For Takamura Suoh, this day could almost qualify as "normal". There were no damsels to save, no explosions to dismantle, no kidnappers to thwart. Akira had made him a small but potent coffee since Suoh was feeling uncharacteristically and inexplicably tired that morning, and the two had laughed (that was more Akira) and sighed (this was more Suoh) when they discovered that Nokoru had taken again taken up the habit of trashing important documents while daydreaming.

"Kaichou must have a lot on his mind these days," Akira had chirped, smoothing out the creases of the nearly destroyed paper. "The funny thing is that he actually signed it first before throwing it away…"

"Mmm. Very funny," Suoh commented. He finished writing his memo and pasted it neatly on top of the sad looking document. He paused, looking down at the young president's desk. It was in its usual state of disarray—there were two empty tea cups, multiple stacks of papers with hastily scrawled memos from Nokoru to himself littering the tops ("FINISH THIS TODAY!", "check again on Wednesday", "see if production efficiency can be increased through new scheduling" and the vaguely ominous, "this is very important but where is the other half?"), a large but dry looking volume entitled "Flora and Fauna of the Middle East", and a small, pink pillow in the shape of a smiling pig's face.

Two teacups. For Nokoru and his company.



"Have you noticed anything different about Kaichou lately?"

Akira considered the question, lightly twisting his lips to the side in thoughtfulness.

"I suppose he has been busier. As I'm sure you've noticed, the number of cases we as detectives have been asked by Kaichou—"

"Forced by Kaichou…"

"—to investigate has decreased greatly this semester. We haven't had an all-out campus search for him in several weeks and I don't believe you've had to get the rope from the closet to tie him to his chair in at least a month."

Suoh nodded with a subdued amount of pride.

Akira continued, "Other than his frequent trips to Tokyo lately, I can't think of anything that stands out as strange. Why do you ask?"

"Trips to Tokyo?" Suoh's ears perked.

"Well, I've heard him mention it on the phone to someone when I think he thought I was out of earshot…something about staying at his brother's vacant apartment while he's on business trips…" Akira blushed. "I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but…." He trailed off, embarrassed.

Suoh shook his head and muttered something like, "It happens", but his thoughts began to roll. What was Nokoru doing in Tokyo? Why hadn't he mentioned it to the two of them? Was there any danger involved? Suoh knew all too well of his charge's penchant for keeping his friends in the dark when it came to precarious situations.

Could it have something to do with him?

Before he could stop himself—as if he even knew how—his thoughts went from a curious skipping to a high-speed multiplication. Last night, the moment of complete silence after he had opened the door, the hand making a fist around the fabric at the back of Nokoru's shirt, a hot blush flaming across the president's cheeks, that unreadable expression on Idomu's face that uneasily reminded Suoh of an unspoken challenge.

But a challenge for what?

Suoh had never questioned or pried into Nokoru's love life after receiving half-hearted responses in their early years of friendship, thus he had chalked it up to one of those off-limits areas of conversation. That was perfectly fine with him. If his friend was uncomfortable discussing those kinds of matters, then he would never push his luck. And as Suoh was uncomfortable enough talking about his own personal life, he would never try to extract personal answers from anyone else. Sure, sometimes the occasional thought would pop up when the whole gang would be at dinner and Nokoru was the only single person at the table, but it wasn't a question that Suoh obsessed over in his free time. Kaichou was Kaichou, and that was that. Would he fall in love some day? Probably. Would he want to discuss it with his friends? Maybe. Maybe not.

But nothing can prepare you for walking into your office to witness your best friend in a passionate lip-lock with your former childhood enemy.

After leaving the council room in a daze, Suoh's thoughts went something like this:

Nokoru. Nokoru kissing. Kissing? Nokoru. He was kissing someone. Idomu! How! Why? What if it wasn't consensual? Idomu has been involved in many scandals in the last few years. But it looked consensual. So does this happen often? When did it start? Who initiated it? I am late…I hope Satsuki is comfortable at the table and not waiting for me at the front. But are they dating? Does Nokoru date…guys?

Realizing that his train of thought was close to derailing itself, he forced up a mental blocade. Nokoru, Idomu, the two teacups, the hands and bodies disappeared in a flash, and he was facing a white wall. It was the same smooth and endless thing he had learned to conjure during training when pain or other distractions caused him to lose focus. He focused on the it now, taking in its endless height and length, its unyielding strength, and silently told himself to move on.

There was a soft chinking of porcelain as Akira gingerly lifted the teacups from the president's desk.

"It was a good brew," he commented with a small smile. "No wonder Kaichou had two cups."

And without warning, Suoh saw the perfect image of Nokoru's head tilting back, wisps of blonde hair brushing against his lashes, a sigh melting from his open lips, and the wall came crashing down.