Written for 14 Valentines: V-Day.
Tatsumi hadn't returned from his lunchbreak. No one else appeared to even notice, but Hisoka needed to talk to him, so he was well aware that Tatsumi was already late by...over nineteen minutes, he noted as he cast an increasingly incredulous eye at the clock.
Tsuzuki was also late, but that was only to be expected.
At twenty-three minutes past one, Tatsumi finally returned from his break. He strode through the main office with his customary brisk pace. There was nothing in his demeanor to suggest that he knew or cared that he'd just upset years--probably decades--of precedent. Hisoka remained at his desk, giving Tatsumi time to arrange himself at his desk before imposing upon him. He shuffled his paperwork, reordering his finished reports in chronological order, and then by geographical location, and then in reverse chronological order.
Tsuzuki stumbled through the door just as he was about to rise from his seat.
"You're late," Hisoka said unnecessarily.
Tsuzuki smiled at him. "Hello, Hisoka. Did you have a good lunch?"
Hisoka shrugged. "I suppose."
"I had tea and cakes and little sandwiches cut into shapes," Tsuzuki said, with far too much enthusiasm.
"That's nice," Hisoka said. Actually, it sounded revolting, but Tsuzuki never listened to criticism of his favorite foods.
Tsuzuki grinned at him. "It was such a lovely day, too. You should have gone outside, Hisoka."
"Maybe next time. I left some reports for you to complete on your desk," Hisoka added, ignoring Tsuzuki's groan.
He stood up, and felt surprise and a bit of tension intrude into Tsuzuki's emotions. "Where are you going?"
"I need to ask Tatsumi something. I'll be back soon."
"Oh. Okay," Tsuzuki said, already back to projecting mindless happiness. Hisoka strongly suspected that he would use the time to descend upon the pastries that Wakaba had brought for the office that morning.
Hisoka gathered his stack of reports and knocked on Tatsumi's door, waiting for his quiet "Enter" before opening it.
"Here are the reports for our last four cases, Tatsumi-san."
"Thank you," Tatsumi said, and waved a hand at his desk. Hisoka set them down in the corner. He folded his hands and waited patiently until Tatsumi said, "Was there something else you needed, Hisoka-kun?"
"Yes. I was wondering if I might be allowed to take two days' vacation. I would need them the Wednesday and Thursday of next week."
"I assume that there's a good reason for you to be submitting your request at such short notice," Tatsumi said, and Hisoka nodded. He paused. "Will Tsuzuki also be requesting a vacation for next week?"
Tatsumi looked somehow satisfied by that answer, though Hisoka couldn't imagine why he would be in favor of an unleashed Tsuzuki under any circumstances. Maybe he intended to partner him with someone else in Hisoka's absence. "All right, Hisoka-kun. I hope that your vacation goes well. In the meantime, try to finish as much paperwork as you can, since I doubt that Tsuzuki will get much done on his own."
"Yes," Hisoka said, half-exasperated and half-fond, and hoping that Tatsumi could only hear the former in his voice. "Thank you."
"Did Tatsumi answer your question?" Tsuzuki asked, mouth full, when Hisoka returned to his desk. He had a sweet roll clutched in either hand, and a smear of jelly on his cheek that strongly suggested that he hadn't limited himself to only two pastries.
"Yes, he did," Hisoka said. He almost reached over to wipe the jelly off Tsuzuki's face, but managed to restrain himself. "Here," he said several minutes later when Tsuzuki had finished eating, handing him the napkin that he'd apparently carried to his desk and then ignored.
"Thank you, Hisoka," Tsuzuki said, smiling broadly at him, before scrubbing his face clean.
Hisoka didn't tell Tsuzuki that he would be leaving until the following Monday. By preference, he'd put off telling him even later than that, but Hisoka wanted to give Tsuzuki plenty of time to whine at him about being left behind in Meifu. Hopefully he'd get it all out of his system by Wednesday, and not cause too much difficulty for Tatsumi in Hisoka's absence.
Surprisingly, Tsuzuki put up a minimal fuss when Hisoka broke the news to him, and he only tried to wheedle Hisoka into telling him where he was going half a dozen times.
Hisoka didn't quite know why he didn't tell Tsuzuki or Tatsumi the purpose for his vacation, except that it felt vaguely shameful to be going to Earth for any reason having to do with his family. He barely remembered his cousin Tatsuya, beyond vague memories of playing together when they were very young; Tatsuya had been only a year younger than Hisoka.
They hadn't even been particularly close--they'd never really had a chance to be, since Hisoka's parents had cut him off from the rest of the family at such an early age--but Tatsuya had attended Hisoka's funeral, and Hisoka could at least offer him the same courtesy.
He'd thought that he might be angry, at the wake and at the funeral the following day: standing in the same room as the relatives who had accepted his parents' excuses and never bothered to inquire into why even a sick child would disappear so completely from the family circle. He was surprised to find instead some strange measure of calm, listening to the priest recite the sutra.
Hisoka still hated his parents for what they'd done to him, but his other relatives had been no more than ignorant, and not even willfully so. There had been no reason for them to suspect abuse; his parents had always been unstinting in their love for him until they found out what he was.
Hisoka had barely reacted when he'd learned of Tatsuya's death--an accidental drowning--but now he half-wished that they might have known each other better.
The day after the funeral, Hisoka went in to work in the morning and blinked in surprise. Tsuzuki was already there, despite the fact that there was another five minutes left on the clock until work started. Not only that, but it was a Friday.
Admittedly, Tsuzuki was occasionally on time, even on Friday mornings; these times tended to coincide with particularly bad nightmares, and the resultant effort it took to mind his own business and not intrude on Tsuzuki's privacy usually had Hisoka headachy and irritable by lunch. Today, though, Tsuzuki was practically dancing in his seat--definitely not a nightmare, then.
Hisoka frowned slightly to himself. "Hello, Tsuzuki."
"Hisoka!" Tsuzuki's face lit up even further, and he looked as though he wanted to lunge over and hug him. Thankfully, he restrained himself. "You're back!"
"I did only take two days' leave," Hisoka said dryly. "Did you get any paperwork done while I was gone?"
"Lots," Tsuzuki said, and pushed over a slim pile that was nonetheless four times as thick as Hisoka had been expecting.
"This is all done?" Hisoka asked, just to make sure.
Tsuzuki nodded. "Tatsumi said you'd probably want to see it when you came back. That's the only reason I didn't turn it in already."
--and Hisoka froze in his seat, because there was something indefinable about the pride/wonder/joy that zipped through Tsuzuki at those words, and suddenly Hisoka knew.
He couldn't keep himself from staring at Tsuzuki and Tatsumi after that, especially on the rare occasions when they interacted in the office, though he tried not to be too noticeable. Tsuzuki, at least, was oblivious to Hisoka's scrutiny. He went through each day in a sort of ebullient haze, though he was also--against all expectation--more productive than he'd ever been.
Tatsumi, on the other hand, very likely had noticed the inadvertent glances that Hisoka kept casting in his direction. He didn't say anything about it if he had, which was just about the only bright spot in this whole situation.
It wasn't that Hisoka hadn't noticed anything before, because he had. Tsuzuki was almost completely lacking in subtlety, and the depth of Tatsumi's feelings for Tsuzuki was too much to ignore, even if Tatsumi did his best not to call attention to them. But there was a difference between recognizing a certain...attraction and anticipating that the two people in question would begin a relationship. Tsuzuki and Tatsumi had known each other for decades. How was Hisoka to have known that they hadn't dismissed the idea of becoming romantically involved, but were merely being glacially slow about it?
Watari passed through the office on his way to talk to Tatsumi. He winked at Hisoka conspiratorially over Tsuzuki's head; obviously Hisoka wasn't the only one to notice the new office romance. Hisoka did his best to dredge up a smile for Watari, even as the knots in his stomach tightened even further.
Tsuzuki was generally loud enough--both physically and emotionally--for Hisoka to hear him from a considerable distance away. It was a surprise, therefore, when he stumbled across Tatsumi and Tsuzuki sharing lunch outside, unaware of their presence until they'd already spotted him and it would be rude for him to disappear without at least saying hello.
"Hisoka, do you want some lunch?" Tsuzuki asked him, his eyes shining, when Hisoka drew nearer to their table.
Hisoka barely glanced at the spread before shaking his head. "Thank you. I already ate."
"You could sit with us, then," Tsuzuki suggested, cheerfully disregarding the fact that there were only two chairs.
"No, thank you," Hisoka said. "I was on my way to the library, anyway."
"It's a pleasant place to be on a weekend," Tatsumi offered, his eyes understanding and not unsympathetic when they met Hisoka's, and Hisoka nodded.
"Yes, it is."
When the knock came at his door at ten o'clock, Hisoka was surprised not because he didn't know who it was, but because he did. Tsuzuki used to come over at all hours of the night, usually contriving to fall asleep on Hisoka's couch, as though Hisoka's entire apartment were a security blanket to keep away bad dreams. He hadn't come over since he and Tatsumi had become involved with each other, however.
Hisoka opened his door and looked up at Tsuzuki. There was an odd expression on his partner's face, and he exuded a strange mixture of embarrassment and reluctance and uncertain happiness. "Come in," Hisoka said, and Tsuzuki followed his direction.
He refused the tea that Hisoka offered politely, and they sat together in Hisoka's living room. There was an awkward silence, until Hisoka said, "Did you have something you wanted to tell me?"
Tsuzuki blushed. "Part of it, you probably already know."
"Yes," Hisoka said quickly, not wanting to hear Tsuzuki say the actual words.
Tsuzuki's answering smile was sweet enough to twist painfully in Hisoka's chest, and suddenly he was tired of the silence they'd let grow up between them, even more than he feared its lack.
"You love him," Hisoka said with certainty, and Tsuzuki's face lit up and he said:
"Oh, yes!" And then he looked at the carefully blank expression on Hisoka's face, and said hurriedly, "But, Hisoka, you know I love you, too, right?"
Hisoka gave a short nod; after all they'd been through together, he could never doubt Tsuzuki's affection for him.
Tsuzuki sighed in relief. "Okay, good. And...I know you don't like to say it, but you love me, too."
The tightness in Hisoka's chest felt as though it were suddenly torn open by Tsuzuki's words, as though Hisoka were bleeding out in front of him, but he managed to nod once more. Tsuzuki reached over to take his hand, and Hisoka stared down numbly at their clasped hands.
"Tatsumi said you wouldn't mind me telling you this. Um, if he's wrong, please don't be mad at me, but... We're waiting for you. Both of us, for as long as you need. If you want us like that." Tsuzuki's voice was quiet but steady, and Hisoka looked up at him, unable to hide the wondering expression on his face. There was a strange feeling rising inside him, growing stronger with each passing second. Hisoka didn't have much experience with the feeling, but he thought it might be hope.