He finds the ring in Yuu's underwear drawer, which is honestly the single most predictable place in the world to hide something, and Mika wasn't even looking for it. No, he was doing the laundry, because in living with 6 humans, one would think that at least one of them, just one, would clean. Anything. Ever.
And one would be wrong. There's only so much Mika can take of living in a literal dumpster fire, and he reached that point about six hours after they all moved in. So here he is, ten months into his new role of cleaning up after idiots and keeping said idiots from killing anyone or getting killed themselves, putting away the underwear of the love of his life, and what does he find but an engagement ring?
The ring is titanium, with a gem that looks suspiciously like opal embedded in light brown wood all the way around the band. The opal is a dark, emerald green, lighter shades running through it like green fire. It's beautiful, and in a way it's both his birthstone and Yuu's, not to mention his favorite color, thoughtful in a way only Yuu could be. He should put it back immediately. He should pretend he never saw it. He should go tell Yuu that he found it and tell him that he wouldn't have found it at all if Yuu would just do his damn laundry. But instead he ends up taking it out of the box. He slides it onto his finger, just real quick. Just to see.
If he had a normal body temperature, it would probably be a little cold, but as it is all he notices is the way it settles on his finger, how the opal sparkles in the light the way Yuu's eyes do. Somehow it makes him feel like Yuu is here, like he could live for the rest of eternity and Yuu would still be here. He never wants to take it off again. He moves to take it off anyway, already feeling the loss before he's even pulled it off.
But when he tugs on the ring, it doesn't move.
He blinks. It wasn't hard to get on. It shouldn't be hard to get off. He tugs on it again. It doesn't budge. Right on cue, Shinoa walks into the room.
"Don't worry Mitsu-chan, I'm sure Yuu won't notice if we borrow his blankets," she hollers, grabbing three from the mountain on Yuu's and Mika's bed that Mika knows she won't return. "Oh hey Mik--IS THAT AN ENGAGEMENT RING?"
"NO!" Mika yells back, thankful Yuu is out with Guren at the moment. It may be the only time he's ever been thankful that Yuu is out with Guren. It's a strange feeling and he's not sure he cares for it.
"Engagement ring?" Mitsuba pokes her head in. "What engagement ring?"
Mika panics and puts his hands behind his back.
"I heard engagement ring," Yoichi peeks in from the other side of the door. "Is someone getting married? That's so exciting! I'm so happy for you guys!"
"No one is getting married--" Mika starts, but is immediately interrupted by Kimizuki's "Mika and Yuu are getting married?". He honestly doesn't even know why he bothers.
"Oh! Mika's blushing!" Shinoa points out like a child watching someone die. Mika buries his face in his hands.
"Shinoa, don't point, it's rude," Mitsuba chastises. "Oh look, he's wearing the ring. You are getting married! Why didn't you guys tell us yet?"
"We're not getting married," Mika says, somewhat muffled by his hands. "I just found this ring, is all."
"Oh my god."
Utter silence fills the room. Mika looks up slowly at Shinoa. Immediately he knows his entire life was a mistake, but it's too late. She's practically glowing, which means absolutely nothing good.
"So." She rubs her hands together eagerly. "So, lemme get this straight. You were doing laundry, as evidenced by this half empty laundry basket here," she's clapped her hands together like a prayer and points with both of them at the basket, "and you just so happened onto a box in Yuu's underwear drawer, which is open," she points both her hands at the drawer, "and you opened it and found a lovely engagement ring," she points both her hands at the ring on Mika's hand, "and couldn't resist trying it on and now you can't get it off, because if you could then we wouldn't be in this position at all! Am I right? Tell me I'm right."
Mika so badly wants to tell her she's not, but, circumstances being what they are, all he can do is nod.
Shinoa opens her grinning mouth to say something else, probably something cursed, if Mika knows her at all. Mitsuba steps forward and claps a hand over her mouth. Kimizuki says, "Mirai used to get rings stuck on her fingers all the time. Lather it up with some dish soap and water and it should come right off." Yoichi immediately disappears off to the kitchen. Mika thanks the heavens for Mitsuba, Kimizuki and Yoichi.
Shinoa does not look deterred in the slightest. "Mika, are you planning on giving Yuu a ring in return?"
Mika, who in fact had not thought that far ahead, stared at her in shock. Kimizuki sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. Mitsuba fixed Shinoa with a glare that would scare the living daylights out of Mika, but seems to have the opposite effect on Shinoa. "We are not going ring shopping, that's Mika and Yuu's business."
" Unless Mika wants us to come with him!" Shinoa argues brightly, and Mika shakes his head so fast his own bangs smack him in the face. "Okay but Mika, do you even know what kind of ring you're looking for? We're all really close friends of Yuu, we could help! And Mitsuba and I have an undeniable sense of fashion!"
From the door, Kimizuki snorts. "You're both walking disasters of purple and yellow."
Shinoa, who's wearing a neon purple bathrobe and a fluffy crown with purple stones that have flashing LEDs on them, is dramatically offended. "All you wear is pink! That much pink is downright toxic, it melts my eyes to look at." Mitsuba, dressed in jean shorts and a tank top, both of which are glaringly banana yellow, nods in offended agreement.
Kimizuki, decked out in a light pink cardigan, pastel pink pajama pants with crescent moons on them, and whose nailed are painted a delicate shade of pink, looks down his nose at them, although Mika supposes technically he's always doing that, what with the 20 something centimeters he has over them. "I've said it before and I'll say it again: Bisexuals. Have. No. Taste."
Mitsuba scoffs. "Ah, yes, because gays have taste. Next I bet you'll tell me that squirrels can fly."
"Actually," Mika puts in, purely because he is one of the gays and knows he has horrible taste, but would rather die than admit it, "some squirrels can fly."
"Oh the flying squirrels!" Yoichi intervenes, back with dish soap and sensibly dressed in a shirt the color of warm clay and ripped skinny jeans. "Those are adorable."
"Ah, fuck." Shinoa says. "We forgot Yoichi. Yoichi's a gay with good taste. They do exist after all."
"We also forgot Yuu," Mitsuba sighs. "A bi with bad taste."
Yoichi and Mika share a conspiratorial look as they head to the bathroom sink. Yoichi tugs on the ring experimentally. "That's not too bad. We should have that off in no time." He pours some dish soap on Mika's finger and sets to work lathering it all around the ring.
The bathroom is across the hall from their bedroom, so they can still see everyone else in the mirror, and hear them arguing about whether or not they should help Mika buy a ring for Yuu. He's not sure he really wants them involved in this. There'd been a very long time in his life when he thought he might never even see Yuu again; he knew that Yuu loved him, and that he loved Yuu, but--marriage? He hadn't known it was even a possibility.
"If you really don't want us tagging along, let me know and I'll provide a distraction."
Mika jerks his head up to look at Yoichi. The brunet is focused on removing the ring, but a tiny smile tugs at his lips.
"This is all new to you, isn't it? You were content with what you two have. You didn't know marriage was an option, but now you do, and you immediately knew you wanted to marry Yuu, but it's still a lot to get used to." His smile widens. "If you need some space, or if you just want to do this by yourself, that's okay. I know they can be a bit much, but if you said no, they would respect it. They just want you to know that you're not alone in this, or in anything."
Their bedroom is noticeably quieter. Yoichi is a gentle presence at his side, neither pulling nor pushing him in any direction.
"I know they can get out of hand," Yuu told him one night, about a month after they'd all moved in, tangled up in a nest of blankets that Yuu seemed to be pulling out of thin air. "But they mean well. They love you." Mika had scoffed, but Yuu had kissed him and whispered, "They loved you before they knew you. They loved you because I love you, and now that they know you, they only love you more."
He'd thought Yuu had only been trying to help him feel better. Now he realizes Yuu had meant every word.
"I don't really want to do it by myself," Mika whispers, staring hard at the ring on his finger, and Yoichi must know how much it costs him to admit that, because he presses a quick kiss to Mika's cheek, and his warm smile lingers. Mitsuba tells Shinoa that if they're all going, she needs to change, and Mika is undyingly thankful.
By the time they get the ring off, Shinoa has lost both the bathrobe and crown and found a violet jumper to wear instead, but the lavender crocs she has on cause Kimizuki and Mitsuba both to sigh. "Are you gonna change before we go?" Kimizuki asks Mika.
Mika looks down at his blue flannel shirt and knee-length red skirt. "I wasn't planning on it?"
"Only a gay would wear burgundy with periwinkle ," Shinoa laments, ignoring Kimizuki's muttered "You're so pretentious, it's fucking red" . "Alright gang, let's get this bread."
"We're just got groceries yesterday."
"Are you hungry? We can get some food on the way."
"Shinoa, you don't even like bread, you only eat it if it's toasted."
Mika, unfortunately, knows exactly what she's talking about. He'd had a panic attack late one night when everyone else was asleep except Shinoa, and she had rambled about these "memes" she had discovered some books on while looting an abandoned house, in an attempt to help him calm down. Even worse, it'd worked, so now every time he panics, she begins reciting memes. He decides he doesn't like the dejected look on her face. "Let's get this bread, gays," he says despite the fact that he's a vampire and can't actually eat bread, notes the pure joy on Shinoa's face, and then immediately power walks out of the house and doesn't look back.
Their house is a few minutes walk to the mall, and by the time Mika gets there, the rest of them have caught up and Shinoa is explaining the "then perish" meme, one that she's told Mika about and he Did Not Like.
"So, just to be clear, for example," Mitsuba says, which can't be good. "If you say something like, 'I stole Yuu's blankets and he stole them back', I can say, 'Then perish'?"
"Yes! Although you shouldn't, you'll hurt my feelings."
"Then perish," Kimizuki deadpans. He and Mitsuba high-five over Yoichi's head.
Shinoa looks despairingly at Mika. "I may have made a mistake."
"Teach your memes to Yuu, and then you'll have really made a mistake."
"Why don't we start here?" Mitsuba asks, pointing to a large jewelers store. It seems a good a place to start as any, so Mika shrugs and follows her inside.
It's relatively crowded, which Shinoa assures them is normal for a Saturday afternoon, and Mika feels incredibly out of place. Thankfully, Kimizuki also feels incredibly out of place. "It's very loud in here," Kimizuki mutters, and Mika nods his agreement. It is pretty loud, and he's not used to it. "Do you wanna share my music?"
Mika looks over at him, surprised. Kimizuki's holding out one of his earbuds, the other one already in his ear. He knows Kimizuki is protective of his music. Touched, he accepts it. A lady with a pretty voice is singing in English, accompanied by a guitar. "It's one of my calming playlists," Kimizuki says, like he isn't sharing a huge part of his world with Mika. Idly, he wonders how many calming playlists Kimizuki has.
"I like it." He finds he's being honest. He really does like it. He already feels calmer, although he's not sure if it's the music or Kimizuki.
They stick close together as Shinoa and Mitsuba propel themselves around the store, dragging Yoichi between them. The three of them have decided that they're going to, in Shinoa's words, "weed out the unworthy shit" and find "one ring to rule them all" to show to Mika and Kimizuki, who get final veto rights. He's thankful, again, that they're here to help with this. He really doesn't know what he would've done looking by himself.
They show Mika and Kimizuki several rings, but they veto them all in that store. And the next. In the third one, the three of them agree on a single ring that they think might be okay, but Kimizuki takes one look at it and goes, "Thank you, next," and Mika has to agree. Shinoa looks torn between glee that her memes have caught on so well and dashed hopes that they didn't like the purple ring.
There's only one more jewelry store in the mall after that. It's much smaller than the other three, and by the time they walk in, Kimizuki is trying to convince Mika that Yuu would be happy with just a paperclip ring or a ring pop, and he's making some valid points.
From the corner of his eye he sees a flash of blue and red from a display case over in the corner.
"My favorite color? I've got two! Blue for what your eyes were before, and red for what they are now."
He slips his hand into Kimizuki's and tugs him over. Distantly, he's aware of Kimizuki's brief surprise, and Shinoa's stare is tangible from across the store, and realizes that he's never touched any of them except Yuu so casually. Maybe he should start.
But he decides to dwell on that later, because he's staring a ring that's almost like the one Yuu got him, titanium on the inside, wood on the outside, with two opals embedded around the band, red and blue, entwining all the way around like twin fire signs. It's exactly what he's been looking for. Kimizuki calls over an attendant and says, "Yeah we'd like to buy that one, please."
As it turns out, all of them love the ring at first sight, but none of them know what size ring Yuu wears. Mika's in shock that Yuu managed to do this all by himself. It's so much more work than he'd thought. When they finally decide that Kimizuki's finger is pretty similar in size to Yuu's and just measure the ring off his finger, the sun is setting. They spend the walk home brainstorming excuses to tell Yuu about where they were, and by the time they get home, the ring safely in a box in Mika's pocket, it's dark out. Yuu clearly tried to wait up for them, but had fallen asleep on the couch, Mika's collection of Robert Frost's poetry in his lap. Mika smiles fondly at him, unable to help it, and picks him up to take him to bed.
Yuu's eyes flutter open briefly, settle on Shinoa, and he scoffs. "Coulda wrote me a note, ya know. Was gonna call Guren back cuz I thou' you were dead. You guys never leave the house."
Mitsuba winces. "Sorry, Yuu."
Yuu waves a hand magnanimously. "S'all good. You're not dead, th's what matters." He presses his face into Mika's shoulder. "Sleep now?"
Mika kisses his temple, mouths "Thank you" to the others, receives mouthed "You're welcome"s in return, and heads to bed with his soon to be fiancé in his arms.
Because someone in heaven hates Mika, the green ring is sitting on their nightstand, right where they'd put it after they'd gotten it off of Mika's finger. He'd forgotten to put it back where he'd found it, like an idiot.
Yuu stares at it for a full five seconds, and then seems to wake up. His head jerks up to look at Mika and almost headbutts him in the face. "You found the ring!"
"Uh. Yes?" Mika sets him down on their bed, kneeling in front of him. "Sorry."
"Don't be sorry, silly." Yuu leans down and kisses him warmly. "I was gonna ask you soon anyway."
"About that," Mika starts, and then doesn't know how to finish. "Um…"
Yuu's face softens into something heartbreakingly gentle. "It's okay if you don't wanna get married, you know."
Mika stares at him like he's grown six heads. "What?"
"I know it's a lot. I know I'm a lot! But," Yuu takes Mika's hands in his. "We don't have to change anything if you don't want to. The ring can just be an 'I love you' thing, not a 'Please spend the rest of our lives with me' thing."
Mika needs to say something. Anything. But his throat refuses to move.
"You don't even have to accept the ring, you know, I can take it back to the store. It's really okay, I love you, ring or no, married or no, so don't worry about it, okay?" Yuu's rambling, which normally is cute but right now makes Mika want to cry.
He can't figure out what to say or how to say it, so instead he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the ring box. The upside is that Yuu cuts himself off. The downside is that Mika is in no way, shape or form prepared for this.
"Is that…" Yuu looks up at him, beautiful green eyes wide and full of what Mika hopes are happy tears. "That's where you guys were today, wasn't it."
It's not a question, but Mika nods anyway. He takes a deep breath and opens the box. For a split second, he worries that the ring isn't the right one, or that Yuu won’t like it, but the tiny choked gasp he hears makes all those hours of searching worth it.
"Hey, Yuu-chan," Mika breathes. "Do you wanna marry me?"
Yuu fumbles around behind himself for a second, grabs a pillow and hits Mika on the head with it. "Bastard," he chokes out. "You beat me to it."
"I wouldn't have found it if you'd just done your laundry," Mika protests, but they're both crying and it comes out sounding childish.
Yuu throws his head back and laughs, bright and happy, in a way he's been doing more and more, a way that makes Mika feel like his heart still beats, and grabs the green ring off the nightstand. "I'll trade you."
"I feel like I should tell you I tried it on earlier," Mika admits, and Yuu raises an eyebrow, "and then I couldn't get it off. Yoichi had to help me."
Yuu laughs and laughs. "So that's why they were out with you. Was it uncomfortable? Maybe I got the wrong size, I wasn't sure."
Mika shakes his head. "I never wanted to take it off."
Yuu kisses him until he feels like he might melt, then slides the green ring onto Mika's finger. "You'll never have to, my love."
Mika grabs a pillow and smacks the side of Yuu's head with it. "You're gonna make me cry, dammit."
Yuu grins and holds out his hand, waggling it emphatically. Mika slides the blue and red ring onto Yuu's finger, brings it to his lips and kisses it. Yuu tugs at his hand.
"Come on, come up here. I wanna snog."
Mika snorts, climbing onto the bed. "Snog? Have you been getting into Shinoa's weird English romances again?"
"Mayhaps." Yuu grabs at Mika, pulling him on top of his own body.
Mika props his chin on his hands, his face inches away from Yuu's. " Mayhaps? "
"Yeah, I got it from those too! It's like maybe and perhaps put together. A genius word, much like smad."
"Smad is not a genius word."
"Don't hate just because you like big words." Yuu extends a hand up to the ceiling, admiring his new ring and the way it sparkles in the light. "I can't believe you found the perfect ring in one day."
Mika raises an eyebrow. "How long did it take you?"
Mika blinks. "We moved here ten months ago."
"Yeah. I just couldn't pick one." Yuu drops his hand and rubs it across Mika's back. "None of 'em seemed right, you know? And then one day last week they got this new shipment in at that really small jewelry shop and I saw that green ring and I knew it was the one."
Mika rolls off of Yuu and pulls him so they're laying side by side. "I love you."
Yuu smiles so hard he can't kiss properly, so he rubs his nose against Mika's instead. "I love you more."
"I love you most."
"I…wait a minute, are we missing some blankets?" Mika starts to say something, but Yuu figures it out immediately, tilts his head away so he doesn't shout in Mika's ear, and hollers, "SHINOA, STOP TAKING MY FUCKING BLANKETS!"
"FUCK YOU, NO!" Shinoa hollers back.
"GODDAMMIT!" Yuu leans back into Mika, lacing their fingers together. "Sorry, where were we?"
Mika just shakes his head, the fondest smile on his lips, and leans in for another kiss.