“Madoka-kun! Madoka-kun!” I slowly opened my eyes. As soon as the bright light hit them, I closed them tightly and opened them to a squint. I could make out that the light belonged to a flashlight. Kazuo was straddling my waist and staring down at me with excitement. I blinked. We were young again. Thirteen at summer camp in Hiroshima. I looked around cautiously.
“Put that away. You’ll get caught.” Kazuo turned the flashlight off and put a finger to his mouth.
“Oh, Madoka-kun, you’re always so stubborn. Follow me!” He whispered. Kazuo stood up, releasing me from his tight straddle and began running towards the tent opening. I struggled to get up as I was tangled in my covers. “Hurry, Madoka!” I pushed myself up and hurried out of the tent after spraying my bare legs with bug repellent and throwing on my hoodie. I ran down the same hill as Kazuo almost tripping halfway down. He was crawling under a large pile of sticks. I looked down at my legs and sighed. I followed him cautiously. Kazuo crawled out into the open night and began running. “Hurry up!” We were far from the camp.
“Shinjuro-san!” I yelled.
“Madoka! Hurry you’ll miss it!” I frowned and bent over holding my knees, gasping for air. I will not get in trouble this time. I began turning back when I heard a blood-curdling scream.
“Shinjuro-san!” I yelled. No answer. I looked back in the direction of the camp, then ran in Kazuo’s direction. I tripped and began rolling down a hill hitting my head hard until I hit solid bottom. I saw through hazy vision, bloody gashes on my bare legs and tasted metal in my mouth. “Shinju-ro-san… “
As my eyes closed, cold water was poured over my head. My eyes shot open and I saw a sleepy Kazuo squatting in front of me. I blinked and scratched the back of my wet head.
“Madoka,” Kazuo said sternly. I gripped my covers and nodded. “You woke me up with your screaming,” he whined.
“Gomen’nasai,” I whispered sheepishly. Kazuo shifted and walked over to the light switch. He turned it on and stretched. He wasn’t young anymore. His normally straight, caramel hair was messy and disheveled. He stood at six-five to my six-three. I stared at his appearance. Worn t-shirt, boxers, and socks. While, I, on the other hand, only wore an oversized shirt that Kazuo had given to me when we were younger that I still couldn’t fit in with my frail form and briefs. Kazuo put on his glasses and looked over at me. I pulled my covers up to my chin and crossed my legs under them feeling nude. He laid the back of his hand against my forehead, clicked his tongue, and scratched his chin stubble.
“How about some tea?” I turned away with my arms crossed.
“I am not a child, Shinjuro.” Kazuo was already walking towards the door.
“All right, and would you like sugar with that?” I blushed and looked down at my hands.
I sipped the delicious, hot tea from the small, antique china cup Kazuo’s grandmother had given to him in her will. It was a delicate cup filled with delicate Earl Grey tea. I sat the cup on the tray next to me. Kazuo had his hands on his hips as he looked at me with a worried expression.
“What was it about this time?” I let my bangs fall in my face hiding my eyes so I couldn’t look at him.
“Camping in Hiroshima.” Kazuo chuckled.
“You’ve had so many of those lately… “ he trailed off. “Would you like to sleep in my room?” I looked away from him and tapped my finger against my thigh. I pondered it for a while thinking of the last time we shared a bed. His soft lips grazing against mine. It was nothing more than a tired and rough kiss, but it was enough to send my body into shock. I stood up and slipped my kimono on.
“I will be taking the bed. You can have the floor.” Kazuo held his hands up in surrender. I made my way down the narrow hallway and into Kazuo’s room. Kazuo followed behind closely with the tray of tea. I crawled under Kazuo’s soft covers and snuggled into the pillows. I heard Kazuo sigh and set the tray next to the bed. He took his spot on the floor.
After stirring in bed and trying to get comfortable, I sat up and rubbed my eyes on the verge of tears from being extremely stressed and frustrated. Kazuo stirred in his sleep. I slipped out of bed and tiptoed over his sleeping form. I walked outside into the cold night. Snow was beginning to stick to the ground. I pulled a cigarette out of the box that was in my kimono’s breast pocket and lit it up with ease. As I puffed the crisp smoke into the air, I felt warm arms wrap around my waist. I leaned back against the figure holding me.
“What is it now?” I heard Kazuo mumble into my neck. I turned in his arms and buried my face in the crook of his neck.
“I can’t sleep… “ I trailed off. Kazuo nodded and guided me back into the warmth of his house. I began to cry. Kazuo turned to me and lifted up my chin. I sniffled and rubbed at my eyes. “I want to go home, Shinjuro-san. I’m lonely… “ Kazuo pulled away from me and stared me straight in the eyes. I had to force myself to look away before he pulled me into his world.
“If you’re lonely here with me, why does being left alone in that horrible place that keeps you up at night any different? Am I that bad?” Kazuo’s voice wavered. I began to sob.
“I need someone to take me home. I want to go back to where people actually like me.” Kazuo stared at my helpless, sobbing figure before pulling me into a hug and kissing the nape of my neck softly. I gripped onto his shoulders.
“... I like you.” I looked up at Kazuo helplessly.
“Shinju-Ka-Kazuo-kun,” I said in tears. Kazuo wrapped an arm around my waist and guided me back to his room where we both lay in his soft bed. My heart was filled with warmth as he hovered over me.
“This is your home, Madoka. I am your home.” Kazuo leaned down slowly and pressed his lips against mine forming a soft, passionate kiss. I sighed and tangled my fingers in his caramel hair staring into his hazel eyes.
“Yes?” The beautiful man above me whispered in my ear.
“Take me home.” Kazuo smiled and kissed my neck.
With my legs tucked in between Kazuo’s and my head against his muscular chest, I held onto him tightly my face still flushed from his love. “I love you,” I whispered into his neck.
“I love you, too, Madoka.”