In Dante's hell, the circle of fraud was guarded by a dragon, hypocrisy, with the face of a man and the body of a monster. Depravity, so lilting and delicate, seemed similar to Sakyo: a great beast balanced between two pits, like Tantalus in the lake, who could have everything he wanted if he didn't fall.
Likewise, a man too invested in the game risks entangling himself with his greed and fixating, making vice grow uncouth. It was a cardinal rule that even hedonism should be indulged in moderation, immoral habits tempered to keep things amusing. A man who pushes too little, however, and explores his base instincts too lightly, often finds his epicurean mindset compromised by altruism or mercy. Sakyo had no room for mercy.
She was glaring at him from across the table, fingers itching at the plastic ties hedging her bound wrists. Sakyo found something perversely erotic about the light in her hazel eyes as they gleamed with fear. They were bright as sunlight dappling through concrete stanchions, tilted into knowledgeable slits that smiled as shamelessly as the glare of the sun off the windows of a skyscraper, blinding through the smog. He was at home in the cigarette smoke and alcohol burn of nighttime, the cards laid down under a bare bulb, coy women and secret smiles, the ever rising stakes. She was something different.
"If you wanted a date, you could've just asked," she husked suddenly, breaking through Sakyo's quiet contemplations. "Before now I might've even accepted."
"And after now?" Sakyo asked, amused.
Shizuru snorted lightly, shifting in her chair. "Now I'm too busy wondering what the hell you have in mind for me."
Sakyo chuckled, pulling out an enameled case from his breast pocket, opening it quickly to reveal row upon row of unduly expensive cigarettes. He took one and pressed it to his mouth, and then took another and leaned across the table to place it against her lips. Shizuru bit it obligingly. In seconds a gold lighter was opened and the tail of the cigarette lit, smoke beginning to curl from it with ease.
She took a drag and waggled it between her teeth, causing him to chuckle. Having just lit his own cigarette and thumbed the lighter closed, Sakyo reached over to take it from Shizuru's mouth, two fingers pinching lightly around the paper sides. The smoke poured out from between her lips in a lacy cloud, and she sniffed and sighed.
"Relaxing, isn't it?" Sakyo inquired, ever more amused.
She snorted again, noncommittal. "A habit. Now what exactly do you want with me?" Her wrists twisted. "I'm starting to chafe, you know."
"It's a part of the game," he said, and smiled.
"Do I want to know the rest of it?" Sakyo laughed and tapped his lips, thin lips that Shizuru found disjointedly attractive, and then reached idly into the waistband of his pants. Shizuru's eyes widened, and widened even farther when she saw what he was pulling out.
"Feeling like shooting me?" she gritted, her voice cold.
"Not shoot, no. Consider this collateral. Or a threat, if you like. Either way, it'll stay here." He placed the iron on the table, the barrel pointing carefully at Shizuru's stomach. Her eyes were lidded and wary as she watched him.
He strode around the foldout table in a few steps, his eyes so still as he moved that Shizuru felt a chill, the chairs unbearably cheap compared to his custom suit and diamond cuff links. His slacks were pressed and his shoes Italian; everything about him shrieked of money, and she wanted to sneer, make a cutting remark. She didn't. That was the first sign of things to come.
In front of Shizuru he leaned back, eyes like sapphires as he gripped the table's edge behind him with both hands in an exercise of control, looking down at her with the expression of a lion eying an antelope, defiant, wounded, dripping blood and tossing its antlers proudly. Dangerous—but a worthy catch. Sakyo smiled, and the harsh industrial lighting glinted off his teeth.
Virtue had no place here.