"Hmm, I'll have a whiskey, on the rocks, please."
"Same here but no ice."
The bartender nodded and set about making the drinks.
"A detective drinking whiskey straight, that sounds about right."
With his usual dismissive snort Mashita leaned on the counter of the bar. Beside him the man he knew as Kazou Yashiki laughed softly.
"...So, what should I call you? Yashiki? Or Kujou?"
"For you, Yashiki is fine."
At the reply Mashita raised an eyebrow. While it seemed strange he could understand the other man's choice. It was just only recently that Yashiki had regained the memories of his old life, but for those very important and very tense ten days he had taken up the moniker of Kazuo Yashiki instead of his true name, Masamune Kujou, so to suddenly cast it off would no doubt feel strange. Even Mashita had found the big reveal unbelievable - Yashiki had been the mysterious MK, the doll who had been helping them all this time was actually the origin of the Mark that had threatened their lives and that this horrible fate forced upon them had been brought about by the negligence of the previous Kujou family head - yet hearing it come from this guy it all seemed to make sense.
And now here they were, still alive and sane in a quiet, out of the way bar hidden down some side street close to the Kujou mansion.
"I was surprised when you suddenly contacted me." Yashiki smiled at Mashita, leaning forward on his hands.
"Hey, I promised I'd buy you a drink if you lived, and you did. I'm a man of my word." Mashita shrugged nonchalantly as the bartender placed their drinks in front of them.
"Only barely..." Yashiki said softly as he picked up his glass and took a sip. He had filled Mashita in on the details of his revelations after the battle with the Kannon soldier and the climactic battle with Mary and from what he had heard Yashiki had been more close to death in those moments than he had been with the previous spirits.
"Don't worry about the past - you're here now and that is what's important." Mashita smirked then took a long swig of his own drink. "For now, just put it out of your mind, the only spirit you need to worry about to tonight is Bourbon."
"Mm, I'm trying to. Believe me. But there are times I can't help but remember, especially... Saya..." Yashiki sighed, copying Mashita and taking a longer hit from his glass, but ended up downing it.
"Excuse me, another two whiskies, please!" He called out to the bartender.
Again Mashita raised an eyebrow but said nothing, chasing down his own drink to prepare for the next. As soon as the bartender placed the glass in front of him Yashiki started throwing the glistening amber liquid back against his throat.
"Easy there, I'm not going to carry you home." Mashita sighed but also took a long swig.
"I'll be fine." Yashiki smiled, waving his hand but his cheeks were already starting to turn a sweet shade of crimson which betrayed the fact the alcohol was hitting him quickly. Mashita decided to let it slide. They had both been through a lot, it would be fine to cut loose this once.
"To living, and not being drilled full of holes to become a beehive." Mashita smirked and raised his glass in a toast, ignoring the curious glance of the bartender.
"To living, and not succumbing to the curse!" Yashiki laughed softly, clinking his glass against the other then downing the contents.
"Sounds like you've had quite the troublesome time." The bartender spoke up, speaking to just Yashiki. "Time for another drink, Mr...?"
"Yashiki. And yes, please."
"Very well, Mr Yashiki." The bartender smiled. He reached out to grab the now empty glass in Yashiki hand and as he did so subtly ran his fingers over the back of Yashiki's hand and his fingers. It seems that Yashiki either didn't notice or didn't find it alarming as he turned his attention back to Mashita.
"So, what are you planning to do now?" He asked while resting his chin on his hand and smiling. "Planning to rejoin the force?"
"Nah, I don't think they'd let me. I'm thinking about going into the private eye business."
"Wow, I'm impressed! It's a good idea, though. It'd be a shame to put your incredible talents to waste." Yashiki laughed a little, the influence of the liquor showing through.
Mashita tried to ignore the praise.
"Say that to me when you're sober, then maybe I'll believe you - and quit acting so happy, it's gross." Mashita groaned automatically, narrowing his eyes at the bartender who was placing a fresh glass of whiskey into Yashiki's hand and leaning in closer to him.
"Enjoy, but don't overdo it - you don't want to make your partner worry about you." The bartender smiled, his voice dripping with honey and clasping the tipsy Yashiki's hand in both of his.
"Partner? No, no, I have no one like that." He laughed awkwardly while scratching the back of his head. The bartender's eyes lit up and he went to say something but before he could Mashita butted in, voice cold and strong.
"I'll be looking after him, so don't worry." He slammed some notes down on the bar. "Another two whiskies. Please."
The bartender held his steely gaze for a moment then reluctantly let go of Yashiki's hand.
"Very well... Sir."
"But then Banshee shooed up - hic- with that chissil -hic- and then I..."
"Yeah, yeah - then you stabbed it behind the right ear. I know... already. You told me..."
It was now into the early hours of the morning, the bars had closed and all the boozed up patrons were making their way home. Mashita and Yashiki were no exception although it was Mashita doing most of the work. Either due to the unnatural amount of stress previously placed on him or the fact he just couldn't handle his alcohol very well Yashiki had gone and drunk himself beyond being able to independently function so it fell to Mashita to get him home; with one of the drunken man's arms draped over his shoulder and one of his own wrapped around Yashiki's waist the pair made their way slowly back to the Kujou mansion.
"Seriously though, are you always this much of a lightweight? If it weren't for me that bartender would have snatched you up."
Mashita grimaced slightly. The bartender had clearly been trying to hit on Yashiki but the oblivious fool hadn't even noticed. He had continued to make various passes and flirtations while casting a hostile side eye at Mashita - which the irritated detective returned in kind - but eventually he had to leave the pair to tend to other customers, allowing them to chat in peace.
After a few more minutes of walking and listening to Yashiki recount his ghostly adventures the familiar shape of the Kujou mansion finally came into view.
Mashita got them inside, shaking his head all the while as the front door had been left unlocked. He chalked it up to Yashiki readjusting to normal life but still, he wished the other man would at least try and be a bit more aware.
"You need to throw-up or anything?" He asked but Yashiki only mumbled back some unintelligible words. Shrugging Mashita hauled him upstairs and along to the once mysterious room with the wall of peculiar tools and sat him down on the bed. With some effort he managed to take Yashiki's coat and shoes off as well as his glasses. He began to unbutton his shirt but at the sight of protruding collarbones he stopped, casting his gaze away as he felt his face heat up ever so slightly.
"It's your own fault you're sleeping in your clothes tonight, I'm not undressing you - be grateful I did this much."
He began to lay Yashiki back on the bed when he suddenly lunged forward, attempting to limply wrap his arms around Mashita.
"Are -hic- you... leavin' me again...?" Yashiki slurred, turning his red flushed face to peer up at Mashita, bearing a pathetic expression.
Mashita blinked in surprise, feeling his heart pound a little faster before composing himself.
"Well, it's not like we can share a bed." He answered dryly with his usual smirk. "I'll be taking one of the guest rooms but don't be surprised if I'm no longer here when you wake up."
The sadness in Yashiki's unfocused eyes seemed to grow deeper.
"It whas... sho hard wihout you..."
Mashita gritted his teeth. Damn this man.
"Quit it, Yashiki. You're creeping me out." He forced himself to reply.
That fevered whisper of his name sent a shiver up Mashita's spine and he felt his face burn.
Perhaps the alcohol was affecting him more than he realised?
"Did you really think it was easy for me to just walk away and leave you in this creepy place? All this time I had no clue if you were still alive! I was worried, damnit!"
The words came out on their own, catching Mashita off guard; he pressed the back of his hand to his mouth, cursing. It wasn't like him to be so emotional. Hesitantly he looked down at Yashiki, who was still clinging onto him and staring at him like a dejected dog.
"You didn't even hear anything I said, did you?" Mashita sighed, shaking his head at the man. What kind of situation was this? Ridiculous.
Again with that! Goddamn him! Every time they were together something would happen; something to knock him off his cool, rational approach.
Brashly Mashita reached out and cupped the back of Yashiki's head with both his hands so that his fingers were buried in the ebony strands and brought their faces closer together so that their lips connected. The faint trace of whiskey lingered, dancing on the tip of Mashita's tongue as he ran it along Yashiki's lips before pushing forward and entering his mouth.
Yashiki seemed to know what to do even in his drunken haze; his shaking hands gripped at the other man as he kissed him back, moaning seductively as their tongues entwined and wrapped around one another.
He wanted to continue - no, he actually wanted to go further - but he knew this wasn't right.
Reluctantly Mashita forced himself to pry their lips apart, trying not to be spurred on by the sight of a breathless Yashiki in front of him.
"You're not in the right mind to consent to this, so we're stopping here." He said firmly, pushing the perplexed Yashiki down onto the bed and covering him with the duvet. He reached out and gently brushed some hair out of Yashiki's face, the drunk man's eyes beginning to flutter shut.
"We'll continue this properly another time." Mashita murmured. "It's your fault I fell this hard, so I'll make sure you take responsibility."
By now Yashiki's heavy eyelids had closed and deep rythmic breathing revealed that he had finally drifted off. Mashita watched him for a few minutes longer before rising to his feet with a heavy sigh.
Trudging out the room he made his way down the dark corridor to the next door and entered the plainly decorated guest room. Luckily undressing himself wasn't an issue so he stripped down to his boxers and slid under the thick sheets. Stifling a groan Mashita covered his still burning face with his hands.
Why had he done that?
Why had he said those embarrassing things?
Why had he let his impulses take over?
It was so out of character for him. Obviously the alcohol was to blame - and Yashiki.
Turning on his side Mashita clamped his eyes shut and tried his best to not think about the man next door, about his dark yet warm eyes, his smooth ebony hair, his soft, pale lips...
With a low growl Mashita buried his face into the pillows.
"It's gonna be another restless night..."
At some point during his tossing and turning he must have fallen asleep because the next thing he knew sunlight was splashed across his face and birds chirped loudly from the surrounding trees. Feeling somewhat groggy Mashita pushed himself up into his elbows and looked around the room for a clock or something. But no such luck, so he swung his feet into the floor and began dressing himself, huffing all the while. He hung his coat over his arm and left the room, glancing over at the neighboring door. Should he check on him? Wake him up?
He was about to place his hand on the door handle when he heard a series of strange noises coming from the ground floor. Following them took him down past the antique grandfather clock that stood proud in the main entrance, the clock face informing Mashita that it was after midday.
"Shit, I slept that long?"
Mashita was about to dash back upstairs to check on Yashiki when the rich scent of coffee beckoned him from a doorway that would logically be the kitchen. Following the aroma did indeed lead him to the kitchen where he was surprised to see Yashiki up and about, making some food and coffee. He was properly dressed and presentable in fresh clothing, sleeves rolled up and hair brushed.
"Oh, you're awake! How are you feeling? Would you like some coffee?"
Dumbstruck Mashita nodded and sat down at the table while Yashiki poured some piping hot brew into a mug.
"... either you're a very good actor or you're not human." He eventually grumbled.
Yashiki blinked quizzically while placing the mug in front of him. "Huh? What do you mean?"
"From how much you drank last night I assumed you would have one nasty hangover. Getting you back here was no easy feat, either."
"Oh, did I really drink that much?" Yashiki scratched his head and leaned against the counter. "Well, thanks and I'm sorry if I caused you any trouble."
Mashita eyed him over the brim of his mug.
"... How much do you remember? From last night?"
"Umm, we were drinking in that bar, I told you about Mary then you told me you were thinking about becoming a private eye and... Uhhh... That's all I can recall." Yashiki admitted sheepishly.
"Tch, seriously?" Mashita snorted and rolled his eyes. He wasn't sure if he should be relived that Yashiki didn't remember the abrupt short-lived kiss or if he should be hurt.
"Hmm...Oh, but I think I did have a strange dream!" Yashiki exclaimed. "You were there and-"
He suddenly cut off, his slender fingers subconsciously brushing against his lips before pulling them away and shaking his head. "No, nevermind. I forgot."
Mashita was sure he saw him blush.
"Anyway! When you have the time we should go to that bar again." Yashiki changed the subject. "While I might not remember most of it, I enjoyed last night."
"Mm." Mashita nodded, keeping up his cool facade. "You should also treat me to dinner for taking care of you, plus it'd be nice to spend some time together where you're able to stand by yourself."
Yashiki seemed taken aback for a second but then laughed gently. "Sounds like a fair deal."
Mashita took a long drink of coffee to hide his satisfied grin.
"Hopefully we can pick up where we left off - that reminds me - don't go to that bar alone."
"Huh? Why not?"
"... Actually, don't go out drinking without me."
"Mashita... What did I do?"