[identity profile] stormymood.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] arashi_exchange
A piece of rainbow for [livejournal.com profile] shardaunei Part 6

He was in the middle of a kanji lesson a week later, trying his best to keep Keita focused on learning some more challenging ones, when there was a knock on the library door. “Come in.”

It was Aiba, his face serious. “I’m sorry to interrupt your lessons, Sensei, but there’s a telephone call for you. It sounded quite urgent. You can take it in the study.”

He set the chalk down, trying to mask his alarm. “Very well. Keita, please excuse me for one moment. Keep working on these, and we’ll have extra drawing time.”

He found the study empty, and Aiba shut the door to give him privacy.

“Yes, hello?”

“Is this Sakurai Sho?” asked an unfamiliar voice.

“Yes, it is. May I help you?”

“My name is Tottori Kenichi, I’m a doctor at the hospital in Karuizawa. Is your mother Sakurai Naoko-san?”

His heart dropped. “Yes. Yes, that’s my mother.”

“Sakurai-san, I don’t want to alarm you, but your mother is here right now. She came in complaining of abdominal pain. We’re still running tests at the moment, and we’ll be keeping her here until they are completed and we can identify what may be ailing her. I was given this number to telephone you.”

“Is my father there? Is another member of my family with her?”

“Yes, your father is in the room with her. You have a younger brother as well, he’s here.”

“Good,” he mumbled, panicking a little. At least someone was with her. “My sister?”

“She is next on my list to call. Your father asked that I contact you both so you can be aware of the situation and come here if you wish.”

“Tottori-sensei was it?” Sho asked, a little confused.

“Yes, sir.”

“My mother’s regular doctor is Kadowaki-sensei. Is he there as well?”

“I’m afraid Kadowaki-sensei is on vacation. But your mother is receiving the best possible care while we determine what is wrong with her. Can we expect you here?”

Sho took a breath. While the air was considerably cold, there was no snow in the forecast at least for today. It would take several hours by train. The route by automobile might be faster…

“I will do my best to arrive today. Please let my parents know I’m coming.”

“Yes, of course, Sakurai-san. We do not believe it is life-threatening, but I’m sure it would be a comfort if you came.”

“Yes, thank you. Goodbye.”

He hung up the phone, walking as steadily as he could manage out of the study. His parents had come to Matsumoto City a few weeks earlier for lunch, to catch up on Sho’s new life here. His mother had always been in such good health.

He found Aiba in the dining room where Jun was having a late lunch. They both looked up when Sho tapped on the door.

“Sorry to interrupt, I’ve just had some bad news.”

Jun set down his chopsticks, face filling with concern.

“What is it? How can I help?” Aiba asked.

“My mother’s in the hospital back home in Karuizawa. Nothing immediately threatening, but they’re keeping her to determine what’s wrong.” He turned to Jun. “Forgive me for having to abandon lessons, but I would like to go see her, if that’s alright.”

“Of course it’s alright,” Jun said, getting to his feet. “I’ll drive you.”

“What?” Aiba interrupted, “don’t be silly, I can take him to the train station, Jun-san.”

“It’s faster to Karuizawa by car. It takes a few different trains to go around the mountains. Nonsense. I’ll drive.”

Sho shook his head. “That’s…you don’t have to…”

“I insist,” Jun said, and there was something in his face that Sho couldn’t quite read. He almost looked angry, but then why would he volunteer to drive Sho all that way?

Sho offered apologies to Keita, saying he’d probably be gone a few days. Keita said he would make a get well card for Sho’s mother, and Jun shook his head. “Let’s wait unti we know more information. We’ll be leaving now,” he said, which struck Sho as a bit strange.

When they were away from the library, they headed upstairs so Sho could pack a bag. He could stay at his parents’ house while he was gone. “Jun,” he called out, and he turned around. “We can stay and let him draw a card for her. He means well by it.”

“Let’s just get on the road. We can call Aiba and have him mail it out later.”

Sho shrugged. “Very well.”

He packed a few days’ worth of clothes and his toiletry bag. Members of the staff shook his hands, offering good wishes to his mother and his family. He gave Mao a few ideas for lessons to do in his absence, and after her months of observation in the classroom, he had no doubt that she’d be a fine substitute.

Within the hour, he and Jun had bags in the trunk of the car, a quick dinner packed from the cook with them, and they were on the road.

They were just outside of Matsumoto City and onto the highway when Sho finally emerged from his fog of worry, realizing he hadn’t yet thanked Jun for going out of his way for him.

“I’m sorry for the trouble. It’s truly kind of you to drive me all this way.”

Jun said nothing, his face grim as he held tight to the steering wheel, moving the car around the curving mountain road.

“What’s wrong?”

“We aren’t going to Karuizawa.”

Sho was confused. “We’re taking an alternate route?”

“We’re going to Tokyo.”

“Just a moment,” he interrupted in a panic. “Jun, my mother is…”

“Your mother is fine, Sho.”

He sat there for a moment, not sure what to do. What to say.

“You received a call from a doctor you don’t know. He’s not your mother’s doctor. When you made inquiries about your family, you probably expected one of them to come onto the line and talk to you. But of course they didn’t. You only spoke with this unfamiliar doctor.”

“Jun, what are you saying?” he asked, suddenly feeling quite ill. How did Jun know this?

“Your mother is home and well. She is not in the hospital in Karuizawa. Your family is just fine. And I know this because I know who just called the house impersonating a doctor.”

Sho wasn’t sure if he was furious or if he wanted to be sick. “Pull over. Pull this car over and explain what you mean immediately.”

Jun had to wait until the road straightened out and he pulled off onto the side, leaving the engine running so they might still have heat. When Sho turned, Jun was still looking straight ahead out the windshield glass, his face solemn.

“I want to know what’s going on.”

“The person who called was not a doctor. The person who called you was named Oguri. He’s my friend.”

“How did he know my mother’s name?”

“Because I made the mistake of telling Toma your name once, and they’ve used it against me now. They did some simple investigating.” Jun took a breath. “You listened in on my phone call with Toma the other day.”

Jun had had his back to him, but he’d still known. Then again, Sho hadn’t heard much.

“Someone from my past…someone has died. When Toma called the other day, he said that this person was in the hospital, in his final days. He told me to come back to Tokyo, but I’d only just returned for Keita’s birthday. I told him I couldn’t leave again so soon. He said that he’d find a way to make me come anyhow, and that’s what this is. He used you, he used you in this way because he knows I would act. Toma and Shun, they’re not bad people…they just…”

“They just lied to me, a person they don’t know.” Sho tugged on the sleeve of Jun’s coat. “I thought my mother was seriously ill, Jun! How do I know this isn’t another lie?”

Jun turned to look at him, face pale and sorrowful. “It’s a long drive ahead. I said I’d tell you everything. And now that they’ve crossed the line, involved you, I think the time to tell you is now.”

“You say they’re your friends. Why are you friends with people who would lie like that about my family? How despicable can they be?”

“I’m the same as they are,” Jun admitted. “I was taught to be that way.”

“By whom?”

“By the man who just died.” Jun pulled the car back onto the road. “I swear to you that your mother is fine. Please, just listen to what I have to say.”

Sho sat back, and as the car slowly started making its way not to Karuizawa but Tokyo, Jun finally told him the truth.

At eighteen, he arrived in Tokyo. With the shame of being disowned by his father, he refused to stay in Nagano, longing to disappear and get as far away from the Matsumoto name as he could. He’d left with only a suitcase and a pair of his mother’s pearl earrings, something Atsushi had slipped into his coat before he’d left. The first thing he did when he arrived was pawn the earrings, which allowed him to stay in a boarding house with a private room.

Looking for work, most rejected him outright. Raised as a pampered aristocrat, Jun didn’t have many skills that were helpful in Tokyo. Construction jobs were plentiful, but Jun was a scrawny slip of a kid, had no muscles to speak of. The army he considered for maybe an hour before realizing that he didn’t dare join with his real name. Word would get back to his father, and he didn’t know where to obtain false identification.

One day he ended up at the Kitagawa Theater, a small intimate theater in Asakusa. There was an advertisement in the newspaper looking for a young man who could clean and do odd jobs. Inside he’d met the elderly Kitagawa Hiromu, a charismatic man who didn’t blink when Jun, desperate and down to his last bit of money, said he would do anything asked of him.

And for the first few months, he did his job as advertised. Selling tickets, sweeping the stage, tidying the actors’ dressing rooms. The troupe was composed of about fifteen actors of varying ages. Older veterans who took on the meaty roles and younger men only a few years older than Jun who often played the female roles with the help of costuming and makeup. The actors also doubled as stage hands, as lighting and prop crew.

There were two other young men Jun’s age who were also employed by Kitagawa Hiromu - Ikuta Toma and Oguri Shun. Ikuta was the son of a baker, Oguri an orphan that Kitagawa had taken in years earlier. Eventually Kitagawa had the three of them bunk together in a boarding house closer to the theater. At first his new friends seemed normal, but they often disappeared at night with no explanation.

Jun initially thought that Toma and Shun disliked him, deliberately excluding him from whatever they got up to. He even thought that they’d sensed that he preferred men, so they didn’t invite him out to drink and try to pick up women. It was when Shun came home with a severely injured Toma one night that Jun realized they weren’t just going out on the town.

With Toma out of commission with a broken leg, Jun was summoned to Kitagawa Hiromu’s office. “You,” Kitagawa had said, “I’ve got a side business I was hoping you could help with, now that Toma-kun is taking a break.”

It was then that Jun was given new papers and the name Miyama Hiroto, and he’d been expected to work for Kitagawa until the cost of the false identity was repaid. Kitagawa arranged for Jun to receive lessons, adding to the money spent on him that Jun would have to pay back. With his upbringing, Jun didn’t require any training in how to behave like a proper gentleman. But he did receive lessons of other kinds. Boxing. Martial arts. His thin body grew bigger, stronger. More agile. And Shun took him on different types of lessons altogether.

Shun taught him how to pick locks. How to sneak around in the dark. How to avoid guard dogs. Since Kitagawa Hiromu knew who Jun was and more importantly, who Jun’s father was, Jun didn’t dare question the strange new skill set he was acquiring. He also knew that he couldn’t back out. He was in too deep. By the end of the year, Toma was back in action and now Jun was ready to help, eager to pay off his mounting debt.

The three of them, Jun, Shun, and Toma, were part of an elaborate blackmailing and theft scam Kitagawa Hiromu was running. With his ailing theater as a front, Kitagawa grew fat and rich by stealing from theater patrons. He’d been running the scams for years, and Jun and his friends weren’t the first group of young men Kitagawa had employed this way. Jun watched and helped Toma in the coat check at Kitagawa Theater, rifling through people’s coats while the show was going on. Inside they found wallets, addresses. Business cards and matchbooks for restaurants. They never took anything, just jotted down information and passed it on to Kitagawa.

Then Kitagawa would select targets. They’d break into houses, looking not for money and jewels to steal outright but information. Bank account numbers that they’d copy down, names of children. They’d sometimes not break in at all, scouting from a rooftop across the way and observing. They gave the information to Kitagawa, who did the blackmailing, who ran the scams, who sent one of the actors in the troupe to a bank to do a withdrawal as someone else.

When Toma threatened to leave, Kitagawa threatened his family’s bakery in return. He said he would spread a rumor that the food was making people sick or would take out loans in Toma’s father’s name, putting him in debt to gangsters and other unsavory people before he realized it. Witnessing this, Jun knew he’d never be able to quit. He couldn’t bear the thought of someone going after the Matsumoto family money, of someone threatening his older brother and his wife. Their innocent infant son.

Jun felt he was a lost cause, a thief and a liar. But he couldn’t stop and put the family he actually cared about at risk.

As the years went by, Miyama Hiroto was arrested a few times for trespassing. But in more than a decade of work for Kitagawa Hiromu, being hauled in only three times was considered an achievement. Kitagawa simply added the bail money onto Jun’s neverending tab. Younger boys were brought in and trained as Jun and his two friends were called upon for different tasks as some of the older actors retired from the troupe, leaving Kitagawa’s sphere of influence.

Soon it was Jun coordinating things on Kitagawa’s behalf. He was put in charge of training the younger recruits, even as he desperately wanted to help them get away. He taught eager kids only a few years younger than he was how to pick locks, how to climb drain pipes to get onto a roof. He taught them how to use the guns Shun risked his life to buy on the black market. When anyone in the troupe was arrested, it was Jun who’d be sent to the police station with a briefcase full of cash to bail them out since he looked most like a young lawyer with his glasses and aristocratic manner of carrying himself.

And he was rotated in as part of the theater troupe, performing in a play and holding the audience’s attention while the teenagers he trained and mentored went through the audience’s coat pockets.

Though Kitagawa was rich, he funneled very little of it into the theater. As the years went on and the police started to catch on to his scams, the criminal activity started to slow. Jun spent more time on stage than slipping into someone’s house, looking for something to blackmail them with.

Even though they had decent clothes, full bellies, their own cut of the scores from the scams, they all hated it. They all hated themselves. When one of the newer members, a 21 year old kid, discovered that the information he’d found for blackmail had driven a woman to suicide, he’d killed himself as well.

It was then that Kitagawa finally shuttered the theater. Jun had been 29, and he’d been a criminal for an entire decade. By that point Toma had mostly taken over his family’s business. Shun lived in the fancy house in Ginza Kitagawa lived in with his invalid sister, working as his right hand man. Jun had barely spent any of the money he’d earned, letting it instead sit in a bank account out of guilt.

But he wasn’t free, even with the theater closed. As long as Kitagawa was alive, he had a hold on them. As Miyama Hiroto in Tokyo, he lived quietly, working in the Ikuta family’s bakery. But some nights he’d get a call from Kitagawa, and he’d have to report in. The larger scams were done. There was no infrastructure remaining for it. Jun was no longer sent to spy on members of the House of Peers, just wealthy fools and gambling hall addicts who might easily be parted from their money.

When his brother Atsushi and his wife died, Jun went to Kitagawa saying he had to leave. Kitagawa read the newspapers. Kitagawa knew that the heir to the Matsumoto family had been orphaned. “You,” Kitagawa had told him, “you’ll come back when I tell you to come back.”

Knowing the threat was real, Jun took on his old name and took on the guardianship of his nephew. He used the money he’d never spent to buy a car and clothing befitting the aristocratic life he’d left behind. But when Kitagawa called, Jun was needed in Tokyo for some spying job or another. He told the staff nothing. How could he even explain it? Instead he simply vanished for days, weeks at a time, staying with Toma, working together with him and Shun, the three of them counting down the days until the old man died.

Shun had convinced the sickly Kitagawa of his loyalty, of his willingness to continue the enterprise. Instead Shun worked to slowly cover their tracks, day by day sneaking around Kitagawa’s house and destroying the information Kitagawa had gathered about people for decades. It was clear to Shun that Kitagawa’s invalid sister had no knowledge of her brother’s misdeeds. When the old man died, everyone who’d been trapped in his net would be free…so long as they managed to destroy all the evidence.

It was on a job for Kitagawa that Jun had been forced to run, climbing a fence to get away from a security guard that had not been mentioned or spotted during earlier scouting. Falling from the fence, he’d hurt his ankle, injured his hands. Jun suspected Kitagawa had sent him there knowing full well that there’d be a guard. The old man, slowly dying in the bedroom of his grand house, still believed he had power over them.

On Keita’s birthday, Toma had called, saying the end was near. That it would be a matter of days. Jun knew Toma and Shun could handle everything in Tokyo, could find and erase every bit of evidence that tied them all to Kitagawa Hiromu and his decades of lies and criminal activity.

But there were too many ties, too many links. Toma and Shun needed his help to ensure it was all destroyed.

A few days after Keita’s party, Kitagawa Hiromu died.

Which resulted in a phone call to Pinetree Manor, a doctor Sho didn’t know informing him that his mother was ill and waiting for him in a Karuizawa hospital.

And so here they were.

They’d made few stops, Jun waving him off when Sho offered to relieve him behind the wheel. On one stop at a fueling station, Jun had telephoned ahead for instructions. A spare room at the Ikuta house, Jun’s usual Tokyo accommodations, was waiting for them.

His parents both in retirement, Ikuta Toma ran the family’s bakery with the help of day workers. The apartment above the bakery was empty that night save for Ikuta himself when Jun drove up in the wee hours of the morning.

Ikuta was awake since he had a business to run starting in only a few hours. He was similar in size to Jun, built slimmer and with a handsome but approachable demeanor. It was apparently Ikuta Toma’s charm and easygoing nature that made him a good scout for Kitagawa for so many years.

Where their friend Oguri developed contacts in the black market and Jun took on a training role, Toma had often taken the lead on reconnaissance, slipping into fancy restaurants and paying for a “good” seat, which ended up being beside an aristocrat holding what he probably thought was a private meeting.

He bowed his head in apology. “I’m sorry, Sakurai-san, for what we did.”

“You’ve involved him even when I explicitly stated that he and all of my staff are off limits,” Jun said angrily. “A telegram would have conveyed the same idea.”

“You wouldn’t have come if I sent a telegram, and you know it,” Toma said.

Toma urged them to sleep, that Oguri would come by in the morning. Now that Kitagawa Hiromu was dead, they were on a rather tight schedule. The old man had been under police investigation for years, and Sho remembered Nino telling him as much. The police were probably trying to get a warrant to search Kitagawa’s house for evidence of wrongdoing. It was their final task to make sure the police didn’t find anything that would incriminate them or any of the others Kitagawa had snared the last several years. They had to go through Kitagawa’s house with a fine-toothed comb, had to make sure everything was destroyed. Only then would they be free of their burden at long last.

There were two futons side by side in the spare room. Sho didn’t remark on the close quarters, simply closing the door once they were both inside and opening his bag to get some clothes to sleep in.

“What you’re here to do has nothing to do with me,” Sho said quietly, unbuttoning his shirt and keeping his back to Jun. “Do what you must. Whatever is needed to keep Keita safe.”

“Sho, we should talk…”

“I’ve listened to you talk for the last several hours. What more could you possibly have to say?”

Sho genuinely felt sad for Jun and the secret life he had been living all these years, the constant deception, carrying out an evil man’s bidding just to stay alive, to keep the family that turned him away from becoming victims themselves. Sho understood it. He accepted it. But he didn’t have to like it.

Would he give up on Jun, now that he knew the horrible things he had done?

It was Jun who dared to voice that fear, his voice unsteady and quiet, none of his usual strength and confidence. “I’ve told you enough that if you walk out the door in the morning and go to the police, I won’t be angry. I promise that I won’t be, Sho. I’ve spent the last several years imagining myself walking up, turning myself in.”

“You want me to do that?”

He heard Jun pulling clothes out of his own bag, undressing behind him. “What I want doesn’t matter. I’ve deceived you, and I refuse to do it any longer. From the first letter you wrote inquiring about the teaching position, I felt you were someone I could trust. And again and again, you wanted so badly for me to be someone you could trust in return. If I end up in prison, at least I’ll go with a clear conscience.”

“I’m not going to rat you out,” Sho mumbled. “You were being manipulated, Jun. You were being manipulated by that man for almost half your life.” Not that the police would see it that way.

It had probably been too easy for Kitagawa Hiromu to take advantage of someone like Jun, cast aside, naive, and desperately seeking acceptance anywhere he could get it. Jun’s real father and Jun’s substitute father Kitagawa…both had been terrible to him in their own ways.

He turned, seeing that Jun was settling into the futon, sitting cross-legged and looking up at him. “I enjoyed it sometimes. There was a certain thrill to it, breaking in, sneaking about. It’s a thrill I haven’t been able to find again.”

“No wonder you drive so fast,” Sho replied. He wondered how much Jun had enjoyed picking the lock on Sho’s bedroom door the other night, wondered if he’d done it just to recapture that high.

Jun’s smile was weak, sad. “People were hurt by my actions. They were stolen from, both their secrets and their money. Even if it was under orders, I carried them out. But that man is dead now, and it will stop. It will stop for good. I can’t erase all those years, but I can face tomorrow knowing that I won’t be hurting anyone else.”

Sho turned out the light, getting into the futon beside Jun, lying on his back in the dark.

“It’s your responsibility to ensure that Keita grows up into a proper man. You can’t erase your past, but you can look to the future. Reaffirm the goal you set on the day he was born. Protect him. Guide him.” Sho took a breath. “Be a better man.”

“I will,” Jun vowed, and Sho shut his eyes, knowing that Jun was beside him, weeping in relief. That he could devote himself to Keita. That his years-long nightmare was over. That Kitagawa Hiromu was dead, and he was no longer his pawn.

He felt Jun’s fingers brush against his hand, seeking him out, seeking reassurance. Though it would be some time for Sho to come to terms with everything Jun had told him, he wasn’t going to leave him. He wanted to be there when the true Matsumoto Jun was allowed to live freely, the Matsumoto Jun he’d fallen in love with.

He gave Jun’s hand a gentle, reassuring squeeze before letting go, turning over onto his side.

Their stay in Tokyo lasted six long days. Sho spent most of the first few days cooped up in Ikuta’s bakery, writing up lesson plans for when he returned to Pinetree Manor and calling his family. His mother was, of course, perfectly healthy.

Confirming that his father was not in earshot of the telephone call, Sho told his mother about Jun. He’d spoken of Jun in terms of him as an employer when his parents had come to Matsumoto City that one day, but now he found himself confessing. He said nothing of Jun’s past, only telling her that when he was with Jun, he was happy.

“Then stay by his side,” his mother said simply.

The other days he played the tourist, visiting landmarks and shrines and some of Tokyo’s massive department stores. Sho hadn’t experienced such a bustling city life since he’d left Kyoto, though he tired of it quickly. He realized that he preferred the simplicity of Matsumoto City, Pinetree Manor, the staff there, the grounds. Seeing Keita’s smile and knowing just how far he’d come.

While Sho wandered the city, Jun and his friends had raced against the clock. They’d been to safety deposit boxes at several banks scattered all over the Tokyo metropolis. Kitagawa Hiromu hadn’t kept all his blackmail in one spot. In one box they found address books, something like a brag book of Kitagawa’s various schemes and victims. In another box they found cash, fine watches and other jewelry. Toma would see to it that anything they pawned or sold would benefit those Kitagawa had hurt.

Papers and sordid information about men and women both alive and now dead went up in flames in the ovens of Ikuta’s bakery. Sho watched from the corner of the room, Jun and his two friends embracing in relief, finally breaking away, moving on.

It might be a form of justice to see the three of them in prison, Sho realized. Paying for the crimes that Kitagawa Hiromu didn’t have to. How many lives had they helped to ruin over the years? But still, he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t take Jun away from Keita, who needed him. If Jun went to prison for those crimes, what would even happen to Keita? The friends Sho had made at Pinetree Manor? In keeping Jun’s secrets, he could keep them all together.

And if Sho was perfectly honest, he was motivated by his own selfishness. Motivated by his need for Jun, by his affectionate regard and his more vulgar desire. Did that make him a bad person? Perhaps. But he’d chosen this path, and like Jun, he’d have to live with that choice moving forward.

Saying goodbye to his friends, to the men he’d been through hell with, Jun promised to visit. For the first time, Jun would be going to Tokyo because he wished to, not because he’d been blackmailed into it. Ikuta and Oguri both shook Sho’s hand, Ikuta leaning forward to rest a hand on Sho’s shoulder once Jun had left the room to get their bags.

“He never shut up about you,” Toma admitted. “He was always wanting to get back, ever since you started teaching the nephew.”

“I’m really sorry,” Oguri mumbled. “For using you to get to him.”

“You’ve both apologized for that already,” Sho said.

“I know,” Oguri replied. “But after all the terrible things we did…after all that, it feels good to at least apologize to someone.”

“Then I accept,” Sho said, nodding politely.

Toma patted his shoulder and let him go. “Take care of him. A guy like Jun needs a swift kick in the ass from time to time.”

Jun was coming down the stairs, suitcase in tow, scowling jokingly. “A guy like me needs what?”

“Let me go grab some cakes for you,” Toma said, hurrying off before Jun could give him a playful smack.

Oguri helped them get the car packed up. It was cold, December had finally arrived, and it was time to go back to Pinetree Manor to face whatever future lay ahead. Sho’s life had changed so much since that rainy August day he’d arrived in Matsumoto City.

A storm made them split their car journey back into a two-day affair, stopping overnight at an inn on the outskirts of Hokuto. They called ahead to Aiba, letting him know they’d return the following day and that Sho’s mother was doing fine. That lie Sho would have to live with, but he supposed it was nothing compared to the years of deception and shame Jun had lived through.

Sho returned from the inn’s private bath to find Jun sitting at the low table in their room, spinning something small on the table. As soon as it fell, Jun set it to spin around again with a quick flick of his fingers.

Sho watched for a few moments, Jun’s concentration entirely on the object. When it fell again, he interrupted. “A coin?”

“A button,” Jun said, picking it up and letting it lay flat against his palm. It was round, brass perhaps. “It was on a costume I had, first show I did for the troupe. It fell off when the thread came loose. I kept it, said it was missing, so the man who did most of our stitching up at the time simply added a new one.”

“Where’d you find it?”

“I’ve had it,” Jun said, letting the button spin again. “Keep it in my car. Before that it was always in my pocket.”


It fell again, and this time Jun left it. “I enjoyed acting, honestly I did. I could be someone else, at least for a few hours. I mean, I was already someone else. I was living under a false name, but being on stage…that was a different feeling. Everything I did for that man, I knew it was wrong. But being on stage, at least that was time when he couldn’t do anything to me. Couldn’t send me out to freeze on a rooftop, to peek through an underwear drawer. It was time to myself. I’m sentimental I guess, keeping it. I used to keep it in my hand, let it leave an indent in my palm. Kept me sane sometimes, reminded me of the moments where I wasn’t his to control.”

Sho knelt down beside him at the table, taking the simple button into his palm. “You’re certain nothing can be traced back to you?”

“It’s highly unlikely. We turned that house upside down, we got in touch with old members of the troupe. He had dirt on every one of us, and we all lived in fear of him.” Jun ran his fingertips along the table, lost in thought. “I don’t think anyone would want to do anything that might incriminate the others. I think we’re all just relieved that it’s over…that he’s finally gone.”

Sho looked at the button, imagined a younger version of Jun holding it tight in his hand, doing whatever he had to do to survive.

“You don’t need this anymore,” Sho said quietly, setting it down.

“I suppose I don’t.”

“I’ve told you before, that you aren’t without friends.” He looked up, meeting Jun’s eyes. “I understand what Ikuta-san and Oguri-san mean to you, and I know I can’t measure up entirely. I’ve known you for months, they’ve known you for years, but whatever I can do to help you through this…whatever I can do, just ask.”

Jun’s eyes were brimming with tears, and he took his glasses off, rubbing his eyes as he set them down on the table. Had it even truly sunk in yet, that his life was entirely his to lead for the first time in all these years?

“I don’t deserve your kindness.”

“It’s not all kindness,” he said, smirking. “Some of it’s just me being hopeless when it comes to you.”

“Hopeless?” Jun scoffed, wiping more tears away. “That’s an odd word for it.”

“It’s an odd sort of arrangement that we have all around, wouldn’t you agree?”

Jun nodded. “You’ll stay on? As Keita’s teacher?”

“Of course.”

“Will we be okay? You and me?”

“That depends. Do you plan to keep picking the lock to my bedroom and scaring me half to death?”

Jun’s smile was genuine, a little teasing, reminding Sho of just why he’d fallen and fallen so hard. “You snuck into my room without permission first, Sakurai Sho.”

“Ah,” he whispered, smiling in return. “It seems you’ve caught me there.”

When they kissed this time, for the first time since they’d left Pinetree Manor, it felt different to Sho. The person he kissed now had nothing to hold back. There was no lingering Matsumoto Jun or Miyama Hiroto mystery. There was only honesty now. For the first time, Sho had all of Jun before him, all of Jun to know and to love.

When Jun broke their kiss to crawl over to his bag, Sho was left panting, needy. Jun unzipped his bag, reaching into an inner pocket. His hand returned clutching a small bottle of lubricant, likely similar to the liquid he’d used on Sho before.

“You brought that with you?” He narrowed his eyes jokingly. “Your priorities, Matsumoto-san…”

“To be fair, I bought it in Tokyo. To bring home for another time, I swear, and…”

“I’d rather not wait for another time.”

As the wind and rain pelted the glass and the innkeeper likely slept heavily on the floor below, he lay back, goosebumps rising all over as Jun untied his robe, tugging it open. Jun lay at his side, running his fingers up and down Sho’s bare skin, light and teasing. He was hard in moments, and Jun oiled his fingers, wrapped a firm hand around Sho’s erection. He stroked him for a while, a steady pace that distracted Sho from Jun’s equally demanding kisses, from the insistent press of Jun’s mouth against his own.

Jun’s slick hand brought him up, up, up, so close to coming before he stopped, moving a little to instead press long, slow kisses down Sho’s neck, across his chest, tongue licking and teasing until Sho’s nipples were as hard and aching to be touched as his cock was.

Soon Jun’s warmth beside him was gone, and he slipped out of his own clothes. When he returned, he knelt between Sho’s legs. Soon his wet, slick fingers moved between his thighs, and Jun started to touch him, as delicately as he had that other perfect night. The intrusion was still a little awkward at first, but Jun’s efforts were unrelenting. He knelt there comfortably, one arm wrapped around Sho’s leg to keep him steady. One finger pumping inside of Sho eventually became two, Jun fucking him with his fingers deeper and deeper.

Aching for Jun, aching for more of him, Sho sighed, bucking his hips, trying to quicken the process. Jun reached for the bottle again, not seeming to care all that much about it dripping onto the futon and sheets as he got Sho ready to finally take all of him, fucking him with three fingers until Sho was writhing, unashamed to beg for it, stroking his own erection in time with the thrust of Jun’s fingers.

Jun finally gave in, pressing a soft kiss to Sho’s knee. “I’ll go slow,” he whispered. “And if you need me to stop, I will.”

Sho nodded his assent, trying to focus on breathing, on staying relaxed. It had been so long since he’d been penetrated, but he realized that he wasn’t nervous in the slightest. Jun had no secrets from him. Jun trusted him, and Sho knew now that he fully trusted him in return.

He moaned quietly in approval when Jun positioned himself, the head of his hard cock circling his hole a few teasing times before he started to move. Sho let his head fall back, shutting his eyes as Jun pushed slowly inside him, pulling back, and then offering a few shallow thrusts.

“Am I hurting you?”

“No,” Sho told him.

Jun had to want more, but he kept things slow, tentative, adjusting so he was on top of Sho, bending Sho’s legs to fit more easily between them. He rested one hand behind Sho’s head, pulling him close to kiss him, and bracing the other just beside Sho’s arm. It was an indescribable feeling, Jun slowly moving against him, filling him, deeper with each careful stroke.

He moved his hand, brushing along Jun’s ribs, circling around his back, needing to feel every bit of warm, bare skin he could. He could feel Jun’s fingers tangling in his hair, his thumb slipping over his earlobe. Sho’s hand hit a ticklish spot, and Jun jerked a little in surprise, which made him push into Sho a little harder than he probably intended. “Sorry, sorry, sorry,” Jun murmured, another kiss lost against Sho’s lips.

“No,” Sho protested. “You can keep…you can go faster.”

Jun’s lips pressed against his brow. “You sure?”

Sho wrapped his arm around Jun’s back, holding on more firmly. “Faster.”

Jun did as requested, and Sho nearly cried out, settling instead for a breathy gasp that only seemed to spur Jun on further. He stopped thinking, stopped caring about anything that wasn’t Jun, the smell of his sweat, the taste of his mouth. The self-control Jun had maintained for his sake melted away, and he clung tighter, holding on as Jun moved within him, whispering his name almost like a prayer.

It wasn’t long before Jun’s grip on his hair tightened, and he tried to slow down, almost as though he wanted to prolong the experience. Sho refused to deny him. “It’s okay,” he said, squeezing Jun’s firm bicep. “It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay…”

Jun gave in, shuddering and panting just beside Sho’s ear. With a few more hard strokes of Jun’s cock inside him, Sho felt the warmth of his release, Jun sighing as he finished. When he made to move, to ease himself out, Sho stopped him with another squeeze of his arm.

“Don’t,” Sho begged him, “I want you close…”

Jun moved a little bit, just so Sho could get a hand between their sweaty bodies. He stroked himself, desperately kissing Jun. Jun obliged, not yet moving away as Sho quickly worked to bring himself off. It didn’t take long, still lost in the feeling of being fucked so well, feeling Jun come inside him because Sho had told him he could. He let go, gave in, hearing Jun’s gentle chuckle when he lost control, spilling on his own belly, some of it getting on Jun too.

Jun kissed his forehead, moving again to take hold of himself, gently pulling out. When they cleaned up to the best of their abilities, they moved onto the cleaner of the two futons, limbs jumbled together.

Sho woke a little sore but in good spirits despite finding his face mashed mostly against Jun’s armpit. Unable to keep his hands to himself, he woke Jun with slow, cruel kisses, earning a complaint that he ought to brush his teeth. “Again, before we leave. I want you to fuck me again first,” Sho said, licking Jun along his collarbone.

“Sensei, such language.” Jun twisted his nipple between his fingers in punishment. “And to think, I let you and your filthy mouth teach my precious nephew.”

With less time needed for preparation, Sho soon found himself full, his body tight around Jun’s thick, hard cock once more. They sat up together once they found a comfortable way to manage it, face to face, Jun’s hand firm against the base of his spine as Sho rode him hard, arm around his neck. It was addicting, being with Jun. Being fucked by Jun. This time they couldn’t help but laugh, the sun rising outside as they gave in to their selfish lust.

“You stink,” Jun said later, barely coherent a few moments after he came.

“So do you,” Sho said in return, running his fingers through the sweaty, dark locks of Jun’s hair.

“I love you,” Jun said plainly, seriously, unashamed to admit it out loud.

Sho met Jun’s brown, anxious eyes with his own. After all that, did he really need confirmation? But Sho couldn’t, wouldn’t disappoint him.

He pressed a gentle kiss to Jun’s temple. “I love you, too.”

The worst weather would arrive in January, in February, and so Jun had to work quickly and quietly when he got home. His detailed mind racing and full of ideas, he was utterly consumed with his new plan now that he wouldn’t be called away to Tokyo on Kitagawa Hiromu’s whims any longer. Given Jun’s ambitions, it would likely be a late Christmas present for his nephew.

When workers started arriving at Pinetree Manor in those days leading up to Christmas, the noise elsewhere on the mansion’s ground floor had Sho’s student more and more curious. He didn’t seem to believe the lies Mao and Sho fed him, that his uncle was doing some typical improvements to the study.

In truth, the study was being entirely transformed.

The books that Matsumoto Taro had bought simply to appear intellectual had been removed, Sho and the rest of the staff given permission to take whichever ones interested them. The rest were sold, the proceeds given to a charity for orphans. Many children did not have wealthy doting uncles like Keita did.

The shelves were ripped out, the fancy desk given to Ninomiya to replace the one that had been in the law office since his father had been fresh out of his university law program. The rest of the furniture and furnishings had been given to the staff to decorate their own rooms if they wished. With the curtains open, winter morning light poured into the once darkened study, the room where Sakurai Sho had met Matsumoto Jun in person for the first time.

The track circled the room in a horseshoe-like loop, with space from the doorway to the center of the room left completely empty so a young boy in a wheelchair could easily park himself in front of the elaborate control console, state of the art and requiring almost as much electricity when running as some of the other rooms in the house put together. An expense Jun merely waved off. “Let Nino deal with the power company,” was all he said in regards to the huge power suck that the study now required.

There were two different trains that could run simultaneously, each of them managed by the controls. One in imitation of a freight train, ten boxcars and two coal cars tugged behind a locomotive. The other was a passenger train with hand-painted carriages, so detailed that you could glance through the carriage windows to see the smiling faces of the riders within.

Three separate stations, as yet unnamed. That honor would go to the boy in the wheelchair. Small towns built up around each station with townsfolk and motorcars, the rest of the constructed platform given over to landscapes. The workers followed Jun’s instructions to the letter and no request was left unfulfilled. The “landscape” was painted plaster, all of it resting on a wood and metal frame. Rolling green hills dotted with cow figurines, patchwork fields of farms. A forest of soaring pines with an oddly familiar English-looking house nestled in the center.

The room’s southern wall had been painted by other professionals before the model’s construction started, the artwork based on a design Jun had come up with and Ohno had sketched. Mount Fuji soaring to the heavens in the distance, the green fields of the model extending off to the mountainous horizon.

Christmas came, Christmas went, and even with the workers putting in long days it still wasn’t done.

Jun finally called for him on New Year’s Eve, pulling Sho away from the staff’s celebration in the kitchen. He entered the study, closing and locking the door behind him. Keita had been given permission to stay awake until midnight and was in the kitchen laughing and smiling with all the people who served him with loyalty and love. The plan was to let him start the New Year at the controls of his newer, fancier model railroad, not that he knew it yet.

But first, Jun had to ensure that it was perfect.

Sho found Jun at the center of the masterpiece he’d designed, the complete and elaborate world he’d had constructed to bring happiness to his nephew for years to come. Jun’s back was to him, his hand steady on the controls of the passenger train as it weaved along the few dozen feet of track that had been built. A few weeks earlier Sho had had to talk Jun down from knocking out a wall and making the model even larger.

He approached, standing at Jun’s side and watching the train slowly make its way through the peaceful countryside. So far, Jun’s life back at Pinetree Manor had been uninterrupted. Toma called weekly, assuring Jun that the police’s investigation had gone cold, that the freedom they enjoyed would continue.

“He’s going to love it,” Sho said quietly, watching the train move along.

When he and Sho had first returned from Tokyo, Keita and Jun had spent hours talking alone together. Jun made a promise—he and Keita were a family, and Jun would do anything in his power to keep their family together.

They’d spoken at long last about Atsushi and Natsuko, Jun asking Keita for the first time why he found trains so interesting given what had happened. “It was an accident,” Keita had explained. “It was an accident that took them. It was an accident that hurt me. I don’t blame all the trains just because one had problems.”

All of their fears for Keita had been unfounded. He was braver and more perceptive of his situation than anyone had thought. He told Jun that he hoped to work with trains someday, that he’d design them, build them. He’d make them safer for everyone so what happened to him, to his parents, wouldn’t happen again.

Jun had emerged from that meeting with the idea for turning an entire room of the house into a model, and after hundreds of man hours, a massive financial investment, and little sleep, his dream for Keita was finally real.

The train slowed to a stop, Jun switching the console off. The gentle hum that dominated the room vanished, leaving only the sound of their breathing.

They still kept things secret, though if the staff suspected anything, they simply pretended not to notice. Sho’s days were full of teaching, seeing Keita grow and improve, take on more difficult challenges. He was a very smart boy, and Sho worried that he would one day be unable to give Keita the more advanced lessons he needed, especially if he pursued more elaborate sciences. But Jun reassured him constantly that there would always be a place for him at Pinetree Manor whether he was teaching or not.

In a matter of months, Sho’s life had completely changed. He’d been able to reach out to a boy who wouldn’t speak, drawing him out of his shell, helping him to realize all the possibilities still open to him despite the challenges life had given him. He’d made friends with the staff, working together with them to keep Pinetree Manor running smoothly.

And he’d met Jun. At first he was just the man who hired him, a mysterious figure smoking and sipping brandy in a shadowy room. Now here Jun was, standing at his side in that very same room - open, honest, and free. No longer in the dark, but here in the middle looking to the future instead of trying to conceal his past. With each passing day, Jun smiled more. He laughed more. Sometimes, if Sho was feeling particularly selfish, particularly possessive, he’d look into Jun’s eyes and it would seem like there was only the two of them in the world.

A foolish and cliched thing to think, but Sho didn’t much mind. It was okay to be foolish when love was still so new.

Jun looked away from the control console, offering a gentle grin. “This wouldn’t be here without you, Sensei. If you’d never let him draw…”

“We don’t know that,” Sho teased. “We can’t prove that.”

“And to think, I was going to use that as a way to broach the topic of your salary,” Jun chided him, sliding his finger down Sho’s cheek. “The topic of your salary and how high I intend to raise it.”

Sho looked down, a little embarrassed. Despite everything they’d done together, a look from Jun, Jun’s touch…it still made him weak in the knees. He hoped it always would. “Perhaps we can discuss that another time.”

“Probably for the best.”

Sho examined his wristwatch. “Ten minutes until midnight.”

“We should probably go fetch him,” Jun said before leaning forward, brushing a soft kiss to Sho’s lips. “Since we won’t be able to welcome the New Year in the traditional way. We’ll instead be at the mercy of a boy and his train.”

Sho didn’t mind the early New Year’s kiss, gently easing Jun’s glasses off and moving in for a longer one. Jun’s hand rested on his cheek, thumb stroking his skin. The seconds ticked by, the two of them only stopping when they could hear the staff entering the hall.

“Happy New Year,” Sho whispered, setting Jun’s glasses back in place.

Jun let him go, smiling. “Happy New Year, Sensei.”

Date: 2016-09-06 08:23 pm (UTC)
lilly0: (Sakumoto hands)
From: [personal profile] lilly0
I should be going to bed but instead I was reading this wonderful fic. What a ride, what a story! You made me grin and cry and smile and nervous and all at once in this story, anon-san. I would like to leave a more coherent comment, but I need to go to bed now. Just... this was epic <3

Date: 2016-09-26 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astrangerenters.livejournal.com
Thank you!! Sorry to keep you up later than you probably wanted, but I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

Date: 2016-09-07 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nicefinalbeam.livejournal.com
I wish I had commented last night when this was fresh in mind, but I'll do my best now!

I absolutely adored this fic. One thing I appreciate so much is how immersive the descriptions were of the world in which the story takes place. Sometimes when reading fanfiction I'm not really all in, so I'm maybe picturing characters and not much else - fuzzy edges surround everything. With this my imagination had a chance to stretch - I could see the house and the pines, the train sets, the cars, the elaborate rooms and the less decorated ones. The side characters actually had their own development and personalities. The flash of protectiveness from Aiba about Jun was so great, and the distress of Mao when Keita was missing. Jun himself could have easily fit into 'rich guy out of touch' but you made him so much more than that, with so much backstory and life - which makes sense given his age. I like that Sho also had his own life experiences before Keita that get touched on. It all just makes the story so vibrant and gripping.

Keita was adorable and so strong, it was really moving. I love that Sho took on his student with true concern and care. I also loved that there was sympathy and understanding from the house about his condition, and that there wasn't the cliche of tortured kid throws temper tantrums. Keita struggled with real pain and I think that was important. It made it all the more satisfying when he had his good days and moments throughout the plot. Such a gem of a character! His bond with each of the other people in the story was so gratifying. ♥

Sho and Jun's chemistry - wow!! In spite of all the AU elements, I think you hit on the core of who they are so well (or at least how I see them to be). Sho's eager nature, wanting to learn more and more about the person that intrigues him. Jun being more guarded for the sake of the people he loves. Together they made such a wonderful pair. You could see how they'd both have passionate moments and more domestic ones, which warmed my heart. SO GOOD. And I thought I might cry laughing when Sho got punched for creeping up on Jun like a weirdo who doesn't understand romance at all. But I can't help it. :D And that Jun not liking that behavior had deeper meaning too, so cool.

Overall I was just so invested start to finish and I had a great time reading this. I know I'll come back to it again. Great job, anon!

Date: 2016-09-26 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astrangerenters.livejournal.com
Yay, thank you! I'm so happy you enjoyed it. There was a lot going on here, between the drama at the house and the drama in Jun's life. Having Keita as that constant - someone both Sho and Jun care about and want to help - really helped when I was writing. I'm glad he came across well because I don't write kid characters too often, and I wanted him to feel real and not act as just a plot device.

I like seeing all the different ways and AUs I can smash Sakumoto's personalities together, trying to see where they'll clash or get along no matter where I stick them. I'm so glad Sho getting socked in the stomach was such a crowd pleaser, the poor guy.

Date: 2016-09-08 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shardaunei.livejournal.com
I'm here. I'm here. I am a bit busy with lesson planning, so I will come back to read this this weekend.

But thank you, anon-chan.

Date: 2016-09-15 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shardaunei.livejournal.com
I'm back. Finally, I got to read it all.
Oh, wow. What a ride. I love this sooooo much! Thank you, thank you!
My first reaction? OMG. This reads like a freakin novel. I love the development of the plot, the settings, the characterizations! I was nervous for Keita as much as the staff of Pinetree Manor, but I'm glad that he is a resilient boy, so strong. You kept me wondering what Jun was up to in Tokyo, and I gotta admit I thought that he was probably a man-whore or something. I'm glad that you didn't go the cliche way. BTW, I want his car.
And Sho, well, I'd gladly want to learn from him. I love how you make fun of his drawings. I love how the dynamic is betwenn Sakumoto. The progression of their attractions with each other and how their sexual relations wasn't force or overly done.
Ugh. I'm never coherent when I make comments to my gift fics. I hope it conveyed how much I love this. Can I ask one favor? Can you send me a complete doc file so I can convert it to epub to put in my Nook? 😊
Once again, thank you, anon-san! 😍

Date: 2016-09-26 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astrangerenters.livejournal.com
Yay, I'm so happy you enjoyed it. I'm glad there was lots of mystery around Jun - I wanted to at least touch on the prompt you gave about spies, but I don't know if I got there 100% LOL. I'm glad you still enjoyed it. I WANT HIS CAR TOO.

The Sakumoto dynamic was so much fun to write in this.

I will be uploading the story to AO3 sometime this week, so I'll let you know when it's posted if you want to download it from there :) :)

Date: 2016-10-03 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astrangerenters.livejournal.com
Here is a link to AO3!


Date: 2016-09-08 11:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] natsunonamae.livejournal.com

This. Was. So. Good.

All the characters were written so exceptionally well, and I have the biggest soft spot for Keita! All the relationships here have been painted tenderly yet with a light hand--nothing felt forced or too fast. It was like Downton Abbey but better because Aiba butler? Ohno gardener married to Haru??? Fastidious Nurse Mao? Nobleman with a ~past Jun? I AM ALL OVER THIS SHIZ IT'S UNBELIEVABLE

The way you painted up the atmosphere and the setting is masterful. I really settled into this fic--the length really felt like a satisfying novella of sorts. This is an AU that I won't easily forget, that's for sure.

Also A+ SJ sexy times. Man, the sparks were unreal. But also natural. Contradictory, but you outdid yourself! I really rooted for their romance. (And the escalation of their sex life ofc. Can't deal that Sho got punched in the gut when he was just trying to be sexy and forward LMAO FAVE)

Just, thanks for this anon! You're a gift to the fandom <3

Date: 2016-09-26 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astrangerenters.livejournal.com
Woohoo, my super gratuitous Downton Abbey plot transplanted into Japan, I'm such a weirdo but I'm still glad it worked! And unlike Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre, Jun didn't have a secret wife locked in the attic!

/ spoilers for Jane Eyre LOL

I'm glad you all enjoyed the escalation of their sex life as much as I enjoyed it. Because I'm a pervert.

Thank you, thank you! 100 more punches to Sho's gut in your honor!

Date: 2016-09-10 10:21 am (UTC)
64907: (ohno - king)
From: [personal profile] 64907
I was craving a Sho-centric fic a few weeks ago, so when I saw this I was pretty much !!!! because AT LAST, SHO FIC! I feel as if it's been a while since I read something that focuses on him, so I'm glad that this exchange didn't fail to deliver.

I love how there was this background on Sho as he headed off to his new job. It would've been easier not to mention the sexism that was undoubtedly present in the time era this is set on, but I'm really happy that this issue was at least acknowledged. :D I guess that was what drew me to the Sho in this despite my hatred for children—he has his opinions and he knows where he stands, but he's also open-minded.

I like how there's this balance between Sho's relationship with Keita and his mysterious uncle, that in Sho getting know Keita more, it helped him to navigate around Jun despite the secrets surrounding Jun. I'm glad they were able to work it out together in the end, that Jun is finally free to live his life surrounded by people he truly cares about. :)

This was a lovely read, so thank you for sharing!

Date: 2016-09-26 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astrangerenters.livejournal.com
There sure is a lot of Sho in this, isn't there? LOL

While this is obviously a Sakumoto story, it was also a Teacher Sho makes a connection with his new student story. I didn't want all of Sho's story to revolve around Jun, wanted to give him a bit of a history. And because it's fun to imagine Teacher Sho, really ;)

Thank you for overcoming your anti-child stance to enjoy this!! (I struggle with rugrats myself LOL)

Date: 2016-09-12 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inaudible-d.livejournal.com
Oh wow. I love everything about this fic.

This fic is so good in providing details, you did just right to make sure that everything is pictured well enough but not making it boring of some sorts.

I love the characterization of this fic. How you put everyone to fitting position with their characters, their relationship with each other is also interesting (Ohno Haru!). But out of everyone else, I love Keita the most. We can see that even though he needs help to do basic things with his life, he's just a boy with aspirations and dreams inside and it makes me feel for him. (And I hate kids, so this means a lot.)

Jun's past is something I thought about the whole time, and it still surprised me when it's finally explained. Also how they came to the explanation is a bit-Oguri you're such a sly friend. But I also love that it's Shun and Toma who were there for/with Jun through everything.

And OF COURSE I love the dynamics between Sho and Jun here. Sho trying to restrain himself because he likes his employer but still willing to do the things he need to do, not only for Keita, but also for Jun... sigh. And A+++ for the gradual improvement of intimacy between these two along the time they're solving their problems. It's great.

Thank you for this, anon. This one is wonderful.

P.S. I love how in this Jun can call Sho 'sensei' when they're being intimate without it having to be weird. You're a hero.

Date: 2016-09-26 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astrangerenters.livejournal.com
Awesome, thank you so much for your comment! I love that people have come into this to say "Hey I hate kids but Keita was cool" - that is a real compliment since I'm rarely around kids myself ;)

I just liked imagining Jun calling Sho "Sensei"...in various situations and tones of voice. I'm glad my gratuitous tendencies still came across well ;)
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