Lap's One shots & misc - New July 10, 2024 - "Tatties in the Oven"

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Re: Lap's One shots & misc - New July 10 2024 "Tatties in the Oven"

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Tatties in the Oven

Secret Santa 2023, for NoticeMeOppai (Naryzhud)


Hanako was stretched out on the recliner in Rin’s studio, reading a book on her phone. She wasn’t modeling at the moment, but on her days off from work she liked to just spend time with Rin while she painted, occasionally watching her lover as she worked. As an added benefit, the recliner had an extendable footrest that allowed her to put her feet up, which was a welcome relief given that her feet had been swelling more and more as of late.

A small ding from her phone notified her of a new email. She switched to the mail app and was pleased to see it was from Lilly. She eagerly opened it up and read it, smiling as she read. “Oh, how nice!”

“Hmm?” 

“Lilly and Jack and the b-boys are coming to Japan for a couple of weeks next month, and they want to spend some t-time with us.”

“Mmm.”

Hanako re-read the message, and realized that the dates Lilly was proposing were over Christmas. She and Rin rarely did much for Christmas—Rin wasn’t big on romantic gestures, and Christmas was primarily a romantic holiday in Japan. 

Of course, that’s not the case for Lilly and her family, she realized. Lilly and her family were Christian, and probably celebrated Christmas in a more religious fashion. I wonder if I should try and get a Christmas tree? She’d seen Christmas trees in movies and in stores, but she’d never put one up. That would entail not only finding a tree, but also all of the lights and decorations, too… She shook her head. That sounded like quite a task, to say nothing of the expense of buying all those ornaments and lights for a one-time use. Perhaps they can just visit one of the Christmas light festivals in the city.

But what else could she do to make their visit more “Christmassy”? I’m sure if they want to go to church, they can find one on their own. Japan was less than two percent Christian, but she had a vague recollection of having seen a Catholic church somewhere in Tokyo—it had reminded her of Lilly, in fact, which was why she’d noted it. 

She thought back over some movies and TV shows she’d seen about Christmas, trying to think of what else she could do for her friend and her family. Gifts, of course, I’d normally want to give the boys something anyway. It’ll be nice to have an excuse to give Lilly a gift as well. But what on Earth should I get for Jack? She didn’t know him anywhere near as well as she did Lilly, and didn’t know much about what his interests were. I suppose I can’t go wrong with a tie… she mused dubiously. 

Oh! Christmas dinner! She remembered seeing a Christmas movie where a special dinner figured prominently in the plot. I’m sure they’d like that. Happy with her decision, she sent off a reply to Lilly, telling her that they were welcome to spend as many days with them as they liked, and offering to make Christmas dinner for them all. 

She looked up at Rin, still painting away. I’ll have to tell her all this after she’s done painting. Telling Rin anything important while she was focused on her painting was usually an exercise in futility, since it went in one ear and out the other. Hanako had learned to wait to tell Rin anything that she wanted her to actually remember.

Hanako dropped the footrest of the recliner, stood up slowly, and groaned quietly as she stretched out her back. 

“Are you all right?” asked Rin 

“I’m fine, just a little stiff.” She rubbed her lower back for a moment, then rested a hand on her belly. “Ao-chan and Hajime-kun…have been kicking my k-kidneys for the last little while.”

A small frown creased Rin’s face for a moment, then she cocked her head. “Come here.”

Hanako walked over to where Rin sat in her chair, and Rin raised her arms in a gesture making a request for a hug. Hanako leaned into Rin’s embrace, her distended belly pressed to Rin’s face. “Be good to mama,” Rin admonished quietly, addressing the twins directly. Hanako smiled down at her lover, pleased that Rin had enough concern for her to interrupt her painting. She wrapped her arms around Rin in turn, hugging her gently. Rin relaxed into the embrace, pressing her ear to Hanako’s belly. She made a small happy humming noise as she leaned against Hanako.

“What are they saying?” asked Hanako. 

Rin shot her a quizzical look. “Nothing. They won’t speak for the first year or so.”

Hanako laughed. “Of course.”

“I’m not sure if the gurgling noises I’m hearing are them moving around, or your stomach.”

“P-probably my stomach,” Hanako admitted. The twins pressing up on her stomach meant that she didn’t have the capacity to eat very much at any one time, so of late she’d been eating lots of little snacks and munchies instead. And antacids. Lots and lots of antacids.

Still, it beats throwing up after every meal. The first trimester had been hell, and she’d sometimes wondered if she would actually survive to term. But thankfully the morning sickness had faded out by week nine. 

“I’m going to get a bite to eat. D-do you want to break for lunch?”

Rin leaned back away from Hanako and turned to her painting. She cocked her head, studying it for a long moment, before nodding and standing up. “Yes. I think I can leave it alone for a while. Behave yourself.” That last was apparently directed at the painting, Hanako realized. 

As Hanako pulled together a lunchtime repast for them she told Rin about Lilly’s message, and the upcoming visit. When she mentioned making Christmas dinner for them, Rin frowned. “Will you be able to do that much work?”

It took Hanako a moment to realize what Rin was asking about. “I d-don’t see why not. I’ve still got a few months to go. And starting in December I’ll be on m-maternity leave, so I’ll have plenty of time for shopping and prep.” Rin looked dubious, so Hanako added, “If it turns out that it’s all t-too tiring for me, we can alway order…Kentucky Fried Chicken.” The traditional Japanese Christmas dinner.

Rin nodded, apparently reassured by that contingency plan. 

Over the next few weeks, Hanako had fun planning out the menu for the upcoming Christmas dinner. After doing some exploration into what Lilly and her Scottish family might find traditional for such a meal, she settled on a menu of turkey with stuffing, roasted potatoes, glazed carrots, dinner rolls, cheese cauliflower casserole, and the delightfully named neeps and tatties. With figgy pudding for dessert. She hadn’t been sure if figgy pudding was a real thing or just something that appeared in Christmas carols, but it turned out to be a steamed fig cake.

At the beginning of December, Hanako began her maternity leave from her job. On the one hand, she felt like two months before her due date was early to start, but on the other, she was grateful for the extra opportunity for sleep and relaxation. As various friends kept reminding her, she’d be short on sleep soon enough. 

A week before Lilly and her family were due to arrive, she received another email from her.

Dear Hanako,

I hope you and Rin and the twins are doing well. We’re all looking forward to seeing you, and I can’t wait to feel what your belly is like by now—despite having gone through this twice myself, I have difficulty imagining you heavy with child. It’s so exciting!

If it’s not too much of an imposition, might we add my cousins Shizune and Hideaki to our guest list for Christmas dinner? We haven’t visited with them in a couple of years, and a holiday meal would be a lovely way to catch up with them. 

I can’t wait to hug you and catch up with you. Just seven more days!

Love,

Lilly

Hanako didn’t have to think too long about her reply—she had already planned the menu to include leftovers, and could easily add two more guests to the list without changing much of anything. She wrote back to Lilly to tell her so, and at dinner time passed on the news to Rin.

Rin frowned for a moment, then said, “That reminds me, I asked Emi if she and Hisao and Seita would join us for Christmas dinner.”

Hanako felt a small lurch in her stomach. “Really? W-what did she say?”

“As long as it was okay with you.”

“When was this?”

Rin looked thoughtful as she chewed on a bit of chicken. “Yesterday? Or the day before?”

Hanako sighed. “You n-need to tell me these things…sooner, dear.”

Rin nodded amiably. 

Hanako reviewed her menu plan in her mind, then decided to call Emi after dinner to talk it out. 

“Emi? It’s Hanako.”

“Heya, Hanako, how’re the twins doing?”

“F-fine, thanks. I was calling to t-talk with you about…Christmas dinner.”

“Oh, yeah, Rin mentioned that you were doing that this year.”

“I w-would love to have you here, b-but I wondered if I c-could ask you…to bring a dish?”

“Of course! Or even two.”

“I n-normally wouldn’t ask, b-but Shizune and Hideaki have also been added to the guest list, and I d-don’t know if I have the energy to cook too m-much more than I’d been planning.”

“Hey, we don’t have to come, I know Rin’s invite might have been out of the blue for you.”

“N-no, that’s fine, and I’m sure Lilly and…Shizune would love to catch up with you, too.”

“Yeah, that’d be nice. I haven’t seen them since the five year reunion.”

Hanako smiled. “You were pretty p-pregnant yourself, then.”

“Yeah. And now he’s a little terror, running around more than I do.”

“Th-that’s hard to imagine.”

Emi laughed. “He’s learned to skip since we saw you last. Much to the annoyance of our downstairs neighbors.”

“I look forward to seeing that.”

After she got off the phone she emailed Emi the recipe for neeps and tatties that she’d found, and happily crossed that item off of her list of things she had to prepare.

It was two days after that that Lilly sent her another email.

Dear Hanako,

Just a quick note, I suddenly realized that Akira will also be in Tokyo over Christmas too. If it’s not too much trouble, might she join us? On the bright side of things, she doesn’t eat much, so she shouldn’t add too much to the cooking burden. And I’m sure she’d be willing to supply the wine for the table.

I’m so sorry to spring this on you at this late date, please let me know if it’s too much of a burden.

See you in five days!

Love,

Lilly

Hanako sighed, and sent off another reply in the affirmative, despite a sense of foreboding that was beginning to build in her chest. Or maybe that’s just heartburn from the twins kicking my stomach. Again…

She looked around the small dining area of their flat. It’s going to be a tight fit, getting twelve of us in here. We’ll have to spill out into the living room. Fortunately, Rin had a couple of work tables in her studio that could be pressed into service as dining tables, as long as the paint stains were covered with table cloths. I’ll ask Emi and Hisao to bring a few folding chairs with them when they come.

Despite her nervousness about the size of the meal, far larger than any meal she’d ever cooked before, preparations went smoothly. She got the shopping done in good time, and the weather cooperated by being cool enough that she could store the excess groceries on the balcony when the refrigerator reached its capacity.

Rin dove into the dinner preparations with surprising enthusiasm. Hanako wasn’t sure if it was because she was looking forward to seeing old friends, or if she was just trying to take care of Hanako. Either way, she was grateful. Maneuvering around her belly in the kitchen was a challenge, but she managed it. The day before the party, before everyone was due to arrive, she felt a burst of energy and they managed to get everything prepped and ready for the next day in good order. She even managed to get through the day without a nap, which was unusual for her the past few weeks.

The morning of the party, Hanako donned the prettiest maternity dress she had and was bustling around the kitchen by nine o’clock, putting the turkey in the oven to roast. She’d been amazed at the size of the bird, by far the largest piece of meat she’d ever cooked. It had taken some hunting to find such a large turkey, but, as Hisao was fond of saying, you could find anything in Tokyo if you looked hard enough.

Emi and Hisao and little Seita arrived an hour before everyone else, by request, to help with the final details. Hanako relaxed a bit at having another helper around. Emi worked well with Rin; she probably understood and worked with Rin better than anyone other than Hanako herself. Emi looked incredibly festive in a red minidress with red and white striped stockings over her prostheses. Hanako complimented her on her holiday spirit. 

“Ah, just trying to fit in,” Emi said cheerily. “Where d’you want the neeps and tatties?”

Rin peered curiously at the casserole dish in Emi’s hands. “They look like mashed potatoes.” She sounded vaguely disappointed. 

“Well, they’re that, plus mashed rutabaga.”

"Oh." Rin's disappointment visibly deepened. "With a name like that, they should be something more interesting."

Rin directed Emi to the kitchen, while Hanako and Hisao set to work finalizing place settings on the tables. 

A little over an hour later, the doorbell rang, making Hanako’s heart leap with anticipation. She hurried to the door and opened it. “Lilly! Hello! And Jack, and K-kieran and Ian, welcome!” Lilly was in a lovely dark green dress and wearing a red brooch, looking very Christmassy. She wasn’t using her cane, instead holding onto Jack’s arm for guidance. Hanako reached out and took Lilly’s free hand, and Lilly responded by letting go of Jack and stepping forward to embrace Hanako. She didn’t get very far before bumping into the twins.

Lilly laughed, “Goodness! I knew intellectually that you were pregnant, but feeling it for myself is another thing altogether.” She gave Hanako an awkward A-frame hug, working around the baby bump, then she stepped back a step to place her hands on Hanako’s belly. “I’d heard that twins make for a larger belly, but I didn’t realize it was this much of a difference.”

“Er, may we come in too?” asked Jack from behind Lilly, sounding amused.

“Oh! S-sorry, of course,” Hanako said, stepping back out of the entryway and allowing Lilly, followed by her family, to fully enter the apartment. Ian gave Hanako a hug, which warmed her heart; Kieran hid shyly behind Lilly and looked up at Hanako with wide eyes, clutching his mother’s dress. 

Jack helped her hang up all the coats, then Lilly hugged her again, which Hanako happily reciprocated. When they pulled apart, Lilly rested her hands on Hanako’s belly again. “It’s hard to believe you’re having twins.”

“The evidence is…quite compelling,” Hanako laughed. “Overwhelming, even.”

“I knew multiple births were more common with IVF and artificial insemination, but I didn’t expect it to happen to two of my friends.”

“I’m j-just grateful it’s only…twins.”

“True. Poor Shiina and Cat seemed a bit overwhelmed, when last we spoke.”

“Tired, but…happy, I think. Three at once is…a lot of work, but also a l-lot to love.”

Lilly smiled. “That’s a lovely way to look at it.”

“I j-just hope I can be…so philosophical about it at…three a.m.,” Hanako said wryly. 

“Oh, I’m pretty sure you won’t be. Just be sure to wake up Rin before you hit your limit.” Lilly paused, a small frown crossing her face. “Ah…is she feeling prepared for all…this?” Lilly patted Hanako’s belly again.

“Oh, yes. She’s been p-practicing…changing diapers with a doll. She’s even resigned herself to occasionally w-wearing her prostheses, at least for the first few months. She says she w-wants…to be able to hold—ooof!” That last was due to the twins squirming around.

“Ah! I could feel them moving,” Lilly said. 

“They’ve been…extra restless today.” Hanako rubbed at the small of her back. 

“Eager to meet their mamas, I’m sure,” Lilly said with a smile.

“Come in, sit, say hello t-to Hisao and Emi,” Hanako urged, and she lead Lilly toward the living room. 

“Oh, they’re already here?”

“Yup, we’re here. Keita too,” Emi said, coming up to Lilly and putting a hand on her arm. Lilly responded by hugging her. “Keita and Ian look like they’re already checking each other out,” Emi told Lilly after they broke apart. Hanako looked across the room to see the two five-year-old boys eyeing each other dubiously, then Keita held out a toy truck he had brought with him. They started to talk, but Hanako was distracted from the boys by another kick from inside.

Lilly heard her little grunt, and frowned at her. “Would you like to sit down? I’m sure we can finish dinner preparations without you if you need to rest. It smells wonderful, by the way.”

“Thanks, and, n-no, I’m fine.” Hanako took a deep breath to try and relax. The timer on her phone in her pocket started beeping, and she said, “Excuse me, I need to ch-check the potatoes.”

She left Emi and Rin to find out peoples’ drink preferences while she went to the kitchen and checked the potatoes. They were turning a lovely golden brown, but they still felt a little undercooked when she poked one with a skewer. While she had the oven open she took the opportunity to baste the turkey, which was likewise browning nicely. 

The doorbell rang again, and she looked out of the kitchen to see Rin inviting Shizune and an unknown tall man inside. She didn’t bring a date, did she? Hanako had a moment of panic at the thought of adding another place setting to the already crowded tables. Then the man turned his face to the side, and she recognized Hideaki. She hadn’t seen him since high school, and the ten years had made an enormous difference. The awkward skinny androgynous boy had become a slim and handsome young man, who towered over his sister. 

Hideaki stepped further into the room, and Akira stepped into the entryway behind him. Hanako was surprised to see her in a red skirt and white top. Well, I guess a business suit is hardly appropriate attire for a Christmas party, she conceded to herself. Akira was carrying what looked to be a heavy canvas bag that clinked a bit as she approached the kitchen, and Hanako.

“Merry Christmas, Hanako!”

“M-merry Christmas to you, too, Akira.” Akira set down the bag and wrapped Hanako in an enthusiastic hug. 

“Wow, you are getting huge, girl.” Akira patted Hanako’s belly and grinned. “Glad you and Rin finally figured out how to make this work.”

Hanako nodded. “Us too.”

As if realizing that they were being talked about, Hajime-kun and Ao-chan chose that moment to do what felt like another little dance on her liver. She staggered slightly, and held on to the kitchen counter, breathing deeply until the pain passed. Akira placed a hand on her arm, looking concerned. “You okay, Hanako?”

Hanako took another deep breath, then straightened up. “I’m f-fine. They’re just…extra rowdy today. I think they want to join in the party.”

Akira laughed. “Well, if they do show up, we can all toast their arrival in style.” She opened the bag she’d brought, revealing a half-dozen bottles of wine and champagne. Probably fairly good bottles, if she knew Akira. 

“Thank you. If you want to chill any of those, j-just put them on the balcony.” She waved in the direction of the sliding glass doors that lead outside. It was about two degrees outside, perfect for cooling wine.

“Will do.” Akira pulled a of bottle of white wine and two bottles of champagne out of the bag and headed toward the balcony, stopping to say hello to her sister and brother-in-law and nephews along the way. 

Hanako turned her attention back to the meal, and Emi popped back into the kitchen to fill a pitcher with water. “How’s it going, Hanako?”

“G-good. I just checked the turkey and potatoes; I think everything will be ready in…half an hour or so.”

“Right on schedule.”

“I hope.” She had never cooked a bird as big as this turkey, and she hoped that the time estimates for cooking it were accurate. 

“I’ll come back in ten minutes to start re-heating the other veggies and the rolls.”

“Thanks.” Hanako tried not to feel overwhelmed by the quantity of food that they had to get out to the tables. It’s all under control. Emi and everyone else will pitch in as needed. 

She went back out into the living room and greeted Shizune and Hideaki. \[Welcome!\] she signed, one of few words of sign she knew, having looked it up for this occasion. 

Shizune smiled and signed back, and Hideaki said, “Onee-chan says, thank you for having us, and everyone else, too. It’s no small feat, especially when you’re so large with child.”

Hanako snorted. “Emphasis on ‘large,’ I think. B-but I’m happy to do it, glad to see everyone.” She sat down on the sofa with a small oof, and smiled up at Hisao as he handed her a glass of ice water. “Th-thank you, Hisao.”

“No problem. Gotta keep you hydrated. It’s hot in that kitchen.”

Hanako nodded in agreement. 

Hanako spent the next little while chatting with her guests, getting caught up with what everyone had been doing. Emi disappeared into the kitchen as she’d promised, to work on the vegetables, and Hanako tried to relax and let her. I don’t have to do everything. That’s why she and Hisao are here, and Rin. She felt a little guilty, but also, her feet hurt, and it was nice to sit down.

Alas, the timer in her pocket for the turkey went off shortly after that. She struggled to her feet and went back to the kitchen. She pulled out a meat thermometer and checked the turkey. Seventy-five degrees, perfect. She lifted the heavy bird out of the oven, then felt another twinge in her abdomen, followed by a gushing feeling of warmth on her thighs. She stood in a puddle the middle of the kitchen, holding the roasting tray with the turkey on it, a slightly panicked expression on her face. “Uh, Rin? I th-think my…water just broke.”

As Emi helped Rin call the birthing center, Akira said cheerfully, “Well, I hope the bubbly is chilled by now. Where do you keep your champagne flutes?”


So, here you go, Nary, sorry it's taken so long!

And, as ever always, thanks to Feurox for beta reading and helping me hash things out. And thanks for the info on Scottish cuisine, and the title.

Original Prompt: Years on, one of the cast is hosting a western-style Christmas meal for their old school friends. Things do not go to plan.


Scarred Muse Hanako and Rin.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
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Re: Lap's One shots & misc - New July 10, 2024 - "Tatties in the Oven"

Post by hdkv »

Hehehe, these two really wanted to visit that party xD

Nice story, thanks!

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Re: Lap's One shots & misc - New July 10, 2024 - "Tatties in the Oven"

Post by StealthyWolf »

Always happy to see more of your writing and this story was a nice, unexpected treat! Love seeing additions to complete stories that are fun peeks into the lives of the characters down the road, especially from stories I really enjoyed like Scarred Muse.

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