Way back when Saitou hired fucking Sagara Sanosuke to do the same job as me — three weeks or something ago; I can’t remember back that far — I thought we’d probably kill each other by the end of his first day.
Hey, it’s me, Chou, your favoritest, sexiest, pithiest sword-collecting hot guy. Let me tell you this story about two other hot guys I work for/with, and how they get me all twisted up. In a good way. Mostly. Not enough to make me cry at all, anyway. And I promise there’s only a few anachronisms.
Unique to this story: Abuse in the form of relationship under false pretenses; some gross mentions of, like, bodily fluids and medical conditions
Way back when Saitou hired fucking Sagara Sanosuke to do the same job as me — three weeks or something ago; I can’t remember back that far — I thought we’d probably kill each other by the end of his first day. Last time we met, before that, he gave me all sorts of shit just for coming to that restaurant, even though I was there to tell ’em important stuff about the rest of the Juppongatana (I guess I can remember back that far), so I didn’t think this was going to work even a little bit.
Course I complained to mantis, but you know how he is with anyone telling him he’s wrong about something. I pointed out how he and tori-atama get along, and he just told me to shut my mouth-hole. Well, it was more like, “You need to mind your own business and do as I tell you,” but, you know. I speak Saitou pretty fluently by now.
Then it actually turned out not so bad. Tori and I argued, yeah, but it was mostly that kind of arguing where you aren’t really trying to start shit; you’re just arguing because that’s what you do with that person. I didn’t like to admit it at first, but it was fun. We’ve come up with some brutal insults for each other, and half the time I can’t keep from laughing. I hate being wrong about shit as much as mantis does, but he was right about this.
Today’s been… a little different from before, though.
Earlier, Saitou was explaining what we’re working on next — ‘briefing,’ he calls it — and he said, “Sagara, you will be interviewing Inoue’s servants. Make yourself presentable and come back so I can look at you.”
Then Sano leaned over and put his mouth by my ear — like right by my ear, so his lips were actually touching it sometimes; like am I reading too much into this sort of warm tickling he was doing? Turns out my ear-skin is really sensitive — and lifted his hand up to hide what he was saying, and said, “Bamboo-screen wouldn’t know ‘presentable’ if it hit him right in the ass of his uniform pants.”
So I busted out laughing, of course, and Sano chortled right along. But when I stood up straight — because something like that deserves a good bend — I saw the sourest expression of all time on the boss’s face. I don’t figure he heard exactly what tori said, and he usually doesn’t react to that kind of thing anyway, unless one of us has pushed him really far… so what had him all annoyed just then? Sure, he’s always annoyed at least a little, but this was more than I expected.
“Looks like he had another dose of that lemon juice he’s always drinking,” Sano murmured next. And his lips were mostly against my ear again. It kinda made me shiver, but I was laughing too hard the next second to think about that much.
Seemed like Saitou tried to fix his expression then, but he always looks like he’s about to backhand tori, so it didn’t work too well.
Sano said, “Or maybe he dipped a stick in the lemon juice and then shoved it up his ass.” And the tickling was really starting to make me squirm, so it’s a good thing he said something so funny.
I don’t even know why it was so funny, actually. Accusing mantis of having a stick up his ass is a way played-out joke (though the lemon juice part was new), and Saitou was glaring fit to kill… Maybe it’s because it was a secret between Sano and me, and mocking the boss with each other right in front of him made it hilarious.
“Except then he wouldn’t…” Tori couldn’t even get through the next one without cracking up. “It’s better than anything he’s getting now, so he wouldn’t look so…”
So there we were roaring like a couple of angry leopard cats, and Saitou just stewing in rage at his desk, and I had this feeling all of a sudden like Sano and I were tight. It was exciting as all hell, and I never expected it.
“Ahou,” Saitou said in that tone he uses when he’s right on the edge of killing someone, “I gave you an order.”
Sano got his laughing under control — took a lot of work, it seemed like — and raised one of his hands in a fake salute. “Ryoukai, bossman,” he said insolently. Then he turned around and winked at me. He actually winked at me. I know people think I’m always winking, but mostly it’s just that I’ve got a damaged eyelid (from a sortof-accident as a kid) that feels better closed, so I only open it when I really need to. Which makes really winking really hard. Which I guess makes me never expect it from anybody else? And just then, it… all right, I’ll admit it: it made me blush.
As soon as Sano’s gone, Saitou looks me in the still-red face and scowls. Why, though? I decide to ask. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Oh, nothing,” he drawls. “I certainly don’t expect my operatives to work instead of standing around flirting.”
So I’m not the only one who interpreted that as flirting. The thought makes my face burn redder. There’s some kind of glowy stuff in my chest that I think’s the source of that. Or it’s acid reflux from the shichimi fugu I had for breakfast on the way in. “Huh.”
Mantis points over at my tiny clerk’s desk in the corner. “Paperwork,” is all he says. Can’t even talk like a normal person and say something like, ‘I need to you do paperwork,’ or even just ‘Do paperwork.’ Nah, it’s only one word for sarcastic bastards like him. Though I guess when he packs so much into that one word, it probably counts for more.
Grumbling by reflex, I head over to the rickety desk. I swear he must’ve bought this cheap from some school where they use western-style desks, and seventy-five little kids have gotten their snot and greasy hands and puke and probably urine and crap — hell, I don’t know what they do in schools these days — all over it. It’s as clean as I could make it, but it still has stains and… sticky spots.
Sano doesn’t handle paperwork, least not right now, so I don’t have to worry about him fucking up my organization yet. And it always makes me grin opening the top of the desk and seeing all my shit in the best kind of order. Saitou thinks it’s just ’cause of my sword-shaped letter-opener, but he’s wrong; that’s only eighty-or-so percent of it. The one thing I know I’m better at than he is (I mean, I guess a lot, but) is organization. Seriously, you should see my swords at home. Swords and organization in one place always make me space out for a minute or forty. Been told I drool.
And here he’s piled up the basket all messy again. I snort as I start straightening the papers and other objects, and get a solid hit of disorder to the nose. You’d think someone like Saitou’d have things arranged to the quarter inch (which is my standard, by the way), but it turns out he’s sloppy about his shit. Maybe to balance out how sloppy he isn’t in action.
He’s looking at me. You can always feel those eyes on you, ’cause they’re one of those very precise things about him. Really gripping eyes. If eyes can grip, which I actually don’t know how that would work. But he doesn’t say anything, so, picturing eyes with a bunch of little hands sticking out of them, I get started.
And I find out pretty quick that he hasn’t given me nearly as much paperwork as I expected. Usually he waits for it to pile up pretty high before he assigns me a day of it, and there’ll be more by the end of today if tori comes back with a report, so I’m kinda baffled by this small load.
He keeps looking at me. It’s like a little hot light that shines over at me sometimes. He never says anything, and I’m pretty baffled by that too. But since I’ve still got that warm squiggly stuff inside me after Sano’s behavior, I get along just fine, even humming while I work. And there’s another thing! Mantis normally lays out some sarcasm about me humming, sometimes even threatens me with his own brand of specialized acupuncture if I don’t stop… but now I guess it’s all right? Weird day.
Tori-atama comes back all hair-smoothed and dressed like a poor merchant. I wouldn’t have recognized him at first glance if I didn’t know his pretty face and sparkly browns pretty well by now… which is the point, but it’s still disconcerting when he does this.
I like the way he looks. Everyday looks, I mean. His clothes and hair have so much personality, you’d think they’d jump off him and walk away any minute. At the thought of Sano’s clothes jumping off him, I grin privately. But this outfit is just… boring. Tori’s not supposed to be boring. Hella tacky, yes. Boring, no.
Mantis gives him the once-over, then breathes out through his nose all neutral. I know he wants to find something wrong with tori’s costume, but since he can’t, he just nods. Not like he’d admit tori’s nailed it. He says, “Get to work, then.”
Sano turns towards me without even responding to Saitou, coming over to lean on my desk and look down at me. I can’t call his smile anything but ‘roguish’ as he says, “I’m gonna have to invite some of these people drinking with me once I’ve softened ’em up, so tonight’s probably our only chance to go out for a while. So what do you say?”
‘Go out?’ He wants to go out with me?
Saitou snorts in irritation. I always kinda wonder why he hired Sanosuke anyway, if his work ethic is never up to pole-vaulting mantis standards.
Well, going out sounds fun, and so does what might even happen after. Whooh! Lots of fun! “Yeah, sure,” I tell him, trying not to seem too excited just in case he means ‘as friends.’ Because I’m still not sure what he wants, exactly.
“I’ll meet you back here tonight, then,” he says with a grin. He lowers his voice and adds conspiratorially, “Good luck with bamboo-screen over there. Don’t let him get you.”
And what does that mean? Did he word that weird, or is it just me? “All right,” says I easily. “See you then.”
Sano cockily leaves the room. Heh, cockily. And mantis is looking at me again. Again he doesn’t say anything, though his glare’s increased by about a million watts. So I just go back to the paperwork, humming even louder this time.
Three guesses what I’ve been thinking about for the last several days. Getting plastered with tori-atama was so much fun. Part of it was good drinks, but most of it was Sano kissing me. Yeah, it might have just been because he was drunk. It might have been a nothing kiss. But it was damn good. Besides, he’s been flirting with me ever since. I don’t know what to make of this, but I sure like it.
I guess I didn’t realize I’ve been lonely. I’m not used to people liking me, because maybe they think I dress weird and have weird hair, or because I’m kindof obsessive about some things, or because I’m threatening to skewer their kid. Anyway, it’s a rush to have this hot, funny guy making like he wants something-something. He never says he wants something, but he’s showing it pretty well.
Saitou’s been more and more annoyed about it, too. And you gotta admit, he pays us for a reason, and that reason isn’t making eyes at each other. And you’d think the smartest thing to do about that would be to keep it on the lowdown, maybe not have so many private jokes right in front of him… but, like I said, I’m not used to people liking me, so it’s hard not to kinda burst out all over the place when it seems like somebody does.
Today mantis is looking at me again. Well, I guess it’s really staring, which I can’t make any sense of because tori isn’t even here, so it’s not like we’re irritating him right now. There’s a real load of paperwork this time, and I like getting through it at the speed of a train just to show the boss how valuable I am. But that doesn’t mean I do a sloppy job! And Saitou just keeps staring. He does it so much that it’s actually weirder whenever he stops. Which is weird.
I’ve just finished one big batch, and I’m yawning like a cavern and stretching like I want to reach the ceiling (which I almost can), when I look around to see what mantis is doing. And, yep, he’s staring again. Only this time there’s more to read there. I don’t read much outside work, except for stuff about swords, but Saitou practically is a sword, and suddenly I’m reading him really well.
And I feel like he’s… checking me out? He looks like he wants to take a bite, like I’m some kind of snack. Really? Oh, shit, is that why he’s been so annoyed at Sano and me flirting?? It’s not just professional; it’s personal? Really?
He meets my eyes, and I’m jolted like I just touched an electric wire. Yes, really. His brows go down a little, and one corner of his mouth hitches up in a — I swear — suggestive smile. Then he looks back at his desk. I think he’s reading tori’s report from last night, and it’s probably taking him so long because of Sano’s absolutely shit handwriting. And because he can’t quit gazing lustfully at me. Maybe not actually lustfully, but he’s definitely been gazing like he can’t quit.
Saitou never looked at me like that before, and I get it now. He’s been jealous of Sano. Jealous over me. A flush fills my whole body, and my eyeballs feel like they’re steaming; it’s like I’m in a hot spring bath, and my hair’s going to fall down if I’m not careful. His pen is scratching on paper now, but my hands are frozen. Theoretically frozen, I mean, not cold. No, not cold. I have to process this.
Mantis is way attractive, though I never really thought about it before. It’s a totally different attractive than tori, but maybe on the same level. I always think of Sano as red and Saitou as blue (yeah, it could just be because they wear those colors; shut up), but they’re the same intensity.
Tori’s easygoing when he’s not angry, and batshit crazy when he is. Mantis is serious but pretty calm when he’s not too annoyed, and cold as fuck when he’s angry. Either way, there’s a heap of passion in both of ’em. Tori’s open about shit, which is friendly, where mantis likes things to be a mystery, which is exciting. Sure, each of them bugs me more times a day than I want to count, but it’s an adventure to talk to either one.
And as for looks…. With Sano, it’s obvious to anyone. I’ve seen married couples do a double-take when he walks by. Don’t know how they sort that out after, but it’s just proof that tori-atama is gorgeous and stands out mad in a crowd. And even if his fashion sense is a steaming pile, the colors he wears are really flattering. That bandanna with his hair and eyes: perfection.
Saitou, though. It’s harder to say why he looks good. He’s always wearing that police uniform (the one I told him flat-out I wouldn’t be caught dead in and he could just go ahead and kill me if that was going to be a job requirement), which leaves a lot to the imagination. I don’t know. There’s just something… elegant, I guess, about him. The way he stands so straight but never looks awkward doing it, or the way he’s so precise with a sword. And he’s got really clear skin (which, how?) like tanned ivory, and definitely those weird-colored eyes of his are a sight to behold.
But probably what makes mantis most attractive is just the way he is. I’ve never been the moralest person, and only took this job in the first place to keep out of jail and/or not get hanged, but I can totally recognize the fierce ideas of right and wrong Saitou’s got going on. His spine’s made of principles, and he sweats ethics. God knows what his blood is like. It’s… yeah, it’s hot. I never thought about it before, but someone who knows exactly what he’s all about has this sort of allure… like seeing half the hilt of a breathtaking sword out the corner of your eye before the person wearing it walks away. You have to follow them.
Why am I thinking about this so hard? So they’re both hot; big deal. Except I can’t help thinking it is a big deal, because, like I said before, when was the last time even one hot person took an interest in me, let alone two? I admitted I was lonely, all right? I guess there’s a kind of hole inside me, maybe shaped like a whale, and I’m trying to figure out who fits there better of these two guys who’ve just suddenly started something in my life all of a sudden.
Whoa. Calm down, Katanagari. That’s some serious shit after one drunken kiss, a few days of flirting, and a tiny smirk you interpreted as DTF. Laugh it off, like Sano would, or play it cool, like Saitou would. You don’t have to decide anything right now, or maybe ever.
Except everything I do, I go all-out on, ’til veins explode, you might say. And that’s not going to change any time soon. If I’m in this, I’m in it for keeps.
And here’s tori-atama. He’s still on the Inoue case, and I get the feeling it’s boring him. It sounds boring, and he’s wearing boring clothes again. Anyway, he’s in late, like he usually is, and I wonder what it’d be like to wake up late with him all warm in a patch of sunlight in a messy bed. I mean, I’d get up and make the bed, but before that, it’d be like two muscular kittens cuddling in a big ol’ basket.
“Hey, boss,” is Sano’s only greeting to Saitou, and then he immediately turns around and comes to my desk. “Heyyy, houki.”
I grin at him. “Mornin’. Still is, even, a little. Not an early-bird-head, are you?”
“Who wants to eat worms anyway?” He leans on my desk and towards me with a sparkling smile.
Saitou stands abruptly. I’m sure he knows I know what’s going on with him now, so is he going to get mad at me for still flirting with Sano? Does Sano know what’s going on with him? Does he know I know? This situation could blow right up.
Tori turns towards him with a smirk that says, “What are you gonna do about it?” But mantis steps right past him and hands me a piece of paper covered in his neat handwriting. (At least he’s neat about that.)
“This is your assignment for today. Get up and go.”
Thing is, how can I get up? He’s standing so close, and there’s no other way out of my corner. But… what if he did that on purpose? He wants to show tori what’s what, doesn’t he? Clever mantis.
So I stand up. And, yeah, it puts me right in his face, practically against him. We’re the same height; did you know that? Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, because he can loom like nobody’s business, but we are. Both an inch or two taller than tori. (Though if my hair counts, I’m the tallest around.) So now I can look Saitou right in the eye and blush for all my life’s worth.
“That chair always disarranges your swords,” he murmurs like he’s talking to himself. Then he reaches around me — actually puts his arms around me, all the way to my back — and straightens the ones I’m wearing today. Which has his gaze shooting into mine point-blank. I can’t help it; I shudder all over. I can feel his breath; I know it would smell and taste like cigarettes, but I’m not breathing so there’s no way to tell. I could kiss him without barely even moving.
When he pulls back (not very far still), I blink my both-open eyes a few times, and I can feel how bulgy and plate-sized they’ve gone. That’s uncomfortable on the right, but I can’t do anything about it. It was already really unexpected that tori was doing this kind of shit, but for mantis it’s almost unbelievable. And I like it.
“I have some investigations of my own today, after which I’m going home. I’ll need you to bring your report to me there this evening.”
My brows are speeding up my forehead like they’re racing each other; the left one wins. “You– You got it, boss,” I croak. Because what even is this. Brain shut down. Don’t know.
Finally Saitou steps away, clearing the passage out from behind the desk. I give my head a twitching shake, and suddenly realize there’s something else going on in the world. Sano is still on the other side of the desk, though he’s straightened up like that stick he’s always accusing mantis of having has just been stuck up his ass. And his face is like a volcanic plain, only without any lava running all over it. (He’d end up like Shishio that way, gods rest his deep-fried soul.)
I don’t know how to look at him. My cheeks are so red, and not from him this time. I’ve been flirting back for days now, and maybe this is a betrayal. We never established the fidelity rules of saying stupid shit to each other and making each other giggle. But at least he’s not aiming that crevasse between his eyebrows at me; it’s all for Saitou. Heh. Crevasse.
Mantis gives tori this look like the wolf that caught the canary. Except I’m not a canary, so that’s a really bad comparison. The wolf that caught the attractive sword-collector with cool hair. But all he says is, “And you already know what you’re supposed to be doing today.”
“Yeah I fucking do,” tori growls. And he just stands there, trembling like a pot of boiling water on a hot stove (you know, with a lid on it, and the lid is kinda bouncing and making little tapping noises, and the steam belches out every time one side of it lifts up).
Mantis is just standing there too. He thinks he’s scored a point, and he’s reveling in it. Normally I would hate that arrogant shit, but not when he just told me to come to his house this evening. Not when tori’s got jealousy shooting out the tips of his spiky hair. These two bastards are actually competing over me. Seems completely incredible, but there it is. I’m right in the middle of a really spicy love triangle, which is nowhere I’ve ever been before. I’m more flattered than any time in my whole life, except maybe when I got recruited into the Juppongatana.
They’re maneuvering, too. Neither one wants to be the first out of the office, and since it’s a social thing and not a combat thing, mantis is every bit as awkward and bad at it as tori. The inside of my mouth is guffawing, and the outside is threatening to let it escape. But I don’t want to make them think I’m not taking them seriously, because, after this morning, I really, really am… but eventually, when they’ve both finally managed to vacate, I’m left alone in the room, leaning on my desk and laughing so hard I think I’m going to crack Sakura-chan. (That’s my third rib on the left.)
I don’t know if any guy ever‘s had as much to fantasize about as I do. All right, to start with, Saitou kissed me too. And the difference between him kissing me and tori-atama kissing me was exactly like all the other differences. They were both fucking amazing kisses, but Sano’s was kinda drunk and his aim was off and we were right there in public; even if it meant something, it was really casual… but Saitou was all serious, all purpose, like a hungry dog going right straight for the meat you just laid out to put into your hot pot and now you have to go buy more or just eat the broth and veggies. He literally pushed me up against the wall. Didn’t invite me to stay over or anything, though. Hmm.
So, yeah, in the last several days mantis has been laying it on. He doesn’t have the flirt moves that tori does, but, damn, when he wants to make a point, he makes it. One time he told me to be careful when I was going out on a job — and it wasn’t like ‘Be careful not to be seen’ or ‘Be careful to write down everything they say.’ It was just ‘Be careful’ with this serious expression, like he cared about me getting hurt or something. Saitou Hajime! Cared about me getting hurt or something!
Another time he laughed at my joke. I don’t even remember what the joke was because I was so knocked for a spiral of fucking loops it made me dizzy. It was the first time he ever laughed at anything I said, and almost the first time I ever heard him laugh at all.
Then he gave me a new pen, and it’s a really nice pen. They say the pen’s mightier than the sword, which is probably bullshit, but I like both. All right, yeah, I collect both. Pens are like little swords, only instead of blood it’s ink. That’s pretty sweet. And so was this present. Does he know I collect pens? It couldn’t have been just random.
And it all pisses tori off royally, I tell you what. Did I mention tori’s really hot when he’s angry? Or when he’s trying to one-up mantis after everything mantis does and makes look completely effortless? He’ll walk into this place and slam some bentou down on my desk glaring all daggers at Saitou, and then by the time he gets his head turned towards me, he’s all grins again. And he’s got these rumbly lower tones that make the rest of my hair stand on end and my balls tingle.
And on that note, back to my original point: fantasizing. It started with a list of maybe fifteen scenarios (fifteen apiece, I mean), but then those branched out into subcategories, and more got added on, and eventually it just turned into a mess.
One of my daydreams is living in the same house as both of them, only it’s divided up so they never have to see each other. So I go from one of them to a wash and bath to the other, and back. I don’t even have a bedroom of my own, ’cause I’m always sleeping in theirs. If there’s ever any time for sleep; daydreams have their own refractory policies. I do have a room for my collections, though, where those guys are allowed to look but not touch.
I imagine being on my hands and knees with Sano fucking me from behind, and he’s so thick, and he’s got both fists in my hair and he’s just driving it, and I guess he thinks so too because he starts making train sounds, and then I laugh so hard I fall onto my shoulders and the side of my face, only then he goes even faster and I’m yelling my head off and now he’s bending over and his hands are out of my hair and one of his arms is across my thighs in front and the other hand’s around my dick.
I imagine Saitou’s maybe not so thick but longer, with a nice curve, and he fucks me on my back and folds my legs all the way up so I’m folded all the way up, and he tells me I’m not allowed to make a sound unless it’s his name, and ‘mantis’ or ‘boss’ won’t do, so I’m lying there rocking, whimpering and squeaking, with him half on top of me, and when I do say his name, he rubs me up and down and plays with my pre-ejaculate with his thumb, and when I say anything else (not really words, but not his name is the point), he twists one of my nipples and I just can’t stand it.
And, oh, fucking Sano! More like him fucking himself on my dick, ’cause he’s sitting in my lap with his legs wrapped around me and trying to kiss me while he bounces up and down, and he’s groaning like the world’s about to end and saying my name in just this devastating tone, and I’m trying to hold on, but he’s so good and he pushes right up against me and I want him to come so I try so hard but he’s not going to make it before I am, and… shit, I have a spectacular imagination.
You’d think fucking Saitou would be a huge power fantasy — this kinda control freak of a guy letting me put my thing in there and have my say about the specs — but in my sessions that’s never how it goes. Because he grabs my ass and pulls, and basically decides on the angle and the speed and the force, and I’m just along for the ride, and, god! what a hard, slick road it is! Actually it’s kinda like Sano, fucking himself on my dick.
Maybe that’s why they both eventually show up, and even my awesome brain can’t figure out what to do first or what order things happen in. There are just dicks everywhere, and everyone’s sweaty and sticky, and there’s muscle and moaning and we get each other’s names wrong, and someone’s balls are slapping against mine, and all the assholes are open wide. I’ve never jerked off so often and so hard in my entire fucking life.
Anyway I try not to think about all that at work.
“Come look this over before Sagara gets here,” mantis says. And would he be mad or pleased that I kindof automatically assume it’s a flirty thing rather than a business thing?
I go over there, and, yep, he’s got the paper just in the right spot so I have to stand against him to look down at it. It’s basically a summary of what-all we still need to know on the Inoue case — not much left — and it definitely doesn’t require any attention from me. So I wiggle and bump my hip into Saitou’s.
And of course tori comes in at that exact moment. Mantis’s head tilts just a little, like he’s looking at him out the corner of his eye, and then he points to one of the questions on the list, dragging my attention back to his sexy gloved hand. “I’ll assign him this one today,” he murmurs.
I choke, trying not to laugh. Poor tori! That one’s about what the gutter-mucker saw, except we don’t know which gutter-mucker it was; it’s just a rumor that one of ’em saw something at all. Which means going to all the shittiest spots in that area talking to the smelliest people trying to figure it out.
“Keep shakin’ your ass like that, houki, and you’ll get it stabbed.” Tori sounds upset, but since he’s obviously doing his best to flirt with me, I figure he’s mad at Saitou, not me.
I spin around with a grin. “Hey, anything to do with swords is fine by me!” And I swear to god, I hear an actual little growl from the boss’s throat. Like he’s the angry leopard cat. Makes me want to pet him.
“Yeah, but bamboo-screen’s never stabbed you. Trust me; it’s some bullshit.”
“He’s always threatening to.” I step back so I can see both their jealous faces, totally loving this. My two leopard cats. A bird and a wolf. An ass and a mantis. Damn, there’s a lot of animals in this room. I look into Saitou’s eyes the color of urine and say, “But he never goes through with it.” Then I switch back to Sano’s eyes the color of feces and add, “But you don’t even have a sword, tori.”
“No,” Saitou says, an annoyed cake with triumphant sprinkles, “he doesn’t.” And his hand goes to the hilt of his own and — I’m either imagining things again or shit’s getting real — he caresses it at me. He’s a fucking genius with a sword, and maybe this was part of his training. Wonder if I could learn it…
“I got fists, though,” tori says, making one and waggling his eyebrows.
I can’t breathe. I’m going to explode. He did not. He did not just.
“May I remind you, ahou–” Mantis is talking to tori, but looking straight at me– “what happened the last time you tried to fight me with your fists?” I think that’s the first time either one of them has admitted, even in an imply-y way, that they’re fighting about this. And then there’s the obvious sexual interpretation of everything they’ve said, and, holy fuck, I wish they would both metaphor me until I wave the white flag.
Sano flushes, and opens his mouth, but I’ve got my moxy back now and speak before he can. “I think there’s plenty’a room in the world for both your fists.” And for ‘the world’ read ‘my rectum.’ Only… one at a time, I think.
They stare at me, each looking disconcerted and jealouser than ever, since I straight-up just invited the two of them, not just the one of them, to shove their hands into my ass. Heh, straight up. Then they look at each other, and break eye contact instantly.
Mantis recovers first. His face gets that look you see when someone’s made a joke to help deal with some depressing shit but now they’re dropping the humor and getting back to the serious business. He meets my eye again, and whatever’s in his isn’t mocky or suggestive or anything. Just pure Saitou. Which is easily as hot as every other version.
“No,” he says in a low tone, “my world is very small.” And he’s fucking blushing.
Wow. My heart is ricocheting around my chest like a rubber ball. Shit shitty shit shit shit. Saitou’s won this round.
It’s not like I don’t want to have sex with him a trillion times a day. But the way he said that — and I know he didn’t mean his rectum — the way he’s looking at me, the redness on his face like someone slapped him all over it… he’s talking about more than just sex. And after everything that’s bashed me in the head over the last two weeks, I’m not even a little bit shocked that I want something more than sex. And also sex.
“I used to have a sword,” tori-atama says resentfully. But he knows he’s given up a massive, half-whale-sized point, and it’s a stupid thing to say anyway since we stopped talking about swords a minute ago. Did I just say that? A stupid thing to say because we stopped talking about swords? Mantis must have hit me harder than I thought.
I mean, yeah, I’ll definitely want to know all about tori’s ex-sword; that is suddenly #1 on the list of Important Shit For After I’m Not Melting In Saitou’s Eyes. And I think the boss grocks that too; he knows Sano could catch up to him in points if his sword was any kind of cool. So he starts talking about work.
The thing about mantis is that he really is completely gung-ho about work. Once he finally argues Sano into agreeing to do his job today (yes, the shitty one), then convinces him he’ll have to leave the office to do it, he looks at me. He looks at me, looks at a file on his desk, looks at me, looks at the paperwork in the basket. He tightens his lips like he’s struggling against the flirtation faery that wants to keep me here in the room in my corner. Of course he wins. That faery is pretty awesome, though.
He sends me out to investigate a murder scene, and says he’s got something to do as well, so we leave together. And I almost think he’s going to kiss me at the door, but some fucking thing changes his mind.
Turns out murder and thinking about your hotties go together pretty well. I want to make the boss happy, and I want to impress my co-worker, so obviously I’m going to have the murderer delivered with a bow on him by the end of the day. But there’s more to think about than just trying to get into the kind of graces I want, and I’d sure like to have that worked out by the end of the day too.
That dream house isn’t going to fly with them. (Heh, housefly.) When I suggested earlier that I’d be more than happy to have both of them, they were kinda shocked for a few seconds, and then went right back to competing over me. They just can’t get along… and I don’t think they can share.
And I do figure the reason neither one of them has actually made a real move (like into my pants) is that they’re waiting on me to decide which of them I want in there.
But how the hell am I supposed to choose?? I’ve known them for exactly the same amount of time (well, mantis walked into that cell first, but what’s three seconds?), and I realized how much I like them at exactly the same time too (well, tori-atama started all of this, but what’s three to six days?). Comparing them doesn’t help, because it’s like comparing a sword with… another sword. There’s so much I like about each of them, but they’re so different!
And if I don’t choose, I bet ¥125 one of them’ll eventually make me an offer I really can’t refuse. In the meantime, they might actually kill each other. I guess that would be one way to decide.
I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place (geez, I fucking wish). It’s not fair that I have to choose just one of them! Maybe if I sing them a song about how there’s never enough love in the world, they’ll be converted. Or, in terms of real things I can actually do, maybe I’ll just keep flirting with both of them at the same time and slipping in suggestions about how 3 > 2 so they can get used to the idea. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but, for the sake of my penis and my whale, I’ve gotta try.
So it’s been another some days, and the duel flirtation has only ramped up. (See what I did there?) I’ve been carrying a little piece of paper with me to make tick-marks on to keep track of how often each one of them’s kissed me — and, dammit, they’re neck and neck! Mmm, necks. Wonder what would happen if we all three came in here with hickeys one day.
But the ‘all three’ thing just has not been working. Every time I suggest it — no, I haven’t come right out and said, “We should all be together in a relationship where we have sex on the regular and call each other cute names and sometimes say nice things in between the bullshit we give each other,” but I’ve gotten pretty damn close — they react the same as before: they exchange a skeptical look that’s disgusted on tori’s side and sneering on mantis’s, then start seeing who can buy me the most presents and deliver them the most ostentatiously in front of the other.
And all this just screams ‘I want to have a relationship with you.’ But still neither sexy stupid bastard ever actually says that. Or screams it, though that’s pretty fun to imagine. I figure everyone in the police station would drop dead if Saitou did that. Anyway, they must be waiting for me to say something.
But I can’t. I want them both, and I’m not going to settle for less. Mostly I’m not going to settle for losing one of them! It’s all starting to drive me a little crazy, though, since I also can’t manage to swing the situation I want.
It did seem kinda weird that two go-getter guys like Saitou and Sano haven’t either tried to push things farther in private. Push things. Farther in. (Sorry.) It took me a couple of days to figure that out, but I think I’ve got it now: one-upping each other is just as important to them as I am. They want to force me to choose, the assholes, and each one wants me to do it in front of the other. That’s why they parade their interaction with me all around mantis’s office and don’t do a lot when it’s just me alone with either one of them.
Maybe I’m wrong and they can share, though. If they could agree to me being with both of them behind the scenes (we’d have to stop all the office flirtation, mostly to keep the police station from catching on fire; and I’d have to resist the urge to talk my nuts off to either of them about the other and how good his dick feels and all that), I’d be mostly satisfied.
Except I don’t accept ‘mostly.’ I’ve realized I want them together too. It’s a pretty weird-shaped whale, but it just seems right, you know? Three of us in a happy group, and dicks everywhere like I mentioned before. If only I could get them to get along! The song scenario I already thought of comes back to me and makes me laugh. Maybe now’s the time to talk to each one about the other, and point out everything that’s great about him.
I feel like it shouldn’t be so hard in the first place. Heh, hard. It should be hard. But mantis obviously likes me, and I’m kinda like tori, so why can’t mantis like tori too? And I like mantis, and I’m kinda like tori, so why can’t tori like mantis? All right, that was confusing. The point is that we’re all compatible, though on the surface you might not see that.
And that’s why I’ve started imagining those two going at it. Well, I mean, they’re already both hot enough to justify fantasizing about together without all that. But I picture Saitou lasting long enough for Sano to come multiple times (shut up; it’s a fantasy), and Sano’s growling and moaning, and Saitou calls Sano ‘ahou’ but when he comes himself he grunts ‘I love you,’ and Sano’s eyes fly open and his mouth gapes and he falls completely back on the futon like he’s stunned, and he hasn’t come yet this time so Saitou sucks him off. It makes my toes curl just to start thinking about it.
Meanwhile, they’re still at each other’s throats. Heh. See above re:hickeys. They’re making this feel impossible, but they should know that just makes me more intense. I’m going to get them together if I have to tie them erotically to chairs and give them a long lecture. With diagrams.
If I think about it all in terms of just me and him (whichever him), I’ve got a huge, gorgeous sunrise in front of me the entire time. Over the last several days there’s been butt-squeezing and Leaning In and more gifts and conversations about shit I’m interested in — like ZANBATOU — and him (whichever him) acting like he’s interested too and my opinion matters and even some little compliments. It’s not enough to make me entirely optimistic, but it’s still better than before when I was secretly lonely.
You probably think I don’t like this job, especially after what I said before about only taking it to keep my ass out of jail. But really it’s fun, and gives me a regular paycheck (which is more than crispy Shishio ever did, poor guy), and it keeps me from ever being bored. And now it’s even more than that: it’s the place I go to see my boyfriends. (Been experimenting with that word even if it doesn’t apply yet.) It’s a place where I feel loved and valued, and can have some laughs and other good moments.
Today when I open the door into mantis’s office, I start to say something like ‘Bare your rear; Chou is here!’ like I normally do… but then my heart stops and I can’t move even a quarter of an organizational inch. Cranking and sputtering like an automobile (I’ve seen exactly one, but this is just like that), my heart gradually gets started again, and the blood rushes everywhere so I’m suddenly really hot. But my skin feels cold and prickly.
Because they’re just… smooching. No, actually, ‘just smooching’ doesn’t even half cover it. Tori’s sitting on mantis’s desk, right at the edge so, as he’s clamping his legs onto mantis’s hips between them, you might as well call it frottage. And mantis has his arms around tori in a tight squeeze, so possessive you can feel it coming off them in waves. And they’re tonguing each other so hard I think they’re going to choke. It’s like they’ve already been together forever.
For one tiny instant I think everything’s gone the way I wanted. I could just walk over there and join in.
But then Sano pulls back a little, and I can see their tongues still kinda reaching for each other like they can’t stand to let go — like two people holding hands who have to separate for a while, and their arms stretch out as they get farther away and their fingers slip out of each other’s with infinite regret. Hey, look at the words I’m using for this.
Sano looks in my direction, and he doesn’t see me. He’s radiant, but his eyes are so far away… I could be the door instead of just having come through it. He goes back to Saitou, who hasn’t even bothered to turn, and kisses him again.
And I get it. I get it now. This explains why they’ve mostly made sure to flirt with me in front of each other. This explains why they’ve never made a real move on me. This explains why half of what tori had to say when he was flirting was about mantis, and the other way ’round.
They’ve been playing off me — using me — to make each other jealous. Not over me… of me. And now they’ve got what they wanted, I might as well be part of the architecture.
I’m shaking. I can’t breathe. Everything was a big fat fucking lie. The implication of closeness, interest, even emotional investment. Everything.
And I’m shaking with rage.
I always thought Saitou could see anything coming. (I can’t even laugh over ‘coming.’ That’s how pissed I am.) But right now when I charge at him and slam a black-gloved fist into the side of his head, he sways a little and looks at me in surprise.
Sano’s swearing because Saitou accidentally bit his tongue, and I punch him next, right in the face. Then I just start hitting every part of them I can get at.
“You… fucking… shits…! you prolapsed camel anuses! puddles of cockroach bile! maggotty dripping pustules! long-ass nose hairs covered in snot! sons of inbred incontinent shit-eating dogs!”
Finally mantis, who’s extricated himself from between tori’s legs, catches both of my wrists and pushes me backwards and off balance. He’s got a weird look on his face that makes me go still. It’s a present look at last — he recognizes me and what’s going on — and it’s serious, and maybe kindof upset. His lips writhe like he doesn’t know what to say. Is he actually going to try apologizing?
No, not Saitou. “Get out,” he manages.
And, oh, shit, there are tears in my eyes. Actual tears. I know they’re partly from anger, but not completely. I can’t believe I’m here really crying in front of Saitou fucking Hajime. I stumble back when he lets go of my arms, hitting the door. Then, all jerky like a bad marionette, I turn and open it and get out.
All my joints fail, and I sit down abruptly against the other side, and just pant and gasp for a minute. I’m still shaking, and my heart is doing me a real pain. I always thought ‘heartbreak’ was a silly dramatic term people used for being really sad, but this actually hurts. As soon as I can stand up again, I’m going to run away from this fucking place and never look back.
It takes a while to notice that I can hear them through the door. Just what I need: to catch an earful of their gloating, or maybe fucking. But I still can’t move; it’s like there’s a pound of dirt in my belly holding me down. Though obviously I don’t eat dirt anymore.
“But, seriously, the mouth on that guy!” tori-atama’s saying. “Why’d you push him out, anyway?”
“I didn’t…” I bet mantis still doesn’t know what to say, since he veers off course. “To stop him trying to kill us.”
“I guess that makes sense.” Sano sounds unsure, like it doesn’t really make sense. “But…”
“All of this was wrong.” More decisive now. “And we need to talk about it.”
“You wanna talk?” Disappointed and annoyed, but neither feeling seems very intense.
“We hurt him. I didn’t expect that.”
“Yeah…” Sounds like Sano’s giving in and agreeing to ‘talk about it.’ “Yeah, I didn’t expect he’d take it so hard. I thought he’d just laugh it off, but it seems like he really does want to take it so hard.” He chortles, and I can’t help a little snort of amusement on my side of the door. God, I love that guy. And that hurts.
Did I really just use the ‘L’ word? Right after he stabbed me in the back? Well, why the hell not. I’ve got nothing else to lose.
“Ahou. Be serious.”
“All right. Totally seriously — do you think he’ll be all right?”
“You saw his face. Do you think he will?”
“Shit…” Sano pauses for a second, and I wish I could see what he’s doing. “We’ve really been assholes, haven’t we?”
“We have. You started it, but then we both continued it.”
By now I’m on my knees pressing my ear against the crack near the latch, hoping nobody passes by out here. It’s not like I don’t work for mantis; but even that wouldn’t make me look less weird and suspicious.
“Shit,” tori repeats, and sounds completely downcast now. But he doesn’t offer anything else, and doesn’t even try to deny that he started it.
This apparently makes mantis impatient. “We went too far, and didn’t realize what effect that would have on him, so we need to decide what to do about it.”
“Well, I don’t have any ideas!” I can picture tori throwing his hands in the air.
And mantis is probably staring tori down while he drums his fingers on the desk as he says, “But you care about him enough to think about it.”
“Yeah… I guess I do.”
That warm thing that squiggles around in my chest when I’m with either of these guys seems like it’s waking up again, just when I thought it had drowned in my tears and gone to squiggly warm thing heaven. I don’t want it to wake up again. I mean, what are they going to do — buy me an inkstand with ‘World’s Best Almost Boyfriend’ engraved on it, and expect everything to be fine?
Sano elaborates. “He’s been a lot of fun to be around since I started working here — and a lot of fun to flirt with for the last few weeks. I never even thought he might take me seriously.”
“But since he did…” Saitou prompts.
I imagine tori’s glare when he protests, “You were doing it too! It’s only half my fault! You need to be thinking of ideas too!”
There’s a long silence, I guess while they think of ideas, and then mantis says, “Chou has been fun. Yes,” he adds in response to something I can’t see, “I am capable of having fun. Even before you worked here, he… amused me.”
“Well, you don’t have to gush about it.” I’m sure tori’s rolling his eyes. “Tone down the language a little!”
“Ahou. You’re annoying, and so is he. And you’re both very entertaining.”
“He is, isn’t he.” Sano gives a growling sigh. “I never thought — don’t get me wrong; I really loved my zanbatou, but I never thought talking about swords could ever be very interesting… but he gets so excited about them. It’s… cute. And he knows his shit. I don’t think he’s ever seen a sword he can’t tell you something about.”
Saitou says nothing, but I like to think he’s nodding.
“Whenever you’ve sent us both out on an assignment, I’ve always felt like he totally has my back. I guess it’s felt like that even more these past… however-many days. Like he’s really a comrade, you know? Like we’re tight.”
And, dammit, if that isn’t the exact term I used before to describe my relationship with Sano. That stupid squiggly thing is feeding off this conversation and getting bigger. And it isn’t going to go anywhere, so I really should. But my face is stuck to the door like it’s been glued there. And they’re the fucking glue.
“It seems strange to say, but, yes, there’s always been a kind of loyalty about him that I didn’t anticipate. I know he had a certain… ‘fondness’ isn’t the right word, but it’s close enough… for Shishio, but I don’t think he ever worked as hard for Shishio as he has for me.”
Of course I worked hard for you, asshole. I wanted to wow you, even if I didn’t realize it. I wanted to make you happy, and didn’t recognize that either. I loved you and never knew it. I actually kinda want to burst in there and say it all to his face.
“Remember when we met him in that jail cell?”
“I remember meeting you in a jail cell first.”
“Ah, he and I were so mad at you,” Sano goes on reminiscently.
“And then you and I were mad at him.”
“Well, I was kinda pissed with him the entire time. And you just piss people off in general. Besides, you and I weren’t mad at Chou right then; it was Shishio and his stupid Kyoto Taika. You were setting him and me against each other.”
“This isn’t helping us decide how to respond to the current situation.”
“Nah, I’m just making a point.”
“And what is that?” I know from mantis’s supercilious tone that he’s actually a lot more curious than he lets on. I’m sure curious.
“Think about it–”
Saitou cuts him off, interrupting all superior like he does. “Whatever it is, I probably thought of it long before you did.” Which honestly just sounds childish. Which is funny and cute.
“Pff. Fine, fine, you jerk. But how long did it take you and me to admit we liked each other?”
“To ourselves, or to each other?”
“Both! We realized it, and then we spent forever ‘accidentally’ running into each other and arguing over stupid shit.”
“And then we spent weeks accidentally breaking Chou’s heart.”
“All right, I’m just going to come out and say it: you like him, and you never realized it until you started flirting with him. I know you like him, because you never would’ve even noticed his face just now, or cared at all about messing him up, if you didn’t.”
The heart they spent weeks breaking stops entirely, and I hold my breath waiting for mantis’s response. Silence for a long time, as if tori completely broke the boss with that statement. Or maybe mantis is in there choking Sano to death for daring to suggest he likes me.
Only then finally Saitou says, “So do you.”
“See, I have a much easier time admitting it than you do. Yeah, I like him, and, yeah, it took flirting with him to figure it out. He’s funny, and a good fighter, and he has nice arms.”
And now that blood is pumping again, so much that I can hardly examine my arms, which I never thought of as the feature anyone would fix on. But, yeah, I guess they are pretty nice.
Then it starts rushing around so hard that all sorts of things are throbbing, including my spinning head, when mantis says, “If you’re still trying to make me jealous, it’s not working, since I agree on all counts.”
Tori laughs. “If I’d known all it took to get you to agree with me was accidentally developing a thing for houki, I’da started flirting with him way earlier.” His voice turns regretful, and he sighs, “I just wish we’d figured this out before we started screwing around with him.”
“So do I, but, again, this isn’t helping us decide what to do about it now.”
“You keep saying that and never coming up with any ideas!”
“Because you’re the one chattering away, ahou.”
“Oh, fuck you,” says Sano amiably. I guess it is pretty cheerful to have Saitou give you an insulting pet name. “You know what the answer is as well as I do.”
I hold my breath as I get slowly to my feet. This’ll be the moment that decides what I’ll do right now too.
“That’s the answer he certainly wants, and we do owe him something. But is it the answer you want?”
“Yeah,” tori responds immediately, and now I feel like my heart is literally sparkling; if someone came along and looked at me right now, they’d think I had an explosive hidden in my clothing. Heh. “What about you?”
Mantis takes an audible breath and says, “Yes.”
Sano replies with some expression of wonder at Saitou being so open and honest at the moment (with a little wagging-tail addition that mantis is still the most uptight and secretive among us), but I only half catch it as I fling the door open and then closed behind me.
Mantis is looking out the window, while tori’s leaning back against the desk. That makes it easier to decide who’s first, since it means Sano’s closer. “Hey, dick-face,” I say to get his attention (just in case me bursting into the room didn’t do it). I’ve covered the space in half a second, and then I grab him by the edges of his tacky gi as if I want to lift him off the ground, and stuff my tongue into his mouth.
And actually he does lift a bit, backwards so he’s sitting on the edge of the desk again. Only this time it’s not mantis between his legs; it’s me. He makes a surprised humming sound, and I just keep pushing forward. Sano’s hands run up my arms, one of them inside my sleeve, and settle on my biceps; guess he really does like ’em.
Ideally I’d drag this kiss out for 148 years, but there are other things on my to-do list. It’s tough to pull away, though.
“If I’m a dick-face…” tori gasps out when his wet lips are free, “did that count as a blowjob?”
I laugh and kiss him again, just real quick, and then twist around, forcing him to let go of me, to look at mantis.
I think Saitou’s always going to be the most restrained one in this… new relationship? …because that’s the way he is normally (though I know now he can flirt and act all romantic when he wants to, what with things like I’m his whole world or the only person that lives in his world? or something). At the moment, though he’s watching us with a clearly approving smirk, he hasn’t left the windowsill. He’s waiting for me to come to him. He even beckons once I’m facing him.
I pull away from Sano with some disappointment, but at the same time I’m excited to go to Saitou. Is it always going to be like this — from one good thing to another and back? A little voice tells me not to be so sure of myself; it’s possible I misinterpreted, and there won’t be any ‘always.’ It’s pretty hard to listen to that, though. Their intentions couldn’t be more clear if they were sunburned onto their asses.
I slide my fingers between Saitou’s, so our gloved hands are like the moon and its shadow, light grey and leather black. I am not implying the moon is made of leather and anyway Saitou is kissing me now so the moon is not important oh wow. He plants his free hand on the small of my back and presses me against him from that point downward. The kiss goes on, and I am literally weak at the knees.
Once again I’d rather let this continue past the average human lifespan, and once again I have to end it. And it’s so typical of them that, where Sano makes a silly sex joke, Saitou is way more serious. “I take it you’ve forgiven us, then.”
I look him in the yellow eyes, and it really doesn’t matter that he’s the most restrained one; I can tell he’s asking a concerned question in his own bastardly way. I shake the stupid smile off my swollen lips and answer. “Listening at the door gave me some time to think.” (Yes, I was thinking during all of that. Most of that. Shut up.) “I already knew you guys were insensitive assholes. It only took me by surprise this time ’cause I was the one getting the shit end of the deal. But I figure if I can put up with it when you’re pointing it at someone else, I can deal when it’s pointed at me. I’m pretty much the same way, so I guess we all gotta get used to it.”
“That’s… an interesting way of looking at it,” says mantis.
“Convoluted, just like everything you say.” Suddenly tori’s voice is right by my ear. He pauses with a hand on my shoulder, and I’m just waiting for him to do something else. But instead he goes on more soberly (sobriety is not what we need here). “Before this, I wouldn’t have said I’m an insensitive asshole. But this proved it. So… I promise to try not to be.”
“Oh, yeah, me too,” I say immediately. I mean it, but at this point it’s like, anything to move things forward. “At least towards you two.”
Then Sano tilts his chin up to rest it on my shoulder, so we’re both looking at Saitou. Mantis gives a long-suffering sigh, and pauses just like Sano did. I think tori and I both get the impression, though, that he won’t say anything unless we harass him about it.
“You don’t have to promise right away,” says Sano in this really patronizing tone like he’s talking to a little kid. It turns as evil as his clothing (see what I did there? fucking ugly fashion) as he adds, “You’re only up against Chou’s face from before, so if you can handle that, I guess you don’t have to promise at all.”
I try to mimic my expression from earlier when Saitou kicked me out of the office… but not only do I have no idea what it actually looked like, now the whale is plugged, and I can’t not show it. Plus my dick is getting kinda hard, and mantis is in a position to be aware of that and not take any kind of sad face very seriously. It makes me laugh, actually, and completely destroys whatever chance I had.
Mantis snorts. “I suppose I can make an exception for you two. But don’t expect anything more than that.”
“That’s really all I wanted to hear,” tori grins, then turns to mouth my ear way more deliberately this time than he ever did while he was just flirting.
“I’ve got…” Shit, it’s hard to talk with Sano doing that. “Mmm, I’ve got more… expectations than that.”
“Hn.” Saitou’s lips are on mine again, and Sano’s are on my neck, and their hands are so efficient. There go my swords, clattering to the floor along with the straps that held them in place. There goes my belt, and the tie to my kimono, letting it just drop open. Fingers… fingers on my nipples. Ohhhhwow. And there goes the tie to my pants, which end up around my calves. If I’d realized today would be a dream come true, I wouldn’t have worn the tall boots.
Another hand grips my dick through my underwear and starts massaging. I’m spinning; I’m limp in the two pairs of arms holding me up, whimpering. But at the same time, there is a kind of warning going off in my head, a sort of last holdout against giving in, the remaining shreds of worry and unhappiness from earlier that’s like, Where are they actually going with this, though? With an effort as massive as my near-perfect erection I manage, “Don’t tease… what you’re not gonna… follow up on.”
Saitou gives me a very predatory look and says, “Sano, lock the door.”