Ohtori lay on his back, with his lover lying on his side next to him. He purred as Wakashi's hand trailed down his chest, basking in the afterglow. His dog, Aurora (a grey and white, blue-eyed Husky), was asleep on the floor at the foot of the bed.
"Hey…Choutarou?" Wakashi asked, voice soft.
"Hmmm?" Ohtori's eyes were slipping closed. It was always hard to stay awake after such good sex.
Ohtori opened an eye and glanced towards his lover. That tone…for some reason, it put him on edge.
"……" Wakashi's face was bright red. Whatever he was about to say, he found it embarrassing. "I…"
Ohtori propped himself on his elbows, turning towards his lover. He stroked a hand gently down Wakashi's cheek, comforting, encouraging.
"I wanna move in together."
That had been almost a month ago. Ohtori hadn't really known what to think, and had asked for some time to think about it. Internally, he'd almost panicked. Moving in together…was a huge step. Like, one step shy of getting married.
Oshitari and Mukahi's very early engagement had confused the hell out of him, back in high school. But they were happy about it. Had stayed happy about it. After graduation, and college, they'd had their little ceremony, Mukahi's face red as could be. Neither of them could have smiled any wider, though.
And now, another five years later, they were still happy and together. Rumor mill had it they were talking about adopting, but no one could see Mukahi giving up his sex life.
He and Wakashi were still together, still happy…or so he'd thought. But there could be any number of reasons why his lover would suggest something like that.
Wakashi had always seemed worried that he was holding Ohtori back. Their relationship starting out open as it had, allowing for them to have sex with other people, had perhaps made things harder. Ohtori had a crush on Shishido at the time, and had wanted to aim for a threesome between them once he realized his feelings for Wakashi.
Somewhere in there, Wakashi had apparently gotten the idea that Ohtori wouldn't be happy with just one partner, and even now, so many years later, he still seemed to worry about it. Ohtori had actually been overjoyed to discover his crush on Shishido was fading. He'd been spending far more of his time with Wakashi anyway, so it wasn't really that big of a change for him.
But it had meant the world for Wakashi. Even though he still worried that he wasn't keeping Ohtori happy enough.
Was this another phase of Wakashi's? Worrying that Ohtori was going to run out and sleep with someone else? Was he worried Ohtori would cheat on him, and wanted to keep a closer eye on him?
What could have brought this on, all of a sudden?
"Choutan, you moron."
Ohtori glanced up at his sister. "Nee-san?"
"He just wants to live with you. What are you freaking out about?" the girl asked, sitting beside him on the sofa.
Ohtori held his head in his hands, watching as Aurora poked her nose up at him, blue eyes seeming almost concerned. Like she could feel his worry. Probably could.
"…It's…almost being married…" he stated weakly.
"Yeah? And? You guys are practically married anyway. He spends way more time at your place than he does his own. Spends more nights here too, I'm sure."
Ohtori flushed. "Nee-san!" He really wished she'd quit making inferences about his sex life. Although, she wasn't wrong. But he'd never tell her that.
"Oh, get over it," the girl laughed. "Choutan, he's in love with you. You're in love with him. Hell, you chose him over that Shishido guy, which says a lot. And you've been together…how many years now?"
"Almost ten," Ohtori whispered in reply.
"Exactly. After that long, it's weird for you to not be living together. Seriously. What are you afraid of?"
Ohtori sighed, reached out a hand and scratched behind Aurora's ears. His sister was right, of course. Just like always. They had gone months living together before. Like the time two years ago, when Wakashi's old apartment building had caught fire, and he'd needed someplace to stay while he searched for a new apartment. It had taken almost four months to find one in the right part of town for the right price.
And, now that Ohtori thought back to it, his own place had felt so incredibly lonely when Wakashi had moved his things out, into the new apartment. At that point, probably anyone else would have just told him to stay, but Ohtori hadn't made that offer. He'd helped him move. And a week later, he'd gotten Aurora.
His eyes widened as he suddenly wondered if Wakashi had taken that the wrong way, and felt like he was being kicked out. Ohtori certainly hadn't meant it that way, but…
Aurora barked once, complaining that Ohtori had stopped petting her. He chuckled and ran his fingers through her fur, scratching at her skin.
"What're you thinking, Choutan?" his sister asked as they watched Aurora trot away into another room.
"Just things," he replied softly. He glanced around the living room. Pictures of himself and Wakashi were all over the place – hanging on the wall, standing on shelves, on the table beside the arm of the sofa…
Aurora came back, holding her leash in her teeth. She pranced to the door, pawed at it once and let out a little whine.
"She need to go out?"
Ohtori shook his head as he glanced at the clock. "No. She'd be barking if she did. Wakashi always takes her for a run about this time." He stared at his dog, staring at the door patiently, like it would open and reveal her master's lover if she stared long enough.
"Every day. He comes over from the dojo and takes her running. Makes it his cool-down, I guess." Never failed, regular as clockwork.
Aurora dropped her leash at the door, walked back to Ohtori and whined. She turned to look back at the door, then back at Ohtori.
"Wakashi's not coming today, girl," Ohtori told her, scratching her head. "He's having dinner with his family tonight."
"Why don't you take her?" Ohtori's sister suggested.
Ohtori chuckled. "She won't go if it's not Wakashi. I've tried, a couple of times. She kept pulling back towards the townhouse and sitting at the door, waiting for him," he replied, watching as Aurora looked at the door again, still waiting. "Sorry girl. Not today." She let out a whine and lay at Ohtori's feet, but she kept facing the door.
"Looks like she thinks he lives here already," his sister observed. "If she acts like that. She probably thinks you're both her masters, instead of just you." She pat her brother's shoulder as she stood. "I've gotta get going, Choutan. Keep thinking about it. And I mean really thinking about it."
Ohtori hugged her and nodded. "I will," he promised, handing her her coat. He saw her to the door, watched her crunch through the late November snow to her car, and pull away.
He closed the door and leaned back against it with a sigh. His sister was right. Wakashi was already practically living with him. He spent the night there more often than not, and on the rare occasions that Ohtori would finish work after Wakashi was done with the dojo, his lover would be there almost as soon as Ohtori got home. They ate together, slept together, occasionally bathed together…
Ohtori had run into Mukahi once while doing his grocery shopping. His former senpai had offhandedly asked how Ohtori's husband was doing. When Ohtori replied they weren't married like Mukahi and Oshitari, the other's reply had been "Coulda fooled me" and a shrug.
He looked at Aurora, who was still lying by the couch, looking almost dejectedly at the door. He wondered if she felt like she'd been stood up.
That night, as Ohtori was lying in bed trying to sleep, he realized the biggest difference that there would be if Wakashi moved in with him.
He was sure that Wakashi had stayed out late with his family, and was probably only just then getting to bed, curling up to the extra-long body pillow and trying to sleep. He wouldn't come over this time of night, afraid of having to wake Ohtori and making him come let him in.
If Wakashi had a key, he'd be letting himself in about now, padding silently towards the bed, their bed, trying not to wake Ohtori. But Ohtori would wake up as the bed shifted under the added weight. He'd roll over, wrap his arms firmly around his lover, and listen to him talk about his visit with his family, the soft, comforting sound of his lover's voice lulling him back to sleep.
Before Ohtori knew it, December 5th had come. Wakashi would be meeting him at his townhouse, and they'd spend his birthday together, just the two of them. And Aurora, of course.
Ohtori pulled out his cell phone and called as he stepped into the little shop. "Wakashi, hey. You're not there yet, are you?.....You are?.....Well, I'm going to be just a little bit late. I'm picking up your birthday present right now……No, it's not last minute. I've put a lot of thought into this…..I tried to call you earlier to tell you I might be a little late, but your phone was off……Okay. Get in your car and keep warm, okay? I'll be there in just a few. Love you."
The man behind the counter recognized him, and pulled out the pre-wrapped gift box Ohtori had asked him to put the gift in. Ohtori thanked him and paid, then hurried home, tucking the box into his coat pocket.
Wakashi, the fool, hadn't gotten back in his car, Ohtori noticed, jogging towards his building.
"I thought I told you to keep warm," Ohtori scolded, wrapping an arm around his lover, unlocking the door with the other.
"I did keep warm. I went for a jog around the building," Wakashi replied, stepping through the door.
Aurora was there as soon as she'd heard the key, and jumped up on Wakashi, leaning up to lick his face.
Ohtori smiled to himself, watching his lover and his dog greet each other enthusiastically. "Mm. I think I'm jealous. She gets a better greeting from you than I do," he teased, taking off his shoes and coat.
Wakashi laughed and turned to Ohtori, wrapping his arms around the taller man's neck. "I don't sleep with her, now do I?" he grinned, planting a kiss on Ohtori's lips.
"I should certainly hope not," Ohtori replied, working off Wakashi's coat. He hung it up next to his own and smiled, then wrapped his arms firmly around his lover. "Make yourself at home," he purred against Wakashi's ear, noting the slight widening of his lover's eyes just before he moved away to start making dinner.
Wakashi had been watching him intently since then, Ohtori noticed. Almost as if he was wondering what Ohtori was up to. He'd never actually said that to him before, and he was sure it had set off his lover's curiosity - just like he'd intended.
Ohtori brought out the cake he'd baked earlier, set it on the coffee table in front of his couch, and lit the candles.
"You're not gonna sing to me, are you?" Wakashi asked apprehensively, one eyebrow raised.
Ohtori walked to the door, to his coat, and grabbed the little box out of the pocket. "No, but I do expect you to make a wish when you blow out the candles," he grinned, seating himself on the sofa beside his lover. "So, make a wish."
Wakashi stared at him a moment before closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. He exhaled, blowing out every last one of the burning candles with that single breath.
Ohtori took a deep breath of his own, still unexplicably nervous about it. He wrapped an arm around Wakashi and pulled him close, then held out the little box for him.
"I did tell you you didn't have to get me anything," Wakashi said softly, staring at it.
Ohtori kissed his temple. "True. But I wanted to," he replied, just as soft. "Besides. You'll love it." He'd better. It had been his idea, after all.
Wakashi leaned against Ohtori and took the box, lifted the lid to reveal a shining silver key. He looked at it like he was hopeful but confused. "Choutarou?"
Ohtori put a palm on Wakashi's cheek, turned his lover's face towards him. He leaned down and kissed him, slow, soft, and full of love. When he pulled back, he rest his forehead against Wakashi's and whispered.
"Welcome home, lover."
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