Disclaimer: I don’t own Ryou, Keiichiro, Café Mew Mew or any other Tokyo Mew Mew stuffs, and I don’t plan to. They all belong to Mia Ikumi and Reiko Yoshida.
Rating: G for fluff
Warnings: Shounen Ai, fluff
Authors Note: The first part of the story is supposed to take place 3 years before the end of Tokyo Mew Mew book 7 and the second part is supposed to take place before a la mode starts but after book 7 ends.
3 years ago…
The door to the kitchen fell open. Keiichiro, who had previously been pouring tea, looked up. “What is it, Ryou?”
An exhausted-looking Ryou stumbled in and collapsed into a chair. “The preliminary phase of Project Mew Mew is complete,” he sighed.
“That’s wonderful!” Keiichiro exclaimed. He smiled “And, you’re just in time for tea.”
Ryou stood and shook his head. “No…I should go and get started on the next phase.” He started back over to the door, but just as he was about the leave the room, the opening was closed. Turning around, he saw Keiichiro, a grim expression on his face.
“What is it?” Ryou asked, lacking the energy to be completely confused.
“Ryou,” Keiichiro said seriously, “For the past year, you’ve been depriving yourself of sleep and food, and you haven’t left the café in more than a week. This can’t be good for you. You need to take a break.”
“Keiichiro, this project is more important than me. The world is dependant on this project.” Ryou turned away. “I need to focus everything on the Mew Mew Project.”
Ryou didn’t hear anything for a minute, then: “Ryou, your life might not matter to you, but you matter to me. I can’t stand to see you doing this, and besides, if you become unable to work on the project, who will? I don’t know your father’s notes by heart, and I’m not nearly as talented as you.”
Ryou turned around. “Okay. Just a short break.” He sighed. “Lets go outside. The weather’s nice.”
Ryou took a sip of his tea. It was sweet. He liked sweet tea, but he knew Keiichiro didn’t. He wondered why he had made it that way briefly before Keiichiro asked, “Is everything all right?”
Ryou nodded. “Keiichiro?”
“Yes?” Keiichiro responded.
“Will you always be here to take care of me?”
Keiichiro seemed surprised. “What?”
Ryou half-smiled. “I’m the kind of person who is determined to get things done, no matter the cost. I’m prone to overwork myself. So will you always be here to make sure I’m okay?” After he was done, Ryou looked down, then added, “I want to have you with me.”
Keiichiro smiled. Getting up, he walked over to Ryou, at the opposite side of the table. He untied the white ribbon that held his hair in a ponytail at the nape of his neck and, kneeling, tied it on Ryou’s wrist. “I promise,” he said, completing the bow.
Ryou smiled. “Thank you.”
3 years later
Ryou’s alarm clock buzzed softly. After a few minutes, Ryou opened his eyes slightly and rolled over to turn the clock off. Once silence was restored, Ryou forced himself to sit. It was 6:30 on a Sunday, but he still had to get up. The café would open in an hour.
Ryou pushed himself out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom to shower. The room was slightly humid, which told Ryou that Keiichiro had been there only a short while earlier.
The tepid shower water woke Ryou up but chilled him. Wrapping himself in a towel, he ran to get dressed. First a shirt, then pants, but that was the easy part. Next came the challenge of finding matching socks.
Ryou had a bad habit of keeping an unkempt sock drawer. His socks weren’t sorted in any particular matter and weren’t even matched. Ryou rummaged around and found a sock that he thought he knew where the match to was. Digging around the right side of his drawer, he froze.
He hadn’t found his sock. He had found a long, white ribbon, tied in a bow, tucked neatly away in the side of his drawer. He hadn’t thought about that ribbon in 3 years and now the memory came flooding back…
Ryou shook the voice from his head. Ever since the Mew Mew Project had been completed and the aliens sent away, Keiichiro had been extremely busy, spending more and more time at school and all of his time at the café cleaning or doing some sort of research. Ryou hadn’t asked any questions; he was sure whatever it was had to be important, but it saddened him that he could no longer have tea each afternoon with Keiichiro.
Breaking free of his paralysis, Ryou found another sock and put it on his foot, then grabbed the ribbon and tied it around his wrist. When he was contented by the bow, he headed downstairs to the café. It was show time.
When Ryou entered the kitchen, Keiichiro didn’t look up. “Hey Ryou, these dished didn’t get finished yesterday somehow, so could you help me with them?
Ryou nodded and silently walked over to the sink. “Are the girls here yet?”
Keiichiro walked over to the towel rack to get a dishrag. “Ichigo and Lettuce are sweeping and Zakuro is setting up the dining room. Mint and Pudding aren’t here yet.”
Ryou turned on the sink, careful not to wet his ribbon. “Ah.”
Keiichiro came back over and started to dry the dishes, staring out the window as he did so. “The weather’s nice, isn’t it?”
Ryou didn’t look up. “Yeah…”
Keiichiro continued, “The sky is blue, and the clouds are white…hopefully we’ll get good business today.”
“Keiichiro,” Ryou suddenly said.
“Yes?” Keiichiro said, looking over to Ryou, who was now looking up from the teacup he had just finished. Keiichiro’s eyes moved to the cup, and then to Ryou’s wrist. His eyes widened, but he said nothing.
“What are you doing this afternoon?” Ryou said, his gaze unwavering from Keiichiro’s.
“Nothing, I think, why?” Keiichiro asked.
“Please,” Ryou said, a nostalgic look coming over his face. “Please, can we have tea outside today?”
“Just you and I?” Keiichiro asked, taken aback.
“Just you and I,” Ryou said. “Please?”
“Of course,” Keiichiro responded, smiling a little.
“And,” continued Ryou, “Can we always have tea together, from now on?”
“You really want to?” Keiichiro asked, seeming surprised.
“Yes. Always, just you and I?” Ryou pleaded.
Keiichiro broke into a smile. Taking Ryou’s hand, he said, “I promise.”