Saturday, October 31, 2015

GOD's Graces

Content Warning:

This story contains male/male relations and erotic moments. Is it for mature audiences only.

GOD's Graces

There's a saying (at least my mother has always told me it's a saying, there is the possibility that she made it up and is just using the term 'they' to give her idea weight) that God gives people what they deserve. For the most part, I've always thought that to be if not a lot of bullshit, then a damn good helping of it. Sure, you can reason that the hurricane that wipes out six coastal tourist areas sent a lot of overpriced insurance companies and a lot of overpaid executives into a snit for a few weeks, and that they probably deserve a few weeks of turmoil, but that doesn't take into account the rest of them. For example, the guy that saved his whole life to open up the shop where he sells those ugly shell necklaces and tacky hand-painted glasses. Or the family that only has one thing left of their grandfather – that beach house they were willed and have been struggling to keep up the tax payments and the maintenance on. Understand that I've just used the hurricane as a paradigm. That's not what's happening now. What is happening is, in its own way, a kind of hurricane… but I'm getting away from what I was saying. What I mean, in other words, is that there are probably (probably, mind you, I don't know everybody's story) a few people in this crowded, neon-glittering city that have a good stomping or building-crashing coming to them, but not everyone that's here. Tanaka-san, who owns the fish shop down the block and has been trying to carve a living from the few folks who actually still shop in such a place; Itō-sama, my recruiter, and her little boy who just happens to be better at English than I am and whose renrakuchou is always overflowing with praise from his leaders. (I know, I've seen it – she's very proud of him, and seems to like me even though I a foreigner, and a gay one at that. So she likes to hear me tell him how "awesome" that is. Maybe she just likes the way I say "awesome". I don't know. Her interests are beside the point, though, and I do have one. A point, I mean. I promise.) Then there's me. For the most part I've been a decent guy. I try to stay fair, open-minded, and generous when I can. I don't steal or manipulate or act like a competitive jerk. I have no alternative motives for being here, and I really do think what I'm doing—teaching English—is helpful. Really, all I've ever wanted to do was teach and I thought this would be a great way to see some of the world and squirrel away enough money to get me on my feet before I go back to the United States of Greed and Disillusionment and pursue the rest of my teaching career there. Point being, most of us are decent people. What we deserve is a weekend off and a nice tall glass of happoshu. God is not giving us what we deserve by sending… this.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me rewind a bit.

This morning I got up shortly before six a.m. which has been a normal time for me ever since I got here. Registration doesn't happen until eight-thirty and the school day is officially over at three in the afternoon, but by 'official' I mean that's what you get paid for not what you're actually expected to do. There are about seven billion extracurricular activities and there's juku for those that need it (and those that don't but who actually want it. Don't laugh, it happens. A lot of these kids are determined to be the next Einstein and by God, I think they'll actually make it.) On top of being expected to take part in whatever it is you're good at after school, us teachers get our own homework, too. There's marking, grading, lesson-planning. As the only foreign teacher in the school, I have a lot of classes to tend to and not making a deadline isn't just unacceptable, it's unthinkable. That's cool, though. It's not like I expected to come here and relax. Or find myself a husband or anything. A pretty, charming, polite, dark-haired husband… A calm, rational, sweet, dark-eyed husband… A well-mannered, well-dressed, well-spoken, honey-skin husband. Nope, that hadn't crossed my mind at all.

Okay, now I've gone too far back in my story. Because the why I'm here isn't important, neither is what I'm doing here of any significance… it's the where that's the big deal. And that where is kind of spectacular.

In case you haven't picked up on it, I'm in Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun. That island country in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, running from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The country with braille on their beer cans, who indulges in the kind of customer service that would blow a North American mind, with vending machines that offer stuff you wouldn't even think of (crepes, skin mags, underwear, eggs) and hardy ever offers any of the things you would expect like chips or candy bars. The country of bicycles. So, so, so many bicycles.

Most of my day was uneventful. I did marking until class started, taught, and ate my bentō box at lunch (neatly organized by hands that are not my own as I couldn't be this creative if I had to) while sitting at my desk. Then I taught some more and finished off the day by coaching a baseball game in the yard. I am, after all, American, which means (apparently), that I must be an expert at the game. It's Friday, so there were no private tutoring sessions after class and that's where my day should have ended. Instead of sitting here, listening for this… thing, I should have been sitting at home watching it on the news. I could have been shaking my head in polite, managed empathy while I considered (silently, of course) how lucky I was not to be involved. But Ryuto asked, see? And Ryuto is something approximately one inch short of amazing. He has a great smile, kind of shy and flirtatious all at the same time, with breathtaking eyes that look too smart and very kind. And his body! What I've seen through his pressed, well-fitted but still professional shirts and slacks is simply stellar. His ass can stop me dead in my tracks and send my mind into pornographic overdrive. Of course, face-to-face Ryuto is still Tanaka to me and I am Cooper to him. One day I'd like it just to be Ryuto and Sean, though. Which is why when he asked me to go out with him and the other faculty members for drinks, I couldn't refuse.

Big mistake. Huge.

The drinks were perfect, nothing hits the spot like a Sapporo Black Label on a Friday night after work, but I was getting hungry and it really been a long day. I turned to say as much to Ryuto, but he opened his mouth before I had a chance to say anything and said, "Not so soon, Cooper. Stay out and play. You can't live your life stuck in—"

Your apartment? Your own head? Who knows what he was going to say at that point, because a roar unlike anything I'd ever heard it my life ripped through the air. The bar went silent. Church silent. Tomb silent. I almost thought that maybe I'd gone deaf from the sound. Then another roar came and this time it was punctuated by a cataclysmic crash. The next idea that came to my mind was Earthquake! and I dropped to the floor, pulling Ryuto with me. By then people had started to run, some to the exit, some to the floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows, but I was having none of that. I'd seen too many movies to know what happened when a bunch of people went running in the same direction. I yanked us underneath the table.

The television sets that peppered the walls of the bar, even the monitor to the karaoke machine began to pulse with red symbols "ゴジラ" and although I'm proud to say that I have started to catch on to the language (something I don't have to do within my contract, nonetheless), I still struggle with the written form of Japanese.

Ryuto breathed a word, "Gojira" and although it was as alien to me as the symbols, the look on his face told me everything I needed to know. Gojira could mean monster, aliens, nuclear war, but whichever it was they all boiled down to the same thing: danger.

The door to the bar opened, customers wormed their way around and through each other to get out, and what had sounded scary a moment before became terrifying. Dozens, or hundreds, maybe even thousands of people were rushing through the street. Some barked out the word that Ryuto had whispered but most just screamed. The clumps of their feet were no less than what I imagine the sound of rampaging wildlife to be like. The wail of a siren advanced, then came at us from a totally different spot, and then another altogether. It took me several seconds of listening to realize it wasn't one siren, but many. Ryuto's fingers clamped into the biceps of my left arm. Through the grip I could feel him trembling. As much as I've learned that Japanese people aren't touchy-feely folks for the most part—and by that I mean some of them will be offended like mad if you try it—I put my arm around him. Whatever was going on was frightening as fuck and if he didn't want the comfort, I sure as hell did.

I watched people go past our hiding spot, pairs of high heels, leather dress shoes, chukkas, loafers, boots of both the pretty and the working variety, street sneakers and even one pair of slippers, and I thought to myself: why are they going out there? What mad twist of instinct makes people want to flee in the general direction of any-fucking-where when something goes wrong?

Then all hell broke loose and I understood in the span of two-point-five seconds that everyone around me has way more common sense than I thought I did. There was a boom behind me and to the right; a boom that sounded as though a rocket had hit the side of the building. The wall didn't just tremble, it bulged inward, becoming the building's widening eye of surprise, and thin cracks rippled from the sides like the tracks of tears. While the wall wept plaster splinters, support beams danced and tables jittered.

"We go, now!" Ryuto screamed and then it was his fingers dragging on my arm instead of just into it, and his direction that I tried stumblingly to follow as he dragged me from under the table. At that point in the festivities I gave up thought and became part of the throng of people vying for a way out into the street. How one izakaya could hold so many guests was beyond me, and how those guests could not see their way to an orderly exit is something I will probably never understand.

Ryuto knew better than to try to get through that disaster. He ran for the bar, ignoring me as I screamed for him to stop. It seemed to me, sure as hell, that he was heading deeper into dangerous territory instead of away from it like he should have been. Manhole sized chunks of the ceiling rained down, dissolving to dust in flat, almost apathetic plops, the floor swayed and rocked beneath our feet, and one by one the bottles of sake, beer, shōchū, and whiskey fell to their demise in an almost perfectly-timed tune of smashing glass.

When Ryuto picked up a tall chair from alongside the bar and then once again began to run through the place, this time toward and then beyond me, I was sure he'd lost his mind. Until he got to the tall window at the front of the establishment, drew back on the chair and heaved it through the glass. Then I knew he was not only brilliant, he was my savior. He held out a hand, I ran to him, and we both kicked out the remaining fangs that jutted from the window frame. There was smoke and lights and carnage beyond that window, but Ryuto jumped, and if Ryuto was going out there, then so was I. Ryuto landed, skidded on the large, slippery shards of glass but remained standing. I wasn't so graceful. Before I landed palms-first and bleeding though, Ryuto caught my sleeve and steadied me.

I looked at him. He looked at me. I opened my mouth to ask what next and over Ryuto's shoulder I saw a sight that will haunt me for the rest of my life. It had to be at least a hundred meters tall – it towered over the tallest buildings in downtown. Its skin was dark, scaled, reptilian, and a shiver of white-blue light tracked its spiked back and tail like unleashed electricity. Gojira. Godzilla.

It opened its mouth, drew a breath, and shrieked at the dark sky. As if unhappy with the lack of reply it received, the creature turned, swept its tail, and I'd like to say that recalled panic makes me over exaggerate, but if that damn tail didn't come within six feet of our head, then I can't trust my eyes to show me any kind of truth. The bar we'd been standing in moments prior caved in, the façade of the building reduced to rubble. I didn't dare to look any deeper into the interior. There had still been people in there when I'd left.

I should have ran. That's what everyone else was doing. I'm sure that's what Ryuto's desperate tugs and whatever he was trying to say underneath the screams of the monster were telling me to do. I couldn't. I was frozen. Spellbound. A statue of fear.

When I was a boy, I owned a bearded dragon. One of the things I always found endearing about that little guy was the serene sameness of its face. Day to day, event to event, moment to moment, be it getting ready to pounce on a cricket, crunching through its meal when it caught one, or basking under its warming light, the bearded dragon wore the same expression. This creature ravishing the city could have been fashioned from the same cloth as my beardie, same overall look, same skin—albeit upright and a million times bigger, of course—but size aside there was still one very big difference. This creature was angry. And its face looked angry. The snout was drawn into a sneer, the eyes burned, and the screaming, wailing roars didn't stop.

I was certain I was going to die there. Standing in front of the cavern of the bar, with Ryuto hollering unheard, with Ryuto desperately pulling at my arm, and my feet planted to the ground like they'd grown roots; this would be where Sean Cooper ceased to exist. This was the destiny that God had deigned I deserved.

The monster seemed to look dead into my eyes. It fell silent. It opened its mouth, at first seeming to grin at my foolishness, and then that grin grew wider, and wider, and it drew a deep breath. A sudden light warmed its face, smoke began to roll from its throat, and a stream of brilliance shot out of its mouth. There was a building between the monster and us, but it did absolutely nothing to stop whatever it was that came from the creature's throat. The beam zapped through the building, cutting the corner off as easily as a hot knife through butter, and when the beam hit the ground in front of us, the pavement exploded.

Ryuto didn't tug me. He didn't drag me. He bulldozed me to the side and then he wound his fist into my hair and yanked me as if I were a disobedient puppy on a leash.

We ran. When he saw I was going to follow, he released my hair but he never let go of my arm. While the smoke billowed, and buildings fell, and mothers and children and men cried out, we ran. As helicopters bleated above us, and lights flickered and buzzed around us, we ran. Beside sprinting runners, over stumblers, around those too exhausted to keep going, we ran until we simply couldn't run anymore. Which turns out to be farther than one might think. A body finds an extraordinary amount of fortitude when it's faced with the ultimatum of death. The problem was though, no matter how fast or how far or how badly we pushed ourselves, we could never get far enough. One simple step of the creature were hundreds of our own. While we expended all our energy in a furious race, it merely sidled along as though it were taking a Sunday stroll through the park.

I was ready to give up and Ryuto looked no less worn out. When I came to a stop, he didn't even fight me. We just stared at each other, blank-faced, resigned, waiting for the other person to say something first.

Then I noticed the rats.

To be honest, I had been a bit surprised with the number of rats I found in Japan. Rats and roaches, in fact. It wasn't something I was used to and I haven't gotten any more used to them at this point either. But if there's one thing you can say in favor of rats it's that they're smart, and these particular rats weren't running willy-nilly down the street like fools. They were ducking low to the pavement, slipping like water through the gutters, and they had a definite spot to which they were headed: an underpass. This underpass travels underneath a double set of train tracks, and I knew it was only fifty or sixty meters in total, but at first glance it seemed to go into the depths of hell itself. There were no lights, they had either been destroyed by the shaking or the power had been cut, and with the dark skies at either end of it, the underpass seemed not just cave-like but endless.

One after another the rats slipped into the dark mouth, but they were the only things that did. No one followed them. Maybe people didn't want to be under the surface while something stomped with enough power to shake buildings from their footings above them. Maybe the darkness wasn't something they wanted to deal with while they were already dealing with a monster. But the rats… oh, yes, the clever, sneaky rats. The self-serving, life-loving, live-through-anything rats were headed that way and if they thought it was a place of safety, I wasn't going to argue with them.

"This way," I hissed. I'm sure I waited for Ryuto to follow me. I can't swear to it, though.

Now that I'm thinking on it, I'm grateful for the lack of lighting. With the smoke and the resulting cloud cover cloaking any natural light in the night sky, the inside of that underpass was just as black as it looked from outside. I couldn't see a damn thing, including what my ears were telling me had to be hundreds if not thousands of fat, furry, terrified rodents. The rats didn't try to make friendly with us, though. As we inched our way through the underpass we kicked a couple unintentionally and they simply scattered in some other direction. So when I figured we were about halfway in, I finally gave my shaking, worn out legs a rest and sank to the pavement. Ryuto all but fell over top of me, cursing as I pulled him down beside me. "A warning that you were stopping would have been helpful," he huffed, sliding down the wall and nestling beside me.

I didn't say anything back. It was weirdly quiet and I was relishing it. I would have imagined that the outside sounds would have echoed profusely in such a spot. They didn't. The rats didn't stop shuffling around and that was loud in its own strange hundreds-of-tiny-feet kind of way, but it was nothing compared to what we'd left behind. Besides, in the back of my head I was convinced that it would be able to hear us if we moved. Or spoke. Or breathed too hard. And it would come find us – this nightmare, this impossible mutation, this thing of horrible fantasy. It would make us pay for whatever sin we'd done to rile it up in the first place.

"We're going to die."

My voice surprised me. I certainly hadn't meant to say that out loud. I was barely letting myself think it, let alone speak it.

In my mind's eye I saw the creature's head swivel in our direction. I saw it take a breath and ready that laser strike on the startled O of the underpass's mouth. From my mouth to yours, Earth.

A shudder wracked Ryuto's body and he pressed closer to my side. "Perhaps, yes," he whispered. For a long moment he said nothing else, but he was swallowing again and again, so hard I could hear his throat click. "Death is a funny thing, my friend." He finally managed. "It makes us reconsider life. And when I think on my life, I think..." His words drifted. His breath was loud. I was thinking that he might be waiting for a prompt but for the life of me (pun intended), I couldn't imagine what that prompt might be. I sat in silence and waited for him to start back up. He did.

"So I should tell you… I want to tell is what I mean to say… that I…" His hand fell on my leg for a second before he snatched it back. He breathed—once, twice, again—and his hand dropped again. "I have never kissed a man, Cooper-san. I've often thought of doing so. Many times, if I'm being honest." His words came out rushed and forced. "Many more times since I met you. Since they told me you are dōseiaisha. I have thought for some time that I… that I… might…"

I turned to face him, pointlessly, ridiculously, but I couldn't help it. I mean, I had hoped. I'd even dreamed about the possibility that Ryuto might be able to be convinced to, I don't know… try it out? See if he could be converted like some straight people think that gays actually have the ability to do? It wasn't ever anything more than wishful thinking and fantasy, though. To think that while I was watching him, he was watching me, and that while I was hoping-dreaming-wishing he could be-might be-would be gay while he was wondering-deciding-pretending he wasn't, were astonishing thoughts!

He cleared his throat and I told myself I should say something. Words didn't come, though. Not to me. He, however, said, "It's just that if we are going to die, maybe now would be the time to find out for sure. Not that I am thinking it would be fair for you to be a… " He paused, and sighed as though exasperated. Perhaps trying to find the right word. "An experiment. A pawn to my own mind's game of trying to figure this out. I know that would be a very inconsiderate thing indeed."

My tongue finally started to work, but it was about four sentences behind in our conversation. "You want to kiss me?"

When he spoke again I felt his breath on my face. We must have been staring directly at each other through the dark. "Ever since the first moment that I met you," he whispered.

One thing a human body is very good at doing on instinct is finding another human body in the dark. I reached up and touched his cheek with one hand and cupped his neck with the other. Like I cared if he was trying to figure himself out? Like I was going to be wounded over the idea of being his guinea pig? Hell, no. Not when I'd thought about him for as long as I had. Not when every second potentially brought us closer to our final breath. The idea of being lip-locked with Ryuto while we met our demise seemed kind of poetic. Romantic even.

"Then do it," I told him. Just saying the words made my guts feel like Jell-O. Suddenly nothing beyond the four or five feet of pavement we were sharing mattered. Hell, it didn't even exist. Bye-bye, rats. See ya' later, Zilla. Good luck screaming people; we'd love to help, but we're a wee bit busy in here. "Kiss me if you want to kiss me."

I didn't let go, but I didn't move in on him either. If he was going to do this, if God-hope he was going to like it, there was no way I was giving him a chance to look back and think he'd been coerced. Converting the "straight" guy really only has a place in fantasy and porn. If we wanted to kiss me, the first guy ever or so he said, then he was going to do it himself.

He did. And he missed. He got me between the chin and the cheek to the far left of my lips, but he slid his mouth until he found ground zero. It felt like his lips were made of silk and fire and when they touched mine I think the sparks that flew put Zilla's flaming breath to shame. He lingered there, breathing my air and giving me his, and his heart was beating so hard I could feel it. Looking back, it might have been my own heart I was hearing. It's more than just possible that I was imagining the sound altogether, even. But I will tell myself until the moment that I die that it was his.

It was me who deepened the kiss, and parted my lips, and it was my tongue that slipped out first. He accepted it though, and he gave me his own tongue freely. His hand, the one that had lain so passively on my thigh, clenched. Then moved. Up and over, along the curve of my leg and the seam of my slacks, until his fingertips were so close to my balls that I could feel the weight of the space between us. I drew my hand from his cheek to his neck, traced over his shoulder, and as I pulled my palm down the length of his arm, Ryuto's entire body reacted. His muscles shook, goosebumps lifted, and his breath got heavy and hot. I thought of the rest of him waking up to my touch—his cock thickening as his heart raced, raising its head in interest to push against the constraints of his slacks—and then all thoughts of him leading the process were banished from my mind.

The pavement underneath us was not smooth, but I ignored the rasp of my ass against it as I shifted closer. As if he'd been waiting for me to do just that, he opened his hesitant hand and met my crotch's advance with a firm grip. I wasn't completely hard, but I was definitely getting there. I think that surprised him. He gasped a soft sound that suggested he still had a firm hold on terror but was slowly losing that grip to interest. So I did the same right back – softer, though. Gentler. I didn't so much grab his cock as rest my hand over top of it. And he was hard. Hard as a rock.

I pretended to ignore the fact that he was holding onto my crotch like his grip was going to stop him from drowning. "Is this okay?" I asked him, only moving back enough to talk, and closing that space between us the second I was done. "To touch you, I mean?"

He didn't pull away at all. He just nodded, his chin bobbing furiously, his lips locked on mine. I stroked him through his pants, and he through mine, and although he was clumsy it felt way too good to use that word. When he let go, there was a second of crushing disappointment, and then his fingers floundered farther up and I realized he was trying to undo my pants. Apparently, the time for asking permission had been and gone. I followed his lead: popped his button, drew down his zipper, pressed aside the opening of his pants and worked his cock out of his briefs.

This, I told myself, was going to be a beautiful way to die.

By the time he had his fist around my bare cock and I had his in mine, Ryuto was sprawled practically on top of me with my leg between his and his hip bone grinding against my side. His hips moved in time with my hand, thrusting as though it wasn't just into my palm he moved, but as if he was imagining himself buried balls deep inside me. His intensity and his need was gorgeous. It did things for me that his stroking couldn't compare to. His lips never stopped moving against mine and our tongues worked at each other's as if we were trying to eat one another alive.

"I...!" He gasped hot breath inside my mouth—behind my closed eyelids I saw it as a blue-white stream of sweet, furious desire that the creature outside could imitate but never equal—and he whined beautifully: "Cooper... Sean... I'm—You'll—I have to—"

My name on his tongue was the final crack in the dam of my willpower.

"Cum." I whispered the word against his wet lips, hoping that's what he was trying to tell me, praying desperately that he was there and as ready as I was. "Come on, Ryuto. Cum with me."

His cock spilled over my hand, his frame trembling like a steel beam in a wind storm, and his stuttered words became hoarse gulps around syllables that had no sense linguistically but were clairvoyant to my body. The ball of tension that had been growing in my guts exploded. I saw fireworks behind my eyes but I felt them in my cock – not once, or twice, but three times until I was a shaking, huffing, twitching mess.

Then the underpass really did seem to sink into silence. Even the rats seemed to have stopped still. I imagined them gazing, wide-eyed and wondering, at the two fools that had managed to spill each other's seed at such an insane moment. And the only thing I could think to say was, "You called me Sean."

In the stillness and with the echo that followed it, his answering chuckle sounded musical. "Well... yes." He seemed embarrassed. Or tense. Maybe both. "Is that a bad thing?"

I shook my head, again pointlessly. "No. I liked it. I've been waiting for that for a long time. I guess we can call ourselves friends now."

"We called each other friend before now," Ryuto said quietly. "Maybe now, if you would like it, we can call ourselves something more."

I didn't hesitate with my reply. "I would like that. I would like that very much." I tucked his softening cock back into his underwear and then, as much as I hated to do it, I let him go to do the same with mine. "If, of course, we don't get eaten alive by rats or crushed by Mega-Rage on its next step."

I closed my eyes, but I knew there'd be no sleep. Not here. Still, even in a moment of certain death a body needed time to recuperate. Strangely enough, I thought of my mother. I thought of her telling me that God gives us what we deserve. Maybe this time God had come to us in a totally different form – in a form with a big old ZILLA on the end of it. And maybe, just maybe, that god had decided that we deserved to live. Together, even.

Then I wondered if Ryuto had ever considered what it would be like to live in the States. I decided that would be a good conversation for our next date if it should come to fruition. I was more than certain I'd had enough of Japan.


This story was inspired by this picture "Godzilla (Mai 2015)" and has been left here as a gift for my dear friend Raphael/Drawboy on a very special day. It's a little bit early, I know, but no way am I going to deal with you whining insisting that you just HAVE TO read it before we can get to that last episode tonight. ;)

Thank you, buddy, for always inspiring and supporting me. I hope you celebrate until you a breathless with joy.

For those with a far greater knowledge of Japan that I will ever have, I apologize for any errors or discrepancies. My research was limited and somewhat rushed. Thank you for your patience and your kindness in overlooking what I know will end up being some faux pas or two. Or seven or ten.

Thumbnail artwork is used with permission from Raphael, complete original artwork can be found at the link above. Story and plotline belong to me, and all human characters are my own. The character of Godzilla belongs to Toho Co. Ltd. and is referenced within this story on the basis of fair use, re: section 107 of the Copyright Act (transformative, noncommercial, amount and substantiality, and effect on the potential market).

Copyright © 2015 AF Henley


  1. Thaaaank yoooouuuuu so very, very much, my wonderful friend! <3 <3 <3

    This is a gorgeous story and an amazing gift! I can never thank you enough for this, buddy!

    I had a really great and fun time reading it and totally enjoyed it! :D :D :D

    1. You are very welcome, my friend. I'm thrilled you enjoyed it and I hope you have an awesome celebration. <3