None of them were the person Ono wanted, though the man in the corner was a passable imitation.
He sighed into his drink and turned his eyes back to the counter. His demonic charm had yet to fail him. If he pulled off the baseball cap that was currently shading his face and shrugged off his bulky jacket, he would have been surrounded by men in twenty seconds. But that wasn't why he was here. For once, he wanted a drink and only a drink.
In other circumstances, he wouldn't be having this problem. He wasn't used to restraining himself like this. He'd tried before, it was the only way to keep his job sometimes, but his charm always got in the way. His charm made sure that when he wanted a man, he got that man eventually. But his demonic charm failed whenever Tachibana was concerned, not surprising considering Tachibana was the cause of it. Which meant Chikage... Chikage was off-limits, no matter how much Ono was tempted.
He'd tried to ignore it, but that had just made it worse - kind of like a scab that kept getting rubbed off and therefore refused to heal. He saw Chikage every day in close quarters. Chikage would watch him when he thought Ono wasn't looking, and Ono often found himself subconsciously doing the same. It was the same awkward dance, day after day. They'd bump into each other accidentally, hands brushing, hips touching. Chikage would reach around Ono for a plate and press against Ono's back, then blush belatedly as he finally realized what kind of position they were in several minutes too late.
It was maddening. At first he'd thought that just a touch, just a kiss, would be enough to get him over this stupid infatuation. Men obsessed over him, not the other way around. But then they'd shared a kiss in the rain and that just made things worse. Now he knew what Chikage tasted like. He wanted more. He wanted to know what Chikage felt like under the suit, what it would feel like with Chikage's weight pressing him down into the mattress or Chikage's arms tight around him.
He couldn't have more than that one kiss. Tachibana would kill him, or worse, fire him and Ono desperately did not want to go back to flitting from job to job.
There were plenty of men in the world, plenty of perfectly handsome men that would gladly take him to bed. Ono had tried to distract himself. Each night had found him in the arms of another man, spread out in another bed. That had lasted for over a month until all of a sudden, it wasn't enough.
They weren't Chikage. He couldn't have Chikage.
Ono sighed. He should go. Staying here was just making him more depressed.
"Can I join you?"
Had he had more to drink than he'd thought? Ono was sure he'd only had one glass, and wine had never effected him very much - at least not until after the sixth or seventh glass. He looked up.
Chikage stood there, his expression blank and his eyes hidden behind those ever-present sunglasses.
"I... um... sure."
Tachibana was going to kill him. Chikage slid into the seat next to him and flagged the bartender. "Brandy. Just a little."
Ono fiddled with the stem of his glass, the wine inside swirling slightly. "I don't remember ever seeing you here before."
Chikage blushed. "I-I've never come in, but I... I saw you through the glass a few times. I thought... you might like some company, since you're always sitting here by yourself."
The bartender returned with Chikage's drink. Chikage had been watching him? For how long?
"Is it fun coming here?"
"I..." Ono wasn't sure how to answer that. "I guess." He only came here because it was far away from the bars he normally haunted.
"I'm not bothering you, am I? I mean, if you'd rather be alone, I could-"
"No!" Ono blushed. He sounded far too eager. "No," he repeated slower. "I like your company."
"I like yours too."
They sat silently for a while, nursing their drinks. Opening lines flitted through his head but none seemed right for dealing with Chikage. He wasn't used to making polite conversation that didn't lead up to sex. Not that he wouldn't mind... This was harder than he thought.
He should leave, but he couldn't think how to extricate himself without hurting Chikage's feelings.
If he didn't leave, he'd end up hurting Chikage's feelings and he desperately didn't want that.
That was his real problem, more than the loss of another job or Tachibana's anger. He wanted to be with Chikage but he knew exactly what would happen. He'd only have himself to blame when he hurt Chikage. When, not if. He knew himself too well to doubt that.
His obsession with Chikage would one day end, or at least abate and then he'd be back to all his old habits. He'd cheat on Chikage and not even mean to. It would just happen. That's the way his charm worked, pulling men to him even when he didn't need or want them. Then Chikage would feel hurt and it would be Ono's fault.
He didn't want that.
Ono looked over in surprise. He'd forgotten briefly that the focus of his thoughts was sitting right next to him. "What?"
"You look sad."
"I..." The truth slipped out before he could stop himself. "There's someone I like." He couldn't look at Chikage. What kind of expression was on Chikage's face? Was he hopeful or disappointed? Did he know Ono was talking about Chikage?
"That's... good, isn't it?"
Ono swallowed the last of his wine. "I guess. But... it's complicated."
"The person I like... he likes me. But I can't do anything about it, even though I want to."
Ono glanced to the side. Chikage was watching him, confused.
"But, if you both like each other, isn't that enough?"
"No. Sometimes, it's not. If I were to... pursue this person, I'd end up hurting them and I don't want that."
"Why would you hurt them? I thought you liked this person."
"I do, and I wouldn't mean to." Ono's fingers dug into his sleeves, twisting the fabric. "But it always happens. I... inside, I'm a horrible person. I'd hurt him. I know I would. I... can't help what happens sometimes, and something always happens to get in the way. I can't stay happy for very long, and I don't want to put him through that. It's always-"
Their eyes met. When had Chikage taken off his sunglasses?
"You're wrong. If you like him, you won't hurt him. I'm sure he'd be happy just knowing you love him. That'd be enough."
He knew it wasn't that simple. He knew it. Relationships didn't end in happy ever after. Not for him.
"You should tell him how you feel. I'm sure things will turn out alright."
"I..." He couldn't. It... would end poorly.
Chikage's face was so close. He had never been good at resisting temptation.
Ono bridged the space between them, pressing their lips together chastely. His hat fell off. The eyes of the other patrons where slowly turning towards them.
"Chikage, I like you. I really, truly, am in love with you and I'm sorry if I ever do anything to hurt you."
Chikage smiled at him and, for a few minutes, Ono thought it just might work out.