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Baby, are you a typhoon? Because you leave me winded

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The epiphany comes to Ainosuke at the worst possible time: tea time with his aunts.

Ainosuke is actually so shocked, so downright stupefied by the revelation that he puts his teacup down in surprise, the delicate china clattering noisily against the saucer.

“Ainosuke-san?” One of his aunts (the annoying one) (they're all annoying) asks. “Is something the matter?”

“Hm? No.” Ainosuke quickly pulls the fractured shards of his mind together long enough to piece together an excuse. “Just thinking about the charity gala we’re attending next week. You know I love parties, but mingling with the common folk is just tiring.”

His aunt sighs in agreement. “Yes, it is a bother, but it’s the price we must pay for being rich.”

Satisfied with Ainosuke’s excuse, the sisters turn back to each other to argue over venture capital investments, and Ainosuke is left alone to contemplate the worrying fact that—

Neither he nor Tadashi have ever told each other “I love you”.

 


 

But surely Tadashi knows Ainosuke loves him! There was, you know, that proposal Ainosuke made a few months ago: “You're my dog for the rest of our lives".

… Fuck, Ainosuke’s already proposed, and he hasn’t even told Tadashi he loves him? What kind of scum is he? They sure were doing things out of order.

But, that’s right, just because Ainosuke’s never told him doesn’t mean Tadashi doesn’t know! Actions speak louder than words, don’t they? Ainosuke showered Tadashi with gifts, and took him out to dinner and on dates to far-off islands. At S, Ainosuke frequently reminded everyone to give the Capmen their utmost respect, especially Snake, or else Adam would personally Full-Swing Kiss them right in the scrotum. And when they were making love—

No, don't think about sex. If you think about sex now, you're going to pop a really awkward boner, and Tadashi’s spending the day on the other side of the island taking care of business for Ainosuke. Don't think about sex, about the face Tadashi'd made when he'd railed Ainosuke into their mattress last night—

Ainosuke's hard.

… He ignores it and forces himself to return to his ruminations.

See, Ainosuke is sure Tadashi knows he’s loved. He’s certain! Ainosuke knows Tadashi loves him , and Tadashi’s never said “I love you” either.

And yet… 

Ainosuke suddenly realizes, with great discomfort, that the emotion he’s feeling is fear. Part of the reason they fell apart years ago was that they didn't communicate. So Ainosuke wants, very badly, to make sure that never happens again. Tadashi is a bit dumb, emotionally, and Ainosuke doesn’t want any misunderstandings between them. He wants to make his adoration clear, in a way that leaves no room for misinterpretation.

Ainosuke is a responsible master! All he has to say is “I love you!”, right? He can do that. It’s just three words; certainly easier than planning and executing a weekend vacation to Lombok while avoiding his aunts’ watchful eyes. 

If he has to stay separate from Tadashi for years again, Ainosuke is actually going to murder somebody.

 


 

“Tadashi!” Ainosuke starts.

Tadashi looks up from his paperwork. “Yes, Ainosuke-sama?”

This’ll be a piece of cake. Ainosuke can talk dirty enough to make a septic tank cleaner blush, he can do this . No big deal, no need to be nervous!

“I…”

Just be open and honest about your feelings! This is the man you want to spend the rest of your life with, just tell him how much he means to you!

“I…”

It’s not like it’s hard, Ainosuke says it to his aunts all the time!

“I... I…”

But when he says it to his aunts, he… he never means it.

Ainosuke's brain stutters to a halt as it occurs to him that he… 

He’s… nervous?

“I… I, ah…” Ainosuke stammers.

Tadashi watches him patiently.

“Oh, goodness, I’m sorry, I thought I felt a sneeze coming,” Ainosuke lies. He fakes a little sniffle and scratches his nose to make his fib more convincing.

Tadash’s eyebrows furrow inwards by 0.5 centimeters, which means he’s confused but not enough to ask questions, and indeed he accepts Ainosuke’s paper-thin excuse at face-value.

Okay, Ainosuke fumbled the ball there, but he can still make a recovery! He can still pull this off!

“I think we should go to S tonight,” Ainosuke finishes instead.

As soon as the words leave his mouth, Ainosuke mentally slaps himself upside the head. What the hell was that?

“Oh, okay,” Tadashi says, taking out his pocket planner. “How would you like to make your entrance tonight? The helicopter is still undergoing maintenance.”

“Um,” Ainosuke says, still reeling from his earlier idiocy. “The… The horse! I’ll ride in on horseback! Contact the stables, would you?”

Tadashi checks his watch. “The stablemaster won’t be pleased if we ask them this late. Are you sure?” His eyebrows are furrowed by 0.75 centimeters; the fact that Ainosuke hasn’t noticed the late hour has him concerned. One more misstep, and Tadashi will start fussing.

“No, don't bother them,” Ainosuke waves a hand, feigning nonchalance. “We’ll do the human cannonball, then.”

Apparently, this answer is enough to placate Tadashi, as his eyebrows return to their usual position. “Certainly, sir. I'll tell the Capmen to ready the pyrotechnics.” Tadashi bows, and turns to leave the room.

“I… Tadashi!”

Tadashi pauses. “Yes?”

Ainosuke falters. “Just… Thank you.”

Tadashi smiles, a small upwards quirk of the lip that is nonetheless more movement in his facial muscles than Ainosuke could have imagined mere months ago. His eyes soften, so minutely that it’s only thanks to Ainosuke’s years of experience that he is able to notice. It’s a beautiful, delicate expression, and Ainosuke is terrified of losing it again.

The door swings shut behind Tadashi, and Ainosuke puts his head in his hands and sighs.

 


 

S is supposed to be a reprieve for his thoughts, but of course as soon as Adam recovers from being shot out of a cannon and moves out of the limelight to smoke a cig, the absolute worst person sidles up to him and asks, “What’re you moping for?”

Adam glares at Cherry. “I am not moping.”

Cherry rolls his eyes. “Sure you’re not. Which is why you’ve been following Snake out of the corner of your eye like a sad little puppy since you got here. I thought he was the dog in the relationship.”

Good god, was it that obvious? Adam’s wearing a fucking mask!

Adam’s about to tell Cherry to fuck off, but then he realizes that, unfortunately, Cherry is probably the best person he can ask for relationship advice. The number of outsiders who know about his and Tadashi’s relationship can be counted on one hand with two fingers, and if Adam were to ask Joe, the man would probably insist on having a mushy, emotionally vulnerable heart-to-heart talk. Ewugh.

So Adam grits his teeth and swallows his pride. “Look. I… I’m having… trouble. With Tadashi.”

Cherry expression turns from smug schadenfreude to gobsmacked incredulity. “Are you asking me for relationship advice ?”

“No,” Adam lies.

“Oh, god, what did you do? Are you impotent?”

“What? No.”

“Is he impotent?”

“No! What’s wrong with you?”

Cherry shrugs. “I’m trying to imagine what possible problems you could have in your relationship. Considering you’ve sent multiple people to the hospital over the course of several years and he still wants to be with you…”

Adam scowls. “It’s nothing like— It’s just, I realized that I’ve never told Tadashi I love him.”

Cherry looks mildly disturbed. “Never?

“He’s also never said it to me, for the record,” Adam huffs. “I don’t mind, and I doubt he does either. We show our love for each other in other ways. Extravagant gifts and kinky sex, for example.”

“Yes, yes, we know all about the goddamn kinky sex,” Cherry grumbles. “If you were satisfied with expressing your love like that, then why do you want to tell him now?”

“Because shut up, that’s why,” Adam says. God, talking to Cherry always makes him feel like a crass, immature teenager again. “I just want to tell him I love him, is that so bad?”

Cherry rolls his eyes. “Okay, then take your balls out of your purse and just tell your secretary you have feelings for him, pussy,” he retorts, stepping onto his lady skateboard and skating away.

… Well, that sure was pretty shit advice. Maybe Adam should’ve just braved the emotional heart-to-heart from Joe after all.

 


 

The talk with Cherry wasn’t all for naught, though. The raging spite he now feels towards Cherry fuels Ainosuke to act sooner rather than later.

“Tadashi!” Ainosuke starts again, the day after his chat with Cherry.

“Yes, Ainosuke-sama?”

“I! I… I… li-lo—”

Tadashi watches him patiently.

Mental fortitude crumbling like dust, Ainosuke ends up saying the first thing that comes to mind. “I... I like your shoelaces…” 

Tadashi blinks owlishly, then glances down. Ainosuke looks down too, and sees that Tadashi is wearing a pair of slip-on Italian loafers instead of his usual Oxfords. 

That is to say, Tadashi shoes at the moment do not have shoelaces.

"Thank you?" Tadashi tries.

Ainosuke's mind races to come up with a recovery. “I meant, I liked your shoelaces that you were wearing at S last night!” Good going, Ainosuke. “You got new sneakers, didn't you?”

“Oh. Yes,” Tadashi says. “Last week.”

“Yes! Well. They suit your… feet. Very nice color. Match your… socks.”

“Thank… you…?” 

What the fuck is Ainosuke saying?

Ainosuke drags a hand down his face. “No, don’t thank me for that. Um, what I meant to say is…” 

C’mon, don’t be a coward! Cherry’s going to laugh his ass off if Adam shows up at S next time having still not yet confessed. What Ainosuke means to say is—

"I— I love you," Ainosuke says. “I just— I thought, ‘That’s strange, neither of us have ever said it before,’ so. I just wanted to let you know.”

Tadashi's eyes widen, mouth falling open as his cheeks slowly turn pink.

It is. So. Cute.

“I… I see,” Tadashi says, coughing into his fist. Ainosuke watches the movement, enraptured. “I, um, I’m sure you already know this, but I l-love you as well, Ainosuke-sama.”

Ainosuke feels himself blushing as well, and they stare at each other, embarrassed.

… Okay! Mission accomplished! That wasn't so bad. That had actually been the opposite of bad. That was wonderful.

Ainosuke makes up his mind to tell Tadashi he loves him more often. At least once a day— no, at least three times a day. Once when they wake up, of course, and once before bed. And once as a reminder in the middle of the day.

“I— I’m going to fetch those documents you requested,” Tadashi says, turning around to leave.

“Okay,” Ainosuke says, and then, just because he can: “I love you!”

Tadashi proceeds to trip over his own feet and fall face-flat to the floor.

“Tadashi?” Ainosuke exclaims, alarmed.

“I’m fine,” Tadashi wheezes, starting to get up, but this is such atypical behavior that Ainosuke’s already kneeling down on the floor next to him to make sure Tadashi isn’t, like, dying.

Which he isn’t, probably. He’s just— It turns out Tadashi is just flustered, because he’s red all the way up to his ears and down to his neck.

It’s adorable.

Ainosuke swallows, suddenly feeling like a flustered teenager all over again, before he repeats for the third time that afternoon, “I love you.”

“Nngk!” Tadashi makes a noise like he’s been shot.

Ainosuke reaches out to touch his hand. “I really, really—”

“W-Wait!”

“— absolutely adore you.”

“Ainosuke-sama!”

Ainosuke scooches closer to Tadashi, close enough to whisper directly into his ear. “I love you.”

Ainosuke tells Tadashi how much he loves him. Art by Phi (@sensuipan)

"I get it, I get it!” Tadashi stammers. His face is so red, a Spanish matador could use it to lead a bull. 

“Most ardently,” Ainosuke adds breathlessly.

Tadashi whines like a puppy. “Ainosuke-sama…”

Ainosuke resolves to tell Tadashi he loves him as many times as possible.