Umi No Misaki - Favor
Favor and Love
Nagi set the suitcases beside the front door. "Are you sure that you have everything packed? If you forget something I won't be coming home until the end of the semester next month."
"Don't fuss, Sweetheart, I checked all the closets and under the beds twice."
"I would feel better if I was coming with you. Are you sure I can't take you to the airport?"
"You have classes. We come here to make your life easier so that you can study, not to distract you from your lessons. Besides I've learned how to be a city girl by now and am quite capable of taking a taxicab and boarding a plane to Honshu without your intervention."
"I know, but it wouldn't hurt anything for me to cut classes just this once. My friends do it all the time."
"Kaito and that crew aren't trying to complete a triple science major in four years either. Most students find oceanography, agronomy or ecological science quite taxing by themselves without taking all three at once."
"Most kids don't have a family they miss like the devil or an island that is depending on them for its prosperity either. I don't have the luxury of becoming a professional student."
"That is the Dragon-god I love. Nagi-kun is always working harder than anyone else for the sake of the people."
"And that is the Maiden of the Sea I love, who is always working harder than anyone else for me." Nagi folded Shizuku in his arms and gave her a long tender kiss. It might have not been a kiss of exploration and passion like they shared that first summer, but it communicated an encyclopedia full of emotion and regret that they would be separated.
"Dada, me too!" Nagi scooped the three year old up and gave her a loud sloppy smooch on the cheek. "Daaa!"
"Hey Na-chan, where did you get that pretty dolphin?"
"You know. Birt'day."
"Wow, did you have a birthday? How old might you be?"
"Tree." She held up three tiny fingers.
"Three whole years? She is getting quite old, isn't she Mr. Dolphin?"
"Did you name her Bubbles, Nagisa-chan? What a cute name for a fish."
"No fizh, mamma."
"Right, mammal. Na-chan is going to be just like her mother and know every fish in the sea by name."
"No fizh, mamlas."
"Mammals, I'll remember that on my next test if you promise to be good for Mommy Shizuku and Mommy Soyogi and play nice with Kaiki-chan."
Nagi tried to give her a stern look, but couldn't help but smile, "Is that No you won't be good or No you won't play nice?"
"Kai-cha say she cage may-in. Me cage may-in help daddy."
"You tell Miss Kaiki that she has to take turns being Cape Maiden or the dragon will sneak into her bedroom and nibble her toes. Roar." He growled and nuzzled her neck. She squealed and squirmed down, running laughing into her bedroom.
Shizuku put her arms around his neck, "You are so bad. Now I'll never get her to take a nap on the plane."
He laughed, half apologetically. "Sorry. We will be home for the summer in time to go to the premier of "The Shrine Maiden" on Honshu. The critics who saw the preview are already praising the scene where the Yakuza chase Mike to the edge of a cliff and she dives into the ocean. One columnist even claimed that everything after Mike's closeup was CGI because the water couldn't possibly be that clear and no one could swim that fast underwater for four and a half minutes without a single scene cut."
Shizuku shrugged modestly, "Some of the bullet tracks were CGI."
"That is only because you out-swam the area where they had the special effects set up."
"At home, I still have the blond wig they gave me, anytime you want to pretend to make love to the famous actress Keiko."
"Uh-oh, a trap, but being an experienced husband. I have an answer. Yes, indulging in cos-play would be interesting, making love to a fictional character from a movie or manga."
She chuckled, "Fictional is fine, as long as you remember the difference between them and real women, you much-married man." They heard a car horn outside. "The taxi is here. Karin and Hotaru-chan should arrive before you get out of your three o'clock class. They will be tired, so even if she says she wants to cook, ask her to go out for dinner. We will see you at summer break, so... Nagi-kun, I love you."
"And I've loved you, my pretty Cape Maiden, since the day we first met and I picked up your straw hat." They kissed until they became concerned that the cabdriver might leave, and went to collect Bubbles and her best friend.
… … …
"Karin, I'm home. Did you have a good trip?" Nagi set his backpack beside the desk before searching for this month's guests. As the bedroom door opened, he looked up and stared in surprise. Her pink flowered summer kimono was tied in a halfway open position, showing a generous amount of sexy cleavage. "Rinne! What are you doing here?"
"Is that any way to greet your Little Sister, Nii-nii? Hotaru-chan and Kaiki-chan both came down with colds, so neither Nee-nee nor Soyogi could come."
Nagi was beginning to get upset. "What about your studies, Rinne? If you miss a month of school you will fall behind. A girl as smart as you are should shoot towards a University education."
Rinne hoisted her bookbag from behind the door. "Sensei made out a syllabus for all my classes. She suggested I might be able to find some lonely college guy to tutor me while I was here."
"How convenient for her. She ditches a pupil and gets me to do her work for her."
"She does have more students than when you were in class. Families are beginning to return to the island. There is even talk of hiring a second elementary teacher for next year. Actually Sensei has been very helpful. She was the one who suggested I might want to come in Nee-nee's place."
Nagi fumed, "Kisaragi better go into hiding. The next time I see her, I plan on beating little lumps on her skull for interfering with my life." Rinne stretched up and gave him a deep kiss. "Rinne, your tongue..."
"Is that interfering, too?"
"Don't tell me Sensei..."
"She taught all us girls some things she thought we ought to know about boys."
Nagi saw the way the conversation was headed and knew that he was losing control of the subject. "Rinne-chan, you know that I have always cared for you as a little sister, but other people are involved too. First of all there is my commitment to your sister Karin."
"Nee-nee took me to the airport and made sure I got on the right plane to Tokyo."
"And I couldn't hurt Soyogi this way."
"She gave me a nightie to wear for tonight. You know that purple mesh one with the crotchless panties. I might not fill it out quite as much as..."
"But Shizuku never had a chance to..."
"Saw her and Nagisa-chan off at the airport. She gave me a hug and told me, and I quote, 'This will be the most exciting night of your life. You have been waiting a long time, so savor every moment.' Face the facts, Nii-nii. Traditionally in a pluralistic marriage, the women have all the power. Men have no voice in the matter of choosing junior wives."
"Wives?" Nagi was now completely flustered. "Now just one minute here. You can't go around making such decisions by yourself." He took a deep breath, realizing he was going to be crushed in any emotional argument. "Your historical analysis is flawed. I took an elective in cultural anthropology and can say for a fact that medieval Japan was deeply paternalistic. Women had little influence outside the home, let alone in the choosing of their husbands' mistresses."
Rinne waved a hand dismissively. "You are talking about mainland Japan, but we are from the southern isles. Ryukyu Kingdom, centered in Okinawa was matriarchal up until being influenced by Chinese Buddhist and Japanese invasions. Women ran everything, religion, home, community, property division, time for planting crops... They only let men take care of petty things like politics and fighting. It only make sense that they wouldn't leave something important like family up to weak-minded males."
He made a last futile effort. "But Rinne, it just isn't right. I've known you since you were just a child. Even worse, you're Karin's kid sister."
Her face dropped, looking like a puppy who had just been whipped. Her cheeks turned red like they had when she was younger. "But Nii-nii, don't you like me? Don't you think I look nice?"
Nagi put his hand behind his neck. He was done for if she started crying. He had never been strong enough to defend himself against any of the maidens and his little dragon was uncomfortably signaling its preference. "I've always liked Rinne. It's just that when you call me Nii-nii, it sounds kind of ecchi."
Her tears were gone, replaced by a seductive smile, "Wicked, ain't it, like one of Shizuku's mangas. You can call me Little Sister while we do it if it makes you hot." She ran her hands inside his shirt, noting with pleasure how his slender High School body had matured and developed a nice set of six-packs. "It sure as hell makes me hot. Sorry Shizuku, but I can't wait for tonight."
Her pink yukata slipped to the floor revealing that she was wearing no underclothes. He had no option but to take her up in his embrace and kiss her crimson lips, his hands exploring her newly formed curves. As he carried her into the bedroom, he realized that Rinne was completely right. When it comes to matters of the heart, men have no choice.
The End – or the Beginning of a Fulfilled Life
Nagisa – Seashore
Kaiki – Sea Breeze
Hotaru – Firefly