Dogs Make Everything Better

A CFV one-shot

Summary: Aichi and Kai, much to the surprise of the Card Capital Squad, decide to get a dog.

Sendou – Kai Residence

Warm and gentle early summer sunlight peeked through the royal purple curtains, illuminating the face of a young man with short blue hair who grimaced at the contact. Realizing that it was indeed morning and it was the long-awaited day, Aichi forced his eyes open, sat up, and looked over at his sleeping partner, mouth hanging open, brown hair completely disheveled.

"Kai-kun. Kai-kun, get up! The day's here!" Aichi whispered excitedly, gently shaking him back and forth. Kai, however, much to the young man's non-surprise, turned over to the other side, his back facing him, pulling a pillow over his head. Aichi exhaled a sigh of frustration.


"You can call me Toshiki, you know," mumbled the other, who was secretly smiling at Aichi's exasperation, trying to keep from laughing. Realizing he wasn't going to get him at out of bed, Aichi huffed, intentionally grabbing one of Kai's purple blankets, and went to the bathroom without another word. Sensing that his favorite blanket was missing moments later, the brown-haired man – about 28 years of age – threw the pillow from off his head and sat straight up, his hair even more disheveled than before.

That Aichi was more mischievous than he let on.

"Can I have my blanket back?" Kai called out as the other gargled and spat out his mouthwash. The blue-haired man – about 27 – wrapped the blanket around his shoulders and walked back to the bedroom. Instead of responding right away, he sat on the edge of the bed and gently placed Kai's hair strands in their proper place – at least, in a way that made his partner look like he didn't just get up, even though he did.

Kai's face turned two shades of red at the gesture, but he made no attempt to stop him. Instead, having regained his composure, he closed his eyes, the repeated sensation of Aichi's fingers gently sweeping across his forehead lulling him in a trance of sorts, with only the sound of chirping birds to be heard and Aichi's soft humming.

"That should do it," his partner announced, placing the purple plush blanket around Kai's shoulders. "It wouldn't make sense for our new family member to look better than you."

Kai huffed jokingly. "Whatever," he said, his playful pout turning into a soft smile as he wrapped the blanket around the other and pulled him closer to him, close enough that their foreheads were touching.

"Someone's sure in a mood this morning," said Aichi in a low tone, his smile evident in his voice. Kai only gripped him closer, resting his chin on his shoulder. He knew he and Aichi had to head out to the adoption center soon, but moments like this were as rare enough as it was. Between Kai's veterinarian job and Aichi's Cray research fellowship, it was a miracle in itself they didn't have to rush out the door first thing in the morning, much less get the entire day off.

"Just let me have this," was the reply. Aichi relaxed even further in Kai-kun's embrace, also taking in and absorbing this rare, slowed-down moment between the two of them. What's even rarer was the fact that Kai-kun was the one who initiated it, but there's a first time for everything.

Aichi, being the first to let go after a few minutes, had last minute preparations to make before the two of them headed out for the day. Kai took the opportunity to finally get dressed, tossing on a faded red t-shirt from his Vanguard European tournament days and black jeans. No sooner had he done so, his phone began to wildly buzz. Looking at the caller ID, he laughed.

"Okay, Miwa, what do you want?" Kai answered, his voice sounding inconvenienced, almost borderline rude, he realized, but only because he knew Miwa, his childhood friend, would understand it as a joke. The other side chortled.

"I would've thought getting an actual job and getting married would've made you a tad bit nicer," replied Miwa, "but so much for that."

"Don't worry, I'm only mean to you."

"Oh, thank you, that makes me feel so much better," returned Miwa, his voice oozing with sarcasm. "Anyway, before you ask, I'm just double-checking if you and Aichi are gonna swing by Card Capital later. Card Capital 1, anyway, not 2 where I work. You do know there's this huge party today."

"Yeah, we will," replied Kai, "but, we're gonna be a little late, so feel free to start without us."

"Heeeh? What, are you guys going on a married couple date or something?" Miwa teased. Kai usually wasn't prone to migraines, but he could definitely feel one coming.

"No. For your information, we're adopting a –" he started to say, but Aichi's voice rang out from the front door, "Kai-kun, hurry up!" Kai pulled the phone from away from his ear and yelled out, "Just a second!"

"Adopting a what now?" Miwa inquired like he didn't quite believe what he'd just heard. But, Kai couldn't afford to waste another second, so he just said, "Sorry, Miwa, we have to go now. We'll see you soon."

"Kai, wait –"

Kai tapped the red button, shoving the phone in his back jeans pocket and met up with Aichi at the front door. He opened the door to let his husband go through first, leaving him to lock the door.

"We'll be back," Aichi said, and Kai short-laughed. It was adorable how he did that.

Card Capital 1

"Miwa, come on, are you sure that's what Kai said?" Naoki, a red-haired man the same age as Aichi interrogated as he, with Morikawa and Izaki's help, put up a light blue, sparkle-covered "Happy Birthday, Aichi!" banner on the back wall, some of the sparkles flying their way onto his plain dark green t-shirt.

"I swear I'm not making this up," the blond-haired man – about the same age as Kai – defended himself, setting down a cake box on the check-out counter. "Kai definitely mentioned something about adoption when I called him."

"But . . . adopting a child? Miwa, really?" the manager of Card Capital, Misaki, chimed in, fixing her lavender hair back up in a bun and picking up a box of additional decorations. "Those two have enough on their plates, and I don't see them adding 'dealing with the expenses of a child' to them."

"I guess you're right," Miwa shrugged his shoulders.

"But, what if Miwa's right though? What if it is a child? Would that make us all adopted godparents?" a dark-blue haired young man, not too much younger than Naoki, spoke up, scratching his head. "Like, would be crazy or what?"

"Kamui . . ." replied Misaki icily, repeatedly beating the palm of her hand with a rolled-up magazine. The younger of the two gulped loudly and hastily went back to setting up additional decorations around the medium-sized shop.

"Well," another young man, also the same age as Aichi, spoke up, pushing up his glasses, "we'll find out when they get here, I guess." Everyone in the shop nodded and went back to their decorating business. Misaki had just finished placing the last of the decorations on the fight-turned-food tables behind a blue curtain when the familiar jingle of bells sounded and Sub-Manager, the resident cat employee, emitted a low-pitch meow welcoming the visitors.

"You'll have to leave. We're closed no-" Misaki almost announced out of pure habit, as many customers had tried to come through despite the signs out front saying Card Capital was closed for the afternoon. But, when she looked up, she saw Aichi and Kai standing at the door . . . with a gold and white dog who was as tall as Aichi's leg when it stood upright. A Shikoku, if Misaki recalled her dog breed names correctly.

"That's no way to talk to customers, Tokura," Kai replied without missing a beat.

"Never mind that," said Misaki. "What's with the dog? Did you decide to take up dog-sitting?"

Aichi gently rubbed the top of their furry companion's head, to which the furry companion panted delightfully, catching the attention of Sub-Manager, who looked at the new furry visitor with annoyance. "Don't misunderstand, Misaki-san," Aichi spoke up. "This one's ours." Kai, of course, nodded in agreement, crossing his arms and smiling with his eyes closed, like a proud father.

Miwa, Naoki, Kamui, and Shingo all looked at each other, not quite sure how to process the latest development in the what did Kai and Aichi adopt saga.

"Yeah, Miwa, that doesn't look like a human child," Kamui broke the silence first, maintaining eye contact with the furry customer.

"Nope," Morikawa nodded.

"Definitely not," Naoki agreed.

"Not in the slightest," Shingo chimed in.

"Doesn't even look anything like a human child," Izaki commented.

"Okay, okay, that's enough. I was wrong. I admit it," Miwa shouted, waving his hand and rubbing his head in frustration.

Aichi and Kai looked at each other, raising one eyebrow each, frowning. Then Kai directed his gaze towards Miwa and asked, "Mind explaining yourself?"

Miwa pointed a finger at Kai. "You're the one to talk. You never said you were adopting a dog. You only told me you and Aichi were adopting."

"Really now?" Kai brought his crossed arms closer to him. "I could've sworn I mentioned that it was a dog when you called –"

"You didn't!"

Aichi giggled at the commotion as he massaged the top of his furry companion's head. The dog wagged his tail happily, soaking up all the attention he was getting, much to Aichi's relief, since the dog had been hiding in the back of his cage at the adoption agency.

From what it sounded like, Miwa had thought they were adopting a child rather than a dog, so it'd only make sense that he and the others would be surprised. The two of them could barely take care of themselves, though, so bringing another human into their already small as it is house was out of the question. Plus, it's easier to deal with dogs and animals in general than with small humans.

"Can I pet him, Big Brother Aichi?" Kamui inquired, having made his way over to the trio.

"Sure, Kamui-kun!" Aichi granted. The dog released a high-pitch squeal as Kamui petted him.

"He's so soft," Kamui commented, ruffling the dog's fur.

"Right?" agreed Aichi, who joined Kamui in showering the canine with affection.

"I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact you two got a dog and not a cat," Naoki chimed in, scratching his head. "Especially since Kai is obviously more a cat person."

"Yeah, that's true," Misaki agreed.

"I figured you'd say that," Aichi laughed. "Our house felt a little lonely, so we figured adopting a dog was the best way to fix that. But, Kai-kun still got to name him, so it's a fair deal, I think."

"Really? What's his name?" Shingo inquired. Aichi opened his mouth to answer but was interrupted by Sub-Manager hissing and the dog growling at each other.

"That's enough, Ryuu," Kai reprimanded, like a parent would scold a misbehaving child. The dog, having sensed his name was called, immediately stopped growling and whined, shrinking back against Aichi's leg. The rest of Card Capital exhaled a collective "Ohhhh."

"Ryuu . . . huh?" Naoki spoke up after a long pause.

"You named the dog Dragon?" Miwa asked, doing his best to contain his laughter, but, in the end, it was futile, and his laugh echoed throughout Card Capital. "Dragon, oh my god."

"Shut up," Kai said, turning away from him, inciting laughter from everyone else present.

"That aside," Aichi interrupted. "Kai-kun told me we absolutely had to stop by Card Capital today, and we had to hurry as soon as we adopted Ryuu, but he wouldn't tell me why . . . Also, that blue curtain wasn't there before, was it? If I remember right, Misaki-san did tell me the shop was being remodeled, but I thought the renovations were done already . . ."

Kai jumped, noting that Aichi was catching onto the surprise, and the rest of the Card Capital inhabitants' shoulders stiffened. Glancing at Miwa's direction, he saw Miwa mouth "Tell him to close his eyes." The brunet sighed and grabbed Aichi by the shoulders.

"Ka-Kai-kun?" Aichi quickly looked up.

"Close your eyes."

"Eh? Why?"

Kai smiled. It's a good thing he hadn't caught on. "Trust me. You'll know." The other raised an eyebrow but did as he was told. After he looked over and saw Aichi's eyes were closed, Kai gave a thumbs-up sign to Miwa, who swung an arm downwards. Naoki, who was standing on a ladder, pulled down the curtain cord, revealing the hard work of the gang's work of the past couple of hours: the slightly off-center, glitter-covered light blue "Happy Birthday, Aichi!" banner on the back wall, enough blue and white balloons to turn Card Capital into a temporary balloon store, and the fight tables all covered with streamers, glitter of all colors, and other party decorations that Kai was sure Miwa got from the party store right down the street.

It's a good thing the adoption process, including the never-ending paperwork, took a little longer than anticipated. All this must have taken a long while to set up, Kai thought. Rubbing Aichi's arms, he whispered, "Okay, you can open your eyes now."

"I thought it was taking a while for you all to–" Aichi started to say, but when he fully opened his eyes, he found the birthday decorations waiting for him and his friends smiling, waiting, no doubt, for his reaction. The blue-haired man unknowingly let go of Ryuu's leash to cover his mouth with both hands, but Kai swooped down and grabbed the leash before it could hit the floor.

"This is . . ." was all Aichi could mutter, tears gripping the corner of his eyes.

Miwa laughed. "Just so you know, we put all the decorations together, but," he pointed a nicer finger at Kai this time, "your husband over there suggested this in the first place."

"I . . ." the blue-haired man glanced at Kai, who only laughed and gently rubbed the small of his back.

"It's your first birthday in Japan in a while, Big Brother, so we needed to go all out," Kamui chimed in, flashing a thumbs up.

"I don't . . . I really don't know what to say . . ." Aichi said, letting the tears roll down his face. He hadn't expected his birthday to be acknowledged, much less a party of this caliber conveniently in the place he forged so many strong bonds with everyone there. "Thank you. Thank you, everyone."

Ryuu cocked his head upwards. Seeing Aichi cry, he let out a small whine and nuzzled against Aichi's leg, concerned for his owner, but the man knelt down and petted him.

"It's alright, Ryuu. These are happy tears," he said, flashing a smile. Ryuu seemed to understand his human was alright, not in any sort of peril, and barked happily in response, eliciting a small mew from Sub-Manager.

"Well, let's get this party started, shall we?" Miwa announced.

Sendou – Kai Residence

After spending several hours at Aichi's Card Capital surprise birthday party, Kai and Aichi, with a mountain of presents and large card in hand as well as Ryuu, made their way back to their house. Aichi had enjoyed the party at Card Capital, but it felt good to be back home after a long day.

"Welcome to your new home, Ryuu-chan," Aichi told the Shikoku who wagged his tail happily at the sound of his human's voice.

"Where do you want your birthday stuff, Aichi?" Kai asked from behind the mountain of presents. Instead of answering the question, the other insisted on helping, but Kai furiously shook his head. "It's your day. You're not doing anything of the sort."

The blue-haired man stared at his husband, then laughed. "I've heard that a lot in the last couple of hours."

"People aren't allowed to do menial stuff like this on their birthday. That's just Doing Birthdays 101," Kai huffed, forcing his way to the dining area. "At least, they shouldn't."

Laughing and without another word, Aichi removed Ryuu's leash and let him scope out his new home so he could adjust. Even if Ryuu didn't entirely understand, Aichi, nonetheless, explained to the dog about the various rooms of the small house, from the dining room to the living room, which stored Kai's various European Circuit Vanguard trophies (for now, anyway).

Kai, in the meantime, organized Aichi's presents in order – by size, by if they were boxes or bags, by cards – since seeing them in a disorganized pile would drive him crazy. Once he finished doing that, he sat down at the kitchen table, watching his husband and their newly adopted furry child roam about the house, with Aichi talking away, and Kai couldn't help but stare, his gaze softening, lips gently turning into a smile.

He had told Aichi that they should adopt a dog, an older dog, because as snug as their small house seemed, it did feel empty, and the emptiness was best filled by an animal. But, there was another reason Kai insisted on adopting Ryuu, one he's kept to himself. Aichi hadn't told him, but Kai knew, from his tossing and turning, his groaning at night, and his tired smile the next day after undergoing such a traumatic ordeal, that he was experiencing vivid nightmares. After the Link Joker incident, Kai too experienced the pain, the immense guilt, and the frustration brought about by lucid dreams of his crimes, and it was only after he confronted that pain head-on with Aichi and the others, when they said that he was forgiven, that he was truly able to recover, enough to the point where the nightmares finally stopped.

But, Aichi . . . His recovery journey was far from over, Kai realized. And it pained him to see the one he loved in such agony, a destructive agony he's willing to keep inside and mask, not wanting anyone to see.

Kai understood that adopting a dog wouldn't solve all of Aichi's problems, but, since Aichi petted practically any stray or leashed dog he saw – which has made the two of them late to very important social functions on occasion (not that Kai minded though) – it's a start. He wasn't the biggest fan of dogs, but, for Aichi, he's willing to change that. He'd do anything, absolutely anything,for him.

Noticing Aichi and Ryuu sitting on the floor in the living room, Kai rose from his chair and wandered over to the duo. Aichi was gently patting the sleeping dog, who was lightly snoring. The brunet looked at Aichi's eyes and, although he seemed exhausted, they were glistening and at peace. It was the calmest Kai had seen him in a while. He reached out and lightly touched the other's shoulder. Aichi grabbed the other's hand with his free one while still petting their newest roommate, their fur child.

"It's late, so if you want to turn in, it's fine. I'll join you later," whispered the blue-haired man. Aichi expected Kai to accept the offer – after all, Kai was a stickler when it came to bedtime – but, instead, he was gently pulled backwards. Sensing Kai behind him, Aichi leaned back further, positioning himself so that he could listen to and be lulled by Kai's steady heartbeat.

"You won't get rid of me that easily," Kai whispered, gently tightening his hold on him. "Especially not tonight."

Aichi laughed softly. "I wasn't trying to get rid of you," he whispered back. Tears forming at the corner of his eyes, he added, "I already tried that once, and look how that turned out."

Kai inhaled sharply. He knew it. "Aichi . . ."

Aichi wrapped his arms around Kai's waist, pressing further against his body. "Thank you for Ryuu, for the party, everything. Thank you for being here with me . . ." a pause. A deep breath. " . . . Toshiki."

A gasp involuntarily escaped from Kai's mouth, but he quickly regained his senses, burying his face in Aich's hair. He had joked about it that morning, but, actually hearing Aichi finally say his name, his first name, was nothing short of a magical, relieving moment. Only his parents had called him by his first name, and he refused to let anyone call him by that name ever since. No one had been close enough, had beaten down the doors of his heart, faced the darkness and terrors of his mind enough, had borne his anguish, his hurt, his agony and pain, for him to let them say his first name.

No one . . . except the one lovingly locked in his embrace, the one who never gave up on him, and never stopped giving him chances.

His eternal mate and, now, his husband. And he couldn't have been more grateful.

"Of course, Aichi. Happy birthday."

A/N: yeah so this was supposed to be submitted on Aichi's birthday, but I didn't get the idea until three days beforehand, so here we are aldkfaskdlfjas. I really wanted to do something for the Blueberry's birthday tho (b/c it's what he deserves), so I was determined to finish this.

Anyway, if you made it this far, thank you so much for reading! Sorry about the angst towards the end - I REALLY meant for this to be purely fluff, but literally Aichi and Kai just. Wanted to be angsty in this fic. Hopefully the fluff makes up for it dlafslkajf. Please leave a review if you can \ .D. /

Also, just b/c I was gonna include this in the story but didn't: do you think having a scene that did show Kai and Aichi picking up Ryuu from the pet adoption center would've been worth it to read or is what I mentioned already good enough? Let me know in your comment! Thank you :D

~Hakase Fudo: June 10, 2019~