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All Work and No Play

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There were days where Yumi would sit in the cafeteria and ask himself why he was still here in a place that did less for him than anything else on this godforsaken planet. At least his parents had attempted to give things in life and not just take. Sure, those grand plans of theirs led him to this bleak and dismal place; but it wasn't that he hated his job completely. It was more that he hated the company.

People, rather than things, were the ones that let him down - often and without remorse. The parents that he thought would protect him had steered him down the path here, where he met both good and bad people. People that were great and caring and stupidly naive - like Jun. People that were horrible and needed more than a fist to the face, if he had his way; the type that needed to be buried ten feet under and then some.

In-between were the people that were strange and he didn't know to place them. People like the one currently clinging to his arm, giggling, as she talked about how much she loved his hair and asking, "Is it okay if I touch it?" He brushed her off, and then promptly felt guilty and reached out to pat her hand. "No thanks, I don't like people touching my hair," he explained, lips pursed to ensure that he wasn't saying it because it was her, but because he did find it distasteful. For no other reason than that strangers touching him rubbed him the wrong way.

"Okay." She seemed dejected, but still, she gave him a smile and slipped a piece of paper into his hand. "If you're free sometime, let's have coffee together? You're cute." She had that infatuated look on her face that practically read, 'I like the type that's hard to get.' It wasn't a reason of that sort, though, that he acted the way he did. Yumikage Tsukimitsu simply did not like people the way they seemed to like him. He could be tactful and use sweet words when prompted, but often there wasn't a need to do so in his line of work. The moment he started seducing a vampire was the day he quit his job and wore high heels every damn day. It wasn't happening. To hell with that.

"Maybe," he allowed, shrugging. "If I have time." No need to be rude when she wasn't being pushy. Some of them could get persistent, but she simply bowed her head and agreed before finding an excuse to leave, a flustered blush startled out of her. Apparently, she hadn't been prepared to hear even a partial agreement.

Shaking his head, he stared down at the number in his hand, bemused, until someone else took the young lady's seat. There was a long, low wolf whistle and he looked up, his hackles already raising as he scowled. "Got something to say, you ass?"

Jun held up his hands, grinning. "Nothing, Casanova. Just admiring the view."

"What the hell?" Flicking his hair off his shoulder and sitting a bit straighter, he stared his friend down. He went as far as to lean in a bit to tell him, "Fuck. Off."

Folding his arms across his chest, Jun got comfortable in his seat, smug smile continuing to stay in place. "That's not nice."

"Screw your niceness!" Yumi slapped a hand down on the table, moving to stand. "If you were here, why didn't you interrupt that disaster?"

Jun pushed up his glasses, considering, before explaining, "You get mad when I step in when you're flirting. Are you telling me you're mad that I didn't?"

"I wasn't flirting!" He jolted up, half tempted to put a boot up on the seat he vacated and loom in like a gangster, but that tactic didn't work when the person on the receiving end didn't react to intimidation of that level any more. Getting to know people had its disadvantages; of this, he was well aware. Once he lost his edge, the fear factor, people thought they could walk all over him. Well, his 'friend' had another thing coming if he thought he could do that. "What part of that looked like flirting? The part where I brushed her off?"

"I don't know, but don't sell yourself short. It was progress. You've come a long way since the last time!" Jun gave a slow clap. "Tsurugi will be so proud when I tell him."

Throwing caution to the wind, Yumi grabbed the front of Jun's uniform and shook him. "Don't you dare tell Tsurugi!"

"Why not?" The shake down having no effect, Jun titled his head to the side and quirked an eyebrow. "Self-conscious, huh. Well, it's only natural when you're married to your career."

There was a nasty retort on the tip of his tongue, but he took one look into Jun's eyes and knew he couldn't say it. It was too cruel, too raw, and most importantly - too soon. There were some wounds that never healed. Time could make them fade, but it didn't mean they didn't happen. Jun seemed to be bracing for mean words, too, but Yumi let go instead.

He pretended to dust off the front of his uniform, as if dirt had gathered there during their scuffle. "Yeah, well, I don't have time for it. They keep barking up the wrong tree."

Breathing a noticeable sigh of relief, Jun quipped, "Like Satoru from accounting?"

"You know the guy's name? What the hell, man. Maybe you should be the one -" He stopped there, before he mentioned dating to someone that wasn't ready to do anything of the sort.

Jun cleared his throat. "It's okay, you know. If you have something to say, just say it. Since when do you apply a filter? That's not the Yumikage I know."

"It was stupid," insisted Yumi, and fiddled with the buttons on his jacket, popping one loose as he breathed out, "it wasn't important."

"You think I should start dating again?" Not dropping the matter, Jun picked up where Yumi had left off. The intention behind it had been obvious, and while he didn't boast physical prowess, he did have his brains to puzzle out situations that the rest of his team tended to underestimate. It wasn't something Yumi was happy about right now, not like those times it saved his life.

The problem with Jun's astute nature was that when put in a straightforward manner like that, Yumi didn't know how to respond. This was why people were infuriating. There was no right or wrong to interacting with them. It was all up to personal preference in a way that went outside his initial training as a mage, where things were black and white. The good - the power. The bad - the risks the power entailed. Unlike any of that, people were shades of impossible grays that put him on edge immediately.

With Jun, who was more inclined to the white side of the spectrum, as radiant as they come, he found he didn't want to fail to impress him. To fail Jun, to make him unhappy, was a disappointment he wasn't prepared to undertake. He didn't want someone he valued and respected to think less of him for something as silly as this. Though, it was hardly as silly as he perceived it. It was a matter that had greatly influenced all their lives, because Jun had fallen head over heels for someone that he would never get over. Not only that, he had his heart ripped out from him in the cruelest way imaginable. To speak now, and tell him 'yes', that he did think dating again would do him a world of good seemed too shallow and those words did not pass his lips.

Yumi, with a hitch to his voice, told him, "No, I think you should do what you want. If what you want is a friend to listen, then I'm there for you too. You stupid oaf, why would you bring that up?"

Slowly, Jun stood up to match Yumi's height, giving a lack luster shrug that accompanied the frown on his face. Then he wrapped an arm around Yumi's neck, dragged him down, and messed up his hair with a laugh to his voice. "Stop acting so serious, idiot. I'm not going to start crying if we talk about things. What do I look like to you? A snowflake?"

"Hands off the merchandise!" growled Yumi, working to free himself from his friend's hold and putting some space between them. He held up a time-out sign to be on the safe side. "What if I said yeah, you did look like a snowflake? You gonna cry me a river?"

"I don't think I have enough tears," Jun hedged, pretending to be distressed by the thought. "But is that what it would take for you to believe I'm okay? A river? I suppose Denial really is that deep."

Groaning, Yumi took a swipe at his friend's arm and then pointed to the exit. "Look, you're stupidity is like a magnet. Here comes Tsurugi."

"Yumi-chan, Jun-chan!" The happy calls were met with one disgruntled and one pleased face. For as the new arrival came into sight, Jun set out to tell the missing member of their team what exactly he had missed. Namely, the flirting parts that Yumi would have rather forgotten. That made five this week alone. It didn't take long for a crow of, "Yumi-chan, I believe in you," to meet his ears, as Tsurugi added his two cents into the situation. It didn't come cheap, though, because that was shortly followed up with, "I can set you two up, if you need the help. For a consultation fee, of course!"

With an empathetic, "No thanks," Yumi turned his backs on the two members of his team that were egging him on and reminded them, "We have a mission in ten. If you morons don't want to be late, get a move on already!"

The situation resolved, he took his leave. They would drop the teasing eventually.