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Meeting the Aunts

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"You're nervous," Langa points out as the car gets closer to their destination with every minute that passes. He knows Adam wanted to take their time, let them settle into their relationship before doing the family introductions. The plan had been to meet Langa's mother first, but Adam's aunts had forced the need for an impromptu introduction with their intense persistence to set Adam up in an arranged marriage.

Adam sighs, tension written all over his face, and Langa reaches out to take his hand, giving a reassuring squeeze. "It's going to be bad. I'm dreading what they'll say to me, and to you especially." Adam had warned him many times that his aunts had certain expectations, and would not react kindly to Langa.

Another sigh has Langa unbuckling his seat-belt. He slides over, cuddling into Adam's arms. "I know. Don't worry about me. I don't care what they think. We'll get through it." He's more worried about Adam. He doesn't know all the details, Adam hadn't gone in depth, but he did explain to Langa how his three aunts raised him with strict rules and still expect him to dance to their tune, how his father had never been around much, how his mother had never been in his life, how his aunts want Adam to marry a woman of their choosing.

Even if Langa doesn't have a complete understanding, he knows Adam's life is and has always been stressful and the only real freedom he has is when he dons his mask and matador costume at S or when he's spending time privately with Langa. It's going to be a huge bomb to drop on them when Adam walks in with Langa at his side and tells them that no, he won't marry a woman, he prefers men, and he's in love with Langa. It'll be the first time Adam has truly defied their wishes in a major way.

Adam nuzzles kisses into Langa's hair while Langa does his best to comfort his anxious boyfriend. Adam never likes to show his more vulnerable side, so for him to be so visibly worried about breaking the news to his aunts has Langa's heart clenching in sympathy. "Whatever happens," Adam says, "I love you. Know that."

"I love you too, Ai," Langa replies and they meet for a soft kiss, reassuring each other of their affection. Adam holds Langa in his arms for the rest of the car ride until they're pulling into the driveway of a large mansion. Langa can't help but gape. It's huge! He's only seen such luxury in movies. He glances over at a tight-lipped Adam. He's barely concealing his anxiety. Langa wants to reach out again, hold his hand, but Adam had warned him against any physical signs of their relationship while they are there.

Langa understands. Adam has a public reputation to maintain. It's never bothered him that they have to keep it on the down-low for the time being. He's just happy to be with Adam and love each other.

Tadashi leads them inside and Langa notices the curious gaze and whispers of the other servants, who peak at them from around corners. He keeps to Adam's side and follows Tadashi through a maze of corridors until they approach a door. "In here, sir," Tadashi says, opening it and ushering the two inside, closing it behind them, taking his place to stand quietly near a wall and keep watch.

Three women sitting around a table decorated with fancy tea cups and sophisticated snacks turn to look at them. Adam's aunts look as prissy and stuck up as Langa expected. He swallows hard and keeps close to Adam's side, hands brushing against each other. Their gazes immediately lock onto him as he and Adam move towards the table and sit down in the two empty chairs.

"Who is this, Ainosuke?" the woman with the long purple hair asks. The other two women follow her lead and look down their noses at him. The ring-leader's eyes narrow at Langa. It's the kind of stare that feels likes it's cutting right through him.

"Aunties, this Langa-kun," Adam starts, then offers a hand to Langa. He reaches over and takes it, meeting Adam's nervous gaze with a reassuring smile. Adam takes a deep breath and continues, "He's my boyfriend and the love of my life."

The situation goes downhill extremely fast.

When Adam had said it would be bad, Langa had thought just some loud words and judgmental staring that he'd have to tolerate and sit through until they could get out of there. He did not expect the screaming threats, the shattering of cups against the wall, the flipped chairs, the dramatic hair-pulling while crying fake tears, the nasty words trying to shame them, the fingers pointing at them like they're misbehaving animals. The worst turns out to be the long-winded hysterical speeches of what a disappointment Adam, Ainosuke is, something that has Langa gritting his teeth to keep from snarling a rebuttal.

He could tell all of the bullshit is getting to and hurting Adam, with how tight his grip is on Langa's hand as they sit there and suffer silently through the abuse. Finally, when the bitch with the purple hair starts to go on about how Ainosuke has ruined his life, Langa snaps. "Shut up."

The women all fall silent, mouths agape, looking aghast. "Langa..." Adam breathes, staring at him with wide eyes. Langa can see the spark of pride, of delight, buried under the darkness of stress and unhappiness and despair in Adam's eyes.

"You don't get to tell him what to do anymore," Langa says. "You've leeched off him long enough. He's allowed to make his own decisions and find his own happiness. You have no-"

There's a burst of pain on the side of his face and Langa is spinning, hand torn away from Adam's hold, falling out of his chair to the floor. Oh, he realizes, putting a hand on his stinging cheek, the ring-leader slapped him. The room is silent for a tense moment other than the sound of enraged panting from the purple-haired lady.

Tadashi helps him up. "Thanks," Langa says, and then notices Tadashi freeze with wide eyes. Langa turns just in time to see Adam stand up, step forward, and backhand the aunt who struck Langa. She falls onto the table with a loud cry, spilling what's left of their tea all over her, the other two looking on with dramatically horrified gasps.

"You- how dare you touch him!" Adam snarls, rage burning on his face. "Not him! You will never touch him again!" Adam starts to prowl forward and Tadashi lunges to grab Adam's arm and pull him back before he can escalate further. "Let go! Tadashi!"

Langa steps in front of Adam, wrapping him in a hug to help Tadashi and try and calm Adam down. Their gazes meet, the fury in Adam's eyes faltering as Langa looks up at him with a soothing smile. "It's okay, Ai. That's enough. They're not worth it. Let's go."

"Get out!" a shrill voice screeches at them from behind Langa. "Get out and never come in our sight again! You worthless child!"

"Gladly," Langa replies without glancing back. They're not even worth the effort to make forced polite eye contact. They don't deserve respect.

"Fuck you," Adam growls at them, setting off another round of screeching, as Langa and Tadashi push and pull Adam out of the room, past the gossiping servants, out of that awful house, and into the car. With every step Adam fights them less, and when they get into the car to leave, Adam pulls Langa tight against him, burying his face in Langa's shoulder, trembling.

"It's okay, Ai. It's okay," Langa murmurs, running his hands through Adam's hair. He's never seen Adam cry before-

Adam throws his head back, laughing hard, moisture at the edges of his eyes. Langa sucks in a breath, staring at the sight with wide-eyed wonder. "You told her to shut up!" Adam gasps out, "I can't believe it! Part of me has always wanted to do that! You wonderful boy! I love you!" Adam rains kisses down on Langa's lips and face, only stopping when Langa lets out a hiss of pain when Adam touches the tender skin where he'd been slapped. "Ah, I'm sorry darling, my love, does it hurt?" Adam gently brushes his fingers along Langa's cheek.

Langa smiles, and shakes his head. "Don't worry. It'll be fine. It was totally worth it anyways. I only wish I could have said everything on my mind, though you summed up my thoughts with two words."

Adam lets out a chuckle, eyes glowing with satisfaction, then softens and gazes down at Langa with adoration and curiosity. "Tell me what you would have said. Please, indulge me, Langa." With a grin, Langa does, and soon the car is filled with both their laughter as Tadashi drives them further away from that mansion, further away from Adam's horrible aunts, under a bright and open blue sky.