Music of My Soul

BY : ReadtoEscape
Category: Wei▀ Kreuz > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1187
Disclaimer: I dont own Weiss kreuz, Ran, Yohji, or any of the guys. I write/post for my own enjoyment. No profit is made. Well, except the stress relief of writing it, & the warm fuzzies I get if you like it. But as those are intangibles,






Yohji paced Schu’s living room like a caged lion, running his fingers through his tawny mane before dropping his hands to his sides, fists clenched. Every muscle tense, poised as though for ‘fight or flight.’ So tightly wound, the slightest provocation could set him off. Schu and Jei watched, quietly, hurting for their friend… and completely unable to ease his pain. Finally, Jei could take no more.


 “Yohji” he said into th silence. He almost could have shouted, the room was so quiet. Yohji started and whirled to face Jei, then slumped into a slouch, head bowed. “sorry Jei. You startled me. What man?” so defeated, so lost….


Jei stood and came to face Yohji. He took Yohji’s shoulders in his hands, “C’mon man. You gotta take your mind off this. Let’s toss some darts. You can take out some aggression and still not think so much. Or we can go out, pool or bowl-“


“no.” Yohji cut him off. “I don’t wanna go out. Darts is fine.” He turned to lead the way out to Schu’s patio.


Yohji’d tried to shake it off, really. But it was so hard. So hard not to imagine the meeting taking place right now. So hard not to picture Ran taking a beautiful woman into his arms… and from there his imagine just wanted to run rampant, self-torture dragging up visions: Ran kissing her, touching her…..more…. He groaned and shook head, forcing all thoughts of Ran aside, or tried to, anyway.


He abruptly turned aside into the kitchen before exiting the patio door. He opened the fridge, taking out a hard lemonade. As he closed the door however, Schu’s hand covered his, taking the bottle. Schu turned Yohji to face him.


“No Kudoh.” Schu said firmly. “No. You’ve already had enough. I’m not gonna let you get smashed and make it worse. Ran won’t be much longer and you’re gonna want a clear head when he gets here. C’mon, let’s toss some darts. Focus on not letting me kick your ass.” He steered Yohji toward the glass door, “And, just to keep you focused, let’s have a little wager.”

He placed Yohji at the chalk line and handed him a set of darts, “warm up. Six shots, then we get serious. Hmmm….. let’s see…. A challenge…. Ah!” he grinned hugely at both Yohji and Jei, “I have it. Loser has to cook, not buy, not order and re-heat, but cook  the Groundhog Day breakfast. And before the parade.” His eyes gleamed.


Yohji’s  eyes flew wide. “Cook?! And breakfast ?! and before the parade – are you nuts?” he squawked. “you are evil Schu. Plain evil.”  He glowered at Schu then took his stance, intent on definitely not losing.


Yohji took his warm up shots then each man gathered his dart set and the game began in earnest. Yohji focused, concentrating fiercely, actually forgetting for a moment here and there just why  he was being distracted. It didn’t erase the pain and frustration, but it eased it, and Yohji was so grateful to have such friends………….


The battle was fierce and competitive, each scoring within a few points of the other, down to the wire. Finally, on Jei’s last toss, the distraction of Yohji’s ‘monkey dance’ off to one side, combined with a miraculously timed gust of wind caused Jei’s dart to veer to the right giving him a 4, rather than the 20 he needed for the win, costing him the game.


“Yes!” Yohji crowed, jumping up and down, and busting out in another rendition of the monkey dance, arms waving. “Yes! I don’t’ have to cook, whoo hoo!”


“And even better, we don’t have to eat anything you would cook” Schu chuckled, “though, it would have almost been worth it to see you at a stove before 6 am.”


“hmph!” Jei snorted, “almost…. Maybe.”  He gathered his darts, “well, as much as I didn’t necessarily want to lose, it has to beat getting stuck with burnt oatmeal or worse. Stupid wind though. I had you Yohji, I fucking had you!”


Yohji just laughed as he cleared away the Pepsi cans and ashtrays as Schu closed up the dart board and pulled down the patio cover.


“Well. I’m glad to see you’re feeling better.” A deep voice intoned from the doorway and Yohji spun around to find Ran lounging against the door frame, a warm smile, full of love on his face, shining in his eyes.


“Ran!” Yohji stepped around the table toward Ran, about to embrace him, but pulled up, just short. Hurt flashed through Ran’s eyes, for a brief moment, then he reached and pulled Yohji into his arms. He dropped his head to Yohji’s shoulder, breathing against Yohji’s neck “Nissho”

Yohji’s arms tightened around Ran and he inhaled Ran’s hair. “Angel” he returned, “glad you’re back Babe.” He leaned back and, taking Ran’s eartails in each hand, pulled Ran in for a kiss. He kept it short, but filling, tasting every reachable inch of Ran’s mouth. Then he stepped back, determined to keep this evening light, upbeat, as long as he could.



“We just narrowly avoided disaster Ran.” Yohji intoned seriously before flashing a grin. Tight, but a grin nonetheless. “Must have been divine intervention because my Angel loves me.” Yohji cheekily went on.


“oh?” Ran asked, brows raised, “How so?” Ran turned in Yohji’s arms so his back was to Yohji and held on to Yohji’s forearms around his chest to keep his embrace firm.


Schu smiled as Jei growled. “we had a small wager on the outcome of this game.” Schu explained, “to keep Yohji focused on the task at hand. Loser has to cook, actually cook,  mind you, breakfast for Groudhog Day. And before the parade too.” Schu laughed at Ran’s wide-eyed, expression as both brows raised into his hairline. “Yes. As you can imagine, Yohji paid attention.”


Ran found himself grinning. “oh, I believe that.” He laughed, “Yohji cooking, and breakfast, of all meals? Right. Burnt ‘Eggo’s all around”


“Hey!” Yohji cried, “That was only one time. And it was your  fault those got burnt.”  He pouted, then smiled and kissed Ran’s temple. “you distracted me”


Ran smiled and turned his head back a bit, reaching up with one arm to pull Yohji down into a kiss. “that I did Nissho.” He murmured, voice husky. Then he whispered against Yohji’s mouth, “when we get home maybe I’ll remind you just how I distracted you.” He kissed Yohji again, swallowing Yohji’s gasp at that whispered promise, then turned back to Schu, pressing himself back against Yohji and wriggling, just a bit under the pretense of repositioning as he turned back around, relishing the pressure of Yohji’s awakened hardness against his back pocket.


Yohji squeezed Ran tighter against him, breathing against the back of his neck as Ran addressed Schu, “So, I take it something occurred ‘providentially’ to divert Yohji’s loss?”


Schu chuckled, “Jei was all set up to take it, but a ‘heavenly’ timed gust of wind blew through just as he tossed and he scored poorly. ‘Course, the ‘monkey dance’ taking place off to one side didn’t exactly help his aim either.”


“Monkey dance?” Ran asked, turning to look at Yohji, curious.


“oh, you haven’t seen the monkey dance yet!” Schu crowed, leaning forward to snatch Yohji  away from Ran. Yohji was never so thankful to be wearing an oversized hoody.


 “When Yohji’s losing, or just wants to be obnoxious to his competitors in darts, or pool, or golf, or bowling, or pretty much anything that requires paying attention  or focus, he does the monkey dance.” Schu explained


“yeah,” Jei put in, “His answer is that you have to be able to fire under pressure, right? So, if they can’t focus on their task while he’s dancing the monkey dance, then they obviously just need more practice.” He scowled, “Unfortunately, the fact that he, once truly focused on a task is monumentally hard to distract, just adds fuel to his fire.”


Schu pulled Yohji into the middle of the patio, “I can’t believe you haven’t shown Ran the monkey dance Yohji, you slacker, c’mon, let’s see it”


Yohji grinned. “Well, I haven’t really wanted  him distracted yet, when he’s been focused on something.” Yohji leered, then softened his smile, “I haven’t minded losing a round of pool or two, and we haven’t played more than a few games of darts here and there. It woulda come out eventually. Ran’s very competitive too. But, he’s incredibly focused when he’s on task. More so than even me I think. I don’t think it would distract him anyway.” Yohji caught Ran’s curious gaze and held it, “Well, at least, not when performed in front of others. Alone, naked, at home maybe…”


Yohji flashed a quick grin, raised both arms over his head, and began to sway seductively. Both arms waving over his head, hips rotating as he gyrated in a circle….. “hey!” Jei shouted, “not the ‘fuck me, please’ Monkey dance! C’mon. show him the real one. You can practice that version later at home.”


Yohji laughed, winked at Ran, and answered “ok. The real one” then he began to wave both arms erratically over his head, like a tree tossed in a storm, and jump up and down, crowing, “ooh, ooh, focus, focus. You can do it, come on!” in a high pitched voice.


Ran’s eyes flew wide and his mouth dropped open, then snapped shut before he shook his head and looked to Jei, with mock sympathy “no wonder  your aim was off, what a freak.” He grinned.


“Hey!” Yohji mock pouted “freak?”


“yeah. But you’re my  freak” Ran reached out and pulled Yohji into his arms once more, kissing him quickly. “C’mon freak. Let’s go home.”


He turned to Schu and Jei. “Thank you. Both of you. So much.” He intoned solemnly as he held Yohji close. Both men sobered and nodded back. “Not a problem man.” Jei answered, “ever.”

“yeah. Remember” Schu responded quietly, “we love him too Ran. We’ll always be here” Schu nodded again, eyes on Ran, then turned to head back inside with the darts.


“Take that bastard home and give him something to think about.” Jei groused as he clasped Ran’s shoulder. Then he turned to finish pulling down the patio cover that had been abandoned on Ran’s arrival.


Ran turned back to Yohji who was watching him quietly. “come Nissho. Let’s go home and you can show me the rest of that dance.” He smiled warmly, and kissed Yohji softly.


“yeah baby, I’ll show you that, and more.” Yohji kissed Ran back, passionately, deeply, lovingly, then pulled back, taking Ran by the hand and leading him out to the car.


Schu and Jei watched quietly as the two got into Yohji’s car. “I worry Jei.” Schu said quietly. “this …. This could break him. You know?”


“yeah Schu, I know. But damned if I know how to fix it.” Jei turned a solemn gaze to Schu. “he’s in too deep now to walk away, and Ran loves him. He knows that, wants to protect Ran every bit as much as he needs protecting himself. All we can do I figure is be here to pick up the pieces if he falls. If either of them fall.”


Schu took a deep breath. “I know…. I know. I just wish I didn’t have such a premonition that the fall is coming……” he turned back to the window watching as they drove away down the street.


“And I hope, if he does break, we can put the pieces back together again. Something tells me if he breaks those pieces will be jagged and sharp. We may just end up cutting ourselves trying to piece the puzzle back together….”




The time they had together now was so limited. Persia went out of his way to overschedule Ran. He announced another upcoming tour for Mamaru, before even telling Ran, naturally; ensuring that Ran would be swamped with sudden details: press conferences and televised appearances to schedule, finalizing and releasing the next album; which hadn’t even yet been put to print, securing travel arrangements and venues for the tour….


Compile that whirlwind mess with the enforced courtship and Ran had precious few hours to spend with Yohji; often exhausted when he finally dragged himself home. The only good part of the whole mess was it kept him from spending too much time worrying about Aya…


On top of Ran’s hectic schedule, WEISS had garnered quite the local and online following and had finally signed a small contract. Set up for mostly local appearances, well - east coast at any rate, the deal guaranteed a certain amount of live appearances within a given time frame over the coming months. If everything panned out, they would be rewarded with a recorded album in the summer, complete with a short promotion tour hitting some key spots in the US. It wasn’t a label on the level of Krittiker Music, but it was a start.


The contract specifically was written that, should a larger label offer, WEISS could terminate given advance notice was made and a buyout was paid, or if a good enough rapport was developed by then between the band and the small label, they could retain the smaller label and partner with or work under the guidance of the hoped for big name label….


Yohji was no happier over the recent required travel for WEISS than Ran was over his own fucked up schedule, but WEISS had worked too hard and too long for the recognition to screw it up for the rest of them just so he could stay at the apartment and moon over Ran. A Ran who most often wasn’t there anyway lately….. And, well, as much as it hurt to be away, it kept him from brooding too much when Ran was out with her.


Ran had no doubt that this break for WEISS would lead to more recognition. The growth they’d seen recently had exploded in the six weeks since Ran had informed Yohji of the “engagement”. Seemingly unbeknownst to Yohji, his stage persona and presentation over the last weeks had developed a new ….. quality. His voice, his body language; there was a yearning there, an edge, an…. angst, that hadn’t existed before. Especially poignant on songs that made him think of Ran.  “This Chance” the “Frank-esque” ballad from the night they’d met, soared in popularity, Youtube was a wonderful tool, and it seemed their fan base multiplied daily. Yes, WEISS was undoubtedly on their way. All Ran could do was watch with both pride and trepidation as Yohji became more widely recognized and they spent more and more time apart…..


At least Ran’s and Yohji’s friendship had finally become public knowledge. That was some consolation, to know they could be seen together in public with no thought given to it…..


Apparently, someone from Towers had leaked somehow that he and Yohji were now roommates, or at least that Yohji was over frequently, and Ran went with it, before he could talk himself out of it:


He’d had to address a press conference about the “engagement” to Miko and the announced wedding date when a reporter from a music rag had asked about his friendship with the hot newly noticed singer. Trying to make herself seem more knowledgeable than she was, the girl had mentioned what a contrast the recent months had been for the notorious loner Ran, what a change from his prior habits. Developing a close friendship with Yohji; having him staying for extended periods, and now this public announcement of an engagement…… Before Ran quite knew what he was saying he’d said that yes, he and Yohji were roommates, had been now for a few months. He played up that they’d met during the Krittiker competition that had resulted in Mercury signing with Krittiker, and after learning about some shared interests had become fast friends. Given WEISS’s recent success and Yohji’s recently announced forthcoming tour dates; well, Yohji’d just elected not to renew his apartment lease and was a sometime roommate with Ran or the other bandmates when they were in town.


And this was true, except for the “other bandmates” part. Since WEISS had grown some, the others had branched out a bit. Ken and Omi, already best friends, had finally announced to their friends that it was more – not that everyone didn’t already know that, but at least they’d finally admitted it. Anyway, they’d wanted to get a place, solo, for a while. Omi was doing pretty well, financially, with some of his web based design and such, apart from WEISS, and they’d moved into their own small place in October. They only signed a six month lease, in case things with WEISS went as Omi hoped, but since they’d gone Yohji and Jei had elected not to renew the lease on the condo they’d shared for so long when it came due in November.


Yohji’d pretty much moved in with Ran anyway after the Masque at Halloween. And now, with the upcoming marriage, Ran did not want anything of his to belong to Miko. Persia had bought the house, “for them” so Ran transferred the deed of the apartment into Yohji’s name, as he’d said when this mess started. This way, their  place would remain theirs when he finally found the way get out of the marriage.  She would have no part of it. This place would remain his haven, even more so now, as in a scant few weeks he would be married.


Jei ended up becoming roommates with Schu for now, reluctant to sign a new lease with the way things were going, and how the guys hoped they would go. He and Schu got along great and this way if they did travel a lot, he didn’t have to worry about things.


So, for now, Ran and Yohji being best friends / roommates meant when Yohji was in town they could be seen together and Persia could do nothing about it. But, in the end, between Mamaru, Miko and WEISS, what everything boiled down to was time together grew more and more scarce.  Ran and Yohji kept in contact via email, online messages, calls, texts…. Ran did his damndest to make certain when Yohji was in town they had at least one full 24 hour period together unless he himself was out of town. Of course Miko wouldn’t protest them having some time together, male bonding and all, a guy needed to have some time to hang with friends, right? Right.


They talked and emailed constantly, but with Persia’s hovering and Miko, well Ran just couldn’t take a weekend and follow WEISS, no matter what  he would have liked. Even if his schedule could have allowed for it, and it didn’t, there was Miko…..


Persia sputtered and grumbled but really couldn’t say anything. With the new “friendship” cover the press didn’t care when they were seen together, so – no scandal…… if everything didn’t suck as much as it did, Ran would have gloated, crowed, smirked so much his face hurt. Instead, he just ignored Persia’s mutters and concentrated on not glaring (much) or losing his cool. He had to keep it together for Aya…..had to get through this …. this nightmare, somehow.


What worried Ran the most, more than the time apart even, was that as the details of the upcoming wedding made more news, and the day grew close, Yohji grew ….apart - distant, quiet. Although he’d sworn from the outset, and still did, that he would fight for, and stay with, Ran; no matter in what capacity; he still saw things now as…. tainted, marred. Ran had to admit, it affected him too. To know that before the vows were drafted / spoken, that he would betray Miko at any given opportunity, even as he got to know her, encouraged her to care for him.... yes, it put a shadow on his soul, a poison of darkness that Yohji’s light was hard pressed to dispel given how it had grown dimmer under the same pall.  And Ran feared the poison was growing, becoming more potent, more vile, spreading to infect their time together more often, and all  their time apart.....



They both did their best to make the time they had together now as memorable as possible, to tide them through the tough spots. Memories to sustain the light.....






Yohji was adamant, when WEISS signed the deal, about two specific dates. Those were February 15th, Ran’s birthday, and March 28th, the wedding day. Yohji got it, in writing, that WEISS would be off duty February 15th, and even if they were booked the and the 16th they would be close by, if not in New York; and he also made damn certain that WEISS would NOT be in New York on the wedding day. Provided they were still in contract and the world hadn’t ended, WEISS would be booked that whole weekend. NO WAY was he getting roped into attending that ceremony. If he had his way they’d be performing some all night marathon gig that day well into the night and he’d sleep completely through the day after….. Last Yohji’d heard Omi was working on some battle of the bands thing down in Florida for Spring Break. Looked like WEISS would be there for maybe two weeks and that sounded just perfect to him.


But, today, well today was Ran’s birthday. It certainly was not going to be the blessed day they’d enjoyed together for Yohji’s birthday back at the beginning of their time together, not with this cloud hanging over them, but it remained special. It just made Yohji that much more determined to make this day as wonderful as he could for Ran – damned if he was gonna let Persia fuck Ran’s birthday more than he already had – as he’d done for Ran’s whole damn life....




Ran stood in the sidelines watching Mamaru wrap up his Letterman appearance, impatiently waiting for the wrap up. He’d made certain he had only the one late morning appearance today and had scheduled the remainder of the day off. Yohji had come home very late last night (or very early this morning – perspective….) from the party WEISS had performed for Valentine’s Day, and while the lovemaking was sweet, it was very short… Ran hadn’t had the heart to wake Yohji this morning when he left for work; he’d left Yohji snuggled into the warm blankets, promising himself that by letting Yohji sleep in he was only ensuring more stamina this evening….. Ran adjusted himself, briefly, as he imagined putting Yohji’s stamina to use, and growled low in his throat as the crowd pushed for, and got, one more song….


Finally, the show was wrapped, taping over, and he could hustle Mamaru out of the studio. He’d arranged Mamaru to be in the Krittiker recording studio the rest of today and all of tomorrow, wrapping the album. Ran did not have to be there for this. It was mixing and touch ups and his sound crew were perfectly able to address this without him. He put Mamaru in the car, admonished him to get the damn thing wrapped up, and turned to hail his own cab. He texted Tina he was out for the rest of the day and turned his phone off.  The rest of this day was his. His and Yohji’s.



Ran made his way down the hallway toward the apartment door, shaking and brushing off the cold and spatters of snow from his jacket. He’d forced himself to think of only good warm thoughts of Yohji during the cab ride; determined to have a pleasant afternoon and evening.


Yohji had to leave again in the morning, and would be gone for at least a week, possibly longer. Ran was going to make as much of these hours as possible. He ran a hand through his hair quickly to straighten , and pulled his eartails down straight along his face. He chuckled a bit as he recalled when he’d considered cutting them over the holidays, maybe going with a more conventional style after his trip to London, but Yohji had vehemently argued against it. His “kisshooks” he called them, “love handles” and Ran was expressly told not to dare cut them off.


Ran smiled at the memory of that discussion, and the night that followed, as he entered the apartment. He was beset by the very pleasant aroma of warm strawberries and chocolate permeating the air, and the strains of Sinatra’s “When You’re Smiling” floating through the room. Just as he removed his coat, Yohji came around the corner from the kitchen, a tray of something delicious in one hand and an ice bucket with champagne in the other. He stopped for a bare moment then smiled, “Hey Angel. Happy Birthday.”


He put the tray and bucket down on the coffee table and approached Ran, taking him into his arms. Yohji kissed the side of Ran’s head and rubbed his cheek against Ran’s hair. “And happy Valentine’s Lover. Ready to let me spoil you?” he pulled back a bit, took Ran’s eartails in his hands and pulled Ran in for a soft, sweet, lingering kiss, which quickly grew into more; hungry, deep... Yohji moaned as Ran’s hands trailed up his back and over his shoulders to entwine into his honey locks.


Pulling Yohji in closer Ran pressed their bodies tightly together. Ran succumbed immediately to Yohji’s questing tongue; melting into Yohji, his own tongue caressing Yohji’s but not fighting for dominance, content to surrender. Ran exhaled softly as Yohji slowly pulled back, “mmm. Yummy.” Yohji breathed, shuddering softly against Ran, he breathed into ran’s neck. “I’ve missed you Angel. A lot. So much. He took a deep breath and went on, taking one of Ran’s hands into his own, “before I lose my mind, let me get your present,” He led Ran to the sofa. “Sit Angel. You’re all frost-bitten. I have warm cocoa in the kitchen. Wait here.” He pressed a strawberry tart into Ran’s hand and went to the kitchen.


Ran glanced around the apartment, taking in the candles burning everywhere, as he took a bite of the warm, flaky tart. Mmmm, his favorite.  He almost moaned at the delicious crust and glaze that melted into his mouth. The tart was warm, Yohji’d apparently just taken it from the oven, and Ran recognized the imprint in the crust; Yohji’d gone to Ran’s favorite bakery, all the way down in Jersey to get these. Yohji  must have set his alarm to go off almost as soon as Ran’d left if he’d had time to get to Carlos’ and back here to set up everything.


Ran reached over to his coat, draped over the back of the chair nearby, and he reached into the inside pocket, gently removing an envelope and setting it on the coffee table near the champagne bucket. Yohji was so determined to make this day special. Knowing how Yohji hated the cold, for him to have braved the early morning slush just to drive down to Carlos even though there was a bakery nearby that carried Strawberry tarts; to go so far out of his way just to get these specific tarts just because Ran preferred them…. And all the candles, scented cinnamon and strawberry – it just gave the apartment a warm, home, feeling; especially with the warm baked aroma of the tarts and the softer scent of the cocoa….


Ran was shaken from his musings as Yohji returned with two steaming cups of cocoa, a red bag dangling from one wrist.  Yohji sat everything on the table then held one mug up to Ran. “here Angel. Just the way you like it.”


Ran smiled at the bobbing mini marshmallows and took a sip. “perfect Nissho” he said, then took a small bite of his pastry.


Yohji watched as Ran sipped his cocoa and finished his tart, eyes drifting back to the gift bag several times. He knew Ran was bursting to open the gift, a little trait Yohji’d discovered about Ran during the holidays. Denied the childhood excitement of opening presents, when the man learned a gift was for him he became almost childlike in his excitement. But, at the same time, there was training instilled lifelong by a bastard father never, ever to ask for something he wanted. Ran was eager to open the gift, but he would wait for Yohji to profer it, to acknowledge it, and Yohji was determined to erase that trait.


He grinned a sly grin as he watched Ran once more glance at the bag. He leaned over, pouting now “Aww, Ran, aren’t you gonna open your present? Don’t you wanna know what it is? You don’t’ seem too excited.”


Ran’s eyes widened briefly before he settled on a mock glare, “Yohji you brat, you know I want to open it, and you know I wouldn’t ask. Hmph!” he took a short breath, glared a moment longer, then smiled. That open, happy, childlike smile that Yohji just KNEW was his alone, and snatched the bag up. “What is it Yohji? What did you get me?” he asked eyes wide, sparking.

“well, angel, only one way to find out.” Yohji drawled. “guess you’re gonna have to open it.” He smiled a warm, loving smile, holding Ran’s eyes before deliberately letting his eyes drop to the bag in Ran’s lap. “go on, Babe, open it up so you can “Thank me”, the rest of the day.”


Ran grinned, a flash of desire darkening his eyes, and dropped his gaze to the bag. He lifted out some of the tissue wrap stuffed in the top. “this is part one Angel.” Yohji said as he sat back, “Birthday surprise Part two is in the kitchen.”


Ran stopped pulling out tissue, and gently sat the last few sheets back into the bag. “Ran?” Yohji asked, frowning “what are you doing?”


Ran sat the bag back on the table and smiled at Yohji. “Wait Nissho, before we jump straight to celebrate my birthday, you’ve forgotten something.”


Yohji’s forehead wrinkled adorably as he tilted his head, confused. “huh?” he asked, “What did I forget?”


Ran leaned in and kissed Yohji lightly, relishing the flavor of cocoa and Yohji – delicious. He sat back and trailed a finger down Yohji’s jaw. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Lover.” Ran husked and Yohji’s eyes widened as Ran leaned in for another kiss, dragging Yohji’s bottom lip between his teeth as he finally sat back.


Ran leaned over slightly, lifting the envelope from the table and holding it out to Yohji. He let some of the anger at their situation flash in his eyes, for just a moment; some of the frustration, the pain, the sadness… it flashed through his eyes, just briefly, before he bowed his head, letting his eartails fall forward to hide his face. Ran gazed down at the envelope between his hands, then raised his eyes back to Yohji’s. Love shown brightly in their depths, the timbre filling his voice as he spoke “As much as I enjoyed our call last night, and our time when you came home last night….. I missed YOU Yohji, and…. I’m” he swallowed and closed his eyes, “I’m sorry. Sorry that I couldn’t travel up coast to be with you during the day yesterday, couldn’t be at the party last night. Sorry that I wasn’t in the audience, cheering for you, as I should have been. That I had to be with-“


He was cut off as Yohji’s warm fingers pressed against his lips. “Stop Ran.” Yohji’s quiet voice interrupted. “I know. I missed you too.” He smiled, a small, sad smile “I admit, know why I missed you made it …. worse. But, I don’t want to talk about her Ran. Not today. Well, not ever, really, but most especially - not - today. Drop it” a hard edge crept into Yohji’s voice, just for a second, but it was a sharp edge, razor fine, and Ran felt the slice of it against his heart,


Ran closed his eyes again, cleared his throat, and deliberately smiled as he sat up and held out the envelope. “well, we’re together now, so… Happy Valentine’s Day, Lover.” He shook the envelope at Yohji, who also pulled up a smile. Forced maybe, small, but still…. a smile, so important.


After a moment, a twinkle entered his eyes “hmmm, what have you been up to, Ran?”  he reached and took the envelope, then looked down to slip a finger under the edge. He opened the envelope and pulled out a folded page of paper, similar to the one he’d received on his birthday way back when. Hand made paper, bits of rose petals and leaves embedded… He unfolded the page and across the top, painstakenly drawn out in calligraphy, was the kanji for his name and for Nisso, with the English spellings underneath, and below that:




There followed a beautifully drafted, in that same painstakenly drawn, elegant calligraphy:




I am Yours. You Own my soul, my Heart. You’ve brought Joy into my life, and are Inside my very being.




You’ve shown me, taught me, give me so much. I burn for you, am overtaken completely at times, with hot desire – Lust fills me, Overwhelming my senses, flooding me with memories of you, your lessons, of being wrapped in your Velvet heat; of the delicious feeling of your hard, hot, length Entering me, filling me, branding me. Dreams of Riding you, or being ridden by you, leave me gasping, aching, needing, in ways never imagined.




I need you, Yohji. My Lover; need you beside me, supporting me, holding me, loving me… as my mate;


I need you Inside me, inside my soul, inside my heart, inside my body, touching me, loving me,

bringing me to heights unknown…. As my lover.


I need you Nissho, the hear me, to listen to me, to care, to lift me up, to advise me and guide me…. As my Friend


I need you Yohji, as my Everything


Yohji sat, stunned, quiet, as he read Ran’s declaration of love. He looked up to see Ran watching him, solemn, but eyes full of love. “Ran, I” Yohji swallowed, “damn Ran. This.. this is…” he took a deep breath, and reverently laid the page on the table. He dropped the envelope to his lap, and cupped Ran’s face between both hands. “I am your mate Ran, no matter what happens, where this nightmare takes us, this life and any that follow – you are mine and I am yours. I am your lover. I live for exploring you Ran, and there remains much to learn. I am your friend. I am honored that you let me be so. Always Ran, always tell me what you’re thinking, feeling, wanting. And you, you are my everything, so… well, I guess it’s only fair that I be yours too.”


With that he leaned in for a soft, kiss, lips only, open, swopping back in for more, breath increasing, hands starting to squeeze tighter, he finally forced himself to pull back before it could escalate more, determined to get to see Ran open that damn gift..... he’d waited forever to see him open it and was not going to be distracted until he got to see Ran’s face.


He took a deep breath, and reached down to take the envelope back into his hands. The weight of the envelope was such that he knew there was more inside, and he was curious. Ran watched, concerned, but excited – Yohji couldn’t get over how excited Ran was to give gifts.

Sometimes, watching him, it was almost like he got more joy from seeing someone open a gift he’d chosen and like it, than to open his own package.  Yohji pulled out two envelopes from inside the bigger one. One letter length and a little thick, the other about 5x7 and padded, like bubble wrap. He opened the thick, long envelope first. Ah, a “coupon book” like Ran’d given him at Christmas. But, this one was…. slightly different. It was purple for one thing, and had “LOVE NOTES” blazoned across the cover in bright red letters, with pink and white hearts and X’s and O’s all over it. Yohji smirked up at Ran and was delighted with the light blush that covered his face. 


Yohji grinned as he imagined Ran braving some lover’s store to buy this for him, blushing for certain as he stoically paid for it…. Yohji flipped through the book, just as a cursory glance before setting it aside, catching a phrase here and there “breakfast in bed” … “one free massage” …. “candlelit dinner” but then, he stopped suddenly and went back to the back of the book, what was that he’d seen?


In the back were blank notes for hand written sentiments “Cash this love note for: ________” the one that caught his eye was hand drawn in bright red ink on a lavender background: “Cash this love note for: some hot…wet…hard…suction


Yohji’s eyes flew open wide as they snapped up to Ran’s face. Ran sat there, blushing furiously but eyes twinkling as he ran his tongue over his bottom lip then took that lip between his teeth as Yohji sat there, dazed, cock throbbing. Ran smiled, and in a sultry, deep purr told Yohji, “there are more”


Yohji’s eyes snapped back to the book and he shuddered as he turned the page with a shaking hand. Another hand written coupon followed: “Cash this love note for: one good, hard fuck; giving or receiving, or both - your choice” Yohji growled as he slammed the book closed.


“but Yohji” Ran purred, “there are two more back there.”


“yeah,” Yohji rasped, then swallowed, “I bet there are” he took a deep, shivering breath and raised his deep, desire darkened green eyes to Ran’s own smoldering violet, also darkened with desire. He loved the smile of delight, almost impish, on Ran’s face. He chuckled a moment as he imagined Ran sitting here, thinking up dirty talk, just for him. The image made his cock jump and he dropped the booklet and the remaining, unopened envelope, onto the table with one hand as he reached to cup the back of Ran’s neck with the other and pulled him in for a deep, openmouthed, tongues battling, passionate kiss.. “Ran” he moaned, deep from within “Angel. I wanna cash one now… right now””


Ran moaned as well and yielded completely to Yohji’s kiss. He ran hands up Yohji’s arms, around his neck and pulled himself closer. Sliding around, Ran came to his knees in front of Yohji. Ran peeled back and looked coyly up at Yohji’s stunned face.

“Oh? Really Yohji? Right now? Hmm… I wonder, which one? Maybe… the first one?”  He ran his hand down Yohji’s shoulder, across his chest, over those beautiful abs, and slid his fingers behind the waistband of Yohji’s drawstring pants to lightly tease the head of his very full, very swollen, very sensitive cock. Which was pointing straight up a t full attention, eager for Ran’s touch.


“Oh? Really Yohji? Right now? Hmm… I wonder, which one? Maybe… the first one?”  He ran his hand down Yohji’s shoulder, across his chest, over those beautiful abs, and slid his fingers behind the waistband of Yohji’s drawstring pants to lightly tease the head of his very full, very swollen, very sensitive cock. Which was pointing straight up a t full attention, eager for Ran’s touch.

“oh yes Yohji” Ran breathed as he leaned down to blow a hot breath across the outline of Yohji’s length through his sweats. Ran pulled the drawstring and stretched the waist of the pants carefully down to let that hardness spring free and slap back against Yohji’s belly. ‘Yes Yohji” Ran growled. Then he swiftly leaned down to engulf Yohji into his mouth; plunging down to the root to inhale Yohji’s musky, spicy scent at the base, nuzzling the curls there. He felt Yohji’s fingers twist in his hair and immediately began to suck in earnest, hard, deep suction.

Ran bobbed his head, letting saliva run down Yohji’s shaft, wetting his cock. Letting the slurping noises and his own moans fill the air as Yohji gasped and hissed “oh fuck! Ran!” and dropped his head back against the sofa. Ran pushed the waistband lower and cupped Yohji’s sac in his palm, squeezing lightly, tumbling them in his fingers. He moaned again, deeply, deliberately, and was rewarded by Yohji’s whined growl, “Ran, Ran I’m.. I’m gonna ..”

Ran sucked harder, bobbed faster, squeezed tighter, and reached his other hand to entwine with Yohji’s hand on the sofa cushion. He squeezed that hand in a death grip.  Then, he swallowed around Yohji’s cock, swirled his tongue around the head and into the slit, just like Yohji liked it, just as he reached the long finger of his hand fondling Yohji’s sac back to press on the area behind and Yohji snapped, curled inward with a strangled curse “Shit! Ran!” and exploded into Ran’s throat.

Ran hummed around Yohji and drank his eruption, swallowing quickly, suckling, swirling his tongue. He eased the pressure slowly, nuzzling into Yohji’s curls again until Yohji uncurled, panting, and fell back, arms limp, “Damn Ran.” He panted, “That was-“ Ran nuzzled briefly again a moment, then eased up, gently tucking Yohji back into his pants, As he sat upright he breathed, “You smell so good there Yohji, I love to nuzzle you, taste you” he nuzzled for a short moment again against Yohji’s pants then sat back on his heels. “love you Valentine” He sat back up onto the sofa, and snuggled into Yohji’s arms.

They sat there for a bit as Yohji calmed, then he slid his hand down from Ran’s shoulder, intending to return the favor. Ran’s softly placed hand halted his progress, “wait Nissho. First,” he stretched a bit and grabbed the padded envelope from the table, “you haven’t opened this one yet.” He leaned in to pat Yohji gently on one cheek, then sat upright, and leaned back against the arm of the sofa. As he settled his eyes widened with mock horror “Oh! Yohji” Ran gasped, and Yohji thrilled to the impish, playful look  in Ran’s eyes, “I’m sorry” Ran mock pouted, “I guess I didn’t let you say for sure which coupon you wanted to cash in.” he huffed a breath as Yohji watched, slightly bemused but happy, “oh well. Guess that was a freebie, a ….. sample. You can cash in later.” Ran smiled, and nudged Yohji’s arm, “go on Nissho,” he whispered, “open it, be my Valentine.”

Yohji brought himself under control and sat up straighter. He flashed a fierce, loving grin, then looked down and eased the flap open on the envelope. He slid the contents out, then sat there, a little stunned as he took in what he held.

Ran had given him two gift cards, one for his favorite leather shop and one for credit for his e-reader. Yohji liked to have something to read when stuck at airports or on long rides, and much to his surprise had fallen in love with his e-reader Ran had given him for Christmas…..

But, what stunned Yohji was the photographs in the envelope with the gift cards. There was a five by seven picture of him and Ran together, both laughing, taken at Schu’s at Thanksgiving in the kitchen. Ran was laughing, leaning against a Giants jersey clad Yohji, Yohji’s arm around his shoulder, Ran’s head back as he laughed up at Yohji. Yohji was laughing too as he looked back at a Ran with flour on his nose and in his hair, apron tied about his sweater clad form. Schu must have snapped it without anyone knowing he was there. Both were utterly relaxed, happy. There was a wallet size printout too.

Yohji’s hands trembled as he lifted the smaller photo and looked up at Ran’s intense gaze. “Ran” he whispered, “It’s beautiful.” Yohji took out his wallet and as he slid the photo into place he asked, “I haven’t seen this photo before. When did you get it?”

Ran smiled. “you know Schuldig. He takes pictures constantly but never downloads the cards. I guess last week he found all his cards full and had to download. I had told him I wasn’t completely happy with your V-day gifts and when he saw this he thought it was the icing on the cake.” Ran looked at Yohji, smiled a soft smile and told him “I have it in my wallet too Yohji.”

Yohji started, and would have questioned, but Ran went on swiftly, “WE see the love there Yohji, but someone who doesn’t know us will only see two close friends laughing together over a kitchen mishap. And, with the cover I’ve laid down, I can have a friend, you.”

Yohji nodded slowly, “Yeah, I guess so, huh?... It’s perfect Ran, beautiful. I love it, and you. My smile, My Angel” He leaned in, traced one side of Ran’s face and tugged on an eartail, for a quick kiss. “okay Angel. Your turn. Open that present, now.”

Ran’s eyes lit up and he smiled. He pulled the bag into his lap and began to lift the tissue wrap out. He reached into the bag, pulling out a carved wooden box and a flat, somewhat rectangular package wrapped separately. He sat the wrapped gift aside and lifted the wooden box. It was light wood, bamboo or something similar, and was carved/burned with the Kanji character for “PEACE” over a sunset scene; the sun sat behind a mountain overlooking a river bank where a crane stood seeming to gaze up at the sky, with orchids peeking from among the reeds lining the bank. A glittering gold fish swan near the bank, the goldleaf inlay catching the candlelight “Oh Yohji.” Ran breathed. “It’s beautiful Nissho”

Yohji chuckled, “Open it Ran. There’s more than the box. Look inside.”

Ran lightly traced a finger along the carved letters, then lifted the latch and opened the lid. Inside was a set of pencils and pens of various gauges, a high quality gum eraser and zacto knife, and a selection of pastels and charcoals in a clear box lining one side of the box.

Ran took in the selection and looked up again at Yohji, eyes wide. “Yohji…. I….”

“well, I figured you needed a way to escape, to relax, to find some peace, and NOT to bury yourself in work or wear yourself out with your kendo. I know how much you love your art. It’s time you took it back. Persia has taken enough from you. I’m giving this back. This is something you can lose yourself in when you’re stressed. Sketching is easier than painting, and it’s portable. The case will fit in your briefcase, with the sketchpad. I checked.”

“Oh Yohji. It’s perfect, wonderful. I haven’t sketched in so long…. This is so wonderful.” He breathed. He tore the wrap off the sketchpad, “You have to let me draw you Yohji.”

Yohji smiled, “Anytime Angel. I can’t wait to see that book filled with whatever you can think of.” He leaned forward and took the book and case from Ran, sitting them on the table. “there’s a full refill set for the case in the bedroom closet. Now,” he stood and pulled Ran up with him. “There’s part two in the kitchen. Come on” Looking down into Ran’s eyes, he smiled, “I can’t wait to see your face Babe. Can’t wait another minute. Let’s go.”

He leaned in for a soft kiss, and stood back, “right now” he whispered, but didn’t make any further move to walk away as Ran followed the kiss, capturing Yohji’s mouth with his own. Deep, hungry, Ran’s arousal reawakend, Ran growled, low, deep, “I want you Yohji.” He pulled Yohji in again for another kiss, biting into Yohji’s bottom lip, then trailed down his jaw and neck and growled again as he traced back up the other side of Yohji’s neck and nibbled an earlobe, “I want YOU as my present Yohji. Give me what I want.” Ran deliberately rubbed himself against Yohji, tongue darting into Yohji’s ear as he traced with his tongue, Ran breathed, moaned, breath ragged “Yohji, I want you. Now.”

Yohji’s heartbeat was pounding against Ran’s chest as they were pressed so closely together, and Yohji’s own breathing had grown ragged, he was trembling as he moaned, ‘Yes Ran, yes. Ok – I give you me. Take me then”

‘I will” Ran growled forcefully and pulled Yohji in for a fierce, hard kiss, hands tight on Yohji’s biceps, he leaned back. “Now Yohji. I’m going to take you now. My present.” He pulled Yohji’s shirt off quickly and tossed it aside, “gotta unwrap you first,” Ran panted, then pulled on the drawstring on Yohji’s pants, loosening them. He reached in to grasp Yohji’s hot, hard cock and squeezed.

Yohji moaned again, eyes rolling back as he let his head fall back and held onto Ran’s arms tightly. Ran suddenly swooped down and took Yohji up into his arms, “Mine” he whispered as he carried Yohji to the bedroom. He smiled at Yohji’s wide eyes at being picked up this way. “I want to play with my present, right now” Ran laid Yohji down on the bed, peeling his pants away as he stepped back, taking in the beautiful sight that lay before him. “There, all unwrapped.”

Ran stood there a moment taking in Yohji’s vision, bronzed skin, even in New York’s harsh winter. Not as deeply bronzed as during summer, but still golden. Hard, lithe muscle, taut over that well developed frame, long, tone legs, halo of honey gold hair, bright beautiful, deep green eyes, and of course that perfect cock arising from the nest of golden curls…. , Adonis, his own sun god “oh Nissho, I must draw you, capture this, your warmth, your light. You are so… incredible.”

Yohji watched his lover as he stood there watching him. Yohji lay naked and stretched out on the bed. Ran leaned in over Yohji  and brought Yohji’s arms above his head, toward the headboard. Holding them there, he leaned in, “Yohji” he breathed, “I …. I want to try something. Can I? Tell me I can Yohji, please”  Ran’s voice was hoarse as he suddenly found his throat dry at what he wanted to ask. What he wanted to do….

“anything Ran, I’m your present, it’s your birthday, you can do whatever you want with me.” Yohji answered, then as he caught site of something in Ran’s eyes, he stilled a moment, making certain Ran focused on him “I trust you Ran. I love you. I’m yours.”

A shudder wracked through Ran’s body, and his hands shook as he opened the bedside table drawer. He reached, far into the back, and Yohji’s eyes widened as he realized what Ran was searching for, what he had not realized Ran knew was there….

Ran sat back up, tracing the leather cuffs in his hands softly. He raised uncertain but lust filled eyes to Yohji’s own. “I wont hurt you Yohji, I swear. NO pain, but…” he licked his lips and his breath hitched, “I…. I saw these Yohji, one day, looking for something, and” he swallowed and shuddered again, “Yohji” he growled, “I want… I want to ….”

“Ran. It’s ok.” Yohji spoke quietly, calmly, though he felt anything but calm. For Ran to want to take initiative in itself was a rare treat, for him to want this. Yohji was panting himself, hard enough to hurt. “I trust you Ran. Cuff me, own me.”

Ran’s eyes smoldered as he reached for Yohji’s arm. “I will own you Yohji. My Yohji. I want to make you cry my name Yohji, beg me to take you….. I want….” He swallowed, then stopped talking and secured the other arm. He removed his tie and as he stood to make his way to the foot of the bed he grabbed another from the tie rack.

Ran stepped back to again admire the vision lain out before him. Yohji’s hands were tied above his head in soft leather cuffs, and his legs spread and tied by the ankles to the bedposts with Ran’s neckties. Small pillows were situated under Yohji's back and head to allow him a perfect view of Ran as he stood there.

Ran undressed slowly as he watched Yohji. Yohji writhed, just a bit, and his cock jumped when Ran took his own cock into his hand as he stood there. Ran's hand teased, slow, languid strokes as he tried to take the edge off his passion before he touched Yohji.

Just the view of Ran pleasing himself as low moans dripped from his lips, sounds Yohji was sure Ran did not realize he was making, made the blood rush to Yohji's groin. Yohji wanted to lick suddenly dry lips. He wanted to taste, touch and pleasure that creamy pale body. He wanted to cause those moans deliciously falling from soft pink lips with his hands, his lips, and his cock. His cock twitched, hard and untouched, begging for the slightest affection. Small drops of precum oozed out Yohji's slit leaving a tiny pool on his lower stomach. I'm gonna cum just from watching him. A soft whimper escaped Yohji's mouth.

Yohji heard a hiss issue from Ran as he stroked and pulled, and one hand reached down to cup his tightening sac. Yohji had learned from previous experiences how sensitive the soft spot just behind Ran’s balls was and how responsive Ran could be when it was lovingly touched. Yohji's eyes widened as Ran's hand drifted further. The other hand wrapping at the base and deftly tugging upward, increased the pace, just slightly. Yohji knew the feel of those hands, soft but slightly calloused from his kendo.

Yohji felt the heat building in his groin. He closed his eyes trying to will away the coiling sensation. His erection bobbed gently with every erratic breath he took. Yohji was startled out of his concentration by the sudden dip on his left but he refused to open his eyes. He felt the subtle pressure of Ran straddling his chest, his hot skin caressing his sides. Yohji felt roughened fingertips stroking his jaw and lower lip, felt soft tangy flesh brushing against his lips.

Yohji immediately knew what it was. He knew Ran's cock by smell and taste alone. He didn't have to see it to know that it was there, daring him to take in that silky head and taste his lover. Yohji slid his tongue across dry lips before quickly lapping at the hardened flesh. Eyes still closed, he heard the low growl emanating from above as his tongue glided over the dripping slit. The sheer taste of Ran's essence was maddening. Yohji dove in, trying to take Ran in his mouth with his limited amount of freedom. He whimpered around the meaty head when he could not get more into to his mouth. Yohji slowly opened his eyes pleading into the passion filled violet orbs of his love. Ran leaned forward on his knees bracing his hands above Yohji's head, gripping the headboard. A moan of pure pleasure escaped Ran's lips as Yohji greedily inhaled his cock down his throat.

Yohji was in heaven. The taste of his lover was a delicacy that he could never tire of. Yohji bobbed his head rhythmically taking in as much as their awkward position would allow. Yohji wanted Ran to cum. He wanted to drink and savor the bittersweet nectar that he had been denied  these past days while away from home.

Ten days and no Ran nearly drove Yohji mad with want and desire. Last night’s quick reunion had not been enough. Too short and too tired to truly enjoy each other, it had been renewal to touch each other again, but not enough. They truly had been apart for far too much lately. This…. This was… so much more than Yohji’d anticipated today….

The feel of Ran's member slowly slipping out of his mouth brought Yohji back. A soft whimper escaped his throat as Ran resettled himself sitting on Yohji's chest. The hot skin of Ran’s thighs brushed against his sides as Ran ground his hips on his stomach. Yohji began to protest until deft fingers silenced him pressing against his bottom lip questioning for entrance into his mouth. Yohji quickly complied.

Ran moaned as Yohji sucked his finger into his mouth. Ran stretched his body out over Yohji’s and rubbed their cocks together thrusting his hips against Yohji almost impatiently.

Yohji released Ran's finger, and rasped, “please Ran” breathless.  Ran stretched reached into the drawer again for the lube. Ran took his time preparing Yohji, bringing him close to the edge, then backing off to gather himself, leaving Yohji panting, writhing, until finally Yohji could withstand no more. “Ran!” he cried out “please Ran, no more. Inside Ran, or finish me, please” by the last Yohji was pleading.

Ran positioned himself between Yohji's legs and quickly pulled at the tie holding one of his legs to the bed lifting it onto his shoulder as he slowly eased his fingers again into a tight and welcoming heat. When the tense ring of muscle began to relax again under his ministrations and Yohji arched at the need to receive, Ran plunged his fingers into Yohji's body scissoring them. He pushed deeper until he pressed up against that soft bundle of nerves. Yohji's eyes widened as he cried out. The sensation was far from unwelcomed as he rocked his hips against Ran's fingers trying to initiate more contact with his sweet spot. He was so close! A small groan escaped Yohji's lips as Ran's fingers slipped out of him but was soon replaced with tip of a rock hard shaft.

Ran teased Yohji's opening pressing the tip of his erection against the puckered entrance applying slight pressure but not enough to pierce the trembling flesh. With a growl of frustration, Yohji slammed his hips down stabbing his body onto Ran. Both men cried out from the shock and heat of the sudden penetration.

Yohji was the first to recover squeezing his muscles to signal Ran that he was ready. Ran began a rhythm that was more than familiar, almost instinctual. Yohji steadily matched his thrust trying to hit the spot deep inside. Their pace soon increased. Ran with an almost wild abandon thrust into Yohji's tight and encompassing heat. “Yohji” he growled over and over, “Yohji.”

Ran stretched his body, bending almost double as he reached behind him to release Yohji's other ankle without leaving that tight sheath. Ran raised Yohji's legs, pressing them against his chest and lifting his hips off of the bed. At the new angle Ran plunged into Yohji. A mangled cry rent the air as Yohji abandoned all thought, “Ran!”. With every stab of Ran's cock Yohji cried out as his body was overloaded with sensations.

Ran leaned over nuzzling Yohji's neck then trailed down to the juncture of where collarbone and neck met as he continued to thrust. First he nibbled at the small patch of skin sucking and licking never faltering in his pace. Yohji hissed in a breath as lips turned into teeth. The sharp pain from the bite fused with the pleasure now pooling in his groin.

Ran's tongue lapped at the small trickle of blood that now marked his lover.  Yohji was his body and soul. He wanted to own Yohji, to bring Yohji inside of himself somehow, to leave a part of himself inside Yohji. Ran slowly pushed up, his rhythm wavering only slightly as he scraped the fingernails of one hand softly down Yohji's chest leaving faint red lines from breast bone to navel. Ran wrapped his hand around Yohji's cock and began to pump vigorously in time with his own thrusts. “cum for me Yohji. Give it to me”

Yohji was already close to the edge after Ran marked him with his teeth, a dominating Ran igniting a hot, burning fire inside him, but now as those loving, familiar fingers pumped his cock he was barely teetering on the verge of overload. Once Ran's momentum and force were reestablished Yohji's fragile hold slipped. When Ran demanded his surrender, Yohji lost all hope of control. Yohji's body arched of the bed as his climax obliterated his sight. A harsh cry was pulled from him, “Ran! Ungh! Ahhh!”

Ran's orgasm was torn from him as Yohji's muscles clamped down almost painfully. He came embedded deeply within Yohji.  Crying out, “Yohji!” He barely registered Yohji's body sinking almost boneless into the mattress. Ran soon followed collapsing onto Yohji's chest his breathing harsh trying to find a steady rhythm.

He reached up, taking two tries to release the cuff closest to him, and was pleased when he realized Yohji was releasing the other. Ran caressed every inch of skin he could reach as he told Yohji, “I love you Yohji, thank you. Thank you for you, for trusting me.”

Yohji brought his arms down to wrap around Ran, holding him tightly to him, back to chest. “I love you Ran. You already had me. And this? Oh baby, this we are going to try again, both sides, for certain. For now, rest Angel. A short rest, then we finish your birthday.”

“yes Yohji” Ran mumbled as he succumbed to the pull of sleep. “don’t let go” he whispered as he fell over the ede.

“I won’t Ran. Ever” Yohji vowed as he followed Ran into oblivion.

Ran stirred, rousing to the humming in his ear to the tune of “happy birthday” and the caressing touch over his neck and shoulders. He smiled and made a purring noise deep in his throat as he pressed himself back against that warm silken skin against his back.

“happy birthday Angel.” Yohji husked in his ear. “ready for your other present now?”

“Oh, I don’t know” Ran hummed. “I’m enjoying this one an awful lot.” He turned to smile up at Yohji, a sleepy eyed, open smile that made Yohji’s heart flip over.

“oh me too Baby. Me too. You have NO idea.” Yohji whispered as he leaned down to claim Ran’s lips. “And we will definitely explore this gift some more, but for NOW,” he leaned in for a quick peck on Ran’s nose then pulled back, “I have waited as long as I can. I wanna give you the other part of your present. I have been very patient, I‘ve had the damn things for weeks and I can’t wait ANY MORE.” He made big puppy dog eyes at Ran until Ran couldn’t stand any more and conceded with a low laugh. “alright Nisso, alright.”

Yohji  stood, pulling Ran up with him. “First, a short, and I mean short Ran, shower. I’m done already, you jump in. I will wait here – for obvious reasons.” He pushed Ran slightly toward the bathroom door, and adopted an “I am waiting” pose, foot tapping, arms crossed, as he grinned totally ruining the effect.

“okay okay!” Ran laughed, “geez Yohji, honestly” He turned into the bathroom leaving the door open and threw over his shoulder. “you are certainly excited, I am very curious.”

“good” Yohji called back, “wash faster”

Ran exited the bathroom wrapped in his plush robe. He adopted a “put-upon” look as he mock glared, “ok Yohji, lead the way”

Yohji stepped up taking Ran’s hand. “Close your eyes Baby.” Ran snorted, “really Yohji?”

“Yes, really. Close em.”

Ran sighed, closing his eyes he held out his hand, “Lead on Nissho, Guide me”

Yohji carefully steered Ran to the kitchen doorway, positioning him so he faced into the kitchen at the right angle, then stepped behind to hold Ran close against him. He leaned in, so he could see Ran’s face and lifted the blindfold. “Ok Angel” He breathed, “open your eyes”

Ran’s first sight as he blinked in the light was the easel set near the island. A beautiful oak finish gleamed under the kitchen lights. Next to it on the counter was a full paint set and brushes. “Yohji” Ran exclaimed, then he noticed the items arranged along the counter: The complete pastry/baking set that Ran had recently admired at the cooking expo they’d gone to. The free standing mixer, all the molds, the dough press, the whole set up. Yohji’d removed everything from the packaging, spreading it all out along the counter.

“Yohji” Ran said again, in awe. “Yohji this is…. Too much!”

“No Ran. It’s Valentines and birthday, and, well…. It’s gonna be the last one that I can-“ he cut off abruptly. “anyway. “ he went on as Ran stepped up to the counter, tracing a hand along the easel. “I figured, it’d be good for you to paint Angel. Help keep your stress down. When you need to get away, well, now going in you have an excuse. You can set aside a “ he stumbled, “a room.. there… for your haven.”

Ran’s eyes snapped to Yohji’s own and he frowned, for just a moment, the nodded. “That is…. A very good idea, Nissho. Persia cannot deny me this, and… she will not intrude, there”

“There is one thing though Ran.” Yohji went on, quietly. “The cooking set up, it stays here. Not negotiable. Besides, you’re gonna give me lessons.”

Ran looked at Yohji, eyebrows raised, “Lessons” he said flatly

“Well, yeah” Yohji ran a hand behind his neck, “I gotta learn now. No way I can go back to Jack in the Box and frozen pizzas all the time now. Either you’re gonna cook up a whole lotta food in advance whenever you’re here, or you teach me. This set up shortens prep time too, but still I am gonna be somewhat jealous of the time I do get now. So, lessons”

Ran stood there a moment, thinking that over, then stepped forward, pushing himself into Yohji’s embrace. Yohji’s arms came around to hold him tightly. “if it stays here,” Yohji said quietly, “you’ll have to come here to use it” his voice dropped to a rasp “This is NOT negotiable Ran. You can only cook with this for us.

Ran pulled back to gaze up at Yohji. “I love you Nissho. And I promise. This set up will only ever be used in our kitchen.” He pushed up to gently nibble Yohji’s lower lip, then nuzzled into the crook of his neck. “These are wonderful gifts Yohji. You are …. Amazing. Your warmth will fill me every time I draw or paint or…. Anything. The painting is a wonderful idea. I can… seclude myself from the beginning. Have an avenue for retreat when things get… too much. It’s perfect, you’re perfect.”  He squeezed Yohji tightly, then stepped back. “Enough Nissho” Ran sighed, “I don’t want to taint this wonderful gift any further. Let me indulge more in our time together. Come, I want to draw you.” He turned, leading Yohji into the living room, “something to memoralize this best ever of birthdays. Come on, now it is I who can’t wait”

Ran laughed a small laugh, strained, a little tight, but a laugh, as he pulled Yohji along. Yohji determined in his heart to do all he could to cultivate those laughs, and to commit each one to memory to dispel the coming darkness, to keep his soul burning bright for Ran as long as he could.

But, despite his best efforts, Yohji felt that light dimming. The more he considered the coming wedding, the more he came to realize there was no way they were going to get out of this, the dimmer the light of his soul burned. He could only hope to keep it lit long enough to find a way out,…. For both of their sakes.





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