Chapter 5: The Meaning of Home

Warning: This chapter contains intense, major yaoi.

***Scene 5.1: Blackmail***

Something about waking up next to Karma made me feel blissful, reassured, and confident. He continued sleeping while I went downstairs to help my mother make breakfast and a bento for lunch. I decided I would stand up for myself today. If I could just have a calm, honest talk with Mom, I could tell her that from now on I had no intention of playing along with her delusions. I could kindly recommend that she go see a counselor or a psychiatrist. If I told her how terrible she had been making me feel, surely Mom would come around and listen to reason. Such were the lies I told myself. In reality, Hiromi Shiota was already too far gone.

When I entered the dining room next to the kitchen, I didn't see or smell any signs of breakfast being made. Laid out on the table were assortments of cosmetics and jewelry of mid-range value. Hung over the chair, in a plastic bag that suggested it had just been dry-cleaned, there was a girl's school uniform. It looked exactly like the ones Kayano and Okuda wore at our high school, Konishi Koko Gakuen. As I stared at the items before me, feeling more uncomfortable by the second, my mother walked into the room.

As usual, she was a mess, wearing a grey blouse with ragged seams that didn't at all match with her khaki pants, garish golden necklace, and black bracelet. Her hair probably hadn't been brushed in two days, and I could tell from the dark circles under her bloodshot eyes that she hadn't slept a wink. Seeing mom like this was not only frightening, but heartbreaking, too.

Not for the first time, I wondered if all she did in the evenings was drink; was it possible she was doing drugs as well? She certainly looked that deranged. Drinking all night would eventually make a person pass out and sleep- unless, of course, they were using stimulants. I had seen mom with a bottle of pills before, and she insisted it was prescribed medication for her constant headaches. I doubted that. So I decided to talk to her about that issue, too.

"Good morning, my little Nagisa," said my mother, hugging me. I accepted the embrace because I wanted to start off the conversation on a good note. It was difficult to endure it, though, since she smelled like she hadn't showered or brushed her teeth in three days.

"Mom," I began boldly, once I was released, "we need to talk."

"What is it you want to talk about, sweetheart?" Mom inquired in her doting voice.

I started off so well, speaking evenly and clearly with a half-smile on my face. "Well, Mom, I think that home should be a place where a growing boy can feel safe and relaxed. Home is the place where you feel most loved and accepted, and a place where loved ones live with you. But you see, lately, this house hasn't felt like home at all. For one thing, y-you—"

At that point, I stammered, but quickly I found the courage to resume—"Um, you sometimes yell at me or hit me. Those things hurt me, you know, even if I'm a high school boy. And about that: well, I want you to try to accept that I'm a boy. I can't play along with you anymore. From an outsider's point of view," and here I prepared myself to be a little harsh, "you seem mentally ill. You don't have a daughter; that's a delusion. You have me, your son, Nagisa. And…"

What I wanted to say next was something along the lines of, "And I know you have a problem with drinking too much and taking pills," but my voice went dead before I could say it, because Mom looked terrifying. Her expression had changed so quickly. Just a moment ago, she was smiling that spacey smile and speaking in a light, sweet tone. Now, she just glared at me, eyes on fire, fists clenched, body trembling from rage (and probably stimulant drugs).

"What nonsense are you spouting?!" Mom demanded. She took a tea cup off the table and threw it—not right at me, but in my direction. It shattered a few inches from me. "I didn't raise my daughter to tell lies like this! I didn't raise my daughter to insult me, either! You think I'm mentally ill?! You think you can get away with just saying that? And you also won't get away with looking down on me like this!"

"Please calm down, Mom," I implored, standing up and putting up my hands to show I meant no harm. "Don't break things. It only creates a mess. Now, if you—"

"Shut up!" cried my mother, stomping her feet like a little child and using a shrill, savage voice. "Why?! Why are you saying these things to me? Why won't you behave? Why won't you wear what you're supposed to? Why did your voice have to start changing? What is happening to my poor daughter?!"

"I am not your daughter," I told her straightforwardly. "I am your son."

Hiromi Shiota looked at me with revulsion, as if I were some slimy monster that just crawled out of hell. "If you're not my sweet Nagisa," she screamed, "then leave this house! Get out! I can't stand the sight of you!"

"Mom, you can't kick your own kid out just because it's convenient for you." This time the anger in my voice was evident. I couldn't take much more of this.

"Don't talk back to me!" the woman screamed.

Grabbing a handful of my hair, she took my head and slammed it down against the table. I wanted to fight back, but a nagging voice inside kept stopping me. I didn't want to hurt my mother. So I endured. My mother repeatedly pulled my head up by my hair only to force it smashing down onto the table again and again. While doing this, she howled insults and words to shame me. Male. Disappointment. Rebel. Ungrateful. Hurtful. Dangerous. Male. Disgusting. Problem child. Failure. Male. Disobedient. Incorrigible. Worthless. Male. Useless. Trash. Scum. Male. When she ran out of insults, my mother stopped bashing my head on the table, but by then, the skin of my forehead broke had already broken and I started bleeding.

I stood up dizzily, looking down at my mother, who had fallen to her knees, sobbing. She was probably crying out of self-pity and not remorse. With blood running all down my face and my eyes cold as ice, I glared at her.

"Yes, I am male," I stated, no longer trying to hide the fact that my voice had changed and I actually sounded masculine. "Do you accept it now, Mom? That you have a son?"

"Give me back my sweet Nagisa," was mother's only answer. The awful woman shot me a poisonous glance, which should have warned me what was coming next, but I was still dizzy and foggy-headed from the beating. Shiota Hiromi staggered to her feet, slapped me in the face as hard as she could, and finished by kicking me in the groin. I fell, completely defeated.

I'm not sure what would have happened next if Karma hadn't made his presence known. He came in from the next room holding his smart phone and looking decidedly smug. "Hello, Mrs. Shiota," he began in a pleasant tone of voice. "I have just recorded the audio of your transaction here on my smart phone. I have also recorded video evidence. You see, last night I installed a few hidden cameras: one by the stairway, one in the kitchen, and one here in the dining room. Here it is."

As he spoke, Karma put his phone safely in his pocket, and then walked up to where he had hidden a tiny visual recording device. He removed it and put it in his pocket as well. Instinctively, my mother moved to slap him and take away his phone and camera. However, Karma easily dodged the woman's swipes.

"You brat," growled Hiromi Shiota, looking daggers at the redhead. "What are you doing in my house? I'll call the police. Get on your hands and knees and apologize to me for being so disrespectful! And while you're at it, tell me what the hell you think you're going to do with what you recorded? Show it to the police, if you want, but they won't be able to do anything."

"Oh, I don't know about that," Karma replied with a smile. Mom kept getting closer to him and trying to hit him, and he kept skillfully dodging, looking as if he was dancing. "If I show this evidence to the police, they will most likely make sure it gets sent to the Child Protection Agency. After all, I contacted them yesterday afternoon and explained that Nagisa was being abused. They said they couldn't act right away but they would send out a social worker shortly. When he or she arrives, I think I'll just hand them the evidence I've recorded."

Finally, Mom grasped the gravity of the situation. Even if she called the cops, they wouldn't be on her side. They would see me hurt and bleeding, and Karma and I would both testify that my mother did it. Karma would explain how a social worker would be coming soon, and that would undoubtedly convince the cops that the problem at hand was with Hiromi Shiota and no one else. Unless Mom did something, the social worker would most assuredly receive evidence of abuse and from there take action. She wouldn't be able to stand the personal and social humiliation of having her child taken away because of her inability to be a good mother.

"Oh, and there's more," Karma continued. From his pocket, he fished out an orange, unlabeled bottle of pills. It was one of the ones I'd seen Mom using. "You left this in the kitchen because you were so drunk and high," said the red-haired demon with his characteristic devilish laugh. "You said you wanted to call the police? Go ahead. Nagisa and I will hand them this bottle and testify that it's yours. The cops will probably search your belongings and find more, too. These pills are probably a controlled substance. You'll be charged with illegal possession."

"Why, you horrible brat," my mother said with a sharp intake of breath.

"Hey," Karma added, looking genuinely curious as he inspected one of the pink pills from the bottle, "so what is this drug? I don't think the hard stuff like molly and meth come in pill form. So, is it Adderall? Ritalin? Do you eat the pills, or just crush them and snort them? I'd love to know how it's best enjoyed, for future reference. I really don't know why you would mix smart drugs and uppers with booze, though. Sounds like a bad time. And it's just a stupid idea. It's proof your mind's not in a good place."

While Karma talked, I picked myself off the floor, took a rag from the kitchen, wetted it with water, and wiped the blood off my face. I kept watching Mom and my boyfriend closely. I had never seen my mother look so dangerously livid before, but she was forced to keep her temper in check. She couldn't land a hit on Karma. And if she didn't do something about him, he would expose her as a child abuser and a user of drugs. Hiromi Nagisa stood still for a minute, her body quivering, her eyes darting this way and that, her toasted mind searching for a solution.

"Wh-what is it you want from me?" asked the awful woman in a careful tone of voice.

"Oh, so you do understand." Karma sounded delighted. "That's right—I'm doing this because I want something from you. I'll tell you my conditions. First of all, let Nagisa move into a shared apartment with me. Sign his forms as the legal adult who is allowing it. Second, pay Nagisa's share of the rent, at least until he can find a job and earn money himself. My aunt has already agreed to this plan and looks forward to your cooperation. She will pay my share of the rent. My third condition is this: don't you ever hurt Nagisa again."

Suddenly, the young man's impish smile was gone, and he looked dangerous. "If I ever see a single bruise or bit of broken skin that you caused, Mrs. Shiota, I'll immediately give the cops a tip that you're in possession of drugs. I'll also send my recorded video and audio evidence of child abuse to the Child Protection Agency. On the other hand, if you meet my demands, I will make sure no living soul hears or sees anything about your bad habits." Here Karma reverted back into cheery business-man mode, extending a hand for my mother to shake. "Well now, tell me. Do you agree to my terms?"

Slowly, my mother put out her hand, and looking hateful as hell, she shook with Karma. I had never been so happy to see Mom defeated and at a total loss. I wanted to cheer and shout for joy, but that would be too childish. I wanted to run to Karma, throw myself in his arms, kiss him, and thank him for this stroke of absolute genius. However, I was too embarrassed to do that in front of my mom. So when I walked over to Karma, all I did was give him a quick hug.

"Thank you, Karma," I said genuinely. Living with him and finally being away from my mother had sounded like pipe dreams until that moment.

He whispered in my ear, "If you really want to show that you're thankful, come to my Aunt's house with me after school today. We'll have some fun in my king-size bed."

I blushed bright red and didn't know what to say or do. Looking around, I noticed the clock on the wall, and realized I was late for school. I hurriedly packed some leftovers from the fridge into two bento boxes for myself and Karma. Then we both went on our way. We left Hiromi Nagisa sobbing in a corner and didn't feel a single twinge of guilt about it.

Very soon, Karma and I would start living together. Leaving the home of my childhood sounded a little scary, but mostly exciting. As I told my mother before, home is the place where you feel most accepted and welcome, and where loved ones live with you. It's a place that feels safe. My true home was already with Akabane Karma. It didn't matter where we went. As long as he kept loving me, I would always feel at home with him.

***Scene 5.2: Shared Joy***

I still didn't feel ready for sex, and Karma was very understanding. Still, we had our share of pleasure that night at his Aunt's house. I let him throw me on my back on the bed. He sat on my legs just below my crotch, and leaned forward, holding himself up with his arms, till our faces almost touched.

Before I could speak, before I could even think, Karma kissed me. His lips were rough and his body was so warm. I put my arms around his neck and let my hands play with his hair while we kissed again. In a sweet voice, Karma told me to open my mouth, and I followed his direction. I felt his tongue touch mine as we locked our mouths together in a longer, more passionate kiss. So this was how real lovers kissed, I thought, as my tongue played with his.

Next, Karma undid the buttons on my school uniform; his hands were strong, but clean and well-kept, without calluses or broken nails. Removing my undershirt, he exposed my thin, pale torso and chest. He kissed me on my stomach, on my solar plexus, and on each side of my chest. When he started licking my pecks, I accidentally let out a sigh of pleasure.

I felt embarrassed, but Karma chuckled, and told me to be as loud as I wanted. His aunt was out of town, after all. He licked, pinched, and sucked on my nipples until I was rock-hard and almost ready to beg him to let me get myself off.

Karma wouldn't allow that, though. He unzipped my pants, pulled them down, reached under my boxers, and found my handle. "I'll make you feel out of this world," the redhead said, as he put it in his mouth. That night, I discovered the wonder of a good blowjob. My devilish lover played with and sucked on my cock until it had me moaning. He took it out of his mouth just before I exploded. Karma's neck and the lower half of his face was splashed with white.

"I'm sorry," I barely managed to mutter. I was on cloud nine.

"Don't be sorry." Karma wiped some of my seed onto his hand, licked it up, and actually swallowed it.

"It seems like that would be disgusting," I said, suddenly embarrassed again.

"Not at all. I like it." Karma took off his shirt and pulled off his pants. "Now you can practice by getting me off. You can just use your hands this time. I know not everybody is willing to suck a dick right away."

I was so glad that he understood and had such patience with me. One day, I would learn to do things as sexily and dirtily as he did. For the time being, though, all I could manage was giving him a hand-job and practicing my kissing technique with him. Karma's cock was bigger than mine and he made an even bigger mess than me when he came, which happened pretty quickly. He was so eager.

With both of us feeling relieved, we went to bed in just our underwear and held each other. Karma's body was warm and made me feel heavenly. I fell asleep in his embrace.