AN: Because I love you all I decided to update this particular story, but I don't know how happy with me you'll be after you read it. The reason it came to a standstill for me was that the story wasn't progressing, so I used this chapter to set up the next few. Forgive me, and please find something to laugh at in here somewhere!
I'm sitting in my chair with an unlit cigarette at my lips, not even pretending to be doing anything other than staring at Youhei. It's not that the guy's suddenly endeared himself to me or anything like that; it's more like I'm waiting to see when he's going to look away from Shiro and notice.
We've just hit ten minutes.
Maybe some conversation will make this a little more interesting. "So, Youhei..." I say.
"Mm?" he replies distractedly.
"I didn't know that you had glasses."
"What?" Youhei glances at me and touches them unconsciously. "Oh, yes. I usually wear contacts, but with these I can see Shi-chan better." He gives me an uncharacteristically wide smile and goes back to teasing the newly nicknamed 'Shi-chan' with a piece of string.
More than I'm wondering about where on earth he found that string in a gang's hideout, I find myself trying to work out just how much this guy's personality can change when he's handed a small animal. The Youhei that my dear wife had introduced to me just weeks ago had totally disappeared.
The fashionable clothes had been replaced with old jeans and a sweater that was now dusted lightly with cat hair. The well-groomed hairstyle had been abandoned and was now completely mussed. To top it all off, the guy had glasses. Glasses! No self-respecting gang member would admit to any flaw, whether it was a problem with long-range shooting or having less-than-perfect vision.
"Youhei..." I begin, already feeling bored.
"Yes?" He pulls out a treat from somewhere and feeds it to a more than grateful Shiro.
"Youhei." I begin to toy with my cigarette offhandedly.
"What is it?" he asks, glancing at me.
"Youheeei ..." I drag out his name, slumping over and resting my elbows on my knees.
"Seriously, Matt, what." He momentarily ignores Shiro and stares at me, annoyed.
"Yooooouheeeeee-" I break off when a hand knocks against the back of my head. Rubbing where it had touched absently, I offer up my face to Mello, who takes the cigarette away and kisses me lightly in return.
"I didn't think you capable of acting so childish, Matt," he chides.
I reach out to wrap my arms around his waist and pull him a little closer. He complies, but rests a hand on top of my head to stop me from doing anything more. "It's his fault for not being entertaining," I reply.
"How could our delightful Shiro be anything but?"
"It's son-in-law, actually. He puts on a sweater and suddenly he's no fun at all," I complain, secretly enjoying the sensation of being so close to Mello's chest. Faintly, I can hear his heartbeat.
"Ah, well. Sweaters can do that to people."
"Did you know he has glasses?"
"It would have made absolutely no difference to me choosing him to cheat on you with, and yes."
"...did you know he owns a sweater?"
"As much as I enjoy discussing with you the wardrobe of one of my affair partners, if you'll just stop rubbing your head against my side for a moment and look up you might be about to see what you've been waiting for," Mello tells me. Reluctantly I lift my head and see that he's not alone – Takeo is walking over to us.
Momentarily torn between letting go of Mello and watching how Takeo reacts, I decide in the spirit of childishness that I will have both. I release my hold on Mello's waist but quickly pull him down to sit beside me, and, happily enough, he doesn't shift away.
"Takeo," I call out to him. He hasn't seen either Shiro or Youhei yet, and so he nods his usual nod in response.
"How are our newlyweds doing?" he asks with a smile as he stops in front of us.
"Oh, wonderfully. Today we're planning on seeing a show," I tell him.
"Keeping the romance alive, I see," he notes.
"Well, yes. Hey Youhei?" I say loudly in his direction.
"What the hell do you want, Matt?!" he replies angrily. He looks about ready to get up and punch me, but a well-timed lick from Shiro and I'm spared injury. Youhei's scowl changes instantly into a look of adoration, and he laughs when Shiro licks him again playfully.
"I think you deserved that, by the way," Mello tells me quietly.
"No talking during the show, honey. It's common courtesy," I hush him.
Shiro has found some reason to climb up over Youhei's arm and up to his shoulder, nosing around curiously as he goes. Apparently ticklish, Youhei laughs and makes no attempt to stop the kitten, who somehow manages to make it to Youhei's neck where he promptly curls up and rests after his great journey. Light shining in through a window catches on his glasses as he moves to rub Shiro's head affectionately.
We two spectators look to Takeo now, and I'm more than surprised by his expression.
"I am seeing this right, aren't I?"
"There's no reason why you wouldn't be."
"Then...is he really...?"
"Yes, dear. He is."
On Takeo's face there is no expression of anger or betrayal or even simple annoyance. His eyes are wide, his cheeks tinged red and his mouth slightly open – like he's seen the most beautiful thing he's ever laid eyes upon.
"I think we just witnessed the moment that a man falls in love," Mello says with an odd note of pride in his voice.
"But...he has glasses!" Having expected some great showdown, I'm struggling with the idea that Takeo's gone in quite the opposite direction. It's a little more than disappointment, it's... "He has glasses!"
"And a sweater, too. Don't forget that," Mello adds.
I ignore my shock for a few moments to stare at him. "...I get the impression that you think I'm overreacting."
"There'd be a reason for that."
"Takeo has had weeks to fall for the cool, professional, appropriately distant Youhei, and the minute he sees him in jeans and covered in cat hair, that's when he falls in love with him?!"
"It sounds as if you're complimenting him there, you know," Mello points out.
"Don't think me capable of it," I reply quickly.
Mello smiles and leans in closer to me, resting one hand gently on my back and slipping the other into my own. "Look, Matt. He's going to fall in love with someone whether you like it or not, and you've got no say in the matter. If that someone happens to be a guy who owns both a gun and a sweater, well, there's still nothing you can do."
The arm at my back moves around my neck, and he looks at me affectionately. "You're just going to have to accept it. One day you're going to have to let him go, into cat-hair covered arms."
I hold his gaze for a while, letting myself brood a little before closing my eyes and sighing. "You're a genius," I murmur.
"And I love you." I open my eyes and just look at him.
"How could you not?" The smile on his face widens and he moves in a little closer.
Just as our lips are about to touch I add: "And I'm pretty sure you don't wear contacts." I move to kiss him before he can respond. When we part, he glares at me.
With a rather audible sigh Takeo, who I realise has been just standing there this whole time, sits down on the seat across from us. He covers his face with one hand, presumably in an attempt to hide his blush. "Oh boy, I'm in trouble now..." he says softly to no one in particular.
AN: Well, well. A Youhei that Matt likes even less. I wanted to show that Youhei has many different aspects to his personality (as anyone does) and that Takeo is charmed by this one particular side, but it ended up being more about the unhappy father. Don't think the casual Youhei is going to last! He and the childish Matt are generally imprisoned in some corner of my mind, but escape on occasion to come and wreak havoc on my fanfictions. :)
On a completely unrelated note, I just baked a cake! It looks delicious, and the few crumbs I've had taste delicious, but I can't touch it until tomorrow morning. Life can be very heartbreaking sometimes...