Drama CD: Break Free!

I’ve been posting about this in various places, but I thought I’d add a post to this blog as well. Better late than never, eh?

So, this is going to be a shameless advertisement for a fellow author, who I admire greatly, and whose work has always been more than inspiring to me. Nowadays, I am lucky enough to call her my friend, and I am super excited about her having this project happening!

Basically she wrote a novel-length script which was adapted into an audio drama, starring such amazing voice actors as Narutu’s Junko Takeuchi and Noriaki Sugiyama, Daisuke Namikawa (K, Haikyuu!!, Hetalia) and Yuichi Nakamura (Haikyuu!!, Durarara!!).  The artwork is by Japanese illustrator Yamada Shiro.
For anyone who’s heard ‘Yours For An Hour‘, it’s by the same production company; Leaves & Bonds, and obviously, if you’re a SasuNaru fan (like me *coughs*) then it’s definitely a must-have!

The deadline for pre-ordering is on the 16th of February, Japanese time, so anyone interested should get to it, as pre-ordering is the only way to guarantee getting your copy (or copies)!

Summary:
Nobu has always put his family first, even before his own dreams. Just when he’s about to resign himself to the future his father has planned for him, a boy he met 10 years ago reappears and turns his whole world view upside down. Will Kaito be able to show him what it’s like to live a life that’s more free?

The Drama CD comes in two versions, with different epilogues. The drama is recorded in Japanese, but the CD comes with a transcript in English.

You can pre-order the CD until February 16th from Good Smile Shop.

Version A: https://goo.gl/zFyhFz

Version B: https://goo.gl/O478yb

This is going to be SO GOOD, so get your copy before the deadline~

You can also converse with Raz on her tumblr, ask questions and otherwise support the project on there.
Even if you can’t afford buying a CD yourself, please spread the word and help support her~

goodsmileshop-com

Image source: GoodSmile Shop

Full stop

Today is semicolon day.  Semicolons are kind of ambiguous as far as grammar goes; you either don’t know what they do at all, or; you abuse them. Guess which category I am in?
I love semicolons. When I was in elementary, and later middle school, teachers would get on my case for writing waaay too long sentences. When I learned how to use semicolons, this seemed to solve the problem. Ever since, I have happily sprinkled my writing with them wherever I feel they are necessary.

However, a semicolon is much more than just a grammatical tool. In recent years, it has become a powerful tool in the battle for mental health awareness.
Semicolon tattoos started appearing as the result of a social media movement in 2013, and is a way for people to express their struggles, progress or victory over their own demons, or to remind themselves that it’s not yet over.

For a very long time, I have had a small tidbit in my brain that I have been unable to write down, however, once I did write it, it came out nothing like what I had imagined in my mind. As usual.
In any case, I thought today would be the perfect time to share this little piece.
Please read, and don’t be shy to comment if you liked it~

Full Stop

The small, spartan apartment was unnaturally clean, and unnaturally cold. All surfaces seemed to have been meticulously cleaned of excess belongings, cleaned and dusted. A wastepaper bin was the only thing bearing witness to any kind of massive cleaning; it was overfilled with balled-up paper, one such ball having fallen out, landing a few centimeters away from the bin. It was as if the tenant had gotten rid of any kind of personal effects and purposely turned off the heat, even though it was in the middle of winter, and the sane thing to do would be to keep the heating cranked up.

To anyone unfamiliar with the tenant, it could have seemed like he was someone who didn’t possess a lot of things. Perhaps someone who was in the process of moving, who had left nothing but the essentials for the time being; or perhaps, just gone away for a period of time and turned the heat off in the meantime, to save expenses.  The faintly unpleasant odor might have been thought to come from a forgotten garbage bin in a kitchen cupboard.
To anyone, except to the man who had once been closer to him than anyone, who still loved the parts of him that he had loved, before it all went wrong and became too much for both of them to handle.
Standing in the unnaturally clean apartment, he had instantly noticed objects missing from their regular positions – before he had noticed the body.

His trembling hand was curled around a plastic cup patterned with mascot characters. He sat hunched forwards on the very edge of the bed, watching the paramedics.
The young man was cold. Not only from the freezing temperature in the apartment. The man on the bed tried to avoid looking at the marks on his throat. His gaze shifted, falling on thin, scarred arms instead. He knew those scars were only the tip of an iceberg, an ice berg which had now surfaced in its entirety.

He heard one of the paramedics commenting on the small tattoo on the inside of the young man’s wrist, his tone questioning. Maybe he thought it was only a scribble in marker or something, maybe he was looking for some kind of deeper meaning.

“It’s a semi-colon,” he heard himself, his voice hollow, echoing in the cleared-out space.

Symbolic. Victorious. Hopeful.

“A semi-colon is where the author could have chosen to end the sentence, but didn’t.”
He averted his eyes, feeling his throat tighten painfully.
The young man had written on, hesitantly, but the full stop had been unavoidable.

 

**終**

On the LGBT conundrum

Like pretty much everyone else in Norway, and apparently, the rest of the world, I have been sucked into the world of Shame – that is SKAM, the Norwegian drama series for teens that broke into the scene last fall and caused everyone within their demographic reach and beyond to utterly lose their minds. This post will obviously contain spoilers, so do not proceed if you haven’t seen the end of season 3.

I’ll be frank, to begin with I went from being clueless as to what this was, to being mildly annoyed at the hype, and then finally, a couple of eps into season two, this spring, I caved and binge-watched the episodes during one weekend where I was supposed to revise for exams. At first, I was skeptical, but I quickly found myself oddly compelled by the characters, despite the fact that the first season in particular deals with a lot of typical teenage things that I have never associated with neither as a teen nor as an adult. But the way that the series itself has been created; the way it realistically portrays these kids, and in particular, how different it is from the glossy American drama series that we are served on TV, focusing on rich teens who experience anything from arson to murders and all kinds of drama. SKAM is a lot more down to earth, even if it is situated around Norwegian teens from more well-off families, who seemingly only care about parties and Russefeiring. Regardless, it is real, it is intimate, and it ensnares and allures its audience by giving small drips of action throughout the weeks, as we are treated to several short clips that are compiled into a long episode on Friday night, but also real-time text messages, instagram and facebook updates by the characters themselves. It’s quite ingenious, and helps make the series extremely addictive – especially for anyone who’s looking for a good reason to procrastinate when they should be studying (Norway basically stopped functioning for the entirety of the period where William wasn’t answering Noora’s texts this spring).
Season two however, was the one that really convinced me that people were right concerning this show. The previous season dealt with more “typical” issues, like teenage angst and drama, and a pregnancy scare, but season two delves into sexual assault, and offers a very natural way to deal with the issue. SKAM doesn’t point fingers, but functions as a kind of older sister, or friend, giving advice and information in a way that is easily understood and remembered, and which was applauded by audiences as well as the Norwegian police.

With that said, despite that long-ass opening paragraph, this is not a blog post about SKAM. Or, yes it is, but not really.
Season 3 is what caused the massive rush of international viewers, and made the series rise to international fame and popularity, as we follow 17 year old Isak, who may or may not be homosexual. This season is massively important, but also ambiguous. I will get to this.
It’s been hinted at earlier in the series that Isak might be gay or bisexual, but the season doesn’t limit itself to the question of sexuality. Rather, it shows the context of the question. This season deals more specifically with the idea of identity, and being true to oneself. We are given small glimpses into feelings of displacement, uncertainty and despair, not all of which are connected to sexuality, but also to mental illness, divorce, religion and expectations from society and peers. It’s all interwoven together in a way that becomes very natural in the sense that the creators of the series aren’t attempting to over-explain or solve all the problems, but rather allow them to be presented, some of them to be explored more than others, and some of them to remain unresolved, but perhaps less pressing, very much like how we pick our battles and find our coping strategies in the real world.

The ambiguity then, lies in what I refer to as ‘the LGBT Conundrum’, and so, this post is sparked by a quick rant I wrote on Facebook somewhere mid-season, as I had just finished watching a particularly  jarring episode.
It is well known by anyone who has dedicated some time to watching and reading LGBT fiction, that in addition to non-heterosexual relationships being way underrepresented, there is also a distinct lack of not only happy, but also realistic stories of same-sex love. A typical trope is the tragic love story: often ending in death. Another trope is the ‘coming out of the closet’ or ‘will they or won’t they’. Here, the story typically focuses on a set of characters who seemingly are into each other, but struggle to convey it – in itself, not unrealistic, but the problem is that these stories (particularly in my field; BL), often end once the couple share their first kiss (or,  if we’re “lucky”, a night together). It seems that this type of representation presents the idea that once the hurdle of confession or outing is passed, that’s the end of all problems. Rarely do we get to see what comes next; the every day lives, the spats, the forehead kisses, the expired milk, the holidays.
There’s also the fetishization of female love in particular, where the relationship between two women seem to be more focused on the sex, than their relation, and very often seen from the male perspective. Increasingly, this type of fetishization is also becoming more visible in terms of objectifying male couples, not only in otakudom (BL has to take some blame for this I fear), but also in more mainstream circles, such as presented in the final episode of season 3, where a group of girls explicitly point out that they think it’s “cool” that Isak and Even are a couple, because “two boys are so cute together”.

LGBT characters are rarely cast as protagonists, and unless they are on their way out of the closet, they are often pushed aside, neutralized, or used for comic relief. In one episode of the series Queer as Folk, the flamboyant Emmett is informed by his friend that the reason he has been given a job as part of a newscast team, is because he is the type of ‘fun’ and effeminate gay man that makes him ‘acceptable’, because there is nothing sexual about him. We have a tendency of accepting the stereotypical gay man as a form of accessory; the BFF, the comic relief, the non-sexual character. The fetishization of the gay man is also very much present in this type of representation, as many seem to see him more as an accessory for a straight woman, than as an individual person/character. Making the gay man into a side-kick with a limp wrist and passion for shopping neutralizes the inherited perception of obscenity, and allow the audience to feel less threatened.
This is a representation that is as harmful as it is true; because let’s face it, gay people come in all shapes and sizes. Some are effeminate, others are masculine, some are monogamous, some aren’t, some are asexual, some are poly amorous, some raise families, some don’t, some have a straight, female bestie, others don’t. The damage comes in the form of the over representation of this type of character, which creates a stereotype that not everyone can associate themselves with, and in some cases creates a form of inherent homophobia – as presented in the masterfully performed scene between Isak and Eskild, where Isak is trying to explain that he’s not “that kind” of homosexual, while Eskild, clearly hurt by his words, is precisely “that kind”.

But I digress, the main focus here is that most of these tropes tend to be on the depressing side – I should know, the way all my writings concern boys who struggle, die and are subjected to scrutiny, bullying and self-inflicted suffering.
One reason why I think that this is such a common trope is because obviously, being young is never easy, and being different is always hard. In a world that is so very focused on heteronormativity , and consequently presenting LGBTQIA as some obscure ‘otherness’, it will be a struggle for a large portion of anyone not fitting into the mainstream mold. Homophobia, bullying, sexual assault, mental illness, discrimination and alienation are all factors that are all too common in the lives of LGBT youth and adults, so it’s only natural that these things become central in television and other fictional representations, where the main focus generally is on dramatic events and effects.
In the event that a story is “too happy”, it can be criticized for being unrealistic. The reason I started writing and publishing BL, aside from obviously loving the genre too much for words, was that I felt BL was all too black and white; often lacking in realism or overflowing with inherent and internalized homophobia, but finding a balance is difficult.
There is no such thing as a problem-free life, especially when existing within a society that is obsessed with an illusion of normalcy, so portraying someone’s life as rose-red will immediately be considered unrealistic.
Nobody lives a perfect life where they always get what they want, where they never get sucked into conflicts, or suffer heartbreak, or where nobody dislikes them, where they don’t lose anyone or where they have to see their dream job go off to someone else. But sometimes, that’s what we want to see. Sometimes we need to see that there are good things; that people fall in love, or that the dog survives, you know?

The conundrum therefore presented itself in season 3 of SKAM, by rearing its ugly head just as we thought that perhaps the main couple wouldn’t have to suffer any kind of conflict. Isak was conflicted enough, with his own identity, and how to break it to his parents, who are recently divorced and with a mother who seems not only zealously religious, but also struggling with mental illness.
When the conflict then bares its teeth, complicating Isak and Even’s relationship further by revealing Even’s own struggles as a person suffering from bipolar disorder, a lot of us got very worried. For several reasons.
As someone dealing with mental illness myself, I both worried about how this would be portrayed and dealt with in a season that has far fewer minutes a week than its predecessors, in addition to already having the issue of identity and coming out to deal with – as well as a huge disappointment that this had to happen now. I felt unnerved by the prospect of yet another tragic story where the creators felt the need to complicate something that is already difficult, by presenting another seemingly uncrossable obstacle. Silently, I was grumbling why can’t they be happy?!


I was also concerned because while I was glad to see them touching upon mental illness, which is something more and more people are becoming familiar with either through their own struggles, or through family, friends or loved ones struggling, I didn’t feel like this was something that necessarily would be given enough time or respect in this season. It felt overcrowded, and it was beginning to feel trope-ish.

The last few episodes of the season were touch and go for me, as I was terrified of which way they would take this story. On one hand, you just want Isak and Even to be happy, on the other, you want the show to be realistic; you want to see the creators respect the fact that bipolar disorder doesn’t magically go away, that even when you swear to be there for someone, it’s not always that easy in the longer run, and that struggling with your own identity and your relation to your parents isn’t necessarily something that can be conquered only once – but rather can be an ongoing battle. We didn’t want a quick-fix, but I don’t think anyone wanted to see the two of them part ways and be sad either. It’s a very difficult balance to maintain.

However, at the end, now having watched the final episode only moments ago (and then not posting this until two days later), I feel satisfied with how NRK’s production company chose to handle it.
When I wrote Jaded, I purposely left an open ending, some loose threads on purpose, because the boys and their relations to themselves and others were far too complex to be realistically tied up. I don’t allow Aki and Yuuki to define their relationship, because I can’t define it (yet). I can’t decide for them what their future is. And Isak tells Eva that he doesn’t know whether Even is The One, to the dismay of many romantics out there, and perhaps unnerving to those who really just want them to be together and happy. It might feel as a blow to their newly established relationship, that he is seemingly expressing doubt already, a way for him to brace himself for an impact that might very well come – but also a way to stay level-headed in a volatile situation and in a relationship that is ultimately, very new.
In a youth culture where the weighty words “I love you” (Norwegian; “Jeg elsker deg” which is the highest declaration of love, as compared to “Glad I deg” – which is also translated to ‘I love you’ but really means more like ‘I care for you’)  are said mere weeks or even days into the relationship, it’s an opposition, but also a more reflected and mature take on the difficulty that is human relation.
Ultimately, I would like to take my hat off for Julie Andem and the creators of SKAM, for yet another realistic and emotional rollercoaster-ride.  Through season 3, we have seen examples of self-doubt and uncertainty, wrestled with identities related to, but not confined by sexual orientation or status of mental health, and we’ve seen that even though it’s easier than before to be LGBT in Norway, it is still hard; sometimes on a personal level, sometimes due to external reasons. We’ve seen that ignorance often comes from curiosity, and that questions that often are interpreted as offensive, might actually be meant well but worded wrong, and yet again I find myself mentally apologizing to characters who prove me wrong as my judgementality is confronted (I’m sorry Magnus).

This isn’t a blog post about SKAM, but it is a post where SKAM shows us the ambiguity and difficulty of portraying subjective reality while at the same time making it relateable, and where the tropes are seen as more than tropes, but seemingly appear at their most basic level; where they come from, but without being allowed to define the season. The relatively open, yet content ending shows us that ultimately, we have been following two individuals who just happen to have fallen in love, despite the circumstances and context surrounding them, and creating ripples that aren’t necessarily positive, but reaffirm that nothing is one-dimensional. Hopefully, we will see more portrayals like these in the future, and the portrayal of same sex relations will be less tropey and more realistic and diverse.

(I’m lazy, so I haven’t proofread this text since writing it, sorry for any sloppy mistakes. Also, SKAM has been sold to the US, so watch the original version while you can.)

Blue Blood-ties

I came across an old draft from 2012 that was never posted a while back. It was written on November 20th, the day X Japan’s Yoshiki was born, emotionally scribbled down as I was watching live DVDs, celebrating by myself.
I don’t know why I didn’t post it, but once the day had passed I supposed there was no point to it?

Today however, marks 27 years since X Japan’s debut album was released, and I can’t not re-write that old draft. Because this band has had such a profound role in my life and perhaps more than anything, in my writing.

The first time I heard an X song, I was around 17 and although the lyrics were mainly in English, the words were broken and hard to decipher, but it didn’t matter, I still found myself overcome with emotion, and like the name of the song itself, I was overcome with tears.

When I started working on SNOW,  X were a natural part of the process – largely thanks to those heart-wrenching and emotional lyrics, which were a perfect backdrop to the scenes I was writing down, but also because of Maaya.
When Maaya first appeared before my inner eye in 2006, he had pink hair; it was cut short, but I knew that he’d used to wear it long. I think from that moment, I knew he was a hide fan.

At that point, the connection between the music and the novel was made.

I didn’t make him a fan because I myself am a fan, but because it all seemed to fall into place so easily, so obviously. But this connection has been deepened by some really striking coincidences .

Maaya’s birthday is March 15th. I picked it for no particular reason, but as with all my characters, I spent a lot of time mapping out their personalities and matching zodiacs.
March 15th 2011 was set to be the release of X Japan’s single Jade – a song played at almost every show since their 2007 reunion, but which had yet to see an official release.
Jade  means an enormous deal to me personally, but the fact that it was scheduled for Maaya’s birthday with the name that it had, and the message it carried… It was almost a little too coincidental.

Due to the tragedy of 3-11, Tohoku and the subsequent tsunami, the single was postponed, and not released until about a month later, but that didn’t change anything, least of all the way Jade was a bridge between my two novels, between Maaya and Aki’s stories.

At the time, I was mid-Jaded, and at a crossroads. For the longest time I had no idea what I was doing, or how the story would turn out. I was struggling with an element that no longer seemed to fit into the story, but which I had been holding on to for years already. I didn’t know if I should keep holding on, or if I should just let it go and let the story evolve into the new direction I had staked out. Somehow, the decision was made – albeit unconsciously.

I’m going through the old draft as I am writing this post, and being reminded again, of how deep this connection runs. It’s almost a little freaky, I think to myself as I sift through the lines and find facts long forgotten.

Apparently, the night I finished Jaded’s first draft, though nowhere near completion of anything but the overall story, was on this day, the anniversary of Blue Blood.
When the album came out, I was 9 months old. I wish I could say I grew up with this night, but at this point that’s what it feels like. I didn’t, but my writing certainly did.

On the date of the original draft, November 20th 2012, I announced the release date for Jaded. I wrote the following:  “Seems only right that events would drag out long enough for the announcement to be made on Yoshiki’s birthday.”

Today, I’m having a day off, and by chance this first day off in months falls on the anniversary of Blue Blood. At the end of the original draft, I wrote that I was watching them play Joker while smiling crookedly. Four years later I am listening to Celebration, and I hope that this strange connection my writing has with this fantastic band will never let up.

 

 

Poinsettia Guidepost

Almost two years too late, here is the guide post for my 2013 advent calendar: Poinsettia.
Thanks to everyone who read and enjoyed it way back when, and new readers; please enjoy, and feel free to leave comments~ ♡

Synopsis: Mizuki doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but then one December, during his foreign exchange year, he has a rather peculiar experience that makes him doubt everything, including his sanity and reluctance towards the holidays.

December 1st

December 2nd

December 3rd

December 4th

December 5th

December 6th

December 7th

December 8th

December 9th

December 10th

December 11th

December 12th

December 13th

December 14th

December 15th

December 16th

December 17th

December 18th

December 19th

December 20th

December 21st

December 22nd

December 23rd

December 24th

December 25th: Christmas Day [Final ]

Want more? Check out my 2012 Calendar: Winter Song

Love Addict E-Store open! Special release discount!

I had this idea that I was going to hold off releasing Love Addict through the webshop until we’d revamped my website and made it more functional.
These days, I mostly use Facebook or Tumblr to advertise my writing, so there’s not even a speck of info on the website about Love Addict… And frankly, the CS webstore isn’t very functional either, since there’s a separate web store for each book.

But, there hasn’t been much time to think of a functional way of refurbishing the site, much less pulling it off… And I know that my international readers are waiting for the webstore to be launched. At least I hope you haven’t given up on me yet!

So I decided to go ahead and open the webstore, almost five months after Love Addict’s initial release date.

You can now purchase Love Addict here!

However, to make it up to all of you who were patient enough to wait for me, I’ve decided that as an apology, Love Addict will be sold at a special discount of $8 off until March 7th!
All you need to do is to apply the following discount code: 7SW6E3Q3 when placing your order.
Remember that if you want to place an order through CreateSpace, you’ll need to make an account, which takes about 5 minutes, so please do that first!

I am so sorry it took so long to get the webstore on its feet, but I hope it was worth the wait!

Please don’t hesitate to share this offer with all your BL-lovng friends as well!
If you’d like to place an order for either ‘SNOW’ or ‘Jaded’, you’ll find links to their webstores in the sidebar to the right.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Love Addict Mail Orders!

Okay so I am a horrible person for having forgotten all about this! Love Addict has been out for two months, and I have yet to open my webstore – This has to do with the fact that we’re planning on revamping my website, in order to make purchasing novels easier. As you know, ordering from CreateSpace means that you’ll need an account on there, and I think many people aren’t up for that, which isn’t helping my sales.

So, what I’m finally going to do, is that I’ll open for mail orders!
This means that you can order the novel directly from me, and get it signed!

How to do this:

* Send an e-mail to carola@jadedsnow.com, with the subject “Love Addict Mail Order”

* Fill in the following:

Your Name:
How many copies:
Address:
Country
Paypal Address:

What message you want written in the book (Optional)

* Mail orders will be open until December 25th!

* The books will be $28 (NOK 200;-) a piece, ex. shipping. Shipment costs depends on where you live in the world.

Almost there..

The other night, I wrote a blog post, added it to drafts…and scrapped the whole thing.

There is something peculiar about the feeling as a release date approaches. As an avid fan of pre-ordering, the final weeks or days for me are mostly spent waiting; an exhausting, agonizing wait with frequent trips to the mail box, hoping that today….

As an author, the same period of time looks a little bit different.

I can’t really recall how I felt before the releases of SNOW and Jaded. I think… With SNOW it was all so sudden, I didn’t have time to prepare. While Jaded was more like finally.

Up until a couple of days ago, I didn’t think much of the release at all. Maybe I’m getting used to doing these kind of events, or maybe it’s just because I am so busy these days, I hardly have time to sit down and think; I mostly find myself running around frantically trying to cram more hours into my day.

But when I sat down and tried to think and feel.. There’s definitely something there.
It’s anticipation, and admittedly, some nerves.
The latter didn’t exactly decrease when I stumbled across a rather cross review. As an author I am prepared for all kinds of opinions; and all books are not for all people. Still, that’s not to say it didn’t hurt. That said, it’s something that’s probably unavoidable, even though I wish I hadn’t come across it only days before a new release.

I’m excited to finally share Love Addict with you, but at the same time it’s kind of terrifying.
It always is.
There’s something really strange about having kept something to yourself for so long, something that has been yours alone for so long, and then allowing people to parttake in it; to read it and form an opinion on it.

I’m excited, but also nervous. Maybe because Love Addict is so different from the other two novels?
But it would be. All my novels are shaped by the characters that parttake in the story. Although Love Addict has the same universe and characters as Jaded, it’s a vastly different story, because Aki and Miya are such different people. The characters’ personalities and traits ultimately shape the narrative and the story.
I find that rather fascinating.

Love Addict was really fun to work on, compared to the struggles I had with Jaded and Aki’s complex nature. Miya is simpler and way more honest, so it was really relieving to write this story.
Hopefully, you will enjoy reading it as well!

Part of me is terrified to let this project go and see it in other people’s hands, but I know how great this is all going to feel tomorrow, when the release event commences.
There’s definitely a peculiar feeling on the night before a release, but I don’t think I’d want to miss out on it. Not at all.

If you’re in Trondheim, don’t hesitate to drop by Outland! I’ll be there signing books from 12:00 pm!
And if you’re on time, you can leave with a bunch of these sexy freebies as well:

Happy White Day!

Honestly, so much time passes between every update on here. I’m ashamed.

Anyway, to make up for the extremely slow process of getting Love Addict prepped for release, namely due to my cramped schedule, I promised on Facebook yesterday to share a little something with you instead.
This was originally something I thought of a while back, and never wrote. When I sat down to get it done yesterday, I remembered what day it is today, and added a little extra to the original idea.

For those unfamiliar with White Day: In Japan, it’s custom that the girls give chocolate to the boys on Valentine’s Day. The following month, on March 14th, the boys return the favor by giving something to the girls – traditionally something white, like a ribbon, thus the name. It’s getting more and more common to give sweets and other presents as well, but the name remains.

In my case, I write BL, so naturally the pattern of the Valentine/White Day exchanges is kind of skewered, and up to my own mind how to solve.
In this drabble, I decided to take advantage of Yuuki’s career path.
The title comes from a song by GReeeeN, which I strongly associate with Yuuki’s character (though Aki would argue vehemently).

Spoiler Warning.
If you haven’t read Jaded yet, you might want to avoid this drabble. It’s not entirely cannonical, but can be assumed to take place somewhere in the latter part of Jaded, or shortly after the end.
No huge spoilers plotwise – but if you don’t know who Yuuki is, you shouldn’t read on.

The rest of you. Enjoy~

Cooking 彼氏

Arguably, the most positive aspect of being a pastry chef in training was the fact that one could bring all kinds of sweets and goodies home after a day at school. In Sasaki Yuuki’s case, the negatives of this fact outweighed the positives: being surrounded by sweets and cakes all day didn’t necessarily make him feel like eating them at home as well – certainly not after taste-testing everything. The main negative was unquestionably, being with someone who absolutely hated sweets. Alright, so they weren’t really together. Their relation was something vague and fragile. In any case, they were living together – sort of. At some point it had just become a given that they should spend most of their time together at Aki’s apartment in Higashinada. Yuuki was uncertain of whether this was actually a voluntary choice for either of them, but regardless, this was his life for the time being.
And so, he had resigned when his teacher at the culinary school he was attending, had announced that they’d be making sweets on account of the season – this season being every lovey-dovey couple’s favorite, and to him, something completely indifferent, with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

 

He was feeling apprehensive, but somehow ready to fight when he came home that day.
The apartment however, was deserted. Aki could easily be anywhere. Yuuki was used to this, and paid it no mind as he slipped the box he’d brought back from school, onto the kitchen counter, and proceeded to dig through the fridge for something to eat.

When Aki returned later that afternoon, his glance immediately fell on the box on the counter. He jerked his head towards it. “What’s this?” He demanded.
Yuuki shrugged, standing up. “For you.”
Their gazes met. Aki’s eyes were narrowing slightly, focusing on the calendar on the wall behind Yuuki.
“Valentine’s chocolates?”
“They might just be.”
“I hate sweets, Precious.”
“As if I don’t know that?” Yuuki countered elegantly, stepping up to the other man. “You could at least open the box.”
Half-heartedly, Aki tugged on the string tied around the box, and knocked the lid off, exposing neatly lined heart-shaped chocolates, decorated with swirls of melted, white chocolate.
His nose twitched, in the same way kids would react to something they didn’t like.
“What exactly am I supposed to do with these?”
“You’re gonna accept them,” Yuuki replied, his tone calm, lips curving into a smirk.
“Yeah?”
They were face to face, gazes locked. A storm was brewing between them.
“You might not like it,” Yuuki pressed on. “But I poured all my pathetic one-sided love for you into them, and you will eat them.”
Aki clicked his tongue, in the kind of condescending fashion only he was able to express.
Yuuki reached into the box, picking up one of the heart-shaped sweets, holding it up to Aki’s face, touching it to his lips, which remained tightly shut.
Aki seemed intrigued though. He probably enjoyed it; having the upper hand, like always, but also this tense, somewhat aggressive mood. His hand closed around Yuuki’s wrist, holding it tightly, but without trying to pull the hand from his lips.
“And also,” Yuuki allowed himself to crack another smile. “I filled them.”
“With?” Aki’s lips brushed against the candy as he spoke, one eyebrow arched in a quizzical manner.
“Liquor.”
Without meeting resistance from the hand clasping his wrist, Yuuki pushed the heart-shaped candy, which was starting to melt between his fingertips, harder against the other man’s lips, which gave way, parting and allowing Yuuki to pop the chocolate into his mouth. At the same time, he caught the tips of his fingers. Slight chills travelled down Yuuki’s spine at the sensation of Aki’s tongue softly brushing over his fingertips, his lips closing around them, sucking gently, before releasing them again.
“Well played.” Aki cocked his head to the side, smiling ever so slightly. He was in a good mood then. Yuuki felt relieved. He had been worried he’d gone too far earlier, even if it was meant as a half-hearted joke…There was some truth to what he had said, and that notion was more than enough to send them spiraling, he knew that.

He watched Aki chew and swallow the candy without expressing too much disgust.
“What?”
“Nothing.” He shook his head.
He couldn’t very well tell that he was glad to see Aki somewhat accepting his feelings for once.
“They’re not awful, if that’s what you want to hear.”
That was the closest thing to an approval he’d ever hear.
“Thanks. I’m glad.”
“As long as you don’t expect me to get all fluffy on you and return the favor on White’s Day or whatever.”  The words were cool, rolling icily off of Aki’s tongue.
The younger of the two shook his head again. He put his hand on Aki’s shoulder, leaning closer to him and whispered into his ear:
“In the west, I believe they refer to it as the steak and blowjob day.”
He allowed his lips to gently caress the shell of Aki’s metal-adorned ear, before he was pulled back by a strong, slim hand. Aki was smirking at him, he noted, before the other man had leaned close, and caught his lips with his own. He tasted of sweet chocolate and bitter liquor.
When they broke apart, Aki spoke again: “Now we’re talking.”

 

~終~