"How would you feel about a double date?"
Yukimura looks up from his inventory sheet. Shiraishi is standing before him, currently wrapping the strings of his apron around his waist. A pull around the front and the barista ties a neat knot. It almost looks like a Christmas bow.
"You, Sanada-san, Tezuka, and myself. Dinner, maybe something innocent like putt-putt or karaoke."
"I think you should agree, kachou," Niou says, wrapping his arm around Yukimura's shoulders. "You need to learn to share, both the old man and yourself. I'm sure his wife would appreciate the sharing."
"Niou!" Shiraishi reprimands. "Go grab what we need from the back."
"Whatever," the other barista says and disappears to the back.
"Are you okay dating a married man?" Shiraishi asks in a voice barely above a whisper.
Yukimura shrugs. "Not particularly, but I--"
"Really like him," Niou finishes, bringing up a box filled with Christmas blend. "You really should just ask him about her. It might make things easier. Maybe he's in the middle of a divorce or something."
"Or it could totally tear things apart," Shiraishi counters. He places a hand on Yukimura's shoulder. "All I know is that the last time you two weren't speaking, you were kind of like a zombie and --"
"What do you mean 'kind of?' He could barely function."
"Thank you for your astute observation, Niou," Yukimura deadpans. "Yes, fine. I'll talk to him... Later. I really don't understand how this always comes back to my relationship."
"Well, Shira did ask you to go on a date with him."
"With Sanada-san and my boyfriend."
"Foursomes are kinky."
"I don't even want to know," Yukimura says. He turns back to Shiraishi. "Sure. I'll talk to Sanada when I see him next."
"Tezuka is mainly doing training now. There aren't any major tournaments, so it shouldn't be hard to schedule."
"Probably not. I'll text you when I know something."
Shiraishi nods and goes to work helping Niou set up for opening. Yukimura pulls out his phone and sends a quick text to Sanada before starting back on inventory once more.
On Saturday, Sanada and Tezuka play a game of travel shogi in the corner of the store. Yukimura and Shiraishi look between the clock signalling their departure from work and the start of their date to the two men.
"I swear to kami that you two couldn't be more obvious. I can hear you swooning in the back," Kenya remarks.
Chitose and Fuji chuckle lightly. Yukimura waves him off without even looking in his direction.
"Were we really swooning?" Shiraishi asks.
"It's possible. I'm not bothered," Yukimura says, pulling out a pencil from behind his ear and his conveniently placed sketchbook from under the register. He starts with wide shoulders that taper to a slightly smaller waist. Biting his lip, he adds in the flexed muscle as he grips a piece and moves it into place.
"We're off," Shiraishi says before Yukimura can draw in anything below the waist.
The manager closes the sketchbook and tucks it away. They both peel off their aprons and hang them on the hooks near the door in the back. A quick clock out for each and then they are leaving the front counter to walk out onto the floor.
"Ready?" Tezuka asks, setting a piece in place.
Shiraishi nods. "But if you want to finish your game..."
"We don't need to," Sanada says, looking up at Tezuka. "Finish at your grandfather's in a couple of days?"
Tezuka nods, snapping a picture of the board. "I'll recreate it there."
Yukimura and Shiraishi exchange a look, but say nothing as Sanada clears the board, folding it up and sticking it in his bag. The men both stand and push in their chairs.
"After you," Tezuka says and they follow the baristas out.
Shishido and Oshitari share a look as the door chimes. When the four disappear, Oshitari packs up his things as fast as he can and leaves the store.
Shiraishi leads them down random side roads far from the store. The restaurant is tucked in a small, quiet alleyway. Yukimura already appreciates it. Hopefully, any tails they might have had are completely lost.
A waitress takes them to a table towards the back. Shiraishi and Yukimura scoot to the inside of the booth, Tezuka and Sanada taking the outside. She passes out menus and sets a teapot in the middle.
"I'll be back around in a few minutes," she says politely and heads off to check on other tables.
It doesn't take long for Tezuka and Yukimura to put down the menus. Shiraishi smirks a bit. The waitress comes by after she sees Sanada put down his menu. They each order and she walks away.
Yukimura fidgets slightly in his seat. He isn't used to being on a date with more than just Sanada. He squeezes his boyfriend's thigh under the table.
"How was work?" Tezuka asks, taking a sip of tea.
"Oh, the usual," Shiraishi comments. "We ran out of Thanksgiving blend finally and Kirihara started asking to decorate for Christmas."
Sanada snorts. "I'm not putting the star on this year."
Yukimura and Shiraishi laugh. Tezuka looks between the three curiously.
"I wouldn't worry about it," Sanada tells Tezuka. "Kirihara's just on the short side and they seem to buy the tallest tree that will fit."
"Well, with the extra space, we can get a twelve foot one," Yukimura says, beaming afterwards. "Maybe we can hoist Akaya up on a pulley."
Shiraishi and Sanada both try not to burst out laughing. Tezuka still looks bewildered.
"I'll point him out to you the next time you are both there," Shiraishi says, patting his boyfriend's knee. The tennis player nods and picks up his tea cup, taking a long sip.
"He's the short one with the ridiculously curly hair that is utterly unkempt," Yukimura provides. "Does that help any?"
Tezuka thinks about it for a long moment. "I'm afraid not. I tend not to pay much attention when I'm there."
The manager shrugs. "Worth a shot." He exchanges an amused glance with Sanada.
"You're not missing much, I promise."
"Don't be mean, Sanada-san," Shiraishi chastises jokingly.
Sanada hides a laugh behind a clearing of his throat right as the waitress brings back four dishes. She places unacha in front of Tezuka, shrimp tempura before Yukimura, katsu don for Sanada, and yaki udon near Shiraishi. A small blessing and they all lift up their chopsticks to start eating.
"Since the season is almost over, I thought you'd like a break from tennis," Shiraishi tells Tezuka halfway through dinner. "Yukimura and I were thinking about something else. Maybe putt putt."
"Putt putt?" Sanada ventures, raising an eyebrow.
Shiraishi nods, setting his chopsticks down. "There's a course nearby. I've taken my sister there a few times when I chaperoned her dates."
"I think it would be fun," Yukimura says. "Shiraishi and Tezuka-kun against you and me, Sanada. A little friendly competition wouldn't hurt."
"Aa," Tezuka says quietly.
"That settles it then." Shiraishi picks back up his chopsticks and continues to eat.
"After we finish, we can head over," Yukimura agrees. He nudges Sanada and grins at him.
When the bill arrives, Yukimura grabs it before anyone else. Despite protests from the others, the manager shakes his head and passes over enough yen to cover the bill and give a generous tip. Shiraishi frowns.
"Don't give me that look. It's not like I have anything of importance to spend my salary on."
"That isn't the point."
"It is entirely the point. Why have it if I can't use it to treat my friends once in awhile."
"I would drop it, Shiraishi-san," Sanada says. "He does this on our dates too."
"You're in class full time. You have expenses."
Sanada shakes his head. "See what I mean?"
Yukimura smacks him playfully on the arm. "Jerk."
Shiraishi sighs. "Fine, but the next time is on me."
"If you insist," Yukimura says resignedly. "How about winner of putt putt buys coffee since it's kind of cold out tonight?"
"Not at our store though," Shiraishi says.
"Corporate spying? I like it." Yukimura grins and scoots closer to Sanada. "Come on, let's go. I hope you're good at putt putt."
Sanada rises from the table and steps back, allowing the barista the room to get up. "I'm better at tennis and kendo, but it's really just a matter of maths."
Tezuka follows suit, waiting for Shiraishi to exit the booth. "I didn't realise you played tennis, Sanada-san."
"Not at the university level. There isn't enough time with my after-school duties at the dojo, but I play every now and again."
"You play shogi how often, but you didn't know he played tennis?" Yukimura asks bemusedly.
"Not much talking happens during shogi. It's hard to keep conversation when our grandfathers are discussing everything under the sun."
"Too much distraction," Sanada agrees.
Shiraishi laughs quietly as they leave the restaurant. Tezuka and Sanada fall behind, allowing the baristas to gossip about the two of them. There isn't a point in interrupting. Tezuka shrugs it off, pulling his jacket tighter around him. A few turns later, they are at the putt putt place. The tennis player weaves in front of the two baristas and pulls out his wallet, paying for all four of them. Sanada folds a yen note and tucks it into Tezuka's hand, absolutely refusing to take it when the other man tries to return it.
"Only fair," Sanada states firmly, picking up a black-handled club and choosing the white ball. He picks up the blue ball and drops it into Yukimura's hand. Shiraishi grabs orange, leaving Tezuka with red.
"I'll keep score," Tezuka says, leading them to the course Shiraishi pointed to after paying.
After nine holes, Sanada and Tezuka are winning by being three under par. Shiraishi is decent, with an even score. Yukimura frowns briefly. He doesn't enjoy losing whatsoever. On the back nine, he takes his time before putting. There is the brief thought that if him and Sanada win, they have to buy coffee, but now it is to save his pride, damn his wallet.
Yukimura taps his foot impatiently as Tezuka tallies up the scores before the bonus nineteenth hole. Sanada puts a hand at the small of his back. It calms him somewhat, but he really wants to know who the hell won.
"Yukimura, Sanada, congratulations. You beat Shiraishi and I by two strokes."
It is hard not to feel smug. He gladly takes the score card handed to him by Tezuka and sticks it in his back pocket.
"I almost thought we had them," Shiraishi says.
"Yukimura stepped up his game on the last few holes," Tezuka says. "Some people are quite competitive, it seems."
Sanada nods. "Apparently. Shiraishi-san, since you seem to know the area, do you know where the nearest coffee shop is?"
"It's a couple of blocks from here. A little more flashy than ours."
"But I bet they don't take in ten percent of what we do."
"We're closer to the university campus," Shiraishi points out.
"Then explain all the older men." Yukimura smiles sheepishly at both Tezuka and Sanada. They might be closer in age than what the staff first thought, but they still look older.
Yukimura laughs, tucking his hands in his cardigan pockets. Shiraishi does some more maneuvering, taking four blocks to reach the Starbucks rather than the two. No one seems to mind. The store in question is brightly decorated for the holiday season.
"It looks like the North Pole threw up on it," Yukimura remarks, picking at a strand of tinsel that attached itself to him.
"Hn," Sanada agrees, stepping gingerly around an animatronic reindeer.
"At least we know where to not get ideas from," Shiraishi whispers.
Yukimura nods. "Don't let Akaya come here. I'll never hear the end of it."
They all order drinks, Sanada pushing the yen across the counter and passing the beverages around. Back outside after ignoring as many Christmas lights as possible, Tezuka takes the first tentative sip.
"This is the first time I've been to a coffee shop other than your store," he admits, tapping his cup thoughtfully. "I think I'm used to how particular you are to each customer, even when you're swamped. This just doesn't taste the same."
Sanada nods in agreement. "It's a bit off."
Yukimura and Shiraishi exchange a look. They take a drink in unison.
"We should have just gone back to our store."
"Agreed. Next time we know better." Yukimura doesn't bother keeping his drink. He deposits it in the nearest trash can. Everyone else follows suit. "Regardless of the end, this was rather fun. I think we should do it again."
"After exams," Tezuka says.
"Maybe around Christmas," Sanada suggests.
Shiraishi smiles. "Sounds good to me. Yukimura?"
"I'm open whenever."
"Wonderful. We'll figure something out then," Shiraishi says. "Can you two get back from here? My apartment is pretty close, but if you want, we can head back to the store. It's actually a straight shot."
"I'm good," Yukimura admits. "Mine is nearby too. I'll see you both tomorrow morning."
"Aa. Have a good evening, Yukimura, Sanada."
"You too, Tezuka-kun. Bye Shiraishi," Yukimura says as Sanada bows his head in farewell. He waits until they have rounded a corner to turn the other way and head home. He wraps his arms around Sanada's and starts walking towards his apartment building.