With enough time on the clock, anyone could make the right call. You couldn't measure a man by his good deeds in a lifetime. The best way was to measure him was by the hour. By seconds. How close would he get to the edge of zero—to plunging off a bridge in a white van with a homemade bomb strapped to the back? In his line of work, it was do or die, and Haru had made that decision long ago. Long before Kambe fucking Daisuke showed up in a bespoke suit and the fat puff of a Cuban cigar. Maybe dying to a shitty explosive would have been a mercy. At least those came with a countdown. Kambe was the kind of dangerous that didn't give a fair warning or flash red.
And now he was going to run the whole of the TMPD into the ground.
It was easy for people like Kambe to play hero. What wasn't possible when you were a king among men? Haru wasn't naive. The world was rank with corruption and injustice. While Hoshino rolled his eyes any time Haru went off on a righteous tirade, Haru was more than aware that life didn't play fair. Some people were desperate enough to rob fancy chocolate shops, and some drove exotic cars in parades. Beyond rich and poor, the class divide had two faces: convenient and, well, not. Being below the poverty line meant doing things the hard way. Long lines, coupons, itchy boots.
Kambe's entire gimmick was stupidly excessive convenience. He was a one-trick pony, except the trick was money and everything that came with it. Nevermind the luxury cars or private jets. That was par for the course with the disgustingly wealthy, and Haru had no illusions about Kambe's ability to do anything in moderation. The real danger was in Kambe's pretend game of Cops & Robbers, and how easy it must have been to slide into the office of the Superintendant General for a chance to fulfill his twisted fantasy and roleplay detective. An eccentric millionaire's newest weekend hobby. Because apparently, it wasn't enough to buy his way out of crime or start a legion of dirty cops like any normal rich asshole of his pedigree. No, Kambe didn't want to avoid or undermine the law.
He wanted to become it.
And that was far scarier than a closet full of designer shoes and diamond-studded watches.
Haru couldn't figure out his angle either. Why his task force? Why not the Security Department's First Division or Second? Kambe would blend far better among the black suits of the investigations unit. Instead, he'd requested a desk in their shoddy little preparations room. As if the whole Ginza Bomber fiasco hadn't been indication enough that Kambe was a raging narcissist looking for his next high. At Kachidoki Bridge, on his way down the oh-so-meager 5-meter drop, it occurred to Haru that if he twisted and hit the water ten degrees off, Kambe's dumb smirk would be the last thing he ever saw. That was unacceptable, of course, and dying had quickly become not an option. He wasn't dying for Kambe on any grounds. The man would be smart to invest in some Kevlar.
Someone definitely needed to keep the sham inspector in check, and Haru had a feeling that the rest of the Modern Crimes team wasn't going to be keeping tabs. He wasn't intimidated or impressed by Kambe's displays of wealth and dumb power-tripping persona. Which was just cartoonish, if you asked him. Haru had worked with assholes across the spectrum, the whole damn asshole rainbow, really, and this gave him considerable immunity to soulless money vampires like Kambe.
If life had taught him anything, it was that no one could belittle you without your permission. Haru sure as fuck didn't give Hoshino the satisfaction of some imagined superiority just because they were now on different payroll brackets, and he sure as fuck wasn't about to give Kambe the idea that he could dismiss Haru with a blank check and a sneer. The insufferable prick.
"So, how much?"
Haru gritted his teeth. "Bastard. You're out of your mind if you think you can control me with your money."
Kambe stared at him, his blue eyes bright and unnerving. He looked perfectly natural standing over the helipad, dark Cuban caught between long and pale fingers. Each time he raised the cigar to his mouth, he did so with deliberate indifference, the motion sensual, his gaze fastened on Haru like hooks on a fish. Kambe took an unnecessarily long drag.
"I said, how much?"
Was he for real? Haru shook his head, stalking over to close the gap between them. He grabbed Kambe by perfectly-pressed lapels and jerked him close with a snarl.
"What the hell is your problem? Huh? You think this is cute? Coming in here so you can cruise around the city playing hero like some kind of Japanese Bruce Wayne? What, did you get bored of the super-yacht parties or buying private islands or whatever it is you fucking people—"
Kambe blew another smoke ring into his face, unbothered by Haru's angry manhandling. The strong smell of tobacco nearly sent him into a coughing fit, making his throat itch and blurring the world around him. Still, it failed to shake him off. No way was Kambe going to get the best of him. Haru clenched his jaw and buckled down, ignoring the burning sensation in his nostrils. He dug his fingers into Kambe's suit jacket and yanked him closer.
Wanting to give the man a taste of his own medicine—the dramatic bastard—Haru snatched the cigar mid-air with his teeth. He ripped it away from Kambe's fingers and his stupid smug mouth, then spat it to the side the way one would suck the venom out of a snake bite. If Kambe wanted to act like a slippery son of a bitch, Haru would treat him like one.
"I was enjoying that," Kambe murmured, eyes flickering toward the abandoned cigar. He didn't sound even a little bit upset. He glanced back at Haru and said: "Keep moving around like that and you're going to reopen that wound." Then he had the audacity to tap-tap Haru's bandaged forehead with a finger. Haru hissed.
His hands now unoccupied, Kambe clasped Haru's wrists in warm palms, painstakingly prying loose the white-knuckled grip. His strength was surprising and evenly-matched, though Haru would sooner punch his own dick than admit that. As if Kambe needed any more reason to feel good about himself. Never one to turn down a challenge, Haru pushed back, straining as Kambe continued to pry his fists from his suit. They stood there for a moment beneath the full sky, posturing and glaring like two predators in a stand-off, their hot breaths intermingling.
There was something especially awful in the way Kambe held him. Firm and too warm. It was undeniable proof that Kambe was human, despite being little more than a sociopath in tailored pants. Or a reptilian. Haru bit his cheek, fighting a grimace. He wondered if Kambe could feel his pulse, the heat of his vibrating skin. Kambe's proximity was irritating—he smelled... well, nice. Nothing Haru could ever pull off, given the price tag and his occasional tendency to skip a shower or two during surveillance. He had priorities, all right?
When Kambe refused to yield, Haru finally yanked himself away and took a step back, eyeing the other man with indignant scrutiny. His wrists ached. He buried the urge to rub them.
"Why didn't you pull me up?" he said, remembering the godawful sensation of free-falling into cold water. Then the burn of his nostrils; Kambe's thin and amused smile.
The medics had insisted on transport. Haru didn't care for hospitals and save for the cut on his head, he'd come out mostly unscathed. He was no stranger to injuries or operating as collateral damage for other people's stupid, selfish decisions. Working in the public sector meant getting routinely fucked over. It was the nature of the beast. Haru did as Haru did: signed the patient refusal form and went back to work.
"Why did you jump into the car?" Kambe asked, cooly watching him. It was frustrating how much weight a gaze could carry.
"And let you go off alone after nearly running over two pedestrians and dumping the Abura prince on his ass? Like hell."
"I wasn't going to hit them. And Prince Betbeto Bin Abura was appropriately compensated for his cooperation."
Haru laughed mockingly. "You're a real piece of work, you know that? I don't know what Chief Kiyomizu is thinking, bringing you in."
"He's thinking that you're in sore need of someone with my talent."
"Oh, yeah? I didn't know being a rich bastard counted as a skill."
Kambe shot him another one of his unsympathetic smirks. "Tell me, what do you think would have happened if I hadn't been there? Do you think the First Division would have been able to defuse the bomb in time? That their little chase from Ginza to Shimbashi would have been anything more than a highlight reel on the local news?"
"I have no way of knowing that," Haru barked back. He could feel his blood pressure rising. "But whatever the case may be, it doesn't change the fact you acted recklessly, destroyed private property, and nearly had civilians killed. You do realize your money can't bring people back from the dead, right? "
The atmosphere shifted. They were outside, and yet it was as if all the air had been sucked right out a ten-foot radius. For the first time in their conversation, Kambe looked away. His tone was flat. "I'm aware."
There was a story there. Haru couldn't care less. Not even a little. His sympathy for Kambe extended to keeping him alive, and no more. "Then don't act like you can. We have a duty to protect the people of this city. I'm not going to have you making bad calls just because you can't keep your ego in check or your wallet in your pocket."
"Katou Haru," Kambe said, and Haru would have honestly preferred a punch to his gut. His shivered. The way Kambe let his name roll off his tongue in that infuriating voice of his, silky, deep, and way too controlled—it stirred something deep inside. Something unfamiliar and dangerous. Far too risky to examine at that moment, if at all.
"I think my wallet has proved quite useful. And I don't believe a man with your history should be giving me pointers on how to do this job."
That struck a nerve. So Kambe had looked him up? Haru didn't know why that surprised him. A part of him wanted to believe there was some decency beneath that designer jacket. That was obviously asking for too much.
"My 'history,'" he said, gesturing with scare quotes, "is irrelevant. It's also none of your fucking business."
Kambe slightly cocked his head, the motion almost imperceptible. "Mm. I see that you're exactly as they say."
Before Haru could react to the provocation and tell Kambe where to shove it, Kambe was already walking away in even strides, making sure to brush their shoulders in a small gesture of intimidation, the smell of his masculine cologne violating Haru's senses. It was dizzying. Haru definitely hated it.
"Please learn to play nice, Inspector Katou. You're beginning to look like a problem I would have no issue solving."
Kambe disappeared into the shadows of the stairwell. He didn't look back.
Back at headquarters, Haru threw himself at his computer and pounded away on the keyboard. He was determined to forget his little encounter with the so-called millionaire detective. That was what the latest issue of Weekly Bunshu had called Kambe, having picked up on his recent hiring. TOKYO'S FINEST WELCOMES INTERNATIONAL MOGUL - LOCK & LOADED (AND VERY LOADED).
The Chief stood by his own desk, leisurely tucking away papers into his leather briefcase and humming under his breath. A ballad, probably. He was squishy like that. He didn't blink twice when Haru barked at the monitor and slammed his fist on the table, shaking the computer bank.
"Uh. You okay there?" Kamei said, popping into the periphery with a protein bar shoved into his mouth. He was still wearing his paintball-stained shirt from their run-in with the chocolate-stealing wonder duo in Ginza.
Haru grunted. "Thought you were going straight home."
"Left my wallet." He chewed shamelessly as he yapped. "I'm taking Sacchan to that nice place I told you about." He made an arc in the air with his hand, mimicking a rainbow. "Le Cafe Emma. Muah." He topped that off with a chef's kiss.
"Sounds expensive," Haru said blandly. He frowned at the screen. The mouse pointer spun uselessly in a corner, unresponsive to his frantic clicking. Biting back another snarl, he shoved the mouse away and slunk in his chair to do some professional brooding. Machines. Real top-notch human inventions.
"Tch. I thought I put in a ticket for this garbage."
A hand clapped him on the shoulder and gave him a reassuring squeeze.
"Just use mine, man," Kamei said, jerking his chin toward his side of the desk.
There were traces of his handiwork, foil wrappers and chip crumbs artfully sprinkled around his monitor. One of Kamei's gravure magazines poked out of a wireframe organizer. Akiko Hoshida was on the cover, half-naked in a giant margarita rimmed with pink salt.
Haru sighed. He felt a headache coming on. The cut on his forehead probably wasn't helping. "Thanks, I guess."
He enthusiastically kicked away Kamei's office chair, ignoring the other man's startled cry as it flopped over and popped a wheel loose. Haru rolled into the spot. He paused and glanced at Kamei. "You have something in your teeth."
Kamei blinked. Looking awfully put out, he pulled out his phone and used the front camera to pick away at his teeth with his tongue. Haru rolled his eyes. He booted up the computer and leaned back, glaring off into space. What a shitshow of a day. If someone had told him last week that the MC unit would soon have one of Japan's wealthiest heirs in their ranks, Haru would have laughed and called bullshit, yeah sure, thanks for trying. Yet there he was, spending the foreseeable future surviving the idiotic shenanigans of an out of touch, stupidly nice-smelling, well-dressed asshole. Big fucking whoop.
"You all have a good evening now," the Chief said as he shuffled by. He hovered by the door and turned toward Haru. "Katou-chan, don't stay too late. You need to give that wound some rest."
"I'm just getting this incident report out of the way," Haru said. "I don't want SecDep hounding my ass tomorrow."
"If you need the day off tomorrow—"
"I don't need tomorrow off," Haru harshly cut in. He cleared his throat. "Sir," he added, remembering his place.
Kiyomizu gave him a gentle smile. He acquiesced with a nod and slipped out the door. Haru inwardly scolded himself. He didn't need to be so abrasive, even if his colleagues and superior tolerated him most of the time. They knew he meant well, but sometimes he wondered if there was a limit to their understanding. That one day he'd be booted to the basement to carry out the rest of his career as a records technician behind a tempered glass wall. Alone. Printing labels and licking page corners.
"Good?" Kamei asked, giving Haru a grin so full it almost hurt to look. He could even see the guy's molars. Haru waved him off.
"Yeah, yeah. Get out of here already."
Kamei did a victory pump with his fist. "Sweet. Well okay, man. Wish me luck," he said, keys dangling in one hand and finger-saluting Haru with the other.
The moment he stepped out, Haru sighed and slumped forward, gathering his head in his palms. It wasn't like he was trying to be a jerk. He just didn't understand why everyone was acting so—so normal. What was the protocol for handling a pet millionaire? Were they just going to pretend Kambe wasn't a liability waiting to happen? Was Haru on some candid camera reality show, and this was all an elaborate ploy for a laugh? Maybe Hoshino or Takei put everyone up to this.
But something told him that no, things were very much real and very much happening. And Kambe fucking Daisuke would now be part of Haru's daily routine.
After managing to log in—and no city-funded system had any business being this slow—the door handle twisted noisily, and someone stepped back into the room.
Haru didn't bother looking up. "What did you leave this time?"
"Nothing that can't be replaced."
Of course, it would be him. Why wouldn't it be him? Haru spun around, grim expression locked in place. "What are you doing here?"
"Kambe Daisuke," Kambe answered with his usual fanfare. "Newly appointed Inspector for the Metropolitan—"
"Stop. Just," Haru exhaled gruffly and lifted a palm, "that wasn't me asking for another introduction. The fuck is it with you people and loving the sound of your name?"
"I take every opportunity to assert my presence, Haru."
"Fucking clearly," he snapped. "And don't get familiar with me, asshole."
Kambe dismissed him with a knowing smile, sweeping the room with an unusual amount of interest. If he was disturbed by the modesty of it all, he didn't show it. He carried himself with impeccable posture and poise, flitting about one edge of the room to the other like a dark hummingbird in a designer coat. It was annoying and awful and he really needed to leave. Like yesterday.
"Seriously, why are you here?"
"Taking stock of your working conditions. Some accommodations may have to be made."
He pinched a corner of one of Saeki's snacks, a colorful bag of chocolate muffin bites, and lifted it in front of him the way one would a soiled rag. He looked less offended and more... curious. Kambe plucked a muffin out of the bag and delicately took a bite, looking thoughtful. After he swallowed—and Haru was absolutely not staring at the pale expanse of his throat, at the way the milky skin there rippled and bobbed—Kambe spoke.
"I like these," he concluded. As if this startling discovery mattered to Haru. He took another miniature muffin into his obnoxiously pink mouth. Was that color even natural? Couldn't be. Probably a fancy, rich person cosmetic procedure.
Haru's eye twitched.
"Why don't you just ask for your own office? I wouldn't want you catching a working-class disease."
"Rest assured, I'm considering all amenable possibilities. Though your plebeian concern is appreciated."
Before he could form a response, the computer flashed an error message and abruptly exited the records system. Haru cursed and began to vigorously move the mouse. It was pointless and would likely make things worse, but he needed the stress relief of assaulting useless office machinery.
"Why is nothing working—"
With an ominous chime, a video popped into view, accompanied by a loud moan that reverberated across the room and made the hairs on his nape stiffen. Haru froze. There came another moan. And another. Followed by a quick succession of whimpers and a choked off, "Please, Daddy. Mmmmmm."
Haru flailed in his office chair, cursing and face growing hot. "Wha—?" he croaked. "Are you kidding me? Goddamit, Kamei."
He was going to wring the perverted little idiot by the neck.
"Problem?" Kambe asked as if he couldn't hear the pornographic soundtrack reaching a crescendo in the background. Would it kill the guy to be less of a caricature?
Haru should have known better than to trust anything Kamei touched. He took a deep breath and tried to close the video with brute-force, which really only involved panicked mouse clicking and more growling on his part. In his desperation, he accidentally clicked one of the pop-up messages appearing sporadically—HOT SINGLE RUSSIANS NEAR YOU—and set off a chain of prompts overlaying the video. Everything refused to exit out because why would anything go his way?
The woman in the AV wailed as her partner rammed her into a kitchen counter. There was nothing exceptional about the porn. While Haru could appreciate the rather generous features of the actress, he wasn't remotely aroused. He could feel Kambe's gaze on him like a wet blanket. As if the situation wasn't uncomfortable enough.
"HEUSC," Kambe said, pressing on the small gauge adorning his ear. "Access the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department's shared network. Use administrative bypass login and remote connect to employee account: Katou Haru."
"No. No weird—and probably VERY unauthorized—AI butler-thing-man."
Haru whipped around in his chair. He ran a palm down his face and let out an aggravated sigh. "Look, see? Not a big deal. I can just shut it off," he said as he reached for the tower tucked beneath the station.
"HEUSC, disable rebooting capabilities."
"Hah? What the hell are you playing at?" Haru growled.
Kambe sauntered over and looked down at him, and for a moment, Haru felt like one of those decorative bug specimens pinned beneath a glass frame. Kambe couldn't even walk like a normal person. Every move he made was so deliberate, so unbearably smooth like he had all the time in the world. Which he did. Kambe probably owned time. Haru would need to ask. Kambe was the kind of rich that rich people talked about.
"Does this arouse you?"
It took a moment for the words to register in Haru's last two remaining brain cells. There was a third somewhere, being allocated for the single purpose of not throwing office equipment into the nearest hard plane.
"The pornography," Kambe said, pointing at the screen.
"No. Yes. I mean. I know what you freakin' meant, you ass—" Haru made a garbled if slightly hysterical sound. "Why are you asking me this?"
"Is it not good practice to get acquainted with your partner?"
Haru squinted at the other man. Another obnoxious moan blared through the speakers, and it was at this point that the real wet squelching began. The actors had graduated from vaginal missionary to acrobatic anal, this time atop a coffee table with questionable structural integrity. Haru perhaps would have been impressed at a different time. Different place. And certainly a different audience.
"I'm—Jesus. I'm not telling you about my porn habits. The hell is wrong with you?" Haru said, a flush crawling up his nape.
He looked at Kambe, making no attempt to hide his bewilderment. "Also, no. We're not partners. Like?" Haru shook his head. "Just no. All right? I refuse," he said, and even to his own ears, it seemed that the only person he was trying to convince was himself.
Partnering with Kambe in some capacity was inevitable. The Chief would definitely sic the rich prick on him. Saeki was far too forgiving, Yumuto was disinterested, Cho-san was a veteran and therefore just done with everything, period, and Kamei was... Kamei. So all members accounted for, that left Haru ripe for the picking. He would be sacrificed to the God of Luxury and Excess. Maybe he'd finally get more than a flat 'Satisfactory' on his next performance review.
Kambe paused. The sudden lapse into silence made Haru uneasy. Nothing good ever came about with an I see. That was telegraphing a Bad Moment, and instinct told him that it could only mean—
"Then I'll show you mine."
Haru's head snapped back toward the computer and he watched in horror as the video went dark, taking every gasp and squeal with it. He held his breath. Kambe murmured another indecipherable command to his pocket butler. Just as promised, another lewd clip began to play, no moans this time, only quiet huffs and the rattle of a chain—chain? —and right off the bat, Haru could tell there was a drastic qualitative difference. He was a cop. It was second nature to analyze whatever was thrown his way. Even fetish porn.
The action was high-def enough to be clear and airbrush-flawless, and it had none of the jarring zoomed-in shots of sweaty pores and blemishes. Not that Haru took issue with any of those. Still, it was the unreal fuzziness of porn that made it easy to compartmentalize it away from reality. This, however, was uncharted territory. Haru was a man of simple tastes. He didn't need leather or cuffs or chains. A hot housewife, a quick rip-and-dip; those were things he knew. The shirtless man on the screen was shiny slick with oil or sweat, likely a mixture of both, and restlessly tugged at his bonds. Haru couldn't look more horrified if he tried. Yeah, no, this wasn't the kind of interrogation method Haru had any interest in learning. When Cho-san had imparted the wisdom of 'you have to make them feel, put them on the spot until they're wriggling,' Haru doubted this was what the seasoned cop had meant.
The squeal of wheels scraping against the floor brought Haru's muddled brain back online. Kambe pulled out a chair and took a seat right next to him. He got comfortable, one leg resting over a toned thigh, hands loosely clasped over his lap, like a headmaster patiently schooling his pupil.
"Now this, Inspector Katou," Kambe said, "is content."
"No," Haru hissed. Because seriously, what now? "This is a complete abuse of workplace resources. Shut. It. Off."
He tried to fight off the heat in his cheeks. Could his face just cooperate and stop literally emulating the heat of a star? Sun. Sun star? Whatever. Everything was absurd and nothing mattered. Haru felt the tension build in his neck, a bolt of angry nerves shooting down his spine. He glared at Kambe.
When Kambe said nothing, Haru huffed and took matters into his own hands, reaching out for the monitor's power button. Naturally, Kambe latched onto his forearm, aborting Haru's mission to save his own dignity and the HR paperwork for workplace harassment.
"Self-disclosure is a two-way street," Kambe said as Haru ripped his arm away.
Sweat dotted Haru's temples. He wiped his forehead with the cuff of his sleeve. He found it impossibly annoying that Kambe was there, right in front of him in all his Armani glory, pretty as a peach, and dry as a rock. The room had gone from uncomfortably cool to Satan's third asshole. Kambe's comments had made the air heavy with weird vibes, Haru's ears buzzed, he had a serious itch behind his right knee, and... why had he decided to stick around in the office, again? He could just whip up a report in the morning. Not a big deal. Unlike this. This was a bonafide Bad Moment. A surreal train wreck of untold proportions. And that was saying something, Haru was a human disaster for a living.
He tried to recover a semblance of composure and faced Kambe head-on. Katou Haru was many things—stubborn, impulsive, hot-tempered—but a coward was not one of them.
"Look, whatever you get up to on your own time is your business."
Kambe's gaze flickered to his crotch. "You're hard."
Haru could kill him. Didn't Kambe's mother teach that it was rude to point out obvious things? He shifted in his seat, cupping his junk protectively and tilting his chair away from Kambe's shameless staring. One would think a guy like him would have a little tact.
"Yeah, well. It's called having a dick. It's not exactly a discriminating piece of equipment."
When had he gotten hard? Why had he gotten hard?
"That may be true for you."
"But you have standards?" Haru snorted. The nerve of this guy.
"I have preferences," was Kambe's measured response. "Specific ones."
Haru watched as the other man leaned back in a lax pose, seamlessly pulling one socked foot out of a fancy loafer. Did he get stinky feet? Kambe was probably immune to the woes of the working man.
"For example," Kambe said. At this, he drove his heel along Haru's lower leg, dragging it against his pants at an infuriating and slow pace. For a moment, Haru was too stunned to speak. He couldn't even manage a hiccup. Kambe took his sweet time, moving from calf to thigh, moving, mind you, in a way that could only be classified as frighteningly sensual. His foot eventually came to rest on Haru's lap, no hesitation whatsoever, to press on the inseam of his too-tight slacks. Haru bit his cheek until he tasted blood.
"I like the face you make when you're angry," Kambe said. "You wear your feelings better than I wear my suits."
It should have sounded smug, but Haru could tell it was just Kambe's brand of honesty. If this was meant to pass for self-disclosure, Kambe sure sucked at it. Haru gripped Kambe's ankle, restricting his movement from any more problematic crotch-rubbing. He dug his thumb into the soft indent above Kambe's foot, surprised at the small shiver elicited by his touch. Haru frowning? Check. Clenching his jaw? Check. His blood simmering with anger? Check-check. Along with a whole different kind of heat he wasn't about to name.
"That face," Kambe pointed out.
"This is way out of line, Kambe." Despite the challenge, Haru tried keeping his voice steady. He was not entirely successful. "Even for you."
"The way you're touching me, Inspector Katou, is evidence to the contrary."
Haru stilled. He hadn't taken note when his fingers began rubbing circles into the silky fabric covering Kambe's warm and supple skin. He probably bathed in French milk. Or something European and ridiculously lavish. Haru ground his teeth and seethed, not liking the fact he'd been caught doing what a weaker man would. He tightened his grip on Kambe, unapologetic, and a little pleased when the other man couldn't suppress his slight wince at the pressure.
"You want to play mind games with me? Is that it?"
Kambe pursed his lips. "I wouldn't say that, no."
"Then what, Kambe?"
He blinked at Haru. "Are you truly this dense?"
"What are you on about?"
The ping ping ping of ongoing pop-ups, flickering in and out of existence, seemed to fall in rhythm with the pounding of Haru's heart. Kambe's stupid AV kept rolling in the backdrop. The chained male actor still writhed on the bed while the camera panned to his bare lower half, revealing a dark ring nestled at the base of his cock. By this time, the lewd sounds had become part of the environment. This was Katou Haru's life now.
Haru tore his gaze away and rubbed his temple. He hadn't signed up for any of this. And Kambe really needed to start explaining his weird, cryptic comments. When Haru glanced back at him, the man was frowning. It was barely visible, but Haru made a job out of catching subtleties. Though there was a lot about Kambe that was far from subtle.
"I'm confused," Kambe said. The only physical sign of his confusion was the slight tilt of his mouth.
Haru scoffed. "Uh, yeah you are."
"It looks like I misunderstood."
"Uh, yeah you did."
"If you would..." Kambe gestured at Haru's hand, where it was curled possessively around his foot and squeezing idly. Realizing this, Haru clicked his tongue and violently shoved Kambe's foot off his lap. Kambe gingerly pulled his leg toward him and slipped back into his shoe. With all the grace in the world, of course. He was totally composed. It wasn't as if he was coming on to a colleague on the first day of the job or anything.
"Why do you look like someone took a shit in your caviar?"
"I don't understand."
Haru rolled his eyes. "Your resting bitch face," he explained. "It's not as bitchy now."
"I still don't follow."
"Forget it." Haru shook his head. "I seriously can't figure you out, Kambe."
"Inspector Katou, as much as you would like to open me up, I'm not one of your case files."
"I—" Haru gaped. And it was at that moment that Katou Haru may have briefly ascended to a different astral plane, experienced enlightenment, forgotten about it, and re-entered the cycle of reincarnation.
"That face," Kambe pointed out again.
Haru used his inside voice to scream. He whipped up from his chair so quickly he heard a joint pop. "I'm done," he bit out, grabbing his belongings off the desk and stuffing them into his pocket.
At the doorway, Haru flipped around. He couldn't help it. He needed to know. "You—is this funny to you?"
"No. I don't see the humor in the situation." Kambe tilted his head. "Is it funny to you?"
There was something deeply, profoundly wrong with Kambe Daisuke. Haru decided he wanted nothing to do with it. Not a single bit.
On the computer screen, the man slammed his head back with a groan and shuddered through a prolonged orgasm. Haru curled his hands into fists.
"Turn the lights off on your way out, Inspector Kambe."