Katsumoto should have been surprised when Rick messaged him to meet him and T.C. at Kamekona’s for lunch—Magnum was tied up with a case, and it was unusual for the other two to voluntarily hang out with Katsumoto without him. It’s not that they weren’t friendly; it was just that their worlds didn’t really intersect aside from Magnum. So, getting a lunch invitation from them should have caused Katsumoto to question their motives.
With anyone else, heck, with Magnum before they started dating (and, to be honest, it was still true half the time even now), Katsumoto would think they wanted him to use his influence as a cop to give them privileged information on a case, or arrange a visit with a suspect in custody, or, heaven forbid, bail them out of jail (hey, it had happened with Magnum more than once). Katsumoto might even have thought Magnum put Rick and T.C. up to it, although usually the PI preferred to bug Katsumoto directly.
Katsumoto knew it wasn’t any of those. He knew exactly why Rick and T.C. were inviting him for lunch: The Shovel Talk. Katsumoto been expecting something like this ever since he and Magnum started dating. Katsumoto had actually expected it would be a quick pull-aside when they were all out to lunch together or hanging out at Robin’s Nest; if Rick and T.C. were setting up a one-on-one (two-on-one?), it must be serious.
Katsumoto swaggered up to the table where Rick and T.C. were waiting, putting on his most confident, suave, unflappable police detective persona. Katsumoto wasn’t going to let them think they’d caught him off-guard, because they hadn’t. Katsumoto was expecting this; he was ready. He wasn’t ready to call what he had with Magnum serious, not yet, but Katsumoto knew he wanted it to be. He could meet every objection of Rick and T.C.’s with an assurance of his own.
Katsumoto took at seat at the table across from the two men. Rick was sprawled casually across the bench like he usually was, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world. T.C. was more imposing, standing next to Rick, arms crossed, looking like a particularly unfriendly brick wall. Katsumoto knew it was more intimidation tactics. He refused to cower under their assault.
Katsumoto ignore the men while he signaled Kamekona and ordered the garlic shrimp. He felt twin gazes boring into him, but he pretended to be unconcerned. Only when Katsumoto had his food in front of him did he turn to Rick and T.C. “Is there something I can do for you gentlemen?”
Rick straightened up and crossed his arms on the table in front of him. He leaned towards Katsumoto, practically in his space. Katsumoto had to admit they were good; he wasn’t sure he could do better himself if he were interrogating a suspect. “I’m sure you’re wondering why we asked you here.”
Katsumoto calmly took a bite of shrimp, savoring the flavors before swallowing. Only then did he answer Rick. “Not really, no.”
“You’re not?” That startled Rick, and he let it show, but only for a second. Then he was all business again. “Then you know we take Magnum’s happiness very seriously.”
Katsumoto nodded. “Of course, you do. I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
Rick slapped the table in emphasis. “Damn straight. Right now, that happiness seems to have a lot to do with you.”
Katsumoto’s heart skipped a beat at the implication he made Magnum happy. Katsumoto certainly hoped so; Magnum made him happy, happier than he’d been in a long time. Katsumoto was glad to return the favor. “Good to know. My happiness has a lot to do with him.” It was maybe more honest than necessary, maybe gave away more than he should at this point, but this wasn’t a stand-off—this was two friends who honestly had their friend’s best interests at heart, and it was Katsumoto’s job to reassure, not antagonize.
Rick looked pleased at that. “Good. Good to know we’re on the same page. I’m sure, then, you’ll understand that we’re concerned that, at some point in the future, you might make Magnum unhappy.”
Just the thought made Katsumoto’s heart ache. God, he hoped not. It was early in their relationship, maybe too early to be feeling these things, but Katsumoto already knew he never wanted to hurt Magnum. The man had been hurt too much already; Katsumoto had no desire to add to it. Even if they didn’t work out, Katsumoto would make sure he was honest and upfront, and he would find a way to make sure he and Magnum still remained friends. “I assure you, that’s the last thing I want,” Katsumoto said. It didn’t come close to expressing his feelings, but Rick and T.C. didn’t need to know their depth, at least, not yet.
“Good,” Rick said. “Now, tell me, please, exactly what your intentions towards Thomas are.”
Katsumoto took a deep breath, ready to put it all on the line. Rick and T.C. didn’t need to know everything, didn’t need to know things he hadn’t even told Magnum yet, but this wasn’t the time to hold back, either. “To take whatever Magnum wants to give me,” Katsumoto said, honestly. “I would never force him into anything he didn’t want, and I’ll never be less than upfront with him. I’m not going to rush him into anything, and the minute he says back off, I will. Magnum knows this. We’ve talked about it.”
Rick nodded, apparently satisfied. “This isn’t a one-way street, though. What are you willing to give Thomas?”
“Everything.” Katsumoto laid himself bare with that one word. It was more than he’d told Magnum, but nothing less than the truth. They were taking it slow, but Katsumoto hoped there was a chance to build a future together.
Another nod from Rick. “Satisfactory.” His gaze turned hard. “Now, you understand that if you so much as make Magnum frown, T.C. and I will come after you, and we will bury you, and no one will every find the body.”
It was Katsumoto’s turn to nod. “Understood. I would expect nothing less.” His eyes flicked to T.C. who had remained silent during the exchange, his stance never relaxing. “I would have expected the threats to come from you.”
T.C. uncrossed his arms and relaxed. A brief grin lit up his face. “Nah, man. I may look intimidating, but I’m just a chopper pilot. Make no mistake, you hurt Thomas, and I will fly your body so far out to sea it’ll never wash up, but Rick here’s the one that’s good with guns. He can take you out at a quarter mile without breaking a sweat.”
That was a graphic reminder that these men were deadly serious., not that Katsumoto had ever doubted it Katsumoto knew these weren’t empty threats. Hell, if he ever hurt Magnum, Katsumoto would help them bury him. He said as much.
“Glad we could come to an agreement.” Rick stuck out his hand. Katsumoto took it. “Pleasure doing business with you.”
“It’s good to know Magnum has such good friends looking out for him,” Katsumoto said, sincerely.
“And don’t you forget it,” T.C. put in.
Katsumoto didn’t think he could.