“Na… Ryuuya… are you ok?”
Looking away from the view provided by their suite’s best window, Ryuuya smiled as Ringo came out of the bath with only a towel twisted around his hair. It made Ryuuya happy to see the other male comfortable enough to forgo all of his feminine persona in the privacy of their suite.
When they’d first got together, Ringo had insisted on lights being off or coverings of some kind no matter what they were doing. It had taken a long time for Ryuuya to convince his lover that he was more than content about the lack of female parts to match the feminine visage Ringo showed the world. It hadn’t mattered what was on the inside, the outside, what Ryuuya had fallen in love with, was the whole. It had just taken a while for the pinknette to accept that.
“Fine… thinking about… that… music. Both songs really… but especially the one by STARISH.” Ryuuya sighed as he walked away from the window and took the towel from where it was twisted up with Ringo’s hair. Gently he began drying the long locks. “It keeps circling in my mind and it feels…” He left off because he wasn’t sure how to articulate it.
Ringo tilted his head and turned as he allowed his lover to take over the care of his hair. “It left a warmth inside that is… inexplicable.”
“Exactly.” Ryuuya threw the towel aside and then picked up the tangle brush to start working on the thick pink tresses.
While he worked, Ringo relaxed into the tender care. “It made me happy… but kind of sad in a way.”
“Why is that?” Ryuuya asked as he gently tied a light band around the smoothed mass and then settled it on Ringo’s shoulder.
“I’m sad because I know that I never caused that feeling in any of my fans… and I know I probably never will.” Ringo waved off any words before Ryuuya could speak them. “I know my fans love me… and are happy with my art… but that is a level I could never obtain. A level I don’t think many ever see, let alone are able to perform.” Ringo smiled and tilted his head while looking at Ryuuya. “And I’m ok with it. With just being a witness.”
Ryuuya nodded. “I feel the same… but I will disagree on part of that statement.”
“Oh?” Ringo’s smile softened and he leaned into Ryuuya’s robe covered chest. “Which part?”
“You have filled someone with that feeling.” Ryuuya wrapped his arms around Ringo’s waist. “I feel that exact thing every time you look at me with one specific expression.”
Ringo’s eyes went wide and then softened and a gentle smile came over his lips. His eye lids lowered slightly and twinkled.
“That expression right there. I feel that warmth every time you look at me like that.” Ryuuya leaned in pressed his lips to Ringo’s and then pulled back. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” Ringo’s arms moved up around his neck and pressed in for another kiss. When he pulled back, he leaned his forehead against Ryuuya’s shoulder. “And I feel the same. It made me feel like that the moment you told me that you loved me male female or both…”
With easy hands, Ryuuya guided Ringo back to the bed and settled him there with a low smile.
“Tsukimiya-san?” Haruka called softly as she stood beside the couch in the small practice room she’d taken over to work on the next of the songs for STARISH. It was a nice little room that reminded her of her grandmother’s piano room at home.
It had been a bit of a shock to come into the little out of the way room and find the pinknette resting on the loveseat in the corner by the window.
Blinking slowly, Ringo yawned and stretched before blushing. “Oh, I’m sorry Haruka-chan… I didn’t know you were using this practice room. It’s a lovely place for my midmorning nap.”
Haruka waved her hands. “No no! It’s ok. Please… don’t let me stop you. I can practice anywhere.”
“Nonsense. Go ahead and get started. Once I’m awake enough I’ll be on my way.” Ringo contemplated the door and then stayed where he was. The thought of rising to his feet made his stomach roll unpleasantly.
“Are you ok, Tsukimiya-san?” Haruka asked as she began setting up her music papers and pencils on the piano.
“Very much so. I’m just easily tired right now… And even more easily dizzy. Oh, dear.” Ringo shook his head and pressed a palm to his cheek as he breathed through the sparkles flashing before his eyes.
Dropping her pencil case, Haruka went over and gently braced her former teacher. “Do I need to get someone? Call someone?”
Ringo patted one of her hands on his shoulder. “I’ll be fine… I just need a few moments. Cultivating young talent is one thing… cultivating a child is a much more difficult thing.”
“Oh… Oh! Congratulations.” Haruka took a moment to understand what he was saying, then grinned brightly.
“Thank you… But please, go back to your work. I need to go as well.” Breathing out resolutely, Ringo gently stood and then nodded that he was ok. As he made his way to the door, he looked back at her. “Really I have your band to thank for this I think.”
Haruka looked at him in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“After almost six years together, two of which actively trying to get pregnant, it happens the night after Ryuuya and I are blessed with the warmth of your song being sung by STARISH… So I suppose it’s thanks to the band and to you.” Ringo blew a quick kiss and exited the room before Haruka could react to the announcement.
Ryuuya had noticed the sudden shift back to not wanting to be bare even in private but he had also felt the light softening of the formerly athletic build. This time he didn't say anything, assuming that it was less about gender issues but rather body discomfort. Instead he tried to show Ringo that he loved him. It wasn't very hard either because something about the gentle curve of Ringo's hips and the new overall roundness of him drove Ryuuya crazy.
He really felt like the sudden softness made him want to see Ringo swelling with child all the more. After so long though he'd all but given up and accepted that their students would be their legacy. It was why he put so much work into STARISH and encouraged Ringo to do the same. It was also why he had snapped at Syo their first day on the movie. Another morning with another negative pregnancy test and Ryuuya couldn't deal with the cute face of devotion Syo beaming up at him. Knowing that there would be no child with Ringo's sweet face smiling up at him.
But it was also because of that continued lack that Ryuuya said nothing about the change in Ringo's form. Too many disappointing and misread signs.
So it was all a great surprise when he's gone to pick up Ringo from where the pinknette was watching STARISH practice and found the band standing around looking helpless while Ringo was on the floor beside one of the chairs.
"What's happend?" Ryuuya hissed as he rushed over to where Ringo was slowly sitting up with Hijikawa's help while Syo held his hand.
"I'm fine Ryu... I just stood up too fast." Ringo have him a weak smile that wasn't anything like the usual effervescent one. Nothing could have worried him more.
Reaching down, Ryuuya lifted him and settled him into the nearest chair. "It could be because you didn't eat anything this morning. Low blood sugar can cause you to faint."
Ringo shook his head a little. "I wasn't feeling it this morning."
"You said you were nauseous earlier when Natsuki brought in some cookies." Ittoki said with a worried look.
The mention of the cookies made Ringo turn a pale shade of green and swallow deeply. Ryuuya didn't think too much of the reaction because that was the same face Syo had at that moment as well.
"Let's go and get you some juice then we will see the company physician just to make sure you're not overworking yourself." Ryuuya nodded to the young bandmembers and then lifted Ringo to his feet slowly, making sure he wasn't going to get sick or anything with the movement.
Ringo kept a grip on Ryuuya's hand and they began making their way towards the door. Less than six steps later, the pinknette's eyes started to roll back into his head and it was only luck that Ryuuya was able to keep a hold of him.
"Definitely seeing the physician." Ryuuya thought as he scooped up the slim male and began walking towards the wing of the building that the medical staff was in.
Half way there Ringo blinked open his eyes and made a sad sound. "Oh not again."
"How many times have you passed out?" Ryuuya asked, worry in his voice. He didn't like the idea that he had missed his lover being so ill.
"It's not that bad... don't panic Ryuuya." Ringo said reaching up to pat Ryuuya on the neck.
"You're passing out enough not to be concerned about it and you're not eating... I am going to be concerned." Ryuuya insisted as he shifted his grip and pressed his lips to Ringo's head.
Ringo smiled up at him. "I'm not concerned because I know why it's happening." Ringo said with a small secretive smile.
Just outside of the wing that housed the medical staff, Ryuuya paused. "You do?"
Nodding, Ringo wiggled until he was placed carefully on his feet. "Come on then. We'll let the doctor explain."
"Ahh Tsukimiya-san... back already?" The doctor asked with a jovial smile as he walked into the small office the couple sat in.
Before Ringo could get a word in, Ryuuya spoke. "He's passing out and not eating. Why isn't he under your immediate care?"
The doctor looked at Ringo who gave him a purely innocent look that no one would believe. It made the doctor chuckle a little before turning to Ryuuya. "He is under my care. The fainting will hopefully decrease in the coming weeks. As for not eating, we have spoken about this, correct Tsukimiya-san?"
"Yes. And I do eat. Just not before late afternoon. Any earlier and I don't get to keep it and my carefully formed style if the day." Ringo said with a little pout.
Ryuuya frowned. "You're vomiting too?"
Noticing the way the conversation was going, the doctor stepped back out of the door.
"It's normal Ryu... though not recognizing it is very understandable. We haven't been pregnant before." Ringo said with that mysterious little smile he's been sporting randomly for a while.
Ryuuya sat there staring silently for a moment, his mouth gapped slightly. When he was able to speak he drew a breath and let out a single syllable. "Oh?" It had the vague upward lilt of a question and it earned him a laugh.
"Pregnant. Me and you. After the 2000% concert." Ringo answered the top questions he thought would be going through Ryuuya's head.
For a long moment Ryuuya stood silently staring at his lover before he reached out and put a hand against the baggy yellow sweater and found a slight curve where he expected it. "This is..."
Grinning, Ringo put both hands over Ryuuya's and pressed a little firmer to the small bump he was already sporting. "Amazing, nah?"
"Perfect." Ryuuya said and a smile bloomed over his face. "The 2000% concert? So you're... almost 4 months along? And you didn't tell me?" His smile faded a little to confusion.
"Because I didn't want to jinx it... or maybe get our hopes up for nothing again... And before I knew it I was three months in and the doctor is telling me everything is ok. So, here we are. I planned on telling you after you finished your shoot for the tv piece." Ringo allows Ryuuya to smooth the sweater down to where he could see the bump as well as feel it.
Ryuuya nodded and petted the bump that covered their child. "This is why you turned down that piece in the island later next month."
"The thought of flying makes me sick." Ringo said with a little shake of his head.
"Morning sickness." Ryuuya murmured as he realized that all of the things he'd noticed or been told of, were from the pregnancy.
Just then the doctor stepped back into the room and smiled at the happy expressions all around. "Ready for the scans? I thought you might appreciate having that ultrasound early. If you'll come this way."
Ringo took Ryuuya's hand pulled him along after the doctor into another room.
A few minutes later they were watching the small monitor with the little flashing blur and the rushing noise that was their baby's heart beat.
"What a cute rhythm. Ryu-chan our baby already has good rhythm." Ringo griped Ryuuya's hand and tried not to wiggle from happiness.
"Healthy from what I can tell. All of your previous bloodwork was good. But I do worry about you fainting at an inopportune moment. So, no stairs or going out alone until the fainting goes away. Small meals as often as you can until the morning sickness passes."
Ringo nodded quickly in agreement before looking from the screen to Ryuuya. "See, we're healthy."
"And going to need a minder until you're not fainting." Ryuuya said in a resolute tone while watching the doctor print out a copy of the scan and then hand a tissue to Ringo who was just sitting up.
"Nothing so drastic." Ringo said rolling his eyes.
"Yes drastic." Ryuuya insisted taking the print with a nod of thanks to the doctor.
Ringo rolled his eyes and finished cleaning his stomach off and pulled down his sweater. "Ryuuya." He said the name in a stretched out way that made Ryuuya smile even while wrapping a supportive arm around Ringo's shoulders.
As his form softened and grew so to did Ringo's presence around Shining Entertainment. The various junior members of Shining were happy to keep an eye on him as he went around his jobs and around the dorms to manage STARISH, unofficially since they were Shining's pet project.
"What is that you're humming, Ringo-san?" Haruka asked as they sat watching the boys prepare new dance formations.
Ringo glanced over and smiled. "A little idea floating through my head." He had one hand on top of his six months stomach. He chuckled a bit when the baby kicked and moved around.
Haruka listened as he hummed the piece of music again. Standing, she went over and played it on the piano. Ringo laughed as he pushed himself to his feet and went over to sit on the bench beside her.
Together they tapped it out and then Haruka began adding and creating a song around the short piece Ringo had provided.
The two worked on it until the boys wandered over and smiled at the song developing. "Beautiful. Is it for us, Nanami?" Ittoki asked when they finally paused.
"No... this is someone else's." Haruka said as she looked down at Ringo's stomach.
"It's based on the baby's heartbeat." Ringo said with a laugh as she reached out and took Shinomiya's hands so the young man could feel the baby's movements.
The seven all smiled when Natsuki giggled and cooed at Ringo's stomach.
"Why am I so big, Ryuuya? Your barely above average in size and I'm delicate... why is the baby so large?" Ringo asked as he tried to wrap his arms around his stomach. His hands barely met under the bottom of his stomach.
Ryuuya smiled and petted the mermaid braid that Ringo's hair was in. The pink haired idol had taken to putting his hair up out of his way since reaching the final trimester. "Because you are delicate even a small baby looks big."
Pouting a little, Ringo tried to stay sour but in then he ended up laughing. "You're not wrong. He is going to be be a tall one, I think."
"Maybe she will be a runway model." Ryuuya suggested with a smile.
The argument about the baby's gender was an evolving thing. Some days Ryuuya spoke about the baby in the femine pronoun and Ringo used the male. Other days they switched. Neither truly cared what gender the baby was. Healthy and theirs were far more important to them.
"That doesn't mean that I don't miss my feet." Ringo said with a put upon huff.
"I assure you they're still there. And still cute. And your last pedicure is holding up well." Ryuuya responded and then leaned down to kiss the top of Ringo's stomach. "Be kind to your chi-chi while I'm on set."
Ringo laughed and accepted a kiss on his lips. "He will be an angel."
"STARISH and Haruka will be here soon. And I saw Reiji down in one of the practice rooms so the rest of Quartet Night is around somewhere." Ryuuya picked up his bag and frowned. "I wish I could have gotten out of the contract. Especially so close to your delivery date."
"I've got at least two weeks. Minimum. You heard the doctor. He's just now turned to the delivery position but he hasn't started down yet. You only have nine days in Shikoku. Worst case, I call you and you have a couple of hours on a plane... no where near long enough to have gone through delivery." Ringo laughed and shook his head. "It'll be fine. My doctor is down the stairs and around a corner... there is no better place for me. Now go." Ringo have him a little push to the door.
Ryuuya nodded and stole another kiss before hurrying away. The plan was for nine days on set but Ryuuya knew if he pushed they could have it done in 5 days.
Ringo watched until he was gone and then wandered out to see if he could find someone to entertain him.
It was a slow pace down the stairs and into the areas where he might find anyone. "I love you very much baby but I will enjoy not having to do stairs sideways." Ringo told his stomach conversationally as he walked until he heard some people talking.
Ringo was sitting with STARISH as they worked on their choreography when Ren suddenly walked over and leaned down to look at Ringo closely.
"Can I help you with something, Ren-chan?" Ringo asked as he moved, trying to shift enough so the baby would get off of his bladder.
"You are in labor, aren't you?" Ren said as he focused between Ringo's stomach and face.
Around them the other members of the band all paused and looked at the pregnant man in varying stages of shock and horror.
"I don't think so." Ringo said as he tried to keep time in his head with the strange movements he wasn't sure were coming from the baby.
Ren nodded to himself then glanced to Masa, who walked over without having to be asked. Together they got Ringo to his feet. "We'll let the doctor on staff be the judge if you're not sure."
With the rest of the band following along, Ren and Masa walked Ringo down to the medical wing.
Just as they were about to go through the doors, Ringo froze and then did something out of character (to them anyway, Ryuuya would have known it for the pained reaction it was). "Fucking shit!" He hissed as his hands grasped his stomach.
"I thought those flinches were too timely to be anything but early labor." Ren murmured as he and Masa kept the pained man on his feet.
"How could you..." Masa began then left off with a knowing look. He nodded to Ren and then together shifted to carrying the now panting man the rest of the way into the medical wing.
Once inside and after Ringo was able to draw a full breath, he smiled at the hovering boys. "I'll be fine. Just have to take care of a little something and then I'll be back to watching your practice."
"I'll call Hyuuga-sempai." Syo said as he turned to leave to make the call.
"Don't!" Ringo said sharply. Then he smiled reassuringly. "Don't interrupt his work. He was supposed to be shooting the most dangerous parts today. We'll call later. When he isn't doing stuff he should let the stunt man handle."
Syo nodded because the decisive tone left no room to question it.
"Everyone needs to leave now." A nurse said as he gently began herding the youngsters out of the room.
Everyone was surprised when Ren stayed beside the man on the exam bed. "I'll stay with you until either the baby is born or Hyuuga-san arrives."
Masa met his eyes and then nodded once before gently he began moving the others out of the room.
"You're very calm for being around a person in labor." Ringo said as he allowed the nurse to help him begin shrugging out of his sweater.
Ren politely averted his eyes. "It's something I've studied."
Ringo slipped into the light robes the nurse held for him and frowned at the younger male. "Labor?"
"Yes." Ren responded and then looked at him with a strange twist of a smile. "If I weren't well on my way to being an idol I think I'd become a birth attendant."
Ringo and the nurse both froze to stare at him in shock. "Those... are very different fields, Ren-chan." Ringo finally managed after the idea set in.
Ren's smile was strangely bitter sweet. "My mother died because of complications after a miscarriage. The car accident didn't hurt her too much but one idiotic doctor who couldn't read a report right made the world a little more ugly by banishing her beauty. And the beauty my little brother or sister would have grown into. I think it would be a good job helping to bring new beauty into the world."
Barely able to breath out because of the ache the bit of backstory had settled in his chest, Ringo held out a hand. "You would be an amazing birth attendant."
"Beautiful to look at and helpful as well." Ren said with a witty smile that made Ringo roll his eyes.
Before Ringo could respond his eyes began narrowing and he reached out a hand as he felt a contraction building.
Without a word, Ren took the hand and began slowly counting in a low soothing voice.
Less four hours had passed when Ren arrived back into the practice room the others returned to. He smiled, a true deep expression that made the six of the band beam in return.
"Our newest housemate is here and health, with a set of lung that clearly show his parentage." Ren walked over and accepted a bottle of water Masa was holding out.
Ringo was slouching back against the raised hospital bed. He was tired and sore but with a sense of fulfilment that made everything ok. In the little plastic bed beside his was the most tiny and perfect person he'd ever known.
Reaching out a tired hand he ran a finger down one plump cheek. "You are very pretty my tiny boy... And also very much quicker than I expected. I suppose I should be grateful not to have suffered from the 20 hours of labor the doctor estimated. But how am I going to explain this to your daddy?"
The sound of hard-soled shoes running down the hall made Ringo look to the door and then smile when Ryuuya appeared sliding into the doorway.
"The baby is already here?" Ryuuya asked rather dumbly as he drew slow breaths trying to calm himself.
"He's an eager one, I suppose." Ringo bit his lip as he scooped the baby up. "Come meet our son."
When he didn't feel like he was panting too badly, Ryuuya walked over and leaned against the side of the bed to look down at the tiny person in Ringo's arms. "Our son."
Together they stated at him for many long moments while the baby yawned and licked his lips in a sleepy manner. After a moment of gathering his nerve, Ryuuya took the baby into his hands and stared in amazing. "He's such a little person. I wasn't expecting him to be..." he left off and shook his head unable to come up the proper words.
"So real?" Ringo said as he finally allowed himself to relax. Between one blink of looking at Ryuuya and the next, Ringo was asleep.
Ryuuya looked away from the baby to agree with the assessment and remained silent when he saw that Ringo had gone to sleep. Turning his attention back to the baby, he smiled softly. "You stole all of his energy. That is an accomplishment."
Checking behind him, Ryuuya found the seat and settled beside Ringo's bed holding the baby close to his chest. The new father was happy to sit in the easy silence of the room and just focus on the two members of his family.
When the baby started to cry a while later, Ryuuya began to hum and then sing in a low tone.
"Ryuuya should do an album of lullabies." Ringo said in a sleepy voice as he turned his head to look at them.
Ryuuya chuckled and pressed a kiss to the baby's head. "Maybe we both should. It would be good for the times when one or both of us are going to have to be away from him at bedtime."
Ringo hummed an agreement still half asleep. Slowly he blinked himself more awake. "You know what I want to name him, don't you?"
"Yes." Ryuuya answered with a soft and slightly sad smile. Looking down at the still lightly crying baby, Ryuuya greeted him for the first time. "Welcome, Haruki."
Ringo's eyes grew wet and he nodded. "Exactly correct. Welcome our Haruki."