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Slow Dancer, Sweet Romancer (Shine Your Light On Me)

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Youhei watched the way his ombre bangs swayed. Like a metronome, his eyes fell in tandem with the lock of violet hair that bobbed whenever Iori spoke. Of course, said man was blissfully unaware of the way his friend-slash-friendly-rival-slash-bartender's hand had paused, knuckle deep in a wide, stout glass with his fingers burrowed into a soft off-white cloth, just to watch such a mundane spectacle, but, no matter how pointless and minute the detail was to other people, it was something Youhei had never noticed, or, at the very least, had never acknowledged

Maybe it was childish of him, or even a bit weird or strong, but his fingers twitched with the urge to take the multi-colored hair into the space between his index and middle fingers, to run his thumb over the silky waves like he could somehow tame them despite them embodying the same unpredictable movements that Iori himself did. 

Just as his knuckles bent and fingers clenched around his cloth, a bubbly laugh snapped him right out of his stupor. 

Eyes still pinched closed from his wide, toothy grin, Iori's laugh fizzled out into a series of soft chuckles; even though he had no idea what the yakuza had been laughing about, likely being some story that had been told a million times before, Youhei still let out a quiet snort, his hand picking up the pace again to wipe his glass clean as his eyes finally fell back to watch himself work. 

He kept his gaze low and focused despite the shuffling he heard in front of him, and even when the dim lights above them caused gaudy gold jewelry to glimmer faintly when inched toward him. The only thing he let visibly catch his attention was Iori's voice breaking through the relative silence they shared. 

"Danna," he cooed, soft and sweet, and nothing like the boisterous story and laugh alike from earlier. "Lighten up a little, would ya? I get it's yer job and all, but it ain't like anybody else's here." Incidentally, the prior shuffling had placed Iori close, with his elbows propped against the sleek wood of the bar's counter while his fingers intertwined into a net in front of his mouth, sharp eyes peering over the same reflective gold that had failed to catch his eye before. Chest met wood as the sly yakuza pushed himself further against the bar, shoulders hunching forward in a way that neither read insecurity nor intimidating, face pressing against the sparse splotches of untouched skin on his hand until he was peering at Youhei from an angle, head almost downcast and tilted to Iori's right. 

Those striking violet eyes were more intoxicating to Youhei than any liquor. 

The bartender's eyebrows knotted together a smidgen as he set the glass down, with the small cloth finding its place over his shoulder before his arms crossed loosely against the lower end of his chest; defensive yet open to the idea of being broken down at a moment's notice. His hips teetered when he shifted weight from one foot to another. "I am relaxed," Youhei retorted despite the obvious bite still in his voice, not quite residual but not quite fresh, either. 

Iori warmed the air around them with another laugh from his chest, his eyes crinkling as his smile widened before easing back to a more comfortable soft one. "Ya suck at lyin'. C'mon." Without explaining, he pushed back until he stood flat on his feet, his adorned hands splayed out against the counter. With a wave of his hand, beckoning it beside his ear, he chirped once more. "C'mon! I've got an idea." He already began to shed his two-toned overcoat, shouldering it off before sloppily folding it and discarding it onto the bar.

With a sigh, Youhei weighed his options: he could choose to ignore Iori's likely asinine idea and never hear the end of it, or at least not for the rest of the night; or he could humor said idea, please his friend, and live in peace until Iori decided to drop by again, which, knowing him, would be sooner rather than later. Tapping his finger against his upper arm, he stepped toward the door connecting to the kitchen until he disappeared from Iori's view. 

Moments later, he reappeared, his hand adjusting the bunched up fabric above his elbow as it had begun to fall loose. With his eyes fixated on his clothing, he hardly registered the movement of shadows as his guest invited himself to act out his plan. By the time Youhei went to speak, to ask what Iori felt was so important, a faint stream of music made his words die in his throat until his lips sat parted, ever-so-slightly. 

The tune was familiar, yet it was hard to recall when or where he had heard it before. A slow, cool piano filled the air, the unidentifiable familiarity igniting a pang in Youhei's chest, his eyebrows inching together further at the unwelcome feeling, yet the pain eased when a surprised gasp of air filled his lungs when a pair of fingertips ghosted over his exposed forearm, still flexing as it bent, his own hand clamped onto his clothing. He felt a shaky breath pass between his lips once Iori's palm rested against the same skin he was caressing moments prior, the warmth snapping Youhei back to reality where the harsh kiss of piano resided. 

Instinctively, his eyes flicked over to the piano that permanently resided in the bar, empty as always, except, now, Iori's phone lay atop it, the low light of its screen standing out in the dim room. He returned his attention to the man who now stood far too close for comfort, the gentle squeezes on his arm grabbing Youhei's attention despite the yearning in his heart. 

The edges of Iori's lips quirked despite the glazed look in his eyes, an indescribable pool of emotions swirling in them that all but commanded Youhei to look away. "Danna," Iori borderline whispered in the same tender voice as earlier. He let his word hang in the air until the other man lifted his gaze to restore eye contact. "Dance with me. It'll be fun." The hand that once curled its hot fingers around his somewhat defined muscles now slid down the length of his arm until meeting his wrist; for a moment Youhei wondered if he was meant to do anything, but, knowing Iori, interfering was the last thing he wanted, so, instead, he simply passed his attention between said man's touch and his enigmatic gaze. 

A heavy beat of silence passed between them before it clicked in his mind; the gentle way Iori's fingerpad drew circles into his palm, the way he hesitated and continued to wait for an answer, and the way he never forced his suggestion despite not wording it into a proper question: put simply, he was waiting for Youhei's consent. It was over something miniscule, unimportant even, but the gestures made a comfortable heat blossom in his chest as his fingers unwound from their vice-like grip on his rolled-up sleeve, arm relaxing in tow; Iori took it as initiative to take the now free hand into his own, albeit only by wrapping his fingers around the curve of Youhei's own until they rested against his palm, with his own palm atop the bartender's hand. 

Such simple contact felt sweltering, and Youhei was nearly knocked off of his feet as Iori took a step back, no longer within immediate reach, and instead pulling the other man forward while leaving them an arm's length apart, leaving their bridge of contiguity as the only proof of their previous exchange. 

By the time Iori's feet began to move, the song had already faded into another, whose sweet violin stabilized Youhei enough to keep from tripping over himself when he was pulled once more. Even so, he still stumbled, able to catch himself just before he crashed into the other man, who did little more but laugh and put a hand on his chest to stop Youhei in his tracks. 

Taking a fold of the shirt underneath his touch between his pointer finger and thumb, rolling the fabric in a mindless pattern of circular strokes, Iori did little to suppress his hearty laugh, which, undeniably, was mostly directed at Youhei and his lead feet. "C'mon, try!" he barked between laughs. "I gotta do all th' work 'round here, huh?" Although his question was rhetorical, he waited a short moment to gauge the other man's response before sliding his hand down until he met Youhei's ribs, hard to find underneath his muscle and healthy weight, yet Iori wasted no time admiring that and was swift to notch his limb at his friend's side. 

Gentle and slow, Iori guided the other man's body with nudges in the right direction. No matter how often Youhei fumbled with their non-verbal communication, whether it be stepping in the wrong direction, putting his hands in the wrong place, or nearly stepping on Iori's feet were it not for his geta, said man remained patient, never once nipping at the mistakes. If anything, he appeared to be enjoying whenever Youhei grumbled angrily under his breath or knocked against him, with his smiling seemingly wider and warmer each time the bartender managed to get a look at his face, between watching their feet and looking for bodily cues for their next move. 

Before long, both men moved in rhythm with one another, the melody of the smooth jazz from Iori's phone enveloping them like a much needed hug. Somewhere along the line Youhei had gained confidence in his sloppy dancing, which, admittedly, became much cleaner the moment he learned to relax and enjoy himself instead of obsessively watching each of their steps, and Iori was happy to oblige as it ran a much slimmer risk of his toes being stepped on, even if they were elevated. 

Still, that by no means meant that Iori stopped being an opportunist. As though they were sharing, there were times when the yakuza would follow his own beat, leaving Youhei to either follow suit and do whatever his feet told him to, or to indulge Iori's whim and allow him to take the lead, albeit only momentarily. More often than not, the bartender would do the former, as he was unsure exactly what his friend had in mind, yet, on the odd occasion, it would click in what Iori was doing, just enough for Youhei to be the perfect anchor. 

Just like he was doing now. 

He was unsure where Iori had picked up any lick of dancing, but, knowing him, it was probably best not to question it at all. Instead, Youhei simply watched as his own arms were lifted into the air by their conjoined hands, with them remaining suspended even when Iori only held onto one. As soon as the grasp was partially released as so, said man spun, his flamboyant accessories and buoyant hair bouncing and falling out of place in the process, yet Iori paid it no mind. Instead, he took Youhei's hand back into his own and gave both of them a tender squeeze as he gave one last turn, effectively crossing the other man's arms across his chest as his back fell against him. Like they were two pieces of a puzzle, Iori slotted himself perfectly against Youhei's form as they collectively locked the yakuza boss in place, albeit a rather shotty lock that could be broken whenever either man wanted it to be. 

With Iori's back pressed firmly against his chest, heads side-by-side without bridging the short gap that would gently press their temples together just enough to confirm that they were both there, no matter how clearly they could see one another, he barked out a cocky, yet somehow genuine and sweet, laugh. "You're really shit at this, Danna," he whispered, a stark contrast to the fruity laugh from before. His toothy grin was clear as day, as was the carefree way his eyebrows perked up, as well as the crinkled ends of his eyes themselves, forever sharpened by his fiery red eyeliner. 

A simple scoff was all that was given in response, with Youhei's nose jutting into the opposite direction in defiance. Although he was the slightest bit annoyed, he managed to keep calm and instead just shift his weight between his feet, not really caring if it was uncomfortable for Iori or not; after all, he was still crossing Youhei's arms across himself, so the yakuza had no place to complain over what was or was not acceptable. "Shut up. How the hell am I supposed to know what to do?" With a frustrated grumble, he went to untangle his arms, only to find his action restricted as Iori tightened his grip on his hands and pulled the two men closer together.

"Ya practice," he muttered as he inched his head closer to Youhei's. Soft puffs of breath tickled against his cheekbone and drifted to his ear as it dissipated; the sensation sent electricity up Youhei's spine and set his heart ablaze, the hairs on his neck bristling and fair cheeks dusting a faint pink hue. He nearly had to pinch his eyes shut when he felt breath directly meet the shell of his ear. "I'll teach ya. Real nice and slow, y'know?" A snicker only tensed the other man further, yet he let out a relieved sigh as soon as Iori released his hands and broke their far too close contact. 

Without as much as a word, the yakuza had already padded over to the bar to collect his once abandoned jacket, throwing it over his toned, defined shoulders and hiding his even more impressive arms underneath the shawl of loose fabric. Youhei did little more than stare blankly, reeling over the surge of emotion that caused his heart to thunder in his chest, his fingers to tremble and show hints of red. He crossed his arms over his chest just in time for Iori to spin on his heel and face him once again. 

Youhei swore his smile never once faltered, even now. "Guess I gotta get goin', hm?" he hummed. "See ya tomorrow, Danna. I get t' lead next time!" With a final chuckle, Iori padded over to the piano and pocketed his phone, giving a carefree wave with the back of his hand as he slipped through the front door. Quiet hums followed the man until the bar fell silent, aside from the door clicking shut, and Youhei stood just as wordless, utterly alone were it not for the subtle buzz coursing throughout his body and mind alike. 

With a frustrated grunt he pinched the bridge of his nose and flicked his gaze over to the forgotten bar. Cleaning would at least take his mind off of the strange amount of nerves and excitement churning his stomach.