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30 December 2014 @ 12:36 am
Occupational Hazard (2/3) (for xingphonic)  
Title: Occupational Hazard
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Alternate Universe, Angst, Fluff
Word Count: 15,531 words
Recipient: xingphonic
Summary: What happens when the boss of the secret spy organization you are a part of is also a self-proclaimed matchmaker? Feelings, of course. A lot of feelings.
Author's Note: The request asked for silver-haired Yamada and alternate universes (and Inoo playing a major role, which is Very Important), and I went through three drafts before finally deciding to continue this one for the exchange assignment. I really don’t know what happened afterwards, I am so sorry. And this is so late and I am probably stripped of all anonymity by now so Recipient-sama I just want to let you know I will make it up to you in some way, I promise. Special thanks to all my cheerleaders and my lovely beta, and to the mods who are ordering me to a forced hiatus after everything to get to rest and for understanding how late I am. I hope this fic would make it up for my lateness by fulfilling Recipient-sama’s requests. Thank you for waiting and sorry for being the cause of delay ;u; This has been a heck of an emotional roller coaster and I hope everyone finds something they enjoy in this story ;u;

Continued from Part 1

Hikaru looked up from the motherboard and computer chips he was wiring up together with Kamiki at the sound of Yamada viciously biting into an apple. “What happened to you?” he asked, putting down his soldering iron. “You were so perky this morning.”

“Nothing,” Yamada said. He was glaring at the wood pattern of the table, stabbing another poor apple with a knife.

“Someone’s jealous,” Chinen said, sitting down beside Kamiki. Yamada glared at Chinen at this, taking another huge bite out of his apple.

“I’m not,” Yamada said thickly before swallowing his mouthful, pulling out the knife from the mostly mutilated apple and pointing it at Chinen. “Stop second-guessing other people’s feelings, it’s not attractive.”

“I’m just telling you how you looked when Yutti said ‘Suzu-chan’, you don’t have to be so wound up about it,” Chinen countered.

“Chinen-kun,” Kamiki said, a warning in his voice. Chinen ignored him and placed his hands on the table, laying his palms flat on the mahogany and spreading out his fingers before leaning over to look at Yamada and staring down the knife by its point.

“What’s holding you back, Ryosuke?” he asked, a challenge in his voice.

“Nothing! Won’t you stop it?” Yamada said.

“Are you scared?” Kamiki asked suddenly, his quiet voice barely audible but for the sudden quiet in the room.

“I’m not. I don’t need to be,” Yamada said, his voice wavering.

Hikaru had stood up, holding out his hands in an attempt to alleviate the growing tension in the room. “Yamada, it’s okay. Even if it’s weird, you know that Inoo-chan has the best intentions—”

“I am not playing your games,” Yamada whispered.

“This was never a game, Ryosuke,” Chinen said, his voice firm. A smirk was still playing at the edge of his lips. “This has always been a gamble. This job, this life? Death is the constant we have to deal with every day. And if you’re too much of a coward to allow good things to happen to you, then you’re in for a shitty ride for the rest of what looks to be a very sorry existence.”

In a sudden blur of movement, Yamada buried the knife in his hand on the wooden table, right in between the gaps of Chinen’s fingers. No one moved. Chinen was still looking at Yamada, his gaze never breaking.

Yamada wasn’t sure which was the final straw—the half-smile on Chinen’s lips, or the fact that he didn’t want to admit that Chinen was sounding horribly right.

“All of you!” Yamada burst out, standing up so fast that he knocked his chair back.  “Everyone just leave me alone!”

He stormed out of the room, speeding past a startled Shida who was just entering the room.

“Yamada-kun—?” she started.

“Just leave me alone!”

Yamada barely heard the door to the target practice room open over the earplugs he had on and the gunshots he was firing at the targets five meters from where he was standing. He emptied the magazine of bullets to the bulls’ eye of the circular targets, holding the gun aloft even long after the smoke and gunpowder faded away. A person leaned on the barrier to his left, and he didn’t need to turn around to know that it was Shida.

“Ryo-chan,” she said quietly, her voice made softer by his earplugs. She extended her hand hesitantly, reaching until she touched the his hands holding the gun. It wasn’t until she had lowered them and he had let go of the cold weight in his hands that he realized he was shaking.

“Hey,” she said. He didn’t answer, removing his earplugs slowly and refusing to look at her.

“Everyone says they’re sorry. Chinen, particularly,” she said. She had let go of his hands and was rubbing comforting circles onto the back of his shoulder.

“...I overreacted,” Yamada finally said.

“No, they were probably being annoying,” she said.

A bubble of laughter escaped from between Yamada’s lips. “Why are you taking my side? I yelled at your boyfriend too. And Hikaru-kun,” he said, then sighed. “I am such a jerkwad.”

“Mikki was probably just part of the collateral damage,” Shida said with a shrug. “You didn’t mean it. He’ll get over it.”

“But I did mean it, Shida,” he said. She waited for him to continue and he sighed, removing the protective eyeglasses he was wearing and flinging it down on the table.

“I don’t want to be a part of this. I refuse to be emotionally manipulated for the expense of everyone else’s entertainment,” he said. He ran his fingers through his hair, the smell of his shampoo mixing with the gunpowder residue in his hands. “...It’s just not fair. For anyone involved.”

“Who says you’re being manipulated, though?” she asked.

Yamada looked at her incredulously. “Have you forgotten that Inoo-kun attempted to pair us up too?” he asked.

She held up her hands. “No, I don’t, but you said it yourself. It was an attempt. He never actually forced us to go out on dates. Sure, he made us partners, gave us schedules with the same free days. But feelings and falling in love, nobody can predict that. We’re the perfect examples, Yamada,” she said. She took a deep breath before continuing.

“You and I both know that they all mean well, and that they just want you to be happy. It’s scary, the job we have, and it’s hard to trust people. But you have to take that risk too. You took that risk with all of us, right?” she said.

Yamada nodded. Shida leant back on the shooting range barrier again, watching as he stared at the targets he had ruined and scuffed his shoes on the concrete floor before leaning back against the barrier across from her.

“Look at it this way, Yamada. Inoo-kun’s meddling aside, don’t you think fate is in the works here too? Of all the people, you two get to meet. Who cares about the weird circumstances?”

He looked up as she was saying this, smiling for the first time since he went inside the target practice room that day.

“You make a great Yoda,” he said. The thank you went unsaid.

A similar grin was spreading across her lips. “You big dork.”

“I thought I was ‘teddy bear’?”

“You big adorable romanticist teddy bear.”

“I like you being nice to me.”

“Don’t get used to it. You still have to replace that table.”

He winced. “Can I still play the emotionally conflicted card?”

“Not a chance. That was mahogany!”

“You don’t even like baseball, Chinen,” Yamada commented. He was leaning (very carefully) against the top of Yuto’s car with his shoe resting against the wheel, watching Yuto and Chinen play catch in the almost empty parking lot.

“Doesn’t mean I can’t be good at it,” Chinen said. “Now shush, if I lose and break a car window you’re paying.”

“Wait, in what universe is that even remotely fair?!” Yamada complained. Yuto laughed and threw the ball at Chinen’s direction. Chinen had to jump to keep the ball from sailing over his head, catching it safely with his glove.

“That’s cheating!” Chinen accused, pointing his glove at Yuto. Yamada laughed; the game was just showing how tall Yuto was compared to the two of them.

Yuto spread out his arms. “Let it go, let it go~” he sang out, making both Yamada and Chinen groan.

“It’s your fault for teaching him how to sing that song in English,” Yamada said to Chinen, making Yuto pout at both of them. Chinen shrugged and raised his arm. He paused midthrow, looking at something behind Yuto.

Yuto, preparing to catch the ball Chinen was about to throw, noticed the change in his expression.

“Is something wrong?” he asked, looking around just as someone called out his name.

“Yuto!” a female voice called out happily. Yamada followed Chinen’s gaze in time to see a girl barrel straight into Yuto’s arms, throwing her arms around his neck. Yamada tensed, his hand going to the hilt of the knife he has hidden in his boot. From the corner of his eye, he saw Chinen’s hand snake towards his belt and the hidden weapon holster attached to it, watching as he was at how Yuto would react to the stranger.

They both watched as Yuto’s face broke into a huge smile, putting his arms around her waist and lifting her, spinning her around while hugging her and laughing in glee all the while. He set her down on her feet after a couple of spins, placing his hands on her shoulders and smiling.

Yamada hasn’t seen Yuto smile at anyone like that before.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming back? I could have picked you up at the airport. With a huge sign. And glitter letters!” he said, pouting like a child cheated out of his candy.

“Which is also the same reason why I didn’t tell you,” she said, reaching up and playfully pinching his nose. “I wanted to surprise you!”

“Well, I’m surprised!” Yuto said, grinning. The girl releases Yuto’s nose and seemed to notice for the first time that they had an audience. She peeked behind Yuto and smiled at Yamada and Chinen, waving shyly. Yuto turned, grinning apologetically and pulling the girl with him. Yamada had straightened up, discreetly slipping back his knife into his boot as Chinen dropped his hand from his weapon holster and had inched closer to him while Yuto and the girl were talking.

Yuto gestured to her with a flourish as he introduced her. “Suzu-ch—ah, Ohgo Suzuka, they’re my friends. Yamada Ryosuke and Chinen Yuri,” he said, beaming widely. The three of them bowed towards each other.

“Nice to meet you,” Yamada and Chinen said in unison.

“Nice to meet you too. Thank you for taking care of this kid,” she said, poking Yuto on the arm to illustrate.

“Hey!” Yuto protested good-naturedly as Yamada and Chinen laughed.

“I hope he wasn’t much trouble,” she said, then looked at Yuto. “What are you doing, show your gratitude too!”

Yamada hurriedly waved his hands in front of his face as Ohgo pulled Yuto down to bow towards Yamada and Chinen. “He’s a good guy, really,” he said, embarrassed.

“See!” Yuto said, grinning at Yamada as both he and Ohgo straightened up.

“I haven’t agreed with anything yet,” Chinen cut in.

“But—!” Yuto said, looking betrayed.

“If you shave off at least ten centimeters off your height, we’ll talk about it,” Chinen said. Yamada laughed, meeting Ohgo’s gaze that, weirdly enough, was focused on him. She suddenly looped her arm around Yuto’s and smiled.

“Can I kidnap Yuto-kun for a bit? It’s been half a year since I’ve seen him,” she said with a smile.

“Who told you to go to that exchange program for UCLA anyway,” Yuto replied with a pout.

“I don’t think you need to ask permission when you kidnap someone,” Chinen observed.

“It’s okay, right, Yamada-kun?” Ohgo asked.

“Eh?” Yamada said in surprise, fidgeting now that everyone’s gaze was focused on him. He caught the question in Yuto’s eyes and gave him a small nod. “S-sure,” he answered, scratching the back of his neck for a bit.

She smiled and inclined her head, bowing once more before she began pulling on Yuto’s arm. He had picked up his backpack from where it was sitting on the ground with the rest of their things.

“Shouldn’t I be agreeing to this first?” he asked, letting himself be pulled along anyway.

“You’re not supposed to ask permission if you want to kidnap someone,” she quipped, turning to wave at a dumbfounded Yamada and Chinen. “It was nice meeting you!”

Yuto turned and waved as well. “See you guys in class next week!” he called out, then hurried as Ohgo pulled at his arm and tried not to stumble over his own feet. Yamada waved at them until they disappeared around the curve of the road.

“Staring after them won’t tell you anything,” Chinen said, hoisting his backpack to his shoulder and giving Yamada his own bag. “Come on, before we lose them.”

“What are you doing?” Yamada asked.

Chinen looked at him as though he had lost his mind.“Isn’t Yutti your mission assignment? Why are you letting him off your sight?” he asked.

“They deserve some time alone together,” Yamada supplied lamely.

“You still need to keep him under your watch,” Chinen said sternly.

“I was meaning to go follow them anyway,” Yamada mumbled. They had already caught up with Ohgo and Yuto. He had his camera out and was taking pictures, while she wore the glove he was using earlier in her hand and was tossing the ball that she must have picked up earlier up and down.

“I didn’t know I was that easy to replace,” she said, walking backwards so she could face Yuto while she was talking. From the spot where Yamada and Chinen were watching, they could see her pouting, hear the playful tone of her voice and the layer of sadness hidden underneath. “My pride is a bit hurt, you know. Pay for the damages!”

Yuto lowered his camera and walked towards Ohgo. She stopped walking and stood still, and the both of them looked at each other for a long moment. Then Yuto leaned forward, his face mere centimeters away from Ohgo’s, and casually flicked her on the forehead.

“As if I’ll ever replace you,” Yuto said.

Ohgo put her hand to her forehead, hitting him on the shoulder with his free hand. “You dork. You read too much shoujo manga,” she said.

“Ow!” he said, rubbing the spot where she hit him. “Who leaves them lying around all the time? I get bored, okay!”

“Ryosuke,” Chinen said quietly from beside Yamada. “Let’s go.”

“What?” Yamada said, turning towards Chinen in surprise. He was watching as Ohgo poked at Yuto’s cheek before laughing and beginning to walk in step with Yuto once more. “But what about—”

Chinen shrugged. “The sun’s almost down and Yutti won’t be able to take nice photos; they’ll be going back soon. They’ll be fine,” he said. He had straightened up from where he had crouched to hide, brushing off dry leaves from his pants and avoiding Yamada’s gaze for some reason.

“You go ahead,” Yamada said, turning back to watch Yuto and Ohgo. “I’ll be fine on my own.”

Chinen shrugged, giving the couple they were watching a final glance before patting Yamada’s shoulder and sauntering off.

Yamada leaned back against the tree he was hiding behind, watching how Ohgo and Yuto’s shadows aligned from the light of the setting sun.

“Chinen looked weird when he came back. Did something happen?” Shida asked. She was sitting right across from Yamada, tapping her fingers against the sorry piece of masking tape that someone (probably Kamiki) had used to cover the stab wound that Yamada made on its surface a few weeks back.

Yamada’s fingers paused for a moment over his keyboard, glancing up at Shida and inclining his head. “He was acting strange earlier too. I’m not sure,” he said, going back to typing up the day’s report to get it over and done with.

“You were with him the whole day. Are you not telling us something?” she asked, narrowing her eyes at him.

Yamada sighed and went back to his report. “This is supposed to be confidential stuff,” he said, squinting at his laptop screen and frowning.

“You’re pretty quiet too,” Hikaru commented. He had been making tea in the kitchen, and now sat down at the empty seat next to Shida. “Did something happen with Nakajima-kun?”

Yamada punched in a wrong key, swearing softly at the typo before firmly pressing the delete button. He stared at Ohgo’s name in his report and frowned, the furrow between his eyebrows deepening.

Hikaru chuckled. “Bull’s eye,” he said. “You’re such an easy guy to figure out.”

“I have a confidentiality clause!” Yamada said in exasperation.

Shida poked her head over Yamada’s laptop screen, resting her chin lightly over the top of the screen and her eyes lit with excitement. “Ooooh, was there any plot development? What base are you in right now?” she asked.

Yamada selected “Print Document” and chucked Shida lighty under the chin with his crooked index finger, firmly closing his laptop. “We’re not a shoujo manga, Shida. And you don’t even like baseball either,” he said. “There is no plot development.”

Shida pouted. “So stingy. You’re no fun,” she said.

Yamada patted her head, which only succeeded in making her puff out her cheeks more and making her bat his hand away. “Thanks, so I’ve been told. By Chinen. At least once a day, even,” he said.

“You know, in a shoujo manga the heroine’s friend would tell her something like ‘you should tell the person you like your feelings’ or something in this situation,” Hikaru mused. “So that means one thing…”

“What? That you read through Shida’s shoujo manga collection?” Yamada countered.

“I knew someone was going through my Sailor Moon copies! Give me back the third volume! It’s been missing since forever,” Shida said.

“I think Inoo-kun actually has that volume,” Hikaru said, not even denying anything. He turned to Yamada. “You should seriously stop blocking your own storyline, man.”

Yamada stood up, grabbing the printed pages of his report that Hikaru had sneaked out of the printer and putting them in a clear file. “First, I’m not a shoujo manga heroine. Second, there was no storyline to begin with,” he said. “Stop plotting out things that aren’t there.”

Hikaru shrugged casually. “There are plot twists, Yamada. It’s a thing,” he said, a smug smile on his face.

Yamada resisted the (very strong) urge to roll his eyes at Hikaru. “News flash: this is real life,” he said.

Shida giggled. “We’re secret agents, how much more fictional and James Bond can we get?” she said.

“You should really tell him your feelings!” Hikaru insisted as Yamada was leaving the table.

“Confidentiality clause!” Yamada called over his shoulder.

“Inoo-kun? I’m done with today’s report,” Yamada called out, knocking on the door of Inoo’s office.

“Come on in,” he heard Inoo’s voice say. He placed his hand on the door knob, but someone was already opening the door from the other side.

“Oh—Chinen?” Yamada said. Chinen looked up and gave Yamada a tired smile, tucking a file under his arm.

“I hope you came prepared. He was reading shoujo manga before I came in,” he said. Yamada groaned, making Chinen laugh and pat Yamada on the shoulder.

“Why are you here, anyway? Did something happen?” Yamada asked, eyeing the folder Chinen had.

Chinen smiled. “Confidentiality clause,” he said mysteriously, then pointed his thumb over his shoulder into Inoo’s office. “Now quit playing Sherlock, Cupid’s waiting.”

“I can hear both of you loud and clear,” Inoo called out. The both of them laughed, and Yamada stepped aside to let Chinen pass before entering Inoo’s office. The interior was sleek, the furniture elegant and functional at the same time (Kamiki said that he dug up Inoo’s architecture diploma in their leader’s files when he was “checking firewall security”, so the rumors must be true), with bookshelves lining the walls and comfortable couches. Inoo was currently stretched across one of them, reading a volume of Sailor Moon that suspiciously looked like Shida’s copy.

“You can leave your report on my desk,” Inoo said, eyebrows scrunched up in concentration. “I’m at a good part.”

Yamada slowly set down his report on Inoo’s desk, wondering if he was going to get off easy today.

“I’ll go then? Early day tomorrow…” he said, inching towards the door.

“How are things going with Nakajima-kun, by the way?” Inoo asked, eyes still on the manga he was reading.

Yamada sighed, longing for a lucky break and wistfully thinking of his bed and the very welcome idea of sleep.

“Everything’s written in the report,” Yamada said in defeat, moving to sit on the couch across from Inoo.

“Chinen said you met someone close to Nakajima-kun today? A special friend, maybe?” Inoo asked, continuing as if he didn’t hear Yamada’s reply.

“Ohgo Suzuka-san. And it’s best friend,” Yamada said, rubbing at his eyes and running his hands through his hair. “Probably girlfriend, even,” he added.

Inoo raised his eyebrows and looked up after marking his place in the manga, probably deciding that Yamada’s response warranted eye contact. “Oh?” he said, his tone expressing nothing else but mild interest and curiosity. “Why did you say so?”

“They’re so…” Yamada said, trailing off and running a hand through his hair while trying to think of the right word. “...touchy?”

Another eyebrow raise. “Touchy in a way that cannot be aired on TV?” Inoo asked, his tone still carefully neutral.

Yamada shook his head vehemently. “No, not like that!” Yamada said. It took him a long time to continue, trying to put his thoughts into words.

“It’s like... they’ll be comfortable in each other’s skins? Like the other person was an extension of the other,” he continued slowly. “They looked like they have a very comfortable relationship.”

“Oh, like you are with Shida?” Inoo asked.

Yamada blinked. “...I guess you could say that,” he said slowly.

Inoo smiled at Yamada, opening the manga to the page where he stopped. “There you go,” he said.

Yamada blinked, then narrowed his eyes at Inoo. “You did that on purpose,” he accused.

“No comment,” Inoo replied, turning a page.

Yamada opened his mouth to argue, then closed it without saying anything. His shoulders slumped, the fight going out of him. “I don’t want to play your games, Inoo-kun,” he said, in a voice of someone exhausted to his very soul.

“This was never a game, Yamada-kun. I’ve always thought of it more as a gamble,” he said.

“Why does everyone keep saying that?!” Yamada said in exasperation.

Inoo closed the manga and set it down on the couch, sitting up straight and holding Yamada’s gaze. “Because it’s true, Yamada-kun. You know how dangerous this life we lead could be,” he said in a grim tone. “In the most difficult of times, we don’t know just how many of the people who left in the morning would come back alive.”

Yamada knew. He knew all too well. There were so many people, people who came into their group before and after him, people who became his friends, people whom he trusted with his life. People who taught him to fight with knives and with guns, people who taught him to drive any vehicle on land, air and water short of a spaceship, people who knew about his crab allergy, people who dared him to dye his hair silver. People whose pictures hung on the wall over his desk, people who went out like any other day and would never be heard of again, people who drove out and came home in body bags or coffins or burial urns or never came home at all. People who were alive and came back corpses.

People who were living, breathing.

People who were.

Yamada knew.

Yamada knew all too well.

“I understand,” he said quietly.

“Then you know that in the moment we signed up for this, we have to live life as fully as we possibly can,” Inoo said. He stood up and ambled slowly to his desk, picking up the report Yamada had submitted.

He held up the file. “You deserve to live more than a daily summary of events. You’re a story in the making, Yamada-kun. Make it the best one you can write,” he said.

“It’s scary,” Yamada whispered. He looked up at Inoo. “What about the after? When this assignment is over? What, I just end the story there? I’d rather not start when that ending is all that I can see.”

Inoo sat down, the clear file in his hands. When he spoke again, his voice was old and bore the weight of the people he had encountered. People who he may never meet again but had all touched his life and left a mark. People, they make ripples in the surface of everyone’s lives. We are all disturbances to that surface. It all came down to which surfaces you would touch. He held Yamada’s gaze, his voice clear.

“The cards are already laid out on the table. I only shuffle and deal them out. It’s up to the players to make what moves they think is best,” he said. “These cards know how they want to be dealt. But the players don’t. What may seem like a bad hand may just make you win.”

Yamada did not say anything, but Inoo did not look like he was expecting an answer. He offered Yamada a wry smile as he set down Yamada’s mission report and bowed his head as he opened the manga he was reading, which Yamada took as a sign that he was free to go. Just  as he opened the door, he heard Inoo’s voice once more.

“It’s sad to see a player give up on his hand even before he sees all the cards. It’s a gamble for a reason. You just have to hold on to that hand.”

Yamada turned and bowed his head towards Inoo before quietly closing the door behind him, going to his room to think about their conversation and his ghosts in peace.

“You really like kidnapping people, don’t you?” Yamada said, warily settling into his seat. Chinen had left before him, so he had waited for Yuto alone by their usual pillar. In the past fifteen minutes, he had received a text from Yuto telling him he was sick and he wasn’t going to class that day, and with the free day suddenly given to him he had planned to go straight home and get some more shut-eye. He was just about to leave when Ohgo suddenly showed up and dragged him away with surprising strength to a small cafe inside the campus. She was now sitting across from him, watching him from the top of the rim of her coffee cup.

It was shaping up to be one weird morning.

“Are you saying I have a reputation?” she now asked, setting down her cup on its saucer and folding her hands together on the table.

He hastily waved his hand in front of his face in the negative, grabbing his coffee mug to distract himself. “That’s not what I meant!” he said, blushing.

She smiled at his reaction, making him blush further. “So,” she said, placing her elbows on the table and crossing her fingers together before leaning her chin on her hands. “What’s going on between you and Yuto?”

Yamada coughed, spluttering over his drink. “W-what?” he said, covering his mouth with the back of his hand.

“You heard me,” she said. She clearly wasn’t going to make this conversation easy.

“I don’t understand the question,” he said slowly. She was still smiling at his response, leaning back and wrapping her hands around her drink.

“I know about your relationship with Yuto-kun, Yamada-san,” she said quietly. He didn’t respond at once, drinking slowly from his hot drink.

“We’re just friends. He helped me adjust into the classes,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about anything.

She narrowed her eyes, her lips twitching into a small frown. “I don’t appreciate being made like a fool or being lied to, Yamada-san,” she said, her voice iron will and steely determination. She put down her drink. “I’ve been informed by Yuto about your profession and your involvement. Please, let’s stop lying to each other.”

Yamada straightened in his seat, meeting her gaze. “You do know that the lie is necessary to make in order to ensure the safety of my client. I’m sorry for lying, but do understand that knowing about us and what we do  compromises the safety of everyone involved, you included,” he said, putting down his mug. “You can’t just advertise that information to anyone; the consequences might be something far beyond our control.”

Ohgo nodded, sipping at her drink. “I’m sorry,” she said. Her hands, wrapped around her cup, were shaking.

He shook his head. “It’s okay,” he said, offering a smile to her direction. “I would be worried too, if someone like me would suddenly show up and ingrain myself into the life of… of a person important to him.”

They continued to drink in silence, Yamada noting that Ohgo did not refute his statement.

“You know how influential his family is, right? It’s like a complex for him,” she said suddenly, a sad smile blooming on her face. “It’s like other people can’t look past the wealth and the surname. Seeing his smile break from all the fake friendship… it’s painful to watch.”

“Why are you telling me these things?” he asked slowly. His own hands tightened around his drink, his brain numbing the almost scalding heat of his mug as he processed Ohgo’s words.

“Because Yuto and I, we’re the same,” Ohgo said. She looked at Yamada. “We’ve gone through a lot of the same things. It’s been a long time since he’s completely opened up to someone, and it makes me happy that he made friends like you and Chinen-san. I know he trusts you with more than just his life.”

“I’ve never thought that his life is just anything. It’s more valuable than my own. He’s an important existence,” Yamada said. He sat back after saying everything, a little startled himself.

“Thank you for thinking about him like that,” Ohgo said, then blushed, standing up and bowing deeply towards Yamada. “Sorry for being this demanding, I—I don’t even have a proper excuse. I’m sorry for being unreasonable and taking so much of your time.”

“It’s my job,” he replied, standing up and making Ohgo sit down as he eyed the sudden onlookers with unease. “Please don’t apologize, I completely understand.”

Ohgo sat back down and Yamada followed. For a long moment, they sat in comfortable silence, sipping at their drinks until Ohgo cleared her throat, setting down her cup and tapping her index finger on the rim as she spoke.

“More than it being your job, just… please don’t let who he is faze you,” she said. “Underneath all the crazy things in his life, he’s just Nakajima Yuto.”

“He’s not just Nakajima Yuto, Ohgo-san. He is never just anyone to me,” he said with a smile, looking at the contents of his mug and the steam rising from it. “He’s Yuto-kun.”

He inclined his head and she bowed, the both of them smiling when they raised their heads and let their gazes meet.

“Oh,” she said, stopping right in front of the door he had held open for her.

“Did you forget something?” he asked politely.

She locked eyes with him, smiling sweetly. “Just so you know, if you ever let him be hurt or hurt him, in any way, just know that I will make you pay in any way I can. Painfully,” she said, suddenly.

“Uh… okay?” he said, blinking rapidly; he almost let go of the door handle in his shock from the sudden threat. She smiled, apparently satisfied with his answer, and stepped outside, stretching her arms over her head and closing her eyes against the warm sunlight. He followed after her, smiling.

“I could see why Yuto-kun would like you,” Yamada said. Ohgo dropped her arms, looking at him.

“Eh?” she said, confusion written all over her face

“...Did I say something I shouldn’t have said…?” Yamada said in horror, kicking himself in the head mentally for his lack of a brain to mouth filter.

“I’m not sure I understand, but I think there’s been a huge misunderstanding…” she said, trailing off as she squinted at someone behind Yamada. She took out a pair of prescription glasses from her bag and put them on, pointing at someone seated alone in one of the cafe tables outside.

“Isn’t he your friend?” she asked. Yamada looked towards the direction she was pointing and blinked.

“Chinen?” he called out in disbelief.

Chinen had jerked awake from the position he had been sleeping in (his arms crossed over his chest with his head lolling down and his chin touching his chest) and blinked blearily.

“Oh. Hi guys,” he said, stretching and not even bothering to hide the huge yawn that followed.

“What are you doing here? I didn’t see you the whole morning,” Yamada asked.

Chinen shrugged, propping his cheek on his hand. “I wanted to wake up early,” he said.

“And sleep here instead?” Ohgo asked doubtfully, looking around the outdoor tables of the café. “Though it is nice here.”

“Why are you interrogating me too?” he asked. “I thought Ryosuke is the resident play detective here.”

“Hey!” Yamada complained as Ohgo crossed her arms over her chest.

“Were you waiting for someone? A date, perhaps?” she asked. Chinen mirrored her pose.

“I have the right to remain silent,” he said diplomatically.

“Or you could be stalking someone,” Ohgo said with a grin.

“I resent that! I’m too cute to stalk anyone,” he declared. “Even if they’re as pretty as Ohgo-san.”

Yamada watched the whole exchange with interest. He and Ohgo had talked in slightly more formal tones, probably due to their choice of conversation topic earlier, but there was a certain natural ease that came when Chinen and Ohgo talked. Chinen was usually shy and taciturn with strangers, so it was a nice sight to see him readily interact with Ohgo.

“Let me know if you two are done flirting, okay?” Yamada said with a grin. Both Chinen and Ohgo turned to look at him, earning a glare from Ohgo and a whack to the head from Chinen.

“Hey! No tag teams! Chinen is enough of a menace as it is,” Yamada said, wincing as he rubbed at the spot where Chinen had hit him.

“Whatever, I’d beat you any day,” she said with a grin. Yamada pouted as Chinen burst out laughing.

“I think you’re my new favorite person,” Chinen said, grinning at Ohgo and pretending to wipe away a tear as he patted Yamada on the shoulder. “Sorry Ryosuke, but you’ve been replaced. Thanks for the memories.”

“Some friends you are,” Yamada muttered. Chinen laughed harder when Ohgo patted Yamada consolingly on the head.

“You’ll get over it,” she said soothingly.

They ended up staying in the cafe for the next three hours, Chinen asking Ohgo about her schedule and talking to her in English (mostly just to annoy Yamada, he was sure of it), Yamada realizing with a start that he referred to Ohgo as his friend, that she didn’t deny it, and revelling on how nice it felt to realize that friendship always started before anyone even begins to even think of putting a name to it.

“Come on, Yama-chan, just one picture!” Yuto pleaded. Yamada shook his head, his face mask firmly in place. They were on the same outdoor cafe table from the cafe where Yamada and Chinen had formed their friendship with Ohgo (Yuto had complained about missing the joke when he caught the three of them sharing secret smiles and refusing to tell him what had happened) trying to study for the midterms. Yamada doesn’t understand why he has to take the exams too, but flunking out of his classes wouldn’t really help in making his job easier.

It didn’t mean that he had to like it, though.

“Why me? Take pictures of them instead,” he said while pointing at Chinen and Ohgo, who were looking on with amused smiles on their faces.

“Nah, we’re gonna get more coffee. Chinen-kun?” Ohgo said. Chinen immediately stood up and pulled out Ohgo’s chair, helping her stand. Yamada watched them go, his smile hidden by his face mask. A flash came from beside him, and Yamada blinked at the sight of Yuto grinning at the display screen of his camera.

“Your eyes look extra sparkly in this one,” he said gleefully. “The lighting is really good at this spot.”

“Why do you insist on taking pictures of me?” Yamada said, fond (and resigned) exasperation in his voice.

“Because you’re pretty! You register so well on camera, and you look like moonlight on the darkest nights,” he said without any hesitation, looking at Yamada before glancing back down to the display screen of his camera. “Though the live one is always much better than the photographs.”

Yamada was just grateful that the blush that was probably spreading across his face was hidden by his mask.

“You have that look again,” Yamada commented instead, pulling down his face mask when he was sure it was safe to take a sip from his drink.

“Eh?” Yuto asked, looking up from his camera.

“That ‘what should I take pictures of today’ look,” Yamada said.

Yuto stared. “My expressions have a name?” he said.

Yamada shrugged. “The usual ones,” he said.

“Wow, you really like watching people, don’t you?” Yuto said.

“You’re always interesting to watch,” Yamada said with a shrug, pulling in another mouthful of his drink through his straw. “You have a really interesting range of expressions, and your face is really nice to look at. I like looking at you.”

He looked up to see Yuto choking on his drink and, realizing how his words might sound like, promptly choked on his own.

“I-I just meant you have a really expressive face!” he said.

“Weak save, Ryosuke. A brave attempt, but weak,” Chinen commented, choosing that moment (of course) to return with Ohgo and witness their red faces and Yamada’s general… Yamada-ness.

“I hate you,” he informed Chinen.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference,” Chinen quipped. “So keep telling yourself that.”

“I don’t even know what point you want to make,” Ohgo said, quietly giving a still spluttering Yuto a tissue.

“I was trying to impress you with my intelligence,” he said.

“I was more impressed with your total lack of humility,” she answered. She turned to Yamada. “Where does he get all this self-confidence?”

Yamada shrugged, trying to ignore the fact that he could feel Yuto’s eyes on him.

Continued in Part 3
xingphonicxingphonic on December 30th, 2014 12:06 pm (UTC)
Kamiki, keeping all the children in line <3

“This has always been a gamble. This job, this life? Death is the constant we have to deal with every day. And if you’re too much of a coward to allow good things to happen to you, then you’re in for a shitty ride for the rest of what looks to be a very sorry existence.”



sdjlkhfdsjlhkfdhlj yamada;;

“I don’t want to be a part of this. I refuse to be emotionally manipulated for the expense of everyone else’s entertainment,” he said. He ran his fingers through his hair, the smell of his shampoo mixing with the gunpowder residue in his hands. “...It’s just not fair. For anyone involved.”
*holds him tight*

shida is the best yoda

ohgod these two, their friendship, can’t get over

“doesn’t mean i can’t be good at it”
chinen yuri in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen


ohgodhelpthey’resocute ;u; they’re dynamic ;-; he’s /spinning her/ this doesn’t just happen with everybody fdlkjfdjhlkfadjhlfd

i could have picked you up at the airport with a huge sign and glitter letters SOBS EVERYWHERE NAKAJIMA YUTO: PUPPY

lol the discrete “safety established hide the weapons”

oh yamada ;-;

“You dork. You read too much shoujo manga,” she said.

“Ow!” he said, rubbing the spot where she hit him. “Who leaves them lying around all the time? I get bored, okay!”

this is the best okay i have so many feelings

oh yamada this is just asking for trouble ;______;

Yamada leaned back against the tree he was hiding behind, watching how Ohgo and Yuto’s shadows aligned from the light of the setting sun.

masking tape on the stab wound on the table looool <3

was there any plot development xD


you should seriously stop blocking your own storyline, man


“checking firewall security” uh huh
im cackling
but inooooooo, architecture diploma <3

“i’m at a good part”

this office

“It’s like... they’ll be comfortable in each other’s skins? Like the other person was an extension of the other,” he continued slowly. “They looked like they have a very comfortable relationship.”

/author-san this meeting/ wait hold on lemme try articulate my feelings into actual sentences. or something.
ohgod just, everything inoo is saying
like. after everything, yamada assumes that he’s an eccentric, manipulative employer who just wants puppets to play with for his own entertainment, but /ugh no/ he’s so much more than that, he, being the boss, knows maybe more than anybody how fleeting their lives are, in this kind of work, and ohmygod recognises the need to live it to the fullest, and You’re a story in the making, Yamada-kun. Make it the best one you can write,” ;_________;

crap, i did an awful job at trying to articulate feelings
anyway. what I’m trying to say is. uh. this meeting. i love everything about it to bits. ;-;

;u; author-saaaaaan ♥

“You really like kidnapping people, don’t you?”

“it’s more valuable than my own”
._. yamada ryosuke

/yamada ryosuke you are so blind/

this ChinenxOhgo tag team i approve i approve so much

“thanks for the memories" braaaaaaaaat

yuto is taking pictures of yamada there is no universe in which i would not want that ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“your eyes look extra sparkly in this one”

“Because you’re pretty! You register so well on camera, and you look like moonlight on the darkest nights,” he said without any hesitation, looking at Yamada before glancing back down to the display screen of his camera. “Though the live one is always much better than the photographs.”

“You’re always interesting to watch,” Yamada said with a shrug, pulling in another mouthful of his drink through his straw. “You have a really interesting range of expressions, and your face is really nice to look at. I like looking at you.”
and yamada continues to dig his own grave