He was stuck on one word. Disgusting.
He paced the floor as he fumed and Riya watched a vein she hadn't even known existed throb angrily in his neck.
"Sneaking out in the middle of the night before the case starts, in a place with no network - and no effective means of contact no less -, not even deigning to tell your team mates where you're going, fighting - fighting - like animals," he paused and finally made eye contact. "I expected this from Raute. It's clear that he doesn't give a damn about the rest of us but you, Riya? I expected more from you. Tell me something, Riya. Are Chotu, Shree and I really that unworthy of being in the ETF that you and Raute needed to take the case into your own hands without our knowledge?"
She stuttered and he rapped his foot against the ground impatiently. "Disgusting."
Riya looked down at her hands. She could feel her cheeks burning and she glared angrily at Arjun, who was sitting with his feet up on a haystack, looking coolly disinterested.
"Neither of you will be going to Chandni Bar tomorrow," Rathod bit out angrily. "Chotu, Shree and I will start the investigation without you super cops."
Arjun looked up. "Don't be ridiculous, Rathod. This case needs our combined expertise."
Sameer looked at him mockingly. "Oh really, ACP Arjun Raute? Well I'm certainly glad you think so. Of course, it may have been beneficial to you if that thought had come a little earlier." He glared at the two officers in front of him. "Now shut up and go to sleep before I take you off the case completely."
He signaled for Shree and Chotu to re-enter the shack and an awkward silence ensued as everyone busied themselves with preparing their beds once again. Someone turned down the kerosene lamp and Riya narrowed her eyes through the dim light at the figure lying a few feet away from her. She wouldn't sleep tonight, she knew, and hated that nothing - not Rathod's words, not her punches, not even being temporarily taken off the case - seemed to have had an effect on him.
"Jerk," she muttered quietly, looking down at her wrist to check the time. She heard a quiet sniff and looked up to see him staring at her and mouthing something.
She switched on the muted light of her watch and lifted it closer to his face.
"Research desk," he mouthed.
Her teeth ground together and she whispered, "Why the hell are you even here? You don't want to be in the ETF and we certainly don't want you here."
He propped himself up on one elbow and she watched as his mouth curled into a small smirk. "I'm here, Ms. Mukherjee, to undo the damage you will inevitably do to our country while playing dress-up as an officer."
"Which one of you wants their ass kicked?!"
They both looked up in surprise to see Rathod sitting up at the other end of the shack, his hair rumpled and eyes, although sleepy, still exuding a powerful glower.
"Sorry, Sir," Riya mumbled before turning her back on Arjun completely and closing her eyes.
Edited by kaamchorni - 30 December 2012 at 6:23pm