9 Chapter 9

As the two walked towards the ALCAS building to go to Lionel's office, the strong wind continued to blow the leaves around and Kaito was happily idly chatting with Lionel about why he and his friends chose the anime characters to go as. Kaito went on saying, "You see, Darrol has a young daughter and we often get stuck watching the shows she likes to watch. So her recent favorite has been this Equal Princess Magic anime and it's been on repeat for quite a while now. So Darrol came up with the idea for her costume this year and we decided to join in on the fun as going as the anime characters too. She was tickled pink when she found out she wasn't going to be the only Princess this year!"

Kaito was talking excitedly about this and Lionel just listened, smiling at his obvious care and affection for his friend and friend's daughter. Lionel couldn't help but wonder and think back to Kaito's adamant refusal to recognize his family name when he formally introduced himself. The young omega was certainly still a bit of a mystery. 'That's ok' he told himself, 'there's plenty of time to get to know him and maybe he will trust me enough to open up one day.'

After Kaito quit talking about how his costume came to be, he suddenly shivered, finally feeling the cold wind with a hint of damp on the horizon. 'It will surely rain tonight' he thought idly as suddenly a warm jacket was placed over his shoulders, startled as he looked up at Lionel who was grinning at his reaction.

Lionel chuckled saying, "Wow, I never thought I'd ever use a romance trope in real life! I hope you don't mind, you looked cold. You don't have to wear it if it makes you uncomfortable."

"No it's fine, I was just a little surprised was all... wait, you know about tropes of all things, and romance tropes, at that? I never would have pegged you to be the sort to like that kind of otaku stuff", Kaito said.

"Well, I like a good sappy rom com as much as the next person I'd say. There's nothing wrong with watching a good romance movie on a rainy night with a bit of popcorn", He explained then asked, "So, what kind of movies do you like Kaito?"

"Me? Uhm, well, I really enjoy a good post-apocalyptic movie or show. I'd say science fiction is the best generic genre. I like to read about different worlds and space travel like it's just hopping in the car to go to the grocery store. The kind of world where evolution and technology are eye to eye and on par with one another", said Kaito.

Talking animatedly, Kaito continued talking on and on about his favorite books, listing all of his favorite authors, and how he has read nearly all of their books. He lamented that one science fiction/fantasy writer he liked handed their work that they made over to their son, who ended up ruining the series in Kaito's opinion. Kaito continued excitedly, "I mean come on! Who hands the reins to an all important, well loved, popular series, that's been around for decades, and has tons of stories in the universe. An author's literal literary baby to a person who doesn't understand the concept of 'if it's not broke, don't fix it'…?!" Kaito continued to rant about the world that had Dragons, and technology. How they came to settle this planet, how Thread was dangerous, and dragons were bred to counteract it. He was so passionate about the subject, Lionel wouldn't have been able to get a word in edgewise, even if he had wanted to.

Before they knew it they had arrived at the building with his office and were heading up the backstairs to Lionel's office. Lionel pulled out his keys, unlocked his office door, flipped the light on for Kaito then stepped aside, before going in behind him and closing the door.

"I'll wait here while you get changed in the bathroom, the door should be unlocked", Lionel stated.

"Okay I'll be out in a minute", Kaito said shyly, taking off Lionel's jacket and handing it to him. Then Kaito continued saying, "Thanks for letting me borrow it", as he blushed before hurrying to the bathroom with his bag.

He dashed in then closed the door and locked it. He couldn't believe he was blushing like a maniac at such a simple gesture. He told himself to pull it together, 'don't be swayed by kindness alone…', he chanted to himself as he pulled out his clothes from his backpack. He hurriedly stripped from his costume and felt how cold his thighs were. He didn't even realize how cold it had gotten outside, he had been too focused on chatting with Lionel.

Kaito put his favorite pair of jeans on first. They were worn in all the right spots, that's why he liked them. They had holes in the all right spots, they were also a nice faded dark blue denim. Next he pulled out his new deep purple dress shirt, now only slightly wrinkled, putting it on. Kaito had only bought a new dress shirt because the only other one had, he hadn't worn since he graduated highschool and it was now too small. As he was buttoning it up, he looked in the mirror to check to see if his hair still looked alright. He had brought more gel and a comb just in case, but it looked like the ultra hold stuff he had bought was doing the trick. It hadn't budged an inch, even in all that wind.

Satisfied, he shoved his costume unceremoniously into his bag and put his shoes back on. Kaito had worn a pair of black high top sneakers with his costume and hadn't bothered to pack another pair since they were good enough and were relatively clean. He was in the mindset, why buy new shoes if the ones he had were still perfectly wearable. New clothes were a general waste of money. He only bought what was necessary most of the time and budgets his income tightly.

Taking one last look in the mirror, he left the bathroom with his bag. Looking around then seeing Lionel. He was sitting in one of his office chairs and was waiting patiently for him.

"Sorry, I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long", said Kaito.

"No, you're fine. We have plenty of time", Lionel said, and was again struck by how attractive he thought that Kaito was.

Lionel was surfing his phone only a moment ago, second guessing his choice of restaurant where to take Kaito to for their date tonight. He then finally decided his first choice was fine, it wasn't over the top, but it wasn't a hole in the wall either. Though he had entertained the thought briefly thinking 'BBQ was pretty versatile', but no, his first choice of a mom and pop diner style restaurant was still the way to go.

Lionel wanted to make sure he made a good impression tonight and see if Kaito was fine with where he chose, so he asked, "Do you like mom and pop diner style restaurants? Or is there a preference for the type of dining you like?"

Kaito responded simply, "I'm not picky, wherever you choose is fine." He honestly didn't go out to eat much, mostly if he did go out to eat, it was to family style restaurants with Mama Jun, Darrol and Vivi. He doesn't know the latest hot spots or most desirable eatery. He wasn't a part of an 'elite' family anymore that 'had to keep up appearances', remembering bitterly of the places he was dragged to when his sister was engaged to her elite alpha husband. He quickly squashed that train of thought, but not before a flicker of pain crossed Kaito's face without him ever realizing it.

Watching Kaito's expression, Lionel wondered what had happened to cause these tiny, almost imperceptible flickers of raw emotion to show on the young Omega's face. He wanted nothing more than to comfort Kaito when he saw these shadows. 'All in due time', he thought. For now he needed to gain his trust and slowly get to know him. Pampering him will come later, for now we have to get past the first date hurdle. 'If this was a novel with a romance system, I'd be gaining experience from trying to woo the main lead', he thought with a chuckle.

"The restaurant I have in mind is in the next city over. Is that alright with you? They are famous for their humongous burgers, but they serve other tasty food too", Lionel said.

The two of them walked out of his office. While he turned to lock the door he heard Kaito affirm that it's fine with him.

"Really it's alright, I will eat dinner there with you. Thank you for trying to take my preferences into account, but aren't you trying a little too hard? It's only the first date. If you keep trying this hard, I might come to be spoiled", Kaito said teasingly.

"Is it a problem if I want to spoil you? What will you do if I actually want to pamper you?" Lionel asked half jokingly.

Kaito didn't think he was serious at all. Then reflected upon himself and thought, 'he's no one special, just a late blooming omega that didn't have anything going for him until a freak of nature accident happened and their paths crossed because of it. Besides, Lionel would tire of him sooner or later, and he would be discarded again soon after.'

When Kaito didn't say anything, Lionel turned to see Kaito's head down with another shadow across his face. He wasn't sure what he said to trigger the look this time, but Lionel couldn't help but wonder if he was abused sometime in the past for him to keep looking like that. When someone tries to say nice things he gets this sad look. He would dearly like to meet the person that had hurt Kaito so badly. He wasn't a violent person, but there was something bubbling under the surface. His inner Alpha was riled up with raw emotion. He quickly told his inner alpha to stuff it or it would scare Kaito. The inner alpha whined, but immediately quieted down.

Lionel reached out to touch the back of Kaito's hand, startling Kaito out of his depressing thoughts. Lionel quickly asked, "Are you feeling OK?" Concerned about Kaito he went on, "If you don't want to go to dinner with me, it's alright, you don't need to force yourself. Just tell me what you want to do. I'll respect whatever decision you make. If you want to go home, I'll take you home, if you're uncomfortable with that, you can call someone to pick you up, or I'll get you a rideshare." Lionel was worried he was pushing the omega too fast. They only agreed on a date a couple days ago, maybe dinner in a crowded place would be too much for him to handle. He should have asked if he wanted to do other activities first, Lionel mentally kicked himself for not asking sooner.

"No, it's alright. I'd like to go to dinner with you. I'd like to get to know you better and I happen to like burger places", Kaito said with a smile breaking out on his face, and continued saying, "I'm fine, I was just lost in thought for a moment, so let's go."

The two walked down the same way they came up. They exited the building and headed for the nearby faculty parking lot. When they got there Lionel guided Kaito to his vehicle. Lionel pulled his keys out and remotely unlocked his car. The lights to an SUV lit up as the alarm unarmed with a chirp. *Chirp*, *Chirp* He opened the passenger side door for Kaito to get in the vehicle and with a sweep of his hand, then a slight bow, he said charmingly, "Your carriage awaits, good sir!"

"Pfft! Hahaha", Kaito genuinely burst out laughing, "Good one, you really have read all those romance novels to say something so cheesy like that!"

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