Kei-Camp - Countdown to Something Special (2022)

Fanfic by Grum.

Originally Posted Here

Kiyo’s POV

The sky sits silently, dark as ink and contrasting against the brilliant lights below that fill the streets and covers the buildings. The metropolitan skyscrapers and tall buildings all wear clothes embroidered with gleaming lights as if competing to see who holds the crown in being the most dazzling beacon on this special occasion. A million stars, almost like reflections of each person walking under, shine like matches lit by the Gods to keep the moon company. The constellations are like strokes of a pen on a perfectly empty black canvas and the moonlight embraces our skin pleasantly like an infinitely thin sheet of silk.

All around me are crowds of people. A cheery atmosphere that only exists during this time of year. The laughter of children, the chatter of families out together – the sounds fill the space like drums beating repeatedly. But I cannot care less about the people surrounding me right now, because there is only 1 person I am hoping to see – only 1 person I am waiting for.

The new year is nearly upon us; the last dying breaths of this year are slowly coming in as cold breezes of the winter in Japan. I wait patiently for that person to come. Counting and counting the seconds in my head. Each second without her feels so immensely lonely.

Well, perhaps patiently is overly flattering myself. My hands start to fidget, my fingers numb from the cold spell that enchants the entire city with its white beauty. How I wish for her hands right now, her warmth, her company. I want to hold her hand. I look around in all directions, seeing if I can possibly catch a mere glimpse of her blonde hair that I have imprinted into the front of my mind.

“She’s with her friends right now,” I think to myself, trying to occupy my consciousness “of course she would be busy”. My hands start to reach for my phone to call her but right then, I see her.

The group of girls approach the crowd, eagerly talking to each other. The girls: Matsushita Chiaki, Satou Maya, Mori Nene, Shinohara Satsuki and Airi Sakura each wear beautiful kimonos that can send any man’s heart aflutter. But out of all of them, I have my eyes on only one person. The person dearest to me. The person that I wish I can forever stay with. The person whose gold-colored hair is more valuable than gold to me. The person whose violet eyes have bewitched me ever since I truly peered into them. The person whose name has become like words of the Bible to me. The person I love...

She turns and looks in my direction.

I extend my hand to wave and shout out her name.

“Kei!”

An overjoyed smile appears on her face, just as it also does on mine.

“Kiyotaka!”

She runs over to me just as the group of girls starts to disband and each goes their own direction. We embrace tightly as if wanting to never release each other. Letting go hesitantly, we look at each other, letting me marvel at her kimono. Floral patterns are carefully and smoothly stitched on the red fiber that makes up most of her outfit. Red…

The color “Red” means a lot to people. In China, red symbolizes luck and fortune, painting itself on every tradition and practice that is celebrated annually. We see it on clothing, decorations, and packets of lucky money gifted from elders to children. Here in Japan, it means something different. It means passion, it means determination. Like an ember that lights inside us, it makes us move forward from one place to another. From one step to another. From one situation to another. And now, from one year to another. But these things are merely what the books say.

Being outside, seeing the world with my own eyes, making memories that I will forever cherish has taught me that these small details like the mere color on people’s clothing can mean much more than what text on white paper can describe. No matter how detailed the description, no matter how vivid the imagination. No matter how thought out the picture drawn from the text is, it can never truly fully comprehend and appreciate the real complex emotions of people. Whether it be luck or passion, they are all over-simplifications of how people regard this colorful concept.

Just as so, no matter which book I read, I study, none have been able to fully explain the concept of lo-

“Kiyotaka! Kiyotaka!”

Suddenly, my thoughts are interrupted as I feel the warmth of her hands on my cheeks.

“Is your girlfriend so beautiful that you spaced out?”

I take her hands off me and place my lips on them.

“Maybe you are.”

At that, Kei smiles brightly. Her happiness radiating like an aura, it is so strong, so noticeable to me that I almost feel as if the temperature is changing and the ice is melting.

But no. None of my surroundings are changing. Not the temperature, not the snow. Only me. Only I am changing.

“You’re so silly, Kiyotaka! Come on, let us enjoy our first New Year after graduation!”

Kei grabs my hands with her own and lead me into the crowd of people. She really does have my heart under her reigns.

We graduated only months ago. This will be the first New Years we enjoy together outside of the constant supervision and limitations of the school rules. It is my deepest wish that today once again that I will be able to write another important page in the story of my life with Kei.

The countdown is starting soon. To a new year, a new chapter.

“What were you doing all night, Kei?”

“I was just catching up with my friends. Everybody has been so busy with university lately. You know, trying to fit in and make new friends.”

“You’ve been busy yourself. We haven’t met up much since leaving school.”

“Well, it means I don’t fall behind on my studies right? So we can meet up later. You’re lucky you don’t need to go to university.”

“I don’t really need it. My education was “special” after all.”

“If you’re so free, can’t you be a little bit patient for such an adorable and cute girlfriend until she’s free as well?”

“I’ve been very patient up until today, Kei.”

And so we continue to talk endlessly, simply enjoying each other’s presence and company. Each word that is spoken carried immense joy from both of us. Each second, each moment together is one that we cherish.

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Kei’s POV:

We are talking to each other still about the matters of our private lives. Right now, Chiaki, the last one to share, is finishing her story on what happened to her after graduation.

“So, get this, the look on his face when I said I graduated as class A from our school. His eyes bulged in disbelief! He couldn’t believe his date might be smarter than him!”

We all laugh enjoyably. It has been a great night, talking to high school friends, meeting, and drinking together as adults. Frankly, it is fun. A sort of escape or release from the constant pressures and deadlines of university.

But even though it has been so entertaining to talk to them, I feel something weird inside me. I know I should not be feeling this, but I know what this abnormal sensation inside me is. I cannot wait for this to end. Not as for us to break apart as a group but to split up for the night. This is because I have waited so long and right now, I desire to meet someone so very badly.

And I know that right now, he is also waiting for me.

My heart skips a beat as I see him in the distance.

He is a bit taller than the crowd and there is no way I can miss his brown hair that sticks out so clearly to me.

I see his head turning in all directions. The little strands of his hair gleaming under the pale moonlight.

Even though he is still a bit away, why am I already so focused on him?

Maybe it is because I have not seen him in a while?

Or maybe because I just love him that much?

Whatever the reason may be, I am simply happy to see him.

I do not extend my hand yet, even though my heart can barely endure another second without him. I will get a bit closer to him so he can see me, and I can see him. My face. His face.

“Well, it’s getting late, girls. Should we split up now for the night?”

“Alright, I’m sure we all have plans anyway. Especially you, right Kei-chan?

“Yep.”

“Ah, it makes me so jealous of seeing how lovey-dovey you and your boyfriend are.”

“That’s because your standards are so high, Chiaki.”

“Is it wrong that such a high-class lady as I desire a suiting high-class man?”

At that we all laugh and start saying our goodbyes to each other. As I look in his direction again, preparing to run at him, I notice that his gaze is already on me.

My heart skips a beat. He manages to recognize me in the entire bustling crowd. Before my heart calms down fully, I see him extend his hand and shout out my name.

“Kei!”

A wide smile instinctively spreads across my face as I feel my muscles working unhesitatingly.

“Kiyotaka!”

Even from afar, I can see his outfit.

He is wearing a sort of peach-colored trench coat, its color almost like champagne, contrasting against his dark-colored pants. Wrapped loosely around his neck is a white woolen scarf.

Compared to when we first met nearly 4 years ago, both his sense of fashion and social awareness have undoubtedly improved. His outfit is incredibly simple.

So why?

Why does he look so charming to me?!

With his plain clothing, he does not stand out. It is almost as if he is trying to mask away his complexions and obviously handsome face.

To me, he is the most attractive person in the world. And right now, in this very moment, the only person that exists in my view, in my world is me and him.

My feet move by themselves and I start running excitedly towards him.

My feet cannot wait any longer,

my hands cannot wait any longer,

my heart cannot wait any longer,

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and I cannot wait any longer.

My hands advance behind his back and we embrace tightly.

This warmth.

His warmth.

It feels so familiar, so comforting. But each time I hug him, it still feels refreshing and new.

I never want to let him go.

I look up at his face and see that he is looking towards nowhere. It is almost like there is an invisible object floating there that only he can see.

Seeing his face like this, I cannot help but think he is cute.

Seeing him become swallowed by his own thoughts is not a sight completely foreign to me. In our over 2 years of dating, there have been many times I have seen him like this, entranced by his own world.

But 3 years ago, the intimacy and the bond that we have now would be impossible and unimaginable. But now, this closeness and this relationship have become a necessity for both of us.

So right now, instead of living inside his own mind, I want him to return to reality.

I want him to have his eyes on me. And me only.

I put my hand to his cheek, lightly caressing his skin, and call out his name, forcibly bringing him back and out of his thoughts.

“Kiyotaka! Kiyotaka!”

I see his head move and look at me. A content smile appears on his face.

3 years ago, no one would ever see him smile. Now, I am sure he smiles a lot. And I am also sure that he smiles the most when he is with me. Just as I do when I am with him.

“Is your girlfriend so beautiful that you spaced out?”

He delicately takes my hands off and kisses them gently.

It is a picture-perfect scene, almost something you will see straight out of a romantic French film.

“Maybe you are.”

Has-

Has he always been this sweet?!

I see happiness flowing out of every surface of his skin. His sweetness, his happiness, his tenderness. All for me!

“You’re so silly, Kiyotaka! Come on, let us enjoy our first New Year after graduation!”

This is among the few times we have met outside of school. And the first New Year’s we will spend together no longer as children or teenagers.

Chances like these are few. Everybody is busy. I do not get to spend time with him as often as before anymore. If possible, I hope that under the moonlight and under the fireworks, we can have a wonderful time together and forget all about the worries of life.

The countdown is starting soon. And the fireworks that will light up the sky like dazzling flowers in the night will soon start their journey towards their summit, where everybody can see them boast their magnificent show of colors.

“What were you doing all night, Kei?”

“I was just catching up with my friends. Everybody has been so busy with university lately. You know, trying to fit in and make new friends.”

“You’ve been busy yourself. We haven’t met up much since leaving school.”

“Well, it means I don’t fall behind on my studies right? So we can meet up later. You’re lucky you don’t need to go to university.”

“I don’t really need it. My education was “special” after all.”

Now that I am aware of his upbringing, special is nowhere near enough a word to describe it. When I jokingly guessed about his parenthood and childhood in our first winter break together, I honestly did not expect to be correct at all. But after learning how oppressive and limiting his youth was, I wanted to free him off his chains. Now I do not know if those past scars still hold him back, but I at least know that whenever he is with me, he feels free.

“If you’re so free, can’t you be a little bit patient for such an adorable and cute girlfriend until she’s free as well?”

“I’ve been very patient up until today, Kei.”

I know he has been patient. We have not met a lot since I have been so busy with university after all. But he does not need to be patient anymore. Because right now, I am all his…

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Kiyo’s POV:

We stand in the middle of the crowd. Due to its sheer size and density, knowing exactly where in the crowd we are situated is impossible.

To not lose each other in the excitement, we hold each other’s hands tightly.

Everybody is starting to calm down and stand still, all looking at the big screen preparing to display the numbers of the countdown to the new year.

The first number appears, 2 digits, and the entire crowd shouts the number out in unison, I and Kei included.

“TEN!”

I hope that in the next 10 years, and the 10 years after that, and the 10 years after that until age gets the best of us – I hope that until then, we will never leave each other’s side.

“NINE!”

I shout out the number 9 but somehow, I have already lost focus on the countdown. One more time, I am absorbed in my own thoughts.

“EIGHT!”

I can barely hear the countdown anymore. The sound is muffled, as if someone took their hands and covered my ears, not allowing me to take in the voices and delighted cries of everyone around me. Even though the sound should be booming and echoing, I cannot hear them.

“SEVEN!”

I hear my heart beating and thumping. My heartbeat like the roars of a wild animal, raging within me.

But I feel not nervous but instead excited. But the premise of the Countdown or the New Year does not stir anything within me.

Instead, it is the girl whom I am standing next to that can make my heartbeat so fast and loud.

“SIX!”

My focus slowly switches to Kei and everything about her.

I feel my hand in hers. I feel my fingers intertwining with hers. I feel her warmth shared only with me.

Her hands are warm. They are so very warm. Just as warm as the fire that lights in my heart every time I lay my eyes on her.

“FIVE!”

My gaze turns from our joined hands to her face. Looking from the side, she really is beautiful. Her hair, her cheeks. All little details that only when looking from the side can you appreciate with a different angle and view.

But right now, I do not want to see her face from the side. I want to see all of it.

“FOUR!”

My spare hand unconsciously and unthinkingly moves in the direction of her cheeks, as if wanting to turn her face to me by themselves.

I say her name.

“Kei.”

“THREE!”

She turns her head to me quickly, wanting to know why I said her name so suddenly in the middle of the countdown.

Only now does my arm finish its movement. I put my hand on her cheeks and caress them gently, slowly moving across her face to her soft lips.

“TWO!”

She puts her hand on mine as it rests on her face which makes the prettiest flowers jealous.

“Kiyotaka.”

She slowly moves her entire upper body toward me as I do the same.

“ONE!”

Our lips touch. The sensation is not a new one. We have kissed before.

Yet why does my heart feel as if it is about to burst out of my chest?

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Why does this kiss feel so special?

Is it because we have not kissed since graduating?

Or is it because this kiss symbolizes a new beginning, a new life?

No…

All our kisses feel special. I remember every time that our lips have touched.

And the reason has always stayed the same: I love her.

I love Karuizawa Kei.

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!”

Our lips slowly part and we both peer into each other’s eyes longingly.

“Kei…”

“Kiyotaka…”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Even though the cheers of the people around should be as loud as thunder, like drums beating violently, I hear nothing.

Nothing except my breath, her breath. My words, her words.

Missing the touch of her lips on mine, I kiss her again.

I said once that Kei was a book of love to teach me about the complexity and wonders of this illogical and abnormal emotion, one that I had never felt before. How I had been dreadfully wrong.

Mere paper.

Mere pages.

Mere words.

Mere texts.

Mere books could never fully describe the true beauty of this concept known as love. No matter how the writer wisely uses their words, the full concept of love can never be reduced and simplified to simple writing. Simply it is impossible.

In fact, love is not illogical at all. From my time with Kei, I have learned that love simply comes naturally when I desire and long for her so much that my heart aches.

What is illogical is the pretentious idea that somehow love can be described by a third party.

Kei managed to teach me -no. Kei managed to show me what love is from our experiences together. She showed me how to cherish even the little moments and showed me how the big moments can even change who I am.

Because of this, Kei is not a book. She never has been, she is not, and she will never be a book.

She is just a girl. But more than that.

She is the only girl I love.

And she is the girl that loves only me.

She is the only girl that I cherish.

And she is the girl that cherishes only me.

She is the only girl that I want to marry.

And perhaps, she wants to marry me too.

But right now. At this very moment where her lips are touching mine.

The only thing I want is for this moment to last forever.

Because I love Karuizawa Kei.

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