It had to have been because of Shou. No doubt about it. After the red-haired boy barrelled into the offices, searching for Ritsu, slapped Reigen hard on the back, and whirlwinded right out, the usuals faces of Spirits and Such have been acting strange.
Well, stranger than usual.
"Okay. Tome. What is it," Reigen asks after catching his unofficial secretary sneaking the third glance at him in the last ten minutes. He's sent Serizawa off on an errand, thus Reigen is mired with his least favorite situation: being alone with a cheeky teenage girl. Especially one who doesn't listen to him.
"Huh?" She vocalizes with a pitch so unnatural it's got to be a lie. "There's nothing wrong?" She chuckles.
Reigen spins his ballpoint pen around his fingers. Why are most of the people he surrounds himself with born in an era after dial-up internet? Fine, alright. It looks like he'll have to solve this alone. He points to her, index finger rigid like his determination. He considered being a private investigator once. There's got to be merit there.
"When Mob and Ritsu showed up during lunch, Mob snorted. Ritsu smiled. At me, Tome. At me." Reigen explains. Both kids had also avoided his eyes.
"Me, me. That's a bit self-centered, isn't it, boss?" Tome replies, not looking at Reigen since she's on her phone. She snickers and types away, until her face comically pales and she nearly falls off of her chair. "Ah, I got to go! My friends are meeting at Mobdonalds. Sorry boss!"
Tome gathers her things, scampers off to Reigen's desk, gives him a quick side hug, and bolts out faster than lightning. Reigen's papers flutter to the ground. What the hell is that about? Something's up. The door revolves: out goes Tome and in comes Serizawa.
"I'm back," the man says. He carefully places all of the printer inks next to their office supply cabinet, unaware Reigen is admiring the lines of his suit bent just so... Wait. Don't get distracted.
"Serizawa," he calls out.
"Yes?" His astute employee (and the best boyfriend ever) replies, rising from the floor. Reigen stands, walks over, and checks their surroundings.
He leans and whispers, "Something is going on today. Did you see Tome go by? How did she look?"
Ah ha. So it's only Reigen who noticed.
"No way, everyone's been off. You know Mob held out his arms like this?" He demonstrates, extending both arms out like a hiragana tsu.
"He did this for a long time. I thought at first he was showing me a new exercise he learned at his club, until he started walking towards me. Then I knew, he must have had a terrible day. I felt bad and hugged him. Ritsu actually said nothing. And smiled. Between you-me, I think the kids are going through something... Maybe an illness passing through at school...?" Reigen turns on his heel, contemplating the issue when Serizawa snickers.
"What," snaps Reigen, whipping back. Serizawa reaches over and touches his back. "H-hey not at the off—" Reigen starts, face flaring up in that instant, only to stop when face to face with a sticky note. He squints, drawing close to read the messy, thick writing on the note.
"Please give me a hug?" He reads out.
"Well, if you insist," says Serizawa.
Serizawa always runs a few degrees warmer than Reigen. He must, because every time Reigen touches Serizawa, heat flows into him. Serizawa's arms envelopes around his shoulders, slotting Reigen in like the perfect cover to a love letter. The embrace clings close, with a tightness that feels solid, secure, and comfortable. And, a thought adds in Reigen's head, totally undeserved.
Reigen stands limply, knowing he should protest and push Serizawa away. He should stop.
But Reigen's a hedonist.
He can't get close but doesn't move away.
Reigen puts up a front for his dignity at least, saying, "You don't have to play along, Serizawa. It's just a childish prank."
The confusion on Serizawa's face translates into a language of knitted eyebrows and squinted eyes. There's a tickle at the corner of his lip. A wriggle of disbelief.
"What do you mean?" Serizawa asks, close by Reigen's ear.
Reigen continues, "Like, now I know the kids were doing it to amuse themselves. You don't have to do it."
"But I wanted to do it," Serizawa answers. Reigen's ears are prickling. Reigen fights the urge to shiver, and surprisingly, wins. Wetting his lips, Reigen tries to speak but Serizawa draws closer, curves his face in the crook of Reigen's shoulder. The temperature in Reigen rises, crests, pools, spreads.
"I don't think we hugged you for that reason... It's more than a simple joke," Serizawa murmurs. It's so kind. His hands slide to Reigen's back. Reigen's fingers lightly dig into his palms.
"We wanted to hug you because we love you and wanted to show it."
Reigen has no snappy reply back. Not against Serizawa's sincerity. Reigen, despite his thoughts nagging that this can't be right and there's got to be some deal he's unable to figure out, lets himself silence those thoughts in order to hear Serizawa give off the quietest, happiest sigh into his skin.
So Reigen finally, finitely, leans in as well. He lands his heavy head on Serizawa's shoulder and presses into warmth. There's a soft, buzzing hum. Reigen realizes a second later it's coming from him. Serizawa doesn't seem to mind though. Doesn't comment. He just wraps Reigen in closer until Reigen feels he's, at last, warmed through too.
"Did Ritsu give you a hug too?"
"Then you know we weren't doing it as a prank."