“You know,” Miho sniffed, standing in front of the full length mirror as Jazz tried to pin flowers in her hair, “I don’t know why I couldn’t have just eloped…ow!”
“Sorry,” Jazz smirked after sticking her with a bobby-pin a little too hard. “Sit your tall ass down.”
Grumbling way too much for her wedding day, Miho complied.
“And you know why,” Jazz continued, repositioning a rogue curl. “As mother and father of the bride, not to mention your BFF, it would kill me not to be able to celebrate this with you properly.”
“My revenge is going to be so sweet,” Miho promised, grinning that evil grin.
“Bah, quit acting like this isn’t the happiest day of your life,” Jazz scoffed, and Miho sighed. “Sorry, still can’t quite kick the old defence mechanism. I can’t help but think I’ll step out of here and all that’ll be waiting is…”
“The man who is crazy enough to love you,” Subaru finished, having snuck in behind them with Rose and H hot on his heels.
“Come on Subaru,” Rose growled. “You’re supposed to be keeping Goto calm.”
“Kurosawa has everything under control,” he declared.
“Be the first time,” Miho laughed.
“Okay, Issei is managing affairs and Kurosawa is already sobbing,” Subaru admitted, moving in beside Jazz and peering at Miho’s reflection. “But I couldn’t risk Jazz messing up your hair.”
“I’ll mess you up,” Jazz hissed, and Miho snickered.
“Okay, it’s worth it just for this sideshow,” she grinned. “Especially you in the pinstripes.”
Subaru glanced down at his grey pinstripe suit and shrugged.
“Yeah, but it looks good on me,” he pointed out.
“You’re right,” Miho volleyed. “Seiji looks better without it.”
“Seriously, no dragging him off to any dark corners under the reception is over,” Jazz warned.
“They don’t have to be dark,” Miho announced, and Rose and H chuckled.
Then another person peeked in.
“Oh my!” Haruka exclaimed, scuttling in and snatching up Miho’s hand. “You are a vision.”
“Thanks Mum,” Miho smiled, though it was still a bit weird calling someone that after so many years.
“I think I’m going to cry,” she whimpered, and Subaru put an arm around her shoulder.
“You’ll be in good company,” he told her.
Then Miho stood.
“Okay, time to get this show on the road before I forget all my lines.”
“How many are there?” H asked.
“Umm… I didn’t count,” Miho admitted. “Honestly, my memory is crap. Performing my vows in interpretive dance would have been easier.”
“Your style of ‘interpretive dance’ isn’t suitable for anyone other than Goto,” Jazz reminded her, and they all laughed, even Haruka, though her cheeks had grown a little pink.
“Get out there Subaru,” Miho instructed. “Tell Goto I’m coming.”
“Oh for…” Miho nearly cursed, but held it in for Haruka’a sake. “Get out before I kick you out.”
“Oh my, my Seiji is in big trouble,” Haruka beamed, and Miho relaxed as the woman hugged and kissed her cheek.
“The best kind of trouble,” Miho whispered, then straightened, watching Haruka and Subaru leave before inhaling.
“Well ladies,” she exhaled. “Don’t trip and ruin this for me, or you’re both fired.”
Rose and H knew Miho well enough now to know she was kidding, but Jazz gave her a dig in the ribs anyway.
“Fiiiine,” Miho huffed. “I love you all and thank you for being here with me today.”
A group hug ensued, then, after frocks were straightened, Rose headed out, followed by H, then Jazz offered Miho her arm.
“If I do forget my lines,” Miho said, only now seeming jittery. “Do something embarrassing to buy me some time.”
“You won’t forget,” Jazz assured her, patting the back of her hand as they exited the room into the hall and turned to the garden doors. “And even if you do, just look into his eyes and say what’s in your heart.”
Miho grinned broadly.
“Just keep it clean,” Jazz added, and Miho’s grin only widened as attendants opened the garden doors to the bright sunshine.
In the beautifully manicured garden, bathed in dappled light filtering through tall branches wreathed in green, Seiji and his groomsmen waited before the assembly of friends and family. There was no ‘his and hers’ side, just a mixture of people they held dear, and who knew them as a couple in varying ways.
As music indicated the true commencement of proceedings, Haruka sniffled into her handkerchief at her husband’s side, both dividing their gaze between their eldest son and the imminent arrival of the bridal procession. Ishigami, his hand discreetly in Liana’s, watched on with less stoicism than usual, the faint hint of a smile widening as his wife squeezed his hand.
“Never thought I’d see this happen,” Kyobashi muttered, and Baba nodded.
“Me either,” he agreed quietly, as Rose appeared at the far end of the aisle. “I wonder if he really knows what he’s getting into.”
With a confident, if subdued smile, Rose began her slow walk to the music, making a point to make eye contact with Goto who shifted his weight. Seeing the man a little on edge made her want to grin, but she fought it back on account of the occasion. Kyobashi next drew her attention, and she had to try really hard not to roll her eyes when he winked at her – she was saved, however, when she spied Inui.
He peered at her with an expression of embarrassed awe, the blush in his cheeks suggesting he might like to look away, but his growing smile and wide eyes an indication he simply couldn’t. That look made Rose forget, even if for the moment, what he did for a living, who he worked for, her stoush at the Tres Spades that had definitely ruffled feathers. That boy – not, that man – was worth hanging onto despite the questionable nature of his employment. Somehow, they’d make it work.
H followed, swishing along in her deep blue dress, that like Rose’s matched the groomsmen’s ties. She looked for her own date, Atsumu, and found him beaming at her cheerfully. She’d been a little bit unsure, ultimately, about whether to invite him, but the glimmer in his eyes as he looked at her made her feel more sure… until another familiar figure nearly caused her to stumble.
What the hell was Luke doing here?
It was a question she couldn’t ask right now, but his slightly creased brow and the way his lips slowly parted as he stared at her, made her feel less mad about his presence. By the time she reached Rose’s side at the front of the group of guests, she had focused back in on her task as a bridesmaid and looked back up the aisle as Miho and Jazz appeared.
“Did you breath yet?” Jazz whispered as they paused, but Miho didn’t answer.
Her eyes gazed forward, fixed, completely fixed upon charcoal grey that reached out across the space between them and coiled around her heart.
“You’re going to pass out in front of everyone if you don’t inhale soon,” Jazz prompted, and finally Miho breathed in.
From his place at the front, the moment Goto locked eyes with Miho he was awash with a deep and jarring despair. On the happiest day of his life to date, he beheld his future wife as if the distance between them was suddenly insurmountable; dread made him cold, from somewhere tackled by the echo of a painful realisation they could not be together.
Then Miho took a step toward him.
Warmth returned, shattering the dark foreboding that had settled around Goto, and Miho’s smile reassured him they would be moving forward into the future together.
This was the second time for Miho, and as she walked, happy and proud to have Jazz with her – not even thinking about her parents at all – she made a momentary comparison. Did this feel the same as when she’d married Daisetsu?
It felt now, despite how trouble she still was by her part in his death, that it had been destined. Ultimately, there was a distinct rightness to her being in that place, approaching the man she approached, with the intention she had. To be with him forever.
Sure as he was also about what he wanted, when Jazz took Miho’s bouquet and bride and groom joined hands, his hold on her was light, tentative, like he thought she might disappear in a puff of smoke.
“I’m sorry for breaking tradition,” he said suddenly, before the wedding officiator could open his mouth, and Miho felt the soft warmth of Goto’s lips on hers.
Both Jazz and Subaru shook their heads wryly, while there was a ripple of quiet laughter from other guests.
“Hey you two, save it for the honeymoon,” Subaru grumbled, and sheepishly, blushing profusely, Goto slid his hands back into Miho’s and stepped slightly back.
“Who cares about tradition anyway?” Miho grinned, entirely unabashed as usual.
Official words were spoken, though for the most part in Japan marriage did not required any particular ceremonial formalities. This allowed Miho and Goto to agonise over their own vows, and finally it was time for Miho to open her heart in front of her lover, and all the people who loved them.
Slowly she inhaled, looking down as she gathered her thoughts and her emotional courage.
“I loved once – so much – I thought it was the definition of happiness,” she began after a deep breath, after lifting her eyes to Goto’s once more. “And when it was taken from me, the world fell away so far I didn’t dare imagine loving again.”
Silence – even the birds in the garden seemed to have hushed.
They were sad words, and most people in attendance knew what she was talking about; Goto knew all too well.
“So I went in search of happiness for others,” she continued soberly, her eyes shining though she was determined not to cry, “because dreaming of it for myself, the idea of giving everything only to fall into the abyss of loss all over again, was far too great a risk.”
Now, the squeeze of Goto’s fingers around hers almost undid her, she almost had to bite her lip.
“And then, here is this guy,” she huffed out. “So honest and genuine, so dedicated to justice, to doing right by people… he made me realise something.”
For a few seconds she paused.
“I realised,” she resumed in the quiet, “I would brave that darkness, that agony, a thousand times… for just one kiss. I realised living without him would cause me far greater pain than any distress the future might hold, and that I would rather live one second with him, than all eternity without.”
In unison, Kurosawa let out a loud sob that broke the magic of the moment, and while Issei passed the blubbering grown man a tissue, Goto glared over his shoulder until Miho tugged on his hands.
“See? Our love is so beautiful it makes grown men cry,” she smirked, adlibbing a little while others dabbed their eyes here and there. “And I know that no matter what we face in the future it won’t break me, because we will work through it together, always. Let me be your wife.”
A brief silence ensued though Goto knew that was his cue. Again he was searching her eyes, a deep familiarity that extended well beyond the time they had spent together in this life.
“There is something in your eyes, that leaves no room for doubt,” he said finally, soberly. “I saw it the first time we met, and though I lack the words to… to truly describe it…”
Though he’d surely rehearsed his vows a hundred times, Goto found the words sticking in his throat now he was there in the very moment their happiness would be validated before friends and family.
“There is a timelessness to my love for you,” he continued finally, releasing one of her hands in order to tenderly cup her cheek, “an immeasurable amount stretching all the way back to the first spark of our existence, burning all the way to this moment. Burning beyond it. Forever.”
Miho’s lips trembled and her eyes stung – she was completely transfixed by him. Haruka was already weeping, Shinichi lightly, discreetly caressing her hand. Liana, sitting beside her own husband, inhaled a deep, sighing breath and dropped her head against Ishigami’s shoulder, causing his lips to twitch into a reserved but genuine smile.
And Kurosawa snorted inappropriately into his handkerchief, his eyes all puffy and red from crying.
“I promise to face every challenge with you, beside you, together, no matter what,” Goto declared, finally smiling, and that broke Miho’s composure. “Let me be your husband.”
“I love you so much,” Miho sniffed, stepping against him and kissing him fiercely.
Jazz offered the officiator an apologetic look.
No one laughed this time though – they were either beaming at the power of the couple’s spoken sentiments and physical reflection of them, or moved to, or beyond the point of tears.
When they parted, Goto brushed Miho’s tears away, holding back his own with all his willpower.
“And I love you, so much,” he whispered, and the master of ceremonies inched closer to them again before they could resume snogging.
“I have been asked to omit what is traditionally included in western ceremonies about asking if anyone has objections to this union,” he announced. “Instead, anyone who does find themselves in disagreement, should take it up with Ms. Mann and Mr. Ichiyanagi.”
“And us,” Rose and H added staunchly.
“And us,” Issei and Kurosawa added with severe nods.
But not a single person dared.
“In that case,” the officiator stated, “please join me and congratulating Mrs. and Mrs. Goto.”
While everyone applauded and cheered, Goto and Miho found each other again, and remained that way, long after hands had become sore from clapping.
“Completely oblivious,” Subaru muttered.
“It’s so beautiful,” Kurosawa snivelled to Issei, who chuckled and put his arm around the other man’s shoulder.
“How long before they tear each other’s clothes off you think?” H asked Rose quietly.
“I give them about ten minutes,” Rose smirked, unable to help but glance out to where Inui was sitting, still clapping but staring at her, not the happy couple.
As Miho and Goto began back down the aisle, accepting personal well wishes as they went, H glanced across the heads of those seated to find Luke at the end of one row… now sitting next to Atsumu.
Luckily she wouldn’t have to deal with that for a little while longer, and at some point during official photographs, H would make a point of asking Miho why she invited Luke, when she’d known for a fact Atsumu was coming as her date.
Typical Miho – matchmaking even on her own wedding day.
“Creating drama more like,” H murmured to herself as she followed Jazz and Rose in Miho’s wake.
In the majestic Japanese garden, the bridal party posed for innumerable photographs in order to immortalise the occasion. Rose felt her fingers itching the whole time, wanting desperately to sketch each precious moment, rather than be standing still for Jinpachi to capture.
There was not a second that husband and wife were not physically connected in some way, and Rose thought that occasionally she caught sight flashes of fear in them that if they did, one or the other would disappear.
Rose understood this feeling now, truly understood it.
“What’s that look for?” Rose asked H, when the group photos were done and they were excused to join the rest of the reception by the pond.
“I invited Atsumu,” H replied, though Rose already knew that. “But… Luke is here.”
“Ooh,” Rose cringed. “You want to grab a drink before you handle that one?”
“Just one?” H sighed, then inhaled and squared her shoulders. “Nah, I got this.”
The ceremony part of the wedding had been a huge success, and H hadn’t tripped or fallen, or made a fool of herself on Miho’s big day. Now it was just the reception she had to get through, with Atsumu…and for some reason Luke. Who the hell had invited him? Why was he there? She had no idea, but one thing was for certain, she was going to try her best to avoid him. And that’s what she was doing, hiding, right in one corner of the garden, with her glass of champagne, making sure Atsumu was covering her from anyone’s view.
“You sure you’re ok?” Atsumu asked for the 100th time.
“Huh? Oh yeah of course I am!” she grinned widely.
“It’s just you’ve refused to move from this spot since we got here,” he chuckled.
“Sorry!” she replied, genuinely feeling bad.
“It’s ok, I don’t mind, but the bride and groom deserve some of your attention too,” he smiled.
He was way too kind; she was thankful that Jazz and Kuni had set her up with him and she obviously had some doubts, but bringing him to the wedding just proved how patient and kind he was. Maybe this time she wouldn’t lose interest.
“You’re right. Should we go say congrats?” she asked.
“Why don’t you go over and I’ll follow? Just need the bathroom,” he said, kissing her forehead briefly.
“I erm…ok,” her eyes shifted round the space, analysing everyone within it.
If she found him, she could avoid him, if she didn’t then maybe he’d left. She spotted Miho and her new groom not too far away at the head table ready for the next activities to begin. Their first dance would be soon, so she had to act fast. Mentally, H planned a route in her head, gave the area one last glance for red hair before she rushed over.
Using her fancy footwork, she scooted and dodged over to the newly-wed couple, quite literally bumping into Miho.
“Oh sorry darlin’!” she said, quickly turning to apologise, but keeping low in the crowd.
“H, you ok?” Miho asked, looking further down to her than usual.
“Fine! Just fine, congrats you two! Such lovely vows!” she said, still half crouching.
“…Thanks, but are you sure you’re ok?” Goto asked.
“Oh just fine sir, honestly!” she laughed.
The couple looked at each other with a doubtful expressions, but smiled nonetheless; this was H, she was just plain weird, this was normal for her.
“Well, thank you H, thanks for being here,” Miho chuckled.
“Nah, thanks for inviting me! You two are so meant for each other, but make sure you look after her Mister Goto sir, because Miho’s pretty awesome!” H said, and that’s when she spotted the ginger hair not too far.
Uh oh. She had to get out and back to her safe corner before he saw her.
“Well, it was good seeing you to congratulate you both, and may I can steal Miho for a dance later sir but right now, I gotta go pee!” she said, zipping off again, leaving Miho and Goto a little confused.
“She’s…interesting,” Goto laughed.
“That’s H for you,” Miho smiled. “But you’re way more interesting right now,” she grinned, pulling him in for yet again another kiss.
Almost back at her corner, H keep ducking around people, apologising to those who she bumped into. She could see safety in sight, her spot wasn’t far, and yet…
“Yes?” she turned, still slightly crouched.
“Why are you crouching like that?” Luke asked.
“And I could ask what you’re doing here, but I’m not!”
What kind of come-back was that?
“Erm, the bride invited me,” he explained and H stood up.
“What? How do you know Miho?” she asked.
“You’d left your necklace in the car, I was just returning it to your offices and Miho thanked me by inviting me,” he explained.
Damn it Miho! If it wasn’t her wedding she was totally…well, she was in big trouble after this. Wait, he knew where she worked?
For a moment she occupied herself with guests twirling and swaying on the dancefloor, but then saw Atsumu looking for her. Oh no. No, he couldn’t see her talking to this guy, he’d wonder what was going on and she had to explain everything and…no too much effort for a possible new relationship. So, once the song ended and couples parted, new couples formed, she grabbed Luke by the collar and took him to a corner.
“How do you know where I work?” she asked.
“A butler has ways of finding things out…Master Jan explained,” he said blushing.
“So, why were you crouching?” he asked again.
“None of your business,” she said simply. “Look, just because Miho invited you doesn’t mean I want you to be here, ok? You’re a pain in the neck! And you were a right dick to me when we first met, so stay away from me alright?”
“I wish to apologise for that! I didn’t know your job then, I didn’t know you then.”
“You don’t know me now!”
She saw Atsumu getting closer, she wanted to go back to him, to someone who hadn’t seen her the way Luke had. “If you’ll excuse me”
“A dance?” he asked as she pushed past him.
“May I have one dance? To apologise? I know you can so…”
His cheeks blushed bright red.
“I have a date who’ll probably want to dance,” she replied.
“Oh, you came with someone, of course you did, my apologies, please, excuse me then,” he said in a rush, hiding his blushing face before he quickly left.
Relieved, H made her way over to Atsumu who promptly asked her to dance which she fully accepted.
Luke on the other hand, gave his congratulations to Miho and Goto before heading out of the venue. He knew he was in trouble, not from H, or his highness, or even his grandfather, no, more from the feeling in his chest seeing this woman he didn’t know all that well, dancing with another man. He’d fallen for her, and he’d fallen hard.
Rose watched H disappear into the crowd before she turned her attention back to the beautiful Japanese garden she was stood in. Everyone stood over by the pond and from the distance away from everyone, it was almost like she was an ‘onlooker’ intruding on such a joyous occasion.
It was nothing like that. Over by that pond were her friends and people she considered as close as family. It was a beautiful moment and she wished she had her sketchbook on her, but unfortunately it had been confiscated.
The happy couple glowed compared to everyone else. Even their faint smiles appeared like broad grins. Rose was a little surprised they actually hadn’t sneaked off yet. Good thing she didn’t make an actual bet with H, she would have lost.
It was such a happy day.
“It’s a really pretty venue, and um, you, you look really beautiful too.”
A shy and familiar voice sounded next to her.
Instantly she smiled in response.
“Thank you,” Rose whispered and leant into Ryosuke’s side. “Thank you for coming.”
She looked at him, his skin that cute shade of blush he always wore whenever she was affectionate with him. He looked good in a suit, more masculine and mature despite the colour of his face.
He looked straight ahead as he wrapped an arm around her shoulder and allowed her body to melt alongside his.
She let out a soft sigh.
Somehow, after watching Miho and Goto and all the shit they had gone through together, she realised they would be okay. His job didn’t make him the person he is, nor did Mr. Oh. Ryosuke Inui was still that soft hearted, sweet and gentle boy she’d grown to adore entirely. And the person she realised she couldn’t be without.
“Well, even if I didn’t want to come, I figured if I didn’t, you wouldn’t be the only one to come after me.”
He let out a little chuckle and his head turned towards Miho and Goto and even Jazz.
“I still can’t believe you did that, y’know came looking for me. You even went to the penthouse while Mr Ichinomiya was there!”
Ryosuke seemed to grimace at the mention of that name and Rose’s hackles went up too. He was not a man she wanted to have frequent encounters with.
“Do you still not get it?” Rose asked and Ryosuke turned so he was fully facing her with a questioning brow and a slight cock of his head. Like a puppy.
“I will go through the depths of hell – in this case that penthouse lounge. Thankfully Kisaki wasn’t there or I may have been arrested before I got to you, but that’s besides the point.”
Rose took a breath to get to the point she was trying to make.
“I love you and I want to be with you.”
The sound of everything around them dulled out the palpable tension. They had this conversation already but Ryosuke still seemed to doubt a little – understandably so, but that didn’t mean she had to like it.
Warmth surrounded her as Ryosuke encased her in his arms. His smell drifted into her nostrils and the strength of his arms kept her pressed to his.
“I love you too,” was all he said as he planted a kiss on the top of her head.
They stayed like that for a moment before Miho, probably annoyed that because she was centre of attention she couldn’t sneak off for private Goto affection, called Rose over.
Ryosuke took Rose’s hand and they walked together towards the happy couple.
They were going to be alright.
“And now, ladies and gentlemen,” Subaru said into the microphone, and the noise of the reception fell away, “our newly-weds will share their first dance as husband and wife.”
Placing her hand in Goto’s, Miho allowed him to lead her to the now otherwise empty dance floor. There, in the centre, with all eyes on them, he pulled her body gently against his.
“How you doing being the centre of attention?” Miho whispered, her lips curled into a teasing smirk.
“So long as I’m the centre of your attention,” he replied easily, sliding his hand along the soft satin of her gown to the small of her back, “I can put up with the other gawkers.”
“That’s my brave husband,” she grinned, as the gentle rhythm of Savage Garden’s ‘I Knew I Loved You’ began to play.
“I love the sound of that,” he told her frankly, leading and Miho followed.
“Well, it’s reality now whether you like it or not,” she chuckled.
Around them seemed somehow to grow dim, though the multitude of candles in the garden continued to burn brightly. The only thing that seemed to illuminate was them, was each other; the dark coiled around them created by their absolute focus, on each other; they were alone, moving to the sound of the other’s beating heart, and completely comfortable with that.
“Still feels like a dream,” Goto exhaled, spinning her gracefully.
“Right?” she responded. “If I wake up, I’m going to throw the biggest tantrum.”
“Nobody wants that,” he laughed, tightening his grip. “You know I really meant what I said in my vows,” he continued. “Ever since I first saw you, I’ve had this inexplicable feeling of loss.”
“Loss?” she repeated, her brow twitching into a frown.
“Like I’ve been living my life all this time incomplete, and only realised it when I met you – that missing piece.”
Miho blinked. His vows had been powerful enough, but this addition, the sheer absoluteness of his gaze, rocked her completely – all the way back to a moment in time very long ago she couldn’t quite remember, when they had said their goodbyes but promised one day to be happy.
“You’ve already ruined my makeup once,” she grumbled, her voice wavering as she pressed her cheek to his and closed her eyes.
“Still beautiful,” he smiled, ceasing his movements to distance her face a little, his thumbs brushing her cheeks. “And mine.”
“I’m not much for being considered a possession,” she told him quietly, but he could hear her perfectly, her voice the only thing echoing in the world, “but I’m going to let you get away with it, just for today.”
Again they kissed… and kissed… and kissed… until Jazz poked Miho in the ribs.
“Even for you, sex in the middle of a dancefloor would be over the top,” she said, and though Miho seemed unbothered by the remark, Goto’s face flushed. “And it’s my turn to dance.”
Naturally, Miho thought she meant Jazz wanted to dance with her, but it was to Goto she turned.
Still blushing, he smiled and nodded, but was definitely reluctant to let Miho go.
“Rude,” Miho huffed, then looked to her left to find Kuni standing there.
“Would you do me the honour?” he asked flashing his best smile and bowing a little.
“Well, since Jazz stole my husband, it only makes sense,” she shrugged, and allowed Kuni’s hand to rest on her hip.
For a really loooong thirty seconds they danced without speaking, until Miho broke the silence.
“I forgive you,” she declared, “if you care. I mean, if Jazz can, and marry you, then I don’t want there to be any enmity between us. But don’t think I’ll ever forget though; Jazz is my best friend; it’s my job to protect her.”
“Think maybe we could share that responsibility?” he enquired hopefully, and Miho let out a snort.
“Sure,” she conceded.
“I’m pretty certain Goto is getting told something similar,” Kuni laughed, relaxing a little. “Seriously, you girls are scary.”
“Best not to forget that,” Miho grinned.
Only a couple of feet away Goto was putting his hand on Jazz’s waist, clearly not as comfortable as he had been when holding Miho.
“So, you know that I am her best friend,” Jazz casually said when Goto started to dance with her, a bit wooden but at least he wasn’t stepping on her toes.
“And you know that I consider her my sister, right? That makes you my brother-in-law.” She let him twirl her once before he nodded.
“That is fine with me.”
“And since I’m practically the mother AND the father of the bride today, that also makes you my son-in-law. Twice.”
He hesitated, this was getting scary.
“Just to make this clear: I love her. She’s part of my family, and with marrying her, so are you. You are a good man, Seiji Goto. Now you better be good to her.”
With a smile she stepped aside when H came to ask for the next dance with Goto.
For some time the bride and groom were separated, as everyone wanted their chance to dance with them.
By the time main course was served, Miho was glad to return to the bridal table and lace her fingers back through Goto’s.
“It would be wrong of us to disappear before cake and speeches, right?” Miho asked rhetorically against Goto’s ear, and he turned his face.
“You dreading them that much?”
“Are you kidding?” she scoffed. “Jazz and Subaru have been at each other’s throats the whole planning process – I get the horrible feeling this is going to be a contest.”
“That might be amusing,” Goto smirked, his hand leaving hers to give her thigh a squeeze under the table.
“That depends how many embarrassing stories Subaru knows about you,” Miho pointed out. “And I can guarantee Jazz knows some real doozies about me.”
“You think they’d do that?” he frowned a little. “I mean, this should be about us, not, separately, but together. We’re not that embarrassing.”
“We could be,” Miho grinned wickedly.
“I could just…” she began to sink in her chair. “… just slide under the table here and…”
Goto caught her just as Jazz looked over at them.
“Don’t even joke about it,” he grumbled. “Believe me, all I want right now is you wrapped around me.”
“I heard that,” Issei muttered from behind them.
“Don’t start with me Issei,” Miho smirked. “I saw who you were cuddling up with.”
Goto raised an eyebrow, while Issei blushed – the same way Goto did when he was embarrassed.
“Who was he cuddling up with?” Goto questioned, eying his brother like the answer might be written on his face.
To that, Miho did not reply, but if the guy was going to flirt with the dessert maker in a busy space filled with family and friends, it wasn’t as if he was hiding his same sex attraction.
“Who?” Goto persisted, and Issei put his hand on his brother’s shoulder.
“I’ll tell you all about it when you get back from your honeymoon okay?” he offered with a smile and a nod to Miho, who grinned back.
“Oooh it’s a happinessalanche,” she squealed, squeezing Goto’s arm. “Ah, Christ you smell good.”
“Happinessalanche?” he repeated with a chuckle.
“Totally a thing,” Miho shrugged, and inhaled deeply against him.
“Stop sniffing the groom,” Jazz chastised, next to come up behind them.
“Weirdo,” Subaru added smugly, arriving at Jazz’s side.
He then clinked a spoon against his glass, drawing the attention of the guests to the small group of bridal couple and their closest friends.
“Dear guests, Mr. and Mrs. Goto – annoying wedding planner – we are here tonight not only to celebrate the love of two people who obviously can’t keep their hands off each other-“ he began only to get interrupted by some ‘awww’s and a ‘gross’, much to the amusement of most of the guests. “-we are also here test the bond between Miho and Paja- I mean Seiji.”
“Usually the best man holds an embarrassing and totally overblown speech on the groom and the bridesmaid holds a sickly sweet and emotional speech on the bride. Well, as some if you might already know, Miho isn’t a fan of sickly sweet and Goto isn’t a fan of – well, I’m not even sure if he’s a fan of anything other than Miho.” This time Jazz earned some laughter.
“So we decided to change things up a bit, fitting to this not really traditional wedding and definitely not traditional couple.” Subaru was looking at Miho intently before his gaze flitted to Goto.
“So instead of telling you how the couple met and how they fell in love – I’m sure we are all tired of that story already – and the nature of the groom’s job doesn’t allow us to say too much-“ Jazz was just saying when Subaru interjected: “Just as the bride’s job, too.”
“Yes, thank you, Subaru. So since confidentiality and honest speeches just don’t go well together, we thought we are going to tell you a tale. A tale of olden times.”
Just on cue Kuni joined them, a paper model of a sailing boat in hands.
“So, once upon a time in a far off land there was a feared pirate,” Jazz began and pulled a doll out of a bag she was holding. “As some of you might know, Miho was an assassin in a past life. But she was also a pirate in – well, in another past life. Pirate Miho was sailing the seven seas, following her whims and wishes, but she was more like a Robin Hood with a tricorne.” She held the small pirate doll over the ship that Kuni kept moving on imaginary waves.
“She was strong and beautiful, desired by many and feared by many other more. But she was also just and fair, her crew loyal not only because of her generosity, but because she genuinely cared. Of course she mostly showed it in a roundabout way, she was blunt and honest to the point of hurting sometimes.”
H and Rose chuckled at this, and Miho laughed out loud, squeezing Goto’s hand while he smiled at her, mostly enjoying seeing his wife happy and carefree like that.
“But most of all she was lonely, the life of a pirate princess not an easy one.”
The audience erupted in a collective ‘awwww’ before Subaru took over.
“At the same time there was a small island, one mostly unbeknown to men, inhabited by a single – let’s call it person. A creature of legend, wearing a pinstriped fishtail whenever it entered the sea.”
Subaru pulled a mermaid doll out of the bag and let it float in the air over his palm that represented the island.
“On the land he looked like a normal man…”
Subaru tugged at the merman’s tail, pushed it up to reveal a pair of pinstriped clad legs. Miho whispered something to Goto, probably something inappropriate judging by his reaction.
“… But in the water he was completely different, practically undercover.”
Even Ishigami’s lips curled into a tiny smile at that one.
“He was just as lonely as pirate Miho was, and after some disappointing encounters with humans he decided it was better that way. He was a siren, a creature that lured others in, but never let them come close.”
“Although pirate Miho was a human woman, made of flesh and bones – she was pretty much a siren herself.”
Jazz let the doll navigate closer to the siren island and someone hooted in the audience. Subaru nodded knowingly. Jazz shot him a glare and he cleared his throat.
“So what do we have so far? Two lonely souls, fated to a life in solitude? That would be too much of sad tale for such a happy occasion, so let’s bring the story along.”
He nodded towards Jazz who gave Kuni a signal.
“One day Miho was sailing in rough sea, and she went overboard. Of course her crew was trying to find her, save her, but alas! Miho stayed lost.”
She let the doll jump from the ship and Kuni whispered something to her before he stepped away, taking the boat with him.
“She held onto a barrel – formerly filled with whiskey – and floated helplessly around. Especially frustrated by the ‘helpless’ part.”
“Damn right!” Miho shouted and Goto chuckled, and pulled her back into his arms before she could stumble into the display in front of them.
“Yes, thank you for your affirmation of this part. Anyway, while she was floating around, angry that the whiskey was already gone, when she came close to the island of Goto.”
Jazz waved the small doll back and forth, getting closer to Subaru’s hand with each turn, something he noticed with a smug grin.
“Siren Goto was living a rather dull life, one boring day followed the other. But then he noticed something drifting in the sea, close to his home. There was a woman dancing on the waves or so it seemed, the first sign of something different and new. And after an eternity alone he couldn’t help but get excited. He jumped into the water and swam to the barrel, only to find the feistiest and prickliest creature he had ever seen.”
Another bout of laughter, some ‘hey’s and a ‘booo’ from Miho.
“Give her a drink, maybe that’ll shut her up!” Rose suggested only for H to grab a bottle and walk over to Miho.
The bride first first the bottle, then an unladylike swig, followed by a hearty ‘arrrr’.
“With her natural charm and her loveliness, however, she charmed him, and he sang her songs of love and devotion to make her stay.”
Now both dollies hovered over Subaru’s outstretched palm, forcing Jazz and Subaru to stand closely together.
“We could tell you now about how Miho’s pirate heart yearned for freedom, how much she longed to go back to her old life, with her crew and her ship – but let’s face it, that would be a lie. And although her crew did miss her dearly, they knew she was happy somewhere, no longer alone but with someone who loved her and who she loved in return.”
Jazz shrugged apologetically.
“Sorry, we can’t do this without a bit of sappy romance stuff after all.”
“And the moral of this story is, sometimes two people, different as they may seem, are just the perfect match.”
Subaru closed their story, nudged Jazz’s shoulder, and with a sigh she moved the doll when he moved his doll, making them kiss.
The bridal couple copied their dolly versions, although thanks to Miho’s effort their kiss wasn’t as innocent.
“Now let’s raise our glasses to a love that obviously was meant to be, in this life and in others before.”
Jazz took a glass of champagne from a tray that the servers were carrying around.
“To Miho and Seiji!” Subaru said, and everyone repeated the toast.
After a sip he whispered towards Jazz: “See? We are make a good team, you and me. If you weren’t that stubborn all the time we could have lots of fun. You know, the best man and the bridesmaid…”
Jazz chuckled dryly.
“I’m not stubborn, I just have standards. And now excuse me, I’m going to kiss my own husband now.”
With a nod she left him standing there, the Goto doll still in his hand.
“Yoink!” Miho chirped, plucking the Goto dollie from Subaru’s grip. “I’m going to keep him for when Seiji is on an op.”
“Size is about right,” Subaru snickered, and Goto narrowed his eyes at him. “What? You don’t want the Miho doll?”
“No thanks,” Goto volleyed. “That doll is the only thing of her I’m going to let you have.”
“Harsh,” Issei chuckled, joining them.
“Come on you guys, get your butts out there for the bouquet toss,” Miho encouraged.
“That’s for the girls,” Subaru sniffed, and Miho too his arm and shoved him into motion.
“Don’t gender stereotype,” she chided, then called attention to the other guests. “Okay folks, if you’re single and looking for marital bliss, here’s your chance this evening to get yourself a little luck – though I do have to say as a professional matchmaker, that the effectiveness of catching the bridal bouquet in landing you the perfect partner is not yet proven.”
Guests once again laughed, as the single female guests began to move to the centre of the dancing area, the men, and couples watching on with amusement. The only exception seemed to be Kurosawa, who had positioned himself in the middle of the large group of women.
“That guy,” Subaru said, shaking his head, but at his side, Issei felt like he’d really like to join them too.
When almost every single woman had gathered in the middle – even Rose and H had been dragged off with a group of other young women – Jazz was still standing at the side.
“Hey, Miss Wedding Planner, won’t you come and join us? You know the tradition, don’t you?” Kurosawa loudly shouted over the heads of the women around him, drawing the attention towards Jazz who just sighed and shook her head.
“Oh, come on! We are here, too!” H grumbled.
“I can’t,” Jazz cheerfully yelled back, eyes flitting once to Kuni who shrugged with a grin, then to Miho who mirrored that gesture.
“Why not? Don’t want to put pressure on your barkeeper?” someone else asked.
Was that Atsumu?
Again Jazz shared a glance with Kunihiko who put the glass down he was holding and came over to her.
“Now?” he whispered.
“As good as any other time.”
He reached into his pocket and handed her something. Jazz took a deep breath.
“So, there’s something we have to tell you…” Jazz announced and took Kuni’s hand, sliding a wedding band on this finger before he did the same for her.
There were some cheers and confused questions but before the crowd could actually scatter Jazz shook her head.
“Time for congratulations and questions is later, now there is a bouquet to catch!” she laughed, when Kunihiko pulled her close and kissed her.
“So it’s official now?”
He was still holding her in his arms, not caring about the people around them.
“I guess it is. The next party I’m planning is our reception, huh?”
“Jazz, are you married yet?” Miho called, looking over her shoulder. “Can I throw it now?”
“Yeah we’re done, go ahead,” Jazz grinned, giving Kuni a squeeze, whispering the last to him. “We’re so not done.”
“Okay, here we go!” Miho announced, loud and clear as she turned her back to the group. “One, two, three!”
It wasn’t like she needed to worry about hitting a ceiling or anything, being out in the garden, and perhaps that’s why her throw was somewhat unreserved. It was so enthusiastic in fact, that it sailed clean over the heads and reaching arms of the women – and Kurosawa – and landed in the reflexive clutch of Subaru’s hands.
Goto laughing was what Miho saw first before she, and everyone else, turned to stare at Subaru, as he looked at the lovely flowers in his hand, then over at Miho – who smirked – then at Issei to his left as if for an explanation or perhaps help.
What he got, however, was a wink and a grin.
“Well I guess there’s hope for everyone now,” Miho chortled, leaning back against Goto who wrapped his arms around her again.
“Did Issei just wink at Subaru?” he against against her ear.
“That’s the sexiest thing you can manage to whisper to your wife?” she grumbled, deflecting the question.
“The moment we’re alone,” he began again, quietly, a deep and penetrating rumble, “I’m going to peel that dress off you… with my teeth.”
“Better,” Miho sighed, nudging her hips back against him. “Let’s just go now, no one will notice.”
“There’s still the cake,” he groaned, both wanting her to grind on him and not, considering where they were and who was watching.
“Everyone!” Miho said loudly once more. “Who wants CAKE?!”
“You want the cake, now?” Jazz queried with a slight frown, since it was a bit early for that.
“No, I want to smear it all over Seiji’s chest and lick it off,” Miho stated, and Ishigami, who had been standing within earshot, nearly spat out his mouthful of champagne.
Liana, beside him, however, glanced at her husband, then rolled her eyes upward as if imagining that scenario.
“That may be a little… too much,” Ishigami admitted a little shyly.
“You’re terrible, you know that?” Jazz hissed at Miho, but she was shaking her head and couldn’t stop herself from grinning.
“Come ooon,” Miho whined. “I’ve been good right?”
“It’s your wedding! You’re supposed to be here and have a good time all night.”
“She will,” Goto assured Jazz, in a comment more bold than usual. “I promise.”
“Hey, you eloped for a reason,” Miho pointed out. “Instant honeymoon, and don’t tell me you didn’t instant honeymoon.”
“A ridiculous amount of times,” Jazz grinned, and Miho actually stomped like a petulant child. “Oh for fuck’s sake, have your cake and eat it,” Jazz conceded, but she was contemplating grabbing a handful of the carefully crafted wedding cake, and smushing it in Miho’s face.
The real reason she didn’t, is because she knew Miho would only exact revenge, and turn the wedding into a massive food fight.
So Jinpachi lined up once more to get some great photographs of Miho and Goto cutting their cake, that had two little weddingy Domo-kun figures on the top – Miho’s request of course. Goto took that opportunity to thank everyone for coming on behalf of himself and his wife, especially the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and the wedding planner, even though she’d had to fight with Subaru most of the way.
Miho then demanded everyone drink all their booze and party on into the night.
For a little while longer the happy couple circulated, but eventually slipped away. According to Miho’s wishes, however, the party did continue in their absence. Jazz and Kuni basked in their own now openly known marital status; Rose danced against Inui’s chest while he both blush and tried to glare at any man who got too close; Atsumu drew H out of her irritation and had her laughing thanks to his dorky ways, and while dark corners were usually Miho’s thing, it was Issei who found himself willingly cornered, the lips of Yuto Tsuruya weakening the hurt of his unrequited love for Subaru.
“Think anyone will notice we’re gone?” Miho queried in a giggle, as Goto led her by the hand down the flare-lit path to the bridal accomodation – a traditional Japanese building at the back of the property, secluded from the main area.
“Of course they will,” Goto chuckled, glancing back at her.
“Hmm, Lieutenant Goto, you look like you don’t care,” Miho grinned smugly. “Like the cat who got the cream.”
“In a few minutes we’ll find out if that’s true,” he responded, and Miho actually blinked a little in shock.
“I am rubbing off on you,” she laughed as he pulled her up behind him onto the veranda.
“Come here and rub a little more,” he instructed, opening the door to their suite and drawing her inside.