talisa_ahn: (Kitayama - Megane~!)
[personal profile] talisa_ahn
Title: It's Like a Strawberry Parfait
Pairing/Group: NiSen, TamaMiya / Kisumai and mentions of random members of Snow Man
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None
Notes: Inspired by the manga/anime Sekaiichi Hatsukoi.  Written for mbdancer8o8 during [livejournal.com profile] je_holiday 2013.  She realized who'd written this before reveals went up and texted me near midnight one night because she couldn't keep quiet anymore. :p  I'm glad you enjoyed it. ♡  I was happy to be writing for you.  Originally posted here.
Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] yeska_noka and [livejournal.com profile] flailinginlove for being my awesome betas.
Summary: AU. Nikaido, an editor for a popular BL manga magazine, gets dragged to his boss's favorite host club, and maybe things happen.


Nikaido barely looks up from where he's typing furiously on his laptop. He needs to get this proposal done within the hour or else his manga artist's latest volume isn't going to get the promotional support from the sales department that it deserves. He yelps when the laptop lid closes over his hands. "The hell?!"

Miyata grins down at him, look of innocence on his face as if he hasn't done anything wrong. "Nika-chan? You said you'd come. Time to go."

Nikaido suppresses the growl that leaps to his throat. He doesn't care what he said before, he's busy now.

He’d come to this publishing company a few years ago in hopes of working on shounen manga, but while he’d gotten notification that he’d been hired, it wasn’t until his first day of work that he was informed that he’d been assigned to the girly BL manga department instead.

He remembers his first day at Strawberry Parfait. The girl from general affairs escorting him to his new editing team had assured him of its top place in its genre and she was so enthusiastic about the whole thing that Nikaido kept his retort on how dumb a name "Strawberry Parfait" was to himself. Who the hell cares if its publications are popular, he thought sourly. His shoulders had sagged a bit more at the thought. He’d been looking forward to working with authors to create exciting action scenes.

Nikaido had made a lot of assumptions in the beginning, like thinking that all the editors and authors of something like BL manga would be female. He’d been surprised to find that all the editors at Strawberry Parfait were male. At first he’d found his new co-workers nosy and annoying, but he was soon too thankful for their help to think anything bad of them. The thought process behind putting together a successful BL manga was so different from the shounen manga he was used to reading, that without them peeking over his shoulder every few seconds, he would have been a useless newbie a lot longer than he’d have liked.

The biggest puzzle though, had been his new boss, Miyata Toshiya. It took until after their first few monthly magazine releases for Nikaido to realize that while Miyata may seem a bit weak and too nice to really be the guy in charge, when it comes to manga, he knows his stuff, especially when it comes to knowing what readers want. And having an editor-in-chief who understands the readers to this level is what makes Strawberry Parfait the top ranking manga magazine that it is.

Remembering this, Nikaido settles for a pointed look and says, "I can't go. I have to finish this proposal for Sakuma-sensei's next volume release. Remember?"

"Of course I do," Miyata returns with a smile that makes Nikaido's stomach sink. "But it's done. I already sent it over to Yara-san in Sales."

"You what?!" he exclaims in horror, blood draining out of his face. "Please tell me you didn't send the copy I left on your desk. That was for you to review, not a completed version."

Miyata pats him on the shoulder and hands him his coat. "You already had everyone one else here look it over yesterday, right? The copy you gave me with those revisions was good."

All of the additional changes he'd been planning to make flash before Nikaido's eyes as Miyata grabs his bag for him and drags him out of their department and to the bank of elevators. They're barely a few steps out of the building when he decides that no, he's going to go back and beg the draft proposal out of Yara's hands because that's what he should do… not to mention that as frightening as that sounds, it's much more appealing than going to a host club with his boss, but Miyata just loops his arm through Nikaido’s and pulls him down the street.

"You agreed to go," Miyata reminds him again, this time in an almost sing-song voice.

"I honestly don't know what I was thinking. And really," he insists, trying to dig in his heels. "I should go back. Other than Sakuma-sensei's proposal, there are a few other things I'd like to do. Like go over the dialogue for Fukasawa-sensei's upcoming chapter! You know how long that's going to take me?"

Miyata's grip is unyielding and it's not too long before they've reached the red light district, already bustling in the late hour. "This will be a good experience for you."

"But I don't want to be like you!" Nikaido cries out as a last resort, no longer caring that people are starting to stare, but it's no use. Miyata is already pulling him up a flight of stairs. He deflates while Miyata greets the host manning the entrance like an old friend.

"I will let Tamamori-sama know of your arrival," the host informs them before leading them to a couch near the left wall.

Nikaido keeps his head down as he follows them. He doesn't belong here. What had he been thinking agreeing to come? He dumbly nods his head in thanks when he's handed a thin folder that says 'Menu' in fancy letters on the front, then nearly chokes on his own breath when he opens it to see it's a collection of photos of all the hosts employed at this club and not the list of drinks he'd been expecting.

"Please take your time," the host says, smiling, and Nikaido can't even formulate the words to reply.

Miyata leans over. "Ooo… How about this one? He looks nice. Or how about this one?"

Really, Nikaido just wants to disappear into the ground and forget this whole thing, but between Miyata continuing to comment on all the pictures in this 'menu' and the host who just keeps smiling at him, waiting for him to make a decision, Nikaido randomly points at one of the pictures if only to make them all just go away.

"Oooh! Good choice," Miyata exclaims in approval, taking a closer look at the host in the picture. "So this is your type…"

"Can I just die now?"

"What are you so embarrassed for anyway?" Miyata asks, relaxing back into the couch as soon as the host bows and excuses himself. "You're the editor of BL manga, which means you look through hand-drawn gay porn on a daily basis."

"But that's work!" Nikaido protests.

"Then treat this like work if you have to," Miyata says with a grin. "And that you're only here because your boss insists that you be."

Letting out a slow and heavy sigh, Nikaido straightens a bit. He can do that. It's just work, he tells himself, and for the first time takes in his surroundings. The club itself is a good size, fitting multiple groupings of couches and tables. The choice in colors and lighting for the interior are pretty much what he'd been expecting, but the other guests are not at all. Since he knew this was a host club his male boss frequented, he'd assumed it was just a gay host club and that all the clientele would be male. He openly stares at all the women in confusion.

Just then, Miyata calls out with a wave, "Tama-chan~! Over here!"

Nikaido snaps out of his thoughts in time to see a tall host making his way over to their table. He bows in greeting before taking a seat on the couch across from theirs. Miyata switches over immediately and clings to his arm and Nikaido swallows, wondering if he should maybe just make a run for the door now before he has to watch his boss make out with this guy.

Thankfully, the host starts swatting at Miyata. "Get off~ People are staring~"

People are staring, Nikaido realizes, but not in the way he thought they would be. The various groups of women are actually squealing over the two men.

Miyata just ignores them which makes Nikaido think that this is a usual thing. "Tama-chan, Tama-chan! This is Nikaido Takashi. He works with me." Then in a whisper that is not at all a whisper, he says, "It's his first time."

Tamamori bows as much as Miyata's clinging allows. "Welcome to Diamond Honey," he says with a smile. "I hope you enjoy your stay here… even if you were unfortunate enough to have to come in this guy's company."

Nikaido blinks at the way Tamamori talks about Miyata. Aren't hosts supposed to treat their guests like royalty?

But Miyata just grins harder. "There's nothing wrong with my company, right?"

Tamamori gives him a long evaluating look. "I guess you're entertaining enough," he finally concedes.

"Um…" They all look up to see that a second host has joined them. "Good evening. My name is Senga. I will be keeping you company this evening."

Nikaido's face goes hot, realizing this must be the guy he'd pointed to in that book. He hadn't actually looked before pointing at his picture. Senga sits next to him and Nikaido is more than a little horrified to find that he's having a hard time looking at him in the face. He hadn't been expecting to actually feel attracted to one of the hosts.

Luckily for Nikaido though, it turns out that Senga is easy to talk to, making this much easier than he'd thought it'd be… and considering that Miyata and Tamamori seem to have already withdrawn into their own little world, Nikaido is very thankful for Senga's company in this unfamiliar setting.

Unlike Miyata though, Nikaido can't get over the girls watching them and continuously whispering and squealing over them.

"What is with this place anyway?" he finally asks. "It's a host club but most of the women seem to be content with watching the hosts with the few guys here, or as is the case over there," he says, gesturing to two hosts laughing and chatting together on the couches to their right, "with each other."

He wonders briefly if he's being rude, but Senga just laughs. "Hm? I'd have thought you'd understand. You work in the BL manga industry too, right? This definitely is not your typical club. Most of our female guests come to us because they're interested in that kind of thing. Those two over there? That's Yokoo and Fujigaya. They've been here since forever and are our top ranking hosts."

Nikaido watches as one offers the other a strawberry. "Are they actually…" he trails off.

Senga winks at him. "It's a secret. I can't say," he whispers. "So I was right, right? You work with Miyata-sama?"

Nikaido's jaw drops a bit. "Please tell me you don't actually call him that. It'll just inflate his ego and he's already difficult enough as is."

"Tamamori stopped ages ago, probably for that reason," Senga says with a chuckle. They take a moment to look over to where Tamamori is gleefully poking at Miyata's cheek while Miyata tries to drink his beer.

Nikaido sighs. "Yep. That would be my boss there."

"So you make manga too?"

"No, no. I'm just an editor."

Senga leans in, looking genuinely intrigued. "But that's so cool~ I bet it's a lot of work!"

They keep talking and joking around and when it's time for them to leave, Nikaido actually feels a little sad. He absolutely will not ever say it out loud, but he had fun and would really like to see Senga again…which is why it doesn't take too much on Miyata's part to convince him to go again the following week… or the next time after that. It's not long before he's a regular at Diamond Honey, sometimes even going without Miyata.

It's kind of like hanging out with a friend, initially anyway. They talk about all sorts of things, from work to music to school. Nikaido is surprised to hear that Senga is still a university student.

"It's taking a little bit longer than I would have liked," Senga admits. "But that time abroad in the US was worth it. I got to take all these different dance classes while I was there!"

It's not long though before Nikaido has to admit that maybe he's not going to Diamond Honey to see just a friend. More often than not, he'll catch himself at work thinking about the way Senga's eyes seem to sparkle when they're joking around, or how his face lights up when he's talking about dance… or the way Senga's voice gets lower when he's saying something he doesn't want others to hear.

Nikaido scrubs his hands over his face in hopes of stopping his brain from going straight to thinking about how great a bedroom voice Senga must have…how amazing it'd be to hold onto the muscle-toned arms he knows are hiding under that suit. Stop it, he insists to his own brain. That is not okay. Focus!

He tries his best to concentrate on the storyboard in front of him. He needs to get through this soon so that he can send the corrections back to his author. He knows things have been taking him longer than they usually do and oh god, this is not good. Realizing that the drawings he's been trying so hard to concentrate on aren't too different from his fantasizing, Nikaido drops his head to rest on the papers.

That day, it takes twice as long to get through making edits to Fukasawa-sensei's storyboard than it should have and he still has to call Sakuma-sensei to remind him about his upcoming deadline, separate from the usual monthly cycle deadline.

A host's job is to listen intently and make their guest feel special and important. Nikaido keeps repeating in his head over and over in a poor attempt to clear his mind, but it's not helping. "I'm doomed," he mutters. He's fallen for a host and there is no way this can end well.

And if work had been progressing at a slow pace before, he's completely useless now. He checks his watch, groans when he sees that it's already later than he'd thought and if he doesn't hurry, catching his last train home is going to get iffy.

He barely makes his train, all but collapsing against the closed door in exhaustion. His job is not an easy one and is a constant series of stressful events that repeat themselves with every month. He works terrible hours and often doesn't get enough sleep, but to add to all that, his brain is using energy he doesn't have, fantasizing over someone who doesn't return his feelings.

He decides that he'll stop going to Diamond Honey, not sure what to do otherwise.

He wakes up to his alarm and it's all too soon before he's dragging his feet back to work. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he thinks that maybe he should've just spent the night at his desk and that maybe he'd have gotten to sleep more that way, not waste time with transportation.

The weeks pass and the editors at Strawberry Parfait enter their next publishing cycle, but Nikaido doesn't feel any better now about his situation than he did a month ago.

Nikaido looks over towards Miyata's desk. It's clear that his boss is over the moon for that host Tamamori and yet, it doesn't seem to bother him at all. Day in and day out, Miyata does his work, steady as always, yet here Nikaido is, a complete wreck. Tamamori's a host and when Miyata's not there, he's still paying all that attention to other guests who come to the club, and how could you possibly know you're not just another customer? Maybe it's because he knows Tamamori feels the same, Nikaido wonders. How much of a difference could that make?

It's at that moment Miyata looks up and catches Nikaido looking at him. Some of his inner turmoil must show on his face because Miyata's eyes go soft and he jerks a thumb over to the vending machines.

They sip at their canned coffee for a moment, Miyata being his patient self while Nikaido gathers his thoughts. There are so many things he wants to ask, so many of which he probably shouldn't be talking about here at work. Finally, he just suggests they go grab dinner together and after he gets a slow nod from Miyata, they finish their coffee in silence.

"So," Miyata starts them off once they're sitting comfortably at a table in an izakaya close to the station, beer in hand and food on the way.

They both know what Nikaido wants to talk about, but Nikaido doesn't at all know where he should start or what he's really looking for, so he just blurts out the things that he’s been dying to ask. "Are you and Tamamori actually dating? Like, do you see him outside the club?"

He knows he probably shouldn't be butting so far into his boss's personal life, but he's hoping Miyata won't mind. Luckily, it turns out that Miyata is not that kind of boss.

"Sometimes," Miyata says with a light shrug. "We're both really busy with work and it's not like our schedules match up very well, so more times than not, I'll just go see him at the club."

"Is that even allowed?"

"I'm sure it's not encouraged for hosts to date their clients, but by the time everyone else realized something was going on for real, I guess you could say it was too late?" He laughed a little sheepishly. "Enough of the women were coming to the club just to see us together that they weren't sure if they wanted to fire Tama-chan."

A small spark of hope ignites in Nikaido. So it's not impossible. "It doesn't bother you that he's a host?"

Miyata thinks this over for a little bit. "Not too much I suppose."

"Why not?" Just the thought of Senga spending time with other guys doesn't sit well with him and they're not even in a relationship.

"I guess it's because I know all those other guys are just work to him," Miyata says confidently. "And I know that I'm not."

"But how do you know you're not just another customer?" Nikaido asks, and this is possibly his biggest worry. Even if he likes Senga, he's not confident that Senga returns the sentiment.

"I can't really answer that for you," Miyata says, and then pauses before adding, "But I will say that Senga's asked about you every single time I've gone to the club."

"Really?" Nikaido asks, perking up at the prospect of Senga noticing his absence. "…And what do you tell him?"

"He tries to be smooth about it, pretending like he's just making conversation, but it's kind of obvious that he comes over just to ask about you. I usually tell him that you're busy with work and have been staying at the office until last train almost everyday for weeks now." Miyata shrugs, but then turns an unusually sharp eye on Nikaido. "Which is more or less true, if we ignore the fact that you're only having to stay that late because you're not focused and your usual workload is taking you much longer than it's supposed to."

Nikaido's shoulders hunch a little in defense, but he knows Miyata is right. It's as close to a dressing down as he's ever gotten from his boss.

"We're getting closer to the end of another cycle. You can't afford to be slacking off this close to Hell Week."

“I’ll get my work done,” Nikaido snaps defensively. He’s still got some time.

But Hell Week, the week leading up to their monthly printing deadline, approaches all too quickly and is called such for a reason. None of them are getting a normal night sleep and they're all on edge. Miyata always somehow manages to get his authors to meet their deadlines with time to spare, but Nikaido is not so lucky. He knows that this is partly his own fault, having been so distracted, but one of his authors in particular is notorious for cutting it close, and it's already the day of their deadline.

Nikaido slams the phone down on Fukasawa-sensei in annoyance. "He's still got 6 pages to go."

"Still?!" Miyata groans. "Check on him again in a few hours and see where he's at. You might have to go to his studio to help out. In the meantime, call the printers and wheedle an extension out of them."

It takes a lot of arguing and Nikaido's ears are ringing, but he gets them the extension. In the end, he does have to go to Fukasawa-sensei's studio to help cut toner and has to do the typeset on site, but he manages to get the finished manuscript to the printers just after 4am.

When he drags his way back to the publishing house, it's completely deserted, everyone else having left with their first trains. He drops down into his chair and gently rests his pounding head on his desk, closes his eyes. He'll go home himself in a second.

Yep. Any moment now…


Upon hearing his name, Nikaido blearily looks up to see Senga standing at the entrance to their section of the editing department. He blinks a few times, confused by his presence. "What are you…"

Senga shuffles his feet a bit, looking unsure of himself. "Miyata came by the club as we were closing and mentioned that you're done with this month's deadlines and that you'd probably still be here, passed out." And before Nikaido can defend himself, Senga quickly continues. "He also said that this month was particularly rough on you and that I should take responsibility and help you get home."

Exhausted beyond normal people standards, it takes a long moment for Nikaido to process this and even longer to put on his coat and gather his things before he stumbles his way out towards the elevators. He blacks out a few steps later and when he comes around, he's in his own bed.

From the way the sunlight is hitting his room, he estimates that it's already late afternoon which means he's probably managed to get the equivalent of a full night's sleep. He groans slightly. Normally after they finish a cycle, he tries to make it into work a little after lunch. He tries to reach for his phone so that he can call Miyata to let him know that he'll still come in, but finds that he can't move.

Then a voice sounds from behind him, making his heart jump in surprise.

"You feeling better?" the soft voice asks, and for the first time, Nikaido realizes that there are strong arms wrapped around him. Warmth fills him as he realizes whose they are and he takes a moment to relish the fact that it feels better than he'd imagined it would.

"How did I get home?" Seeing as how he's somehow here in bed with the very guy he's been thinking about for weeks now, the fact that he doesn't remember much of anything beyond taking things to the printers makes him kind of sad. He hopes he hasn't missed anything too important.

"I carried you mostly," Senga says simply. "You were barely conscious enough to give me directions. We ended up trying to unlock the wrong apartment the first time. If I hadn't shown up, just how were you planning on getting home?"

Nikaido can hear the frown in Senga's voice and tries to imagine what would have happened. He'd probably have just passed out at his desk for a few hours before making an attempt at the journey home. Or maybe would have crashed out on the train and rode it to and from last stations before staying awake long enough to get off at his stop. "I'd have made it eventually…" he says vaguely.

Senga thankfully leaves it at that, but says instead, "Are you not going to ask me what I'm doing here?"

Nikaido takes a deep breath and rolls over so that they're facing each other. Miyata said that Senga has been asking about him for weeks now, and then Senga came all the way to his work place, even though he probably spent all night working himself, and then proceeded to carry him home. To top all that off, he's still here, hours later.

In all honesty, Nikaido is pretty thrilled. He likes me.

And since it's just so much simpler, instead of explaining everything that's been going on in his head, Nikaido just closes the gap between them and presses his lips firmly to Senga's. Senga's eyes widen almost comically, but soon slide closed and he's kissing him back and Nikaido cheers internally.

When they pull apart, they're both grinning.

After that, things pretty much go back to normal. Nikaido works hard, does his job, and continues to hound Fukasawa-sensei to make sure he meets his deadlines. The only difference, although a huge one, is that he and Senga are officially a thing now.

They'd tried to hide it at Senga’s work, but when Nikaido growled menacingly at anyone who came near Senga, the women at the club were on them like a swarm of bees with their questions and there wasn't much to be done from there.

☆・゜:*☆ A few weeks later☆・゜:*☆

It’s Christmas Eve at Diamond Honey and the club is busier than usual. They sit at their usual table in the club as holiday music plays softly in the background.

“It’s too bad I couldn’t take tonight off,” Senga comments. “You look like you should be passed out at home.”

“As if they’d let you take Christmas Eve off. Agh. Stupid holidays. Thanks to New Year’s, the printers set the deadline earlier, which means I had less days to pull a finished manuscript from Sakuma-sensei’s hands. I’m just lucky Fukasawa-sensei didn’t have anything due this cycle.”

“Did you wanna just head home first?” Senga asks, clearly knowing that Nikaido could definitely use a real night’s sleep. “I can just let myself in once I’m off.”

Nikaido gives him a look before popping some of the mikan Senga’s peeling into his mouth. “As if. Who knows what some weirdo will do to you if I’m not here. I’m your only customer tonight.”

Senga gives him a weird look which makes Nikaido blink. “What?”

“Who said you’re a customer?”

It takes a few moments for his words to sink in, but once they do, Nikaido nearly pounces on him, grinning. This is something they’ve never actually talked about. “Am I not?”

Senga’s eyes narrow before sliding away. “Idiot. You never were.”

The happiness that swells up through his chest is so powerful that in that moment, Nikaido completely forgets where they are and closes the distance between them for a kiss.

The squeals and screams are overwhelming and Nikaido pulls back reluctantly. Damn women and their staring.

A/N:  Thank you for reading.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and have a happy new year. ♡ And as always, your comments are much appreciated.

Date: 2014-01-01 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] racanai.livejournal.com
Of course SnowMen are BL mangaka, of course! XD

Miyata being the boss and giving advice is somehow both unexpected and expected. However he managed to get Tamamori to date him! ;D

Nikaido pining over Senga and looking only at the problems because of Senga being a host, and Senga asking for Nikaido evrytime Miyata is there is so cute! ^^ As is the ending! ♥

Date: 2014-01-03 02:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] talisa-ahn.livejournal.com
Of course they are! (^u^)b They're plotting BL manga on that Abe's laptop, I just know it.

Thank you for commenting. I'm glad you liked it.

Date: 2014-10-04 12:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dancerdreams2.livejournal.com
I still want more of this verse... ;_;


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