|Yoake ni wa yasashii kiss wo by Nagira Yuu and illustrated by Takashina Yuh
||[May. 9th, 2010|11:22 pm]
Yoake ni wa yasashii kiss wo by Nagira Yuu and illustrated by Takashina Yuh is about a guy who is haunted by something in his past and how he learns to live. It is cliched and is problematic, but it avoids my big pet peeves of the magical healing cock and the "sex=intimacy" fallacy. In fact, it shows how using sex as shorthand for intimacy can be a very bad thing. It also doesn't have any truly abhorrent characters. I liked and felt sorry for all the important people, despite of and because of their flaws and their mistakes. They have to make connections with each other that aren't based on the lame-ass shortcut of the passion of sex. There is a nice mix of "sweeping" romance and the little everyday details of true intimacy. I was very satisfied by the time I got to the end. Also, the art is very nice.
Kaname is a freeter who thinks he has no right to happiness because a girl he'd been helping as a volunteer "counselor" committed suicide after he rejected her confession of love. This not only shatters his (and his family's) reputation, it shatters him and his self-worth. So while he lives so as not to subject his parents to the grief of losing a child (no matter how worthless) he doesn't work to make his life good. He basically acts as the branch manager at the cafe he works at but is treated (and is paid) like a part-timer. He also has a very abusive boyfriend who beats him up really badly all the time. He got the boyfriend, Kase, when Kase had come calling at the cafe for work (Kase works at a food company). Kaname had given him a forgotten umbrella when it started to rain. Because of that Kase started asking Kaname out. Kaname refused each time, but one night Kase came to Kaname's house, forced his way in, beat the crap out of Kaname, then raped him. Kaname felt like the pain and humiliation was like a divine punishment for the suicide, and so he accepted Kase into his life. When he collapses at work, having worked too much and having been beaten up the night before, someone from the main office is very nasty to him. A very assertive and outspoken new hire, Kouhei, speaks up to defend Kaname. Kaname doesn't want to cause any trouble for other people so he quits to end the squabble.
Kouhei comes after Kaname to yell at him. He points out that when Kaname, the top person at the cafe, doesn't assert himself it makes it harder for the people under him. Kaname realizes that Kouhei is right and he apologizes to Kouhei. Kouhei tries to get Kaname to join the freeter's union that he's part of and negotiate with the company, but Kaname refuses. He feels bad for the position he's put the others in, but he has no intention of complaining about the company's policies. He tells Kouhei to stay out of it and walks off. Kouhei yells at his back that he's an idiot. He asks why Kaname rejects people so firmly. Kaname always smiles but keeps his distance...and yet looks like he wants to cry when he pushes people away. Kaname stands still for a while then turns around, only to see Kouhei stalk off. Kaname finds Kouhei, who can assert himself so strongly, dazzling. He remembers his lost past, when he'd been a normal college student who'd aimed to be a teacher. And he remembers being called a murderer.
Kaname is able to get a job at a factory pretty quickly, but the lights in the factory are very yellow because the parts are sensitive to ultraviolet light and gives him bad headaches. About a month after he quit the cafe Kouhei comes to his house and apologizes. He can't know all of Kaname's issues, and people have their own issues and circumstances, after all. Kouhei also hands him a paper that says he will be paid a month's wage from his old company. Kouhei had talked to people at the freeter's union and a lawyer had called the company up. Kaname rejects the money and tells Kouhei to butt out. He wants to drive Kouhei away. But Kouhei then asks if Kaname is working at a particular factory that he knows makes people unwell. Kaname is in fact working at the factory, and he again pushes Kouhei away. He tries to walk away to go to his room, but Kouhei grabs his arm and asks why he's afraid of dealing with people. Kouhei is pretty perceptive, but he can't figure Kaname out. But he thinks Kaname is punishing himself on purpose. Kaname can't respond. He feels like Kouhei has seen right through him. It is then when Kaname's boyfriend Kase shows up. Kase is very jealous and possessive, so when he sees Kaname with some strange guy he is upset. He grabs Kaname and tries to pull him away and up the stairs to Kaname's room. Kouhei protests that it's rather rude to interrupt a conversation without a word, so Kase tells Kouhei that Kaname is his boyfriend. When Kouhei protests some more Kase takes a swing at him. Or tries to. Kaname tries to stop Kase, which only makes him fall down the stairs. Kase then kicks him. Kouhei grabs Kase. Seeing Kouhei struggling with Kase, Kaname makes himself get up and get Kase to come with him. He asks Kouhei to not come again. Kase warns Kouhei away as well. As they continue up the stairs Kaname hears Kouhei whisper that Kaname really is an idiot. When they get to Kaname's room Kase once again beats Kaname up.
A week or so later Kouhei come over again, demanding some thanks for getting Kaname the money. When Kaname opens his door to give his thanks and to apologize, Kouhei grabs him. He wants Kaname to join him for dinner at his place. Over dinner Kouhei tries to convince Kaname to get out of his abusive relationship, but Kaname rejects Kouhei's offer of help. He is not the victim. The reason Kase beats him up is because Kaname doesn't love Kase and Kase can't bear it. Kase always clings to him and begs him to stay afterwards. Kaname strongly asserts that he doesn't love Kase, he doesn't love anyone...He just has to accept the situation, which is why he won't leave Kase.They argue a bit, they both apologize, and Kaname tries to leave. But Kouhei doesn't want Kaname to leave under unpleasant circumstances, so he points out a cherry blossom tree nearby. It blooms in the spring and bears delicious cherries the landlord shares with the tenants in the summer. Kouhei invites Kaname to come eat the cherries and see the blossoms. He asks Kaname for his phone number. Kaname knows he should avoid Kouhei, but gives him his number anyway.
The two hang out. Kouhei tries to get Kaname to break up with his abusive boyfriend, but Kaname won't. He explains that Kase had lost his family in an accident and had been taken in by relatives. He'd been badly abused by someone. Kouhei feels sorry for Kase, but doesn't understand why Kaname has to endure Kase's abuse.
Kase comes over every night. He doesn't hit Kaname as much but he seems really irritated, which scares Kaname. He tells Kaname he won't be over tomorrow because his uncle, who'd taken him in, had died. Kase asks Kaname if Kaname has plans tomorrow. Kaname remembers promising to watch a movie with Kouhei the next time Kaname is free, but tells Kase no. Kase asks if Kaname really will be home tomorrow. Kaname says he'll be home except when he goes to work. Kase glares at him. He swipes the plates off the table and stands up to stare down at Kaname. Kaname doesn't understand why Kase is mad, but it doesn't matter. There is no understanding or talk between the two of them. He waits for the beating to start. Instead, Kase goes down onto his knees and puts his head on Kaname's lap. He begs Kaname to never leave him. He has nothing and has never been able to hold onto anything. Kaname has always accepted him, no matter what he's done. So Kase will never let Kaname go. He'll kill anyone who tries to take Kaname away.
The next day Kaname falls asleep after getting home from work. He's exhausted. He gets a call from Kouhei, who comes over. Kaname knows he should push Kouhei away, but he wants to see Kouhei anway. He knows what his feelings for Kouhei are, but he'd swore he would never love anyone. Kouhei drags Kaname over to his house. They make curry and watch a comedy about college students. Kaname starts crying watching it because the college students' lives reminds him of what he'd lost. Kouhei puts his hand on Kaname's face, and he kisses Kaname. The kiss is deepened and Kouhei gently pushes Kaname down. Kaname finds it all so gentle. He'd never had a boyfriend and after the suicide he'd decided never to fall in love. He thought he'd never sleep with anyone, until Kase had barged into his life and had raped him. His experience of sex had always been pain and coercion. He figured true lovers must have a different experience, but he figured he'd never know...Kouhei unbuttons Kaname's shirt, but then freezes. Kaname realizes Kouhei is looking at the marks from last night's sex with Kase. He pushes Kouhei off and hides his chest. Kouhei tells Kaname to leave Kase. He'd been willing to wait for Kaname but he can't bear to think of Kase beating up then fucking Kaname. He can tell that Kaname likes him, so he tells Kaname to come to him. He'll protect Kaname with his life. It echoes Kase's words from last night, that Kase will never let Kaname go. Kouhei looks straight at Kaname and tells him that he loves him. Which echoes the words the girl had said to him all those years ago. He runs out of Kouhei's room, wanting to get away.
The next night Kase comes over. When Kaname comes out of the bath Kase is holding Kaname's cell phone. Kouhei had been calling and sending messages all day, which Kaname had been ignoring. Kase shows Kaname the latest message, that Kouhei won't give Kaname up because he loves Kaname. Kase puts the phone in the sink and runs water on it so that it won't ring anymore. He then approaches Kaname. He'd been away only one night, yet someone is already trying to steal Kaname away. Kaname is trying to run away. Of course the world works this way. He can never keep anything. He smacks Kaname hard. He grabs Kaname's hair and makes Kaname look up. He has noticed Kaname acting oddly lately. Did Kaname really think he didn't notice? But then he drops to his knees and begs Kaname to stay with him. He won't hit Kaname anymore. He's been holding himself back lately so that Kaname will like him. He then starts to grope Kaname. Kaname finds that he can't stand it anymore now that he'd felt Kouhei's gentle hands on him. He rejects Kase. He will do anything other than sex. He begs Kase. Kase agrees that they won't have sex, and then beats the crap out of Kaname. He sobs as he pummels Kaname. When Kaname regains consciousness Kase is sitting facing away from Kaname. Normally he clings to Kaname after beating Kaname up, but he won't turn around when Kaname calls to him. Kase asks if Kaname wants to go to the other guy. Kaname says that he doesn't. Kase asks if he hurts. Kaname answers that he's okay. Kase asks if Kaname hates him. Kaname can't answer, and the only sound is only the water still running in the sink.
When Kaname wakes up the next morning Kase is gone. Kaname tries to call in sick because he is badly beaten up, but when his supervisor complains that he's calling in too late and will mess things up Kaname goes in. He is bitched at when he shows his messed up face and barely makes it through the day. Kouhei is waiting for him when he leaves for the day. Kouhei gets mad when he sees Kaname's face, but Kaname coldly tells him to leave him alone. It's Kouhei's fault Kase had beaten Kaname up so badly last night anyway. He tries to push Kouhei away, but Kouhei knows Kaname likes him back and that Kaname is hiding something. He again tries to get Kaname to trust him and open up. A guy riding a bicycle passes them but then stops. Kouhei knows him from the freeter's union. Turns out the guy knows of Kaname, however. He'd gone to Kaname's university, and looks at Kaname with contempt. When Kouhei asks how he knows Kaname, he spits out that Kaname is famous for having seduced and toyed with a high school girl and caused her to commit suicide. Kaname runs away to get away from the disgust and hatred in the guy's eyes.
Back in university Kaname had been in a volunteer group that talked to kids who'd refused to go to school or become hikikomori. He'd been working with a high school student named Shiho who'd been ignored by all the girls in her grade and had stopped going to school. He patiently spent time with her until she warmed up to him. Unfortunately she grew to have a crush on him. When she'd confessed to him it'd been a shock. He hadn't seen it coming. Plus, he was gay. He felt overwhelmed by Shiho's straightforward gaze and awkwardly turned her down. That night Shiho jumped off the top of a building, leaving behind a note saying that Kaname had abandoned her. There had already been rumors about Kaname and Shiho, and with that note everyone assumed Kaname had toyed with Shiho and had tossed her aside. While Kaname's parents believed in him, no one else did. The entire family ended up moving away because of the hatred and vitriol they received. While Kaname hadn't toyed with Shiho, he had let her die by not understanding her at all while thinking he understood her feelings. He hadn't given her support when he'd rejected her. He felt like he had no right to be happy again.
Two weeks pass after Kaname had run away from Kouhei. He feels lost and empty. Kase beats him up but doesn't fuck him. Instead he clings to Kaname at night, muttering that he'll never let Kaname go. Kaname dreams of Shiho and remembers the happy times he had with Kouhei. One night he gets a call from his mother, who asks him to come visit them sometime. Both of his parents are worried about him. She also mentions that Shiho's parents had called, but Kaname hangs up at that point. He doesn't know what Shiho's parents want six years since she'd died but he is too afraid to find out. He doesn't answer the phone when it keeps ringing. But then the doorbell rings over and over. It's Kouhei. He wants to talk to Kaname. He'd heard the whole story from the other guy, but he can't believe it. He wants to hear the straight story from Kaname. Kaname is dumbfounded because the only other people who'd even tried to believe him was his parents. No matter what he'd said in his own defense absolutely no one else (including the police) had really believed him. As Kaname fights with his confusion and panic, he hears a thud and a struggle outside. He opens the door and sees Kouhei on the ground with Kase looking down at him. Kase reminds Kaname that he'd kill anyone who tries to take Kaname away. Kaname grabs Kase and pulls him inside to separate the two. He locks the door.
Kase asks if Kaname had fallen for Kouhei. Kaname can't deny his feelings anymore, so he tells Kase that he wants to break up. He acknowledges that he loves Kouhei, but he states that he won't hook up with Kouhei. Kaname knows that Kase loves him very much, just in a very twisted way, and tells Kase that he can hit him as much as he wants. But instead Kase seems very out of it. He leaves. Kaname is concerned and tries to follow Kase, but Kouhei stops him. He'd heard the conversation from the corridor and tells Kaname that it'd be cruel to follow the guy after breaking up with him. When Kaname protests Kouhei kisses him. Kouhei asks Kaname to share his burden with him. He wants to support Kaname. He doesn't want Kaname to bear things alone anymore.
Kaname breaks down. He'd thought that he didn't deserve to be happy and had tried to suppress his own feelings of sadness and pain because he thought he didn't deserve to even complain. He'd tried to lie to himself, but in Kouhei's arms he can't keep doing it anymore. When he stops crying, Kouhei asks if he's okay. Kaname indicates that he is. Kouhei then suggests they talk. Kaname tells Kouhei about Shiho.
Kouhei tells Kaname that while Kaname had been mistaken on what was between the him and Shiho (Kaname had thought of Shiho as a student), he doesn't think Shiho's death is Kaname's fault. In the first place, half the world's population would be dead if people died from a broken heart. He explains his own troubles with coming to terms with the meaning of life (especially as he's gay) and why he'd never accept that Shisho's suicide could ever be Kaname's fault. While Kouhei knows Shiho had various troubles, in the end, Shiho's life had been Shiho's life and she'd chosen to end it. Kouhei asks if Kaname thinks he's cold for thinking this way.
Kaname doesn't know how to respond. If he says that Kouhei isn't a cold person, then he'd be forgiving himself. But if he says that Kouhei is cold, then he'd be rejecting Kouhei's words. Kaname doesn't know how to respond and can only hang his head. He is always like this, torn between wanting to be forgiven and being afraid of being forgiven, and has been stuck in the same place for six years.
Kouhei apologizes for putting it in an unfair way. He tells Kaname that he definitely really loves Kaname. Kaname had choked up many times as he told his story. As Kaname would chose his words he'd always pick the ones that made him look bad. Kouhei could really sense how much Kaname didn't want to excuse himself even a smidgen and he'd been struck by how awkward Kaname is. He asks Kaname to let go of the responsibility for Shiho's death and to move on. Kaname had suffered enough. Kouhei tells Kaname that he's fallen more in love with Kaname after hearing him talk about his past.
Kaname starts to cry. He doesn't know what he should do. Should he accept Kouhei's outstretched hand? Does he deserve to? As he timidly moves his hand towards Kouhei, his phone rings. Caller ID indicates it's Kase. Kaname knows he shouldn't answer, but he's worried so he picks up. It's a hospital calling, trying to reach Kase's family. He'd fallen from a building and had been brought to the hospital.
Kase had tried to commit suicide, but he'd luckily survived with bad but not awful injuries. Kaname is freaked out because this is suicide #2. He almost thinks he's cursed or something. But Kouhei won't let him slip into irrational fear. Kaname goes into Kase's room when Kase wakes up. Kase tells Kaname that he'll try again when he gets out. He doesn't see the point in living. He can never have anything other people take for granted. He attacks Kaname for being "kind" to him at all if he's just going to dump him now. At this point Kouhei, who'd been waiting outside, barges in and punches Kase. He berates Kase for thinking that he's the only one in the world with problems. They get kicked out by the nurse for bothering the patient.
Kaname tells Kouhei that he can't break up with Kase. He can't even think about someone else dying because of him. After a long silence, Kouhei suggests that they go to Shiho's house. He thinks that Kaname is unable to face what happened and that he needs to confront his past. Kase is suffering because he wants to be loved by Kaname, who is like a living dead person. There is no resolution of anything until Kaname deals with his past. Kouhei will support Kaname completely.
Kaname decides to go to see Shiho's parents next Sunday, alone. He's grateful for Kouhei's encouragement and support, but he needs to resolve this on his own. He goes to Kase once more to talk to him about his past and the future. Kase is very negative and unhappy when he sees Kaname again. He cries, saying he loves Kaname and wants to be nice but just can't and he hates himself. Kaname talks to Kase about Shiho and how he'd come to think he couldn't ever be happy. He admits that he'd used Kase as a tool for punishment. He asks Kase to wait for him because he's going to go confront his past.
Next Sunday Kaname heads for Shiho's parent's house. Kouhei tags along for the journey. They have a good time talking on the way over. Kaname realizes along the way that Kouhei must be helping him be less nervous but doesn't say anything about it. Kouhei waits for Kaname at a nearby park. Kaname goes to the house prepared for a rejection at the door, but Shiho's mom lets him in. Turns out that Shiho's mom had found Shiho's diary on the computer a year after Shiho's death (when they'd finally been able to even touch Shiho's stuff). As she had read the diary she had realized that Kaname hadn't done anything like they'd thought he had. Shiho had had a crush on Kaname. She hadn't been "toyed with" by Kaname. She'd also suffered much worse abuse at school than her parents had ever known. Shiho's mom hadn't been able to handle the truth so she'd hidden the diary. She had wanted to be able to continue blaming Kaname instead of apologizing to him. As the years passed and her feelings settled she was able to accept that it wasn't Kaname's fault. She finally showed the diary to her husband, who called Kaname's parents so that they could see Kaname and apologize. But Kaname's parents didn't know where Kaname was. Kaname reads Shiho's diary. He regrets how much he'd overstepped the bounds of the relationship he had with Shiho, inadvertently leading her on. He is crying by the end. He still thinks he could've prevented her death, if only he'd given her the support she needed instead of just rejecting her. He also regrets the loss of the life she had had before her. Shiho's mother asks him to offer incense to Shiho. She wants the person Shiho had loved to do so. Kaname is finally able to accept the horrible reality of Shiho's death and to resolve to move on burdened with his part in it.
Kaname meets up with Kouhei. He thanks Kouhei for helping him decide to go to Shiho's parent's house on his own (instead of being asked to come once his parents had gotten hold of him). When he looked at Shiho's picture in front of the altar he remembered Shiho as the sweet girl she'd been instead of the scary image he'd created of her in his mind. He tells Kouhei that he wants to try to help Kase by being there for him the way he hadn't been for Shiho. Kouhei had thought Kaname would choose Kase and it hurts, but he doesn't want to force himself on Kaname like how Kase had. He points out that what Kaname wants to do is very difficult, but he will support what Kaname has chosen. Kaname thanks Kouhei, smiling sweetly. He is happy he met Kouhei. Kouhei scrunches up his face, then starts to cry. He complains that Kaname is unfair, looking so lovely at the end. Kouhei asks for something in thanks. He asks for a kiss. Kaname says okay, which surprises Kouhei. Kouhei steps back, but Kaname takes Kouhei's face in his hands and reaches up to kiss him. Kouhei wraps his arms around Kaname. They part and gaze at each other. What more could be said? Kaname suggests they go home, so they do. They take their time, checking out the grave of some famous warrior and buying some sweets well-known in the area. They arrive at the station just in time for the express train, but Kouhei suggests they wait for the next train. It's a local train and will probably be empty. And it is. As they get closer to their destination Kaname wants to cry. But then Kouhei, looking out the window, takes Kaname's hand. He wants to hold it just for now, since they only have now. Kaname apologizes, but Kouhei says it's okay since he'd said he'd support Kaname. Kaname wishes that they will never reach the station. But they do, and they part at the station. Kaname can sense Kouhei's gaze on him as he walks away but he doesn't turn around.
From the station Kaname goes to visit Kase in the hospital, bringing flowers he'd bought on the way. He tells Kase that he'd settled with his past and can deal with Kase now. Kase doesn't believe Kaname. He figures Kaname just doesn't want a guy killing himself after a break up and will only stick around long enough to ensure that Kase won't try to kill himself again. Kase knows he's incapable of loving someone and can only take from others. But it always results in everyone and everything leaving him. He tells Kaname to go back to Kouhei. When Kaname says he will stay with Kase, Kase starts smacking the flowers Kaname had brought and says this is what he will do to Kaname when he is discharged. Kaname tells Kase he can do as he wishes. He won't just take being hit, though. This triggers something in Kase and he starts addressing someone from his past who'd abused him, how he's no longer a powerless kid. He'll hit that person until that person can't defend himself, and he'll kill that person and then kill himself. Kaname slaps Kase at that point and tells Kase that he should never say he'll kill himself. Kaname refers to Shiho and that he'll have to live with regret over her death. He doesn't want Kase to ever talk about killing himself again. Kase glares at Kaname and says he'll fuck Kaname so much and so hard that Kaname will want to die. Will Kaname stay with him then? Kaname replies that he'll stay with Kase but won't have sex with Kase because he wants to connect with Kase first. Kase takes that as proof that Kaname doesn't love him, and figures Kaname is with him out of pity. He yells at Kaname to not look at him "that way." Kaname just picks up the flowers and pulls out an apple and knife and starts to peel it. He's not very good at it and almost cuts himself several times.
Kase has calmed down but won't look at Kaname. He says Kaname will just secretly meet with Kouhei. Kaname says he won't, but Kase doesn't believe him. Kaname tells him he'll work hard to get Kase to believe him. Kase then says Kaname must have slept with Kouhei. Kaname denies it. He tells Kase he'd only ever slept with Kase. Kase stares at Kaname, dumbfounded. Kaname feels embarrassed and smiles wryly that it's not a very cool thing to admit to, that Kase had been his first. Kase looks away again, but mutters "sorry." At first Kaname doesn't know why but Kase refers to "that time," which makes Kaname realize Kase must be referring to their first time having sex when Kase had beaten him up and raped him brutally. He can't forget or gloss over that experience, but he figures it's already happened and he can only move forward. He finishes peeling the apple and offers a slice to Kase. Kase doesn't respond. Kaname gently touches Kase's hand and says he will work hard to make things work wth Kase, though he knows it will be hard. Kase doesn't respond again, but he doesn't push Kaname's hand away.
Kase spends three weeks in the hospital. Kaname helps him home. He's moved in to Kase's apartment while Kase had been in the hospital. Kase had moved from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment a while back and had tried to get Kaname to move in with him, but Kaname had refused (resulting in lots of beatings). But now Kaname had moved in of his own free will. Kase finds out he'd been laid off. As Kaname continues to work at the factory, Kase looks for a job. He barely talks to Kaname except to tell Kaname it's not a hot idea to be around him, especially since he doesn't have a job. They sleep separately, Kaname in the living room and Kase in the bedroom. One day a month later Kaname walks home instead of taking the bus because his head hurts so much. When he reaches the apartment Kase is walking around outside. Kaname greets Kase. Kase walks over and slaps Kaname. Kaname has no idea why Kase has hit him. Kase mutters that Kaname had been late and escapes into the apartment. Kaname hurries after Kase, realizing that Kase had been worried Kaname would not come back. As soon as they get back inside Kaname immediately apologizes and explains why he'd been so late, that his workplace gives him headaches and today it was really bad. Kase timidly touches Kaname's cheek and apologizes. He says he will find a job.
Three days later Kase has found a temporary job with a moving company. Kaname tells Kase to take his time finding a new job, but Kase says he can still look for a permanent job since this one isn't during regular working hours. Kase tells Kaname that he'll earn the living, so Kaname can quit his job. He doesn't look at Kaname as he says it. Kaname can tell Kase is saying it because he's worried about Kaname's health, so Kaname thanks Kase and says he will do so if it gets really bad. That night Kase embraces Kaname from behind and says he wants to sleep with Kaname. He just wants to sleep with Kaname, he won't do anything Kaname doesn't want. He's clinging to Kaname like a child. Kaname is torn, but decides to trust Kase. He agrees to sleep with Kase and pulls him into the bedroom. He's tense, but Kase doesn't do anything except ask him to lie down turned to the side and holds him from behind.
From that night they sleep together. Kase just holds Kaname. There is not a whiff of erotic feeling in it. It just feels like Kaname wants comfort. Kaname spends the new years holiday with Kase instead of going to his parents' house. He expains that the person he's living with is unwell. His mother thinks he has a girlfriend and tells him to bring her home one of these days. Kaname just can't tell his mother that he actually has a boyfriend and feels like a cruddy son yet again.
But spending the holidays with Kase seems to have helped calm Kase down, because he stops clinging to Kaname at night. They just hold hands. And he talks more.
At the end of February Kase finds a permanent job. Kaname wants to buy something for Kase in celebration. At first Kase refuses, but Kaname persists. So in early March they go out shopping for a present. Kase mentions that the cherry blossoms are supposed to bloom early this year. This reminds Kaname of promisig to see the cherry blossoms at Kouhei's house and it throws him off for a moment. Kaname buys Kase a lemon yellow shirt and matching tie. Kase doesn't think such a pretty color would suit him, but Kaname thinks it will now. Kase had softened quite a bit. Kaname notices Kase sneaking glances at the package with his present in it and can't help but smile. He thinks that maybe if things go on like this he could fall in love with Kase. Then he wouldn't feel so bad when he remembers Kouhei. Outside, they can't cross the street because a demonstration is passing through. It is for freeter's rights. Kaname sees Kouhei. Kouhei doesn't see Kaname. Kaname gazes at Kouhei for who knows how long. He comes to his senses when Kase pats his back. The traffic has returned to normal. Kase doesn't look mad or anything. Instead he says that Kaname can go after Kouhei if he wants to. Kaname shakes his head, and Kase looks away towards the back of the pack of demonstrators. Kaname regrets his unintentional reaction to seeing Kouhei. They go on their way, eating lunch and talking about small things. That night, sleeping next to Kase, their hands held, Kaname can't fall asleep. Kase is sound asleep. Kaname knows he made the right choice because Kase has settled down remarkably in three months living together. Though there is nothing to be sad about, Kaname finds that tears well up in his eyes and won't stop.
One day two weeks later Kaname finds himself sitting on the bus bench thinking about Kouhei. He just doesn't feel like moving. He feels exhausted. He longs to see Kouhei, who'd helped lead him out of the darkness. He's exasperated at himself that he's feeling this way after seeing Kouhei once, despite his own resolution. He sees the bus coming and catches it home, to Kase. But once home Kaname is shocked to find everything except his stuff gone. He sits down in the middle of the room, unable to process it. Kase had moved without saying a word to him. And Kase hadn't been any different that morning before work or the night before. He becomes worried that Kase plans on doing himself in and Kaname immediately calls Kase. Kase answers immediately. He tells Kaname that it's okay. He knew Kaname loved Kouhei but he'd ignored that fact because he'd wanted Kaname with him. But seeing Kaname looking at Kouhei that day...He realized he had to let Kaname go. Kaname had given him the thing he most wanted. Someone to be with him, someone he could trust. Unconditional caring and love. But since Kaname had given him what he'd most wanted, he wants to give Kaname what he wants the most. Kase tells Kaname to go to Kouhei. Kase thanks Kaname for everything and says he's glad he met Kaname. He won't kill himself. He will try to grasp what he's been missing one thing at a time. One day he'll fall in love, and this time he'll do it right and be gentle. Like how Kaname had been to Kase. He thanks Kaname again and hangs up.
Kaname continues to sit on the floor, dazed. He sits there for quite a while, but then decides to take things one thing at a time. He needs to find a place to live. He can't just go to Kouhei, no matter what Kase had said. The door bell rings, and Kaname figures it's Kase coming back to him. He opens the door without checking. It is not Kase. It's Kouhei. Kouhei lets out a surprised yell. When Kaname asks why Kouhei is there, Kouhei explains that he'd gotten word from Kase and had come to get Kaname. Kaname doesn't understand what is going on and just stands there. Kouhei grabs Kaname's arm and takes him over to his apartment.
At Kouhei's apartment, Kouhei explains that two weeks ago Kase had contacted him. Kase had asked him if he still loved Kaname. Kouhei couldn't respond since he didn't know how Kase would take it, but Kase told Kouhei that Kaname still loved Kouhei. If Kouhei still loved Kaname as well Kase would give Kaname to Kouhei. Kouhei had yelled out that he wants Kaname and that he'll come for Kaname immediately, but Kase had asked for some time to prepare himself. Kaname was so willing to give everything to Kase, Kase found he couldn't let Kaname do it. Kouhei comments that Kase did love Kaname in his way. He'd told Kouhei to make Kaname happy over and over again. If Kouhei made Kaname unhappy he'd kill him. Kouhei had promised to be happy with Kaname, for Kase's sake as well as for their own. Kaname starts to cry. Kouhei assures Kaname that Kase will surely be alright. Kaname had given him so much love, he'll find happiness. Kaname hopes so as well. The love he'd given Kase he'd gotten from Kouhei. And Kase had taken that love and given Kaname the chance to be with Kouhei. So surely Kase will be next in line to be truly happy...
Kouhei tells Kaname that it's okay and takes him in his arms. He doesn't want to let Kaname go. Kaname says he'll stay with Kouhei. Kouhei asks if he can make Kaname all his right now...He asks Kaname not to run away. He initiates sex. Kaname is freaked out by his body's reaction to Kouhei's attention, which makes Kouhei vow to make Kaname feel super good. Which he does. (The sex goes on for a while but i'm not going to bother writing all the details. ^^;)
Kaname wakes up at the darkest part of the night. Kouhei had been awake, happily gazing at Kaname's sleeping face. Kaname asks if there's an empty room in the apartment complex Kouhei is living in. He needs to move. The room next door is empty, which makes Kouhei happy. He'd love to live with Kaname but his room is too small for two. Next door is a great next best thing. Kouhei then opens the window to show Kaname the night sky turning brighter as dawn approaches. He points out the cherry blossom tree, which has buds. Kouhei asks Kaname if he'd like to view the tree when it is in full blossom, and to eat the cherries in the summer, and to do it the next year and the year after that and for the rest of their lives. Kaname starts to cry. When Kouhei asks why he's crying, Kaname can't speak to explain that he's happy. Kouhei whispers that he loves Kaname. Kaname looks out at the sky and thinks of their ordinary future, filled with daily living, with past regrets, and with overflowing love.
In the afterward the author mentions wanting to maybe write about Kase. I hope she does. I'd like to know what happens to him. I kind of would like him to be an uke and have him realize just how good loving sex is for the uke and how bad it must've been for Kaname.
Underpaid "branch manager" Kaname and energetic part-timer Kouhei at the cafe.
Kase clinging to Kaname, begging him to stay with him.
Kouhei talking to Kaname in front of Kaname's apartment.
Kaname and Kouhei hanging out.
Kouhei confessing to Kaname and making Kaname freak out.
Kase is mad, Kouhei is down, and things are not good.
Kaname and Kouhei on their way to Shiho's parents' house.
Kaname gives Kouhei a thank you and goodbye kiss.
Kase clings to Kaname at night.
Kouhei giving pleasure to Kaname.
Their love is consummated! XD;;;;