Part 1

Kisa Shouta had a predicament on his hands.

It happened to be that Takano-san had gone in to Marimo one night after work and gotten to talking with Yukina. This in itself wasn't a bad thing, Kisa supposed, because Yukina was one of the top sellers of Emerald's tankobon in the district. Kisa was honestly surprised that his boss hadn't met Yukina earlier, to tell the truth.

No, the problem came with the fact that Takano-san thought it appropriate to invite Yukina out for drinks with the rest of the department. Kisa only found out about this when there was a bit of time left at the end of the first Friday of the cycle.

"We're going out with one of the clerks from the shoujo section at Marimo," Takano said after he had made it clear that the 'invitation' to dinner and drinks wasn't going to be optional. "He's one of our best sellers and we need to do some schmoozing."

The way Takano said 'schmoozing' sent a chill up Kisa's spine. He may very well have said it the same way he said anything else, but when Kisa realized just who the 'clerk from Marimo' was, he knew he was going to have a hell of a night. Instead of complaining, though, or even going back to work, he took his phone out and sent a message to Yukina.

Why didn't you tell me Takano-san invited you out with us tonight?

The reply came not even a minute later, despite that Yukina was supposed to be finishing a shift just as Kisa finished at Marukawa.

Well, I didn't see you last night. You don't mind, do you?

Kisa sighed.

Would it matter if I did?

Of course it would, Kisa-san. I wouldn't want to make you feel uncomfortable.

You do that on a daily basis anyway, dork.

I'm sorry, Kisa-san!

Whatever. I'll see you after work.

Yukina sent Kisa back a text message, but Kisa didn't bother checking it. He tried to do some paperwork, but when the phone buzzed and Kisa looked across the room instead of at it, he noticed that Takano was giving him an odd look. He smiled sweetly over at his boss before sighing and slumping back in his chair.

There were a few things wrong with this scenario: the fact that Yukina probably wouldn't bother hiding the fact that they already knew each other was one. Kisa was far from ashamed about his sexuality, but there was something different about the men he saw almost every day finding out that he was dating a man. Then there was the fact that he'd never really been out with Yukina like that. He, of course, hardly had any dates with Yukina at all, but that was beside the point. He'd never gotten drunk at one of the outings he'd had with the Emerald men, but he didn't know what Yukina's alcohol tolerance was and he was afraid to find out.

Then, of course, was the fact that they'd never talked much about Kisa's work. Kisa knew all about Yukina's, and Yukina knew about his to an extent. But there were certain quirks that Yukina didn't know, like that Takano was a bastard who like to make fun of everyone, or that half the department secretly thought Mino was a psychopath, or that Kisa was the adorable moe stereotype of the editing department.

One of the overly-pink clocks they had hanging on the walls of the department ticked to six o'clock, and Kisa glanced up at it, realizing that they were allowed to leave now. Takano was already packing up, saying something about how they'd meet their other companion for the evening at the restaurant they were going to. Ritsu scrambled to get his work done before Takano yelled at him about getting a move on so that people didn't have to wait for his lazy ass. Hatori was packing up himself, and Mino was already ready to go, because no one really questioned Mino and his actions.

Once they were all ready, Takano muttered something about the subway route that would be easiest to take, since it was rush hour on a Friday. Ritsu said something about how Takano should've just taken his car to work if he was going to force them all to go out to eat together, and Takano rebutted with, "Gas is damn expensive in Tokyo, Onodera. Unless you're willing to pay for it."

"I'm not going to pay for gas for you to use in your car!" Ritsu said indignantly as they and Mino got into an elevator. Kisa and Hatori ended up taking the one beside it since the elevator car already had members of other departments and was therefore too crowded for the entire editing team.

Just as the doors on the other elevator closed, Kisa could hear Takano saying, "Why not? I drive your ass around enough in it."

The elevator was quiet as it went down to the ground floor. Hatori was preoccupied with his phone, sending a text and then staring at it as he waited for a reply. Kisa simply leaned against the wall of the elevator, listening to the beep as they hit the floor below them and kept descending. Kisa found himself clutching the handrail as he thought about all the ways the evening could go, and none of them were entirely pleasant for him. He could end up drinking too much and getting drunk. It wasn't probable, but it was a possibility. He had found that he was an overly-affectionate drunk; he'd gone out drinking with Ritsu once and had ended up sitting beside the man in their booth at the izakaya and nuzzling against him while mumbling about how cute he was.

And then there was the possible awkward silence when they found out he knew Yukina and asked how he knew him. Yukina had no shame, but, Kisa supposed, he knew when Kisa didn't want him to do something and wouldn't push the issue. They could just assume that Kisa knew Yukina the same way Takano did: he went into Marimo and talked to him, finding out how well he did in selling Emerald's title.

As he pondered all of this, he suddenly realized that Hatori was looking at him, and had possibly said something. "I'm sorry, what?" he asked, an apologetic smile on his face.

"I said I can feel you thinking, Kisa," Hatori said in a low voice.

Kisa laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his head. "Sorry about that, Hatori-san! I really need to stop thinking."

Hatori didn't push the issue, and Kisa let out a breath before adjusting his bag and taking out his phone. He might as well check the text message Yukina had sent while they still had one more floor to go.

I love you, Kisa-san.

When Kisa left the elevator, he ignored Takano's amused, "Why the hell are you blushing, Kisa?"