Don't talk about him so much.

For God's sake, don't talk about him so much.

It's always like this with you. Always, ever since two years ago. Sasayama this, Sasayama that. Why must you always do that?

Can't you focus on me?

I don't care whether it's unreasonable or unfair of me to wish that, but the only thing I want to do right now is scream those words in your face, lash them out at you when you least expect it, and see with my own eyes what your face would show.

Right after your demotion it wasn't so bad. I felt guilty about him too. I wished he hadn't died too. I felt responsible too. But as the days passed and relentlessly threw at me sickening cases, life took its usual course, all that fell away. Time passed. I saw things clearly. Rationally. Logically.

For me, that is, isn't it?

Not for you.

You clung on to that memory, that damn stupid flicker of the past that you refused to let die. Why couldn't you let bygones be bygones, huh? What the hell was your problem? Couldn't you live and let live in peace?

Look at me. I look like a god damned priest, harping on about living and all that. But I can't help it. It's what I feel.

Why did you have to be so stubborn? So stupid? Why, on that day two years ago, couldn't you just listen to me and come back to me?! If only you had listened to me back then-

We might not be like this.

You might not be like this.

We might be working on a case together, and you'd walk right beside, just so, but never in front, and it'd be a cloudy, windy day where your hair flew about like a wild thing, and then the damn gawkers around would be staring at us, and you would be-

Talking to Sasayama.

You always got along SO WELL with him, didn't you? Doesn't matter what I think, but Sasayama wants to eat a damn hamburger! Oh no, we can't tie our shoelaces, 'cause Sasayama's wearing god-mother-fucking flip-flops!

Well, maybe a bit exaggerating, that.

But I can see it. They all can see it.

You're an Enforcer now, and you live because you have a goal. Something you look forward to doing, and after that you die. That's basically the life pattern of all mankind.

But… it was stark raving maddening!

I was there. I saw it. Every single scrap of news, controversy, report about the Specimen Case, and there is it with you!

It hurt me.

Hurt me that you didn't care anymore. About me, that is. You cared plenty and more for him, didn't you? For Sasayama.

You didn't care about me. If I dropped dead in the middle of the road, the most it would do was make you raise an eyebrow, wasn't it!

It won't make any difference, I know that. No matter what I do, you won't come back. All those days we passed, the time we spent together won't come back. Not for all the world. If someone asked you to choose whether you'd rather watch me die in the most painful, limb-twisting, torturous way possible or avenge Sasayama by pushing a button, there isn't any doubt, not the least bit in my mind, about what you'd do.

But I kinda wish you'd come back.

Bring all those days with you.

The peace.

Fun.

Laughter.

Happiness.

The love.

You must be a blockhead not to realize it. I guess that's a good thing for me, isn't it? I love you. None other than you, Kougami Shinya. I forget when it happened. Maybe it was all of a sudden, or just a gradual, slow… poison? Not a word you'd use to describe love, is it? Poison. But it fits. Spreads through the body slowly, savouring the reactions it evokes. After it's conquered it all, it doesn't go any farther. It waits. Watches. Sees the victim squirming and writhing.

I love everything about you. Your darkness. Your quiet. Your ways of saying things like they're child's play. Your hair, your lips, your hands, your eyes…

Your silent way of taking everything on and tearing it to pieces…

The stoic eyes of a wild, untrained beast….

Everything…

And you love who? Sasayama. Not me.

He wins, hands down. Without even trying. A fucking dead guy wins against me. Maybe it's not love you have for him. Maybe it's just friendship. If that's so then I'm lower than that, even. Like a stranger.

Am I a stranger to you, Kougami? Didn't all of that time we spent together as equals on equal footing count for shit?

You know what, all of this can just go die.

I haven't slept for three days. The last solid thing that entered my body was two days ago. I'm basically a machine running on energy drinks. I might be having hallucinations. The bags under my eyes are so deep it'd make a lovely nest over there. My skin is practically dead.

Not reporting in for work, I am a naught boy, huh?

But all that can go to hell. And it can take all the shit like duty and responsibility and ethics and protocol with it.

Because…

There's no use anymore. No use at all. No reason for me to keep trying. Tsunemori is more than enough for you.

I hope that, in all sincerity, you may begin a happy life together, with no obstacles in the path to your happiness… You have my complete blessing and support and-

Oh, screw it all.

It's too hard, and I'm too broken. Not strong enough to put on a mask as usual and face it placidly. I'm too tired. Sick of it all.

I flailed a hand around, searching for another can of energy drink but only knocking over empty ones. But then my hand hit something hard. And that was my undoing.

For it was, in all its glory, a bottle of pure untouched alcohol.

Not sleeping for days must have put a lock on my logical side. Pulling out the cork with my teeth while somehow pushing myself to a leaning back position at the same time, half the contents of that flashy green bottle when phut down my throat.

And lord, did it make me dizzy.

So dizz-zz-zzy… I don't feel right… but it feels so damn gooooooood…

Wait, that's not right… I was depressed about something… what was it now… It's on the tip of my tongue… Oh, who cares! Let's make it all feel so goo-oo-oo-oo-ood!

Finally swishing the last drops of the thing that god knew who left there, I let the bottle fall to the floor. It cracked a lot, but to its credit didn't break.

Hahaha, that's great! Cong-ra-tu-la-tions, bottle-kun, you survived! Ah, I'm so happy I could burst now! There ain't no damn need to be sad, pardner, cuz I got your back…

Oh, wait, that ain't right, I ain't got a partner…

BANG-BANG-BANGBANGBANG!

"Hah? Who might zat be now, in ze whole wide world, I wonder?" I said, for some reason not getting my 'th' properly. I was talking to myself, wasn't I? I still hadn't gotten up to answer the door. ButIdon'twanna…

It's too exhausting…

Pulling the covers over myself in a vain attempt to cancel the sounds, I sank deeper into the mattress.

"-noza-Gino-Gino!"

"Aye sir, what may I do ya for?" I replied groggily, pushing away the covers with contradictory enthusiasm.

And then, before my very eyes, I saw perfection etched in stone. In my dark hell of a house, I saw none other than Kougami Shinya.

He had a brow cocked at me. At me. Yessir, what right's he got ta cock his brows at me? No one cocks a brow at the might-eeee Nobuchika Ginoza!

"Nossir, I don't like ta have no uninvited brow cocker in my home," I said, nodding to prove my point. Or something.

"Gino, are you… drunk?"

"Yessiree, I most cert-ain-ly am! And wasswrong wiz zat, I ask you?" And I giggled. Like a stupid, teenage girl.

And he cocked two brows at me.

"Gino, do you know who I am?"

"Teehee. A'course I do. Been waiting for you for ever so long, I have. You're the Angel o'Death!"

"…"

"Well, go ahead, take my soul. I won't scream. Promise. No wait, pinky promise. Teehee!"

SPLASH!

"Wazza-" I began, but stopped as the freezing water felt like knives over my body.

"Meanie! Whaddya wanna do that for?" I continued.

"You're still drunk? How much did you drink?"

"Me, I drank a bottle," I said, nodding proudly at myself, "all by myself."

"A whole bottle?"

"Yup."

"God, you're incorrigible." And you sighed, like I was a little kid that always needed watching, which pissed me off to high heaven.

"Lissen here, mista, I ain't no inco- co- cobble-able!"

All you did was leave the room and shut the door after you.

That sobered me up more than anything else would have, even boiling water straight from an onsen. Words tried to force themselves out from still-drunken lips. "Wait, Kougami! Kougami!"

But the door did not reopen.

I sank to the wet sheets in a heap.

The door reopened with a soft creak. My eyes were closed, so I couldn't see anything much.

"Here. Drink this. It'll help."

I took a sip and dunked all the rest down in two sips flat. It was strong black coffee that brought me full-on to my senses.

"Kougami, why are you dropping by?"

"You. Work. Skipping. Akane. Worried." Quite a short summary, but gave a pretty clear picture. And what was with that first-name basis!?

"You can go back. As you can see, I'm fine. I'll come to work tomorrow."

You took a drag from your cigarette, stubbed it out, and said, "As I can see, you're worse off than Yayoi's pet dog."

"I am not. I'm fine. Normal."

"You are. How long has it been since you slept?"

"There's no need for you to know," I said. In all of this I never looked at your face. I stared up at the ceiling instead, trying to bring at least a piece of my control back to me.

"There is. I don't want to be reassigned to some stuck-up boss who doesn't give a shit about anything except getting the job done."

"Look." I hissed it all out, this last sentence. "Leave. I'll come to work tomorrow. That's fine, isn't it? That's all you wanted, right?"

"It is."

"Then go," I said. Please leave now, don't look back, don't look back at this broken piece of trash, don't look back at this unworthy, filthy creature…

"Fine."

You picked yourself up from the sofa, threw the coat on and headed for the door I didn't want you to reach.

Didn't?

Why?

Am I afraid? Afraid that you'll never come back? Or maybe that I'm going to die without seeing you again? Or that I'll be leaving nothing behind me, nothing worth remembering except a spotless record that no one will ever bother to see?

Reaching the door now, you are.

Do I stop you? Dare I try?

Just two steps more.

Will you hear me? Listen to me? Or will it all be like it was two years ago, and you'll just march ahead without a thought or care in the world for what I feel? But still – is it worth a try?

One step, that's all it will take for you to go, get out forever, never look at me again…

No, no, it must be. You won't turn back, you'd never do something like that. Especially if I told you. What would you do if I was Sasayama, huh? Run to him? Dash over to his side without thinking?

No, I can't call you.

There's too much at stake. Like losing you forever… I can see it already. You'll make a face like an alien and never speak to me again if you knew it – knew what I felt.

Turning the handle now. It creaks so agonizingly. So slow and torturously. Enough to kill. There's not enough time, there never will be… The time bomb's ticking away, away to blissful oblivion, what am I going to do-

"Wait! Kougami!"

You turned back towards me. Letting the handle go. The door staying closed. Me being able to see you.

"What is it?"

"Wait… wait. Don't go now… Don't go yet."

Were you surprised, Kougami? Shocked? Startled? What did you feel? All I saw was the widening of your eyes, just a teensy little bit. And your mouth drop open, just so small a gap. Lovely mouth you've got there. Tempting. Seductive. Cute.

I pushed myself up to a haphazard sitting position, supporting it with one hand while I pushed my hair out of the way with the other. "Wait, alright? Just wait two seconds."

I swear walking was never so hard as it was then… my legs were practically jelly. Hands against the wall to steady myself, I stood as straight as I could. "Sit. Sit down."

And then the damn ass of a man cocked his brow at me. Nonetheless, you still waltzed over to the only set of armchairs I had and plopped yourself down in one of them. Facing my wobbly form (really, I must have looked so disgraceful) you reached for your cigarette case, thought the better of it, and stopped midway, letting your hand fall.

"What is it, Gino?"

Breathing heavily I managed (somehow) to reach that damn armchair opposite to yours and practically flung myself down in it.

"I just realized. Inspector Tsunemori's not on day duty today."

You stiffened. Boy, did I love that look. It was better than winning the rank of Chief one thousand times over. I finally got one over you, Kougami! It's my lucky day today!

"So how about you tell me your real reason for coming down here?" I questioned him. It was all just a superior berating a subordinate; nothing more and nothing less.

"None."

"So what you mean to say is, you dropped in to this part of town, where you have no business to be, for no reason."

"I do."

"It was not by any means as a spy."

"It was not."

"It was not by any means to gather information on the Specimen Case."

"It may not be."

"But it may as well."

"True."

I give up, you're just too mule-headed for me to beat! Give me chess, give me paperwork, any work that requires logical thinking skills and I can excel at it, but give me one stubborn Kougami Shinya and may the Earth meet the Heavens but I would never master him.

"Kougami, it's time you give this up. It's not going to go anywhere. All it will do is get you into an asylum, and nothing else."

"Sasayama died that day, Gino. It's my responsibility and I intend to fulfill it."

"It's not anymore, Enforcer."

"It may not be that kind of responsibility, Gino, but I'm still morally responsible for Sasayama's death. He was killed and abused in front of my own eyes. I have to a-"

"Why is it always like this with you?"

I didn't really say anything, but I guess I must have, because you stopped mid-sentence and stared at me like a frog. You know, round, circle eyes?

"What did you say?"

"I said, why is it always like this with you?"

"Eh? Like what? I'm stating facts here, Gino. Sasayama was a womanizer and had a hell of a temper, but he was a good guy inside. I don't care much for Psycho-Passes or whatever, but he was good. I believe that."

"Oh, of course. Go on believing that. After all, he was simply amazing, wasn't he? He's always what you're thinking about. You're never thinking about me."

Let me say in my defense that it was clearly the drink talking.

"Gino, are you okay? Are you still drunk or something?" You made as if to get up.

"No, for god's sake, don't move. Clean your ears out and listen to me clearly for once. For once, I'll be the one to do the talking. Ever since two years ago, you're different. You're so strange. All you talk and think and feel about is Sasayama, Sasayama, Sasayama. Focus on me for a change. Think about how I felt. It was no one else's fault but mine that you were demoted. Can you imagine how that felt? Living with a parasite clinging on to you and devouring your entire being, body and soul?

"And that's not it either. All the people precious to me eventually turn around and stab me in the back. My own father did that. My mother remarried and made both her and my life hell. And even you left me.

"I didn't want this job, and that's a fact. There was no other choice for me except to accept it. But through that I met you, and I thought for once I had found someone no one could take away from me. But that wasn't true either. You became a Latent Criminal – one of them. The filth of society.

"All I'm asking you to do, Kougami, is think of ME, even be it for a minute or a second, instead of HIM all the time. Is that too much?"

You know, it's a little-known fact that I like reading. There are always these books that say 'and so he passed the point of no return,' and there was even something called 'The Cape of No Return.' I always remembered thinking it was foolish. Because no matter what you do, there's never no chance for return.

Sounds a bit contradictory, eh? Yes, I know I can never return to the earlier times, not those with my parents or those with you. But who can say it's going to stay that way? We can read a person's entire personality with Dominators nowadays; who's to say that we won't be able to turn back time soon enough?

But I'm wandering off topic.

Anyway, now I realized what all those people meant when they said 'the point of no return.' Because that was what I had just passed. After this, nothing would be the same between you and I ever again. But anyway, I guess it'd be worth it if I got to see you looking like a puffed grape, which was exactly what you were looking like now.

"Gino… are you sure you drank just one bottle?"

THUD!

My hands hit the table heavily as I mourned the fact that you were such a blockhead. You fool, understand already, try to get what I'm saying already!

Before I continue, let me say once again that IT WAS THE DRINK DOING ALL THIS.

My right hand shot out to grab your tie, pulling you towards my own face with all the frustration inside me clawing like a wild animal to get out.

And then our lips meet.

This is heaven.

And in that instant I realize that I don't want us to be like we are now. I want you to accept me here as I stand as yours. I think that I wouldn't mind letting my Psycho-Pass get clouded as hell to understand you better. Know you better.

But… none of that is meant for me, is it? That happiness is not mine to feel. If I could, I would shut down all my emotions now, turn myself into a walking corpse rather than face rejection from you. But… even as I am like this, let me enjoy this brief moment of bliss – my breath of rain in a desert.

Because that's what it is. What else can it be, so make all these strange feelings rise up in my stomach as I press our lips together for all I am worth, my free hand pushing the table aside to let our bodies be closer to each other, give us more freedom to love.

Correction. For me to love.

I can tell you're shell shocked, and the thought makes me smirk as I use the chance to push my tongue inside your mouth. It's cheating but… like I said, I had already passed the point of no return.

But you don't kiss back.

I expected this. I prepared for it for so long. I knew from the start I was doomed to fail. I knew from the start you had other options available. Others worlds above me. More suited to you. More understanding than I ever could be.

I know I come across as cold. Unfeeling. There isn't a person I've met who wanted to meet me again out of his own free will. Except you. We struck up quite a relationship, didn't we, working together as we did? Developed quite the rapport. Actually, a bit… or a lot more than rapport in my case.

Even with all my steeling myself, it's still a shock. A huge shock, like dropping a ten-thousand megawatt shock at me out of the blue. I guess that, somewhere, somehow, in my heart of hearts, I hoped you'd reciprocate. Foolish! Childish! I want to scream out and hit myself for this stupidity.

And then I felt something.

You pushing me away.

It's like you're pushing me away into a void wall of nothingness, where I pass through it and can never come back…

"Ginoza! What's wrong with you?"

Wiping a hand across my mouth, I am. As if I hated it. "Nothing is."

"You know what, I'm leaving. I'll come and talk to you tomorrow, when you're a sane person instead of a drunkard."

Don't leave…

Don't leave me alone with the shadows…

Please…

The door closes with an ominous click.

Tomorrow is the same as yesterday, and the other two days before it. Work is cast aside with all the ceremony of a piece of dust, and I continue to be… lazy, I suppose, is the right word for it.

But then, you did keep your self-made appointment.

"Gino." A knock on the door. "Are you in?"

I don't bother to answer, and you don't bother to respect that and barge in anyway.

"Gino," you said, standing at the side of the bed. "Gino!"

What the hell gives you the right to shake me like that, fool? I'm awake, can't you see?!

"What?" I say, in as controlled a voice as I can manage now.

"You're in trouble, the Chief's sent an official request for you. You're going to be sacked if you don't show up for work tomorrow."

A moment passes before I answer.

"So?"

"So? Gino, are y-"

"No, Kougami, I'm NOT drunk and I'm a PERFECTLY SANE PERSON as of now."

"I was going to say 'Are you mad?'" you mumbled to yourself.

And then you get up to pour yourself a glass of water, in which I think about a lot. Or, actually, I might not have thought at all.

"Kougami."

"What?"

"I love you."

Maybe it was strange for me to drop it like that so suddenly, with no mood or ambience in the background. But it's not like I had lots of experience with this. I was just doing what I felt was right. But I wish DAMN HARD that I had a camera with me now, to capture that look on your face as you coughed all that water out.

"What?"

"You heard me."

"Why?"

"Because… I do."

You took a deep breath. For me, it had been do or die; I had done it and was now waiting to die.

I almost got that chance when I felt your lips on mine.

And you even got me back for that little piece of cheating yesterday by sliding in your tongue in my mouth as I gasped with the shock of it.

I returned that kiss. I said after it that it was the best kiss I ever had amongst all our kisses, and I still stand by that statement. Nothing will make me say otherwise.

That passion quite took my breath away… Passion, possession, regrets, joys, apologies, all those and more were mixed up in that kiss. It wasn't a kiss, it was a joining of souls.

And then you drew back to take a bit (a LOT) of breath after that lung exercise.

"Say, Gino?"

"What?"

"Say it again."

"No."

"Please?"

"…I love you."

You grinned like that bad-boy you were.

"But what you said yesterday… did you really mean it?"

"I did."

"Well…" you sat down beside me, "I suppose you have a reason for thinking that. But I just feel responsible for Sasayama. I still care about you. A lot."

"Didn't seem that way."

"I'm… sorry, okay? I know an apology isn't enough, but… I'm sorry, okay? I'll try not to be so obsessed about it anymore."

I nodded.

But inside me there's still bells going off; you haven't said anything about loving or even liking me back.

Still, this is a huge step forward for us.

If I have to, I can live with just this.

"Say, Kougami."

"What, Gino?"

"Do you love me back?"

I realize what a man face-to-face with a time bomb must feel like.

"Of course I do. I love you too." A brief smile lit up your face, and I allowed an answering smile to accompany the tears streaming down my face.

This isn't happiness…

It's more than bliss.

A/N: I started writing this fic because of the great potential this couple had, and also because the only fanfic that I could find was a Portuguese one that I couldn't read for shit. Anyways, the irregularity of tense is intentional. It felt weird to put it all down in one tense. So tell me how you felt about this humble one's work… will thou?