Although Fumiya had had a maths test, he had not done badly.
The writer of the questions, a teacher called Yokoyama, had prepared a safety measure in advance. Fumiya was thankful when he heard that if he could show some special skill on the back of the question paper, he would have points added on to his score. And so, he drew a woman in the ukiyo-e style.
The teacher gave him great praise for his picture, and raised his mark tremendously.
However, Yamaki, Fumiya’s maths teacher, was not happy.
Ever since being chased in the shopping district, Fumiya had avoided Yamaki. If he noticed him somewhere down the corridor, he would turn back. If he had to pass by him, he would use a friend as a shield. Even in class, he would lower his head so he didn’t have to meet his eyes.
At least, until that day. Yamaki was walking up and down the rows while the students were working on practice questions, helping students if they seemed to be struggling, just like the other teachers. At one point, knowing that no one would be watching, he tightly gripped Fumiya’s left hand.
The touch of his hand was so fleeting that Fumiya wasn’t sure if it really happened, but the disgust he felt had him shivering so violently that some of the students asked if they could take him to the nurse’s office.
Such an outright refusal might have made Yamaki feel humiliated. He even went so far as to go against what Yokoyama – who was senior to him – had said and disregarded the addition of the points to Fumiya’s mark, eventually summoning Fumiya under the pretense of supplementary lessons.
“Could Kobori Fumiya please come to the guidance room straight after the afternoon lessons,” he spoke, while flapping Fumiya’s answer sheet.
“Mr. Yokoyama may have praised this picture. However, I do not understand the merit of it. Maths and sexual depiction of women have no relation whatsoever. I don’t intend to let you have a passing grade when you haven’t even memorized the formula you are required to learn.”
Fumiya knew he couldn’t refuse.
After class, Fumiya began to head off to the guidance room. But before he could get far, Sakamoto stopped him with a worried face and asked if he should go with him.
However, the request was for Fumiya’s presence. Preparing himself for the confrontation with Yamaki, Fumiya refused the offer.
“I’ll be fine.”
Sakamoto spoke again at a near whisper.
“Yamaki-sensei has done a lot of bad things inside the school, and who you are doesn’t matter. As far as I know, he’s never kissed any of the students— The only thing he’s done is sniff behind their ears.”
Fumiya stared at Sakamoto.
“I was naive back then,” Sakamoto continued to say, talking as if what happened was nothing—but he was shaking.
“…People said it was no big deal, but I felt like some part of me had been broken. Well, not that I had physically broken, of course.”
Fumiya felt grateful that Sakamoto trusted him enough to tell him about what happened, but his heart hurt for him.
The stalwarts of the school were all men, so it was that much easier for them to understand each other. They went as far as to say that having a relationship with a younger boy was a show of dominance, but only if their feelings were reciprocated by the boy. And yet, for some reason, they would ignore the boy’s feelings, and force their one-sided lust onto him.
Although all he did to Sakamoto was inhale his scent, there was no doubt that it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
Sakamoto gently undid the top hook of Fumiya’s collar that he always made sure was tightly fastened, before pushing back the hair sticking to his cheeks behind his ears – if rejection was what stirred up a dominant personality’s lust, showing some openings from the start might help prevent anything further from happening.
“At the very least, it doesn’t seem like Yamaki-sensei’s ever…done anything to a student more than once…”
Although Fumiya nodded, he still felt a bit skeptical.
Lately, Fumiya had felt persistence in Yamaki’s gaze. His useless running around had done nothing more than fuel Yamaki’s fantasy.
In truth, he could probably handle just getting sniffed, but… No, in fact, that act alone made him feel true disgust.
“I’m… I’m heading off now,” Fumiya said.
“S-Sakamoto-kun, I’m sorry to ask this, but, c-could you tell A-Akamatsu-senpai that I… won’t be able to buy h-his… notebooks today?”
“Of course. If it’s just notebooks, I can go get them if he needs me to.”
The two split up at the exit: Fumiya to the guidance room, Sakamoto to the stairway for the third year literature classroom.
Souichirou had just finished packing up and was just heading out the classroom.
When Sakamoto ran up to Souichirou, he explained that Fumiya had been worried about not being able to buy the notebooks for him since he had been called away by Yamaki.
Souichirou couldn’t recall ever asking Fumiya to do such a thing. He looked down at Sakamoto with suspicion.
“If it’s Hachimonji you want them from, I can go instead, if you’d like? I know the feeling: the imported notebooks there are of such good quality, that once you use them, you can’t go anywhere else.”
“No, it’s fine. I don’t need them today. Sorry, but can I ask a question? Why did Yamaki-sensei want to see him?”
Sakamoto told him what had happened – about how Yamaki couldn’t accept Fumiya’s score being raised because of the picture he drew on the back of his question paper, then called Fumiya to the guidance room so he could get him to learn the formulas.
“…Yamaki’s bad news.”
Souichirou drew his eyebrows together.
“He’s going to be teaching him something other than those formulas.”
The fact that Fumiya sent Sakamoto to Souichirou was only further proof that he knew he was in danger. Was the reason he didn’t send a message outright asking for help because of his modest nature? Or was it because he wanted to test Souichirou?
Souichirou began to angrily stride away.
Sakamoto frantically followed Souichirou.
“When I asked if Kobori-kun wanted me to come along, he told me that it was fine, that it was him that was being called, not me. He was really adamant about it…”
“He was just trying to be brave, wasn’t he?”
“Um, I… don’t think that Yamaki-sensei will do more than smell the back of his ears. This may be a bit presumptuous of me, but I think it would be best if you didn’t blow this out of proportion.”
Souichirou glanced back at his clever junior, before shaking his head.
“If it were you, then that might be the case, but in Fumiya’s case, it could end up differently. In your case, your naivete made him want to treasure you, but for some reason, with Fumiya, he feels the need to dominate him.”
Sakamoto noticed Souichirou calling him Fumiya.
“He’s like a turtle letting someone poke at his shell, isn’t he?”
“Exactly – that’s his downfall. He’s so good at tanka and the shamisen, though.”
“I really hope Yamaki-sensei doesn’t get any weird thoughts.”
The two of them began to hurry, running down the stairs.
Souichirou’s pace was so fast that before long, Sakamoto was being left behind. Believing he could leave it to Souichirou, Sakamoto slowed down.
Before knocking on the guidance room door, Fumiya fastened the collar that Sakamoto had loosened. He understood the logic behind Sakamoto’s plan to make it seem as if he were just giving in, but he was frightened he would come across as being provocative.
He wasn’t convinced that Yamaki would let him leave with nothing more than a sniff behind the ears. He was pretty sure that his untactful rejection of Yamaki’s advances had only made the situation worse, and he knew he would suffer the consequences. But what else could he have done?
The minute he knocked, he heard a voice telling him to come in.
Fumiya opened the door.
On one side of the room was a blackboard and a teacher’s desk, and facing it were three desks and chairs lined up for the students.
Standing in front of the teacher’s desk was Yamaki, who told Fumiya to sit at the middle desk.
Fumiya sat down, an answer sheet had been placed on his desk. There were also three sheets of formulas written in big letters, which Yamaki tapped with his fingers as he explained them at an extremely fast pace.
“This question requires this formula, the next question requires this formula, and the next one requires this one. It isn’t difficult. Anyone can solve these questions if they know these three formulas.”
“So, try and answer the questions.”
As Fumiya was writing, Yamaki circled his desk. Being watched so intently made Fumiya so nervous he couldn’t even substitute the numbers into the formula.
Yamaki spoke in a mocking tone above Fumiya’s head as he toiled over the question.
“Ugh… Hey, aren’t you taking far too much time?”
Fumiya tried his hardest to keep calm.
“…What a failure of a science student.”
Fumiya’s hand that gripped the pencil began shivering violently at the insult – his body temperature was decreasing rapidly from the humiliation and fear.
Before long, an arm stretched across his shoulder, and a sinewy hand at its end gripped his tightly.
“All you do is this.”
Yamaki forcefully moved Fumiya’s hand and wrote down the formula.
“See? You just insert the numbers into the equation like so. Now solve the rest of the questions.”
“P-Please let go.”
Yamaki let go of his hand, but only to proceed to wrap his arms around him, covering him from behind. He placed his nose near Fumiya’s ear, covered by hair, and took a deep breath in.
“…You smell nice,” he whispered breathily into his ear, causing Fumiya’s body to burst into goosebumps as he gasped in disgust.
“Is it not painful having your collar up this tight?”
He released a hook.
He then went on to push aside Fumiya’s hair, and began sucking on his earlobe.
Fumiya pulled his head away, and complained with a shaking voice.
“You’ve been avoiding me, haven’t you? …Did you think I would do something to you? Now that I’ve got you, just like you expected I would, I wonder what I should do?”
He didn’t want him to do anything to him.
Fumiya tried to stand up, but he was pulled back down by strong arms. They were heavy on his thin body, wrapping around him tightly. He could only curse his powerlessness.
“Oh, are you going to cry?”
The minute he pointed it out, tears slid down his cheeks. Without being able to put up even the slightest of fight, Fumiya could feel his mind being stained with the colors of defeat.
What should I… have done…?
How could this man force his feelings onto another, even though he knew he was hated, and enjoy chasing after those who ran away? How was he able to force his filthy lust onto others?
“Your cheeks have gone red. Ahh… it’s like you’re wearing makeup. The courtesan who came to see you a little while ago looked awfully young, but she was your mother, wasn’t she? She looked a lot like that woman you drew. Do you like beautiful women? Do you want to make love to them? Or perhaps, you want to be made love to?”
Fumiya shook his head side to side as he told him that he didn’t know.
“I-I’ve never…been made love to by, my mother.”
“Are you scared of women?”
Fumiya hesitated to nod.
It wasn’t just women he was scared of. Men were scary, too. Without asking what Fumiya wanted, they all forced what they wanted on to him.
“Men are far better, aren’t they?”
Fumiya shook his head again – he hated them.
The first thing he remembered was being choked by the smell of a warm body. No matter how many times he pleaded for them to stop, they never did. The painful acts seemed to go on forever.
When everything came to light, the man tried to talk his way out of it by saying that Fumiya was the one that had initially seduced him – the son of a Yanagibashi geisha would obviously be skilled in the art of seduction.
Despite being rejected, Yamaki simply laughed.
“When you say you dislike them both, don’t you mean you like them? Considering who gave birth to you, there’s no way you aren’t filled with lust.”
What a horrible way to put it.
“Look here,” he whispered as he grabbed his jaw.
“I’m going to kiss those lips of yours.”
“N… No, s-stop.”
Fumiya pulled his lips between his teeth.
“Come on, now.”
He was able to shake his head, but it took a lot of effort to do it. Along with the tears trailing down his cheeks, Fumiya could taste blood beginning to build inside of his mouth.
“Stop biting yourself.”
The door flew open.
Souichirou was the one who had burst in.
There was no time for Yamaki to distance himself from Fumiya, but since the one who came in wasn’t another teacher, he seemed to feel safe stroking his hand down Fumiya’s chest.
“You’re supposed to knock before you enter a room, Akamatsu-kun.”
Radiating an adult’s calmness, Yamaki nonchalantly pulled away from Fumiya.
“What were you doing?”
Souichirou’s blue-gray eyes were shining like the eyes of an animal watching its prey. As if trying to avoid them, Yamaki quickly shifted his gaze.
“It has nothing to do with you.”
“That kid is mine,” Souichirou snarled. “Could you not touch him without getting permission first?”
“Well then, may I?”
Souichirou strode forward at Yamaki’s response, and placed an open palm over his face, glasses and all. Pushing down hard with his fingers, Souichirou spoke with a trembling voice.
The frame of Yamaki’s glasses shattered, leaving the lens to fall to the floor.
With Souichirou pressing hard on his forehead and cheekbones, and his mouth and nose half-covered, Yamaki could only groan out of pain and lack of air.
About a minute passed – though to Yamaki, it most likely felt far longer. When Souichirou removed his hand, he collapsed onto the floor.
Without taking notice of Yamaki’s state, Souichirou turned back to Fumiya, who had remained in the seat as if tied there.
Blood was pouring forth from Fumiya’s mouth.
The minute he saw that, the last of what remained of Souichirou’s calmness completely dissipated. He turned bloodshot eyes to Fumiya, and scolded him with a stern voice.
“Didn’t you already know what would happen the minute this guy got you alone somewhere? The minute you walked in here, you were giving him permission to do whatever he wanted to your body!”
“T-That’s not what I—“
Fumiya was shaking his tear-stained face from side to side.
“You should’ve come to see me first. Why didn’t you find me and ask me to come with you? Do you not trust me?”
“…I-I didn’t… want to cause you… trouble.”
“It doesn’t matter what trouble you would end up causing me – your safety is the priority. At least give up after coming to me. You give in far too quickly.”
Souichirou scooped Fumiya up until he was standing, and then continued to look down at his face.
Suddenly, his eyes softened.
“…You never did give up, did you?”
He wiped Fumiya’s blood-covered lips.
“You didn’t let him kiss you, right?”
A small nod.
Souichirou pulled Fumiya tight into his arms.
“Tell me what he did to you so I can give him a fitting punishment,” Souichirou asked of him while pulling Fumiya into his chest.
“H-He… He grabbed, my hand… I-I asked him to… l-let go, but… h-he, wouldn’t.”
“He unhooked my collar, and…and s-sniffed me.”
Fumiya began shivering at the disgust he felt from the memory.
“Was it bad?”
“I-It gave me goosebumps…”
“What did he do to it?”
“H-He sucked… on it. And then, he w-wrapped… his arms around me…”
“Got it,” Souichirou said.
“Seems like I need to cut off this bastard’s nose and ears.”
Yamaki, who had been laying on the floor like a broken doll, suddenly twitched.
“Was there anything else he did to you?”
“H-He… said that s-since I look like… my m-mother, t-that I must be… a lewd person, t-that… I must like b-both men… and women.”
“What a sleazebag.”
While holding Fumiya, Souichirou moved towards Yamaki, before lightly kicking him on the side with the tip of his shoe.
As if he still had no strength in his legs, Yamaki dragged his body along the floor, trying to get away from Souichirou.
“What do you want to do to him?” Souichirou asked Fumiya, still wrapped up in his arms.
“…H-He… did things to, other kids as well. So, I w-want him, to feel the same pain…”
“Why don’t we collect all his victims’ signatures and give it to the chairman? Or maybe even sell it to a newspaper?”
“P-Please don’t!” Yamaki screamed.
“If you do that, I won’t get any retirement money or even references for another job. I-I’ll stop. So please, don’t do it. I’ll leave the school, so please.”
“But then you won’t get your punishment,” Souichirou laughed scornfully.
“If you go to a different school, you’ll just start secretly touching the students again, won’t you? Being a teacher is the perfect job for you, isn’t it?”
“…I-I won’t do anything like that anymore!”
Yamaki shook his head with a desperate expression.
“When I leave, I’ll… I’ll get married. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I’m done with boys. My mother in the country always wanted me to have kids.”
“I don’t really care about your future. Hurry up and resign. If you don’t do it yourself, I’ll make sure you do. I don’t mind making such a big fuss that you won’t be able to walk around without having to look over your shoulder.”
Scared out of his wits, the minute Souichirou waved his hand for him to go, Yamaki scrambled out of the guidance room.
Fumiya was just in shock the whole time.
“Kobori, we’re heading back,” Souichirou tried to urge, but his words never reached Fumiya’s ears.
Even now, Fumiya’s whole body was still trembling, and his eyes were wide open, lacking life. His teeth were chattering. He was clearly somewhere else.
Upon hearing his name, Fumiya looked straight up at Souichirou – it was the first time Souichirou had ever called him by his first name.
The shock only added to the previous shock, it took a while until his eyes could finally focus again.
“My name is Souichirou. Ernst is fine, too,” Souichirou told him. But Fumiya didn’t seem to understand he was being told to call him by his name.
“Call me Ernst.”
“E… Erns…t,” Fumiya tested out the unfamiliar name.
“There you go. In Austria, I’m known as Ernst Souichirou Akamatsu von Bessen. It’s just for formal situations, though. Ernst is a name that has been used in the Bessen family for a long time, and apparently, my grandfather’s father – my great-grandfather – was also called Ernst. But the only person who calls me that in Japan is my dad.”
Blood stuck to Fumiya’s lips as he repeated the name over and over.
Souichirou’s heart swelled with some sort of emotion for Fumiya at the sight. It was something close to love and pity.
He bent over a touch, and kissed Fumiya—it was only for a short moment.
Fumiya looked up at Souichirou in disbelief, bleary eyes beginning to fill with tears.
“Was it bad?”
When Fumiya heard the small crack in Souichirou’s voice, he shook his head. And then, he snuggled into him and gripped his sleeve tight.
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