A/N Another story of mine. I swear I'm working on the others and have not abandoned them, though! I got a bit inspired by the BBC Sherlock this time, though the plot is not similar to it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Loveless.
They fired him. They fucking fired him. He turns up on their doorstep as any other day in the last five months and suddenly bam! You're not working here anymore. No warning, no notice, no nothing. That's probably what indentures are for but you don't write an indenture with a half-time carer. Maybe the kid has really gotten better. Or, more probably, they have found someone better educated or more experienced than him. Someone experienced period. A year of taking care after two people doesn't probably count as experience on the job market, especially since you're not a graduate yet and don't figure on the unemployed record.
But to simply fire him without any sensible reason was atrocious. He is a struggling student, with no income to speak of and no matter how better qualified his replacement is that's not fair. He has to snort at that. Right, as if sentiments like that are respected in a capitalistic society. At least they gave him some nice references. Not that Ritsuka truly believes anyone is going to hire him looking at a now wrinkled piece of paper stating "He's great with children and very versatile." Versatile. He's not a car.
He steps into a café where he's supposed to meet Yuiko and Yayoi in an hour. He really can't afford eating out. But then, he can't afford a rent anyway now that he's without a job, so it doesn't really matter what he spends his last money on. He can very well try to get drunk on coffee, since he knows Yuiko would never let him near any alcoholic drinks. He's in the middle of sulking and starting to be inclined towards becoming a socialist when the very epitome of capitalism bumps into him and doesn't even stop to apologise. What's more, he glares at Ritsuka as if it's his fault the guy almost knocked him off the chair.
The suited Capitalism tries in vain to push up the queue, but with a mobile attached to his ear and a laptop bag in the other hand he can't achieve much when facing an outraged woman in a pink sweater who apparently doesn't buy his I'm-awfully-busy-and-rushing attitude. Deeming his attempts at getting a coffee without waiting failed, the Capitalism throws his laptop on Ritsuka's table and sits on it. Ritsuka is too shocked to react at first, but then has to fight an urge to poke the Capitalism's arse with a pen. He could really live without that view.
"He quitted", the Capitalism growls into the phone, "He came and quitted, I thought you were to write an indenture with him!"
Ritsuka finds little comfort in the knowledge he's not the only one with the 'lack of indenture' problem. Mostly because the guy faces that problem from the other side and that side is usually far more comfortable.
"No", another growl, "You fucked it up already. Just take care of those tickets while I sit and pray we're not going to land in the Kamchatka", a pause, "Yes, I'm going", an irritated bark, "Yes, I don't trust you both to get this done properly."
Ritsuka thinks he wouldn't really blame whoever quitted on the Capitalism for it.
"Listen", the Capitalism huffs, "In that case just get your arse moving and book that hotel. I'm going. I'll catch you at the airport, after I find someone to look after him."
Ritsuka curses his ears for perking up at those words.
"It can't be that difficult. It's Tokyo. There are tons of qualified and unemployed people here and it's not as if I need a shrink. I need a caretaker."
There are some words on the other side but the Capitalism just disconnects and begins to remove himself from the table. When he reaches for the laptop, Ritsuka abruptly stands up.
"Wait", he stammers, making an unspecified move towards the Capitalism.
"Yes?", the Capitalism sounds unimpressed.
Gulping, Ritsuka finally takes the man in. Probably in his late thirties, tall and dark. Neatly cropped black hair, but without the whole office worker vibe. Rather big, slightly round, dark eyes, literally boring into anyone daring enough to cross their path. Which in this case, is Ritsuka.
"Are you looking for a caretaker?", he asks quickly, suddenly feeling extremely stupid. He shouldn't be that desperate yet.
The Capitalism arches an eyebrow, giving him a look that suggests he's looking for a sane caretaker. Nevertheless, he must be really pressured by time, because he doesn't stalk away.
"Assuming that I am", he drawls, measuring Ritsuka from head to toe, "What do you want?"
"I am one", he tries to smile to break the ice. Good luck melting an iceberg. "Currently unemployed. But I have a CV and references with me, if you'd like to take a look", he's reaching for his bag as he's speaking. Maybe if he talks enough the Capitalism won't get a chance to walk away without coming across as rude. Not that the man looks to be someone who bothers with good manners.
"Do you want me to believe you're just walking around caring your CV and showing it to passer-bys?", the Capitalism folds his arms.
Wow. That was blunt. Ritsuka truly wants to convince himself it's only blunt and not threatening. Once you let yourself notice that, the Capitalism does seem dangerous.
Better to appease him. It may be his imagination after all. He probably finds every stranger potentially dangerous after the events from his childhood. The Capitalism may be simply strict.
"Uhm, no, not really", he smiles again, this time in embarrassment, "It's only that I've got fired today that I have the references. The CVs though, yeah, I tend to carry them with me. To leave at cafes and such."
The Capitalism twists his lips. It doesn't really resemble a smile.
"Oh, just my luck you've got fired today."
Ritsuka wonders why he even bothers. The Capitalism clearly isn't interested. But that doesn't give him a right to mock him or act as if he was trying to trick him into gods only know what.
"Look", he bristles, shutting his bag close, "I'm not throwing myself at you. I just thought you're in a dire need of a caretaker, not that I intentionally eavesdropped your conversation, it was you who parked your backside on my table, which was downright rude by the way", he has to pause to take a breath. The Capitalism begins to look amused. Bastard, "So I thought: if the guy needs help, why not offer it? I need a job, he needs a caretaker. But I don't need a job so much that I have to deal with your attitude problem."
The Capitalism laughs.
Ritsuka can't prevent his ears from flattening.
"Attitude problem?", the man smirks, "No one has ever dared to suggest I may have one, kid. Okay", he pats Ritsuka's head and Ritsuka has to grit his teeth so he doesn't end up biting him, "Show me that CV of yours. As you've noted, I'm desperate. My plane leaves in five hours."
Ritsuka's tongue wants to comment that he should have solved the problem a little bit earlier instead of now taking his frustrations out on strangers but his mind tells it to keep it to itself. He takes out a CV and hands it to the Capitalism.
The man scans it briefly.
"23?", he wrinkles his nose, "You're not a graduate yet?"
"No, but I have all the necessary courses. Plus, I'm the best in my year", a bit of exaggeration, but he's advertising himself here. And it's not as if the Capitalism keeps tags on Psychology students.
Even though he smirks at him as if he did.
"You've cared after three people till now?", the Capitalism smoothly moves onto another subject, "What has become of them?", he inquires in a tone that implies Ritsuka should be hold guilty of their premature deaths.
He mentally steels himself.
"The first one, a girl, required help after a surgery. Basically, she couldn't move around much", he looks straight into the man's mocking eyes, "After she got better, a caretaker was no longer needed. The second one moved out. He was a mild case of depression and my role was to keep him occupied. The last one", he bits his lips, "Actually, I don't know why I got fired. He was a mildly handicapped boy."
The Capitalism doesn't even bat an eye. Whenever Ritsuka remembers his charges, he feels bad for them. All young, all sad and so alone. They needed a friend rather than a caretaker. He tried to be that for them. Which is why he feels as depressed as they now they don't see each other anymore.
"They don't sound like hard cases", the Capitalism says and Ritsuka knows he does it only out of common courtesy. "The case I have for you is that of a 'mild depression', as you have professionally put it", mocking again.
"Was it recognised by a specialist?", he decides not to pick up the gauntlet. Honestly, depression has never been his strong point. He has already covered it more or less at school, but it tends to make him feel as blue as the patients.
"Of course", the Capitalism nods curtly, "It's nothing serious. Don't worry, I'm not putting you on a suicide watch."
"Uhm, yeah, about that", Ritsuka frowns a bit, "What exactly is that you want me to do?"
The Capitalism looks at him as if he has just irreparably messed up his daily schedule.
"Your charge is six years older than you", he offers emotionlessly, glancing at his Hublot, "A man, or rather, a boy. Not exactly a grown-up. You're to stay with him for a week, make sure he eats and sleeps. Feel free to talk to him, but don't get your hopes high that he's going to reply. Water the plants when you're at it."
All Ritsuka's mind registers are 'a week' and 'water the plants'.
"Stay with him? As in, non-stop?"
"I believe I said so."
"But that's impossible!", Ritsuka flushes at the passionate exclamation. It was him who begged for the job in the first place, after all. "I mean, I have school…"
The Capitalism looks states it's not his problem.
"I know, I've read the CV", he makes a face. Ritsuka can swear he has already seen those elegant, slightly theatrical grimaces before, but he can't remember where he could have met the man. He definitely has. The I'm-of-a-better-substance-than-you expressions are distinguishable. "And I understand you're trying to sound attractive as a job candidate here", he smirks again.
As he's talking, Ritsuka goes through all possible reasons for knowing the man. Can it be that they have stood on the opposite sides of a battlefield once? Back when Ritsuka was still a part of the fighting world? Before Soubi left him for Seimei, breaking the already fragile heart of the child he once was? That was probable. The fact the Capitalism hasn't recognised him isn't surprising too: the first thing Ritsuka did after becoming of age was changing his surname. He was fed up with being compared or associated with his brother, so just after his birthday party he made a beeline to the nearest civil department and demanded to have his name changed. Fortunately he met a clerk who had clearly missed his calling in life and was actually helpful. He even helped him to come up with a good reason for all the paperwork he forced him to produce.
So if the Capitalism is someone from that past life, he won't probably make a connection. It takes Ritsuka a while to wake up his sacrifice's senses and try to feel the man's aura. Definitely too weak for a fighter, but there are some traces of magic in it. Enough for a sacrifice. Not a strong one like Seimei, but someone like Midori or that Fearless guy. He's quite curious if the Capitalism is currently sensing him too.
Then he becomes aware of the man's impatient glare.
"Yeah, well, I guess I should have been prepared for that", Ritsuka scratches his arm to hide embarrassment at being rebuked and lost in his thoughts, "It's just that I have only ever worked part-time, with me being a student and all, but I guess a week off won't be that disastrous to my education…", he trails off, noticing the Capitalism isn't listening anyway. He curses inwardly, already making up some more or less believable story for his GP.
"Then it's settled", the Capitalism smiles for the first time and his expression just screams fake. Yet it's polite and you can't be fussy when it comes to your employers.
Ritsuka is ready to ask for details (noting that the Capitalism doesn't look inclined to provide them on his own), when the man's phone goes off. He nods that it's okay to answer to make himself feel more important. He knows the man would answer despite his protest.
"Yes", he barks as soon as the right button is pressed. Then listens to whoever is on the other side, "Splendid. So he can book a hotel. Pity he can't book the right one. Remind me why he's not demoted yet." The Capitalism rolls his eyes at the explanation, clearly pissed. "I see. Yes, he's not the kind of man we can say no to, now is he?", he makes it sound the guy is exactly the kind of man 'they' can tell to sod off. "I'm coming."
Ritsuka can't hide his alarm at that. He's getting a job here and the Capitalism just gets called away by someone he can say no to?
"Taken care of", the man continues, barely sparing him a glance as he picks up his laptop, "Look, I appreciate your concern but stick to your timetable. I'm more than capable of holding my own without your intervention", another roll of black eyes, "Yes, and I'm your boss. Now go and entertain our esteemed guest while I force my way through the rush hours."
When he takes the first step towards the door, Ritsuka waves a goodbye to his dignity and launches himself at the man.
"Oh, it's still you", the Capitalism sends his a mildly annoyed look, "You're hired", he tells him slowly as if Ritsuka was retarded, "Now please detach yourself from my leg."
Ritsuka hastily backs away a step or two, taking a deep breath to calm himself down. He wasn't even touching the man.
"Thank you", he's determined to show Mister Important Capitalist how civilised people conduct their business, "Are you willing to provide more details, sir?", he realises it's a bit too late to start calling the man 'sir' and judging by the smirk on the Capitalism's face so does he.
"I'll pick you up in two hours", he informs and whirls back as if that solved everything.
"Wait!", Ritsuka jogs after him, "Where will you pick me up from?"
"From here of course", the man sighs and rolls his eyes, "Stay here and wait."
"But when do I start?"
"Immediately after I pick you up", even the strictest of Ritsuka's professors doesn't manage to make him feel like a dim-witted insect like that suited man.
"But my stuff", the boy stammers. Later, he's going to curse himself that he didn't protest in a more intelligent way.
"You have two hours. Surely you're able to collect all the necessary things", the Capitalism shrugs and stalks away.
Only when he has already disappeared in the crowd on the pavement Ritsuka realises he doesn't even know the man's name.
After a ridiculous jog to his small flat and back Ritsuka begins to wonder how stupid he can get. Surly the man didn't really mean to employ him. He gave him no contact number, no name, no address. He probably went to an agency straight after their talk and got a real caretaker, assuming he truly needed one.
So now Ritsuka is sitting in the café, nursing at a cappuccino, a small rucksack under his chair, waiting for his friends to arrive and mock him. He's almost ready to join them.
Yayoi is the first to come. He strolls to Ritsuka's table furiously and greets his friend by throwing a camera on his lap. Or rather what is left of it.
"Hello to you too", Ritsuka comments dryly, picking up poor remnants of a Sony.
Yayoi throws himself on a small sofa, snorts and crosses his arms.
"Care to elaborate?"
The other boy bumps his fist on the table, causing Ritsuka to involuntarily jump up and other patrons to glare in disapproval. Then, he hides his head in his arms and ruffles his hair in frustration. Yayoi's hair no longer reaches his waist. It's now short and spikey due to a fair share of a styling gel. The tips are bleached.
Finally, he gets himself under control.
"Those bloody cretins think that just because they carry around a Japan Times' identity card they can push around us lesser mortals", he growls and takes a sip of Ritsuka's coffee. "How can you drink that sweet water is beyond me", he winces after drinking half of the cup.
Ritsuka purses his lips but says nothing. A loss of a camera is always a hard trial. He can relate.
"They knocked you around?", he grins, thinking that Yayoi is kind of easy to manhandle. His height still isn't impressive.
"No, they knocked the camera from my hands", the boy protests, "I saved the memory card, though."
"Maybe it's high time to carry those on straps", comes a new voice and they both spin around to face Yuiko.
She's unusually late but it's understandable as the end of the term is nearing and she has to complete all of her assignments. They all do, but Ritsuka and Yayoi are trying to be manly about it and tease her about being a nerd. They're both going to be panicking three days before the deadline.
Yuiko has changed since their first meeting. She's no longer a bullied, silly girl with pink pigtails even though she still calls him Ritsuka-kun when she wants something from him or scolds him. Four years ago she dyed her hair brown and has been consistently keeping them that kind of natural shade since then. She tells them it makes her look smarter. They both think hair has little to do with intelligence, but they have to agree (albeit reluctantly) that some people may disagree. But as Yuiko (yes, the silly Yuiko) is now a leading Marketing student there are no doubts about her wits. Somewhere along the road she deemed her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher unambitious. Ritsuka has hard time remembering why he used to find it funny, her determination to get to a prestigious high school and then university. She's the one with the promising future now, while Ritsuka and Yayoi are doing their best not to make fools of themselves. Or too much of fools.
"Try taking a good picture while your camera is hanging from your neck, strangling you", Yayoi hisses and Ritsuka nods earnestly. They're going to form a mutual front against her female lack of understanding of the beauty of capturing a moment.
"Oh", she coos, sitting down and rearranging her big bracelet, "So you were standing in the last row again and had to reach out to actually take a photo?", she smiled sweetly, getting rid of the wrinkles on her shirt.
Yuiko's fashion style has changed along with her hair and attitude. No more total pink look for her. She wears that colour as any other fashionista in this season, but only perfectly matched with other shades. Ritsuka personally thinks she looks like from a fashion magazine.
"The idiots from the Japan Times took the first row", he provides helpfully and his intentions get appreciated when his friend's foott meets his knee under the table.
"So what were you photographing this time? By the way, weren't you meant to write an article?"
Surprisingly, the hard-working, nerdy Yayoi is now completing his third year of studying Journalism. He's got a sixth sense of spotting affairs but unfortunately, his arm is still too short. He tries to make up for it with enthusiasm and a hell of a temper, but so far it has earned him several bruises and roughing-ups, as well as keeps driving his professor and mentor up the wall. The boy is deaf to the warning of those concerned with his well-being to wait till the graduation before starting a more exciting career.
"A reportage", Yayoi corrects her, "You have to accumulate some material for those. You can't just write it from thin air."
"But don't you think you're taking it a tad bit too far?", Yuiko points to the camera's corpse with her mint-painted finger. "I'm sure your professor didn't want you to trail after some rascal."
"It wasn't a rascal", the spikey-haired boy parrots after her, "I was waiting for the end of the court case: Nakashima vs Japan."
"Nakashima? The clubs guy? One suspected of ties with the yakuza?", Ritsuka regrets this show of knowledge when he notices Yuiko's tense face and Yayoi's sheepish smile. The two of them aren't together, have only been once and mutually agreed it was a disaster of the century. But Yuiko treats them both like a mother hen.
"Yes, that Nakashima", Yayoi spats at him, glaring daggers.
"I thought you're to stay away from criminals, mister!", Yuiko smacks him but her eyes stay serious. Ritsuka and Yayoi agree she's worrying too much.
"There were tons of photo-reporters there", Yayoi shrugs, "I doubt he'll go after me in particular. Besides, they let him go. Not enough evidence and a witness withdrawing his statement", he informs grimly, rubbing his eyes. He doesn't wear glasses now. He got a laser surgery three years ago.
Ritsuka does, though. Big, round ones that remind Yayoi of Harry Potter and are a cause of Yuiko's constant distress. She advices him to buy contacts but he can't afford them. Besides, he likes his glasses, even though they tend to be impractical.
"So you now have to find another subject", Yuiko chirps flippantly, the lines around her mouth suggesting there will be repercussions if he doesn't.
Yayoi nods solemnly, looking properly abashed, but as soon as the girl stands up to make an order, he winks at Ritsuka. Ritsuka shakes his head. Yayoi is incorrigible. He's going to write a reportage on Nakashima, probably get it published in some newspaper and then he's going to try to find more ammunition against the guy. Hopefully Nakashima won't find the overzealous student worthy of his attention. Then, the boy joins Yuiko in the queue and Ritsuka is left alone with his rucksack and ever-ticking watch.
"I'm throwing a small part next weekend", Yuiko smiles at them when they're back, "A really small one, just us, Yun and… Ahmmm… What was her name, Yayoi?", she takes a sip of her latte to hide her uneasiness about forgetting her friend's girlfriend's name again. Well, he changes them so fast it's hard to keep a track.
"Ayame", he answers unperturbed, "But we're kind of no longer together."
"Kind of?", Ritsuka arches an brow.
"She hasn't called in three days. Neither have I", the other shrugs, "So I guess we've broken up. Anyway, she's never been worth the trouble."
"No wonder they all leave you", Yuiko frowns, "You treat them like shit."
"Oh, you hurt me", Yayoi places his hands on his heart, "You know I'm very romantic. And Ayame wasn't even close to your league."
Ritsuka chuckles at that.
"You still compare them all to Yuiko? It's a miracle their patience even lasts a week!"
"Of course I compare them", the spikey-haired photographer rolls his eyes, "She's my friend, plus she dumped me. Several times. I look for the exact opposite", he grins cheekily what earns him another smack from Yuiko.
"Well, just so you know – I do just the same!", she says haughtily and Ritsuka shakes his head. He's not sure their decision about a break-up was a right one. But who is he to judge others' relationships? He has never had any, which probably marks him as a total failure compared to his friends: a Casanova and a Femme Fatale.
"So how are you doing, Ritsuka-kun?", Yuiko props her chin in her hand. He knows she's waiting for a name of a girl he's taking to her party.
"Yeah, how is Eiko?", Yayoi joins her, happy to have escaped further investigation. It would have led to a discovery of some very-compromising-photo-material.
"Emiko", Ritsuka reluctantly corrects, "Well, it didn't work out", he admits, lowering his head.
"Pity", Yuiko does her best to sound sympathetic.
"Big surprise", Yayoi, on the other hand, doesn't hide his amusement.
Ritsuka would never admit it even under the pain of death, but Yayoi is completely right. He just can't keep a girlfriend for the life of his. For one reason or another, they all leave as soon as he lets himself hope that they may actually stay.
"Don't worry, I knew from the start she didn't deserve you", Yuiko states firmly, apparently forgetting she was the one who introduced Emiko to him.
Yayoi's memory is better, though, and he starts to laugh. Ritsuka looks at his watch despite himself. Maybe the Capitalism will come after all and spare him the tirade about his hopelessness at romance and flirting.
"Well", Yuiko doesn't relent: he knew she wouldn't, "Maybe you should entertain the possibility of dating a guy then."
He can only gape at her. Luckily, Yayoi cuts in.
"Oh come on Yuiko, just because he's never had a girlfriend and doesn't find any girls attractive doesn't mean he's gay."
Thanks for help.
"But he did find Soubi attractive", the girl pushes, pouting.
"He was what, twelve then? He hardly knew that his dick was for anything other than relieving himself, much less where he'd like to stick it!"
"Yayoi!", they both shout in unison: Ritsuka wishing for the earth to swallow him, Yuiko more out of the sense of propriety than actually feeling offended.
"Alright, sorry", the boy puts his hands up defensively, "But I'm essentially right. You just want to make him gay with all your being", he scowls at her.
"I do not!", Yuiko looks irritated, "But you have to admit he may be one!"
"Maybe he's bi", Yayoi concludes, "He does comment of girls' looks from time to time. Though he tends to act like a total poof too."
Yuiko nods with pursed lips and Ritsuka has had enough.
"Guys", he sighs, "I appreciate your concern, but don't talk about me as if I wasn't there!"
Yuiko finds that a perfect suggestion.
"So, are you gay or not?", she smiles brightly at him, playing with her coffee, "I don't know if I should keep Yun away from you or not."
Before he can reply with proper indignation, Yayoi cuts in.
"If you have reasons to worry about it, tell the guy to sod off."
"Well, I don't", she says defensively, "But he's hot, so…"
"He has you and would look at someone else?"
"Who knows. He's kind of an idol for my year."
"Dump him", Yayoi takes a gulp of his espresso.
"You're not telling me what to do!", she crosses her arms.
"If you don't see you're dating a player and a parasite, I will."
"He's not a player!"
"But a parasite!"
"At least he doesn't look like a hedgehog who got paint spilt all over him!"
"But like a wet cat!"
"Feel free not to come to my party!"
"Oh, but I feel free to come! And punch his stupid Persian face!"
"See? You're admitting he looks handsome! Persians have great facial bones!"
"Not Persian as in Iranian! Persian as in cats!"
Ritsuka tunes them out. The party will probably be cancelled anyway. They can go on for hours and then stalk away with a vow to never talk to each other again. He'll be the one having to withstand constant calls from both sides, with complaints and threats under the address of the supposed offender. The exact moment he decides it may be for real this time and actually gets involved, they will suddenly show up on his doorstep chirping like lovebirds in spring. Better not to let the conflict escalate.
"I've got fired", he announces.
Nothing. Another exchange of less and less sophisticated jibes.
"I've got fired", he tries again, now appropriately depressed. "Today."
They don't sound happy. If there is one thing they always agree on, it is Ritsuka's choice of part-time job. Yuiko thinks it too hazardous to his charges. Yayoi thinks him mad for wanting to surround himself with all those pitiful people. He has nothing against the handicapped, but he blames them for Ritsuka's grim mood. And he blames their guardians for Ritsuka's low income.
"That's perfect", Yuiko smiles and they both stare at her as if she has sprouted a new head.
"Ehm, Yuiko? He got kicked, you got that?", Yayoi elbows her conspiratorially. Ritsuka pretends not to notice. If the two of them were secret agents, they would meet their demise on their first mission.
"Of course I did", she pats him like a dumb child, "But I got him a new one."
Yuiko has appointed herself to be his personal agent long ago, but that is the first time she earned her keep. Maybe she has been practising her marketing skills and he was the most hopeless case she could find. She has always liked a challenge on her projects – she gets a better grade for it.
"Yup. I asked around and voilà", she rummages through her bag and produces a yellowish paper, "Starbucks next to the uni. You start next week."
"Starbucks?", Ritsuka eyes the paper suspiciously. They have never even accepted a CV, "Are you sure?"
"Of course I am. Yun works here, he told me they have a vacancy", she looks smugly at Yayoi, daring him to criticise her Persian cat now it turned out to be so useful.
"But I've never worked at a café", Ritsuka says absent-mindedly when he's scanning through the paper. That's why he doesn't see Yayoi's hand coming until it smacks the breath out of him when it connects with his back.
"Come on, man! That's a café. You don't have to be an experienced genius to work there. Cheer up, she actually did you a favour this time", a clear allusion to Emiko and other less successful attempts at matchmaking.
"Sure I did", Yuiko tries to contain her pride but fails, "My professor does say I can even sell a broken toothbrush after all."
"Thanks", Ritsuka snorts. "So I start next week?"
"Yeah. You can crash at my place till then", Yuiko apparently thinks he's so broke they have cut off his electricity, hot water and barred his door. A daughter of a pair of very prominent businessmen.
"And deal with your sex kitten?", Yayoi throws his arm around Ritsuka's shoulder, "Never! He's staying with me!"
"Guys, wait", Ritsuka waves his hands, "It's cool of you, but I've got a job for that week."
"Seriously? But you've just lost the last one", Yuiko doesn't find him capable of taking such a quick action.
"Seriously", he deadpans, "I met a guy here. He offered me a job."
"What? Some stranger just came up and said: 'I've got a hot position waiting for you'?", Yayoi is already smelling a scandal. A journalist here.
"No. I overheard him talking on a phone about needing a caretaker. I offered myself."
"Who's the charge?"
"Well, I'm not sure", he admits sheepishly, "A mild case of depression. Apparently unwilling to talk but rather capable of taking care of his basic needs", he realises he doesn't really know anything specific. Maybe the man felt uncomfortable talking about it. But then, he didn't look like someone avoiding a difficult subject. "All I have to do is stay with him for a week, overseeing his daily activities."
"A week? You never take full-time jobs."
"That's just for a week, a temporary state. And the guy is not a tiring case."
"Have you read some note from a specialist?", Yuiko frowns. He knows she's preparing a full rant, but waits for him to compromise himself on his own before.
"No. But the guy looked to know what he's talking about. A no-nonsense businessman. He was in a rush, no one carries such documents with them", he's well aware he's babbling. He's not sure who he's defending, though: himself or the Capitalism.
"Of course", Yuiko and Yayoi exchange meaningful looks. Ritsuka bristles. He may not be as successful as them, but he's not a toddler unable to find himself a job and not get killed in the process! It's Yayoi who's risking his hide unnecessarily and he never gets those pitying stares.
"Oh come on, he's a reliable person!"
"If you say so. But I'm still asking for the name and a number of that 'reliable person' you'll be staying with for a week."
"In fact, I'm not staying with him. He leaves for a trip", or at least he suspects so. There was some talk about hotels and airports.
"You're staying just with the charge?", Yayoi makes a face, "That's bloody hard."
"I'll manage. You don't get it like I do, but it's really almost nothing. I've already looked after Fujiyama-san, that's pretty much the same condition at his", he can bet his arm Yayoi doesn't remember Fujiyama-san, but he also knows he's not going to admit that.
"The number", Yuiko takes out her phone to write it down.
Ritsuka's inwardly squirming.
"I don't have it", he mutters with a pained expression.
Yuiko purses her lips.
"The name, then", she glares at him.
Fuck, that's not fair. The guy simply forgot to give it, right? Yuiko wasn't there, she won't understand he was in such a hurry and it's nothing to hold against him, besides, he will probably not get here at all…
"I don't know."
"What?", she throws her mobile on the table, "How can you not know?"
Even Yayoi gives him an incredulous look.
"We made a deal in a hurry, alright? He must have forgotten to say and I forgot to ask!"
"How can you even know where to go?", Yayoi takes a practical approach.
"He could be a murderer!", Yuiko takes a dramatic one.
"He's going to pick me up and don't be ridiculous, he's not", he rolls his eyes. He may have his own suspicions but they're not that far-fetched.
Yuiko looks really cross with him as if he has just told her he got her best friend pregnant and then discovered he's gay. Yayoi seems to be amused with his naïveté.
"Right, man", he clasps his shoulder, "If he comes for you, which I doubt, make sure to take photos. The story will be damn good."
"At least you find me a future tabloid case, not a mortuary one", Ritsuka replies sulkily.
"Well", Yayoi shrugs, "Death sells like nothing else."
Ritsuka shows him his tongue and then his mobile goes off. He scrambles to get it out and frowns at the reserved number. His friends send him questioning glances.
"Uhm, yes?", he accepts the call.
"Watanabe Ritsuka?", he hears a smooth baritone.
"Who's asking?", he demands nervously. Damn, but Yuiko's rambling got to him.
"Oh boy. It's me, not your creditor. I'm waiting in front of the café", he finally recognises the Capitalism. He doesn't sound dangerous at all. Maybe a bit irritated, "Hurry up, my plane leaves in two hours."
Ritsuka nods, then remembers the man can't see him and agrees verbally. The man disconnects.
"Who's that?", Yuiko crosses her arms.
"My new employer", he's already reaching for his rucksack.
"How come he has your number when you don't have his?", even Yayoi looks worried now. Unnecessarily, this is completely inconspicuous.
"He has my CV. There's my number on it", he shakes his head at their panic.
"Oh, right", Yayoi grins at how he let himself get carried away.
"Then give me his", Yuiko isn't going to relent.
"Ups, sorry, it's a reserved one", he smiles at her apologetically.
"I don't like this", she informs when he's already at the door.
"Really? I wouldn't have guessed", he kisses her cheek, "Relax, Yuiko. I'm going to call you as soon as I get to his place, alright? Don't worry too much. There's no need", he stresses, "And stop watching those thrillers."
She doesn't look convinced when he rushes out but he has to fight an urge to laugh at her. Such imagination. Hopefully Yayoi will explain it to her. But then, the journalist-wannabe has a hell of imagination on his own.
He glances around, not spotting the Capitalism anywhere. Several men walk past him, but no familiar figure.
"Watanabe Ritsuka?", he turns at the female voice.
A couple of steps away, a young woman is standing. Petite, wearing a kind of a white tunic Yuiko would fawn at, a black jacket and skinny black trousers. She's typing on her mobile, not even looking at him.
"Yes?", he comes up to her, afraid he's approaching a wrong person.
"Hello", still not looking up, "The car is over here", not waiting for his reply, she begins to stroll towards a sleek black Mercedes.
He's still gaping at it when she opens the door for him. Never. Stopping. Typing. Incredible, though a bit creepy.
He moves past her, smiling apologises for his slow reaction time and slides into the car.
"Hello again", the Capitalism greets him, "My PA found you, I presume?"
The woman takes a place next to a driver in response.
"Perfect", the man smirks. "You've called the airport to wait for us?", Ritsuka momentarily forgotten, he turns to the PA.
She nods. Typing.
"Good", the Capitalism relaxes a bit into his seat.
Ritsuka, on the other hand, can't.
The plane is waiting for them. Who the hell are those people? And what has he got himself into this time?
A/N Comments are apperaciated :)