The last party Adam had gone to with the Sketch Family, he had crashed--literally, actually. Perhaps the parachute from the damned sky had been a mistake. But, by god was it fun watching the shock in all their little eyes, except his darling Snow. That boy of his truly was a fearless being.
He wasn't expecting the party invitation that he had opened among his other business mail.
The writing on the envelope was scrawled in an elementary manner, clearly not getting the hang of proper brush strokes. Honestly, if he hadn't seen the familiar name in the return address, Ainosuke likely would have chastised whomever allowed such drivel in among important documents. Like any good politician, he had staffers to answer constituent mail. Then again, it was likely anything important enough to make it to Ainosuke's desk had previously passed through Tadashi at some point, and there's no way such a well-trained hound would have forgotten the Hasegawa name.
The invitation itself was no less childish, a slapdash of word art and cheap vector art ripped off the internet, looking all the world like it had been made in 1995. At least the computer-generated text was a tad more readable, and honestly it had a certain charm to it that made Ainosuke grin before he even read a word.
it read in large, rainbow Roman characters, some blurry images that might have been dancing cat gifs on either side of the text. In Japanese, it continued:
You're invited to a super cool birthday party! That party is for you!
I hope you come, it would be a really weird party if the birthday boy didn't come.
I looked up your birthday online and convinced the others it would be a great idea to hold something for you.
You came to my birthday, after all! That was really exciting.
Your job is kind of a big deal, so I get it if you're too busy, but I want to see you a lot.
It'll be at Sia le Luce this time, so don't worry about paparazzi seeing you dancing drunkenly off the roof on your birthday （*´▽｀*）
Ainosuke snorted at the little emoji. He had never really thought of Langa as the type to use them. His stomach was flip-flopping with a whole mess of joyful emotions; how cute this ridiculous invitation was, how sweet it was that Langa went and arranged this for him, how wonderful that Langa wanted to see him and enjoyed his presence...
He took a deep breath, trying to control the flush in his cheeks. It had been months since the whole White Eden tournament, and while he had definitely processed the idea of his whole “Eve” concept having been a teensy tad unhealthy, he had to admit a part of him still had an...obsession with the young man. Truly tragic that he'd been unable to really act on it over the course of time, seeing as this invitation suggested Langa may have been receptive.
“Ainosuke-sama, have you—” Tadashi started as he entered the room. He smiled when he saw the cheesy invitation in Ainosuke's hands. He closed the door with a quiet click and bowed his head subserviently.
“I see you've found young Mr. Hasegawa's letter,” he said. Ainosuke tilted his head, eyes narrowing slightly in amusement.
“I take it you had some part in making sure this made it into my hands?”
“Who is to say, sir?” The twinkle in Tadashi's eyes betrayed his otherwise stoic face.
“A bit presumptious of you, don't you think?” Ainosuke smirked, running his finger over the paper. “He did his research on me. I wonder how long it took him to figure out my actual name, unless that was also mysteriously provided to him?”
“I believe Mr. Hasegawa is likely intelligent enough to have pieced it together over the last few months he's been looking for you, though I'll remind you that he also could have acquired such information from Mr. Sakurayashiki.”
True. Kaoru had grown dangerously close to being brought home to meet the family in their youth. The concept of Langa seeking him out also intrigued him; Tadashi wasn't likely to have suggested something like that if it weren't true.
“Well then, it seems that we have to clear our schedule on the first.”
It had taken a while to convince everyone that holding a little shindig for the one and only Adam was a good idea, but it was all worth it. Langa was surprised that in the end Kojiro was the first one to be convinced; that said, maybe it was just so he'd be able to show off the restaurant in some high school reunion-esque posturing of life achievements. Everyone had been able to agree that despite the various traumas of the whole experience that had been White Eden, the S experience had never quite been the same since the matador had significantly cut down on his appearances. There had been none since February, in fact, and though he tried to hide it from the others, Langa had been practically pining.
It had been a strike of luck and fate when Langa saw an interview with Shindo Ainosuke on the nightly news, startling his mother when he jumped up to stare at the man on the screen. He definitely looked different without his masks and hairspray, but that was Adam, without a doubt. It felt like discovering a miraculous secret, and just served to increase Langa's determination to see him again.
When the night finally came and Ainosuke actually showed up, Langa's heart had absolutely leapt in his chest. Reki seemed the slightest bit irked by that at first, but as their little family gathering went on (and a few glasses of sparkling wine made it past Kaoru's distracted eyes) everyone seemed to be having an utter blast.
Langa was leaning against a wall, a small dreamy smile on his face as he watched an amusing tipsy argument between the three reunited friends, when he heard a throat clearing next to him. He looked over to see Tadashi, offering a lowball with some brown liquid inside.
“Oh, Mr. Kikuchi.” He took the glass with a nod. “Thank you for making sure he came tonight.”
“Of course, Mr. Hasegawa.”
“You can just call me Langa.”
“Well then, if we're on those terms, you can call me Tadashi.” He paused for a moment, as if troubling over whether to say his next sentence. “I suppose we are, if we're going to be sharing Ainosuke-sama.”
Langa's cheeks were already a tad red, but now they flushed brighter. He tried to hide it taking a sip of the oaky, smooth drink he'd been given.
“I don't mean to—”
“Step on toes? Don't worry, we serve very different purposes for Ainosuke-sama. You being his muse has never taken away from my role as his dog.” He gently placed his fingers against his neck, and Langa noticed the band of black leather peaking out from his loosened collar.
“Ainosuke-sama has been practically floating for the past week. I'm very glad you reached out to me about bringing him back into the fold.” Tadashi gave Ainosuke a little wave when they briefly made eye contact, turning back to his younger companion when he saw his master excusing himself from his conversation. The smile on Tadashi's face was something Langa could almost call maternal.
“I'll leave the two of you to catch up. I do hope to see a lot more of you in the future, Langa.”
Tadashi bowed to Ainosuke as he took his leave, making a pleased noise as Adam ran a hand over his shoulder. Langa started chugging his glass, suddenly fully aware of the man in front of him. Somehow seeing Adam's eyes staring into him without the barrier of a mask was just a little too intense for Langa to handle.
“Don't let Kojiro catch you chugging that,” he said, fangs shining despite the dim lights of the party. “That bourbon was a ¥200,000 bottle.” Langa choked.
“Relax! I brought it along; I'd be happy buying you as much as you'd like, he'd just be horrified on matter of principle.” Ainosuke moved to pat Langa's back, hovering his hand over him. “May I?” Langa's mind flashed back to when the two of them first met and couldn't quite keep himself from exhaling shakily.
“You can touch me,” he said, feeling his heart jump again at the excitement he saw in Ainosuke's eyes. His touch was really more of a caress, and Langa found himself really wanting to run his hands through Ainosuke's flamboyant hair.
“Thank you for this lovely party, Snowball,” he purred. “Terribly sorry I haven't been able to put on the shows you've been spoiled with, though I'm sure you have an idea of some of the hectic nature of my busy life away from our home.”
“I've missed you,” Langa said. He was about to regret blurting it out instead of saying something more eloquent, but oh. Adam always had a flair for the overdramatic, but watching Ainosuke's face melt into giddy delight was beautiful.
“Oh Langa, I wish I'd known! I would have figured out a way to make time for you.” He cocked his head, bringing his grin in to a controlled smirk. “How would you like that?”
“Are you asking me out, Mr. Shindo?” he asked, brows raised. Quietly, he muttered to himself in English, «I sure hope you are.»
«You do, do you?»
“I could think of no better birthday present,” Ainosuke purred into his ear.
“Will your little redhead have a fit?” The two of them glanced over to where Reki and Miya were playing some bizarre drinking game involving smacking each other's fingers.
“Maybe, but we don't have vetoes.”
“Good, I'll be sure to schedule something with you within the week,” Ainosuke said, and added with a wicked grin, “perhaps I'll get to unwrap my gift in the near future.”