Translated by Mojo of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
On the afternoon of the day the wedding ceremony had been thrown, Masazumi’s heat had come earlier than planned, so he and Yoshihisa had not been able to circle around the garden party and greet the many faces of both families that were present. Instead they had stayed cooped up in Yoshihisa’s bedroom for three days.
Of course, everyone knew about their situation so there was no need to worry, although the Marquis had apparently taken his leave at around three o’clock and there had been no chance to speak to him.
“You’ll have plenty of chances to talk to my father from now on. Despite his appearance, he’s funny and approachable. The only time I’ve ever properly faced him and talked to him was quite recently, but he makes it seem like we’ve been living together for years.”
“Part of that is probably because you’re a genuine child of his.”
“Yeah, I can’t deny that. I’d lived away from him for so long that I believed we were completely unconnected. But when I saw him I could tell instantly that he was my father. I guess DNA never lies.”
On the morning of the third day, when his heat had finally been cured and his appetite returned to him, Masazumi sat on the bed with a tray of breakfast that Yoshihisa had brought him, chatting. There was a thick slice of french toast coated with cream cheese and marmalade, and he drank milky coffee from a large bowl. There were fresh fruits for him to snack on or to mix with yogurt.
Though Masazumi was usually a light eater, he had been carried away by his heat, his lust being a priority over his need to sleep or eat, so once his heat was over he intended to eat as much as possible to restore his strength. Honestly, he would probably collapse the moment he tried to get off the bed if he didn’t do this much at least.
“Is your body alright?” Yoshihisa, watching Masazumi tidy away his breakfast with vigor, asked him awkwardly.
“… Yes.” The question had also embarrassed Masazumi, who nodded with his cheeks flushed slightly. No matter how many times they did it, their lust would not subside, and Yoshihisa had pushed him down over and over with no regard for day or night, cumming inside him continually. Though Masazumi’s heat had started settling down right before he passed out, they were both calm as usual now.
He was calm. But Yoshihisa looked all the more reliable now, that Masazumi’s heart was thumping just being next to him. His stomach throbbed so much when he met Yoshihisa’s gaze, that he felt as if his heat might return from looking at him too much.
“Next is the announcement ceremony, right?”
In just three hours, the Marquis’ car would come and Yoshihisa would have to go back home. At least extend your stay for one more day, Masazumi thought he might end up selfishly asking. But he pressed it down inside his chest and endeavored not to let him know he was thinking that.
By the announcement ceremony of next month, Yoshihisa had mountain’s worth of knowledge and etiquette to learn before he became the successor. He had been raised until now in a normal family home but now was about to succeed a family which had been granted the rank of number one even among the noble families. That was not something one could do with just an ordinary amount of work.
It was impossible for Masazumi to even imagine since he had been the second son of the Count family since birth. If it was Takanori, then maybe he could understand how it might be done. But Takanori would say, “I am only going to inherit this one family branch of the Counts. He is going to inherit the entire Marquis line. There’s a world of difference.”
And the reason why Yoshihisa had decided to undergo all this hard work was so he could continue protecting Masazumi. When head first heard that promise clearly from Yoshihisa’s mouth, Masazumi had not known what to say, he’d just felt like crying.
He couldn’t burden Yoshihisa any more than this. He had to have a little bit of dignity. If he said he was lonely and forced him to stay, he wouldn’t be able to forgive himself.
“Well, I hoped to arrange it so we could have more time together.” Yoshihisa, sitting on the bed, reached over to Masazumi who reclined against the headboard. He stroked his cheek with a gesture full of love, and Masazumi raised his head to bring the fingers to his lips.
After Masazumi lightly kissed his fingers, Yoshihisa placed their foreheads together.
Masazumi moved his head, curling into Yoshihisa’s chest. He rubbed against him as if trying to impart his scent onto him. Yoshihisa’s long fingers pulled gently through his hair, untangling it.
“Don’t force yourself.”
Despite his real feelings Masazumi wanted to act obedient. Yoshihisa immediately replied, “I’m not.”
Masazumi shut his eyes. “But…” he said, hesitating over whether he should be openly happy or not.
“I wanted to see you. It was hard not to meet for three weeks.”
It was enough just to see his face, to be beside him, to sleep in the same bed. Yoshihisa gazed at Masazumi earnestly. His words and attitude could come off a little cold and emotionless, but his gaze was warm, filled with affection. It was a bit arrogant to say it himself, but he could feel that he was properly loved.
“Okay… I’m glad.”
He did his best to calm down. If he got emotional then Yoshihisa would be shocked, and it would make it harder for him to go home. He tried to control himself but even if he could keep from crying his expression was still distorted. Having only just come out of his heat period, his mental and bodily state were not what they usually were, his emotions weren’t quite stable, and the thought of Yoshihisa leaving made him anxious. As much as he tried to reason, and keep his calm, he couldn’t deny his own feelings.
“I don’t need you to see me off. It’ll be harder to part. Just sleep a little longer, okay?”
Yoshihisa took the tray from him and he laid down flat, their hands squeezed together tightly.
“You’re so overprotective now, it makes me imagine what you would be like if I were pregnant.”
“Surely you don’t think you are?”
Masazumi had wanted to joke around a little but Yoshihisa had answered his statement so seriously that he got flustered, “I don’t know. But I don’t think I am. Sorry, I said something weird.”
“No, I was only asking. … Though if we were going to have a kid that would probably be a dream come true for me.”
“Do you like kids?”
“Even though the children of my relatives that I’ve met are total strangers, I like them all. But I’m confident that if I had a child with you, I would be able to love it specially.” Yoshihisa’s answer was so resolute.
Masazumi felt calm to hear it. He was scared of giving birth, but he felt like if it was for Yoshihisa’s sake then he would try to bear any kind of pain or hardship. His confidence increased a little bit, “… If I turn out to be pregnant, I’ll contact you.”
“Yeah. Tell me straight away. No matter what I’m doing, I’ll come running.” His words were reliable. They made Masazumi happy and he smiled, nodding. “I’d better go now. I’ll come see you in about two weeks.”
Yoshihisa kissed Masazumi as if to promise him, sighing as they exchanged their feelings with the kiss. He stood up, his back muscles stretching, and left the bedroom they had shared with gentle footsteps. From this evening Masazumi would have to sleep by himself. He didn’t want to sleep in such an overly big bed by himself, this nap would be the last time he used it.
If he expected too much and something came up, he would be seriously hurt. So he would try not to be too aware of the next two weeks and just look forward to it.
He had finally eaten some breakfast after all this time so he soon felt sleepy. He closed his eyes and drowsiness soon washed over him, he would not wake again until the afternoon.
“Masazumi. You’re awake already?”
The moment he stepped out into the garden, dazzling rays of sun washed over him, he put his hand to his forehead to shade his vision, his eyes narrowing. Takanori called out to him from a little way away. There was a cobbled path with a gazebo at the end of it, and he waved to him from there. It had a hexagonal roof on top of a circular platform. Five benches were arranged on each side except the entrance and a circular table sat in the center.
In the gazebo there were three men other than Takanori. Since they were all the same age, Masazumi instantly realized that these were Takanori’s friends who usually came to stay for about ten days a year. Masazumi was wearing a white shirt and linen pants, plus a wide hat which he pressed to his head with one hand so it wouldn’t be blown away in the wind. He approached the gazebo.
“Hey, it’s the little brother!”
“Long time no see. We’ll be bothering you again”
Masazumi exchanged greetings with the two who had stayed before, whose faces he knew. Though the wedding ceremony had been held just three days before, it would seem that they didn’t know about it. They acted like normal towards him, asking whether he was making progress on his exams, that kind of question.
Well, yes I think so, Masazumi gave perfunctory answers.
The third person was the one who had attended the same seminar as Takanori.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Kodaka Renji.” He introduced himself, sticking his hand out to Masazumi amiably. He was quite tall and sturdy looking. Masazumi could see the muscles on his arms since he was wearing a short sleeve summer sweater, and he ended up staring. His appearance was rough, and he had started talking so cheerfully all of a sudden that Masazumi hesitated a little. But he smiled so widely that he also thought that his personality must not match his looks. He shook the hand in front of him, it was warm and strong.
Takanori had always had many followers, but the ones he invited to stay at the villa during the summer were only his very close friends, people who knew the true him. It wasn’t always the same lineup, sometimes people came in or out of his friendship group, and it seemed like Takanori was in charge of deciding who to invite.
He had always made a lot of friends but never got close to anyone in particular, Masazumi realized this. Before he met Yoshihisa, he had been the same way. While he was relieved to think that he was the same as his brother in this aspect, part of him thought it was a bit unexpected. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that his brother was born with all the natural abilities a person could want. A partner was a different story altogether, but it was strange that he didn’t even try to make a best friend.
“He might look a little wild, but he’s good at looking out for people, and he has a warm personality, so don’t get frightened. If you have something troubling you or a favor you want then try talking to him. He’s the type to treat anyone at all with care.” Takanori smiled at Renji trustingly while he spoke to Masazumi. Takanori wouldn’t tease his friends at a time like this so what he was saying must be true. Renji had a sincere look in his eye, and Masazumi didn’t think he was scary. His build was large, and his arms looked very muscular, but he didn’t give off a violent impression. He reminded Masazumi of a calm, polite, and stoic soldier.
Surprisingly, Masazumi’s intuition told him that this man surely must be the son of some famous family. He was correct.
“His father is the Viscount Kodaka, and he is the second son.”
Masazumi, who hadn’t made his debut in society and who hadn’t heard of about half of the families in the nobility, didn’t know anything about the Viscount Kodaka. But he could definitely understand that this man was of noble parentage. For some reason he created the atmosphere of a good quality product. That idea seemed to have spread to his brother and parents as well.
Generally even if someone was of noble origin, they might be someone arrogant with a warped sense of pride like Nashiba, so you couldn’t say that they were high class because they were noble, or that they had any virtues. However Renji looked as though virtuousness was overflowing from him, and Masazumi felt that it would be alright to trust him.
“You’re even more beautiful than I was told.” Auchi, the one who had a mole under his mouth, grinned and elbowed Renji in the arm.
“Ah, um, that… well,” Masazumi wasn’t sure how to respond and blinked in bewilderment. Clumsy and earnest, bad at lying, not good at jokes– that was the kind of personality that was revealed in him during this exchange.
“Auchi, Tadano. It’s probably time to prepare the tea. Will you come and help me carry it?” Takanori went with his friends to the kitchen to fetch sea and snacks, so Masazumi was left alone with Renji in the gazebo. Most likely Takanori had done this on purpose so they could get to know each other, and Masazumi was grateful for the thought. But he was no good in conversation and he wasn’t sociable enough to talk to someone for the first time like this without getting scared.
Renji also seemed like that type of person. They just glanced at each other, with no signs of the conversation getting started. Just as Masazumi had let his gaze roam, and began to feel awkward, Renji began talking to him reservedly.
“Masazumi-kun, you don’t bring your friends here?”
“…No.” His answer was quite blunt, he worried that Renji would think he didn’t want to talk with him. He raised his lowered head and looked at him nervously.
Renji happened to look at him at the same time and so their eyes met. He was smiling warmly. Masazumi realized he had been overthinking everything and blushed all the way up to his ears.
“I don’t have any friends close enough for that.”
As he added more words to his answer, Renji just nodded. “Probably, everyone just finds it intimidating to approach you. You’re the brother of Nirei Takanori, they might be conscious of it.”
“I don’t know about me, but my brother had trouble with that.”
“If you want someone to talk to then your brother should be enough. But sometimes there’ll be something that would be hard to say to him, in that case I can listen to you if you need.”
He would keep it in mind. Renji smiled at him again, so he gave a vague response, “Alright”
It was hard to imagine consulting one of his brother’s friends about something. He hadn’t even imagined it before. Rather than being good at looking after people, wasn’t Renji just meddlesome? Once he’d thought of it like that, his eyebrows knitted slightly.
Masazumi felt it was most likely he wouldn’t say anything to start a conversation himself. He would meet his brother’s friends many times around the house since they were staying together, and he would greet them politely, but he had never become close with any of them before. It would be the same with Renji.
The guys who had gone to the kitchen were returning with trays and baskets in their hands. There had been plenty of time to talk to Renji before they came back, but in the end that was all the words they exchanged. After the conversation ended they had just sat on their benches and washed themselves in the breeze, looking out at the garden or the forest further away.
“Nii-san, there’s a book I’ve been wanting to read, so I’ll excuse myself.” Masazumi politely declined having afternoon tea with his brother, and turned towards the house.
Takanori pulled a slightly disappointed face but he didn’t force the issue, “Got it. Let’s do this another time then”
Masazumi thought that maybe Takanori would misunderstand and think that something had happened between him and Renji. But when their eyes met Takanori’s, he smiled as if to show that it was all a groundless worry. Takanori’s trust of Renji was obvious, he hadn’t even considered the idea. So Masazumi ended up feeling embarrassed that he had read too much into it.
Masazumi enjoyed the feeling of the slight breeze, walking leisurely up the path towards the terrace and then entering the house. He began to head towards his third floor bedroom but a butler stopped him, “Just now, I delivered a letter to your room.”
“A letter?” He had no clue who the sender could be, and tilted his head. But he said “Thank you” to the butler anyway. When he returned to his room, there was a letter tray on the console table.
On it was a sealed rectangular envelope, with beautiful designs at its corners made from gold leaf. It was very formal. The postmark was only from the day before, so it must have been sent from the town neighboring the summer house. The handwriting was unique but not unskillful, Masazumi judged that they must be an educated person.
“Sagano Shouichi… I don’t know them.” Masazumi turned the letter over, it was sealed with wax. In the margin he saw the name, whispering in confusion.
With a paper knife he carefully cut the seal and took out the contents. It was a handwritten letter with the same design to the envelope. Following the first greetings, there was an apology for sending a letter so abruptly. Then the letter writer introduced himself. It all began to seem a little more reasonable.
It seemed that this person named Sagano was an alumnus of Masazumi’s school. It had been ten years since he graduated, but he had contact with some of the teachers and students, and came to the school festival held last month. He was now managing a business.
But from there problems arose in the letter. When he read further Masazumi was shocked by the contents and he turned pale. It seemed that… Sagano knew that Masazumi was an omega. It was not speculation, he wrote with complete certainty. Why? How? Doubts and uneasiness made Masazumi tremble.
[If I surprised you and caused you trouble, I’m sorry. I found it strange that this was not yet known to the world, but you need not worry. I myself am an omega.]
Masazumi reread the shocking lines with shaking fingers, and blinked hard.
Sagano was an omega as well.
Was it true? If it was, it would be the first time he had met someone of exactly the same gender as his. Still half doubting, Masazumi read the letter to the end. To put it simply, it was an invitation for them to meet once. Sagano was an independent omega who had succeeded in starting a business, and was in the process of creating a group which supported omegas having a hard time, giving them a place to discuss their problems. He was trying to create an ideal community where everyone could help each other.
It was organised on a membership basis so it was exclusive, and the members were sworn to secrecy. He wouldn’t have to worry about his gender being leaked to the public. But it was the chairman of the company who promised that so Masazumi’s heart still wavered.
He had always wanted to try meeting other omegas, and talking to them.
In the future, he might have things occur within his body. He might get pregnant and have to give birth. If there was someone of the same gender who had experience with child rearing then he could get their opinions, and they could tell him how to mentally prepare himself. These were quite serious concerns of his.
Coincidentally, the day after tomorrow, the group of omegas would be meeting in Sagano’s villa. [It might be difficult to come at short notice, but if you have even a little bit of interest in our activities, and your circumstances allow, won’t you come join us? Just come and have a look at what sort of group it is so you know you don’t need to worry.]
Sagano had written that kind of soft invitation, trying not to pressure him at all.
Masazumi was indecisive. Whatever the case, he was hesitant about trusting a letter from someone he had never even seen before. If he thought about it then ignoring it was the best way to go. He understood that logically but still hesitated. If he let go of this opportunity then he seriously might never meet another omega.
[This might come off as overly forward, but omegas are a special. There are many who are stuck worrying by themselves. If you come to this meeting you might meet many allies. If you keep in contact with some of them you can contact them if you ever need to. Won’t you gather your courage and join us?]
The more Masazumi read the more he felt like he really would end up going.
[Currently there are six members planning to meet up, including me. If you came too that would be seven. For your first time I think that’s a good number of people. Some of them stay with me for about three days at the villa but if you want to go home after the meeting then that’s fine. I will send a car to pick you up and drop you off at the station so you don’t need to worry.]
He was kind down to the last detail. It was true that with six or seven members he wouldn’t have to force himself to talk that much, and there was a possibility that he would find someone he got along with. And it was helpful to know that he didn’t necessarily have to stay.
If he went on a day trip, or even stayed over for a day, he could tell his parents he was going to a friend’s summer house and get away with it without worrying his family.
First he would ask Takanori if he knew anything about Sagano. There was a seven year difference between them so it was hard to believe they would be acquainted, but Takanori had a wide social circle and was always well informed, so if there were any unsavoury rumours he probably would have heard. And Masazumi could read the social register to see if Sagano was really in it.
His father had the social register. He would always go out with his wife in the afternoons, so he wasn’t at home. Masazumi knew the registry would be on his father’s shelves in his study somewhere.
It wasn’t like entering the study was banned or anything, so Masazumi just went in freely. He found the heavy hardcover book he was looking for and opened it on top of the mahogany desk.
Sagano Shouichi– his name was there.
Without that, a lie would never have worked, so Masazumi had been almost certain when he looked, but seeing the name in front of his eyes was a little bit of relief. Though he didn’t know him, the feeling that he wanted to believe Sagano was getting stronger. Basically, Masazumi wanted to go. He hadn’t realized his own feelings until now.
According to the registry, Sagano Shouichi was now twenty eight years old. His father was the head of the Sagano trading company and Shouichi was his eldest son. However he wasn’t a child of his father’s true wife: “Illegitimate” had been written beside his name.
There was no column for gender in the registry. Most likely, Sagano hadn’t made his gender public. In the section for employment, it read “SS Company CEO”, so while it was hard to tell exactly what the company was, Masazumi was able to verify that he was a businessman after all. Despite being the eldest son he didn’t seem to be the successor to his father’s company.
From this information Masazumi was able to get a vague picture of Sagano’s life, and his heart ached for him.
Underneath his name was written “Sagano Shinichi”. Shinichi was twenty four years old, and a company director for the Sagano trading company: this register provided a small glimpse at their family situation. It was only Masazumi’s speculation, but maybe Shouichi the illegitimate child had been invited into the family when there were difficulties producing a real heir. Though four years later this Shinichi had shown up and become the successor, so Sagano would have had no choice but to leave the house.
Masazumi felt a little depressed about Sagano’s situation. Even though it was a story he had completely invented.
He knew he was blessed to have been brought up in an environment where the people around him would support him, he had so often heard stories of omegas suffering because of their poor treatment from others. That kind of thing was why Sagano’s group was necessary. Sagano’s activities contributed to society, so if there was something Masazumi could do to help, he was completely willing. Yoshihisa would understand as well.
Sagano’s profile, his address, the assets he owned, there was no discrepancy between these and what was written in the letter.
From here it would take thirty minutes on the local train line to get to Sagano’s villa, the letter had clearly explained the directions. It didn’t seem like there was any reason to doubt him. Since he had confirmed Sagano’s identity, Masazumi didn’t think it was necessary to ask his brother about him. Not that he intended to just quietly leave the house, either.
After dinner that day, Masazumi went to talk to his father, who was relaxing in the cigar room with a glass of brandy, and asked whether he could go stay for one night at a nearby villa that he had been invited to.
“This is a rare thing for you.”
The Count didn’t seem like he would turn Masazumi down without listening to what he had to say, but he did look like he had heard something unexpected.
“Today I got a letter, saying a friend of mine just happens to be staying in a house nearby. So they invited me to meet up with them.”
Masazumi had decided that he would talk about the omega community without hiding it. That’s why he had waited until he could speak to his father alone. If they had company he wouldn’t be able to explain properly. Takanori and his three friends were all in the games room playing billiards, so they likely wouldn’t come here. If his mother had been here, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but she was in the habit of working on her embroidery while his father was in the cigar room.
“It’s a person called Sagano Shouichi, he’s a graduate of my school. And an omega like me.”
He told his father about the community that Sagano was chairman of.
“The day after tomorrow there will be a group of people, and I thought I’d like to meet omegas other than myself. I was thinking of staying a night since I have the opportunity. Though if you’re worried I can just go for a day.”
When Masazumi gave the location, the Count frowned.
“Ah, the villa district. The trains do go there but only very few, it’s an inconvenient place. Because of that, though, it hasn’t been turned into a tourist location, so it’s ideal for the people who stay there. The last train in our direction would be at about 6:00, so even if you went you wouldn’t be able to relax for very long. If you go then it might be better to stay over.”
Apparently, the Count didn’t have any intentions of opposing Masazumi’s participation in Sagano’s assembly.
“Is it Sagano, as in the Sagano trading company?”
His father seemed to know them straight away, “I’ve met the mother and the second son Shinichi before. Apparently, the first son is managing his own business and doing well. He sounds quite skilled. So that’s how it is, he’s the same as you…”
“If something ever happened to me, I thought it might be more reassuring to have even just one person to discuss it with.”
“That’s right. I understand your feelings. Our family loves you very much, and would do anything we could to help you, but there are probably things we can’t relate to and help with. If you want to make friends of the same gender then I won’t oppose you.”
The Count’s face stiffened as if to say “But…” and he looked carefully at Masazumi’s face.
“Maybe not everyone will think of you favorably. Keep that thought in the back of your mind.”
“Yes.” Masazumi obediently accepted the advice.
For some reason, Nashiba’s face had come to mind. The school had explained the details of that incident to his father, so he probably knew an outline of what had happened. But it wasn’t brought up between the two of them. Was Nashiba’s sudden transfer because the Count had put pressure on the school? Or had the Marquis done something about it since Masazumi had become his son’s mate? Did Nashiba’s family understand the situation and withdraw him? Masazumi had never inquired into it. What his father understood about the incident, Masazumi didn’t know. He probably knew about how Nashiba had always disliked him, and tried to do dirty things.
The way the conversation was going now, he guessed that his father was talking about that topic.
“Even when you haven’t done anything wrong, people will envy you and resent you. There will be people who don’t agree with you, people who hate you. It happens to everyone. You don’t have to get hurt by involving yourself with the other person.”
It seemed like his father was worried he had been harmed by the incident with Nashiba. Certainly, Masazumi had received some shock, but he always knew Nashiba hated him and the incident didn’t have any lasting effects.
“I’m already an adult, so I’m not naive enough to think that everyone is going to be my ally. And I know that the number of people who hate me is not small.”
“That’s good. It’s harsh to doubt everyone completely. But if you trust too much then the pain will be worse if you’re betrayed. Knowing what to believe and what not to believe, can only be learnt through experience, though I hope this community of Sagano’s will be full of good things for you. Be careful when you go.”
The location was certain, and the identity of Sagano had been verified, so Masazumi’s father hadn’t opposed him. He wondered how Sagano had known he was an omega, but those involved in the case with Nashiba knew about it. It wasn’t unlikely that other people had realized. There was no way that people wouldn’t talk about it. Sagano, an alumnus, was connected to people at the school and found out that way.
Whatever the case, it was going to be revealed halfway through next month, and it was a bit late to be getting worked up about who knew his identity.
If he felt like coming, he had been told to call, and a phone number had been written on the letter. He would be nervous to have a phone call with someone he’d never met before so he hesitated a little. After leaving the cigar room and returning to his own, Masazumi wrote a letter saying that he would take Sagano up on his offer. And since there were not many trains he would stay the night.
He had the letter delivered express so that it would arrive the morning of the following day, and in the evening, a call from Sagano came.
“Nice to meet you, Nirei Masazumi-kun.”
Sagano Shouichi’s voice over the phone was beautiful, it was calm and polite, and gave a good impression. Masazumi imagined the image of the gentle-mannered man. It was a fitting voice for a conversation with someone you’ve never met before, and they were able to talk without being over-familiar. Masazumi was reassured about his decision to go.
“I’m happy that you worked up the courage to come, even after reading my blunt letter. Thank you. I’m sure that all the members gathering tomorrow will be happy to speak to you too.”
“I’ll be in your care for two days. Thank you very much.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
The call ended and Masazumi was in high spirits, having worked up his courage. His imagination ran wild thinking of the sorts of people he’d meet. He packed a one night stay’s worth of clothes in a suitcase and got into bed early to prepare for tomorrow. It was his first time staying at someone else’s house, and his first time spending two days completely surrounded by strangers, but more than anxious he felt excited.