|Sasra 4 written by Unit Vanilla and illustrated by Enjin Yamimaru
||[Oct. 10th, 2008|11:30 pm]
The fourth and final volume of Sasra by Unit Vanilla and illustrated by Enjin Yamimaru was fun. The first story, set between the two world wars in Japan, has that lovely mix of traditional Japanese (gambling dens!) and new. The story itself is very conventional, but that's not new in this series. The characters are sweet. It's interesting how the uke is a "yakuza" but he reminds me more of some character out of one of those cliched old samurai shows than the modern "yakuza." The second story is one of my favorites in the entire series. The two lovers are hilarious! They snark at each other constantly even as they are drawn together.
Late Taishou/Early Showa Japan
Kyousuke is a 12-year-old boy living with his mother and having never known his father. He and his mother are walking along a street when the the Great Kanto Earthquake strikes. They both end up under a collapsed building, but Kyousuke is saved by a passersby. His mother does not make it. When Kyousuke wakes up a week later, his mother has already been buried. His savior is Ryuu, 19, son of the yakuza boss in the Asakusa area. Ryuu comforts him when he cries over his mother and proposes that Kyousuke become his little brother. Ryuu had lost his own mother when he was around Kyousuke's age, they both have strangely shaped birthmarks, and Ryuu had happened to save Kyousuke. It must be fate, right? Kyousuke is at first a bit scared of the big men of the clan, but soon becomes used to his surroundings. As he grows older, he wants more and more to help Ryuu out. He wants to join the clan, but Ryuu is dead set against it. He wants Kyousuke to continue onto university and get a normal job. At 17, Kyousuke is as big as Ryuu and very stubborn. They argue quite a bit.
When Kyousuke comes home from school one day Ryuu is being worked on by a tattoo artist. The artist had been working on Ryuu's tattoo for years, but Kyousuke had never seen it. He peeks through a crack in the door and is shocked when he is aroused at the sight of a naked Ryuu. He rushes to his room and jerks himself off, feeling awful about the whole business. Luckily Ryuu goes out of town for several days so Kyousuke doesn't have to see him face to face, but in the meantime he keeps jerking off to Ryuu's naked body and feeling guilty each time.
On the way home from school the day Ryuu is supposed to come back Kyousuke is invited to visit with the geisha Kikuno, Ryuu's childhood friend. She and Ryuu are supposedly in love and will someday marry. He gladly stops by to delay seeing Ryuu, only to find that Ryuu is with Kikuno. He has his head in her lap as she cleans his ear. Kikuno is surprised at how much Kyousuke has grown since she last saw him. She praises how manly and good looking he's become. Ryuu disparages Kyousuke, saying that Kyousuke might be almost an adult on the outside but is still just a kid on the inside. Kyousuke has to bite back the retort that he's mature enough to be aroused by Ryuu. Ryuu is called away by one of his subordinates, Kikuno and Kyousuke behind. Kyousuke feels mortified (and is rather unhappy at seeing Ryuu and Kikuno together), so when Kikuno offers him sake he downs the cup. And drinks a whole lot more. When she comes on to him, he imagines Ryuu kissing her, touching her, fucking her...And he does the same.
Of course Kyousuke is filled with guilt and regret. He'd betrayed Ryuu! He also realizes that he's in love with Ryuu. He'd only fucked Kikuno to try to get closer to Ryuu. He loses his appetite and is rather listless for days. A week later, a man representing a certain viscount comes by. It turns out that Kyousuke is the bastard son of the viscount (proven by the lapiz lazuli ring Kyousuke owns--it'd been given to him by his father--and his unusual birthmark in the shape of a bird). The viscount had lost track of Kyousuke and his mother after the earthquake and had been searching for them since then. He'd also recently lost his only son and heir to an illness and wants to adopt Kyousuke. Kyousuke does not want to leave his home with the yakuza. Ryuu pulls Kyousuke aside and accuses him of sleeping with Kikuno. Kikuno had told Ryuu when he'd asked her if she knew what was wrong with Kyousuke. He threatens Kyousuke with a knife but tells Kyousuke that he won't kill him this time. He orders Kyousuke to leave and to never show his face around there again. His betrayal revealed, Kyousuke leaves with his father's representative that day.
Five years later, Ryuu has even more responsibility within the clan. A relatively new guy running one particular gambling operation informs him of a very unusual new client. He's young, wears Western clothing, and wins a lot. Ryuu decides to check out this guy to make sure he's not working for another clan that's been trying to move into their turf. He's surprised to see that it's Kyousuke, all grown up. Kyousuke hugs him as soon as he sees him. Ryuu smacks him when he gets over the surprise. Kyousuke had gone to England for school for the last five years so that he could learn language and culture for his work in his father's trading company. He couldn't forget Asakusa and everyone he knew there, so he decided to show up...But not at Ryuu's house immediately (he and Ryuu know about Ryuu's threat, but the other clan members don't). He figured he'd kind of nibble at the edges first. Even though Ryuu tries to get Kyousuke to stop coming, Kyousuke looks Ryuu straight in the eyes and tells him that he's an adult now and will do what he wants. He's coming as a customer, after all.
After a while, Kyousuke rents a room nearby and goes to work in Ginza during the day and hangs out at the gambling dens at night. The other clan members are overjoyed to see Kyousuke, but Ryuu continues to grumble. He doesn't think it appropriate that the heir to a Viscount should be hanging around gambling dens, but Kyousuke responds that he'd gone to England because his father had wanted him to, and now he was working diligently at his company. There's nothing for his father to complain about. Ryuu figures he'll have to wait it out until Kyousuke gets tired of it. But Kyousuke stares intently at Ryuu and declares that though Ryuu may not ever forgive him he wants to be near Ryuu. He wants to keep his promise to Ryuu (Years ago when Kyousuke had been having nightmares about the earthquake, Ryuu had comforted him by telling him that he was afraid of water. Kyousuke had promised to protect Ryuu at that time.). He wants to protect Ryuu not only from water but from anything that could harm Ryuu. Ryuu can sense Kyousuke's intensity, but he brushes it off and walks away.
One day a mute child (Titi) follows Ryuu home. He just won't go away, so they end up keeping him and naming him "Hikaru" (light). Hikaru shows great interest in the ring Kyousuke's father had given Kyousuke. Kyousuke is relaxing in his rented room when he sees Hikaru in the street below. He invites Hikaru up. The situation reminds him of the time he was invited up by Kikuno...which had resulted in him sleeping with Kikuno and his banishment from Asakusa. He had tried to get over his feelings for Ryuu in England, but no matter what he tried or how many splendid women he met no one could move his heart like Ruuu. He doesn't expect to have any chance for a romantic relationship, but he'd at least like to be near him. Kyousuke tells Hikaru about a recurring dream he's had all his life (about Egypt and his last hours trying to escape). He also tells Hikaru about how he hears bird wings when he's in great danger. He'd never told anyone before since they were such odd stories, but Hikaru's manner gets him to open up. Hikaru looks shocked.
Right then they hear a woman yelling and walk out to find out what's going on. The boss of another clan has fallen for Kikuno (who has become the top geisha in Asakusa) and has been quite persistent. Kyousuke checks out the situation. He gets between the two and ends up in a fight with the clan leader. When the clan leader can't hit Kyousuke with his fists he draws out a knife and attacks him. Ryuu shows up and engages in a contest of wills with the clan leader. The clan leader leaves when members of Ryuu's clan also show up, vowing revenge on Ryuu and Kyousuke. Ryuu hits Kyousuke and yells at him. What was he thinking fighting a yakuza? He tells Kyousuke to go home and not come back.
Kikuno comes to Kyousuke's room to thank him for helping her out. She explains that Ryuu and the clan leader who'd been bothering her are rivals that don't get along at all. Ryuu doesn't want Kyousuke to get involved. When Kyousuke exclaims that he wants to help Ryuu even more knowing that Ryuu might be in danger, Kikuno comments that Kyousuke is in love with Ryuu--not in the manly adoration way that many men fall for Ryuu, but in a romantic way. She knows that Kyousuke had slept with her to try to connect with Ryuu through her. But she confesses that Ryuu doesn't see her as a woman--he treats her like a little sister.
Kyousuke, confused, goes to Ryuu's house. Ryuu tells Kyousuke to go back to his parent's house, but he treats Kyousuke's slight knife wounds. Kyousuke is intoxicated by Ryuu's promixity and has to fight against wanting to embrace Ryuu. When Ryuu rejects him (we live in different worlds) again he can't help himself. He grabs Ryuu, declares his love, and kisses him--with tongue! Ryuu pushes him away as soon as he relaxes his grip and yells at Kyousuke. Kyousuke apologizes and leaves (like a lost puppy).
Ryuu can't forget the whole scene with Kyousuke. He'd sensed Kyousuke's passionate stares but had been ignoring them. He can't deal with Kyousuke's intense focus on HIM. The little boy that fit in his arms can now hold him...But he has more important things to think about, like rival clan head dude. He just can't shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen. Two days later Ryuu's clan head (and father) is ambushed and killed by men controlled by rival dude. The clan members are upset and want to have their revenge, but Ryuu tells them they need to calm down for the vigil over the body. After sitting with his father's body for an hour, he goes upstairs to get his sword. Kyousuke shows up--he'd been packing up to go back to his parent's house but had found out about the death. He realizes that Ryuu plans on fighting the other clan on his own. Ryuu knows that the other clan wants their turf. If there is a clan-on-clan war his clan will end up in jail--exactly what the other clan wants. He plans on killing the clan head. There are others who can head his clan if he dies. Kyousuke insists that he'll go with Ryuu. His life had been saved by Ryuu, so he can die for Ryuu. After all, he'd promised to protect Ryuu. Ryuu's heart aches at Kyousuke's straightforward regard, and he tells Kyousuke to follow him.
Ryuu takes Kyousuke to an establishment with a similar function to a love hotel. Once in a room Ryuu takes his clothes off and offers himself to Kyousuke as a souvenior to the other world. Of course Kyousuke doesn't say no. They have sex. Kyousuke licks each scale on Ryuu's gorgeous and detailed dragon tattoo. Ryuu insists on anal sex, even though Kyousuke is hesitant since they are going to fight soon enough. After the first round, Ryuu tempts Kyousuke into yet another...
Ryuu sneaks out while Kyousuke sleeps. He's happy that Kyousuke wants to help him, but he doesn't want to take Kyousuke down with him. He wants Kyousuke to live a proper and normal life. Kyousuke wakes up to the sound of bird wings. He realizes Ryuu is gone and rushes out...Unfortunately he doesn't know where the other clan's headquarters is. He can't ask a random person either since it'd be too suspicious. Luckily, he runs into Hikaru. Hikaru leads him to the headquarters where he barges in. Ryuu and Kyousuke fight the other clan's members. Ryuu manages to kill the clan leader, getting shot in the process. Kyousuke is wounded pretty badly, possibly even fatally. Even as Kyousuke is losing consciousness, he is happy that he could protect Ryuu to the end. He confesses his love again...
Fast forward three years. Ryuu had gone to jail and is getting out. The clan members are waiting for him outside to welcome him back, crying (in their manly way) with joy. They go back to their headquarters. Ryuu catches up on all the news, including the fact that Kikuno had married a prosperous merchant. Ryuu is confused when he asks about Hikaru and gets blank confusion. No one remembers Hikaru.
After visiting his father's grave, Ryuu shows up at the location of his welcome-back party. No one is there yet except Kyousuke (looking dopily happy). Kyousuke had been taken to the hospital right away and was thus saved despite his grave injuries. Ryuu had turned himself in but had gotten a pretty light sentence of three years thanks to the fact that the other clan started it all, only the clan leader died, and Kyousuke's father put in a good word. Kyousuke had visited him every single week while he was in jail. Ryuu takes Kyousuke aside and asks him if he remembers Hikaru. Kyousuke clearly remembers Hikaru and they wonder why no one else seems to. Kyousuke wraps his arms around Ryuu from behind. He's so happy he can finally touch Ryuu. Ryuu mutters something about "what if someone comes?" but doesn't actually push Kyousuke away. He wonders if his only motivation for offering his body three years ago was only pity...He'd thought about why he'd done it for three years but had never come to a conclusion. He thinks, however, that he might have one sooner than later even as Kyousuke turns him around and kisses him...
There's a transitional section from Titi's POV where we get more heavy-handed "fate sucks" narrative, but we also learn that both Kyousuke and Ryuu die in WWII, Kyousuke as an officer and Ryuu in the air raids that destroy Asakusa. After their deaths Titi couldn't sense the lapis lazuli ring anymore and thought that the lovers had been released from their punishment by the gods. He felt terribly alone and abandoned. Yet he kept looking for the ring, the only thing he could do. He finally saw it in an essay written by a professor. When he visited the professor he ran into Naraoka Ren, the current reincarnation of Seshan....
Back to the modern day, where our Japanese reincarnations of the lovers are in a falling plane over Egypt...
The plane manages to land intact. The passengers quickly get out. Ren is hit by a hallucination of the Nile River when he first sees the barren desert landscape outside of the plane. When he looks for his advisor's grandson (let outside first along with the other children and injured) he finds that the grandson had wandered away. He catches up to the grandson and tries to get him to return to the plane, but the grandson struggles and escapes. He runs off. Ren tries to chase after him but is hit by another dizzy spell. Luckily Goushou had followed them and he chases after the grandson. He catches the grandson in short order and they walk back to the plane....But the plane wreck and the other passengers are gone. There is nothing but undisturbed desert.
Ren keeps having visions of his life as Seshan while Goushou moves the group to the shade of a boulder and takes stock of the situation. Ren is pale and dizzy, admiting that he feels dizzy when Goushou comes near. He can't help but overlap Goushou's face with Ahket's, even though they look completely different. Goushou jokes that Ren must've fallen for him. Though a kid like Ren isn't his type, he'd be willing to fuck him at least once...He doesn't finish the sentence because Ren slaps him. Ren can't believe Goushou can joke around when they are in such deep shit. Goushou isn't so worried though. He's always been warned of danger by the sound of bird wings and he doesn't hear them now. They get into a silly argument with Goushou demanding an apology for having been pulled in this whole mess when he'd so kindly warned them about the flight, and Ren refuses to on the grounds that no one would ever listen to a weirdo like Goushou. He tries to leave to find water or a road, but Goushou doesn't think marching out into the desert willy-nilly is such a good idea. Ren faints while Goushou is dragging him back to the shade. He wakes up when Goushou gives him the water he'd refused earlier--mouth-to-mouth, naturally.
The advisor's grandson (henceforth called Titi since it's pretty obvious ^^;) suddenly gets up and starts walking. Goushou can't keep him still, so he decides they should follow Titi. He notices that Titi seems to be following something--of course, they can't know if he follows something good or bad. Ren can't walk, so Goushou carries him on his back. Ren is mortified about being carried, but Goushou refuses to let him walk. Goushou doesn't want Ren so weakened with trying to walk on his own that he won't even be able to hold onto Goushou after that. His heart thumps when he catches a whiff of Goushou's manly scent. He'd always looked up to manly men since he's rather slim and his features aren't particularly manly. He thinks back to Goushou giving him water, recalling that it'd be his first kiss. He'd never dated anyone since everyone he liked always was with someone else and he didn't want to date the many girls who'd confessed to him. He also remembers being kissed in his visions by a guy. He wonders about the visions...Are they his secret fantasies? He decides that they might be his past life or something. He isn't happy that he might have been gay in a previous life, but he figures even if he was that was a previous life and has very little to do with him.
After two hours of walking they reach an oasis and decide to spend the night there. Ren again has a vision, this time of Seshan and Ahket having sex. He wakes up flustered and aroused, feeling as if he'd been fucked. He hates having these visions, how uncontrollable they are, and wishes they would leave him alone, past life be damned. Goushou asks him to invite him to a gathering of go-kon when they get back to Japan. He admits that he can swing both ways, as long as they're his type. He asks Ren if Ren ever had dreams. Ren stiffens, wondering if Goushou can tell that he'd just had an erotic dream. Ren denies that he does. Goushou tells Ren that he dreams about running away with a blonde beauty. When he asks "isn't it romantic?" Ren can't help but smile at the incongruity of Goushou and "romantic." When the desert is plunged into darkness as the moon is hidden by clouds, Goushou clings to Ren. When Ren struggles, Goushou confesses that he's scared of the dark. He'd been trapped in a container as a child, ever since then he can't stand being in the dark. Ren falls asleep in Goushou's arms. He is awakened by Goushou's groans. Turns out Goushou had a nightmare. He gets up to talk to Titi (resting some some distance away) and comes back. Ren asks what Goushou would have to talk with Titi. Goushou initially refuses to tell Ren, but in the end explains that the dreams he's been having seem to be of a past life. He tells Ren that he'd been a prince (Ren imagines a blonde dude in white tights and has to surpress his laughter), that he'd killed his father, and that he'd been killed by his retainers. He figures it must have been in ancient Egypt. When Ren sees a birthmark on Goushou's chest, he's struck by how much it looks like the birthmark Ahket had. He asks what the prince's name was, which of course was Ahket. Ren can't help but wonder why the two reincarnations of doomed lovers are together now. Goushou goes on to explain that he'd been in love with a stunningly gorgeous blonde dude, which is why he's gay. Ren doesn't want to tell Goushou that he's Seshan. He bitches at Goushou that Goushou shouldn't blame someone else for his sexual orientation. Goushou then extols Seshan's virtues as a sex partner (he was a virgin! and so virginal! yet so sensitive! and his skin, so white, so soft!) to tease Ren. Ren is embarrassed to hear his previous self put in such terms and even gets mad at Seshan for falling in love with the previous life of such a crummy guy...But then, Akhet was a very upstanding young man. Unlike Goushou. He turns his back to Goushou and goes back to sleep.
Ren wakes up crying while dreaming about the last moments of Seshan's life. He is surprised to recognize his advisor's grandson as Titi. Ren looks for Titi and comments that he's no longer under his tree. Goushou points out that Titi is in fact right there, Ren had just missed seeing him. Goushou then picks up on Ren calling the grandson "Titi" and starts grilling Ren. How does he know Titi? Ren tries to weasel out of it, but eventually admits to knowledge of the past by telling Goushou that Seshan had committed suicide after learning that Ahket had been killed. Ahket had never known Seshan's fate since he'd died firstee. Goushou then tries to figure out who Ren must have been, naming all kinds of people until he incredulously asks if Ren is Seshan. Ren snarkily apologizes for not being a drop-dead gorgeous blonde. Goushou keeps making rather rude comments about the difference between Seshan and Ren, which only pisses Ren off even more. He starts comparing Goushou to Ahket and wonders where Ahket's dignity and nobility had gone. They verbally spar a bit more. Goushou wonders why the gods have brought them together. It couldn't have been coincidence. They put together more things. Titi can't talk. Ren notices the lapiz lazuli on the ring Goushou wears looks very much like the stone that they'd stolen...Though much smaller. Ren decides to try to return the stone to the temple. He easily pulls of the ring that Goushou couldn't no matter what he did. They hear a bird cry out and look up to see Wedjat. Titi gets up and points to Wedjat as the bird flies away. He starts walking after it. Ren and Goushou follow. They walk around a big boulder and are shocked to see the temple just as it'd been thousands of years ago.
Ren is filled with fear at first, of Ahmen's wrath. He manages to overcome his fear and they go inside. They gingerly walk to the altar where Ren returns the stone. He sees all his past lives, seeing how Titi and the stone had always been around. Titi is also there, and he can talk! He apologizes for causing Seshan and Ahket to die and their country to fall. He's so sorry the two had to live, meet, then be torn apart over and over again as punishment from Ahmen. Ren and Goushou comfort him, horrified at how he'd lived as a zombie all these thousands of years. There's lots of it was all my fault, no no it wasn't, you two were forced to come together and be torn apart in life after life!, no, no, we just couldn't stay apart everytime we were reborn but we weren't allowed to stay together because we had sinned, you two came to bad ends because of my original sin, on and on. Titi explains some minor bits about how he'd first come upon the two in their first reincarnations and other details. Ren hugs Titi and comforts him for his thousands of years of loneliness, and Titi burts into tears. A light shines upon the three of them from above and Titi is taken up to the world of the dead. He'd been forgiven.
Ren and Goushou start to make their way out of the dark temple. They stop along the way to rest, with Goushou holding Ren because of his fear of the dark. They snark at each other for their past lives. Goushou comments that despite Ren's dislike of homosexuality he'd certainly been willing and enthusiastic in previous lives. Ren retorts that Goushou was the insatiable one. Goushou shoots back that Ren got into the sex in the end. Ren tries to get away from Goushou, but he's held even tighter. Goushou says that Ren is comforting. He smells good. He starts to touch Ren, which arouses Ren. Goushou notices and decides that he's going to have Ren. He forces Ren to the ground. Ren continues to struggle. Goushou stops and wants to know if Ren actually doesn't want to have sex. He likes a bit of resistance but not rape. Ren ends up admiting that he'd never had sex (in this life) and it scares him. This makes Goushou very gleeful. He keeps repeating "virgin" again and again and decides that though he doesn't like putting good things off for later, since Ren is a virgin he'll make an exception. He pulls Ren up from the ground and holds him in his arms chastely like before. He comments that Ren must've been saving himself for him, which Ren vehemently denies. Goushou decides to sleep there that night and tells Ren to go to sleep, stroking him gently.
Ren wakes up the next morning to bright daylight. He can't quite believe he'd slept so soundly in the lap of a guy like Goushou. He sees the bird-shaped birthmark on Goushou's chest and touches it, waking Goushou up. They walk outside into the desert. When he turns back the temple is gone. They follow Wedjat, who'd been waiting for them outside, until they reach a road. Goushou asks Ren if he has a birthmark. He pulls Ren to him and takes a look at the birthmark on his arm. He first kisses it reverently, like a knight kissing a lady's hand. He then licks it thickly, looking up at Ren. Ren shivers and can't look away. They hear the sound a car approaching....
In the desert the lapiz lazuli slowly sinks into the sand until it is swallowed up (by flowerly language desperately trying to convey a sense of sweeping, epic tragedy finally, quietly coming to an end).
Well, not really. There's a whole 'nother part about Ren and Goushou, now free of the curse. What will happen to them? What will they do? First, they make their way to Cairo. Ren doesn't have a place to stay since Titi is gone, so Goushou offers to put him up if Ren helps him carry the merchandise he'd come to buy. Ren doesn't fancy trying to find a hotel that isn't insanely expensive where his English would be enough to communicate, so he jumps at Goushou's offer. Goushou takes him to get a suit and accessories (Ren is supposed to be Goushou's "secretary"), and the next day they head out on the back of a light truck. Ren can't figure out why Goushou doesn't want to waste money on renting a nice car but is willing to buy him a suit (and not a cheap one, either). They end up at a mansion where the owner, a British gentleman, is selling his famous antique collection to pay his son's debts. He had reserved a portion specifically for Goushou as he trusts Goushou to make sure the items go where they ought to go. Ren is shocked to see that one of the items is a hairpiece he'd made in China, that it's survived for so long. After Ren and the truck driver (the truck driver thinks that Ren and Goushou are lovers and keeps telling Ren about Goushou's good qualities when Ren denies it) had carried out all of the items, Ren is pulled aside by the son, who tries to forcefully get him to buy some of his dead mother's clothing (Ren insists that he can't make any decisions but the son keeps thinking that Ren is refusing to buy at all, which starts him off on insulting Japanese people). Goushou and the father show up at the commotion, and Goushou offers to buy the clothing. He tells the father that these types of vintage clothing can sell in Japan. After they leave, Goushou offers Ren a fur coat from the pile. Ren refuses to take something so expensive, but Goushou assures him that though it is of high-quality it has very little value in Japan because it's not a brand-name. They carry all the items into the living room of the suite Ren is sleeping in (Goushou had reserved two attached suites, each with a living room and a bedroom, in one of the best hotels in Cairo, and had offered Ren the bedroom of the second suite). Goushou asks if the hairpiece had been made by Ren. Though he'd been blind by the time Ren had made it, he'd recognized Ren's work.
Goushou goes out on more business. Ren is tired so he takes a bath. As he's about to get out the lights go out. It's a blackout. As he scrambles around he drops his bathtowel into the tub. He tries to feel his way in the dark to his bedroom where his clothing are. As he's making his way through the living room filled with antiques, he hears Goushou come back. Goushou calls out to Ren, telling him that the hotel has emergency backup and the lights will come on sooner or later. Ren tries to act normal, praying that Goushou won't come in and catch him buck naked on the floor. He naturally runs into the sofa and a box of clothing falls on him. Goushou hears him and comes to see what's up. He has a flashlight and is surprised to see Ren sitting on the floor, naked, with old clothing around him. Ren is horribly embarrassed. The lights come on and Ren tries to escape into the bedroom. Goushou catches him before he gets there and gives him a blow-job. He's embarrassed and shocked. He wonders how Goushou could do something like this to someone he's only known for three days. He then wonders if it's because he's Seshan's reincarnation...When Goushou jokes about Ren's ejaculate, Ren slaps him hard. Goushou picks Ren up to take him into the bedroom. Ren struggles and protests mightily. He doesn't want to have sex with Goushou. He can't sleep with a man. Goushou hasn't even said he loves him or anything. Goushou puts Ren down and whispers "I love you" into Ren's ear. Ren shivers, but won't accept those words as truth. Goushou asks what he could say to make Ren believe him...They argue some more, with Ren putting his foot down. He doesn't want to be influenced by their relationship(s) in previous lives, especially since they're finally free of the curse. He wants to love out of his own free will, not out of from some leftover passion. Goushou stares at Ren for a while, then sighs and leaves the room. Ren feels alone and sad, even though he's sure he did the right thing. He packs his things and contemplates leaving now instead of in the morning when his flight leaves. But he doesn't feel right leaving with saying goodbye and he doesn't want to disturb Goushou right now. He lays down to sleep, thinking he won't be able to sleep at all.
Of course he falls asleep and is woken up by Goushou. It's nearly time for his flight! Goushou hands him an attache case. He'd like Ren to carry it back to Japan and give it to his secretary as he'd found a buyer for the hair piece already. Goushou gives Ren his secretary's number and casually says goodbye. Ren thought Goushou would make a bigger deal at parting. He again feels sad and lonely, but quashes his feelings.
Ren is met by his older brother at the airport. After the older brother is reassured that Ren is alright by touching him all over the place (not in a bad way, mind you), he immediately starts to lecture Ren. Ren had been resigned to being lectured, but they are interrupted by a phone call. It is Kinusawa, Goushou's secretary. He has some business he has to attend to and can't meet Ren at the airport. He asks Ren to bring the hair piece to Yuurakuchou Station which is near their office. Ren agrees. He tries to get his brother to let him go to meet the secretary by train (after calming his brother's fears that he was being made to carry drugs or something by showing him the hair piece), but the brother insists on driving him. The brother continues to lecture Ren in the car until the brother gets a call from a subordinate and has to go take care of something. Ren convinces his brother to let him go by train.
Ren gets to the station early. He drops the case while standing there waiting and the hair piece falls out. Luckily it's not damaged and he puts it back into the case. His chest aches at the thought of the hair piece being the last tie to Goushou...
When someone slams into Ren really hard from behind, the attache case goes flying. Some young guy picks it up and runs away with it. Ren chases after him until they end up in an alley. They tussle until Ren is knocked out.
He wakes up in an old factory, tied up. Two guys come up to him, one of them the robber. The other guy, obviously the leader, demands to know why the robber had brought Ren with them. The robber explains that they (he and the other guy at the scene, the one who'd knocked Ren out from behind) thought that Ren was dead. They didn't have time to do anything else but run away with Ren...The leader tells the robber that an antique like the hair piece is difficult to off-load because it's so unique. He smacks the robber and tells the robber to "get rid" of Ren since he's responsible for bringing Ren to them. He can dump the body in the hills somewhere. He kicks Ren in the stomach and leaves.
Ren begs the robber to spare his life. The robber obviously is scared to kill, but he doesn't want to get in trouble either. They argue about who's fault this situation is (Robber: It's your fault for showing off something so expensive looking! And chasing after me! Ren: It's your fault for stealing stuff from people!), until the robber takes out a knife. But he can't do it (yet) and leaves.
Ren is scared. He's had horrible experiences in past lives, but they weren't him. He decides only he can save himself and starts gnawing on the rope around his arm. He manages to get free, but he's locked in the building. He looks everywhere, but can't get out. He hides, but is eventually found by the leader. He's beaten up and tied up again, more securely. The robber is scolded (and hit) until he promises to do something about Ren within the day. When Ren tells the robber he doesn't want to die, the robber tapes him mouth shut. He also tapes Ren's eyes (filling Ren with fear that he was going to tape his nose as well and suffocate him, but he doesn't).
Ren is really really freaked out now. He just knows he's not going to be rescued. He calls out to people for help in his head, ending up at Goushou. If you love me rescue me! He regrets not having had sex at least once with Goushou, if he's going to die anyway. He wasn't uninterested in having sex with Goushou. He'd only resisted so hard because he thought Goushou was looking at Seshan through him and not at him.
When Ren hears the door open he knows he's going to die...Except that it's Goushou. He unties Ren's arms, but they are discovered by the leader. Goushou starts fighing the guy while Ren works to free his legs. He's grabbed by the robber, though, and threatened with a knife. Goushou stops fighting when he sees the knife at Ren's throat (and doesn't run away even though Ren yells at him to get away) and is totally beatened up. They are both tied up. The leader dude tells the robber to get rid of the two of them right now. The robber asks for time for it to get dark so that he can take them to a cliff and push them off. It'd be cleaner and easier that way.
Ren tries to bite through Goushou's bonds. He remembers all the crappy ends they had come to in their previous lives and does NOT want another bad end. Goushou wakes up. Turns out that Wedjat had led Goushou to Ren. He had snuck a cell phone in Ren's pocket but it is out of power. Ren admits that he's scared when Goushou asks, but in truth he's not as scared as he'd been because he's not alone anymore. Goushou lightly kisses several places on Ren's face, ending up at his lips. Goushou notes that Ren isn't protesting and reminds Ren that Ren had rejected him because of their previous lives, but Ren tells Goushou that it's become a trivial matter to him. They kiss deeply until Ren becomes aroused. He draws his face away. When Goushou tells him not to run away, Ren says that it's strange of them to be doing something like this when they could die. Goushou counters that they need to do such things while they're alive. When Goushou brings his body closer, Ren scoots away until he can't go any farther. Goushou notices Ren's arousal and presses his thigh against it. Ren keeps resisting. When Goushou finally asks, "You love me, right?" Ren allows that maybe he does. When Goushou complains at Ren's wording, Ren admits that he thinks that he does. He adds that this is in spite of the fact that Goushou is a pervert and a barfer. Goushou stops pursuing him and puts his head down near Ren's neck. Ren realizes that he really does love Goushou. He doesn't care anymore that they may be influenced by their previous lives. Goushou whispers sweetly into Ren's ear that he will fuck Ren if they manage to come out of this alive. Even if Ren says no. Ren tells him he won't.
Robber shows up to take them to the cliff. Goushou manages to get the better of robber and the two escape, but they are found again. Leader dude has a gun and things look bad. Luckily the police arrive before they are forced to jump off a cliff. Ren is taken to the hospital and is given fluids. His brother cries when he sees Ren safe and sound, and Ren cries as well. He sleeps until morning, when he's taken to the police station to give his statement. Afterwards, he runs into Kinusawa. Kinusawa apologizes for getting Ren into trouble because of their merchandise. Rena apologizes for getting the hair piece stolen. Kinusawa apologizes again and explains that it was all Goushou's fault. Turns out that there was no buyer for the hair piece. It was an excuse for Kinusawa to meet Ren and tell Ren all of Goushou's good points. And get Ren's contact information. Goushou had told Kinusawa that he'd fallen in love with someone who he was sure was in love with him but was being really stubborn. He needed some way to keep contact with Ren and tried to use the hair piece to do so.
Ren is astonished. And mad. When Goushou appears Ren learns that Goushou knew that help was on the way. This makes him more mad. Goushou hadn't mentioned anything to Ren. Goushou offers to take Ren home, but Ren refuses coldly. He leaves the station, but Goushou follows him. Ren starts running, but is caught. Goushou tells him to listen to him instead of just running away like a rabbit. When Ren asserts that there's nothing he needs to talk to Goushou about, Goushou picks him and takes him deep into an alley. When Goushou gently puts him down, Ren starts yelling at Goushou. Goushou isn't abashed at all. He admits that he can't defend his actions, but he points out that Ren is the one that had fallen in love with a guy like him. Ren bats away Goushou's hand when he tries to stroke Ren's cheek. He wants to cry. Why oh why does he like such a shitty guy?
He continues to resist as Goushou kisses him deeply and fiercely. Goushou tells Ren that Ren is the shitty guy. Ren wouldn't admit he loves Goushou until they were about to die! They kiss some more, but Ren resists when Gousou tries to stick his hand under Ren's shirt. More pushing and pulling, but of course in the end they have sex. Right there. In the open. Despite the fact that Ren really didn't want his first time to be like this and that Goushou isn't really into outside sex either. But Goushou wanted to be inside of Ren ASAP, so he went ahead with it. He admits that he'd jerked off so many times remembering Ren's naked body in the Cairo hotel. They both come, and Ren slides to the ground as he's unable to keep standing on his own. Goushou puts Ren on his lap and hugs him tightly, making Ren tear up. They kiss.
He'd been pissed off at Goushou, gotten so mad, yet is so in love, and was forced to have sex in such an inappropriate place, yet it had felt so good...Ren wonders if this is what love is, to feel so many contradictory things as he's passionately kissed.
Fast forward five years. Ren and Goushou are in London on holiday. They haven't left Goushou's flat to check out the museum (or anything else) thanks to Goushou keeping Ren in bed the entire time. Ren is interrupted in assuring his still insanely over-protective brother that all is well and he'll be back soon enough by Goushou playing with his body. Ren stops Goushou from initiating another round and finally manages to convince Goushou to go out. Ren had become an engineer after graduation and their busy schedules keep them apart a lot. Gousou grouses again that Ren should've joined his company. When Ren notes that they talk on the phone ever day, Goushou points out that the phone can't jerk him off. That earns Goushou a light slap. Ren wishes Goushou wasn't so...indelicate.
At the museum Ren checks out the hair piece he'd made in his previous life. Goushou had sold it to the museum, at what Ren later finds out was a very low price. He runs into the British gentleman who'd sold it (who mistakes Ren for his wife because Ren had been wearing her old coat) who'd come to look at the hair piece. Ren realizes that Goushou might have sold it to British museum rather than a private collector for a reason...And is filled with love for Goushou. He'd loved him in previous lives, had fallen for him in this one, and now finds himself even more in love. Goushou seems to be doing whatever, but at heart he is kind. Goushou looks over at Ren and asks why his expression is so sexy. Ren doesn't want to respond that it's because he loves Goushou. When Goushou brushes his fingers against Ren's cheek, Ren flushes. Goushou asks if Ren would like to live with him. In response, Ren wraps his arms around Goushou's neck and kisses him.
Ryuu and Kyousuke
Ryuu comforting Kyousuke
Kyousuke aroused by Ryuu's naked body
Kyousuke, all grown up, greets Ryuu
Sex! Pity sex before death! (Or not)
Ryuu and Kyousuke fighting together
Ren and Goushou, free from the curse, following Wedjat
Ren and Goushou see the hairpiece Ren had made in ancient China
Ren naked! Covering his privates with old women's clothing!
Intimacy before possible death...
I still have the (frickin' expensive) booklet with some really good stories of what happens afterwards to several of their lives. I particularly love the one set in modern Japan. Ren and Goushou forever!
I wish they revealed which author wrote which story. I think that the really depressing one set in Tokugawa Japan is by Konohara-sensei because it's, well, depressing.