Rating/Warnings: R for alien sex and...reproduction? is that a thing I warn for?
Summary: Hashimoto doesn't let a little thing like being different species stand in the way of having everything he wants with Totsuka.
AN: I'm not even sure how this happened *sobs* Midori wrote this shiritori, about how Tottsu and alien-Hasshi fall in love even though they can't touch, and then because I begged her to, wrote also Tonight, the Stars Shine for Us and A Light in the Dark, both of which involve Hasshi and Tottsu figuring out ways around their incompatible biologies. Something about them is just so sweet and full of UST? Anyway, this is all I could think about all last night and today, since she explicitly mentions how Hasshi could get pregnant. I'm sure this will make a lot more sense if you read hers first...inasmuch as any of this makes sense.
Like the Sun (Can't Touch Your Hands)
When they're done, however they do it, Hashimoto almost always uses his fingers to rub some of Totsuka's come into his genital pouches. He's uncharacteristically serious about it, given that Kawai told him that he's never heard of a case of cross-fertilization between a human and one of their species. Sometimes, if Totsuka is still loopy from the amount of anti-histamine he has to be hopped up on for them to manage touching, he'll help with his own fingers, although it's mainly an excuse to run his fingers along Hashimoto's soft grooves and retracted tufts until Hashimoto gets too oversensitive and begs him to stop. Most of the time he just watches Hashimoto do it himself, though; Totsuka has come to enjoy it for the intimate act that it is, to appreciate how Hashimoto is saying without words that Totsuka is his nestmate in every way that matters.
Plus Totsuka finds it hilarious that of all the things, the one part of him which doesn't hurt Hashimoto is his reproductive fluid.
They've been doing it an awful lot lately, despite the effort and/or preparation it entails, simply because it's the dead of winter in the colony, which means it's too cold to do basically anything outside, even during the few hours of daylight they get from the steep tilt of the planet. Not that there is anything to do, other than watch the little robots mist the plants in the underground greenhouse where Totsuka works, or go bother Kawai or Goseki, who happen to room closest, or any of the others. Even if they aren't having sex, they spend a lot of time curled up in their nest now that it's cold enough to wrap themselves in a million blankets as cuddling prophylactics. Kawai and Hasshi worked up a couple blankets tough enough that even their bone spurs won't snag or poke holes, so Totsuka and Hashimoto have been sleeping closer together than they probably ought to, bundled up tight with their backs or sides pressed together.
It takes some effort to untangle themselves from what Hashimoto cutely calls their cocoons each morning, and on this particular morning Totsuka doesn't make any effort to do that himself while he watches Hashimoto wriggle free from his blankets, antennae trying to shrink into his hair from the cold air. He's opening his mouth to wish Hashimoto good morning when Hashimoto stretches his arms over his head, and Totsuka freezes because Hashimoto's genital pouches have a translucent, delicate film over them, sealing them off from any other potential impregnators.
Hashimoto grins shyly when he notices Totsuka's wide eyes, clearly pleased that Totsuka understood right away. "I guess Tottsu's magic after all."
"I…Fumito said…" Totsuka can't get the right words out past the tightness of his throat. He makes big, helpless eyes at Hashimoto.
"He said he didn't know anyone who'd done it." Hashimoto shrugs. His antennae are lit just the littlest bit pink with happiness, faint enough that Totsuka can only see it because the light is dim. "He didn't say we couldn't do it." His left wing flicks in amusement. "Maybe your kinky ancestors got just a little of my DNA mixed in there after all?"
"Hasshi…" Totsuka's eyes are wet suddenly, and Hashimoto flops down against his side to gather him in as close as he can, given Totsuka's thick layer of blankets. He tugs his own blankets back over his chest so Totsuka's face will be protected when Hashimoto squeezes him tightly.
They're in Kawai's room only half an hour later, despite the early hour, Hashimoto shaking him awake, and Kawai is mid-curse when he takes one look at Hashimoto and sits bolt upright to squint at him, hair poofed up even higher than his antennae from the static of his own tangled nest blankets.
"Holy shit," Kawai breathes, eyes darting to Totsuka and back to Hashimoto. "You knocked him up? How?!"
"Sex," Hashimoto answers earnestly. "A lot of sex." Kawai flops back down with a groan and says he won't help them if they don't swear to god they won't teach Goseki or Tsukada the trick to it.
Even as colony medic, Kawai doesn't have any supplies or equipment fancy enough to do anything besides confirm for sure that Hashimoto is pregnant. He insists they do at least that, though, and gives Hashimoto a thorough checkup while he's at it. Totsuka refuses to leave the room, hovering nervously until Kawai snaps at him that if he wanted a pretty nurse, he'd have thrown his life away by going to wake up Goseki.
"Well," Kawai says finally, "Dr. K's diagnosis is that you are officially teeming with spawn."
"Yay!" Hashimoto cheers from the low table, even as Totsuka makes a face at Kawai's word choice. Hashimoto reaches over to tug Totsuka closer by the shirt so that he can press his face against Totsuka's stomach, rubbing his cheek against him happily. Totsuka fists the waffle fabric of his thermal sleeves over his hands so that he can pat at Hashimoto's head clumsily with them, smoothing down the fluff of his hair.
"What happens now?" he asks. All that research when he had the huge ship's library at his disposal, and Totsuka never read past actually seducing the alien. Stupid, he chastises himself, only thinking about his own antenna and not what happens after it sparks.
"Beats the hell out of me," Kawai says. "I can get you some material about how it goes in the textbook, but what that has to do with Mr. Tuftapalooza there, I can't say."
"It'll be okay," Hashimoto says softly. Totsuka looks down and Hashimoto's eyes are closed, but his antennae are shifting towards his fabric-covered fists, looking a bit restless.
"A little help, Fumito?" Totsuka asks.
"Oh, sure," Kawai agrees right away. He leans down to touch the tips of his three antennae against the tips of Hashimoto's, brushing against them gently, and Hashimoto gives a soft sigh of satisfaction. Asking Kawai to deliver the traditional congratulations a future parent offers their mate isn't even close to the weirdest thing they've asked him to do for them, or with them, but Totsuka is a little sad he has to ask anyway.
The way Hashimoto beams up at Totsuka when he opens his eyes chases away most of that, though, his antennae shifting pink-yellow-pink with happiness. Totsuka hopes the pink of his cheeks gives Hashimoto the same message in return.
Despite Kawai's warning about possible weirdness, which Totsuka might never stop laughing about, everything seems to progress normally, so far as Totsuka can tell. Hashimoto eats like an F-class star cruiser consumes fuel and becomes four times more distractible than usual, losing things left and right as if he can't keep a thought in his head.
"Baby brain," Hashimoto sighs in frustration when Totsuka holds up Hashimoto's communicator for the third time this week. It was in the refrigeration unit this time. "Ugh, yesterday Fumikyun found it in the laundry bin, he nearly sterilized it."
Totsuka expects Hashimoto to be less interested in sex, but the opposite turns out to be true, not that Totsuka is complaining. What he puzzles out after a few weeks of both of them being snappish with sleep deprivation is that what Hashimoto really wants is the heat and the closeness of it, which makes more sense after he reads the section of Kawai's book on maintaining proper incubation temperature. Wondering if the planet's climate might be setting off that particular craving, Totsuka starts stashing hot water bottles amidst the ever increasing number of blankets in their nest (another pregnancy thing, not surprisingly), and Hashimoto's booty calls reduce to a much more pleasing once a night or so.
Having started working on human ships before he was old enough to even think of taking a mate, Hashimoto is just as interested in what the book says as Totsuka is, and takes to bringing it with him when he tags along to Totsuka's job in the underground greenhouse. Hashimoto has always liked the moist, warm air down there, and now in his second quarter of pregnancy, his wing membranes have been so dry that sometimes he stands in front of the plants and tricks the little robots into misting him.
"What's so funny?" Totsuka asks when he sneaks Hashimoto one of the grapples he's supposed to be harvesting, and Hashimoto starts laughing. He trades Totsuka the book for the fruit, and Totsuka sees that Hashimoto has worked a couple sections ahead of where Totsuka had been reading out loud to him last night.
"It says a good mate should be bringing me food to prove his ability to provide, so I won't worry about stuff like that and I'll stay as calm and content as possible." Hashimoto grins, taking a large bite of the fruit. Juice runs down his wrist, and Totsuka wants nothing more than to lean in and lick the droplet as it slides over Hashimoto's skin. "Tottsu has good instincts."
"I'm afraid if I don't keep feeding you, you'll think about eating me," Totsuka murmurs, leaning in to take his own bite from the opposite side of the grapple. The indirect kiss is a little childish, but the acidity of the fruit is enough to neutralize any saliva he might leave on it. Hashimoto's eyes flash, lips tinging blue despite the pink fruit, and he says eating Totsuka is not out of the question, definitely.
Hashimoto is not amused by the way he starts to puff up all over, and no amount of reassurance that he's still gorgeous, or that it's perfectly natural, seems to appease him.
"Shh," Totsuka soothes, half-asleep, when Hashimoto pouts at him about it. "You're glowing."
Hashimoto grumbles that he fucking knows that, since his luminescence is what's keeping both of them awake. Totsuka kind of likes it, although he knows better than to say so after that incident last week where he called Hashimoto his "cute little nightlight." He could do without the restless shifting of orange to purple, the abrupt change back and forth kind of like a weird version of the emergency warning light they'd had on their old ship.
Totsuka reaches to the side where he keeps the box of cotton swabs within easy reach these days. Sometimes their old, low-tech tricks are still the easiest. Totsuka urges Hashimoto to shift position with gentle hands, until Hashimoto's head is pillowed against Totsuka's belly, rising and falling gently with Totsuka's breath. He'd told Totsuka a long time ago that he thought the noises of Totsuka's lungs whooshing was weird but kind of nice, and in Totsuka's experience it still has a calming effect on him. But the thing that helps that most is still Totsuka stroking his antennae gently with the tip of the cotton swab, center one first, then left, then right, over and over. Hashimoto's shoulders relax gradually, his fingers curling in the blanket that separates them.
Held at an awkward angle to avoid brushing Hashimoto's hair, Totsuka's arm is getting tired by the time Hashimoto's glow is a dim, soothed green, but it's worth it when Hashimoto murmurs a sleepy thank you. Their room looks like the ocean this way, Totsuka thinks as he lets his arm flop off to the side, warm and peaceful. Totsuka isn't so sleepy anymore, but he's content to lie still and watch Hashimoto sleep, his wings stirring every now and then, the fluff of his hair waving as it absorbs oxygen. It's been turning lighter and lighter during his pregnancy, and Totsuka rather likes the nearly-blond it's become. His cheeks are rounding out, and Totsuka practically aches with wanting to stroke his fingers over that soft, greenish skin.
"Stop wanting more and more things," he whispers to himself, as if that ever works. Tomorrow night maybe he'll ask Hashimoto to pet him to sleep instead, so he can listen to the soft pulse of Hashimoto's hearts again his ear. Nestmates should take turns after all.
The last quarter of Hashimoto's pregnancy is tough on both of them, Hashimoto physically exhausted most of the time as his body struggles to keep up, Totsuka wearing thin with worry. Kawai keeps telling him that's just the way it goes, that all soon-to-be parents feel this way, but that doesn't honestly make either one of them feel any better.
Finally there's a morning where Hashimoto shakes Totsuka awake, Totsuka nearly cracking their skulls together when he jerks to a sitting position after he sees how tightly Hashimoto's brave smile is pasted on.
"I'm coming with you," Totsuka says, but Hashimoto shakes his head. They've had this argument over and over, except it's not really an argument because the book and Kawai and even Hashimoto himself, who knows half as much about his own cultural norms as he ought to, all say that laying the eggs is a thing that a parent does himself.
"You aren't," Hashimoto says firmly. He gives Totsuka's blanket-covered shoulder a squeeze, then squeezes a bit too hard as he grimaces with a contraction. For a second, his brave expression crumbles, wings held tight against himself for comfort. "I'm scared."
"Me too," Totsuka whispers, his heart breaking with how badly he wants to hug Hashimoto close to him and not let go. He has to settle for putting both his hands on Hashimoto's abdomen, the fabric of Hashimoto's thermal shirt stretched out of shape over how thick he's gotten. Be safe, he wishes to whoever might be listening, wishes for Hashimoto and their eggs and maybe himself too. "Come back safe to our nest," he says out loud.
"Keep it warm for me," Hashimoto answers. He kisses his fingertips and blows the kiss at Totsuka, like Totsuka used to do to tease him so long ago, and then he struggles to his feet and goes to find Kawai, to tell him it's time too.
Totsuka rolls over onto his side, into Hashimoto's vacated warm spot, ignoring the telltale tingle of the allergic reaction on his cheeks as he buries his face in one of Hashimoto's pillows and breathes in deeply. He refuses to crawl out of bed, even for work, figuring they can get on by themselves for one day while he sulks.
"Would you come out of there," Goseki's voice penetrates Totsuka's fog of self-pity. There's a dull thump of Goseki kicking him in the back through all the blankets. "When he gets back you'll be stuck in bed for days, so you better get up and walk around while you can."
Somehow Goseki gets his way, as he does, and Totsuka finds himself up and dressed and dragged through the stuff that he does normally, eating mechanically and sitting still while conversations go on around him. Everyone who goes by pats his shoulder (or his ass, but that's the same thing in Tsukada's world), and Totsuka appreciates the support sort of distantly. He'll thank them when he doesn't feel like he's going to claw his way out of his skin with impatience and worry. It's a relief when they let him slink back to his nest and burrow into it, even if it seems too dark without Hashimoto glowing.
Finally, finally, the door opens and there is Hashimoto, swaying on his feet from exhaustion and being held up by the arm he has slung around Kawai's shoulders.
"Are you—" Totsuka jumps up, heart beating wildly. "Are they—"
"Everybody's fine," Kawai answers, Hashimoto offering Totsuka a weak smile. Totsuka feels wobbly with relief as he tries to help Kawai get Hashimoto into a comfortable position before he passes out, but mostly just gets in the way. "He's going to be sore all over and cranky as hell for a few days," Kawai explains.
Before he leaves, Kawai hands Totsuka quite the handful of the anti-histamine pills he takes when he and Hashimoto feel particularly serious about sex with touching, and a new jar of the goop that they have to smear all over Hashimoto's skin for the same purpose.
Totsuka frowns. "I don't think we'll be…"
"Touching helps," Kawai cuts Totsuka off, shrugging a shoulder towards Hashimoto. "It'll help both of you. Trust me."
"Fumito…" Totsuka looks Kawai over thoughtfully. "By any chance, have you mated before?"
Kawai flashes him a lop-sided smile that seems sad, or maybe that's just the exhausted droop of Kawai's antennae. "We can't all end up here with some grand love story, now can we? I'll check on you two tomorrow."
After he's gone, Totsuka pops a dose and a half of the pills, and then sets about the unpleasant task of trying to strip Hashimoto down without his cooperation so that he can rub him down with goop. Hashimoto particularly hates getting it in his hair, and whines piteously, refusing to wake up enough for Totsuka to even try to explain.
"Go 'wayyyyy," he orders, seeming on the verge of tears when Totsuka won't quit it. By the time he's covered, stuffed rubbed into his skin as much as it can be, it's taken so long that Totsuka is starting to feel the effects of the anti-histamine, the room spinning just a little. It's a relief to flop down against Hashimoto's side, squeezing his eyes shut.
Hashimoto's breath hitches, and Totsuka's skin tingles dangerously because there's no way the pills have taken full effect already, but he forgets all about that when Hashimoto is suddenly hugging him tightly, burying his face in Totsuka's neck. Hashimoto's wings uncurl from around himself to curl around Totsuka too, and Hashimoto is shaking, snuffling against Totsuka's neck.
"Shh, it's okay," Totsuka comforts Hashimoto as best he can, tugging the blankets up over them in place of his own missing wings. He doesn't know if it's some postpartum thing, or what he should do, or if anything he says will make a difference, but he tries anyway. "You did amazing, you did so well. Everything's okay."
It takes Hashimoto a little while to calm down, Totsuka's words of comfort getting progressively more nonsensical as the extra dose of antihistamines dopes him up even more than usual. He strokes Hashimoto's back and along his wings and up into his hair and very, very gently along Hashimoto's antennae.
Both of them sleep fitfully, on and off, Kawai stopping by now and then to bring them food because Hashimoto can barely be talked into letting Totsuka go to make a trip to the bathroom, much less to go get food. Totsuka loses all sense of time, the stupid short winter days not helping that even a little bit, and in the middle of day two he sleeps through the point where he definitely needed to reapply Hashimoto's skin goop. Hashimoto's whole back, where Totsuka's chest was pressed, is bright red by the time Totsuka realizes, not as bad as it could have been but bad enough that Totsuka is drunkenly furious with himself.
"Sorry, I'm so sorry," he apologizes for the fiftieth time as he rubs more of the goop on Hashimoto's skin, hand moving in gentle circles long after it's been rubbed in. His wings escaped the worst of it, at least. "Ryosuke, I'm so sorry."
"Shut up," Hashimoto groans softly. "Just lie down already and shut up." Hashimoto yanks him down by the wrist and forces Totsuka to settle with his cheek against Hashimoto's chest, the soft pulse of Hashimoto's hearts soothing away his self-irritation. Wrapping arms around Hashimoto, Totsuka runs fingers over the spots where Hashimoto's wings join his back, exploring the joints and membranes with gentle fingers.
By evening on the third day, Totsuka feels absolutely hungover from being drugged so long, but Hashimoto is much more himself. His back is starting to peel, as if he's had a sunburn, and his antennae are still limp with exhaustion, but he smiles at Totsuka like the sun when Totsuka asks how he's feeling.
"Okay, I guess." Hashimoto shrugs. Most of his green is back, at any rate. "We really did it, huh? We're dads." He tilts his head. "Well, we will be, in a while. Kawai says it might take longer than usual for them to hatch, since it's so cold here."
Totsuka smiles at him, tugging his blanket tighter around his shoulders to keep from reaching out like he really wants to. "You're amazing."
Hashimoto grins at him, stretching his wings out and his arms over his head, grinning even harder when Totsuka's eyes drift over his genital pouches. They're almost back to normal shape and color already, protective film gone. His outer two antennae flicker red, the center one a steady pink. "Fumikyun gave me a clean bill of health, you know. Wanna start on batch two?"
Totsuka throws a pillow at him, turning a matching pink himself.