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The Long View Down

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THE GOODBYE

The aerodrome was quieter than he expected this early in the morning. Kim had barely slept a wink between Rina falling asleep on their bed, and the strange sort of tension that blanketed over him and Harry.

That was to be expected, of course.

But it had happened. And here they were standing waiting on the lower deck for the ship that would take Rina away from Revachol for a very long time.

Earlier that morning, they’d returned to the Kineema with some equipment to patch the fuel tank. Then, a brief detour to Kim’s apartment to pick up another set of glasses with the correct prescription, so he could retake the wheel to guide them through back alleys into Jamrock. Afterwards, Harry slipped into the bank where Rina had her security deposit box to pick up her documentation and whatever cash Juliette had managed to hide.

It wasn’t much, but it would at least get her out of danger and headed on her way to Graad.

Harry shoved his hands in his pockets, looking over his shoulders as they waited on a wooden bench near the terminal. Revacholian flags flew proudly overhead as station attendants wandered and janitorial staff picked up garbage. The cafes hadn’t even opened yet. Nobody would listen in on them here.

“It’s strange,” Rina said. “I’ve never been out of Revachol before, and now I’m probably never coming back.”

Kim glanced at Harry. This was a risk, letting a potential suspect go without their investigation reaching a natural end. But it was true—she would die if she stayed here any longer. Miraculous she’d stayed alive at all. He leaned forward on his knees, looking at her next to him on the bench.

“Rina, a deal is a deal. You have to tell us what you know.”

“It better be some good shit,” Harry added. “This is so above and beyond I don’t even know how many rules we’re breaking. Not that I care.”

At least he hadn’t begged anyone for money this time, or completely lost his mind. Kim considered the investigation to be a step up, really.

Rina drew in a deep breath, fidgeting with the sheaf of papers in her fingers. “It’s... such a mess. It’s the real reason THE MAN didn’t want me getting away. What I know about his operation, and about what Juliette had to do with it.”

Kim took out his notebook. “Go on.”

RINA REN indicates that the true reason JULIETTE D’ARGENT was in connection with THE MAN was a money laundering scheme through the place of her employment.

REN provided a list of names involved. Further investigation required—will pass this off to narcotics & financial crime.

THE MAN suspected that D’ARGENT was skimming funds off the top greater than her cut of profit. Indicated to REN that he was going to dispose of her.

Kim stared down at the words and realized that there were angles to this case that they hadn’t even begun to tap into. Above him, Harry made a soft sound.

“Did the investment firm uncover what she was doing?” Harry asked.

“I don’t think so. I don’t know for sure,” Rina said. “She hid her tracks well. But the things she told me… I don’t understand money very well, but she kept saying there was some kind of market crash coming to Revachol.”

Kim chewed his lip. That would track, what with the union locking down the harbour, the general unrest in the city.

“She started taking more and more from him,” Rina said. “She got more panicked.”

“THE MAN couldn’t have killed her,” Harry said. “He has no connection with the fiance. There’s no reason for him to break into the apartment to kill her, or leave her body the way we found it.”

“It wasn’t him. I would’ve known if it was,” Rina said. “But she was frantic… we were going to save more money, but then all of a sudden with what she knew, she wanted to leave right away.”

“When she moved into the fiance’s house.” Kim tapped his pen on the page.

“Did she ever talk about how Gene felt about her moving out to live with him?” Harry asked.

Confused, Rina made a face. “Only that she couldn’t wait to get away from him. After their father died, she became like his other parent. Gene… he needed her too much.”

Harry stroked his chin. “Do you think it’s possible that he wanted to kill her?”

Realization slowly dawned on her face. “What—why do you say that?”

“It was something he said the last time we spoke to him.” Harry started pacing, gesturing as he spoke. “That there was evidence on the fiance, that he had to have been the one. We know Gene had access to the apartment, and was helping move boxes—it would be the perfect way to move a body. He’s just a kid. The cleanup job wasn’t very thorough, so it tracks for what a teenage boy would do in a panic. It gives him a person to point the finger at, one he clearly didn’t like to begin with.”

“He killed her for leaving him?” Rina murmured. “But, her fiance—”

“Has a fairly strong alibi,” Kim said. “We need to question the brother more thoroughly.”

Rina’s eyes welled up with tears. “You mean all this fucking time, I’ve been mad at the wrong person?”

“We don’t know for certain. At this point, it’s conjecture.” Kim jotted down some more notes. “We’ll need a confession.”

She covered her face with her hand momentarily, trying to pull herself together. “God, it feels wrong running away without even getting justice for her… I’m such a coward.”

“We’ll catch him for you, Rina. Don’t you worry about that,” Harry said. “Besides, she’d want you to go. She’d want you to be safe.”

“I don’t want to forget about her,” Rina said. “I don’t want to forget her face. I don’t want to forget the way she sounded.”

Harry crouched down in front of her. He took her small hands in his own, smiling up at her. “You won’t forget her. Trust me.”

Looking at his partner, Kim could see the phantom handprints on Harry’s skin, the ones that had touched him and left him this broken man. He was right. There were things one could never forget, not with drink, with drugs, nor with self-flagellation.

On the horizon, the lights of an incoming airship. A crackling voice on the intercom speakers overhead filtered through, announcing its arrival.

Harry stepped back, allowing Rina to stand. She clutched her papers to her chest, her eyes growing frantic. “This is it.”

A small cue gathered around the gate, people with morning coffees, people saying their goodbyes as they went off on business trips. Rina started forward with Kim following, but Harry lingered back.

Kim glanced over his shoulder. “Detective?”

“I’m not so good with goodbyes,” Harry said, looking out at the sky where the airship gently descended into the docking station. He turned to Rina. “So… guess I’ll see you around?”

She ran back to him, stealing a hug. “Bye Harry. Tell Jean I said bye, too, won’t you?”

“Bye, Rina. Stay out of trouble.”

“No promises,” she said, with a grin.

Kim met Harry’s eyes and gave him a nod, before turning back towards the cue, getting into the short line beside Rina. He clasped his hands behind his back, while Rina fidgeted from foot to foot.

“Do you think there are a lot of Seolites in Graad?” she asked.

“Likely not anymore than there are here.”

She nodded, and went quiet for a moment. More people joined the queue.

“Do you think I’m going to be okay?” she asked, in a smaller voice.

He smiled down at her. “I think you’ll be just fine, Rina.”

“What about you?” She tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, turning to him. “Will you be okay?”

Kim’s smile receded. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?”

She looked at him, then turned back to where they’d left Harry.

“Look, you helped me, so I’m gonna help you.” Rina tugged his arm out of its deathgrip behind his back, her bare fingers tangling with his gloved ones. “Don’t wait. Don’t end up like me.”

Too late, he thought, and too young to say something like that with her whole life ahead of her. Ahead of them, the doors out to the dock opened. Staff moved to the desks, and started moving passengers through, onboarding them. Rina’s hand tightened around his.

They stepped forward as the cue moved. “What am I going to do?”

“Whatever you want. It’s a new start,” Kim said.

They got towards the ticket taker, and Rina sniffed, her eyes watering. She practically threw herself at Kim in a hug, and he grunted in almost surprise.

“Goodbye. I won’t forget you.” Rina stepped back, her eyes bright with unshed tears. “Get into some trouble for me, okay?”

Kim smiled. “Be safe.”

He watched her get onto the airship, feeling a strange sort of loss in the bottom of his chest. It had only been days of knowing her, but here he stood, letting a person of interest escape the city on an airship. What kind of cop was he? Since meeting Harry Du Bois, perhaps he had changed a little.

He started back towards his partner, a strange tension tightened his gut. This would be their first moment alone since the tryst in their room at the Whirling. If Harry wanted to talk about it, it would have to wait until after they were finished with their work.

Or forever. Never would be fine.

As he approached, Harry stopped pacing the floor, his hands shoved in his pockets. He had beyond a five o’clock shadow at this point, the beginnings of a beard growing in, and there were circles around his eyes. He had showered at least—they both had, awkwardly, stepping wide circles around one another that morning. He gave Kim a ragged half-smile as he caught sight of him, a small wave. Kim almost stopped dead in his tracks.

Ah. How unfortunate that Rina Ren had been extremely accurate in her intuition.

“Hey,” Harry said. “Is she all good?”

“I think she’ll be okay.” Kim fell into step beside him, composing himself. He adjusted his glasses. “What next, detective?”

“Food. Coffee. Getting the hell out of this place.”

“After you.”

They left the aerodrome and hit a nearby cafe, taking an outdoor table where the morning light had warmed the iron furniture. Coffee was a welcome addition to Kim’s bloodstream, and Harry seemed to get some colour back in his face after they couldn’t see the airfield any longer, and once he’d wolfed back a greasy egg sandwich. Harry wiped his fingers off on his pants and left smudges in their wake, then sucked them the rest of the way clean.

Kim averted his eyes to his notes when Harry caught him looking. “I think it would be a good idea to check on Satellite-officer Vicquemare. He’s at a hospital in Jamrock. It’s not too far of a drive.”

“Yeah, I’m sure he’ll love that.”

He tapped his pen against his lower lip. Of course he had an ulterior motive of smoothing over Harry’s earlier infarction—he didn’t need Vicquemare spreading his business around.

Next to him, Harry ran a hand through his hair. He could feel him nervously fidgeting, the same way he got whenever he was gearing up to ask something massively inappropriate.

“Hey, Kim?”

“Yes?”

Harry looked out at the street, where motor cars passed and one lone tree grew on the other side of the road.

“You wouldn’t get on one of those airships, would you?”

Kim thought for a moment. He looked at Harry, at the worry he tried and failed to hide.

“I don’t think so,” Kim answered.

Harry’s relief was palpable. “Good.”

Kim belonged to Revachol. There was no leaving, not for him.


The hospital where Vicquemare stayed had withstood the war in Revachol. Many of the moorings had been kissed by mortar fire, so half of the building was new, done up with glass and concrete rather than brick. The new side of the building felt bright and well-kempt, where the older side smelled strongly of mildew and disinfectant, with iron pipes lining along the ceilings.

They walked down the hall in the old wing, Kim following the ascending numbers until they came across Vicquemare’s room. They stopped at the closed door, Harry smoothing back his hair in attempts to put himself together.

“He’s gonna be pissed we got him shot, isn’t he?” Harry asked.

“Likely.” Kim took the door handle, opening it.

Vicquemare sat propped halfway upright in the hospital bed, his hair slick with grease and laid flat over his head. He wore a hospital gown, blanket draped over his lap, covering the heavy bandaging. He looked like a miserable cat left out in the rain overnight, and his frown only deepened as Harry sheepishly walked into the room.

“How ya holding up, Jean?” Harry asked.

“Never better. My liver was only mildly perforated, I am on some truly fantastic opioids and I will live another day.”

Kim linked his hands behind his back and remained standing, while Harry took a seat in a wobbly chair beside Vicquemare’s bed. This was already awkward. He would let Harry flounder for a little while.

Vicquemare shook his head. “I almost thought you weren’t going to show up.”

“Why wouldn’t I show up? I give a shit about you.”

“Do you?” It seemed like an honest question. His eyes flicked to where Kim stood. “Or did he put you up to this?”

“No,” Kim lied.

The suspicious expression on Vicquemare’s face receded slightly, but didn’t disappear altogether. He crossed his arms with a wince, addressing the two of them. “So, what happened with Rina? Judit said you *abandoned* me to go after her.”

“She got on an airship earlier this morning. She’s safe,” Harry said.

“You let a person of interest get away?” Vicquemare asked.

Harry’s hackles raised, but the anger quickly disappeared and gave way to regret. “We couldn’t just let her get killed.”

“Unlike ole’ Jean, eh? But I suppose I am not a beautiful woman.”

Silence. Kim awkwardly coughed into his hand. “It was not his sole decision, Satellite-officer. We eliminated Rina as a suspect, and made the executive decision to assist her. There’s no sense in endangering her life anymore than we already have.”

“Besides, we have a credible suspect,” Harry said.

“Oh?”

They spent some time explaining Juliette’s connection to THE MAN, her covert dealings, as well as their suspicion with the brother. With this, Vicquemare relaxed in increments. It seemed, indeed, that Harry Du Bois was doing actual police work and not passed out in a ditch somewhere.

“Well,” Vicquemare said, “It seems as though you still have a lot of work to do on this case. No one charged, no murder weapon.”

Harry sighed. “Are you ever gonna give me a break?”

Vicquemare looked at him. “No,” he said. “Asshole.”

Still, he smiled a little. Harry smiled back, however brief.

“Then we should return to our investigation, detective,” Kim said. He adjusted his glasses. “We have a murderer to catch.”

Harry stood up, then reached to grab Vicquemare’s shoulder. It turned into an outright hug, Vicquemare grimacing while Harry crushed him in his arms. “Don’t you get shot on me again, asshole! You’re not allowed to die!”

“Let go of me, you absolute idiot!”

Vicquemare pushed him off, flustered, but not actively angry. Harry had tears in his eyes and sniffled as he stood back.

“Detective, I’d like a moment alone with the satellite-officer, if you would,” Kim said.

A shared look between them, and Harry went towards the door. He paused, turning back to Vicquemare. “Oh—Rina told me to tell you she said goodbye.”

“Ah,” Vicquemare said. He did look genuinely sad. “Goodbye and good riddance to the little menace.”

Harry smiled, and left. The door clicked with a quiet noise, and Kim sat down in the chair at Vicquemare’s bedside.

“What can I do for you, Lieutenant Kitsuragi?” Vicquemare said in a neutral tone. “I’m afraid I won’t last a hell of a lot longer with the drugs in my system.”

“Of course. I won’t trouble you for more than a moment.”

Vicquemare’s eyes narrowed. He scoffed. “If this is about—I don’t care. I don’t want to know. As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t hear a damn word, as long as it doesn’t affect your job.”

Too late. Still, Vicquemare didn’t have to know.

“What I wanted to say was,” Kim said, “thank you for watching after our witness. It’s unfortunate you were injured in the process, and I wanted to let you know I’m at your disposal if you need anything.”

Vicquemare’s eyes lowered. “Well… keep doing what you’re doing, lieutenant. I haven’t seen Harry sober for more than a few hours at a time in years. I didn’t smell any booze on him. What have you done with him?”

Jacked him off with a witness in the next room.

“Nothing you didn’t already try, I’m certain. Perhaps he’s finally ready to change.”

Perhaps not. It had only been days since he’d found him on the floor in the throes of an overdose, but Kim wasn’t the type of person to be needlessly pessimistic. At least not out loud.

“I think he likes you more than me,” Vicquemare said, with a sniff.

“You were his partner for a long time. You mean a lot to him.”

He didn’t seem so convinced. Kim nodded, standing up. He waited patiently, and Vicquemare reluctantly extended his hand.

“I appreciate you checking in, lieutenant,” Vicquemare said.

Kim shook his hand. “Anytime, Satellite-officer.”

He left Vicquemare’s room, finding Harry loitering around outside. With a single look, they were off, headed out to the Kineema in the parking lot. Kim honestly felt bad. He never treated his motor carriage this poorly, but they couldn’t afford to stop now. There would be time after to manage the disarray this case had left in his life.

He needed a break. He could feel the threads at his self-control pulling in a way they rarely did. He wanted to be alone, not crowded in the Kineema with Harry and the memory of last night smothering him.

Sliding the keys into the ignition, he started when Harry’s hand grabbed his wrist.

“Hey—maybe before we go anywhere,” Harry started. “We should talk about last night.”

Kim kept his eyes forward. “Detective, we are working. If anything, we should be discussing how we’re going to accuse our suspect instead.”

“Kim, we can take a few minutes to talk about this, or I’m gonna lose my fucking mind worse than I already have.”

“I believe it’s conducive to focus on the case then, don’t you?” He glanced at Harry, raising an eyebrow.

Harry kept looking at him in the passenger seat. It was obvious he wasn’t going to let this go. “Kim—”

Kim sighed. “Alright. What did you want to say then?”

“Fuck, why are you acting like—what am I to you?”

Kim found himself lost for words. What *was* Harry to him? The way Harry looked at him, the expression on his face strained with nerves—the answer was important to him.

“You’re my superior, lieutenant double-yefreitor,” Kim answered, carefully.

Harry sat back in his seat, wiping his hand over his mouth. Not satisfied, then. Kim felt a little twinge in his chest over disappointing him, but he was already mixed up in Harry’s life as much as it is. Any more and he would start to seriously compromise his already compromised values. It was easier this way.

“Yeah, and I’m also the same guy you pulled off the ground like two days ago. It didn’t seem to fucking matter to you when you were covering for my shit, or getting drunk at my house, or letting me pry into your life. Kim, you don’t fool me for a second—”

His temper flared. He couldn’t help it, he was at the end of his rope. “What would you like me to say, detective? That coming onto you was extremely unprofessional? That fraternizing with you could cost me my job and my reputation? That you get to go around being a human *disaster* with little consequence because of the matters of your *race* and your presumed *hetero-sexuality*, but I have one little slip up and it could effectively end my life as I know it?”

He gripped the wheel, struggling to maintain his composure. “You think you understand, Harry, but you don’t.”

Kim closed his eyes. He didn’t want to be cruel.

Beside him, Harry struggled to keep still. The Kineema seemed too small to contain this awful tension between them.

“Help me to understand, then, Kim.”

He said nothing. He didn’t owe Harry an explanation. Getting into the specifics of his history of botched relationships, and his lethal inability to separate his personal life from his private one would only lead to more questioning. It was in his partner’s nature to push every possible limit with him, but some things were still too personal. Even thinking about Eyes made him go somewhere dark, let alone saying it aloud.

After a moment, Kim cleared his throat and spoke in a very small voice. “I—we have a case to solve, detective.”

“Kim—”

“Harry, *please.*”

Harry stared at him. Kim turned the ignition, praying that the engine would turn over and start. Mercifully it did, and without another word between them, they continued on.


The D’Argent home was exactly how they’d left it, only Imanuelle opened the door when they knocked this time. Dressed from head to toe in a gauzy black gown, complete with mourning veil, she floated into the sitting room ahead of them, an eerie repeat of their first interaction.

“How are the arrangements coming?” Harry asked. His gaze tracked around the room, as if looking for a way out.

“As well as they can be,” she said, in a solemn tone. “At least she can be put to rest. She’ll be with her father.”

“Would you please call Gene down?” Kim asked. He remained standing, even as Harry took a very stiff seat on the sofa.

“Of course,” Imanuelle said, softly. “My apologies—he’s been locked up in his room most days. He misses his sister desperately.”

“We can only imagine,” Kim deadpanned.

She went to the banister and called for her son. He came down, his shoulders slumped and lacking the haughtiness that so defined him that first meeting. She led him into the room past where Kim stood, the little dog Manon trailing after him only to jump up into his lap when he sat down in one of the armchairs.

“Would you like to sit down, Lieutenant?” Imanuelle asked him.

“I would prefer to stand.”

Imanuelle glanced at Gene, who’d started to shift uncomfortably in his seat. “Have you found my daughter’s killer?”

For the duration of their short conversation, Harry stared at Gene. The boy only seemed to notice after a moment, clutching at the dog in his lap. “Why are you looking at me like that? What’s your problem, pig?”

“What happened between you and your sister, Gene?” Harry asked.

“Excuse me?” Imanuelle flew to her feet.

“We’re here to take him in. We know what happened,” Harry continued. A lie. “We just want to know why.”

Kim waited for a reaction. Gene’s hands dug into the dog’s fur, but he didn’t speak. Instead, his mother swooped in once again. She put herself physically in front of Harry, and he sat up straighter to look up at her.

“What proof do you have exactly, then?” Imanuelle’s hands balled into tight little fists at her sides.

“The doorman noticed your son leaving with boxes,” Kim added. “We deduced that was how the body of your daughter was carried down from her fiance’s apartment unnoticed.”

“That proves nothing,” Imanuelle said. She turned back to her son. “Genie, you don’t worry now, dearest. Mummy will get rid of these awful men.” Fixing her eyes on Harry and Kim, there was nothing but derision there. “Get out of my home.”

Harry stood to his full height, taller than her, forcing her to crane her neck up. “Getting a little too close to the truth, are we?”

The dog yelped as Gene squeezed too hard, then scrambled off his lap. “Shut up,” Gene said. “I didn’t—I would never do *anything* like that.”

“She was moving out. She was leaving you behind in this mausoleum, leaving you all alone,” Harry continued.

“Don’t talk to him. Get out of my house,” Imanuelle said, forcing him to back up.

“It would benefit your son to be honest.” Kim linked his fingers behind his back. “Cooperating with us would make this process smoother.”

“He won’t speak to any of you without a legal representative.” Imanuelle crossed her arms. “Now get out of my house.”

Harry kept looking past her, to where Gene wrung his hands. He avoided looking at any of the other people in the room. Kim watched the side of Harry’s face, not moving an inch.

“It was an accident, wasn’t it?” Harry asked, softening his voice. “You were mad at her.”

“Enough,” Imanuelle insisted.

“After your dad died, she was the only one there for you. She took care of you. You used to sneak into her bed at night, even when you grew up and got bigger than her.”

Imanuelle physically shoved him. Harry didn’t budge.

“You knew about the cuts on her wrists. You knew that she wanted to get away. I wonder, did you two have a fight? Did you beg for her not to go? Did she throw it in your face?”

“I didn’t mean to.” Gene’s hands tensed.

Kim drew in a quiet breath.

“You had a fight, like siblings do. In the kitchen, in her fiance’s apartment. She picked up a knife, didn’t she? Held it to her wrist, trying to get you to back off, and you just—got mad. It wasn’t fair that she was going away like that. You loved her more than anyone ever could, and she was going to take it away from you.”

“She told me she would never leave me!” Gene shouted. His eyes filled with angry tears, and he slapped a hand over his mouth as soon as the words had come out.

“Gene,” Imanuelle said, her voice razor sharp. “Shut up.”

“But—”

“*Shut up!*.”

Gene shut his mouth. He sat there, nervously fidgeting in the seat.

Neither Kim nor Harry made a move. Imanuelle stared them down with the contempt that only a mother could hold for someone threatening her child.

It was a confession. Kim steeled himself, pulling out his cuffs.

“I’m not certain what you’re expecting to accomplish here,” Imanuelle said, tightly. “You have no proof. My child lost his sister. He’s distressed.”

“We’re taking him into the station,” Kim said, simply.

“So?” She sniffed. “I have friends in the Moralintern. If you attempt to charge my son, the case will simply be thrown out. Gene D’Argent is a good boy from a prolific family. You’ve wasted your time chasing after the wrong suspect.”

Harry stroked his chin. He didn’t say anything.

“Gene, you are being charged with the murder of Juliette D’Argent,” Kim said.

Imanuelle’s eyes blinked rapidly. She stood up very straight, as if someone had rammed a steel rod up her spine. She motioned her son over. “I’ll take him,” she said. “You will not *handcuff* my boy.”

“How long did you know?” Harry asked. “Did you help him clean it up?”

She stared back at him defiantly, refusing to answer.

“Long enough for you to have already forgiven him for it,” Harry murmured.

“You don’t understand what it’s like to be a mother,” Imanuelle said. “My son is all I have left in this world. What would you have me do? Abandon him?”

She clutched at her son’s shoulders. Gene trembled, his lower lip sucked between his teeth. He looked like a doughy toddler despite being taller than her.

“My daughter didn’t appreciate everything this family gave her. She was never pleased with anything, even before her father passed.” Imanuelle shook her head. “Her pain has finally been taken away. That doesn’t mean we should all stop living.”

Kim stood very still for a long moment. A surge of disgust went through him. He wisely kept his mouth shut.

“You never gave a shit about her, did you? Your kid cared more, and he killed her.” Harry shook his head, reaching to take Gene by the shoulder despite his mother’s protestations. “Come on, we’re going to the precinct.”

Gene resisted, starting to whine high in his throat. Imanuelle took his other arm.

“Don’t worry, darling. I’ll fix this.”

Harry led the boy ahead with his mother tight to his side. Kim watched them go, and took one last look back at the foyer. The painting of Juliette stared back at him with her false smile, and Kim turned away, heading out the door behind his partner.


GENE D’ARGENT taken in for questioning. Process interrupted by MORALINTERN agents at the behest of IMANUELLE D’ARGENT. Case is now in their jurisdiction and out of the 41st’s hands.

RCM officers unable to continue questioning. Bail posted.

Conviction unlikely.

This was an utter waste of—

Kim downed a coffee, rubbing at his eyes under his glasses as he reviewed notes. They weren’t even done for the day and he already felt a headache coming on. Across from him, Judit sat at her desk, writing down her own report with bleary eyes.

“You okay?” Harry asked from where he sat at his desk.

“Yes,” Kim said. “It’s... been a trying week.”

Harry regarded him for a moment. “Yeah. I’m pissed off, too.”

“There’s simply nothing we can do. This is out of our hands now.”

“I’m still fucking pissed off.”

“At the very least, we got Rina away safely.”

“Yeah. Although we gotta tell that sad rich fuck that he’s off the hook.”

“Ah. Yes, we do.”

Harry scratched his chin. “You sure we can’t let him squirm a little longer?”

Kim smiled, shaking his head. “That would be unethical.”

“We can get dinner first, can’t we?”

He seemed hopeful. That was far too endearing for his own good.

Kim looked over to Judit. “Officer Minot, head home after you finish that report. Thank you for all your hard work.”

“You’re sure?” She appeared almost relieved. The exhaustion she’d been warding off with coffee and a strict resolve had crept into her face.

“Yes,” Kim answered. “You did well.”

She almost smiled, but caught herself. Looking back at her notes, Kim wondered how much taking Harry’s side had damaged his reputation in her eyes. Even though the case was solved, there would always be another.

Kim rose, gesturing to Harry. “After you.”


Kim parked the Kineema near Harry’s place, leaning back in his seat. The engine sputtered, on its last legs—he would have to do some serious body work on it when he got it back home. Probably have to buy a whole other gas tank, and the window would need to be fully replaced. At least it hadn’t been raining, a cool breeze blowing in through the passenger’s side.

They had stayed late back at the station after tying up threads with the fiancé and clearing him of all charges. It was done now. They’d turned in the last notes from the case to Captain Pryce, who had neither congratulated nor condemned them. Not a satisfying end to the case, but it wasn’t unexpected. This was Revachol, after all. At least they’d identified the suspect in the first place. Unsolved murders were the norm here.

The streets were empty, but the bars were crowded in Jamrock. Noise filtered from underground, but there was otherwise a sense of calm outside. Kim felt the same way, looking over to his partner, who seemed reluctant to get out of the vehicle.

“Thank you for your hard work, detective,” Kim said.

He paused. He would very much like for Harry to get out, now.

“So that’s it, then, huh?”

A pause. Kim hesitated, adjusting his glasses—a nervous habit—but speaking as to what he wanted couldn’t be called one of his strong points. He had no idea what to tell Harry, other than the two of them becoming more intimately involved than they already were was a mistake.

“What would you like me to say?” Kim asked.

“That you’re gonna come in, and have a drink with me,” Harry said. “Or not a drink, if that’s what you want. I promise, I can—I’ll quit drinking and using dope. I’ll change. If that’s what it takes.”

“You can’t promise that for my sake.”

“Oh, don’t give me that. When has anybody ever done anything like that for themselves? Quit doing all the shit you like and that makes you feel good for the sake of self-improvement? Doing something for you, after everything you’ve already done for me is *bad* somehow?”

Kim shook his head. “That’s not how it works. You—”

“What do you want, Kim? You never come right out and tell me what you want.”

“I want to do my job, and I want things to not be any more complicated than they already are,” Kim said, bluntly.

“So what was last night, then?”

“A momentary lapse of judgement, detective.”

Harry looked at him, that same distant way he’d stared after finding his badge and the sinking remnants of his past life off the coast of Martinaise. Kim looked away. It felt too much like loss. It couldn’t be losing anything if it hadn’t been anything to begin with.

He had to protect himself.

“Okay,” Harry said. “See you at work. If I make it.”

With that, Harry popped open the door to the Kineema, and got out. Kim sat there in the driver’s seat, heart pounding, watching Harry walk off.

He gripped the wheel. The temptation to follow after him was strong. But he was Kim Kitsuragi. His iron will had gotten him this far in life. He would do what was best for him rather than what he wanted.

He started up the engine mechanically, and began to drive home.

Kim cranked the radio. Fuck thinking. He wanted to drive through a wall of sound. The silence would only make him wonder, what if.

Harry was an alcoholic who abused drugs and had attempted suicide twice within the short time of knowing him, and was liable to try it again. Possibly even *tonight*. He was his partner for fuck’s sake. He was a piss poor choice of romantic interest even aside from the fact that having sex with him—hell, falling in *love* with him—would certainly end his career.

Besides, Kim could do better. He knew he could.

He passed by the alleyway. The scene of the crime, the same kids hanging around outside. Juliette had been left there not long ago. She’d died without knowing Rina had loved her. Her life had been short and cruel, with only brief brushes of joy.

He got to the end of the street, hitting a red light and pulling deep breaths in through his nose.

A carriage behind him honked as the light turned green. Fuck it. Kim turned the Kineema around, and went right back in the direction he came.

He parked near the Frittte they’d visited that first day, and went inside. Mercifully, a different employee manned the till. He picked up cigarettes, condoms and lubricant and paid for it staring him straight in the eye.

Upon leaving, he began the walk to Harry’s; past the kids on the corner smoking cigarettes, the old woman’s house with her gaggle of orphans, the bars full of drunks and men trying to get laid and failing, and the underground clubs. A very long walk gave himself more than enough time to turn back to his Kineema. To do the smart thing.

He didn’t. He arrived at Harry’s doorstep in record time, panting slightly with the exertion.

Kim faltered. He didn’t even know the buzzer—they weren’t labeled. Should he just… go up? He adjusted the collar of his jacket, attempting to feel somewhat casual. He really did not feel casual. He felt like a fool. Swallowing, he struck up his courage, he glanced over his shoulder, and jimmied open the door with his knife.

A bizarre repeat of his first venture to Harry’s place, Kim took the stairs two at a time to the third floor. He smoothed back his hair, ran a finger over his teeth, drew in a breath. Then he poised his hand, and knocked at Harry’s door.

Kim took a step back, knitting his hands behind his back as he waited. Harry’s heavy footsteps sounded from behind the door, before Harry opened it, one hand high on the doorjamb as he leaned his head out. He had a crooked grin on his face and a glass in his hand. It made Kim a little flustered.

“Let me guess… RCM business?”

“Actually, I changed my mind,” Kim explained. He kept his voice steady, though he could feel the heat on his face. “About that drink, I mean.”

“Good, because I picked up a bottle of the good shit.” Harry stepped back, leading him through. “Well—better than what I usually drink, anyway.”

Kim followed Harry through the threshold, hands behind his back, his fingers digging into his wrists. They both knew what he was here for, and he could tell Harry tried to play it cool by the way he kept rubbing the back of his neck. His hair was far too long. He hadn’t even changed his shirt, evidenced by the sweat stains under his armpits.

The bottle on the counter that Harry purchased was fuller than Kim thought it would be. He raised a brow, and Harry caught his gaze.

“I wasn’t gonna finish the whole bottle. I promise,” Harry said. He seemed almost earnest, until he took a mouthful from the glass that was more of a gulp. Nervous, then.

“Of course not, detective.” Kim smiled softly.

Harry wiped the whiskey off his lips, and then seemed to come back to himself. “Oh, you wanted—just a second.”

Harry turned to the cupboard, but stopped when Kim stepped closer. He could feel Harry go rigid, not expecting it as Kim entered his personal space. He reached forward, gently disentangling the glass from Harry’s wide fingers. He turned the glass in his hands, and brought it to his lips where Harry’s mouth had been, taking a drink.

He watched Harry over the rim of his glasses. The fact that he was blurry made it easier to pull off this ridiculous move. He had never been particularly good at flirting, but the sharp inhale that Harry took told him that he’d achieved his desired effect. He pulled his mouth off the glass with a glance of his tongue, turning his chin up as Harry’s face came into focus once more.

Harry gulped. He stepped closer, his hand closing over Kim’s hip, pulling him in.

Setting the glass down on the counter, Kim looked up at his partner. He’d thought about what he’d want to say, or if he should say anything at all. If it would be easier to just say nothing so that he could put his mouth all over Harry and get this out of his system, somehow.

“I thought you said last night was a ‘momentary lapse of judgment,’” Harry said.

“I’ll admit…” Kim slid his hand up Harry’s chest. “The moment lasted longer than I thought it would.”

“How’s your judgment now?”

“Terrible.”

Harry kissed him. His mouth was overly wet, and it was somewhat sloppy. Kim’s lips were thin and dry, and he didn’t think of himself as an overly enjoyable person to kiss. Still, Harry cornered him against the counter, Kim’s hand slipping and knocking the glass of whiskey to the floor.

Kim pulled away, looking down. “Shit.”

“Fuck it.” Harry grabbed his jacket, started dragging him to the bedroom. “That floor’s seen worse. Trust me.”

He didn’t doubt that. If anything, Harry’s place was the one thing he could mess up. He could *be* a mess here, because no matter what he did, he could never be a bigger mess than Harry. His mussed hair and his swollen mouth only made Harry’s pupils expand, his hands tightening their grip as he pushed Kim towards the bedroom.

The bedroom was no cleaner than he’d seen it the last time, the holes in the walls and the general state of disarray, but at least the mattress was on the bed frame. He got about two seconds to look at it before Harry shoved him down onto his back, and got on top of him.

Harry was heavy, crushing the air out of his lungs. He could hardly breathe normally with how intensely Harry kissed him, his tongue in his mouth as if trying to take him apart. He’d seen him do the same thing with crime scenes—trying to find every angle. His hands were creeping under Kim’s shirt, his touch too rough to be explorative.

Kim pushed him back, but held onto his shoulders. His glasses were slightly askew, Harry’s face blurry in front of him. He licked his lips. “You’ve never had sex with a man before. Correct?”

Harry’s face went slightly red. “I’m, uh—I’m a quick learner. Plus, you’re really hot, Kim.” He lowered his head, his mouth hot and wet against Kim’s pulse. “I wanna do all kinds of freaky shit to you.”

“Ah…” Kim quieted for a moment. He wasn’t normally a passive partner. He didn’t *like* laying back and taking it. He hadn’t bottomed in over ten years for a reason. It was too… vulnerable. Still, Harry pulled at his jacket like he wanted it off immediately, and to be honest, Kim wanted to be naked too.

He sat upright, and emptied the contents of his jacket onto the bed, before taking it off. Harry backed off onto his knees, then started helping Kim divest himself of his clothing. Shirt went next, shoes, pants, underwear. He leaned back onto his elbows, naked, catching Harry looking between him and the pile of objects he’d left.

“Condoms, lube, smokes.” Harry had reached down between his legs, grabbing himself through his pants. “You always come prepared.”

Kim adjusted his glasses. “I assumed you’d like to fuck me.”

“Really? I kinda assumed—do you like to get fucked, Kim?”

His mouth flattened out. The back of his neck felt hot at Harry’s words.

“No?” Harry asked.

“It’s... been awhile,” Kim admitted.

“How long?”

“Take your clothes off,” he countered.

Harry started, but his movements were fumbling. Kim reached for the collar of his shirt and helped him along out of his shirt. He went for Harry’s belt, but found himself distracted with a kiss, his hands pinned to the bed.

“How long, Kim?” Harry held him down, but Kim didn’t fight it.

“Long enough.”

“Do you want me to fuck you?”

Kim didn’t speak. Admitting it out loud embarrassed him. Maybe if Harry fucked him and it was as humiliating as he remembered it being all those years ago, he could get this desire out of his system, somehow.

Harry lowered down, his breath hot against Kim’s face. “You want me to put my cock inside you?”

His dick gave an interested twitch. He was already hard, and had been since practically the moment he’d entered Harry’s apartment, but having it said like *that*— his hips bucked, pressing against Harry’s solid body above him.

“Or do you want to fuck me?” Harry asked.

Kim actually choked. Harry backed off, looking him in the eye.

“No?”

Kim freed his hand from Harry’s grip, then raised it to cup Harry’s throat. “Harry, if I fucked you tonight, you would actually have a heart attack.”

He felt Harry swallow against his palm. Then he was being kissed again, his arms released so Kim could tangle them in Harry’s overlong hair.

“You’ll fuck me,” Kim said, more to reiterate to himself what would happen. He could do this, and he could pretend to like it.

They made out for a little while. Kim hadn’t had the time to really kiss someone like this since his teenage years, and Harry seemed to really enjoy kissing him. He wondered how long it had been since Harry had really held someone, because he didn’t seem to want to let go of him now that he had Kim in his bed.

Kim snaked his hand down between them and cupped the bulge in the front of Harry’s pants. He was a little surprised to find him not as hard as he would’ve assumed. Harry seemed to be enjoying himself, but perhaps that wasn’t the case.

“Sometimes takes awhile,” Harry said against his mouth. “My dick doesn’t always work right. Sorry.”

“Ah. It's no problem.”

Honestly, it was a little endearing. It made Kim want to work harder. He rolled them over, so that Harry laid on his back, before starting to move lower on his body. He’d been told he could be often detached or clinical in bed, so he did his best to go slowly.

He ran his hands down Harry’s chest, his fingers carding through the chest hair, and down over the curve of his belly. Harry sucked in slightly, almost looking embarrassed of the state of his body. The flesh of his gut had hardened, the way that late stage alcoholics usually got, but Kim merely filed that information away for later rumination like he did everything else.

He undid Harry’s belt, only stopping when the other man started to help him. Those dreadful shoes were kicked to the floor with a heavy thunk, then the pants soon after. Kim lowered his head, hooking his fingers underneath Harry’s briefs to peel them down himself.

Though he’d felt it the previous night, he hadn’t really gotten a proper look at it. Semi-hard, Harry was only perhaps slightly larger than average, wide at the middle and narrower at the tip. His pubic hair was as unkempt as the rest of him. It made Kim’s mouth water, and he reached to take Harry’s cock into his hand.

“Have you ever had a man use his mouth on you?” Kim asked, neutrally.

“Honestly, I couldn't tell you. I’ve spent a lot of nights blacked out, so let’s say—maybe, but I don’t remember?”

“Ah.”

“You don’t have to—”

Kim ignored Harry, instead lowering his mouth to take the head of his cock between his lips. He very much wanted to do this. He’d been thinking about it since that awful morning he’d met him. Kim closed his eyes, focusing on the task at hand. Harry was still mostly soft in his mouth, and the taste of him was strong but not overpowering like Kim thought it might be.

“—ffffuck.”

Above him, Harry lowered back on to his elbows. Kim adjusted himself to push Harry’s legs wider, on his knees between them. He glanced up, wanting to gage his reaction, to see if he enjoyed this. Harry’s face reddened, his hair a mess, but he stared at where Kim’s mouth wrapped around his cock.

Starting to bob his head, Kim pressed his other hand around the base of his partner’s cock to give him something tight to fuck into. He was methodical. Consistent. Even though typically he did this to get someone off as fast as possible, he took his time here, feeling Harry harden against his soft palate.

He saw Harry’s hand start to move to his head out of the corner of his eye and pushed it back down to the bed. He *knew* what he was doing, he didn’t need someone trying to control him. He raised his mouth, working his hand over the length of Harry’s cock.

“Relax,” Kim said, neutrally. “I’ll do the work.”

“I’m so relaxed. Never been more relaxed. *Hardcore* relaxed.” Harry’s dick pulsed in his hand as Kim stroked him. His head fell back against the pillows. “But I like touching you.”

Kim faltered, slightly. He hadn’t expected Harry to say that. He pushed his glasses up his nose with his knuckle, and took Harry’s cock back into his mouth.

At first the hands didn’t move, but then the back of Harry’s hand grazed his bare shoulder. Kim didn’t push it away, instead letting him stroke his shoulders, his neck, his face. He felt Harry press his fingers against his cheek, so that he could feel his cock inside his mouth through the skin.

“Your mouth feels fucking amazing, Kim,” Harry said. “You look so good.”

It was just a blowjob. Kim focused himself, because of course Harry would be vocal. Of course he would say these types of things. Harry had been open to a fault about every other aspect of his life. Still, Kim couldn’t deny that it made him feel powerful and a little cocky. He excelled at everything he put his mind to.

He didn’t expect it when Harry grabbed his arm, and started to drag him back up his body. Kim settled over him, his knee slotting between Harry’s spread legs, as Harry wrapped him in a bear hug and pulled him down to kiss him again. Kim reached down between them and took both their cocks in hand, stroking them together.

Kim pulled away with a wet sound from their joined mouths, looking down at Harry through his slightly smudged glasses. He observed for a moment, the contorted expression on his partner’s face, the mottling of his skin. “You really like me,” Kim said, almost to himself. He hadn’t meant to say it.

“I like myself around you, Kim. That doesn’t happen a lot for me.”

That was *too* much. Kim wanted to cover Harry’s mouth again, to stop him from saying something else to embarrass the both of them. Harry talking like that made him feel too much, made him liable to do stupid, embarrassing things. He needed to get this over with already.

He pressed one last kiss to Harry’s mouth, fully intending to take control and move things along, but instead Harry manhandled him back onto the bed, face down. Kim pressed himself up onto his elbows, starting a little as Harry dragged him onto his knees.

“Just—one moment,” Kim said, unable to keep the edge from his voice. He’d been in this position before, and this was why he didn’t pursue predominantly hetero-sexual men like he had in his youth. It led to a lot of pain and gritting his teeth—he was older now, he knew how to conduct himself, and it wasn’t like *this.* “Harry, I have to—”

A wide hand pressed between his shoulders, until he was back down on his chest, his hands curled in the bedspread. “I know what I’m doing. It’ll feel good.”

“Harry—”

“Hey, come on. Used to do this a lot with—she liked it in the—I’ve never done it to a guy, but I *do* know what I’m doing. You can tell me to stop if you don’t like it.”

Kim hesitated. Then, he drew in a deep breath. “Fine.”

He still couldn’t help but be nervous. Plenty of hetero-sexual men thought they knew what they were doing. Kim grit his teeth, feeling Harry’s hand slide down his back and over his ass. His shoulders tensed, even as he saw Harry reach for the lube and condoms out of the corner of his eye. He wanted to prepare himself, to ensure that he truly felt ready to take a cock. He didn’t like not being in control.

He forced himself to focus on the feeling of Harry’s hands massaging his ass, down to his outer thighs, even taking a moment on where his calves had tensed against the bed. It at least grounded him somewhat, even though he mentally prepared for pain or discomfort at the very least. Somehow his dick was still rock hard, heavy with blood between his legs. Kim knew somewhere deep down that he liked a little bit of punishment.

Harry grabbed one cheek of his ass, spreading him open. Kim felt his face heat, staring down at the bed. It didn’t matter how old he got, this made him feel strange and shy all over again to be exposed like this. He felt Harry’s thumb press at his hole, and he did his best not to tense further.

He started as something wet and slick swiped from his balls to his tailbone, his brain kicking in a moment later to recognize that it was Harry’s *tongue*. He hadn’t expected that. He started to open his mouth to say no, but all that came out was a low sound as Harry pressed his tongue inside.

“You don’t—you don’t have to,” Kim said, breathlessly. Despite the desire to end this, he very much wanted to reach back and hold Harry’s head where he wanted it. His ass wasn’t even anything to write home about, but it felt so damn good.

“Yeah, but I *do.*” Harry bit him on the cheek of his ass, his stubble dragging over the skin. “I’m kinda wondering if I can make you lose your cool, Kim.”

“I—ah!”

Behind him, Harry chuckled, and went straight back to work.

He usually knew exactly what to say in bed, but with Harry tonguing him like that in such an intimate place, all that came out now were breathy sighs. His eyes closed, the frames of his glasses pressing into his cheek. He reached down between his legs, shuffling his knees wider, curling a hand around his cock. He almost had to hang onto himself—he didn’t want to come too quickly. That would be embarrassing.

Kim swallowed, feeling the pad of Harry’s finger next to his tongue. He had thick fingers. It had been one of the first things Kim had noticed about him, shaking his hand that morning at the Whirling. Slick with saliva, the finger pushed into him easily.

“That’s it,” Harry said. “Shit, you sure it’s been awhile? Or maybe you just really want me to fuck you.”

“Shut up,” Kim muttered. He didn’t need to be debased anymore than he already felt, even as he pushed back against the intrusion. A bit uncomfortable, but not painful. Still, he wanted this to be over sooner than later. “Use your fingers. Get me ready.”

“Yes, sir,” Harry answered, in a joking tone. Still, it made Kim bite his lip. How far could he get, telling Harry what to do?

Behind him, Harry backed off onto his knees, keeping the finger inside of him but reaching for the lube with his other hand. Kim looked over his shoulder, eyes half lidded as he watched Harry fumble, finding a surprising showing of nerves on his face.

“Are you trying to impress me?” Kim asked, mildly.

“Maybe,” Harry answered. He opened the bottle with his teeth. “I don’t want to fuck this up.”

“You won’t,” Kim assured him. He didn’t feel fully assured, himself.

He drew in a shaky breath as a second finger pressed at his entrance, before sliding in to the second knuckle. The stretch became a little more intense, but not unbearable. Kim bit the inside of his cheek, pressing back onto Harry’s hand.

“Fuck, Kim. You’re so hot. I want you so bad right now.”

He didn’t want to hear it anymore. Harry was *trying* to embarrass him. He turned his head into his forearm, rocking back onto Harry’s fingers. He moaned as a hand curled around his hip.

“You’re doing good,” Kim admitted. “Keep going.”

Harry did. His fingers moved, stretching Kim, fucking in and out of him. Every so often, his fingers would curl downward and set his nerves on fire, from his neck to his tailbone. He hadn’t felt that way in years.

Eventually, it got to be too much. The slick sounds of his own body, his own strained breathing and soft moans. Kim reached back, taking Harry’s wrist and pulling it away, the fingers slipping out of him. He turned around onto his back, up on his elbows, his legs spread.

“Like this,” Kim said. He wanted to see Harry’s face.

“Yeah,” Harry answered. He laid over Kim, pressing him down onto his back. His gut laid over Kim, the breath squeezed out of him from Harry’s weight. “Yeah, okay...”

Between them, Harry reached for his cock, guiding it beneath Kim’s balls. Kim pressed a hand at his shoulder, clicking his tongue to catch his attention. “Harry.”

He reached for a condom, handing it to him. With only a bit of hesitance, Harry took it.

“I might lose my hard-on because of this,” Harry said, sheepishly. “Sorry.”

“You’ll be fine.”

He didn’t seem all that confident. Still, Harry sat back, putting it on with only a slight grimace. After that, he leaned down on one hand, the other at the base of his cock, pressing it inside of Kim. It was intense, but he breathed through it.

He glanced up at Harry’s face, a little thrill going through him at the lust blown expression in his eyes. Even if getting fucked didn’t often do it for him, it clearly worked for Harry. He breathed in steadily as Harry pushed his cock in further, the stretch intense as he bottomed out inside of him.

“Holy fuck,” Harry groaned. He lowered his face into the crux of Kim’s neck, pressing his mouth against his throat. “Kim.”

Kim’s arms wrapped around Harry’s back. It had been a long time since he’d felt this close to anyone else. Harry was heavy on top of him, a solid weight, a reminder that he was here and now. Kim pulled his knees up, letting him sink deeper inside, letting out a punched out groan.

They stayed like that for a moment. Then, Kim nudged his heel against Harry’s ass. “Move.”

Harry obeyed. He started rocking into him, and Kim covered his face with one hand. It felt better than he remembered. Harry had actually taken his time with him, unlike the frantic fucks with older men he’d had in his twenties. He still didn’t like being on his back like this, but he could take it.

Kim tried not to be too loud as Harry picked up the pace, fucking into him eagerly. Harry pushed up onto his hands, taking some of the weight off of him, his lower belly pressing against Kim’s cock. The friction was nice, helping him further along, and Kim peered through his parted fingers to look at Harry’s face once more.

He wasn’t exactly handsome. Maybe twenty years ago, before drugs and alcohol and heartbreak took hold. Dripping sweat, he paused every so often to wipe his face with the back of his hand. His eyes, bloodshot and haunted as they were, fixated on Kim’s face.

Kim lowered his hand. He put his arms over his head, looking up at Harry, letting all the pent up longing bleed through his expression. He couldn’t keep the wall up, being at his mercy like this.

“God, you’re so good, Kim. Letting a fucked up guy like me do this to you.”

Kim bit his lip. “This isn’t charity. I came to you, didn’t I?”

“Why?” Harry hooked his hands under Kim’s knees, pulling them wider. “I’m a mess, I’m—I’m disgusting.”

He reached up for Harry’s jaw, pulling him down for a kiss. “I like it.”

It should’ve been revolting, kissing him after where his mouth had been, but Kim revelled in it. Sometimes, lowering himself to Harry’s level wasn’t that bad. Perhaps he’d wanted it all along.

He reached down between them to touch himself. He’d gone a little soft during the initial penetration, but he got himself hard and dripping soon enough. Harry backed off, looking down at him for a moment, before switching to his face. Maybe it was too much, seeing his dick. Kim smiled to himself.

He put a hand on Harry’s chest, pushing him back. “I’ll drive.”

For a moment, Harry hesitated. Then he relented, rolling off of Kim and onto his back. Kim straddled his waist, reaching back to take him by the base of his cock, sinking down onto it.

Harry grabbed for his hips, his neck straining. Kim watched him eagerly for a moment, before starting to move. Harry dug his heels into the mattress, thrusting up into him, but Kim grabbed his hands, holding him there.

“Don’t move,” Kim said, breathlessly.

To his credit, Harry didn’t. He clearly liked having Kim tell him what to do, even if the obvious conflict showed on his face. Kim took his time, set his own pace, letting his hand slip down between his legs to jerk himself off while he fucked himself. This was more familiar.

“Kim,” Harry said. “Come on…”

Kim raised an eyebrow, planting one hand on Harry’s chest to balance himself. He kept his pace slow on purpose. “Quit whining.”

He felt Harry start to soften inside of him. He wasn’t lying about the condom, it seemed, truly high maintenance in all regards, but he supposed he liked that about him.

Kim slowed his pace as he rocked on top of him.

The hands at his hips dug in, but still, Kim didn’t go any faster. He leaned down, looking Harry in the eyes. His glasses slid down his nose until his vision blurred. Harry leaned up to try to kiss him, but Kim just wouldn’t give it to him.

“Do you deserve this?” he asked.

“I don’t deserve shit, I’m—I’m worthless.”

“Deep down, I don’t think you believe that, Harry.”

Harry got a twisted look on his face. His hand switched to the back of Kim’s head, attempting to pull him down, but Kim resisted. He watched Harry’s expression, the raw desire there, sparring with his own self loathing. Inside him, Harry’s cock surged. Maybe he was getting off more on the vulnerability than the sex itself.

The hand tangled into his hair, pulling his head back. Kim gasped, his throat exposed. “H-Harry—”

“Keep saying my name like that.”

“Harry,” he repeated, as Harry pressed up onto his hands and stole a kiss.

The room spun for a moment, and Kim struggled as Harry hastily rearranged onto his front, manhandling him onto his knees. A groan he didn’t mean to come out left him, as Harry gripped his hips and started to fuck him hard. He’d lost his glasses somewhere in the mix, the world gone blurry around him. It didn’t really matter, his entire body a raw nerve as Harry pounded him.

“Yeah, that’s it.” Harry breathed hard behind him. “Touch yourself, Kim, wanna—wanna make you come.”

Kim reached his hand between his legs. He pressed his forehead into the mattress, pushing back against Harry’s thrusts. It didn’t take much longer for him, the steady pressure inside, his hand on his cock. Harry talking behind him, touching him. When he came it felt ripped out of him, his toes curling as he ejaculated into his hand.

He panted as Harry’s movements slowed, before he pulled out, leaving Kim empty and raw. He sagged down onto the bed, and Harry laid next to him, pulling the condom off his still hard dick.

Kim turned on his side, hazy in post-orgasm. He had no idea where his glasses had ended up. He reached to touch Harry’s face, wiping the sweat from his brow.

“Jack me off like last time,” Harry said. He pulled Kim’s hand to him, and Kim got the message quickly. “Kiss me again.”

Kim kissed him. He rocked his hand steadily over Harry’s cock, using his own ejaculate to slick the way. It took longer than he expected, his wrist getting sore from use. Eventually, Harry pressed his forehead hard against his own with a groan, and came all over his hand.

“Shit,” Harry muttered, slumping back against the bed. He looked as wrecked as Kim felt, at the very least.

“Good?” Kim asked, dryly.

Harry nodded. His eyes closed, as he caught his breath. Kim sat up, wiping his fingers off on the sheet, then searched for his glasses. He always felt awkward after sex. He was never much of the type to bask in the afterglow.

He didn’t expect to be dragged back down to the bed. Harry wrapped an arm around him, drawing him in. The other hand procured his glasses, only slightly bent from their disappearance.

“Ah. Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it.”

They laid there for a little while. Eventually, Kim got restless, shifting in the hold. Harry looked at him.

“Cigarette?” Harry asked.

“Please.”

Harry took his time dressing, while Kim got his shirt and shorts back on and escaped to the bathroom. He had to clean the rest of the lube out of his ass, wash his hands, and fix his hair. It made him feel a bit in control, and at least Harry hadn’t left any visible marks or anything. He did look well-fucked, though.

He made it back out to the living room, where Harry stood on the balcony with a drink in his hand and a cigarette. He’d put a tank-top on, and some misshapen shorts that had stretched out around the waistband. He was handsome.

Still, Kim felt awkward. Normally he would leave by this point, but Harry handed him the cigarette. Kim murmured his thanks, then leaned over the railing next to him.

“Look at you, Kim. All dressed down,” Harry said.

“Would you like me to get dressed?”

“No, this is good. I could get used to it.”

Kim smiled. They smoked in silence for a long while.

“I didn’t think you’d come back,” Harry admitted.

“I didn’t think I would either.” Kim put the cigarette between his lips. “I’m quite often a coward.”

“Kim Kitsuragi? No way.”

“When it comes to personal matters, yes.” He watched the end of the cigarette burn, the length of ash slowly increasing.

“So why did you come?” Harry asked. He tried to seem casual, but his open curiosity showed through.

“Is that your burning question for the evening, detective?”

“I’ve got a lot of questions, Kim. If I only get one a day with you, it might take the next twenty years to get through ‘em all.”

Kim chuckled. “If we live that long.”

Next to him, Harry leaned in. Their bare shoulders grazed, the cool night of the evening forcing them closer. Kim craned his head, looking down. With only three floors, it paled in comparison to the view in Grand Couron, with the city below. Nothing down there but cold, hard concrete and people less fortunate sleeping on the street. If he threw himself over the railing, he would probably live.

“Hell of a week,” Harry muttered.

“A waste.” Kim tapped the ash over the rail. “Well, not a waste. A shame. We caught our perp but absolutely nothing will happen to him. He will walk away. The rich will keep their coins, Juliette will live on as a lie. All those lives destroyed. I suppose that’s just how things are.”

“At least we got Rina out.”

“Yes,” Kim said. He didn’t think she was necessarily any better off out there on her own, but he kept that to himself.

“You’ve really never thought about leaving?” He passed the glass to Kim, took the cigarette for himself.

Kim thought for a moment, taking a drink. Then, he shook his head. “Never.”

“Why not? All that stuff you told me. How can you stand it?”

He looked to Harry, his disheveled appearance. All of his promises of change, all of his lack of follow-through. He had scars that would never heal on the surface, and seeping wounds underneath. Kim could trace every vein, every borough in him, and find a story—everyone in their city had one.

“Revachol is my home,” Kim answered, simply. “And I will be here until the end.”

Harry’s face cracked with a crooked grin. “Kim, that’s pretty fucked up.”

“You don’t have a monopoly on being fucked up, detective.” He pointedly finished off the rest of Harry’s alcohol. He knew he’d get more, anyway.

They finished the cigarette in silence. Harry crept closer, his arm slinging around Kim’s back. Even though he didn’t much like touching, it felt good.

“I lied to you,” Kim murmured.

“Lied to me?”

“When you asked why I joined the 41st.” Kim looked over to Harry. “It was because of you.”

Harry looked genuinely flabbergasted. “Because of *me?*”

“I… like myself more around you.” Kim exhaled, watched the smoke twist in the air. He felt Harry grow very still next to him. “You make me want to be more optimistic.”

“About what?”

“Everything, I guess. That we can make a difference. That we’re good people.” He paused. “That this is all worth it.”

“Do you think you’ll ever get there?”

Kim took one last drag.

“No.” He snuffed his cigarette out. “But it’s a nice thought.”

He glanced at Harry and smiled at him for a moment. Then he looked down, over the edge, at how very close they were to the ground below.