I don't own Sekaiichi Hatsukoi, Nakamura Shungiku does. It's been a while since I've written a Sekaiichi story, so why not one about the ever lovable and joyous Yokozawa? No, seriously; I really began to like him after the release of his novel and I love the little family unit he has with the Kirishimas. So I can't help but write about Sekaiichi's fourth couple as my seventh fanfic for this series! Especially with a Yokozawa POV!
Warnings as usual: OOCness, angst, lemon, fluff, Yokozawa being himself, and Hiyori being adorable as usual.
…Why is it that it's only after something bad happens that you realize your mistakes?
"I'm late! I'm sooooooo late!"
It was my day off, but I was doing the housework. Behind me, Sorata was lounging on the couch lazily while I dusted around the living room. There was this annoying corner on the mantel that had a thick sheet of dust on it that was difficult to reach. I gritted my teeth and strained my arm as I reached with the duster. I managed to scoop some of the dust, but not all of it.
I was dressed casually so that dirt and dust wouldn't get on my good clothes. But I was also wearing one of Hiyori's pink aprons while I dusted, so I was thankful that it was just the two of us in the apartment.
I liked relaxing on my days off, but Kirishima was working and I knew he was having a rough day. The chapter that ended The Kan's latest story arc was due today, and I knew that Ijuuin Kyo-sensei did not perform well under pressure. Both Kirishima and Shizuku Ishi were bound to have their hands full with Ijuuin-sensei well into the late evening, so I wanted to make things much easier for Kirishima when he got home.
All throughout the apartment, Hiyori was pounding around as she hurried to get ready. It was her summer vacation, and she'd promised to meet some of her classmates at the library to finish their summer book reports. Then they were going to go out and play.
But though Hiyo was generally a very prompt child, today she was a bit behind on the time.
"Where is the—GOT IT!" Hiyo sighed loudly in relief. "Onii-chan, I'm leaving now!"
I looked out the living room window. Dark clouds had started to form in the sky. As I focused on that dust spot, I remembered that the weather forecast had predicted a heavy rain today. "Take an umbrella and your raincoat."
"I know, I know! Oh, I'm so late!" She ran past the doorway so fast that I couldn't tell if she was wearing her raincoat.
There was a soft rumble from the clouds outside. I looked out the window again apprehensively, and then looked towards the living room door. "Make sure to take your rain boots as well!"
"I know!" Hiyo suddenly peeked her head into the living room, smiling brightly. "I'm leaving now, Onii-chan! Wish me luck!"
"Just be sure to finish your book report before playing," I told her, returning to my dusting. "But if it's raining too hard outside, go to either to Yuki-chan's or Rumi-chan's houses. Or bring your friends back here. You don't want to catch a cold in the summer, do you?"
"Of course not!" Hiyo said cheerfully. "Bye now! Bye, Sorata! Oh, I'm so late! They're going to be so mad at me!"
Hiyo hurried out the front door as I finally swept away that dust pile. "Good, that's done…"
The laundry was next. Hiyo preferred to hang the clothes outside to dry, but with a rainstorm coming I knew it was a better idea to throw the clothes into the dryer. Sorata took that opportunity to stretch out slowly and then rise from the couch to follow me.
"I guess it's too much to ask for to get your help, huh?" I grumbled at him. Sorata only blinked very slowly at me and I shook my head. "Cats…"
At least Hiyo loved to do housework. It was certainly enjoyable to do it with her, considering Kirishima was completely hopeless at doing anything domestic. As I entered the laundry room, I was reminded of one time that I had a day off on a Sunday, and Hiyo and I did the housework together. Kirishima came home quietly, without announcing to us that he was home, and I didn't know he was until I looked up from the laundry and saw him watching us. Kirishima was always very happy to see that I had a good relationship with his daughter. I guess considering the sort of relationship I had with Kirishima himself, it was certainly better to be on wonderful terms with Hiyo.
As I dumped the clothes into the dryer, the first alarming thing caught my eye. I stilled suddenly and craned my neck. Right next to the dryer were Hiyo's pale pink rain boots.
I stared at them for a long moment before I sighed in exasperation. She forgot her rain boots. Great. If the rainstorm was as bad as the weather predicted, her shoes were going to be soaked through if she decided to play out in the rain.
I walked back into the living room and saw that the weather had already shifted. Rain was already pounding furiously against the windows. Even with her umbrella and raincoat, Hiyo was going to get soaked playing out in the rain!
"The rain is too heavy. Please don't play outside today." I sent her a warning text message as I continued to do the housework. As small as the apartment was, I still wanted everything to look perfect for Kirishima.
Though Kirishima himself didn't help matters when he left his coat lying around!
Shaking my head, I went to the coat closet to hang his coat. The minute I opened the door, I saw the next alarming thing.
Hiyo's pink raincoat was still hanging up in the closet.
I almost got angry, but then I remembered that she'd been in a huge hurry to meet up with her friends. Sighing shortly, I yanked my cell phone out to send her another text message. "I found your raincoat. Please just stay indoors or you'll get soaked."
It wasn't like Hiyo to be this careless. She was usually on top of things for a ten-year-old. Hell, she was completing a major book report due in September at the beginning of July! But why would she forget her raincoat and rain boots when I told her repeatedly to wear them today?
At least she still has her umbrella. I shook my head again as I headed into the kitchen. All this unnecessary worrying was making me hungry. So she won't get completely—
The final thing that alarmed me rested right on the kitchen counter. Hiyo's umbrella, still tied up.
I stared at it dumbly for a moment. Then I slowly picked it up and looked at it closely. It was pink and covered with Hello Kitty images, so it was undoubtedly Hiyo's.
But she forgot it?
There was a roaring burst of thunder outside, and the lights in the apartment flickered briefly. I jumped from the violent noise and rushed for the coat closet. Maybe Hiyo took another umbrella? Yes, she wouldn't have gone out in the rain with just a simple summer jacket!
My hopes sank as I searched the closet. The only umbrella in there was mine. Kirishima had taken his own umbrella with him when he'd left that morning. So Hiyo had taken nothing with her to shield her from the rain!
I was embarrassed by the panic I felt, and I forced myself to get a grip. The library wasn't that far away, and Hiyo's friends were bound to have umbrellas too. Many of the girls lived in the same apartment complex as us! All Hiyo needed to do was just walk home with them and share their umbrella!
I'm such an idiot. I pulled out my cell phone to send Hiyo one final message. "You didn't take anything with you that I told you to. You need to be more careful next time."
Almost three hours later, all of the housework was done. To my dismay though, the rain had grown thicker and harsher during this time. At least there was no more thunder rumbling in the sky.
I sank down into the couch beside Sorata and checked my phone. To my surprise, I had only one text-message and it was from Kirishima. Nothing from Hiyo.
She's probably irritated from all my nagging.
Still embarrassed by my prior behavior, I decided to call Hiyo to apologize. I knew at this point the book report had to be done, and so she would be able to answer her phone.
"Hi, hi, HIIIIII! I'm Kirishima Hiyori, and I'm not here!" Hiyo's overly cheerful voicemail message greeted me. "Please leave a mess—"
I hung up the phone and shrugged. She didn't need me smothering her while she was playing with her friends. I wasn't exactly her father, was I?
"…Yeah, you're DEFINITELY suited to be a mama. You're more maternal than most of the mothers around here, even."
I gnashed my bottom lip. WHY was I remembering something so horrifying?
"Let's see what Kirishima wants though," I said aloud, opening his text message.
"Just twelve more pages! I might be out before nine tonight!"
I could almost hear the optimism in his voice through this text message. I didn't envy his job. Not only was he the chief editor of Japun, Marukawa Publishing's shounen publication—essentially the same job Takano had but a different genre—but he was also the primary editor for Marukawa's most popular shounen artist. It was amazing that Kirishima could be so cheerful most of the time with all of this pressure. I know I sure as hell couldn't pull such a feat off!
But if he was aiming to be out at nine, then I knew to aim to make a late dinner. Hiyo certainly wouldn't mind.
It was then that I saw that there was more to Kirishima's text message. And what I read caused a chill to pass over me.
"It's raining pretty hard, huh? Hiyo was coughing pretty heavily yesterday, so maybe she should avoid going outside."
I quickly looked up and out the window. The rainstorm hadn't let up at all. But Hiyo had a cough? I had no idea!
But you were at work until eleven last night. If she had a cough all day yesterday, you wouldn't have noticed.
But I didn't notice it TODAY! If Hiyo had a persistent cough in the summer, maybe that meant she was coming down with a cold anyways! Why didn't anyone say ANYTHING to me before this moment?
I quickly called Hiyo back. After a few rings, it went to her voicemail. "Hiyo, please call me back when you get this. Your papa told me you had a cough, and while I'm upset that you didn't tell me, I'd rather hear that you're at one of your friend's houses and not playing outside."
I hung up. After five minutes, I tried calling her back. As I heard her phone ring on the other line, I became aware that I was hearing a strange buzz in the apartment. I rubbed at my free ear as the ringing stopped. And went right to voicemail.
I hung up again and called Hiyo called. Again, I heard that annoying buzz deep in the apartment, but it was brief. The buzzing distracted me though, and so I didn't notice that I was sent to Hiyo's voicemail again.
When I called her cell phone again though, I heard that buzz again. Realization dawned on me and I ran for Hiyo's room. Still holding the phone, I pushed her door open.
Her cell phone was sitting on her desk.
Swallowing thickly, I snatched it up and flipped it open. All of my text messages, messages from Kirishima, and from some of her friends were in here. Including my voicemails.
She forgot her umbrella, raincoat, rain boots, and her cell phone. I knew she was late this morning, but she forgot all of these things!
"Shit!" I put her cell phone down and ran for the coat closet. I shoved on a raincoat and grabbed my umbrella. Maybe I was overreacting. Hiyo wasn't a reckless child. If it was raining and she forgot both her raingear and her cell phone, she wouldn't run around in the rain. She would be at her friend's house watching television or playing video games.
But I couldn't stop the worry. She might have already had a cold, and with the weather as bad as it was, it was bound to make it worse! Especially since she left over three hours ago!
Damn it all, why didn't I check to make sure she HAD these things? Why didn't I make sure she had her cell phone and her umbrella? I wasn't even paying attention!
I'm just going to check and make sure she's okay. I sat down in the entryway to shove on my boots. Hiyo might get embarrassed, but I'll feel better knowing she's okay!
I got the last boot on when the front door swung open. "Tadaima!"
I gaped, unable to greet her. Hiyo calmly closed the front door behind her. But where she stood, a giant puddle was already starting to form underneath her. Her sneakers squished painfully as she jerked them off and set her book bag down.
But she was soaked. Completely, utterly soaked. It looked like she took a shower in her clothes!
Hiyo pushed back the hood of her jacket, which had proven useless because her hair was wet anyways. She saw me staring at her, and she forced a smile. "Gomen, Onii-chan! Because of the rain though, the library turned the heat on and it was so hot! We got our book reports done though, and the rain felt good—"
"What were you thinking?" I admonished harshly, standing up. "You don't have a proper jacket or an umbrella or your cell phone! How could you play outside when the weather is THIS bad, Hiyo?"
Hiyo winced very slightly. I saw that her cheeks were flushed, despite being wet. "Gomen…but I was in a big hurry that I couldn't stop for anything! And it was so hot in the library that when we got outside we got carried away…"
I shook my head and yanked my boots off. An uneasy feeling began forming in my gut. Her voice sounded a lot thicker than it had before she left. Standing there scolding her while she was this wet wasn't going to do her any good. "Never mind. Hurry and come inside and change your clothes."
"Hai…" Hiyo bent over to pull off her wet socks. Right before my eyes she lost her balance and pitched forward!
"Hiyo!" I grabbed her before she collapsed to the floor. Her entire body felt cold. "Are you all right?"
Hiyo moaned very quietly against my jacket. "My head feels floaty Onii-chan…"
"Your head?" my heart was slamming against the wall of my chest as I pressed my head to her forehead. Though she was cold, her head was scalding. "You've got a fever, Hiyo!"
"Oh, no…" Hiyo dug her fingers into my coat. "I don't want a fever during summer break…"
I picked her up into my arms and ran for the bathroom. I could feel my heartbeat slamming in my ears as I propped her up on the toilet. "Let me see…" I grabbed a folded towel from the hamper and rubbed it through her hair. "Let's get you dry quickly. Then you need to get in bed!"
I'm such an idiot. I'm such a fucking idiot! I bit down hard on my lower lip as I let the towel drape around Hiyo's small shoulders and I yanked her soggy socks off. Her feet felt icy, and I quickly rubbed them between my palms. "I'm going to take you to your room, Hiyo. Are you able to put on pajamas by yourself?"
Hiyo nodded jerkily. "I-I'm okay. I just feel floaty, and—"
There was no warning. As I leaned up, Hiyo suddenly pitched forward and vomited violently all over the front of my shirt!
I didn't think to be disgusted. I grabbed her and pulled her off the toilet and flipped the lid up. Her hair fell into her face, and I pulled it back so it wouldn't get hit.
Hiyo was sobbing between gasps of air. "G-G-Gomen Onii—" she abruptly retched again and cried even harder.
"I'm not mad," I told her calmly. "Just get this out of your system, Hiyo."
My reassurances didn't make her feel better, but at least this spell didn't last long. I pulled off my dirty shirt and tossed it into a corner, thankful that my undershirt didn't get too dirty. She was still crying as I picked her back up and took her into her room.
"I'm so sorry, Onii-chan!"
"It's really all right. You should feel much better now."
"Here…" I set her down on the edge of the bed. Hiyo was swaying slightly, even though she wasn't moving. "I'll go get your pajamas. Are you comfortable putting them on yourself?"
"…Hai." Hiyo's eyes looked a little glazed—no doubt from the fever. But she looked at me with so much sadness that I almost pulled her into a hug. "I-I didn't mean to puke on you, Onii-chan…"
"It's really all right, Hiyo." My throat felt tight, but I forced myself to talk in a calm, soothing voice. I didn't want to alarm her or allow her to think I was angry with her in any way. "I'm okay, and you're going to be okay too. Just give me one second while I get your pajamas."
"…Hai." Hiyo fell sideways against her pillow. She closed her eyes, but her face was still flushed and her breathing was heavy. "Papa…"
I quickly left the room, because her pleading voice caused a raw surge of emotions to rush through me. It took me completely off guard and I bit my lower lip hard. You stupid bastard! I scolded myself, hurrying to the laundry room to get her pajamas. To not even notice that a child is sick! Even Kirishima noticed, and he didn't have the day off!
The sick feeling of guilt stayed with me as I ran back to Hiyo's room.
The thermometer 'beeped', and I pulled it out of Hiyo's mouth and held it up. "38.3 degrees. It's mild, but it's still a fever."
Hiyo moaned quietly in dismay. A cooling pack rested against her forehead. "I can't believe I'm sick during summer vacation."
"It happens," I said bluntly, setting the thermometer aside. "Here, I made you some oatmeal. Can you sit up?" I picked up the tray and set it in front of her.
Hiyo made a face as she struggled to sit up. "I'm not hungry, Onii-chan." I helped to position her into a sitting position against the headboard. "I might throw up again."
"You'll need to eat in order to take your medicine," I reminded her. "And even if you do get sick again, I'm here so it'll be fine."
Hiyo laughed quietly. "It'd be terrible if I threw up on you again, Onii-chan."
"It's really okay," I repeated myself patiently. "I'm not angry with you, so don't be angry with yourself."
"…Okay." Her hand still shook a little lightly as she reached for the spoon.
My pocket started to buzz, and I pulled out my cell phone. Kirishima's name blared across the caller-I.D. "I'll be right back," I told Hiyo, standing up from the bed.
"Hmm." Hiyo didn't ask if it was her papa calling me. But I excused myself from the room and answered the phone. "Hello?"
"Konbanwa!" Kirishima greeted me with pleasant enthusiasm, but not even his enthusiasm could hide his exhaustion. "We're down to five pages! Ijuuin-sensei has found his muse!"
"Great," I said dryly, rolling my eyes. "So you'll be out at nine, then?"
"That's the plan! I'm in the mood for some torizosui, so can you prepare that? Oh, and keep that beer in the fridge chilled!"
"Are you serious?" I snapped with immediate annoyance. "You eat torizosui in the WINTER, not summer! I'm making hiyashi chuka, ahou!"
"Okay, okay." Even though Kirishima sounded disappointed, there was playful note of humor in his voice. "In any case, did Hiyo get her homework done?"
Hiyo. In my anger I forgot about the little girl I'd neglected. No, she wasn't just any little girl. She was Kirishima's beloved daughter, and I'd been so oblivious to the fact that she was sick!
"Yokozawa." Kirishima's sudden sharp tone startled me, and I realized that I hadn't given him an answer to his question. "Is something wrong?"
"N-No, of course not!" I sputtered. "Everything's fine!"
I knew that Kirishima would want to know that Hiyo was sick, but I also knew that they needed to make this deadline for The Kan. I didn't want Hiyo's illness to hang over his head.
"Are you sure?" he didn't sound so convinced. "Nothing serious happened, did it?"
"I told you everything's fine!" I tried to sound calm as I spoke to him. "I-I'm just going to get started on dinner! And yes, Hiyo did finish her homework! There's nothing to worry about!"
Kirishima was silent on the other end for a long time before he spoke. "You're not keeping something from me, are you?"
I couldn't help but flush with shame. Kirishima really could read me too well. The whole situation was my fault, and I knew I had to fess up. But I didn't want him to worry about this when he was in a dire situation at work. Besides, despite having a fever—and despite my negligence—Hiyo didn't need to go to the hospital. I could take care of her.
"Everything is fine!" I repeated firmly. "So don't worry. Please focus on your work as you have been doing, so you can be out on time tonight! I'll have dinner ready for you when you come home!"
Once again Kirishima was silent. I was about to ask him if he wanted to talk to Hiyo when he said, "All right. I'll take your word for it and focus on my work."
We said our goodbyes after that and I sighed heavily. I knew that he was going to be angry at me later for not telling him right away. But he was going to be angry with me anyways for neglecting his daughter's health, so I was prepared for it.
Even as I continued to feel guilty.
"Onii-chan?" Hiyo called from inside her room.
"I'm coming!" I hurried back into the room. To my surprise, the bowl of oatmeal was half-eaten. "Are you finished, Hiyo?"
Hiyo nodded as best as she could. "Is Papa okay?"
"Yes, they're almost done with Sensei's work." I reached for the medicine on her side table. "Take this and relax, okay? Even if you're sick now, it's still July. You still have the rest of the summer to play."
"I know…" she still looked sad as I prepared the pills for her. "I don't mean to trouble you so much—"
"Did I say you were troubling me?" I demanded, shaking my head. "You aren't troubling me at all! Now take these!" I gave her the pills.
Hiyo smiled and laughed again as she took them with water. "A…Arigato, Onii-chan."
"It's no prob—" I began.
"I-I'm really happy that you're here with us."
I flushed reflexively and looked away. "Well…you guys are the ones taking care of Sorata and I, so…"
"I can't talk to Papa about a lot of things." She slid back down under the covers. "And you've kept the secrets I've told you."
"Who else would I tell?" I asked, feeling a little uncomfortable about the conversation.
"And I'm glad…" she smiled again and closed her eyes. "I'm glad for Papa. Papa is one of the happiest people I know, but it wasn't until you came around that I realized that Papa's been really lonely. He acted like he didn't need anybody but me, but that one time…when you had work for a week and we didn't see you, Papa was so sad and depressed that he wouldn't smile at anything. He didn't laugh at the jokes I told him, and he ate very little. When he was at home he just sat around and didn't do anything. When you came back, he got better. I didn't know how much Papa was hurting until then, but you helped him Onii-chan."
I swallowed thickly at her words. She had to have been reflecting on that incident when Kirishima forced me to face up to my situation with Takano, and I lashed out at him with terrible, cruel words. Then we both avoided each other for a whole week until I bit the bullet and apologized to him. That was also when we became a couple, but I shook that thought away.
"So I'm glad you're here, Onii-chan." She reached out with her hand and grabbed my sleeve. "You won't go anywhere, right? You'll stay with us, Onii-chan?"
"…Of course," I said, but I wasn't so certain anymore. Hiyo became sick because I wasn't paying attention, and I knew that when I told Kirishima this that he would be furious with me. Maybe not enough to break up with me and kick me out, but certainly angry.
But I didn't want to go anywhere, even if it was inevitable.
It was about an hour later, and I was finishing the preparations for hiyashi chuka, that I was startled to hear a commotion at the front door. Sorata barely flinched from the unexpected noises from his perch on the couch. I wiped my hands on my apron and hurried to the front door. "Who—"
My jaw dropped as I saw Kirishima standing in the entryway, quickly yanking off his shoes. I sputtered for a few moments before I could speak. "D-Don't you have a deadline?"
"Ijuuin-sensei is almost done," Kirishima said, shrugging off his coat. "Ishi-kun told me he could handle the rest. But never mind that!" he advanced on me, his eyes narrowed and his face tense. "Where's my daughter? Is she all right?"
"Hiyo is fine!" I snapped. "She just has a mild fever!" I was shocked at my sudden anger, but I knew it was my guilt fueling it. I didn't have any right to act like this.
Kirishima visibly relaxed, and his shoulders dipped slightly. I could almost see the tension leave his body. "Really? It's just her cold?"
"Then why not just tell me she was sick?" he demanded. He waved his hand furiously. "I ask you a simple question about my daughter, and you don't give me a direct response? I've been out of my mind with worry! Ishi-kun told me to leave mostly because I couldn't focus! Next time, if it's something as simple as this, just tell me! I thought something serious had happened to her!"
"If I told you, you'd just rush home anyways!" I tried to reason with him. "I didn't want to distract you! Besides, if it had really bothered you, you could've called me back and asked me upfront!"
"You could've just told me and then this wouldn't have happened! I…" Kirishima suddenly pressed a hand to his face. After a moment, he started laughing.
I blinked in confusion. "What is it?"
"…I sound like an idiot," he said slowly. The anger seemed to have faded from him completely. "Look at me, a full-grown adult arguing and shouting like this. I should be acting a little more rational."
"You're worried about your daughter. You have every right to be." It felt awkward to hear the apology from Kirishima, when this situation wasn't even his fault. "I should've told you she got sick. I'm sorry."
"No, no, it's fine." He shook his hand and forced a smile. "Is she still awake?"
"I think so."
"Then I'll go look in on her."
He headed to Hiyo's room, and I trailed after him. He carefully opened her door and peeked inside. "Ah, Hiyo!" I knew then that Hiyo was still awake—or that she'd woken up from the shouting. Kirishima swept into the room, and I walked over to stand in the doorway. "How's my little girl? Getting a cold in the summertime…I told you to be more careful!" he scolded playfully.
Hiyo looked at her father for a long moment, and then looked at me. Her face was still flushed and her eyes still glazed. "W…Were you two fighting?"
"Nonsense!" Kirishima said quickly. "We were just having a normal conversation in raised voices!"
Hiyo suddenly looked sad, as if she wanted to cry. "P-Please don't fight—"
"We're not fighting," Kirishima interjected gently. "Do you see us fighting, Hiyo? Everything's fine."
"That's right," I added, folding my arms over my chest. "Nothing's wrong, so don't worry."
"Okay…" she did seem to relax a little more. "Welcome home, Papa."
"Tadaima." Kirishima peeled the cooling pad off her forehead and pressed his hand there. "Hmm…you're still warm. Are you hungry?"
"No, Onii-chan made me oatmeal."
"Oh, that's good!" Kirishima laughed and reset the cooling pad. "This might sound stupid, but how are you feeling now?"
"…A little cold," Hiyo admitted.
"Oh, that's an easy fix!" Kirishima suddenly drew back the covers and climbed into bed with her!
"P-Papa!" Hiyo cried out, clearly embarrassed by his actions. She looked at me self-consciously before looking back at him. "Papa, you can't—"
"There!" Kirishima laughed, cuddling Hiyo to his chest. "I bet you don't feel cold now! But this bed is awfully small!"
"It's my bed! That's why it's small for you!"
"I suppose you're right!" Kirishima looked at me over his shoulder. "You go ahead and get started with dinner without me, Yokozawa. I'm going to stay in here until she falls asleep."
"Papa, I'm wide awake now!" Hiyo complained.
"I still have to finish dinner," I told him. "But I'll make you a plate." I closed the door quietly behind me and headed back into the kitchen. Sorata seemed unperturbed by the noise our shouting had caused, as he'd remained unmoved on the couch. I only wished that I could be as unperturbed.
Because I knew a shitstorm was coming my way once I told Kirishima everything. He'd been very angry when I didn't tell him Hiyo's cold got out of control, but once he found out it was because of my negligence, he surely wouldn't forgive me.
I made two plates of the hiyashi chuka, but I didn't have the stomach to eat it. I knew I would end up catching Hiyo's cold if I allowed myself to worry like this, but I couldn't help it. My relationship with these two was so important to me. And my relationship with Kirishima was the first real relationship I'd had since after Takano. Not that I could call my fling with Takano a real relationship, but it had meant something to me.
And yet I hadn't acted like a responsible adult. I had a lot to answer for, and I knew I fully deserved it.
When Kirishima finally left Hiyo's room though, my nerves were shot to hell. He definitely looked a lot happier than he did when he'd gotten home, but he looked exhausted as well. I knew another argument was on the horizon, and my hands clenched into fists on the table as I braced myself.
Kirishima looked at the plate I'd made for him, and sighed sadly. "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to take a rain check on dinner. I'm feeling too tired right now."
I nodded and took the plate. "That's understandable. The Kan had a major deadline today, and Hiyo got sick. It's a lot to take in."
"Hmm." Kirishima watched me wrap up the plates before he spoke again. "Arigato."
I looked at him in surprise. "For what?"
"Taking care of Hiyo."
I snorted. "I wasn't about to leave her as she was, you know."
"She told me she threw up on you and how upsetting it was," Kirishima said. He was looking at me very intently and it made me look away. "She also said you didn't get angry with her once and took really good care of her. It really means a lot to me to hear about that."
I felt horrible to get praise when this situation was my fault. I shook my head and put our dinner in the refrigerator. "It was noth—"
Arms slid around my shoulders and I stiffened as Kirishima buried his face into the back of my neck. My skin prickled as he took in a deep breath and sighed quietly. I slowly closed the refrigerator. "Kirish—"
"Don't say something as important as this is 'nothing'," he said. His voice was muffled by my neck. "My precious little girl became very sick, and you took such good care of her. It may be nothing but a simple cold, but I can't help but think of what might have happened to her if she was home alone like this." The arms around me tightened. "I'm grateful. I'm really; really happy you're here Yokozawa."
I couldn't take his praise anymore. I pulled out of his arms and quickly turned to face him. "Look, you need to stop giving me so much credit. I didn't do anything right. In fact, I—"
"Blame yourself for what happened?" Kirishima finished for me.
I blinked slowly, and my jaw dropped. He didn't look angry with me at all. "H-How—?"
He smiled thinly and poked me in the forehead. "You're my lover. I think I would know some of your mannerisms and thinking habits by now."
"But I am to blame!" I said harshly. "I didn't make sure Hiyo had a jacket or an umbrella, or even her cell phone! I didn't even realize she wasn't feeling good! I just ignored all of it and let her go outside in the rain like that! If I was paying more attention—"
"Hey, hey, hey," he interrupted, putting a hand on my shoulder. "Hiyo may be a child, but she's a smart child. I told her to dress properly before I left for work this morning. It was her own choice to go outside like that, knowing she had a cough. It's not your fault she didn't use proper judgment."
"Please don't talk about her like that," I insisted. "I should've paid better attention—"
"Hiyo has told me this herself."
Kirishima shrugged. "She told she knew you were blaming yourself for her illness, and she begged me to correct you. And I agree with her. This wasn't some diabolical plot on your part, so how is any of this your fault?"
So he wasn't blaming me at all, and neither was Hiyo. I wasn't expecting this, and it certainly didn't make me feel better. "But I—"
"Look." Kirishima put his hands on my shoulders. "Worrying like this is all the charm of being a parent. Children are going to drive us crazy, no matter how responsible they are. Hiyo's a sensible child so she doesn't normally do this, but these things happen. If you're going to blame yourself for her sickness, then I need to share in the blame for not telling you directly that she was sick. You worked a long shift yesterday, so it's no surprise you didn't notice the change in her. I'm upset her cold got so out of control, but you stepped up and took proper care of her. How can I be angry for that?"
To hear his reassurances lifted a great weight off my shoulders. I felt guilty enough as it was, but if I'd had Kirishima's scorn I didn't know how I would deal with it. I ducked my head and nodded slowly. "…All right. I will try to be more attentive in the future, but thanks for not blaming me."
"Oh, I blame you for some things."
I looked up in confusion. "Eh?"
"You left me in a worried state over my daughter," Kirishima said sternly. "So much so that I had to skip out on my job to rush home to make sure she was all right. So I think you owe me."
I snapped my teeth and straightened. "Look, I was doing you a favor. It was by your own choice that you came home!"
"But you could've told me that she was just sick and nothing else was going on," Kirishima told me. "It's not good to worry a papa like that. So you owe me big for that, Yokozawa."
I scrubbed a hand over my face in frustration. "Fine, what do you want me to do?"
The anger left his face then, and it was replaced by a coy smile. He reached out and poked me in the sternum before slowly dragging his finger up my chest to my neck. I could feel the caress through my shirt, and it made my skin tingle. "Oh, I have the perfect idea in mind."
I quickly grabbed his hand to make it stop. "Wait-a-minute. You're too tired to eat dinner but NOT too tired to have sex? What's the logic in that?"
"None." Kirishima suddenly stepped closer to me, and I found myself pinned to the fridge. "But I've held myself back the past few days because of our schedules, and I'm quite wound up."
"Is asleep." He leaned forward, but he didn't kiss me. Instead, his nose slid across my cheek as he leaned in to breathe into my ear. "All things considering, you should count yourself lucky that your punishment for this is something so pleasant."
"B-But you already told me you don't blame me!" I tried to reason with him.
"I don't. But you caused unnecessary worry to a very busy and exhausted man." He leaned back so he could look at me with heated, intense eyes. "So…why don't you do me a favor and take control for tonight, hmm?"
Take control. Kirishima was very open-minded to role-reversal, but he didn't do it often. And yet he was offering it to me, even after everything that had happened today. My heart started slamming against the wall of my chest, and my face felt hot. I reached up and touched one of his hands on my shoulders. Our fingers interlaced, even though our gazes never parted. When I finally spoke, my voice was strained, "If that's what you want."
He smiled again. "I'm a little too tired to do all the work, but it's exactly what I want."
…When Kirishima insisted that I "take control", I wasn't expecting this!
"Hey." A hand slid up my chest to pinch my stiff cheek. "Can't you look a little sexier?"
My eyes snapped open and I glared down at Kirishima. I snapped my teeth together. "Seriously, just shut up! Why am I doing THIS again?"
Kirishima smiled very coyly, and he slid his hands down my sides to cup my hips. "Just lower yourself down a little more…"
"Can't we switch off for tonight?" I demanded hotly, even as my accursed body clenched in anticipation. "You told me you're too tired to do the work!"
"Ah, but you made this scared Papa come home during an important deadline," Kirishima scolded playfully. He put pressure on his hands, trying to push my hips down. "I want you to take care of me, but I think you owe it to me to be the uke for tonight."
"You son of a—" the insult broke off abruptly into a short exhale of breath as I felt the tip of his penis brush against the crevice of my butt. I shivered involuntarily and bit down on my lower lip to keep from moaning as his hands squeezed each cheek and then spread them wide. The hands pressed down firmer, and my hips dipped lower, and that offending appendage slipped up and rubbed against me. I grunted and swallowed thickly, squeezing my eyes shut and struggling to maintain control. No matter how good it always felt, it was always difficult to allow someone else to take control of me. I was used to being the caretaker. It was a habit of mine.
But…fighting this proved to be futile when it felt this good.
"Almost there," Kirishima panted quietly. I could feel his eyes on my face, but I couldn't bear to look at him. His hands squeezed harder before releasing. "Lower yourself a little more, Takefumi."
I snarled, ready to yell at him again, but his tongue flicked out and slowly lapped one of my nipples. "Guh—!" ripples of pleasure hummed through me as he sucked the nipple into his mouth. My resolve faded, and the fight in me left as my knees turned to jelly and my hips fell to exactly the position he wanted me to be.
I hung my head and my arms trembled from holding myself up as I felt him massage that incredibly intimate part of me with his erection. One of his hands released my hips, but moved down to cradle my scrotum and massage it in a circular motion as he pushed inside. I felt the stretching sensation, but his hand distracted me enough so that I felt no pain as I engulfed him completely.
My breathing became ragged, and I clenched around him involuntarily. I felt a delicious sensation shoot up my spine and I arched my head back. "Mmm…" I was glad that the bedroom was dark, because showing this side of myself was so embarrassing, even to Kirishima.
Kirishima's other hand shot up and grabbed my nape. He pulled me down and kissed me full on the mouth. He was so damn good at this—as much as it shamed me to admit it, but sometimes a simple kiss from him put me right in the mood. Not that I could ever admit such to him, but he somehow always sensed this reaction in me and the end result usually ended us in this position.
But I found I couldn't really complain about it.
Kirishima broke the kiss, though both of us were panting for air. He sucked on my bottom lip and traced it with his tongue. "There…that's no bad, is it?"
His untactful remarks reawakened my anger and I glared at him once. "You bastard!"
But he only laughed at me. "I know. But you love me for it."
"I—uhh!" he cut off my end of the argument with a sharp thrust. Bright flashes filled my vision and I nearly collapsed against him. "Ah…"
"Come on." Kirishima grabbed my hands and planted them on his sternum and pushed me up into a sitting position. "You're doing the work tonight, remember?"
It was so difficult to think clearly when all I could think about was the tingling area where our bodies were joined. "I'm…going to kick your ass when this is over!"
"Just so long as you don't wake Hiyo up."
The reminder of the child in the nearby bedroom helped to clear my head. I quickly shook it and tried to move to climb off him. But he quickly grabbed my hips to hold me in place. "H-Hiyo sick, she's—"
"She took her medicine and her fever has gone down," Kirishima reminded me calmly. "We've taken care of her. Now we can take care of each other."
"Unless…" I saw a sudden gleam in his eye and he grinned wickedly at me. "Unless you don't have it in you to finish."
" W-What?" I shouted, forgetting about Hiyo. "Are you insulting my bedroom skills, you asshole? You've never complained before!"
"Well, I don't know." Kirishima seemed to give some real thought to this as he relaxed against the pillows. "I have to be so pushy with you a lot, and even then you hold yourself back. Maybe you're just ill-equipped to handle this sort of raw sex?"
I shoved down hard on his chest, unable to hide my anger, and I pinned him to the bed. "Ill-equipped? I'll show you ill-equipped!"
I knew that Kirishima was deliberately provoking me to get me to act, but just hearing that he was apparently less than impressed with my lovemaking skills made me very angry. It bruised my pride, and my mind suddenly became focused on completely proving him wrong.
"Hrrnnn…" I lifted myself up, feeling somewhat guided by his hands, and slammed back down into his groin. The sharp movement felt like electricity in my body, and I shuddered.
Kirishima's response though was more profound. His fingers dug into my hips and he arched his head back, his brow knitted tightly in pleasure. "Haa—!"
I glared down at him, even as I panted heavily. "Still ill-equipped, you moron?"
Kirishima laughed breathlessly, and his brow relaxed. "Oh, I don't know…"
He was still provoking me, but it was enough. Pressing my hands down on his chest, I began riding him quickly, watching his face for his reactions. I wasn't about to let him get away with lying, that was for sure.
Even so, my head quickly became clouded with pleasure and all I could feel every nerve ending straining for more. Uhn…ha…aah!" I no longer thought about how embarrassing this position was, or how loud the bedsprings were squeaking, or how loud we were groaning. It felt so good, and I could feel him squirming and shuddering beneath me and I knew that he didn't find me 'ill-equipped'.
Kirishima's hands left my hips and he suddenly grabbed my arms. "Come here," he gasped.
I leaned down and he captured my mouth again. "Mmm!" I grabbed his shoulders as he greedily sucked at my mouth, his own hips jabbing upwards, slamming against me. The familiar, pleasant pooling sensation settled in my abdomen, and I knew my release was not far off. I broke the kiss and gasped. "D…Don't cum inside me!"
Kirishima barked out a laugh. "You're thinking about that in the throes of ecstasy? I must need to try hard then!" he grabbed my hips and forcibly shoved me down on him, following a fast but harsh rhythm.
"W…Wait!" I tried to maintain a semblance of mind, even as my body gave in so readily. My head lowered until it was right beside his. "Wait, I—haa!" I couldn't get the words out.
"Don't hold back." He licked at my ear and chuckled. "You're almost there. We both are. Let it go."
It was humiliating, but his words felt like a stab straight to my groin. I shuddered violently and my mind went blank as a sharp orgasm shook my body. "Aaaaah!" I convulsed against him, unable to stop myself. And even despite my warning, I clenched tightly around him and he stiffened. I felt swift fury as he did exactly what I told him not to, but the rush of the afterglow was profound, and I didn't have the words to protest.
I collapsed on top of him, unable to hold myself up. He cradled my hips again and slowly eased out of me as he snuggled me more comfortably against his chest. I shook my head and tried to sit up, even as my body protested and wanted to relax. "—need to wash up—"
"It's fine," Kirishima told me, pulling me back down. "Just go to sleep."
I still snarled, even as I didn't fight him pulling me close. "You'll pay for that…"
"You always say that," he teased me. "And yet it always turns out pleasant, hmm?"
I grumbled to myself, but managed to glare at him. "Am I still ill-equipped in the bedroom?"
Kirishima laughed again, and pulled me up for a kiss. "Of course not. But if this is how you act when I insult you, I might need to do it more often."
"Just try it," I snapped. I tried to pull away again but failed. "It might not turn out so well for you!"
"Hmm." He cupped my face in his hand, and looked at me playfully. "But it's good to expect the best from the one you love, right?"
I rolled my eyes, but allowed myself to finally settle down. "Whatever. But I have work tomorrow, and I'll have to deal with this nuisance you keep doing!"
"But at least it's worth it."
It was, but I shook my head. "Shut up."
Hiyo still had a mild temperature the next morning, but she was well enough to get out of bed. At least Kirishima had the day off to watch over her. I on the other hand had to go back to work, though I made sure to make them both breakfast.
"I just got a text from Ishi-kun," Kirishima said, biting into a piece of toast. "The Kan made it to the printers, and Ijuuin-sensei is in a vegetative state. I'm certain it'll only last for two or three days…or unless Takahashi-kun goes to see him." He giggled to himself.
"Hmm." I sat down at the table with my plate. It was then that I saw Hiyo looking at me peculiarly. I drank some coffee before I addressed her. "Is something wrong?"
"…Arigato, Onii-chan," Hiyo said finally. "You were so good to me yesterday. It made me happy, even though I troubled you."
I waved a dismissive hand. "It's no problem, really. I did what was necessary."
"I'll try to be more careful next time," Hiyo promised. "I shouldn't run around on a rainy day without a coat, even if it's hot."
I nodded to this and turned to my own breakfast. At that moment though my cell phone buzzed and I quickly check it. It was a text message from Henmi. "We're in trouble! The computers crashed in our department yesterday afternoon and we lost ALL of Sapphire's promotional information!"
My jaw dropped at this text. Yesterday afternoon? And he chose THE NEXT DAY to tell me? This meant that NOTHING had been fixed!
I sent him an angry message back and slammed my phone down. I almost cursed violently, but I remembered that Hiyo was sitting there with us. "For the love of—can't they do ANYTHING right without my being there?"
"Hmm?" Kirishima looked up. "Oh, you mean your department losing Sapphire's promotional information? They were all in a frenzy yesterday."
"Why didn't you just TELL me?" I snapped, standing up from the table.
Kirishima shrugged. "I forgot about it in my worry over Hiyo."
Did he really forget, or was he getting back at me? I growled in fury, and felt a profound urge to throw something at him. "You—"
"Onii-chan, are you going to work?" Hiyo asked.
I forced myself to calm down and slowly sat back down. "…I am."
"But should you do that?" Hiyo asked worriedly. "I-I mean, you caught my cold right?"
I looked at her in confusion. "Ah, no, I'm perfectly fine. But thank you for worrying about me." I drank from my coffee again.
"Are you sure you're not sick?" Hiyo asked. "You were moaning so loud last night!"
"PFFFFFFT!" I spat my coffee up and spewed it all over the table. I coughed violently, even as my body filled with horror and embarrassment.
"Onii-chan!" Hiyo jumped from her chair and ran to my side. "Are you all right?"
Across from me, Kirishima was laughing so hard he was screaming. Tears were spilling down his cheeks and he almost fell out of his chair. Hiyo glared at her papa. "Papa, stop that! Onii-chan is sick!"
It took a long time for me to regain control, and even then Kirishima was still laughing. I pressed both hands to my face to hide myself from this innocent little child worried about me. "I-I-I-I'm not sick, Hiyo."
"Are you sure?" Hiyo asked me. "I could hear you from my room! It woke me up and it lasted such a long time!"
"Oh, he's not sick!" Kirishima said, finally calming himself down. "We both took such good care of—"
"SHUT UP!" I hollered, standing up again. "You shut up this instant!"
Hiyo gaped at me for a moment before she laughed in relief. "Oh, you must be fine if you're this energetic, Onii-chan!"
"He certainly is," Kirishima muttered playfully.
I gave him a full death-glare and shook my head. "I have a horrible mess to sort out at work, so I'm going now!"
"But you're not finished eating!" Hiyo insisted.
"That's right," Kirishima pointed out. "Your coworkers can stew a little while longer in the mess they created. Besides, you have to clear up your spill." He pointed to the coffee I'd upchucked across the table.
So that was the reason. I glared at him and grabbed a dish towel.
"Onii-chan," Hiyo said, sitting back down. "If you're not sick, why did you make so much noise last night?"
I stiffened, and glared at Kirishima. He didn't laugh, but he looked highly amused. "Ask your papa," I said, quickly cleaning up my mess.
"Well—" Kirishima began.
"Never mind," I quickly interrupted, fearful that he would say something I would regret.
Hiyo shook her head as Sorata played around her feet. "You're both acting weird."
"But you love us for it anyways!" Kirishima laughed again.
Hiyo smiled a little. "I do."
Hearing her say it so easily made me still, and I was taken off-guard by the warmth in my chest. It was still so strange to me that I'd become integrated into this family, but the both of them accepted me unconditionally. It was…comforting, that was for sure.
Kirishima gave me a knowing smile, and I turned away. Integrated or not, I still had a lot to learn…and a lot to deal with in this person who had chosen me as their partner.
The end! Thanks for reading.