Nuevo Rich Princess
Mabase. Home. Naota was returning after spending his summer vacation with his brother in America. He wished that he had never gone; all he and his brother did was fight. It was amazing to think he ever idolized that man… Anyway, he was back in Mabase, and even though he could never have guessed that he would ever be glad to be back here, he was. Living here may be a slow death, but at least it didn't hurt much. Well, it did, but it was a dull pain, not a sharp one. He could put his time with his brother in the back of his mind, pretend that it never happened. Just get caught up in day-to-day life and forget he ever had a brother. That would be easy, in a place where every day was exactly like the last--a place so boring that even a series of robot fights and the thwarting of an alien invasion attempted by Medical Mechanical couldn't shock some life into it. Mabase. Home.
"Mamimi sent you a letter, Naota-kun," Kamon said when Naota came in the door, holding said item in Naota's general direction while he talked on the phone. Something about a paper. So Dad's still publishing that rag, eh? Naota grabbed the letter as he walked by and headed up stairs. He sat down on his bed and opened it; she wrote him about how she was doing in the city, about how her career as a photographer was going, and asked how his trip to America went.
Naota sighed, stood up, and went over to his desk, where he wrote a response. He told her that he was glad that her life was working out, and then told her about the sights he saw overseas, not mentioning his brother or his brother's fiancé, Rachel, once. It wasn't that he was afraid of how she would react if he told her that he was getting married; she was over him now. It was just that he did not want to think about his brother, or the fight they had. Besides, that fight had been about Mamimi, even though she hadn't been romantically linked to Naota in three years or to his brother in longer. Those kinds of things didn't go away, though. Those kinds of issues never went away. You could bury them, if you were willing to pay the price of that much more strain to your sanity, though. Thing was, the two of them face to face, Naota couldn't stand not saying anything about it. And now it was off his chest, but there was a price for that, too; his illusions about his brother. For everything, a price. Naturally.
Nandaba Naota walked home from school. All he had wanted to do was to forget about ever seeing his brother, but of course, everyone just had to know what America was like. Everyone wanted to know what places he went and what phrases of English he had picked up and all whatnot. And if Ta-kun was famous yet, of course. (Incidentally, the truth was that he was hardly major leagues yet, but he was beginning to get up there.)
Someone was sitting on the stairs to the subway. Naota knew that purple hair anywhere. "Hey, what are you doing here, you delinquent?" he said cheerily.
Ninamori Eri jumped, looked for the voice, and saw Naota smiling down at her. "Like you should be talking. You do realize you missed the first week of school, right?"
"Hey, it's not my fault my flight was delayed," Naota said defensively.
"Uh-uh, sure," Ninamori said dismissively.
"If I could have been back sooner, trust me, I would have," Naota said darkly.
Ninamori raised her eyebrow. "Trouble in paradise?"
Paradise. Hardly. "It's my brother…I would rather not talk about it," Naota said. Ninamori nodded. Naota looked around. "Say, isn't this where Haruko ran us over?"
Ninamori nodded. "The day I slept over at your house." She smiled wistfully. "We never told anybody." Then she shook her head, "We never talk anymore, do we?"
"I guess not," Naota said nonchalantly. After all, they were from two different crowds. Ninamori was one of the popular kids, and Naota was one of the weirdo loners. He didn't mind. Not having to live up to the expectations of popularity gave him freedom to be who he wanted to be.
"I think we should," Ninamori said. "Talk, that is."
"Oh?" asked Naota.
Ninamori nodded. "Meet me back here next Monday, after school."
What was this? he thought suspiciously. Naota shrugged, "Okay," he said noncommittally, fearing a trap.
Ninamori was already there when Naota showed up. He headed straight there after school, so she must have cut the end of class to get there ahead of him. Then again, he was walking at a leisurely place (didn't want her thinking that he was too eager to see her). Still, he should have seen if she passed him, unless she took a different route. "So, what's this about?" Naota asked.
Ninamori shrugged. "Nothing in particular."
"Then why did you want to meet me now?" asked Naota.
"I wanted to wait until your new-found popularity died down," Ninamori said matter-of-factly, as though it were the most logical thing in the world.
"That doesn't make any sense," Naota complained.
"Popularity doesn't suit you, Naota," Ninamori said. "Yeah, you can do popular when it is thrust upon you, but it's not really who you are."
"And who are you to decide?" Naota asked, his hackles beginning to raise. "Are you really that jealous of your popularity that you can't stand to see anyone else become popular, even for a little bit?"
"Not of my popularity…" Ninamori sighed. "C'mon, let's go do something."
"Like what?" Naota asked shocked.
"How about a movie? My treat," Ninamori said.
"Are you asking me out on a date?" Naota asked, uncomprehending.
"Something like that," Ninamori said. "Movie, yes or no?"
Naota regained his composure. "What movie?"
"Whatever's on when we get there," Ninamori said. "Let's go."
"I suppose it couldn't hurt," Naota said. Ninamori led Naota to some run-down theater, bought tickets and refreshments, and then lead him into the movie. "So, what movie are we watching?"
"Some remake," Ninamori said dismissively.
That was the beginning of a series of such secret encounters. It couldn't really be called dating, because Naota thought that the reason they were "secret" was because she was embarrassed to be seen with him (which Naota no doubt resented), and Eri wished that she could tell him the truth--but that was, possibly, even worse than what he thought. Naota had accused her of being jealous of her popularity, that first time. The truth was, she was jealous of him. If they were seen together, as a couple, then her popularity wouldn't be able to help but to rub off on him, and then he would no longer be entirely hers, hers to hoard, to keep entirely to herself, hers to shower with gifts. Well, she could still do that last part, but it would be less because she wanted to and more in order to keep him--at least, in her mind.
And she did shower him with gifts. After all, it wasn't like she couldn't afford to; her family was the richest in Mabase. Besides, to her, it was as natural an expression of love as any; after all, getting her stuff was how her parents had expressed their love for her, was it not? It was how her father expressed love for her mother, was it not? So, then, why shouldn't she use the tactic herself to express her love for Naota?
Eri tickled the back of Naota's neck--she had slowly gotten courageous with her touch, starting with his hand, then his arm, then his shoulder, and now his hair and the back of his neck; aside from the other shoulder (which was purely academic), it was almost all you could justify touching while sitting next to someone, if you wanted to stay platonic. In fact, it crossed the line in some places, but Eri didn't see it as an invitation to try more overt things. She was just stealing what she could get away with. "Why aren't you wearing that watch I gave you?" Eri asked.
"Using the stuff you give me always makes me feel like a leach," Naota said.
Eri sighed mentally; he was in one of his pissy moods. Eri tried to imagine her mother saying something like that to her father, and couldn't. She'd just think it her due. "If you were a girl and I were a guy and it were jewelry, you wouldn't be complaining," she complained.
"Yeah…well…that's different," Naota said. Eri just looked at him. "Well…okay, maybe not, but still, I don't like feeling like a leach," he said defensively. "All this stuff you get me, what are you, my sugar mama?"
"I don't understand what the problem is," Eri said, and she honestly didn't.
"Why do you do this, Ninamori? Why do you buy me stuff and take me to movies and--and--and--stuff?" Naota demanded. Deciding that it was time for a bold move, Eri grabbed Naota's face in her hands and moved in to kiss him. Her lips encountered a finger; Naota was blocking her.
"If you like me, you shouldn't be afraid to be seen with me in public," Naota said.
Eri sighed. Damn it, she hated when he tried to be noble, but seeing the way that this conversation was going, she should have been able to guess that this would happen if she tried to kiss him. She knew that this day would come; she had just hoped to put it off for as long as she could. "It's not like that, Naota--"
"Then what is it like, Ninamori?" Naota snapped. He looked at her pleadingly, and Eri's heart skipped a beat. " What are we, Eri?"
Eri sat back in her seat and faced forward. "My parents are on the edge of divorce again," she said.
"I'm sorry to hear that," Naota said sympathetically, patiently waiting for her to get to the point.
"It happens," Eri said, shrugging. "It's not like this is the first time they've threatened divorce. Probably won't be the last, either. Well, assuming they stay together, that is. Of course, if they do separate…Anyway, what I'm trying to say is…" she paused, struggling to speak, and then sighed. "Remember that time I spent the night?"
Naota nodded. "Haruko was still here, then."
Eri ignored mention of her former rival (well, one of her rivals) for Naota's heart, and continued, "You remember how I was wearing glasses?"
"Weren't they fake?" Naota asked.
"Yes; yes, they were," Eri said. "You ever wonder why I did that?" Naota nodded. "It's quite simple, really," Eri said. "I wanted us to have a secret to share, even if it was a lie. Something secret, something safe, something not attached to my other life, where parents get divorced and have affairs and get investigated for scandal involving Medical Mechanical plants. Do you understand?"
"Yeah," Naota said gently. Thinking of his own problems with his brother, perhaps.
"That whole Medical Mechanical thing is cleared up, after a fashion, and has been for a couple years now, but my parents are still verging on divorce, still having affairs," Eri continued. "Everything in my life is touched by that, colored by that, and I'd rather this wasn't, Naota. I want to keep this pure, you and me, untainted. I want it to have no part of that other reality, my other life, and for that other reality to have no part of this. Do you understand that?"
"I thnk so," Naota said, and then he sighed. "Alright, but eventually, we will have to come out with it, okay?"
"Eventually. But for now, be my light in the darkness, okay? My secret light, kept in the dark where he shines brightly, but who would be lost in the light of day," Eri said.
"What does that mean?" Naota frowned, but this time when Eri tried to kiss him, he didn't fight back.
It was hard to say when she stopped being Ninamori and started to be Eri in Naota's mind. After she kissed him, yes, but how much after? Right after? A couple of dates after? He didn't really know when she stopped being a girl he saw and became his girlfriend. And what, exactly, does that mean, "girlfriend?" After all, thinking about his love life to date, which was more extensive than it should have been in one his age, especially since the bulk of it occurred when he was twelve, what had that word "girlfriend" meant? Neither of his previous relationships (if his relationship with Haruko even counted as that kind of relationship!) were what you would call normal.
Speaking of the devil, there was another letter from Mamimi waiting for him at home. He took it up stairs and flopped down in bed, and then hetore it open and read it. She was inviting him to come visit her this weekend in the city, and had sent him two bus tickets (he had told her about him and Eri). He frowned in thought for an instant (of course he'd go, it was just…), and then he smiled.
"What if people find out?" Eri asked.
"No one will, and even if they do, they won't think that we're a couple because of it," Naota said.
"How do you figure that?" Eri asked. "We're going on a trip together?"
Naota smiled, and dropped the bombshell: "What idiot would take his new girlfriend to see his ex?"
Eri paled. "We're…going to see Mamimi?"
Naota saw her face and the smile was wiped from his. "Don't worry, we don't feel like that about each other any more. There's no fire between Mamimi and myself any more, I swear."
Eri said, "It's not that I think that you're going to cheat on me," …well, not exactly. "It's just, well, she was your last girlfriend," and I want you all to myself. I don't want anyone else to have a part of you, and she does.
Naota smiled a little. "I know. But I have to go."
"What if I don't want to go; what if I tell you that if you go, we're over?" Eri said.
"You wouldn't do that, Eri. I know you, and as much as you try to act like it, you're not a petty person. Besides, even though I love you, Eri, it's just that…some things are more important than romance," Naota said. He exhaled audibly.
Eri looked at him. Would he really risk their relationship over this? Yes. Yes, he would; in an instant. And that wounded her, because it meant that Mamimi, even as an ex, had a bigger piece of him than Eri did, and she wanted all of him. Would she give him up, just to prove a point? No. Not this time. Not for this. And she would go with him, but she didn't like the fact of it. She was the one who was supposed to call the shots. She was supposed to be in charge. After all, didn't she pay for everything? Wasn't she, as Naota put it in their first fight as a couple, his sugar mama? Except for these tickets; Naota paid for them. No, she realized, Mamimi probably did. Well, Naota had to pay for mine, unless… Unless, Mamimi knew about them; unless Naota told her their secret. Eri felt her grip on Naota loosening. "Very well; we'll go."
Naota smiled, that smile that stopped her heart and would make her agree to almost anything for the sheer innocence of it, and he kissed her gently on the lips. "I knew you'd say yes. You won't regret this, I promise."
I hope not, Eri thought.
"Hey, guys, welcome to my flat," a young woman said. It took Eri a moment to realize that this was Mamimi. She had…changed. This wasn't the Samajima Mamimi that Eri had known in Mabase. This woman was…well, a woman, for one thing.
"Mamimi, looking good," Naota said, grinning.
"Right back at you," Mamimi said, grinning back at him. "And you're Eri, right? Nice to meet you. I mean, I'm sure we probably met back when I lived in Mabase, especially if you were one of Naota's friends, but, well, you know what I mean."
Eri nodded. "Likewise," she choked out. Didn't she used to call him Ta-kun?
"Well, come in, guys," Mamimi said, leading them into her flat, and then plopping down unceremoniously on the couch. This Mamimi had an air of confidence that the old one never had. Something in the way she moved spoke authority; this young woman was in control of her life in a way that the high school student she once was had never been.
Eri looked around the place. It didn't take much effort; the flat was all one room, except for the bathroom, which was in the corner of what would be the room if you knocked down the two walls that separated it from the rest of the space. As it was, it was as if there was a portion cut out of this perfectly square room. There was a bed along the back wall next to the bathroom, and a dresser, and there was a partition in front of them, assumably for privacy (there wasn't much in the way of drapes over the huge windows), and along the far wall, there was a cooking area. Aside from dirty laundry scattered all over the place, it was sparse. Mamimi didn't seem to mind, though; from the way she was strutting, you'd think she was showing off a mansion. (Well, not exactly strutting, but--You know what I mean! she chided her brain for trying to correct her.)
"Yeah, there's only the one bed and this one couch, so sleeping arrangements will need a little working out," Mamimi said off-handedly. "Either us girls can share the bed…or we can fight over who gets to sleep with Naota," she grinned evilly.
She's joking, Eri thought unbelievingly. There must truly be not a hint of romantic feeling for her to make such a joke. It actually made Eri feel a little better, even though it made her and Naota blush.
"So, what do we do first?" Mamimi asked. "We've got a few good hours to burn before your bedtimes."
"You know, I have a Gaijin friend who says that Japanese people must have a secret hatred for the Tokyo Tower, because it gets destroyed in all of the monster or alien or whatever movies," Mamimi said as they left said tower, like the mandatory tourist spot it was. They had previously been to the Rainbow Bridge and some other landmarks.
A chuckle was startled out of Eri (Naota, apparently, had heard this story before). "You know, now that you mention it, that does happen a lot."
"When I was visiting my brother in America, I had to explain to someone that Godzilla was a comedy," Naota said.
"Really?" Eri asked.
"And then he said…how did it go?… 'Well, that answers a few questions about Godzilla…but raises oh so many more about the Japanese as a people.' Yeah, that was it," Naota said.
"Well, where to next? We have a couple of hours left," Mamimi said.
"How about a movie?" Eri suggested.
"Alright, but you're paying, rich girl," Mamimi said.
Eri frowned; buying Naota stuff was one thing, but buying his ex a ticket…she stuck her tongue out at the woman. "Fine, but you're paying for refreshments," she said.
"Fair enough," Mamimi laughed.
They went in search of a theater, and in the end Eri picked an up-scale looking place, and they went in to see a movie, which turned out to be a poorly dubbed foreign film with lots of explosions and car chases. Hardly romantic, but that was probably for the best, as there was one extra female in this equation. When Naota sat down, Eri sat down next to him and hoped that Mamimi wouldn't sit on his other side. Luckily, she sat on her other side instead. They started jeering good-naturedly at the movie almost as soon as it came on.
"I'm going to get my soda refilled," Naota said about twenty minutes into the movie, getting up. "Anyone else want anything?"
Eri and Mamimi gave him some orders, and then Mamimi gave him cash for the purchases. Naota went to get their supplies.
"Now that he's gone, there is something I need to talk to you about," Mamimi said.
"Oh?" Eri asked, her hackles raising; she did not like the tone Mamimi was taking. It was…authoritarian, disciplinarian, something like that. Mamimi, in that one sentence, had become like a teacher or mother about to go on a lecture, or possibly whip her with a ruler.
"First, I'm obligated to tell you, if you hurt Naota, if you're not serious about him and toss him aside like an old toy, whatever, I will track you down and hurt you much, much worse," Mamimi said.
"Of course not," Eri said.
"Good. Because he's a good boy, and I want him to be happy," Mamimi said.
A feeling of dread coiled in Eri's stomach. "You still love him, don't you?"
Mamimi sighed--never a good thing!--and said, "Not in the way you mean. Not romantically. We're not lovers, not anymore, but yes, I love him. And I will look out for him."
Eri filed the explanation away, but her mind went back to two dreaded words. "You said 'not anymore,' does that mean--"
Mamimi nodded. "Yes. We have had sex. I'm ashamed of myself for forcing that on him at such a young age, but he loved me, and I needed him, so he did it. None of my childhood was easy, but after his brother dumped me for that American girl, Rachel…well, I was on the verge of insanity, and he kept me from going over the edge. That's the thing about Naota-kun; if he knows that you need him, he'll never leave you."
Most of Mamimi's speech was filed away unnoticed; the single sentence Eri had gravitated on was We have had sex. Mamimi had taken Naota's virginity, and that meant that she had a part of him that Eri never would. Maybe it was selfish to expect to have him all to herself, but after being ignored by her parents and changing herself to fit in with the in crowd for most of her life, she wanted to have someone's attention all to herself, she wanted to be the world to someone; in short, after not mattering much to anyone for so long, she wanted to be the only one, the only thing that mattered to someone--and she wanted that someone to be Naota. It probably wasn't healthy, but it was what it was.
Naota came back with their snacks, and they quickly got back to jeering at the movie. Well, Naota and Mamimi did; Eri wasn't in the mood for jeering. She just couldn't get over it, and she knew she wasn't going to get over it…unless-- "Mamimi? Naota and I are going to need the bed."
"We are?" Naota asked, turning red.
"Alright," Mamimi said blandly. "Make sure you get some condoms, though."
Naota turned even redder. "Condoms? We never used--"
"You weren't old enough to get me pregnant," Mamimi said.
We'll get some," Eri said. It occurred to her that this wasn't the best reason to go to bed with someone, but it was the only way that it would stop eating away at her, like a little parasite. Maybe.
Later on, Mamimi got up to go to the bathroom, and Naota asked, "So what was that about?"
"Hmm? You mean about needing the bed, and the condoms?" Eri asked.
"Yes. Why are you doing this?" Naota asked.
"You know, when most guys' girlfriends say they're going to sleep with them, they don't say, 'why?'" Eri pointed out.
"I'm not most guys," Naota said testily. "Look, I just want to make sure that you're not being impulsive or doing this for the wrong reasons, that we're not going to wake up in the morning and regret it."
"What are you worried about? It's not like you're a virgin," Eri said. Which was the wrong thing to say.
"Shit," Naota said with feeling. "That sounds like a bad reason."
Eri grabbed Naota's face and made him look her in the eye. "I just want to do this, alright? We're miles away from home, alone with a chaperone who doesn't care, in a place where word won't reach back to home. It's perfect."
"I suppose so," Naota reluctantly (especially considering she was trying to talk her way into his pants!) agreed. "But if we do this, we have to come out as a couple. No more hiding."
"Naota, you don't know what you're asking of me," Eri said. Most boys would be happy just getting into my pants--this one wants to set conditions! she thought uncharitably.
"It doesn't have to be right away," Naota assured her, "but 'eventually' won't do anymore. I want a time table. I want to know when we will be out in the open with our relationship. Don't worry; we'll still have secrets." He added in a conspiratorial tone, "Like the fact that the first time we did it was in Mamimi's bed."
Eri giggled, but it depressed her at the same time it cheered her, because of course, it wouldn't be a secret kept by the two of them--it would be a secret kept by the three of them. "We'll see. I won't make any promises yet, but…we'll see." Eri remembered something Mamimi had said. "You know that I need you, right?"
"Of course. I just didn't know that you knew. And I'll be your secret as long as you need me to be, because I love you. It's just…you know it isn't healthy, right? This…whatever it is (I haven't read any psychology textbooks)?" Naota said.
"Yeah, it probably isn't," Eri said.
"Okay, good," Naota said, relief in his voice.
"Are we on for tonight?" Eri asked.
"I'll do whatever you want," Naota said. "Even if I don't think it's a good idea."
"Thank you, Naota," Eri said, aware that this was one of the strangest things ever to say "thank you" to.
"You're welcome," Naota said, no doubt aware of the same thing. "Where's Mamimi? She's been to the bathroom for a while."
"Eavesdropping," Mamimi said, returning to her seat. "You two were just so sweet and sincere, I didn't want to interrupt."
"How long have you been listening?" Naota demanded.
"A while. Just make sure to remember those condoms, whether you end up doing it or not," she said, grabbing a handful of popcorn.
They left the movie theater and started walking to Mamimi's flat. "You'd best get those condoms now," Mamimi reminded the teenagers.
"What, us?" Naota asked, embarrassed.
"Well, I'm not going to pay for your sex life," Mamimi said. "Sorry, Naota-baby; I love you, but not that much."
Hearing her say I love you to Naota, even in jest, grated on Eri's nerves.
"Well, yeah, but…well, it's kind of embarrassing for me to walk up to the store owner and ask for condoms," Naota said, embarrassed at the ease at which he could get embarrassed.
"Yeah, me, too," Eri confessed.
"Fine; give me the money," Mamimi said, exasperated. Eri gave her a fistful of yen, and Mamimi walked into the nearest convenient store, mumbling something about stupid kids. Ten or twenty seconds later, she came back out with condoms. "Here; I didn't know what size you are, Naota; after all, it's been a while," she winked.
They went back to Mamimi's place. Mamimi set herself up on the bed and then turned off the light. Eri lay down on the bed, and Naota flopped down. "There's something…nice…about this bed. I can't really put my finger on it, though," he said.
"It smells like Mamimi," Eri commented. Or perhaps she was answering.
Naota turned his head and sniffed. "Really? I don't think--oh, right, she quit smoking a while back. I remember now. It seems odd that she should have a scent that isn't intermingled with cigarette smoke," he said.
There was a second's silence, and then they started taking their clothes off, like they were racing. Then Eri was on top of Naota, kissing him as though she were trying to eat him through his lips. "Are you sure you want to do this?" Naota asked softly.
Eri stared down at him, and realized something. "You're right. It just grated on me that Mamimi took your virginity, that she had a part of you that I didn't. Truth be told, having sex probably wouldn't have helped that, as she still would have taken your virginity, but I wanted to do it anyway. Actively doing nothing is better than passively doing nothing, I guess. I realize that, and if I still resent Mamimi, it's in the back of my head. And yet I still want to have sex with you. After all, we have opportunity, no one will catch us, and we even have condoms. So what do you say?"
Naota grabbed her face in his hands, reached up with his face, and kissed her. "Fuck me," he whispered softly in her ear.
Author's Commentary (As IF You Care)
First, lets get a few facts out of the way. The Tokyo Tower and the Rainbow Bridge are real landmarks in Tokyo. Granted, I wouldn't recognize either of these landmarks even if one of them landed on my house, but still, I know that they exist and I am certain that they are in Tokyo. Well, in the case of the Rainbow Bridge, I'm 99 certain. In the case of the Tokyo Tower, even if I wasn't 100 certain (and I am), the fact that the word Tokyo is in the name ought make it easy for me to place. I heard about these landmarks (albeit the Rainbow Bridge one just in passing) from a hilarious site. The stuff about Godzilla being a comedy comes from…a less reliable source, but still one I trust (and had better be right, or else I'll strangle him). In fact, the comment "Well, that answers a few questions about Godzilla…but raises oh so many more about the Japanese as a people," was said by me upon hearing that Godzilla was a comedy.
Anything else about Japan or Japanese culture here, I just made up. I have a sneaky suspicion that they might not even have flats as we know them in Japan. I was as vague as I could so as to avoid glaring contradictions (like, I don't know, for example, having one of the characters pay 3.1 billion yen for a double cheeseburger at McDonalds). Luckily, though, this is fan fiction, so it doesn't really matter how accurate I am, as no one's going to want their money back after reading this story (yeah, that's a fine thing for someone who wants good reviews for his story to say!).
This story is a sequel to Don't Call Me Ta-Kun. Why write it as such (especially since Don't Call Me Ta-Kun had a different pairing)? It just seemed to fit, is all. And they were both inspired in similar manner. By episodes, that is.
In responses to the aforementioned story, I was accused of making Naota too mature for his age. I prefer to think of him as highly intuitive and sensitive. Yeah, he was pretty dense during the series, but Haruko changed him. (Was FLCL not a coming-of-age tale?)
You know, I've always been worried about using the F-word in a T-rated story. I mean, I try to avoid it unless the story is rated M, but at the same time, it seems ridiculous to raise the rating to M just because of that one little word. I figure that since I just say it once, and that brings the total swear words in this story to two, I can get away with it (with myself; I don't mean to imply that I'm breaking any rules or anything).
This story takes place when they were fifteen, where my other stories took place at or around canon-age. Having one half of a couple be a prepubescent child was weird enough; having both protagonists be preteens smacked of child porn. Okay, I'm exaggerating (a lot), but still, it didn't feel right. And besides, I wanted them to be able to deal with some very mature, very adult topics. Even at fifteen, I can barely get away with it by saying that they're really mature for their age (crème of the crop, if you will). If I had tried to do it with them being still children…it wouldn't have worked. I would never have been able to get away with making their relationship so complicated.
If you liked this story, you should also read Atomsk's Heir (I don't mention Don't Call Me Ta-Kun in this shameless plug (there ought to be a "tm" after that phrase by this point!) because you should have read it before reading this one). I don't know what my next story will be, but it will probably be about Haruko. (Naota and Haruko are my favorite pairing.)
Thank you for reading, please review (no matter what you thought of my story), tell all your friends, and have a good night. Now, I finished writing this story at 6:00 AM, so now I'm going to sleep. 'Night, y'all. (If only I were this dedicated to my real stories…)