"Is this everything?" the ward office clerk asks, flipping through the clear file Reisi handed her.
"Yes," Reisi says.
"Very well, please wait while we review the documents."
"This not allowed to smoke in government buildings thing blows," Mikoto says as they head to the waiting area. "Let's go outside."
Reisi acquiesces, figuring it's not very likely they're going to be called sooner than twenty minutes later, expedited process or no expedited process.
Outside, it's drizzling. Both people and cars seem like they're moving just a little bit faster, trying to outrun the rain before it gets serious. Reisi and Mikoto find a balcony to shelter under; Mikoto lights up.
"What if they say no?" he asks after three deep drags.
"What, the ward? To our marriage?
"That would mean I screwed up the paperwork," Reisi says. "Which is impossible."
"I guess so, huh." Mikoto takes another drag and exhales. The smoke struggles up into the intensifying rain but doesn't make it far.
"What do you want to do after? I took the rest of the day off.
Mikoto pitches the half-done cigarette into an ashtray atop a nearby rubbish bin. "I wanna peel you out of that suit."
Reisi sighs as he follows Mikoto back inside. "I mean before that. We could go get our photos taken, maybe. Eat something tasty."
"What about the zoo?"
Reisi adjusts his glasses. "You want to go to the zoo."
"Yeah, why not? That way we can tell people we went to the zoo on the day we got married."
The clerk is in the waiting area, looking around with a puzzled expression. Reisi tugs on Mikoto's sleeve and steers them both towards her. That went a lot faster than I thought.
"Ah, Munakata-sama, your family registry has been updated. Congratulations," she says, blushing faintly.
Reisi thanks her, collects the registration notification paper, and folds it into his inner pocket. Married.
"When she said Munakata, did she mean you or me?" Mikoto asks as they step back out into the rain.
Reisi rolls his eyes. "Why, did you want to hold on to the paperwork?"
That Mikoto take the Munakata name was Chisato's one condition. She wanted to make sure there were no problems with inheritance should the unthinkable happen. Reisi doesn't want to think about the unthinkable. Not today.
Mikoto lights a smoke and hides it in his palm. "I love you," he says. "Let's go eat something tasty."
"What about the zoo?"
"Then the zoo."
The reception's only halfway done, and all Reisi can think about is finding a getaway car. He's never had trouble being the centre of attention for official reasons, but the incessant congratulations -- from family members he barely sees, from his own subordinates, from former HOMRA enforcers -- are starting to run together into a great big "goodhealthandprosperity" blur.
"We've been married for two months already," Mikoto says quietly after Enomoto delivers a halting speech on behalf of his SCEPTER4 division. "Why has everyone been acting like it just happened?"
Reisi shrugs. "Most of them don't know when we put the paperwork in, so they're assuming it was today."
Reisi insisted on registering in advance because he wanted to make sure the family registry was updated properly before celebrating anything. His father always said that celebrating before something was certain was sure to prevent it.
"I wonder what Father would say," he murmurs, waving to his mother, who has been unsuccessfully trying to bully the band into playing enka.
Mikoto finishes his champagne. "About you and me getting married?"
"No, about a wedding like this," Reisi explains. They exchanged rings in the hotel's chapel and kissed to applause plus a chorus of awwws and wolf whistles. Munakata Seiji would probably have wanted a traditional Japanese ceremony for his son; after all, that was what he'd had. But traditional ceremonies were very... heterosexual.
"I don't think he would have wanted to see either of us in bridal getup," Mikoto tells him. "I wouldn't worry about it."
Reisi smirks. "You severely underestimate my father's fondness for ceremony. He would've made me become a bride, if only to maintain appearances."
"Well, if Mom were here, she'd make me into the bride," Mikoto points out. "Because she'd think it was funny."
Reisi laughs. "So if they were both around, we'd still be here, but in drag. Not a bad trade-off."
"Wait, isn't that Miwa Ichigen's... whoever he is?" Mikoto asks with a frown in the direction of Yatogami Kuroh, seated at the same table as Awashima.
"He's here with the Silver King," Reisi says, pointing to Weissmann, who was restored to his original body just a few weeks ago.
"So that's what he looked like," Mikoto says, staring fixedly in Weissmann's direction. "Should I go say hi?"
"Do that at the end when we're sending the guests off," Reisi replies, somewhat alarmed. "If you leave my side, I'll be swarmed by relatives wanting me to meet their kids."
"For the adoption thing?" Mikoto asks as a silent waiter tops up his champagne glass. "We have to decide on that now?"
"No, but they'll all want to start making the arrangements for us to meet the children now. With you next to me, they don't want to intrude, since you just became part of the family and they don't know you yet. The minute you leave, they'll be all over me.
"What if I have to take a piss?"
"I'll accompany you." Reisi sees Mikoto open his mouth and continues, very sweetly: "Say a word about holding it for you while you relieve yourself and I will pour this champagne down your back."
"Do you promise to lick it off later?" Mikoto puts a hand on Reisi's leg under the table and moves it up, unseen beneath the floor-length tablecloth. Reisi's desire for a getaway car quadruples.
Reisi peered through half-closed eyes at Mikoto, who lay on his stomach with his face mashed sideways into his pillow. Snoring.
The date in their family registry -- the rainy June Tuesday they'd gone to the ward office with all the paperwork -- was four years ago today. Yet Reisi was still waiting not to be surprised every time he woke and found Mikoto sleeping next to him and thought that's my husband.
There hadn't yet been a day when Mikoto was the first to wake. When Reisi's work alarm went off, Mikoto would wake up long enough to mumble a complaint and then go right back to sleep. But today was Saturday, which had become a full day off for Reisi on account of his married status, and no alarm had gone off today.
Which probably meant it was eight o'clock or thereabouts. Reisi was physically incapable of sleeping longer than eight hours, and he'd fallen asleep watching a cheesy American crime drama right around midnight last night. They'd got rid of the wall-display clock a few years ago; Mikoto claimed it stressed him out. He didn't like knowing what time it was.
Reisi stuck his elbow into Mikoto's ribs. The snoring stopped.
Mikoto peered up at Reisi. "Hmm?"
"Quit making so much noise so early in the morning," Reisi told him. "I could've slept another ten minutes, at least."
"I'm gonna pretend you didn't just complain about being woken up too early," Mikoto said, sitting up halfway and giving Reisi an annoyingly superior look. "You do it to me every day."
Reisi smirked. "And you complain about it every day, so why shouldn't I?"
"Good point." Mikoto yawned, covering his mouth with his forearm, then rubbed his eyes with his fists. "Want to smoke?"
"At least brush your teeth first," Reisi said with a shake of his head.
"What's the point? If I brush my teeth and then smoke, it's like wasting the brushing. Better to smoke and then brush after. Double duty."
"That's the same logic you used to avoid brushing your teeth before breakfast when we were kids," Reisi pointed out.
"Because it works," Mikoto said. He walked over to the dresser, pulled out a pair of Reisi's old track pants, tugged them on.
"No, it doesn't," Reisi said, watching very carefully as Mikoto's chest and torso disappeared underneath a baggy black t-shirt with a bloody-clawed pink bear on it -- a birthday gift from Anna that Mikoto only wore indoors. "It's not a waste of time to brush your teeth if you've been eating or smoking or whatever."
Mikoto took a cigarette out of the pack on the dresser, stuck it in the corner of his mouth, and half-turned. "What about a blow job?"
"Probably a good idea to brush your teeth after one," Reisi said. "Or at least swish some baking soda."
"No, I mean, do you want one?"
Reisi rolled his eyes. "Is that a real question?"
Mikoto slid the back porch door open, admitting the busy chatter of birds and a frisson of damp air that made the dust dance. "Just wait there until I'm done with my smoke and you'll find out."
A knock came at the bedroom door. "You guys decent?"
Reisi covered his lap with a bunched bit of duvet. "Yes, please come in."
Anna, dressed in unseasonable flannel pyjamas, padded inside and clambered up onto the foot of the bed, folding her legs underneath herself. "I stayed the night," she announced.
Reisi reached for his glasses and put them on. "I can see that. Is everything all right at home?"
"More or less," Anna mumbled.
She wasn't exactly going through a typical mutinous teenager stage -- Anna had grown up too fast too soon -- but sometimes she came close. Last week she'd had all of her hair cut off, insisting that it got in the way of her archery practice. Reisi could've understood it if she played softball and had to run around a lot, but he couldn't quite see why she wouldn't have compromised with a ponytail. Then again, in Reisi's opinion -- which he had carefully concealed from Kushina Honami -- a person's body belonged to that person only, so if Anna wanted to cut her hair or get the latest death metal anthem tattooed on her back, that was her prerogative.
"I see," he said, noncommittal.
"No, really," Anna said, reaching for a phantom strand of hair to twirl and then letting her hand fall gracefully into her lap as though that had been her intention all along. She'd been doing that a lot since having it cut. "Granny wouldn't let me go home by myself, not even in a cab, and you guys were already sleeping."
"I wasn't arguing with you," Reisi said with a smile. "It's too early in the morning for that. Is Mother awake yet, by the way?"
Anna shook her head. "I brought her outdoor wheelchair to her bedroom but she was still asleep. Pochi said he'll come fetch one of us when she wakes up."
"Ah, thanks," Reisi said, sitting up. "Well, I'd better see about breakfast, since you're here--"
"Rei-san, there's a boy that I like. What do I do?"
Reisi sagged down a bit. "Are you sure I'm the best person to ask that question?"
"You're the only responsible adult I know besides Granny and Aunt Honami," Anna explained. "Granny's sleeping, and I'm not speaking to Aunt right now."
Reisi chuckled. "I can't decide if that's a compliment or not. Have you told this boy how you feel?"
Anna pursed her lips. "No, but I know he likes me too." She circled her index finger in the air above her temple: a shorthand for her power. "That's what makes it kind of awkward."
"Hmm, yes, I can see how that would be difficult," Reisi said. "I'm sure he would be very happy to hear your confession, but knowing that in advance... hmm."
"And what if he's the sort who can't be honest about his feelings?"
"Kill him," Mikoto called from the garden. "If he really loves you, he'll find a way to come back to you."
Reisi sighed heavily.
"See, this is why I don't ask you about these things," Anna said to Mikoto. "You're not a responsible adult."
"I'm married to a responsible adult," Mikoto said, walking back inside. "That counts. Also, speaking from experience."
"You and I are practically poster children for how not to initiate a relationship," Reisi said as Mikoto sat down on the edge of the bed. "Hardly in the best position to dispense advice."
Mikoto lay back, his head landing softly atop the blanket gathered in Reisi's lap.
Pochi rolled into the room. "Mistress has awakened from her slumber. Pochi will prepare a feast!"
"Ah, thanks," Anna said, bounding off the bed. "I'll ask Granny since you guys are hopeless," she added from the doorway and ran off after Pochi.
"Smart girl," Mikoto observed.
"Indeed." Reisi brushed Mikoto's hair away from his forehead.
"Still interested in that blow job?"
"Brush your teeth first. Your breath is so radioactive they can probably smell it in space."