So, I meant to get this story up LAST Valentines Day, but hey, better late than never. And my first upload since school started! Enjoy, all.
The house of Eiri Yuki and Shuichi Shindou was full of many things that Valentine's Day morning, but none of them was love. There was an abundance of confusion, anger, and tears, though.
The only significance of the day for Yuki was that at midnight, his first book in over a year had been released. Now he had to prepare for an interview at 8:00 a.m. on some nationally syndicated talk show about the mystery surrounding back-to-back book releases, one on Valentine's Day and the next a month later on White Day.
But at 7:30, the only thing he was thinking about the most handy and effective item he could use to wring Shuichi's neck. Thanks to the pink-haired singer who'd kept him up until the sun was teasing the curtains, Yuki had been awake approximately 3 minutes when his editor showed up to drive him to the studio.
"Yuki-sama, don't you think you're dressed a bit casually?" Kanna Mizuki stayed in the doorway rather than come inside. Yuki stood before her in loose grey lounge pants, a seething pillar of knotted muscles between her and Shuichi cowering behind the couch in the living room.
He couldn't force his lips to curl into a polite smile yet, so he simple nodded. "Give me a moment to change, please, Mizuki-san," he said, closing the door a little too forcefully and making straight for Shuichi.
"I-I'm sorry Yuki-" he cried pitifully. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry-"
"Shut up!" Sometimes Yuki swore he wished he'd never met Shuichi Shindou, his constant pain in the ass. In one morning, one monumentally important morning, he'd managed to ruin Yuki's best suit, burn down half the kitchen, and in the name of letting the novelist catch up on the sleep Shuichi had cost him in the first place, he'd ended up not waking him up at all. If it hadn't been for the smoke alarm, Yuki still would have been in bed when Mizuki arrived.
He couldn't even deal with him right now. He passed his fetal body on the floor without stopping. He didn't have time to be mad at him and still make it to his interview on time.
Shuichi sulked into the bedroom behind him and stood at the door. He'd apparently found time while Yuki was trying to make sense of a smoldering kitchen and a magically shrunken suit and had pulled together something else for Yuki to wear.
Had Yuki known his favorite suit wouldn't be available, it was probably what he would have chosen himself. That didn't make up for what anything Shuichi had done, but he deflated just a little bit in spite of himself when Shuichi apologized yet again.
"I'm really sorry Yuki. You've been working so hard, I just wanted today to-"
"I don't have time for this. We'll talk about it later." Yuki cut him off a little less coldly than he normally would have. He stripped out of his lounge pants and slid into the replacement suit quickly, then ran an irritated hand through his hair as he turned around.
Shuichi had the slightest hint of a blush on his cheeks. Yuki smiled on the inside at his lack of modesty. A little more anger left him.
"Just throw out that suit, and clean the kitchen up before I get home. I'll be back this afternoon; and if I so much as smell the reek of burning...whatever is it, you can pack your bags." Yuki grabbed his briefcase and walked out without saying anything else.
Shuichi heard him open the door and greet his editor. He was able to pull of polite, and Shuichi knew that by the time he got to the studio he'd be collected enough to charm and dazzle everyone, as always.
So despite how horribly wrong the morning had gone, Shuichi smiled. "Happy Valentine's Day, Yuki."
Now that he had the house to himself, he returned to the kitchen, covering his nose and squinting against the lingering smoke that burned his eyes.
So maybe cooking and doing laundry had been bad ideas, but in the end it was only going to set him back a little bit. Inadvertently, he realized, his real gift might be more appreciated than ever.
"So, Yuki-sama, we've been getting calls in from your fans all day, and your latest book is virtually flying off the shelves. How does that make you feel?"
"I'm happy that you've all been looking forward to the release, and I trust people will be pleased with the results." Yuki smiled calmly at the host, but he wished he were still back in bed, maybe with Shuichi as company. He'd take his failure of a lover any day over this smiling, bubbly girl oozing everything he hated about February 14th.
"Yuki-sama, I've been trying to coax that secret behind this book out of your editor all morning. Releases on both Valentine's and White Day from Japan's most famous and prolific romance novelist after more than a year of virtual absence from the literary world? Is there some deeper meaning to these days? And what do you have to say to rumors that the books are a two part series based upon your own alleged relationship with musician Shuichi Shindou?"
Yuki had heard the rumors. He was very interested to know where they'd come from. He didn't let on, though. "I think I'll have to remain silent and let the fans figure things outs for themselves. I'm sure you'll be able to answer some of the questions yourself in our next interview if you read the books." She hastily assured him that she would.
"Anything else, I'll be happy to answer."
"Be careful, Yuki-sama, I'll hold you to that." He smiled politely again and nodded periodically as she moved on to talking about his sales predictions and his reaction to breaking news that a woman had been trampled trying to get the first copy of his latest novel at a bookstore in Osaka. He just wanted to go home and crawl back into bed. He probably wouldn't even be able to do that with Shuichi at home.
Valentine's Day…Yuki HATED Valentine's Day.
When the last incense stick had been lit, Shuichi stepped back and admired his handiwork. He'd even impressed himself.
The crimson satin sheets, secretly Yuki's favorite color and fabric, glowed invitingly in the sunlight coming in through the bedroom windows. A light, fragrant fog wafted from the glowing tip if the incense, but soon only the soothing scent would be left behind.
He felt a pang of regret that he wouldn't be able to enjoy any of it himself.
But at the same time, he was so excited to leave, somehow feeling that the sooner he got out of the house, the sooner Yuki would show up. He went into the family room for a final double checking.
Every surface was cleaned of the mess of paperwork, both his and Yuki's, that had been left everywhere, left spotless and tidy. His lover wasn't working when he got home.
The kitchen was the final place he went through. To his delight, the smell of charred wood had been replaced by the same incense from the bedroom, as well as the underlying smell of flowers and a hint of strawberries.
Shuichi had set up a small table just for the occasion, and covered it with an ivory cloth. On it, a bottle of Yuki's favorite wine sat next to a bowl of chocolate covered strawberries and a vase of red roses. Maybe he'd read too many of the romance novelist's stories, but he liked it, and he hoped Yuki would, too.
Unfortunately, Shuichi was more likely to kill Yuki with his cooking, so he'd already arranged for Hiro to cook the food that was staying warm in the oven. He'd thought everything out to perfectly that it scared him. But it really was flawless.
Now Yuki was due home in just under an hour, and Shuichi had a hotel room waiting for him, where he'd spend a long night imagining Yuki on the satin sheets he's so lovingly selected, enjoying the wine and strawberries while he undressed himself and laid there...
Shuichi had to exercise his will power to not go launch himself into those sheets and wait for the object of his fantasies. He grabbed his shoes and his bag by the door and locked it on his way out.
Shuichi couldn't think of anything more Yuki would want on Valentine's Day than this- a peaceful night alone.
"You were great, as always, Yuki-sama. Thank you for taking time out of your day to do an interview."
"It's just another day, Mizuki-san. And anything for the book. Isn't that what you're always telling me?"
"Yes, and I'm positive the Valentine's Day release is going to bring in huge sales, especially after that airs. But does this mean that you and Shindou-sama don't have any plans?"
Yuki opened the passenger's side door as his editor pulled up in front of his house. He honestly hadn't even thought of doing anything, and he prayed that he wouldn't be assaulted by Shuichi in a giant bear suit or something similarly ridiculous when he got inside. He just wanted to rest.
"I'll see you next week, Mizuki-san," he said tiredly. She smiled and waved, watching his walk up to his door with resigned steps. He could be so melodramatic sometimes. She suspected that he was going to have a very nice Valentine's Day.
In Yuki's opinion, nice could take a backseat to quiet. For all her polite smiles, his editor had been pushing him like a slave driver in a designer three-piece and stilettos all week about the release. He just wanted to relax, not think about work, not think about Valentine's Day, or about chocolates or flowers or that ridiculous sap that people thought proved the love they really didn't feel in the first place. Shuichi wasn't getting away with any schemes, if he had them planned, especially if the kitchen was still a mess.
Yuki braced himself before opening the door, but the only assault he encountered was to his nose. The ghostly smoke had long since faded, but the soft scent of Shuichi's incense still hung in the air, whispering of warmth and comfort inside.
Breathing in again, tentatively, Yuki stepped into the hall. What was that smell? He closed his eyes and felt something warm, slightly sweet, and...pink. It was Shuichi.
He opened his eyes and the hall was still empty, but he'd have sworn...
He shook his head. In any case, it was much better than the charred smell that had filled the house earlier. Yuki still didn't plan on giving Shuichi the satisfaction of knowing how nice the change was after the morning they'd had, though.
He shut the door behind him. There was no rumble of footsteps. Good. Maybe the bundle of love and energy had worn himself down so much worrying about Yuki's arrival that he'd fallen asleep. He knew that NG had given everyone the day off- or more accurately, Mika had refuse to allow Tohma to go in, and consequently he let everyone else off the hook.
He tried to be quiet while he walked into the living room. Shuichi definitely hadn't been sleeping all day. The room was cleaner than it had been since...probably since Shuichi moved in, and very much empty. Empty of Shuichi, that is. Not even a lonely dvd or scrap of drivel lyrics reminded him that he shared his home with an eager young musician.
It was nice. Scary, but incredibly nice.
He was on his guard, though, knowing there was an ulterior motive lurking around somewhere. He was almost too scared to go into the kitchen. It would be just like Shuichi to try to hide a problem with a distraction rather than fix it.
In he went, though, holding his breath across the threshold. He let it out in a sharp gasp, looked over his shoulder to make sure it was still his house, and turned back. This was the kitchen that had looked like the detonation site of a small bomb only a few hours ago?
He let his hand trail across the table where bills waiting to be paid and Shuichi's dirty dishes used to sit. The white cloth was cool to the touch. Yuki had never eaten off a tablecloth in his own house. But it was obvious that that was what was expected of him.
He sat down harder than he'd meant to, trying to grasp what was laid out before him. Three spires clustered in the middle of the table- a white candlestick, a red rose, and the neck of an elegant blue bottle of his favorite wine. A crystal glass and what was once a bowl of chocolate covered strawberries made up the second tier, though the latter was on its way to becoming strawberries in chocolate soup in the slight heat of the kitchen.
Aside form that, though, it was a scene straight out of one of his books. And it had a peculiar effect on Yuki, who shrugged out of his suit coat and went to find Shuichi.
Every room was the same, though. Empty of any signs of the chaotic mess Shuichi had brought with him when he moved in, and empty of Shuichi.
The last place he checked was the bedroom. He'd had a growing suspicion that there was something waiting for him in there. He unbuttoned a few buttons of his shirt and leaned casually against the doorframe when he stepped in, but his show was only for the satin sheets and the last ember of the incense. He quickly straightened up.
Instead of laying down the sheets as Shuichi had imagined him doing, Yuki went straight to the closet and pulled the door open. There were Shuichi's clothes hanging beside his own. He heaved a sigh of relief.
Then he took out a couple of the shirts and tossed them on the bedroom floor. Now he felt better.
He returned to the kitchen, wondering how long it would be before Shuichi got back. He had to be out running some errand to the store, or visiting Hiro for a little while, or whatever else it was that he did with himself when Yuki wasn't around.
Yuki sat back down at the table and toyed with the wine glass before his place setting. He kept staring at it. Was there something wrong with it? He couldn't put his mind on it, but...
Then it struck him. There was only one place set; one glass. One.
And if He hadn't been sure of it then, he would have a minute later. In examining the other side of the table, trying to make a place setting appear out of thin air, the caught sight of a note taped to the side of the wine bottle.
I hope I got the right wine. Mika told me what you liked. Dinner's in the oven. I guess eat when you want. Don't worry, Hiro made it, so it should be good. Have you seen the bedroom? If you haven't, you might want to see. If you have, I hope you like the sheets. We can keep them if you want.
Still feeling confused and a little apprehensive, the 'we' relaxed the clenching in Yuki's stomach.
Well, I'll let you go relax. I know sometimes I only make you more stressed, and there's not a lot I do right, but I hope I did this right. Happy Valentine's Day.
A Valentine's Day alone? Who would give that as a present?
Shuichi would. Yuki set the note on the table and shook his head in wonder. This had been the furthest thing from his mind when thought of all of the romantic horrors Shuichi could have tried to force on him.
And he had the right idea. If he'd have been there when Yuki walked in, sitting on the couch or laying on the bed, some part of Yuki would have been irritated about getting sucked into a holiday he wasn't a big fan of (though a part of him had really wanted Shuichi to be on the bed).
Without him, Yuki felt the sentiment of his lover's efforts strongly. He poured himself a glass of wine and went into the bedroom, where he laid down and felt the cool satin on the back of his neck.
This is what he liked to come home to. Nice, quiet, peaceful house, something to drink, and time to lay down and relax after the stresses of working. If he could only get it once a year, he should really enjoy it.
Yuki grabbed the phone off the bedside table and took another sip of wine as he dialed.
Shuichi really meant to spend the night reading, but he hadn't gotten past the inside cover in 20 minutes. His takeout laid forgotten between his folded legs and he stared at the picture of Yuki printed above the book description.
He wondered if he was enjoying dinner. Hiro promised it was a culinary masterpiece. Maybe he'd decided to go to bed early. The interview had aired on the afternoon talk show, which Shuichi watched from his hotel room, and he could tell id no one else could how much Yuki didn't want to be there.
The idea for Valentine's and White Day releases had been something his publisher pushed for, and he'd had no choice but to give in to in the end. Besides the talk show, they were giving him the day off, but afterwards it would be a constant marketing push until then end of March after the second book came out.
Shuichi held the copy he'd wrestled from some creepy old man at arms length, admiring the stoic expression that had broken thousands of hearts. Maybe millions, since they'd come out of the closet.
Yuki didn't complain about that, but Shuichi knew he was hard to put up with, harder than most women would be. He hadn't rented the room to throw himself a pity party. He was doing it for Yuki.
He hoped someday they'd be able to celebrate Valentine's Day together, though...
"That's enough of that," he said firmly, grabbing his noodles and his book and going back to the bedroom. It was barely evening, but he wasn't in the mood to sit up alone. So what if he wanted to be depressed and read his romance novel alone? He plopped down on the bed, but couldn't get started before there was a knock on the door.
A desk attendant was standing outside with a bottle of wine and two glasses.
"Here you go, sir." He tried to push the items on Shuichi, who wasn't taking them.
"I didn't order those."
"Room 212. That's you." He pointed to the door, and then back at Shuichi and again tried to give him the bottle.
"No. It's not mine. I wouldn't order two glasses. It's just me in here. See?" He pushed the door open, showing the empty living room. Top that.
Apparently, the man couldn't. He drew back a step and nodded curtly. "I'm sorry, sir. I didn't mean to bother you. Happy Valentine's Day."
Shuichi returned to bed and buried his head in a pillow, determined to go to sleep. When the desk attendant was back knocking a few minutes later, probably bearing a tray of chocolates or something, he refused to get up and answer it.
But the man was persistent. He'd never be able to fall asleep with that pounding. Shuichi got up irritably and answered the door.
It wasn't the desk attendant.
"What are you doing here?" Yuki beat Shuichi to asking the question that was burning in his throat. He came into the room and looked around while Shuichi stood meek and stunned beside him.
"Me? What are you doing here?"
"Looking for you." Yuki said it as if it were so casual, like looking for a shirt to wear or what to eat for dinner. That was not what this was. And it was not what Shuichi had planned.
"I had to say thank you for my gift, didn't I? Hiro dropped me off." He smiled, but Shuichi was still too confused to melt into a puddle, as anyone else would have. And he was a little upset. He'd thought he'd given Yuki the perfect gift, but here he was instead of at home enjoying it.
"You didn't have to. I would have been home tomorrow. You should go back and-"
He was cut off with a kiss that made whatever thought he'd been thinking float away.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Shuichi."
And Shuichi was a puddle at Yuki's feet. The only think that actually kept him from fainting to the floor was Yuki's arms wrapped around his waist as they deepened the kiss.
"I guess you didn't like the gift, though," Shuichi said when he came up for air. He was still a little put out. He'd been planning this for a month. It was his masterpiece.
Yuki still had his arms around Shuichi, leaning his head against the musician's. "It was the sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me," he whispered into his hair. "It was just a little bit cliche."
"And what do you call this?" Shuichi asked huffily, pulling as far away as he could while Yuki still held him.
Several thoughts ran through Yuki's mind, but any of them would have made the scene more horribly trite. It was what it was. He was okay with that.
After another kiss, it didn't seem to bother Shuichi, either.
By 4 a.m. Yuki's mind took control of his body and forced him to get some sleep. While his eyes were still drooping and Shuichi had snuggled warmly against his chest on the twin hotel bed, he saw his lover pick up the copy of his book he'd put on the bedside table.
"What are you doing?" he muttered tiredly.
Shuichi giggled. "I want to see if your characters are half as romantic as you are." He kissed Yuki's forehead and watched his eyes flutter shut. He looked so peaceful Shuichi couldn't help shutting the light off and snuggling further into his arms. The book wasn't going anywhere, and he had real romance right there wrapped around him.
And while they slept, fire trucks raced to their empty house to put out the kitchen fire that ruined Hiro's untouched culinary masterpiece.
Who feels the V-Day love? These two, obviously. Hope everyone enjoyed, and watch out for the White Day sequel next month! Will the romance survive? Will Yuki even survive (he's got A LOT of talk shows coming up)? Did the satin sheets burn up in the fire? And are we going to see anything to top Shuichi's present? Hmm...