Story 5: Rose-Colored Pop
Author’s Note: It’s so pink and blue! I love this book with the cover’s fantastic colors and composition. Plus the design of the bed is completely fit for a prince. The three short stories have a carefree summer feel, and I’m really happy with the way that they came together as a book.
Illustrator’s Note: I was thinking about certain yellow naughty children jumping on the bed when I drew this, but when I went back to compare the two, it turned out to be very different.1 Tsuzuki-san looks like he’s being viewed through a door viewer. I’m really happy with how pretty the reddish pink turned out with the printing.
First published in 2016 in the doujinshi Rose-Colored Pop.
Translator Note: This set of stories takes place in the middle of “Daydream Believer” in the summer. One story is about the part-time job that Ushio takes while he works on his personal project. It is also briefly mentioned in “Secrets and Irises” from Volume 2 of the spinoff.
Part 1: Romantic Mode
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.
He was assigned an overnight shoot for a story. At Hokkaido. It was a whirlwind schedule, departing early Saturday morning and returning Sunday evening. They would shoot a sponsored marketing piece where they collaborated with the local tourism industry. Just by introducing the best summer travel spots, all their expenses were covered, and the show even got money for doing the piece—it was like some kind of alchemy. But naturally, Kei was only going so that he could be paid for working extra. It was times like these that he wished he had gone independent so that he could charge them exorbitant appearance fees. His moronic junior colleague wouldn’t shut up about sea urchin, salmon roe, and LeTAO,2 but obviously Kei ignored him.
“Hokkaido sounds really nice. It’s gotta be cooler there too.”
If it were a leisurely shoot around Sapporo, Otaru, and Hakodate, he would agree with Ushio’s words.
“Rausu is so freaking far. And it’ll be mostly raw.”
“No, raw nature stuff like whale watching… No matter how hard I work, if we can’t see anything, then we can’t see anything. I hate stuff like that.”
“What happens if you don’t see anything?”
“The video library will have to step in.”
“Since you have a backup plan, that makes it easier.”
It would be simple to say, But you can see beautiful scenes like this too, but he was in charge of attracting visitors to the tourist spots, and it would sound too pitiful. Plus it wasn’t worth it to go all the way there for that. It was no fault of Kei’s abilities, of course, but what if the staff started to think that he had no luck, like someone who attracted rain wherever they went, and he didn’t want that to happen.
“You’ll be fine,” Ushio assured him easily. “I’m sure all the wild animals will want a glimpse of Kunieda-san himself.”
How rare of an animal am I supposed to be?
When Kei complained that he would have to leave again after returning home for a few hours from his Friday night broadcast to make the 5 am meetup time for their 7 am flight from Haneda to Memanbetsu, Ushio said simply, “Why don’t you stay over at the network? That way you have time to rest.”
“No way, I’d go home even if it was only for an hour.”
If he didn’t have a moment to switch and reset from his work mode, it would exhaust him.
“You’re really a homebody~”
“There’s nothing for you to smirk about, okay!?”
“Yeah, yeah, got it. …By the way, I need to stay overnight for work that day too.” They were on the bed next to each other, and Ushio reached his hand out to touch Kei’s cheek.
“…What kind of work?”
Even though Kei knew that nothing would happen, it made him uneasy when he heard that Ushio would be away from their home for something. What if he didn’t come back again?
“Don’t make that face.”
“Oh? So what face is it?”
Ushio laughed as he pulled Kei with all of his insults into his arms.
“What’s so damn funny!?”
“I wanted to save it as a surprise, but when you look so sad and helpless, it makes me feel bad. I gotta say, it’s pretty hard to keep secrets from each other when we live together.”
“Oi, what are you talking about?”
“I’m going on that trip too. The shoot in Hokkaido.”
“Huh?” Kei pulled himself away from Ushio without thinking. “Why?”
“I asked Nishikido-san to let me know if he hears about any small temp jobs, and he called me about it. I guess I’ll be another camera operator slash assistant?”
“Ugh, so that old man’s the camera operator on the shoot…”
“What’s so bad about it? He’s really good. He’ll make Kunieda-san’s sexy slideshow video turn out gorgeous.”
“I’m not a damn pin-up model. Ughh, now I want to do this even less…”
“But I’ll be there.”
He was utterly shameless.
“I personally like Ol’ Nishikido-san~ He’s really cool. I’d love to be like him one day.”
Kei could support him more if he wanted to be like the handsome gorilla from Nagoya.
“If you do, I’m breaking up with you.”
“There you go again. But I’m looking forward to Hokkaido~ Should I make us a personalized guidebook of our plans?”
“There’s the shooting schedule, you know.”
The schedule was jam-packed, and he thought that there was nothing fun about going on a trip with some of the staff coming along, but Ushio was in a good mood, and he came to snuggle up to Kei again. In many different ways, Kei was here feeling that the increased need for vigilance was going to make it harder for him than usual, but he closed his eyes and said nothing.
On the day of the trip, Ushio had to check the equipment and gear for the shoot, and he left the apartment earlier than Kei. About an hour later, Kei caught up with Ushio at the network, which was a strange feeling, but he feigned a look of innocence and greeted everyone, “Good morning.” There was Nishikido and Ushio on the cameras, the field director, lights, sound, an AD, and Kunieda-san for a total of 7 people on the shoot, and when they arrived at their destination, they would also have a guide person and a driver.
On the flight out, Ushio sat directly behind Kei next to Nishikido, and they mainly—no, they essentially talked about video equipment the entire time.
“I noticed that there was a drone in our bags. Would it be okay for me to try it out?”
“Awesome! What’s the SLR for?”
“For normal video use. The sides of the frame are slightly out of focus, so it gives the shot some unique character. I think it’s a good fit for a travel piece.”
“Oh, like that style that got popularized with Another Sky.”
“Yeah. But then you get disappointed comments like why are you using a camera that amateurs use? So that’s one drawback for using one on a shoot.”
“Hmm, yeah, they really expect you to shoulder the huge heavy cameras… But you don’t normally use equipment like this for regular news coverage, do you? Don’t you feel pretty excited for this?”
“Stupid, get some sleep while you can. The schedule’s gonna be real tough today.”
He was like a puppy. If anything, Kei had thought that Ushio was like an older brother character, but he seemed to really like befriending older people like this, someone with an air of a master or a teacher. He also got along well with Shitara. Almost like it was nice to be around a father figure—but it wasn’t something for Kei to psychoanalyze. Kei was just annoyed to see Ushio spend time with someone other than Kei and enjoy himself in a different way than he normally did with him. That was all.
The first day’s plan was to drive an hour from Memanbetsu and to charter a boat from the western coast of Shiretoko Peninsula which jutted out from the east side of Hokkaido, and from there they would view brown bears, dolphins, whales, and orcas from the ocean. However, that was only if their luck was very good.
They boarded a small yacht, but only Ushio took a much smaller motorboat to get other angles and footage for the piece. Ushio anticipated and quickly took care of all the menial work that he needed to do, and Kei was grateful that he at least didn’t have to listen to Nishikido’s angry shouting all the way here under this northern sky.
“We boarded a ship from Utoro on Shiretoko Peninsula, and we are heading towards a spot where we can see brown bears. We are in the Sea of Okhotsk right now, and it is beautiful with its deep blue waters. Did you know that there is an official color name called Okhotsk Blue? If you take a look at the swatch that I’m holding, this is that particular blue. It is said to express various blues found in nature like the ice floes and clear skies of winter, but the blue of the sea is a much deeper blue than the color depicted here. The breeze feels wonderful out on the sea.”
While he talked, he thought to himself.
…Ugh, it’s hard to work like this.
A little ways away, Ushio was manning the camera in the motorboat that ran parallel to the yacht, and he would always enter Kei’s field of vision. If he were reading the news in the studio he could switch over to work mode without a second thought—the studio was Kunieda-san’s homebase; it was his domain—but here it felt unsettling to have Ushio follow him around on this fluff travel piece. To be frank, it was a little embarrassing. Like he was a student whose parents came to watch him at school. Plus, Ushio was moving all around that tiny little boat, bending forwards, bending backwards, positioning his body in all these different ways as he filmed; and though he wore a life jacket, it made Kei nervous just to watch him. None of the camera operators had to do that in the studio.
“—Now, we shall pass through a number of coastal sights and head for the most famous brown bear viewing spot of all, Rusha Bay. Will we see any wild brown bears, I wonder?”
“Cut, that was great. Uh, let’s see, what’s next again? The Maiden’s Tears? Right, right, let’s go up to the waterfall and film a comment.”
The yacht went around the Shiretoko coastal cliffs, and they quickly spotted their first objective on the rocks: the brown bear.
“Oh, look, we’ve spotted the brown bear. They appear to be a family of three. They look quite different from the Asian black bear that you can see at the zoo. Even from a distance, you can feel its impressive presence.”
With this for now, they could avoid striking out with all three whiffs, which was a relief.
The sea was relatively calm, but with the small yacht and the numerous tasks at hand, the AD started getting seasick after about 30 minutes. And of course, this job wasn’t one that afforded compassion, and Nishikido yelled at the poor guy, “Go over to that end! Don’t puke on the boat!”
When they wrapped around Cape Shiretoko at the northernmost tip of the peninsula to head towards the eastern coastline, they came across a pod of 5 or 6 dolphins.
Great, that’s two down, two more to go. This might be more satisfying than Pokemon.
However, now that they were on the open sea, the waves became much rougher. The AD clung to the edge of the boat, completely useless as a pair of hands, while the director pressed a hand to his mouth and said, “Yeah, I don’t feel so good.” The light and sound technicians had essentially become zombies. Even the nature guide looked pretty grim as he said, “It’s pretty rough today,” so it was only natural. Waves carried them over, waves knocked them around, and water splashed their faces.
“Do you think we’ll see whales here?” the director asked the guide in a feeble voice.
“Well, with nature, you can never say what will happen…”
That was the damn truth.
“According to the schedule, we’re supposed to have another 30 minutes out here on the boat, but should we go back to shore for now? We were able to get brown bears and dolphins today; that should be enough footage for us.”
Nishikido scowled with a grunt and looked at Kei. “What do you want to do?” he asked. “You look pretty sick yourself.”
“Oh, no, I’m all right…”
Tch, so he noticed. Kei was normally fine with motion sickness, but maybe because he had been constantly moving in vehicles since dawn after a late night, Kei was also feeling pretty queasy. Actually, Nishikido was the weird one here, all calm and unaffected.
But even if they stuck it out, the possibility that they would get all the footage that they wanted wasn’t very high. He wanted to avoid at all costs a situation where he vomited in front of people, and since the crew were down and out for the count first, it wouldn’t be his fault for retiring early—… As Kei brushed a strand of hair blown loose from the wind, that was when he locked eyes with Ushio who was on the boat next to them. But it wasn’t a distance where Ushio could hear their conversations, and he looked pretty worried.
Kei made his decision right then and there.
“Let’s continue. As long as there is no danger, let’s use up all of our allocated time here.”
“Got it,” Nishikido said with a nod.
The director was on the verge of tears as he shouted, “Seriously!?”
“Hey, you damn knucklehead! The presenter’s showing us his grit here, so you better pull yourself together!”
Seriously, Nishikido was the only one here who was fine. Maybe because he wasn’t human?
“But isn’t Kunieda-san as pale as a sheet too~? Let’s just head back~”
“Is it so pale that you see it on camera?”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
Kei suddenly used his hands to smack his cheeks, alternating them back and forth before rubbing them briskly. Everyone was damn useless on this boat, so he went inside the cabin of the yacht himself and brought out two warm plastic bottles to press them to his face.
“Please man the camera,” he said, putting on a smile. “That way it will distract from the waves.”
The waves repeatedly lifted the boat and dropped it for the next wave to come. There was no time to settle down. Honestly, Kei felt nauseated just breathing, but he forced his stomach to stay down. He took a number of deep breaths. He wasn’t seasick, he wasn’t seasick. He wouldn’t vomit, he wouldn’t vomit. Kunieda-san would never be caught vomiting in public. He forced himself to focus on other things. The color of the sky, the chill of the wind, the sound of water crashing on the hull of the boat.
They were close to Kunashir Island. It was part of the “Northern Territories” that he had learned about in his school textbooks, and it felt strange to see it right in front of his eyes. Also that Ushio was with him at this northernmost limit of the country.
A round black wave seemed to surface from the sea.
“I see one!” the guide shouted. At the same time, the wave spewed water from the surface like a water gun. It was a whale.
“A whale has just appeared about 15 meters away. Are you able to identify the type of whale that it is?”
“I believe that it is a sperm whale.”
“That would make it a very large whale. It is blowing water from its blowhole. The scene looks just like an illustration that you see in picture books.”
Kei had no particular interest in nature documentaries, but there was an impressive presence to the huge glistening black body that almost gave him goosebumps. It was simply an instinct that when faced with a creature to wonder if it might not bare its fangs in threat. The crew who had been puking up their guts also took the time to admire the view.
Ushio was—manning the camera wholeheartedly. Kei could see it in the profile of his face. His eyes were sparkling so much, he could probably swim over just to get up close to it. Oh, you’re really having fun here, Kei thought. I’m just being stubborn because it’s my job, but you’re simply having fun. He was just enjoying the scenery and the creatures that he had never seen before. That difference between them, that faraway look from next to him—those things didn’t make Kei feel uneasy. Ushio would probably use the things that he saw today to make something again. Because Ushio wouldn’t be who he was if he didn’t.
The whale didn’t last a minute on the surface before diving underwater again. It flicked its large tail fin like a parting gift.
“Oh, and now it’s gone… And what’s this? Is there something over there?”
About 50 meters away from the whale, there were several creatures in the water.
“Can we get a little closer?”
He had thought that they were dolphins, but he spied the two tones of black and white in the waves. They were orcas.
“Amazing,” the guide said, excitedly watching through a pair of binoculars, even though he should have been used to this. “It is incredibly rare to be able to see all these sights in a single trip! Today is a full-course meal!”
Ushio’s prophecy (?) had been right.
Man, I’m rolling in it.
Actually, if they were to air everything as-is, Kei felt like they would be accused of staging the footage. His nausea was still terrible, but he had to stick it out a bit longer.
“This is wonderful. Even the orcas came out for us today.”
Kunieda-san gave a beaming smile to the camera.
After their boat trip was over, their demanding schedule had them make a 6-hour drive from Rausu to Tomamu in central Hokkaido. Kei didn’t want people talking to him, so he pretended to sleep in the back row of the minivan taxi and listened to the conversation in the front rows.
“Nishikido-san, did you decide to take a mentee?”
“What are you talking about?”
“I mean, for the maestro to bring his own camera assistant like this… Tsuzuki-kun, was it? You should come with us on other shoots~ It’s rare to see Nishikido-san in such a good mood.”
“Hey, quit running your mouths! Anyway, he’s not a camera operator. He’s more of a director than anything.”
“Seriously~? Mind putting together the rough cut for us?”
“Sure. How long is the video supposed to be?”
“Usually 7 minutes, but you’ll have to negotiate with the producer.”
“7 minutes, huh? That’s pretty short. Well, it does feel pretty long when I’m actually putting it together though, but we collected all that footage and most of it will get left on the cutting room floor, huh? It doesn’t bother me when I film and cut everything myself, but it does feel a bit sad.”
“Yeah, that’s right. Only incompetent directors eat up all the time with slow-motion zooms and stuff.”
“What? Are you referring to me?”
The minivan zipped along the wide open road with no traffic signals to stop at and wait. Kei was nodding off a little, but he wasn’t asleep. He was leaned against the window with his arms crossed in this delicate state while the other crew members slept. In between the snoring, he heard Ushio and Nishikido talking.
“Don’t you get seasick? You look full of energy,” Nishikido commented.
“I’ve never gotten motion sickness or drunk even. I’m not quite sure what it feels like.”
“Well that’s lucky of you. I’ve puked my guts out all over when I was still new at the job. It’s even worse through the lens of a camera. You must be built for it. Be thankful to your parents.”
“That’s true,” Ushio answered honestly.
“I saw the films that you made.”
“It was, hmm… Surprising, I guess? It was all delicate detailed work. Not that it’s good or bad, just that it’s a world that I don’t really understand. If you think about it, everything’s a fabrication, essentially? I don’t understand the feeling of wanting to film something that’s fabricated.”
They were frank words that could be shared because they worked in similar lines of work. Ushio probably wasn’t offended or hurt by it either.
“That’s why I decided to call you about this job. I was curious how you’d film something that was truly there in the world.”
“To be honest, I didn’t really know how to shoot it. Kind of like the frame was too wide, but regardless of where I decided to frame it, it all looked like beautiful scenery to me, and that was the hardest part about it. But I learned a lot from today.”
“Then I’m glad.”
“When you say that the films that I make are all a fabrication… I think that is what I like about what I do. That I can bend everything to my own vision. That this tiny world at least moves the way that I want it to move.”
“But like that, you won’t run into anything from the outside world that goes beyond the things inside your own brain.”
“Hmmm… Well, I wouldn’t say that everything’s perfect, but yeah, I see what you’re saying.”
“Someday, I think it’d be good for you to try filming real people. You’re still young. You don’t have to box yourself in right now.”
Kei cracked his eyes open. Outside the window was a pitch blackness that could never be possible in the city, and his exhausted face reflected back at him against the darkness.
It was 10 pm when they arrived in Tomamu, and they had the wonderful plan of waking up at 3 am to see the sea of clouds at Unkai Terrace tomorrow. They checked in at the hotel and split up immediately afterwards. Kei was the only one allotted a single room for the night, and he quickly took a shower and flopped face down on the bed to review the script for the shoot tomorrow. That was when he got a LINE message.
“Can I come over for roll call?”
“I’m the only one here.”
He didn’t give Ushio a yes or a no, but soon he heard a knock at the door. Kei cracked open the door about 3 centimeters and asked, “There’s no one with you, right?”
“Everyone’s out like a light. You should get to sleep too.”
“Then don’t barge over!”
Ushio noticed the script for the shoot and asked, “Are you reviewing for tomorrow?”
“Yeah, don’t disturb me.”
“I won’t, I won’t,” Ushio said, following Kei to the bed.
Kei was wary of him, but Ushio sat down on the bed while Kei sprawled over it, and he picked up Kei’s foot. Ushio rolled up the sleeves of his yukata provided by the hotel.
“I’ll give you a massage. This whole day you’ve been standing or sitting in a cramped space. It’s bad for your circulation.”
“The same goes for you too.”
“But I’m not standing in front of the cameras.”
Ushio rubbed both of his thumbs into the calf of Kei’s leg. It hurt a little, but it felt good. He did feel like his stagnated blood had been pushed up to start flowing again.
“Yeah, you seem tense… You’re this exhausted, but you still do your job properly. Everyone says how easy it is to work with Kunieda-san out on location. That you always memorize the scripts without missing a single word when you’re there on a shoot.”
“Uh, that’s my job. I’m just doing it.”
“Yeah, but most people can’t execute, even if they understand with it their heads. You felt seasick on the boat, right? You suddenly injected a fighting spirit into yourself, and it surprised me.”
“Because my face had turned all pale.”
“Don’t overdo it, okay? But I know that even if your stomach feels like heaving, you’ll push yourself through it anyway.”
“Thanks to me, you could see all the wildlife.”
“That’s true. They were all brought to the surface to get a peek of Kunieda-san.”
“It was amazing,” Ushio said, and he swung Kei’s lower leg around in small circles fixed at the knee.
“Okay, next leg now.”
After Ushio finished massaging both of his legs, Kei clearly felt lighter.
“Good work, you can go now.”
“What did you say?”
Ushio tickled the sole of his foot, and Kei yelped out loud.
“You seem pretty lively. I thought that you would fall asleep in the middle of it.”
“Stupid, I just wanted to lull you to sleep. Should I sing you a lullaby?”
“No. …If I close my eyes, I’ll get sick from feeling the waves bob again.”
Kei very much wanted to sleep, but without anything fixed in his view, the sensations of rocking, floating, and sinking assaulted his body, and it felt pretty terrible.
“What am I going to do with you?”
Ushio dropped Kei’s foot and rolled over next to Kei on the bed. He turned Kei sideways and lifted him to sit up in his arms.
“What are you doing!?”
“Tiring you out so that you can sleep… Relax, I won’t do it all the way.”
A hand slipped around his waist and through the opening of the yukata to touch bare skin.
“The walls are thin, so watch your voice.”
After giving that warning, Ushio nibbled on Kei’s ear. Of course he would cry out if he did that.
Ushio’s hand easily found a nipple under the defenseless yukata, and he rubbed at it with his fingertips, as if to imprint himself there.
In the meantime, the other hand fully spread open the bottom part of the disheveled yukata. It slid into Kei’s underwear and freed his arousal. It curved up in inverse proportion to his fatigue, and Ushio gently stroked it as he sucked little short kisses to the back of Kei’s neck.
Kei could hear laughter from the next room over. His body froze in fear. They seemed to be excited about something, and he wanted to think that it meant that they couldn’t hear the sounds coming from this room.
“…Should I seal you up?”
It frustrated Kei to no end, but he had to agree with the suggestion.
Kei turned his head to seek Ushio’s lips in this restrictive position, and Ushio leaned down to accept the kiss.
Ushio promptly inserted his tongue. Kei squeezed his eyes shut and tangled his own tongue together. His body no longer swayed with the sea; he was lured by another impulse. In the pauses between their passionate kisses, their wet seductive sounds drowned out the noises of the phantom waves.
“Nnh— Nnh, nnhhh…”
The hand movements changed from guiding to pressuring, and Ushio stroked Kei’s cock more intensely. Kei could feel his lower belly spasming under the loosened sash.
“Nn, nh, nhh—!”
The thickness in Ushio’s hand burst, releasing from the point at the tip. Kei’s consciousness descended into darkness and went out like a light.
When Kei woke up to his alarm, Ushio was of course not there. Ushio had cleaned him up, and Kei felt pretty refreshed for the short amount of time that he was able to sleep.
However, it was incredibly embarrassing to meet Ushio face to face a few hours later as a work partner. Ushio naturally understood why Kei greeted him with a slightly averted glance before walking quickly away as he asked, “Is this the bus to the cable cars?” They boarded the shuttle bus and headed towards the cable car terminal. The summit of the mountain was presently covered in clouds from the sound of it. The cable cars suspended on the long, long cables charged into the milky white ocean, and they couldn’t see their destination up ahead. They climbed up to the observation deck 1,000 meters3 above sea level. It was much colder out than at the base of the mountain, and everything around them was pure white and covered in fog.
“Hmm, what do you guys think? I wonder if the sun will come out a little.”
“Yesterday the forecast said that it was a 30% chance.”
“If it had just said that it would rain, we could have given up and slept in more~”
“You gotta work a bit to see a view like the tourist posters designed to attract visitors. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
The crew could not be called enthusiastic by any stretch of the imagination, but Ushio was silently holding the camera, his eyes filled with the same hopes and expectations from yesterday. He wanted to see the sunrise from here. Ushio had seen the picture on the poster that someone had taken and printed for people to see, and he thought from the bottom of his heart, I want to witness something there too.
Show me something that I’ve never seen before.
And I’ll bring it home with me, this tiny world that’s mine and only mine.
Maybe from the time when he was a child, what moved Ushio was a pure and earnest curiosity, not stubbornness or defiance. Maybe he had wished to see things that didn’t exist in that house, things that didn’t have value at that house.
As Kei watched Ushio wait for daybreak, his heart pounded so hard that it hurt. Like maybe something would happen, or maybe he wanted to watch him forever even if nothing happened. And Kei was frustrated that he was the only one whose heart was beating so hard like this.
I don’t want to lose.
They took up positions where they would get a great view and waited, and the fog slowly withdrew from the summit. Instead of clearing up, it was more like the fog could no longer stand the pull of gravity, and it seemed to settle lower and lower. The sky, which was supposed to be pure white from the fog, brightened with a faint rose color.
The director raised his voice. “It’s here, it’s here, it’s here. Seriously~”
Shut up, you’re ruining the view, Kei thought with disdain in his head. Don’t bother him while he’s filming.
Kei looked at the camera. He looked directly at Ushio on the other side of the camera.
“It is morning. The sun has shown its face. A thick fog surrounds the observation deck, and only the tops of the surrounding mountains are peeking through like little islands. This is truly a sea of clouds. It is a little reward to the early morning risers at Mother Nature’s whim; there are no promises or reservations here…”
Kei could sense the light of the sun’s rays shining from behind him. An unintended smile spilled out onto his face. He didn’t mind at all that he wasn’t seeing the view with his own eyes at this moment. Because Ushio was watching it.
Kei loved the films that Ushio made now, but he did wonder like Nishikido had mentioned, would he ever film real people one day? If he did, would it be documentaries? Or would it be feature movies?
Anything was fine. As long as he surprised Kei and made him think, Damn, you got me. As long as he chased whatever he wanted and came back to the home that they shared.
We still have a lot of life ahead of us. And I’m glad.
The video piece of the whirlwind tour aired the following week on Friday without a hitch. When the broadcast finished, Shitara came up to him to say “It was a great piece.”
“Thank you, we were very lucky with all of our encounters.”
“That part was great too, but your face was alive in every shot. I took a look at the master tapes, and I nearly did a double take at all the great footage that was taken. Just watching it made me think that I wanted to go there too… Maybe you’ve grown again as a reporter?”
“If so, that would make me very happy.”
Kei knew that the effect was a boost from his boyfriend who was there with him at the shoot, but he persisted with his modesty to the end and added, “Perhaps it was due to Nishikido-san’s excellent skills.”
“Yes, well, the old pro did bring a steady skillfulness to the shots, but Tsuzuki-kun also took excellent shots too. I suppose that it’s only natural. They were so beautiful that I asked to add them to the network’s library of video materials. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get extra commission for doing so, but I’d like to take him out to dinner sometime.”
The shots that Ushio had taken would someday be used somewhere by someone in the future. Somewhere unknown to them, the shots would be chosen and copied. Maybe it would even occur some decades into the future from now. His name wouldn’t be in the credits, but Ushio would be happy about it. And when Kei thought this, he honestly became happy too.
When Kei arrived home, Ushio rushed over to him at the front door.
“Did you see it?”
“…Uh, I kind of have to, you know.”
Besides, he had to record the voiceovers for the piece, so it wasn’t only the one time that he had watched it.
“They used so many of the shots that I took! It was so great!”
Hey, hey, you make a living off of your name and your work, why are you getting so happy for a job that doesn’t give out credits?—that was what Kei thought, but Ushio looked so cute that he had to give him a pat on the head.
“What’s that for?”
Normally Kei would say those words, but this time Ushio said them. However, he had a huge smirk on his face.
“…I just thought that you were a little cute, that’s all!”
Kei had even carelessly thought that he would take him to bed and show him heaven, but he would never tell Ushio that. And yet—
“I bet you thought something dirty just now.”
“W-What? No… And it wasn’t dirty.”
“Oh? Well, whatever. It’s the weekend, and I can take my time to get it out of you. Plus you owe me for the favor that I gave you in Hokkaido.”
“You essentially made me take the favor!”
What the? He’s not cute anymore.
Ushio quickly dragged him to bed, and Kei involuntarily engaged his own “cute” setting. It was just a setting, okay? It was just what Ushio called it, okay?
As Ushio dropped kisses on Kei, he whispered spellbound over and over again, “I had a lot of fun.” Kei melted under that voice, that gaze, the shower of countless numbers of kisses. They sank into his skin, never to leave him.
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.
- My best guess for this reference is the children’s book “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.” It is quite famous in Japan, and you can see the quilt pattern repeated.
- LeTAO is known for their cakes and sweets.
- 1,000 m – Approx. 3,280 ft.