Yin tilted her head. “Do you think the Syndicate thinks you care about Chief Kirihara? You didn’t kill her.”
Where on earth had that come from? “I didn’t kill any of Section Four,” Hei said firmly.
Yin nodded. “But she’s the only one who’s pretty.”
Mao was cackling, leaning against Yin’s wig and bunching claws to stay on her shoulder. Huang gave Hei a long-suffering look, followed by a slowly raised eyebrow that somehow made Hei’s ears burn.
“She’s a cop,” Hei protested. “I’m – retired. Just trying to get by, and stay alive. Not crazy.”
“Sure you’re not,” Huang said dryly. “But even if she wants to strangle you more than kiss you, I’m kind of surprised she hasn’t shown up in that noodle shop.”
Hei blinked. Gave their handler a sideways glance.
“You’re not surprised.” Huang folded his arms. “Okay, give.”
“I manipulated her,” Hei said practically. “The first time she ever saw Li, she was questioning me as the neighbor who just moved in next to Shinoda Chiaki. She bought my story then; she believed my cover for months, no matter how many times I showed up where Contractors did. I dropped persona in a restaurant just before Hell’s Gate, and all she did was laugh. She’s the chief of Section Four, and she didn’t believe I was BK-201 – she couldn’t believe it – until I took Hourai down.”
It hurt. He’d been doing what he had to; he’d actually been keeping her safe, the Syndicate would never have let Chief Kirihara live if she remembered who the Black Reaper was. But it hurt.
“Detective, and you stabbed her straight in the ego.” Huang grunted, nodding once. “Yeah. That, I get.”