Disclaimer: I do not own Itazura na Kiss, it belongs to the wonderful Kaoru Tada.
"You two are such a mismatched couple."
Naoki raised his eyes from his coffee and looked across the table at Matsumoto Reiko. He and Kotoko had run into her at the train station while coming back from the hospital and after chatting for a few minutes she'd invited herself over for tea.
Naoki didn't really mind; he honestly liked Reiko—she was nice and smart, and he was always sure to have an interesting conversation when she was around (something he very rarely did when he was at home). And, putting aside her affection for him, Naoki actually considered her a friend.
"Hey!" his wife spluttered indignantly from his side.
Plus, he secretly got a kick out of her and Kotoko's bickering.
"What do you mean 'mismatched'?!" the red-head argued, leaning forwards suddenly and placing her hands on the coffee table.
The genius of IQ 200 refrained from saying anything, choosing instead to lean back and take a sip from his drink with a bored look on his face.
This was of course a bluff.
He was rather enjoying the view of his wife's backside as she bent far over the table to face off against her would-be-rival; she was still wearing her nurse uniform, and it did wonders to her figure, and his overworking mind. Kotoko, of course, was completely oblivious to the effect she was having on him.
Reiko put down her tea cup, heaving an over-dramatic sigh that Naoki knew was merely to antagonize his hot-headed little wife.
"Well, for starters," she began, giving Kotoko a condescending look, "Irie-kun looks like that…" she paused, giving him an appreciative once over, and then turning back to Kotoko, "and you… well, you look like that."
The young doctor raised his eyebrow—he happened to think Kotoko looked just fine.
Especially now that she was getting all riled up.
"I look like what?!"
"You're so awkward looking and small—almost like a key-chain, dangling off Irie-kun all the time."
Naoki had to smother a laugh, very nearly choking on his coffee—luckily his adorable little fool was as clueless as ever, and was growling rather comically at Reiko. The brunette, he could tell, was also trying not to laugh.
"Furthermore," Reiko continued dismissively, "Irie-kun is serious, refined and classy. You're just like an overzealous puppy—or an energizer bunny feeding on sugar, take your pick. Tell me, Kotoko-san, however did you manage to draw Irie-kun's interest?"
Naoki snorted, pretending not to care about the conversation and resumed drinking his coffee. In reality, he was trying hard not to stare at Kotoko, who was looking rather tempting at the moment with her bright cheeks and eyes, which were currently shooting daggers at the beautiful brunette.
And Reiko really was beautiful, in a classic sort of way that Kotoko would never be, but there was just something incredibly alluring about Kotoko, especially when she was all worked up, and he wanted nothing more than to take her upstairs and have his way with her. Alas—they had a guest, and Irie Naoki would rather die before he let Reiko (or anyone else, for that matter) see how he felt. He loved his wife, he really did, but even after five years of knowing her, loving her and being married to her, he still wasn't comfortable with showing his feelings openly. He was even less comfortable with physical displays of affection and preferred to save them for the cocoon that was their bedroom, where Kotoko and Kotoko alone was allowed to see the gentler, softer and more caring side him.
He was snapped from his reverie by his wife's slightly maniacal laugher.
"Of course you wouldn't understand!" she was saying now, smiling smugly down at Reiko, arms and legs akimbo, "True love doesn't care for silly, insignificant things such as those! The love Irie-kun and I have is pure, transparent, and it transplants every barrier and obstacle!"
Reiko did laugh then, loudly, while Naoki's left eye started twitching.
"What?," asked Kotoko, confusedly.
"Idiot!" Naoki said, "That's transcends, not transplants!"
Kotoko blinked, unfazed. She looked from her husband's annoyed expression to Reiko, who was red from laughing, and shrugged.
Her expression changed again, this time to bliss, and Naoki had about five seconds to ponder on his wife's ability to go from angry, to mirthful, to confused and back to happy in the span of a minute before he found himself with an armful of Kotoko.
"Oi!" he choked out, feeling himself go red with embarrassment. "Let go!"
She was clinging to his neck, her upper body pressed tightly against his side, making him very aware of her curves.
Giggling, Kotoko turned to Reiko, but failed to let go of her flustered husband.
"I can't blame you for liking Irie-kun," she said, grinning, "he is the greatest husband ever!"
She said it without malice or agenda, and both Naoki and Reiko knew it—Kotoko didn't have a mean bone in her body. His heart rate accelerated from her heartfelt declaration, and he tried prying her arms from around his neck least he did something stupid, like lose control.
"Let go already!," he barked, finally managing to push her away.
He started fiddling with his clothes embarrassedly, cheekbones tinged red while Kotoko just laughed, stuck her tongue out at him childishly and then got up to take the tea cups back to the kitchen. Not a second after she'd disappeared through the door they heard a loud yelp, followed by the sound of breaking china.
"That idiot…," he muttered, sitting back down from when he'd half sprung from the couch and shaking his head, "she's going to be the death of me yet."
When Reiko failed to comment, the young doctor turned violet eyes to look at his friend. She was looking back at him with an odd mixture of longing and mirth and a half smile on her lips.
"She really does have you wrapped around her finger, doesn't she?," she said, rather quietly.
Naoki arched his eyebrows in surprise. "Pardon me?"
"You can deny it all you want, but you really do love her," the brunette chuckled at Naoki's dumfounded expression. "I'd know—I've been watching you for years..." her expression turned sad. "She's really lucky..."
Reiko shook her head and got up. Naoki followed suit.
"Anyway," said the brunette, smiling brightly, "If I had to lose you to anyone, I'm glad it was to her. She's too much of a block-head to understand the meaning of 'giving up'."
They chuckled at each other.
"Irie-kun..." came a small voice from the doorway, and they turned to see Kotoko looking straight at him with wide, tear-filled eyes. She was holding her right index finger up, and her lower lip was trembling. "I cut my finger!"
The young man feigned a sigh. "Okay, let's see it..."
He walked over to her and held her hand up closer to his face. It was barely a cut at all, with a tiny dollop of blood spurting from the wound.
"What's all the fuss about?" he said, annoyed, but still did not let go of her hand, "get a grip!"
Reiko shook her head amusedly. "And you call yourself a nurse."
"But it hurts!" Kotoko whined, before giving her husband a hopeful look. "Kiss it better?"
Naoki flushed brighter, if possible, and dropped her hand quickly. "Stupid..."
"Forget it, I'm not doing it."
Reiko laughed at the pair, drawing their attention to her.
"As much fun as today was," she said, "I really should get going."
They walked her to the door where she bowed shortly.
"Thank you for your hospitality, Kotoko-san. Irie-kun, I hope to see you again soon."
"Thanks for the chat, Matsumoto."
"Come back to see us soon!" Kotoko exclaimed happily, clinging to Irie-kun's arm with one hand and waving at Reiko's retreating form with her other.
Naoki didn't say anything, Reiko's words still ringing in his ears.
She really does have you wrapped around her finger, doesn't she?
He reached out and stilled his wife's waving hand in his own. Kotoko looked up at him, in wonder.
He looked closely at her injured finger. "Does it still hurt?"
Kotoko shook her head, surprised. "Not really—"
She fell silent as Naoki pressed a feather-light kiss on her fingertip. "Better?"
Kotoko's eyes softened and she nodded. "Better."
"Good," he said, closing his hand around her wrist. "Let's go."
He turned, shutting the door with his foot and dragging a surprised Kotoko behind him.
"Where are we going?" she asked him, confused, as her husband started walking up the stairs, her hand held firmly in his.
Up to their bedroom, their cocoon, and he was about to show her just how much he loved her.