“Oh! Doctor Jingujji!”
Pausing mid-stride, Jakurai turned to the two women standing behind the nurses station and his eyes were drawn to the neatly-wrapped bento one was holding out. Although he didn’t let it show on his face, he immediately wondered whether he was going to have to organise another not-so-subtle policy reminder about appropriate doctor-nurse relationships.
It wouldn’t be the first time, and yet some of them still hadn’t realised they were barking up the completely wrong tree- the women in particular.
“This is for you.” Lifting the box slightly, the nurse smiled and Jakurai opened his mouth to politely refuse when she suddenly cut him off. “Oh! I mean, someone brought this by for you.”
“A blond man in a flashy, expensive-looking jacket,” the other nurse spoke up. “Probably a little too friendly but I guess some people like that. Toshiko thinks he looked like some host?”
“If that wasn’t the actual Hifumi Izanami, I’ll do your admin work for a month. And he’s not some host, he’s the number one host in Shinjuku.” His presence apparently forgotten, Jakurai watched in quiet amusement as Toshiko rolled her eyes at the other nurse- he was fairly sure her name was Nobuko, although he didn’t see her often- and got a scoff in return.
“If he’s so important, why is he running around bringing lunch to random doctors? Uh, no offence, Doctor Jinguji.”
As interested as he was in the developing argument, Jakurai’s schedule was too packed for him to stay for much longer and he stepped forward when Toshiko sat the bento on the counter to turn towards Nobuko with her arms crossed.
“Listen, I follow him on Instagram and he posted a picture this morning of himself in the same shirt he had on under his jacket. I’ll send you the link later-”
“Please don’t,” Nobuko interrupted dryly and Jakurai coughed lightly to cover his laugh as he swiped the now-unattended bento.
“Thank you for taking care of this for me.” Neither of the women gave any indication that they’d heard him, and Jakurai took a step back. “I’ll have to remember to thank Hifumin next time I see him.”
“I’m not kidding, he’s always posting cooking pictures and- wait, did he just say…”
His long legs letting him escape quickly, Jakurai was gone before they could keep him there. Perhaps the use of Hifumi’s self-penned nickname was going a step too far, but he was already anticipating being thoroughly grilled about his new teammates after their first battle so what was a little more interest?
Not entirely sure if he’d actually have time to eat the food that Hifumi had apparently hand-delivered for him, Jakurai made a quick stop by the staff break room and was about to put the package in the fridge when he realised he could feel something that felt like paper through the fabric wrapped around the box. Opening it enough to slip the note out, he tucked it into the top folder he was carrying and closed the fridge, turning and heading for his next appointment.
It was over an hour until he actually got a spare moment to unfold the note, his lips twitching up at the sight of Hifumi’s bubbly, overly-cute handwriting- and was that sparkly gel pen?
I know you always say you don’t have time for meals when you’re working, but you need to eat properly so make sure you finish it all! Otherwise we’ll be worried about you and Doppo will cry if you get sick, okay?
Jakurai laughed to himself at that: he didn’t doubt that Doppo would probably find some way to blame himself if Jakurai did happen to get sick, and he’d certainly apologise profusely, but if either of them were going to cry over it then Jakurai was sure it would be Hifumi.
Not that he was planning on getting sick nor making either of his division members cry.
I’m not working tonight so you should come over for dinner to bring the box back. I promise it’ll be even yummier than the lunch I made and we miss you, it’s been forever since we saw you!
Jakurai had seen Hifumi in passing two days earlier and Doppo the day before that, but he appreciated the sentiment nonetheless. He felt like Matenrou had clicked easier than TDD had at first, and it felt good to once again actually be friends with the people he was going to put his life on the line with.
...The fact that they were both incredibly his type was something he was still turning over in his mind. He’d long since given up on chastising himself for his taste in endearing human disasters, but the two of them were so adorably domestic that Jakurai would be more surprised to learn that they weren’t dating. He didn’t doubt that Doppo was sent off to work everyday with a box much like the one currently sitting in the hospital fridge.
The note ended with a longer string of Xs and Os than Jakurai would have expected from most twenty-nine year old men, and he was left shaking his head as he pulled his phone from his pocket and sent Hifumi a quick message asking what time he would be expected for dinner. A glance at the time let him know that he still had fifteen or so free minutes and although he usually wouldn’t bother eating in such a short break, especially considering that he would usually have to actually find something to eat, he decided it was better not to let Hifumi’s hard work go to waste.
The only other doctor in the break room looked like he was close to falling asleep on his table, and Jakurai was glad that he wouldn’t have to explain why he had a bento with various elements cut into cute shapes when he was usually rumoured to subsist solely on canned coffee.
Octopus sausages and rice that he was fairly sure was meant to be shaped like a wolf’s head aside, the bento was genuinely delicious and Jakurai found himself actually looking forward to dinner; a welcome change from wondering what would be left at the convenience store near his apartment by the time he left the hospital.
He briefly wondered if that was what his everyday life would be like if he was married like the majority of his colleagues...not that it seemed like one had to be married to get that kind of treatment from someone like Hifumi. After all, Doppo had talked about the fact that Hifumi tended to do the majority of their cooking and cleaning, and Jakurai was sure that they weren’t actually married.
Late in the afternoon Jakurai had a chance to check his phone, finding a string of new messages from Hifumi- because why would he contain himself to one message when he could spread it out over four or five? The gist of it seemed to be that dinner would be after Doppo had finished his usual overtime, which was expected to be a little past seven, and maybe depending on when Jakurai finished work he might like to meet up with Doppo and they could travel together?
Their jobs weren’t unreasonably far apart and so Jakurai tapped out a quick confirmation for Hifumi and a message for Doppo, letting him know that Jakurai would meet him after work. A reply didn’t come through until Jakurai was packing up for the day, Doppo predictably begging for Jakurai not to inconvenience himself for Doppo’s sake; but he also admitted it would be nice to have someone to travel home with, and that meant more than any amount of anxiety-driven refusals.
It was a nice enough night that Jakurai decided to walk to Doppo’s office instead of cramming himself onto a commuter train to go one station down the line. Doppo was rushing frantically out of the elevator and looking around as Jakurai entered the building’s lobby, and Jakurai might have had to wave to get his attention if he wasn’t 6’5 with long, purple hair.
As it was, Doppo practically ran over with his tie askew and briefcase in hand, bending almost 90 degrees at the waist once he’d skidded to a stop. “I’m sorry if you had to wait too long! I tried to get out on time but I had to-”
“It’s okay, Doppo,” Jakurai said, unwittingly slipping into the soothing voice he used for nervous patients. “I just arrived myself.”
“Ah, I’m glad,” Doppo said. He slowly straightened up, but his fingers looked awfully tight around the handle of his briefcase. If Jakurai had been less aware of boundaries he might have given into his urge to wrap his hand around Doppo’s until it relaxed, but that would probably only make Doppo more nervous- and he needed more information about the state of Hifumi and Doppo’s relationship before he was too obvious about flirting with either (or both) of them.
“How was your day?” Jakurai asked, leading Doppo out into the night. He could practically feel Doppo’s hesitation, and he made sure to shoot Doppo a small smile. “I’m asking as your friend, not as a doctor.”
“...It was awful,” Doppo admitted. “I need a new job.”
“I’m sure Hifumi could get you a place at his club,” Jakurai said, keeping his voice so serious that it took Doppo a few moments to realise that he was joking.
“I don’t know how well I’d fit in there,” Doppo said. He looked a little lighter already, and Jakurai felt warm at being able to lift Doppo’s mood even slightly.
“If the number one host in Shinjuku can be a man with a debilitating fear of women, I’m sure we could come up with a way of making it work for you.” Jakurai remembered Nobuko specifically mentioning Hifumi’s jacket and he smiled faintly, thinking about Hifumi getting dressed in his host clothes to brave the hospital.
Disaster tendencies and work personality aside, Hifumi was almost painfully genuine and Jakurai was thoroughly endeared by the way he openly expressed his affections. It was different from Doppo’s equally charming but awkward attempts at expressing pretty much anything, and yet somehow the pair of them seemed to be almost perfectly in-sync.
The packed train back to Doppo and Hifumi’s apartment forced them to come in a little closer contact than Jakurai knew Doppo was comfortable with, if the way Doppo jumped away whenever the movements of the train brought them together was any indication. He was holding his briefcase between them like a shield, trying to keep any accidental touching to an absolute minimum.
Although Jakurai might have normally taken that as a sign of disinterest and written those feelings off as a loss, he got the idea that Doppo was more embarrassed than disgusted- as if he didn’t know how to handle Jakurai touching him rather than him hating it.
It was an interesting thing to note, and one that had Jakurai vaguely formulating plans as they left the train and walked to the apartment. He didn’t want to overstep with his division members, but having their connection be choked with unresolved tension- sexual or otherwise- was only going to end with them getting seriously hurt in battle. The closer they were, the better their raps would be and the more likely they would be to win.
Really, he could be saving their lives by having sex with them.
The thought made Jakurai laugh quietly, Doppo giving him a strange look but clearly deciding not to comment on it. Jakurai was glad to not have to explain, but he realised Doppo would probably assume that he was being laughed at; so a little lie wouldn’t hurt.
“I’m sorry, I just remembered the argument two nurses had over Hifumi when he delivered lunch for me today. He showed up in his suit and I can only imagine what he actually said to them.”
“He made you lunch?” For a moment, Jakurai was worried that Doppo was jealous, but then his face lit up with a genuine smile. “I’m glad you’re his friend, he tries so hard but he’s a bit much for some people.”
“Those people are wrong and I’m glad to count you both among my friends,” Jakurai said, causing Doppo to stumble over his words and his feet. Catching him by the upper arm, Jakurai made sure that Doppo was steady and didn’t miss the way Doppo’s face went bright red, even after Jakurai had let him go and kept walking.
“Ah, here we are,” Doppo said eventually, leading Jakurai into an apartment building. Jakurai knew it was a nicer place than Doppo could have afforded on his own, his feelings of inadequacy next to Hifumi’s host earnings one of the topics they’d discussed in a more professional capacity, but Jakurai was mostly glad that his division members were living comfortably.
He’d spent enough time sleeping rough in active combat zones to know that suffering didn’t actually promote creativity.
“I’m home,” Doppo called out, opening the door and stepping inside.
“Welcome back!” Hifumi replied, and as Jakurai watched he ran into the entryway and launched himself at Doppo, covering his face in kisses and leaving a longer one on his lips.
Well. That answered that question.
“Hi-...Hifumi!” Doppo gasped, flapping a hand in Jakurai’s direction. “Company, remember?”
“I’m sorry for the intrusion,” Jakurai said with his eyes politely averted. That left him open to Hifumi’s next attack, the air rushing out of him when Hifumi suddenly had him in a tight hug.
“Hi! I’m glad you could make it! Sorry but I get excited when I’m here to greet my lovely Doppo because I’m usually at work when he gets home.” Hifumi squeezed him again and then froze, his hands sliding into Jakurai’s coat to poke and prod at Jakurai’s torso. With every disapproving sound Hifumi made, Jakurai’s eyebrows climbed a little higher, and Doppo looked like he wanted to sink into the floor and disappear.
“I’m going to bring you lunch more often,” Hifumi said with a decisive nod. He pulled his hands away to place them on his hips, although the sound of a timer ringing in the kitchen had him dashing off again.
“I’m so sorry about, uh, everything,” Doppo mumbled, his attention focused on the shoes he was taking off.
“Please don’t be.” Shaking his head, Jakurai switched his shoes for a pair of house slippers and hung his coat on the nearby stand. “I’m glad he feels comfortable around me, and you don’t need to hide your, ah, relationship from me. Can I ask how long you’ve been together?”
“We’ve been dating since high school,” Doppo admitted quietly. “He deserves better but I think he’s too comfortable to-”
“Doppo. We both know that isn’t true.”
“Dinner’s ready!” Hifumi yelled, interrupting whatever Doppo was going to say. His shoulders drooping, Doppo led Jakurai to a table covered in various dishes, all presented with exactly as much flair as would be expected from Hifumi. “I’m so happy we could all eat together.”
“Thank you, Hifumi. It looks amazing,” Jakurai said truthfully, taking a seat.
“Thanks,” Doppo said as well, sitting next to Hifumi and then hesitating with his eyes flicking between Jakurai and Hifumi. Taking a deep breath, he leaned over and kissed Hifumi’s cheek, Hifumi nearly sending the food flying when he launched across to hug Doppo.
“Aww, Doppo! I love you!”
Awkwardly patting at one of the arms Hifumi had wrapped around his neck, Doppo mumbled something that Jakurai couldn’t hear but that made Hifumi beam. Leaving them to it, Jakurai poured tea from the bottle in the middle of the table into Hifumi and Doppo’s glasses, relinquishing it when Hifumi reached for it before he could fill his own glass.
“Ah ah, a guest never pours his own drink,” Hifumi tutted, serving Jakurai’s drink with all the flair of a top host pouring expensive champagne. He finished it off with a wink, so charming and over-the-top flirtatious that Jakurai could easily see how he’d risen to the top of his profession.
“I’m beginning to think I might be handed a bill on the way out,” Jakurai said dryly, Doppo spluttering reassurances and Hifumi grinning widely.
“Aw, I’ll flirt with you for free, handsome.”
Doppo had apparently completely given up, his forehead hitting the table with a dull thud, but Hifumi only cooed and patted his hair. “You’re still number one in my heart, Doppo.”
“Shut up and eat,” Doppo said into the table, lifting his head enough to fill his plate. He visibly brightened after the first bite, making a noise of pleasure that had Hifumi watching him with an impossibly fond expression. They obviously adored each other, and usually that would be the point where Jakurai would admit that he couldn’t fit together with them the way he wanted to; but the look Hifumi gave him when he complimented the food was awfully similar and he couldn’t forget the way Doppo blushed when Jakurai touched him.
Jakurai wasn’t stupid: he knew attraction when he saw it, although he was well aware that the chances of the two of them both being open to a third were small.
Not that low odds had ever stopped him, whether it was in winning a battle, saving a life or picking up attractive men.
“You got out earlier than usual today, Doppo!” Hifumi said once they were all eating, leaning in to gently knock against Doppo’s side. “Hopefully you can get lots of sleep tonight.”
“My coworkers were going out for drinks and karaoke so they all left early and I could get more done without them being distracting,” Doppo said, putting more rice in his bowl. “They invited me but I had better things to do tonight.”
Hifumi wriggled happily in his seat, only to pause when his eyes went wide. “Hey, what do you think would happen if we did karaoke with our hypnosis mics?”
“Probably nothing good,” Jakurai said, although he had to admit he was genuinely considering it. If there was no one else around, maybe it would be an interesting experiment…
“So you haven’t tried?” Hifumi pouted.
“I...don’t remember ever trying it,” Jakurai admitted, all three of them shuddering at the memory of what he was like whenever alcohol was involved. Hifumi recovered first, gesturing with his glass as he lifted it to his lips.
“Well, hypnosis mics or not, we should definitely go out for karaoke one day! It’s been forever since I last went!”
“I’d rather not,” Doppo said, Hifumi sticking his tongue out at him.
“Don’t listen to him, Sensei. Doppo’s really good at karaoke, especially after he’s had a few drinks.”
“I don’t doubt it,” Jakurai said. The colour Doppo immediately flushed was slightly alarming, but at least he managed to swallow his food instead of choking on it. “You wouldn’t be in my division if you didn’t have a good voice.”
Doppo looked about ready to explode so Jakurai decided to cut him some slack, turning his attention back to Hifumi, who was patting Doppo on the back as he ate with his free hand. “The lunch you dropped off for me today was delicious, Hifumi. Thank you again.”
“Anything for you! I want to make sure you’re happy and healthy, okay?” Hifumi chirped, and Jakurai was fairly sure that it wasn’t an accident when Hifumi’s foot knocked against his own under the table. Wishful thinking or not, he was beginning to get the idea that there may have been an ulterior motive behind Hifumi inviting him over for dinner, and his heart beat a little faster in his chest.
But he didn’t want to push too hard at such an early time so he backed off somewhat for the rest of the meal, lightly flirting back whenever Hifumi initiated but not going out of his way to try and fluster Doppo too much. Still, he had to signpost his interest somehow, because he still wasn’t entirely sure that Hifumi wasn’t like this with everyone and Doppo would probably misinterpret even a full confession, and his chance came after the meal had ended and he’d helped Doppo clean the table for a loudly complaining Hifumi.
The two had invited him to stay longer but Jakurai had to reluctantly turn them down, the amount of unfinished work he had sitting at home weighing on him. If he wanted to get more than three hours of sleep, he needed to get home and finish up as quickly as possible. There would be other nights to spend with his division, especially if Hifumi made good with his promise of more group dinners.
The three of them ended up gathered around the front door, Jakurai stepping down to put his shoes back on but still taller than the other two standing on the higher step.
“I’ll bring you another lunch tomorrow, okay?” Hifumi said, smiling wide and looking genuinely excited at the thought of preparing another meal.
“You don’t have to if you don’t have the time,” Jakurai said to be polite, not surprised when Hifumi waved the comment off and scoffed. “But I certainly won’t turn the offer down. Thank you, Hifumi.”
Turning to Doppo, Jakurai offered him a kind smile. “And thank you for escorting me here, Doppo. I appreciate you taking the time for me.”
Not letting his serene expression crack, Jakurai swiftly leaned forward and placed his fingers under Doppo’s chin, pressing a somewhat lingering kiss to his cheek. He caught a glimpse of Doppo’s dumbfounded expressing when he leaned back to do the same to Hifumi, and apparently that was what it took to reduce Hifumi Izanami to shocked silence.
At least neither of them looked actively horrified, Doppo touching his fingers to the cheek Jakurai had kissed and Hifumi clutching at his necklace with a growing smile.
“I’ll see you both later,” Jakurai promised, turning and leaving before either of them could react. Regardless of the decision they came to, he trusted them to be able to communicate with each other and handle it like adults, and he was eagerly awaiting getting some kind of answer.
As it turned out, he didn’t have to wait long.
The next morning he was passing by the same nurses station when his name was called again, Nobuko there alone this time. She was holding another neatly-wrapped bento, Jakurai’s chest feeling warm at the sight of it. “Your sparkly friend dropped by again.”
“Thank you for holding onto it for me,” Jakurai said, accepting the package. Trying to be subtle about it, he felt around under the fabric for another note, smiling slightly when he found it. He had a sneaking suspicion about Hifumi’s preferred methods of important communication, and although he once again didn’t have time for a rest right there and then, he quickly made his way to the break room to extract the note and leave the food in the fridge.
Today’s note had a lot more hearts than the previous one had, and unless Jakurai was hallucinating from a lack of sleep- his work had taken longer than expected thanks to his mind constantly drifting back to Doppo and Hifumi- it seemed to smell like Hifumi’s favoured expensive cologne.
Thank you for coming over for dinner last night! We both really wanted to see you although it sucked that you couldn’t stay longer.
Anyway, Doppo has convinced himself that you kissed us to be friendly, but I don’t think that’s right and you know how he is sometimes. If he’s right you can ignore this, but if I’m right then do you want to go out on a date with us sometime when we’re all free?
Let us know what you think, and don’t forget to eat up so that you can have enough energy to make lots of people better!
Hifumin (and Doppo but he’s being all shy💛)
Jakurai was laughing quietly as he pulled out his phone to send a group text in his last spare minute until he was going to have to literally run back to work, confident that they would know what he meant with the single word he sent them.