Yohji sighed as another loud crack of thunder all but rattled the glass windows. He glanced outside and noticed that it was raining even harder than before, the sky an ominous dark grey with a hint of purple – and a bright flash of lightning that made him flinch and close his eyes, the jagged line of white imprinted on his sight for several seconds. Cursing softly, he turned toward his mate and cuddled up behind him.

Aya purred softly but didn’t look up from the book he was reading. His hand reached out for another cookie before turning a page. He was utterly absorbed in the book and didn’t even flinch at any of the loud outbursts of thunder but instead gradually pressed back against Yohji’s chest.

Yohji had to smile as he rested his chin on Aya’s shoulder and draped his arm around his lover’s waist. The book’s text was so archaic and formal that his eyes damn near crossed upon trying to read a line, so he gave up on that and nuzzled his mate’s neck. "Are you really going to spend the entire day reading?"

"I don’t see why not when it’s raining too hard for us to go to the festival."

"Hmmm, you do have a point." He spared a dirty look behind him and barely turned in time to avoid another burst of lightning. Their plans for the precious day off were definitely ruined. Ah well, the festival would be there all week long, and in another two days they were scheduled for an evening off. "But surely there is something we can do beside read books." He reached over for a cookie and gave his *mate’s* shoulder a nip when he was growled at. "Hush, I’m only taking one."

"That’s what you’ve said the last *four* times," Aya huffed as he marked his page and set the book on the nightstand. After snatching another cookie and then pushing the tin away, he rolled onto his back and glared at Yohji. "Mine," he snapped, but there was a wave of amusement over their link.

"You’re a bossy bit of goods lately," Yohji teased as he leaned over his mate and tried to snatch the cookie from Aya’s hand. "Who paid for them?"

"And who was it who tore that shirt of mine so I had to spend the money replacing it instead of for more cookies, hmmm?" Aya asked, his eyebrows arched over sparkling eyes.

"I’m just looking out for Cassandra by ensuring that she has plenty of business," he explained as he leaned in a little closer. "You know, Barton’s eyes light up whenever I show up at his stand. He always keeps a tin of those damn cookies on hand for me." Giving up on the cookie, he settled for licking up the few crumbs clinging to his mate’s lips and chin.

Aya remained still during the first lick or two, and then tugged him closer, his fingers sliding through Yohji’s hair and making him shiver. "That’s a very good thing for you," he purred.

Disappointed in the fact that there had been so few crumbs, he settled himself on top of his lover and gave him a puzzled frown. "What do you mean by that?"

There was more amusement over their link. "So you always have a peace offering ready after a fight."

He had to chuckle at that – he did indeed always buy Aya a tin of the cookies whenever he managed to piss off his mate. Then again, he pretty much always bought the cookies whenever he went past that section of the market. Aya enjoyed them, and he enjoyed spoiling him. Sighing in pleasure, he buried his right hand in his mate’s silky hair while the left toyed with an eartail, brushing it gently against Aya’s bruised neck. "I can think of other ideas for peace offerings if you’re getting bored with the cookies," he said in a husky voice as he rocked his hips against Aya’s.

Aya’s eyes sparkled even brighter, the only outward sign of his happiness. "I can have the awesome dick anytime I want," he pointed out before taking a bite of the cookie. "You’re going to have to do better than that."

Yohji snapped at the cookie that disappeared too fast behind his mate’s lips and had to settle for a quick kiss instead. "How about the awesome ass instead?" The flare of amusement and happiness that blazed through him made him feel dizzy for a second, and he drank in the sight of the brilliant smile on Aya’s face.

His lover lightly dragged fingernails down his bare back and then dug them slightly into his ass. "Again, anytime I want it, it’s mine." The last word was spoken with a hint of a possessive hiss, making him smile in return.

This time the kiss wasn’t a quick one, as he savored the taste of almond cookies and Aya. His fingers deftly undid the laces of his mate’s shirt and spread it apart so he could feel smooth, warm skin against his. Just as Aya moaned deeply, he pulled back a little. "Do you really want me to be stingy with either of them?"

"*Mine*," Aya snarled softly, a flash of silver in his eyes. His legs wrapped around Yohji’s waist and his arms around Yohji’s shoulders.

"Ah well, at least you’re more possessive of me than a box of cookies," Yohji murmured before leaning in for another kiss. Then he became a bit possessive himself as he growled low in his throat and his hands slid down Aya’s waist. "Mine. Mine, mine, *mine*." He growled out each word inbetween kissing his way down Aya’s chin and neck. Feeling his mate’s pulse against his lips, he parted them and started to suck, gently at first but then stronger, his teeth sinking into tender skin as Aya moaned out his name and arched his neck.

Pleasure and happiness burned through him and made his blood rush through his veins until that was all he could hear – that and Aya’s moans and mewls as he marked him. His hands scrambled and tugged until the cloth separating them was gone, until he felt nothing but Aya’s skin against his. Rolling onto his back, he pulled his mate on top of him, letting go of his throat for a moment to look up at him.

The way Aya looked back at him, eyes shining bright with love and an utterly wicked smile on his lips, made the breath catch in his throat. He paused for a few seconds, leaving the choice up to his mate, and groaned in bliss when Aya straddled his hips and leaned down for another kiss. As good as it felt to be the one taken, something – possibly his nature – always craved for him to take Aya, to push inside him as deep as possible, to take his throat between his teeth.

They kissed until they were both short of breath, and then he couldn’t resist nibbling on his mate’s throat as his hands stroked along his mate’s body. Aya whined with need and squirmed on top of him, fingers digging into his shoulders as sunlight poured into him. Then one of Aya’s hands shifted away, and moments later a cool jar was pressed against his arm.

Forcing himself to tear his hand away from his mate’s silky skin, he quickly unscrewed the lid of the jar and dug his fingers into the slick gel. Pulling away from Aya’s throat, he nuzzled his mate’s shoulder before moving in for another kiss. His slick fingers circled and teased before pushing inward.

More sunlight. More ecstasy. More… more Aya: on his tongue, beneath his hand, against his skin, even in the very air he breathed. Nails dug into his shoulder as he made the sunlight burn even brighter, as his ears were filled with the sounds of Aya’s gasps and pleas. As soon as he pulled his fingers out, his mate shifted on top of him and then he was the one gasping.

"Please… oh gods…. Ah!" His back arched off the bed as Aya fully engulfed him, as constrictive velvet heat wrapped around his cock and brilliant light and pleasure filled him. He couldn’t do anything but move then, to thrust upward as sharply as possible, his hands clutching Aya’s hips to pull him back down, to make him take him in deeper and deeper. His arms were clutched in a powerful grip as his mate rode him, and much too soon all he could feel was ecstasy.

The bliss slowly drained away, leaving him sated and purring with Aya sprawled out on top of him in a limp bundle. He stroked a shaking hand through his mate’s hair, and there was an answering purr to his caress as his mate shifted about minutely, just enough so they were both comfortable. He gradually became aware of the thunderstorm still raging outside, of dull aches on his arms and shoulders that faded with each heartbeat, of the energy roiling inside his veins. He passed some of that energy back to his lover, and Aya’s purr became a little louder.

Several rumbles of thunder passed before they moved or spoke. With a sigh, Aya shifted off of him, onto the bed beside him, and used someone’s discarded pants to clean himself off before handing them to Yohji. He had to sigh himself and shake his head in amusement upon realizing that they were his but used them anyway, and thought to himself that the next time his lover complained about torn shirts, he was going to bring up the amount of laundry he needed cleaned each week. "Well, was that better than a tin of cookies?" he asked, his voice a little quivery.

Aya stretched and yawned before pressing against his side. "Yes," was all his mate said, a tender smile on his face as for once he forbore to tease. Yohji smugly told himself it was the power of the awesome dick indeed – and got a sharp poke in his side from a rather bony finger. "Don’t be so smug."

"Now why would I be that? I mean, I just had you crying out my name five min-" Aya silenced him with a kiss, and all he did was chuckle when his bottom lip was nipped afterward. "All right, I won’t be smug." He skimmed his fingers down his mate’s side, just needing to touch him a little more. "At least I’m not jealous of sweets anymore."

Aya rested his chin on Yohji’s chest and took a deep breath. "You can be such an idiot at times."

Ah, those were the loving words he longed to hear. Giving his mate’s left eartail a tug, he just smiled in the face of a warning hiss. "I think I need to find out some other of your likes, besides me, books and almond cookies. You make buying presents for you not very much fun."

"You don’t have to buy me any presents," Aya said quietly as his fingers traced intricate patterns along Yohji’s ribs.

No, he knew that Aya wouldn’t love him less if he stopped buying the cookies, but that wasn’t the point. "I like giving you presents, Cat." He enjoyed the happiness that radiated off of his mate at the small displays of affection, enjoyed knowing that handing over a wrapped tin would help dispel the occasional flashes of depression and anxiety he felt from his mate. "I just wish there were more excuses to do so, other than me making you mad at me."

"You don’t have to," Aya repeated, his expression earnest. "Especially if that’s the reason behind half of the times you act like an idiot."

He sighed in weary amusement and combed his fingers through the eartail strewn across his chest. "Trust me, I don’t ever deliberately set out to piss you off." Well, other than tugging on his love’s hair, but that was all part of their game – and Aya usually got him back for that, he thought as his shoulder twinged. "No, there needs to be more holidays or something so you have to accept presents from me." Something suddenly occurred to him, making him give Aya’s poor eartail a gentle tug. "When’s your birthday, Cat?"

His mate blinked at him and frowned. "Why does it matter?"

Sometimes he really wished that Aya was a little more human…. "Because that would be a great excuse to buy you presents. Now come on, I told you mine, tell me yours." His eyes narrowed as he realized that Aya always changed the subject whenever it revolved around birthdays. "Aya…."

"You don’t have to buy me anything," Aya mumbled as he closed his eyes. "Can buy my own cookies and books now."

He could feel his mate’s tiredness, and it wasn’t anywhere near enough to cause Aya to suddenly fall asleep on him, just like he was pretending to do. Especially after he returned some more of man’s energy. "Aya, stop faking."

He was glared at for calling his mate out, and a distinctly grumpy Aya rolled over and presented him with his back. Not about to let the matter drop now, not when he wasn’t feeling any pain from his mate for mentioning something with bad memories associated with it, he pressed against Aya’s back and hugged him close, his lips skimming along Aya’s shoulder. "Love, it’s just a date." At least, he hoped that was the case.

Aya was quiet for a few seconds. "It’s two weeks after the summer solstice," he said in a quiet voice.

First Yohji felt thrilled that he’d finally gotten an answer out of his reticent lover, and then he felt disappointment over the fact that he’d long ago missed the chance to celebrate the date. "Aya, why didn’t you-" He mentally cursed himself as an idiot as he thought about why Aya hadn’t said anything about the day around that time. That was when he was still fighting the depression over losing his sister and best friend.

"It’s not a big deal," Aya said as he hugged Yohji’s arms tightly about him. "I haven’t celebrated it in years, I guess I fell out of the habit. And it seems… I don’t know, rather silly to make a big deal about it every year when you know you’re going to live for centuries."

He never thought about how being a bound would affect something as simple as a birthday. He was definitely going to run out of ideas for presents…. "Aya, I’d still love to celebrate the day with you. I want to buy you presents and have an excuse to stay up here all day long." He smiled when he won a rare chuckle from his mate and kissed the back of his neck. "Next year we’re definitely celebrating it, I’m warning you now."

Turning around, Aya shook his head, but there was a slight smile on his face. "You don’t have to-"

He cut his mate off before Aya could once again say he didn’t need to buy any presents. "Jo always makes a big cake for our birthdays. We were gone for Touya’s, but Teddy’s is in another couple of weeks, so you’ll have a taste of the cake then. She always makes lots and lots of buttercream frosting and whatever kind of cake batter the person wants. I’m sure she can do something with almonds for you," he said, barely able to hold back on a smile when Aya’s eyes glazed over. "There’s enough to eat for several days." Nothing like using his mate’s sweet tooth to get his way.

Aya purred softly as he tucked his head beneath Yohji’s chin. "You fight dirty," he said after a minute.

"Of course, that way I’m guaranteed to win." Since he had a good part of a year to talk his mate around, he dropped the subject for now rather than risk upsetting Aya. "Now what are we going to do for the rest of the day? It doesn’t look like the rain’s going to let up any time soon." Not that he minded, really. There was something to be said to have an excuse to spend the day in bed with the man he loved.

"Hmmm." Aya kissed him on the shoulder and seemed to think about the question. "A soak would be nice, and dinner."

"It shouldn’t be too crowded tonight because of the weather, so we should go downstairs and listen to Koyu play." And maybe he could talk his mate into a dance or three. "What do we do until then?"

Aya looked up and gave him a wicked grin. "You could let me take a nap and then we can discuss the merits of your awesome ass as a present some more."

He leaned down to kiss his lover’s forehead. "Go to sleep, Cat. I want to spend a nice, long time on that ‘discussion’." He laughed when Aya snorted in amusement but did as he’d been told. Feeling his mate settle against him and slowly fall asleep, he stroked his hands lightly along Aya’s arms and shoulders while staring out the window. Rainy days were fast becoming favorites of his, as much as for the opportunity to curl up beside his mate as the chance to talk about things, to gently pry Aya from his shell. Although it was a very good thing they were immortal, with the rate they were going. Still, it was an improvement of sorts, he thought as he very carefully, so as not to disturb Aya, reached for the cookies.


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