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i'll go where the heart sings

Chapter Text

Constancy is not something Daisuke values too much.

He welcomes change.

Or at least, he finds himself growing more and more used to the erratic pace in which his surroundings shift, with the need to step into different foreign land nearly every other week to complete jobs across the globe.

However, despite the rapid flickering of his surroundings, there is one thing that Daisuke finds which goes against the tide. The now single constant within his ever changing life in the form of warmth— warmth of a hand against his own as he walks down foreign streets, warmth spreading throughout his face as he feels lips against his skin, and warmth surrounding him as a pair of arms embrace him tight. 

Which is why he awakens upon feeling the absence of his source of warmth from beside him.

The thick comforter sheet rustles as he begins the slow process of waking up. His eyes open as he stretches his limbs, head turning to the side to find that his lover has indeed left the bed.

He sits up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes in an attempt to fight the urge to fall back into the bed and resume his beauty sleep. As soon as he gets up, he begins to trudge through the large expanse of the hotel suite.

His feet take him to the bathroom, and he's displeased to find it unlocked and empty. 

With a sigh, he returns to the other end of the suite. He grabs his cellphone from the night stand before settling onto the plush couch facing the floor to ceiling window.

Their stay at the Park Hyatt hotel was an inadvertent decision on his part. He recalls how Haru had been peeking onto his screen while he had been looking for a place to stay in Seoul, where their next job would be held.

"I want to stay at that one," Haru had told him, pointing at one of the items in the list of five star hotels that HEUSC had compiled.

"Any particular reason for this decision, Inspector?" Daisuke had asked without looking at him. He holds off booking the largest suite then and there, feigning nonchalance as he questions his lover despite knowing he'd heed his request regardless of reason.

"Park Hyatt," Haru reads aloud in English, accent still thick despite his now frequent use of the language. 

"Doesn't sound too fancy," he concludes, before following the conclusion up with "I don't want to stay at the Grand Hyatt. Sounds expensive. Park seems more commoner-friendly, no?" 

Daisuke has to physically resist the urge to scratch his head, his lover's logic simultaneously baffling and amazing him. 

At least pointing out the differences in connotation between the words 'Park' and 'Grand' proved that he's been making a lot of progress with his English comprehension. Daisuke decides he just won't tell him that the two hotels reign from the same company, and aren't both called Hyatt out of mere coincidence.

The memory is enough to tug at the corners of his mouth, but it downturns once more, a frown replacing it before it could morph into a full smile.

He stares down at his cellphone screen, fingers flying rapidly across the touch screen to compose a text message asking Haru where he had gone off to.

Right as he's about to send the message, he hears the resounding click of the front door lock being disabled by their room keycard, followed by the sound of it opening. He doesn't bother glancing over his shoulder. Instead, he sets his phone down, arms coming up to cross over his chest in as much of a disapproving stance as he can possibly muster while seated. 

He's about to vocalize the text message he had been about to send, but the words die in his throat when he feels a pair of arms wrap loosely around his neck from behind. He feels the thick, messy locks on Haru's head tickle his neck as the man buries his face into the dip between it and his shoulder.

"You're up early. I thought you'd sleep in a bit more," Haru murmurs, "You must be exhausted from the mission."

"I would have," Daisuke starts, eyebrows narrowing but the rest of his features, and tone, void of any irritation or malice, "But you left me, and it was cold," he states, as a matter-of-factly.

Haru chuckles, pulling his arms away and circling the couch to take a seat beside Daisuke. It's large and spacious, with room for about 2 more people to fit comfortably, but Haru snuggles up next to him anyway.

“I’m sorry,” Haru says quietly, pressing a light kiss to the side of his head.

The verbal acknowledgement to his apology is left unsaid, and Daisuke chooses to curl up against him instead. Haru’s arms open to accommodate him against his chest, and Daisuke is enveloped in that same familiar warmth he so badly craves every single moment of every day.

Again, Daisuke considers asking where he’s been, but ultimately decides not to. If Haru wants to share, he knows he will. Besides, it’s his first time in Seoul, and Daisuke’s sure he’s just excited to go sightseeing, if the various tripadvisor articles that Daisuke had seen him reading a few days prior were any indication.

The steady thumping of his lover’s heartbeat lulls him back into unconsciousness, and he doesn’t realize that he’s fallen into a light sleep until it’s once again disturbed by the low grumbling of Haru’s stomach.

His eyes snap open, and he looks up at Haru, who is staring down at him with a sheepish smile.

“Sorry,” he says lightly, the hand that had frozen while carding through Daisuke’s soft locks beginning to move once more, fingers alternating between curling against the strands, and brushing through them.

“We should have breakfast,” Daisuke tells him, and goes to push himself up.

Haru tightens his embrace, keeping him in place, as he says, “It’s fine, you should sleep some more.”

Daisuke frowns up at him, “You’re hungry,” he points out, “Besides, we shouldn’t waste the day by sleeping. You wanted to go sightseeing, didn’t you?”

A small pout forms on Haru’s lips, cheeks puffing up the slightest as he answers, “Y-yeah, but.. We don’t have to if you’re exhausted,” he protests, albeit quite weakly.

One of Daisuke’s hands reach up, finger poking against his lover’s cheek, “Thank you so much for your concern, Inspector, but I am not a child,” he reminds, “A bit of exhaustion does not render me incapable of walking around the city.”

Haru catches his hand just as it’s about to land another poke on his cheek, and laces their fingers together. Daisuke’s breath hitches (ridiculous, really).

“Fine,” he says with a sigh, “But let me take my shower first so you can sleep a bit more. I’ll wake you up afterwards, okay?”

It sounds like a question, but Daisuke knows Haru isn’t giving him an option.

At least it isn’t an unreasonable request.

“Alright,” he agrees, sitting up to let Haru stand, before plopping back against the couch.

“Don’t you want to move to the bed?” Haru asks, hovering over him. Daisuke lets his eyes slip shut to chase the last few minutes of sleep he can get for the morning, shaking his head in response to the question. 

“It’s fine. This couch is quite comfortable,” he says, as a matter-of-factly. 

He hears Haru chuckle, before feeling a hand on his head, ruffling his hair softly just as he slips back into dreamland.

🇰🇷

As soon as they’re both freshly showered (and in Daisuke’s case, a bit more awake), they head down from their suite to get some breakfast.

It’s nearly half past nine in the morning by the time they reach the hotel lobby, but luckily they arrive just in time before the hotel’s complimentary breakfast buffet’s cutoff. It saves them some time from having to search for a restaurant.

Daisuke watches as Haru enjoys his meal, a variety of Korean banchan in small bowls surrounding him— an egg roll omelette, cabbage doenjang soup, and spicy cucumber, to name a few. Daisuke notes that he takes particular liking to the radish salad, and the kimchi, which both look and smell way too spicy for his own taste.

He eats some enoki mushrooms sauteed in garlic scallion soy sauce, braised tofu, a bowl of walnut rice porridge, and a serving of mandoo, before deciding he’s full. He ends his meal with a cup of black tea, hoping it would give him an extra bout of energy for the day.

When Haru finishes his meal, he passes his phone over to Daisuke. He raises an eyebrow in question, but accepts it nonetheless.

Displayed on the screen is a short list of locations jotted down onto a notes app.

“I know we won’t be able to visit everything, but I couldn’t decide so..” Haru trails off, averting his eyes. He brings his coffee mug to his lips, slow sipping likely an attempt to hide the forming blush on his cheeks. 

Daisuke isn’t sure why he’s embarrassed, but he doesn’t comment on it. Instead, he looks through the list, most attractions familiar to him back from his previous visit to Seoul. He considers asking why Haru hadn’t included the Namsan tower in his list, as it’s unarguably the most famous tourist attraction in the city, but ultimately decides that he likely just isn’t interested in seeing it.

“I think Namsangol Hanok Village is an ideal place to visit for your first time,” he states, passing the phone back to Haru.

Haru nods, teeth worrying his bottom lip awkwardly.

Daisuke can tell there’s something else he wants to say, so he waits for it patiently.

“Is there anywhere that you want to go?” he eventually asks.

The question catches him off guard. He wants to tell Haru that he’s been to most places on his list already, but he suspects it’ll only result in him pouting and insisting that he pick somewhere anyway.

Truthfully, Daisuke doesn’t mind going anywhere, so long as Haru’s by his side.

Not that he’s about to say it out loud.

He sets his cup down gingerly, thinking back on the several bullet points of locations on Haru’s notes app.

“I suppose we can visit Itaewon. The area seems to be very diverse, so we can decide what to do when we get there,” he says, before adding, “and it’s one of the places I haven’t been to yet.”

Seemingly satisfied with the answer, Daisuke finds himself being pulled up from his seat and out of the hotel. He’s greeted by the delightful Seoul spring, and his own personal spring’s bright smile.

🇰🇷

The scenery at Namsangol Hanok village is as beautiful as Daisuke remembers it to be, but this time his attention is barely on the winding paths and traditional houses.

Instead, he finds his gaze constantly on his lover, clad in a pitch black hanbok, complementing his own bright yellow one well. They had asked the middle-aged lady at the rental shop to pick out which suited them the most, and she had presented the striking set, handing the yellow one to Daisuke, and the black one to Haru.

“Does yellow suit me more than him?” Daisuke asks, Korean speech practiced and smooth as he gestures to Haru.

The lady smiles at him, “Yellow hanbok represents the earth, and black hanbok represents water,” she explains softly, “Within the elements, water is compatible to the earth, as rain makes plants grow.”

Daisuke can feel Haru’s gaze on him, likely dying to know what they’re discussing, but Daisuke merely nods to let the lady continue speaking.

“He is good for you,” she tells him, the sincerity in her voice making his heart skip a beat and rendering him speechless. He looks down at the garments in his hands, once again surveying the bright yellow as his thumb traces the thick fabric, before finally returning her gaze.

“Thank you,” he says with a slight bow of his head. 

The lady merely smiles back at him, before leading the two of them to get changed.

A tiny smile persists on Haru’s face as he walks through the stone pathways, stopping every once in a while to snap a photo or two with the Leica camera that Daisuke had gotten him. Daisuke follows close behind, letting him set the pace at which they walk around. Occasionally, he’d stop to ask Daisuke about the houses, and he would tell him about architectures dating back to the Joseon Dynasty.

Daisuke stops to admire one of the houses with intricate patterns carved onto the panels. He asks HEUSC about it, and listens to the AI narrate each elemental meaning as he traces it with his sight. He’s interrupted when he hears a camera shutter go off by his side, and turns to see Haru pointedly looking away from him, camera in hand.

They try out an arrow throwing game, then go to have brown rice tea with some light snacks (Pine rice cakes for Haru, and Chrysanthemum bread for himself) at one of the teahouses inside of the village, before concluding their visit a little bit past 2 in the afternoon. They return the Hanboks to the kind lady at the rental shop before going on their way.

A short walk to Chungmuro Station and a ride on the subway takes them to Itaewon in less than ten minutes.

With no particular destination in mind, they begin wandering aimlessly, passing through shopping districts, and various restaurants. Despite having just had some snacks, Haru is lured in by the tiny cakes served at Passion 5. Afterwards, they pay their respects at a Mosque, and observe a pottery class (Haru chuckling nervously as he declines trying it out himself) before they eventually end up back at the street leading to the subway station.

“Are you tired?” Haru asks as they walk slowly along the path.

Daisuke glances at him through the corner of his eye, mumbling, “A little, but I’ll be fine.”

“I’m sorry,” Haru says suddenly, stopping in his tracks. It makes Daisuke follow suit, pulling him to the side of the street so as to not block the path for other people.

“Why are you apologizing?” Daisuke asks with a frown.

The sun is beginning to set, and Daisuke is enthralled by the way the pinks, purples and oranges of the darkening sky illuminates his lover’s features while the late afternoon breeze blows through his hair. He looks perfect, save for the slight scrunch in his eyebrows, and the rest of his unsure expression.

“Actually, there’s somewhere else I want to go to before we leave..” he mumbles, hand going up to rub the back of his neck awkwardly. 

“It’s barely 7, we have enough time,” Daisuke reaches up to attempt smoothening down the now messy strands of hair on Haru’s head, only for the wind to blow through it once more.

“But you’re t-”

“Haru, I’m fine,” he cuts off, before he can even finish his statement, “Don’t worry about me.”

He watches as Haru surveys his expression, an unsure one on his own. Daisuke raises an eyebrow, as if challenging him to protest once more. Haru seems to recognize it, and he sighs in defeat.

“Alright.”

“So, where to?” Daisuke asks, already reaching up to activate HEUSC, “I can ask HEUSC to give us the quickest route and the fastest mode of t-”

To his surprise, he’s cut off as Haru takes a hold of his hand, pulling him along back into the subway station. They take line 6 of the subway, with Haru refusing to tell him about where they’re headed the entire journey, and get off at Chungmuro station around half an hour later. 

As soon as they exit Chungmuro station, Haru begins looking around.

Daisuke sighs, “If you tell me where you want to go, I can just ask H-”

“Ah, there it is!” he says excitedly, once again ignoring his words and practically dragging him along.

They get on a bus at a nearby bus stop, and around 10 minutes into the ride, Daisuke begins to realize where they’re headed. Haru is staring out the window, gazing up at the tall structure of the Namsan Tower, its view slowly getting closer and closer.

They’re dropped off at a stop in a parking lot, and make their way towards the base of the tower. 

Daisuke is about to head into the entrance, but Haru separates from him, making a turn towards the viewing deck at the base of the tower. He doesn’t bother to call out to him, silently following him through the small crowd of couples and families gathered in the area. 

The first thing Daisuke notices about the place is the influx of dotting colors scattered throughout nearly every nook and cranny of the viewing deck. Upon further inspection of the railing (which he could barely, if at all, see), he identifies the items to be padlocks, in varying colors, shapes and sizes. 

He’s wonderstruck as he walks by the railing, admiring the many padlocks, photos, letters, and countless amounts of memorabilia attached to the various surfaces. Vaguely, he remembers crossing the Pont des Arts bridge and seeing a similar scenery when he was at Paris, except those padlocks had been dull-

No.

The entire memory had been dull.

He had walked over the bridge, surrounded by couples mid embrace, or locking padlocks onto the bridge panels. He remembers seeing a young child, hand-in-hand with his mother as they locked one of their own, with the father a few steps back and snapping a photo.

He remembers rushing to get away,  unable to take the scene before his eyes.

This time, he finds himself welcoming it.

He’s preoccupied with admiring a tree shaped padlock covered in messy marker scribbles when a small, silver heart-shaped padlock is thrust into his line of sight.

When he looks up, he’s greeted by his lover’s head tilted to the side, a pretty red blush staining his cheeks. Daisuke looks between him and the small padlock in his hand, heart nearly swelling with fondness upon the realization that Haru had probably planned this stop. It explains how he’d known exactly how to get here, and why he hadn’t included Seoul’s most renowned tourist attraction in his list of potential places to visit.

In fact, it must also explain..

“Is this what you went out to get early this morning?”

Haru frowns, gaze still averted. He doesn’t say anything, and Daisuke takes it as a yes.

“You do know that they sell them here, don’t you?” Daisuke teases, and the blush on Haru’s face deepens.

“I know that..!” he whines, “They were just too expensive, okay?!” 

Daisuke shakes his head and looks back down at the padlock still in his hands, unsure of what Haru wanted him to do with it. Haru seems to notice, and he finally takes Daisuke’s hand to deposit the small object into his palm.

Haru seems to read his mind, as he finally addresses the unspoken question.

“Write your name on it before we put it up..” he mutters. He digs through the small crossbody bag slung over his shoulder and produces a marker, handing it to Daisuke.

He takes it wordlessly, bringing the small padlock up to scribble onto.

It’s a bit of a struggle, with how small the surface was, and the shadows over his hand as he bows his head over it, but he manages to write with still a semblance of the elegance typically present in his handwriting. He admires his handiwork for a few moments, his lover’s name and a tiny heart underneath in striking black against the silver surface.

When he hands it back to Haru, he receives a small shove from the side, and he hears him muttering “I said write your name, idiot..” 

Haru seems to have a similar struggle when he begins writing on it as well, and Daisuke has to hold back a bout of giggles when he sees the finished product, Haru’s writing of Daisuke’s name a lot scrawnier than his own underneath the small heart he had drawn.

Haru walks off to one of the corners of the viewing platform, and Daisuke follows him silently. They look through the countless number of padlocks, trying to find even the smallest of gaps to be able to fit theirs in. Daisuke finds one, in between a blue and yellow split colored heart padlock, and a small silver padlock with a gear pendant attached to it. 

Daisuke calls Haru over to lock the padlock in place, and watches as he takes the Leica out to snap a photo of it with a small smile on his face.

Eventually, Haru steps back from crouching down at the spot he locked the padlock onto. Their eyes meet, and Daisuke feels himself flush at having been caught staring. Haru approaches him, taking his hand and placing a tiny key onto his palm.

“What is this?” Daisuke asks, dumbfounded.

“Are you stupid?” 

“I mean, why are you giving it to me?”

“Well, it came with two keys, so..” Haru trails off, as if the answer is obvious in the first place, “in case you want to take it off, or whatever..” he looks out onto the cityscape when he says it, and Daisuke can tell he’s chewing on the inside of his cheek. 

Daisuke sighs fondly, his lover’s earnestness simultaneously flustering him, and making him want to cry. He doesn’t know how to channel into words the love and devotion he feels, trapped inside of him. He opens his mouth once, but nothing comes out. 

In the end, he doesn’t say anything. He reaches out to take his lover’s hand, squeezing it gently and hoping it conveys even a semblance of what he wants to say.

When Haru looks at him, he can feel his eyes begin to water, and his vision blurring slightly. Haru’s eyes widen in alarm, almost comically, and Daisuke can’t stop the laughter that spills from his lips.

He doesn’t know what kind of reaction he’s expecting from Haru upon his sudden outburst, but it definitely isn’t being pulled further into the viewing deck, a little bit away from the crowds.

“Where are we going?” Daisuke asks suddenly, drying the stray teardrops on his face with his sleeve.

When Haru halts and turns to face him again, his face is several shades darker than when he had been blushing earlier. “Sorry, I-” he starts, before clearing his throat. His gaze dart to the sides a few times, before settling back on Daisuke, and blurting out:

“Can I kiss you?”

Suddenly his lover’s blush seems to have infected him, and Daisuke can feel his face, all the way to the tips of his ears, heat up. 

Again, he’s at a loss for words. His mouth opens and closes a few times before he finally gives up on speaking. He squeezes his eyes shut, hand going to grab at Haru’s sleeve as he nods slowly.

He doesn’t open his eyes. 

Instead, he feels Haru’s cold hand, nipped by the evening breeze, cup his face. He feels his slightly calloused fingers stroke cheek, and his soft lips press against his own.

Daisuke releases his grip on his sleeve, hand going up to cover Haru’s own against his face.

It doesn’t last too long, but Daisuke isn’t upset. 

Haru is looking at him with an unreadable expression when they pull away from one another, a wide range of emotions displayed on his open face. In the end, it seems that embarrassment overpowers the rest, and he pushes past Daisuke, muttering something about grabbing a drink for them.

Daisuke chuckles, and watches his lover go.  

He looks down at the tiny key still in his hand.

“In case you want to take it off, or whatever..” 

His lover’s voice resounds in his head, and he feels as if the tiny object suddenly weighs a ton in his hand. He looks out at the darkened cityscape, littered with hundreds of lights that appear to be glittering in the night. He doesn’t need HEUSC to tell him that the probability of anyone finding the tiny object, should it be thrown off this edge, as well identifying its corresponding padlock in the sea of thousands, would barely be 0.001%.

“Daisuke!” he hears his lover call out. 

When he looks over to where the voice had come from, he spots Haru a few feet away, holding two beverage bottles, likely from a nearby vending machine. He grins and waves Daisuke over, and Daisuke has a striking realization that he need not dispose of the unassuming object to prove anything. 

Haru had given it to him, and he’ll cherish it. 

Even with the choice to leave, any time, and any day, Daisuke will always choose to stay.

He smiles as he begins to make his way back to him, pocketing the key.

Chapter Text

Waking up early is not something that Daisuke is fond of..

To anyone else, this comes off a surprise, as people often express to him that he looks ‘extremely put together’ or ‘follow a strict timetable’. An example of this being the first time he had had a sleepover with the entirety of MCPTF, with everyone being at a loss for words at how he’d been the last to wake up the next morning, and that it had required Haru to place an ice cube into his shirt to get him to wake up.

In short, only the people now closest to him know of how much he absolutely despised waking up early, most especially during his days off.

Which is why he can sort of understand the look of shock on Haru’s face as he peers into the hall and sees him perched on the bench of the grand piano situated at the end of a hall in their hotel room.

He doesn’t address it, instead saying “I apologize. Did I wake you?” while continuing to play the rendition of Bach’s Cello Suite in G Major with his left hand, while his right lays limply on his side.

He stares down at the way his fingers float over the keys. His posture is terrible, but straightening his back applies too much tension to his right arm, which he feels Haru gently lift from the bench to settle beside him. The movement causes him to flinch and miss a key, but he ignores it and continues to play.

“How badly does it hurt?” he asks, gently setting his hand down onto his lap. He twines their fingers together and presses a light kiss onto his shoulder.

“Not that much,” Daisuke tells him.

He hates lying through his teeth, especially to Haru, but he knows Haru would make too much of a big deal out of it.

“You flinched just now,” Haru points out. Daisuke can’t see the face that he’s making, but he’s sure his eyebrows are scrunched up in worry and scrutinization.

"You bent it," he says quietly.

In fact, it's still sort of bent, and it still hurts. Every time his elbow juts out even the slightest, sharp pangs of pain shoot throughout his arm. He stops playing and pulls his left hand away from the keys, falling back against the bench to grip tightly onto its edge in an attempt to suppress the pain.

It hurts, but Daisuke's much too relieved that Haru is safe, even though it had ended in him taking a bullet for him.

Sort of, as he’d only been grazed.

It still hurt a lot though.

Their mission had actually gone pretty smoothly, until its very last stage— which had been a raid at a warehouse located in Neva Delta Islands. The FBI office in Moscow had identified it to be a receiving hub of illegal Adollium imports. They had also suspected that Adollium blockers were currently installed within its premises, making an ordinary drug bust almost impossible, and thus prompting them to request for assistance from the TMPD.

The raid had mostly gone according to plan, and Daisuke's injury was honestly just an unfortunate incident caused by a stray fugitive quick enough to shoot before they could get to him first. Apparently Haru had pummeled the man into the ground, enough to break a few of his bones, but not to kill him.

"I'm sorry, does it hurt when I hold it like this?" Haru asks, a worried expression on his face. His fingers slacken and begin to pull away, but Daisuke tightens his grip, albeit a bit weakly, and another shot of pain goes straight up his arm. 

"It's fine," he grits out, relaxing his fingers as soon as Haru stops trying to pull away. "I want to hold your hand," he tells him quietly, still staring down at the piano keys.

Daisuke lets his eyes slip shut, taking deep breaths in an attempt to distract himself from the pain. He can feel Haru’s thumb begin to move, stroking the skin on his hand soothingly. The silence that follows them lasts for a minute or so, until Haru finally begins to speak once more.

“Daisuke.. I’m s-”

“Let’s go out today.”

Daisuke doesn’t let him finish his statement, already fully aware of what he wants to say before he could say it. He doesn’t want to hear it, because Haru shouldn’t be feeling apologetic. There’s nothing for him to apologize for. 

“Ha..?! But you’re-”

“I feel lethargic, and staying indoors all day won’t help,” he says, as a matter-of-factly. He finally tilts his head to the side, just enough to meet Haru’s anxious eyes.

“It might worsen your injury..” he protests weakly, as if knowing that changing Daisuke’s mind is out of the question, but attempting anyway. 

“It hurts whenever it’s bent..” Daisuke says with a sigh, “I think walking will do me some good.”

Haru stares at him, still unconvinced.

“And.. there’s somewhere I want to go..”

This time, it’s Haru who sighs in defeat. He looks down at their linked hands, thumb continuing to trace light swirling patterns against his skin, before finally saying, “Fine.”

Daisuke watches the way he chews on his lip, expression twitchy as if internally arguing with himself. Sometimes Haru is an open book, but other times he’s almost quite impossible to read, and Daisuke hates it. He hates when his lover looks so apprehensive and he can’t tell the cause, and he hates not being able to tell what’s on his mind when it matters the most.

Most of all, he hates not knowing how to ask. 

He wants to.

Badly.

But for some reason, he can’t. It isn’t even as if the words are lodged in his throat, but that he doesn’t have any words for it at all.

In fact, he finds it difficult even during some situations that aren’t necessarily emotionally charged, which he finds ridiculous because other people often regard him as blunt, or even straightforward to a fault. Yet with Haru, everything feels different.

“-suke..? Daisuke?”

He’s snapped out of his trance upon hearing Haru call out his name, the previously worried expression on his face having intensified over the time that Daisuke had been lost in his own thoughts.

“Did you hear what I said?” he asks worriedly, looking straight into his eyes as soon as Daisuke lifts his head. He’s able to hold the gaze for a few moments, before looking away and shaking his head.

“Sorry, could you repeat it?” he asks, hoping he doesn’t sound as embarrassed as he actually feels, “I didn’t quite get it..”

“We can go, if you want,” he tells him, before letting go of his hand and proceeding to stand up, “But we should eat some breakfast first. Do you want to go down to the buffet, or order room service..?” 

Daisuke blinks at him, as if processing the question.

Truthfully, either option seems fine, but right now, what he really wants..

“Can-” he tries, but cuts himself off with a clear of his throat.

Haru blinks down at him, head tilting to the side in confusion. “Can..?” he asks, urging him to continue.

Daisuke can feel his lips pursing into a thin line, and he averts his gaze, but Haru doesn’t pressure him. It should be a good thing, but Haru’s enduring patience with him makes him want to cry, makes him wish he were better so that Haru need not always adjust to his often unreasonable needs.

Eventually, he manages to level his head enough to be able to utter the simple words, “Can you..” he starts again, pausing briefly before continuing his question, “.. cook breakfast for me?”

Haru doesn’t say anything for a few moments, and Daisuke begins descending into a whirlpool of embarrassment and regret, until he feels a hand on his hair, gently ruffling his bedhead.

“Of course, Dai,” he tells him.

When Daisuke looks up at him, he’s greeted by the most brilliant and vivid smile that he knows and has come to love. Haru sits back down beside him, careful not to nudge at his injured arm, to ask, “What do you want to eat?”

He wants to say that anything is fine, but he doesn’t want to be difficult by not giving his lover anything to work with. He’s already being unreasonable with his request, what with them being in a hotel with countless options for food, after all. 

Finally, he says, “Anything.. sweet.”

He hears Haru hum thoughtfully, before nodding with a smile. “Alright, I’ll think of something,” he says. 

Daisuke stares at him, giving a small nod of his own, and then Haru leans forward to press a soft kiss against his forehead. Daisuke can feel himself melting under the affection, and he closes his eyes to savour the blissful moment amidst the constant dull pain in his arm.

🇷🇺

Haru prepares the bath for him and assists him into it. He begins to shampoo his hair, and Daisuke doesn’t say much, merely humming in appreciation as he feels Haru’s nimble fingers weaving gently through the sleep induced tangles. He rinses the shampoo off before going to wash his hands and telling Daisuke to bathe as long as he likes while he goes out to buy some ingredients. 

Daisuke hears rummaging through one of the rooms outside, which he thinks is Haru going to collect his stuff, until he hears soft, melodic piano begin playing throughout the suite. Afterwards, he finally hears the front door opening and closing.

He takes up Haru’s suggestion to soak in the bath longer, lifting his arm and resting it over the edge of the tub to make himself more comfortable. It hurts a bit at first, but the pleasant feeling of the warm water around his body helps to dull the pain out once more.

He doesn’t know how long he stays in the tub, falling in and out of a light sleep. At some point, he asks HEUSC about the piano piece playing, being one he doesn’t recognize, and he listens to his butler tell him about a Russian composer named Mikhail Pletnev for a solid minute.

Eventually, he decides he’s been sitting in the water long enough. There’s some difficulty in getting out of the tub, but he manages and goes to rinse himself off in the shower, washing his body as best as he can with minimal movement of his right arm.

He wraps himself up in one of the hotel robes and goes out into the living room to turn the heater up a notch, before settling onto one of the couches.

There’s an urge to smoke a cigar that he squashes down, knowing Haru wouldn’t like returning to the smell of tobacco permeating the entire suite. Luckily, he returns not long after, carrying a plastic bag in one hand.

Daisuke sees him smile upon spotting him on the couch, and he deposits the bag onto the counter before going over to press a quick kiss to his head.

“Sorry, did you wait long?” he asks, to which Daisuke shakes his head. Haru steps back and goes into the bathroom, and Daisuke hears him rummaging through the cabinets before returning with the first aid kit and additional supplies sent over by his doctor.

Haru wordlessly gets to work with redressing his wound, carefully pulling on the side of his robe to reveal his arm.  He turns it over gently as he applies ointments, before suddenly saying, “I hope pancakes are alright with you. I found a recipe for Russian pancakes online while I was heading to the store, and thought they’d be quick to make.”

Daisuke makes a quiet sound of affirmation as Haru begins to cover his wound up with a gauze. He packs the first aid kit up and returns it back to the bathroom before grabbing the plastic bag off the counter and heading into the kitchen. 

The sound of Haru bustling about in the next room, along with the growing savory scent from the food being prepared, and soft piano music in the background does wonders to lessen the tension in Daisuke’s body. It doesn’t take long for Haru to return with a tray containing two plates of Blini, fruit drinks with some berries, and numerous tiny ceramics containing various jams, cheese and caviar. 

“I thought you’d appreciate something salty too, in case you get tired of the jam,” Haru tells him with a chuckle after setting the tray down onto the low coffee table in front of them.

Daisuke stares down at the tray in awe. How Haru manages to prepare such scrumptious looking meals in a little over half an hour alone will always amaze him. His chefs could do the same, but he always has at least three of them on duty at the same time.

“It looks delicious,” he commends, a small smile on his face. There’s more that he wants to say, such as thanking him for going out of the way to buy ingredients, navigating through a foreign area on his own despite his difficulty in speaking the language, being thoughtful about the choice of food by considering what Daisuke had requested, and making food local to the area they’re in.

There’s too much he wants to say, but Haru has already lathered jam onto one of the pancakes, and is proceeding to cut a tiny piece. It’s right against his lips before he can say anything else, and he opens his mouth to take it into his mouth.

“Is it good?” Haru asks, voice tentative and expression hopeful.

Daisuke knows that at this point, it’s impossible for him to be able to judge Haru’s food objectively, moreso at the moment when he’s been in some sort of emotional turmoil all morning. Regardless, he isn’t at all lying when he nods his head as enthusiastically as he can.

Haru chuckles and goes to slice another piece for him. They eat in comfortable silence, accompanied only by the quiet sounds of their own munching, and the piano playing in the background. At some point, Daisuke has switched to lathering cottage cheese onto his Blini, and eventually eating the caviar on its own using a small tea spoon.

“Thank you..” Daisuke says quietly, after they finish their meal, “And I apologize for making you go out to shop, and prepare all this food.”

Haru shakes his head, a tiny smile on his face, “Don’t worry about it,” he tells him, tilting his head over from where he’s slumped back against the couch. “It wasn’t difficult, and I enjoyed using the fancy kitchen! I never get to use all those weird tools, and they really help make the job faster, you know?”

“Yes, but.. you even had to go out-”

“It’s fine, Dai,” he assured, “Besides, I had HEUSC help me with picking the ingredients out. It really wasn’t troublesome at all, so stop thinking that.” He reaches a hand out, poking in between Daisuke’s eyebrows to stop him from narrowing his eyebrows further.

“If you liked it, it would have been worth the effort,” Haru tells him, and Daisuke has to look away.

He wonders how Haru can say such things so easily, and wishes he’s able to as well.

“Should we get going soon?” Haru asks, beginning to collect the tableware and stacking them onto the tray. Daisuke nods, still not trusting his voice to remain as steady as it usually is.

“You can rest for a bit while I take a quick shower, then we can head out,” Haru tells him, already carrying the tray back to the kitchen. Daisuke watches him go about the room, collecting his stuff before disappearing into the bathroom. 

He leans back against the couch, injured arm limp at his side while the other lays across his stomach as he resumes contemplating how to properly thank Haru for the meal, and well.. for taking good care of him. He’s beyond grateful to his lover, and there’s nothing he wants more than being able to express himself properly.

It’s a shame that money can’t buy that sort of confidence.

He sighs, allowing his eyes to slip shut once more. He doesn’t intend to, but he ends up falling into another light sleep lulled by the sounds of the shower running, and the soft piano notes.

🇷🇺

The bus ride that they take from their hotel to the destination that Daisuke has in mind lasts for approximately 13 minutes, according to HEUSC. The ride is spent in silence from both their ends, with light foreign chattering from strangers in the bus with them. Haru is uncharacteristically quiet the entire time, not questioning where they’re headed, and instead admiring the passing view outside of the window while cradling Daisuke’s injured arm as it sat on his lap. 

HEUSC instructs them to alight at Ermitazh, and they walk side by side. Haru keeps his arm around Daisuke’s shoulder, keeping him close as they walk so as to not have anyone bump into him, while being careful not to jostle his arm too hard. 

Daisuke leads them through the street, until they reach the extremely large clearing of the Palace Square. They walk further, and their destination finally comes to view. 

“W-what is this place?” Haru asks nervously, clearly intimidated by the extremely large and vast building structure that they approach. 

Daisuke chuckles, glancing to his lover to see his widened eyes. 

“This is the State Hermitage Museum,” he tells him, “It’s the second largest museum in the world, next to The Louvre in Paris.”

“Woah, it’s massive..!” Haru tells him, an almost childlike expression of wonder all over his face. It reassures Daisuke a significant amount, as he’d been reluctant to drag his lover to a place he might find ‘boring’, but his need to be at a relaxed state that he knows this museum can bring him ultimately having overpowered it.

They head towards the entrance, right past the automated ticket machines, and Haru asks “Don’t we need to buy a ticket?” to which not Daisuke, but HEUSC responds to with “Entrance fee to all five interconnected buildings including the Winter Palace, Small Hermitage, Old Hermitage, New Hermitage, and the Hermitage Theatre have been covered, Kato.”

“O-oh, I see. Thank you, HEUSC,” Daisuke hears his lover say. The AI responds to him before going back on standby, and Daisuke stops walking to wait for Haru to catch up the few steps he’d lagged behind on.

As soon as they enter the Main Museum Complex through the Ambassadors' Entrance , Daisuke hears a quiet gasp from where his lover walks beside him. They’re greeted by a white, high ceiling room, decorated in golden embellishments, with an imperial staircase made up of two broad flights of marble steps that lead up to a landing with large grey granite columns. Daisuke recalls it as the Jordan Staircase.

The sight isn’t new nor foreign to him, but he slows his pace, allowing Haru to digest and admire his surroundings as they make their way towards the large staircase.

“That’s a painting of the Gods of Olympus, and dates back to the 18th century,” Daisuke says suddenly, eyes cast upwards. He notices Haru’s eyes flitting around the room, seemingly trying to spot the painting in question, and making Daisuke chuckle.

“It’s up there, Haru,” he tells him, pointing towards the ceiling.

Haru tilts his head upwards, and Daisuke thoroughly enjoys the look of wonder on his face, before he looks back at Daisuke and asks, “Olympus..? What, like Zeus?” 

“I suppose Zeus is one of the more well known Olympian Gods,” Daisuke confirms, “but there are several others such as Hera, Poseidon, Dionysus, Aphrodite..” he lists, before something else seems to catch his attention. 

“Those Alabaster statues are allegories that depict central ideas and virtues from various periods of philosophy such as European Philosophy, and Hellenistic Philosophy,” he explains, “Some ideas were also influenced by Roman Catholicism.” 

“These two are Fidelity and Equity by Ivan Leppe, and those are Mercury and Mars by Apollon Manyulov,” he gestures to each one as he explains, a small smile on his face as he remembers each one from his first visit to the museum years ago. 

“These are Grandeur and Opulence by.. Hm..” 

He frowns upon being unable to recall the artist of the next set of statues, and it prompts HEUSC to begin speaking through both his and Haru’s earrings. “Grandeur and Opulence by Alexander Ustinov, 1796-1868, sir.”

“Oh, yes. Thank you, HEUSC,” he says, making a mental note to not forget it this time. 

He points to a specific statue with his uninjured arm, “This is my favorite one,” he tells Haru, making the man raise his eyebrows in curiosity. He steps farther from the wall to see the statue better, looking up at the white sculpted drapes over its body. The figure is raising a golden scale with his right hand, while holding a sword with the left.

“It looks great, but doesn’t really stand out from the rest,” Haru comments, tilting his head to observe the sculpture from another angle, as if it would give him any answers as to why it’s Daisuke’s favorite one. 

“Why is it your favorite?” he finally asks, apparently having given up.

Daisuke glances at him once, before planting his gaze back onto the statue, a soft smile pulling his lips up.

“It’s said to be the figure of the ancient Greek Titaness, Themis. It’s an allegory depicting justice by Alexander Terebenev,” he says, admiring it for longer.

 “It reminds me a lot of you,” he blurts out suddenly, before he’s able to process the words.

He feels his cheeks begin to burn, and he glances at his lover to see him looking straight back at him, cheeks as rosy as how he suspects his own are. Haru doesn’t say anything, but his lips quirk up into a small, shy smile, which sets free an entire legion of butterflies in Daisuke’s stomach.

Daisuke ducks his head and finally begins to walk again, ascending the staircase. He hears Haru follow close behind, and their hands eventually find one another, fingers twining together, before they reach the top of the steps. 

As soon as they step onto the landing, Haru tugs him aside by his uninjured arm to ask, “You aren’t in pain, are you?”

Daisuke blinks up at him, before shaking his head slowly.

“I mean, I am.. but it’s only the usual dull throbbing,” he says honestly, making Haru frown in worry.

“Are you sure you can handle it?”

“Yes, Haru.”

“Dai, you have to tell me if-”

“If it makes you feel better, I can have HEUSC monitor pain level using my vital statistics and inform you should I start to feel pain nearing my threshold,” he deadpans, making Haru sigh. 

“It’s fine. You don’t need to do that,” he says, albeit unsurely.

Daisuke frowns at him and says, “I’m not mad. I..” he sighs, averting his gaze. His hands tighten into fists, and he forces himself to address the issue properly, at the very least to ease his lover’s mind. 

“I know you’re just worried,” he begins slowly, “I don’t mind if you do this, and I want you to, if it reassures you even a little..”

Haru stares at him for a few moments, searching his eyes, and Daisuke waits. Eventually, he lets out another sigh and says, “Yeah.. yeah, okay. We can do that,” he mumbles, mostly to himself. Daisuke nods and begins to instruct HEUSC on what to do. The AI responds affirmatively, and Daisuke sees some of the tension on Haru’s shoulders dissipate.

“Shall we get going?” he asks, reaching his hand out for Haru to once again take.

Haru smiles, tentative but genuine, and allows Daisuke to pull him along.

🇷🇺

They weave through the rooms at a fairly decent pace, enough for Haru to get a once over of each room, and pick out details that intrigue him. 

The first room they had entered after climbing the Jordan Staircase was the Field Marshal's Hall, where Daisuke tells Haru about how it was built to honor the Military Leaders of the Russian Empire. Following it was the Small Throne Room by architect Auguste de Montferrand, which was created for Tsar Nicholas I in 1833. 

“A great fire had destroyed everything back in 1837, but everything had been rebuilt eventually,” Daisuke says as they step into the next room.

He’s sure Haru had been about to say something, but the bright gold of the ornamentation and large pillars of the room that they step into distracts him from even beginning his sentence.

“Holy shit,” he blurts, gaping at the vast space of white walls and ceiling, covered by gold upon gold.

Daisuke chuckles, letting go of his hand and watching him take tentative steps towards the middle of the space. The thick, gold pillars lining the sides of the room seem to catch most of his attention, until he notices the large golden chandelier hanging at the very center of the room. Haru stops walking just a few steps from it, head craning upwards to eye the large, glinting decorative ornament.

There are dozens of breathtaking displays inside the room, which Daisuke recalls the Armorial Hall, but his eyes stay glued to Haru’s figure at the center of it all. The afternoon sunlight that filters into the hall colors his figure a rich yellow. 

From where Daisuke stands, his lover looks as golden as the rest of the embellishments in the room, if not more. He digs through his pocket with his uninjured arm, fishing his glasses out and fumbling to put them on in a hurry before breathlessly instructing HEUSC to snap a photo of Haru and the space around him.

He hurriedly pulls his glasses off before Haru can see him, and stuffs it back into his pocket as HEUSC informs him that the photos have successfully been saved.

When Haru looks back at him, there’s a soft smile on his face, and he reaches his hand out for Daisuke to take. Daisuke smiles back, closing the distance between them to take his hand once more. 

🇷🇺

They go through more rooms, such as the War Gallery of 1812, the Picket Hall, the Alexander Hall, and several rooms such as the Lorrain and Poussin rooms through a winding hall dedicated to French Art. They soon exit the Winter Palace and make their way down another long hall dedicated to Netherlandish Art inside of the Small Hermitage building. Daisuke tells Haru everything that he knows about the rooms and the paintings he finds familiar, but occasionally resorts to consulting HEUSC about what he can’t answer about Haru’s questions.

Haru checks his wristwatch by the time they reach the end of the Romanov Hall, eyes wide when he realizes, “Wow, it’s already 4.. We’ve been here like, what? Five hours?”

Daisuke blinks up at him before grabbing his wrist, having opted against wearing his own wristwatch due to his injury, and checking the time for himself.

“Ah, you’re right.. I hadn’t noticed,” he says dumbly.

“You know.. the scenery outside has barely changed from when we first stepped in,” Haru points out, gaze transfixed on the window, “It feels like we’ve been through so many rooms already, but have we even moved at all..?”

Daisuke chuckles lightly, “I reckon we’ve only been through around ten percent of the museum in total.”

“Ten percent..?!” Haru asks in a whisper shout, to which Daisuke raises an eyebrow at. 

“You were the one who said ‘This place is massive!’ earlier,” he points out with the smallest of smirks, “Why are you surprised?”

Haru huffs, crossing his arms over his chest as a pout settles on his lips.

Daisuke begins to walk again, making his way to the exit of the gallery that they’re in, to move onto the next. Haru joins his side a few seconds later, and Daisuke begins to speak once more.

“According to HEUSC, if we were to look at each piece in this museum for a minute, it would take us eleven years to finish.”

“Wha-”

Daisuke can tell he’s about to react as wildly as earlier, but he manages to hold his tongue. He glances through the corner of his eye to see his lover pressing his lips into a thin line, as if forcing himself to not say anything lest he be ridiculed once more.

After a moment of silence, Haru seems to have settled for asking, “You aren’t keeping me in here for eleven years, are you?”

Daisuke chuckles, shoving his uninjured hand into his pocket as they finally walk through the doorway and step into the next room, which he recalls as the Pavillion Hall.

“Hmm,” he begins, as if seriously contemplating the question. 

Finally, he answers with “I don’t think so..”

A pause. 

“Maybe just for ten years.”

He doesn’t expect Haru to laugh as loud as he did. 

As sappy as it is, his guffawing is one of Daisuke’s favorite sounds, even though it currently attracts several stray pairs of eyes towards their direction.

“Why are you laughing?” Daisuke asks. He attempts to remain passive, but he can’t keep the small smile off of his face, because of both the sound of Haru’s laughter, along with the sudden swell of pride in his chest at the thought of having made him laugh so gleefully. 

“Are you not going to stay here with me?” he presses, exploiting the joke further in hopes of garnering another bout of laughter from his lover.

But Haru’s laughter ceases, and he goes to wipe a stray tear from the corner of his eye. His smile stays in place, but what Daisuke doesn’t expect are the words that fall out of his mouth next.

“Fine by me. We can stay here as long as you like.”

The words make his eyebrows shoot up in intrigue. Sure, the anxiety of Haru not enjoying the place at all had been wiped from his mind hours ago, but it hadn’t really crossed Daisuke’s mind that he was enjoying to the point of even jokingly saying he’d spend years in this place. Especially since Haru tended to have a stick up his ass when it came to most jokes.

As if reading his mind, Haru supplies him with his reason— another thing Daisuke definitely hadn’t expected.

“You seem happy here.”

His breath catches in his throat, rendering him speechless. Haru continues gazing back at him, smile soft and eyes wide in expectancy, until the look on them shift into one of alarm.

“Are you okay..?! Are you in pain?” he asks suddenly, panic seeping into his voice.

“What-”

“HEUSC said your heart rate went up by 78 beats per minute!”

The words make Daisuke's entire face flush red, which probably doesn’t help his case because anymore of his body temperature going up will surely end up in HEUSC informing Haru of its dramatic increase alongside his heart rate.

He ducks his head, which he also immediately regrets because now Haru’s grabbing his shoulders and fretting over him as if he’s doubled over in pain.

“Dai, what’s wrong..? Does it hurt?! Do you need me to call an am-” 

“Haru,” he says, if only to catch his attention. He’s unsure of what else to say just yet, but having the need to ground his lover from the sudden and intense wave of panic that currently washes over him.

It works to get him to stop and listen at least, but the longer he stays silent, the tighter Haru’s panicked grip on him tightens, and he needs to say something.

“You’re right,” he says suddenly, voice soft, and breath shaky.

“Right..? Right about what?” Haru presses.

When Daisuke doesn’t respond right away, Haru’s voice resounds once more, startlingly desperate.

“Dai, please, you need to tell me what’s wrong-”

“Nothing!” he says suddenly, just loud enough to get Haru to stop, but not to alert any of the other visitors within the vicinity. He finally looks up to meet Haru’s worried gaze, heart is still hammering in his chest as he feels his eyes begin watering with tears ready to be shed at any moment.

“Nothing, I just..” he pauses, sucking in a long, deep breath.

His throat feels blocked, and his mind hazy, but he forces himself to stay level-headed. He’s been waiting, looking for a chance to tell Haru the weight of what he really feels, and he doesn’t want to pass up another opportunity.

Haru deserves to know.

“You’re right..” he repeats, trying his best to keep his gaze straight at Haru, “I am happy here.”

Haru’s expression morphs from panic to one of concern, and he opens his mouth to say something, but Daisuke doesn’t let him.

“But you don’t need to worry,” he says, cutting Haru’s words off before they can even fall from his lips.

“Dai-”

“I’m always this happy, whenever I’m with you,” he admits, steeling the resolve in his words and not once looking away from his lover.

If Daisuke wasn’t as nervous as he currently is, he likely would’ve laughed at how a dozen different emotions flicker through Haru’s expression upon hearing the words.

The hand from his uninjured arm goes up to grab onto Haru’s, pulling it away from his shoulder. He holds onto it tightly, as if the touch would somehow help him convey his words a bit better.

“I’m sorry,” he says suddenly, “I know I don’t often show it.. which is probably why I should be more vocal about my feelings, but,” he pauses, sucking in another deep breath, “But I really am, Haru.” 

The incident from just a few days prior resurfaces in his mind, and it scares him more than he’ll ever admit. He can still feel the sudden, rippling pain on his arm, but more terrifying than the feeling of being hurt is the thought that he’d been so close to losing Haru.

He hears himself chuckle wetly as a few stray tears escape from the corners of his eyes, and he lets go of Haru’s hand to hastily wipe them away as he says, “We don’t need to be anywhere in particular.. I’m happy so long as I’m with you.. I don’t want to be anywhere without you, Haru.” 

The expression on Haru’s face becomes unrecognizable as his vision begins to blur, but suddenly he’s being dragged (by his uninjured arm) further into the hall.

Haru pulls him behind one of the large, white pillars, away from prying eyes.

But before Daisuke can so much as open his mouth to ask what he’s doing, he feels his lover’s hands against his cheeks, pulling him up into a mind-numbing kiss.

The suddenness of the action makes Daisuke gasp, and Haru takes that opportunity to tilt his head, slotting their lips together better. Daisuke’s uninjured hand reached up, fingers curling against the sleeve of Haru’s jacket and gripping tightly in an attempt to keep himself upright.

Haru’s lips feel good against his.

Too good, it makes his knees buckle. Haru seems to notice, wrapping an arm around his waist to steady him. Daisuke holds onto his lover for dear life, trying his best to suppress his whimpers as Haru swipes his tongue against his lip.

Daisuke doesn’t want it to end, not ever, but eventually he pulls away. He leans his forehead against Haru, the intensity not only of the kiss itself, but as well as the sudden surge of emotions leaving him breathless.

“Enough,” he whispers, “HEUSC might think I’m going into cardiac arrest, or something.” 

The words make Haru chuckle, but Daisuke can tell he’s holding back another bout of full blown laughter.

Daisuke stares up at his lover as the bright rays of the afternoon sunlight illuminate the side of his face once more. The brilliance of the gold in his eyes seem even more vibrant, and that — coupled by the warmth of the arms around him — makes Daisuke swear that he could stay in this moment, be it ten years, or a thousand. 

Chapter Text

One thing that Daisuke prides himself in is his interminable patience.

Perhaps some people would scoff at the idea, going by the fact that he reigns from a billionaire family alone. Not to mention, he can get anything he wants with a snap of his fingers, and practically has the entire world at his disposal.

But while he prefers to do things his own way — due to the proven efficiency of his methods, and not because he’s impatient, thank you very much — he likes to think that he’s patient when it comes to dealing with people, most especially during business settings. 

Meeting Haru has made him a more patient person, simply because Haru makes him strive to be better, and well.. If Haru himself has tested his patience time and time again, and he’d succeeded in remaining forbearing throughout all such trials because he loves him very much, he isn’t going to mention it.

Which is why he finds himself in a situation extremely uncommon for him.

He’s currently dining at a restaurant called Horizon, with various businessmen including the chief executive officer of the Luximon Group, one of the leading corporations that supply auto parts and various machinery in Mauritius. They’d recently signed a contract with the Kambe Conglomerate and have set to import around $200M worth of technology equipment for aircraft production.

The atmosphere is good; they are seated on a long table in the restaurant’s patio area reserved especially for their meal, with a perfect view of the sea illuminated by dozens and dozens of magnificent lights by the shore. The food is also remarkable; the Pan-seared Foie Gras he’s been served tasting delectable alongside the Baked Camembert he’d requested.

The problem?

His phone buzzes once, twice, thrice inside his pants pocket. He fishes it out, and subtly glances at the notification from where he holds it under the table, before standing up.

“Please excuse me,” Daisuke says, his French rehearsed and smooth as he feigns a polite tone. The businessmen around the table all nod at him, telling him to go on ahead  in tones way too cheerful for his liking.

He steps away to find a secluded area nearby, and settles for standing outside of the restaurant entrance.

 

From: Haru 18:12

sorry for only messaging now, i just woke up ):

From: Haru 18:12

i’d say good morning but it’s like 6pm there haha

From: Haru 18:13

happy anniversary. i’m sorry we can’t be together today ): we can celebrate another time

 

Daisuke sighs upon reading the messages. He should be happy. Overjoyed, even. After all, he and Haru have been together for a year now, and Haru wouldn’t want him to be upset on this day.

But how can he be happy about an anniversary when the person he should be spending it with is 10,000 miles away from him?

“I’m not going.”

“Dai, isn’t this an important business meeting?” Haru asks with a sigh.

They’re at Daisuke’s place in London, and Daisuke can feel Haru’s gaze following him, as he paces throughout the bedroom, from where he’s currently seated at the edge of their superking sized bed.

“We already had a meeting before they signed the contract,” Daisuke says, recalling all the events that have had to do with the Luximon Group. “This is likely just a celebratory event, and not an important meeting.”

“It’s still important for your business partnership though, isn’t it? Especially since it’s newly established,” Haru points out. Truthfully, he doesn’t sound too happy about the turn of events either, which is why Daisuke doesn’t understand why he’s so adamant on making him go.

Daisuke clicks his tongue in annoyance. “I just don’t understand why it has to be two full days, and on such an important date too..” he mutters, mostly to himself.

He’s too engrossed in his own internal cursing about a whole business group getting in the way of his time with his lover, he doesn’t notice Haru getting up from the bed until he’s right in front of him.

Haru’s hands are suddenly on his cheeks, tilting his head up for their gazes to meet.

“We have all the time in the world to spend with each other, alright?” Haru assures him with a soft smile, “It’s not all the time you get to meet with your business partners, and it’s important to keep a healthy relationship with them too.”

Daisuke frowns, “The only relationship I want is with y-”

Haru shushes him by pinching his cheeks. Hard. 

“Haru..!” 

A giggle escapes from his lover’s lips, and Daisuke feels his frown deepen further.

“Sorry, sorry,” Haru apologizes. It’s not sincere at all, but the kiss that he plants on the same cheek he'd pinched more than makes up for it. 

The displeased frown on Daisuke's lips doesn’t quite go away. Instead, it morphs into a sad one as he goes to wrap his arms around Haru’s neck. Haru returns the embrace with one arm, while the other goes up to pet the back of his head gently.

“At least come with me..” Daisuke murmurs, face hidden in the crook of his neck.

“No can do,” Haru tells him with a chuckle, “It’s work. You’re only going to get distracted with me around.”

Daisuke tightens his hold, as if it’ll make him change his mind. However..

“I know what you’re trying to do,” Haru says with a laugh, tugging Daisuke away to look him in the eye. Daisuke doesn’t recall ever attempting to pull a pleading ‘puppy dog eyes’ expression the same way Haru has on him before but.. there’s a first for everything.

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work either, because all Haru does is laugh at his attempt.

“You’re adorable, but no,” he says, and it makes Daisuke’s frown return, the displeasure on his expression tenfold this time around. 

Haru sighs, his fingers running gently through Daisuke’s unkempt bedhead.

“Just go. For me, okay?” he asks, a soft, encouraging smile on his face, “I promise we’ll celebrate when you get back.”

He’s not sure if it had been those words, or the mindblowing sex that followed, which had made him finally agree but regardless, he feels a huge amount of regret in his choice. 

Haru is the most important person to him, and their first anniversary was something that he’d have wanted to spend with him alone. If some business partners cancelled a contract over Daisuke not showing up for some celebratory events then it would’ve been their loss, and not Kambe Conglomerate’s.

He should have at least tried harder to persuade Haru to come with him. At least then, he’d have something to look forward to for when he gets back to his hotel room after dinner. 

Daisuke hears himself sigh for the umpteenth time that evening, as he begins typing up a response.

 

To: Haru 18:16

I miss you.

 

It takes Haru less than a minute to respond.

 

From: Haru 18:16

i miss you too

From: Haru 18:16

are you having dinner rn?

To: Haru 18:17

Yes. The restaurant’s speciality is Creole curry. You would have liked it.

From: Haru 18:18

taste it for me then (:

To: Haru 18:18

No. It looks too spicy. 

From: Haru 18:18

boo

From: Haru 18:19

anyway you should go back now they might be looking for you

To: Haru 18:20

I don’t want to.

From: Haru 18:21

come onnn

From: Haru 18:21

i’ll call you after dinner, how does that sound!

To: Haru 18:22

Fine.

From: Haru 18:24

(:

 

Daisuke stares down at his phone, rereading the conversation a few more times and desperately wishing he was at New York with Haru, or had taken Haru with him, before finally gathering enough willpower to head back into the restaurant, shoving his phone back into his pocket.

He takes a detour towards the bar, initially wanting to request for some champagne, but fortakes it for a glass of rum fruit cocktail on display as one of the restaurant’s specialties that he’s sure Haru would’ve ordered if he were around. The drink is colored pink, with some cherries and mint leaves on the top. Daisuke snaps a photo of it on the bar, absentmindedly sending it to his lover before finally returning to their table with the drink in hand.

🇲🇺

The rest of the evening seem to drag on incredibly slowly.

As much as Daisuke prides himself in being able to keep his calm and collected demeanor throughout most endeavors, especially those of business in nature, he is still very much susceptible to weariness and fatigue. The composed facade that is often a no-brainer for him seems way more mentally draining at the moment, and the fact that he does not want to be where he is at the moment greatly contributes to how much quicker the exhaustion of socializing weighs him down.

At a little bit past eight in the evening, the meal finally begins to wrap up. The CEO of Luximon Group invites him to join them as they transfer to the hotel’s wine cellar slash private dining area.

And while the idea of wine sounds incredibly appealing to him, he doesn’t think he can handle anymore socialization for the evening. Besides, Haru had promised to call him, and he knows that the combination of wine with his current exhaustion is going to end up in him getting knocked out as soon as he steps foot into his hotel room.

As politely as he can, he excuses himself from the event, saying “Thank you, but I think I’ll have to retire for the night.” He doesn’t bother to come up with a proper excuse, and instead gives a small bow, to which the CEO of the Luximon Group laughs at. He grabs Daisuke’s hand, shaking it firmly before patting him on the shoulder.

Daisuke fishes his phone out of his pocket as soon as he exits the restaurant, shooting a quick text to Haru to tell him he’s just finished dinner.

He’s about to send a follow up text saying to give him a few minutes to get back to his room and change into his nightwear before Haru calls, but his phone begins to ring before he can so much as begin to type the message out.

With a small smile tugging at his lips, he answers the call and presses the phone against his ear as he walks slowly in the direction leading back to his hotel room.

“Hello,” he greets with a soft voice, an unusual mixture of exhaustion, longing and fondness lacing his tone.

“Dai, guess what!” Haru answers, forgoing the usual greeting. Daisuke can tell he’s excited about something, but is trying to hold back. He doesn’t mention it, opting to indulge his exclamation instead by asking, “Yes, what is it?”

“Did you know you can see the Milky Way from Mauritius?!” he asks. Daisuke can’t see him, but he just knows there’s a huge grin sporting his face. His lover’s enthusiasm is refreshing, and lifts some of the fatigue weighing his shoulders down.

“Is that so?” Daisuke asks. He’s still out in the garden, walking through the winding path towards the building where his hotel room is located, and he takes the opportunity to pause in his tracks and look up at the sky. Unfortunately, most of the sky is blocked by leaves of the palmetto and juneberry trees scattered throughout the garden. 

“Yeah! Apparently it’s visible sometimes between June to October,” he explains in somewhat of a rush. He pauses for a few moments before asking, “Can you take some photos for me?”

“Why?” he asks with a tiny frown, “If you’d like to see the Milky Way, I can order HEUSC to take some photos for you in a 25 billion pixel forma-”

“NO,” Haru yells through the line, effectively cutting him off.

“No?” Daisuke asks, confused. Hadn’t he just said he wanted to see the Milky Way? “Then, I can take you to a park somewhere in the United States, I’m sure there are better places to view-”

“Dai, I just want a photo taken by you, okay?” he asks with a sigh.

The frown on his face deepens as he continues looking upward. “Haru, there are a lot of trees blocking the view where I’m at,” he says, as a matter-of-factly, “Moreover, even if I see it, I highly doubt I can take any clear photographs without HEUSC’s assistance.” 

“You can go to the shore!” he insists, sounding somewhere frenzied, “There won’t be any trees to block the view there!” 

“Haru, if you really want to see it from here, I can take you to this place next t-”

“Please, Dai..” he mumbles, now sounding somewhat dejected, “It can be your anniversary gift to me, yeah?”

Daisuke sighs, the reminder of not having Haru by his side today of all days suddenly dampening his mood once more. He’s not sure why Haru is so insistent on wanting a photo of the Milky Way, but if it’ll make the enthusiasm in his tone return, then he thinks he might just camp out all night until he gets a photo decent enough to show his lover.

“Alright,” he says, “I’ll take a walk by the shore and try my best.”

Almost immediately, Haru sounds excited once more as he says, “Thank you, Dai!”

Daisuke feels a tiny smile pull at his lips. There’s nothing more that he wants at the moment than to embrace his lover, and perhaps look up at the sky together, but he supposes this will have to do.

“I’ll go look, alright? I’ll call you back later,” he says. Haru hums enthusiastically, saying “I’ll be waiting!” before he bids goodbye and ends the call. 

Daisuke continues to head back towards his hotel room, deciding to change from his Oxfords into the pair of Bottega sandals Haru insisted he pack in case he went wandering towards the beach. He’d been sure that he wouldn’t need them, and now he’s beginning to consider that Haru had known about the Milky Way since before his trip and made him pack his sandals precisely for this favor.

He shakes his head in exasperation at the thought of his cheeky lover, as he slips the footwear on. He doesn’t bother with changing his trousers, opting instead to cuff them neatly, just enough so that it hopefully wouldn’t touch the sand too much.

The walk to the beach doesn’t take too long, even with Daisuke slowing his pace to enjoy the view of the gardens illuminated by hundreds of scattered lights coming from trees, posts and nearby establishments. The place truly is beautiful, but he wishes that Haru were by his side to witness it with him.

Eventually, he reaches the path that leads toward the clearing of the shore. 

He looks up at the now clear view of sky as soon as he steps onto the sand, and sure enough, there’s a large milky band of light bent similar to how a rainbow would look. The sight is indeed beautiful, as the countless stars seem to glitter brighter than usual as they accompany the vast expanse of the Milky Way.

The view stuns him enough to keep him rooted onto his spot for a few moments, but eventually he fishes his phone out of his pocket and switches it to camera mode.

To say that snapping a photo of the sky is a struggle is surely an understatement. He’s almost never had to take any photos manually, what with HEUSC always doing the job for him, but he still doesn’t understand how it’s so difficult.

After a few shots, he lowers his phone down to go through the photos, cringing at the horrendous outputs. Nearly every single one is way too bright, the Milky Way blending in with the light coming from the stars surrounding it. Others even have strips of light which Daisuke can’t identify the source of. 

He clicks his tongue, considering asking HEUSC to do it for him but hesitating at the thought of Haru likely being able to tell right away. Daisuke sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose.

After a few moments of contemplation, he calls out to HEUSC, prompting the AI to start up and inquire about Daisuke’s requests. Daisuke hesitates once more, but in the end supposes that asking for tips on how to take a proper photo would be fine. After all, he’d still be taking it himself. 

“HEUSC, scan the recently taken photographs in my phone and tell me how to improve on taking them,” he instructs, to which HEUSC replies affirmatively. There’s a moment of silence, accompanied only by the calming veil of noise resounding from the ocean waves, before HEUSC pipes up once more.

“Scan completed,” he informs, before beginning to describe to Daisuke the nature of the problem, and how to solve it.

“The main issue regarding the eight most recent photographs appear to be overexposure to light. To solve this issue, please try closing down the aperture for a better-exposed image. After setting your ISO and aperture, turn your attention to the shutter speed. Since your image is too bright, you will need to increase your shutter speed. Raising it from 1/200th to 1/600th will help.”

Daisuke frowns, unsure how to do any of what HEUSC had suggested for him to do.

“Show me how to fix the settings,” he commands, staring down at his phone. Immediately, a small blinking dot that functions as a cursor begins to move through the screen of his phone, selecting various buttons on his camera app to show the settings in question.

After HEUSC finishes walking him through the process, he’s instructed to hold the camera up at a certain angle.

“For optimal photo composition, hold your device 75 degrees while aiming at the subject. To increase focus on the subject, use your free hand to tap over it before shooting.”

Just as he’s about to take the first photo subsequent to HEUSC’s lecture on camera app settings and optimal angles, his phone buzzes in his hand, alerting him of a text message from Haru.

 

From: Haru 20:48

are you there yet?

 

Daisuke sighs, unable to leave the message unanswered for even a second, and lowering his phone once more to shoot a quick reply. 

 

To: Haru 20:48

Yes.

 

He doesn’t bother to try taking another photo, knowing Haru wouldn’t take too long to reply.

 

From: Haru 20:49

did you take pictures :D?

 

Daisuke frowns, considering lying by saying that he hasn’t yet, but he never likes to lie to Haru even about the smallest things. He clicks his tongue before hesitantly sending out his response.

 

To: Haru 20:51

Yes, but they’re no good.

From: Haru 20:51

i’m sure they aren’t. let me see

To: Haru 20:52

No.

From: Haru 20:53

dai :(

 

Daisuke sighs at his lover’s insistence. Now that he thinks about it, he seems more insistent than usual tonight, and over such small things too. Daisuke wonders if he misses him as much, and if this is some sort of attempt to be affectionate. Neither of them are quite good at being straightforward about their feelings, which is why Daisuke thinks being able to celebrate an anniversary with his lover is such a big deal. 

He hadn’t ever thought anyone would be as understanding with him as Haru, nor that he would be as patient with anyone until Haru came into his life.

He doesn’t want to deny him any further, but he also doesn’t want to show him the terrible photographs. Haru deserves nice photos of the Milky Way that he wants to see so badly, and not Daisuke’s awful attempts. 

 

To: Haru 20:57

You can barely see the Milky Way on them.

From: Haru 20:58

show me thennn i can give you tips on how to take a good photo if i see the problem

 

For a moment, he considers telling Haru that he’s already asked HEUSC for assistance, and that he was just about to shoot the photo before he interrupted with his message, but he isn’t sure Haru would like the idea of him still using HEUSC to take the photo. He’d rather not let him know, especially when he still has the choice to keep it to himself.

Finally, he relents.

 

To: Haru 21:00

Fine.

 

He makes quick work on selecting three of the most decent photos out of the eight, attaching them to the message and clicking send before he can hesitate out of it again.

 

To: Haru 21:02

Here.

[3 image attachments]

From: Haru 21:05

they don’t look that bad! 

From: Haru 21:05

but maybe it’s your position

To: Haru 21:05

What?

From: Haru 21:05

try to find a better spot

 

Daisuke starts to walk along the shore, gaze stuck onto the sky above him. After a few moments, he realizes that Haru’s suggestion had been dumb. Even if Daisuke moved, the sky still appeared exactly the same way. Had he been joking, and did Daisuke fall for it?

 

To: Haru 21:09

I don’t think that’s going to work. The sky will look the same even when I move.

From: Haru 21:10

aw come onnn just find a better spot and try again!

 

Frustrated, Daisuke summons his butler once more. As soon as HEUSC responds, Daisuke asks, “Where should I stand to take the best photo?”

“You may stand anywhere, sir,” HEUSC replies, “The angle in which you raise your device, as well  as your camera settings are the important factors to consider when taking a photograph of the sky.”

Daisuke grunts in acknowledgement, continuing to walk down the shore. In the end, he decides to go by his gut, stopping at a random spot before raising his cellphone once more, trying to angle his arms as best as he can according to HEUSC’s suggestions.

He’s finally about to snap another photo, until he’s once again disturbed. For a moment, he feels the overwhelming urge to throw his phone out into the ocean due to all the interruptions preventing him from completing the task at hand, but he begins to register the voice.

“Hey, you! Are you trying to take a photo of the Milky Way?”

It’s calling out to him, somewhat distant, but unmistakably..

“I know a great spot!”

When he turns around, it feels as if all the breath is knocked out of his lungs at the sight of

“Haru..”

His lover is standing a few feet away, cheeky grin in place, and for a moment Daisuke thinks he’s hallucinating.

But Haru begins walking up to him, and as soon as they’re right in front of one another, Daisuke manages to breathe out, “What are you doing here..?”

“Ah, I was planning to surprise my boyfriend,” he says, feigning nonchalance. He hides his hands behind his back, as if desperately trying to restrain himself from reaching out. At the back of his mind, Daisuke thinks he wants to take that initiative, but he’s not quite over the initial stun of the entire situation.

When he doesn’t say anything, merely staring up at Haru with eyes blown wide in disbelief, he continues to speak, “It’s our anniversary today, you know? But he had a business meeting here, so I went to surprise him.”

Finally, everything seems to catch up to Daisuke. The realizations and subtle hints Haru had been dropping all over the place, and the sheer amount of emotions from the bizarreness of the situation. Suddenly he’s hit with a wave of embarrassment, causing him to look away and mutter, “This is unnecessary. I could have just taken you with me from the start, you know..”

It’s supposed to be a protest, but doesn’t sound  nearly as convincing as one.

Haru laughs softly, reaching out to hold one of his hands.

“Come on, you’re always planning extravagant, over-the-top dates for us. I just wanted to do the same for you,” he tells him, finally dropping the act. 

“But I-!”

The words catch in his throat. He wants to complain, to tell him they could have spent more time together had he just come with him from the start, he wants to say that he’s been extremely upset not having him by his side.

But most of all, he wants to tell him

“I missed you..” 

The teasing grin on Haru’s face softens in a shy smile upon hearing the words.

“I’m here now,” he tells Daisuke, squeezing his hand.

Daisuke ducks his head to hide the blush undoubtedly forming on his cheeks. He stares down at their joint hands for a moment before pulling it away to throw his arms around Haru’s neck.

The hands that wrap around his waist are instinctive, and he releases a soft sigh of contentment upon the familiar feeling of warmth encasing him.

“Happy anniversary,” Haru says. It’s barely above a whisper, nearly drowned out by the sound of the crashing waves, but with absolutely zero space between them, Daisuke hears it loud and clear.

“You’re terrible,” Daisuke responds, but with a tone devoid of any hostility, moreso with the way he mumbles it right into Haru’s shoulder, “You shouldn’t have made me send those photos.. You knew I would come here anyway if you asked.”

“I was just making sure!” Haru defended himself with a laugh, “If you hadn’t turned up, the surprise would’ve gone to waste.” 

Daisuke pulls away, staring at him with a frown, “You could’ve just gone straight to my room. I’m sure HEUSC has been supplying you with information behind my back in the first place.” 

Haru puts his hands up in a gesture of  innocence, but Daisuke doesn’t buy it one bit.

“Aw, come on. Don’t be so upset, your photos weren’t that terrible,” Haru says with a chuckle, to which Daisuke merely continues to frown at.

“Plus, that wouldn’t have worked,” he says, as a matter-of-factly, “I’m not even at the best part of the surprise yet!”

Daisuke raises his eyebrow, as if challenging him. After all, what could possibly be better than his lover appearing right in front of him after desperately wishing for his presence, even when he’d thought that he was thousands of miles away. 

Haru takes a hold of his hand once more, before beginning to pull him further down the shore. Daisuke follows wordlessly, allowing himself to be led to wherever the supposedly ‘best part’ of his surprise is located. 

They walk a considerable distance before Daisuke thinks it’s acceptable to start questioning, “Where are you taking me?” 

Not that he’s expecting an answer, especially after acquiring the new knowledge that his lover unexpectedly knows how to hold back when it comes to surprising him.

He’s right, because Haru doesn’t even so much as glance back at him. In the end, he doesn’t need to because Daisuke eventually begins to make out a scattering of bright orange lights, illuminating a portion of the shore alongside the suspended pole lights. From a distance, he can’t exactly make anything out, but the sight becomes clearer as they approach.

Hundreds of tealight candles are littered across the sand, leaving a clear pathway that leads towards long bamboo poles assembled into a makeshift roof. There are warm white fairy lights , as well as white sheer fabrics draped across the top and the edges, forming a canopy and drawn curtains fastened underneath bunches of flowers at the side. 

A square table, with chairs on adjacent sides rather than across one another, is laid out in the middle. On the table top rests a small bouquet of peonies lined with eucalyptus leaves, a candlelit lamp, a pair of flute glasses, a bottle of wine that he can’t quite make out from afar, and about a dozen types of desserts in numerous porcelain saucers and stacked trays.

“I actually wanted to have dinner prepared, but I knew you were going to attend one tonight and you’d probably be full, so I just asked them to make desserts..” Haru begins to ramble, “B-but if you’re still hungry, and want to eat a meal, we could always order one. There’s a waiter on standby for-”

“Haru.”

He stops abruptly, and turns to look at Daisuke with wide eyes, undoubtedly having just realized that he had been rambling.

Daisuke meets his gaze properly, forcing himself not to shy away.

“Thank you,” he says simply. He’s not sure if the sincerity he feels had translated well into the words, but the tension on Haru’s shoulders dissipates, and he’s rewarded with another soft smile.

He watches as Haru goes up to the table and pulls one of the chairs out, gesturing for Daisuke to sit. He giggles at his own action, while Daisuke rolls his eyes, but indulges his actions by taking a seat anyway. They clap their hands together and say thanks for the food as soon as Haru settles into the seat next to him.

“I’m surprised you had all this prepared,” Daisuke says. Haru stares at him, head tilting to the side in confusion. Daisuke can tell he’s about to ask what exactly that had meant, so he continues before Haru can ask the question himself.

“This must be expensive,” he says, looking around to gesture at the arrangement surrounding them. His gaze falls onto one of the folded napkins set on the table top, and he makes out the logo of the five star resort he’s been staying at for the past two days, practically confirming his hypothesis.

“W-well, it’s a special day!” Haru huffs, “This only happens annually, after all.. So make sure you enjoy it because I won’t allow this to happen again within the year!”

Daisuke chuckles, gaze tracing the expanse of desserts laid out in front of them. They all look scrumptious, and artfully plated, but

“You won’t have to worry about that. I don’t want anything else but you.”

He’s too busy examining the plate of French Macarons, trying to decipher whether its fillings consisted of buttercream or lavender honey, to notice right away the sudden silence that engulfs them.

After he finally decides that it’s most likely lavender honey, due to the lack of pale yellowish-brown color that buttercream fillings possess, he looks up from inspecting the dessert to find Haru staring at him, mouth gaping open slightly.

“What is it..?” he asks slowly, eyebrows knitting together in confusion.

Haru seems caught off guard, and suddenly stunned out of a daze, upon hearing the question. “Huh? Oh, uh.. Sorry,” he apologizes sheepishly, “I was just.. surprised.”

“Ha?”

Had he said that out loud? 

Haru continues to stare at him, and Daisuke can pinpoint the exact moment that he as well realizes that the words were a slip of Daisuke’s tongue. The confusion and wonder morphing into an amused expression would have been absolutely delightful, had embarrassment not been overpowering the rest of his emotions.

He looks away, out into the darkened ocean, just as Haru begins to laugh. 

“Ah, god. You’re adorable,” he says, making Daisuke’s cheeks heat up further. He’s about to tell him to stop teasing, but as soon as his head whips back to face him, suddenly he’s leaning forward.

And as always, he’s powerless to the feeling of Haru’s touch. His thumb and index finger capture his chin, tilting his head up just enough for their lips to be able to meet in a soft, tender kiss.

Daisuke doesn’t know how it’s possible, but kissing Haru always feels just like the first time all over again. The butterflies in his stomach still come alive and flutter wildly no matter how many times they do this.

He presses back against the kiss, and Haru apparently takes that as a sign to and lick against his lips. It makes Daisuke panic for a split second, until he remembers that they’re alone, and ultimately succumbs into his lover’s request by parting his lips. 

Haru tastes so good, so sweet, it causes a familiar dizzying sensation in Daisuke’s mind. He wills his arms, wanting to wrap them around his lover and pull him close, but Haru pulls away before he’s able to. He's about to complain, but Haru presses their foreheads together, and he supposes it’ll have to do for now.

“We should stop..” he says, as if he hadn’t been the one to initiate the kiss, “We need to finish all these first before we head back, they’re expensive..”

Daisuke rolls his eyes, but decides to spare him from the teasing, instead opting to comment, “You taste like raspberries.”

Haru blinks at him, and Daisuke delights in the way his cheeks begin flushing into a pretty pink. He looks away, as if having been caught guilty committing a heinous act. “I.. tasted one of the desserts already,” he admits shyly.

Daisuke scans the tabletop once more, and his gaze lands on a plate of Eclairs with green filling and pink glaze. There are raspberries resting innocently  on top of them, and are sprinkled by what he assumes are crushed pistachios. And as expected, there’s a large, awkward gap in the middle of its perfect plating, evidence of the prematurely devoured sweet.

“Sorry,” Haru tells him, gaze still averted as he chews on his lip, an unconscious nervous habit that Daisuke’s observed of him.

His heart clenches upon the words, imagining how Haru must’ve waited a long time for him to arrive because of how much he’d taken his time making his way to the beach, getting hungry enough to snatch a snack that he himself prepared and then feeling guilty about it. He attempts to hide the sudden surge of overwhelming emotion within him with a chuckle.

He reaches out to ruffle his lover’s messy tuft of hair, while his other hand reaches out to grab a piece from the Eclair plate he’d eaten from. “Don’t be,” he tells him, holding it up to his lips, “I’m sorry for making you wait.”

The pout on Haru’s face dissipates, only to take a bite out of the sweet as he shakes his head in response.

“Are these vanilla honey?” he asks, pointing at the plate of Macarons he’d been surveying earlier. He knows he’s right, but he wants to change the subject before Haru finishes chewing and undoubtedly continues admonishing himself for the ‘stolen’ Eclair-

“No. They’re buttercream,” Haru tells him, as a matter-of-factly.

“Eh? Are you sure..? They look like-”

“Yes, of course I’m sure.”

Haru reaches over to grab one off of the plate, this time being the one to hold it up to Daisuke’s mouth, “See for yourself if you don’t believe me,” he says with a pout.

There are a few moments of silent consideration from Daisuke’s end, before he opens his mouth to take a bite of the round dessert. And just as Haru had said, the familiar flavor of buttercream explodes into his mouth, delighting his taste buds.

“See! I’m right, aren’t I?” he says, way too proud of his rare and meager achievement of being the right one out of the two of them, knowing it’s something he can hold against Daisuke for the rest of their lives. 

Daisuke resists the urge to roll his eyes, and is about to placate him, but Haru continues to speak.

“I remember you telling me that buttercream was your favorite, so of course I made sure!”

The words do a number on his heart, making it stop for a split second, before beating into an overdrive. He wants to cry, and he nearly does (again) at the thought that 

Haru is truly the sweetest person that he’s ever had the pleasure to meet.  

Daisuke supposes he can admit to losing this time.