Yuudai heard the inelegant clomp of Taisei’s polished wingtips coming from a mile away, but he didn’t look up from his clipboard until there was an arm around his waist, and even then it was barely a glance. “Do you even work?” he asked, scribbling some nonsense on the edge of his inventory report. “I thought you were a CEO now or something.”

“That is exactly why I can take off in the middle of the afternoon to pick you up,” Taisei said, nuzzling his nose into Yuudai’s hair. “It was a hard-won privilege! Years and years of being the very best at scooters.”

Yuudai let out a snort. “You crushed every scooter manufacturer in Japan just so you could come pick me up at work? You have some lofty goals.”

“I aim for the top!” Taisei kissed Yuudai’s cheek. “Ready to go, good-looking? I have the best night planned, the best! Are you excited?”

Yuudai jabbed his pencil in the general direction of the clock hanging on the other side of the storeroom. “I get off at four. Four. Not three-thirty. I’m not a big-shot scooter CEO, I can’t just take off when I feel like it.”

“Then I guess I’ll just have to stay here and keep you company until then,” Taisei told him, sighing exaggeratedly  “What can we possibly do to occupy ourselves for a whole half hour?”

Yuudai grabbed Taisei by the tie, and now he couldn’t help the grin that had been threatening to creep across his face since he heard the clomp of those wingtips in the hall. “I don’t know what you’re going to be doing, but I’ll be working and that’s all.”

Taisei leaned forward, or maybe Yuudai pulled him closer. “You think so, huh?”

“Oh my god,” Jiro yelled from outside. He poked his head through the door. “Yuudai, just go already.”

Yuudai glared at Jiro for a moment, considered kissing Taisei, but instead opted to untie his apron and toss it over a nearby chair. “Fine,” he said, “But I want this inventory finished when I come in tomorrow.”

Jiro’s only response was to roll his eyes and make his exit. The inventory would definitely not be finished, but Yuudai didn’t actually care that much. He took Taisei’s hand, and they walked out together.

“Thanks,” Yuudai muttered after he’d climbed into Taisei’s car.

“Hm? For what?”

Yuudai looked at Taisei, really looked, and for the first time in many years Taisei saw the nervous, lonely young man he’d met a long time ago. “For not giving up on me,” Yuudai said.

Taisei brushed back Yuudai’s hair, and Yuudai saw in his eyes the tenderness that had never left them since the moment they’d met, all those years ago. “Never,” Taisei said, and Yuudai knew he really meant it.

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