Yes, No, or Maybe Half? – Vol. 3 Ch. 30

Chapter 30: Where Home Is (6)




—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.

There were no major incidents or scandals that day, and although it was a light news day, on the one hand, it made it harder for Kei to work up the enthusiasm to do his work, and on the other, an easy-going work day was an easy-going work day. At least, it was until evening when Kei made his way from the announcer department to head to the staff room of The News and the elevator doors opened.

“Hey, nice to see you.”

Ushio stood between the doors as they slid open. Kei almost shouted out loud, but his perfectly trained vocal cords instantly swallowed his reflexes. He took a few steps back to straighten out his breathing.

“……Tsuzuki-san.”

“Get in.”

“Oh, yes. Thank you very much.”

And next to Ushio was Tatsuki. Kei double-checked that the elevator had started moving and hissed, “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Even despite knowing everything, this shift in character is really something.”

“It’s a masterful performance,” Tatsuki said, agreeing.

“Don’t call it a performance!”

“I thought I’d see how things work at a TV studio and asked Shitara-san if I could stop in and watch.”

“And I got called down to the security desk to sign him in as a guest~”

“Why the hell—”

The elevator stopped and opened its doors.

“—Why did you decide to come all this way to observe the studio?”

Ushio looked like he was clearly trying to suppress his laughter and answered, “Just that things have been a little dried up lately. Kunieda-san, you mentioned that you like to go through your routine when you’re feeling uneasy, but I’m the opposite. I like to try new and different things.”

So he’s looking for inspiration?

Kei didn’t know that things had gotten so difficult for Ushio.

Stop looking so calm and just tell me these things. It’s not like I can do anything to help, but still.

Whenever Kei was worried and didn’t know what to do, Ushio would always give him a push on the back, whether it was with his words or his actions. Now that Ushio could be standing in Kei’s position, what could Kei do for him? It was an irritation that had been smoldering within him for a while.

“Tsuzuki-san.”

He was at work, and Tatsuki was right there. Kei didn’t know what to say, only maintaining the formality and calling out his last name. That was when— 

“Kunieda Kei!!”

Huh? Is someone yelling at me? Why?

Kei hurried to turn and look in the direction where the voice came from, and there was a silver-haired old man wearing a kimono striding in a huff towards him. He looked familiar. Really familiar. He was the old geezer who gave him a hard time on the premiere of The News.

“Oh, it’s Old Man Eba.” Tatsuki pointed his finger without a thought. “Whoa, this is my first time seeing the real deal. He looks exactly like he does on TV.”

“Hey! You dare your point your finger at your elders!?”

Old Man Eba, also known as Eba Sougen. He was the party leader of the left-of-center Progressive Honor Party. Compared to the number of seats that his party carried, he held an extremely loud voice in the political world. His special skills were heckling others and working up a temper for laughs.

Yeah, it’s been a while. Not someone I wanna see, but why I am being yelled at?

“It has been a long time since we’ve last seen each other,” Kei said and bowed his head politely. 

Eba spat, “You got that right. You didn’t even bring over any sake…”

“I will ask our producer about it again.”

“Anyway, I heard you’re running for office with the LDP! You ungrateful little scallywag!”

He was yelling about the subject that Kei most wanted to put to rest. Kei wanted to hit him over the head with his accent dictionary, but he’d probably be as lively as ever even if he tried it. Couldn’t this damn old geezer at least lower his voice?

“It’s not very wise to borrow the ruling party’s power to milk them for all the sweet incentives. Come run under my party! Now that’s where you’re meant to be.”

Even if Kei strayed off the path by a million steps and became a politician, it would never be under a worthless party with barely 20 seats in the House.

“…I can promote you to one of our top three officials in no time if you do.”

Aren’t you trying to dangle a sweet incentive yourself? But Number 3 out of 20 doesn’t seem like a lot of power.

“This seems a little complicated, so I’m gonna head off for a bit.”

“Huh?”

“I’ll see you later.”

As Ushio whispered into Kei’s ear, he slipped something into the breast pocket of Kei’s suit and headed off to disappear through the emergency staircase. How heartless. Kei helplessly reconstructed his smile and turned to face Eba again.

“I’m sorry, you seem to have misunderstood something. I have absolutely no intention of running for office.”

“Well, that’s what everyone always says at first.”

Listen here, dammit!!

“My response won’t change, whether it’s at first or at last. I have zero desire to become a politician.”

“Well, that’s boring.” The old man frowned sullenly and tucked his hands in the sleeves of his kimono, and Kei wondered if he really wanted Kei to run for office or not.

“Come on, come on, hold out your hands. You too, sonny.”

“Oh, is this a real-life money under the table, well, under the sleeves situation?”

The idiot junior colleague happily held out both hands, but of course they couldn’t accept anything from him.

“My apologies, but network regulations prohibit us from accepting any gifts.”

“Not even candy? The network sure is stingy.”

“Candy?”

Something dropped into Tatsuki’s hand, and it was a round piece of Kintarou candy.1 The design on the cross-section was some kind of fancy mascot of a creature that looked familiar enough that it could have been ripped off from somewhere.

“This is our mascot, Honor-chan, who we will debut this spring.”

Hmmm, it would rank 2000th place in the Mascot Character Grand Prix.

“Dunno, it looks really iffy~ Can I have another one?”

“If you become a party member, sure.”

“What? You’re not gonna tell me to become a candidate?”

“I have no need for someone like you. Your character seems too shallow and flimsy.”

“Oh, but I’m very deep and profound.”

I don’t care, just hurry up and leave, Kei prayed silently, and fortunately he then heard a voice call out, “Sensei!”

“The meeting that you’re attending is this way…”

“All right, all right, I’ll be right there.”

The old man waved a generous goodbye at them and said to Kei before leaving, “Feel free to see me whenever you change your mind. I’ll give you my official endorsement.”

I don’t need it, dammit.

“You sure are popular, Paisen~! Though it’s only with the guys! Ahaha!”

“Shut it,” Kei commanded his jokester of a junior colleague in a low voice. Then he asked, “What’s that old geezer doing here?”

“Looks like he’s a new regular on one of our broadcast satellite programs. I heard that he’s gotten more and more jobs ever since that panel discussion that you hosted~ People couldn’t stop talking about it~”

Then I’m the one he should be thanking.

“By the way, where did Tsuzuki-san go?”

“Disappeared somewhere. He should show up again eventually.”

“Maybe he’ll come to the studio once it hits 10 o’clock. Senpai, you gotta be nervous enough to trip over your words~”

“I won’t.”

The elevator stopped at the floor just then, and Kei reverted back to his usual voice.

“Regardless of who or who doesn’t visit, it has nothing to do with the viewers. Work is work.”

Tatsuki scratched the back of his head and sighed. “Senpai, sometimes you can be so cool that it’s unfair~”

Sometimes? Only sometimes? That can’t be right.

Kei switched his head over to work and progressed through his meetings and readthroughs in preparation for the show. Kei entered the studio 30 minutes before the broadcast and found that Ushio had worked himself in with the crew and was trying out the cameras. When Ushio noticed Kei, he greeted him with just his eyes. With an authorized entry badge, anyone was pretty much free to look in on anything at a TV station. The access was stricter for variety and music shows where there could be large numbers of celebrities and other talent in the studio for a taping, but in general, there were a lot of people coming and going through the building at all times. No one would ask who they were with or what production company they were from. People were also too scared to act with too much suspicion in case the person turned out to be a bigwig.

And so Ushio hung around the studio like a ghost or a guardian spirit, doing as he pleased. That was fine, as long as it distracted him from feeling so down.

“So Camera 3 has 3 people in the shot? Camera 1 would be a single-person shot left on the main host, then what do you do for a 2-person shot?”

“It’d be a diagonal shot with Camera 2.”

“Isn’t it hard to see the monitor from there?”

“We use that overhead monitor over there to check the shot.”

“Oh, I see. Do you ever use shoulder mounts or handhelds?”

“I’d say it’s pretty rare. Given the show’s style, it’s not often that I hear a request for a moving shot inside the studio.”

Maybe the easy, down-to-earth air about Ushio allowed people to relax their guards around him. He was able to get along with almost anyone anywhere in a much different sense from Tatsuki. Kei wondered if it was the result of his part-time job experience from when he was younger. He wouldn’t be surprised if Ushio started operating the cameras for the actual broadcast, but of course, when the time came, Ushio stood back in a corner quietly watching the studio.

“In today’s press conference, the Prime Minister reiterated that he wanted to ‘break the terrible jinx.’ Do you suppose we can interpret his words to be laying the groundwork for new elections?”

“You make a good observation. If the tax hike moves forward, certainly his approval rating will fall. That is why I believe he should dissolve the lower House on the basis of the tax hike and appeal from a position of strength. Within the opposition parties, there is a growing movement to propose a vote of no confidence against the Cabinet after a string of successive gaffes and scandals involving the cabinet ministers. If the vote passes, the Prime Minister would face a mass of resignations unless he takes action to dissolve the House. Forcing his hand to dissolve the House would be a highly undesirable situation.”

“It would be necessary to obtain a majority vote from the House of Representatives to pass a parliamentary motion of non-confidence against the Cabinet. If we look at the number of seats held by the opposition parties, it would be a tough hurdle to clear, however, there is the possibility that  dissenters from the ruling party could peel off one after the other to vote across party lines. The distinct gaps between the factions from when the Cabinet was established have only become clearer. Kunieda-san has the report.”

“Yes, there is increased antagonism along intergenerational lines within the Liberty Democratic Party. We have investigated the rising dissatisfaction from long-standing members unable to receive a Cabinet post—waiting their turn in the so-called ‘Cabinet Waiting List.’”

After the lead-in, the screen went to a pre-recorded clip of the report. Kei read his lines perfectly without faltering. Obviously. As if he could ever let himself screw up like a child at school on parents’ day. Kei generally fixed his gaze on the on-air monitor and rarely dropped his eyes to look at the script in his hands. The on-screen captions were thorough, almost excessive even, and as long as Kei had rehearsed through the script a few times, it was enough to carry him through his segments. He loved the feeling when his voice and his image came together as one. Especially recently.

The screen cut back to Kei, and he packaged the following clip, script, music and sound effects with all of his skills as an announcer to deliver the next story to the viewers on the other side of the screen. Yes, he had his greed and his ego, but at that moment, it wasn’t about himself, he only wished to bring everything together as one complete package. Even if the shots looked wonky or the script sounded awkward.

A little before Kei finished reading the last of his script, he adjusted his expression to one where the control room could naturally switch from his shot. Kei met Ushio’s eyes beyond the glowing tarry lamp of the camera, but he wasn’t particularly nervous, nor was he particularly excited. There was only the simple awareness of his existence—like, oh, he’s there. If he was forced to describe it, it was like he wasn’t in the way. Sort of like the soft sound of rainfall while falling asleep or like the endless stretch of ocean outside the car window during a long drive.

Oh, Ushio had said something once. That when Kei was nearby doing nothing in particular while Ushio was busy with work, it was comforting to have him around. Kei wondered if it was the same. If so, it probably made him a little happy.

“…We’re in commercial!”

However, the mood dissipated in an instant, like a lens filter had been removed. Kei watched as a female staff member offered Ushio a chair and other things left and right.

Oi, your job is hair and make-up, dammit.

She carried over a folding chair from the corner of the studio, brought in coffee from the pot sitting outside of the studio—they were simple things designed to earn her easy brownie points and that pissed Kei off even more.

If you had offered up chunks of meat, I might have actually appreciated you.

Of course, the guardian spirit who had used his connections in order to come watch the studio in action very politely declined all of the offers.

The broadcast wrapped up successfully, and after a brief review session of the show, Kei found that Ushio had disappeared again. It seemed that those who could easily slip into a group of people—could just as easily slip out.

Kei changed out of his wardrobe into his regular suit and remembered that Ushio had put something in the breast pocket. He felt around for it and found something thin and hard. He pulled it out and saw that it was card key holder. The gold-embossed cursive script was the name of a hotel not too far from here, and inside the holder was a card key and a memo with a room number written on it.

What the hell is this? Well, I know what it is, but yeah.

Kei sent Ushio a LINE message asking, “Where are you?” and quickly received the reply, “In a taxi.”

“Heading where?”

“The hotel. Didn’t I give you the card key?”

“You did.”

“Then I’ll see you there later.”

Was this part of his “something different from the usual”? …Was it either of their birthdays? No and no. The day they first met? Not that either. When they first started dating? Nope… Anyway, Ushio wasn’t the type to celebrate anniversaries in the first place. But he did like to spring surprises on Kei from time to time… Maybe Ushio colluded with Minagawa so they could ultimately yell Gotcha! at him… Kei could see it happening.

Kei strengthened his vigilance as he sat alone late at night in the announcer department, and then one of the suspects in question called out to him without a care in the world.

“Huh? You haven’t left yet, Kunieda-san?”

“I’m not going to fall for it!”

“Huh? Fall for what?” Tatsuki asked with a blank look on his face.

It didn’t seem like he was acting, but he was such an idiot that Kei couldn’t let his guard down due to his idiocy, so therefore… Kei narrowed his eyes in suspicion.

“Oh, don’t tell me you wanted that candy from earlier? Sorry, I ate it already.”

“I don’t want any!”

Kei couldn’t let his guard down, but Tatsuki was probably innocent. But since nothing would come from brooding over it, he headed down to Floor B1 to climb into a taxi and gave the driver the name of the hotel. It was late at night, and Kei was reluctant to loiter in the lobby wondering what to do even if he had a room key with him. Fortunately, there was an entrance way at the underground parking and an elevator accessible only by card key that went directly to the guestroom floors. Kei exited a row of doors that lined the plushly carpeted hallway, absorbing the sound of his footsteps, and found the door plate with the 4-digit room number that matched the memo.

Kei tried ringing the doorbell first, but there was no answer. He touched the card key to the sensor mounted underneath the door handle, and when the small green light lit up, he softly pushed open the door. Kei propped open the heavy door with his arm and peeked his head in without taking a step inside. That was when the sliding door to the bathroom opened and Ushio appeared.

“Are you a police detective?” Ushio laughed at Kei’s wary visit to the room.

“I rang the doorbell and you didn’t answer…”

“I was taking a shower.”

Ushio wore a bathrobe with a bath towel slung around his neck and started rummaging through the minibar. “Why don’t you come in?” he said to Kei who continued to stand in the entrance of the room.

“…Okay.”

The door closed with a click behind him. Kei saw his own bewildered expression reflected in the full-length mirror on the wall.

“Why don’t you come further into the room?”

“Okay.”

It was a spacious twin room. There was a sofa with a deep-ledged counter at the back, running against the window. It looked perfect for stretching out his legs and taking in the nighttime view of the city.

“Why don’t you sit?”

“Okay.”

Kei pushed Ushio’s bag over to the corner, placed his own suit jacket on top of it, and made a show of plunking down on the sofa and putting his feet up.

“Why don’t you breathe?”

“I’m always breathing!”

“I thought I should keep giving you instructions.”

Eventually, Ushio brought over two cans of beer similar to the ones that they always drank and sat down next to Kei.

“You’re plotting something, aren’t you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you wouldn’t get a hotel room like this out of the blue for nothing.”

“It’s because my lucky fortune from this morning’s horoscope was a hotel room rendezvous.”

There’s no way in hell any horoscope would use those words so early in the morning.

Kei took one of the beers with a face full of open distrust. Maybe Kei’s face looked rather amusing, because Ushio laughed and said, “It’s really nothing. I just thought it might be fun to stay over at a hotel after watching your broadcast. Do you not like it?”

And again he asked such an unfair-sounding question.

“…So?”

“Hm?”

“You said that things have been a little dried up, so I’m asking how it went for you today at the studio!”

“Ohh.”

Ushio placed his hand on Kei’s head and ruffled his hair. He made this gesture often.

“Sorry that I worried you.”

If Kei were to answer, I’m not worried about you, idiot, they would banter back and forth as usual. But Kei wouldn’t say it today.

“Do you have a problem with that?”

“Huh?”

“Is it wrong of me to worry about you?”

Ushio was Kei’s safe space. No matter what happened outside, as long as Kei went to Ushio, everything would be okay. He believed that everything would be okay, and so he could go back out again. Ushio knew everything about Kei, and he loved everything about Kei.

But what about Ushio? Up until now, Kei had never imagined Ushio acting worried or depressed, or ever needing anyone’s help.

Drops of condensation moistened his fingers gripping the aluminum can. Ushio withdrew his smile. It wasn’t expressionless. It was just a peacefully calm look that Kei was unfamiliar with and it startled him.

“If I worry about you, will the economy go down the drain? Will declining birth rates fall even more? Will the PM2.5 pollution get thicker?”

Maybe it was a consequence of the nature of Kei’s job, or maybe it was his own cowardice, but the silence rattled him. He made unnecessary remarks one after the other, and Kei regretted it, thinking Ushio would laugh at him and steer the conversation out of reach.

“I don’t think that.” Ushio’s voice was gentle in his reply. “Thank you. It really makes me happy.”

The serious response unsettled Kei in return, and he restlessly avoided Ushio’s eyes as he stammered, “O-Oh…” 

It was weird. He could handle any sort of problem that was thrown his way during a broadcast.

“But for me, self-loathing just seems to take precedence before anything else.”

“Moron!” Kei pinched one of Ushio’s cheeks. “When you trip up and people worry about you, you go straight to self-loathing? Who the hell do you think you are!? So you think you’re hot shit, huh? Living the free life with your pride up your ass. Fuck, you’re a pain!”

“Oh… maybe you’re right.”

“Stick to your lane like the average guy that you are and lower the damn hurdle.”

“Sounds pretty persuasive coming from Kunieda-san who sets the hurdle up 10 meters high.”

That’s a different sport.

“I can handle it.”

Kei wouldn’t lower the hurdle. And if he fell, he’d let Ushio worry about him for a while and then he’d get back up again.

Why don’t you do what I do? You should try learning from me a little.

“That’s true. You can overcome anything.” Ushio took Kei’s hand and kissed the back of it. He relaxed the serious look on his face. “You were incredibly cool today like always.”

“Well, obviously.”

“But don’t get so angry when a girl only says a few things to me. I have it overwhelmingly worse when it comes to others who approach you.”

“I wasn’t angry, okay!?”

“Awww, and here I thought I’d try my best to win back your trust.”

Ushio removed the beer can from Kei’s hand and left both cans on the counter.

“I was about to drink that.”

“Later, okay?”

Kei thought nothing of removing his own necktie, but when Ushio’s hand reached over to loosen the knot at his throat, the sound of rustling fabric was enough to tickle his ears with an impatient urge.

“You’re really remarkable, huh?” Ushio softly whispered, laying the undone necktie on the back of the sofa.

“I am. What’s so remarkable?”

“You’re asking after confirming it? I just think it’s incredible how you can wear these stuffy clothes every day.”

“You just made an enemy out of every company employee in Japan.”

“Why?”

“It’s not incredible. It’s just a uniform that we have to wear! When free, creative types like you say stuff like ‘It’s incredible you can go into work every day at the same time’ or ‘It’s incredible you can ride such a crowded train,’ it’s like you’re pretending to be humble when you’re up on a damn high horse.”

“Do I look free to you?”

“You just waltzed into my workplace and randomly booked yourself a hotel room.”

Kei was fully aware that Ushio didn’t waste his time playing around, of course.

“Well, it’s all good. Plus, Kunieda-san looks good in a suit,” Ushio said as he deftly unfastened the buttons of Kei’s dress shirt.

“Uh, most people look halfway decent in a suit, so it’s not anything special.”

“But I love how you look when you’re dressed in a suit.”

“Well, sorry for always wearing sweats!”

“Oh, but I love it when you’re in sweats too. Like you could be brought in by the police for questioning at any time.”

“That doesn’t make me happy at all.”

While they bantered back and forth, Kei’s dress shirt was completely pulled open.

“…I thought you said you liked me in a suit?”

“Idiot.”

It was an Idiot said with a nuance heard only during times like these.

“I love you best when you’re not wearing anything at all. Because I’m the only one who gets to see this.”

“Idiot! You’re such a damn idiot!”

“Yes, yes. I know, I know.”

Contrary to Kei’s expectations, Ushio didn’t drag him over to the bed; instead he turned Kei towards the back of the sofa and hugged him from behind. The seating was fairly deep, and so they had enough room, but when Kei rested his elbows on the counter, he could see his own reflection overlaid on the nighttime view of the city and he had to look away. But even if he asked to pull down the shades, it was probably useless. He’d likely stir up a hornet’s nest instead. He should have sealed off the memories from a similar time when they had sex in front of a mirror, but it all came flooding back to him, and he wondered why he felt more arousal than objection at the memories.

“Oh, you seem to be excited?”

“Quit reading my mind!”

“Hmm, it’s not so much reading your mind as reading your body.”

Kei was wearing a thin, fitted T-shirt under his dress shirt, and it was easy to detect the trembling of his heartbeat. He worried that Ushio would just slip past the fabric to touch his skin directly, making him surrender his entire heart to him.

“Nnh…”

Kei hid his face and focused his gaze on the aluminum cans so that he wouldn’t see himself in the window. Printed on the label were things like country of origin of the ingredients and alcohol content—information that he had never noticed before now. But he doubted that he would remember any of it.

Hands slid from behind his hips to roll up his dress shirt and T-shirt in a single motion, caressing the gentle sloping curve of his back. It was a simple touch, simply enjoying the sensations and shapes felt under his hands, but it made Kei as embarrassed as if Ushio had directly sought out his desire. Unlike his hair or skincare routine, it wasn’t like Kei did anything special to take care of his back. Ushio whispered, “Your back is beautiful,” almost as if to himself, and Kei could feel his heart slowly choking up.

“You should say how handsome I am instead.”

“That’s what you care about?” Ushio laughed. “But it really is beautiful,” he continued and pressed a kiss to Kei’s back. “There’s not a single mole on it. Like it’s a blank canvas… Did you know that?”

Why the hell would he check out his back?

“It seems a bit wrong, but maybe I’ll leave a few marks. They’ll disappear anyway.”

Ushio’s murmurs tickled the skin on his back, but then Kei felt a stinging ache in its place.

“Nhh!”

One, two—a soft sensation pressed down and sucked at different patches of skin. Simultaneously, solid, clever fingers found their way to the front of his body to tease his already flushed nipples. When the little buds swelled and hardened in response, Ushio plucked them like an instrument with the pads of his fingers.

“Ahh… Ahhh.”

Kei raised his voice to the sweet ache of desire that attacked him from the front and the back. Water droplets collected like scales on the can in front of his eyes, even though the drops were like mist a little while earlier. And just like the droplets, Kei felt himself coalescing into liquid as the seconds went by.

Ushio released his body and trailed his fingers over each of the marks that he had left with his lips. Kei didn’t know how the marks looked scattered across his back, but he could tell that Ushio was aroused staring down at him. Kei was aroused knowing just how his own body aroused Ushio, and it propagated back to Ushio. Their desire echoed back and forth between them—there were no words, no glances. It operated on a frequency that only they shared together.

Ushio undid Kei’s belt, and by the time that Ushio pulled everything down to his knees, Kei was already filled with expectation.

“Ah…nhhh.”

His cock lifted its head weakly, waiting for the pleasure that Ushio’s hand would give him.

“Ahhh, ahh, no…”

Ushio wrapped his hand over Kei’s cock, stroking it higher and higher and urging it to grow harder and harder. Ushio’s fingers felt so good, like they had transformed into flexible vines around him, seizing his arousal and pouring a terrible poison into him. That was probably why Kei’s limbs had gone numb, unable to move.

“Nnh, ah, ahh…”

Kei’s cock filled with blood and need, swelling larger and heavier, but it supported itself at the same angle, not lowering a single degree, and it mystified him. The skin retracted to expose the sensitive underside of the head, as if begging for Ushio’s charity there.

“…Your back has turned a light red,” Ushio said as he traced the gentle curve of Kei’s back with his free hand. Maybe the accumulated heat could be seen through his pale skin. “I can’t see the marks that I put on you as nicely. That’s too bad.”

“Who cares…”

“I should have sucked harder to make the marks.”

Ushio formed a ring with his fingers to twist up and down around the head, applying more and more pressure on Kei’s cock.

“Hard enough to leave a bruise.”

“No, I don’t want that.”

“Why not? I’m the only one who will see it.”

“It seems like it’ll hurt and I don’t like it.”

“…When you say that, it kinda makes me want to try it.” 

Kei could feel nails slightly digging into the skin below his shoulder blade.

“No!”

“I’m just kidding.”

His skin had slightly tensed in fear and relaxed when he heard the wry laughter in Ushio’s voice. But then a tongue licked up over his back, and he shuddered in arousal that he didn’t know what to do with himself.

“Aaah!”

“…You really like to feel good, huh?”

Kei thought that it probably applied to most people, but fingers kept stroking the tip of his cock, smearing it all wet and viscous as he leaked uncontrollably, and it was like his tongue was immersed in a thick fluid itself and Kei was unable to speak. Even though he was an announcer.

He could only moan from the back of his throat, provocative and sweet, begging Ushio for more.

“Ahh, nnh, noo, aahhh.”

“Like this.”

Ushio closed his hand around the head of Kei’s cock and applied a breathtaking friction right to the exposed glans. He could hear noises coming from the pre-come that spread everywhere they touched, and god, he was just fucking Ushio’s hand.

“No, aaah, nnnhh.”

The grip became faster and tighter, and the sensations on his cock only grew sharper. Kei’s breath hitched in short, little gasps.

“You like this, don’t you?”

“Nnnh, I like it, ah, ah, ahh…!!”

The pressure from the fingers lifted. But Kei had already reached his release, and so it no longer mattered. He shot all over the palm of the hand that carefully covered the tip of his cock.

Kei hadn’t noticed that several rivulets of water had formed on the silver metal surface of the can. Maybe there was a slight convection in the room or maybe there was an imperceptible unevenness to the surface, but they didn’t run in straight lines. The distortions of the paths captivated him.

Kei had lost all strength in his body, and his knees nearly buckled, but Ushio rubbed something cold and slick behind him, urging his body to stay up.

“How sly of you to bring that along…”

“I did say that it’s a rendezvous.”

However, the finger laden with lubricant didn’t push its way inside the place that it was meant for. Instead, it concentrated on smearing the clear fluid back and forth between the tiny entrance of his hole and the line that ran down behind his balls, almost like a scar.

“Nnhh…”

But the place was accustomed to the pleasure of sex, and it grew impatient, needing more, much more, twitching and eager for something to fill it. When the finger traced around the sensitive rim of his hole, an invisible thread of desire tugged from within him and clenched up tight. The little hole clutched at empty space in anguish.

“No… nhh, Ushio.”

“Hmm?”

“Why are you…”

“I thought that it might hurt.”

The pad of the finger stroked him as if trying to soothe his frustration (it didn’t work), and his hips shook in agitation.

“You don’t like it, right?”

“No…”

“See?”

“That’s not what I meant, idiot.”

It doesn’t hurt. You do everything so that it doesn’t hurt. And even if it hurts, it’s fine.

“I-I told you not to… tease me so much… last time… nhh.”

“Oh, right.” Ushio brushed the tip of his nose behind Kei’s ear. “You were so cute that I couldn’t help myself.”

It was an excuse that bothered Kei more than anything, and he couldn’t trust it at all.

“Will you hate me if I keep doing these things?”

“Your disapproval rating has already surpassed your approval…”

“Seriously?”

“Ah…!”

The tip of a finger, up to the length of a fingernail, finally made its way inside his body. It slipped and turned so shallowly that a much deeper ache throbbed inside him.

“But it seems like this place likes me.”

“Like you’re one to talk… nhh.”

“What?”

“You’re the one who made it like this…”

Now it was a body that felt arousal there, a body that happily swallowed up cock there, a body that found its climax there.

“Do you hate it?” Ushio asked.

“—I don’t… okay…?”

So hurry and touch me somewhere far deeper. Somewhere only you know about.

“Nnnhh……!”

The finger covered with lube slid into him so wet and slippery, it was like a long and thin tongue plunging into him.

“Ah…nhh, aah, nngh.”

The lust that smoldered in his belly made his cock harden once again.

“You’re all soft inside.”

That’s because I want something more than your fingers there.

But he wasn’t stretched out enough to accept it yet, and Kei writhed in anticipation, the wait too excruciating to bear. It was all because Ushio was taking his goddamn sweet time.

“God, you’re really… an idiot…”

“What’s my approval rating now?” Ushio asked as he increased his fingers and thrust into Kei with pinpoint accuracy, hitting the place inside him that made him weak and turn into jelly. Maybe Ushio realized just how much he had forced Kei to wait. Arriving at the shortest route to his pleasure like this, although it still felt good, it was also torture. It multiplied so fast that Kei could hardly keep up.

“Aaah, no…ah, ahhh— 5… point… 5… percent… nhh.”

It was the alcohol content labelled on the beer can that was in front of his eyes this entire time. Kei was simply reading it out loud.

“That’s low. Guess that means I’m done for.”

The two fingers twisted inside of Kei, spreading him open, and a different finger slipped into the space, pumping in and out of it. The hotel room was furnished with the basic level of conservative lighting, but Ushio could probably see with perfect clarity how Kei sucked and slurped greedily at his fingers.

“No, don’t.”

“I need to recover my approval numbers.”

Kei finally felt the heated tip that he had wanted with his whole body press up against his hole. It pushed inside of him with so little resistance that it was embarrassing. Maybe it looked like Kei was swallowing him up to Ushio’s eyes.

“Aaah, aaahh!”

His body drew the most male of parts deeper and deeper inside him, unbecoming in its open invitation. Kei knew inside his head that he was completely filled to the brim, but he couldn’t stop the tug to fill himself up with more. His pleasure mounted inside of him with each gasp, and it naturally sent shivers through his cock.

“Oh, god, you’re incredible… I feel like even my soul might be spirited away…”

“Ah… nhh, no, aah, nnh.”

Ushio rocked into Kei where they were intimately joined, lightly testing out a few different rhythms. There were no creaking sounds from the large, sturdy sofa—it just sat there taking their weight. Instead, Kei could clearly hear the obscene sounds of lube against flesh and Ushio’s labored breathing.

His breaths sounded like an angry animal, ravaging Kei’s ear with the same rhythm of his hips. Kei wondered if his own voice sounded like the whimpered cry of captured prey to Ushio. A cry that only predators had the privilege of hearing.

“Hnn… ngh.”

“Ahh, nhh… unh, aah… ngh.”

Arousal burst where Ushio thrust against him, and Kei melted inside, all soft and pliant. He felt himself dissolving in the pleasure, and if he was boiled to the point there was nothing left of himself, he didn’t care. Ushio played him hard and weak, deep and shallow, sending Kei up higher and higher. There was no descent on their course, not until they reached the summit where a single step would send them falling headlong back to Earth. Kei couldn’t even worry about how his head was filled with anticipation at reaching the top—it all disappeared when Ushio drove into the spot where an over-sensitized seed laid buried inside of him.

“Nnnhh— Ah, Ushio, Ushio…ngh.”

A puddle of water had collected around the base of the can. The heat of their passions shouldn’t cause it to boil, right? He felt so fevered, where he was joined, where he wasn’t joined, that the thought crossed his mind. It was like his nerves were on the fritz—he could only feel raw pleasure and heat sweetly tormenting his body, his mind.

“No, ngh, aaah.”

Ushio touched his cock that had hardened once again, and the arousal from the double shot of stimulation almost wrung out his spine.

“Ahh, ah, Ushio, ngh.”

“Ngh—”

“Aaah, ah, no, ah……!”

Come flooded Kei’s insides, sticky and thick, and his hole happily gasped and sucked it all in him. Kei came again in Ushio’s hand as Ushio’s cock swelled savagely inside him just before it burst.

“Kei…”

Ushio twisted Kei’s upper body towards him for a kiss while they were still joined. It was sloppy and unsteady, as they pecked at each other in between breaths, each of them short of oxygen.

But at the moment that Kei’s head had turned, the window that he had ignored all this time entered his view, and he caught a glimpse of Ushio’s face in the reflection of the glass.

The pools of darkness looked like they had eaten away at Ushio’s eyes, and in an instant Kei felt an icy chill that almost froze the rivulets of sweat. It was a pitch blackness like charcoal that absorbed all light and reflected nothing in return. It was naught but a few seconds; maybe it was just the night sky showing through.

Kei wondered what it was, but the kiss grew deeper, and he could feel Ushio’s cock shifting inside of him, and he could no longer entertain the trifling, little doubts that he had in his mind.




Kei listened to Ushio murmuring next to him as he started to doze off in bed.

“I want to make a continuation for the aliens next.”

Of our opening?

“Yeah.”

Kei was so sleepy that he wasn’t sure that he had answered properly or not, but Ushio answered back, so maybe he was able to form some words at least. Oh, but maybe this was also a dream. A continuation? Was it for work? But what about the rights for the characters…? Ugh, nevermind, he needed to skip past the complicated stuff.

Like what?

“Going on a journey and finding a new planet where they can live.”

Like where?

“I’m still thinking about it. What kind of planet would you like?”

…Cows…tuna…

“Got it. I’ll keep it in mind.”

He tried to say, Huge ones, but he didn’t know if he was able to form the words. Kei’s consciousness slipped from reality into a dream. Or perhaps from a light dream into a deeper dream.




“—Yeah. I’m leaving now. I’ll be there by the evening. …No, I don’t need it.”

When Kei woke up, it was again to the sound of Ushio’s voice. The pillow he used felt different from usual, and he stirred in his confusion… Oh right, they were at a hotel. As Kei tossed around restlessly, he heard Ushio ask, “You awake?”

“Mmm…”

“Breakfast is already here.”

Kei snapped open his eyes at the sound of the words and sat up in bed. Ushio was already dressed and ready for the day.

“We have the room until 2 pm. There’s a drop-off box at the underground parking garage, so you can drop the key there when you leave. I’ll take care of the bill.”

Kei looked over with excitement at the room service cart laid out with a white tablecloth. He lifted the polished, silver cloche and found bacon and omelettes, a basket with a few different types of bread, yogurt, and also fruit. He had no complaints about an American breakfast, but it was only a serving for a single person.

“What about you?”

“I have work that I suddenly need to take care of, so I need to head out.”

Was that what Ushio was on the phone for? Maybe he was asked to help out with some filming or editing.

“I’ll probably be holed up working on things for a while.”

“At home?”

“No, I’ll be out of the house for it.”

“How long is a while?”

“It depends on what they need. I’ll let you know. I’m gonna go now, so I’ll see you later.”

What the hell? First you’re all listless, and now all of a sudden you’re bustling off somewhere. Well, whatever, as long as you’ve found the motivation to do things again.

Kei turned on the TV, poured himself a hot cup of coffee from the pot, and sat down.

He remembered that he forgot to ask Ushio if that conversation about the continuation for the aliens was real. Oh well, it wasn’t a big deal, and he could ask Ushio when he got back. The butter was as fluffy as whipped cream, and as Kei spread it over his toast, it melted right away on contact.




—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.

Translation Notes

  1. Kintarou candy starts off as a long rope of candy paste, and it’s sliced to reveal a design on the cross-section before it hardens. Traditionally, it features a cartoon character of Kintarou, but it can be made with any design.

4 thoughts on “Yes, No, or Maybe Half? – Vol. 3 Ch. 30”

  1. Old Man Eba has a name! It’s good to see him again.

    Can you imagine Ushio and Tatsuki double-teaming Kei with pranks? But I think Kei would lock Ushio out for a while if he tries anything like that, lol.

    It’s cute how Ushio caught on to Kei’s jealousy.

    Kei is trying his little heart out to get through to Ushio. They swing from serious, to funny, to sweet, to sexy in the conversation so wonderfully. But Ushiooooo. He still refuses to say anything about what he knows. 😣😣😣

    But yeah, giant cows and tuna, very important to have on a planet.

  2. I’m just afraid that Ushio would start to drift off without Kei.. T.T oh gaaahhhdddd Keeeiiii my babies..

    Thanks for the chapter!!!~ 🙇🙇🙇🙇🙇

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