Title: 9066 (1/?)
Genre: Historical, AU, School, Romance
Pairing: OT9, YutoYama (main), TakaInoo, YabuHika, others to follow
Summary: It's America 1942, and it's wartime. Everyone of Japanese ancestry has to be moved and relocated away from their homes and lifestyles. Everyone seems to be losing hope, especially for a group of high school boys who suddenly feel like enemies in their own homeland. Could this terrible situation possibly bring some light into their lives?
A/N: Comments are love! Thank you so much for reading my first HSJ fanfiction!!
Historical Note: This story takes place in America 1942-45 in a Japanese Internment Camp. That means that back during The Second World War, America interned 120,000+ people of Japanese descent just because they were Japanese. Basically, it happened because we were at war with Japan and people were angry, afraid, and it caused mass paranoia. Japanese Internment Camps are a real part of history and one that is still a huge regret of ours today.
This particular story takes place in Poston Internment Camp, the largest camp, in Poston, AZ.
Chapter one: Poston
“What do they mean ‘evacuation’? What for?”
“The President wants to move us away for our own protection.”
“Our protection?!” Ryosuke felt like he could cry at any second. “What do we need protected from?! We did nothing wrong! We’re innocent!”
Mama sighed, putting some clothes and sheets into one of her large suitcases. “Ryosuke, we have to do what they say,” she said.
“But why?!” Ryosuke asked, trying to keep it together. “They’re telling us we have to pack anything we can carry, and that we have to sell our house and our refrigerator and our car and our business, but they won’t explain why! You and Uncle built that laundry business from nothing! Why should you have to give it up just like that?!”
The boy looked up and saw his adopted father standing in the doorway. He had just gotten back from the Civil Service station to register the family, and Ryosuke had never seen him look so beaten in all his life. “Ryosuke, you were born in this country,” Papa started. “You learned the language and the customs and you don’t see yourself as anything other than an American. But you have to remember something very important: you are Japanese. Your parents came here from Japan, they gave you a Japanese name, taught you how to speak Japanese, and they gave you to a Japanese family when they no longer could take care of you.”
“But I still don’t understand. Why do they hate us so much they want to get rid of us?”
“Because we are at war with the Japanese Empire. Pearl Harbor was only a few short months ago. The government is worried that they may eventually make their way to California. We are not that far from Hawaii. They’re trying to keep us safe.”
Ryosuke heard it, but he still couldn’t comprehend it at first. He knew about the Pearl Harbor Attack. It was a day he would never forget, and he knew he would never forget how afraid he felt to suddenly have everybody’s eyes on him. “But we haven’t done anything wrong,” he said.
“We’re Japanese,” Papa answered. “We didn’t have to do anything wrong.”
“Ryosuke? Ryosuke! Hey, wake up!”
“Hmm?” Ryosuke looked up finally and looked over at Daiki, who was staring at him with a frown. “What?”
“You’re spacing out again,” Daiki answered.
“Ahh,” Ryosuke sighed as the bus they were on rattled. “Sorry. I guess I’m just worried.” The memory of their last day in Los Angeles still burned in his mind, and as they felt the concrete road turn to dirt, the same feeling of uneasiness washed over him.
Daiki sighed with him. “I know,” he told him. “Everyone is. But it’s not going to do you any good to stare at those window shades the whole trip.”
“This isn’t a trip,” Ryosuke corrected. “A trip is a fun little drive you take to have a good time. This is a transport. This isn’t anything we’re doing for the fun of it.”
Mama finally turned to both of them. “You need to be quiet,” she said. “You’re going to make this thing worse that saying stuff like that.”
Ryosuke closed his mouth and turned back to the window shades. As if the hot, stuffy bus wasn’t bad enough, they had put shades on the windows so that nobody could see outside. Ryosuke had read about buses like this before, and how they sometimes used shades on the windows when transporting prisoners to their final destination. They had only been sleeping in a horse stall for two months before now. If this hadn’t convinced him of his status before, then he definitely was aware of it now.
Finally, the bus stopped moving, but the only person who moved was the Army soldier sitting in front. He turned to face the bus full of Japanese people, and announced, “Alright, everyone off the bus, and welcome to Poston.”
One by one, each family got off of the hot stuffy bus and made their way outside. As soon as they got off, they were met with the blinding hot sun that felt like it could bake everyone to a crisp. There were no clouds to be seen in the bright blue sky, and it took a while for Ryosuke to properly see anything even with his hat on.
“Where are we?” Misaki, Ryosuke’s little sister, asked before making her way to the front of the bus.
“Mii!” Ryosuke called, following her. He caught her, but only because she stopped to look out at the empty land before her.
They were in a desert, and with the yellow sand, tumbleweeds, and cactuses decorating the scenery, it looked like a drawing from one of Daiki’s old Wild West storybooks. When they turned around, however, the otherwise beautiful desert had changed from one with cactuses to a place with black tar buildings and a barbed wire fence surrounding everything.
Ryosuke felt his little sister lean into him, worried about having to go inside. “It’s okay,” he tried telling her. “It might be better than the horse stall.”
After they had rejoined everyone, Papa went to the main office to figure out where they would be staying. “It says here you have seven people in your family, yet you only brought six,” the soldier taking names told him, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.
“That’s because my oldest son, Daniel Arioka,” Papa told him. “He’s stationed in Hawaii serving the military when the call came up to relocate. I added his military paperwork into the office in Los Angeles. They told me that he would be coming back soon.”
As Papa sorted out the issue, the four remaining children took a look around the crowded building. It was filled with people, all Japanese, but no one that Ryosuke or Daiki could recognize as a neighbor or a friend. The only White people were the soldiers and the nurses, but they seemed incredibly out of place among everyone else.
“It reminds me of Ellis Island,” Daiki said, trying to get everyone’s mind off of the negative.
“Ellis Island?” Misaki asked.
“You know,” Chihiro, the oldest sister spoke up. “That’s the island that all of those immigrants from Europe and such arrived to when they got to America.”
Ryosuke frowned “But we’re not immigrants.”
“How do you know?” Daiki asked him. “For all we know, we could be in Mexico.”
“No way! The U.S. Army sending Japs to Mexico?” Ryosuke laughed at the absurdity of it.
“Well, do you have a better answer?”
“They wouldn’t send us to Mexico! That’s just ridiculous, Dai-chan!”
“But we’re in the middle of a desert.”
“There’s deserts in the United States!”
“Not like this! It looks like a Mexican desert!”
“How would you know? Have you ever been to an American desert?”
“Well, no, but—“
“Then how could you—“
“Enough,” Papa scolded, finally finishing up with the registration. “We were assigned D4 in Block 3, so we need to find that.”
Thankfully, it wasn’t too far from the administration building, and when they found their barrack number they all quickly ran through the door that read ‘D4’. “Look!” Misaki danced. “It’s bigger than San Anita!”
“It is,” Mama smiled slightly. “Though, it’s still a bit small, isn’t it?”
The room looked bigger than the one they were given before, but it still looked quite small. The twenty-five foot by twenty-foot room looked small, especially with the wire bedframes that had been placed against the wall. Thankfully, they were given a window to look outside, even if there was nothing to look at besides the barracks across the courtyard.
“It stinks in here,” Daiki said holding his nose.
“It’s hot in here too,” Misaki complained.
“Children,” Mama scolded lightly. “I understand that you may not like it now, but this is what we have to live in for a little while. We’ll just have to make the best of it.”
“Auntie, how are we supposed to get dressed?” Chihiro asked. “I don’t want to change in front of Ryo! I’m sure he has enough fantasies without me around!”
“HEY!” Ryosuke exclaimed. “I do not!”
“We’ll make a curtain,” Mama told her. “We’ll work on it first thing in the morning so that we can hang it up tomorrow.”
“Arthur, Robert,” Papa told the boys. “Go get our suitcases out of the storage.”
Daiki and Ryosuke nodded and quickly left to the shed next to the administration building. It seemed as if everyone in camp was there looking for their missing belongings, and it took both boys a second to get the courage to try and squeeze in to get their things. After a while, the rush died down and they were able to get inside.
“I found Mama and Papa’s!” Daiki called. “’Akira and Tsuki Arioka’. Now we just need Mama’s big old trunk. It has all her pictures.”
“’Catherine Chihiro Yamada’ and ‘Madelyn Misaki Yamada’,” Ryosuke read his sisters’ names. “These suitcases are heavy! What all did they pack in here?”
“They said anything we could carry.”
Ryosuke went back to looking for his suitcase when a name caught his attention on one of the suitcases. “I found Chinen’s suitcase!” he called happily.
Daiki looked up and froze when he realized what Ryosuke was holding. “No way! Chii’s here too?!”
“Looks like it!” Ryosuke couldn’t help but smile at the thought that their best friend would soon be with them again.
“Oh, it’s you guys!”
Ryosuke and Daiki turned around, and much to Ryosuke’s dismay, there stood William Nakajima from back home. Ryosuke sighed quietly at seeing the tall boy again, remembering how many ill-feelings that still stood between them.
“William!” Daiki exclaimed, pulling him into a hug. “Boy, is it great to see you!”
“Same to you! I wasn’t sure how many friends I was going to see here or not!”
Ryosuke stood up, unsure as to what to say.
The taller boy finally looked at him. “It’s nice to see you again, Ryosuke,” he said.
“Boy I’m so glad to see you!” Daiki beamed. “Apparently, Chinen is here as well!”
“Oh really?” William asked. “That’s awesome! So many schoolmates it seems are here! I was really worried! There’s a lot of people from places and cities I don’t recognize, I was afraid we would be all alone.”
Frowning, Ryosuke finally got up and grabbed as many suitcases as he could carry before walking off as fast as he could. “Let’s go, Daiki.”
Nodding, Daiki grabbed a few suitcases and followed. “We’ll see you later, William!” he called before catching up to his cousin. “Why are you so hostile to him?”
“I’m not!” Ryosuke said. “Papa just asked us to get this back.”
Daiki hummed, choosing not to ask again. As they walked past the barracks, a small baseball suddenly rolled out to their feet. Daiki put his suitcases down and picked it up just as an older looking boy with long hair ran out towards them. “Sorry!” he called. “I was trying to teach my friend how to catch. He hasn’t played much sports, you see.”
“Yuya!” a skinny boy with long bangs and glasses yelled at him as he walked towards them.. “See, this is why I told you books are more important! They don’t run away from you!”
“I know, you’ve only told me ten times already, Kei,” the first boy, Yuya, said. He turned back to Daiki and Ryosuke before taking the ball back. “Have you guys just arrived?”
“Yeah, we’re over in D4,” Daiki told him. “I’m Arthur Arioka, but everyone calls me Daiki. This is my cousin-slash-brother, Ryosuke.”
Ryosuke nodded, not wanting to put down the suitcases in case they made a mess. “Nice to meet you.”
“I’m Gene Yuya Takaki,” Yuya officially introduced. “And this is Kei Inoo, my best friend. We got here a few days ago. We’re from Riverside.”
“We’re from Los Angeles.”
“Los Angeles?” Kei asked wondrously. “That’s not far from us at all!”
“Thankfully you’re from familiar territory,” Yuya smiled. “We met a couple of guys who arrived yesterday, and they’re from farm country!”
Kei sighed. “I don’t know if we could call Bakersfield ‘farm country’ though,” he said.
“But they work on a farm there!”
“That doesn’t mean anything, Yuya!”
Suddenly, Yuya jumped up and turned back to the other two. “That reminds me!” he said. “If you don’t already know, dinner is served at six, but if you want any good food, you better be in line by five-thirty. The mess hall gets super crowded.”
Bowing their heads, Daiki and Ryosuke quickly thanked the two boys, said a quick ‘see you later’, and hurried over to their barracks before their parents wondered where they were.
“There you are!” Mama exclaimed when she saw the two boys. “We wondered if you got lost!”
“Not quite,” Ryosuke said putting the suitcases down. “We found out—“
Before they could say a word, the two were suddenly jumped on by a very small but very familiar body. They recognized it immediately just because of how petite this person was. When he let go, they saw the beaming face of their best friend, Yuri Chinen, looking back at them. Something about seeing Chinen again made both Daiki and Ryosuke feel better about their situation. “Guess what!” Chinen bounced. “I live in the barrack right next to you! Isn’t that awesome? I have to share with another family though. You guys are lucky!”
The last part caught everyone by surprise. “Share?” Ryosuke repeated.
“Like with another family?” Daiki tried to clarify.
Chinen nodded. “Since there’s only the four of us, they have us share a barrack with a family from Riverside,” he explained. “The oldest son is two years younger than me. I just got here and he’s already clinging to me like glue!”
“Well, you are pretty cute Yuri-tan,” Daiki teased. He only got a punch in the arm from Chinen before he had to go back to his side of the barrack.
“You know,” Ryosuke warned. “Chinen’s a devil. He could tear you apart from the inside out if you’re not careful.”
“I’m not afraid of a shrimp like him.”
“I HEARD THAT!”
“STAY IN YOUR OWN SIDE OF THE BARRACK!”
“STOP YELLING!” A few female voices exclaimed from both sides of the wall, making everyone finally get quiet and get back to unpacking.
That night, Ryosuke could hardly sleep. The soft sound of crickets was almost deafening to his ears only because it was always so quiet back home.
Home, Ryosuke sighed as he rolled over on his mattress that they had filled with hard straw earlier. This is home, he thought sadly. Los Angeles isn’t home anymore if they have to force us to leave.
“Stop thinking so loud.”
Ryosuke turned to Daiki, who was sharing a bed with him. His eyes were closed, but Ryosuke could tell he wasn’t asleep.
“Dai-chan,” Ryosuke whispered so he didn’t wake up anyone else. “Do you think we’ll be able to go back to LA?”
“I don’t know,” Daiki answered. “But we can’t be so focused on that now. We aren’t there anymore.”
“I know, but I miss it! I hate this place! I hate having to sleep in a stinky box and having to eat disgusting food and having to listen to the people next door snoring!”
Finally, Daiki opened his eyes and turned his head to Ryosuke. “I don’t like it any more than you do,” he said. “But it can’t be helped! Stop complaining! You’re going to freak out Mama if you keep this up!”
Ryosuke frowned and lay back down, defeated.
“Good night cousin.”
“Good night Dai-chan.”
Ryosuke sighed again, turning back to Daiki to talk again when they suddenly heard a loud siren start yelling into the night. The siren was deafening, making everyone immediately sit up in bed to cover their ears. The girls grabbed onto each other in fear, and Papa got out of his bed to very carefully open the door to see what was going on.
“Anata,” Mama began. “What—“
Papa put a finger to his lips to make everyone quiet down, and among the siren they could hear soldiers yelling in the courtyard about something. After another moment, the siren eventually died down until it stopped all together, making the silence seem even more scary.
“It sounds like they were looking for someone,” Papa whispered. “Someone must have tried to escape.”
“Escape?” Mama asked. “But there’s nowhere for that person to go.”
Papa sighed and climbed back into bed. “We’ll worry about it tomorrow. For right now, everyone go back to sleep.”
Everyone said another quiet ‘good night’ before they lay back down again, but even though they were laying down, Ryosuke knew that there was no way that he was going to be able to get any sleep.
A/N: Hey guys! Let me introduce myself! I am Smile-Arigatou, or Bree, and this is my first ever HSJ Fanfiction story! Normally I write Arashi fanfics, but I've been in such a HSJ mood that I couldn't help myself. I hope you all like it! Comments are love and thank you for reading it!!