Inside scoop! This is written by two different authors over aim. If the grammar is HORRIBLE as I know it is, please tell me so it can be fixed! I own no part of Junjo! Its brilliant work that I have no part of! The characters Akira Ishinomori and Tetsuo Kobayashi however are MINE!
Woah! I loooooong chapter….bear with us… give me feedback! We develop our original chacters a bit in this chapter…
(Featuring a "Minimum" Reverie)
Hiro closed his eyes and refused to open them the entire trip to the police state where Nowaki's body was to be claimed. He also tried his hardest to empty his mind of all the demons that were haunting it. They had been driving slowly across the snow drifted streets, sometimes gliding over patches of black ice. The world seemed dead in its tracks; emptiness filled the air with dense eerie quietness. The landscape matched Hiro's heart. He was gray and empty. Void of everything. He tried to clear his mind because if he let it take over, surely he would take his own life.
Officer Ishinomori drove slowly and deliberately. The ice made his breaks ineffective at times and he knew why so many traffic accidents happened during the snow months. It was a good thing no one else occupied the usually crowded streets, Ishinomori didn't know how to avoid an uncontrollable driver when the sides of the street were so packed with now.
In the passenger seat of his police vehicle, Kamijo sat silently with his head leaned haphazardly against the head support. The man's eyes were closed. Ishinomori had never had the opportunity to meet another homosexually oriented man in Japan before. He assumed that this was because men in Japan usually hid their preferences out of fear of ridicule and social disgrace. Ishinomori himself was previously in a long term relationship with another man and was open about it with his family.
Officer Ishinomori, whose first name was Akira met his lover, Tetsuo, in elementary school. Tetsuo was a slight sickly man with red cheeks and small features. He was five years Akira's junior but had the mind of a genius. Akira had met him one fall day all those years ago at the gate to their elementary school. Tetsuo was wheelchair bound at the time and sat, sad looking and lost at the threshold of the school.
Minimum cut in/memory of Akira Ishinomori!-
"Do you need help?"
Akira-kun was already stressfully late to school the October morning in which he first encountered Kobayashi Tetsuo and he barely had time to stop and help the disabled kid who stared pitifully up at the hill towards the looming school. Akira-kun was twelve and thin and slender for his age, but looking at the wheelchair bound child he suddenly felt healthy and muscular. It almost seemed cruel and inhuman to let the child sit there helplessly, so Akira-kun spoke up again.
"Do you need help?"
The boy in the wheelchair sighed heavily and glanced at Akira-kun with a quizzical expression that looked both serious and comical on the boy's emaciated and sunken face.
"It's my first day. I'm not use to pushing my wheelchair this far, but my parents have to drop me off at the foot of the hill. A teacher is supposed to meet me and push me up, but they never showed. I figured that if I didn't want to miss class I'd have to start on my own. I'm exhausted."
His voice was tiny, but louder than Akira expected.
"The teachers here are so selfish. They only want to do what is required of them and nothing else. It's because it's a low income public school and their pay is bad. Excuse me, I don't mean to intrude on you or anything, but I'll push you the rest of the way up."
Akira responded. The boy didn't resist Akira's offer and smiled shyly to express his approval.
"My name is Kobayashi Tetsuo; class 1-A"
Tetsuo said gently. Akira noted that it looked like Tetsuo didn't smile much, and that the smile he did offer was genuine. Akira blushed when Tetsuo gave him that first tooth dappled smile. The first smile of what would seem like an eternity.
It was the last week of middle school cases and Akira was a little on edge. He still hadn't received his acceptance letter to the high school of his choice, but he still held on to hope. If he didn't get excepted into the school he specified, he would miss the chance to spend High School with his best friend, Tetsuo. It was not that Akira had bad grades or a decent record at school; it's that he lacked the likeability that Tetsuo possessed; the genuine, honest personality that the smaller child emanated whenever he spoke. Tetsuo amazed everyone with his enduring smile and drive for life. Akira admired everything his best friend was and wanted to spend a life time with him if he had the chance.
"What's on your mind?"
Akira wasn't paying much attention to his surroundings and jumped when Tetsuo's signature soft voice came up next to him all of the sudden. The two of them were at the foot hill leading up to the school campus; Akira standing next to the gate and Tetsuo in his old wheel chair with his crutches resting across his lap. It had become a daily routine to meet at the foot of the hill and travel together up to the campus; Tetsuo riding in the wheelchair and Akira pushing. Akira was a tall, strong young man who was just beginning to grow into his masculine features and was lanky and awkward. Tetsuo however, due to a genetic condition was so small that people often mistook him for an elementary student. Akira noticed that it was getting increasingly uncomfortable to bend down and push Tetsuo's wheel chair that sat low to the ground. Nevertheless, Akira was a very dedicated person and would never abandon his best friend to save him self from back pain. He was always happy to spend time with Tetsuo.
"Getting accepted into High school is what's on my mind. I haven't received any notification yet and it's starting to bother me. I don't know whether or not I should just apply to the public school or wait it out. We only have six more days."
Akira said as he gripped the handles of Tetsuo's chair and began pushing.
"You're still worried about that? You have marvelous grades thanks to me! They can't pass up the oppertiunity to have you represent their school! You'll get in, I promise!"
Tetsuo smiled his ever toothy smile with words of encouragement. Akira however sighed.
"That's easy for you to say. You are the perfect student! Sure I have good grades, but my record isn't nearly as good as yours is."
Akira could feel the dense cloud of despair roll in to hoover over his head. Grades weren't everything. Since the high school they had applied to was a private one, they were extremely selective about which students they allowed to attend. The waitlist was phenomenal and filled with students who were academically excellent. The only students who were accepted right off the bat were the ones who shined during an examination interview.
"Besides, I bombed at the interview. They probably think I'm a total fool! Half the time I had no idea what the teachers were saying to me, and they asked so many questions!"
Akira complained. Tetsuo was a good listener and only gave positive feedback when it came to Akira's generally negative outlook on things.
"In my interview they really were only interested about what I was going to be when I graduated university."
Tetsuo said thoughtfully. Akira frowned and slowed down. He had been complaining and brooding so much that he hadn't thought about Tetsuo's experience.
"Yeah? And what did you say?"
Akira asked, purposely walking in a slow shuffle to increase their private walking time. Tetsuo let his eyes sink to the ground.
"I told them that I just wanted to be alive."
Tetsuo said with a face that was suddenly downcast. Akira stopped pushing. It was a truth that he didn't dare think about unless the topic was grudgingly brought up in conversation. The fact was, Tetsuo's genetic condition was going to kill him, likely before his twenty-fifth birthday or sooner. Tetsuo was extremely weak when Akira had come into his life at the bottom of the hill in elementary school. His body didn't have the muscle capacity to walk and barely sit up on its own. When Akira had met him, he had just been released from the hospital and was venturing to school for the first time after being homebound for his entire school career. The teacher who had assigned to meet Tetsuo at the foot of hill that day all those years ago claimed to have forgotten about the assignment and it left Tetsuo stranded and too weak to propel himself. His parents couldn't be there to assist their son because they each worked three jobs in order to pay for Tetsuo's medical needs. Akira had been a god send
Akira gripped the handles of the wheel chair until his knuckles turned white. Tetsuo was his own savoir as well. When they met, Akira had already been suspended from school five times for bullying and fighting in school. He had no friends and cared about no one. He just ventured to school because his father made him, and went home so that his father could beat him. Akira was always bruised, always in a bad mood and held a contempt towards the world that was unbridled for a child his age. When Tetsuo came into his life, it seemed everything changed. Akira felt a calm that he never thought was possible. While his home life didn't change much, he found that school had something that he could look forward to. Every day had a meaning, and that meaning was Tetsuo. The thought of not seeing his best friend always ignited anger in Akira's heart.
"You know I don't like you talking about that."
Akira said in a dirty tone.
"I know. I'm sorry. It just gets me thinking sometimes. What could I be when I grow up? I can barely walk most of the time, and I tire from just sitting up. If my muscles weaken in the future and I can't breathe on my own, what then? What would be the point of wasting money on going to University? I don't know Akira; maybe if I could just survive long enough to graduate high school, I may just stop there and wait for the inevitable."
Akira let his hands drop to his sides and left the wheel chair to teeter on the edge of the hill. His face was of utter disbelief at Tetsuo's harsh and cold words. It took several minutes of silence between the two boys before Akira could regain enough sense to counter the blow. He walked purposefully around Tetsuo's wheelchair and leaned down so that his face met the smaller boy's eye to eye.
Akira yelled, slamming his hands down into Tetsuo's lap and gripping his pant legs in bawled fists. Tetsuo remained calm while Akira yelled.
"You are not going to die so soon! You are strong and driven and smart! There isn't a school in this country that wouldn't accept you! You are going to go to college and get a job just like I am!"
Akira realized he was rambling nonsense out of anger. He knew in his heart that his words were only wishful thinking and that he was only spitting out the false hopes he had for Tetsuo's future. The two boys had been inseparable since elementary school and Akira knew Tetsuo like a brother. He know the struggles of Tetsuo's condition and the financial burden his illness placed on his ever caring family. They had been in each other's lives for five years, which was a life time in the minds of youth. Akira had no real familial bonds and no friends outside the relationship the two boys shared. To watch Tetsuo succumb to death, to lose the only thing that tied Akira to the planet was a thought that utterly terrified him. More than once it had occurred to Akira that he wanted to stay with Tetsuo in his life forever.
"Akira-san, I know how strongly you feel about this, but I like to be honest with myself. I have no doubt that I can get into schools; my grades are really the only thing I have. But I need to be realistic. I've accepted that I am going to die, and in order to come to terms with this, I need to focus on things that are in the present."
Tetsuo gently placed his hands on Akira's grip and gently rubbed them until Akira loosened his knuckles. His honest, sincere and terrifying words were so much for Akira to digest. He didn't know if was appropriate to be angry or let the feelings welled up inside him burst. Tetsuo's hands gently stroked Akira's knuckles until the bigger boy released his tension. Without thinking, Akira wove his fingers into Tetsuo's and he gentle gripped and encased the small hand in his own.
"You can't die Tetsuo. Not now, not ever. I need you. I need to be with you. I can't live without you. I'm just stupid, grouchy, naive Ishinomori who has no friends or brains!"
Akira said through a choppy voice. He was trying desperately to hold back the sobs that were about to spill over into his clenched throat. To his surprise however Tetsuo smiled and laughed gently at his friend's heart felt speech.
"Is that what you are?"
He asked, trying hard to keep his laugher soft and polite. Akira, feeling somewhat like a child, nodded furiously. Tetsuo snorted.
"If it wasn't for you, Akira, I would have never made it to school at all! Life has chain reactions. I was born with this disease. I was sick throughout my childhood so that when I became well enough to attend school, I missed all of the application deadlines and had to sign up for the local public school. My parents work, so they couldn't take me to the school building on my first day. A teacher forgot and it just so happened that the moment I was about to give up, when you come along and gave me the push I needed to succeed. Since you came into my life I have become healthier and you have become a batter person. We have become a critical part of each other's lives! All that you have done for me makes you my savior."
Tetsuo's words cut into Akira's heart. He threw his head down into his best friends lap and tried hard not to sob; his hands were still intertwined into Tetsuo as if to remind him where his tether was.
"Tetsuo! You saved me more than I saved you!"
Akira said through the tears that he was trying desperately to hide. Somewhere in the distance the morning bell rang signaling the start of classes. The path leading up to campus was empty of students and quiet except for a warm breeze that shook the leaves of the trees in the school's courtyard. Tetsuo smiled and leaned his face down into Akira's hair and inhaled deeply. The smell of Akira was both familiar and sweet and gave Tetsuo a rush of energy that he never felt before. The whole world at that moment seemed to focus on Akira crying in his lap. School didn't seem to matter anymore; there were only Akira's big hands and his and warm body shaking against his legs. They were each other's saviors and the thought crossed Tetsuo's mind that maybe he could be Akira's number one as well.
Tetsuo whispered gently into Akira's hair. Akira slowly lifted his head and found himself almost touching his nose to Tetsuo's. Tetsuo let Akira's hands go and lifted the bone thin limbs so that they rested gently against his best friend's face. Without resistance or protest, gently, Tetsuo guided Akira's face in towards his. Their lips met: gentle and soft. Their first kiss lifted either boy up into the clouds and beyond the heavens. They didn't need to express their love in words to know how they felt for each other. There was intensity to their kiss, just sweet, gentle love that carried them weightless through the skies.
Ishinomori had wanted to be a cop since they day he watched the police come to his home and haul his father off for beating his only son. The cops were a symbol of justice and power; a way to have ultimate control in life. With near perfect grades in high school, Ishinomori was accepted almost immediately and pushed through the cadet ranks until he landed a comfortable position at the station. There was no field work to be done in his position, but Ishinomori still loved his job.
Tetsuo graduated high school only second to Akira and walked unassisted across the stage to receive his much earned diploma. Amid protests and many shouting matches, Akira forced Tetsuo to apply to ever college in the city and one by one was accepted to each and every one of them. He settled however for Mitsuhashi University that sat close to the police station where Akira worked. The two young men moved in with each other in a small apartment that was within walking distance of both the school and the station. For four years Life was perfect. They went to work during the day and came home to each other's affection. They made love in the bed they shared and cooked dinner together every night. Akira couldn't imagine himself happier and felt that if this situation never changed, he would be the happiest man in the world.
Tetsuo died on a Thursday morning wrapped gently in Akira's arms. College graduation had been three days earlier, but Tetsuo was hospitalized and missed the diploma ceremony. The college dean came to Tetsuo's hospital room and personally presented him the honor of Summa Cum Laude. Tetsuo was too weak and heavily drugged to even smile at the honor. Akira took the scroll that held the diploma and stowed away in his sports bag.
The disease took its final toll when the weather changed and Tetsuo caught a cold that developed quickly into pneumonia. He collapsed out of his wheelchair where Akira found him hours later barely responsive. The hospital got Tetsuo to breathe on a ventilator and for ten agonizing days the weak man lay sedated with Akira only leaving his side for the necessitates. On day eleven the situation began to look up with Tetsuo taking breaths on his own and was slowly being weaned from the anesthesia. Hi eyes fluttered open to fin Akira beaming a brave smile down on him. They spoke as best as they could, recalling days past and even touched base on what the future held. Tetsuo grew weak and fell asleep with his head resting against Akira's face and his small, emaciated body resting like cool feather against Akira's warm body. Tetsuo had remnants of that gentle, peaceful smile he had the day the two lovers met at the bottom of the hill…