But the annoyed part of him was quickly loosing the battle to the rest of him – the part that wanted to tip-toe through the apartment to avoid waking them up or maybe bring out a blanket and curl up with them.
Aoe Reiji was not a sap. Or at least he hadn't been.
He quietly set his briefcase by the door. His coat went on a hanger in the closet, the door sliding open with barely a whisper. He glanced at the kitchen as he passed, briefly entertaining then discarding the notion of a cup of tea before bed.
Crossing over to the sofa, he gently picked up the kitten – more of a cat now, really, but in his mind it'd always be as tiny as the day Naoya had found it, staying out in the cold like a moron keeping it company when he should have been in the house with the rest of them.
So many New Year's had passed since then.
The cat went to the end of the couch, peering sleepily at him through one briefly opened eye before stretching and going back to sleep.
"Naoya," he spoke softly, a hand resting on the boy... man's shoulder.
Blue eyes blinked at him and Naoya stretched, much like the cat. A sunny smile greeted him, blooming across Naoya's face.
"Aoe-san. Welcome home."
Reiji frowned to keep himself from smiling like a simpering idiot, and stood. "Come to bed."
"Okay." Naoya sat up slowly, Reiji's shirt falling off of him onto the couch.
Naoya squeezed Reiji's hand lightly as he padded past him into the bedroom, yawning as he went. Reiji glanced once at the rumpled shirt and then turned away. He'd get it in the morning.
"How was your day, Aoe-san?"
Reiji caught up with the younger man, his arms encircling the small waist to draw his lover in tight. "How many times do I have to tell you, it's Reiji."
Naoya's smile nearly blinded him as he looked up. "Reiji."
Their lips met briefly in a chaste kiss.
"It was fine," he answered belatedly.
Naoya drifted away to pull back the covers. Aoe watched, out of the corner of his eye, as Naoya undressed for bed. He looked so much better now than he did when Aoe first met him. Not that Aoe wouldn't like Naoya no matter what he looked like, but Naoya looked healthier now.
He was a lot like the kitten in that respect. They'd both been underfed and soaked through by the rain when Reiji brought them home. A bit wild too, Reiji admitted with a grin, thinking back to the number of times Naoya had left and then returned to his house. He liked to think both of his kittens were tamed now.
Not that Reiji would let anything, or anyone, take his kittens away from him again.
"Reiji?" Naoya's voice carried through the room like the whisper of the wind.
Glancing once at the naked man waiting for him under the covers, Reiji quickly finished undressing. His clothes were folded and set in the laundry basket on top of Naoya's. Warm arms wrapped around Reiji's chest as he settled into bed and he let his own arms snake around Naoya in a possessive grip.
The lights were turned off and the covers pulled up. Naoya was a firm weight on his chest. He couldn't remember what it was like sleeping without Naoya in his bed. If something were to happen between them, he knew he'd miss this, possibly more than anything. Before Naoya he'd never really understood the kind of comfort that could come from sharing a bed. He'd learned a few other things – how sweet a kiss could be, how a simple touch could make him want to throw all his work out the window so he could go home, and even how much he wanted to be at home rather than at work.
He wasn't quite sure when he'd turned into such a stupid romantic, or why he couldn't bring himself to mind.
He actually bought chocolates at Valentines Day now, and presents on Christmas. Even Kiichi's teasing wasn't enough to deter him, not when Naoya looked so surprised every time, as if for some reason Aoe wasn't going to give him anything this year when he'd done so every year for the past five.
There was a loud mewing sound seconds before a light weight landed on the foot of the bed. The kitten – cat – was purring as it padded its way up Reiji's leg to sit on Reiji's chest a few inches away from where Naoya slumbered.
He glared at the cat.
It stared back and meowed.
Reiji sighed and let his head fall back against the pillow. Naoya tightened his grip around Reiji's chest and snuggled closer. The cat circled his stomach for a full minute before finally settling down. It curled into a ball, still purring softly.
He couldn't bring himself to mind being used as a human pillow. It was pathetic, really, how tightly his two kittens had him wrapped around their whims. He'd do anything for either of them. His entire life had been changed by their appearance.
He wondered if Naoya would like a second cat for his birthday. The answer was obvious. He'd ask Kashima about it when he got in to work tomorrow. Naoya was going to love it. Reiji could already imagine the delight on Naoya's face.
In his head, Reiji started making plans.
Really, he hated kittens.