Kaoru would not call himself a morning person.
Yes, he frequently has to get up early to represent him and Rei for jobs, seeing how his partner is most often physically incapable of rising before two in the afternoon. But he’d much rather stay tucked in bed as long as possible until Chiaki loudly asks (“It’s not yelling, Hakaze. Yelling at you first thing in the morning would be very ill-mannered.”) him to get up. Even on weekends, Chiaki insists that he awaken as early as possible so that they can make the most of their limited free time together. In all honesty, Kaoru would much rather stay in bed cuddling. Chiaki is like a human heater; cuddles with him are the best, especially during the chillier months.
So when Kaoru awakens with two strong arms wrapped around his middle, cosy and warm, he silently thanks the universe.
“Good morning, sleepyhead,” Chiaki murmurs, pressing a gentle kiss to the top of Kaoru’s head. Illuminated by the morning light peeking through the curtains, he appears almost ethereal. “Happy birthday!”
“Mornin’, hero.” Kaoru shifts in his boyfriend’s arms so they’re face to face, kissing him with a smile.
Chiaki wrinkles his nose. “Kaoruuu, what’ve I said about your morning breath?”
“That you love it, and you love me, so I get to kiss you as much as I want in the morning,” Kaoru says matter-of-factly, bopping Chiaki’s nose.
“No fair.” Halfheartedly, Chiaki pushes Kaoru’s face away.
“Chiakiii, it’s my birthday. You gotta let me have whatever I want.”
They lay there staring at each other for a moment, Chiaki’s hand still resting on Kaoru’s cheek. Kaoru knows Chiaki won’t be able to fight that because on his birthday Kaoru had to dress up as a Power Ranger and marathon three whole seasons of the aforementioned show with him. What he got in thanks afterwards made it worth it, though.
“Fine,” Chiaki relents. “Just for today.”
With a grin, Kaoru wraps his arms back around his boyfriend, hugging him close and burying his face in the crook of Chiaki’s neck. He leaves a few kisses there, delighting in Chiaki’s muffled giggles. It’s moments like these that Kaoru wishes he could stay in forever, when he and Chiaki are just together, and Kaoru feels for once that he’s truly loved. Chiaki is, without a doubt, his everything. Four years ago, Kaoru would have recoiled in disgust at the idea of another man being his beloved. But now? Chiaki attempting to make him breakfast and nearly burning their apartment down, holding his hand under the table at business meetings, falling asleep on his shoulder on the way home from a concert; Kaoru wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
Kaoru remembers the first time they shared a bed— instead of waking up to a drowsy Chiaki watching him fondly, he awoke to Chiaki staring him down intensely. “Hakaze,” he’d said. “You kick in your sleep. Did you know that?”
Kaoru’s face had gone hot, and instead of apologising, he’d retorted, “O-oh yeah? Well, you snore.” He’d neglected to mention that rather than being annoying, Chiaki’s snores were really cute. The two of them sat in silence for a moment, until they met eyes and immediately burst into hysterical laughter. It was so silly, but Kaoru looks back on it fondly every now and then. He’s pretty sure it was the first time he ever felt so comfortable with someone else.
“You’re the best, Moricchi,” Kaoru whispers, smiling against Chiaki’s neck when the other boy squeezes his arms around Kaoru’s middle.
“No, you’re the best.”
“No, you are.”
“No, you.” Kaoru presses his lips against Chiaki’s before he can get another word out, smirking into the kiss when Chiaki easily submits to him. Heh. I won this one, Moricchi.
Anything between five minutes or three hours pass and the two of them stay there, too lost in each other to worry about anything else. That is, until Kaoru tugs on Chiaki’s bottom lip with his teeth, and Chiaki practically jumps away with a yelp.
“Chiaki? You okay?”
He nods fervently, scrambling out of bed and pulling on his pyjamas. “I’m alright! But I realised that if we stay here any longer, it’ll be after morning, and I won’t be able to make you breakfast in bed!”
“I’d rather have you in bed,” Kaoru mutters, watching in amusement as Chiaki turns into a spluttering mess, almost tripping over himself.
“There’s time for that later, Kaoru. For the moment, I want you to stay right where you are and I’ll bring you breakfast. Okay?”
“Okay,” Kaoru agrees, albeit reluctantly. Then it hits him. “Waitwaitwait— you’re going to make breakfast? Honey, you can barely cook rice, let alone breakfast! Unless you’re just going to make cereal?”
Chiaki pouts (he pouts) and folds his arms over his chest. “No, I’m not making you cereal for breakfast on your birthday. And I know I don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to cooking, but I’ve been practicing. Just trust me.”
It’s hard to take him seriously when he has his shirt on back to front, but the look in his eyes is so sincere that Kaoru just can’t bring himself to stop him. “Go ahead,” he sighs. “But please, do not burn down our kitchen. One time was enough.”
“I’ll try my best!” Chiaki shoots him a wink, then disappears from their bedroom in a flash. Kaoru loves him, he really, really does, but that man cannot be trusted alone in a kitchen for longer than a minute.
Chiaki said he’d been practicing, but when? Kaoru has yet to come home to freshly cooked meals, or any burn marks on the ceiling, so someone else was probably helping him. But why didn’t he just come to Kaoru? He’s not jealous or anything, but still.
…okay, it’s been five minutes, Kaoru has to go check on him. Begrudgingly, he leaves the warmth of his bed, taking note of the array of marks littered across his chest in the mirror. He knows he doesn’t expose his chest much for his idol work, but damn, Chiaki’s gonna have to chill before he ends up moving to more obvious places. He grabs his (Chiaki’s) favourite shirt and throws it over his head, heading into the kitchen with a yawn. He fully expects to smell smoke, but instead he’s greeted by the sight of Chiaki mixing ingredients in a bowl, nothing broken or damaged. Kaoru’s been around long enough to know exactly what it is that’s being made.
“Woah, you’re making pancakes?!”
A startled Chiaki turns to glare at him. “Kaoru, I told you to stay in bed!”
“I knooow, but I was worried about you,” Kaoru croons, sliding his arms around his boyfriend’s waist and tucking his chin into his shoulder. No less than two weeks ago, Chiaki managed to burn his hand making toast. Toast. Worrying when Chiaki’s in the kitchen alone is inevitable.
“More like you were worried about the house.”
“Well, yes, that too, but mostly you.”
Chiaki huffs in amusement. “In case you’re wondering, I asked Shiina to teach me how to prepare pancakes. He’s a very good teacher when it comes to food. I also learnt how to make miso soup.”
“Chiaki,” Kaoru says, voice trembling as he wipes a fake tear from his eye. “I’m so proud of you. You’ve come so far.”
“Stooop,” Chiaki whines, the tips of his ears going red. “Let me concentrate.”
“Of course, of course.”
“…that means you have to let go of me, Kaoru.”
Sighing dramatically, Kaoru kisses Chiaki’s neck one last time before pulling away from him, slumping down onto the nearest chair. He’s just realising Chiaki has a pink frilly apron on, the one Izumi got him as a joke last Christmas. A year or two ago Kaoru would have definitely made fun of him for it, but now, watching Chiaki hum happily as he pours the mixture into a frying pan, Kaoru just wants to smother him in affection.
“Hey, what time is the party again?”
“You don’t know the time of your own birthday party?” Chiaki asks, tone laced with amusement. “They said it starts at four.”
Kaoru hums in acknowledgement, laying his head on the table. Going to the party sounds like so much effort, but he did promise his friends he’d go, so he doesn’t really have a choice. After the Ryusei Red body pillow Izumi got for him last year (Kaoru couldn’t look Chiaki in the eye for hours afterwards), he’s really looking forward to seeing what he’ll get later. Maybe a life-sized model this time around?
What he’s actually looking forward to is Chiaki’s gift. He always knows exactly what to get. The year before last, Kaoru had mentioned in passing that his computer bag had a hole in it, and on his birthday Chiaki presented him with a new one, alongside a plethora of other things. And then last year, he’d dragged Kaoru out at five in the morning to take him to the beach so they could watch the sunrise together. Chiaki admitted that he’d have liked for the two of them to surf, but it was much too frigid for that. Either way, sitting nestled against Chiaki on a tattered old blanket, watching a new day dawn with the gentle song of the sea playing in the background was, at that moment, all Kaoru had ever wanted from life.
“Let’s get married.”
Chiaki’s whisk clatters to the ground. “What did you say?” He asks, slowly turning around to face Kaoru with wide eyes.
Only then does Kaoru properly register what he said, a nervous grin splitting across his face. Holy shit, this wasn’t how this was supposed to go. “I-I said that we should maybe get m-married…” he trails off towards the end, twiddling his thumbs together. Chiaki gapes at him, pancakes abandoned on the stove.
“Are you serious?” Chiaki asks, voice barely above a whisper.
Kaoru nods, swallowing anxiously. C’mon, Kaoru. You can do this. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m serious. I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
He thinks Chiaki might cry, if his trembling hands and scarlet cheeks are anything to go by. But instead, he huffs crossly and stamps his foot like a child. “Gah! I was going to ask you later, at the party! I can’t believe you beat me to it!”
“You—” Kaoru stands abruptly. “You were gonna propose to me today?”
“Yes!” Chiaki remembers the pancakes then, and quickly turns the stove off before running into the living room. He returns clutching a small black box, open to reveal a silver ring with a diamond centre, approaching Kaoru almost hesitantly. “See?”
Instead of replying, Kaoru dashes off to their bedroom. This is actually happening. He rummages around in his stash of shoujo manga Chiaki somehow has yet to find out about, carefully removing his own small black box. When he enters the kitchen again, Chiaki’s worrying his bottom lip between his teeth, pink apron discarded on the table. He looks as nervous as Kaoru feels.
“Me too,” Kaoru calls, cringing when his voice comes out a few octaves higher than normal. “I mean, I wasn’t planning on doing it today, but I definitely was going to soon.”
Chiaki glances from his box to Kaoru’s, a smile gradually breaking out on his face. “So we were both going to propose to each other?”
“I guess so,” Kaoru says. His gaze meets Chiaki’s across the room, and something in the air changes. All is still, until they simultaneously drop onto one knee, presenting the boxes before them.
“Morisawa Chiaki, will you—”
“Hakaze Kaoru, will you—”
“—marry me?” Kaoru finishes. “Hey, wait, why’d you stop?”
Chiaki stands, crossing the short distance over to Kaoru and tucking his box into his pocket with a smile. “I love you. I want to marry you. I really, really want to marry you.”
With trembling hands, Kaoru takes his ring, a simple but pretty gold band, and slides it onto Chiaki’s finger. “Oh my god,” he breathes. “Oh my god.”
With a giggle, Chiaki throws his arms around Kaoru and hugs him tightly. He’s crying, pressing his wet face into Kaoru’s shoulder, but Kaoru doesn’t care because he’s crying too because they’re gonna get married.
“I love you so much,” Chiaki chokes out, raising his head. Kaoru kisses him, except it’s not much of a kiss since neither of them can stop laughing or crying, just pressing their faces together in a happy mess.
“Mm, wait, wait, Kaoru,” Chiaki pulls away, much to Kaoru’s disappointment. “The pancakes.”
“Oh, shit, the pancakes.”
Hastily, they wipe their faces, scrambling up and over to the stove. Something that looks like hellspawn sits in the frying pan; it’s a miracle Chiaki had enough sense to turn the gas off. “I guess you and cooking really aren’t meant to be, honey.”
“There’s still some mixture left!” Chiaki protests. “Go sit back down and let me make more.”
“No buts. It’s your birthday, remember?”
“And yet, I’m the one who proposed to you.”
Chiaki throws an oven mitt at him. “Sit.”