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Cherry Blossom Fever

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Gion wasn’t sure what was so special about the sakura blossoms. Yeah, sure, Japan was known for them, but they were just flowers. They turned everything pink for a while and every store had special foods and accessories for the spring when the sakura trees bloomed. Frankly, Gion found it annoying. He just wanted to eat a Big Mac without a big smiling cherry blossom staring at him.

However, Sekizan and Iwashimizu were the exact opposite. The two boys were over the moon when spring rolled around, chattering excitedly about hanami and festivals and donning pink clothes. They baked cherry sweets and made mochi together, squeezed in the kitchen hip to hip. The bathroom was stocked with cherry blossom scented bubble bath, body wash, and shampoo. Sekizan and Iwashimizu even wore cherry flavored chapstick; Gion could admit he liked that part of the whole sakura craze.

“Kenji? Are you going to order?” Hachiouji asked, poking Gion’s shoulder playfully.

“Right. Can I get a Big Mac, please? And a Coke.” Gion said.

The woman behind the counter sent back the order and Hachiouji payed for their food. They walked to the table where Iwashimizu and Sekizan were sitting and sat down themselves. Sekizan and Iwashimizu were staring out the window, looking dreamy as they watched the vendors and storefronts put up decorations in preparation for the spring festival.

“You two are obsessed.” Hachiouji teased.

“Aren’t they pretty though, Mutsumi?” Sekizan and Iwashimizu asked together.

“They are. Not as pretty as you two, though.”

That earned him a blush from both boys. It was funny to Hachiouji that lately, the duo had been so in sync. Always on the same page, saying and doing the same things. It was adorable. It made the surprise Hachiouji and Gion had planned even more exciting.

“Oi, what’s so special about the flowers?” Gion asked.

“It’s not just the flowers. It’s that everything is pretty.” Sekizan said.

“Everyone seems happier in the spring. Plus, all the cherry foods are so delicious.” Iwashimizu added.

Sekizan nodded in agreement. Gion shrugged. He still didn’t get it. One could eat cherries all year, and tons of flowers bloomed in spring. What made sakura blossoms so special? Hachiouji got up to go get their food when their number was called.

“Kenji, maybe we can go to the park this weekend and play some rugby.” Iwashimizu said.

Gion’s eyebrows furrowed. “We have plans this weekend already.”

“We do?” Sekizan asked.

“Yeah. We got stuff to do.”

“Oh. I just thought it might be fun. Since you’ve been putting up with me and Takuya lately.” Iwashimizu said, chuckling.

“It would be fun to play rugby in all the flowers.” Sekizan said absently.

“I didn’t even think of that. It would be really nice.”

Hachiouji returned, setting the tray on the table. He passed out the food with a grin.

“I managed to get you two sakura milkshakes.” He said proudly.

“Thank you.” Sekizan said.

“They look good, Mutsumi. Thank you.” Iwashimizu said.

“What’s with the long faces? We’re on a date.” Hachiouji said, sitting beside Sekizan and pressing a kiss to the redhead’s cheek.

“Oh, it’s just that Kenji mentioned having plans this weekend. I don’t remember planning anything.” Sekizan said.

Hachiouji wanted to kick Gion. He couldn’t believe he had told Iwashimizu and Sekizan about the surprise. They weren’t supposed to mention going anywhere. They were going to wake Sekizan and Iwashimizu up on Saturday morning with cherry muffins and tell them they were going to the festival then. It was supposed to be a thank you for the rugby tickets Sekizan and Iwashimizu had surprised them with.

“Oh, Kenji was just being silly. Did you want to do something this weekend?” Hachiouji asked.

“Sumiaki said we should play rugby in the cherry blossoms.” Sekizan said.

“Well, I just suggested playing. Takuya mentioned the flowers.” Iwashimizu said.

“I think we can arrange that. What do you think, Kenji?” Hachiouji asked.

“I guess. But I thought -” Gion began.

“You thought we still had that thing, but it got canceled. We shouldn’t talk about it.”

Luckily, Gion got the message. “Right! Yeah, I forgot. Sorry.”

“It’s going to be a lot of fun. We should make bentos, Takuya.” Iwashimizu said.

“I think we still have the pink food dye. We could make pink onigiri.” Takuya suggested.

Hachiouji and Gion ate while the two discussed ideas. The food would get cold if they didn't.

****

Sekizan and Iwashimizu were late sleepers on the weekend. Sekizan was always exhausted from his lengthy shifts at the clinic, and Iwashimizu was worn out from working with the little ones at daycare. They slept like the dead until Gion and Hachiouji made them get out of bed.

So, they had to formulate a plan. Gion went in first to actually wake the two sleeping beauties and Hachiouji followed with a basket filled with cherry muffins and presented them to the grumpy, groggy duo.

“Oh, you made breakfast. You’re so sweet.” Iwashimizu said.

“They better be good if you woke me up at seven in the morning.” Sekizan grumbled.

“Don’t be so cranky, babe. Taste them.” Hachiouji said, passing each man a muffin.

Sekizan took a bite and chewed. His eyes widened in surprise. Gion and Hachiouji had done a great job. And they were cherry; it seemed the skeptics were finally embracing the spirit of spring.

The four sat on the bed, munching on muffins and cuddling. Sekizan asked Hachiouji about the recipe he had used as he fed Gion a chunk of pastry.

“Oh, it’s from this. I picked it up for you and Sumiaki.” Gion said, reaching to open the nightstand drawer.

He pulled out a book and dropped it in Sekizan’s lap. Sekizan examined it. It was a festival cookbook, filled with sakura blossom themed foods. He flipped through it, pointing out recipes to Iwashimizu.

“You two are the worst. You didn’t even get the hint.” Gion grumbled.

“Hm?” Iwashimizu hummed.

“We’re going to the festival.”

“What happened to telling them together, Kenji?” Hachiouji demanded.

“You’re here, ain’t you?”

“You two, shut up. We're going to the festival.” Sekizan said.

“We have to dig out our yukatas!” Iwashimizu exclaimed.

Gion groaned. “Come on, Sumiaki, don’t make us wear those things.”

“Yes! Kenji, you look so handsome in yours. All of you do. Please?”

“Of course we have to. This is a special day, right?” Hachiouji asked, pinching Gion.

Gion flopped back on the pillows. “Ugh, fine.”

“Thank you, Kenji!” Iwashimizu cheered, kissing the brunet’s cheek, then Hachiouji’s, “and thank you for breakfast, Mutsumi. This was a nice surprise.”

“I’ll say thank you properly once I actually wake up.” Sekizan said, laying down and putting the blanket over his head.

Gion and Hachiouji shared a look, then looked at Iwashimizu, who smiled sweetly before disappearing into the closet to search for the yukatas.

****

Gion pouted as Sekizan placed a flower crown on his head. He couldn’t believe he was letting Iwashimizu and Sekizan cover him in pink and sakura blossoms. He had flowers painted on his face and blooms in his hair. Hachiouji had also been subjected to the treatment, but he seemed much happier. He laughed as Iwashimizu pinned flowers to his yukata, stealing little kisses from the blonde as he worked. Sekizan put a second crown on Hachiouji, kissing his head softly.

The scene made Gion’s heart swell. Iwashimizu and Sekizan were having such a great time. To be fair, though, Gion was having fun, too. He liked checking out the stalls and stuffing himself with snacks. He liked seeing his boys having fun. So, he could deal with being dolled up if it meant seeing more smiles and feeling more kisses and soft touches.

“We should go find a good spot to see the flowers.” Sekizan said.

“I think there are some good spots right under the trees.” Hachiouji said.

“Maybe there’ll be a hanafubuki.” Iwashimizu said, intertwining his fingers with Gion’s and Sekizan’s.

“A what?” Gion asked.

“It’s when the blossoms all fall and it looks like snow. It’s beautiful.” Sekizan explained.

“Oh. Cool.”

The quartet found a nice spot and spread out their blanket. They settled in, Gion and Sekizan in the middle of Hachiouji and Iwashimizu. Staring up at the trees, a calmness fell over them. Blossoms spotted their clothes as they drifted down from the trees.

In the moment, Gion finally understood. The cherry blossoms were gorgeous, but it was the way they landed just right in Sekizan’s hair, the way one flower fell onto Iwashimizu’s nose and made him sneeze, that made them special. It was Hachiouji capturing them in his hands and sprinkling them onto Sekizan that made them worth seeing. Maybe all the pink was obnoxious, but seeing his partners so happy was worth every moment.