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Hazuki cracked his eyes open, yawning in the early morning light. Kiyoharu stirred beside him, wrapping his arms around Hazuki's waist to draw him nearer. "What time is it?" Hazuki turned in his arms, kissing those full, sensuous lips with the lightest of touches. "So early, but I should get going.... work." Kiyoharu pressed closer, capturing Hazuki's mouth in a much deeper kiss, groaning at his lover's eagerness to reciprocate. "Mmm... don't go just yet." Hazuki grinned into the kiss, feeling Kiyoharu's need pressing into his own. "You could persuade me to stay for a little while." Kiyoharu chuckled, rolling on top of his lover, working his way down the column of Hazuki's throat with bites and kisses. "Hmm... thought so."

Kiyoharu stood in his robe holding a cup of coffee when Hazuki entered the kitchen dressed for work. "Coffee?" Hazuki shook his head, donning his coat and grabbing his satchel. "I'll grab some on the way. I'm running late." Kiyoharu chuckled, taking a sip from his cup. "Sorry about that." Hazuki stepped closer to him, smiling broadly. "No you're not, and neither am I. Are you working today?" Kiyoharu set his cup down onto the counter. "From home, the girls are coming over." Hazuki looked apologetic suddenly. "Oh shit, now I really am sorry. You should have said something. I'll get out of your way." Kiyoharu sighed, following Hazuki to the door. "Why do you always do that?" Hazuki raised a brow, confused. "Do what? Leave for work in the morning? They tend to frown at my not showing up. It sucks, I know, but they're sticklers like that." Kiyoharu leaned against the wall with crossed arms. "That's not what I meant and I'm pretty certain that you know it. It's another thing you always do, use humor to avoid a sensitive subject." Hazuki frowned, leaning next to him. "I'm sorry..." Kiyoharu reached out to stroke Hazuki's face. "Don't apologize, just be honest with me." Hazuki leaned into his touch, edging slightly closer. "I am honest with you, Ru." Kiyoharu smiled softly over at him. "Okay, then why are you so afraid of meeting my girls?" Hazuki stiffened slightly, pulling away from Kiyoharu's touch. "I'm not..." Kiyoharu stood up straight, sighing. "I thought you were going to be honest?" Hazuki's eyebrows raised slightly. "It's not that I'm afraid, I'm just..." Kiyoharu tilted his head. "Petrified." Hazuki slumped against the wall, satchel falling off his shoulder. "Maybe a little, yeah." Kiyoharu embraced him, kissing his cheek. "It'll be fine, I promise. I really want you to meet them." Hazuki buried his face in Kiyoharu's neck, giving in. "All right, if you really want this." Kiyoharu pulled him into a deep kiss. "Thank you. They'll be here any minute..." Hazuki panicked, his fight or flight instinct kicking in as he reached for the door handle. "Not today... I... I'm late for work. Next time, I promise." Kiyoharu huffed as his door slammed closed behind his very annoying boyfriend.

Yusuke entered the bar noticing his ex drinking alone right away. "Hey, flying solo tonight?" Hazuki looked over with a raised brow as Yusuke took the seat beside him. "Hey... yeah, I am. I really don't want to fight with you tonight, Yusuke." Yusuke ordered himself a beer before he responded. "I don't want that either. We were friends once, I think we can be again." Hazuki exhaled, relieved. "I'd like that. I miss you, Yusuke." Yusuke smirked, pointing at Hazuki with his glass. "I miss you too. So, what did you do?" Hazuki furrowed his brow in confusion. "What do you mean? I didn't..." Yusuke snorted, shaking his head. "Please, I know you. You've got guilt written all over your face. It might help to talk about it." Hazuki stared into his own drink. "There's not much to tell. Kiyoharu is annoyed with me." Yusuke raised a brow, interested. "Really? How long have you two even been together?" Hazuki looked over at him. "Yusuke, if this is too much..." Yusuke snickered into his beer. "It's fine, trust me. I'm over you, completely. I realized I could do better." Hazuki chuckled to hear this, relieved more than anything else. "Really? Better than me? I'm glad for you, Yusuke. You definitely deserve better." Yusuke snorted, setting his glass down onto the bar top. "Thanks, I do deserve it. Seriously, what's going on with you? Tell me about it." Hazuki nodded, signaling for two more beers. "Okay, thanks. It will feel good to talk about it. I've been putting off meeting Kiyoharu daughters and he's really starting to get annoyed about it." Yusuke shook his head, letting out an exasperated breath. "You always do things like that." Hazuki sighed, nodding in agreement. "That's what Kiyoharu said." Yusuke pointed a finger at him. "He's right. You avoid things that you think will be unpleasant or difficult. It's why we stayed together for so long, I'm convinced. You couldn't face our problems so we just stayed status quo. It's why I ended up so bitter." Hazuki laughed, giving Yusuke's arm a light shove, teasing. "That's the only reason you were so bitter?" Yusuke tried to glare at him, but ended up laughing instead. "Shut up."

Kiyoharu opened his door, turning without a word as Hazuki began to remove his boots. Following him down the hallway towards the living room, Hazuki cleared his throat. "Ru..." Kiyoharu flopped down onto his sofa, black and gold silk dressing gown falling open around him. "The coast is clear, don't worry, I'm all alone." Hazuki flopped down next to him, lacing their fingers together. "I deserved that. Please don't be mad at me." Kiyoharu sighed, laying his head onto Hazuki's shoulder. "I'm not mad, I'm disappointed that you can't do this for me." Hazuki turned to look at him. "It's not like that. It's not that I can't do this, I'm just really nervous to meet them, okay?" Kiyoharu sighed, not understanding at all. "But they’re just two sweet, little girls, Zu. You have absolutely nothing to be nervous about." Hazuki stood suddenly, his agitation getting the best of him. "Yeah, to you they seem that way because you're their dad. What if they don't like me, what then? What if they absolutely hate me? You said..." Kiyoharu frowned, starting to realize just how distraught his boyfriend was over this. "I said what? Go on, finish your sentence." Hazuki looked down, not meeting Kiyoharu's eyes. "I remember you telling me how careful you were with your girls, and I completely understand that. I just don't know what happens if..." Kiyoharu stood, reaching out to cup his cheeks, speaking earnestly. "You think if the girls don't like you, then we're over?" Hazuki nodded, face turning red. "You have to look out for them, it's understandable." Kiyoharu leaned in to kiss Hazuki softly. "No, it isn't. What is understandable is that I want the three most important people in my life to meet... finally." Hazuki smiled, exhaling the breath he was holding. "Let's set it up." Kiyoharu connected their foreheads. "Thank you."

"What would make you the most comfortable when you meet the girls, do you think?" Hazuki stopped eating to regard his boyfriend across the small kitchen table. "How about if we meet on neutral ground? Do they maybe have a favorite restaurant?" Kiyoharu took a drink from his beer, rolling his eyes. "Zu, they're six and eight. Their favorite restaurant is MacDonald's." Hazuki laughed, giving Kiyoharu a playful nudge under the table with his foot. "Great, then we already have something in common." Kiyoharu stood to clear his plate, chuckling. "What's that? Your maturity level?" Hazuki joined him at the sink, shaking his head. "I'll take any advantage that I can." Kiyoharu raised a brow, reaching out to cup his cheek. "Trust me, they're going to really like you. I've already mentioned you to them." Hazuki smiled, leaning against the counter beside his lover. "What did you tell them, I'm curious?" Kiyoharu reached for his cigarettes, offering one to Hazuki before lighting his own. "I told them the truth... that I've got someone new in my life who's very important to me. They seem very interested to meet you." Hazuki exhaled a cloud of smoke, crossing his arms. "I hope so. I... you're important to me too, Kiyoharu. I don't want to do anything to fuck this up." Kiyoharu smiled at him. "You won't, as long as you talk to me instead of run away." Hazuki chuckled, nodding in agreement. "Yeah, Yusuke said the same thing to me the other night." Kiyoharu tilted his head, surprised to hear Yusuke's name come up. "When did you speak to Yusuke?" Hazuki shrugged, stubbing out his cigarette in the sink. "We ran into each other a few days ago. It was surprisingly pleasant. We're going to try to be friends again, like you and Mariko are." Kiyoharu stubbed his own cigarette out in the sink, looking thoughtful. "That's good, it shows that you've both moved on."

Hazuki sighed as he leaned back against the towel that served as his pillow in Kiyoharu's spacious tub. Currently, he was reclined on one end while Kiyoharu was on the opposite, their legs tangled together somewhere in the middle. They had dimmed the lights, lit the candles and poured a generous amount of bubble soap inside the tub. The entire atmosphere was designed for calm and relaxation. "This feels incredible, so soothing." Kiyoharu grunted in response, his eyes covered with a face cloth while he drifted into a semi conscious state. Hazuki let his foot stroke Kiyoharu's hip lightly. "I really missed hanging out with you the last few days." Kiyoharu's lips turned up at the corners, feeling slightly more conscious. "Me too, I missed hanging out with you." Hazuki sat forward, reaching out to caress Kiyoharu's waist beneath the water. "This is nice, but you're so distracting." Kiyoharu removed the face cloth from his eyes to look directly into Hazuki's. "Funny, I was just about to say the exact same thing about you." Hazuki leaned back once again, taking the hint. "Sorry, I'll let you get back to decompressing." Kiyoharu chuckled, replacing the face cloth once more. After a moment or two of silence, Kiyoharu's deep voice almost startled Hazuki. "Zu?" Hazuki blinked his eyes open, lifting his head to look across at his boyfriend. "Yeah?" Kiyoharu removed the cloth once more. "Get over here." Hazuki smirked, pressing himself against Kiyoharu's chest, kissing down his throat. When he got to his star tattoo, Hazuki began sucking. Kiyoharu moaned beneath him, letting his hands slide down Hazuki's wet back all the way to his ass, giving it a not too subtle squeeze. "So much for relaxing." Hazuki pulled him into a deep kiss. "How about we relax after." Kiyoharu bucked up as his lover took him in hand. "After?" Hazuki pumped his hand slowly, working Kiyoharu into a needy mess. "After we're not naked, after we're both satisfied, and after we make passionate love." Kiyoharu smirked, darting his tongue out to lick at Hazuki's mouth. "Mm... after sound good."

Hazuki stood outside Kiyoharu's door a week later, two identical bouquets of yellow roses in his arms, more nervous than he'd been on his first real job interview. "Hey Zu, are those for me?" Hazuki frowned at his boyfriend, stepping inside after him to remove his shoes. "No. Are they..." "Daddy! Tell Asami to give me back my bear!" Kiyoharu sighed, glancing over at Hazuki's terror stricken face. "Kumiko, meet daddy's friend, Hazuki." Kumiko turned to look at Hazuki, obediently. "Hello. Are you daddy's boyfriend?" Hazuki stammered, not knowing what to say. "Uh... hello. I'm... here, I brought you these." Kumiko's face lit up as she took the bouquet from him. "Thank you. You can be daddy's boyfriend if you want to." Hazuki smiled, glancing at Kiyoharu who was watching with interest. "Thank you, Kumiko. You're a very sweet girl." Kiyoharu took his hand and led him down the hall. "Come on, Asami is in the living room." Kiyoharu took Kumiko's bear from his eldest daughter as soon as he entered the room. "Be nice to your sister, she's younger than you are." Asami frowned, crossing her arms. "She started it." Kiyoharu kissed her head, before stepping away. "Well, I'm ending it. Meet my friend, Hazuki." Asami glanced over at Hazuki, expressionless. "Hello." Hazuki stepped forward to hand her the remaining bouquet, feeling more confident from Kumiko's reaction to him. "Nice to meet you, Asami. I brought you these." Asami stood up, took two steps towards him then stopped. "I hate yellow." Kiyoharu frowned sternly at her. "Asami, that was rude. Apologize to Hazuki, now." Asami shook her head, backing away. "I won't apologize. I don't like his flowers and I don't like him." Kiyoharu took a step towards her, pointing to the bedrooms. "Go to your room until you can apologize. I'm very disappointed in you." Asami stomped away. "I'm very disappointed in you too!" Kumiko stepped up to the stunned Hazuki, touching his arm. "Can I have the other bouquet since Asami doesn't want it?"

Kumiko sat beside Hazuki holding her bear. "His name is Yuzuru." Hazuki looked over at the girl, confused momentarily. He had been lost in thought ever since Kiyoharu had disappeared inside his eldest daughters bedroom some twenty minutes ago. His biggest fear was being realized in relation to his lover's kids... they hated him... or at least one of them did. "I'm sorry sweetie, who..." She shoved her Winnie the Pooh bear in his face. "My bear... his name is Yuzuru. Asami knows he doesn't like it when other people hold him. She did it for spite." Hazuki blinked, looking over at the girls innocent face. "Oh... well... sisters. Have you had Yuzuru long?" Kumiko nodded, trying to remember just how long. "Mmm hmm... we go way back. Asami doesn't like you." Hazuki nodded, letting out a sigh. "Yeah, I got that." Kumiko pat his leg, smiling up at him. "Don't worry, Yuzuru and I do." Hazuki smiled back, rubbing her head. "Thank you. I like you both too." Kiyoharu emerged wearing a crestfallen look. "Kumiko, could you please go wash up for dinner." Kumiko stood up, placing Yuzuru beside Hazuki before scampering off towards the bathroom. "Watch him for me, please." Hazuki nodded, smiling after her. "I will." Kiyoharu sat down on the coffee table facing his boyfriend. "I'm sorry about Asami, please don't take it personally. It's not really you, it's... she was hoping Mariko and I would get back together. I should have explained this to her better. Now she's upset, you're upset... and after I reassured you... I feel awful." Hazuki leaned forward, taking Kiyoharu's hands in his own. "You didn't know, it's not your fault. I feel bad for the poor kid. Do you want me to leave, would that make it easier?" Kiyoharu shook his head, giving Hazuki's hands a squeeze. "No, but thank you. She's going to have to get used to you being around, might as well start tonight. She'll warm up to you eventually, give her time." Hazuki pressed a kiss to his boyfriend's lips. "If you say so, Ru." "Excuse me daddy, I set the table." Kiyoharu turned to look at Asami who was standing a short distance away, head tilted sweetly at him. "Thank you, darling. Please go and check on your sister and then we can eat." She nodded and when Kiyoharu turned back to Hazuki, she shot the younger man a glare before turning to check on her sister. "I had a really good talk with her, I think she understands the situation much better now." Hazuki sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Oh, I'm sure she does."

Kumiko really seemed to warm up to Hazuki, chattering with him throughout dinner. She even let him hold Yuzuru briefly while she brought her plate to the sink for rinsing. It went a long way to settle his nerves and made him have some hope that things would work out with both girls eventually. Just when Hazuki was feeling better, Asami would knock him down a peg or two. While decidedly friendly in front of her father, as soon as Kiyoharu's back was turned the girl's expression would turn from sweet and loving to cold and hateful in an instant. At first Hazuki thought that he might be imagining it, projecting his own insecurities onto this little girl. As the night wore on it became obvious to him that it was going to take much more than one dinner to warm Asami's frosty feelings for him. He wasn't mad and he really did feel for the child, he just didn't know what to do about the situation. He had promised to be honest with Kiyoharu, but could he honestly tell him that his 'sweet little girl' was behaving this way? Kiyoharu took his hand at the end of the night, walking him towards the door. "I'll be right back girls, just seeing Hazuki out." Kumiko ran to give him a hug, kissing his cheek. "Bye... see you soon." Asami hung back, waving almost shyly. "Nice to meet you, take care." Kiyoharu gave him a big hug at the door. "Next time will be easier, trust me." Hazuki smiled, giving him a chaste kiss. "I'm sure it will. Night, Ru."

"This kid hates me... like really hates me. I've never felt so unwanted in my life. Well... except maybe with you towards the end." Yusuke rolled his eyes, picking up his tea cup to take a sip. "I can understand where she's coming from. You can be very annoying." Hazuki flopped back on Yusuke's sofa, groaning. "That's not really helping me. What do I do? If I can't win her over..." Yusuke tilted his head, frowning. "Hey, relax. You only met the kid once. Do you really think Kiyoharu is going to dump you that easily?" Hazuki sighed, bringing an arm up to cover his face. "His girls are the most important thing in his life, Yusuke. If they're unhappy, then he's going to want to fix that." Yusuke moved to sit beside him, removing the arm from Hazuki's face. "You really are crazy about him, aren't you?" Hazuki looked guilty momentarily until he remembered that Yusuke was over him. "I really am. I don't want to lose him, but I would understand if I had to." Yusuke smiled softly, brushing Hazuki's hair back from his face. "What about Kiyoharu? How does he feel about you?" Hazuki sighed, looking over at his ex through the side of his eyes. "I'm pretty sure he feels the same, but..." Yusuke silenced him with a finger on his lips. "Talk to him, let him know about all these insecurities. He's not a mind reader." Hazuki furrowed his brow, not quite buying it. "I can't just tell him his daughter is being mean to me. How does that make me look?" Yusuke chuckled, moving away to pour himself more tea. "Like a big baby. Just tell him your fears about the future. If he's as gone on you as you are on him, he'll understand." Hazuki chewed his lip a moment. "I'm really glad we decided to be friends again, Yusuke. You've helped me a lot." Yusuke sat back with a smug smile. "I always helped you a lot, you were just too stupid to notice."

Hazuki thought about what Yusuke had said, he thought about a lot of things over the course of the next day until he couldn't stand being inside his own head any longer. He had to see Kiyoharu and get this out in the open. If he didn't talk to his boyfriend about this he was going to drive himself crazy with worry. It was funny really, he'd never been like this with anyone else that he'd been involved with. Now, standing before his lover's door, Hazuki felt so nervous when he should be totally at ease, usually was. Kiyoharu was just that important to him, he couldn't let what they had slip through his fingers, this was it for him, this was forever. "Zu... I can't tell you how glad I am to see you." Hazuki's face lit up in a smile as Kiyoharu dragged him into a kiss at the door. "It's like you knew I needed you, and you came." Hazuki followed his boyfriend down the hall, only just noticing that he was wearing his jacket. "Girls, never mind about getting your coats. Hazuki is here, he can stay with you." Hazuki's eyes bugged out when he heard what his boyfriend had just said. "Wait, what was that? The girls are here? Where are you going?" Kiyoharu turned to him with a frazzled expression. "Mariko had to go out of town suddenly and I've got a meeting I can't miss tonight. I was going to take them with me, but since you're here now..." Hazuki was panic stricken, thinking about being alone with Asami especially giving more stress than he could handle right now. "You want me to babysit? I... I have no idea what to do." Kiyoharu was already headed towards his door, Hazuki right behind him protesting the entire way. "There's nothing to it. It's not like they're infants. Just make sure they eat dinner. They'll basically entertain themselves. This is a huge help to me, I really appreciate it. I'll call you." Hazuki sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Okay, have a good meeting." The walk back down the hall seemed like a death march to Hazuki as he steeled himself for the task at hand. Entering the living room, Asami stood waiting for him, he knew she would be, arms folded across her chest in defiance. "I'm not listening to you, you can't make me." Hazuki left his own arms by his sides as he regarded her. "Listen, Asami, I just want..." She shot him a look, then walked off to her room. Hazuki turned to see Kumiko staring at him. "She still doesn't like you... at all."

Asami emerged from her room about an hour later, hungry for dinner. "I'm hungry, where's dinner?" Hazuki and Kumiko looked over from the couch where they were watching a movie together, Yuzuro sitting between them. "Hazuki ordered a pizza, isn't that great?" Asami frowned, crossing her arms once more. "No, daddy likes us to eat home cooked meals... not pizza." Hazuki chuckled, making a joke. "Well, your daddy wouldn't want you to be poisoned by my home cooking, so pizza it is. Would you like to watch TV with Kumiko, Yuzuru and I?" Asami shook her head, frowning once more. "Daddy says too much TV makes you stupid." Hazuki sighed, trying to stay calm. "I think he'd be okay with it for tonight. If you're worried about him getting mad, I'll explain to him..." She glared openly at him now, fists clenched beside her body in anger. "I don't need you to talk to my daddy for me! He's my daddy! You're nothing, you're not my anything and you never will be!" Hazuki watched as she stormed off to her room, slamming the door behind her. "Now what do I do?" Kumiko pat his face, giving him a kiss. "It's okay. She yells at me sometimes too." Hazuki hugged her, kissing the top of her head. "Thank you, Kumiko. You're a sweetheart." The knock on the door let them know the pizza had arrived.

"Mmmm.... so good. I love pizza! Thank you, Hazuki." Hazuki smiled over at Kumiko as he ate his own slice, thinking about Asami sad and hungry in her room. He stood up and knocked on her door. "Asami, the pizza is here. Please come out and have some." He got no response, not that he expected to, but he felt like he had to try. Eventually, he boxed up the rest of the pizza. Maybe she'd eat it later or at least Kiyoharu when he got home. Kumiko passed out on the couch not long after eating, so Hazuki carried her to bed as carefully as possible. Kiyoharu called to check in and to let him know when he'd be home. Hazuki didn't let him know what was happening, he thought it should be more of a face to face conversation. Besides, why worry Kiyoharu when he had seemed frazzled enough earlier. Hazuki was pretty frazzled himself. He could use a long hot shower, five or six cigarettes and a good long sleep. What he ended up doing was having a quick smoke out on the balcony, then promptly dozing off on the couch with the TV on. He was startled awake by a shrill shriek coming from Asami's room. He quickly made his way to her door, knocking once. "Asami? Are you alright?" He got no response, as usual, but this time he heard the child sobbing when he listened closely. After debating with himself for two seconds, Hazuki pushed open her door. "Asami? It's Hazuki... are you..." She practically leapt into his arms, sobbing hysterically. Hazuki was startled to say the least, but he hugged her tightly, stroking her hair to sooth her. "Shhh.... it's all right... I'm here... you're okay."

Once Asami had calmed down enough to talk, Hazuki brought her out to the kitchen where he reheated some pizza. "Do you want to talk about it?" Asami took a sip of water as Hazuki placed the warm pizza in front of her. "I had a bad dream." Hazuki sat down across from her. "I figured. What about?" Asami chewed slowly, enjoying the taste. "I... I was all alone. Mommy was gone and daddy... daddy didn't care about me anymore because..." Hazuki looked down at the table, feeling guilty for his own selfish anxieties when this child was struggling so much. "Because of me?" Asami nodded, tears welling up in her eyes once more. "I'm sorry I've been so mean to you. Daddy told me how much he cares about you and..." Hazuki moved to pick her up, hold her in his arms again. "Just because your daddy cares for me, doesn't mean he loves you less. I'll tell you a secret, I'm scared too." She looked into Hazuki's eyes, confused. "What are you afraid of?" Hazuki sat down, still holding onto her. "Well, I don't ever want to lose your daddy either." Asami climbed down from his lap and back onto her own chair, staring over at him for a moment before speaking. "Do you love my daddy?" Hazuki stared back at her, not even hesitating. "I do, but that's kind of another secret." Asami nodded, picking up the pizza once again. "Can we watch TV now?" Kiyoharu smiled when he found them both asleep on the couch about an hour later. Asami had her head resting on Hazuki's lap.