Spazz's last stand: Well, here we are everyone, the final chapter! I hope ya'll had a fun time reading. I certainly enjoyed writing it.
Eiri: And I enjoyed telling you how much you suck at every possible opportunity.
Spazz: Oh, yes, "thank you" for your wonderful "encouragement." But anyway, go forth and partake in the conclusion of last chapter's deliciously evil cliffhanger.
Disclaimer, courtesy of Suguru: "Uh, hello, I'm Fujisaki Suguru. I don't appear in this fic because the author apparently only cares about the relationship between Eiri-san and Shindou-san...oh, Eiri-san, why have you gone soft on me? You used to be so cool!"
Chapter completed: 2005.06.30
Chapter 6: I Love You More
All Shuuichi seemed capable of doing was gaping at Eiri with wide eyes, repeatedly opening and closing his mouth silently in his state of speechless shock. Looks like I finally found a way to shut him up, Eiri thought, unable to contain his smirk even in such a tender moment.
"Just now...you...what did you say?"
Eiri's face lost some of its gentleness and took on a bit of the exasperation that he usually displayed in his young lover's presence. "Come on, I know you heard me."
"So...you really just said that you love me? I wasn't hearing things?"
The feelings of exasperation were now coming back to him in full force. "If you don't want to believe me, I can easily take it back."
"No!" Shuuichi threw his arms around Eiri and nearly squeezed the life out of him with his iron grip. Eiri could feel the smaller man's body shaking. "It's just...I'm so...I've waited so long to hear you say that, Yuki. I wanted to be sure I wasn't just imagining things. I'm so happy to finally hear those words from you." The singer began to emit soft sobs.
Eiri sighed as he stroked his lover's back. "Why do you always have to cry about everything?"
"Well, at least these are tears of joy for once," Shuuichi said with a sniffle.
"It's still crying, and it's still messy and gross." Eiri gently pushed his lover's face away from his shoulder to avoid allowing any of the drippings coming from Shuuichi to land on his shirt.
Shuuichi wiped the tears from his eyes and flashed Eiri one of the most blissful smiles he had ever witnessed. "Thank you, Yuki."
Eiri looked slightly embarrassed. "Well, you needed to hear it, right? I wanted to let you know in case you weren't sure."
"Oh, I've known it for some time. You've made it pretty obvious by the way you act."
"Oh, really? Then why have you bugged me to tell you so much?"
"There's a difference between believing it to be true because of what you do versus having you say it with your own words. Even if I already knew it in my heart, I still really needed to hear you say it. I'm so happy you finally did."
"If it made you happy, I guess that's all that matters." Eiri had secretly experienced a huge sense of relief saying that he loved Shuuichi. He was finally able to let go of the fear he had had of saying those words and let his lover know once and for all how much he meant to him. Apparently Shuuichi had already figured it out, but it had still turned out to be a confession that held a lot of meaning for both of them.
Eiri noticed that Shuuichi was staring at him with wide eyes so innocent they aroused great suspicion. "What are you up to?"
"Yuki..." The oh-so-innocent voice only further confirmed that the younger man wanted something from him. "Will you say it again?"
"Say you love me again."
Eiri balked at the request. He didn't like being told when and how he should express his feelings. "No."
"If you don't stop bothering me, I swear I'll never say it again!"
Eiri's outburst managed to quiet Shuuichi down momentarily, but then he pouted and looked at his lover crossly. "Well, how often are you gonna say it? Don't tell me you planned on saying it just one time then never again."
"Yeah, pretty much."
"Come on, Yuki, don't be like that! It made you happy to say it to me, right? Don't you wanna experience that happiness more often?"
"I can get by without it."
"Well, I can't!"
"You've survived for two years without hearing it. I'm sure you can continue to do so."
"Not anymore. You've spoiled me by saying it, and now you have to live with the consequences!" Eiri was sitting on the bed facing away from him and Shuuichi snuggled up to his back, draping his arms over him. "Will you promise to say it at least once a day?"
"Once a week?"
"Once a month?"
"Once a year?!"
Shuuichi sighed. "We're gonna need a compromise here. I want you to say you love me every day, while you only want to say it once a year."
"I only said 'maybe' to that," Eiri interrupted.
Shuuichi ignored him. "Can you agree to make it once a month?" Before Eiri could say anything, Shuuichi continued. "And I mean once per calendar month. You can't just say it twelve times in one day and then not say it for another year."
"You've thought about this a lot, haven't you?"
"I've had a lot of time to think about it. So, will you?"
It seemed silly to Eiri, but he could tell that his lover was serious about this, and he knew the younger man could be quite stubborn when he wanted to be. "Okay, yeah, whatever." He was surprised when he found Shuuichi sitting next to him and tilting his face toward his, forcing Eiri to see the sheer determination in his eyes.
"Don't just 'yeah, whatever' me. You have to promise. Please."
This was one battle of willpowers that Eiri could see he had no chance of winning. He looked back at his lover with the same seriousness Shuuichi was exuding. "I, Yuki Eiri, legally known as Uesugi Eiri, do hereby solemnly swear to declare my love for one Shindou Shuuichi once per month for the rest of our lives." The last part had slipped out unintentionally and seemed to echo through the room as both sat in silence staring at each other. For the rest of our lives. Eiri used to believe that he wasn't capable of caring for anyone enough to spend his life with them, but now, without even thinking about it, he had declared his intention to do just that with Shuuichi. It actually didn't seem like such a bad idea to him anymore.
Shuuichi seemed more than satisfied with the answer his lover had given and wrapped his arms tightly around him. "I'm gonna hold you to that." He placed a soft kiss on Eiri's lips, and the other man responded with forceful passion by pushing him down and rolling on top of him, interlacing their fingers together as he pinned him to the bed. Before they got any more intimate, Shuuichi placed a finger on Eiri's lips to stop him. "Hey, Yuki?"
Shuuichi lifted his left hand still intertwined with Eiri's right hand, bringing attention to the shiny silver objects adorning his middle finger and Eiri's ring finger. "What do these rings mean?"
Finally Shuuichi had brought up the question Eiri had been dreading having to answer for the entire past week. Before, he had not been sure what he would say when his lover asked the inevitable question, but after what had happened that day he felt like he finally had the answer. "Exactly what you think they mean."
The violet eyes grew nearly as wide as they had when Eiri had first admitted his love to Shuuichi. A giant grin quickly overtook his entire face. "Oh, Yuki!" The younger man squealed as he threw his arms around Eiri once more. It was hard to believe that after going two years without even saying he loved Shuuichi, Eiri was now pretty much admitting that he felt like the two of them were married. Sure, Shuuichi had been referring to himself as Eiri's wife ever since they had moved in together, but for someone as emotionally guarded as Eiri to say something of the same magnitude was a very big deal. He wondered how far his lover was willing to go with the issue he had inadvertently started when he bought those matching rings. "Hey, Yuki? Would it be all right if I got this ring resized? I'd like to be able to wear it on the 'proper' finger."
"If you want to, go ahead. When you do, I'll move mine over to my other hand."
Shuuichi hadn't believed Eiri could unload any more revelations that would completely shock him, but the older man had once again proven him wrong. It astonished him that a man who seemed to shun tradition as much as Eiri would actually be willing to do something like wear a wedding ring to symbolize their commitment to each other. Then again, Eiri and Shuuichi weren't exactly a traditional couple, so maybe making such a commitment to another man was another way for Eiri to send a big 'fuck you' to mainstream society. Or maybe Shuuichi was over thinking things and his lover was just going with what he felt in his heart for once. He smiled at the man above him. "We'll look for a jewelry store tomorrow, then." Shuuichi placed his hands on the sides of the blond man's face and pulled him down into a kiss.
As Eiri returned his lover's passion eagerly, he mentally berated himself. What the hell am I doing, playing into Shuuichi's silly marriage fantasies? Why bother pretending to be something we legally can't be?' Another voice appeared berating him, but this one with a more impish tone. So why'd you get those rings in the first place, dumbass? And wedding rings, no less! What did you expect him to think? And what were you thinking? God, had he really fallen so stupidly in love with Shuuichi that he had actually started to believe in that "happily ever after" crap he had long loathed to hear others prattle on about? How could he maintain his reputation as a cynical writer of tragic romances while living out a happy domestic situation with the love of his life? He smirked inwardly. Face it, you've already been doing that for quite some time now, and you know damn well you have no intention of stopping. It's not like wearing wedding rings was going to change anything between them, but the gesture still carried significant meaning as to how seriously both of them were taking their relationship. It was very...sweet. The great Yuki Eiri-sama should never do anything that can be construed as sweet, god dammit! But he had. Sigh. Shuuichi had really changed him.
While deep in thought, Eiri had barely noticed that Shuuichi had begun to undress him. Once Eiri was completely nude, the younger man flipped over on top of him so Eiri could return the favor. Shuuichi took his lips away from his lover's and began kissing his neck, slowly working his way down his chest and stomach, stopping just short of his erect manhood. He took Eiri into his mouth and began to gently work him with his lips and tongue, causing the older man to sigh contentedly and run his fingers through Shuuichi's hair as he bobbed up and down. Shuuichi's skill at oral sex had been increasing drastically as of late, even to the point where Eiri felt he could get off rather quickly that way. He preferred for sex to be a little more extensive than having both parties come as quickly as possible, so he pulled Shuuichi's head up before he felt like he was going to climax.
"It's no good for just one of us to have all the fun. Turn around, I'll do you, too." The younger man readjusted himself so he was on top of Eiri, straddling his face in the sixty-nine position. Shuuichi continued his sucking of Eiri's erection while Eiri began to lightly kiss and lick at his lover's own arousal. He knew that Shuuichi reacted very strongly to oral stimulation of his penis, so Eiri couldn't really do anything more than tease him unless he wanted to him to climax in no time flat. Even from giving his lover barely any stimulation at all he could feel the reverberations from the younger man's moans through his own erection. He rather liked the way it felt, and so the two continued in their somewhat unfair arrangement of Shuuichi working hard to pleasure Eiri by thrusting him in and out of his mouth enthusiastically while Eiri merely laid back and made no strenuous effort beyond occasionally taking the head of Shuuichi's penis into his mouth and sucking at it lightly.
Finally Shuuichi had had enough. "Dammit, Yuki, do you have to be such a cock tease? I'm working my ass off trying to get you off and you're not even trying!"
"And you're doing a good job for once. Don't worry about what I'm doing to you. Enduring all this teasing will make it feel even better once I really get serious about pleasuring you."
"Well, why can't you get serious now so we both get pleasure?"
"Because I know if I give you a real blowjob you'll be coming all over my face in twenty seconds."
"Twenty seconds? Come on, that's ridiculous."
"You're right. Knowing you, it'd probably be more like fifteen."
"I know I come too fast sometimes, and I'm trying to stop doing that, but I doubt even you could make me come that quickly."
Shuuichi should have learned by now not to challenge Eiri, since the older man relished in proving him wrong. "Well, we won't know unless we try, will we? Does that watch of yours have a timer?"
"Then get it ready."
"Of course. You ready?"
"Uh, yeah, just a sec." Shuuichi pressed a couple of buttons on his watch and laid back on the bed. "Okay."
Eiri quickly plunged Shuuichi's erection as deeply into his mouth as he could without gagging. He moved his head swiftly up and down and used his tongue for increased stimulation. His lover began to moan and grip the sheets in ecstasy almost immediately.
"Ah...oh, Yuki...that feels good...too good...oh, Yuki, wait, I'm...Ah!"
Eiri was caught off guard and nearly choked when a flood of Shuuichi's ejaculate hit the back of his throat. He managed to swallow but was then stricken by an intense coughing fit.
"Yuki! Are you okay? Let me get you some water." Shuuichi ran over to the sink and quickly filled a glass to bring back to his lover. "Here."
Eiri chugged the contents of the glass and let out a loud gasp of air. "Holy shit, Shuuichi, I was half joking about that. I didn't really expect you would be that fast. What was the time, anyway?"
Shuuichi's eyes went wide as he looked at the time recorded on his watch.
"What? Was I right about it being fifteen seconds?"
"No...it was fourteen."
Eiri chuckled. "You really are hopeless."
The singer blushed. "I didn't expect you to be so good." He looked to his lover suspiciously. "Why are you so good at that, anyway? I thought you didn't have experience with other men."
"I don't, but I've had enough good blowjobs in the past to know how they should be done."
"Hmph. Well, even if I can't always give you head as good as you'd like me to, I still know of other ways to get you off." Shuuichi began to kiss Eiri as he pushed him back into a prone position on the bed and ran a slender hand down his lover's stomach, taking his erection into his hand and slowly stroking it up and down. It was hard for Eiri to determine which action was more pleasurable to him since Shuuichi had developed into a fantastic kisser who knew how to drive him wild with just the slightest movements of his lips and tongue. He started out kissing Eiri normally but then slowly began to back off, forcing Eiri to become increasingly more aggressive. Just as Shuuichi's involvement in the kiss had become almost unbearably passive and soft, he suddenly came back at Eiri's lips forcefully, matching the intensity and passion of his lover. He simultaneously increased the speed of his hand movements and felt Eiri moan against his lips as he climaxed into his hand.
Shuuichi giggled and brought his hand up to his mouth, licking his fingers sensually. "Looks like I'm not the only one who comes really fast."
"That was at least a minute, not just a few seconds. But it doesn't really matter, because..." Eiri crawled on top of Shuuichi and pinned him to the bed once more. "I'm not even close to being through with you yet."
There were no fancy decorations. No cake, no flowers, no stacks of gifts. No supporters or detractors, family or friends, and no one officiating. There were no legal documents attached, no religious texts to bless them with. They were standing in a hotel room wearing their street clothes. They weren't even in their own country.
None of these things mattered to the two men involved. It was still a wedding ceremony to them.
Eiri had not planned on making a big deal out their decision to wear the rings he had bought as proper wedding rings. Hell, he was just going to slip the ring onto Shuuichi's finger right there at the jeweler's once it had gotten resized, but the younger man seemed appalled at the idea of not doing something special to commemorate the occasion. So there they were in their hotel room the day before they were set to leave New York, holding each other's hands and staring at each other.
"So, what do we do now?"
"Come on, don't be silly, Yuki, this is when we recite our wedding vows."
"...we were supposed to write wedding vows?"
"Of course! Don't you know how a wedding works? You have got to be the worst romance novelist ever."
"There's a difference between not knowing and not caring. Besides, the only weddings I've been to have been Buddhist ceremonies, so I don't have any experience with the weird Shinto-Christian hybrid events that a lot of people seem to go for."
"Well, here's how it goes: we each say our vows professing our eternal love for each other, we exchange rings, and then we kiss. You think you can handle all that?"
The blond rolled his eyes. "Oh, I'll try." More silence followed. "So...why don't you start us off, since this was your idea and all."
"Okay..." Eiri was surprised by how nervous and hesitant Shuuichi suddenly looked. It's not like what they were doing was official or anything. Still, apparently it meant a lot to his young lover. "It's kinda hard to believe how things have worked out for me. Ever since junior high I dreamed of making it big in the music business, and thanks to the help of Hiro and everyone else I was able to accomplish that. But around the same time we started to become successful as Bad Luck, something unexpected happened to me: I fell in love. Unfortunately for everyone else, sometimes love got in the way of my work. Even if you didn't realize it, you had the power to control my every mood with each word you spoke. I know my dedication as a singer sometimes suffered because of this, but you know what? It doesn't really bother me, because you mean so much to me. No matter what influence you have on me, good or bad, I want to be with you. Even during times when things were difficult between us, I never stopped loving you.
"I've believed for some time now that we belong together. We've been drawn together by a force even stronger than fate or destiny. The problem was that I wasn't sure whether you would ever feel the same way about me. From what you'd told me, I didn't think you believed in the idea of spending your whole life with just one person. But you've changed. I'm so glad you've finally told me how you feel. It means a lot to me." Shuuichi looked up to Eiri, his eyes shining with happy tears. "It's almost unbelievable that you've decided to take this next step forward with me, and I'm excited at the idea of being with you forever. And so, with these words, I dedicate myself to spending my entire life at your side."
Eiri was smiling. He couldn't help it. Shuuichi was just so adorable, and his words, while a little too cheesy for Eiri's taste, were heartwarming. Since he hadn't actually planned any vows, he didn't feel like he had a whole lot to say in return. "You have completely altered the course of my life, Shuuichi. And I couldn't be more grateful." Shuuichi seemed satisfied with the older man's short but sweet reply and slid the thin silver band he had been holding onto Eiri's left ring finger. As soon as the older man reciprocated the action, he found himself under a passionate assault from Shuuichi's lips, though a very different sort of passion from the type he was used to that was meant to lead directly to sex. It was a joyful passion that emanated from his lover's very core, and it was apparently infectious since Eiri felt pretty elated himself. Then again, maybe his feelings were a result of what they had just done. It didn't really matter. The two men broke off their kiss and then simply stood with their arms around each other. Eiri could feel the younger man shaking as he held back sobs and let out a sigh. "It's okay. You can cry if you want to."
Shuuichi unburied his head from Eiri's chest and looked up at him with shimmering eyes. "I'm all right. I'm just feeling a bit...overwhelmed." The younger man cleared his throat and quickly rid himself of any signs that he had come close to breaking down. "So...what do you think we should do now to celebrate our new bond?"
"Well, we could go out and have a nice, expensive dinner together, we could do some more sightseeing, we could consummate our new status with hot sex, we could..." Shuuichi gave his answer as he tackled Eiri and practically forced him onto the bed. Apparently he was interested in doing a little sightseeing of the hotel room ceiling...
Some time later, Eiri lit up an "after sex" cigarette and took a deep drag as he lounged naked on the bed. Shuuichi was sitting next to him looking like an excited child, his eyes lit up with glee.
"Can you believe it, Yuki? Did we really do that?"
Eiri released a puff of smoke. "Yeah. I don't know what I was thinking."
Shuuichi giggled. "Well, I know what you were thinking. You knew that you loved me and wanted to spend the rest of your life with me, that's what."
"Is that so?"
"Yep! And now we're gonna live happily together, forever and ever"
"Of course! Because we're totally in love and meant to be together." The pink-haired man began twisting the ring around his finger absently. "Oh, my god, can you imagine how everyone will react when we tell them? 'Hi Hiro, hi Fujisaki, I had a wonderful time in New York. I saw some great sights, ate some awesome food, and, oh yeah, me and Yuki got married!' They're gonna totally freak!"
Eiri chuckled. "Make sure you get Seguchi's reaction on film. I'm sure it'll be priceless."
Shuuichi smiled broadly and suddenly wrapped his arms around Eiri and squeezed him tightly. "Oh, Yuki, I love you so much! I just feel like screaming it to the whole world!"
"Make sure I'm not around when you do. I've already heard enough of your screaming to permanently damage my hearing."
"Okay, maybe I don't need to scream it, but I'm just so full of passion I feel like I'm gonna burst. It's like my heart is filled with song."
"You're just full of clichés today, aren't you?"
"No, I really mean it. I actually feel like writing a song. Ever since you told me my lyrics sucked I've had a really hard time writing, but right now I don't even care about that. I've got words and melodies floating through my head that're just begging to be let out."
"I don't suppose I have a choice in whether I have to listen or not?"
"Of course not. We're married now, we're supposed to share everything. Now, listen up." Shuuichi cleared his throat and let a gentle tune spill forth from his lips.
"We've come so far
And loved so long
We've been through so much
And overcame all.
But after so long
The time has now come
You and I
Have now become one."
Eiri smiled and shook his head. Typical Shuuichi lyrics, all emotion and no substance. "You've got a fairly catchy melody there, but your lyrics desperately need work. It'd be much better if I wrote them."
Shuuichi stared gawk-eyed at the older man. "What? Seriously? You'd write lyrics for me? Even after I rejected your lyrics before?"
Eiri shrugged. "Sure. I can't have you embarrassing me by putting out some crappily written song about our relationship."
The younger man grabbed a pen and a pad of paper from the nightstand and smiled. "Well, let's get started!"
A few hours and a couple of "creativity sparking" lovemaking sessions later, the writer and the singer had penned a song that both were satisfied with.
"This is so great!" Shuuichi said excitedly, looking at the several tiny sheets of paper that their song was spread out over—some parts nearly illegible due to the fact that they were written down during sex. "I can't believe we work so well together! We really should've done this sooner." He grinned and began swinging his legs over the side of the bed. "Hey, Yuki, maybe we could use this song as a sort of 'coming out' to the public."
"We already did that last year on TV."
"I mean coming out about getting married."
"You think we should do that? Even the weirdo fangirls might not be so accepting about something like this."
"It's not like we're trying to make a political statement or something. It doesn't matter whether the whole world tells us we're wrong to call ourselves a married couple. We know how we feel about each other, and no one can take that away from us. And since we do plan to stay together, it's only right that we let people know about it. We've got no reason to hide."
"I guess if we made it into some sort of publicity stunt it might soften the blow for Seguchi," Eiri said with a smirk. Both men jumped a little as the phone rang for the first time since they had arrived at the hotel a week earlier.
"Who could that be? I thought you didn't tell anyone where we were staying."
"I didn't. It must be the front desk calling to confirm our wakeup call for tomorrow morning or something." The blond reached over and picked up the phone. "Hello?" Hearing the voice on the other end, he switched over to speaking Japanese. "Well, speak of the devil...Never mind...Anyway, how the hell did you get this number, Seguchi?...Huh?...She did? When?...Well, that's good...Yeah, our flight's tomorrow, so we'll be back in a day or so. Try not to smother her too much by the time we get there. See you then, and good luck, Daddy." Eiri hung up the receiver and turned to Shuuichi. "Looks like you're not the only new member joining the family today."
The doorbell was ringing. Eiri was in bed. Shuuichi was taking a bath. Eiri began silently wishing death to the person at the door disturbing his rest. The doorbell began to ring more insistently. Eiri sighed. Obviously there was no way he was going to be allowed to go back to sleep, so he begrudgingly rose from the bed, picked up a pair of boxers from the floor and lumbered over to the front door. He was less than surprised to see the faces of the Seguchi clan staring back at him upon opening the door.
"Good afternoon, Eiri-san…though I guess from the look of you I should be saying 'good morning' instead." Touma coughed awkwardly when he took in the younger blond's full appearance and Mika quickly shielded the eyes of the young girl standing next to her.
"For God's sake, Eiri, can't you at least manage to get up before noon when you know we have plans today? And would it kill you to put on a pair of pants to answer the door instead of waltzing around in your revealing little short-shorts?" his older sister scolded him.
Eiri felt he was way too old to still be receiving lectures. "Revealing?" He didn't consider boxers to be inappropriate attire for answering the door since he had been quite sure it was probably just his family anyway. Now that he was a little more awake, he did begin to feel that his underwear seemed a bit shorter and tighter than normal and looked down at himself. Apparently he had accidentally grabbed Shuuichi's boxers instead. "Fine, I'll go change. Wait in the living room." As he made his way back to the bedroom, he heard a shout from the bath.
"Hey, Yuki, who was at the door?"
"Seguchi, my sister, and Maki-chan."
"Really? Maki-chan is here?"
"Yeah. They're in the living room." Eiri continued his way back to the bedroom where he dressed in a button-up shirt and slacks—along with a pair of his own underwear—and joined his sister, brother-in-law, and five-year-old niece in the living room of the home he shared with Shuuichi. He walked over to the young girl sitting on the couch and knelt down to her level, giving her the gentle smile he reserved only for her. "Hi there."
Maki smiled back at him. "Hi, Uncle Eiri."
"What's that you've got there?" Eiri inquired, peering at the small pink object the girl was cradling.
"It's a Kumagorou key chain. I won it at the arcade, all by myself! I wanna give it to Uncle Tatsuha 'cause he likes Kumagorou so much."
Eiri nearly laughed aloud. His younger brother had developed an even more acute obsession for anything and everything relating to Ryuuichi ever since his favorite idol had gone to America to pursue an acting career. His amazing level of success, including becoming the first Japanese person to be nominated for an Academy Award in acting, meant that he had not come back to Japan in quite some time. This was quite a blow to Tatsuha who had become accustomed to seeing Ryuuichi in person at least occasionally since his brother-in-law had been in the same band. Though Maki readily accepted the relationship between Eiri and Shuuichi, he doubted she had any idea why a grown man like Tatsuha had such a fixation on furry pink bunny rabbits. "I'm sure he'll love it."
Mika looked at her watch. "Speaking of Tatsuha, we're supposed to meet him at the restaurant in fifteen minutes. We need to hurry if we're going to make it in time."
"I'm sure Shuuichi'll be quick getting ready, since he knows a certain someone is here," Eiri said, looking to the child in front of him. Shuuichi always loved spending time with the young girl.
As if being summoned by the mention of his name, a pink flash came darting down the hallway. "Where's my cute little niece?"
"Uncle Shuuichi!" The little girl nearly knocked Eiri over as she jumped up and ran to Shuuichi, leaping into his arms.
"Hi there!" Shuuichi said, laughing as he twirled around with her. "Have you been a good little girl lately?"
"Do you know what happens to good little girls?"
"They get...candy!" He pulled out a lollipop from his shirt pocket and gave it to the squealing young girl.
"You're so cool, Uncle Shuuichi!"
"There's more where that came from, but you have to find it using the candy radar. Tell the candy radar which direction to go, and it'll beep to let you know how close you are."
"Okay. Candy radar, go left!"
Shuuichi turned to the left. "Beep...beep...beep."
"Beep beep beep."
"Go forward! To the kitchen!"
"Beep beep beep beep!" The two disappeared into the kitchen as the two blond men in the living room chuckled. Mika was wearing a motherly expression that practically screamed "no candy before lunch" but a silent conversation with Touma kept her from interrupting her daughter's fun.
The older blond man smiled at Eiri as he watched him get up from his kneeling position and take a seat on the couch. "It is quite remarkable how her favorite uncle is the one who is not even related to her by blood."
"It's not surprising. She just prefers the one who's closest to her in mental age," Eiri said as he pulled a cigarette from the pack lying on the coffee table.
The two topics of conversation reentered the room with the younger one now gleefully clutching a couple handfuls of suckers.
"Now Maki, dear, you know candy is a special treat that you can't eat just any time. Come put them in Mommy's purse and you can have some later."
"Yes, Mommy." The young girl begrudgingly handed the candy over to her mother, almost certain that hardly any of it would actually make it back to her.
Touma stood up from the chair he had been seated in. "Well, shall we get going, then?"
Since the restaurant was not too far from Eiri and Shuuichi's house and it was a nice day outside, they decided to walk. Touma, Mika and Eiri had formed the "grown-up group" and were walking slightly ahead of the "kid's group" consisting of Shuuichi and Maki. The young girl had trouble keeping up with her short legs, so Shuuichi knelt down in front of her, offering his back.
"Come on, I'll give you a piggyback ride." Maki tentatively latched on to her uncle's back and squealed as she was lifted up.
"Wow, Uncle Shuuichi, it's so high! How scary! Hey, isn't it scary to be grown up and so far from the ground?"
"If you think this is scary, you should see how things look from Uncle Eiri's view. He's really high up."
"Ooh, I wanna see!"
"Well, if you think you can handle it, we'll use Uncle Eiri for some..." Shuuichi ran forward and interrupted an unsuspecting Eiri's pleasant conversation as he leapt up and attached himself to his back. "...double piggyback!"
"Gah, what the hell are you doing, you damn brat? You trying to break my back or something?"
"But Maki-chan wanted to see what it's like to be really high up, so I was showing her," the younger man said, obviously pouting even though Eiri couldn't see his face.
"In that case, I'm happy to let her see for herself, but that doesn't mean you and your extra weight need to come along for the ride." Shuuichi jumped down and Eiri plucked Maki from his back and placed the little girl on his shoulders. "There you go. How's that?"
"Whoa, it's really high!"
Touma chuckled. "I must say, Eiri-san, I never would have pegged you as the type to be good with children."
"Of course I can deal with kids. I've been living with one for seven years."
"Hey, I heard that!"
"Good for you, your ears work." Even after so many years together, the two men showed no signs of tiring of the old bait-and-insult game.
The group soon reached the restaurant where Tatsuha was already waiting for them. "Hi Uncle Tatsuha!" Maki ran over to her youngest uncle and held out her hands. "Looky what I brought for you. It's another Kumagorou to come play with all the others you have!"
The dark-haired man took the proffered pink rabbit and snuggled it to his face, the occasional utterance of "My Honey Ryuuichi" being made audible. He looked at the young girl with a dramatic tear in his eye. "Thank you so much, Maki-chan. I will treasure this forever!"
"All right, let's get to our table and eat already," Mika said, getting impatient from witnessing yet another display of her youngest brother's undying obsession for the unattainable idol.
After everyone had ordered their drinks and meals, Touma turned to Shuuichi. "You know, Shindou-san, I got a look at the single sales chart that is going to be released tomorrow."
"Unfortunately, your song fell to number two this week."
"Ah, man. I was sure we were headed for a record."
"Well, five weeks is still pretty impressive for a band that has been around as long as Bad Luck. Besides, I do not think anything could top the popularity of the first song you and Eiri-san put out together."
The song Shuuichi and Eiri wrote on the day of their marriage had turned out to be an incredible hit, turning out the kind of sales numbers previously achieved only by Nittle Grasper in its heyday. It was such a success that Touma made the suggestion that the two of them create a new song each year on their anniversary since it would help keep Bad Luck in the public eye by giving the fans something to look forward to every year. Eiri found it a bit tacky to essentially sell-out their relationship once per year for the purpose of selling more records, but Shuuichi thought the idea was romantic, so Eiri felt he had no choice but to go along with it. Touma's theory turned out to be correct: even as the popularity of Bad Luck waxed and waned over the years, Eiri and Shuuichi's anniversary songs always turned out to be big hits, partly because they attracted fans of Eiri's novels and boy's love fangirls along with Bad Luck's own fan base. Their recent fifth anniversary song had seemed to be almost as popular as their initial "coming out" song, but any hopes of it surpassing the original's run at the top of the charts had been dashed by Touma's revelation.
"You two have written enough songs now that we could put out a Bad Luck-Yuki Eiri mini-album. Or, if we add in a couple of remixes and karaoke versions we could even make it a full-length album. I am sure the sales numbers would be tremendous."
"Hmm, well, we could also wait a few years until Yuki and I have written enough to put out a full-length album of just the songs themselves. Ten might be a good number; what do you think, Yuki?"
"I think I need a cigarette just at the thought of spending that much more time with you." He reached into his shirt pocket only to find it empty. "Damn, I must have left them at home."
"You can have one of mine if you want," Mika said, pulling out a pack.
"Nah, I prefer Alfa's. There's a vending machine near here, I'll go pick some up." After Eiri had gotten up and left the restaurant, he sensed a familiar presence following behind him. "You don't have to follow me like a sick puppy everywhere I go, you brat."
Shuuichi stood with his hands on his hips. "I'm twenty-six now, you know. Isn't it about time you stopped calling me a brat?"
"It's a matter of maturity, not age."
Seeming to ignore the older man's gibe, Shuuichi attached himself to his arm. "Say, do you know what the date is today?" he asked casually.
"The thirty-first. Why do you..." A realization suddenly dawned on him. "Oh, shit."
Shuuichi knew that Eiri realized what he was getting at but still continued to prompt him. "Is there something you've forgotten to do this month?"
"I can't believe you took that seriously. It was just a joke."
"Not to me it wasn't. You made a promise, and I'm gonna make sure you keep it."
Eiri sighed. "Do I have to do it right now?"
Another sigh. "Fine." They stopped in front of the vending machine and Eiri turned to Shuuichi, placing his hands on his shoulders. "I love you, Shuuichi."
The younger man squealed and threw his arms around him. "Hee hee, I love it so much when you say that. Say it again!"
"Wah, you're no fun! Don't you want to make me hap—" He was surprised as Eiri's lips suddenly cut him off. Not caring that they were in public, he eagerly and passionately returned the kiss. Shuuichi giggled when they finally broke it off. "Did you ever imagine back when we first met that seven years later we'd be making out by a cigarette vending machine in broad daylight on the busy streets of Tokyo?"
Eiri grinned. "Never in my wildest dreams." Back then he had been incapable of thinking about the future. He had lived his life day to day, seeking only things that gave him instant gratification with no long-term consequences. But then Shuuichi came along and changed that. He had forced him to think about both his past and his future, a tough task for someone accustomed to living in the present. As much as he had hated to admit it, changing the way he thought about his life had turned out to be good for him. Shuuichi had taught him that thinking about and even anticipating what the future held could be far more fulfilling than he had ever imagined. Even though there were things about the future that would always be unclear, there was one bright spot in the form of Shuuichi.
In his life, that was all he needed.
Eiri: Help me! Help!
Spazz: What's wrong?
Eiri: I'm drowning in a sea of sap *Glub glub glub*
Shuuichi: Don't worry, I'll save you with mouth to mouth!
Spazz: Err, okay, maybe Yuki-sama has a point. This is incredibly fluffy, even by my standards, but...I can't help it! They just seemed so happy at the end of the manga! And what did you expect me to do with the fact that they were wearing rings? Come on! But anyway, enough about that, I bet some of you are wondering why this chapter took so long when I've (for once!) actually been doing a good job of getting chapters out in a timely manner. Well, I've now become a member of the gainfully employed, leaving me a lot less time for fic writing (and, like many of my other friends who have also graduated from college, my job has absolutely nothing to do with my chosen major of Japanese :P). In addition to that, I'm getting married this August, and the wedding planning has officially kicked into the oh-my-god-I've-got-five-million-things-to-do-how-in-the-world-will-I-get-it-all-done freak out stage. I'm seriously starting to envy Yuki-sama and Shuu-chan's hotel room elopement...that would have been a whole lot easier...
Shuuichi: I would have made a beautiful bride, though.
Spazz: Err, I'm sure you would have, Shuu-chan o.O But anyway, even though this chapter took over a month, the entire fic was written in a little over three months, which is good for me since I've gone that long between updates in my previous fics. Other fun fic facts: I was planning for this to be a pretty short fic, so wouldn't you know that it actually ended up being my longest one (though, technically, it's still the shortest chapter-wise). I just can't seem to get enough of proving myself wrong :P
Eiri: Well, I can prove you wrong some more if you like.
Spazz: No, you'll be an ass about it! Anyway, now we get to the part where I talk about future fic plans. Uh, if you read my last fic, you may remember me mentioning a Dragon Ball fic that I've been thinking about for several years...yeah, that's still in my head somewhere :P It will come out, eventually. Veggie-sama needs his lovin'!
Vegeta: *Appears* Stop mentioning me in all your fics, damn woman!
Spazz: Yeah, yeah...so, I guess that's all from me for now. Maybe some people who were putting off this fic for fear of spoilers will want to read it now that Volume 12 is out in English. But I hope everyone enjoyed it, I think this is the most fun I've ever had writing a fic. Bye bye!
Eiri: Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.
Shuuichi: And remember these wise words spoken by a young singer in love: Yuki is miiiiine!