Well, well, well! I've got a new fic out. Luckily this is one that is within reach for completing. Cuz this is a threeshot. And here's the first part. So let's have some deets, shall we? 83
Main shippings: Palletshipping (Shigeru/Gary x Satoshi/Ash), Energyshipping (Hyouta/Roark x Denji/Volkner) and Bishieshipping (Gen/Riley x Shinji/Paul)
Summary: Three different stories that all take place on the same cruise ship. All with ties to each other. Different backstories, different emotions, different reasons that bring them all together.
There's going to be three oneshots, each from different perspectives. One is from Hyouta's point of view, one is from Shinji's and another is from Shigeru's. All the characters appear one way or another a couple of times into each other's stories and well, just watch out for links. The links become clearer when the whole thing is finished, obviously.
Beware of each oneshot being long, haha. Mostly yaoi too, so turn away if you can't stand that sorta thing. XD
Now first up is... well, just read on! X3
One cruise ship.
I thought I’d accomplish something by now. I honestly thought I would have. But... I don’t know. How can I expect to face my father like this? When I set out, I told him that I’d make him proud. Each opportunity I had was a blessing and yet I failed everytime. I expected to make discoveries and amaze the world with my findings. As an archaeologist, that’s what I want to
But people always beat me to the findings or there’s nothing at all. How am I supposed to deal with that?
My father was proud when I told him that I was going to go to the Pompeii site and help out there. Pompeii was the city that fell due to an amazing eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The people got encased in rock and a lot was discovered. So when I came to the site at Pompeii, I was amazed at how many people there were and what was left of the ancient city. All the historians and tourists and other archaeological diggers like myself. I was the newbie and I had learned a lot.
The problem was that I never accomplished anything. Any idea I brought had all been said before and when we were doing some excavations of one of the areas, other people kept finding stuff before I did. So I was the newbie. I learned a lot but in the end, I accomplished nothing.
I so desperately wanted my own findings. I wanted truly awesome stories I could tell my dad. And for him to look at me with a grin and brag about me to his pals like a father truly proud of his son.
However, I accomplished nothing. Nothing!
There was no way I could face my father like this. No way at all. When my posting at the Pompeii excavation site was over, I left so disappointed in myself. I had high hopes but it just didn’t work.
Just goes to show that life is tough, I guess. But I didn’t know what to do. Thank goodness I was still in contact with my own friend from childhood. His name’s Gen and he works on a cruise ship as a waiter. He serves the guests and stuff like that. Anyway, I discussed my worries with him and he gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. The offer was half-price off a luxury cruise around Europe. He’d be working onboard the ship too. Gen said he’d pay for the other half himself.
So I ended up on the S.S. Shirona – that’s the name of the cruise ship – and it’s going around Europe for the next month or so. I don’t care how long it takes. It’s probably better if it takes longer. I’m basically lengthening my time spent away from home until I work out something I could say to my father Tougan.
I’ve just gotten onboard the ship and one of the crew – a nice man named Hajime – directed me to my room. Hmm... It’s simple but nice. Has all the requirements I need like a bed, a desk, a window, a bathroom... Yeah, it’s good. I know I didn’t get the most luxurious room but considering I got this for half-price, it’s more than a bargain. It’s more than enough for someone like me.
The cruise boat hadn’t left yet so I decided to unpack a little, try to make myself at home. How badly I wanted to say something to fill the silence but I felt that talking to myself was silly as well. I slumped on the bed in the middle of the room and decided to listen to my surroundings. Like the seagulls hanging around the harbour and the other people making their way to their rooms.
“Race you to our room!”
“Wait; please don’t run in the hallway!”
The first two voices sounded youthful. Like ones of teenagers. Maybe eighteen or nineteen? And the last one sounded like Hajime, who so kindly showed me to this room. I remember when I was an excited teenager like that. To go back to those days would be nice. Maybe I would’ve made better choices the second time round.
Ah, I would’ve made this choice again and again. I know it so. When you grow up with someone like Tougan as our father, you develop a huge love for history and digging for fossils and stuff like that. I can’t imagine choosing anything else.
I heard a knock on the door so I rose up from my bed and answered it. At the doorstep was Gen in his waiter’s uniform, the same one that Hajime wore. He had well-fitted black pants, a white shirt, bowtie and a nametag clipped onto his shirt pocket with his name printed in black letters. It was odd, seeing Gen like this. In his work attire, I mean. I guess when you haven’t seen someone in a while; you tend to be surprised once you see them again.
It was easy to recognise him though. He still had the blue hair, dark eyes and this friendly yet mysterious look about him. Gen often took care of me when I was younger so I’ve always seen him as a big brother figure. I was an only child so Gen literally was the closest thing I had to a sibling.
“Hyouta-kun!” he embraced me in a hug. I knew my eyes were lighting up. Gen sounded the same as he did on the phone. Warm. Someone anyone could get along with. “It’s so good to see you!”
“Yeah,” I replied as he pulled away. “Nothing beats communicating face-to-face.”
“I’m supposed to be doing jobs right now but I thought it would be worth checking to see if you’d boarded or not and aren’t I lucky? I came at a time where you were here! I thought after you’d settled down that you might have gone off and explored the boat!” I chuckled at this. I suppose I would have. But... I don’t feel as enthusiastic. I don’t know. Gen saw my expression. “I guess the thrill for discoveries has died down as of recently.”
I nodded. “Yeah, I told you, didn’t I? Over the phone...”
“Yes, yes, I remember!” Gen held a finger up as he recalled the memory – or at least I think that was what he was doing. “Um... Let’s not think about that! I really hope that this cruise enlightens you and brings back your spirit!
I know you’ve been to Pompeii but this trip will take you round England... France even! It’s an amazing trip and even though I don’t really get to leave the S.S. Shirona much, I know that it’s wonderful! I really hope you enjoy it!”
With the way he was talking to me, I couldn’t help but give him a smile. Even if the smile wasn’t for me, it’s enough to smile for the benefit of others, right? “I’m sure I will!”
“Hey, do you work on this ship?” A voice broke into our conversation. I looked behind Gen who also turned around to see a young man with lavender hair stare at us, carrying a suitcase in either hand. He was just a bit shorter than I was, making him notably shorter than Gen. Gen immediately sprung into waiter mode.
“Yes, I do!” he answered. “What can I help you with?”
The lavender haired man smirked. He put one suitcase down and reached into his pocket and pulled out his ticket. “Show me to my room.”
Gen smiled brightly. “With pleasure! I can carry your bags too, if you want.”
The man shook his head. “It’s fine. I have the strength to carry them myself.”
“I wasn’t worried about your strength at all, I’m sure you could carry much more than those suitcases!” Uh, Gen... Should you really be saying something like that? Or am I the only one thinking weird stuff? Oh be quiet, Hyouta. Go back to Fossil Dreamland.
“Is that so? No, this isn’t all I can carry,” the man asked, his eyes lighting up with interest. “Well then. Take me to my room.” Gen, if I have a man’s intuition, which I don’t really, then I smell a man who likes how you look in that outfit. Or however you’d put it. I can sense atmospheres..! Sometimes I can, anyway.
Gen grinned at me. “Well, I’ll be seeing you around. I work more on the top deck so I’ll introduce you to my friends that work on this deck. Seeing as you’re here by yourself in a way.” And with that, he left with the man who ended up carrying his own bags. Either I sense something in the air or Gen is like this with all the guests. A lot of people get attracted to people like Gen, I know. Even I would like him too if it weren’t for the fact that he’s too much of a brother to me. I’m content with that too.
Um... What do I do now? I looked at my watch. It’s only 6.30am. The ship leaves the port and heads to its first destination, which is... Actually, I haven’t a clue. I went on this holiday without doing any research at all. So all I know is that we’re touring around Europe and that I’ll end up in England and France at some points throughout the journey. Okay, cool. I might not bother asking about upcoming destinations. Just see where we arrive at and be happy with the place.
It’s not like me to just go with the flow. I usually have to know where I’m going at all times but... I don’t know. I just don’t know.
In any case, I explored the ship for half an hour and when it was time to depart, I decided to take a nap. Come to think of it, during my time at Pompeii, I never really got much sleep. We always woke up early and stayed out as late as we could. Every single day, hardly resting. All the archaeologists and historians were enthusiastic about their work and it was heaps of fun. I know I keep saying it, but I wish I truly accomplished something.
Ah... I feel my body relaxing itself... into sleep. Come take me now, Fossil Dreamland!
My body sat itself upright and I gazed out the window. The light blaring from the sun blinded my tired eyes in an instant and my head fell back to the pillow and my world was a bright yellow colour. I don’t feel ready to face the day yet.
What’s that growling sound? Oh, it’s my stomach. What’s the time? I stared at my watch, which read 10.18am... I slept for approximately three and a quarter hours. Oh snap, I slept for long! Um, I suppose I should get up. Better now than never. Actually, I’m sure that if I never got up, Gen would eventually show up and pull me out of bed. Yeah.
So I tossed the bedcovers off my body, which was still in day clothes and
made myself get up from my bed. As I went to the door, I finally noticed the hook on the wall with a set of keys attached to it. Oh right, my roomkey. I grabbed that and locked my room from the outside. From there, I proceeded down the hallway and hoped I’d be able to find the restaurant to order some brunch.
As I made my way there, I felt someone bang my arm and being the clumsy person that I am, I fell straight to the ground with a thud. Looking up, I saw the person turning a corner. He didn’t even stop and apologise.
“Oh man, I thought he heard me when I said we weren’t allowed to run. We got told off already for that...” I heard a person groan. Sounded like one of the youths from earlier. Hajime must’ve told them off properly. “Hey, sorry about that. Shigeru was determined to beat me to the pool. Need help up?”
My head turned and a raven-haired teenager outstretched his arm towards me. I appreciated the gesture and let him help me to my feet.
Wait, oh no! I touched my face quickly and heaved a sigh of relief. Okay, my glasses are fine. They’re not broken, they didn’t fall off, they’re fine. Good. Thank goodness. “It would’ve been nice if he noticed that I fell down but... it’s okay. I’m alright. Thank you for helping me up.”
The teenager grinned at me. “No worries. Hey, I’ll give sorting out Shigeru a go, yeah?” I nodded and he dashed off, leaving me to fumble through my pockets to make sure I hadn’t dropped anything.
After a while, I decided that I was good to go so I continued on my way to the restaurant. I poked my head inside and saw Gen inside. He was bringing out plates of food to other guests. The whole room had a positive air, filled with good natured conversations. I think I’m going to like being on this cruise with this kind of atmosphere.
Gen looked up. “Oh, Hyouta-kun! How are you? I’m a bit busy so I’ll get one of my friends to look after you for the meantime!” he called over.
“That’s fine,” I replied as he dashed back towards the kitchen to get another waiter.
When you see the way Gen and Hajime behave, all smiles and a glow of radiance about them like they are the sun and their rays are wanting you to feel the way they feel; share their happiness and joy... I don’t know; you kind of expect all the waiters on this cruise ship to behave exactly the same as they do. I expected rainbows to follow these guys everywhere they go.
But not this waiter.
He’s an interesting looking fellow, who looked to be about my age so he must be about twenty-three as well. But I could tell that he was a different kind of person to probably anyone onboard this ship. He had a little notebook in hand and he stared me down as I looked through the menu. It was a little off-putting and I found myself to be incredibly intimidated. I glanced at his nametag.
Denji. That’s his name. I wasn’t quite sure whether it suited him or not. He looked to be quite a bored man, someone who wasn’t captivated by his surroundings. You work on a luxurious cruise ship touring around Europe, Denji! How can you not look enthusiastic? And isn’t being enthusiastic and cheerful part of your job?
Despite his indifference to the sheer amazement of his surroundings, I felt he looked quite intelligent, wise beyond his years, I suppose. An old man in a young man’s body perhaps? I grinned at this thought. I wouldn’t be too surprised if he was like that, I guess.
The waiter had bright blonde hair that was slightly spikey and two long bangs on either side of his face, making his face shape look more defined. He wore the waiter’s uniform but looked a tad unconventional – his belt was trailing a bit as he didn’t fully thread it all through and his bowtie looked ready to come apart. Even his nametag was slightly wonky. I wonder if this man had the attention span of an old man too.
“Have you decided on your order yet?” he asked with a flat tone. He clearly didn’t have much interest in the subject.
Oh right! My brunch order! Um, um, um, what do I pick? It all looks delicious. “The... Eggs Benedict dish, I guess.” I decided to pick something cheap and simple. Even though the rooms and stuff had been paid for, I still had to buy my own food. I can’t rely on Gen. But I can’t afford luxuries either. Yes, something simple is best.
Denji nodded. “What about drinks?” My mouth gaped open. I forgot about that too! Um, what should I pick? “I recommend the imported wine.”
I stared at the menu. “There are a lot of imported wines.”
“I know. I recommend the imported wine.”
“Um, any in particular?”
“I don’t know. They tell me to say that because we get more profit from them.”
“I see. They?”
“The guys who hired me, of course.”
“Is that so?”
He’s not exactly... suited to this job, is he? I don’t think he really belongs in this kind of field. I’d be curious to know how he ended up working here. That is if he’s willing to talk more than he needs to. This Denji person didn’t seem very chatty. Probably someone who prefers to just listen. I guess that could be why he’s a waiter? It’s pretty simple. He just has to take orders and bring out food. Then when he isn’t doing that, he’s helping out with room service. I guess it isn’t a very difficult life. He probably lives his life on cruise ships like these.
I wonder if Denji enjoys this lifestyle. Gen loves it but Denji compared to him... it would be hard to believe that Denji loves it too, if that were the case.
“So what drink would you like?”
“Oh! Um...” I glanced through the drinks menu and picked something that looked cheap. “Orange juice please.”
“Orange juice and Eggs Benedict... that’s a bit plain. You’re on a cruise around Europe, why don’t you order something more interesting?”
“I can barely afford a luxury cruise as it is... Gen helped pay for me too. He paid half the total price! I’d feel so bad if I took advantage of that...”
Denji nodded at me. “I see, I see. But what would you really like?”
“Hot chocolate and the Hearty Breakfast special, I guess.” Hm, I was too quick to answer that. I saw him start writing in his notebook and I began waving my hands frantically, trying to get him to stop writing. “I’ll take the Eggs Benedict and Orange juice though! Really! I want to be able to afford food myself without having to depend on Gen.”
The blonde waiter smirked at me and tucked his notebook in his pocket. Then he made his way to the kitchen to pass on my order. Please get my order right.
For some reason, that smirk looked right on him. It just went well with his nature somehow. I don’t know how to explain it, it just seemed right. Even though the boredom remained in his eyes, I knew that I struck some kind of note with this disinterested man. How did he get here and be like this? I want to light those eyes up again.
Am I weird for thinking this way? Is it strange to be intrigued the way I am?
What am I thinking anyway? Here I am, in awe of Gen and drawn to a man like Denji! What on earth will my father think of me? He grew up with the lifestyle that taught me that the way of life was to be a real man, dig some fossils and bang a nice lady who’ll marry you. But with these glasses, I wonder if I’m not supposed to be like my father. I don’t feel like my mother either, who adopted a similar idea as Tougan as how to live life.
Maybe I’m not supposed to be like Tougan. Maybe fossil digging and being an archaeologist wasn’t for me. I want the lifestyle to suit me, I really do. I’m at a loss at what to do otherwise.
“Is your head in the clothes?”
I looked up immediately and saw that Denji had returned. He hadn’t even brought out my orange juice. Isn’t that the quickest thing to fix? And clothes? “Don’t you mean ‘head in the clouds’?”
Denji nodded. “My father used to say ‘head in the clothes’ as a test to see if people were listening properly or not. Some people don’t always realise he got the phrase wrong and it amuses him.”
“Is that so?” I chuckled at this. Denji pulled up a seat and sat down. “So where’s my orange juice?”
“I opened the fridge and the orange juice didn’t want me anywhere near it. I reciprocated those feelings.”
I blinked. “Is that a metaphor for saying that the orange juice had gone off?”
“No, I just didn’t feel like getting you orange juice.”
“What? But I asked for orange juice!” I protested. Denji suddenly stood up.
“Hang on, I’ll be back. Getting your hot chocolate.” And with that, he walked off.
“But I didn’t ask for hot chocolate!” I called after him but he didn’t listen. I
know that I would rather have hot chocolate over orange juice... But orange juice is a dollar less than hot chocolate! And with that dollar I saved, I could get myself something special!
It wasn’t long before he returned with a mug of hot chocolate sitting on a plate with marshmallows and tiny packets of sugar on it. Denji sat back down, swigging a bottle of orange juice to his lips, gulping down the orange liquid, finishing it within seconds. That should’ve been my orange juice.
“Why are you looking at me so sourly?” he asked.
“I know you heard me say that I’d prefer a hot chocolate but I ordered an orange juice. You could’ve respected my wishes...”
Denji frowned. “I was going to charge the hot chocolate at an orange juice price. Heck, there Heart Breakfast special that’s being cooked for you, I’m charging that at the price of an Eggs Benedict meal.”
I sighed. Why would he do something like that? I don’t want people doing me favours all the time. My face started to feel hot and he stared at me with concern. He asked if I wanted water but I shook my head quickly. I wasn’t feeling sick. I have no idea what it is. Placing the marshmallows in the hot chocolate and waiting for them to melt within the drink, I decided that I would stop riding the thought train and start talking to Denji.
“It wasn’t a matter of what I truly wanted. It was a matter of what I’d settled for. I can’t afford to get expensive breakfasts. Plus if I choose an orange juice instead of a hot chocolate, I’d be saving myself a dollar!” I explained, hoping that my logic made sense to him. Denji looked like the type of person who while he meant well, he’d have some warped logic.
He began screwing the lid back onto the orange juice bottle and continued staring me down. I felt like those dark eyes of his were piercing right through me. Those eyes, they grasp my attention. No! I can’t keep thinking like this!
Denji’s a weirdo, yeah, that’s it! Weird person, lack of respect for my wishes, doesn’t seem like your usual waiter. That’s all. Just an odd person who I’ve happened to have crossed paths with. Nothing more.
Get your head out of the clo... No, that just makes me think more about him!
“You’re... weird.” Was that all he could muster up? That was his response? Such words too! Coming from the likes of him! Takes one to know one? I don’t know. “I like people like you though, don’t worry. You’re kind of... I don’t know. A cute kind of weird?”
“W-W-Wha?” I know my face is going red, I just know it. Cute? The only other person to say I was cute was Gen when he decided to plonk me in a teddy bear’s costume when I was three years old and he was six. Tougan then laughed at me and gave me a lecture on how to not get influenced by Gen’s cuteness.
“Though what do you intend to do with that dollar you’re saving?” he asked, his eyebrows raised in question.
“...I don’t know. Isn’t it good to save money?” I hadn’t thought about it. What would I do with that dollar? I’d probably blow it on something useless.
“You’re aware that you want and can get better but you just settle for what you can definitely achieve...” he mumbled, just loud enough for my ears to hear those words. He makes it sound like it’s a big thing.
“It’s just drinks though, don’t you think? And why are you seated here when you should be delivering food to the other people in this restaurant?” I knew those questions were only said to push him away. It’s easy to tell that he’s catching onto something. I think he understands. I don’t want him to say it though. I’d feel so ashamed.
It’s enough that I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to accomplish, I don’t need anyone else to pry.
“Look, Gen and I are friends. I already know why you’re here, in fact.” My jaw dropped to the floor. How could Gen tell him? Denji chuckled at my expression. “Gen had told me about you before your Pompeii excavation thing! The way he talked about you made you sound pretty brilliant. You got a scholarship to university due to your excellent marks in History.”
“And I got passed some university papers for History and stuff like that. I liked digging for fossils since I was young so I was thrilled when they asked me of all people to help them dig there,” I continued, dumping all the sugar in each of the packets into my hot chocolate. “I want to impress my father, you see. He’s a proud man and I want to be a son he’s proud of. But I never got to dig up any amazing fossils; everyone always beat me to the great discoveries. I felt bad because I can’t return home without any amazing stories to tell. The only use I was I guess... I was just an extra hand to help with the digging and I helped their opportunities to discover amazing things!”
“In that case, be happy with that. If I did just that much, I’d be satisfied-”
“I’m not like you! I actually want things out of life! Not like you who just seems to hang around idly, someone who isn’t doing what they really want! I don’t want to be like you and act bored by everything around me, not even realising how lucky you are to be here!” I cut him off. Silence fell over the restaurant. Ah, I was too loud. Denji stood up and his expression darkened. No, I said the wrong thing. He’s annoyed at me. Denji turned and started walking off, in the direction of the kitchen. “Wait, Denji! Come back!” He didn’t return.
I hung my head low and pretended that others in the restaurant didn’t hear my outburst. How shameful. I jumped straight to conclusions without realising that I didn’t really know what Denji was like. For all I know, he may have valid reasons for being the way he is.
How could I be so... insensitive? How could I have-?
“Get your head out of those clothes.”
I looked up and saw Denji place down a plate, which looked to be the Hearty Breakfast special! With bacon, poached eggs, hash browns, buttered toast and sausages. He placed a bottle of tomato sauce plus salt and pepper shakers beside the plate.
Isn’t Denji annoyed at me? Why is he behaving the same as before? Maybe my words didn’t offend him. But why wouldn’t they offend them? I don’t want to offend them but... I don’t know. Why can’t I just chill the way Denji can?
And he said the clothes line again. Heheh, Denji is a very odd person. He obviously doesn’t take things like throwaway comments to heart. That’s relieving.
“Like I said, that meal will be charged the same as how an Eggs Benedict would be charged. As well as that orange juice, you’ll be saving five dollars. Satisfied?” he asked, sitting himself down again.
I grinned. “Very. That five dollars will go towards me buying something nice and cheap at our first stop-off, I’m sure.”
“Good, good...” Denji said, using a faraway tone. He gazed outside one of the windows, looking out onto the calm, sapphire sea. “I wasn’t always like this, you know. They didn’t let me take shotas onboard.”
“Shotas.” I guess he won’t explain the deal behind that. What are shotas anyway? It amused me though. Denji says odd things but it means that holding a conversation with him is interesting. I like that.
“So tell me then. How did you end up here?”
“Oh? You wish to know?” he asked. I nodded. With a smirk, he also jerked his head in a nod too. “Very well, I don’t feel like brushing it off the way I usually do. I don’t have any qualms about telling you.”
“Why is that?”
He flicked my nose with his finger and leaned in closer. “One question at a time, Hyouta.”
Wha? He knows my name? Oh of course, Gen’s talked about me. That’s probably it. No, that has to be it. Why are my cheeks going red again? I guess my heads are in the clouds. No wait. Heads? I only have one head! What’s going on? And why does my name sound so interesting coming from this Denji fellow?
The blonde leaned back on his seat and stretched his arms out. After yawning, he began talking. “So I was a young guy with hopes and dreams much like yourself only I was weird. I don’t know. They said I’m weird. Um, I kept using up my family’s power because I kept trying to make interesting circuits and stuff so they made me take care of the power bills. I just knew that no matter where I was, I would use up power bills...” It was hard to decipher his speech. I wasn’t sure if all I would learn would be from his words or whether the look in his eyes mattered or not. “So I decided to work on a cruise ship because I can’t use up power when serving drinks for cute people who have their head in space.”
“...Is that all?”
“That’s it, I guess.”
“...I don’t believe you.”
Denji’s eyes widened at this and his casual stance changed to a more confused one. “What’s not to believe?”
I bit my lip. I have no idea how to explain it. I want to believe him but I feel like the truth, the actual reasoning cuts a lot deeper. His eyes, I felt such sorrow from them. That power bills tale could’ve been true but I think he was using it as a device to steer me away from what’s true, from what’s real.
“I... don’t think that your story adds up completely. I don’t know how else to say it. It just doesn’t.”
“You’re intelligent, Hyouta. And you’re right.” He stood up with a grin. “I’ll tell you more about me over time. I’m sure we’re going to get along nicely. In fact, actually...” he traced over his finger over his bottom lip and eyed me carefully. “There’s a club bar kinda place on the other side of this boat... on this floor, I mean. It’s not overly eventful on the first night but I’m thinking of heading there at around nine or ten tonight. Feel free to meet me there.”
Pondering it for a bit, I found myself nodding in response to him. A club? A bar? He wasn’t very specific as to which one it was but either way, it wasn’t somewhere that I’d go often. I can’t dance; I don’t like getting drunk or anything like that. No, this holiday wasn’t about being uptight. Maybe I’ll learn more about Denji if I agree to go? Possibly?
“I’ll go, yes.”
The blonde waiter leaned in towards me and I froze in place. I could feel his breath brush up against my skin, I could sniff his scent. And the moment my eyelids fluttered shut, I could feel lips brush against my own. I could hear a couple of gasps and even after I felt him pull away, my eyes were still squeezed shut. Once they flew open again, Denji was gone.
I touched my lips. Warm and slightly damp from Denji’s touch. My cheeks were completely red, I’m sure. Gen came over and asked if I was enjoying the meal. He only got a mumbled “yeah...” as a response due to my daze.
The weird thing is that I don’t mind this when I should.
“Well, I knew that Denji-san would take care of you,” Gen said with a wink. Yes, that’s right... Wait, what? Does he know something I don’t? I quickly return to my meal and stuff my face in the hopes of distracting myself from what Gen just said. The blue haired waiter giggled at me. “Denji-san is quite an interesting fellow, don’t you think? But um, I’ll be honest: he knows you quite well. When I’m on the cruise ship, I have moments of missing home and well, I had this old video camera and it had some videos from stuff like when we had that picnic underneath the cherry blossoms and Tougan-san was extremely competitive in nabbing the best picnic spots...”
“And he had that fight with one of the other dads and neither of us ended up getting that spot after all,” I chimed in, grinning at the memory.
“Yes...” Gen whispered softly. He stood there for a moment as I continued to eat. It wasn’t long before I finished it and lined my cutlery up on the empty plate. He didn’t speak as he picked up all the dishes on my table and took them out to the kitchen to be washed. I wonder what was on his mind.
And me, I should be thinking about what to do. For meeting Denji at the club... bar... place. After I paid for my meal, I went back to my room and slept some more.
Crap. It’s time. It’s time! Do I go? Do I not? I did say I would so... So I guess it would be bad if I stood him up. What if he did some big set-up just for the two of us? It would be embarrassing for him – no, humiliating! But I’m nervous. Oh so nervous.
I shifted myself from the bed to select something to wear tonight. Uh... Do I have anything suitable? It’s a club so I don’t need to wear formal clothes. But because it’s a club, I can’t be too casual either. Where do you draw the line between casual and formal? I haven’t a clue. If only I was one of those guys with all the clue and the street smarts. I’d walk the walk; I’d talk the talk and be seen living the dream.
Eventually I threw on a white button-up shirt and some black pants and left my room, locking up as I did so. I decided to get some fresh air before I headed to the club so I walked around the deck a bit. It’s half past nine and most people seem to be in for the night. As I paced in circles around the deck with the swimming pool, I saw someone putting the cover over it for the night. Looking closer, I realised it was Gen.
For some reason, he looks rather... melancholic. I feel nervous about meeting up with Denji. So maybe I’ll talk to Gen for a bit before heading on over.
“Gen!” I called out. He leaped to his feet, startled. “Ah, it’s me! Hyouta! Don’t worry!”
“Oh, I didn’t recognise you at first...” he laughed sheepishly. I approached him and we sat down at a nearby table. “I thought you and Denji-san were going to meet up.”
The response from me was an exaggerated sigh. “I feel like I’m chickening out.”
My taller friend blinked in surprise. “Earlier you seemed fine to see him. You two want to see each other again, don’t you?” he asked with a puzzled tone. I blushed. Gen smiled at me warmly and reached over to pat my shoulder. “Do you want to know why I work on a cruise ship?” I nodded, unsure what to talk about really. “Did you know that I fell in love once? It was with a very beautiful woman named Mikan-san! But she was already with Denji-san, who I made friends with. But the thing was, I loved to travel and I wanted a job where I could travel! Denji-san broke up with her because he felt like their love died out. He said to me that she was available now and around that time, I was offered a job on this cruise ship. I could tell that Mikan-san didn’t want to go anywhere and just wanted to settle down and live a happy life with someone she loves. She was finding it hard to get over Denji-san too. Mikan-san’s such a kind woman too. In all honesty, I was stuck on what to do...”
“So what did you do?” I tried to picture myself in that situation. Choosing between someone he loved and his dream... I wonder what I would pick. But Gen never told me about any of this. Probably because I was too busy chasing my own dream... The dream I couldn’t even accomplish. Ironic.
“Well, you can see where I am now, silly!” he laughed. When I was realised what he meant, I chuckled as well. “But anyway, around that time Denji-san was aware of my dilemma and so he told me to get my head out of the clothes...” I smiled at that comment as did Gen. “Oh, he also said that he wanted to follow me to see what I would do. He didn’t give me any advice on what to do about my situation even though I kind of hoped he did at the time. But anyway, I thought carefully about it and decided to take the job, leaving Mikan-san behind...”
My eyes widened. Even though I knew what choice Gen went with, I wanted to know his reasoning. Choices in life are relevant to my interests after all! “Tell me Gen, why did you pick the job?”
Gen grinned at me. “Because it was something I could see! There wasn’t any romantic spark between Mikan-san and I! All of it was just wishful thinking and even though it upset me a little to let her go, I don’t regret it. I couldn’t see a future between her and I but I could see a future with this job! Denji-san saw what I had chosen and applied for the same job as me and he got accepted too! I was surprised that he actually went ahead with his words and followed me but... but we’ve both worked on this cruise ever since!”
Because it was something he could see... Ah, he didn’t want to get caught up in a fantasy. He went for what was real and what was certain. Gen really is... such an inspiring man in my eyes. The choices he makes in life are made with good reasoning. And I think I understand now. Trying to find a huge discovery in my first excavation is something I obsessed over yet could not see. Why am I wasting time here when there’s someone I can see?
“Gen... It’s funny but your story made me realise something!” I stood up, feeling weirdly confident. But I think I’m ready. I may be nerdy, fossil-obsessed Hyouta but I’m getting the confidence reminiscent of my father. I can take on anything! The blue-haired cruise ship worker also rose to his feet. He punched my arm lightly. Ah, he used to do that when we were younger. It always meant ‘go get ‘em!’ He nodded. No more words were needed.
I proceeded to walk quickly off the deck and when I was out of Gen’s sight, I was about to run when I slammed into someone, who fell to the ground.
Looking down, I saw a teenage boy cracking up. Why is he..? Ah, I think it was the boy who made me fall over earlier. He had spikey brown hair and dark eyes – I couldn’t make out his looks well in the dark – even though we were close to where the lights were turned on. But I’m certain it’s him.
“Looks like the tables have turned!” he mentioned as he was trying to catch his breath.
“Ah... Sorry...” I apologised as I helped him to his feet. “I guess they have, eh?”
“Well, I’m not sorry about it. At least I feel like I can talk to you as we know have some grounds in which we can!” he replied cheerfully. “Hey, I heard your conversation with that dude. From what I gather, there’s someone you ought to be seeing. They’re someone you can see, so go and see ‘em!” I went red. Does everyone know the situation or something? However, I don’t need any more words. I’ve made up my mind. The boy raised his fist as if he wanted me to punch it with my own. “Go get ‘em!”
The two of punched each other’s fists. “Yup!” I replied before taking off again. I wonder why meeting Denji seems so important? Gen seems to think our meeting was important.
[I]“Gen had told me about you before your Pompeii excavation thing! The way he talked about you made you sound pretty brilliant. You got a scholarship to university due to your excellent marks in History.”[/S]
Oh yeah, that’s right. Gen has told Denji a lot about me. Denji must feel like he’s known me for years. As if I’d been working on the cruise ship with him for years. He’d probably wanted to meet me for a long time. And heck, he even kissed me earlier! There’s a dynamic that I can’t waste due to nerves.
Even though I have the whole journey’s worth of time, I want to use this chance now.
“Please don’t sprint in the hallways!” someone called. I halted to a stop and saw it was that waiter Hajime. “Yeah, it’s one of the rules when onboard the ship especially when it’s in motion.”
“Deepest apologies! But I really am in a rush!” I replied without a care for what he said. I continued running and escaped him quickly. Soon I’ll be at that club.
Wow, it’s fairly low-key here. I arrived at the club and saw that the dance-floor wasn’t lit up and that people were just seated at tables with drinks, their conversations creating the atmosphere. I guess they don’t like to get too wild on the first night. At the counter were the bartender and a familiar blonde waiter. The bartender looked up, saw me and prodded the waiter’s shoulder and pointed in m direction. Yep, it’s definitely Denji over there.
He got up from his stool and approached me. “So you decided to show up after all, Hyouta.”
“Oh!” the bartender bounded over and grabbed my hand. “Hyouta-kun! The Hyouta-kun that Gen-kun has often talked about! Nice to meet you! I, Ryou will let you read my nametag to find out who I am!” He shook my hand vigorously while I nervously pointed out that he just said his name. Ryou laughed. “Oh snap! Well Denji, you’ve got a cute one here!”
I blushed. “N-No, we’re just-” Denji put his arm around me, stopping me in my sentence.
“That I do,” he replied; Ryou clapped his hands together. “Why don’t you go back to serving the customers – I think Goyo-san would like your attention again.”
Ryou went pink. “Oh, um, yeah... But you’re a waiter too so you should be helping out!”
“I already have business to attend to,” Denji responded. I swear this conversation is going to cause a rebirth of my nerves in a minute. Ryou saw my expression and laughed again. A moment later, he was back to serving other customers at the bar. Denji stared at me for a couple of seconds before backing off a bit. “You’re really red, are you okay? If you came over here despite being sick or something, well... I’m able to help out, it’s my job.” I shook my head, suggesting that we should go get some fresh air. He looked back at Ryou serving a man with long purple hair and glasses and then averted his eyes back to me. “Alright.”
We were out on the deck again and I realised that Gen had disappeared. The two of us – Denji and I – we sat at the table that me and Gen were sitting at before. The air was clean and the sound of the cruise ship skimming along the ocean was soothing. Ah, I’m so lucky to be on a cruise ship like this. And sailing around Europe even!
“I found out from Gen how you ended up working on this cruise ship.” I decided that would be a decent conversation starter. We were both staring up at the blanket of night sky. Ah, the stars are out tonight! “He said you applied for the job because Gen went for it.”
“I see the Orion,” Denji pointed out, ignoring what I’d just said. In a way, I wasn’t too surprised. Perhaps he just isn’t interested in talking about himself. Or maybe he was too fixated with the stars.
“I do too,” I replied with a grin.
Denji cleared his throat suddenly and began to speak. “If fate allowed us to meet, there was something I’ve always felt like I’d end up telling you. Gen treasures you the most out of anyone in a sort of big-brother way. He told me about the ups and downs he’s shared with you and heck; he’s even shown me videos of him and you together...”
“Is that so?” Oh Gen, he matters a great deal to me too.
“The things I learned about you interested me because I always felt like a bit of an empty shell. I have no idea how to describe my personality-”
“Aloof was probably my first impression.”
“Oh well, there we go then!” he smirked a little while I chuckled at him. “But ya know... Just because you don’t succeed the first time, it doesn’t mean you should give up. That whole excavation thing I mean. Uh, if it’s not for you and you’re not feeling it then you should stop but uh, I’m not trying to encourage you to stop or anything but uh...”
I beamed at him while he fumbled around with his wording. It didn’t matter how he worded it but I understood what he was trying to say. That I may see my dream come true someday if I do my best. It’s sure odd hearing those words from someone like Denji but I’m happy. For now, I don’t want to be anywhere else.
Maybe I do know what I want. At least I know what I want for the meantime. I want to spend this time that I have on this cruise ship with Denji.
“You know what? The stars tell me that there’s a glimmer of hope for my future if I look in the right place. I’m not sure if I can find the right direction to look in so for now... for now I just want what I can see...”
“We can see the stars; you reckon we can reach them?” My hand reached up to the sky out of its own accord. I made a clasping motion as if I was grabbing a star from the sky. Denji did the same. “Hyouta, you are interesting though. I did hope I’d meet a dorky, friendly person with dreams much like yourself.”
“Is that a compliment?”
“I’m not sure but believe it or not, I stuck by Gen because I had a feeling he would encounter you again. So I thought, ‘I have nothing better to do so let’s take a chance with this guy and maybe I’ll meet that Hyouta-kid he’s always talking about!’ and so... yeah.”
“I thought you told Gen that you would follow him to see what he does.”
“I said something like that?”
I glared at him. “How could you forget something like that?”
Denji laughed. Whoa, laughing seems a bit off for him. But his face lit up like that suits him. Makes him look more handsome. Wait, did I just think – “No, I remembered. Just wanted to see your reaction. You’re a funny one indeed. But I don’t forget bold statements like that. Of course what I said to Gen matters but he knows I’m not following him to the end of the world and back.”
“There’s no way you can get to the end of the world and back.”
“It’s a figure of speech or something.”
We were silent for a couple of moments. Something about Denji talking like that seemed really funny. The next thing I knew, I had burst out laughing and the blonde waiter was watching me out of sheer fascination at my behaviour.
“But you know what, Denji? I can see the stars but they’re too far to reach and touch at the moment. In fact, we’re not even seeing the whole star up close. You can see almost anything but you can’t always have it in your grasp. I can picture all these amazing discoveries in my mind but they’re not physically there...” I stood up and got on the tips of my toes, reaching my hands out to the sky. “Even when I stand like this, the stars just don’t get any closer.”
Denji suddenly jumped to his feet and wrapped his arms around me. The next thing I knew, he was lifting me into the air and succeeding. Holy crap, am I light or is he stronger than he looks? “I wonder how many people it would take before you could touch a star.”
“A million and fifty,” I replied in a serious tone. He put me down and began pondering my answer. “I was just throwing out a random answer, thought you wanted one.”
“But you know what? There’s something I can see,” I told him with a grin. “I don’t think it would be a waste either because I can see it and I can reach it... it is within my grasp...” I reached out and took Denji’s hand in my own. “You’re right here. And you always wanted to meet me. I could never really understand why anyone would want to meet me but...” My speech was cut off by a pair of lips. My arms wrapped themselves around the blonde’s neck and I indulged in the moment. He pulled away and while he kept the usual indifferent expression of his, I could see warmth in his eyes.
“I think I’ve worked it out,” he replied with a smile.
“Yeah?” I raised my eyebrows. “Tell me.”
As he leaned down to claim my lips once more, he whispered something to me. The very words he whispered would make me thank a certain someone for all eternity.
“Gen is a really good talker.”
Nyeh! That's part one! Reviews would be really appreciated, I put a crap load of work into this, seriously. ^^;; Anyway, each of these take a while to write but um, next up is part two (obviously) as told by Shinji!