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“It explains a lot.”

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“Uncle Mako!”

Taichi drops his homework at the sight of a familiar person walking into the yard, and hurtles outside without even putting his shoes on. Kiryu looks up from helping Riona with her own homework in time to see Taichi hurtle over to Date and tackle him into such a hard embrace he stumbles and almost drops his luggage. Within seconds, the other children scamper out into the yard, and Haruka grins when she passes Kiryu. As the kids swarm around Date, demanding gifts and attention, Kiryu drags himself to his feet and wanders out to join them.

Looking over their heads, Date spots Kiryu and gives him one of those smiles that make Kiryu’s chest flutter. “Guess who’s back early?”

Kiryu smiles when the children part to let him through, and approaches his partner. To get the kids to give them some space, Date passes Mitsuo a plastic bag, and the kids scrabble to see their gifts. Only Haruka stands her ground, watching Date give Kiryu a soft kiss, and giggles when Kiryu’s face goes bright red.

“I’m glad you’re back,” Kiryu says, pressing a kiss to Date’s cheek.

Date smiles. “So am I.”


Later that evening, Date stands beside Kiryu in the kitchen, helping with the laborious task of washing the dishes. The kids all wanted to talk to Date at the dinner table, and Kiryu finds himself grateful for the chance to be alone with his partner.

“I was wondering something, Kaz,” Date says, and Kiryu’s chest flutters again despite Date having called him that for a while now.

“Oh, what?”

“What was the plastic thing Izumi was playing with at the table?”

Understanding the question instantly, Kiryu turns his head. “Oh, it’s called a Tangle. It’s just a bunch of interlocking bits of plastic, but it’s perfect for keeping your hands busy. I’d never heard of them before, but the doctor recommended—”

“Doctor?” Date says. “When did you take Izumi-chan to a doctor?”

“She’s not sick or anything, Makoto, don’t worry,” he says, relieved when Date’s shoulders relax. “It’s just… Izumi’s teacher said it was worth sending Izumi to get tested for autism, so we went to see a doctor and she got diagnosed.”

“Izumi’s autistic?”

Kiryu nods. “Uh-huh. The doctor recommended I get her some ‘stim toys’—things for her to fiddle with to help her concentrate at school. And the stim toys really help; her grades are up and she’s happier at school.”

Date smiles. “That’s good. I can’t say I know anything about autism, so I better get researching, huh?” he says, chuckling.

Kiryu watches Date smile, and his stomach clenches. Should he tell Date the other thing? It’s not like his partner would be a jerk about it, but…?

“Kaz, are you okay?” Date asks, placing a comforting hand on Kiryu’s back.

“Y-Yeah, it’s just that… while we were with the doctor, she said I-I might wanna get tested. So I went for an adult assessment, and…” His face flushes, and Kiryu’s hand flies up to his head, fingers combing his hair. “Turns out I’m autistic too.”

A warm hand covers his own, thumb carefully stroking Kiryu’s knuckles. “Kaz, you don’t need to be embarrassed.” Date smiles. “I’m just happy you trust me enough to tell me. And, to be honest… it explains a lot.”

Kiryu chuckles weakly. “You’re right. Now I know what all my little quirks mean, and, well… I know I’m f-fine the way I am.”

Date kisses him, still stroking his hand. “You’re totally right, Kaz. Now, why don’t we finish these dishes?”