In Love and On Fire - 12
Good afternoon, I’m Narimiya Yuri. I’m happy you’ve picked up my humble story today. I’m sure a lot of you were attracted by the charming men on the cover, and fascinated by the alluring red color of that fire engine.
I’d like to express my immense gratitude to Sakuragi Yaya, who drew the wonderful cover illustration.
I was overjoyed to receive such charming visuals of the main character. He spends so much time just spinning his wheels it seems almost a waste.
And Niimori is so wonderful, too, it makes me shiver. That gap between Niimori looking down on Adachi and Adachi being looked down on – I can’t take it. I sent off the galley copies, hoping and praying that I could satisfy at least one advance reader. Perhaps the fact that Ms Sakuragi illustrated the rescue scene, too, was some kind of reward.
Thank you very much for your high quality illustrations of the entire book, and in the middle of your busy schedule, too.
As for the work itself, as everyone expected from the cover and the title, the protagonist of this story is a fireman.
During the time span covered in this tale, Adachi, who had zero experience, has his plans manipulated by Niimori, who has a wealth of experience, but the one who ends up troubled and bewildered, trapped by his own tendency to see demons in every shadow, is Niimori. Adachi is the type to push forward in a straight line, so he ends up doing all the heavy lifting right through to the end, unable as he is to even consider Niimori’s psychology.
Since he’s so uncomplicated, the protagonist seems quite manly. I’m wondering if even Niimori didn’t fall in love with that part of him at first sight.
But I’m guessing he was unwilling to fall in love with Adachi at all.
I feel like my afterwords have turned into Apologies to My Editor spaces lately. I do humbly apologize for getting us into this particular boat. As Confucius says, “It is to err and not change your ways that is the true error.” Next time, I will change my ways, if only so that my editor doesn’t end up more depressed than Confucius.
I shall try to obtain the unobtainable: the proofreading copy shockingly free of errors.
And in closing, to all my readers. How did you enjoy the love between the naive, straightforward Adachi and the “lunging repeatedly at Adachi” Niimori? I’m not sure if the beast route was the shortest distance or the long way round, but as the author, I found it pretty fun to write, at least.
My only regret is that I didn’t get a chance to write about the great efforts Adachi and his comrades make on the scene of a fire. After the revisions were over, I felt like they hardly hosed anything down despite being firemen.
I’d be happy to think that you all enjoyed, even a little bit, what I ended up with.
It’s already been announced, but I’ve also written a short story from Niimori’s point of view for the November issue of CIEL, which goes on sale 2013 Sept 30, so I’d be overjoyed if you read and enjoyed that as well.
Thank you all very much for all your sincerity-packed letters. They are my heart’s lighthouse.
Heisei 25 August
Electronic Edition Special Short Story
In Love, Pure Hearted
I was the only one being jerked around, and it was unfair.
So I thought I’d give him a memory he’d never forget.
“Sorry, didn’t think it was that sensitive.”
Adachi Kousuke brushed back his damp hair and flashed an awkward smile.
Next to him, I threw off my now dripping jacket. The point of this lesson had been to gain personal experience with the operation of fire-suppression devices under a variety of conditions – a cold shower had not been on the agenda.
But Adachi had carelessly gotten the candle too close to the sensor above me before I’d had a chance to finish my preparations, and he’d set off the sprinklers.
“Don’t worry about it.” I swallowed my anger and adopted a generous attitude. “Good thing it wasn’t a flame-retardant chemical,” I declared, easily and boldly enough.
“But to respond like that,” he said, “maybe it is malfunctioning after all.”
His apology now over, he turned to investigate the device’s sensitivity, and as I desperately squashed my irritation, he took off his soaked black t-shirt right in front of me.
I wasn’t disappointed, his wheat-colored skin was laid bare. His abs were divided into beautifully symmetrical halves, which both shone obscenely with the dripping water.
Adachi’s body, at least, had always been my type, even when we were still trainees.
Some gay guys don’t care what’s on the inside as long as the outside looks good, but I’m not one of them. I’ve never been interested in impulsive idiots, so I had no such itch for Adachi. Even so, sometimes my eye would catch on that tight body, or that face where only idiotically slack expressions ever surfaced despite the sharp atmosphere he presented.
Adachi had noticed me staring and tilted his head in question.
“Nevermind. Let’s get back already. I’m sure we’ve got plenty of cleaning left to do as punishment.”
Maybe he actually did feel guilty for someone else taking punishment for his mistakes, because he apologized again. “Sorry.”
His pitiful face did wash the sour taste out of my mouth a little, but it wasn’t the first time he’d gotten on my nerves. I’d had a feeling I wasn’t going to be able to restrain myself around Adachi ever since one certain day.
The discontent that accumulated in me like trash flared up that day when someone in the dorms rehashed an argument about an arson that hadn’t died off in class. “In a situation where your life might be in danger, do you save the arsonist?” the guy asked.
“Save him, even if he is an arsonist,” Adachi said clearly and in an unusually earnest tone of voice. “It doesn’t matter who the victim is, you save them without hesitation. We don’t get to pick and choose who gets rescued.”
That line really got up my nose, this bastard who spends more than half his time getting me mixed up in his dumb mistakes making such bold, sound argument like he was somebody.
“I’d go out of my way not to save him. And if I had time once my official duties were done, I’d go back and watch him die.”
I stuck my nose into the conversation without really realizing it. I never participated in those idle chats, but that day I wanted to get my word in no matter what.
Maybe I wanted to get in a fight with that pure-hearted Adachi. Or maybe it was because I was remembering my father.
“That’s the opinion of a guy who wants to be a firefighter?”
As usual, Adachi swallowed the bait.
“Burnt to death in his own fire, you don’t think that’s funny?”
“Your way of thinking is just wrong, Niimori. Someone who can only think about it in those terms shouldn’t be trying to become a firefighter. I don’t care how good you are, you ought to quit.”
“You’re the one who ought to quit, you shouldn’t even be trying,” I said, in a tone dripping with disdain. I smiled provocatively.
It was the first time I’d picked a fight with anybody since I started at the academy.
It was so different from the generous attitude I’d been keeping up, the calm outward appearance I’d had until then, that the other trainees in the room all stared at me with surprised looks on their faces.
“Why should I quit?”
“You don’t know without being told, every single bird-brained, simple-minded thing about yourself? Quit now. Your inattentiveness and hypocritically selfish thinking is going to get your comrades involved, it’s going to get them killed.”
My half-provocation, half-angry-outburst set Adachi off.
“What the hell!”
The instant he grabbed me, I reflexively hit him.
For an instant, it was exhilarating, but then I immediately got hit back and my dissatisfaction piled up again.
In the end, we fought like we were letting out all our frustrations on each other, and then we were stopped by the other trainees, all with tears in their eyes. Our instructor bawled us both out, and it was declared a tie. I licked my lip and tasted blood, and re-confirmed my hatred for the bastard.
But my anger didn’t last long.
We were shut up in a classroom after dinner and told to write an essay on our behavior as punishment for our dispute.
“I didn’t say anything wrong,” Adachi said.
“Enough. We’ll never be able to understand each other anyway.”
“That’s no good. We don’t even talk that much, don’t just decide we’ll never understand each other. I want to understand you, and properly, too.”
“Aren’t you the one who came after me without too many words?”
“That’s because you were saying such terrible things–”
“Don’t yell. What are you going to do if someone in the hallway hears you? If they find out we’re not writing any essays, it’s not gonna end with compositions.”
Adachi sunk into silence at my threat, and for a while his pen scratched on the paper, but suddenly he spoke again. “Hey.”
When I turned around, he looked like a kid who’d misjudged his own strength and ended up hurting someone. “Where I hit you,” he said, “does it hurt?”
“You looking to apologize?” I shot back, his pitiful voice still echoing around the room.
“I mean, I wasn’t wrong, but I did totally lose my cool and I ended up injuring your face, so I should apologize about the violence at least.”
I hadn’t intended to forgive him, but when I saw the hesitation on his face, I ended up laughing. The cut on the inside of my mouth hurt, so I’d ended up rushing through dinner, and probably someone had mentioned something to him in the dining hall after I’d left. He looked fine from the outside, and he didn’t have any immunity from the ladies, so I could imagine everyone ganging up on him and blaming him for the whole thing.
“If you were going to apologize,” I said, “you should’ve aimed for somewhere people can’t see.”
“Maybe I could have, if you woulda taken it easy. The top of my foot still hurts,” Adachi grumbled, apparently a little relieved at my laugh.
“Because I stepped on you as hard as I could. Which is why you shouldn’t apologize. If you do, I’ll have to, too.”
In that moment I would rather have died than apologize to the likes of Adachi. When I stood up with my finished essay, he stopped me again.
“What is it now?”
“Listen, don’t say stuff so extreme like that. A firefighter dying for a criminal isn’t something to laugh at. And there are people whose relatives have died on the line, too, right? If one of them heard what you said, they’d be hurt.”
That was an extremely respectable opinion, even for Adachi.
Certainly I hadn’t given it much forethought. It was just that when the instructor’d asked it in class, it had seemed like we were being trained in a certain ideology. I knew from the beginning what they expected me to say. And it was just because it was Adachi that I’d said that in the dorms, he’d just taken it way too seriously.
“I know,” I said, hanging my head in an unusually obedient way.
Adachi smiled proudly. “See, if we talk to each other, we can understand each other, even if it’s just a little bit.”
Of course it was a stupid face, but for some reason it kept coming back to my mind again and again.
When I realized that maybe Adachi would die before his time one day, too, like my father who’d died on the line, my eyes just ended up following him around of their own accord.
Naturally, his exposed and defenseless limbs came into my view. His body wasn’t even my type, but it started to look good to me, following it around every day as I was. He did work out all the time, after all.
Coupled with our abstinence-only dorm lifestyle, suppressing my urges gradually became more difficult. Even after I specifically provoked fights sometimes, I occasionally went to bed feeling even worse. It was probably the annoying conversations I kept having with Adachi, but completing my training without laying my hands on him was only the result of a great effort.
So when we were assigned to the same departmental office, I was pissed to discover I’d have to keep up my defenses. But at the same time, I was relieved – just a little – that Adachi wouldn’t end up dead someplace where I couldn’t even get to him. There were plenty of times after we officially became firefighters that I got mixed up in some dumb mistake of his and got ticked off, but I was starting to feel uneasy if I couldn’t see him, like I was his legal guardian – stuck with a kid with terrible luck.
About a year after we met, I was grumbling at a bar to my cousin, who also happens to be a firefighter, about something Adachi’d done, and how he always seemed to be reliable on calls but was such a flake under normal circumstances, and my cousin smiled. “It’s weird for you to pay this kind of attention to anyone, Mihaya,” he said, half-surprised.
“Well no one else in the department scolds him that much, including you.”
“Your personal life is a total failure, but you’re always on point at work, so, I guess, you know. Still I can’t help but think your concern over Adachi’s errors is just a pretext.”
“If he messes up on the line again like he did when we were trainees, it’s going to turn fatal, I’m just warning him. That guy makes so many careless mistakes.”
“You’ve fallen for him?”
“How did this conversation end up there?” I scowled at his illogical deduction and glared at him.
But he’d already convinced himself, and he only grinned. “Finally, you found an honest guy to like! How can I help?”
“Start by listening to me when I talk to you. Anyway, I’m not gonna fall for somebody like that.”
“Well I happen to think he’s a pretty good guy.”
“In what way?”
I rejected the idea with a shocked expression, but my cousin’s words had caught me. On the other hand, I knew Adachi wasn’t interested in men, and I’d never been able to picture myself seducing him.
— His body’s definitely nice, but if it’s just lust, I can solve that with someone else.
And so with that thought in mind, I crushed my emotions. But after he ended up at my house one night, complaining about my ex-lover like he was jealous, all the feelings I’d been ignoring as impossible suddenly expanded until it felt like I was going to crack open. I knew his jealousy was coming from a sense of rivalry and friendship, but I wanted him so bad my fingertips were going numb.
In the end, I was trapped by the very feelings I’d been avoiding.
The truth was, my thoughts had been inching closer to him ever since he’d said we could understand one another. It wasn’t just my body that wanted him, it was my heart, too.
But it seemed dense to want something I had no hope of ever getting, and I hated that fear of losing him even if some miracle did occur and I ever got him, so I’d kept right on running away and deceiving myself. But maybe just this once, I could let myself touch him.
“You’re not my type, but it might be fun to devour a virgin.”
Adachi was feeling strongly indebted to me about a blunder he’d committed on the job, so when it turned out I might get just this one chance, I moved with calculating self-interest, and seized the body I’d always wanted to touch.
Besides, even if I didn’t hook him, I wanted to leave him with a vivid memory of me. I overdid it on the poor bewildered guy with my mouth, and in the end, I made him cum with my foot.
Nobody could forget an experience like that – I felt a dark satisfaction.
“You’re really not my type, but your face when you cum ain’t bad.”
That wasn’t exactly true, but I’d realized that my lust was stronger than I’d thought, and the idea that I might finally release all the urges I’d been keeping pinned down made me shudder. But I didn’t intend to go all the way, I’d never thought about wanting to take him.
That was about the worst mistake I ever made.
How did it end up like that?
The instant I was penetrated, I let out a shout. Adachi stopped moving in surprise, but immediately thrust that towering cock of his into me with a flourish.
Moaning in pain, I rethought my entire plan – ah-ha, this guy is a complete idiot. But no matter how much of a dumb virgin he was, I hadn’t thought he’d jam it right in without even breaking me in.
When he asked if this was my first time, and got a positive reply, he buried himself even deeper.
“A– I said– Don’t go– any further–”
What the hell was this dumbass thinking, don’t you normally do the opposite?
You can’t dive in headlong, especially in bed– I couldn’t make the complaint come out of my mouth so it just spun round and round in my head. I left it all to my eyes, but of course that had no effect.
He’s never listened to a word I said anyway.
“Adachi– Give me a– break!”
“You tricked me, take responsibility, stay with me to the end.”
He’s the worst. I grabbed the sheets, rocked back and forth by this man who’d never done anything as I expected, not once since we’d met. If it was going to end up like this, I shouldn’t have bothered being so patient in the dorms, I should have just attacked him.
Well, if I’d done it back then, I probably would have gotten myself hit.
Except that I was such a pure idiot, I got carried away by my lust and forgot to be angry.
I moaned, and he must have realized I wasn’t concentrating, because suddenly he grabbed my arm.
I resisted, but he easily pulled it off and revealed my face, which I’d been trying to hide, and I started to feel like I wasn’t going to last much longer. What kind of face was I even making? I had no idea, but Adachi turned his heat-filled eyes towards me. “What the– so cute,” he said, and he sounded as surprised as I was. I doubted my own ears.
I couldn’t believe anyone was saying that about me, and the place where I was wrapped uncomfortably around Adachi tightened on its own.
Suddenly his hips drew near and covered mine.
“Ah– Let go– Hah–”
I twisted my body, but ended up unreasonably aware of the shape of the cock piercing me.
At the same time, Adachi moaned faintly. It was a tone packed with sex, and I responded with a blurry tone of my own. The flesh that held his stiff cock started to feel like it was melting.
“You’re so hot, my head is totally blank.”
“Huh, huh, mm–” I replied, and his lips were heavy on mine again.
When I finally realized I was being kissed, the inside of my body suddenly opened up all on its own, like it wanted to accept him.
The rough kiss was overly long, and without thinking, I hit his back, but he showed no signs of stopping. It wasn’t so much that he was ignoring me, it was more like he didn’t have any extra brain cells with which to understand my response.
But this was my first time on this end of things too, and I didn’t have any extra brain cells, either.
“Ah– Adachi– Hoo–”
He buried the entire hard, hot thing inside of me, and it hurt.
I hadn’t intended to sleep with him. This wasn’t what I’d wanted.
But if this first time was also going to be the last time, I hated the idea of being left with memories of nothing but pain, and when I went looking for even the slightest bit of pleasure, my whole body jumped.
I let out a surprised moan. It was a bigger pleasure than anything I’d imagined, and for an instant, Adachi’s wasn’t the only blank head. After a slight interval, I was attacked by a sensation too intense to even be called pleasure, and the inside of my body spasmed and creaked.
It must have felt good for Adachi, though, because he thrust up into me again at the exact same spot, and without thinking, I arched my neck back.
I can’t– The words I was trying to slip through disappeared without ever making it to my throat. The strength that should have been in my fingers to tell him no wasn’t there, and I was rocked by something that felt great. There was a lightning bolt of joy, and I couldn’t do anything but let out a moan.
But he swallowed my voice, and even that didn’t make it through. He played with me even more than before, with that long, fleshy tongue of his. He trampled persistently throughout the inside of my mouth, and I couldn’t even get enough breath. I couldn’t form any thoughts, and when I left everything to my body, he rubbed my sensitive areas just right, and I couldn’t take it anymore and I climaxed.
The hot, cloudy liquid that spurted out of me scattered on top of my stomach, but the instant I heaved a sigh of relief that it was finally over, he grabbed my legs again.
What the hell? Before I could even ask the question, he thrust even harder into me, and a miserable half-moan, half-sigh gushed out of me.
The heated place where had just cum shook every time he gouged out my insides.
The mucous membranes of my soft flesh had been rubbed too much, and they inflamed my senses with an exquisite pain.
“Adachi– Pull out, stop, idiot, virgin–”
My back quivered from too much pleasure.
I was at my wit’s end, and told him off, but he thrust even harder and deeper, frowning the whole time. I scowled at him, blaming him for his terrible manners – we’re both guys, you have to understand the feeling of wanting to pull out after you’ve cum, right?
But Adachi said something impressively outrageous.
“I’m not done yet, hold on a little longer.”
Cut it out, I’ll kill you, I hate you, you’re shit at this, you fucking monkey.
I tried to voice some kind of complaint, but every word must have vanished in my throat – I didn’t really know myself. The only thing I was certain of was that Adachi’s juices were spilling into my body, and I was angry.
But when I looked at his face and saw how great he seemed to be feeling, that anger disappeared, too.
I’m the one who started to forget that this was a one-time-only connection, I thought, after he’d called my name and withdrawn his cock.
I never intended to confess my feelings. It was pointless, Adachi liked girls and I knew it, I knew it so much I hated it. But no matter how forceful he was, or how he threatened me, his first time was mine. That was enough.
My plans had gone completely awry, but even so, it was burned in my memory. I’d been the one to spin him around this time, and I swallowed my pain, feeling a little triumphant.
Being done actually had felt better than I’d thought, but that was precisely why it’d been so scary. And all those sweet words he’d whispered in the middle had been bad for my heart. Adachi’s spirits were just up, he’d been in the midst of his first time, that was to be expected.
I knew he’d wake up from that warm haze in no time – that was why I’d intended to keep it from going this far in the first place. But I’d forgotten one essential fact. Adachi is an idiot who rushes headlong into everything.
“I want to find out if I really do like you or what.”
A few days after our physical connection, he invited me on a date, and I was left with no choice but to admit that in fact no matter how much I struggled, I was the one who was being spun around.
And maybe sometimes I didn’t hate it.
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