From the side of the shop’s counter, Katorasu watched the way Jamie performed his duties as the owner and sole worker of his clothing store; his back was constantly straight, shoulders up slightly, and his footsteps were firm as they tapped against the wood plank floor. The way he handled the register, the clothing, and his pencil and clipboard were in elegant fashion— as if it was all done premeditated— was a contrast to the way the male hedgehog would perform tasks such as these.
His border collie landlord had gotten back into his position in front of the register, having just sorted some clothing.
“If you’re watching to see how to work in my shop, don’t worry about it; I’m not hiring anyone, for the moment.” The British canine’s posture seemed to relax a little, at least for a bit for now.
Though that wasn’t the reason why he was watching, Katorasu laughed a little as he spoke, “I really hoped I could work here, maybe try and reduce my monthly rent.”
“Sorry to disappoint you then.” Jamie responded, a small smile was on his lips now.
After that, Katorasu thought about the night prior and how he was so confused by Jamie’s treatment of him. How the canine seemed to give the hedgehog less of a hard time, despite how his antics would normally push the smaller male’s buttons.
“Hey, Jamie?” The vigilante began, as he moved over to him, now behind the counter with Jamie.
“Hm?” His landlord turned a little, his eyes looking up into Katorasu’s golden orbs; he swore he could feel some kind of connection between the both of them now.
“Bit of a dumb question— uh, why have you been so nice to me lately? Do you like me or something? I thought I annoyed you constantly.” He admitted to how he thought Jamie felt about him.
There was a quick flash of crimson across Jamie’s cheeks, he looked away a little as he tried not to give away that there was more to the situation than him just “liking” Katorasu.
Taking a moment to respond, Jamie explained in a deadpan manner after adjusting his mood, “Of course I do and of course you annoy me, just not constantly though. You’ve been around me for a few months, I can tell you’re not going away anytime soon, so I might as well make the best of it.” He folded his arms, facing the vigilante fully.
Giving that response a few moments to settle in his mind, Katorasu could only breathe in a sigh of relief and smile, “That explains it, don’t know what I was thinking last night.” He chuckled, sheepishly almost.
“... what were you thinking about?” Jamie curiously asked, his tone had changed slightly to a somber one.
“Eh, nothing to worry about.” He shrugged, feeling that mental weight gone from his brain now.
“... alright then.” Jamie turned his attention towards the entrance of his shop, as if he didn’t have anything better to do than wait for another customer.
Kato’s smile faded into a concerned look, he leaned forward on the counter beside Jamie— tilting his head— as he asked him, “Hey, what’s wrong?”
Casting his eyes away from the hedgehog, Jamie answered, “Nothing, just a personal matter that’s been on my mind.”
Biting his lower lip, Katorasu nodded and pulled away from the counter, “Do you wanna talk about it?” He asked, the sincerity was obvious in his voice.
A sigh came from the border collie, “No, don’t worry about it; I’ll tell you if I ever feel like I’m ready to do so.” His solemn expression shifted into a soft somber smile, as he folded his arms and turned his upper body towards the nephalem, “Did anything exciting happen on patrol last night?”
Looking like a child on Christmas, Katorasu gleamed with joy at being asked that, “You betcha! I think I may have pissed off the cops, so I’m not sure how that’ll turn out, but I stopped my first arms deal! Nearly got shot a couple of times, but nothing I couldn’t walk away from.”
“The new organization in town, I’m assuming?” His British landlord guessed correctly.
Nodding his head, Katorasu further explained, “Yeah, they were trying to pawn off some guns to some kids playing gangster; I told them off though, plus I took down those mobster guys and used one of their phones to call the police on them.”
“Is that why you think you may have ‘pissed’ them off?” Jamie rolled his eyes a little, figuring Katorasu’s cockiness was the reason why they were possibly mad.
“I may have taunted them a little.” He sheepishly chuckled, “I got asked for my name and told the woman on the phone that they already know it.”
Another sigh came from Jamie, “As long as you don’t give them your address, I guess it’ll be fine.” He shook his head a little.
“What about you?” Katorasu vaguely asked.
“What?” His landlord responded, understandably a little confused.
“How was your night? I don’t really know what you do at home, so I can’t really ask about anything other than that.” The nephalem laughed in a sheepish manner.
After mulling over that question in his head, Jamie responded, “It was good, I guess. I don’t lead an exciting life like you do, though that’s nothing to complain about. I’d rather stay at home, drawing up clothing designs, writing in my journal, and reading books than risk getting shot in the middle of the night.”
“Yeah, that’s fair. My lifestyle isn’t for everyone, then again it shouldn’t be in the first place.” He sighed, “Though I’m cool with it being just for me.” His smile was still plastered on his face.
“Even if it doesn’t look like it, I’m sure you’re leaving your mark on Station Square,” Jamie reassured the nephalem, just as a precaution, “You’ll get your wish of being a hero, I’m sure of it.”
All that caught Katorasu by surprise, though he smiled widely and happily responded, “Thanks, Jamie, I appreciate that, and you.”
His small friend felt his cheeks flush again, though thankfully Katorasu didn’t notice. After that, the pair didn’t speak much with each other for the rest of the day other than to make small talk here and there as customers entered and exited.
Unbeknownst to the vigilante though, as he mingled with customers or stared off into space with his thoughts, Jamie would take the opportunity to cast his gaze on Katorasu and reflect about if this crush would be a fleeting thing. It had developed not too long ago, yet he didn’t have a clue as to why it even happened. Perhaps he enjoyed the loose and outgoing nature that the hedgehog had, despite how one would think their two personalities would clash constantly as lovers.
Either way, the border collie wasn’t sure if the two were meant to be or not. It wasn’t a burning desire of a crush, though it also wasn’t a small infatuation with the vigilante. Maybe that’s why he was so reluctant to admit his feelings to him right now; in all honesty, he hoped that Katorasu would try another attempt though he knew he would just shoot the black hedgehog’s question down next time.
Mentally kicking himself over his conflicting feelings and difficulty with expressing them, Jamie hadn’t realized that his potential interest had been trying to call his attention. It took Katorasu’s hand on Jamie’s shoulder to bring him out of his thoughts.
“It’s almost time to close up,” He spoke, as the two were alone and sunset began to bleed into the shop, “Pretty slow day today, huh? I never seen you space out like that; I mean, I was doing it too here and there but I’ve never seen you do it before. You sure you’re okay?”
A quick nod from Jamie was what the border collie could manage, as he tried to figure what to say, “O-Of course! Nothing to worry about, Katorasu, just something on my mind. It’s nothing big, like I said,” Jamie assured the nephalem, as he then went off to set up the shop for closing time, a bit preemptively too, “Again, thank you for your concern and I… appreciate you too.”
Katorasu’s smile grew more from hearing that, “No problem! Remember, I’m here for ya,” He was really bubbly now, “l’m gonna go get changed right now, too, I don’t wanna keep you waiting.” His voice was chipper, more so than before, as he left for upstairs.
With that line, Jamie seriously considered if perhaps the nephalem was in the same situation as he was: too afraid to admit his feelings, if there were any beyond friendship. Maybe not though, would someone as outgoing and honest as Katorasu keep feelings like that hidden? Did he even toy with the idea of him and Jamie being together in his head? By this point, it was very likely that Jamie would get a headache from all this overthinking.
Practically leaping off the first step of the stairs and onto the very bottom, Katorasu was dressed up and full of energy for another night on the town.
For the remainder of what little daylight there was, the pair had bits and pieces of conversation about an assortment of topics, all coming from Katorasu of course; Jamie just didn’t know what interested his tenant. No customers had shown up to browse or shop, leaving the two alone as Jamie decided to then just close up the shop early for tonight, mainly due to the headache that was love in his thoughts.
Both of the males stepped out of the shop, as its lights were turned off and the moon was rising slowly. With a goodbye for the night, Katorasu and Jamie began to walk their own separate ways.
That was until the nephalem stopped in his tracks, turning around he called out to the border collie softly, “Hey, Jamie? I know all I really do is just mess around and go out at night beating bad guys, but I’ve been thinking: you ever wanna like, take a day off together sometime? I could take ya to a restaurant— your pick— or anything like that,” Katorasu could only sheepishly chuckle as he continued, “I’m not expecting rent to go down this month for all that, so don’t worry, it’s just a treat of mine; y’know, to say thanks for putting up with me.”
By this point, Jamie was exhausted with feeling his cheeks go warm and red from the nephalem’s words and actions. He wasn’t mad or anything with constant flushing, just annoyed that he had to keep his face hidden from Katorasu.
Taking a moment to consider his answer, the Brit responded, “Sure, I don’t see why not; though you should focus more on cleaning up the streets, after all who else is going to deal with the new organization?”
Chipper as can be, the vigilante happily chimed, “Awesome! I’ll get my butt in gear and kick ass as best I can!” He smiled brightly now, his teeth as white as the surface of the moon.
One more goodnight and the two split apart, one heading to the rooftops and the other heading to his home. As uncertain Jamie was with all this, only time would tell if the canine and hedgehog were meant to be.