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Ramuda was a creature of spite, and so he makes himself at home in Ichijiku's office, simply because he knows it drives her crazy.

 

"Geez, oneesan," a pop as he pulls his lollipop out of his mouth, "Calling Ramuda out like this, you'd think you miss me or something!" Ramuda doesn't miss the way that she stares at his shoes, firmly planted on the coffee table. He also doesn't miss the twitch of her eye.

 

"The reason I called you here today is because you have orders from Tohoten- sama ." Ichijiku perches on a corner of her desk, scowling down at Ramuda. "You'd do best to not fail her." Ichijiku points to the manilla folder, unmarked, that sits right under Ramuda's shoe.

 

"Eeeh? Oneesan is so mean! I'm a good boy." Ramuda finally moves his feet to pick up and open the folder.

 

Paperclipped to a form, is a picture of Dice. Taken at the Division Battle, judging by the lighting. What?

 

The forms themselves were an alarmingly complete profile of Dice. Name, age, height, weight (wow, he was heavy!), occupation- or, lack thereof.

 

Behind them, more pictures of Dice at the Division Battle- oh, Ramuda was in one of these. He looked so ugly.

 

Whoever was in charge of photos should be shot and killed, laws be damned.

 

"Umm? A teeny-weeny little question? What the fuck is this?"

 

"Your job is so simple it would be near impossible to mess it up, which means it's perfect for you: Find out what Arisugawa Dice wants for his birthday, and report it to Tohoten- sama. "

 

"What?"

 

Ichijiku looks like she'd spit on him if it were professional. "You heard me. You're also on extremely thin ice, Amemura, you're in no position to ask questions. You're dismissed."

 

On the train home, Ramuda pauses imagining bludgeoning Kadenokouji with a baseball bat to figure out how exactly to weasel that information out of Dice.

 

It's not like he could just ask , right? Dice might think Ramuda doesn't pay attention- and that just won't do. Everyone's idol Ramu- chan was the most thoughtful person in the world!

 

Oh, Chu-oh-ku was so lucky Ramuda already bought Dice a present.

 


 

Gentaro stared at his ceiling.

 

What did you get a man like Dice for his birthday?

 

Gentaro stared at his lock screen- a picture taken during Fling Posse's last 'date' utilizing Ramuda's alarmingly portable selfie stick. It was one of his favorite pictures.

 

Gentaro sighs- he supposes in times like this, he is to lean on his fearless leader.

 

Ramuda, hello.

 

gengen♡♡♡

 

I have a question.

 

ur lucky ramuda knows ☆everything☆

 

What are you getting Dice for his birthday?

 

SECRET!! but that reminds me ur on the party planning comittee btw

 

*Committee.

...Very helpful, thank you, Ramuda.

 

SHUT!!! I KNO IM ALMOST 2 AMAZING...come ovr 2mr so we can start planning xoxoxoxo

 

 


 

"Well, obviously, they need to be green!" Ramuda said, pulling apart an Oreo.

 

"Of cou- wait, green?"

 

"Yeah, isn't green like um, his favorite color?"

 

"I thought it was black."

 

Ramuda set his Oreo pieces down. "...Why would it be black? He wears that big green coat all the time!"

 

"But, all of his shirts are black."

 

"He only has three! You-- you know what, write down both colors, I'll figure out his favorite later."

 

"Fine, so next is cake…"

 


 

" Daisu! " Ramuda singsonged, "Let's play a game!"

 

"Dude, what? Aren't we too old for that?"

 

"Um, never say that to me ever again, and nope, nope, nope! So let's play twenty questions! I'll go first! Umm, if you could live anywhere in the whole wide world, where?"

 

"Las Vegas. I guess it's my turn? Uh, same question but to you."

 

"Hmm, Paris! Okay, now, what's your favorite color?"

 

"Orange. Like, traffic cone orange. Uh, same question to you again."

 

"Pink, dummy! But um. Are you sure?"

 

"...About my favorite color? Yeah, I'm sure."

 

"...Oh. Okay…"

 

"Why do you sound so disappointed!?"

 


 

"He said traffic cone orange ," Gentaro sobbed.

 

Ramuda nodded solemnly. "I think...I can try to make it work, though. Let's switch jobs. You're in charge of cake and Dice distraction now, Yumeno-Sensei. Do your best."

 

"I'll give it my best efforts."

 


 

"So, Amemura," Ichijikus voice is somehow even more grating over the phone. "Your results?"

 

"...My results." Ramuda deadpans. Then, quick thinking- Ramuda bursts into crocodile tears. " Oneesan! Ramuda is so sowwy!! I tried and tried and tr-"

 

"You forgot, didn't you."

 

"...I did."

 


 

Downtown Shibuya went all out for holidays, and Tanbata was no exception. Bamboo plants and star decorations lined the streets, and almost every storefront had a small table with tanzaku stacked high on them.

 

"There's also a festival at the shrine nearby, if you'd like to visit." Gentaro says, a hand on the small of Dice's back to steer him through the crowds.

 

"Uh, if you're okay with paying."

 

"Sure, sure- here, Dice." Gentaro moves them over to the front of Gentaro's favorite stationery store (the best tanzakus on the street).

 

"Alright, what to wish for, what to wish for…" Dice murmurs, tapping the pen against his lips. Gentaro resists the urge to scold Dice, and does his best not to think about the germs.

 

Instead, Gentaro works on his Tanzaku.

 

"What're you wishin' fo--"

 

"It's a secret, Dice."

 

"I- I don't care anyway, I know what I'm wishin' for!"

 

The both of them finish writing their tanzakus , and go to hang them on the bamboo.

 

"That's a fancy knot, Gen."

 

"That's an awfully plain knot, Dice."

 

Side by side, two tanzakus flutter in the wind.

 

I wish for Fling Posse's victory in the upcoming Division Battle.

 

I wish for Fling Posse to become Division Champs!

 

"Dice, that takoyaki stand you like is going to be at the festival, I've heard."

 

"Oh? Really? It's okay?"

 

"Of course."

 


 

 

Ramuda's on his way to pick up the cake Gentaro ordered when he almost trips on a box left outside his door.

 

It's...a gift? Odd.

 

A brief check of the tags says it's for Dice.

 

...Maybe it's not a bomb? Ramuda hopes as he drags the box in.

 


 

Gentaro's phone buzzes. It's from Ramuda.

 

GET THE BIRTHDAY BABY OVER HERE


 

"Happy birthday, Dice," Gentaro says, ushering Dice into the apartment.

 

"Woah," Dice says. "Y-you guys did all this? For me ?"

 

"Yup yup!" Ramuda's rounding the corner with party hats. "Hope you boys didn't eat too much when y'all were out, I went and got Pad Thai!"

 

"For real?"

 

"For real! Come eat!"

 

The three of them sit around Ramuda's table, surrounded by the most garish decorations Gentaro's ever seen.

 

"You guys, you really didn't have to…"

 

"Mm, but we wanted to! 'Cause you're our special widdle birthday boy!" Ramuda laughs.

 

"While I wouldn't phrase it quite like that, you're a very important member of Fling Posse, Dice." Gentaro fills Dice's cup as he speaks. "Say, was vanilla okay for the cake?"

 

"...Vanilla's my favorite."

 

"Yay! Let's open presents after, okay?"

 


 

Well. Now was the make-it or break-it moment- Dice had began unwrapping the mystery package.

 

Dice pulls an envelope out of the box, and Ramuda breathes an internal sigh of relief as he spots a Chu-Oh-Ku wax seal on the back.

 

But still- not that relieving. Kadenokouji wanted to kill Ramuda just as bad as he wanted to end her, no doubt.

 

Dice jumps straight into the box, and Ramuda mentally reviews how to disarm a bomb. He- he doesn't really know how, though. But he can try. Maybe Gentaro knows? Authors are supposed to have all kinds of weird knowledge, right?

 

Dice sniffs.

 

He's...he's crying. Or trying not to.

 

"I just-- I had one, just like this when I was a kid, and…" Dice is holding a fairly large stuffed shark. "Thanks-- thank you guys so much for today, I--"

 

Ramuda launches himself at Dice, wrapping his arms firmly around his shoulders. "You come hug Daisu too, Gentaro!"

 

"Fine, fine. Happy birthday, Dai-su. "

 

"Happy birthday!"

 

"You guys are dumb ," Dice hiccups.