Omi couldn’t take his eyes off him. The way he was looking off into space and knocking things over…like he was half-asleep. Or drugged. He kept glancing over toward the register too, too often to be inconspicuous.
“Aya-kun,” Omi said to the man beside him.
“Why does Ken-kun keep looking over here?” The man was back to staring but he quickly looked away when he noticed Omi. Looking guilty and nervous, he fumbled the broom handle he was holding and tripped over himself trying to catch it. The handle hit the linoleum with a loud crack that had a school girl nearby hunching over before laughing nervously.
“Is he…is he drunk?”
“Ignore him. We need to count out.” Ah, how Aya-like: all business. But Omi saw sense in it, so sighed and turned away from the human trainwreck to recount the bills and coins Aya handed him from the register.
After repeating back the tally, they collected the bills into neat piles on the back counter and checked the numbers against the day's sales. Omi had worked hard today, offering nearly every patron who’d walk through the door just a small something to brighten up their day. An individual bloom, one long-stemmed rose—bouquets might bring in some cash, depending, but the real money was in marked-up single sales sold en mass. He was gratified to see the results of his strategic efforts reflected in the profits.
Ah, if only everyday could be this successfully…normal. No nights full of poison darts and thugs falling over themselves, no hacking databases to find hidden cash flows or a politician's kidnapped kid, just day after day, flowers and counting the till to satisfaction. Omi could almost imagine it. Life as a regular shop worker. Just a shop worker. He could almost imagine being happy, too.
Another crashing noise from across the shop had Omi turning to catch Ken again, this time near the display window staring down at the floor. Were those...pot pieces? “Ken-kun! What are you doing?” If he kept this up, he’d eat up all of Omi's work in damages. At the sound of his voice, the brunet visibly flinched. He raised a hand to scratch at the back of his head as he called back an apology.
“It’s fine! Just…can you pull the shutter down before you clean up? It’s time to close shop.”
There were still two people left inside, wandering around looking at the flowers on display. Omi knew they were only lingering because they were hoping for a discount, and shook his head at how pleased they must be at having burned out the clock. It was always these two, wasn’t it? Nakamura-san and Uchida-san. Like scavengers scouting for carcasses.
So who was going to take care of them this time?
Omi glanced over at Aya to see the man choose that very moment to roll up the sleeves of his sweater and duck down under the sales counter. There he grabbed the spray bottle and cloth they used to clean the cases and windows, lingered. As if Omi didn’t know this tactic. As if Omi couldn’t play right along. So he stood there beside the redheaded man, not budging, looking down at him until Aya deigned to shake the fringe of his hair from his eyes and glance up at Omi with a raised eyebrow.
“You won’t complain about the final prices, then?” He taunted, trying not to smile when Aya scowled unhappily. For a cold-blooded assassin, Aya could be downright cute sometimes. “Don’t worry, I won’t go too low,” he promised. No, today he felt rather cut-throat if he did say so himself, enlivened really, after all those sales. So, he’d see how much he could milk the scavengers before he tossed flowers at them just to get them to go.
“Fine,” Aya said, standing back up. And then in a rare show of verbosity said, “But end it quickly. I’ve got an appointment with Hidaka.”
Now Omi was the one raising eyebrows. Glancing at the mess that seemed to be getting bigger on the other side of the room, he suddenly found himself doing quick math.
“Is that why he’s a wreck?” Omi lowered his voice, “Is it serious?”
His first thought was that Ken had done something to piss Aya off and now had to pay the price, but Aya hadn’t been particularly tense today and--
“No,” Aya said, shutting down that thought.
Before Omi could ask for an elaboration, Yohji stuck his head through the backdoor of the shop and, much to Omi's annoyance, yelled.
“Yo, Hidaka. Stop screwing around and get over here.”
The two remaining patrons seemed to decide then and there that today was not worth sticking around to haggle for cheap flowers. Watching them scurry, Omi had to give it to them. They might be scavengers but they knew how to read a room. Yohji didn’t usually raise his voice so and now Ken had tensed up even more, looking decidedly sweaty. Even Aya beside him sighed before cursing under his breath.
“What, does Yohji-kun have a problem with Ken-kun too?” Omi asked, but Aya only shook his head, looking truly annoyed now, and went back to wiping.
“It’s the same problem,” he said, and no more. Not even under the solid weight of Omi’s stare.
“Aya-kun…” he began, ready to start complaining about being left out, but apparently Yohji hadn’t finished.
“Omittchi,” the older man barked, “you come too. You might as well hear. But someone close that damn shutter already before we lose the chance and someone else slips in.” Oh, oh, what was this now?
Ken went for the shutter, looking more than happy to move away from where he’d been summoned, but Omi turned right for the backdoor. He grabbed Aya’s arm and yanked too for good measure, refusing to let the man pretend there was still cleaning to do when all the customers had already left. He easily ignored the savage look he was given as he pulled.
Oh, but this had to be good. Yohji wouldn’t be shouting in front of other people if it was about anything truly terrible, and it was Ken of all people who was sweating bullets. So that must mean...Yes. Petty. Drama.
Omi lived for other people's petty drama.
Once they got to the stairs for the second floor, Aya shook him off and righted his sweater, bestowing one last scowl at Omi’s excitement before climbing to the shared kitchen unassisted. Omi took a moment though to lean back through the doorway to the shop and wave Ken on. He was moving much too slowly for Omi’s liking.
When he got to the kitchen, he saw Aya had leaned back against the counter and Yohji was putting on his leather jacket nearby. Sunglasses pushed atop his head and cigarette held firm in his lips, the lanky blonde looked busy and distracted, but he came to when Ken—cringing like a puppy who’d peed on the rug—entered the room. With flat eyes, Yohji pinned them both with a look and Omi could've peed then himself in anticipation. The curiosity was killing.
“I’ve got places to be, so let’s make this quick, yeah? Me and him,” he jabbed a thumb at Aya, who was still scowling but this time at Yohji, “we’re fucking. Well, more like he’s fucking and I’m taking names, but I doubt you’re that interested in the details.”
Ken gasped audibly next to him and Omi might’ve laughed if his jaw wasn’t on the floor. “Did you just say—“
“Yes, I did. Fornicating, having intercourse, boffing, sexually involved. Whatever you want to call it. Kenken here likes to peek into my room early in the morning it seems, and I thought I’d make sure we set the story straight before anyone gets stabbed that didn’t ask for it.”
Yohji couldn’t have said something more outrageous, and couldn’t have sounded more bored as he did it. The lanky man even patted himself down after that announcement, tapping his palms against his chest before moving down around to his hips and backside, further scandalizing Omi until he saw the man withdrew a lighter from a back pocket.
“Now. We all good?” Yohji looked at Aya then, who, to Omi’s horror, looked like he was blushing. Aya. Weiss’s leader. Someone who unblinking stabbed swords straight through grown men’s necks. Blushing. That man now sighed and nodded, and Omi could’ve swallowed his tongue. “Cool, then I’ll be back later. ” And Omi actually did choke when Yohji—the manwhore who garroted baddies to death for a living—took the unlit cigarrette from his mouth and placed a kiss on top of Aya’s head. Aya only frowned and gently pushed him off.
What were they, fucking married now?!
“Wait, no, I’m not good! Yohji-kun, Aya-kun, I’m not good! Wait,” but neither man was paying him much attention, one making for the stairs while the other headed toward the apartments, so Omi grasped at the only person left, “Ken-kun! Help!”
“Don’t ask me for help, Omi. You’re not the one who had to see it.” See what?! Oh, oh Ken was straight red in the face, and suddenly Omi couldn’t feel his body anymore. Had he died? He must’ve died. Done right passed away.
“The most emotionally crippled psychos on this team did not just call us here to tell us they’re dating, Ken-kun. Each other. Of all people. Dating each other. Yohji-kun, Aya-kun,” he screeched, but they were already gone, “What!”
“Come on, Omi, don’t scream in my face. It’s not like I’m having an easy time with this either.” Ken had taken ahold of the hands Omi had gripped in his shirt, slowly prying them off him one finger at a time. “Like…are we supposed to, I don’t know…tell someone about this? Like Manx or someone?”
Oh god, Kritiker. That’s right. It’s not like they were just hanging out here for fun. They had employers-slash-owners-slash-ruthless shadow organization to worry about.
“No. No Ken-kun,” he dropped his hands, ran them shaking up through his hair. “How about we keep this to ourselves for now?”
“Yeah, okay,” Ken sounded relieved to hear that, but he still looked as harried as he had all day. As harried as Omi now felt. “So what do we do?”
Omi stared up at the young man in front of him. A young man that on any one night could disembowel a linebacker without breaking a sweat, and who now was so clearly out of his depth. Omi’d never felt closer to him.
“What can we do, Ken-kun? Telepaths and clairvoyants, zombie ex-girlfriends, frankenstein monsters, and assassin florists, we’ve long lived in a fucked up world. But now we have to add two high-maintenance emo killers in love to the mix? That we have to live with and keep alive?” And here he had spent the day daydreaming about what it would be like to live a normal life selling roses and haggling with middle-aged ladies. “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to get drunk. Very drunk. Then maybe invest in some child safety locks for the drawers with the kitchen knives.”
Ken swallowed, blinked, and then put his hand on Omi’s shoulder. “I’ve got a bottle of vodka in my room. I bought it last night and there's still more than half left from what I drank before work.”
“Thank god someone has some sense,” Omi mumbled, and then more loudly, “Lead the way Ken-kun. Please, lead the way.”