by Casual Otaku
Kamuro blinked down at the paper his teacher had handed out to the class before the final bell rang. It was a permission slip for the senior trip this summer. He saw the destination, the newly built theme park and felt his heart skip a few beats. He’d always wanted to go to a real amusement park. He and Eiji would go to the annual fair when they could afford it, but that wasn’t anything like an actual theme park. Roller coasters…attractions…huge rides…they were all there.
The brunette sighed and put the slip into his bookbag. He already knew he couldn’t afford to go. Eiji worked so hard just to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. It was a little bit more difficult to keep his bright cheery smile as several of the female students surrounded him at the bus stop and began asking him if he was going. He shook his head and told them he’d have fun right at home.
They persisted, asking him what could be more fun than a trip to the amusement park. He didn’t notice however, because a very familiar face had just exited the doors. “Niko-chan!!” He grinned and excused himself before jogging over to his best friend.
The shy blonde turned around and smiled as he saw Kamurou bounding toward him. He blushed a little as the brunette touched a hand to his shoulder. Unlike most Japanese people, Kamuro was very open with his emotions, and didn’t mind casual contact.
Nikolai brushed his long white blonde bangs out of his eyes and whispered a greeting. “Konbanwa Kamuro….how did your test go?”
Kamuro shrugged. “Easy…we studied hard enough didn’t we?” He grinned at Nikolai, he was always a little happier around his Russian friend. “Hey….want to go out to the park later and celebrate our A’s?”
Nikolai blinked. “W…we haven’t gotten the results back. Isn’t it a bit early to celebrate?”
Kamuro shook his head, “We passed, I’m sure of it. We worked hard and we deserve it. Now do you want to go or not?”
Nikolai nodded immediately. His exchange parents were wonderful, but he felt odd spending so much time in a room that belonged to their long gone son, and none of his neighbors treated him as nicely as Kamuro. *They aren’t as cute either…* The blonde blushed again at the errant thought. *What on earth am I thinking? I shouldn’t have such thoughts about my friend!*
He fell into step beside Kamuro as the brunette began walking him home, chattering about this and that. Nikolai didn’t mind that he rarely got a word in, he was content to listen. All too soon they’d arrived at his house and he had to wave good-bye to Kamuro as the brunette ran off to get prepared for a trip to the park. Neither paid much attention to the huge clouds that were gathering overhead.
One of his foster parents stopped Nikolai on the stairs, handing him a large yellow envelope that had arrived for him. He ran upstairs and opened it. The card was extrememly simple, wishing him much luck on his upcoming graduation and was packaged with a large box of chocolate truffles. The card was from a local florist and told him it had been sent by his mother. He wondered breifly how she’d managed to get past his father to send the gift to him. Shaking the thought aside he looked at the candy. *I will share it with Kamuro, he’d like it I’m sure.*
That was when the thunder boomed overhead. The young blonde ran to the window just in time to see the rain start coming down in sheets. Crestfallen at the idea of missing his day at the park with Kamuro he sat heavily on the bed, cradling the candy like one might hug a teddy bear. He sighed and resigned himself to a night of listening to the one station his radio could pick up and dreaming of what could have been.
His cheeks burned slightly as he realized not all of his fantasies involved running around the park playing frisbee or hacky-sack with Kamuro. He’d glimpsed couples on the benches or grass on occasion, curled against each other as the read a book, shared a meal, or even…..a kiss. Even the thought was enough to make Nikolai want to cover his head with a pillow. He wanted to kiss Kamuro, and not as a friend. *No….I can’t think things like that….it isn’t worth the risk. He might turn me away. Then where would I be?* No it definitely wasn’t worth the risk.
He clicked on the radio and lay back down. Hoping the bright songs would improve his mood.
Rock had become one of his favorite types of music.
A few miles away Kamuro sat perched in the largest window of his tiny apartment. He’d get up every now and then to check on the food he was making for Eiji, but spent most of his time just staring at the rain. He was so disappointed he wouldn’t be able to spend time with Nikolai that he didn’t even feel like playing a few of his precious tapes. He heard the pot threatening to boil over and got up to stir the noodles. Judging they were almost done he got to work on the meat and vegetables.
The stir-fry was very simple, cubed beef, ginger, garlic, broccoli, peppers and water chesnuts. He cheated a bit by using a bottled sauce, but he heard it tasted good. He was just tossing everything together in a huge bowl with two pairs of chopsticks when he heard Eiji coming in.
“Tadaima!” Eiji called from the hall where he was setting an umbrella out to dry. He was dripping underneath it, which one might have found odd if there hadn’t been a very good explanation.
“Okaeri nasai niisan!” Kamuro called back. He put one set of chopsticks in his usual spot and began to serve up a good portion of the noodles for his brother with the other.
Eiji passed by and pressed a quick kiss to Kamuro’s forehead. “It smells wonderful, give me a moment to get out of this suit and I’ll join you.”
Kamuro nodded, “Alright, would you like tea or soda?”
“Tea kudasai!” came the muffled reply from the bedroom. “I got wet and I could use something warm. It’s a good thing Koji saw me walking and ran out to give me his spare umbrella.”
Kamuro giggled a little. He’d been by the restaraunt before and he thought the waiter might have a bit of a crush on his brother. Too bad for Koji his brother was obviously falling for Kenji. The young brunette let out a sigh, he had a crush of his own, but he would never be able to admit it. Nikolai was like a fawn, beautiful, but shy and leery of everything and everyone. Just like a fawn, he had to be cautious in dealing with him, lest he cause the Russian to bolt.
“You look so serious Kamuro, is something wrong?” Eiji asked as he came into the kitchen rubbing his hair with a well-worn towel.
Kamuro shook his head. “Iie…. I was just hoping to go to the park today, I was going to meet Nikolai.”
Eiji smiled, it was touching to see how close Kamuro and his friend had become. “I think I can handle the rest of the meal alone. Why don’t you go visit him? You could take him some food.”
Kamuro’s smile was positively brilliant. “Hontou?” He gave his brother a huge hug. “Arigato Eiji!” He hopped up and began to dig out one of their covered dishes. He had everything packed up in a matter of minutes and gave Eiji another hug before running out with his old benton lunchbox tucked safely away under his raincoat. Eiji smiled and went to the phone to call Nikolai’s house to warn them he was on the way. Something his brother had overlooked in his excitement.
Nikolai heard the phone ringing, but ignored it. He almost never got called on the phone. The only person who would was Kamuro, and he’d already called earlier to say he was sorry about having to miss the park today. A few minutes later he heard someone knocking on his door and sat up. “Wh..who’s there?”
“It’s me Niko-chan! Can I come in?”
The Russian gasped and ran over to the door, opening it to see a slightly damp Kamuro standing in the hall in a bright purple rain slicker. He must have run up the stairs too fast to give his exchange mother time to take it from him. The brunette gave him a beaming smile and held up the bag of food. “I thought you might like to share some dinner.”
Nikolai nodded and stepped aside to let Kamuro into his room. “I’d like that.”
Kamuro set up the food on the desk and handed Nikolai his share on a paper plate with a set of the chopsticks Eiji had collected from many nights of take-out cuisine. The blonde took it, mouth watering at the aroma. He’d overlooked the fact he hadn’t eaten when the rain had started coming down.
“I’m sorry it’s not very fancy.” Kamuro said as he sat down near Nikolai. “Eiji and I tend to eat pretty simple food, so I’m not a very good cook.”
Nikolai popped a piece of meat into his mouth and shook his head with a sigh. “It’s wonderful. I was very hungry.” Kamuro’s happy smile made the blonde blush a bit, and he hastily began to eat to avoid having to speak.
Kamuro simply watched him eat for a while, smiling at the cute blush, and the way the Russian could eat so gracefully even when rushing. He looked down at his own plate and began to eat as well. The meal was eaten in silence amid many blushes and quick glances at each other while the radio continued to pump out it’s cheery tunes. When all the food was gone they threw away the plates and chopsticks so then sat down across from each other on the bed.
Nikolai pulled out his box of candy pulled off the top and held it out. “Would you like a truffle Kamuro? I just got them today.”
Kamuro nodded and picked out one of the treats, removed the bright blue wrapper and took a small bite. “Mmm, it’s heavenly.” he said with a decadent smile as the rich dark choclate melted on his tongue. He lapped at the soft creamy center, savoring the flavor before popping the firmer chocolate ‘shell’ into his mouth. “Arigato Niko-chan.”
Nikolai flushed a bit pinker. “No problem.” he whispered, feeling a little twist in the stomach as he watched Kamuro sucking the chocolate off his fingers.
Kamuro tilted his head as he saw Nikolai turning a very bright shade of red. “What’s wrong Niko-chan, aren’t you going to eat one too?”
Nikolai nodded and picked out a red one. The milk chocolate version. He was unwrapping it partially when the announcer came on the air and announced the daily contest. He noticed the wistful look in Kamuro’s eyes when they mentioned the tickets to the new amusement park the senior class was going to be attending on their trip. The contest was going to allow a small group of people exclusive access to the park before anybody else.
Nikolai dropped his gaze and prepared to take a small nibble of his own chocolate. He could have gone on the trip, but when he found out Kamuro wasn’t going to be there he told his exchange parents he didn’t want to go. He couldn’t imagine going without Kamuro. Nikolai was only half listening when they announced the question.
“What is the name of the manufacturer that makes Zoiman chocolate truffles?”
Nikolai paused with the truffle halfway to his mouth. The two boys looked at the box of candy, which just happened to be that exact brand.
Kamuro gaped at Nikolai. “Niko….can I?”
Nikolai nodded and watched Kamuro snatch up the phone and dial with lightning speed, pacing back and forth over the floor. He reached over and shut the radio down so it wouldn’t create feedback and waited to see. He really hoped Kamuro would win, it would make his friend so happy, but he was still a bit shocked when Kamuro did just that.
Kamuro let out a happy whoop and threw his arms around Nikolai’s neck when they announced him the winner. He was so excited he almost missed the DJ telling him how to pick up his tickets. Nikolai just sighed and enjoyed the contact while it lasted. He waited until Kamuro wrote down an address and hung up the phone to say “I’m so happy for you Kamuro, I’m sure you’ll have a good time.”
Kamuro shook his head. “We’ll have a good time… I get four tickets. That means you and Eiji can come with me. I’m pretty sure he’ll bring Kenji along too.”
Nikolai smiled. “I…I’d like that a lot. It will be wonderful to spend a day with you.” Then realizing how that could sound he immediately blushed again.
The week leading up to the trip wasn’t as joyful as it could have been. Girls kept trying to flirt with Kamuro to convince him to take them along.
“Come on Kamuro… wouldn’t you like to ride in the tunnel of love?” one said “You can’t do that with a boy.”
Kamuro had blushed a bit as an image of doing just that with Nikolai flashed through his mind. He’d declined as gracefully as possible, pointing out Nikolai was his best friend, so he couldn’t possibly leave him out. Eiji was his only brother, so of course he would be going as well, and his brother deserved a chance to bring his own guest. Eventually the offers wound down, but they’d left him thinking more and more about the fact he’d be pretty much alone in the theme park with Nikolai.
The day of the trip finally arrived and Eiji couldn’t help but smile at the way Kamuro was almost bouncing off the walls with his excitement. He was amazed his otosan had gotten to sleep at all last night. He had to admit he was a bit excited himself, he was just sorry he hadn’t been able to provide the trip himself. Well, it wasn’t good to look a gift horse in the mouth. So he resolved to simply enjoy this day with his brother and Kenji.
There was a knock at the door and Kamuro was there before Eiji could even stand up. Kenji smiled at the teenager that was pratically jumping in his shoes. “Konnichiwa Kamuro, I see you’re excited.”
The young brunetted nodded enthusiastically. “Hai! I am….arigato nasai for giving us all a ride.”
Kenji smiled and brushed the long brown bangs back from the youthful face. He’d become close to Kamuro through his relationship with Eiji. “Dou Itachima….it’s a pleasure.”
He glanced at the half-eaten breakfast dishes Eiji was clearing away. “I see you’ve eaten, are we ready to go?”
“Hai!” Kamuro replied. “We just have to get Nikolai.”
The blonde was waiting for them on the front porch. He ran up and squeezed into the backseat with Kamuro. “Konnichiwa Kamuro, Eiji-sama, Kenji-sama.” Everyone returned the greeting and they all fell into small talk as they headed to the park. When they arrived they saw other small groups such as theirs from other companies and stations that had had similar promotions, but there was probaby one hundred people tops. An extrememly tiny number in such a large park. After a few of the requisite promotional pictures they were set free with a small amount of spending money to explore the park.
Kamuro immediately headed for the map to find a good ride. “Look Nikolai…this roller coaster is supposed to be the tallest, inverted loop in Japan. Should we try it?” Nikolai looked a bit pale and gave Kenji loads of silent thanks when he said. “You should warm up a little first. Start on a relatively slow ride and work your way up.”
Kamuro nodded, “Okay…let’s go get on the carousel.” He grabbed Nikolai’s hand and pulled him towards the classic ride. Nikolai climbed aboard on of the horses, remembering one of the times he’d ridden a real horse on a school field trip in Russia. It was one of his only happy memories of that time. He glanced over to see Kamuro grinning happily.
“I’ve always loved this ride. I’m so happy you’re here with me.”
Nikolai blushed and noticed Kenji and Eiji standing by watching them ride. Even though they weren’t touching, something in the tilt of their bodies indicated they were close, maybe even lovers. It was the sort of thing he’d been noticing more and more lately. The subtle body language between those who dated. Japanese culture was more accepting of homosexual relationships than most countries, but it was still a bit taboo. He wondered if he’d be able to handle the jeers that would surely follow if his feelings for Kamuro ever slipped into the open.
The ride ended and Kamuro immediately began pushing him toward another. Blushing the entire time he simply let himself be led. They rode several rides, sometimes Kenji and Eiji would be with them, other times they simply watched. They rode the ferris wheel, the wheelie, and several others before he was convinced to get on the roller coaster Kamuro had chosen at the start of the day.
Nikolai felt his heart racing as they began the climb up the hill. Kamuro noticed he was nervous and reached over to hold his hand. “It’ll be okay Niko-chan, we’ll have fun.”
Nikolai nodded, but kept a firm grip on his friend’s hand. The first hill was the worse, tearing a very loud scream from his throat, but past that he slowly began to enjoy the twists and turns and by the time they started up the next hill he was grinning right along with Kamuro.
They got off the ride breathless, and dizzy with adrenaline, clinging to each other as they walked over to the monitor to see the picture of them going over the first hill flashing on the monitor.
“Oh Nikolai, you look so nervous, but it is a good picture, neh?”
Nikolai nodded. He looked at his face, captured mid-wince, then at Kamuro beside him, happy as always, and finally at their linked hands. He smiled a little. “Should we get one to take home?”
Kamuro nodded and began to dig up his money. It was a bit expensive, but he’d give up a meal to get the memento. Nikolai stopped him. “My treat….it’s the least I could do.” Kamuro began to protest, but the look in Nikolai’s eyes stopped him. “Arigato Nikolai.”
The pair got their photos and smiled over them as they walked towards the exit. The flash of camera bulbs made them both wince.
“That’s going to make a wonderful addition to our paper. Thank you boys!” called the man who’d snapped the picture.
Kamuro and Nikolai watched the photographer run off to take more photos, leaving a sea of people rubbing the stars out of their eyes in his wake. “Hmm…maybe we should have just asked him for a few pictures.” Kamuro replied a little dryly. “He certainly seems to be taking enough of them.” He leaned against Nikolai’s shoulder. “Oh well….want to go again?”
Nikolai nodded and raced the brunette back to the entrance. Two rides later and totally exhausted they headed to a food stall to recharge. Splitting a large chocolate milkshake and a small pinapple pizza they chattered over what to do next.
“You two seem to be having a good time.” Kenji commented as he and Eiji joined the pair with their own plates. Two young heads nodded enthusiastically. He met Eiji’s eyes over the table. “Eiji and I are going to go watch the next show by the performance troupe. Would you like to come along?”
Kamuro shook his head. “We’re going to go play some games. You have fun without us.” The younger Yokoshima blushed when he realized how that sounded. “Errr well…we’re all done, we’ll meet you again when the show is finished.”
Eiji nodded and waved as the two teens disappeared down the midway. “I’m so happy Kamuro has gotten such a good friend.” Kenji chuckled and Eiji turned to him with a confused glance. “Nani? Why are you laughing?”
Kenji gave his lover an indulgent smile. “Don’t you see Eiji, they like each other. They’re just too shy to pursue it.”
Eiji blinked and looked towards the path Kamuro had taken. “Oh….oh my, but….”
Kenji took Eiji’s hand in his own. “Now don’t start getting worried. They’re both good boys, and they deserve to be as happy as you and I are.”
Eiji sighed. “I know…but it seems like only yesterday I still had to help him tie his shoes.”
Kenji chuckled again. “And now he can tie them on his own… you’ve taught him well Eiji. He’s becoming a fine young man. It’s only natural that he’ll want to date.”
Eji nodded and tried to reconcile the grown-up Kamuro with the little boy that would cling to his leg as they went from place to place. Begging for food, work, and the basic neccecities.
“He’s still your otochan Eiji, nothing can stop that. He’s just getting bigger.” Kenji said as he stood up and held out his hand to help Eiji to his feet.
Eiji smiled and took the offered hand. “Arigato Kenji.”
His lover smiled and snuck a quick peck to his cheek. “You’re welcome.”
On the midway, Kamuro picked up a baseball and tossed it into the air a few times, before lobbing it at the stacked bottles. All but two toppled effortlessly. Nikolai watched on, he’d already tossed his three balls, and missed each time. Kamuro wound up again and let it fly. Once of the two fell, and the other wobbled precariously, before deciding to right itself. A small crowd gathered round to watch. The third ball sent it wobbling once more and it almost looked to repeat it’s earlier trick, teetering at an almost impossible angle. Then……it fell.
A small cheer went up among the nine or ten people behind them as the man took down a huge stuffed bear and handed it to an excited Kamuro. The brunette held his prize up to admire it as the crowd dispersed, a few staying around to try there own luck.
“Wow, this thing is big enough to take up half a bed!” Kamuro commented. Nikolai nodded, the bear reminded him of a toy he’d owned once. It wasn’t nearly as large, but the color was similar. It had been like a companion to him, before his father had ripped it apart telling him he didn’t need the thing anymore. He tried to push aside the thought, but a small sigh escaped. Kamuro noticed the far-away look and frowned. Then he got an idea.
He held the bear out to Nikolai. “Here…I want you to have him.”
Nikolai looked up. “Oh no…you won him…I couldn’t…”
Kamuro shook his head. “You gave me the picture. So I’m giving him to you, please Niko-chan. I like being able to give a gift for once.”
Nikolai nodded and accepted the large toy. “Wow….he’s so soft. Thank you very much Kamuro!” Barely restraining the urge to cuddle the bear, Nikolai smiled and decided to give him a name. “I think I’ll call him Kyoko.”
Kamuro grinned, the sweet smile on Nikolai’s face was well worth giving up his prize. “Come on it’s time to meet Eiji and Kenji.”
Nikolai nodded again and fell into step beside Kamuro. The group met up again and rode several more rides together, shopped for souvineers, and even saw a fireworks show, before the PA system announced the park would be closing soon and to please prepare to exit. The boys made one last stop for some carnival food, finally settling on cotton candy and a carmel apple with nuts.
Kamuro and Nikolai walked behind Eiji and Kenji, the young brunette chattering with even more excitement than he’d shown that morning. He argued with himself over the best rides and games while he and Nikolai took bites off of each others treats. He didn’t slow down for the entire trip home and Eiji tried not to think about the fact he’d have to spend the night alone with two teenage boys hyped up on sugar.
Kenji sensed his lover’s thoughts. “I’m kind of tired after all that. Would you mind if I stayed the night Eiji?” Eiji nodded immediately “Of course!” he lowered his voice to a whisper. “that way I won’t be outnumbered.”
Kamuro and Nikolai didn’t hear the exchange, the brunutee grabbed his friend’s hand and clattered up the stairs the moment the adults got out to let them out of the two-door sports car. He burst into his room kicking the door closed behind him. He put on one of his tapes to a volume he’d learned was just below getting complaints and dumped his souvineers onto the bed.
Eijj sighed as he entered the apartment and locked the door behinde him, pointing Kenji towards the sofa. “I’ve never seen him so happy. Thank you again for taking us.”
Kenji waved away the comment. “I told you, it’s not a problem. I care about him too.”
Eiji smiled and flicked a glance at the closed bedroom door and the subtle thump of music behind it. Judging it safe he curled against Kenji’s chest, he knew Kamuro didn’t care about this aspect relationship with Kenji, but Nikolai had never seen them like this. He didn’t want to find out the hard way Nikolai wasn’t as accepting as he seemed. “You’re very good for us Kenji.
The sandy-haired man smiled, “You’re both good for me as well, Eiji.”
The pair curled up a little more, and began to drift in and out of sleep, held in each other’s arms. That was how Kamuro and Nikolai found them when they got thirsty and went in search of something to drink. Nikolai blushed at having caught them in such a permission and snuck a sidelong glance at Kamuro who was smiling a bit wistfully as he pulled two bottles of orange ramaine soda out of the fridge.
The boys tiptoed back into Kamuro’s room and opened their drinks. They drank them silently, lost in their own thoughts. Kamuro finished his first and began to absently roll the marble stopper around the bottom of the bottle.
Nikolai swallowed a little more soda and leaned against Kyoko’s huge stuffed body. “Yes Kamuro?”
“Have you ever been kissed?”
Nikolai turned a bright shade of red and shook his head.
“What do you think it’s like? Do you think it’s like it is on TV and in the stories?”
Nikolai dropped his gaze. “If it’s the right person….yes…I do.” He glanced up and let out a small gasp as he realized Kamuro was directly in front of him, only a handswidth away.
“Would you let me kiss you Nikolai? I want to see what it’s like.”
Nikolai flushed even more, but nodded. His breath caught in his throat as Kamuro moved closer. He could see himself in those golden yellow eyes, he could feel the warm whisper of his freind’s breath fanning across his lips, and when Kamuro rested a hand against his shoulder it felt as if it were burning through the thin cotton of his T-shirt. Then came the kiss itself. It wasn’t very long, lacked any modicum of finesse, and left them both a bit confused.
“Maybe we should try again.” Kamuro said.
Nikolai nodded, and this time he tried to kiss back. Kamuro’s eyes widened slightly, that simple act was changing everything. He felt the same sort of exhileration he had during his ride on the roller coaster. He pulled away again to catch his breath. “Kire….one more time?”
Nikolai answered by pulling him back down for another kiss, much deeper than the first two. He felt a long moan escape and reluctantly ended the kiss. “We shouldn’t do this Kamuro….your brother and Kenji are in the next room. They could hear.”
Kamuro sighed. “I know..you’re right.” He gave Nikolai a sultry smile. “But can we try again when they aren’t around to hear?”
Nikolai nodded. “I’d like that very much.”