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A Fatal Error

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Kaito skipped school the next day. He'd spent twenty hours hiding on top of that friggin' cage Jirokichi had made. While it had failed miserably at containing him, in a way, it had worked. He'd been forced to hide on top of it, crouching, not able to move, speak, or make any noise, waiting for Nakamori and his men to give up and leave.

It was that weirdo's fault, that guy who had helped Conan corner him in the bathroom, who had spent the whole time watching every little thing move in the library. Because of him, the poor, honest, hard-working thief had been cornered in the library. He hadn't even stolen anything this time! Which was probably why Conan had let him go, but only after he'd been forcibly relieved of his “night job” phone.

Kaito turned over, trying to block out the noonday sun interrupting his attempts at sleep. That was a weird turn of events. Conan had said something really strange in their brief conversation. He said that when they were alone, Prof. Agasa never called him Conan. What, then, did Agasa call him? Next time Kaito would have to put some bugs in there, find out what he'd missed. It bugged him when he missed big details like that. When something bugs you, bugs were always a good fix! If that wasn't a motto, it should be.

He amused himself thinking about bugs, tricks you can do with bugs, Penn and Teller's epic cockroach trick on live TV. He was finally starting to drift off to sleep again, when the doorbell rang. Groaning, he looked at his cell, checking the time. 1:34PM. It was too early for Aoko to be out of classes. He vaguely remembered her saying something that morning about how she'd drop off his homework for him. He'd been half awake and able to do a very convincing “I've got a cold” impression without even trying.

The doorbell sounded again.

“I'm coming!” he called. After fumbling around, pulling on a bathrobe and some slippers, he stumbled downstairs to answer the door.

The doorbell rang again as he reached it. Annoyed, he yanked the door open and growled something about just leaving the package on the steps when his words died on his lips. It was that Subaru guy, from the heist. Behind him was a tall Caucasian woman with blond hair, big… (Kaito blushed) and a really short skirt, and an old Caucasian man with a big mustache.

Swallowing, he said the obvious, because his brain's processing power was pretty limited at the moment. “You're not a delivery man.”

“Quite right,” the weird guy said. “Though I have come to deliver something back to you.” He reached into his back pocket, and held up Kaito's work phone.

Kaito blanched.

Another guy, built like a rhinoceros, stepped up behind the old man. He strode forward, oddly nimble for his great size. He grabbed the door, so that Kaito wouldn't be able to close it.

“Is your mother home, young man?” the older gentleman said, his laugh-lines creased.

The woman spoke up, “No, she's in LA right now, if memory serves, with her new beau. Your friend Hakuba had some good insights, though it puzzles me that he hasn't turned you in yet. He's got more than enough proof.”

Just then Kaito's day cellphone rang. Kaito glanced down at it. Hakuba was calling. Probably trying to warn him. He swallowed again, and switched it off. Subaru took the moment of distraction as a chance to act, and suddenly Kaito was pinned down in the foyer, his wrists handcuffed behind him, his cellphone spinning on the floor.

I'm done for, Kaito realized. These people were probably Interpol or CIA or MI6 or something like that. Subaru must have been an under-cover agent. Conan, that little shit, was probably working with them. I helped you save someone's life, at the risk of my own, and you get me arrested you demonic, scum-sucking… he ranted in his head, trying to think of every possible insult he could call Conan the next time they met. If they ever met again.

They dragged him into his own family's kitchen, and roughly tossed him into a chair.

...half-wit, four-eyed, pip-squeak, piss-ant…

The woman leaned in closer, showing him her FBI badge, and a bit of her cleavage. “Agent Jody Starling, FBI. Kuroba Kaito, you are under arrest for 258 cases of assault, 34 cases of assault with a deadly weapon, 53 cases of theft, 21 cases of attempted theft, 63 cases of breaking and entering, 13 cases of property damage valued at greater than a million yen, 60 cases of impersonating an officer, and 3 cases of disturbing the peace. That's in Japan, alone.”

When listed like that, his little night job didn't sound quite so harmless. He tried to swallow again, but it felt like a lump was permanently glued to the back of his throat. ...arrogant, ankle-biter, jack-ass, smart ass…

“You may not know this,” Subaru said, pulling out a chair and seating himself beside Kaito, “but we've actually worked together before. You helped Conan and I save the life of a young woman named Miyano Shiho. It's because of your demonstrated skills, I've suggested to my coworkers that you may be more use as an asset than in prison.”

mystery otaku, pervert, shut-in, asshole...wait… Kaito's head jerked up. “You aren't turning me in?”

Subaru laughed. “You turned yourself in, giving an FBI agent your cellphone while in costume. Not your brightest move.”

The giant guy spoke, his voice deep and heavy. It would have sounded dumb if the things he was saying weren't so smart. “Do you know how much information one can get off of a cheap phone like that? Even burner-phones give away their owners all too easily. There are finger prints, like the ones on the battery of your phone. And, yours was a smart phone. A phone with someone paying the monthly bill. A phone that backs up all of its data on a cloud server, which you gift-wrapped access to. Did you know that the cloud server doesn't permanently delete deleted files for a full week? There were a lot of interesting things that we found. Like this,” the guy pulled out his own cellphone, and found an image to shove in Kaito's face. It was a selfie of Kaito in his full Kaitou KID costume, face fully on display, making stupid V's with his fingers.

That lump in the back of his throat was starting to choke him.

“So,” he croaked. “What's going to happen to me?”

“Well,” the old guy spoke up, “Your mother and Corbeau are being rounded up by the FBI right now. They are going to jail.”

“You can't!” Kaito blurted out. “We have enemies; they'll be killed!”

“Oh really?” asked the old man. He leaned forward.

Something in Kaito snapped. Something he'd mournfully thought every time he hurt Aoko, every time they became more distant. “I'm not doing all of this because I want to. Those bastards killed my father, and I'm impersonating him to draw them out into the open!”

The agents stared at him, their expressions blank for a moment. The monster behind him was the first to laugh. “I'm not much of a strategy guy, but even I can tell your plan is bunk!” he hooted. “I thought this kid was supposed to be smart?”

“Oh hush,” Agent Starling said, her voice all honey and lavender. “He's just a vigilante, not a trained investigator.”

Kaito dropped his head to hide his cheeks burning with humiliation. Even the beautiful Agent Starling was mocking him.

He felt her soft hand caress his chin and lift his face back up. He let his eyes meet hers. “How about we help you out?” She smiled. It was a perfect smile, one with just enough humor and compassion, and not a hint of cruelty. “Think of it as a trade. You'll help us with disguises, infiltrations, body doubles as often and as much as we need you to, and we'll make sure your mother and her boyfriend are safe in witness protection, and get our brightest minds working on the investigation into your father's death, and these people who would kill your family.”

Somewhere between relief (not going to jail) and terror (heat on his back from the explosion in the train car) was nausea from being pulled back and forth between the two extremes. He didn't have a choice. Going to jail was certain death, for him and his mother, and even that interloper who was forcing his way into Kaito's life (Waaaay too many cheerful tweets. Creep.) Joining these guys was only slightly less-certain death. Wordlessly, he agreed.

Subaru cracked a smile and stood up. “Well, I need to be off before the Japanese Secret Police show up. I am, after all, under cover.” He paused before leaving the room. “Oh, and Kaito, if I hear that you've so much as touched Sera Masumi again, I'll hold you down and let her use you as a practice dummy.”

Kaito stared at the receding back, utterly confused. What did that teenage tomboy detective have to do with anything?


“Hello, Kuroba Kaito. I'm Furuya Rei, JSP,” the man said, a warm, disarming smile on his handsome face. “I must say, you make a lovely woman. Any idea where that woman is currently?”