Book two: Chapter three, 2016, field trip revised

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Midsummer's eve,2040, heating up

Yukio felt Kyoko's arms around him. It was something he never got tired of. So much love and so much trust in that simple hug. He wanted to hug her back, but looking down at his hands he saw how dirty they had become from handling the briquettes.

Beside him Urufu had thrust what looked like an oversized hair-dryer into his grill and the briquettes were already spitting sparks as they heated up. A minute or so later he seemed satisfied and with a naughty grin he handed the devise over to Yukio.

How hard can it be? Yukio thought. It took him less than half a minute to regret that thought.

He got some help from Urufu, and together they brought the second grill to the temperature where it would take care of itself. All the while Kyoko never let go of her embrace, and Yukio could feel her face buried in his back. It made fixing the grill harder, but he didn't mind at all.

"No games?" he asked?

"No games," Urufu said. "We're a bit too old for that anyway. The kids can play around by themselves for all I care."

"Kids," Yukio laughed. "Some of them are older than we were." He felt Kyoko tighten her grip on him. Sorry my love. It'll be just fine, I promise.

"Well, we're not putting them to work or anything."

We won't. Not like they did back then. But even so it was kinda fun, Yukio remembered.

Chapterthree, 2016, field trip revised

Christina stared in stunned disbelief as business suit after business suit headed for the small reception. A large sign was prominently screwed to the wall. 'Twin Arc Production,' it said. Below it a smaller sign announced workshops for middle management in English and Japanese.

Nakagawa, you bastard! Ulf was in no shape to run any classes for paying customers, and his field of expertise was very, very different from her own.

She ran up the stairs and through the corridor to the room Ulf shared with Ryu and Yukio. When she slid open the doors she could see how daylight gave way to the short dusk offered in Japan. Within a quarter of an hour it would be dark. Nothing like the endless dusks she had grown up with in another world.

Christina threw a guilty look along the corridor before she entered the room. Teenage girls weren't supposed to be this brash in Japan, but it was still long before bedtime and that gave her a bit of leeway should anyone come here.

Ulf lay sleeping on the tatami mats. He hadn't even bothered with pulling out a futon from the alcove where they lay stacked in wait for the night. Not that anyone would come here to make the beds tonight. They were supposed to be out camping.

She sat down beside him and pulled his head onto her lap. Slowly stroking his hair she revelled in the luxury of feeling the man she loved under her hands. Even asleep and riddled by nightmares he was her Ulf, her U-kun. By now she knew he loved two women. Her because she was part of his life, and his wife Maria who was left behind in that other world that was lost to them both.

That knowledge hurt more than she expected. She couldn't compete with a ghost or a memory. In a way she would always remain his second love, because there was no way for him to find closure with his first life. Maria, whoever you are, and whatever you do, I hope you were worth it, because I want him so much to be my own. Christina caressed Ulf's lips with her fingertips. Maria, I'm sorry, but I'll try to take him from you even if you're only a memory to him now.

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