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It's Not My Fault

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          Koichi was on his hands and knees under his desk, swearing up a storm, “TEO YOU LITTLE ASSHOLE! WHERE’S MY RING?” Running his hands on the carpet along the wall, he bent down to look under the filing cabinet. “You little shit! I can’t leave anything out without you coming in and stealing shit off my desk…WHERE IS MY RING?”

          Sitting up, he turned to look at the little black cat, who wasn’t bothered by the swearing, as he calmly washed his face. Koichi got up and walked down the hallway towards the kitchen, his eyes scanning the floor as he went. “Where the hell could it be? You didn’t swallow it, it’s too big! Tatsu’s going to be pissed!” Entering the kitchen, Koichi dropped back down to his hands and knees, to start looking under the appliances. With more swearing and a heavy sigh, “Shit, not under there either.” Sliding his legs out behind him, Koichi laid on the floor, his head resting on his arms. His wedding ring, the only piece of jewelry he cherished above everything else, was gone. Stolen by a little black thief, whose antics were sometimes costly.

          Totally engrossed in his misery, Koichi didn’t hear his husband come home, nor did he hear him walking into the kitchen. “Um, Kou babe…why are you sleeping on the kitchen floor?” Tatsu squatted down next to his husband. “Teo stole my wedding ring off my desk and I can’t find it anywhere,” came the muffled reply. Koichi raised his head, his eyes filled with tears, “That little shit took my ring, I’m sorry.” Laying his head back down on his arms, Koichi’s body started to quiver.

          “Babe, it’s only a ring, we can replace it.” Tatsu said softly, reaching out to rub Koichi’s back, “No, it can’t be replaced! You gave that to me…it’s the only one in the world.” Tatsu pulled Koichi up and into his arms, “Kou, it’s a ring… a symbol that’s all. Yes, I gave it to you, but if it’s gone, are we any less married? If you’re not wearing it does it mean that we’re not married anymore?”

          Koichi whimpered, “But I don’t want another ring, I want that one.” Tatsu got up off the floor, helping Koichi up as well. “Let’s look together, ne?” For the next hour the two searched for the small wedding band. “It’s not like he could have swallowed it, but where the hell is it?” Tatsu sifted through the litter boxes, and Koichi was pulling everything out of their closet; still no ring.

          Dinner that night was less than exciting, Koichi still moping as he pushed his food around on his plate. Tatsu finally shoo’d him out of the dining room, “Go find a movie for us, we can just stay in tonight.” Koichi went down to the bedroom, getting in his pajamas and grabbing a blanket. Tatsu worried about Koichi’s mood, could the loss of the wedding ring send him back down into his depression?

          Handing Koichi a cup of tea, Tatsu sat next to his husband and pulled the blanket around them both. “It’s going to turn up, Kou, don’t worry we’ll find it.” Koichi wasn’t that confident.

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          Koichi peered around the corner, watching anxiously as Tatsu sifted through the litter boxes. “I’m pretty sure Teo didn’t eat the ring Kou, I think we’d know by now because he’d be in extreme pain.” Tatsu tried to explain to Koichi. “I know but I want to make sure we check everything.” He whined. Tatsu kept sifting through the litter, praying that they would eventually find the ring, but knowing if the ring was truly gone, he would have an emotional husband and the fears of his depression returning.

          That first night had been rough. Koichi’s depression was in full swing, Tatsu holding him throughout the night as the young man cried over the loss of his wedding ring. “I can’t believe he took it, what else would have happened to it? I always take it off when I type because is slides around too much, I swear I was only gone for not even ten minutes.”

          Tatsu stopped trying to comfort Koichi with words, instead wrapping his arms around him and letting him cry, and keeping Teo out of the bedroom. He knew Koichi didn’t hate the small cat, but Teo was persona non grata at the moment or until the ring was found. Gordy was oblivious to the drama, only concerned with being fed on time and being allowed to sleep with the couple. “Be the hero, Gordy…go find Kou’s ring.” Tatsu kept telling the cat.

          Tatsu woke before Koichi, creeping out of bed quietly. “Come on you little shits,” he whispered to the two cats, Teo not understanding the words Tatsu was saying, but his tone of voice was clear. As he made his way to the kitchen, he scanned the carpeted floor, looking behind book cases, tables and the couch. “You already looked there, dummy,” he mumbled to himself.

          Watching Teo and Gordy eat, Tatsu ran through the places where the ring might be stashed, and the grim possibility that it may not be found. The latter of the two worried him, Koichi would be devastated if the original ring was lost forever. Tatsu knew he’d have to come up with something special to ease his husband’s grief, what that would be he had no clue.

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            “Thank you!” Koichi closed the door, carrying his purchases to the kitchen, putting them out on the table. “Hmm, probably should save one box for him, but just one!” Sorting the boxes, Koichi kept one aside, “Milk…gotta have milk.” Grabbing a glass, Koichi grabbed his box and headed for the couch. It was cold and rainy, the perfect day for a binge watch of his favorite show, in an attempt to get his mind off the loss of his wedding ring, which they still had not found.

          “Tadaima,” Tatsu closed the door quickly then toed off his shoes, “Okaeri’, he heard Koichi in the living room. Walking in he stopped dead, “Uh…what are you doing?” he looked at his husband. “Watching a movie,” Koichi held out the box, “want some?”

          Tatsu frowned, “Where did you get those?”

          “Where you think?”

          “Did you mug them, or did you actually pay for them?”

          “MUG THEM? What the hell kind of question is that? Who the hell would mug Girl Scouts! Of course I paid for them you asshole! FINE! You’re not getting any.” Koichi hugged his box of cookies close, “Really? How many boxes did you buy, Kou?” Tatsu turned to walk to the kitchen.

          “NO!” Koichi jumped off the couch, running towards the kitchen and shoving Tatsu out of the way. “These are mine! Fuck you if you think you’re getting any!” A tussle ensued over the boxes of Girl Scout cookies, a lot of handsy grabbing that had nothing to do with the situation, Koichi alternately screaming and giggling, “Stop it! It’s not fair…no tickling!”

          “Alls’ fair when it comes to cookies, Kou, you know that!” Tatsu huffed. With one last effort, Tatsu grabbed his husband around the waist and hoisted him up and over his shoulder, “Wait…what the hell? Tatsu put me down!” Koichi was thumping his husband on the back. “Oh, I’ll put you down, but where I want you!”

          Tatsu reached up and rubbed Koichi’s ass, sliding his hand between the man’s legs, Koichi’s breath hitched. “So you think having sex is going to make me give up the cookies? Pfftt. Hardly.” Tatsu took his time convincing Koichi that having sex was much better than any box of cookies.

 

          Koichi laid on the bed and cried. They had torn every room apart, even rooms they knew Teo couldn’t possibly get into. The ring just wasn’t to be found. “Why the hell can’t we find it?” he sobbed into his pillow. Tatsu was sitting on the side of the bed, rubbing small circles on Koichi’s back, “Babe, it will turn up at some point. It’s in the house…there’s no way it got out of the house. We’ll probably find it when we deep clean the house in the summer.” Tatsu tried to convince Koichi, but it was of little use…Koichi knew his ring was gone forever, and it tore his heart apart to think he’d never see it again.

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          “Why can’t it just show up? I keep having dreams about finding it, like last night…I dreamed we found Teo’s horde in a corner of the laundry room. My wedding ring, some weird hair clips and ties, and some tiny pieces of plastic that I didn’t know what they were.” Koichi and Tatsu had just finished tearing apart their bedroom. Tatsu had decided that they would go room to room and move every piece of furniture until they found Koichi’s wedding ring.

          Koichi laid back on the bed, frustrated but not angry any more, he couldn’t be. “Well, at least we did early spring cleaning…I’m sorry that we didn’t find it, babe. But we still have the guest bedroom and the office to go through.” Koichi had lost all hopes of finding the ring, “I’m sure it got thrown out in the trash, I just know it!”

          “I don’t think Teo would carry the ring in his mouth and then just randomly drop it in the trash, Kou. That’s giving Teo a lot of credit.” Every time the tiny black cat crossed his path, Koichi would hiss at him, “Teo, where’s my damn ring you little bastard!” Teo of course would just look at Koichi with the eyes of an innocent babe, if he knew anything, he wasn’t talking.

          Tatsu laid down on his stomach next to Koichi, draping himself over his husband’s chest, “We’ll find it, it’s just going to take some time. Maybe we should give Teo something, then follow him to his horde!” Tatsu leaned down and kissed Koichi, “Hey,” he wiggled his eyebrows, “since we got all dirty and stuff… wanna get dirty in the shower with me?” Tatsu nuzzled Koichi’s neck, causing him to giggle, “This was all just a ploy to get me to have dirty shower sex with you, wasn’t it? You don’t care about the ring, you just want my cute little ass.”  Koichi was half right, Tatsu did want his husband’s cute little ass.

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          “Um, what are you doing?” Tatsu walked into the living room, finding his husband on his knees in front of a small shrine. “Praying to St. Anthony to help find my ring.” Koichi answered as if it were the most normal thing in the world. “Saint who?” Tatsu had just gotten home from retrieving some music from DCR. “St. Anthony, he is the finder of lost things, and children too, he’s a Catholic Saint.”

          Like a dog on a bone, Koichi wasn’t ready to give up the search for his wedding ring, even though they had torn apart the house more than once. “Where did you get the candles?” Koichi clapped his hands twice and bowed, “From Christina, the girl I met in Los Angeles, when we were on tour together.” In addition to the St. Anthony candle, there was a Blessed Lady of Fatima next to it.

          “Not sure who she is,” Tatsu walked over and picked up the long slender candle. “I met her when Mucc played at the Wiltern, her family is from Mexico. We’ve stayed in touch by email and chat, I told her about my ring being lost and she sent me these candles and explained how to set up a shrine.”

          Koichi had meticulously followed the girl’s instructions on assembling the altar, and added her suggestion of incorporating his own religious practices, including a small onyx Buddha, some incense and a small bell.

          “Christina said if we pray to St. Anthony for a week, my ring should show up in the least likely place.” Koichi could see that Tatsu was more than just skeptical. “Before you say anything, doing this can’t hurt. We’ve torn apart the house twice, we know neither Teo nor Gordy swallowed the ring…so it still has to be in the house somewhere.”

          Tatsu smiled softly, “I’m not saying a word, whatever you want to do is fine, I understand that trying something different may just work.” Happy that his husband wasn’t going to criticize his attempts, Koichi got up from the floor and sat in his husband’s lap. “Thank you for understanding. I’m not going to be a troll or a spoiled whiney brat, but I still want to look for my ring, and before you ask… no, I don’t want a replacement. If we never find it, it doesn’t mean I love you any less, and everything we have is enough for me. I love you.” Koichi leaned into his husband’s chest and tenderly kissed him.

 

 

Image result for St anthony candle St. Anthony 

 

 

 

Our Lady of Fatima

 

Image result for our lady of fatima candle

 

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          “I give up.” Koichi said in frustration as he sat down on the step, “we’ve looked everywhere possible and still haven’t found it.” Tatsu sat down next his husband, gently twining his fingers in Koichi’s. “I can always get you another ring, it’s just a symbol after all.” He knew in his heart this was not what Koichi wanted.

          Koichi sighed, “Maybe just a super plain ring, nothing fancy.” He leaned his head on Tatsu’s shoulder, a single tear sliding down his cheek, “I can’t really be mad at Teo, we knew he liked to carry things around, I was just hoping…”

          “It most likely will show up when we least expect it, it has to be somewhere in the house, we don’t allow them outside,” Tatsu reasoned.

          “Come on, I’ll take you to Ojisan’s, I need chashu pork and a beer, I think you do as well, we’ll take the train so we can both drink.” Tatsu kissed Koichi on the side of his head.

          “Okay, maybe some yokai will find it and leave it out in the open, or maybe a random kami will take pity on me.”

          Tatsu started to laugh, “Yokai? Okay… I’ll go with that for now.”

          Standing in the genkan, Koichi scolded Teo one more time for being naughty, “Go find my ring, Teo!”  Teo just looked at his owner with no expression, then turned and walked away, “Little brat.”