tomo's c87 story
It's winter break! Tomo's never been able to go on a school field trip before, so he and Yuki visit Kyoto. Only their trip is much more luxurious than the school version, courtesy of Kazuki. :3
...Cold. The snow fell heavily right in front of my eyes and I buried myself up to my nose in the scarf wrapped around my neck. Wasn't the snow falling harder than before? The roof, right up to the eaves, was already white with snow.
"Yuki! Don't hide back there, come over here! It's awesome!" Tomo called out to me loudly. He completely blended into the snowy landscape.
I unburied my face from the scarf and stepped out from under the eaves. Beyond the wooden railing, the beautiful scene of Kyoto stretched out like a picture on a postcard.
"Wah, it's amazing."
"That's the stage of Kiyomizu for you! It has a stunning view overlooking the city of Kyoto."[link!] Tomo leaned over the railing in excitement, looking happier than usual.
Of course I was happy to see Tomo enjoying himself. Besides, I felt lucky that he'd unexpectedly brought me on a trip to Kyoto, just the two of us, and I really enjoyed all the sights and the trip was plenty fun.
But wasn't it just a bit too cold? If course, I did think the snowy scenery of Kyoto was elegant and beautiful, but I could tell that the cold bringing this snow was really deflating my feelings of enjoyment. It looked like I wasn't the only one thinking that. Maybe it was the cold, but there weren't many tourists.
"Hey, Yuki. Where do you want to go next?" Tomo asked cheerfully, as if he didn't even notice the cold.
"Tomo, you haven't decided where we're going after this?"
Tomo was originally the one who had a decided on a trip to Kyoto. Since he was really looking forward to it, I was sure he had some place he wanted to go....
"No, well..." With a strained smile, Tomo brought out a folded piece of paper from his coat pocket. "When I told Okaken I was going to Kyoto, he said 'I'll give you a list of places in Kyoto you have to go to, with commentary.' So I left it to him, saying the choices were all up to him. When I looked at Okaken's report on the bullet train on the way here, I couldn't use any of them."
"Uwah, this is awful..."
Okaken's report was crammed with text and pictures, and could have been called a catalog of haunted spots. Temples with rooms where blood-stained floorboards were re-used as ceilings, wells where ghosts were rumored to appear, and lots of things with shady histories, like burial mounds for severed heads, swords, and paintings on wall panels... [link!]
Just looking at the pictures printed in black and white made me shiver. Okaken... this would be bad even in the middle of summer, but in this cold weather, it's terrible....
"So I had no choice. I tried coming to Kiyomizu temple since it's a classic famous place even I could come up with.... But I can't think of anything else..."
"Isn't there anywhere else you want to go? You're the one who said Kyoto would be good, didn't you?"
It seemed this trip was a present from Suzubishi-san, Tomo's guardian and the previous director to Nao-nii, in gratitude for taking care of the issue of closing BL School. It looked like he'd told Tomo that it would be better to go abroad if he was going during winter break, but Tomo chose Kyoto. So I thought maybe there was somewhere in Kyoto he really wanted to go....
"I was the one who chose Kyoto, but there isn't really anything I want to see no matter what."
"Then why did you chose Kyoto?"
"Because it's classic for a school trip."
"A school trip?" I reflexively asked at the unexpected answer.
"Since the BL School trip is abroad every year, I wouldn't be able to go to Kyoto, right? And, I've never been on a school trip or anything. I've been on trips before, but only as outings from the orphanage, so a school trip to Kyoto has been a bit of dream of mine."
I see. While I was going on a school trip, innocently unaware, Tomo's everyday life was far from that. So that's why Tomo wanted to go on a school trip...
Suddenly Tomo pinched my cheeks and pulled them.
"What are you doing!?"
"We're on a special trip. Don't look so serious, smile, smile."
As he said it, Tomo squished my pulled cheeks back together with both hands and laughed at the weird face I made.
"Shtop it, Tomo."
When he'd had his fill of messing with my cheeks, he cupped them with his hands and peered right into my eyes, looking serious. "Listen, Yuki. While you're with me, no thinking about stuff like that all the time."
He'd seen through my feelings.
"I didn't bring you with me because I'm sad I didn't go on a school trip or wanted you to feel sympathy. I just wanted to go too, since you were enjoying yourself in class talking about when you went to Kyoto on your school trip."
"I see. But wouldn't it have been better if we hadn't come when it's so cold?"
"Of course I didn't know it was this cold in Kyoto in winter. You too, Yuki, why didn't you tell me?"
Smiling bitterly, Tomo was back to being the usual Tomo. I had to forget my sentimental feelings too.
"I never knew it was this cold either. When I went, it was the school trip season, so the weather was more bearable."
"I see. Then it couldn't be helped."
Tomo removed his hands from my cheeks and wrapped them around my back, hugging my body tight. "Since it's cold, we should do this." Holding me, Tomo leaned his weight on me and nuzzled his cheek on my shoulder, and chuckled. "This isn't school. Even if I do this, I don't have to care about public notice."
"Hey, Tomo! Even if this isn't school, you should care about public attention!"
"There's not many tourists with this snow, so it's fine."
"You say not many, but there are a few!" My words were forceful but I wasn't actually angry. And it was warm clinging to Tomo like this and made me happier than anything. Since there weren't many people around, even clinging like this would just look like high school students excited and messing around on a trip... or so I hoped.
After that, we went around in order to the places I had gone to on my school trip. Rather than automatically getting to our destinations on a tour bus, we looked at tourist information and transferred subways and busses going all over the place and it was really fun. We went sightseeing until we got exhausted, and, after sunset, when we arrived at the inn where we planned to stay the night, we were speechless.
The inn was really high class, so much so that you could even add ultra to that. It was clearly not the kind of inn that high school students could stay at. On top of the parking lot being filled with black cars, when we went in, we were greeted by the employees, who were all lined up. We were treated like we had suddenly become princes and were gratefully shown to the room.
The suite we were led to was a separate house in the middle of a large Japanese-style garden and all of it was our 'room.' There was even a personal open air bath. After the hostess left the room, we stood in the middle of the room for a while, just gaping at the incredibleness of it.
"Kazuki-san said he was familiar with a place in Kyoto, so he'd make arrangements there, but I didn't think the room would be this amazing.... How many dorm rooms could fit just in this room?"
"This house is bigger than my parents' house. The Suzubishis are really amazing."
"Yeah. When I think of how much this room costs for one night, I get nauseous..."
"Well, but Tomo, since this is a special reward, don't think about that and let's enjoy it!"
Dinner that day was of a grade no less than the room, a parade of equally high class ingredients. It was a first class Japanese full course meal of all sorts of seafood like crab, abalone, spiny lobster, wild tuna, puffer fish, sea bream, and even A5 rank wagyu. I was so excited and Tomo was left stunned. Long live the Suzubishis just for letting me eat such luxurious and delicious food.
"Fwaaah, it's kind of been... an incredible day." I sighed deeply, sinking into the open air bath up to my shoulders as the snow fell.
It was just how an open air bath should be. Even with the snow falling like this, I was warmed to the core. But because of the cold air, I could have stayed in there forever.
"Sure has. Something like this would never happen to me. I'm not you though, so I'm grateful to the Suzubishis."
Tomo stretched with a satisfied look on his face, submerged in the bathtub next to me.
"Yeah. And, I'm grateful to you too, Tomo."
"Me?" Tomo turned to me, looking puzzled.
"Well, this trip was a present to you from Suzubishi-san, right? Still, you brought me along, so I'm really grateful. Thanks, Tomo."
"What are you saying? That's my line."
He spoke, smiling, and it was my turn to be puzzled. "It's only natural. When the fuss about closing the school happened, all I could think about was running away. But, because you were there, the Bell One was held. We won the Bell One because you faced it with me and you gave me the determination to fight the board. All of it was thanks to you being there, Yuki."
"So I think this trip is a present for both of us. Thanks, Yuki." Tomo spoke looking right into my eyes.
I was weak against this serious, adult look he sometimes showed. My heart pounded and I could tell my face was getting red, like all the blood had rushed to my face. Just being looked at made me feel like this, and being thanked seriously too, made me so embarrassed I couldn't stand it.
Flusteredly hiding my flushed face by looking down, I tried to play it off with an embarrassed laugh. "It's embarrassing when you say stuff like that straight to my face. But I'm glad I came on this trip."
"Yeah. Since you'd hardly ever get to stay at such a luxury inn," Tomo said happily, splashing the bathwater with his hand.
"Not just for the inn. Since you've seemed so happy since you came to Kyoto."
I unconsciously leaned towards Tomo, who seemed doubtful. "It's true! When you're at school, even when you seem happy, I somehow get the feeling that you're not 100 percent enjoying yourself. It's like you're normally holding back a little, and you end up putting on the brakes right before you can enjoy yourself the fullest. But, after coming to Kyoto, I feel like you're enjoying yourself wholeheartedly."
When we were at school, it was just a vague feeling, but seeing Tomo after coming on the trip, I was definitely convinced. That Tomo was somehow hesitant at school.
"I see..." Tomo looked like he was a little surprised by my words. "You might be right. I haven't noticed myself, but when I'm at that school, maybe I'm always nervous in a way."
"It's being director. It's natural to feel nervous since you have a sense of responsibility."
"I'm not trying to be that pompous."
Tomo had a self-deprecating smile. But even though it was strained, I felt it was more tender than usual.
"I can worry about you, but I can't shoulder your burden. I'm really happy seeing you smile today, like you did when we played together a long time ago." It had been a long time since I had seen Tomo's heartfelt smile. I felt like just being able to see it made this trip worthwhile.
"I really had fun today. I think I enjoyed it because you were with me, but maybe that wasn't all," Tomo mused, stretching fully. "Professor Sakaki is standing in for me with school stuff during the trip, so while we're here, we have to let loose as much as we can."
"That's right! Since this is your first school trip, you have to enjoy it to the fullest! Let's do lots of things we can't do at school. Oh... I know! Why don't we have a pillow fight after this? That's classic for a school trip." We were probably the only guests who would have a pillow fight at such a high class inn, but cutting loose was what school trips were all about.
A pillow fight... Tomo considered, and smiled mischievously as if he had thought of something good. "Hey, Yuki. A pillow fight would be nice, but there's something I want to do first."
"Something you want to do?"
"Since we're alone in an open air bath, I want to do what I can't do at the school's public bath with you."
My heart raced in shock at the whispered words. Tomo moved in front of me and took my hand underwater. I felt myself get dizzy just being steadily watched with that serious look. Just for now, I was grateful for the snow that cooled my flushed face and the beautiful snowy landscape. I nodded at Tomo's heated glance as he waited for my reply, and Tomo wrapped his arms around my neck.
"Yeah. Let's really cut loose, Tomo."
We smiled at each other and I slowly closed my eyes. Tomo's lips gently touched mine.