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Bribery

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Oshitari saunters in around noon with a box of his first boys' love novel. He sets it on the counter and opens it slowly, stacking the books up haphazardly. Yukimura pauses while writing up the new schedule and walks over to meet the writer. He picks up one of the books and looks at the title, barely stopping himself from rolling his eyes.

"What, exactly, are you doing setting copies of... Latte of Love on my counter top."

"My editor thought this would be a perfect place to sell. I can't argue with him. There are other books of mine here already. Of course, there will be some going into bookstores all over Japan, but these are special. How special? They've been autographed by Hoshi," Oshitari says with a smile. "That's the pen name I've given myself for this foray into the untapped world of yaoi."

Yukimura lets out a sigh and sets the book back on top of the closest stack.

The front of the counter is designed for showcasing items. Mainly Starbucks brand, but lately it has become overrun with Sakura Ai's latest novels. He drums his fingers on the side of the box while he contemplates what to do. If only it could wait until the new section of the store was ready to open to the public...

"Leave the books here and I'll take care of everything."

"Oh, my muse, you are sent from kami above. I could kiss you, but I'm afraid your dear Hercules would rip out my entrails with his bare hands," he whispers, cautioning a glance at the man sitting a few tables away, seemingly engrossed in a book about bridge construction from the nineteen hundreds. "Nonetheless, I will take a cup of your Caffé Verona and thick slice of lemon pound cake."

"Take a seat Oshitari-kun. I'll have someone bring it right out to you."

The writer smiles and wanders over to his regular seat by the windows. He pulls out his notebook and pen, instantly scribbling away on the fresh pages. Yukimura shakes his head, carrying the box to the back, and setting it upon his desk.

"Kenya, go deal with your cousin. I know you heard his order."

"What?! How the hell did you--? Who the fuck told you that--? Oh fuck, nevermind. You probably used some crazy Jedi mind tricks to figure it out."

Yukimura smiles. "Get a move on or I'll make you work with Oishi for a week solid. If you need help, call up Akaya."

Kenya groans and leaves the safe haven of the back area for the hell known as the front. He pours Oshitari a large mug of coffee, sets the cake on a plate with a fork, and takes them out to the writer. He doesn't like this at all -- how did Yukimura know?! -- but anything is better than a week subjected to the world's most easily worried man. He puts the items down and begins to turn away, but a hand wraps around his wrist and pulls him back.

Oshitari looks up and a wide smile bursts out across his face. "I thought that was you, dearest Kenya," he says happily. "Sit! Sit! We haven't talked in ages."

"We talked two days ago. I have to get back to work."

"Nonsense. Yukimura and I are wonderful friends and I'm sure he'll understand. Besides, the store is practically dead except for Mister Tall Brooding and Handsome. Little Kirihara-kun has broken a thing and you, of all people, brought me my sustenance."

Kenya groans and slumps into the chair across from Oshitari. "You are insatiable."

"You didn't talk to me for months. It's enough to depress a man."

"Or you're a teenage girl waiting for her crush to tick the 'yes' box on a love note. Fuck, Yuushi, how many damn romance novels have you written over the past year?"

"Enough to make me the bestselling romance author in Japan. Eat your heart out Danielle Steel."

"Who the hell is Danielle Steel?"

Oshitari leans across the table, careful not to spill his coffee. "Only the most dangerous author of contemporary romance known to mankind."

"You've got to be kidding me," Kenya says with a laugh. "Seriously?"

"I'm deadly serious. She has a team of writers. A team! And here I am, all alone in the corner of a coffee ship, toiling away over my notebook, running out of ink while my tears smear the words I've written..." He leans dramatically over the back of the chair.

"You do it to yourself. There's always digital."

"Blasphemer."

"That's a new one. Anyway, I gotta go back to work."

"But we haven't caught up any," Oshitari laments, closing the notebook.

"We talked two days ago, remember?"

"That is not nearly enough, dearest, most favourite cousin."

"You're deranged."

"You love me."

"Only because I have to."

"That hurts Kenya, truly."

"See? You're mental."

"Say you love me and everything will be forgiven."

"You've lost your damn mind. Now sip your coffee, eat your cake, and write your smutty little romances."

Oshitari smiles. "Aww, you do care. What should I write more of? Atori and Shishida? I saw that copy of my latest Sakura Ai on your bedside table."

"I don't want to know how you know that and I'm going to ignore you even bringing it up." Kenya pushes the seat back and stands up. "I'm going back to work now."

"Fine. Leave me alone to wallow in my loneliness."

"As you wish." He shrugs and starts walking back.

"I didn't mean it. Come back. We can discuss motorcycles and--"

Kenya pauses. "What kind of motorcycles?"

"Oh," Oshitari says nonchalantly. "These fast ones."

"How fast?"

"Faster than your little beater out back."

"How much faster?"

"Thirty KM on average."

Kenya slips back into the seat. They were dead anyway. "Talk to me Yuushi. I'm all yours."