te_chan01: (chibibaru)
[personal profile] te_chan01

Title-The Fun of Kissing Boys
Pairing- Ohkura/Yasu
Rating- pg-13 ish
Genre- AU
Disclaimer- Totally fictional :)
Summary- What started out as a little experiment turned into something more, something Ohkura couldn't handle.
Note- Wow, it's been well over a year since the last time I posted anything! And it's the first time I've finished writing anything in over a year! This was actually a side story for a different fic I was writing, but that one was never finished. >.> There is a second part because it was too long to fit into one post.

Way back, back in the early years of Junior High, there are few cares in the kids world. There is school, and that puts a damper on a lot of things with homework and exams and all, but then there are friends and clubs and sports. You learn a lot about the people around you during the time you spend in school. In school, boys care about sports, trading card games, video games, and cartoons. Girls care about fashion, idols, and kissing boys. If there's one thing you learn sitting next to the girls in my glass, it's that all they care about is giving their first kiss to some boy.

  "I don't get it." Shota, my one true best friend, said one day after school. The two of us were up in my room, my parents downstairs doing whatever it was parents did. "What's so great about it?"

  "About what?" There was a lot of things Shota didn't get. Whether it's school work or street smarts, a little bit is always missing. Sometimes I didn't know if he was stupid or just naive or what.

  "The girls talking about kissing boys. What's so great about it?"

  Honestly, when it came to that department, we were both a little dumb. Kissing and love and all that, we were to young to care about those things. It was out of our range of interests. But suddenly, there was something interesting about it. Especially when you hear about how great it feels to swap spit with each other. Personally, the thought made me kind of queasy.

  "I wonder?" I said, pacing around my room, just as something to do, since it seemed like Shota was more into thinking about weird things rather than playing the new game I just got and was itching to play.

  "Is it fun or something?" He tilted his head to the side, thinking about it.

  "People on TV and movies do it all the time, so probably."

  "When I was in elementary school, my dad used to kiss me here." Shota pointed to the middle of his forehead.

  "I think it's different than that. They're talking here," I pointed to my mouth. "On the lips. With a boyfriend."

  Shota pondered the thought, his face all scrunched up like it hurt to think. "We're boys. And we're friends."

  "Yeah, we are." I turned a little to look at him, trying to figure out where he was going with the statement. Yes, we are both boys and friends, but what does that have to do with anything? I think I got a clue about where he was going, only you never knew for sure. Not with this kid.

  "Well, let's find out what's so great about it!"

  "Why would we want to do that? Kissing's gross. It's weird when I see my parents do it...And besides, aren't boys supposed to kiss girls?"

Shota gave me a stupid look. "Not like any of the guys are talking about how great it is to kiss girls. I've heard them say that's gross. C'mon, Tacchon! It can't hurt!"

I wasn't so sure. Something felt a little funny about all of this kissing business. I mean, this was my best friend asking me to do that with him. With him! It was a really weird request in the first place without the fact that I would be kissing Shota, a boy. Even so, I had to admit, I wanted to know what the hype was about, too. A small part of me wondered, what does it feel like? And as I thought about it, Shota was right, what could possibly happen? My parents were downstairs and rarely came up unannounced. And it wasn't like we were doing anything wrong, anyway. It was just kissing with a good friend. An experiment. Right? "Okay then..."

  We both sat on our knees on my bed, facing each other, waiting to make a move, but neither of us really knew what to do. We just stared at each other. I noticed Shota wasn't actually that bad looking. I didn't really care what anyone looked like, so I never actually looked at them. Sure, I knew their faces and could pick them out of a crowd, but to notice whether or not they would actually be attractive or not...Well that was the first time. If I had to say it, I'd say he was pretty cute, for someone who still looked like he was seven years old. I felt my face warm up a bit.

  "Well?" Shota spoke up, pulling me out of my thoughts.

  "W-Well what?" I wasn't so sure about this idea anymore. Did I really want to know what it was like? Was it really that important?

  Shota leaned forward just a little. "You gonna do it or what?"

  "Me? Why do I have to do it?"

  "'Cause you're taller than me."

  "Only barely!"

  "Well then, let's do it." I wondered why Shota was so sure about doing this, why he was so eager to do it. But then I could also wonder why my heart felt like it was racing and why I was so nervous about something that it seems like everyone else has done. So, quickly, I leaned forward and pressed my mouth against his, pulling back and sitting far on my heels.

  And he gave the most bored look I've ever seen.

  "You did it wrong." He sighed, his voice dripping with disappointment.

  "Come on, how do you do it wrong?"

  "My sister told me you're supposed to feel like your stomach is doing flips and you're heart is supposed to feel like it's gonna burst with the feeling of happiness. 'Cause it's something special. She said you're supposed to feel all tingly inside. So far I feel like you just tried to teach me math and I fell asleep. And the only part of me that feels tingly is my legs 'cause you made them fall asleep."

  I was a little offended by Shota's comment. The phrase, 'If you want something done right, do it yourself' popped in my mind, but I didn't open my mouth. I couldn't believe he just called that boring. It took a lot just to do that, and that was apparently 'nothing'. He was still waiting, still had that bored expression plastered on his face, so I took a few minutes to think of a way to make it so un-boring he'd want to take back what he just said.

  "Okay," I said, when I had the idea in my head. "I saw this in a movie once. You have to cry."

  "Cry?" Shota tilted his head, looking confused. "But I don't feel like it right now."

  I huffed, annoyed. "You want it to be interesting? You have to cry or it won't work out right. The mood won't be right."

  "But I'm kinda happy right now,  I don't have anything to cry about."

  "Remember a few days ago during lunch, when that guy stole the strawberry off the cake your mom packed for you? Remember how sad that made you?"

  Shota looked past me, remembering the cruel day with clarity, and I saw the tears forming in his eyes. I took pity on him for a moment, since something so simple made him emotional. But whatever. I sat forward and cupped his face between my hands. Just as a tear fell from his eye, I used my thumb to wipe it away, exactly like I saw. And suddenly, there was a spark. Our faces were barely two inches away from each others. I stared into his eyes, and he stared back. His face started turning pink and slowly deepened into red. There was a weird atmosphere in the room, one that felt almost magnetic, and I knew we both felt it. Slowly I pulled his face closer to mine until our lips touched again, this time for much longer. I started to get nervous again, not knowing how to move further.  But Shota suddenly took over, parting his lips and using his tongue to do the same to mine. It felt like we were inside that movie, kissing like the adults do, albeit a lot clumsier. For someone who said he had no experience, Shota sure seemed to know what he was doing.

  After what felt like forever, I pulled back, finding myself out of air and feeling way too hot. He looked just about the same, but a little less flustered.

  "Where'd you learn to do that?" I asked, trying to catch my breath.

  He just shrugged, like it was something that just came naturally. "My sister and her boyfriend aren't all that private. They start making out right in the living room, even if I'm in there. They don't care. So I've seen it before." Suddenly, he turned self-conscious, averting his eyes from me. "So...What'd you think?"

  I didn't know what to say about it. Every thought was jumbled inside my head that if I tried to say anything, it wouldn't make sense. "I...I didn't not like it. It was sort of, kind of fun." It wasn't the best answer in the world, but Shota beamed anyway, obviously happy that I liked it, even just a little tiny bit. But really, it was one of the most exhilarating experiences I'd ever had.

~*~

  We took to doing all of that more often. But only when there were no other eyes around to see. It was a secret between us and only us. Shota claimed it made it more fun. I claimed that I really didn't care. He started coming over much more often after school, something that luckily my parents didn't mind about. We got off of school before they got off of work, anyhow. It was exciting, the thought of having him all to myself for an hour, doing something that made us both feel a little more grown up. We never did much more than just kiss, too afraid to go further, too young to understand how to, but Shota still liked to liven things up, like kissing in different areas, not just the lips, but on the neck, the ear, the chest. He would deepen the kiss, opening out mouths using his tongue, claiming that's what everyone did, and it was something he'd always seen in the movies.

  Even though it was meant to be kept a secret, I suspected he told someone, that someone being his sister. In those once in a while times that we went to his house instead of mine, his sister would give me these knowing looks and smirk at me. He told me not to worry about it, that if anyone should know it should be her, because she doesn't care. She thinks it's sweet, Shota said once. It didn't matter what she said about it. The way she looked at me gave me the creeps. Like we were doing things we shouldn't be.

One day, I found out that we really were doing things we shouldn't be.

I didn't even know how the conversation came up. Shota was over for dinner again. He had been talking about something, I didn't know what. I had a lot on my mind that night. I sat there, shoving food around my plate, when I heard one of my parents say, "You both are far too young."

Not knowing what had been going on, I asked, "What're we too young for?"

My father laughed a little. "Relationships. All kids your age need to focus on is studying. School doesn't get any easier in high school, you know. It just gets tougher."

My mother gives him a look. "You can't very well tell them they can't have relationships in school. Well, I agree junior high is far too young, but we met in high school and did just fine with our studies."

I looked over at Shota, and he smiled happily at the comment. I wanted to ask him what the hell he was talking about with my parents, but I couldn't. Not with them around.

"So it's okay, then? Going out and stuff?" Shota asked, genuinely interested.

"Well, it's not like there is anything really wrong about it."

He beamed even more. "So, if Tacchon and I went out, it would all be okay?"

Immediately, the air thickened. I stared at him in shock. What are you saying?

"Are we still talking about dating?" My mother asked, worry written all over her face. It was obvious that Shota hadn't read the expression well enough to know to shut up.

"Yeah, I thought so." He answered, his smile unwavering. How oblivious can you be?!

"What in the world would ever make you think it would be okay to date another boy?" My father said, his voice both uncomfortable and verging on angry. In an instant, the smile on Shota's face vanished.

He stuttered on his words, not knowing how to answer my father. "Well, I mean...I just thought..."

Mother had a disgusted look on her face. She set her chopsticks down and pushed her plate to the side, a sign she was setting up for a lecture. "Who put an idea like that in your head, Shota? It's not right for two boys- regardless of age- to engage in dating. It's wrong, Shota. In a way, I'm glad you brought it up here. I don't know what you've been told, but we've had the opportunity here to set you straight. You must be so confused to even consider dating Tadayoshi." She looked quickly at me. "Not that you're not a wonderful boy, Tadayoshi. But you two have such potential. Society doesn't look fondly on...those sort of relationships. You have seen on the news what has happened to those people. You two are still young. Shota," She gave him a sad, almost pitiful smile. "There's nothing to worry about. In time, you will find a pretty girl and fall in love. Whatever you think you're feeling now, it's surely not real."

As he listened to my mother, tears started to form in his eyes. Quickly, to try and give him a reason to tear up, I kicked him hard under the table. "I told you, Yasu!" My parents and Shota looked at me in shock, since I hadn't said a word throughout the whole discussion. "I told you your sister was messing with you! You're so stupid sometimes! You shouldn't believe everything she tells you!" I tried my best to make it sound like he was really just being dumb, like his sister had told him some weird, fake fact that got him all confused and got him to think such weird things. And, for a moment, I thought it worked. But then my parents eyes went to him, waiting for his reaction.

"Oh yeah," he forced out, suppressing a sob that was about to escape when he opened his mouth. "I'll have to hit her for that when she gets home. That was really mean of her. I'm so embarrassed!" He hid his face in his hands, covering how red he was, and the fact that some of his tears had spilled over. But it didn't matter. My parents bought it. They were well aware of how slow Shota could be, how gullible he was. They visibly relaxed in their chairs, no doubt thinking they just dodged a bullet. I could read their minds. They were thinking, 'Oh, it was a misunderstanding. Thank God!'. It was written all over their faces. Maybe they were the dumb ones. I felt bad for Shota, since he was so upset over what they had said, but at the same time I was scared. The subject was something that my parents obviously frowned upon. They made it clear that it was wrong. That society agreed. The more I thought about it, the more wrong it actually felt. That must have explained why I felt so weird every time we kissed. I knew it was wrong from the very start, but just wasn't conscious of the fact. It was just embedded in me, and I needed to be told to realize it. It didn't matter how bad I felt for Shota. There was no way I could go back to doing what we had before. Suddenly, the thought was totally disgusting and nauseating to think about.


High school, year 3

We never did mention anything about what we had done in junior high again. Without even saying it out loud, it became a taboo subject. Anything even relating to it was avoided. At first I thought things were just going to go back to the way things were before. I mean, it had just been a weird idea to find out what everyone was talking about. It wasn't a big deal or anything. He had even said so. And yet, I noticed how different he started acting when he came over after school.

Suddenly, he was distancing himself from me. Even though he still came over, still spent the night, it wasn't exactly like what we had before. If we were just talking, he would take the seat farthest away from me. If I came close, he became antsy and would stand up to move away. Same thing happened when we would play games. We used to sit together on the floor, right next to each other, mostly because it was easier to distract each other by hitting or messing with the other person. Now, while I still sat on the floor, he would either took the bed or my desk chair. It was weird, and I didn't like it. It was as if I had attacked him and forced him to kiss me all those times, when in fact, it had always been him who initiated it. In fact, he had started all of this. So, I didn't know why he felt he had to act so weird toward me. Eventually, I just figured it was because he didn't want anyone thinking anything weird about us. It made sense that way. I myself didn't want people thinking of us that way. His distance felt more okay if I rationalized it that way. The more distance, the better. The less thoughts there would be on what we were. We were only friends. Nothing more. Never were anything more.

None of that mattered anymore, not five years later. I stopped thinking about it, and eventually he came around and stopped acting like if he touched me he'd get a disease. We even grew up a bit during that time. Well, I grew up, he stayed short. We gained more friends and had other people to see than just each other. We saw each other less and less, to the point it was mainly in school and during vacations that we saw each other. I still considered him my good friend, but I questioned him sometimes.



At lunch one day, I sat at the table, my girlfriend Karin at my side, my arm draped around her waist. There were a few others at the table, having some conversation that we weren't even apart of anymore. We were too lost in ourselves to care what was going on, having a more private conversation that shouldn't take place in school. It was only out of the corner of my eye that I caught Shota coming down the aisle between the tables.

"Hey!" I called to him, shooting my hand into the air to make sure he saw. I had bumped Karin as I did, and she gave an annoyed grunt, then groaned even louder when she saw who I was waving to. "Come sit over here!" I couldn't remember the last time we ate together. I felt like we needed to catch up.

Shota smiled and nodded, walking toward the table. He stopped a few paces short when his eyes landed on Karin. He slapped on an obviously forced smile and greeted her. "Tabata."

Karin didn't even bother trying to be fake-nice. "Yasuda."

Oh, the static between these two. There was always a mini lightning storm when they were together. The whole school knew these two couldn't get along. Of course, it just so happened that they are both important to me. Just in different ways.

Their static mainly comes from Karin's general disdain for him. Somehow, without me knowing (or realizing), Shota had started becoming popular after entering high school, and has only become more popular with time. Personally I didn't see him as anything more special than the next guy, but that could just be because I've known him since we were little.  Karin is also very well known in the school, though even she'll admit she's not as well liked, which is where the static comes in. 'Everyone loved me before this place.' She'd complain. 'Then this fairy comes and ruins it.' Of course I defended my friend, but I could see why she was angry. 'If any guy should be popular, it should be you. You're tall and good looking and talented.' Not like I could choose to be popular like them. Tall as I was, I was just in the shadows of these two. Shame.
I could sense all of the poisonous words about to slip out of Karin's mouth, so I talked before she could, directing my attention to Shota. "What's up with you? You haven't been around at all."

He sat down, across from me, as far away from Karin as he could get. "Nothing really, just going out a lot."

"Yeah? With your other friends?" Not like I was jealous or anything like that. I hadn't exactly made my self available to hang out with him either.

"Yeah." Then, he looked up apologetically. "Sorry Tacchon."

"You should be sorry." Karin spat. "Tadayoshi has been your friend for, like, ever, and you never see him any more."

We both ignored her, knowing she'd be ecstatic if he never showed up around me every again. "I know your busy. But I am too, you know?" I lied, trying to sound like I wasn't at home most nights with textbooks pretending to study for the entrance exams I really needed to study for. I didn't want him to think my life was as boring as it really was, while it looked like he lived it up. I didn't mind that Shota had a bunch of other friends, but I found that I did miss him hanging around all the time, and it did hurt to see him be with others, talking and laughing with them. It felt like he found people much more exciting than me.

~*~

After school I spotted him again, walking out of the school, all by himself.I took the chance and ran up to him and draped myself over his shoulders. "Wow." I said before he could. "Alone twice in one day? It's a miracle.

"Tacchon!" He laughed, shoving me off his shoulders. "Shouldn't you be with Karin?" I could sense the acid in his voice when he said her name.

"She knows her own way home."

We started walking forward toward out neighborhood. "I still think you could do better." he mentioned under his breath.

"...I've told you, it's none of your business who I choose."

"Shes's a whore." he said without missing a beat, while the insult took my back a few steps.

"A whore?! Shut up! She's no whore!"

"Yeah? How many guys did she have her first year of high school?"

"That's besides the point. That's the past, this is the present."

He just shrugged it off. I didn't really like it when he talked about Karin like that, but it was to be expected. I got an earful of what Karin thought of him all the time, so it balanced out.

"Anyway," I said, changing the subject. "You haven't been over in a long time."

We stepped into my house and pulled off our shoes before heading to the kitchen. Along the way I had convinced Shota to attempt to make something to eat.

"You are in Home Ec, after all." I reminded him, seating myself at the table while he rummaged through my drawers and cabinets and fridge. "But really, why'd you take Home Ec anyway? Isn't that a girls class?"

He started to make some curry rice, the last thing that was taught in the class. "You're in it too, you know?"

"Only because it would be the only class we could take together. Besides, Karin is in it, too."

He rolled his head at the mention of Karin. "Well, it's a fun class! And the only one I'm passing..." He gave an uneasy laugh as he remembered the progress report that was just given out.

I shook my head at him. "Ah, Yasu. We grow older but you never get any smarter." He gave me a sideways glance before he started putting ingredients together.

There was a comfortable silence between us. Even though we had seen each other during school and talked a little there, it was like I had my old friend back again. "So how's life going for you?"

I could see the small smile on his face. "It's all been real good. Can't complain about anything."

"Yeah? There's a million things I could complain about. Starting with the fact they never serve enough food for lunch." He laughed at that, even though I was being totally serious. "So you mean to tell me that all this time we've spent apart and there is absolutely nothing new? No amazing events? Nothing?"

I watched Shota shift a little, stirring, the smile on his face turning mischievous.

"I knew it. Something has happened. Tell me!"

"Nope." There was a lightness in his voice. Whatever it was, it was good. He finished cooking and served it. For having just learned how to make it, it actually tasted good.

"Let me guess. It's about you're love life, right?"

He didn't answer, just raised an eyebrow while concentrating on his plate.

"Really now?" I took the slight gesture as a yes. "Really? And you've been keeping it from me? I tell you all about me and Karin, yet you're keeping this a secret?" He still wasn't answering, but he also wasn't protesting, which let me know I was right. If I wasn't, he'd've been putting up a fight to prove me wrong.

"That's why you took Home Ec! The girl's in that class!" The smile and the light disappeared from his face, and I knew I'd hit something.

"No, that's not it." He finally answered, but that was all he was offering up. For whatever reason, he was starting to look uncomfortable and was squirming in his seat. Okay, messing around was over. It was time to be serious.

"Come on, Yasu. I tell you everything, don't I? You can talk to me too. You know that. Not like I don't know everything about you anyway."

There were a few seconds of silence, and he was still squirming, like there was no comfortable position in that chair. After he'd finally settled down, he looked up at me. "Remember that guy from junior high, the one that stole the strawberry off my cake?"

I nodded, thinking about how much that must have scarred him if he can still remember it to this day. I almost forgot about it.

"Well," he started, pausing. "We've been hooking up."

I nodded, like I understood. I kept nodding, letting the words sink in before I actually got what I just heard. "Wait. Hooking up?"

"That's what I said." He shoved a spoon full of food into his mouth, his cheeks coloring a deep red.

"You mean you...you and that guy from junior high?" A queasy feeling was taking over my stomach and I didn't feel like eating anymore.

"That's right." A smile started to slowly creep back on his face, almost like he was proud of what he'd just said. I, on the other hand, couldn't really handle the news.

"But, Yasu, that's wrong!" I blurted out before my mind could filter it out. He finally looked up at me then, and it was obvious this wasn't the reaction he had been anticipating. Not from his best friend, anyway. "I mean, you know that!"

"Maybe it is wrong," he said, "For you and a slew of other people, but for me it's not."

"But, I mean..." I tried to collect my thoughts, tried to find something to say that wouldn't offend him or make him mad. "How long has this been going on for?"

He shrugged. "I don't know, a while."

"Wait, wait, wait, wait. You mean to tell me you've been feeling...this way about guys for 'a while' and you are just telling me about it now?!" He made a face at me then, one that looked like it ways saying, 'I shouldn't have had to tell you'. "How am I supposed to know? Not like you exactly come around and talk all that often anymore!"

"You're making this into a big deal..."He leaned his head on his hand, mixing his meal around his dish, his apatite also gone.

"It is a big deal, Yasu! Don't you get that? It's. A. Big. Deal!" I was frazzled by the news. I felt like going over to him and shaking him hard by the shoulders, trying to knock some sense in him. I didn't like hearing this from him. Not from my best friend. "What do you think people will do when they find out?! You know what they say about people like you!"

I watched his jaw clench at my last words. "So what if people talk? So what if people do something to me? I don't care. And," He said, shooting an angry glare at me. "Real friends wouldn't care, either. Real friends wouldn't talk like it was such a bad thing."

"We...are real friends." I said, feeling bad that I had offended him.

"Right? We are, aren't we?" I couldn't tell if he was being serious or not. I didn't look up at him.

"We are."

"As real friends," he started talking carefully, like he didn't want anything he said to get me going on another rant. "Nothing'll change between us, right?" He sounded hopeful as he talked.

"Right. Nothing'll change. We're still the same as always." I lied, laying it on thick.  Of course things weren't going to be the same. What in the world was he thinking? Just going ahead and dropping this bomb on me. My mind wandered it's way back to junior high as I remembered the things we had done together, and suddenly it was really uncomfortable being in the same room with him. But when I lied, he smiled, believing me. I couldn't say anything to him about it. He was my friend, after all.

"I'm glad. Honestly, it's because of all this that I haven't really been around lately." He laughed a little. "I knew you'd understand."

I nodded stiffly. No, I didn't understand. I didn't understand why he would go and do what he's doing when he understands perfectly how wrong it is! It got spelled out for him those years back by parents. I didn't like the weird feeling this whole conversation was giving me in the pit of my stomach.

"I think we should hang out more now. It'll be fun! Just like the old times!"

I had to bite my tongue from yelling out 'No!'. I didn't want things to be just like the old times! The 'old times' consisted of making out in private places in school and whenever my parents weren't home. That was a time I've been trying to forget, not relive!

I smiled a plastic smile. "You're right, we should."

~*~

It had been weeks since Shota and I had that 'talk'. My efforts just to forget about it had paid off. It was put away in the back of my mind, far, deep in some chest that held my worst childhood memories. For a while I was still freaked out about him, but he never once even showed an interest in me like I thought he would, given our past and all. If I were being honest, I felt a little sad about it. Not sad enough to say anything, though. No, that's staying way back there with the 'talk' and my bad memories.

True to both of our words, we did spend more time together. A lot of the time for me was spent eating, while he babbled on about whatever it was Shota babbles about. Maybe clothes or shopping or something I could care less about. But the point was, we were hanging out again, like the 'old times'. Weeks later, I could relax at those words, now knowing he didn't mean doing anything funky that would get us in deep trouble.


One night we were at his house, laying out on top of old blankets in his back yard. We were getting too old for this sleep-over business, yet we were still doing them like it was totally normal. The night was clear and cool, not a cloud in the sky. We could see the stars that night, and I felt thankful we lived far away from the city and it's light pollution. Otherwise, we'd never see any of them. We were lucky and counted three shooting stars.

"You know," Shota started talking after we had been quiet for some time as we scanned the sky more more shooting stars. "I thought I'd never find love."

I sighed inwardly, not ready for another one of these conversations. But Shota had brought it up. He wanted to talk about it. I didn't have any other topic in mind to change to, so I went with it. "What're you talking about?"

"No one ever showed any interest in me. Not in the romantic kind of way, anyway. I wanted something more than just friendships. But no one was ever interested." He paused and sighed. He looked so sad and lonely, despite his relationship status currently. "And then you got a girlfriend and started hanging around her more and more...I thought, Wow, I really will be alone. There's something wrong with me. I must be ugly or something."

It was a side I hadn't seen of Shota. A side of low confidence and self doubt. "You're not ugly. You never have been! How could you ever think you were?"

Shota smiled softly at the compliment. "When no one looks at you, you start to think things like that. But then, during the beginning of our second year, things changed. Suddenly it felt like everyone was seeing me, and I had more friends than I could ask for. But I still felt lonely. Then," He said, pausing, his smile widening. "Then I met him again, and suddenly I had something I'd never had before. Someone was interested. Interested in more than just friendship and talking once in a while. He had been the one person that wanted more than just the friend-me. It felt so good to have someone like that."

Some strange feeling started welling up in my chest. I couldn't put a name to it, but it made me really not want to hear anymore of what Shota had to say. I thought the two of us had a relationship that was different, maybe even special. Not in the romantic kind of way, God forbid, but more than just the ordinary best friend. Suddenly I felt like I was being pushed to the side as someone less important, someone who failed to make Shota feel good when he needed it most. I hadn't even known he was having feelings like that until this very moment, so it wasn't all entirely my fault.

"So, about this guy," I asked, changing the subject to something that was a little less heavy on the feels and stuff. "Do you do stuff with him that we do?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean things that only we have done together. Like spend the night at each others house."

Shota hesitated a minute before answering. "Yeah, I've spent the night at his place a few times."

Geh. I had hoped he would have come up with another example of things they have done. Not to really answer the question if whether they spend the night together. That wasn't the question, just an example. From the look on Shota's face and the blush that was creeping up his cheeks, I didn't have to ask what they had done during those nights. Whether it was just them kissing or actually sleeping together, I didn't know nor want to know. Not like he looked like he was going to offer that kind of intimate information in the first place.

It was hard enough to think of Shota getting past first base with someone quicker than me. Karin, despite her reputation, has never brought up the subject of doing anything other than making out. She was too afraid, so I never pushed the issue, even though at times I wanted to. So if Shota could get further...It was too weird to think about. He was still my friend, still my high school friend who still looked like he belonged in elementary school and should never be participating in activities with another boy that are so wrong. I bit my tongue, though.

Shota rolled over toward me onto his stomach, concern crossing his face. "You okay, Tacchon? You look a little sick."

I tried to get my expressions back under control. "Yeah, I'm fine. I just can't imagine you...and that guy...doing..." The words stuck in my throat like a wad of gum. Shota's face colored again, but it was covered when he leaned his head in his hands.

"You don't have to imagine it, Tacchon. I mean, things like that...It's just what you do when you're in love, right? You give everything you can to that person. Within reason, I guess. I mean, it took us forever just to get to this point..."

"You're too young, Yasu." I said quickly, interjecting. There are somethings that are just left better unsaid. "You shouldn't be doing things like that."

"So you're my dad now?" Shota asked. He looked annoyed at me. "You gonna teach me all about sex ed?"

"No! Do you really think I want to repeat what I've been told? It was embarrassing enough just listening! I don't want to repeat it!"

"Then," Shota said, stepping off his blanket and rolling it up in order to go inside. "Don't tell me I'm too young to be doing what I'm doing."


~*~


It was one of those days where we had planned to hang out. I was waiting outside the school, checking my watch every few minutes. He was late. School had ended almost fifteen minutes ago. He should have been out of the school by now. I started to wonder what in the world was keeping him, figuring a teacher wanted to talk to him or something. That's when, for one reason or another, I checked my bag to see if I had everything I needed, since I was still at the school. As I looked, I noticed I forgot my mallet bag, the one we were issued for the mandatory music class we had if you played the percussion.I knew where it was too, in that classroom that was practically on the other end of the earth from here. The thought of having to go all the way back there was tiring. I had a different idea instead. I knew where another bag was. I started toward the band room. Yokoyama's mallet bag was probably still in the room, next to the timpani's.

I entered the band room and headed to the back. Sure enough, Yokoyama's mallet bag was there, leaning against the drum. I picked it up and hooked it to my bag. I was about to leave when I heard a strange noise coming from one of the storage rooms. There weren't any practices after school that day, so no one else should have been in there, not unless they had forgotten something like I had. I went to check it out, seeing that the door had been cracked open just a tiny bit. I pushed it a little further and stuck my head in. What I saw made my stomach go upside down.

Shota was in there, pushed up on the table, in the arms of that guy he's been talking about. I couldn't see any air between them, they were so close to each other. They were kissing, and they were so into it they hadn't even noticed me standing there, witnessing something they thought was private. Shota had his arms wound around the guys neck, his hands threaded through his hair. The other had his hands on Shota's waist, one hand working it's way down the top of his pants, the other exploring under his shirt. I noticed how Shota's pants were undone, and it hadn't been done on accident.

It was too much for me to see. Of course I had seen people making out before. That's not what was making my stomach do flips. It was the fact it was my best friend and some...some guy were the two getting it on and on the verge of taking off each others clothes while they were still in school. I had to stop it.

"Yasu!" I yelled into the room before clothes started coming off. They both jumped about a mile high. If my stomach wasn't feeling so queasy I probably would have laughed at it. "I've been looking for you! We were supposed to hang out!" I hadn't been looking for him, but it was a good enough excuse for walking in on their make out session.

"Sorry, Tacchon." He apologized, his face turning beet red at being caught. He gave another apologetic look to his 'friend' and pushed off the table, waving behind him and saying he would call later. As soon as he came into contact range, I put my hand on his back and pushed him the rest of the way out the door and giving the other a rather stern look that I learned from my father when he would catch me doing something he didn't approve of.

It was obvious Shota had been turned on and was having an issue coming down from his high. As he adjusted his pants, I noticed him look up to the ceiling, a relieved look on his face as he silently thanked God that our school was uniform optional and he was wearing baggy pants.

"Really, I'm sorry, Tacchon." Shota repeated after he situated himself. "I guess I lost track of time."

"You're just lucky I'm the one that found you guys!" I shot back. "Why did you guys have to do something so private somewhere so public like school?"

Shota rolled his eyes, shoving his hands into his pockets. "I didn't know the band storage room after school hours was such a popular place to be on a Friday."

"You have to be careful, Yasu! How many times do I have to tell you that?"

Under his breath, Shota mumbled, "Too many times..."

I chose to ignore it. "Just look at you!" I said, grabbing his face and turning it toward me. "You're mouth's all swollen. You totally look like you were up to no good!"

"Up to no good? Since when is making out 'up to no good'? You and Karin do it all the time! Right in front of me! During lunch!"

"That's totally different."

"How?" Anger was rising in Shota's voice.

"Because Karin's a girl and-"

"You're kidding!" Shota yelled, stopping dead in his tracks, turning to face me and block my way. He was beyond furious with the direction the conversation went in. But what could I say? I wasn't going to lie and say what he was doing was okay, because it wasn't. "You're seriously going to say it's okay for you to make out with a girl in full view of the world, but for me it has to be done in total privacy? Just because I just happen to be doing it with a guy instead?"

"I'm just looking out for you!"

"That's bullshit and you know it!" I fell back, never before seeing him so angry, never having it all directed at me. We'd gotten into arguments before, but not like this. Not so seriously. "You just hate the fact it's with another guy! That's what all of this has ever been about! Your 'looking out for me' is a crock of shit. You just want me to keep it hidden because it makes you uncomfortable. It has nothing to do with me. It has to do with you and how you feel about it!"

"It's not about me! It's about you and what you're doing and how what you do is viewed by everyone else! You've told others, haven't you?" Shota nodded, almost defiantly. "I knew it."

"Whaddo you mean you knew it? How could you know?"

"You haven't been hanging around your popular friends so much recently. It's not that hard to notice."

Hurt flashed across his face at the mention of the friends he had lost. "So, some people don't agree with it. So, some people don't like it. Who cares about them? They weren't my real friends if they react that way, anyway."

I took him by the shoulders and shook him. "Stop being so blind, Shota!"  He looked at me with wide eyes as he gripped onto my sleeves to keep from falling back. "It's not because they weren't your real friends! It has nothing to do with that! It has to do with you and the way you've chosen to live and the fact that people feel uncomfortable being around you because of that!"


Shota stared at Okura for a few minutes, lost for words. Then, almost violently, he broke away from his grasp, glaring at him, an angry fire in his eyes. "You're no better than them." He spat. "If that's how you feel, then I'll be the one to end our friendship. I don't need to be hurt again by someone else leaving me. You don't have to worry anymore, Okura. We're done." He turned and stomped away down the street. Okura had the urge to call out to him, but fought it back. He wasn't going to listen. I've really done it this time, Okura thought. He never wanted to lose him as a friend. There was an odd emptiness in the pit of his stomach as he walked the rest of the way home.

~*~

I went to school the next day, expecting Shota to be over what had happened. It was just a fight, I told himself. That's all. Shota had time to cool down and would have surely found it in his heart to forgive me. I planned to apologize when I saw Shota. I had the chance on my way to my first class. Shota was walking toward me, his eyes concentrated on the path ahead of him. I put my hand up to wave and started to say Shota's name, when Shota completely ignored me and left me hanging. I turned and Shota continued walking down the hall like he hadn't just seen his best friend in the hall. I wasn't ready to use the term former best friend. Shota had looked preoccupied, after all.

Several more times that day, I spotted Shota in the halls, but he had been walking with that other guy, hand in hand, too close for comfort. They would be talking or laughing about something I had no idea about. It gave me no chance to really call out to him and speak to him in private. At one point, Shota had looked up at me, his expression going sour, his eyes cold as they landed on me. Then he continued to walk away without another look.

It continued like that for the rest of the week. The only difference was Shota now refused to look at me or even acknowledge that I was around. It started to hurt every time I saw him, knowing Shota was going to pretend I didn't exist. Eventually Shota stopped appearing in the same hallways. He started taking a different route to classes, just to avoid seeing me.
It really is over, I thought to myself, feeling a wave of sadness wash over me. I'd really, seriously screwed up this time.

~*~

I went home and collapsed on my bed, extreme loneliness creeping up inside of me. I had lot someone who was so important to me, over something that now seemed so petty. And then, with all of my attempts to get Shota to notice I existed again, I started to ignore Karin. She was getting fed up with me. Of course she would be. I was chasing after someone she couldn't stand. I wanted his attention more than hers. She knew that. She stopped showing up around me, too. I guess that was her way of breaking up. Which was just great.

My eyes wandered around my room. A small album nestled inside my bookcase caught my eye. I sat up and reached for it. It was dusty and dirty and hadn't been touched for years. I wiped the inch-thick dust off and opened it. The front picture was an old picture of me and Shota. We wore our tiny dark blue shorts, loose sky blue tops with out names pinned to the left, and our bright yellow hats. It was taken in front of our schools sign. Our hands were clasped together, our free ones throwing the peace sign up. The next few pictures were basically the same, only with each picture, we were a year older. There was another set of pictures from the summer break before we graduated to junior high. My family took us on a trip to a summer home on a lake. It was just my parents and us. No siblings, no other relatives. My parents generally left us alone, unless the camera was in hand. There were a slew of pictures of the two of us, playing in the lake, getting burned by the sun on the sand, sitting by the fire at night. In almost every picture, we were hand in hand. There were even pictures of us sleeping like that. We were old enough by then to know that boys don't hold hands. It's cute when you're small, but when you're on the verge of being in junior high...Hand holding should have stopped long ago. And yet, even as I am forcing myself to think that way, I can't help but miss the feeling of his hand in mine.

I set the album aside and look toward my laptop. I started to wonder how Shota was dealing with things. If loosing just two people made me feel this crappy, then he must be a wreck. I went to my desk and powered the laptop up. Once it was up and running I went straight to Shota's site. I could still see everything, so he didn't have it in him to block me. I couldn't remember the last time I looked at his site. The first thing I noticed was his profile picture. It was of him and his boyfriend, kissing. I felt my face heat up. How bold, I thought. Embarrassing, too. I didn't know many people who would put those types of things out so prominently for the world to see, like he was broadcasting his relationship. Maybe he was.

The next thing I noticed was his friends list. He used to have over 150 friends, from different places, that he's met throughout the years. Now, he was down to thirty, most of those being relatives, some being people I know haven't logged on since they created their site. It truly was sad.

The last thing I noticed was all the pictures he had uploaded. Just today he updated with a whole new roll of pictures. Many of them were of his and his boyfriend, either self-taken or taken by others. There were so many of them. That awful feeling started growing in my stomach again. It only intensified when I saw the expression Shota wore. He was smiling, happy. It wasn't fake. The smile reached all the way to his eyes. He was genuinely happy. It didn't look like he cared that we, who had been friends, best friends, since we were small, were no longer together, no longer on speaking terms. He didn't look like he felt lonely at all. Not like I did.

I felt miserable inside. How could this be? I asked myself. How can it be that I am missing him so much and Shota is running around like he doesn't have a care in the world. He should care more! He should be feeling the same exact way I am now! He should want us to be back together!

But he didn't. That was obvious enough. Because if he did, we would have been friends again by now. He would be at my house instead of with that other guy.

I closed the window, shut my laptop, and fell back onto my bed, tired and hurt. I wanted Shota back with me. But that wasn't going to happen.
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