The Color of Passion

Yata Hates Bikinis

Soon it would be Valentines Day and I had absolutely no idea what to do about it. I thought about ignoring its presence, but Anna didn’t seem to want to.

“What are you going to get Mikoto for Valentines Day?” She asked me as she ate Tatara’s omelet rice after rejecting mine once again.

“Eh? Um… why do you assume I would be giving Mikoto something?” I asked her.

“Because he saved you three times and you said you want to make him happy.”

“And you are going to be his wife.” Tatara smiled and he pointed the camera in my face.

“Stop saying that as if it’s nothing!” I exclaimed, hiding my face. “… I suppose I should do something to show him my appreciation.” I mumbled.

“Lets make him chocolates!” Tatara exclaimed. Anna lit up and nodded her head furiously. I sat there with absolutely no faith in my wretched cooking, faked a smile, and nodded my head.

Who knew making chocolates was so hard. I almost burnt the place down with my clumsiness in the kitchen and Anna just watched and tasted the entire time while Tatara ordered me around. His personality always seemed to change drastically when he put on that apron.

Although, the guys never give each other gifts and I doubted that any of them would think to give me one, I still didn’t want to seem like I was favoring Mikoto. So I made enough horrible chocolate for everyone.


The day finally came and Anna, Totsuka and I gave out our chocolates to everyone. They all said thank you and apologized for not having anything to give back, but I really didn’t care. All I cared about was mustering up the courage to give Mikoto my chocolate, but I just couldn’t. I stood there with the tiny clear bag behind my back, staring at Mikoto as Anna gave him her chocolates. I had completely frozen up.

I knew I was being silly; the chocolates meant nothing. I didn’t know what I was scared of. He looked over at me and I averted my eyes. I walked over to the bar, making sure my chocolates were hidden and I sat there and talked to Kusanagi about shift hours.

Later that night, Anna had come back from Mikoto’s room after saying goodnight and went right to sleep. I on the other hand, was wide-awake. I had no idea what was wrong with me earlier. I should have just given them to him. Suddenly I was filled with determination. I quietly got out of bed, grabbed my gift for him and tiptoed out of the room so I wouldn’t wake up Anna.

I made my way towards the King’s door and as I stared at the large hunk of wood that separated me and him, I was, once again, overflowing with anxiety.

I stood there for a good five minutes until I eventually let my irrational nerves get the best of me. I started to walk back, but out of nowhere the door swung open. I looked back and there Mikoto stood, leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed and a cigarette lodged between his lips as he stared at me with a disapproving look.

“What’s with you and standing at my door?”

“Ah! I um…” I paused for a moment as I tightened my grip on the small clear bag of chocolates I held behind my back. It was now or never and I knew that if I didn’t take this leap that I would regret it. “Happy Valentines Day!” I said as I swiftly moved my hands from behind my back and held out the little bag of chocolates to him. He stared at me for a moment and I felt like there was a large void in my stomach about to consume me like a black hole.

After awhile of glaring at me, for reasons unknown, he finally pushed himself up from the doorframe, walked over, and accepted my gift. He then proceeded to walk back over inside his room. I stood there, dumbfounded as to what had just happened, thinking that he was messing with my head or something. But he still hadn’t closed the door. My curiosity overtook me and I slowly made my way over to see that he had put his cigarette out in the ashtray and was now about to try one of the chocolates I gave him.

I panicked.

“Ah! Don’t eat them!” I exclaimed from the hallway. He ignored me and popped one into his mouth. I ran inside and bowed my head in apology. “I’m so sorry! I know they taste horrible! I didn’t think you would actually eat them.”

“They’re fine.”

I looked up in confusion to see him popping one in after the other. I watched him in awe as he ate the entire bag in front of me.

“Eh?!” I felt my cheeks begin to burn as I looked up at him in astonishment. Did my cooking suddenly taste good?

He finished the last of them and slid his hands in his pockets. I just knew my face was an unnatural red color by now.

“Well umm…” I started to step back towards the door. “Goodnight.”

I wonder… was he lying?


A few months later out of nowhere summer came. I was ecstatic for two reasons: Kamamoto is beautiful again, and we were at the beach! I sat in the sand with Anna as we built a sandcastle. She had the cutest red one-piece swimsuit on and she let me put her hair in small pigtails.

“Akane…” She started.

“Hmm?” I grabbed a seashell and put on the top of our masterpiece.

“Why aren’t you wearing your swimsuit?”

“Eh?” I felt my face begin to flush red. “I… umm… I’m wearing it underneath my clothes…”

“Why?”

Because I didn’t have enough money to buy a new swimsuit so all I had is my old one that was just a bit too small…

“I just feel like it…”

“Yes! Time to get some chicks! Some chicks!” Chitose exclaimed.

“You… is that all you think about?” Dewa said.

“Last year, due to Kamamoto, the whole summer went to waste! I have to make up for it! Kusanagi!” Chitose exclaimed.

Kusanagi awkwardly laughed and said, “Ah, I’m fine… at this age I can’t be that direct.”

“Just how old are you Kusanagi?” I said, he just laughed again and I cocked my head to the side.

“Totsuka…” Chitose went on.

“I only have her in my eyes…” He said as he held onto Anna’s hand.

“Eh?” I looked over at him in confusion.

Chitose looked over at Dewa who had his back turned towards him, it was obvious he wanted nothing to do with it.

“No choice… lets go Bando!”

“Yeah!” Bando exclaimed as he ripped open his jacket revealing his Homra tattoo, placed right in the middle of his stomach.

“San, your mark is in such a strange place.” Shouhei pointed out.

“It’s fine. Ever since I got the symbol from Mikoto I’ve never once had a stomach ache.”

Some girls started screaming from excitement when they noticed the beautiful Kamamoto cooking Yakisoba.

Chitose gritted his teeth, “this year I won’t lose to Kamamoto...” Some other girls noticed Yata surfing very well in the ocean and started to comment about how cool he was, which also annoyed Chitose. “L-let’s go Bando! We can’t have our vanguard cutting in before us!”

“Y-Yeah!”

Shouhei looked over to seeFujishima in his speedo about to get in the water.

“T-that’s an amazing… swimsuit…” Shouhei commented.

“Is that so?” He said, obviously not taking much notice to it.

“…Eric you can’t swim?” Dewa asked the shy boy who stood in front of the tide with a tube around his waist, obviously embarrassed.

“I see, then I’ll teach you!” Shouhei said as he pulled the boy into the water and Dewa followed.

“The brats are so energetic.” Kusanagi said as he sat underneath his umbrella in this fold out chair and drank beer, Mikoto lying on the ground beside him.

“You talk like an old man Kusanagi.” Tatara pointed out. “Anna, do you want to get in the water?”

“…Only if it’s my feet.” She said as she stood up and walked over to the shore with him.

I stood up as well and walked over to the lazy King.

“Mikoto, do you want to go play in the water with me?” I asked him. He opened one of his eyes to see my standing over him with a smile.

“Not really.” He mumbled and closed his eyes.

“Aww, come on. When’s the last time you had a fun time in the water?”

He let out a sigh and sat up, rolling up the bottom of his pants. “How troublesome.” He grumbled as he stood up, took his shirt off and started to walk towards the water. I followed after him, my cheeks burning from embarrassment.

We stood in the water in silence with only our feet getting wet.

“Mikoto…” I started.

“Hmm?”

“…Thank you.” I could feel my face begin to heat up as I stared ahead at the horizon. The water was warm, a lot more than I expected; I bet it was Mikoto who was heating it up.

“…For what?”

“If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here. This past year has been the best time of my life, I’m so happy to be apart of Homra.” I grabbed onto the necklace Mikoto gave me. “I never want it to end.” I glanced over at him and he was watching me from the corner of his eye. He quickly looked back over at the horizon and I giggled to myself. I leaned down and splashed some water on him.

“Hey!” He said, acting as if I was being annoying, but for just a moment I could see a small smile flash before my eyes.

A large wave came in, causing me to lose my balance and fall right on top of Mikoto. We fell into the water, his arms wrapped tightly against me as if he was protecting me. The tide went back in and Mikoto looked up at me in surprise, I stared down at him, my face burning red, suddenly Kamamoto yelled for everyone to come back for lunch. I scrambled to my feet and Mikoto stood up, dripping wet. I looked the other way to hide my embarrassment and followed him back towards the group.

I decided there was no other choice since my clothes were uncomfortable soaking, so I took off my shirt and shorts to reveal my small black bikini to everyone. I could feel all of their eyes on me.

“Ah!” Yata exclaimed. “Cover up will you!?” He threw a sweatshirt at me.

“Hmm? Are you embarrassed Yata?” Kusanagi teased.

“Eh!? No it’s just… a girl shouldn’t be showing so much skin…” Yata said, hiding his red face.

“Thanks Yata, but this sweatshirt is a bit small for me.” I chuckled. “You have a rather small stature huh?” I handed it back to him and he didn’t respond, I could tell he was annoyed by my comment though.

“I think you look great Akane.” Kamamoto said as he handed me a plate of Yakisoba.

“Really!?” My eyes sparkled. I was under the spell of his charms.

“Here.” Mikoto held out his white shirt towards me. “Put it on.”

“Eh?” I took the shirt from him and he went back to stuffing his face with food. Despite my confusion I put it on anyways. I was still wet so it didn’t really cover me up, but instead stuck to my swimsuit.

“You just made it worse for Yata, Mikoto.” Tatara chuckled as Yata completely turned the other way with his head down.

Chitose and Bando sat down, depressed by their failure to lure in any beautiful girls.

“Yata? You don't seem to eating much.” Kamamoto said.

“I don’t want to be told that by the summer you.” Yata grumbled.

“Ah. Right, I heard this just awhile ago.” Kamamoto said. “Apparently they appear around here.”

Yata spit out his drink in surprise.

“Th-they!?” He exclaimed, obviously frightened.

“Apparently a child drowned in one of the sea coves…that child went adventuring inside the cove with his friend… and then water slowly started to enter the cove… the friend suggested to go home but the child didn’t listen and went deep inside by himself… However, that child doesn’t realize he has died and apparently still continues adventuring inside the cove.” Yata seemed really scared by Kamamoto’s story for some reason. “If you enter the cove, you apparently hear little footsteps and a child’s voice ringing throughout the area…”

Anna laid her hand on Yata’s shoulder and he fell out of his chair in surprise, screaming in fear.

“AHHH!? Anna?!”

“Yata you don’t have to be jittery to that point.” Kamamoto said.

“I’m not jittery!”

“A ghost?” Anna said.

“If it’s actually a ghost I think Anna will be able to see it.” Kamamoto said.

“Then after this, why don’t we go there?” Tatara suggested.

“Like a courage test? Sounds great!” Shouhei said.

‘Wait… we’re going to see a ghost!?’

I wasn’t a hundred percent sure how I felt about that… at times I can be real scaredy cat.

“You guys… isn’t that imprudent?” Kusanagi said.

“But what if there was a ghost spending time there all alone?” Anna said.

“B-but if it hates the world and jumps out at us…” Yata said nervously.

“Then if we at least try to talk to it maybe it’ll feel better?” Tatara said.

‘That’s not how it works in the movies!’

“What’s up with that positive attitude towards ghosts?” Kamamoto said.

“King, why don’t you come too? A walk will help you digest.” Tatara said. Mikoto didn’t really seem to care; he just shrugged his shoulders and followed along. I nervously walked beside him; I knew the safest place was as close to him as possible.

The sun went down and the moon was full. We walked along the shore towards the cove and the view was absolutely beautiful.

“Ah, it’s there.” Kamamoto pointed out. “Over at that pile of rocks there’s supposed to be a cavern. Yata are you scared?”

“OF COURSE NOT!” He exclaimed. He was definitely scared.

Tatara looked down and saw a crab.

“Is it edible?” He asked as him and Anna stared down at it.

“Leave it alone.” Kusanagi ordered.

Yata suddenly punched Kamamoto right in the side as he stared out at the cove in shock.

“GAH! Wha… what are you doing Yata!?” Kamamoto exclaimed.

“J-J-J-Just now…”

“…. There’s nothing there…” Kamamoto said. “Maybe you saw something?”

We all walked over to the opening of the cave. Everyone stood right in front of it, while Mikoto and I stood a few feet away. Mikoto didn’t seem all that interested in their ghost hunt and was staring out into the ocean. I stood by him and watched them from a far. He looked down at me.

“Are you scared?”

“Eh?” I looked up at him and then down at me feet from embarrassment. “No… I just… if there really is a ghost I’d much rather be by the strongest person than perhaps… Yata.” I looked over at the group and there Yata stood repeating to himself that it was all his imagination over and over.

“Is that so…” Mikoto said as he returned to his daze.

“You guys are weak so don’t leave my side alright!?” Yata exclaimed as he held onto Tatara and Anna’s hand. “Don’t leave my side alright!?” Tatara just laughed and Anna said,

“Yata your hand is sweaty…”

“Alright! You enter first Kamamoto!” Yata said before kicking Kamamoto from behind and into the cave.

“Ehh? Shouldn’t we play rock, paper, scissors to see who’s going in first?” He suggested.

Suddenly everyone went quiet with the sound of footsteps.

“Ooh. It actually appeared?” Kusanagi said as he took a sip of his beer.

Now I was starting to get a little frightened.

“Where… where are…?” A small voice said. Yata was shaking and maybe even crying from fright.

“Ah… a voice…” Tatara said, still as stone.

Mikoto let out a sigh and walked over to the entrance with me close behind.

“Mikoto, can’t we stay farther away!?” I exclaimed. His hand burst into flames while he held his cigarette between his teeth.

“Mikoto!? Are you going to burn the ghost!? Yata exclaimed.

“But they already left no blood, no bone, no ash!!!” Kamamoto said.

“I’m not going to burn it.” Mikoto said before placing his hand over a nearby bush, lighting it on fire and allowing everyone see what exactly was making the noise.

A little boy stood with his back towards us, Yata and Kamamoto burst out screaming,

“It appeared!”

Anna started to run towards the boy and Yata fell to his knees.

“Anna! Noooo! Don’t go there!” He exclaimed.

Anna grabbed the boy by the hand, “You’re wrong. This child is alive.”

“Then… you are the passed away child’s friend?” Tatara asked him. The boy nodded and explained that he heard the rumor of the ghost of his friend haunting the cove and how he wanted to see him again, but Tatara pointed out that there was no ghost and it was, in fact, people seeing the young boy looking for his friend. The boy stared down at a picture of him and his dead friend with sadness as he realized the truth. “Is that picture not enough?” Tatara asked him. “Photos and videos imprint the memory and thoughts of that time. A ghost is just like that too. They store memories of while we were alive.” The little boy started to tear up as he stared down at the picture. “…There’s no ghost there.”

I couldn't help but feel sad about the whole situation, that poor boy, having to deal with death so early in his life.

We all headed back towards the other end of the beach together.

“That was an interesting walk.” Kusanagi said.

“Well the dangerous ghost managed to eventually go home so it’s fine isn’t it?” Tatara said.

“You, I thought you’d be the type who like superstition.” Kusanagi said. “But in the end you don’t seem to believe in ghosts.”

“I just think it’ll be nice if there is.” Tatara said. “It’s like wishing for Santa Claus.”

“I don’t understand your train of thought.” Kusanagi said.

Tatara stopped, looked out over the shore and for a moment he got really serious.

“If it was me… I would feel happy if I was still at that spot after my death.” I stopped and looked back at him in confusion. “But a ghost is only there because someone wants to see it. The actual dead person has no influence over it.”

“But… I have bad memories with stuff related to ghosts…” Kamamoto said.

“Eh?!” Yata exclaimed.

Tatara laughed, “Is that so? Then it’s not something you can stop believing!” We all started to walk again, except for Tatara.

“Hey.” We stopped and look back to see him making a square with his fingers and looking through it like a camera.

“What are you doing?” Mikoto asked him.

“Just for a bit, I wanted to press my heart’s shutter.” He smiled and we all gave him a confused look. I laughed and walked over to him with a smile.

“Don’t worry Tatara, you don’t have to try so hard to remember us all. We aren’t going anywhere.” He smiled and we all started to walk back, but a few feet down I stopped and stared up at the moon. Right then Tatara’s words hit me,

Will there be a day where Homra isn’t around? What would I do then?

I didn’t want to think about it too hard, but I wanted to cherish that view in front of me. I glanced over and Mikoto stood beside to me, staring up at the moon as well. Everyone had gone back without us.

“I told them to go on and that I’ll stay with you until you’re ready to go back.” He said. I stared up at him in awe. He looked down at me and said, “Are you cold?”

“I’m fine.” I went back to look at the view and I guess I must have been shivering because Mikoto put his arm around me and pushed me against him. My face flushed red and I kept my eyes straightforward, not bothering to protest. He was warm, it was like sitting by a fire on a cold snowy night. And at that moment I was at total bliss.

‘Please, don’t let Homra ever end.’

...I was so ignorant back then.

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