Kageyama Shigeo got up for his daily routine of brushing his teeth and combing his bowl-cut hair, he puts on a black turtleneck and left for work.
Like he always had, for the last 13 years of his life.
One might say it was so repetitive, it could have driven him insane.
However, Shigeo did not mind. At least the cycle tended to have less things to worry about, so he would rarely have a breakdown and breakdowns were something he always aimed to avoid.
What made this day different from the rest was this one simple middle school boy that entered his office during a nice afternoon.
“Could I be an esper too?”
Shigeo stood by the couch, staring at the butterscotch-haired boy that was still gripping the doorknob tightly, he looked determined yet so naive. It wasn’t possible to draw out psychic abilities from someone who didn’t have any at all.
And this small boy sure didn’t.
But instead of saying no, Shigeo’s mouth hung open to find the right words to say, so it wouldn’t hurt the boy, and somehow it ended up with him saying; “Yes.”
From that day on, Shigeo’s life suddenly had a tad bit more color. Specifically, a mix of orange and yellow.
Almost everyday without fail, this boy, Reigen his name was, would come in and ask if Shigeo had a job to be done. The taller male would either nod his head and stand or shake his head and gesture Reigen to his little table, so he could either do his homework and sit idle to read manga.
When Shigeo did have a job, he would bring Reigen along, but he always made sure if the spirit was powerful or not before starting the exorcism. If there wasn’t a spirit at all, he would let Reigen throw a bit of salt here and there and call it a day.
Though, this meant Shigeo wouldn’t be paid, since it wasn’t a real spirit and he’d rather be honest with his work. However, tips were allowed to be given to his young student.
Some clients insisted on paying, in which then Shigeo would reluctantly accept.
The first time Reigen found out about Shigeo’s issues was the same day he stopped chasing his dreams in becoming an esper.
Reigen had gotten hurt in a job, his right arm was in a cast, but came to work the next day anyways. He told Shigeo he was fine and that he would be all better in a few months or so. So Shigeo shouldn’t worry too much about him.
His master didn’t say anything, he told Reigen to go home and rest.
The teenager did, but forgot to bring his bag along with him.
Reigen didn’t bother to knock before entering, he pushed it open with his left hand and looked up at Shigeo.
He didn’t look back, he was hunched over breathing shakily with choked sobs. There was a box of bandaids on his table.
The boy ran over immediately.
Reigen went home with his cast slightly red, his mother was worried but he was quick to convince her that it wasn’t his blood. It was only then did Reigen realize that he had to help his master first before he could help himself.
Hanazawa Teruki had been awake the past few minutes tying his hair and applying light makeup, lip gloss and such. He believed it made him more appealing to customers, so it would be more believable that he was the one that made the prettiest cake in the display.
He used to flatter his customers into buying his pastries, usually they were middle aged women or young girls. Sometimes even boys if they seemed to swing that way.
“Ah, don’t you think this one would fit your birthday more? A cute cake for a cute girl.” Teru winked. The woman in her early twenties blushed and nodded, she happily bought the cake and offered her phone number, saying he was invited to her birthday party if he wanted to come.
Oh Teru would come, if there was free booze of course.
Teru would sometimes recognize frequent customers right off the bat and have the baked goods prepared for them already. One of these customers happened to be Reigen, who came in every morning to eat something small for breakfast while talking about yesterday’s events.
Teru would listen idly, only to be polite, but sometimes he’d wish the kid would can it.
Then, Reigen came in one day with a cast on his right arm asking for an extra donut. Teru didn’t pry, though he was curious behind the story of Reigen’s injury, he handed the boy the food and Reigen immediately left.
Which was unusual, considering he’d usually stay and chat and Teru was pretty sure Reigen would’ve bragged about how he got his battle injury or whatever.
At least his morning would be quiet.
It was too quiet.
The first time the baker saw Reigen’s master, he scrunched his face up, silently judging him. Bland fashion taste, bland hair cut, bland face, bland attitude, bland everything.
Quiet and shy, quite the opposite to Reigen. Teru wondered why the boy would even see him as a master.
The only thing that really caught his eye was when Shigeo had caught Reigen when the boy had tripped over his own shoelaces, using psychic powers.
Teru was bewildered to see another natural esper, so he instinctively went from an ‘Ugh’ mood into an interested one.
“So you’re an esper?” Teru hummed, watching Shigeo drop the boy gently back onto his two feet.
“Yes, are you one too?” Shigeo answered, his voice devoid of all emotions.
Teru resisted the urge to slouch and roll his eyes, this man sounded bored. Teru was everything but boring. He forced a grin, nodding. “Mhm! How long have you had em?”
“Since...I was born? Well, I think I awakened them at a very very young age.”
“Well, I awakened mine when I was around six? Went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and it just happened.” Teru said, trying his best to sound absolutely cool.
“I didn’t know you had powers.” Reigen piped up from behind.
I’d rather not show them off to commoners. Teru frowned inwardly, but he was still smiling as bright as the sun itself on the outside. “Well, it’s really no big deal, didn’t think I’d need to.”
“Still…” Reigen pouted.
The days of childish fighting were over the moment Teru got into college, it just didn’t bring the same joy as it did when he was a middle schooler. He realized his powers really were not much use when it came to paying his bills, so he took pride in something else; baking.
People were surprised, they all thought he was going to be some fashionista or something, but being devilishly handsome wasn’t a career he’d go for, it was more of a hobby.
His two customers left the bakery once they were done, mumbling something about an exorcism job. It didn’t come off as a surprise to Teru, considering Reigen bragged all about it beforehand.
He waved goodbye, hoping that maybe he could see Shigeo again soon.
Shigeo did not think he’d be back at the bakery so soon, but the days of never having breakfast should probably come to a stop and what better than to do it by eating at a bakery that his student regularly went to.
After all, it was almost his only option.
It wasn’t that Shigeo didn’t know how to cook, his mother didn’t have him in the kitchen often for no reason, he just usually never found the motivation to cook.
He’d only really eat when he was extremely hungry.
Teru was surprised to see him, he puts on a big smile but somehow it made Shigeo feel more insecure about being in the bakery. He doesn’t show it.
He doesn’t really know how to.
“Kageyama! You’re back so soon.” Teru welcomed, leaning against the counter.
“Oh, sorry, is this a bad time or…” Shigeo backed away, ready to exit.
Teru raised both his eyebrows and laughed lightly, beckoning the other to come over. “You’re rather funny, aren’t you? It’s never a bad time, you’re a customer and I’m suppose to serve you, whether I like it or not.”
“Sounds a bit extreme if you think about it.” Shigeo muttered to himself before walking over to order something to eat. His eyes scanned the display, chewing his lips while he made a decision. It felt strangely pressuring, as if he was wasting Teru’s time by taking too long.
“Take your time.” Teru chimed.
That made Shigeo more pressured.
“Uhm, I guess I could have...a bagel.”
Teru quickly bagged a bagel for him, handing it to Shigeo. Shigeo paid the blonde and ate his bagel quietly, right in front of Teru.
“Hungry I assume?” Teru laughed.
“You got nowhere to be or…?”
Shigeo stared at Teru, who stared back weekly, a bead of sweat trickled down the blonde’s temple.
“Oh, I-I’m not in a rush so I figured I’d just eat it here, unless you want me to leave which is fine too.” Shigeo babbled, his face flushed and he swiftly silenced himself by taking a big bite out of his bagel.
“Oh, you don’t have to leave.” Teru chuckled, his placed his elbow on the counter and rested his chin on his palm. “You’re rather cute, aren’t you?”
“Huh?” Shigeo coughed, his eyes widening.
Do not get Teru wrong, he did find Shigeo adorable.
But did he say it because he was attracted to him? No.
Teru was merely playing with the man, it was quite funny seeing Shigeo’s usual stoic expression transform into something else. He could probably watch all day and never get bored, but this didn’t mean Teru liked him.
Teru found many of his customers adorable and complimented them all alike, Shigeo was really no different from them.
The only real difference was that Shigeo was an esper.
“I said, you’re cute.” Teru repeated, observing as Shigeo’s face went from a light pink into a dark red.
“I-Thank you?” Shigeo whispered, nibbling his bagel.
Teru grinned, how entertaining. He wondered how many more faces Shigeo could possibly do, it felt like an odd achievement to have him express something.
He was about to say something else, he wanted to see if he could make Shigeo physically squirm next when the man himself suddenly uttered out. “I find you pretty handsome yourself, Hanazawa.”
That was when Teru’s heart had threatened to leap out of his throat. “E-Excuse me?”
Teru straightened his posture and looked away, hoping his face wasn’t as red as a tomato at the moment. “Why...thank you, Kageyama.”
“You’re welcome.” Shigeo answered politely, he finished his bagel and bid the blonde goodbye before leaving through the front door.
Not once, not once in Teru’s life has someone made him feel that way. He wondered what this meant, was he in love now?
How does one tell if they were in love?
Teru screwed his eyes shut, exhaling through his nose heavily. Was Shigeo playing him? No way this man was playing him.
Shigeo got back to the office feeling awfully cheery, Reigen had noticed and tried to make Shigeo tell him what had happened.
“Just in a good mood, is all.” His master replied, humming.
“Well, I’m not. I’m heading into year two of middle school soon, I’m not prepared.” Reigen huffed.
“Who knows? You might find a long term friend in your new class.”
Shigeo started heading into the bakery more often, even after work or just sometime around the evening. He found himself liking Teru’s company, despite their time mostly being filled with silence.
Teru would sometimes chat about random customers he didn’t like or his latest creation while Shigeo nodded and added comments during their conversation. To outsiders, this may seem like Shigeo wasn’t all that interested, but if you asked Shigeo what Teru had been talking about, he’d be able to answer you right away.
He was less talk and more listen. Which was why when something went wrong, Shigeo found it harder to tell someone.
Especially to his brother Ritsu, who had enough work on his hands already. No matter the time of day, Shigeo could always see a stack of unmarked papers on Ritsu’s table and the faint smell of something burning.
His brother would always brush it off by joking his neighbor was probably an arsonist.
It took awhile for Shigeo to get use to the joke.
“...Anyways, enough about me. Let’s talk about you.” Teru finally said one day, Shigeo took a bite out of his muffin and thought for a minute.
“Well, uh...I’m…” Shigeo paused for a minute, what could interest Teru the most? “...still single.”
“Never dated before? At all?” Teru raised an eyebrow, visibly surprised.
“I did have a crush on this one girl in middle school, but that was it.”
Teru sighed, placing his hands on his cheeks dramatically. “Poor you!”
“What about you, Hanazawa?”
Teru hesitated before answering, laughing nervously. “I’ve dated more times than I could count, really.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Shigeo looked down at his half eaten muffin.
The smile on Teru’s lips dropped, he tilted his head in confusion. “Why?”
“You had so many tries yet you still can’t find the one.”
Shigeo met Teru’s eyes, genuine sadness in them. “The one who could truly love you back.”
Deep down, Teru thought that Shigeo might’ve been talking about himself. He didn’t think having dozens upon dozens of ex girlfriends and ex boyfriends were a sad thing, he thought it just made him feel sorta wanted.
Like everyone wanted to get a piece of him.
But the way Shigeo had phrased the situation made Teru feel sad too.
Shigeo had just single handedly broke down what being a playboy was; having so many tries yet never finding someone that would love him forever.
“Well, at least I’m very experienced in dating now.” Teru laughed, trying to lighten the mood.
Shigeo took another bite out of his muffin. “I guess…”
Teru’s smile had threatened to fall for nearly a minute before he cleared his throat. “Which means...I would know all about it.”
“And I’d be very good at it.”
“And I could probably teach someone.”
“Someone who is really really inexperienced.”
Teru was ready to explode.
Please get a clue. Please get a clue. Please get a clue. Please get a clue. Please get a clue.
“Wait…” Shigeo squished his muffin a tiny bit. “...does this mean you could teach me?”
Teru was ready to explode, again.
“Oh,” Shigeo chewed on the last of his muffin, “when do you think--”
“Saturday evening?” Teru answered smoothly.
Shigeo swallowed. “Sure.”
“Cool, see you then? We can meet at the bakery.”
Shigeo hummed for a minute, staring at the ground before he stared at Teru. “Yeah.”
Teru inwardly cheered, he waved as Shigeo left the bakery before he outwardly cheered.
Then it dawned upon him, why was he so eager to ask Shigeo out on a fake date?
It’s not like I’m...
“FUCK.” Teru yelled loudly in the empty bakery.