Our Sacred Day
Fiddling with the ring in his hand, Eiri paced outside of NG. The more he pondered about what he would say to Shuichi when he proposed, the more goosebumps he got. Everything was becoming so real; his latest work that he had just finished, which was all thanks to the inspiration Shuichi's love had given him. What he wanted was to give Shuichi was an everlasting promise. That had been why Eiri had taken the time to plan out a special day for them and was there at NG just ready to get started. Rolling up his sleeve to check the time, he found out that he'd been standing outside for half an hour. Shuichi was supposed to be out there by now. As if on cue, Hiroshi walked through the sliding doors.
"Eiri-san…" Hiroshi acknowledged. "What are you doing here? Shuichi left early."
"Where did he go?" Eiri asked, urgently. He could tell that something bad was afoot by how serious Hiroshi spoke.
"He's at the state prison…visiting his dad." He replied.
That was all he had to say to get Eiri running to his car. Flipping his phone open after he put the keys in the ignition, Eiri dialed Shuichi's cell phone number. He put his phone on speaker and held it below the wheel as he drove.
"Hello," came Shuichi's sobbing voice. Upon hearing his lover's plaintive greeting, Eiri's grip on the phone tightened.
"Shuichi, its Eiri. I'm heading over right now. Just wait for me in the front, ok?"
"O-ok, Eiri…thank you…"
As helpless as Eiri felt, he knew that being there for Shuichi would be enough. Over time, he was going to make it ascertain that Shuichi would recover. Shuichi had stuck by his side for two grueling years. Eiri would be damned if he didn't repay the favor, wholeheartedly.
Reflecting on the past few days, Eiri recalled Shuichi's failed attempts in concealing his pain at the catastrophic confrontation with his father. While having to deal with his from time to time, Eiri hardly understood what it meant to have such a close, affectionate relationship with his father. Ever since the Kitazawa incident eight years previous, the bonds between Eiri and his family members were severely severed. No more advice and kind words were exchanged. Visits to his father were provoked by Mika and usually consisted of smart-aleck remarks. Deep inside, Eiri had discovered that he had always aspired for the old days where he was praised by his father for his intellect. In that epiphany, Eiri was beginning to comprehend just how badly his lover was suffering.
Finally there after stuck in traffic for 45 minutes, Eiri parked his vehicle as fast as he could. He found Shuichi staring beyond the barbed wire fence. His face was stained with tears and his hands shook as he clasped his cell phone to his chest. Noticing Eiri there, Shuichi's past insecurities bubbled up to the surface subconsciously. He took slow strides towards Eiri, his eyes fixated on the ground. The bags under his eyes made apparent that Shuichi had little sleep that night as well as the one before. It made Eiri's heart drop at how shaken up and fragile Shuichi looked.
Confidence in each step, Eiri half-jogged to Shuichi and brought him into a loving embrace. Burying his face into the fabric of Eiri's shirt, Shuichi wept, flinging his arms around his lover's waist. Speaking through his actions, Eiri held Shuichi tight; assuring that physical contact in public was perfectly ok. In the past, Eiri had a big problem with it and had berated Shuichi whenever the younger man tried to touch him outside of the condo.
"It's ok, I'm here…" Eiri soothed.
"Eiri, I don't even recognize him anymore…he called me nasty names and yelled…Why did this have to happen?" Shuichi spoke through his tears.
A rattling from the fence cut through the moment. "Faggots…you should be where I am." The prisoner sneered.
Vulnerable, Shuichi was incapable of replying.
Eiri, on the other hand, was more than ready to retort.
"Last I checked, being happy wasn't illegal. Maybe you should try it sometime, loser." Eiri glared, walking away with an arm draped around Shuichi's shoulders.
Back in the car, Eiri wished that his timing wasn't so off. Here he was thinking that he was finally ready to pop the question when Shuichi was still so out of sorts. It would be too sudden what with Shunske attempting to murder his own son and everything that meant. Once Shuichi was sound asleep at home, Eiri decided to take matters into his own hands. The best place he thought to start was his family shrine in Kyoto. So he left a note and was on his way.
"So…you came back here for guidance?" Mr. Uesugi blinked, taken off guard. If his eldest son asking him for advice and coming of his own free will wasn't shocking enough, Eiri had wanted his blessing. Short-sighted opinion fell to blind opposition. "Eiri, how on Earth could you request such from me? That boy soils your reputation…more than you already have as an Uesugi."
"First of all, pops, Shuichi saved me from my reputation. He lifts me up and inspires me to be a better person every single day. He has returned all the good aspects of life I have lost sight of." Eiri corrected, getting up from his kneeling position. "If you cannot understand that much, then I guess I wasted a trip." Turning around, Eiri was about to exit the altar room, but his father's voice stopped him.
"Wait," he commanded and then sighed. "I'm still absorbing the fact that you're…" Mr. Uesugi trailed off, failing to conjure a euphemism.
"A homosexual?" Eiri asked, facing his father with amusement. Slowly, Mr. Uesugi nodded. "You're not so in tune with the latest news, are you, old man? Shunske Shindou was just arrested a week ago for attempting to murder his own son."
"What?" Mr. Uesugi asked, surprised, his expression empathetic. "That's awful."
"Behind all of those smiles…there's pain…I just want to make everything with us official. I want there to be good news lingering about rather than the bad news that keeps haunting him…"
"Do you love Shindou Shuichi-kun that much?"
"…I do, with all of my heart."
"How do you figure that this will make him forget, my son?"
Eiri should've seen that question coming. If it weren't for his strong need to make Shuichi happy, he would have too. His father did have a tendency of evoking oppositions. He stared at his father's grim face while taking a minute to find the solution to this problem. Eiri rationalized in his head that proposing to Shuichi would make the younger man ecstatic. It would also make a stronger foundation for their relationship. Knowing this, Eiri wasn't dissuaded. He understood all too well what it meant to have one event turn your world upside down. Now the lovers had a mutual understanding of the cruel taste of betrayal. Eiri just wished that Shuichi, at least, could've been spared that much. Somehow, Eiri figured that he could make an attempt to remedy the whole situation.
"I'm going to have a little talk with Shindou-san…" Eiri decided. Doors between them have re-opened but there was one thing that even time couldn't change. Mr. Uesugi's disapproving shake of his head would never sway Eiri from what he wanted to do.
Once he arrived at the state prison, his embarking there felt more ominous by the second. Slowly sauntering to the entrance, Eiri made sure to mask his anxiety. That was a skill that would actually bend to his favor this time around. He encouraged himself that he was doing this for Shuichi, just as he defended him to Taki Aizawa. He went up to the main desk and was informed that during the past few days, Shunske was getting better. The officer was especially talkative, going on about what a scene Shunske made when he was convicted, and how he got pushed around by the other prisoners who were rougher around the edges. Eiri was glad to be relieved of him when he reached the cell.
"You're that boy…Shuichi's boyfriend, yes?" Shunske inquired. He looked about as exhausted as Shuichi did earlier.
With a nod, Eiri replied bluntly. "For the time being; I plan on proposing to him sometime soon."
This statement made Shunske put his face in his hands as if struggling against the weakness he created so foolishly through drinking. He let the long duration of time out on business get to him. His yearning, his lust for Kikyo got greater by the day. He couldn't stand not being able to touch her or see her for that matter. Out of this an obsession emerged and it had almost cost him his only son. "I made the biggest mistake of my life. I'm glad that you were there for my soon…to support him…I thank you so much for that. You definitely have my blessing if that is what you have come here for." He looked up at Eiri with a grieving smile.
"I understand how much guilt you feel. I've come to hurt your son so much, but he withstands pain so well. He's so strong…I kept pushing him away because I felt like…I would only bring bad fortune to him, but he's proved me otherwise. He needs me just like I need him. I am also aware that he needs you as well." Eiri concurred. What connected them were their unforgivable behaviors towards Shuichi and their overwhelming desire to atone for it.
"Did you ever try to kill him?" Shunske asked, sullenly.
"Of course not…he's more than willing to forgive you, despite that though. Don't push him away like I did. It's a cowardly thing to do."
"…I don't want to lose my family to this…but I'm scared that they'll only see a monster when I see them again…" He sobbed, unable to suppress his tears any longer.
"You have to find it in yourself to face them, honestly. Berating them will only make matters worse." Eiri advised, reaching into his pocket to pull out his wallet. "I heard from some officer that you've been improving. I'm more than willing to bail you out. There's no use rotting in misery here, now is there?"
I have gone to Kyoto for a few days. I deeply apologize for leaving on such short notice. I will be back sometime later in the week. Don't worry; I'm arranging a special gathering for you. I can hardly wait to see you smiling again…
With a dreamy sigh, Shuichi smiled at the note, leaning back in his chair. He held his notebook to his chest, scribbling down lyrics. It has been three days since Shuichi woke up frenetic, not seeing his lover anywhere in the condo. When he discovered the note, all his worries vanished. Ever since then, Shuichi kept the paper close to him, admiring the affectionate words Eiri had written on there. At the moment, he was in NG's break room by himself…or so he thought…
"BOO!" Hiroshi yelled, almost making Shuichi tip out of his chair. Recovering from the scare, Shuichi blinked at Hiroshi's attire. He was wearing a doctor's outfit. This made the clock go back to when Hiroshi was pressured by his parents to study hard in med school in order to become a full-time doctor. Before Shuichi could flip out from his assumptions, Hiro explained. "Didn't you hear? Eiri-san is hosting a party at the Hilton tonight!"
Shuichi gaped. "What?!"
Hiroshi crossed his arms, perplexed. "I'm surprised he didn't tell you."
"You and me both…Wow, this is probably what he meant by 'a special gathering'!" Shuichi exclaimed, shooting out of his seat in excitement. He stuffed the note into his pocket and then grabbed his best friend by the shoulders, shaking him a bit. Hiroshi expected this reaction and was unmoved by it.
"When did you find out? What time is it being held? What's the occasion; a costume party…? Where'd you get your costume?"
"I found out a few weeks ago. It's being held from 8:30 PM to 1:00 AM. The occasion…your guess is as good as mine. Yes, it is a costume party and I got my costume at Party City, duh."
"Oh my God, this is so….thrilling!" Shuichi claimed, overwhelmed with joy. "Come on, Hiro; help me pick out a costume!" He urged, running out ahead of Hiro.
There were a few more hours until the party, but it felt like it would take forever to come. Adorned in a samurai outfit, Shuichi couldn't stop swinging his sword around Hiro's apartment. Hiroshi followed along and dodged Shuichi's hits to the best of his ability. It didn't come as much of a use because Shuichi was pretty deft with that fake sword; most of Hiro's evasions failed.
"You must have been a samurai in your previous life." He commented. "Just what exactly are you so nervous about?"
"Hello?! Eiri is actually throwing a costume party!"
"So? What's the big deal about that?"
"It's so out of the blue. I have no idea what it could be about! Excuse me if I'm still getting over the shock."
"Hm, I suppose that's understandable, but I bet it'll be real romantic. Ayaka-chan is coming too. She's dressing up as a nurse."
"Aw, isn't that cute?" Shuichi cooed, elbowing Hiro who gave him a playful slap in return. Giving a small laugh, Shuichi wondered aloud. "I wonder what Eiri will dress up as…Oh it doesn't matter! Anything he wears will make him look handsome!"
"Even a sumo wrestler outfit?" Hiro teased.
"Even a sumo…" Shuichi started, but cut off, realizing what he was agreeing to. "Hey! Are you calling my Eiri fat!?" Outraged, he doubled his efforts in hitting Hiroshi with the sword.
Hiroshi chuckled, happy to see his best friend's energy rekindled.
Eiri arrived at the Hilton a half hour before the party started to ascertain that everything was in place. All was turning out good; the spooky décor suited Halloween, the food was cooked to perfection, the music was all in place; the only thing feeling out of proportion was the speed of Eiri's beating heart. Fiddling with the ring, his thoughts raced. His blood was boiling with anxiety and excitement. To his displeasure, Touma sauntered in through the sliding doors with Mika by his side. She was dressed in a cheetah boy suit and Touma was wearing cat ears with a cat tail.
Eiri was disturbed to say the least.
"You're too early." Eiri stated, obviously.
"I just wanted to check up on you, brother." Touma said with that "angelic smile" on his face.
Eiri's eye twitched.
"My dear brother is finally growing up!" Mika emotionally exclaimed, hugging her younger brother. Groaning, Eiri gave her a few pats on the back before separating.
"I told you, Eiri…you could call me brother."
"Seguchi," he insisted, peeved. "You will not screw this up for me. Shuichi and I belong together and I'd say it's about time to make it official. I'm aware that you have blamed him for my mishaps."
"Eiri, he was making you cough up blood." Touma retorted.
"Actually it was because I was drinking beer on medication. I was the dumbass, not him." Eiri corrected.
As his brother-in-law spoke, Touma's mask gradually began to slip off. His massive jealously overwhelmed him. His plan of marrying Mika in order to get closer to Eiri worked to some extent. It did assure that he saw Eiri more, but it didn't earn the special place in Eiri's heart that Shuichi easily filled. "Shindou-san is not good for you." He growled, desperately, wanting Eiri to see that; to see only him.
"You're wasting your breath being so adamant with your lies, Seguchi. You should start using your voice to tell the truth…" He said, regarding his older sister. "…instead of living in denial." With that, he walked away, not wanting to hear Touma's next round of retorts. As the last minutes of solitude before the party lasted, Eiri stood outside, chewing a piece of gum, satisfied to see Mika storm out of the door.
As Eiri expected, Shuichi was the first to show up with Hiro and Ayaka in the same limousine. As soon as their eyes made contact, Shuichi's face lit up, its luminance brighter than anybody else's. They embraced for a scant moment and then pulled away. Regarding their presence, Eiri bowed his head to Ayaka and Hiroshi and they returned the gesture. By the arm, Eiri escorted Shuichi inside, the romantic gesture suiting his prince costume. By the way Shuichi's eyes gleamed up at him; Eiri could tell that his lover was enchanted by his attire. On second thoughts, Eiri suspected that Shuichi would be enchanted by anything he had chosen to wear.
As far as attire went, he deemed Shuichi's outfit to be fitting as well. He had the strength and valor of that of a warrior. Shuichi always had the tendency of rising against the odds and breaking down obstacles with easy triumph. That bravery sparked inside of Eiri and he felt more alleviated to have Shuichi there.
For a good laugh, he had gone so far as setting up a flailing corpse that would fall from the ceiling as soon as Shuichi came in. Yelping, he subconsciously jumped towards the chuckling Eiri. Regaining his senses, he blushed as Hiroshi and Ayaka began to laugh too. "That's not funny, Eiri! That was totally uncalled for! Stop laughing already!" Shuichi yelled, giving him a benign punch in the arm.
The evening was getting better already.
Especially prepared for the occasion, Eiri had sneaked into Shuichi's phone book to call up all his relatives and family members to inform them of the festivities. When they began showing up, Shuichi was pleasantly surprised. He greeted them all affectionately and turned to Eiri after each time he embraced a relative and smiled. As much as he pestered Eiri to tell him what the special occasion was, Eiri simply refused to tell.
Despite being on bad terms with him, Eiri even invited Ryuichi. All attention was on Shuichi; so much so that he felt like this was his second birthday party that year. Everyone danced, letting it all loose after a stressful week that varied among guests. Eiri and Shuichi danced together in harmony. Looking around his lover's shoulder, Shuichi's gaze went from his sister and her boyfriend to Hiro and Ayaka. At that, he smiled warmly. When his eyes came to lye on his mother, sitting down by her lonesome at a table, he remembered who was missing; his father.
Seeing Shuichi frown, Eiri gently used his hand to guide his lover's head to his shoulder.
The few hours of eating and dancing flew by and as they were about to dig into dessert, Eiri brazenly took the microphone, tapping it in order to test the sound quality. All eyes were on him and they politely took their seats and waited for what Eiri was about to say.
"I'd like to thank you all for coming this evening." Eiri began, spotting his father and Mika make a discreet entrance. "It is time for me to unveil the reason why you're all here. It is all for love." He walked over to the main table, where Shuichi sat, kneeling before him. Everyone gasped in realization and held their breath; most of all Shuichi did. "Shuichi Shindou, will you marry me?" He asked, revealing the ring. In response, Shuichi slipped out of his chair, on his knees in front of Eiri, who made a move to steady him.
"Yes." Shuichi whispered, tears cascading down his cheeks. Everyone cheered and whistled at the proposal and even more so when Eiri picked Shuichi up into his arms, and spun around.
"You can come out now!" Eiri shouted, baffling all who were there. Gently, he put Shuichi back onto his feet and faced the door where Shunske Shindou stood.
Shuichi cried harder as he ran into his father's arms.
"Congratulations, Shuichi." Shunske sobbed.
Kikyo slowly approached them. Shunske and Kikyo stared at each other for a short moment before running to hold the other. Tightly, they embraced, basking in the beauty of their reunion.
By the time they got home, Shuichi was emotionally taxed. Eiri and him immediately changed into their pajamas and went to bed. Lying in the circle of Eiri's arms, Shuichi still managed to squeeze some tears out. What Eiri did for him was beyond sweet. He touched the expensive silver band that enwrapped his finger and smiled. "I'm so happy…." Shuichi whispered.
"I'm glad…" Eiri whispered back, kissing his fiancée's cheek. "I couldn't bear seeing you so sad. I know it's inevitable to be sad sometimes so whenever you feel like that again, please don't hide it from me. I want to know what you're feeling…all the time."
"Eiri…I want the same from you too."
"It's a promise."
Waking up to the feel of Eiri's hands caressing his stomach was pleasant. He stretched and groaned, wrapping his arms around his fiancée's neck. "Good morning to you too," Shuichi laughed, pecking Eiri's lips. With the alarm clock going off, he jumped thinking that he had to go to work. In coherence to this, Shuichi pushed Eiri off of him and began to get dressed. What stopped him were Eiri's arms encasing him from behind.
"No work today. You're all mine," were the fomenting words that were murmured into Shuichi's ear.
"Oh," Shuichi breathed, recalling the proposal from the night before. "It…wasn't a dream…"
K had assured him that he could take a few days off the night before.
Everything that had occurred so enchanting that when Shuichi woke up he couldn't tell whether it was reality or another one of his fantasies. Alleviated and beyond happy that this was really happening, Shuichi turned around to give Eiri a deep kiss.
Months of content with only a few quarrels came their way. The wedding had come before they knew it. Mr. Uesugi had reluctantly agreed to seal them in matrimony at the temple. The government tolerance of this was only due to the many rallies and strikes held by the Shuichi and Eiri fan-base as well as others who respected gay rights. Claude, Judy, and Rage had agreed ahead of time to keep the press at bay until the ceremony was over. The flowers were pre-ordered, positions were assigned, and all that was left to do was say the vows.
In separate rooms, Shuichi and Eiri were both nervous, but mostly thrilled. This was the day they have been waiting for; to officially declare that they would be together forever. The difference in their anxiety was how they expressed it. Shuichi was bouncy while Eiri, on the other hand, was barely restraining himself from lighting a cigarette.
It was unfortunate that Touma had the gull to show up to his room.
"Eiri, you look…stunning." Touma smiled. That only made Eiri's glare darker.
"Get out," Eiri hissed.
"Look, Eiri," Touma started. "I deeply apologize for upsetting you with my behavior." He bowed in remorse.
Eiri wasn't going to be swayed by that fake innocent act of Touma's. He refused to forgive the man for using his sister and causing Shuichi, his soon-to-be husband, unnecessary grief. The damage had been done. There was no way to take it back. At the very least, Touma could apologize to Shuichi and Mika for his mistakes. "You're the last person I want to see right now. Leave." Eiri growled, causing Touma to exit the room, sulking.
Tatshua entered the room after seeing Ryuichi, curious as to why Touma had bothered to show up, uninvited. "What was that all about?" He asked.
"That's not important." Eiri replied. Gazing at his reflection in the mirror, he re-adjusted his tie. The reason why he wanted to wear a suit instead of the typical kimono was because he didn't want to be dressed in the same robe that he almost married Ayaka in. He wanted this marriage to be unique. Besides that, he didn't want to hold it inside either. This wasn't a private marriage; it deserved to be memorable out where the sun was shining and the cherry blossom petals were floating in the wind.
"I must say that this is very romantic, Bro. Who knew you had it in you?" Tatshua teased, jabbing Eiri in the ribs.
His nerves taking over, Eiri impulsively reached for the pack of cigarettes in his jacket pocket. Tatshua snatched it out of his hands and put a pack of gum there in its place. "Regards of Shuichi," Tatshua reminded, watching as his older brother began viciously chewing his gum.
Meanwhile with Shuichi, he was running his hands through his hair, looking at himself in the mirror. "Does my hair look ok? Does my breath smell? Ah! Is it me or did this suit get bigger?!" He panicked to Hiro.
"Your hair looks fine so stop running your hands through it. Your breath should smell good after using half the bottle of spray. As for the suit getting bigger, that's just you being delusional." Hiroshi replied, giving his best friend a hug. "Don't worry so much. You look great." The best man soothed, giving Shuichi a few pats on the back.
"Thanks…." Shuichi blushed, already imagining how they'd walk down the aisle. In his mind, just before they were about to kiss, Eiri pulled away because of a nose hair. "Ah, no!!!" He screamed, scrambling to the bathroom just to trip on his face. Hiroshi sighed, putting a hand on his face before helping Shuichi up.
"What happened to your nose?" Eiri whispered while they walked down the aisle.
"I kind of…fell…" Shuichi sheepishly answered.
"You should be more careful during your spaz attacks." Eiri chastised.
Reaching the platform, Shuichi and Eiri didn't pay much mind to the rambling Mr. Uesugi commenced with. They just stared into the depths of each other's eyes, drowning inside of themselves, hand-in-hand.
"Now the vows…" Mr. Uesugi said.
Shuichi decided to go first. "Eiri, you were breath-taking from the very first moment we met…You were always telling me that I could do better and pushing me to be the best I can be. That has inspired me a great deal throughout our relationship. I…I really love you and I want to be with you forever."
Some cooing broke out from the mouths of their friends and family members. Eiri blushed and squeezed Shuichi's hands tighter. "Shuichi…you made me realize how important it was to live…to love…You pulled me out from the dark place I sealed myself in and into the light. I want to spend the rest of my life protecting you and staying by your side…to see you laugh, smile, and be there when you cry. I love you with all of my being."
They exchanged rings and another set of promises before, "You may kiss the…groom." Mr. Uesugi announced, a bit awkwardly.
With the utmost pleasure, their lips met passionately.
As equals, Shuichi and Eiri decided to throw the bouquet together. It landed into the arms of Ayaka, whose face turned beet red as everyone turned to her and awed. Hiroshi smiled and gave her a deep kiss. With that done, the newlyweds waved to everyone before taking off in their car to their honeymoon.
Author's Note: Finally, I have completed this story! I know I depicted the costume party as a Halloween one. I wrote this at the end of October so that pretty much explains that. And so, I thank you all for reading and supporting this story!!! I couldn't have finished this without the support from all of my readers! Please review and let me know what you all have thought of 'Two Kinds of Love'!!