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A piece of rainbow for [personal profile] lilly0  Part 1

Title
: Smooth Strokes and Kitten Licks
Pairing: Sakumoto
Rating/Warnings: NC17. AU, includes some form of pet-play, d/s kink, dirty talk, a lot of tsun-ness and plenty of animal references.

Summary: In the twenty-six years that is Jun’s life, he has never thought it capable for him to be jealous of animals, no less a cat. Yet as he watches Reiko sprawl herself all over Sho’s lap, he cannot help the overwhelming irrational sense of jealousy boiling within him.
Notes: Dear [personal profile] lilly0, thank you for clarifying everything in your reply via the mods! I was playing around with many prompts that you gave but somehow I ended with this, so I hope this is to your liking! I had a lot of fun writing the smut for this too, and I hope it hits some of the kinks you enjoy ;)


~~~~~ June // Lapin Blanc ~~~~~

“So, there is just one more thing you have to know about working with us…”

Jun’s gaze nervously sweeps between the two men sitting across the kitchen counter from him. It is hard to take the situation seriously when the smell of freshly baked bread is strong in the air, and one of the co-owners of Samejima SK bakery currently in a battle with Bowser on his Nintendo 3DS, but Jun’s back remains straight and tense.

He wants the job. Badly.

There are, of course, other options out there for Jun, some in far more renowned restaurants and established patisseries, but Jun has done his research, and knows that despite being a small bakery, Samejima SK has been moving up in the ‘ranks’ of best bakeries in Tokyo. The bakery has recently expanded its original tiny shop and kitchen-space, and is now looking for someone with patisserie qualifications to join the growing business.

As a fresh-faced graduate from a Parisian patisserie school, Jun had cleared an apprenticeship under Patisserie de la Tempete for several years before returning to Japan, vision clear in mind. He wants full independence with his pastries, and Samejima SK provided exactly that. They only have one kitchen help that will be split between the bread and pastry section, but Jun does not mind – the bakery is small enough that Jun can work on his own most of the time.

“We have a running collaboration with the pet café upstairs…” Ohno, the baker and co-owner starts, voice sheepish and Jun feels his heart race in barely disguised horror. Jun is awful with animals, for they simply do not like him for whatever reason. Next to Ohno, Ninomiya – or ‘Nino’ as he informed Jun to call him by – smirks.

“...so, patrons upstairs can order things from down here, and ideally, we’d like you to have at least one item that is animal themed and changed monthly for the first year.”

Jun sighs in relief, and nearly sags at the reply. That, he can do easily. Interact with animals less so, although Jun will not have let that stop him.

“Also, because we don’t have a lot of people working for us, sometimes you might have to go up to pass the order to Aiba-chan if you’re free.” Ohno finishes by pointing at the stairs at the back, smiling awkwardly at Jun. “You just have to pass it over the counter, so don’t worry about animals. Inoo-kun or Aiba-chan can handle it from there.”

Jun nods, not trusting his voice to give a proper answer, not even as Ohno shoots him a reassuring smile and elbows at Nino to do the same.

This is his entrance into pastry business in Japan, and he isn’t going to take the opportunity lightly. Not even animals are going to stop him.

“If so, then welcome to the Samejima SK, Jun-kun.”

~~~~~

Jun is given a week to make a general menu and familiarize himself with the workings of the bakery. He soon learns that Ohno is an extremely skilled baker, large hands kneading the dough and working methodically every morning to churn out their range of breads. Their famous turtle-shaped melon bread, Jun also learns, was the first item created for the collaboration with Eden Hall, the animal cafe upstairs.

Chinen is their kitchen help, a baker who holds a diploma in culinary arts, as well as a deep worship for Ohno, who was his senior in cooking school. Ohno had tutored Chinen for a short period of time, and instantly won his admiration.

Unlike Chinen and Ohno, however, Nino does not conduct any baking whatsoever. Instead, he is in charge of managing all the profits and expenditures of Samejima SK, and was also the one who suggested expanding the bakery to include confectionaries. An avid lover of money, and Jun will admit, a clever businessman, Nino is clearly shrewd enough to know which trend the bakery should follow to ensure its success. As a result, Nino manages the counter most of the time, giving orders to Jun, Chinen or Ohno when they nearly run out of something, or if they should modify their batch production the following day.

For the most part, Jun admires the workings of the small bakery - it had earned its reputation with only three members, and now Jun is a part of the business.

It is his big break, and Jun makes a quiet promise to himself that he will do his utmost to create confectionaries that will make people happy. His first order of business, however, is to visit Eden Hall to meet their collaborators, and hopefully garner some inspiration for the required animal-themed sweets.

Of course, when Jun chooses to visit the cafe before its opening hours at noon, he does not expect Aiba to offer a personal introduction of Jun to their furry friends. (He fights to tell Aiba that it really isn’t necessary, but somehow after 5 seconds of knowing him, Jun knows the exuberant man is not the sort to accept no for an answer.)

At the same time, Aiba offers to explain how the cafe works, and Jun really doesn’t have the heart to interrupt him. The information may be helpful, and Jun wants to make friends with his co-workers and collaborators, especially when he currently knows no one in Tokyo, besides his family.

And so, he listens.

(The biggest rule in Eden Hall is that if the animals want to be left alone, they will be left alone. Especially the smaller critters, for they are the shyer ones. Eden Hall is meant to be a shelter for the animals, and not as a place for humans to gawk at them. Most of the animals had been rescued by Aiba after being abandoned - especially the disabled ones; and so, the function of the cafe is to rehabilitate them, and allow them to be adopted. The cafe has respectable success in that aspect, as there were no adoptable creatures presently, leaving only the stubborn permanent members of Eden Hall.)

Nevertheless, while he seems to be having decent luck with humans, Jun’s luck with animals still has not changed since his absence from Japan. Suffice to say, within half an hour, Jun ends up being pricked by a prickly - both figuratively and literally - hedgehog named Enomoto, ignored (and scratched) by two cats (Reiko, a beautiful white cat with a paw missing but still with the attitude of a princess, as well as Shinigami-nyan, named after a death god despite his small size because of his pitch-black coat and sleepy eyes), and jumped on by three dogs of various sizes.

Jun did not mind Kaibutsu-wan, who is a mere Chihuahua with oversized ears, and is still attempting to bite a hole into his leather shoes - nor Yoshimoto, who somehow settles for watching Jun unerringly from Aiba’s heel. No, it is Tarou, an enormous dog who is attempting to get Jun to carry him who Jun cannot handle.

To add to the fluffy mess, Aiba tries to introduce the struggling Jun to Eden Hall’s resident rabbits even as he fights with the 100-pound canine. They seem unbothered and uninterested in the chaos that is Jun and Tarou, hopping away to the front door when Aiba points out them out to Jun.

“Is it actually okay for them to be out with the other animals around? Aren’t rabbits… skitter-ish?” Jun asks hesitantly, keeping a fair bit distance (or tries too, with Tarou still trying to clamber onto him).

“Actually, they are a lot calmer with the others around. I rescued them when they were just kittens, so they like the others. New animals, on the other hand… These ones are family, really. Like I said, most of the animals we rescue and rehabilitate get adopted quickly. No one can touch them during the cafe hours as well, except for some special people.”

Special people? Jun is tempted to ask, but Aiba continues,

“Now, now, Souta, Miyama, what’s gotten the two of you so excited with the door? Matsujun too boring for you?”

Jun’s eyebrow twitches at the nickname, but Aiba does not seem to notice his annoyance, carrying on, “he's a nice person. He’ll even make you some carrot cake. Now, wouldn't that be nice?”

Jun wonders if he should correct Aiba that carrot cakes didn't have much carrots in them and will be bad for rabbits. But the thought does not matter - the rabbits continue to paw at the door, a soft squeaking sound escaping from them that Jun is unfamiliar with.

Then the doorknob turns, and before Aiba nor Jun can react, the two rabbits scamper between Inoo’s legs as he enters the cafe.

“Good morni— ah! Is that Miyama and Souta? Boss!”

“Don't keep talking, go catch them!” Aiba snaps, more in horror than anger. “They'll catch bunny colds at this rate!”

Inoo rolls his eyes, ignoring Jun’s presence for the time being as he hastily drops his bags by the door.

“It’s 28 degrees out. They’ll be fine. What got them so excited anyway? I thought they didn’t like going out?” Inoo snaps as he prepares to chase the estranged rabbits.

“I don’t kno—” Aiba stops mid statement when the door swings open, barely missing Inoo’s nose by an inch.

The bird-shaped bell above the door chimes.

“I found these two trying to make their way down the stairs. Didn't make too much success, however.”

It is perhaps an interesting coincidence, that all the animals snap into obedience at the entrance of the stranger, including Tarou, who freezes. If anything, the man seems amused at the sight of frozen chaos, taking in the sight with an unconcerned gaze.

Yet, all Jun can focus on is the two rabbits in the stranger’s cradling arms. They appear extremely comfortable, paws resting on his chest and as calm as two shy puppies. Jun certainly cannot blame them, especially when his eyes rake over the stranger’s hands - large and broad, fingers long and beautiful as they cradle the two bunnies.

“Sho-chan! No wonder they were so excited. They were expecting you. Thank you so much.” Aiba makes no move to take the rabbits, instead handing Sho a basket lined with pillows where the rabbits promptly hop into and quietly stay in, paws holding the edge of the basket as Sho bends over to scratch behind their ears lightly.

It is difficult for Jun to describe his feelings as he takes in the sight. Tracing upwards from Sho’s hands, Jun cannot help but zero-in on Sho’s strong neck, then, god, has Jun ever met someone who looks so devastatingly handsome, especially as he showers the two rabbits with attention and croons. His full lips compliment his round cheeks, short hair tousled and eyes so dark, so gorgeous as he casts an unreadable but warm gaze at the rabbits. Despite the gentleness, it is undeniable that Sho exudes a dominance and charisma that calls for attention.

Yet...is Jun the only human in the room who feels this way?

“What’s with the excitement today? Tarou, get off the poor man. You're probably heavier than him.”

At the order, the large dog immediately halts in his attempts to clamber onto Jun, and obediently pads over to sit by Sho’s ankle. Jun nearly balks. Who is this man? Snow White?

“Ah. I was just introducing Eden Hall’s permanent members to Matsujun here. He's the new patissier for Samejima SK. Seems they don't really like him. Well, Tarou does, but a bit too much, maybe.” Aiba grins, patting Jun’s back and nudging him forward.

Jun nods curtly, and extends a hand. “I'm Matsumoto Jun. Please call me Jun. I apologize for the mess you walked into.”

The smile that Sho returns instantly makes Jun's knees weak as Sho shakes his hand firmly. “Sakurai Sho. I look forward to tasting your sweets. Don't apologize for it. After all,”
Sho’s eyes glints predaciously for a second, and Jun wonders why he feels like a deer that has suddenly caught the attention of a lion.

“They would react nervously to a new, skittish kitten as well.”

~~~~~

“The nerve.” Jun hisses, tapping the edge of his notepad with his pencil. “Calling me a skittish kitten. I am not.”

Sakurai Sho. Who on earth is this idiot and who gave him permission to call Jun a kitten? A skittish kitten at that! It was offensive, even. After all, it is clear that Sho does not look a day over 30, giving the nerve of the charming man no right to call Jun, someone who is past his mid-twenties, a kitten.

From the other end of the table, Ohno and Chinen looks over in frightened concern.

“Do you think he is alright? He is murmuring to himself.”

“If he isn't, please save me from him.”

“I can hear you!” Jun snaps irritably, cheeks warming in embarrassment and annoyance. Grumbling, Jun begins to roughly sketch the rough idea of a Mont Blanc he has in mind. A rabbit Mont Blanc, light pink with chocolate ears and cotton candy tail. Despite the variety of animals up at Eden Hall, Jun can scarcely drag his mind away from Sho and his hands, carrying the two rabbits so close to him…

“So… I heard you met Sho-chan.” Nino's curious drawl pulls Jun from his thoughts as Nino lazily plants himself on Jun’s workbench. “What did he say that made you so riled up anyway?”

He does not faze at Jun's steely glare, instead giving a lazy grin and waving at hiding pair. “He's harmless, no need to hide.”

Growling at the trio, Jun goes back to his sketches and started listing the ingredients on the side, grumbling to himself.

“Sheathe those claws, Jun-cat. We're just curious. Sho-chan never annoyed anyone as much as he did for you. He's can charm the socks off even the unruliest of Aiba's pets.”

Jun inhales sharply at the feline metaphor, and forces himself to calm down. He will not snap at Nino - he will not give Sakurai Sho the luxury of getting on his nerves despite having only just met the man.

“He said nothing of consequence, alright?” Jun replies stiffly, before pushing the draft of his item list towards Nino. “Here. Would this be appropriate for the first special item then?”

The trio instantly leans over the paper, eyes wide with curiosity. Jun taps his finger against the counter impatiently, as he waits for their reply, and sighs in relief when Ohno looks up at him and gives him a thumbs-up.

~~~~~ July // Dome Entremets with Peach Mousse and Dark Chocolate Shavings ~~~~~

The ‘Lapin Blanc’ becomes very popular, much to Jun’s chagrin; and with his successful integration in Samejima SK, Jun becomes increasingly accustomed to the workings of the bakery, starting with their collaboration with Eden Hall.

When Ohno mentioned that Jun may have to be involved in food deliveries upstairs sometimes, what he really left out was that it really happened on most days. After all, they are only a 4-man show, and with the increasing popularity of the bakery now that they had sweets, one of which one is a rabbit-shaped Mont Blanc, their business improved and as a result, are always busy.

Jun cannot deny that Nino is very good with finding ways to extort money from the 21st century public - work with an animal cafe, get into the trend of producing desserts, and minimize manpower.

(That was to say, Jun asked him once, during their busiest hour - 3pm on weekends - and after having made 4 trips upstairs with a lot of animal-shaped breads, why they haven’t hired a second kitchen hand to handle the deliveries. Nino shot him a look of horror and proceeded with a succinct lecture that went, ‘More help means more people to pay.’)

Given that Jun’s pastries do not require a production rate that is as frequent as Ohno’s bread-making, Jun finds himself either teaching Chinen how to make the basic parts of his pastries, or doing deliveries. Or god forbid, being used to give out samples to passers-by outside the bakery.

For someone who likes his money, Nino seems almost too eager to shove Jun out to the public to awkwardly hand out cut up pieces of turtle melon-breads to teenage girls. Jun sincerely doesn’t understand why Nino agrees to give out free food, nor why Jun must be the one to do it; the bakery is receiving enough publicity already, and the attention that Jun finds himself showered with is unnerving.

After all, Jun had not signed up to be used as publicity - his pastries should be sufficient, and there is nothing that charming with his face. As a result, Jun must admit that he rather faces a roomful of animals (of which, are more often than not, separated by a counter), than a flock of hormonal females asking him how much his desserts are (they could just go in and see for themselves, honestly).

The only problem is that the animals seem to be able to notice his presence within a full minute of him coming through the back door of the cafe; if he isn’t excitedly greeted by Tarou with loud barks and whines, that can only mean one thing.

Sho is in the cafe.

Jun is tempted to nickname Sho ‘Snow White’ in his head - or perhaps ‘Prince Charming’ - for all the atmosphere in Eden Hall becomes serene whenever Sho was present, as though taken out from a Disney movie.

There is the typical rambunctiousness of Eden Hall, and then there is the calm Eden Hall that exists only when Sho is present.

It is as though someone released a vat full of animal-calming aerosols or whatever miraculous potion into the room, leaving a peacefulness that never fails to befuddle Jun. Even the scary Yoshimoto will be open to affection, actively seeking out the nearest visitor for brief pats (and only brief strokes, nothing like hugs), and Shinigami-nyan crawling onto a friendly lap and rolling onto his belly to garner coos.

And there will be Sho in a designated corner seat, a cup of tea and a plate of Jun’s Lapin Blanc in front of him, or whatever sweet he is craving that day, Souta and Miyama keeping him company on the table as Tarou sleeps by his feet and Enomoto on his lap.

Jun doesn't understand how it is possible, and neither does anyone else in Eden Hall or Samejima SK.

(Or rather, Jun understands it, but rather pretend he does not.)

Besides his Snow-White abilities, Jun finds himself puzzled by the frequency and regularity of Sho's visits.

Eden Hall, like Samejima SK, closes on Mondays and Sunday afternoons, but opens on other days from 12pm to 6pm instead of from 9am to 5pm. If Jun’s observations are true, (and they likely are, given how frequently he is sent up,) then Sho always shows up exactly ten minutes before the opening time on Saturday - in casual wear - and on Wednesday afternoons at 3pm. His appearance on Wednesdays curiously alternates between looking like he hadn’t had sleep since the week started — tie loose, top buttons undone, dark circles around closed eyes as he strokes whoever is looking for attention from Sho (‘s long, beautiful hands); and a handsome modern-day prince in a proper suit, eyes sharp as he flicks through papers, attention only straying occasionally to pet at a meowing Shinigami-nyan.

In addition, Sho always stays until closing time - Jun know this because he often stays in the kitchens to clean up and prepare for the next day’s pastries, and he always hears Aiba bidding Sho goodbye just a few minutes shy of 6pm.

That leaves two questions, continually plaguing Jun: Who on earth visits an animal rehabilitation centre-slash-cafe on a biweekly basis and how does he even afford it?

“I’ve known Sho-chan since high school, Matsujun. He’s one of the few people whose helped up around Eden Hall since we’ve opened. He gets special privileges… like handling Miyama and Souta, as you can see.” Aiba cheerfully stage-whispers when Jun’s curiosity gets the better of him one Wednesday afternoon (Sho’s better week), a month after Jun joined Samejima SK. “I always refuse payment, since the animals love him and he keeps them calm, but Sho-chan always makes up for it by tipping generously.”

“Why does he come so frequently though?” Jun asks the next time he goes upstairs to deliver the last order of Lapin Blanc - after the delivery, all Jun should do is to prepare for the following day. Sho is still there, sipping on his tea, as he lazily strokes Enomoto on his lap.

Jun blanches - How does he not get pricked?

“Well, isn’t it obvious?”

At the blank look, Aiba snorts and lightly tugs at Jun’s wrist. “Honestly, Matsujun, why don’t you talk to him? You’ve been so curious about him.”

“I’ve got wor—”

“Bakery is already closed. Oh-chan and Nino won’t mind. Come on,” Aiba unlatched the counter ‘gate’ - set up so that the animals can’t get through - and nudged at Jun. “You can deliver your rabbit to Sho directly — it’s his order anyway. He’s been talking about your pastries non-stop.”

Jun’s cheeks warm at the comment, then mentally hits himself - there is no reason why out of everyone, Sho’s opinion should hold the most weight. With that thought in mind, Jun reluctantly lets himself be pulled closer towards Sho’s corner by Aiba, then unceremoniously pushed towards the (charming) man’s table.

He winces when Sho looks up, eyes friendly but sharp, and a toothy smile gracing his lips when Sho instantly notices Jun’s presence, as well as the plate of Mont Blanc in his hand.

Despite the friendly demeanour, Jun cannot help but shiver slightly at the expression Sho directs at him - welcoming, but a little bit… too welcoming.

Jun ducks his head as he places the pastry in front of Sho, “I have your Lapin Blanc, Saku—”

“Sho.”

“What?” Jun stops, cocking his head slightly in confusion.

“Please call me Sho, Jun-san. I've been wanting to meet you.” Sho pointedly gestures at the seat across from him. “I have to admit that I feel honoured to have the head patissier delivering my order. Won’t you join me for a while?”

Jun considers correcting Sho; after all, he isn't the head patissier, merely the only one in the bakery (he’ll soon have Chinen helping him, but that will take more than a month). Instead, he finds himself obediently taking the offered seat and stiffening when he feels a warm body brushing against his calves.

“Don’t mind Yoshimoto. He likes to lurk underneath the chairs.” Sho comments offhandedly as he eagerly reaches for his sweet. “If you don’t mind, I’m going to dig in.”

Jun cannot find it within himself to leave, nodding dumbly to Sho. “Of course. I hope you enjoy it.”

His eyes automatically focus on Sho’s pouty lips when Sho excitedly takes a spoonful of the pink custard cream and choux rabbit head, parts his lips…

The moan Sho releases sends an inexplicable thrill in Jun, whose eyes remains locked onto the slow retraction of the metal spoon from Sho’s mouth, eyes shut in bliss. “Your sweets are so good.”

Jun is certain his cheeks are red now. It is one thing to have his pastries selling well, and another to have someone openly appreciate it.

“Surely, you’re just over-exaggerating.”

“I’m not.” As though to prove his point, Sho takes an even bigger bite of the Lapin Blanc, leaving only half left. The resulting moan flusters Jun further, the patissier suddenly grateful for the empty cafe. “It’s really good.”

“I’m glad you like it then.” Jun internally winces at how clipped his voice is. Despite the awkwardness Jun is sure he is exuding, Sho seems unfazed, posture friendly and eyes still warm.

“So how are you settling into the bakery, and back in Japan? From what I understand from Aiba-kun, you’ve just returned from Paris a few months ago, yes?”

Jun raises his eyebrows in surprise – that question is the last thing he expected from Sho. No one has really asked him if he is settling well in Tokyo after his absence for several years; only his family, but he has yet to meet the friends he had left behind years ago.

“It’s… different from Paris.”

“I imagine it would be. No Tour de Eiffel or the Champs de Elysees here.”

The French words rolls in Sho’s mouth only semi-awkwardly, impressing Jun greatly. It had taken Jun at least a year to accustom his Japanese tongue to the way the French enunciated their words, yet Sho seems familiar with the language.

“Well, we have Omotesando just a train stop away, and two towers here, so I think I’ll live.” Jun relaxes incrementally into the seat, and gingerly unbuttons the top few buttons of his uniform. “You know their French names. Have you been to Europe before then?”

“I know a lot of places, but no, I haven’t been there. It’s just an occupational hazard, you could say.”

To prove his point, Sho taps at the stack of papers next to his elbow, smiling congenially at Jun. Taking a closer look, Jun realizes that they are drafts of travel articles.

“You work as a writer for at travel magazine?” It may explain the Sho’s visiting schedule, but not the difference in his appearance on alternate weeks.

“Close, but no. Good guess though.” Sho makes no further action to explain, instead hiding a small smile behind his teacup.

Jun huffs lightly. “You’re not going to tell me?”

“You’ll figure it out eventually. You didn’t answer my question fully either.”

“Question?”

“If you’re settling alright, back at home. I imagine you have been too busy with the bakery to have a lot of time to do so.”

Admittedly, Jun still has many unpacked boxes, but he figures once he has settled down, he’ll eventually start unpacking and make his empty apartment homier. “I have a lot of unpacking left to do, but I’ll finish eventually. You’re right – the bakery is taking a lot of my time, but I don’t mind.”

“And you’re not… lonely?”

“What does that question mean?” Jun sharply asks, eyes narrowing at the oddly placed question – Sho better not be prepositioning him.

“No, no, nothing of the questionable sort. As in, going out with friends, et cetera.”

Jun shrugs. “Not yet. I’ll have to find their numbers as well. They’ve all moved on their lives from when I’ve last seen them, so…”

“If you’re ever in need of company, you can always ask Ohno, Nino or Aiba. Ohno, if you don’t mind fishing, Nino, if you don’t mind staying in and playing games, or Aiba, if you don’t mind playing with animals or Chinese food.” Sho grins. “Perhaps the animals wouldn’t be too good of an idea until they like you a bit more.”

“Is there a person I can ask if I just want a calm night outside for drinks, with maybe good food?”

“I will gladly offer you my company. Just not on…”

“Alternate Wednesday evenings?”

“Someone has been watching me, I see.” The grin evolves into smirk, and Jun looks way in embarrassment.

“You’re the one who comes here regularly!” Jun replies defensively.

“I’m just joking, kitty. No need for those claws.” Sho teases. The words do nothing to calm Jun down – rather, it only makes Jun more annoyed.

This man and his animal metaphors.

Well, particularly, his animal metaphors for Jun.

“I was about to say alternate Mondays and Tuesdays, actually. Unless you rather see me irritable. But I’m honoured to have captured your attenti–” A purring Shinigami-nyan suddenly occupies Sho’s attention, pawing at his trousers. “Oh, hello. Are you looking for some cuddles?”

The sight of a black cat rubbing his nose affectionately against Sho’s neck is adorable, if not for the fact that Jun is basically compete for Sho’s attention with another cat… and a hedgehog, if the scrabbling ball of spines in Sho’s other hand isn’t an indication.

“I should probably… go back down.” Jun fidgets, feeling uncomfortable at the sight of two animals chittering/purring for Sho’s attention… especially when he feels an unexplainable foreign emotion that Jun hopes is not jealousy.

For if he is getting jealous over animals getting stroked by Sho and his long, elegant fingers…

“What?” Sho looks up from the pair, his dark gaze pinning Jun to his seat.

“I – well, you seem rather occupied–,”

“I promise all my attention is on you; You don’t have to get jealous over these two, really.”

Jun is learning a lot of things about Sho from this single conversation:

Firstly, the man is undeniably Prince Charming (although Jun should have known from the very start. This just confirms it). Secondly, he likely works under a publishing company, if his cyclical habits are any indication of it. Thirdly, despite being perfectly capable of making friendly conversation, Sho seems to derive a sense of satisfaction from messing with Jun.

A tiny part of Jun tells him that he shouldn’t get too riled up from Sho’s comment, yet there is something in Sho’s tone and expression that hints that Sho knows exactly what reaction he is getting from Jun – and Sho wants that reaction.

Taking a deep breath, Jun graces Sho with the most pleasant expression he can garner at that moment (while dragging his attention away from the pleased animals on Sho’s lap) and responds,

“I have to prepare for tomorrow and think of next seasonal item so I really should head down. Thank you for the conversation. I’m glad you’re enjoying the pastries.”

Before Jun walks away, Sho calls out, “Wait, Jun-san.”

Jun keeps his expression most pleasant as he swerves around to smile at Sho. “Yes?”

“Could you make the next item a cheesecake? I really like them.”

Jun’s flat smile melts into a deadpan at the man’s sheer audacity. Firstly, he decides to tease Jun, then he makes requests. “…no.”

Sho pouts, widening his eyes pleadingly. “What? Why not?”

“It’s not going to happen. Period.”

Perhaps it is Jun’s imagination, but Sho’s eyes seem to glint momentarily before Sho good-naturedly replies, “now, now, you shouldn’t be so prickly. That’s Enomoto’s job.”

It takes Jun a moment as he walks down the stairs to realize: Sho had equated him to a hedgehog.

~~~~~

“I have to admit, putting you in the same room as Sho-chan seems to be doing wonders for your inspiration and libido.” Nino drawls as he casually flicks through the day’s earnings, perching on a bar stool behind the till.

With Nino’s hands wrapped around the wad of bills, Jun cannot tell if Nino’s glee is due to the money, or from the visible irritation on Jun’s face.

“Libido? You mean my blood pressure.” Jun grumbles as he looks around the kitchen, noting the absence of Chinen – he had likely left already, and Ohno is casually reading a fishing magazine next to Nino.

“Same thing.”

“Not the same.”

“Whatever you say.” Nino smirks and gives a tiny kick to Ohno, who jerks in surprise. “Ohno had something to ask you. “

Jun merely waves his hand in acknowledgement, reading the note that Chinen had left him on the fridge, saying that he had finished preparing the cream and cut fruits for tomorrow morning.

He hums. That leaves Jun little else to do, besides drafting out the month’s special.

Which is most certainly not a cheesecake.

“What thing?”

“You’ve been part of Samejima SK for a month since yesterday. We were wondering if you wanted to go out for drinks tonight?”

Jun perks at the question, hand freezing mid-sketch. Whereas Jun has been keeping track of the days for business matters, the discovery that his colleagues has been doing the same for ‘memento’s’ sake makes him happy.

“Aiba-chan said he would be able to join us tonight as well, once he closes up.”

The pair looks up at Jun expectantly, and Jun suddenly realizes they are waiting for an answer from his end.

Jun’s response is perhaps almost too eager, but there is no Sho to tease him about it. For a short moment, Jun wonder if it will be appropriate to invite Sho along as well - Not because Jun wants to see him, of course, but rather because it seems fitting. The three seems familiar with Sho, and vice versa, although Jun has never heard of them mentioning their relationship besides Aiba’s comment.

It is a thought he’d leave for another night; knowing Nino and Aiba, if Jun tries to clarify with either of them, Aiba will certainly relay Jun’s curiosity to Sho, and Nino will tease Jun endlessly, he is sure.

The July’s seasonal item is a Dome Entremets filled with peach mousse and covered in dark chocolate shavings, tiny moulded chocolates making up ears and a pointy, hedgehog nose.

Jun is satisfied that it turns out to not be a cheesecake. However, as Sho smirks at Jun one evening as Sho takes an elated first bite of the pastry, eyes dark and focused onto Jun, the patissier realizes the only one who has lost is him.



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AMNOS/Arashi fanfiction exchange

September 2017

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