Ran woke up; his eyes slowly drifting open as consciousness returned. He lay still in the warm, soft bed for a few minutes, hazily drifting back and forth between sleep and awareness until his mind settled firmly on ‘awake’. There was a cat curled against his left leg and another one sprawled between him and Yohji. A soft chirp greeted him when he lifted his right hand to rub his eyes, followed by a damp nose pressed against his hand and a louder chirp.
"Hoshi…," Ran sighed as he gave in to the cat’s demand and scratched behind black and white ears. "Hush." He gave his pet an admonishing look which Hoshi ignored in the favor of twisting his head from side to side so both ears were given equal attention. Smiling, Ran obliged the cat for a minute before he carefully began to slide out of bed.
Yohji was still asleep and Ran hoped that wouldn’t change any time soon. He’d deliberately given his lover the most strenuous tasks possible in the shop all day yesterday to wear him out. Thankfully, Yohji continued snoring softly and didn’t even twitch when Hoshi settled himself on the man’s chest. Smiling at the image, Ran cautiously leaned over the bed and brushed a lock of hair aside that fell over his lover’s closed eyes.
After pulling on a yukata, he hurried from the room as quietly as he could. A quick stop in the bathroom then he made his way to the kitchen where he found Ayumi brewing a pot of tea. "Good morning," he wished as he gave her a kiss on the left cheek.
"Good morning, Ayan." Ayumi smiled brightly, her eyes twinkling with good humor and a hint of mischief, if he wasn’t imagining things. "I’ve everything ready for you, so be quick. You know Yohji doesn’t stay in bed for very long if you’re not there."
Ran bowed his head as he smiled. "Thank you. No, he doesn’t." For someone who always claimed to loathe early mornings, Yohji had gotten used to their opening schedule at the shop in the past year and a half. He also tended to wake up if he was left alone in the bed for too long. Ran’s lips curled even more as he thought about how nice it was to share a bed with the same person night after night and to have that person be the love of his life. That had been something he’d longed for back in Tokyo but that he and Yohji could rarely manage. Now it didn’t seem right to go to sleep unless both of them were in bed.
He quickly tied the apron that Ayumi held out to him around his waist. "Let me get the bacon started and then you can brew the coffee." Then he set about cooking, placing the thickly sliced bacon on the large iron skillet that Ayumi had thoughtfully set on the stove to heat up for him. As the meat cooked, he whipped up the egg, milk and cinnamon mixture for the French toast and then soaked the bread in it. Once that was done, he prepared some scrambled eggs.
"Trust Yohji to want such a Western breakfast," Ayumi sniffed as she cleared the dirty dishes once Ran was finished with them. "I could have made him such a feast, otherwise, but he has to be such a contrary kitsune."
Ran knew that his friend was only upset that she couldn’t help more with Yohji’s birthday breakfast. "You know he’ll be very happy when you make sukiyaki for him tomorrow," he reminded Ayumi. He felt bad that she couldn’t make it for his boyfriend tonight but they had plans to treat Yohji at a very nice restaurant. Ken and Omi would be there as well; Omi had already arranged with his professors to miss class tomorrow and Ken was flying in from Scotland. The five of them would be together and it would be a wonderful night with Yohji as the center of attention. Ran smiled and shook his head as he thought about what lay ahead. Lots of drinking and much merriment, and he was certain that Yohji would be in full ‘naughty kitsune’ mode all night.
The bacon was flipped and he set the toast on the hot griddle while the aroma of coffee filled the air. He enjoyed a cup of tea while the food cooked and was teased by Ayumi about his present for Yohji.
"I think you’re just trying to save some money," she chided as she poured some of the freshly brewed coffee into a mug. "The shop is making enough money now so there’s little reason for you to worry over every penny, you know." She gave him a stern look that only lasted for a few minutes. "Although I’m certain that Yotan will be very pleased," she giggled softly, her right hand held over her mouth.
"No doubt he’ll be very happy." Ran thought Yohji would appreciate the gift more than a new shirt or something. Placing the French toast on a plate, he remembered the first time he’d made this meal for his lover. He never imagined that things could change so much in less than two years – at least, change so much for the better.
"Yes, he’ll probably be rather insufferable for the next few days. I think I shall keep my heaviest fan nearby," Ayumi commented in a too-sweet voice as she helped him arrange the tray to his satisfaction. There was the French toast, scrambled eggs and bacon cooked exactly the way Yohji preferred, some fresh coffee and orange juice. Not Ran’s idea of a celebratory breakfast but this was Yohji’s birthday, not his. Placing a mug of tea for himself on the tray, he carefully picked it up and motioned for Ayumi to walk ahead of him.
"One moment!" she said as she rushed over to the counter where she picked up a small ivory colored vase filled with two pale pink roses. Setting the vase on the tray, she nodded in approval. "There, now it’s ready. I only hope the smell of coffee hasn’t woken him already." She wrinkled her nose as if she strongly disapproved of the beverage when Ran had witnessed her drinking it on several occasions.
He bowed his head again. "After you." Following Ayumi up the stairs, he hoped that Yohji was still asleep. His fears were soon proved to be unfounded when he quietly entered the bedroom and found his lover unchanged from the last time he’d seen him, save for Hoshi was nowhere to be seen.
Ayumi hurried to the nightstand by Yohji’s side of the bed and cleared enough space for Ran to set the tray down. Once it was safe, he sat beside his lover and gently combed his fingers through tousled dark blond hair. When Yohji began to stir, he leaned forward to give him a kiss.
"Morning, Yotan," he whispered when he saw his lover’s eyes flutter open. When they brightened with warmth and recognition, he gave Yohji another kiss. "Happy Birthday," he breathed against his lover’s lips.
Yohji’s arms wrapped around his back and kept him from pulling away until he was thoroughly kissed in return. "Hmmm, best start to a birthday yet," Yohji croaked. He cleared his throat as Ran pulled away. "Do I smell bacon and coffee?"
"Yes, you do." When there was enough space between Yohji and Ran, Ayumi swooped in to give Yohji a quick kiss on the lips. "Happy Birthday, Yotan. May you have many naughty years in the future to look forward to and many tales to tell about this day." She laughed as she returned to the nightstand. "Not that I harbor any doubts that you’ll do anything other than that."
"I’ve already a few ideas on how spend the day." Yohji leered at Ran as he sat up on the bed. "You’re not going to make me work, are you?" he asked, a hurt expression on his face that wavered when Ayumi set the tray of food on his lap. "All of this is for me?" he asked, his eyes brightening and his face covered by a wide grin as he stared at the food. "French toast and bacon, yum." His voice was husky once more and Ran didn’t think it was from sleepiness this time.
Picking a piece of bacon up, Ran held it to his lover’s lips. "We’re both taking a day off from work in honor of your birthday. There are reservations for dinner later but you’ll be able to rest until then." He couldn’t help smiling in return, both at the thought of a rare day off with his boyfriend and how happy Yohji appeared.
Yohji parted his lips for the morsel and chewed it slowly. "Mmmm, so good," he crooned after he swallowed and opened his lips for more. Ayumi fed him this time, which made him pout all of two seconds before a wicked gleam brightened his eyes. "Just the three of us, a big bed and a day to do whatever I want." Yohji’s smile left no doubt about what he was implying. "I better eat all this up so I have lots of energy."
"Oh, *you*!" Sounding more flustered than she looked, Ayumi smacked the piece of bacon against Yohji’s nose. "Always the pervert! Ran, I leave him to your capable hands!" She had a wicked gleam in her eyes as well when she handed the bacon to Ran and kissed his cheek. "Enjoy yourself," she whispered in his ear and then she was gone.
Ran watched the bedroom door mostly close and then glanced at his chuckling lover. Yohji was rubbing the grease from his nose, his lovely green eyes shining with laughter. "You’re not planning on ignoring Ayumi’s orders, are you?" Yohji asked as he waggled his eyebrows. "It’s my birthday, after all!"
"I think I’ve been sacrificed in hopes of keeping you out of trouble for as long as possible," Ran muttered but he really didn’t mind being Yohji’s ‘amusement’ for the day. "However, I warn you know that if you’re too bad today, I won’t give you your present," he teased as he fed Yohji more bacon.
Yohji made a big production of smacking his lips this time and cut some of the French toast into bite-sized pieces. "If I have to behave on my birthday, it better be a really good present," he drawled then tried the toast. "Mmmm." He closed his eyes as he chewed. "Though this is a really good present, love." The smile he gave Ran was touching in its tenderness.
Leaning forward, Ran licked at Yohji’s lips and tasted cinnamon. "You’ll really like it, I promise." He planned to give Yohji twelve tokens to be used whenever his lover wanted the two of them to have a day off in the upcoming year. No matter what was happening in the shop, Yohji would be able to keep in him bed or leave the city or whatever else he was in the mood to do.
"Good." Yohji’s left hand tangled in Ran’s long hair and deepened the kiss. Ran moaned in contentment as Yohji’s tongue stroked the inside of his mouth and he shifted forward – which caused the plates on the tray to click together as the tray was jostled.
Chuckling again, Yohji caressed the right side of his face and pulled away. "I’ve all day to do to you whatever I want so I’ll finish breakfast first. You don’t have the time to make me stuff like this very much and I want to enjoy it while it’s hot." He didn’t sound upset, rather he seemed very happy to have the breakfast made for him in the first place.
"Maybe I’ll have to make a point to cook it for you more often," Ran murmured and got up from the bed so he could walk around it and curl up beside his lover without jostling the tray again. He had to shoo Tsuki to the foot of the bed so he could rest his head against Yohji’s shoulder. A piece of bacon was held in front of his face and he accepted the offering before he reached for his tea. "Then you’ll have to make me pancakes in return."
"We need a few more mornings off, you know," Yohji commented in a hopeful voice as he ate his breakfast. "Maybe you could make some arrangements the night before so we could sleep in and enjoy ourselves."
Ran thought about the idea and nodded. "That’s possible." Perhaps on days when they didn’t have too many orders scheduled for delivery. He was proud of how busy the shop had become but had to admit that he missed the days when he had nothing to do other than putter around in his greenhouse and spend time with Yohji.
"Then that’s a pretty good birthday present right there." Yohji smiled around a mouthful of coffee. "Even better than this breakfast." He emphasized his point by making quick work of the meal, and in a few minutes the tray and its empty plates were set back on the nightstand.
Ran leaved over his lover to set the empty mug on the tray as well and then straddled Yohji’s lap. "So, you’ve a rare day off. Have any ideas how to spend it?" he asked, his voice deepened by desire. They’d both been so tired last night that they’d just gone to sleep once they were in bed.
Yohji’s hands settled possessively on his hips. "What time are the dinner reservations?"
"Seven o’clock." Ran draped his arms over his lover’s shoulders and toyed with honey blond strands of hair.
Yohji shivered a little as a hungry smile curled the corners of his mouth. "Let’s see, ten hours to dinner, we’ll probably need two hours to shower, dress and get there so eight hours to do whatever I want." He had his ‘naughty kitsune’ expression on in full force, so much so that Ran wanted to lift the covers and see if his lover had sprouted a tail. "I should be able to keep us busy until then."
"Good." Ran bridged the distance between them as Yohji’s right hand tugged on the bow of his yukata’s belt. "I hope you enjoy your birthday, Yotan," he murmured against his lover’s lips.
"I fully intend to, Ayan," was Yohji’s response, so low that he sounded more like a cat than a kitsune. Then he proved just how much he was going to enjoy himself to Ran.
Tsuki uttered an offended meow when Ran’s yukata landed on top of him moments later, but neither Yohji nor Ran ever noticed.
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