He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me…not.
How long he’s been sitting here, Tora wasn’t sure. It had been years since he’s been in Yokohama, but even then everything still felt familiar. It was early Spring, and the flowers had just began to bloom. He remembered when he was younger, the days when he and his childhood friend would play in this park, often fighting for who had rein over the monkey bars and the swings. It was a fond memory, and despite the many years that had gone by, it was one he would never forget.
Fifteen years ago, Tora moved here with his family. At that time, things weren’t so confusing. He had no idea why he moved here, all of which he figured was his father’s business. It was partially true, but there was another side to the story. There was a company who was owned by the Sano household, the one owned by his very own neighbors. He didn’t understand his father’s intentions then, only that he was to befriend the neighbor’s son, but as time went on, everything began to move into an uproar.
At first, everything was fine. He and Kanon had become good friends. The first day he arrived to his new home, he was welcomed with open arms by the younger. Each day passed, and they grew inseparable. Even the kids at school knew they weren’t to be bothered with. Tora liked that idea, knowing he had a friend of his own, someone he could confide in, someone he could be himself around and not have to worry about the consequences.
His father didn’t think much of their relationship then. It seemed almost natural. They were boys, after all. Good friends, classmates, neighbors, even in time he hoped for them to be coworkers. He didn’t think he would have to worry about Tora, but once the two were in middle school, he noticed a change.
They were together all the time. They would make inappropriate gestures, make comments, things that wouldn’t have been seen as normal between friends. He didn’t like it at all. He wanted for Tora to befriend Kanon, to grow close enough to where they could merge the companies together. He always hoped his son would take over for him one day, but as time grew on, he could see a difference in his son he didn’t approve of.
Tora hated school. He was never particularly bright when it came to academics. His father needed him to get good grades, to get into a good college and become the successor of his family business. The brunette had a different idea of how he wanted to spend his life. He could never picture himself wearing a suit, traveling around the world for business purposes. He could never play the role of a family man, get married, have kids, and pass this down to them. He didn’t want the life his father set out for him, and often they clashed about everything.
Of course his father had his suspicions in the beginning. He noticed Tora becoming more involved with pointless things. If he wasn’t around Kanon, he was absorbed into music, playing his guitar or the piano for hours. He was often distant, and that was something that frightened the tiger’s dad. Tora wasn’t allowed to participate in such recreational things. He was supposed to focus on his studies, get his degrees, get married, and hopefully led the business to a better horizon. But that wasn’t what Tora wanted. He didn’t want any of it.
Nothing made Tora happier than indulging in music. He was so talented in that field. He wasn’t confused with numbers, he didn’t have to racket his brain on literature or science. He felt comfortable with the world, at ease, which was a feeling he didn’t have for a long time. He didn’t want to work in the business. He didn’t want to earn his degrees, and most of all, he didn’t want to get married.
He would never tell a soul of his feelings, not his parents, not his classmates, not even the person who was the root of his affection. Tora knew it was wrong to fall in love with a boy. Being gay was far worse than anything imaginable. It was wrong, it was immoral, it was one of the biggest sins that could ever be bestowed upon someone. Still, the brunette couldn’t help his feelings. He wasn’t sure when, or even how it started. But what he did know, was the feelings were clearly evident, whether right or wrong.
~ ~ ~
“Hey Tora, do you think I could stay the night?” Kanon always loved spending the night at the tiger’s house. Sometimes sitting at his own house was boring, lonely even, and being around Tora always seemed to melt that away. He met Tora the day he moved from Hokkaido, and he could remember his father telling him sternly to become friends with the elder. He was hesitant at first, but once he got to know the brunette, he didn’t regret it in the least.
His body sprawled over the brunette’s bed, fingers curling into the cotton fabric of the sheets. He felt so relaxed, and he really didn’t want to move. “So, what do you say? Can I stay the night? Please?”
Tora laughed as he fell to the mattress, shifting closer so he was within eye level of the raven. He enjoyed Kanon’s company very much, and although he wouldn’t admit it, he couldn’t get enough of the other.
“Sure, why not.” He muttered, flicking Kanon’s forehead. “Why are you so cheerful, anyways?”
“Because I know something you don’t.” Kanon replied, rolling over on his stomach. “Shou and I talked during recess and he told me something.”
The tiger’s head tilted as he crawled closer to the other, staring at him with wide eyes. “He told you something?”
“Yeah. Do you ever get those giddy butterflies in your tummy? The ones that make you feel sick and happy and the same time?”
Tora nodded as he moved in closer, listening to Kanon rather intently. “Yeah. Why?”
“Shou says it means you like someone. I told him he was being stupid, but….whenever I’m around you, I get butterflies. Does that mean…I like you?” Kanon’s cheeks were flushed as he gnawed on his lower lip, staring up at the brunette with an innocent expression. He wasn’t sure what he felt, but if this feeling he had meant he liked the tiger, then maybe it was true.
“I’m not really sure…” Tora murmured, “But, whenever I’m around you, I feel the same. Maybe I like you too?”
Kanon smiled sheepishly as he pressed his forehead against the tiger’s, tracing his finger along the other’s lips. “Shou also told me when you like someone, you kiss them.”
“Kiss?” The brunette blinked when he felt the raven’s lips press against his own. It was a bit awkward, but nonetheless the affection was welcomed, and the tiger gently kissed him back.
“I really like you, Shinji. Let’s stay friends forever, okay?”
~ ~ ~
Tora sighed as he ran a finger over his lip. He was surprised that even after so many years he remembered that day. They were only children then, and it seemed like a big game at first. Hugs and kisses seemed to flow almost naturally between them, and even if they had to keep it a secret from their parents, they were content with keeping it that way. After all, they didn’t even know the meaning of love then. It was just something that seemed to happen.
As the years went by, soon high school came into the picture. It was rather unusual to spot one of the teens without the other, and the students learned quick that if you were to mess with one them, you messed with both. Tora didn’t have the best reputation. If he were to get in a fight, Kanon would be there right beside him. Most people thought it was just a phase, but it seemed to last throughout their entire high school career.
~ ~ ~
Once graduation hit, Tora couldn’t believe how excited he was to finally be able to shut that chapter from his life. He got a letter sent from a music school in the States, and he couldn’t wait to share the news with his best friend. It would be hard to separate from Kanon, but at the same time, he knew it would only be for a few years, and if Kanon really wanted too, he could go too.
He was more than anxious when he led the raven towards their favorite oak tree that stood just outside of the school. Over the years, it had become their sanctuary. Most of their personal secrets and dreams were shared there, and now that the school year was ending, he wanted to share his last lunch with Kanon and inform him of his amazing news.
The raven couldn’t help but smile when he took a seat beside the tiger, pulling his bento from his box and snapping his chopsticks. “Geez, Tora. Why did you drag me all the way out here?” It was really rare for Tora to bring him to this place, and he knew it must have been important by the way the brunette acted so frantic to take him here. “Did you win the lottery or something?”
Tora was so excited to the point his hands were shaky when he reached for his own lunch, and he laughed as he pulled out his bento and placed it on his lap. “No, better actually.”
“Really? Tell me, I wanna know!” Kanon whined, nudging the brunette with his elbow. “Come on, fess up!”
“Okay, okay!” The tiger admitted in defeat, “I’ll tell you!”
“You are looking at Julliard’s newest student.” Tora mused, reaching for his chopsticks. “I got a scholarship! I start in March!”
Kanon was shocked at first. He was happy for Tora, he really was. But he couldn’t understand why his heart felt like it was about to crack from his chest. “O-oh, really? That’s great.”
The tiger frowned as he placed his meal down. He could tell there was something bothering the raven, and it immediately caused for him to feel alarmed. “You don’t sound very enthusiastic. Aren’t you happy for me?”
“Of course I am!” Kanon shot back, “It’s just…what does your father think about this?”
Tora sighed as he arched his back against the tree, staring out into the field. “He doesn’t know yet. I haven’t been able to bring myself to say anything. Besides, I wanted you to be the first one to know.”
“Well, I mean…I’m happy for you, Tora. I really am. I just…I’m going to miss you if you leave.”
It pained the tiger to see his friend so shaken up over the situation. He wanted Kanon to be proud of him, to see how hard he’s been working for this. None of this would matter if he didn’t have the raven in his life, and everything he did was for him.
“Then why don’t you come with me?” Tora suggested, taking a bite of his rice. “We could get an apartment by the school, and you could live with me.”
Kanon smiled softly as he set his chopsticks down. He would love to travel with Tora, to leave the country and get away from all the family pressure. But even so, he knew he couldn’t do that. He had a job to maintain here, he had to run his parent’s company. Still, it was a nice gesture, and he really appreciated it. “Yeah. We’ll see. Now why don’t we finish our lunch? It’s our last one as high school students.”
~ ~ ~
Later that night, Kanon couldn’t get his nerves under control. He was fearful of what might happen to Tora if he told his father about music school. He knew how strict he could be, and he didn’t want that old bastard to ruin all of the tiger’s hopes and dreams.
That’s why he found himself tapping on Tora’s window, hoping the other would still be awake. He wanted to see him and congratulate him in a more appropriate manner. This was something to be happy for, wasn’t it? Tora’s hard word was finally paying off, and it should have been treated as such.
He was a bit disappointed when Tora didn’t answer the window, but when he was about to turn away, he heard the window open, and immediately he swung himself around to face the other. “Nice weather we’re having, don’t you think?”
Tora didn’t question it. He simply mumbled something to himself as he allowed the raven to creep in his room and took a seat on the edge of the bed. “So what do you want? It’s 3 in the morning, man.”
“I..I wanted to…to say…congratulations, Shinji. You really deserve this, and I want you to know, no matter how far you are, I’ll keep you in my heart. I’ll be waiting here, cheering you on, so make sure you come back for me.” Kanon chewed his lip as he took a seat beside Tora, fiddling mindlessly with his sleeve. He was nervous, but he knew he had to tell Tora this before he left.
“Kanon…” Tora frowned as he pulled the raven into his arms, pressing a chaste kiss to his forehead. It’s been awhile since he’s held him this way, and he missed feeling his warmth. “You don’t know how much that means to me.”
Kanon buried his face into the tiger’s shoulder, wrapping his arms around his torso to tighten the embrace. He missed this. It’s been ages since they’ve been this close, and it only made it harder to have to let go. “No, Tora. I do. I know how much it means to you. Just…just can we spend the night together? I don’t want you to forget me. I know you might not understand, but I need to feel you. Just this once, treat me like I’m yours. Please?”
And he did. Tora took Kanon for himself that night. They became a tangle of sweat slicked forms on that bed, the bed they shared everything on. Their first hug, their first kiss, and now their first sex. It was full of passion, and even if Kanon didn’t know the depth of the tiger’s feelings when he made love to him, it was okay. Tora loved Kanon unconditionally, and he would tell him soon, before he left for school. He just hoped Kanon would accept them like he did the first day they met with open arms.
~ ~ ~
But sadly, nothing ever works out as planned. Tora learned that the day he told his father about Julliard. It was the turning point to everything the tiger had been working for, and it was the situation that would change his life forever.
Tora knew he had to tell his father. He wanted to tell him sooner than this, but his fear ended up getting the better of him. That’s why he was glad when his father called him into his office, and now that he had the opportunity to sit with his Dad alone, he figured he could get everything off his chest, and it would all work out.
But it didn’t. There was something in that man’s voice that made the tiger’s body shake. It was almost venomous when it told him to sit down, and he didn’t hesitate to take a seat.
“Father, I need to discuss something with you.” Tora’s voice came out wavered, and he was visibly shaking before his elder. There was always something about his icy eyes that sent shivers down his spine. “It’s about…college.”
“Shut up!” The male spat, slamming his pen down. “I didn’t give you permission to talk!”
Tora’s eyes snapped shut as he tried his best to breathe, but the intensity in the room was making the task difficult. “F-Father, I-“
“You listen to me, Shinji! I have put blood and tears into making this company! I will not have you throw it all away over that whore of yours!”
The brunette’s eyes narrowed as his hand clenched. “What are you talking about?”
“I know you and Sano’s boy have been doing a lot more than making music, Shinji. I’m telling you now, if you don’t follow my rules, I’m going to make you regret it!”
“I’m not scared of you.”
The man laughed as he leaned back into his chair. “Oh Shinji, you should be. I may not ruin you, but Kanon on the otherhand…I could do a lot of things. I can make it so he can’t get into university. I can crumble his father’s company. Haven’t you realized just how powerful I am?”
“You’re a monster!” Tora shouted, pounding his fists off the desk. “How can you threaten me? I am your son!”
“Yes, and the successor of this company. Unless you want to hurt that boyfriend of yours, I’d suggest you listen clearly to what I have to say.”
“One- You will attend university in Tokyo, away from here.
Two- Once you finish your studies, you will manage our hotel outside of Hokkaido.
And Three- You are forbidden to associate yourself with Shinya Sano ever again. No letters, no phone calls, and if you see him on the streets, you ignore him. I will not have my son being a queer. Once you come back, I will make sure to find you a suitable wife and arrange a marriage right away.”
“Father, you can’t do that it’s-“
“Unfair? Shinji, let me remind you, life’s not fair.”
He was right, Tora knew. Life really wasn’t fair.