trust me, and they will give me information. I have a few informants who wouldn’t dream of talking to the police, not that the police would trust a word they had to say anyway. But they have no reason to lie to me because I’ve earned their trust, sometimes simply by keeping my mouth shut.”
“And they told you all of this.”
“The one I spoke to was quite eager to tell me everything he knew. You forget that there’s a code of honor in the underworld. Those who commit crimes against children are the worst of the worst. They want these guys taken down. Shooting a man who double-crosses you is one thing. Harming a defenseless child is way over the line.”
Nakamori actually gaped. “You sound like you condone this.”
“I don’t necessarily agree with the entire honor code,” Kaito explained. “But I understand it, and to a certain extent I have to abide by it. I’m a high-profile thief, and I go out of my way to avoid hurting people. There are those who respect me, and will help me.”
“Do they know who you are?”
“No. They have not seen my face. But they know me.”
Somehow, Nakamori suspected he would not be getting any actual details on the matter, odd as it was to his mind, and so decided to drop it. “Why are they taking the kids? And why keep them alive without a random demand?”
Kaito actually grimaced. “They’re…god, I don’t even want to say it, but they’re making money off the children another way. More than they could probably ever hope to get from a ransom demand. You’re dealing with the absolute scum of the earth here, Keibu.”
It took Nakamori a moment to get what Kaito really didn’t want to come right out and say. “No…”
“Exactly,” Kaito stood up. “I wanted to let you know what I know, Keibu. And I’m asking you to give me one more day. I’ll bring you and your superiors everything you need to get the children out safely and apprehend the guys behind this. I’ll be back tomorrow night with all the information you need.”
Nakamori opened his mouth to reply, but fell silent when Kaito raised a hand.
“I know it’s a risk, and I don’t like waiting any longer than is necessary. I know they’re kids, Keibu,” Kaito ran a hand through his hair. “But I also don’t want anything to go wrong with this. I really couldn’t care less about what happens to the men who run the establishment, but I care a hell of a lot about what happens to the children.”
Again, the Inspector opened his mouth, but this time he was cut off as Kaito suddenly, magically, was back at the window. “I’ll be back, Keibu, tomorrow night. You can tell your superiors. Tell them I forced you into this, if need be. Trust me this once, and I promise you won’t regret it.”
Before Nakamori could get so much as a word out, Kaito was gone.
Even as good as Kaito was at disguising himself and controlling his emotions, Kaito was having a great deal of trouble keeping his expression in check. The whole situation was so overwhelmingly disgusting that he wanted to vomit. Instead, he pasted that smug sneer of a smirk onto his painted face and let the other man lead him towards the door.
Said other man really could have been any sort of businessman. Nice suit, tie, pleasant air, well-spoken, clean-cut appearance. But here he was, leading what appeared to be another businessman towards a crime of the most sickening nature.
The man was talking about mundane things as he opened the door, letting Kaito see into the tiny room that lay beyond. Well, perhaps room was a bit generous of a term. It was more like a glorified closet with a bed pushed into the back corner. And sitting on that bed was a little girl, with terrified eyes peering at Kaito from under long bangs.
It was the worst Kaito had ever felt.
He thanked the man in a low baritone and waited until the door had closed behind him. He then turned and made a face at the door before muttering under his breath about how disgusting it was. Then he turned his attention to the girl, who was still staring at him in terror.
“Hi,” he said softly in his own voice.
She said nothing.
He knelt down on the floor to be closer to her eye level, careful to keep as much distance between them as possible. The less he had to scare the poor child, the better, although the first thing he was going to do when he got home was take a very long soak in a vat of boiling bleach. Though he was sure not even that would take the feeling away. “Will you tell me your name?”
She hesitated, then said in a voice just barely loud enough for him to hear, “K-Kisa…”
“Kisa-chan, then. How old are you?”
Every protective instinct in his body wanted to go over there and give her a hug and tell her it was all right, but mentally he knew that could be disastrous. Best to keep the distance and not touch her at all. He would talk to her, try to keep her calm while he did what he needed to do.
“Kisa-chan, I’m here to help you,” he said quietly. “I know you don’t have any reason to believe me, but I’m not going to hurt you. I’m not even going to touch you, I promise. I just need to ask you a couple of questions so my friends and I can come and get you out of here and take you home.”
She still looked terrified, but at the word ‘home,’ she leaned forward just the tiniest bit. “R-really?”
He asked her questions, alternating questions about herself with questions about this place, all in that same quiet, gentle voice. What was her family like? How many children were here? Did she participate in any clubs or after-school activities? Could she tell him anything else about the building? Who was her favorite singer? Were all the rooms like this one?
She answered quietly; sometimes she did not know the answer, but she did her best. By the time he finished, at least, there was a little less fear behind her eyes. He imagined that he was not the first to tell her he wouldn’t hurt her, but chances were that he was probably the first to actually carry through on that promise by not touching her.
Kaito took careful notes on what she said and committed as much information as possible to memory. He examined the walls and door carefully, and even hopped up to peek along the tops of the walls that divided the rows of cells, just to make sure. When he was done, he crouched down with his back against the wall, still keeping the full length of the room between them. He had only ventured near her once, to check the outside wall.
A glance at his watch proved that there was still time left, so he smiled. “Do you like stories, Kisa-chan?”
“I know a few. Would you like to hear one? I’ll stay over here, I promise.”
Kisa tilted her head to the side and nodded slowly, uncertainly.
He told her a story he had heard on a trip once, about a prince who saw a firebird in his father’s garden, and went to chase the bird down. There was adventure and magic and ultimately romance, and when he got to the happy ending, he heard his audience of one sigh happily. During the course of the story, Kisa had inched towards the end of her bed, closer to him.
After he finished, Kaito again looked at his watch. His time was more or less up. It was only now that he moved towards her, kneeling down next to her bed to speak to her directly. “Listen to me, Kisa-chan. You just need to hang in there a little longer. We’ll get you out of here.”
“Promise?” she whispered. “I’ll get to go home?”
“You’ll get to go home,” he said. “You can’t tell anyone what we talked about or what I’m doing, though. It has to be a secret, just between us. If someone finds out, it could be a lot of trouble. So I have to ask you one more question. When other people come and see you here and leave, what do you do after they finally go and leave you alone?”
Kisa hesitated, then slid back on her bed to push her back against the wall. She curled up into a tight little ball, wrapping her arms around her knees.
Kaito nodded. “Good girl. You’re very brave.” A bang came at the door, and he stood up. “Just a little longer,” he whispered, not completely startled to see tears spring to her eyes.
With that last mental image to remind him that he was here for a damned good reason, he left her sitting there alone in that room and followed the guard out, pretending to straighten his tie, and chatting amiably about this and that and the other thing.
“Hard at work as ever.”
This time there were three men in the office to jump at the sudden voice from the window. Nakamori glared towards the speaker. “Kaito-kun, I think we had this discussion before. Don’t do that!”
The teenager smiled and slid down from the windowsill to the floor. “But I have a present for you.”
“What kind of present?” Nakamori asked. It was Kaito-kun, he knew, but at the same time, he couldn’t help that little twinge of apprehension. Receiving a present from Kaitou Kid rarely meant anything good, pleasant, not-sticky, or that came out with the first shampoo.
“Gentlemen, I bring you the gift of information.”
There was no mistaking the venom in Tokishiro’s look, but he was not the superior officer in the room at this point. That honor went to Takahashi, who regarded the thief with a bit more thoughtfulness. “What exactly have you brought us information regarding?”
“As promised, I have further news for you on the recent series of kidnappings,” Kaito said.
That got their attention, and now Takahashi’s voice was sharper. Nakamori had told him of the impromptu meeting the night before, and he was not particularly happy about the whole affair. “What exactly did you bring us, Kuroba?”
“I fail to see how anything a thief says can be trusted,” Tokishiro finally spat, seemingly unable to hold his tongue any longer. A look from his superior silenced him for the moment.
Kaito did not even seem to hear the comment. Instead, he simply moved across the room to stand beside Nakamori’s desk; he magically produced a folder from wherever it was that he produced things from and began spreading the contents across the desk. “I asked for one day to gather everything I thought you would need, and I got it.”
The officers crowded around to look. What he had brought them was information of an almost military precision. A map of the building’s location and the surrounding area. A diagram detailing the layout of the building where the children were being held, even including measurements and possible exits. A list of numbers describing how many men were there on guard, how many children, and the like. A second list of names of the people involved, with notes beside some names mentioning rank or position.
There were more details than the seasoned officers had even thought hope for.
“How did you get all this?” Takahashi asked, dumbfounded.
“I went there,” Kaito smiled, though it was humorless. “I wasn’t in any danger, though. I didn’t get as far as I did without being careful and knowing how to case a building. This was just a matter of taking it to the next level. Besides, this sort of person usually knows how to recognize a cop. Since I am not a cop, I didn’t even make a blip on the rader.”
“Tell us everything you know.” It was an order, and one that would not take kindly to disobedience.
Kaito sat down in Nakamori’s desk chair and began to give them a run-down of what he knew, as neatly and consisely as any soldier discussing battle plans. “There are eleven children being held there, each inside their own individual cell. There are some cells still unfilled, which leads me to believe that they’re probably planning to snatch more children. Each cell is as sparse as they come, with just a bed. That’s it. The cells run around the perimeter of the room, with the doors facing inward so whoever’s on guard can see every room. I thought it was odd, seeing as how establishments like this tend to be as private as possible. The guard told me that this was a way to ensure the merchandise remained undamaged. That’s a direct quote, by the way.” There was no mistaking the disgust in his voice at that.
“The front part of the cell reaches almost all the way to the warehouse ceiling,” Kaito went on, “but the walls in between them aren’t quite as high. Presumably that’s because even if a kid managed to make it over the wall dividing one cell from the next, they’d just wind up in another locked room. Takes less supplies that way, I’d imagine. I was told me that there’s a bathing area, and they take all the children back there at least once a day to clean up. My informant said that the bad man told them that they had to stay clean for the benefit of the patrons.”
“Bastards…” Nakamori murmured. His thoughts drifted to Aoko.
“For entrances and exits, there are some small windows near the ceiling that would not be useful for our purposes. One of the ventilation grates on the roof is loose, I checked it myself. That could be knocked out if another entry point is needed. There’s the front door, obviously, which is where the, ah, patrons enter,” Kaito was tallying the points off on his fingers as he said them. “And they sealed most of the big sliding doors where delivery trucks would pull up, but one of them is still usable, though I’m pretty sure they keep it locked. That’s where their quote-unquote ‘merchandise’ is dropped off.”
“Anything else?” Takahashi asked.
“The surrounding area. It’s a warehouse district, so there are plenty of places to hide. I think it would be fairly easy to hide police units in the shadows until it’s time to go in. I would, however, suggest that you have extra men stationed around the building. If it’s easy for the police to hide and wait, it’ll be just as easy for a stray pervert or three to hide and wait if they can make it out of the building. And a few of them do have weapons, so that makes it all the more dangerous and all the more imperative to have surprise on our side, as well as to make sure the children are out of danger’s reach.”
The officers, for their part, were stunned. When he had promised them information, they had expected something that was, well…not this. They had been handed just about everything they needed to plan a successful raid on this place, and the information had been passed to them on a silver platter with a big red bow tied on it. It was almost too good to be true, but then again, with Kaitou Kid, the impossible and the improbable had a habit of becoming the commonplace.
“You’re very thorough,” Takahashi finally managed.
Kaito did not preen or gloat. He simply said, “Thank you. I did have some help, though.”
“What kind of help?”
“One of the children. Her name is Kisa, and she’s nine,” he said. “She has a younger brother who’s five years old. She loves music and softball. Plays second base on her school’s team. She’s the one who told me about the bathing area, amongst other things.”
“You solicited a—“
Kaito’s voice was sharp. “I didn’t touch anyone. I painted myself up and went in disguise to get some information. She told me some things. That’s all. She trusts me because I haven’t laid a hand on her. I told her some stories and showed her a couple of card tricks. You’ll be able to ask her yourself. Trust me, I didn’t feel any better about it than you do.”
He sat back and crossed his arms. “I can go back in there in the same way and make sure the children are safe before your men come in and make the arrests.” When Nakamori opened his mouth, Kaito held up a hand. “It’s a precaution, nothing more. Those poor kids have been traumatized enough.”
Tokishiro was grinding his teeth loudly enough to be heard in the mail room.
“I am asking you to trust me,” Kaito said. “I realize that under the circumstances, you don’t have many reasons to do so. But I have a plan.”
There was a moment as the three officers glanced at each other. It was ludicrous, really, to even consider placing this kind of trust in a man who had made a notorious career out of lying and tricking law enforcement. That knowledge was warring with the fact that innocent lives were potentially in danger. Children, no less.
“Sir, this is insanity—“ Tokishiro started to protest.
“Kuroba,” Takahashi said suddenly, effectively cutting off the complaint. “You will tell us this plan of yours, in great detail. And we will go from there. My decision will be final. Do you understand?”
Kaito’s smile had grown grim. “I understand, sir.”
Organizing the proved to be a very difficult feat indeed, for size, logistics, and for time restraints, as no one involved wanted to wait a second longer than was absolutely necessary to arrest those responsible for the kidnappings and what had come after the kidnappings. The bastards needed to be brought to justice as quickly as possible, and the children needed to be returned home to the safety of their families to hopefully recover and heal.
The warehouse district was exactly as Kaito had described it: very large, and chock full of shadowy areas where a person or two could very easily hide and wait for a chance to escape. The place had to be surrounded, but at the same time, they didn’t want to give their position away, lest their quarry escape or one of the children be caught in the crossfire.
In short, it was a tactical nightmare.
But somehow, thank the gods, the whole thing had come together in record time. The best teams they had were on call and in position, hiding in the same shadows they feared the perpetrators would attempt to use. They were to wait for the signal before engaging. Everything had been mapped out according to the startlingly accurate details their informant had brought them, though said informant was not named to the majority of the force. Most were simply told that the person who had brought them all of this wished to remain anonymous.
Nakamori was on the scene ostensibly because he was the one who the informant had brought the details of the scene to in the first place, and thus was involved in the case, though it was not his usual area of expertise. He stayed near the back with the higher-ups, trying to remain as unobtrusive as possible while awaiting what was yet to come. This was a good deal like some of what happened at the average Kid heist, but the stakes were so much higher than he was accustomed to…
The inspector was so lost in his thoughts that he barely heard someone saying his name. When the quiet voice finally registered, he turned around and saw what appeared to be a man in a suit and hat slipping into the shadows between two buildings behind police lines. Curiosity piqued, Nakamori followed, one hand instinctively reaching for his weapon.
Sure enough, when he peered into the darkness, he saw a man he did not recognize wearing a suit standing in the shadows, leaning casually against a wall. He had just opened his mouth to address the man in question when the man spoke first. “Keibu, I know you’re tense and the situation’s stressful, but if Aoko finds out you’ve got cigarettes in your pocket, she’ll have your hide.”
Nakamori let out a breath he hadn’t even realized he was holding. “For god’s sake, Kaito-kun, don’t do that.” He took a good look, squinting through the darkness. “That’s…really impressive, actually.”
A slight shine as the dim lights nearby reflected off a grin of white teeth. “This is the man who came into their, um, facility before. A businessman of a rather unpleasant sort, no name attached, and certainly not a cop.” He straightened and adjusted his tie. “And not anyone that would be readily linked to any phantom thieves, either.”
“You’re going in?”
“I have to, don’t I? That’s all part of the plan.”
“I don’t like it, but…well, I guess there’s really no choice at this point.”
“Anything I should know?”
“The teams are waiting for the signal to move in. You shouldn’t be stopped. Just don’t get caught.” How incredibly odd to be saying something like that to the person he had been pursuing for years in an attempt to place the man securely behind bars.
“Excellent. I’ll give your superiors my own signal when the children are in the safest place possible, and while you’re rounding up the baddies, I’ll take my leave,” Kaito said. It was odd how he could discuss something so serious with so much ease and casualness. “Just leave that part to me.” That last was said in a voice completely different from Kaito’s own light tenor.
And as Kaito slipped back and vanished further into the shadows, Nakamori permitted himself a moment to marvel at just how good at all of this the damned kid really was.
Asking if Kisa was available again made Kaito’s skin crawl, but it was part of the character, and this certainly wasn’t the first time he’d had to disguise himself as someone detestable. The answer was affirmative, and accompanied by a knowing smile that suggested he wasn’t the first client to have a ‘favorite’ amidst the so-called ‘merchandise.’
All in all, it was just a lot easier to not think too much about that.
Kaito followed the guard for the second time to the room in question, chatting casually about the weather and a local baseball game. Such mundane topics addressed while innocence was being exchanged for money…beneath his mask, the unshakable Kid was fairly sure that no amount of scrubbing would ever make him feel clean again.
Still, he supposed that was nothing compared to what the poor kids in this place were suffering through.
The door was opened, and he was allowed into the small room for a second time. Behind him, the door closed and locked, securing him inside with the young girl who had been so helpful to him before and given him plenty of information.
Kisa looked at him for a moment with fear written plainly in her dark eyes. Then a flash of recognition, and a tentative sort of relief. She recognized him, and she remembered him, and she knew that she had nothing to fear from him. Still, she kept space between them, but some of the tension left her thin shoulders. “You did come back…” she whispered, like she almost didn’t believe it.
He took a step towards her and knelt down; there was space, but he could speak to her at eye level. “I promised that I would, Kisa-chan, and I always keep my promises.” He made a point of using her name. Giving someone or something a name meant caring, a connection. It made things more personal. “My friends are outside and waiting for me to tell them it’s okay to come in.”
“Soon?” she asked.
“As soon as we get you and the rest of the kids to the safest place in this building,” he said with a smile. “I just need you to trust me a little bit longer, and we’ll be all set.”
She nodded, slowly. “How are we going to get out?”
Kaito reached a hand out towards her, palm up, in an invitation for her to accompany him. “Tell me something, Kisa-chan,” he said, letting his smile grow a bit wider. “Do you believe in magic?”
After a moment of thought, she nodded again. “Yes, I do.” As she spoke, she gingerly put her hand in his.
“That’s how we’re going to escape,” he said. “Magic.” He stood and closed his fingers around hers. “Just close your eyes, and don’t worry. We’re going to do a little magic, that’s all.” He watched as she did as she was told, and began to work a trick he had only figured out that afternoon.
There wasn’t much time, and he had ten more children to gather.
The minutes ticked by with agonizing slowness. Those who had been on missions like this before were not totally alien to the waiting game, but for a few who were newer or had less experience with this kind of activity, it was bordering on torture.
Especially when the vast majority of them were not even totally sure what they were waiting for. All they knew was that they would be given a signal from their superior officers, and that’s when they would go in. How their superior officer would decide on the appropriate time remained a mystery.
For the superior officers in question, it was tense. Nakamori found himself with a cigarette in his hand, not caring overly much if his daughter skinned him alive for it, and Takahashi had taken to jumping at small noises. There was a great deal at stake here tonight. They just needed a signal.
Tick, tick, tick.
Five minutes had passed since Nakamori’s whispered report that the mole had entered the building.
Five minutes because ten.
The clock had just rolled around to minute number seventeen when something moved by the building in question: a flicker of something jerking about near the roof. The ones heading up the mission leaned forward to see what it was.
A white cloth was streaming from one of the windows, blowing in the night wind like a banner. It had most certainly not been there a moment ago, but now it was displayed proudly for all and sundry to see.
That had to be it.
Takahashi gestured towards a few of his subordinates, who in turn passed the message along. Quickly and silently the teams moved into position to wait for the final signal—to enter, engage, and apprehend.
Kaito had gathered all of the children in what he had reasoned to be the safest place in the building: the bathing area in the back. Nestled in the back corner, it was separated from the rest of the facility by a heavy door, which Kaito had secured. If anything went wrong, the kids wouldn’t have to see it, and the chances of anyone being able to grab one of them was greatly reduced. Now he was keeping them all gathered into the corner, trying as best he could to keep them quiet and calm.
He had left them for a mere moment to crawl up onto one of the dividing walls and hang his sign from one of the high ventilation windows. It would probably be another minute or two before the police moved in, which meant there was still danger. He glanced around the small area.
What Kisa had not mentioned to him, or perhaps had not even noticed, was that there was a door in the back. It was secure, all but sealed shut for obvious reasons, but Kaito wondered if he might be able to pry it open. It would get the kids out of the building and into the waiting arms and safety of protective police custody. Furthermore, it would provide him with his own escape.
His tools were limited, but he hadn’t made it as far as this without knowing how to open things that other people generally did not want to have opened. The nail file extension of a pocket knife served to pry the glue-like putty away from the door, stopping every few seconds to whisper words of reassurance to the frightened children gathered around him. It was like they sensed that safety was very close, and had come to understand that he was the one who would get them there, and so they stayed close.
Finally, he was able to pull the rubbery seal away from the door. That part done, he studied the latch. Not only was it locked, but there appeared to be something jammed in there. Fortunately, locks and the picking thereof were something he could handle in his sleep. He dug his lockpicks out of his pocket and got to work, still whispering those quiet platitudes to eleven children who were fighting very very hard to do as he asked and stay quiet.
Outside, there was a loud crash, followed by the sound of a lot of men shouting and cursing. Doors were being flung open all over the place, accompanied by more yelling and some surprised comments.
Kaito wasn’t terribly surprised at that. Having interrupted some clients in their activities, he had hit them with a tranquilizer dart (a little idea he had taken from a certain detective and modified to meet his own unique needs) and left them unconscious on the floor, taking the terrified child with him.
Kisa had been invaluable in that regard. She was one of them, a victim just like the others. When she said that the man in the brown suit was going to take them through the walls and save them, they were more inclined to listen. Not by much, but enough that they would let him take them out of the room. And now here they were.
At the noise, two of the kids started to cry. Kaito didn’t blame them at all. They were exhausted and scared and upset, and he was fairly sure that he wanted the same thing for them that they wanted for themselves: to go home.
After about thirty seconds of tinkering, there was the beautiful sound of a lock clicking open. His fingers shook a tiny bit as he reached up and turned the knob. A little pressure broke was was left of the seal that had been glued and painted onto the door, and it swung open. A burst of cool night air hit them.
There was a moment where none of them moved.
Then Kaito quickly turned to the children and spoke, not bothering to keep his voice down at this point. “There are police officers outside. They’re here to help you and take you home. They won’t hurt you. Go right to them, tell them who you are, and they’ll get you where you need to be. Run as fast as you can. And don’t be afraid to tell them the truth, all right? They’ll make sure the bad guys get punished. Now let’s get out of here.”
They didn’t need to be told twice. Eleven small pairs of feet started running for dear life towards the newly-lit spotlights. Even from where he was, Kaito heard surprised calls from the officers.
They would be okay, sooner or later. At least they were safe now. That’s what mattered most.
Which meant that it was time for him to make his exit.
Kaito ducked outside, keeping close to the building. He had devised a way out during an earlier visit, one that he was fairly sure would keep him out of the police line of sight. And if he was accosted, he had ways of ensuring his escape. He darted carefully between two buildings, a tiny gap in the police’s wall. Once there, he quickly shed his disguise. The glider was the fastest way to get out of there, and he really wanted to go home.
White really was his color anyway.
As he gathered up his things, he heard a tiny voice. “Mister?”
He whipped around, monocle chain swinging like a deranged pendulum, to look at the speaker. Kisa was staring at him with wide eyes. She must have been looking for their savior, and noticed the movement. The rest of the officers over there were probably too preoccupied with getting the victims to the hospital to notice it.
After a few seconds, Kaitou Kid smiled and bent down far enough to address her at eye level. He put one gloved finger to his lips and winked at her. “Shh…you’d best go back with the others, ne, Kisa-chan?”
Kisa nodded. He was sure she was blushing.
It wasn’t until later that anyone got to ask any questions about the odd raid on the brothel. For starters, no one seemed to know who had hung the white cloth in the window to signal that it was safe to come into the building. Related to that, no one seemed to know who had moved all the children to the safety of the bathing area at the back and eventually gotten them outside.
The children themselves didn’t even seem to know. They just said that the nice man with the nice smile in the brown suit and cool hat had promised them that they would get to go home soon before he took them through the walls to safety.
Only one girl seemed to have any other thoughts on the mysterious savior. She told them that the man had come to visit her once before. He was nice, but she hadn’t realized who he was until after he had taken them outside.
The girl, who gave her name as Kisa, said that they had been rescued by an angel who was nice and who smiled a lot, and who didn’t hurt her, and who told stories about princes and firebirds, and who had a mirror where one eye should be, and who wore all white.
Part IV: Bows
PS. Here’s the reasoning. Murder has already been done to death (pun not intended) in Detective Conan. Kaitou Kid is a thief by nature, so I wanted him to help with a different sort of crime. I thought about just straight-up kidnapping, but as mentioned, statistically most kidnappers kill their victims relatively soon after they take the victim. And I really did want Kid to be a hero and rescue someone.
So ultimately it came down to…this. I tried my damndest to do it justice, and I hope to goodness that I didn’t offend anyone. I'm going to make every effort to post the final chapter at the beginning of September for Lurker Day, and then this story has demanded sequels (two of them so far) that I'm thinking I might have to write. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!