Bronze ~ Zetsuai since
1989, by Minami Ozaki
Summary by Sumeragi, June 2001
Manga Number Nine
While waiting for Izumi in his car, Kouji thinks (once again) about how he should be happy for Izumi and his love for soccer, but all it causes him is pain. His mind is filled with need, guilt, and anger. Izumi gets back from soccer practice late and joins Kouji in the car. Kouji comments that Izumi looked good during the soccer practice game. Izumi instantly goes into happy mode, saying he couldnt believe it himself. He could still play well and his leg didnt hurt him at all. Leaning back, Izumi says he wants to be faster, fly higher, and be stronger than anyone/anything else. Kouji tells Izumi that he will be able to be all of that since he was born for that purpose. At the same time, Kouji thinks to himself that Izumi wasnt born for him. Kouji goes on to say that compared to Izumis beauty and pureness, he is filth. Izumi laughs, reminding him that he moves peoples hearts with his songs. Looking down, Kouji tells Izumi that he doesnt like singing. He only did it to find Izumi. If his songs move people, it never mattered to him. Even though a million people may love him, he only wants one persons love. To Koujis surprise, Izumi leans over and kisses him.
At the recording studio, it looks like the first album by the Kreuz band has been finished. Yoshiya mentions the change in Kouji, which Shibuya makes light of. As pictures are being taking of the band and Kouji, Shibuya looks on more seriously.
Later, Kouji watches soccer practice. A couple girls come up asking for his signature and photos. Kouji replies that with his left arm amputated, he cant sign anything, and he is prohibited from taking photos. The girls run off embarrassed and say that theyll always be his fans. Shibuya pops up from wherever saying that Kouji wouldve in the past just called them annoying and not bother with explanations. Kouji asks the blonde why he came. Shibuya goes into lecture mode. He says Kouji sits on this wooden bench despite rain or wind to watch soccer practice. Since both of them are famous, eventually itll lead to Izumi being treated like filth. Shibuya asks Kouji if he is okay with that. Kouji goes off tangent saying that everyday, Izumi practices with the GK (goalkeeper) for hours (jealousy?). Izumi has lately been begging to be let in the real games since, I love soccer! Kouji tells Shibuya that he enjoys seeing Izumi so happy on the field. Shibuya still thinks Kouji should stop coming so often. To that remark, Kouji stands up, giving the smaller guy a bit of a jump. However, Kouji walks away, with Shibuya following, to meet with Izumi. The three guys get into Koujis car. Izumi tells Kouji that next week hell be off to Kumamoto for a two week training camp. Kouji looks dark, but manages to ask Izumi to be sure to bring back a gift. He wants Mikan Brandy, which when drunk in a certain way, promotes ideas (due to Izumis reaction, I think there may be a doubling meaning in there). Blushing, Izumi asks Shibuya if he wants anything. For whatever reason, Shibuya asks for some ramen from Kumamoto. Izumi thinks to himself that he thought Kouji would ask to come along.
At Koujis apartment, Shibuya yells at Kouji for not seeing Izumi off and for getting drunk the moment Izumi leaves. Kouji probably only hears noise coming for Shibuya and doesnt focus too much on the words. Shibuya decides to leave, angry with himself for being a fool and worrying about Kouji. Kouji picks up the slip of paper with Izumis contact phone number. Kissing it, he wishes Izumi goodnight, and promises not to bother him since he doesnt want to be hated by Izumi.
At the soccer camp, Izumi is being worked very hard along with the rest of the team. Going to his room, he crashes into bed for a few moments. He gets up thinking how he doesnt know how many days have passed (he even tries counting). All he has time for is doing what he loves (soccer), eating, and sleeping. And if he wasnt a person who everything he wanted, it was because and he looks at the phone. Dont think stupid thing, he tells himself. So what if I dont have enough And then the phone rings. Izumi hurdles the bed to get the phone. He answers it, but no one responds. Izumi makes the logical guess that it is Kouji and yells at him to say something. Kouji gets the courage to speak and apologizes to Izumi for bothering him. He rambles on until Izumi stops him, telling Kouji that he doesnt know what he (Kouji) wants to say, but he isnt being a bother. After a moment of silence, Kouji asks how the camp is going. Izumi tells him about the roughness of going pro, but he loves it nonetheless. Looking dark, Kouji replies that he sounds like hes enjoying himself. Izumi notices the fallen voice. He asks Kouji how many days it has been. Shaken, Kouji tells Izumi its been eight days, even though he probably knows to the second how long theyve been apart. Silence ensues as Izumi calls Koujis name. Kouji bursts out, asking Izumi if it would be too much of a problem for him to come stay at the same hotel, but in a different room of course. He doesnt want to get in the way, but he wants to see Izumi very badly. Izumi can only get out a Kou before Kouji says that it probably would be too big of a bother since Izumi should be focusing on soccer. He tells Izumi to forget he said that. Izumi yells, Baka!! into the phone, telling Kouji to let a person answer for himself. He doesnt see why Kouji would be a bother, so come here. Kouji starts planning on leaving that moment to drive to Kumamoto. Before he gets far into that plan, Izumi stops him saying hell never forgive Kouji if he crashes on the way there. Kouji agrees to get the first flight he can. Izumi asks if his work is done, and Kouji assures him that the recording and video have been finished. Izumi asks if that is true. Kouji replies, I love you.
At dinner, the echoes of ‘I love you’ run through Izumi’s head. The coach looks on slightly worried, but Izumi tells him he’s just fine. Izumi then asks how long it would take to get here from Tokyo. The coach gives Izumi the time estimate that the last flight of the day is around 6pm, thus too late for Kouji to catch the flight. Then the coach mentions another route by ship and taxi, which would take about a three hours. Afterwards in the shower, Izumi knows the blonde will take the fastest way to him, realizing that they will be together in three hours.
Kouji gets to the hotel around 11pm and leaves a message at the desk for Izumi with his room number and the time he got in. Lying down in bed, Kouji decides that Izumi is probably asleep and theyll just have to see each other the next day. Theres a knock on the door. Kouji opens it to reveal a winded Izumi. Kouji instantly goes in for the hug, which Izumi enjoys for a moment, then suddenly pushes Kouji away. Kouji asks what is wrong. Izumi says that he must look like a fool. Kouji reaches out a hand, which Izumi slaps aside. Dont touch me with the hand that held someone else. Dont you touch me again!!
Izumi asks Kouji why he bothered to come with the scent of a woman all over him. He is about to leave when Kouji grabs his wrists, asking Izumi if he is jealous. The question shocks Izumi, and then he tries to get away again. While he tells Kouji to let go, Kouji says he couldnt get an erection. After a moment of huh?, Izumi and Kouji yell back and forth with a why did you even do it to someone else and how was I to live without you for two weeks. Izumi asks, are you a monkey? to which Kouji replies, Ah, that is right. Worse than a monkey! He tells Izumi that he was afraid of being homosexual, but after all, only Izumi does it for him. Suddenly shy, Izumi asks what is so good about this male body. Kouji just shakes his head and corrects him: it is not a mans body, but Izumis body. Izumi asks who it was that Kouji slept with. After a moment of thought, Kouji begins to answer when Izumi stops him by placing a hand on Koujis mouth. He decided he didnt want to know after all. Kouji licks Izumi hand, shocking Izumi. He then picks up Izumi and puts him on the bed. Kouji leans over Izumi, telling him that he wanted to see him. Although it has only been eight days I was going to die Kouji admits his jealously of soccer. Izumi asks why. Because the heart is small. Izumi asks why he thinks so. Is there not enough room in him for Kouji and soccer? Looking at each other, Kouji remarks that Izumis beautiful eyes would be the one thing that wont change about him.
After sex, Kouji asks Izumi if he has porn magazines and videos of women. Izumi gets offended, but Kouji doesnt see any issues with the question (yes, he is still obsessed with the are we gay thing). Turning his back on Kouji, Izumi replies that, yes, he thinks of women, cars, and games. He wants to find a woman to marry and never let go of. He likes looking at a beauty in a miniskirt like anyone else. In the showers, seeing the other guys naked does absolute nothing for him. Kouji stops Izumis rambling and goes back to the group showering thing. He asks if theyve seen all of Izumi. Izumi tells him not to say obvious things. Feeling along Izumis scar, Kouji asks if they have seen that, too. Izumi tries to get him to stop, saying that everyone has scars so his isnt anything strange to them. Izumi goes on the offense saying that anyone could see Koujis arm, too, so what is the difference. Kouji replies that no one has really seen it since he wears long sleeved shirts. The argument proceeds until Izumi declares he is leaving. He believes it to be a good idea anyway since his roommate would notice him missing. Kouji gets upset at the fact that Izumi is in the same room as someone else. But he hugs his arm around Izumi in a moment of peace, apologizing for getting angry. Giving Izumi a kiss on the cheek, he wishes Izumi a happy birthday. With the clock turning 12:00, Izumi is 19 years old and a year older than Kouji. He apologizes for not getting Izumi a present. Kouji tells Izumi that he is grateful to his birth parents and God for giving Izumi life.
The next day at practice, the fan girls are all a flutter about it being Izumis birthday. Apparently, it is also the GKs birthday as well. The two stand behind a mound of presents and Izumi asks if its okay to get presents from people you dont even know. The GK replies that he stops the goals and Izumi makes them, so its okay for the fans to pay them back.
Later, Izumi gets advice from Kouji as well, but all that Kouji can really offer is that fans are troublesome. Izumi brings out the brandy Kouji wanted as a souvenir. In addition, Izumi takes out the jewel box that holds their two rings. Kouji looks in surprise, realizing that Izumi must have gone to Hirose for the ring. Izumi replies that it was his, so of course he got it back. Leaning on Izumi, Kouji laughs out loud, saying that his Izumi is the best (Izumi: Wah. What? Youre heavy). Kouji asks for Izumi to put it on (since he can't without his arm). Holding up his right hand, Kouji tells Izumi that the ring finger on the right hand has the meaning of lovers. The word lovers repeats in Izumis head.
In a soccer meeting, Izumi has been chosen to play in the next game.
The game is about to begin and Izumi is a starting member. In the stands Kouji and Izumis family watch on. There is also Kunihide with Eri leaning against him. Straight away, Izumi makes a goal. The ball flew by before the opposing GK could make a move. Kouji smiles and the siblings cheer on their brother. The game goes on with Izumi thinking about how happy the game makes him feel. As Kunihide awes over Izumi, Eri gets a glance of Kouji and then grasps onto Kunihides shirt. He asks what is wrong. She says nothing, mentions his (meaning Koujis) face looks happy, and then repeats that nothing is wrong. She starts to cry thinking that shes pleased to see everyone smiling. The game ends and Izumi is the obvious choice of Man of the Match, and he thanks the team members and the supporters in the stands. The announcer asks him how he feels. After a moments thought, he replies that he is glad to have been born. Raising his right hand that bears a ring, he thanks his parents. In the stands, Kouji and Izumis family looked shocked by the statement. Gazing up into the sky, Izumi silently thanks his father for teaching him soccer and his mother for giving birth to him.
The next day in the car, Izumi tells Kouji that he has decided to return home. Kouji replies, home ? Izumi asks, is there my home? Is there a difference between mine and yours! When Kouji doesnt respond, Izumi guesses they must be different then. Kouji yells that there isnt. Izumi then asks if Kouji is going to watch his practice. Touching Izumis right hand, Kouji thanks him for wearing the ring since the day before. Izumi shyly says that isnt any great meaning in it. Going back to the previous question, Kouji tells Izumi he cant go to watch the practice, to which Izumi seems disappointed. Kouji drops him off, and watching Izumi go, he thinks how frightening this is getting for the two of them.
At his desk, Hirose looks at the sports pages that cover the debut of Izumi. His son, Tatsuomi, shows to tell him that he is late for lunch. The two go to the dining room together. On the way, Hirose notices something about Tatsuomis leg (a scratch?). He tells him to be more careful since he is very important. At the table, Akihito whines at Hirose for being late. As an excuse, Hirose says he lost track of time reading an interesting piece of news. Hirose then tells Tatsuomi to come home quickly after school so they can do some training. Akihito reminds Hirose about some previous engagement, but Hirose says that family is more important. The other thing will have to go on without him. Akihito gets furious. Hirose goes on to lecture Akihito about getting married. Akihito refuses to marry anyone and leaves the room upset. He goes into Hiroses office and notices the papers with Izumi ("Koujis lover" in his mind) as the main topic. He starts wondering about Hiroses possible interest in the boy.
Kouji tries to gently wake up Izumi (notice there is a ring on his left hand now), telling him it is already afternoon. Izumi gets up with a start and knocks Kouji to the ground. Kouji reminds Izumi that its a holiday. Relieved, the naked Izumi turns around to see Kouji on the floor wondering what he is doing there. Kouji replies that he has a nosebleed from his wonderful view at the moment. He receives an elbow to the head for that one. Izumi wraps himself up in a sheet and tells Kouji to not let him sleep so late even if it is an off day, you perverted bastard. About that, Takuto Kouji responds, and he goes into some detail of what hed like to be doing with Izumi (some parts beeped out due to this being a girls manga, according to the bold print). Izumi knees Kouji in the chin. Ah, please forgive me, Princess. Next time you die. And who is a princess. Kouji thinks to himself, I need to video tape it next time. Sensing his thoughts, Izumi batters him some more. Izumi then hugs and kisses Jesus, the dog Shibuya left behind while he went away. Kouji looks on jealously and calls Izumi to breakfast.
The narration goes into a thing about Izumis fame and the success of Kreuzs first album. Theres also a page showing the desperate fans of the pair. At the supermarket, they both have to dress up now to avoid the fans.
Izumi mentions to Kouji that winter is coming up (and they have yet to have a good Christmas, especially with the year before). Kouji promises to make good memories this year, for just the two of them. Izumi replies that he doesnt trust Kouji. He doesnt trust Kouji to never touch another person besides Izumi. Kouji tries to argue that hell only be with Izumi. Once I die and you have protected the promise, I will begin to believe you. Until then I dont trust you. Izumi continues to say that believe in me is the biggest lie, and anyone who says that shouldnt be trusted. Whether Kouji likes it or not, this is the real Izumi. Kouji hugs Izumi, saying hell always be with Izumi and that he loves him. Remember those words.
At Hiroses office, Akihito is upset. Hirose tells his brother to calm down. Akihito has found out that Hirose is sponsoring a team in the J league, but he doesnt think Hirose is doing it for the team. Hirose stands up and tells Akihito if there is something he wants to say, then say it clearly and looking straight at him. Akihito becomes weak looking at his brother and falls to the ground, apologizing. He tells Hirose that this obsession he has with Kouji is strange. Akihito blames their father for never noticing Hirose. Hugging Hiroses legs, Akihito tells him that while their parents may have never noticed him, he has always watched Hirose. With their father dead, Akihito says that they can now live like they want to. For instance, he could kill Kouji. Hirose replies that itd be pointless to kill Kouji. Akihito grinds his teeth and runs out of the room.
Akihito sits in his car thinking that getting rid of him will be enough.
Kouji gives Izumi the that is enough for the training session. Izumi is disappointed but listens to Kouji when he tells him to not over do it. Kouji gets in close, and reminds Izumi that he promised to be only his today. Jesus jumps in between the two. Izumi tells the dog that hell take him for a walk. Kouji wants to go as well, but Izumi gives him the excuse that the two of them would attract fans from everywhere (cute picture of this). Izumi tells Kouji that once he gets back, they can go shopping for the party. He winks at Kouji. The wink is enough to freeze Kouji so Izumi could get away.
Running to the city while kicking a soccer ball, Izumi thinks about how happy he is, etc. Leaving Jesus outside, Izumi goes into the jewelry store Tiffany. He feels a bit out of place, but a kind employee recognizes him and brings out the item Izumi ordered. Its a jeweled cross pendant on a necklace. The employee is about to wrap it up when Izumi decides to carry it home. Looking at his left hand, Izumi thinks about the ring Kouji got him as a late birthday present. Izumi realized it must have been expensive, so he decided to get Kouji something nice as well. While he knows he is no expert at fashion, the moment he saw the necklace, he thought Kouji would like it.
Outside, Izumi gets Jesus and they start walking back. Izumi wonders what will Koujis face would look like when he gives him the present. Snow begins to fall. Holding his hand out for the flakes, Izumi realizes that even the snow has a happier meaning to him now. Kissing the cross, Izumi thinks that if there is a God, somehow Jesus starts to whine, and Izumi gets the message that they should go home. Crossing the street, Izumi thinks he is so happy now that nothing else matters. A car driven by Akihito accelerates towards the smiling Izumi. Die. Turning, Izumi sees the car and driver in a moment before impact. Bystanders scream and someone calls for an ambulance. Izumi lies in the street bleeding badly, and Akihito is in the car also not moving. With effort, Izumi moves his hand to hold the cross. He calls for Jesus. God. And then silently, he calls to Kouji.
Continue to Manga Number 10