once is an accident

Tendou looked down at his little sister, a smile quirking up at the corner of his mouth. It was like the cold man Kagami saw all the time, the one who said things like "I will rule over the world" and "It's not needed for ZECT to be involved" had melted away, leaving a young man indulging his little sister and smiling at her remarks.

He looked happy, thought Kagami. It shouldn't have surprised him, but it did. It would be nice if Tendou was always like that.

twice is a precedent

Kagami was not exactly awake. He was at La Salle, and he was technically conscious, in that if you poked him with a heavy stick, he might eventually mumble 'quiddit', but he was not on top of his game. He was kind of beside his game, or even below it. His body was one massive ache. His nose hurt. His earlobes hurt. His nose probably hurt because he was face down on one of the tables, but that was no excuse for his earlobes.

Beside his head, the Gatack Zector clicked its mandibles cheerfully.

"It's all right for you," he mumbled. Talking hurt. His teeth hurt. His tongue hurt, which was not a sensation he was ever willing to feel again. The Gatack Zector poked him gently and skittered around the table. Kagami thought about the nest of Worms they had cleared out, and cheered up very slightly. It hurt too much to smile though.

The bell rang, and the Gatack Zector zipped hastily to the floor. Kagami cracked an eye open. There was a rather large silver buckle in his line of vision, holding up a pair of narrow acid washed black jeans. Kagami would have cheerfully leaped into the vat of acid wash before he admitted it, but sometimes he couldn't help but watch the owner of the jeans walk around with the smooth, rolling glide of a panther and think ... things. That he wasn't thinking because Tendou would kill him, and Tendou could probably read his mind. On the other hand, Tendou was the one wandering around in narrow black acid washed jeans. Kagami was pretty sure he just did it to be an ass.

"whd'yu'ant?" he said, and frowned slightly. That hadn't come out right at all.

"Why aren't you at home?" said Tendou.

"''s too lonely," said Kagami, and wished desperately for Gatack Zector to squeeze his tongue off.

There was a hand on his back. Kagami tried to lift his head in surprise, but his back felt like an elephant had trampled over it.

He groaned.

"You," began Tendou.

"Wh'," said Kagami sullenly.

"Your back is completely out of place," said Tendou severely, lifted Kagami by the armpits, shoved a knee in the center of his spine and twisted.

"OW FUCK STOP," howled Kagami, as something made a complicated popping noise. He pulled away and glared at Tendou. "That really fucking hurt!"

"It feels better now, doesn't it?" said Tendou pointedly, and Kagami was forced to admit he was right.

the third time went like this...

T: I'M AT AN ARASHI CONCERT. DO YOU WANT SOMETHING?

K: SORRY, I THOUGHT YOU JUST SAID YOU WERE AT AN ARASHI CONCERT.

T: IT'S JUKA'S BIRTHDAY.

K: SO YOU'RE AT AN ARASHI CONCERT.

T: BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE. OHNO AND NINO JUST MADE OUT WITHIN FIFTEEN FEET OF US.

K: ARE YOU GOING TO SURVIVE WHEN RENGE FINDS OUT?

T: SHE'S ON THE OTHER SIDE OF JUKA, WAVING AN OHMIYA UCHIWA AND SCREAMING HER HEAD OFF.

K: YOU ARE A BRAVE, BRAVE MAN.

T: I KNOW. DO YOU WANT A CELLPHONE STRAP? THEY HAVE ONE OF MATSUMOTO.

K: I WANT SHO-KUN.

T: WHO DOESN'T? - SEE YOU WHEN YOU GET HERE.

The Worm had been defeated and gone to hell thinking very hard, as suggested, about the wisdom of attempting to mimic one of Matsumoto Jun's band mates, let alone their support staff. About ten thousand fangirls had gone home vaguely convinced that there had been a special show about being true to yourself and your friends. Kagami found himself standing beside Sakurai Sho, who was bleeding a little but was already saying things like, "Did anybody make Matsumoto stop long enough to be checked out?" and "They won't blame us for the damage, will they?"

Sakurai turned and said, "Thank you for your help."

"No problem," said Kagami, a little dazed. "Um. We don't usually see civilians try to --"

"Jun-kun gets very upset if something happens to disrupt a concert," said Sakurai.

"I, er, noticed," said Kagami, and then, unable to stop himself, "I don't think we've ever tried shorting out their nervous system before. Especially not with a tinselly scarf and a microphone."

"Jun doesn't like it at all," said Sakurai. He was silent for a minute and then added, "Those things. Are they capable of learning?"

"I'm pretty sure there's a strong note going out about ever trying to mimic Aiba Masaki or Ohno Satoshi, yes," said Kagami, trying not to think about facing down Ninomiya Kazunari and the light of hell burning in his eyes, before Nino had decided he wasn't a threat. He hesitated. The Worm had been so close to the person it was mimicking. "Um. There's a possibility --"

"Oh," said Sakurai, "We'll take care of that." He smiled, and Kagami took a step back. "The five of us together," Sakurai said, very gently.

"Er," said Kagami desperately. "We'll count on you then? Um. Have you seen a guy who was probably with two girls? One of them was probably doing things with a wire garrote? And the other was thirteen years old?"

"Oh, is he your friend?" said Aiba, limping up.

"Well, not as such," said Kagami wretchedly. He and Tendou really weren't friends. Sometimes he didn't even like him very much. But still --

"I know," said Aiba-kun seriously, and smiled at Kagami in a way that made him think suddenly that he probably really did. "He's with Jun-chan. Jun-chan asked him where he got his belt buckle, and he said clearly Matsujun was a customer at the special shop, and Jun-chan brightened up, and now they're trading recipes. He has one for ravioli with sun dried tomatoes and sweet balsamic vinegar that Jun-chan hadn't heard of before, and Jun-chan has one for puff pastry and mushroom-infused paper-thin steak that your friend doesn't have."

Kagami bit back a groan, but Sakurai said, "Would you like an antacid?" anyway. He patted Kagami on the shoulder, as one sufferer to another.

"Sho-chan buys them in bulk," said Aiba proudly.

the fourth time

Kagami picked up a shirt from the pile. He was really going to splash out. He was going to get something exciting. He might even, he thought giddily, get a blue shirt that wasn't navy. He --

"If you buy that shirt," said a voice directly in his ear, "Heaven will punish you."

Kagami yelled and knocked the entire display over. "T-T-Ten--" he began.

Tendou frowned at him.

"What are you doing here?" said Kagami, picking up the shirts. Tendou made an impatient noise and began to fold the shirts in precise, crisp lines.

"Grandmother said, If a dish is not attractively prepared, half the deliciousness is gone," said Tendou severely.

"And I suppose that means you think I can't dress myself," said Kagami.

Tendou looked at him. It was a long, slow look, starting from Kagami's admittedly mass market hair cut (he went to a little shop in his neighborhood and talked to the old police officers who liked to hang out there while he was in the chair), his old long sleeved shirt that he'd had in high school and the slightly newer t-shirt that said DREAM OF COLOR (it was ironic because the shirt and the print were all gray) and his slightly baggy and above all comfortable jeans, down to his sensible hiking shoes. And then Tendou's eyes started back up.

A tiny part of Kagami's mind pointed out that Tendou seemed to be taking his time and enjoying the view, and was squashed by the rest of his brain, that knew that nobody ever looked at him like that and anyway, that it was Tendou.

"No," said Tendou thoughtfully, "I don't think you can."

and one time kagami surprised the hell out of tendou

It was a terrible thing to have to ask your supervisor a question about a love life you weren't even sure you had, but Kagami was desperate. Hiyori, otherwise the most sensible person Kagami knew, would give him a blank, panicked look, and to hell with asking his father. For a crazed moment he considered asking Gon, but Gon might tell Daisuke.

Misaki-san probably wasn't the best choice, either, considering her problems with Tsurugi, but Kagami was stuck. He would just have to deal with it. Maybe Tadokoro-san would have an idea.

He called a meeting while they were waiting in the Soccer Mom from Hell Van. "Misaki-san, I need your advice. Tadokoro-san too, all right?"

"All right," said Misaki-san, puzzled but willing. Tadokoro-san nodded gravely.

"So say you were working with someone," said Kagami, "and say after a while you started feeling kind of attracted to them."

"If this is about Tsurugi-kun," began Misaki-san, cheeks flaming.

"Oh God no," said Kagami involuntarily. "No, me! I'm asking about something to do with me!"

"Oh," said Misaki-san, and then, "EHHH?" She recovered. "Who are you talking about?"

Kagami cast an agonized look at Tadokoro-san, who looked at him back with a blank face and panic swimming through his eyes. "Do I have to say?"

"Well, no," allowed Misaki-san. "But what's the problem?"

"Is there a good way to ask him if they're just being a nutcase or what because it's weird when he pops up like that," finished Kagami in a rush.

"He?" said Tadokoro-san.

"Nutcase?" said Misaki-san.

Kagami tried to drown himself in his own coffee mug. "Never mind!" he said.

"We aren't still talking about Tsurugi-kun, are we?" said Misaki-san suspiciously. "Because if we are, I feel bound to tell you that I don't think it would be suitable at all."

Kagami gave her a look of horror and reproach. "Just because he made me take a bath with him doesn't mea-- actually, can we pretend I didn't say that?"

"Yes," said Misaki-san.

Tadokoro-san cleared his throat. "Kagami," he said, in his grave voice, "isn't it better for you to just plunge straight in?"

Kagami thought for a moment and then nodded, smiling at Tadokoro-san. "Yes," he said. "You're right."

--

Tendou opened the door. Kagami was there, his hands behind his back. "What do you want?" said Tendou.

"Would you like to go to a movie?" said Kagami. Tendou looked more closely, and realized he was wearing the robin's-egg blue shirt with the darker print with English letters that said I WILL TURN CLOCK BACK OF TIME TO BE FOREVER WITH YOU and scrolls that Tendou had 'suggested' he buy. He had the narrow jeans, too, and the loafers. He had on his own initiative added a dark gray, soft merino cardigan and a belt with a fairly large buckle, by Kagami's standards. His hair had actually been in contact with a comb. There was a faint aura of white tea and ginger cologne surrounding him.

"What?" said Tendou.

"A movie," said Kagami patiently. "You know, moving pictures projected onto a screen? A dark theater, popcorn, hand-holding...?"

Tendou never gaped at people, but he came very close at that moment.

"It's the Boukenger movie," said Kagami enticingly.

"Kagami," said Tendou, coldly, "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"I am asking you on a date," said Kagami, enunciating very clearly, and brought out a tiny pot of rosemary and thyme and oregano from behind his back.

Tendou snapped his mouth shut. "We're not eating movie theatre popcorn," he said, but he reached for his coat.