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A Brief Conversation

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A phone rings. The sound is hardly unusual in a city, especially a city like London, so Shinichi pays it no heed. The same to the second phone. Someone in a restaurant, probably placing an order.

The third, however, is situated on a fairly deserted street corner (for London), and is within a public phone booth, which are typically not themselves called.

Shinichi eyes the booth carefully, and slows his pace as he walks past. Maybe he's imagining things.

But sure enough, the second someone else goes to answer the phone, it stops ringing, and the next nearest phone picks up the tune.

Ring ring ring. Ring ring ring. Ring -

"What do you want?" he hisses into the receiver, eyes looking every which way for a familiar despised face, a hint of black coats or curled blond hair.

There's silence on the other end, a pause that almost sounds surprised, before a cool voice smoothly says, "A brief conversation, Mr. Kudo, nothing more."

The English surprises him. So does the fact that he doesn't recognize the voice. Not Vermouth, then. Or Gin. Or any of their followers he's overheard before. Which doesn't mean this man isn't among their number - just that Shinichi hasn't had the questionable pleasure of his company. Though that would imply they know he's alive, which -

"There's really no need for this amount of alarm," the man on the phone says. Shinichi can't place if he's more amused or confused, but he does know that he's given no verbal indication of his thoughts. So, being watched.

"As you're observing me secretly, I doubt my concern is unwarranted," he says, glancing more discretely down the street. There's a huff of static in his ear - the man laughed at him. Shinichi frowned. "Am I wrong?"

"You're looking in the wrong places for your spy, Mr. Kudo. Look up."

Shinichi does. Cameras. A quick glance at rooftops and sides of buildings shows four per intersection. Too many, too regularly and obviously placed to be anything but official government equipment.

The British government wants a conversation with him? His mind jumps to the generous offer of a London trip from a woman in the royal box, and he wonders.

A question for this mysterious caller, maybe. Which reminds him - phones are rarely as secure as they appear to be, and this doesn't seem like the type of conversation that doesn't require security. "Would you prefer this conversation take place in person, then?"

"It would make things much simpler for the both of us."

A sleek black car pulls up to the curb next to the phone booth.

"If you wouldn't mind."