Welcome, and happy reading! I don't own any of these lovely characters.



Rikuo laughed at his younger coworker/friend/roommate's over zealous reaction and decided to tease him some more. "See? You just proved my point. Bastard is all you could come up with? You've already called me that today." He smirked when Kazahaya balled his fists.

"That's just all I could think of to describe you!"

"A typical response from the intellectually challenged."

Whether or not he was aware of it, Rikuo's snide comments were cutting Kazahaya deeply. Education had always been a sore subject with him. He and Kei hadn't gotten far in school (indeed, Kazahaya had skipped out on as much of the little education as he could at the time), but he'd worked hard on his own since entering the real world to make sure he could read and write and do math with considerable skill. He hated to be called stupid. He wanted to hit Rikuo just then.

Instead, he turned and headed to the back, leaving the older boy to grin superiorly at what he took to be another emotional meltdown.

Of course he wouldn't tell Rikuo how badly those particular words hurt, he had too much pride for that. But he also vowed silently to never give Rikuo and opportunity to call him stupid again.

Yeah, and just how would he pull that off?

Back in the stock room, he took a few minutes to collect himself before he began going through the boxes, trying to recall what Kakei had told him needed to be out.

"Vitamins and pregnancy tests."

He nearly jumped out of his skin, not to mention dropped the box he'd been examining, when his boss appeared behind him.

"Kakei." He breathed heavily.

"Good morning. Working hard already, I see." The owner of Green Drugstore smiled. "But you can leave that for a moment. I'd like to talk to you."

Kazahaya hesitated before following him from his office. This was probably about another 'job.' He wondered if Rikuo was already waiting for them.

But Kakei's office was empty except for Saiga when they entered, and he shut the door behind them, gesturing for Kazahaya to take a seat. The older, darker man seemed to be napping on the couch, but with the sunglasses on it was always hard to tell.

"So Kazahaya," Kakei immediately noticed him employee's glances at Saiga. "Don't worry, he's out like a light. I wanted to talk to you about earlier."

Kazahaya looked at him in confusion. This was the first time he'd spoken with Kakei all day. He and Rikuo had opened the store.

"The argument between Rikuo and you? I noticed that you looked rather uncomfortable after you left."

No more uncomfortable than now... He thought silently, shifting at the thought that Kakei could read him so easily, and that he'd been watching them.

His employer let out a slight chuckle. "Don't worry, I'm not going to give you a lecture about playing nice or sharing your feelings during working hours," Kazahaya flushed with embarrassment and a bit of shame. "Just this." He held out a large hardbound book, which Kazahaya took cautiously. It was heavy.

"What-" He examined it gingerly, reading the spine to see what kind of book his boss would be giving him. "A... dictionary?" He didn't get it. Maybe he was an idiot after all. Maybe Kakei knew this and felt sorry for him.

"I want you to take it for now. Look up some of the pleasant phrases you and Rikuo have been exchanging, or anything else you desire. But for now put it in your room and get back to work. You can keep it as long as you'd like."

Kazahaya stuttered out a thank you, not sure what else to say, and excuse himself. Kakei shut the door behind him and sat down on the couch near Saiga's head.

"What was that about?" Saiga shifted his head into Kakei's lap.

"Just nudging them along." Kakei murmured, running a hand through Saiga's hair. "Don't trouble yourself."

"I never do. I know that you've got it under control."

"Very true. They may take a while, but I can already see them coming together. It just requires more work that I first envisioned."

"You're been working too hard. Why don't you stay and relax for awhile? They'll take care of themselves." Saiga caught Kakei's wrist and drew him down into a deep kiss.

"You know, that's a very tempting offer. I may just do that..."

Enjoy this first chapter? If things aren't making too much sense, it'll all come together soon. Hang in there if you love Rikuo and Kaza! (and who doesn't?) Also throwing in some steamy Kakei and Saiga because I can't get enough of them.