Mistakes Chapter 1: Prelude
Disclaimer: Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is owned by Nakamura-sensei.
Warnings: (past) non-con (not explicit, no rape), fairly dark themes, possible cutting (depends on story) and angst, but won't be over the top. If you have an issue with BL, then you're in the wrong fandom. Go away.
He clutched his teddy bear close to him as his mother called him out of the nursery.
"Ritsu. Come here."
Shuffling forwards on unsteady feet, Ritsu peered up at this mother.
"Ritsu, I want to introduce you to your cousin. Katsuki. He'll be staying with us from now on."
Ritsu swallowed and hid behind his mother's skirts. The new stranger had brown hair, black eyes and towered over him like daddy did.
Katsuki shot him a smile and gave a small wave of his hands.
"Hello there Ritsu-chan. My name is Katsuki. If you don't mind, I'd like to become your older brother."
Ritsu shuddered slightly and pressed himself up against his mother more firmly.
"Mou~ this child. Sorry Katsuki-kun, usually he's not this shy. I don't know what's come over him today…"
"It's alright Suzume baa-san; afterall we've just met."
His mother sighed again and gently coaxed Ritsu towards the stranger.
"Ne, Ritsu-chan, I'm rather scared of coming to live here. Do you mind showing me around?" The stranger was kneeling now, and Ritsu felt some of the fear ebb away. This new onii-san needed his help! Ritsu gave a hesistant nod, and with a glance back at his encouraging mother, led his new onii-san around the house.
It was the middle of hell week.
And it was the week from hell. Truly. The tension and anxiety in the room was palpable, casting a black haze of gloom and doom in Marukawa's Emerald editorial department. Papers ranging from post-it notes to A3 paper, splashed with rejected ideas and drawings, covered every possible inch of leg room, with a smattering of boxes and stationary littering wherever the snowy gray mess didn't touch. There was barely any room to stretch one's legs, save for the 8 by 8 inch space allocated to each editor to write, read and work at.
The room was a mess. Well...messier than usual, and that was saying a lot considering it was the second to last day of said week from Hades.
It was flu season, and 2 authors had fallen sick. As much as Takano was shouting how mangakas should never fall sick, and even if they did, they should keep working anyway;
"I mean, if they're going to get sick, why can't they get sick after they've met their deadline, damn it!" ; the long and short of it was they would be violating several labour laws and possible the criminal code if the editors succumbed to Takano's suggestion of breaking and entering the unfortunate mangaka's houses and forcing them to meet the "bloody deadline!".
Ritsu winced slightly as another small mountain of paper dropped itself in front of him. Looking up, he saw Takano, his first crush, his first love, his first...that.., towering over him with a disapproving frown on his face.
'You know when they say love is blind? Yeah. Living example right here. Ugh, the mistakes of youth...'
"Onodera! You're still not done with the typesetting yet? What the hell have you been doing the past 2 hours?"
"I'm almost done." snapped Ritsu, sending a glare at his boss while gritting his teeth. Yeah, he was slow at typesetting. He just wasn't that experienced at it. He knew that! But he had been working for 26 hours straight, hadn't had a shower in two days and was running on nothing but coffee and energy drinks for the past 24 hours. He had a right to be snarky!
"Then hurry up! Once you're done, start looking through the stuff from Maki-sensei!"
"Yeah, yeah. Sure." mumbled Ritsu as he turned back to his work. Takano shot him one last glare before scowling. Turning round he spotted Kisa dozing with a marker pen in his hand, and started shouting for him to "wake the hell up and do some work!".
Ritsu tuned out Kisa's whinings and Takano's reprimands, trying to focus on the work in front of him. He could feel his hands tremble slightly as he held the X-acto knife, gingerly tracing the edges of the paper.
'Damn it, caffeine overdose.'
It didn't matter too much, he supposed. The tremblings were mild, and nothing he couldn't handle. Nothing he hadn't handled before.
He hurriedly continued with his work at a slightly higher pace than previously. The last thing he needed was Takano-san to be breathing down his neck for his "abominably slow pace".
Stifling a yawn, Ritsu placed the completed manga on his boss's desk, making sure that he'd see it, before glancing at the next pile of work.
At the sight of it, Ritsu couldn't suppress the small sigh that escaped him.
'Welcome to hell week alright.' he thought bitterly. Ritsu stretched slightly, his muscles stiff from holding them in one position for so long, before he sat down at his desk and started to shift through the never-ending pile of manga.
It was going to be another long night.
There was a unanimous groan as the runner for the printing department screamed the usual "Thanks for your work!" before tearing out of Emerald's editing department at mach speed. The sonic boom leftover echoed through the room, swirling paper faintly around the six, passed-out, editors.
"Urrrggg..." moaned Kisa pitifully. "Finally over..."
"You can say that again." muttered Hatori. "Once again, I apologize for Yoshikawa-sensei's utter disregard for the deadline..."
"It's okay Hatori. It's how sensei is afterall. The content this time was good." sighed Takano. He would've reprimanded Hatori more, but really, the content had truly been exceptional. And right now the department looked more similar to a warzone than it did an actual room; with his subordinates looking like fallen soldiers around him. He could be screaming his head off dancing in a tutu and he wouldn't get more than a twitch out of them. No point in wasting his breath.
"Good job everyone. We managed to get by another cycle..."
"Yeah, by the skin of our teeth..." someone grumbled.
Takano ignored it.
"Go home, get some sleep. See you all tomorrow at noon for a debrief and tidy up."
There were general shouts of "see you tomorrow." and "good work y'all" as the editors pulled on their coats and shuffled out of the room at various speeds.
Ritsu pulled himself out of his wonderfully cushioned chair and proceeded to wrap his coat around him.
He looked up.
Takano was looking at him with a stoic mask, made exponentially scarier with the heavy dark shadows under his eyes.
"Takano-san. Is anything wrong?"
Takano shook his head.
"Not really. Just that you seem to be doing well with Mutou-sensei. Keep up the good work."
Ritsu couldn't help the slight blush that rose to his cheeks.
"Thank you for the praise. But there's still a lot for me to learn." muttered Ritsu, his eyes falling to the ground in embarrassment.
"Yeah. There is."
Ritsu scowled at Takano's bluntness. He was about to retort when he felt a large hand ruffle his hair.
"But you're not doing too badly. You've stuck through the 'training from hell'; don't give me that look, I know what Kisa and Mino say behind my back; and you're slowly improving. That's good enough for now."
Ritsu could feel his rising embarrassment in the way he could feel his ears burn.
"I...Thank you Takano-san."
'Why does he always know when to encourage me? But I mustn't get complacent. I've still a lot to learn. I'm not good enough yet.'
"S'fine Onodera. Need a lift home?"
Takano's deep voice, slightly gravelly from the days of abuse and tiredness made electric sparks travel down Ritsu's spine. Ritsu paled slightly then blushed a deeper shade of cherry.
"I...no..I mean...that's fine Takano-san! I need to do get a few things on the way home and I'm fine with the bus. Thank you for the hard work and have a nice night." rambled Ritsu before he grabbed his bag and shot out of the room, leaving behind a frowning Takano, who shrugged before grabbing his stuff to leave for home, where a hot shower and bed awaited.
Ritsu panted as he hurried into the bathroom near the editorial department. Shooting into a stall, thanking some wonderful deity that the toilets were empty, and closing the lid on the toilet bowl before seating himself on it.
It had been a small quirk of his when he was a child. For some strange, bizarre reason, he used to lock himself in the bathroom when he needed some thinking space to sort out his thoughts and emotions. It was the only place in the house where he felt he could be alone. His room was...he couldn't think in that place. Not with the thought of...that person...no. Outdoors were hardly private when any one of the maids or neighbours could spot him, and everywhere in doors were common areas where he'd get distracted by something or someone. And so a small habit from his younger years had carried over to his young adult self. Sitting in a toilet stall to think was something he did on occasion still, and this was such an occasion.
And the star of his thoughts was a certain tall, dark-haired editor that had been occupying his thoughts, driving him almost to distraction.
I mean, what do I even see in Takano? He's egoistical, rude, blunt, honest, brilliant at his work and AARRGGHH! No! No! Stop doing that!
Ritsu gave a soft moan as he clutched his head between his hands, memories of them together, as students, as adults, as editors, as boss and worker, as...as lovers, rose in his mind, uncontrolled, each image of Takano vivid and sharp, almost as if his mind had, without his consent, burned them into his memory.
He's my boss! He's my ex! He's a MAN! There are so many reasons why this is wrong, wrong, wrong! I need to stop thinking like this. I need to stop...
Ritsu frowned at the incomplete thought, as a sharp pain lanced into his chest, strangely near the area his heart was.
I need to stop...
"I need to stop falling in love with him." he whispered into the empty stall. The ache near his heart seemed to solidify into an almost palpable weight.
Ritsu froze as tear, unbidden, started forming in his eyes at the thought of squashing this...whatever it was he felt...thing he had for Takano.
Oh god. I've completely fallen for him haven't I?
The thought made him freeze. The thought of him, in love? Preposterous. Impossible. Absurd. Unthinkable. Incon-fucking-ceivable.
'But true.' whispered the soft voice in his heart.
Ritsu gave a small moan as he buried his face into his hands once more
Yokozawa Takafumi was a...happy? No, not quite. But a content man?
The heavy ache that he had carried emotionally for almost five years had finally abated to the point where he could think back on his past self without wincing in pain. Perhaps on some deep emotional level, he had understood long ago that Takano would never see him as anything more than a friend. He had understood Takano's self enforced celibacy after their short dating stint during college. He had understood that Takano had a deep hole in his heart after his first love had dumped him, and above all, he had known, somewhere, somehow, that he wasn't the person who could heal him. As such, he had managed to accept Takano's rejection surprisingly well with his heart, though his mind had raged and shouted objections and protests. As such, he was finally, after 3 months since the fiasco that mostly consisted of him breaking down into tears in front of the love of his life, who had just told him that he loved another man, the same man who broke his heart ten years ago...well...yeah. It was a fiasco. But, after 3 months, he was able to look at Takano in the eyes without flinching inside. He was finally able to not drink himself into a stupor every night before his off day. He was finally able to smile (people at the office would be shocked, he knew, but he did actually smile, on occasion).
Finally, 6 months later, he was able to become the friend that Takano wanted, and it was mostly thanks to, Yokozawa grudgingly admitted, one man and his daughter.
'But still!' thought Yokozawa as he turned into the road that led to his apartment. 'I can't forgive Onodera for hurting Takano. I don't care what good reason he has, it's no excuse to play with another person's feelings like that!'
Just thinking about that little coat-tail hanger rascal that was Onodera Ritsu made him scowl. He had set his feelings aside for Takano, and his main concern was as a friend. Onodera Ritsu had the capacity to not only hurt Takano, but completely destroy him. But Takano still insisted that Onodera wasn't playing with him. Insisted that his breakdown wasn't rooted in the breakup, which apparently was, Yokozawa had snorted when he heard, a misunderstanding. Takano insisted that Onodera wasn't a bad person. And, if Yokozawa was really honest with himself, he agreed.
As much as Yokozawa didn't want to, he could reluctantly respect that Onodera had wanted out from under his parents shadow, and his work while not brilliant, was acceptable. Considering how new Onodera was at editing manga, getting an 'acceptable' was impressive. He was a hard worker, a fast learner, and an intelligent subordinate. If they had met under different circumstances, Yokozawa might have even liked Onodera. The horror.
As he opened the door leading to his apartment, his left eyebrow rose an inch as he spotted two pair of shoes, one a man's business shoes, one a young girl's slippers, scattered untidily at the doorstep.
Grumbling slightly, he carefully put them away in the shoebox before removing his own as well.
"I'm home." he called.
"Mommy! You're back" cried out Hiyori as she ran down the hallway and threw herself at this 40-something-grizzly-old-bear-lookalike; he was NOT 40 years old thank you very much. He was only twenty-nine for pities sake! Sorry for looking older than his age!
On reflex, he had dropped his suitcase, bent down and held his arms out to the ten, 'almost eleven!', girl. Her warmth as she snuggled into his suit and smile as she looked up at him was like balm for sore eyes.
"I'm home, Hiyori." he murmured into her hair. Then something she said clicked.
"Hey! Wait a second. Hiyori, who told you to call me that?" he squawked.
"Daddy did! He said that since he said he was the daddy, and he likes you, so that makes you mommy!"
"Huh?!" spluttered Yokozawa.
"Hey, you're back Takafumi. You're later than usual." Kirishima Zen stepped out of the kitchen wearing an apron. "Come on, we've made gyoza tonight. Hiyori, go set the table."
"'Kaayy..." called Hiyori as she moved towards the kitchen.
"ZEN! What the hell are doing telling Hiyori to call me mom?"
"Oh, you practically are. You buy her stuff, she goes to you when she gets nightmares, you pick her up from school when needed, you cook for her."
"We cook together, and we share the laundry!"
"You see? Now we sound like an old married couple."
"What?! Who's an old married couple?! I..you...we are... mmpphh!"
His ranting was cut off by a pair of lips smashing into his own. His arms were pinned to his sides by a stronger pair curling around him. The lips were firm, and slightly soft, and he couldn't stop himself from yielding to them. He felt a small nibble on his lower lip and the small moan escaped him before he could think. A tongue immediately pressed into his mouth, prying it open. There was a futile battle of their tongues, before Yokozawa lost and yielded to the brown-haired man in front of him. The kiss was wonderfully passionate, yet gentle and warm, like the man himself. Another moan, slightly louder this time, made Yokozawa snap back to his senses and he managed to push Kirishima away.
"Hiyori! If she saw us..."
"She'd be grossed out at the sight as all children are. Personally, I don't think she'd care though. She's mature for her age." Kirishima replied absently as he tugged at his lover's tie and undid the top two buttons.
"Takafumi." Kirishima's voice was soft as Yokozawa felt him nuzzle into his neck. "It's fine. Besides, I haven't touched you in ages..."
Yokozawa sighed a little in pleasure as Kirishima found the exact spot on his neck that made heat pool in his abdomen and his knees go weak.
"Dad! Onii-san! Dinner's ready!" called out Hiyori as she pattered towards the hallway. "What's with the both of you?" she asked, turning inquisitive, innocent eyes towards the two elder men. Zen and Takafumi jumped apart, Takafumi red-faced and blushing, while Kirishima had the faintest blush across his face.
"Nothing Hiyori. Come on. Let's have dinner." Zen replied with a grin. Hiyori pouted before shrugging and walked back to the dining room.
Yokozawa started heading towards the dining room when he was pulled back by two arms enveloping him.
"We'll finish this later." promised Kirishima, causing Yokozawa to blush an even deeper red. A light peck on the top of his head, and Kirishima was gone, leaving Yokozawa to regulate his breathing out in the hallway.
Once that was achieved, Yokozawa managed to remove his tie properly, and dumped his coat and briefcase in the sitting room before heading towards the dining room.
Entering it, he found two people waiting for him, with an empty spot at the table, laid with his filled rice bowl and the promised gyoza.
"Come on. Let's eat." said Kirishima with a smile.
Yokozawa couldn't help smiling a little back.
It seems like he was a happy man afterall.
He sat surrounded in the dark for a little longer, not minding the mind-numbing silence that permeated his environment. He was never afraid of the dark. He could never understand people who did.
The dark was like a blanket of safety and silence. Where he could wrap his arms around himself and pretend he wasn't rocking himself to sleep at night. Where he could think back on what had happened and imagine a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand ways in which he could have avoided the incident. Which he could have escaped the nightmare of repeated attempts. Where he had seen the signs, understood what was going on, knew what to do, who to go to. He would imagine himself learning karate, taekwondo, any sort of self defence, that could have helped. He could remember, in excruciating detail each brush of skin, each painful pinch...his pitiful whines of no..no...
Ritsu woke with a gasp, and blinked as the gray light that shone just before dawn filtered through his windows.
'What time is it?' he wondered as he wished, not for the first time, that his clock had a glow in the dark features.
His pupils dilated painfully as he flicked on his bedside lights, his eyes squinting as he read the bedside alarm clock that flashed 5:15am.
Ritsu scowled. Early enough that he would be sleepy later on, late enough that by the time he got back to sleep, it would be time to wake up anyway.
With a sigh and a grunt, Ritsu threw himself out of his warm bed and padded over the cold wooden floors to the shower. While he mechanically went through his morning routine, his mind drifted to the nightmare he had.
He supposed he should be thankful that time had eased the frequency and length of the nightmares. When he had been younger, they had been occurring almost nightly, and once he had them, he would lay awake into the night, desperately reading the latest book from the library to ease his mind.
People were always impressed and shocked when they learned that he would obsessively read every book in the library.
He use to wonder what their response would be if they knew that it was because he had been too terrified to sleep. It had gotten so bad that he had started to take cough medicine to ensure he managed to forcefully knock himself off.
Now, they occurred only once a week or so, or when he was under stress. Thankfully, with his job, he couldn't even sleep during these periods of stress; and many times he was so tired that he couldn't even dream.
It was times like these though, when all the fear and frustration from the end of cycle melted away that his body seemed almost insistent on dredging up old memories, reminding him of what had happened.
Of what you had let happen.
Of what he had lost.
Of what you didn't manage to protect.
Something that he would never get back again.
No. Never will you be able to go back to who you were.
Ritsu shook his head, glancing at the mirror as he laid the hairbrush on the dresser. They were memories, yes, memories of a time long gone, long past. But they had left the deepest of scars and harshest of burns on his mind. He knew it wasn't healthy. Pushing it all down, ignoring it all, but he had done it for the past 12 years. He would be fine. It had been hard at first. At first, every movement, every touch made him nervous. He would be acutely aware of anyone in a 5 meter radius around him. He would tense when someone walked past him from behind. He wouldn't meet anyone in the eye. Every sudden movement made him twitch involuntary, and every person looking at him reminded Ritsu of his gaze.
And then that incident at Onodera publishing had happened. He escaped, ran away, unable to deal with it if it happened a second time.
But time had helped many of his wounds scab over. He had time since to lock down the fear, the shame, and continue his life to the best of his ability. Closing a desperate blind eye to the people around him, the strangenessof his certain actions.
How he wouldn't eat anything unless he had bought it himself.
How he would desperately avoid going out to eat unless absolutely necessary.
How he avoided crowded areas, and would obsessively huddle into a seat on the metro, refusing to give it up to anyone, not even an exhausted boss.
For the most part, he was exceedingly grateful that most people were too caught up in their own lives to notice these small habits, or passed it off as one of his many quirks.
But a small, tiny part of him wondered how they couldn't notice. His almost complete lack of smiles and laughter, his indifference, his near hysteria when he came into close contact with anyone.
Maybe they just don't care. Hell, even Takano didn't notice.
The thought of Takano not caring about him brought a sharp stab of pain.
But why should he feel hurt over something as petty as that?
It wasn't Takano's fault. Ritsu had consistently pushed Takano away at every opportunity, having decided long ago that regardless of what his heart told him, never again will he be hurt like that ever again. Never again will he allow himself to fall in love, or act on the feelings he had secretly acknowledged yesterday.
Because any hurt he felt now, was nothing compared to the hurt he felt back then. Now it was only an screaming echo that would never go away, where as before, it had been a howling shriek of pain.
Ritsu sighed, before reaching to turn off the coffee machine and poured himself a cup of steaming, bitter liquid. As he sipped the dark liquid, he surveyed his untidy apartment with a critical eye. He hadn't time to clean recently and the place looked like a hurricane and a nuclear bomb had met and gotten kinky right in the middle of his sitting room.
He didn't need to go into work until noon.
He heaved another sigh. Guess he knew what he was doing for the next 6 hours.
Takano Masamune had often been respected and admired by the people around him. Apart from his melodramatic stint during his university years, his looks and intelligence had garnered much appreciation from his bosses, friends and colleagues. If they had to pick at his greatest flaw, it would be his slightly caustic personality, but even that had its appeal.
All in all, Takano Masamune cut an impressive figure, one to be respected.
Masamune had often wondered what they would think if they knew he was book nerd, who was gay and had a slight liking for the bottle of whisky he kept hidden behind the kitchen cupboard.
He wondered what they would think if he was lusting after one of his subordinates.
Then he wondered what their response would be if they knew he was completely, utterly and desperately captivated by one Onodera Ritsu, newbie editor of Emerald, and heir to the Onodera fortune.
Yeah. He didn't think that they would be that impressed either.
Falling for Onodera wasn't exactly part of the ten year plan that the therapist Yokozawa had forced him to visit made him make. He never did go to the follow up session.
In any case, be it during high school or now, Onodera Ritsu was a wild card thrown in to turn his world into chaos. Yet, Takano couldn't bring himself to dislike this chaos, because it meant that Ritsu was with him, near him. Close enough for Takano to send discrete glances at the light brown hair, just to reassure himself that Ritsu was actually there.
Onodera would never really learn the full extent of the devastation he had wrought when he'd up and left Takano, without so much as a by-your-leave. While looking back, he had the shit end of the puberty stick, with hormones and family trying to outdo each other in a 'how can we mess with Takano Masamune more' competition, it would be lying to say that Ritsu didn't leave his own mark. However, that was all in the past, and while Takano hadn't actively sought out a new relationship, the fact that Ritsu had materialised in front of him once more, and Takano falling for him again, astounded Takano, and if he was really honest with himself, felt something as corny as fate.
A loud thud resonating from the unit beside him jerked Takano out of his musings, and he stretched languidly in his large bed. It was a rare treat to be able to sleep in and lay around, but judging by the harsh sunlight filtering through his curtains, it was late morning, and about time to wake up.
Not that he was going to though.
Another thud resounded through his apartment, and he scowled.
Correction, he was going to get up and bang on his neighbour's-slash-lover's door and ask him what the bloody hell was going on to make such a racket.
He groaned as he sat up, running his long fingers through his bird's nest head. He held a two second debate as to whether it was worth actually leaving the room. Another low shudder made up his mind as he climbed out of his warm bed with a groan. Mumbling under his breath he grabbed his keys and left the apartment, shuddering slightly as the cold winter air wafted through his thin T-shirt and sleeping trousers. Scowling heavily, his legs walked the four and a half steps it took to reach Onodera's front door, and he thus proceeded to pound on it.
"Oi, Onodera! Open up!"
A muffled shout of "coming!" made him stop his abuse on the door, and shortly thereafter, an annoyed looking green-eyed brunette shoved the door open.
"Takano-san. Good morning. Is there anything the matter?"
Takano looked down at his lover (Onodera just didn't know it yet) and stared.
Onodera was wearing a pair of torn, knee length shorts, a faded, sea green polo shirt and wore a scarf around his head. If the duster in clutched in his hand was any indication, he was half way through house cleaning.
With a start, Takano realised that he had never seen Onodera like this. He'd seen him in office-wear, uniform, but never so...casual, and certainly never with a scarf around his head. And Takano couldn't stop the images that flooded unbidden into his mind, of Onodera in pyjamas, in a ratty old t-shirt….Takano's ratty old t-shirt…
"Hey! Are you listening?"
Onodera's grumpy voice shook Takano out of his momentary lapse in presence.
Takano returned Onodera's frown with one of his own.
"I'm just here to find out what the hell you're doing making such a racket so early in the morning. Seriously. I could hear it from my apartment." he snapped.
Onodera winced apologetically.
" Really? Sorry about that. I was cleaning and was moving a few boxes…."
" I know. I can tell."
The curt statement made Onodera blush with embarrassment at his current wear.
A cold wind blew, making Takano shiver, which Onodera noticed.
Giving a sigh, he motioned for Takano to enter the cleaned house. Takano gave a sigh of relief as he entered the warm hallway. Whoever invented indoor heating was a genius.
"Just sit wherever. I'll make some tea."
Takano just grunted as he took in the almost blindingly clean living room. It was such a contrast to the last time he was here that he blinked just to check if it was the same room. Previously the room floor was covered in dubiously clean laundry, a few empty beer cans, takeout boxes and piles and piles of books and papers. Perhaps it was the haphazard nature of the room that had distracted Takano previously, but now that the room was clean, it felt….empty. There was no television, no pictures or certificates framed on the mantelpiece. No posters of rock bands or pictures or ornaments of any kind. There wasn't even a fake plant to cheer the place. There was only a sofa set, a glass table, a carpet and a large bookcase stuffed with books.
A small frown settled itself between his brows. Onodera moved in over 8 months ago. It was unfathomable that he hadn't finished unpacking. Takano himself was a fairly conservative person, and with few connections and family bonds, his household decor was sparse at best. However, even he had a few knick-knacks he kept lying around. A few car magazines he enjoyed. Several watercolour paintings given to him by a previous author. He even had a pottedAspidistra Elatior, or more commonly known as the 'cast-iron plant', kept in a corner of the room.
But Onodera's place was completely devoid of such personal touches, the bare walls making a impending sense of unease creep over Takano.
"Here's your tea."
Takano blinked. He didn't hear Onodera enter the room, but nonetheless there he stood, holding out a steaming cup of Sencha. Damn, he must be really out of it this morning.
"Thanks." he muttered as he took the cup and proceeded the sip the tea slowly.
There was an awkward moment before Onodera gave a small sigh.
"Sorry about waking you up. I'll be more careful in the future. I guess I shouldn't have…"
Takano cut him off before he could finish.
"S'fine. I was awake anyway. I'm surprised you're cleaning up though. If I remember correctly the last time I came here…"
"Hey! You invited yourself over without invitation! It was nearing the end of the cycle! Where would I have time to clean then?"
"Yeah yeah, whatever you say." Takano finished up the rest of his tea and stretched. "Anyway, since I'm up, and I've nothing to do, need help?"
Ritsu frowned slightly and glanced at the clock.
"Thanks, but I need to head into work in a bit."
" Meeting's at noon."
"Mmm… but I need to check up on a few things."
Takano snorted as he glanced at the clock that said ten.
"Good luck trying to find anything in that hellhole."
Ritsu gave a grimace in acknowledgement.
"Well, might as well head in early too."
"Eh? Why? It's your morning off…"
"Bored. Might as well look through those draft proposals. Be ready in fifteen minutes, we'll head there together. I'll just go home and change." Takano said as he walked towards the door.
"Wait, what?" spluttered Ritsu. "Why?"
"Because I'm your superior that's why."
And with that, Takano left the apartment heading towards his own.
Fifteen minutes later found a grouchy, and slightly confused looking Ritsu taking the lift down with an indifferent looking Takano.
They rode the lift in silence and as they stepped out of the building a soft white drop of ice fluttered down on to Ritsu's nose.
Ritsu blinked and paused, Takano halting next to him.
Ritsu looked up at the gray skies, and saw an increasing multitude of swirling white snowflakes gently falling. Takano looked up at the same time as a small smile graced Onodera's lips.
A/N: Hello. I'm BlackRosedAlice, and this is my first Sekaiichi Hatsukoi fanfiction. I hope you like it. Reviews are much appreciated as are constructive criticism. Favourite and subscribe if you liked it. Read and review.