rohan’s phone rings when they’re eating dinner. after looking at the screen for one second, he places it back onto the table.
“my cousin has been shitting on me because his mom wants to visit us and we live far away from them,” he says. his voice is cutting through the shrill of his ringtone, which is sailor moon anime's opening. “he has to drive for three hours to get here. that pisses him off. but him not driving her here pisses his mother off so in the end there’s nothing he can do except telling me to fuck off for living so far away from my other family.”
that's how josuke gets his first taste of rohan’s relationship with his extended family; during a normal summer night when they’re having cold soba for dinner. rohan’s cousin tries to call him again two more times before rohan finally gets fed up and turns off his phone so he can continue his dinner in peace.
a couple days later, josuke goes home from work with a box of lemon cake and an armful of a one eyed cat.
years of them being together had made rohan numb to josuke’s nonsensical antics. the only reason he’s not showing any response resembling reluctance is because he had faced josuke's shenanigans worse than this.
josuke bites his lips as he watches rohan’s fork hovers just centimeters above the dessert.
“bold of you to assume this makes a good enough peace offering.”
“come on rohan, i couldn’t just leave her there again. she’s still young and i had seen her wandering around my headquarters for a week, i can’t stand it anymore.”
“she’s a stray you idiot, of course she will show up now and then around humans. what if you only saw her because she knew what time do you go home and she wanted whatever treat you have for her, and then she went back to someone else’s home to do similar thing?”
josuke’s mouth opens and closes. he glances at the cat behind rohan’s back. she’s curiously sniffing at a potted plant. he’ll have to check whether or not that plant is toxic for cats.
his boyfriend has not eaten the cake yet.
“perhaps… not all strays do that?” rohan looks at him as if josuke just told him to eat a cucumber whole in one go. “but look, she only has one eye! that’s cool, right? wouldn’t it be cool to tell your readers ‘i just adopted a one eyed cat’, i know there are many people who think they’re neat.”
rohan still looks unimpressed. "my audience are not interested in that kind of thing." he's also not interested in showing that aspect of his private life. "also we don’t know what kinds of diseases that cat has.” as if to prove his point, the cat sneezes after her nose gets tickled by a money tree’s leaves.
"about that, i've booked the vet for her, first thing in the morning tomorrow before i go to work." he looks away from the cat wrestling rohan's pet plant. "if you want to, you can come with me to buy her litter, its box, her cat bed, and her consumables after you finish your cake."
rohan sighs. josuke won’t relent, he's really adamant about keeping the cat in their home.
as if he's reading his mind, josuke reaches for his fork and feeds him a mouthful of sweet, tangy cake.
it takes them three days to finally agree on who does which cat care chores. after a week, they begin to get used to the routine of waking up, changing cat litter, and feeding loki her breakfast. they also begin to tolerate her vocal nature, her feistiness, and her tendency to scratch and bite their legs as greeting.
comes a week after that, they learn the hard way that loki hates baths and the power of two men is nearly not enough to contain her in the bathroom and prevent water and soap from splattering everywhere.
sometimes rohan’s family still try to call him, often he answers the phone with the bare minimum amount of response, just to shut them up. one day after a particularly longer and more heated phone call, rohan lets out a long, heavy sigh. josuke puts down the cat toy in his hand and gives his boyfriend a concerned look. he leaves the floor to sit on the couch next to the elder.
“they told me i should never pursue manga so seriously. it’s been at least ten years since they said that and i’m allowed to still feel bitter about it.” well then. “now they said they wanted to see how am i doing and that it’s okay for me to give another try in fixing my life.”
“nothing in you needs to be fixed.” rohan raises his eyebrow. “well i can think of a few jerkoff-ery but otherwise you’re doing more than well,” josuke chuckles.
“they said my interest in art and manga won’t last forever.”
there are countless of times of josuke having to wake up in the middle of the night to physically drag rohan away from his working desk and josuke having to hold rohan back from interacting with something he shouldn't when he's looking for inspiration for his manga. he almost snorts.
“they don’t know you well enough to be allowed to say that.”
rohan hums. “my parents used to be just as bad. actually maybe they still are, i don’t give a fuck anymore.”
“you never give a fuck,” josuke says with an amused smile. “everything you do kind of makes sense now. don’t ever change, rohan.” his smile turns softer, which in return makes rohan’s lips twitch. josuke opens his arms to accept rohan who moves towards him to lay his head on the younger’s shoulders and wrap both arms around his neck. “actually you’re still a shithead sometimes, we need to fix that.” rohan laughs and kisses his lips.
it’s not easy to keep his hand from touching his lover everywhere when josuke starts to mouth his neck and shoulder. when he feels josuke’s fingers slipping under his waistband, rohan groans and part himself away from the younger. at josuke’s questioning frown, rohan shakes his head. “i… i don’t want the cat to see.”
they turn to look at loki staring at them, no longer interested in the toy josuke discarded. with a laugh, josuke kisses rohan’s cheek and carries him to their bedroom.
josuke always tells rohan he wishes rohan would change his work and sleep habits. with his profession, that’s nearly impossible, especially since he works alone and has ridiculously high standard on his work.
he’s about to put a blank paper onto his work surface when a pink nose and white whiskers nudges his slightly ajar door open. loki meows. “damn cat.”
she’s often awake at this hour, trying to get his attention by rubbing against his leg or climbing onto his lap. most of the times he doesn’t mind a sleeping cat on his lap when he’s working, but often that resulted in him ditching his work to feed the cat expensive treats josuke always gives her when he’s teaching her cat tricks. josuke often scolds him for that, saying that slows down her learning progress. seeing a one eyed cat eagerly reaches for a fish shaped crackers in his hand greatly entertains him however so he doesn’t care.
he wonders if the cat have learned what josuke taught her. he holds out a hand. “give me your paw.” she sniffs his hand for a bit before placing a white paw on his palm. he rubs her head once before raising his hand higher. “high five.” he smiles a bit when she stands on her hind legs and taps her paws on his hand. “good kitty.”
“she is a good kitty,” josuke says from the doorway of his office, making rohan jumps. “and you. you should be a good kitty and go to sleep,” he continues. his voice is gruff from sleep. he joins rohan kneeling by his study to rub loki’s belly. she bites and scratches his hand the second it lands on her body.
rohan scoffs. “i’m not a kitty.”
“oh right, out of your kitty gear, you are not.” josuke snickers and winks. “come on, let’s sleep. i’ll let you wake up at six.”
“don’t stretch it.” it’s fifty years too early to let josuke knows rohan still wants to play with the kitty, judging from josuke’s knowing smirk, rohan had already let him know more than he should.
in the end, he wakes up at nine. although it’s his day off, of course josuke did not keep his promise to wake him up at six.
“i said nothing about waking you up,” josuke says as he throws a bag of cat litter into the trash bin. “i said i will let you.” rohan doesn’t get the chance to argue because his phone rings with his uncle’s name showing up on the screen.
“fucking hell, it’s early.” he picks it up anyway, trying to make his sleep-rough voice sounds as pleasant as possible.
once loki finishes her breakfast, she makes her way to nuzzle her head against rohan’s bare ankle. her owner yelps. “no, no excuse me, that’s just uh, my cat, she’s just--”
it’s been a while since the last josuke saw rohan staying quiet with rage for so long, and when he’s on a phone call at that. his uncle is yelling, which causes rohan to move the phone away from his ear with a scowl.
“don’t bring them here if you people going to visit then, or you can tell them to bring a goddamn epipen.” there’s more screeching from the phone, each word adding more angry wrinkles on rohan’s face. “don’t say that about josuke! we’ve talked about this uncle, i don’t give a shit about what you say, you still have no right to tell me what to do and you will never!” his uncle’s angry voice gets slightly louder, but rohan cuts him off with an even angrier shout. “yes! i am yelling at you, and no! don’t ever talk about my family that way ever again! you’re not welcome here, none of you are, fuck off!”
rohan ends the call and summons every last bit of his self control to not hurl the phone across the kitchen. he turns to look at the cat staring at him with an amber eye then at josuke whose hands are being dried with a hand towel.
josuke’s eyes show concern for a few moments, then it’s replaced by a small smile, encouraging and grateful.
rohan shrugs and bends down to pick loki up in his arms. the cat mewls in protest. “come on loki, let's get you a nice, stylish collar designers have to offer.”
“oh no, you’re getting away from me.” josuke laughs and follows him out of the kitchen. he catches rohan in his arms, holding him from behind and kissing his jaw.
just for today, and maybe tomorrow, he’ll allow himself not getting anything done.