"Hey. Minamimoto. Got a second?"

The math-obsessed Reaper looked up from the equations he was doing and his forgotten ramen to see, of all people, Koki Kariya, standing in front of Sho's table like he owned the place. Kariya... wasn't he that lazy digit who was always hanging around with Yashiro? What could someone like him possibly want with the Game Master? The notion was ridiculous.

And yet there he was, slouching slightly, one hand in his pocket, lollipop held inches from his mouth as always. "What is it, radian? Make it quick."

Kariya yawned, holding out the arm with the lollipop. "Well, me and Uzuki were talking about this, and I figured you'd be the person to ask." Sho gave the older teen his best not-amused look, waiting for him to get to the point. These equations were zetta difficult, and he didn't need Kariya to make him lose his concentration.

After a moment, Kariya continued. "See, it all comes down to one question. How many licks to get to the center of this lollipop here?"

There was silence for several seconds as Sho processed this. His first reaction was, Who zetta cares? But after a moment, the implications of the question sunk in. The beautiful simplicity of the initial query, the challenging complexity of the actual problem, the potential disaster if he forgot to factor in even one angle of the question... Sho was almost overwhelmed by the challenge that faced him. There was so much to be learned from this one seemingly simple problem, and if he solved it... The Reaper could not even begin to imagine the doors that would be opened for him mathematically.

Sho Minamimoto was not one to back down from a challenge, especially not this one. Not even bothering to reply to Kariya (why waste time talking to that miserable hectopascal when there was math to be done?), he cleared a space in the mess he'd made with his earlier work for the new problem presenting itself. A few stray papers fell onto the floor, attracting a glare from the owner of the shop, but Sho ignored that. Already, he was scribbling down ideas, the beginnings of equations, sketching out guesses at possible solutions.

Kariya looked over the younger Reaper's shoulder, trying to make sense of the scribbles. Speed of tongue x circumference of candy ÷ ramen
(how did ramen get in there, Kariya thought, baffled) - length of stick(brand of candy) + difference of sweetness and sourness... The rest was completely incomprehensible, scrawled all over the page and turning into small sketches of lollipops in places. (Kariya also noticed a small sketch of a guy with a strange hat, and shook his head. Brilliant he may have been, but it didn't change the fact that the kid was still a total egotist.)

Sho let out a low growl of frustration. "What, not working?" Kariya asked lightly from over his shoulder, seeming rather amused by the whole situation.

"Too zetta slow," Sho muttered, sweeping the paper to the side with a look of disgust. From a pocket of his coat, the Reaper whipped out a graphing calculator with more buttons than Kariya cared to count. The orange-haired Reaper craned his neck to see exactly what his boss was entering. Somehow, there was already a mess of numbers on the screen (how fast did this guy's thumbs move?) and... was that pi in there? Kariya shook his head in disbelief, wondering what he'd gotten himself into with this.

Sho was focusing too intently on his calculator to notice the older teen's reaction, mashing buttons feverishly as if he was playing a fast-paced game of Tetris. The screen began to glitch slightly as it struggled to keep up with the numbers flooding across it; then, suddenly, it went blank.
The genius Reaper stared at it disbelievingly. His graphing calculator, his trusted polynomial, had failed him? He gazed brokenly at it, as though an old friend had betrayed him; then, with a wild look in his eyes, he seized the calculator in one hand and hurled it across the room where it hit the wall and, with a loud crack, broke in two. "Zetta... worthless... piece of... garbage...!"

Kariya, raising an eyebrow at his superior's antics, cleared his throat tentatively. Sho spun around to face Kariya, coughing irritably into his hand. "What, radian? Spit it out!"

He looked on the verge of snapping and setting a bunch of Taboo Noise loose, thought Kariya, resisting the urge to back away from the once-table that had turned into a messy pile of paper. "I was just thinking. Maaaybe we're going at this wrong." Sho, glaring, growled in his throat, obviously not entirely pleased with the criticism of his methods. Kariya shrugged casually. "Just saying, maybe we need to try a different approach, you know? After all, there is one easy way to find out how many licks this thing can take."

Sho looked at Kariya as if the older Reaper had lost his mind. Surely even this brain-dead binomial couldn't be suggesting something as simple and crude as Sho thought he was? Did the Harriers nowadays have no appreciation for the art of fine mathematics?

He stared at Kariya for a moment more, hand resting next to his bowl of ramen... and then, suddenly, laughed. "Fine! Have it your way, you tasteless tetrahedron! We'll see how well your method works."

Kariya, who had been sweating slightly, regained his confident grin. "Heh. We'll see, all right." He yawned, holding out the lollipop to his companion. "How about you have the first lick?"

Sho clapped his hands together smugly. "Fine, you factoring hectopascal!" He snatched the lollipop and, after eying it suspiciously for a moment, licked it.

Immediately, he flung it away (Kariya watched as it landed next to the calculator by the far wall) and gagged, making a variety of disgusted sounds. "What the FOIL d'you put in these things, radian?" he spat at Kariya, eyes hostile.

Kariya yawned again, a slight amused gleam showing through in his eye. "Bean paste. Not your kinda taste, I take it."

Sho looked like he was trying not to gag again. "It's zetta horrible!" he snapped, flinging his arms out to the side in fury.

Kariya, apparently oblivious to his boss's anger, closed his eyes and smirked, twirling his fingers as if he still held a lollipop. "That so? Well, ain't that a shame. Because that means this is going to taste horrible too."

There was a split second in which Sho tried to think of a retort, and then without warning, lips met his own roughly – awkwardly, because of the way Kariya was leaning over his shoulder. Sho flinched backwards, right into a hand held firmly behind his head, preventing the kiss from being broken. "What the factor do you–" and then he was cut off by a tongue entering his open mouth and what was Kariya's tongue doing there and it didn't taste terrible, but there was a lingering bean paste flavor, and–

"Well? Think you can stand to get to the center now?" As quickly as Kariya had invaded Sho's personal space, he was back standing behind him, hands in his pocket and usual smirk on his face.

Sho scoffed, straightening his hat disdainfully; Kariya had knocked it askew during their activities. "Hardly. The taste of pi – that is, pie – is far superior."

"That so?" Kariya gave him an almost calculating look, before yawning. "A'ight, Mr. Math Fetish, I'll leave you to your problems. Let me know if you wanna try this again sometime." And before Sho could speak, the older Reaper was heading back to his table with Yashiro, who was looking less than amused.

Sho frowned, picking up equations off the floor and, ignoring Uzuki's furious shrieks, he tried to pick up where he'd left off. By all rights, he ought to erase Kariya where he stood for pulling such a thing. And yet, for some reason, he found he didn't really want to.

"God damn it, Kariya, I didn't tell you to make out with the guy!"

"Ah, come on, Uzuki. What's a little sexual harrassment among friends?"

"Ugh! I can't believe you!"

Sho sighed, gave up on the equations and slumped over slightly, leaning his chin on one arm. He was going to need some more ramen – preferably something alcoholic.