"I now pronounce you husband and husband," the preacher said, and Iwaki turned to Katou, radiant and glowing in the Los Angeles sunlight flowing through the huge windows. It had taken time, but they had come to this place and this understanding, and Iwaki was so happy he couldn't breathe. He touched the ring on his finger, then cupped Katou's cheek, kissing him lustily on the mouth in celebration of their marriage.
Later, when they were alone, he could have so much more—but there was something so bright and special about this ceremony, about being able to call Katou his husband. Back in Japan, no matter how much they were revered, it was considered taboo to be in a homosexual relationship. The only thing that saved them from being reviled in their home country was their popularity, first from the Embracing Love mini-series and then Winter Cicada.
But in this country, he could walk the sidewalks holding Katou's hand. He could marry him—and he had—but he could show him off. He allowed the kiss to end, drifting back, watching Katou's beautiful eyes slowly open. They shone with all the love and devotion he had for Iwaki, and Iwaki felt so lucky.
"I caught you," Katou whispered, his words as golden as the sunlight gilding his hair. "You're mine now."
"You did," Iwaki said. "You showed me that I did want you, and I've never been happier than I am when I'm with you."
"And now we're husbands. We belong to each other forever," Katou said with a smile. That smile lifted the curves of his lips into such an appealing shape, Iwaki couldn't resist kissing him again. He remembered how hard he'd fought against Katou's devotion, his desire, his love, and how, in the end, he'd succumbed to it. How it had felt demeaning at first—to be coddled and held in such esteem by a man—but how that had changed once he admitted to his own feelings.
Yes, Katou had shown him the way, and now they were partners for life. Iwaki grinned and kissed Katou again, trying for a quick peck; but Katou turned the tables on him again, as he was so often wont to do, and turned the kiss into something passionate, crackling with energy flowing between them.
"I can't wait to have you," he murmured into Iwaki's ear when he let him free of that soul-shattering kiss. It had ripped Iwaki apart inside, but in the best way possible; he felt unmoored, and the only thing that could fix it was Katou sliding home in his body.
"This is only the beginning," Iwaki replied. "I want you, too, Katou."
The preacher was beaming tolerantly at them, but Iwaki suddenly remembered where they were, what was happening. He grabbed Katou's hand—and Katou squeezed his hand in return—and then they were running, down the aisle, out of doors, into sunny warmth and the rest of their lives—together.
And he felt so fucking lucky, that they could swing their linked hands in public, that they could kiss and gaze at each other adoringly, and no one would blink an eye. No one would grab their children and cover their eyes—not in Los Angeles.
But back in Japan, Iwaki reflected, tightening his hold on Katou's hand, there were still people who would say a happy relationship between two men was gender-noncomforming, that it desecrated the matrimonial bond between a man and a woman. That it would just confuse the issue for people—especially children.
So he would have to make the most of this time, on their vacation. He would have to love Katou enough in public for years of silent recriminations from their detractors back home.
"I wish I could embrace you on the street back home," Katou said wistfully, and Iwaki drew him close, snug up against his body.
"Yeah, me too," he said, and they walked like that, towards their hotel room, bathed in sunlight.
Going home was something for the future, and for right now, they had all of tonight—and Iwaki fully intended to give himself to Katou in every way possible for their honeymoon.
Tonight, they could have it all.