Boys and Toys:
Although different meanings are often ascribed to the terms yaoi and Boy's Love, with yaoi generally said to be more explicit and BL generally said to being less so, there is conflicting information on their usage. Yaoi is an acronym created in the dojinshi market of the late 1970s by Yasuko Sakata and Akiko Hatsu and popularized in the 1980s standing for Yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi, "No climax, no point, no meaning". This phrase was first used as a "euphemism for the content" and refers to how yaoi, as opposed to the "difficult to understand" shonen-ai of the Year 24 Group, focused on "the yummy parts". The phrase also parodies a classical style of plot structure. Kubota Mitsuyoshi says that Osamu Tezuka used yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi to dismiss poor quality manga, and this was appropriated by the early yaoi authors. As of 1998, the term yaoi was considered "common knowledge to manga fans" A joking alternative acronym among fujoshi, female yaoi fans, for yaoi is Yamete, oshiri ga itai, "Stop, my butt hurts!" Originally in Japan, much BL material was called june, a name derived from June, a magazine that published male/male tanbi, "aesthetic" romances, stories written for and about the worship of beauty, and romance between older men and beautiful youths using particularly flowery language and unusual kanji. Mori Mari in Koibito tachi no mori, A Lovers' Forest, considered "the first work of BL per se", used such unusual kanji for her characters' names that she converted to spelling their names in katakana. Kaoru Kurimoto had also written shonen ai mono stories in the late 1970s that have been described as "the precursors of yaoi". June magazine, in turn, had been named after the French author Jean Genet, with "june" being a play on the Japanese pronunciation of his name. Eventually the term "june" died out in favor of "BL," which remains the most common name.
Three weeks after Alex and Toby met, they started to hang out more often. The lamb tried to convince himself that they were just friends. That’s the safe alternative, right? The more Alex asked himself that, the more that wasn’t the case. His infatuation for his new friend began to leak out from under his mask. Time always disappeared when they were together. Alex came to all of his soccer games to watch him play. Alex’s step-father even knew all about him. So no, the Lamb didn’t want to be “just friends” with Toby. Yet, there was the question of sexuality and the Fallen ones that put up a strong wall on this path. Alex found this to be pretty useful with hiding. But, even those started to crumble.
One evening after Toby’s soccer game with his friends, Toby offered to walk his friend home. Alex shook his head.
“No, no,” he refused. “I’ll be fine.” Toby gave him an odd look.
“Are you sure about that?” he asked.
“Yes!” Alex almost blurted out. “I will be fine by myself.” His friend didn’t look convinced.
“Are you trying to avoid me or something?” he asked. Alex blinked wildly at him.
“No!” he yelped. “Why would you think that?”
“You keep trying to not be alone with me,” Toby pointed out. Alex’s face just dropped.
“Do I?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Toby replied. “Do I make you uncomfortable?” Alex lowered his eyes.
“It’s not that,” he said. “It’s just…” His words unraveled from there. This whole speech sounded so much better in his head. Alex looked up at him again.
“You’re a good guy,” he said. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt because of me.” Toby still didn’t get it.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. Alex shook his head.
“There are certain factors in my life that are too risky for you,” he went on. “The last thing I would ever want is to see you get killed because of me!” Toby stared at him for a long while.
“Is that all?” he asked. Alex breathed out from exhaustion of his misery.
“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” he said over and over again. “Each ‘yes’ is how bad it would be.” Toby patted him on the shoulder. The lamb looked dumbfounded.
“Toby?” he asked. His friend gave him his famous charming smile.
“It’s okay,” he whispered. “I’m not leaving you.” His friend blinked.
“But…” he murmured. Toby calmly shook his head.
“I promise you that I will do my best to be careful. I’m not walking away and I refuse to be chased off by whatever you have going on. If that happens, I’ll ready to fight it. Do you understand?” Alex stared at him with big eyes. Cleary, Toby didn’t really understand the concept of the threat that the lamb faced every day. Otherwise, he won’t get away as fast as he could at first warning. But then again, would he even believe him if he told him about Alex and the Fallen Ones? Probably not… Both options didn’t play so well in the boy’s favor. But yet, Toby seemed so strong to want to stay with Alex, full details or not. The lamb’s cheeks gently colored a soft baby pink. Toby kept his eyes locked on the other boy.
“Do you understand?” he asked again. Alex quickly nodded.
“Yes!” he said in one breath. Toby loosened his grip.
“Good,” he said. “Do you want me to walk you home or not?” That’s only the option, Alex thought. He nodded.
“Okay,” he said. Toby took a step back.
“Good choice,” he said. The boy turned to leave. Alex jogged to catch up with him. Each step made his heart bounce. Could Toby be… Nah, that would be too good to be true. Would it? Alex secretly blushed at the possibility. So tempting to pursue it. Maybe, it wouldn’t hurt to see it through, he thought.
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