"I decided that we should go on a vacation," Nagase explained, and Satoshi perked up at those words. Kazu looked more confused than ever, but he nodded after a few moments.
"Is vacation a good thing?" he asked curiously, and Satoshi giggled at his cute question.
"The very best. It means we will go somewhere on holiday and have fun the whole day. Did you ever go with your family?" he asked before he could stop himself and a Kazu's eyes got clouded over and sad at the mention of his family.
"Daddy says it's a waste of money since I wouldn't remember anyway and it's expensive and not necessary," he mumbled, and Satoshi bit his lip before hugging the small boy close.
"Sorry," he said. He went on vacations with his parents regularly, and he only had fond memories of them. He didn't want to make Kazu sad, though. Nagase smiled and tousled their hair lovingly.
"Don't worry. It's not a waste of money, and it will be fun. We can go to the beach, what do you think? Have you seen the ocean yet, Kazu?" he asked softly, and the boy shook his head.
"No, but I have seen pictures. It looks nice," Kazu answered with a shy smile, and Satoshi nodded in agreement. He loved the sea. He enjoyed building sandcastles as well as going for a swim.
"I can teach you how to build the best sandcastles. You have to use wet sand to make it stable," Satoshi explained, and Kazu looked up hopefully. That sounded nice. He liked playing in the sand on the playgrounds they went to in the afternoon.
"Satoshi's school holidays will begin the week after the next. We will go then if both of you want."
"Yes, please," Kazu said with a happy smile and Ohno agreed as well. He looked forward to it. He loved holidays after all, and with Nagase they usually were fun. Now with his younger brother by his side, it will only be better.
Just as Nagase had promised the two boys, he was able to secure them a one-week vacation at the beach in the northern part of Germany. He wasn't fond of flying, and he didn't want to try just yet how Kazu would take it. Satoshi had already flown a few times with his parents already but Kazu probably never tried it.
Early in the morning, he packed a half sleeping Kazu in the back seat of his car while Satoshi was following behind them with Kazu's stuffed toys in his hands and a backpack filled with snacks and drinks as well as games if they were hungry or bored. He climbed up on his seat in the back, and Nagase checked once more that they had all of their luggage and were safely buckled in. In the car, he put on some music and started the car for the four-hour drive to the coast.
Satoshi looked at Kazu who had fallen back to sleep completely once he was buckled in and giggled silently before leaning back to take a nap himself long car rides were so dull.
Kazu woke around eight in the morning while they were still in the car.
"Good morning sleepy-head," Nagase murmured when he heard the little whine coming from the boy and looked in the mirror at him for a moment. Kazu blinked sleepily and looked around confused.
"We are in the car?" he asked perplexed, and Nagase nodded.
"Yes, don't you remember, little one? I woke you early this morning, and then we wore some comfortable clothes and went to the car, ne?"
"It was still dark then," Satoshi added. He had woken up as well, and Kazu smiled automatically when he heard his voice.
"I fell asleep?"
"Yup, almost immediately after we were in the car," Satoshi answered with a little giggle.
"Me is sorry?" Kazu mumbled sheepishly, but Nagase chuckled softly.
"Satoshi was asleep as well until a few seconds ago. So don't worry. We will need to drive for two more hours at least until we are there. Do you need to go to the toilet, little one?"
Kazu frowned a little in thought but then nodded. "Yes, please," he responded, and Nagase agreed before concentrating again on the road to bring them to the next resting place so that Kazu could go to the toilet and eat something. They had all the time in the world, and in the last weeks, he had realised that Kazu could cope better with slow mornings even if that meant that he had to wake up earlier. Kazu got panicked easily if things got too hectic.
Satoshi ate the bread roll they got at the rest point, and Kazu nibbled on the bread Nagase prepared at home for him already. The boy leant against the man still slightly groggy after the long drive and Nagase held him firmly around the waist so that he wouldn't slip off.
"Tomo? Will we sleep in the car?" he asked curiously, and Nagase shook his head a bit amused.
"No, I got us a little holiday apartment. It is right next to the beach only a few minutes to walk until you are at the beach. It will be nice," Nagase promised, and Kazu looked up curiously.
"Will we live there from now on?"
"No, only for the week we are on holiday. There are little houses and apartments built at the beach you can rent for the durance of your holiday to live. After us, another family will go there and enjoy their vacation and then the next and so on. We'll have two bedrooms, a little living room for you to play when the weather isn't good and a little kitchenette where we can cook and bake when we don't want to go out. You'll like it, I promise."
Kazu nodded in understanding and let that sink for a moment. He had problems picturing that, but he also felt a bit of excitement.
“How long will we drive until we arrive, dad?” Satoshi asked.
“Two more hours, I think. If the traffic stays like that.”
“Cool. Kazu we’ll build a sandcastle as soon as we arrive there,” Satoshi promised, and Kazu perked up at those words.
“Will Tomo help?” he asked hopefully, and Nagase smiled as he ruffled his hair.
“Of course. But to do that how about we finish our breakfast and get back in the car?”
“Yes!” Kazu cried out loud and clapped his hands before he finished his sandwich and apple slices as well as his chocolate milk as fast as he could. Nagase and Satoshi chuckled a little. They finished their meal as well, and Nagase helped Kazu back into the car so that they could leave.
Kazu fell asleep again in the car just a few minutes later, and Nagase laughed slightly. He was glad that Kazu got some sleep, though. Being in the car for so long tended to make him feel sick. So this was good.
“Dad, can you put in the new music CD we bought yesterday?” Satoshi asked, and Nagase did as Satoshi asked. As soon as the first melodies filled the car, Satoshi sang quietly along. He was careful not to wake up Kazu so he sang along the songs almost mutely and looked out of the window until Nagase left the highway and soon he could see the first dunes and the ocean. Happily, he poked Kazu in the soft cheek until the small boy blinked sleepily at him.
“Toshi?” he asked drowsily, and Satoshi giggled. Kazu was so cute!
“Good morning sleepy-head. We are there!” he said pointing outside. “Look, it’s the ocean, Kazu." Kazu's gaze followed the pointed finger outside. He needed a bit more time until he finally saw the water and laughed happily.
“So much water,” he whispered in awe. Nagase drove them to their vacation house and helped the children out of the car.
“Do you want to check out the apartment or do you want to go to the beach directly?” Nagase asked, and Kazu took hold of his hand as he jumped up and down excitedly.
“Yes, please. I want to build that sandcastle with you and Toshi. You promised,” Kazu begged, and Nagase nodded.
“Of course. Let me get the basket with our drinks and snacks first, though.” Instead of letting go Kazu followed Nagase to the back of the car and held on his shirt while Nagase sorted out the things in the rear. He put a cap on Kazu’s head who blinked up at him curiously, and Nagase tipped his nose softly.
“It will protect you from a heat stroke and too much sun. So keep it on, ne? Satoshi has a hat as well,” he explained when Satoshi put his on a bit begrudgingly. With the basket in one hand and Kazu on the other, they went to the beach. Satoshi was running in front of them to find a free space big enough to put a blanket on the ground while Kazu grabbed his hand more tightly the closer they came to the sea. Nagase carefully pried Kazu from his side to put the sheet on the ground and the basket beside of it before he sat down and motioned for Kazu to come over.
“What’s wrong, little one?” he asked and hugged the boy close to him. “You got all shy once we stepped out of the car.”
“Scary. The sound is scary,” Kazu mumbled, and Nagase chuckled softly.
“You mean the waves, ne? They are a bit loud, huh?” Kazu nodded and looked at the big water in front of them. It was much bigger than he had thought and the big waves looked scary. “It’s nothing to be scared of. It’s a bit loud yes but close your eyes and just listen to the sounds for a moment. It’s the waves coming in and out in a regular rhythm, ne? Now breathe deeply. Can you taste the salt and smell the sea? It’s relaxing, right?”
Slowly Kazu relaxed in his embrace and opened his eyes again. “Do you feel better?”
“Yes, sorry,” Kazu said a bit sheepishly, and Nagase shook his head.
“It’s alright. But you don’t have to worry. Nothing will happen and neither you nor Satoshi are allowed to go too close to the water alone anyway. You can’t swim yet, Kazu, so no going into the water without me.”
“Okay!” Kazu left his lap finally and went over to Satoshi who was getting out their toys of his backpack so they could play in the sand. Kazu took his favourite shovel and bucket from the pile and went to sit into the sand a few feet away from their resting place. He began piling the sand into the bucket, fully immersed in his task. Nagase laughed at that and ruffled Satoshi’s hair playfully before putting his hat back on.
“Keep it on, kid,” he scolded, and Satoshi nodded even if he was pouting. He didn’t like wearing a hat, but he wanted to be a good role model for Kazu, so he didn't complain, much to Nagase’s amusement.
They stayed at the beach for an hour more while Kazu and Satoshi build the sandcastle together with the help of Nagase. It was relaxing and just as Nagase had hoped both children seemed to forget the stress of the last few days. They ate lunch on the blanket, and when it was late in the afternoon, Nagase began to collect their things.
It was getting late, and he still needed to prepare their apartment for them to be able to sleep. Nagase was sure that Kazu would fall asleep early today and he hoped to get dinner into the boys before that.
“Kazu, Satoshi, come we should head to the house,” he called when everything was ready. He picked Kazu up when they reached him. “Pizza for dinner?” he asked the boys and grinned agreeing immediately and went with them to the apartment. There Nagase called a delivery service as soon as they arrived. Satoshi tugged Kazu along with him through the rooms while Nagase brought their stuff inside.
“Dad? May Kazu and I share one bedroom?” Satoshi asked suddenly, and Nagase watched them surprised.
“If there is enough space for the two of you?” he asked even if he was sure there was, and Satoshi nodded.
“Yep!” Nagase smiled and ruffled Satoshi’s hair.
“Then let’s prepare the beds,” he agreed readily and followed Satoshi's tugging hands. He grinned when he saw that Kazu was already pulling the extra bedding to the smaller bedroom and then helped them to prepare the bed and the extra mattress from the main bedroom. Just as they had finished and Kazu had put his teddy bears on his side the doorbell rang.
“The pizzas are here. You should go wash your hands and then come to the kitchen,” he instructed, and both agreed before running off.
Dinner was a silent affair and just as Nagase had thought Kazu was already nodding off in the middle of the meal. Initially, he had planned for the boys to have a bath after this, but Nagase realised that wouldn’t be possible. So before the boy could fall off the chair, he got up to take him into his arms.
“Take your time, ne Satoshi?” he asked the boy who nodded while eating his pizza and picking the extra pineapple off of Kazu’s with a grin.
“Okay dad!” he replied, and Kazu put out his hands as he realised that he was brought to bed. Satoshi giggled at the cute antics and got up when Nagase angled Kazu in his arms so that he would be able to put a kiss on Kazu's cheek.
“Good night, Kazu,” he said softly and ruffled the smaller boy’s hair. Kazu smiled happily at that.
“Nighty night,” he agreed and then snuggled against Nagase once more to be brought to the bathroom and be cleaned by the man before wearing only his shorts and a big shirt to be put in bed. Nagase kissed his forehead after being tugged down demandingly by the small boy.
“Sweet dreams, little one,” he wished and chuckled when he could hear the soft snores coming from him even before he left the room entirely.