Yukimura finds the entire concept of Valentine's Day to be annoying. If he was single, he had even more reason to dislike it, but really, the entire issue boils down to the obnoxious degree in which his staff has decorated the store. The other holidays he can deal with and he still wishes they hadn't been forced to take down the Year of the Dragon items to make room for origami hearts and a multitude of pink streamers.
He leans on the counter, idly sketching some random couple in the corner. The girl had just passed over a box to the boy of her affections. If Yukimura had to guess, it is full of homemade chocolate that she pored over all night. What a pity it would be if he turns her down.
Shiraishi rests an arm over his shoulder and bends down. "Sorry I'm late, Seiichi," he whispers.
Yukimura smirks. "Late night with Tezuka?" He watches with amusement as the shift manager turns a shade of red that matches one of the cupids that Kirihara put up that morning.
"You could say that."
"I wondered why he missed his usual this morning."
"He was…tied up."
The navy-haired manager bursts out laughing, causing more than one customer to look his way. He offers them all a bright smile, then a wink at Oshitari whose eyes widen before writing furiously in his notebook. No doubt the author thinks him and Shiraishi have some sort of affair going on.
"Are you doing anything with Sanada-san tonight?"
Yukimura shakes his head as a few customers walk in and Shishido goes to work doing what he does best: flirting.
"I figured he would want to spend time with his wife."
Shiraishi turns and half-sits on the counter. "For someone who's married, he pays an awful lot of attention to you. He spends hours here, walks you home… Have you ever considered the possibility that he's not married?"
"Of course I have!" Yukimura exclaims quietly. "I can't think that someone at his age wouldn't be."
"You haven't met her though."
"Well, why would I? If you were cheating on Tezuka, would you want your boyfriend meeting your lover-on-the-side?"
"For one, I wouldn't cheat on Tezuka and secondly, no, I wouldn't."
"Paging kachou one and sorta kachou two," Shishido says, nudging his way in between the two to ring up the small group of girls who are giggling in front of him. He slips a red Sharpie out of Yukimura's apron and draws hearts on each of the cups. "Thank you ladies and I hope you get a double shot of love today." He waves as they leave.
"That is the corniest thing you have said all morning," Yukimura says with a groan.
"Don't hate me because the ladies love me."
"Is that why you switched shifts with Sengoku?"
"No. He's going on a date with your sist-- Uh, he had some shit to do for school."
Yukimura closes his sketchbook, putting it under the register. He slides his Sharpie out of Shishido's hand as Shiraishi backs away from the pair of them, making some excuse about getting something in the back.
"If you don't finish that thought, you will be in the back for the rest of the day, without your cell phone, and you will be closing, missing any and all dates you might have scheduled for this evening."
Shishido swallows. "Your sister. She asked him out a couple of weeks ago. He didn't wanna tell you because, kachou, dude, you're kind of insane when it comes to her and he didn't want to die prematurely."
Yukimura takes a calming breath. He pulls out his phone and is halfway through his contact list when Yanagi walks in.
"Thank the gods," Shishido mutters under his breath and backpedals away from Yukimura as quickly as possible.
"Good morning, Yukimura," the man says, bypassing the drink line and heading straight to the register.
Closing his phone, he tucks it back into his apron. "Your usual?"
"No, not today. I thought you would be willing to take a break. I'd like to talk to you about Genichirou."
Yukimura nods. "Give me a sec," he says and disappears into the back, coming out with Shiraishi. "I won't be long. Make sure Akaya doesn't convince Bunta for a sample of the special treats."
"Got it. You don't need to worry."
Yanagi leads them out of the store and around a corner into the small alley between the Starbucks and the next building. It feels a bit foreboding, if Yukimura is to be honest.
"Over the course of you dating Genichirou, it has come to my attention that you seem rather unsure of the actual nature of your relationship. Not that he has said anything," Yanagi says. "He is rather tight-lipped about anything pertaining to his personal life, but it is very hard not to notice he is exceptionally less temperamental since you came into the picture."
Yukimura is relieved it isn't anything bad. He leans against the wall and shrugs. "I can't monopolise his time. He has school and his family, so it's just kind of there, you know?"
"Ah, I see. While he does spend a lot of time with our nephew and at the family dojo, he is usually here, in class, or with you."
"Wait. Why wouldn't he spend time at home?"
"There's really no need. His father works, as does his brother. His mother helps my sister with Sasuke and his grandfather is either playing shogi or at the dojo."
"Hold on. Are you telling me he's not married?"
Yanagi smirks. "Why did you ever think he was?"
"He's in his thirties. How can he not be married?" Yukimura sputters.
The other man chuckles. "Genichirou is almost twenty-one. I would be surprised if he was. He's notoriously picky. You're the third person he has ever dated."
Third? Yukimura takes a deep breath, sinking a little against the wall. "Were they guys or girls?"
"Does that matter?"
"Just want to know if--"
"'You're an experiment,' is what you were going to say," Yanagi finishes. "I can assure you that isn't the case. He's never tried so hard before. It's just a bit curious. If I didn't know better, I would say he has fallen for you." Yanagi looks him over. "Though, you seem rather fickle. I leave you with a simple warning. If you hurt him, the consequences will not be pretty nor will you see them coming."
Yukimura stands up and stares at him. "He can take care of himself. Gen doesn't need you to pick or fight his battles for him."
"How silly of you to think of it as a battle," Yanagi says, slowly walking towards the sidewalk. "Love is war, the heart merely a battlefield where the entire thing takes place."
He disappears around a corner. Yukimura pulls out his phone, finding the latest text from Shiraishi.
Sanada isn't married.
I thought as much. Change anything?
No. Back soon.
You might want to hurry. He's here.
Yukimura puts it away and heads back to the store. He is thankful not to see Yanagi there. He doesn't know that he could keep calm given the last part of their conversation. The first thing he notices is a small bouquet of flowers on the counter, then Sanada crouching in front of it, writing something.
Waiting until the man finishes, Yukimura pads up next to him and squats down. "Were you just going to leave this here and not even see me?" He smiles wider as Sanada's cheeks flush slightly.
"I was under the assumption you were in a meeting," Sanada says, giving rather pointed looks to Shiraishi and Kirihara.
"You could say that… I'm still on break though, if you wanted…"
"Go on. We can hold down the fort," Kirihara mutters. "Stupid old man."
"You know, I heard that."
"I didn’t! I mean, well, I did, but--"
"Stop while you're ahead," Shiraishi warns, shooing Yukimura away. "I'll put these on your desk."
Yukimura nods as he leads Sanada back outside. "You know, your brother-in-law is an ass," he says as the door closes.
"Renji can be annoying. He means well, but he just sees everything. It's hard to hide from him. What did he say now? Or did he and Inui blow up a table?"
"I would have rather they done the latter," Yukimura says with a frown. "I was warned not to hurt you."
Sanada laughs. "Don't worry about him. Renji just likes that I'm not yelling as much. He enjoys the silence and peace."
Yukimura pokes him in the arm. "Such a temper." He smiles again and leans up to peck him on the cheek. "Busy tonight?"
"I don't have class tomorrow."
"Can you come back at three? I'm off then."
"Only if I get my usual before you send me away."
"Come on then," Yukimura says, grabbing his hand and tugging him back inside. He shakes his head at Oshitari as they walk past.
After making the drink and watching Sanada leave, Oshitari rushes to the counter. "I can't stand it," he bemoans more dramatically than usual. "What does this fair night have in store for you lovers? I admit, I will be alone, pouring over my manuscripts and trying not to blur the ink with my tears of happiness."
Shiraishi and Yukimura exchange a look. "Well, I would tell you, but I don't want you to follow me home to attempt to watch."
"And if I promise not to?"
The manager leans forward. "Sex. Lots and lots of sex," he whispers. "Against every wall and on every piece of furniture in my apartment. Everywhere."
"Oh my, do go on."
"I leave the rest up to your imagination."
Oshitari smiles. "What about you, my fair-haired barista?"
Shiraishi holds up his arm. "Bandages," he says simply and walks to the end of the counter to prepare for the customers that just walked in.
"Go back to your chair," Yukimura says. "If you don't start writing, I can't see how you'll get those two plots threaded."
"I love you both so, so very much," the author says, padding back to his notebook with a spring in his step.
"Happy Valentine's Day," Yukimura mutters under his breath as he rings up a sugar cookie and vanilla latte.