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Bode

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One of Issei’s favorite things about working at Mom and Pop Flower Shop was that sometimes he was allowed to take home flowers that hadn’t sold after a few days. Today it was a small bouquet of daisies that he wove into a flower crown on the train home. A little girl watched in awe as he made it and he made sure to finish with an extra flower left so that he could trim it and put it behind her ear. She blushed and smiled up at him.

 

“THANKS MISTER!”

 

He chuckled and patted her head.

 

“No problem. Your smile makes the flower look really pretty, so make sure you keep smiling, okay?”

 

She nodded and bounced over to her mom who nodded at him with a smile as he got off the train. He waved goodbye to them both as he stepped onto the platform before turning his attention to the crowd in front of him. He looped the flower crown over his wrist and gripped his satchel as he forced his way through to the exit.

 

The station was only a few blocks from his and Takahiro’s apartment and made their commutes pretty easy. Takahiro had worked the early shift at his job that day, so he had already been home for a couple hours by the time Issei had gotten off. He rushed home to greet his husband and give him his freshly made present.

 

Issei unlocked the door and placed his satchel on the ground in the entryway. He toed off his shoes and called out into the apartment.

 

“Hiro, I’m home! I have something for you!”

 

Takahiro came out of the kitchen and made his way to greet him. After they gave each other a kiss Issei placed the flower crown on his head with a smile.

 

“Hanas for my Hana.”

 

Takahiro sighed and smiled. He then adjusted the flower crown so it was a bit more stable on his head.

 

“You say that every time you bring flowers home but I haven’t been Hanamaki for years now.”

 

Issei reached forward and grabbed Takahiro’s left hand and lifted it to his face. He kissed the ring on his finger and looked him in the eyes.

 

“You’ll always be my Hana, so too bad.”

 

Takahiro blushed and leaned forward to give him a kiss.

 

“That’s true I suppose. You got some cards in the mail, but you should probably open them tomorrow. I made tonkatsu tonight; it’s almost done so can you set the table?”

 

“Sure thing babe.”

 

Issei set the table and got drinks for them both as Takahiro finished cooking. Since there were still a couple more batches of pork to cook Issei started rummaging through the pantry. He found some instant pudding and decided to make it so that it would be set by the time they finished eating. He whisked it together with some milk and put it in the fridge. After he finished he grabbed the salad and walked back to the table with Takahiro who was carrying the tonkatsu.

 

They each gave their thanks and started eating. They talked about work and Issei told Takahiro about the little girl on the train. He smiled and called Issei a flirt and got a light kick under the table. After they finished eating they both took the dishes back to the kitchen. Takahiro dried the dishes after Issei washed them. It had become a pattern for them soon after they moved in together when they discovered how quickly dishes piled up in the sink if they didn’t clean them right away.

 

After they were done Issei grabbed a couple bowls to dish out pudding for them both and they curled up on the couch to enjoy their dessert. Takahiro stuffed his cold feet under Issei’s legs and made him jump from the sudden change in temperature. They both started laughing.

 

“Hiro, why the fuck are your feet always icicles?”

 

“They just always have been, dunno what to tell you babe. You’d think that you’d be used to them by now.”

 

“There is no such thing as becoming used to Mr. Freeze shoving his frostbite feet under my legs to suck the warmth from my body”

 

Takahiro flipped him off and chuckled.

 

“Anyway, I’m assuming you want cheese filled hamburgers tomorrow?”

 

“Duh.”

 

“Anything else?”

 

“I wouldn’t mind having you for dessert. Maybe some whipped cream and chocolate sauce?”

 

Issei wiggled his eyebrows and Takahiro rolled his eyes.

 

“I meant for dinner, stupid. Any sides you want? Or just salad and mashed potatoes?”

 

Issei put his empty bowl on the table and curled into Takahiro’s side and buried his face in his neck.

 

“Those sound fine.”

 

He kissed his neck.

 

“Now, about that dessert…”

 

“You already had dessert tonight.”

 

Issei whined and clung tighter to him.

 

“I’m still hungry for you though.”

 

Takahiro laughed and adjusted to pull Issei into his lap to kiss his neck instead.

 

“I suppose we could work off those extra calories.”

 

Issei smiled and pushed Takahiro back into the couch and got some extra dessert.

 

---

 

The next morning Takahiro got up early to turn off the alarm clock and both of their phones. It was still dark so he quietly slipped out of bed to go take his shower. He had secretly made arrangements with Issei’s boss for him have the day off without letting him know. He’d taken a vacation day himself so they could have a lazy day at home together as part of his present.

 

He took a relaxing hot shower and threw on some sweats, an old band t-shirt and some fuzzy socks to muffle his steps and keep his ‘frostbite feet’ warm. He quietly shuffled into the kitchen and grabbed some old bread, eggs, cream, cinnamon, vanilla, and a little sugar. He whisked together the wet ingredients before grabbing their electric griddle and putting it on the counter. He turned it on and threw some butter on it before dipping the bread in the mixture.

 

He placed the French toast on the griddle then turned to the stove to start some bacon. After he got that going he went to the coffee pot to get that started when he heard a yelp come out of the bedroom followed by panicked footsteps. Issei came running into the kitchen, face flushed with anger.

 

“WHY DID YOU TURN OFF THE ALARM CLOCK I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AT WORK TWENTY MINUTES AGO!”

 

“Calm down, I already made arrangements with Sakura-san. You have the day off.”

 

“What?”

 

“Surprise? Happy birthday by the way.”

 

Issei sank to his knees with a heavy sigh.

 

“Oh my god, I hate you so much right now.”

 

“You know you love me.”

 

“Yeah, whatever. I need to go change my pants.”

 

Takahiro started laughing.

 

“If you shit your pants I am not doing your laundry.”

 

“I didn’t shit myself, but I did pee a little.”

 

They both started laughing and Takahiro walked over to help his husband from the floor. After Issei was standing Takahiro leaned forward and gave him a kiss.

 

“Happy birthday sweetheart. It was supposed to be a surprise, sorry that I nearly gave you a heart attack. Go take a shower and change clothes. Breakfast should be done by the time you finish.”

 

Issei pressed his face into Takahiro’s neck with a sigh.

 

“Thanks babe. I was kinda dreading working on my birthday, but I felt bad asking for the day off after they already made the schedule. I thought Tooru was the sneaky bastard in the group, though I really should’ve known better.”

 

“Pfft, yeah you should have. Speaking of Hanger, I’m pretty sure one of those cards is from him and Hajime.”

 

“It’s really amazing how almost the entire team married each other. Shinji is the only chance any of us have at becoming uncles to others on the team.”

 

He gave Takahiro a kiss on the cheek.

 

“Okay, I’m gonna go take that shower now. Breakfast smells awesome by the way.”

 

He smacked him on the ass as he walked over to the bathroom. Takahiro chuckled and started the coffee pot before turning back to the food he was cooking. He made two slices of French toast for each of them and finished cooking the pound of bacon. Whatever they didn’t eat they could crumble into their salads for tonight. He made their coffees they each liked and set the table just as Issei was leaving the bathroom.

 

“Dress normal! We’re going out later to get your present!”

 

“Fiiiiiiine.”

 

Issei came back out to the dining area dressed in jeans and a shirt he got last year that said “Keep Calm It’s My Birthday” with the crown in the middle. Takahiro started laughing when he saw it.

 

“Such shirt. Much good. Wow.”

 

Issei shrugged his shoulders and smirked over at him.

 

“I only get to wear it once a year. Let me have this. And why am I in normal clothes when you’re still in sweats?”

 

“I was cooking. I’ll change after we eat, then we can go get your gift. I’m sure you’re gonna love it.”

 

Issei nodded as he sat down to eat. They both gave their thanks and Takahiro practically drowned his French toast in syrup.

 

“Do you want some toast with your syrup babe?”

 

“Shut up.”

 

Issei chuckled and took the syrup from him and used a generous amount as well. They both knew better than to keep their bacon on the same plate so it was on a shared dish in the middle of the table. After they finished eating Issei cleared the table and put the extra bacon away while Takahiro left to change clothes.

 

Takahiro locked the bedroom door behind him just in case Issei tried to come in. He dug through the closet and found the bag he hid in the back and pulled out a small collar and a name tag and placed them on the dresser. He changed into some jeans and a red shirt that said “Dank Memes and Chill” in the Netflix font before putting the collar and name tag in his pocket.

 

He walked out of the bedroom to find Issei laughing on the couch in the living room. He had started opening his birthday cards and got the one from the Kyoutanis. The front was a picture of Stevie Wonder with a big smile on his face, and the inside read “I know I won’t see you, but Happy Birthday!”

 

The writing was clearly Kentarou’s. Underneath the printed text it mentioned that they would both be away on one of Shigeru’s business trips, but they would stop by when they were back. Issei wiped the tears from his eyes and looked up at Takahiro.

 

“He sent me a meme for my birthday. I’m so proud.”

 

Takahiro chuckled and held his hand out to help him off the couch.

 

“Come on, we’re on a timeline. We’re gonna need to take the car for this one.”

 

“How big is this present exactly?”

 

“Oh, it’s a big ol’ fat one.”

 

“Should I be scared?”

 

“Nah, you’re gonna love it. I think, I mean… I’m sure.”

 

“Now I’m worried.”

 

Takahiro sighed and started to push him towards the entryway.

 

“Everything’s gonna be fiiiiiine. Let’s go!”

 

After they got settled in the car Takahiro reached back and grabbed a sleep mask from the back seat.

 

“Here, put this on. I want this to be a surprise.”

 

Issei looked over at him curiously but did as he was told. They listened to the radio and did some small talk as Takahiro drove them to their destination. He pulled up in front of a building and got out of the car. He opened Issei’s door and helped him out of the car then shut the door behind him. He shifted Issei so that he was facing the building then took a step back.

 

“Okay, you can uncover your eyes now!”

 

Issei took the sleep mask off and squinted his eyes until they could adjust to the bright light. He was standing in front of an animal shelter and Takahiro had his hands on his hips with a proud smile on his face.

 

“There’s someone inside I want you to meet.”

 

A grin started spreading across Issei’s face as he realized the implications of that statement. When he was younger, he hadn’t been able to have a pet because of his parents’ allergies, though he’d avoided inheriting them. He’d always wanted a cat, but he had to settle for playing with the cats of his friends instead.

 

Takahiro took his hand and they went inside. The clerk inside seemed to recognize him and waved.

 

“Today is the big day, eh Matsukawa-san?”

 

Takahiro nodded.

 

“Yup! This is my husband I was telling you about. Is everything ready?”

 

“Yes sir! All vaccinations are up to date and he’s been given a microchip.”

 

The clerk turned to look at Issei.

 

“Are you ready to meet your new son?”

 

Issei turned to look at Takahiro and placed a hand on his stomach.

 

“It’s a boy?”

 

Takahiro smacked his hand away then gave him a kiss.

 

“Yes, he’s a boy asshole. Do you wanna go meet him or not?”

 

Issei grabbed his hand and took off to follow the clerk without another word. Takahiro started laughing but went along for the ride. The clerk stopped in front of one of the cages in the cat kennel and motioned for Issei to look inside.

 

There was a gigantic fat grey cat. He looked up at Issei with big eyes then looked down at his food dish and looked back up. He meowed at Issei and all he could do was stare back into the cage in awe.

 

“Bode…”

 

Takahiro and the clerk both burst into hysterics.

 

“I TOLD YOU! DO I KNOW MY MAN OR WHAT?!”

The clerk was laughing and wiped his eyes.

 

“I can’t believe this, you nailed it. That’s fucking hilarious.”

 

Issei looked back at them both.

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

Takahiro pulled out the collar and name tag and handed them to Issei. The collar was teal and the name tag read “Bode” with their phone number on the back.

 

“I love you Hiro.”

 

He then turned back to look in the cage.

 

“Can I hold him?”

 

“You can do whatever you want sir. He’s your cat now.”

 

The smile that came up on Issei’s face nearly split it in two. He stepped back to give the clerk access to the cage. He opened it and reached inside to pull the giant fluff ball out and handed him to Issei. He cradled the cat in his arms and looked over at Takahiro.

 

“He’s perfect.”

 

Takahiro took the couple steps between them and hugged Issei from behind. He placed his head on his shoulder and smiled down at their new son.

 

“Happy birthday Issei.”

 

Issei turned his head and kissed him on the cheek.

 

“Thank you, Hiro. This is the best present ever.”

 

The cat was purring contentedly in the strong arms that held him up. They walked back to the front of the shelter and Takahiro finished signing the paperwork. He had already left a cat carrier at the shelter to take him home and Issei reluctantly placed him inside. The clerk gave them each a treat to give Bode on the trip home and Issei’s face broke into a bright smile again. The clerk lifted his arm to shake their hands but was instead pulled into a group hug.

 

They said their goodbyes and loaded into the car. Issei kept the large carrier in his lap and poked his fingers into the side of the cage to pet Bode as Takahiro drove them home. After they got back to the apartment Issei placed the cage down on the ground and let Bode out into the living room. He walked out of the cage and looked around. He immediately jumped up on the couch, curled into a ball and fell asleep.

 

“Wow, he sure got comfy quick.”

 

Issei laughed, wrapped Takahiro in another hug and buried his face in his neck.

 

“Thank you, Hiro. Seriously, I feel so loved right now. He’s perfect.”

 

Takahiro wrapped his arms around the small of Issei’s back and nuzzled him.

 

“I love you, Issei. I’m glad you like him. I already got a litterbox, food, and bowls for him so you can just stay home and bond with him today.”

          

Issei squeezed him tighter and kissed his neck. Takahiro felt a warm wetness on his shoulder and sighed.

 

“Don’t cry babe. Please, I didn’t wanna make you cry.”

 

Issei sniffled and tried to hold back his tears. He pulled back and gave Takahiro a bright smile before kissing him on the lips.

 

“Happy tears are a good thing Hiro.”

 

Takahiro chuckled before reaching up to wipe Issei’s tears with the pads of his thumbs. He cupped his face and kissed him again.

 

“Happy birthday, Issei.”


Later that evening Takahiro made Issei’s favorite dinner while he played with Bode. After they ate they set up their camera on their living room table. Issei and Takahiro sat on either side of their new addition and took a new family photo. They put it up on all of their social media accounts and every year after that anyone that sent Issei a birthday present also sent a toy for Bode.