1 September 1998
Los Angeles, California
Nowaki stirred awake as fingers laced through his own long fingers, ones he recognized as belonging to Xavier. Lifting his mouth to a soft one he knew well, he smiled, murmuring, “Mmmm… we there yet?”
Soft kisses pressed to his eyes. “Almost, Nowaki… we’re making our descent, though, so it won’t be long.”
Finally, he thought. Finally home. Although, how exciting was that? First real film with my name in it!
Opening his eyes, he turned to face Xavier, who was fastening his seatbelt. Brushing the errant lock of golden hair that always fell out of his ponytail over Xavier’s ear, he said quietly, “Good to be home, hai?”
The Englishman grinned. “Oh, it’ll be wicked good to be home. I can’t wait to take a bath in our tub.”
Nowaki cupped Xavier’s cheek, bringing his lips to his lover’s once more before adding, “Can’t wait to take one with you!”
Xavier grinned. “I have a few days off before the RSC director wants to do a conference call about the fall season. Have you made a decision about England yet?”
Nowaki nodded, squeezing his hand. “I have, Xavier. My mind hasn’t changed; I’m in this for the long haul. You’re the most important person in my world. If the call with the RSC man is the call you’ve been waiting for, then we’ll relocate to London. I’ve already spoken to Guildhall about the courses and they’ve looked at my transcript and are interested in me.”
Xavier’s eyes widened, their green color more vivid than Nowaki had ever seen them, the vein of excitement in his lover’s voice unmistakable. “Are you serious? They’re interested? You’ll come?”
Nowaki laughed. “You thought I wouldn’t? You actually thought I would let you go somewhere I couldn’t go?” He snorted, teasing slyly. “I suppose that I shouldn’t be too surprised!”
Xavier caught his mouth in a hungry kiss. “You.” Another deep kiss. “Are.” Nowaki’s hands buried in his lover’s hair as Xavier almost devoured him. “Amazing.”
“Nothing amazing about me… I’m in love with you, Xavier Blair,” Nowaki whispered, taking another light kiss. “Never will be in love with anyone but you.” Nuzzling Xavier’s nose with his own, Nowaki finished, “And the answer to the meaning of my life is Xavier Blair.”
The next hour was a blur; landing, getting luggage, catching a taxi, the drive back to the house overlooking the beach all passed with one singular thought in mind… and as soon as the door shut behind them, Nowaki was in Xavier’s arms. Nowaki’s chuckle muffled by Xavier’s kiss brought an arched eyebrow as those radiant green eyes met his copper moments later, the tip of Xavier’s tongue tracing Nowaki’s lower lip before he asked, “What is it, my iridescent lover?”
“Can you believe it’s been five years since our first kiss?” Nowaki pressed a kiss to the soft of his jaw, trailing his tongue down to Xavier’s voicebox, swirling around it before pressing a kiss to it as well. “And yet our fire is still a conflagration that has you pressing me to the stairs because we simply cannot make it up to our bedroom—”
Xavier laughed. “We never do make it there, do we?”
Nowaki grinned, shaking his head. “Never after a trip!”
Xavier’s mouth found Nowaki’s in a greedy kiss as his fingers curled in the waist of Nowaki’s jeans and pulled them down over his hips before opening his own. Nowaki rolled over, moaning as Xavier’s fingers caressed the sensitive skin of his ass and back. Kisses rained down on his spine and his shoulders, fingertips raking down his sides, moving around to stroke his already hard cock, one Nowaki would later bury inside of Xavier upon their arrival to the bedroom they shared. Warm gel was applied to his entrance as his lover’s low English voice murmured next to his ear, “I want your back to my chest when I take you, perfection that is my Nowaki.”
Slipping from his shirt, liking that Xavier did the same, Nowaki stood up on his knees, leaning back against his lover, shuddering as Xavier pushed into him, one hand hooking around the back of Xavier’s neck as Nowaki cried out. Both of Xavier’s hands slid over his chest and belly, adding to the erotic bliss that was their lovemaking. Nowaki lifted his mouth to Xavier’s waiting one as they began to move. Oh, he’s perfect… he’s so perfect… and he’s mine! Blushing at his soft thoughts, Nowaki chuckled again, prompting Xavier’s sweet smile and his question, “A chuckle? Am I not doing everything I can to keep coherent thought from mind?”
“They were good thoughts… even if they were slightly coherent and just a little bit romantic,” Nowaki rasped, his blush a little deeper… like Xavier’s strokes, dragging a purr from him. “I just thought, ‘oh, he’s perfect… so perfect… and he’s mine!’”
Xavier’s speed increased and his smile widened as he nipped at Nowaki’s ear. “All yours… only yours!”
Nowaki threaded his fingers through the ones splayed over his heart as he leaned his head back to Xavier’s strong shoulder, arching his neck at the pleasure swimming over him. “Xa-vi-er… close!”
Perfect white teeth bit hard on the column of Nowaki’s throat, causing him to buck, which drew both a growl and a cackle. “Closer, my beauty?”
Nowaki shuddered, eyes fluttering shut. “Hai!”
Xavier pulled from him and put Nowaki on his back in one fluid motion, one hand around his own cock as he took Nowaki’s straining one into his mouth. Moving quickly on him, he hollowed his cheeks to give ever greater satisfaction. Lifting up on his elbows, Nowaki watched him work, meeting his eyes for a split second just before Xavier swallowed him down his throat. Nowaki groaned deeply as his lover swallowed him a second time—“I love it when you do this to me!”—but it was the third time that sent him over the edge with a loud cry.
As the tremors skated over him, he felt his jeans tugged from his legs just before Xavier’s lips slanted over his own and he pushed into him once more, wrapping Nowaki’s legs around his waist. “Aishiteiru!” Xavier rasped between kisses. “Aishiteiru, Nowaki!”
Nowaki’s hands buried in warm gold waves as he ravenously returned the kisses, arching into the line of his Xavier’s body. “Aishiteiru! Aishiteiru, Xavier!”
Hours later, Nowaki lay half in and half out of the bedcovers, running his fingers through Xavier’s damp hair as they kissed and talked, having thoroughly exhausted their bodies. They had not yet reached the dozing part, as they were trying to convince themselves they were simply “recharging.” Pressing a kiss to the tender skin of Nowaki’s belly, Xavier murmured, “Do you ever wonder what a child between us would look like?”
“He’d be beautiful. Your eyes—green has been seen before in my family line—”
“Your silky black hair—he’d have to have that—and your hands… that way someone other than myself will have the bliss of your hands—”
Nowaki laughed, covering his eyes with his spoken of hands. “We’re talking about a child, Xavier! And you’re talking about—”
“Your touch!” Xavier crawled up to hover over him as he smiled. “Not just sexually, although, I hope by our most recent example today, you can see what your touch does to me!” A gentle chuckle elicited the Englishman’s lips. “But the way you slide your hand over my shoulder when you come up behind me, the way that only you can ease the tension from my back when it’s been a bad day, the way you hug me always tells me how much you miss me even if it’s just a meeting or a day spent in meetings. Waking up with your arm over my shoulders and your other hand buried in my hair. You always push my hair over my right ear. The way you hold my hand—you always thread our fingers—and the way you curve your hand over my bicep from underneath to draw me aside. It’s your hands, your fingers, your palms on my chest when we kiss.” His lips spread in a sated smile. “Other than your amazing copper eyes and your incomparable cock—” He waggled his eyebrows wickedly, causing Nowaki to laugh. “—yes, it’s your hands that are my favorite part of you and I would hope that our child would get those hands.”
“Your lips and your smile and—” Nowaki looked over at the empty nightstand and laughed. “—that is your phone! You must have left it in your jeans on the stairs.”
Xavier stretched out across Nowaki, one hand pushing Nowaki’s thigh up as he joined their bodies with a slow thrust. “Just wanna be inside you—”
Xavier swore under his breath, glaring at the bedroom door. “Are you kidding me?”
Nowaki rocked, reaching up to bring his mouth to Xavier’s as he told him, “Ignore it. Make love to me, father of my children!”
A tender cackle—“Father of my children!”—and they lazily sank below the waves of bliss.
“Xavier? Are you up there?”
Nowaki’s eyes flew wide at the female voice and Xavier’s hand covered his mouth as the Englishman pushed deep, triggering both their releases. Removing his hand bare moments later, he pressed a kiss to Nowaki’s mouth, whispering, “Stay… stay here for a moment—”
“Xavier? It’s your mum!”
“She’s coming up the stairs!” Nowaki hissed as they sat up. “God—our clothes!”
They heard the door open downstairs and both men halted as they waited to hear the voice of whoever had come with her. A cheerful, but tired voice floated up from the hall. “Xavier’s man must be off today—”
“No, it looks like he only just arrived home from New South Wales and he apparently brought a lover with him from the state of undress on the stairs. Xavier Nicholas Blair, I know that you’re not asleep! If you do not show yourself within the next five minutes, I will come up there!”
“You would think that a thirty-two year old man could have some peace from his mother, wouldn’t you?” Xavier grumbled, taking one more kiss from a grinning Nowaki. “Don’t look at me like that! It’s not fair!”
“Nicholas, huh?” Nowaki teased as he sat up, catching the warm washcloth that Xavier tossed to him seconds after entering the bathroom just off their bedroom. “I like it. When you marry me, I’ll take Blair as my middle name.”
“When I marry you? Are you asking?” Xavier exited the chamber clad in a pair of clean black silk pyjama bottoms.
“I will ask soon… that I promise.” Standing on his knees, Nowaki lifted a kiss to his lover’s lips. “Aishiteiru. I will be along in a moment.”
Xavier shook his head, calling out, “A moment, Mother!” Giving Nowaki another kiss, he rasped, “Pyjama bottoms and that lovely dragon robe of yours. You’re coming with me.”
“We’re telling her?”
Xavier framed his face. “Yes. Today, I am telling her that you’re mine. Up until now, I’ve been quite content to let them think of me what they want to—I’m the youngest son and so I’ve been afforded a certain amount of liberties and expectations. That was when it was just me, but it’s not been just me for five years now. I am not and should not be okay with letting the world think that I’m a playboy and that people are my toys. You are all I’ve seen and loved and wanted to be with since we met, Nowaki, and you are mine.”
“And you are mine, Xavier.” Pressing a kiss to Xavier’s lips, Nowaki shot off of the bed and into the black silk bottoms that were his favorite and had been a gift from Xavier the first Christmas they’d spent together. Slipping his arms into the black robe that had been rewarded him upon completion of his training with the Dragon Lord of Tokyo, he strode over to Xavier, proud to be presented as the Englishman’s partner. Xavier’s hand came to rest at the small of his back as they approached the railing, Xavier calling down, “All right, Mother… you can stop shouting! We’re here now. Xanthe, hello, darling sister!”
Nowaki’s eyes fell to a lithe blonde so reminiscent of his lover that heritage could not be denied; they looked so alike they could almost be twins, though Xanthe Blair held more blue in her eyes than green. The woman smiled up at Xavier, waving as she replied, “Hello, my beautiful brother! It’s so good to see you!”
“I don’t see why you had to bring your playtoy with you, Xavier. You could have left him in the bedroom where you were no doubt—”
“Talking about the children we want to have together, Mother. This is Shimazu Nowaki, and he’s been by my side and I at his since I traveled to Los Angeles five years ago at the Shimazu’s request,” Xavier leaned on the railing. “We’re in love and that will not change, though it will certainly grow.”
Xanthe ran over to the stairs and hurried up them to hug Xavier tightly, crying out, “Oh, little brother! It’s so wonderful to see that you’ve finally found someone!” Bowing reverently to Nowaki, she smiled at him just as brightly. “It’s wonderful to meet you, Shimazu-san! I hope that someday you will allow me to call you by your given name! I’ve heard a change in my brother’s voice and I’ve noticed a change in his mannerisms and I now know that that change must be due to you, so it’s a great pleasure to finally meet you.” Loosing him, she bowed deeply. “You may call me Xanthe.”
“Please… call me Nowaki, Xanthe-san!” Nowaki insisted, a wide smile crossing his lips. “I must admit, I thought it was Xavier that was the elder of you two.”
Xavier’s mother joined them all, giving her son a skeptical expression. “You know how your father and two brothers will react to this news.”
“Precisely why I haven’t told them yet, Mother… but I needed to tell one of you.” Xavier’s hand found Nowaki’s. “Though even if they knew, it wouldn’t change what I feel in my heart, and you know it. I’ve always preferred men, and my very first kiss was from a boy. My heart has found its mate, Mother. That will not change… nor will it change the fact that we really were talking about children when you arrived unannounced.”
NOWAKI WORKED quickly to make the evening meal, one of his favorite things to do. The house had become so much more than a home since the first day that they had moved into it.
“We should make it something that is solely ours.”
“How can we do that, Xavier-san?”
“I loved Japan. I loved everything about it—the culture, the refinement, the décor and the architecture and the landscaping—much of the reason that Father sends me to Japan to do business for him when I’m not on a set is because I know how to make it successful… because I love the land and her people. Now I have you, Nowaki… and I know why I was so drawn to Japan, and that’s you. Let’s make this house a home that we’ll both be happy in, one you will be comfortable in, and fill it with all the things that are beauty and light.”
“You want this house to be a reflection of your love for me and my country?”
I want this house to reflect all of the important things in life—and yes, that very much includes you and the land you call home.”
The house had become a sanctuary from all the craziness that the world had to offer them, though he’d never guessed that Mrs. Blair possessed a key to the place. Nowaki smiled as fingers trailed across the back of his neck, his eyes fluttering shut as his jet hair was collected over his left shoulder and a worshipful kiss placed at the nape of his neck. Warm hands came to rest at his hips as a beloved voice murmured, “Smells heavenly.”
“It should, koibito,” Nowaki sighed, leaning back in Xavier’s embrace. “I am making your favorite meal! Do you not remember that it is our way?”
A kiss dropped to the crook of his neck, sending his lips curling up towards his ears as Xavier chuckled. “I do remember, and koibito? I like the sound of that word on your lips, Nowaki-san. To what do—”
Nowaki turned his face to catch Xavier’s lips in a deep, if brief, kiss, leaning into the man’s touch when one of his hands cupped Nowaki’s cheek as the kiss broke. “You claimed me! In front of your mother and your sister, you claimed me and you didn’t back down. I don’t think I ever thought you wouldn’t, but it was momentous for me! I have so many things I wish to say and do and I think many of the walls I must have had were on such a subconscious level that I didn’t see them until today—I cannot stop the smile!” Nowaki laughed quietly, stirring the vegetables. “I cannot stop thinking of how much of my heart is owned by Xavier Nicholas Blair!”
His lover groaned at the utterance of his middle name, though he buried his face in Nowaki’s neck, teeth nipping the sensitive skin. “Wish they were—”
“Me, too! Though we’d be eating out of the fridge—”
The two men looked up to see Xanthe standing in the door, and Nowaki smiled. “You are welcome here. Our home is yours, Xanthe-san.”
“Domo arigato gozaimasu, Nowaki-san,” she replied easily, pushing one fat golden curl over her shoulder as she crossed to lean on the opposite side of the cooking island. “I like the way you look with my brother. I’ve never seen him look as wonderfully peaceful as he does holding you. It makes me wonder why he’s been hiding you away these past few years.”
Nowaki grinned. “Perhaps I have been hiding him.” He winked at the woman. “This man is a scoundrel! I’ve heard stories—”
Xavier laughed heartily. “Stories, ’ey? From who?”
“Oh, everyone talks, Xavier-san. Everyone.” It was Nowaki’s turn to laugh as he held up a snow pea with his hashi. “Try it.”
He watched Xavier’s mouth close over the green vegetable and then work to chew and all Nowaki could think about was making babies—hold it there! We can make love all we like, but we’ll never make a child. Men make babies with women, not other men!
Lips closed over his own as they formed barely audible words of love. Nowaki’s tongue touched Xavier’s lightly before the kiss broke and Nowaki rasped, “Aishiteiru!”
“Oh, did I interrupt a private moment?”
Xanthe rolled her eyes as she shook her head. “No, Mother. Your sons are making supper. Come, we’ll set the table in the garden together.” Glancing over her shoulder at Nowaki, she grinned at him. “We’ll talk soon!”
As the two women disappeared out the back doors, Xavier groaned. “Why do I get the feeling that her we’ll talk soon is going to be the death of me?”
Nowaki laughed, taking the food off the heat. “Her Japanese is wonderful! Besides, what do you have to be worried about, koibito? Are you afraid she will tell me stories of you as a child, embarrassing ones? If so, you shouldn’t be so troubled… I’m certain that nii-san will have plenty of that for you as well. He’ll probably even have pictures!”
“Nii-san? You plan to—”
Nowaki lifted a kiss to the soft underneath Xavier’s chin. “I plan to reciprocate, hai. I believe that nii-san will be understanding like Oto-san. Okaa-san loved you before you were mine, so I have to believe that she would have loved you after meeting you as mine. Now take the tray down for me, hai?”
“Anything for boku no otto!” Xavier hushed next to Nowaki’s ear before stretching up to take the requested item from the shelf above the cabinet, nearly causing the surprised Japanese man to drop the hot pan he held as he transferred the cooked food to its proper bowl.
As he lifted shiny copper eyes to Xavier’s dancing emerald ones, Nowaki said lowly, “I think you found the charger, koibito!”
Xavier grinned. “Oh, now I’m counting on that promise!” Settling the tray down on the counter, he framed Nowaki’s face with his large hands, smiling when Nowaki’s lithe fingers splayed on his chest, he asking, “Will you say it one more time?”
“Boku no otto?” Xavier teased, arching his left eyebrow.
Nowaki’s mouth crashed into Xavier’s as the Englishman took one hand to the small of Nowaki’s back, tugging him close to his body. Nowaki’s right hand slid up and into the thick wheat of his lover’s hair, clenching as they deepened the kiss as far as they could take it. Breaking the kiss only to breathe, Nowaki wrapped his arms around Xavier’s shoulders as he lay his cheek to his lover’s shoulder, “I don’t want this to ever end, Xavier… our love is an inferno that should never die out, but explode into a conflagration that can be likened only to that of a star’s fire.”
“We shall never die out, nor even bank the flames, watashi no kokuyoseki-suta… for our love is as eternal as your beauty.” His knuckles grazed lightly down Nowaki’s cheeks. “Just when I think that there isn’t a way I could feel any more love, you do something and my heart swells enough to fit that memory in there, too.”
Nowaki’s lips touched Xavier’s as he murmured, “Aishi—”
“Where is the tea tray?”
The two men turned their gazes to see Xavier’s mother standing primly in the door, and Nowaki wondered briefly if her stay with them would change her mind on accepting him as part of Xavier’s life. Loosing his lover he moved over to the small black tray with the green tea set. Lifting it, he carried it to Xavier’s mother, bowing as he offered it to her.
“Thank you, Mr. Shimazu—”
“You may call me Nowaki, Lady Blair—”
“Oh, I am not nobility—”
“But Nowaki is, Mother, and you still have not bowed back,” Xanthe corrected gently, finishing, “And this is his house.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake!” The matriarch gave a small bow and exited the room, leaving Nowaki confused and a little hurt, though he’d never divulge that unless his lover asked him directly.
I just really do not know how to right this!
Xanthe touched Nowaki’s arm, offering an encouraging smile. “Please… don’t feel badly, Nowaki-san. Both our parents have these tough exteriors that make them—”
“Xanthe, this isn’t about their exteriors. This is because I love him, because Mother caught us kissing and she didn’t have to believe I was in love with him until that very moment when she observed it.” Xavier padded across the floor to wrap his arms around Nowaki and press a kiss to his shoulder. “Don’t let this scare you, Nowaki. I am by your side and I’m not leaving it.”
“I do not wish to hurt you—”
“You don’t.” He looked out the door to the gardens and swallowed. Nowaki followed his gaze to see Xavier’s mother approaching the open door holding out a phone, and Xavier added, “But she might.”
Nowaki’s hands covered the ones on his chest and belly as the older woman entered the kitchen once more, offering the phone to her son. “It’s your father, Xavier. You can explain your ridiculousness to him now.”
Nowaki bowed to Xanthe and to Xavier, lifting a kiss to the latter’s cheek. “I’m going to put on some clothes.” Stepping into his lover, he closed his eyes as he felt tears fill them. “I might call nii-san, too. If I’m going to be insulted, might as well get it all over with, hai? After that, if you are finished with your own phone call, maybe we could walk down to the beach to calm our minds?”
“I like that idea. I’m so sorry that my mother is being so inconsiderate, Nowaki. Nothing could change my mind on what I mentioned before… boku no otto.” Kissing his mouth, Xavier whispered, “Aishiteiru.”
“Aishiteiru!” Nowaki replied, swallowing hard before he whirled on his heel and left the kitchen. Out of sight, he bolted up the stairs to the bedroom that still resonated of such a love as he’d never known; lovemakings, fuckings, or just plain sex, all only ever with Xavier, and Nowaki could see them all as he stood in the doorway. He also saw the tender way that they slept at night, wrapped around one another, and the sweet way that Xavier always woke them. Boku no otto… my husband. He wishes to marry me… but what will his parents do if we decide to join our houses?
Nowaki crossed to the closet, grabbing the phone off the charger as he did. Moving into the small dark room, he sank down to the floor, his back to the far wall opposite the door, as he dialed Shimazu Shohei, his older brother. Waiting as the phone rang, he finally let the tears fall down his cheeks as he faintly heard his love fighting his own battle with his father downstairs. How did it come to this? I never thought love could hurt like this—not like this.
“Ah, Shohei-san,” he began, knowing his brother would jump at the chance to use his English with Nowaki. “Nowaki desu!”
“My brother! Hello, little brother! You are calling me from California now? Oto-san said that you are thinking of coming home to Japan soon on holiday!” Shohei laughed jovially, and Nowaki made a noise that was supposed to give the impression of a dry laugh, but his older brother saw through it. “Otōto… Nani ga machigatte iru?”
A sob elicited Nowaki’s lips before he could stop it and Shohei growled as Nowaki asked, “Nii-san… is there anything I could do that would tear us apart? Anything?”
A small noise that sounded like the combination of a sigh and a laugh came over the line. “Oto-san mentioned that you had fallen in love with the person you are living with, Nowaki-san. He used the word person, so I am assuming that means the Englishman, is your boyfriend. Wasn’t his name Xavier Blair?”
Tears of relief flooded his cheeks at the nonchalant way that Shohei answered. “I felt certain you would think it dishonorable—”
“Oh, otōto… our history is peppered with same-sex relationships, and none of them existed without reason, yet we have much evidence that many of those relationships were love-based from the get-go or that they transitioned to love by their ends. Our culture has never been as stringent regarding gender relationships as it is as of late. I had hoped that you would see that I would never belittle or estrange you for falling in love with someone, whether it be a man or a woman. Know that none of your family would do this, either. Okaa-san loved Xavier… I have to imagine that she’d love him as your boyfriend, too.”
Shohei’s smile filled his ears before Nowaki murmured, “I fear I will never like his mother and father.”
“What has happened? What have they done to you? You do not have to stay in America, Wa-chan… you can always bring Xavier and come home!” Shohei exclaimed.
“Xavier-san is calling you,” Shohei commented and Nowaki got to his feet, calling out as he took the phone from his mouth, “I’m here, Xavier!” He pushed the closet door open, stepping out of the dark. “I’m here—”
His beloved wrapped around him, holding him tightly. “Let’s go down to the beach—” Xavier’s lips found his in a brief kiss before they pressed gentle kisses to his eyes. “—and we can walk in the surf, hold hands, be silly… find the happiness that is ours once more.”
“Or we can run away to Japan,” Nowaki joked. “Shohei-san suggested we go to hide there from your parents.”
A big laugh tumbled out of his lover’s mouth as he hugged him tightly. “We are due a holiday, are we not? Sho-kun will put us up for a while?”
“Tell him I said that Oto-san will put us all up—he’s the one with the fabulous courtyard of cherry trees and Okaa-san’s gardens!” Shohei interjected.
Nowaki’s coppery eyes lifted to his lover’s jade set as he shook his head. “Shohei-san said that Oto-san would put all of us up. He also mentioned the Sakura Courtyard and Okaa-san’s gardens.”
Xavier’s left eyebrow arched. “Oh, he’s driving a hard bargain. What do you think?”
Nowaki furrowed his brow as he growled. “I don’t like the way that your mother treats me and I don’t like it when you shout—not at me or because anyone makes you feel the need to raise your voice. The fact that whatever your father said made you to shout—it angers me. I would not mind going home to Japan—we could find a place to live there, too.”
Xavier’s fingers slipped into the hair at Nowaki’s temples as he nodded. “I’m game if you are.”
Nowaki’s lips finally spread in a smile as he nodded back before his eyes flew wide. “What about the RSC man?”
“I can call him to give him the number I’ll be at, boku no otto.” Xavier’s hands framed Nowaki’s face. “Perhaps there we can think about making—”
“Marry me in Sakura Courtyard,” Nowaki blurted out. “Take Shimazu instead of the Nicholas that you despise, as your middle name!”
“Hai! Boku kekkon suru!” Xavier rasped, kissing Nowaki deeply for a long moment. “Our luggage is still packed, so let’s just get dressed and go.”
Nowaki nodded, putting the phone back to his ear. “Shohei-san—”
“I heard. Congrats, little brother! Call me back with your flight info and we’ll meet you at Nagoya! Talk to you soon! Can’t wait to meet the X-man soon to be my brother-in-law!” With that, knowing that he’d made Nowaki smile, Shohei hung up the phone.
Hitting the End button on the cordless phone, Nowaki tossed it onto the bed as he lifted his mouth to Xavier’s. “Mine,” he rasped as their lips met and they shared a groan. “Mine,” Nowaki said again before deepening the kiss, his hand clenching in soft waves of gold.
When they came up for air, Xavier nuzzled Nowaki’s nose. “Just yours, Shimazu Nowaki. I belong to just you. Let’s get dressed now, and get the hell out of here. We have a shindig to get to, yeah?”
Nowaki nodded. “That we do. I will call to make reservations on Japan Air.”
“Would either of you mind if I tagged along?”
Both men turned to see Xanthe leaning against the doorjamb to their bedroom and Nowaki shook his head. “If you don’t mind, I definitely wouldn’t. Your sister is the only other Blair that I care about, Xavier.”
His lover smiled softly before turning his emerald eyes to the lithe blonde woman. “Get your things and we’ll meet you downstairs, love.”
Nowaki pressed a kiss to Xavier’s hair as the family car pulled through the gates, his words soft as the cherry blossoms floating on the air. “We are on Shimazu lands, my love. Wake up.”
Xavier stretched as much as the car would allow. “In Japan?” Blinking rapidly as he sat up, he groaned. “Oh, wait… no, I remember getting off of the plane at Nagoya.” Smiling sweetly at Nowaki, he leaned over to press a kiss to his lips. “And then I remember telling you I wanted to sleep on you—”
“And then you nestled your face in my chest and took a nap. It’s okay, it was a decent car ride due to traffic on the motorway,” Nowaki explained as he sat up next to him, stretching out his back. “I feel like I’ve been on a plane for the better part of three days.”
“It’s because we all have,” Xanthe interjected from across the way. “I took two planes to get to you in California, then a third with you to get to Japan. I believe out of the three of us, I got the shortest break from catapulting through the air in a metal tube. The two of you at least got enough time to wear out each other on the stairs and in your bedroom.” She winked at them, a devilish expression on her sweet face. “I thoroughly expect you both to do more of the same before this wedding that was mentioned by phone before we left Los Angeles.”
Nowaki grinned at Xavier. “I agree with Xanthe-san! We should do more of that when we get out of this car!”
His lover cackled. “I whole-heartedly agree!”
They finally came to a stop and the door next to Nowaki opened, a pair of arms he recognized pulling him from the car into a strong hug. “Welcome home!”
Nowaki wrapped his arms around his older brother’s strong shoulders, holding tightly to him as he pushed his face into his neck.
I’ve always done that… I’ve always thrown myself at Shohei-san bodily and crushed my nose against the crook of his shoulder. He never minds, and I am twenty-three now!
“Missed you so much,” he rasped in his brother’s beloved English, a language that he taught at the nearby prep school. “I missed you so much, Shohei-san. I wish you were there for me in America when—”
Shohei held him tighter, making soothing noises as he swayed this way and that. “You are home, and you brought your lover and a lovely lady who I am supposing is Xanthe-san, and no-one will let anyone through that gate who has even so much as an inkling of a thought to hurt you.” As he let Nowaki’s feet down, he pressed a kiss to his brow. “You know that they have movies in countries other than America, right? You don’t have to go there. You can make movies here and in Europe, too.”
“Our mother is what destroyed their moment,” Xanthe interpolated. “Our mother disrespected him and the culture that is so beautifully integral in both Nowaki-san’s and my brother’s life. He doesn’t have to leave America or its movies, as that’s the place they’ve made quite a life in and that’s his dream. We just have to work out a way to keep our mum and dad in England.”
Xavier crossed to tug Nowaki back into his arms. “However… I will say that I am also perfectly happy to live elsewhere with you. If this is a good place for you, then we can live here, too. We have enough money to do it, my dear beautiful man. We can live in both Nagoya and Los Angeles.” Pressing a kiss to his mouth, he nuzzled his nose. “I would do anything to see you at ease again, to have the laughter and the joy from before my mother back in your eyes and your heart.”
“You always hated America, Xavier… you hated everything about the country—”
“I never hated life with you. I love our home there—”
“You love it because it looks like Japan—”
“I love it because it represents the beauty of the life I live with Shimazu Nowaki, the man I wish to marry!” With that, he covered Nowaki’s mouth in a deep kiss, one that lasted until the tension ebbed from his skin and his hands relaxed on Xavier’s chest. When finally he broke the kiss, Nowaki murmured, “I love the life I live with you, Xavier Blair… and you are the only man I will ever marry!”
“Is that my sons? Are my sons finally home from America? Sho-kun said that they were coming home, but I thought it was not yet winter, the cherry blossoms were not yet blood red. It cannot be time for one to come home, let alone both,” a warm voice entreated playfully from the verandah. “Is that really my sons?”
“Chichi!” Nowaki whirled, taking Xavier’s hand in his own, hurrying up the steps to toss himself at his father, a distinguished Japanese man still possessing a full head of raven black hair. “Tadaima!”
His father, Shimazu Masanori, chortled as he held his youngest son to his chest, arms tight around his shoulders, hands splayed on the back of Nowaki’s skull and just beneath his shoulderblades. “Okaeri!” Pressing a kiss to Nowaki’s hair, he whispered, “Oh, little one, I have missed you very much while you were out making a big noise!”
“I missed you as well, Chichi!” Nowaki held tighter to his father for another long moment before tugging from the hug to hold out his hand to Xavier, who wore a soft expression on his face as he watched their interaction. “Chichi… this is Xavier Blair, my partner. I wish to marry him—”
“Nowaki—” Shimazu Masanori arched a reproachful eyebrow. “—I hope that you understand any ceremony we were to give would not be recognized—”
“This I know, Chichi, but still I wish to have it. Perhaps we can be official someday; they’re already working on changing minds in the US and wherever allows it first, that’s where Xavier and I will go. Right now, I just wish for us to be united in the eyes of the gods,” Nowaki stated plainly, lifting his copper eyes to Xavier’s emerald gaze.
“You know that I would die a thousand deaths before I would deny your heart its very blood, Nowaki-kun.” The patriarch gave a slight bow before stretching out a hand to Xavier. “Konnichiwa, Xavier-san.”
Xavier reverently bowed in return, only rising when Shimazu Masanori motioned him to do so, taking his hand in a warrior’s clasp as he stood upright. “I am deeply honored, Shimazu-san, to bow before you as your son’s partner, as Nowaki-san means all to me.”
“We shall walk in the garden after the evening meal, Xavier-san, just you and I. We shall speak of many things, but most importantly, we shall speak of Nowaki-san, for it is the Shimazu typhoon that is now the lifeblood of our clan.” He placed a hand to Nowaki’s left cheek, smiling proudly as his thumb traced the soft underneath his eye.
“Indeed, he appears to possess that quality in our home as well, Shimazu-san,” Xavier conceded with a smile up at Nowaki, who blushed. “It is well known in our circle of friends, that I do not possess the ability to tell him no.”
Both his father and brother laughed, as did Xavier’s sister, who approached the group of men silently, Nowaki smiling at her as he made introductions. “Oto-san, this is Xavier’s older sister, Xanthe Blair. Xanthe-san, my father, Shimazu Masanori.”
“I am honored, Shimazu-san.” She bowed respectfully, folding her hands before her as she did so. “Truly, I think of my brother Xavier with the same ferocity I have witnessed Shohei-san display in regards to the Shimazu typhoon this day.”
“Our siblings are all we have in the end, are they not?” Shimazu Masanori took hold of her slim shoulders to bring her upright. His smile lit Nowaki’s own when he leaned in to kiss her cheek. “Welcome to the Shimazu lands, Blair children. Stay as long as you would like, although…” His dark eyes flitted from his own sons’ faces to Xavier’s as he stepped closer to the Englishman. “… Sho-kun murmured in my ear earlier, such words as to make my heart swell with love for you, Xavier-san. Is it true that you bring Nowaki back to Japan with thought to make a home back in Nagoya?”
Xavier’s lips curled up towards his ears in a wide smile. “It is, Shim—”
“Please, Xavier-san, call me Oto-san. It would not do to have Nowaki’s otto to call me by my surname,” Shimazu Masanori urged. “I would be honored if you were to call me Oto-san.”
Nowaki took a deep breath, his eyes wide to keep happy tears from falling down his face. He met Shohei’s eyes, leaning against his brother’s shoulder as Xavier bowed once more to their father. “I would be honored, Oto-san, to have the privilege of such an intimate relationship with you as to be referred to as your son, as it is your son that gives me such joy and love.”
Xanthe sniffled, the tears in her eyes mirroring the ones in Nowaki’s own, though she said nothing. Nowaki’s father smiled at her, offering her his arm as he reached out to touch Nowaki’s face. “Get some rest. I will have Shohei come to your room to wake you both for the evening meal, Nowaki-kun. I am so happy to have you home… and I will be overjoyed should you choose to stay here in Nagoya.”
“Hai, Oto-san.” He watched his father walk the verandah, turning at the far end as he covered Xanthe’s hand on his arm with his own, and Nowaki shook his head in amusement before lifting a kiss to Xavier’s lips. “You were perfect… and I love what you said to him. Makes my heart so big, koibito!”
Wrapped in Xavier’s embrace, Nowaki felt the first waves of tranquility washing over him and as he buried his face in his lover’s neck, his eyes closed and he smiled. He never even felt Xavier bend to scoop him up into his arms; all he heard was the steady beat of his lover’s heart beneath his ear.
He is perfect, boku no koibito.
When he woke next, it was to Shohei’s gentle shake of his arm and the words, “Dinner’s almost ready, Wa-chan.”
A smile and his brother left the room, allowing Nowaki to stretch, his eyes fluttering shut when a pair of soft lips covered his own in a tender kiss. “Welcome back to the land of the living, boku no kokoro no taifū.” Xavier’s lips took his in another stronger kiss as his hands moved up Nowaki’s back, holding him tighter before he murmured, “Xanthe dropped by just before you woke. She held a proposition for us.”
Nowaki arched an eyebrow at the vein of excitement he heard in Xavier’s voice. “You sound as though you like the proposition.”
“Well… it falls in line with something we discussed recently, so it’s hard for me not to like, beloved man.” Xavier’s fingers ran through Nowaki’s hair, bringing his lips to his for a brief kiss. “She wants to give us a child, one that would be of yours and my blood.”
Nowaki’s eyes widened, his voice a breath above a whisper. “To marry you… and to be the actual father of your child… Xavier, my life would be complete!” He laughed with the joy bubbling up and out of him. “Aishiteiru! Aishiteiru!”