Locked in a Cage
Kageyama wasn't really sure what he was doing here, his dad's younger brother picked him up after volleyball practice and now, Kageyama was standing in the heart of Kokubuncho* in front of an Edo period building with detailed kanji writing the name of the infrastructure; Hanafurirou*.
Had Kageyama been in any other ward, he would've thought it was an old time restaurant or a kabuki theater, but he was in Kokubuncho, and that meant this building could only be one thing; a brothel.
Kageyama looked to his uncle in worried concern, he had heard his classmates exchange stories of venturing to Kokubuncho on Saturday night outings for a joke or even as a test of courage, but Kageyama knew better and neither of those reasons were why his uncle dragged him out here. "Uncle, why did you bring me here?" Kageyama questioned, voice laced with toxic anger, he'd be blowing his lid had he not been standing in the middle of a busy street.
"I frequent here and I heard one of the underlings was having their mizuage* tonight, they were struggling to find them a partner, so I volunteered you." his uncle explained, "Uncle Ryuuji, I'm fifteen!" Kageyama shrieked. "From my understanding, so is the underling, or a little older." Ryuuji said.
Kageyama paled, someone is age was a prostitute? He had heard of people trafficking and children being sold, but he never truly thought it was a legitimate thing. The could've easily been him in there, in this situation; Kageyama gave a silent prayer of gratitude that he was blessed with a well-off, loving family. "Come on, let's go." Ryuuji said with impatience, dragging Kageyama into the brothel.
The teenager gave ignored protests as Ryuuji walked up to a counter, presumably a check-in desk of sorts. Behind the counter was an elderly woman, most likely the Baba, and a young man around eighteen with black hair and a name-tag that read 'Daichi.' "Hello, Baba-san, lovely as ever I see." Ryuuji said in a flirtatious manner that made Kageyama throw up in his mouth a little; that old hag was 'lovely?'
The older remained unfazed, however, "Petty compliments won't get you special services , Ryuuji-san. And who is this?", "Ah, this is my nephew, Tobio. He's the mizuage partner I told you about." Ryuuji said, wrapping an arm around Kageyama, who wanted nothing more than to run away from the situation. "Oh, Tsubasa's partner, Daichi, escort Tobio-kun to Tsubasa's quarters. And Ryuuji-san, both Haihana* and Johinogawa* are open, which one would you prefer accompany you?" the Baba asked, "Oh, Johin-chan of course. Well, good luck tonight, Tobio, see you in the morning." Ryuuji said, waving his petrified nephew off as the man named Daichi escorted him down a hall. "Wh-what does he mean, 'see you in the morning?'" Kageyama demanded, "Mizuages typically last all night, unless the two of you want to end it early." Daichi explained, stopping in front of a sliding door, "Tsubasa, your partner is here, have a good night." the man said and opened the door.
Reluctantly, Kageyama trudged into the room, with the door sliding closed behind him once fully entered, he did not want to acknowledge the presence of the other, just wanting the night to end as soon as possible. "Um... Hello, goshujin-sama, I'm Tsubasa, I will be accompanying you this evening..." a small voice called, it was high-pitched, but not feminine and Kageyama could easily detect the timidness radiating from the inflection of the words. "Uh, there's no need to be so formal..." Kageyama's sentence trailed off as he finally took in Tsubasa's appearance.
The first thing Kageyama noticed was Tsubasa's hair, which was an explosive orange that looked eternally wind-tangled and reached down their back, the next he noticed was they were very small, smaller than most girls he saw at school. The third thing he noticed was they had a face of an angel; delicate cheekbones complimented by fair olive skin that had the slightest mantling to their cheeks. Tsubasa was donned in a light green kimono with thin yellow circles as the design that was scattered across the robe, all sealed shut with an orange obi tied in a massive bow in the front of their person.
The kimono was very simple and plain, nothing at all as extravagant as prostitute kimonos seemed to be in art and movies, but the simplicity of the garment highlighted how naturally beautiful Tsubasa is.
Kageyama never believed in love at first sight before, but now, he understood what it felt like to feel instant chemistry upon looking at someone for the first time. A bright flush came across his face as he realized what he had just thought and took a seat in front of the other. "So um... I'm Tobio Kageyama, a first year high school student." the ebony-haired boy introduced, "First year? You're so young!" Tsubasa exclaimed in amazement.
"You look even younger than me!" Kageyama bit back, he was on the younger side of his age group, his birthday falling in December, and being called 'young' became a bit of a sore spot to him; as junior high classmates would call him a 'baby.' "Hey, I'm almost sixteen, you should give some respect to your elders!" Tsubasa countered and Kageyama sucked on his teeth; this person was really older than him?
"So much for the shyness..." Kageyama thought, "So what do you do during this 'mizuage' thing anyway?", "Well, we both have to have a cup of Sake first." Tsubasa said, pointing to the bottle and two cups that were on a table some odd feet away from them, "Oh, okay." Kageyama said, going over and pouring two cups of Sake, giving one to Tsubasa and keeping one for himself. The two downed their Sake as fast as possible, both shivering a bit at the taste of the alcohol, it wasn't unpleasant, but it was definitely an acquired taste.
Placing the cups down on the tatami mat, Kageyama spoke again, "Okay, then what?" Tsubasa gulped and began to flush bright scarlet, "Next is the bed..." with that, Tsubasa took hold of Kageyama's wrist and pulled him to the futon set up on the opposite side of the room. "Bed? What?!" Kageyama cried, not fully realizing what Tsubasa had meant until he saw the other begin to disrobe, "Tsubasa, wait, we're too young to have sex!", "But, that's a prostitute's job." Tsubasa insisted, but it sounded as if they were trying to convince themself as their unstable hands pushed off the top of their kimono, revealing their perfectly flat chest; "Oh, he's a boy." Kageyama voiced in thought, but the attraction he felt towards Tsubasa did not falter.
Kageyama grabbed Tsubasa's hands, "We don't have to if you aren't comfortable." he said gently, and Tsubasa's eyes began to water, "Do you mean it?" he asked, "Of course, I won't make you do anything you don't want." with Kageyama's response, Tsubasa let go of his tears as he threw himself into the taller's chest, "You're very kind..." the petite boy whispered, and Kageyama couldn't help smiling goofily as affection for the small teen flooded into his body.
Sitting down on the futon with Tsubasa perched on his lap, Kageyama rubbed the other's back softly, "Were you scared?" he inquired, "Terrified, I didn't know who to expect would come tonight, I was only notified my mizuage would be tonight three days ago." Tsubasa explained, tucking his head under Kageyama's chin and the younger relished in the soft sensation. "Do you like it here? Do they treat you well?", "No, not really. I like Haihana-san, Daichi-san, and Shizukatani-san*, and there are a few others that I like, but most of the staff is mean, Johinogawa and the other prostitutes apart from Haihana-san and Shizukatani-san push blame onto me whenever something bad happens, so I get in a lot of trouble all the time.
Kageyama silently seethed, there were people who dared to be so cruel to this poor boy? "If you don't mind me asking, what are you doing in a place like this?" Kageyama questioned and Tsubasa avoided eye contact, "I'm sorry, but I don't really know you, I'd like to get to know you better before I tell you that.", "It's okay, I understand. Is there anything you'd like to ask me?"
Tsubasa bit his lip contemplatively, "What do you like?", "I play volleyball, it's really all I care about apart from my family." Kageyama detailed with a proud expression on his visage, "You play volleyball?! I used to before coming here!" Tsubasa excitedly exclaimed. "Really?" Kageyama asked in disbelief, "Yeah!"
From there, the two engaged in idle chatter that went for hours on end, well late into the evening, the two finally receded into the futon's covers; huddled close together. "Um... Kageyama-san?" Tsubasa asked, "You can just call me 'Kageyama,' you know." Kageyama replied. "Okay. Kageyama, can I ask you something?", "Sure.", "Can I kiss you?" Tsubasa whispered, face painted redder than a tiger lily in full bloom. "Uh-huh." Kageyama answered, face just as flushed, Tsubasa leaned in and placed a kiss to the other's lips; short and chaste, Tsubasa quickly pulled away, "Thank you, good night!" he cried, embarrassed, turning over so his back was to Kageyama.
Snickering to himself, Kageyama wrapped an arm around Tsubasa, "He's too cute." he thought before falling under the spell of slumber.
The two awoke early the next morning, Tsubasa seeing Kageyama out of Hanafurirou, "Thank you for last night, Kageyama." Tsubasa said, bowing, "Don't mention it." Kageyama replied. "Um, Kageyama..." Tsubasa suddenly added, face flushed and twiddling his thumbs, "Yeah?", "Will you come visit me again?" Tsubasa squeaked, Kageyama was taken aback before pulling the smaller into an embrace, "Of course."
And Kageyama made good of his promise, any opportunity he had, he made the trip down to Kokubuncho and visited Tsubasa. Kageyama never truly knew how much he'd do for a person, one day Tsubasa told him other prostitutes, mainly Johinogawa, teased him that he never received gifts despite having a regular; Kageyama went home early that day and begged his volleyball coach to give him a part time job at his family-run convenience store.
A month and a few weeks had passed since the mizuage and the current date was the twenty-first of June; Kageyama was able to pry the face that June 21 was Tsubasa's birthday during a conversation a month prior. Kageyama had to work a few extra shifts to save up enough money for a gift for Tsubasa, what he had picked out for the other was quite expensive and his regular two four hour shifts a week at 700 yen an hour was not going to cut it.
"So you said you got me something?" Tsubasa asked, who was currently offering his lap as a pillow for Kageyama's head, "I did, do you want it now?" the onyx-haired boy answered. Tsubasa had to bite his lip to keep himself from blurting out an answer; he had been scolded many times to not be loud, as it wasn't flattering, "Yes, please." the birthday boy replied, trying to hide his enthusiasm.
Kageyama grinned at how adorable Tsubasa was acting, "Alright, here you go." he said, pulling out a small, thin paper package from his pocket, Tsubasa took the gift and carefully peeled it open as Kageyama sat up to take in his reaction.
The gift was a decorative hair comb, the kind that one would picture in the hair of a geisha; the sole decoration on the comb was a white flower. "Oh, Kageyama, I love it!" Tsubasa exclaimed, placing the comb immediately in his hair without a second thought, the effect it had on Tsubasa was just as Kageyama imagined, the paleness of the flower illuminated the brightness of his sunburst locks. "Thank you, Kageyama! I haven't gotten a birthday gift since..." Tsubasa's enthusiasm died as his words trailed off and his eyes were dulled with sadness.
"Since? Tsubasa, are you okay?" Kageyama asked, unhesitatingly taking the small boy into his arms, "I'm fine, I just started thinking about my family." Tsubasa replied. "Your family?", "Oh yeah, I never told you, I've never told anyone about it, so I don't really know how to talk about it."
Kageyama frowned in worry, "You don't have to tell me." Tsubasa shook his head, "No, I... I think I can tell you. You're different, Kageyama, I've never acted so naturally with anyone here before, except you. I... I want to tell you." and the taller nodded, indicating that Tsubasa could explain.
"I was sold here about four years ago. A few months before then, my mom gave birth to my baby sister while my dad was away in Kyoto on a business trip. My dad got so excited, he left the trip early and boarded the first plane he could... But, he never came home... The plane crashed and there were no survivors.
"The medical bills were enormous on their own, but everything started to pile up. Electricity, food, water, school, and my mom didn't have a job. My mom took me and my sister to Kokubuncho to see if she could get a job, and the Baba-sama saw me and became interested.
"My mom didn't want to sell me, but the Baba-sama offered six million yen for me and I told my mom to take it. I've been here ever since, my mom sends me letters, pictures, and some money from her part time odd jobs to help pay off my ransom, but I know she's still struggling more than me."
Kageyama felt tears slip down his face; how? How could this have happened to this boy?
"Kageyama?" Tsubasa questioned, reaching up and wiping the tears, "What's your family name?", "Huh?", "Your family name, what is it?" Kageyama demanded, "It's 'Hinata.'"
"Hinata, I swear, I will get you out of here and to your family." Kageyama declared and pulled Tsubasa into an embrace. Tsubasa gasped in surprise, but welcomed the comfort, freeing the tears he himself had been holding back.
Kageyama's glazed in determination, he was going to pay off Tsubasa's ransom. He was going to bring him home to his family. He was going to unlock his cage and set Hinata free.
And nothing was going to stop him.