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Christmas Cookies

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While most people enjoyed a break during the holidays toward the end of the year, it was an incredibly busy time for a fashion designer like Makishima. Christmas brought with it an array of possible sales from sexy Santa costumes to ugly Christmas sweaters. His brother insisted he had a talent for making the latter, which Makishima didn’t agree with, but he was fine with them if it meant he didn’t have to design the former.

Needless to say, he’d barely slept the past weeks, but now, on the 24th of December, everything had to be done, and whatever wasn’t wouldn’t get done anymore. But he still didn’t have much time to rest. New Years was coming up, and he still needed to finalize some designs for that, especially something “fancy and inspired by traditional wear” that he could show off at the New Years gala he was invited to attend. His brother had accepted the invitation for him, saying it was a great chance to make their Japanese branch more widely known, while totally ignoring that ‘traditional’ was exactly everything Makishima’s designs were not.

He wasn’t making any progress on that though, so he’d taken on the equally unpleasant task of answering to e-mails that were asking about statements for some of his previous designs or just his whole work of the past year, all aiming to include them in some kind of article that reviewed the year as it came to an end. Words weren’t his forte, so Makishima had procrastinated answering, meaning they were now piling up in his inbox.

Just as he’d copy-pasted his usual polite greeting and intro text that he only slightly modified by adding names and other relevant info into the spaces left for them, his doorbell rang. Makishima’s first instinct was to ignore it. He wasn’t expecting any online deliveries, and he hadn’t ordered takeout yet either. Maybe he should soon, it was already pitch-black outside now that he paid attention. But then, it was only 5:30pm, so no need to rush.

The doorbell rang again. Damn, seemed like he actually had to answer the door if he wanted to continue working in peace.

He realized the mistake in his logic as soon as he opened the door. How could he work in peace if the man standing at his door was the definition of annoying? While Makishima didn’t know his name, he still recognized his next-door-neighbour. He was the kind of guy who looked annoyingly cheery when going for his morning jog at 6am, which Makishima only ever witnessed when he’d pulled an all-nighter and was making himself coffee or a snack in the kitchen. He also had the annoying habit of vacuum cleaning his apartment every Sunday between 8am and 9am, a time at which Makishima would really love to be asleep. Knowing they were just too different to ever get along, Makishima had blown off every one of the other’s attempts at conversation and generally tried to avoid running into him.

“Merry Christmas!” His neighbour beamed at him, but Makishima only stared back with a grumpy expression.

“It’s only the 24th.”

“And it’s evening, isn’t it? So it’s Christmas Eve!”

Makishima sighed. He didn’t want to have such a pointless argument. “Fine. Christmas. Can I help you with something?” Maybe he just wanted to borrow something and Makishima could get this over with really quick if he handed it over or didn’t have it either.

“Yes! Or well, actually, it’s more like I’ll be helping you!” Makishima stared blankly at his neighbour. He… really didn’t need any help…? But the guy smiled at him with utmost confidence. “You see, I work from home a lot, so I couldn’t help but notice that you don’t leave your house a lot, and nobody ever comes to visit you either. And, worst of all, you order takeout almost every day! That’s terrible for your health! So, since nobody should be alone on Christmas, and you could definitely use some fresh, healthy food, I’ve decided to invite you over! What do you say?”

“Actually, I’m still working, and there’s a lot that I still have to do…” That wasn’t a lie, and it seemed like a great way to turn his neighbour down without being too rude. He had half a mind to call him out on knowing way too much about Makishima’s habits, like some kind of stalker, but it was a fact that their kitchen windows both faced in the direction of the walkway to their apartment complex. If he spent time in his kitchen regularly, he was bound to see the deliveries Makishima got. And notice the lack of people coming over. Even Makishima couldn’t help but notice that Toudou had lots of people coming to visit him. Mostly pretty girls. He’d seen some of them multiple times as well, and silently wondered if one of them was his neighbour’s girlfriend. Especially since they sometimes stayed the night. Not that he cared, of course, but it was fun to imagine there was some kind of drama going on there, like a love triangle or his neighbour secretly having multiple girlfriends at once.

“Nonsense!” His neighbour’s shrill voice startled him out of his thoughts. “It’s Christmas! Nobody should be working unless it’s absolutely necessary. And you need to take regular breaks anyway. I can sweeten the deal for you too, how about we bake Christmas cookies together, and when we’re done, you can take some home with you.”

“You’re not letting me get out of this, are you?”

“Nope!”

“I don’t even know your name.”

“Toudou Jinpachi. And you could’ve known, I introduced myself to you before, right after you moved in!”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t care enough to remember it.”

That made Toudou pout, but it didn’t make him leave or retract his offer. With his last resort plan of being rude having failed as well, Makishima resigned himself to his fate. He wasn’t one to turn down an excuse to procrastinate or an offer of free food anyway, and this was both in one. So even if Toudou gave him a headache in the process, it might still be worth it in the end.

“Fine. Just let me save my stuff, I’ll be over in five minutes.”

Toudou left with a beaming smile on his face. Sighing, Makishima went to turn off his pc, and then to brush his hair and put on some decent clothes. This was probably going to be awkward regardless of what he did, but he didn’t need to add to that by looking like he just fell out of bed. Toudou always looked flawless, the difference would just be too great.

Only when he rang Toudou’s doorbell a little bit over five minutes later did it dawn on him that he could’ve just not gone over. Well, too late now.

Toudou opened the door within seconds, eagerly inviting him inside and directing him towards the kitchen, as if his apartment didn’t have the exact same layout as Makishima’s own. All the appliances you might need for baking were already spread out on the kitchen table, so Toudou had probably planned to do it from the start. Everything else was meticulously cleaned and stowed away properly. Somehow, Makishima didn’t doubt Toudou’s kitchen always looked like this, completely opposite to his own.

“Maybe now is a good time to mention that I’ve never baked anything before.” Makishima could cook some easy meals, but all he’d ever used his oven for was baking finished stuff like pizza or lasagne. He wasn’t a big enough fan of sweets to make them for himself, and for most of his life, he could just get all the baked goods he ever wanted from Tadokoro’s bakery. Nothing he could ever make himself would live up to that, anyway.

“No problem! Anyone can bake with a recipe, and the cookies we’re making aren’t all that difficult. Besides, I’m a fantastic baker, so you can just ask me if there’s anything you don’t understand or need help with. Back home, we made these with the neighbourhood children, and they always turned out great, so I know it’s foolproof.”

Great, so if he fucked up, he was officially worse than a bunch of children.

“Alright, so what do we do first?”

“Gotta measure and mix all the ingredients for the dough. You can start with the flour.” Toudou handed him a jar filled with flour – who the hell kept their flour in a jar instead of just using the bag it came with? – and weirdly shaped transparent cup with all kinds of writing on it. On closer inspection, those turned out to be measurements. It had litre, which was to be expected, but also various common baking ingredients like sugar and flour, measured in gram. Makishima had no idea something like this existed. Fascinated, he began shovelling flour into the cup. Because of course there was a designated spoon to do just that in the jar.

Once he had 250g, like Toudou had told him, he looked around. “Do you have a bowl for this?”

“No, just pour it on the table. That’s what all the space is for. Just make a nice little mountain and then make a small crater on the top, like a volcano.”

“That doesn’t sound right.” He snatched the recipe book from Toudou’s hands and looked at the instructions himself. To his surprise, the recipe did essentially say what Toudou had said, even if it didn’t use the word volcano. The recipe had also been altered with a pen and there were annotations all over. Maybe Toudou really knew what he was doing? Makishima had sort of assumed he was just bragging when he said he was a fantastic baker. Then again, the recipe book looked like it might be older than Toudou himself, so maybe this had been passed down to him like this.

Ignoring Toudou’s smug grin, Makishima made the flour volcano. Then they proceeded to add all the other ingredients. Sugar, vanilla sugar, rum, cinnamon, clove and whip cream that hadn’t been whipped yet. The dry ingredients were put on the sides of the volcano, while the fluid ones were poured into the crater. Makishima had to admit that it was a smart way to keep them in one place without a bowl.

Lastly, Makishima was delegated to cutting butter into slices and putting them onto the sides, while Toudou carefully cracked an egg and dripped the white part into the volcano crater. The yellow part went into another cup and was put aside. Glancing at the recipe, he could see that they’d use it later. He also noticed Toudou had left the eggs on the counter the entire time, unlike all the other ingredients, and hadn’t asked him whether he wanted to do the butter or the egg. So he probably wasn’t trusted to cleanly separate the egg. Toudou really was treating this like baking with the neighbourhood kids. Sure, he’d said he couldn’t bake, but it was kind of annoying that Toudou seemed to think of this as some kind of community service. Just because his friends lived either in Chiba or in England and therefore didn’t often come to visit him didn’t mean that he didn’t have any. He wasn’t lonely. Definitely not lonely enough to need his neighbour to take pity on him and spend time with him just because of some holiday.

Makishima pushed those thoughts down. He was starting to actually have fun, more thanks to the baking than to Toudou, so it was better to just focus on that. If he cut up the butter with more fervour than strictly necessary after Toudou had mixed the liquid ingredients with flour, that was just him having fun and being thorough.

At least, Toudou was pleased that he was so motivated. Kneading the dough was next. Makishima wasn’t sure he was doing it right, the flour was all over the place and pieces of butter kept sticking to his fingers and the whole thing just didn’t look like dough, but Toudou told him to keep going while he started on dinner prep, and to tell him if his arms got tired or he thought he was done.

Silence fell over the room. Just as Makishima was starting to feel weird about it and wondered whether he should initiate conversation somehow, Toudou started talking on his own. About how he’d made these cookies with his mother as a kid, and then later with the neighbourhood kids, who were much more excited than Makishima but much less helpful, and about his high school friends who’d been over yesterday and had eaten all the cookies, even the ones he’d stashed away to bring home to his family – “leave it to Shinkai to find any and all food in the house and devour it without asking and then still complain there’s not enough.”

Makishima just let it wash over him, grateful that he didn’t have to do any talking himself. Half his concentration was focused on the dough, which still didn’t look like dough. Had he even made progress at all? It kept falling apart, and too much of it still just looked like pure flour that just wouldn’t stick to the rest of it. Maybe he was doing something wrong? His arms were starting to hurt, too.

When Toudou asked him how it was going, all he could do was shrug. “I don’t think I did anything, to be honest…”

Toudou poked the dough. “No, you definitely made some progress! But it’s taking longer than I thought…” Then, out of the blue, Toudou grabbed his hand. It felt slightly weird with the flour and butter of the dough still sticking to Makishima’s hand, but Toudou’s hand was warm and soft, and Makishima could feel a blush creeping onto his cheeks.

Before he could do anything except panic internally, Toudou frowned. “Your hands are way too cold, no wonder this is going so slow. Let me take over for a bit, and if you wanna do the finishing touches, wash your hands with warm water right before so they’re nice and warm.”

Makishima nodded, and yanked his hand back from Toudou with just a little too much force. After washing his hands to get rid of everything that stuck to it, he settled against the kitchen counter. Toudou picked up the conversation again, elaborating on his earlier story about his friends. But this time, Makishima didn’t have anything to do, so he just watched Toudou work.

He was kneading the dough expertly, like Makishima had seen in passing in Tadokoro’s bakery. The dough was still crumbling beneath his fingers though.

Makishima let his gaze wander higher, up Toudou’s surprisingly toned arms to where the tips of his silky black hair brushed against his shoulders. Makishima might have admitted that the headband on top was a practical choice for baking, but he knew Toudou always wore one, so he probably just liked the silly things and just got lucky it served a purpose for once. But then, Makishima wasn’t in any position to say something against outlandish fashion choices, so finally, he settled his gaze on Toudou’s face. His lips were constantly moving, forming themselves around an endless array of words that Makishima was paying less and less attention to. Toudou’s purple eyes were alive with emotion, excitement and affection and annoyance, and Makishima couldn’t help but wonder how they’d look fixated on him, even more intense emotions swirling in them, emotions you wouldn’t show towards your friends…

“Alright!”

Makishima was startled out of his thoughts and immediately chastised himself for ogling Toudou so openly. This was still the annoying guy who woke up early and probably had multiple girlfriends! Makishima had already known he was also annoyingly handsome, no need to act so desperate.

“Now it’s almost done, so you can do the rest, Maki-chan!”

He turned away, using the excuse to wash his hands with warm water like Toudou had suggested before to hide his embarrassment. Then he realized what Toudou had said. “Maki-chan, really? What’s that supposed to be?”

“Your nickname, obviously! You’re already in my kitchen and baking with me, so no need to be formal, right? You can give me one too!”

“…Headband, then.”

“Hey!” Toudou pouted, making Makishima laugh.

“What? You’re wearing one every time I see you.”

“Well, yeah! It’s one of my distinguishing features, to bring out my natural beauty! But you still can’t call me that because… because Arakita already does! Yeah! It’s his nickname for me! Too bad, but it’s already taken!”

That didn’t sound convincing, but Makishima just shrugged. “Your name will have to do then, Toudou.”

Makishima focused back on the dough, ignoring Toudou’s sputtering. It was finally looking like dough, only a few pieces of butter where still not properly mixed with the rest. Maybe he should have paid attention to see how that change was possible instead of staring at Toudou’s face.

Five minutes later, they deemed the dough to be finished, and Toudou wrapped it in plastic foil and placed it in the fridge. “Now we have to wait about half an hour, but there’s still plenty to do! You can start by taking the trays out of the oven and setting it to 175° so it starts heating up. And then you can smear some butter on the trays. I’ll clean up what we don’t need anymore and finish dinner prep so we just have to heat everything up once we’re done.”

Makishima followed the instructions, but unsurprisingly, he was done way before Toudou. So he stood around awkwardly, knowing he couldn’t really be a help with what Toudou was doing. He didn’t know where anything in Toudou’s kitchen was supposed to be, and a quick glance over to the counter with dinner confirmed he had no idea what was going on there either. He couldn’t even name half the vegetables that were spread out, much less guess what to do with them.

Thankfully, Toudou started talking again. “So, while I’m working, why don’t you tell me something about yourself? I’ve only been talking about myself the entire time!”

He honestly sounded like he had just now noticed that. And here Makishima had thought he was trying to be helpful after he’d realized Makishima didn’t really know what to say. Instead, he was just dense. Or he liked talking about himself too much. Possibly both.

“Uhhhhhhh… like what?”

“Anything! Like what you do for a living. Or something about your family. Where are you from? Do you have siblings?”

“Um, yeah. I work as a fashion designer for the Japanese branch of my older brother’s brand.”

Toudou turned to look at him, giving him a once-over. “A fashion-designer?”

Ah. There it was. The disbelieving, disapproving tone of voice he always got. It wasn’t like he’d expected anything else from standard-beauty Toudou. Barely anyone understood his work. “What? Got a problem with that?” he shot back, more annoyed than he’d thought he’d be.

“No!” Toudou brought his arms up defensively. “I just wasn’t expecting it, even though it totally makes sense with how you dress! Like, I’ve never seen anyone wear anything like your wardrobe! It’s creative, and it makes you stand out!”

Uncomfortable silence fell over the room. Makishima couldn’t help but notice that Toudou hadn’t said anything necessarily positive about his style, and he knew Toudou probably still thought it was ugly, but at least he’d been sort of polite and honest about it. That was more than what Makishima usually got. He’d take it.

“So, what about you?”

Toudou looked at him, confused.

“What do you do for a living? Are you a chef or something? Can’t say I know anything about cooking but that-“ he gestured vaguely towards all the ingredients and tools spread on the counter “-looks kind of professional.”

“You think so?” Toudou beamed. “I’m a nutritionist, though. But my family owns a ryokan – Toudou-an, the best ryokan in all of Hakone, with perfect service and relaxing hot springs, you should come visit some time, I’ll give you a discount! What was I about to say? Oh yeah, I learned how to cook from my mom and the professional chefs there from a young age, so my skills are top-notch!”

Makishima decided to ignore the obvious bragging and exaggerated advertisement. “So you’re a nutritionist, but you’re still making sweets? Aren’t they unhealthy? I distinctly remember that we added twice the amount of sugar than what the recipe originally said, too.”

“Yes? There’s nothing wrong with eating sweets. And if you’re gonna put in so much effort anyway, they might as well actually be sweet and not just bland like in the original recipe. Two tablespoons of sugar is no problem, especially not spread across multiple people on multiple days. People always act like sugar is totally evil, but in truth, it’s healthy as long as you eat it in the right doses, mixed with plenty of other stuff.”

It dawned on Makishima that he’d made a mistake. It had only been ten minutes since the dough was put in the fridge. Twenty more to go. They were filled completely with Toudou ranting about all the misconceptions people had about proper nutrition. Makishima didn’t care at all, he honestly knew that his diet was unhealthy but he just didn’t want to make any effort to better it. But Toudou talked over any attempt of him to change the subject, to Makishima resigned himself to his fate.

Finally, twenty minutes later, the dough saved him. Toudou cut it in half and rolled it out on the table, telling Makishima to pay attention so he could do it with the other half of the dough once they were done with the first part.

Then, Toudou emptied a bag of cookie cutters on the table. “I don’t want to have to wash all of these, so I thought we’d just use the Christmas-y ones, but if you like one or two of the others, we can use those too.”

Toudou started sorting out which ones were Christmas themed – a star, a Christmas tree, a shooting star, an angel, a reindeer – while Makishima looked over the others. In the end, he chose a hippo, because why not, and a bat, because it’d be great to have a Christmas cookie in the shape of Halloween’s symbol. Toudou added a flower as his own personal not-Christmas choice, then put all the other ones away.

Cutting out the cookies turned out to be quite fun, especially once he copied Toudou’s technique to press down the cutter with his flat palm and then wiggle it around a bit to properly separate the cookie from the rest of the dough without damaging it. Besides, Toudou had stopped talking and made an adorably concentrated face as he tried to figure out how to best get all the different shapes to fit together so the least amount of dough would be left over.

Makishima got to mash those leftovers back together and mix them with the second half of the dough while Toudou put their cookies on the oven tray. They had to be decorated before they could be baked though, so that half had to wait. Instead, Makishima finally got to use the yellow part of the egg that had been left over earlier. He painted the cookies with it, using a brush specifically meant for baking, something else he’d never even heard of and definitely didn’t possess. Toudou spread sugar crystals on the cookies, which took much longer than painting the cookies, especially since he had to pick any crystal that fell off a cookie back up so it wouldn’t get baked to the tray. Makishima helped him once he was done, carefully grabbing the crystals out of the bowl Toudou had placed between them.

It was honestly kind of tedious, and Makishima had a hard time not being hyper-aware of the fact that his fingers brushed against Toudou’s every so often.

Once they were done, the cookies were placed in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Toudou pulled up the second tray, and it was rinse and repeat with the second half of the dough. The only difference was the leftover part, which Toudou rolled into a sausage shape and then cut into circles.

They didn’t quite finish the second tray before the first one was done baking, but Makishima just kept going with the sugar while Toudou pulled the hot cookies out of the oven.

Once the second tray was in, Toudou quickly pulled up pots and pans to start cooking their dinner. Again, Makishima could do nothing but watch. Toudou eventually noticed he was just standing around awkwardly and showed him where to find bowls and chopsticks so he could fill them with rice once the rice cooker was done and carry them over to the coffee table in the living room. Toudou didn’t seem too happy to be eating there instead of in the kitchen – less space, less comfortable and a floor that was harder to clean – but the kitchen table was still dirty and full of baking utensils.

Makishima filled the bowls once the rice cooker beeped to announce it was done, then carried them over to the living room. He took the time to look around a bit instead of going straight back. As expected, Toudou’s apartment was clean even outside the kitchen, but there were plenty of personal items strewn around the room. The walls were decorated with copies of famous Japanese paintings, along with some calligraphy. There was also a giant photo of a traditional house, which the sign over the door identified as Toudou-an. He had to admit, it did look nice.

Below it, plenty of photos of Toudou were put on display on a dresser. Makishima saw him in two different school uniforms, and with what had to be his family at a shrine, and even with the girls Makishima sometimes saw when they came to visit. His theory of the secret multiple girlfriends fell through with this, as they all seemed to know each other. Still, Makishima couldn’t help but notice that Toudou was always surrounded by people, and always vary obviously actively trying to be in the middle of the photo and striking a pose. He really couldn’t fathom why a guy like that had developed enough of an interest in him of all people to invite him over. And on what he declared to be Christmas, too.

He was still mulling it over when Toudou arrived with the rest of their food, but forgot about it for a moment, busy appreciating the luxurious dinner spread before him. Alongside the rice, there was miso soup, two different vegetable dishes – one hot, one cold, and he really should try and learn what these were – and fried fish. When was the last time he’d had rice with more than two side dishes? It must’ve been when he was still living at home, and even then, he often had western food.

It all tasted great, too. When Toudou excitedly asked how it was, all he answered with was “Fine.” He didn’t want to inflate his obviously already large ego any more, but Toudou ignored his effort, taking it as a compliment and proceeding to detail just how great he was for making it.

In turn, Makishima ignored him, instead focusing on the food. Only when most of it was gone did he remember what he’d been thinking about before. He just didn’t understand what Toudou was trying to do.

“Why did you invite me over?” Maybe he could figure it out even if Toudou didn’t answer with the entire truth.

“I already told you, didn’t I? You shouldn’t be alone on Christmas. I just wanted to be nice, and I think it worked out great.”

Well, it had gone much better than Makishima expected, but he still didn’t see why Toudou wouldn’t rather spend time with his friends or family.

“Ah. You just didn’t want to be alone on Christmas yourself. For some reason, you’re not home in Hakone, and your friends were already here yesterday, probably because they’re going home for Christmas. The only one left is the neighbour who never leaves his apartment or has anyone over. I see how it is now.”

“T-that’s not how it is at all!” But Toudou didn’t provide any other explanation, so it probably was exactly like that. Somehow, Makishima liked it way better than Toudou pitying him.

“So, why aren’t you home?”

“Because I’m scheduled to work on the 26th already, and it’s not worth it to go back home for two days in the middle of holiday season while everyone is incredibly busy and I get more time off during New Years anyway, so I’ll be home then. But I’m still not lonely!”

“Sure.”

“Sheesh, is it really that hard to believe I thought you looked like an interesting guy and it’d be a waste if you stayed holed up all by yourself, when you could also be at least my friend?”

Makishima could feel a blush creeping back onto his cheeks. Interesting? At least his friend? “That’s. That’s not what you said so far.”

At least Toudou looked just as embarrassed about it as Makishima felt. But he didn’t respond, and that wasn’t good for Makishima’s thoughts who wanted to spread out in every direction this could possibly lead to. It was just weirdly phrased. He needed to say something. Change the topic. Crush any hope in his dumb gay heart before it got away again.

“Uh, you know, I wanted to ask this for a while now, but which one of these girls that always come to visit you is your girlfriend?” There. That should do it. A smooth change of topic that could simultaneously clear everything up. Makishima was a little proud of himself for finding the right thing to say for once.

“What? None of them. They’re my friends from college. Almost exclusively girls only because nutrition is the kind of subject way more girls than guys major in. We’re still pretty close even after graduating, but it’s purely platonic. I’m pretty good at making friends only with girls who don’t want to date me even when most girls do. So I never have to turn down anyone I actually care about and make things awkward because I’m just not interested.”

Just not interested? Just not interested? In what? A relationship? Romance in general? Sex? Girls?

He’d been wrong. This was not helping. This was making things worse. He should stop saying things forever. Just go home. They were done eating and baking anyway maybe he could excuse himself to get back to work.

Before he could decide, Toudou got up without a word and started taking their dishes back to the kitchen. Just when Makishima wondered if he should get up and help or not and which one Toudou would consider rude, Toudou came back with a plate of the cookies they’d made.

He placed them in front of Makishima with a grin. “Some sweets for the sweet guy?”

“Was. Was that a pickup line?” Makishima burst out laughing. Toudou had said something so stupid with such confidence, there was no way he could not laugh.

“Hey, stop laughing, Maki-chan! It was perfectly smooth and relevant to the situation!”

“It was terrible. No wonder you’re single.” Makishima still had trouble breathing, wheezing between sentences and breaking out into giggles again when he was done talking. Until his brain caught up to what was happening. “Wait, so it was a pickup line? An actual, genuine one?”

“What else would it be?” There was a definite blush on Toudou’s cheeks as well now. He sounded like a petulant child, but maybe that was just how he got when he was embarrassed.

Makishima shrugged. “How would I know? Maybe you’re just a weird guy who says weird things.” He took one of the cookies, biting off the angel’s head. It really was sweet, and the soft cookie with the crunchy sugar on top was a good combination.

“These are good though, I should definitely take some home with me. Absolutely worth it talking to some weird guy for these. Maybe I’ll even talk to him again if he makes me dinner again. Or actually, maybe just letting me sit in this room will be enough, because I do need to work on something traditional and this is a much more fitting environment than my own home.”

Toudou just gawked at him, and even Makishima couldn’t really believe what he just said. Since when was he confident enough to invite himself over into the apartment of a handsome guy who was making advances on him?

“Uh… yeah, sure. You can come here tomorrow and work on your stuff. Or anytime when I’m not working. I can make dinner too?”

Yeah, Makishima definitely liked flustered Toudou. This was shaping up to be really fun. Sadly, with how the conversation was going, he’d probably have to leave soon, but he’d be back tomorrow.

When he had a nice box of cookies packed and Toudou brought him to the door to see him off, Makishima suddenly leaned forward and said “See you tomorrow then, Jinpachi” right into Toudou’s ear. The poor guy couldn’t even answer before Makishima left.

Toudou may have initiated whatever game it was they were playing, but round one definitely went to Makishima.