Cramped, wet, and humid. Three words that could describe their tent.
As for Mikagami, he had another word: sloppy.
Not to mention the fact that at night, someone would kick him in the face.
"Shimatta…I can't take this heat anymore!!" Mikagami sat up from his sleeping bed. The crickets chirped so loudly he couldn't sleep. Good thing Koganei didn't snore. But he still kicked and hogged the tent.
Speaking of Koganei, he glanced at his companion. There he was, sleeping soundly. Mikagami was quite surprised the boy was smiling. What was he dreaming of? Suddenly Mikagami found himself smiling too.
He couldn't hide it anymore. He did want a little brother, when Mifuyu was still alive. Sure, he loved Mifuyu, but that didn't conceal the fact that he wanted to boss around someone too. Mifuyu always did that with him. Somehow, when you're the authority, even though you can be bossy, you feel a great love for the one you're taking care of. And you feel happy.
Koganei was cheeky, bratty, but he could be a great little brother.
The reason why he chose to accompany the boy was Kagerou's too: to teach him to love his youth and the outdoors. But that was partly. He also felt he wanted to spend time with him, though he didn't feel that until now.
Mifuyu, you took care of me when I was little. You taught me the right path. Now I have to take care of this boy too like you did to me.
It was Mifuyu who took care of him because they were already orphans.
"We have a lot in common Koganei." He slid under the covers and turned his back on the boy.
"You're Kaoru Koganei, right?"
Koganei cocked an eyebrow. He was eating a corn-on-the-cob with a lot of boys on a long table. Mikagami was sitting in front of him. He glanced at the newcomer.
"Hi, my name is Sakura** Aki. From Class I-A." She smiled at him.
Mikagami looked at the girl's features. She was cute, had bouncy brown hair which was styled in a bob. Also, she wore a white beret. He immediately sensed she liked Koganei. A small smile appeared on his face.
"Leave me alone."
"Okay! I'll see you at the campfire, Ko-chan!" She skipped off.
Koganei felt wary of the girls, that's why he was hiding in the tent, reading a manga. He could sense Sakura's eyes were on him every second of the day. He would catch her smiling at him, then turning red.
"Huh? Mi-niichan?" He didn't notice his chaperone was already in the tent.
"Why are you talking to yourself?"
"Never mind, Nii-chan." Koganei returned to his manga reading.
Mikagami went over to him and snatched the book. "HEY!!" Koganei instantly yelled.
"It's campfire time, baka."
"I know." Koganei went into "sulking" mode. "That's why I'm staying here. I don't want to sing any of their, lame, songs."
"They're not singing songs." Mikagami folded his arms across his chest. "They're telling ghost stories."
"Ghost stories?" His ears perked up.
"Yes, and Sakura was looking for you."
"Th-that girl!?" Koganei spluttered. He crawled backwards into the tent wall. "Did you tell him I was here!?"
"No, I told him you were at the river."
Koganei let out a big sigh. "Whew…now I can be free at the campfire!"
Mikagami eyed him. "I thought you didn't want to go to the campfire."
"W, well, Sakura's the reason why I DIDN'T want to go!!" Koganei replied defensively.
Hn. The whole time he was quarreling with Kagerou he kept yelling he didn't like campfires. I guess the ghost stories got to him. At least.
"Okay, then let's go."
The two stood up and prepared to go to the clearing. Koganei suddenly got a thought.
"Hey Nii-chan…why did'ya tell Sakura I was at the river?"
The fire wasn't too much help. Koganei shivered, but not from the cold.
Hinagiku, the girl who was telling the story, was one great story teller. The tone of her voice made every word of hers so eerie. It was already dark, and the mood was just right. Everyone was on the edge of their seats.
This is getting real creepy, Koganei admitted to himself.
Suddenly, someone screamed.
Hinagiku stopped the story. "Hey, I know my story is scary but not that scary!!!"
"It didn't come from here." One of the chaperones said.
A boy named Ashitaro immediately exclaimed, "It wasn't me, it wasn't me!!!"
"Oh, shut up." Koganei muttered. He stared at Mikagami, who seemed to be in a trance.
"Koganei." He said.
"It's from the river."
The two ran as fast as they could. The others were left behind to look for lamps and ropes.
"Mi-nii-chan…" Koganei panted, "Th, that was Sakura, right?"
"Yes. I think she might have…got into an accident. We have to get there immediately."
Koganei frowned. "It's your fault! Why did you tell her I was at the river?"
Suddenly Mikagami stopped running. He turned around.
"What?" A frowning Koganei demanded.
A slap followed.
"OUCH!!!" Koganei yelled in pain. Oh, can Mikagami slap hard! He was thrown backwards.
"WHY DID YOU DO THAT!!!???"
"Koganei!! You're ashamed of going to camp and singing 'lame' songs when you should be ashamed of yourself!"
"Huh?" Koganei stared at his chaperone. He had never seen this look in Mikagami's eyes.
"You were disrespectful to Kagerou, you spoke to her like she was your peer, when she was only thinking for your sake and you're not even her son! You were impolite to Sakura, who was only trying to know you better! If you continue to be like that, you will grow up having no friends in the end."
Koganei was stunned.
"I told Sakura to you were at the river because I didn't want her to be disrespected by you. You'll embarrass her, and then you'll smile with glee! You say you want to grow up, but what kind of gentleman presents impertinence to women?"
Koganei looked down and couldn't say a word. The pain in his cheek didn't hurt so much anymore. Unlike Mikagami's words.
"If you will just be rude, I will leave you here."
Mikagami then ran off, into the darkness.
Once more, Koganei sulked in the middle of the forest.
"I was rude? When??"
"I think it would be FUN and GREAT for you." She patted the little boy's head with a smile. "You should go."
"What!!??" Koganei yelled. "What's so fun about spending time with a bunch of kids who sit around a -whatcha call that- campfire!??"
"I've told you people a million times," he muttered. "It's boring in there!! No TV, no games…"
"They play games there, Kaoru." Kagerou corrected.
"I mean, VIDEO games. And what they do there are all so LAME."
"Leave me alone."
He bit his lip. "Mi, Mi-nii-chan's right. I- I was rude to Kagerou-san, and to Sakura. Even to Yanagi-nee-chan and Ganko."
The moon shone on him, as if it was telling him there was still hope for him to say sorry and change his ways. The path to the the river cleared out.
"Yeah, that's right!" A smile of repentance came to him. "I'll apologize to Nii-chan."
It was no use. The current was too fast. If Sakura tried to reach any further, her hand would let go and she would be swept away.
"Please! Help me!!"
"Hold on, Sakura!!" Mikagami was kneeling at the bank, running out of solutions.
A rustle came out of the bushes. He hoped there would be no more problems.
Mikagami was surprised. "K, Koganei??"
Koganei ran out, dirty from the forest soil. "Nii-chan, I'm sorry! I'm sorry I was so rude!!"
Mikagami felt relief wash over him. At last, he learned his lesson. I hope he keeps it. He remembered Sakura's dilemma.
"That's all right! Now help me here!!! FAST!"
The two made a bridge to Sakura. Mikagami was the one over the river, and Koganei held him tight on the bank.
"Okay, Sakura, take my hand!!"
Mikagami clasped it.
But the current was too strong.
"AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Sakura was pulled.
And so was Mikagami.
Koganei tumbled backwards.
Fortunately, there was still a rock which Mikagami could hold on to. This was more exhausting. He also held Sakura's hand, who was now unconscious.
Koganei was helpless in the bank. The current would be too strong for him to pull the two again. Oh, if only he had the Kougon Anki, he could use the second form Ryu…
Mikagami's yell broke his thoughts. He managed to wake up Sakura and tell her to clutch the rock.
A bright thing flew into the air. It fell neatly into his hands.
Koganei gasped. It was…the Ensui.
B, but Nii-chan never lets anyone touch this!! W, why me??
"Koganei!! Use that to cut vines from the forest!!"
"U, use the Ensui!!??"
"YES!! Now dip it in the water!!"
When he pulled it out, a shining blade was formed.
"HURRY UP, KOGANEI!!!"
The little boy scrambled into the forest. He couldn't run so fast, because there were a lot of obstacles in his way. Also, the vines he saw were too short. He needed many long ones to create a sturdy rope.
Two minutes had passed. He hoped he wasn't lost in the forest. "Come on, Koganei, we need those vines!!!" he scolded himself. He prayed Mikagami and Sakura were still all right.
Like an answer to his prayers, he came face-to-face with a big tree with lots of long vines.
"Yes!!" He positioned himself into Mikagami's favorite stance, and made a big swipe.
The vines fell. He hurriedly tied them together and ran back to the river.
Mikagami's eyes were closing. This was tiring. And the river was so cold. He hoped Koganei wasn't lost somewhere.
There was Koganei, in the bank. He held one end of the vine rope. The other end was tied to a tree.
"Here!!" He tossed the vine. Mikagami caught it, and grabbed Sakura's hand.
"Is this sturdy enough!?" he nervously called out. Koganei was pulling hard as he could.
The two were nearing the bank.
Mikagami couldn't help smiling before his eyes closed.
"Are, are you all right nii-chan??"
The Ensui wielder coughed out some water. "I, I'm fine." His eyes were still a bit blurry. "Is Sakura unconscious?"
"Does this look like unconscious to you?"
Mikagami opened his eyes to see Sakura hugging Koganei tightly.
"Ko-chan!! Thank you for saving me!! You are so great!!!"
"Hey, don't get me wet!!!" But he was still blushing.
"Sakuraaaaaa!!!!!!" somebody yelled.
They looked at the bushes. There was the whole camp team.
"Hinagikuuuuuu!!!!!!!" Sakura greeted and ran over to her best friend. Everyone crowded around her.
Koganei and Mikagami were left in the bank.
"Ouch." Koganei looked at his hands. They were full of blisters.
"Do they hurt?"
"No, not really." The truth was, he kinda felt good about it. Proofs of heroism.
Mikagami looked at him. "You did a good job, 'tooto."
Koganei beamed. "Thanks, nii-chan." Suddenly his eyes widened.
"What did you call me!!??"
*I only assumed that Ganko was in fourth grade because she looked too young for anything else.
** An inserted character who likes Koganei. I picture Sakura looking like Card Captor Sakura.
This is my second Flame of Recca fic, and I hope you like it. Anzai Nobuyuki still owns Flame of Recca and all of its characters, though.