It started to rain as Nico climbed the stairs from the Ginza metro station to street level.
Geez, lucky I brought my umbrella she thought as she walked through the streets to her destination, Tokyu Plaza Ginza wasn’t that for from Egao Jōshō, but she was almost never in this part of town. ‘Too pricey and no idols in sight’ was her opinion and as such the area held very little interest for her. She’d been here on dinners and social events hosted by the Nishikinos and the occasional date with Maki sure, but that had always been a special occasion.
It followed that Maki had something she needed to tell Nico... but what? Another medical symposium so she’d be gone for a week? Or would she have to go abroad to speak at a conference? No real problem, she’d just come along like Maki often did when she was out on tours. Besides, something like that they’d talk about at dinner at home… so what could it be?
She arrived at street level of the Tokyu Plaza and looked around.
She was a few minutes early so she window browsed the high-end shops. Hmm that dress would look excellent on Maki, she though, but was taken aback by the price tag, maybe a bit overboard Nico.
Her phone vibrated, she took it out and opened LINE.
DrNishikino: I’ll be a minute or so late, I forgot my umbrella at the hospital so I had to get a replacement.
Please be sensible Maki-chan, not an expensive brand one for thousands of yen, Nico thought.
No1Idol: Nico always has her umbrella she got from Maki-chan with her. Maki-chan should use the one super Idol Nico gave to her.
As Maki typed she thought, that umbrella can’t even handle rain... and it’s so pink.
DrNishikino: It’s at home, it’s special to me so I want to keep it safe. Anyway I’m getting of the metro soon so I’ll be there in a minute.
No1Idol: Which restaurant are we going to? I could go up and wait there. Nico is not completely waterproof you know.
No answer. Not for several minutes.
She waited. No answer. This was not normal.
No1Idol: Maki-chan? You ok? Please answer. Nico is worried!
Nico stared at her phone. No reply. What could be going on? She started to get anxious.
Nico turned to her left and saw a blur of red barrelling towards her. She had two options, either get knocked down by her wife rushing towards her or step out of the way and try catch her.
“I can’t stop!” Maki shouted, slipping and sliding on the wet concrete plates.
She opened her arms and let the red tornado collide with her.
“Going up. Please beware of the doors”
She rubbed her back a bit. It still hurt.
“I’m so sorry, I knew I was getting late and I didn’t want to have you standing there in the rain so I ran, but it was so slippy and I couldn’t stop…” Maki’s voice trailed off and she looked embarrassed at the floor of the elevator.
“Relax! I’m fine” lifting the other woman’s head and putting a finger on her lips, “Sure it hurt, sure it was unexpected, but I’d rather have you run into me than anyone else.”
Undeterred by the finger, Maki continued to apologize:
“But you could have been seriously hurt, and I want you to be well and not in pain...”
“Maki-chan.” She took Makis’ head in her hands. “I’m fine. No harm done.”
“But..mmrg” Maki enunciated as she was silenced by Nico’s lips. Nico felt Maki relax and deeper into the kiss when…
Maki instinctively jumped back and blushed.
Ohh Maki-chan, after all these years. Nico thought.
“Floor 10. Restaurants”
Both looked at each other, laughed and exited the elevator arm-in-arm.
They strolled through the floor, Maki leading the way, looking at the various restaurants, commenting on the displays of regional and specialities from other prefectures until they arrived at the restaurant.
By first impressions Himuka didn’t appear to be very fancy or big, just a simple entrance with fabric covering in eye height, but past that barrier a wood heavy landscape revealed itself with small and long tables and windows toward the Ginza and the greater Tokyo skyline. The air smelled of grill and warm wood.
The man behind the counter welcomed them, looking at them apologetically.
“Welcome to Himuka. I’m sorry but we are a bit full tonight. Do you have a reservation?”
“Yes, “ Maki began to speak, “We have book…” Another voice broke in.
“Nishikino-sama, how wonderful to see you again!” an elder refined man in a very expensive looking and well-fitting suit came up to them.
“Togashi-san? I thought you managed the restaurant in Roppongi Hills. What brings you here?”, Maki said confused.
“I manage this one too Nishikino-sama. Our main Maitre’d was not able to come in today, so I’m helping out. When I saw your name on the booking calendar, I was not certain if it was you or maybe your wonderful parents that would grace us with their patronage this evening.” he continued to explain, smiling happily at Maki.
“Ahh well, this evening it’s just me and my wife...”
“Yazawa-sama. Yes.”, Togashi-san said without missing a beat, “May I welcome you both to our humble establishment tonight. Allow me to guide you to your room.”, he started to turn.
Nico was a bit surprised that she’d been recognized so she asked:
“Please wait a moment Togashi-san.” The man turned to her, looking a bit anxious. “May I ask how you know of me? Nico is pretty certain we have never met and it’s been a while since I did any appearances on TV.”
“But Yazama-sama, you have done appearances that have touched people. One such was at Hibiya High School just, what was it, three weeks ago?” he stated.
Nico quickly searched her memory. Well yes, she had been at a high school with Tsubasa and Hanayo a couple of weeks ago as part of the Pro bono Idoli program, but there had been no elder gentleman present then.
“Ahh yes, but I cannot recall seeing you there”
“Well, you didn’t.”
“My granddaughter is in Hibiyas school idol group. When they visited at the weekend she could not stop talking about how gracious and helpful you had been to them. She showed me pictures too.” Togashi-san explained.
“I do not pretend to understand the idol business myself, but if it makes my granddaughter happy, then it must be good for her.” He finished with a touch of pride in his voice.
“Bringing a smile is what an idol does Togashi-san. Please extend my well wishes and congratulations on being wonderful idols to your granddaughter and the rest of the group.” Nico said proudly.
“I will, now, this way please” and he ushered them deeper into the restaurant. All the while Nico was wondering why they were here and what was so important for Maki to tell her, it had to be in a private room.
The room was simple and elegant. Tatami mats, a low table with a sunken in grill, soundproofing, privacy screens and a small control panel with buttons on the table to call the staff or open the screens.
All in all. A very private room for a very private conversation.
Maki was nervous. How would you open for such a difficult topic? It was a big step, a dream, yes, but also very scary. Would they change? Would it ruin the wonderful life they had?
Could they manage? And how would they raise it? Would they have enough time to be home? Would kind of parent would she be?
“Maki?” she felt two hands on hers. Nicos hands. Warm hands. Safe hands. It would be all right. They would be ok. They had each other. It would be ok.
“Sorry. I must have phased out.” she replied, pulling her attention back to her wife.
“You might want to take that off the grill before it’s completely burned.” Nico said with a smirk, pointing to the table grill.
“Whuaahhh!” Make exclaimed as she tried to pull the deep black charred piece of osaki beef from the grill.
“It’s… just the way I wanted it” Maki pouted. “It’s best this way!”
“Whatever you say dear.” Nico smiled her loving smile, having a piece from the grill. “Mmm, your father does not mess around, this is amazing!”
Maki nodded. I’ll just say it plain. Yes, that’s the way.. just ‘Nico, do you want to have children with me’ simple.. but noooo.. it’s way to straight forward. And what if she says no… what if…
“Maki-chan?” Nico poked her arm with a chopstick.
“Whatever you need to talk to be about... I’m right here, no one else can hear. Only your number one Idol Nico is here, or you might want to have... me?” Nico said with a wink.
Maki turned beet-red. “No, of course not… we’re in a restaurant! You’re hopeless!” She pouted.
“I’m not talking about that here…” her voice got soft “maybe later… Idiot.”
“You love me!” Nico took Maki’s hands in hers.
“Definitely!” The looked into each others eyes, their surroundings temporary forgotten.
“Now tell me. What was so important that you take me to a fancy restaurant, get a private room and panic at the sheer thought because you don’t know how to start?”
“You.. noticed?” Maki looked puzzled.
“Maki-chan dear. We’ve known each other for quite the number of years, we live together, we’re married, we know each other.” Nico breathed in, “Of course I noticed, so would you if it were me, so tell Nico.”
OK, here it goes... to the point and all.
Maki took a deep breath.
“Nico-chan… do you want to have children with me?” she asked, her voice slightly shaking.
Nico’s world blinked and stopped.
She saw herself surrounded by those she loved. Maki, her mother, Cocoro, Cocoa, Cotaro, µ’s. And there was Saki, playing with a child. A child held by Maki. Their child. It was normal, perfect, unreal. Was she dreaming? She heard Maki’s voice calling to her, but her lips didn’t move. Odd.
Reality rushed back.
“What? Where? Maki-chan?” Nico blinked.
“Are you ok Nico-chan?”
“Nico is always ok when she is with Maki-chan” came the reply, more like an automatic answer than a thought out reply. Her eyes were trying to focus on Maki.
“Yes” Nico didn’t move “Ouch!” she jumped slightly and looked at her arm where Maki had pinched her. “What was that for?”
“Just getting you back to me.” Maki said with a smirk.
“There is no reason to pinch. Nico-Nii is always present and ready to put on a smile on people’s faces”.
“You love it”
“Maybe.. but did you hear what I asked?”
“Nico-nii.. ouch!... I think I do, but I can’t remember. Could you ask me again please?”
Maki sighed, it was hard enough to ask the first time. But this was for them, so she pushed down her doubts and fears and said, locking Nicos’ eyes.
“Nico-chan. Do you want to have children...”, there was a plea mixed with panic in her voice, “with me?”
“Yes!” she said after what felt like an eternity for Maki. “Yes yes oh god yes!” she continued, building up speed for each syllable. She took Makis’ hands. “You, me.. a family.” Tears ran slowly down her cheeks. She was so happy. Maki mirrored her, tears slowly trickling on the table. She’d been so afraid of what Nico would say and had repressed any tears of happiness until she saw that her everything was happy too.
They just looked into each other’s eyes for the longest time, until practical Nico emerged with a simple question: “How? Like Nozomi?”
“No, nothing donated but from us. Only from us, no one else”
“What? But how?” Nico was confused, they, well, couldn’t. Only male and female in combination could create that miracle, not two females, or that was what she’d been taught.
“Well… this morning there was a presentation at the hospital…” Maki began, accounting for the presentation, her subsequent reading of the report and, on a layman level, how it would work. And about the attention of the medical community and probably the press too.
“But there are a few things we have to decide before we even get there.”
“Most importantly, who of us will carry?”
There was a long silence.
The table buzzer woke them from their thoughts. Maki looked at Nico, who nodded, and Maki let their booth doors open for the server.
The server served the next dish, quickly explained the various pieces of it and left, probably feeling the atmosphere in the booth.
They ate in silence for a few moments, their thoughts on the question until Nico suddenly said:
“I’ll do it!”
“No buts! I’m sure. I want this! I’ll do it!”, Nico was fired up. She had an intensity about her that Maki had never seen before. She would not back down, Maki knew.
“Nico-chan…” Maki throat felt dry.
Nico’s eyes glowed and she said calmly:
“Maki-chan. You know Nico is the right person for it. Nico can handle the media. I have an idea what to expect from how my mother was, and I’d want no one else to watch over me but you. Because I know that you will be level headed for both of us. Or should I say for all three?” a warm smile spreading across her face. “I’ll show them what Nico-Nico-Nii, number one wife in the world can do. No… what the number one couple in the world can do.”
Maki sighed: “This is serious, this will affect us both. Idiot.”
“You love me.”
“Ohh yes I do”, she tilted the raven-haired womans’ head up and kissed her. A kiss of love, promise and hope for the future.
They stayed like this for a few seconds, unwilling to break contact.
“I love you Nico-chan” Maki whispered as they finally parted
“I love you too Maki-chan”.
The remainder of the dinner was spent with conversation shifting away from the topic a silent compromise to talk about it at home.
As they arrived at their home, Nico said teasingly:
“You know… in order to have a baby there are certain things that need to be done by the to-be parents.“
“Uh? What? But the procedure is done at the hospital and there is nothing….” Maki started to reply.
Nico reached up and softly bit a certain sensitive spot on Makis’ neck.
The effect was immediate, Makis’ eyes went wide and her breathing got heavy.
“Ohh… well yes, there are some procedures that…” her voice getting hoarse.
Nico took Makis’ head and gently pulled it to her level.
“Shut up and take me to bed already…” She nibbled the top of Makis’ ear.
Maki didn’t need any further encouragement.