Ah, there it was again. It happened every time he came close to catching the thief. The pounding in Zenigata's chest as he raced up the stairs of the old hotel was as familiar and almost comforting to the old cop. He'd done this a million times by now; but it never got old. It was this moment that Zenigata lived and breathed for. Once he reached the proper floor his eyes scanned about eagerly for the correct room number.
"402… 402…" he muttered under his breath as he walked down the hall as quietly as he could in his excitement, one hand tapping the handcuffs in his pocket.
After what seemed to be a few dozen eternities he finally came upon the number he was looking for, and he swore he felt his heart skip a few beats. This was going to be the day he caught Lupin! He swore to himself that this time the thief would not escape. While it was true he'd sworn this very same thing many times before, this time it was going to be the truth. Procuring from his other pocket the key that he'd gotten from the obliging (after he'd been slipped about 20 bucks, of course) fellow at the front desk, Zenigata slowly went about opening the door that separated him from his quarry.
Then he heard it; a man moaning and a bed squeaking from within the room.
Zenigata frowned. As much as he wanted to capture Lupin, something just didn't sit right with him about charging in while the thief was in the throes of passion. Heaven knows the poor woman involved was probably some innocent drawn in by Lupin's sinister charms! The inspector shook his head and sighed; feeling great pity for the girl who was destined only to have her heart broken. Zenigata convinced himself, however, that if Lupin was 'indisposed' it would be much easier to catch him than if he were in a less compromising position. Bracing himself for what he was about to see, Zenigata unlocked the door as quickly as he could and shut his eyes before walking in. Once inside, he took a deep breath and pronounced in his most authoritative voice: "Lupin! You're under�""
It was at this time that Zenigata's ears finally picked up the voice of the second party involved in the copulation. It was certainly not that of the fair virgin maiden he'd pictured. In fact, it was not that of a virgin maiden at all… and that was when Zenigata made the mistake of opening his eyes.
"Lupin… ahh… stop! Look!" Jigen managed to muffle through the pillow his head was currently resting.
Lupin didn't even seem to hear the gunman. He was too busy pounding away at his current activity; grinning from ear to ear and looking smug as the cat who'd eaten the canary. It was sound of Zenigata falling hard onto his rear on the carpet that finally broke the thief's concentration on his current endeavor. Lupin barely batted an eye and the cocky grin remained on his face when he recognized the person who had stumbled in.
The thief's gleeful exclamation was the last thing the cop heard before fainting on the spot.
Zenigata knew before he opened his eyes that he was not in his own bed. This did not bother him, as the majority of his nights were spent in strange hotels as he traveled all over hunting down Lupin. Wait… Lupin? Why was his brain putting lots of little exclamation points and question marks by that name all of a sudden? And Jigen's too? And why were their names circled and connected by a red line?
"Hey, I think sleeping beauty over there is waking up!"
At the sound of the thief's voice Zenigata sat straight up, head whipping about frantically as his mind tried to sort things out. An underwear clad Jigen and Lupin sat on a second bed to his right, the former blushing slightly and averting his sight away from the inspector while the latter grinned jubilantly at him and even had the audacity to wave.
"Well, look who's up! I didn't think the sight of my bare ass was that bad, Pops." Lupin chuckled.
"How did I get here?" Zenigata snarled, reaching for his pocket and his handcuffs only to find that he wasn't wearing his coat, "What were you planning to do? Kill me in my sleep, Lupin?"
Lupin clucked his tongue, "That would be dirty pool, old man. You should know by now I have more respect for you than that. As for how you got here, I'll give you a hint: It wasn't through the window."
Zenigata growled, not the least bit in the mood for Lupin's teasing, "Where is my coat, then?"
Lupin shrugged his shoulders and pointed to the small closet near the door, "I figured you wouldn't be too comfortable napping in it, so I hung it up."
"And that's another thing!" Zenigata boomed, "How did I end up asleep?"
"Eh, I surmise it had something to do with the shock to your system once you saw Lupin fucking my brains out." the formerly silent Jigen replied between puffs of a cigarette.
That was when it all came back to Zenigata. The inspector's eyes widened and he became slack-jawed as Lupin snickered in perverted amusement.
"But… you… you're…" Zenigata pointed a shaky finger Lupin's way, edging slowly away from the two thieves to the opposite side of his bed.
"A sex fiend." Lupin winked, "Come on now. Do you really think anyone as constantly horny as I am cares about where he gets it?"
"Tch, thanks a lot." Jigen muttered.
"Awww, Ji-chan! You know what I meant."
There was little Zenigata could do for a few minutes aside from stammer a few random vowels and just stare. He was so dumbfounded that he didn't notice he'd run out of bed to back onto until he fell unceremoniously off the edge. Lupin hopped over to the other bed and beamed down at the stupefied cop.
"Y'know what your problem is, Pops? You're much too uptight."
Zenigata came to his senses enough to yelp a reply, "Oh! No! You stay away from me! I'm not like… that!"
There was more giggling from Lupin. It made Zenigata's blood boil how nothing he said was ever taken seriously by the thief. He wanted so badly just to punch that cocky grin right off his face.
"Not like what? Not fun? Not interesting? Not sexual?" the last word was said with particular emphasis.
"That's none of your damn business, asshole!" Zenigata finally managed to scramble to his feet, although he still didn't seem able to move away from this very stressful situation.
Lupin batted his eyes at his adversary, resting his head on his hands, "Ooh, looks I hit a nerve there."
By this point, Zenigata's face had broken out into a bright crimson. He simply couldn't believe what was happening. This wasn't part of the routine. For years it had always been the same old song and dance; he'd burst in on Lupin and Lupin would somehow weasel his way out of being captured. The only thing that shook him out of this confusion was the feel of cold steel rubbing against his wrists�"snap! His own handcuffs had been put on him. When the hell had Jigen gotten beind him?
"I don't know about this, Lupin." Jigen frowned, "Isn't this kind of a conflict of interests?"
Lupin shrugged, making way for Jigen to gently shove Zenigata chest down on the bed, "I think of it more as a public service, personally. We're just a couple of good hearted citizens helping a public servant from dying of dull."
If Zenigata had been stressed before, he was about a hundred times as stressed now.
"Hey! What the hell are you doing, you sick fu�""
Lupin's palm covered Zenigata's mouth before he could finish, "Calm down now, Pops. I swear, one of these days you're going to have a heart attack the way you get all worked up over nothing."
Once the hand was removed, Zenigata roared, "Calm down?! When you're about to do god knows what to me?"
"If you're suggesting that we'd rape you," Lupin coolly replied, "That's really not my style… well, unless the other party gets off on that sort of thing."
Zenigata cringed at the crude terminology, a few thoughts about how modern youth had no sense of decency running through his mind.
"Heh, lookit that. Even a euphemism for jacking off makes him squirm." Jigen snorted, remaining in a standing position behind the inspector.
"That… is downright adorable." Lupin cooed, patting Zenigata on the head "You don't have to act like that around us, Pops! Everyone does it! C'mon, what makes you horny?"
The cop was flabbergasted, sputtering at the very impudence of his captor, "You have no couth, Lupin!"
"Tsk. You're no fun! I guess that means we'll just have to guess, Jigen!"
Jigen smiled, "Should be easy enough. I'll bet he'll turn the shade of a baboon's ass once you guess it."
"I refuse to play your disgusting games!" Zenigata hissed through clenched teeth.
Needless to say, Lupin was not paying attention to Zenigata's protests and already seemed to be deep in thought.
"Hmm… what would turn Pops on? Oh! I know Jigen! Remember that purple-haired chick he had the hots for during that whole Michael Suzuki fiasco?"
"M-something?" the gunman looked at the ceiling thoughtfully.
Growing angrier by the second, Zenigata growled, "You leave Maria out of this!" Still, his heart ached a little as he recalled the girl behind the name and the feelings he was never allowed to express to her.
"Aww, poor Pops." Lupin frowned, "She didn't see you as anything more than a father figure did she? Don't worry… we'll play with you! Won't we Jigen?"
"No!" the inspector commanded, glaring at Lupin with unceasing rage.
"Fine, fine… we'll just continute the guessing game." the thief chirupped, fully enjoying every second.
"Hey, here's a thought Lupin!" Jigen grinned, leaning over Zenigata's back and tapping a finger on the handcuffs there.
"Geez! You're right Jigen! It was right in front of me the entire time and I never even thought of it!"
As much as he tried to fight it, Zenigata couldn't stop a curious expression from forming on his face. Before he could think to remove it, Lupin had already seen him and it was too late.
"Think Pops, when are you the happiest?" Lupin bent over, whispering just a little too gently.
Zenigata didn't have to think twice, "When your smart aleck ass is in jail where it belongs!"
"How about when you have me in handcuffs?"
"Well of course! That's the first step!"
Lupin and Jigen exchanged sly grins, with Lupin giving Jigen an odd sort of hand signal. Jigen nodded back at his partner and walked casually over to the room's closet.
"What is he doing?!" Zenigata barked at Lupin, "What is he getting?"
"The keys to your cuffs." Lupin said nonchalantly.
"You mean… you're going to let me go?"
"I'll do you one better Pops," the thief smiled "I'm going to let you cuff me."
Before the words had quite had a chance to register in the cop's brain he felt the cuffs loosen and eventually become removed. When he turned around, Jigen was there offering them to him with an amused grin. Thinking quickly, Zenigata snatched the cuffs out of the gunman's hand and turned to face Lupin; the thief had moved over to the other bed again and sat there with his wrists presented.
"This is for real? No mind games? No trying to escape?" Zenigata looked between the cuffs and Lupin in utter disbelief.
"For real." Lupin nodded, "I'm waiting Pops…"
Slowly, as if waiting for the two to gang up on him at any second, the inspector moved forward with the cuffs out. When he finally was in front of Lupin, he acted in a flash so as to prevent the thief any chance of escape. There was no struggle and no resistance from Lupin. He was all smiles as Zenigata attached one cuff to his wrist and then one to his own. Zenigata felt his heart pounding again; the thrill of the capture causing him to become excited in ways nothing else could make him.
"Well, come on… let's go!" Zenigata tugged with his cuffed hand for the thief to get up.
Lupin simpered, "I said you could cuff me… I never said I'd go to jail."
Zenigata didn't even have a chance to react before he was forcibly pulled down on top of Lupin. While this knocked the wind out of the thief for a moment, it would take much more than that to stop Lupin's jesterly personality.
"Woah! You're a tall drink of water ainctha?" the thief chuckled, his free hand moving to grasp the back of Zenigata's neck and scratch at it playfully.
"You! You bastard! What the hell…" a very flustered Zenigata struggled to get up but was unable to thanks to the way he'd landed and the fact the cuff's chain had become tangled.
"Come on now, all work and no play makes Zenigata… well, a duller boy than usual I guess. You're on top of me, I'm restrained�"neither of us is really in any position of power over the other. Don't you enjoy this just a little bit?"
"Don't be ridiculous!" Zenigata frowned, "And besides, I wouldn't exactly call having Jigen free and able to do your dirty work a fair situation."
"Oh, Jigen's just here to keep an eye on the door to make sure your need to shout everything doesn't cause the hotel staff to think we're killing manatees in here or something." Lupin retorted before half-lidding his eyes, "… and you're a horrible liar Pops. Unless you've taken to carrying a cell phone and that's what prodding against my stomach."
Zenigata was rendered speechless. Where the hell had that come from? He wasn't feeling amorous�"he was pissed off! Wasn't he…?
"That's pretty hot, Pops." Lupin chortled, "You're turned on by power? Me too, actually. You and I really aren't so very different…"
"That's crazy talk!" Zenigata squeaked when he finally found his voice, "You're a criminal and I'm the law!"
Lupins free hand moved down to massage at Zenigata's hip with gentle ministrations, "Well yeah, there's that… but I'm going deeper than how we earn our bread and butter, old man. Honestly, what would you ever do if I were locked up for good?"
"I'd finally be able to live in peace and retire!"
"Ha! That's a laugh." Lupin replied, "You've spent years doing nothing but plotting how you'd capture me. Spent every waking moment learning everything you could about me so you could get inside my head and predict my next move. Without me… your life would have no purpose. The lust to capture me�"to dominate me�"drives you."
"Oh, really? Tell me… what happened to that lovely wife of yours? And your daughter? They tried to be patient with you. They waited a good long time for you to return to them and be the husband and father you always promised you'd be."
Again, Zenigata's heart ached. This time it was the memory of the day he'd been served divorce papers… the day the woman he married and his only child dissapeared from his life forever. Even then he didn't really grasp how dire the situation was because he'd been to caught up in the latest lead in the Lupin case. He kept telling himself that they'd be back; that he'd worry about that mess as soon as he caught Lupin. Everything was postponed until that unforeseen date. That date that, Zenigata started to realize was possibly never going to come. Hot tears escaped from the inspector's eyes and slid down his weathered cheeks.
"It's all your fault, you asshole! And now you have the balls to remind me of it!"
"No, it isn't Pops." Lupin said sternly, "You could have turned over the case to someone else. You could have found some office job and become a normal salaryman like every other guy in Japan."
"Nobody else could catch you! I'm the only…" Zenigata paused and realized what he was saying. Dread gathered up in a sour ball in his stomach.
"You probably don't remember when I became your obsession, do you?" Lupin whispered.
"Probably marked it off as simply a desire for justice. But it's more than that. It's a lust."
"But I can't… I don't… I didn't mean to…"
Lupin softly spoke, "It wouldn't be as bad as you'd think, Pops. I'd be gentle. It would probably make you feel amazing."
If the world had ended at that exact moment in time, Zenigata probably would not have been surprised. He never thought he would have seriously considered doing what he considered doing at that very moment. Seconds passed like hours, but eventually the inspector's heart told him what he wanted to do.
"No… I can't Lupin." Zenigata sighed.
Lupin smiled gently and nodded his head in understanding, "Ok, Pops. Jigen… let him go. I think we'll wait awhile to play this game."
A month passed. Zenigata couldn't quite remember much about leaving the hotel that night. All he knew that was he'd left without Lupin in handcuffs. For some reason, that didn't really bother him. He thought about the events that led up to himself being on top of the thief and the reaction he didn't even know he was having. It wasn't something that he could brush off as more of Lupin's trickery; his own body was responsible. As much as he tried to find some excuse for himself, the inspector was unable to. He took the first vacation he had in ages to try and forget about all the troubling questions that one event had caused him to ask. He went to one of the nicest beaches in Okinowa and indulged himself in the priciest food; but every time he thought he'd escaped the memory an image of a pinned Lupin looking at him with those feral eyes would pop back into his head.
Chewing half-heartedly on some crabmeat sushi at a beachside café he sighed, feeling so ashamed of himself for having let the thief's promiscuity taint him. Had he not been so busy feeling sorry for himself, he probably would have noticed the fact that the chefs working so busily behind the counter were awfully familiar…
"Hey, Lupin… why are we following him around anyway?" Jigen whispered as he worked on a lunch order. "Do you really think he'll ever…"
Lupin smiled knowingly, "The day will come Jigen when he'll accept the fact that he can't run from the truth."
Lupin looked over at Zenigata as the cop took a wistful look out the window.
"… and when that day comes, I'll be more than happy to play the game."