Joker/Yuki short story
Well, it's Joker, so what did you expect? :D
"Aaah. That roller coaster was scary."
"Really? It was boring to me."
"But it was too scary. I never thought it would go in so many loops." My legs were still shaking.
"Well, if you enjoyed it, I guess it was a success," Joker-san said, smiling in amusement.
I wasn't quite sure myself if I had enjoyed the attraction or not, but if Joker-san was happy, then it was okay.
"Besides, you linked arms with me."
Huh? Arms? For the first time, I realized that I had been holding Joker-san's arm the whole time.
"Oh? You moved your hand away."
"But other people might think it's weird..."
"So? I don't mind it though."
That was right. Maybe it was because Joker-san had lived abroad, or it was his natural personality, but he was extremely open when it came to this sort of thing. I was happy to go on a date with Joker-san, but I still wasn't really used to it.
It was my first time to have a lover, and a man at that, but just the fact that it was Joker-san meant my experience level was no match for his. Even going on a date like this was like a dream and it didn't feel real at all. It felt like the time we spent was floating, like bubbles that might pop and vanish at any moment.
...Wait, what was I thinking? We were in the middle of a special date.
Huh? He was gone? He had just been next to me. When had he disappeared?
I tried calling his name, but there was no reply. I strained my eyes looking all around, but he wasn't anywhere. He'd vanished in front of me like smoke.
That's right. I'd try calling his cellphone. There was a ring. Once, twice...
He'd never actually disappear, he had just gone off for a bit to buy a drink or something. This wasn't actually a dream. ...Probably.
I waited hopefully for him to pick up. He did and the ring tone was interrupted.
'What is it, Yuki-kun?'
"Joker-san!? Oh, thank goodness. Where are you!?"
'Where?... I'm right here, aren't I? Right next to you.'
With the phone to my ear, I flusteredly looked around. But Joker-san was nowhere to be seen.
'That's strange. I can see you just fine.'
That prompted me to look around one more time, but after all, I didn't see him anywhere. Where was he? Inside a building? Or behind that pillar over there? Somewhere high? Or hiding behind something? There were too many colors and sounds around, I couldn't even find Joker-san whose looks stood out so much. I suddenly felt like a child that had gotten lost.
The more I looked, the more my panic rose. I was spinning, looking around so much I had become like a merry-go-round. "Um, are you teasing me? Please, stop hiding and come out."
'I'm not teasing you and I'm not hiding. How can you not see me?'
I knew he wasn't really playing with me, but I was suddenly struck with worry. I had felt it after the Bell One, it was the same worry as that time when I had reached out to him but couldn't reach even though he was so close.
At that moment, my body was suddenly pulled back. My back hit something warm and stopped. And the voice came from Joker-san directly, not from the phone pressed against my right ear. "Look, I'm right here."
"Joker-san..." I turned around and Joker-san embraced me gently. He chuckled with his usual smile.
"What's the matter?"
"Well, you look like you're going to cry. Did I do something to make you look like that?" Joker-san gazed at me with an expression that was slightly troubled.
That's right. It wasn't Joker-san's fault. I had just gotten worried on my own. But the worry, once kindled, wouldn't go away immediately. Joker-san's arms that were holding me were really gentle. It added to the pressure in my chest and my face twisted as if I really would cry. "I got worried."
"What do you mean?"
"I felt like after the Bell One, like maybe you'd gone somewhere I couldn't reach again..."
"So that's why... you were nearly crying."
"...Yes." I felt vaguely pathetic and embarrassed about bothering Joker-san with such arbitrary wild ideas, and I unconsciously hung my head.
"Are you always thinking about that?"
"Not really always, but I think about it sometimes. We love each other, but sometimes I wonder if that's just my one-sided assumption. I like you, but maybe you don't feel anything for someone like me..."
"That's not true."
"Yes.... Of course I know that."
I knew that very well. Joker-san loved me. Not just his words, but his attitude and actions, all of it told me that. Still, the shadow of worry kept popping up inside of me.
"I like you. Asahina Yuki, I love you. There's not the slightest lie in my feelings."
I knew that. Even though that's all I needed to say, I couldn't get the words out.
"You don't trust my words?"
"Phew... So my words are that untrustworthy."
I couldn't look at Joker-san's face. But I was sure he looked dissatisfied. Maybe I'd made him mad rather than dissatisfied. He murmured 'why?' in my ear like he was interrogating me, and I unconsciously confessed, "Well, you're good at lying, Joker-san. I can't see through it, and you're such a smooth talker that I end up wanting to believe it."
The voice that said that wasn't really angry. It was a voice tinged with a bitter smile that seemed to say 'I knew it.'
The arms embracing me released me and Joker-san raised one hand. It was like he was going to make an oath. "Then, I'll make you a promise."
"I guess it's a pledge rather than a promise? I will never tell a lie in front of you again. How about that?"
Even if he asked 'how about that?,' honestly I couldn't accept it. Probably, even if it wasn't me, if a hundred people knew Joker-san, a hundred people might say the same thing.
"You don't believe me? Then I'll offer proof." He lightly flipped his hand over and an oyster knife appeared from somewhere. The sunlight glinted off the silver blade. "I stake my hair as proof."
Before I could even get a word in, Joker-san took hold of his tied-up hair and brandished the knife in his hand.
The long, beautiful silver hair was sliced off at the roots and was carried lightly away by the wind right in front of my eyes. "Huh? Whaaa!? J, Joker-san! What are you doing!?"
"Now that I've gone this far, I wonder if you'll believe me?"
"You can't!! You can't do something like that for me."
"If I didn't, you wouldn't understand that I'm serious."
"But this! Getting worried was just my selfishness! But I didn't want you to do something like cut your hair!!" It was no good. I was going to cry. This time I was going to cry for real. Because of me, Joker-san's beautiful hair was.... I was near panic, and Joker-san chuckled.
Joker-san's hair was still there, right in front of me. His hair that he had just now completely cut off at the roots was back to normal, as if nothing had ever happened....
"Did you trick me again?"
"Were you surprised?"
"Yes.... But I'm glad you didn't really cut it...." As usual, Joker-san's pranks were bad for my heart. But this time, I was glad it was actually a lie, and I unconsciously laughed in relief.
"Hehe. I'm glad you laughed."
Laughing, I was once again embraced by Joker-san. It was much tighter than before. Bringing his lips close enough to touch my ear, Joker-san spoke gently. "As you know, I'm a liar. I'll probably lie from now on too. I'll tell you a lie anytime to make you smile. But believe this."
He looked me right in the eyes and smiled gently. "No matter how much I lie, I'll never tell a lie that will make you sad. So, trust me."
Oh. That's right. It was because he was that kind of person that Joker-san was Joker-san. I fell in love with him because he was that kind of person.
'Yeah,' I nodded, and he looked more relieved than I'd ever seen him.
As he said that, Joker-san's lips approached and I slowly closed my eyes.