As the emperor's court got used to seeing the Prime Minister's Aide being led around by his white wolf, they also came to notice and recognize the clickey-click sounds that was a wolf's nails on tiles. Hearing this approaching sound, Youshuu looked up from the huge backlog of work still surrounding him to see Li Kouyuu entering the Department of Civil Affairs with the latest load of finished reports.
"Youshuu sama." Kouyuu nodded to him as he placed the pile on a newly cleared space on Youshuu's desk.
An unexpected pain gripped the older man's heart to have Kouyuu speaking so softly and shyly to him yet again. And in that instance Youshuu felt regret for his actions in having caused Kouyuu's arrest crushing him.
"Kouyuu…" He said his name so softly the younger man couldn't have heard it. But Shiro did, and the little white wolf pup looked at Youshuu curiously, drawing her master's attention back to him.
"Kouyuu." Youshuu spoke more firmly as he rose to his feet to approach the younger man. "Thank you. I know you didn't need to agree to take part of this workload once more now that you're working at the Prime Minister's office."
The aqua haired scholar looked down as if suddenly shy for the older man's scrutiny. "I enjoyed the work when it was my responsibility. I—I'm sorry to have disappoin—"
Youshuu's finger covered his lips to stop the recrimination. "That is the past, Kouyuu. And you did eventually make the painful decision to rise above that sole obstacle which was forever holding you back from your full potential."
"No, Kouyuu. Please—do not use the honorific for me." Youshuu cut him off firmly. "I want it very much for us to truly stand as equals. So hurry—and catch up with me."
Kouyuu's stunned grey-violet eyes soon filled with wonder and elation, filling Youshuu's heart equally with gladness for the younger man's willingness and determination to meet his challenge. "Don't make me wait too long."
"I shan't—Youshuu. Watch me."
"Don't doubt that I will, Kouyuu. Don't doubt that I will."