Author : Arlyn Jayde
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating : NC-17
Pairing : Naoki Jo/Shugo Urabe
Archive : Battle School, anyone else ask first
Spoilers : Not really, takes place before the events in Battle Royale 2
Disclaimer : Don’t know them, don’t own them, don’t sue me.
Summary : It’s the little things that mean a lot.
Author’s Note : No, this is still not the last Naoki/Shugo. Maybe I’ve gotten so attached to this pairing that the thought of ending it tears me up. But it will come, and when it does, you will know.
Noone thought I was good enough for you, except for you
Don’t let them be right after all that we’ve been through
“Something happened the other day…” Naoki Jo said quietly as he and his friends sat around Kurosawa’s living room den.
“What?” Jun Nanami asked.
“My aunt…she sat me down for a talk and said I should start thinking, you know—about which high school I want to go to.” Naoki said, taking a drag out of his cigarette. “She even recommended some in this area.”
Ryo Kurosawa looked up from the magazine he was perusing. “Are you going, then?”
Naoki shrugged. “I don’t know, Kurosawa…are we?”
Everyone in the room looked at Kurosawa, the Shubultz leader looking slightly taken aback at how the question was thrown back at him.
“High school, huh?” he said, closing the magazine and placing it on the table. “Well, I know you’re smart enough to get into any high school you want, Jo…but can’t say for sure for the rest of us.”
“But are we going somewhere…you know, together?” Tetsu asked. “Or are we not going at all?”
“Yeah, I thought we were waiting to graduate from Shikanotoride just so we can be free…” Nanami said.
“Free to do what?” Kurosawa looked at the tall boy.
“Well, what we’ve always wanted to do.” Nanami looked confused. “You know…our revenge and all.”
Kurosawa shook his head. “Get real, Jun…just what can we do at this point?”
“Yeah, unless any of you know how we can score five of those for free…” Naoki pointed at the blueprint poster of an assault rifle on the wall of the room. “…even then, five of us against God knows how many terrorists Nanahara Shuya has in his group is hardly a favorable number.”
The mention of Nanahara’s name raised the tension level in the room considerably.
“It’s almost one year now…” Kurosawa said through gritted teeth. “Hasn’t anyone got a clue where he is? Where he and his group are hiding?”
“The government probably knows…” Tetsu said. “I’m sure intel’s dug up something since the—since last year. I don’t believe the army would’ve stayed silent so long if they’re not up to something.”
“We’re not going to join the fucking army, are we?” Nanami sounded disgusted by the idea. “I mean, I know that’s probably the most direct way we can get at him…”
“No, we’re not.” Kurosawa said quickly. “The last thing I want is to get involved with the government. God knows I hate them almost as much as I hate that Nanahara bastard.”
“And even if we are joining the army, we have to get through high school first.” Naoki said. “Anyway, the point is that at this stage in our lives, there isn’t much we can do.”
“We need more people…” Kurosawa said. “There’s bound to more kids like us, kids who lost family, who want the same things we want.”
“So…does that mean we’re…going to high school?” Tetsu asked. “I mean, my cousin’s asked me about that also, but I haven’t given him any decision.”
Kurosawa looked at Tetsu and offered him a smile. “You were waiting for us to decide?”
“Well…yeah.” Tetsu nodded, looking slightly unsure of whether he should say what he wanted to say next. “I mean, don’t take this the wrong way, but I…I’d prefer us to stick together.”
“Yeah, me too.” Kurosawa said.
Nanami sighed deeply. “Well, I guess there’s bound to be a school in this area that we can go together…who knows, maybe we’ll find another delinquent dumping ground like Shikanotoride.”
Kurosawa chuckled. “Yeah, unless our resident genius over there wants to go to a really good school so he can go on to university or something.”
The others looked at Naoki, who smiled at them and shook his head. “I’ll stick with you guys for now.”
Nanami turned towards Kenji Maezono, who had stayed characteristically silent throughout the conversation. “What about you?”
Maezono shook his spiky head slowly. “I’m sorry, Jun…”
“Sorry?” Nanami frowned at him. “What are you talking about?”
“You know…that girl I said would love an opportunity to fuck another one of us?”
“Yoshiyama?” Nanami said, then looked as if he’d suddenly remembered something. “Hey, you never did hook me up with her, did you?”
“Uh…that’s just it.” Maezono looked up at Nanami. “She changed her mind.”
“Oh, fuck…” Nanami shook his head.
“Well, actually I changed my mind, too.” Maezono said a little guiltily.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
Maezono cast his glance around the room and at his other friends before turning back to Nanami. “You…uh, you wouldn’t mind if I keep her for myself for now, would you?”
Silence ensued, in which Naoki put his cigarette between his lips and covered his mouth to hide the smile that was breaking across his lips.
Way to go, Kenji…
“Maezono…are you actually thinking about…dating this girl?” Kurosawa asked.
The spiky-haired boy shrugged his shoulders. “I…I guess.”
“You’re kidding…” Nanami shook his head.
“No, I’m not.”
“No, he’s not.” Naoki piped in from the other side of the room. The other four turned to him and stared in confusion.
“Professor…he’s thinking about dating a girl who’s actually admitted to wanting to screw the rest of us, and admitted to having a crush on you.” Tetsu said.
“Good, then. She’s adventurous and to-the-point. I’m sure Maezono can live with that.” Naoki said. “Isn’t that right, Maezono?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah…right.” Maezono quickly said. “I mean, she’s not one of those pesky sort of girls, you know…she doesn’t talk too much, her voice doesn’t get on my nerves, and we actually like the same kind of music and stuff. Plus she’s not too ugly, wouldn’t you say?”
This was an understatement. Naoki had to admit that Eri Yoshiyama was probably one of the prettier girls in their class, pretty in a more grown-up sort of way and not cutesy like some of the others. She was also a quiet sort, from what he’d observed, and he thought that was preferable to all the noisy, high-pitched babbling he’d heard from the other girls in the class which only served to hurt his ears. He probably would’ve taken up the offer Maezono made some weeks ago—that is, if he hadn’t been taken already. He smiled secretly at this thought.
“I’d say go for it.” Naoki told Maezono. “What have you got to lose?”
Kurosawa looked back and forth between the two of them. “You two…you are full of surprises, you know that?”
Naoki smiled at his leader. “You said it yourself, didn’t you? We should all live life a little bit and have some fun.”
“Yeah, well I meant we should…you know, screw around a bit, but I didn’t actually think of going steady!” Kurosawa reasoned.
Neither did I, Kurosawa…
Naoki laughed softly. “I wouldn’t worry…I mean, it’s not like she’s going to ask you for romantic dinners and teddy bears and shit, right Maezono?”
“Right. She hates teddy bears.” Maezono said. “Said the only thing she’s ever wanted was a motorcycle.”
Tetsu folded his arms and made a whistling noise of amusement. “Some girl you got there, Kenji.”
“But she did ask me…” Maezono continued, fidgeting slightly. “…you know, if I’m interested in—maybe—going to that…that school dance we’re gonna have.”
Nanami groaned. “School dance…”
“I don’t wanna go.” Tetsu said.
“Me, neither.” Kurosawa shook his head. “But hey, if she wants to go and you actually wanna go with her, Maezono…go right ahead.”
“Hey, if you’ve got a date, then why not go?” Kurosawa said. “Might get laid again, even.”
Maezono smiled. “So you’re not going because you can’t find a date?”
“Don’t be silly, Maezono…” Nanami placed a hand on the spiky-haired boy’s shoulder. “You think Kurosawa’s going to degrade himself by actually asking a girl to go to the dance with him?”
Kurosawa scowled at Nanami. “I don’t see you doing it either, Jun…”
Nanami shrugged. “Neither will Tetsu, I imagine.”
“No thanks.” Tetsu said tersely.
“You’re lucky, Maezono…” Naoki said. “A girl fell right in your lap and you don’t even have to ask her.”
“Look who’s talking…” Nanami said. “I’m sure you won’t have trouble finding a date, Jo…they’re practically lining up to ask you.”
Naoki scoffed at the idea. “You’re imagining things…”
“Oh, I don’t think so.” Nanami shook his head. “We have two weeks until the dance. Let’s see how many love notes you get by that time.”
“Are you counting?”
“I’m keeping score.”
“You’re the only one of us who ever got love notes, Jo…” Tetsu added. “…you know, since we got together as a group, at least.”
Naoki shook his head. “I shouldn’t have responded to the last one. Big waste of time.”
Kurosawa looked at him. “Mifune?”
“Oh, don’t even mention the bitch’s name.” Naoki groaned. “Lousy fuck, and noisy as hell.”
“So I guess she’s out of the running, huh?” Tetsu asked.
Naoki stared blankly at him. “The running…for what?”
Tetsu rolled his eyes. “Your date to the dance.”
“Who said I’m going?”
“I was kinda hoping you would…” Maezono said quietly. “You know, so I’ll have someone to talk to in case I get bored out of my mind.”
Nanami chuckled and patted Maezono on the shoulder. “Yeah, Jo…keep him company in case his date dumps him and he ends up alone.”
“Oh, piss off…” Maezono grunted.
Naoki lit up another cigarette. “I’ll think about it…”
“What, you got no idea who to ask?” Kurosawa asked.
“No, he’s waiting for the love notes to start piling up, like I said…” Nanami smirked.
Naoki puffed and watched the smoke trails make their way towards the ceiling. “I said I’ll think about it…”
Somewhere over that rainbow
There’s a place for me, a place with you
“What’s the matter?”
“You don’t like it?”
“What? No! No, I like it…”
“Yeah…it looks really good.”
“Really…but…how’d you get it?”
“It was a dare. We were going around the mall this afternoon and Shibaki dared me to have one. He paid for it, too…”
“Oh. Okay, then. Can I look?”
“Sure, but…be careful, okay? It still hurts a little.”
“Don’t worry, Shugo…”
“Hey..hey! It tickles!”
“What, I’m not doing anything…”
“Your breath…it tickles…”
“Mmm…maybe I should do more than just breathe on it, then.”
“Wait, Naoki…oh, fuck!”
Naoki smiled and nuzzled his nose against the flesh of Shugo Urabe’s stomach, just inches away from his navel, which now bore a tiny metal bar secured with a stud behind the pierced skin. Naoki had been nothing short of shocked when Shugo first showed him the piercing, a metal glint over the flat expanse of his tummy. What shocked him even more was his own reaction to it—he got really excited by the sight of that tiny little thing, for reasons he couldn’t quite explain. And now, looking at it from close distance, and hearing Shugo’s soft, ticklish laughter from above, only served to further his excitement. They were once again in the close confines of a motel room, slightly uptown this time, the rooms a little bigger and costing slightly more but Naoki couldn’t care less. He wanted Shugo to be someplace nice and warm, not stifling and claustrophobic. They lay naked on the bed with Naoki hovering over Shugo, studying his new piercing intently.
“Why’d you pick this bar-shaped thing…instead of a hoop?”
“Well…” Shugo used his hands to cradle Naoki’s face and turn it up to meet his gaze. “I wanted you to have something you can play with.”
Naoki’s smile widened. “So this is for me, then?”
“I guess…oh, but don’t ever tell Shibaki that.” Shugo said. “He’d have a real hissy fit if he knew that he’d actually spent money for your pleasure.”
Naoki laughed. “Hell, I’d gladly pay him back for this one…”
“Really?” Shugo’s fingers ran through his hair. “I was worried you wouldn’t like it…”
“Why wouldn’t I?” Naoki placed both hands on the rugby player’s stomach. “Now lie down so I can play with my new toy…”
Shugo laid his head back down, and as Naoki placed his lips at the pucker of his navel, blowing into it, he squirmed and giggled lightly. “You’re tickling me…”
“Maybe I should just do this, then…” Naoki extended his tongue and used it to play with one end of the tiny metal bar, feeling the cold smoothness against his taste buds, and Shugo responded with a gasp, his fingers tangling in Naoki’s hair.
“If I hurt you, just pull my hair out. We’ll be even that way.” Naoki said, and continued exploring ways to play with his new ‘toy’. He got really intimate with the tiny bar, worrying it between teeth and tongue, sliding it from one side to another, his tongue making wet slurping noises against Urabe’s navel, the metal piercing glistening with his saliva.
“Don’t…don’t get too carried away there, Naoki…” Shugo said a little breathlessly. “I wouldn’t want you to forget that you still have other toys…”
“Oh, you mean…” Naoki looked up at him and smiled deviously from under the hair falling across his face, his one hand reaching discreetly for Shugo’s cock and grasping it tightly. “…this one?”
“Oh…shit!” Shugo threw his head back on the pillow.
“I’ll take that as a yes…”
“Fuck you, shithead!”
“Oh no, Shugo…fuck you.” Naoki said. “With pleasure.”
Hearing this, Shugo made an exaggerated sigh of resignation and willfully spread his legs. “Fine. You win.”
Naoki smiled and leaned in to kiss the pout off those luscious, wet-red lips, his body moving in between Shugo’s legs, their naked thighs brushing against each other. His hands raked up the rugby player’s chest, pausing to pinch playfully at his nipples, causing Shugo to whimper into his mouth, fingers tugging at the chain around Naoki’s neck. The Shubultz boy reached up and seized his companion’s wrists, pinning them down beside the brown-tressed head as he deepened their kiss, his body now completely over Shugo’s, their heated arousals in constant friction with each other. Shugo swung his nimble legs over Naoki’s hips and brought his ass up, nudging it against Naoki’s hardness, willing him to go further. Naoki could feel the deliciously puckered hole of the rugby player’s entrance against the tip of his cock, demanding his attention. His pre-cum was dripping right onto that tiny hole, giving his fingers ample means to lubricate it moments later, while his mouth continued on its quest to make a wet, sloppy mess out of every inch of Shugo’s chest.
“I’m gonna need a shower after this…” Shugo hushed.
“Don’t you always?” Naoki muttered as he went back to the belly piercing, treating the metal bar as if it were an extension of Shugo’s body, making love to it with his tongue, carefully lapping at the still-sensitive skin, feeling Shugo squirm underneath him. Further down Naoki’s fingers had done their duty and slipped out of the slick hole, their presence quickly replaced with his cock prying at the slippery entrance.
It didn’t matter what name Shugo called him. Spoken with that voice, that tone, it drove him wild just the same. Naoki rose off Shugo’s torso, a kiss on the belly ring as a silent promise to return to it later, and he wrapped the rugby player’s lean, muscular legs around his waist. A single, well-exercised move of his lower body brought him inside, a tight clenching heat around his hardness, and he closed his eyes to better feel the way Shugo was wrapped so tight around him, how perfectly joined their bodies were.
“Come here…” he pulled the other boy up by his arms, as he leaned back into a sitting position. In one move he had Shugo sitting on his lap, facing him, impaled on him, and he felt two arms instantly going around his neck, hands webbing at the back of his head. Shugo smiled at him from under his bushy brown hair, pulling him in for a kiss as Naoki began moving up into him, bouncing him on his lap, one arm holding Shugo across his back as the other slipped between their bodies, fingers tickling at the belly ring.
“Well, I guess you really do like it…” a voice whispered in his left ear, one hand treading across his sweaty scalp.
“Now it’s one apiece…”
“What? Oh, this…” he felt a tongue lapping daintily at the stud pierced through his earlobe, before delving into the tiny cavern of his ear, blowing into it gently. Naoki had to bite his lip to stop himself from screaming. “Yeah, I guess we’re even now…”
“Don’t make a contest out of it…” Naoki breathed against the flesh of Shugo’s neck. “I’d say one is enough for each of us…”
“Yeah…after all it’ll be difficult to convince Shibaki to pay for another one.”
Naoki laughed, his rocking movements becoming more insistent, Shugo’s ass tight as a vacuum seal around his length, the rugby player’s own cock dripping against his stomach. Remembering his ‘other toy’, Naoki diverted his hands to the straining member, stroking it gently in rhythm to his up-thrusts. Shugo’s head fell against his shoulder, teeth nipping hard enough to leave marks—looks like Naoki’s penchant for biting had rubbed off on the other boy as well. Naoki used his free hand to direct Shugo’s face towards his, kissing his lips ravenously as they continued to move together, soft giggling noises into his mouth as his hand worked Shugo’s cock and occasionally tinkered with the metal bar on his belly, allowing himself a momentary ego trip that the other boy had actually taken up a dare and put up with a little pain just for the sake of giving him something new to play with. Not that he’d ever grow tired of Shugo even if he didn’t offer Naoki anything new. He didn’t think he could ever grow tired of Shugo under any circumstances.
He looked up into a pair of beautiful, enigmatic eyes and saw his own face reflected in two pools of limpid chocolate brown, and whispered a name into the close air between them. “Shugo…”
The mention of his name brough forth Shugo’s climax, his open mouth drawing in a sharp breath as Naoki felt the violent throbbing of the member he held in his hand, followed by the hot splatter on his chest and stomach, covering his hand with moistness, and he pulled Shugo down to him with his other hand for another kiss as he felt himself going over the edge, his cock releasing torrents into the other boy’s ass, ther mouths trading muffled moans of pleasure as Shugo dug his fingers into Naoki’s hair, clasping his head tightly. Naoki allowed his spine to relax and fell onto his back, Shugo landing on top of him, a tangle of sweaty limbs and uneven breathing, and as the world slowly came back into focus around them Naoki lifted his cum-slicked hand towards Shugo’s face, and the other boy began licking his fingers clean, setting about his post-coital task diligently, allowing Naoki ample time to regain his breathing and pull his satisfied member out of Shugo’s ass. Shugo didn’t stop with his hand, though. He quickly pushed Naoki’s arms aside and began licking at his chest, cleaning him of all manner of bodily fluids, sweat and semen stains, and Naoki placed a gentle hand on his head, quietly guiding his movements as Shugo lapped up the mixed juices of their coupling, arriving at his newly-spent member and giving it just a few clean-up licks before crawling back up Naoki’s body, a satisfied expression on his face.
“I’d go a bit further, but my tongue’s getting tired…” he deadpanned.
Naoki laughed, pulled his face down and licked a trail of seed off his chin. “My tongue’s still got something left in it…”
“Save it for the shower, maybe?” Shugo suggested.
Naoki scrunched up his face. “Don’t think so. Sweat and cum is fine by me, but soap? I’ll pass.”
Shugo smiled down onto him. “Yeah, me too.”
It was about half an hour later, after a lengthy shower in which Naoki somehow managed to exercise enough self-control over himself not to start fucking Shugo all over again, that they both lay in the bed and Naoki told his companion about the conversation that had taken place earlier that day at Kurosawa’s.
“So Maezono’s pretty much Yoshiyama’s boyfriend now, huh?” Shugo asked as he lay with his head resting on the crook of Naoki’s shoulder.
“I guess so…” Naoki stared up into the ceiling, his fingers absently playing with Shugo’s hair. “Kinda funny when I think about it—here’s the guy who hardly says anything on most days, and whaddya know? He’s actually got a girl now.”
“I tend to think it’s because the others aren’t really looking…” Shugo said. “Kurosawa and the others, I mean.”
“Well, I don’t think Kenji was looking, either…it just sort of happened.” Naoki smiled at the thought. “Kinda like us, I guess.”
Shugo laughed against his chest. “But you can’t take me to the school dance, Naoki…”
“No, I’ll just probably hang around and provide Maezono with—well, ‘moral support’ I guess. At least that’s what I think he wants from me when he said he’d been hoping for me to go.” Naoki said. “The others probably can’t be bothered.”
“Yeah, and I can’t imagine Kurosawa asking someone to go to the dance with him…” Shugo chuckled.
“You going to the dance?”
“I kinda have to…” Shugo sighed. “Everybody else in the team is going.”
“You’re going to ask Asakura?”
“No, she’s already asked Taku and he said yes…” Shugo didn’t sound at all displeased with the news. “Predictable.”
“Maybe you should’ve asked sooner.”
“No…” Shugo shook his head slowly. “I don’t think I really want to go with her, even if she were available.”
Shugo skimmed a hand up Naoki’s chest and tangled his fingers in the chain around his neck. “There’s only one person I’ll even consider going there with, unfortunately that’s pretty much impossible.”
“Oh?” Naoki arched his eyebrows and decided to tease him a bit. “And who is that?”
“Stupid fucker…” Shugo muttered. “It’s you, shithead.”
Naoki laughed and tussled his hair playfully. “That’ll give the whole school quite a shock, wouldn’t it?”
“I know, that’s why I’m pretty much going alone.” Shugo said.
“You’re not asking any girl?”
Shugo shook his head. “Not interested…I wouldn’t want a girl to go with me only to have a lousy night because I ignore her throughout.”
“How about Shibaki and Sakurai? Are they going, like, together?”
It was Shugo’s turn to laugh. “No way. I mean, pretty much the whole team knows now but to reveal it to the rest of the school…after all, most of us in the team think they’re just fooling around, anyway.”
“But they’re going?”
“Yeah. Haruya’s somehow worked up the guts to ask Haruka Kuze, she said yes, and Shibaki…well, I guess he took Haruya’s lead and went and asked his seatmate.”
“That’s the one.”
“Very pretty, but a little too ‘soft’ I think. Not my type.” Shugo said.
“Of course not…you like the ‘rough’ ones.” Naoki said jokingly.
“Ha. And which one do you like, then?” Shugo craned his neck to look at him, a playful challenge in his eyes.
Naoki smiled and traced a finger down the bridge of Shugo’s nose, pausing before his lips. “The beautiful one.”
Shugo blinked innocently at him. “And who is that?”
“It’s you, asshole.”
The rugby player cocked an eyebrow at him. “I thought you don’t do sweet-talk…”
“Does it qualify as sweet-talk if it’s the truth?”
“Stop it.” Shugo cuffed his chest lightly.
“Do you ever get love notes?”
“What, from girls?” Shugo moved his arm around Naoki’s torso. “Several, I guess. Why?”
“Nanami said I’m bound to get a few of them leading up to the dance…some might be dropping hints about wanting to go with me or something like that.” Naoki said.
“Well, that won’t surprise me…” Shugo said. “You’ve had a few of them before, right?”
“Well, yeah, but they were pretty general…I didn’t think any of them would actually want to go to a dance with me.”
Shugo laughed softly. “What, you think all that Shubultz Cuts gangmember thing would’ve scared them off?”
Naoki shrugged. “It didn’t scare Yoshiyama off Maezono.”
“True…” Shugo nodded. “I don’t know…maybe to the girls you Shubultz guys seem like such a closed-off bunch that being able to go to the dance with one of you, regardless of whether or not they actually enjoy themselves, seems like something that’ll be worth bragging about.”
“Yeah, and besides…you five aren’t exactly an ugly lot, to say the least.”
“Hmmm…” Naoki muttered thoughtfully. “Mifune did brag to her friends about how she got me to fuck her.”
“Well, there you have it.” Shugo patted his chest. “By the way…”
“You said you talked about going to high school, too.”
“We did.” Naoki said. “Unless something drastic transpires in the next few months, I guess we’re going.”
“I don’t know yet.”
“Hopefully.” Naoki said. “What about you?”
Shugo looked unsure. “I don’t know…I mean, I don’t know whether I can go or not. I’m thinking of becoming a full-time employee—you know, at the supermarket—for the upcoming holidays, and if it pays enough…”
“There are some high schools around the area that aren’t that expensive…” Naoki suggested. “I’ll probably go to one of them.”
Shugo looked up at him. “Aren’t you going to one of the top schools? I know you’re smart enough to get into them…”
Naoki smiled. “Kurosawa said the same thing…but if we’re sticking together, we’ll have to find someplace…well, ‘standard’ would be my word for it. Nanami even suggested finding another ‘delinquent dumping ground’, you know…like Shikanotoride.”
“Loose uniform rules and minimal control.”
“But…what about your aunt?”
“What about her?”
“She’ll probably want you to go to a better school…you know, and get into university and stuff.”
Naoki sighed deeply. “Probably…but it’s my choice, ultimately, and I’m not sure about university.”
Shugo’s face darkened considerably. “You have another purpose, don’t you?”
“You’re going to find a way to fight back at the terrorists. You and the Cuts.” Shugo continued. “Get the revenge you’ve always wanted.”
“That’s what your gang is all about in the end, isn’t it?”
Naoki turned around slightly so he could look at Shugo in his eyes. “We talked about this today. We all know that we’re far from ready at this point. Let’s face it, what are we gonna do? We don’t even know where they are.”
Shugo regarded him seriously. “Going to war is no joke. Doesn’t matter which side you’re on, people are gonna die.”
“I know…” Naoki said. “I don’t see us going to war anytime soon. Right now there’s still so much that we have to learn before taking the first steps towards that.”
Shugo didn’t look happy with his reasoning. “But eventually…you will go.”
“I have to.” Naoki took Shugo’s face in his hands. “I promised her I would.”
“You think she’d actually want you to do it?”
Naoki took a long, deep breath before answering. “I think she’d want me to follow my heart. And my heart tells me I can’t abandon my friends…or our cause.”
Shugo pressed his cheek against Naoki’s palm and smiled ruefully. “This is why I don’t like thinking too far ahead…gives me headaches.”
“Yeah, me too.” Naoki agreed. “You shouldn’t worry about that now. I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon.”
“What about high school, then?” Shugo asked. “Do you want me to go…you know, to wherever you’re going?”
“I’d surely like that, yes.” Naoki nodded. “But even if we don’t go to the same school, I’m sure we’ll find a way. We always do, don’t we?”
“You mean…to keep seeing each other?”
Those big, round eyes blinked at him. “How far do you think we’ll go, Naoki? Together, I mean…you and me.”
“I can’t say…” Naoki said truthfully. “We won’t know until we get there.”
Shugo gave out a deep sigh. “I guess not.”
“Listen…thinking about that isn’t going to help. Let’s just make the most of what we have, shall we?” Naoki pulled Shugo in closer. “That’s all we can do.”
Shugo nodded slowly and corrected the position of his head on the pillow, his long-lashed lids slowly drooping over his eyes, signaling that he was ready to fall asleep. Naoki reached over to the bedside panel to turn off the lights, and wrapped the blankets tightly around them as he too felt himself succumbing to drowsiness, Shugo’s last question still echoing in his head.
How far do you think we’ll go?
“As long as you still want me, Shugo…I’ll keep going for you.”
Maybe I’m not but you’re all I’ve got left to believe in
Don’t give up on me I’m about to come alive
When Shugo strolled into the classroom that morning and walked towards the part of the classroom where his friends were sitting around having a chat, Masami Shibaki was the first one who greeted him, the ever-present smirk on his face telling Shugo that the diminutive Kansai transfer was up to something.
“Show it to us.” Shibaki said.
Shugo put down his bag on his chair and regarded him confusedly. “Huh?”
“I wanna know if you still have it on. Come on, show it to us…”
Haruya smiled from his desk. “He thought maybe once you got home you’d take it off.”
“Take what off?” Asuka Motomura asked.
“His belly ring.” Shibaki said.
Shintaro, Asuka, and Taku collectively swung their heads over to Shugo. “You got a belly ring?”
“His fault.” Shugo pointed to Shibaki. “He dared me.”
“The three of us went to the mall yesterday…” Haruya explained. “A piercing parlor had just opened on the third floor and Masami here…” he poked his best friend in the ribs. “…dared Shugo to get a piercing. He even paid for it.”
“But…a belly ring?” Taku repeated, his eyes as large as ever. “What the fuck got into you?”
A certain Shubultz Cuts member by the name of Naoki Jo, if you must know.
“I thought it was a better idea than an earring…” Shugo reasoned. “Less visible. And it’s not a ring, by the way.”
Shintaro crinkled his nose. “Doesn’t it…hurt?”
“Only for a split second.” Shugo said. “Well, the skin stays sensitive for a few days and I gotta wash it carefully with alcohol, but otherwise it’s pretty low-maintenance.”
“What I want to know, Shugo…” Masami stepped in. “…is whether you still have it on.”
Nao slipped in between Taku and Asuka. “Well, do you?”
Grinning, Shugo pushed aside the fabric of his unbuttoned uniform tunic and pulled up the three layers of clothing he wore underneath, revealing the flesh of his stomach. Using his other hand, he pushed his trousers and underpants slightly down, revealing his belly button, still proudly wearing the bar piercing he’d gotten yesterday. His friends bent down simultaneously in an almost comical gesture, each wanting to get a closer look, various expressions on their faces.
“Are…are you sure that doesn’t hurt?” Shintaro looked squeamish.
“No…” Shugo said. “I can even play with it, see?” he acted out his words by using the tip of his fingers to twirl the bar around, which made Shintaro wince. His girlfriend, however, looked delighted.
“I think it’s cool, Shugo…” Asuka said.
“Yeah.” Nao agreed. “And the shape is unusual, too.”
Shugo discreetly turned his body slightly to face the other side of the classroom, where Naoki Jo sat among the clustered Shubultz Cuts, the other four preoccupied with copying the homework he’d made for them. Naoki was bent over his desk along with Tetsu and Nanami, but his eyes were fixed on Shugo. More specifically, on his exposed belly.
“Yeah…” Shugo raised his voice slightly. “I picked this shape because it looked more fun to play with.”
Naoki clamped a hand over his mouth and quickly looked away, fidgeting nervously. Shugo smiled and turned back towards his friends.
“I think I’m keeping it…” he said.
“Well, that’s good to know.” Shibaki said. “At least my money didn’t go to waste.”
Shugo smiled at him. “No, it most certainly didn’t. I’d say it was money well spent.”
As the bell rang and the group dispersed towards their respective desks, Haruya caught Shugo by his arm and leaned close to him to whisper discreetly in his ears.
“Does he like it?”
Shugo cast a brief glance towards Naoki—who was still staring off at some distant point, trying to divert his gaze from falling upon Shugo again—and looked back at Haruya, giving the bronze-haired boy a smile and a wink of his eye.
“He loves it.”
Haruya returned the smile, albeit a little nervously. “Good, then.”
Shugo corrected his clothing and pulled his trousers back up. “You should’ve gotten one too, Haruya…I’m sure Shibaki would’ve found great ways to have fun with it. He sure did.”
Hearing this blatant suggestion and rather shameless implication of what had happened the night before, the ever-shy Haruya flushed a shade of crimson and quickly turned towards his own desk, nearly bumping into Haruka Kuze. Shugo smiled after him and shook his head. He sat down, feeling the funny little tingle of the belly ring against his thick clothing, and retrieved his books from his bag.
A few desks away, he could hear Kurosawa’s voice speaking.
“Jo…hey, Jo! You awake?”
Shugo looked out the window to hide the huge grin that was breaking across his face. Money well spent, indeed.
On the increasingly treacherous terrain of mud and water that somehow qualified as a rugby field, the Shikanotoride team was practicing hard for their upcoming match against a neighboring school. Not too far from the sidelines sat students in various groups, clustered spectators with nothing better to do for the afternoon. Among them were students from Class 3-B, including the Shubultz Cuts, who staked their claim as usual on the concrete steps leading up to the side entrace of the school building. Nanami and Tetsu were at the bottom, discussing something animatedly, while Maezono quietly puffed away at his cigarette, leaning against the railing. Kurosawa sat at the topmost step, absently pulling at flaked blue paint from the railing, while Naoki sat beside him. On the field, a long throw by Shintaro Makimura was expertly caught by Takuma Aoi, who then barged his way through Wataru Mukai, who was playing as his opponent, before throwing it over to Shugo Urabe, who sprinted towards the line and claimed the score with a flourish, leaping into the mud for the touchdown. Several girls sitting on the sidelines burst into applause and cheered for the scorer, who threw them a smile.
“Fucking show-off…” Kurosawa mumbled.
Beside him, Naoki disguised his smile with a sideways look. He still couldn’t understand this game one bit, or why the players seemed so enthusiastic about running around in the mud bumping into each other and bruising themselves, but he had to admit that witnessing Shugo at his energetic, athletic best was quite a treat. This was Shugo in his element, doing what made him feel good about himself, and seeing him looking pleased with himself and giving it all his energy made the otherwise uninteresting spectacle totally worth watching.
Several steps down, Nanami stood up and walked over to Maezono.
“Go and talk to her.”
“Yeah, Maezono…go and talk to her.” Tetsu added.
Naoki glanced to the other side and saw that Eri Yoshiyama had just arrived on the sidelines, accompanied by Ayane Yagi and Hibiki Yano. The girl cast her eyes towards where the Cuts were sitting, specifically towards Maezono, and gave a smile that Naoki had to admit was quite enticing.
“She’s your girl…go talk to her, Kenji.” he encouraged.
The spiky-haired boy looked up at his friends with a reluctant expression on his face. “Should I? I mean, I’m here with you guys…”
Nanami shooed him away with a gesture of his hand, and Tetsu gave him a playful kick in the shins in Yoshiyama’s general direction. Finally, Maezono threw his cigarette on the ground and blew a nervous exhale, before slowly walking over to where she stood.
“Fucker…” Naoki shook his head. “Give him a girlfriend and he doesn’t even know what to do.”
Kurosawa gave him a serious look. “Listen, Jo…I’ve been meaning to talk to you about this…”
“What, about him getting a girlfriend?” Naoki took a long drag out of his cigarette.
“Yeah.” Kurosawa nodded. “I mean, are you sure this is such a good idea?”
“Why ask me?” Naoki said casually. “He’s the one who’s dating her.”
“But you were the one who encouraged him to do it.” Kurosawa said. “I don’t know, Jo…I guess I just don’t want him to—well, you know…”
“You don’t want him to go soft.” Naoki said. “Is that it?”
“It’s a reasonable concern, isn’t it?”
“Reasonable, yes.” Naoki agreed. “But I wouldn’t worry too much if I were you…”
Kurosawa sighed. “I wish I had your confidence.”
“Well, look at it this way…” Naoki placed his elbows on his knees. “If Yoshiyama’s the type of girl who’s gonna demand attention twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, then we’d have a problem. But I don’t think Kenji would’ve even considered her if she’s anything of the sort. She doesn’t strike me as the sort of girl who wants to come between her guy and his friends.”
“I hope that’s true…” Kurosawa muttered. “I just…I just don’t want him to lose focus, you know…on what really matters to us.”
“Ryo, we’re fifteen.” Naoki said calmly. “I know we’ve been forced to grow up in a hurry because of what happened to us, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re still kids.”
“You think?” Kurosawa cast his eyes towards the side of the field where Maezono and Yoshiyama stood together, a not-yet comfortable closeness between them but still looking like they were enjoying themselves.
“Ryo, listen to me…” Naoki placed a hand on Kurosawa’s shoulder to get his attention. “You’re our leader. You formed this group so that one day we can all seek our revenge together, and when that time comes, we will follow you. To death, if need be.”
Kurosawa nodded slowly.
“You will decide what’s best for us, what’s best for this group, for our cause. But until then, what’s best for each of us, as individuals…” Naoki shrugged lightly. “…I kinda think it’s up to us to decide personally.”
A smile broke across the Shubultz leader’s lips. “Now I know why you’re the smart one…”
Naoki returned the smile. “Kenji’s just trying to live, Ryo. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, especially since after all is said and done there’s a good chance that we’ll all be dead.”
Kurosawa looked taken aback by his bluntness. “You say that as if it’s a sure thing.”
“No…” Naoki shook his head. “I say that because going to war means that lives will be lost. Ours, theirs, whoever.”
Kurosawa seemed thoughtful for a while. “Then tell me this, Professor…why aren’t you out there trying to ‘live’, yourself?”
Naoki cast his glance back towards the rugby field, where Shugo had just scored another point, another stream of cheers erupting from the girls in the sidelines.
I am living now.
“We all have our ways…” he muttered.
About five minutes later Shugo took off his headgear, shook mud away from his head, and went over to Shintaro and Takeuchi. Soon he began walking back towards the school building, and Naoki checked his watch. Shugo was leaving to go to work.
“Where’s that little jerk going?”
“No idea…” Naoki shrugged and stood up. “Listen, I gotta go take a piss. Be back soon.” he handed his half-burnt cigarette to Kurosawa. “Finish that.”
Naoki went back into the school building through the door, the few remaining students in the hallways quickly giving way to him, especially the 1st and 2nd graders, and he strolled casually towards the boys’ bathroom located just next to the rugby team’s changing room. Once inside, he could hear one of the showers running, and a pile of mud-caked rugby gear lay in a messy heap on the floor, while a much neater pile of clean clothing lay on top of the sink counter. Smiling, Naoki headed towards one of the urinals and unzipped his trousers, pulling out his dick just as he heard the shower being turned off. Naoki closed his eyes and enjoyed his long piss, relieving himself after he’d drank more than his usual share at lunchtime. He was about to finish when he suddenly felt something pressing against his back, a damp body that smelt of soap and a head of wet hair, faintly scented with remnants of shampoo. Two arms went around his waist and a pair of familiar hands clasped over his own.
“Need any help with that?” a voice whispered in his ear.
Naoki smiled. “Not here, Shugo…”
He felt two lips pecking at the side of his neck. “I can make it quick.”
Naoki stuffed his dick back into his pants and zipped up his trousers. “Saw you scoring twice today.”
“Yeah, I had a good practice.”
“I had a good time watching you.” Naoki turned around. Shugo was wearing nothing but a towel around his waist, another one slung around his neck. Naoki told himself not to look down to where that oh-so-enticing belly piercing was, lest he lose control of himself. “So did the girls, I gather…looks like you’ll be getting love notes soon enough, too.”
Shugo smiled at him. “For the dance, you mean?”
“Well, let’s compare ours sometime…” Shugo said as he turned back towards his pile of dirty clothes.
“Dry your hair before you go out.” Naoki told him as he went to the sink and washed his hands. “You’ll catch a cold if you don’t…it’s windy out there.”
“I will.” Shugo followed him towards the sink and casually discarded the towel around his waist, putting on his clean clothes.
“I’m staying over at Kurosawa’s tonight…” Naoki said as he grabbed some tissue to dry his hands.
“Okay, I’ll just bunk with Shintaro, then. He’s already offered me.”
“My aunt will be gone for several days next week. Why don’t you come over?”
“Cool.” Shugo nodded as he put on his shirt. “What is it this time, another grandchild?”
“No, just visiting relatives elsewhere.” Naoki said. “Want me to pick you up tonight? We can still go and eat or something.”
Shugo shook his head and brushed back his damp hair with his hands. “No need. Besides, your friends will get suspicious if you excuse yourself for several hours for no reason…”
Naoki smiled. “Be careful on the way, okay?”
“You, too.” Shugo zipped up his jeans and turned towards Naoki. “And don’t smoke too much weed.”
Naoki pulled him close by the waist and kissed him, long enough to taste Shugo’s familiar sweetness, before pulling back and cradling the beautiful face in his hands.
“Now go, before someone comes in…”
Shugo smiled and disentangled himself, carrying his dirty clothes and walking out the door. Naoki stared after him long after the door swung closed, leaning back against the sink counter.
I am living now.