Primary Gain

Chapter 1

"I know I had to shoot him - the suspect - so I'm not sorry..." Suzaku squirmed deeper into the leather couch. "Not that I'm some crazy killer or anything. I didn't like shooting him. I don't like it. I don't like violence, so-"

"You've killed five people in four years." The psychiatrist tilted his head to the side. "Some people retire without ever firing their gun."

Suzaku tried to wet his dry mouth, nearly crossing his arms as the man stared back with an angled, noncommittal expression on his face. Still, it wasn't the psychiatrist Suzaku was particularly worried about; it was the pad of paper perched on his knee and the slim silver pen in his hand.

"Uh..." Suzaku bit his lip. "Is that a question?"

He'd been in a room with enough lawyers to know that it was somewhat – well, very – idiotic to respond to something that wasn't a specifically worded statement. It was a great day when a suspect didn't have a lawyer to tell him otherwise. Suzaku had learned.

Dr. Lamperouge looked down at his paper and scribbled something with a miniscule smile.

Suzaku tried not to sweat.

"Would you like to speak with your representative?" Dr. Lamperouge's smile became a pair of concerned, arched eyebrows. "Don't feel as if it will make you appear guilty of anything. I just want you to be comfortable during this process, Agent Kururugi."

"No, no, I just..." Suzaku laughed a little nervously and tried out a smile. "Psychiatrists."

Dr. Lamperouge smiled in return with his eyes narrowing as he sat back in his chair. It was an odd sort of expression and it dried up Suzaku's own attempt. Instead his nervousness turned into something else: a little anger, a little alarm, and the feeling that he couldn't really quantify but always seemed to coincide with meeting someone during an investigation who was guilty as sin and even more dangerous.

Telling his current psychiatrist that he had had other psychiatrists… Suzaku winced. The little bit of consolation he had drawn from his surroundings vanished. The comfortable leather couch, the dim friendly lighting and the warm color scheme were negated by the man's sharp eyes and the very barest of smirks.

Then that expression disappeared into his original noncommittal gaze.

Suzaku took a deep breath and tried to pretend that the man was a suspect in a particularly clever murder. Good cop, Suzaku decided. For someone so obviously intelligent he'd have to play nice, making himself seem like an empty-headed, good ol' boy… Suzaku leaned forward slightly, smiled warmly and-

"Don't bother," the doctor murmured, making a little note before turning his attention back again. "I've read your file and I've gone over your interrogation records. Your Bad Cop is just as effective as," the man said, pointing his pen in Suzaku's direction, "this thing you're doing now."

Suzaku faltered, blushed a little, and Dr. Lamperouge murmured, "I was surprised to see how many drug lords and killers fall for a pretty face."

He seemed to be writing an essay, and behind the black swing of his hair his face was hidden, leaving out the option of even looking in the doctor's eyes.

"I'm also relieved," Lamperouge murmured, "that you didn't decide to be a drug lord or killer. If it were necessary, Agent Kururugi, I fully believe you have the makings of a very successful criminal."

"I-" Suzaku's heart pounded in his chest. "I what?"

"Calm down, Agent Kururugi." Lamperouge looked up with a friendly smile. "Potential is a wonderful thing."

That smile… It was the kind of smile Suzaku had seen when he'd looked into the reflective glass of an interrogation room mirror. As he watched, Lamperouge let Suzaku's Good Cop grin fade back into nothingness, into that unsettling stare.

Suzaku bolted upwards. "You're crazy!"

The psychiatrist only flipped the page of his notebook.

"You are entitled to your own opinion, of course." He poised his pen over the blank page. "But unfortunately I'm the only person in this office with a doctorate, and you are a patient, so mine is the only opinion that matters. Sit please."

Suzaku sat hesitantly with wide eyes and slowly mounting fear. For the last shooting reviews he'd met with the old psychiatrist, a man who'd been with the FBI for decades. There hadn't been a single problem, and Suzaku hadn't just been exonerated, but rewarded. But now, with Lamperouge-

Dr. Lamperouge crossed his legs and leaned back. He looked amused.

"At risk of sounding cliché, Agent Kururugi, I'd like you to tell me about your father."

Dr. Lamperouge looked up from his desk and asked, "How was your day?"

"Fine." Suzaku took his seat on the couch; it was still warm from the last guy.

The same guy who had looked at him with wide, glassy eyes and murmured, "God help you, Kururugi."

"That's good." Lamperouge looked back to his desk. "I've never met a field agent who enjoys paperwork. It must be relieving to know that you have alternate options if the review doesn't go well."

When Lamperouge glanced up it was with the same noncommittal expression that Suzaku had learned to hate in only one meeting. He wanted to curse, but instead Suzaku just crossed his arms and glowered.

"Fine. You win." Suzaku sighed. "My day sucked. I hate paperwork. I hate staring at a wall while my partner goes out alone. Are you happy now?"

"Yes." Lamperouge flipped a page of the file he was reading. "Honesty is always appreciated."

Suzaku just slouched back, rolling his eyes. The couch was still comfortable, the room was still welcoming, and Suzaku was still stinging from their last little meeting. The session hadn't ended well… In fact, it had ended a little too early.

A lot early, actually.

A lot, a lot.

"Look," Suzaku said, grabbing a pillow and hugging it angrily, "I don't want to talk about my father."

"That's too bad." Lamperouge turned another page. "I do."

He held up a photograph, framed with long, pale fingers and Suzaku looked away.

"Juvie files are supposed to be closed."

"Yes." Lamperouge leaned forward. "I'd like you to look at this please, and tell me what you see."

Like some sort of bloody ink blot. Suzaku turned his face from the floor to a glossy photo of himself at age ten, pale and stripped to the waist. The child in front of him was deeply bruised with old and new fingerprints running down his arms, his shoulders. Underneath the wrappings supporting his ribs, a few more bruises had crept up his chest. The boy's right eye and cheek were purple and the cut in the middle of his cheek was still weeping blood.

The boy's eyes were bloodshot and dull, absent… dead.

"Imagine that you meet with this child during an investigation. He's almost certainly responsible for this-" Lamperouge held up another picture and after a few moments sighed. "Open your eyes, Agent Kururugi."

After a moment of clutching the pillow in his arms with his eyes squeezed shut, Suzaku swallowed, trembled, and opened one eye.

And then Suzaku sat back with a long, shaky sigh. The man in the photo… It wasn't a man he knew, anyways, but his injuries were familiar. In the new photo there was a middle-aged man slumped against a couch, his limbs sprawled and the glasses on his face askew. His tight white work-shirt was stained with the blood that had spilled from the butcher's knife still in his chest. Lamperouge held the two pictures together.

"This boy and this man," Lamperouge murmured. "How would you go about interrogating the boy?"

Suzaku thought of all the boys and girls he'd seen like that… Maybe not beaten and bruised, but in possession of those same dead eyes.

"I wouldn't." Suzaku cleared his throat and glanced away, only to be caught in Lamperouge's stare.

"Why not?"

Suzaku didn't say anything. He just clenched his jaw and looked at the ground.

"Why not, Agent Kururugi?"

With a hitched breath, Suzaku started fighting tears. For the first time in years his skin was too hot, his eyes began to sting, and a dull throb began to echo in his temple. He had almost forgotten what those eyes felt like from the inside, but here he was again trying to keep the quiet creeping sob from manifesting in his shoulders.

"Because you don't interrogate the victim of abuse." Lamperouge's voice turned heavy and sure, not like the cool indifference from before. "You're careful with children… You don't even like asking them why they were forced to fight back against someone who was supposed to love them."

Suzaku lost against tears remembering the cold iron of an interrogation room, how he had shivered and itched as the blood began to dry. He remembered staring at the wall while his father's old partner looked at him with ashamed, pitying eyes. The next man who joined them had given Suzaku a cup of water and they'd both looked away when, instead of drinking it, Suzaku had used the frigid liquid to clean his hands of his father's blood.

"So oftentimes you don't." Lamperouge's voice came closer, but softened. "Instead you shuffle the victim off to someone else to bear the shame and guilt in their eyes. Then you do your best to forget."

"I-" Suzaku blurted hoarsely, finally looking up to Lamperouge, "I don't shuffle them off. I don't forget."

Lamperouge was leaning against his desk, his hands gripping the edge as he looked down, his legs crossed at the ankles. At that moment Suzaku hated him; he hated Lamperouge and he hated that soft, blank, observing stare.

Lamperouge said, "You specialize in the child abuse cases, you ask for them… and you remember every single one. You take on all that pain and all that guilt and you hold it deep inside yourself and you never let go. I just want to know, Agent Kururugi, when you remember those children, do you ever take a moment to mourn for this child?"

Lamperouge held up the picture and Suzaku was left staring into those dead eyes, staring at himself.

"I…I-" Suzaku couldn't think, could barely process the man's words. They were too much, just meant too much-

"You don't," Lamperouge continued. "You push this little boy aside when he's the one who needs you the most. Without you, Suzaku, this child died along with every good thing in him. All his hopes, his dreams, the experiences that made him smile. All the things he cherished could be gone forever, because you've done your best to push that piece of yourself aside."

First, anger. Denial. Grief. By the time Suzaku had processed the man's words, his shoulders were shaking with silent sobs, his fingernails digging deep into his skin. He hated Lamperouge, he hated him for the cruelty of the truth, he hated him for looking inside Suzaku so effortlessly when he had hidden everything so carefully.

Suzaku looked up then, with that hate bare in his eyes, tears running down his cheeks. He hated Lamperouge and the man just nodded, finally putting the damning photo down.

Lamperouge wasn't looking at him with pity, though, just that same straight face, and it was the only thing that kept Suzaku from leaping forward and -

"You have a right to know, Agent Kururugi, that you're not just here for the recent deaths," Lamperouge said in a cool, calm voice. "You're also here because your superiors are under the suspicion that you've been trying to kill yourself… Trying to get killed in the line of duty, precisely, by consistently and needlessly putting yourself in the line of fire. And so far, after reviewing your records and speaking with you personally, I've seen nothing to suggest the contrary."

Suzaku stared, his anger evaporating into fear as Lamperouge seemed to look into him with sharp, strange eyes.

"You're suicidal," Lamperouge said, standing, "And you're not going to get your gun back anytime soon. Start thinking seriously about what I'm saying or get used to paperwork. You're dismissed."

Then he smiled and Suzaku wasn't comforted at all.

"Until tomorrow," Lamperouge said. "Don't take the rest of the day off."

"Have you been crying?" Kallen leaned in close, her eyes wide. "You have… You've been crying."

"Say it a little louder, Kallen." Suzaku nearly tossed his Bic at her. Instead he used it to stab little holes in the margins of the report he was supposed to be editing.

"Has that stupid shrink been picking on you?" Kallen scowled and leaned her hip against his desk. "You want me to go beat him up?"

Suzaku wanted to say yes, but instead he only sighed, smiling a little as he said, "And throw you in the lion's den? No. Thanks though."

"No biggie," Kallen said, popping her knuckles. "Anything to get rid of the probie. He smiles worse than you, Kururugi. I've already popped him twice today and he just keeps showing off his teeth, the little shit."

Suzaku leaned over to see said little shit standing in the hallway. The probationary agent was cute, blond, and Suzaku immediately realized why Kallen hated him. They made eye contact and Gino winked, waggling his eyebrows as he nodded to Kallen's back.

"Yeah." Suzaku leaned back. "Feel free to smack him again."

"Anyways," Kallen frowned and sighed as she reached out and ran her thumb against his jaw. "You look like you got run over. Thank god guys don't wear mascara, yeah?"

"Yeah," Suzaku sighed, daring a smile. "I'm okay, Kallen, really."

Kallen rolled her eyes and stood up straight, not bothering to smooth down her rucked-up skirt.

"I was one of the first to go see the new guy for my yearly check-in." She smiled sharply. "I threw my shoe at him three sentences in."

Suzaku snorted at the thought of one of Kallen's heels beaning Lamperouge. "And?"

"He asked me if I wore three-inch heels to increase my height in a male-dominated institution," she licked her teeth and leered, "Or if I wore them because I thought it made my legs look sexy."

"He said that? He said 'sexy'?"

"He said… 'Or because it softens the impact of your brash personality when male minds become more concerned with the length of your legs than the cut of your tongue.'" Kallen posed briefly, showing off her weapons-grade heels. "For a cold bastard like Lamperouge, it's basically the same thing."

Suzaku could only nod, admiring the bend of her knee.

"Are you done yet, Agent Kururugi?" She grinned. "Or can I kick you in the face?"

"So you said, 'both,' right?"

"Naw," Kallen grinned. "I told him to go fuck himself… and suggested that I wasn't the only person in the room who knew how to run in stilettos."

Suzaku smiled and Kallen finally relaxed, sending a small, wry smile back.

"Well, you still did better than me." Suzaku sighed and leaned back in his chair. "I don't feel right without my gun."

"You don't look right without your gun." Kallen reached over and flicked him in the forehead. Suzaku's moment to complain passed when Kallen followed it with a small kiss.

"Cry it out, emote, blow him, whatever-" Kallen ignored his blush and stutter. "Just get your gun back, I'm sick of hurting my fist on that idiot's face."

Suzaku's moment to complain passed as he watched Kallen walk out the door.

"You look tired."

"Well, I'm tired." Suzaku sat back and pulled at the knot of his tie. "That's what happens."

"Trouble sleeping?"

Suzaku rolled his eyes and Lamperouge smiled a little, making a brief note on the pad perched against his knee.

"What did you just write? That I'm tired?" Suzaku pointed. "You don't even know why I'm tired. Maybe my alarm clock went off early. It doesn't have to be some big important-"

Dr. Lamperouge grabbed the pad of paper and tossed it in his direction.

The pad was empty except for a note on the top right hand corner.

The date.

"You seem tired," Lamperouge repeated. "Have you been having trouble sleeping?"

Suzaku attempted to hand the pad back but Lamperouge shook his head and followed with a carefully tossed pen. It was heavy and unnaturally warm, as if it had been up against the doctor's chest.

"I'll tell you what to write, Agent Kururugi. You just answer my questions for now."

"Alright." Suzaku felt odd with the pen in his hand, and Lamperouge seemed odder still without some tool at his disposal. "Yeah, I had a nightmare and I didn't want to go back to sleep."

"What was it about?"

"Nothing, really." Which was what had freaked Suzaku out. He put the pen down on the couch. "I was in the middle of getting ready for work. I poured myself a cup of coffee and went to go sit… and I saw a pair of gloves nailed to the table."


"White gloves." Suzaku shrugged. In the light of day he found himself blushing a little in embarrassment. At two in the morning he'd been terrified, but in front of the doctor, complaining about a stupid dream-

"This is pretty straight-forward, Agent Kururugi," Lamperouge said, lacing his fingers together on his lap, "And nothing to be embarrassed about. The fear response is just as credible as if I were holding a gun to your head."

"I think I'd be less afraid of the gun."

Lamperouge's smile tensed into a little smirk of amusement before he pointed to the legal pad.

"You should probably write that down."

"Ah. Right." Suzaku winced and started fiddling with the pen. It had gone cold from just sitting on the couch but it wrote perfectly on the first try. He made a few abortive scratches to make sure it was working, but didn't know what to write. The doctor was good enough to avert his eyes while Suzaku tried to think the whole situation out. He wasn't stupid enough to believe that what he wrote was going to be taken at face value. Suzaku stared at the paper, tapping the pen against his lips as he tried to think. He glanced up.

Dr. Lamperouge's eyes darted back up to the print on the wall but the smirk on his face remained intact.

"This is some big game to you," Suzaku accused, tired enough not to care that he was wagging the silver pen in the doctor's direction. "You're having fun."

"A little bit," Lamperouge admitted after a long moment of staring. When he looked Suzaku in the eyes a little bit of Suzaku's anger turned directly into indignation. His gaze was warm and engaging but still sharply amused. The expression was as honest as any Suzaku had seen, and the proof was in Lamperouge's hands. His fingers were moving, but not fidgeting or white-knuckled. Lamperouge nodded to the pad again.

"Well, what's so damn amusing then?" Suzaku was flustered by the sudden show of personality. So far the man had been a blank slate, nothing more than a frighteningly intelligent machine and now that sharp gaze looked downright friendly.

"You're not afraid of having a gun put to your head; I believe that. The idea fits in perfectly with your self-destructive tendencies." Lamperouge tilted his head. "And yet you're looking at that blank page like it's going to rip you to pieces if you try to use it. I hadn't expected that from you."


"And it's been a long time since someone did something I didn't expect them to do." Lamperouge shrugged.

"And you like that?"

"Yes." Lamperouge nodded. "I like that."

Suzaku bit the inside of his cheek before asking, "You like that you don't actually know everything about me?"

"I didn't say that." Lamperouge's eyes turned sharp again, even with that small, friendly smile. "Ask me what my expectations were, Agent Kururugi."

"What were your expectations?" Suzaku backed off on his not-so-subtle interrogation as the entire expression dissolved as if it had never even been. There was the machine again with watching eyes and a cool stare.

"I had expected you to realize that I do know everything about you. Everything important to our sessions, anyway." Lamperouge nodded at the paper again. "There's no use in worrying about what I might divine from whatever you're about to jot down because I'm working with facts that have already been established."

Suzaku gripped the pen with a white-knuckled fist.

"Agent Kururugi, the last thing I want to do is push you over the edge by making you double-guess yourself." And there was that slip of a smile. "If you fail, I fail, and you're an excellent judge of character."

Then the doctor leaned forward a little. "I had expected you to understand that I'm not a person who fails."

Suzaku almost bolted when the man stood but he managed to stay seated even when Lamperouge took the empty spot beside him, picking up the pad of paper and slipping the pen out of his grip. He leaned close enough that Suzaku felt a brief touch of soft hair against his cheek. Suzaku leaned in closer until their shoulders were pressed together, until he could see what Lamperouge was writing on the pad.

Agent Kururugi:

Fear from an unknown source has manifested in a dream. The fear was intense enough that he decided to forgo sleep rather than relive it again. It is very likely that this fear stems from the subject of our second session. The patient is still slightly defensive. Sessions are progressing well, on schedule.

He put the pen down. Then he stood, taking the pad with him. Suzaku tried to offer up the pen but Lamperouge held up a hand, walking behind his desk. He went through a few desk drawers and then came up with a book. It was slim and black. Suzaku caught it with his pen-free hand.

"Keep a journal, Agent Kururugi." Lamperouge sat and began to flip through his papers. "It's a good place to vent any emotions that may arise from our sessions. I want you to seriously think over what happens in this office and this seems the best option to keep these sessions at the forefront of your mind. I'm not going to read it, but I do expect the journal to be full in two weeks. Our second session was enough to fill three."

Suzaku stood with a sigh and the items in hand. "Is that it?"

"Yes, for today."

Suzaku had his hand on the doorknob when the doctor called out again.

"Don't take a sick day. Tomorrow we'll be talking about your father."

Suzaku took one look back at the man who had his head down and a new plastic pen out as he closed one file and then opened another. He slammed the door behind himself on the way out to the wide-eyed surprise of the man waiting in front of him.

"God fucking help you," he snapped.

Then, just for spite, Suzaku took the rest of the day off.

Suzaku began to hate the warm, comfortable couch. It was welcoming, soft, and everything the man in front of him wasn't. Lamperouge was all hard angles, half-smirks and sharp eyes. Even the swing of his hair made Suzaku mad, the color of his eyes made Suzaku mad, the way his fingers folded into each other made Suzaku mad…. He hated, hated, hated the way he felt messed up, hot and half-crazy with nerves when the man was so quietly and emphatically composed.

"Did you write in your journal?"

"Yes." Suzaku crossed his arms and leaned further into the couch. "I did what I was told."

"Thank you," Lamperouge said smoothly. "Would you like to tell me what you wrote about?"

"I wrote about how much of a manipulative jerk you are."

Lamperouge nodded and relaxed back into his chair.

"Why did you choose law enforcement over a military career?" he asked. "Your Air Force superiors were enthusiastic about your career and from what I heard you were an excellent pilot."

"I didn't want to stay with the military." Suzaku was tempted to be relieved that they weren't talking about his father again. "And I don't want to talk about why."

"Alright." Lamperouge made a note. "So, you left the Air Force with a degree in physics and working knowledge of anything with the ability to fly. You could have gone into commercial or private airlines, NASA wouldn't have kicked you off the doorstep, and with a little more schooling you could have branched out into a number of scientific fields… The FBI was a little startled when you applied."

Suzaku sighed, tired with the subject of could-have-beens, and the doctor added, "Did you know they bumped your file up to the CIA?"

"Why?" Suzaku remembered being astonished that he'd been accepted to the FBI training.

"Because you have fantastic potential," Lamperouge said. "But in the end you became an FBI agent, passed every test with flying colors, and made your way up to the big-league cases while agents older than you were still stuck with penny-ante."

"I… was lucky," Suzaku replied after a long pause. "My first couple of cases were easy and my partner showed me the ropes."

"You were more than lucky," Lamperouge murmured, "And I have a feeling that Agent Stadtfeld showed you more than the ropes."

Suzaku processed, paused, and processed again, but the statement was inflammatory any way he spun it… and there was Lamperouge waiting with his pen poised and his head tilted to the side.

"You're just saying that because she threw a shoe at you," Suzaku countered, congratulating himself on not reacting violently. He further congratulated himself when the doctor's eyebrows rose with a wry tongue-in-cheek expression. Caught doing something naughty, Suzaku's criminal translator kicked back, but not ashamed.

Lamperouge tapped the pad. "You're both very physical people but you're also not the type to form intense emotional bonds with people you're actually attracted to, so a sexual relationship wouldn't disturb your working relationship. In fact, it has probably enhanced your synchronicity."

And he certainly wasn't apologetic, but Suzaku was learning not to expect basic human emotions from Lamperouge. Suzaku could only groan and stare up at the ceiling, waiting for Lamperouge to get to whatever traumatizing point they were heading towards.

"No comment, then?"

"You're making me crazy," Suzaku sighed. "That's my comment. Could we maybe get this over with, please?"

"What is it that's making you crazy, Agent Kururugi?" Lamperouge smiled a little. "My ability to rationalize not notifying your superiors about an infraction within our code of ethics? Or the fact that I didn't mind getting clipped by a beautiful woman's shoe?"

"Just tell me where we're going." Suzaku massaged the bridge of his nose, trying to stem off the headache nagging at the base of his skull. "The suspense is killing me."

The doctor stood, walking behind his desk to open a drawer and pull out a white bottle. He shook it and asked, "Now or later?"

"Now," Suzaku sighed.

Lamperouge opened the bottle and tossed him a white pill that Suzaku swallowed after Lamperouge said, "Don't chew."

Then Lamperouge pulled out another white bottle, one that said Tylenol. Suzaku started feeling a little sick as the doctor pulled out another white pill. He caught it, looked at the clearly stamped name on the pill in his palm and asked, hoarsely, "What did I just swallow?"

Lamperouge put the two bottles down and he leaned forward, his palms flat on his desk. His eyes were wide, but intent. He looked truly human for the first time, and concerned. Earnest.

"You trusted Agent Stadtfeld with your body in a physical relationship after only a few days," Lamperouge said, slowly but surely. "I'm asking you to trust me with your mind, if only while we work together."

Suzaku watched him, tense and looking for lies in his words or eyes. Lamperouge had put something into him, something foreign and most certainly chemical. Possibly life-changing. Anything.

"Have I been wrong, Agent Kururugi?" Lamperouge asked, looking inside him. "Right now you feel agitated, nervous, and it upsets you. You feel out of control and it gets worse every time you walk into my office… The first time I spoke to you, one mention of your father put you into a fight or flight response. Your fear of lost control is manifesting in your dreams, in the only place you can't deny the emotion."

Lamperouge continued as Suzaku looked away, looked into the creases of the leather couch rather than all the horrible truth the doctor was dredging up.

"Rather than confront the issues we've been dealing with, you fixate on me, the person who is making you feel these things." Lamperouge sighed and his voice softened. "What I just gave you is a measure of your control returned. I can't promise miracles, Agent Kururugi. I can only promise that my one hope out of these sessions is that you'll be able to walk away from all of these issues by conquering them. I can only promise that I'm trying to help you be able to enjoy your life."

And when he spoke again Suzaku turned to look because the man's voice was tired, almost mournful… And for a moment Suzaku wondered if there were a real person behind all the cool logic and passive face.

"I don't go around telling people that they have amazing potential," Lamperouge said. "Most of them don't. But you show no pride for your accomplishments and no excitement about what you are or what you could be: Exceptional."

Lamperouge's head dipped forward briefly and the swing of his hair hid his eyes for a moment, until he looked back up, composed and placid again. The tremor of passion was gone.

"Take the pill for two weeks," Lamperouge said. "It will make these sharp truths softer and easier to manage. It will help you control them even when you dream. After two weeks if you still want to stop the treatment I won't say a word."

"By treatment you mean-"

"I mean I'll sign the papers to give you your gun back and reduce our sessions to monthly check-ups." Lamperouge nodded at Suzaku's surprise, stern. "But we will have longer sessions until then, two hours, and you will take what I give you every morning without fail."

"You have more?" Suzaku's feeling of unease sickened. "More pills?"

"If the treatment is successful you won't need them by the time you walk out my door. It's not a long term prescription. I'm giving you an anti-depressant and something to help you sleep. That's all, and the prescriptions are entirely safe, especially since I'll be monitoring your moods as you take them."

He reached down and then tossed Suzaku a bottle. The label had the name of the drug scratched out but it clearly said, 'For sleep'. He frowned at it, anger growing as he remembered the pill already dissolving into his system.

He was up and halfway to tossing it in the trash when Lamperouge said, "I take the same exact medication every night." His voice was only barely a murmur, a whisper, a secret as he looked Suzaku in the eye. "And more than a few of your superiors take the other one in the morning, prescribed by the doctor before me."

"That doesn't make what you just did right," Suzaku hissed. Lamperouge flinched backwards when Suzaku stood and got up close. "You apologize right now or I'm reporting to your superior what you just did."

Lamperouge smiled a little, looking wistful as he sighed.

He was still smiling softly when he said, "Agent Kururugi, I will not apologize for doing what I think is right. Think about what we talked about, take that medication as instructed, and get a good night's rest. You need it."

Suzaku almost yelled, almost screamed, because there was nothing he could say to that sentiment when he believed it himself. Nothing at all. Instead he put his hands down on the desk and scattered the man's files all over the room with a single sweeping hand.

Lamperouge instantly broke eye contact to look down and Suzaku turned too. Faces looked up at him from the floor, autopsies, evidence, dead children and the proof, the smiles that proved those had once been alive.

The case hadn't been solved and Suzaku hadn't forgotten.

Apparently Lamperouge hadn't forgotten, either. Suzaku dimly remembered the look on the man's face when he was finally brought into the investigation, when he was just a stranger, another inexperienced profiler that the FBI hadn't really known and the department hadn't trusted. They'd kicked him out as soon as their old profiler was back off vacation.

Suzaku remembered being entirely shocked and secretly uneasy with the fact that his superiors had so casually dismissed a resource. He'd only been a probationary agent at the time and fiercely aware that the same could happen to him if he stepped out of line.

Lamperouge had yelled, begged, insisted in every way he could that the killer had been a woman with a teenaged accomplice, probably male, but at the time Lamperouge hadn't been entirely sure. The FBI hadn't given him all of the evidence. They had been saving the good parts for the guy they trusted. His passion for justice fell on uncaring ears and he'd been furious when he was finally forced to leave, slamming every door behind him with enough force that picture frames had shattered on the floors.

The guy the FBI trusted had fingered a middle-aged businessman who had pornography of sixteen year olds, but not much older. He confessed that he knew the actresses weren't actually sixteen, that he'd never do anything to children. The evidence just hadn't been there but the guy they'd trusted had gotten the businessman double life sentences without parole on just his own reputation. The 'killer' was in jail for six months until the case was shred to pieces at appeal. He'd left the prison emaciated, scarred, and with a dead heart.

Somewhere a killer had been smiling.

And here was Lamperouge, that recent graduate all grown up and an honest to goodness profiler who could spot a murderer in two lies, a flicker of eyes, and a smile.

"I remember you now," Suzaku said, feeling suddenly and acutely ashamed. He crouched down to where Lamperouge was already kneeling, carefully rearranging his folder with blank, blank eyes and a face that gave absolutely nothing away. This case, those dead children, Suzaku realized, had killed that passionate young graduate just as surely as if the director had pointed his gun at Lamperouge's soul and fired.

When everything was gathered Suzaku handed over his folders with a sick, horrible feeling as Lamperouge met his eyes with a stare and stood. He held the folders to his chest with a calm grip and unwavering eyes. He wasn't even angry, Suzaku realized. The doctor was simply watching Suzaku and most likely measuring the amount of rage it would take for an experienced agent to lose his temper in such a way. He was probably wondering and dissecting their brief encounter to pick out the moment and the reason that had pushed Suzaku into rage.

Suzaku found he couldn't identify why his anger had peaked, he only came to the realization that the rage had been stewing inside him since the day Doctor Lamperouge had held up a photograph and made Suzaku face the truth.

He didn't say he was sorry as he left. There wasn't a single doubt in him that Lamperouge already knew.

There were plenty of options, but Suzaku chose the one he liked the very least. He didn't go to the late night movie, he didn't empty clip after clip at the firing range, and he didn't call Kallen and ask to come over to her apartment. He didn't drink scotch until he couldn't drink anymore. Suzaku didn't go downtown and step in front of a speeding car.

Instead Suzaku went home, took a long, scalding shower, wrote in his journal with his new slick, ridiculously expensive silver pen (he'd looked it up on the internet) and then went to bed.

Two hours later, after waking up shaking and sweating, he bolted to his discarded jacket and dry-swallowed too many little white pills.