TITLE: The Baker's Son
SUMMARY: Kame's eyes were shining the way they always did when he was baking, and Tatsuya felt his breath catch in his throat.
GENRE: Fluff, romance.
DISCLAIMER: Do not own. Title belongs to Birds of Tokyo.
A/N: For the ever-lovelypaint_asmile.
Tatsuya had known Kame for years, ever since Kame was three and had run into the cafe shrieking happily about the flowers outside. Tatsuya had been six back then, patiently sitting on one of the stools at the counter when he had burst in, swinging his legs a little.
"Hey," Kame had said, grinning widely at Tatsuya, "Hey. There're flowers outside!"
Tatsuya had stared. "What?"
Kame had wrinkled his nose. "Flowers! Outside!"
Kame had squealed and rushed back out, crouching next to the flowerbed outside the cafe as Tatsuya just watched him. He found out later that his name was Kazuya, and his family now worked in the store nextdoor to their little cafe. They were making it into a bakery, his mother told him, and a few weeks later there was the tantalising smell of baking bread floating into the cafe from outside.
The two had become best friends very quickly, and twenty years later, nothing had changed.
Tatsuya laughed as he turned, seeing Kame crouching by the flowerbed in his white apron and hat, a smile upon his face. "Kame!" he called from behind the counter, and Kame stood.
"Don't you have work to do?"
Kame poked his tongue out. "Don't you have customers to serve?"
Tatsuya laughed, turning as a customer was subtly trying to grab his attention. He took her order quickly, with the ease of someone who had been doing this for years, his writing horribly messy as he wrote while she spoke.
The place was never that busy. Not that Tatsuya minded, he preferred it like this. There were only a small cluster of shops in the town - Kame's bakery being one of them - and there was always a steady trickle of customers, but never a big rush. And that was okay. Tatsuya never liked being too rushed.
It was lunchtime when Kame waltzed in, carrying a tray of rolls. "Don't help me, I'm fine," he said sarcastically, as Tatsuya completely ignored him and focused on making a cappucino.
"Good," was all Tatsuya said, not even looking up as Kame placed the tray down.
"These are for you, sir," Kame said, bowing dramatically. Tatsuya rolled his eyes, setting the cappucino down infront of his customer.
"And that still isn't funny," Tatsuya deadpanned. Kame pouted slightly. "Thanks for the rolls, by the way."
"I slaved hard over those," Kame said, and Tatsuya rolled his eyes, "You should be grateful."
"Yes, I am ever so grateful Kazuya," Tatsuya said, and Kame pulled a face.
"Now you're just being mean." Tatsuya grinned, beginning to put the rolls away into the display cabinet. Kame leant against the counter, just watching.
"Do you want anything?" Tatsuya asked, feeling awkward under Kame's stare, but Kame just shook his head. "Get back to the bread, then."
Kame laughed. "Fine, I see I'm not welcome anymore," he said, drumming on the top of the counter abnoxiously loud before twirling a little and walking away. Tatsuya shook his head.
As much as Tatsuya and Kame bickered, though, Tatsuya couldn't deny that Kame had a special place in his heart. Kame had been there when no-one else was. When his mother died - car accident - the person he turned to was Kame. There were no second thoughts. Kame knew everything about him, and Tatsuya knew everything about Kame.
It was kind of scary to know that there was someone who knew everything about you, but for some reason, Tatsuya didn't really mind. As long as it was Kame.
But there was one thing... one thing that Kame didn't know.
Tatsuya wasn't so sure that he wanted Kame to know.
Tatsuya had fallen for him. Kind of. Completely.
It was completely unbidden, and had kind of crept up on Tatsuya. One minute he was laughing at Kame's crooked nose, the next he was wondering what it was like to kiss him. There was always this little tug at his heart whenever Kame smiled, or when he snuck him an extra cupcake when his father wasn't paying attention.
Kame always had time for Tatsuya.
"Thinking about a certain baker?" a voice murmured into his ear, and he jumped.
"Nakamaru, I swear, one day I am going to punch you in a very bad place if you keep doing that!" Tatsuya all but shrieked, turning to the man, who smirked as he tied his apron around his waist.
"Whatever. You're all talk," Nakamaru grinned. Tatsuya hit him.
"I wasn't thinking about him, anyway," Tatsuya lied, moving around to the front of the counter and cleaning the glass of the display.
Nakamaru rolled his eyes. "Oh shut up."
Tatsuya glared at him. "Go serve table four; they've been waiting for scones and green tea for ten minutes."
"Why haven't you served them?" Nakamaru groaned, "I only just got here!"
"I was waiting for you, obviously."
"Whatever," Nakamaru said, checking the order and grimacing at Tatsuya's handwriting. "You'd better get a move on or Kamenashi won't be single anymore."
Tatsuya's hand slipped from where it was wiping the glass. "What do you mean?"
"I mean... he's twenty three, Ueda. He's going to find someone soon. What will you do if that someone isn't you?" Nakamaru slipped away, preparing the scones for table four, leaving Tatsuya thinking hard.
What would he do if Kame found someone? Sure, they had girlfriends in high school - Ueda had a brief fling with a male classmate - but nothing really serious. Kame was at the age where he should be thinking about his future, about love and getting a pretty little girlfriend who his parents loved because she could make perfect croissants.
Tatsuya couldn't make croissants.
It was six o'clock and he was locking up, sighing as he closed the door behind him. "See you tomorrow, Kawasaki-san," he said to the woman who worked in the homeware store next to his cafe, and she bowed back with a little confused expression on her face. She always forgot who he was. Tatsuya was sure that she still thought that he was that little six year old she used to teach to make origami cranes.
Turning, he realised that the lights of the bakery were still on. "Kame?" he called, opening the door.
"In the back!"
Walking into the bakery was always a little like being embraced by the scent of baking bread. Even though the shop was closed and the ovens turned off, the smell still lingered, and Tatsuya loved it.
"What're you doing?" Tatsuya asked, leaning against the table in the middle of the room, watching Kame roll dough into the right shape.
"Practising," Kame said absentmindedly, twisting the dough into shapes before frowning and rolling it flat again. Tatsuya smiled.
He stood there watching him for a while, admiring his dedication to his work. "Hey, Kame," he said suddenly, standing up a little straighter.
Tatsuya was silent. Kame looked up expectantly, waiting for him to continue. "Tatsuya? You okay?"
Kame's eyes were shining the way they always did when he was baking, and Tatsuya felt his breath catch in his throat. "Yeah," he managed, "I'm fine." Kame smiled a little, and went back to his work, sighing when the dough was rolled too thin.
Tatsuya felt his heart beat faster as Kame locked eyes with him again. "Are you sure?" he asked, his tone quiet as his fingers picked at the dough on the table. "You don't seem okay."
"You always see right through me," Tatsuya laughed nervously. Kame flicked a piece of dough at him.
"Of course I do," he said, going back to rolling it out again, carefully pushing his hair out of his face. "I'm your best friend."
Tatsuya's heart thudded erratically against his chest. "Yeah..."
Kame had left the dough on the table, running his hands through the flour left on the surface of the wood. "You're not telling me somethi--"
"I can't make croissants, okay?" Tatsuya suddenly blurted, and Kame looked at him.
"I can't. I can't make croissants, or make cookies, or ice cupcakes the way you do," Tatsuya found himself saying. Kame knitted his eyebrows.
"What are you talking about? I'll help you make them, if you want," Kame said, confused.
"No, that's not the point--" Tatsuya ran a hand through his hair. "It's fine. Forget about it." Nakamaru's words were getting to him.
"No," Kame said pointedly, "I want to know what's wrong."
He was coming closer, walking around the table with that determined expression on his face, and Tatsuya couldn't look him in the eye anymore. Kame was suddenly in his personal space. "Tatsuya," he murmured. "Tatsuya, what is it?"
Tatsuya made the mistake of looking from the floor back to Kame's eyes, and his resolve crumbled. He moved forward a little, pressing his lips lightly to the corner of Kame's mouth before jerking back with the realisation of what he had done.
Kame's eyes were wide in shock when Tatsuya dared to check. "Did you ju--"
"Yes, okay, I'm sorry, I'll go now and go drown myself in tea," Tatsuya rambled, pushing away from the wall, but Kame was pulling him back.
"No, it's alright," Kame said, voice soft.
But Kame was carefully placing shaking hands onto his cheeks and drawing him in. Tatsuya felt his breath catch. "What are you doing?" he whispered, but Kame just shook his head.
"Tatsuya, for once, just shut up," he laughed, before finally kissing him.
Kame was warm. Kame was warm and smelt of bread, and Tatsuya melted into the kiss, kissing back carefully. Just in case Kame changed his mind.
Kame kissed him again and again and again. Tatsuya could feel Kame's rapid heartbeat from where his chest was pressed against his own, his hands still firmly on his cheeks, as if scared Tatsuya was going to run.
They pulled away for a moment, Kame finally dropping his hands from his face. "I've been wanting to do that since I was fifteen," Kame whispered rather breathlessly. His face was red, Tatsuya noticed, and it made him smile.
"Yeah..." Kame ducked his head a little, trying to hide the redness on his cheeks.
Tatsuya smiled. "I've been kind of in love with you since then, too."
Kame laughed. "Well. We've been idiots, then," he said, looking back to Tatsuya, who smiled even wider. He didn't think it were possible. "You've got flour on your face now," he said sheepishly.
Tatsuya wiped his face, laughing when he saw the flour on his hands. "I guess I should get used to that."
"Yeah," Kame said, bringing him into a hug. "You should."