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Price of Family

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Aoi wrinkled his nose as he stretched, grunting and then rolling over to rub at one shoulder. Definitely not as young as he used to be anymore. Or more likely, he wasn't feeding enough, since his deva body wasn't really that old, given his much longer than human natural life span. Whatever the reasoning, his shoulder hurt.

“Trouble, love?” a familiar voice purred.

“Just slept funky,” he said, though he didn't hesitate to let his hand drop as the mattress dipped, Sugizo moving to sit behind him and start massaging his shoulders. A beat and he could feel a warm thread of angel magic.

“This feels like other than just a night of sleeping awkwardly,” his lover said, tsking softly. “What am I to do with you?”

“Love me~?” Aoi quipped almost too quickly. And still Sugizo laughed, which was certainly better than the alternative.

“Brat,” the angel murmured, brushing a kiss to the back of Aoi's neck.

“Like you'd have me any other way,” he murmured, leaning backwards against Sugizo's chest.

“Cocky, too!”

“All part of my charm~”

Another laugh as Sugizo urged Aoi up, then slid out from under him. Of course. Too much work to do, always too much work to do. And unlike Aoi, Sugizo had clearly already been up for probably several hours, showered and dressed and all ... presentable.

“Have you even slept?” he asked, frowning.

“Angel, love, remember?” Sugizo half scolded. “Don't need sleep.”

“Vampire tries to claim the same thing and yet who is it who likes to get on to me about the psychologically therapeutic effects of a good night's sleep?” Aoi argued, smirking. “You two are horrible, I hope you know that.”

“And you're so much better?” his lover countered, chuckling and brushing a kiss to Aoi's forehead.

“It's your turn for dinner tonight,” Aoi said, hoping maybe the change of subject would get him away from the dirty thoughts currently circling his head. “Am I picking up groceries or do you have it covered?”

“Considering I'm probably going to have to actually come and physically pull you away from Kai-kun and Ruki-kun tonight, let me worry about it,” Sugizo replied, laughing again.

“Oi, I'm not that bad!”

“Have been all week from what Tarouneko says,” the angel countered with a knowing smirk. Aoi snorted, not about to try arguing that point anymore. Gazette had been putting in a lot of late nights this week, all five of them. And last week, actually. They wouldn't admit as much on social media, at least not directly, but half the reason Ruki would be up all night was working on compositions with one or more or even all five of them through the night. Sure a song's composition might be credited to him or Ruki or Uruha, but the final product was always something they had built and polished together. It was how they worked best.

“Such a disgruntled face,” Sugizo teased, brushing a kiss to Aoi's cheek. “See you tonight, And I'll text Kai-kun after lunch so he knows to expect me.”

“Keep showing up at our studio and people are going to talk,” Aoi teased, turning to catch Sugizo in his arms.

“Wouldn't be the first time,” Sugizo replied, chuckling. The angel cupped Aoi's face in his hands, knowing without having to be told what it was the deva wanted from him. This kiss was just as toe-curling-ly satisfying as the first one. Aoi itched to do more, but he restrained himself. Sugizo had a schedule to keep ... and, all right, so did he. But later tonight....

~*~*~

Ryuutarou pulled his phone out at precisely 4:45pm and gave Tadashi his most winning innocent smile.

“You know what this means,” he said, waggling the ringing phone and grinning.

“Yeah, yeah,” Tadashi mock-grumbled. “I hope you know you only got my agreement because you cheated.”

“Having Reina-chan ask you was not cheating, it was strategically weaponized cuteness,” Ryuutarou said as he started packing up his things. “Not my fault that it worked.”

“Of course it worked,” the other man said, arms still crossed over his chest. “Just because I never found the right woman, that doesn't mean I'm immune to a wibbling toddler! I'm not heartless!”

“Yeah, she's even cuter than Tarou, it's wildly unfair,” Kenken chimed in with a laugh.

“She is my daughter, of course she's adorable,” Ryuutarou said, double checking his pockets before turning and bowing to the booth engineers with thanks for their work. Today was a good day.

Letting himself into the condo, Ryuutarou almost laughed at the note waiting for him. A shopping list with an added note that Sugizo had the twins with him and would bring Aoi home at the agreed time. Fine with him, at least the angel had finally come to accept that things went better for everyone if he let Ryuutarou help him.

To be honest, after a stressful day in the studio with his bandmates, the act of shopping for dinner groceries was rather soothing. The sort of mundane activity that let him wind down before having to deal with his family again. Today hadn't been as bad as some, but he was still glad for the space, the time to readjust his mental landscape.

He was just sitting down with a cup of coffee, groceries all put away, when the front door opened. A beat and two little voices cried out before scampering into the lounge.

“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”

Laughing, Ryuutarou quickly set aside his coffee so he could scoop the twins up into his arms in a big hug. Only a few hours, but it always did his heart good to see how excited the twins were to see him again.

“Did you two have fun with Su-Mommy this afternoon?”

“Yup!” Shin and Reina chorused with matching grins.

“Look what Uncle Ino got me!” Reina added, holding up a shoulder bag almost half her size. White and bright pink with Hello Kitty on it. That moved on its own. Taking the bag from her, he was almost afraid to look inside it, instead looking up at Sugizo. Naturally, the angel wasn't there. Worse, Aoi was standing there with a second bag and the biggest shit-eating grin Ryuutarou had seen in awhile.

“... you're not going to tell me what this is, are you?” he asked, unsurprised by the way Aoi laughed. Another huff and he opened the bag to find a wiggling lump of fake fur. Frowning, he let go of Reina to actually pull out the wiggling thing. A guinea pig. It was a robotic guinea pig, reddish-brown with white around the middle.

“Uncle Ino says if we take care of them gooder enough, he'll get us real ones next year!”

“Well enough,” Ryuutarou mumbled absently, poking around to try to figure out how to turn the thing off.

“They're stupid,” Shin grumbled. “They don't even do anything interesting!”

“I think that's the point, baby,” Aoi said, reaching out to ruffle Shin's hair. And getting a particularly dirty look for his trouble.

“Not a baby,” Shin muttered. Ryuutarou had to bite back a laugh at that, setting down the no longer wiggling fluffy lump to scoop his son up onto his lap.

“Definitely Daddy's big boy,” he agreed, giving him a hug. “I'll bet, if you think about it, you'll be able to find a way to have fun with yours. Or should we give it to Emi-hime?”

That suggestion had the expected effect, Shin immediately shaking his head. He didn't know what had prompted these sudden gifts in the middle of summer, but he would be surprised if Inoran hadn't already taken into consideration how close the twins were with Hyde's daughter.

“So what did you and Su-mommy get up to this afternoon, hmm? Besides visiting Uncle Ino?”

The gentle prompt was enough to get the twins to chattering about their afternoon, complete with competing versions. For the moment, the new toys were completely forgotten.

~*~*~

Even though he had been expecting some sort of retaliation for hours, the sudden pinch still managed to catch Sugizo off guard. And yet it was less than he had been anticipating, especially the way it was coupled with Ryuutarou's soft giggling.

“Hey now,” he said, a fake frown on his face, struggling not to laugh.

“You're the one who gave Ino-san permission to buy our kids robotic hamsters.”

“Guinea pigs.”

“Whatever!” Ryuutarou said, still laughing. “What were you thinking?”

“I was thinking it was better than his first suggestion of real live guinea pigs,” Sugizo replied, reaching out to draw Ryuutarou into his lap. “Agreed?”

“Okay, yes, but still.... What are we supposed to do if they actually do take good care of these things?”

“Couple of weeks and they'll be bored with them,” he predicted with a grin. “By next summer they'll have forgotten about them entirely. And if Ino tries to buy them live pets again anyway, I'll stop him.”

“Holding you to that,” the bakeneko grumbled, though Sugizo knew better than to think he was being entirely earnest or honest in his supposed upset. Especially when he had been giggling about it just a moment ago.

“I wouldn't lie to you, precious,” Sugizo said, brushing a kiss to Ryuutarou's cheek. As he had been expecting, the younger man hummed and snuggled into his chest.

“Okay you two, I see how it is, leaving me alone to deal with bath time,” Aoi mock-grumped. Given that warning, it was less of a surprise when a little voice started making gagging noises.

“Oi now,” Aoi gently warned.

“But Su-mommy and Daddy are being gross,” Shin huffed.

“They're sitting together. If that's your threshold for gross, kiddo, boy have I got news for you,” the young deva warned, lips twitching as he tried not to smirk.

“Mooooooom!” Shin whined while Reina giggled.

“Okay, okay, sounds like bedtime. Who's ready for story time?” Sugizo asked, giving Ryuutarou one last squeeze-hug. “We'll continue this later,” he added in a heated whisper brushed against the back of Ryuutarou's neck.

“EWWWWWW!”

Between the gentle laughter of his boyfriends and the twins' child-like disgust, it was almost a perfect moment. Only one thing missing....

~*~*~

The irony was, the more successful a businessman Yoshiki became, the less time he had to actually enjoy the fruits of his labors. He did try to delegate, to cut back his own personal involvement in every little thing, but invariably before long something would come up and demand his focused attention again. It really was maddening.

You're just making excuses now and you know it.

A heavy sigh and he rubbed his thumb along his left eyebrow, trying to soothe the headache he could already feel building there. That voice sounded annoyingly familiar ... but it wasn't wrong.

“Sir?”

“No. Just ... no. I was supposed to fly home two days ago,” he muttered. “If they can't fix this mess in the next ... let's say four hours, I'm pulling the plug.”

“But –.”

“No buts!” he snapped, abruptly standing from his desk. “Four hours, that's final.”

As hard as it was, he forced himself not to react to the panic he could feel in the air all around him even as his office rapidly emptied of people, his eyes trained on the New York skyline. He needed to get home, before he really lost his temper with these people.

“You're making a bad habit of this, Yo-chan.”

“Yuune....”

“At least I always know how to find you,” the angel said, a sardonic smirk curving sensual lips. “Do I need to drag you out of here or will you come quietly?”

“Four hours,” he said with a little shake of his head, turning back towards the view of the city. He wasn't expecting the hand that slid around the back of his neck, the lips that pressed a light kiss to his cheek. Or the heaviness of his own sigh, the ease with which he leaned back against the angel's strong chest.

“Four hours ... until you turn into a pumpkin?” his mate whispered, gently teasing. Yoshiki laughed in spite of himself and swatted the man's arm, albeit completely ineffectually.

“I gave them an ultimatum – get everything fixed in four hours or I walk.”

“Sounds like a good ultimatum to me,” Sugizo agreed. “So should I come back then or…?”

“No, I need to bring my plane back to Tokyo anyway,” he sighed, forcing himself to step back. “You shouldn’t even be here, if someone catches you….”

“So little faith,” Sugizo teased, gently pulling Yoshiki back into his arms. “No one’s going to know I was ever here, trust me. Just you and me. Now let me help you relax, yes? You come home this wound up and Tarou’s really going to let you have it.”

“You say that like he hasn’t spent the last two days working up a really long rant,” Yoshiki muttered, though he stopped trying to move away from the angel.

“Actually, he hasn’t,” Sugizo said. “Not his way, ne? Though if he ever manages to corner these people you’ve been working with, he might give them a piece of his mind. Then again … probably not.”

“I know our kitten, love. I am completely certain he will be having words with me when I’m allowed to go home at the end of all this, Yoshiki replied, shaking his head again. “I’ve been lectured too many times to think otherwise. Just because you’re his perfect angel….”

“Me? No, no, the only perfect ones in his eyes are the twins,” Sugizo countered, chuckling. “You missed the scolding I got because Ino bought the twins new toys.”

“... I’m almost afraid to ask.”

“Robot guinea pigs. Shin managed to break his already, I really have no idea how.”

“Aren’t they a bit young for something like that?” Yoshiki asked.

“They are, but it was a compromise, before Ino actually went out and bought them living pets that would have ended up living with Tousan and possibly eaten by his cats. Come to think of it, that might have something to do with how Shin broke his.”

“Over-excited kitten play time?” the vampire asked, a smile curving his lips as he imagined it.

“Something like that,” the angel agreed, chuckling.

“Well…. If you’re going to insist on hanging around me … let me make sure my plane will be ready to go when I am and then you can help me with the shopping?”

“You and your shopping,” his mate teased, brushing a kiss to his cheek. “You do know things can’t replace you, ne?”

“Aa, I know,” he agreed, sighing. “I also know Issama will cheerfully ask me what I did with my manners, if I dropped them in the subway or Central Park or something, if I don’t return with suitable omiyage. And once I start down that path….”

“The easiest solution would be to travel less, but since I can’t imagine that ever happening,” Sugizo teased, laughing as he found himself a seat. Yoshiki rather suspected his crew wouldn’t be able to have the plane ready in anything less than six hours, but it was worth a shot. But perhaps next time he would fly commercial, if only to avoid stranding his plane when Sugizo came to fetch him back. Jet fuel didn’t grow on trees, after all.