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[Yama fic] No Words Needed

Title: No Words Needed
Pairing: Yama  (Ohno x Sho)
Rating: PG
Summary: During the mid 19th century, large and powerful landholders (or daimyo) owned large number of slaves to work on their lands. Ohno and Sho were both slaves of a daimyo and were deeply in love. They were separated due to circumstances out of their control and did not know if they would ever see each other again. With means of communications so limited and their low in social status, would they able to overcome the long distance between them?

A/N: Written for the Yama fanfic contest organized by oretachinosong with the theme Overcoming Distance. Originally posted HERE. Winners and entries list (17 total, yay!) can be found HERE.


“Sho-kun, a letter came for you.” A young man in his early twenties came into the room holding something in his hand.

“Thank you, Aiba-kun. I’ve been waiting for it.” Sho quickly grabbed the envelope from Aiba’s hand. He looked at the face of the envelope, only his name was written on it, but that’s enough to bring a big smile on his face. He held the letter close to his heart.

“I just don’t understand. You seem so anxious to get the letters, but you never open any one of them. If you can’t read it, I can read it to you. Who are they from anyway?” Aiba offered.

Sho just smiled. “It’s OK. Thank you though.” And he walked away still holding the letter close to him.

Aiba Masaki and Sho Sakurai were about the same age and both were slaves of the Matsumoto family, a daimyo in the prefecture. They had been slaves since they lost their own families when they were little. Aiba’s family had some social status, so he had the chance of having some education before. Sho, on the other hand, never had the chance to learn to read or write.

Later that night after Sho finished all his chores, he sat on his bed with a small box on his lap. His sleeping place was a big room in the slave quad shared by fifteen to twenty young men who were also slaves of the daimyo. Each of them had a bed barely big enough to sleep on and a small dresser to put their belongings. Sho found the small broken box by the river while doing his cleaning chores when he was little. He fixed it up and cleaned it, and it had become his own treasure box. He put all the things he loved and treasured in it, shells, marbles, stones, things that other people might trash but could bring a smile to his innocent face.

Now this box has a special usage. It's holding all the letters that the person he loved dearly, Ohno Satoshi, had sent him. Ohno was also a slave of the daimyo. They grew up together and had fallen in love. But they had to hide their relationship from others because their social status had forbidden them to have love lives.

Three years ago they were separated when their master Lord Matsumoto had bought a big piece of land in another prefecture. A lot of workers and slaves were sent there to cultivate the new land. Ohno was among those that would be sent away, which forced the two young lovers to be apart. With both of them being slaves and had no control over their lives, it was very possible that they might never see each other again.

Ever since they received the news they had cried in each other's arms every time they met secretly after chores. They loved each other wholeheartedly and were hoping to grow old together. But it seemed their hope had been shredded.

"Satoshi, I’m scared that I won’t ever see you again." Sho said sadly while hugging his lover tight the night before Ohno's departure.

Ohno returned the hug, then pulled away gently and laid a kiss on Sho's lips. "I'm sure you will. Don't be pessimistic. Just remember I love you. No matter how far apart we physically are, our hearts will always be together." Ohno reassured his love.

"But I won't even be able to know if you're safe. I heard that cultivating that new land is going to be tough, as it lies on a mountain side." Sho was worried. He knew a lot of slaves could die in such abominable environment.

"Don't worry, I'll be alright. I'll keep myself safe, for you, for us." Ohno held Sho closed to him. "I heard that the head of this operation will send in reports to Lord Matsumoto every six months, and during which workers are allowed to send letters back home. I will try to send you letters if I can. You can do the same when the messenger returned."

"But -- Satoshi -- you know we are both illiterate. How could we -- " Sho was not sure if it would work.

"We'll find a way. At least we've learned how to write each other's names, right?" He laid a soft kiss on Sho's forehead. "As long as we are alive, we'll be together someday. Please take care of yourself for me. I will come back for you. I don't know when, but I will. I promise."

Ohno’s earnest words had deeply engraved in Sho’s heart. They gave him the most hope that he could ever asked for. All his doubts and worries had subsided.

They held each other tight that night, wishing the sun would never rise the next day.

Sho opened the box and carefully put the letter he had just received inside. One, two, three, four,....he counted them endless times and never got tired of it. Those letters held immeasurable amount of love in them.

When he's sure that nobody was looking at him, he brought the letters close and kissed each one of them gently. They were the only things that kept him going.

The next day when the call for letters to send to the new land came, Sho quickly took out an envelope he had prepared with Ohno's name on it and put it into the sending box.

Satoshi, I missed you so much.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Hundreds of miles away, Ohno had just finished a day of hard work. It was harvesting season and was extremely busy. He sometimes had to work sixteen hours per day, barely had time to eat and sleep.

He climbed up to his bed with his exhausted body and lied down. Then he reached out for a pouch wrapped with a cloth from underneath his pillow. He unfolded the cloth to expose the small pile of letters inside. They were the letters he got from Sho, his only source of energy and hope. He took out the one that he just recently received and held it under the dim light. Sho, you wrote my name better and better now. He couldn't help chuckled when he silently talked to his lover in his heart, when all of a sudden the letter was taken from his hand and took him totally off guard.

"Ha ha, let's see what you have here." The person who took Ohno's letter said with a smirking look, holding the letter behind him.

"Give it back to me. It's mine!" Ohno saw that it was Nino, another slave working in the same team as him, who took the letter. Nino was a good friend of his. They gave each other mental support during difficult times. But sometimes his friend could be a little bratty. He tried to reach Nino's back to get back the letter, but didn't want to use too much force as he's afraid the letter would be torn.

Nino took a peak at the envelope, but still hiding it behind him. His other hand pushed Ohno off preventing him to get close. "What so special about this letter? It's not even opened?!"

"It's special to me. Please, Nino, give it back to me." Ohno started to plead, his eyes tearing up. He couldn't bear the thought of losing any one of the letters. They were too precious to him. "I'm begging you. I'll give you anything, I'll do anything for you. Please give me back the letter."

Hearing the trembling voice of Ohno, Nino softened up. He was just playing a prank on Ohno. He had no intention of hurting his friend in the first place. "Fine, I'll give it back, on one condition."

"Anything, anything you want." Ohno said anxiously.

"Let me read what's written on it." Nino revealed his term. He had always been curious about the letters. They must be from someone very dear to Ohno, Nino could guess that much. He thought there must be some very lingering and sweet words written on them and would be interesting to read.

"Yes, yes, I'll let you read it. I promise. Please -- " Ohno agreed without even thinking. He reached out his hand immediately and Nino handed the letter back to him.

Ohno held the letter close to him for a few seconds as if he was reunited with a long lost love. He carefully flattened the envelope hoping to erase any wrinkle on it. But Nino's sudden grap already did the damage. Fortunately it wasn't torn. He gingerly opened the seal of the envelope with a small cutter and took out the piece of paper inside. He handed it over to Nino who unfolded it right away.

"What? Are you serious?" Nino couldn't believe what he saw on the piece of paper. It was blank! There wasn't even a single word on it!

Ohno looked at him and nodded. "You saw me taking it out. All of them are the same." He said calmly but with a smile.

"Blank? And they're so precious to you? Who sent them to you?" Nino was all confused.

"I can tell you, but you have to promise to keep it to yourself. Both of us could be in big trouble if anyone else knows about it." Ohno said solemnly. Nino nodded.

"It's someone back in our hometown. He, like us, is a slave of the Matsumoto daimyo. We love each other very much. When I was assigned to move here, we were devastated, but we are not giving up hope that one day we will be reunited. We promise to let each other know we're safe by sending letters to each other." Ohno explained. Thinking about his beloved Sho put a blush on his face.

"But what's the use of sending blank letters? You couldn't tell what's going on with one another." Nino still didn't understand.

"With our illiteracy we couldn't write anything other than each other's names on the envelopes. But receiving letters from each other already show the other that we are safe and well. That's good enough for us. No words are needed to express our love and commitment to each other." Ohno said in a firm tone.

"I don't know what to say. You truly moved me. I sincerely hope you two will be together again someday." Nino gave a encouraging pat on Ohno's back, wishing he could find such love himself in his life someday.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

True love didn’t come easy. It requires patience and persistence, sometimes even sacrifice.

One day Lord Matsumoto’s only son Jun was taking a leisure horse ride on the field. Jun was about twenty years old. He was well educated and had an open mind. Though he was trained to be the sole successor to the Matsumoto daimyo, he had his own way of how to rule and run the business.

Something scared Jun’s horse. It tensed up and raised his front legs high and the sudden movement threw Jun off the horse to the ground. The horse was still jumping and kicking around him and he was too scared to move. Just at the instant when the horse was about to step on Jun’s head, someone stepped in front of the horse and pulled the rein and guided the horse away from Jun, just gave enough time for others to pull Jun away from the danger. The person who saved Jun’s life was Sho.

“You have saved my son’s life and I shall reward you for your good deed. You are no longer my slave and are free to go.” Lord Matsumoto said to Sho after he became aware of the incident. Other than being shocked, Jun was physically unharmed, thanks to Sho.

Sho was stunned by the offer. He’s free! He could just walk out from the Matsumoto mansion and never came back! From the day he was brought in, it had always been his dream that he would one day be free, one that he never thought would come true, till this day.

But –

After moments of serious considerations, Sho finally bowed deeply to his master and responded. “My master, I am very grateful for your generosity to grant me freedom. But – but I choose to stay and continue to serve you.”

“Very well, then. You had made your choice. Go back to your duties then.”

Everyone was shocked. No one could believe Sho turned down the opportunity of freedom and chose to stay as slave, especially Jun.

“Why didn’t you take my father’s offer?” Jun asked Sho after he was dismissed. He had never noticed Sho before, but saving his life and rejected an opportunity that any slave would take in a heart beat got his attention to the young slave.

“Master Jun, I am grateful for the offer, but I had made a promise to – someone – and I had no intention to break it.” Sho said truthfully.

“Even if it means you have to stay as a slave and abandon your chance to freedom? Who is this person so special to you?” Jun was puzzled.

Sho didn’t answer, he couldn’t. Instead he smiled bowed to his young master. “I need to get back to my duties. Please excuse me.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Days and months and years gone by. The two young lovers continued to cling onto the love for each other in their hearts and the slim hope that they would see each other again someday. Their ‘letters’ every few months gave them strength to go on.

One year the winter months were exceptionally long. Heavy snow fell for months and roads were being blocked. Communications among prefectures were almost paralyzed. When snow finally melted, Ohno got sick and missed the opportunity to send his letter with the reporting messenger. Sho didn’t get any letter from Ohno for more than a year. He was worried sick and cried every night. He prayed hard that Ohno was well, would stay strong for them. Finally after almost two years of agony, Sho received a letter from Ohno. Holding the letter in his hand, he dropped on his knees and couldn’t speak for a long while, just let tears, happy tears, falling down his face.

After twelve years of separation, connected only by each other’s blank letters and firm belief, some good news finally came. Their master was sending home a portion of the slaves that had worked in the other prefecture because labor was needed in local lands. Sho was all excited after hearing the news, although he had no idea if Ohno was among those that were sent home.

On the day of arrival, Sho hid by the entrance of the mansion and waited anxiously, hoping to see the face he had missed seeing for twelve long years. One by one he saw the returning slaves entered the main gate, all looked tired and worn out. Sho couldn’t help thinking what Ohno would look like after all these years, but no matter what in Sho’s eyes he would still be the most handsome guy in the world.

When the last man entered and still no sign of Ohno, Sho’s heart sank. He looked outside the gate, but didn’t see anyone coming out of the coaches anymore. Tears fell silently down his face. His love was not returning after all.

He turned around and slowly walked back to the mansion. He was behind on his daily chores because he was watching the returning slaves, but he was in no mood to do any work. If Ohno wasn’t returning this time, it could be years before another chance would come, if at all.

Sho didn’t remember how the rest of the day went by. Even when his hands were working, his mind was blanked. He couldn’t bring himself to sleep though he was exhausted physically, so he took his treasure box and sat outside the courtyard. Holding Ohno’s letters in his hand, his heart was aching.

“Satoshi, when can I see you again?!”

“How about now?” A deep yet familiar voice was heard and Sho immediately froze.

Am I imagining thing?

“It’s me. I am really here, Sho.”

Upon hearing his name, he knew it was real. He immediately looked up and saw Ohno, standing not far from him and their eyes immediately met.

Sho still couldn’t bring himself to say anything or even made any movement. It was Ohno who walked over to Sho and stood in front of the younger man. They were both in their thirties now. Their looks had changed a bit and years of daily hard work had worn them out somewhat, but how they looked was the least that they cared about. They are right in front of each other, that’s what matters.

Ohno reached out a hand and wiped away the tears on Sho’s face. Sho twitched on the touch, but managed to lean his head on the hand, with his eyes closed.

“It’s really you – Satoshi – it’s really you – ” Sho put his hand on the one that’s caressing his cheek, holding tight, never wanting to let go again.

The next second, they were in each others embrace, feeling the scent and warmth they’d missed for years. Time seems to have stopped around the emotional lovers.

When they finally parted from their hug, Ohno leaned his head closed to Sho’s and kissed the soft lips tenderly. The kiss turned passionate for a while before Sho finally pulled away.

“Someone could see us.” For a moment, he had forgotten their relationship could not be revealed. They retreated to the far side of the courtyard and sat down on a bench, their arms never left each others waists.

“When did you return?” Sho asked curiously. His lover could not have popped out all of a sudden.

“I came back today, with all the others.” Ohno answered, eyes still staring at Sho.

“But I was watching the whole time and I didn’t see you. I even looked outside and everyone had gotten off the coaches.” Sho didn’t understand how he could miss this important face.

Ohno scratched the back of his head and said, “Well, I was actually the last one to get off the coach, much later than the others though. You see, I dozed off on the ride back and didn’t realize that we had arrived.” He was quite embarrassed. “I saw you walking off when I entered, but I was late and had to report to my superior. So I couldn’t come see you at once.”

Sho chuckled. He knew his lover could sleep anywhere anytime. But then his expression turned solemn and threw a fist at Ohno’s chest, hitting him but with not much force at all.

“You bastard. How could you do that to me? How could you choose the most important moment to sleep? I almost died not seeing you entering that gate. Do you know that?” Sho’s voice was trembling. He remembered how devastated he was when he didn’t see Ohno earlier.

A guilty Ohno took Sho into his arms again. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

The treasure box on Sho’s lap dropped as Ohno pulled him in and all the letters inside fell out.

“Oh!” Sho quickly bent down to pick up the letters from the ground, afraid that they would get dirty. Although the sender of them had come back, the letters which helped him got through all those years were still treasured.

“You kept all the letters I sent you.” Ohno said with a smile while helping Sho picked up the letters.

“Of course I do! Don’t tell me you threw away the ones I sent you!” Sho frowned.

“No, no, no. Of course I keep them too. I kissed each one of them every night.” Ohno quickly clarified and his words made Sho blushed.

While they were talking about their letters, two men, obscured by bushes and not knowing each other’s presence, were watching them from a short distance away.

“Ah, so that’s the person who sent him the letters.”

The two men said softly to himself almost simultaneously, which was heard by the other and took each other by surprise. They immediately looked up and saw each other’s face.

“Who are you?” They said almost at the same time again and it made them laughed.

“I’m Nino, friend of Ohno, just came back from deployment with him today.”

“I’m Aiba, friend of Sakurai. I’ve been wondering who sent him the letters all these years. Now I finally know who that special person was.”

“Me too. It’s amazing how they showed their love by sending blank letters to each other – ”

“Blank letters? Are you serious?” Aiba widened his eyes. “No wonder Sho-kun didn’t need me to read the letters to him. How did you find out?”

“Well, it took me some effort – ” Nino continued while Aiba listened with great interest.

Their attentions had quickly turned to each other and not so much to the couple that they were peaking at initially, and the topics of their conversations also changed from their friends to themselves.

Unaware of what’s going on at the bushes, Ohno and Sho continued to catch up and enjoyed each other for the time that they’ve missed. Sho rested his head on Ohno’s shoulder while the other wrapped his arms around the younger man’s shoulder, never wanted to be apart for even one moment.

“Sho, I heard about you saving Young Master Jun’s life. It was so brave of you, but I got goose bumps just by imagining the situation at that time. It’s so dangerous! You could have been killed yourself.” Ohno tightened his grip of his lover.

“I didn’t think much then. I just knew that if I didn’t do something, Master Jun would be killed. I’m glad that everything turned out fine and nobody was hurt.” Sho said casually.

“I also heard that you turned down Lord Matsumoto’s offer for your freedom. Why did you do that? Don’t you want to be free?” Ohno was puzzled.

“Of course I do, but I want to be with you more – ”

“I don’t understand. What does it have to do with me?”

Sho sighed. “If I was freed, then I’d have to leave the mansion. How else would I be able to exchange letters with you?  How would you find me when you come back?”

Ohno felt his throat clogging up. The person in front of him was willing to sacrifice his freedom, the almost once in a lifetime opportunity to break away from slavery, just because he didn’t want to lose contact with him and still believed in their reunion someday. How much love does it take to be able to do that?!

He couldn’t help but took Sho into his embrace and sobbed into the younger man’s shoulder. “Oh Sho, thank you. I love you so much.”

Sho returned the hug with a smile. “I love you too, Satoshi. As long as I can see you everyday and hug and kiss you, I don’t care where I am and what I do.”

The two lovers stayed together for pretty much the rest of the night, talking, laughing, and just sat there silently feeling each other’s presence. They love for each other was already beyond words.

In the shadow of the moonlight, there was a figure who had been standing there the whole time since the lovers reunited, overhearing their whole conversation.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Things were pretty much unchanged in the mansion. Ohno was assigned to work on a field not far from the mansion which he welcomed. To be close to the mansion meant he was close to Sho. Sho still did his chores as usual, except that a bright smile was on his face all the time. Every night the two lovers would meet secretly and spent time together. After years of separation and agony, they were happy and satisfied with where they were. Little did they know that they lives were about to change.

One month after their reunion, both of them were summoned by the head of the slaves and it got them nervous. They were scared that their relationship was revealed because of the frequency they met lately and that could mean big trouble for them.

With a shuddering awe, they went to see their superior. They only dared to take a glimpse at the unfamiliar face before looking down at the floor and could not tell if his expression was a favorable one. They could only hope for the best.

“The reason why I called you both here today was -- ” Their superior said in a solemn tone.

The two men waited anxiously, feeling like they were awaiting the verdicts for their lives.

“Lord Matsumoto had shown his mercy once again and had granted freedom to both of you. As of this moment you two are no longer slaves of the Matsumoto daimyo. Here are some money for you to get started. Pack up your things and leave the premises by daybreak tomorrow.” The superior handed two small bags to each of them.

Ohno and Sho looked at the bag of coins in their hands and were still in shock of what they just heard. They had never imagined that could be happening, not even in their dreams. They were speechless.

“Why are you still standing here? Do you want to turn down the offer again?” Their surperior said, raising his voice a bit which caused the two men to jump.

“No – no – no. May Lord Matsumoto be blessed for his mercy. We shall be gone by daybreak. Thank you for your kindness and care all these years.” With that said, Ohno and Sho bowed deeply to the superior and left the room.

When they were outside the room, they saw Jun standing at the far end of the hallway. After a glance at each other, they slowly approached their young master and bowed to him.

“Enjoy your lives together and take good care of each other. You deserve it.” Jun said to them.

Ohno thought Jun was just saying kind words to send them off, but Sho knew there’s more to it.

“We have Master Jun to thank for our freedom, don't we?” Sho said gratefully followed by another bow.

Jun just smiled and walked away. After overhearing the lovers conversations the other night, learning how they were so firm on their love and beliefs on each other despite being separated for so many years, he decided the perfect way to reward Sho for saving his life was to give them the opportunity to be together, truly together. He knew that Sho would not turn it down this time, because he had Ohno with him now.

“We are free, Sho, we are free. Can you believe it?” Ohno was so excited. He lifted Sho up and kept spinning around and around when they were back in the slaves quad getting ready to pack their belongings.

“Satoshi, I know, I know, I can’t believe it either, but put me down, please. I’m getting dizzy. Satoshi – ” Sho pleaded. His lover could still act like a kid sometimes.

Ohno finally put Sho down. Sho wabbled because of the dizziness and Ohno held on to his lover and led them both to sit down, Sho's back resting on Ohno's chest.

"I never dreamt this day would come." Ohno spoke softly into Sho's ears. "Thank you for believing in me and sticking by us all these years."

Sho closed his eyes, listening to the sweet voice of the older man. "You too, Satoshi."

They didn't sleep at all that night. There were not much to pack but they were too excited to fall asleep. Before dawn, they were already waiting at the side gate of the mansion. Even though they were eager to leave, they still took their time to take a last look at the place where they spent most of their lives in, this place that brought them together.

Nino and Aiba came to say farewell to their friends.

"Sho-kun. I'm so happy for you." Aiba said with a little bit of sadness.

"Live a good life, Ohno-kun. I'm going to miss you, but I won't be lonely." Nino stole a glance at Aiba. Aiba looked back at him and both blushed.

Seeing their friends also found love of their own, Ohno and Sho had no more misgivings when they left. The four friends gave each other a final hug and said goodbye.

Hand in hand, they walked out the mansion gate to a future together. They're ready to overcome any uncertainties and obstacles they would face, because they had each other, and with love so strong and deep that neither time nor physical distance could shatter.

// The End

Note: daimyo =  large and powerful landholding magnates in pre-modern Japan.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 3rd, 2012 12:16 am (UTC)
This is so tuching my heart.
Their love is beyound the distance.
The story was so sweet. Thank you very much.
Feb. 3rd, 2012 02:45 am (UTC)
Really? Kyaaaaaaaa

I vote for this fic!!

You surprise me!!


I really like this story, their love are so strong and trust in each other.
Feb. 3rd, 2012 03:27 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for voting for my fic, I'm so honored XD
I'm glad you like it. In my mind Yama love is always strong and deep ♥
Feb. 4th, 2012 02:19 am (UTC)
Feb. 3rd, 2012 07:58 am (UTC)
always so sweet of yama...thank you
Feb. 5th, 2012 07:41 am (UTC)
so,,that was ur fic,,,mannnn,,u did very damn good job,,love it <33333
the way they communicate through blank paper really gave me a shiver
thanks for writing and sharing this beautiful fic
Mar. 5th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC)
uwaaa i'm sorry i just read it now
but it's soooooooooooo sweet
i love it ^^
Nov. 4th, 2012 11:54 am (UTC)
it's a heartwarming story, sweet. thank you :)
Sep. 21st, 2013 12:29 am (UTC)
Ah, what a truly lovely concept! And I think you've written the story around it really well. Satoshi and Sho sending blank letters to reassure each other that they are safe was both lovely and heartbreaking. I think they have defied more than just the distance here, but a whole lot of other things, which makes their eventual reunion even more satisfying. I also love Jun for not forgetting he still owed Sho for saving his life and chose to show his gratitude by freeing both Satoshi and Sho. I love that Aimiya found love in each other as well--there's a whole other lovely story right there.

After the years they were apart and still managed to stay together, I am assured that Satoshi and Sho's life will just get better from here on out. Thank you very much for sharing such a lovely Yama fix! ~<3<3<3
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )