Chapter 01 – A new mission
- Aiba -
“I'll be away again, mum,” Aiba said while he packed his bag.
“I assume, you won't tell me to which town you'll be going this time,” his mother gave back from the other end of the phone, a slight accusation in her voice that made Aiba feel guilty again.
He knew that his job was hard for his mum but it had been his dream ever since and he was happy.
“I myself don't know which place I'll be going to,” he replied truthfully and heard his mother sigh.
They were never told where they would be placed for their next job. It was too dangerous though he didn't know much more about it. He had only been told that the job this time would take several weeks.
“Anyway,” his mum started, her voice soft and caring, “Take care of you, honey, and call me when you're back.”
Aiba smiled although his mum couldn't see him.
“I will. Love you, mum!”
With this, he hung up and concentrated on packing the last items. As always, Aiba was looking forward to the job. Although it was dangerous, he enjoyed it a lot. He had been told that he wouldn't work alone this time, a fact he was pretty happy about. He liked working together with others. It was more fun.
He hadn't been told whom he would have to work with though, but he didn't really care as he liked all of his colleagues. However, there was someone he'd really love to work with but this “someone” was the very best in their division and would only work on the hardest cases.
Aiba doubted that he would ever be part of a mission that needed the ace. It wasn't that he was bad in his job, but he had never felt the urge to become the best and was happy with any task he was given.
Content, Aiba closed his bag. He was sure that he had packed all the necessary items. All that was left to do now was to sleep so he could start his mission tomorrow.
Tomorrow, he'd be an undercover agent again.
- Sho -
Sho was walking towards the office of his boss. His bag had already been loaded into the big van he was going to use for his mission. He had been told beforehand that he would not work alone this time and honestly, he wasn't really delighted by that idea as he rather worked alone. Actually, ever since his last partner married five years ago, he had been working by himself, and he had gotten used to it.
If he could have chosen someone from the department, he'd have loved to work together with Nino as he was wicked but reliable. However, Nino was in a team with Jun (and also in a relationship with said man) since a few years now, so getting Nino as his partner was not going to happen (Jun was taking care of that).
Hoping that they would not put him together with any of the inexperienced colleagues (Sho was the best after all and didn't have time to look after others), he opened the door to his boss' office.
“Nice to see you, Sho-chan!” he was greeted by his boss.
Sho flinched at the overly informal way of addressing him. However, Toma was the only one who was allowed to call him like that. They were childhood friends after all.
Sho looked at the third person in the room and had to suppress a moan. He eyed Toma who just threw one of his wide smiles at Sho, very aware of what was going on in Sho's head.
Toma stood up and the other man followed him hastily.
“May I introduce you to Aiba Masaki, your partner for this mission,” Toma said and gestured towards the tall, slender man.
“Nice to meet you. I'm Aiba Masaki,” the man introduced himself, rushing towards Sho to shake his hand.
However, he was stopped by the chair he had just been sitting on which crashed onto the floor. Sho simply nodded at Aiba before the clumsy man pulled the chair into the upright position again.
Sho clenched his jaw. How was he supposed to carry out an undercover mission with that guy?
He already turned towards his boss to tell him there was no way he'd work together with Aiba but the look in Toma's eyes told him that he had no choice but to accept the situation.
Instead, Toma gestured to two to sit down.
“You two will be sent on a very important mission together,” Toma began. “Actually, the sake of Japan is at stake” he added dramatically and Aiba's eyes grew wide.
Sho suppressed a sigh. HE was used to be sent on missions that aimed to prevent a disaster. Aiba, on the other hand, had obviously only been doing minor jobs, nothing important at all.
“I will explain this to you in detail now,” Toma kept on talking and Sho concentrated on his boss again. It was important to listen to every tiny detail from the people involved into the actual task.
“I am sure you have heard about Yamamoto Tatsuhiro...,“ the chief of the bureau of secret crime prevention began.
“The head of the biggest Japanese Mafia Group – the Tora-Clan!” Aiba threw in, excited, obviously happy to know something. Sho rolled his eyes about the sudden outburst of his soon-to-be partner. “But didn't he retire a few months ago?”
Toma nodded. “That's correct! He left the management of his group to his son, Yamamoto Tamiya.”
Sho tilted his head. He already knew that, but it had been pretty silent around Yamamoto Tamiya those last months...
“Tamiya has used those last months to reorganize the clan and come up with a new way of making money,” Toma explained and Sho put one and one together.
“I suppose you don't really like what he is planning?” Sho asked therefore and Toma's face suddenly became worried.
“Not at all,” he confirmed Sho's guess. “Whereas his father gave us lots of trouble with his illegal transactions of weapons and valuable arts, Tamiya is working more subtle and therefore more dangerous.”
Aiba, who had been listening silently until now (a thing Sho approved a lot), suddenly nodded.
“You're talking about the hacking of the PCs in the National Research Centre.”
Sho looked over to the taller man. He had never heard about a cyber attack on the National research center. Why did Aiba know something that important?
“Exactly!” Toma nodded towards Aiba approvingly and turned to Sho. “We haven't told anybody yet in order to prevent this from being spread. Last month the computers of the Research Centre had been under attack and although a team of our best specialists was working against them, the hackers had been able to obtain very secret documents.”
“What kind of documents? Sho asked and tried to swallow his anger about not being informed about this incident.
“They were able to obtain all documents that contain information about our prime minister. Where he lives, how much money he has and where his secret hideouts are, his calendar for the next months, information about his family, just everything,” Toma answered and ran his hand through his hair, a gesture he only showed when he was nervous or stressed or both.
Therefore, Sho nearly didn't want to ask, but he had to.
“So they are targeting him? Do they want to kidnap him?”
“ No, worse,” the chief just answered. “They want to sell the information.”
Sho took a deep breath. “To China?”
Toma's expression showed that Sho just hit the bull's eye.
“This is bad…,“ the undercover agent stated and his boss nodded in agreement.
“Your task will be to find out when and how they will pass the data so we can stop them.”
That sounded pretty easy to Sho. Why did he even need a partner for that? He had done such jobs in the past – alone!
“We already tried but there is no chance to get close to Tamiya. Since he restructured the clan after he took over, all of our undercover agents were downgraded. None of them is in a position to obtain any information and it would take too much time until they managed to gain Tamiya's trust. Time, we don't have. Furthermore, Tamiya is really suspicious about new people wanting to join the clan. It would be too dangerous right now. Using the prostitute strategy will not work either as he is married and really devoted to his wife.”
Again, Toma ran his hand through his hair. “Our only chance to gain any information is to use his father, Tatsuhiro,” he concluded.
Sho trusted his boss and friend on this. If he said there is no other way, there was none.
“Allright,” he therefore just replied, waiting for Toma to explain Aiba's presence.
“You might remember that Tatsuhiro has always been a huge supporter of gay couples. We never really understood why as he and his wife had been married for over 40 years now and there had never been any reports about Tatsuhiro having any other partner – may it be male or female. However, he had helped gay couples to settle down and start their life anew.”
Sho raised his eyebrows. He really didn't like the direction this was heading. Especially, when Toma threw him an apologetic look, Sho got nervous. Toma couldn't really think he'd do that.
“After he retired, Tatsuhiro settled down with his wife in a suburb of Tokyo. It is a wonderful area. The houses are big and have gardens where kids can play...”
Toma seemed to avoid Sho's eyes while he continued speaking.
“We think he might be more open towards a gay couple that moves in next to him... “
Sho clenched his jaw. “And how does it help us to get information about his son and the transaction?” he asked between gritted teeth.
“Tamiya visits his parents once a week and we are sure that even though his father retired, they are still speaking about the Tora-Clan. All we need you to do is gain Tatsuhiro's trust and find out the place and date of the transaction with the Chinese.”
Toma's hands fell on Sho's clenched fists and the undercover agent told himself to relax. It was just another job he would do perfectly in order to save Japan (again).
“To make your story even more authentic, we decided to add someone else to your combination,” Toma went on, ignoring Sho's angry huff. “Tatsuhiro is a fan of gay couples with children. He had always supported adoptions for gay couples and still visits some of the families he helped to build.”
Aiba, who had said nothing the last minutes, gasped.
“You mean we'll get a child?”
Toma threw Aiba a smile, obviously happy that someone seemed not too angry about the task.
“That's right. The two of you will have a child,” he beamed.
Aiba clapped his hands and Sho felt that he was the only sane one left. A child... This was one more person to take care of and looking after Aiba would, Sho assumed, take as much effort as making sure nothing would happen to the child.
Anyway, which parents were crazy enough to send their child on such a dangerous mission?!
“I won't let you wait any longer,” Toma announced. “Let's meet your child.”
Aiba bounced happily on his chair while Toma phoned his secretary to bring the child and the parents in.
Sho already worked on a speech on how to convince the parents that it was too dangerous, but his brain stopped working when the door opened and the young family came in.
“Hi Toma, hi Sho!” the woman, who had a little girl of about five years on her hand, greeted the two men casually.
“Hello Keiko,” Toma replied. “Nice to see you, Daigo-kun,” he went on before he bent down to the girl. “And this must be little Rika-chan.”
The girl nodded.
“Perfect!” Toma shouted. “Keiko, Daigo, I'm sure you remember Sho-chan.”
“What a silly question!” Keiko gave back and made her way towards Sho, leaving the girl with her dad.
“Of course, I remember Sho-chan. I saved his life more than once.” With this, she threw her arms around Sho to hug him tightly.
It took Sho a few seconds to react but then he returned the hug. He hadn't realised how much he had missed her. She had been his first and last partner and together they had been on dangerous missions that indeed required saving each others lives.
They had been a perfect team until one day a mission included rescuing the singer of a rock band, who was an important eye-witness of an illeagal transaction of drug dealing. In a tough fight they had managed to save him and now he was standing in Toma's office together with his wife and daughter.
Actually, the reason why Keiko had stopped working with Sho was that she wanted to start a normal life, get married to said singer and start a family with him. Sho had been quite angry at her for leaving him and that was the reason why they hadn't really been in touch. However, she was here now, standing in front of them, willing to let them take their child away on a dangerous mission. Obviously, Keiko was still an undercover agent deep down in her heart.
“Are you sure this is okay?” Sho asked his former partner.
Keiko nodded. “However, if she comes back even with the tiniest scratch, I will make you pay for it.”
Sho promised that nothing would happen to her girl because he would personally take care of her.
“I only accepted because it would be you taking her on the mission,” Keiko whispered into his ear before she finally let go of Sho and made her way back to her husband and child.
“And this is Aiba Masaki,” Toma pulled the attention back to himself.
Aiba smiled at the family and moved closer to Rika.
“I'm sure we'll have lots of fun together, Rika-chan,” he said and pocked the girl's nose which caused her to giggle.
“I will now introduce the last three members of your team,” Toma went on and Sho's eyes popped open. He was sure he couldn't cope with any more team members.
However, when the door opened and Nino and Jun appeared, he sighed relieved. He wouldn't have to take care of them.
After the two, a small man with chubby cheeks appeared. Sho vaguely remembered that his name was Ohno Toma confirmed Sho's thought when he pulled the guy to his side and introduced him to the rest.
“This is Ohno Satoshi. He will be your connection to us. We decided that he will act as your older brother Sho, who wants to visit his niece once in a while.”
Sho nodded. That was a good idea and would be completely believable to outsiders (except for the fact that Ohno didn't look as if he was older than him).
“Jun and Nino will act as you emergency squad. If anything happens, you'll use our emergency line and they'll rush to your help.”
Nino signalled a piece sign to Sho while Jun showed him thumbs up.
Sho let his eyes wander over the people in the room. This mission was going to be so much different from all the others he had worked on before.
If he was being honest to himself, he was a bit scared. Not because he was worried about his own safety. No!
However, he was responsible for two people on this mission – Aiba and Rika. He seriously hoped that everything would work out very well and that Aiba would be of any help at all.
He sighed and looked at Toma.
“When do we start?”
“The van is waiting outside,” Toma replied.
“Let's do this, then,” Sho sighed.
Chapter 02 – The first meeting
- Aiba -
Aiba peeped over to Sho whose eyebrows were knitted while he concentrated on the traffic. Rika had been the one who kept the conversation going ever since they had left the area of the headquarters but now she was sleeping in the back seat.
Sho hadn't tried to initiate any conversation and Aiba was too shy. Despite his cheerful smile he was a bit down. Sakurai Sho had openly showed that he wasn't happy at all about having to work together with him.
Aiba on the other hand was really excited to be Sho's partner. He had always admired the other one. However, Sho's disapproval of Aiba being his partner had let Aiba's mood drop quite low.
Still, Aiba knew that Sho was a professional and would act out his role as his boyfriend perfectly. At least, he would smile at Aiba when it was required...
“We're nearly there,” Sho's deep voice pulled Aiba out of his thoughts.
He looked up just to see that they had left the busy streets of the town and had entered a quiet residential area with many beautiful houses.
A quick glance to the GPS confirmed that their new house was indeed only a few streets away.
The area was clean and the front gardens were all in perfect condition. Nobody would have thought that the ex-boss of Japan's biggest Mafia was living here – which was probably the reason why he was doing exactly that.
A few minutes later, Sho stopped their van in front of a white house with a blue front door. The windows were empty and there were no flowers in front of the door or the front gate. The house looked a bit sad compared the other houses.
While Sho was already leaving the car, Aiba glanced over to the orange house next to their new home. The garden was decorated with little figurines between the various plants and the window sills were decorated lovingly with flowers in all possible colours and shapes.
In fact, it looked completely normal to Aiba. Most probably Yamamoto wanted it to be that way.
Aiba looked back to Sho who had opened the front gate and was waving at him to get out of the car as well which Aiba did immediately. While Sho pushed a few leaves from the path towards the door, Aiba silently opened the back door of the van.
He softly pushed a few strands of Rika's hair out of her face and she wrinkled her nose. It was such a cute sight that Aiba smiled involuntarily.
He was so absorbed in her sleeping face that he didn't hear Sho coming back to them. He jumped in shock when he felt Sho's hand on his back and bumped his head on the car's door frame.
Sho leaned closer to Aiba, making the other man forget all his pain quickly over the sudden closeness.
“He is watching us,” Sho whispered into Aiba's ear and motioned his head slightly into the direction of the house.
Aiba nodded, knowing that their first impression was basically deciding whether this mission was going to be successful or not. They would have to act as the perfect couple now, showing that they were totally in love with each other and their little daughter.
“Rika-chan” Aiba whispered softly and touched her cheek tenderly. After doing so for the third time, she finally opened her eyes and after taking in her surroundings, she smiled at Aiba.
“Did we arrive?”
“We did, my little princess,” Aiba smiled back.
He helped her to climb out of the car. Rika walked over to Sho who had been waiting a bit further away and demanded to be carried by him. Grinning, Sho reached out for her and lifted her up. She curled her little arms around Sho's neck and watched Aiba closing the car's doors.
The three looked over to their new home.
Sho, while holding Rika on one of his arms, reached out for Aiba's hand. The taller man took it and smiled brightly at his partner, who returned it.
They walked through the front gate, along the path to the door and stopped in front of it. Sho had to let go of Aiba's hand in order to fish the key out of his pocket. He pushed it into the keyhole.
When he was about to turn the key around, Aiba laid his hand on Sho's and Rika leaned down to put her hand on top. Together, they opened the door and entered their new home happily.
- Sho -
Aiba entered the room that Sho had declared to be his office. He had been in there since dinner, leaving Aiba with the task to take care of Rika.
Sho turned around on his chair, looking at Aiba.
“Thanks,” he simply replied and was about to face his laptop again when he heard Aiba's soft voice.
“Any wishes for breakfast tomorrow?”
Sho looked at the taller man that was standing shyly in the door. Aiba hadn't talked much with Sho since they had entered the house. They had unpacked a few boxes before they had ordered pizza for dinner although their fridge was stuffed with fresh ingredients. The preparation team had done a great job but none of them had felt like cooking today.
After dinner Sho had excused himself as he had to go through some files that could be helpful for their mission.
“Pancakes would be awesome,” Sho answered finally.
“Sure,” Aiba nodded and smiled. Then, his expression became serious again. “Are you really okay with sleeping on the sofa here?”
“I'm fine. Don't worry. I really don't mind using it as my bed,” the older one answered.
They had found only one bedroom in the whole house and apparently it was only equipped with a double bed. Sho had already made a mental note to yell at Toma for this the next time they'd meet.
After taking in the situation, Sho had decided to sleep on the sofa he had spotted in the office before. He hadn't seen Aiba's disappointed face after he had made the announcement and even now, Aiba's sad eyes slipped his attention.
“Well, then, good night,” Aiba said and despite his disappointment, he smiled one last time at Sho before he closed the door and went to bed.
~ ~ ~
When Sho entered the kitchen the next morning, the wonderful smell of freshly made pancakes as well as a synchronized “Good Morning – shout” from Rika and Aiba greeted him.
Sho had been in a pretty bad mood as he hadn't been sleeping very well on the sofa (it was really hard and his neck was hurting) but being greeted that nicely lifted his mood quite a bit.
“Daddy's pancakes are amazing, Dad,” Rika explained, her mouth full with said food.
Sho was amazed about how quickly she had adapted to her new environment and that she was addressing him as “Dad” without hesitation. Keiko had trained her very well he had to acknowledge.
A freshly made pancake was placed in front of him. The sweet smell coaxed a content sigh from him.
“Thanks,” he said before he took his first bite.
Sho's eyes popped open. It was delicious. The best pancake he had ever eaten and that was exactly what he told the cook who blushed nicely upon the enthusiastic praise.
While Sho watched Aiba making another pancake, his eyes fell onto the oven where something was baking inside.
“What's in there?” he asked.
Aiba turned around and only now Sho could see the apron with tiny little flowers that he was wearing. Sho was sure that on pretty much anybody else it would have looked ridiculous but it somehow fitted Aiba.
“Cookies,” the taller man answered Sho's question that he had nearly forgotten over the sight of Aiba in this cute apron. “I thought it'll be a nice present when we make our round later to introduce ourselves to the neighbours. Rika-chan already promised to help me decorating them,” Aiba went on explaining.
“I will,” the little girl cheered.
Sho nodded. Self-made cookies were a really nice idea. He had only been coming up with coffee, but Aiba's cookies came from the heart and it was important to get along well with their new neighbours, especially the Yamamotos.
Another pancake was placed in front of Sho who finished it in no time, making Aiba giggle. While Sho waited for the next one, he began to think that having Aiba as partner on this mission wasn't as bad as it had seemed to be. He was able to make delicious pancakes and the cookies looked good as well...
NO! He shouldn't let himself be lured in by Aiba's cooking talent. He needed to make sure that they would end the mission as fast as possible and tell Toma clearly that he would work alone on his next job.
- Aiba -
Aiba glanced at Sho who was pushing the doorbell with a determined expression. They had been making their way to all the neighbouring houses to introduce themselves to them. People had been surprised after they had seen the family with two men and a girl but most of them had welcomed them warmly to their little neighbourhood. Especially Aiba and Rika's cookies were really popular.
They had planned their route so that the house of the Yamamotos was their last stop. Aiba felt the adrenalin running through his body. It was important that the Yamamotos thought of them as just a simple normal family that wanted a nice, quiet area for their daughter to grow up.
It would be disastrous if they would raise any suspicion on their first encounter, that would doom their mission to be failed. Therefore, Sho and Aiba had to make sure they would look like a happy couple.
The door was being opened and Aiba pulled himself together. It was show time!
“Hello sweethearts, what can I do for you?” a round woman with brown curly hair was standing in the doorway. She was wearing a chequered dress and a warm smile.
Sho was the first to talk, rescuing Aiba who had lost his words for a second. He had never imagined the wife of a mafia boss to look like Mrs. Weasley (Aiba was a huge Harry Potter fan, so he could make that comparison) with brown hair. He had rather thought of a thin, perfectly styled woman that every other men was longing for.
“Pardon the intrusion, but we wanted to introduce ourselves..., “ Sho started but was interrupted by the woman.
“You're the new neighbours. It's nice to see you. Come in! Come in!” With this, she ushered the three inside who resisted at first but had to realize that it was useless.
Aiba began to worry and judging Sho's expression, the other one wasn't happy about the turn of events either. They had been prepared to introduce themselves at the door, hand over their presents and leave right after that. However, now it seemed to become a quit long chat with their neighbours.
The little family was guided into the back of the house where they entered a huge room that was a combined kitchen and living room. The windows were facing the backyard where you could see a pond that was home to several colourful fishes. The pond was big enough so that a bridge ran over it leading to a terrace that was surrounded by stone lanterns and typical Japanese plants and trees.
Aiba was impressed and couldn't hold himself back. “This is such a beautiful garden!”
“Thank you! I put a lot of effort into it!” A man suddenly appeared in their field of vision. He was as tall as Aiba but a little more muscular. His black hair was showing just a few silver strains and his eyes were as black as the night. He was wearing glasses with a grey frame and black trousers as well as a white shirt. All in all, Yamamoto Tatsuhiro was a really stylish man.
In the meantime, Mrs. Yamamoto had made their way to her husband and began introducing their guests.
“These are our new neighbours... “ she started and suddenly realised that she didn't even know their names.
“I am Sakurai Sho and this is my partner Aiba Masaki,” Sho quickly helped her out. Then, he pulled Rika in a hug from behind and introduced her as well. “And this is Sakurai Rika, our daughter.”
Aiba and Rika bowed politely and Aiba realised a change in Tatsuhiro's eyes. The cold, black colour suddenly seemed to warm up and the corner of his mouth moved slightly up.
“Oh, such a cute little family, don't you think, my dear” Mrs. Yamamoto chirped and her husband nodded slightly.
“I am Yamamoto Tatsuhiro and this is my dear wife, Yamamoto Tomoko. It's a pleasure for me to welcome you in our neighbourhood.”
Aiba was surprised that the ex-mafia boss used his real name but then he remembered that he only knew his past occupation due to his own job. Normal Japanese inhabitants didn't know the name of the mafia members as they tried to stay away from them as far as possible.
Suddenly, Rika remembered the present, she was holding in her hands. Fearless, she closed the gap between her parents and the Yamamotos and Aiba realised that Sho could only stop himself in the last moment from holding her back. Although it was dangerous to let her come close to their enemy, they had to let it happen to not blow their cover.
“We made cookies for you,” Rika announced and handed the box over to Mrs. Yamamoto.
“Thank you, darling, how kind of you. Shall we make some tea? I have a chocolate cake in the fridge as well that I image to go perfectly with your cookies...”
Taking Rika's hand, whose eyes had started to twinkle upon hearing “chocolate cake”, the two made her way over to the open kitchen and started to prepare some plates and cups.
“You have such a cute little daughter,” Mr. Yamamoto said, watching his wife and the girl. Aiba and Sho nodded in unison.
“We're happy to have her,” Aiba said, smiling softly at Sho who put his arm around Aiba's waist and pulled him closer.
“I hope you don't think of me as a rude man, Mr. Sakurai, but is Rika your biological daughter?” Mr. Yamamoto went on asking and Aiba knew that he was trying to find out how their little family was formed.
“She is not,” he therefore answered and with a side glance to Sho, he went on. “Actually, she is the daughter of Sho's little sister. However, she and her husband died in a tragic accident.” Aiba took Sho's hand whose eyes became red. He was obviously holding back his tears. “The two had stated in their will that if anything happened to them, Rika should live with us. That was three years ago... “
Mr. Yamamoto looked over to Rika, his expression painful and sad. “I am sorry to have awaken such sad memories...,” he began but Sho shook his head. “However, I think, Rika is as happy as the circumstances allow. You two seem to take care of her very well,” Mr. Yamamoto went on.
Aiba and Sho looked at each other shyly and then Aiba beamed at the ex-mafia boss.
“Still, there is one more question I want to ask.” Aiba was on high alert again. After they had talked about Rika, their enemy would probably want to know something more about the two men in front of him. They had to be very careful with their answers.
“Why can't I spot a ring on Mr. Aiba's finger and why don't you share the same last name already?” Aiba could feel Sho stiffen next to him. The documents about their characters had said nothing about this fact and they hadn't talked about it yet.
Aiba's brain was working on top speed to come up with a plausible answer but nothing seem to appear. That's when Sho rescued them.
“We were really busy those last three years with raising Rika and during the last months we have been looking for a new home. Now that we have found one, we are hoping that life will calm down and we have time to deepen our bond in the future,” Sho explained and Aiba nodded.
“I see,” Mr. Yamamoto said but then his eyes began to twinkle. “You boyfriend is a real beauty and you should quickly make him yours or someone might snatch him away from you, Mr. Sakurai”, the ex-mafia boss laughed.
Aiba's cheeks had been turning red upon the praise but upon hearing those last words, he got angry. “I will never leave Sho. He is the one I admire and want to spend my days with,” he said, glaring at Mr. Yamamoto.
“Honey, I don't think he wanted to imply that you would cheat on me,” Sho quickly tried to sooth his boyfriend.
Aiba just huffed while Mr. Yamamoto grinned contently.
“Tea is ready~,” Mrs. Yamamoto suddenly sing-sang as she passed the three men with a tray with cups of steaming tea and a glass of orange juice for Rika. The girl was on her heals, carrying the chocolate cake.
“Let's go outside. Although autumn has started, it's still nicely warm on the terrace,” Mr. Yamamoto said and made his way outside into the garden.
Sho and Aiba let the other go first before they followed.
“Your little outburst just now was amazing. I think you made a deep impression on him already,” Sho whispered into Aiba's ear.
Happy about the praise, Aiba walked out into the warm sunshine. However, not everything about his little scene just now had been acting …
Chapter 03 – Parental feelings
- Sho -
Sho woke up with a terrible pain in the neck. It was only the second night he was sleeping on the sofa but his body had already decided to not like it at all.
Cursing, Sho got up and put on his clothes. Today would be his first day at “work”.
To give Yamamoto Tatsuhiro the impression of having perfectly normal neighbours, Sho would be the typical salary man who earns most of the money while Aiba would only work part-time to have time to take care of their daughter.
Sho was perfectly fine with his new job. Being a salary man was easy for him as he had always been good with numbers or reading long essays about a certain topic. He was actually looking forward to his new workplace.
When Sho entered the kitchen, he found out that his daughter was also in high spirits. She was looking forward to her first day in the new kindergarten as well and was happily chatting with Aiba who was currently preparing bento boxes for his two family members.
The breakfast was already on the table (scrambled eggs and toast – as Sho had wished for when Aiba had asked him the evening before) and Sho sat down opposite of Rika. His neck was still hurting so Sho rubbed over it, hoping it'll help.
“Do you have pain in your neck?” he suddenly heard Aiba asking behind him.
“I'm fine!” Sho tried to brush him off, but yelped when he tried to turn his head to Aiba and the pain shot through his muscles.
“You're obviously not,” Aiba decided and put his hands on Sho's shoulders. Sho stiffened upon the contact but Aiba didn't pull away. “I have been working in a physiotherapy practise once and I learned some nice moves to loosed up cramped muscles.”
Aiba started to massage Sho's painful neck. It hurt at the beginning but after a minute it started to feel good and soon Sho was sighing happily. His pain had gone and Aiba's massage was really relaxing.
“That feels good!” he sighed. Aiba continued for another minute before he finally stopped and patted Sho's shoulder slightly.
“Thanks!” Sho said. Aiba was really a capable man. He was able to cook and massage, he looked cute in an apron, he was good with kids. He was … NOT a perfect partner for Sho for any further missions!!!
Sho quickly searched for something to stop his thoughts and found it in his daughter. Rika was trying very hard not to look at her dads and acted as if her scrambled eggs were the most interesting thing on earth. Sho wasn't sure but he thought that she was smiling.
“Let's do our best today at our new workplace, Rika-chan!” Sho said and pumped his fist. She looked up at him and gave her dad a wide smile.
“Yes! Let's do our best!” she replied and gave Sho thumbs up.
The three continued breakfast while chatting about their expectations of the day. Then, they got ready and Aiba handed Rika and Sho their bento boxes.
Sho was supposed to bring Rika to the kindergarten on his way to work and bring her back as well.
Aiba guided both of them to the car and helped Rika to put on the seatbelt. “Have a nice day, my princess!” he laughed and kissed her on her forehead.
“What about me?” Sho complained and Aiba blushed. He turned to Sho and kissed his cheek.
“Have a nice day as well, Sho-chan!”
Grinning, Sho got into the car as well and started the engine. He saw Aiba waving in his mirror and honked once, making Rika giggle.
When Aiba was out of sight, Sho concentrated on the road. He hoped that Aiba would be alright on his own and that he would not cause any trouble in case Yamamoto Tatsuhiro was trying to talk to him while Sho was away...
- Aiba -
Aiba still felt the heat on his cheeks when the van disappeared around the corner. When he had kissed Sho, he had realized that his skin was incredibly soft and was smelling like baby cream, in other words, simply wonderful to Aiba.
Aiba sighed and turned around to the house to make his way back inside. His job didn't really require as much acting as he had thought. It was easy to be all lovey-dovey with Sho. Aiba had already realized that his admiration had actually been a minor crush and now it grew into something bigger the longer he was working together with Sho.
He kicked a small stone out of his way and told himself that he needed to stay professional. He knew that his feelings would become stronger and more intense and that there was no use in trying to stop them anyway. However, he needed to make sure that they wouldn't endanger the mission no matter what.
“Aiba-chan~!” a loud, female voice broke through his thoughts.
Aiba turned his head. Mrs. Yamamoto was waving at him from the other front garden. He put his smile on and waved back.
“Your two sweetshearts left for work, leaving you all alone?” she asked, coming closer to the fence that separated the two properties.
“Yeah, it's their first day at work and the kindergarten,” Aiba replied, also closing the distance.
“They'll be fine!” Mrs. Yamamoto said and patted Aiba's shoulder as soon as he was close enough.
“Yes. Especially Rika-chan was talking about it excitedly the whole morning,” Aiba smiled and Mrs. Yamamoto nodded.
“She's not someone to be scared of anything,”, she grinned and Aiba laughed.
“That's true!” It was even more than true. Rika was such an awesome little girl. She was on a dangerous mission but somehow seemed to enjoy it. She probably got that from her mother...
“Anyway, I have a lot to do in the house. There are still some boxes that need to be unpacked and I also thought of buying some plants to put in front of the door and on the window sills,” Aiba explained.
“Oh, that's a wonderful idea! Actually, I was thinking of buying some plants as well. Do you mind taking me with you?” Mrs. Yamamoto asked, her face beaming.
“Absolutely not. It would be a pleasure,” Aiba answered. “Though we have to wait until Sho and Rika come back. We only have the van...,” he remembered.
“That's not a problem. Just ring the bell whenever they are back. I'll be waiting for you~,” she sing-sang and turned around, waving at her neighbour before she entered her own house.
Aiba laughed and turned around to go back to his house as well. He hadn't been lying when he had told Mrs. Yamamoto that there was still a lot to do – it was. Furthermore, he wanted to rearrange some furniture as he didn't like it the way the preparation team had set it up.
~ ~ ~
Aiba worked the whole day inside the house, pushing the sofa into the opposite corner of the living room. He rearranged the decoration on the shelves and switched the purple curtains from his bedroom with the green ones from Rika's room. He made a mental note to buy some see through fabric to turn her bed into a canopy bed as he was sure she would like it that way. Aiba also entered the office, which was Sho's room by now and opened the curtains and windows to let in some fresh air. He made Sho's bed and fluffed the pillows.
When he was done, he went to the kitchen to prepare some food. He didn't know how long it'd take him to buy flowers with Mrs. Yamamoto but in case it would take longer than expected, Sho and Rika would have something to heat up for dinner. Aiba wasn't exactly sure why but he had a feeling that cooking wasn't Sho's strongest point.
He had just finished cooking when he heard a car stopping in front of their house. A quick glance through the kitchen window told him, that his two family members had returned. Aiba hurried to the door to welcome them back.
“Daddy~!” Rika screamed and ran into Aiba's open arms as soon as she spotted him in the door.
“Welcome back, princess!” Aiba hugged his little girl before she stormed inside the house.
Sho, who had followed his daughter, kissed Aiba on his cheek. “I'm back,” he simply said.
“Welcome back!” Aiba replied and smiled at Sho. “Did you have a nice day?”
“A perfect one!” Sho replied and put his arm around Aiba's waist. “I had the best bento ever. My colleagues were super jealous.”
Aiba giggled and let himself be guided by Sho inside the house. As soon as the door closed, Sho pulled his arm back, but kept on praising Aiba's bento.
“It was seriously delicious, thanks so much! But now you have to ask Rika. She was talking about her day in the kindergarten the whole ride. I'm sure she wants to tell you as well.”
“Ah, this has to wait a bit,” Aiba replied and Sho raised his eyebrows. “I promised Mrs. Yamamoto to go and buy some plants with her as soon as you are back. I prepared dinner for you two though in case I'll be back late,” he explained.
“Oh, good job for socializing with her already,” Sho praised him.
“It's kind of easy. She's a really nice woman,” Aiba said and waved his hand to brush off Sho's compliment.
“Alright. I'll take care of Rika then while you are away,” Sho decided and Aiba nodded thankfully.
“I'll be off then,” the taller man announced and took the key out of Sho's hand. “See you later!”
- Sho -
Sho watched Aiba walking over to the Yamamoto's house and soon Aiba guided their neighbour to the car and drove away.
Sho was seriously amazed by how quickly Aiba managed to come in contact with Mrs. Yamamoto. Of course, she was a really open-minded woman as he had found out the day before, but he doubted that he would have been able to make an appointment with her just one day after. Sho had to acknowledge that Aiba was actually really good in socializing and coming in contact with other people. The reason was probably his wide smile that he was throwing on everybody. Nobody would doubt that sunshine of a man. Still, Sho was worried that one day Aiba would do something clumsy or unnecessary.
“Rika~!” he called his daughter and soon she appeared on the stairs.
“Aiba just went off to buy some plants with Mrs. Yamamoto so it's just the two of us left. I'll have to do some work in my office, so be a nice girl and stay in your room, will you?” Sho explained their situation to the little girl.
“Alright!” she agreed.
“Aiba prepared dinner for us. Whenever you are hungry, just come down to my office and we'll heat it up together.”
Rika nodded and disappeared into her room again. Sho, satisfied with how obedient she was, went to his office and took out some documents Toma had been giving him. He still hadn't managed to read through everything. It was interesting though as his boss had gathered all information about the Yamamoto Clan that they had been able to find. Sho had to acknowledge that although Yamamoto Tatsuhiro had been dealing with weapons, there had never been any major incidents where people had been killed around him. He seemed to be a responsible mafia-boss who took care about his members.
Sho found a really interesting report about how they had been really close to arrest Tatsuhiro who had only been able to escape by jumping down from a bridge into a river. They hadn't even been sure if he had survived and had searched for him for a long time until one day they had to discover that he was still pretty healthy and pretty active in the criminal scene.
Over reading the report, Sho forgot the time completely. He was so into it that he only looked up when he heard the door being opened.
“I'm back,” Aiba said and Sho left his office to welcome his partner in case Mrs. Yamamoto was there as well.
When Sho entered the kitchen, he found out that his assumption had indeed been correct. The round woman was standing in their kitchen as well. Aiba had just put down the plants on the table and was washing his hands.
“Welcome back, honey,” Sho chirped, quickly acting his role as the perfect boyfriend again. He looked at the plants. “They're really pretty. I can't wait until they are in our front garden,” he praised Aiba who nodded enthusiastically.
“It will look so much friendlier,” he stated.
“Seeing you in the front garden makes it already friendly enough,” Sho flattered his boyfriend who looked bashfully at the ground.
“You two are just too cute,” Mrs. Yamamoto giggled and patted the two on their backs. “Now, shall we call Rika-chan? I'm sure she'll be thrilled over her present.”
“Present?” Sho asked and Aiba showed him a plastic bag.
“Rika-chan~,” the taller man yelled. “Come down. I brought something for you.”
However, nothing happened. The little girl didn't appear. Aiba looked at Sho who just shrugged.
“Rika~,” Aiba screamed again, making his way to the stairs. Again, he didn't receive any answer. Therefore, Aiba went upstairs to the little girl's room. However, Rika was nowhere to be seen. Aiba checked the other rooms upstairs as well but he couldn't find her.
In panic he ran down the stairs again into the kitchen where Sho and Mrs. Yamamoto were chatting.
“Rika isn't in her room nor in any other room upstairs,” Aiba said, his face worried. Sho also straightened immediately, facing his partner.
“Where is she?” he asked.
“YOU are the one who is supposed to know that as you have been in charge of watching over her,” Aiba replied, his arms akimbo.
“I told her to stay in her room and come down to my office when she's hungry,” Sho tried to explain. The adrenaline was also rushing through his body. If Rika was indeed gone, it would be a disaster and furthermore, it would be his fault.
“Are you kidding me?” Aiba said, his voice already angry. “She's a five year old girl. If something catches her interest she will forget about that promise quite quickly.”
“She isn't that irresponsible,” Sho gave back, his head already going through the options they had of finding her.
“It's not about being responsible or not. She is a child and not an adult. That's why you have to WATCH HER!” Aiba was really angry by now and Sho realized that his words weren't making it any better. However, he felt offended by Aiba in some weird way and felt the need to defend himself.
Before Sho could say anything that would make the situation even worse though, Mrs. Yamamoto came to their rescue.
“Sweethearts, there is no use in pondering over who is at fault right now. We have to quickly take some action and find her. I will go over and ask my husband if he saw anything and you will check all of your rooms once more. We will meet again in five minutes in front of your house.”
Sho nodded and could also see Aiba agreeing. His partner was still shooting angry looks at him but stopped accusing him.
When Mrs. Yamamoto had left the house, both of them began to search the rooms in silence. They ended up meeting in the living room.
Sho looked at Aiba who just shook his head. He sank down on the sofa. Rika wasn't there anymore. Sho knew he was at fault. It had been his job to take care of her and regardless whether she had disobeyed his orders or not, Aiba had been right. She was only a child and Sho the responsible adult...
“What if...,” Aiba suddenly interrupted the silence and Sho looked up. “What if he took her? Shouldn't we call Nino and Jun?”
Aiba didn't need to specify who “he” was. Sho knew exactly whom he was referring to. It had also come to Sho's mind that Yamamoto Tatsuhiro might have found them out and would now use Rika against them. However, where did they make the mistake? Sho had been pretty sure than Tatsuhiro had eaten their story the day before, especially after Aiba's little outburst. Did they have a spy at their headquarters who told Tatsuhiro about the mission?
Either way, finding Rika was their first priority now so they had to keep calm to make it through any possible fight. He had to bring Rika back to Keiko who was believing in him. He wouldn't let her down. Therefore, he needed Aiba to stay calm as well, so he walked towards the taller man.
“We don't know that for sure now, Aiba-chan,” he said in a, what he thought of, calming voice. He took Aiba's hand – body contact was helping others to calm down, most of the time at least. “Maybe she just ran off after something she saw or she found a new friend and is playing at their house now,” he continued and could feel Aiba relaxing.
Sho began to let his thumb run over the back of Aiba's hand. “Let's find her quickly. In case Tatsuhiro caught her, we will get her out of it. We can do it, Aiba-chan. We're a team.”
Sho had no idea where these words came from. He still wasn't that happy about the idea of having a partner, but he needed a calm and concentrated Aiba. Furthermore, Aiba had been pretty useful until now and Rika being missing was Sho's fault.
“Okay,” Aiba whispered and added some pressure onto Sho's hand.
Sho smiled softly at Aiba who seem to be in a stable constitution. “Let's go and meet Mrs. Yamamoto outside. We'll know more about the situation then. And if things get tough, we can still call for Nino and Jun to come and help us out.”
Without letting go of Aiba's hand, Sho made his way out of the house where her neighbours were already waiting. Yamamoto Tatsuhiro stood next to his wife, a worried expression on his face as well.
“I am so sorry to hear about what happened,” Tatushiro began. “I haven't seen Rika either.” He shook his head and looked at the two men with an apologetic face.
Sho's heart felt slightly lighter after this confession though. If Tatsuhiro had kidnapped Rika and would want to use her, he would probably not stand in front of his house, denying it. As Sho had read in the reports (it had been useful afterall), Yamamoto Tatsuhiro was a man who would do things in a very open way. He didn't like playing tricks behind someone's back.
“Let's ask the neighbours,” Mrs. Yamamoto suggested and the three men agreed.
“We should split,” Sho said and they all decided that the Yamamotos would go to the end of the road and start there whereas Sho and Aiba would ask the neighbours living close to their house.
- Aiba -
Sho might not have realized it but Aiba was pretty aware of the fact that they were still holding hands. Their hands were cold but covered in sweat due to the stress but Aiba liked the way their fingers were linked with each other. If they had been in any other situation he would even have enjoyed this link a lot more.
He glanced at Sho just to see his distressed face. Aiba knew that he had been pretty harsh to him before and he knew he would have to apologize but no matter how you looked at it, Sho had been too absorbed into his work that he hadn't taken care of Rika properly. It had been his fault.
Now that he saw how worried Sho was about the little girl, Aiba couldn't really be angry with him anymore. He was pretty sure that Sho was blaming himself enough and was feeling down. Still, in the living room he had tried to cheer him up and Aiba was thankful for that.
However, now they really had to concentrate on finding Rika. Aiba had sensed that Yamamoto Tatsuhiro was telling them the truth, so the little girl was most probably running around in the area. Hopefully, she was okay.
~ ~ ~
After being told that they hadn't seen Rika for the umpteenth time, Aiba was getting hopeless. They were also in contact with the Yamamotos who couldn't give them any positive answer either.
“She must be here somewhere!” Sho said for the tenth time this evening, dragging Aiba with him to the next house.
Sho rang the bell and as soon as the door opened he said the lines he had been using for all the houses before as well.
“Good evening, we are the Sakurais. We're sorry for the intrusion but we're looking for our daughter. She's five years old and has brown hair and brown eyes. Her name is Rika.”
The woman, who had opened the door, smiled at them. “Rika-chan. She's playing in the backyard with my son and our dog.”
Aiba couldn't believe the words he just heard. He looked at Sho who was as surprised as he was.
“Come in, come in!” the woman ushered them inside. They were guided to the living room where a door was opened that lead to the backyard. And indeed, Rika was out there on the grass with a boy who was a bit older than her and a Shiba Inu.
“Rika-chan!” Aiba screamed and forgot all about etiquette when he stormed through the door to grab the girl and take her in his arms.
“Daddy?!” Rika was a bit surprised about the sudden hug but returned it nevertheless.
Sho had excused Aiba's behaviour but the woman just smiled mildly. “I was pretty sure that someone was looking for her so I thought it would be the best to let her stay until her parents would turn up,” she explained. Sho began to shower her with “Thank you”s but she stopped him with a wave of her hand.
“I think you should go and join the hug,” she just laughed.
~ ~ ~
Aiba was carrying Rika back to their home. They had found out that the girl had seen the dog from her window and since she loved dogs, she had wanted to play with him. That's why she had left her room and followed the dog to his house where she had been taken care of by the woman and her son.
When Aiba had started to scold Rika, Sho had stopped him, whispering to him to talk about the incident later after they would have taken their dinner.
The Yamamotos had been waiting for them in front of their house, relieved that the little girl was back safely. Sho and Aiba had thanked them for all their help but the older couple just stated that it was only natural to search for the girl as well.
They had dinner together and while Aiba watched over Rika getting ready for bed, Sho was washing the dishes. Up to now he had left all the housework and childcare to Aiba but he seemed to still feel guilty, so he was super helpful this evening.
When Rika was lying in her bed, they called for Sho who turned up in the door a few seconds later.
“Listen Rika-chan,” Aiba began and sat down next to her bed. “Sho and I have been very worried about you today.”
Rika looked at him with a confused expression.
“We didn't know where you were as you ran off without telling Sho,” Aiba continued and the little girl slapped her hand over her mouth.
“I totally forgot to tell you. I'm sorry!” she said then, looking at Sho who also came closer.
“Please tell me next time you're leaving,” he said and sat down next to Aiba.
“I will. I'm sorry for endangering our mission,” Rika said, truly sorry.
Sho and Aiba looked at each other. This had been the first time Rika was talking about their real job.
“You know, Rika, you're right. It would have been really bad if you would have been kidnapped,” Aiba started and took her hand. “However, even if we weren't on a mission Sho and I would have been terribly worried about you. We don't want anything to happen to you.”
“We like you very much, Rika. So let's make sure you will always let us know where you are,” Sho added.
“I will,” Rika promised and gave Aiba and Sho a hug.
Both men stood up after that, wished Rika a good night before they leaned on the door (Rika didn't like the door to be closed completely) and made their way downstairs to the living room where they let themselves fall onto the sofa.
“What a day,” Sho said, sighing deeply. Aiba agreed with a nod. He thought that now might be the best time to apologise to Sho.
“I am sorry for yelling at you like that before and for loosing my temper,” he therefore said, looking into Sho's direction. Sho turned to him, his face surprised.
“Why are you apologising? I didn't look after her properly,” Sho gave back.
“I simply shouldn't have accused you like that. It was your fault but in this situation it would have been better to work together instead of yelling at each other,” Aiba went on and Sho's expression softened.
“That's true but I think you were right for yelling at me,” he said.
Aiba looked at him seriously. “Let's work even harder together as a team from now on, Sho-san,” he said and offered Sho his hand.
His partner took it and pressed it tightly, sealing the oral contract they had just stroke up. Aiba's heart jumped in joy. He felt that this was the actual beginning of them working together.
They leaned back on the sofa and sat there for a few minutes in a comfortable silence. Then, Sho broke it.
“I felt like a real dad today. I have never been that worried about someone,” he admitted and Aiba agreed.
“Yes, that's how parents must feel all the time – worried that something might happen to their child. However, the happiness I felt when we found her was wonderful. I thought, I'd burst.”
Sho laughed, but nodded. “Being a parent is a tough job...,” he said. “However, it's also a wonderful job, being rewarded with the smiles and the joy the children bring into the house.”
Aiba felt warmth spreading through his body. He'd never thought to hear something that sentimental from Sho, but it made him happy to get to know this side of him. Still, for the sake of their mission, Aiba decided that he shouldn't get that involved with Sho's emotions, so he stood up.
“I'll go to bed now. Today wore me out,” he sighed. “Good night!”
“Good night!” Sho gave back. “And thanks!”
Aiba nodded and left the living room. A second before he disappeared, he turned around one last time. “Is miso soup and omelet okay for breakfast tomorrow?”
Sho smiled warmly at him, making Aiba's heart beat faster again. “It is.”
Chapter 04 – Happy Birthday
Author's Note: For this story Sho's birthday is not in January but in October.
- Sho -
“One espresso please,” Sho ordered and the waitress nodded.
“Ice chocolate for me, please,” Ohno added.
The waitress noted the order on a little paper before she collected the menu and left the two men.
Right after work, Sho had went to meet Ohno in a café. Sho had never been there before but Ohno had insisted on this, so he just went along. Indeed, it was a really nice place. Although the café itself was really big, the arrangement of the tables made sure every costumer had some privacy. Ohno had chosen the place very well.
The waitress came back with their order and to Sho's surprise another waitress was following her, carrying a cake with a few candles on top. As soon as they arrived, Ohno stood up and took the cake. Then he started to sing “Happy Birthday” and Sho felt his cheeks getting warm. How many years had it been that he had blushed the last time? Now he was sitting there like a teenager, getting all flustered about a birthday song.
“Happy birthday, little brother, happy birthday to you~,” with this, Ohno put the cake in front of Sho and gestured towards the candles. Still feeling a bit shy, Sho blew out the candles which was followed by a loud cheer from Ohno and the waitresses.
Ohno thanked the two girls who smiled and left the two men alone.
“Thanks for this, but you didn't have to go all out on this,” Sho said.
“No problem. I love seeing your flustered face,” Ohno laughed and Sho shot him an icy look. “Let's have some cake,” Ohno quickly added and put a piece on Sho's plate before he took one for himself.
“So gooood!” he acknowledged, his mouth full, taking a few sips of his ice chocolate in between.
Sho had to admit that Ohno's little performance was a clever move. To outsiders it looked indeed like two brothers meeting to celebrate the birthday of the younger one. This might shy away some possible followers and ensure that he and Ohno could talk in privacy.
Furthermore, Sho had no idea when he had celebrated his birthday the last time. Due to his job he had never paid much attention to it and his family members couldn't reach him anyway. Only Toma, his boss and friend, had made sure to send him a card wherever he was.
Sho was sure that it had been Toma's doing today as well as there was no way Ohno could know the date of his birth. He was grateful and hoped that he could thank his friend soon.
“Tell me about your new house. Do you like it over there?” Ohno asked, his mouth full with another piece of (very delicious as Sho had noted) cake.
“The house is wonderful. It's big and Rika loves her new room. Aiba bought new curtains a week ago and he also changed her bed into a canopy bed and now we have troubles to get her out of bed in the mornings,” Sho laughed, thinking back about this morning when Aiba and he had succeeded by promising Rika a breakfast with sausages and scrambled eggs.
“I see,” Ohno replied and his face showed a smug grin. “You seem to have settled in nicely. What about the neighbours?”
Sho decided to ignore Ohno's expression.“They're really nice. We have been welcomed very warmly and Rika likes to have a chat with them or we go and visit them.”
“Nice. So Rika has made a friend. Do they attend the same kindergarten?”
Sho snorted. “No! They're an elderly couple. They have a son but he already moved out and we haven't met him yet.”
“Ah~,” Ohno laughed and gave Sho a tiny little nod that was invisible to others. Ohno had understood the hidden meaning and would report to Toma that they already had become close with the Yamamotos but didn't had the chance to meet Yamamoto Tamiya.
“I'm glad to hear that you're fine, Sho-chan,” Ohno replied and Sho nodded. He was fine indeed. His mission was progressing slowly but steadily and living with Aiba and Rika wasn't as bad as he had imagined in the beginning.
“Do you remember my colleague I told you about the last time we met?” Ohno asked. “You know, the one who wants to sell Japanese Art to Chinese people?”
Sho nodded. He immediately understood that this talk was not about any colleague of Ohno, it was about Yamamoto Tamiya. Ohno had some information about the transaction that he was planning but he couldn't just openly tell Sho, that's why Ohno was inventing this story.
“Well, at first it seemed as if nobody wanted to buy anything and he had no contact to China in whatsoever. However, lately, there are a few interested parties, so they were writing back and forth. It seems that he will make the sale soon,” Ohno went on.
“So it will work out? Good for him,” Sho jumped in, his brain already processing the information Ohno had just given him. Yamamoto Tamiya had been in contact with China about the transaction. They would need a few more weeks to talk about the details but basically there wasn't that much time left for Aiba and him to find out more about the place and time of the transfer.
“Well, let's see if it works out for him,” Ohno said and winked at Sho who couldn't help but grin. Then, he reached into his bag to pull out a gift bag.
“Before I forget it, I have a present for you,” he said and handed the bag over to Sho who took it carefully.
Sho recognized Toma's handwriting on the card that was inside. He felt that bubble of happiness growing bigger inside of him again. Somehow, today felt like a real birthday, something he hadn't had since years.
“Open it!” Ohno nudged him and Sho knew that Ohno was just curious about what was inside though to outsiders it looked as if he wanted Sho to take a look at his present.
Following the order, Sho took the package out of the gift bag and opened the lid. He stared at the content for a few seconds before he quickly put the lid back on. Ohno, who had also peeped inside started to laugh.
“You might need it,” he bickered. “Aiba is a real cutie and you should have some fun once in a while.”
Sho shot Ohno an angry look. He would definitely NOT need any lube and condoms. What was Toma thinking? All feelings of wanting to thank his friend and boss vanished into thin air while Sho was clenching his teeth.
“Just saying...,” Ohno mumbled before he concentrated again on his ice chocolate.
- Aiba -
A loud beep indicated an incoming message and Aiba quickly reached for his phone to check it.
“Ah, Sho's brother says he just parted ways with him. He will be here in about half an hour. Can we make it?” Aiba asked a bit stressed, looking at the chaos in Sho's office.
“Don't worry, we're nearly done”, Mr. Yamamoto replied in a calm voice. “There are only a few screws left.”
Mr. Yamamoto took one of the said screws and began to tighten it. Aiba was watching him while he was holding the board.
They had been working on it the whole afternoon and finally, it looked like the picture on the package. After Aiba had given Sho a massage each morning to loosen his cramped muscles, he had decided that it would be better to change the sofa in the office with a real bed making sure Sho could rest properly.
Toma had told Aiba about Sho's birthday and therefore Aiba had thought that it would be a good present. However, looking at the construction manual Aiba had to realise that he needed someone else to help. Rika was too weak and he didn't want her to get hurt. Thinking about getting closer with the neighbours, Aiba had asked Mr. Yamamoto for help who had agreed happily.
Mrs. Yamamoto was also helping as she was in the kitchen cooking a birthday dinner with Rika. If Mr. Yamamoto wouldn't be an ex-mafia boss, Aiba would have come to like him a lot.
“Say, Aiba, why aren't you sleeping in the same bed with Sho? Instead you're buying him a new, comfortable one so he can sleep in the office,” Mr. Yamamoto asked while reaching out for the next screw.
Aiba blushed and looked at the floor. “We don't do it because of Rika-chan,” he answered then.
Mr. Yamamoto started to laugh. “You cannot keep your hands to yourselves if you're sleeping in the same bed, is that what you mean?”
Aiba nodded and his cheeks turned from pink into bright red.
“You're cute. But you know,” Mr. Yamamoto continued while he tested of the board was tight enough, “sometimes you should find time for each other. You both need it, you know?”
“I know...,” Aiba whispered, smiling shyly at Mr. Yamamoto.
“My wife and me don't mind having Rika sleep over at our place. We have many spare rooms and we really like the little girl so just give us a shout if you need her out of the house,” Mr. Yamamoto said and winked at Aiba.
The tall man thanked him properly, promising to let him know when they would take upon the offer. Then, Aiba decided to take a dangerous step.
“Mr. Yamamoto, can I ask you a question?”
The ex-mafia boss raised an eyebrow, but nodded.
“Why are you so supportive? I mean, we've also had neighbours that hated the idea of two men living together and when Rika appeared they pointed at us, calling us disgusting. However, you have been very nice to us from the very beginning. We do appreciate this a lot, but Sho and I were wondering why....,” Aiba trailed off.
Mr. Yamamoto sighed deeply and Aiba felt that he had hit a sore spot. As the criminal didn't answer quickly, Aiba thought that he wouldn't get an answer and already started to think about how to get out of this weird situation. However, after another deep sigh, Mr. Yamamoto started to speak.
“Do you have any siblings?” he asked and Aiba answered that he had a younger brother. “I never had any brothers or sister though I wished to have some. When I was at university, I found a friend. However, he wasn't just a friend. He was more. It felt as if he was my second half, something I have been looking for ever since I was a child. We did everything together. We shared a room, we went to the same classes, we were simply inseparable.”
Mr. Yamamoto looked up, but didn't seem to focus anything special. He was lost in his thoughts of his past.
“We went different ways after university but we still kept in contact. I still remember that evening very vividly when he called me. He sounded anxious and scared and he asked me if I could come over to his place as there was something he needed to tell me.”
Mr. Yamamoto turned to Aiba with sad eyes.
“You must know that he lived in Osaka by that time and I was really busy with something else, so I told him to wait a little bit until I was free. He said it's alright and made me promise to call him as soon as I had time to come over. However, a week after the call I got a message that he was found dead.”
Aiba gasped. He had expected the friend to be gay, wanting to tell Mr. Yamamoto about it, but this was way worse.
“He had been murdered. I simply couldn't understand why, as my friend had been the nicest person on earth. He was always carrying a smile and he was good in socializing with others whereas I always had my troubles to bring a relationship further than on the business level. He was pretty much like you, Aiba.”
Aiba wasn't sure if he should take that as a praise or not. However, he definitely didn't want to end up like Mr. Yamamoto's friend. The ex-mafia boss seemed to sense Aiba's troubles and smiled.
“Of course I don't want you to share the same fate,” he quickly said therefore but Aiba shook his head.
“I understand. However, why was your friend murdered?”
“Because he was gay. Because he was in love with a stupid man who was straight and couldn't live with the fact that another man had fallen for him. He was disgusted and had paid someone to kill my friend.”
Mr. Yamamoto clenched his fists and Aiba was sure that the said man wasn't living anymore either.
“I'm sorry to hear that your friend had been murdered because of such a stupid reason,” he said and laid his hand on Mr. Yamamoto's shoulder who didn't shake it off.
They sat like that for a few seconds before Mr. Yamamoto turned to Aiba again and tried to smile.
“However, now is not the time to talk about such sad happenings. It's Sho's birthday today and we should really get finished with this bed now before he arrives.”
Aiba nodded enthusiastically and handed Mr. Yamamoto the next screw. He hoped that Sho would like his present.
~ ~ ~
“Daddy! Dad is coming back,” Rika said excited, appearing in the door.
She had been preparing dinner with Mrs. Yamamoto in the kitchen and had been told to look out for her dad.
“Thanks, Honey,” Aiba said and pointed to the finally completed bed. “We've finished it in time.”
“Dad will never have a backache again,” the little girl cheered and Aiba gave her a high-five. Then, they quickly left the office to welcome Sho on the door.
Aiba had bought a little flower bouquet for Rika and a bigger one for himself. Proudly, Rika took the small one and waited for the door to open. Aiba was standing next to her, a happy smile on his face.
It didn't took long until they heard Sho turning the key in the door.
“Happy Birthday, Dad!”
Before Sho knew what was going on, he had his daughter's arms around his waist.
“These are for you!”
Rika separated herself just a little bit to push the bouquet into her fathers hands.
“They are really pretty,” Sho said, amazed. “Thanks, Rika!”
The girl hugged Sho again before she remembered that she wasn't the only one who wanted to congratulate the birthday boy. She moved away from Sho, looking back and forth between her fathers.
“I'll be waiting in the kitchen~,” she sing-sang and threw Aiba an intense look before she vanished into the announced direction.
A bit confused, her fathers looked at each other and Aiba had the feeling that Rika knew something they didn't. Being in thoughts, he nearly forgot Sho who was still standing in the hallway, a bit clueless but waiting for Aiba to finally hand him his bouquet.
“Happy Birthday, Dear!” he said loud enough for the Yamamotos to hear. He handed Sho the bouquet who had troubles holding both. Since their neighbours were in the kitchen and hence not watching them, there was no need to kiss Sho. However, Aiba decided that hugging the birthday boy was alright – colleagues could do that after all. Sho stiffened but returned the hug a second later. When Aiba separated from him again he saw a bright smile on Sho's face.
“Thanks so much, Aiba! I really appreciate the bouquets and birthday wishes,” Sho said thankfully.
“That's just the beginning. Come on, Rika is waiting,” Aiba smiled and moved behind Sho to softly push him into the direction of the kitchen.
- Sho -
Letting himself being pushed through the hallway and the living-room by Aiba, Sho was holding tightly onto the two bouquets. He was happy! It had been ages since he had received flowers on his birthday.
Today was really an awesome day. First, Ohno gave him a birthday cake and now Aiba and Rika were celebrating with him. Sho felt lucky for his birthday for the first time in years. Now, he was curious what Rika and Aiba had prepared for him.
However, when he entered the kitchen, he was greeted by familiar, though unexpected faces.
“Happy Birthday!” Mr. and Mrs. Yamamoto said in unison. They were standing at the kitchen table that was laid in a festive manner with several candle stands, more flowers and plates that had napkins formed like swans on them. On the oven there were several pots that gave off a promising smell.
Sho was really moved by all the effort that had been put into the preparations that he took Aiba by his waist.
“Thank you!” he whispered against Aiba's full lips.
After recovering from the sudden closeness, Aiba took Sho by his hand.
“There is still more for you,” he said and smiled when Sho's eyes popped open.
“Yes, Dad,” Rika jumped into the conversation. “Let's go to your office!”
Sho let himself guided to his office by his daughter, Aiba and the Yamamotos following the two.
“Now close your eyes,” Rika instructed her dad before she opened the door.
Sho did as he was told and Rika guided him carefully into the room.
“You can open them now,” she announced.
As soon as Sho opened his eyes, he noticed the new bed. Surprised, he turned to Aiba who nodded.
“It's a special mattress that adapts to the form of the body making you feel as if you're sleeping on cotton candy,” Aiba explained.
“You won't have a backpain in the morning anymore,” Rika added.
“Perfect!” Sho smiled at Aiba but Rika took his attention away again.
“This is my birthday present for you,” she said and pointed to a plushie that was sitting on the pillow. “I made it,” she explained proudly.
Sho took the plushie that kind of looked like a dog with rabbit ears.
“It's a teddy. Daddy helped me making it,” Rika went on explaining. “Since Daddy said that you have to sleep in the office because you're snoring so loudly, I thought you might be lonely, so I made this for you.”
Sho raised his eyebrows. “I see. I am snoring too loudly...,” he laughed and Aiba shrugged. Behind his partner, he could see Mr. Yamamoto trying to hide his laughter.
“It's a really sweet teddy, Rika. Thank you so much. I will never have to fall asleep alone anymore,” Sho thanked his daughter who smiled proudly.
“And Mr. Yamamoto helped me to build the bed,” Aiba finally explained the presence of the mafia boss.
Sho quickly bowed his head to thank him but Mr. Yamamoto waved it off, saying it was only natural for him to help his neighbours out.
“And Mrs. Yamamoto helped to prepare the birthday dinner which is ready~,” the elderly lady chirped and Rika cheered.
After Sho had thanked their neighbours again, they went back to the kitchen where they sat down. Mrs. Yamamoto put the food on the plates and Sho looked at the people around him - a criminal, who wanted to be seen as a normal husband, his wife helping him to keep up the image, a child acting out a role and his colleague who pretended to be in love with him.
Everybody was lying but still, Sho felt that in this moment all of them were simply happy to be able to celebrate together and pretend to have the life they wanted to have. Despite the lies it was an honest feeling of happiness in the air and Sho felt lucky to be a part of it.
It was a cheerful and very delicious dinner. The Yamamotos shared little stories about their (non-criminal) life and Mrs. Yamamoto forced Sho to tell them how he confessed his love for Aiba. He told them it was during a festival when they were watching fireworks.
Aiba and Sho were a really good team by now, so all of their stories were flawless and really believable. Rika was lightning up the mood by singing a song for Sho and after dessert (an extraordinarily delicious cake) they were so full that they felt they couldn't move anymore so they just sat around the kitchen tables, rubbing their bellies.
It was around this time when Mr. Yamamoto surprised Sho and Aiba with an invitation.
“You know, Halloween is coming up and me and my wife are holding a Halloween Party every year. I'd love for you three to come as well.”
Rika was on fire. “A Halloween Party! That's awesome! I want to go! Do the guests have to wear costumes?”
Mrs. Yamamoto laughed. “Of course, otherwise we won't let them in!”
“Daddy! Dad! Please, can we go?”
Aiba and Sho looked at each other before the nodded.
“Awesome!” Rika squealed before she hugged their fathers.
“Great!” Mr. Yamamoto said, obviously satisfied. “I'll let you know about the time later.”
After that the Yamamotos decided that it was time to leave. It was already late and they said that they didn't want to disturb the family any longer although Aiba and Sho told that they would never see them as a nuisance.
They thanked their neighbours again for their help before they wished each other a good night.
- Aiba -
“She's sleeping,” Sho came into the living room and sat down next to Aiba on the sofa. Rika had claimed to be brought to bed by the birthday boy tonight, so Sho had been in charge of getting her ready for bed while Aiba had been cleaning the kitchen.
After he had finished his task, Aiba had sat down in the living room, enjoying the laughter and chatter that came down from the first floor.
It had been a wonderful evening and Aiba, who had been watching Sho closely, had realized that his partner had been truly happy to celebrate his birthday like that. Also, Aiba had really felt like a family today – sitting all together while having dinner, handing out presents and enjoying each others presence.
But – Aiba shook his head to stop himself from daydreaming – he should stay focussed. They weren't a family. He really needed to keep his feelings under control.
“What are you doing?” Sho asked confused and Aiba remembered his presence.
“Well...,” Aiba started, quickly searching for a good explanation why he was shaking his head. Luckily, there was something to talk about. “I simply cannot believe that we're invited to the Yamamto's Halloween Party,” he said and Sho jumped right in.
“It's amazing, isn't it? I mean, everybody in our field of work knows about this party but nobody has ever been invited.”
“Do you think his son will be there?” Aiba asked.
“Since this party is an annual meet and greet of Japan's best criminals, I am pretty sure that he'll be there as well,” Sho concluded.
“I wonder why he invited us as well...,” Aiba voiced the thought that suddenly crossed his mind.
Sho shrugged. “Maybe he just wanted to be the kind neighbour. Anyway, I think he really doesn't suspect us in any way. If he knew that we were working for the National Security he wouldn't invite us.”
“That would indeed be a high risk,” Aiba agreed.
“This will be our chance, Aiba. Maybe the two will talk about the transaction. We really have to be attentive!”
“Yes, Sir,” Aiba joked and Sho laughed. Then, both leaned back onto the sofa and stayed silent for a few minutes.
“I cannot believe that we really made it that far,” Sho broke the silence thoughtfully.
“Because we really give off the feeling of being a family,” Aiba explained.
“True,” Sho agreed. “Especially today… Thank you so much for celebrating my birthday.”
“Of course we'd celebrate it,” Aiba said and smiled at Sho.
“Also, thanks for the present,” Sho began but Aiba shook his head.
“I felt really bad for you having a backache every morning while I am lying in a comfortable bed,” the taller man stated.
“I never saw this as a problem,” Sho replied. “And Rika's plushie is really cute. Also, her reason for giving it to me – she thought I'd felt lonely,” Sho laughed.
Aiba, maybe a bit tipsy from the wine they had for dinner, suddenly turned to Sho. “If that plushie someday isn't enough for you anymore, there is still some space in my bed upstairs,” he said boldly.
Sho looked at him intensively and Aiba could feel himself blushing.
“Into which I will go now...,” Aiba added quickly and stood up to escape the situation. “Good night,” he said, already on his way out.
“Aiba,” he heard Sho calling from him and stopped. “Thanks for the offer!”
With his heart beating strongly in his chest, Aiba mad his way into his (still pretty empty) bed.
Chapter - 05 : Let's go party~
- Sho -
“Say, Rika-chan, what do you want to wear for the Halloween party?” Aiba asked his daughter while he closed the bento boxes he had just finished preparing.
It was the morning after Sho's birthday and ever since Rika had set down at the kitchen table, she was talking about the upcoming party and nothing else.
“A bat!” the little girl answered promptly and Sho as well as Aiba were looking at her in surprise.
“Why is that?” Sho was the first to ask and Aiba came closer to the two as well.
“Because I want you two to dress up as vampires. The children of vampires are little bats. This way we will look like a family which is our aim, right?!” Rika explained and Sho was, once again, astonished about how much she was working for their mission.
Since neither Aiba nor Sho could bring themselves to tell her that bats were not the children of vampires but rather vampires could change into bats, the costume set up was decided.
“I will go and buy some fabric today,” Aiba announced.
“Are you going to sew all of our costumes by yourself?” Sho asked in surprise.
“Of course. It's nothing much. The two of us will only need a cape. We can wear black trousers and a black shirt underneath which we have in our wardrobes anyway,” Aiba said and Sho was surprised by how well Aiba knew what he had in his closet until Sho remembered that it was actually Aiba who was washing them. That also meant he knew what Sho's underwear looked like. This insight caused Sho to blush.
“Rika's costume will be a bit more complicated but I can do it,” Aiba kept on, nodding to himself.
Sho, amazed once more by Aiba's skills, simply nodded and listened to Rika's and Aiba's chatter about the costumes and the party. It was their usual morning routine, nothing unusual happened and Sho felt perfect.
“Oh, Sho, I need your measures. How broad are your shoulders?” Aiba suddenly interrupted his daydreaming.
“Uhmm...,” having no idea, Sho simply looked at Aiba, dumbfounded.
“Allright, I'll get the measuring tape. Wait here”, Aiba said and off he went. Sho wasn't sure what Aiba was expecting of him. He wouldn't suddenly start to run away. The thought amused Sho to such an extent that he snorted into his cup of coffee, earning himself a really questioning look from his daughter.
Luckily, he didn't need to explain himself as Aiba came back with the tape. He ordered Sho to stand up and began taking his measures.
It was not the first time to have Aiba so close to him, they had kissed and cuddled in front of their neighbours after all. However, it was different now. They didn't need to act – it was simply an innocent closeness following the purpose of getting Sho's measures. Still, Sho could feel Aiba's warmth as well as his fingers brushing over his body while holding the tape. If he was being honest with himself, he liked having Aiba close to him of his own free will, but Sho wasn't brave enough to face his feelings right now.
- Aiba -
“You look gorgeous, sweetheart,” Aiba praised his daughter and clipped a last strand of hair into the bun. “You are the cutest little bat I've ever seen!”
Rika giggled and looked into the mirror, proudly. Aiba had indeed done a splendid job in creating a costume for her. He even made some wings that were attached to her back and were bobbing up and down whenever she moved giving the whole costume a really cute touch.
“Aw~ Who's that cute little bat over here?” Sho asked when he came into the room.
“You think I am cute, Dad?” Rika wanted to know and looked at her father with big eyes.
“The cutest little bat ever and my sweet girl,” Sho answered and swept her up to twirl her around, causing his daughter to squeal happily.
Aiba watched the two like a proud mum while he felt his heart beat increasing. Sho had really fallen for Rika head over heals ever since she had went missing. The two were spending much more time together now and Sho didn't seem to be afraid to touch her anymore.
Even more, Sho had not only warmed up with Rika, but also with Aiba. It had become a rite to meet in the living room after Rika went to bed and talk about the things that came to their minds. Aiba was looking forward to this hour of the day the most.
“Dad, Daddy, you two look very good as well,” Rika suddenly said after Sho had put her down.
Her father laughed. “Of course, you have two very handsome fathers,” he said and winked towards Aiba who had a hard time stopping himself from blushing.
Rika was indeed right. Sho looked incredibly hot in his tight black trousers and shirt. Aiba had never seen Sho naked but the shirt showed a really toned upper body causing Aiba's fantasy to run wild. The cape Aiba had sewn for Sho was accentuating his broad shoulders nicely. All in all Sho was the dream of every woman … and apparently every man.
“Shall we go?” Sho asked, having no clue about his partner's thoughts.
Aiba nodded and started to move towards his two family members. When he arrived, Sho took him by his hand and suddenly looked serious.
“All of us have to be very attentive today. It might be our chance to bring this mission to an end,” he said and Aiba as well as Rika nodded.
“Alright, but let's also have some fun,” Sho grinned and the atmosphere lightened up again.
Quickly, the three checked their costumes for a last time before they headed over to the Yamamoto's where the party had already started.
~ ~ ~
“This is my son, Tamiya,” Mr. Yamamoto introduced the three undercover agents to the man, they had wanted to meet the most.
The three had been welcomed by Mrs. Yamamoto at the door who had been praising their costumes, especially Rika's making the girl all happy and proud. She had guided them to the living room that was decorated stylishly, giving off a rather mature Halloween vibe. The window to their garden was opened and Aiba could see pumpkins and lanterns outside.
Lots of people were already occupying the sitting accommodations or were enjoying themselves on the buffet. Some were simply standing around and some were dancing.
Aiba spotted several criminals that the Japanese police was very interested in, but he knew that they shouldn't care about them. Their one and only goal was Yamamoto Tamiya, the man that was currently shaking his hand.
“It's nice to meet you,” Tamiya said in a friendly voice. “And who's this little cute bat?” he asked, bringing himself on Rika's eye level.
“I'm Rika, their daughter. See, I am a bat and they are vampires,” Rika explained and Aiba could see a little smile appearing on Tamiya's face.
“I understand. You're lucky to have such great daddies,” he simply said and Aiba was relieved that he was not hitting on the fact that bats were not babies of vampires.
“I am~!” Rika shouted and turned around to their fathers who reached out for her.
Tamiya looked at his father. “They're as lovable as you said,” he stated and Mr. Yamamoto gave a simple nod.
Suddenly, the group was joined by another men who was immediately pulled into an embrace by Mr. Yamamoto.
“Ken! I am so glad you could make it!” he shouted and Aiba got worried about the thin man with big brown eyes and an incredibly cute smile.
“This is one of my best men. I know him since he was a child,” Mr. Yamamoto introduced him.
“I'm Miyake Ken,” the man said and shook Sho's hand. When he was reaching out for Aiba, Ken threw him a very flashy smile and Aiba thought that their handshake was a bit too long. However, Ken simply winked at him and grinned, so Aiba decided to let it go.
“Allright, let's get us something to drink,” Mr. Yamamoto declared and turned around to the kitchen that had been turned into a bar.
“I'll pass,” Aiba said because he knew that he was pretty weak to alcohol, which was a flaw for an undercover agent, but Aiba had managed to come by so far.
“Me too,” Ken added.
Mr. Yamamoto nodded and took Rika's hand while he pulled Sho with him, too. Tamiya decided to follow his father and parted with a tiny nod.
- Sho -
Sho tried to keep an eye on Tamiya but after grabbing a drink from the bar, he somehow disappeared into the group of people that were filling the living-room. Rika had also ran off to somewhere. Sho didn't really worry about her. It wouldn't make sense to kidnap her here as everybody had seen her and knew whom she belonged to.
Mr. Yamamoto was talking about how his wife made him help with carving the pumpkins and how they had eaten nothing else but pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie during the last week, but Sho was only listening with one ear.
While he had been searching for Tamiya in the crowd, he had spotted Aiba who was still together with that “Ken”. Sho had decided from the very first moment they met that he didn't like him. The feeling had only become stronger when Ken had flashed Aiba a smile while they shook their hands for an unnecessary long time.
The two were chatting happily in the corner of the living-room. Sho wouldn't have minded other men talking to Aiba but this Ken was definitely too close. Surely, there was no need to press Aiba between the wall and his body.
He shook his head. Maybe, he was simply imagining things right now. Ken wasn't actually that close to Aiba. He should calm down. Although Aiba was his boyfriend, he should be allowed to talk to other man. Sho didn't want to look like the overly jealous boyfriend.
Content with himself that he had settled this matter, Sho took the glass Mr. Yamamoto was handing him. The drink was good and Mr. Yamamoto seemed to be in a chatty mood today.
Although Sho had told himself to leave Aiba be for the moment, his eyes wandered towards his partner over and over again. It seriously disturbed him than Ken was pressing his hip against Aiba's. Still, Sho decided to stay calm. However, when Ken put his arm around Aiba's waist and pulled him even closer, Sho saw red.
He could feel the anger boiling inside him. How could anybody dare to touch Aiba like that. Aiba was HIS partner, HIS boyfriend and if anybody was allowed to be in such a position with Aiba it was no other than Sho by himself.
He could understand the need to be close to Aiba who was looking more than hot in his black tight trousers and shirt but this was too much.
Sho excused himself, leaving the still talking Mr. Yamamoto behind and stomped towards the pair. He felt that he needed to make clear that Aiba belonged to him. When he reached the two, Aiba looked up to him and smiled.
“Oh, Sho-chan, have you gotten yourself a dr-...”
Before Aiba could finish his sentence, Sho had taken him by his hips, freeing him from Ken's attack and kissed him. It wasn't their usual “We have to do it because the Yamamoto's are wachting – kiss”. It was Sho's interpretation of a “This is my boyfriend so keep your hands off – kiss” which resulted in a very long, deep kiss with a lot of tongue dances between the two.
Sho was swept away by Aiba's sweet taste. It was the first time they were sharing a french kiss and therefore the first time for Sho to taste his partner. He couldn't get enough of it and since Aiba had granted him entrance so willingly, Sho decided that a few more seconds of kissing wouldn't harm anyone. He needed to make clear that Aiba belonged to HIM afterall.
He also didn't break apart after Ken coughed, obviously wanting to remind the two men of his presence. Sho purposely let the kiss linger for some more seconds before he softly pecked Aiba's lips a last time.
- Aiba -
This… had been their first… kiss with tongue!
Aiba's heart was beating like crazy while his legs were shaking. He feared that he would collapse any moment so he held onto Sho who only pulled Aiba closer.
“The drink was good, but you taste way better..., “ Sho suddenly said and Aiba's brain tried hard to remember what had been his question before that amazing kiss happened.
“I'm sure he tastes better than any drink,” Ken suddenly interjected and smiled at the couple.
Aiba looked at Sho and saw him clenching his teeth. The thick vein on his neck became visible, which only happened when he was angry or troubled.
“Not that I'll ever be able to find out,” Ken joked and Aiba felt Sho tighten the grip around his hip.
“No, you won't,” Sho gave back, his voice icy.
Aiba's brain was still fogged from the kiss but he could catch the tension between the two men and if there is something he couldn't stand it was such a cold atmosphere. Therefore, he needed to take action and the best idea was to separate these men.
“Sho-chan, I feel like having a drink too. Let's go to the bar.”
With a last death glance at Ken, Sho took Aiba's hand and made his way to the bar.
“What do you want to drink?” Sho asked and Aiba, still trying to regulate his heart beat, forced his brain to work and come up with an answer. However, when he looked up at Sho, his eyes fell on his lips that had been on his own just some minutes before.
Aiba was still confused about the whole incident. What had happened to make Sho kiss him like that?
“How about a Martini?” Sho suggested and began to mix it by himself.
Aiba watched him, the vein on his neck wasn't that visible anymore which meant that he had calmed down a bit.
“Here you go, Dear.” Sho handed him the drink and Aiba downed it.
“Careful!” Sho laughed. “You need to make sure that your senses are sharp. There are suspicious men around, you know.” Sho's eyes wandered over to Ken who was chatting with someone else by now, a proper distance between him and his opposite.
“I'm sorry,” Aiba coughed and put the glass down. “I know we have to be careful,” he added.
Suddenly, the two heard a very familiar voice calling out for them.
“Dad! Daddy!” Rika was running towards them, a few other kids in tow. “Dad! You need to help us!” she said out of breath, looking at Sho. “There is a ghost in the garden. You have to catch him!”
The other kids nodded enthusiastically and Sho took Rika's hand.
“Allright! You're lucky that your dad is the best ghosthunter around. I'll catch him in no time for you,” Sho said, his voice confident.
Rika and her new found friends cheered and the little group made their way to the garden. Aiba was happy that Rika had chosen Sho for the task. Their relationship had gradually become better and now the two were nearly inseparable.
If Aiba was honest, he hadn't though it would come to that. In the beginning, Sho hadn't shown any interest in Rika and the little girl had been too shy to talk to the cold Sho. However, since the day Rika had accidentally ran off, Sho and the girl had approached each other more often and one day Aiba found them sleeping on the couch together, the little girl on Sho's lap, a book in the man's hands. Ever since it had become a habit for Sho to read out to Rika and Aiba loved to listen to Sho's voice and Rika's questions and comments.
“Alone again?” a voice pulled Aiba out of his thoughts. He looked up, directly into the smiling face of Ken.
“Sho is just hunting a ghost our daughter discovered in the garden,” Aiba explained.
“She's a really cute girl which is only natural since she has an extraordinary cute father,” Ken said, his eyes twinkling.
Aiba blushed. “Actually, we're not her natural parents,” he explained.
“I'm sorry, I didn't know. However, you two are a really cute family,” Ken said.
“Sho-chan also belongs to our family and he is cute too”, Aiba defended his partner.
“If you say so...,” Ken raised an eyebrow and nodded. “He's definitely got a good taste.”
Again, the conversation had come to this point. Aiba didn't like it at all and tried to change the topic.
“How did you get to know the Yamamotos? Mr. Yamamoto said that he knows you ever since you were a boy?!”
Ken scratched his head before he began to explain. “I'm his son's best friend so I came over a lot.”
“Actually, we're still friends – Tamiya and I,” Ken went on. “And we're working together.”
Aiba tried to hide his excitement. Ken and Tamiya working together meant that he might be able to get some seriously needed information from Ken.
“That's amazing,” Aiba therefore beamed.
“Yes. Tamiya is my boss,” Ken revealed and Aiba could feel the rush of excitement running through his body. Ken was definitely the right man and he seemed to be in a chatty mood.
“Really? Is he a nice boss or not?” he interrogated and his opposite laughed.
“He's strict but fair,” Ken answered. “Oh, they're playing one of my favourite songs. Let's dance!” He grabbed Aiba's hand and pulled him to the dance floor where a few couples were already swaying their bodies to the music.
Aiba wasn't really in the mood for a dance but this might be his chance to get the information they needed, so he let himself being dragged to the floor and began to move his body according to the rhythm.
- Sho -
Sho was still smiling when he entered the living room again. The “ghost” had been a bed sheet that the Yamamotos had hung behind a tree. Due to the wind it was moving, making it look as if something was flying.
Sho had fought the ghost dramatically, the kids holding their breath when Sho had disappeared behind the tree. After some seconds Sho had announced triumphantly that he had caught the ghost and when he came back from behind the tree, he had thrown the bed sheet over the kids who screamed at first but were all giggling a second later.
Rika had praised her dad anyway, for fighting the ghost before the kids had started to play with the bed sheet, taking the role of the ghost by themselves. Not being needed anymore, Sho had made his way back inside.
As he looked out for Aiba (and Tamiya, but Aiba was his first priority), he couldn't see him at the bar anymore. He searched the room and a huge wave of anger hit him when he finally found Aiba on the dance floor.
Basically, it wasn't a problem that Aiba was dancing (hell, his movements were alluring). The problem was dancing with him. That “Ken” was holding Aiba close, his hands on Aiba's “(sexy) butt.
Sho clenched his fists. That guy was obviously too stupid to understand that Aiba was already taken and that you should not lay your hands on butts that don't belong to you. However, how could Aiba let this happen? Aiba should know very well whom he belonged to.
Sho stomped into the direction of the dancing couple. It seemed that he needed to remind Aiba who was his boyfriend and allowed to hold him like that. This called for a drastic measure and Sho was more than determined to act it out.
When he reached the dancing pair, the grabbed Aiba by his arm and pulled him away from Ken, maybe a bit too harsh because Aiba looked at him with big eyes.
“Come with me!”
“But...,” Aiba tried to free himself, however Sho didn't give him any chance. He dragged him away from Ken, through the living room and went up the stairs. Sho didn't know where he was going, he just knew that he needed to bring as much distance between Aiba and that guy as possible and that he needed a place where they wouldn't be disturbed.
“Sho, what's wrong with you?” Aiba tried again, but there was no answer. Sho had finally found a dark corner behind a wardrobe on the first floor of the Yamamoto's house and was now pushing Aiba against the wall.
“Why were you dancing with that guy?” Sho asked, his body pressed against Aiba to keep him in place.
“Because he has information about Tamiya,” Aiba began to explain.
“This doesn't explain why he had his hands on your butt,” Sho's voice was dangerously deep.
“I... It... Everything happened so fast... so...,” Aiba couldn't really explain. In fact, he hadn't liked Ken's hands on his behind either but he thought that if he would endure it for a bit longer, Ken would have told him about their plans.
“There is only one person in this world who is allowed to put his hands on your butt,” Sho started again, his hands, that had been on both sides of Aiba's head against the wall right now, travelling downwards.
“I know, I am sorry...,“ Aiba began, but Sho interrupted him.
“And that would be ME!”
With this said, Sho finally grabbed Aiba's butt and pressed his partner's warm body closer to his own. A jolt of satisfaction captured Sho upon having Aiba in this position. It felt right and perfect and Sho was in a trance-like state, his mind only set to the goal to make Aiba remember that he was his, only.
“You're mine,” he whispered and before Aiba could say anything, Sho caught him in another deep kiss.
After a few seconds, Aiba responded and grabbed Sho by his hips as well. None of the two wanted to end the kiss so they just continued. They explored each other with their tongues and Sho found out that he was addicted to Aiba's taste. He couldn't get enough of it – he even wanted more.
Continuing to kiss Aiba, Sho began to softly rock his hips against Aiba's, his hands still on Aiba's butt to keep him in place. However, Aiba struggled himself free and stopped Sho.
“We cannot... not here..., “ he said out of breath, his cheeks flushed.
“Nobody will come up here and I need to make sure that you will remember that you belong to me,” Sho pushed Aiba's worries away and closed the gap again, attaching his lips to Aiba's soft skin on his neck.
“Sho~,” Aiba breathed and basically let the latter decide how to interpret this.
Sho decided to take it as a permission and began to push Aiba's shirt up while he didn't stop tasting his partner's skin. Aiba's abs contracted upon the touch of Sho's hot fingertips and he had to bit his lips in order to stay silent.
Sho caressed the soft skin above Aiba's waistband before he opened the button and the zipper. Carefully, he let his hand slip inside and was greeted by Aiba's eager member that pressed against his palm.
While he began rubbing it through the fabric, Sho kissed his way to Aiba's ear and began to playfully lick at the shell. Aiba, overwhelmed by the unexpected sensation, reached out for Sho and grabbed his arm to steady himself.
“Never let anyone else touch you like this,” Sho whispered into Aiba's ear. His hand had already found his way into Aiba's underwear and he was currently coating his own fingertips with Aiba's pre-cum.
Aiba nodded and leaned his head onto Sho's shoulder to muffle his moan.
“And never ever let anyone else than me taste you,” and with this, Sho suddenly let go of Aiba and got down on his knees. He pushed Aiba's trousers and underwear out of the way and faced the hard and glistening member of his partner.
Aiba's was too slow to catch up with the sudden change so he simply lay his hands on Sho's shoulders to prevent himself from collapsing.
Sho licked his lips before he opened them and let Aiba slide inside his warm, wet mouth. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Aiba pressing one arm over his mouth. Sho would have loved to hear Aiba's moan but that was indeed too dangerous.
While he played with Aiba's tip, Sho felt his own member calling for attention. His trousers had become pretty tight around his crotch, so he opened them as well. He took his hard member into his hand and began jerking off.
Aiba, not being able to stand still anymore, began to move his hips, causing his member to slip in and out of Sho's mouth, the soft lips of his partner adding a nice pressure.
Sho stayed in place while Aiba's pace became faster. The taller man's hand was still lying on Sho's shoulder but the closer Aiba got to his climax, the tighter became his grip. Sho endured it and added some tongue movements, making Aiba hiss before he suddenly released into Sho's mouth.
While the warm liquid was floating his mouth, Sho felt himself reaching his own high. He gave his member some last strong rubs before he spilled his juice all over his own hand.
After gulping down what Aiba had given him, Sho let the slowly softening member slip out of his mouth and leaned his head against Aiba's stomach. Soon after, his partners hands were combing through his hair softly.
Sho could have stayed like that for a bit longer but two voices suddenly broke the silence.
“I know that you're against it, but I wanted to tell you anyway.”
Tamiya's voice made Sho jump up and tuck himself in. Aiba had pulled up his trousers within a second as well and was looking at Sho with big, shocked eyes.
“Seems that I cannot stop you,” Tamiya's father gave back with a sigh. The voices as well as their steps came closer.
Sho, realizing that they were in the dangerous position of being seen, pressed himself against Aiba again, hoping that the wardrobe would hide their bodies. He felt Aiba shuddering beneath him and began to softly stroke over his back to calm him down.
“The transaction will be next week. After that, I'll go back to handling weapons, I promise,” Tamiya told his father.
“You can do whatever you want, Tamiya, I just don't trust these Chinese people,” Mr. Yamamoto responded and Sho could already feel their presence. They were close to be found out.
Luckily, the two men stopped and Sho could hear a door being opened. They seemed to walk into what was Mr. Yamamoto's office and closed the door behind them.
Aiba let out a sigh and Sho was reminded that he was still pressing himself really tight against Aiba. He took a step back and caught Aiba's eyes.
“Next week...,” Aiba whispered. Sho nodded. There it was. The information they had been waiting for the last months. Finally, they were moving forward with their mission.
“Let's go before they come back,” Sho said, his voice low.
Both hurried quickly back to the living room where the party was still underway. Aiba grabbed Sho's arm and pulled him over to the kitchen sink. As he began washing his hands, Aiba wasn't looking at Sho who suddenly realized what he had done.
He was shocked about himself and couldn't understand how this could have happened. How was he supposed to explain it to Aiba if he didn't even know by himself?
However, before Sho could think about this further, they heard a voice behind them.
“There you are!” Rika was standing behind them, hands in her hips, her lips stuck out. “I was looking for you but couldn't find you,” she went on and looked from one of her fathers to the other. “Where have you been?”
Sho could see Aiba trying to come up with an explanation but he decided to answer. He simply mouthed the word “mission” to Rika who immediately understood.
“Okay,” she just said and then looked up. “Actually I wanted to ask if we could go home. All the other kids had to leave and now I am all by myself, but if you want to stay, I will do so too,” she explained and nodded, making her little bat wings flap cutely.
Sho, amazed again by how mature this little girl was already, went to Rika and scooped her up into his arms.
“It's okay, Darling, we're tired as well. Let's go home!”, he said and Rika smiled at him. She put her arms around his neck and leaned her head onto his shoulder while they were looking for Mrs. Yamamoto to excuse themselves.
“Did you find something?” Rika suddenly whispered and Sho simply nodded. “Perfect!” the girl mumbled against Sho's shoulder and even though it came just from a little girl, Sho was proud about the praise.
They found Mrs. Yamamoto chatting with some of the wives of other mafia members and thanked her for the wonderful party. She insisted to give them some pieces of her pumpkin pie “for the way home” which was ridiculous as they were neighbours but Sho and Aiba and learned very quickly that it was no use to discuss with her, so they simply took the plate they were being handed.
After bidding her good night, they went to their house. Aiba and Sho still hadn't shared a word and both were glad that Rika was talking about the party.
Sho brought Rika to the living room where he put her down on the floor, telling her to go upstairs and get ready for bed. Sho promised that Aiba would come to help her soon so Rika followed his order silently and went upstairs.
Aiba had entered the room as well and was now looking everywhere except into the direction of his partner. Sho knew, they had to talk about what had happened but his mind was still a mess and he couldn't really put his actions and feelings into words. Therefore, knowing that he'd behave terribly, he only informed Aiba that he would go and call Ohno and left the room.
~ ~ ~
“That's what's commonly defined as jealousy,” Ohno commented after Sho had told him about the events of the evening. Of course, he had given Ohno the most important information first. However, when the older man had asked him if there was anything else Sho wanted to talk about, the words had simply flown out of Sho.
“What?” However, Sho was still confused and he really needed someone to help him understand what was going on.
“Not wanting other people to be close to someone or even touch him – you're simply being jealous, Sho,” Ohno explained calmly.
“But to be jealous you have to be in love,” Sho gave back.
“Not necessarily, but the person must he very important to you,” Ohno replied.
Sho began to think. Was Aiba important to him? The answer was simple – of course, he was.
“He is important to me,” Sho told Ohno who hummed in agreement. “Still...,” Sho began and blushed. It was a bit weird to talk about this with someone he barely knew, but he needed a second opinion on this. “Still, I don't think jealousy explains my actions in the hallway behind the wardrobe,” he quickly said.
Ohno took his time to answer. “You're talking about your strong want to make Aiba understand that he shouldn't get close to other men?”
“Yes,” Sho stated and felt the heat rushing into his head. He must be red as a tomato right now and he was really happy that Ohno couldn't see him right now.
“Well, I think that jealousy was only the trigger to your actions. You're still harbouring other feelings that caused you to do this,” Ohno voiced his opinion. “Anyway, we will make sure to watch Tamiya properly from now while you three over there have an eye on Mr. Yamamoto. Let's get into contact if anything happens,” he then switched the topic.
Sho agreed to that plan and cut the call. He let himself fall on his (really soft) bed and stared into the darkness of his room. He could hear Aiba and Rika giggling and replayed Ohno's words in his head.
“Other feelings” he had said. Feelings of … love? Was he in love with Aiba? Sho really didn't know. If so, when did it happen? Why hadn't he realized sooner? Usually, he was very well aware of his own feelings but regarding Aiba, his brain was only a big knot making it impossible for him to find a proper answer. And even if he was in love with Aiba - right now was definitely not the right time for it. The most important part of their mission was coming up and he needed to stay focused.
Sighing, Sho decided to postpone finding an answer to his questions, preferably to a day after their mission had ended, which was somewhere within next week.
Chapter 6 – Mission accomplished?
- Aiba -
Aiba let the warm water run over his body. If there was a thing he couldn't do without, it was the shower in the morning. It helped him to wake up and clear his head for the upcoming day. However, since the Halloween Party that had taken place three days ago, his mind was just one big mess.
He was craving for more of Sho's deep kisses and, he hated himself for it, more of Sho's lips all over his body, preferably stopping at a very private place between his legs. He simply couldn't get the picture of Sho kneeling in front of him, sucking eagerly on his member out of his head. He had jerked off having this scene in mind three times already.
Although he was enjoying the high in his private moments a lot, Aiba actually wanted to stop. He wanted to forget about it so that he could have a clear mind and stay focused on his task. Especially, after Sho hadn't shown any more interest in him after the party.
Aiba leaned his head against the cool tiles of the shower cabin. He was devastated as for a short moment he really had thought that Sho had feelings for him as well. The way he had kissed him behind that wardrobe, the intensity of his words when he had told Aiba that he was his only and the passion with which he had worshipped Aiba's body had caused him to think that all of Sho's words had been true.
However, considering Sho's cold behaviour towards him as well as the fact that they had managed to grab a very important information caused Aiba to come to the conclusion that Sho had planned all of this. He must have known that Yamamoto Tatsuhiro and his son would talk about the transaction in Mr. Yamamoto's office and had used Aiba as an excuse to be there as well. Because, thinking about it, making out with your boyfriend during a party where your child was distracted, was indeed plausible.
While he turned off the water, Aiba took a deep breath. Their mission would only last for a couple more days and then he would bring as much space between Sho and himself as possible. Maybe he would even ask Toma if he would send him on a mission in a different country so that he wouldn't have to come across Sho in the headquarters during the next months.
He had to endure the torture for just a little bit longer. Having Sho around was indeed hard and it costed all of Aiba's willpower to not run to him and kiss those alluring lips.
Suddenly, Aiba remembered that today way a national holiday, so Sho would be at home, meaning Aiba would have to spend more time with him than he wished for. Aiba was sure that he wouldn't be able to endure a whole day together with Sho together in their house. The only solution was to either leave the house or to make Sho leave. He would come up with something in the spur of the moment, Aiba decided and finally got into his clothes.
~ ~ ~
“We'll be back in the afternoon~,” Mrs. Yamamoto chirped and took Rika's hand.
“Sure, just take your time,” Aiba smiled and Sho gave his daughter a good-bye-kiss. Rika waved at her two fathers before she turned around and walked with Mrs. Yamamoto to the car. Mr. Yamamoto was already waiting for the two.
The Yamamotos had planned to take Rika to the zoo and the little girl had been looking forward to it a lot. Although Sho and Aiba didn't expect the Yamamotos to harm Rika in any way, it had been decided that Ohno would have an eye on the elderly couple and the girl.
When Rika was gone, Aiba panicked. He was alone with Sho now. He could go over to him now and ask him what his actions on the party had been all about. Or he could go to him and simply kiss him breathless. However, he wasn't brave enough to do any of the two options and so he decided to stick with the plan he had been making in the morning – get Sho out of the house.
“I'll be in my office but just tell me if there is anything you need,” the man of Aiba's daydreams suddenly said and left Aiba in the hallway.
“Actually,” Aiba began, “there is something I'd like you to do now.”
Sho nodded, indicating that he was listening.
“I forgot to buy new flour yesterday but I need it for the soup we'll be having for lunch today...,” Aiba explained.
“Ah, we can have something else then,” Sho simply replied and smiled at Aiba.
“But I already prepared the ingredients for it. Could you be so kind and drive over to the supermarket to get me some?”, Aiba gave back, looking at Sho with big pleading eyes (he knew he was good at making those).
Sho sighed. “Allright, I'll go.”
Aiba knew it had been stupid to ask Sho to bring flour for a soup. It's not that you need flour for a soup, at least it's not THAT necessary. However, since Sho was really clueless when it came to cooking, he wouldn't realize that Aiba's true intention was to get him out of the house.
Aiba let out a relieved sigh. The supermarket wasn't exactly around the corner, so it would take Sho about 30 minutes to get the flour. It wasn't much time, but it was enough so Aiba could mentally prepare himself for the day alone with Sho.
- Sho -
Sho was on his way home. It had taken him about fifteen minutes to find that stupid flour. In the end, he had asked an employee. Now, he was stuck in a traffic jam.
He leaned back in his seat and waited for the cars in front of him to start moving again. Looking at the package of flour, Sho wondered why it was necessary for a soup. He knew that you needed flour to bake a cake but he couldn't imagine it in a soup. However, Sho would never argue with Aiba about cooking as his partner was way more knowledgeable concerning such things.
Aiba... Sho knew he had to talk to him and explain things. Still, although in the back of his head he basically knew the answer to all of his questions, he hadn't made up his mind if he should tell Aiba or not. Especially, since Aiba seemed to behave a bit cooler towards him since the party.
Yesterday, Ohno had sent him a report about Tamiya who really seemed to plan everything for a smooth transaction. At the end of it Ohno had added one simple sentence “Tell him!”. Sho didn't know why Ohno knew what was going on his own head. However, it was easy for Ohno to say that, Aiba wasn't his partner in this mission. First and foremost, they needed to make sure that they would stop Tamiya while nothing happened to them.
While Sho's thoughts went on in circles, the traffic jam dissolved miraculously and Sho headed home. It was only three more minutes away and Sho took a deep breath to clear his mind. He needed to stay focused.
~ ~ ~
When Sho entered the house, the flour in his right hand, and called for Aiba that he was back home, he didn't receive an answer. Sho peeped into the kitchen but Aiba wasn't there. Puzzled, Sho put the flour on the counter. He left the room again and called for Aiba once more. Since there was no answer, he decided to search for his partner.
When Sho entered the living-room, he finally found Aiba. However, the scene that he was looking at caused his blood to freeze. Aiba wasn't alone!
He was sitting on a chair, his arms tied together behind his back. He already had a cut on his left eyebrow and on his lip Sho spotted dried blood.
Quickly, Sho checked his surrounding, but he couldn't find a way out. They were trapped as expected from the man that was currently looking at Sho, obviously having fun watching his troubled expression.
“Hello, Darling,” the man said and and crossed his legs.
“I'm not your darling,” Sho spat and moved towards Aiba. However, his way was blocked immediately by two huge, muscular men. However, instead of pointing their guns towards Sho, they directed them at Aiba. Sho stopped immediately. “Tell them to lower their guns,” he growled at the man on his sofa who simply laughed.
“No, I wanted to speak to you and I think the only way to keep you at bay is to threaten your partner,” Sho's opponent explained in a calm voice. “However, you can rest assured, I will only use him. Your little girl is still having a fabulous time at the zoo with my wife who, by the way, doesn't know I'm here as she had only asked me to drive them to the zoo and then do whatever I want to.”
Sho's had a hard time to keep himself under control because the man was more than right. If Sho had been by himself, he would have fought without thinking too much about his own safety. However, upon seeing the blood on Aiba's face Sho had nearly received a heart attack and he wanted to do everything in his might to keep Aiba safe. At least Rika was safe for now which was one less thing Sho had to worry about right now.
“What do you want to talk about?” Sho finally said after he had made sure that his voice would sound steady.
“Oh, just about the fact that during the last months you two tried to make a fool of me by pretending to be a loving little family...”
Sho looked at Mr. Yamamoto, trying to figure out what his neighbour was thinking. The moment he had spotted the ex-mafia boss in his living-room, Sho had known that their cover had been blown.
“And?” Sho knew it was useless to deny it, so he decided to go for the forward approach. The faster he'd find out what the criminal was planning, the easier it was for him to come up with a strategy to get Aiba and himself out of their current situation.
“I don't like to be fooled,” Mr. Yamamoto stated. Sho nodded, acknowledging the statement. “Therefore I am not nice to people that are stupid enough to try.”
Mr. Yamamoto gave one of his henchmen a tiny nod who lowered his gun and let his huge fist crash into Aiba's stomach. Sho's partner doubled over and pressed his lips together in order to not let any sound slip through them. However, due to the pressure, the cut on his lip opened up again and new blood was running down his chin.
Sho took another step towards Aiba but the other man had taken the weapon back into his hand, still pointing at Aiba, making clear that if Sho moved again, Aiba would have to pay for it. Sho's heart was beating fast while adrenaline was rushing through his veins. He was angry and being that helpless made him go crazy. He wanted to do something for Aiba, get him out of the danger he was in. He needed Aiba so be safe before he could start any action by himself.
His teeth clenched, Sho turned towards Mr. Yamamoto again.
“I got it. You don't want to be made a fool. Since you made yourself clear, what do you want from us?” he spat out between his gritted teeth, relieved that the henchmen wasn't aiming for Aiba again. The punch just now had obviously been a warning.
“I want to talk to you about a few theories that I have,” Mr. Yamamoto said, standing up. He walked towards one of the cupboards and got himself a glass. Then, he reached for the bottle of whiskey that was standing on the little table right next to the cupboard.
While he poured himself a drink, Sho caught Aiba's eyes. His partner threw him something like a wink (at least Sho thought it was supposed to be a wink). Watching Aiba closer, he saw him slowly getting rid of the rope that was tied around his wrists.
Out of own experience, Sho knew that it would take Aiba at least a few more minutes to loosen the rope enough to let his hands slip out, so he needed to keep Mr. Yamamoto talking and try to focus everybody's attention on himself.
Moving away from Aiba, Sho sat down in the armchair, opposite of the criminal who had taken his place on the sofa again, sipping on his whisky.
“Let me hear them,” Sho said and leaned back. Mr. Yamamoto nodded approvingly.
“I knew you're clever enough to not make any unnecessary fuss,” he stated and took another sip. “You know, at first I was confused why two undercover agents appear in the house next to me. I am retired and handed everything over to my son. I am not involved in any criminal actions anymore nor do I perform any illegal actions. It took me a few days to realize that you weren't after me,” Mr. Yamamoto explained and Sho had to acknowledge that even though Mr. Yamamoto was an old man, he was still pretty clever.
One quick glance at Aiba showed that his partner had managed to free himself. He was still acting inconspicuous while he was moving his chair softly towards one of the henchmen. Sho simply needed to make sure nobody would look at Aiba, so he only threw Mr. Yamamoto a cocky look, making the other one smile.
“Of course I know what my son was planning and although I do not appreciate it, I decided not to interfere with him. Still, he had no idea that the police was on his heels, so as soon as I found out, I had to take action. You cannot expect me to hand over my son to you without doing anything,” Mr. Yamamoto went on and Sho nodded.
“I understand that,” the undercover agent simply said. Out of the corner of his eyes Sho saw that Aiba was now within reach of one of the henchmen. He was only waiting of a signal from Sho.
“Thanks,” Mr. Yamamoto went on, obviously unaware of the two undercover agents' plan. “Now I only need to make sure that you won't interfere with my son's transaction today which will be in the harbour in the old warehouse of “Kirin Beer”. That's basically why I am here.”
Sho tried to looked scared while he cheered in his brain. They finally knew when and where the transaction would take place and seeing Aiba being ready to fight one of the henchmen, Sho was confident that he could take up with the other one and the old mafia boss. They could stop Tamiya and their mission would be safed.
“I actually like you two and I don't...,” Mr. Yamamoto went on but was interrupted by Sho who jumped up abruptly and threw himself on one of the men. At the same time, Aiba punched the man close to him who whimpered and reeled backwards, making space for Aiba to stand up and kick him until he was lying on the floor.
Sho had gained the upper hand in his battle. His opponent had lost his gun and although he was way heavier than Sho and had more muscles, he was also slower. With a good aimed kick, Sho had managed to floor him and was currently trying to aim for another punch to knock him out.
Suddenly, Sho was kicked hard into his side by someone who was not his opponent. This inattentive moment was enough for his opponent to push him away. He quickly tried to jump onto his feet again. However, Mr. Yamamoto was faster and let himself fall onto Sho to keep him in place.
Sho tried to struggled himself free but he had underestimated the older man who possessed an incredible strength. The henchmen had struggled himself onto his feet as well and was now helping his boss pulling Sho up and holding his hands behind his back, keeping them tightly into place.
Aiba had managed to bring enough space between himself and his opponent. However, as he saw Sho being caught, he immediately stopped moving.
“Run!” Sho ordered him, but Aiba simply shook his head and let himself get caught again by the second henchmen.
“You two are just too cute,” Mr. Yamamoto said and pulled Sho with him, away from Aiba. “However, you seem to work very well with each other so I have to separate you.”
“No!” Sho tried to free himself which was impossible. Being in the same room as Aiba gave him some sort of control. He was able to see his partner and interact with him. He knew what was happening to Aiba and he could maybe help him. However, if they were in separate rooms, he had no idea what his partner had to endure and he was absolutely sure that it would drive him crazy.
Mr. Yamamoto ignored Sho and indicated his henchmen to bring Aiba into Sho's office that was right next to the living room. The guns were pointed again at Aiba, and Sho had to watch him helplessly as he disappeared.
When the door was closed, Sho turned around to the criminal. They were alone by now and now that he knew about Mr. Yamamoto's strength, Sho could use a different approach. He wouldn't be fooled by the age of that man again. However, Mr. Yamamoto suddenly held a gun in his hand as well.
“I'm always well prepared,” Mr. Yamamoto explained and pointed the gun into Sho's direction. “I have wanted to spare you but since you're two fools, not knowing when to stop, I changed my mind,” he said loudly and fired.
“Sho!” Aiba's panic-stricken voice came from the room next door.
Sho had closed his eyed. He had read that it was easier to prepare the body for the pain when you isolate yourself from your surroundings. He imagined himself in Aiba's arms, the last thing he wanted to remember before he died.
However, the pain didn't come. When he opened his eyes again Sho saw smoke coming from the telephone jack. Mr. Yamamoto had made sure that they weren't able to contact anybody.
“Sho, are you okay?” Aiba asked from the other room, his voice high-pitched and full of panic.
As Sho could understand that Aiba was worried, he wanted to let him know that he was fine. Nothing was worse than no knowing what happened to your partner. Although it might be risky, as Mr. Yamamoto was still pointing the gun towards Sho he took a deep breath to answer Aiba. However, as quick as the wind, Mr. Yamamoto was behind him and held his hand over Sho's mouth so that his answer was stuck.
“Don't you dare to answer him or all my efforts are gone to waste!” Mr. Yamamoto whispered into Sho's ear and the undercover agent was so confused about this statement that he closed his mouth again.
The former mafia-boss took Sho by his arm and pulled him out of the living-room. His face wasn't that scary anymore but rather soft and amused. He pushed Sho into the kitchen, closed the door behind them and sat down on the kitchen table as he had done so many times before. Then, he indicated Sho to take the opposite chair and laid his weapon on the table.
“I'm sorry,” was the first thing Mr. Yamamoto said and Sho's confusion grew only bigger. “However, this seemed to be the only way to make you blockheads understand.”
Sho had finally found his voice again. “Understand what?” Still, he couldn't catch up with the criminal.
“Your feelings for each other, of course,” Mr. Yamamoto laughed, especially after Sho's expression grew even more dumbfounded than before.
“You're not going to kill us?” As Sho couldn't follow the criminal's reasoning, he tried to focus on the most important thing right now.
Mr. Yamamoto let out a guffaw and it took him at least a minute to calm down again.
“No, I won't. It was all an act. The bullet I shot into your telephone jack was the only one I had. My two men don't have any in their guns either,” he explained.
Slightly relieved, but still not sure if he could let his guard down, Sho looked at his opposite. Slowly, an idea formed in his head, but he simply couldn't believe that this old man had fooled them so much.
“I think you owe me an explanation,” Sho finally said and Mr. Yamamoto nodded.
“You're right, but before I'll start I want you to answer me one question. Are you in love with Aiba?”
Sho looked at the mafia boss, not sure what kind of test this was. However, he finally knew the answer to this question. When he had seen Aiba there on the chair, guns pointed towards him, his heart had told him that he needed to protect this person, the most important person in his life, with all his might, no matter what would happen to him. When Aiba had been brought to the other room, out of Sho's sight, every cell of his body had screamed to follow him, to not let Aiba be taken away from him. When he had awaited the bullet to hit his body facing his own death, the person that had appeared in front of Sho had been Aiba, so the answer to the question was pretty simple.
“Good boy,” Mr. Yamamoto praised him.
“An explanation!” Sho demanded and waved his hand soothingly.
“I'll make it short. Even before you moved into this house, I knew that two undercover agents would come and try to find out something about Tamiya.”
“How did you...,” Sho wanted to know but Mr. Yamamoto cut him off.
“Do you want to know everything or not?!” the former mafia boss asked and Sho closed his mouth. “I never thought they would send that little girl with you to make you look like a family, but I appreciated the thought as someone seemed to have done his homework. What I have told Aiba about my friend is the truth.”
Sho nodded, not daring to interrupt his opposite again.
“I quickly realized that you two are only faking your relationship, but watching you and getting to know you better, I came to think that you and Aiba might actually make a cute couple. Your partner seemed to have realized this as well, way earlier than you, but he was good in hiding his own feelings.”
Sho opened his mouth again to say something but a warning look from Mr. Yamamoto made him close it again. Still, Aiba was having the same feelings? And he even knew about them longer than he himself. Why hadn't he realized it???
“You are a bit slower in such things,” the criminal continued, stating the truth very clearly, making Sho blush. “I saw that you were struggling with your own feelings and I thought that I needed to help you two along. It took me quite a lot of persuasion to get Ken to act as the lover boy on my Halloween Party. Actually, he is a pretty shy guy but I thought his cute face close to Aiba would make you snap, which it did in a way.”
Sho's mouth fell open again. Not, because he wanted to say something, but he was too shocked. Mr. Yamamoto was a sly old man who had been meddling with other people's personal matters.
“However, when I saw Aiba getting depressed and you looking confused the whole day instead of you two being overly in love, which should have been the case after you used my hallway so enthusiastically, I thought that there was a more drastic approach needed and here I am.”
It took Sho another minute to process what he had been heard just now.
“All of this today was an act?” he asked, still not able to believe it.
“Most of it, yes. Tamiya's transaction is indeed this evening though,” the ex-mafia boss answered.
“But why all these guns and punches. Aiba must be really hurt. HE HAS A CUT ON HIS EYEBROW AND LIP!” Sho growled. He had realized that indeed nothing would happen to him and finally got angry.
“I'm really sorry for that but Aiba fought extremely well when I surprised him in the kitchen and my two henchmen had a pretty hard time catching him. As for the weapons, we needed them to make it look real,” Mr. Yamamoto apologised.
“I thought I would never see Aiba again,” Sho complained but before he could go on, his opposite took the word again.
“Which was exactly what I had in mind. I am pretty sure that what happened just now made you realize how important Aiba is to you and that you don't want him to leave you,” he said and Sho had to acknowledge that Mr. Yamamoto was right.
“I believe, Aiba is feeling the same way right now but he still thinks you're hurt or dead. He must be in hell right now. That's why I think you should go to him now, explain things to him and, most importantly, tell him about your feelings. Seriously Sho, promise me to make sure he won't leave you. You two are made for each other,” the former mafia boss said and stood up. “My henchmen will leave the office in about five minutes, so make sure you think about what you're going to say until then.”
With this, Mr. Yamamoto pushed his chair back into place.
“Oh, your mobile phone. I really don't like what Tamiya is doing but I won't hand him over to you. My henchmen will take Aiba's phone as well, so you cannot contact your boss.” The criminal held his hand open and Sho didn't even think about putting up resistance and handed his phone over.
“Thanks!” Mr. Yamamoto turned around and left the kitchen, leaving Sho with his own thoughts that currently revolved indeed about how he could tell Aiba how important he was for him and that he wanted him to stay by his side.
- Aiba -
Ever since the shoot, Aiba hadn't heard anything, neither Sho's voice nor Mr. Yamamoto's. The two men were still pointing their guns at him in order to keep him still.
He was sitting on Sho's bed, his thoughts revolving around his partner who he hoped was still alive. Aiba was sure he'd go crazy if anything had happened to Sho. He had wanted to protect him, to make sure nothing would happen to him but he had been useless from the moment he was caught by Mr. Yamamoto's henchmen.
Of course, he hadn't been able to run away even though he had the chance. He simply couldn't leave Sho alone even though it might endanger his own life. It didn't mean much more anyway if Sho was dead.
Suddenly, the two men moved. They lowered their guns and bowed to Aiba before they jumped out of the window and were gone. It took Aiba exactly ten seconds to react. He didn't know why they had left him but he didn't care. He was only thinking about Sho.
Aiba opened the door to the living-room and stopped when he saw Sho. He was standing in the living-room, breathing, a smile on his face and his arms open.
“Sho~,” Aiba ran towards his partner and when he felt Sho's strong arms around him, he finally allowed himself to cry.
“It's okay,” Sho said, his voice soft as he began to comb through Aiba's hair. He gave Aiba the time he needed to calm down again before he told him that Mr. Yamamoto was gone and they were indeed safe.
“But why?” Aiba wanted to know, wiping away his tears with his hand.
“Let's say his mission is accomplished,” Sho gave back and blushed.
“His mission?” Of course, Aiba couldn't make any sense out of Sho's words.
“His mission to make us understand our feelings for each other,” Sho explained.
“Oh...,” was everything Aiba could say.
“I finally know that I really love you and that I cannot imagine my life without you. I love your pancakes, I love it when you sing while you hang out the laundry and I love that you're so gentle towards every living being. But what I love the most about you is your smile, which had become the sun of my life. So please, when all this chaos is solved, don't leave me but stay with me.”
Aiba had started to cry again upon Sho's words. How often had he dreamed about Sho confessing to him?! He had never thought it would happen for real. But here he was, in Sho's arms, who had just told him the most beautiful words.
“Did I say something wrong?” Sho asked, obviously worried but Aiba just shook his head. Seemingly relieved, Sho began to kiss Aiba's cheek which tickled, so Aiba started to giggle.
“That's way better,” Sho stated and resumed his task of covering every centimetre of Aiba's face with kisses.
Finally smiling widely, Aiba stopped Sho's kisses with the turn of his head and brought his own lips closer to his partner's ear.
“I will stay with you,” was the only thing he whispered. Sho froze for a second before he twirled Aiba around and finally kissed him, soft, but deep.
Aiba drowned in the kiss, forgetting everything around him. His mind was still a whole mess as he had no idea why Mr. Yamamoto suddenly disappeared but he really didn't care as he was finally in Sho's arms, those alluring lips on his own again.
“Oh, and here I was worried you might be in danger,” they suddenly heard a voice. Aiba and Sho broke their kiss but didn't move away from each other when they turned towards the man that was standing in the door.
“Ohno, what are you doing here?” Aiba was the first to speak.
“While I was watching Rika and the Yamamotos I realized after some time that Mr. Yamamoto had disappeared. I remembered that you had told me he was supposed to spend the whole day with his wife and Rika in the zoo and I thought that he might be up to something. So I ordered Jun and Nino to keep an eye on Rika while I jumped into the car. However, I got caught in a terrible traffic jam,” Ohno explained his presence.
Aiba didn't know how to react and he wasn't sure if he should mention Mr. Yamamoto to Ohno, so he left it to Sho to react.
“You were indeed right, Mr. Yamamoto was up to something,” Sho began and Ohno nodded. “We could find out the place for the transaction. It's going to happen in the evening.”
“Good job,” Ohno praised the two and finally took a closer look at them. “You seem to have gotten some pretty hard punches during finding this out. Maybe you should stay here. I'll contact Toma and he will send backup,” Ohno offered.
Aiba was indeed relieved upon hearing Ohno's proposition. His head was still hurting and from getting his hands out of the rope he had dislocated his wrist a tiny bit. Looking at Sho, he wasn't any better. When he had fought against one of the men and Mr. Yamamoto he had gotten quite some punches, so that his eyes as well as his jaw had turned violet.
“Thanks, that would indeed be great,” Aiba therefore accepted and Sho quickly told Ohno the place of the transaction, informing him also that their phone was dead and their mobiles were taken.
Ohno promised to send someone after they had met Tamiya to keep them updated. For now he advised them to stay in the house and lock all doors and windows. Then, he disappeared as quick and silent as he had come.
Aiba smiled at Sho. They really had to take care of their wounds now and Aiba knew a very good way to do so. He took Sho's arm and pulled him towards his office again. The bed had seemed to be indeed very comfortable when he had been sitting on it...
- Nino & Jun -
“They have such a nice house. Do you remember the one from our last mission, Jun? It was a slough compared to this one,” Nino complained after he had opened the door to Aiba and Sho's house.
“Stop whining. Our house had been in the red-light district of Hong Kong. Of course it was worse than this,” Jun tried to calm his parter and boyfriend down while he followed him through the dark hallway.
“Still not fair,” Nino went on. “Anyway, where are they?” he asked and finally turned on the light.
“Ohno said they have to take care of their wounds...,” Jun remembered and took the lead. He was looking for the bathroom but when he opened the door to the office, he grinned and waved Nino to come over.
“Unbelievable,” Nino moaned upon the scene in front of his eyes. Aiba and Sho were lying in the bed, their limbs entangled. Aiba was breathing deeply, letting out a “pyu~” once in a while whereas Sho was snoring loudly.
“Just let them be,” Jun laughed. “Remember our first mission together and how we spend the night after we had succeeded.”
“We didn't sleep that night, though,” Nino grinned and Jun took his partner by his waist.
“We didn't. However, we're getting older and I am terribly tired right now. Let's leave them a note before we borrow their bedroom as they have left it free for us so nicely,” Jun suggested and Nino agreed.
They went back to the kitchen and Jun found some paper and a pen and started to write.
Good morning, lovebirds,
while you were tending your wounds, our team has went to the harbour only to find the Chinese. They were already having the data with all the President's information and the money had been given to Yamamoto Tamiya whom we couldn't find at all.
The mission has been declared a success as we have managed to stop the Chinese causing trouble with their gained informations. We will hand them over to the police of their country.
Rika had been brought to her parents after her trip to the zoo. She was very sad that she couldn't come back to you and said we should give you a hug – which we won't do!
Anyway, good job, you two!
Jun & Nino
Jun showed the note to his partner who nodded.
“Nice, but give me the pen,” he demanded.
P.S. DON'T YOU DARE TO WAKE US UP IN THE MORNING AS WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ALL NIGHT WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING SOFTLY AND DOING WHO KNOWS WHAT IN THAT BED.
Contently, Nino gave the note back to Jun who laughed and put it on the table. The two switched off the light in the kitchen and made their way upstairs to find the bedroom.
“Dad, Daddy,” Rika squealed as soon as the door opened. She jumped into the arms that were reaching out for her and snuggled into the warm embrace.
“It's so weird hearing her calling another man like that,” Daigo laughed behind her and Aiba as well as Sho finally looked at Rika's parents.
“It's great that you could come,” Sho said and let go of Rika to hug her mom.
“Rika would have been angry at us for ages,” Keiko laughed and Rika nodded enthusiastically. “Everyday she was telling us how much fun it was to be together with you. We kinda felt left out,” she continued but winked at the two agents.
“It was really a lot of fun,” Aiba agreed and patted Rika's head lovingly. “Let's go inside,” he then suggested and while holding Rika's hand, Aiba entered their house.
“It's the same as when we had our mission here,” Rika noted.
“Yes, we liked it the way it was after Aiba put that much effort into making it cozy during our mission,” Sho agreed and put his arm around Aiba's waist.
“Still, don't you feel weird living in the same house as you did during your job?” Keiko asked.
Aiba shook his head. “No, to us this house is very special so we decided to stay.”
Keiko shrugged and she followed the others into the living-room where the door to the veranda was opened.
“Uncle Ohno, uncle Nino and uncle Jun~,” Rika cheered upon seeing the other members of their ex-team sitting around the table in the sunshine. She started running towards them but was stopped by a loud bark.
“Shh, Spencer, it's alright. This is Rika,” Aiba quickly calmed the dog who began to sniff on Rika's legs. She let it happen while her face showed a big smile.
“You bought a dog,” Rika whispered while the puppy began to lick on her toes that peeked out from her pink sandals.
Aiba nodded. “Yes, we bought one and now it's lively again in the house,” he explained.
“Basically, it was Aiba who decided to buy him, but I came to like him as well,” Sho whispered towards Daigo and Keiko who just grinned. They could imagine very lively how Aiba had begged Sho over and over again to buy a pet while Sho wanted nothing more than a quiet environment when he came home from work.
“Can I pet him?” Rika asked and Aiba allowed it. Spencer, upon feeling how much love his owners were showing towards that little human being, allowed Rika to ruffle through his fur while he listened to her high voice, telling him what a good dog he was.
“Hey, what about us?” Jun called from the table. Rika giggled and made her way towards the three men, Spencer on her heels.
She hugged the three enthusiastically who all let it happen without complaining. Slowly, Keiko, Daigo and the two agents joined them at the table as well.
“Can we now start eating the cake?” Nino asked, his eyes glued to the delicious food that had been placed in the middle of the table.
“No!” Aiba said determined. “We have to wait for the boss.”
Sho checked his watch. “Who is late, as always,” he remarked and his colleagues and ex-colleagues just gave a consensual sigh.
Rika, who had been eyeing the cake as well decided to put all her interest on the dog again upon hearing that she had to wait. Spencer, happy about the attention he was receiving, allowed her to play veterinarian with him.
“So, how is life without being sent on dangerous missions?” Jun wanted to know, looking at Aiba and Sho.
“At first we thought it'll be very boring but we got used to it surprisingly fast,” Aiba answered, looking at Sho for confirmation.
“Yeah, I thought that I'll miss the thrill of going on missions, but having Aiba in my life is thrilling enough, in a positive way,” Sho laughed and stroke over Aiba's cheek lovingly.
“I know exactly what you mean,” Keiko chimed in. “I was worried about that too when I stopped working with you, Sho. However, you quickly adapt to the calmer lifestyle almost immediately. You begin to value the days where nothing happens that's out of the way and the time you spend with your loved ones becomes the most precious moment.”
“Exactly,” Sho agreed immediately and Keiko smiled.
“I've never thought that YOU would say that of all,” she laughed and hit Sho's shoulder lovingly.
“That's all just Aiba's fault,” Sho said and pecked Aiba's lips who giggled happily.
“I cannot imagine doing another work than this,” Jun voiced his opinion. “Especially since I have my partner by my side. Having him close to me is the best way to make sure nothing happens to him,” he went on.
“Taking care nothing happens to me?” Nino mocked. “Isn't it rather the other way round?”
Before Jun could counter, the bell rang.
“Finally,” Sho sighed and got up.
“I'll go and get the coffee and for Rika-chan some juice,” Aiba said and stood up as well. He parted ways with Sho in the hallway and went to the kitchen whereas Sho walked towards the door. When he opened it, his friend and boss of the Japanese Bureau of Espionage greeted him.
“Hi~,” Toma smiled, pretty much aware of the fact that he was too late.
“Yeah, hi,” Sho gave back but after a second he hugged his friend tightly. “I'm glad you could take some time from your tight schedule for us.”
“For you I'll always have time,” Toma grinned and threw his arm around Sho's shoulder after they loosened their hug.
They walked into the garden, Toma being greeted warmly by the others.
Finally, they could sit down and start cutting Aiba's cake. It didn't take long until it was all gone. Everybody was praising Aiba's baking skills.
“Now I know how Aiba got Sho,” Keiko joked. “With food.”
Everybody laughed, except Aiba who looked shocked at Sho. The ex-agent realised his partner's trouble immediately and decided to react.
“That's not it, Aiba-chan. I fell in love with your smile and the warmth you're able to spread,” he began and linked his fingers with Aiba's who was calming down hearing those words. “You are just too cute when you're doing housework and...,” Sho began to whisper, “I love your hoarse voice when you scream my name when I'm the closest to you.”
Aiba blushed really hard and hoped that the others didn't understand what Sho had just told him.
“But I also love your cooking,” Sho had to admit and their guests grinned while Aiba playfully hit Sho's arm.
“Ah~, you two are such a wonderful couple,” Toma sighed. “I'm so glad you found each other. Which is all thanks to me, by the way,” he praised himself.
Since no one could think of anything against it, they just looked at Toma who was obviously proud about his achievement.
Suddenly, the phone rang. Sho went to the living-room and picked up the call. He spoke for about a minute before he called for his ex-boss. Toma took the phone with a questioning look but Sho just smiled and left Toma alone.
When he went back into the garden where Rika had left the table to play with Spencer, the others were waiting for Sho to tell them about the caller. Sho just pointed towards the house next to their own.
“Mr. Yamamoto?” Aiba asked and Sho nodded.
“What does he have to talk to with Toma?” Nino wanted to know but Sho couldn't answer as he had no idea.
“Sho, Aiba, tell me, how is it to live next to the ex-mafia boss now that you are no spies anymore?” Ohno, who hadn't spoken much until now, wanted to know.
“Actually...,” Aiba began. “The Yamamoto's are the perfect neighbours, they are so helpful and attentive. We couldn't wish for any better neighbours.”
“But they are criminals,” Jun chipped in.
“Not anymore. Mr. Yamamoto retired and is not doing anything illegal anymore,” Sho said.
“Still, his son is a criminal and I am sure Mr. Yamamoto knows about it,” Keiko threw in.
“Actually, we haven't heard anything from Tamiya,” Nino said.
“Yeah, it's really silent around him now,” Ohno agreed.
“I heard that Tamiya wants to invest in real estate now, which, basically, isn't illegal,” Toma chipped in. He had finished his call and had went back to the garden.
“Have you heard that from Mr. Yamamoto just now?” Sho asked.
“No,” Toma laughed. “We only talked about what a great team we are.”
“Excuse me?” Sho was the first to speak.
“Because we managed to bring Sho and Aiba together,” Toma smiled.
“Don't tell me...,” Ohno began but was too shocked to finish.
“... the mission was a farce,” Sho finished for him.
“What? No, of course not,” Toma quickly set it right. “We were really behind Tamiya and needed someone to check upon him.”
Everybody sighed in relief. It would have been a pretty big deal for everybody to know that their boss was in cahoots with a mafia-boss.
“However, both of us had, among other things, just Aiba's and Sho's happiness in mind,” Toma went on explaining. “And, we succeeded when I look at these two lovebirds.”
The tension that had been laying upon all of them for a moment was lifted upon those words. All eyes were back to Aiba and Sho who just sat their, smiling shyly.
“However, this cost me my best agent,” Toma sighed dramatically.
“Hey, what about us?!” Nino asked, grabbing Jun's arm and grinning at his boss.
“You two are good guys, however I'm putting all my trust in Ohno's hands here,” Toma gave back and Nino pouted. His boss left it to Jun to push Nino's mood up again and turned towards Sho and Aiba again.
“Seriously, I am happy for you two and I accept your decision to quit your job and lead a normal life from now on – together,” he said and Aiba began to sniff.
Sho took his partner's hand and after exchanging a look with Aiba, the focussed on Toma again.
“Thank you so much,” was all he said and it was enough for Toma.
Suddenly, Rika stormed into the garden.
“Dad, Daddy, Spencer had just peed on your carpet in the living-room,” she informed her two ex-dads.
“Not again,” Sho murmured and looked at Aiba. “You wanted to have it, so you should take care of it,” he said then and crossed his arms.
“It's because you pamper him that my education methods don't work,” Aiba gave back.
Grumbling, both of them got up and went inside to rescue what could be rescued.
“They're perfect,” Keiko said and all of them agreed. They chatted until the two came back and all spend a wonderful evening at Sho's and Aiba's place.
When it was time to leave, Rika suddenly had an idea.
“Mum, can I stay over tonight?” she asked.
eiko, looking at her husband and seeing him nodding, turned to Rika. “If it's alright with Aiba and Sho”, she gave back.
The two nodded enthusiastically and Rika cheered. Sho would read her a story later and Aiba would make breakfast in the morning – just like when they were on their mission.